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Monday, October 20, 2003

There’s been entirely too much religion in the news in the past week. There’s the Pope’s big birthday party (whatever) and the coronation (whatever) of Mother Theresa, known for her anti-abortion, anti-birth control, anti-condom activism in the teeming, overpopulated, underfed, disease-stricken slums of Calcutta. (Arresting her might, ultimately, have saved more lives.) Then there’s the dust-up in the Anglican/Episcopalian (whatever) Church over the ordination of a gay bishop in New Hampshire. Why New Hampshire, that’s what I don’t understand? I hate to be disrespectful of anyone else’s beliefs, but there’s something unnerving about all these robed, bejeweled people carrying staffs staggering across the evening news, stooped from dragging around the weight of their own importance.

The crowning event of the week was the David Blaine affair. I think he should have gone all the way and planned his emergence from the cube to coincide with Easter Sunday. The main interest seems to be in his weight loss. As usual, Oprah did it first and with more enthusiasm—that is, shed about as many pounds in about as many days when she was on her liquid diet spree.

Personal, professional, financial life in tatters all last week. Oddly enough, this made it easier to write. Went to a hypnotherapist on Saturday. A pleasant experience although afterwards I wished I’d gone with Plan B, a massage. I’ve been able to sleep but I’ve been craving cigarettes. Fortunately, they’re no cheaper here than in the US and the packages have large, full color photos of lung tumors and heart conditions.

Posted by smccauley @ 09:33 PM EST

Monday, October 13, 2003

Usually, I can muster up sympathy for anyone, but for Rush Limbaugh, I have to say, I don’t feel much. A big, smug, self-satisfied rightwing bully pumped up on fistfuls of killer painkillers and a 9-figure salary? Poor guy. Railing against drug addicts on air while gobbling up narcotics himself. Spewing venom, racism, homophobia, and misogyny, helping to get the ever-appealing Newt Gingrich elected. (Newt, proponent of family values who tells his wife he’s leaving her WHILE SHE’S IN THE HOSPITAL recovering from cancer surgery.) Don’t Republicans connect the dots on these high-and-mighty conservative hypocrites? William Bennett, Rush, Newt. A pattern forming? What next? George Bush going back on the sauce?

Then there’s Pat Robertson. What’s she on? Suggesting that the State Department be “nuked?” And saying it more than once? It’s like he really thought seriously about this State Department problem and figured the only “solution” was bombing. Sorry, guys, but had to do it. According to him, the whole neighborhood should have a little nuclear bomb dropped on it. Better to do too much, I guess. Where’s the Patriot Act when you need it? Doesn’t this guy have millions of faithful listeners so devoted and in thrall they actually send him money? Kind of reminds you of another religious fanatic calling his fanatical followers to violent action. Minus the cave and the bathrobe, of course.

Fall returning to Montreal after five days of summer-like warmth. Biked to the top of Mont Royal to see the sunset. Clear and windy and orange and melancholy. All in all, a peculiar day. Wonder what they did with Rush’s Oxycontin stash.

Posted by smccauley @ 09:13 PM EST

Friday, October 10, 2003

October 10, 2003

Dear Diary

The more I hear about the bugging of the mayor of Philadelphia’s office, the worse it sounds. How much worse? Remember Watergate? Here’s a Republican administration’s Justice Department bugging the office of a Democratic mayor in the largest city in a key swing state weeks before an election. Think how much help a Republican mayor would be to Bush 2004 in getting out the base vote in the nation’s 5th largest city and you’ve got a motive.

But they wouldn’t do that, would they? I guess not. Nor would they trump up charges, fiddle with evidence, and ignore information from their own sources so they could send hundreds of thousands of US soldiers into the line of fire in Iraq. Sorry I brought it up.

Walked to the Museum of Fine Arts today and arrived just as the doors were being locked. Oh well. Crossed Sherbrooke Street and went instead into Holt Renfrew department store. Very much like a museum. Floor after floor of Prada, Armani, Chanel, Miou-Miou. Many of the clothes hooked up to motion censors. The sales clerks on the first floor are the best part of the show---amazingly beautiful 20-somethings in black suits and Italian shoes. One more striking than the next. Their job seems to be tricking you into believing you’d look every bit as good in those clothes. “These pants would fit you perfectly,” one said. “You think so?” I said. “Take them off and we’ll see.” So I guess I’ve officially crossed into dirty middle-aged man territory. Kind of liberating.

Posted by smccauley @ 09:11 PM EST

Wednesday, October 8, 2003

October 8, 2003Dear Diary:

I feel as if I must have misunderstood, but it looks as if the White House, which is under investigation, is going to decide ITSELF which papers to turn over to investigators regarding leak of CIA agent’s name. Huh? Isn’t that a case of the defendant deciding what evidence the prosecutor can use in court?

Another hijacked election. Highly doubtful Schwarzenegger could have made it through a normal electoral process—between sexual improprieties, drug use, admiration for Hitler, nude photos, secret meetings with Ken Lay and Enron execs, and a combination of political views that appear too pro-business for Democrats and too socially liberal for Republicans—just as Bush could not have won the 2000 election without manipulation of the democratic process by the Supreme Court.

I love the hypocrisy of Republicans who think it’s inappropriate for movie stars to express political opinions (Alec Baldwin, Barbra Streisand) but perfectly okay for them to run for office (Ronald Reagan, Arnold.) Also the hypocrisy of billing themselves as moral guardians while inflicting the likes of groper Schwarzenegger, pornography aficionado Clarence Thomas, and former party-hearty, current Call-Your-Wife-A-Lump Bush It is, however, interesting to see the Shriver women together on one stage. Gives new meaning to the term “skeleton crew.”

Montreal papers full of the local angle: Weider brothers Joe and Ben—bodybuilding promoters and successful magazine execs—were instrumental in bringing AS to the US and getting him into the movies.

This week, Montreal is hosting the International Black and Blue Festival, a massive circuit party sort of gay event (not completely sure what that means) that draws 85,000 visitors from everywhere and generates $35 million in revenues. The whole thing culminates in a dance at the Olympic Stadium on Sunday from midnight until 9am. Tough deciding between the Pre-Leather Ball Full Moon Fetish and the Gay Spirituality Gathering. The Morning-After events have a special appeal. If I didn’t attend the Night Before event, I might look marginally more presentable than one or two of the 85,000 weary revelers. But probably not.

Posted by smccauley @ 12:09 PM EST

Sunday, October 5, 2003

Dear Diary:

Received several e-mails today with the following poem, supposedly written by Mr. GW Bush to wife Laura (aka: Lump):

"Roses are redViolets are blueOh my, lump in the bedHow I've missed you.Roses are redderBluer am ISeeing you kissed by that charming French guy.The dogs and the cat, they missed you tooBarney's still mad you dropped him, he ate your shoeThe distance, my dear, has been such a barrierNext time you want an adventure, just land on a carrier."

I think it smells like a hoax, but who knows? I’m not sure why he or Karl Rove would want to draw attention to the aircraft carrier/padded crotch embarrassment. Or the “lump” business. Unless maybe the latter is intended to remind you of that other sexless, supposedly loving White House couple, Ron and Nancy, and the way he called her “mommy.”

Kim sent the following link to site selling bumper stickers for 2004.

Two animal-related news stories provoke mixed feelings. Escape of adolescent gorilla from Boston zoo and mauling of gay icon (sic) Roy by one of his trained lions. Sympathy for the bleeding humans, but more sympathy for the caged animals making one final break for freedom. The gorilla was apparently captured at a bus stop, poor fellow. He should have tried hailing a cab.

Montreal cold and clear and still green. Planned entire day around attending a late-afternoon yoga class, figuring it might be relaxing plus useful to learn French translation for “down dog.” But bicycling across town, I made the mistake of stopping for coffee and then Belgian frites and then a beer. At that point, the 105-degree yoga studio looked pretty unappealing. Tomorrow?

Posted by smccauley @ 11:39 PM EST

Friday, October 3, 2003

Dear Diary:

For the first time in a while, there seems to be some good news about Mr. Bush, our appointed president. The good news is that the press is finally reporting, with some diligence, the bad news—economic distress nationwide, massive failings in planning and execution of Iraq war, illegal activities within the White House for the sake of political retribution. While Bush’s poll numbers are slipping to pre-9/11 lows, most people still admire him (go figure) as a man of decisive action. Therefore, no admissions of mistakes, missteps, or miscalculations are forthcoming. This does not bode well for adjustments in diplomatic policies or international relations. Sort of like taking a wrong turn on the highway, and then, to avoid acknowledging a mistake, continuing in the wrong direction for hundreds of miles. (Or, in this case, hundreds of lives and tens of billions of dollars.) Why admire someone’s decisiveness, when his decisions are always reprehensible? This is what I don’t get.

Tomorrow morning, I leave for Montreal for a month. I was going to take the bus, but I was afraid of arriving with the smell of Vermont Transit diesel and disinfectant clinging to my clothes and making a bad first impression on my landlady. I'm renting a car instead. Got a rider to come with me via the Internet, but then he called and asked if he could bring his girlfriend. Later, he called to ask if his girlfriend could bring two of her friends. (“They’re both skinny,” he said.) It seemed to be heading in a clown-car direction, so I said I was leaving at 4am and they declined.

Must make enormous dent in new novel while away. Being in a city where I know not one person should make it easier to work. Unless suicidal loneliness ensues. I’ll try to find a French tutor immediately. It’s like having a paid companion for a couple of hours a week, and when they get tired of listening to my halting French, they start revealing personal details, some of which I might be able to put into novel.

Posted by smccauley @ 05:12 PM EST

Wednesday, October 1, 2003

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