Friday, March 30, 2007

1)

I.
am.
tired.
of.
illin'.
*pause*
Thank you.

2)

I am always a sucker for The Natural.

3)

The bits of marital relationship revealed twixt Jeffrey and Ina on Barefoot Contessa are clearly just white foam on the heaving seas of love.

4)

I have ordered some serious deli food (knish, kreplach, chicken soup) in the hopes that ingestion thereof will ameliorate the situation under item #1. I am also drinkin today's very Wacky Smoothie, which is the only thing that helps my mid-late/afternoon fever spike calm down.

5)

We really haven't yet built a better mouse trap, in as much as millions of humans all over American bend and scoop litter each day. We are litter bitches. I did a lot of research about hands-off, miracle litter boxes when I moved to this apartment, but no one's yet really made one. There are $300-$400 ones that seem okay, but are clearly just not going to catch on. It's almost enough to make you move to the suburbs. With a catflap and where the cats poop I dunno, but at least I don't have to think about it anymore. Maybe...Naperville. Darien. Bethesda.

6)

I would give most anything for a pool, jacuzzi, hot tub or bath tub that'd let my fat bum float around a bit in it. Will gear vocational plans around said goal once illin' is over.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I watched most of Chinatown last night, always the most horrible, sad, beautiful, prescient film. Not easy to watch, despite its beauty. There is something about the relentlessly tight frame in that film...it's anxiety-producing. Not in a Hallowe'en, horror film way--beautiful. The lighting is so insane, the colors. (Makes me think of the overquoted Ross MacDonald blurb about Chandler being "sun-drenched.") Almost no shadows, so when there are, you really notice them. And they are not clichéd, noir shadows...they're cold.

Julia Phillips wrote in You'll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again that R. Towne told her about a better, different ending he had for the film, but that "Roman had some things to work out." According to Mr. TCM last night, Towne now likes Polanski's ending better. I dunno. From what I know about the alternate ending--shots of LA as the desert gradually gets filled in with 'civilization'--I think it might hold up better than the luridness of the incest one. I dunno. Gawd, it's awful. I actually admire J. Huston for playing that character; he is unusually, unredeemably horrid. But sometimes it seems like it would have been a better script if the water story played out all the way through to the very end.

Insanely prescient.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Denn alles Fleisch ist wie Gras und alle Herrlichkeit des Menschen wie des Grases Blumen. Das Gras ist verdorret und die Blume abgefallen.

So seid nun geduldig, lieben Brüder, bis auf die Zukunft des Herrn. Siehe, ein Ackermann wartet auf die köstliche Frucht der Erde und ist geduldig darüber, bis er empfahe den Morgenregen und Abendregen.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Do you ever feel like your life, really, is just a battle to keep your cats off your computer keyboard? And to call it anything else is just silly human vanity? 10,320,984 times a day.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Monday, March 19, 2007

We here at Cahiers du Big White Grl Sez watch (campy, ridiculous) things so you don't have to. To wit: Are You Being Served? The movie. I think it would have been better with a laughtrack, which says a lot. It's not that it was so horrible, it's more that it's all the same bits (literally, same dialogue in spots) as the TV show, only transferred without time constraints to a bad set. Heh. Really kind horrid. Me favorite two bits:

• The proprietor at the holiday hotel--played by the poor dude who was Manuel on Fawlty Towers--to Mrs. Slocombe (that is she, above, getting her passport pic taken in her Union Jack directoire knickers): "I am hearing about this: you are the English, eh, drag show, yes? With the female impressionation? Yes, now I look I can tell. Those are the false boobie-doos. Very funny."

• Again, Mrs. Slocombe, with 'Manuel':
"Muchos gracias."
"Ah, you speak Spanish!"
"Une petit pois."

Sunday, March 18, 2007

misssssh

1. I am finally seeing Bad Santa. BBThornton is pretty much my little-kid ideal of what it is to be a bad-ass cussing adult. The fat chick thru line is inaccurate as well as dumb--and yes, how dumb am I to take a dumb movie to task over something like that? For anything? Dumb, except...what are they scared of, huh? If you're gonna make fun of fat girls, why not show them, hunh? Are they too scared to be the jerks they are? Or just too scared, period? Hunh? Let's go, you fuckers.

Happy to see a what has to be a wee nod to the ur-text performance for this movie--Walter Matthau in Bad News Bears--with a little bit of Carmen in the boxing scene. Yeah, I said ur-text.

2. I made the most spectacularly middle-American scramble-casserole thing for dinner tonight. It involved ground beef and mashed potatoes and jarred tomato sauce and some other things and it was a wild success.

3. I find natural peanut butter almost not worth the fucking hassle. Even when you stir it up warm for the first time it never emulsifies right and god forbid you try it first cold. Fatty drips down the sides, lumps of solids in the bottom. Enough to make you reach for transfats.

4. Four Weddings and a Funeral is a really badly-made movie with a half-way decent structure underneath. They swoop in with scoring and montages right at moments when you need the action--the scoring sucks, period--bury the good bits, such as they are... Just terrible. And Andie McDowell, whom I don't hate on principle, is the worst thing about it. Her "Is it raining? I hadn't noticed" (delivered soaking wet during romantic denouement to make you go awwwww) is the Single Least Convincing Line in films ever, and the bad over-dubbing doesn't help. It hurts.

5. I rectified a major gap in my film eddication tonight by finally seeing Elia Kazan's A Face in the Crowd, with the Budd Schulberg screenplay and Andy Griffith in his gigunda scenery-chewing tour-de-force masterpiece role. As usual, with movies like this (Sweet Smell of Success, etc.), they seem so perspicacious as to be a little creepy. It was just great. A little overwraught for making the same point now, but that's just style. I wish I had a still of Andy Griffith losing his mind at the end, all scarface and shit. Just...great.

And Patricia Neal...she has that quality she brings to roles, in which she is half wise regret and half about to do something really bad. Those eyes. When I first saw her, in Hud, I felt like I had seen into the future or something. Well, okay, Hud's a whole other ball of kvell, but I really loved Face in the Crowd. I love Budd Schulberg.

6. It is always something you should do, but do read Skip's blog these days. My girl's a genius.

7. Clown hat, curly hair, smiley-face.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Big Big Kvell, Self-Approbation, Bursting Pride

Hier kommt some naked sentiment of the happiest variety, so hang on.

Proud Auntie Sez:

So...the Wirgin Book has arrived! The real, das kine, the hardbacked red joy. Below is visual proof. First? Me smooching it. Second? Shameless excitement as being one of the dedicatees of such an important work. Third? (above) A little love on me paws to wave at me darling girl, Hanne, the authoress.

I must grab the mic and say just a lil something personal here. Even watching the process up close from start to finish, I know I don't really know how much work this has been (except I do--but you know what I mean). It has been a huge amount of work, partly because it is the first work. I am so proud of my friend for that, but also for all of her innate, can't-stop wonderfulness that's woven into the nature of the effort: its scholarship and wise clarity and juice and tigress-ness. I am also very proud to have been part of this book in some way before it was even a twinkle in her mother's eye, as it were. The dialogue we've had as friends, about these issues and more, has been crucial in my life--I feel grateful and excited that there's so much more of it to share out there, that everyone can see. I am so proud of you, Hanne!

Mazel tov!
Love to my darling prolixia
always from your Lizzy















Friday, March 16, 2007

I saw an ad for the new Hilary Swank movie on a bus today, the title of which, in keeping with today's horror movies, is structured with a definite article and then a gerund. The...Nerdfulling. The Bowling. The NosePicking. The Reaping. Whatever. Their tagline: What Hath God Wrought? Which is...an interrogative restructuring of one common Hebrew translation of my name (what g-d hath wrought). Stupid. Weird.

What a week. Oh the acres of things written in invisible ink right here...

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

I've been out Licensed to Ill the last day+ and god forbid I should hex on the brilliant 'spring weather' we're having (that I've liked too), but it...feels related. Really can't handle all this bouncy-bouncy in the weather. It used to be that I got sick religiously with the change of seasons, but now they bounce around so much...me bod doesn't know what to think.

During a moment of functionality today I was watching an interview with Dave Chappelle and Anderson Cooper. Interesting. Two guys with some seriously powerful mothers, doing their own thing. AC = nerd.

I always feel a kinship with DC because of his family's PG-County connections, but also because of Yellow Springs, OH, which was the coolest place to visit in Central OH during a few of my teenage/young adult years.

Friday, March 09, 2007

free advice!

One of the things you do when you work in development (which I did for eight years) is that you read a lot of articles and go to a lot of conferences about how to make things happen. Usually the thing you want to happen is to part people from their money out of excitement for the cause at hand, but also just: create a stir, make something desired.

I ran into the following story while clipping articles for my development job. I tell it a lot, but today am finding it newly applicable to my life. I hope you find some use in it too.

So. I once read an article about Adele Simmons, who is a former president of the gigunda MacArthur Foundation (btw: I didn't get this week's genius grant stipend; could somebody check on that?), and actually a MacArthur, maybe a granddaughter. (Development research also means you squirrel away a lot of genealogical information that looks like Social Register climbing, but it's really the nerd instinct run amok. Lots of Data.)

Anyway, to paraphrase badly, in this article she talked about the process of taking tenure as president of Hampshire College, which if I remember rightly is one of the serious party schools according to the Preppy Handbook, and at that time, not an unrelated time, experiencing a drop in enrollment. Everyone at the college was concerned, wanted to lower standards, drop the minimum SAT score, reduce entry requirements. It was thought that by doing this -  opening the gates further - it'd increase enrollment. Make the place more popular and sought-after.

Ms. Simmons, however, said: NO. If we want to make this place popular, and desired, and hard to get into because we are overflowing with people banging on our doors - if we want to make our enrollment rise - then let's make it HARDER to get in. Raise our standards. Raise minimum test scores, ask more of people.

And the point, from the very most completely pragmatic, phlegmatic POV? Is that it worked. The school got better, but it also put the asses in the seats. The school got more popular, much more so, it pulled the people out of the woodwork, increased enrollment. Asking more of people got the college more response, rather than less.

Standards...whatever that word means...can feel very arid and arbitrary in the terrain of the human heart. Especially when we're talking about incremental differences in behavior, the stuff that separates someone you find really interesting from someone you really like. It's not a b&w Oprah world of badness on one side and the good on the other. Or, occasionally, it is, actually, but you get older and also know we are all, including our closest friends, in the process of being forgiven for our awfulness. So where you draw lines seems random. But one shouldn't be afraid to employ them, standards, in the affairs of the heart. Among all the other reasons for doing so, you never know--it may actually put more asses in the seats.

boy oh boy

I was going to post the nerdliest post ever about how I finally broke my Netflix stallout and just got the Are You Being Served? movie in the mail today! I mean...I am posting that. Can't wait. Crazy nerddom. Did you know there was a movie? I'm dyin.

But in a strange coincidence...John Inman died today. That is sad. I was happy to hear he had a partner. God bless the gap-toofies.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

I have always hated those Mastercard ads, the "...priceless" ones. They've given me a variety of reasons to hate them over the years. First because they are so dismissive about the costs of things, as if it means nothing, or is supposed to in their lil ad paradigm (even when the actors are buying hot dogs at the ball park for $30); secondly because they encourage that what-the-hell, it's not really much at ALL...charge it! idea in their awful usurious way; thirdly because they're flat-out encouraging people to buy their way to happiness. All in this endlessly contradicting package.

Their new ad talks about the virtues of charging Stouffer's lasagne instead of buying the incredients to make it from stratch. Okay, I should be appalled that they are pushing processed fud (as part of all this), which I am, but I really am more appalled that they are urging people to charge groceries. That is the shit I did at my credit card-maxing lowest--not a good sign about the old finances. Jerks.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

I don't know the answer to this.

One of my favorite Dorothy Parker poems is "The Flaw in Paganism":

Drink and dance and laugh and lie,
Love, the reeling midnight through,
For tomorrow we shall die!
(But, alas, we never do.)

...which in some ways sums up the daily dilemma of or lives, our lives in which we exhorted to "work like you don't need money, love like you've never been hurt, and dance like no one's watching." For if not now, when? Yes? No past, no future, only present, yes?

Yes, well, but, except.

Grasping is the wrong place to come from. How do you come from a place of Enough if you're reaching frantically for the thing you don't have? The person who always and forever describes how to do it best was Dorothy L. Sayers in Gaudy Night (this conversational passage ends with the lodestar line for my life of "You'd lie cheerfully, I expect, about anything except--what?"). I am still confused, of course, though, despite how well she puts it. But here you go.

“You can usually tell," said Miss DeVine, "by seeing what kind of mistakes you make. I’m quite sure that one never makes fundamental mistakes about the thing one really wants to do. Fundamental mistakes arise out of lack of genuine interest. In my opinion, that is.”

“I made a very big mistake once,” said Harriet, “as I expect you know. I don’t think that arose out of lack of interest. It seemed at the time the most important thing in the world.”

“And yet you made the mistake. Were you really giving your mind to it, do you think? Your mind? Were you really as cautious and exacting about it as you would be about writing a passage of fine prose?”

“That’s rather a difficult sort of comparison. One can’t, surely, deal with emotional excitements in that detached spirit.”

“Isn’t the writing of good prose an emotional excitement?”

“Yes, of course it is. At least, when you get the thing dead right and know it’s dead right, there’s no excitement like it. It’s marvellous. It makes you feel like God on the Seventh Day--for a bit, anyhow.”

“Well, that’s what I mean. You expend the trouble and you don’t make any mistake--and then
you experience the ecstasy. But if there’s any subject in which you’re content with the second-rate, then it isn’t really your subject.”

“You’re dead right,” said Harriet, after a pause. “If one’s genuinely interested one knows how to be patient, and let time pass, as Queen Elizabeth said. Perhaps that’s the meaning of the phrase about genius being eternal patience, which I always thought rather absurd. If you truly want a thing, you don’t snatch; if you snatch, you don’t really want it. Do you suppose that, if you find yourself taking pains about a thing, it’s a proof of its importance to you?”

“I think it is, to a large extent. But the big proof is that the thing comes right, without those fundamental errors. One always makes surface errors, of course. But a fundamental error is a sure sign of not caring. I wish one could teach people nowadays that the doctrine of snatching what one thinks one wants is unsound.”

“I saw six plays in London this winter,” said Harriet, “all preaching the doctrine of snatch. I agree that they left me with the feeling that none of the characters knew what they wanted.”

“No,” said Miss DeVine. “If you are once sure what you do want, you find that everything else goes down before it like grass under a roller–-all other interests, your own and other people’s.”

Thursday, March 01, 2007

It's misty, rainy, foggy, blowy, spritzy and wet, but I don't care: finally, a good hair day.