Usually I don't find wrongnumbertexts.com particularly compelling, but this makes me very, very happy.
Last night, as I was stirring sauce for dinner and Mike was cutting vegetables:
MIKE and JOEL (singing along with the stereo): Once more, you opened the door, and you're here in my heart, and my heart will go on and on.
JOEL: God, we're so gay.
MIKE: We're old, too. Don't forget old.
JOEL: God, we're so gay and old.
Last night Mike and I watched the middle third of Avatar. (We watched the first third two nights ago and, one presumes, will watch the third third tonight; time was when we could watch a long movie in one sitting, but now we are old and fall asleep at the slightest provocation, except when we want to, in which case we lie awake staring at the ceiling for hours (in Mike's case) or go downstairs and eat chocolate (in mine). )
I enjoyed Avatar when I saw it in the movie theater. I thought it was visually gorgeous and deeply moving. At the same time I was deeply disturbed by its politics. "Yeah," I said to friends the next day, "I just saw Blue Like Me." Thank God the white guy could come and save all the colored people. The—I don't know what to call it; blueface?—aspect just made it feel more shamefully self-satisfied.
The thing that I could never figure out was whether their acceptance/celebration of him once he showed up riding the Great Leonopteryx was realistic or just an Orientalist fantasy. On the one hand, it was his fault that the humans were there in the first place, and how could that be forgiven him in any way? On the other hand, he did lead them to a victory that implied the humans would never come back, so from a certain perspective they were better off even though he'd destroyed their home, and they did place a pretty high premium on being Toruk Makto. I tried and tried to figure out an analog in my life so that I could test the proposition, but I failed.
Then, last night, when the Home Tree fell, Mike—I'd mentioned my difficulty to him—said, "Well, obviously, it's 9/11." And I was like, Jesus Christ, I'm an idiot.
And it was pretty easy from that point on. I mean, imagine (if you're an American) somebody shows up, insinuates himself into your life, makes you trust him and like him, and then says, oh, by the way, I gave Osama bin Laden the plans to the World Trade Center. As far as I'm concerned, at least, nothing he did after that could possibly lead me to forgive him. He could probably manage it so that I would only want to see him exiled or thrown in prison forever rather than being executed for treason—which is saying something, since the list of people I think should be executed for treason is a long one—but if he was then like, oh, my friend Sigourney Weaver is dying, can you help her, I'd be like, fuck off.
"The Omaticaya," said Mike when I suggested as much to him, "are much more forgiving than we are. You can tell because they're blue and wear loincloths."
I'm almost hesitant to post this, given how obvious it all seems now that I've figured it out, but one of my new year's resolutions is to revivify my moribund blog, and it seems I'm now well-medicated enough to prefer follow-through to avoiding embarrassment.
Note, please, that none of this makes the colors in Avatar any less pretty.
I’ve written before about my tendency to confuse vastly different things (Middlemarch and Middlesex, socks), so I might as well add that for a long time I didn’t understand why everybody seemed to have so much respect for the inventor of scuba diving as a thinker and literary figure. Then I realized that Jacques Cousteau and Jean Cocteau were different people.
I realize it’s a rough economy, but if I were a drug dealer, I would find a way to advertise less likely to get me arrested than handing out flyers.
A conversation from this morning, as Mike was leaving for work.
JOEL: Why are the dogs so excited?
MIKE: They love us unconditionally.
JOEL: What’s that about? I mean, it’s not like we’re even that nice to them or anything.
MIKE: Well, I’m on my way. I love you conditionally.
JOEL: Me, too.
MIKE: I’ll be back late tonight, but I’ll bring a list of my conditions.
JOEL: Make sure to put it on the fridge so I can start ignoring them as soon as possible.
FOX, of course, never actually aired this interview, which choice, once one watches the video, is no less ironic for being unsurprising.
I recently bought a new computer and am using the occasion as an opportunity to organize my files. I have documents of all kinds all over my hard drive, and in going through them to figure out how many duplicates I have of how many drafts of how many ideas so that I can eventually set up a system that makes sense, I have come across any number of things I have no memory of writing. Here, for example, are the first three stanzas of a something I thankfully never finished.
Once upon a Tuesday dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a dull and dim expense report I’d seen before,
Dreaming then of Marrakesh or Rome, I felt a sudden pressure.
Thought I, “Time for a refresher?” peering at my boss’s door.
“Yes,” the answer; then I, standing, tiptoed by my boss’s door.
(Lush the carpet on the floor!)
Down the hall my steps went ringing, till I reached the chamber; flinging
Off my coat, I braved the swinging of the horrid metal door.
As I sat upon the shrine erected, scent all fresh and piny,
Quick I caught a vision tiny not too far above the floor.
Leaning over, curious, I saw three feet above the floor
Something I’d not seen before.
‘Twas an op’ning, small and rounded, in rough edges strictly bounded.
By its glory all astounded, I knew not what it was for.
Came a finger softly creeping through the puncture, gently sweeping
Left and right–I, quiet keeping, tapped my foot upon the floor.
Loud the echo in the silence of my foot upon the floor.
“What,” I thought, “is now in store?”
Two Alabama game wardens have devised a smoking send-off for avid hunters and gun enthusiasts: For a small fee, the pair will turn cremated ashes into ammunition that the deceased’s loved ones can fire at will.
At first glance this seems hideous but, to be completely honest, once I read the article I found the whole thing kind of touching.