Thursday, June 26, 2008

Kanye once again offended, sucks

"It broke my heart that I couldn't give these fans 'Stronger' in its
greatest form," said West, referring to his hit song. "I'm sorry to
everyone that I didn't have the ability 2 give the performance I wanted
to. I'm sorry."

Kanye West defended himself from criticism over his delayed performance at a Tennessee festival saying on his blog that the criticism he has endured has made him "the most offended I've ever been."

West, who was scheduled to go on at 2:45 a.m. on June 15 didn't actually take the stage until 4:25 a.m., inciting a revolt from the crowd who had stayed to see the rapper perform. While waiting for the show to start the crowd pelted the stage with glow sticks and beer, while chanting "Kanye sucks." The delay was caused by issues erecting West's extravagant stage set which includes planetary landscapes and a giant video screen.

Kanye's defense came in a blog post, written in caps, at "This Bonnaroo thing is the worst insult I've ever had in my life," he wrote. And that's saying a lot. If you remember West was once totally dissed at the Grammys, being sidelined by Britney Spears. West later lashed out at MTV for exploiting Spears for ratings.

West concluded by saying his elaborate stage cuts his payday in half and leaves him icing his knees. "Call me what you want," he said, "but never say I didn't give my all!"

This just in: you're an asshole.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Dobson's controversial use of 'ruitcake'

Dr. James Dobson, sensing his window of relevancy quickly closing, gave young whipper-snapper Barack Obama a strong tongue lashing for "distorting the Bible." The focus of Dobson's complaint was a 2006 speech given by Obama to liberal clergy where the senator attempted to point out the difficulties in legislating through religion, noting the various factions found in religion.

"Even if we did have only Christians in our midst, if we expelled every non-Christian from the United States of America, whose Christianity would we teach in the schools?" Mr. Obama asked. "Would we go with James Dobson's or Al Sharpton's?"

"There is no equivalence to us," Dobson opined. "Unlike Mr. Sharpton, I am not a Reverend. I am not a minister. I am not a theologian. I am not an Evangelist. I am a psychologist."

"Frankly, I don't like his tone," Dobson added. "Kids these days, with their loud musics, their Nintendos and their internets... I just don't understand it. Kids used to be seen and not heard. Now we have all this!"

When asked what he meant Dobson replied, "I'm cold. Fetch my slippers, would you?"

"Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy," Mr. Obama asked in the two-year old speech. "Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is OK and that eating shellfish is abomination? How about Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount - a passage that is so radical that it's doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application?"

"So before we get carried away, let's read our bibles. Folks haven't been reading their bibles," Mr. Obama added.

"He says we ought to read the bible, I think he ought to read the Bible," Dr. Dobson said, noting Mr. Obama was mistaken in his interpretation of Deuteronomy. "Why can't he leave Deuteronomy out of it? He was such a wonderful fat tabby, and would never hurt a fly. Why he used to sit on my radiator and sun himself for hours..."

Then, wistfully, Dobson added, "He was magnificent. I loved that cat."

When asked what he meant by this Dobson said, "Fetch me my pills, will ya? Help an old man out and I've a quarter with your name on it."

"In my day we didn't deliberately distort traditional Biblical understanding," Dobson droned on. "We respected our elders and their traditions. By gum, if we didn't do that an elder would take us behind the woodshed and give us a real lesson. Grover Cleveland once gave me a lesson on two non consecutive occasions."

Finally Dobson called Obama's interpretation of the constitution "fruitcake."

"That's right, I said 'fruitcake'!" Dobson repeated. "Yes, and now run back to your editors. If that language is too strong I'll tell you what I really think! Return to me in two days time with a glass of warm milk, will you?"

"Dr. Dobson's use of the word 'fruitcake' was carefully considered," said Tom Minnery, senior vice president for government and public policy at Focus on the Family. "We bandied a few strong adjectives about. You know, the usual suspects: 'bananas', 'bonkers', 'crackpot', 'cuckoo',
'daffy', 'gaga', 'hair brained'... ultimately we chose 'fruitcake' which is on one hand a nod to all the old ladies who faithfully read our newsletter, and also to let young Mr. Obama know that these old people always turn up to vote. We mean business."

"What? Are you serious?" Obama spokesman Joshua DuBois said in a reply. "I'd hate to think that we've upset a man of Dobson's stature. We'd be happy to meet and talk it all out over a bowl of hard candy. And we apologize for digging up his tomato garden."

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Republican national convention short on volunteers

The Republicans sharply picked St. Paul, the Minnesota state capital, for their 2008 national convention. The strategy was simple: Minnesota is an important Midwestern swing state which has been trending red over the last few election cycles. The Republicans rewarded Minnesota with their convention in hopes that it would tip the state to the red in 2008.

But in a sign that things may not be going red in 2008, and with the convention a little over two months away, Republican coordinators have been hampered lack of local volunteers. A plea has gone up, led by St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman and Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak, asking for more people to sign up.

"This is not about being partisan; it's about putting our [Minnesota's]
best foot forward," said Teresa McFarland, a spokeswoman for the 2008 Republican National Convention. "It's been 116 years since we have
had a convention here and this is a chance to be a part of history."

It sounds to me like Minnesota may be on its way to making history if this keeps up. And, for me, it's about being partisan.

Read the whole story here.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Long live St. Louis

"Everyone has a tear or two for gritty cities facing
hard times — for the Detroits, the Clevelands, the Buffalos — but who spares a
thought for the elegant dowager reduced to reusing teabags?"

So begins a Time article on the proud city of St. Louis, which has seem a dramatic population decline, and now faces a takeover of its beloved Anheuser-Busch brewing company by InBev, from Belgium. Everyone from Govenor Matt Blunt to Senator Claire McCaskill to the 58,000 who have signed the Save A-B petition, are trying to stop the deal from happening. But it looks doubtful that anyone can stop it.

"In the end, poor St. Louis may have to trust in InBev's promise to
keep St. Louis as its North American headquarters and flagship brewery," the article concludes. "As
for the Clydesdales — most of them moved to a farm in California years ago."

One St. Louis University professor summed up the city itself in this way, "St. Louis is, unfortunately, the city of yesterday. It
was built for the factory system, the steamboat and the railroad—and
made obsolete by the internal combustion engine."

Voting to secede from the surrounding county in 1876 to avoid paying an increase in services, St. Louis was one of the few major cities that did not extend its boundaries. In the 1950s, highways and affordable mortgages allowed people to live in the suburbs, and St. Louis saw a dramatic population decline.

However, the size of the city is not a measure of its worth. St. Louis is charming and accessible. The people are friendly. They can talk everything from baseball to poetry, yet there is hardly a whiff of pretension anywhere around. The restaurants sum up the city well: they are both cultured and pedestrian at the same time. St. Louis is home to well-heeled universities, three major sports teams, great ethnic food, beautiful neighborhoods, good music, riverboats, one 630-ft.-high stainless-steel arch, and, for now, the largest brewery in America.

Long live St. Louis.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

NBA Finals predictions revisited

Cherry picking from my previous post on the Celtics' championship, I found an article from June 5 in the Boston Sports Blog rounding-up finals predictions by the experts.

Most in the national media have glommed on to the Lakers machine in predicting the outcome of this series, lauding Kobe Bryant as the difference-maker, Phil Jackson's Zen more powerful than Red Auerbach's ghost. The most talked-about prognosis this week came from ESPN, where nine out of 10 experts picked the Lakers.

The only non-Boston-affiliated writer listed brave enough to pick the Celtics was Steve Dilbeck, of the Los Angeles Daily News (!!) who wrote, "The Lakers are this oddly popular pick. People are so worked up about them it's over the top. All this local gushing has spilled onto the national stage."

He seems to have accurately sized up Pau Gasol, the heralded big man the Lakers aquired from the Memphis Grizlies in a trade steal earlier this year.
"And although Gasol has helped the Lakers develop into a better team," Dilbeck wrote, "He is not such a dramatic upgrade over Bynum that his arrival assures things will be different now."

He even accurately targeted Paul Pierce, who would go on to become finals MVP, as "the one player the Lakers have no answer for."

Dilbeck then wrapped things up by saying the Celtics were hungrier, better, and possessed home court advantage.
"Despite all this, most talking heads seem to favor the Lakers. They seem swept up by the Lakers' impressive playoff run."

I'm sick of seeing Boston win, or even almost win. But the only thing that makes it enjoyable is when they sweep away the swept up crowd.

Obama tide continues to turn against McCain

Electoral-vote now has Barack Obama up 317 to 221 over John McCain. If the election were held today Obama would pick up Colorado, Iowa, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio and Virginia while losing none vs John Kerry's 2004 state total. Since last week Obama has picked up Virginia, which was tied, and Wisconsin, which was slightly red. McCain has reclaimed Indiana, which was tied.

The website, which monitors state to state polling in the national election, along with polls for the House and Senate seats, is also indicating five Senate seat gains for the Democrats in November, with none for the Republicans.

Celtics prove talking-heads wrong in six games

When the Los Angeles Lakers, led by the undeniably great Kobe Bryant, dispatched the defending champion San Antonio Spurs in five games, talk began of a new basketball dynasty. The Lakers were young, talented, and led by a coach with no less than nine championships to his name. They had run circles around the unflappable Spurs, and expert analysts suddenly proclaimed how old the latter team was when, just one week before, they were compared to tempered steel. Kobe was again the toast of the town, and happily compared to Michael Jordan in even measured sentences. His march to a fourth championship a foregone conclusion.

And now those same columnists, radio hosts, and analysts are wondering what went wrong after the Lakers' six game subjugation to the Boston Celtics, a team heralded for having the best record in the NBA, but picked by almost no one to top Los Angeles in the finals.

After a quick two game drubbing to the Lakers all comparisons between Bryant and Jordan ceased. The tone switched to how effective Bryant was playing on a less talented team. It became clear that the Celtics, whose gritty determination, skilled defense, and floor spreading team play, had the elements on the floor that win a championship. While the Lakers' reliance on a superstar, a finesse offense, and coaching acumen, suddenly looked more style than substance.

The road to Celtic title was halted briefly in game three when, in Los Angeles, the Lakers held on to their large early-game lead and won by six. Game four proved to be the pivotal match with the Lakers bounding out to a 21 point lead in the first quarter. By the half the Celtics were no closer than 18. But the Lakers, contriving to blow the thing in front of their horrified fans, put up an anemic 33 second quarter points, and watched Boston eclipse and win by six. The next day pundits wanted to know one thing: was it a collapse or a comeback? As if the two are ever mutually exclusive.

The Lakers forestalled the Celtics one more time, holding on to game five by five. But in the end, in game six, it was all Boston in Boston. As if to quell any doubts the Celtics won going away, shelling Los Angeles with 131 points and allowing them 97. A modern day Boston Massacre.

My hat goes off to the Celtics. The team won 24 games last year, good for the second worst record in the sport (behind only Memphis). They lost the lottery to Portland, and then went out and assembled a championship team from available players. Kevin Garnett was had from Minnesota and Ray Allen was signed. Both would play alongside the talented Paul Pierce. Teams with superstars often falter under their own weight (see: Denver) but this team won 26 of their first 29 games and never looked back. They slugged their way through the playoffs, dispatched the formidable Detroit Pistons in six games, and then made their hated rivals, the Lakers, a footnote in their history. They did it by playing good basketball, playing as as the better team, and silenced the Bryant - Jordan debate for another eleven months.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Is the tide turning on stupid male syndrome?

Obama now leading McCain 287-227

Checking the latest state polling numbers, Barack Obama now leads John McCain 287-227, with 24 votes up for grabs. Currently this puts Obama outside the margin of error as he is running above the 270 votes needed to win.

This marks a turnaround from a few weeks ago when the Senator from Illinois found himself down to McCain in state to state electoral vote counts. Since then Obama has turned Pennsylvania, Missouri and Ohio for a 52 vote turnaround. Virginia has also gone from "weak GOP" to "exactly tied" while Indiana still remains tied. If the election were held today the Democrats would pick up five states from 2004, the Republicans would get one--a 37 vote shift to the left (with Indiana and Virginia up for grabs).

I'll continue to monitor the polling at as the general election heats up.

This Obama pickup coincides with an article in today's Wall Street Journal stating that the GOP is also preparing for big congressional losses in the 2008 elections. One research center predicts Democratic gains of eight to 12 seats in the House and five in the Senate. Another is prediction 10 to 20 in the House and four to seven in the Senate.

The dynamics at work: voters' sharply negative views of President Bush and dismal feelings about the direction of the country, including rising oil and gas prices, a weak economy and fallout from the housing crisis. Even though Congress continues to register low approval ratings, voters overall appear to prefer putting Democrats in charge.

The Republicans have already lost three House seats this year in special elections in Republican-leaning areas. Many in the party are citing this as the canary in the coal mine for the November elections.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The death of conservativism?

We come not to praise the Conservativism, but to bury it

Conservativism has been the driving political force for the last 40 years. Formulated with Barry Goldwater, it found power in President Nixon, and flourished under President Reagan. According to recent examinations it has now floundered and perhaps failed during President Bush's watch. Writers are rushing in to give the eulogy.

"It is rapidly falling apart," George Packer proclaims in a piece entitled The fall of conservativism, available in the May 26 edition of The New Yorker magazine. "Have the Republicans run out of ideas?" He asks, and reading the article the answer is a strongly implied "yes!" All this barely four years removed from the 2004 elections where the conservative movement looked interminable. Nothing could stop it. Not even George W. Bush, who won re-election even after it was clear that the centerpiece of his presidency, the war in Iraq, was quickly becoming an unruly fiasco.

The 2004 elections were so mind boggling, conservatism's grip on society so strong, that I did what I had to do and started this blog as an attempt to work my way through a few key questions. Where did the country stand after the 2004 election? And which direction it was going? I seemed to be in the minority in thinking Iraq a mistake, Bush a fool, and conservativism an arrogantly faulty movement. But if writers like George Packer are to be trusted, maybe something is in the air for a big change. Not to be outdone, Michael Lind writes in today's Salon,"On every front conservatives have failed, completely, undeniably and irreversibly."

Whereas Packer retains his balanced approach to the question at hand, one cannot help but read Lind's article, Relax, liberals, you've already won without picturing a beleaguered progressive relishing what he predicts to be a dramatic turn in the voting population. It's hard to blame his burst of exuberance, as one liberated from of Vichy France. For liberals it has been a long time coming, and with the rise of political heavyweights like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, along with a string of electoral victories stretching back to the 2006 bellwether elections, the genie is quickly emerging from the bottle.

Bill Clinton's two-term presidency, undoubtedly a high point for liberals over the last 40 years, was certainly not idealistic, and now seems awkwardly placed in-between conservative victories. Clinton was hampered by a conservative congress and forced to triangulate to the middle in order to retain his presidency. This is how I remember it in its heyday. I was 20, and Republican, when Bob Dole stood up to challenge the crafty Democratic president but his doom was foreseen the moment the Senator from Kansas ended a debate by stumbling through his campaign URL. At the time URLs and the internet were a new phenomenon, and you knew immediately the Bob Dole had no idea what either were. But he was trying desperately to appear young, and sharp, and hip, but time was against him. I was appalled that he was the strongest person the Republicans could come up with. Dole lost in a landslide.

In 2000, I was 24, still Republican, and I assumed Al Gore would continue right where his predecessor had left off. I figured then that the Republicans were in serious trouble, out of gas, with a blooming economy staring them right in the face. But Gore proved to be unable to connect with voters, and Bush had a talented campaign team, and connections to steal the election if necessary, which he did.

But, as Packer writes, "Conservatives knew how to win elections; however, they turned out to be not very interested in governing. Throughout the decades since Nixon, conservativism has retained the essentially negative character of an insurgent movement."

Packer states that the idea of a permanent conservative majority not
only went against history, but was "blown up in Iraq and drowned in New
Orleans." This shattered the illusion that politics mattered more than policy. Iraq was the issue that woke me up and turned me away from conservativism. It seemed inept and inefficient. Both Packer and Lind argue that Americans want their government to be productive and they want their government to be, above all, capable. We want it to help, not hurt us, and after all this time, Packer writes that conservatives "hadn't made much of a dent in the bureaucracy, and they had done nothing to provide universal health-care coverage or arrest growing economic inequality."

And there we get back to Packer's central issue: do the Republicans have any ideas on how to confront the problems most American's face? More importantly: do Americans trust Republicans to help them? As he describes it, conservativism is now plagued with "a doctrinaire failure to adapt to new circumstances, new problems." And he points out that polls now show that Americans are siding with Democrats on almost every domestic issue, from social security to the environment.

It appears the stage should be set for a Democratic victory in the 2008 general election. But not even Lind is bold enough to make that prediction. Indeed both writers remain cautious, qualifying things by saying that no matter who is in the White House in 2008, it wont matter, the movement to the left is here to stay. I doubt many liberals will be buoyed by this in the event that they do lose in November. Both writers allude to the greatest benefit of winning elections: stocking the judiciary to your side of the political scales.

Has 40 years of conservativism battered the hopefulness out of liberals? Even Michael Lind, who declared liberal victory in the title of his article, a venerable "Mission Accomplished!" ends his article with a warning about the potential rise of a "more formidable and competitive version of American conservativism" liberated from neoconservative ties. Ah, that's the skeptical liberalism I've tied myself too. You're never too far ahead to prepare for failure. The "win" Lind refers to is simply the chance. "The prospects for the moderate, reformist center left are better than they have been in nearly half a century" he concludes.

George Packer's writing has always had an everyman view that I find appealing. His own speculations about conservativism are not without talking to actual conservatives. Following a rally in the Appalachian hills of eastern Kentucky, Packer spoke with a few McCain supporters over beers about Democratic nominee Barack Obama. Packer recalls how they unapologetically refuse to ever vote for a black man. "No speech, on race, on elitism or anything else, would move them," Packer solemnly writes. "Here was one part of the white working class--maybe not representative, but at least significant."

My optimism for Obama in 2008 lies somewhere in-between Lind's exasperation and Packer's acumen. It's part emotional and it's part logical. I feel the average American has moved to the left on cultural issues, on race, and on ideals. In 2008 this began to make major headlines as Obama, an African American, and Hillary Clinton, battled for the highest office in the land. I feel the movement is here. It has taken root despite years of conservative victories. In my bones I feel it may be about to bloom. But in my heart I know a large swath of the population may forever be stuck in the past.

With Lakers down 0-2 Kobie-Jordan comparisons drop 83 percent

With the Los Angeles Lakers down two games to none against the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals, comparisons between Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan are down 83% across sports media nation-wide. Sports media trackers are monitoring a sharp rise in the "Can Kobe win without a superstar" line of debate.

"Just a week ago sports outlets like The Dan Patrick Show were buzzing about Kobe and Jordan comparisons," says Don Williams, a sports media expert analyst. "Now that they're down 0-2 no one is even mentioning it. In-fact, the specter of what used to haunt Kobe, his inability to lead a team to a championship without someone like Shaquille O'Neil, is rising sharply."

Sports media outlets excitedly began comparing Kobe to Jordan, a six time NBA champion, after the Lakers dispatched the San Antonio Spurts in the NBA Western Conference Finals.

"The presumption seemed to be that Kobe was going to win his fourth championship and then we'd have a real Kobe-Jordan debate," said Williams. "Of course, Kobe has to actually win the thing first. But we know ESPN and sports radio doesn't want to wait for that when it can speculate about speculation. They love to test these stories out before they actually even happen. It's very common."

The Lakers lost a tight game Thursday night in Boston to the Celtics, 98-88. The Celtics dominated most of game two on Sunday. Los Angeles came back near the end but fell short 108-102. The series now shifts to Los Angeles tonight.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Poem of the day

1. Middle-aged, supremely bored

with his wife, hating his work,

unable to sleep, he rises

from bed to pace his mansion

in slippers and robe, wondering

if this is all there ever

will be to becoming Henry Ford,

the man who created

the modern world. The skies

above the great Rouge factory

are black with coke smoke, starless,

the world is starless now, all

because he remade it in

his image, no small reward.

2. Monday comes, as it must, with a pale

moon sinking below the elms.

They told us another dawn was

on the way, possibly held up

by traffic on Grand Boulevard

or by Henry, master of Dearborn,

who loathes sharing the light

with the unenlightened among us.

That was 60 years ago.

The day arrived, a weak sun

but none the less an actual

one, its sooty light bathing

walls, windows, eyelids while

old pal moon drifted off to sleep.

3. As a boy I’d known these fields

rife with wild phlox in April,

where at night the red-tailed fox

came to prey and the horned owl

split the air in a sudden rush

for its kill. I loved that world

with its little woods that held

their darkness and the still ponds,

clear as ice, that held the stars

each night until the dawn broke

into fenced plots of land,

claimed and named, barns and stables,

white houses with eyes shut tight

against the intrusion of sight.

4. Hell is here in the forge room

where the giant presses stamp

out body parts and the smell

of burning skin seeps into

our hair and under our nails.

The old man, King Henry, punches in

for the night shift with us,

his beloved coloreds and Yids,

to work until the shattered

windows gray. There is a justice

after all, there’s a bright anthem

for the occasion, something

familiar and blue, with words we

all sing, like “Time on My Hands.”

"Dearborn Suite" - by Philip Levine (as published in The New Yorker, June 9, 2008)

Saturday, June 07, 2008

It is finished: Clinton backs Obama!

Finally, it's over. Senator Hillary Clinton formally threw her support behind Senator Barack Obama on Saturday, clearing the way for Mr. Obama to head into the general election with a plan to challenge Senator John McCain in typically Republican states.

Mrs. Clinton ran a historic campaign, and became a figurehead for professional women and what they can accomplish. Had she won the nomination she would have become the first woman to lead a major party into a general election. As it is, Senator Barack Obama assumes the role as the first African American to head to the general election.

"Our party and our country are stronger because of the work she has done throughout her life, and I'm a better candidate for having had the privilege of competing with her," a newsletter from Mr. Obama stated earlier today. "Senator Clinton will be invaluable to our efforts to win in November, and I look forward to campaigning alongside her to bring this country the change it so desperately needs."

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Obama clinches nomination

Barack Obama becomes America's first black nominee of a major party while taking the next step towards 2008 bid for the White House and declaring "America, this is our moment!"

Viva, Obama! Viva!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Don't sweat the small stuff

Call this sensationalistic but we're all going to die from cell phone brain cancer anyway.

New Yorker trashes "Sex and the City" movie

I'll admit, I'm a little surprised by the panning "Sex and the City" received by The New Yorker. Not because "City" is supposed to be a good movie. My assumption was that all this shopping, drinking, and chatting are ingredients mixed and poured like some kind of Central Park cocktail, eagerly consumed by the critical masses. But Anthony Lane will not be fooled.

Movie reviews are to me a form of high art and writing. Good ones not only acquire the soul of a film, but analyze it on its merits. The best ones offer that and more. They recognize movies as representative of culture at large, and therefore not only critique the film but what the film is saying about its audience. "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" suggests a certain malaise among action-adventure audiences, a group which Hollywood figures will accept just about anything. According to Lane, "Sex and the City: The Movie" points to a disconcerting shallowness in modern society.

"At least, you could argue, Miranda has a job, as a lawyer," reviewer Anthony Lane states. "But the film pays it zero attention, and the other women expect her to drop it and
fly to Mexico without demur. (And she does.)"

And there's more:

Worse still is the sneering cut as the scene shifts from Carrie, carefree and childless in the New York Public Library, to the face of Miranda’s young son, smeared with spaghetti sauce. In short, to anyone facing the quandaries of being a working mother, the movie sends a vicious memo: Don’t be a mother. And don’t work. Is this really where we have ended up—with this superannuated fantasy posing as a slice of modern life?

When I became a father, at 24, I was terrified that I would lose my identity. I knew, not happily, that a lot of changes were going to be forced on me. In order to be a good parent you have to become a little less selfish. No, a lot less. Becoming a father was to be, essentially, the beginning of the end of my life. But, to my wonderment, it was the greatest thing that ever could have happened to me. It forced me to cut the crap and be responsible. It's hard to sweat the small, insignificant things, when a newborn life is in your hands. You really start to understand what matters and what doesn't.

Society would never have you believe this. The answers are not found inside, or in service, but with the acquisition of things, a mate being one of them. Oh, sure, being pregnant is glamorous, but is being a parent? Getting married is a trick, but what about having a good relationship? And how does this fit in with the idea that to be happy you have to serve yourself? Or to surround yourself only with those things that serve you. There's the idea that if you love yourself enough, and reward yourself enough, you will self-actualize. But I've found it all to be just the opposite. When I became a parent the part of me I lost was the part I didn't want anyway. I've never missed it.

On TV, “Sex and the City” was never as insulting as “Desperate Housewives,” which strikes me as catastrophically retrograde, but, almost sixty years after “All About Eve,” which also featured four major female roles, there is a deep sadness in the sight of Carrie and friends defining themselves not as Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, Celeste Holm, and Thelma Ritter did—by their talents, their hats, and the swordplay of their wits—but purely by their ability to snare and keep a man. Believe me, ladies, we’re not worth it.

While dating, I've been struck by how many women just want to be in a relationship. Not necessarily a good relationship, just a relationship. All their friends are in one, so it becomes a sort of measuring stick. I have played the role of the boyfriend dragged to weddings so my date wouldn't have to show up alone. Weddings, parties, BBQs--string them all together and you have some kind of relationship, right? You have something to pass the time with. You have something to talk about over cosmos with girlfriends, just like they do on TV! Even if the relationship is void and lifeless, at least there's something to commiserate over. And, better yet, if it is debilitating and insulting, oh my, you can mine that drama for years.

It’s true that Samantha finally disposes of one paramour, but only with a view to landing another, and her parting shot is a beauty: “I love you, but I love me more.” I have a terrible feeling that “Sex and the City” expects us not to disapprove of that line, or even to laugh at it, but to exclaim in unison, “You go, girl.”

The road to self actualization and happiness is paved with many shoes. Certainly there has to be something more out there than this. Certainly, in a relationship, it's not just about what you can get out of it but what you can provide--right? It's about providing a home for someone, literally, maybe, but metaphorically for sure. It's true, no one can make you happy all the time. And if your happiness is stocked on name brands, new thrills, and syncing with what television has propped up as reality, then there's probably nothing anyone can do for you. Who knows, maybe happiness isn't found where Hollywood wants you to look. Maybe it begins at the point where you end.