The Blog of Chloë and Pete  

Two characters (that would be Chloë and Pete) looking for love, safety, and Krispy Kremes. A book looking for readers and a publisher. An author (Jessica) looking for an agent, a life, and a region-free DVD player.

email: jessica_lynn -at- watchmail.com

About Me 23.07.02

Buy Pamie's book!
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The WeatherPixie

The WeatherPixie


 

So all the i's have been dotted, t's crossed, colors changed, images uploaded, and links checked. I think we're good.

Come take a look.

As for this blog: I'll leave it up and running, because exporting's a pain, but from now on updating will take place pretty much exclusively at the new site. The watchmail.com email address will still work, but if you leave comments on this site, I'm less likely to see them than I am at the new site.



  posted by Jessica @ 13:13 |


21.8.03  

 

I got Instalinked! Hello, Instareaders!

I'm in New York right now, alternating between trying to find a new apartment, working, seeing friends, and seeing Korean films -- Road Movie and Jail Breakers tonight, YMCA Baseball Team tomorrow. Hence the lack of postage, or real progress on the Future Spiffy Blog Under My Real Name Thank You Very Much. It is coming. Soon. Very soon. Soon as I figure out the mysteries of CSS soon.

Also, I turn 25 on Friday, and you know for the quarter-century mark a girl's got to throw an exciting party. A friend of mine in his thirties (Beta Reader D, actually) said to me yesterday, "That's not too young." "Yes, it is!" I cried in anguish.

I feel like I ought to post something, y'know, substantial, to justify all this sudden traffic. I'm not feeling particularly substantial, despite being able to wax at great length, earlier today, on Bob Riley's political acumen, or lack thereof. Riley is trying to justify a tax increase on the idea that Alabama Christians have to look after the poor among them. It is not going well. When a rabidly pro-tax Republican gets into office by a very narrow margin and then, after just nine months, turns around and says it is not only necessary for the state to charge more but a moral duty for residents to pay more . . . I'd be skeptical too, if I lived in Alabama. That said, it is nice to see Grover Norquist so upset. (A Minority of One, which is firmly pro-plan and pro-Riley, has more details, as does Chip Taylor.)

Part of Riley's problem is that he's trying to sell an extremely complicated tax package: it goes up for some, down for others, up for some businesses but not for DaimlerChrysler, and so on and so forth. And he has this sudden read-my-lips reversal to explain. I suppose you could give him credit for doing something big, instead of hemming and hawing and weaseling his way into a budget and then finally blaming the legislature for anything that doesn't work (as did a certain governor whose name rhymes with "Honey Fleur-dew"). But if I were an Alabamian I'd be asking why, at a time when Alabama is working overtime to attract businesses -- and not just the high-profile Hyundais and Hondas, but lower-tier suppliers and manufacturers -- that the state would suddenly want to take on a $1.2 billion tax increase. On the one hand, a more smoothly functioning state will look more attractive to investors. On the other hand, will a $1.2 billion increase lead to a more smoothly functioning state? There's Riley's problem in a nutshell, as best I can tell -- it's not that he has to sell Alabamians on the idea of a hole in the state budget, because that's well-known, or that the state's K-12 educational system needs to be upgraded, because that generally sells well, even in Alabama. But I don't see him selling well this idea that they can solve the state's problems by allowing the government to handle more money. That's a tough sell, especially in Alabama, and I'm not entirely sure Riley understands the magnitude of the challenge he's set for himself. To sum up, I don't see this tax plan passing.

It occurred to me as I was writing this that I haven't heard a damn peep out of South Carolina. Remember Mark Sanford? Mr. I'm-Going-to-Ostentatiously-Close-the-Governor's-Mansion-and-Host-Barbecues-to-Save-Money? I was about to say that Riley could take a few PR tips from Sanford, and then I realized I'm woefully ignorant of what Sanford's been up to lately. PolState.com and Stateline.org, while usually super-helpful, aren't producing much. Maybe one of my new Instareaders has the dirt on South Carolina.



  posted by Jessica @ 17:09 |


18.8.03  

 

I'm not using that template.

I'm also not buying a house. It was proven, rather quickly and decisively, that I cannot afford to right now.

I had the luxury of avoiding the blackout, being safe in the ATL at the time; if I'd been at the place I was last living in New York I wouldn't have made it to the office today -- I'm fairly certain very few of my co-workers did. My cell phone went down, briefly. And I noticed -- did anyone else notice this? -- that last night I got considerably less spam than usual.

So I'm still working on The Named Blog of Great Consequence, which right now does not look anything like what I want it to, but we'll get there. In the meantime, celebrate the 56th anniversary of India's independence with Blog Mela. Vande mataram! And hooray for long-functioning democracies!



  posted by Jessica @ 13:32 |


15.8.03  

 

So I found a template on Blogskins that I'd like to use. Here's the problem: this particular template is clearly designed for Blogger, not MT, and doesn't allow for such things as comments. Also, MT seems to store its stylesheet information and its HTML separately, and the template throws it all into one file (as Blogger would want), and I'm having a hard time figuring out what should be replaced with what. So I stick in the code and not everything appears on the new page. No comments, for one. No actual entry, for another.

Not quite sure what to do. You can see and download the template here, for what it's worth.



  posted by Jessica @ 12:10 |


14.8.03  

 

A note of advice to future professional sports team owners: should you ever decide to purchase an NBA team, an NHL team, and the arena in which they play all at once, from a very large, publicly traded company with a lot on its hive-mind, and a reporter asks you why it's taking so long to complete the sale, do not respond with complete befuddlement.

In this case the would-be owner is the hilariously named David McDavid, set to take over the Atlanta Hawks and Thrashers, third and fourth, respectively, in Atlanta's professional sports pecking order. (Among the men's teams, at least; I don't know where I'd put the Beat.) The Hawks, for as long as I can remember, have been one of those NBA teams that forever make the eighth seed of the playoffs in the Eastern Conference and last, at most, one round; the only difference is that in the 1980s, with both the Braves and Falcons sunk in utter misery, the eighth seed looked pretty nifty by comparison, and now the collective fandom has higher standards. That, and things haven't been the same since Dikembe Mutombo left. The Thrashers are newer, which means they have never been good, or shown any promise of goodness.

If McDavid can turn these two franchises into good teams, or at least mildly interesting ones, bully for him. It's certainly better for someone who wants to own the teams to own them, rather than Maybe-AOL Time Warner, who inherited them from Ted Turner. But the man isn't exactly inspiring confidence.

In other sports-related news, Tuesday Morning Quarterback is back! But it's not his best outing, not by a long shot. I'm fairly sure he's completely wrong about Alcatel running those "I Have a Dream" cell phone ads -- I distinctly remember it being Cingular, because I remember finding the ads ridiculous. But Cingular is based in Atlanta, not France -- maybe Alcatel owns Cingular? Hmm. At any rate, hopefully when TMQ actually has some football to talk about, things will get better.



  posted by Jessica @ 07:26 |



 

Well, now that Movable Type version 2.64 is up and running on the New-Site-to-Be -- thanks for the support, Paul! -- I have a new project to tackle. Namely, moving. My lease is up September 14th. I'm not happy with my current place, for a number of reasons, and they're apparently not happy with me either, as they were supposed to give me the renewal terms a month ago. So, looking to move.

And as anyone who has ever dealt with the treacherous swamp that is Atlanta real estate can tell you, there's now a little voice whispering in my ear: Buy! Buy! Because that cute little townhouse just straddling the border between Decatur and Avondale Estates will slide up to purr sweet nothings: what property bubble bursting, honey? That's so silly. Don't worry about your 401(k); you didn't need it anyway. You need the sweet, sweet love of equity, and I'm here to give it to you.

Feel free to knock some sense into my head anytime. I'm going to need it.



  posted by Jessica @ 13:46 |


8.8.03  

 

I ought to have sworn off City Journal altogether after that piece of homophobic, poorly-argued tripe they published a few months back, but no, here comes Theodore Dalrymple, with a new candidate for the decline and fall of Western civilization: Lady Chatterley's Lover.

Granted, it's not a very good book. No, it's not. I got a hold of it sometime in my teens, and was rapidly bored and disappointed by all the John Thomases here and Lady Janes there; as far as Novels That Will Turn Your Children Into Raging Sex Fiends go, it's nowhere near, say, Peyton Place, or, for that matter, the two books my parents half-heartedly tried and failed to hide from me, White Palace and The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love. LCL is narrow in its view; but so is Dalrymple in his:

    It is, of course, a common prejudice that censorship is bad for art and therefore always unjustified: though, if this were so, mankind would have little in the way of an artistic heritage and we should now be living in an artistic golden age.

Does anyone, at the time of living in an artistic golden age, look around and say, "This is an artistic golden age!" Come to think of it, when was the last artistic golden age? And where? For whom?

In focusing exclusively on LCL -- published, conveniently, in 1960 -- Dalrymple gets to throw out all the preceding great contributions of the obscene, the vulgar, and the just plain dirty: from Catullus's rhymes to Boccaccio's story of putting the devil back into Hell (which I hope to read, out loud, at a party someday. In fact, I hope Dalrymple is there) to medieval Japanese shunga prints to Ulysses. Poor Constance Chatterley has to stand condemned while Molly Bloom gets off scot-free. I think Dalrymple knows that if he tried looking beyond a particular vision of Britain -- as a proud descendant of residents of Bedlam and Newgate, I laughed at loud at his "A nation famed not so long ago for the restraint of its manners is now notorious for the coarseness of its appetites" -- his argument in favor of government censorship would fall apart.

Or is he? I'm not sure. I'm not sure he's sure. By blaming the 1960 trial, he makes it sound as if the government dam was the only thing holding back the massive tide of British coarseness; yet his overall argument seems to be that society has failed in reining itself in (or that the upper classes have failed in reining the lower classes in), not that the government has failed in reining society in. Somehow I find it hard to believe that, in his heart, Dalrymple wants Tony Blair deciding what City Journal can publish and what it can't. He doesn't seem entirely willing to consider the legal and political implications of his cultural hissyfit.

I find all this despair a little silly, in truth. It depends heavily on the idea that once we cross some particular threshhold of coarseness, there's no going back, which is just not true, because coarseness, like anything else in the popular taste, goes in and out of style. It would be unthinkable now for an NC-17 rated movie to get the kind of wide release and discussion that Last Tango in Paris did. India has its bawdy history, with Krishna as representative, but actresses working out of Mumbai fear for their reputations if they kiss onscreen. Marilyn Manson may get ink in the UK but the US has more or less moved on. The same culture that produced Fanny Hill and "What, with my tongue in your tail?" also produced the Victorian era and its famed emphasis on modesty; so who knows what the British beer-guzzling louts and their crass American counterparts will come up with eventually.

I should say, though, that a similar argument to Dalrymple's was made -- but far better, and with much less condescension and confusion of logic -- by Margaret Talbot for The New Republic once, on Bettie Page, no less. If you ever find an essay in the magazine's archives titled "Chicks and Chuckles," I highly recommend it.



  posted by Jessica @ 12:17 |


7.8.03  

 

Y'know, there's nothing like agreeing to a mix CD swap with someone else to make your music collection shrink before your very eyes.



  posted by Jessica @ 15:27 |


6.8.03  
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