Category Archives: america fuck yeah

You Should Be Ashamed

Several notable people in the media spotlight these days should be ashamed: Muammar “Mad Dog” Qaddafi, for mowing down civilians in the city center; Rush Limbaugh for calling Michelle Obama (THIS Michelle Obama!) fat; Baz Luhrmann for deciding to remake the Great Gatsby.

In 3-D. In Australia.

I mean, I *like* Baz. I own his Red Curtain trilogy — Romeo & Juliet, Strictly Ballroom, Moulin Rouge — box set. And even I know that is a terrible idea on par with an all-cat ballet production of “Hamlet.”

My award for the person who should most be ashamed of themselves is none of the above. Of Qaddafi, as my old co-worker Adam astutely pointed out, no more could be expected. Limbaugh has been burbling offensive nonsense for too many years for us to suddenly take umbrage now. And Baz? Well, at least he’s taking artistic chances, and at least he’s offering us the fascinating Michelle Williams as Daisy.

NYT graphic

My award goes to Modern Love contributor Andrea Askowitz who succeeded, this weekend, is publishing the most smug, sexist, cringe-inducing piece of narcissism I have seen in a long while. In it, she describes her efforts to snare “a young wife,” one with, she specifies, “big breasts. A pretty face is nice too.”

But she’s not shallow! Far from it. She’s overeducated. Quoth she:

Scientists have discovered that the lower the body’s waist-hip ratio (medically known as the WHR), the more attractive the woman. Marilyn Monroe, for example, had a 0.7 WHR, meaning her waist was 30 percent smaller than her hips. Salma Hayek and the Venus de Milo also have small waists relative to the size of their hips.

I didn’t know any of this at the time, but I would find myself walking along Lincoln Road on South Beach, where I’d notice a woman between the ages of 18 and 35 spilling out of the top of her dress. She’d pass by and I’d turn to leer at her behind. If it was big, I’d have an uncontrollable urge to club her over the head and drag her to my fertility cave.

I wasn’t objectifying women. I was a woman of science.

Anyone out there want to vomit with me? We could make a party of it. I’ll go, then you’ll go, and then we’ll admire the newly splatter-painted carpet. Because this offensive, unselfconscious blathering goes on.

Once she tracks down the nubile-seeming future mommy, *she* wants to do the inseminating.

“Can I do the insemination?” I asked.

Before the nurse answered, Victoria said, “I don’t think you can do that.”

I felt clubbed in the head.

MY moment was now and the woman I loved — my woman with childbearing hips — was thwarting my destiny.

“My woman with childbearing hips.” Her woman! Who is there to serve her needs! Who dares to have opinions of her own about how her own body should be treated!

This is all about power and control, where the woman who has the sperm — who, btw, seems to have the most serious case of penis envy I’ve ever seen in real life — gets to make the decisions. If she actually thought it would be hot to do the turkey-basting, all Andrea had to do was ask her poor girlfriend IN ADVANCE, and not wait until GF was stretched out naked and uncomfortable and cold and with a nurse looking on. I can’t think of anything more awkward than fighting with my partner in that position; of course she gave in rather than continuing to argue.

Andrea gets everything she wants–first, her “top pick” sperm, baseball-playing, college-educated, mother-loving man juice (10 vials at $250 each), which produces one child; then, a wife & mommy with a perfect waist-to-hip ratio willing to be impregnated by that sperm; and finally, getting to do the impregnating herself. And she writes about her triumph in the New York Times!

Comfort comes from one source, anyway: Hubris of this magnitude is exactly the kind of thing that makes the gods snort with laughter.

The Big Easy

This is the fantastic Google map we put together for our holiday vacation 2010, codename: “Persistence.” Twice JetBlue canceled our flights to New Orleans because of the blizzard — you know, the one that was highly anticipated and yet took everyone by surprise, much like the difficulty of raising children. (I imagine.)

So, on the day that Brooklyn was flooded with snow, and no one had shoveled sidewalks or plowed streets, Mr. Ben and I threw on expressions of great determination, and dragged our suitcases behind us to the subway station — an exercise that gave me new insight into what it must be like to dispose of a dead body. We took that train to Penn Station, where we waited 45 minutes for a delayed and usuriously overpriced Acela train to DC.

My little brother, god rest his soul, volunteered to pick us up at Union Station and ferry us over to Don’t-You-Dare-Call-It-Reagan National Airport. And from there, at long last and great expense, we caught a new, on-time flight to New Orleans, where the weather was a crisp 40 degrees but the ground blessedly free of snow.

We made it to our hotel on Bourbon Street and collapsed. Yes, I know, Bourbon Street is Boobies Street, a hilarious choice for a non-drinker and non-exhibitionist who likes her sleep, but when you plan things last minute, you have to make some concessions. The hotel itself was pleasant enough but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who doesn’t enjoy hopscotching around puddles of vomit on their way home at night.

Virtually everything else about our trip to N’awlins though was vomit-free and, frankly, spectacular. The food — from crayfish omelettes to hidden Vietnamese cafes! The music!

As vain as a fat man can be

That’s New Orleans’ own Dr. John, with whom we had an appointment at the famous club, Tipitina’s. We made it to the very front row and so stood close enough to the old-time blues man that we could make out the paisley print on his buttercup-yellow silk shirt and smell the marijuana drifting off the stage.

The houses!

Look at that porch!

This one was in Treme, where American music was born — at least according to the guide of our walking tour and our friend Robert, the docent of the Backstreet Cultural Museum:

These things are made by hand

Robert was full of stories from the many years he spent working for the mob bosses who own and run the French Quarter. Incidentally, he makes those fantastic Mardi Gras Indian costumes — one a year — by hand.

In short, whether tromping through cemeteries or parks or museums or zoos, we were in Heaven. Isn’t this what Heaven looks like, after all?

Photo by Mr. Ben

Photo by moi

These and more, btw, on Flickr.

Early Attempts at Conversation

… G-chat style. It’s like watching the first amphibious being crawl out of the muck onto land, look around, sniff the air, and realize that oxygen is AWESOME. Here it is a catalog, inspired by this piece of radical honesty, of Early Gchats.

There is:

The early gchat where you rave about gchat

me: [Friend]?
[Friend]: oh weird. is this the chat function thing? hi!!
me: hi!!
i love gmail
[Friend]: yeah, this is fabulous. what are you up to?
me: i’m watching Gilmore Girls on dvd while lying in bed


The early gchat with the best greeting ever

[Friend 2]: hi hi
bad day
i mean good morning


The early gchat that falls on deaf ears

me: hey, how you doing?
or do you not believe in google chat?


The early gchat that is all about emoticons and not being able to gchat

[Friend 3] watch this: 🙂
me: hey! why didn’t mine do that?
the heart is super cute too: <3
[Friend 3]: the nose! OMG! the heart! i didn’t know that.
me: isn’t it great? i love gmail
so how you doing?
[Friend 3]: i’m a doing ok. you?
i actually was on my way out the door to grocery shop b/4 i missed too much proj. runway–can i call you?
me: oh, sure 🙂


The super-romantic early gchat


me: sorry, were you asking whether I would like to make popcorn?

[boy]: i think so.

me: ah. a misunderstanding
also, what’s this nervousness about the bar? you’re 1.5 years away from having to take it

[boy]: you’re pretty hot.

me: does this count as cyber … ?

[boy]: ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

don’t use that word!

me: why not?

[boy]: groooooooooss

me: doesn’t it turn you on?


[boy]: eeew ew ew ew

me: come cyyyyyyyyyber with me, honeypie

[boy]: ok, FINE, let’s CYBER

me: okay FINE! take off your pants

[boy]: NO!

me: fine!

[boy]: heh

[boy]: so would you like to make popcorn?

Cheating on the Turkey

What is the point of Thanksgiving? Is it a stuck-in-there holiday to make November more bearable and give us all a long weekend? Is it to juice the travel industry? To remind us all to feel vaguely guilty about Native Americans (although not so much that it puts us off our food)?

Was it an early attempt by enviro-conscious, earnest, lefty, do-gooding, Farmer’s Market types to get us all to eat seasonally and — perhaps — locally?

Is it a family dysfunction dress rehearsal, the main event of which is Christmas?

Is it about eating, or cooking AND eating, or cooking AND eating AND being with family?

I ask because the question arose at lunch today: Is it cheating to have Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant?

My instinct is that it is. The point of the holiday isn’t to partake of cranberry sauce, which is possibly the best straight-out-of-the-can food there is, but to partake of cranberry sauce across the table from someone you might not ordinarily see or (heaven forbid) even like all that much. And somebody you know and possibly love — not some line cook paid $5.50 an hour — has to scrape that cranberry sauce out of the can and into a bowl. Otherwise, so help me, it just doesn’t count.

My Thanksgivings, you will perhaps not be surprised to learn, have met these rabbinic requirements. There is traveling involved; there is stress; there is extended family for extended periods of time. Yes, there is turkey, though I haven’t eaten it since I was 18, and seasonally-appropriate vegetables, and apple and pumpkin pies, but the point isn’t the turkey. The point is the entire celebration, sun-up to sun-down, of America’s favorite secular holiday, one for which, yes, we all have to sacrifice a little bit.

Am I wrong? Am I *wrong*? Or, like Walter, am I not wrong, but just an asshole?


Recap of recaps, Mad Men edition

You like Internet black holes, right? Who doesn’t? And I take it for granted that you, educated, affluent, and intelligent reader, also like Mad Men, the best television show ever that is on basic cable right now.

Bearing all of that in mind, here is a round-up of every Mad Men recap I read, or have read, or is worth reading. You can thank me in the comments.

You’re welcome! Let me know if I missed a good one.

Kiss me, I voted!

Voting in the primaries is so exciting. You know your vote is going to count, since almost no one turns out. You know it matters, since local politicians, unlike state or national ones, often manage to get things done.

So, bright and early this morning, I popped into my polling place, got my fancy new optical scan ballot, and went to a booth to fill it out. Progressives down the line, check, check, check. That much was easy. Then I got to a long list of names I’d never heard of all running for Judicial Convention Delegate. The instructions said, “Pick any eleven.”

My pen poised in the air, I decided to do what I always do when I’m faced with a choice of strangers: Start with ladies and Jews and then, when I run out of those, pick the best names. (This is how I landed with my first doctor in New York, the unforgettable Democleia Gottesman.)

However, this morning though I found myself gripped by a crisis of confidence. What if “Benjamin Abelman” couldn’t live up to the name? What if “Mercedes Neira” rode more like a Kia? As much as I loved the idea of “John Longo” marrying “Karen Johnson” for the sake of their future hyphenated children, how could I base my vote on a giggle?

In the end I didn’t vote for anyone. A step forward for representational democracy? Who knows.

this is what i get for reading polls

As some of you know, I’m a bit of a compulsive when it comes to numbers, as long as there is no arithmetic involved. Every day at 1:05, for example, I check my boyfriend Barack Obama’s Gallup approval numbers. Not everyone loves him as much as I do (I know! Crazy!), and the fickle public must be monitored.

Then, when I’m done with Gallup, I head over to to get a sense of the bigger picture. Most of the time I scan the list of new polls, investigate three or four, then delve into the comments before recoiling like a dog who smacked into an electric fence.

This time I only got as far as this NBC/WSJ Poll before succumbing to whimpering & whiplash:

US: National Survey (NBC/WSJ 5/6-10)
Harry Enten | May 12, 2010

Topics: National

NBC News / Wall Street Journal
5/6-10/10; 1,000 adults, 3.1% margin of error
Mode: Live telephone interviews
(NBC: story, results; WSJ: story, results)


Approval / Disapproval
Obama: 50% Approve, 44% Disapprove (chart)
Obama Economy: 48 / 46 (chart)
Obama Terrorism: 48 / 42
Congress: 21 / 72 (chart)

Positive / Negative
Barack Obama: 49 / 38 (chart)
Democratic Party: 37 / 42
Republican Party: 30 / 42
Tea Party Movement: 31 / 30
British Petroleum: 11 / 45
Charlie Crist: 8 / 16
General Motors: 37 / 27
Citibank: 10 / 43
Toyota: 31 / 34
Goldman Sachs: 4 / 50

Preference for Congress after 2010 elections
Democratic Control: 44%, Republican Control: 44%

Let’s break this down. Obama’s at 50% approval (fine) with a 2 point advantage on the issue of the economy (!). Everyone hates Charlie “Opportunist” Christ, whose sham marriage, which failed to get him on John McCain’s ticket, will also fail to help him stay afloat in Florida. BP, which ruined our water, polls almost as badly as Citibank, which ruined our entire economy. The Democratic Party is exactly as popular as failed, bankrupt automakers General Motors, while probably this asshole who hacked kindergarteners to death in China is still viewed more favorably than Goldman Sucks. All more or less to be expected.

Then we get to the fun stuff.

“The Arizona law makes it a state crime to be in the U.S. illegally. It requires local and state law enforcement officers to question people about their immigration status if they have reason to suspect a person is in the country illegally, making it a crime for them to lack registration documents.”
64% Support, 34% Oppose

“How likely do you think it is that the decision in Arizona to promote strong enforcement of immigrants who are NOT in the U.S. legally will lead to discrimination of Hispanic or Latino immigrants who ARE in the U.S. legally?”
66% Likely, 31% Unlikely

More Off-Shore Drilling
60% Support, 34% Oppose

So, there’s this law, right? It requires that you have your papers on you at all times if you have even a tinge of melanin in your skin or a faint whiff of chile on your breath. As an LA councilman puts it in an LA Times piece on the boycott of the Saguaro State:

“Los Angeles is the second-largest city in this country, an immigrant city, an international city. It needs to have its voice heard,” said Councilman Ed Reyes, one of the resolution’s sponsors. “As an American, I cannot go to Arizona today without a passport. If I come across an officer who’s having a bad day and feels that the picture on my ID is not me, I can be deported, no questions asked. That is not American.”

Knowing that, how do the American people feel about this law? 64% of them think it is A-OK!

Well, back up a minute. Maybe they don’t realize it’s racist. No one likes racists or racism, right? That shit polls worse than Toyota. Let’s ask the American people whether they think this new law will be racist.

Well, cock-a-doodle-doo! They don’t care. 66% percent of respondents think that HELL YES, despite Jan Brewer’s insistence to the contrary, this law will be racist. It doesn’t bother them! Heck of a job, whiteys.

Oh, and as an extra kick in the pants, the poll then kindly informs us that 60% of Americans support *more* off-shore drilling, because what has the Gulf of Mexico ever done for us? Damned lazy, welfare-check-cashing, bean-eating, sombrero-wearing, American-job-stealing Gulf of Mexico. When was the last time we saw *its* passport? We say, let the sucker drown.

BONUS: In Portugal recently, the pope overlooked poverty, illiteracy, AIDS, iodine deficiencies, sexism, racism, religious extremism, child-rape, terrorism, environmental catastrophes and sinkholes that eat houses to declare that “same sex marriage and abortion were among the ‘most insidious and dangerous challenges that today confront the common good.'” Just, you know, FYI.