You awaken nestled in fresh, comfy linens. On the beach below your villa a string quartet plays. You can also hear the sound of church bells tolling, beckoning the faithful. It all melds with the sound of wind chimes to form an impromptu symphony. A French maid slinks by with feather duster in hand. With a flip of her auburn mane she flashes you a knowing smile. The duster is a prop. She'd no sooner dust than overhaul your engine.
Downstairs is your Brad Pitt lookalike chef. He's brewing a fine Turkish blend of coffee. He's got hash browns sizzling on the griddle. He's made biscuits from scratch. These aromas waft through the doorway and mingle with the lusty fragrance of lilacs in full bloom.
You know Andy Roddick and Anna Kournikova are waiting to give you your tennis lesson. But you hit the snooze and roll over nonetheless.
The whole thing has a drowsy, dream-like quality to it. It's a boulder suspended from a single gossamer thread. It can't be real. It isn't.
Gradually you become aware of foul breath on your neck and long, sinewy fingers groping at your hips. It's Osama, sporting a raging hard-on. He's poised to bone you in the ass again. It will be a violent affair as always, as romantic as a visit to a glory hole. That's Sept 11 in a nutshell. In an instant all those excessive good times of the 90s came to an abrupt and demoralizing halt.
Everything since must be viewed through that prism. Take torture. Government types quibble about what levels o' torment are acceptable. Which is all well and good when it comes to Taliban foot soldiers, would-be dirty bombers and even low level Al-K-Da. It gets murkier when it comes to the higher-ups. Sept 11 mastermind Abu Zubaidi got shot in the balls during his arrest. CIA interrogators refused him pain meds until he ratted out several other Al-K-Da honchos who have now been apprehended and disappeared forever. That is a good thing for all persons except them. The ends justify the means.
So imagine if we laid hands on the big tuna o' terror, the ayotollah of assholery---- Osama himself---a preacher as pious as a puddle of pus. Here's a politically motivated evildoer up there with Hitler, Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan and Pol Pot. He'd snatch an infidel baby from its crib and stomp it to death while cackling with glee. Pharaohs had a lower opinion of themselves.
Would you: 1) Use gentle persuasion to encourage him to discuss whatever he's comfortable with. 2) Play good cop-bad cop. 3) Withhold tea. 4) Bitch-slap him around a little. 5) Sodder live wires to his nuts and crank up the voltage until he's contorted like Jim Carrey in The Mask. 6) Execute his family members one by one in front of him. 7) Force him to listen to every song ever recorded by the Dave Matthews Band.
Muhammed said, "I am the prophet who laughs while killing the enemy." We shall see who enjoys the last laugh.
I had the experience last week (for the first time) of prosecuting a case in front of a Jury. It was generally a neat experience, and one that I'm glad that I didn't have when I a more junior lawyer. Don't get me wrong, in the grand scheme of things I'm still a junior lawyer (coming up on 4 years as a lawyer), but at 6 months I would have had a terrifying experience, and instead at 4 years I had a mostly satisfying experience.
I can see that I will likely have quite a few jury trials over the next couple decades, so I'm glad that my first experience was positive. With that I'm more likely to look forward to, and be more comfortable in, my next experience.
My experience running a trial in front of a jury is much different from what most people reading this might expect.
Firstly, here in Canada we do juries differently (than in the US that is). We can't talk to the Jurors before or after they serve on the Jury. We only know their name and occupation. We can't ask them any questions during the Jury selection process. (Questions are possibkle, although rare, and require a court application before being able to ask them) Basically you look at them, and their occupation and say ok or not ok.
All of that means that Jury selection in Canada is a really, really dark art. Most lawyers act on the sort of widely held conceptions of classes of people etc to choose. For example it was suggested to me by a very experienced prosecutor to stear clear of teachers. Something to the effect of "they think they know everything, and they don't listen", coupled with the phrase "those who can, do, those that can't, teach". The chief prosecutor suggested I pick people with polished shoes, because it shows that they want to be there...
To make matters worse, the only feedback you get from a Jury is the verdict, guilty or not guilty, with no analysis. Unlike in the Martha Stewart case, the press cannot talk to members of a Jury in Canada, and Jurors cannot talk to them, or anyone else about their deliberations. With no feedback loop, there can be no progress, and reasons for decisions or perceptions of how things went, is simply information that is not available.
Not at all like Law and Order, or that new show the Jury (Which I like so far, even though I've only seen one episode).
To top the whole experience off, I got a hung Jury. On the main count, sexual assault, they couldn't make up their minds. and with that the trial on that charge ended in a mistrial (they acquitted the guy of the other count, forcible confinement)...
Hung juries are rare. The chief prosecutor here has never had one, and neither has any other prosecutor I've talked to (I'm sure some have, I just haven't talked to them). Which means I have to decide if I want to go through the whole trial again. A decision to be made over the next week or so.
So that's the condensed version of my first Jury experience. I usually try and end my posts with a question, so as to stimulate comments. I can't thnk of a question.
Even back when I was thin and good looking, I was never really able to put forth the kind of effort necessary to score with the ladies. I did OK, but I got no game because I really, REALLY hate playing the game. I'd rather go to a sex club than a bar and try to work my magic. And personal relationships? Forget it.
The last "relastionship" I had lasted about three weeks and was this older woman who looked pretty good for her age and having had four kids. She was really into me as a writer which sounds like a good start but most times isn't. It's like there are two of you, the one people like and the real you they could take or leave.
It's like if you love Kurt Vonnegut's books, never try to meet the man, because he might disappoint you. The same is true for everything writer. Like my old English prof Teddy Nostrum used to say, you have to separate the art from the artist.
So we had some phone fun and talke about doing things and she'd say, "Oh I just wish I could eff your brain!" like that's some kind of compliment. Yet whenever I tried to get hooked up, it was suddenly a no go. Oh she could call me three times a day and pretend I was who my writing suggested to her I should be, but an hour to hit it was just impossible.
I don't need any extra starch in my long johns, you dig? The best part of being 35 is I can sit and read or watch TV without having to think about sex all the time. So finally I got tired of the frustration and called her up and said "you want to roll with me, we do it my way or not at all, I have too much to do and too little time to do it to be playing some game with a woman who is far removed from her virginity. In short if you can diddle for me on the phone, then you can get over here and give me some release. I'm not asking for anything special because if the answer is no, then fine, go your own way and god bless. I don't need frustration, i've got that.
Ok she says and plans to get together and maybe hold hands the next day. Wants to take it real slow. Slow? like pulling a Darling Nikki over the phone the first week we met was slow? Like flashing me in front of my place of work was slow? as if having me sign your boob was slow? As if describing every nasty thing you've ever done is slow?
I hung up the phone and was pissed. I knew that I was gonna jerked around again and why should I involve myself with anyone who doesn't bring me pleasure. Not nirvana, not spine tingling pleasure, just a little mild joy would be nice. I should hang up the phone and be glad I talked to you at least.
I called her back and told her to never call me again at home or at work and not to come see me in public ever again, we are cut off, I said. She OK'd me quietly and I got the sense that she knew that I knew exactly what her game was. That she had a game was too much.
I want to be left alone for the most part. There are people who want to roll with me because they think I'm cool, and that's fine, but let's roll, let's be cool, let's have some fun, let's get deep and if you just want to EFFEN INTERVIEW ME and PICK MY BRAIN then EFF YOU ya soul-suckin' vampire bitch, you god damn cannibal. People who feed off of other people's energy make me sick. If you aren't putting off your own energy of one sort or another, you're worse than dead, you're a siphon.
My philosophy professor took me aside on the last day and confirmed what I already knew: He despised me. But then he added that he felt I had a real gift for incisive if needlessly provocative writing.
Here's an example of what riled him so:
Stipulations: 1) Population growth and its imminent threat to mankind's very survival is a problem of such magnitude that it takes precedence over all other concerns. (Cite various alarmist tomes to include The Population Bomb. Also delve into measure in effect in China and India, such as one-child rules, mandatory abortions and sterilizations.) 2) Facing extinction, all other matters are rendered moot. (See the wanton violations of basic human rights that go on in pursuit of the War on Terror.) 3) Illegal parking too is a huge problem facing society. (Witness the extraordinary number of man-hours police and courts spend to combat the scourge.)
Logical Conclusion: We should institute the death penalty for parking violations.
Logic is such a funny and devious thing sometimes.
You meet the most interesting people once you stop to chat. For example, I've met some very interesting people who just happened to attend parking lots. Maybe it's some combination of them being by themselves on the lot all day and me always being fascinated by other people's stories. I'll never forget Gabriel, who I met in Santa Monica. He was in his fifties and was an Egyptian immigrant, so at first we didn't talk much. I was raised knowing that a married man does not speak to a single woman, and I respect that some people still live by such rules. So at first we just exchanged pleasantries as I left him my keys or pulled out of stack parking.
But after a couple of months he took a paternal interest in me, and we'd talk in a general way about our lives. I learned that his wife was a beautician and that his son, who'd just turned 12, was sneaking into the living room at night to watch pornography on cable. Gabriel didn't like that but said, "He's a young man. If I stop this, he'll find another way." He told me about visiting Egypt after being away for nearly a decade. He was in his forties and stayed at his father's house. He and his brothers wandered the Cairo for nights as if they were young men again, but such was their respect for their father that they told him each time which district they were going to and when they were going to be coming back. When Gabriel's father passed away he took it very hard. I still remember how much I could tell it affected him, because I knew that it was inversely proportional to the amount of emotion he actually revealed.
Sometimes we'd wax philosophical about the changing world. Gabriel said that it was hard to raise children in America. A father had to be strict to raise children well. Girls, especially, could easily go wrong. Any way that a boy could go wrong could always be fixed, but the honor of a female was more fragile. Gabriel said that in Egypt, the whole community worked together to raise children. If your daughter was sneaking out of the house at night to go god-knows-where, the neighbors would tell you. It would be any father's duty to let you know. And you needed to know immediately, because the only right thing to do with a daughter who so crosses the line is to kill her.
I was taken aback. But I believe I'll always think that Gabriel is a very good person. He even said once that if he'd ever had a daughter, he would've liked her to be like me. Which is more than my father has ever said.
It's rare when I feel the need to engage in a product review, but I thought it was time to save some of my adoring public from making a horrible mistake.
Before my youngest stepson Eric left for Ann Arbor, MI last weekend, he came home from Blockbuster with a couple cans of C2, Coca Cola's latest attempt to be all things to all people. Since he left them behind, I figured that I owed it to my boundless curiosity to try C2 for myself. After all, the two or three people who might actually read this might just be interested in what I have to say.
The verdict: without a doubt, y'all, C2 is virtually undrinkable. Granted, I'm a Diet Coke fan, and regular Coke is merely OK, so I'm not exactly an unbiased judged. Still, C2 IS HORRIBLE. Period. End of Story. Without a doubt. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. Yuck....
I couldn't even finish an entire 12-ounce can. I ended up pouring it down the drain in the kitchen sink, and damned if it didn't unclog the previously uncooperative drain. Now I'm wondering if I can use it to remove the chrome on my truck's trailer hitch. This opens up all sorts of possibilities, though probably NOT the possibilities Coca-Cola had in mind.
So I call the cable company. They sell me on digital cable, saying we'll have a plethora of channels and a kick-ass picture to boot. Needless to say it's been a huge letdown. There's dozens of channels that just play genres of music I hate. There's movies-on-demand channels stocked with movies that were never in demand. There's a channel devoted solely to reruns of The Nanny. There's a channel that features old game shows with contestants and emcees sporting these hideously mismatched 70s suits. It's painful to watch.
What with free Showtime (actually there's ten Showtimes, all equally as worthless,) I figured we'd see some skin. Again, a no-go. Oh sure, I've caught a fleeting glimpse of some bared butts but it's usually a guy's and if I want that there's the NYPD Blue Rerun Channel.
Now as I've mentioned that sort of thing doesn't fly in my household. Allow me to clarify. My wife isn't so prudish that she objects to nudity or sex scenes per se. It's only when she considers it gratuitous or overly perverted that she objects. For instance, Michael Douglas and Glenn Close knocking boots in Fatal Attraction was fine while Halle Berry getting it on with Billy Bob Thornton in Monster's Ball was not.
Which brings me to the only diamond I've found in the vast cable rough. I caught the season debut of Nip Tuck on F/X Tuesday night. It rocks. These two up-and-coming plastic surgeons share a practice. One is highly skilled while the other is just mediocre. One is happily married while the other would fuck anything that moved. In the episode I saw he banged his partner's mother in law on the eve of her much-needed facelift. I presume he pushed her crinkled mug into the pillow.
I say presume because we were spared footage of their tryst. The same cannot be said of his interview of a new nanny. My wife and I are sitting there sipping our wine when out of the blue, there is so-so surgeon standing there with his pants around his ankles. Around his neck are the legs of this Marissa Toume ethnic-looking chick. They're going at it like mammals on The Discovery Channel. She passed the audition with flying colors.
His ex-partner and mother of their toddler is less than amused to find a used condom. She holds it up in his face as gingerly as you might a rag soaked in HIV germs. This whole time I am kind of half-watching lest my wife think I'm into it. Just then the pair pops up again, going at it. The kid starts crying and they disengage. She wants to soak his pacifier in cough syrup so they can get back to business. He is having none of it and throws her ass out. She makes some wiseass remark about how most nannies don't deep-throat dad on the first date. And she's got a point.
I'm sitting there waiting for my wife to complain but she doesn't. See, the display was necessary to Character Development. You needed to see how they coupled. You needed to know that it occured in a way that in terms of being degradingly impersonal is right up there with bent over a car hood in a rest stop crawling with vermin. Plus the show itself is so engrossing that you can hardly look away. Engrossing in the way watching a suicidal jumper on a bridge is engrossing.
Porn in general doesn't do much for me. I can watch it with the same oddly clinical detachment usually reserved for those Girls Gone Wild videos you see late at night with the tits blurred out. Like, how could she possibly fit that thing in there?
But there is a form of porn I find highly disturbing: The spate of decapitations broadcast almost daily on the web and Arab TV. I never saw the Nick Berg video but Chris's harrowing account of the last eleven minutes of his life was plenty for me. I did see the three stills of Paul Johnson before and after his head was removed. Above the link it read, "Do not click unless you are over eighteen years old." Just as if it were sexual smut.
For whatever reason Al Jazeera chose not to air the actual beheading of that Korean translator. Perhaps a rare lapse into moral responsibility. But sooner or later that toxic footage will seep onto the net and you can rest assured it wil be the most sought-after that week. The human race has lost its collective mind and I blame the net. That and those media outlets that aid and abet humanity's bestial enemies by airing their filthy propaganda. Leveling Al Jazeera would be a step in the right direction.
Imagine if he was your kin and you had to decide whether to look or not to look.
by ezy at 10:51 AM on June 23, 2004
A comment by our deviously sneaky, information hording head honcho about the suddenness of my marriage to Amy started me thinking that I should immortalize our reasons for that in words. Here goes.
I was fully prepared to plan and go through a wedding with most or all of the trimmings with Amy. We were talking about it a couple of weeks ago, making lists and such when she turned to me and said “I just don’t want all of this hassle”. I figured out something. She wasn’t the one who wanted a wedding, I did. Then I thought some more and the only reason I wanted one was for her. I wanted the traditional have all the family there, try not to faint from nerves, and pledge yourselves to each other, in front of everyone, wedding for someone who just isn’t into those trappings. That just isn’t like either of us. Amy and I are not your most tradition driven people. We hold some traditional morals and values but, for the most part, are two of the most non-traditional people I know. We don’t walk on the same paths or hold the same beliefs that much of mainstream society does. I could go as far to say that having a full wedding would run counter to everything we are. On another note, it isn’t like we’re in our twenties or anything. I’m thirty-four, she’s thirty-three and we believe what we feel for each other is between us and no one else. Also, between the two of us we have one parent left, my Dad. There just isn’t anyone left to deflect any of the pressure. Factoring all of that in, we had exactly the kind of ceremony we should have.
We had a marriage celebrant meet us in Great Falls, a huge run of waterfalls near where we live, and vowed ourselves to each other for the rest of our lives. I cried like a little bitch, saying my vows to her, partly out of the enormity of the situation and partly because I never believed I would find a woman as perfect as Amy. I also never believed myself good enough to have someone like that. That’s probably why, in my past relationships, I kept the bar low so I could do the minimum, get away with it, and be able to leave with little or no repercussions. The more I get to know Amy the more I realize I have never really known what love is, until now. Well, I know family love but the love of a partner is another ball game altogether. I have never known happiness like this away from the safety of my family. Amy and I were talking the other night and realized that out of the past year we have spent a grand total of three days away from one other. I was always looking for a way to get away from Stephanie or any other girlfriend I have ever had. Some people see spending this much time together as unhealthy while I think it’s the healthiest process I have ever been through. She is my best friend, confidant, lover among many other things. I tell her everything and never hold back. My boy was over the other night, we were all talking and he was telling a story about some craziness that had happened to him. I asked him if he told his girl and he told me I was nuts. “I could never tell her that” he said. That would never happen with Amy. I tell her everything, even when it’s hard. Why wouldn’t you? We were lying in bed two nights ago just talking and I felt something I haven’t in a long time, innocence. We have both given our innocence back to one another. That, my friends, is a powerful feeling. We both have done enough to shatter that innocence, in our pasts, and to have it back I now realize just how important it is to keep safe. I hope all of you feel this or have felt it at one time or another. This is better than any drug I have ever done, or any adrenaline junkie stunt I have ever pulled. I never have believed in soul mates but I do now. I have finally found mine. I am home.
At my age it's all about rhythms and routines. Every day I awaken to the same line in the same song. I make coffee and toddle down the driveway to retrieve the newspaper in my ratty bathrobe. And so it goes. I might as well be Bill Murray sleepwalking through Groundhog Day.
After I go through my precisely timed AM routine it's off to the office. Since I've lost my card-key I'm at the mercy of this odd receptionist. She has a son fighting in Afghanistan. Though I don't so much as know her name, she recites an update on his ordeal and that of his unit. And while I brush past her with nary a word of acknowledgement, she doesn't seem to mind. (Her tendency to do this with anyone who'll listen and some who won't is a favorite topic of office conversation.)
Then I take a luxurious shit on company time. Someone invariably walks in and comments on how awful it smells. I wonder if they can tell who I am from my distinctive two-tone wear with any outfit loafers.
With those shoes I wear the same clothes on the same days of the week. It upsets me greatly if Tuesday's shirt isn't washed on Monday night. I am Rain Man.
Five times a day I stand alone in the same spot, smoking. Mental patients shuffle by with their grim-looking orderlies in tow. Sometimes I see them being wrestled into cars and whisked away. I muse about how this might have wound up on the curb.
I cringe when mental patients bum a smoke from me. I know this will throw off my daily routine. I might have to scurry out late at night for cigarettes. Same goes for people who pop by and help themselves to my wine. The two glasses they sip chatting with my wife are the same two I planned to enjoy later on in front of the TV.
The timing of my car cleaning is tied to a coworker's car maintenance schedule. She's one of those worrisome sorts who adhere to the schedule lest the warranty get voided. Every 3,000 miles she approaches me about giving her a ride to work. That is my cue to gather up the miasma of debris that fills my car. I have to throw away all the half-done crosswords thaqt occupy my mind when stuck in traffic for days on end.
Anniversaries are equally spontaneous. Every July I go on the web to determine what the traditional gift is. On our 15th it was fine crystal. I dutifully bought two Waterford goblets that come in a velvet-lined teek box. I figured we'd break them out on special occasions but my wife had other ideas. She uses hers for---gasp!!---everyday drinking. And now that mine is broken, it's a moot point. You can't toast with one glass.
Besides an understanding of what "easy listening" means, there are a few sign that you've passed from the life on the fly of youth into the drudgery of middle age. Consider the eating of cold pizza for breakfast. Everyone did it in college without a second thought. But I'd never consider wolfing down a slice with my papaya-mango juice-Red Bull cocktail. I'd sooner wear a hat at some jaunty angle. Or how 'bout drinking in the morning? Not that drunkard deal like my ex brother in law, who used to down shots of vodka and beers as his kids ate their cereal. No, I mean those all-day parties where you're drunk by noon and in bed with a splitting headache by 3 PM. Not to worry, you'd just sleep it off. And then get up the next morning and do it again. Never realizing that those carefree days are numbered. Never realizing that you'll wind up watching mental patients be carted off while you smoke and wonder about nasty HIV-encrusted condoms underfoot.
The Saturday after the Friday Ronald Reagan was buried I wrote a column about the old fucker which never made it into print. In spite of my ire over Ronnie, I wrote what I felt to be a rather well-balanced and respectful-enough column about our 40th president. My dumbass editor – a fucking doofus who thinks she's a conservative rather than just a stupid bigot – held the column on the basis that it was "too soon" to such things. Of course, the next Wednesday after everyone else and his mutt had had his or her say would be fine. I didn't buy her excuses. The slag has had it out for me since I walked through the door because I don't take her shit. I once told her in the middle of a budget meeting that I didn't spend the better part of a decade in college to be spoken to by some cow college grad like her with anything less than respect and admiration. She told OUR boss and he in turn told me ... NOTHING! I never heard word one about it and he secretly laughed his ass off because nobody likes her and what I said was spot on.
Still, it rankles. I onlyn found out my column DIDN'T run because my MOTHER called to ask where my column was. I've yet to run the Reagan column or anything else. I have to add more nasty shit to it like "Ketchup is a vegetable" "Trees cause pollution" and "reagan didn't so much make it cool to be a conservative as he made it cool not to give a fuck about AIDS, the homeless, the environment or anything or anyone in need while somehow simultaneously making himself seem like a Christian."
So here is the original column. You tell me if this is too much too soon. PEACE!
The passing of an American president is an historical event well-worth much of the coverage we have seen this last week. President Ronald Reagan meant a great deal to all Americans whether they accept that inevitable reality of history or not. Besides, how often do we get the chance to see a state funeral plastered all over the networks, cable news outlets and C-SPAN ... 24 hours a day no less?
I would say the passing of our nation’s 40th president certainly rates at least 85 percent of the attention it is getting. Although I would like to have been able to pick up my mail from the retail counter of the Post Office on Friday before it is “returned to sender.” Hold it for me would you fellas? I am easily distracted by life’s minutiae and even though it is mostly bills, junk mail, creditor threats and a few back issues of the German “art” magazine Großformatig Vierzigerinnen, I should still rummage through it.
Back on track, now.
This is not the time for partisanship or so I’ve heard from people who were clearly big, big fans of R-squared before he passed on. But I agree with them. The time for disrespectful displays toward a great man by politicians who simply cannot stand the fact that a national treasure has passed into the hereafter is not now. That time will come when President Clinton dies, I’m sure.
It is also not the time for tasteless jokes like this one left on the newsroom voicemail system: Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan are on a lifeboat full of people when it starts to sink. President Carter stands up and says, “Save the women and children! Save the women and children!” President Nixon says, “Screw the women and children!” Then President Reagan stands up and says, “Well, that won’t be necessary Richard, Congress and I pretty much took care of that already.”
Now, what kind of message does this send to the world? If this column didn’t run today, Saturday, the day after the officially-sanctioned day of mourning for the second or third greatest American president of the 20th century – maybe fourth – then I wouldn’t have even dared think that joke let alone repeat it in print. But we are grown-ups and in order to vilify, we must sometimes testify, mustn’t we?
Let me tell you a little something I know I’m pretty sure I believe about Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan never intentionally screwed over women, children or anybody while in office. I believe with all of my canned ham-sized heart that if Ronald Reagan screwed over anybody, it was largely unintentional and can probably be blamed on his early foray into Democratness. I know I believe that Ronald Reagan was a kind man, a good man who believed in the greatness of America with the kind of single-minded fervor usually held by people who were too young to serve in World War I and too old to serve in World War II in a combat capacity.
And just as the purveyor of that joke should be largely if not wholly ashamed of himself, so too should the people who remind us that by the end of Reagan’s two terms, 138 administration officials from the EPA, HUD, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Justice Department, and the Pentagon had been convicted, indicted or been made the subject of official investigations for official misconduct and/or other official criminal violations, according to journalist Haynes Johnson in his 1991 book “Sleepwalking Through History.”
And shame on Joe Conason of Salon.com for reminding us at this mournful time of otherwise low synaptic activity “that HUD Secretary Sam Pierce took the Fifth Amendment when called to testify about the looting of his agency – the first cabinet official to seek that constitutional protection since the Teapot Dome scandal.”
And why bring up that Attorney General Edwin Meese was burned in the Wedtech contracting scandal or that Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger bit it in Iran-contra (Conason).
A pox on he who reminds us about the time back in 1981 when Reagan fired 11,359 striking air traffic controllers, members of the same union, PATCO, that had supported Reagan for president over Jimmy Carter only nine months prior. He then banned them for life from being rehired by the FAA ... FOR LIFE! This action did one thing described two different ways: If you work, it undermined the rights of working men and women and if your business is business, it restored flexibility to hiring practices (Time, Newsweek).
Tasteless also at this time would be to remind anyone that the covert backing and CIA training of radical Islamist mujahideen guerrillas (including Osama bin Laden) against the Soviets in 1979 (a good thing on the face of it) led to the rise of the Taliban and Al Qaeda after Afghanistan was abandoned wholesale by a short-sighted United States as soon as the Soviets left.
When you paint with such big strokes, you’re bound to sell arms to Iran and give the money to the Contra in ... anybody? anybody? ... Nicaragua in direct opposition to Congress or as most Americans call it, breaking the law. BIG PICTURE, people. Big picture.
But just as ashamed should be the people who mythologize Ronald Reagan by insisting that his face be placed on half the dimes and the $10 bill replacing Founding Father, first Secretary of the Treasury, creator of the American economic system and second place duelist Alexander Hamilton. C’mon, man, the man who single-handedly destroyed the Soviet Union, which was nowhere near crumbling before 1980 doesn’t need anything so paltry as his face on currency. At least he doesn’t when ...
There has been serious talk from fanciful folk with imaginations like children that Ronald Reagan’s head should be squeezed on to Mount Rushmore, a feat that is not only physically and geologically impossible, but artistic vandalism.
No, now is not the time to bring reality into sharp focus. Leave that until Monday.
by mg at 11:36 AM on June 21, 2004
Yesterday was Father’s Day. Considering that my dad wasn’t really around much when I was growing up, it was never a holiday I celebrated. Sure, I have an uncle who is the closest thing I have to a father figure in my life, but he has kids of his own, and unless you are Nicole Richie, it just isn’t cool to horn in on someone else’s dad.
Needless to say, then, that Father’s Day, as a holiday, has always had about as much significance in my life as Hanukkah, Secretary’s Day, Greek Easter, or Chanukah. I didn’t get a day off from school or work, so it’d normally pass me by completely unnoticed.
That is, until this year.
I’ve just been recently called the master of life style mysteries, and I have another big one to reveal. No, I’m not gay, that totally doesn’t make sense with the setup above. Why would you even think that? I mean, unless you mean gay happy, because I can totally get on board with that one.
But, why am I so happy?
Because this Father’s Day was my first as a father. Just three days earlier, on Friday morning at 11:29, after 41 hours of labor, little Frances Maxine was born. She clocked in at 8.1 lbs, and 19 inches.
She has everyone one of her little fingers and everyone one of her little toes that she is supposed to. She is pink and soft, has the lungs of Beverly Sills, and smells like heaven.
If anyone has ever thought about having children, I’d say go right ahead, because it is just the best damn thing ever. Right after little Franny was born, I told Amanda that no matter what other crap we’ve done, this little girl was beautiful and perfect, and totally makes up for the rest of the mess we’ve made of our lives.
I'm still alive, but I don't enjoy it much. Actually, that is only half true. I am all fucked up because the right side of my heart slowly enlarged until the point I got congestive heart failure. That and my other problems, diabetes and being a fatass, are attributable to obstructive sleep apnea I've had since I was in high school. According to my doctor, I've been snoring like a narwhal since a young age which means I haven't really been sleeping the way most people think of sleeping since I was 16 or 17.
Case in point, dreams. I thought the way I used to dream as a kid was attributable to the fact that kids have more wild imaginations. Now I sleep with a mask on my face that forces air into my nose, keeps my mouth shut, prevents me from snoring and waking up all night long and I DREAM LIKE A MOTHERFUCKER!
I have those long-assed 4-hour dreams that seem to be going somewhere endlessly until you finally wake up in the morning thoroughly sleeped out. And lucid dreams are mine for the asking. I spent a lot of years learning to get in there and get things done quick when I was waking up every 2 minutes without really noticing it, so in my dreams, when I want to fly, bitch, I fly. I regularly dream that I am a superhero because let's face it, what would be cooler than having special powers and having people love you for doing good things and possibly getting laid for it too? Short answer? Nothing. Nothing would be cooler than that. NOTHING!
I am also supposed to be avoiding salt in all forms but that is actually pretty hard to do. Low sodium doesnt mean shit on a label. All fast food, canned, boxed and bagged goods are filled with it. About the only things that are good are fresh meat and veggies which get boring as fuck real quick. Not to mention there is nothing more expensive in the store than fresh meat and veggies. Even frozen veggies add up. So slowly you get back into "occasionally" eating the things you like and when you don't die the first time, you start to think just a little that, hey, maybe I can do this once in a while if I'm good.
Pretty soon, you can't remember the last time you were good and you're back at the hospital pissing into a jug so some nurse measures your urine output.
But overall I'm feeling better and I pray that one day I will be able to play the piano again ... or fuck. That's always nice.
An excellent question, that one. And surely one that's been occupying many a mind as the doldrums of summer set in. But alas, not one for which any readily defensible answers arise. So you tell us why, and I'll counter any argument---possibly with links to sites about middle school "virtual virgins."
I'm fascinated by money. Not having it, cuz I'm chronically house-poor and fine with that. It's the cash itself that intrigues me. Folks are real particular about legal tender. They don't seem to care for dollar coins, for example. The US Mint dropped like $61 million on an ad campaign designed to make us accept the Sacagawea coin but it failed miserably, just as it's predecessor the SB Anthony did. You'd sooner see Michael Moore blowing Donald Rumsfeld than encounter one of these duds. Here's what they look like in case you missed it.
Why are Americans so resistant to dollar coins?
On the other hand we seem to grudgingly accept changes to bills. When I first was given one of those shiny new $20 bills I thought it was a crude counterfeit. But now I take it in stride. I know the change was done to combat counterfeitors armed with ever more sophisticated gadgetry at their disposal. It does raise the question of what harm is there in counterfeiting money, however. I mean, so long as merchants believe it's real, then everything works fine with privately and publicly printed bills in circulation. It's not as though genuine cash is backed up dollar for dollar with gold in Ft Knox anymore or anything.
For that matter, why do we need cash and the armed robberies it begets anyway? Bills are paid online. Purchases can be made with the swipe of a debit card.
But cash persists because old men insist on using it, just as they carry around combs and talk about the weather. So stores put up signs saying that there's a mere pittance in the register and that the cashier can't open the safe. This is a lie. Bound across the counter with a loaded shotgun, haul him home and threaten to make his family watch an entire episode of Dr. Phil. Magically he'll produce the key, trust me.
Part of the reason I'm so broke is that Social Security syphons off such a large amount of income. I know I'll never receive a dime from this glorified pyramid scheme and I don't even care. I just wish we could call it even: No more contributions and I cede any entitlement I may have earned.
The only old persons I really care much about are my mom and my in-laws. All of them are rich and they stockpile their Social Security checks in drawers for months until it is worthwhile to cash them. Yet all you twenty-somethings stand even less of a chance of recouping a nickel from this fund that is projected to go belly-up in about 20 years, just in time for my retirement and golden years spent in an appliance box under a bridge.
It's happening again. The death of one charismatic person of note has overshadowed the passing of another more workmanlike but arguably more important person. Namely Reagan and Ray Charles. Shades of 1998, when Princess Di up and died in the same week as Mother Teresa. Any objective comparison of their relative accomplishments would say that Teresa's funeral should have been afforded more attention, but it wasn't. Clinton sent Al Gore to do that robotic clapping thing he'd perfected through two six endless state of the union gabfests. Meanwhile, a record number of floral bouquets piled up outside Buckingham Palace, where Di hadn't lived or even visited in years.
Both Reagan and Charles were great men of considerable accomplishment. But Charles had the misfortune to die amid the unprecedented outpouring of teary farewells, gushing tributes and revisionist history that Reagan's death hath wrought.
So here's to Ray Charles. A blind black man who rose to mainstream stardom in a time when people of color and the disabled were rarely given a chance to do so. An American icon who always exuded class and professionalism. A man who made America the Beautiful his own. A man who brought us one of the cockiest and best tunes ever recorded this side of of James Brown's I Feel Good: What'd I Say. A blind man who could clearly see a helluva lot more than most of us could ever dream of conceiving. I'll just say this: You'll never see an American Idol contestant attempt to tackle What'd I Say. Or so one could only hope.
Not to knock Reagan or Diana but you might say we've got our priorities wildy skewed. And you've got a somewhat analagous thing going on with the NBA Finals. Ratings are up from last year's dismal showing as throngs tune in to see the league's most recognizable team, the LA Rapists, be corronated as champs once again. Some other bunch of chumps were taking the court as well, but who cares?
Except it turns out that unlike the ready-made, charisma-laden, 4 future hall of famers Rapists, the workmanlike, defense-minded Pistons are a team . And they are one that came to play. And they've shown absolutely no respect for their revered elders, basically throwing their old asses in a hole and dancing on their graves. Here's to them too.
by mg at 12:26 AM on June 09, 2004
I was only twelve years old when he left office, so my greatest connection with Ronald Reagan is from watching Michael J. Fox on afternoon reruns of Family Ties. Still, watching even the most cursory of news about his passing this weekend, and it is blatantly obvious why the man was loved, even by his staunchest political loved him.
He was a quick-witted, charming, and passionate man, who in large part is responsible for revitalizing the spirit of the United States. After Kennedy’s assassination, the country was faced with a string of presidents who were at best indifferent, universally incompetent, and at worse patently deceitful. Inflation was rampant, Iran was holding hostages, and gas was scarcer than in a Beano factory.
There were talks of the decline of the Holy Roman Empire, and the end of the American Way of Life. The country really was pretty down on itself, but you don’t have to take my word on that. All you have to do to know its true is look at pictures of your parents from the seventies. Would a sane, happy person have dressed that way? No, I dare say not.
And then here comes Ronnie a smart, charismatic, and funny guy, who made people feel good about themselves again. Oh, sure, he was in a movie with a chimp, but is that any really worse an item on a resume than trading away Sammy Sosa? No, I dare say not.
Ronald Reagan, and his unending enthusiasm and wit (right after he was shot, it is reported, he told Nancy “I should have ducked.” How cool is that?), made people feel good about themselves again. What is more important, he made them feel proud to be Americans. More even than any of his political machinations (which can be debated ‘till the cows come home), it was this change in national-mindset that Ronald Reagan should, and will, be remembered for.
It is his enthusiasm, love of country, and optimism that seems absolutely absent from the current political landscape. Ronald Reagan is famous for assuring America that “the best is yet to come.” Every political speech I see, every policy paper I read, whether by Bush, Kerry, or any of other guys on either side of the aisle, seem to be saying “the worse is here right now, and you should be scared witless.”
I’m sorry, but I don’t think life is so bad, and I don’t want to live scared, and though that sort of rhymed, I’m not going to change it. I really want to be political. I want to get behind a candidate, help register voters, hand out bumper stickers, wear buttons, and hang out at campaign headquarters. But, there isn’t a politician out there that inspires me to do that. The only thing politicians inspire me to do is buy bottled water and canned goods, and hide under my bed.
So, what I really want to say is, we miss you Mr. President. There can’t be another like you, but here’s hoping there will be. And soon.
I'm pure as the driven slush. ---Tallila Bankhead
The golden age of American literature came in the 20s. You had such uber-wordsmiths as Hemingway, Faulkner and Fitzgerald plying their trades. These heavyweights were hardly the best of buds though. Faulkner dissed Hemingway, saying his simple-minded prose had never been known to send a reader to a dictionary. Hemingway retorted thusly: "Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words? He thinks I don't know the ten dollar words. I know them all right. But there are older and simpler and better words and those are the ones I use." For good measure, he said, "Fitzgerald is so solemn about LITERATURE. He doesn't understand that all you need to do is do the best you can, and finish what you started." Catty!!
Perhaps the acme of American cinema came in the 50s with such gems as Rear Window, Vertigo, Blackboard Jungle, Some Like It Hot and On the Waterfront. Yet again, the players were hardly some big happy family. Drink-hurling feuds between Marilyn Monroe and fellow bombshell Jayne Mansfield were the stuff of legend. When asked what she liked best about being a star, Monroe said it was no longer having to suck casting directors' dicks to garner roles.
By far the most vibrant musical genre of the 90s was rap/hip-hop. Once again, we saw much acrimony. Eminem dissed his peers. Li'l Kim traded barbs with rival Foxy Brown and her posse later traded actual gunshots with Capone -N- Noereaga. Likewise, the east vs. west coast feuds culminated in two drive-by shootings of prominent rappers. When people started calling these assassinations, Chris Rock was heard to snort, "Those niggaz was shot."
It's the same in sports. Babe Ruth's Yankees, Michael Jordan's Bulls, Troy Aikman's Cowboys were all full of acrimony and misgivings among the teammates. More recently you have the sublime soap opera that is the LA Lakers. Yet these are among the most storied teams in history.
Comic Don Rickles forged an entire career from insulting his peers. What do we have today, the Insult Dog?
Similarly, few would dispute that the entertainment industry is in a steep and irreversible decline. A callous assembly lines churns out endless sequels to products nobody cared about in the first place. People turn away in droves. Why? Just turn on Entertainment Tonight or Access:Hollywood. There's Bruce Willis crowing about how he and gal pal Brooke Burns, ex-wife Demi Moore, their kids and her boy-toy gather for fun-filled skiiing junkets. Everybody is a creative genius they'd all love to work with again. Not an unkind word about their rivals ever passes their lips. Even though you know damn well competition is fevered for plum roles, contracts and recording deals. And that they couldn't care less about anyone but themselves.
Spite, malice, competition, controversy, not being a Team Player, Drama Queens, cattiness, revenge and harboring grudges are all concepts that have gotten a bum rap in today's squeaky-clean, goody-goody two shoes environment. But just as negative numbers have a place in math, negative emotions serve a useful purpose in human endeavor. Fact is, cohesion, consensus, commitment, cooperation and complacency are boring as hell.
To breath a last gasp of life into the moribund entertainment industry, I say we need less backslapping and more back-stabbing. Come to think of it, maybe we need more of that in our own lives too. Spices things up a bit.
A new entry to mark a first in my life. I got my first dog.
I've "had" dogs before, but they've always been family pets, and never been my responsibility. This one is my responsibility, which is a significant event for me. The experience both says some things about me, and has taught me a couple things too.
Firstly, I guess it says that I feel settled down. I've wanted a dog since I was a teenager, but I've never been in the right (settled) place to have one. I moved an average of 2 times a year over the 10 years from high school to the end of university, and once per year since then (all numbers are approximate (if anyone cares)). Now I'm in a job I love, with the right house type situation coming (I move this coming weekend) and I don't see myself going anywhere incompatible with owning a dog. Settled, at least as much as I can be.
Secondly, I'm not a dog snob. I had the pleasure of adopting a very nice dog from the local SPCA. They think he is a bloodhound / rotteweiler cross, but with a shelter dog you can never be 100% sure of lineage. I had looked at various purebreds and considered going through the process of finding a breeder etc... but I decided to go the SPCA route when this dog became available.
Thirdly, I have less patience, and need more sleep than I thought I did. The dog is only 4 months old, and needs to be walked in the morning and evening, and ideally in the afternoon too. I used to go to bed at 10 (ish) and wake at 7:30 to get ready for work. Over the past few days I've been going to bed at 11 (as that's when he's ready to go to bed) and getting up at 6:30 to spend an hour with him before getting ready and trundling off to work (certainly not skipping off to work). This is starting to wear on me. With the lack of sleep thing, and the natural exuberance of a puppy, my patience is getting a little thin. and my yawns are getting more frequent.
Lastly, I am not nearly as imaginative as I thought I was. I've had this puppy since last Wednesday and it does not yet have a name. I'm partial to the name Hubert which is a direct rip-off from the name of the bloodhound in the movie Best in Show. Unfortunately my girlfriend hates the name, and so it has now gone by the wayside. The shelter had given him the moniker Jim-Bob, but that's out, as my girlfriend's father is named Jim.
So to end this entry, does anyone have any suggestions for a name?
The occasion was Whore Hey and Cum Meal's wedding anniversary. Whore spared no expense in planning their hoity-toity, beach-themed soiree. Actual champagne from Champagne flowed like keg beer. Guests were given plastic flutes with color-coded ribbons so they wouldn't get them mixed up. A troupe of mimes flitted about like squirrels in a tree. Tuxedoed waiters offered trays of finger food. A snide string quartet played in the background, their disdain for us palpable. They made Whore pay in advance. The noveau riche, don't you know. Can't trust 'em. Just ask Tony Soprano.
Oh sure, stimulants were on hand and ingested by the eight ball. But at Whore's behest, only discretely behind closed doors. Both sets of their parents were there, after all. This was a major departure for our crowd and I must say it made for a much more pleasant party experience.
One of his Florida buddies must have missed that admonition. I'm standing there in the living room sipping from my color-coded plastic flute and nibbling on a Swedish meat ball. I'm alone in the swirling crowd, as blank-faced as the picture above. In saunters this guy with his stranger to the sun GF. They sit on the couch and produce what appears to be a shaving kit. In it is a belt, a lighter, a spoon and a formidable looking syringe.
Oblivious to their elegant surroundings and the horror etched across all faces, they proceed to go through this elaborate shooting-up ritual. As he plunges the drug into his veins, a mime stands behind him with his hands on the sides of his face and a look of mock shock on his face. Another imitates the motion of shooting up. The sedate music stops abruptly as a beach wrap-clad Cum Meal comes storming in visibly irate. They're both starting to nod off and the mimes continue to mimic them, making pillows with their hands. "WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING? THIS IS MY FREAKING WEDDING ANNIVERSARY FOR CHRIST'S SAKE," Cum bellows in her Long Eye Land accent.
This was the most incongruous scene I have ever witnessed. Oh wait, that was somebody else. Never mind. Let's hear about the most surreal things you've viewed instead. There's no law against commenting on weekends, you know. Surely there's...something.
If only for the sake of argument let's assume you're not some raging sociopath as most of your associates suspect. Let's further supposed you've had occasion to lop off someone's head in a most unceremonious fashion like OJ; or the equally pointless and savage murder of Nick Berg; or the Baltimoron who decapitated a tot in some kind of petty dispute.
Lastly let's assume you somehow got away with such a heinous crime. Would you be able to live with yourself? Could you go about your daily rounds as if nothing had happened? Or would you be plagued by guilt and turn yourself in like this guy?
If you fall into the latter category it is as a result of societal conditioning, not human nature. Don't think for a second that cavemen sat around dwelling on their guilt over having clubbed a rival to death and dragging his woman over to the adjoining crib by her hair.
I also think we need to rethink the way murder is classified. In most locales there's involuntary manslaughter, voluntary manslaughter, 3rd, 2nd and 1st degree as well as those special circumstances that allow the state to murder you. For instance, murders that occur during the commission of other felonies will often get you a lethal injection. A famished man who robs a 7-11 and winds up shooting a would-be hero of a cashier shouldn't get death while some damn fool kid throwing bricks off an overpass who kills a motorist gets a mere slap on the wrist. The harshest penalties should be reserved for those who do the most pointless killings. These would include serial killings, hate crimes and random rampages at schools and offices. Some perceived slight isn't grounds for spitting on anybody let alone mass murder. And don't even get me started about the murders over sneakers, coats or "he was dissing me." To say nothing of that guy who rushed to commit the first random murder of the millennium early 1/1/00.
Off with their heads.