Monday, February 25, 2008

More Austin Love

This is Barton Springs Pool. It was blessed by Tibetan monks for being a peaceful and beautiful place. I felt renewed when I swam in it yesterday. Life is good.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Greetings from Austin

Where burritos are so plentiful, people drop them in the grass. Ann Arbor, the only thing you find dropped in the street is winterwear. I really really want to move back here, but how to live here and teach at U of M? My cabbie from the airport said it best: "have two homes!!!" Now if only I can find a million dollars in the grass so I can make that happen.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


From BBC news: "Palestinians 'may declare state'." Let's go. Unilateral declaration. It's about fucking time.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Question of the Day

So, I'm doing an independent study here with some badass women, and we've been reading lots of anthologies by Arabs (most of which appear to be by or about or for women). We spend probably half an hour each session bitching about our families'/community's/culture's preoccupation with size and weight and body image...and I wondered out loud, "Why isn't there an anthology that compiles bitchfests from Arab women - and men, I know y'all deal with this bullshit too- about the body?"

Monday, February 18, 2008

The oldest person in the world is a Palestinian Sitto

From the BBC:
"Yes, I am the oldest person in the world," she says, her family crowding around her.
"I eat, I drink, and I take showers. I hope to keep going for another 10 years."

Mrs Amash has 10 children, 120 grandchildren, 250 great-grandchildren, and 30 great-great-grandchildren, according to relatives.

The discovery that she may be the oldest person in the world came by chance when she applied for a new Israeli identity card.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Post-V Day Post

Yay!!!! "A federal appeals court has overturned a Texas statute outlawing sales of sex toys, essentially leaving Alabama as the only state with such a ban." I remember the days we Austin girls had to pretend we were buying toys for educational reasons. We'd stop at Forbidden Fruit after a drunken night at Emo's and pick out something for, um, school. Yeah. And now all those dildos and cock rings and finger pulses etc. etc. have been liberated from deception! Hallelujah!

Link via Maud

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy V Day

You know, I'm really ambivalent about Valentine's Day. Mostly, I think it's a stupid commercial holiday. My boyfriend and I don't need a holiday to say "I love you." So it surprises me that when he came home today bearing a stuffed yorkie and a heart-shaped box of chocolates, I melted. Perhaps I'm not the cynic I once thought I was. Now if you'll excuse me, the stuffed little chocolates and the handsome man beckon.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

On Writing

The Willian Saroyan Edition:
Do you think being a writer is a sensible thing?
Yes, I do.
How come?
I have studied the matter.
What matter?
The matter of what is sensible to be.
What is?
Being a writer is, if you are a writer.
What else is sensible to be?
WHatever you are.
A thief?
No, nobody is a thief. Everybody is something O.K.
No, arithmetic.
The most solid advice, though, for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell, and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.

-- From the preface to The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze

Coen Bros Do Chabon!!!

I just found out that the Coen bros "are to adapt author Michael Chabon's bestseller The Yiddish Policeman's Union for the big screen." Yay! I can't wait.

Link via Russell: best boyfriend ever.

Countdown to seeing old friends

My friend Christine is coming to visit me from Berkeley this weekend. I can't wait to see her-- we met at Hedgebrook and really hit it off, and I miss our silly talks and our impersonations. Next week,I'm heading to Austin, and I'm practically bursting with excitement to see my old friends, old stompin' grounds, old tacquerias, the warmth, and on and on. The weather here is absolutely horrendous, and I have a feeling a break will do me good.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Kufiyya Kraze

The crazy mofos at Kabobfest are at it again. I almost hyperventilated laughing at the skit 3:25 minutes in. Here is my translation of the conversation between the "Islamofascists:"

Guy 1: I'm calling to remind you-- tomorrow is your mother's birthday. I'll bring the cake and the Pepsi, you bring the balloons, got it?
Guy 2: I don't wanna bring the balloons. You bring the ballooons.
Guy 1: Dude, why are you always dumb like this?
Guy 2: I always bring the balloons, so you bring the balloons, and I'll bring the cake this time.
Guy 1: You animal, you dog, I just bought the cake. You bring the balloons.
Guy 2: I don't want to. You're a fucker.


Sunday, February 10, 2008

Aw, yeah

My hot Egyptian brothas won the African Cup. Excellent. I'm not a huge soccer fan, but I am a fan of sexy sweating dudes playing soccer.

Five Degrees

It's 5 degrees in Ann Arbor (that's about -14 Celsius.) Lately I have been reading and watching movies to cope with the white skies and the white snow and the bare trees. Last night, I read Cairo, a fun and super entertaining new graphic novel which Russell gave me for my birthday. Afterwards we had a Uganda double header: The Last King of Scotland followed by the documentary Général Idi Amin Dada: Autoportrait by Barbet Schroeder. The documentary is infinitely crazier and cooler-- one of my favorite parts is when Amin claps at a crocodile and takes credit for its moving. Last King... wasn't too bad; Whitaker's spot-on performance was the real cause for celebration. I wasn't crazy about the fact that our guide through that world was a white male protagonist who ends up a christ-figure. But the documentary gives you more of a sense of the dictator's maddening personality: sometimes, his ideas really make sense, and others, he's just plain insane. He talks about the importance of African-Arab unity, then we see his army "training" to take over Israel. Their choppers barely fly off the ground and the soldiers stroll leisurely across the grass. Classic.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The IDF stands for Immature Doodoo Force?

The Israeli army said on Sunday that it had suspended several soldiers after they were filmed exposing their bare buttocks to Palestinians in the south of the occupied West Bank.
For real.
"All personnel implicated in this unfortunate affair have been identified and immediately suspended from all professional activity," the army said, without specifying the number of servicemen concerned.
Apparently, mooning is a professional activity.

Link via Russell

Sunday, February 03, 2008

James Wood Profiled

...over at FT. From the article:
At The New Yorker, whose sacerdotal approach to editing and mania for accuracy were derided in the 1960s by Tom Wolfe for leaving readers lost in “whichy thickets”, Wood has now found himself at the fastidious end of the publishing scale, which on the whole is a good thing. As with The New Republic, the editing process is one where he is constantly being asked to go deeper. “I find it isn’t the editors who put that qualification in,” he says, “it’s the fact-checkers. They have to be resisted, because they want to water down unprovable assertions. So you say: ‘There is great disagreement about Cormac McCarthy’s status’ – this was a piece I wrote a couple of years ago when No Country For Old Men came out – and they’ll say to you: ‘Well, I’ve been on the internet and I haven’t found much disagreement actually.’ So you say: ‘Well, for instance, Ian McEwan thinks he’s complete shit.’ ‘Yeah, but we’ll have to say then there’s been “some” disagreement.’ And already it’s getting wimpish.”

And here's what the book's cover will look like. (You can click to enlarge.) I'm so happy with it I could plotz. I always worried that whatever publishing house I ended up with would put veils or exotic images or"Islamic" geometric designs or weird fonts on my cover. Instead the cover turned out exactly in tune with the colorful, jazzy spirit of the book. Hurrah! (For the book and for small presses.)

PS Big ups to Joe Namy for his artistic genius awesomeness!