Wednesday, December 31, 2008

If a bird falls in the city...

...should I laugh? Well, I already did. Yesterday morning as I was on my way to work, I saw a pigeon fly directly into the glass wall of a building. It was accompanied by another bird with the wits to avoid a direct collision. The pigeon made contact at the first-floor level so it didn't fall far, and after it recovered it seemed no stupider than before, so those of you who love pigeons need not worry.

Naturally, I had to phone Dan immediately to tell him about this, and that's when I lost control. It took me about three minutes to choke and gasp out what had happened, and by that time I was in the lobby of my building. So then I'm on the elevator, with a flushed, tear-streaming face, giggling like mad. Not much of that goes on where I work, so I stood out like as sore a thumb as possible. Heh.

New favorite lyric:

"At any convenient time
Funny how my memory slips when looking over manuscripts
Of unpublished rhyme
Drinking my vodka and lime"

Artist: Simon & Garfunkel (Paul Simon)
Song: Hazy Shade of Winter
Album: Bookends

Monday, December 29, 2008

Paging Barack Obama

Please do something about this. Take especial note of...

The new analysis of data from a large federal survey found that more than half of youths became sexually active before marriage regardless of whether they had taken a "virginity pledge," but that the percentage who took precautions against pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases was 10 points lower for pledgers than for non-pledgers.

Stop funding abstinence-only nonsense. Now.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

For the holidays

This morning I was out walking on partly icy streets, and getting really ticked off at the way the ice clings more tenaciously to bricked sidewalks. Then I got the thought stuck in my head to music. I mentioned this to Dan when I got home, and he suggested blogging about. So if you don't like, you should blame him.

Rush Limbaugh, Hannity, John Coulter's daughter
Cocoa that's made not with milk but with water
Halfway apologies, free stuff with strings
These are a few of my most-hated things

Brickwork that serves as a road or a sidewalk
Sneakers with khakis or insipid small talk
Cockroaches in my house, spiders with wings
These are a few of my most-hated things

When the joke bites
When the shirt clings
When the name is Thad
I think someday I'll outlaw these most hated things
Until then I just get mad

Snowfalls on weekends and fish and bananas
Late-night renditions of "Copacabana"
People who think that it's no fun on swings
These are a few of my most hated things

I really do hate these things, too.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The good, the bad and the ugly

The good:

I got a blast of inspiration on the stand-up front, and not at 5am as usual. Happened during my morning walk, which is another favorable time for my muse. For the first time I have to decide if I want to start actually naming names in my set. I'm not certain yet, but I think I'm taking the Kathy Griffin route and burning those bridges.

The bad:

Majel Barrett Roddenberry passes away. Dammit.

The ugly:

I am contemplating some chocolate Oreos tonight. That's not pretty.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hey, Star!

It’s been two years since you’ve been around (which is my roundabout way of saying what really happened), and I thought I’d catch you up on a few things that have happened in the interim. I’m pretty certain that, wherever you are, you’ve finagled some kind of Internet access and are able to read this. So here goes.

We’ll start with national matters. The Democrats, whom you helped put in charge of Congress back in ’06, didn’t do as well as we hoped in blunting George Bush, but they did manage to hound that odious Alberto Gonzalez out of office. But! It gets better. Remember that skinny guy with the funny name whom Illinois elected to the Senate? The one who gave that amazing speech at the ’04 Democratic convention? Well, he was just elected president, the first African-American to reach that office. Babyraven and Boyfriend and Supertarzan watched the returns with us, and you should have heard us when MSNBC called the race for Barack Obama. I wish you could have seen his acceptance speech…it was this incredible piece of history I felt honored to witness.

Let’s move on to more personal matters. Feanor and Poppy bought a big house, with many rooms and a back yard…the whole shebang. Very swank. Babyraven lost some weight and at Halloween she totally rocked her crazed, Tim Burtonish baby-doll dress. She and Boyfriend are still together, by the way. SuperTarzan graduated law school AND passed the bar in one try, which totally did not surprise me. I know lots of smart people, but he’s among the smartest even of those. VisMajor and family are well, and the Young Sir is now in high school. His voice is changing and he’s almost taller than I am. (Not that the last part is that big a deal, but I thought I’d mention it.) EverMike, whose online name I can’t recall, is well and dating someone, which was hard for me to get used to although that’s no fault of his or hers. Rhys is just about four now, and he’s incredibly intelligent. All in the genes, eh? Your folks paid off their house, and I was there to help celebrate the burning. Of the mortgage. Not the house.

Dan and I are up and down, but mostly up. We bought a house (we couldn’t be outdone by Feanor and Poppy, you see) about four blocks below South Street, within easy reach of the Italian Market. It has a basement room that was perfectly suited for a Dan Cave, and a deck which is perfectly suited for parties. Dan published Realpolitik, using photos (taken by Babyraven herself) of Movie Night folks, Fosters, and other assorted dignitaries. I’m proud as I can be. You’re featured in there as the Cultural Icon, which we knew would have embarrassed you but we did it anyway. I’ve taken up stand-up comedy, if you can believe it, which has taught me that no matter how embarrassing you think something will be, it’s probably won’t be as bad as you think. I had my own show in October, and even though I performed sick as a dog, I had a blast.

Everyone misses you terribly, even if we sometimes don’t say so. There are a few memorials to you around Center City, most notably the one your family put up by the frog in Rittenhouse Square. That would probably have embarrassed you, too, but I think we need it. You left us so abruptly and shockingly that they are something we can hold on to. It’s still hard for me to believe you’re gone. The other day I was looking at a picture of you at one of my Halloween parties and I said to Dan that was taken in ’07. He just looked at me sadly and said, “No, it wasn’t.” I’m not dodging reality, though; even in my dreams I know you’re no longer with us. I dreamt once that you and I were working as tellers at Commerce Bank, and we wore those awful little sweaters with the nametags and everything. We were screwing up the money and pissing off the customers and laughing like lunatics about it, but even in this little bank-teller fantasy there was a part of me that knew the truth. When I woke up I stared at the ceiling for a long time.

I’m not certain about anything since that terrible day two years ago. I finally understand the allure of those ultra-conservative Christian faiths, in which there is a source of unerring certainty that never changes and need never be doubted, because these days, it feels as though doubts are all I have. I don’t know if I grieved the right way, or if I was supportive enough to those who needed it, or if I should have done more or less. I don’t know if I’ll ever get back that sweet illusion that death is something that happens only to people I don’t know. I don’t know what comes after we pass away: another life or just oblivion, the ultimate end. I hope it’s the former, maybe because I can’t conceive of my own non-existence, or maybe because I don’t want to conceive of yours. I’d like to think that I’ll see you again in some other place and that you’ll say, “Hey, what took you so long? They have cookies here!” But no matter what may happen in the next world, I know I’ll never see you again in this one, and I guess that’s hard enough to live with.

Speaking of living, I’d better get back to it. I’ve got books to read, Frisbees to throw, vacations to vacate, comedy club audiences to either crack up or bore, and people to cherish while I still have them. And all of those things are sweeter for having known you.



P.S. If they do have cookies there, save me an Oreo, because I’m bringing the milk!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

When's Lunch? When's Lunch?

I brought a meatloaf sandwich (a renegade from last night's dinner) to work today, and I am now looking for any excuse to eat an early lunch. I am working through my lunch today, it's true, so it could be argued that since there is no technical lunchtime today, I can have that sandwich any time I please. Perhaps SuperTarzan, with his newly minted bar membership, can come up with better reasoning. After all, he performed swimmingly on Game Day, coming up with a stellar argument as to why Poppy's move in Settlers of Catan was not only acceptable but even recommended. Something about estoppel. Or maybe it was John Stoffel. Whatever.

Monday, December 01, 2008

So tired!

Woke up at 5:30 am this morning with some new stand-up material burning in my brain, which is often the way it happens. Not that I am ungrateful to my muse, mind you, but I wish Thalia would choose a different hour in which to grace me with her presence. (Thalia really is the muse of comedy, too.) So I'm pretty tired right now, but that won't stop me playing Ultimate tonight. In the mud.

I bring this on myself, I know.

I'd kind of like to be a muse, or maybe a demi-power, and I totally know what I'd like to be the god of: near-success. The commuter who misses the train by inches, the moviegoer who comes up one dollar short, the mayoral candidate who loses by twelve votes out of two hundred thousand...all of these would be in my bailiwick. None of them would worship me, you understand, but they would implore me to turn my baleful eye elsewhere, and those who made good offerings would be duly ignored. Those who did not make offerings? Baleful eye.

I've been listening to Fountains of Wayne's first album, cleverly titled Fountains of Wayne, and I'm digging it intensely.

Hey! At Thanksgiving I ate some chocolate cake with white icing that I got from More Than Just Ice Cream, and it was tasty. The icing wasn't exactly vanilla, nor was it mint; it was white, which was enough for me.

New favorite lyric:

"Oh yeah, and I can see the signs
Oh yeah, she's only killing time
Oh yeah, and she's not long for this world."

Artist: Fountains of Wayne (Chris Collingwood/Adam Schlesinger)
Song: She's Got a Problem
Album: Fountains of Wayne