You’re Not A Stranger To Me

The indispensible Tom Tomorrow offers his tribute to the outgoing administration.

Let us hope it is swiftly followed by indictments, prosecutions, convictions and lengthy prison terms.

Daybreak If You Want To Believe

I hesitate to predict further into the future than tomorrow morning, not because I don’t see where we’re going but because I see We are lots of Us, and I have been confused. I have little stamina, work in short bursts and require naps about which I am quite serious so don’t call me. Tomorrow is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, which we can honor by heeding the call for a national day of service. What’s that, then?

Millions of Americans are expected to honor Dr. King and answer President-elect Obama’s call to service by volunteering on the January 19 King Holiday. More than 12,100 service projects are taking place across the country, more than double last year. Americans will make it “a day on, not a day off” by delivering meals, refurbishing schools, reading to children, signing up mentors, and much, much more.

Yeah… never before would I have believed a word the government said about Dr. King, but things are different for everyone now, so back to me. For years, I contented myself with small projects, connecting stuff with people who needed stuff and anonymous donations because I didn’t trust myself to be able to finish the job, whatever the job, before I went limp with exhaustion. Yesterday, I saw a poster in the family store for a food pantry collection in the tiny town. It hasn’t been publicized well, so I don’t expect much, which might be fine for a normal person but Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Still, for me, it’s a leap into the unknown. I am going to meet people and see what I can do. I predict tomorrow morning, I will really learn a thing or two, and one or both will be humbling. That’s got to be good for everyone, right?

Grin At the Change All Around Me

Okay okay okay so last night I’m walking around upstairs, thinking Ta thoughts, going la la la la life’s good – whut? and next thing you know because you’re joining this story late I’m bouncing – bump bump bump! – down the stairs and land on the left side of my sweet patootie. I didn’t bother screaming since I couldn’t possibly scream louder than the bump bump bump! of my butt down the stairs and by the time I thought of screaming I’d already landed and that seemed, you know, pushy. Besides, as my much younger sister Corinne reminded me, we used to do this for fun, which was before I spent half of every day coddling my right hip, so when I landed in the middle of the flight of steps it took about a year for me to narrow down the source of all that pain reverberating through my limbs like church bells through mountain air.

Mark Rothko
Red, Orange, Tan and Purple, 1954
Oil on canvas
84 1/2 x 68 1/2 inches (214.5 x 174 cm), approximate size and shape of giant bruise on my butt.

This morning I was supposed to exercise with my friend Leilani Goldstein. She’s a professional trainer but she pities me and finds me hilarious so she pushes us through two hours of really rigorous calisthenics a week and I try out two hours of my comic material. Breathing is optional, of course. Leilani had a scheduling conflict, which was fine by me.

Tata: No, rescheduling is fine. Last night, I sailed down a flight of stairs on my celebrated rump and I couldn’t figure out how I was going to get down on my mat, let alone up in boat pose.
Leilani: You – are you hurt?
Tata: You bet! I can only do plies in my overactive imagination! Wanna try Sunday?
Leilani: You’re going to heal in 24 hours?
Tata: Not at all, but you can still laugh at me while I dead lift like I wish I were.

Meanwhile, Leilani, who is kind and gentle and wouldn’t hurt a flea and used to dance for Ringling Brothers, fails to utter three words in a row without testing the aerobic capacity of her sinuses.

Leilani: I’m so sorry – KTTTTHHHHT! – to hear you – GONNNNKT! – bruised YOUR BUTT!

Yeah. Me, too.

When You Love Me Love Me Right

Yesterday, I’d just trundled in from the library where I destroy the dreams of publishers around the world when General Hospital was interrupted by a plane crash in the Hudson River. Now, I know what you’re thinking: putting a plane down in the water is not excellent flying technique, what with the crashing and so forth, but there really can be a variety of opinions on that. For instance, I was trying to make dinner at 3:30 because it was Thursday and Pete and I both work Thursday nights at the family stores and you should not at all attempt to marinate pork chops while watching a marine rescue, my friend. Nope. Anyway, this plane in the water is surrounded by ferries, which are bigass boats, tugs, which are not, and these inflatable hoohaas called Zodiacs, which on my TV look like zippy specks. And somehow I boiled chicken stock and a can of chick peas which I’ve never called chick peas in my life because my family calls them ceci beans and that means we’re saying beans beans and I don’t know why. I spiced this up – whew! – turned off the heat and tossed in couscous, though things happen quickly and we only like to hope they’re for a reason. We can’t know. So we start seeing the same six people climbing up gangways wearing life preservers and you and I both know everyone watching wonders if those are the six survivors but yes and no because yes, they survived but no, it turns out everyone survived – everyone! So I sear the pork chops on both sides for four minutes each while tugboats and the current take the plane south on what is certainly the ride of someone’s life and while the NYPD is full of arrogant armed fucks who’d make Mother Theresa fantacize about wood chippers New York City’s first responders are brilliant, fucking brilliant. The pilot brought the plane down without cracking the fusillage to pieces, which I wouldn’t have imagined in a million years and at a reduced heat, four more minutes on each side before I tossed the chops and the couscous into one of those meal-size Ziploc containers and drove like Jehu to the store, where Pete met me at the door and I said, “This is everyone’s lucky day.”

No Sense In War But Perfect Sense

What in glamorous tarnation?

The Bush Administration’s Department of Justice announced Monday that they are suing the city of Gary, Indiana for discriminating against white people.

Seven more days…seven more days…

On Monday, the Justice Department announced a lawsuit against the Indiana city, alleging that six EMT technicians appear to have been hired on the basis of race alone in violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act — which was passed to combat discrimination against African Americans.

The suit alleges that the city told applicants that offers of employment would be based on the order they were ranked. But the city seems to have ignored their own ordering and instead hired several African American applicants who placed lower than the white applicants.

Each of the six who were hired ranked lower than the highest-ranking white applicant, the Justice Department wrote.

“Federal law guarantees equal access to employment opportunities without regard to race,” said Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said in a release. “The Department is committed to enforcing all the federal civil rights laws, including Title VII, under its jurisdiction.”

Something about this doesn’t feel quite right, but what is it? What’s missing? What’s…?

Gary’s corporate counsel, Hamilton Carmouche, told a local paper the list was prepared by the city’s previous mayor, and gave preference to applicants who lived in Gary.

“We hire not on the basis of any race, but on the basis of residency,” Carmouche said.

Ah! There it is; logic. You want your EMTs to feel connected to the community. Got it. So, the administration’s doing what, now?

Use of the Civil Rights Act to protect against discrimination against whites is not unprecedented, but it is a novel tactic by the Bush Administration’s lawyers.

Ironically, the Administration hasn’t been a big fan of expanding civil rights law.

Earlier this year, the White House fought efforts to elimination[sic] a statute of limitations measure that prevents employees from suing their employers for hiring discrimination if they don’t file suit with 180 days from the date of the discriminatory activity.

With one week left of this unabashed oligarchy, I can say with a clear conscience I wish we’d elected a lime Jell-O mold to the Presidency in 2000 because even if the squiggly dessert wouldn’t talk about its policies at least it wouldn’t have fucked with the American people like this. And sliced pears.

I assume this kind of racist bullshit will stop Tuesday morning, just before lunchtime, so what was the point? What could possibly have been the point? The point has always been to be a really big dick about everything. As jaw-dropping as every day of the last eight years has been, this final press conference is still shocking. At 7:54 in this video, even now, you will not believe your eyes and ears.

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At least when desserts fail, no one fucking starves.

Next Time I’ll See You There

Have you ever in your entire life seen an action photo of tulips? Sunday afternoon, I walked by this color combination, backed up a few steps and said, “Pete, get the camera.” Though the flowers appeared still they of course weren’t. Nothing is. We are all always in motion, faster than we know and not at all where we appear to be. When Darla was down from Canada for a visit, I opened a jar of Tang to amuse her. “We can pretend we’re in space!” she exclaimed. And, of course, we are.

A few weeks ago, out of the blue, I remembered that our landlord for the house we lived in when I was five had a wooden leg, and I remembered his name, too. Things may be starting to drift out from behind the wall of my memory loss. An example: this obscure Australian song I had on a 1993 NACB sampler and never heard anywhere else. Until yesterday, I hadn’t seen this embarrassing video, but somehow that makes it better.
I love this happy, happy song and its drive and energy. I can’t figure out why the singer dances about a half a beat off the rhythm but there’s no accounting for counting. For all we know, she hears her own distant drummer, as we do at our house, and late at night we call the cops because we are old now, and resent the presence of a bad Portishead cover band next door. I mean, what?

Lovely Princess Drusy likes face-to-face interaction, so when Pete sat down to take pictures, Drusy leapt onto the table and licked his face. Pete grumbled, but he wasn’t really angry. How can you be angry when the tiny, beautiful pussycat openly adores you? You cannot. So Pete grumbled, took this one picture including Drusy and she scampered off to play. That stripe of pink skin under black fur looks like Topaz and not Drusy, whose face is all black. It was Drusy, disguised as Topaz, I think. Perhaps this photo provides proof for someone’s Unified Cat Theory, but space makes it hard to be certain.

And If I Start A Commotion

The full moon is passing, and yet, I am in SUCH A MOOD. My hair is pinned down because otherwise it’d stand up straight. Last week, one of my co-workers told me I’d have to wait for her help until after a big presentation. While there is never a good time for someone to test my theory that I am the Creamy Nougat Center of the Universe, there are also few times when shooting off one’s mouth in the workplace work in one’s favor. Today, I’m going to spend most of my workday trying not to utter any variation of the words, “Why don’t you WAIT FOR ME to feel like kissing your ass?”