Nov 14 2016

An open letter to Melania and Ivanka: TALK TO HIM (ON BEHALF OF THE WORLD)

Dear Melania and Ivanka,

First, congratulations on your husband’s/father’s win in his bid for the highest office in the land. It was an incredible elections, and he now has a big job on his hands, uniting this increasingly divided nation. It’s good you’re both there, because he’s going to need a lot of support, as this will not be an easy task.

Now let’s get down to business.

after the forest

after the forest

I assume neither of you are experts on climatology, or the environment, or wildlife; nor am I — but I am very passionate about these topics. I do know that you are both mothers. You’ve given life. This planet is full of life; an intricate network, a miraculous web of life, where plants create oxygen and trees shelter orangutans, and shrubs feed insects, which feed spiders; where bees pollenate flowers and give us honey, etc. etc, etc. Not to mention ocean life, which, if you’ve ever seen underwater footage, is like a whole different, miraculous world!

Do you want to deprive your children a beautiful, thriving planet that gives life, as you yourself have done? A planet abundant with majestic flora and fauna that many believe surely is evidence of a divine being? Sadly, the flora is perishing due to our changing climate and deforestation; the fauna losing its food and habitat at alarming rates — many of those that do survive are being hunted by people who find killing to be pleasurable, or supply a lust for luxury goods? BTW, did you know there is a direct link between the poaching of elephants and rhinos for their tusks and horns, and the funding of international terrorist organizations?

Got oil?

Got oil?

Many of those animals they kill, like you both, are mothers. And in this very real era of Climate Change, they are struggling to feed their own children. China is raping the natural resources out of Africa, destroying much of the natural habitat. We are doing the same here in the USA with fracking, destroying beautiful land and the habitat/shelter/food it provides animals — and the pipelines endangering water supplies, bursting and destroying ecosystems. Not to mention the droughts that are destroying crops and natural forestation areas, leaving animals hungry and searching for alternative food sources…

It’s the 21st century. We have alternatives. We have solar, we have wind, to replace our dependence on petroleum oil. Best part: there is no such thing as a “wind spill, or a “solar spill” — and the resulting damage to the ocean and death to wildlife. No Fukashima, and yet-to-be determined long term effects on the ocean, the environment, and our wildlife.

In local elections last Tuesday, measures were passed to protect the environment and protect animals. People are seeing that we humans need to live up to the word “humane” on every level. Now, let’s do it on a national and international level. HERE IS THE ONE THING I ASK OF YOU LADIES: Insist that the President Elect talk to, and listen to, the scientists. A lifelong friend of mine, a geologist who’s worked for UNESCO, NOAA and NASA, and who works closely with climatologist, assures me that climate change is very real. Please, if you’ve not already, watch Before the Flood. Take a heartbreaking look at how we are destroying the planet, wildlife, atmosphere, and our health with our mindless consumption of disposable plastic, at Plastic Pollution Coalition. Also, I urge you to read The Humane Economy, to learn more about the economics of animal exploitation. Finally, please read the World Wildlife Fund’s Living Planet Report 2016, which puts forth these three basic initiatives:

    1. Growing food without destroying forests
    2. Producing Energy from green renewable sources
    3. Financing development without supporting destructive projects
Does this plastic pollution make me look fat?

Does this plastic pollution make me look fat?

I’m not suggesting your research  begin and end with these four suggestions; I do ask that they be a part of it. I also ask that your research not include information from special interest groups, lobbyists, or anyone else who profits, directly or indirectly, from the production or transport of oil, factory farming, deforestation, the killing of protected and endangered species, poaching, or deforestation (especially for palm oil). For the President Elect to choose a climate change skeptic to lead the EPA transition is an atrocity. Insist he look beyond the pocketbooks, whether it be his own or his peers, and do what’s best FOR THIS PLANET.

Overpopulation is very real in some area. We hear of food shortages… while we waste 1/3 of the food we produce. All the resources used to make all that food… wasted. That’s shameful. I expect our President to promote the same basic principles my mother taught me: Do not waste. Food. Energy. Time. Money. Resources. Whatever it is, don’t waste it.

As for the sad state of our wildlife, 2/3 of the global wildlife population is on track to fall by 2020, due largely in part by loss of habitat: by man’s mining for resources or encroachment upon it, and by climate change. Do you want to tell your grandchildren about how there used to be magnificent animals on the planet — but no more, because man chose easy money and politics (and luxury goods, in the case of the poaching that is diminishing the numbers of elephants and rhinos at an alarming rate) over taking steps — such as the three listed above — that protected our environment and these animals?

So please, don’t you ladies waste this opportunity to be role models yourselves, to exert your power to make the world a better place, as you sit at the side of the man who holds the most powerful job in the world. People are waking up and realizing that more than ever, we need to talk to one another. So please, talk to him. We don’t need a woman in the highest office in the White House to demonstrate that women can lead and make a powerful difference. You have an incredible opportunity to make a huge impact. I have faith in you two. For America and all Americans, for the world, for your own grand children. Please, make us proud. Make them proud. It’s a small world after all, ladies. Please, please help preserve and protect it. Before it’s too late.

Apr 1 2016

Community (and knowing what not to photograph)

Sometimes, it's what you don't see.

Sometimes, it’s what you don’t see.

Behind me is a group of men, big Harley/trucker-looking men, gathered around a picnic table, as they are every Thursday morning. I thought it was a work meeting. Right now, they are praying. So I suspect it’s a different sort of meeting. And it makes me happy, that they have this community. Community is good. I’m between communities right now, except of course for my online community. But it’s really not the same, is it?

I didn’t photograph these men, out of respect for their anonymity and dignity, and because it’s not necessary. Sometimes it’s better to let your mind fill in the blanks for you; to put yourself in the picture.

Aug 13 2015

The Universe as Diety

The Universe has become the go-to for good things in life.

My nephew — who’s only interest in life (at age 17) is money — recently asked me for referrals for his new financial service business (Huh?). I told him to remember to “give back” as his success grows. Whether it be for PR reasons, or (preferably) because it’s the right thing to do, find a way to do it.

His response was, “I literally just read about giving back and then you texted me that was the universe giving me confirmation on that topic haha”

I texted back “Confirmation comes from within, not without. Find it in your heart.”

To which he said “you’re right, that’s deep thank you”

I hope he remembers that.

little pink houses

little pink houses

I’m dogsitting in the outer Richmond neighborhood of San Francisco. Walking distance to the Legion of Honor, Land’s End, and Golden Gate Park. It is BEAUTIFUL here. Homes cost a fortune here. I enjoy stepping into other peoples lives for a spell, in the same way I enjoy acting. Living other people’s lives.

Yesterday as I was walking my Rottweiler/black Chow mix charge down 36th Ave., I spotted a woman across the street walking her purebred, pristine white Samoyed. She was blonde like me, middle aged like me. We waved when our dogs barked at one another from afar.

I saw her at the dog park today. She’s lovely. She and her husband live in the home they own (with their three children) just across from where I’m dogsitting. We talked a little. I told her how I’m looking (always looking) for work that is closer to my heart, but it’s been difficult; and at this age you just don’t walk away from full benefits, no matter how much the current job crushes your soul on a daily basis.

The white picket fence and 2.4 children alternative.

The white picket fence and 2.4 children alternative.

And she said, “If you just put it out there, it’ll come to you. I believe that! If you just put it out there to the universe, it’ll happen.”

Where is this universe of which you speak?

I didn’t want to tell her she’s wrong –hell, I really want her to be right — but after feeling like it’s been upstream swimming on every front — personally, professionally, you name it, I just can’t get behind this “The Universe Delivereth” belief system.

And then it hit me… what if she were me, or rather I were her, in an alternate universe? What if I had enjoyed my Las Vegas corporate job in my 20s enough to stay on that path, rather than abandon it in San Francisco to study creative writing and filmmaking while waitressing at night? What if I’d been drawn to the conservative guy with the 9-to-5 with 2.4 children gleaming in his eye, rather than the intellectuals and the rugged creatives that I found far more interesting (and fun!)? Might I have been that woman across the street for whom struggle was finding a suitable dog walker? Might I be happier than I am now? Might I truly now believe that the Universe truly doth deliver if ye merely ask of it?

But there are no do-overs, and I suspect that finding a suitable dog walker is far, far from her biggest problem. All in all it’s not bad. But I do envy her sense of optimism. Or do I? Would she be absolutely crushed by some of the things the universe has hurled at me at full force, things that I’ve managed to deflect (and still manage to look fabulous)? Who knows. She may be sitting at her kitchen table across the stree wishing she had the freedom that I have now to do pretty much as I like. The Grass is Always Greener is a Universal concept, after all.

Finally, I’ve been watching a lot of Amy Schumer lately, as I am obsessed with the thought of her playing the title character in my feature screenplay, “The Adventures of Vulva Fervor.” I’d originally written it with Charlize Theron in mind. But after seeing “Trainwreck,” I decided that the part called for a great comic actor, not a stunner (much like Mike Myers in “Austin Powers”). Apparently Ms. Schumer has some thoughts on the Universe as well, with a little help from Bill Nye the Science Guy.

Hey Amy, if you need a dogsitter, or a sexy action-adventure-comedy feature to produce/star in, CALL ME!

Just putting it out there, Universe.

Jan 1 2015

An Impromptu Prayer for the New Year




Enter 2015

How did I ring in the new year? Asleep in front of a fireplace with Picard curled up in my arms. Safe and warm. It may not be sexy, but it sure is wonderful.

Happy New Year to Everyone. May it be a year of less snark, judgement, and finger-pointing. May we pause for one nanosecond to find a reason to respect another’s view, rather than knee-jerk belittle it. May we all be role models to each other and each other’s children. May our first instinct be to help, rather than record (and share on social media), another whose struggle looks “funny.”

I didn’t plan on writing all that, I didn’t. It was just supposed to be me and Picard and a fireplace. But it’s New Year’s Day and the mind tends to do things like that, doesn’t it?

Jul 7 2013

The Old Man On The Park Bench. North Beach, 1993.

The closest I’ll come to time travel and meeting myself 20 years ago

I recently moved. While unpacking, I found something I’d written twenty years ago. I’d forgotten about the essay, and about the encounter that inspired it; that is, until I reread it; then it all flooded back — like when someone shows you  a photo of yourself taken years ago that you don’t recall being taken.

In this story, I was the girl in the red beret. I don’t know why I wrote it in the voice of the old man, but it’s obvious that even then, twenty years ago, my elderly father’s mortality was very much on my mind. When my brothers and I reunited to be with him for the final month of his life in 2007, I had no intention of writing a play, “It Is What It Is,” inspired by that experience. But that play is also about long buried memories we rediscover when we read something written at a certain time in the past, and about how — even in our most meaningless texts — we are in a way choosing what we document in our lives every day. Which is not entirely unlike me rediscovering this essay now, twenty years after it was written. Here it is:


This is the only time of the day that this street, this neighborhood, looks the way it used to. Except for the cars passing by… the cars are different. I don’t notice them much. Usually, they’re just in the background.

wsp1950sI remember when I was young and every morning I’d see the old Italian men in the neighborhood sitting here on this same bench I’m sitting on now, talking to each other in Italian. I never paid much attention to them. I mean, I noticed them, as they fed the pigeons. But I guess I thought of them like I thought of the benches, the pigeons, and the statues: all part of the park itself. I thought they’d be there forever and I thought I’d be young forever too.

I never thought I’d be an old man, like a child never thinks he’ll be anything but a child. But these things happen and we don’t even think about it until it’s long since happened. Then we realize the loss of time… at least, I do. Somehow I think that if I’d thought of it then, of growing old, I could have prevented it. Like I could have taken control. Instead, no! Time took control. I stopped paying attention to it and it got the upper hand and it beat me.

I noticed some young men standing on the corner as I walked past them earlier – Christ, they probably thought I hobbled past them. Which, I did. I do. I do hobble now. It felt good so to sit down on this here bench. God, how good it felt to sit. Tired after three blocks, mostly downhill. When I was the young man standing on the corner, I pitied the old men. But I never thought I could turn into one of then, any more than I thought I could turn into a bench or a pigeon or a statue.

Do the young men pity me now? How can they not? They don’t see I’m the same as them. I once was them, as they will one day be me.

I don’t understand it, how I still think exactly the same as I did when I was young – yet to others, I look so different. So old.  They think I was always old, with nothing to do but count the days. At least that’s what I used to think of the old men when I was young. Those old men are all long dead by now.

I like it here in the morning, once I sit down. It’s quiet, just a few people on their way to work. There’ll be a lot of people on their way to work in an hour or so, then it changes. It’ll be rushed. Now, it’s new; it feels new and fresh and very peaceful. And I’m part of it. The sun’s not out yet. I mean it’s risen, but it’s still so hazy and foggy, you can’t even see it. Every day starts out overcast here, and I like that. But usually the sun eventually burns through. Then the people don’t wear their coats and hats. I like seeing people in coats and hats. People used to always wear hats. Now they can’t be bothered, only when it’s cold out. But here in the early morning, they wear them, and the scene looks like it used to look years ago. The brighter the coats and hats, the better!

Like this gal passing by right now. What a cutie! She’s wearing a red beret, like mine (though mine’s gray). She’s wearing a matching red raincoat with little blond curls and big brown eyes peeking out from under the beret. Can’t see much of her body under that coat, but she’s not skinny – and I like that! I always liked women’s bodies to look like women’s bodies. I used to love big tits. Still do. I just haven’t had my hands on some in too long to remember. My wife’s were big. Still are. But they’ve changed. When we were young, they stood up and saluted, like they were as glad to see me as I was to see them. Now they hang low, staring at the ground whenever I’m around. Guess I’m not such a sight anymore, either.

The cutie in the red beret is still standing on the corner, so close I could poke her with my cane. The light turned green and she didn’t cross; she just stood there, staring. At me. I look up and catch her eye and she looks off a little to the left, I think she’s embarrassed. I give the kid a break and stop looking at her. But I can still see her and she’s staring at me again, just standing there looking very sad. I’m kinda enjoying all this attention. No young lady has looked at me in who-knows-how-long. But she’s not looking at me the way I used to be looked at by the ladies, the way I’d give one of my few remaining years to be looked at again: a look of desire, a look with sex written all over it.

Instead, she looks at me sadly. She pities me, as I used to pity the old men. I bet I remind her of a grandfather. A dead grandfather. I don’t want to be her dead grandfather.

She looks down at her feet for a few seconds. It almost seems, for an instant, that she might come over here. But no, this time the light turns green, ad she walks away, waiting for everyone else to step off the curb first. Did you see that, Charlie? She looked over her shoulder at me for a final glance! Ciao, Bella.

I feel like I was mean to her. I could have said Hello. She was thinking, she wanted to say something to me… maybe something she didn’t get to say to her dead grandfather. She was too scared. You know what? I was too scared to say anything, too.

Here comes Pete now. Better move this newspaper so he’ll have room to sit – Christ, he moves slower than I do. I hope I don’t look like that when I walk. You go play with the other pigeons now, Charlie. Go see if you can  get a little action with that cute little white one over there. She’s been watching you this whole time. Don’t blow this opportunity…marios


Nov 26 2011

Because Some Objects Deserve Fresh Starts As Much As People Do.

I posted this on the community board at the beach where I walk my dog. It was gone within an hour. I hope this necklace went to someone who really cherishes it. I cherish the thought and memory behind this necklace, and I’ll always have that.

I love the idea that it found a good home, and that someone out there is really happy to be wearing this necklace.

Jan 22 2010

Two Reasons Why I Worship At The Altar Of Dan Savage

[youtube][/youtube] [youtube][/youtube]

May 1 2009

coming soon: “I Fucked An Allman Brother”*

*God no, of course not really!

I heard you could actually die from that. Yet I can think of no other way to describe how this priceless gem of a memory feels in hindsight…

Feb 16 2009

update: Museum Of Broken Relations inspires a new tradition!

Just followoing up on the “Misery Loves” post a few weeks back.

The Museum Of Broken Relationships had its opening on Valentine’s Day here in San Francisco. It was pissing rain that night and the opening was PACKED. Apparently a lot of people thought this was the perfect way to spend a romantic holiday. They were right.

The exhibit is INCREDIBLE – and I’m not just saying that because I’ve got a piece on display. The objects themselves were interesting, but the stories – THE STORIES – behind all those objects! I live for stories, and I want to meet each and every person behind those stories behind those objects, so I can hear the long version. They were heartbreaking and hilarious and innocent and cruel, but all painfully honest. I’m going again (when the place isn’t packed wall to wall) so I can read all the stories and weep without witnesses. I’m honored to have my own story be included in this collection.

The collection is up in SF until February 28 at Root Division; from there it goes to Stockholm, Sweden. From there, I guess it’s going home to Croatia. I wish it was doing a US tour, because so many people I know would love this exhibit.

But, I have an idea: Because mama loves a good ceremony, I’m going to start a new tradition: from now on, every Valentine’s Day I’m going to host a Party of Broken Relationships! Bring a bottle of champagne and an object — preferably one whose clutches you need to break free of (darts, lighter fluid, and carving utensils optional) — along with the story behind it. We’ll come up with a nice exorcising ritual for each. God, I can’t wait.

Jan 13 2009

How Did I Spend My Birthday?

Me. On a Nighthawk.

Me. On a Nighthawk.


It was my birthday present, from me to me. I needed to stay close to home this year, so what could I do that would satisfy my lust for adventure, my appetite for adreneline? I wanted to do Jim Russell’s 1-Day Grand Prix Master Program at Infinion Racetrack in Sonoma. But it’s $2.5K. And you don’t get to keep the car. That ain’t right.

So instead I enrolled in the Bay Area Motorcycle Training Program. I don’t have a bike, but have thought about it. I just thought it’d be super fun. Plus I’m tired of being always a passenger, never a driver. On motorcycles, anyhow. And I also thought it might be a good skill to have. Like driving a stick: You never know…

Great program. Great program. Not down with the 7:45 call time at CCSF at 7:45 on a Saturday & Sunday. I don’t think anyone was.

Welcome to the machine.

Welcome to the machine.

But the good news is you’re done at 2 (though they tell you 1). The instructors are awesome. You get lots of time on the bikes. And that is… about it. Get a lot of sleep beforehand, because even if you’re fit, it take strength just to operate the bike on the most basic level.

So that was the planned portion of my birthday celebration weekend. With that in mind, I knew better than to go nuts on Friday or Saturday night. So Friday was nice (and stupid early as well): Served breakfast at Glide Memorial at 7am, followed by a luxurious lunch, then a matinee, “Waltz With Bashir”. Not a real feel-gooder for one’s birthday, in hindsight. But I’d heard an interview with the filmmaker, Ari Folman, and was absolutely riveted with his story and his approach to making this a film. It’s stunning to watch. After that, I felt like a day at the spa. After that, what could be better than fondue? When was the last time you had fondue? And that was all about day 1 that I’ll put in writing.

Besides riding a bike, Saturday saw the arrival of an unexpected houseguest. That happens a lot around here, for some reason. But I love my friends, so I don’t mind a bit. It just meant I got absolutely nothing done, and ended up going out that night. Not the best idea, but well worth it.

Sunday I had planned on having just a few friends over after the final day of riding. Though after Saturday night and another 6am wake-up call, I was not as excited about this plan as I originally was. But of course once my peeps showed up I was happy and it was grand.

What did I learn this birthday weekend? I’ll tell you:

1. Getting up at 6am for any reason (when its dark out) 3 days in a row sucks, especially  when its your birthday.
2. The Ooh La La is the best fondue choice at the Matterhorn.
3. Motorcycles are really heavy!
4. Motorcycles are really fun!
5. I look really good on a motorcycle.
6. It’s alarming how much champagne and cheese and chocolate 5 gals can put away.
7. The peanut butter hot chocolate at Bittersweet Cafe will give you an orgasm in your mouth.