Wednesday, December 29, 2004


A convenient change of scenery, sitting now in the bumblebee office in the black swivel chair with my feet propped up, listening to Ombra Ma Fui, off the collection given to me by my Melanie for Christmas, a freight train howls in the distance, a car door in the parking lot, ears perk up, an epiphany, I realize that this is the same song (more or less) I listened to on about two years ago, when I sprawled across the off-white apartment carpet in Cockeysville with a cheap glass of white zinfandel (is there any other kind?) to write August, to Briana, the day before my first creative writing class. This must be some kind of omen under the drum machine and acoustic guitar.

<>Briana’s gone now, a lawyer, moved to Brooklyn to live with her boyfriend, a businessman, in a one bedroom behind a brownstone on North Bedford Avenue, on about a dozen blocks from Stickball, give or take a few. She’s jobless still, five months in to this great experiment, living off savings in a city that doesn’t sleep, starving, but happy nonetheless.

(I exaggerate – Melanie calls me a drama queen, and in a way I suppose she’s right – Briana is far from starving, the businessman boyfriend has family in Brooklyn, so she’ll always be safe, and fed, at least, beneath the orange street lights of my home)


Post Scriptum: This has simply gotten out of hand, mon amie, November 19 to Now. It’s been far to long.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Television Fridge

Sitting on the burgundy couch sipping a Beaujolais and watching television, my fiancĂ©e turns to me and swears that the End of the World is upon us – they (whoever they may be) make a refrigerator with an ice maker & water dispenser in one door, and a television set mounted in the other, apparently so that you, the consumer, can watch television without having to leave the cold comfort of your kitchen floor.

To be honest, I think that the signs of the Apocalypse are far more subtle than the inevitable television set/refrigerator hybrid (was anyone surprised by this development?) – for example. This very afternoon, driving home from a trip to the liquor store to pick up the aforementioned Beaujolais (in a fancy bottle, no less), I had to stop at a light on U.S. Route 40. Now, those of you familiar with Route 40 know of the countless panhandlers that stroll the median strips, seeking donations (firefighters are common, Vietnam Veterans (or not) more so). This afternoon a young man crushed the broken glass wearing a sandwich board sign that said:

Please Help

send me to


for American Idol

and I would have given him a dollar, if I hadn’t just blown my last Hamilton on booze.

Incidentally, writing “if I hadn’t just blown my last Reagan on booze” doesn’t have the same ring. This is the same kind of reactionary thought that brought us a motion on the floor of the House of Representatives to rename French Fries freedom fries; the same kind of reactionary thought that makes liberal intellectual snobs like me lose faith our elected (or not) leaders.

Speaking of leaders, lastly, I’ve been playing a lot of EA Sports NHL 2004 of late. The game is flawed, sure enough (passing is difficult, checking near impossible – I am a purist, I enjoy being able to obliterate anyone on the ice with anyone on the ice at any time. Call me sadistic. It’s a video game), but things get interesting once you get two or three seasons in. The artificial intelligence (or not) starts swapping players between teams, so Mark Messier winds up in Calgary, Rick DiPietro in Buffalo. At this late hour, with half a bottle of wine gone, it makes me sad that this may be the closest to NHL action we’ll see this season, and as stars shoot across the horizon, I find myself wishing that the players and owners would sit down and be non-reactionary, and understand that, in the end, they’ll all get their Hamiltons. Or their Reagans.


Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Semper Ubi, Sub Ubi

Over the past few years, I have been to weddings Catholic and Protestant, Evangelical and Jewish, Orthodox and Atheist. I have attended weddings both long and short, in grand old cathedrals in New York City and outdoors next to a cattle pen in Tucson, Arizona. I have slept on the couches of straight couples and gay couples, I have broken bread with boy scouts and gender benders, I have slept beside saints and transsexuals. And though I’m no Catholic, all I can think is ubi caritas et amor, deus ibi est, where there is charity and love, God is there.

I pray that you remember that when you hear the President of the United States speak of marriage.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Found My Wallet in El Segundo

So there I was, sitting in my slate gray cubicle, listening to my laptop MP3 player, a shuffled selection spanning half a dozen genres and half a dozen centuries. By happenstance, two hip hop songs ran back-to-back: Biggie Smalls “Juicy” (featuring, naturally, Sean Combs, who shouldn’t be allowed to dictate his own nickname) and Mr. Lif "I Phantom" (featuring Akrobatik, El-P, and Jean Grae, who was recently lauded in Spin magazine).

I’m absolutely stunned that every single performer on the latter buried (metaphorically) the performer on the former, and that I’ve heard Biggie Smalls five times on the radio this week, and never once heard Mr. Lif.

Why one and not the other? Certainly not language -- the chorus of Juicy is introduced by the late Mr. Smalls’ slowly echoing “if ya don’t know, now ya know, nigga” (the last bit summarily deleted in the “radio edit,” possibly the worst thing to happen to music since, well, Sean Combs). With the possible exception of Jean Grae’s quick, twisting “wish I did more sinning/grab a strap on/run up in some women,” the song is unarguably clean.

Nothing in Juicy comes remotely close to the introspective “would I trade it all/cruising down the highway on a bright sunny day/gazing out a plane to see the earth from miles away/watching the Patriots win the Super Bowl/grabbing that fumble from Ricky Proehl/while my stereo provided me with rhythm and soul/i don’t know/all I know is I feel guilt for every single thing I ever bought and sold”.

But, I heard Biggie Smalls this morning on the radio, and no Mr. Lif, and I’m left to stew in my cubicle and wonder why.

Monday, May 17, 2004

ACS High

Half past eight, monday evening, lightning rolling across the charcoal sky, ciccadas, police sirens somewhere in the night--flasback a year or so ago, writing in a spiral bound notebook, living off Loch Raven Boulevard with the windows open (no AC, you see), listening to the police cars and ambulances tear through the construction sites and intersections at all hours of the evening --

Flash forward, half past eight, monday evening, a grammatical question from Melanie, "where is the Glenelg Country School", "is it Mount Saint Joseph's, or just St. Joe's?" "What is the plural of status?"

A flash of lightning, I'm sitting on the couch with my laptop (conveniently) on my lap, television turned off for a change (though, in my mind I can still see the Storm Warning insignia, a bolt of lightning, in the cornder of the screen -- or is that just a reflection of the candlelight?).

Spent the weekend at the Reston Relay for Life, benefiting the ACS (not to be confused with the ACS). The event raised $375,000 for the Cancer ACS (not the chemicals ACS). Melanie and I walked with Team Wench, spent the weekend under the shade of a tent on the South Lakes High School football field, soaking in the heat. At night, it rained like hell (like ten minutes from now, I'd imagine, looking at the lightning tearing across the sky).

In other news, mon amie, yes, I just rediscovered how to do a basic HTML hyperlink, please excuse its overuse.