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thought i was a donut, ya tried to glaze me

11.30.2008

Is anything worth eating at Chili's?



These facebook ads are beginning to get really difficult.

11.25.2008

The Bachelor

As if this show wasn't bad enough with it's simple premise, they now found a guy with a kid. Great. Get a kid involved with the pseudo-courtship of two people feigning and faking their way to love, when they're really just fumbling towards a lame version of celebrity.

Doesn't this go against all rules of dating a guy with baggage? Dr. Phil suggests waiting to introduce the child to the person you're dating until you know it is serious. Isn't this kid gonna get confused by a revolving door of hussies?

Honestly! This show only worked out for one couple, Trista and Ryan, and I still think that relationship's fake (doesn't Ryan seem a little short-bus?). I guess The Bachelor Bob got to meet Greenlee Smythe because of his fame.

11.23.2008

More Wave Letters

I started looking through the old documents on my computer, and found a few long-forgotten gems (most notably a Ethics paper on selfishness I titled, "If I Write Three Pages On How I Feel About Selfishness, Does That Make Me Selfish?").

Last Christmas my local newspaper, The Wave, published an article in the "It's My Turn" column by a nationally-syndicated right-wing author. Her article, entitled "Why Liberals Hate Christmas", enraged me so much (I love Christmas!) I sat down to write a letter. I never thought it was up to snuff enough to send it, but looking back, I was wrong. I should have sent this in.


Dear Editor,

Last week’s “It’s My Turn” column, written by a woman with seemingly no interest or ties to the Rockaway community, was an interesting piece of “journalism” (the quotes are intentional). Even editorials are bound to some ethical standards, and her piece was nothing more than a one-sided, biased attack on her own definition of a “liberal.” Ms. LaBrecht claims that politics are what drive liberals, which makes sense, since “liberal” is usually used to describe a person’s particular political leanings. And for someone who criticizes liberals for bowing “to government authority” instead of a “higher authority” (which is what she claims Conservative Christians bow to), she certainly has no qualms about making public her own political leanings by mentioning her involvement with Security Moms for Bush. Later on in the piece she exclaims that the commandment Thou Shall Not Kill “embitters” liberals, what with their support of abortion and euthanasia and stem cell research. Funny, she neglects to make any mention of the death penalty—I wonder if it has anything to do with her support of President Bush, a man who claims to be pro-life, a man who executed a total of 154 death-row inmates during his term as Governor of Texas (www.tdcj.state.tx.us/stat/annual/htm). Not to mention the 3,000+ Americans who have died in the War on Terror, and the tens of thousands of Iraqis who have died as well. But I guess that’s a different kind of killing.

Kathy LaBrecht’s article is nothing more than a cheap shot, put in bullet forms. Do all “liberals” lack accountability and self-responsibility, or faith, or a belief in a higher God? Of course not; just like not all “conservatives” have a higher moral code or any more right to criticize and judge those who don’t do what they do. Her use of cliché’s (her many references to the moral-less lifestyle promoted by Hollywood has been done before, and a lot better, by others more famous than she) and generalizations to describe what she considers a liberal are grounded in nothing more than her own distaste for a group that doesn’t share her own views. Hers is a painfully one-sided argument, and doesn’t seem to serve a purpose in a community newspaper; except, maybe, to laugh at the extremes people will go to broadcast their own ignorance and idiocy. Honestly, where do you find these people?

The Easter Parade

"After turning back to watch him retreat up the sidewalk, hunched in his raincoat, she wondered why she had sent him away. Life was confusing."

Richard Yates

I Told You I Used To Be Funny!




I made these fliers for WSJU; not surprisingly, I wasn't allowed to put them up.

11.21.2008




Today my father and I both shed a tear, albeit for different reasons.

11.20.2008

Life's Greatest Mystery



Why can't I ever find a full-sized Mr. Goodbar?

11.19.2008

LIFE



LIFE magazine has released their millions of photos (dating from 1750 on) to the public via a search on Google.

Here's some choice pics from a search of "rockaway."

DAMN, i can relate

11.16.2008

Oh, Joseph, I'm So Tired

There would be no more school in our room. We would probably never see Bart again--or if we ever did, he would probably not want to see us. But out mother was ours; we were hers; and we lived with that knowledge as we lay listening for the faint, faint sound of millions.

Richard Yates

11.14.2008

budge

My mom refuses to think Gov. Patterson really means to cut the budget.


"Maybe he just isn't reading the numbers right.  He can't see!"


11.07.2008

Can We Have An Election Night Do-Over?







I was working all night and heard about Obama's win via text messages from other people. I still had to take election results ("what precinct are you reporting from?") all the while wanting to jump around and hug people. Kind of like how the rest of the world did, like we all won the World Series and the Super Bowl. I've never seen so many happy people, and when it was all happening I was surrounded by unhappy people talking about their taxes going up. Oh, angry white people. Can't we just take a break and dance around a little?

11.06.2008

Aw, such little wannabe Hemmingways

To everyone threatening to move (to Ireland, Australia, Mexico) because Barack Obama was elected president, here's the truth: THE WORLD DOESN'T WANT YOU! An expat American who DIDN'T support change? They're certainly not going to throw a parade when you land.

11.05.2008

YES WE CAN


Gerald Sullivan started campaigning for 20-year incumbent Audrey Pfeffer's State Assembly seat months ago. His signs--those sharing space with McCain and Palin, and those simply showing his last name, in that "Country First" font--started sprouting up all over my town in September (no Rockawayite wants to focus on politics in the summer). His platform was based on his belief that Rockaway and it's surrounding parts in Southeast Queens needed a change in leadership.

I ran into Sullivan once as he campaigned outside of Waldbaums. He handed me his pamphlet, all red and white and blue with American pride, emblazoned with an eagle and his core beliefs. I'd heard he was campaigning up at church every Sunday, waiting for people as they walked out the door, telling them he'd get rid of abortion if they voted for him. A very ambitious claim, I'd say, specifically tailored towards those strict Catholics who vote on one issue: abortion. For the first time in a long time I regreted not going to church, just for the opportunity to ask how he intended to overturn a Supreme Court ruling. I would have loved to debate with him on the St. Francis steps, asking him the hard questions as my mother pulled me away.

In last week's Pointer, Breezy Point's local newspaper, Sullivan put out an ad that stated "Vote For One Of Us." And therein lies the belief of so many of my neighbors, from where I stand on the peninsula to the tiny western tip. For every race in this election, it wasn't about who was the better candidate--it was simply a matter of Us vs. Them. I'd seen it in all the "jokes", in photos printed out from e-mail forwards and tacked behind bars. Once the race for the White House really got going, people's real fears and beliefs started coming out. They believed anything they heard about Barack Obama as long as it was negative, refusing to think rationally or sensibly. It was simply White vs. Black, masked as concerns over higher taxes or his "terrorist" ties (only in Rockaway could "socialist" became another word for "black guy", as in "I can't vote for him, he's a socialist!"). I honestly didn't think Rockaway could be this bad. I actually thought better of it. The people I've seen and heard from have changed that for me, and have made me even more certain of what fear and hate-mongering can do to people.

And now let me say this: I am 2nd and 3rd generation American, the granddaughter and great-granddaughter of immigrants from Ireland and Italy. My Grandma Honie left County Louth at 17 to come to a country she only saw in pictures. She landed the day after Charles Lindburgh made his cross-Atlantic flight and always thought his trip overshadowed her own, certain hers was more important. Years after the Know-Nothing Party and "Irish Need Not Apply" signs sprout up all over New York City, she still had one thing standing in her way of getting a job and starting her life--her Irish brogue. So she ditched it. And just like that, she became an American. She worked with Germans and Poles and Italians and learned how to cook, and raised her family in what is now the most diverse place in the entire world. I often think what it meant for her to have to change the way she spoke. Was she thankful that it was all she had to do to blend in a little better? Thankful that, unlike some people who are seen as outsiders based on skin color, all it took was to change the way she spoke? I'm sure the people who live around me have similiar stories from their family tree, and this is what strikes me: how quickly they forget the way Americans have treated each other since this land became official. How quickly they can undermine the hard work and dedication of somebody just because he's black, and how they can write somebody off based solely on that. Maybe they didn't see what I saw on Election Night, once I heard while working at the AP of the states Obama had won--first Virginia, then Oregon, then OH MY GOD HE DID IT. Yes, we did it. We made history, we broke down barriers, we finally fulfilled the claims made by our Founding Fathers. We made good on promises to everyone who came here from someplace else, no matter how long ago. We showed the world we're actually as good as we say, something that seemed empty in the past eight years. I may not feel it as much as some, but still, it's there, at the core of what I believe: this is America the Great, America the Beautiful, America the Land of Opportunity. My Grandmother was right when she said her trip was more important than Lindburgh's. It continues to be more important now, in the days since we've elected Barack Obama.

Many people came here seeking two things: hope and change. Here you go. I'm happy that I was a part of it, and only wish my neighbors could feel the same.


[note: Gerald Sullivan lost 67%-33%]

11.03.2008

I Waited For This






Eleven stories high above Vegas, I waited. It was close to 7am, and I hadn't slept yet, and instead of laying in bed with the blinds closed I sat cross-legged on the hotel desk and watched what was below. My friends had left hours before for a flight back to New York. They were most likely on the plane right now, thinking I was crazy for refusing to go back with them, for refusing to change my later flight just to spend this time alone.

"What are you gonna do in Vegas for six hours? It's not like you'll have time for the pool. Won't it be nice to get home and have the whole day?"

But I didn't want a whole day at home, because I have whole days at home most of the time. What I wanted, even more than the In N' Out burger I planned on getting on my way to the airport, was to watch the sunrise over Vegas. I'd never heard anything particularly interesting about it, wasn't specifically told in a guide book that I couldn't miss it, like the water show at the Bellagio or the buffet at Mandalay Bay. I just had it in my head that the sight in front of me--dark and bright at the same time, full of specs of neon lights--would look better turning from night to day. I thought it would be like watching something turn from good to bad, a Jekyll and Hyde city shaking off evil.

This town is constantly shining, but like a lot of things, it looks the best from above. The city above, from a hotel window, is bright and clean. Hit the ground and things get more real, a little grittier. Las Vegas is a place where dreams go to die, drunk people sashaying and tossing money on tables and betting all they ever had on red or black.

A little after 7 I looked out towards the strip and saw the first signs of orange and pink over buildings. The lights were still on, and flashing, but slowly things came into place. Orange and yellow and pink all rising from behind the mountains, and in 10 minutes it was all sunshine. I waited all alone for a West coast sunset and a West coast burger, and I had no regrets.

Finally, a name for it

Most Rockaway People = "Urban Rednecks"

11.02.2008

You're Still The One I Live To Impress

www.dearoldlove.tumblr.com

Like a cost-efficient PostSecret (also, without the occasional secret about molestation). Now all those words and lines floating around in your head, for an ex-love or a never-love, have a place to go (besides your private journal or the drafts in your Gmail, like mine go). Some favorites:


The real insult is you left me for a girl who uses Hotmail as her primary email

I hope that someday, in another life, we will find ourselves traveling the same path at the same time, even if for just a few moments.

Even though we broke up seven years ago, I still rate the way I feel about someone new on a scale that goes from Zero to You.

Since I signed onto Facebook, you all routinely email me about your marriages, divorces, etc., so nothing is left to say. The old, desperate romance has been replaced by friendly indifference.

I held onto the jade cufflinks you gave me for the prom, forty-nine years ago. I just gave them to my son.




I wonder if my writing has even improved?