skull ornament

my traditional what-eccentric-thing-would-you-do-if-you-were-ludicrously-wealthy-and-had-already-saved-all-of-the-suffering-animals-and-people? response is that i would bronze my underwear, but i hadn't really thought it through very carefully. i don't like looking at underwear all that much, for one thing, and i think i was assuming that i'd be able to wear the underwear once it was bronzed, which just doesn't make sense. what i would actually do if i had a substantial sum of money that i felt comfortable spending in an utterly self-indulgent way is this: i would rent a u-haul, wait until the end of the night on christmas eve, drive out to the neighborhood tree lots, and buy all of their orphans. i would take them home and make a forest in my apartment, tree after tree after tree. i'd bring out some blankets and a lantern, curl up on the floor and tuck into a book, and pretend i'd created a new dimension.

we have only one tree; fortunately it's not an especially tall one, for i don't have a u-haul, it couldn't be delivered, and i had to carry it a mile in the rain. i festooned it with skulls (rounded up from where i'd hidden them around the apartment in october; one was in joe's shoe, i found another in our refrigerator's cheese drawer, and a third was behind the shampoo in our shower), feathers (recycled from the office) and, okay, a few bats (rolled up and coaxed into a few of the extra glass ornaments). welcome home, tree.

12.15.11: the dirty dozen +2 {mystery train, part II}

it's been awhile since i last challenged you to guess what my fellow new-york-city-subway-riders are reading, though i find myself wanting to write about people i see on the train all the time (particularly when i've cleaned out my bag and forgotten to bring my own read). part of that is my reluctance to bite coverspy's moves (i want to tip my hat, not pick their pockets), and part of it is that 2011's the year i forgot to talk about books on the internet. beastly!

let's try again: here are fourteen riders and the fourteen books they were reading. who's learning english (or turkish)? who now knows that kelly cutrone became, at age 11, the first female umpire in her small town in upstate new york? are ipads the new girl with the dragon tattoo? as before, if you correctly pair a book with its reader, i'll update the lists. guess, guess!

[final update: as of 01.05.12, there are no survivors! see below for the pairs and killers.]

{the peeps}

01 M, 70s, thick, tufted white hair, white linen suit with fraying jacket hem, red crewneck sweater over white oxford shirt, black wire-rimmed glasses, tasseled oxblood loafers with black socks, B train [name and address: an autobiography, t.s. matthews - holli pegged him]

02 F, 20s, long red braid snaking out over shoulder from tie-dyed green baseball cap, silver nose ring, armful of silver bangles, large silver crucifix, F train [you are a little bit happier than i am, tao lin - georgepocalypse victim I]

03 F, 20s, grey slouched beret over sideswept chestnut bangs, tropical-snake-length plum scarf looped around neck like five times, black buckled boots, long navy coat, F train [@ontext, cory doctorow - georgepocalypse victim II]

04 M, early 30s, blue suede adidas with yellow stripes, c. 1972 cleveland browns knitted pom pom hat, white ipod buds in ears, heavy tortoiseshell glasses, neatly trimmed beard, F train [breakfast of champions, kurt vonnegut - victim of a gracie/valya double-team]

05 F, 20s, short, tightly-curled black hair, pearl earrings, black hooded puffer, black studded rebecca minkoff hobo, black plaid tights, green ipod nano, black shopping bag, ballet flats, B train [the lying days, nadine gordimer - rob studies, then strikes]

06 F, 20s, asian, hair with shaved sides, black coat, black-and-tan golf umbrella, black-and-green rain boots, black plaid tights, M train [if you have to cry, go outside, kelly cutrone - rob spots the PR hatchling]

07 F, 50s, brown faux-fur-trimmed puffer, caramel-colored polka-dotted scarf on head, wide-legged brown slacks, brown orthopedic shoes, camel scarf, B train [langenscheidt's universal dictionary (english-turkish, turkish-english)] - also rob; seriously, keep an eye on these guys who run marathons between distilleries in the middle of the night]

08 F, 30s, long camel coat, maroon tights, black dress, gold breastplate necklace, long brown hair, large black purse with heavy gold hardware in lap, F train [the unmaking of israel, gershom gorenberg - georgepocalypse victim III]

09 M, 40s, yarmulke, heavy black pea coat, black turtleneck, black slacks, rectangular tortoiseshell reading glasses, soft brown leather briefcase between feet, B train [the drop, michael connelly - MDF ID'ed my pulp-loving neighbor]

10 F, 30s, gauzy black-and-white paisley scarf, open black pea coat, grey slacks, small orange bag on knees, slim wedding ring, twisting curly hair around finger, F train [fathers and sons, ivan turgenev - georgepocalypse victim IV]

11 F, 20s, feathered red hair, tiny diamond nose stud, oatmeal-colored cashmere fingerless gloves, flat black folded-down boots, F train [the boleyn inheritance, philippa gregory - georgepocalypse victim V]

12 F, early 30s, short hair, short-sleeved buffalo plaid coat over long grey sleeves, short black dress, black tights, black boots with spats, dirty grey leather messenger bag, A train [death be not proud, john gunther - i flashed MDF and jacob]

13 M, 30s, curly brown hair, moustache with flecks of white, full beard, rust-colored shawl-collar sweater, beige all-stars, leather-trimmed navy canvas weekender between feet, tweed slacks, tortoiseshell glasses, continental airlines boarding pass as bookmark, F train [the cave, josé saramago - MDF profiles the traveler]

14 M, 30s, ash-brown tintin hair, green brooklyn industries messenger bag slung across chest, grey overcoat with popped collar, neutral plaid scarf, heavy brown leather slip-ons, leaning against door and balancing book on belly, D train [the secret soldier, alex berenson - MDF, TCB]

{the books}

fathers and sons, ivan turgenev
breakfast of champions, kurt vonnegut
if you have to cry, go outside, kelly cutrone

name and address: an autobiography, t.s. matthews
the lying days, nadine gordimer
you are a little bit happier than i am, tao lin
death be not proud, john gunther
the drop, michael connelly
the boleyn inheritance, philippa gregory
the secret soldier, alex berenson
the cave, josé saramago
langenscheidt's universal dictionary (english-turkish, turkish-english)
the unmaking of israel, gershom gorenberg
©ontext, cory doctorow


have we spoken lately about how much i like hannah mae? i really like hannah mae. via her wondrous site, an excerpt from "the little woman," a 1945 essay by suffragette ida alexa ross wylie:
It was discovered that a relative handful of human beings, unarmed save with a resolute fighting temper and a conviction of justice, could set the forces of society – armed to the teeth but with a bad conscience – right back on their heels…. To my astonishment I found that women, in spite of knock-knees and the fact that for centuries a respectable woman’s leg had not even been mentionable, could at a pinch outrun the average London bobby. Their aim with a little practice became good enough to land ripe vegetables in ministerial eyes, their wits sharp enough to keep Scotland Yard running around round in circles and looking very silly. Their capacity for impromptu organization, for secrecy and loyalty, their iconoclastic disregard for class and established order were a revelation to all concerned but especially themselves.

Best of all was the discovery that when it came down to a real slugging match they were not at such a hopeless disadvantage as tradition would have had them suppose. The day that, with a straight left to the jaw, I sent a fair-sized CID officer… into the orchestra pit of the Pavillion Theatre where we were holding one of our belligerent meetings, was the day of my own coming-of-age. It set me free to be whatever I was to the top of my bent….

For two years of wild and sometimes dangerous adventure I worked and fought alongside vigorous, happy, well-adjusted women who laughed instead of tittering, who walked freely instead of teetering, who could outfast Gandhi and come out with a grin and a jest. I slept on hard floors between elderly duchesses, stout cooks, and young shopgirls. We were often tired, hurt and frightened. But we were content as we had never been. We shared a life of joy that we had never known.
i'll be circling back for the whole thing when i'm on the other side of tonight's solo titus andronicus run. to straight lefts, dear internets, and our money where our mouths are.