Monday, November 22, 2004

Long Voyage Home

Roger Angell's latest article in the New Yorker on the Sox' World Series win gave me chills. My favorite line was his description of Varitek shoving his catcher's mitt into Jeter's "famous phiz." [Thanks to Eli over at Expecting Rain for the heads up play.]

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Shameless Consumerism

If I had all the money in the world to supplement my already ridiculous T-shirt collection, I would begin with the following purchases (after ending poverty, of course)...

[OK, I actually did just purchase this one, but come on! Also check out the awesome video for "Clara Bow."]

Believe you me, I could have kept on going for hours...

Monday, November 15, 2004

Eye Candy

There is a tendency to think that what we see in the present moment will continue. We forget how often we have been astonished by the sudden crumbling of institutions, by extraordinary changes in people's thoughts, by unexpected eruptions of rebellion against tyrannies, by the quick collapse of systems of power that seemed invincible.
They are glued to their computers, wearing out the “refresh” button on the Secretary of State’s Web site, creating color-coded spreadsheets to predict the outcome, and generally obsessing over every twist and turn in the ballot count.

Where secular-type liberals and centrists go wrong is in categorizing religion as a form of "irrationality," akin to spirituality, sports mania and emotion generally. They fail to see that the current "Christianization" of red-state America bears no resemblance to the Great Revival of the early nineteenth century, an ecstatic movement that filled the fields of Virginia with the rolling, shrieking and jerking bodies of the revived. In contrast, today's right-leaning Christian churches represent a coldly Calvinist tradition in which even speaking in tongues, if it occurs at all, has been increasingly routinized and restricted to the pastor. What these churches have to offer, in addition to intangibles like eternal salvation, is concrete, material assistance. They have become an alternative welfare state, whose support rests not only on "faith" but also on the loyalty of the grateful recipients.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Take from the Poor to Give to the, uh, Poor

It is not very shocking that a Chicago Sun-Times article reports:

Connecticut ranks first when it comes to making money -- but joins New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island at the bottom of an annual index of charitable giving. The Catalogue for Philanthropy's 2004 Generosity Index showed Mississippi -- the nation's poorest state -- as the nation's most giving state for the eighth straight year. It was followed by Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Alabama and Tennessee.

Anyone who has done any canvassing door-to-door can vouch for the fact that the giving percentage in poor neighborhoods is much higher than that of wealthy (or even middle class) neighborhoods. While one $60 contribution from a wealthy donor may more than equal ten $5 contributions from poor donors, which would you rather have? [OK, maybe some of you would say the $60, but you obviously know nothing about organizing...]

The only thing that makes me curious, after looking at the list of leading "generous" states, is how much of this Southern charity is going to support evangelical churches? Hmmm...maybe generosity isn't such a good thing.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Crypto-strength Randomness

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

RIP: No School Foster-Glocester!

As if today weren't already depressing enough. Goodbye, Salty.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Night o' Poetry and Queer Optimism

Who needs little costumed runts hopped up on candy when you can spend your Halloween night with queer (*hot*) feminist artist-activist Alix Olson?

Last night at Black Cat, Olson (accompanied on guitar by Pamela Means) put on a high-energy, election-inspired performance. Charging onto the stage with similarly rainbowed-out boa and 80s rock wig, Olson declared she was dressed for All Hallows Eve - a pagan holiday that she felt justified in celebrating - as a "Queer Optimist." Combined with stunningly red pants, a belt featuring a Bush-on-a-dollar-bill buckle, and stickers covering clothes and bare arms, Olson's optimism-infused outfit almost had me convinced that those of us pulling for Kerry had nothing to worry about - almost.

Declaring herself in the "Anybody but Bush, Left with Kerry" camp, Olson repeatedly made reference to the necessity of voting "Skeletor" into the White House (or would that be into Snake Mountain?). Olson's strategy: get Kerry into office and then work on moving him to the left, cultivate other lefty/socialist candidates, and fight to get a multi-party system (good luck). She explained her choice of belt buckle (which placed Bush oh-so-close to her crotch) as an attempt to remind him of her reproductive rights. Seeing as how she was forced to strip off the belt mid-set, she resignedly declared that the President must not be interested in such things.

In addition to witty political banter, Olson also delivered in her spoken word part of the show. Personally, I was thrilled that she included the rad crush song "Unsteady Things," as well as the beautifully sad break up piece "8x10," both found on her sophomore release Independence Meal. Luckily for the audience, she did the hilarious "Cute for a Girl" from her debut album, which is a song for Catholic school girls just waiting to come out. Her set also included some moving tributes to her parents and the "Womyn Before," during which she encouraged a shy audience to yell out the names of their own heroines. [To be fair, the D.C. audience - while surprisingly much smaller - was braver on this front than the crowd at a show I saw in Minneapolis.] I've heard so much about "Armpit Hair [Mammally Factual]" that I was hoping she would perform it; but, no.

All in all, an entertaining show that alternated between hilarious bouts of Olson-brand sarcasm and moments of the audience's mesmerized disbelief at the sheer talent this woman possesses.

Never before have I wanted to celebrate any aspect of the He-Man saga, but after seeing Olson, all I can say is "Go Skeletor!"