Nov 11, 2008

Isn't it perfect? Isn't it just what you would expect? Bush's aids have been ranting all day about how the President was betrayed by leaks from Obama, following their meeting yesterday. And what was so secret? That Bush is willing to exchange his support for a GM bailout in return for democratic congressional support for free-trade agreements with Columbia and two other Latin American countries. A bailout is fine for his chums on Wall Street, in the financial sector, but not the companies employing thousands of blue collar workers. Save Wall St.; let Main Street smolder.

Or so it would seem. Meanwhile, who knows where the bailout money is going. Who knows how certain companies are being rewarded, others not. It's the divving up in the backroom, before the place is raided.

In the end, it really wasn't that Bush sat on Cheney's knee, it was that Bush had no moral sense or moral courage to speak of.

Nov 10, 2008

Of course, now there is all this hoopla. Finally, we can feel good about ourselves as Americans. But it's not all good. Already, something is starting to happen. Have you talked to women lately about their dream life?

Here's what's happening: they're all dreaming of Obama. They're massaging his back, they're walking with him off down the beach. Or, although they're reluctant to say this, they're making love to him. And you think, 'well what about Michelle?' These women don't give a damn about Michelle. Sure, they like her dresses, but they want her man.

And you understand, the dream is not about fucking him; it's about making love to him. It's about having his babies, it's about consoling him after a bad day at the office. This is what we're talking about. What's happening is they're falling deeply in love. For some, it's the first time in years. It's beyond Freudian. It's beyond matinee idols and icons. We'll need a new term. The Obama-fication of the American woman. Or maybe you could say, the refeminization of America. It means that American women have been won over, made over, and taken over. Even the ones that voted for McCain. You can hear it in their voices and the glazed eyes when they hear him. If he's anywhere in your house, on TV, on a magazine cover, if someone says so much as "oh, I think I'll switch on the light..." They hear that "O" and they're suddenly all tuned in, all the rabbit ears are up.

I'll bet you any money this is going to be a campaign issue long before the next election cycle. Hannity, el Rushbow, Brian the 'whether man' and the boys in white hoods, they'll have a word on this any day now. And you see how insidious it is: if you make so much as a peep, if you saying anything at all to a woman under the trance, even just a passing joke — they cut you off. "Why don't you go play tennis." Or, "Why don't you go work in the garden?" Or, "Isn't there a football game on?" They can't stand the sight of you. You've been erased and replaced. Rich or poor doesn't matter. It's like a sci-fi movie. It's like Obama is a pod person who has penetrated the female psyche.

And so what will happen? The therapist's office are going to be filled with a flood of dispirited, angry, jealous, and frustrated men. If you thought men were in decline, if you thought their best day was past, just wait. You remember the movie with the title from that Hopi term, Koyanaskatsi, "Life out of balance". That's what's happening on a vast psychological plain. But you won't realize the consequences until it's too late.

Now my wife is talking about starting "Obama's Mammas", a philanthropic group that would meet regularly to take on well meaning projects. Creative projects, of course, and launched with the hope that maybe she'll get to go to the White House one day. And once she gets in to those quarters, watch out. It's the good liberal gone berserk.

Get him out of there!

Head shot

Head shot
Originally uploaded by macnamband

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Nov 5, 2008

After Ohio came in I went down the street to get a bottle of champagne. On the corner of 46th and Judah, a woman and a man stood at the bush shelter. In their 40s give or take. As I passed, the woman stopped me. She had glass in her eyes. Meth maybe or just dope? "Have you got..." she started to say. I cut her off and asked if she'd voted. "McCain," she said. I nodded and turned.

She followed me and grabbed my hand. "Who did you vote for?" I told her.

She was dressed up. She looked over her shoulder. The man with her was standing a few yards away, in the shadows. He was not dressed up. He was skinny, poor white looking. He wore thick bifocals and low sneakers. "My husband doens't know," she said.

Know what?

"Actually, when I got in the booth I went for Obama. My husband's a big McCain fan, he made me promise."

Did you?

"Yea, I did, but you know when I got in there I just had to pick Obama."


"Because he's smarter. We want someone smart, don't we? My husband listens to that Hannity and those people and he's got all this misinformation."

How do you know it is?

"Oh, I know it is."

I didn't believe her.

"He listens all the time. Every day. He'll drag me to the radio and make me listen too. He's like a fanatic. I can't stand it anymore."

The husband was looking our way but I couldn't tell how much he could hear."

Was she a trick, I wondered. The glass in her eyes was clearing up. She asked my name. I asked hers.

"Diane," she said. "It's gonna be better isn't it? With him."

I said it was. I turned the corner, dropped in the Korean place, and got the best bottle of champs they had, which wasn't saying much.

Nov 3, 2008

You are in an old rambling house used as an office for a family-run newspaper. The house is chock full of furniture and books and debris. The floors groan. You're being interviewed. This is the second time. The last time everything went smoothly. You're talking with the editor who is explaining what will be asked. The problem is that this is not your subject. You try to explain it. This doesn't make sense, you're saying.

When you were here before you were sleeping with a dark-haired woman, who suddenly left last night. You think of her, stretched out on a divan, so sexy, so sure of herself. She was everyone's one night love. And then suddenly she's betting on love with someone from long ago. You're thinking that as much as she thinks it will work out, it won't. She'll be back to her old tricks. But you keep remembering her nostalgically.

Meanwhile, the interview is about to start. You are going on camera. Thank God, it’s tape so if you make a mistake you can correct it. You imagine how you will look in the camera. There is a problem with your clothing. The editor-in-chief is an environmentalist. He’s wearing a hat with a claim check in the brim. Like an old-fashioned bookie. After the interview, you go for a stroll in the gardens around the house. Not unlike Rodin's house. There are sculptures here and there.

There’s also a sailboat in a canal. The boat must be 40 feet. A sloop. You’re looking at some plants along the bank. Then, you’re in the water, standing waist-deep in the canal. It's a sulky, gray afternoon. The water is pitch black and cool. There are people on the boat. Suddenly, it catches fire. There's an explosion. But was anyone killed? Maybe just sound and smoke. Someone on the bank to the right has a loudspeaker. They’re explaining to the survivors that they will now experience a series of torments: plague, pestilence, date-rape drugs, rattle snakes in their beds, cutting remarks, things from the devil's trunk.

You get out of there, get to the front of the house. There's a road, traffic going by. You step out and try to stop a man in a low, burnished-steel sports car. This is just tin you think as you get up to it. Just tin. How could you drive this? The man is bald and wearing glasses. You need a ride. You commandeer his imagination with your fear. Ok, he says. Maybe, he doesn't even say that. You jump in. You keep looking at the tin dashboard. The car is like an old MGB. How odd. Must be a collector, you're thinking. Then, Thank God. There's a policeman/soldier on the side of the road. He's got a machine gun with a scope. He's dressed in blue. You hop out and approach him....

Nov 1, 2008

Down at Philz Coffee on 24th Street. Saturday morning. A homeless man hiding under a blanket, on a torn-up leather sofa. Just the man’s face: scared, dreary-eyed. He looks like a GI on the cover of a winter issue of Life in 1944. Next to to him, a shin-high, white short-haired dog licks the floor. In among the hiss and belch of the coffee-maker and the chatter, Philz's got his music going: violins, accordions, a Lebanese singer. Ya-habbibi. I’m 13 again. I'm in the backseat of a taxi running down the bluffs above Ababa. At the far end of a life later I’m here, a face in someone else's memory of magazine photos. The neighborhood is lining up at the counter. Tattooed, dread-locked kids, mostly.

Phil is at the maker, dealing out lattes and medical advice: coffee cures all. No money, drink coffee. No boyfriend, drink coffee. It will give you the self you’ve been missing, it'll get you back on the road to success. He spots me, takes a break. He’s wearing blue jeans; button-down, striped shirt; a detective’s harrow brimmed hat. Like they wear in Queens. He’s small but broad shouldered. Fearless body language. You wouldn’t want to fight him unless you had to. His employees know better. When he’s not behind the counter he’s in what was once a freezer, now his office, big enough for two and a TV with four different camera views of the café. He watches his employees carefully. He sees everything. Once he saw me do him good turn. He never forgets a good turn.

I ask him who he’s voting for. The answer is a smile, a slinty-eyed, souky smile. He shakes his head. It’s all charm, no answers. It’s in his blood not to say. You never know who might be listening. And of course it’s not good business to say such things in public. Phil’s family got here in the early 1900s, from the West Bank. When did he get here? I don’t know. He doesn't say. But a thick accent. He knows all the Palestinians in the neighhood, including Mustafa and his brother over at B & W garage. There a lot of small businesses around the city run by Palestinians. The DA courts them closely at reelection time.

I press him on his political choice. He shakes his head. I berate him a little. Why be coy? What’s to figure out? He leans forward; he’s going to tell me the truth. I lean in. “Do you see this girl over here with the tattoos on the back of her leg?" He flicks his head. I see her. She’s fat-calved and up all night, and not a good night at that. She’s trying to drink the coffee, get back up to the road to success, but she can barely hold the cup. She looks like one of these Amy Winehouses not wanting to go back to rehab.

"She's famous."

"But who you voting for?" I ask again. He shakes his head. "Oh then you must be voting for McCain."

He leans in again. The smile is gone. You don't want to fool with Phil now. "You don't know who I'm voting for. I could be voting for Obama. But I'm worried about what will happen to him. You know what I'm talking about."

Yes, of course, I'm thinking. Of course. I know what you're talking about.