Building the Mystery

Last night, Dom called and insisted I go out with him, Theresa, Natalie and Sharkey to see Little Miss Sunshine. I hemmed. I hawed.

Dom: Call Sharkey. He’ll pick you up on the way to Loew’s.
Tata: I’ll call him.

I was still hedging.

Tata: Should I go?
Sharkey: Sometimes going out is the right thing when you feel that way.
Tata: I should go.
Sharkey: Are you going?
Tata: Pick me up in an hour?
Sharkey: One hour!

So we went. I started laughing before the credits, and throughout most of the movie, the only people laughing were my friends and me. We are, however, used to it and don’t care. So today, despite the rain and the politics, I’m in a good mood. My papers are all over the floor. Before I go to work at the family shiny objects emporium, I’ll organize and file them. This will make me as happy as I get without shedding foundation garments.

In the spirit of international cooperation then, I’ll disclose two details about Poor Impulse Control.

1. The search criteria that bring people here more than all others combined are various forms of ANARCHY. This thrills me, and refers to a posting from December, 2005, in which I declared in passing that if and when I have grandchildren they won’t be wearing fucking pastels. No, they’ll have little black onesies with red Anarchy logos on them. This post still makes me howl, and if you haven’t, you should read it and shower me with tribute. I will accept money, power and offers of cheap, tawdry sex in which you play the East German spy and I play General DeGaulle, marching orders optional.

2. The other search is pieces of lyrics (run away turn away run away) to one particular song: Bronski Beat’s Small Town Boy. Apparently other people are also haunted by Jimmy Somerville‘s singular voice and the mournful lyrics. The post itself is about finding oneself suddenly responsible and alienated; thus, not tied closely to the song, which I love with my whole black heart and always have. I understand having to leave a familiar place right now, in desperation.

YouTube is evidently my new best friend, and in the spirit of, you know, international cooperation, I hope you get the phone call you need from out of the vast and loving blue.

Updated 7.30.09: Edited to pull the rug out from under a motherfucker stealing bandwith by incorrectly linking to this post.

An Iron Fist In A Glove Full of Vaseline

This morning, I am so horrified and anguished and frightened and enraged I can’t articulate thoughts about the administration’s abandonment of civilized behavior. It is simply more than I can handle in a certain spiritual, not to mention logical, sense.

Though I am not usually given to surrendering an opportunity to shoot my mouth off, this time, someone else’s experiential wisdom speaks to this disgusting matter far better than I ever could. If you have not, please meet Minstrel Boy.

Damn it, I am utterly weary of watching United States politics descend to new depths of brutish, thoughtless, selfish jealousy. And now we add unspeakable cruelty to the list, when it was possible at any turn to tone down the rhetoric and take the high moral ground.

We cannot pretend this is not a mark on each of us, individually. I can’t think so I have to dance or I would despair.

“Today is the birthplace of forever.”
– Marvin Gaye

Welcome With Well-Oiled Precision

The Hunger Site offers us a brief, familiar dose of common sense wisdom.

“We do not inherit the land from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”
– Native American Proverb

I’ve heard that in other forms, in other places and I’ll bet you have, too. It sure can be easy to forget that what we do now manifests in the future as rewards and consequences for ourselves and others, and I want us to think seriously about this for a minute. Do you have a savings account? Are you saving for your retirement? No one wants to see you starve. Try bringing your lunch to work and put the money you would have spent away, where it accrues interest and where you can’t touch it. And do yourself the biggest favor you can: pay down your credit cards. Please! A future is coming where debt we accumulate now will deprive us of a great deal. We can’t avoid that. For your peace of mind, for national security and for your safety: please, skip shopping for things no one really needs and put the money toward whatever you owe.

That being said, Gary knows I am all about the silly.

Daaahhhlink! I saw items 1 and 2 instantly thought of you!

So chic, so tidy!

Last Friday, Siobhan, Lisa and I went out to the most peculiar place we could think of: the Red Lobster on Route 1 in Woodbridge. If you’re not from here, Woodbridge is the center of New Jersey’s interstate highway universe, which is really saying something. It’s kind of invisible on paper, but Woodbridge is connected to All Things Jersey, which is why we elected its former mayor to be our gay governor with a blonde beard and gave an Oscar-worthy performance of being shocked! Shocked, I tell you! So there we were, at the crossroads of the Jersey Universe on a Friday night. I’m sweet enough, fuck you very much; I don’t eat a lot of sugar. To crank up my mojo, I ordered a stupid-sweet girlie beverage that came in a glass as tall as my forearm is long. The joint was packed with young families and old people dragging oxygen tanks. Kids squealed and darted under the feet of underweight and over-polished waiters. Other chain restaurants may have their own cookie-cutter ambience, but this place positively reeked of desperation. Plus: we had a coupon.

For at least a year, years ago, Lisa, Siobhan and a bunch of our friends came here on Monday nights for karaoke. I don’t do karaoke, but Siobhan used to live off karaoke contest prize money and the admiration of footloose businessmen. I can’t explain that. Anyway, Monday after Monday, we brought toys to amuse ourselves and I showed up in my Sears Mens Store prison-striped pajamas. At the time, Ned and I both worked in and spent all our time at the bar in New Brunswick, when Ned wasn’t touring with the Parasites. Going out to the wickedly corporate, faux Americana Red Lobster was getting out to stretch the legs a bit. Yes, that was the very depth of my most suicidal depression – however did you guess? So going back with Lisa, who has a life-threatening allergy to shrimp was flirting with disaster. We ordered mozzarella sticks.

If you are from an island, an isthmus or a peninsula, or if you have visited an island, an isthmus or a peninsula, you may have noticed that things like space, garbage and fresh water are treated differently than in, say, landlocked zip codes. My mother’s family is from Cape Cod. What you do and don’t do matters. Wasting fresh water is a big no-no when you are surrounded by salty, and creating unnecessary garbage is frowned upon: where ya gonna put that? When your main food and economic source is the ocean, the impetus to consider the future and take care of the ocean is stronger than, say, any desire to dump stuff into it. When you take a living thing out of the ocean to eat it, you cut off the possibility of its further reproducing and replenishing your food supply, so you take only what you need and nothing more. Thus, the surreally large meals were unnervingly short-sighted, and perhaps hinting we’ve passed the point of no return to reason, Siobhan’s plate contained three halves of lobster tail, and I don’t mean thirds. Everything I didn’t eat Friday night went home with me. I ate nothing but leftovers all day Saturday, and resisted thinking about that time Siobhan, Gary and I spent three drunken days in Circus Circus, trying not to puke into the maelstrom of strobe-lit overindulgence.

This pointless excess is intended to conceal emotional emptiness with gastric fullness, and to hang shabbiness in the rags of false prosperity. This is not an illusion I chase, but I sat and watched. I was there, which implies that I condone this nonsense. A thousand years ago, I danced in a high school production of Cabaret, where I learned a lot about corruption and complicity; even dancing requires research. Anyway, the temptation as disaster looms is to close one’s eyes and open oneself up to oblivion and sensual ephemerae, and if that comes with decadent butter sauce, so much the better. But morning will still come. Hunger will come. Wastefulness assures our destruction, and the loss of what might have saved us: one another. Maybe.

Lisa: The interviewer said, “Your end date is pretty far off,” so maybe they have an opening coming up they want me for.

Six hands splay and wiggle.

Siobhan: – In the meantime, you’re in no hurry so you can interview as much as you want.

But You’re Still Spitting Fire

“What does that mean, ‘outrages upon human dignity’? That’s a statement that is wide open to interpretation.’
– George W. Bush

“I’m saying that nobody knows what ‘humiliating treatment’ is. What does it mean?”
– National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley

“I know an insult to my intelligence when I hear it.”
– Tata, Reluctant Voice of Reason

Ta Republique, Europa

This morning, I stood up in my office and made an important announcement.

Tata: Tomorrow is my favorite holiday: International Talk Like A Pirate Day. Avast, ye have been warned!

The over-sixty set in my office, the Nice Ladies, are used to me. They cackle. They do not believe I will turn up tomorrow with a hat or a parrot. They know it is entirely possible I’ll spend tomorrow in a cheap rolling chair, pretending to row to and from the printer, blathering about keelhauling and sharks. Like last year.

Also this morning, ABC News published a story that made my adorably red head spin. The reporter’s language is not even close to neutral. In fact, it’s as if Bill Redeker tagged Rosie O’Donnell for a turn shouting, “GET A LOAD OF THIS!”

In the picturesque northwest corner of Montana only 30 miles from Glacier National Park, signs have begun to appear on windows in the city of Kalispell that proclaim “No Hate Here.”

What’s the fuss all about?

At first, it seems difficult to believe that the focus of the campaign is two 14-year-old twin girls.

Then it becomes clear.

The two teens are those spokeskids for white separatists, Lamb and Lynx Gaede, who vaulted to international attention after they appeared on ABC’s “Primetime” last year.

The girls, their mother, April, and stepfather Mark Harrington recently moved to Montana from Bakersfield, Calif., after April told “Primetime” that Bakersfield was “not white enough.” Now Kalispell has put the family on notice, “Not in my backyard.”

I know! I had to lie down to laugh hard enough. Wait, it gets funnier.

Last week a group of neighbors printed information sheets about the family and distributed them door to door.

“This letter is not written as a means to harass the family or to begin a witch hunt,” the flier said. “We wish the family no harm. Our goal is to peacefully communicate that this kind of hate and ignorance will not be accepted here in our neighborhood where we live and raise our families.”

Lamb and Lynx created the band Prussian Blue to communicate their white separatist views musically. The song “Sacrifice” praises Nazi leader Rudolph Hess, Adolph Hitler’s deputy. The two have modeled T-shirts featuring Hitler smiley faces.

Omigod, I – like – totally can’t wait until the other 14-year-olds model their Anne Frank GrrrAnimals Separates at the Kalispell Fall Semi-Demi-Formal – like – and dis the sockpuppet White Power Jonbenets! That’s so hot! The parents also gave them the Registered Sex Offender Treatment(tm).

Rebecca Kushner-Metteer, one of the people who handed out the fliers, says the teens and their parents moved into her south Kalispell neighborhood a couple of weeks ago. At first, no one paid much attention until another neighbor showed a rerun of the “Primetime” broadcast. They then recognized their new neighbors.

See, the whole town’s singing freaking Kumbaya now, no matter what it was like before. And you know what nobody saw coming? The normals are pissed! But don’t worry about the little white power twins! Jackbooted heroes are hurrying to the rescue.

Now Kushner-Metteer and other families say they have received threats.

“We’re very concerned about our safety,” says Kushner-Metteer.

Postings by members of and, which are community sites linked to the Prussian Blue site, have included addresses and phone numbers of those involved in passing out the fliers. A photograph of a mother and her daughter that was published by the Daily Inter Lake as they distributed the fliers can also be found on the sites.

Shit! – I mean, this could get serious! But not quite yet.

However, the Kalispell Police Department has heard from the [Gaede] family. The police say they received a complaint that the family was being “harassed” by the neighbors posting the fliers.

In an irony not lost on many in the community, the officers had to explain that the neighbors’ free speech rights made the fliers perfectly legal.

Here it comes, here it comes…ready? I’m choking on my popcorn!

Just as legal as the free speech rights afforded Lynx and Lamb Gaede.


Although a date has yet to be set, the 1,400-member Montana Human Rights Network is planning a rally in Kalispell. Seems all area residents are now exercising their free speech rights in northwest Montana.

It’s like the villagers stormed the castle wielding pitchforks and a Montessori manual!

And for that, we should celebrate!

Out, Like A Telegraph To Your Soul

Sometimes I wish things were different. I wish when my key turned in the lock I’d find my companion simmering something fragrant and pouring me a glass of pinot grigio. It would be sweet to fall asleep together and wake up together and tell each other everything all day. In the interest of full disclosure: I believe in full disclosure. Also: despite my unbelievable hotness, which is causing you to tan as you read this, I suspect most people who worship my aforementioned unbelievable hotness can’t imagine growing old warming their hands by it. So it goes.

I recognize my shortcomings as a witness in theory, which is why I call Anya to check. I tell her I either did or did not witness a merchant in town practicing racial discrimination with his customers, all the while talking and laughing with me in a way that was so distracting I don’t know what was actually happening. Anya says, “So they made you part of the club and used the work they were doing for you to insult an Asian family and get rid of Black customers?” I…don’t know. I am still adding up what I saw and heard. I think I might have seen that. This introduces a new concept, since I am beige but not white. This means I am passing. This means the merchant thought I approved. If I were wrong and I said this about that merchant, I would be saying something unforgivable. This means I have to find a way to test out what I think. If I were right, I was blind to events as they were unfolding, and that scares me.

His voice stops me the third time I hear it. “Excuse me! Excuse me!” He is a man sitting in a high-end SUV with his son. “Do you know where there’s a Rite Aid?” Drug stores, like grocery stores, change corporate hands so often a person can’t assume anything is where he last saw it. For a second, I’m confused and look up. Then I point directly across the street, “Like that one?”

My bicycle is on the road. Riding it, I am overjoyed. As a teenager, I rode up and down the hill roads of the home town at breakneck speeds and mostly without hands. On a bicycle, I was free and I am free. I am free.