Monday, March 10, 2008

Monday Rambles

I admit that I could keep posting on The Wire every day. But I won't. I did forget to mention that I was glad to see the multi-talented Eisa Davis, the subject of a fine profile in the gray raggedy-andy, and the resplendant Wendi (Dawn) Grantham, whom I haven't seen since I was a senior in college (or maybe it was a few years after that), but who even then was going places, both making appearances. Eisa's character [SPOILER] finally let Bubbles upstairs to eat at the dinner table, while Wendy's character showered [SPOILER] forced retiree Lester Freemon with love as he tinkered with his model furniture.

I'm not sure what Wendy's up to as of now, but Eisa is currently starring in Passing Strange (think Stew!) which Dr. Audiologo, like so many other supersharp people I know, suggests we ought to see. I know I ought to see it. Ought to have seen it! A musical about a black rocker? Seriously, why the hell haven't I bought my ticket yet?


Huge news in Chicagoland: Physicist and anti-Iraq war, anti-telecom immunity Democratic candidate Bill Foster defeats multimillionaire right-winger Jim Oberweis to take former Speaker of the House Denny Hastert's suburban-to-rural district 53%-47%. He will serve the remainder of Hastert's term, and run against Oberweis again in November.

Although the district went for Bush in 2000 and 2004, and Hastert won it 60-40% in his last race, Foster rose in the polls over the last few months, and received a late-in-the-campaign ad endorsement from Barack Obama. Rather than running as a quasi-Republican, he took strong liberal and progressive stands on several key issues.

Oberweis, as part of his campaign, had spent millions from his dairy company and banking fortune, and received endorsements top Republicans, including John McCain, who came to campaign for him. The Republican National Congressional Committee even sank $1 million+ into the race on Oberweis' behalf. No ice cream, though!

Though we're talking about Illinois, which has been trending bluer for years, this was still a reliably Republican district, so I hope it's a harbinger of what we'll see this fall, across the country.


Eliot Spitzer: whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy? Hubris?


Anthony has photos of Carnival up on his site. Carnival in Santo Domingo. Here's one.

Marccelus has photos of Carnaval on his site. The 11th Fantasia Gay in Salvador da Bahia. Here's one.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who wished Chicago celebrated Carnival/Carnaval/Mardi Gras/something lively like this. (New York also really has no excuse, you know.) I mean, little St. Louis celebrates Mardi Gras. I couldn't find any good images of it, though.


Orlando Patterson, for a long time not one of my favorite people, has an interesting take on Hillary Clinton's 3 AM ad. He sees the specter of D. W. Griffiths' Birth of a Nation in it. Uh oh....


Tonight, the one and only Ronaldo Wilson is reading at the Poetry Project. With a Diné (Navajo) poet named Orlando White, who's studying now at Brown. I love the anagrammatic symmetry of their first names. Only a palindrome would be better. For several years, I have borne Ronaldo's 2007 book of poems/novel, Narrative of the Life of the Brown Boy and the White Man, back and forth between New Jersey and Illinois, dipping into it every so often, and it is remarkable, so I am elated (I almost typed delighted, which is a word I actually do say from time to time, even though it sounds writerly) that it will be published later this year, by the University of Pittsburgh Press, since it won the 2007 Cave Canem Prize.

From the Poetry Project's email:

from "The Brown Boy’s Black Father Loses It"

"In the dream, the brown boy’s father is crazy. He is naked and has come out into a kitchen scattered with open boxes, his cock, shiny, hard and sticking straight into the room. The brown boy knows he must get his father to a mirror so he can get him to look at his own eyes. If he can only drag him out of the kitchen, and down the hallway where he sees a mirror against a wall, he thinks, maybe, he can save him."
How can you not want to rest of this book? Claudia Rankine, in her infinite wisdom, selected it for the Cave Canem Prize.

Once upon a time Ronaldo and I sent a few emails back and forth about the Williams sisters (he taught a class on them). I told him I favored Venus, while he is Serena partisan (though I love watching Serena too). Actually, I adore them both. That led me to draw up a comparison, along the following lines. Which one are you? I think Obama is Venus, and Hillary is Serena. But not really (sorry, Serena!).

Venus: tall, cygnine, demure, aloof
Serena: average in height, voluptuous, gregarious, volatile

Venus: often seems not to care whether she wins or loses
Serena: always appears to turn every match into a life-or-death battle

Venus: cobalt, xenon, platinum
Serena: tungsten, neon, gold

Venus: huffs politely
Serena: shrieks volubly

Venus: often has wrist injuries, sometimes has calf injuries
Serena: often has leg injuries, haven't seen her in a wrist-wrap

Venus: rarely shows emotion, her face is a mask
Serena: is all about the emotion, and turns matches into masques, beginning with her outstanding costumes

Venus: sometimes shows up not really pressed about how her hair looks, and loves hairpins, barettes and so forth, because, really, it's just not that important in the scheme of things
Serena: hair is always did, down, gives extensions of life, and half the time looks as though she could go right from a tennis match to a soundstage

Venus: has some of the fastest serves in the game
Serena: hits balls in spots that leave some of her opponents baffled as to how she did so

Venus: sometimes plays like she's never been anywhere near a court
Serena: always plays like she was a champion at some point, though perhaps not recently

Venus: is never harassed about her weight, but about her commitment to tennis
Serena: is often harassed about her weight, which I secretly think some of her opponents wish would grow so problematic it would keep her off the court

Venus: has not won all the majors, but has won more Wimbledons than anyone else of late
Serena: has won all the majors, nearly completing a grand-slam, but no more than 3 of any one

Venus: keeps her love life private, though she is rumored to have been dating an Italian bodyguard (or someone along those lines)
Serena: dates high-profile African-American professional athletes, and poses eagerly on the red carpet with them

Venus: speaks French quite well, and needs an opportunity to do so at Stade Roland Garros (hint, hint)
Serena: may speak French, but certainly speaks her mind, sending tennis commentators and fans into apoplexy

Venus: has a parallel career as a designer of clothes and interiors, and deigns to play tennis at times
Serena: has a parallel career as an actress, designs her own clothes, including that catsuit that nearly made a male friend of mine lose his mind, and is into tennis intensely, when she's into it

Venus: sometimes manages to give about 75% and walks away with a championship
Serena: often givens 150% and so much drama that you are drained after watching her, but you want to see more

Venus: against Serena, she's painful to watch, because she doesn't play like she wants to win
Serena: against Venus, she's painful to watch, because she wants to win but doesn't like to show it

Venus: really the serene goddess, if you think about it
Serena: really the love goddess, if you think about it

Venus & Serena: two of the best tennis players and sportspeople of all time

Does Ronaldo mention either Venus or Serena in his book? You'll have to read it to find out....

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