Sunday, December 31, 2006


The other night I could not sleep. All night. In the midst of the tossing and turning and surfing, I grabbed the notebook beside the bed and wrote something I can barely make out:

Cannot sleep again.
Thirsty, tired & mind
is running like crazy. cannot
sleep on right side or
s.i. hurts.

a banana, more water,

Then a thought-
I need to get rid of
sequinned 40 in 04 dress

The dress in question is the silver mini-dress, above, which I wore to our big 40 in '04 birthday celebration. I picked it up at a vintage clothing store when my mother was still (barely) alive, and immediately felt guilty. But she said to hold onto it - that I'd eventually find a use for it.

Eight years later I finally wore it for the first time. The party was fab -- there were many bands, wonderful food, several birthday celebrants, plentiful revelers, and one human disco ball -- me.

After the party my male friend at the time told me to change before we went to the 24-hour Mexican restaurant. I found this odd but complied.

One week later he broke up with me.

Then I learnt he was seeing one of the revelers. Not long after they became the proud parents of twins!

Once again Caca facilitates a marriage.

Once again Caca narrowly escapes a disaster.

The dress was still on the hanger when I brought it to the thrift store today. I had to get rid of it before the year ended. When I set it down some staffers gathered around and said how glad they were to have it.

It's their problem now.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

NeVeR MiNd DoNna KaRaN....

HeRe'S RuSsElL SiMmOnS.

There was ANOTHER huge accident in front of my house tonight. According to a bystander the car flipped over several times before landing upright. Along the way it bounced into several other vehicles. It would have hit the bystander's wife's car, too. But, luckily, she was at work. Phew.

I heard it all from my desk; the screeching and those awful loud thuds that can only come from one 3000-pound metal projectile slamming into another. Or, in this case, several others.

It's happened so many times over the years. The screech, the thuds. In the early years, before the world was wireless, I'd phone it in myself.

As usual it seems no one was hurt, but many vehicles were dented.

And many bystanders, who crept from their homes like roaches after dark, were well entertained.

I walked out of my building to gape at the same time as one of my new neighbors.

(Some background; while I was in India, two or three apartments in my building changed hands. The new tenants seem to know my neighbor-across-the-way, Jennywhatever, and there's a lot of cooking and stomping up and down the rear stairs. Unlike previous tenants (Neck Tattoo and the Firef--ker nonwithstanding) they've been unusually weird/unfriendly. Was life so good while I was away? I mean, I sign for their packages and walk around in SOCKS, for cryin' out loud).

Anyway, I said to my new-ish neighbor that there had been a similar accident in the same spot about a month ago, and that you should never park in front of the building if you can help it. He wondered why the accidents keep happening. I was too tired to say "because it's a four-lane street and people go too fast and no one has been able to see the other cars ever since the mayor installed giant cement planters in the middle of the street." Instead I suggested that there was something wrong with this particular intersection. He was like, "it's rough everywhere."

No, it's rough HERE.

I didn't tell him that oftimes people who live in the building go out to their cars in the morning only to find them dented beyond recognition. It even happened to me.

Later I heard the new-ish neighbor agree with another (male) bystander that it's a bad intersection, and that he himself never parks in front of the building.


Wonder if he knows I've been stealing his internet....*

Last time around, the car in question flipped over and settled on its side right in front of my building. I was about to leave for work, and my first thought was, "That thing better not be blocking me in."**

Before the firetrucks arrived a group of guys -- and a few women -- tried to push the car upright. They were not successful. But it was fun to gape anyway.


*Actually I only borrow the neighbor's internet when mine takes too long to upload photos

****Actually the first thing I do is offer up a prayer whenever I hear those thuds or see a rescue squad or run across (not over) a dead animal or a homeless person or someone in agony or hear about a death.

Friday, December 29, 2006


Today's Sun-Times carried the headline Duty Delayed.
I hate it when that happens.

The New York Times carried a stinky piece called Meditate on Thi$, about how yoga is big business.
Apparently Liz Claiborne bought Prana.
Longtime yogini Donna Karan would have been a far better fit.
Speaking of which....the reporter neglected to mention that yoga plays a prominent role in the overplayed TV ad for the Herpes medication Valtrex.
Because yogis can be carriers, too.

Also today -- Merce Cunningham turned 87.
His voice soothes like no one else's. And his outlook!
I'm pretty sure he's self-realized.
Sometimes he goes around in a wheelchair
Nonetheless NewYorkians can apparently still take classes with him.
Lucky CSers.

Speaking of self-realization.... Dharma Mittra sometimes goes around on a Segway.
He's 67, and I'm pretty sure he's a clairvoyant.
NYers can still take classes with him, too.
Just don't ask too many questions about teacher training.*


*The person I've been e-mailing about TT has been giving some, uh, vague answers about the reading list and the required "apprenticeship." I know I should take it all on faith but as a starving skeptical journalist I'm just not there yet. If anyone knows anything, please do tell.

Thursday, December 28, 2006


Christmas Eve. The family is sitting and standing in the kitchen, drinking, snacking and joking about the baby Jeebus.

Koppel, holding a large Jack + Coke, looks down and notices a brown speck on the floor.

"What's that?" he asks, squatting and peering at it.

"It looks like a raisin," offers Drey.

"It looks like a baby cockroach," says Caca.

Koppel bends down and reaches for the raisinlike thing. The rest of the family watches, rapt, as he stands up and rolls it between the first two fingers of his left hand.

"Let me see it," says Drey, walking closer to him.

Koppel proffers the brown bit to Drey, who brings his face closer.

Time seems to stand still as everyone continues to watch, motionless.

"It doesn't look like a raisin," says Dreyfus, slowly putting it up to his nose. He inhales deeply, and suddenly jerks back his head.

"It's shit!" he yells, his voice high. "Ewwwwww!" he screams, waving his arms. "Get that shit away from me."

Koppel calmly walks towards the garbage can and throws the thing out. Then he washes his hands.

"That came from someone's shoe," he says.

Caca lifts up her foot and performs a twisty yoga move that allows her to look at the sole of her hideous-but-sensible Earth Shoes. Her face clouds when she sees the light brown dogshit packed into the the tread.

"It's me," she says meekly, and starts skulking towards the back door. The group moves away from her, as if she were a Baby Ruth bar floating in a public swimming pool.

"Take those things off!" yells Drey, his voice still high. "You can't wear them here!" Putting down his Scotch, he bends over and starts scanning the floor for more turds. Caca puts her shoes in the garage and returns to the kitchen.

"It's all over the place," yells Drey from the hallway. "What the f--k? Where in the hell were you?"

Caca ignores him and apologizes profusely to her poor polluted nephew, who once did indeed resemble the carrot-top newscaster Ted Koppel. Drey, crouching, continues searching the house for hidden poop.

"It's in here, too," he yells from the bathroom. "Where else were you?"

"I was in your bedroom -- and in your office too," Caca yells. She is joking but he doesn't know that. Feeling dirty, she apologizes again and washes her hands at the sink.

"The one on the left is antibacterial," says Monca, pointing.

"I knew there weren't any raisins in the food," she adds.

Caca apologizes again to Koppel, who now has a fresh drink.

"At least it was your poo hand."

Photo of 'Layna.Xmas.Hoop takem by Drey and processed by Caca

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


My first student today asked me to adjust her more strongly in an intense forward bend. I'd never seen her before and didn't know her practice, plus her breathing was rough and uneven. So what if it was a Mysore class. I told her I wouldn't do it.

My last student today asked me not to adjust him at all. He was visiting from another city and had some back issues. Apparently he'd been injured many times while practicing ashtanga -- but only when someone was adjusting him. When he mentioned the cracked rib I said, "Did it happen during a Marichyasana adjustment?" Of course it did. I feel your pain.

Between episodes I subbed a half-hour class called Yoga on the Ball. I didn't want anyone to get hurt (and I'm not really sure what the hell Yoga on the Ball means), so instead of bringing out the physio balls we did a quick vinyasa class sans props. It seemed to go well. That is, until the buff man who taught the next class marched in two minutes early like he owned the place -- while everyone was still in savasana -- and started fiddling with the stereo. HUH?

Later, in the locker room, a woman told me how much she'd enjoyed going ball-less. "I really needed that," she said. "I used to do a lot of yoga but I had a sciatica problem on and off for a long time, one month at work, one month off, bla bla.... and I'm finally easing back into it...."

She kept talking, occasionally lapsing into a Brooklyn accent.

"...I'm in a car all day working and it sucks... After work I'm tired and the last thing I want to do is take a fucking yoga class. But this was really good."

To hear the words "fucking" and "yoga class" next to each other in the same sentence, unprompted! So unexpected. So taboo. So..... refreshing.

I wanted to hug her. But I'm not the hugging type.

Now at last the year can end on a happy note.

Monday, December 25, 2006

from the Cacanandas

Sunday, December 24, 2006

and whatnot

Remember the film The Magnificent Ambersons? Remember the refrain?

This is one of the most curious and amusing windows in Andersonville, regardless of season.

And this is its twin. I've never actually set foot inside the store; how could it possibly live up to the display? There are already enough disappointments in life.

This NYC Candy store is next door to Temple in the Village. It's like heroin to me.

And back to Chicawgo. Where they tell it like it is. Year round.

Friday, December 22, 2006


xmas window, originally uploaded by satya cacananda.

....a Swedish-gay-Middle Eastern neighborhood on Chicago's north side. This is the window of a Swedish deli, where one can pick up lutefisk, glog, Danish pudding and pickled herring. The last was a vile favorite of my late father.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


You can no longer read the numbers or locate the "mute" button on the TV remote control.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


I began mailing out holiday greeting cards nine years ago. It's what one does when one's mother dies and one wants to keep in touch with the people who knew her.

But it's become a drag -- in no small part because I design the stupid thing myself and always enclose a Urine Review, a tongue-in-cheek chronicle of the minor accomplishments and many misadventures of Kirby and I.

This year's listed included some 70 people.

It's become a project not unlike doing taxes, with just about as many steps: buying the Glu-Stik, glitter glue, envelopes and stamps; updating the mailing list, printing it out, cutting it up, Glu-Stiking the labels onto the envelopes, drawing the cover art, brainstorming, writing and editing the stupid insert, bringing the stuff to the print shop, looking at the proof, approving the proof, picking it up, bringing it home, adding glitter glue to all 70 cards, waiting for the glue to dry, writing some sort of mildly personal message inside, sealing the envelopes, adding the stamps and return address labels, schlepping it all to the post office in time....

This year I got thru it with the help of local community radio station WLUW and Turner Classic Movies.

And a call from my friend Bo, who was in the midst of the same task ("f*cking Christmas cards" is how she put it) and as far from completing it as I was.

One can't help but wonder how people with offspring and hosting obligations cope with it all.

No wonder the yoga classes are full -- and the liquor store shelves have been picked clean.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Whenever yoga students take their first trip Mysore they invariably make a pilgrimage to the old shala, which fit 12 students. This guy has many pictures of how it looks now -- ie; before Guruji, et al built a massive home/shala in the fancy part of town called Gokulam, where some 80 students practice at one time.

I'm too, uh, busy to scan more images at the moment -- in those halcyon days BG (Before Gokulam) we used analog cameras and teletype machines and purified our own drinking water -- but here's an idea of how things looked in the old shala circa 2002.

When Caca's stateside teacher saw this pic he said something to the effect of, "I can feel your s-i joint screaming in pain." He was right. In fact I can still hear it. Behind me (on the crease) is Randy-who-lives-in-Mysore and behind him is a friendly, fair-haired American called Dinesh. I'm not sure who's next to me but I think it's Madeleine-from-Australia. I still have that Prana top.

Who says your practice doesn't suffer in Mysore? Ms. Janice just sent this photo of me in an embarrassingly backbendy headstand in the famous upstairs closing room -- where I actually used to shuuush people who were talking. No wonder I didn't make many friends. This must have been early during my four-month stay (pat-pat), because it's already quite light outside. Corpsing out next to me is Tony, formerly of Holly and Tony's Mysore cantina. A bit of Bobeiseennow looks on from the right. The face of the person who seems to be suffering in child's pose next to me cannot be seen, so we'll have to assume it's Andre Van Lysbeth. The carpet has a swastika design on its border.

Monday, December 18, 2006


The setting is a quiet, well-appointed health club yoga studio that overlooks a large body of water. NINETEEN PEOPLE have just awakened from the final resting pose and are sitting on their mats. Their hair is not perfect. They know this because they are looking at themselves in the mirror that spans the front of the room.

The SUBSTITUTE TEACHER, sitting in the front of the massive mirror, brings her palms together in front of her chest and bows her head. Her thong is not showing. The students know this but she does not.

" Namaste," says the substitute teacher. " Thank you for coming."

The students mumble something that sounds like "Nice day to you, too" and start to collect their things.

But the substitute teacher isn't finished with them.

"If you liked this class, I'm teaching again on Sunday morning," she says hopefully.

The students glance at her.

In the same hopeful tone, she says,

"If you didn't like this class, I'm teaching again on Sunday morning."

Guffaws galore.

It gets 'em every time.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Modern-Day Doublespeak

Modern-Day Doublespeak, originally uploaded by satya cacananda.

One of my favorite bloggers, Ursula-in-Munich, speaks English as a second language and recently mentioned something in passing that really piqued my interest:

A side note: health insurance is translated illness insurance, when I translate it word by word from German to English. Interesting.

So in German it's illness insurance. Makes sense to me. After all, you're covering your ass in case you get sick.

But American English tends to put a positive spin on things. Because the further we distance ourselves from reality, the more we can compartmentalize it and avoid experiencing it. You know -- denial.

This doesn't just apply to words, but to things like the killing and selling of animals as food. When we go to the supermarket, we see pretty cuts of dyed, marbled meat that bear no relation whatsoever to the cute animals that we like to watch frolic on Animal Planet. We distance ourselves from it so we can eat it.

I think this is partly why westerners freak out when they go to India and see goats hanging from their heels in store shops and dead human bodies garlanded with flowers being carried down the street.

Personally, I find the lack of pretense refreshing.

There was something very visceral and healing about watching the bodies of both my grandmother and my mother rolling into the cremation oven at the funeral home and seeing them consumed by flames.

When I lived in Spain I loved to sip Mahou and eat serrano bocadillos at the Museo del Jamon (Ham Museum), where dozens of smoked pig flanks hung from the ceiling. I was also addicted to the bullfights, and went every Sunday. Afterwards I used to climb up to the window of the the little slaughterhouse behind the ring, and surreptitiously watch them butcher the freshly-killed bulls. Although I grew up on a farm and we ate some of our own animals I never saw the process firsthand (although I once watched my grandmother slice off a chicken's head with an ax -- it really did run around afterwards). Watching them pull apart the steaming animal and seeing the blood and entrails drip out of it solved the mystery of where the meat came from (it wasn't until two years later that I became the militant vegetarian I remain today).

But usually the denial process applies to language.

In the olden days, when someone died, they used to lay out the dead body at home -- in the parlor. People would congregate and mourn at home. But someone (undertakers?) decided that was too grotesque, and people started sending the bodies to the funeral parlor. So as not to confuse it with death, the parlor became the living room.

That beat-up car in the lot is not "used" -- it's "pre-owned."

Best Buy doesn't have a "Complaint Department" -- it has "Customer Fulfillment"

The child is not "retarded" -- it's "special."

He's not a spoiled brat -- he has ADD.

The girl is not an idiot -- she has a learning disablity.

A person is not "crippled" -- it is "disabled."

He's not "blind" -- he's "sight-impaired."

It's not a failed marriage -- it's a "starter" marriage.

It's not gambling -- it's gaming.

Elderly people are not "old" -- they're "seniors."

It's not illness and decline - it's the golden years.

It's not dementia -- it's Alzheimer's.

It's not "war," it's "peacekeeping" or "spreading democracy."

It's not fascism, it's homeland security.

And in yoga it's not an "injury" -- it's an "opening."

Oh wait -- that last one comes from India.


There goes my theory.

Or perhaps not.

One could say it's the exception that proves the rule....

Friday, December 15, 2006


There's nothing like the prospect of a Mysore practice with a senior teacher to shake off the winter doldrums.

For the past week this former noon-sleeper has dragged her ass out of bed happily at 5:45 each morning to join a dozen other students and practice with certified teacher David Roche, who led a weekend intensive and eight days of morning self-practice right here in The Windy City.

At one point during the weekend intensive we even got to act like minkeys while doing Kapalbhati breathing.

David is tireless and detailed and patient and full of insight and gives unusual adjustments the likes of which I haven't experienced in eons -- the type that awaken long-dead muscles and make weird sounds come out of the mouth.

But he's on his way back to Oz at this very moment.

And we're all a little sadder (and our quadriceps a little sore-er) because of it.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


is how the birds in Little India looked today.

The defiant ones on the bottom would be the three-chord punks.

Avian rebels.


Everything had a soft, air-brushed look.

Except perhaps the building on Devon Ave. that recently burnt down. Most of the Indian and Pakistani immigrant-owned businesses that were ruined were not insured. The Developers can't wait to get ahold of it, visions of subpar multi-use construction dancing above their heads.

Even the three-flats across the cemetery from the new Peterson Avenue Target had a painterly, albeit crooked, look.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


There are Three Things People Invariably Say When They See a Grown Woman Carrying a Giant Hula- Hoop Down the Street in the Middle of Winter:

--Is that a Hula-Hoop?


--It's so big!

-Yes. The new ones are bigger and easier to use.

-I haven't done that since the 1950's / 1970's!

At which point the grown woman responds,

"Wanna try it?"

There is invariably much smiling during the exchange. Only about two out of five people actually put down what they're doing and give the hoop a whirl, laughing the whole time. You cannot hoop and frown at the same time.

Lucky for Caca they always give the thing back.

So far anyway

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


After writing the Eastland post I cannot get The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald out of my head.

Gordon Lightfoot's ballad about the freighter that sank during a Lake Superior squall on November 10, 1975 is an eternal favorite here in the Midwest.

Does anyone know where the love of god goes, when the gales of November come early?

Like the Eastland, The Edmund Fitzgerald listed to port before it sank. Twenty-nine men died.

Only twenty-nine, and they get a whole song that will live forever on classic rock radio.

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down, of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee

And now, you can suffer too.

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee
The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
When the skies of November turn gloomy.

With a load of iron ore - 26,000 tons more
Than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty
That good ship and true was a bone to be chewed
When the gales of November came early

The ship was the pride of the American side
Coming back from some mill in Wisconson
As the big freighters go it was bigger than most
With a crew and the Captain well seasoned.

Concluding some terms with a couple of steel firms
When they left fully loaded for Cleveland
And later that night when the ships bell rang
Could it be the North Wind they'd been feeling.

The wind in the wires made a tattletale sound
And a wave broke over the railing
And every man knew, as the Captain did, too,
T'was the witch of November come stealing.

The dawn came late and the breakfast had to wait
When the gales of November came slashing
When afternoon came it was freezing rain
In the face of a hurricane West Wind

When supper time came the old cook came on deck
Saying fellows it's too rough to feed ya
At 7PM a main hatchway caved in
He said fellas it's been good to know ya.

The Captain wired in he had water coming in
And the good ship and crew was in peril
And later that night when his lights went out of sight
Came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Does anyone know where the love of God goes
When the words turn the minutes to hours
The searchers all say they'd have made Whitefish Bay
If they'd fifteen more miles behind her.

They might have split up or they might have capsized
They may have broke deep and took water
And all that remains is the faces and the names
Of the wives and the sons and the daughters.

Lake Huron rolls, Superior sings
In the ruins of her ice water mansion
Old Michigan steams like a young man's dreams,
The islands and bays are for sportsmen.

And farther below Lake Ontario
Takes in what Lake Erie can send her
And the iron boats go as the mariners all know
With the gales of November remembered.

In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed
In the Maritime Sailors' Cathedral
The church bell chimed, 'til it rang 29 times
For each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald.

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee
Superior, they say, never gives up her dead
When the gales of November come early.

© 1976 Moose Music, Inc.

Monday, December 11, 2006


People were falling over to the side in Parighasana / Parvritta Janu Sirsasana this morning.

In an effort to get them to straighten up, I asked them to flex the front foot, press down the back of the front knee, roll in the shin, anchor the sitting bones, etc.


Then I told them they were listing to the side like the SS Eastland, a large passenger vessel that was filled with mostly Czech workers going on a company outing, about to depart from a dock along the Chicago River in 1916, when it tipped over.

Eight hundred forty-four people drowned.


While the boat was docked.

The yoga students' ears pricked up. And so did their feet, and they stopped toppling over.

I mentioned that "Papa Bear" George Halas survived the disaster, and that if he hadn't there may never have been a Chicago Bears, let alone a National Football League.

On second thought....

I also told them that the Eastland disaster occurred in the wake (ha!) of the Titanic, and that lifeboats had recently been installed on its upper decks.

The rotting wood floors between decks had been reinforced with concrete, making the thing even more top-heavy.

It tipped over in 20 feet of water, 20 feet from the wharf, in the downtown of what was then the nation's second largest city.


It wasn't yoga and it was distracting. But what else am I supposed to do with all of this useless info left over from The Book That Never Was?

Now, if I could only figure out how to make the 1906 Iroquois Theatre fire relevant to yoga.

More people died in the brand-new, state-of-the-art, "absolutely fireproof" theater than in the Great Chicago Fire.

As with the Eastland, most of the 600 dead were women and children.

As with the Eastland, their families were never compensated.

Ladies holiday indeed.


Next time I must remember to mention that the Eastland bodies were taken to a Near West Side cold storage facility that is now better known as Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Studios. (And prior to that it was the HQ for the groundbreaking nature show, Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. Strange karma, that.).

Friday, December 08, 2006


Today is the 75th anniversary of Jane Addams winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

She did her good works in the immigrant slums of Chicago.

But is there a statue of her, or some kind of monument?


In fact there's not a single statue of a woman in the entire city.

But we do have statues of Very Important Dead Men, such as:

-drunken sports announcer Harry Caray

-average gossip columnist Irv Kupcinet

-and fictional TV character Bob Newhart.

Lest you think this affects only women -- there's no statue or monument to the city's first non-native resident, Jean Baptiste Pointe duSable, either.

Despite the fact that a group of activists has been lobbying for one since the 1920's.

Of course it has nothing to do with the fact that he's black.

Nothing at all.

Such a melting pot, this.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


It is not a good idea to turn the head while in shoulderstand, because it could damage the neck.

I tell students this, and yet still they turn their heads to see what everyone else in class is doing.

So I tell them that if they're doing something dangerous I'll let them know, but there's no need to see if they're on the same page as everyone else.

Yet still they turn their heads.

Sometimes I have them sit on their arses and watch me while I quickly show them the whole shoulderstand sequence, so that they know what to expect.

But once they're in it they turn their heads and look around.

Sometimes I catch one or two of them turning their heads to look at themselves in the giant health club mirror.

When that happens, I say, "That is a very unflattering angle. Don't look at the mirror now. Wait until you've cleaned up after class -- then you can look at yourself all you want."

Still they crane their necks.

Sometimes I'll say, "Maybe you're mad at your neck and want to punish it. Fine. Do what you want. Just don't come running to me."

No reaction.

Sometimes, to hammer the point home, I'll say, "No matter who walks in the door, don't turn your head to look. Come down first -- and then you can even point and shout."

Still they turn their heads.

So lately I've been trying to make it more specific and timely.

"Even if Michael Richards walks in swearing, don't turn your head."

No reaction.

"Even if Danny DeVito walks in drunk, don't turn your head."

It's like they didn't even hear me.

Today I said, "Even if James Baker walks in carrying a big report, don't turn your head."


After explaining who Baker was, I said, "Vince Vaughn. He's in the news today. Don't turn and look if Vince Vaughn walks in-- which could happen, since he's from Lake Forest."

It's fun to throw in the triva when you have it.

Still it didn't work.

The lone exception came right after the Bears' big loss a couple of weeks ago:

"Even if Rex Grossman comes in to make a public apology, don't turn your head."

That one got the laughs.

Which could actually hurt the neck, when you think about it.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


I was thumbing through a woman's fashion magazine while waiting to get my hair cut yesterday, when I came across an article about hair extensions.

LA's most famous extention-attacher had plenty to say about hair length. He seemed to think that women of all ages should grow their hair long. Or, better yet, keep it fairly short and add expensive, high-maintenance extensions.

He said that in America women's hairstyles work like this:

-When a woman turns 30 she gets a mom haircut

-When a woman turns 40 she gets her mom's haircut

-And when she's 50, a woman gets her husband's haircut.

Actually he's off by about ten years.

Still -- I read all that before getting my hair cut.

So how did I end up with a mom-bob?

Why does everyone want me to look like a helmet-headed newscaster, and not the cool rock chick that's cowering inside, dying to get out?

Oh, well -- maybe next year.

Monday, December 04, 2006


CACA: It's so cold today --


CACA: It's so cold today that Caca didn't ride her bike....

and some of the white people are even wearing hats!


Sunday, December 03, 2006


, originally uploaded by satya cacananda.


Turns out the snowbombed church is an affiliate of the Southern Baptist Convention; i.e. it's the conservative Billy Graham / Jerry Falwell sect. Apparently Dakota Fanning, Chuck Norris and Bill Clinton are members. Jimmy Carter left when the more progressive Cooperative Baptist Fellowship split apart. No word on Hillary.

I doubt the North Face family knew all this when they pelted the wee church with snowballs. I didn't know, and I'm a journalist for chrissakes -- and we all know that journalists know it all.

So.....After pulling away from the snow-splattered church I made my way to class, where I led three people through a version of Dharma Mittra's Level III/IV flow sequence. More III than IV, actually. For the record: Two of the students drove to class, while one walked. All three thought they would be the only ones there. All three seemed unaware of the teacher-can-cancel-if-there's-only-one-student rule, and I chose not to enlighten them. Only later I realized the proper response would have been, "I thought I'd be the only one, too." I did however thank them for coming.

Afterwards the roads were relatively clear, so I made my way to Jewel to pick up some red peppers and other delightful bits for the salad I was to bring to an evening gathering of my writing class. I took the main roads. Despite the fact that it was still snowing, hard, they'd all been cleared quickly and cleanly -- the Mayor is up for re-election next year and we wouldn't want to repeat Michael Blandic's disastrous performance during the Blizzard of '79. Even Addison Avenue, heading towards Wrigley Field, was gorgeous.

In front of The Jewels I saw a short, fit man holding a clipboard. Oh no, I thought, rolling my eyes, not another ward cretin trying to get da mare on da ballet.

But he didn't fit the mold -- he was normal-size -- so I met his eye as he started his spiel.

He was trying to get the city's only openly gay alderman on the primary ballet, which required just 250 signatures (vs the 25,000 needed to run for mare). But I wasn't in his ward.

Inside The Jewels, it was like a scene from Day of the Dead -- limping, half-blind white zombies wandering about, bumping into things, dazzled by the selection and trying to remember what they came in to buy. Meanwhile a woman in a bright orange jacket flitted about them with purpose, which confused them even more.

After telling the Streetwise guy in the baby blue Carolina snowsuit thanks-but-no-thanks I went across the street to CVS, in search of a new snow removal device.

I looked near the entrance; nothing.

I looked in the automobile aisle; nada.

Finally I tracked down a blue-shirted employee.

Turns out they didn't have anything along those lines.

"I hate CVS," I said as I turned away.

Apparently she'd heard me.

"I know," she said. "Everyone does."

(NOTE: Over the summer, all free-standing Osco Drug Stores were taken over by the East Coast-owned CVS chain).

"Osco would have had everything right by the front door, right where you could find it," I said.

"I know," she agreed.

"They would have made a killing."

"I know."

"What is CVS thinking?"

"I don't know."

"CVS doesn't sell blue recycling bags, either," I whined.

"I know."

"And they don't let you recycle plastic bags here. They're civic bad sports!"

"I know."

It was nice to feel validated.

"I'm not upset with you," I said. "It's not your fault. It's this store."

"I know."

"I miss Osco."

"I know."

Still, I had to get in the last word.

Er, make that bird:

, originally uploaded by satya cacananda.

Saturday, December 02, 2006


While on my way to pry my car out of the snow yesterday, I trudged past the small Baptist chuch.

The church doesn't really fit in with the rest of the affluent, verywhite neighborhood.* Suffice to say that while the not-so-local high school girls have been issued short black hooded parkas with fake fur trim, the local moms all wear expensive untrimmed North Face.

As I rounded the corner I noticed a bevy of local North Face-clad brats lobbing snowballs at the church.

I was incensed.

How dare they, I thought. I'm neither pro- nor anti- Jeebus, but I do believe that one should at least pretend to respect other people's gods.

Then I noticed they were being egged on by a North Face Mom, who was encouraging them to hit the sign attached to the church.

She kept saying, "Hit the L! Hit the L!"

And when they started in on each other she said, "Don't hit people. Hit the church."

I nearly exploded.

But instead I held my tongue and stared, hard, while I cleaned the snow off my car.

It was the wet, heavy snow that is perfect for snowman-making.

While cleaning off the car my 20-year-old snow removal device, which had been given to me by my mother, broke in half.

Only later did I realize what I should have said.

CACA: Are you telling them to throw snowballs at A CHURCH?

NF MOM: Yes. So?

CACA: What do you think that's TEACHING them?

At least I caught them in the act....

The little Fauntleroys' aim really sucked though, didn't it?

You could even say it was god-awful.


*Caca lives in a large apartment building on a very busy street that abuts this high-class neighborhood.

Friday, December 01, 2006


You'd think it had never snowed here before.

United Airlines cancelled hundreds of flights.

So has American.

Hundreds of snowplows have been deployed.

They are telling everyone to stay off the roads.

They are telling everyone to stay home.

And Caca must teach a 10AM class at The Empty Shala where very few people, if any, ever show up.

Where she is paid five dollars per head or less.

Perhaps her car gets stuck today.....

Anyway she feels like crap.

Self-practice, anyone?