Sunday, March 30, 2008

Governor Paterson's Medicine Woman

First of all, I have to disclose that I like our latest scandal-plagued governor. I want to keep him. His scandals are underwhelming, frankly. The Albany reporters are clinging to their diminishing spotlight, their moment in the sun-- just one more scandal, no wait, don't cut away to the sports just yet, did you hear the one about the funding for the defrocked doctor? Lo and behold, the defrocked doctor is Serafina Corsello---I know her! My father went (or was dragooned by my mother into going) to Dr. Corsello in the '80's, for chelation therapy. What? What's chelation therapy?

Chelation is actually a treatment for lead poisoning. A chemical, EDTA, is dripped into the bloodstream, binds with toxic metals, and hustles them the heck out of the body. Probably every New Yorker could use a little chelation, but Dr. Corsello used to have a program touting chelation for heart disease on WOR radio.

WOR, once called Women Only Radio for friendly, chatty local programming of the Breakfast with the Fitzgeralds variety, played constantly in our house. My mother, the advertiser's dream, snapped up every vitamin, eye cream and nostrum pushed by WOR. So when Serafina Corsello bought a weekly hour infomercial for her services as a chelationist, Mom ate up every one of the then-Doctor's words, which came wrapped in an Italian accent richer than the fattiest prosciutto.

Mom made it her mission to get my cardiac patient father chelated. His protests were as useless as they usually are with my mother, and eventually he was closeted with the Doctor and a tape recorder, the better to capture the wisdom as it flowed. Dr. Corsello looked like Gina Lollobrigida, and sounded like an imperious Sophia Loren. The audience was brief, and my father was ushered from the presence.

Then he was hooked up to a pouchful of EDTA and left to cool his heels for several hours with several other people also reclining on chemotherapy lounges. They were exchanging stories of agonizing yet nebulous disorders; toxin-ridden, phlegmy, headachey, neuralgic disorders, all improving with the miracle of chelation yet always with more symptoms revealing themselves.

They asked my father what was wrong with him. "I feel fine," he said. "My wife thought I should come." The other patients paused, regrouped, and resumed talking to each other. He went back to reading the Times.

He came home laden with intriguing packets, bottles, and tubes, all with the Serafina Corsello label. They were expensive, and the needle on my quackometer swung into the red. When a doctor sells supplements or energy bars under his/her own imprint, to be purchased at the "clinic," beware. If the "clinic" is a rabbit warren of examining rooms and the doctor doesn't deign to enter them but grants you a one-minute audience where you do none of the talking, beware. If the staff hustles around speaking of the doctor in hushed voices suitable to a place of worship, get out.

My father went to Dr. Corsello every week for two months or so, dutifully took his milk-thistle and pycnogenol, and didn't get worse. Now here is where the story clouds, because he was also being treated with conventional drugs, so we don't know where to lay the credit.

It's instructive to remember, though, that conventional medicine killed him. Dr. Corsello's regimen did him no harm.

After Corsello, he was alive. After Crestor, dead.

Corsello alive, Crestor, dead.

But Corsello was defrocked, and Crestor is still on the market.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Salome in a Pantsuit

It's reported by Jonathan Alter that very, very senior Democrats want to offer Hillary the New York Governorship if she will just please, please, go away, assuming that Governor Paterson is forced to step down.

Hillary isn't going to go for it, I don't think. There's the unattractive image of timid Dems attempting to sacrifice a substitute black politican for her, and the substitute hasn't indicated he's ready to go, even after his no good, very bad opening two weeks. Then, Bill in Albany? Bill not in Albany? Which is worse?

There's talk of her running against Giuliani, either in the special election that hasn't been called for or in 2010. Alter is a national reporter and I don't think he's fully aware that the New York legislature wants Paterson to remain Governor. He's one of them, he's easy to work with, he hasn't done anything that most of them haven't done. They aren't eager to get him out of office, what, for either superambitious Donkey Destroyer or superambitious scolding Prosecutor Part Deux?

Friday, March 28, 2008


To the fervent Obamaniacs and Hilarians who will stay home or vote for McCain if your candidate doesn't get the nomination:
You all realize McCain will beat either Hil or Bam in November, with your help? Ever hear the phrase "divide and conquer"?

I used to be the only person maybe on earth who could either take Hilary or leave her. Diligent worker, typical politician, why should an operator not be a woman? My senator.
Obama? Wonderful mind, inspirational, maybe there could be a little more cake with the frosting.
Their policies, frankly, are not very far apart.

Then the steel-cage match began, with the kidney punches, face it, Hilarians, being thrown by her campaign, mostly.

Both camps have a lot to answer for. But never in memory has a member of one party suggested that the nominee of the other party would be preferable to his/her primary opponent.

I would love to punish the Clinton campaign for the havoc they're causing to their/our chances, and if our primary weren't over, I'd be able to, but whatever is on the Democratic side of the ticket in November, I'm voting for it, because at this point I'm more than just a yellow dog Democrat. I'm a yellow stink-bug Democrat. I'm a yellow slime-mold Democrat. If either of those has a prayer of beating McCain, I'm voting for it.

There are deaths, of soldiers, of Iraqis, to be answered for. If McCain wins, there will be significantly more deaths.
There's the Supreme Court. If McCain wins, the Court will more than tilt to the right, it'll be perpendicular.

So, I'll vote for Hillary, much more unhappily than I would have before the ruthless, silly, lying campaign of hers besmirched her in my eyes. But I'll vote for her, or the other guy, and you people out there had better get a grip and remember what misery the last eight years have brought us.

When you're bleeding to death, you don't ask if the tourniquet is dirty.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Hey Kid, Know a Good Dry-Cleaner? Just Asking.

(All quotes are slightly inaccurate)
Chelsea Clinton's emotional security was breached yesterday when an intruder, cleverly disguised as a college student, threw, not a softball, but a wadded-up-navy-dress of a question at her:
So which did the Lewinsky thing strain more, her mother's credibility or her marriage?

"MYOB," the almost-thirtyish erstwhile first daughter replied.

"But I was just trying to help," said the Swiftian, if not Swiftboatian, Evan Strange.

The rest of the day was devoted to Hilarians and Obamanics denouncing him, her and each other on blogs.

Once more the Dems are turning a non-issue into the sort of family squabble so ugly it makes the kids long to run away from home to lead lives of mindless hedonism in squalid dens of corruption where old men whisper sweet nothings to them---in other words, Republicanism.

Can we try, just try, to reimagine this situation through the clear lens of apolitical basic decency? When is it appropriate to ask a young woman (unless she's on a Mommie-dearest book tour) about how her mother reacted to her father's whoring around? If your answer is anything but "NEVER," you have unlearned everything you needed to know in kindergarten, your moral compass needle is spinning faster than Karl Rove's tongue, you have drunk deep of the Kool-Aid, you are a danger to yourself and others.

Remember when the sins of the father were not supposed to be visited on the child?She NEVER has to be rational about her Mom and Dad. Not because she's privileged, but because EVERYONE deserves a pass on what their parents do. Credibility my incredible ass. Another cable-newspeak cliche. What a weak, facile excuse for poking a sharp stick in somebody's eye.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

DRAWN IN HASTE Repented at Leisure: Diane Dixon, Covergirl

Q: What does an axe murderer do?
A: Sells newspapers.

One day. Just one damn day. Couldn't we have had just one day to honeymoon with our cuddly new governor?

Of course not.

Note the New York Post's GIRLS! GIRLS! GIRLS! PATERSON GAL'S TAPE SHOCKER--"Olympics babe bares recording & job 'he got me'" turns out to be nothing but baloney: an evidently attention-hungry former track and field medalist e-mailed the Post that she'd secretly taped Paterson on the phone--tapes she now says she's going to destroy. Has the post heard any tapes? No. What are they of? "Conversations," she e-mailed back with a smiley face. Has she claimed the Gov slept with her? No. She says she's a single mother who's grateful to him for helping her get a job as a Family Advocate with the Board of Ed--a job she's yet to start, if it exists. The Board of Ed has no record of her. Even smut peddler Larry Flynt peddles genuine smut.

Perhaps Rupert Murdoch sees an easy path to another Republican-led era if he can get Bruno in. But Bruno has so many troubles that he'd likely soon follow Paterson. The governorship would start resembling Billy Rose's Aquacade: diving in formation.

Journalists, or, rather, the news media, like to say that among their faults is "pack journalism."

They flatter themselves. "Herd journalism" is more accurate, and "Coop journalism" more accurate still, for cud-chewers are gentler and less damaging then the old hens in Albany.

Ruminants don't write good front-page material.

Had enough of the shallow smugness with which TV reporters face into the camera and recite their 90 seconds of unimaginably intimate and surreal gossip? You're one of the few, then. Peoplemeters say the audience is eating it up. TV reporters are our modern, unthinking, brainless Furies. Pursuing sexual wrongdoers is incidental, impersonal. It's good for ratings. It gets circulation up, you could say.

Will Eliot Spitzer's resignation destroy David Paterson? I hope not. I think not. Paterson's a different number entirely: he's never been a hypocrite, he has support in Albany, and the legislators all know there's plenty of dirt to go around.

We need our governor to govern. Time for him to tell the press the subject of his sex life is closed.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Honeymooning at the Governor's

Due to the constantly changing cast of gubernatorial characters occupying the headlines and hotel beds of the tri-state area, and because I can't bear even the idea of depicting one more politician in bed with anybody but a lobbyist, here is a picture of Mr. and Mrs. Rutherford B. Hayes cuddling with their tailor, who is rumored to have threaded a few needles too many, which, Mr. Hayes is explaining to the gentleman of the press, is a gross exaggeration.

And whose damn business is it whether the tailor whip-stitched Mrs. Hayes' drapes in the evening, as long as the public didn't pay for it?

If the Rutherford B. Hayeses had had to detail their marital woes to the papers, how could we have held them in the respect we do today?

On an entirely, entirely, different, completely unassociated, dissimilar, not the same kind of thing at all, wildly divergent, so as to be a non-sequitor kind of note,


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Bite Out of Crime

Mired in the Spitzer media mudflow was this little item: CNN apologised for using as one of its analysts a former Attorney General, Mr. Kendall Coffey, who had once bitten a stripper. He bit her on the arm. Then he resigned. I haven't Googled the story to see if his wife stood beside him, but I assume she did. For the children. And because the first 24 hours of shock are the best time to manipulate the stupefied spouse into self-humiliation.

CNN obviously doesn't know an asset when it has one. Who better to comment on Spitzer than former Attorney General Mr. Been-There-Done-That? It might give Eliot Spitzer reason to hope that someday he too can be a CNN analyst, perhaps to analyse the sudden downfall of, say, Joe Bruno's grandson.

Is everybody braced for the inevitable march of the Spitzer hookers? An interview with the Daily News, a segment giving a whole new meaning to Dateline, a Judith Regan book deal, including skincare tips and lifestyle hints, with recipes for low fat aphrodisiacs.

Meanwhile, champagne corks are popping all over Wall Street. This really frosts me; the enemies of Eliot Spitzer, apart from his own hormones, were and are in the main genuinely rotten, greedy bastards who robbed shareholders and employees and ruined some of them. They deserved to be taken down, and we in New York LOVED that particular strength of Mr. Spitzer's.

They still did what they did. Mr. Bruno also did what HE did, which was to misuse state funds to helicopter all over the place, and no amount of distraction, or the miscreance of others, can alter that.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Hard-Driving Prosecutor

So once more a politician's prodigious brain came in third in the organ derby, a poor third. I'd have bet brain to at least place, but no, it was you-know-what by a really bad pun, and spleen several lengths behind. There is just no end to the bad jokes.

The pundits will no doubt draw the obvious parallels between poor Spitzer (yes, he has to look into the eyes of his wife and teenage daughters, and you know we are going to see unfolding coverage of working-girl Kristin, her time with the gov, fleshing out the story, as it were) and a certain other famous philanderer.

But isn't the our perception of the seriousness of the crime just a matter of the perp's attitude? At first, President Clinton didn't admit anything had happened, Governor Spitzer immediately apologized, but consider this guy:

When Rudy Giuliani was hit on by a pop-eyed, dog-killing saleswoman in a cigar bar, he just paraded her around town, and instead of apologizing to his long-suffering wife on television, he let her know she had been replaced. On T.V., live.

And went on to run for President.

Governor Spitzer is playing his losing hand close to his vest so far--having curled his chiseled lip and wrinkled his elegant nose at other prostitution rings puts him almost into Republican territory for hypocrisy. So you might expect him to resign, contemplation, spiritual renewal and book deal pending. But so far, nothing.

Wall Street firms are breaking out the champagne, and Spitzer nemesis State Senator Joe Bruno blinked back his crocodile tears long enough to issue a subdued statement. This ought to irk the bejesus out of the righteous, the civic-minded, and the little, shat-upon people of New York who have paid for Bruno's helicopter rides and remember Bruno's attacks on rent control ("so you lived in that neighborhood all your life and all your friends are there? Tough! Find a cheaper one!")

Putative congratulations to Lieutenant Governor David Paterson, a good guy who's hard to draw. No flapping ears or hawk like features to seize upon, just a general cuddliness and a sparse sable beard which is hard to render in a little B&W spot drawing.

Loose Hips

The latest belly dancer painting. She's gouache, on Arches paper. If you want a print of her, click the cafepress button at the bottom of the page. She's on some shirts and mugs and suchlike, too.
Just part of my latest burst of enthusiasm. For those of you that know me, when you start to imagine me shimmying, just picture a big red stop sign, or yell "STOP!!" to yourself, or snap a rubber band on your wrist, or pepper-spray yourself, or consider a tazer, though they are illegal in New York.
But if you are interested in an exercise that will get to muscles your personal trainer has never heard of, that requires so little room it can be done in the bathroom with the door locked, I recommend shimmying. has lots of information and instructions, and animated camels besides.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

No Dollar Left Behind

Of course, while Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama are tearing into each other, and their respective supporters vowing to vote for McCain before voting for the wrong Democrat, the country wobbles along under the guidance of the original Child Left Behind.

Thanks to President Bush, there are openings for tutors in the No Child Left Behind Program here in New York, and I applied to be one, and was accepted. Over the phone.

"I don't have teaching credentials," I said.

"That's okay," said Edith, the Tutorific Company (that's what I'm calling them) representative. I had filled out an online application, and now we were having a cozy chat.

She asked me why I wanted to tutor. I told her I had tutored all through school, friends who had mental blocks, or were lopsidedly visually talented and verbally hopeless. And that my father had died in January, and I was tired of illness, nursing homes, and death. I wanted to be around young people with hope.

"You passed the screening!" said Edith.

Now I had to get fingerprinted by the Board of Education, my expense, $115--- $16 for the actual fingerprinting, $99 to have the fingerprints stored forever by the State of New York.

Thus are taxes levied on little people in obscure corners where the big people never have to go and the general public won't object.

The fingerprint office is in downtown Brookyn, inside 110 Livingston Street--once an address as famous to New Yorkers for the mayoral wars waged against the Board of Education's fabled beaurocracy. I think Giuliani had actually threatened to close it and sell the property, but there it was. On a blindingly snowy day I tromped my way over, presented my credentials, and allowed my fingers to be mashed, not on an inkpad like a real criminal, to my disappointment, but cleanly on the Plexiglass of a scanner.

"Don't help," said the civil servant exasperatedly. It is actually hard not to try to roll your fingers if you've watched any number of crime movies. "Don't help!" Mr. Fingerprinter obviously would have preferred to do repeat offenders who knew the drill, but here he was stuck deep inside the Board of Education, doing nothing but fingerprint virgins like me. I finally closed my eyes and let him have his way with my fingers, and it was over.

Early on a Saturday morning, about a dozen duly printed and background-checked hopefuls filed into an otherwise empty building divided into cubicles. A brochure by the elevator identified the building as an "office hotel"; you could set up a complete operation with copiers, phone banks, break rooms, war rooms, and just as quickly dissolve it.

I wondered how many criminal enterprises had been hosted here.

Graciella, a company representative, handed out masses of copied documents: tutoring guidelines, tutoring theories, sign-in sheets, evaluation sheets, regulations, rules, and the contract.

She explained that since "Tutorific Company" was mostly an out-of-state firm just getting its New York operation set up, a lot of the materials would apply differently to us, but that the No Child Left Behind Program, since it was Federal, had a number of stringent regulations we would have to satisfy.

Now we knew that we would be the "freshman class" for Tutorific Company. That explained a lot of the foul-ups I had already experienced with them: computer glitches, changing personnel (sympathetic Edith, who had hired me, was gone, her voicemail box, which I had poured my heart out into, disconnected). The main office was somewhere on the other side of the country. They had just gotten themselves this No Child Left Behind contract in New York.

We went over the paperwork. The many forms had to be signed by the parents or guardian, the child, and the tutor. Time sheets. Objectives. Tests, pre-and post-. Answer sheets. We were to administer the tests, then go online and enter the child's answers ourselves--on our own time. We would be paid only for the time spent actually tutoring the child, in the child's home. Going online, downloading new forms, making up lesson plans, making reports, all standardized, all unpaid.

We had to mail our time sheets and reports in one envelope, per month. We would be charged $35 dollars for each extra envelope, for the extreme inconvenience caused to the office.

We would have to get our envelopes in by the second of the month, or we would not be paid for the preceding month-- Federal regs.

We would pay our own transportation to each child's house, of course. We should call up the family the night before each tutoring session to make sure they remembered to be home--the families were often in upheaval. That's one reason these children were being Left Behind.

We should download the special notice to put on doors of students who, despite our best efforts, aren't home when we come. Sorry, we don't get paid if the student stand us up--Federal regs! Not Tutorific Company (Actually, the Gov't doesn't set aside money for stood-up tutors, but Tutorific Company's private tutors do get paid a fee if their private students go AWOL on them. But there are no private Tutorific jobs in New York. They only just got here, the ink wet on their contract).

No Child Left Behind mandates that each child receive 43 hours of tutoring before the middle of June. That meant that we'd need to have two sessions a week to get the hours in, and it would be up to us to make up any time the child missed for good reasons or bad.

What if we couldn't finish in time?

We'd have to pay Tutorific Company $27 dollars for every untaught hour. No Child Left Behind kids living in upheaval the way a lot of them do, once they form an attachment to an adult it's traumatic for the relationship to be severed, Graciella explained. Often the tutor is the only adult in the child's life to give them individual attention. Their class is too big for the teacher to do it.

Stirrings of discontent among us twelve. There were a couple ladies who were actually certified public schoolteachers, who wanted to moonlight a little. One had worked for No Child Left Behind before.

"Excuse me, but what if a situation comes up? I tutored one child last year where I came one week and there were bullet holes in the door. I did not go back--it wasn't safe. Now you're telling me that I have to pay you if I feel threatened?"

Graciella said that in extenuating circumstances the tutor could be reassigned, if it were early enough in the year, but that you could usually tell if a situation was going to be safe or not right from the outset. "Just follow your instincts," she said.


Here is the lowdown on NCLB: It's just like the rest of Bush's policies--outsourcing. Privatization. Tutoring services sprang up like mushrooms all over that No Child Money, offering failing students uncredentialed tutors drilling them in standardized tests. The money per student could have meant more attention from real teachers if it had gone to the school.

Instead it went to concerns like Tutorific Company, which had been minding its own private business on the far side of the country until it scored this contract in New York. Did they know their territory? Not hardly. The assignments were made in the home office, who didn't know Far Rockaway from Cobble Hill from Mill Basin. Ads went out for tutors, who didn't have to have credentials, or experience. I didn't---just good will. The hourly salary seemed high, but was more than offset by the amount of uncompensated paperwork, travel time and online work, and the punitive conditions.

If you flip burgers, at least you don't have to pay them if you quit. For employees of the private contractors doing what should have been the government's job, there is a question that isn't usually addressed: are they themselves being exploited? How can taxpayer money be considered well spent when so much of it goes to middlemen?

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Escaping the Escape; When Project Runway Fails You

And why would Project Runway allow Victoria Beckham, aka Posh Spice, aka Tasteless Spice, to judge its final competition? Perhaps because of yet another relentless cross-promotion deal the awful details of which we shall be too aware before long.

I confess, I used to read all the Project Runway news, last year. Then a tattooed horse's neck won for his spandex biker collection.

The collection put out by the snippy elf this year was better than that, but not as beautiful or whole as those put out by the dithering ex-dancer and the drapery king. It was perfectly suited to the Guest Judge, however, and once again the P.R. judges could flatter themselves on their youthful edginess. They could otherwise have no excuse for picking a collection that included this number:

I survived Super Tuesday II and all I got was this lousy show. The little man has camped in front of CNN and MSNBC for days watching Senators Clinton and Obama tear into one another, predicting gloomily that Americans are too racist and sexist to elect either one.

The way he's set up the premise, though, neither can lose the general election for any other reason unless they make a painfully obvious, whopping huge blunder.

Sad to say, they are both finding excellent reasons not to vote for them aside from their race and gender, and trumpeting them while the Republicans smirk. I find it too painful to watch, and hide in the other room behind my drawing table.

Project Runway is no longer a guilty pleasure; it's become more of a secret irritant. The sort that chafes.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Thrills and Zills, But No Spills

Another belly-dancer illustration. She's playing zills, little finger cymbals. She's a brush drawing using gouache, which is an opaque watercolor (though as you see, it can be thinned to transparency).

If you happened to be driving behind a small white jeep-like object Monday that sometimes crept along at 20 miles an hour, and sometimes left smoking rubber on the pavement before suddenly braking and veering onto the shoulder, I apologise with all my heart. I was learning to drive my father's car, a 1988 manual-transmission Suzuki Samurai sometimes known as the Kamakazi, sometimes as the Ice Cream truck. You might have seen me and Roy, my mother's hapless handyman pressed into service as a driving instructor, with our mouths open in perfect O's. He's very nice, and only screams when he can't stop himself.

For only my second time behind the wheel since I was sixteen, I thought I did relatively well, particularly when that wide road through the quiet suburb narrowed and began to wind up that hillside, separated from the precipitous drop only by a slender wire fence and the unsure touch on the wheel of my soft, nerveless hands.

Like the girl in the Red Shoes, I found that I had to keep going because I couldn't stop. Did I have to shift down through all the gears to first before we stopped? If I braked to turn while in a higher gear, would the car stall?

I couldn't ask Roy, because forming words with my mouth and vocalizing them was too demanding to do and still keep the car on the road. So we followed the exact same route I had taken as a teenager many years ago, when I stole my parents' car. Well, I didn't think of it as "stole."

I borrowed it. Without their knowledge. Having only a learner's permit.

I did bring it back. They'd never have known, if it weren't for the support post I bashed backing out of the garage. That's backing OUT of the garage. You'd think I'd have called off the whole snakebit enterprise after that, wouldn't you? But I figured I had already gotten myself into irretrievably hopeless trouble, so I might as well have the adventure I was inevitably going to pay for. Therefor I headed out of town in another of my father's beloved dangerously tiny Japanese cars, this one a Honda coupe so small it could be picked up by four college students and carried around a parking lot, which of course we know because whenever we parked at a college it was.

Now I know why I took that route: no turns, no stops. A back road, woods, no traffic, no neighborhoods, no kids on bikes. It was a giant loop, so I didn't even have to turn around, and I made it home alive. Which I rather regretted for a while after my parents came home to their bashed-in garage. Instead of suggesting I practice backing up, they grounded me until I was thirty. They should have made me pay for the garage repairs, but under the blood/turnip rule, I was excused.

I never did anything that flagrantly dangerous, illegal and fun again. I never drove again, either. By the time my grounding was over, my driving chops were cold, and the lessons I'd had with Mr Singh (who was moonlighting from his job at yes, Sing-Sing) were long forgotten. I resumed being a non-driver. Then I resumed being a New Yorker (I was removed without my permission when I was nine months old, but I always knew I'd be back), and never felt the need to drive again, not until my father died.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Dancing in the Dark

So much has slipped by since last I wrote, and it's clear that what I thought was recovery was still only shock. A great blow to the psyche is no different, I think, than a physical wound:

First, numbness, curious detachment: "Look, how funny! My arm isn't there any more!"

Next, the pain starts. Realization is far away, but now you know things are awry. At the same time that the effects of the blow are spreading, agents of healing--white blood cells, friends with casseroles--are speeding to the wound site.

Then, the top most visible layer resolves itself into a delicate, protective surface, easily broken, but it keeps the body together. I am here, veneered with a few microns of composure.

Those microns needing shoring up, I cast about for distraction, something healthier than the deadly combo of scotch and brownies I had been utilizing when my father died. Yes, I learned to down Scotch neat in a single night! With a brownie chaser.

I hadn't eaten anything that wasn't beige or brown for weeks, so I began trying to eat a brighter variety of things--fruits and vegetables. And I found FIT-TV, a channel devoted entirely to exercise. Ordinarily I'd have watched those wiry grinning rubber people bouncing on their yoga mats from a reclining position, but a certain program attracted my attention, and it did not star wiry grinning rubber people, it featured lovely curvy slithery rubber people belly dancing.

Belly dancing! Belly dancing on purpose, rather than the impromptu gravity-inspired riffs inspired by scotch and brownies. In the privacy of home, where only my little husband, who loves a shimmy no matter how uneven or how much is shimmying, could see.

So I have become consumed with enthusiasm for Oriental dancing, not just for the spine-tingling, strengthening hip circles, or the Goddessy, fertile-women-have-curves-and-shake-them overtones, but also for all the sparkly, jingly, flowy stuff you get to wear.

It all plays into one of my credos: If You Can't Hide It, Decorate It. And After You've Decorated It, Wiggle It.

So I've been painting belly dancers, and,



Yes, all two readers besides me, I crumpled in the face of demand and made my blog more commercial. I opened a cafepress store, which means somewhere in time and space are a lot of blank T-shirts and mugs and such-like, which you can order with Snarkopolitan artwork on them (Click on the button at the bottom of the page). Right now, it's rather belly dancercentric, but I'll be adding all kinds of mischief. Yes, I'm flying in the face of half the stated purpose of my blog (frugality) to promote my own welfare by trumpeting a fledgling commercial enterprise to benefit me, your author. Please feel free to revel in the unstated purpose of my blog, blind, unthinking consumerism.

But, shameless commercialism over, I must tell you that if I've ever appreciated the warmth of blood flowing through my veins, I never have done more than now. That is good reason to dance.