Monday, December 14, 2009

If You Make It Out of Ironic Materials, They Will Come. And Buy It. Maybe Buy Two, If You Will Cut a Deal.

Get out your glue guns, hipsters. It's the most Portlandish time of the year.

Gray and rainy and Craftywonderland!

For all my out of town readers, Craftywonderland is, well, it's a wonderland of craft. Or more precisely, a Convention Center hall of hand-crafted wonders you can purchase to support some local artiste's PBR habit.

One of the hottest items was the Portland Bingo set.
Actually so popular that it sold out at Craftywonderland, (though it will soon be available for purchase at Powells).

Still, I was inspired enough I figured I'd play my own game of Portland Bingo as I made my way among the crafty wares.

What to wear to the next kale sale down at the vegan co-op?
Organic cotton and hemp stretch denim!

(Warning, could lead to one of those embarrassing Honey, I smoked my stretch pants incidents.)

Speaking of functional objects out of favorite substances:
Duct tape wallets.

So Portland. So Portland 2004, actually. Been there, stored my PBR money in that, as the hipsters say.

But wait, here's something new:
Duct tape flasks.

For when you're a little too suave to swill down a can of PBR, yet still feel the need to keep your booze in a metal container.

Notice that both the duct tape wallets and the duct tape flasks come in the ever popular mustache style.

Because the FREE SQUARE on Portland Crafty Bingo must surely be the facial hair frenzy.
Keep Portland Beard cards.

Fabric Mustache flags

Mustache ring
(note macaroni ring included only as scale indicator, not for sale)
(for when you need to pour something out of your mustache duct tape flask to toast the bride and groom as they exchange their mustache rings)

Here's a nice enviro-friendly art form:

Sort of a hair-of-the-dog potential here, what with slipping a skateboard bangle on that arm you've just broken doing a Wallplant that came out looking like one of my dying houseplants.

Christmas is coming up, so no surprise that the crafters are ready for Old Saint Nick.
Or perhaps that's more Old Milwaukee, given its hipster cred.

Others hadn't forgotten that Jesus is the Reason for the Season.
Our friend Rachel B. picked up some hedgehog notecards for her stepmother, who apparently loves all things hedgehog. Alas, it's a pity Rachel didn't see this in time.
Because nothing says, Happy Birthday Prince of Peace like the hedgehog brass knuckles.

If only her stepmother were actually a man, she might have picked up this lovely set of gay man's fantasy potholders.
Potholders were in surprising profusion at Craftywonderland. Though as Cheez observed, they did not seem to hold the kind of pot the majority of the crowd seemed most familiar with.

Among my favorite items were the beautiful old suit jackets that had been remade into what I like to think of as Portland's sartorial take on the mullet.
Business up front

Hoodie in the back

There was a lot of working with recycled materials. Old Sony Walkmans made into bookends. Old books made into journals. Old beer caps made into
well, I actually have no idea what that is they were made into. But dude has figured out how to deduct his beer purchases as business supplies, that's pretty artful right there.

And for those of you who are ready to ditch your old-fangled duct tape wallet, may I recommend the latest in nostalgic materials recycled into a moneymaker, er I mean money holder:
The lawnchair webbing wallets. Note that the display stand included actual photos of lawn chairs
presumably because the twenty-somethings cramming the sale had no firsthand knowledge of such things.

It does make you think. What 70s decor item can't be recrafted as 2010 fashion, when you get right down to it. Those plastic covers my parents still have on their sofa? Peekaboo robe to go with the shag bikini cut out of the living floor treatment. Stick a fondue pot on your head and call it macaronimaniac, as the old song says.

They really had decked the convention hall with boughs of 70s nostalgia. This lovely velvet painting of an AMC Pacer, for example, was going for $100.
Which is probably more than the Kelly Blue Book value of the Pacer itself.

The ultimate Portland moment, though, was when I spied this vendor on the crafty kids aisle:
Yes, at nine years old, he's already sporting the airbrushed trucker's cap, churning out ironic artwork, and exuding aloofness at the presence of shoppers.

Best of all, just moments after I snapped this shot, he began unconsciously playing air guitar to the song blasting out of the nearest speaker. Which, in the true spirit of the holiday season, was Don't Fear the Reaper.

A lovely sentiment, though perhaps not as apt as the one of which I had to remind our pal Cynthia and her daughter Jackson, who were fleeing the Convention Center after being traumatized by the Craftywonderland crowd: Don't Fear the Hipster.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

"Holy Moses" Does Not Refer to an Episcopalian

Tis the season.

The season to assume everyone is Christian.

Including, apparently, farm animals.

I can kind of understand certain right-wing news outlets gloating like a Fox in the cowhouse over this weird story, but when NPR and the Jew, er I mean New, York Times cover it too, what is up with that?

Cows are not Christian.

Particularly not cows named Moses Holstein.

Trust me, Moses Holstein you can pretty much count on being a member of my herd. Er,I mean tribe.

Pardon me if I'm a bissel oversensitive. This is a tough time of year for the Jews. On the one hand, sales. We love those. On the other hand, everyone saying "Happy Holidays," for a good week past the end of Hanukkah. Like maybe we Jews aren't going to figure out that "Holidays" is code for "birth of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Who by the way, as a Jew, would have loved all these sales.

Though maybe not so much the ham dinner you're planning on serving on his birthday.

Actually, I'm not sure what's more horrifying to me as a Hebe:

That most Americans believe everyone--including some randomly birthmarked bovine--is a Christian.

Or that the one goy sticking up for us Jews is . . . Orrin Hatch.

Yes, that Orrin Hatch. Orrin G. Hatch, the Mormon senator from the state of Utah. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against Mormons per se. Frankly, I think we crazy desert religions ought to stick up for each other.

But this is just plain weird, this Hatchnukkah song. Dude has got a thing for Jews like that pasty white guy in your dorm had a thing for Asian chicks.

We all know goyim don't write Hanukkah songs. It's unprecedented. Unnerving. Unnatural.

So please, let's give up this sick, twisted, immoral lifestyle, Mr. Mormon Senator from Utah, and go back to the way it was meant to be.

Not to mention Jews singing them.

Neil Diamond, double platinum, your mother must be so proud!

Bette Middler, Grammy-nominated, mazel tov to you!

And me!

Yes, dear readers, Macaronimaniac will be belting out the Christmas songs and the Hanukkah spiel this Saturday night. I hope you can come see me.

Just please leave your half-breed, Hebe-named Holsteins at home.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Thanksgiving Myself Agita Worrying For No Good Reason

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

So of course I start worrying about it well in advance.

By last Tuesday, when the Cheez and I had actually started on our road trip to San Francisco, where we have spent every Thanksgiving since 1992, I was in full on panic.

Carol is coming this year I pointed out to Cheez, meaning our friend Katie's mother. This is shocking because though she is invited every year, she always declines. Something about not wanting to see her adult offspring in lingerie.

Oh, yes, I guess I should mention that in addition to spending every Thanksgiving since 1992 in San Francisco, we have spent every Thanksgiving since 1995 in lingerie.  

Trust me, it cuts down on the unwanted relatives at the dinner table.

At least it did until this year.  

This is just like when the AAA magazine ran the article on Burning Man I moaned, my complaint shrilling out like an RV tailpipe dragging along the hipster-encrusted desert. It means it's all over.

Then, as we were holed in the Motel 6 in Redding, we realized Cheez had forgotten to pack his Farrah Fawcett wig. How can you have Thanksgiving in your regular hair? I wailed.  You might as well be sitting home with a Tofurkey sandwich. 

But by the next morning, things dawned brighter. Or so it seemed when I discovered that the gas station across the street from the Motel 6 sold souvenir spoons.  $6.99 later, I knew I was really on vacation. 

By Wednesday night, we were firmly ensconced in Little Orphan Annie's flat in the Lower Haight, with all eight of our Tgiving pies baked.

What the hell are we going to do with ourselves tomorrow morning? Little Orphan Annie wondered. 

She panics about Thanksgiving even more than I do. 

I reassured her that we could use the time to pay fitting tribute to the Native Americans to whom we Haole Americans owe our earliest Thanksgiving.  AKA the ones from whom we stole this great land. 

Which we did by riding down to the bison paddock in Golden Gate Park.
Herd of bison in the park.

Herd of bicycles in the park.

Things were definitely looking up. Little Orphan Annie lent the Cheez a replacement wig that not only clashed admirably with his made-by-Victoria's Secret-but-actually-purchased-at-Goodwill holiday outfit . . . 
. . . it also made him bear a striking resemblance to everyone's favorite Greek singing sensation.

Now our only worry was how to get us, eight pies, a guitar, an accordion, a salad, half a case of wine, and enough cheese to stink up the entire state of North Dakota from Little Orphan Annie's flat in the Lower Haight to Katie's house in Bernal Heights.

The trunk of the Prius being suPIESingly roomy, everything seemed on the level as we left the Haight.

But I was INCLINED to believe things might be compromised, or really compropiesed, when we popped the trunk after parking the car up on the Heights.

Or at least, half the car was parked up on the Heights. The other half was rather far down.

We were greeted by our co-hostess with the mostest, who seemed oddly ready to play some Live Action Role Playing game.
Very oddly. 

Ever since the breeders among us have started reproducing, I've been keeping close tabs on the queers to kids ratio for Thanksgiving.  But according to Katie, this year it was going to be a shut out.

I couldn't quite imagine a what a No HoMo Lingerie Thanksgiving might mean.

But of course, I'd forgotten that drag queens and five year-old girls are virtually interchangeable. 
Here is Katie's daughter, unwittingly proving that preK can also be pretty queer.  

Speaking of odd couplings, Thanksgiving is the day when I most realize that in addition to being an interfaith couple and an international couple, the Cheez and I are also an inter-animal print couple.

Of course, as John Lennon so beautifully sang, You may say I'm a leopard going out with a bovine, but I'm not the only one . . .

Okay, maybe his panties are a little more equine than bovine, but it's a holiday, people, don't be so uptight. 

Or rather, up tights.

After all, the holiday is about joy and thankfulness and gathering with your loved ones.

Indeed, this pink-crowned and red boa-ed guest is the exemplum of family values, surrounded as he is by his daughter, son, niece, and two nephews.

I guess I don't know why I was so worried that things were changing.  

After all, Thanksgiving will always be my favorite holiday. My pies will always be delicious. Faux leopard will always be the outfit of choice.  My team will always lose the post-prandial football game.
But we will always have the better team photo.

And Carol did do a great job of keeping her five grandchildren occupied, while we in the middle generation had the Accordion-Christmas Carol-and-Endless Eighties-Singalong that are a long-documented Thanksgiving tradition.

Farrah may be dead, but Nana lives on.  

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Oh the Humanities!

Trust me.  I'm a doctor.

Albeit not the kind Jewish mothers kvell about.  

More the kind lavender ladies croon about. 

Which is just (closer to) fine with me.
The best thing about getting a Ph.D.?  The tiara I bought myself to celebrate finishing the damn degree.  After spending a year writing a fascinating and insightful dissertation that I'm pretty sure nobody has ever read (and yes, I am including my advisor in that assessment), I figured I ought to have something to show for it.

So why not something sparkly and glamorous and likely to be coveted by drag queens?

Who says a girl has to be biologically a boy just to wear herself a crown?

Are you a princess or a queen?  the neighborhood crazy lady queried, as I marched into the post office, tiara-clad, to mail something off on my way to school to file my dissertation, that fateful long ago day.

Neither I answered, only slightly put off that the person calling me out on weird wardrobe was the neighborhood crazy lady I am a doctor.

These days, seldom having any occasion to dissert, profess, or
 serve as a beauty pageant runner-up, I only find cause to don the tiara once a year.

My birthday.

Because everything, even chocolate cake, is better with rhinestones.

And, apparently, a bra strap hanging out.

Ah well, it was mostly a glamorous birthday bash we had here at Dutchboy this past Saturday.  

Even if it was a little lacking in the sexpertise of yore.  

And my actual birthday, which was Monday, was pretty rocking too.  

My boss brought me a cupcake. And she didn't even pretend to have baked it herself.

Then I Delved into some Shakespeare. 

Specifically, into the final class of the Shakespeare seminar I've been teaching.  

Because, you know, having a new full time job plus my usual twelve thousand hobbies just didn't seem like enough to fill my days, without a good dozen hours of reading Elizabethan English every week.

The seminarians were really great.  One of them said she took the class because she liked my article in Bitch magazine critiquing the global politics of Viacom's Dora the Explorer franchise.   Si, se puede, as Caesar Chavespeare might have put it.

Another seminarian told me I was the first good teacher she ever had.  The fact that she has a graduate degree is perhaps more a statement about the lows of higher education than the heights of my Delving.  But I do not look a gift horse in the mouth.

Or, in this case, a Greek bearing gifts.  Which she was, both in terms of Hellenic heritage and in terms of giving me a handcrafted, locally grown, chocolate vodka.

If that wasn't enough of a Jewish girl's dream day, I came home to discover the postal carrier had delivered the latest issue of Bridges, which in case you never heard of it is like Bitch mit a bissel Yiddish thrown in.  And there, right on pages 75-77, was a poem by little old me.

About a course I had to take to get my Ph.D.

So now, in addition to being a doctor, a tiara-donner, a righteous 9 to 5-er, a Dora-critiquer and an intrepid Delver, I am also a published poet.  

Next thing you know, we'll be seeing Robert Pinsky traipsing around in a rhinestone crown with his bra strap hanging out.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

From the Mouths of Bards. Well, Only One Bard. And Thus One Mouth.

I meant to do a Happy Hallotween post.  

It involved an Erev Halloween voicemail from our favorite tween, in which she shrieks in terror.

Terror because her father walks into the room while she is leaving us a message about how she can't hang out with us on Halloween because she is going on a six hour trick or treat binge with her peers, and tells her in that cruel way parents do that she totally not going trick or treating for six hours.  She is only allowed to go trick or treating for like four hours.  Five max.

Then Halloween actually happened.  And the Walloon of Walgreens and his Wuvely Wife surprised the whole block by dressing up as me and the Cheez.

That Is Not My Beautiful Walloon

So I kind of lost the thread of the Hallotween post.  And apparently of the All Saint's Day, Election Day, and Veteran's Day posts as well.

But now I've got a surefire idea for a post topic.  


Only, that's an ugly word.  Let's go with Literary Tribute instead.

That's much nicer.  And appropriate, as I am plagiarizing a literary treasure.

So here, without further ado (i.e., more crap photoshop) are the quotable quotes from the eight-week-minus-that-one-I-was-with-my-Schwinstress-in-San-Francisco poetry workshop I took this fall with Peter Sears.

My Own Personal Sears Catalogue:
We do depend on narrative to some degree, especially here in Oregon.

Read the cummings poem and have a glass of wine.

Hot language beats everything.  Deep meaning--leave that to John Donne.  Or whoever.

We have a right wing in poetry that is kind of formal  But they're just stodgy.  They don't really write.

That's what poets do.  They don't want characters chapters, plot.  Screw it.  They want language.

Where can I get a pink tshirt?

You have a real strength in things.  The thingness of the poem. [said in response to a poem we were critiquing, not, alas, one of mine.  Apparently I'm a little thing-lite when it comes to poesy]

We call that in the business POETICIZING.  Poeticizing, a nasty way of saying what she just said.

There he is throwing up in the john, or having angst, or looking out the window.   Whatever it is.

Are we talking your talk, honey?

Sounds like a Ronald Reagan speech.

All the poems work that way Peter declares.  Dubious, workshop student responds, All?.  Peter considers.  A lot of poems he concedes.

Wallace Stevens wrote a few good poems, you know.  And he did philosophy up and down.

On lyric: That's a place, especially with males, where things strut.

Also, the soul is only one syllable, so I like it much better than spirituality.

By young, I mean under fifty.

On William Stafford:  That's why a lot of people hate his poetry.  They can't figure out how the hell he does it.

Sex, war, and some good meals.  There's a title for your first book.

As you can imagine, it was a deeply edifying experience.  

Maybe because I have so much to learn about writing poetry.

But at least I know where you can get a pink shirt.

Right over at the Walgreens.  Which is just the place to go when you're celebrating having your second ever poem accepted for publication anyplace that isn't your high school literary magazine.  

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mishpucha at the Movies

I have some news.

It has taken me quite a while to blog it.

Now the news is so old it's almost retro.

I have a job.  

A full-time, go to the office five days a week job.  

I had heard about these things,  but I never thought it could happen to me.

Farewell FurryCon, and Winkel in my eye, and all the other strange adventures of being self-employed.

The new job is very nice.  Everyone there is very nice.  Welcome to the family, people keep saying.  

Because apparently family is an indication of a warm workplace.  So long as you don't happen to be a Soprano, a Corleone, or have a family like mine.

Most people, upon landing a new job, might take a week off and go on an exotic tropical vacation, perhaps indulge themselves with a major purchase like a fancy new car.

The Macaronimaniac version of this Bermuda and a Beemer indulgence, alas, turned out to be spending the weekend in San Francisco hanging out with my college roommates, and treating myself to a new used Schwinn off Craigslist.

Yes, I am now such a bike geek, I am keeping a spare bike in another city.  

It is a little like having a mistress.

A maroon, ten-speed mistress whose tires could use a little air.

Okay, so maybe it's nothing  like having a mistress. 

It is a lot like having a method of transit to whisk yourself around the city, which is what college roommate Little Orphan Annie and I did, that one glorious Friday of her playing hookie from work and me not having started my new job yet.

We were so wild and out of control, we decided to go see a film right in the middle of the day.

Specifically, the new Coen brothers film.

Only problem, when you go to see a Jewish movie during the day, i.e. when they are not charging full price for the tickets, you are pretty much asking for it.

It being, having two AKs sitting behind you.  

(Note to my goyishe readers:  If you don't know what the AK in the previous sentence means, suffice it to say, 47 is about 20 too short.  If you still have no idea what in the name of Yiddishkeit I'm talking about, read up on it here).

Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of amusing lines in the new Coen brothers film.  I just didn't need to hear them in surround sound--first from the screen, then repeated by Siskel and Eberg in the row behind us.

Welcome to the Mishpucha.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Air Show of Force

All work and no play makes Mac a dull blogger.

Most of the time.

But every now and again, work takes me to some fascinating new place, where I have exotic new experiences.

Like accidentally attending a FurryCon.

College friend Nick and I were back on the road this week, this time in San Francisco.
And since our biz travels always seem to coincide with something kinky, perhaps it's no surprise we turned up here to find it's Fleet Week.

It seems a little redundant to have shore leave in a city where everyone is already covered in tattoos, but I guess that's military intelligence for you.

For us, Fleet Week turned out to be more of flyover week:

The thing about the Blue Angels is that they're not as impressive as they used to be, back before movie special effects got so interesting.

Turns out, the actual planes are sort of mediocre by comparison to whatever is playing at the local multiplex. If you look closely enough at the clip above, you can practically see Shatner being tossed sideways in his Naugahyde captain's chair.

Still, it is loud and proud and does attract attention.

Kind of like a Jewish mother at her son's medical school graduation. Since the day he was born, I am telling you, the nurses in the delivery room all looked at him like he was already the one in charge.
Sort of amazing to see the cultured peeps of the City by the eBay getting their Blue Angels on.

Here are my fellow museum goers, in the sculpture garden, anxiously awaiting the next swoop of the jets.

Funny, most places in the world, when the U.S. military is about to fly over, the people beneath them are anxious in a whole other way.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Hebe on the Range

Dateline, 5770

Shanah Tovah
I said to my friend Elon.

Not exactly big news (though perhaps big nose), one Jew wishing another a Happy New Year.

Except that it was happening in the VIP room at the Pendleton Round-Up.

Elon expressed some concern that I was going to get us killed, revealing our shared tribal identity.

I tried to reassure him that with any luck, our furrin jibberish would be mistaken for another tribal language entirely.

Not the kind of Princess who attended High Holiday Services at the Dix Hills Jewish Center, back on Long Island

Apparently, in Eastern Oregon, tribal dancing does not refer to the Hora.

Still and all, if you want a reason to say the Shehecheyanu (i.e., the blessing for new experiences) you really can't do better than Jew at a rodeo.

The entire weekend was very educational.

This is not a slick lick banker from the city, come to talk simple farm folk out of their land

This is the Cheez, in his homemade string tie (Recipe: buy string. tie string. good to go.), sitting with Young Joey Smallwood and not-s0-Millie Vannelli, in the lobby of the Balch Hotel in scenic Dufur, Oregon, where our party spent Erev RoundUp.

Half our party had rooms with a Mount Hood view. The other half had rooms with a private bath. Suffice it to say, Mount Hood is breathtaking, but a bit far to hike when you need to take a leak at 2 am.

Nevertheless, I do recommend the Balch Hotel. Especially over the alternative.
Alleyway "Suite," The Dalles, Oregon
No Mount Hood view, but you can pee just about anywhere,
including on the mattress. You probably wouldn't be the first.

I realize rodeo is not without controversy. I mean, just because I'm pro-seal hunt, doesn't mean I can condone a "sport" that involves animals being prodded and herded through a chute.
Oh, wait, those are the patrons.

So if you're wondering how a nice bleeding heart Jewish pescetarian like Macaronimaniac ended up Rounding Up: it was really an act of international diplomacy. Because Little Joey Smallwood had arranged for us to share the event with Hannu Penttila.

Hannu Penttila being not a pineapple-glazed Hawaiian pork dish (so not Rosh Hashana), but rather the Deputy Mayor of Helsinki.

Of course, the Finns being known for their wild and crazy ways, Hannu really taught the otherwise dour and sedate Pendletonians how to cut loose.

When Ken Isley, aka the Rodeo Clown, announced to the thousands of gathered fans that the crowd included a couple who had come all the way from Finland, someone in the stands greeted them with the welcoming shout, "At least they're not from France!"

I am not making that up.

The Finns were not the only ones having trouble crossing the cultural divide. When Cheez went off to the Little Cowpokes room, I asked him to pick me up a vegetarian snack on the way back. Alas, he spent twenty minutes waiting in the Beer Chips line.

Still, plastic beer tokens might have had more culinary appeal than some of the weekend's other offerings.
Of course, any event whose tagline is Let 'Er Buck offers fascinating gender politics as well.

I hadn't seen anything quite so manly since . . .
hmm, well . . . I guess that would have to be, since I lived in West Hollywood.

Seriously, I had no idea that when they announced which bareback rider had won the purse, they would mean it so literally.
Yes, men compete in grueling physical activity, and then the winner rides around the arena with his new handbag and new blanket. How butch is that?

Okay, not very. But I wouldn't mention that in Pendleton, any more than I'd wish them a great big L'Shanah Tovah Tikatevu, and a rousing Vive La France.