poemless. a slap in the face of public taste.

May 14, 2010

Baby pictures!

Filed under: Culture: Russia — poemless @ 3:38 PM
Tags: ,
No – I didn’t have one. 
God forbid.  I hate babies.  “Hate” may be the wrong word.  I hold no real animosity against babies themselves.  They didn’t choose to be babies.  Mostly it’s the parents I hate.  And the cult of parenthood.  Oof.  But babies, children, mostly I feel sorry for them.  They all seem a little confused and angry and sad on the inside, and hysterical on the outside.  The other day my cat ran into a little girl in the hallway of my apartment building.  They were both bewildered.  I like putting animals and babies together.  It’s miraculous.  The little two legged beasts turn into angels, the absolute personification of the sublime, and the little four legged beasts turn into saints, nobly tolerating the demands and abuse of the two legged beasts because that is why they were put in this earth.  Like star-crossed lovers, they eventually had to be torn apart and returned to their proper families.  Oscar actually seemed somewhat terrified and disoriented when we got back inside.  He’s not used to children.  I can’t even verify that he’s ever been handled by one before.  I tried to explain to him what children were.  “Like, half space alien, half pet,” I told him.  Keep in mind I treat pets like children, so I’m not advocating giving kids as presents or locking them in the garage.  I just mean, they are small and needy and silly and it makes us feel good to care for them.  Yet they grow in us and often need to be cut out of our stomachs, they make up their own languages and can’t really be trusted. And have big eyes and small bodies.  Like aliens.  Oscar looked at me like I was the alien and sat down in front of the tv to watch a documentary on the Spanish Inquisition.
Anyway, baby pictures!  Care of FP Passport:
Aw…  Normally when I’m shown pictures of people’s children I have to lie and pretend like I care and then I punish them by showing them photos of my cat which instead makes them pity me for some reason and frankly it’s not right because I think I’ve got the better deal.  But you have to admit, this is a cute kid!  Those eyes!  My mother warned me of Russian boys before I got on the plane to Moscow.  Then she repeatedly sent letters repeating those warnings.  Specifically, she warned of “puckish” Russian boys with their “impish” eyes.  Looks like they’re born with them…  Also, Medvedev’s mother (far right) is beautiful too.
Once a nature boy, always a nature boy…  I suppose the only real surprise should be that he manages to put on a shirt for formal occasions.  Truthfully, though, he seems a bit cold.  Well, it doesn’t look like he had the same picture-perfect happy childhood as his protege.  Life in Post-War Russia must have been rather hard.  Compared to all of the cheezy, goofy, nary-a-care-in-the-world childhood pictures of my family (and all others I’ve seen) in mid-1950’s America, this looks downright tragic.  Could be right out of a Dovzhenko still taken decades earlier.  Or one of those late-nite Feed the Children PSA’s.  No wonder we were afraid of Communism. 
And no wonder they were afraid of us…

September 21, 2009

I am sick… I am spiteful. And I have links.

Ok, it’s official, kids. I’m sick. The doctor I spoke with when making an appointment would not rule out swine flu and told me I had to wear a face mask in the waiting room. What the hell? I thought those things were largely useless. “It’s a precaution.” In fact, when I told him my symptoms, which are pretty lame, generic seasonal virus symptoms, there was a silence followed by, “Oooh… Ok. That is … that’s not good.” Just 24 hours ago I was still convinced I wasn’t really sick & now I’m convinced I’m dying. Possibly of something called, “Swine Flu.” How humiliating. Like being physically and mentally compromised isn’t humiliating enough.

My agenda for the near future is to see the doctor (I am one of those crazy Americans who has incredibly fantastic healthcare and pays a mere pittance for it, yet thinks we need a single payer system), go to the pharmacy for drugs and snacks (I don’t really keep snacks at home. I hate the word “snack.” Sounds offensive… “Snack.” But I am thinking of some juice and donuts, those little ones that have absolutely no nutritional value) and, if still ambulatory, swing by and rent some movies. Then I will go home and resign myself to illness, boredom and Dancing with the Stars. Which will never be the same without Gilles. Beautiful Gilles… Yes, as if choking on my own snot and having an illness with a name which in any other circumstance would be considered an epithet, as if that were not humiliating enough, I will now be scheduling my life according to the TV Guide. They shoot horses don’t they? Too bad I don’t have horse flu.

I’m not up for writing anything, but here are the thinks to things I’ve been reading. Check ’em out. (more…)

August 24, 2009

Odds & Ends: Wild Kingdom Edition

Filed under: Odds & Ends — poemless @ 4:55 PM
Tags: , , , , ,

Contents: Putin’s zoophilia, Moscow’s hobo dogs, Nazi Pooh bears and Zombies. And other gems.

It’s quite difficult to write a proper Odds & Ends these days. Ames got himself into a mess of money trouble and had to flee Moscow, leaving me eXile-less. MosNews has been unable to report anything but “hosting suspended for non-payment” for weeks. Capitalism has not been kind to the news of the perverse. Russians need to learn from America how to continue doing things they really can’t afford to do. I get the suspicion that they are taking this market economy idea too literally. It’s kabuki, people. Have you turned on the news recently? There is no money left here. I read the FDIC is broke. You don’t see Americans up and leaving to look for work in Canada to pay off their mortgages, do you? No. They’re gonna sit in their big fat houses in front of their big fat tvs until someone comes to drag them out kicking and screaming. They’re hedging their bets, assuming the people who get paid to drag people out of their homes kicking and screaming are also recently laid off and sitting in their big fat houses in front of their big fat tvs until someone comes to drag them out. Anyway, power-mad Capitalism has shut down the interesting journamalism in Moscow. The only insanity I can report on is American public policy, and that’s not funny ha-ha insane, that’s Alzheimer’s insane. Horrific, sad, embarrassing, makes you just want it to be over with soon so they’re out of their misery insane. So I’m avoiding U.S. news like I used to avoid grandma’s phone calls. Vovka at least is still romping around without half his clothes, but I can’t report on that every week. Unless the other half are shed, I can’t justify this behavior as “news.” He does seem to be flying through the Handbook of Bizarre Antics for Elected Officials at lightning speed, so I do look forward to the day when he gets to this entry. I wonder if it will be in Berlusconi’s bed…

And yet, August is upon us. What a morose bloody month it’s been. Even Russia Today’s supermodelanchors can’t pretend to be quirky and oblivious this week. People think the Russian news is all shiny happy neo-Soviets propaganda all the time. It’s not. It’s the airshow was a big effing failure, the whole entire effing North Caucasus has gone South Central L.A. on militant Islam and a whole entire effing dam collapsed and killed so many people that even the Prime Minster refuses to be “It sunk” snarky about it. Outside of Russia, it is famine, natural disasters, economic crisis and, to top it all off, even Obama is unpopular. He’s so unpopular people are coming to town halls armed. That’s how terrible everything is. Things weren’t even this terrible at the height of the Bush regime. That is what the news tells me. And there’s a new holiday to celebrate the twin evils of Nazism and Stalinism. When I say “Merkel is not appeasing anyone. The President of Ukraine has a 4% approval rating. Things weren’t even that terrible at the height of the Bush regime,” the news tells me, “Molotov–Ribbentrop,” like some fucking parrot with a history degree. Not because they have any idea what the hell it means in today’s geo-political climate. But because it’s a big word and they want you to know they know it. This explains why each time I read “Molotov–Ribbentrop” in the news, I hear it being said by the voice of Ricky Gervais’ character on The Office. It also explains why there wasn’t such hoopla on the anniversary of the Munich agreement…

Ack. All too depressing! Let’s talk about something else! (more…)

August 12, 2009

what not to read. what not to wear. vampires!

I previously posted a diatribe about my blog being a place dedicated to the free exchange of ideas and words and about world peace and political theory and blah, blah, blah… So, if you are here for that, great! Don’t go! However, that will not be on the menu tonight. This evening’s menu is dessert only.

What not to read.

From time to time, I am prone to be intensely shallow. Maybe I am afraid of becoming too librarian. Maybe it is an evolutionary adaptation to ensure that I can navigate mundane social situations. Maybe I am trying not to become what a friend called “a literary bore.” So I watch re-runs of old Sex and the City episodes, the ones with Baryshnikov. Or I check out a book entitled, He’s just not that into you. “Oh, girl, no you did not!” Oh, yes. I did. Don’t worry – I am the one who has to live with that on my permanent Chicago Public Library record for all the NSA to know. It stings. What was I thinking?! I was thinking, the books currently on my nightstand are The Ghost of Freedom: A History of the Caucasus, Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War and Boss: Richard J. Daley of Chicago and maybe it’s time for something silly. I was thinking, I need something I can pretend to read while I get a tan. I was thinking, the reviews of the movie were kind of good, and I really like Drew Barrymore. I do just adore her. I was thinking, “it is by the writers of Sex and the City and whe-he-ell, if they are brilliant enough to write for Baryshnikov…” I thought. Ok – I wasn’t thinking. Which was part of the point. Sometimes I need to not be thinking. So I read things like Vogue, or He’s just not that into you.

People say such things are bad for your self esteem. Whenever women do shallow shit is bad for their self-esteem. Or a sign of bad self-esteem. Or something. I am not certain, but I don’t think men are given lectures on their self-esteem when they read Playboy or watch the game on tv. Can any of the men in the house tell me if anyone has ever warned them that they cannot possibly live up to the expectations placed upon them by professional sports celebrities or Maxim, so they should walk away and go cultivate their inner gods by doing arts and crafts or something? I like the expectations placed on me by Vogue. In fact, I look around and am hardly worried that people are placing too much import on their appearance. Would you like to know what is truly bad for my self esteem? Not terrible relationship books with hot pink dust jackets. When I read crap like this, I exhale a sigh or relief upon the realization that I am already *far* better off than most people. Or the people reading it. And the people who wrote it. If you can call it writing. The whole point of that horrid little book, if it had a point and can be called a book, was that women should stop wasting time on people who belittle them because, even if they end up alone forever, and they will, it will be good for their self-confidence to ignore idiots. It was supposed to be empowering. And it was. I finished it and thought, “I should stop wasting time on crap writers who belittle women because, even if I end up a literary bore forever, and I will, it will be good for my self-confidence to ignore these idiots.” So I guess it worked, in some perverse way.

No, what really makes me question my worth is … Žižek. I know he has some brilliant point, but can’t for the life of me figure out what it is, exactly. There are people out there who claim to understand him, and I believe them. I also know that some of my problem with Zizek is that I’m removed from academia where theory has a language all its own. But it makes me feel like an idiot. I am not used to reading things and not easily comprehending them. That’s meant to be one of the very few things I can be relied upon to do: be literate. If I can’t do that – I am fucked. So fucked is how I feel when I read Zizek. And yet I don’t see any interventions in the offing to wrench the horrible habit of reading pop-philosophy from my routine, in order that I should stop feeling bad about myself and fly off into the sunset like a happy butterfly finally free of her cocoon. Nope.

What not to wear.

What the hell was I talking about? Oh, yes, dessert. Mmmm… (more…)

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