adam

Takeover!

by adam at 06:31 AM on June 30, 2005

There's been a lot of talk in the news recently about Chinese companies buying well-known American brand names. First Lenovo bought IBM's entire personal computer business, and now Unocal and Huffy, of all things, are set to go as well. I've heard talk about how Chinese companies don't really know how to establish brand-names, and this sounds likely. When I was in China it was virtually impossible to tell one quasi-brand from another. Companies shamelessly ripped off each other's brands, not to mention the brands of foreign companies. It was impossible to tell what was genuine and what wasn't, and even worse, if you actually discovered a product that you enjoyed there was a pretty good shot that the next time you went back to that same store not only would the product not be there anymore, but the clerks wouldn't even know what you were talking about.

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comments (17)

jean

The Girl Just Wants to Be Left Alone With Marx and Engels for a While

by jean at 10:30 PM on June 24, 2005

It is strange how sensitive people are about politics today. I wonder if it was always so. When I was growing up, what the people around me worried about was the politics in their home countries. There was war in Honduras, Colombia, and Guatemala. There was corruption in Mexico. Taiwan was under military rule. But what was going on in America? My only contact with its mood came from network television.

Third-world immigrants have an understanding of politics that is very different from that of Americans. In their experience, political activism results in physical threat to oneself or one's family. Jailing, torture, and assassination are real possibilities. Aid organizations here find it hard to help immigrants, because they don't answer the door or the phone, won't fill out surveys, and won't talk to police, social workers, or government officials. In other countries, doing any of these things puts a big target on you. This compulsion for secrecy is a hard one to erase.

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comments (4)

anna

Sometimes you know it seems it would be easier to change the past

by anna at 07:04 PM on June 23, 2005

I so envy Leaffin, all carefree and bumming around Central America. She's putting off that awful weightiness and crushing tedium of real adult life here in the states. Bully for her. But alas, I am dealing with a host of issues. One is that I am up for a promotion at work. By which I mean there's an opening for a job that pays better than mine. And involves a lot more responsibility, a different skill set and dealing with management.

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comments (8)

leaffin

Timewarp, baby

by leaffin at 11:21 PM on June 22, 2005

Iīve just left the Bay Islands of Honduras. Such an interesting place. Such fabulous coral reefs. But I donīt want to get sidetracked...

There are some things there that you find all over Central America and the Honduran mainland... beans, tortillas, the lack of ®cambio® (change for large bills, even if itīs just $5).

However, I felt like Iīd been sucked backed to the Midwest of the 1950īs due to their trust in the general good of people when it came to money. I ordered takeaway at a restaurant one day, and when I went to pay with a 100 limpira note (about $5) for my 40 limpira meal, they said that they didnīt have any change. When I told them they I didnīt either, they said that that was ok.. I should come back later and pay. Tomorrow was ok to pay, too. Whenever, actually. About a week later, I had to call for a cab from somewhere, and I didnīt have any money. The woman waved her hand and said that that was ok... I could come back some other time and pay for the call. No problem.

Have you been offered the blind faith of strangers recently? I donīt think thatīs happened since the ī80īs, when I only came up to the average adultīs waist.

comments (9)

snaggle

iíve hidden a note; itís pressed between pages

by snaggle at 03:29 AM on June 22, 2005

Anna seemed to touch off an interesting discussion about blogging and Bad Sam in specific in a recent post. Even MG commented that it might be reason to lay this site to rest. It led me to examine why I post.

For me, posting here serves a purpose: it allows me to let those I know and love dearly, such as MG and Leaffin and Mr. SC (though he hasnít commented) about recent changes, thoughts, and trials in my life.

Yet...

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comments (7)

chris

Funeral for a small bird

by chris at 11:04 AM on June 21, 2005

I don't normally have much use for religion. I don't depend on it to guide my moral compass. I don't need it to give my life meaning, or to give me a sense of connection to the universe or other people. But this morning I was caught off guard, and found myself reaching for something that I didn't have. I was standing in the back yard, on cool green grass under a tree shading me from the morning sun. Standing in front of a small hole I had just dug, and holding in my hands the body of a small little bird that had passed away. Though I'm not religious, I wouldn't say that I'm not spiritual. I felt sad for the little bird, and I wanted to say something meaningful before putting it into a hole in the earth, and shoveling away. I thought to myself that if I was religious this would be the time where I would say a prayer and feel ceremonious and connected to God and life, but instead here I am burying a small creature that is a wonderment of nature, and I can't think of a way to make this as meaningful as it feels.

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comments (12)

mg

itís a big enough umbrella, but itís always me that ends up getting wet

by mg at 07:22 PM on June 20, 2005

Iím not at all ashamed to admit Iíve led a pretty uneventful life compared to some of the other regulars around here. Iíve never been pals with a drug kingpin, never really gone out and got wasted regularly, and definitely never had sex with a cat. In the last couple years, as Iíve gotten married, become a parent, and now have regular conversations about mortgages, money market accounts, and annual percentage rates, it seems unlikely Iíll have a chance to lead a wild life.

So it was a big shock to me last week that I found myself not only awake at 1 am on a Friday night, but awake at 1 am on a Friday night and on the other side of the door from four police officers with their hands on their guns.

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comments (7)

anna

Meaning and structure, did you hear who fucked her

by anna at 08:08 AM on June 19, 2005

I have that Blink 182 number I Guess This Is Growing Up on my DAP. It is a great singalong, and when I am painting by myself I will often chime in off-key. Sometimes (and why it varies I haven't a clue) the next song is Liz Phair's HWC. It too has a catchy singalong melody.

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comments (10)

anna

Free Skate

by anna at 07:14 PM on June 15, 2005

This site has some great history. It started from nothing with basically MG and Snaggle churning out posts with no comment feature. Through the Ezy/Linz golden era the author pool grew to 45, mostly inactive. There have been 2500 entries, generating 17,500 comments. Ah, the comments. Something sorely lacking of late. As far as I know MG eliminated the users on line feature, but I am sure he knows. And I bet it is the usual 25-35 at any given time. Yet we write posts for ya'll, basically like performing seals at rehearsals for the circus, to a deafening silence. It gets a tad old. Particularly with MG's snazzy new design, we want the site to remain vibrant. But for that to happen, we need comments.

Everyone must pull their weight. For my part I have tried different approaches to posting but to little avail. I've also tried to comment myself but unless I can get on my kid's computer I can only type one letter at a time and then I have to click off an error message. D'oh!

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comments (30)

anna

I squandered my resistance on a pocketful of mumbles

by anna at 07:07 PM on June 13, 2005

I am floored that is is so over for Mike Tyson. I'm even more amazed at how it ended for him. No blaze of glory, no flameout, just sitting listlessly on a stool in his corner. Seconds before some hulking white guy had shoved him to the canvass like a punk. Word is he looked like he'd survived a stoning. He later admitted that his career was over in 1990 and that everything thereafter was a sham.

Since that time he's raped someone, gone to prison, wrapped his Bentley around a tree in a bizarre botched suicide attempt, tried to break two fighters' arms, gotten DQed for blatant head-butting, gnawed off somebody's ear, accosted an old man after a fender-bender, hurled a TV out a window when guards refused to bring his meds, told a heckler he'd fuck him till he loved him, squandered a fortune, divorced two women, lost 3 of his last 4 fights and admitted he can't bring himself to kill bugs infesting his home.

When he hung it up it signaled the end of heavyweight boxing as a major sport. (Name all or even one of the current alphabet soup champs.) It's gotten so perverse that Tyson banked $6 m to fight a man who he later disparaged as a tomato can and yet was cleearly the better fighter, who got only $150,000. It took him all of 18 minutes to silence Tyson, who'd claimed he'd gut McBride like a fish. All talk.

Ah but it wasn't always that way. Neither my wife nor I are big boxing fans. And yet we used to tune in religiously whenever he'd fight. Just the spectacle of him showing up sans robe, entourage or even socks, pacing around with that menacing scowl as if he had pressing engagements afterwards were enough to strike mortal fear into his opponents' hearts. And he'd back it up. Usually it'd be over before it began with Tyson charging across the ring to unleash a ferocious barrage of pure offense, leaving them in a heap. His foes looked like they'd been ripped limb from limb by a crazed hyena.

As Oscar Wilde once said, it isn't bragging if you can do it.

I'd liken Tyson to Christina Aguilera. Both were blessed with unreal natural talent. But they painted themselves into a corner with their increasingly outlandish behavior and appearance. Now they are both sad parodies ot their former selves. She looks like Dee Snyder's ugly sister. Half his face is tattooed with some Japanese imagery.

Speaking o' which, in the 80s it was all about the Mikes: Tyson, Jackson and Jordan. Jackson's career is in shambles and like Tyson he faces a mountain of debt with no means to pay. (Two words: HisStory.) Even the iconic Jordan returned for a forgettable stint here with the Washington Wizards. No playoffs, no scoring titles, no soaring dunks and the pitiful legacy of his #1 pick Kwame Brown. The Wizards suspended him during their playoff run this year.

Where does Tyson go from here, then? He's 38 with a 40 year life expectancy. Does he sink to the pathetic trade show/state fair/casino greeter circuit? Or keep fighting until somebody beats him to death a la Boom Boom Mancini, putting him out of his misery at long last? No, what he needs to do is secure the rights to all his spectacular early fights. Then he needs to patch together all the furious final rounds, with his crushing of highly touted Michael Spinks as the finale. (Spinks never set foot in the ring again.) Aside from the gal he raped, the guy whose ear he chewed off, his two exes and that old man, who wouldn't plunk down $50 for that triumph of violent artistry? I know I would.

comments (4)

anna

i mean, it must be high or low

by anna at 06:58 PM on June 10, 2005

Time was the Western world valued its virgins. Gentlemen were allowed to whore around with all the bar wenches they wanted. But when it came time for wedding bells to toll, you'd have to dig up an unsullied virgin. In other words, an inexperienced, fearful and possibly frigid young lass. Hence all the adultery with said bar wenches in times of yore.

Some countries still do. Entire families can be ostracized if a woman has sex out of wedlock. She could also wind up being stoned, and not in the good way either.

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comments (13)

snaggle

starfish with its arms out in a daze

by snaggle at 01:40 AM on June 09, 2005

So I don't know where my life is going. Ever since I've moved to California, everything seem nebulous, tenuous, etherial. Those of you who've moved halfway across the country (or world) will know what I mean; for a good portion of at least a year or so, everything doesn't seem quite real. I can be driving on the 101, staring exits for Hollywood right in the face, and still not quite believe life has actually led me here. I go to Santa Monica, right by my work, and stare at the water, thinking: "This can't be real. It's an ocean."

What constitutes a real memory? Lately, my yoga classes have seemed more real than work. I feel like I've been in a daze, wandering my way through the workday, until 7:30 hits a few times a week and I contort myself into various interesting poses (which, hopefully, will prove to make me dynamite in the sack. I'll keep you posted on that one.) And yet....

What happens to others' memories of us once we leave? I left Iowa, leaving behind my sheltering cradle of many good friends, good acquaintances, random familiar faces, and came here to Los Angeles. What do they think of me? I think of the random clerk at Target who always used to check me out (my purchases and my package) ... I remember the acquaintance who let me purchase my first alcohol at the store, even though I was underage. When I was in Rome, I called a list of people rather regularly, as it was much cheaper to call back to the States than vice versa. Often times I would catch them by surprise, even after leaving several voicemails. "Didn't expect to hear from you! How's Rome?" they'd say, though I'd given them periodic recorded updates from a continent away. Did they think about me?

And I still think about this guy. Why? It doesn't make sense. The other day I saw someone that looked only slightly like him but yet my heart lept and I was inches away from darting across the street, through four lanes of traffic, to shout "Brady!! Brady, it's me!" And I also imagine him showing up at my door, some late night, looking like a lost puppy and hoping I could take him in for a while.

Does he think about me?

comments (10)

anna

Will you still need me when I'm 64?

by anna at 12:03 PM on June 06, 2005

This weekend I met my Aunt Caroline for the first time. She's been in, like, Wisconsin all these years and nobody goes there. I think it's in Ohio. Anyway, Caroline is 86. We were power washing my mom's house, creating a flood comparable to the one Noah fled. We were joking about our impending visitor, saying we hoped she didn't slip from her walker and break her hip.

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comments (5)

jean

The Cubs Did What?

by jean at 11:53 PM on June 03, 2005

Because I live in Los Angeles, I spend a lot of time looking at the backs of other people's cars and trucks. Since everyone spends a lot of time looking at the backs of everyone else's vehicle, they are kind of like the bulletin board which is your chance to express yourself to all of Southern California. I've gotten to know several cars in my garage at work just by their license plates. I park with "Miss Texan," "Dark Grrl" (or "Dork Grrl"; I'm not sure which), "Web Magic," "Forever Now," and "Love Me Twenty-Four Seven." Sometimes I even park with "Shaq's Ma"! Every time I see these guys I wonder what their drivers are like.

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comments (12)

leaffin

Fannies here and there

by leaffin at 09:01 PM on June 01, 2005

Sorry for my absence around the site. I've been travelling, off in my own world, and without consistent and cheap internet.

I'm currently in Utila, Honduras, and what started out with me just getting my open water certification in scuba diving has turned into me joining a divemaster class. That's how life on the road seems to work out for me. You never know what to expect. As a sidenote, as just typed that last sentence, out of the corner of my eye, I saw some movement. Oh right... just a a little gecko climbing up the wall next to the monitor. Everyday stuff. And a couple of weeks ago, we couldn't go out diving because a hurricane was supposed to hit. It never did, but exciting in a pee-your-pants sort of way, nonetheless.

But I actually wanted to talk about something much geekier. Linguistics.

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comments (7)