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Archive for August, 2013

Hi beautiful ones. I got my work done — turns out you can edit and watch 2 football games and a baseball game all at the same time — so I have a few minutes to chat. But only a few because I’m heading down this evening to one of my favorite places to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Since I usually don’t do anything for my own, I always co-opt Adam’s. So basically I’m celebrating my birthday tonight. You should totally drop by. Because this is the view from the deck:

I could just sit and look for the rest of my life.

I could just sit and look for the rest of my life.

Speaking of water, the Mohel invited me to go out on a boat with some of his friends Sunday. If it actually pans out it will be…I really have no words. I do have friends out there. I need to remember that and thank them often. I’m available for babysitting Mohel. Just say the word.

Alright, very little left to say and I’m wanting to get away from this computer for a little while. But I’m making this sometime this weekend. Doesn’t it look delicious? One day I’ll have people to make it for. You know, that’s really all I want anymore. I’m not too proud to admit it.

I leave you with perhaps the funniest thing I’ve read in a while. My friend Charlie has some of this quoted as his Gchat status and I asked what it was from. Holy cow, it’s so brilliant. I give you the entire OC vs. 90210 breakdown below. You can see the rest of the post here. Happy Friday people. Tell your loved ones how much they mean to you this weekend.

Q: I know it’s only halfway through the second season, but has the time come to seriously compare The OC with the grandaddy of the genre, Beverly Hills: 90210?


— Michael Tedesco, Hopewell, NJ

You’re right, it’s time. Let’s break this baby down, Dr. Jack-style. To keep things fair, I’m only comparing The OC to the first two seasons of 90210.

Premise: 90210 revolved around two twins from Minnesota moving to Beverly Hills and dealing with rich people. The OC had a troubled kid from Encino moving to Orange County and dealing with rich people. The lesson, as always: You’re probably going to have a hit show if an outsider is dealing with rich people. The OC pilot was better — actually, it was probably the best episode in the history of the show — but90210 gets points for originality. Too tough to call.
EDGE: EVEN.

Stars: Brandon Walsh could have been a pretty corny part in the wrong hands, especially when the pilot had him turning down the advances from a smoking-hot chick in a hot tub, or the episode when Emily Valentine slipped him an ecstasy pill and he reacted like she had infected him with an AIDS-infected needle. It was also confusing how the writers made him the moral conscience of the show, then gave him a gambling problem out of nowhere, or had him smash up his car in a DWI accident. But Jason Priestley handled all of these things, became a pretty big star, helped launch the remarkably bizarre sideburns trend, hosted an SNL episode and breathed life into lines like “You sure you should be driving?” and “You OK?” Good actor, great part. He was the rock of the show — we even forgave him after he broke the Code of Guys and started dating his best friend’s girlfriend.

Meanwhile, if it wasn’t for Marissa, Ryan would have been the weak link of The OC — he was very good in the first few episodes, before the whole “he’s a brooding outsider with a hair-trigger temper who means well” act wore thin because they ordered too many episodes at once. By the end of the season, Ben McKenzie (who plays Ryan) was stuck doing Jay Mohr’s eyeball rolling, “I love her man!” impersonation of Andrew McCarthy, only he wasn’t kidding. So they preppied him up in Season 2, gave him a self-deprecating sense of humor and a broader personality, and now he’s an absolute mess — to the point that they’re starting to steer the show around Seth. What happened to the guy who wore leather jackets and white T-shirts and couldn’t express himself? Now he’s whipping out one-liners like Yakov Smirnoff. I’m confused.

MAJOR EDGE: 90210.

Breakout Sidekick: I’m already on record as saying that the guy who plays Seth (Adam Brody) has the best chance of anyone to become the next Tom Hanks … and yet, I’m not sure Seth could carry his own show. He’s a little too manic. Dylan McKay? He could have carried his own show. And then some. I’m just saying.

EDGE: 90210.

Babes: Tough category for 90210 — there were only four girls on the show, and two of them were Tori Spelling and Gabrielle Carteris. Ouch. I liked Jennie Garth, and her Kelly Taylor character clearly foreshadowed every loathsome character we would see 14 years later on My Super Sweet 16, but she wasn’t prettier than anyone on The OC (except for maybe Ryan’s new girlfriend). And Shannen Doherty was too wholesome and crazy-looking during those first two seasons, although maybe she had to be.

As for The OC … good golly. It’s a murderer’s row. You could make the case that Alex (Marissa’s new girlfriend) and Summer (played by Rachel Bilson) are two of the hottest characters in the history of televsion — that’s right, I said it — with Marissa right behind them, as well as Julie Cooper and Seth’s mom making the Meredith Baxter-Birney Hall of Fame for smoking-hot TV moms. Say what you want about Josh Schwartz (the creator of The OC), but the man clearly knows what he’s doing.

MAJOR EDGE: The OC.

Parents: I liked the Walshes, but the Cohens serve the Brandon Walsh role for The OC — in other words, they’re the collective rock of the show, which made it so infuriating when they introduced the recent storyline where Sandy Cohen struggles with unresolved feelings for an old flame (played by a Botoxed-out Kim Delaney). Too out-of-character for him. Anyway, I can’t ever imagine the Cohens getting slowly phased out of the show like the Walshes did, or getting transferred to Hong Kong and knocked off the show. Wouldn’t happen. Only one thing saves this from being a complete landslide: The opening credits of 90210, when James Eckhouse (as Mr. Walsh) would proudly turn around with his arms folded over his chest, followed by the “that’s right, I’m Mr. F-ing Walsh!” smile. That always killed me.
EDGE: The OC.

Wet Blanket Character: This boils down to Andrea (90210) against Caleb (OC), which is ironic because they’re both the same age (bah-dum-cha!). But at least Caleb serves some sick, twisted purpose — he’s a villain, just a bad one. Andrea murdered entire episodes at a time — she was like a cross between Adrian Balboa and Ted Bundy.

EDGE: The OC.

Theme Song: I can’t believe I’m saying this, but …

EDGE: The OC.

Unintentional Comedy: Between David Silver’s budding music career; the two-part accidental shooting death of his buddy with the cowboy hat; Brandon nearly making the basketball team when he was like 5-foot-5; Andrea being like 35 in real life; and every single scene with Steve Sanders — including the unforgettable adoption episode, which should have won Ian Ziering an Anti-Emmy — I’m not sure we’ll ever see the likes of 90210 again from an Unintentional Comedy standpoint.

(Again, Ian Ziering was one of the stars of this show. The man had a blonde mullet perm. Repeat: Blonde mullet perm.)

Anyway, The OC is too smart for that stuff — if anything, the Unintentional Comedy is intentional, if that makes sense (like Luke’s “welcome to the OC, b—h!” scene, a parody of those cheesy 80’s scenes with the Zabka-like villains, the more I’m thinking about it). I’m pretty sure they’re parodying shows like 90210 with some of these plots — like Caleb’s secret daughter being involved with his other daughter’s surrogate son, or the entire episode when Luke’s dad was outed — which is one of the reasons I enjoy the show so much. No premise is too absurd for The OC. At this point, the only Unintentional Comedy happens during any scene when Marissa has to act, especially if she’s throwing a tantrum or pretending to be drunk. I keep waiting to find out that Mischa Barton is Keanu Reeves’s illegitimate daughter. Then again, she’s no Ian Ziering.

HUGE EDGE: 90210.

Plot Lines: The OC’s biggest mistake was the way they raced through plots and relied too heavily on the “tune in next week!” factor, which is a pretty dangerous way to go — we weren’t even midway through the second season when they were playing the lesbian card. At the rate they’re going, by Season 4, we’ll see Ryan kidnapped by a UFO or something. I also think they juggle way too many plots, almost like the TV version of the Memphis Grizzlies playing too many guys. And with so much going on, the characters are racing through their lines now, so everyone talks in the same snappy, sarcastic fashion and you almost need to watch the shows twice to pick everything up. With 90210, they were very good at building shows around guest stars and one-episode plots during those first two seasons, with almost everything revolving around Brandon’s world and the Dylan-Brandon relationship. Some of those early episodes stood on their own, like the one when Brandon dated the racist volleyball player, or the slumber party where Kelly confessed that she lost her virginity in the woods to a conniving senior. (It’s weird, I can’t remember what I did last week, and yet I can remember all of these stupid episodes). When something major happened — like the Dylan-Kelly-Brenda love triangle — it happened over the course of an entire summer, not two episodes, and it actually made sense as it unfolded (they set that baby up like a multi-episode arc in “Lost”). I don’t feel like there’s any rhyme or reason to the stuff that happens on The OC — personified by Marissa falling for another woman during February sweeps. That’s right, it’s girl-on-girl action, Thursday on Fox!

EDGE: 90210.

Gratuitous use of half-siblings and step-siblings: It took a few years for 90210 to master this one, whereas The OC jumped right in — at this point, Seth is related to everyone on the show except for the gardener.

EDGE: The OC.

Hangouts: 90210 had the Peach Pit, where aggrieved teenagers gathered to bitch about their parents, throw down some greasy food and crack wise with Nat (the one-note Peach Pit owner who inexplicably landed in the credits in Season Six). My favorite part about the Peach Pit was that Dylan hung out there — here’s a 17-year-old kid who didn’t need a guardian and somehow knew every shady character in Los Angeles, someone who Mr. Walsh thought was WAY too dangerous to date his daughter, yet you were always most likely to find Dylan in a diner having lifetalks with someone who was three times older than him. How did that make sense? It was right up there with Daniel-San introducing Mr. Miyagi as his “best friend” in Karate Kid 3.

As for the Bait Shop, which became the main hangout on The OC this season, this might be the most unrealistic club on the planet. First of all, it’s never crowded, even though they frequently have bands like The Killers playing there. Second, they don’t card at the door, but there’s a full bar. Third, it’s the only music club in America where it’s possible to have full conversations without shouting at the top of your lungs, even when the band is playing on stage. Fourth, there are no fights, no mosh pits, no obnoxious bouncers, no marijuana smoke, no cigarettes and nobody ever throws up. And fifth, none of the characters on the show are aspiring musicians along the lines of David Silver, who would have belted out “Precious” on stage at least six times by now. So why even have the Bait Shop? Again, I’m confused.

MAJOR EDGE: 90210.

Glaring and embarrassing exclusion of any African-American characters: At least 90210 had a black manager at the Summer Club, or the episode when Brandon butted heads with Vivica A. Fox, or the one where Brandon nearly exposed the rule-bending on the hoops team. I’m not sure I’ve even SEEN a black person on The OC. Has it happened? Did I miss it?

WORST OFFENDER: The OC.

Originality: 90210 mastered the love triangle — which was shamelessly ripped off by every subsequent show of this ilk, including most of the excruciating “Dawson’s Creek” — as well as those preachy storylines involving alcohol, the loss of virginity, drugs, diet pills, drunk-driving, bi-polar girlfriends, elephant tranquilizers, bestiality and everything else you can imagine. It also invented the “outsider deals with rich people” concept, as we discussed before. The OC mastered the “parody of a 90210-type show that somehow carries the weight of a real show” dynamic, which is harder than you think … but not enough to take this category.

EDGE: 90210.

Inexplicable homoerotic overtones: When Brandon and Dylan grew matching sideburns and started calling each other “B” and “D,” you would have thought they were a lock for this category. But between Seth and Ryan’s “Single White Female”-like friendship and Marissa’s new relationship, this isn’t even close.

GIANT EDGE: The OC.

Cultural Impact: Brandon and Dylan started the sideburns trend back in 1991, leading to my ill-fated attempt to grow them during my senior year in college. I’d rather not discuss this again. Ever. But The OC never inspired me to do anything. Not even throw up in my mouth.
EDGE: 90210.

Watershed ridiculous episode (through two seasons): For 90210, it’s the episode where Brandon dumps Emily Valentine and she melts down — any show that ends with a crazy girl threatening to set herself on fire on the school’s homecoming float is one for the ages. Of course, Brandon visited her in San Fran a few years later and there was no mention of any of this. You had to love “90210.” As for “The OC,” I’d have to go with the Tijuana episode, which ended with Marissa overdosing and Ryan carrying her in slow-motion through the streets of Mexico, one of those “I can’t believe I’m watching this” moments in life that you can never get back. Throw in a homecoming float and we would have had a winner.

EDGE: 90210.

Final verdict: 90210 invented this genre, whereas The OC tried to re-invent it (throwing in a little self-parody to boot). 90210 didn’t make many mistakes during those first two seasons, whereas The OC made a bunch of them (most famously, the Oliver debacle). More importantly, I can’t believe I just spent 2,000 words trying to figure this out.

FINAL EDGE: 90210.

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Stole this from my friend George. It's the goddamn truth.

Stole this from my friend George. It’s the goddamn truth.

Hey ho my favorite faceless ones. I’m writing today because I want to concentrate on other kinds of writing over the next few days so you get a consecutive dose of Sarah rambles. Ain’t ya lucky…

Well, it sounds like it’s on. “Syria has accused the West of ‘inventing’ excuses to launch a strike.” Well, we didn’t really have to invent anything. Bad stuff’s been happening for a while now. And maybe that justifies action now. It certainly did some time ago. But waiting around gives bad people doing bad things the ability to say we’re inventing things, and, frankly, that’s not the best foreign policy strategy. And we have become so dismissive of our alliances. Treating your friends like enemies — ignoring their well-being, acting competitively instead of working together, withholding important information — is a real quick way to find yourself no longer considered a friend. I suppose there are other friends to be made but if you’re cultivating your alliances based on some hunt for power rather than a shared — and I can’t stress this enough — noble goal, your connections will remain shallow and easily jettisoned (by you and your “friends”) at the first sign of trouble. It’s a bad way to conduct business. Yet we seem determined to do it. And it’s frankly frightening.

But they’re slapping themselves on the backs today down on the Mall. And I won’t denigrate the coolness of having our first black President paying homage to a man who fought valiantly and beautifully against man’s inhumanity to man. But Allen West uses one of the most profound statements uttered on race relations today to address some of the truths behind the hype. “It is, however, the result of the soft bigotry of low expectations.”

I don’t know why, but this made me laugh very, very hard. Also, hipster kickball happens. But I digress…

Oh sweet Jesus, WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL ME ABOUT BEER FLOATS?

This girl has the same question I had. The entertainment industry is famous for messing kids up so Miley’s blatant descent into debauchery didn’t surprise me really. But if I were Robin Thicke’s wife, I’m pretty sure I’d be like, “Um, dude, she’s a child…”. And I don’t mean she’s significantly younger than he is. I mean she’s barely not a teenager. I don’t know. It made him less sexy to me.

You mean burdensome regulation looks like risk to business? The hell you say…

Made my little day:

Informative.

Looking forward to seeing this. It was filmed entirely in Athens, Ga., and, while the subject matter is no longer all that appealing to me anymore, it should be cool to see the old stomping grounds.

All true. I miss my little Z. I don’t usually go without pets but I think things just need to level off…for the first time I’m not being selfish about that. It’s weird to me.

I have some friends going sky diving this weekend. It would appear that is the new coolness. I got nothing but serious props for those who do it — I’m more of the “it’s a perfectly good plane. Why are we jumping out of it again?” mindset — but it’s not likely something I’d ever suggest (although, with enough Xanax and a seriously hot dude as a jumping partner, I could be persuaded to do it. Maybe…). From me you’re likely to hear, “hey, let’s rent a boat and spend the night on the water!” But, if I ever deploy somewhere or if I’m 89 years old and facing the rest of my life in a nursing home, I’m in. Seriously though, looking forward to hearing the story of how peaceful it is. Because I bet it really is.

So, UGA plays Clemson Saturday. I really can’t elaborate further. The excitement has to be quelled or I can’t get anything done. I think our little crew — those of us in town anyway — will be down at Public in DuPont. You should stop by…

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Hero

I was inclined to start this post with a little whine — really because I don’t have too much to say about anything because the stuff I’ve been digging into lately is new to me so I’m working on formulating informed opinions and, just becoming informed, my opinions aren’t too sophisticated yet — but I came across something that stopped me in my tracks. Seriously, I think I may have just fallen in love.

Carter, 33, appeared reflective and at times smiled bashfully as Obama recognized him for his “conspicuous gallantry” in the dramatic Battle of Kamdesh, a day-long firefight with Taliban militants at a remote Afghan outpost near the Pakistan border.

Early in his remarks in the White House’s East Room, Obama turned to Carter’s young children and said: “If you want to know what a true American hero looks like, then you don’t have to look too far.”

But it’s the video, his own re-telling, that hits. Remember that theory about love and the meaning of life? I see it here. Love for his fallen brother compelled him, despite knowing the risks, to act. Is there greater meaning to life than recognizing how precious it is and saving it? During medieval times, the highest form of love was considered the love shared between soldiers and knights on the battlefield. Romantic love wasn’t even considered remotely close. Now ladies, I know that’s a tough one to swallow — it was for me as the hopeless romantic studying this stuff in college — but that changed for me when my grandpa visited Georgia the Christmas before he died. He was a marine during WWII and, according to my mother and grandmother, he never spoke of what he saw or went through while overseas. Until he came that Christmas, when he must have known his time was short, because he began to talk. My sister and I were talking about on the phone the other day. How he gathered all of us — grandchildren and great-grandchildren — around the sitting room and spoke of things we weren’t sure we wanted to hear. He gave my brother Andrew his USMC ring — he and Drew always shared a special connection (and I got your call Drew; I’ll call today) — and alluded to the deaths of children and men he loved and things we were lucky never to have seen. He died less than a month later.

As I said, I was going to be all whiny about how sometimes making a grand departure from your comfort zone and acting in a way almost completely foreign to your character doesn’t actually pan out with positives. You can be made to feel like you’re a bad person or that you screwed up or that you were stupid. But you know what? Bump that. Courage is taking the risk. Thanks for that trait Grandpa Dix. So glad I got to know you and see firsthand where I get my love of water and boats and swimming butterfly like a champ (I got the Auburn hair and the broad shoulders). Oh, and I’m living in your city now. Mom says it would be foolish to find the childhood home in Anacostia but I may still try one day. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I hope you’ve found your peace.

Okay, I got nothing else except to say I like this Miley a whole lot better than the rave-o-lution Miley.

This music has become some of my favorite stuff as I get older. When I was a kid, sharing a room with my sister Lou, I kind of hated it because it was all Def Leppard and Poison and Aerosmith with her. She was older so she controlled the radio. I wanted Sting and REM and The Cure. Yeah, it wasn’t happening. But now…damn, I love this sexy stuff. And Lou, I got your call, too, and I’ll call you this evening. I need your advice about boys. You were always better with that stuff than I was…

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Man, I’m doing that thing again where I’m fighting the “I AM a jerk” tendency. Stop it Sarah. Just stop it. So you’re a little quick to circle the wagons. You have reason to be. And so your Irish great-grandmother channels through you every time you feel threatened. You’re genetically pre-disposed to be sassy. You can’t help that. And so you have to filter everything via the written word to make sense of it. You’ve been doing that since almost birth and what’s that saying about old dogs and new tricks? Just relax and accept that you try really hard not to hurt people. Because that’s true. And just get comfortable with the fact that if there’s a miscommunication somewhere it didn’t start with you, because you’re honest to your own detriment and you know it. Just chill, dude. For real.

Okay, I went blind today editing stuff for the new work gig. Learned more about the Middle East than I ever did in any class on the subject. And I’m digging it. But, since it’s pretty heady stuff, I’m not even remotely done refining what they sent me to edit today so I expect I have a few hours of work ahead of me tomorrow. But that’s cool because I’m a super nerd. Y’all know that. But I’ve put it away for today so I can catch the Braves play in a bit up the street. Because I’m also a super baseball nerd, and y’all know that, too. Get well soon J-Hey.

Okay Pops, you’re gonna die:

Have you ever seen a crappier swing?

Have you ever seen a crappier swing?

I don’t know when I stopped sitting back into my swing. Wait…yes I do. It’s when I went from playing fast pitch to slow pitch. I just have the hardest time waiting on that sucker. I’m pretty sure this was a hit but I always pull it. Although John taught me neat trick about chewing the gum an extra second AFTER I think I want to take a swing. And that worked pretty well. (Burned you center left!) But it is not pretty to look at. You taught me better Pops and I apologize. The upside is with that wide open stance, I’m halfway down the baseline right away. Silver linings.

Let’s see, what else…

Oh, meet Doc.

We're in love.

We’re in love.

His dad lives in my neighborhood and I see him when I’m out running and then, randomly, I saw him at the tournament and he lit up (because he loves me) when he saw me coming. His dad plays on one of the other teams in my league. It’s lucky he’s good to his dog because if I ever saw any signs of non-love, I’d rescue him in a heartbeat. I’m kidding. (Kind of) Anyway, he reminds me so much of my Stella. He has her personality and her smile. Pits get a real bad rap. Not to say you shouldn’t be aware of that dominance thing they have, but they’re not as bad as people think. I mean, look.

Um, this made me laugh. (thanks Corey)

This was very interesting. (h/t Jeff)

And I want a Mountain Lion for a pet in the worst, crazy way.

Okay, it’s Friday and I need to shake a tail feather. Catch you guys in a few days. Have a safe and blessed weekend. Don’t be mean to each other.

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A fiery ring

I stole this from someone on Facebook. I really, really like it because it's so easy to just feel at the whim of other people and events. But we usually have more power than we know. Good thing to remember.

I stole this from someone on Facebook. I really, really like it because it’s so easy to just feel at the whim of other people and fate and cosmic forces, etc. But we have more power than we know. Good thing to remember.

Hi! Let me start by saying that I was reminded this morning of how important it is — and how a really good manager knows — that taking a minute and telling an employee “job well done” is about the best thing you can do to motivate them, insure their desire to produce quality work, and, as a consequence, help your organization. It’s something my Pops always taught me and something I’ve noticed lacking in cynical old DC. But it’s not non-existent as I happily discovered today. I’m just going through the morning routine with a goofy smile on my face. Nice change of pace.

Speaking of cynical, what is it about children of privilege that they don’t believe anything is what it proclaims to be? I feel like I’m surrounded all the time by real-life Jay Gatsbys who see the gilded exterior and believe EVERYTHING is only gold-plated with tin underneath. One of these guys, some time ago but it’s still the best example I have, watching me dance with my shadow on a patio, spit his derision at me for “watching myself dance.” Heh. Is that really so obvious to you? Anyone who has ever seen me in a dance class knows I cannot — CANNOT — look in the mirror, even though I think I’m a decent enough dancer. That’s how much I like looking at myself move. Alison’s last class was just a beast, I absolutely fell in love with the choreography, and I picked it up well enough to begin refining some of the movement (rather than just making sure I had the steps). But when it came time for her to film the class (still waiting for that video because I want you all to see it in the worst way), I opted out because it makes me insecure to see myself on film. But this dude, this child who I’m pretty sure has never wanted for much in life, was convinced that my enjoyment of dancing started with self adulation. Buddy, don’t put your personality off on me, okay? Additionally, if you think everything is just gold-plated tin, then that is what you will settle for because you’ll never believe there’s anything finer to be had. And that’s really, really sad for you. But it’s cool. I’m not going to let it affect my legitimate happiness.

Recently someone asked me what I thought was the meaning of life. This story may actually apply to the aforementioned cynicism as well…Anyway, I said “love.” That didn’t go over so well. I think I got a kind of furrowed brow, an annoyed mouth twist, and a statement like, “That’s typical (trite? standard? average? Can’t remember the exact word but you get the idea.) But the thing is: I meant it. And still do. Is there anything else that makes all the crap we deal with as we meander through this life worth it? I can’t see anything. Now, you can misplace your love — love of money, for example, likely will end in despair — but love is why we don’t just off ourselves the first time we meet real heartache and tragedy. If you’re a religious person — and I am — you’re taught (at least in the Judeo-Christian ethic) that God (or the source of our sentient-ness) IS love. What binds us all together and connects us IS ACTUALLY LOVE. If the universal human condition doesn’t speak to the meaning of life, then I really don’t know what does. Although now I kinda wish I had been clever and said “42.” (Miss ya DA. Keep it real till I can get there…)

I wish I didn’t feel so miserable when I think people are angry with me. Especially when I’m not sure what I did to provoke that kind of feeling in them. My discomfort with that feeling causes me to spend a lot of time trying to “fix” something that I’m pretty sure, if it’s broken, has nothing to do with me. Intellectually I know that. But my heart cries a lot.

This sentence:

U.S. officials said they underestimated the extent to which the Saudis and the Emirates would double-down in support of the Egyptian military.

Troubles me so, so much.

You know, this makes sense to me. I have friends who are constantly busy, as if downtime is somehow indicative of something negative. I also notice that these same people tend to develop very shallow relationships. Not sure if that’s related but I feel like it might be.

Not hard to believe being handed everything would lead to a lack of respect for hard work.

Okay, silliness from here on in. Promise.

Hahahaha! We all know Facebook is the devil if used improperly. I just wish it could always be a happy place where I could keep up with my family and occasionally talk policy or philosophy without being bombarded by emotional sabotage and interpersonal shenanigans. But the “Arm Triangle of Insecurity” is also annoying (also, brilliant.)

I was wired after working late last night so I stayed up and watched one of my faves: Stardust.

Speaking of film, Darren Aronofsky is making a film about Noah’s Ark. Darren Aronofsky. Of Requiem for a Dream fame. I’m not sure how to feel about that…

A happy hour needs to happen here Corey. For serious.

Heh. Clever.

Um, okay sure. Random and I wonder if that serves a purpose in the wild. I’m sure it does but I can’t for the life of me figure out what it is…

All true.

Speaking of Athens, love to see guys I interviewed in the larval stage making music like this and being recognized for it. Because this is just quality.

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Clarifying

men-and-women-fitness

Hi all. So, something’s been nagging at me lately and I wanted to get it out — and here’s where I do that kind of thing. And it’s fluid; I change my mind all the time so you really shouldn’t take it all so seriously. A male friend of mine told me today that he’s read some of the last things I’d written here and he said I sounded like a “feminist.” Excuse me for a second…Hahahahahahahaha! *giggle, giggle* That’s some good stuff right there. Because not only is that miles away from the truth, it’s also a shockingly familiar charge. And it’s hilarious. But let me tell you why…

I grew up the youngest girl in a family of 7, with two sisters and four brothers, three older boys, and one younger. And every last one of my male siblings is a consummate dude. These are men who do not have soft hands. They work outside — most of them for a living, including my father — and they drink, and curse, and say off color things about women, and just generally act like guys. They hunt, they fish, they hike, when they were single they caroused and carried on and broke more than one heart. I know all the stories brothers-of-mine. My father walks away when his sisters talk about all the girls he dated and cast off in high school. It’s a running family joke. My father, the player. There’s a great story about how my Grandfather carried buckshot in his body till the day he passed because he was riding back into town from the war on the back of a mule and some old guy jumped out from behind a tree and shot him clean off that mule for messing around with his sister before he left town a few years prior, heading for that same war. My favorite picture of my mother’s father is one of him in downtown Washington, DC, arm draped around one of the reportedly MANY pre-grandma ladies he made time with (he was a redhead and a marine so you can imagine). You can see those pics here. One of the times I broke my arm (sorry John, I know you hate when I tell this story because it was an accident and you still feel badly about it but I’m using to make a point. Forgive me?) I was jumping on our trampoline with my older brother John and we used to jump on that thing HARD. I came down on my back and John took a weird fly through the air, couldn’t see where he was going, and landed on my arm. I knew at the time he didn’t mean to do it but I said, “Ow, I think my arm is broken…” and he said, “Oh please, no it’s not. Quit crying. You’re just trying to get me in trouble.” When it became clear I did indeed have a small fracture, this boy (because we were just kids) turned into the most contrite and loving person I’ve ever known. And he still gets a sad look when I tell the story because I just think it’s funny, when he’s busting my chops now, to tease him with the fact that he broke my arm when we were kids (is that mean?). And all of these men in my life are unafraid to stand up to their sisters or their wives and assert their manhood. My point is, boys being boys does not now, never has, never will bother me. As a matter of fact, these dudes are the only kind of men I like. They are the ones that make me feel most like a girl, they are the ones I expect to challenge me, both intellectually and physically, and the ones I involuntarily run to when I’m feeling scared and want to feel protected. I do not want them to be anything other than what they are. Male, and everything that means.

However…

One of the great things about these guys is that they’ve had strong women in their lives challenging them right back. My mother, their sisters, their grandmothers, their wives, and a few of their girlfriends over the years. (Although the girly-girls were never around for long. Coincidence?) They were and are unafraid of strength in a woman because at some point I think it became clear to them that this female strength in their relationships with women MADE THEM BETTER MEN. Stronger men if I may be so bold as to suggest it. If my sisters-in-law weren’t strong of mind and body, they would never be able to keep these dudes in check (we have something of a rebellious streak genetically encoded in the DNA in my family, from both sides of the tree). Does that mean that these ladies want to go out and start working on the car, or demanding the guys start doing the majority of the housework, or asking that they accompany them shopping, or just generally demanding they be treated more like guys for some false sense of equity? Um, no it does not. Nor do they — or I — think that these guys are bad men because they have acted like, and continue to act, like men. But these ladies will speak up for themselves. Because that is what strong women do. And I firmly believe that strong-willed men are incompatible with weak-willed women, and vice versa. And you should trust me on that one because I have a dating history to prove it. I recently came to the conclusion — as I’ve written about ad nauseam — that the last several years of being hurt by the words and behavior of a male friend of mine could have been avoided had I only been stronger — the way I was raised to be — in the beginning of my association with this person. It is, in very many ways, my fault that this person — who I don’t believe to be a bad person, just incompatible with me. “Toxic” to me, as my mother would say, but fine for other people — treated me with a measure of disrespect I found distasteful and hurtful. I allowed it you see, by being a simpering fool. I brought out the worst in him, and I almost can’t forgive myself for that. His natural tendency to protect was displaced by his need to dominate and rule because I wasn’t strong enough to tell him he was acting like an ass and to take it somewhere else early on in the association. That’s not a mistake I mean to make again. But it doesn’t mean, dudes I know, that I think you have some kind of problem with the ladies when you act like dudes. Just that I may revert back to what I remember from my youth growing up with a bunch of boys — stand up and speak or you will never be the kind of woman who can hang with a bunch of strong men. Because I do know what men look like who have problems with the ladies and they tend to be nervous with soft-hands and meek voices. Odd that.

As an aside, I reached this conclusion because I’ve been observing men I really like take their cues from the ladies they spend time with. And these dudes I know simply shine when they are with women they know will meet their baser male tendencies head on with a check to the head and the heart. And they give it right back when their ladies are being simpering fools. And I like to be around that. It speaks to how the sexes are supposed to fit together, like divinely created puzzle pieces.

Does this sound like feminism? Because I gotta say, if someone wanted me to stay home and cook and make babies and not have to work I’d ask where the hell the dotted line is. As long as I could write.

K, a few other things…

This was an interesting read. I don’t expect to be one of the exiles — much to the chagrin of some of the people I’ve already met in my short time here — because I have legitimately strong family ties here. Mom’s from Burke, Va. and most of my summers growing up included at least a week in Southern Maryland at my grandparent’s river house. Not to mention the burgeoning closeness developing between myself and my cousins that I’m totally digging. But all the stuff about the “who you know” rat race, and the “unavoidable transactional relationships, the myopic one-industry worldview, the programmed, mandatory parties, hours marked by news cycles and tweets,” as Mary Matalin puts it, is all true. All that “who you know” stuff just reminds me of the shallow halls of high-school and, to a lesser extent, college, and it bores me to tears. I avoid it as much as possible and I’m certainly not going to start developing relationships with people or making excuses for behavior using that as the calculus. It’s work and will always be treated as such. It will never be in the heart. I guess I’ll find out if that’s possible. Still need to read this book.

With apologies to the Mohel, this is amazing.

This is probably true. I had a talk today with a kid who insisted that he really cared about what was going on in Egypt et al but he didn’t see any way that we could help people who “didn’t help themselves.” I’m not sure how I feel about it except to say that we don’t do a whole lot of good when we intervene over there for PURELY political reasons that only translate here.

Bahahahahaha! So much funny.

Here’s your morning music for tomorrow, today. I find myself singing this song sometimes without meaning to. Not sure what that’s about…

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What an absolutely glorious day outside! Cannot wait to get out in it for a run. This little post is being dashed off fairly quickly because I actually have for-real work writing to do, as well as some other administrative things to tackle. And I want to get those strawberry cupcakes made — keep your fingers crossed — and maybe get down to the Mall for a walk before I meet my friend Charlie for a drink. Charlie and I have many things to catch up on, and he generally makes me feel better when crazy things happen or when I’m lacking in perspective. Like right now I think I might be a huge jerk because I think the softer, sweeter side of me died a million years ago and all I am is claws and teeth when it comes to protecting myself, to my absolute detriment. See, that sounds serious right? Charlie will just think it’s funny. And really that’s a good outlook to have and it’s infectious. Then I believe the Fosters are putting me up this evening and transporting my crappy-car having behind out to Maryland for the final day of our softball tournament. I swear, every amazing get-together is happening Saturday and I’ll be playing in the dirt missing all of it. That’s dedication son.

So here’s a metaphorical question: let’s say you have kind of a bummy foot because you’ve broken it twice and in damp weather or when it’s really cold it aches a bit (okay, let’s say I have such a thing…). And you tell someone, hey, my foot hurts right now because it’s been cold. And they say, oh sure, I get that. And then they walk by and step on your foot. And you think, oh, well maybe that was an accident. I won’t say anything but ouch, man. And then they come back by and do it again. And this time you say “Ow” aloud, hoping that gets the point across. A few more passes and foot stomps and finally you pretty much have to be like, “Dude, seriously, knock it off.” That is unless you want your foot to keep getting stepped on and you want to keep feeling that pain. It has been suggested to me that the willingness to say knock it off makes me “too much work.” Heh. Maybe. But I think negotiating someone thoughtless enough to keep stepping on my foot is actually where the work is. This little metaphor has applications to at least 3 areas of my life at present and in almost every one of those scenarios I’ve been made to feel like a giant jerk for not wanting to have my foot stepped on. An ex-boyfriend of mine once told me this: “You come across as really low-maintenance, but you’re actually kind of high maintenance, which isn’t a bad thing. It means you have standards.” Yeah, my standard is don’t step on my bum foot.

Alright, other things:

There's a story out there that the President got up and left this viewing to play cards. Interesting but there's something else about this picture that troubles me, and I think it's really a non-partisan assessment. It's so detached, like they're watching a movie. Just look at Biden. And Obama is literally not even at the table. Anyway, body language really is revealing...

There’s a story out there that the President got up and left this viewing to play cards. Interesting but there’s something else about this picture that troubles me, and I think it’s really a non-partisan assessment. It’s so detached, like they’re watching a movie. Just look at Biden. And Obama is literally not even at the table. Anyway, body language really is revealing…

This story is amazingly well-written and frighteningly true. I guess we all have to find our acceptance somewhere…

I really love Sirach. It’s all about enjoying your food, people.:

21 Don’t deliberately torture yourself by giving in to depression. 22 Happiness makes for a long life and makes it worth living. 23 Enjoy yourself and be happy; don’t worry all the time. Worry never did anybody any good, and it has destroyed many people. 24 It will make you old before your time. Jealousy and anger will shorten your life. 25 A cheerful person with a good attitude will have a good appetite and enjoy his food.

Ooopsie! It was all just an accident, pinky swear!

One of the most beautiful songs ever written. I know what I’ll be listening to shortly while running…I need some beauty right now because I feel so terribly ugly. It’s that whole bum foot thing. I know…I’ll get over it.

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