Thursday, February 24, 2005


I went down to Navy Pier today to record my second radio essay, which is about Chicago corruption and how I put pennies in the toll baskets and use a fake name on my Jewel Preferred Card. It may air as early as tomorrow.

Since it's my second one I'm hoping it's not a fluke.

This reminds me of this time last year, when, after years of trying and failing, I first stood up from backbend. I thought it was an aberration and would go away. When I was able to do it again, it seemed like perhaps I really *could* do it, and that it might even stick (which it has, but barely; even today I struggled with it and felt like the Heaviest Grrl. in the World). I'm crossing my fingers that I have indeed penetrated the well-guarded fortress that is public radio -- something I've been trying to do for years. So far, writing and recording these things is *so* much more fun than print -- these editors actually compliment and encourage you -- which attracts editors who offer a bored sigh and act like *you* should pay *them* to publish your work. I now like to think of print as Journalism's Ghetto.

With TV and film being of course Kenilworth and the Gold Coast. Radio is Naperville.

You have to eat ramen in Naperville, with what they pay.

But at least the schools are good.


Wednesday, February 25, 2004

So yes I've been coming up from backbend for just over a week and doing pasasana (first pose in the intermediate series) since Monday. I didn't want to commit it to print because the moment I did (I thought) it would disappear -- seeing as how I spent *four months* trying to do this in 2002. (I was worried it'd be like saying, "Rumplestiltskin"). So let's hope for the best.....

So today I woke up exhausted and went to yoga and got the worst spot in the house -- the one right in front of the door to the lobby, where everyone waits, staring intently at what we're doing. And who is front and center but me. I chortled when Guruji said, "you go there" because I thought, "no WAY am I going to be able to come up from backbend in front of THAT audience." Plus I had sick people all around me, not to mention an EXHALER. This is a person who thinks ujjai breath -- which should sound like the ebb and flow of the sea / darth vader / steam iron -- is all about the exhale. They have a loud, harsh exhale, like it's a contest to see who can drown out everyone else, and a short, invisible inhale. It sounds like some old-fashioned steam train. This guy was SO LOUD I could not hear my own breathing. Worse yet, I started breathing like him. And then the audience was there to see an unusually clumsy practice. Plus it was breezy and I never broke a sweat. Sharath helped me in pasasana (first pose of intermediate series) and then it was showtime. I did four BB's. My first attempt to come up was aborted (ie, I fell). The second one was all slapstick but successful. Then it was time to drop back. I did a superslowmo in front of all of those faces -- and landed gently. I walked my hands in and came up a second time, with a little less comedy. Dropped back again and again; thelast time was worth an Olympic 8, I think. Beautiful. Then I did dropbacks with Sharath. I figure now that I've done it in front of that many people, I can really do it -- it's not a fluke or an accident. After two frustrating years I AM COMING UP FROM BACKBEND (most of the time). Very exciting.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005


Last Monday, after a delightful V.D. meal at Mysore Woodlands that included thali and the pink rose-flavored ice cream, vermicelli noodle and tapioca ball treat called Falooda, Jack and I watched the final hour of Salaam Bombay! on cable. It's Mira Nair (Mississipi Masala, Kama Sutra, Monsoon Wedding, Vanity Fair)'s groundbreaking 1988 opus about street kids in Mumbai, and required viewing....(incidentally Nair and her crew practice Iyengar yoga on set).

The following night I saw Bride and Prejudice (see two posts ago). Then I saw Hotel Rwanda (and recognized the Hutus' guns -- AK-47's, with the banana-shaped ammo clips). Then it was Maria Full of Grace (also excellent). And then the Station Agent (an amazing must-see. And not Italian, as I had thought). And somewhere in there I saw parts of Motorcycle Diaries, Barbarella, Saddest Music in the World and the Shape of Things (the last *really* sucked).

The chaser, this afternoon (hey, it's been slow work-wise), was Born Into Brothels, which I saw with Larry David Midwest (LDW), who is known for making an impatient waving gesture towards the screen (to move the film along) when things get slow. This did not happen. We were riveted. The documentary follows the lives of some kids who live in Calcutta's red light district. The filmmaker, Zana Briski, lived with and photographed them; the kids were so curious and interested in the results (as are the kids in the Mysore orphanage near Guruji's new shala) that she gave them cameras to document their lives. Their photos were so good, and the children such quick learners, that she tried to get them into boarding schools -- ie; a ticket out of The Life. Briski (and her co-conspirator and cameraman [and, we suspect, partner], Ross Kauffman) is so hooked up she had a show of their work in SoHo, sold it at Sotheby's (to raise money for their tuition) and got a Very Important Photographer (the guy from Press Photo) to come to Calcutta to talk to them; one of the students even gets invited to view Famous Photos in Amsterdam (he had a hard time with the ice skates). It's been nominated for an Academy Award... and makes me feel like a dirty left hand for doing nothing for the locals in Mysore. Maybe I'll think twice about my actions there when/if I go back.....

So I went full circle -- from Monday night to Tuesday afternoon -- from 1988's fictional view of Indian street kids, Salaam Bombay!, to 2004's (allegedly) more *real* depiction of them, Born into Brothels... and they realy complement each other. So if you get a chance --...

....and if you're *really* feeling tough, follow them up with another heartbreaking view of street life -- Hector Babenco's 1981 Brazilian masterpiece, Pixote. Then follow *that* up with 2003's Bus 174 , a documentary about the highjacking of a Brazillian bus by a previously invisible 21-year-old street kid, which played out live on TV.

Then go out and "do sumpthin!", as a crazed fan once screamed into my left ear during a Blackhawks game (back when there was hockey).

Thursday, February 17, 2005


Number of yoga classes taught this week: 14

Number of students taught this week: 150

Number of pregnant students who left after ten minutes: 1

Number of students who flagged Teacher down to ask detailed alignment questions while the class held Mari A for eons: 1

Number of students displeased with the answer ("Don’t analyze -- Do!"): 1

Number of students Teacher then avoided like The Plague: 1

Number of students not with child (that we know of) who walked out early: 15

Number of students who got the “You skip savasana, you go crazy!” lecture: 12

Number who listened: 5

Number who then took savasana: 0

Tuesday, February 15, 2005


My little radio essay aired yesterday -- 'twas wince-inducing for me of course, but not as bad as it could have been (apparently "Meigs" now has two syllables) -- and one of my friends, Lisa B, unwittingly caught it on the way to the hospital (she's nine months pregnant but it's TV pregnant -- like she strapped on a medicine ball. In any case she's *still* very pregnant). The website of the writer who helped ease my way, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, is here: She has a regular ashtanga yoga practice, so go out and buy her book. At an independent bookstore, of course.

Jack tried to teach me some "elementary html" yesterday so I could put pix and lynx here using my very old, tired and cranky Mac. So now I allegedly know their version of Surya Namaskar A. We'll see if it works...

We had a screening of Bride and Prejudice at the Holmes Home last night (the always hooked-up Henry already has it on DVD) and even though it was pretty much shite we rather enjoyed it. The Bollywood sendup aimed at western audiences stars former Miss Universe (1994) and smart chick Aishwarya Rai, and is Gurinder Chandha's followup to Bend it Like Beckham; Chandra's an African-born Indian married to a Japanese American man, in case you're wondering. B&P is to Bollywood fillums what Crouching Tiger: Hidden Dragon is to Hong Kong films, if you ask me. At least the outfits were good.... although I can't stand it when they sing in English. But now we're planning to don Indian dress (why not?) and watch the real, six hour P&P featuring Mr. Colin Firth -- who isn't *all that* if you ask me. Ash is -- although she was *way* underused in B&P -- Colin ain't. (the 'Merican pop star Ashanti -- whoever that is -- also makes a scantily-clad appearance in the fillum). Apparently Chandra also hired top Bollywood behind-the-scenes talent -- including cinematographer Santosh Sivan, choreographer Saroj Khan and composer Anu Malik.... many of whom are visible during the credits. UK B&P Review

But her weirdest hire was Naveen Andrews. You may remember him as the scary Iraqi and former Republican Guard interrogator on "Lost" -- you know, the Jheri-curled guy with the non-Arabic accent who knows many methods of torture. In B&P he appears as a hot, bhangra-dancing suitor for one of Ash's sisters. WHO KNEW HE COULD DANCE? His real name's Naveen William Sidney Andrews, he was born to Indian parents in London in '69, is 5'9" and apparently moved in with his teacher, Geraldine Feakins (now *that's* a freakin' name), when he was 16! They have a son. Turns out he's now dating Barbara Hershey (does anyone else see a theme here? Not that there's anything wrong with that) and, fittingly, starred in Mira (Monsoon Wedding) Nair's 1996 film Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love. Who knew.....More on him here: Naveen's imdb Bio . Which reminds me. Is anyone else happy that that Seattle teacher Mary Kay Letourneau can finally marry her former sixth grade student? They have two kids together; she's now 43, he's 22. The story is here (I wonder where they're registered):

Which brings me to my next point. Incensed about paying thru the nose for cable and still not getting the Sundance Channel, the Independent Film Channel, BBC America and CLTV News (mediocre 24 hour Chicago news station run by the Chicago Tribune, and the only place to find out how much it's actually snowed), I made the call and ordered "real" digital cable. Which means I can now watch The Kumars at #42, the British show about the pampered Indian son who does a TV talk show from his home. It sounds not unlike that preternaturally old kid in Indiana, Michael Essany, who's been doing such a show for years on local cable and spun it off into an E! reality series last year. Only this is Wembley (outside London), it ain't reality, and comedian Sanjeev Bhaskar is the mastermind behind the whole thing. Of course it's now in its fourth season while we're just getting it here in the US, but at least it's something. It airs Wednesday nights at 9 Central on BBC America. Details here:
Kumars BBC America

*yesterday's photo has been moved to 1/23 -- "Musical Chairs"

Sunday, February 13, 2005


It turns out I erred re;
when my essay will air.
'Snot fair, but appar-
ently they're full-up
with other (suckier) fare.

Now that that's cleared up..... my nose is not. 'Snot at all. Last week they reported that some awful dirt-particles are mucking up the air here in Chicago (moreso than usual) and there was -- for the first time ever in winter-- an actual ozone action day. Which did not stop me from riding my bike here, there and everywhere....So *that* could be what's contributing to my superhigh output of gob 'n' sputnum (they do the show after mine), not to mention my erratic breathing during yoga practice. Which reminds me. I've had three of my worst (ie most difficult) practices ever in the past week: all at once I'm weak, stiff, have no balance *and* can't breathe. Methinks someone has replaced mine own body with that of some 40-year old.

A mean little essay by a friend of mine (Tina Trash) appears on my friend Kai. Eric. 's wickedly cool blog site, which just relaunched as a de facto online magazine with famous (and not so famous) contributors and the whole nine yards :

Friday, February 11, 2005


The following *essay* may or may not run on Monday (V.D.). Whether it does or not I *went downtown* and *recorded the thing* on Tuesday...and I wasn't as wooden as usual (or so I thought). I brought Pazckis ("patch-key," kind of like the dead Chicago artist), a traditional Polish Fat Tuesday jelly donut which originally came in rasberry and is now available in myriad modern flavas such as cappuccino, and which can be purchased one day each year at Dinkel's ( -- family-owned since 1922). That's where we met Lois K. and Sunny Rae for perhaps our final rendezvous before their move to LA. More on Pazckis here:

In any case it seems as if this thing is just mundane and accesible enough for public radio.


Last summer’s nasty breakup had me a seeing two therapists. I lost two pants sizes, and vowed never to date again.

But a few months later I was looking good and feeling better, and my friends said it was time to start .

Since meeting men by chance had never worked out, I signed up for an online service and created a smart-alecky profile that would separate the men from the boys.

My first set of matches proved there was indeed life after the Ex…. If you like men with kids who want to date 20-year olds. I also pulled up someone I had gone on a date with a decade ago, and who had smelled like a barnyard.

My first face-to-face date was with a handsome, vegetarian MBA. Over lattes I kept looking at him and thinking, "You’re not X. Your nose is different from X’s. You’re more articulate than X. But you say just as many stupid things." Which would have been OK. But then it turned out he didn’t have a job and rarely left his house. We called it quits after just two dates.

Next was a third-grade teacher who was as tall as his ad had promised – most men add two inches. During our only date I learned that he caught every cold his students did, and hated his life even more than I hated mine. At least he paid for dinner.

The Serbian hiphop guy gave great e-mail. But we could barely speak with one another in person, what with his accent and my habit of speed-talking from thought to thought. I did glean that under Marshal Tito, people could travel outside of Yugoslavia, and many drove to Italy to go shopping. I also learned that he was even more negative and judgmental than I am, and after seeing a movie we never spoke again.

The physician who didn’t hate his ex-wife seemed like a good prospect -- despite posting a picture of himself in shorts. During coffee I learned how to get free treatment at Cook County Hospital. I also learned that I know his ex wife -- and like her a lot. We never spoke again, either.

I thought twice before contacting an Iraq war vet, but...WELL... his profile was as skewed as mine. Plus he could spell. After some exceptional e-mails and phone we decided to meet at Millennium Park at sunset. He was late and sported A LOT of facial hair. But he was a gentleman – not to mention an officer -- and shared my unpopular views about Meigs Field and corporate sponsorship of public places. We walked on the BP Bridge in the freezing cold and made each other laugh.

On our second date we talked about concrete and flashbacks, and on the third we saw a Who cover band.

On the fourth date we went cross country skiing AND ice skating – which we both do very badly. I also learned that facial hair isn’t so scary after all.

I haven’t thought about X since.

Thursday, February 03, 2005


While in my angry 20's (ie; pre-yoga) Bukowski stage, I wrote this pome about the father's second wife....whose birthday was Monday*:



Red lips
Red shoes
Red car
and Red nails

That bitch read my mail and threw it out.


*Which reminds me; my dad would have been 75 today...something I forgot until I was in the midst of devouring a cholesterol-laden Swedish repast at Svea II this afternoon. I slathered my limpa** toast with an extra pat of butter in his memory.

**traditional Swedish rye bread made with fennel seeds.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005


Saw some of that award-winning 1961 fillum "Last Year at Marienbad" anoche and apart from utterly stunning set design and cinematography and the gangly creep who kept winning the stupid game (Put down any number of any object on a table. Take up as many as you want when it's your turn, as long as they're from the same row. He who ends up with one left loses. Or something like that) 'twas a bit of a yawner. Which one hates to say about such a classic. But one is saying it. At this very moment. And hoping it does not mean one is now headed for the latest Ben Stiller or Adam Sandler vehicle (for the longest time I thought they were the same person).

I wonder what they drive, anyway.

No I don't.

But if you thought "Bitchin' Camaro" (by the Dead Milkmen, who graciously appeared in my 1986 16mm fillum "Tina" -- a very watchable black-and-white masterpiece that was awarded honors at LFC) was lame, just try to slog your way thru this excruciating bit of drivel:

PIECE OF SHIT CAR (Piece of Shite *Song* would be more apt)
by Adam Sandler

Here we go
Piece of shit car
I got a piece of shit car
That fuckin’ pile of shit
Never gets me very far
My car’s a big piece of shit
’cause the shocks are fucking shot
And my seatbelt’s fucking broken
I got to tie it in a knot
(it’s a piece of shit)
I can’t see through the windshield
’cause it’s got a big fucking’ crack
And the interior smells real bad
’cause my friend puked in the back
(it’s a piece of shit)
(piece of shit car)
Piece of shit car
(he’s got a piece of shit car)
It sucks royal dick
(that fuckin’ pile of shit)
100% crap
(never gets him very far)
Oh fuck you car
It’s got no cd player, it only got the 8-track
Whoever designed my car can lick my sweaty nut sack
(they can bite his ass too)
And I got no fuckin’ brakes
I’m always way out of control
Eleven times a day I hear hey, watch it asshole
(you fuckin’ piece of shit)
(piece of shit car)
I got piece of shit car
(he got a piece of shit car)
Diesel gas sucks my ass
(that fuckin’ pile of shit)
That pile of metal shit
(never gets him very far)
Oh what the fuck did I do
What the fuck did I do
What the fuck did I do
To get stuck with you
You’re too wide for drive-thru
And you smell like the shoe
But I’m too broke to buy something new
Oh fuck me
Well the engine likes to flood
The car always fuckin’ stalls
And the seat cushion’s got a big rip
So a spring always pokes the balls
(ouch, ouch, ouch)
Plus the door locks are busted
I gotta use a fucking coat hanger
(what a pain in his ass)
And if a girlie sees my car
There’s no chance I’ll ever bang her
(he never ever gets da pussy)
Hey shut up
(piece of shit car)
You piece of shit car
(you got a piece of shit car)
You piece of shit car
(piece of shit car)
Bald fuckin’ tires
(you got a piece of shit car)
No rearview fucking mirror
(piece of shit car)
Seven different colors
(you got a piece of shit car)
Fucking rag for a gas cap
(piece of shit car)
Tailpipe makes the sparks fly everywhere
(you got a piece of shit car)
(piece of shit car)
(you got a piece of shit car)
(piece of shit car)
Oh the whole town thinks I’m a loser
(you got a piece of shit car)
Cabby give me a push
(piece of shit car...)

The above makes the creepy 1985 Dead Milkmen song below look like a subtle masterpiece of social witticism, er, criticism:

"Bitchin' Camaro"

- Hey Jack, what's happenin'?
- I don't know.
- Well uh, rumour around town says you mighht be thinkin' 'bout goin' down to
the shore.
- Uh, yeah, I think I'm gonna go down to thhe shore.
- Whadda ya gonna do down there?
- Uh, I don't know, p-play some video gamess, buy some Def Leppard t-shirts.
- Don't forget your Motley Crue t-shirt; y''know all proceeds go to get their
lead singer out a' jail.
- Uh huh.
- Can't wait to go down. Hey uh, were ya goonna check out the sand bar while
you're down there?
- Uh, what's the Sand Bar?
- Ah, it's a place that lets sixteen year-oold kids drink.
- Ah, cool.
- Ya hey, guess who's gonna be there?
- Uh, who?
- My favourite cover band, Crystal Ship.
- Wow.
- Yeah, they do a Doors show, you'd be reallly impressed, in fact, it goes a
little like this:

Love me two times baby
Love me twice today
Love me two times girl
Cause I got AIDS
Love me two times baby,
once for tomorrow,
once cause I got AIDS

- Uh...
- Pretty good Jim Morrison impersonation thhere. I hope those guys have a
good sense a' humour and don't take us into court.
- Uh, what's the court?
- Never mind that, the important thing heree...
- You mean the People's Court.
- The... Now, that's another story. The impportant thing here is that we get
to the part where you ask me how I'm gonna get down to the shore.
- Oh, how you gettin' down to the shore?
- Funny you should ask, I've got a car now..
- Ah wow, how'd ya get a car?
- Oh, my folks drove it up here from the Bahamas.
- You're kidding!
- I must be, the Bahamas are islands. Okay,, the important thing here is
that, uh, you ask me what kinda car it is.
- Uh uh, what kinda car do ya' got?
- I've got a bitchin' Camaro...

Bitchin' Camaro, Bitchin' Camaro!
I ran over my neighbors
Bitchin' Camaro, Bitchin' Camaro!
Now I'm in all the papers

My folks bought me a bitchin' Camaro
With no insurance to match
So if I happen to run you down
Please don't leave a scratch

I ran over some old lady
One night at the county fair
And I didn't get arrested
Because my dad's the mayor

Bitchin' Camaro, Bitchin' Camaro!
Donuts on your lawn
Bitchin' Camaro, Bitchin' Camaro!
Tony Orlando and Dawn

When I drive past the kids
They all spit and cuss
Cause I've got a bitchin' Camaro
And they have to ride the bus

So you'd better get out of my way
When I come through your yard
Cause I've got a bitchin' Camaro
And an Exxon credit card

Bitchin' Camaro, Bitchin' Camaro!
Hey man where ya headed?
Bitchin' Camaro, Bitchin' Camaro!
I'm drunk on unleaded!

But the best take on the subject of course is the Buzzcocks' "Fast Cars," from 1978's Another Music in a Different Kitchen:


They're nice and precise, each one begins and ends
They may win you admirers, but they'll never earn you friends
Fast cars, fast cars
Fast cars, I hate fast cars
They're so depressing going around and around
Ooh, they make me dizzy, oh fast cars they run me down
Fast cars, fast cars,
Fast cars, I hate fast cars
Sooner or later, you're gonna listen to Ralph Nader
I don't wanna cause a fuss, but fast cars are so dangerous
Fast cars, fast cars
Fast cars, I hate fast cars, fast cars
Fast cars, fast cars
I hate fast cars

Of course they *are* British. Very British indeed. And, apparently, still touring:

The song that's actually going thru my head -- for no apparent reason, although I blame it on that Marienbad film, what with all the French muttering and whatnot -- is the Stranglers' "Let's Tango in Paris" from 1982's "Feline," which boasts an awesome red, black and white cover and which I picked up for $4.50 at Wax Trax in 1983 (yes 'tis vinyl):


Sentimental through the night
Sharing secret candlelight
We're a - way, every day
Laughing, joking, just sustains
Sit - u - a - tion quite in - sane
Flowing wine, quite sublime
Not so far for me to say
I could take you there to - day

Let's tango in Paris (x3)

You might find yourself with me
Share your glass of van - i - ty
We're a - way, every day
Not so far for me to say
I could take you there to - day

Let's tango in Paris
(repeat chorus until fade).

Or perhaps the song is there because of the album title. There is a porcine white feline under my bed at this very moment (Kirby is perched on the kitchen counter, awaiting dinner). This Lewis, as he's called, is here for three months while his owner is away in Australia... provided the two don't kill each other first. They both have claws and have been hissing at each other under the door.... and none of us is looking forward to the Formal Introduction later this week. But the water buckets are ready. And "Ballroom Blitz" is cued.....