Posts from July, 2009
It’s pretty crazy that a COMEDY SHOW (albeit one run by one of the smartest funny people alive) has provided the best and most concise indictment of modern crazy town society yet.
“What used to be celebrated was experience and cleverness, but what happened was what became valuable was youth.”
It’s hard not to love Craig. One night he’s space dancing (see below), the next night calling out… everybody.
(Too bad he plays nice with Paris Hilton, perhaps the poster girl for the stupid and young.)
The Wildwood boardwalk’s tribute, appropriately classy.
Semi-relevant UPDATE: photos were manipulated, now removed
Not only are the many and varied results of the real estate “boom” (which we should maybe call lie-fest instead) sad, but infuriating – inspiring the kind of anger that might push the Hulk to crush the very Earth in the palm of his hand. Do over!
The worst part of it is the waste. All the building materials. All the time. All the life-savings. All the people and the lives and the toys lost in the foreclosure shuffle. The idea that greedy men in cheap suits and Blackberrys on their belts looking to trade their Camrys up to Porches decided to take the easy way to money (since I definitely can’t call it success) makes me want to go find them and do worse things to them than the FBI can. (But the strangling fantasies only last a couple of seconds before I’m gagging at the thought of it.)
What I’d really like to do is take all the greedy people in the world and learn about them. Why can’t they (or won’t they) think about anything bigger than themselves, beyond their corporations and their bank accounts? And once we know that, we’ll take everyone else and convince them that greed is for syphallitic lepers, surely not for the brilliant likes of them.
(It’s a nice fantasty, that “everyone” could ever be convinced of the same thing at once, right? And even if they were, that they’d act consistently to do good for the world?)
Anyway, the Times ran a photo series by Edgar Martins this weekend, focusing on the effects of multi-year compounded greed and stupidity.
“What color are your dreams?” asked the promotional material for this 700-acre planned community in Bakersfield, Calif., that promised a manmade lake and “lush parks.” Last summer, however, the master developer defaulted on four large loans, and construction ground to a near halt. “We get a lot of tumbleweeds rolling through,” says Michael Olivares, a 30-year-old accountant who bought his home there for $410,000 in 2006. (It is now appraised at $205,000.) Nine homeowners on his street have been foreclosed on this year.
Even more goading – the reality that all these halfway-there materials sit in subdivisions all over the country, walking like homes and quacking like homes, but not able to be homes at all. The waste is so awful and disgusting, when if things had been done right, families could be making happy lives right now.
When Jeffery Alan Teague was arrested for fraudulently securing mortgages to unfinished homes in this subdivision in Dawsonville, Ga., his seized assets included a 2006 Porsche Cayenne S.U.V. None of the homes had working septic systems or properly installed electrical wiring. The homes are currently caught up in litigation; it is unclear what will become of the properties.
There is so much opportunity here to take what is unfinished, and, where its bones are strong, keep it and build on it. Only less grandiose, less ostentatious, and more meaningful than the marketed rainbow-colored-dreams that so quickly faded to day-old newsprint. I’m still looking for signs of hope, of people being allowed – encouraged – to make lives in the empty space of grand schemes and fraud.
We’re sitting in the jury waiting room, a little collectively buzzed but quiet after the news that we may just get to leave here, duty complete, at 1:00. So we’re all sitting here thinking hoping praying to the jury gods to get out of this unscathed. And since we’re in school mode (attendance taken, instructions followed, at the mercy of authority figures) the room is quiet. As if the judges won’t remember they need jurors if we stay very still.
And then the man in the crisp white hat still sporting a virgin brim prances in on shiny white sneakers, bouncing visibly, arms swaying just so without wanting to appear to be dancing, moving awkwardly to the fluttering beat of that music they blast from the cars after the Puerto Rican day parade.
Music playing loud enough to hear through his headphones from across the room. Almost as loud as that shirt he wants us to look at.
I’ve been racking up quite a few Louis CK style “now I have to know you exist?” moments lately. He’s number three.
Number two was the slimy rock-headed snakeoil salesman of a defense lawyer from yesterday. Leading non-questions and general assholery and fluff on top of pea brainedness, all well-deserving of a slap in the face.
Number one was the nebbish jerk with his pleated pants and his mommy-ironed dress shirt who coughed in my face during dinner (a tasting menu during which we matched our neighbors’ schedule) on Saturday. Yes, the air from his mouth and all its disgusting, tiny particulate flew through the air and collided with my eye, cheek, and mouth. And then he continued to cough in my direction without apology. He still takes the prize.
And a new contender is entering the ring as I type. Shut up, faceless yelling woman in the other room.