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Monday
Oct022006

An Open Letter To Mark Foley

Thanks for resigning but I'm afraid it just isn't enough. I implore you, kill yourself on pay-per-view and give the proceeds to a childrens charity. It's the least you can do. Really. You went out of your way to point your gnarled, smells-like-teen-butthole finger at Bill Clinton for having sex with a consenting adult then you and your self-righteous Republican cronies spend millions trying to impeach him. You've changed your tune faster than The Streisand during a farewell show now that you've been busted desperately trying to fuck a male teenager. I know, I know.. your attorney says you were drunk. You're an alcoholic... it's SO not your fault. My friend that smacked into a teenager and killed her with his Honda was totally wasted, man, so it's not really his fault either. My other friend cheated on his wife with her best friend. Fucked her right in their bedroom! He was drunk too! She should totally take him back though, right? It's not his fault. He didn't know what he was doing. In all seriousness Mr. Foley, you're giving alcoholics a bad name. Like comedienne Wanda Sykes says "alcohol might make you pee in your neighbor's yard but it don't make you turn into a pedophile. I've been really drunk but I've never bought Girl Scout cookies sayin' come 'ere baby, mama want a thin mint."

So were you drunk in 2002 when you were one of the foremost opponents of child pornography and introduced a bill to outlaw websites featuring sexually suggestive images of preteen children? "These websites are nothing more than a fix for pedophiles," you thundered gloriously! Was that the whiskey talking? Your legislation to change federal sex offender laws was signed by President Bush just this year. Bravo my good man! Changing the world one pervert at a time. Tell me though... what did you think when you were shaving your flapping jowels, forced to look yourself in your beady eyes in the bathroom mirror? Did you think you were above the law or was what was going on below the belt more important?
"These websites are nothing more than a fix for pedophiles!" you said. Fast forward to the release of steamy emails you were sending to teenage boys at the same time you were issuing the rally cry to "save the kids".
"I would drive a few miles for a hot stud like you? You said to the teen in one of your online chats. ('Hot stud' snicker snicker... you've been watching the gay porn, haven't you?)
You: I want to see you
Teen: Like I said not til feb…then we will go to dinner
You: and then what happens
Teen: we eat…we drink…who knows…hang out…late into the night
You: and...
Teen: I dunno
You: dunno what?
Teen: hmmm I have the feeling that you are fishing here…im not sure what I would be comfortable with…well see.

You and your Republican pals including the devil's mistress Ann Coulter are on board the bus to hell and "God" is jauntily shifting gears in the driver's seat.. His sandals give him a bit of trouble when he tries to work the clutch but, by God, he'll get you there. You and your pious political pals, so desperate to hold a seat at any cost (or worried their own skeletons might be exhumed) covered up your trail of tears for months and months.. AND, as icing on their shit cake - now they spin, spin, spin instead of simply saying "Holy fuck! what a hypocritical pervert our pal Foley turned out to be. Our bad!"

This is why I don't pay attention to anything you or any other politician says. Aside from the fact that you're all loudmouth, pompous, windbag power whores who only give the public the time of day come election time, you are all morally corrupt. I am well aware that corruption among the powerful is not limited to a particular political party but your extreme hypocrisy and the fact that you are still entitled to retirement benefits from the government spurred me to action (if sitting on my couch drinking wine and typing into my computer can be considered action... but listen, I'm unemployed and it's the most action I've seen all day) And if I have to pick sides I'd rather be on the team that fucks consenting female interns than the one that tries to fuck teenage boys whilst simultaneously crowing over legislation to crack down on internet perverts.

Now, if you'll excuse me - I have more important things to type, including hilarious missives about nipple hair, my dog, getting stoned and/or drunk (but not trying to fuck teens) fights with my husband and the various horrors of getting my vagina waxed. But you wouldn't be interested in vagina talk, would you?

Sincerely,

Monica Bielanko
New York City

P.S. You can have The Streisand. We don't want her.
Monday
Oct022006

Then It Hit Me


These posters are popping up everywhere in Brooklyn. The make-up applied to Marilyn's mug is my own little addition. An improvement, no?


"Sucess went fizzily to Bernard's head, and in the process completely reconciled him (as any good intoxicant should do) to a world which, up to then, he had found very unsatisfactory. In so far as it recognized him as important, the order of things was good. But, reconciled by his sucess, he yet refused to forego the privilege of criticizing this order. For the act of criticizing heightened his sense of importance, made him feel larger. Moreover, he did genuinely believe there were things to criticize. (At the same time, he genuintely liked being a success and having all the girls he wanted.)

-Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

A few weeks ago I wrote this in which I labor to make a point that, unfortunately, I don't think I nailed. The Surge and I have recently been engaging in spirited conversations about the nature of fame, pop culture etc.. This past weekend he plucked this book from its obscure position on the local bookstore shelf and handed it to me.
"This looks like something you'd dig."
I am staggered by its contents and moreover, I would like to engage in a lesbian love affair with one Ms. Cintra Wilson. In her book A Massive Swelling she outlines exactly what I was sweating and grimacing to impart with an ease that makes me cringe in shame at my own clumsy attempt. Because she so accurately represents my feelings on pop culture I'm going to throw down a few excerpts for y'all to mull over.

"Around 1918 ther was an influenza that killed nearly everyone. Before that there were locusts and frogs. There was an assortment of plagues. Once, a comet wiped out all the dinosaurs. There was a disease in Africa where people exploded.

Then there was this thing that happened to everyone in the twentieth century, where their insides grew small and weak and sad, and they all strove and suffered, and they sold each other down the river and fucked each other into pulp in order to obtain this thing they were all desperate for: Fame.

Some wanted it more than others; they were willing to push much harder, and were more ruthless and even more zealous than the others, and they were rewarded with everything the world had to offer: Constant slobbering attention. Obscene wealth. Armies of anonymous worshipers so hypnotized that they would saw off their own fingers just to be smiled at.

With the Fame came power and prestige. Those who had it were able to visually eradicate any evidence that they were ever slovenly, drug-addled, morally askew, or fat.

If a person in this day and age has two cents' worth of talent, it is considered his sacred obligation to Go for the Gold, to try and grab the big brass monkey ring, and otherwise make six to ten demoralizing career-and-connection-oriented phone calls a day, perform painful Top 40 Hits at all the high-school graduations and bar mitzvahs, pay hundreds of dollars for eight-by-ten photographs of themselves looking like sexually available newscasters and audition with seething positive energy for every Ex-Lax commercial that comes down the pike until the day that the opportunity for Fame reveals itself...

When the fame begins to look graspable, when the hem of the glittering Elvis robe is visible through the thick red haze, the righteously downtrodden Fame seeker is suddenly licensed by history and common consent to achieve Fame by Any Means Necessary, and furiously lie, cheat, fuck, and steal his/her way into various cocktail parties and hermetic inner sanctums until photographers come and the magazines call and the beauties in restaurants swivel and wink and shimmer."

If you have any potential at all and you don't persue Fame, you are considered by yourself and others, to be unambitious, self-sabotaging, or otherwise too fucked-up to do what the good Lord built you to do; you are pissing away your natural gifts if you don't consider your POTENTIAL, which, translated into American, means vast, unrelenting MEDIA COVERAGE.

There is a little bit of talent in most famous people, even if they're only good looking - something for all the attention to stick to. Talent is not, however, the reason for fame anymore, nor is it the thing one really becomes famous for - one earns fame by notoriety, or one gets fame by having fame. The good old way of getting famous was to be very good at something artistic, and have everybody fall in love with you for it. That doesn't really work now, because as many critics have pointed out, nobody is very interested in art for its own sake anymore; now one only does "art" as a necessary part of the equation, the means to the end of getting famous, so one can get plastic surgery and go to parties in order to lick and be licked upon by other famous people like puppies in a basket. Nobody wants to be a real artist nowadays, i.e., a reclusive, self-contained workaholic, because it's no fun-you don't get enough attention.

I was raised in an era when people believed that they should get instant gratification for any small blot of effort spat out into the world. Young "artists" today seem to expect they should be able to drool out a batch of sophomoric short stores or a notebook full of crude cartoon heads an insert them into a Versateller machine and get a tidy wad of laurels; and the problem is, many of them do. This creates false expectations, detrimental to the process of Creation. Our greatest artists through history have always had to wade through years of being broke, misunderstood, and unpopular, spearheading the collective consciousness and having to wait in financial agony while the rest of the world caught up to their fast and advanced way of thinking. Nobody raised with MTV has any interest in this process at all. They want to skip the difficult athletic parts and go straight to having their heads on the Wheaties box.

Fame is a perverse deformity, an ego swelling as ludicrous as an extra sex organ, and the people that have it, for a huge part, are willfully and deliberately fucked-up past the point of ever having anything sweet or human or normal about themselves ever again. It isn't necessarily personal; it is generally not the icons themselves that I jolly and assail, it's the huge tumescent aura of Otherness, the grandiose Largitude and supermagnified glamour of these deranged old musicians and dumb pretty kids and Sacred Cow Ornamental Personages that I attack. These people lead lives of fantastic abundance, a parade of constant fluffing and stroking and free stuff, and beautiful portraits and rare bouquets and plush red carpet and the adoration of brilliant, comely people they've never met at all the best parties. This isn't anybod's Real Life. Life is everybody's personal untrained hammerhead shark, full of thwacking emotional whiplash and spinal emergency, full of weighty grace and random threat."


Apologies for quoting someone else at such length and so unashamedly... but GODDAMN I wish I wrote that. Sadly for me, although I'd like to think I could, I could not have said it better.
Saturday
Sep302006

Pets On Parade

Friday
Sep292006

In Which I Find Church (But Not God)


The Surge and I got into a bit of a disagreement. Okay so it was a fight that ended with him telling me to "shut the fuck up" smack dab in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Times Square. Actually, that wasn't what ended the fight. The end was me storming away. I simply turned on the heel of my size seven Chuck Taylors and stomped down 42nd Street leaving my husband alone with thousands of others.
"Let that bastard go home on his own." I grumbled to myself.

A few minutes later:
"Tell me to 'shut the fuck up'. I'll show you 'shut the fuck up'."

A few minutes after that:
"Bastard! I just won't come home tonight" I continued ranting to myself.

I began to formulate an elaborate plan which involved me getting drunk on red wine in some strange Upper East Side bar and not returning home until very, very late. AND I will shut off my cell phone. Maybe he will think I was mugged. Or maybe kidnapped. That'll teach him to tell me to shut the fuck up. Hopefully he is in tears, ripping his hair out by the time I stagger home pretending to be blissfully unaware of the time.

Speaking of time, I checked my watch. Seven PM. Shit. I've got hours to kill before I can even start drinking. Can't get so drunk I forget which subway to take home. Just drunk enough to anesthetize the agony that is being married... Tell me to 'shut the fuck up'.... By my calculations, I should start drinking at around 11PM. That way I probably won't make it home until 1AM or maybe even 2! Perfect. Kind of. That leaves four hours before I can start drinking. Good Lord what will I do?

My exhausted feet began to beg for a rest. A Barnes & Noble up ahead beckoned like a McDonalds on a desolate freeway. I could pass a good hour in there perusing the bookshelves. Turns out, Barnes & Noble was more crowded than a Nebraska Wal-Mart on a Saturday. Not an empty chair in sight. I stepped back onto a Fifth Avenue ablaze with headlights. As I continued uptown I passed two Starbucks fuller than a Venti Mocha with whip spilling over the sizes. Not an available chair in either place.

St. Patrick's Cathedral loomed up ahead. What the fuck... I'll just go in there for a bit. I entered the elegantly lit Cathedral and was immediately cheered. Candles flickered mysteriously along the walls and there were no annoying loud talkers on cell phones a la Starbucks. No troublesome technology assaulting my senses. Ipods, bluish computer screens, chirping cell phone rings... And there was tons of available seating. Rows and rows of unoccupied benches! Sweet. A reverent hush reigned within the towering marble walls. Finally. Peace, quiet and a place to sit. Plus, I don't have to buy anything except perhaps the idea of God. But fuck it, my dogs are barking.. I need to sit down.

I walked slowly down the center aisle behind a shuffling homeless woman and a man in a snazzy business suit. I watched carefully as the sharp suited man knelt and made the sign of the cross before entering the row of pews. I passed him by, and stopped at a row a couple yards in front of him. Feeling very conspicuous, not sure if genuflecting is a requirement, I went to do the sign of the cross but wasn't quite sure of the proper order. I fumbled and went to kneel like the man did, felt silly and ended up bowing in a distinctly Asian fashion. Bowing at nothing in particular. The kind of bowing a karate student engages in with an opponent before kicking his or her ass.

I sat down and leaned forward, resting my forehead on the back of the bench in front of me. Fuck The Surge. I concentrated on breathing slowly. The murmers of tourists and the comforting smell of smoke from the candles they were lighting soon lulled me into a calm, reflective state. Since I was in God's house and all I figured I might as well have a go at trying to chat with the host.

I used to pray all the time and as I sat there I realized my spirituality is all but dead. It died a painful death along with my Mormon faith. It's tough to carve a new God from that hulking mass of mangled Mormon beliefs. The wreckage is still smoldering and every time I try to touch it I get burned. Like when you burn your tongue on a hot drink and you feel the sore spot for the rest of the day. It's kind of numb and kind of painful. That's how it feels to contemplate God these days.

After a good ten minutes trying to commune with whoever it is I'm supposed to talk to while resting my dogs in a Catholic church I came to the conclusion that I'm more likely to find God in the mountains or next to the ocean than some herculean church with creepy, nearly pornographic statues clinging seductively to the walls and so I quickly gave up the prayer. But the environment was so conducive to meditation that I ended up sitting there for nearly an hour.

People came and went and still I sat. Assuming my head was bowed in prayer instead of the anger and exhaustion that caused me to sit there, nobody bothered me. Ironic. All this time I've been running away from the chaos church created in my life and here I was missing out on the place nobody can bother me with their annoying people-y peopleness. I just need to bring a flask next time and I'm set. Or like, figure out where the priests keep the wine.
Wednesday
Sep272006

Great Balls Of Fire!

No, The Surge does not have an itchy case of crabs taking over his nether regions. I'm talkin' Great Balls Of Fire!! Jerry Lee Lewis style. Of course, knowing Lewis, a bad bout with crabs or maybe a severe case of blue balls inspired the classic tune in the first place.. but that's neither here nor there. What I'm laboring to impart to you, gentle reader, is the fact that I sat in on a Jerry Lee Lewis piano extravaganza! "The Killer" (Jerry's handle round most parts) tickled the ivories of the blood red piano with panache and his voiced sounded superb.

The Surge, who, along with millions of other citizens of rock, considers Lewis the king of rock'n'roll, stood there in the record store with an enormous grin splitting his beard nearly in half. Really. You would have thought I just handed him a home-made coupon book with 100 "Bearer Entitled To Sex With Monica Today" coupons tucked inside. Although come to think of it, if this unemployment thing continues into December that coupon book may very well be all The Surge can expect under the Christmas tree.

Fifty years ago Lewis recorded for Sun Records with Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and Carl Perkins. All of 'em are dead now, of course. And still, Lewis plays on. If you've seen Walk The Line, the Johnny Cash biopic then you probably remember the depiction of Lewis as the crazy-talented, wild boy who loved the ladies (including his 13 year old cousin, once removed) and was known to upstage Cash and even Elvis. He used to set his piano on fire for Godsakes! In short, dude's a legend.

As he made his way out of the in-store performance Jerry Lee Lewis approached The Surge, shook his hand and smiled. I was so flummoxed by my proximity to the man, the myth etc.. that I only managed to snap a few poorly framed photographs. I guess you could say he shook my nerves and he rattled my brain. (hey-OH!!)

What, you ask, could possibly top a close encounter with Jerry Lee Lewis? I'm going to play a Leonardo DiCaprio and raise you a Jack Nicholson. And a Martin Scorsese and a Bono and a Matt Damon and a Lou Reed and a Billy Joel and an Alec Baldwin. That's pretty much a royal flush, by Hollywood standards. No shit. After the Jerry Lee Lewis gig we rounded the corner and walked smack into a premiere for The Departed, Scorsese's new flick starring DiCaprio and company.

We stood there, mouths agape as sleek limousines slid up and spit one famous celeb after the other onto the storied street in front of Ziegfeld Theater. First Matt Damon. Then Alec Baldwin and Billy Joel. Lou Reed nearly sprinted down the red carpet into the theater in an effort to avoid the screaming press lines. Bono and The Edge pretty much ignored the crowd and headed straight to the red carpet and the phalanx of reporters whose constantly flashing cameras nearly sent those of us perched across the street into epileptic fits. Then Jack arrived, stepping from his limo and flashing his trademark grin to the assembled before he was promptly swallowed by the crowd of mucky-mucks shmoozing on the red carpet. Bummer. No time to get any good photographs of the man who alternately scared the shit outta me (The Shining) or had me crying (One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest) during my formative years.

"Mommy why won't the movie stars come to this side and visit us?" A sweet, little girl clutching the metal barrier nearby asked.
"I don't know honey. I guess they want to make it inside before the movie starts."
Just then, a small, eco-friendly car rolled up. Eyes scouting for limousines and giant SUV's, most of us in the crowd ignored the tiny car. Until Leo DiCaprio popped out and strolled right over to the barrier behind which I stood. I, who up until this point had managed to keep my cool, rolling my eyes at the giggling gaggles around me who screamed like banshees every time a limo rolled up, immediately lost my shit and screamed louder than the adorable nine year old standing next to me. Jesus, I probably knocked her down and trampled the poor thing in my excitement that Leo was standing not two feet from me!

Me, the girl that viciously decried all the swooners that fell in love with Leo after the Titanic phenomenon swept the world - I was screaming like a bobbie soxer for a 25 year old Sinatra. "Sure Titanic was a good movie", I'd say as this friend or that cranked up that damn Celine Deon song and cried for the drowned Jack Dawson. "It was historically accurate, excellent action etc.. But the script was for shit! I'm the king of the world. Please. I've witnessed better dialogue on Days Of Our Lives for crying out loud!" They just snuffled, called me callous and turned up that oversinging automaton Celine in all her chest thumping annoyingness.

I longed for the days before Leo rode the Titanic to superstardom, when he turned out performances like What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Marvin's Room and The Basketball Diaries. I was even okay with the acid trip that was Romeo and Juliet regardless of the fact that I wanted to sock Clare Danes squarely in the jaw. I don't know why. I just did. Some actresses have that affect on me. That priss Nicole Kidman, for example, could use a painful nipple tweaking and I hate Catherine Zeta-Jones on sight. It can't be explained. I wrote off Leo as another blockbuster chaser and gave him over to the millions of tween girls the world over. Yet there I was last night, nearly kneeing The Surge in the balls then vaulting over the metal fence in all my twenty-nine year old glory and pouncing on my new husband Leonardo DiCaprio.

He was lovely. And unlike my encounter with the aforementioned Ms. Kidman in which I panicked and failed to properly document my celebrity elbow rubbing for posterity, this time I managed to collect my senses long enough to take a photograph so you don't think I'm making the whole thing up.