31 December 2007

3 the old year


madame du barry (haslip)
forever amber (winsor)
the favourite: sarah, duchess of marlborough (field)
sense & sensibility (austen)
farewell, my queen (thomas)
wives & daughters (gaskell)
away with the fairies (greenwood)
florence harding: the first lady, the jazz age & the death (anthony)
les liaisons dangereuses (laclos)
theatre (maugham)
diana: in search of herself (smith)
the painted veil (maugham)
perdita: the literary, theatrical scandalous life of mary robinson (byrne)
maria fitzherbert: the secret wife of george iv (munson)
bel canto (patchett)
emilie's voice (dunlap)
what would jackie do? (branch, callaway)
mozart's women (glover)
love & madness: the murder of martha ray (levy)
learning to fly: the autobiography (beckham)
once upon a time: behind the fairy tale of grace & rainier (taraborrelli)
a disorder peculiar to the country (kalfus)
one big damn puzzler (harding)
glamorama (ellis)
suite francaise (nemirovsky)
oswald's tale: an american mystery (mailer)
the loved one (waugh)
lillian gish: her legend, her life (affron)
written lives (marias)
no angel (vincenzi)
something dangerous (vincenzi)
the viceroy's daughters: the lives of the curzon sisters (de courcy)
the diana chronicles (brown)
memoirs duc de saint-simon, vol. 1 (saint-simon)
into temptation (vincenzi)
clara bow: runnin' wild (stenn)
the other man: jfk jr, carolyn bessette & me (bergin)
pickford: the woman who made hollywood (whitfield)
too great a lady: the notorious, glorious life of emma, lady hamilton (elyot)
the world to come (horn)
dark angels (koen)
jackie (frischauer)
forever young (noonan)
myra brekinridge (vidal)
love in the time of taffeta (olson)
iv. (klosterman)
last train to memphis: the rise of elvis presley (guralnick)
the emperor's children (messud)
front row: anna wintour (oppenheimer)
jack's widow (pollard)
elvis & me (presley)
careless love: the unmaking of elvis presley (guralnick)
through a glass darkly (koen)
sex with the queen (herman)
the black dahlia (ellroy)
elizabeth (taraborrelli)
the black tulip (dumas)
the princess of cleves (lafayette)
diana (bradford)
the three musketeers (dumas)
the dud avacado (dundy)
the civil war: a narrative (foote)
the merry-go-round (maugham)
what remains (radziwill)

29 December 2007

2 the most memorable thing ever uttered by my father at a perfume counter

"you don't want that britney spears sex stink perfume...
that crap was so powerful it got her sister pregnant."

27 December 2007

5 december: a (premature) revue

in no particular order & uttered by various citizens of the Oline in the City world


"this is not a conversation we can have in a revolving door."

"comforting a male is a very hard thing."

"ah, nabakov... he's a master of putting two words together and making you not want to eat your breakfast."

"when you come home, we're going to need to talk about death."

"yeah, but your countdowns are weird."
"how dare you say that about my countdowns!!"
"well, it's true."
"i know. but i don't like people talking bad about my countdowns."

"the gilmore girls and breast milk. that's all you've been talking about."
"well, you missed the birthing seminar we had at lunch."

"she's in labor, but she's bored."

"hi. oh. hi. i'm sorry. i thought you were a gentleman. apparently you're not."

"don't worry. i wouldn't let you besmudge your own reputation."

"we can start at pleasure ridge and work our way to pleasure mountain."

"they use hawaiian bread... so the body of Christ tastes real good."

"i guess sex is allowed on a sunday, right?"

"'tis the season to be morbid..."

"same shit, different day."

"well... have a nice birth!"

"let's be honest with ourselves- can you really headband your way through a week of family get-togethers?"

"no more small offices for me-- especially not married ones."

"we're not a more the merrier kind of crew."

"so, just by me sending that email, the zit has boiled to a head?"

"well i'm glad there are people other than us willing to pick you up at airports."

"the more i think about being a professional housewife, the more i want to find a job."

"today is not a great day."

"i'm attracted to girls who are completely wrong for me. it's like 'um... you smell like a skank! i must have you now!'"

"he is quite fond of smooth black voices right now."

"you're wearing a thong to church?! is that allowed?"

"mary's having the baby removed on saturday."
"removed? it's not a tumor."
"well, it's the same principle."

"yeah, dan in real life is so not real life."

"he said you're the best person he's ever worked with. but then you've got to remember, he's old and senile, so he probably just doesn't remember all the others."

"he was 10 lbs when he was born. he looked three months old when he came out."

"i'm definitely not becoming a hippie. i do, however, love their vegetables and their fun breads. "

"did you want to get on the unit?"

"you might not want to come near me. i'm a cesspool of disease."

"i'll have caroline take care of it on monday... if she's still with us."

"i don't like what's between her legs but i sure like what's in her heart."

"wow. your life is really dawson's creek right now."

"i don't want to be mean and i don't want to be cruel. i just want to be sure he's emotionally devastated."

"i'm having some problems with my box and i need someone to come out and fix it."

"you're my first true love so far."

"fuck the candles in bags. i'm on my way."

25 December 2007

1 meanwhile, in memphis

we heart silly hats...

and food.

girls.

souping.

star light.

bowhead.

giftbag explosion.

father bear.

the two-timer.

elvis pezley.

darcy dog.

paw-paw & pinkie-pooh.

the drill driver.

21 December 2007

4 reasons not to get knocked up


chinaman: "oline, what you typed was beautiful. just beautiful. a normal person couldn't have done that. you must have an exceptional mind. i want to do something for you to show my gratitude. i could make some calls to the white house. do you know anyone who's having a baby?"

oline: "i don't know anyone who's having a baby."

chinaman: "you should really have one and i can have the president send a card. they do a lovely card and the child will never forget it."

20 December 2007

8 get up, get out

i woke up at approximately 8.32 a.m.

and there i was, sitting at my desk beside a bag of canned soups that i don't remember buying, wearing the leaky boots, tights, a jacket and a pink satin strapless party dress.

today is going to rock.

18 December 2007

20 the worst-case scenario

we, my parents and i, are optimistic fatalists. we anticipate the best and emotionally prepare for the absolute worst.

because you never know. it might happen. and if we prepare, if we devise the myriad ways in which we might go about fixing whatever unimagined horror it is, then if it does happen at least the likelihood is lessened that we'll wind up sobbing in a corner booth at a cracker barrell in culman, alabama.

i'm flying home on friday. because i really, really, really want to be in the memphis airport come 11.14 pm, i've spent the better part of the past three weeks emotionally preparing to be stranded in atlanta. because altanta seems like the next worst thing to detroit. so this is the outcome i am ready for. i am ready for the atlanta airport to dissappoint me. this is my point of focus. this is the scenario i can handle.

on the phone last night, after a confession of my fear, my mum paused, inhaled deeply and said quietly, as if afraid to verbalize the horror: gosh, i hope your chicago flight doesn't get cancelled. that would be so tragical. my poor baby, CANCELLATED!!!

upon her wail of grief, my father's steps could be heard in the background as he came rushing down the stairs and into the room. my mum quickly informed him of the previously unanticipated possibility of the unparalleled horror of being cancellated. to which my father, ever the voice of reason, paused, inhaled deeply and said quietly: well, that would be the end of the world. but don't worry. we'll fix it.

15 December 2007

0 2 hours/3 stories


I.
"here's to a good 1999!"

II.
"what is that? is that vomit? did someone vomit in the bathroom?
that looks like vomit. that's vomit. oooh, come see this vomit."

III.
"i hate that caroline girl."

13 December 2007

8 today, i am accomplished

it's been a long week over here. a week where the chores of one day inevitably slide into the next day and the next and then the next.

my boots had a date with the cobbler last saturday. most everyone in my life was aware that i had a pair of boots and that they were in dire need of the cobbler. but somehow my boots didn't make it to the cobbler. it just didn't happen. and it just didn't happen for a full five more days. days in which i sat around pondering how desperately i needed to take those boots to the cobbler.

and yet i didn't take them. because this would involve walking a block and half in cold and/or rain/snow/ice/COLD. and God only knew how long it would take. it might take days. there might be permission slips and liability forms to sign. they might need to know everything that had ever happened to these boots. how did they get this way? what the hell happened to the heel taps? where the hell had i been wearing them? didn't i know better than to treat them like this? for shame!

thus, in my head, handing a single pair of boots over to the cobbler became the footwear equivalent of checking liz taylor into the ICU- a complicated, time-consuming ordeal fraught with condemnation and burdened with a very very tangled past.

in reality, it took five minutes. they will be ready in two days.

all of which proves the point that the things we put off forever and ever are always the easiest done.

09 December 2007

6 i am a horrible person

because at the amazingly gorgeous christmas concert at moody church devoted to the celebration of the birth of Our Lord, what did i think about? what did i spend the entire two hours obsessing over? what ceaselessly distracted me to the extent that i was forced to remove my contacts so i wouldn't completely miss the music we had come to hear in the first place?

this verse:
Jesus the same yesterday, and, today and forever - Hebrews 13:8

this verse, cast in gold and hung proudly behind the choir to look down upon generation after generation- glaring grammatical errors and all.

07 December 2007

4 the litmus test



s and i have known each other for a bazillion years. since back when he was straight and i looked like a lesbian.

the very abridged, slightly dramatized version: we dated, we broke up at barnes & noble, s became gay, we went to college, s became ungay, we dated again, s became gay again, we broke up again, i wrote The Poems, we silently fell out, i got better hair, s came back. at which point meggie- who was a little behind the times- finally found out s was gay.

so here we are now. both of us pretty much the same. still indecisive, overwrought, tightly-wound elitists. but the thing that amazes me- because i've become rather accustomed to my friendships unfurling uninterrupted throughout the years so there are few surprises along the way- is the things upon which we do not agree.

as always, it comes down to movies and music. everything, it seems, always comes down to movies and music.

when you start dating someone- hell, even when you're just becoming friends- there's always this exploratory musical/movie phase. those moments of oh my God, you like hanson just like me??! or anne of avonlea shaped my world view too!!!. the times when you feign an unadulterated love for the eagles or roxy music or godspeed you black emperor because it seems feigning that love somehow renders you infinitely more desireable. somehow, this is how we (or maybe just me and the freaktastically pop culturally aware) build our bonds. movies and music.

a boy once went so far as to fake u2 fandom for me. as in he bought the entire oeuvre so we would, by default, have something in common. i've yet to determine if that was sweet or psychotic but i do know we could've maybe been spared a many-years-long hassle had he owned up from the first. and that, in the end, it somehow seemed a fraud- like i'd dated someone i never really knew due to this fabricated fandom. as though movies and music were really that important.

but still... somehow they really are, right?

movies and music are a jumping off point. they make you think- or at least done well, they are supposed to. most importantly, they give you something, anything, to say. i can wax on about the glories of the pavear translation of dumas for days on end (such cadances! so comical!), but excepting certain crowds, that won't win me many admirers. movies and music, however, are egalitarian and considerably more accessible. i can say i LOVE gogol bordello and if you LOVE gogol bordello we can clap our hands, say yeah, and commence a lengthy conversation on how much we both LOVE gogol bordello. (perhaps our ancestors reacted similarly to the mere mention of motzart or brahms.)

but are movies and music really that important? are they a dealbreaker?

here s and i are all these years later- exactly the same, except for the movies. when he was in town this fall, i made some off-hand allusion to the wonders of shopgirl. admitedly a movie with subtle charms, but i thought it hardly warranted the tremor of horror that shook him. there've been other instances like that. my admission that the lake house "wasn't all that bad." his dismissal of august rush as "crappy sap." that sounds silly, but there are these moments of oh my God, do i really know this person? and all because of a movie.

s and i aren't going anywhere. after everything, i don't think we could even if we wanted to. we're in it for the long-haul, differing movie opinions be damned. but what i really want to know here, and what i'm getting no closer to answering, is why it really matters?

why did we dismiss those people in college who loved staind? why did i snort in derision when my 15-year-old cousin, trying to prove his coolness, proudly and unabashedly boasted, "i listen to blink-182"? chrissy's myspace song is "kiss from a rose." yes, it could be ironic, but i just assume that's the anthem of his life and dismiss him as a human being for putting a song from a post-keaton batman movie up on his myspace profile. but then, i listened to amy grant until i was 17. surely i'm no judge.

so my question, which i've articulated inarticulately here, is this: in a world in which people are infinitely complicated and nearly impossible to ever fully understand or predict, why does it all come down to something so simple and reductive? why are movies and music that important? if they really even are...

05 December 2007

03 December 2007

10 i don't know how she does it

but somehow, croftie always captures the mood of the day:

i was thinking this morning about how little i've done with my life...

02 December 2007

9 the thing is finished.

this weekend, forgoing a few meals and quite a bit of sleep, i finally finished the wawah.

my father's favorite thing about shelby foote's the civil war is the photographs in the back of each volume, which reveal the visual progression of an author's aging over the course of writing a 2,800 page war chronicle.

as my father's camera captured, the reading of it (and not even all of it- just vol. 1) has much the same effect.

01 December 2007

9 and so... it begins...

this would seem bad anyway.

somehow the liberal use of ellipses makes it seem far far worse.

30 November 2007

15 november: a revue

in no particular order & uttered by various (pervy) citizens of the Oline in the City world


"i only want children for halloween purposes."

"i'm thinking out loud so retarded is bound to happen."

"i'm just, like, angry at penises right now."

"for a girl, you sure have balls."

"why are you still here at five?"
"i don't know. why are the republicans still in power?"

"well, i'm happy for you but i'll try not to run around and smile at everything."

"what can i say? i really like naked people."

"we need more lube."

"she wants to be posh, but really they're just chubby greeks."

"wow. this really took a downward turn toward emoland."

"can i ask you a personal question? when you go golfing, do you bring your own balls? because we don't normally include balls."

"you know, when i reflect on it, you had me whipped. it's just that your leash was so long i never knew."

"i shouldn't eat burritos on a work night."

"when it comes down to it, being an asshole is fun only when you have no deep feelings for a person."

"yes. i have no balls."

"i can't work now. i'm in my love bubble."

"that is an ingenious idea. croftie is quite a catch. does she come in gay?"

"i never thought i would have to explain email sex to you. somehow i just wasn't ever envisioning that."

"hippies like muslin, right?"

29 November 2007

7 went with the wind


at thanksgiving, my adolescent cousin, berto, was stretched out languorously on the couch pontificating on bad movies. an inconvenient truth was terrible, because my god who can stand an hour and a half of al gore.

the only film he thought worse?

gone with the wind.

it was all i could do not to leap up and begin railing on about the glories of william cameron menzie’s production, set design, and cutting-edge special effects; the unwavering vision of david o. selznick despite an embarrassing reliance upon his father-in-law for funding; the extraordinary drama of max steiner’s ground-breaking score; the sheer wonder that gone with the wind was ever filmed— much less filmed and post-produced in the nine months that it was— given that there were three directors, two nervous breakdowns, and no real script.

gone with the wind is the greatest movie ever made in the history of any and all film-making in the whole wide world and any solar systems, known or unknown, beyond.

there is none better. don’t anyone argue with me on this.

gwtw is the first movie i remember seeing. it was playing on tv one night as my parents and grandparents hung out in the living room of our house in balmoral. it was at least twelve hours long then and of those twelve hours, the only part that i vividly recall is the scene between scarlett and gerald after the death of ellen o’hara. i thought ellen had been poisoned by gerald’s moonshine and that, in the aftermath of her death, he developed a morbid interest in women’s jewelry. as it turns out, i got every single possible detail of that scene wrong, but it stuck with me.

because i was an only child and an embarrassingly cool kid— probably a wee bit more embarrassing than cool— at 8, i was obsessed with the making of a legend: gone with the wind, a life-changing documentary an hour shy of being as long as gone with the wind itself. i immediately memorized passages and staged bedroom metadramas—playing vivien leigh playing scarlett o’hara in a period costume fashioned from my mum’s burgundy silk nightgown, a mound of safety pins and a hula-hoop. definitely more embarrassing than cool.

i was a na├»ve kid and there was no titanic yet, so gwtw struck me as the most romantic story ever and i thought scarlett o’hara was the ballsiest woman in the world. she appeared at a dance as a widow, she loved another woman’s husband, and she wore feathers and sequins at the other woman’s home after being caught publicly embracing the other woman’s husband in a lumber mill. this seemed the absolute apotheosis of grown-up living. i thought scarlett was what women were supposed to be.

but as an adult, gwtw is an entirely different experience. now i realize that this is not the most romantic story ever told. it is, in fact, a tale peopled by the most complicated communicators in recorded human history. it’s grey gardens plus corsets and minus the cat piss. a vicious spectacle of miscommunication, missed signals, and regrets. throughout the film, every single character is trapped in what might have been and what could maybe still come to be. had any one person ever said what they were actually feeling at any single point, they could’ve all lived long, happy lives in a considerably shorter film. but no.

scarlett married a series of men she didn’t love to get back at ashley wilkes, who didn’t love her and couldn’t have cared less if she married men she didn’t love and whom, it turns out, she probably never really loved anyway though she always thought she did.

rhett butler married scarlett, whom he knew pretty much didn’t love him, because he loved her though he thought she loved ashley wilkes because she thought she did too.

melanie wilkes— being the most insipid character ever to grace american literature— never noticed that scarlett was madly in love with her husband and, therefore, never confronted scarlett for being a bitch, but instead harbored an inexplicable borderline lesbian affection for her.

ashley wilkes—the only character whose insipidity could effectively challenge melanie’s— never confessed to scarlett that he truly loved melanie (though heaven only knows why).

and scarlett never told rhett that she had come to really loved him because she was too flakey to realize this until the last three minutes of the final reel, at which point, as we all know, he frankly didn’t give a damn.

thus, in a 258-minute film, none of the characters ever says any of the things they should.

and this is why gone with the wind is great. precisely because it is a horrifying mess. a 4.3 hour public service spot on the vital importance of proper communication served up as an epic, sprawling, southern hell in fancy dress. they just don’t make them like that anymore.

gone with the wind is the greatest movie ever made in the history of any and all film-making in the whole wide world and any solar systems, known or unknown, beyond.

there is none better. don’t anyone argue with me on this.

and i'd like eight years of al gore, if you please.

27 November 2007

4 cutness

for literally 20 years, "red hill mining town" has been the u2 holy grail. the video they made and never released. until now. and i have only one thing to say about this:

birds ruin everything.