Exhibit 15.5

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

Murakami's memoir about, well, running isn't a book that leaves the reader with much beyond a desire to lace up some Mizunos and hit the trail. There's a lot of talk about how to train for a marathon and some insights into runners and running, but the glimpses into Murakami's writing are minimal, mostly confined to an essay that was published last year. Not that it isn't an interesting book--it is--but it's hardly the exploration of Murakami's life and writing that his readers, including this one, would like to see from him someday.

There are a few things to be gleaned from it about the man himself, though there are still more questions produced than answers. Murakami writes that he is not very competitive while simultaneously showing again and again how much he struggles to best his own performances and the performances of others. Similarly, Murakami claims to be somewhat unsociable while agonizing over how to be funny and likable at a reading he is to give at M.I.T. These aren't contradictions, exactly, but they do, I think, say as much about Murakami's drive as his triathlons and ultra-marathons. The man is clearly a hard worker--maybe the hardest worker--and doesn't seem to make distinctions in his approaches to writing a novel, running a marathon, or making friends.

Still, the best sections of the book are about nothing other than running, and it's hard to read without wanting to take up the sport yourself. Murakami clearly believes that running has given him discipline and endurance, but it's just as clear that he has always had more than enough of those two qualities. Ultimately, whether a runner or a novelist, one can only end the book by wondering if he or she has those qualities too.

Heather has a better take, a runner's take, here.


Exhibit 15.4

Let me ask you this, how attractive is Robert Redford? I mean, I get that he's pretty attractive. Nobody here is arguing that he isn't. As much as I have opinions about such things, I'm a Paul Newman guy, but I could understand if you prefer Redford. Fine.

(Ed note: I definitely have opinions about such things).

I ask because over the holiday break I watched Three Days of the Condor--appropriately, it turned out to be a bit of a Christmas movie--and it features perhaps the most unlikely seduction this side of Lyle Lovett and Julia Roberts. (Zing! Call me, Jay.)

So Redford is attractive, but is he four-hours-ago-he-stuck-me-up-at-gunpoint-and-then-made-me-drive-home-when-I-was-supposed-to-go-skiing-with-my-very-understanding-boyfriend-in-Vermont-over-Christmas-and-I-thought-he-was-going-to-rape-me-but-now-he-is-telling-me-some-paranoid-story-about-the-CIA-oh-no-he-has-tied-me-up-and-gagged-me-but-is-gone-for-hours-now-he-is-back-and-is-holding-a-gun-to-me-so-that-I-lie-to-my-very-understanding-boyfriend-oh-no-I'm-in-love-with-him-I-hope-I-get-the-opportunity-to-cheat-on-my-very-understanding-boyfriend-with-this-violent-paranoid-maybe-rapist attractive?

If you want to see the (very PG) love scene (now with more wistful saxophones and moody black-and-white photography!) it's on YouTube here. Mostly it's interesting for featuring what Robert Redford's species calls kissing.

It's not what you and I call kissing.

Keep in mind that's what you're in for if he ever puts a gun to your back and starts babbling about the CIA. You can't help it.


Exhibit 15.3

Merry Christmas


Exhibit 15.2

Why not support The Los Angeles Review?

I received a copy of the new issue yesterday and it's chock full of good work that deserves your attention and a story of mine that does not.

My story is mostly notable for not being titled "Spotty" despite the insistence of one Dave Madden. Its actual title, "The Third Time I Saw a Spot," is possibly an even worse choice, but I've never had a harder time titling a story and after a certain point I just gave up. Here's the plot: a man develops a large spot in the center of his vision that won't go away. What does one title a story like that? Apparently not "Spotty."

(What does one title an essay about pet taxidermy? Definitely "Stay," right? Right.)

I wouldn't mind retitling the story for my own sanity's sake so if you have suggestions, feel free to pass them along. Oddly, I had the perfect title when I first thought of the story until I remembered that Mark Haddon had already used A Spot of Bother.

Oh, while I'm at it, I might as well embarrass myself with some of the other titles I tried. Off the top of my head:

"A Spot"
"The Spot"
"A Bale of Turtles"
"Daniel Tersi" (ed note: there is no one in the story named Daniel Tersi. Ugh.)
"Spot (Singular)"

Awful, just awful.


Exhibit 15.1

What I Talk About When I Talk About Cold

Before Sunday I would have told you one of three things.

* Winter camping as a boy scout. Possibly because of the hot SUV ride there or the awesomely warm sleeping bag I took, but these "Klondike Camps" always felt colder while packing the sled in the church basement than they did screwing wheels on the sled by the campsite because there wasn't any snow. I don't recall how many times I went, at least twice, but there was never snow or cold that might be considered dangerous. Still, the camps were unrelenting in their camping and even at a sunny 20° F, an 11-year-old's body quits after a few hours. This is where I first started drinking coffee though the adults never shared the whiskey they didn't even try to hide. At the time I thought maybe they were just disrespecting our intelligence, but now I realize it' s just hard to hide anything when you're wearing mittens.

* Sleeping outside of a hostel in Switzerland. Now, it was May, but still. It isn't actually as interesting as it sounds--except to me, I suppose--so I'll keep this all temperature related. All I know is that after an hour of sleeping on a concrete stoop, when I woke up my heart was cold. You should add "From Exposure" to your list of most feared deaths. And then you should never show your list to O.J.

(I'm totally still gunning for a gig with Leno. Jokes like that work even better at 10, Jay.)

* Ice fishing. Fairly self-explanatory if you've done it. I understand from movies and television that ice fishing is often done in some kind of enclosed cabin, but the time I went it was only a bunch of us exposed on a lake augering about thirty holes in an area the size of a high school classroom. Here's how cold it was: I had a great time, but I would make the car crash if you ever tried to drive me to a lake and make me do it again. I don't know how I would make the car crash, but rest assured, now that I'm remembering how it felt, I'm coming up with a plan just in case. Just a guess, but the plan will probably involve lunging at the steering wheel. Or possibly hypnosis. I'll keep working on it.

But there is nothing--nothing--like standing for three hours in windchill cutting down to -20° F. It was like someone stole my toes and fingers and replaced them with terror. It was like wearing a suit made out of brain freezes. It was like volunteering to guard a penguin who, instead of doing heart warming penguin shenanigans, spends the afternoon telling racist jokes. It was like suddenly knowing how the last dinosaur felt at the moment of its death.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, if I ever pick you up in December and tell you I'm taking you to a football game, you should make the car crash, possibly by using your watch to deflect light in my eyes or by shooting a poison dart into my neck.


Exhibit 14.27

The video/music/spoken word/poetry collaboration of my second favorite creation myth continues to be awesome. Deservedly, it's getting recognition from Ninth Letter where Elisabeth Reinkordt is their featured artist. Watch the video and read an interview with Elisabeth here. You have to.

For more creation myths, go here. You have to. I am very, very excited for Mathias's upcoming book Destruction Myth. I can only assume it will be about a space war between the creation and destruction myths. It's already what I'm getting you for future Christmases. You've already said thanks.


Exhibit 14.26

...it is hard to imagine what America would look like without the small and shrinking number of people who engage in painstaking, firsthand research in order to separate the truth from the body of supposed facts, and who keep the rest of us honest. A corollary of this insight, of course, is that much of what we think we know is wrong.

This New Yorker article about a truck driver who has become the world's authority on the first nuclear bombs is interesting.

Also interesting:

1) The entire article I had to keep reminding myself to sub-vocalize the word nuclear as "nu-clee-ar" as opposed to my more natural "nu-cu-lur." It's a mispronunciation I'm trying desperately to drop and it's one issue on which I have complete sympathy for our current president. I grew up in western Nebraska, for god's sake, everyone pronounces it "nu-cu-lur" there.

I've actually considered whether or not I should just live with it as a nod to authenticity. Possibly I should even use the word more, especially in rarefied company likely to call me on it. "This is some nuculur brie, California's 46th District Congressman Dana Rohrabacher!" or "Our only hope is that when the nuculur bombs drop we still got good water in our cricks, Maya Angelou."

This, however, is the road that leads to me becoming a James Carville-like caricature of Midwesterness. You'll know this is the life I've chosen if you see me drinking pop and taking the ACT.

It's okay if you don't want to be my friend anymore.

2) Speaking of western Nebraska, at one point the article makes a reference to Scottsbluff only they call it "Scott's Bluff." Now, the county is Scotts Bluff, County, but, even giving them that one, that apostrophe is all New Yorker.

I wonder, did the town name not satisfy their archaic style guide? Perhaps Remnick and company should coördinate a fact finding mission among their most élite proof readers.


Exhibit 14.25

Medical services I might take advantage of in the coming benefit year because our new insurance company says I can:

*18 spinal manipulation visits
*60 days of nursing home care
*Prosthetic devices up to $7,500
*Other manipulative therapies
*Elective sterilization
*Infertility diagnosis (you know, to make sure it took)
*Durable medical equipment (DME) up to $4,000

The next time you see me I'm going to be so much more oxygenated and sterile it's not even going to be funny.

Okay, the sterilization might be a little funny.

Exhibit 14.24

From: Mom
Re: Christmas Agenda

Friday, December 19th
5:00-9:00p.m. - Wait for K. to get off work
9:00-10:00p.m - Talk about whether or not we should go with the original plan or form a new plan
10:00-12:00a.m. - Go to game-filled bar/restaurant Go bowling

Saturday, December 20th
12:00-7:00a.m. - Sleep on air mattress for some, comfy beds for others
8:00-9:30a.m. - Try to readjust the electronic thermostat to not cut temperature to 50 degrees in the basement
9:30-9:45a.m. - Breakfast
9:45-11:00a.m. - Sit in living room
11:00-11:30a.m. - Discuss whether or not we should open one present now
11:30-11:35a.m. - Open one present
11:35-12:00p.m. - Open all presents
12:00-12:00a.m. - Feel ashamed while remarking on the relative attractiveness of the torn wrapping paper

Sunday, December 21st
12:00-9:00a.m. - Fend off band of comically inept robbers with elaborate series of traps constructed out of household objects/reconnect old man Marley with his son
9:00-4:00p.m. - Traditional holiday Dolphins vs. Chiefs game
4:00-5:00p.m. - Disconnect old man Marley from his son
5:00-6:00p.m. - Cider

Thursday, December 25th
All Day - Watch Smart Guy marathon on B.E.T.

Frankly, I'm excited.


Exhibit 14.23

I've read a fair amount about the Somali pirates but don't really understand the issues well enough to tell you how I should feel. I can only tell you how I do feel:

I love the Somali pirates.


Exhibit 14.22

Yes, that is a Daniel Johnston quote on this Sunday's Mary Worth.

Possible explanations for this:

1. Um....

Okay, so there aren't any possible explanations for this. Mary Worth and Daniel Johnston are as different as two people can be, and that's without taking into account that one of them is imaginary. Let me break this down for you.

Mary Worth--Daniel Johnston
Needs to be Committed--Committed to Helping Others
A Menace--A Genius
Eats Still-Warm Pituitary Glands to Stay Alive--Excellent Golfer
Has Seen the Devil--Has Seen Every Family Matters
Lives with (Bodies of) Parents--

As you can see, I ran out of things to say about Daniel Johnston. He's just a good dude who makes wildly uneven music. Not like Mary "On the Morrow I'll Come for Your Youngest Child" Worth.

Possible explanations for how I saw this that don't involve me being a fan of a soap-style comic about a 60-something busybody whose megalomania is such that she believes every human is an empty vessel in which she can deposit her overflowing virtue:

1. Um...

Okay, so there aren't any other explanations for this.


Exhibit 14.21

Problems with Winter 1-3

1. I am pretty sure I'm not the correct temperature. My arms are warm, my toes are cold, and the inside of my head--about where I imagine my elementary school memories are--is on fire. I've already forgotten about that time we went on vacation and that other time a bad thing happened to a kid I knew. Also, I think my fourth grade teacher smelled like spent matches, but maybe that's just my memory turning to kindling.

2. My ice scraper was felled by this morning's lake-like sheet of ice on my windshield. This problem is much more solvable than #1 which is too bad as #1 seems to indicate something unsettling about my physical and/or mental health.

3. My apartment is 58 degrees. This is unsolvable but goes a long way to contribute to #1 and has no impact on #2. I actually don't mind this so much as it allows me to wear the sweatpants I've had since that time in the fifth grade when everyone was horribly burned.


Exhibit 14.20

The World According to Garp

What an odd thing to write a book about a simmering war between the sexes and have most of its retribution and bitterness directed at women while the male protagonist, hardly a saint, is able to stand above and judge and have his comeuppance redirected to others. It's certainly of its time, as in the 30 years since the book's publication the long-anticipated gender war has failed to appear and Irving's intention to use sex--both gender and the physical act--as a weapon seems fairly silly, like he's brought a hand grenade to a schoolyard fight.

With the benefit of having a much looser morality without having to fret about it, Irving's novel seems naked in its male-panic over women...and sex with women...and sex with women who were once men...and possibly sex with men (though this never comes up in the book which is actually quite interesting. There are plenty of men who turn into women and a great deal of worry about lesbians, but no actual gays that I can recall. The reasons for this conspicuous omission in a book otherwise wrapped up in its own "perversity" are probably worth looking into. There is a paper to be written there, Dave Madden). The heightened absurdity of so many of the accidents which befall the characters (which are, of course, not accidents to their author) might have once shielded the book from interpretation of its gender politics with humor, but I found very little funny about the book and a whole lot objectionable about the ways it's written to protect its deified hero.

Garp is clearly an Irving stand-in or, at the very least, shares more than a few biographical details with his author (prep school, wrestling, his novels, etc.). Now, I don't care one way or the other, and I agree with Irving that checking a book against a biography is a profoundly stupid way to read, but Irving says this--through Garp--constantly. Garp hates it when people think his books are autobiographical yet he also worries he's lost his imagination and can only write autobiographically. For this reader, anything that might have been interesting about that meta-narrative is lost when it feels like the author is more interested in hedging his bets and protecting himself than in actually, you know, exploring that contrast.

So, too, Irving cuts off any charges of sexism by having them levelled preemptively at Garp who has ample time to defend himself. That it's not a sexist book or at least isn't a simple one, hardly matters when the author is openly daring you to call it one in the text itself. As a person unwilling to make this charge or to feel any anger when others unfairly make it, I thought Irving's attempts to shoehorn it into every interaction cost the book a fair amount of its seriousness. At every turn Irving makes it so clear how he would like you to read his book that it is less The World According to Garp and more The World According to Garp According to John Irving (I totally wanted to say something pointless and mean like that since around page 300. Also, it would be very easy to wrap that whole argument up in a grand wrestling metaphor about defending oneself but I feel like Irving was daring the reader to do that, too).

Naturally, Irving isn't giving up control of the book yet. In both the 20th anniversary essay in my paperback copy and in this BBC radio interview with him from this past summer's 30th anniversary, Irving claims the novel is really about a father's anxiety for his children's safety. This is as much lie as truth, however, as the book is really about male anxiety for everything (which includes a fatherly concern for the safety of his children). Dropping the insane-feminists-versus-flawed-but-honorable-man's-man angle is smart and reflects an awareness on Irving's part on how the book has aged, but in the end we're left with the book he wrote which is about nothing more than it's about sex.

I liked it more than I'm letting on, though mostly I admired Irving's skill with language and structure. At its best, it's a haunting and charged book that's comprehensive in a way that rarely feels heavy. It is also a book very much alive. So nobody here is saying the man can't write--he's very, very good--but there is one argument about the book that I don't think Irving guarded himself against: it's a cowardly novel.

From protecting the author by pre-articulating his defense to punishing the undeserving in order to provide catharsis for a different tragedy to--SPOILER ALERT THOUGH YOU WILL PROBABLY KNOW IT'S COMING DUE TO THE BOOK'S STRUCTURE--Garp's martyrdom at the very Christ-like age of 33, it's a book that thinks it's taking chances without realizing the game is rigged. It's not tragic, it's self-flagellation that never leaves the writer's control in order to become actually dangerous.


Exhibit 14.19

On Editing a Novel #11

USING SIMILES IS LIKE USING GOLD. You may have noticed that the title of this segment on similes is like a simile except it's not because it actually is a simile so is therefore not like a simile at all.

Similes are like word friendship bracelets. When you put one on it's as if you're creating a team of superheroes and when that team of superheroes goes out to save your readers it's like punching the doldrums or like mule-ing a donkey and a horse or like eating Thai food as if you've never eaten Thai food like a starved person before.

Not just any writer should use similes, however. Here's a quick test to see if you're one of the writers who should:

A) Are you not a court reporter?
B) Are you Michael Chabon?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, it's like you were conceived to use similes!

But you may only use these similes in your novel:

...ducks as if nickels
...The Netherlands is like an impish Denmark
...fast as Lent
...Lent as a pauper's pockets past payday
..."The Other Side of Summer" is, like, totally my favorite track off Might Like a Rose
...cousins are like elbows, everyone's got two plus or minus
...Colorado is like a sunglasses case filled with dim hope
...alive as dead won't be
...who as a blindfolded birthday party
...dictionaries are like books of words
...love is like jazz and/or a bottle of gin
...positive as the other side of the battery
...March is like an impish October
...a voice like purple
...hungry as a Pope
...Magnetic Fields references are like impish, wounded deer
...wasteful as Thanksgiving night
...tuft as dapper snails
...eyes like a suitcase filled with white shirts and a circle of sort of hazely shirts on top
...as accidental as a Tuesday noon
...bees like empty soda cans
...dinosaurs as if kindergarten recess

And that's it. There are no more. Ever.

Exhibit 14.18

It's not often that someone does something in real life that is so outrageous, so preposterous, that if it were to happen in a book I would immediately stop reading. In no book with a pretense to reality would I believe a plot in which the radically corrupt governor of a state--who knows he is under federal investigation--auctions off a seat in the U.S. Senate with the cunning of a fifth-grader shaking classmates down for milk money.

So to that I say, Congratulations, Governor Blagojevich, you've made John Grisham blush.


Exhibit 14.17

So apparently I don't have time to write today but I do have time to check to see if the lady from Doc Hollywood was also the lady from Tommy Boy because I thought they were different ladies but they look so similar in my memory that I started to think maybe I was wrong and that they were the same lady and, anyway, why did I have to read all of the comments on the A.V. Club's review of the first season DVDs of Spin City when A) I've never seen Spin City and B) I was supposedly writing until then and now I find myself typing this this this this this this which is not at all writing it's just this this.

Oh, and yes, they are the same actress.

In any case, I've been writing while this post has sat open in my browser. Here was my last sentence which starts a chapter:

"Three years pass before _________ meets _________ in the crowded vestibule of _________’s boyhood home where those lucky enough to have received this year’s invitation arrive prompt and en masse only to slide over the snow-puddled floor, entangle themselves in one another's scarves, and apologize profusely for the unclaimed breasts they elbow while shivering off winter coats in a race to be the first to shake the billionaire’s hand on his birthday, his last."

Yeah, I'm trying a bit too hard there, but what do you expect with Doc Hollywood on the brain. That movie is nothing but effort rewarded.


Exhibit 14.16

I just watched the movie Wanted and thought I should tell you how it's the awesomest. (Before you say anything, just know that I was determined to watch this movie since the moment I saw them talk about bending bullets in the trailer. No, I don't care what you think that says about me. Yes, I'm comfortable with where I stand on bullet bending).

Sure, it's thoroughly, thoroughly terrible but in what some would call the best. way. ever. Not me, but some. I just thought it was a pretty good way of being terrible.

Every aspect of it from its ludicrous plot to its absurd anti-physics to its questionable moral code is done with such a kinetic clash between unwinking sincerity and knowing gusto that it's hard to imagine what the filmmakers thought while making it. Somehow it ends up being neither a stolid and pretentious action movie (like any American John Woo movie) nor a self-consciously capital-M Movie (like Running Scared or Shoot 'Em Up). In fact, it's as if at no point did anyone ask any questions, especially not any questions which might have led to the appearance of intention or judgment.

I guess I'm just excited to see a movie so awful yet without one iota of irony to protect itself. There are so many hilarious lines to illustrate this, but I'd hate to ruin it for you so I'll just give you one.

Morgan Freeman says, "We take our orders from the loom."

Note: Nothing in the above line is in any way a metaphor. There is literally a loom which tells them to kill people who are going to do bad things in the future yet this loom never gets explained or questioned.

Also, no one is ashamed of the loom.


Exhibit 14.15

Why Bobby Jindal is not Barack Obama

So I can't let politics go, not yet, not like this. Bear with me for one more chance to play pundit before the news dries up and I have to get my presumption off by playing Civilization IV on the computer and writing 1,400-word posts about how that Kublai Khan is misallocating his resources by decreeing a stately pleasure dome.

There's been a lot of talk about where the Republicans turn now that the old guard has failed and the new guard runs the gamut from crazy (Palin) to stupid (Palin). Anyone looking to gloat about this should remember identical conversations in 2000 and 2004 when it seemed like the Democrat's Vietnam generation produced a series of boring, self-loathing leaders incapable of winning over enough "real" Americans to beat even the most incompetent of Republicans. Four year election cycles offer the parties a long time to rebuild themselves, and I think one of the most important lessons of 2008's election is that the elongated campaign season opens up the presidency to younger, lesser known politicians by providing approximately 938 months of television coverage in which American can decide a candidate is good enough simply due to his or her continued existence.

Speaking of good enough due to his continued existence, it's Bobby Jindal! He's been in Iowa recently and the talk among the more hopeful conservatives is that he's going to be the Republican's very own Obama. They seem to think this because:

1) Bobby Jindal is brown. Not the same brown, but a brown. That will do, apparently.
2) Bobby Jindal is young. This is irrefutable.
3) Bobby Jindal has a funny name (yet isn't a secret Muslim. Even if he was, the people who care about such things won't care about such things as long as he's their secret Muslim).
4) Bobby Jindal is smart. This is irrefutable.

Political parties kill themselves by playing these superficial games of guess the zeitgeist. It's how 9/11 and the Iraq War led to the misguided choice of war hero John Kerry, completely ignoring how his patrician demeanor undercut his raison d’être and left him spending the campaign defending his service to a man who spent the war stateside. That Vietnam service, no matter how stellar, wasn't a reason to elect a president was clear to everyone except the Democratic Party who could never quite figure out why their candidate who seemed to have all of the needed characteristics of the moment, couldn't beat the clear incompetence of the incumbent.

Which brings us to Jindal. His trap is similar to Kerry's though probably deeper. That he is another smart, young minority might lead the Republican Party to forget that the last two of those qualities are net negatives and the first is often times construed as one (though, admittedly, usually by the Republicans themselves). Even if his position was exactly like Obama's, pretending that his election would somehow be as meaningful--even after Obama takes office--is silly. Most Americans know nothing about the Indian-American experience whereas Obama's election was the culmination of a struggle that has existed since our nation's founding. That is not to say it wouldn't be another meaningful win--certainly the image of the two men debating alone would be powerful--but that seeing analogies where there aren't any is a good way to lose.

Ultimately, Barack Obama won this past election not because of any of those characteristics he shares with Jindal but despite them. For the 40% of the country that saw him as a symbol of hope due partially to his atypical race, name, and history for a candidate, at least another 10% had to be talked into him based on policy and personality, and Jindal faces those voters with an argument that runs counter to the direction of the country. Outlawing abortion without any exceptions? Teaching creationism in schools? These two issues alone are going to make Jindal a tough sell in a number of conservative states let alone socially moderate swing states like Florida and Colorado.

And, as with Kerry, even those bullets on the resume that seemed like such a good idea are bound to fail Jindal when connected with the actual person. Unlike Obama, Jindal actually does have a religious background that will trouble his base. Converting from Hinduism to very strict Roman Catholicism is hardly a selling point to the megachurch set. So too he's less by-the-bootstraps symbol of American opportunity than he is another scion of privilege and money, not exactly the promise-fulfillment narrative of Barack Obama. And, perhaps most obviously, he appears much less comfortable in his own skin than Obama. From his religious conversion to forgoing Piyush for Bobby to his inconsistent use of folksy mannerisms depending on his audience, he's much more John Kerry/Mitt Romney than Barack Obama/George W. Bush/Bill Clinton (you might notice something the latter have in common).

Still, he's got an impressive resume, seems to be a fairly competent governor so far, and is said to be quite impressive in person (of course, the same things could be said of Romney). Jindal's struggle will be to moderate himself to match the electorate. Unfortunately, if the Republican Party's ardor only goes skin-deep, no one will force Jindal to do that until he's nominated and they realize that the public doesn't want a less compelling "Obama" over the real thing, let alone a retrograde one. Jindal's time may come and in a party bereft of better choices, he certainly looks pretty good four years out. But it's a temptation built on a desire to compete with a moment that's already happened. Jindal should look at this past year's election as opening a door for him (and millions of others) that many thought permanently closed but think very carefully about whether or not he wants to run against the man who opened it. Making his party feel more relevant and less uni-raced is not a good enough reason.


Exhibit 14.14

Post-Thanksgiving Thoughts

I really meant to post something over the long weekend but instead I got sucked into killing time in other, less common ways like avoiding the repeatedly proffered horseradish-cranberry dressing and awkwardly handling what I'm told is "my" shotgun. The aftermath:

*November was my least bloggy month since...last November. The lesson here is that I'm easily distracted by holidays I don't enjoy. Keep this in mind when you check for posts during National Radon Action Month.

*During an extended period of Friday malaise brought about by a bad writing day, I found myself watching television and caught four minutes of what I assume is the worst movie ever made (even the title is awesomely bad, not to mention the tagline).

Here's the story: I was flipping channels and caught Delroy Lindo. Turns out, I stop flipping channels for Delroy Lindo. I actually enjoy knowing this about myself.

Anyway, I then saw Kirstie Alley who appears to be playing a mentally challenged person. I could tell because she's slurring her words, talking in a high voice, and generally acting like she was ten. Let me save you the time looking this up: no, she did not win an Oscar. I was captivated by this performance like it was a train wreck on the deck of the Titanic which just hit the Hindenburg--give me a second to run a hyperbole check....nope, that's about right--but then it got even worse/better because she started badgering a reluctant Delroy Lindo to propose to her.

Now, I'd been watching about thirty seconds of this movie so I had no grounding for what was happening, but I was convinced that Delroy Lindo's character was flustered because he wasn't mentally challenged and was just trying to find a nice way to say no. When he finally proposes, he looks like he's just been given a death sentence (which I assume is what Kirstie Alley's career was given after this performance! Snark!). So I turn off the TV and assume that our man Delroy is about to go buy some candy rings and find a janitor to pull off some kind of fake wedding when I look up the movie on IMDb and find out that they were both supposed to be mentally challenged.

Frankly, I like this even more because it means Delroy Lindo and Kirstie Alley had to have this conversation on the first day of shooting:

Delroy: Oh, are you going to do it like that?
Kirstie: Yes. How are you going to do it?
Delroy: Um, I'm going to do it a different way.
Kirstie: Different how?
Delroy: I don't know, I was thinking dignified.
Kirstie: Youz gotz to get down on you kneeses to propos!

*As you can tell, it was a very memorable four minutes of watching the Lifetime Movie Network for me.

*James has me rethinking wearing ringer t-shirts. So there's that. It was great to see him again, but I'm not sure he and his fiance had to deconstruct my carefully thought out "Guy who wears ringer t-shirts" persona so quickly. Or maybe they did.

*Also good to see: my cousin Chris (who has gotten bigger), Tyrone and Julee (who are the same great sizes), and my beloved grandmas (who are possibly smaller but still big in heart).

*The Dolphins now control their own playoff destiny, but it would mean winning two tough divisional road games. I would put their chances somewhere close to the odds that I finish The World According to Garp by the time the company book club meets.

*Oh, and I no longer have a brother. I can handle the turkey hunting, I can handle you not picking me up for Thanksgiving, but I draw the line at costing me 1st place.

*You're getting close to crossing the line, too, Kaitlin, Dad, Brett, Dan Marino, Justin, weather, upstairs neighbor, and Jeff Tweedy.