Sunday, July 30, 2006

Tom Keane, you cunt.

But at least you're an honest cunt.

Two weeks ago yesterday, the Boston Globe Magazine ran an article about how high housing prices are actually a good thing. The article was written by a man named Tom Keane.

Here's a quote.

"Still, how about the fact we've historically been so expensive? Doesn't that shut out those with lower incomes? Aren't we, in effect, creating a state only those with good jobs can afford? "Yes. And it's intentional."

It's not tongue in cheek, friends. He's being genuine. He goes on to talk about how it's a good thing that Massachusetts has high housing prices, because it's an indication that Massachusetts is becoming a state for rich people. And that, he says, is good for the state. If the state doesn't include any poor people. Here's his heartfelt conclusion:

"The new-style Massachusetts economy is unbalanced, favoring the highly educated and providing few well-paying jobs for those with lower skills. Good thing or bad, it's a situation that isn't going to change any time soon. How does one deal with it? Not by treating a symptom - somehow squeezing more housing into an already crowded state (indeed, even if we could build a lot more, demand from the rich would likely keep prices high). Instead, what we need to do is give people the education and training they need to become part of the Bay State's economic mainstream. Rather than trying to make housing cheaper, the solution is to make people richer."

"I'm sorry, Tom Keane, for ruining your lovely little conclusion there, which would seem to be unassailable. Who wouldn't want to be richer? Who wouldn't want everyone to be richer? Aw. Poor Puddin's a republican. Poor puddin' thinks we still believe in compassionate conservatives.

Mean democrats don't want to give everyone a chance to be rich! Mean democrats want to keep the poor poor, for some evil reason!

Except that everyone can't be rich. Unless rich people want to do everything themselves. Watch their own kids. Cook their own meals. Use the self check out. Make their own coffee. Possibly, Mr. Tom Keane imagines that all the shit jobs will be taken by the teenage children of the rich, who will never have to use affordable housing.

Of course, the teenage children of the rich would make lousy schoolteachers, police officers, construction workers, store managers, firemen, interns. Maybe, maybe, with the increased housing costs, and increased property taxes, maybe that would be passed on to the teachers, so they make enough to live in the communities they teach in. Maybe gnomes will pop out of my vagina and start weaving golden tampons out of the ether so I'll never have to go to CVS again.

And no, conservatives, I'm not saying that people need to stay poor in order to provide services- I'm saying that because the rich don't want to pay $8.80 for a cup of coffee and $150.00 for an oil change so that automotive technicians and baristas can live indoors without bringing down property values.

When you pay for services and goods (which were originally services) you pay for where the person servicing you slept and went to the bathroom. I made 8.00 an hour plus tips. Coffee cost $1.89 to $4.89 a cup. My bathroom door doesn't have a knob. My bathroom floor has random holes in it. The window doesn't close. I share a one-bedroom apartment with one other girl, and the heat never budges past 55 in the winter. I dream of meat and cheese and sundays off.

For perspective, I have a T-Shirt that cost $7.90. I'm sure that the person who made the shirt sleeps with more than four people, and uses a squat toilet. Possibly they dream of vaccinations.

That's economics. When goods are expensive, and people don't consume very much, the people who produce those goods might dream of a standard of living approaching those of the consumers of those goods (and services). Think about it. You have 3,000 dollars to spend on clothes. If you buy 30 pairs of 100 dollar jeans, less money potentially goes to each person who made the jeans (after marketing and all). If you buy three pairs of 1,000 jeans, each person who made the jeans gets more of your money. And has to make fewer pairs of jeans to approach your income.

Also, practically- Not everyone gets rich instantly. You have to be quite rich for your children to never be poor. Kennedy rich. So you get in the position that my parents and their friends are in: Homeowners swapping for children. If you give my post-adolescent daughter a below-market rate apartment, I'll put a good word in with the woman down the street for your son, because her son is renting my condo- and we can all pretend our children aren't really living at home.

That, or all these rich folks will have to ship their kids off to college, and hope to hell they don't want to come back until they're rich enough to afford a home in the new economy. Which is what's happening now. Have you noticed there are only two ages in Boston- College and Middle?

There are no young people. I didn't even notice I wasn't welcome until I visited a friend in another city. My boyfriend started to get pissed off that my class anxiety was replaced with geographic jealousy, when I couldn't stop talking about how there were people my age, just walking down the street, living life, going to bars, eating brunch - Like they had a right to be there.- Something I'd never experienced before.

You simply can't have a state without affordable housing. Well, I suppose you can. For a while.

But is it right?

Tom Keane makes the jackass argument that if there were more affordable housing, it would just be bought up by the rich, and become unaffordable. I don't doubt that. Look at Triple Deckers. What once were the stereotypic face of affordable housing in the northeast, they're now snapped up, flipped, and condoed, as 'flats' for the ironic rich.

So what do we do? We stop them. Absolute free-market capitalism isn't an ethical principle. It's something that jackasses seize upon to justify a society based on a grubby, grabby philosophy. If you can afford it, you deserve it. But that just leads to a world where when anything is in limited quantities, only the very rich can afford to enjoy it. Beach front property. They're not making anymore. So who has it? The rich. Is that right? No. Is it wrong? If we decide that it is.

Jackasses like Tom Keane and my boyfriend would have you believe that all of Massachusetts is like beach front property. Because the rich want it, then they can have it. And fuck everyone else. If you can't afford it, then you have to move. Get out. Because there are rich motherfuckers waiting for your space.

I am a cute girl.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Are there any funny women?

I have recently come into contact with several quite funny men, due to something I've become involved with. (Something with which I've become involved, for you grammarians). One of these very funny men was previously involved with something similar, but all male.

Which, it seems to me, is not a departure from several highly influential funny things. Monty Python, for one. Are women not as funny as men? Or is it just that men dressed as women, or imitating women, are more funny than women as women could be?

It seems that if the man in a dress theory were correct, then successful comedic troupes performing sketch comedy and the like would be disproportionately male, while forms of comedy that don't involve characters would be entirely gender balanced, or at least nearly. Standup, which is verbal, and doesn't usually involve complete assumption of characters. So, we would expect to be able to list as many funny male stand ups as funny female stand ups.

Unfortunately, I'm hard pressed to list more than three funny female stand up comics. And one isn't really a stand up comic, being more of an actress who occasionally does stand up than a comedian. Sarah Silverman. Also funny and female is Maria Bamford. And there's this hungarian lesbian who seems to be fairly funny. But as I can't remember her name, it is very possible that she isn't successful. Sure, there are other female comics who are amusing or popular, but there men who are popular and not funny; See Jim Breuer.

So why aren't women funny?

A certain segment of feminists would explain that women ARE funny; that women do not actually make people laugh or become successful in professions that require humor can be explained by the male-dominated media culture. Because women are not funny like men, we do not believe that they are funny at all. These feminists would explain that female humor is inherently different than male humor, but just as valuable. They would explain that it is more gentle, narrative, less absurdist. And for these reasons, it does not get as much attention and praise as male humor.

Another segment of feminists would say that those feminists are being sexual determinists in believing that individuals are more defined by physical gender than by the choices they make and the culture they live in. These feminists would say that women are not funny because society pressures them to be quiet, demure, ladylike, and cede the spotlight to men. Society pressures women to be sexually appealling and attractive, qualities that may be risked by making faces and saying things like "ass-magnet". These feminists might insist that it is our culture that forces women to choose between being pretty and witty.

It may be a combination of both of these factors; some women are not funny because they are by nature unfunny, and some women are carefully nurtured to be not funny. And some are feminists who deliberately cultivate humorlessness.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Why are you doing that?

I'm sitting in my living room in my bra and underpants, eating warm cake out of a frying pan. Intermittently, I yell something about the opressive heat. The thermostat in my living room says that it is 94 degrees in here. I am dripping sweat. It is more than disgusting. I have nothing to drink but warm iced tea, because the ice lives in the kitchen, where the oven is on, and it is probably five million degrees. Sweat is running into my ears and making them itch. It is running into my eyelashes and eyebrows, and into the cake.

I can't tell if I'm crying or my eyeballs are sweating.

I am eating cake with a knife. It is warm. It is gross and chemical tasting. It is from a mix. It makes me deeply unhappy. It is in a nonstick frying pan with a plastic handle. It has cream filling and strawberry glaze. It tastes like strawberry fruit pies and preservatives.

If you came in my front door right now, you'd ask "Why are you doing that?"

It is a very, very long story. A story that, conveniently, will sum up everything that has happened since I left my job one month and three days ago.

You see, about a month ago, my boyfriend and I went on vacation to lovely, beautiful Delaware. A woman from his work, who is a generous and charming and altogether wonderful individual, agreed to watch his difficult, neurotic, obstinent, truculent (witty and delightful) parrot, Hakeem. For this service, all she asked in return was baked goods.

Immediately after I returned from Delaware, my boyfriend went back to work. With the lovely woman, whom we'll call Baimee. The lovely woman wondered where her baked goods were. He, I'm sure, told her, that I was still on vacation, and as soon as I was back, I would get on it.

I got back on Monday, after three weeks on the cape and one weekend in New York, taping an improvisational comedy program called "A Lush In Rio". Which is an anagram for hilarious. Actually, it's an anagram for hilarious n. On monday, it was too hot to cook. So I packed.

Because, you see, I'm moving in a few weeks. And I'm moving somewhere where I can't bring all my shit. I have so many dishes I'd have to start running a beginner plate spinning class or go orthodox kosher to use them all. I have pots and pans and books and furniture. Tons of furniture. I had to double the size of my storage space to put it all away.

So on Monday, I boxed up most of my kitchen, started to sort through my clothes and books, and bought ingredients for what I consider one of my tastiest recipes: Chocolate chocolate caramel cheesecake brownies. And I called my boyfriend and I told him that the next day I would bake Baimee's brownies, and drive them to him, and he could give them to her on wednesday morning.

"Brownies?" he said. " I thought you were going to bake her a cake. She's intrigued by your bake'n'fill cake pan ."

"Well, I already have the ingredients for brownies."

"Bake her a bake n fill cake. I'll reimburse you."

"Ok" I said. Not remembering that the bake n' fill bake set was already packed. And hauled. To the back of my storage space. Down the street. And not remembering that he couldn't reimburse me for anything, because I lost my ATM card. And thus, couldn't buy anything after I spent my last twenty dollars on gas home from Providence, brownie ingredients, and a box of generic cereal.

But I'm a game girl. So Tuesday morning, , I went down to my storage space. If it was five million degrees at my apartment, it was fifty million at the storage space. But I moved boxes, and I found my bake-n-fill. And I brought it home.

Wednesday morning I finished packing up my living room stuff, except for my furniture and my computer. I have pounds and pounds of books and dvds sorted into boxes for storage and for law school. And then I started baking a cake. I don't have any cake ingredients, remember, so I started making a boxed cake mix that included filling and glaze. Then I opened my bake n fill.

There's a pan missing. The most important pan. Without the base pan, it's a bake n fall the fuck out. And I know why it's missing. It's missing because when I made the titty cake, the titty cake was in it. So the base pan didn't get put back into the box with the other pan. It got put somewhere else. Somewhere deeper in storage

I had an "I'm a genius!" moment. I poured the batter for the base into a non-stick frying pan, knowing that like all "I'm a genius" moments, this would end in tragedy. I took my shirt off, because it was boiling hot once the oven was on. Then I realized that- the bake and fill cake pan requires two boxes of cake mix. Because it's like a four layer cake. It's big. I only had one box of cake mix. So when I filled the dome pan, it didn't fill very much.

You can see where this is going. The cake in the frying pan cooked in twenty minutes, just before the plastic handle of the frying pan started to blister. The cake in the dome pan did not form a dome. It formed- a dimple. I gamely tried to assemble the cake anyway. The dimple broke in half when I tried to get it out of the pan. It didn't even cover the cream filling.

This cake was no reward for a person who has spent a week feeding and caring for an animal as emotionally manipulative and noisy as Hakeem.

At this point, I was so sweaty that my bra began to slide around, my shoes were mooshy, and my pants were off. I had every fan in the house in the kitchen, but it just blew the hot around. But I could not let Baimee down! No! Because I am stubborn! Because I have a sense of justice!

Because I make poor decisions and had to distract myself from the fact that I had just signed promissory notes for loans totally 42,000 dollars.

So I started baking my chocolate chocolate caramel cheesecake brownies. Which I will give to Baimee. Well, I'll give them to my boyfriend to give to Baimee. And began, while they were baking, to sit, in my underpants, eat the failed cake (which I just now gave up eating and threw out) and sweat into the loveseat.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

You know how when you're eleven

sometimes, you can't sleep for days thinking about some jackass thing you did or said to be a douchebag, and how everybody is going to hate you for it? And later, at maybe nineteen, you realize that everybody is just as self involved as you are, so they don't notice all the douchebag things that you were sure you did?

I'm eleven.

The difference is, over the past, say, five days, I've actually been saying really douchebaggy things to people, thoughtlessly, and it sucks.

If you think you may be one of those people, I almost completely guarantee that you are.

And I'd like to extend my deepest, sincerest apologies. I'm going to try to be a little bit less summer's eve, folks. I promise.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

We are what we write.

I spent the majority of my free time last winter writing about emergency contraception. How important it is that it is accessible. Thank god it's accessible to me, and that I'd done enough research to know how to get it quickly.

I didn't have to go to an emergency room, or hunt down a non-catholic physician in Eastern Massachusetts (Which should be called O'Massachusetts, sometimes).

I knew of place to get it. The internet. There is a doctor, a man named Matthew Wise, who has done more to ensure the accessibility of emergency contraception than Planned Parenthood, and he's done it at his own risk. He runs a website, where he is able to consult with patients and prescribe emergency contraception seven days a week.

Bless you, Matthew Wise.

Fuck you, Durex.

Two Chicks Kissing

There's a trailer currently being shown for some vapid summer teen movie that features, as nearly its only selling point, two teenage girls kissing in a jeep. As if we needed to be told, text informs us that this situation is "hot". A single male onlooker, obviously socially unfortunate, encourages them to kiss again.

The motif of two ostensibly heterosexual females engaging in sexual behavior is currently accepted as a popular and potent male fantasy. Much coverage has been given to the 'new' phenomena of teen and college age girls putting on a 'show' to get male attention.

Because, remember, if there is evidence in the popular media about adolescent female sexuality, there will be brow-furrowing among right leaning pundits about the need for a return to modesty, and among left-leaning pundits about the need for higher self-esteem in young girls.

But in this situation, what intrigues me is what it says about the sexuality and self-esteem of boys and men. What does it mean when the hottest sexual act imaginable by an individual makes that individual redundant? What does it mean when your fantasies leave you out? The male onlooker is left, standing 'outside the jeep', dick in the proverbial hand, alone.

Doesn't that suggest a pervasive male culture of self-loathing? Imagining a scenario where their genitals, their body, their orgasm- are out of frame? I think this psuedo-sapphic explosion is a symptom of dangerously low male, not female, self esteem. Perhaps it comes from the media; mens' bodies are kept far more under-wraps than women's. Breasts will get you a PG-13, a flaccid dick can get you an R. I don't think I've ever seen an uncovered erection in a general-release motion picture. Men may be growing up associating their own bodies with hard-core pornography only, and by adulthood, they will have been told that that mode of expression is, by definition, exploitative to women. (which I don't entirely buy, either)

Or maybe it is our parental culture that gives boys the impression that they are 'dirty' or 'gross'. Let's consider circumcision. American parents circumcise boys because they don't want to have to teach them to care for their genitals. It is a surgery to prevent conversations about hygeine. Dan Savage wrote about not circumcising his son

"As for washing "that thing," well, when the time comes to roll back and wash underneath -- which won't be until age three-ish, according to Dr. Spock -- I can't imagine that washing under my son's foreskin will be any grosser than digging hard-packed shit out the crack of his ass and folds of his scrotum; mopping vomit off of floors, tabletops, car seats, highchairs, house pets, house plants, my boyfriend, my mother, and the top of my head; or sitting through multiple matinee screenings of Elmo in Grouchland"

Imagine growing up with parents who felt the opposite way. That anything having to do with your body was grosser than anything having to do with shit.

And, any suspicion that your male body is filthy or dangerous would only be confirmed by current methods in teaching sex education. The questions that teenagers ask, when given the opportunity, reveal not just a dangerous innocence when it comes to sexual matters, but a kind of superstitious phallophobia that cannot be easily shaken with either science or logic.

Questions like "My girlfriend gave me a handjob and I ejaculated and then the next day she got her period and she used a tampon and now could she be pregnant?" or "What if my boyfriend has an erection and I'm sitting on his lap and the precome comes out of his penis and it gets on my skirt could I be pregnant?" or "I touched my boyfriend's penis and now I have a rash on my hand we're both virgins anyway do I have AIDS".

Poor boys. Ejaculating aids and pregnancy through four layers of fabric.

More later.

And by later, I mean possibly next week.

I'm going to the beach.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

A Dirty Joke. Told Old-Timey. And Wrong.

A young man, having secured as his companion for an evening a girl of no good repute, and living in a very small town, perhaps near the sea coast, and having a decent amount of fear for the health of his generative organs, found himself in a pharmacy purchasing prophylactics.

He approaches the counter, and speaks with the proprietor, entreating that man to sell him a french letter of fine vulcanized rubber, stout enough to withstand the onslaught of ill humors certain to flow freely from the congested female area of that ill-favored, yet generous lass, once she found a state of excitement; yet, the young man continued, of a thinness and delicacy that he should be able to enjoy the skills the young lady had learned from her many companions who had been to the orient.

The gentleman behind the counter, a chemist by trade, saw from the glint in the young man's eye that he had buggery on his mind. The two men laughed together, and talked of the many variations of vulvae they'd encountered, and shivered together with fright at the pox!

They young man purchased his contraceptives, and went on home to prepare for his encounter with the harlot. He set out, as was the custom, to pick up the young girl of expansive temperament from her parent's home. Yet he was soon chased down the walk by a man he recognized as the pharmacist!

The young man cried out..."But your fly is open, your cock is hanging out, and there is come dripping on your shoes!"

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I am feeling old, fat, and unattractive.

It's a pain.

I feel my life whipping by me.

And it's not that I want to savor the moments, as they come.

That would be too sane, and reasonable.

Instead, I want to mope, about things that are not happening. I am not beautiful. I was never a beautiful nineteen year old, never tempting jailbait. And now, I enter my mid-twenties, the sexual equivalent of Cracklin' Oatbran.

Sensible, Useful, Serviceable, and above all, an acquired taste.

Nobody says "You know what I could go for? Some motherfucking cracklin' oatbran!"

People want a steak, a piece of chocolate cake. Mousse. Champagne. Whipped Garlic Mashed Potatoes. (I am hungry, by the way) They lust after thick cheeseburgers, 80/20, smoky bacon, a slice of swiss cheese melting from the heat of the meat, sautee'd mushrooms sliding earthily from between the buns...

What do the condemned eat, for their last meal? Fried Chicken. Strawberry iced cream. Pizza. Lobster.

Nobody wants Cracklin' OatBran. It's shit at parties. Nobody makes Cracklin' Oatbran Party mix. Even frumpy old Chex gets tarted up with Worcestershire Sauce, pretzel sticks, and cocktail peanuts for the occassional barbeque.

You could have Cracklin' OatBran every day. It would work tirelessly to regulate your digestive tract. Generously supplying at least thirty percent of the RDA for dietary fiber, with a slightly sweet taste and a reliable gritty, nutty, semi-crunch experience, it could be a staple.

But you wouldn't love Cracklin' OatBran.

You wouldn't get excited about Cracklin' OatBran.

You could appreciate it. But would you recommend it to others? Would you, as the box suggests, put it over ice cream, or bake it into muffins? Would you try to see if there was a way to incorporate more of it into your life? Would you, delighted by this unassuming breakfast cereal, talk it up to your friends?


You fucking wouldn't.

And here's the tragedy, folks.

It is the birthright of every female to at least be a cheeseburger for a year or so. Something mouthwatering, for a while at least. Even the plainest girl, with the blush of youth, high breasts and slim waist of the genetically gifted post-adolescent, can be lusted after with the tumescence of a gourmand.

Everybody gets to be the star once. It's like the special olympics, or a middle school play. Even the thick-tongued semi-literate recent slovakian emigre gets a solo.

But not me.

When the cast list is announced, I am always one step up from scenery. I am the tree. I am nothing special. One of the chorus, at best. "Townsperson". "Woman #5".

And it's not that I think I should be the star.

I just want to know what it's like.

Inherent to current western conceptions of the feminine experience is a time of broad-spectrum sexual appeal. I've missed out on that part of the experience. And I'm 24. I've got a year left to try to be beautiful.

Let's see what it would take.

1. Lose 50 libs, at least.
2. Braces, and teeth whitening.
3. Banishment of the eastern european legacy.
4. Learn how to wear make up and clothes.
5. Stop being an awkward bastard.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Apply Desitin.


Because when something isn't quite a pain in the ass, but more an irritation of the rectal region, perhaps due more to a shitty conjunction of circumstance allowed to continue too long, it's more like diaper rash than anger.

I'm a little irritated, is what I'm saying.

I get home, to blog, to pick up my mail, to clean up a bit, and do some horrid girly beauty treatments that one absolutely has to be absolutely alone to do (but which are entirely necessary), and I slowly come to the realization: My roommate, as expected, is at work. My roommate's boyfriend is still here.

She's not home. I haven't really been home in weeks; yet there is a stranger here, spoiling my solitude, who does not pay rent.

I can't commit my reeking ablutions, with a stranger here. Or, rather, I will be confined to the hot, sweaty, disgusting bathroom.

And it's my fault, for 1. Never setting a policy on who can be here when we are not here.
2. Not warning my roommate that as this is my apartment, I reserve the right to be here any time.

It's important that I mention, though....

I really like this guy, this boyfriend. I think he's keen, I think their relationship is sweet, I think it's all really nice.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Bad Meeting.

So. Lets look at two concepts in food. And let's think about them.
First, we have sliced bread. It's a breakthrough, in convenience, in portability (sandwiches without pre-siced bread can be either a triumph or a tragedy. There is no middle ground.)

Second, we have pudding in a tube. Chocolate. From the fine people at Hershey's.
it seems to offer the same conveniences. It also improves portability. And with it, convenience.

The difference is that sliced bread was an innovation that fills a need. Possibly, it was one man's eureka.

And portable pudding is the perfect example of a concept I like to call "Bad Meeting".

Bad Meeting is what happens when self-congratulatory groupthink ejaculates into the radioactive petri dish of sleep deprivation, insanity, and marketing, and is allowed to grow in the fertile medium of too much resources, nurtured by yes-men, and never, ever, ever doubted.

Encountering the products of bad meeting, you can almost hear the giddy brainstorming of men and women, clad in business casual, wringing every flow chart, inference, and thought bubble granted them by their degrees in communcation, of all logic or meaning.

"So, when do people eat pudding?"
"No! Think outside of the box! When DON'T people eat pudding?"
"For breakfast?"
"Yogurt's got that market cornered. When else don't people eat pudding? And why not!"
"Genius, Lenny! Genius!"
"Um...At work?'ll get on their paperwork?"
"And why don't they want it on their paperwork?"
"It'll stain....we could do clear pudding!"
"It'd have to be greaseless, too."
"Fuck. Ok. Not at the desk, then. But you're thinking, Amy, I like that."
" their cars?"
"Why not?"
"Because, you can't steer and hold a spoon"
"There are lots of things you can't do and hold a spoon. But maybe, just maybe, you could still eat pudding. If that wasn't a problem."
"We could pack a special spoon. An on the go spoon! Maybe...with a strap. To hold it to your finger. Like a banjo pick!"
"You're thinking of a mandolin, I think."
"No, I'm pretty sure it's a banjo."
"Listen, it's not important..."
"That's fine, because it's a banjo"
"I will destroy you."
"You're both missing the point. No matter what you do, pudding in a cup is always a two-hand job. Unless..."
"Yes, Amy, unless...."
"Unless you drink it! We could make it really thin....and...then they could use a straw..."
"No, no, we learned during the instant consomme debacle that people don't like sucking room temperature gels through a straw."
"But what if...what if it was only a straw. Like a pixie stick! But huge!"
"Yes! A tube! Full of pudding! Then people could eat it everywhere! "
"I'm seeing tie-ins! Extreme sports! Let's see if we could get someone to do it on a snowboard!"

Hot Donut.

Many, many weeks ago, in conversation with a friend from far away, I learned that in other parts of the country, people prefer to eat donuts hot off the line. I was confused. Hot Donut? I thought. Eh. Hot, cold, it's just a donut.

But I got that friend some hot donuts, from Krispy Kreme, one day. I tried it. It was alright. Better than any cold glazed donut.

But then. I went to Delaware. And I saw a sign that said "Always Hot Donuts!" and I thought...hmm. Let's give Nichole another try.

So the next day, my boyfriend and I tried these hot donuts. And these donuts were made after they were ordered . Between being ordered and served, they were made. Cake donuts. Glazed and sprinkled. Oh. My. God.

Forget about sex.

Sex is fucking old news, unreliable, and messy. If I want to end up slightly sticky, somewhat guilty, and on the edge of insatiability and satisfaction, I'll have a hot donut.


Later, America, Road Trip, Hot Donut, Bad Meeting.

Brotherhood is a new series on Showtime. It's set, and shot, in Rhode Island, a state I have some cause to spend a moderate amount of time in. Which pleases me. Now, those scummy New Jersey folks can't location drop from the Sopranos without a New England answer; remember, we had our mafia first.

However, there are several problems with Brotherhood. I'm going to go chronologicaly, rather than in order of magnitude. Because it's the only way to do it. God, I want some fucking ravioli.


The second or third scene in the first episode features a girl having her earring ripped off, her boyfriend kicked onto the ground, and threatened with rape, in front of a bookstore in gritty downtown Providence. A bookstore I've shopped at. Where I've leered at a beautiful, gay, near-shirtless clerk. Symposium Books. Gritty, no? It's right near a cuban restaurant I frequent, and less than a mile from an inordinately, unneccessarily upscale downtown mall, which seems to be so ritzy, clean cut, and suburban, that it's killing the malls that actually are in the suburbs.

Just not a believable scene.


The accents. Oh, my god. First, I'm going to admit that a Rhode Island accent is not neccessarily a Boston accent. There's a little more "w" in it. A Boston accent has almost no "w" in it. "Cah", not "Caw". The rhode islanders in this series mostly talk like Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting; that is, like people from Maine with serious chromosomal abnormalities. Thick tongued, slow, loving that "ah" sound.

The secret to a reliable, urban, New England accent is speed and efficiency. People like to think that New Yorkers talk fast; not so, compared to Bostonians. People from Boston, it has been studied, speak faster and are more impatient than anyone else in the US. And it is consonant deletion, not vowel addition, that allows us/them (because my accent was mostly beaten out of me, while immersed in non-newenglanders of every stripe, in Vermont) to make ourselves understood at high verbal speeds.

And "ah" is not actually the sound that replaces "ar" "er" or "or". They're more precise than that. For the love of god, don't linger. Just because Steve Sweeney does, doesn't make it authentic. That's his schtick. And if you forget to add the "r" between vowels, to delineate words- you're instantly inauthentic.

Fionulla Flanagan, however, gets her accent spot on. She sounds exactly like my Great-Aunt Eileen. And demographically, she is my Great Aunt Eileen. Daughter of irish immigrants, settled in New England, spent a good amount of time Rhode Island. Perfect. I expect her to reach out of the television and ask me whether I have a boyfriend and why girls these days don't wear slips.


This isn't an error, this is just weird. A scene takes place in Olneyville New York System (New York System is a wacky Rhode Island thing that has nothing to do with New York. Little hot dogs, with celery salt and meat sauce) which, despite being a place that it's not reasonable to me as a place that these characters would meet, is a fairly authentic bit of local color. But nobody's eating.

There's the neon sign that says "Hot Weiners", but nobody in the place is eating one. Nobody. There isn't a weiner in evidence.


'The hill' is described as being primarily poor white families, distinguishing it from the East Side, where rich people live (True! and Brownies!) and, I assume, Olneyville/Manton, where minorities mentioned probably live. Not. Entirely. Accurate. Maybe thirty years ago. When it was the heavily Italian home of the Patriarca crime family. (They were headquartered in a building quite close to an Indian Restaurant my boyfriend and I like)

My boyfriend lives on Federal Hill. And, according to my experience, and observation over the past two years, poor white families are the only demographic absent from the hill. Guatemalans, Bolivians, and other central and south americans are well represented. Closer to the highway, hipsters and young, upwardly mobile gay couples cluster close to two overpriced eateries, and one mob front/infrequently open diner. African American families are evident in my boyfriend's neighborhood, as well as students. But poor white families I haven't seen evidence of. Even at the grocery store.

White flight hit Providence hard.


Brotherhood gets racial politics wrong. First. They want to bring racism from 1970's south boston and Dorchester into 2005 Rhode Island. Doesn't really ring true. Sure, racism persists. But the character is different now. The type of racism depicted, a paranoid type where the pasty majority fears losing ground and neighborhoods to an 'other', is largely over in New England. Racism is quieter these days. White flight is over. Gentrification has begun. The neighborhoods that the irish characters didn't want blacks to move into are already into and out of their hands, split between newer immigrants, artists, and pioneering homosexuals. (like my boyfriend's landlord)

Racism in New England, in the Boston area, and the suburbs, is different. It's ignorance. A character, an older woman, refers to "Hmongs and D.R.s" moving into the neighborhood. First of all, to be authentic, she'd have to say "Orientals, and Spanish people". Because in New England, the racists don't care where you're from. They pick a difference, and stick with it. If you speak spanish, you're spanish. If you're slightly tan, with an eastern eye, you're "Oriental". Like the rug. Always.


Too much self conscious Irishizing. "Like the fat girl at a parish dance." "Did you learn to park like that in parochial school?" Irish bars. Irish festivals. Geh. Give it up.

What I like about Brotherhood?

Location. Symposium Books. New York System. The Green bar. (Yick. I don't believe these people would actually go to that bar.)

Lots of violence. More than the sopranos. Female infidelity. The plain looks of Annabell Gish.

But what do I like about Brotherhood?