maarmie's musings

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The Media = Farce

They've gone and done it again, by god. Those golldurn reporters are nothing but anarchist communists who want to turn the world to their leftist agendas, and one bad apple equals a million.

Increasingly, members of the media who don't or don't appear to be holding their journalistic ethics close to their hearts are wearing their woes on their sleeves as they're outed by traditional and non-traditional media sources far and wide. Most recently, it's Mike Vasilinda who's got some 'splainin to do as he's held up in the spotlight for owning and running a Tallahassee, Fla., production company - Mike Vasilinda Productions Inc. - that turns a profit off the same government and agencies he also covers as an "independent" reporter.

Things aren't as they appear, counters Vasilinda in news reports on what he's been doing and doing very publicly for many years now. While Vasilinda claims to be as committed and impartial journalist as ever there was, any dim-witted mass media consumer has a right to wonder aloud if the size of a production contract at Vasilinda Productions affects what's covered, uncovered and discovered in Florida government by Vasilinda-the-reporter-not-Vasilinda-the-businessman - and what's not.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

How to Piss Me Off - updated regularly

Be a potential boyfriend who turns into a good friend who turns into a friend who turns into an acquaintance all the while becoming more and more of an arrogant asshole, dismissing me more and more and hurting my feelings more and more only to disappear when I finally call you on your stupid bullshit. Advice: Grow up and grow a conscience. No wonder your ex-wife cheated on you.

Host a going-away party before your move to New Jersey only to leave the party 10 minutes after some of your co-workers get there to see you off so you can go screw the dumb bitch who ripped apart your marriage, broke your shit and beat you up.

Run and hide when it's time for you to be the President of the United States of America and basically throw thousands of scared and dying people to the wolves because you don't know what the fuck to do. Why don't you do the country a favor and resign so we can get a COMPETENT president? Thanks a bunch if you do.

Be an ex-boyfriend I rarely see and then get all pissy when I don't accept your hostility and send me this as an e-mail:
"Do you know what it means to treat someone like shit? If you don't have a clue, then I can understand why you don't think that's what your doing. Otherwise, you ought to review your recent communication with me and reconsider."
Not only do you have an error in your text that crosses the boundaries of both spelling and grammar, but you also need to find someone else to vent on. It's not going to be me anymore. I owe you nothing.

Say and do things you know aren't right then lie about the whole situation to protect your smarmy ass while seriously hurting people in the process. Maybe if you weren't so full of shit yourself, you'd have less trouble trusting anyone else.

Upset my friend by calling up the random guy who asked her out at a club and metaphorically piss on her leg by informing him that you're her "boyfriend." I know you're young and relatively inexperienced, but the way to a woman's heart isn't by beating her over the head with a club and dragging her back to the cave by her hair.

Constantly blame me for someone else's mistakes. If you want to punish someone to make yourself feel mightier and more adequate, punish the person who actually erred and pick on someone your own size, you cowardly motherfucker.

Promise for two weeks that you're coming for the weekend on Friday and then not bothering to call and say you won't be here. I know it's embarassing that you don't have money or good credit to rent a car, but I deserve a damn phone call. Geesh!

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Oh Marilyn, My Marilyn

My fascination with Marilyn Monroe runs deep.

All the elements are there: A virtual orphan who spent her life looking for a father figure and marrying men who seemed to fit the bill. An on-screen persona that could light up an entire city though her personal life was filled with desperation, depression and angst. A public face that epitomized the notion of "dumb blonde" though she was incredibly intelligent and a voracious reader. She was obstinate. She showed up late to the set and kept others waiting, sometimes for hours. Sometimes, she didn't show up at all. She was a huge drinker and popped enormous amounts of pills. She was a wreck. She was fabulous. She was her own woman. She's my Marilyn.

I started collecting Marilyn Monroe memorabilia when I was in high school. At its height, my collection consisted of about $1,000 worth of books, oodles of stamps (one set given to me by my brother that was cancelled in Hollywood), pens, magnets, a tie, mugs. You name it; I had it. I sold all my Marilyn books when I moved from Portland to Florida, a decision I regret.

Los Angeles, California. Home of the stars. In 2002, I visited a friend who had an internship at the Los Angeles Times and was living in Burbank in a huge apartment complex across the street from Warner Brothers Studios. During a visit to Mann's Chinese Theatre, I scanned the rows of names and handprints. I had to find Marilyn. I had thought about this day since high school. Even then, I had a feeling our hands would be the same size. Finally, I found her famous signature and squatted in front of it. I stretched out my arms and placed my hands where hers had once been. A perfect match. We're alike in more ways than this. Perhaps that's why I have such a fascination with her. Though my knowledge of her, I learn more about myself.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

No Commies Here

In case you haven't guessed it by now, I'm not what you would call a patriot. Not in the traditional sense, anyway.

Not one to commit my undying loyalty to any one group, I have lived most of my life on the fringes of this group or that group and have felt like Colin Wilson's consummate "outsider" ever since I have been conscious of myself.

It all started in middle school with the dreaded "Pledge of Allegiance." It just so happened that the daily chanting of it fell during my PE class. The other students unfailingly did what was expected of them: They stopped changing long enough to pay their respects to this country by placing their right hands over their left breasts and reciting the words I refuse to utter now just as I refused to utter then. The PE teacher took notice of my apparent disdain and disrespect and commanded me to do as the others did. Again, I refused. She threatened to have a parent/teacher conference, and chastised me in front of the group. I'm not sure how it all ended, but I'm guessing that I paused during "The Pledge," and, hand on heart, thought of other things while the others did their patriotic duty.

Much to my shock and horror, my days of being expected to say these words I didn't mean didn't end with high school. At city council meetings during my city government reporting days in South Georgia, not only was "The Pledge" recited but there was also a prayer - A PRAYER - given at every meeting. Not wanting to appear overly adversarial (though, indeed I was), I stood for the prayer but kept my eyes open, and put my hand on my heart while facing in the general direction of the flag. But, still, I refused to say the words.

I pledge allegiance
To the flag
Of the United States of America...

(If I say these words, I'm telling a lie.)

...And to the republic
For which it stands
One nation
Under god
With liberty and justice for all.

Liberty and justice for all? I know that's a crock. How can people say there's liberty and justice for all and feel good about it? And mean it? Meanwhile, minor drug offenders rot in prisons while rapists and murderers either go free or serve lesser sentences. Meanwhile, a frighteningly large percentage of the population is racist, sexist, classist and any other -ist you can imagine. Meanwhile, women are still looked at and treated as property by men (and other WOMEN!) on the the the the bedrooms. Meanwhile, children are beaten and starved and twisted by their demonic parents. Meanwhile, poor people languish without adequate food, shelter or education. Meanwhile, the literacy rate in this country is abysmal. Meanwhile, the rich get richer on the backs of the poor while we spend billions of dollars to go kill "enemies" that don't exist.

I'm not saying all this to make you, dear reader, think I don't care about this country. In fact, I am a deeply concerned citizen who cares passionately about what goes on here - and what doesn't. I am patriotic - just not in the close-my-eyes-don't-ask-any-questions-unfailingly-trust-whatever-anyone-in-power-has-to-say-to-me kind of way. I question the status quo. I object to that which I disagree. I speak my mind. I am a dissenter. All in a feeble attempt to get others to question their own views and motivations and to get them thinking about what they stand for, who they are and what it takes to build a cohesive society filled with liberty and justice for all.

Believe it or not, I haven't always been this way. I grew up the daughter of middle class bankers who (still) tow the line and now vote Republican. Along the way, I bent and broke. I fell apart and rebuilt myself several times. I morphed. Outward appearances shifted. My taste in music broadened. My interests expanded. I wanted to see the world. I wanted to find the truth that could never be found within the confines of my parent's home. The evening news after dinner. Three hours of sitcoms. Ice cream at nine. Then bed. Hooters on Friday nights; golf on Sundays. I grew up in that world and vowed never to make it mine.

I have since moved from one coast to the other and back again. Along the way, I have seen some amazing places and met some amazing people who are doing amazing things for themselves and others. And with an open mind and no firm allegiances to anything except my core set of values and beliefs - those that will never change - I continue to evolve.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Here a Republican, There a Republican...

Cables, Brooklyn Bridge - photo/maarmie

Republicans: They're sneaky, and they're good. And now, they're the ones in charge.

The biggest error one can ever make is underestimating one's enemy, and Democrats have long underestimated their nemesis at their own peril. While a Republican may seem to be little more than an unthreatening slow talker who doesn't know the difference between his or her head and a hard, dry turd, don't let appearances be deceiving. Behind that dumber-than-a-sack-of-rocks exterior beats the heart of a pack of rabid wolves.

At best, Republicans are selfish and exclusionary. At worst, they are as informed as they are intelligent, and they rely on the bible as a mandate for how others (read liberals) should live their lives. Oh, did I forget to mention they're hypocrites? Not all; just most. They rarely practice what they preach, it seems, and the basic tenets of the religion they all Baaaaaah over like sheep are ignored out of their own loathsome self interest.

Considering my obvious disdain for all things Republican (don't get me wrong, Democrats are no better), I thought it fitting to journey to New York City this past August/September to protest the Republican National Convention. When I got back from my foray into activism, my boss fired me. I can't help but think my termination had at least something to do with my trip (one he sanctioned after he accused me of somehow making money off my adventure while taking money out of the pocket of the company!). But what the fuck. I had a great fucking time while a great fucking time was to be had.

Desperately wanting to go protest in NY but not wanting to go alone, a local activist friend of mine put out his feelers and found three others from this city who had already made plans to go and had booked hotel rooms far enough in advance to get lodging across the street from Madison Square Garden. I met up with two of them a few days before the trip and have since forged a great friendship with one of the two, a stay-at-home dad named Michael who put his wife through medical school and who thought enough of his 15-year-old daughter and what a great experience it would be for her to bring her along. Though they were strangers when we started the trip, they all now occupy special places in my heart.


The day we flew into Newark was fabulous, and we troublemakers were ready to obnoxiously comb the city. After we got to the hotel and put our stuff in our rooms, we put on our protest gear and hit the streets. Throughout the entire four days, Michael wore a bright yellow tarp that, on both sides, read "Fascists repent." This slogan caught on quickly, and we saw signs popping up all over town that demanded the same. I won't say that Michael - a long-haired, sandal-wearing hippie type - didn't more than slightly resemble one of those drooling homeless guys you see roaming the streets of New York with a crazed look in their eyes and conversations for one. But he certainly grabbed lots of attention, including the notice of the Jay Leno Show just three hours after we arrived.

Some goombah from The Sopranos and that gay intern freak were standing on the street behind Madison Square Garden looking for unsuspecting protestors to make fools of for that night's show. We walked by and were almost a block away when I heard, "Hey, get that fascists repent guy. Get that fascists repent guy." One of the camera guys ran up to us and asked Michael to be on the show. That was the last thing Michael wanted, he said, but 30 seconds of peer pressure was all it took for him to sign the release form.

The two tried their hardest to make Michael trip up, to inflame his emotions, to make him look a fool. They even pulled two delegates walking by into the mix in an attempt to come away with something televisionworthy. Their attempts failed. Michael was articulate and kept his cool. Needless to say, the footage likely never made it to the small screen.

Rallies and protests

I hadn't been to NYC for a little more than a year, but I stuck to my purpose for being there and didn't wander off to any of my favorite museums, galleries or clubs while I was there. Except for a matinee viewing of "Avenue Q" and a few meals at some of my favorite restaurants in the city, my cohorts and I were diligent in our quest - our quest to protest. This meant that we had to be on our feet for about 16 hours a day while we attended protest after protest and rally after rally. Coincidentally, however, the rallys and protests were held throughout Manhattan, so we had a chance to see a lot of the city in the process.

- more to come -

Roommates No More!

That's it. I'm out. After this month, no more roommates. No more dogs. No more cats. No more piles of dirty dishes in the sink and clothes left in the dryer and bad decor and self-righteous attitudes and notes found taped to my bedroom door imploring - commanding! - that I clean the bathroom by such and such a day, or else!

April 1 will be my first night spent in my new apartment, a tiny little place just big enough for me and my meager belongings. A space in which I can cook fabulous meals (even if just for one), write that book I've always wanted to write and learn how to play my electric guitar, one I bought six months ago in an attempt to cheer myself while snared in the clutches of a sociopathic former boss.

My new apartment is tiny but cute. It's a little efficiency built on the back of a house close to downtown and within walking distance of my favorite coffee shop, one that sits near a lake infested with a certain type of duck people see as more of a parasite than a feathered creature drawn to water. This place marginally reminds me of an apartment I rented long ago. Unlike that place, though, this one has a front door that shuts AND locks, central heat and air and a proper kitchen instead of a strip of space separating the living area from the sleeping area that just happens to contain a stove and sink. And in this place, my refrigerator (a new one!) is in the kitchen where it belongs - not in the living room.

My first night there will be joyous. I think I'll crank up some Amon Tobin, cook a lovely dinner in my underwear, walk around naked, watch a little "Daily Show" then noisily masturbate before I drift off to sleep. What more could a girl want? Ah, the good life in amerikkka.