Rockcrit and A-Mama Ann Powers thinks way too hard sometimes

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Night of the living Feminism

Wearily, I'll weigh in on Maureen Dowd's book excerpt in the mag today, because to ignore it would be to miss another chance to remind people that:

-- Privileged pedicure addicts may be tired of feminism, but middle-to-workingclass Americans and women all over the world are not. They're the ones fighting sexual harassment in the military, on the force, and at FedEx; they're dealing with the vanishing of safe abortion and accessible birth control; they're fighting for their very lives in Afghanistan, Guatemala, South Africa. "Power" feminists, like everybody, need to get their heads out of their own asses. Plenty of action exists below the fifth floor of various buildings in midtown Manhattan.

-- As my brilliant Eric notes, any retrenchment into old-fashioned hetero-boring nuclear family values (which, by the way, is overstated -- see this single mama survey ) is more likely due to fear than to a widespread admission that women belong in the kitchen and the lingerie aisle. As civil rights and the social contract simultaneously decay, as the privileged perch higher on the edge of a glass bubble and everyone else struggles in an increasingly isolated and unsupported condition, we cling to what's closest and most familiar. It can seem easier to "bag a husband" than to imagine fixing health care or Social Security. To which I add, is it a coincidence that Dowd's retrenchment to 1950s fantasies of faux-security appears in the same Mag issue whose cover piece is all about how capitalist America is content to let its retirees rot in poverty?

-- In all the writing that's surfaced in the past coupla years about how brilliant women are opting for the housewife role over corporate climbing, rarely is it stated that the reason for this might not be because of gender roles at all, but because the workplace has become a more Hobbesian place for all. (Cf. Barbara Ehrenreich.) I'll admit, I've occasionally dreamed about what life would be like if I'd married some rich guy (like, say, Adam Phillips). I'd bet that Eric's had days when he wishes, oh I don't know, Maureen Dowd were his suga mama. Massive corporate consolidation, shrinking benefits, lack of job security, and general bottom-line-ism define work today. Wouldn't we all, male or female, like to avoid the nightmare?

-- Finally, two points on Dowd's aesthetic sense:

One, rad feminists of the 1960s and 1970s did not all look alike. That cliched Norman Mailer-esque view overlooks the fact that it's war-paint makeup and girdles that cause women to look like clones, not going au naturel. I get so sick of people saying rad fems were not beautiful -- have they ever seen pictures of the young Ellen Willis, Shulamith Firestone, or Jill Johnston? How about Michele Wallace when she wrote "Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman?" Hot!! I'd burn my bra for any of them.

Two, if Dowd thinks that only non-feminists like "Desparate Housewives" clothing -- i.e. sexy retro duds -- then she's never met Carol Queen. Or Nellie McKay. Or these ladies.

(CREDIT: Rosie the Riveter button by Trina Robbins)

Friday, October 28, 2005

small self promo and... a recipe!

I should write something deep and trivial but honestly I'm burnt. Nothing profound tonight.

I have a new column up at on Richard Swift and the concept of the "drama club kid." Overlap with Douglas on the matter of Bertolt Brecht is complete serendipity.

On the subject of yummy -- I looked for a while for a recipe for quick bread that would provide my carb-hoarding Bebe with a little protein. Here's the one we like. I am not sure where I found it -- it's our recipe now! You can substitute for the banana -- I've tried canned pureed sweet potato, which works fabulously, and pumpkin, which is moister so you need to compensate with a little more flour. Also, when I want to feel extra healthy I substitute whole wheat flour for half the flour. You could throw in some soy flour too for an extra added good for ya bonus....

Banana Bread
1 stick of butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 ripe bananas, mashed
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1 cup soy milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1) Preheat oven to 400° F. Grease a loaf pan (use Fleichman's unsalted margarine).
2) Beat together margarine and sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in bananas until smooth.
3) Mix together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
4) Alternately stir flour mixture and soy milk into egg mixture until dry ingredients are just moistened.
5) Spoon batter into prepared pan, filling two-thirds full. Bake until lightly golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Serve warm.

I hope those of you in the blogosphere seeking "deep thoughts" try my recipes too. They are equally deep and far more nourishing. Without the wonders of the kitchen I would be a Beckett character by now.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Advice for Myrtles

Had to post once more tonight, because this is the best advice list for infertile women I have ever read (that includes self-help books perused at Barnes and Ignobles). I stole it from this blog and it's by the author of this one:

1. Know when to stop treatment. Even my reproductive endocrinologist said "most women don't know when to stop".... Says the guy driving a $80,00 car.

2. Open your heart to other options. Understand that it doesn't mean failure, only another road you didn't see before.

3. Live on the internet... make friends with infertiles. Don't bother with acupuncture, herbs, or that fucking book "Taking Charge of Your Fertility" or "The Infertility Cure". Burn them immediately. THEY DON'T WORK.

5. Explore your need for a genetic link. Is it more important than being a parent?

6. Avoid: Whole Foods after school time, showers, pregnant friends, neighbors, annoying inlaws. Take care of yourself, first and foremost.

7. Don't quit drinking alcohol, Diet Coke, coffee, etc. It won't make you infertile, and it won't kill your baby if by some miracle you get knocked up through science.

8. Don't stay in the "pit" too long. Try to climb out and live your life as soon as you are able.

9. If you do choose alternative routes to parenthood, accept that you will have a deep and profound loss--forever--but it will hurt less and less with time (or so I've heard).

10. Get as many narcotics from your reproductive endocrinologist NOW and horde them for fun in the future.

How many ways can I say....RIGHT ON!


Re-reading Wayne Koestenbaum's spiffy The Queen's Throat the other day, I came upon these sentences, relevant to various discussions I've witnessed recently about the importance of/desire to create lists. He's talking about opera-queen lists, but I think popnerd lists apply too.

"The purpose of a list is not to refine or browbeat, but to include, and to move toward a future moment when accumulation stops and the list-keeper can cull, recollect, and rest on the prior amplitute."

and later:

"List-making is a prophylaxis against loss. Lists perform sympathetic magic: we want names (of operas, theaters, divas, roles) to be corporeal."

Isn't that the most tender, loving, life-affirming way to think about compulsive hierarchilization/categorization? I just want to kiss the guy after reading that. And, of course, make a list.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

My old house turned into a condo

I feel like I should have some thoughts, or at least a bilious rant, about the sale of my spiritual home, the Village Voice, to the Olive Garden of print media. You've probably already read Jeff Chang's righteous words on the subject (though dudeman, Kenny Loggins is the wrong metaphor), so I won't go into details. I'll just quickly state three concerns.

One is for the future of political dissent in journalism, which seems to be retreating further and further into the realm of satire, and while I think Jon Stewart is a stone-cold fox I worry that feeding ourselves a steady diet of humor-as-news eventually makes all action seem ridiculous. Activism, in my experience, is not ironic, though it can be hilarious.

Two, Chang mentions the deleterious effect this is going to have on freelancer rates; obviously that's so, and a concern for me and mine. Some may argue that the creep of professionalism is what led to this impasse; that the idea of "getting paid" for fulfilling whatever def of alternative suits you is inherently corrupt and will end in 100-word reviews for EW. (That is not meant as a slam at David Browne, whom I admire, or any of the other good writers there.) Chang himself criticizes my (and his) generation for being too well-scrubbed, not committed enough to the edge. I see his point, but what I really think we're losing here is the middle ground between passionate amateurism and slick professionalism -- where, to my mind, innovation and great writing very often happens. What the Voice gave me and many of my peers was a place to try out our wacky, earnest, fuck-you ideas while also learning how to communicate with a mass audience, play by certain journalistic and critical rules, and refine our chops. Free space still exists (it's right here! and here! and here!), and opportunities to become professional certainly exist. But that golden middle is not only harder and harder to find, it's harder and harder to live past supper there.

Third -- related. The rise of multi-level professionalism (i.e. tens of thousands of books published each year, nearly all of them mediocre) leaves the real characters endangered. I loved working at the Voice because it was full of glorious, committed, career freaks. (That label is not meant to demean their talents, competence, or wisdom, simply to extoll their refusal to always play well with others.) Increased corporatization leaves no room for these true souls. And if you don't believe me, read this.

Monday, October 24, 2005

DT's: Haircut; Song: Rock Yr Body

Today I did what I never thought I'd do. I brought a photograph to my genius stylist, Angela, and said, I want that hair. I meant it literally: lately my own tresses have been breaking and maybe even thinning (stress? hormones? lack of B vitamins? Angela says I'm not going bald because at my age it would happen in a flash, like that) and when I saw this girl on film's curly locks I wanted to be their new person, scalp downward. So I acted the fool dreaded by hairdressers and mocked by comediennes. I held up a fantasy created in perfect light and said, I know that can be me. Thing is, it worked. Genius Angela absorbed the publicity shot and started snipping, and an hour later, her next appointment (my pal Em, as it happened) murmured, "Ann, you look just like [NEVER-TO-BE-NAMED MOVIE STAR HERE]." Angela was so pleased she just kept touching my head. Truthfully, I still looked like me with a neater haircut, but I still felt a bit amazed that this incongruous thing had occurred: my projection of a projection, fraught in the dark, had resulted in some kind of accurate match. I had become mass culture's replicant.

"Rock Your Body": The other day I heard this on the radio and though, man that Justin sounds young. When it was a hit, all the fame filling his pants and his sly salaciousness in the video added a couple notches of depth to his timbre, at least as it hit my ears. Now, as just another new oldie amidst the hits, the song still sounds cute, but also vaguely ridiculous, like a teen's attempt to act just like a man.

Parental moment: Sheer terror. Sunday I took Bebe to Nordstrom to buy new shoes. She'd test them out by running rocketlike through the department store aisles. Wearing her future boots, she bolted just as I turned to exchange some information with the clerk, and when I looked up she was gone. I yelled, ran around: "my kid is missing!" The longest minutes of my life later, a wry older lady said, "Is this your daughter, hiding under the pants rack?" There Bebe was, imp-happy. I said, BEBE YOU SCARED MOMMY! She looked at me, grinned her lion grin, and roared.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Deep Trivialities: Laundry; Song: Stars

Pulling some pants out of the dryer yesterday made me think about the reality of the term "love/hate." The clothes had been cooling in their metal holder for, I don't know, a week. I just hadn't bothered to take them out, which is typical. Lifting and folding, I realized that I love/hate doing laundry. Another way to say this is, I desire/avoid it. A dodger of all chores (cooking is not a chore!), I choose laundry over all the others; perhaps it's because it's fairly self contained, and involves nice smells more than disgusting ones. When, on a Saturday, I think, I should clean up, I inevitably head toward my Maytag. However, I'm also prone to leave laundry sitting forever, either completely untouched or halfway done. On the other hand, I do the dishes pretty much every night. Laundry illuminates love/hate for me by becoming a kind of artificial horizon -- I can chart my progress by it, be drawn to it as a goal, but when I get up close, it's just a little puddle of activity. This can be similar to certain love/hate relationships with people: that girl, for example, that you're glad to see when you walk into the cocktail party, because you know her at least and her presence will center you; but five minutes in she's bugging you with some boring anecdote and you're wishing you'd taken a chance on just standing alone for a while. So many tiny choices make up our every day. It would be intimidating, if it weren't just life.

"Stars," by Switchfoot, has been on my radio recently as I round Green Lake. I reviewed this Christian (post-Christian?) rock band for the Blender and only gave the latest two stars -- production was just too vanilla-ice. But hearing "Stars" on the radio, with its reaching chorus and subtle lyrics about seeing "someone else" in the exosphere, is as fine an example of stealth Christianity in pop as I can imagine. Will it convert anyone? Not to Jesus, not right away, but those missional types only need you to step halfway there. At first.

Parental moment -- Bebe gave me her flu. Ten days after she had it. One week after Eric had it. Day care may or may not be bad for your kid, but it's sure hell on the parents' immune systems.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Don't Forget Deliciousness

Oh yeah, I made some awesome double-ginger crackle cookies tonight. Bebe helped a lot - -she held the mixer and formed the dough into imperfect sugary balls -- but when she tried to eat one, she threw it on the ground. Too spicy, probably. Still, for the grown-ups, yum! Find the recipe in the new Holiday edition of Fine Cooking, the culinary magazine for people who don't always have pink peppercorns, banana leaves and an in-house smoker handy. This is an ACTUAL PICTURE of the cookies (well, the ones in the magazine).

Deep trivialities Part One

Reading my post of the other day, I realized that I've already started to repeat myself on this blog. How embarrassing! My Joan Didion entry also asked some self-probing (ouch!) questions about what a writer should or would expose about herself, or what self is really there to expose. In honor of my little obsession, I've decided to play a game. Every other day for two weeks I'm going to write a paragraph about something I never thought I'd write about. Maybe it will be trivial, maybe it will be revelatory, possibly both.

Then for the music lovers out there I'll also write a paragraph about a piece of music I heard that day or the day before.

And for the mamas and the papas, one sentence (at least) about the parenting adventure. Well, I might not have time to do that, but I'll try!!!

It's late, so I'm not starting tonight, though I'm burning to write about getting my eyebrows waxed. Also, tomorrow, I'm planning on going out and getting slightly tipsy at an evening of surrealist dream interpretation, so no promises. Friday's likely.

In baby-milestone news: Bebe pee'd into the toilet today! This was also the first big milestone that our nanny Carrie witnessed instead of us. She's only working for us one day a week, and she gets this!! Oh well, I know it will happen again (perhaps, one can hope, soon...)

Monday, October 17, 2005

The creamy center

The other day I sat on a panel at the charming book and thought repository Richard Hugo House on the subject of persona in journalism. Ready for a philosophical throwdown or at least a few good jokes, I soon found myself discussing the old-fashioned topic of truth in journalism, in rather old-fashioned ways. It all started when somehow the question came up -- do I ever manufacture quotes? No, but I've been known to tack a couple of sentences together. And not long ago I called and interviewee back and told him I needed a particular quote on THIS, NOW, and struggled with him until he gave it to me. (I did check the quote with him afterward.) This all horrified the proudly ethical Joni Balter , who'd just announced that her first article was about saving wolves in Alaska for her college paper, and who explained in a kindly way that showing the artifice of a condensed quote is what ellipses are for. I felt dirty.

This exchange set the tone for the rest of the chat, which divided down the left-right brain divide between myself and Matos on the one hand and Balter and the down-to-earth Amy Jenniges on the other. (Hugo's Lyall Bush was on the dreamy critics' side, but he remained consummately moderator-ish.) The crowd enjoyed exchanges on subject like interviewing celebrities and protecting yourself from angry readers with fale email addresses, but I only sort of did. I'm happy to debate gradations of propriety, and defend its violation in certain circumstances. But leave that to Judy Miller's defenders, if any remain. What I'd like to talk about on a panel about persona in media is the rapid eradication of interiority (oops sorry five-dollar grad school remnant there) among (um, within?) those of us who inhabit the rapidly expanding media sphere, and in fact, for us all.

I've got some issues about this -- never have written in journals, for example, and think "writing for myself" sounds about as fun as "dieting for myself." I love me some readers. But living from blog to deadline to Breaking Bonaduce at the gym, it's sometimes easy to feel totally scripted. Totally watched by oneself, in hopes of being watched (read: read) by others. I pointed out on the panel that this is also one way of viewing the construct of femininity -- the gender that looks in the mirror, or as John Berger once wrote, "men act, women appear." That comment went nowhere too.

What is on the inside of the individual anymore? What might remain private in community? What ever was? What can't be articulated? Is anyone still grasping for that essence rare? Or was that just a dime-store perfume all along?

Raising such issues on this public forum might just be silly. By the way, thanks to anyone who's posted a comment. As I said before, I love to be read, and it's nice to know somebody's out there on the other end of this non-diary.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Telling on my mom

Yesterday my brother had his annual huge Harvest party, and Bebe and I made the scene. (Eric was at home with a an ailment that evoked bad jokes about this.) A dozen or so kids milled about my bro's suburban mini-manse, but Bebe mostly kept to herself. She pushed off the advances of her younger cousin Tatum, and couldn't get in a groove with the older (idolized) Erin. She spent quite a bit of time playing with a blinking Little People house, and held her tiny arms out toward the bigger kids as they played tag among the lit pumpkins.

A while into the party (two glasses, maybe) my mom comes up to me. "I'm worried about Rebecca," she says. "She's all alone. I remember when you were little and you were all alone all the time and how unhappy you were."

MOM! I said. You are paying my therapy bill forever!! But the truth is, I was tracking Bebe's little lack-of-progress that evening, anxiety filling my stomach. Suddenly I had one of those moments of realizing the obvious, the undeniable, the deeply irritating. I had spent my childhood not only suffering my own loneliness, but feeling awful guilt at making my mother unhappy....for me. Now here I was, getting unhappy for Bebe, setting her up for the same game. No more than anyone have I escaped the demons of my babyhood.

Damn Philip Larkin. I hope he wasn't completely right.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Terrifying yet somehow beautiful

Now this is what I call a relief effort. Can't imagine I'll be getting a more startling press relesae today:

DATE: OCTOBER 14, 2005


Renowned music manager and label-owner Miles Copeland has announced that his client STEVEN SEAGAL has gathered the most vital remaining architects of blues music in the world to record an all-star album in Memphis that will mark SEAGAL’s U.S. debut, with a release date targeted for the first half of 2006. As the blues community mourns the recent loss of R.L. Burnside, Little Milton and Gatemouth Brown (all of whom were scheduled to participate), this gathering will preserve the legacy of significant American artists and their treasured musical talents.

In addition to producing the project, the actor and life-long Delta Blues musician will sing and play guitar with such blues pioneers as Iverson “Louisiana Red” Minter, Ruth Brown, Bo Diddley, James Cotton, Willie “Pine Top” Perkins, Willie Smith, Calvin Jones, Bob Margolin, Hubert Sumlin, Koko Taylor, Tom Brill, “Big” George Brock, David “Honeyboy Edwards,” Robert Lockwood, Jr., “Homesick James” William Henderson and Henry Townsend.

Alternating recording sessions between Memphis’ House of Blues and Sounds Unreel studios, the blues assembly will perform a number of standards plus a few of SEAGAL’s originals. Details re the album’s 2006 release are forthcoming.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Best News All Day

My dear friend, mama of adorable Porter, and writer of gorgeous, brilliant prose, has been nominated for a National Book Award. Those of you who haven't yet read Rene Steinke's Holy Skirts yet, get started. And Bebe can say she knew her when....

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


I was going to keep my mouth shut about this but there's just been too much media lately on the issue of parental attachment. I have to jump in. First off, this piece by one of my fave Seattle writers on the perceived risks of day care; then the double-whammy infant toilet training feature/Op Ed in the Grey Lady (I've decided to not link to it anymore, btw, you can find it); then the new reports on SIDS that say co-sleeping is a problem and pacifiers rule. Wow!! It's like a WWF throwdown: Dr. Sears versus those Babywise nuts. Should we glue ourselves to our children, anticipating their every tinkle, or throw 'em in a barren crib and let them toughen up?

As if we know. Parenting is such a bigger crap shoot than anything else I've ever done, I laugh sometimes just to think of the stakes of the gamble. You love, you act, and your kid grows up unpredictably. Will Bebe be the WNBA star I hope for, or a sad, lonely convenience store clerk? Will she even make it to the first grade without being diagnosed with some acronym? The anxiety's just so intense sometimes. ButI'm a writer, I thrive on anxiety. What I struggle with is the smug attitude of mothers who act like their "connection" with their child defies fate and time and human limitation.

What pushed me over the edge was an East Hampton mom protesting the new guidelines that say babies are safer sleeping in their own cribs by saying "the huge upside is the connection with the baby." Okay, upside for whom? For the mom, I think! If your baby might DIE because you sleep with her, is it worth it? Too often "attachment" seems to really mean "super-dependence" or, frankly, "control." It's like that Police song, "Every Breath You Take." Why is it now the ideal for a child to be unable to function separate from its mother?

I was really into the attachment theories at first -- I slung Bebe for almost a year, until my back went out, and we did co-sleep, off and on, for the first six months. Physical closeness definitely made a difference for me. I felt more enraptured after all that warmth and hugging. Did Bebe? Who the hell knows? She's pre-verbal! She's super happy and she passes the "strange situation" test, but she remains a separate person from me and very independent in many ways. I think that's good. I want her to learn to love being with and by herself. Isn't that was a good parent wishes for -- not the perfect reflection of herself, but simply a happy child?

The quest to be the right kind of mom is so much worse than the quest to be the coolest hipster ever was.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Resurrection of Cici

Via fimoculous, where dudeman has not been updating the links nearly often enough, this uncut visit into Courtney's current mind state. Damn. She's still so smart. Drives me more than a little crazy.

In other news, I should have known that my screen boyfriend Jonny is starring in the new, blech, Woody Allen flick. I admit I never got over that Soon-yi shit. Well, maybe it's time.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

A little New Age rock criticism on a Sunday

Bebe likes to dance in the living room with us in the morning, and today we put on the new Broken Social Scene record. As we're headbanging, I say, "Bebe, mama likes this because it reminds me of the Afghan Whigs." Eric says, "But the song is named after Pavement." And I think about the boyish rock that travels the channel between head and groin, in one direction or another, and how the chakra from which an artist's music emanates (to use a metaphor Paul Williams would enjoy) defines his place in history. Pavement got to the power chakra by way of the throat. Call it mining the mind of the gut. The Whigs bounced between the root chakra and the water chakra -- between survival and sex. BSS, at first listen, seems to be going from brow to heart and back, believing in romantic compassion as a source of vision. Love us, their music says, and we'll save you.

For those of you not totally repulsed by my playing around with spiritual language, let me elaborate and clarify. Music is movement, right? It vibrates from instrument to air to body and shakes the molecules along the way. The whole chakra thing is just a way to talk about where in his body/mind a person might feel confident and expressive. White-boy groove, I think, is vertical: there's an urge to ascend, to intellectualize maybe or to gain power, that makes this music flow in an upward direction. (Stop with the viagra jokes please.) Another word for this might be GRANDIOSITY, which we think of as a bad thing but which in fact can be quite magical when made musical. So Pavement was slyly grand, heady as hell but with an repulsive/irresistible sense of self-assurance; the Whigs were, in fact, all about that buzz in the groin, but they rode it into abstraction. BSS -- are they trying to be prophets? Is that rush I feel when I put on the new record their arrogance? Or have they really opened something up in themselves, and in their audience?

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Things you can buy or borrow or steal

Self-plugging is partly what a blog is/can be for, right? I'm in the new Da Capo Best Music Writing, THANK YOU JT LEROY (whoever you are really). I've felt like a bridesmaid for years and am really happy that I'm in there! Petty status-seeking, maybe, but I'm pleased as punch -- and especially because it's the first thing I wrote after Bebe came, and it's about her (well, like many mama writings, about me via her.....)

Also, The Rose and the Briar is soon to be available in paperback. Don't buy it for my essay. But it for the one by Rennie Sparks, which blows me to hell and back.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

It's the lips

The other night, after my marathon work session, I zombied out to Bend it Like Beckham on digital cable. It's one of those "good" movies I'd meant to watch for years, but turned off over and over again, the way you pass on the steamed vegetables on the Asian take-out menu. In my semi-comatose state, I gave in, and though the film itself wasn't as good as, say, Bhaji on the Beach, or certainly Sammy and Rosie Get Laid, it did feature my boy Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, and that delghted me as a crushed-out fan and as an acting buff.

Eric doesn't get why I like actors. He considers them hangers, basically, upon which directors and writers drape their ideas. I, on the other hand, dig a fine thespian, not only as the embodiment of pulchritude, but as the 3D enhancer of mere words and thoughts. To wit:

At the end of Beckham, a movie that's all about what girls should and shouldn't do (especialy girls from a traditional, in this case Indian, family), Rhys-Meyers's Johnny shows up at the airport to bid adieu his newly liberated true love, Jess (Parminder K. Nagra, wonderfully disgruntled throughout, just like on E.R.). A good-bye embrace gives him a chance to convince her to sorta pledge her troth to him, despite her imminent departure for college in California. As she pulls herself away from his kiss, Rhys-Meyers sparkles his eyes a bit and bites his lower lip -- just like a girl. It's a brilliant three-second move that signals the real topsy-turviness of the gender flips the movie's so good-naturedly presented as possible up to that moment. Risking effiminacy at a totally unexpected moment, Rhys-Meyers reminds us that changing the male-female power structure demands more intimate and deeper moves than take place on the soccer field.

This tiny moment gave me such pleasure that I thought, dammit, spread the love for Jonny!! Not only is he the sexiest part of the sexiest rock movie ever made , he absolutely made the BBC version of Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast books, and though I haven't seen it yet, I'm even considering watching Alexander just to enjoy him. Well, maybe I won't go that far. I'll keep ya posted.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Read this now

By total accident (I was doing a Google search on "female sexuality" and "horses" for a Patti Smith review) I ran across this extraordinary piece by my old pal, rockcrit pioneeress, and fellow A-mama Terri Sutton. Stop what you're doing and take it in. And be all the more convinced that we can't have another pro-lifer on the Court.

By the way, a tip for all you writers in your forties: don't spend twelve hours straight at the computer. It's hell on the L4 and L5!

Saturday, October 01, 2005


Not too trivial to post: this is the awesome sloppy joes recipe I told some of y'all I'd link ya to. It's meaty, so sorry vegans. I used the beefbutt instead of turkey, straight-up Heinz for the tangy zingy thing, and extra habaneros. And I added black beans for extra extra protein. Yummy. Reminded me of my mom's delicious countertop-burner, one-dish, hamburger-based delights. Which leads me to ponder -- what fear of the stove motivated all those appliances that allowed you to do on formica what you'd otherwise be doing over there on the old Amana -- toast your sandwiches in the waffle grill, cook the chili on the hot plate, toast yr toast in the toaster oven....the oddest sort of consumerist deflection away from the hearth. Now I guess we do it with George Foremans and espresso machines. And microwaves. My daughter is made of microwaved frozen peas, reheated brown rice, and her favorite thing in the world, soy cheese.

On a more musical note, I was chatting with someone today about the value of writing about songs that you've actually learned by singing them. (He's interested in this one, I wrote about this one a while back, here.) For most of us in this post-mechanical age the number of sung-first songs might be few... for me mostly folk and children's songs, as one would expect. But it's truly lovely to approach a song as itself, an open line of communication, instead of as an interpretation right off the bat. Wonder what songs come into existence that are like that now. Freestyle rhymes? Worship music? What songs have you sung before you've listened to them?