29 June 2011

The Return of the Two Minutes Hate

I just finished Cold by Bill Streever. Really loved it--so well written and entertaining. It jumped all over; time-location-topic, something that keeps my busy mind happy, but it wasn't so herky-jerky that it distracted from the book. Can't recommend it enough, especially to those of you who are looking for a break from the heat of summer.

I've moved on to Uranium...so far so good. I am hoping it's a quick read; graduate classes start on August 22nd and my "reading for fun" time will be cut short...probably to just the time at the gym (speaking of-I'm reading Nerd Do Well by Simon Pegg on the nook and am digging it)...so i want to get in this book as well as three others--highly unlikely but a girl can dream right?

Two Minutes Hate
It's been so long...

Surely you've heard about the tongue in cheek, for adults only book Go the F#ck To Sleep. Written by a very tired (and very clever) parent as a way to communicate his love and frustration with raising children. The response i think has been overwhelming...parents seem to really relate to it and the author (a very accomplished author at that) Adam Mansbach has been doing the late night/early morning talk show rounds. He points out that while it's illustrated as a children's book, with verses such as, "The eagles who soar thru the sky are at rest / And the creatures who crawl, run and creep. / I know you are not thirsty. That's bullshit. / Stop lying. / Lie the fuck down, my darling, and sleep", it's best to keep this book away from the young ones.

Today I read an CNN opinion piece about the book. The author, Karen Spears Zacharias says that the reason the book, "should be kept out of reach of children is because of its violent language and because of the way it demeans children." She then goes on to talk with people who say things like, "Imagine if this were written about Jews, blacks, Muslims or Latinos." She herself says, "The violent language of "Go the F*** to Sleep" is not the least bit funny, when one considers how many neglected children fall asleep each night praying for a parent who'd care enough to hold them, nurture them and read to them."

Here's the rub though....First, it's not violent and demeaning--it's fucking true. Kids lie to get what they want, parents often want to yell loudly at them to lay down and sleep for christs sake. Good parents and the parents that buy this book (as Ms. Zacharias points out) refrain from yelling. Bad parents, who yell and do worse when their children don't listen; those parents don't change their behavior based on this book or any other. If you want to see a parent demeaning a child, watch Toddlers & Tiaras. Tell me how that's healthy for a daughter?

Second, it's not written about Jews or blacks or Muslims or Latinos. It's written about children; who, we all agree, can be completely vexing. Is this really the new standard for an adult story? If a child molester in my story is told that "You are a piece of shit and deserve to die in a fire" do i need to worry that someone will review it and say, but what if that was written about a Muslim? Do authors need to run through every marginalized group and do a kind of Folgers Crystals *we secretly replaced Mr. Mansbach innocent child with an african american--let's see what happens* swap so that we make sure we don't offend anyone, even people we don't actually write about? Can i be personally offended with Hitler's Mein Kampf because, even though he didn't speak poorly about redheaded women living in the states, imagine if he had?!

Third, Ms. Zacharias states that "Sadly, his book accurately portrays the hostile environment in which too many children grow up. For far too many kids, the obscenities found in Mansbach's book are a common, everyday household language." To that I would say, So? Hear me out. I don't condone speaking to children in this manner. Neither would the author and neither would any rational sensitive adult. Does the fact that many kids are neglected mean that we can't talk about it? Are humor and satire not allowed until everyone is loved and cared for? Ms. Zacharias is right that the book isn't funny "when one considers how many neglected children fall asleep each night praying for a parent who'd care enough to hold them, nurture them and read to them." Just like Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs isn't so entertaining when you remember that 13,000 children die each day because they didn't get enough food to eat. If you want to help children who are neglected there are plenty of ways to do it, but we cant expect every book to be all things.

Mr. Mansbach was telling a story, one most parents can relate to, he wasn't trying to address the subject of childhood neglect and he shouldn't be expected to. He wrote an entertaining story for parents. Perhaps it will serve to make them feel less alone the next time their little butterface is throwing a fit and asking for another song and another tale and another glass of water.

02 June 2011


Today at work I need to be like this...

But I'm more like this...


31 May 2011


Recently I have been having extremely vivid dreams. One about my father--not so good. Another about planting flowers--better, although it appears I am no more of a green thumb in cloudland than i am right here in the real world. Kind of depressing. I mean, what's the point of a dream if i cant be a bad ass in it eh?

Whats more disturbing than the spate of dreams is that I am waking myself up because I find myself talking out loud. Its extremely disconcerting to wake up to your own voice. You hear a phrase, it makes no sense, you think who is talking here, and then you realize it's you.

Why do our brains do that? Random misfiring? Does it serve a purpose? Is it a tumor??

Alright, I'm off to bed...wish me sweet dreams free of mindless jabbering.


21 May 2011


My brother sklimps cracks me up. Here's the text i got this evening from him...

"I'm in heaven with jesus, son! Me and kirk cameron. Raptured!"

Ahh...I am sad to see the rapture fun end. We can joke and laugh like it was no big deal but, Harold Camping convinced a lot of, well, simple minded but probably good intentioned folks into giving him a boat load of cash to "spread the gospel." Over 100 million in the last seven years according to at least one story.

People quit their jobs, gave away their possessions, dropped out of school so they could prepare for the rapture. Sure all those who would be left behind had a good laugh but some folks have more than just egg on their faces. It's hard to feel bad for them...but i guess these are moments when i think--Richard Dawkins is right when he rallies against the indoctrination of children and weak minded folks. This is why he calls for militant atheism. I guess its time more of us came out of the proverbial closet eh?

~tweet tweet~ goes the bird

19 May 2011

Mix Tape

I'm putting together a playlist for a friend. I love to do this, and depending on the circumstances for the creation of the playlist (for a loved one, for a road trip, for a family member's birthday, for a party), I find that I learn something new about myself each time.

On my iPod I have a playlist called 'happy.' I realized soon after creating this that, while these songs make me happy, they may not be ones I want others to hear. There are some great songs in there, but man I listen to some wretched stuff! I'm am pretty sure that no one else's wants to listen to the Spin Doctors....maybe a guy who was transported here from 1991(Sweet Fannie Adams---1991?!).

Putting together a playlist is now so easy. Hipsters who can write better than me have waxed poetic about mix tapes so I won't bother doing that. We all know, labor of love etc etc. What I find is that, regardless of the medium, I still have a insane desire to send along with the music an explanation of why I am including this song or the historic context of that song. It's like I am scared that it will get interpreted incorrectly when, in reality, I have no control over the listeners interpretation of the song. My memories, my feelings surrounding the song are mine alone. I'm not sure I can force the song to convey a certain feeling, no matter how much I would like to.

I guess while making this playlist I've learned that I should just relax and let the music say whatever it needs to say.

Dire Straits said it best, Why Worry?

16 May 2011

Books And Such

I am nearly finished with San Francisco Noir, a title that Q picked up for me from the oh so divine City Lights Bookstore (Thanks again Q).

The book is a series of short stories based in different SF neighborhoods, all dark gritty noir plots, and I was surprised to find that San Francisco was a good city for that style of drama. I have my own feelings about SF but it's never felt cold, cruel, and cynical to me. I'm pleasantly surprised by what the writers have done to familiar neighborhoods.

I find that the book is making me long to watch Double Indemnity, and The Maltese Falcon. To drink too much in a dark bar watching the rain make patterns on the window. I suppose it will be wise for me to move on to a less influential book eh? Up next...Uranium because yes, I'm that much of a geek; and Cold because I dislike summers an awful lot...


P.S. If you dig all things noir you really should check out the other titles from Akashic Books' noir series. You're bound to find a city you like.

03 May 2011

Old Tymey Things

I love olden times (that's an official historian term by the way). Today while writing about Nike missiles and sharpening my pencil i realized how much i love antiquated things. You know:

Writing with wooden pencils...

Using an old typewriter...


1950s robots...

And of course, heavy black rotary phones...

...you know the kind you could brain someone with if you wanted to.

Why do some of us cling to these antiquated things? It's not that we're hipsters, our love of old discarded items came long before skinny jean-unnecessary scarf wearing dipshits made it cool to like all things retro again. Our love of these items is real and true.

What is it about the heavy clunky items of the past that hold such an attraction for me and others like me?

You see it in every clique....techno nerds who wet themselves at the site of a commodore 64, jock nerds who long for baseball players in stirrups. Something in these old discarded sturdy items speak to our soul. Perhaps it's just that...sturdy, heavy, something with weight, something not easily thrown into the trash, something that feels permanent in our otherwise entirely disposable lives.