Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Original Stimulus Package

The Original Stimulus Package

I know you’re out there. Google Analytics, I discover, reveals the location by city for partakers of my self righteous tripe here. I give a shout out to friends in Eire and Kansas City and thanks to you and also to the far flung readers I have never met, who all conspire along with me to make some sense of this friggin’ journey. I write here to keep my spirits from flagging and am usually successful but faithful and beloved reader Kaz notes a subtle sense of despair in my last few entries.

I tell Spuds that I don’t know where we’ll be next year this time but that it’s a challenge and an adventure we are taking together. And it’s true. Dammit. Really. But, everyday it is harder and harder to put a positive spin on spinning out of control. I exacerbate things myself by taking weepy suffering poses to mask my paralysis at making critical but excruciating decisions. I tell the kids they can go to the movies but then the suffering glance they catch when I’m forking over the cash wrecks it for them. So, I am determined to stop with the waterworks, and stay “no drama” like someone who’s facing decisions far more daunting than my own..

Obama is moving right ahead. I am pleased about many things but particularly the allocations that the stimulus package included for alternative energy, education and healthcare. It is a gamble that throwing money at these priorities will hugely expand the future tax base. It is also obvious that the short term costs doom us to further foreign indebtedness. I wonder if in a world recession, the usual moneybags--oil rich or labor cheap countries-- are able to smack down nearly a trillion dollars. Because world recovery so hinges on the U.S. economy somehow I guess the monies will get ponyed up and within a year or two things will probably be better than they are now.

So, I’m fastening my seatbelt and putting the brakes on the theatrics. I have asked Himself, in exchange for my new zen inspired mien, to try and at least feign a bit of optimism. I promise I will not exploit this bargain by fawning too much over Obama. But, the stimulus package even includes monies for the National Endowment for the Arts. Which means filmmakers who would need footage.

On two separate Friday rush hours I drive Spuds and then the 16 year old to an audition suite in Hollywood to read for different roles in a film with Emily Watson and John C. Reilly. I recognize the casting director as the mother of a girl Spuds went to preschool with. She says to Spuds, “I don’t remember your mother looking like that,” but does not address me directly at either audition. Except for the children’s theatre, this is the first time they’ve auditioned. They want to do it, although Spuds keeps reminding me that he knows about Gary Coleman’s parents and he intends to hire an independent financial manager. Most of Spuds’ lines include “fuck” and the sixteen year old gets to say “Suck my cock,” and then later he gets his nose cut off.

I succumb to pressure a few times and show a degree of emotion that unsettles my family but for the most part we keep close. I try to inspire the belief that showing and feeling love brings out everyone’s best and fortifies us for slaying dragons and walking on water. Himself and I have one snit after a few rounds of “Who’s the Biggest Martyr.” He parks himself on the couch, pouting in my fluffy robe for a bit until we decide to stop being assholes. Our better selves mostly prevail. I read a line in a book about an old couple who had been together for years and the knowing that one of them would almost inevitably have to live without the other. We cling fast whispering under the covers. I say “maybe someday when we are really old, we will die together just like we are now.” Doubting the probability of this, I posit the slight variation, “Just like we are now, but in a running car inside a closed garage.”

The New York Times ran an article about studies of sexual response called “What Do Women Want”
A Canadian researcher runs porn for people and they indicate on a keyboard whether and to what degree they are aroused. To keep subjects honest, they are also fitted with plethysmographs. The male version fits over the penis and gauges swelling. The female model is a vaginal light probe that measures the engorgement of blood. The repertoire has gay sex, hertero sex, lesbian sex, a man masturbating, a woman masturbating, a buff naked man walking on the beach, a naked woman doing stretching exercises and bonobo apes copulating. Keyboard and plethysmographs were pretty much in agreement on the the male subjects. The females’ keyboard responses though were quite disparate to the measure of lubrication created by engorgement.

“No matter what their self-proclaimed sexual orientation, they showed, on the whole, strong and swift genital arousal when the screen offered men with men, women with women and women with men. They responded objectively much more to the exercising woman than to the strolling man, and their blood flow rose quickly — and markedly, though to a lesser degree than during all the human scenes except the footage of the ambling, strapping man — as they watched the apes. And with the women, especially the straight women, mind and genitals seemed scarcely to belong to the same person. The readings from the plethysmograph and the keypad weren’t in much accord. During shots of lesbian coupling, heterosexual women reported less excitement than their vaginas indicated; watching gay men, they reported a great deal less; and viewing heterosexual intercourse, they reported much more. Among the lesbian volunteers, the two readings converged when women appeared on the screen. But when the films featured only men, the lesbians reported less engagement than the plethysmograph recorded. Whether straight or gay, the women claimed almost no arousal whatsoever while staring at the bonobos.”

When Spuds turned four we took him and some friends to Medieval Times and after the show we went to see the horses in their stables. We came to an enormous white stallion in a state of arousal and it quite jaw droppingly drove home the concept of “hung like a horse.” There was an awed silence. The bonobo article went on to explain that the naked man on the beach was not in a state of arousal. I don’t know how much research we need to fund in order to verify that a flaccid dick does nothing to increase lubricity. In fact, it is a pathetic, ridiculous, floppy thing. It is no surprise then, that the bonobo apes, that vaginal probes revealed were sexually stimulating, had enormous erections. I wonder how much it cost to design and manufacture the vaginal probe that yields the earth shattering revelation that women are turned on by big erect dicks but they are embarrassed by this and will lie about it.

My friend Mimi Pond (who has a great L.A. Times cartoon this week about parking at Trader Joe’s and I attended Curves together. It’s on the second floor and a few of the stations face a large window. Mimi and I plodded along the circuit to the blare of insufferable disco tunes. We spot a squad of fireman quelling a car fire on the street below. We are mesmerized. We would watch them for hours but for the women behind us on the circuit squawking for us to move on.

My sister cohabitated for many years with a fireman who was a nasty drunk. He pushed her down a flight of stairs and broke her collarbone. I’m sure that wasn’t all. He had that over chiseled look like Kurt Russell or Patrick Swayze that I find porcine and unappealing. I still like fireman and I like architects too. Firemen are brave and buff and they save people. Architects have a vision and draw it and then all sorts of people dance around to bring a big building to fruition. A big erection. It is nothing to do with the man himself. It’s the metaphor of a fireman or an architect. It is the big dick thing. I dig your power baby and I want you to lose control and ravish me and succumb to mine.

I don’t think my sister ever much got beyond the metaphor. Himself’s quick mind and extraordinary command of information are tres big dick to moi. Even though he has co-opted not only my sissy pastel robe but the tee shirt I won in a trivia contest at the aforementioned Curves. He wears this shirt nearly daily, even to pick up the carpool, while Spuds engages in silent fervent prayer that Dad not get out of the car. Nevertheless, I guess there is a certain self confidence and big dickedness about a man who has no compunction about driving round town brandishing “Curves for Women” across his chest and it is thrilling that occasionally I can work my wiles and distract him from his intellectual erections for commerce with my merely mortal, wily, distracting self.

Himself, with atypical vulgarity, makes a boast in a recent blog entry. He has confided in me that due to his severe myopia, he has never been able to make comparative observations in a gymnasium shower. I assume then his presumptive superiority then must be based on information gleaned from outside sources. Sometimes outside sources are impeccably accurate and honest but sometimes they just tell you what you want to hear. I dig your power baby and it turns me on but never underestimate my own.

As I prepare to publish this, I find myself feeling better for having written it and I hope the frighteningly acute Kaz finds between the lines that my despair has diminished. I am not the only one on the planet fretting about money right now but love and sex and the words I struggle with here are free. My heart is open and I have what I need.


Fionnchú said...

Oh great. 1) I wore your fluffy pale green (not that fruity) robe because a) it is amazingly warm; b) you had my grey less warm one near you at the time. Due to our inability to afford fixing the heater, desperate measures ensue in mid-winter, mild as it is to non-natives unlike ourselves.

2) As to my myopic lack of comparative endowment research, a) reading between your lines seems to deflate any expectations from my limited pre-nuptial intimacy with the distaff set I had that big hands, which I have, match any other appendage; b) makes me feel less statuesque than I imagined that devoted spouses are supposed to make their deluded mates feel. They don't call it wedlock for nothing.

3) Curves is a) across the street from Trader Joe's; b) hence your association for readers less familiar with Silverlake's Hyperion mercantile as opposed to Sunset Blvd. hipster epicenter. Enough defending of my manhood.

Great title, however. Who's on top? The primate looks like he/she has milk-laden teats. Off to bed with a big book. I guess you'll keep watching your big-screen TV! xxx me

Bob said...

Pathetic? You overstate and perhaps present an unintentioned transparency to your own engorgements and lack thereof. Yeah, nicely put together and great title.. though I'd suggest the graphic be a pic of that Lillie Hitchcock Coit-donated statue of the fireman with the big nozzle that rises proudly in Washington Park North Beach. Pathetic, humph.

Cari said...

Scarcity builds character. I have enough character for 7 more lives if this is indeed true. Not to be too woo-woo about it, but I've discovered that the universe gives you what you need, as long as you know exactly what it is you REALLY need. I've never gone hopelessly without, although most of our married life has been financially lean. Miraculously, I always earned enough to pay the most pressing debts, even when my books looked discouraging at the beginning of the week. Don't look at the whole picture, just take a bit at a time and you won't be overwhelmed. Yes, you'll have to change your lifestyle for awhile, but this generates a creativity you never knew you had. You are blessed, know this and everything will come together, not always in expected ways, but you'll gain so much more spiritually than you ever thought you would otherwise.
Much love,

Cari said...

Happy Birthday Dear Aunt Layne! I hope you do something totally decadent for yourself. You deserve it! And if you piss anybody off by doing it, good for you, double points!

Love, Cari