Archive for September, 2012

Whitney Kropp is No “Carrie”

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

Whitney Kropp – Photo credit, Dale G. Young/Detroit News

So who is this Whitney Kropp person, and why do we care? Well, the Michigan sophomore was elected to Homecoming Court by her winner schoolmates in an effort to humiliate her — no doubt for something egregious like failing to buy the latest handbag or iPhone.

Until recently, Whitney wasn’t too popular. She apparently keeps to herself, wears a lot of black, colors her hair, and has Kropp for a last name. So her being ridiculed by catty princesses and Brownshirts on the football team isn’t too surprising. But what these  products of idiot parenting didn’t realize is that putting a spotlight on an underdog in the hopes of embarrassing her only really results in spotlighting the underdog.

So when the West Branch dust settled, these “cool” kids found they’d actually succeeded in making an unpopular girl the most popular one in town.  Simply put, there’s no excuse not to love how this is turning out. (more…)

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Worry List

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

From one of my favorites, Shaun Usher and his site, Lists of Note

In 1933,  author F. Scott Fitzgerald ended a letter to his 11-year-old daughter, Scottie, with a list of things to worry about, not worry about, and simply think about. It read as follows.

Things to worry about:

Worry about courage
Worry about cleanliness
Worry about efficiency
Worry about horsemanship

Things not to worry about:

Don’t worry about popular opinion
Don’t worry about dolls
Don’t worry about the past
Don’t worry about the future
Don’t worry about growing up
Don’t worry about anybody getting ahead of you
Don’t worry about triumph
Don’t worry about failure unless it comes through your own fault
Don’t worry about mosquitoes
Don’t worry about flies
Don’t worry about insects in general
Don’t worry about parents
Don’t worry about boys
Don’t worry about disappointments
Don’t worry about pleasures
Don’t worry about satisfactions

What am I really aiming at?
How good am I really in comparison to my contemporaries in regard to:

(a) Scholarship
(b) Do I really understand about people and am I able to get along with them?
(c) Am I trying to make my body a useful instrument or am I neglecting it?

With dearest love,


Which Will Be Worse, iPhone 5 Anxiety or Presidential Attack Ads?

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Last week, Apple took orders for 2 million iPhone 5s in less than 24 hours. Ha! In the coming weeks, I’m not sure which I’ll want to throat-punch first, the iPhone 5 or presidential campaign spots.

With those twin tsunamis crashing atop us all, which will bring out the worst in us? Will an unflattering video or photo taken on an iPhone 5 determine the outcome of the election? Will the next mass maiming happen at an Apple Store? In the back-and-forth about whether iPhone 5 will save the economy or fail in the marketplace, which candidate will take credit for its success, and which will blame the other for its failure? I can just feel it, too: at some point on November 6, one of my friends will have an excuse for not voting that will somehow be iPhone 5 related. 

While this anxiety may seem silly in many parts of the U.S., these questions are pieces of conversations I’ve been a part of or have overheard around town. In L.A. – a city where people pretend $4.20 a gallon doesn’t hurt and where keeping up with the Joneses or staying with the pack is a quality of life issue – this noise means something. Hence my prediction that some folks will be too caught up in the chatter to remember their right to vote, or too overloaded to care. (more…)

Check out Where Excuses Go to Die on Facebook!

Saturday, September 15th, 2012

Where Excuses Go to Die will be available in print and in all device formats January 2013.

Meanwhile, a Where Excuses Go to Die Facebook page lets me share what it’s like trying to get this story told; from the disappointed looks I get when I claim to have better hooks than rape, riots, and rotten food to rejection letters and go-for-its I’ve received along the way. There’ve been loonies attracted in the process, constant smoke being blown up my ass, and the dread of asking others to read pages. What a whole separate pathology that is! (Worse than issuing or accepting a personal loan.) And such fun, dealing with those who assume I’m a profit-hungry offender out for a payoff! Finally, there’s being along for the ride as the publishing world makes an ass of itself as it tries not to go out like the record industry. It’s all a completely separate journey from having paid my debt to society for robbing, um, bookstores. (more…)

Robin Hood Drives a Volvo

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

When all else fails, try populism! 

It isn’t official, but given that the Feds love assigning perp nicknames, authorities could dub four alleged L.A. area bank robbers “the Robin Hood Bandits” any minute now. Everyone else has! Having tossed at least a dozen handfuls of money from their getaway car during a pursuit through South Los Angeles, the designation may stick, too, despite speculation that the tactic was more diversionary than charitable. Video clips show people jumping off sidewalks to grab wafting bills, inevitably blocking police vehicles. If I were to guess, I’d say the bandits knew they were sunk and opted to go out with a good PR move.

Maybe they were returning to their childhood neighborhoods as they circled block after block, money and police trailing behind them. On the other hand, it doesn’t look like they took into account the safety of the people upon whom they were bestowing this grand gesture, and at the end of the pursuit a repeat of Florence and Normandie circa 1992 looked about to erupt – unnerving footage for Anglenos here during the King riots. Will these suspects be charged with additional counts of, say, Mayhem or Disturbing the Peace for starting something that could have turned quite ugly? Or will money out the window endear them to the public — and by extension, to a jury? The pursuit footage has already begun to work its anti-hero magic. (more…)

Who’s at Fault when Insensitivity Is Learned Behavior?

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

Last week, Annie Karni reported for the New York Post that victims’ families feel tourists treat Manhattan’s 9/11 Memorial disrespectfully. It’s being leaned against and climbed on; kids are being perched atop its inscriptions by careless, camera-wielding parents; and gabby sightseers are posing for pictures while spilling their Starbucks. Anyone adding to the boisterous atmosphere is on the shit list. Given that far more respectful behavior can be found, for instance, at Pearl Harbor’s USS Arizona Memorial, first responders and victims’ families may be onto something.

On the other hand, might not some of these complaints be an excuse for extending one’s grief or reaffirming one’s precious victimhood? Besides, when society encourages digital aggrandizement of one menial personal experience after the next – and thus contempt for everything outside of ourselves – who’s to blame when insensitivity becomes just another a learned behavior? 

I’m just saying, 9/11 Memorial site or not, the presence of loud, sloppy people who can’t distinguish between hallowed ground and Disney’s California Adventure shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, not even World Trade Center families. (more…)