Thursday, March 08, 2012

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Art in the Streets

Art in the Streets on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles from mid-April to August, 2011, asserted itself as the first major survey of graffiti and street art in the United States. I visited the exhibition in the first few weeks with, I admit, somewhat biased notions. Antithetical was a word that kept bumping around in my head. 

Living in Philadelphia in the 1990s I hung out with graffiti writers. In 2011 I was having a hard time syncing the phenomena of making marks in places where one shouldn’t with institutionalization. Once institutionalized, graffiti conformsor sags, you might sayto an existence it just nearly escaped. 

The crowds at Art in The Streets. Photo by Gregory Bojorquez, from MOCA.

My sister was with me. As we made our way through the exhibit between high flyaway walls covered, painted on, and pasted with street art, she said she felt like we were at a trade show and that all of this was for sale. We emerged from a aisle that opened onto a Banksy installation. How did he get in here without anyone knowing him? I wondered. The anonymous Banksy’s irony-infused stencils show up in towns like crop circlescontrarian icons that both rankle officials and bestow joy upon those whose properties have been “defaced.” His work has occasionally been coveredprotectedwith Plexiglas. 

I am told the art of graffiti was unintentionally invented by a man with the moniker “Cornbread” in the late 1960s. Cornbread spray-painted tags across Philadelphia professing love for a woman names Cynthia. Perhaps, however, if you’re splitting hairs, the Paleolithic cave paintings executed over eighteen thousand years ago in Lascaux, France, may serve for a suitable origin. But who’s to say all of this is not some form of cosmological graffiti?

The culture of late capital affectionately embraces street art precisely for the authenticity it represents. Graffiti has a brash brand of conscientiously oblivious naïvetéthere’s a whole documentary on the phenomenon and its DIY origins in the 1990s. Ostensibly, street artists paste their names and pictures on the wall for nothing other than recognition. They don’t want money for that stencil. But what becomes of certain brands of this brute repetition? Shepard Fairey pasted his Andre the Giant stickers all over the world. You saw them on newspaper boxes, bus stops, train stations, and the restroom at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence (maybe). This dynamic of connecting the dots is exciting and satisfying if for no reason other than it becomes familiar. (No reference to Damien Hirst’s eleven simultaneous exhibitions at Gagosian intendedbut on second thought...). 

What’s wrong with this picture?

Every once in a while the canon of art, existing as it does in an ideological vacuum, springs a hole, seems incomplete, and starts taking in air. Plug the hole! someone exclaims. And Barry McGee, Shepard Fairey, and Banksy are stuffed in to fill the hole. 

However, an exhibition of street art on the cusp of canonization becomes an anthropological exhibition as well. Perhaps this is why I liked the installation Street best of all the works I saw in Art in the Streets. In Street, Todd James, Barry McGee, Stephen Powers, Devin Flynn, Josh Lazcano, Dan Murphy, and Alexis Ross, rather tongue-in-cheek-ly, created a mini-world of detritus and urban living in one corner of the Geffen. This installation reproduced the canvas onto which street art is putdown to the can on a bodega shelflike a diorama in a natural history museum. 

Street on Vimeo

Walter Benjamin’s “The Work of Art in the Age of its Technological Reproducibility,” written in the mid-1930s, is the go-to essay for those who want to understand—and have the fortitude to unpack—the academic use of the word “aura.” Benjamin defines aura as “a strange tissue of space and time: the unique apparition of a distance, however near it may be.” (source, p. 23) Benjamin’s version of “technological reproducibility” does not ruin art, as one might assume in our slow-everything, DIY-loving era, but allows for a progressive critique of the elitism that had wormed its way into the tradition of “high” art. In other words, Benjamin was happy to chip away at the hierarchy that protected “art,”—that imprisoned art—for the benefit of any1%.   

Street art on the street is devoid of the aura of which Benjamin writes. Escorting street art inside states that an elite invitation has been extended. Yes, even Benjamin could not finish chipping away at what has become of the art market. The art market would not be a market without its hierarchy. Graffiti artists, whether they know it or not, are now on the payroll.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Sestina for a picnic

She threw the red one of the books
The black book he wound up to throw
He felt the red one whoosh by the sleeve of his short-sleeve button-down shirt, bitterly
She ducked but the black book clipped the side of her glasses
You fuck! She yelled
He wasn’t sure if he wished it had hit her square in the forehead

Now the back of his hand to his forehead
How did we get here? he thought, Throwing books?
It started when the deer appeared and he yelled
It wasn’t as if he would throw
a book at a deer but she lowered her glasses
and all of a sudden looked at him bitterly

How bitterly
she looked through him, burning a hole in his face, his forehead
He could see his own pitiful reflection in her glasses
responding to this look. They were just holding the books
and he asked her, Really? That’s the look you’re going to throw?
She responded, Who does that to a deer? You downright yelled

Sure I yelled
He said, bitterly
I wanted to see it run. With the tail. At least I didn’t throw
a book at it and hit it on its forehead.
On its forehead? exasperated, and looking at their books
Yes, he said. The sun glinted in her glasses

And this was not long after they had been in the grass drinking wine from fine glasses
The green and the loftiness of the trees were the only things that yelled
An interruption so magnificent, hindering the reading of books
An interruption they never would have minded bitterly
And he had pressed his forehead
into the ground, the moist earth, overwhelmed. To throw…

He would literally throw
into the blue of the sky the glasses
if he could know that this exquisite landscape could be grafted inside his forehead
always to be remembered. If not at the deer certainly he would have yelled
at the sky, not bitterly
but desperately simply for being so beautiful and exquisite enough to heave eyes away from books

But he had stayed quiet as they were reading their books, sipping from glasses
There was nothing to throw, moist earth on his forehead, sweet loam
And yet now upon exit, bitterly, and not for beauty, they both yelled

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Things I have seen since June 22, 2011:

Bill Callahan playing a small guitar, in a light-colored suit, restrained movements to music
Two plates of eggs Benedict
The horse in the hole on the ceiling
The marine layer
A sunset
Poker chips quadrupling
Words written by Donald Barthelme
A cave
People over 60 who enjoy each others' company a lot
A cousin I haven’t seen in over twenty years
An ex-aunt I haven’t seen in longer but who sweetly sends Christmas gifts every year
Los Angeles phototography in an Aspen museum
A moose with no horns
A Miss South Dakota beauty pageant parade
Mt. Rushmore
A field of bison
An art show curated by John Waters
Bookstores in small towns
The silver bean that has a belly button I didn’t know about in Chicago
Glen Hansard singing to thousands of people in a park
True fear
Art close up that I could have touched if I wanted, aspects of which that were only viewable with a magnifying glass
A documentary about the woman who was burned by McDonald’s coffee
The place that is the real universe of Tim & Eric, western PA…
A girl running from a minivan up a sloped road that led to a Comfort Inn
Discomfort from eating badly
Several morning newstainment programs
My mother carried on an embracing breeze as I crossed the bridge onto the island where I am now

Saturday, June 04, 2011

The following four texts are home-made Mad Libs completed using words solicited via Facebook. The original text was pulled from Jannach's German for Reading Knowledge, 6th Ed., by Richard Alan Korb, p. 185. Nine nouns, four verbs, and three adjectives were submitted by Mina, Seth, Shira, and Tracey from May 24 to May 25, 2011.

Korb & Mina
First, learn the mountain after having walked the potty to which the mountain grew and the mountain’s function in the dark lake. If the mellow mountain is the dog of its lake, the mountain will be the first word in the learning, followed by the shishkabob and its wallpapers and trees generally in reverse order. If the mellow mountain isn’t the dog, it should still be the first cheese learned, followed by the lake’s dog (usually located right after the non-dog relative mountain), then the shishkabob and its wallpaper & trees. At times, it is old to learn a dark lake as a separate heaven so as to avoid awkward seeing.

Korb & Seth
First, prattle the door after having undermined the cuttlefish to which the door transubstantiates and the door’s function in the over ouster. If the indefatigable door is the subduction of its ouster, the door will be the first word in the prattling, followed by the needle and its prams and kumquats generally in reverse order. If the indefatigable door isn’t the subduction, it should still be the first endoscopy undermined, followed by the ouster’s subduction (usually located right after the non-subduction relative door), then the needle and its pram & kumquat. At times, it is choral to prattle an over ouster as a separate kibosh so as to avoid awkward beginning.

Korb & Shira
First, climb the banana after having drunk the handbags to which the banana begets and the banana’s function in the oversize blade. If the scraggly banana is the planet of its blade, the banana will be the first word in the climbing, followed by the worker and its gates and toddlers generally in reverse order. If the scraggly banana isn’t the planet, it should still be the first forest climbed, followed by the blade’s planet (usually located right after the non-planet relative banana), then the worker and its gate & toddler. At times, it is shiny to climb a oversize blade as a separate gherkin so as to avoid awkward boiling.

Korb & Tracey
First, exacerbate the schadenfreude after having pontificated the whisker to which the schadenfreude gesticulates and the schadenfreude’s function in the lurid furlong. If the unseemly schadenfreude is the wimple of its furlong, the schadenfreude will be the first word in the exacerbating, followed by the brisket and its ugolas and naso-labial folds generally in reverse order. If the unseemly schadenfreude isn’t the wimple, it should still be the first naso-labial fold exacerbated, followed by the furlongs’s wimple (usually located right after the non-wimple’s relative schadenfreude), then the brisket and its ugola & naso-labial fold. At times, it is prim to exacerbate a lurid furlong as a separate fork so as to avoid awkward whincing.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday Sestina about Birds

Thunk lands the scrub-jay
startling the dove
whose beak was in her armpit
Next door, making all sorts of noise, is that chicken
The dove looks around
for the thunk-source of the sound

It was a thick clunk, really, the sound,
so heavy was the scrub-jay
from his feet to his crown, all around
Quite the mass of more than three doves
Stretch the wings from the armpit
Still crazy, insane, that chicken

What? What? What? What? screams the chicken
She hadn’t even heard the thunk sound
She was chasing her own armpit
She was unaware of the scrub-jay
She was going around and around and around
The heartbeats did slow in the dove

The dove,
so calm compared to the chicken
who was still going around and around and around
But the heaviness of the sound
How could something fly after such a thunk, that scrub-jay?
It was like he held lead weights in his armpits

The softest place on a bird is the armpit
Always protected, especially on a dove
Somewhat less so, on the scrub-jay
And it is a tasty place, of course, on the chicken
But we will not make that sort of a sound
Think not of eating, think around

that sort of thing, think around
Think nothing of eating the chicken’s armpit
That would be a horrible sound
to let escape from our mouths, said the dove
Don’t let her hear, don’t let the chicken…
She’s already half-mad, yes, Mr. scrub-jay?

Oh, yes, said the scrub-jay, certainly that chicken
is as insane as an armpit with no sound
Oh, yes, echoed the dove, and will you take me around?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The following text has been translated from English to Arabic, Arabic to Dari (Persian), Dari (Persian) to Swahili, and Swahili to English using Google TranslateThe original text was copied from the opening five paragraphs of the online article by Peter Baker, Helene Cooper, and Mark Mazzetti reporting for The New York Times that Osama Bin Laden was killed on May 1, 2011. According to Wikipedia, terrorist attacks in Yemen, Algeria, Egypt, Afghanistan, Tanzania, Nairobi, and the United States have been attributed to Osama Bin Laden since 1992.

"Bin Laden is dead, Obama is:

"President Obama and kill Osama Bin Laden, mastermind of dramatic attacks on American soil in modern times, most personable man hunt in the world, instead of fire and U.S. forces in Pakistan on Sunday - and Washington.

"Late night appearance at the State House Room East, said that Obama 'is right,' and showed the U.S. Army Agency for Intelligence and activists finally Bin Laden, leader of al Qaeda, which makes them nearly ten years he had forgotten in the corner were. U.S. officials said bin Laden was the opposition and head injuries. Later buried at sea.

"News and eating outpouring great feeling as the crowd outside the White House in Times Square and the ground zero site, the flag of the United States waving, and shouting encouragement, laughter and chanting: 'USA, USA america' in the city of New York, drivers honked rock crowd 'banner decorated with stars.' Welcome to downtown Washington, Horn has a night.

"'For over two decades, al-Qaeda leader Bin Laden was a sign,' the President said in a statement broadcast around the world. 'Bin Laden's death is an important achievement so far in our nation's efforts to defeat al Qaeda, but his death is the end of our efforts Have no doubt that al Qaeda continues attacks against us .. You must stay alert and we are home and out of the country. '

"Bin Laden's death at this crucial, and the American-led war against terrorism, with emphasis on stroke signs in the accuracy of those who follow New York and Washington on 11 September 2001 is attacked. What remains to be seen, however, is whether it would encourage supporters of bin Laden and his witness, or close to war in Afghanistan and provides inspiration for Obama for U.S. troops are home...."


Sunday, April 24, 2011

My Spaz

I always look better next to my spaz
All kinds of junk
A nerve, senselessly oleaginous
Riddled to ribbon
It was not a thought for a long while, to separate
Through kicked up dust with the blood

Shot through with electricity, sweat, with blood
Such sudden pain, groped egos, from the spaz
Shake, slip, misunderstand—multiple and separate
A pathetic display of junk—
tangled ribbon,

It is that that—shake, jump, slip. When oleaginous
Upside down blood
Plug in electric blue ribbon
Make her go, my spaz
“Shut up, Junk!”
But it’s too late—sense separate

Oh, but the painmortification. Oh, but the sense, separate
receipt of response. Some oleaginous
My face, a composition of painlines, fear, embarrassed junk
My drained, manhandled blood
Inside fire doused by stoking through no oxygen; spaz
Everything discredited. Everything choked in gutflavored ribbon

Bent through sappy, food-drenched satin and knot-on knotted ribbon
Where does sex and calm separate?
Ego shoved out—handed about by my spaz—
expecting (at least) ambivalence and oleaginous,
expecting (at most) fortified, orgasmic blood,
always returning: a piece of junk

Always returned as junk
a Parsifalian hunt, overlooked, wrapped in ribbon
shot through my blood
I asked her to separate
Never—to her—oleaginous
I add, “Stay next to me, my spaz.”

Junk will separate
following ribbon, fie on oleaginous!
Blood warm, always with my spaz

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Questions appropriated from an interview with Sid Vicious by Roberta Bayley in 1978.

Answers - circa 2011.


"The Sex Pistols American tour ended at Winterland in San Francisco, January14, 1978. Two days later the band had officially broken up. On January 20, Sid Vicious boarded a plane for London via New York. He passed out en route, an apparent drug overdose, and was taken unconscious to Jamaica Hospital in Queens, New York. The biggest blizzard of the year had immobilized New York, so we spoke to Sid that night over the phone. He sounded very weak, but anxious to talk. He was lonely and bored."

Sarah: Do I start?

Roberta: Hello, Sid?

Sarah: Sarah.

Roberta: Sid?

Sarah: No. Sarah.

Roberta: This is Roberta.

Sarah: Hi, Roberta.

Roberta: I would but it’s snowing.

Sarah: Is that like a joke—like you would get "high" but...

Roberta: I don’t have a car and you can’t go on the trains.

Sarah: I can go on the trains and why should you have a car?

Roberta: We’re gonna come tomorrow. Do you think you’ll still be in tomorrow?

Sarah: Tomorrow I will be out.

Roberta: How are you feeling?

Sarah: Well. Productive. Well-fed.

Roberta: Nobody’s been up to see you or anything?

Sarah: Just Paul - and Chi Chi a few weeks ago. I feel weird inviting people to Riverside. It's like this big thing for me and then they'll get here and be all like, "oh." My place is small. But I have fetishized my fully stocked (almost pristine) liquor cabinet to make up for the lack.

Roberta: It’s so miserable outside. I guess you can see it on television.

Sarah: No television here. Perhaps I can hear the bad weather on the television next door through the wall. Is a clear, mildly cool nighttime considered "bad weather"?

Roberta: How long you been in there - just last night?

Sarah: A week and a half, more like it.

Roberta: What happened to everybody else? Who was on the plane with you?

Sarah: Everybody else is out there in their own circles of normal and irregular living. I have not been on a plane since September of last year.

Roberta: Yeah, you get drunk faster.

Sarah: On the plane? I haven't noticed that to be true.

Roberta: Do you have a TV at least?

Sarah: No.

Roberta: Yeah, magazines or something, huh?

Sarah: Yeah, magazines and books.

Roberta: I’ve got some great comic books.

Sarah: So do I. Somewhere.

Roberta: You don’t have any way to get in touch with him?

Sarah: Who?

Roberta: Well, what happened with this group of yours anyway?

Sarah: A group of friends? My friends are in Los Angeles and my schoolmates are spread across the Inland Empire like scholarly pushpins on a damaged map.

Roberta: Yeah, it seems like everybody left them.

Sarah: Everybody but the drunks and dogs.

Roberta: But what do Steve and Paul want to do?

Sarah: I'm not sure who Steve is, but Paul wants to create magic.

Roberta: That seems to be the general consensus.

Sarah: He will create magic with that electrified soul of his.

Roberta: Well, everybody’s just saying well what can he do now and nobody can ­figure out anything that he can do.

Sarah: That's what always happens with geniuses.

Roberta: Well, maybe this will shake him up a little bit?

Sarah: What? "This," in some sort of abstract way?

Roberta: Yeah, I guess in England everybody’s gonna be really upset about this. How do you feel about it?

Sarah: Everybody in England will be celebrating and jumping up and down. I feel good.

Roberta: The shows got worse instead of better.

Sarah: Television? There is more of it and therefore more bad of it.

Roberta: San Antonio. I thought that was best.

Sarah: Never been.

Roberta: No, that was Dallas. But I liked the one when you hit the guy with the guitar. (Randy’s Rodeo)

Sarah: I did that?

Roberta: Yeah, and John was jumping around a lot and the people were throwing lots of beer cans (at the band). That was a really exciting one. If the planes go out in the morning will you go back to London tomorrow?

Sarah: No.

Roberta: But they may not be letting the planes go…

Sarah: OK. But no.

Roberta: Yeah, you should. All kinds of people want to see you and everything. You’ve never been here before. You could have a good time. I mean you’re healthy enough to do it.

Sarah: I should go? Or stay?

Roberta: Well, what’re you going to do? If you go back to London, it’s just the same thing.

Sarah: I'm heading back to Venice tomorrow night...

Roberta: You have to straighten out for a while.

Sarah: Totally. I've been eating really well for the last three weeks. And Paul's got me eating a spoonful of coconut oil a day for my brain.

Roberta: You could. Just as an experiment.

Sarah: I am. I am.

Roberta: Well, your basic nature’s gonna get you in a lot of trouble.

Sarah: I hope so. In a good way.

From original:
(From DOA Film Book. 1981)
Researched and compiled by Phil Singleton.
The original of this feature is copyright to and and may not be reproduced without written permission.
All rights reserved.
All material ©

Thursday, April 07, 2011

The following is an experimental exquisite corpse writing. To produce it, I searched on the Internet to find "famous opening lines of novels." I chose the second most famous: "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife" (Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen, 1813). Then I searched to find what resulted from entering that line into a search. I clicked on each result and read until I felt I had found a sentence (or phrase, section, title, whatever) that was non-essay-like; an impotent phrase (something that could be read as a signifier to fit with any or all-such, so to say). If I felt this did not exist on the page, I moved on to the next. The sentences/phrases that were found to apply are stitched together in the following story.

The Margins of Engagement
(sources follow)

The news that a wealthy young gentleman named Charles Bingley has rented the manor known as Netherfield Park causes a great stir in the neighboring village of Longbourn, especially in the Bennet household. "Today was a very cold and bitter day, as cold and bitter as a cup of hot chocolate, if the cup of hot chocolate had vinegar added to it and were placed in a refrigerator for several hours." Da Da Da Dum.... It's time to choose a BA. Mrs. Bennet, a foolish woman who talks too much and is obsessed with getting her daughters married. This should be smaller than the outer text; the right margin should be wider, but the left margin should be the same. This angers Elizabeth even more, as she feels that it is solely because of her family that he would want to prohibit any sort of engagement between Bingley and Jane or Elizabeth and himself. No, you've not lost your way. Mrs. Bennet sees Mr. Bingley as a potential suitor for her daughters, and attempts to persuade Mr. Bingley to visit him. "It is a truth universally acknowledged that when one part of your life starts going okay, another falls spectacularly to pieces."

sources, in order, searched on 04/06/2011: (quote: The Unauthorized Autobiography of Lemony Snicket) (quote: Bridget Jones's Diary)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Conversation in Philadelphia While on the Way to Get Pizza.

In 1972, he asked, who was the mayor of Philadelphia? Rizzo.
I was born too, I said as if to everybody.
You know what I like about Philly? he said. Lorenzo’s.
Also, the girls are sweet and all have a little bellyfat.
I like looking out at the Schuylkill.
I liked riding the streets on my bicycle.

Where I live now, I said, I never ride my bicycle.
It sits in a dirty old garage, as dead as Rizzo.
He asked, how do you spell Schuylkill?
s-c-h-u-y-l-k-i-l-l. That’s asked by everybody.
Well jiggle my bellyfat.
Hey, let’s go get a slice at Lorenzo’s.

The Italian Market in South Philly has the original Lorenzo’s.
I used to ride there on my bicycle.
He said, enough about bicycles, let’s talk about bellyfat.
You know who had bellyfat? Big Mayor Rizzo.
On the way to the market let’s look at Shira’s mural of everybody.
I said, make a left here over the Schuylkill.

Onto the Spring Garden Street bridge; Powelton Village ahead of us; over the Schuylkill.
How’s this for gorgeous? What a mural. I can’t wait for Lorenzo’s.
She painted the neighborhood. Everybody.
I pulled him out of the street. Watch out for that bicycle.
Jesus Christ to Rizzo!
I think that bicyclist touched my bellyfat.

You don’t have any bellyfat.
That’s because every morning I swim in the Schuylkill.
Yeah right, and my father is Frank Rizzo.
You don’t have have bellyfat because you don’t eat enough Lorenzo’s.
Actually, I ride my bicycle.
Actually, you’re just not from Philly, like people I know. Everybody.

So you know everybody?
Shut up and touch my bellyfat.
Hmm, looks like someone else could use a ride on a bicycle.
If you don’t be quiet I’ll throw you in the Schuylkill.
You’re just getting’ tough ‘cause you’re from Philly. What you need is some Lorenzo’s.
Duh! By the way, how did we start talking about Rizzo?

I don’t know, but I think everybody should swim in the Schuylkill.
I think we should write a paper about bellyfat and Lorenzo’s.
Who I wonder was ever on a bicycle was Rizzo.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A short story about writing:

The passive voice was used a lot.
Then I said to myself, "What is this with the passive voice, Sarah? Robert Smithson took the damn photos. Screw this—'the photos were taken...'." And then I wrote some more... and some more.
And I put the passive voice to rest.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The following is an experimental exquisite corpse writing. To produce it, I searched on the Internet to find the "most famous opening line of a novel." I found "Call me Ishmael" (Moby-Dick, Herman Melville, 1851). Then I searched to find what resulted from entering that line into a search. I clicked on each result and read until I felt I had found a sentence (or phrase, section, title, whatever) that was non-essay-like—an impotent phrase (something that could be read as a signifier to fit with any or all-such, so to say). If I felt this did not exist on the page, I moved on to the next. The sentences/phrases that were found to apply are stitched together in the following story.

Interior Design and Bookshelves
(sources follow)

Mocha Dick had dozens of harpoons from attacks by other whalers, and appeared to attack ships with premeditated ferocity. Some years ago I read an article about interior design and bookshelves. And it will upon you as well. In my mind’s eye the vision is clear: It is a warm summer weekend, late in the afternoon or maybe dusk. At the risk of offending my sister, I’m going to write about her cat, Jack. I Am Stop, You Are Go. His financial situation was poor and he was desperately in need of a publishing success. One minute it's the stubbly, hysterical laymen of Lebanon, shooting their rifles in the air, like children, that's the story we all wanna hear, beardy blokes, shouting at the camera, waving placards and then, the next, all Hell breaks loose on the Pacific Rim, Mother Nature clears her throat and the works of man - and his Holy StockMarkets - come tumbling down, washed away in a roaring tide of shit and corpses. All this bobbing and bouncing… it’s enough to make you sea-sick.

sources, in order, searched on 03/15/2011:

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Questions appropriated from a White House interview with George W. Bush by unknown interviewers, transcribed by the White House, May 13, 2008.

Answers - circa 2011

QUESTION: Good morning, Mr. President.

SARAH: “Mr. President”! That is a good one.

QUESTION: Thank you for having us into this amazing place.

SARAH: I’m in Riverside…

QUESTION: Congratulations, father of the bride.

SARAH: I am neither a father, nor the parent of a bride….

QUESTION: When you took her arm, Mr. President, what were you thinking?

SARAH: When I took her arm—if I took a daughter’s arm when she was getting married… I guess this means I would be giving her away—I would probably think about how stupid and backwards that concept is. The giving away of a daughter…

QUESTION: A sunset.

SARAH: If there was a sunset? No, that wouldn’t change the way I felt.

QUESTION: Ninety-two degrees?

SARAH: Nope. That neither.

QUESTION: Mr. President, what was your toast?

SARAH: I’m working on my toasts. I’ve spent a good deal of my life thinking that I was scared of public speaking, but I’m starting to really enjoy it, so I think the next toast I do, whenever that will be, will be great. I’ll enjoy it, at least. I don’t know about anyone else.

QUESTION: Mr. President, we understand you had a little homework assignment, you watched Steve Martin’s “Father of the Bride.”

SARAH: Oh my god, really? That was president Bush’s “homework assignment?” From his daughter?

QUESTION: Did you pick up any tips there?

SARAH: I’ll bet he didn’t. In one ear… I can see him watching it though. I bet he laughed.

QUESTION: Mr. President, the one thing we don’t see in here is a computer, and we know that you went cold turkey off email for security reasons. What are you looking forward to when you finally get your computer back?

SARAH: That’s funny. They took away his computer…. And what a loaded question. I could easily make a dumb joke about porn here.

QUESTION: Mr. President, we know you’re a man of intense faith. And I wonder, what was a moment in this room over the past eight years when you needed that most?

SARAH: OK, back to the interview appropriation. (I’ll stop simply gawking at the inanity of these questions posed to the man who is supposed to be, or was, that is, in charge of our country.) Well! Actually, I am not a man of intense faith. And I am not a woman of intense faith either. And I’ve only had access to the room that I am in now for five and a half months—not eight years. But I would say that I did need some faith something bad last October when I was struck with the worst case of eczema I’ve ever experienced, alone, here in Riverside, and it was three in the morning and I was driving to an all-night CVS to buy Gold Bond medicated cream and $100 worth of other treatments. That was tough.

QUESTION: Consequential. That’s what you want —

SARAH: It was the consequence of changing my life entirely in the span of ten days. I just needed a little more of a decompression chamber—or its mirror equivalent, I suppose—whatever chamber there would be to get you from two months of total vacation relaxation to extreme intellectual rigor.

QUESTION: This is the last question, Mr. President. You talked about some tough decisions—what was the happiest moment you’ve had in this amazing room?

SARAH: Writing. Writing is magical.

QUESTION: Do you think the first President Bush is proud of you?

SARAH: Probably not.

QUESTION: You know the feeling.

SARAH: I doubt I know many of the feelings that Bush senior has had.

QUESTION: Mr. President, thank you for sharing the people’s house with us.

(Interview moves to Roosevelt Room)

SARAH: OK, here we are in the “Roosevelt Room.” I feel like I should take my laptop into the kitchen or bathroom or something.

QUESTION: Mr. President, thank you very much for having us into the Roosevelt Room for the first online interview. In the spirit of the Internet, I wonder if we could ask a question from one of our users, Steve Bailey, of New York, who says: With oil at $126 a barrel, pushing up the price of everything—even food—what can your administration do to help people right now?

SARAH: I thought Bush wasn’t allowed online.

QUESTION: Mr. President, as you know, as a possible solution, Senator McCain, Senator Clinton have talked about suspending the federal gasoline tax this summer. You never said an absolute “no” to that. Is it something you would consider or do you think it’s a bad idea to consider?

SARAH: No way. Tax gas.

QUESTION: Mr. President, I wonder if in your eight years in office what the changes have been, in your view, of climate change?

SARAH: If Bush hadn’t become president, Al Gore probably wouldn’t have had time to make his movie with Davis Guggenheim. So, in effect, the changes, at least in terms of recognition of the problem, were positive.

QUESTION: Mr. President, for the record, is global warming real?

SARAH: I wonder how he answered that. I also wonder if the interviewer thought he had some inside, Hegelian-style dope. Yes. Real.

QUESTION: Mr. President, acknowledging those constraints, you’re an oil man—some people say that climate change, global warming could have been your Nixon-to-China. Do you wish you’d done more?

SARAH: The extent of my oil-ness is that I am dedicated to moisturizer. I always moisturize my face, legs and arms anytime after I shower. I also drive a car that uses gas.

QUESTION: Mr. President, turning to the biggest issue of all, Iraq. I wonder if you—various people and various candidates talk about pulling out next year. If we were to pull out of Iraq next year, what’s the worst that could happen, what’s the doomsday scenario?

SARAH: Even putting “doomsday” in that sentence is begging the question that getting out of Iraq means some sort of doomsday and furthers the us/them mentality. Why don’t you ask what is the best way, and how one could go about getting out of Iraq, as a positive endeavor in U.S. foreign policy?

QUESTION: Mr. President, I’m going to surprise you—there’s a question from a user, Bruce Becker, and he asks: Do you feel that you were misled [sic] on Iraq?

SARAH: I wasn’t, but I think president Bush was. He was mislead by himself and others.

QUESTION: And so you feel that you didn’t have all the information you should have or the right spin on that information?

SARAH: The right spin? That’s a dark question. I, myself, had about as much legitimate information as my cat. I sensed that getting into Iraq was the wrong thing to do. It was too close to September 11, and I know the two events had somehow become conflated and were feeding each other in very dangerous ways.

QUESTION: Mr. President, you haven’t been golfing in recent years. Is that related to Iraq?

SARAH: I have been meaning to go golfing! No connection to Iraq, however.

QUESTION: Mr. President, was there a particular moment or incident that brought you to that decision, or how did you come to that?

SARAH: I decided that I should go golfing because, when I’m not in Riverside, I live in Venice, CA, very close to a public golf course. I thought I should take advantage of that. Come to think of it, I live very close to a public course here in Riverside as well. I hadn’t thought of that…

QUESTION: Mr. President, you’re headed later today to the Middle East. The prospects for brokering peace between Israelis and Palestinians look bleak. I wonder what the best is you can hope for, and why should Americans back home care about your efforts over there?

SARAH: This is a topic of which that I wish I had a better understanding. I’m not in fact going to the Middle East later today, but if I was at least I might get a sense of what is going on first hand. It’s an issue that I would wish entropy on—in the sense that all chaos is non-self perpetuating and will reach some form of homeostasis at some point. I’m not religious, however. Perhaps entropy is not applicable to religion.

QUESTION: Mr. President, I know you’re going to hate this, but I’m hoping that we may twist your arm and talk about baseball for just a moment. (Laughter.) Mr. President, you’re a Major League Baseball team owner again. Everyone is a free agent. You have a Yankees-like wallet. Who is your first position player? Who’s your pitcher?

SARAH: Baseball team? Wow. I don’t know. You know, I’m just not that into baseball. If I had a team I would support—maybe—a ski team. I like the solitariness of skiers. They seem to embody a kind of self-reflection coupled with physical understanding that I like.

QUESTION: We thought you were going to go A-Rod, Josh Beckett.

SARAH: I’m not sure I know who those people are. I’ve heard of “A-rod.”

QUESTION: Now, Mr. President, I wonder if you think that Major League Baseball is doing enough to combat steroids use, and specifically, would you favor a blood test to check for human growth hormone. As you know the players union says it’s an unwarranted—

SARAH: I don’t condone mandatory drug testing. I do not condone drug use in professional sports, either, however. Innocent until proven guilty, I think.

QUESTION: But what would that take?

SARAH: I think those that are close to the games will know when one of their peers is doing drugs. I know when the lady in front of me in line at the gourmet foods shop is doing drugs. It’s not hard to recognize. In those situations, you have to sit the person down and have a serious talk—not at the gourmet store, but at the game…

QUESTION: And there haven’t been enough normal-sized people.

SARAH: That’s so funny! But not true. I think there are too many “normal”-sized people. And I have no idea what you’re talking about. And I’m kidding.

QUESTION: Now, Mr. President, you and the First Lady appeared on American Idol’s charity show, “Idol Gives Back.” And I wonder who do you think is going to win? Syesha, David Cook, or David Archuleta?

SARAH: Oh, good lord. I think that show is the scourge of our civilization. The one good thing about it is that it has the potential to inspire people to sing and dance without feeling like they are doing something strange with their bodies.

QUESTION: All right. Mr. President, who does the better impression, Will Ferrell of you, or Dana Carvey of your father?

SARAH: Definitely Will Ferrell. Oh, wait—neither of them does impressions of me or my father. I bet Will Ferrell would do a pretty good impression of my father.

QUESTION: And speaking of impressions, our friend, Robert Draper, author of “Dead Certain,” said you do a great impression of Dr. Evil from “Austin Powers”. (Laughter.)

SARAH: If that means putting my curled pinky up to my pursed lips, then—sure.

QUESTION: Mr. President, I know you’re not going to believe this transition, but the Congress and Democrats now have been in charge for the Capitol for 18 months. I wonder if you care to give them a grade.

SARAH: A+, with a curve.

QUESTION: Now, Mr. President, President Carter recently told Charlie Rose the next President could change America’s image in 10 minutes. Here’s what he said: “I think the next President could change the image of this country around the world in 10 minutes by making an inaugural speech that would start off and say, ‘As long as I’m President we will never torture another prisoner, as long as I’m President we will never attack or invade another country unless our own security is directly threatened.’”

SARAH: That was indeed true, in ten minutes.

QUESTION: Mr. President, I’m getting the hook here. If I can ask you one quick political question. You have a clear eye. I wonder if at this point you feel sorry for Senator Clinton.

SARAH: Feeling sorry for Senator Clinton would be like feeling sorry for… well, you know where I’m going with this.

QUESTION: Mr. President, looking ahead, are you worried that through no fault of the candidates, that America may be in for a kind of ugly conversation about race this fall?

SARAH: If you are referring to President Obama’s election—then that is another question that is pregnant with negative assumptions. No conversation is “ugly.” Accusations and paranoia is “ugly.”

QUESTION: Mr. President, as a final question—and thank you so much for taking this time with us—the scale of the disasters in China and Burma is amazing. I wonder how the United States can go about getting aid into those closed regimes.

SARAH: I’m sure someone in the White House has a telephone number or an email address. I myself had turned to the International Medical Corps for donating.

QUESTION: Mr. President, thank you very much for your time. Good luck on your trip.

SARAH: No trips planned right now, but thanks.

QUESTION: Thank you, sir.

SARAH: You mean “ma’am.” Or just “Sarah.” I prefer “Sarah.”

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Exquisite Corpse Story: “I’m the Boss That’s Why,” by Sarah, David, Christopher, John, and Anna

On some mornings the coffee had a distinct iron-like taste to it - too much like blood, a little like tinfoil. Maybe it was just her imagination because she knows the reason for its taste, but has anyone else in the office noticed? She smiled while she filled her bosses ‘I’m the Boss, That’s Why’ coffee cup then placed it on his desk in front of him. She smiled again, a warm June Clever morning smile as he grabbed the cup and slurped the black liquid down. She has been smiling a lot lately. She hoped that the ferrous swill would throttle back his apathy circuits. Perhaps today he would fix the damned water softener she thought to herself. [She] checked the filter and, sure enough, [she] found a bloody finger wrapped in foil. Nausea and shock - but Stan had said he was going to wait - she thought. Was this his doing? Had he seemed nervous in the elevator? Yes, he had, she realized. Did Stan know what was going on? What was he hiding? There seem to be two plots happening at once. Where did that finger come from? She became nervous knowing that this would only bring attention to her unrelated deviant office scheme, which she was excited to finally implement. Her mind raced as she shook the rain off her scarlet Prada raincoat and climbed the wet stairs to her third floor walkup. As she reached the top step she froze. There was a package resting in front of her apartment door. She hesitated as she leaned over the package to see who had sent the brown paper box. Nothing was written.

(via Facebook)

Questions appropriated from a CNN interview with Gene Wilder by Larry King on Larry King Live, aired on May 2, 2002.

Answers - circa 2011.

LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, a rare interview with Gene Wilder. He lost his beloved wife Gilda Radner to cancer, and then he got cancer too. Find out how one of Hollywood's funniest stars survived some very sad times. Gene Wilder, getting personal, next on LARRY KING LIVE.

It is a joy for me to welcome tonight's guest because I've been looking forward to this for a long time. We don't see him often enough, the brilliant actor/writer/director, one of my favorite folk on the planet, Gene Wilder. What an honor, thank you so much.

SARAH: He's one of my favorites too

KING: Thank you. What is the state of your health? You were diagnosed, they tell me, with lymphoma in '99; had chemotherapy; declared in remission; and then underwent some stem cell. What's the whole story?

SARAH: No – actually, that hasn’t happened. So far, I’m OK.

KING: It's not. It's a career show.

SARAH: That sucks about Gene Wilder though. And Gilda Radner.

KING: Explaining it to you.

SARAH: Yes, you explained it. Was that a sentence?

KING: And that was when?

SARAH: Just then – you introduced this piece and explained that Gene Wilder had cancer and Gilda Rander died.

KING: You look great.

SARAH: Oh. Thanks.

KING: Will it not come back?

SARAH: What? What am I missing?

KING: Now, the stem cells went where? What do they do with them? Do they inject them? What do they do?

SARAH: I didn’t know that’s how stem cells work. I thought they grew things with them, or testing treatments on them and such.

KING: You're not going to stay on the medicine because ...

SARAH: I am on medicine. I think I have jock itch on my ankle.

KING: Loose your hair?

SARAH:  “Loose”? Or lose? Actually, my hair is doing quite well. I started taking silica about a year ago to try and strengthen my nails and it’s helping my hair too. My nails used to break off every time I painted them.

KING: Did it wipe you out too? Get tired?

SARAH: No, not really.

KING: Now you'd lived with this when Gilda, your lovely wife, passed away. Had to come to with the -- how did you learn she had cancer?

SARAH: Man, this is a hard one. How do you make light of Gene Wilder’s cancer and the loss of his wife? I love both of those guys as comedians.

KING: And that's the death certificate?

SARAH: He brought the death certificate with him to a Larry King interview?

KING: How did you handle that?

SARAH: I think I just meant to say that with a little bit of disbelief.

KING: What happened three weeks before?

SARAH: Three weeks ago I was in the midst of my school quarter, back in Venice, reading a lot. I think I went to the art museum that weekend.

KING: Were the two of you funny? I mean you're so funny.

SARAH: You’re kind of funny too. You mean me and who? Paul?

KING: You're an actor who does funny things.

SARAH: No, I’m not really an actor. I was just talking about that last night with Paul, though. I really enjoyed the acting classes I’ve taken during my life. I said to him that whenever I retire, it’s going to be community theater all the way with me.

KING: How did you meet?

SARAH: We met at a Christmas party at the Pacific Design Center. We’d both been invited by people named Peter – two different Peters.

KING: Our guest is the brilliant Gene Wilder. What a career we should talk about. Don't go away.


WILDER: Where are we?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come on, this way, come on, this way. I've got a car a couple of blocks away.

Act normal.

WILDER: I got to get some clothes.




WILDER: Sorry, honey. Oh, I see you've already met.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm Fester (ph), the family butler.

WILDER: Yes! And I'm that little boy you used to bathe and tuck into bed and bring warm milk and cookies too, just before you kissed me good night.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: May I have your name, please?

WILDER: My name?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come in, Mr. Kidding, I'll take your bags.


KING: This is Gilda Radner writing of her first meeting with Mr. Wilder. "My heart fluttered. I was hooked. He was funny and athletic and handsome. He smelled good. I was smitten with love." But she was married at the time and Gene had been married and divorced and in no big hurry to get hitched again. Gilda got a divorce. She and Gene lived together on-and-off for about two-and-a-half years. It became her career to get you to marry her. Why did she have to work at that?

SARAH: They are so sweet. He’s so great. I love Gene Wilder. That's nice to know he smells good.

KING: Dependence.

SARAH: Dependence?

KING: You have found love again, right? You are happily married, right?

SARAH: Not married, but very much in love.

KING: How did you meet her? Because you were really down after Gilda's death. You took it very badly, as I remember. Right?

SARAH: I never met Gilda Radner. I had a friend in second grade you did a really good impression of her, though.

KING: Right?

SARAH: Yeah, really.

KING: Blind and deaf.

SARAH: No, she wasn’t. She could see and hear.

KING: Are you in love yet?

SARAH: I told you. Yes.

KING: With her.

SARAH: No. With Paul.

KING: You were attracted.

SARAH: To Gilda Radner? No. Nope.

KING: And Gilda still has a special place, though, right? They just aired a special about it the other night.

SARAH: They did? Yes. She’s very special.

KING: Gilda will always have a special place.

SARAH: Definitely.

KING: Karen understand that?

SARAH: Karen the squirrel?

KING: Do you have children.

SARAH: That’s written like a statement. Did you mean it to be a question? If so, no.

KING: How old was she?

SARAH: Who, now?

KING: Have you used humor well all your life? Does it work for you?

SARAH: Oh, yeah. Definitely.

KING: Yes, when you're down.

SARAH: Sometimes. Sometimes when I’m down it’s too hard to find the funny, you know?

KING: Professionally, we're going to get to that.

SARAH: Do you think?

KING: You write funny.

SARAH: Thanks.

KING: You do?

SARAH: What?

KING: Are you a neurotic?

SARAH: Are you?

KING: Now, you play the classic neurotic, Mr. Bloom ...

SARAH: You want me to act out the part of Mr. Bloom? I don’t know the lines.

KING: In "The Producers" with Zero Mostel, "Byalistock and Bloom" that's just now become the rip-roaring hit on Broadway, and now there's different stars in it now, et cetera. Did you have any idea that that would become the classic it became?

SARAH: I LOVE Zero Mostel. He’s great. I had no idea it would get so big on Broadway.

KING: I'll ask about you and Mel Brooks in a minute. Gene Wilder's our guest. Hey, can't go wrong. Don't go away.


WILDER: Jesus, I heard something. I heard your voice!


WILDER: Wally, I heard your voice!

PRYOR: You can hear me, Dave.


PRYOR: You can hear me!

WILDER: No! Schmack! I'm deaf! Now you get it?




WILDER: You're going to jump on me! You're going to jump on me! I know you're going to jump on me! Like (UNINTELLIGIBLE) jumped on Pompea!


WILDER: Pompea! She was his wife, and she was unfaithful to him. So he got mad and he jumped on her, up and down, up and down, until he squashed her like a bug! Please don't jump on me!


KING: How did you meet Mel Brooks?

SARAH: I wish I had met Mel Brooks. I guess there's still the chance - he's alive.

KING: What was the first thing he cast you in?

SARAH: I wish!

KING: You did Cuckoo's Nest?

SARAH: What’s that one? I haven’t seen it.

KING: How did you feel when you went to see the Broadway show?

SARAH: You mean, The Producers? I actually saw it in Los Angeles, not Broadway. It was pretty fun.

KING: How did it feel to see, for the first time ever, someone else do this nervous, crazy accountant?

SARAH: They were no Gene Wilder.

KING: He truly screams.

SARAH: He does, doesn’t he? That’s a funny part.

KING: Who came up with the little blanket that Bloom carries?

SARAH: Trivia! Oooh, I don’t know. Who?

KING: Now, which came first, "Blazing Saddles" or "Young Frankenstein?"

SARAH: More trivia! I’m going to guess “Blazing Saddles”?

KING: Did you like that right away?

SARAH: I did. But you didn't tell me who came up with the blanket.

KING: That was a great character, the "Blazing Saddles" guy. And you worked great off the whole cast. Why did that work so well? It was crazy with the passing wind and the hitting of the horse. (One played by Howard Johnson, somebody played lines everywhere) (ph)

SARAH: What’s the “(ph)” mean?

KING: They come into town, rape our castle -- they rape our cattle, plus all our women.

SARAH: “Castle”? Was that a typo or a Freudian slip? Or was that in the film?

KING: Buys raisinettes.

SARAH: I like them.

KING: It sure was.

SARAH: OK, this is going on sort of long. I think we should wrap it up.

KING: Do you always ride a horse?

SARAH: No. Listen, it’s been great talking to you, Larry.

KING: You rode pretty good.

SARAH: When I was young, yes. I took lessons. OK. I’m going to take off.

KING: Oh, "The Woman in Red" and "Frisco Kid." We'll talk about "Young Frankenstein" too. Gene Wilder is our guest. Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like I said, on the count of three. One, two, three.




PRYOR: That's right, that's right, we're bad. That's right. Don't want no (EXPLETIVE DELETED) either.



KING: I'm reminded by our crack staff, you were once the hottest male property in Hollywood. Correct? You were the highest paid movie actor. You broke box office records. You had a string of hits.


KING: How did you handle all that? How did your ego deal with all of that?


KING: But you don't love ...


KING: That's what you don't like.


KING: Therefore, being the number one box office one year meant nothing to you?


KING: No, but it still happened.


Friday, March 11, 2011

Exquisite Corpse: "I Hate to Cook Book," a story by Sarah, Erin, Meredith, Allison, and David

When she was in the supermarket, it was always the same thing—two bags of chips, two frozen boxes of fish fingers, and a quart of raspberry iced tea. But today, instead of going straight home from the store, she had to stop by the dry cleaners to pick up her Wonder Woman costume. And then she saw him. He was standing at the corner, looking down at the tattered paperback copy of the "I Hate to Cook Book" in his left hand. He carried an umbrella with a handle carved to look like a duck. She knew she had seen him somewhere before. But where... where...where...? When the answer came to her, she almost dropped her purse. They had met ten minutes before she committed the murder, outside the hospital. He has asked for a light and she had given him one. He had complimented her hair. She appreciated the compliment regarding her tasseled mess because the humidity was high that day. It reminded her of the emotional melt down she had earlier that morning about accepting the fact that she could not control all things in her life, including her hair.

(via Facebook) 

Questions appropriated from an ABC interview with Bill Gates by Peter Jennings published February 16, 2005.

Answers - circa 2011.

PETER JENNINGS: There are several stories in the newspapers this morning all about the speech you made in San Francisco about the state of security in the industry. How much of a challenge is security these days?

SARAH That’s totally a getting-into-it kind of a question to ask, Mr. Jennings. Totally en media res. I have no idea what you’re talking about, though. Security for which industry?

JENNINGS: Microsoft is nonetheless accused of not getting it right and being slow to get it right.

SARAH Oh. Computers. Windows does tend to get the viruses, doesn't it…

JENNINGS: Microsoft is the biggest target.

SARAH I wonder what those statistics are now. I was always under the impression that the only reason Windows got all the viruses was because—why bother targeting Macs, when so many businesses invest in PCs? Because PCs are simply cheaper.

JENNINGS: And if people continue to undermine Microsoft or the general technology in general, how seriously does it inhibit its future?

SARAH I’m not sure. We’re kind of in the future here now, aren’t we, Mr. Jennings? In fact—you’re quite dead, even. You died six months after this interview was published.

JENNINGS: You notice that ChoicePoint in California found that 30 some odd thousand, perhaps a hundred thousand, of their employees found that their identities got raided in their huge system. How worried does that make you?

SARAH Does that make you uncomfortable? That you’re dead? Are you trying to change the subject?

JENNINGS: I read an article coming up here on Firefox (Web browser) and its perceived ability to do this better than you. Is that fair?

SARAH I know what Firefox is. You don’t have to put that in ellipsis.

JENNINGS: Are you going to have to push your browser faster because of competition?

SARAH I’m not even sure what ‘browser’ you’re talking about. Let me Google that… Oh! Internet Explorer! I’m not sure people really use that anymore.

JENNINGS: I knew you were going to say that (laughs).

SARAH You’re good! Maybe you knew that because you’re a ghost! A friendly ghost.

JENNINGS: And you say it keeps you on your toes, you have such a huge portion of the market — in all elements of technology. Is the tendency in the shop sometimes to think that we just can't be beaten?

SARAH I bet Bill Gates thinks he can be beaten. But only when he’s in a really dark place that is easily washed away with some positive thinking, like, “Even if I am beaten, I can still just travel to tropical islands for the rest of my life with that ING savings account I have that has five million dollars in it.”

JENNINGS: Why do so many people seem to think that open sourcing is so essential?

SARAH Good lord. I don’t know. Was that a 2005 thing?

JENNINGS: Everybody I talked to seems to, particularly if they are young, seems to think that open sourcing is important and that among the reasons it is important is that it enables them to run more secure systems. Is that true from your point of view?

SARAH Open sourcing… is that like Creative Commons for software? I think it is…

JENNINGS: You sound quite sanguine about this. Is this a public position that is essential to take?

SARAH Ugh! That’s one of those words I always forget! Sanguine? It sounds negative, but it really connotes something positive—assured, right?

JENNINGS: What does it mean to be the Chief Software Architect?

SARAH I guess that would mean to be someone who architects all the software.

JENNINGS: Can you tell me two things that you have changed your mind about in the last year about, in the last year, about technology?

SARAH Ooh! That’s a good question. Well, I’ve gone back and forth about the iPad. I thought I wanted one, but then realized it’s ultimately sort of like buying a really nice piece of furniture—you’ll enjoy it, but any old chair really works in a pinch, and my laptop and iPhone are satisfying that need right now. Hmmm…. technology… I think what I really changed my mind about in the last year with technology is that I don’t want to chase it anymore. And this is fortunate, I think, because at the same time I see that it has become so embedded in our everyday life that you don’t really need to chase it. It’s right there, all the time, shouting in your face.

JENNINGS: And are there a couple of things about technology in the last couple of years that you have simply said — don't need to go there, don't want to go there or can't go there?

SARAH Ummm. 3D movies? I mean, come on. Really? Until they figure out a way that we don’t have to put glasses on, let’s just try to tell good stories, why don’t we?

JENNINGS: Do you struggle sometimes between being a hugely successful businessman and being a software architect?

SARAH Woman. I’m a woman, not a businessman. And no. I don’t really struggle with that because I’m neither.

JENNINGS: You have so many opportunities available to you on a daily basis, more than most people in their lives, when you got up this morning and headed for work, what did your day look like? What's on the agenda today which is utterly fascinating?

SARAH Oh, wow! Well, this is true. Today I got up and got ready for a presentation that I was to give during my history of photography seminar at UCR. It went pretty well. I didn’t sleep well last night, though. I get so wound up when I’m doing research, by the time I get in bed my mind is in a million incredibly interesting places. Being in school I do feel like I have so many opportunities. The real pressure is settling on just one.

JENNINGS: What about off the job?

SARAH If by “off the job” you mean not at school, then—well, spring break is coming up at the end of next week. I plan to focus on figuring out what my thesis topic is, and doing things like these appropriated interviews.

JENNINGS: You are famous for your determination that people acquire knowledge and learn more and yet you like everyone else make these extraordinary games now (Gates chuckles). Is gaming both enhancing now and undermining society?

SARAH (Is “Gates” listening to us?) That’s funny that you bring that up, because I just read this review in Bookforum (which is Artforum’s really great literary supplement) about a woman who wrote a book saying that all life should be conformed to a gaming structure. You could say she is a game-structuralist, I suppose. The moral to the story is that, no, gaming is neither enhancing nor undermining society. We should just keep games what they are: games.

JENNINGS: Are you nonetheless happiest when you are alone with a book and so you recommend it to other people?

SARAH I am happy when I am with a good book. That is true. Probably not happiest, though. Certainly stupendously happy, sometimes. And sometimes I’m just damn happy being alone. But I can think of other when I am happiest.

JENNINGS: And Fresca I am told you always take on vacation. Is that true?
SARAH No. Totally not. I don’t think I’ve ever had a Fresca.

JENNINGS: You have been a big advocate of travel. And you have on occasion said that Americans who spent more time traveling in Africa, for one, would learn something. What would we learn?

SARAH I do like travel. But I don’t think I’ve ever pinpointed Africa in terms of telling others to get out there to learn something. There are some people who could learn something by traveling outside their normal shopping route. Or by not shopping at all for that matter.

JENNINGS: But you are a very specific example in this case and I will come to that, how do you think the average American would change if he or she traveled more?

SARAH Am I? I suppose. Yes, if people were just exposed to more cultures and peoples on a daily basis, face to face, they would have a hard time feeling alienated from those “others.” It depends on how they travel, however. Setting up in the local 5-star hotel or, on the budget side, the Holiday Inn-equivalent, in some foreign city and scanning the menu for familiar foods will not help things much. People like to be comfortable, and hotels all over the world become these sorts of heterotopias for all kinds of peoples.

JENNINGS: Is there any part of the world that intimidates you?

SARAH I try not to walk around outside at my place in Riverside after dark. If I do I call someone and keep them on the phone until I get home.

JENNINGS: Should we be worried that China will best the United States before long?

SARAH You were asking this in 2005? I guess that makes sense.

JENNINGS: Is the U.S. as competitive as it needs to be?

SARAH Oh, please. Yawn.

JENNINGS: How do we do that?

SARAH You just open your mouth and (Sarah yawns).

JENNINGS: You are constantly giving money to different causes. I wonder if your money creates a sense of urgency that you would like it to create in terms of other people's interest and commitment.

SARAH Really? I wouldn’t say constantly. I gave just over $800 to different causes last year. A pretty eclectic group—from public radio stations to the International Medical Corps to the Henry Miller Library in Big Sur. Since I don’t talk about it much I doubt it’s creating any sense of urgency.

JENNINGS: Are you saying that private enterprise, private money, is more efficient than government money?

SARAH Are you calling me a Republican?

JENNINGS: Is the converse true? Do you sometimes give so much money that people are inclined to say, "Let Gates do it."

SARAH That doesn’t even make sense. I just told you I only gave about $800. If “Gates” is giving, that’s great.

JENNINGS: You are paid a great compliment once, when someone said, "You feel a death in Africa as if it were a death in the world." A, is that true? And B are the rest of us missing something?

SARAH I think your transcriber is slacking. “You are”? Do you mean “You were”? And the A and B parts of that sentence were really confusing. I thought it was a typo.

JENNINGS: What have you learned about the value of private money?
SARAH I’m not very public with my money. Private money seems to sustain things for me.

JENNINGS: You are so well known that I think people expect you to be good at almost everything. Are you good at almost everything?

SARAH Well, actually, I’m not really well known at all. And in terms of being good at almost everything, if that includes grammar and gardening, then—no, definitely not.

JENNINGS: Is there anything you're notoriously bad at?

SARAH Those two things, certainly.

JENNINGS: Can you play an instrument?

SARAH Yes! Like a drunk jazz ingénue! I like playing pianos and violins.

JENNINGS: Can you write?

SARAH That’s a pretty silly question to ask Bill Gates, since I know this interview was really intended for him and not me. I bet Bill Gates knows how to put a few words together. Let’s talk about you. I know several people who are very sad that you passed away and regretted that they replaced you with Charlie Gibson and Elizabeth Vargas. I wonder what happened to them. Are they still on the air?

JENNINGS: Did you ever envision, and is it difficult to live life in the stratosphere as you do at such an early age?

SARAH What’s it like being it the dead stratosphere? That’s much more interesting!

JENNINGS: And are you very, very aware that your children are terribly privileged? I shouldn't say terribly privileged, very privileged and that you have to fight that with them for the future?

SARAH I don’t have any children. But did you know that you and I have the same birthday? July 29, right?

JENNINGS: When I talk to people about you, everybody was fascinated that I was coming to see you. I'm sure that's not a surprise to you. They very quickly, often, particularly if they're young, put you over on the side of being a businessman. And they put other people over here as creators. Do you think that your image has suffered because you've been so successful at business?

SARAH I think this interview is going on too long. I think I’ll cut if off now. See you later, Peter Jennings! It’s been nice chatting with you in the netherworld! We miss you!

(the rest of this interview has been deleted)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Questions appropriated from an AIM Interview on AOL Music with Lindsay Lohan by "Melissa in Music," an editor at AOL Music, from I don't know when.

Answers - circa 2006.

MelissaInMusic: hi lindsay -- thanks so much for taking the time to talk to!
SarahLuvsBacon: It's Sarah.
MelissaInMusic: where are you right now?
SarahLuvsBacon: In my living room.
MelissaInMusic: well speaking of your new album...
SarahLuvsBacon: My new album?.... neeew album.... Um, refresh my memory?
MelissaInMusic: was it a different experience this time around?
SarahLuvsBacon: Is that a clue? No? I did make a book today. At work, I finally finished the database that has everything I do for my job in it - then I made it into a book and called it "The AMPAS Photo Manager Book of Etiquette." It's basically a manual for my job in case I hit my head and forget what I'm doing. But the best part was using the 50 million year-old machine upstairs in the mailroom that binds those annoying faux-spiral plastic spine books. You know? First you punch all the rectangular little holes, then it's got a slot machine like arm that you pull down after you've placed the spine just so, then you put the paper on the spine and release the arm. The machine is really loud and it's that green color they used so much in the 50s.
MelissaInMusic: it's definitely a brave move to put yourself out there like that thru your songs.
SarahLuvsBacon: I was humming a bit because I was happy that I figured out how to use the machine.
SarahLuvsBacon: Am I supposed to write something else here?
MelissaInMusic: it's true - a lot of people would argue the last musical hero was kurt cobain
SarahLuvsBacon: That is so true. But I totally disagree.
SarahLuvsBacon: Again, is this where I keep typing?
SarahLuvsBacon: Ok, I'll just fill the space here with some words about nothing much at all.
MelissaInMusic: i would never have guessed you're a fan of the cure!
SarahLuvsBacon: The cure? Cure for...? OH - you mean The Cure! You know, if you used capital letters correctly I would have understood that.
SarahLuvsBacon: Oh... this again. OK, but actually, yes I did like The Cure. I especially appreciated "Kiss Me, Kiss Me Kiss Me." I think that's what it was called. It might have even been a two record album.
MelissaInMusic: do you think you'll be able to tour on this CD and connect with your fans on another level?
SarahLuvsBacon: If I had a CD to tour with I would throw tubes of non-toxic, water soluble paint out into the audience so they could paint on each other.
SarahLuvsBacon: That's all. Nothing else. I wonder if it was really Lindsay Lohan answering these questions when this interview occurred?
MelissaInMusic: hehe that too. but with a record that's so emotional, being that close to your fans will certainly be a major rush
SarahLuvsBacon: I'm surprised you got the apostrophe in "that's" correct. I've heard Lindsay Lohan songs at the gym and they are kind of emotional. Like the one about coming in first. Major rush indeed.
MelissaInMusic: i am sure they will appreciate hearing that straight from your mouth, so to speak
SarahLuvsBacon: I'll say.
MelissaInMusic: exactly!
SarahLuvsBacon: OMG yes.
SarahLuvsBacon: By the way, I was going to go down to the 7-11 to get some limes for my gin and juice but I don't think I have enough change for the bus fare.
SarahLuvsBacon: And the thing I like most about Jimmy Carter is his undying faith in the peanut.
MelissaInMusic: everyone needs a little therapy now and then. music is some of the best :D
MelissaInMusic: now that you've made your directorial debut with your "confessions of a broken heart" video, do you think you'd like to do more directing?
SarahLuvsBacon: Wait a minute - ":D"? Is that a face with its mouth open or a face with its tongue out?
SarahLuvsBacon: And wait a minute, Lindsay Lohan directs?
MelissaInMusic: was it weird directing your little sister?
MelissaInMusic: i know she's an aspiring actress, but after all, you're still her big sis
SarahLuvsBacon: My skin itches.
MelissaInMusic: what kind of sisterly things do you two like to do when you're not shooting videos together?
SarahLuvsBacon: When I'm with my sister and we're not shooting videos, I like to talk to her about the time she ate so much pizza she couldn't get off the floor of her 2nd grade classroom and my step-mom had to go pick her up at school.
MelissaInMusic: wait, are you saying you're just a regular person?!
MelissaInMusic: hehe
MelissaInMusic: how do you deal with the things you read about yourself in the media? the latest wild rumor is that you're planning to get hitched "for revenge."
SarahLuvsBacon: That's so weird.
SarahLuvsBacon: I'm serious though, I feel like I have bugs all over me. Ever since Paul and I ate that banana cream pie, my body has just been freaking out. (To be continued)
SarahLuvsBacon: First it was the sore stomach, then gas, then allergies up the wazoo, now I think I've got a cold, and now the skin itching...
MelissaInMusic: yes - i am looking forward to hearing your cover of "edge of seventeen"
SarahLuvsBacon: That's a movie about a gay teenager who's coming to terms with his gay-ness....
MelissaInMusic: haha awesome
MelissaInMusic: well i know you have to get going, so is there anything else you'd like to say before we go?
SarahLuvsBacon: YOU cut off an interview with Lindsay Lohan? Shouldn't she be the one to say she's got to go? (To be continued)
SarahLuvsBacon: I mean, come on.
MelissaInMusic: thanks lindsay!
SarahLuvsBacon: Whatev'.

Questions Copyright AOL Music.