Friday, February 28, 2003

In Doc's weblog: Bad news for bird-poop island.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

There is a new robot on my web site.

Monday, February 24, 2003

Have you ever noticed how many different kinds of euphemisms we use to talk about the animals that we eat? It’s creepy. For example, there are a bunch of special words for groups of animals that are destined to be food. These words make them sound more like substances than like animals. For example, when someone talks about a chicken, you picture a chubby white bird with a beak and a red thing on it’s head. But “poultry”? Might as well just call them McNuggets.

A cow is a big rectangular animal with brown spots that gives milk. But “cattle” are steaks on legs.

We don’t seem to have words like that for dogs and cats and parakeets. Because they are individuals? Is it easier to treat food-type animals badly if we talk about them like they are already meat?

Another question: How come we call chicken meat what it actually is (Chicken. Wings. Thighs. Breasts.), but we call cow parts and pig parts and sheep parts by all kinds of wierd names? Such as beef. Steak. Pork. Bacon. Mutton. How come we call lamb “lamb”, but we call baby cow “veal”?

Do they do this in other languages too?

What does it mean?

Sunday, February 23, 2003

Last night, S. and I ate at a restaurant called Unity. Apparently, before September 11th, the restaurant was a steakhouse, attached to a hotel in Battery Park City. After the World Trade Center collapse, it was used as a makeshift cafeteria for rescue workers. At some point during that time, somebody wrote "Unity Café" in the dust that covered all of the restaurant windows. When they re-opened the restaurant, they kept the name.


The Unity chefs serve "Traditional American cuisine with a modern twist". One of the modern twists is the cheddar cheese ice cream that comes with the apple pie. Was I pleasantly surprised as the unexpected flavor combination burst on my tongue with mouthwatering flavor? The hell I was. It was vile.

We stayed in the hotel (as a late valentine's day treat), in a room with a view of the Irish Hunger Memorial. The path was cordoned off, because it was slippery in the snow, but of course we hopped over the fence and poked around a bit. From the hotel window, it looked silly, like a piece of ground that had been cut out like a cake and stuck up on a pedestal in the middle of the street. But once you are in it, because of the way it slopes, all you see in front of you is hillside and sky.

We started to walk around Ground Zero so we could read the posters they've put up about the history of the area, but I just couldn't take it. There is too much about the language used to commemorate the event that makes me angry, and the event itself makes me so sad, so I end up in a disturbed in-between state that is just not tenable. So we went shopping instead.

Friday, February 21, 2003

Dammit, protesting the war was absolutely not a statement of support for Saddam Hussein. Apparently he thinks that the world was turning out to congratulate him on his lovely oppressive regime. What a nice job he's done with all that senseless killing and torture. Starving his own citizens? Excellent work. Well, he is a delusional madman.

Now what?

I was very upset this weekend, because ANSWER (thanks to Bee for the link) were handing out signs with their name and URL on them, and people were taking them and marching with them, totally not knowing what the organization is all about. I heard a mom spelling it out to her daughter: "Act Now to Stop War and End Racism", she said. "That's why we're here." She sounded so inspired and uplifted by that phrase.

I mean, who doesn't want to stop war and end racism? So it made me very damn angry to see that woman suckered into having an uplifting moment by a creepy group that basically supports Saddam Hussein and thinks he should just be left alone to run his fascist police state. And it made me angry to see people carrying those signs and unknowingly promoting ideas that they probably wouldn't agree with for a second . And it makes me really angry when people take nice words and use them to front for scary ideas. Why can't they call their organization "Act Now To Overthrow The Capitalist Hegemony And Install Oppressive Socialist Dictatorships". I guess ANTOTCHAIOSD was just too hard to pronounce.

Joe Conason suggests emailing the Iraqi Mission to the UN to tell them to comply with inspections. I suppose it is worth a try, but does it seem very likely that they will listen?

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

You know that kind of dirty black water with a skin of snow floating on the surface that looks exactly like asphalt under the streetlights? Bleh.
I have started a blog for Doc. I'm going to post all the emails he sends me. They are too good to just be gathering dust in my inbox.
Toby just called me a "simpering tart". I'm going to take that as a compliment; it sounds like some kind of dessert with cherries. I can't believe there is a whole country full of people who talk like that.

Monday, February 17, 2003

Here's how Television Without Pity recapped Noah's appearance on Dawson's Creek. No one I know has been in TWOP before. I think it's even cooler than being on TV.

They refer to him as "The Weasel". Awesome.

Pacey stands in front of the condoms and eyes the selection. A greasy, weaselly little K-Mart employee sidles up next to him. "Um. We're going to be closing soon?" he says. "Okay," Pacey responds. The employee doesn't leave, but just stands next to Pacey and gives him the old Hey, Someone's Getting Laid! eyebrow. Pacey reaches past him to pick up some Trojans. "Very nice," the Weasel says. Pacey just raises his brows.
And the weaselly employee finds them there the next morning, and dude, he is not happy about it at all. ""Dude! This is totally uncool," he says. Pacey wakes up and nudges Joey awake. "Like, I mean, you're allowed to, like, test things and stuff, but the manager is going to be, like, his mind? Blown," The Weasel stutters. Pacey and Joey roll out of their sleeping bag, Pacey explaining that they're just about to leave. The Weasel gives Joey The Joey Tribbiani How You Doin' Once-over. "So, is this, like, your girlfriend?" he asks. "No, we just sleep together from time to time. Do you have a problem with that?" Joey snarks. Pacey smiles as she stomps off. "Very nice," The Weasel tells him.

Sunday, February 16, 2003

Yesterday we went out in the cold to protest the war, me coughing hysterically and Sascha walking like Frankenstein because he pulled a muscle in his back. Jamie and Bee were very kind to us; they treated us just like normal healthy people.

We didn't get anywhere near the actual site where the speakers were, we just walked up 1st Avenue for a while (in a big crowd) until the cold air seeped into our underwear and our skin started to freeze. Then we ducked into a Chinese restaurant where other upper-middle-class protesters were taking refuge. The waiter was very surly and kept slamming the kitchen door. But the scallion pancakes were excellent.

I have so many questions about the protest.

1. Why is political protest in the US so inextricably linked with the pop culture of the 1960s? What was protest like before the 1960s? According to today's New York Times, "The singer Richie Havens led off the proceedings with a rendition of 'Freedom,' the song he performed 34 years ago on Max Yasgur's farm for the Woodstock Festival." Um, could anything be less relevant? Or more annoying? More likely to make any person with a brain want to run away as fast as they can? What the hell?

2. Is it good or bad that there is this protest culture of people who tag around at all the protests and other hippie-type events with their own damn agenda that may or may not be totally irrelevant to the thing that is being protested? I mean, I love Medical Marijuana Barbie to death, but if she is at an anti-war protest, shouldn't she be protesting the war?

3. What was the police department's plan? They were directing people all over the place with barricades and shouting, and what was the point? A lot of the protesters seemed to think that "the man" was just messing with them, but that seems a bit petty, doesn't it?

Here are Doc's thoughts on the a non-participant:

I nearly got arrested yesterday for being in a demonstartion I wasn't in.

All around our apartment, on 4 sides there was a HUGE anti-war demo and I"m coming back from the laundry with my clean clothes in a pink bag. While I was out for lunch with MEr and my father in law and later at the laundry they cut off 57th ST. so after I moved between the sawhorses to get to my home, this cop comes up and says "DO you want me to arrest you?"

I asked what for. He couldnt' find a charge but I told him I lived in that building and he didn't believe me. I had no ID and he said I needed it. Eventually, with some amount of bargaining my laundry and I were let through, but then another  diff cop half a block later says "You need ID to get in here you know.' I told him I didn't. He says he's a cop, I tell him I'm an attorney and I DON"T need ID to walk the streets of NYC. He let me through only b/c the cop earlier had let me into his area. I presume he had pissed on the firehydrant to mark it. Actually one does NOT need identification to walk pretty much anywhere in the UNited States and laws made to the contrary have been struck down as unconstitutional.

I was respectful at all time b/c I didn't want to be arrested for just having an attitude (an  "A" misdemeanor ) but I'm getting REALLY sick of the cops getting in my way, ,wanting to know what I"m doing here and there (last week).

I wasn't in the demo. But it is HUGE, the biggest I've ever seen. We live between Lexington and Third and epicenter is at the UN on 45th and First and the streets this far away around here are still packed. THere are large demos in Europe, Asia, Australia and NZ also.


Friday, February 14, 2003

I haven't written in a while because I have been sick. Too sick to have thoughts. Too sick to do anything but sleep and complain. And blow my nose.

Sunday, February 09, 2003


My boss lent me his DVD of Y Tu Mama Tambien last week. The movie is very beautiful and is also a very good answer to the question: What would you do if you only had a month to live? And, as you may have heard, it has some very hot sex. Actually, it's mainly pretty terrible sex, but somehow so moving in it's clumsiness and teenage awfulness. But what's even better is the sense of the inevitability of the world slipping by while the characters chase their own dramas along the road. It's a good metaphor.

A couple of days after we watched that, we went to see Chicago. Wow. I mean, it didn't have anything going for it beyond it's exquisite wittiness and the cuteness of it's cast, and oh yeah, the incredibly choreographed musical numbers, but that is most definitely enough good stuff for one movie. And now I know why Richard Gere is considered hot. Damn.

And then, last night I saw About Schmidt. You know all those people who say, oh yeah, but Jack never really makes you forget that it's him? Well, they are idiots. There are whole stretches of this movie that are nothing but Jack Nicholson completely losing himself in this tragic repressed confused old man. I mean, there was one scene where he got up to answer a door, and just that minute and a half was one of the most amazing performances I have ever seen. Academy Award, please. And I cried at the end. Big fat wet tears.

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

The people who host my comments have disappeared. Temporarily, I hope. In the meantime, email me.

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

That's it. That's the last straw.

Dear Joan,

I found your article on John Kerry today, via a link from, and I found it very disturbing. Your article has overtones of anti-semitism, even when you're trying to deny that it does. You say that "ethnicity is not the issue", yet you suggest that Massachusetts voters may be disturbed to find that Kerry's breeding isn't as pure as they may have thought. If, as you say, ethnicity isn't important, then why would you expect Kerry to discuss it with the public? Why would the public care?

I was also disturbed to find your article reviving the tired criticisms manufactured by the press during Al Gore's 2000 presidential bid. You say that "Kerry's confusion about his heritage mirrors a larger confusion about his essence: Who is he? What does he believe in?"

If that is your concern, and if you feel that Kerry has been unclear about his political ideals and motivations, then I think it is your responsibility as a journalist to address and prove that point, rather than manufacturing an inappropriate debate regarding his ethnic background.

Leontine Greenberg

Sunday, February 02, 2003

Here's a fascinating fact from today's New York Times Magazine: "Dolphins...would drown if they couldn't stay awake to regulate their respiration, but their brains have evolved the ingenious ability to sleep one hemisphere at a time."

I wonder what that feels like.

Whenever I come across an article about sleep researchers, I am always interested in what they have to say. It's really strange that everyone on earth spends a third of our lives sleeping, but we don't really think much about what it means and why we do it. Personally, I am a big fan of sleeping, and I would really like to learn more about it. I wonder if there is a book I could read?

There are some other things in the news that I would like to write about, but there's nothing I can say that someone else isn't already saying. These things include the war (bad), and Joe Millionaire (good).