To get a firsthand look at the singles factor at work in the [Howard Dean] campaign, I go to a fund-raiser on the Upper West Side one rainy Saturday night. It’s a two-bedroom duplex with a rooftop terrace, and the walls are plastered with posters of Clinton and JFK. The guests (the ones without wedding rings) are engaged in full-frontal flirting, chatting over Rolling Rocks about Dean’s views on Israel and Whoopi Goldberg’s show of support. Upstairs, two twentysomething women and three hipster guys are introducing themselves. When I ask if they came with ulterior motives, they grin. “You don’t go to a birthday party just for the pinata,” says Sam, a six-foot milk-fed brunette, “but you’re glad it’s there.”

(new york magazine)


en route from the grocery store, i share a crosswalk with six sixtysomething women in bondage pants. what i took to be punk patches on their motorcycle jackets turned out to be airbrushed portraits of antonio banderas as the archangel gabriel. ON THE EIGHTH DAY, said their sleeves in gothic silver caps, GOD CREATED ANTONIO BANDERAS. they had peachy-colored old lady hair.

i challenged paul to a craptastic haiku duel. we'll let you know when someone emerges.


i find an unfamiliar pair of boxer-briefs floating around in the bedroom laundry. they're black with a white waistband, so when i put them on my head i look like a nun. "what's your confession?" i say. "those are my dad's," says joe.

moving sucks. we painted the bedroom a bitchin' shade of incredible hulk green last night, and the fumes in the apartment made us both so drunk that we slept through the alarm today. until late this afternoon, i thought i was going to get fired - it was the largest pr crisis i've been able to cause as a lowly peon. luckily, one of my pitches on a charity event last week got pickup in a national paper. the bowels unclenched a little.

also loving the fact that we paid someone $485 to hide our wonderful bed somewhere on the west coast. the air mattress lost its appeal like six days ago, as did constant takeout food. judd and sarah note that there's a $20 tax on walking out the door in this city, which explains why i've maxed out my credit card and have no furniture, no food.


rest in peace, dear departed Johnny Cash.


yesterday's urban moment, courtesy of the union square L stop: a girl in overalls with a guitar and a crisp voice like suzanne vega. instead of making my sternum rumble, her amp sent vibrations through the big stock pot in my lap. we were en route from phil's, where joe prepared an italian feast on saturday. another friend had written MEAT SAUCE on his lite-brite for the occasion. on the train, a teeny girl had a huge pug, mellow as the buddha, hanging in a baby harness on her chest.

lots of bagpipers practicing scales on the train this morning. i think my building was supposed to seem somber and supportive, but the patriotic stuff makes it look like a car dealership. a woman is singing bette midler's "from a distance" on the patio.

given that popular sentiment has tended toward mourning and caution lately - bush is not popular here, especially since he skipped out on the trade center memorial today - i'm surprised that nationalism is so prominent on the street. i find the I LOVE NY MORE THAN EVER shirts moving, the USA business not so much. there's talk of the administration using this anniversary to push for strengthening the patriot act - again, not so much. i wore black, but i usually wear black.

the final move is saturday. attribute recent silence to titanic struggles with the broker, who decided at the last minute to trick us into living in a shoebox. our actual place, not the original apartment but a larger rental in the same building, is what i'd call cozy. we'll be leaping over our bed to get to the bathroom, but the view is lovely. time to find a non-ikea couch that wants to fit through the 31" hallway.

California's wacky recall drama may not solve state money woes, but it's paying off big for product pitches.

Several companies, including Taco Bell and the candy mint Mentos, are using the popular voter revolt over the governor's seat as a backdrop for new national commercials and marketing blitzes.

Taco Bell has named several of its menu tacos after candidates, and polls customers daily on which taco-candidates they prefer to order and eat. The beef taco is named for candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger. Gov. Gray Davis is represented by the chicken soft taco and Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante is the chalupa. All the other 127 candidates are represented by the grilled "Stuft Burrito."

"Arnold's taco has been in the lead this week," said Taco Bell marketing chief Greg Creed. "We want customers to put their vote where their mouth is. Customers can 'buy votes' this way."

(new york post 9.10)


maybe the ikea 'abandoned lamp' commercial got me anthropomorph...izing appliances - maybe i've never lived somewhere old enough that the buildings predated centralized air. that's not true, but the point is that i can't stop staring at external air conditioners. they look like forlorn pets, or like ebenezer scrooge when the ghost of christmas present takes him to visit the cratchits. it's to the point where i've stopped assuming their falling condensation is pigeon pee - no, it's appliance tears. if i had one at my window, and i probably will, i'll be sure to make it feel included.

another night of writing at the local bar, another place of lonely things. either brooklyn people are ridiculously, uniformly nice (also probably untrue), or taking a notebook to the corner just invites intimacy. i'm not a good customer - i buy one drink and then smoke for an hour - and i don't think i look particularly pitiful: joe has met me here twice, so i have the appearance of friends. somehow everything is free, though, and i end up swapping life stories with the bartenders. largely happy stories! but they keep giving me things, and i don't understand.


also amusing: bad imagery is excellent PR. i decided a few months ago that the guys who write headlines for the post and the daily news have the best jobs around - i mean, someone got paid to suggest THE BIG ZAPPLE (the east coast blackout) or A SAUSAGE & BATTERY (major league baseballer hits a sponsor's hot dog mascot). on a smaller scale, that's press releases. it's like writing limericks for a living. for more serious pieces, alliteration that isn't stylish enough for A Real Poem is great when you want the denver post to pick up a bit about some woman's organ transplant. am i lazy, or am i responsible recycler? who can say?

i vow, however, that esses will never become dollar signs in my copy. there are some things that even scavengers won't touch.


it amuses me that a daily web page is to be the biggest of my duties at work. it's a corporate blog, really - i'm reading thirty periodicals and posting magazine gossip and book signings rather than music blurbs and what i ate for lunch. one could do worse - one perhaps being joe, who was stuck at his firm until three-something this morning. there are pleasant aspects of that as well, though - it's like all nighters in college, but his earnings are directly proportional to how long he's awake.

i had vegetable soup for lunch.


in an utterly unabashed play for continuity, i'm on my umpteenth visit to the bar down the street. i regret, for the bar's sake, that i'll be moving again next week: their movie nights are decent, the bartender now lets me bring my own music, and the patio vibe vaguely recalls my beloved gypsy den.

wrote and lost two posts in my notebooks, in duffel bags, in the weird attic space in the third sublet. i hate to differentiate them by saying they were uneventful, but they were in fact even more uneventful than the norm. gist: more homesickness on the flight back to new york, we've moved again, lots of weird san francisco reminders about.

met joe's friend katy when her band played on the lower east side sunday. i knew, thanks to a CD, that she had a gorgeous voice, but i wasn't expecting her to rock out so capably on her guitar. wish we'd caught her punky show in brooklyn on saturday. i may be cheapening whatever value my praise would have by heaping it on most of the shows i've seen in the last few months, but we've been very lucky, and luckier still to know such talented people. dear nora will be coming to a town near you - check them out.

oh, amusing starfucking notes, and what a combination: cornel west helped me sort my luggage situation at the sacramento airport. then the deer-in-the-headlights girls who turned up for katy's opening act were claire danes and michelle williams (?) of dawson's creek fame. no katie holmes, but i expect jacob to be proud of me anyway.

via ebay, we are now the owners of a dark green velvet duvet. we'll complement this with an acid green bedroom wall and my debbie harry pillow, assuming i can keep this needlepoint thing going. still going with an arms race theme for the kitchen, though i despair of finding suitably mismatched dishes at thrift stores. the call there could be heavily affected by whether or not we have a dishwasher. as i am the manual dishwasher and i have butterfingers, wimping out and getting nice new stuff could be a bad, bad plan.

and for the living room - hang on, i'll be done soon - we found supercheap camel-colored club chairs and a mahogany sideboard, reasonable because a monkey refinished it. but the hardware is original! this clashes horribly with joe's monolithic stereo equipment, but he has made me see that fine sounds are their own excuses. finally, my wonderful mum is framing an anti-nuke poster i plucked from a fence in london eight years ago. i am deeply, thoroughly, lamentably excited about nesting in our eventual apartment.

thirteen: a little more conventional than the excellent welcome to the dollhouse, but earnest in a the-co-star-helped-write-the-thing-when-she-was-that-age sort of way. red balls, the store where the girls shoplift and try to look like scary hookers, is known to my friends and sisters as That One Place On Melrose That Lauren Likes, That Gave Me A Headache. i was never popular and lithe like the girls, but i did shop there in attempts to be so. not sure if there was supposed to be odd teen movie resonance in the fact that the lead's mom (holly hunter)'s boyfriend also played the slimy alpha male high school boy in clueless, but if so - and why not - it was an inspired casting choice. worlds better than one's average pubescent dystopia film.

after the quake: a collection of six stories grouped loosely around the 1995 kobe disaster. though it wasn't so closely linked to that theme, i prefer "honey pie," a tale of ambiguous affection, the idea that early middle age is frightening and wrong, and the frustrations of a short story writer. the protagonist in this case is, in my memory, the first murakami character who really suffers for his inability to get things on paper. creative frustrations have certainly happened before, but this guy needs closure in life and otherwise - everyone else settles things without going back to the page. no handy, magical realism closure here.

the other five stories are fine, and certainly worthwhile if one is simply looking for a murakami fix until something else is translated into english, but vintage paperbacks are awfully expensive. i'd say hang on and borrow mine.

work began again today. The Corporation reinitiated me with meaty assignments, at twice the rate at which they appeared last month. this is good, as i spent the last part of july trying to extend the meaty parts and pretending that the busy work wasn't happening. now i will have partial use of an intern, whee, which is roughly as important as having one poor soul get behind me at the end of a gargantuan line. it's nominal and silly, but let's be honest, it's slightly comforting.

told my supervisor about the eventual apartment location. she noted that i'd be even closer to the offices when they revert to their original location (in 2-3 years). flattering and horrifying that i could be here when that happens.