Wednesday, November 23, 2005



okay, alright. you win.

it is not all going to fit in the suitcase.

even ironed, starched within an inch of its life, and tightly folded, it is not all going to fit in the suitcase.

ephemera 2

some of you may not know this about me, but i like to snack in the middle of the night. secretly. in fact, my ex boyfriend and i were together for over a year before we each realized that the other was secretly sneaking from our shared bed and snacking in the middle of the night.

for my part, i discovered that he smelled mysteriously like chicken when he came back from the "bathroom." and apparently, i left some suspicious candy wrappers lying around.

so, okay. i don't consciously like sweets much. but at about 4 am, i love them. so my recent expeditions to the kitchen have mostly netted dark-chocolate covered almonds. sends a shiver down my spine.

last night i crawled back into bed and fell asleep clutching one of these gems in my warm little hand. and woke up with a naked almond in bed next to me, and the evidence of the night's debauchery all over my pillowcase.

so, yes. actually eating IN the bed might be taking this a step too far.

more drama, please

this morning, mary j blige was on the "Today" show.

yes, i watch the "Today" show. But that's not what this post is about.

this post is about mary j blige being so cool. for real. mary j blige is really great. everytime i see her perform, on tv or whatever, i feel like she's having a party and i'm invited. she's smart. she's got great style. and she can sing. or rather, she can sang.

she's the queen of hip-hop soul, and rightfully so. she's not doing anything specifically subversive. she's just being unremittantly great. there's got to be a message in that somewhere. recently, at the vibe awards, she blasted the magazine while accepting her award for, she said, airbrushing her recent cover photo to make her look less black. which i don't understand, because mary j blige is beautiful. but i do know that i get behind any celebrity who refuses to pretend that she looks like her airbrushed photos.

go, mary j, go.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


in case you're wondering, you never left my christmas card list.

and that goes for ms morrill as well.

Monday, November 21, 2005

poetry 101

"the lottery according to stic," a poem:

He then has to put the peace of paper back into the blackbox
with a piece of paper for each member of his family and then each of them have to repick from the box
He then has to return the paper into blackbox
along with a paper for each of his family members and then only the family repicks from the box
Whoever receives box
from family gets stoned.
He then has to return his slip of paper into the black box
along with a paper for each of his family members and only the family repicks from the blackbox
Who ever from within the family to receive the black box
is stoned.

21 November 2005

go figure

this just in:

detroit is on another distinguished list: it's the 4th worst city in the country for dating.

phew. what a relief. it's not just me.

the dialectic of Camden

i read today that my adopted home, detroit, has once again lost the title of "most dangerous city" to camden, new jersey.

way to go, kwame. 2nd place again. boy, that stings.

what stings even more is that the "winning" city shares a name with my hometown:

behold, camden, maine:

every summer, the lion's and rotary clubs of camden, maine, sponsor a "camden to camden" program, similar to the fresh-air fund, where kids from new jersey spend the summer with host families in maine. i don't argue with this idea. kids in maine need to interact with peers who, let's be frank, aren't white. or upper-middle class. and, c'mon, who doesn't need to spend a summer in maine?

but then there is always the joke: so do they then send kids from camden, maine, to the crime ridden streets of camden, new jersey?

and i think that's a fine idea.

in the past few years, camden maine has experienced a rash of teen suicides in the community. it's been really sad, in part because it's a small town, but more because it's a town where nobody is supposed to be this unhappy. community meetings, interventions, and forced counseling sessions have ensued. lots of hand wringing about what might be going wrong.

well, imagine if you were trapped in disneyworld for 18 years screaming that you wanted to leave but nobody would listen to you because disneyworld is supposed to be the happiest place on earth.

i don't mean to minimize the grief of the families who have been affected by this strange phenomenon, or to suggest that they aren't paying attention to their kids. i'm positive that lots of people tried to help these kids.

but the fact remains: camden, maine is eating its young. it could be the stifling affluence, or the uncritical wholesale embrace of enlightenment values. a life based in absolute security, rationality, and reason clearly isn't agreeing with the children. remember your Adorno and Horkheimer, my friends. what did the enlightenment eventually lead to in western europe? can anyone hear me?

i'm not comparing the shoah to maine. but i am trying to point to the fact that a society, whether writ large or small, that is based on a systematic mastering of the world through prescribed steps of "knowing" leads nowhere good. because in the case of these kids, what if you "know" differently? or if you just can't seem to "know" quite right? things fall apart really quickly, and then all of a sudden everything you thought you believed begins dissolving into the ground. looking at the truth, that reason doesn't stand up to chance - that rationality doesn't beat difference - you start to disappear.

disappearing into the enlightenment. as Joelsin says, "bodies like cheap plastic, and little as they are." and all you do know is that you have to make it stop, but it keeps pushing you along. am i adequately conveying the terror?

these kids need places like camden, new jersey, to help them see that maybe they can make their knowing fit. ragged edges help with that. the smooth, polished ones? they hold you in, or they keep you out.


random observations from my desk on a cold morning:

desk is located in sector of apartment that is mysteriously colder than rest of apartment. ghost?

now get up in the morning and spend at least an hour reading blogs.

"to do" lists not getting any shorter.

how many more years until i can afford to hire someone to clean house?

dusting: most exercise i've had in months.

coffee is worthless without sugar (must revise diet plan).

got up in the middle of the night last night and took can of evaporated milk out of cupboard. unable to reconstruct reasoning.

wait. why do i have evaporated milk?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

or heaven help us

as an alternative to the ubiquitous UGG there is always its furrier and amazingly EVEN LESS ATTRACTIVE cousin, the Muk-Luk:

my guess is that there are a whole bunch of 30-something Inuits out there who find this boot's reemergence as fashion utterly absurd. phone home, my friends.

what's next?

our old friend, the Bean boot ? enlarge the picture and note the uber-hip mullet on the bystander to this fashion crime-waiting-to-happen.

this is a clue.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

let it snow

first flurries of snow in detroit today.
this inspired me to consider winter fashions, and to conclude this consideration by saying the following:

ladies, get your Uggs out.

no. for real. get them OUT.

i grew up in maine. for those who don't know, it is very cold in maine and it snows a lot. here are some really embarassing things that might happen to you when you are a kid growing up in such a harsh climate in the 1980s:

1. your mom could drop you off at school in the morning and get out of the car WEARING HER UGGS.

2. somebody cool might see your mom going out to the mailbox IN HER UGGS.

3. your mom comes out to meet the schoolbus in the afternoon, god forbid, WEARING HER UGGS.

this is all to say that where I come from, Uggs are valued for their function and for their ease of use, not for being fashionable. in fact, for most people i know, Uggs emerged from the muck of childhood as a major source of trauma and embarassment.

so this whole Uggs as trend thing is, for a lot of us, the return of the repressed in fashion.

i hope you all enjoy looking like someone's mom circa 1985. because i don't.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


element one: the wind tonight.

element two: the critically frail old tree outside my window. which will fall, if it should fall, directly into front half of apartment.

element three: the computer, containing life's work, on desk in front of window mere feet from aformentioned tree.

the problem: to move the computer to the back of the apartment, out of harm's way should tree fall, or to let wind decide once and for all.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

all the conventions

All the conventions conspire
To make this fort assume
The furniture of home;
Lest we should see where we are,
Lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the night
Who have never been happy or good.
-WH Auden

au pied de chaque tour


Walter Benjamin: "The current amazement that the things we are experiencing are "still" possible in the twentieth [21st] century is NOT philosophical. This amazement is not the beginning of knowledge - unless it is the knowledge that the view of history which gives rise to it is untenable."

BBCWorld: "Curfew powers were invoked under a 1955 law and it is the first time it has been implemented in mainland France. The law was originally passed to combat violence in Algeria in its war of independence against France from 1954-62. The plan, announced on Monday, was approved in a special Cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning. As well as being invoked in Algeria, it was also used in New Caledonia in 1985."


Benjamin, again: "Who would have believed it! we are told that new Joshuas
at the foot of every tower, as though irritated with
time itself, fired at the dials as though to stop the day."

And then: "The awareness that they are about to make the continuum of history explode is characteristic of the revolutionary classes at the moment of their action."


We were never French.

Heard on BBCWorld video of rioters in paris suburbs: "We are not French."

There is a tradition of French post-structuralist feminists aligning themselves with the French Mahgrebin. Helene Cixous was actually an French Algerian Jew who named her sub-alternity "black." Her feminine self was a "dark continent," France's Africa. Revolutionary action meant a desiring freedom wherein this blackness wove in pleasure driven channels through and across "France." I mention this not to support this problematic conflation of identities among French women and Mahgrebin revolutionaries but rather to suggest that Algerian French women are perhaps the least French of anyone involved in the current violence. It is for the women in these suburbs that time needs to stop. They cannot claim either womanhood or revolutionary status, because in france they have never been French and in the Mahgrebin "ghettos," they have never been revolutionaries. The French government has banned the headscarf; in the suburban housing projects, honor killings are still applied as moral law. A man in the suburbs of Paris recently exacted revenge against an enemy by destroying a valuable piece of that enemy's property - his girlfriend. But the residents of these places are not French. And clearly, something needs to explode. An entire population of women has been denied identity by the state in terms of their community and by their community in terms of their gender. This is a standstill that we can only look at in its movement, because the female residents of the Algerian ghettos have no clock towers to stand at the foot of; they are moving along an economy of desire that sweeps them up and channels them, but they don't have the luxury of a pleasure to explode into the circuits of culture and state. They must first have bodies with which to desire freedom before a desiring freedom can bear pleasure along the channels of revolutionary possibility.

Monday, November 07, 2005

at the wheel

this is the part where my mother, who to my knowledge has never read Foucault, pretty much sums up his work in response to my previous post, titled "intervention":

I mean don't you think everyone who's talking about being
defective/flawed/potential addict is really just repeating what the
Catholic Church has been telling people for a couple millennia? Nothing
new under the sun and all that.

so as usual, my mother is driving, as it were.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

seasons greetings

every year i forget that as soon as halloween is over, christmas miraculously arrives in the U.S. and so every year i am shocked to discover that, according to the american calendar, christmas is, like, soon. if i were a better left-feminist-liberal-academic, this would provide me with a great opportunity to consider how the implication that Mary herself labored for 2 whole months, all cucifixion-like, to birth Jesus is really a patriarchal construction to guilt us into consuming more. an intriguing theory, no doubt.

instead, i take this opportunity to revise my christmas card list.

on my christmas card list:

Anderson Cooper
Trader Joe
Deleuze (and Guattari)
George Eliot
owner of "Party Basket" on Woodward and 11 1/2
Jean Gray
Michael Berube
the creators of "Wife-Swap"
Leo Bersani
David Sedaris
Anthony Bourdain
James Frey
people who give me upgrades
Ray Nagin
Charles Shaw
Elizabeth Grosz
her friend Nicole
the people behind James jeans

off my christmas card list:

Michael Stars (one size does NOT fit most, asshole)
Heidegger (for good this time, Martin)
Gus Van Sant
Volkswagen(you lost me at the "new" Jetta)
person who put the ding in my driver's side door
Death Cab for Cutie
most of my ex-boyfriends (sorry, gentlemen: no more mr. nice guy)
and your wife, Chris Martin
Tom Cruise
Detroit traffic enforcement
downstairs neighbors
Ashlee Simpson (like you were even on my Christmas card list)
my extra 20 pounds
Waldorf education
my nephew's mean teacher
oil companies
"Bitch" magazine
"Bust" magazine
Dave Eggers
Whole Foods
Sallie Mae

that's satisfactory for now. look forward to getting (or NOT getting) a picture of me in a girdle and Santa hat. or posing as all three wise men.

god bless,

this week in detroit

last night i drove home past the thousands of people waiting in line to pay their respects to Rosa Parks.

i should have waited in line with them.

Downtown Detroit is rarely that full. the lines wound around and around the museum where she rested. the citizens of Detroit were really holding her. there were people everywhere. there were lights lit where usually there are none. the city came alive in her death.

and i thought: with all due respect, Mr. President, THIS is America.

thanks, Detroit, for being so thankful for Rosa Parks.