Devil Dog 2005

Boo! Ever wondered what happened to Bobby “Boris” Pickett? He became an environmentalist. Sort of. Maybe it was just a paycheck, since I expect sales of the "Monster Mash DJ Phoolish Mega Crunk Remix with Jokey "'Fiddle Faddle' Marone & Numnutz Phearrless [w/ Mob Glock Posse]" aren’t exactly burning up the charts. Enjoy the anti-oil imagery; I did. I hate oil. I can't wait until they replace the smelly busses with sweaty fleets of pedicabs, frankly.

When operating systems invade your brain: the other night I dreamed I had Steve Jobs over for dinner. After the plates had been cleared I got out a laptop so I could show him the one big thing in OSX that bugs me: in list view in the Finder, with the preview column option enabled, the window scrolls right and pushes half the contents of the parent list out of view. This should not be. The Preview option is nice, but its default setting takes up a large amount of real estate – shouldn’t it dynamically resize to keep the parent column in full view?

I didn’t say that, of course, but that’s what I was thinking. “As long as you’re here,” I said, “I thought I’d take the opportunity to show you something I think needs fixing.”

“That’s what they always say,” he said with a cold grin. “But they’re wrong.”

And then I woke up because Gnat had come into the room to give me a piece of toast. And the weekend began.

Maureen Dowd has a book out, and from this excerpt it appears she has managed to compact every single women’s mag article from the last 15 years into one dense compendium. It’s interesting: women writing about what men want always comes down to the Problems of Women, and men writing about what women want comes down to the same thing. Women writing about men always seems like cats writing about dogs; they just can’t believe that sitting around and waiting for supper or intruders is what it’s all about. It has to be something more. A writer of the Dowd Brigade will ask: why does he want to go have pizza after sex instead of cuddling? A man, or a married woman, will say: because he’s hungry. No, it has to be more than that. Is he using the trip to the fridge as a hedge against intimacy? No, he’s using it as a means to get pizza. Because he’s hungry. You want him to stay, put a frozen Totinos between the mattress and the box spring before you start.

Dowd writes, or rather dictates:

It was naïve and misguided for the early feminists to tendentiously demonize Barbie and Cosmo girl, to disdain such female proclivities as shopping, applying makeup and hunting for sexy shoes and cute boyfriends and to prognosticate a world where men and women dressed alike and worked alike in navy suits and were equal in every way.
But it is equally naïve and misguided for young women now to fritter away all their time shopping for boudoirish clothes and text-messaging about guys while they disdainfully ignore gender politics and the seismic shifts on the Supreme Court that will affect women's rights for a generation.
What I didn't like at the start of the feminist movement was that young women were dressing alike, looking alike and thinking alike. They were supposed to be liberated, but it just seemed like stifling conformity.
What I don't like now is that the young women rejecting the feminist movement are dressing alike, looking alike and thinking alike. The plumage is more colorful, the shapes are more curvy, the look is more plastic, the message is diametrically opposite - before it was don't be a sex object; now it's be a sex object - but the conformity is just as stifling.

Stop text-messaging your friends! The right to vote is about to be repealed! The message seems to be that everyone should sort of be a sex object, but non-conformingly, somewhat curvy and non-disdainful of “gender politics.” The amusing thing is that men do, more or less, want this, but not her – at least not the confused persona that comes across in the essay. I mean, they want the hard-faced flame-haired dame with the ginormous gunboats to pack a pistol and a sob story, which may or may not be on the level, but it doesn’t really matter; what counts is that you can square your shoulders, stub out your Lucky, and head into the fog to make sense of it all. Maybe when the whole crazy business is done you can see what happens. Find some truth in between the lies.

And then do something about that last slice of pizza in the icebox.

Just for the record: I am married to a Strong & Successful Woman. I have no problem with Strong Women. On the contrary. But I am less than fascinated by Strong Women who have issues like the Roman sewers had mice.

Sad as this whole Scooter Libby thing is, I say we just censure and move on.

Hah! Just kidding. If he’s guilty, then he’ll get no defense here. Of course you can find more incisive analysis elsewhere; I’m past that sort of thing. what makes me despair is that we are still arguing over yellowcake. It’s one of those curious examples of non-contiguous information flows: one side things Joe Wilson told the truth about Niger, thereby contradicting the Administration’s central rationale for going to war against Iraq, and the other side believes that Joe Wilson did not tell the truth about Niger, that the information supplied by the Brits and others was correct, and in any case it was not a primary rationale, or even the primary assertion of the primary rationale.

Both can’t be right. But yet both are believed by sane people. This cannot be good for democracies and other living things, to paraphrase an anodyne 60s poster. What was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s rather underwhelming line? (And I can’t write his name without recalling that wonderful observation: he parts his name on the side.) The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. It’s a required skill for reading newspapers and blogs, I tell you.

As ever, it’s the weekend, and I’m sitting at the coffee shop. The Burly Pest is not here. It’s 67 degrees outside, and it’s a damn sin for me to be here at all; I should be in the backyard stringing Christmas lights in my shorts. But I have to work. By Tuesday I have to write three Quirks, one Newhouse, finish a 3000 word piece for a magazine, and if I have the chance, do this. I can’t work at the office, obviously – staring at Windows in the middle of a row cubicles in the middle of the room feels like a pillow has been pressed over my face. Gently, not Othello-strength pressing, but enough. I can work at home, but not on the weekend during the daylight hours. I will have to wait until everyone goes to bed, and then I’ll sit at the kitchen table and finish everything. I get a lot done here.

Later. Okay, did two of them. I still have the nagging idea I need to write three more this weekend, just so I have breathing room during the Lurid Rash of Interviews. (Almost 30 spread over two days. Thirty! Sweet Holy Gherkin, whatever will I say?)

Weekend so far: fine. Watched “The Color of Money,” since I’d just seen “The Hustler.” Didn’t age as well as I thought. Oh, you can get past Paul Newman’s 80s duds and smoked aviator glasses, and Tom Cruise’s hair – on loan from Ray Luca – but it just feels like another example from Scorcese’s Trying Very Hard period. Also, it’s nine hours long. But still! Tom Cruise is very convincing as a cocky, large-toothed lunatic. Almost as if he was born to play the role.

Other than that, naught but work. Oh, I put in some more lights in the backyard. That’s enough. Any more and planes will land. Or aliens, and then I’ll have to run outside with the Casio and do that whole name-that-tune thing with the spacecraft. But that’s it. So I’ll end now by warning you that things will be thin around here for a few days. Tomorrow: Joe Ohio update, and the promo site for the new book. Today: the daily column, of course, and a matchbook. Wednesday: a report on the first two dozen interviews. Oh – I’ll post a list Tuesday morning, in case I happen to be yammering in a market near you. See you tomorrow.