Musings and Mirth
If you’ve been following Ree’s career as long as I have you might be dazzled, as I have, at her meteoric rise to success from blogger to big time blogger to book author to TV show host and now, no doubt, to million dollar enterprise a la Paula Deen, Rachel Ray, and The Barefoot Contessa. Anyone who watches these shows knows that you don’t watch them for the food and cookin and recipes – you watch them for the lifestyle the host is pushing. The same formula that draws millions of viewers to Ree’s blog every day is the same thing that will likely draw them to her TV show on the Food Network. But watch out, you might find yourself yearning to be one of those Stepford Wives, you know, an eager to please robotica?
Sometimes a man…
Sometimes the beauty of life…
I don’t have a story to tell because all I did was turn on the television and call my best friend. My daughter Emma asked me where we were saying her best friend’s mom was flying around Boston that day and just missed the flight that crashed into the first tower. I only remember it for what I didn’t know. I didn’t know that it was a terrorist act. I didn’t know that Osama Bin Laden was that real. I didn’t know that “they” hated us. I didn’t know what we did to make them hate us. I didn’t know that the towers would fall. I didn’t know that people would jump out of the windows to keep from burning or dying from smoke inhalation. I didn’t know that the firefighters would rush in just before the towers fell. I didn’t know there would be two planes to hit the towers. I didn’t know it could be so easy to execute such an elegant, well planned, unavoidable attack on American soil. I didn’t know that it would be used to justify two wars that are mostly still ongoing.
What could I tell my daughter about that day? How could I tell her that those two wars ended up killing over six thousand more American soldiers.
Operation Iraqi Freedom: 4,442
Operation Enduring Freedom: 1,584
These deaths, I have to tell her, had nothing to do with 9/11 except in the way that it made us all so afraid that we would do anything, accept anything. And then finally, I’d have to tell her that it wasn’t about us that day: it never should have been. It was only about those who died. It was about them and it should always be about them.
And yeah, it changed everything. My heart still breaks for the victims. And the anger at our government for what we did after that, even though the world maybe feels slightly safer without Saddam Hussein, still resonates. But it’s not about me. It never was.
My 13 year-old daughter indulges my strange movie-watching habits. For instance, I almost always choose a movie I’ve seen and liked over one I’ve never seen. And I often watch the same movie over and over again until I know all of the dialogue. One such film of these is The Edge. It’s written by David Mamet and stars Alec Baldwin and Anthony Hopkins. Every line of dialogue in this thing is brilliant. It’s hard to pick my favorite scene because they’re all good. I even like the cheesy death-by-bear scenes. But when Hopkins and Baldwin speak to each other that’s when it is at its absolute best.
Like this whole bit:
And this….you just have to excuse the bearskin outfits.
Whenever The Edge is on TV I almost always watch it, which means I’ve seen it at least 20 or 30 times. My daughter Emma has also now seen it several times and can quote lines of dialogue from it, “never feel sorry for a man who owns a plane.” And “What one man can do another can do.” I try to impart upon her the importance of great dialogue. I am hoping she learns to love Mamet as I do, even if he became a conservative.
God, man. I never stop loving this dude. Thing is, even when his songs are cheesy, and they often are, they are still amazing. He is best performing live – he goes into the zone. Here is one youtube of Wavelength. Oh Van.
If it doesn’t say everything about Los Angeles and urban Americans that there was city-wide panic in the streets about this supposed carmageddon. Since it turned out to be nothing spectacular in either direction, that is the news story: nothing happened. It was Y2K all over again and it makes you wonder what we’d all do if there was ever a realized catastrophe (be careful what you wish for, I know). What struck me about it was that it was only two days of the 405 (or as we like to call it, the 4-oh-five miles per hour) being shut down – they were on a weekend. The 405 is rarely jammed on the weekend anyway. Try shutting it down during the work week for more than two days – then you’d see people lose their minds. But two measly days? Saturday and Sunday? Really media?
What happened was that it got quiet. Really quiet. Too quiet. It was peaceful. There were no cars on the freeways. Can you imagine the revolutions and evolutions in the biology in and around the freeways on those days? Can you imagine how clean the air must have been?
It was yet one more reason not to trust the chattering media — radio, television, print – they all created unnecessary widespread panic. Even if the reason it was so quiet and calm was in direct response to their hysteria it does give one pause, makes one distrust – the way you would if you saw someone you thought you knew have a crazy person meltdown in front of you.
You would maybe continue to know them but it would never be the same.
And so it was with watching the impossible — empty freeways — that it seemed, for a brief moment, that this wasn’t a city where people stayed in their cars. LA can get to you after a while because it is so unwelcoming. New York City, for all of its imperfections, is a city for people to interact — not in a friendly way, particularly, but still – you are on a subway, on a sidewalk, in a store and everywhere there are other people. Here in LA it’s possible to go a whole day with no personal contact at all. You can go in your car somewhere, windows rolled up, air conditioner on – and then back to your place where you plugin and interact online – a virtual community suits LAers.
The day no one could ride the 405 forced people to think about how they spent their time. Some went to the Farmer’s Market, some just took a walk down the street. Some just thought about it: where can I go without using my car? See, it wasn’t just about staying off the 405, it was about not crowding the streets and alternate routes – either way, we were all forced to think about this. So, for two days it worked. Not designed to last, though nothing is.
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