Sunday, April 30, 2006


NOTES FROM ABOVEGROUND ( BEST OF the peace rally, NYC, 4/29/06).

BEST THING ABOUT THE WEATHER: it’s perfect. It’s september 11th perfect (that day too, was cloudless, warm and deep blue).

WORST DECISION OF THE DAY: mine. I looked at my camera, I tnought about taking my camera.I kew I would miss my camera if I left it behind.which is exactly what happened.

BEST THING ABOUT STARTING A MASS RALLY AT UNION SQUARE ON A SATURDAY AT NOON: the farmers market is open. It closes for nothing, including(apparently) revolution and peoples power. Before marching it is always advisable to eat a piece of warm banana bread ,home-made that morning somewhere up state (or so I like to think).

BEST 3-SOME AT THE FRONT OF THE MARCH: Cindy(Sheehan),Al(Sharpton) and Jesse(Jackson). Roger Toussaint,( the just released from jail) head of the MTA union is next to Jesse, but he’s not really in their league, is he.

BEST BLOW UP DOLL ON A STICK: George Bush, in full flight suit, sporting a Pinochio sized nose.

BEST POSTER(there were so many good ones): OSAMA BIN FORGOTTEN.

BEST MOTHER AND DAUGHTER (YET AGAIN);I see them at every rally that marches down Broadway. They must live in one of the buildings on Broadway at around 12 th street. It is a classic looking New York building with full fire escape overlooking the street. And every mass rally, there they are, on the escape,way up on the third or fourth floor, blowing into conches. they make a thrilling is beautiful.

BEST USE OF KNOWLEDGE ABOUT GOOD PLACES TO PISS IN THE CITY WHEN YOU NEED TO: that would be by me. As we wind our way down B’way, I am needing to go.we are at the corner of Prince. I realise that Fanelli’s is a quick dash away, and as I am always in there (both peeing and drinking), I feel quite comfortable running in.

BEST IMPROVISED USE OF THE NAME OF A STORE ON BROADWAY FOR THE PURPOSES OF A CHANT: The Yellow Rat Bastard store (it really does exist). The chant, of course, was GEORGE BUSH IS A YELLOW RAT BASTARD, with a football hooligan sort of delivery.(you had to be there)

BEST PIECE OF PHYSICAL THEATRE: the 17 belly dancers, all shapes and sizes,doin their thing.bringing it, as they say.

BEST OVERHEARD COMMENT(again, there were too many): “ where are the grannies…?”

MOST(BEST) ENCOURAGING SIGHT: the size of the crowd. It was massive. Really massive. At one point, down past Canal, the rally paused. There is a slight incline in the road there. The entire front of the crowd turned to look back and down, along B’way. There was a spontaneous, deafening cheering as we looked all the way back, up town. It went on and on, blocks and blocks of people.

BEST FAUX PAS OF THE DAY: throwing my apple core, from an impressive distance,into what appeared to be a garbage can. Only to find out,it’s the collection holder for rally donations. Oops.

BEST ULTERIOR MOTIVE FOR ATTENDING RALLY: my downstairs neighbours are selling. They had an open house this morning, with lots of strangers coming into the building. Annoying, right.(anyone out there want to buy a kind of crappy 2 bedroom for,um, $700,000?)

Friday, April 28, 2006


Here's the CSers

(not for the faux-pious)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


The temperature was in the 30's. The wind was blowing so strongly that the windows rattled. The rain had turned to hail and was making a tap-tapping sound against the glass.

It was late April.

There was no heat in the comfortably cluttered Wrigleyville apartment. Nonetheless Caca put on a stocking cap and an extra hoodie and did a long yoga self-practice -- during which she was literally able to watch her breath.

But afterwords she had to work all day on a deadline.

What to do, what to do, she wondered as she sipped a steaming cup of nondairy homemade chai.

Rifling through her old-fashioned Rolodex, she chose a dog-eared card, picked up the phone and placed a call.

After listening to the automated voice for a few seconds, she pressed a number.

The other party picked up immediately.

"Sulzer library reference desk. How may I help you?"

"Do you have wireless internet?" Caca asked.

"Yes, we do."

"Um.....Is it working?"

"Yes. It is."

"Oh good!... And what about the heat. Do you have heat?"

The woman on the other end of the line laughed ruefully.

"No. We don't, in fact."

"No heat? That must be awful!" said Caca.

"It's 60 in here!" said the woman.

"Well, I guess I'll stay home and work then, since it's just the same....

"Try to stay warm."

"Thank you."


Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Last night after teaching the university students (very attentive) I sat down to eat dinner (homemade pizza and steamed veggies) in front of The Sopranos (on tape). But when I turned on the TV Bill Maher (bad hair) was on so of course I had to watch it (Real Time). They always put the "different" (minority) person in the middle on that show; the one time two African Americans (comedians) sat on the three-person panel, the white guy (author) went in the middle. Usually it's the other way around. This week the hot woman-in-red-leather was in the middle of two old white guys. But she held her own.

Afterwards I went to the kitchen to wash the dirty dishes. When I came back they were showing some documentary about a Rosie and Kelli* O'Donnell-hosted gay family Caribbean cruise. I'm generally a fan and defender of funny fat chicks. But with the exception of her performance in A League of Their Own, Ms. O'Donnell gives me gas, and I applauded The Simpsons when they put her on their Spaceship to the Sun. She's a punchline. But somehow I didn't push "play" fast enough and got drawn in.

While watching it I thought, "Hey, That Rosie is OK. She's got a smart mouth and I kind of like her politics. Besides, I used to wear big white t-shirts and pirate bandannas and a scowl like that, too." Then she started singing. Ouch. But for some reason I didn't turn it off.** Even after seeing the blatant product placement I left it on. They had people belting out show tunes complete with jazz hands. Still I didn't pull the plug.

The interviews with the gay parents who've adopted or had children were poignant. I thought, "Wow, they're so diverse." Then I realized all the parents, with the exception of former NFL player Esera Tuaolo -- whom I wish would adopt me -- were white. Although they seemed to be pretty good parents. The kids were the ones who were truly diverse...not that there's anything wrong with that.

Only later did I realize that the production was basically a 90-minute infomercial for Rosie and Kelly's new GLBT charter service.

Oh, well.


*Who is that Gregg Kaminsky guy, anyway? He's in, like, every scene with Kelli and Rosie. The website says he's Kelli O'Donnell's "partner." Huh?

**There have also been times when I've purchased items on QVC (ugly mint green sweater), bought overpriced Time-Life CD box sets (The oxymoronic Best of the 1950's) and even changed phone companies, just because I was feeling mildly vulnerable.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


Sometimes events conspire in such a way that the Chicago Sun-Times outdoes The Onion and everyone else out there -- and all without trying.

Former Illinois Gov. George Ryan recently became the latest state official to receive a felony conviction. You may know Ryan as the porcine but arguably noble Republican who enacted a moratorium on executions in Illinois during his final moments in office. Anyway, three jurors on his interminable corruption case were dismissed because they failed to 'fess up to past wrongdoings. But now the defense is crying foul about five other jurors. Apparently they've been just as corrupt as the gov. From today's paper (unfortunately the priceless mug shots are not included in the online version of the story):



48, of unincorporated Glen Ellyn
On March 30, lawyers for Larry Warner argued unsuccessfully for a mistrial because Rein and other jurors failed to disclose arrests. Rein was arrested in 1980 for allegedly striking his pregnant 17-year-old sister in an argument over cats. The state dropped the charges because his sister wouldn't prosecute. He bought newspapers during the trial, but the court warned jurors against media exposure, the defense said.

42, of Westmont
Svymbersky, an alternate, served on the jury after Evelyn Ezell and Robert Pavlick were kicked off. He was listed in Warner's March 30 mistrial motion. He failed to disclose a 1983 guilty plea for buying a stolen bike in Peoria. He bought newspapers during the trial, the defense said.

55, of Itasca
She admitted her daughter, friends and co-workers questioned her about the case after the original deliberations began, according to Warner's attorneys, who argued those discussions were prejudicial. She stayed on the jury.

38, of Bolingbrook
After the guilty verdict, lawyers for Ryan unsuccessfully sought a mistrial after learning Chambers, the foreperson, was involved in several civil court cases she failed to disclose on her jury form, including a 2004 divorce petition, filings for orders of protection and a lawsuit a furniture business brought against her in 2003. She also was divorced in 1991.

65, of Palos Hills
On March 28, George Ryan's defense team gave the court records showing Casino was arrested in 1962 on a charge of driving under the influence. The records did not show how the case was resolved. Casino did not disclose the arrest. He stayed on the jury.


55, of Buffalo Grove
He was removed March 27 after failing to reveal on his jury form he was arrested several times on charges of driving under the influence and penalized by the secretary of state's office run by George Ryan for most of the 1990s.

44, of Chicago
She was tossed March 27 for failing to disclose that under her maiden name, she was charged with misdemeanor child neglect, assault, weapons possession and felony drug possession between 1984 and 1994. She wasn't convicted.

McFadden was removed from the jury in February. Filings unsealed Wednesday show jurors wrote notes to the judge complaining about McFadden's inattentiveness. A government filing indicates prosecutors pushed to get McFadden tossed, citing "juror complaints relating to McFadden that included two jurors asking for their seats to be relocated due to McFadden snoring during trial testimony."


Kind of makes you wonder what type of shenanigans the attorneys, not to mention the judge, the bailiffs, the artist-renderers and everyone else, have engaged in outside the courtroom....

Somethinks they doth protest too much.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


The New York Times ran a piece on Sunday about "fratire," the male version of chick-lit that celebrates the drunken Lothario. It seems they could have come up with a better term for this alarming new so-called genre:








and my favorite....


Friday, April 14, 2006


I've been so debilitated by the illness I caught in NYC that I haven't practiced yoga in ages. Yes, I've taught classes and made stabs at deadlines, but after that I had nothing left. I finally started feeling semi-normal on Wednesday -- after asking all those incoherent questions (and even stupider followups) during my inteviews in Michigan. Oh, well.

So today I had my first practice in 15 days; my last was with Guruji-Sharath-Saraswati, in NYC. I stopped after Janu Sirsasana A and then did backbends, shoulderstand and sitting. During savasana I felt a new, very deep pain in my lower right spine. Funny, during my time off people would ask about my recent, much publicized wrist problem or back problem and I'd look at them with surprise and say, "What problem?"

Nonetheless I felt so good afterwords that I rode my bike to teach -- in spite of the fact that today is a 10.2 on the Allergen Richter Scale. Maybe I should stay off the bike and stop hanging my clothes on the line outside until the tree pollen goes away. Or I leave for India. Whichever comes first.

But then I'd just get phatter. It's been unseasonably warm, which means that every woman in Chicago has donned last year's clingy t-shirts and pedal pushers. Ouch. Let's just say that Gordita Cacananda is not the only one who's put on extra weight of late.

Either that or the entire city is five months pregnant.

God help us in Mari D....

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


After a gruelling day of interviews and checking out bike trails -- where we saw a fold of Scottish Highland Cattle, a steel dinosaur and a carved stump that looked exactly like the scary talking trees in H.R. Pufenstuf -- we're at The Fancy Inn. It's in tony Union Pier, which seems to be the Easthampton of Harbor Country. It's on the lake (vs. across the street from it) and there are French doors and a porch and we can hear the waves hit the shore (it's quite windy and dusty here). The place is clean, decorated and highfaloutin' in a white uptight way that the other one was not (for example, the man at the desk told us that we can't damage anything. Which of course planted the idea. Also, you can only use one of the inn's bicycles when the front desk is open, 9am-7pm. Like they don't have your credit card number if you walk off with it). Hamptons of the Midwest....

Anyway. It's jacuzzi time.


I'm here with Dorian Black in Harbor Country where it's an hour ahead of Chicago, which means that 6AM tomorrow will feel like 4AM, what with daylight savings time and all. They have WiFi that refuses to upload images at our cute little inn -- which is directly across the street from Lake Michigan -- where a laminated sign warns that there's no loud music and no drinking after 11PM. Nonetheless the all-volunteer community radio station comes in just fine (their 100-watt signal carries pretty far, and so far they sound far better than most college stations). Tomorrow: checking out the station and the many bike trails in the area.

Saturday, April 08, 2006


On the way to Midtown Loft; it seems each ribbon symbolizes not one but two soldiers killed in Iraq.

Midotwn loft; the workshop was on the fourth floor; one W.C. for the women, one for the men (and women).

Checking out Saturn in Park Slope. The guy behind me, taking a drink of "coffee," is the sabelotodo (know-it-all) who acted as if the telescopes were his.

The line to get into NYC's first Trader Joe's. Suckers.

The all-white bicycle represents a cyclist killed by a motorist; apparently they're all over the city. In the background is the venerable Puck Building, where Guruji's workshop is usually held.

My olde veg-friendly haunte in Chelsea, where one may dine alone and not feel foolish. The horchata is good but not great.

Rock 'n' roll, man.

NY Dolls at CBGB; the small red figure on the left is David Johansen, who seemed miffed by the lack of applause, complaining that "this isn't a golf match."

Thursday, April 06, 2006


Googlism for: caca

caca is good
caca is for you
caca is connected to the following things
caca is connected to because
caca is barely more that a gleam of hope in our imaginations at this time
caca is pronounced as kaka english equivalent = infant
caca is the fraternal aspect of our organization
caca is offering scholarships to college students and high school seniors nationwide
caca is a fine
caca is the raw material of the soul
caca is updated qualitative
caca is een voorbeeld van zeer eenvoudige 2d animatie
caca is an example of very simple 2d animation
caca is not to be confused with ka
caca is the path to the darkside"
caca is ready to dominate the void
caca is a complicated process
caca is a huge help for fooling the sponsors
caca is a non
caca is proudly represented in the following cities
caca is a brave little girl who joins the ranks of the yamacsico crew as a lookout guide after her parents were killed in the ambassadors' ship
caca is looking for somebody to play dollies with
caca is a euphemism for caca
caca is a council unit of the asia
caca is the official perfume of scientology
caca is going to have to post using one of her other names for a while
caca is spanish for poop
caca is a san francisco band that played a lot of frank zappa material during their concerts
caca is one of four professional accounting organizations in the united kingdom whose members are authorized to conduct audits6
caca is the new burnt umber
caca is right
caca is a pseudonym
caca is that both the calgary and edmonton regions have advised us that they have been advised by cataract surgeons in
caca is in a folded conformation
caca is cool
caca is that?
caca is
caca is a child's word for excrement
caca is a bad thing to look at
caca is <= 46 kj mol
caca is used as a polite form of address to ladies
caca is the end
caca is the ldk's deputy chairman in the neighboring municipality of decani
caca is also a great style for using first wort hopping
caca is also a deity of fire
caca is for peru
caca is still nominally alive
caca is not dead
caca is it a funny kitten
caca is ranked 145 and has played for 1h3m in 15 days
caca is sure to hit the fan
caca is strictly prohibited
caca is on probation for 2 years for some stupid reasons
caca is a spanish slang word for "crap
caca is a good man and he helps our children
caca is more like it
caca is pronounced with a throaty sound
caca is always ready with earnest to go hand in hand with all those individuals and communities globally who are concerned with the anti
caca is ranked 5 and has played for 10h8m in 33 days
caca is guilty of a violation of the veterinary practice act or regulations pursuant
caca is offered a lighter sentence if he can cock
caca is delightful
caca is over
caca is ranked 78 and has played for 3h6m in 14 days real name
caca is a traditional plant used throughout the andes
caca is then
caca is the goddess of excrement and ministered to by the vestals
caca is beyond the
caca is flying at the fan
caca is shit
caca is a big thing around our house
caca is most grateful;; the civil aviation authority has no powers that it can realistically use to control noise nuisance
caca is fake
caca is spanish for feces
caca is knee deep
caca is gross
caca is the only moderately soluble compound present

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


I've been trying to come up with a less offensive term than chick lit to describe the not-so-recent spate of books featuring smart city-dwelling female protagonists, but for various reasons it's not going so well:










There's gotta be something better. There's just gotta....

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


I'm still sick, although that doesn't mean I didn't teach three classes or work hard on deadlines yesterday. Nothing like talking for a few hours to make the sore throat moreso. But it is allergies? Or something else? Here's hoping whatever it is doesn't evolve into an ear infection -- something I used to get all the time before I started doing yoga.

Coming up on TV:

Studs Terkel guests on The Daily Show tonight.

I missed it but last night the Hex caught Jeremy Piven's Journey of a Lifetime on the Travel Channel, in which the Evanston native travels to South India. Apparently that's his real hair. Well, at least it stayed put. In India. Apparently the "club monkey" is also into The Yoga. Apparently the show's not that good, although he did go on a backwaters tour in Kerala and saw a Kathakali performance. One can't help but wonder how often Piven lapsed into Ari Gold behavior when things went wrong as they so often do in India . Perhaps not much, since it was first class all the way (he finished the trip with yoga in one of the world's fanciest spas, the Ananda Spa in the Himalayas). The South India trek repeats repeats Thursday at 7PM and 10PM and Saturday at 5PM central time. The final installment, Part II, North India airs next Monday and 8PM and 11PM. Central.

Saturday, April 01, 2006


On Wednesday-the-moonday I slept in, and after a hearty breakfast at Dizzy's the Hex and I took the F-train up to the recently-refurbished MoMA for the Edvard Munch exhibit -- a colorful treat for depressives of all stripes, despite the missing Scream (I'm keen to do an updated version of the painting with the figure holding its cheeks while in garbha pindasana). Then it was down to Eddie's for the afternoon puja -- we had less chanting to do this year, and the room is pinker -- followed by another delightful Indian meal. Afterwards I picked up $1 chai at a quaint hole-in-the-wall called Lahore on the walk over to CBGB for the daytime-only sale rack. Not that impressive, esp. when you consider that owner Hilly Kristal came in at No. 10 on the New York Press's just-released list of The 50 Most Loathsome New Yorkers (Brooklyn developer and Nets owner Bruce Ratner is #1). Apparently Mr. Kristal owes a homeless shelter some three months in back rent and is poised to open a joint in Las Vegas.

That evening we took the F-train to dinner with MM in Cobble Hill (Brooklyn) and checked out his place on the water by the cranes, which will soon be replaced by a park. Then back to Park Slope, where I learnt that The Man With the Telescope is not a figment of the Hex's imagination; he was right there on the corner of 9th Street and 7th Avenue, with not one but two very powerful telescopes aimed at Saturn. I couldn't see it at first, and then it appeared, looking just like the cartoon version of itself. "Are you out here because it's a new moon?" I asked. Turns out he had no idea it was a new moon. Apparently it's just another day for the rest of the world. Passersby all stopped cold when they saw the telescopes, and paused to see Saturn and comment on it. They all had that childlike look of wonder on their faces that's all so rare these days. One man had taken up residence with his beer-in-a-coffee-cup, and was holding court and making things up ("The only time you can balance an egg on its side is during the vernal equinox") and generally acting like one of the telescopes belonged to him. Quite entertaining.

The next day at yoga LL had saved me a fabulous spot third row center, and she got the double whammy adjustment in Sarvangasana from Saraswati and then Guruji, who also got me! After breakfast at the famous photog's loft (during which someone broke the cardinal rule of yoga cool and accosted poor Mike D, who was trying to read a book, with a litany of "I'm your biggest fan" BS) there was more running around; this time to see the rockstar friends who are 50 / pushing 50 and both living in Brooklyn. Apparently I had some bad organic tofu cheesecake with the latter because I became quite ill afterwords and turned around while on my way to see Swami Bua and went straight "home." At first I was just feeling weird. Then massive loose motions and the type of washing-machine activity in the stomach that hasn't been seen since Mysore. That went away sometime during the middle of the night, after innumberable trips to the WC, only to be replaced by nausea / dry heaves / headache / exhaustion. Maybe seeing Guruji et al brings out this type of, er, cleansing. I missed the last class with him. Again....

All I could think of was that I had to fly at 5 and how in the hell was I going to pack, let alone go through with the rest of it. But I knew from Mysore that they won't let you change your flight for something as trivial as food poisoning, or whatever it was. Somehow I made calls to get others to help line up subs for Saturday and Sunday; the Hex got me some ginger ale and crackers, and then went out again for some Gatorade, Excedrin Migraine and baking soda. I took a teaspoon of the latter mixed with water just before leaving. Dorian Black says it clears out the system. No kidding; I immediately threw up every liquid I'd had so far that morning -- and felt a whole lot better. For a few minutes anyway.

The ride to La Guardia was uneventful because the window was open and the Hex and I had explained to the driver, en espanol, that I had problemas en el estomago due to comiendo algo malo. He got it, and drove quite carefully.

I checked a couple of bags with the SkyCaps, who informed me that the plane was running an hour late. Something about winds at O'Hare and everything running behind. When I finally got to the gate I wobbled up to The Man and handed him my boarding pass. Sweating, I explained that I didn't know where I was sitting but that I had "some kind of food poisoning" and perhaps it would be better for everyone if I were in an aisle seat. (This "loose motions" routine did wonders when I flew from Mysore to Frankfurt in similiar straits). I guess you just can't argue with diarrhea. He gave me a seat on the aisle in the last row -- right across from the bathroom.

I thanked him and wobbled over to a seat in the waiting area. I piled up my stuff in the spot next to me, put my head on it, and drifted in and out of sleep only to awakened by an announcement that the flight would be further delayed due to "weather" between NYC and Chicago. They said they were going to board us and let us sit on the tarmac for another 1.5 hours. I had to hear that a few times before it sunk in. Once we got on the plane we learnt it would be more like 2 hours, possibly longer. But at least I was near the bathroom! And on some level there's something kind of cool about knowing that a war is being fought in your very own digestive system and that's why you're feeling so damned awful.

I kept very still, which held the nausea at bay and made the massive headache throb a bit less. I even slept a bit and ate a cracker or two. Apparently they had merged two flights into one, because many sleek first class types were stuck in steerage with the rest of us. The woman next to me was a Platinum member and very upset to be in the last row and not able to have the whole can of ginger ale to herself because "there isn't enough." Even worse, she was next to sweaty, scary me, with a very bright black-and-red bandanna covering my nose and mouth to minimize her headache-magnifying cologne and so no one could see me sleep with my mouth hanging open and drooling. I also had my hood over my head to keep warm. And the glasses. And disheveled hair. The Columbine terrorist look.

I had placed the barf bag in a strategic spot and was taking the occasional sip of ginger ale; plain water made me feel awful. The interminable flight went sort of OK until we hit turbulence right before touching down. That weird salty saline started squirting from the sides of my mouth and I reached for the sick bag and put my head into the aisle, near my left knee. More sweating. But somehow I held it in. I had to spare Platinum lady the spectacle, if nothing else.

We finally landed and went to the gate. But it wasn't over yet. After the seatbelt sign went off they made us stand in the aisle another 15 minutes while they hooked us up to the gate -- at this point I was getting ready to lose it -- and then apologized for the "short delay." Then another ten minutes of waiting while the rest of the passengers located their luggage, jockeyed for position and finally deplaned. I kicked myself for saying earlier in the day, "Well, at least I'm only flying to Chicago. It's not like that time I was so sick and had to fly from Bangalore to Frankfurt." No, that trip was just a couple of hours longer.

After a weird trancelike marathon-length walk to baggage claim I got my stuff and headed outside, where I found Dorian Black waiting for me exactly where he said he would be.

On the way home I fancied mashed potatoes -- a good sign, I think -- which we got from KFC. The couple of bites I had stayed down, as did the pain reliever I took later, and which knocked out the headache.

It was such a treat to be back in my own place, with the bedroom right across from the bathroom, and where I'm not disturbing anyone every time I used it (and where there's no line to get into Trader Joe's!). I slept like the dead. Today I got up at 7:30 and took a bath and ate some crackers and went back to sleep til noon.