Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Year-End Blah-Blah, Part 2
Please scroll down and read Sera's year-end Part 1 first. No cheating!

Are you in the mood for another litany of excuses for this blog's recent inertia? Do you wanna hear about all the stuff I had to write? You do not. But like Sera (only without the studios and producers and hyperventilating webgeek fans and actors with chiseled cheekbones), I, too, have been scribbling away pert-near nonstop -- to the detriment of our Semitic sounding board. Regrets? I've had a few, Jew.

But now that 2008 has almost coughed out its last rattles, I'm finally going to crank out a post -- and, with any luck, set free some thought-bats that have been flapping around my belfry.

In some ways this last year felt like a test. Yeah, some really fucking horrible shit happened -- and keeps happening -- but by now that feels de rigueur for the Bush era (only about 20 more days, beloveds, but please keep your seatbelts fastened until we come to a complete stop). I'm talking about implosion of structures that I imagined would never buckle. I'm talking about financial shockwaves and devastation, some of them perpetrated by a Jewish investor whose name we will not invoke without spitting twice upon the ravaged ground. The icecaps kept melting. The bombs kept going off at schools and restaurants and checkpoints in countries where "American interests" required protection.

There were other, more personal losses in my circle. A family friend who'd known me since I was a fetus and who saw me get married twice and whose insight and wicked sense of humor were a bulwark against life's most heinous storms ended her days in a hospital, stricken insensate.

I'd borrowed Sera's copy of The Year of Magical Thinking and had been thinking about what happens to the mind in the face of such absolute subtraction. I had vowed to give up magical thinking myself, in all ways, and 2008 put that to the test. So, for the first time: no desperate praying, no "don't say anything, you'll jinx it," no clinging to the idea that my thoughts would affect the outcome. Giving up magical thinking has been like quitting some dependable opiate - fewer floaty moments, perhaps, but also fewer crashes of the system.

But when we went to the Day of the Dead celebration at Hollywood Forever cemetery, where costumed revelers twirled tirelessly to an endless loop of drunken mariachi music and headstones were bedecked with lace and lights, I approached one white, spartan shrine, where the dead were memorialized on scraps of paper, and scrawled my friend's name. It served no rational purpose, and I doubt that anyone who knew her saw it. But she was a writer who lived and breathed the multiplicitous rituals and turns and bends of the city. So, in this still, veiled cubicle of light in the middle of a rollicking graveyard party, I penned a message to her through the ether. Some vestige of magical thinking abides.

But all this death and bad juju aside, I remain grateful.

For my Julia and our little hilltop life with gardens and computers and plans and lists of things to do and blankets and dinners in front of the TV.

For my family, carrying on in the storm and inviting strangers to the table.

For my brilliant nephews, growing into fine young men before my eyes.

For my dear friend Sera, achieving the greatness and recognition I've known she would reach since first we met.

For my other extraordinary, talented, kind-hearted friends, who don't hear often enough about how I cherish their minds and hearts.

For my little boat of a business, still upright and affording me a chance to live by my wits, like I always said I wanted to.

For the chance to sing.

For a new government, which will have a full plate cleaning up after the old one.

For a new year, full of new possibilities. For the acknowledgement that we're beholden to one another, the intertwining of destinies. Did you notice how much more this holiday season has been about giving charitably than about getting stuff?

And for all of you, friends and strangers, who stop what you're doing to read our words when we actually get our tuchuses in gear and write them. Now that's magical.

Happy New Year. We love you and we promise to be better correspondents in 2009.

Friday, December 26, 2008

No, seriously, I’ve never been busier.
(a year-end howdy from the female half of us)

I know I’ve said it before but this time I mean it. October hit and I suddenly had drafts due for three different projects at the same time. (Including a movie, which I found out is supposed to be kind of long.) If I'm bragging, it's mostly about how stupid my scheduling was.

When have I ever written this much? Funny you should ask. The last time I was this prolific was longhand in my diary, the month my boyfriend cheated on me, summer after the 11th grade. I had a lot of angry poetry to get out of my system. This is different, though. Because, you know, paycheck. And spellcheck. And nothing rhymes, praise be to Allah. And I am to being single as naughty little shoplifting fat kids are to candy stores with sleepy cashiers: relishing the timing and smirking at my luck.

But I totally way frickin' digress. Hi. It's me, Sera. I didn’t want to let 2008 go without at least saying sayonara to my UberHot Brethren. Sistren. Whatevren.

Also, I wanted to warn you about that movie The Reader. I’ve been living in a spiderhole, so I had no idea what it was about, and I wish to God someone had told me before I settled in with a pal and a plate of sushi to watch a screener DVD.

SPOILER ALERT! After an act that’s AWESOME, ‘cause it’s all about a chick in her thirties fucking an uncomfortably hot ostensibly fifteen-ish year old boy, Kate Winslet turns out to be a FULL ON NAZI. It squicked me to the max, so, public service: SS officer. I had to wash my whole self, twice. Ew. Yeah, I know, that's a problem but I apparently have no problem whatsoever with women fucking boys half their age. In my defense, I’ve been told by more than one man to whom this happened that a) it rocked and b) it was like sex college. (Also, um... Kate's not much older than me. So let's not be too hasty with the whole "old" nomenclature.) Okay, enough of that. The movie was good. Kate Winslet is a genius. Who else would make you feel sorta kinda ambivalent (or at least less than outright murderous) about a NAZI PRISON GUARD who let two hundred people burn to death in a locked barn? Give the woman a fucking Oscar already, for the love of all that's decent. Onward.

Alrighty then: 2008, ending. On a note of exhaustion. I told you at the beginning of the year we were gonna be Dancing It Out. Remember that? All that time ago? Not to get all... Shania Twain, is it? No, LeAnne Womack, sorry... on you, but I Hope You Danced, too. Did you? If so, wasn't it great? Told you.

As for the Theme For 2009… I dunno yet. Got any suggestions? I've been tossing around a few ideas. Tempting to wrap some form of Obama reference in, but look, it's my belief that you and I, the Spicy Hot and Jewy (or Not) shouldn't depend on a politician for hope, inspiration, and general joie de vivre in the new year. No, we should depend on Singing At The Top Of Our Lungs Like The Whole Damn World Is Our Shower. Or, Bringing Back The Mixtape. Year Of The Roadtrip -- even if we only get from Santa Monica to Van Nuys? Year Of The Dog, where we all start acting more like Mojo, since he clearly has it all figured out and may well be our greatest teacher? Year Of Talking Less? (Doubtful.) Hmmm. I’ll ruminate, you ruminate, let’s meet back here to make it official.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

From 8 to Love

Hi, Mishpuchah. Sorry it's take so long to shake off the weird combination of euphoria and horror (euphorror?) that followed the election and cobble together a post.

On the one hand, welcome to the Obama era, right? Lots of good stuff is going to happen! Yay!

On the other, what the fuck's up with passing Prop 8, Cali? (For our readers in Bahrain and Dublin who've been out of the loop, California narrowly passed a ballot initiative that changed our consititution to ban gay marriage.) That's some bullshit. And though the writing is on the wall, historically speaking, and 8 will be invalidated either by a court or by another popular vote (possible slogan for the counter-initiative: This time it's even more personal), we'd be lying if we said we weren't stung by this loss, this disgusting slap in the face to our friends.

So, let's review just a bit of recent history. Gay people turn their queer eye on your crappy fashion and make you prettier so you can get laid and advise you on turning your dump of a living room into a suburban palace and pepper your lame-ass sitcom with witty dialogue and produce your awards shows and write your speeches and take your temperature and administer your company and engineer your buildings and you're all, like, what have you done for me lately? Let's face it: If the gays ever go on strike, the straight world will end up curled up in a fetal position on the floor in about 14 hours. But their pursuit of happiness? Talk to the fuckin' hand.

But ranting gets us nowhere, and there's enough of it going on.

This whole struggle is about love. Those of us who argued against 8 - and we get it, we could've been louder, clearer and more effective - were motivated by the heart.

So we're going to shine our Jew-light on love. We're going to start telling love stories - gay, straight, whatevs. Relationships and valentines and ooey-gooey tales of romance. Bring it on. Because no matter what anybody says, love is love.

Tell us your love stories.