Friday, June 27, 2008

All We Are Saying

Todd and I were just arguing about this yesterday. Rather than recreate the conversation with you (a la the captivating Jugo-Orlando "I bust those punk cats in the face" discussion a week ago), I'll just direct you here:

The most excellent Tim Wise breaks down the venality of comparisons between flood-ravaged Iowans and hurricane-devasted New Orleanians.

Notable sections:

So consider Limbaugh's formulation, where he says, "I don't see a bunch of people running around waving guns at helicopters, I don't see a bunch of people running shooting cops. I don't see a bunch of people raping people on the street."

Fair enough. Those things aren't happening in Iowa. Yet, according to multiple post-Katrina investigations, and stories written up by the Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times, the New Orleans Times Picayune, the London Guardian, the New York Times, Popular Mechanics, Reason Magazine and the American Journalism Review, reports of shooting at helicopters or rapes or murders were almost entirely false. There were, in fact, no murders in the evacuation centers, few if any sexual assaults, no helicopters fired on, and no police officers shot by residents. Yes, there was looting, although by a distinct minority of persons trapped in the city, and overwhelmingly for necessities like food, medicine, water, and clothing to replace the rotting, soaked rags people were wearing after wading through waist-deep water. And according to persons on the ground in the flood zone, even the luxury items taken were typically used as barter chips, to get rides out of the city for oneself and one's family when it became obvious that large scale assistance wasn't going to arrive any time soon. In other words, reports of widespread thuggery in New Orleans during the flooding have been greatly exaggerated, if not entirely fabricated, and have only remained believable to millions because of the race and class biases which allow people to believe the worst about poor black folks even without a shred of actual evidence.

and here:

Then of course have been the suggestions, especially common in the e-blasts and blog postings to the effect that Iowans, unlike New Orleanians, have helped themselves, because while the latter had grown dependent on government to solve their problems, Midwesterners in the "heart of America" still value the importance of self-reliance. But the fact is, Iowans are no less likely to receive government assistance than those in New Orleans were prior to Hurricane Katrina, according to the Census Bureau's American Community Surveys, taken in 2006 (the most recent year available) and 2004 (the last data collected for New Orleans before the flooding of that city).

In hard-hit Linn County, Iowa, 2400 households receive cash public assistance, out of 85,000 total households, meaning that 2.8 percent of all households in the County receive cash welfare. In New Orleans, prior to Katrina, and contrary to popular belief, only 2.6 percent of households received cash welfare (4600 households out of 180,000). So in truth, a slightly higher percentage of Linn Countians were on the dole than New Orleanians! In Black Hawk County (also hard hit by the recent deluge), 2.5 percent of all households receive cash assistance: again, suggesting no real difference between the mostly white and rural folks there, and the mostly black and urban folks in Orleans Parish at the time of Katrina.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Everybody, Everybody

I bet you thought I forgot all about "Tell Me ' Bout It Tuesday." But I didn't. I've been unsubscribed from life for a minute, it's true; but I hold all of you users and losers near to my heart, so, please: write in and tell me what's up with you. I know that Ho[o]va has got some big!news! and Broccoli stays trying to remind me of the sixth grade for no good reason. girl6 took my advice and asked her stable of hos to remember that we're a family, dammit (and if they don't agree, they better learn to sell pussy in Iceland); AG is finding himself getting the big eye from perfect strangers; and ebogjonson reminds us that it's not safe to take a deep breath, not yet. Sister Toldja does not eat green bean casserole* but she and hitsville are united in asking the question:

"Really? Really, America?"

Stereogum has been killing me softly 23 hours out of every day, but AdmiralNeck needs to stop making love to the internet because I couldn't breathe after "grassassasins." Finally, to bring this thing full circle, qwantz illustrates why Hoova should be careful that she has everyone's email addresses typed correctly when she sends out baby photos.

super seekrit awesome prize for my many fans
Jugo and Jeff
It's not a good picture of either of us, but kiss my ass, bitches. Jeff is that fire in person, trust.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Me Too

"Sometimes I say to myself, what are you doing in this absurd job? Why don't you go to Africa and help people? But I cannot help people, because I am a hypochondriac."

--Javier Bardem

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Regular Life

You guys don't need to worry about me. I am able to have "normal" conversations and deal with the day-to-day bullshit that comes up. For instance: my roommate has been out of the country for the past 3 weeks, and it is starting to make her cats fucking insane. I asked Orlando for help.

Tuesday, 10 June --

Jugo: Also! Do you have some advice on how I can get the cats to leave me alone? They are fine most of the day (I guess – I’m not home to see) and then for most of the night. But around 1
am, they both feel a pressing need to climb on my face and claw my lips (I don’t think it’s malicious, but I don’t know what it's about) and sit on my forehead. It's terrible. And my allergies are going crazy. I pick them up and put them off my bed (and face), but they just jump right back up. And because it’s late at night and I am so sleepy, my eyes start to close like in Treasure of the Sierra Madre, and then I open them and the fucking cats are getting closer and closer
and then there they are – raking my lip and climbing on my fucking face. It sucks so bad. Victoria is out of town for the rest of the week, but I gotta take care of this right away. I am not getting any sleep. This goes on ALL NIGHT. This morning the only thing that scared Cosette away is when I finally flipped and hissed at her. Help me. You know a lot about cats.
Orlando: Have you tried a spray bottle filled with water? You might have to put up with them for a few nights until they learn that visiting you in the middle of the night means getting wet. There is also some spray out there that cats are supposed to react to on a pheromonal level. It's it's a repellant that's supposed to keep cats from getting on stuff like your couch. You can't smell it, but they can. It never worked on Gato at the shelter, but it might work for you. I think it can be had at pet supply stores. i'll check the name of the stuff Rene tried at work.
Jugo: Man, I can’t wait to bust that cat in the fucking face with that water bottle
Orlando: I hope it works.
Jugo: Just to confirm – I am not going to punch the cat. Just shoot it in the face

Wednesday, 11 June --

Jugo: I got a water pistol shaped like an elephant and exercised the
nuclear option on those punk cats
Orlando: It worked?
Jugo: Paul Fussell would have been proud

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Which Way

Dear Get Down Family,

What’s good, people? How is everyone hanging on these days? Please know that I am thinking about and missing all of you. I haven’t been able to contact everyone. Sometimes I am ok on the phone, sometimes I can barely gasp out a word. I am slowly moving back into life, but that seems like such a bitter betrayal of everything my mother meant to me. I can’t imagine breathing one more minute without her here; and then I’ll come to myself with a start and realize that I’ve gone five minutes, 10 minutes, an hour without thinking about her. And it will crush me.

I wasn’t sleeping well. And when I was sleeping, I fought off terrible, violent nightmares. I woke up bruised for several days. I started to be afraid to sleep in a bed. I only felt safe on the couch, in front of the tv, in a lighted room. I couldn’t grab more than a few hours at a time. And there was so much to do. The program to compose, and clothes for her to be buried in. Calling all her friends across the country. Going through her things and putting them safely in storage so my father, wracked with a peculiarly masculine eviscerating grief, won’t throw all of it out in some kind of daze.

Making sure everyone has enough food to eat. Making sure that the liquor cabinet stays stocked. Checking on Brian. Making sure my dad isn’t trying to do too much. Receiving endless visitors.

And then, later, writing thank you cards. Planning her grave stone. Organizing her jewelry and clothes so that her sisters can choose what they would like to have. Preparing to go back to work. There was little time for sleep, which was a relief.

But now that I’m back in LA, I can’t get enough. I’d rather sleep than do anything else. The best I’ve felt in the last month is when Iron Fist came down last weekend and napped with me. I wasn’t alone. It was daytime. I could relax. I could breathe. I could sleep and not toss and turn my way through terrible, terrible dreams in which I have to keep explaining to people that she died on my brother’s birthday. She died on my brother’s birthday.

Last night, Broc and I went to Aqua Lounge to see Jeff Goldblum and his jazz combo, the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra. They were a tight group, and the song choices, though a little pedestrian (sorry, Jeff) were definite crowd-pleasers. I was couldn’t get over the fact that I was 3 feet from The Fly. He looks good, family. Real good. On the list of soon-to-be-56-year-olds-who-could-get-it, Seth Brundle is number one with a bullet. The place was packed full of wack ass Angelenos, though. There were also a number of cougars in full effect, but I love them and will have nothing said against them.

So, anyway, I want to talk about finally getting to see the man I have crushed on since I was 16 years old, and I want OBVIOUSLY to talk about Barack and how my heart can’t contain its joy at his ascendance.

But when I start, it feels false. I don’t know. I’m still out here, family. I’m still hanging in there. I crawl my way towards a day with no crying, and then when I achieve it, it feels like failure. I can’t move from this spot.