Tagged: charmaine clamor

A Tale of Two Venues

Last night in Los Angeles, the Grammy awards were distributed at Staples Center, the basketball/hockey arena downtown. The vital business of marketing jesters ennobled by the moniker “musical artist” went smoothly from what I gather; the festivities were broadcast all over the world, and demure statuettes were disbursed to those who played along with the...

Philippines Notes, Part Two: Using Dogs

Some people in the Philippines eat dogs. (A recent documentary about the country, made by a native, was entitled “Dog Eaters.” Some expatriate Pinoys didn’t appreciate the label, but the verity of canine consumption wasn’t ever in question.) Occasionally, pet-owners here suffer the heartbreak of having their furry friend kidnapped — dognapped? — and transformed...

Philippines Notes, Part One: Litter in Paradise

The easy default reactions of an American who encounters unspeakable poverty and squalor when visiting a country like the Philippines are pity, scorn, and outrage. How monstrous, it seems, to call places like these “developing countries” when the extent of their development is obvious: great bastions of wealth and property concentrated in the hands of...

A Tale of Two Singers: How Familiarity Breeds Contempt

Two professional singers live on my street. One is an emerging star named Mae who both critics and fans praise for her soulful and passionate vocals. The other is Sheryl Crow. While there’s no accounting for taste — which is another way of excusing America for preferring Janet Jackson to Tierney Sutton — it must be...

Poem: Friends

Our surrogate family congregated in the church of our living room, Joining together to give praise and feel joy, with hardly a thought given to the consequences of enjoying sensual pleasures of the tongue and ear and eye. We smiled and laughed and nodded, Creating an affirmation — A conviction really — That the colors...

Rosa Parks, Shirley Horn, and America’s Enduring Schism

Rosa Parks, an unintentional maker of history, was buried this weekend. She was an ordinary citizen of the United States who did something extraordinary, something that today seems so normal and reasonable that the courage Parks must have summoned at the time is easily forgotten. She refused to abide a transparently unjust law, and she was...

Poem: High Culture

Plato wrote about a cave Mr. Wren designed a nave: Would it be so wrong to sing a song Wearing nothing but a bright blue thong? Drama draws the geriatrics Attending matinee theatrics: Could we frankly say about a play It shan’t succeed if they won’t pay? King Tut’s remains have been a hit with...

Fast Food

On a recent scorching day, I was riding my bike to an appointment, feeling parched. I had an urge to drink one of those semi-frozen concoctions known on “The Simpsons” as a “squishy.” I’ve heard them called “slurpees” and “icees,” and I recall my notoriously strict anti-sugar parents allowing my brother and I to have...

The Appeal of Obsessives

Each week at the local library, where I serve as a volunteer literacy tutor, a man comes in and sits down at the table across from ours. I assume he’s homeless, because his skin and clothes are dirty, and his hair unkempt. (Since he has a full beard and lacks an iPod, he’s probably not...

Fishbowl or Shroud?

You may hate your job, husband, car, wardrobe, and neighbors. You may bridle at the indignities of waiting in lines, dealing with low-wage clerks, negotiating traffic, and cleaning up after the dog. You may wish your life wasn’t your life. But you don’t want to be famous. Not really famous. The money’s good, and having...