Rachael Ray's scarf denied prestigious Fulbright grant... or First they came for my Venti Mochaccino

The path to cheap latte and a French Cruller is paved with virulent xenophobia. As my loyal readers know, I have used this space previously to voice my disgust with the shameless xenophobia of recent Dunkin' Donuts ads. At the time, I had been unaware of the flexible immigration policies practiced by Dunkin Donuts, nor had I visited the local Dunkin Donuts franchise which was run -- shockingly enough -- by a South Asian family (again taking jobs from merit-worthy Appalachian voters!).

I suppose, bowing to the pressure I had leveled on the D-squared breakfast juggernaut, they decided to show a more cosmopolitan face in their new ads -- and what could be more cosmopolitan than Rachael Ray, in a scarf!

However, some shrewd guardians of the American lifestyle, those who had lectured us on the slippery slope of introducing Fritalian into our coffee lexicon, noticed something menacingly awry in Rachael Ray's sartorial preferences (yeah, blame the stylist -- we're not listening!) in the new spot. What's next? -- they challenged us -- Would you like your global jihad in Deici or Venti?

Yes, they noticed that behind that innocent paisley pattern, lay the sweaty, swarthy hands of the Persian Puppetmaster:
"The pattern is still widely popular in Iran. It is woven using gold or silver threads on silk or other high quality textiles for gifts, for weddings and special occasions. In Iran its use goes beyond clothing - paintings, jewelry, frescoes, curtains, tablecloths, quilts, carpets, garden landscaping, and pottery also sport the buta design."
Some, though, have suggested that the black-and-white scarf pattern is not paisley at all, but rather... a Kaffiyeh...

This insidious piece of cloth, also known as the "Palestinian newsboy," as we all know, can mean anything from, "I am a Palestinian (or other Arab nationality) male" to "I am a naive and self-indulgent French teenager trying to figure out why I'm the only one of my friends who hasn't gotten laid yet." And so it was that, under pressure from alert US citizens who have led an admirable crusade against both French and Arabs alike over the past several years, Dunkin Donuts finally returned to its old ways of bashing on all things that appear foreign -- with the exception, of course, of its own latte.

Not content, however, to see Rachael Ray's accoutrement silenced, the US Department of State, amalgamating the black-and-white paisley patterned foulard with the Palestinian kaffiyeh, chose to deny the Fulbright Grant it had previously offered the scarf to complete graduate work in the United States. Although the State Department refused to shed light on any specific threat posed by the kaffiyeh-like item of apparel, they pointed to Israeli model Moran Atias' choice to exile all scarves from her own wardrobe as a model for their decision. While Ray's scarf has maintained its silence on this lost opportunity, an Israeli lawmaker has commented on the decision:
This could be interpreted as collective punishment[...] This policy is not in keeping with international standards or with the moral standards of Jews, who have been subjected to the deprivation of higher education in the past. Even in war, there are rules.
This is why, in addition to maintaining my call for a boycott of You Don't Mess with the Zohan for re-invigorating the "suspect Arab" discourse within American cinema, I would like to declare June 21 "A Day Without Scarves" as a reminder that by punishing scarves for the actions of a few extremists, we just end up punishing ourselves.

What upsets me most, though, about the dual decisions of the State Department and Dunkin' Donuts, however, is their crass violation of the golden rule: Fifty million Frenchmen can't be wrong!

Now, everybody knows, when it comes to hating Arabs, the French are in a whole other league! While, here in the U.S., we have been hating Arabs off-and-on for a maximum of maybe 60 years, the French have finely tuned Arab hatred over nearly 200 years. Seriously, these guys were interning and torturing Arabs long before your average American could begin confusing Guantanamo with Guantanamera!

So why is it that the kaffiyeh is as popular among French trendsetters and youths as Cheap Trick in Japan? Based on my own unscientific and informal field surveys, more French (of non-Arab origin) youths in the all important 18-24 demo wear kaffiyehs than Palestinians. But don't trust me, see for yourself:

This is a country that tells Arab women what they can wear to school, and yet the only subject for debate among the French over wearing the kaffiyeh is whether its current standing as a fashion accessory dilutes its powerful symbolism of solidarity with the Palestinian cause.

One can only come to the conclusion that wearing the kaffiyeh is 100% compatible with defeating Islamofascism! 'Nuff said.

Lactose Intolerant

Monkey, after reading your last post, I thought you should see this comic strip.

You're last post confused me quite a bit, and seemed to contain at best a 1:5 ratio of information to words. In fact, I think you might be keeping poor company, after all. For your story held for me a rambling incoherence not dissimilar from this Babyshambles song:

In any case, I finally have been able to take a breather from Cooties Camp. Not only have I missed blogging, but I had to digest your last two posts all at once. Of course, this is only a momentary respite, as we have quite big weekend plans for the boys. Tomorrow we're heading up to the 'burbs to take them to the Kohl Children's Museum, where they will be challenged to not touch anything despite whatever encouragements they might receive from museum staff.

Then, the real test will come on Sunday, when we take them to the Shedd Aquarium,where, not only will they have to avoid touching starfish, but we will provide them with repeated tales that dissuade them from any draw the sea or its various creatures may have upon their impressionable young minds.

To wrap up our camp, we have planned out an evening full of surprises for our adepts of "the Cootie-free life"

I'll let you know how things go once it's all wrapped up.

Meanwhile, the faculty lounge has provided some interesting conversations. I just learned that one of my fellow faculty mentors was holding a workshop on "Unlearning Grey's Anatomy" At the end of a busy day, when we all gathered round to bang the drum a little bit, I asked one of his pupils what he learned in that workshop. All he could do was keep repeating "Isaiah Washington was right." My colleague later explained to me, "These boys' mothers watch a lot of Grey's. Sometimes I worry, that if they don't keep repeating it, these kids may start to grow breasts."

I'm like, "Dude! Haven't you heard of the SciFi Network?"

No Milch Today

Verdammten Schnitzel!!!!!!! Can I not even hier excape that bastard, Chris Noth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Like Pete's Katie, teh so-called Mr. Big follows me through every frickin' press juncket in the Hapsburg Empire -- and he's not even on the efrickin' Continent!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!L It's worese now, bescasuse aeverybody is fawining all over his "life-partner" and little 5-month-old spawn!

And now, it's all I can do to keep my schnitzel together, what with not having slept but 6 hours over teh past five days!!!! Everything is like in a dream. Even my dreams are like dreams. LIke I'mm dreaming my dreams and not living them, like it s all verwirrungt, you know what I mean?

I have been talking more frequently with Jenny, recently. We have talked about having to learn what to do when you're dreams crash upon the shores. She tels me that before ending up doling out pickles and Grey Goose in the Schatz im Freud, she was a pirate. I thought about how you would repsone in a similar situation, and I asked her fi she was acutally like an "Old School" pirate, or one of the kind of pirates that sink French yachts. She tells me neither, that she used to film US blockbusters and package them for illegal sale in wet streets behind butchershops spattered with sawdusts and under bridges outside tawdry Hungarian spas.

"What mad eyou change your lief?" I asked her.

She told me there wasn't no change, but that she had bmet a guy, who had dreams of his own and led her here to Vienna, and that she guessed we all follow our dreams sometime, until they come crashing down agaisnt the rocky shores of the New Europeean reality, where one day, every movie will be a Dogma film, and pickles wil cost an extrra 10 kronigs with your drikns. I told her, "but, Jenny, there isn't such a thing as a Kronig" and she tells me, "That's what I mean, Monkey, and soon we'll all be pirates, won't we."

And I had the impression that she had said something very deep right then. I didn't know what about it was so deep, but its obvious conclusiveness gave me the impressions that I should have leaned in and kissed her right then, and maybe I would have, if it hadn't been for teh fact that she was Pete's girl now, and then there was Heidi.

Yes, there was Heidi. But where was Heidi, now? I thought. Jenny and I sulkily strolled among the Kokoschkas at the Albertina, reflecting upon our own confused identities, the careful and remarkable precision of the contours of our alienation, our own exiles from our feelings, from our dreams, and the vast borderless landscape in which we were swimming like the gold flakes in a bottle of Goldschlager.

Meanwhile, Heidi was getting made up by Irina (returned from her shoot) to attend the FM4 opening gala for the 8 Festival for Fashion and Photography. Irina had come back, wheich was a good thing, since Jenny was too knew to be indulgent, and Pete needed a helping hand to hold in case Kate would be on the town somewhere with all the hubbub over the festival. Heidi also needed Irina -- I guess, in that sense, we all needed Irina -- in order to know how to conduct hereself and hobnob with the various designers and artists whose eye she hope dto catch, in order to have the promise of something greateer than the rolling hills of Kitzbuhel and the drip of milk from a cow's udder. Perhaps I couldn't promise her that more. Perhaps that's why you've never sought to console or gain pardon from Dagmar -- bugt I'm not trying toi ciriticize you, now, Jew. That is n ot my purpose. The task at hand, now, is to telll my story:

Jenny went off to work as did I, and it must have been 4 in the morning, still dark at least and my head only vaguely weary, that Pete and Irina and Heidi stumbled past the desk toward the elevator bay. Pete jerked still of a sudden, which resulted of Irina and Heidi tumbling to either side of them, so had he been their balance. He turned aroudn and approached me.

"Almost forgot this, Mate," he told me, as he reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out something brown and sticky, rolled several times in plastic wrap until its form had become unrecognizable. "Saved you a spot of Sachertorte -- he said. Thought you could yoose it, y'know, pick you up a bit, i'n'it?"

"Thanks Pete," I said, lifting up the mushy chocolate treeat as if I were toasting him, like men do amongst themselves, as if hiding their feelings behind mannish rituals -- but who were we, Pete and I to hide our feelinngs. I almost felt like we were mates. "G'night now"

My words followed him as he reached out his arms and conducted Heidi and Irina to the elevators.

I unrolled the Sachertorte adn didn't even notice how messy and sticky my fingers became as I filled my mouth with it morsel by creamhy morsel.

The call came a couple of hours later, as a pale violet glow illuminated the pavement out front.

"Konig von Ungarn, Gruss Gott!"

It was Dagmar. "Monkey, is that you? What are you doing?"

I told her I was the NIght Porter, for whatever that would mean to her. Anyway, she urgenlty needed to speak with Heidi, she told me.

I tried the room. Pete answered on the fifth ring, but not altogether out of it.

"Yeah, Monkey that you?" Cough Cough, then I heard the gagging. It must have lasted several seconds before someone else grabbed the phone. No luck, it was Irina this time.

"Can you get Heidi on? Her sister needs to talk with her and quickly!" There was a brief pause, the sound of Irina's palm covering the receiver. She was laconic upoon returning to the phone.
"Yeah," she said. The phone dropped and echoed against the Biedermeier mahogany surface of the six-drawer dresser of the Konig von Ungarn.

For some moments, all I heard were petulant cries that filled the luxurious air. "Get away from me... I can 'andle it meself..." It continued, but then a breeze swilred against the receiver and Heidi picked up. I told her it was Dagmar, and patched her through to her sister.

Some time later, I was polishing off my chocolate fingerprints fromthe phone at the front desk, and Klaus came to relieve me of my duties. I hadn't exactly remained awake the rest of the shift, but my mind recognized a certain low level of concern over the reason for Dagmar's unexpected call at the crack of dawn. That left me inquisitive and worried engouh to keep my eyes heavy but open.

The stench of puke greeted me as I got off on our floor. I could tell whey as I prgressed along the hallway. In front of Pete's suite someone had set out a room service trey with four flutes of champagne (I recognized them from the night before) a couple of empy platters, and the silver ice bucket full of thin, gruelly vomit, whose faint chocolate aroma was overwhelmed with the overbeering nastiness of bile. Goddamm Pete and his Sachertorte I though momentarily, my own stomahc heaving, but, I suppose my muscles were too weary to stir a more violent reaction to the grotesque still life. I paced further down the hall to collect my thoughts, then returned past the doorway, and finally reached the courtesy phohne by the elevator.

"Klaus," I said, "send someone up to clean the Doherty suite, bitte."

It was nearing noon, that Pete, Die Presse in hand, slipped into the koffeehaus where I had stationed myself, wearily poring over the faux marble surface of the table and sipping black tea loaded with kandizucker and cream to keep from sinking into sleep. As he order strudels, he caught me out of the corner of his eye.

Pete grabbed the strudels when they were all in the bag, and pushed his 100 euro note to the baker -- "You keep it, luv," was his charming admonition. His gaunt form held me in its shadow for a moment, then he leant down and wrapped his arm around my shoulders. "Monkey! Wotcha doin' 'ere?" Then it stopped, he pulled back and took a strudel out of the bag and placed it on the table in front of the teapot.

I restrained myself from shoving the strudel right back into his pasty face. Instead, I asked calmly, "What was that about, the call earlier?"

"Dunno, mate," Pete said, "you'll 'ave to asker yoursewf."

I settled up for the tea and followed Pete out the door. When we got back to the suite, the tray was gone, and the stench had subsided. Walking through the doorway, though, was like a journey once more into the night. the shades were drawn and little light penetrated beyond the three inches of carpet underneath the luxurious, cream satin curtains of the Konig von Ungarn. Heidi, when I found her, was rolled up in Pete's Union Jack with Irina's head nuzzled into her armpit. Her other arm lay at a right angle with spread fingers snug among the rich, silky threads of the thick carpetting of the Konig von Ungarn.

I knelt down and raised her chin slightly, caressing her golden locks with my free hand. I must've sat over her for at least a quarter hour before her breath became more pronounced and her lips parted with a muted cough.

Later... over a strudel and some viennese coffe taht I had Klaus send up, Heidi explained to me what was happening.

"There's a Milk Boycott on throughout Europe! Dagmar doesn't know what to do with out me. Sunday's World Milk Day, and she wante sto know whehter we deliver or not. I have to be there for her. Monkey, I have to go back tot Kitzbuhel, tomorrow!"

Pete was sitting in the lotus position watching CNN-Europe while Irina was still putting on her face in the bathroom.

"Pete," I said, "Let me see your paper."

Heidi and I spread out Die Presse on the table and there we saw the confirmation of what Dagmar had said.

So... it was a MILK WAR!


You've got your Kokoschka in my Wittgenstein! No, you've got your Wittgenstein in my Kokoschka!

Wir sooooo tired... all of us! What kann ich say, Jew, but that we'ver bin all micsed up with everything's that's gone on in the past few days... I'm sooo tired. It's like everything's suddenly turned schnitzel!

And, now I log in to give ou an update, and I find that you're away at some kind of Cootie symposium... Whos'e going to hear my complaints about how tragic life is without you areound?

But, I will proceed, because I have to get this all off my chest. But I must be quick about it, because I start work in two hours. I haven't slept in days. Yes, I finally came throug with that job as Night Porter at the Konig Von Ungarn. I think everything started going schnitzel when we wpke up in Petee's suite on Sunday morning after our huge Sachertorte binge and watching Carl Barat get mutilatted at the Hans of Austrian thugs. I don't know what ahppend but the four of us -- Heidi, Pete, Jenny (the waitress from the Schatz im Freud), and Yours Truly -- were all lying there naked, pased out, covered up by Pete's Union Jack! The wurst part of it is, I have no recollection of that night afetr Room Service brought up the two Magnums of Perrier Jouet, green apple mentos, and a plate of roast pig.

I wiped the sleepfrom my eeys and dashed to the bathroom -- suddenly the urge overcame me to dry heave into the bidet. Fortunately the thick towel s at the Konig von Ungarn helped me to wipe up the clear bile creeping down the wall sof the procelaine, like rivulets of tokaj down the sides of a wineglass. I stood at the meear, balefully looking at my drawn face -- barely recognizing the soullessness of my gaze, when Pete slams into me, knocking me bback in to the doorknob -- I hadn't shut the door behind me, so great was the urge to puke uout what remained of my guts. I took the seafoam ceramic knob full on in the kidney and doubled over in pain. Mwanwhile, Pete dumped his face in the toilet and his body convulsed violently as he emptied the night's dark memories into the renovated plumbing of the luxurious Konig von Ungarn. I regained my composure enough to reach out a fresh white towel to him, which he promptly wrapped around his dripping pasty head. Then, without saying a word, he stumbled over me and out into the room. I tried to santd up and follow him out, but the blood rushed from my head, and I passed uout.

ich later woke up undeer the placid blue gaze of Heidi, whose hand was stroking my stubbled chin. Her lips bore the marks os worry, chaffed sink peeling back like birch bark and the dried, yellowed leaves of a long neglected volume of Morike. The peace vanishe d abruptly, intruded upon by the cacophony of broken glass and the atonal thud of antiquated ornaments dropping on the luxurious plush carpeting of the Konig von Ungarn. I made my way back on my feet with the assistance of Heidi, and saw throught the fog of returnign consciousness, first Jenny cowerred in a corner, hands over her face and blong tressess spilling over her spread fingers. Then a blur of movement first revealed to me the origins of the noise: Pete had lifted one of the bed lamps from its credenza and was swinging it wildly, as if blingeded by some animal rage.

It appeared, if I udderstood correctly the story that Heid i related to me after we had subdued Pete with a mouthful of Sachertorte, that Pete had gone out to ick up some strudels for our breakfast and get his copy of Die Presse from teh newstand (as is the irrigtaging habit of these luxury European hotels like the Konig von Ungarn and Intercontinental blah blah ablah, to only offer copies of teh Herald-Tribune in the lobby) when he saw the cover of the Kurier's Freizeit supplement.... Kate Moss, and practically in her Geburtstag suit!!!!!!!Ll!!!!!!!!!!

He seriously threw an apoplectic schnitzel fit wehn he saw that! He couldn't stand seeing her, just a year ago, a warm, disintegrating presence in his arms, his muse, gracing now the cover of a popular Austrian newsweekly and in the full flush of Albion good health. I mean, how was he supposed to make his daily visit to the newsstand anymore when she would be there, reminding him of every fcuk-up he had ever made since fame had preyed up on his talent?

"Bloody 'ell," he later told us, as I swept up the shards of his tantrum, and Heidi held him tight against her bosom to calm him, "she were like my Sachertorte, y'understand wot I'm sayin? Blimey, per'aps I loved her be'er than my Sachertorte, din't I?"

And I said to him, "Buck up, Petey! Yu remember what happend to Carl, last night? Seriously it could be worse."

Somehow, he wasn't comforted by my tought love. So, at that point, I ddecided to do what every right-thinkinng man does in those circumstances. I walked him down to the sauna. And tehre we were, sharing the sight of our bare chests, our dignity maintained only by the thick, cream-colored towels, monogrammed with the letters KvU for Konig von Ungarn that were wrapped around our wastes. We sat against the hard woodd in silence, feeling the toxins evacuating our bodies through every one of our pores.

When we got back to the suite, some sense of order had been restored. The earthy instincts of womeanhood had regained the upperhand and Jenny and Heidi moved blithely the lenght of the kitchenette, like two kids discovering the joys of the movign walkways in the airport, crossing paths, going opposite directions. They were preparing the ultimatein comfort foods: Palatschinken filled with pork butter. They had filled the ice box with Zipfers, and I tossed one to Pete and popped one open for myselt, the beer went down cool and repalced all the liquid we had sweated out in the sauna.

As the Palatschinken sizzled in the pans, the phone rand. I answered.

"Herr Doherty?"

"No, this is Herr Monkey, would you like to speak to Herr Doherty?"

"Ach so," the voice continued, "You're the one I was looking for, Herr Monkey. This is Klaus from the executivatsburo, I wanted to let you know that you hat the job. Kann you start tomorow?"

I looked anxiously over at Heidi, but without consulting her, I decided to go ahead. It's what Pete needed from us, after all, a little bit of support.

"OK, be there at midnight promptely!"

I didn't know how hard that would happend to have to work out with our plans...

Ten minutes later, we wree literally snorting down teh palatschinken, and Jenny had opened up one of those magazines for women. Maybe it wasn't the best subject to be talking about aftyer wheat hasd happended earlier, and maybe tjust talking about it in front of Pete could only lead to trouble.

"Hmm..." Jenny started and turned the magazine around so we could see the announcment, "Fashion and Photography? Anybody interested?"

I guess that's when I should've known that things were gonna turn schnitzel... and how!

But for now, I gotta get my uniform on and maybe shave... you know, work.


Bryan Adams keeps his promises

As with anytime when I anticipate an absence, I like to leave you with some thoughts from our greatest living Troubador. My knees are like jello; I hope you feel the same.

Travel Plans

I am leaving in some hours for Chicago, where I will take part in the week-long, "Annual Cootie Camp for Gifted Boys." If you're unfamiliar with the camp, it is a really special opportunity for gifted, inner city kids to learn how to avoid cooties. I will be there in my capacity of "faculty mentor." I will be guiding the kids through a workshop entitled "The Right Kind of Weird." Using my tested methodologies, the children participating in the workshop will learn techniques to avoid cooties such as endless dandruff, back-pimple picking in class, what to bring to lunch, and which type of marker to use when drawing on hands and arms.

I've been doing this with my summers going on several years, now, and I have to say, sometimes I feel like they're the teachers and I'm the student.

But with service comes sacrifice: I am not sure how much time I will be able to devote to the blog each day. Hopefully, Monkey will pick up some of the slack with more of his fascinating updates from Vienna.

Perplexing Information

Eugene Robinson delivers some startling news with his latest Washington Post column:
Clinton has poured more than $11 million of her own money into the campaign, with no guarantee of ever getting it back. She has changed slogans and themes the way Obama changes his ties. She has been the first major-party presidential candidate in memory to tout her appeal to white voters. She has abandoned any pretense of consistency, inventing new rationales for continuing her candidacy and new yardsticks for measuring its success whenever the old rationales and yardsticks begin to favor Obama. [Emphasis added]
I am a bit at a loss here. I did not realize that Senator Obama changed his ties with such frequency. First of all, I thought that Obama did not wear neckties. As a "wear the tie until I spill my ramen on it" kind of guy, I am a bit troubled to learn that Obama does not stick with only one necktie until it becomes stained. For the first time since this campaign started, I am wondering if that thing about the Kool-Aid might be true...


Sunday, Bloody Sunday

For those of you who are inclined to spend your Sunday watching television while pretending to read the Sunday New York Times, I've got good news for you... Apparently to make up for screening White Oleander, last night (I guess they figured all their viewers would be watching KG stencil S-P-A-L-D-I-N-G on Lindsey Hunter's head) my second favorite network is now having a special Fatal Sunday movie marathon. Apparently, the theme is intended to honor the decision of Hillary Clinton to continue her candidacy until Phyllis Shlafly gets an honorary doctorate (who knew?) and despite her pathology for consistently repeating statements that are not only patently false but easily disproven. I'm looking forward to watching the characters in this exciting series of movies use open-ended qualifiers and modalities such as "I find it curious" or "As far as I know" or "I don't know why" or "I'm just saying" or "Saturday Night Live/the AP said" in order to distance themselves from and avoid responsibility for lies, innuendos and vaguely inflammatory turns of phrases, generated by a narcissist's paranoia.

The lineup of excellent movies includes:

The Good Teacher: Fatal Lessons
Just when Samantha gets a grip on her battle with paranoia, she's plagued by prank phone calls, strange family illnesses and a home invasion. Could her daughter's "perfect" new teacher who she befriends be to blame for this hellish nightmare? Or has she just gone mad again with suspicions? Tune in to find out!
Fatal Reunion
Stay-at-home mom Jessica has no clue what to do when she suspects her husband is cheating. Rather than confront him, she turns to an old crush to soothe her jealous soul. But when Jessica tries ending this affair with her man on the side, he becomes a crazed stalker. Now whether she'll be able to save her marriage or her life is anybody's guess!
Her Fatal Flaw
If you think your dating life is hard, check out what happens to poor Laney! Talk about a love hangover: The nice guy this prominent attorney spent last night with winds up being the main suspect in the brutal murder of a Chicago city councilman. If that isn't bad enough, his only alibi is his one-night-stand with Laney. Watch what happens when this talented lawyer puts her career - and her heart - on the line.
Fatal Desire
When a divorced ex-cop meets a sexy, young, married woman in an online chat room, they begin a torrid love affair. As his new girlfriend convinces him that she is trapped in a dangerous and physically abusive marriage, he goes to great lengths to protect her from her violent husband. After he commits murder, he is shocked to learn that the woman of his dreams is not at all who she seems to be.
Fatal Trust
After the death of her husband, Kate moves in with her sister in a small rural community. She soon realizes that the doctor for whom she works is actually a psychotic killer who kills his elderly patients with snake venom. As she begins to unravel his secrets, she finds herself in as much danger as his patients.
From what I've read, only Fatal Desire is based on actual events, although all are plausible and speak pertinently to the dangers that lurk under what we consider rather banal, quotidian decisions. The crazy thing is, the last lawyer with whom I had a one-night stand actually did end up clearing me of a murder charge. It was her goddam daughter's Montessori teacher who killed the guy -- apparently using snake venom.

Speaking of one night stands with single mothers, for those of you who missed it last night, the Style network, which I didn't even know existed, is having an encore presentation of About a Boy today. Which, I find, withstands repetition miraculously. In fact, even if you did see it last night, I highly recommend watching it again, today. And tomorrow... and the day after tomorrow...

Interesting Facts for my Monkey

Yeah, ASM, I guess I've been a bit absent this weekend. For one thing, I'm trying to work on a couple of proposals for a conference, and then I guess I kind of got caught up reading upwards of 65,000 comments on blog postings about Hillary's infamous RFK reference. "I find it curious," but judging from what I've read, it seems Hitler has had a lasting influence on the modern Democratic Party, and that the specific social and political context of Weimar Germany is actually much broader than I had previously believed, such that various phenomena related to the rise of the Third Reich (enthusiastic college kids, for example) are actually quite applicable to today's political dynamics. Now, I knew that Jonah Goldberg was on that train, but I was surprised to find quite a number of blog readers riding shotgun.

While, I was at first concerned about the poll showing that over 25% of Democratic voters wouldn't support Obama in November, I realized from my readings that 90% of that 25% would spontaneously combust between June 3rd and the convention.

It's funny that you ran into Carl Barat, though. I was just thinking how one of the Dirty Pretty Things' songs would be appropriate as the new Clinton campaign theme:

A night at the Schatz im Freud

That's all I kan say. Wow.
Last night, Pete, heidi and I all went out to theis new club in the Pflugzeit quarter (maybe I misheard that when the concierge was giving me direections). It's calle d Schatz im Freud, which I'm told means something like "Darling in Freud" I doon't know who made that up, but it's kind of a weird name for a nightclub. Anyway, we walk in the door and all these old men with moustaches are dancing with ugly women and Pete turns to me and is like, "Wot's all this then, Monkey, you ta'in me to a gay club or sum'ing?"

And I'm like, "No, there's gotta be a reaoson awhy all these men are dancing with ugly women." and like Heidi seaz to me, "I'm not going to dance if only ugly women are dancing." I don't know why she said that 'cus the music was tight. They were bouncing out some Kraftwerk, some Gorillaz, some Gus Gus... you know, all that good stuff. And, it had theis really cool ambiance with like these blown up photos of Dr. Freud (did you know he was Austrian?) on the walls in like that pointillated newspaper photo kind of pop art look, and it was all lit by blacklight.

Anwyay, we got settled in to a plush corner booth and called over to the waitress, who was actually quite stunning, one of those stacked blondes, you know with like flowing goldern tresses -- she looked actually a lot like Heidi, but with less of an earth mother thing going on, if you know what I mean -- you remember? So it weren't five minutes had paassed she brought us over our plate of pickles and a magnum of Perrier-Jouet, like grand brut. Only the good stuff when you're with Pete, you know what I mean?

The pickles were so good, that we ordered more -- some of the mixed, with large chunks of cauliflower and sliced tomatoes. And I was scarfing down pickles and sipping the bubbly when this guy shows up from like out of the blue (except he was out of thee blacklight, get it?) and he putts hi s mitt on Heidi shoulder, like his fingers giving her a little squeeze -- which I thought was inappropriate. And he's like -- in English -- "How 'bout a dance, luv"

And I didn't think she was going to dance with him, because she already said she wouldn't dance if only ugley women were dancing, but then I guess a few more classic Viennese beauties had filed in wheile we were busy eating pickles -- you know that kind of rosy complexioned, gold-plated type women, with like patchwork dresses and dark flowing manes. It was hard to tell they were there at first, 'cus they really like blended into the backgroun.

Anyway, Heidi didn't get to tell this JAG Officer either way, 'cus all ova sudden, Pete looks up and is like, "Blimey, don' tell me you're here, Carl!"

Amd the guy with the greasy hair and indiscrete paws, that was Carl Barat of all people. And Carl's like "Forget it, Pete! YOu bloody aren't bloody here! I'm not seeing you. I'm goin' close my eyes and you shan't be 'ere when I open 'em, right?"

And, Pete was like, "You bloody bastard, I don' wanna see you anymore than you [I couldn't here the rest of what he said, 'cus it was like half-mumbled or I was out of it on a vinegar high]"

Anyway, Carl was like, "So wot you doin' 'ere in Vienna, you waster, you 'ere for the Sachertorte, eh?"

And Pete, he wasn't having any of theat, and he's like, "So wot if I am, Carl, what's it to you, I'm still sellin' more records with Babyshambles than you'll e'er sell with your bunch of wasters!"

Ans so , Carl is like, "You're done, Pete, you can't keep off the Sachertorte, noone's goin' be listening to you 'cus you'll be dead of a coronary!"

All of a sudden, there was like this major hush descended on the night club -- there was th tune "Fire Fire" pulsating in the background and then it was like not there. Dead silience.

Then some moustachioed guy with big eyes and a marichiono cherry sticking to his chin, like he had been slobbering Shirley Temples just a second ago, he calls out something in German that sounded like "KhuuuKhuuuTseiKhuuuTseiFeernuuvenleider" In essence, I ddin't quite catch it.

I turn to Heidi, and I say, "Baby what'd he say?" And she puts her ehand on my face with a look of profound understanding and tellls me, "Monkey, he said that he's never heard more shameful words spoken' and that Carl should getout of the club."

Then, some fello from the edge of the dance floor who had been freak dancing with a bony redhead just a second ago threw a banana at Carl. It didn't reach all the way, but I could tell taht Carl was upset that he'd had a banana thrown at him and he was like, "No, blimey, you Krauts don' understand... Pete's my mate."

And this burly fello with hot coals in the place of eyes and a gleaming skull belt buckle the size of a can of creamed spinach seemed to emerge practically from nowehere, but I suppose he was always lurking there in the netherwold of the black light he looks at CArl with eyes full of bile and sayz to him, something in German taht sounds like, "Neeandsprakhevonmordertodbleichemutter"

And I look at heidi again, who by now is becming quite exasperated with me like thinking, "where's all the german I taught you" but I'm like thinkgin "I can't think straight after plateful of pickles and all that cahmpagne." but she tells me something like the guy was upset about someone evoking death in the nightclub.

Anyway, next thing I knew, Carl was on the floor having like a wiggly worm, with a mob of unruly austrians kicking the crap out of him. At first, Pete's eyes were wide with horror, he's like, "Waiyt a minute, Monkey, that's my mate... wot do I do?"

And I'm like, "Pete, you know, there' s nothing to do. Best not to get involved."

I don't know, Jew, you may think ill of me, maybe, but I have to say that standing by and watching Carl Barat get teh crap beaten out of him after the way he put his mitts on my lady, it was like deep inside of me somewhere, the blood was moving anew and my heart was smiling. Nothing that I could admit to -- except to you of course, and to Heidi afterwards when we were, you know, talking about the weather... but it was really special experience. He deserved it that asshole.

Anwyay, we decided collectively -- Pete settled up with the waitress -- to split at that moment. I can't tell you how beautiful the boulevards of Vienna aer at night. We eneded up circling the Ringnstrasse a few times... It was good to get the fresh air, until the dogs started nipping at our heels. So we ducked into a cozy koffeehaus for some late night -- it must have been at least 2AM -- Sachertorte.

And then, of a sudden, I noticed something unusual. The waitress from the club was sitting next to Pete, her hand jealously clinging to his thigh. And I was like, "Pete, how'd she get here?"

And Pete's like "Mate, didn't ya notice, she been wit' us since the club?"

And I'm like "No."

The lamps of the koffeehaus danced wildly for a moment until they increased in intensity and the flames rose up from their glass houses so tall that they cast long shadows against the walls. I tried to peer through the shadows and out the windows, where I could hear the dogs barking but everything was blurred by condensation. The firelight intensified for a second. And then it all spun into darkness.

I woke up -- I don't know when -- in Heidi's soft embraced; I was slick with perspiration and curled up in a ball like I was her child and not her lover.

I don't know, I hope you're out there, Jew. I haven't heard from you... maybe you've been on some kind of raki bender to celebrate the ESS victory... maybe you've been like me, curled up in fear and sweat.


Eagles have landed

L'ESS has crushed those Moroccan losers from Dar Baida!!!
April 5: 0-1
April 22: 1-0
Twice Arab League champions in two successive years!
Highlights once available...

That's nice, Monkey

Thanks for the update, ASM. Glad to hear that you're having a good time over there. Don't get sick.

Gossip Girl: Erase/Rewind

That's right Upper East Siders, Constance Billard is out for the summer... and, what a year it's been! We've had a strike, offscreen romance, onscreen romance, more onscreen romance and at least 96 tears.

The season finale of Gossip Girl remained true to exquisite form. In one episode, the writers brought everything full circle. For any loyal readers out there -- those who may have read my first Gossip Girl post -- this more or less proves the solidity of my underlying analysis of what makes the show tick, and what makes it glorious entertainment:
The genius of Gossip Girl is not that it's about anticipating what's not going to happen, but rather hoping that things stay the same. The suspense of Gossip Girl rests on the ability of the characters to stay the same.
This "conundrum of stasis" and the underlying existential view of character that generates it, played out brilliantly in the season finale. Each character stretched the limits of what they believed themselves capable of, but, in the end, returned to their state of nature.

Dan experimented with lying to and manipulating Georgina. Nate punched his father again. Lilly slept with Rufus (at least, that's what we're led to believe based on their waking up in the same bed together -- the same, in fact, did not hold true for Dan and Georgina). Rufus learned how to put a bracelet on a woman's wrist. Serena cried at her mother's fifth wedding. Blair and Chuck flirted with the notion of a monogamous relationship. Vanessa was almost not annoying for the entire episode. Eric and Jenny were irrelevant.

But then, Dan decides he wants no more of the twisted, two-faced world of Sonia Rykiel Secrets, Roberto Cavalli revenge and Taste tit-for-tats. Nate takes some time to brood alone, attractively, again. Lilly says "Goodbye to all that jazz/alt-rock" and marries her a Bart Bass. Rufus smiles impotently as his dream of love rekindled falls flat like the sales of a Lincoln Hawk reissue. Serena cries when Dan breaks up with her. Blair intends to join the mile-high club (is that supposed to be capitalized?) with some george-hamilton-wannabe, while Chuck gets it on with yet another gullible and insipid, anorexic interior designer. Vanessa disappears, until she reappears. Eric remains jauntily irrelevant... Jenny -- hmm, what's going on with Jenny?

And so, at the end of the season, the old order is restored. Serena and Nate make nice on their vacay -- hinting at the possibility of one of the most boring onscreen romances ever. Blair and Chuck decide to embrace their character faults and desire for instant gratification, rather than to grow up. Dan and Vanessa restore their friendship within the confines of an "art school reject" bonhomie. Rufus is a rocker, revived, and takes his band on tour as -- of all clever references, the opening act for the Breeders. The Haves stick with the Haves, and the television Have-Nots stick with the Have-Nots. The writers push Reset, setting the viewers up for another go round of glossy envelope-pushing and lurid self-indulgent experimentation.

I can't wait until next season...

When I can only hope to see some resolution of the following issues:

Dan is rapidly becoming the most unbearable male protagonist on a television series. What is up with that? He tells Serena, "I didn't sleep with Georgina, but I might as well have" only seconds before her mother's wedding? Come on, kid, show some class. Dan demonstrates yet again how, for the under-20 set, Honesty is the lamest of all character flaws -- and the most sadistic.

Jenny is quickly becoming the most intriguing character on the show. What with her new fashion school contract (or whatever it was that they snuck in in the last minute of the show) with Blair's designing mom, she looks the most poised to attain substantive social ascension through the ranks of Constance Billard, but this time based upon image, not ability. In the way that her character plays on both image-based status and merit-based status, consistently represented through sartorial metaphors -- the stolen dress, the confusion of designer labels, the sewing machine -- Jenny plays upon the deep themes of the 19th century German romantic anti-hero.

The vanishing token asian: There she is in the upper right hand corner, almost hidden behind Jenny...

But that was from the pre-strike episodes. Then, token asian disappeared completely, until Desperately Seeking Serena, when the writers brought in a new token asian, the infamous Nelly Yuki, naturally musically adept and with a gift for standardized tests. Her one weakness? Obviously social awkwardness and "boy trouble." However, Nelly's reign as token Asian lasted only two episodes, through All About my Brother, and then she, too, was gone.

Here's my idea to remedy this issue for next season: Why not draw in a maturing tween viewership, who will have outgrown Suite Life of Zack and Cody by next Fall? Bring in Brenda Song's character, London Tipton, as a new girl at Constance Billard. In fact, spoiled hotel heiress, London Tipton would fit in quite well with the CB crowd, and could be a potential love interest for spoiled hotel heir, Chuck Bass. Makes you go hmm, doesn't it?

Finally, I have an issue with some of the commercials.
I was very alarmed by the message of the Clearasil ads that suggested that young women with clear complexions should go around aggressively and inappropriately touching people. I know that young women today are getting messages that often confuse pathological behavior with empowerment, but the message that rubbing your face up against every man you meet is confidence -- well, it's just deeply disturbing.

Also, the erratic behavior of the woman in the Secret ads who disrupted traffic and almost turned herself in to the police for a crime she didn't commit would have some of our easily influenced teenagers checked in to the behavioral health ward. Again, do we really want to promote this kind of self-destructive behavior for young women?
It's bad enough for the boys growing up under the influence of Axe ads...

Until then, anyone have recommendations for some good summer reading?


Fly Eagles, Fly

That's right! Tonight -- or a few hours from now, l'Entente Setif will face off against Widad Casablanca in Blida for the Final of the Arab Champions League. We're expecting a second straight coronation for our Black Eagles.

If you don't remember the first leg of the final, hosted by the Widad, highlights are below:

Do it again, l'Entente!

Vienna Calling

Gruss Gott, LIJ!!!! Wie gehts?

Things are going awesome here in Wien (that's what the folks here call it). I'm learning so much about this place, things in general and myself.
Did you know that there are about 2 million people in Vienna? They speak German, but they call themselves "Austrians." Who knew?

Anyway, Heidi, Pete and I (Irinia had to be on the runway in Belgrade) thought we'd clear our heads a little, and get a taste of the countryside in the city -- which Heidi says she misses a little: It's like her Sachertorte; she needs a dose every so often. So yesterday, we went to the petting zoo. That was so fun. I was surprised though, because there were so many pigs. I took this picture:

It's a bit small, but thats because they're baby pigs.

When we got back to the hotel, guess what we did... That's right, we enjoyed some creamy coffee and Sachertorte!

As they say here in Wien, "es war ausgezeichnett!"
Anyway, hope that I don't get sick in the next few daze, because all the doctors are going on strike! Obviously, they haven't figured out how to make these people responsible to market forces yet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

By the way, Jew, I was reading your post about winning over hard-working voters. didn't they already try that in Uganda? Don't know if that's really a good model for your guy, Obama.

Just sayin'...


Can't stop the music

There's this campaign ad that's been making the rounds of the popular blogs... and I had meant to post it up here, because I just love the catchy music they play in the background. So here it is:


The Appalachian Trail: Blame it on Apu

Some folks have been floating the idea of Bobby Jindal for McCain's Veep candidate. I say, bring it ON!

So, I was watching the boob tube the other night, and there was one of those typical, caviar-eating, latte-sipping, fey movie stars making fun of hard-working Americans by putting on the usual dumb hick accent. And it dawned on me: No wonder those folks are so bitter.
You can no longer make racist jokes on national television -- except during the Superbowl -- and yet, as far as backwoods whites are concerned, we're all still living the Simple Life. So a bunch of people who used to be able to openly indulge in racist jokes (That means you, barber in Prescott Valley), now find themselves the butt of crass stereotypes voiced in front of millions by some hoity, toity, holier-than-thou gay doctor types and millionaire heiresses. Meanwhile, even Arab Americans have their own show...

In fact, the only other ethnic group which is still fair play for public, light-hearted, inoffensive merriment are South-Asian Americans. I mean, just look at the lovable, hilarious Simpsons character Apu! As former colleagues have so aptly and often demonstrated to me, just say something in one of those melodic, Indian guy accents and I am rolling on the floor laughing. Use the same accent and say something about computers, and the milkshake will be bubbling out of my nose.

This realization gave me an idea for how Barack Obama could finally win over the coveted Hard-Working American demographic that's been so elusive -- G_d knows why -- during the primary campaign. Indeed, I believe that the only way that Senator Obama can channel white-working-class resentment into votes is by bashing South-Asian Americans.

First of all, everybody knows that Obama has an image of not being white, which is compounded by his being an elitist smarty pants. But just like the only way to win the war against the Iraqis is to fight the war against the even bigger assholes in Iran, all Obama needs to do to shake off his image problem is to bash the biggest non-white, elitist smarty pants in the country: Fareed Zakaria. It certainly helps that, in his writings, he has taken a clear stand against both Democracy and America. But who reads books anyway...

In addition, a lot of these hard-working Americans somehow lost all those jobs that the Clintons gave them during the 90s. Where did those jobs go? South-Asian Americans. Not only have I seen South-Asian Americans in every textile mill in South Carolina, but they are also stealing jobs in medicine, literature and right-wing punditry, that used to belong to hard-working white people. I mean, they're even smoking their pot and stealing their women. By pointing out this fact, Obama also opens up an opportunity to win back Latino voters by relieving them of the role of universal scapegoats.

This argument also ties in nicely with Democratic talking points about companies shipping jobs overseas. The proliferation of out-sourcing of call center jobs and, increasingly, white collar jobs to the Indian sub-continent reinforces the argument against Corporate America selling out US workers for lower wages. But, highlighting the South-Asian role in this perfidy touches on a visceral note that, I believe, will ring true with a certain universality. I envision a moment, where Obama takes the podium in Rustville, Ohio, and says:
"You know, I was trying to send an e-mail to my supporters the other day, and my Mac [BHO is totally not a PC guy] kept shutting down. So, Ohio, I got on the phone and called Mac support. This guy answered the phone with a funny accent. He was like 'Good day sir, I like cricket and Aishwarya Rai, my name is Craig, what can I help you with today?' And I think to myself, 'this is the same old game of calling yourself Craig, when your name is probably Rajesh.' This is the game John McCain plays when he calls tax cuts for the wealthy an economic recovery plan. America is tired of these games. Let's bring these jobs back to the real, hard-working Craigs of our heartland!"
OMFG, I can totally see Obama doing a perfect Indian accent (what else did he spend all that time in Indonesia for?) that will have the crowd just teary-eyed laughing in rueful recognition. And, I mean, we can all pretty much universally connect with having the tech support guy condescending to us with his technical advice. I mean who else besides me has just wanted to burst out like "I've already tried Ctrl+Alt+Delete like two times, and can you stop talking down to me just because Naveen Andrews plays an Iraqi on TV instead of a real Iraqi-American actor!"

Finally, Obama can do this with very little cost in popular vote totals. According to Census figures and growth projections, there are roughly 2 million South-Asian Americans. Their largest populations are concentrated in California, New York, New Jersey, Texas and Illinois. Four out of five of these states are already a lock to vote Democratic in November. Among the states with the fastest growth rate among South Asians -- Nevada, Georgia, Colorado, Washington, and Oregon -- what are 20,000 votes here and there? Hardly likely to be game-changing, right?

If Obama is shrewd, he can in fact play Indian Americans against Pakistani Americans, of whom 56 percent voted for Bush in 2000. He can talk about Hindu values corrupting heartland values, and assimilate Indian Americans with East Coast elites. If he wins back Pakistani voters, he can offset losses of Indian voters in Georgia, Texas and Washington, make gains in Minnesota and North Carolina, and get the Hard-Working American voters needed to win West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Of course, some of Obama's low level aides began hinting at this strategy in the early days of the campaign, when they called Hillary Clinton the Democratic Senator from Punjab. Still, Mr. "Holier than thou" reprimanded his aides and trashed the strategy. Well, Senator, I think it's time to reconsider...

Naturally, there are immediate consequences for the campaign that would be hard to tolerate. For example, Obama could potentially lose the endorsement of one of his most attractive and intelligent celebrity supporters. But, frankly, I only have room for one man-crush per campaign. And, in that case, I'd rather reserve it for the top of the ticket.

Others might say that this strategy risks forging a long-term, broad-based coalition for a governing progressive majority, that it sacrifices a rapidly growing segment of an increasingly multicultural society, all for the sake of pandering to a declining proportion of voters whose adherence to the Democratic Party's core values and progressive message is suspect. If this primary season has taught us anything, though, it is that it is far nobler to go down to defeat with the overwhelming support of white racists than to win elections and build a stronger party.


ASM, woa... I saw your post this morning, and I'm still reeling from information overload. I still don't think I can manage to compose a response -- so, instead, I'm going to try to communicate how I feel through song:

Monkey, come home...

Postcard from Vienna

Gruss Gott! Hey, LIJ, di dya miss me?
You'll never believe whats going on here! You see, Heidi and I -- yuups, she and Dagmar had a bit of a tiff recently -- decided to go to Vienna for the summer, you know, just get away from the countryside. She has also been looking for maybe some secretarial work or maybe a modeling gig. I don't knwo. I thiink she can do something. I have utmost confidence in her abilities.

Anyway, It's just amazing to be here. I might have a job a s a nIght porter. I just had an interveiew where we're staying at the Konig von Ungarn. It's a really nice historic hotel -- lots of character... we're crashing there for a while -- but that's not what you'll really go crazy about. Let me tell you, I bumped into Pete Doherty in the men's room of the Arena the other night -- about a week ago -- there waws this raucous group playing that calls themselves the Schwein Toten... I guess it's kind of like Toten Hosen, but in reverse and with pigs. My German's improved a lot, you know, with Heidi and all -- she just grows more beautiful every day. Something about her is very earthy and fertile, almost nurturing, but more sensual than like -- you know -- my mother. Anyway, the big news is that Pete and I were, like, washing our hands side-by-side and talking about how so few people really wash there hands after peeing.

Anyway, we found out that, other than impeccable hygiene, we've got a lot in common. So we hung through the rest of the concert, and I introduced him to Heidi, and he introduced me to Irina -- no, they're not back together, but just kind of comfortable -- you know how it is. Anyway, after we got out at I don't know, like 3:00 AM. Pete was like, "Y'knowwot mates, I coul' bloody well do me with some Sachertorte, right abouts now!" And, I'm like, "Funk soul brother, you said it!" Wow, that guy can really put away the Sachertorte... He is like a total Sachertorte fiend!!!!

Anyway, so we've been totally like crashing at his suite at the Konig von Ungarn. I'ts been really amazing... Or, as they say, here "Wunderbarr!" Anyway, Pete's really cool, like cooler than even in his songs -- I wish you could meet him.

Even when he's like really busy lining up gigs and such, he always stops his day for like he says "a spot of Sachertorte" in the afternoon, and invites me and Heidi. You won't recognize me for all the wate I've gained!!!!

Oh, that reminds me, it's not like Heidi and I are totally leeching, or anything. I mentioned the job prospect. Well, you know, Heidi really can sing, and, as you know, I've always been a bit of an organist myself. So we've made some good money on the streets recently, with the few polkas I know -- until the guys come around with the German shepherds to disperse us.

And I don't want to brag or anything. But the Euro is totally stronger than the dollar right now.

Anyway, I'll be checking in from time to time with news about how things are going with Pete and all them. If you still have Dagmar's number, you really should call here. I think that might change things. I know there's nothing you have to say -- like we al know it's over between you 2, but I think she needs someone familiar to talk with about her issues.

Yeah, so sorry for leaving you in the lurch for so long. I've seen you'be really been posting quite a bit without me. (I hope you didn't vomit the other night when you were drinking all that raki ;))

Okay, gotta go... Tchuss!


What I learned from watching Gossip Girl

The season finale is on in a couple of hours, and I have a fistful of notes from last week's episode as yet unpublished:

First off, is it just me, or was that the quickest resolution to a problem that begins: "I killed someone."

Did anyone else who watched the show think, OMG, Lisa Loeb has clearly not yet gotten a gig to dish in one of those VH1 Countdown shows? It's pretty sad when you're the opening act to a non-existent rock ensemble.

To stay on the subject of music, I learned that there is an absolutely needless cover of Cities in Dust making the rounds.

So, I think it became apparent, based upon Chuck's flippancy and Dan's self-centered dramatics, that girls mature more quickly than boyz. I've been told that before, but hadn't had concrete proof until this past week.

The corollary to that is that crying can get you anywhere with a boy. OMFG, did Georgina not have Dan wrapped around her little pinky finger by the end of the show!?!

Much of the drama could have been avoided if it hadn't been for the now apparent Van der Woodsen secretive nature. These ladies (and Eric) seem congenitally incapable of just sayin' what's up.

I have to admit to having some concerns about the naive turn that Penn Badgely's character has taken in the last couple of weeks. If you've got a character coming from the wrong side of the tracks, he's usually supposed to be a canny kid who will only sell out his values from necessity and not out of kindness. The kid from the wrong side of the tracks is supposed to be a tough, who can detect phoniness. And indeed, second-generation rocker Dan began his trail through the glitzy world of the Upper East Side and into Serena's heart by talking truth to the smart set. However, perhaps to contrast his grit with Vanessa's authenticity, he has become increasingly the ingenu, beseiged by a world that is beyond him. The final kiss with Georgina seemed, in this context, utterly gratuitous, and strayed from the fundamental essence of Dan...
Whatever the case, if I'm Serena, I ain't takin' him back. Let him wait until he gets to Dartmouth for his next serious girlfriend.

Anyway, I think this weakness oddly enough reinforces the fundamental nature and, thus, the success of the show, that it is driven by an essentialist understanding of human nature and character rather than an existential one. The characters are in a constant struggle to maintain their identity, and find themselves constantly re-asserting themselves in an effort to achieve an equilibrium within their actions.

I must admit though to a strange, pimentoed nostalgia upon watching the past few episodes. There were times where the dialogue among Rufus and his brood came very close... but never close enough to replicating the brilliant repartee of Rory and Lorelai... and I thought, "The Gilmore Girls, now that was a show!"

Ah, I see it's time to get the popcorn a poppin' for the big finale! BRB...

Until then, I leave you with the exciting behind-the-scenes revelation of the week.