I'm back from a torturous Greyhound bus trip to MG's hood, Jackson Heights NY. It's part of Queen but seems much more like a benighted area of Bogota, Columbia. People there push baby strollers with thick plastic encasing the baby. I don't know why. I ordered pollo and they brought me a bowl of soup with some chicken organs floating amid soft potatos. Twas delicious, I must say.
Everyone in Jackson Heights is Hispanic. They've dispensed with English altogether. As I handed the waitress my MasterCard, I said, "Gracias." But then we took the subway to Manhattan. More specifically, to the MOMA, or Museum of Modern Art. I whispered to my wife, "So this is where New York keeps all its white people." She was not amused.
Some of the art was not so modern. Some of it, in fact, was painted by Claude Monet, who has remained deceased for some time now. I told my son that the greatest sign of affluence would be to have ol' Claude paint your house. Not with Impressionist murals, mind you, but just white. Or maybe eggshell.
Some of the art, of course, was ridiculous. Car parts rescued from junk yards and welded together in a random fashion. Crude hand tools hanging from picture wire, never to attempt a repair again. An empty box that looked like toddlers had set upon it with crayons. A pile of dirt. Though the sign said not to touch it, I could not resist moving one clod to the other side. An artistic statement if you will.
But the most absurd were the monochromatic "paintings." One was a vivid blue, another pitch black, one even white. That is it, a blank canvas probably valued at $20,000. My wife's latest get rich quick scheme.
Claude Monet, where are you? I'm in dire need of your services. My siding is peeling and it was supposed to be a lifetime warranty.
I am baffled by the mechanics. No, not the guy with the monkey wrench and degree in computer science, but the details. With hetero sex, the goal is mutual, simultaneous orgasm. It takes timing, trust and some amount of skill on both participants' part. But unless I am mistaken, with gay men, one must be the odd man out.
Gay men do oral and anal. It is not possible, to my knowledge, to achieve orgasm from giving oral (Deep Throat fantasies aside.) So the only chance at mutual, simultaneous ecstacy is an awkward 69 arrangement. And let's not forget that these are guys. Once they've gotten off their first urge is to either roll off and go to sleep or fumble in the sheets for the remote. Oprah is on Letterman tonight! So the giver of the oral or the getter of the anal is left to his own desultory devices. This seems unsatisfactory. Perhaps Snaggle could shed some light on the subject.
I am similarly baffled by bisexual men. How could someone enamored of the soft, sweet-smelling nature of girls suddenly decide that they also want to experience the hard, stinky business end o' dudes? The intoxicating aroma of perfume one night and beer farts the next?
Lastly I don't get what is currently known as the transgendered population. I have a friend who was a girl. A rather mannish girl but a girl just the same. He'she is pre-surgical but has gotten a new wardrobe and has ingested massive amounts of hormones. His'her voice is a little deeper, he'she has a little facial stubble and he'she's developed a healthy interest in football, but aside from that I see little change. Is the desire to swap sexes some genetic thing or just the result of boredom?
Here is a little known fact about me that seems pretty innocuous at first, but reveals deep seeded emotional problems. Or not.
If I like a song, I canít just download that song; I have to download the entire album. Even if I absolutely love a single song, I wont download that one song unless there are at least a couple other decent songs on the album to make it worth downloading every song on the album, even if it turns out to be ďRevolution #9Ē like filler.
Why? Because Iím a collector.
Like most adult habits, this started for me when I was very young. But unlike all but the oddest of adult habits, it started for me with the smurfs.
When I was a kid I got sick a lot. For some reason whenever I went into the hospital my family would bring me smurfs. I was in the hospital a lot when I was younger, so I had a lot of smurfs.
If you ever watched the 80ís cartoon, you might think there were maybe a couple dozen different kinds of smurfs. But no, you would oh so be wrong. There are more different kinds of smurfs than George Michael has had random sexual encounters in menís bathrooms. That is to say, tons of them (or tonnes in Georgeís case).
So, I got lots of them from my hospital stays, but I also bought smurfs on my own. This is when you could still get gas, cigarettes and toys for cheap, so each smurf was only like $1. I can remember every corner stationary store in New York City having a fish bowl full of different smurfs at the front counter. And I can remember digging through every corner stationary store in New York Cityís fish bowl of different smurfs like a homeless person picking up used cigarette butts looking for a tiny hit of sweet nicotine. Iíd search everywhere to find that one (Narcoleptic Smurf) that I didnít already have.
It continued on with G.I. Joes, Transformers, baseball cards, and comic books. I have vast collections of each of those things, and more, that Iím not entirely sure what to do with, since not a single one of those things have as much value to the world now as it did to me then to own as many of them as I could.
Hopefully one of my children will be Obsessive Compulsive and I can pass my collections onto them.
School is hard. I go to work and I go to class. Then I go to my apartment and study. In my free time I have a choice of cooking dinner, buying groceries, and doing laundry.
Days or nights that I can't take this routine, I go to the bookstore, get brunch, or shop for clothes. If I feel I can start again, I start again. Does this sound dreary? It feels dreary.
I feel out of touch with everyone, and I guess I really am. I'm not in touch with them the same way as I used to be, of course. I don't see my friends at our favorite coffeeshop several times a week. I'm a thousand miles away. I don't linger until the shop closes up for the night and join the nightly ritual of convincing everyone to go eating at 24-hour Korean restaurants in Koreatown. If you show up after 2 a.m. when the bars close, you can notice the cars in the parking lot outside. Several of them will be parked crookedly.
I can't remind my friends to park on a side street to avoid the drunken Koreans.
When looking north, I don't see mountains. When looking east, I don't see mountains either. There is no ocean. There is a giant lake, but the other side of it can be reached in a few hours by car. The other side of the Pacific is not reachable except through 12 hours on an airplane. When I am driving around Chicago, I still feel amazed that I should be so far away.
I suppose I should mention things I can do. I can check out any of a few million books in the school library. That is nice. I can wander the library bookstacks, which smell like rotting paper, leather, and binding glue like all university libraries do. That smells like knowledge to me.
If I log onto the campus network, I can look at unimaginably expensive subscription Web sites, like the Oxford English Dictionary and academic journal sites. "Your access courtesy of..." is always printed discreetly in the corner. I study and eat in halls with dark wood-paneled walls, vaulted stone ceilings, and giant oil portraits of very rich men everywhere. That last part isn't exactly a good thing. But it is amusing, as if I'm going to school with Harry Potter.
I meet a lot of undergraduates. They are so young! Even the oldest ones are still eight years younger than me. Last night one called me to cancel a ride I was supposed to give him. He left me a pitiful sounding voicemail saying, "I'm sorry... something unusual has happened. I'll try to make the party later. You don't have to pick me up." Later I saw him at the party. What had happened? He'd been hung over. He gave me a look like a wounded sheep would. All that over a hangover!
As I sat shivering in my darkened abode, a fierce hubbub raged down the street. Old white men spewed heated language, such as "pathetic," "petty," "undignified," and most loaded of all, "partisan." Fingers wagged and voices were raised. At one point a physical altercation almost broke out. No it wasn't the Japanese parliament, it was the US Congress. All those fightin' words were about the war in Iraq. Specifically whether or not, as one hawkish Dem proposed, US and British troops should be brought home now. Originally the Dems warmed to the idea. But then the Pubs laid a trap by proposing an immediate vote on just such a resolution. Dems screamed bloody murder, knowing no one on their right mind favors that.
So I am listening to the radio and somebody says George W Bush couldn't articulate his way out of a wet paper bag. I get to thinking, maybe he needs some help with his speechwriting about the war:
My critics liken the Iraq war to the quagmire in Vietnam. And I'll grant you that analogy. We are occupying a country that doesn't like us very much. It is full of foreign fighters who resort to all manner of sneaky tactics to avoid the brunt of the US military might. Viet Cong, Al Quada in Iraq, it's all the same. There is seemingly no end in sight. Public support is eroding fast. Body counts rise daily.
So let's take the analogy to its logical conclusion. What happened when we cut and ran in 'Nam? Within weeks those foreign fighters had overrun the country and established a nation governed by their ideology, communism. Which just happened to be our bitter foe at the time---just as Islamic extremists are now. 50,000 lives were thus lost for nothing.
If we abandon Iraq the same thing will go down. Al in Iraq will take over and establish the beginning of the extremist Muslim caliphate they all want. From there it is a mere hop skip and a jump to Europe. It's called the domino theory and Al leaders believe in it too. It is their stated goal. Shall we allow 3,000 American and British lives to be lost for nothing?
What about our vaunted military's reputation? If we lose in Iraq, our recent record will once again be blemished. Korea: fought to a standoff. 'Nam: lost. Beirut: lost. Powerhouses Haiti and Panama: won narrow goals. Save some college students and nabbed a drug dealer. Gulf War: won narrow goal of driving Iraq from Kuwait. War on Terror, pre 9/11: lost. Somalia: lost. War in Iraq: lost. Oh, and Britain beat mighty Argentina in 1982. Starts to sound like a paper tiger, no?
So many of you want to go back and dicker about how we got into this mess in the first place. Let me ask you this: Do any of you have a phone booth time machine like in Back to the Future? Can we change the past? Is there any point in dwelling on it then? What we have is the present, and that should determine the future.
Can we have that floor vote now?
I am sitting here in this huge house, shrouded in total darkness. My PC monitor provides the only glimmer of light in the whole place. That and---pop cultural irony drum roll please---the big screen TV. On and on it prattles about tsunamis and floods and politics and innuendo, all punctuated by ads for drugs to remedy disgusting maladies that have even more revolting side-effects. I don't know why I let it creep into my house but I do.
Why the darkness, you ask? It's part of our aforementioned thrifty kick, brought on by this $600 deficit we've been running for months. Or at least that's what our bank statements say. We've never even bothered to check its accuracy, let alone balance our accounts. We've just lived and spent willy-nilly and now it has all come home to roost.
I have to admit I don't mind that much. In fact, I am kind of into it. On Sundays I get in line to wait for an hour for the cheapest gas in town. Then its off to Total Wine for the best deal on 5 liter box wine and off to Shooper's for my Stouffer's lunches, 3 for $7. No lights, no heat. Shopping aroundv online for deals in car insurance and credit card rates. Reusing condoms.
Through all these measures we have managed to eliminate the deficit altogether. But here's the thing: I have lost a part of myself, the carefree money snob. I used to roll my eyes when people would go on and one about how much they saved at Walmart or Costco---right down to the cents. I've never set foot in either store, I'd smugly say. And it is true, I haven't. Until recently.
Man, there is riff-raff like you couldn't imagine in those places! You know how tornados and hurricanes arrive on land and immediately make a beeline for the nearest trailer park and decimate the whole place and all its inhabitants? Well, these are the survivors and I am not at all accustomed to rubbing elbows with these folks. Urban poor, yes, these tattooed yokels, no. Until now I have never heard the redundant term "ink pen."
Where do these people come from? How did they wind up on the short end of every stick? At least the urban poor have their hippity-hop cultural cachet to hang their hats on. These people have nothing but expired coupons for a free early bird breakfast at Denny's.
I know what you are thinking now, ďIf Brett Favre was the webmaster for this site itíd have won a Bloggie by now.Ē At least I know thatís what Michael Irvin is thinking.
And hell, he and you would probably be right. At the very least Brett Favre would show up once every week and give it his all, instead of showing up every other month and tossing off a badly thought out screed against this or for that, before fading back into the ether for another fortnight or two. He certainly wouldnít be writing any run-on sentences, thatís for damn sure.
But letís just get one thing clear, you go to war in Iraq with the army you have, you hit the field on Sunday afternoon in Philly with the team you have, and definitely can only run a blog with the webmaster you have. Itís a fact of life that no U.N. coalition, no Hail Mary pass, or apparently no diligent, but technically daft writer can change.
Oh sure, I could come up with a myriad of excuses (and believe me, if you ever see me on this site again, Iíll take the time to mine each of them for all the words their worth). But if Favre went out there to get pounded by opposing defenses after his dad died, after his wife was diagnosed with the big C (and Iím not talking about the Cincinnati Bangles), and even after getting rejected by Cameron Diaz for Ben Stiller in There's Something About Mary, then I can take a couple minutes a day to spill some words onto the page, right?
Parents of students at a local high school are in a huff, all because 3 football players were caught having sex with two girls in the auditorium after school hours. Well, maybe not sex as so narrowly defined by Bill Clinton. Technically it was hummers.
These 5 were slapped with 10 day suspensions, while 3 guys who merely watched the orgy got off with a slap on the wrist. I think they got it backwards. The 5 were just doing what has always come natural to teens, whereas the 3 voyeuristic perverts must be sick in the head.
The parents feigned outrage at these randy antics, as if they didn't do the same types of things back in the day. This prompted one student to muse, "Why are our parents shocked? They were the ones who invented the sexual revolution." Actually she's got that wrong too. The so-called sexual revolution occurred in the 60s. Her parents are children of the late 70s and early 80s. Like me. We were born into the anything-goes aftermath of the supposed sexual revolution. Sex to us was like a god-given birthright---just as we had the mind-bending drugs without the enlightenment and the long hair without the shock value. With the Nam debacle long over, we were rebels without a cause. We were violent, materialistic hippies.
I say so-called because I bet in the 60s most folks dated exclusively and when a certain trust level was attained, they did it. Just like in the 50s and maybe even the 40s. It's the same deal as with the war protests. If even 50,000 people showed, that means a million or so didn't. They were too busy tending to the mundane details of their lives to be bothered with unfurling banners. Just as most folks are apathetic about the fiasco in Iraq. It ain't our problem.
But I digress. The article I read went on to add that everyone knows teens knock boots. It's just not done on the school grounds, or so they'd have you believe. The writer cited stats that says half of teens 15-19 have had sex as defined by Clinton and an unspecified "higher number" had given or received slobbery oral. No word about those so-called "anal virgins."
Judging by my experience in the 70s the vaginal sex percentage seems to have actually decreased. By graduation everyone had done the deed, except people other people found repugnant. And the ones that didn't wanted to. Twasn't a moral issue, except with this one Mormon virgin everyone did at the post-grad trip to the beach.
Two things have changed: 1) The sex almost always occured in the context of a relationship, loosely defined as "having driven around aimlessly with a person at least twice." The concept of "hooking up" was unheard of. See, back then you still had such alien concepts as a "reputation" and "shame." 2) This business with casual oral being dispensed with all the forethought once given to a goodnight smooch. Back then oral was a big deal, a treat reserved for prom night or some such thing.
I guess you had to be there.
First day back after a vacation to the Florida Keys. I pull my motorcycle out of the garage behind the house on a warm sunny morning ready for my short commute to work. Though I love my job, riding my motorcycle to work and back is easily one of the highlights of my day. I put on my half helmet, and begin cruising down the driveway. Just as I'm about to enter the street, a thick web envelopes my face. I can feel it stretch across my glasses, obscuring my vision and stretching across my cheeks. I look down and see that it covers my arms and chest. I've just ridden through a spider web. Somehow a spider was able to stretch a thick sticky web across the entire driveway between two trees. At least 10 feet. Given the size of the web, the first thing that enters my mind is that the size of the spider must be enormous. Hopefully it's not stuck to my neck, or my face, or crawling up my chest. I'm still coasting on 450 pounds of hot expensive metal between between my legs and I certainly don't want to look down, see the enormous creature and dump the bike in a panic. The worst of the damage would be to my ego. I guess Nature gives us our own venom to fear.
The end of the driveway is a short, steep, downhill onto the street. So I had no choice but to keep going into the street and consciously override my panic based desire to know exactly where the spider was. I think part of being an adult is the ability to enforce rationality and set priorities: Motorcycle first, giant spider second.
One of the great things about motorcycling is being in contact with the world around you. Which means when you travel, you get to play the role of both sightseer and bug screen. You get used to large bugs hitting you in the neck at 60 MPH. Thunk. Ouch. You get used to being hit in the face by things which would otherwise splatter on someone else's windshield. I've been stung on the neck by bees. I've been hit in the chest by birds. My full face helmet has a little grid on it with some screen mesh underneath, just in front of my lips. I still remember a very hot day along highway 5 in California when my chapped dry lips suddenly felt a cool comforting spray across them as a large insect was effectively juiced by the grating on the front of my helmet. I have a sense memory for the term "bug juice".
My fear of spiders has decreased as I've gotten older. Though I can't say I like them crawling on me. I parked the bike, stepped off and held my arms out as I looked all over myself for the spider. I found lots of web and mummified insects stuck to me, but no spider. The web was stuck to my glasses and was thick like fishing line. How amazing, I thought, that after riding for more than 20 years, I still have things to learn just going out of my own driveway?
I've been perusing job ads, hoping to find a suitable job for my wife. Since we live live in Tijuana North, most of the jobs require applicants to be bilingual. But there is one job that doesn't: "Non-sexual escort."
This raises questions in my mind. First, how does the agency know it's non-sexual? Surely situations arise where the escort takes a liking to the client and does him. Just as surely the money he offers for favors is too good to pass up. Also, if it is non-sexual, why does the ad say STD testing is a must?
It says "only serious applicants need apply." I assume this is code for "no slovenly pigs need apply." Like Hooters Girls, this is one of those gigs where subtle discrimination against the non-attractive must be rampant.
Lastly what would anyone need a non-sexual escort for? Are there really that many rich businessmen or politicians who need to pay eye candy to accompany them to grin and greet affairs?
I have little experience with escorts. When I was younger the equivalent of escort services was massage parlors. Most of my peers lost their virginity ar such establishments, specifically Tiki Tiki Massage. My only encounter with escorts was at Whore Hey's bachelor party. Somebody had engaged the services of two normal, bored-looking suburban chicks so thin they looked like they'd been subsisting on a steady diet of pocket lint. These gals weren't accompanying anyone to a soiree. These were whores, floozies, sluts.
They danced, they stripped and then some heavy petting ensued between the two. Meanwhile Hey's cohorts were snorting cocaine from huge mounds like Tony Montana at the end of Scarface. They then produced these index cards that listed their services and fees. The degree of specificity was astounding. I sat there sipping champagne in the hotel suite as they got down to business.
They'd go into the bathroom and guys would sit on the toilet snorting coke from Ziploc baggies. She'd kneel in front of them and put on a condom, which seemed kind of creepy and sterile considering she'd only blow him for two of the $20 bills they'd been using to snort the coke. Some wanted more and the financial transactions would occur on the fly. How impersonal is that?
They complained bitterly about how the coke was delaying the proceedings, costing them time and money. One guy tried to kiss one of the whores and she acted as if he'd tried to sever her aorta. Evidently that is a major no-no. Or else maybe it was listed as a side dish on the index card menu. I don't know.
They offered Whore Hey a freebie but he declined. I don't know if it was the coke or some misplaced sense of loyalty to Cum Meal, his fiancee and soon to be ex-wife or what.