Archive for December, 2007

The Best Books of 2007, as Chosen by a Lazy Bibliomaniac

Posted in Imaginary Book Club with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 28, 2007 by tigereye

When I look back on this year, I can’t help but think of all the nothing I’ve accomplished. I haven’t found a job yet, I haven’t quite finished the damn novel, I haven’t rearranged the house into some form of order… What exactly did I do?

Well, I had a great beach vacation, I took care of my mom while she was very sick, I helped out my dad after his bypass surgery, and I read and read and read. That’s one thing to be said about reading: you can do it anywhere. At the beach, in a waiting room, in the car during traffic jams, late at night just before bed. And I managed to read some really terrific books of all sorts, in between doing the dishes and feeding the cat.

So these are my top ten books of the past year. They’re not in any order, because I had enough trouble just picking out ten, let alone rating them. The only rule I stuck to here was the books had to be 2007 releases — otherwise this would be ten pages. Anyway, here are my favorites.

Born Standing Up, by Steve Martin — hands down, one of the best memoirs I’ve ever read. Steve Martin writes as beautifully as he acts, and he plays the banjo and the guitar, too: is there nothing this man can’t do? The book is about his life in comedy and how he got there, from childhood magic shows through the end of his stand-up career. It’s funny, poignant without being a tell-all — the description of his difficult relationship with his father is heartbreaking, but never maudlin — and even instructive to those of us who try to be funny in any medium.  I actually wished this book had been longer, I enjoyed it so much.

The Abortionist’s Daughter, by Elisabeth Hyde — This was the year’s first knockout book for me, which is always like finding the Golden Ticket to the Wonka factory inside your first candy bar. It’s a literary murder mystery, with so many possibilities among the troubled cast of characters that I never suspected the killer was… well, you’ll see. It’s also beautifully written, while at the same time chillingly familiar, easy to imagine as a story on “Inside Edition,” complete with parental angst and failing marriages and… well, find out for yourself.

Soon I Will Be Invincible, by Austin Grossman — this first novel was as much fun as an armful of comic books. In alternating chapters, it’s the tale of a supervillain’s plot to take over the world and a fledgling superheroine’s efforts with a team of heroes to stop him. Everything you learned from comic books as a kid is done here with a light, funny touch and a sense of the sometimes silly “truths” of having superpowers. If you’ve ever enjoyed a comic book, you’ll love this novel. I’m already hoping there will be a sequel.

The God of Animals, by Aryn Kyle — this first novel is the story of a young girl growing up on a family ranch, tending to the horses against the backdrop of her ill mother, runaway-bride sister, and flawed father. The horses, her troubled family, and the riders who train on the ranch are seen through the eyes of a lonely adolescent in a way that you may remember from your own early teens, with moments of clarity that make you hurt for the narrator the way you might for your own remembered self.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by J. K. Rowling — I wish this series had no end. If I can’t have that, this book will do.

Grace (Eventually), by Anne Lamott — I admit that I’ll read anything Anne Lamott writes. I love her novels, her book on writing, her memoir of her son’s birth — and all three of her books on faith. She writes about the difficulty of being Christian in the face of everyday problems, with an eye to the real-life limitations we all have when we try to practice faith. She never makes me feel lectured or proselytized; reading her essays is like finding a friend who understands how the good in your heart can get irremediably tangled with the neurosis and the anger and the stubbornness, and helps you start to untangle the whole mess.

It Never Rains in Tiger Stadium, by John Ed Bradley — OK, this entry sounds like the old Sesame Street song that says “one of these things is not like the others,” but I assure you I’m not kidding. Bradley has been around as an unevenly good novelist for nearly twenty years, but this memoir of his college days playing football for LSU, and his coming to terms with the loss of this singular experience for, practically, the rest of his life, is one of the most moving memoirs I’ve ever read. I’ve never played football, but if you’ve ever given up something that you felt defined you, this book will ring as true and as heartbreaking to you as it did to me. His teammates, his father, his coach — all these relationships are recounted with wrenching honesty that reminds me of Pat Conroy’s best work. The writing is beautiful and the emotion is as real as blood on the page. I’m glad I read this book.

The Rest of Her Life, by Laura Moriarty — my biggest problem with Moriarty is that this is only her second novel. She’s a terrific writer, and I wish she had a bigger body of work (she has one other novel, The Center of Everything, that’s also excellent). This is the story of a family coping after their teenage daughter causes a tragic accident, and the skewed family history that makes them prone to — although I hate the word — dysfunction. These are very real characters whose pain is palpable in every chapter. You’ll read this in two days, max, because you can’t put it down.

A Dangerous Man, by Charlie Huston — Where have you been all my life, Charlie Huston? Eventually Elmore Leonard will have to retire, and finally there’s someone who can take up his mantle when it happens. Huston is one of the best crime writers I’ve ever found, funny and spare and hard to stop reading. A Dangerous Man is the final volume in his Henry Thompson trilogy (Caught Stealing, Six Bad Things), the tale of a guy who blundered into serious trouble when he told a neighbor he’d watch his cat for him and then never managed to get his life back, rocketing from one disaster to another over the course of the three books. Huston is also the author of two crime/noir/vampire novels, Already Dead and No Dominion, which I promise are completely unlike any vampire fiction you ever thought you’d see, and one stand-alone novel, The Shotgun Rule, also good but a little less so than his trilogy or series. More fun than a posse of drug-addled hit men in a Tarantino movie, if you like that sort of thing.

Bad Monkeys, by Matt Ruff — I was in college when I read Matt Ruff’s first novel, Fool on the Hill, and when I finished it I wanted to drive straight to New York to marry him. He’s had a couple of uneven novels since then, but Bad Monkeys is a return to his knock-it-out-of-the-park days. It’s about a young woman indoctrinated into a secret society to kill off the truly evil people in the world — the “bad monkeys.” Or is she? Is she lying or delusional or absolutely right? You be the judge. This was a twisting, turning, double-back-on-itself mindfuck of a novel that I read in one long sitting. Don’t read it under the influence of anything stronger than caffeine. I had just taken some Advil Cold & Sinus when I started it, and I fell right down the rabbit hole. It was a truly trippy bit of fun, though.

A Few Honorable Mentions

The Used World, by Haven Kimmel

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, by Maggie O’Farrell

Long Time Leaving: Dispatches from Up South, by Roy Blount, Jr.

In the Woods, by Tana French

The Air We Breathe, by Andrea Barrett

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The Great Christmas Tree Theft of 1989: A Holiday Melodrama

Posted in Slices of Life (add $1 for ice cream) with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 21, 2007 by tigereye

Some people have beautiful Christmas stories to tell about their families. I do, too, but this isn’t one of them.

My parents did a lot of stuff when I was young that I now know was solely for my happiness. My dad took me to football games; my mom tolerated the Christmas tree. For twenty years we put the same 1970s artificial tree up in the living room, which made it the only three weeks of the year that any living went on in there. The tree was pretty good, as artificial trees go: it was made out of what felt like Astroturf, and every year we hung faded red and gold glass baubles on it, along with the same ornery you-can’t-make-us-stay-lit lights and loops of tinsel that drooped like the fur around a schnauzer’s face. We had the most gorgeous angel in the world to go atop the tree, and the year I moved out my mom threw her away, probably before my car was out of sight down the road. I don’t come from a normal family background, in case you guys can’t tell by how I turned out.

When I was in college, I moved home from the dorm three or so weeks before Christmas, which meant my mom would insist we didn’t need to put the tree up and my dad would go get the tree out of the spare room closet, where its Astroturf branches lived in a box. The tree was a pain in the ass to assemble. Every branch was separate, supposed to live in its own color-coded slot on the tree’s metal middle. The colors had worn off sometime in the mid-’70s. Christmas was a season of arguments and occasional tears, year after year. Actually it still is.

When I came home my sophomore year, I lost the battle of the tree. My mom had taken the box and the trimmings and moved them into my grandmother’s attic, half an hour away. I swear, my mom’s not a horrible person — I love her very much — but for some reason the streak of insanity in her side of the family manifested itself in the way she reacted to our Christmas tree every year. (Mine will probably make me into a crazy cat lady in about fifteen years. We haven’t had one of those in the family for a couple of generations, and all the alcoholic positions have been filled.)

I was too old to be as upset as I was over the tree, but I’m very much a traditionalist at heart, and Christmas meant performing the same comforting rituals every year. Put up the tree, wrap the presents on December 23rd, go to one family’s celebration on Christmas Eve and the other on Christmas Day, watch “A Charlie Brown Christmas” every year… I felt like the kid in “The House Without a Christmas Tree,” and I let it be known.

Finally my dad, the peacemaker, suggested that my mom steal the tree from where she worked.

My mom was (and still is) the town clerk of Nothingville, my hometown. The town, at least, knew what Christmas was supposed to be: they had a parade every year, followed by a big whole-town’s-invited luncheon. And they never skipped the tree. Someone (NOT my mom) put up a cheap but fairly pretty artificial tree every year, in the corner of the rec building attached to the town hall. The town offices closed a few days before Christmas every year, which meant the tree stood there in its corner, cold and lonely and unappreciated, blinking in the dark.

I should also mention that the dimensions of Nothingville are so small that our house was about a block from the town hall. Really, everything in town was located within a mile or two from everything else: a couple of stores, a nursing home (the only place I’ve ever seen with a crosswalk sign that reads AGED PEDESTRIAN XING), a florist’s shop, a gas station, town hall. There you have it, ladies and gentlemen, Nothingville.

So you see how easily this plan worked.

On the last day the office was open, my dad and I wrestled the town’s tree, with lights and tinsel and ornaments still on it, into the bed of my dad’s truck. Because the truck was a stick shift, I couldn’t drive it home, so my mom, leaving work anyway, volunteered. I walked home, which was a missed opportunity. Well, maybe not. I didn’t own a video camera anyway.

My mom drove the truck one block down the road like a bat out of hell, with my dad sitting in the back holding onto the tree with one hand and the side of the truck bed with the other. To this day, years past their divorce, that drive is a point of contention. My dad swears my mom lit out for home like the beat-up truck was Bonnie and Clyde’s getaway car. My mom maintains that she drove the speed limit (35), and recalls singing along with “Holly Jolly Christmas” on the radio while she drove. Dad thinks she must have the song confused with “Hot Rod Lincoln,” but I wasn’t in the truck and can’t weigh in on one side or the other.

No ornaments blew off the tree during the ride, though I did pick up a stray piece of tinsel that fell to the roadside.

In retrospect we shouldn’t have bothered “borrowing” the tree (which was returned to its rightful corner on Christmas afternoon). An unfamiliar Christmas tree is no better than no tree at all. The ornaments were pretty Hallmark creations, artificial-snow-encrusted glass globes that could withstand a fall to the carpet, and the tinsel actually looked like a garland of something and not a leash for an aging poodle. It didn’t have a star or an angel on top, and all its lights worked. It was a very pretty tree, but it wasn’t ours. It was like having a distant family member arrive in time for the holidays and camp out in your living room, making you twitch with surprise whenever you remembered he/she/it was there.

Postscript: a couple of years later, I told this story to my boyfriend at the time, D. He didn’t believe me until I had both parents independently confirm the story (by then, to everyone’s relief including mine, they’d divorced). D was one of the funniest guys I’ve ever known, and he got such a kick out of the mental image of my dad clinging to the tree and the truck that I think he wished the whole insane business had happened in his family so he could tell the story.

That year he bought a box of Christmas cards that, he told me, he’d selected just so he could send one to my mom. He didn’t let me see the cards in advance. So when I got to my mom’s house on Christmas Eve, the first thing I did was ask to see D’s card. On the front was a very pretty little watercolor of a figure in mittens and earmuffs, walking down a dusky street, dragging a freshly chopped evergreen behind him in the snow.

On the inside was the following verse:
“How dear to me/The memory/Of bringing home the Christmas tree.”

Meet an Author You’ve Never Heard Of: Gillian Bradshaw

Posted in Imaginary Book Club with tags , , , , , , on December 19, 2007 by tigereye

I’ll read just about anything. In a spinner rack in my living room — which is the on-deck circle for books I plan to read next or soon — hard noir sits next to romantic comedy, sports nonfiction rests beside historical fiction, and a story of Iranian childhood backs up against a novel I bought three years ago and just found, about an epileptic rock star. I can be indiscriminate.

However, sometimes I realize that an author I’ve glommed onto like a barnacle is completely unknown outside my bookshelves. At my old bookstore, I’d try to coax customers into reading them, and their eyes would glaze over and drift toward Clive Cussler or James Patterson, away from the book I was practically waving in front of their faces. You can lead a customer to a book, but he might pick up a copy of Maxim instead. I mean, what’re you gonna do?

Write something about these authors, that’s what. I’m going to wave some books under your nose here. Don’t get distracted by the TV, or the cat, or the funny sound the washing machine is making. You might love these books. Or anyway, one of them might make somebody very happy, which is the best you can ask of a book.

Gillian Bradshaw

I first discovered Bradshaw by accident. I’m a sucker for everything written about or based on the Arthurian legends, and I was paging through a discount catalog that my bookstore received when I read a blurb about one of her books, Kingdom of Summer. It was a love story, it was at least partly about Arthur, and most importantly, it was two bucks for a hardcover first edition. (Man, do I miss that discount catalog.)

When my copy of Kingdom of Summer arrived, I learned it was actually the second book in a trilogy. I don’t know about you, but I can’t deal with a series that’s already underway. Maybe it’s the OCD. I don’t know. But this meant I couldn’t read my fascinating-looking two-dollar bargain book until I got my hands on the first and last of the trilogy.

They were out of print. I had an out-of-print search company track them down for me, at only moderately exorbitant prices, and the rest of the trilogy arrived on my doorstep in November, months after I’d ordered the first one, which was really the second one. Oh, well, you know what I meant.

They were wonderful.

This trilogy was so good that I read it in a week and then reread it immediately, which I almost never do. Very few individual books have bowled me over like this, let alone three in a series. The stories centered on the character of Gwalchmai — Sir Gawain to those of us who hadn’t researched the legend thoroughly — and were narrated by Gwalchmai himself in the first book, a servant in the second, and Guinevere in the final volume. The characters were more real to me in those books than in any other Arthurian-based story I’d ever read: Mary Stewart, Marion Zimmer Bradley, anyone else who had tried to tell this story. And the history was amazingly correct. This was the first Arthurian tale that felt as if it might have actually happened, and to real, fallible, flawed and interesting people.

So after rereading the trilogy (which I now do every other year or so), I set out to find anything else I could by Bradshaw. I’d learned, via author blurb on the back cover, that she’d been a student at the University of Michigan (classics, of course, which explained the depth of her research) and won a prize there for the first book in the trilogy, Hawk of May (the final volume was titled In Winter’s Shadow). Then I learned of the first barrier between me and anything else she’d written. Everything was out of print.

I chanced across one novel a year later, in a closeout book warehouse, of all places. I was juggling a stack of dusty mysteries when I saw Beacon of Alexandria, a story about a woman of the Roman Empire who disguises herself as a eunuch to study medicine.  I think I dropped everything else in my hands to get at this book. Again, not only was the research remarkable (several ancient cures and texts were cited during the story, which I found fascinating), the characters seemed utterly real, caught up in religious battles of the times as well as suffering the Huns’ and Goths’ invasion of the empire. So the trilogy wasn’t a fluke, I thought — this woman really is that good.

It’s difficult even now to get hold of Bradshaw’s books. She lives in England, so you can find some of them on www.amazon.co.uk, but I’ll warn you, the shipping right now amounts to just doubling the price of the hardback book. Most of her titles take a year or more to arrive in the U.S.; I’ve given up on many of them and asked a friend who does book searches to track them down for me. Bradshaw writes mostly historical fiction, like the books I listed, but she also writes very hard, cutting-edge science fiction that I find more difficult to read.

If you can scare up a Bradshaw book, in the library or at a book warehouse or online, give it a try. Her writing is magnificent, her stories and characters ring true, and you’ll be fascinated by the depth of her research into ancient cultures.

Below are some of her titles. If I’ve read them, I’ve included a brief description. There are also a few I’ve not read yet; I’m saving them like the last few Godiva candies in the box, to enjoy later.

Hawk of May — story of Gwalchmai, otherwise known as Sir Gawain, growing up and becoming one of Arthur’s knights. That’s the story, just as “girl and dog have adventure” is technically the story of The Wizard of Oz. There’s great evil to overcome in this book, and a very light touch of Christianity to the story. Bradshaw is a master at never preaching, although faith is a common theme in her novels.

Kingdom of Summer — Gwalchmai later on, as a knight, in a doomed love story.

In Winter’s Shadow — Guinevere tells the story of the fall of Arthur. It’s another doomed love story, beautiful in its sadness.

The Beacon at Alexandria — a young girl disguises herself to study medicine in Alexandria, near the end of the Roman empire. The history of medicine never interested me before this book, but the narrator describes cures and herbal remedies that I found fascinating. The empire’s social and governmental troubles play out in a way your Western Civ 101 classes never described so clearly.

Horses of Heaven — in one of my favorite love stories, a young woman sent to be queen of a culture she doesn’t understand must marry a barbaric king in a political arrangement. How and with whom she finally falls in love is epic. Set in ancient Persia.

Island of Ghosts — the leader of the Sarmatian people, defeated by Romans, guards against intrigue in his new culture. The research in this novel is probably her most impressive, as the Sarmatians really existed but their culture had no written history. Plots and roadblocks abound in this story. It’s another favorite.

Wolf Hunt — legend of a French knight who could turn himself into a wolf, told at more length and with more fascinating characters. The end is a nail-biter.

Cleopatra’s Heir — if the Queen had had a son, he was a sickly young man who would be at the mercy of all Rome, and in this novel, he is.

Render Unto Caesar — a young Greek man has to challenge the prejudices of Roman-born citizens of the empire to receive justice when his father is murdered. One of my favorite characters here is a former gladiator who befriends and helps the narrator on his quest.

The Sand-Reckoner — novelization of the life and genius of Archimedes, with some love and some intrigue. Like any genius, Archimedes fascinates.

The following are more historical novels by Bradshaw that I’ve not yet read: The Bearkeeper’s Daughter, Alchemy of Fire, Imperial Purple, and Dark North, her latest.

Science fiction by Bradshaw: Bloodwood, The Somers Treatment, Elixir of Youth, and The Wrong Reflection.

Just Another Broke-Ass Writer Trying to Make it Through the Holidays

Posted in Slices of Life (add $1 for ice cream) with tags , , , , , , , , on December 17, 2007 by tigereye

OK, I’ve got some important decisions to make:

1. Rent or medications? Hmm… The rent seems non-negotiable. My landlord will certainly notice if I don’t pay it. Plus, I love my house. Meds are important, too, but then again the side effects are starting to turn my brain into that lime-green vegetable crap my asshole cousin’s wife used to bring to every Christmas dinner. I bet I can cut back a dose on the migraine cocktail. And the blood pressure drug. Uh, the birth control pill is non-negotiable, though.

2. Cable or groceries? This one looks easy. Groceries, of course. I can’t eat the cable. It’s probably not covered in their sorry-ass service plan if I did. On the other hand, I don’t eat a lot of stuff I fix here — just cereal, oatmeal, Cokes, cookie dough straight outta the fridge. You know, the food groups. Besides, I can’t lose “The Closer,” especially since the writers’ strike is going to screw me out of all the shows I usually like (I’m supporting you guys, but damn, hire a Teamster to negotiate, this is taking too long). I could buy “The Closer” by the season on DVD, but if I had that kind of money, I’d be writing something else. Besides, buying the DVD costs almost as much as the cable, but without the Food Network. That settles it. John is now in charge of all my food.

3. Cat food or DSL? Spike still needs to lose about a pound before I take him to the vet in February.

4. Gas bill or power bill? See, this is a tough one. The power bill is lower, but it also covers stuff I can get around. It’s cold as hell here right now (I’m a southerner; I’m thin-skinned), so I bet the fridge and the freezer would still keep things cold enough. And my iPod runs on a battery. On the other hand, I’d have no DSL and no cable, and we’ve already covered those. I blame the gas bill solely on George W. Rich Oil Crony Bastard Bush and his rotten friends. Wonder if I can declare the gas bill on my taxes? At any rate, here I sit with the thermostat lower than I ever expected to set it. Fuck: I’m turning into my dad.

5. Gas in the car or water bill? The environmentally sound choice does not live here. Either pollute the planet or exacerbate the drought. I vote for Season One of “The Closer.”

6. Christmas presents for friends and family, or a balanced checkbook? Yeah, like I remember how to balance a checkbook. Besides, if I’m good to my family and friends, it’ll be less humiliating when I ask them for the rent later on. “Hi, Aunt Doris! That’s the sweater I got you, isn’t it? Wow, it looks great on you. Anyway, I have a favor to ask…”

The Name of This Song Is “Will Smith, You Done Your Woman Wrong”

Posted in Slices of Life (add $1 for ice cream) with tags , , , , on December 15, 2007 by tigereye

…And it can be sung to the tune of almost every other blues song ever written.

Why, Will? Why? Haven’t I adored you from afar long enough? I actually went to the theater and saw “Independence Day,” Will, and as often happens, you were the only good thing about it. I shelled out six bucks to see “I, Robot,” for God’s sake. I bet I’ve watched “Men in Black” forty times by now, because every time TNT reruns it, I find myself powerless to turn away. It never gets old.

I understand your CGI thing, Will, really I do, but I’ve seen your other movies too. Hell, I was one of the twenty people nationwide who actually went to see “Ali.” I even liked it. You did a good job in that one; by the end of the movie you even had me half convinced you looked like Muhammad Ali. And last year I took a big leap of faith and saw “The Pursuit of Happyness” (my inner spelling demon’s protests went unheeded), and damn, Will, I liked it too. It made me cry. I had never before found myself in the awkward position of having you make me cry. It was weird. Then my best friend, who was also crying, asked me for a Kleenex and I immediately felt better when I realized I could hear little sniffles all around me.

But you’ve hurt me, Will.

Look, when I want to cry in a movie I go prepared. I carry tissue. If I don’t have a little purse-sized package of Kleenex, I raid the popcorn stand for those sandpapery theater napkins. Yesterday I did neither. Why not? I’m glad you asked, Will. I didn’t make any plans to cry in an action movie about zombies because it’s an action movie about zombies, for God’s sake. I read the book “I Am Legend” about ten years ago, and I’d forgotten nearly everything about it, but I don’t remember getting choked up anywhere in it, just like I didn’t get teary-eyed over “28 Days Later” or “Dawn of the Dead.”

There are rules to these movies, Will, and you betrayed my trust.

Nothing is ever supposed to happen to the dog.

And hey, you of all people should’ve known that! Remember “Independence Day,” dammit? Wasn’t there a golden retriever bounding around and smiling all the way through “Independence Day”? Did any harm come to Orion the galaxy-carrying cat in “Men in Black”? No, and no. It’s not like you don’t know how it works.

But no. About halfway through “I Am Legend” — if this were a movie review and not a voice crying out in the wilderness, I’d go on to tell you what to expect from this movie, but all I’ll say here is BRING KLEENEX — you and your scene-stealing co-star German Shepherd get… well… you get in a bad situation. And the dog, because he’s a faithful companion, sticks around with you, and what happens then? Want to tell us, Will? When you were reading the script, didn’t it occur to you to say, “Hey, wait a minute, this part here with the dog? I know it’s in the book, but come on, this screenplay has about as much of a relationship with the book as it does with reality. Nothing’s supposed to happen to the dog.”

The result? A theater full of people who are really, really into the movie suddenly gets very quiet. “Pursuit of Happyness” quiet. And since I didn’t expect anything more than an action movie, I had about another hour to sit there sniffling in the dark because I couldn’t blow my nose because nobody expects to need Kleenex at an action movie.

You’re going to have to make this up to me, Will. I’m not sure how you can do this, unless you make an action movie starring you, Colin Farrell, and maybe George Clooney, and there are multiple scenes for each of you in which clothing is removed.

I’ll be right here, waiting.

What Goes On in My Head: Snapshots

Posted in Slices of Life (add $1 for ice cream) with tags , , , , , , , on December 12, 2007 by tigereye

I’ll be playing spider solitaire with two suits, and I’ll stare and stare at the screen until there are afterimages of the cards burned into my eyes, and there won’t be a single available move. Then I’ll deal the next row, and I’ll see a move I should’ve made, just as it’s made inaccessible by the new row.

This is a pretty apt metaphor for my whole life, actually.

I’ve also had a few cases of I’m-a-bad-friend lately, which always bothers me more than most neuroses because I sometimes pride myself on being a good friend. This is different, though, from the missed-move frustration. This feels like being kept humble. I get kept humble a lot. Maybe more than I ought to. I’m reasonably humble about most things without any karmic help.

I haven’t sent out any Christmas cards yet because I don’t want to go to the post office. And also because I send cards to practically everyone I’ve ever met, the addresses are scattered among three or four address books accumulated over about ten years, and I don’t know where a single one of them is right now.

A friend left town six weeks ago owing me a surprising amount of money. She didn’t leave a forwarding address.

I filled out a job application today and couldn’t think of one marketable skill I have. I also don’t have sufficient computer experience for much of anything. I’m hoping I can wow someone in an interview so this will be overlooked.

I ran for the first time since my birthday yesterday. It’s not quite been two months, but my body seems to have aged an entire year’s worth in that time.

I honestly don’t know sometimes if Spike likes my company.

I’m worried my football team will lose their bowl game and then I’ll spend New Year’s Day feeling terrible for a bunch of college kids I’ve never met.

I have to, have to, have to do laundry today. I am out of socks.

I am aware and ashamed of what silly petty problems these are in comparison to what other people I love are dealing with.

I am evidently going to have teenage acne well into my forties. This is a good example of silly and petty, and also a good example of annoying.

I don’t know why the caulk won’t last on my shower.

Twice now, when randomly scrolling through iTunes, I’ve landed on “Here’s a Quarter, Call Someone Who Cares.”

Oh… What Humanity?

Posted in Rants & Rages with tags , , , , , , on December 11, 2007 by tigereye

Maybe I can get Michael Vick out of my head if I write about him one more time and plan for it to be the last.

Someone wrote a piece on another site, one I’m ridding myself of like an addiction, about how God will forgive you if you ask for it, and used Michael Vick’s recent “embrace” of Jesus as an example. All he has to do, it said, is ask Jesus for forgiveness and he’ll have it, so Vick is already forgiven for his sins. Period.

I don’t think that’s exactly true. I think Michael Vick is about as interested in Jesus as I’m interested in professional hockey. I think his lawyer told him it’s always a good idea, when you have to go to jail, to bring up Jesus, so that’s what he did, dropping His name during a public apology that was about as sincere as a kid’s who will be paddled if he doesn’t say he’s sorry. He meant that whole public statement about as much as I mean it when I say George W. Bush was elected. And I think anyone who took him at his word in that statement is an idiot.

It’s beyond me to imagine how anyone could do to an animal what dogfighters do to these dogs. And to any other animals they can catch, which once included my cat, but that’s a different story. Why anybody would think of this as sport is beyond me: if these guys were sportsmen they’d glove up and fight each other like men. And then to kill a dog as casually as I’d step on an ant — except more creatively. I never electrocuted or hanged or strangled an ant. I’ve drowned them, I suppose, by washing them down the sink, and damn it, the next time I do that I’m going to think of Michael Vick, electrocuting a dog for not being sufficiently vicious.

So no, I don’t think he’s sorry, and no, I don’t intend to give him the benefit of the doubt and say he’s learned a lot in that humane education class he sat through, or that he’s found God and regrets what he did. Forget it. I don’t have so much kindness in my soul that I plan to waste any on this rich, handsome, conscienceless bastard. I think if he can, he’ll get another kennel started by moving his millions around via lawyer, and out in the boonies of Virginia, small dogs and cats will start to go missing from people’s yards again, and on a clear night you’ll be able to hear pit bulls screaming from half a mile away.

I don’t want Michael Vick to find Jesus. I want him to die in jail with a shank sticking out of his neck and go straight to hell, where he belongs, so I won’t see him in any afterlife. I might change the way I feel about this one day, or he might genuinely be sorry for something other than losing his bonuses and endorsements, but the best I can do to put this sorry excuse for a human being out of my mind is to imagine him being ripped apart by dogs for all eternity.

In other words, justice for what he’s done.