31 May 2008

0 may: a revue

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

"deborah, where is your faith?"
"not in her underpants."

"you can still be a yuppie in a wheelchair."

"you're all respectable in your fantasies. like you say, 'yes. yes, i will undress you in your butler outfit.'"

"that reminds me of a line from pump up the volume..."

"i really am going to go jump off a bridge. i'll be right back."

"ah, the revolution."
"yeah, that didn't last long."
"really, it was more of a boston tea party."

"run on. i'll just be back here watching your butts jiggle."

"everyone's got their hands above their head, waving not very nice spirit fingers."

"celebrity meeting in the main room."
"oh my god! what celebrity?!"
"it's not mario lopez, bart. take it easy."

"i'm sorry to hear she isn't jewish. i had my hopes up on that one."

"it must feel so frustrating to not have ANY useful skills whatsoever and to fail at EVERYTHING you do."

"he's published a book on working out in which he is very topless, very cut, and very shiny on the cover, which leads me to believe he didn't so much write it as lube up and pose for pictures."

"there was something very wrong about a catholic high school orchestra playing guns 'n roses. i just sat there bracing for ACDC."

"when you really mean something, you don't accompany it with a tambourine."

"you're so hardcore... by which i mean you wear black a lot."

28 May 2008

18 johnny depp's folding chair

yesterday i saw johnny depp's folding chair.

i saw johnny depp's folding chair about 1.272 seconds after realizing the under-hyped chicago winds had blown my slightly too large purple taffeta skirt front to back and wedged the back (formerly the front) of said skirt into the waistband of said skirt.

in other words, i saw johnny depp's folding just as i realized a significant sampling of chicago was seeing my ass.

21 May 2008

10 the big accomplishment of a slow day?

coercing the art department- who, judging from their speedy acquiescence, must've had as much time on their hands as me- to provide me with an electronic signature and then killing approximately seventeen trees trying to craft one in which my last name does not look like one of those wonky letter puzzles required for all purchases on ticketmaster. apparently, this is an impossibility.

20 May 2008

0 forgive me. i know it's tacky to cite one's self, but i have nothing new to say and yet it seems something should be said.

(and please continue to bear with me during our brief digression into kennedys in the city...)


there's no cable in my life, but an informant told me that teddy kennedy (wearing an incongruous bright gold godfatheresque chain bracelet) was on the daily show last week. now that he's broken into the world of late night tv, it's time we reconsider teddy. not the stern, bloated teddy of today, but teddy circa 1945-1981. charismatic, charming, carefree but troubled teddy. the teddy who knew how to party and cheated on his harvard exam. the teddy who was HOT.

(NOTE: in contemplating this teddy, we will be glossing over the teddy who drank entirely too much, cheated on his wife, gained jowls and contributed in some inscrutable way to the death of mary jo kopechne.)

it goes without saying that americans are obsessed with the kennedys (and let's do try to ignore how ironic it is for me of all people to be saying that). every time an anniversary rolls around, newscasters ask: what would have happened if joe/kick/JFK/RFK/JFK jr./jackie had lived longer? as if that's a question we might someday actually be able to definitively answer. the living kennedys provide an ongoing soap opera of sorts, but most of the attention is fixated upon those who have died and the posthumous revelations regarding them. in reality though, it is teddy who is the greatest of the family's tragedies, and i think, after looking at him for so long people forget that. he's always out there- grimacing and shouting. all white-haired, red-faced and resolute. his simple survival has led him to be overlooked.

it's easy to forget that he was a bad student who cheated on an exam so he wouldn't be branded a disappointment. that he married a beautiful woman whom he couldn't love enough and who couldn't stop drinking. that he was swept into politics by an overbearing father, who was then brutally incapacitated by a stroke and spent ten years wasting away. that, at the age of 32, he nearly lost his own life in the plane crash that broke his back and killed his friend. that he inherited the thirteen children of his two brothers, whose crushing legacy he could never live up to. then he committed a fatal error, dashing the presidential dreams that had been thrust upon him. that he gave away his fatherless neice at her wedding the same day doctors amputated the cancerous leg of his eldest son. he has spent the last twenty years passing legislation and burying the younger generation, but ultimately, in the public consciousness, teddy is remembered for two things: for not being his brothers and for whatever it was that happened at chappaquiddick. a sad reduction of a life that has lasted nearly seventy-five years.

everybody has a teddy. that person who can be so charming and charismatic and has the potential to do so much, and yet either lacks the fiber to fulfill it or is crippled by a fear of real, grown-up life and escapes into a series of personal disasters, ie. chappaquiddick, the sex-on-a-boat soiree, bar hopping with willie smith. (the polar opposite would be the joan- the insecure, overly sensitive person who becomes haplessly tangled with the charismatic charmer and can't fight his/her way out of the emotional fray without falling into a similar but opposed series of personal disasters.)

teddys are good people, but they're heartbreaking to watch. instead of taking calculated risks (a' la JFK, RFK, and mcnamara), they haplessly wander into risky situations and then respond with the improvisations of befuddlement. michael kennedy was a teddy. a non-teddy would realize that neither sexual involvement with a baby-sitter nor football on skis in a blizzard is a particularly good idea. but while a non-teddy sees the potential end of a risk and either accepts or declines it based on that end, a teddy blindly falls into risky situations- not for the thrill that results, but because it's where they've wound up. they take the risk because it's there. they're go-with-the-flow people who don't make plans.

this makes the comparative success and longevity of teddy kennedy all the more admirable. after RFK's death, he told a friend, "i can't let go. if i let go, ethel will let go, my mother will let go, and all my sisters." one of JFK's mistresses said, "the old man would push joe, joe would push jack, jack would push bobby, bobby would push teddy, and teddy would fall on his ass." though he's fallen on his ass time and time again, teddy has been very un-teddy. he has not let go. he's held up all the women and has been crushed by all the men, but he's still here. kind of like cher.

it's hard to imagine america without teddy kennedy. it's even harder to imagine the funeral of teddy kennedy, though the country has been bracing for it since june of 1968. i like to think he'll gradually fade away like 104-year-old rose. and the family will throw grand picnics for all of his birthdays, and put him up in a posh suite in the compound where he can perpetually screen home movies from the good old days. he's been holding tight for so long. i hope he gets to let go. to just be teddy.

19 May 2008

7 in the beginning

it's jackie dead day, so humor me.

this friday, it will have been 14 years since seventh grade oline sat in mrs. watson's science class in a pair of white shorts and a green shirt- freezing her ass off because the AC was on high and it was a bit too early for said white shorts- straining to hear anderson cooper's mournful channel one report over the gaggle of sunflowers-scented blathering cheerleaders at the back of the room.

try as i might, deafO that i was and am, i couldn't hear a word. i could only sit and watch the photos flicker past, a lifetime condensed into an eleven minute montage.

i knew nothing about her beyond what had been captured in a two paragraph blurb on a badly xeroxed women's history month handout distributed in mrs. pavlick's english class the year before. so i knew she was on par with florence nightingale and madame curie in the pyramid of powerful women. but these gals, with their ruffled blouses and bunsen burners, seemed at home on badly xeroxed handouts. jackie's feathered bouffant and onassis earrings bespoke a modernity uncharacteristic of historical heroines. she seemed epochs away.

i paid her no attention at the time. she meant nothing to me then.

actually, that's kind of a lie. because this was back when i went to bed at 8:30 every night and woke up early enough to crawl into my parents bed and watch the headline news hollywood minute at the bottom of the half hour and eight minutes of the real news at the top (thus my vast knowledge of the cast of characters comprising the clinton administration circa '93-'96). so i heard things. i knew she was sick.

and i knew who she was. i'd been playing with tom tierney paper dolls since i was old enough to wield my mum's manicure scissors and the kennedys were the apex of the presidential families series. so i knew caroline kennedydoll had a pony named macaroni, that JFKdoll had by far the best underwear of the presidents, and somehow i discerned that jackiedoll would've dumped JFKdoll and pursued teddy roosevelt's scandalously younger son kermit, the dreamboat of the presidential paper dolls.

but this was not reality. it was a world in which jackie could party with rhett butler and lady di. so we're going to ignore that whole history because it isn't really history.

dolls don't count.

so my introduction, if you will, to jackie was that soundless channel one report. that night, a riveting tribute on hard copy with more pictures set to an off-the-wall medley of copland and ravel further piqued my interest. jackie smoking while pregnant. jackie in pink chanel. jackie at the funeral. jackie in jeans. she seemed such a renegade, in much the manner of drew barrymore or dr. quinn. i vividly remember the jarring transition between the somber hard copy closing credits to the beverly hills: 90210 season four finale. the loss of david silver's virginity seemed so trivial now jackie was dead. two days later, TIME magazine's tribute landed in our mailbox and i sat on the front lawn- reclining against my bookbag, feet propped up on arthur- devouring it.

within a matter of four days, i had met my jackie- and this makes sense of so much- through a silent movie, magazines and tabloid tv.

with her typically impeccable timing, mrs. onassis expired just as the eaton family became antique-crazed. suddenly car trips that, in the months before, had been interminably dull, punctuated by stops at road-side stores filled with other people's discarded pee-wee herman dolls, became treasure hunts. places like chattanooga and danville rivaled alibaba's cave.

it began, simply enough, with LIFE magazine. this was back in the days before al gore invented the internet. later, i would be armed with vast bibliographies and spreadsheets and photographic archives and ebay. then i was winging it. i was trixie belden on the hunt for what my macabre family termed "the jackie mausoleum."

early in that summer of 1994, LIFE was kind of enough to feature all their jackie covers on the back of their special edition. hunched over it with a magnifying glass pilfered from my father's desk, i eventually made out all 16 dates. this triumph of deciphering insanely small type left me elated. it felt titanic. in reality, it was terribly small.

it's hard to realize the scope of something until you're in it. really really in it. like, mired for years and years and years. there were 16 covers of LIFE. that seemed a reasonable pursuit. a hobby containable in a lone grocery bag. it didn't seem obsessive. it didn't seem like an interest that would prompt future boyfriends to grimace in embarrassment and make movers cringe in horror. 16 was a reasonable number. this is probably how those women wind up with 87 cats. i didn't see it coming. things just spiraled out of control after the first 15...

to strut my math skills a moment, imagine this: in the american, english language mainstream tabloid press alone- thus, excluding every publication produced everywhere else in the world, "respectable" mainstream US mags like LIFE, LOOK, mccall's, and also the tabloid-sized fringe tabloids like the enquirer- there were approximately 40 movie magazines circulating in any given month during the 60s and 70s. during every month in those 20 years, jackie would cover on at least half.

4,800 issues. at 30 cents an issue, give or take 750,000 copies sold of each, during her heyday- in movie magazine sales alone- she brought in $1 billion.

$54 million per annum.

which is interesting because it's fucking unbelievable.

so my hobby, sparked by a story that was the closest real life had ever come to being gone with the wind, has wound up a math problem. who saw that coming?

everything works out in the end. i believe this. the magazines i bought in the summer of 1994 meant nothing beyond pretty pictures. i never dreamed they'd have a use. much less that i'd spend the majority of 2004 poring over them as though their stories contained the key to finding christ. i didn't imagine i would wind up discovering entire publishing empires built upon a literary playtime that didn't deviate too very far from my paperdoll world in which jackiedoll went to the movies with greta garbo and had a fling with errol flynn. you just don't think of these things in the beginning.

i don't know where all this started. but that's a lie. it started in mrs. watson's 7th grade science class as i sat there straining to hear anderson cooper's mournful channel one report over the gaggle of blathering cheerleaders at the back of the room. but i don't know why it stuck with me or why it mattered. or why it still matters. i just know she does.

14 May 2008

6 dear O.W. (whose name is not caroline),

you stole my diet pepsi.

no denials, please. i saw you with my own eyes partaking of caffeine from a can on which my early morning, bleery-eyed self had scribbled CAROLINE in red sharpie.

grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, i say. grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.


12 May 2008

6 this day (some days ago) in history

eF and i were socially active this weekend and it only just occurred to me that in the midst of that something rather momentous happened.

i've been to ghetto nights, reading nights, halloween nights, spring break nights, graduation nights, keg nights, smashing pumpkins nights, welcome back nights, whoop juice nights, bowling nights, and friday nights in starkville. maph was a blur of birthdays that climaxed with the aptly named booze cruise. there've been going aways, opening nights, last nights, last days, shows, and showers.

so i'm a well partied girl. and those parties have been well photographed. i've been photographed partying in costumes and hats and heels, holding eggs and cupcakes, offering chips, dancing and dipping and crushing cans. and yet...

at 27, my mum gave birth to me. she created human life. my big milestone at the age of 26 and 11/12ths? this weekend, for the first time ever, i was photographed holding the stereotypical party solo cup.

08 May 2008

0 miami

a trip that can be summarized in one line:

"did an old man with unnaturally dark hair go by here screaming?"

01 May 2008

6 bang on

i have a major girl crush on my hair dresser. it's entirely conceited. i see her once every six months and every time she never fails to comment, i wish you'd get your hair cut more often. you're SOOOOOOOOOOO funny. it's easy to have a comedy routine when you only see someone every six months. it's sustaining one that's tough and i'm quite sure if i took her up on her offer to just come hang out at the salon, our BFFship would fizzle fast. she'd realize i'm a fraud. that i'm really not that funny. that i just spend six months saving up an hour's worth of totally kickass stories to share with the woman who cuts my hair. which is kinda pathetic.

but still... i have a major girl crush on my hair dresser. she has random piercings, a lone blue braid and quite possibly the loudest laugh ever. last night we talked about her history as a raver and how that influenced her decision to skip prom. and i realized this is someone who would have scared the shit out of me in high school. someone i would've run from. or let cheat off my math homework.

and yet here we are. the geek and the raver. and i trust her completely. so you say i should stick with the black? done. you think we should chop my 3 feet of hair into 15 different layers with one that's only 4 inches long? do it. you wanna give me some thick-ass bangs that'll make it look like i have no eyebrows and the hugest eyes God's ever made? hell yeah.