Monthly Archives: July 2006

Naughty Neighbors or Prankster Aliens?

Down the hill from my house, on a busy street, there’s an Italian restaurant called Vinny’s (my rating: if you want good pasta, come to my house. Vinny may be a handsome devil with a twinkly eye, but his marinara sucks.) They have one of those lighted signs out front where they put up these little sayings, like “2006: YEAR OF THE MEATBALL”. Well, a while back they put on the sign “MMM MEATBALLS”. Camille and I were driving by a few weeks ago on our way back from a movie, and somebody had rearranged the letters. It said, “MMMM EAT BALLS”.

The next morning all the letters were gone.

Just thought I’d share that.

I Am an American Pop Culture Fashion Icon

In my hoppin’ corner of this smart and cutting edge city, I’ve observed that young white women are setting the standard for how every woman and girl in the world, from Iceland to Budapest, should dress. I, being the obedient lamb that I am, observe these important fashion cues to a T. I can often be seen strutting down South Congress like it’s a runway, brown heels clicking sassily, skeletal hips jutting under jeans with the legs folded up and the waist so low you can just about see my short hairs (if I had any – tee hee!). I’m wearing a dirty-pink (yes there is such a color) maternity-looking shirt, the kind that gathers under your perky bouncing bosoms, them blossoms out girlishly toward your tight little waist. I’m clutching a short-handled sparkly purse to one side of aformentioned bosoms. With the other hand I’m simultaneously talking on a cell phone and walking a Chihuahua on a string. Or better yet, a pit bull.

But really girls, these days, it’s all about the sunglasses. I’m going to let you in on it, because I care. If you’re not wearing enormous, hideous 70’s-looking shades, YOU – ARE – SO – NOTHING. The uglier they make you look, the more attractive you’ll be, somehow, to the scruffy guys with their dirty-looking corduroy pants, sideburns and perfectly mussed hair.

And the incredibly super uber-exciting thing I have to tell you is: I started the bug-eyes trend! It’s amazing, isn’t it? Little bitty me! See, the searing equatorial Texas sunlight started making me see things, like funny soaring black dots and hilarious pre-migraine prisms. So I bought myself a pair of those granny shades that wrap around the entire upper half of your face. I started wearing them all over town. Then, about four months later, it caught on – and now EVERY GIRL’S GOT BIG ONES! Except mine are the biggest, and some would say ugliest. Which makes me the High Princess of South Congress, and thus World, Fashion.

Shouldn’t I be winning some kind of plaque?

Well, maybe the grannies should win it.

No Going Back

I’m still here, friends. Actually I think about writing all the time. Every time I have a moment to sit here, I look at the clock and it’s 1 a.m. and I know Rocky’s going to wake me up at 6:30.

I met a woman at a peace rally the other day. We were asking the U.S. government to stop the killing of Lebanese civilians. The woman’s name is Helga, and she’s German. She was out there with no sign, no instruments, just herself. She wasn’t cheering or dancing like the other protesters. She told me, “I’m glad they have an outlet for their emotions, but…”. I said, “too happy”. She nodded. She said, “it’s children, dying over there”.

She was 6 years old and living in a small German city when WWII was ending. She told me what she saw. Her mother stashing her behind a tree, and peeking out to try to see the bullets whizzing by. Watching bombs come down from the sky. Seeing burned neighbors. Evacuating the burned-down city, walking by piles of bodies stacked as high as she was tall. Her mother never left the house without two of her kids, holding their hands, so that she wouldn’t have to salute Hitler. She told me so much that it spilled out of my mind – I just couldn’t retain it all. She said that she had no fear of the war as a child, because she was so young. Her older siblings can’t remember much; they blocked it out. But her memories are vivid. During the first Iraq war, she was listening to the radio and heard the word “carpet bombing”. She had no emotion – suddenly, tears just started pouring out of her eyes.

All this time, all my life, I’ve had no concept of war. Now I’m listening, and I’m learning. My heart is breaking for the little kids, the families, the dogs and cats, the artists, the elderly who’ve seen it before and may leave this world in a war, like Rukan’s hundred-year-old great aunt. And those unable to get out to escape the bombs. I feel my heart can’t bear it. But I have to, now. Helga told me, “once you wake up, there’s no going back.”

The Beautiful Dream We Live In

Sitting in the relative safety of my rickety old garage apartment. No more gunfire in the neighborhood. No need to choose carefully which color bandanna is safe to wear. Twelve years ago this street looked so different; gentrification has done its duty. But even having heard the gang shootings, having walked past a ton of broken glass and rats in the gutters and skinny tired-looking kids on caving-in front porches, having spent my childhood in the poorest corners of coastal towns with perverts following me home from school and maniacal “bullies” trying to murder other kids, I will still probably never understand what it’s like to live in a war zone.

I read Laure Ghorayeb’s and her son Mazen Kerbaj’s blogs daily. Laure is an art critic and artist. Mazen is a musician and also an artist. They are Lebanese, and they’re witnesses to the destruction of Southern Lebanon and the slaughter of civilians. I sit here in my house, listening to chimes and birds singing outside, contemplating turning on the AC, and find myself wondering if “slaughter” is too strong a word. I wonder what Laure and Mazen would think.

I wonder how it is that I can be so consumed by the workings of my imbalanced head, sitting here bitching about what’s wrong with me to anyone who cares to read about it. I hope my fellow bloggers in places like Lebanon, living without the priviledge I daily take for granted, are not reading. I would be ashamed.

I don’t feel guilty for what I have. Guilt is mostly useless to me – it just paralyzes me. I am angry, so incredibly angry at our government, for the role our country is playing in this conflict, and how we’ve acted in so many international situations in the past. How fucking long it took us to get involved in WWII, but how eagerly we stepped into Iraq. How we treat our own people, here in the States. How we European-Americans came to be in power here, in the first place. I’m angry at myself, at my friends and family, at my fellow citizens, for our apathy and denial.

Please, if you’re not already awake, wake up now. We are needed.

Lebanese Blogs

If you get a chance, please follow my new links to two artists’ blogs, a Lebanese woman and her son. They are poignant, filled with chilling, magnificent artwork and words relaying to the world their lives in Lebanon, while bombs fall around them. And they are totally current. They’re probably posting as I type.

Love and splinters,
Blue Ox

No Pants and Ready to Fight

And now, for your viewing enjoyment, newly-recovered, never-before-seen Fotoz of Little Blue:

See, I WAS raised by hippies. In case you had any doubts. 1974.

I’m told I hated pants.

Have I changed at ALL?  And is that the SAME ANTELOPE-THING?

And now, on with the show.

I don’t embarrass easily, but I’m embarrassed. And I’m bare-assed. Which doesn’t really embarrass me, as anyone who’s walked into my house unannounced can attest to. I’m bare-assed because I had a couple of pals over tonight and it was hot, and they were hot, so I turned off the air conditioning. I’m embarrassed because I’ve spent all of my adult life, probably most of my life, in an almost constant state of “something’s wrong”. “Why?”, you ask, because you care. Some of it is chemical, or hormonal, something not exactly psychological in origin – the anxiety, or panic disorder, or whatever it is that makes me feel more terrified of things than I should be, and that completely takes me over, sometimes to the point where I’m debilitated from the fear. Some of my weirdness is purely in the ole’ noggin. Things just bother me too much. I become consumed by anything unpleasant that happens in my life. I’ve always wanted to be the sort of person who just shrugs off an aching back and loneliness and stomach shrapnel. But I’ve never been able to pull it off. Or maybe, somewhere inside me written in a foreign language I can’t quite remember how to read, I don’t want to lose the badness. To act in a healthy way would mean that I’d eventually learn to be happy. Can’t have that. It’s too strange. It’s change, and in the primitive swamp at the very bottom of my world, change is dangerous. When you leave home, you get eaten by things you don’t recognize as predators. You lose everything you’ve ever known and loved, and then you get punched in the face by a big guy who doesn’t like the way you’re eating your macaroni, and then it gets worse before it gets better. Happy = Different = Change = Danger. Fucking complicated, if you ask me. Maybe it’ll seem less complicated after a good month’s sleep.

This time I’m attacking the anxiety problem head-on, and not stopping until I’m better. I don’t even know what “better” looks like. I think I experienced it briefly a while back, but the memory of it has been buried under two years of worrying about a treasured, beloved daughter with a heart defect. I want the goodness back. I know you want it for me. Root for me, ok? I think I’m worth the effort or I’d have quit this heavy world a long time ago.

And now, the Haiku of the Day:

I’m really fucked up
seriously fucking fucked
fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Love,
B.O.

p.p.s.: I always wanted to be the quiet, mysterious type. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!

Beirut Family Update

We got word that Rukan’s family members are all right, and have fled 40 miles north of Beirut to get away from the Israeli troops now entering the country.

“Mounting civilian casualties and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Lebanese could limit the time Israel has to achieve its goals, as international tolerance for the bloodshed and destruction runs out.”

“Tolerance for the bloodshed”? Excuse me, I think I’m going to go throw up.

-Blue