Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Petra's Diary

June 27, 2011
Why do humans assume that I want to be petted and stroked and caressed and played with at all times of the day and night? If you see me taking a nap after strenuous playing with toys and other people's toes, please refrain from slobbering all over me. I'm taking A NAP. I do not wish to be disturbed. Like Greta Garbo said: "I vant to be alone". Being a well-mannered lady, I demurely move to another corner when this happens, but keep pestering me with your uncontrollable love and I don't promise you won't get a good bite one of these days.

June 28, 2011
Let's make something clear: just because I am a dog, doesn't mean I don't have standards. Just because I'm a dog, it doesn't mean that I'll eat that bone dry Puppy Chow and pretend it's the same as that dreamy paté and jambon du pays leftovers they brought the other day from Cafe Boulud. They cannot seriously think that I can't tell the difference. So if you are going to give me boiled ground beef (and I do appreciate that you got the natural Angus, and not the one with the antibiotics and shit), please be so kind as to sprinkle it with a little salt. I'm not saying use curry or fenugreek, I'm not asking for beef bourgignon but a little salt in the gray ground meat can do wonders for one's appetite. What makes them think that I'm going to stomach eating tasteless ground beef with melon?!!! The doctor said fruit? Ask him to eat that shit! Prosciutto with melon, by all means. But please, do not insult my intelligence with these disgusting foods. By the way, they don't give it to me, but the other day in the park someone spilled something divine called ice cream and I licked that asphalt until it was shiny. Also a baby spilled some apple juice, the slob, and it's not bad!  They are never going to give me stuff like that, I can tell. But I'll get it where I can find it.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Petra's Diary

I found my dog Petra's diary behind the couch and I am reading it. Pipe down, people. She's a dog, okay? She's not gonna find out. Here is what she has to say so far:

June 21, 2011
They put me inside the belly of a plane in a cage for three hours. Did they tell me where the hell we were going? No. Did they ask me if I wanted to go anywhere, let alone emigrate? I know they mean well, but you don't put a two month old baby in a cage. They got me out in Miami, and from there I travelled coach. Not bad, but if you ask me, it's not that different from cargo. There is actually more leg room in cargo.

June 22, 2011
Apparently I am in a place called New York City now. It's freaking noisy, I can tell you that. What's with the sirens? And the human hollering? Is this a zoo? Anyway, what I like about it is there are a lot of other people like me, with four legs and wet noses. I want to meet everybody! I like em all. Dogs, kids, adults, feet, leaves that blow in the wind. I like anything that moves. I kinda like this New York City. I have a nice yard downstairs, and boy, are the sidewalks a smorgasbord of chewing goodness! Cigarette butts, weeds, chicken bones, all kinds of poop (including human, I'm afraid). The asphalt jungle, indeedy!

June 23, 2011
The very official looking customs agent at the big airport was so thrilled with me, he took his glove off to pet me. I have that effect on people. They all go "OMG! SOOOO CUUUUUTE!" every time they see me. My owners say they can't walk two steps without someone stopping by and asking about my age, gender, breed. "Is it a puppy?", they ask. No, it's a dinosaur, what do you think?
Enchilada confessed that she was happier when she didn't have all the neighbors cooing and making small talk at all times. Imagine, she hasn't even brushed her teeth or combed her hair (as if) and she needs to get into some inane dog chitchat first thing in the morning; when B.P (Before Petra), she could be a verbissener New Yorker who barely said "good morning" in the elevator. She claims she liked her anonymity then. She thinks that this is how supermodels or movie stars must feel at all times and claims she was invisible until I came along. Hey, it's not my fault that I'm a charmer. If you don't like this, you should have gotten a tarantula.

June 26, 2011
Okay. Someone please explain to me the big deal with the peeing and the pooing. 'Cause it just don't make any sense to me. Every twenty minutes they scoop me up and take me down as if the house was on fire and then they put me on the street as if they are waiting for the Second Coming of Christ. I pee, and they almost throw a parade in my honor. Such celebration! But I do the same at home (which as far as I can tell is much less inconvenient for everyone) and they get all bent out of shape about it! They pretend to be really angry and get all serious and yell NO, PETRA! (but I can tell it breaks their hearts to read me the riot act. I just look at them with my big round eyes and I cock my head to the side and they virtually dissolve).
So make up your minds! When I do it at home I'm saving you the trouble of taking me out. And what's three little drops of pee to you anyway? You got the Windex thing going on and it seems to be working. Stop the drama.
The poop, I understand, is another matter. That's kinda gross even to me. But the other night they had the audacity to go to the movies and they left me all alone in this huge apartment, so I'm like, you cannot expect me to hold it in (or perhaps you can, but I'm not gonna). You cannot leave me here all by myself and go to the movies. You don't do that to a two month old baby. So I did it on the carpet. Maybe they'll think twice about not taking me to the movies ever again. 

Crowd Control is Getting Out of Line

I was very happy when I heard the news that the Marriage Equality law passed in New York. No less is expected from New York. For this is New York, and it is how it should be.

So now everybody is going to have equal access to the Wedding Industrial Complex Ripoff Machine (flowers: $20; same flowers for a wedding: $200). Mazel Tov!

I wrote to Republican senators Saland and Grisanti on Friday morning to remind them that this is not a religious issue but an issue of legal discrimination and civil rights.
I'd like to believe that they read my letter and said, what the hell, why not?

On Friday night there were lots of people celebrating in front of the Stonewall Inn, and I wondered just how many of them actually feel the immediate hankering to get married. But even though the legalization of gay marriage in NYS is an enormously important issue with real-life consequences for many couples and families, it is also a highly symbolic issue that positively affects those who have no intention of marrying. It means that the barriers are coming down. It means that we are becoming a more evolved and fair society.

The barriers that seem to keep multiplying, however, are those horrid methods of crowd control used by the NYPD since 9/11. The first gay pride parade I ever witnessed in NYC was about 14 years ago. People would line up in the streets and the parade would go by. I barely remember a barricade. But now, NYC crowd control has has an almost fascistic, authoritarian feel. We got out of the subway on Sheridan Square and because parade watchers were squeezed inside the barricades like human Spam, we decided that we didn't want to be penned in like cattle so we wanted to go back into the subway from which we had just emerged less than one foot away, yet the police made us get on a tortuous line and snake around the block in order to do so. I respect that there is order. In fact, one of the reasons I enjoy living here is that people respect order, but this is ridiculous.

Americans are oblivious to the fact that they are the best behaved crowds in the world. Americans see a random person standing in front of them and they instinctively form a line. Where I come from, and in most countries, rich and poor, people either do not fathom the concept of an orderly crowd or they do anything in their power to fight it.
Just see what happens every time you try to board a plane going somewhere other than the US. It doesn't matter how many times before people have been in the same situation, they crowd around the gate as if they were in a mosh pit. So since Americans are so good at policing themselves at crowds, why does the police feel the need to treat American crowds like POWs? Americans are so good, that even when they are treated like cattle, they quietly obey (for the most part) and they continue having a good time. In other places, these kinds of constraints would spark stampedes or rioting.
I see this as the next great civil rights issue: the right to enjoy a parade without feeling punished by the police.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Newsflash: Hell Froze Over

If you must know, pigs flew, too. My friends, I, an avowed disliker of pets, am now the proud if farblondget mother of one. For those who know me, the word pet and I don't go together like love and marriage or horse and carriage. I have never had a pet in my life (except for some chicks who died and some fishies that went down the kitchen sink drain in that surreal era called childhood). To this day, I was happy as a clam without one. My ideology about animals is: let's leave them alone. But if there is a case of "never say never" this must be one. For my arm was duly twisted, my defenses breached, my will vanquished, my resistance quashed. You can see why:

This is Petra. Full name: Petronila Vilma Etele Lucille Shpilke Cosa Loca.
Petra is both a Hispanic name and in honor or the Nabatean ruins we visited last summer. Vilma is in honor or Vilma Picapiedra, aka Wilma Flintstone, one of my favorite classy dames, Etele is the diminutive of Ethel in Yiddish, but no relation to Ethel Merman. Lucille was given to her in honor of Lucille Ball. Shpilke is because she is like a little flea with hair. and she is a Cosa Loca.
Petra looks like a mop and she behaves like one. So far, she seems smart, demure, and obedient. Very friendly and playful. I do not quite understand nor quite appreciate yet her penchant for licking my armpit, but I guess I'll come around.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Diminished Capacity

Mon amours:
I'm very concerned I'm losing the capacity for ranting. I don't care about anything any more. I cannot expend the energy required to be worked up into a frenzy simply because there are way too many instances that beg it of me. It's exhausting.
For instance, what the hell is going on with the vote on gay marriage in this state? What are we waiting for? Just man up and vote already. And if they vote no (very likely) I think Mayor Bloomberg should imperially declare that same sex marriage is legal in NYC, like Mayor Ebrard did in Mexico City. Let's get all those millions of dollars from marriageable gays into our economy.

Or, who does Cardinal Dolan think he is? His opinion about this issue, as the opinion of all clergy of any faith, for or against, is immaterial. There is separation of church and state, and this is a civil rights and civil law issue, not a religious issue. It's a free country and he can express his opinion, but its worth bubkes. In fact, it is worth less than that, because anything coming from the pedophile-abetting criminal institution he represents is rather rich.
By the same token, as I'm watching him deliver his tirade on TV, they cut to some protesters for and against in Albany. One of the protesters (for, I assume) is a woman rabbi who is wearing a yarmulke, peyes (the side curls) and a talit (prayer shawl). What fresh hell is this? If she could, she would have been wearing a beard too? You want to be a woman rabbi, fine. Judaism, for all its wonders, is a highly patriarchal, male-oriented religion. It is 5000 years old and not with the times in terms of women's equality, as all religions are, curiously enough. Judaism has been tweaked by liberal Americans so it can be more inclusive and so that women can be rabbis and cantors and mohels (circumcisers). But what's with the accoutrements? You just reinterpret stuff as you see fit? This is my paradox. I hate religion, but the old fashioned one seems to me more authentic than the newfangled one.

Or the article about micheladas in NY Magazine. With a recipe including a cashew salsa. Next we're going to hear about truffled michelada with a parmesan croute. Please stop getting on my nerve. Here's the simply marvelous original, for those of you who do not need useless adornments.

I wiped out on my bike on Friday. I have noticed that there have been a couple of times in my life where I have put myself in danger precisely by trying to be cautious. Case in point: years ago, Mr. Ex-Enchilada and I (me?) were out and about on a Saturday night in Mexico City. We had a drink at a bar and then about 11 pm we wanted tacos, naturally. Mr. Ex Enchilada suggested we walk to the taquería, about 12 blocks. I, fearing for our safety, insisted upon taking a cab. That's when we were abducted.
(By the way, I finally ate at famous Taquería El Paso on E 97 st. Not as good as the hype claims).

Same with the bike. The roads were slick so I decided to get on a stretch of desolate curb for safety. That's when I wiped out. I was wearing a helmet. In fact, the only part of my body that did not scrape the asphalt was my head (though my cheek did swipe the nasty pavement). So does it pay to be reckless? Or am I just a klutz?

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Importance of Being Earnest

Brian Bedford as Lady Bracknell is very funny and perfect in this production of the comedy by Oscar Wilde. Lady Bracknell is blessed with some of the funniest lines ever written and Bedford delivers them with haughty, deadpan panache. Oscar Wilde's writing is awesome. The rest is uneven: the set design and the costumes are atrocious; the ugliest I have ever seen. Some members of the cast are more fortunate than others at impersonating the British upper crust. Most of them, with the exception of David Purr and Jessie Austrian, do not have quite have what it takes to land Wilde's exquisite one liners with the precision they deserve. Curiously, the one British actress in the cast I found the least intelligible and the most grating, so this is not about my usual snobbish Anglophilia. But as long as the words are understandable (and they are, for the most part), one just sits there and listens, trying not to lose even a comma. Bedford himself directed, and he seems to have directed himself to perfection, yet the rest was a bit too farcical and sometimes wobbly. I guess it is very hard to strike the right balance with this play, yet it is equally hard to be too hard on it. It is quite delightful.
Oscar Wilde sounds like a man of today, but with superior wit, charm and elegance. He is the granddaddy of some of our current wits, like David Sedaris, Simon Doonan and Paul Rudnick (they are not in the same league as Wilde, but they are funny and gay.)  Poor dear, he was born in the wrong century, way ahead of his time.

Can't resist quoting him:
Lady Bracknell:
I do not approve of anything that tampers with natural ignorance. Ignorance is like a delicate exotic fruit; touch it and the bloom is gone. The whole theory of modern education is radically unsound. Fortunately in England, at any rate, education produces no effect whatsoever. If it did, it would prove a serious danger to the upper classes, and probably lead to acts of violence in Grosvenor Square.

To lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.

Jack: I must admit I smoke.
Lady Bracknell: I am glad to hear it. A man should always have an occupation of some kind.

Algernon Moncrieff:
Relations are simply a tedious pack of people, who haven’t got the remotest knowledge of how to live, nor the smallest instinct about when to die.

All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That's his.

The amount of women in London who flirt with their own husbands is perfectly scandalous. It looks so bad. It is simply washing one's clean linen in public.
 You crack me up, Oscar Wilde.

The Normal Heart

When is the last time you went to the theater and had a cathartic experience? I can't think of any drama I've seen in years that provoked real emotional catharsis. 
Well, this excellent revival of Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart is one intensely cathartic experience (it just won a Tony Award for best revival of a play, and deservedly so). Directed by George C. Wolfe and Joel Grey, with an excellent cast, The Normal Heart is a theatrical rant but it is a good, necessary, emotional, funny, poignant and enraging rant. Joe Mantello plays Ned Weeks, a Larry Kramer-like activist, who at the beginning of the eighties realizes that young gay men are dying in droves, but because the epidemic seems confined to them, nobody seems to care. Worse, there is deliberate neglect on the part of the health authorities and the government to help because it is an illness that attacks gay men only (which turned out to be untrue).
To see a play about the beginning of the AIDS pandemic now is just as shocking as it must have been when it was first staged, off-Broadway in the mid-80s, but perhaps for different reasons. Now there are drugs that seem to help patients live long lives, and it was reported recently that there is one patient who seems to have been cured. We don't see the devastation any more on the streets of New York, with its hosts of ravaged young men looking like living ghosts, but the devastation lives in the hearts of millions of people who lost loved ones to AIDS, including myself. And it has not gone away. People like Larry Kramer remind us that AIDS is still killing men and women all over the world. The shock today comes from realizing how indifferent we were, how deliberately we tried to look away.
What I loved about this play is that it does not let anybody off easy. Kramer was the original founder of GMHC (Gay Men's Health Crisis). He was so antagonistic and abrasive (although in the play and through Joe Mantello's deeply empathetic perfromance he is lovably so) that he was thrown off the board and then founded Act Up, which was a much more radical organization.
For people outside the gay community it's very hard to understand anything concerning gayness, let alone the fraught politics behind AIDS activism. At the time, Kramer was critical of gay promiscuity because it seemed suicidal. He got a lot of flak from the gay community who were trying to empower themselves after being in the closet for centuries. When one sees the play today, one can understand that side of the argument, but one instinctively sides with Kramer/Weeks and wants everybody to stop sleeping around and forget about the politics. 
But The Normal Heart is a good play, which is the opposite of a pamphlet. Kramer understands that human complexity, as in motives not being entirely pristine, good intentions sometimes being misguided, deeply flawed characters, and clear eyed realism makes for great drama and great truth and that individual human stories will move us to outrage and compassion. You'd have to be made of stone not to be moved by this ferocious play. The compassion in this play is fierce and relentless, it has nothing to do with the shy benevolence of a pietá. It is a fighting, screaming compassion and I had never seen anything like it on a stage.  Nor had I been to a play where half the time you could hear many audience members openly sobbing or clapping wildly at the best lines, cheering at the poignant jokes.
A seat away from me was an elderly lady who left at intermission because she didn't know what the play was about when she bought the ticket (didn't she read the poster? She has been living under what rock?). Having sat through half the play, she still refused to open her heart and her mind. Unfortunately, even with all the "progress" being made, this is the actual world we live in.
At the end of The Normal Heart you are moved and outraged and appalled and consoled by the sheer force of Kramer's voice and the stark nakedness of the production, which takes place within four white walls with words protruding from them like a news ticker frozen in time, and a list of names of victims of AIDS that keeps growing until it threatens to engulf the entire theater.
The actors are all magnificent, in particular a ferocious Ellen Barkin as Emma Brookner, a doctor who first battled against the horrible disease when no one understood what it was. Joe Mantello is also excellent. A bit over the top, but funny and furious. I really liked Jim Parsons (who apparently is on a hit TV show I know nothing about). The play is mercifully smart, funny and very touching and it is not meant as a punishing sermon for the audience, but as a window into the tragic emotional, social, cultural and political bewilderment that is AIDS.
In a leaflet you get when you exit the play, and in a paragraph written in the playbill, Kramer writes that pharmaceutical companies are the greatest evil unleashed by man on man. He is still fighting that they don't spend as much as they should on AIDS research and he claims they create medicines that palliate but do not cure. I'm glad he was moved to action and made this his cause. And I'm glad he was a talented writer before he dedicated his life to fighting AIDS.
The title of the play comes from a line in September 1, 1939, a very fitting poem by W.H. Auden.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Equal Opportunity Cheating

This is what I think. Women should give as good as they get. I think it's highly unfair for men to hog most of the cheating. I've always entertained the notion that if someone cheated on me, I would probably feel compelled to do the same. Tit for tat.
Women: let's stop being a bunch of cry babies and go for it.
I am not advocating for infidelity. I just think that the playing field should be level. It should not be a cultural thing that men can do whatever they please and this is shrugged off with the ridiculous idea that "boys will be boys", and women either stand stoically by their men or look the other way (Silda, Anne Sinclair, Hillary, Maria Shriver) or they suffer in silence, or they max out the credit card or exact revenge in God knows what way. Women give birth to men who then treat women like shit. Why is this? Because we let them set up all the rules and the rules are designed to give them all the power. If you give birth to a boy, the least you could do is to teach him to respect women. And if you give birth to a girl, you better tell her she is a human being of equal value and should demand respect. Otherwise you are in collusion with those who abuse you.
But to go back to my first point, if your man is a cheat, go have some fun yourself, if you so desire. You can have an affair, you can watch porn (good luck finding something where women are not portrayed like an inhuman hole with tits): you have the right to get off too!
I resent the notion that men are some sort of hormonally possessed neanderthals who can't control their jones, but women are too pure to be horny and are expected to behave. Some extreme societies have the burka and clitoral mutilation and stoning and burning and honor killings, which all aim to deprive women of their sexual independence. We are more civilized, but in our society there are many ways, deeply ingrained in our culture, with which men try to control our sexual freedom. They need to be in control of our sexuality, either by oversexualizing and objectifying women, like in porn, or by creating concepts like monogamy, which sound good on paper but only seem to apply to females. This is male-centric rubbish designed by them, with our acquiescence and complicity, to give them power and control over us. They can kiss my ass.
Why is most heterosexual prostitution female? Why can't there be male prostitutes for women too? This is cultural. You will argue that it is biological, and you may have had a point before the 20th century, but I have two words for you: Viagra and contraception. So fuck biology. It is doable. Let's level the playing field.
Women are not less sexual than men, nor they should be sexual only at their leisure.

Born Yesterday

I only went to check out Nina Arianda, a new young actress who is very hot right now.
Stepping into Judy Holliday's shoes is no small feat and Arianda is very good. She does not have that adorable wide eyed innocence that Holliday used to kill with, but her timing is excellent and so is her physicality.  At times I wished she was not so cartoony, but she makes Billie Dawn her own.
The play by Garson Kanin is both a little rusty around the edges but surprisingly timely, as it deals with the quintessential American problem of having cheaply bought political representatives and more importantly, an American people who chooses to be ignorant and uninformed and blinded by bling (or scandal or American Idol). This play has the right idea and the right feelings, but the production needs to be zipped along. It is not a farce, but a bit of fire in the pacing would help a lot.
I was actually pleasantly surprised by Jim Belushi (stepping into Broderick Crawford's shoes), perhaps because I expected the worst. Belushi is a bit of a screamer, but his Brock is truly a boor, a very dark character. I liked that in this production they emphasize the ugliness and don't try to make it cute.
However, what really pisses me off is people wooting and giving standing ovations to Robert Sean Leonard, a piece of wood whose only reason for the completely unjustified shower of adoration is that he happens to be in a popular TV show (which by the way, I don't get House, and I love Hugh Laurie). Meanwhile, Frank Wood, an excellent character actor, who nails it suavely and right on the nose without breaking a sweat, doesn't get enough love, 'cause people don't know him (he was in the excellent Flight of the Conchords, on HBO).
Stepping into William Holden's shoes is as impossible or more than Judy Holliday's and Robert Sean Leonard, probably the actor with less sexual charisma in the history of acting, is painful to watch. He is like watching dough rise. Actually, watching dough rise is more exciting. It is already a bit of a stretch that such a cultured radical as his character, Paul Verrell, would immediately fall for a ditz like Billie, but it can all happen through the magic of mutual attraction, which in this case seems to barely flow. The play doesn't make much sense in the romance department, but the direction and the actors could fill in the blanks. There were stretches when it seemed like Arianda and Leonard forgot they are supposed to be in love. When he first sees her, the moment doesn't register so when he later flirts with her it's like wha? Since when?
I kept thinking of William Holden. But him we can't bring back from the dead. So I was thinking, who could play this part with zing? Who could make Billie Dawn smolder? Liev Schreiber would be great. Even super ham Billy Crudup would be better.
I also thought that if for two hours we could all collectively forget about Tony Soprano (impossible, but we could try) James Gandolfini could be fun as Brock, as long as he used a different Jersey accent. 
But if you sit in a Broadway show dreaming of an alternate cast, something is not quite right.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

A New Literary Trend

Given the enormous success of the book Go the Fuck to Sleep, I think we've inadvertently discovered how we can get people to read more:

War and Fucking Peace
To Kill a Fucking Mockingbird
Brave New World, Fuckers
Fuck Lolita
Paradise Lost, Fuck!
The Age of Fucking Innocence
In Search of Lost Time, WTF?
Great Fucking Expectations
Romeo and Juliet Fuck
Fuck The Comfort of Strangers
Portnoy's Fucking Complaint
I Am Charlotte Fucking Simmons
Fucking Flowers of Evil
Mother Fucking Courage
A Hundred Years of Fucking Solitude.
Where The Fuck is Waldo?

Anything to cultivate and enlighten people.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Dick in a Box

What is it with men in positions of power and sexual compulsion? DSK and Anthony Weiner, for instance? Is it insecurity?
I'm not comparing the two. DSK is a sexual addict and sexual harasser, an alleged rapist, an abuser of women, and Weiner is just an idiot and a blossoming cheat.
But what makes them both seem pathetic is the enormous disparity between the importance of their roles and responsibilities as public figures, and the kinds of inappropriate things they do privately. It doesn't compute. Why risk their position of power for something as pedestrian as getting a hard-on?
Regular people who cheat know the risks. They are aware of the potential destruction of their relationships and of the world of pain that cheating can cause. In the case of men with huge public responsibilities, this may also entail the destruction of their careers. Are they not aware of that? Unlike the Governator, most randy public figures cannot fall back on a Hollywood career.
I think that the disparity between their public personae and who they really believe they are is enormous, which must be the reason why they seem almost naive about the risks they take. Either they can't believe they are where they are, or they think they are untouchable and can get away with murder.
Why is it so difficult for certain men to keep it in their pants? DSK and Schwarzenegger are notorious gropers and that puts them in a category of particularly vile lowlife that is disrespectful to and contemptuous of women. This is the kind of Berlusconian machismo that claims to love women but in essence is predicated on their domination and debasement.
(By the way, click the link I provided above to Ariel Levy's The New Yorker's article about Berlusconi. Your jaw will drop. I came to the conclusion that Berlusconi could not exist in any other country but Italy. He is as much a product of that crazy tit-obsessed culture as pizza or pasta).
DSK is a case of sustained abuse of power; he harassed women in a society that allowed him to do so without consequences for years. He did it here, and he got punished (he must be glued to the TV watching the Salem Witch Trials of Weinergate and thinking if this is what happens to an amateur loser, imagine what's gonna happen to me!). He must rue the day he decided to let his dick loose in the USA, but he's so arrogant, he just pleaded not guilty. 
But what the fuck was Weiner thinking, using twitter and facebook to conduct affairs? What rock has he been living under that he doesn't know to be careful? Everybody knows how volatile these things are! You send them out and have no further control over them! Their entire nature is about spreading information. Hell-o?
Weiner seems to have been getting his kicks, like an excited schoolboy, out of nothing but virtual innuendo, and although he was incredibly stupid, it is painful to see the press conference. It's not like he lied and declared war on a foreign country. I never really followed him, so I don't have a political axe to grind here. I've always found him unlikable. Do I think he should resign? No. This is what he was doing with his private life, which is not a crime and has nothing to do with his job. It just is very pathetic and rather unsavory, sending out pictures of his boners and his pecs.
But Nancy Pelosi needs to start the witch hunt before the other party does and I bet Weiner will end up resigning. I hope he doesn't, just to tip the puritanical end of the scale a bit to the other side. We don't want to be a place like France, where abusers are coddled, but we also don't want to be a convent. Until DSK came along, I always thought that the French were far more mature than us when it came to sex and romance. How sophisticated it was that both Mme. Mitterrand and the lover were at the funeral, Pepe Le Pew, etc, etc. It has been disappointing to learn that French culture is nothing but yet another boys' club, with the acquiescence of les femmes, as always. But here, the sexual hysteria is even more disturbing.
Americans are a bunch of horny puritans and this is rather confusing, not to say very hard to pull off, so to speak.

Monday, June 06, 2011

A Pain in the Neck

Note the pendant hanging from her neck.
It is not sufficient for this human vomit, this putrid excrescence of evil, to come to New York, eat the wrong pizza, say stupid things about Paul Revere and be so stupefyingly insane as to stand by her historical errors concerning him, who she insists on turning into an NRA icon.
She also gets to wear a Star of David? This is the last straw.
Apparently, she wore the star in New York on celebration of Jerusalem Day, which commemorates Israel's conquest of the Old City of Jerusalem during the Six Day War. On other days, with other audiences, she conveniently wears other religious symbols, the harlot:

Is this her own personal mishegoss? She thinks that Jews (in New York, of all places) are suddenly going to like her if she wears a Mogen Dovid? Does she think we already forgot that in 2008 she attended a service in her church where the director of Jews for Jesus (another plague from hell) said that the Jews who were victims of terrorist attacks in Israel died as punishment for not accepting Christianity?
People accuse Jews of having too long a memory. Well, we better not lose it now.
Or did some enterprising, benighted, wrongheaded Jew dream up this public relations coup?
How many times do I have to scream it to the winds?
Jews, hear me out:
This offensive simulacrum of a person 1) is not a Jew 2) is not a friend of the Jews.
As I have said a zillion times before, evangelicals that support Israel do so not because they love Bibi and they love Jews. They do it for one reason only. Israel is where Jesus is supposed to show up when he finally deigns to come back. Only the saved will be allowed into the Rapture and Whatever Happens Next will not happen until EVERYBODY is a Christian because only the Christians can be saved. Hence, the Jews, who have paid dearly through the centuries for refusing to believe in Jesus, are first on the list of conversion.
So listen, idiot Jews: no matter how you slice it, it's not gonna be good. If it doesn't happen, we may be accused of scaring him away. If it happens, we are going to be standing in the way unless we decide to convert. To judge from past history, this is not going to happen voluntarily, and we all know how carried away the faithful can get when it comes to the conversion of the infidels (the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition, anyone?).
Do not come crying to me wondering what happened to all that evangelical love.
This woman is a dangerous idiot and so are you if you think she's good for the Jews, or for anybody else, for that matter.
As for you, pestilent, opportunistic cockroach, take that thing off your neck.
How dare you?

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Department of Culinary Suspicion

The New York Times reports there is an authentic taquería in Paris. The only one. It's called Candelaria and serves spicy tacos, whether the French like it hot or not. However, the lines at the door are of many Americans who miss their tacos. This makes me highly suspicious, because most Americans have a distorted idea of tacos.
A woman quoted in the article says that Candelaria's tacos are not as good as Mission (San Francisco's) tacos. And I say that Mission tacos are not as good as real Mexican tacos. I know all of you Californians (and some Texans) want to challenge me to a duel right now. What can I say? Bring it.
Your tacos may be very tasty but I always find something off with them. Too big and fat, not the right tortilla, bad accoutrements (cabbage, too much lettuce, sour cream, radishes), etc.
To their credit, at Candelaria they make the tortillas in-house. The reporter says that they were too spicy, which is also a no-no. The optional salsas can be as spicy as hell, (although they should not all set your tongue on fire) but the taco fillings shouldn't be.
I once ate at a Mexican restaurant in Paris that was owned by a guy from Oaxaca. In order to get the French to come in, he had to take any evidence of spice out of the food. The food was like a consumptive cousin of the real thing. It reminded me of Proust, swaddled in bed, afraid to go outside and breathe. It wasn't bad but it wasn't good. It was bland and it tasted off-Mexican. It was a bit sad.
In countries where corn is not a staple, it's hard to make Mexican food work. The tortilla is key, and outside of Mexico tortillas usually suck. Then there are the misreadings: too much spice or not enough and lack of balance and subtlety.  In New York, things have improved greatly since the arrival of many Mexican workers to the city's restaurant kitchens.  Now taquerías are ubiquitous. Frankly, I am afraid to try them, as I find that restaurant owners still don't quite understand the taco concept.
A short taco primer: everything needs to be served hot temperature-wise. The tortilla and the filling need to be hot. Not the filling hot and the tortilla frigid, like in Chipotle, or viceversa. In Mexico, most taco fillings are cooked fresh on the spot. So if you get a taco de bistec, or any other taco a la parrilla, the meat hasn't been sitting in a container since the morning. It gets put on the grill and cooked right then and there. If they are tacos de guisado, the stews are made beforehand but somehow they do not taste like they have been congealing there all day. Most taquerías served grilled meats and pastor (pork on a spit), but here the fillings tend to be stews, even when it's meat. It's always disappointing. So concentrate on the contents and stop the obsession with the shit that goes on top, which in Mexico is chopped onions and cilantro. Provide some juicy limes instead. Also, be generous! Don't make me look for the optional sauces with a microscope. Don't give me a tiny plastic thimble of sauce and an eighth of a dessicated lime. This is where you really don't get it.
I always get asked where do I go for Mexican food in NY. My answer is usually "to Mexico City". But there are a couple of places that I like. Hecho en Dumbo, in the Bowery is top of my list. Great appetizers, very good carnitas, quite authentic. And they make an addictive tamarind margarita. The tacos de cochinita and the sopa de tortilla at La Esquina are also good. La Superior in Williamsburg is fine. In the case of taquerías, I resent to have to pay so much. The prices of tacos have not translated very well to the NY economy, I'm afraid. I have not tried some newer places, for fear of bitter disappointment. But I might.
Which brings me to tell you, however, that I found the best enchiladas verdes I've eaten outside of Mexico right in my neighborhood. They are so good that if I ate them in Mexico, I'd be very impressed. The green tomatillo sauce is fresh and perfectly balanced with a spicy kick, and the chicken is not dried out left overs but is stewed as they do in Mexico, so there is a delicious reddish ooze coming out of the green. As the tortillas are smothered in the excellent sauce, they don't call too much attention to themselves and they taste fine. And although the cabbage garnish is not quite right, the dish is absolutely delicious. According to a waitress, the cooks made the enchiladas for themselves and the chef wisely decided to put them on the menu. Now I can't live without them. They are served at Burger and Barrel in West Houston St.