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The first thing I did was Google what heroin stamp it was that killed Philip Seymour Hoffman.

I wanted to know. Not that I would recognize the name. The names are relevant to 2014, not 1994. “Obamacare,” “Call of Duty,” “Hangover Part 2.”

Heroin stamps are used by drug distribution crews to mark products. Each stamp represents a different quality of heroin; a different strain, a different high.

heroin_stamps

In case any of you are interested in heroin stamps

 

It was Ace of Hearts and Ace of Spades.

Next, I went online to the heroin community threads to see what the reviews were of these stamps. There are many sites devoted to the detailed analysis of every stamp existing, with rating systems like these:

City or state stamp was copped in:
Stamp name:
Stamp Color:
Stamp Graphic (if any):
Color and Consistency/texture of Product:
Quality/neatness of stamp and packaging:
Quantity of Product (1-10 scale):
Quality of Product (1-10 scale):
ROA: IV, intranasal/sniffed, smoked, etc.
Other comments (duration of high, any weird effects, is this a new batch of the same stamp, anything unusual about the dope, etc):

For the record:

I KNOW THESE THINGS BECAUSE I’M AN INFORMATION JUNKIE,

NOT A HEROIN JUNKIE.

I read about EVERYTHING.

There’s even a chick who has an entire blog devoted to analyzing stamp quality. I was just about to link it, but somehow, I just didn’t think that was a good idea.

I’m angry because the smack that killed Philip Seymour Hoffman, for several weeks now, has been flagged for containing a lethal mixture of heroin laced with fentanyl.

If he’d even been remotely aware of that, he’d be alive today, and three children would still have a father.

 

 

TOASTERS

true_west_cov

 

I’ve been an avid theater goer for as many years as I can remember. I was especially invested in seeing theater the years I lived in New York, and was a bartender and cocktail waitress in after hour clubs. an aspiring actress. I’ve seen hundreds of plays.

And Philip Seymour Hoffman gave me, perhaps, one of the most thrilling nights of theater I’ve ever witnessed. Top three, I would say.

In 2000, he starred in “True West,” written by iconic American playwright Sam Shepard.
It’s a raw and darkly comic story of two brothers who engage in a ferocious onstage battle of sibling rivalry.

And, because it’s family, no one wins.

What made this play something that had never been done before – was that these two actors had decided that on any given night – they would SWITCH ROLES.

This might not seem like a big deal. It was, in fact, groundbreaking.

As an actor, in order to be really good, you have to live and breathe a character.

You have to get inside his skin and embody his every thought, dream and desire, so by the time you get on that stage, there is not one false note.

There’s no room for a false note. There’s no director yelling, “Cut!” so you can try it again.

It’s LIVE. You’d better have it right. Otherwise, you just sound like you’re speaking empty words.

I know this because I have given mediocre performances that sounded like I was just talking. But every so often, the magic kicked in, and I gave a spectacular performance.

I breathed life into a character – and the audience breathed with me. It’s palpable. You know you’ve got it right, because your energy and theirs hum along together on an electric current that fuels you to greatness.

Just their faces on the Playbill cover made me want to see this

Just their faces on the Playbill cover made me want to see this

 

The characters in True West are as diametrically opposed as two characters can possible be. And the idea that the two actors – Philip Seymour Hoffman and John C. Reilly – could actually do either role on any given night – was nothing short of SPECTACULAR.

It BLEW ME AWAY. It both inspired me as and actress – and, I’ll admit – completely humbled me.

Philip Seymour Hoffman OWNED that stage from the second he walked onto it.

And in my heart of hearts, I knew I would never, ever, ever be that good.

The play is always associated with toasters. Many, many toasters.

Austin, the younger brother (who was played by Hoffman the night I saw it) starts out as the hardworking, straight-laced younger brother.

By the second act, he has traded personalities with his thieving older brother, and has robbed the entire neighborhood of their toasters.

Shepard’s use of Austin’s complete and total satisfaction with his stolen toasters is the literal negation of the American Dream as defined in modern life.

He experiences WINNING – because he’s successful as a toaster thief.

Philip Seymour Hoffman went on to grace the Broadway stage with performances that were second to none. He was special to us – to New Yorkers. He graduated from NYU with a degree in theater. He lived here, right in the Village. Raised his children here.

He belonged to us.

And the night he died, the lights on Broadway were a little less bright.

true west stolen toasters

Do they even make toasters like this anymore?

 

 

 

 

Many of you are probably familiar with the movie “Almost Famous.”

almost famous

GREAT sunglasses

 

It came out the same year I saw True West.  it’s a coming of age film that follows a starry-eyed teenage rock writer on the road with one of the nation’s biggest up-and-coming bands.

It’s a beautifully written story of rock and roll, love, and of our own limitations.

The film has beautifully nuanced performances, and some unforgettable moments.

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“One day, you’ll be cool. Look under your bed. It will set you free.”

 

For me- unequivocably? It was Philip Seymour Hoffman’s portrayal of the late, great rock journalist Lester Bangs.

Lester Bangs wasn’t just a rock journalist – he was THE rock journalist.

There has never been a rock writer like him before, or since.

He was demonic, passionate, hilarious, irreverent cough-syrup fueled madman, who lived the rock and roll life while writing about it – and tragically, died a rock and roll death of a drug overdose, at 33.

I grew up in a music-dominated household. My older brothers all read Creem Magazine, Rolling Stone, The Village Voice.

And, because I was a nerd, I read all the magazines that were laying around the house. By the time I was my son’s age, I was reading (although not at all understanding) Lester Bang’s music reviews.

When I was older, long after Bangs was dead, I fully appreciated who he was. He didn’t just write about rock music.

He lived it, celebrating its excesses, drawing energy from the chaos, and matching its passion in prose that erupted from those magazines.

“Music, you know, true music, not just rock and roll, it chooses you, it lives in your car, or alone listening to your headphones with vast scenic bridges or angelic choirs in your brain. It’s a place apart from the vast benign lap of America.”

This is not rock journalism.

This is poetry.

Lester_Bangs

Yes, he was a Freaking Mess.

 

If you watch Lester Bangs on YouTube, you will see that Philip Seymour Hoffman captured the very essence of this man.

Is it any wonder that the best scenes of Almost Famous are the ones in which Hoffman portrays Lester Bangs?

The best line from Almost Famous is an actual quote of Lester Bangs.

“The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you’re uncool.”

The scene is just beautiful.

 

Philip Seymour Hoffman is gone. His three children have lost a father. The world has lost an amazing actor.

The silver lining in the dark cloud of the death of these two geniuses – is that they left indelible marks, and we get to revisit the genius of their work.

Simultaneously.

 

This is my favorite scene from “Almost Famous.”

 

 

Did you have a reaction to Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death? 
Talk to me. I’m listening. 

awkward feminazi

 

For those painfully self-absorbed (most people, myself included)

Amy Glass is a blogger who wrote the most disturbing attack on female domesticity since Victorian England labeled homemakers “The Fifth Class.”

I Look Down on Young Woman With Husbands and Kids and I’m Not Sorry”

She does. And she’s not.

 

It was perhaps one of the most inflammatory, vituperative attacks on personal choice the blog world has seen in a long time.

It went viral times infinity – even to the point where it turned up on Fox news this past weekend.

It was completely literal and the message summed up in the title.

She thinks being a wife and mother is a pathetic, life stunting choice.

The entire Internet is screaming that this woman has bastardized feminism.

While it’s true that she cannot spell (yes, she misspells, so you can start feeling superior) and her blog is not particularly well executed; she strings sentences together without pausing for breath or pacing,

she (I’m not even sure she’s a “she” or an “it” or a cleverly executed PR move for Thought Catalogue or an ad for blood pressure medicine)

has people

TALKING.

THINKING.

One post has gotten tens of thousands, perhaps millions? of people engaged.

Isn’t that the point? To get us thinking?

 

Now to THE POST.

She says the kind of things nobody would DARE say.

When people clicked, they were expecting, Urban Hipster Irony.

There was none.

She says things like,

“We have baby showers and wedding parties as if it’s a huge accomplishment and cause for celebration to be able to get knocked up or find someone to walk down the aisle with. These aren’t accomplishments, they are actually super easy tasks, literally anyone can do them.”

 

Why DO we celebrate this shit? I’m tired of it. It IS really mundane. Marriage is SO mundane.

I managed to avoid getting married the longest of EVERY SINGLE ONE of my friends and for THAT – I’d like a party.

As for having children, well, that happened as a result of a deal I made with God. 

And while it’s not “super easy” to get knocked up – I get what she’s saying. Do I really have to come to your third baby shower?

Let’s throw a party when your husband has a vasectomy. That’s an accomplishment. Have you read the statistics on overpopulation lately?

She goes a bit awry, here, though:
“I want to have a shower for a woman when she backpacks on her own through Asia, gets a promotion, or lands a dream job not when she stays inside the box and does the house and kids thing which is the path of least resistance.”

Backpacking through Asia is disgusting. I will MAKE the woman who does that TAKE a shower before she enters my home; actually, I’ll hose her off in my driveway.

She hits stay-at-home-moms where they live HARD with this one:

“Women secretly like to talk about how hard managing a household is so they don’t have to explain their lack of real accomplishments.”

BOO-YAH!

As much as this is SO obnoxious, where I live – IT IS SO TRUE.

Of course, it only represents a tiny sector of the population. But it’s dead on.

They have help who clean their homes, cook their meals, raise their children. Their main responsibility kicks in between the hours of 3 and 6, when they have to figure out how to shuttle 3 kids around to various activities.

Which, by all accounts, is EXHAUSTING. They complain about this to me endlessly.

Something they’d be better off forgoing completely. Your kid isn’t going to play professional soccer, so how about you do homework with him during those hours so he’s not a complete idiot by the time I meet him, okay?

 

Amy Glass is not a Feminazi.

She’s Femi-Hitler. She goes right for my psychic jugular,  and speaks the truth:

“No woman who will ever be exceptional will have a family and raise kids.”

I agree. When you level the playing field level.

I do not find raising kids and being a homemaker to be exceptional. Sorry.

I was a SAHM when my son was small. My brain atrophied in the worst possible way. I found myself singing Barney songs in the car – when HE WASN’T IN IT.

I continue to raise him, be a homemaker, and balance that with my career.

 

The only women, IN MY OPINION,  who get to be exceptional while having a family – like brain surgeons and nuclear physicists – exploit Haitian women named Hazel into raising their children.

If you’re Beyoncé, and you never have to change a diaper – you can continue on the path the Illuminati has deemed rightfully yours, and continue World Domination.

But by and large? I knew the moment I became pregnant, my chances for ever being exceptional were over.

I knew that my deepest dreams and desires were over. I knew that I would never be able do devote the time and energy to the things I love, and excel at all of the them, the way I once did, when I was single and childless.

I joked with another blogger on his post the other day about being a gym rat. Because he blogged about staring at a woman in the gym who was doing chin ups relentlessly, I mourned the days when I used to be able to do 20 of them.

Those days are GONE.

Not because of my age, or my job, or my writing.

I can write, work and still work out 2 hours a day. If I DIDN’T HAVE A CHILD.

Does doing those pull ups contribute to society? Advance anyone creatively, spiritually, intellectually?

NO.

Did doing them make me, exceptional?

Yes, actually it did. Women anatomically do not have the kind of upper body strength to accommodate their own body weight. It took years of hard work to accomplish that, and I liked being extremely strong.

The fact that I can do two on a good day depresses me.

The fact that I’m banging this post out before my son comes barreling home from his hip hop dance class is frustrating.

The fact that my business will never be as lucrative as it could be because I’ve stopped putting in 14 hour days concerns me.

 

Because I’m a mom, there are many ways in which I will not be exceptional.

All of my other commitments are time-sensitive. The work day – has a finite beginning and end. Blogging has choices.

Not being a mom. I can’t call in sick to being a mom.  Skip a day, a week, or a month being a mom – like you can, with blogging.

 

YOU CAN’T HAVE IT ALL. Unless you’re very, very wealthy.

 

Amy Glass was a bitch for deciding her choices were superior to everyone else’s.

And for making women everywhere who juggle motherhood and working feel like somehow, we fail a little at both.

Because we do.

When I am exceptional at my job, I neglect my kid.

When I write, my business is left untended.

When I spend all day Saturday baking cookies and watching Percy Jackson movies with my kid, blogging disappears.

I’m only one person.

Tens of thousands of women FREAKED and wrote comments and posts to Amy Glass, because she spoke to a place they don’t want to acknowledge.

 

WE CAN’T HAVE IT ALL.

There is lots of interesting and constructive discourse to be had regarding the societal expectation for a woman to reproduce, and maintain domesticity.

Amy Glass isn’t contributing in an original way to ANY of those conversations.

I’m not sure why everyone is carrying on so. I thought most people were aware of iconic feminist Betty Friedan, author of landmark feminist publication, “The Feminine Mystique.

It broke the code of silence that she felt oppressed so many white women in their silly little suburban lives.

And French existentialist feminist philosopher Simone de Beauvoir.

In a famous 1975 dialogue between these two powerhouses in the Saturday Review, right around when Erica Jong was shaking up the literary universe with her “Zipless Fuck” (please tell me you’ve all read Fear of Flying, even the men, even the young men),

de Beauvoir says,

“No woman should be authorized to stay at home and raise her children. Society should be totally different. Women should not have that choice, precisely because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one. It is a way of forcing women in a certain direction.

 

So, none of this is new.

It’s not about the idea. It’s how it’s delivered.

It’s the shockingly judgemental tone.

It’s her Hannibal Lechter capacity to eat your soul with fava beans and a nice Chianti that has turned the estrosphere into a pack of rabid dogs.

 

Regardless of whether I agree or disagree with Amy Glass;  whether she exists or is really just the latest cyber bid for explosive media attention, now that everyone’s gotten over Miley’s twerking,

What she and everyone is forgetting is THE REAL ARGUMENT HERE:

That we have to foster the future, not only through the accomplishment of career, be it science, technology, medicine, or the written word,

BUT THAT WE HAVE TO FOSTER THE FUTURE BY CREATING THE NEXT GENERATION. 

It is someone’s responsibility to have children.

Unless Amy Glass would have us all die out.

 

Amy Glass is right. Having chosen once to get married, and now that I have a child,

I don’t have the time, energy or freedom or mobility to live the life I think is “exceptional.”

And I have settled. For extraordinary.

Which is what life with my child is.

 

Also – the OTHER  thing EVERYONE has forgotten?

She is an asshole on the internet. I’m just an asshole on the Internet.

She is a faceless voice. At the end of the day, did she change anything about the way you live/look/act/raise your children/do your job/feel about yourself?

WHY do we continue to get worked up over things we read? As offensive as her blog post was,

As in all things,

HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR.

She’s a bunch of words, blinking at you on  a computer screen.

UNPLUG HER.

Goodnight, Amy.

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