Archive for January, 2013

This Changes My Whole Worldview

January 20, 2013
The cruel moon hangs out of reach

The cruel moon hangs out of reach

“Contrary to popular belief, there is no connection between lunar phases and the incidence of psychological problems. This is the conclusion reached by a team of researchers directed by Professor Geneviève Belleville of Université Laval’s School of Psychology after having examined the relationship between the moon’s phases and the number of patients who show up at hospital emergency rooms experiencing psychological problems.”

More here.

Crown Heights Wedding

January 19, 2013

“I walked into the wedding and was shocked to see a parade of couture.  The women were dressed gorgeously, their hair and makeup done to perfection.  I recognized designer gowns: Versace, Gucci, Vera Wang.  As they danced, holding hands and kicking up their feet in one large turning circle, I saw the red soles of a dozen Louboutins.  Half the noses in the room were identical ski slopes, with a straight bridge and small round nostrils –– certainly not the noses they were born with.  I was shocked!  I was mortified.  I looked down at my ridiculous homeless hipster outfit and felt the urge to run away.

“Before I could, the impeccably dressed women at the wedding grabbed my hands and pulled me into a large circle dancing around the bride.  I danced next to Danya, a student from Berkeley and, of all the students at Yeshivacation, the one closest to my age and disposition.  She wore jeans and some sort of knee-length hippie apron.  Chana, the bride, was dressed head to toe in white lace.  A high white fence separated her from Yitzhak, her new husband, and also kept the enormous men’s and women’s gatherings distinct.  The marriage had taken place at 770 earlier in the day, and the party was in a giant event space across the street, which hosted around five Hasidic weddings a week.  As the Yeshivacation girls fled past the men’s area, I peeked through the door and, for as long as they let me, watched the dense mass of formally dressed Hasids, wearing black top hats and black suits, dancing in a circle, hoisting the groom and his father and uncles up in chairs.  A Hasidic band played onstage.  A long cord traced along the back of the room and connected to one large speaker in the women’s section, which blasted the same music to a much different scene.

“As the night wen on, and we just kept spinning in circles, I began to forget how inappropriately I was dressed, forget even what weird old biddy I was to everyone there.  I locked arms with Danya and a middle-aged married Hasidic woman next to me, wearing a lavender dress and a smooth brown wig.  We kicked our legs and twisted side to side while the band on the men’s section pumped out chorus after chorus of Jewish wedding music.  Chana, the young bride, red-faced and beaming, stood in the middle, turning in small circles of her own.  Her hair –– it looked like it was still her own, not yet shorn or covered by a scarf –– fell in long brown ringlets, which bounced as she danced.  Her makeup was perfect, and her eyes were full of happy tears.  Periodically, on some prompting –– I couldn’t tell what –– all the women, arms linked, rushed in on her, closing ranks, cinching tight, and she waved her hands like a beauty queen.

“Hasidic Jews believe a woman is closer to God on her wedding day.  She has special prayers she get to say and these get more traction with the Divince.  At one point, Chana reached out and grabbed me from the circle.  I had no idea what was happening and dug in my heels, shaking my head, urging her to find someone else, but she insisted.  She held my hands in hers and we twirled around, just the two of us, while she spoke a prayer in Hebrew.  I looked in her eyes and searched my body for any feeling of holiness, for anything at all.  My thoughts immediately skipped forward a few hours, to the room where Chana and her betrothed would spend their first night together –– almost certainly the first time either would touch the bare flesh of a member of the opposite sex.  As she whispered in Hebrew, I looked at her closed eyes.  She opened her eyes and let go of my hands as the circle of women closed around her.

“Could this possibly be happiness?”

~Rebecca Dana, Jujitsu Rabbi and the Godless Blonde

(You thought it must be me, no?)

A Tweet

January 18, 2013

“I’m going to start a girl folk band and call it Child’s Pose.”

Didn’t Follow This Story

January 18, 2013

Although I think, upon reading the update, that it would be hilarious if Dunham’s comment set the citizens of Detroit into a hot rage:

Typically brash Howard Stern surprised both fans and critics alike by issuing a public apology to Lena Dunham on his radio show Monday, Jan. 14, so the Girls creator did what any gracious Hollywood starlet would do: She called in.

The 26-year-old director/actress/writer dropped a line during Stern’s SiriusXM Radio show Wednesday, Jan. 16, to reassure Stern that his comments were water under the bridge — and call him out on one comment in particular.

“I don’t even know where to begin with all of this,” an apologetic Stern began. “The reason I felt so awful was because when Perez Hilton wrote his article, he told half the story. …I started to compare you to Woody Allen … the whole thing came together for me.”

The shock jock, 59, continued with a declaration: “I realize: Not only am I addicted, but I totally get you… I’m in love with you and your character… I guess I just wanted to tell you I love you and I think you’re terrific.”

On Monday, Jan. 7, Stern caused an angry buzz online after he slammed both Dunham and her hit HBO show Girls.

“It’s a little fat girl who kinda looks like Jonah Hill and she keeps taking her clothes off and it kind of feels like rape. She seems — it’s like — I don’t want to see that,” he scoffed at the time.

Dunham admitted Wednesday that she first learned of his cruel comments after castmate Jemima Kirke, who is a huge fan of Stern’s show, tipped her off that the radio host was comparing her to the Superbad actor.

“I thought that was a good line, actually,” Stern chuckled, trying to make light of the situation.

Dunham responded gamely, but made sure to still get her point across.

But Stern wouldn’t take back his weight comments. “It’s not about apologizing, although I want to say I’m a fan of yours,”

“I’m not that fat, Howard,” she said. “I don’t mean to take major issue with you about this. I’m not super thin, but I’m thin for, like, Detroit.”

Stern agreed, explaining that he just meant that she often played up the “fat angle” on the show.

“You’re not obese or anything,” he allowed.

“Thank you. Another thing for my gravestone,” Dunham laughed, referring to comments she made on the Late Show last Thursday, Jan. 10. “Howard Stern says, ‘You’re not obese or anything.’”

Re: Wurtzel

January 17, 2013

“As for literature, studies indicate that an astonishing percentage, perhaps a vast majority, of serious writers are depressives. Researchers have speculated on the cause of that con-nection –– does depression put one in touch with important issues, of deterioration and loss? But no one has asked what it means for us as a culture or even as a species that our unacknowledged legislators suffer from mood disorders, or something like. If there is no inherent moral distinction between melancholy and sanguinity, then we will need to worry about the association between creativity and mood. What if there is a consistent bias in the intellectual assessment of the good life or the wise perspective on life, an inherent bias against sanguinity hidden (and apparent) in philosophy and art?

“An argument of this sort is worrisome –– more worrisome than the conundrum we began with. And yet can we in good faith ignore the question of who sets the values? I have been in effect proposing still another thought experiment: Imagine a medication that diminishes the extremes of emotional response to loss, imparting the resilience already enjoyed by those with an even, sunny disposition. What would be the central philosophical questions in a culture where the use of this medication is widespread?

“Aesthetic values do change in the light of changing views of health and illness. Elsewhere, I have asked why we are no longer charmed by suicidal melancholics –– Goethe’s Werther or Chateaubriand’s Rene or Chekov’s Ivanov. Because we see major depression and affectively driven personality disorders as medically pathologic, what once exemplified authenticity now looks like immaturity or illness –– as if the romantic writers had made a category error.

“A final thought experiment: Imagine that the association between melancholy and literary talent is based on a random commonality of cause: the genes for both cluster, say, side by side on a chromosome. And let us further imagine a culture in which melancholy, now clearly separate from creativity, is treated pharmacologically on a routine basis. In this culture, it is the melancholics manques who write, melancholics rendered sanguine –– so that the received notions of beauty and intimacy and nobility of character relate to bravado, decisiveness, and connections to social groups, not in the manner of false cheerleading, but au-thentically, from the creative well-springs of the optimistic.

“What would be the notion of authenticity under such conditions? Perhaps in such a culture “strong evaluation” would find psychic resilience superior to alienation. Even today, many a melancholic looks at Panurge or Tom Jones with admiration –– how marvelous to face the world with appetite! The notion of a sanguine culture horrifies those of us resonant with an aesthetics of melancholy, but morally, is such a culture inferior, assuming its art corresponds to the psychic reality? Is there a principled basis for linking melancholy to authenticity? Is there a moral hierarchy of temperaments?”

~ Peter D. Kramer, “The Valorization of Alienation and the Melancholic Temperament”

To Do

January 16, 2013

1. Create GIF of Irene’s “Slap Heard Round the World” from the Seattle Real World

2. Trade Tide detergent for crack cocaine

3. Contact ghost of Jon Benet Ramsay via Ouija board

Avoiding Match.Com

January 15, 2013

Although I’m supposed to be writing a piece about online dating right now, I am instead perusing the kitchen items made by the Fox Run company.  They make the most amazing things you never knew you needed, including an easy contraption that lets you spread butter on corn on the cob.  Fantastic!

My inner child is dying of joy right now.

My inner child is dying of joy right now.

Everybody Hurts Sometimes

January 13, 2013

So I got REAMED by some blogger for a piece I wrote that was published in two places, and I was really hurt by it despite the fact that I know intellectually that everyone goes for everyone’s jugular, particularly online.  I was hurt by it… until I read the post he wrote before he wrote the one in which he basically called me cruel, a bad writer, and a symbol of my narcissistic, silly generation.  Here it is, below.  It’s titled “Shopping in Working Class Neighborhoods,” and yes, it appears to be serious:

“I managed to sleep, albeit fitfully, for two hours. When I awoke at 8:30 it became rather swiftly apparent that the stomach cramping that woke me up at three in the morning was the first rumblings of the dread stomach flu that has just begin making the rounds in Southern California; since I frequently patronize commercial establishments in working class neighborhoods, not to mention discount stores like the 99 Cents Only chain and Shim’s in Fletcher Square, where the patrons are less likely to have medical insurance and, hence, more likely to be out and about while carrying a virus, it’s no surprise that I caught the bug, despite wearing gloves at all times while out in public.

“With that much said, I need the immediate help of someone, anyone, as soon as possible. I need to go to Ralph’s and purchase a pre-cooked broasted chicken ($6.90), saltines, and soup. White meat chicken and saltines always settles intestinal distress for me. Some 7-Up would help as well. There’s something else I need to pick up while out as well but I cannot recall at the moment what it is. In any event, the $4.60 current remaining balance on Paypal ain’t gonna cut it and I would like to get out and about and safely back home before I become too ill to go anywhere (and more viral, raising the possibility of infecting other shoppers — it’s the butler’s day off, you see).

“Anyone who can render some emergency financial aid, my Paypal is —–.

“And if you haven’t got your flu shot yet (which I kept delaying until it was too late this year) go do so ASAP because this, to quote Warren Zevon, just ain’t pretty at all.”

I will certainly be sending $5 to his Pay Pal with the accompanying note: “Dear Mr. X, Sorry to hear about your flu, and your stymied career writing porn.  Feel better!  One More Twenty-Odd-Year-Old Narcissist.”


January 12, 2013

“While my wife was pregnant with our fourth child, she was called for jury duty.  Since her due date was looming, her doctor wrote a letter to the court, asking for an exemption.  When I went to the courthouse office to deliver the letter (my wife was at work), I was taken aback by how long the line was.  Everyone had a reason for trying to get out of jury duty.  When it was my turn to talk to the clerk, I proudly explained that we were expecting our fourth child, which was due at any moment.  I expected the clerk to coo with delight and maybe wish me mazel tov.  Instead, she berated me in front of everyone in the office.

“The angry clerk asked in a loud voice, ‘How can you have four children when the world is overpopulated?  You’re a drain on the planet!’

“I put up with her length lecture in silence –– and was rewarded with that exemption.  As I walked away, I overheard the next woman in line explaining her jury-duty excuse: she was a contestant on The Biggest Loser and couldn’t miss her only chance for reality television fame and fortune.  Not only did she get her exemption, but the clerk insisted on having her picture taken with the future celebrity.”

~ Simcha Weinstein, The Case for Children

Just Hungover Enough to Be Useless

January 10, 2013

I want this print of an ostrich egg.  The photographer is some chick named Sharon.  Find it yourself.

Order the framed version.

Order the framed version.