Que Sarah, Sarah

Monday, October 09, 2006

Absolutely Absurd...

Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a radio personality who dispenses advice to people who call in to her radio show. Recently, she said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22 and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following is an open letter to Dr. Laura penned by Jim the sarcasm king. It's funny, as well as informative:

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thanks for doing much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, & try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other specific laws & how to follow them:

When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is menstrually unclean - Lev.15:19- 24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

I have a coworker who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?

Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there wiggle room here?

Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

My Bro has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? - Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

Your devoted fan,
Jim

Friday, October 06, 2006

A Thought About...MEN

All men are emotionally challenged. That sounds harsh, but, in reality, I'm being quite generous. I'm allowing for the possibility that men do, in fact, have emotions at all. The likelihood that these emotions present a challenge to them is without question.

© 2006 Sarah Spain

Thursday, October 05, 2006

MC SPIZZLE ON THE MIC

MC Spizzle throws it down...

I drop rhymes--a myriad
My shit flows like a period
I give the bitches stomach cramps
Make your boyfriend's bedsheets damp
Rap all day--I won't quit
'Til y'all know I'm legit
Got fans like it's summer
Got 'em buzzin' like a hummer
Sayin' "Damn, that chick is tight"
"Could watch her spit her shit all night"
Could make you swallow all your pride
Like a honeymooning bride
Taking hits from hubby's pipe
Like you takin' in my hype
Got you high on songs that's dope
Joints rolled tighter than a rope
Your head bobbin' to my rhyme
Like Alzheimers in your prime
Droppin' verses like a deuce
Shit flies from me like it's loose
Make you run like DMC
Got more hits than Big's "Juicy"
You'll say "Yeah!" like Lil' Jon
'Cause I'm built like an amazon
Wonder Woman on the mike
I can make your pulses spike
Make your heart stop with my bombs
They ain't sagging like your mom's
My milkshakes are so large
Ain't no more boys in Kelis's yard
Bust out your sorry rap
And I'll burn you like the clap
If you try to step to this
You'll be sore like syphilis
Use my wit just like a weapon
So you better get to steppin'
Word.

© 2006 Sarah Spain

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Michigan

Michigan

From Northern lands
of dip and heath and peak,
home of the great lake
where the mighty meets the creek
with a finger and makes
the tiny river quake,

where if the robins
linger or flee
in a flash of ginger wing
depends on if they see
the winter just ahead,
or the winter still asleep;

where, golden brown,
sometimes the road extends
facing a low sun,
and others, cuts the glen’s
emerald, lush lawn
in lazy bends;

on tanned, muddy ground,
down rows of ochre wheat,
past country fields
and tall country oaks,
bent like knotted hands,
past spinning windmill spokes,

through early morning
a bus journeys south,
the horizon leaking gold,
gold bouncing off of steel,
stirring the crumbling road
of dusty, chestnut soil.

down straights, up curves,
and stops, still, as
a mother waves wild
dreams and wishes
to her child
And a father turns away.

© 1998 Sarah Spain





Why I love...THOMAS DYBDAHL

my heart...

...in a song.

A Lovestory
Thomas Dybdahl

honey i told you
that these things never last
and one of these days now
you`ll start dreaming of the past
when life was once too short for all the things we'd do and the shots we'd call
and endless summer without a fall
when promises were meant to keep
and nighttime wasn't meant for sleep
a love story at its peak
doesn't it feel good
to know that you've been loved
and doesn't it make you
laugh when you think of
the day when we all got lost on the old mans farm
just trying to get across
it was only then i knew what love was
sunday mornings that never ended and hangovers that never mended
a love story at its peak
-----
"Let the people who never find true love
keep saying that there's no such thing.
Their faith will make it easier for them to live and die."
-----
"It's a strange thing, how you can love somebody, how you can be all eaten up inside with needing them -- and they simply don't need you. That's all there is to it, and neither of you can do anything about it. And they'll be the same way with someone else, and someone else will be the same way about you and it goes on and on-- this desperate need -- and only once in a rare million do the same two people need each other."
-----
"we, of that time, are no longer the same...
love is so short, forgetting is so long."

Why I Love...CUMMINGS, ANGELOU & BYRON

a blue true dream of sky

it may not always be so; and i say
that if your lips, which i have loved, should touch
another's, and your dear strong fingers clutch
his heart, as mine in time not far away;
if on another's face your sweet hair lay
in such silence as i know, or such
great writhing words as, uttering overmuch,
stand helplessly before the spirit at bay;

if this should be, i say if this should be--
you of my heart, send me a little word;
that i may go unto him, and take his hands,
saying, Accept all happiness from me.
Then shall i turn my face and hear one bird
sing terribly afar in the lost lands

-e.e. cummings

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

-e.e cummings


Lying, thinking
Last night
How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf is not stone
I came up with one thing
And I don't believe I'm wrong
That nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.
Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.
There are some millionaires
With money they can't use
Their wives run round like banshees
Their children sing the blues
They've got expensive doctors
To cure their hearts of stone.
But nobody
No, nobody
Can make it out here alone.
Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.
Now if you listen closely
I'll tell you what I know
Storm clouds are gathering
The wind is gonna blow
The race of man is suffering
And I can hear the moan,
'Cause nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.
Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

-maya angelou


When we two parted
In silence and tears,
Half broken-hearted
To sever for years,
Pale grew thy cheek and cold,
Colder thy kiss;
Truly that hour foretold
Sorrow to this.
The dew of the morning
Sunk chill on my brow--
It felt like the warning
Of what I feel now.
Thy vows are all broken,
And light is thy fame;
I hear thy name spoken,
And share in its shame/
They name thee before me,
A knell to mine ear;
A shudder comes o'er me--
Why wert thou so dear?
They know not I knew thee,
Who knew thee too well--
Long, long shall I rue thee,
Too deeply to tell.
In secret we met--
In silence I grieve,
That thy heart could forget,
Thy spirit deceive.
If I should meet thee
After long years,
How should I greet thee?--
With silence and tears.

-lord byron

WORDS OF WISDOM

Words of Wisdom

"TRUTH IS STRANGER THAN FICTION"

Last night I threw back a couple drinks with some friends at Makai in Santa Monica. After that couple, we headed to Kings Head for a couple more. Befriending the bartender meant one or five too many soco and lime shots and an accompanying friendly (read: drunk) demeanor. A short, stocky guy across the bar bought me a drink I didnt need and came over to talk. I was drunk, so humoring him by speaking when it was my turn was tolerable for awhile. I cant remember his name or much of anything we talked about, except I believe he said he was in the military and in town on vacation. When the time came to leave, the short stocky guy asked for my email, saying he liked to have penpal-type friends to write to from overseas.

"IF YOU DON'T HAVE ANYTHING NICE TO SAY, DON'T SAY ANYTHING AT ALL"

Truth is, I WANTED to say "Thus far, youve said nothing in particular of merit. You're not witty, intelligent or interesting. In fact, you're kind of creepy and youre 55. If I were to fill out a profile describing my perfect man, I would never check the body type box that reads fire hydrant." Corresponding with you via email sounds like a huge waste of time and not at all appealing. Truth is, I SHOULD have said Thanks for protecting our homeland, thanks for defending my freedom, thanks for buying me a drink. It was nice meeting you, Im sorry but I dont give out my email to strangers.

"EASIER SAID THAN DONE"

I was drunk. This is a good excuse for most things. So I gave it to him, thinking Whats the harm in giving this poor guy my email? I never have to write him back and this way I wont have to deal with any awkward/angry rejection response or engage in a lengthy conversation consisting mostly of why nots? and becauses. I felt I was doing a good deed. I went home and snoozed my way directly to a nasty hangover.

NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED"

This afternoon at work I opened my hotmail to find an email that appeared to be junk. Then I noticed another from the same sender, with the same subject line: Do you know my husband? I was curious. This is what it read

Hello Spain2323
I am hoping that you will help me out. I found your email address in my husbands wallet this morning. He has been known to cheat and I supect him of doing it again. Will you email me to let me know who you are? I need to know if he is trying to pick up women. Your email address was wriiten down Tuesday night May 30th in Santa Monica. He did not come in until 4 o'clock that morning. Please I need your help. Thanks

"MEN ARE DOGS"

© 2006 Sarah Spain

Why I Love...KLOSTERMAN

It'd be a lot funnier if it weren't so damn true...

Excerpt
Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto
By Chuck Klosterman

No woman will ever satisfy me. I know that now, and I would never try to deny it. But this is actually okay, because I will never satisfy a woman, either.

Should I be writing such thoughts? Perhaps not. Perhaps it's a bad idea. I can definitely foresee a scenario where that first paragraph could come back to haunt me, especially if I somehow became marginally famous. If I become marginally famous, I will undoubtedly be interviewed by someone in the media, and the interviewer will inevitably ask, "Fifteen years ago, you wrote that no woman could ever satisfy you. Now that you've been married for almost five years, are those words still true?" And I will have to say, "Oh, God no. Those were the words of an entirely different persona person whom I can't even relate to anymore. Honestly, I can't image an existence without _____. She satisfies me in ways that I never even considered. She saved my life, really."

Now, I will be lying. I won't really feel that way. But I'll certainly say those words, and I'll deliver them with the utmost sincerity, even though those sentiments will not be there. So then the interviewer will undoubtedly quote lines from this particular paragraph, thereby reminding me that I swore I would publicly deny my true feelings, and I'll chuckle and say, "Come on, Mr. Rose. That was a literary device. You know I never really believed that."

But here's the thing: I do believe that. It's the truth now, and it will be in the future. And while I'm not exactly happy about that truth, it doesn't make me sad, either. I know it's not my fault.

It's no one's fault, really. Or maybe it's everyone's fault. It should be everyone's fault, because it's everyone's problem. Well, okaynot everyone. Not boring people, and not the profoundly retarded. But whenever I meet dynamic, nonretarded Americans, I notice that they all seem to share a single unifying characteristic: the inability to experience the kind of mind-blowing, transcendent romantic relationship they perceive to be a normal part of living. And someone needs to take the fall for this. So instead of blaming no one for this (which is kind of cowardly) or blaming everyone (which is kind of meaningless), I'm going to blame John Cusack.

I once loved a girl who almost loved me, but not as much as she loved John Cusack. Under certain circumstances, this would have been fine; Cusack is relatively good-looking, he seems like a pretty cool guy (he likes the Clash and the Who, at least), and he undoubtedly has millions of bones in the bank. If Cusack and I were competing for the same woman, I could easily accept losing. However, I don't really feel like John and I were "competing" for the girl I'm referring to, inasmuch as her relationship to Cusack was confined to watching him as a two-dimensional projection, pretending to be characters who don't actually exist. Now, there was a time when I would have thought that detachment would have given me a huge advantage over Johnny C., inasmuch as my relationship with this woman included things like "talking on the phone" and "nuzzling under umbrellas" and "eating pancakes." However, I have come to realize that I perceived this competition completely backward; it was definitely an unfair battle, but not in my favor. It was unfair in Cusack's favor. I never had a chance.

It appears that countless women born between the years of 1965 and 1978 are in love with John Cusack. I cannot fathom how he isn't the number-one box-office star in America, because every straight girl I know would sell her soul to share a milkshake with that motherfucker. For upwardly mobile women in their twenties and thirties, John Cusack is the neo-Elvis. But here's what none of these upwardly mobile women seem to realize: They don't love John Cusack. They love Lloyd Dobler. When they see Mr. Cusack, they are still seeing the optimistic, charmingly loquacious teenager he played in Say Anything, a movie that came out more than a decade ago. That's the guy they think he is; when Cusack played Eddie Thomas in America's Sweethearts or the sensitive hit man in Grosse Pointe Blank, all his female fans knew he was only actingbut they assume when the camera stopped rolling, he went back to his genuine selfwhich was someone like Lloyd Doblerwhich was, in fact, someone who is Lloyd Dobler, and someone who continues to have a storybook romance with Diane Court (or with Ione Skye, depending on how you look at it). And these upwardly mobile women are not alone. We all convince ourselves of things like thisnot necessarily about Say Anything, but about any fictionalized portrayals of romance that happen to hit us in the right place, at the right time. This is why I will never be completely satisfied by a woman, and this is why the kind of woman I tend to find attractive will never be satisfied by me. We will both measure our relationship against the prospect of fake love.

Fake love is a very powerful thing. That girl who adored John Cusack once had the opportunity to spend a weekend with me in New York at the Waldorf-Astoria, but she elected to fly to Portland instead to see the first U.S. appearance by Coldplay, a British pop group whose success derives from their ability to write melodramatic alt-rock songs about fake love. It does not matter that Coldplay is absolutely the shittiest fucking band I've ever heard in my entire fucking life, or that they sound like a mediocre photocopy of Travis (who sound like a mediocre photocopy of Radiohead), or that their greatest fucking artistic achievement is a video where their blandly attractive frontman walks on a beach on a cloudy fucking afternoon. None of that matters. What matters is that Coldplay manufactures fake love as frenetically as the Ford fucking Motor Company manufactures Mustangs, and that's all this woman heard. "For you I bleed myself dry," sang their blockhead vocalist, brilliantly informing us that stars in the sky are, in fact, yellow. How am I going to compete with that shit? That sleepy-eyed bozo isn't even making sense. He's just pouring fabricated emotions over four gloomy guitar chords, and it ends up sounding like love. And what does that mean? It means she flies to fucking Portland to hear two hours of amateurish U.K. hyper-slop, and I sleep alone in a $270 hotel in Manhattan, and I hope Coldplay gets fucking dropped by fucking EMI and ends up like the Stone fucking Roses, who were actually a better fucking band, all things considered.

Not that I'm bitter about this. Oh, I concede that I may be taking this particular example somewhat personallybut I do think it's a perfect illustration of why almost everyone I know is either overtly or covertly unhappy. Coldplay songs deliver an amorphous, irrefutable interpretation of how being in love is supposed to feel, and people find themselves wanting that feeling for real. They want men to adore them like Lloyd Dobler would, and they want women to think like Aimee Mann, and they expect all their arguments to sound like Sam Malone and Diane Chambers. They think everything will work out perfectly in the end (just like it did for Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones and Nick Hornby's Rob Fleming), and they don't stop believing, because Journey's Steve Perry insists we should never do that. In the nineteenth century, teenagers merely aspired to have a marriage that would be better than that of their parents; personally, I would never be satisfied unless my marriage was as good as Cliff and Clair Huxtable's (or at least as enigmatic as Jack and Meg White's).

Pundits are always blaming TV for making people stupid, movies for desensitizing the world to violence, and rock music for making kids take drugs and kill themselves. These things should be the least of our worries. The main problem with mass media is that it makes it impossible to fall in love with any acumen of normalcy. There is no "normal," because everybody is being twisted by the same sources simultaneously. You can't compare your relationship with the playful couple who lives next door, because they're probably modeling themselves after Chandler Bing and Monica Geller. Real people are actively trying to live like fake people, so real people are no less fake. Every comparison becomes impractical. This is why the impractical has become totally acceptable; impracticality almost seems cool. The best relationship I ever had was with a journalist who was as crazy as me, and some of our coworkers liked to compare us to Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen. At the time, I used to think, "Yeah, that's completely valid: We fight all the time, our love is self-destructive, andif she was mysteriously killedI'm sure I'd be wrongly arrested for second-degree murder before dying from an overdose." We even watched Sid & Nancy in her parents' basement and giggled the whole time. "That's us," we said gleefully. And like I saidthis was the best relationship I ever had. And I suspect it was the best one she ever had, too.

Of course, this media transference is not all bad. It has certainly worked to my advantage, just as it has for all modern men who look and talk and act like me. We all owe our lives to Woody Allen. If Woody Allen had never been born, I'm sure I would be doomed to a life of celibacy. Remember the aforementioned woman who loved Cusack and Coldplay? There is absolutely no way I could have dated this person if Woody Allen didn't exist. In tangible terms, she was light-years out of my league, along with most of the other women I've slept with. But Woody Allen changed everything. Woody Allen made it acceptable for beautiful women to sleep with nerdy, bespectacled goofballs; all we need to do is fabricate the illusion of intellectual humor, and we somehow have a chance. The irony is that many of the women most susceptible to this scam haven't even seen any of Woody's movies, nor would they want to touch the actual Woody Allen if they ever had the chance (especially since he's proven to be an über-pervy clarinet freak). If asked, most of these foxy ladies wouldn't classify Woody Allen as sexy, or handsome, or even likable. But this is how media devolution works: It creates an archetype that eventually dwarfs its origin. By now, the "Woody Allen Personality Type" has far greater cultural importance than the man himself.

Now, the argument could be made that all this is good for the sexual bloodstream of Americana, and that all these Women Who Want Woody are being unconsciously conditioned to be less shallow than their sociobiology dictates. Self-deprecating cleverness has become a virtue. At least on the surface, movies and television actively promote dating the nonbeautiful: If we have learned anything from the mass media, it's that the only people who can make us happy are those who don't strike us as being particularly desirable. Whether it's Jerry Maguire or Sixteen Candles or Who's the Boss or Some Kind of Wonderful or Speed Racer, we are constantly reminded that the unattainable icons of perfection we lust after can never fulfill us like the platonic allies who have been there all along. If we all took media messages at their absolute face value, we'd all be sleeping with our best friends. And that does happen, sometimes. But herein lies the trap: We've also been trained to think this will always work out over the long term, which dooms us to disappointment. Because when push comes to shove, we really don't want to have sex with our friendsunless they're sexy. And sometimes we do want to have sex with our blackhearted, soul-sucking enemiesassuming they're sexy. Because that's all it ever comes down to in real life, regardless of what happened to Michael J. Fox in Teen Wolf.

The mass media causes sexual misdirection: It prompts us to need something deeper than what we want. This is why Woody Allen has made nebbish guys cool; he makes people assume there is something profound about having a relationship based on witty conversation and intellectual discourse. There isn't. It's just another gimmick, and it's no different than wanting to be with someone because they're thin or rich or the former lead singer of Whiskeytown. And it actually might be worse, because an intellectual relationship isn't real at all. My witty banter and cerebral discourse is always completely contrived. Right now, I have three and a half dates worth of material, all of which I pretend to deliver spontaneously. This is my strategy: If I can just coerce women into the last half of that fourth date, it's anyone's ball game. I've beaten the system; I've broken the code; I've slain the Minotaur. If we part ways on that fourth evening without some kind of conversational disaster, she probably digs me. Or at least she thinks she digs me, because who she digs is not really me. Sadly, our relationship will not last ninety-three minutes (like Annie Hall) or ninety-six minutes (like Manhattan). It will go on for days or weeks or months or years, and I've already used everything in my vault. Very soon, I will have nothing more to say, and we will be sitting across from each other at breakfast, completely devoid of banter; she will feel betrayed and foolish, and I will suddenly find myself actively trying to avoid spending time with a woman I didn't deserve to be with in the first place.

Perhaps this sounds depressing. That is not my intention. This is all normal. There's not a lot to say during breakfast. I mean, you just woke up, you know? Nothing has happened. If neither person had an especially weird dream and nobody burned the toast, breakfast is just the time for chewing Cocoa Puffs and/or wishing you were still asleep. But we've been convinced not to think like that. Silence is only supposed to happen as a manifestation of supreme actualization, where both parties are so at peace with their emotional connection that it cannot be expressed through the rudimentary tools of the lexicon; otherwise, silence is proof that the magic is gone and the relationship is over (hence the phrase "We just don't talk anymore"). For those of us who grew up in the media age, the only good silence is the kind described by the hair metal band Extreme. "More than words is all I ever needed you to show," explained Gary Cherone on the Pornograffiti album. "Then you wouldn't have to say that you love me, cause I'd already know." This is the difference between art and life: In art, not talking is never an extension of having nothing to say; not talking always means something. And now that art and life have become completely interchangeable, we're forced to live inside the acoustic power chords of Nuno Bettencourt, even if most of us don't necessarily know who the fuck Nuno Bettencourt is.

When Harry Met Sally hit theaters in 1989. I didn't see it until 1997, but it turns out I could have skipped it entirely. The movie itself isn't bad (which is pretty amazing, since it stars Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal), and there are funny parts and sweet parts and smart dialogue, andall things consideredit's a well-executed example of a certain kind of entertainment. Yet watching this film in 1997 was like watching the 1978 one-game playoff between the Yankees and the Red Sox on ESPN Classic: Though I've never sat through the pitch sequence that leads to Bucky Dent's three-run homer, I know exactly what happened. I feel like I remember it, even though I don't. Andmore importantI know what it all means. Knowing about sports means knowing that Bucky Dent is the living, breathing, metaphorical incarnation of the Bo Sox's undying futility; I didn't have to see that game to understand the fabric of its existence. I didn't need to see When Harry Met Sally, either. Within three years of its initial release, classifying any intense friendship as "totally a Harry-Met-Sally situation" had a recognizable meaning to everyone, regardless of whether or not they'd actually seen the movie. And that meaning remains clear and remarkably consistent: It implies that two platonic acquaintances are refusing to admit that they're deeply in love with each other. When Harry Met Sally cemented the plausibility of that notion, and it gave a lot of desperate people hope. It made it realistic to suspect your best friend may be your soul mate, and it made wanting such a scenario comfortably conventional. The problem is that the Harry-Met-Sally situation is almost always tragically unbalanced. Most of the time, the two involved parties are not really "best friends." Inevitably, one of the people has been in love with the other from the first day they met, while the other person is either (a) wracked with guilt and pressure, or (b) completely oblivious to the espoused attraction. Every relationship is fundamentally a power struggle, and the individual in power is whoever likes the other person less. But When Harry Met Sally gives the powerless, unrequited lover a reason to live. When this person gets drunk and tells his friends that he's in love with a woman who only sees him as a buddy, they will say, "You're wrong. You're perfect for each other. This is just like When Harry Met Sally! I'm sure she loves youshe just doesn't realize it yet." Nora Ephron accidentally ruined a lot of lives.

I remember taking a course in college called "Communication and Society," and my professor was obsessed by the belief that fairy tales like "Hansel and Gretel" and "Little Red Riding Hood" were evil. She said they were part of a latent social code that hoped to suppress women and minorities. At the time, I was mildly outraged that my tuition money was supporting this kind of crap; years later, I have come to recall those pseudo-savvy lectures as what I loved about college. But I still think they were probably wasteful, and here's why: Even if those theories are true, they're barely significant. "The Three Little Pigs" is not the story that is fucking people up. Stories like Say Anything are fucking people up. We don't need to worry about people unconsciously "absorbing" archaic secret messages when they're six years old; we need to worry about all the entertaining messages people are consciously accepting when they're twenty-six. They're the ones that get us, because they're the ones we try to turn into life. I mean, Christ: I wish I could believe that bozo in Coldplay when he tells me that stars are yellow. I miss that girl. I wish I was Lloyd Dobler. I don't want anybody to step on a piece of broken glass. I want fake love. But that's all I want, and that's why I can't have it.

Why I Love...POE, NERUDA & FROST

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leafs a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
- Robert Frost


If You Forget Me

I want you to know
one thing.

You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
that sail
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.

Well, now,
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.

If suddenly
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.

If you think it long and mad,
the wind of banners
that passes through my life,
and you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where I have roots,
remember
that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.

But
if each day,
each hour,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine.
-Pablo Neruda

A Dream Within A Dream

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?
-Edgar Allan Poe

A Dream

In visions of the dark night
I have dreamed of joy departed-
But a waking dream of life and light
Hath left me broken-hearted.

Ah! what is not a dream by day
To him whose eyes are cast
On things around him with a ray
Turned back upon the past?

That holy dream- that holy dream,
While all the world were chiding,
Hath cheered me as a lovely beam
A lonely spirit guiding.

What though that light, thro' storm and night,
So trembled from afar-
What could there be more purely bright
In Truth's day-star?

Edgar Allan Poe

Why I Love...STEVE JOBS

You've got to find what you love...


I read this awhile back, but a friend reminded me of it and it resonates even more for me now. I think people in any industry can take something away from it, but those of us pursuing a dream that may seem out of reach should take it to heart the most. "Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. "

"You've got to find what you love."

This is the text of the Commencement address by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on June 12, 2005.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I retuned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.

This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Why I Love...HOUSE OF LEAVES

Stuff To Blow Your Mindhole

I'm reading this crazy, weird, confusing, suspenseful, deep, many-layered book called "House of Leaves" that is full of amazing insights and quotes and "Deep Thoughts" worthy of Jack Handey.

Here are just a few to stick in your pipe and smoke...


Maturity, one discovers, has everything to do with the acceptance of "not knowing." Of course not knowing hardly prevents the approaching chaos.


Little solace comes
to those who grieve
when thoughts keep drifting
as walls keep shifting
and this great blue world of ours
seems a house of leaves
moments before the wind.


The labours of men of genius, however erroneously directed, scarcely ever fail in ultimately turning to the solid advantage of mankind. - Mary Shelley


Passion has little to do with euphoria and everything to do with patience. It is not about feeling good. It is about endurance. Like patience, passion comes from the same Latin root: pati. It does not mean to flow with exuberance. It means to suffer.


Chi dara fine al gran dolore?
L'ore.
(Who will put an end to this great sadness? The hours passing.)


Who has never killed an hour? Not casually or without thought, but carefully: a premeditated murder of minutes. The violence comes from a combination of giving up, not caring, and a resignation that getting past it is all you can hope to accomplish. So you kill the hour. You do not work, you do not read, you do not daydream. If you sleep it is not because you need to sleep. And when it at last is over, there is no evidence: no weapon, no blood, and no body. The only clue might be the shadows beneath your eyes or a terribly thin line near the corner of your mouth indicating something has been suffered, that in the privacy of your life you have lost something and the loss is too empty to share.


The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing. - Blaise Pascal


As I dig for wild orchids
in the autumn fields,
it is the deeply-bedded root
that I desire,
not the flower - Izumi Shikibu

I took my morning walk, I took my evening walk, I ate something, I thought about something, I wrote something, I napped and dreamt something too, and with all that something, I still have nothing because so much of sum'things has always been and always will be you. I miss you.

Why I Still Love...KENNETH CARROLL

THE JOYS OF KISSING

what drove me crazy was her kisses
(& lord 'ave mercy, she could kiss!)
she had the kind of kisses
that made blind men attend 3d movies
the kind of kisses that made
priests kick out stained glass windows
her kiss was a bassline
vibrating near a g spot

& i want her kisses
to fill this empty space that once held a
heart
my lips offer no condolences, (they
are very uncool,)
several times this week they have left
my face to hunt for her

this is not progressive, i know
but i want to colonize her lips
i want to plant a flag on her tongue
i want to set up nominally independent
homelands
that will surround her lips
i want segregation laws that will keep
all other
lips away from hers
i want to force artists to write
propaganda in support of her lips

but i must get hip about her lips
(a hip blues line here please)
i want to hold jazz festivals on her lips
where dueling tongues replace trumpet
players
i want her lips all over me like
coltrane's
fingers dancing wildly over them keys
i want to go to a dangerous after-hours
joint with her lips

i can get reverent too, like
i want to erect a temple on her lips
& make hadj to her kiss
where i will become holy & wise &
kissed
& write scripture that says, "& she
kissed the sky,
& yea, the sky did drool for forty days
& forty nights"
deliver me oh lord unto...her kiss

yeah it was her kiss that drove me
here,
all crazy like this
& good lord, i hope her kiss,
drives me back.

- Kenneth Carroll

Why I Love...KENNETH CARROLL

elaborate signings

"women are the sweetness of life."
poets can build galaxies from pebbles
& breathe the word of life into brief glances,
but one must be careful with the power of creation
so i scribble an obligatory, struggling to keep from
staining the page with the exaggeration of new passion,
unsure if i am simply the writer who lives downstairs,
plays his coltrane too loud & likes thunderstorms
i take a trip one flight up
where your eyes escort me to another country,
your touch becomes a wet kiss on the horizon
of a birthday in a warm july
i travel to your smile to hear stories of
wrecked trains parked in your dining room
but the past is a vulgar thief
it steals the laughter from your eyes,
tosses the broken edges of yesterday's heartache
into this remembrance
i dream of erasing painful memories with lingering
caresses from a steady hand
i rearrange the jagged stars of your past
i am the young boy smiling at you with love letter eyes
i carve your name into the soul of graying trees
i am your first slow dance, a trembling hand teetering on your waist
i replace the melancholy prayers on your lips with urgent kisses
i swear an oath to your beauty, become holy in your embrace
traveling tall miles through years of distance,
i arrive, wet from your tears,
my only tool—a poet’s skill
i mend your smile,
emancipate your eyes,
& together
we ride that wrecked train from your dining room
to the horizon of your birthday in another country.

-Kenneth Carroll