Lindsay Lohan has a new tattoo on her wrist. It says "Breathe." It is a reminder to herself that she suffers from asthma. This is such a west coasty thing to do. An east coaster would just buy some Primatene mist.
There's a long history of animosity between the two coasts. Just ask Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur. You'll be needing a shovel.
On the east coast the term "energy" usually refers to utilities, specifically the astronomical cost to heat your house. I just had a conversation with a friend who informed that from one bill to the next the gas company raised the price from $1.29 (up from $.88 just a couple months ago) to $1.44 per "therm," whatever that means. On the west coast it has a meaning akin to "vibe" as in, "Dude, I am feeling some negative energy emanating from that refrigerator. You don't happen to have any human heads in there, do you?"
It's the same way with "rights." We east coasters usually mean the ones we used to have guaranteed under the Bill of Rights until W snatched them all away forever. Either that or in directions, as in "it's two rights and a left, that simple." Whereas on the Left Coast they're talking rights to a book or a play or a racy bedroom video.
Ditto for "Are those real?" East coasters mean are those made of flesh or not? West coasters mean are those melons genuine silicone or something lesser, like saline implants? (I should point out that all 3 varieties are "real" i.e. they aren't imaginary. Just look at Pamela Anderson. Those are all too real.)
And football. As the rest of the country gears up for that annual orgy of chicken wings 'n chili-gorging, drunkenness, over-analysis and wife-beating known as Super Bowl Saturday into Sunday, west coasters are decidedly blase. First off, as always, they have no dog in this fight. California, the nation's largest and most populous state, only boasts two teams, the woeful SF 49ers---who play like they're all from there---and Oakland, whose thugs also play like they're from there.
Podunk Florida has three. Hell, New York City itself has two. But perhaps more importantly they just aren't into it. All that violence gives off negative energy. There are no rights to garner. All accounts are the exclusive property of the NFL and cannot be rebroadcast without the express written consent... And yes, those man-boobs are real. All too real.
Even when LA had teams nobody showed up to watch them.
I don't like the word "asthma." Like a Polish surname or the words "fjord" and "anesthesia," there seems to be too many consonants crowding out all the vowels. Just as Anderson's ample boobs are crowding out the rest of wafer-thin, steady diet of nothing LA. Breathe!
Sometimes less is more. So I'll shut up now. Enjoy the big game if you're still awake whenever the PriceWaterhouseCooper kickoff actually takes place well into the wee hours of the morning. And for god's sake, don't forget to breathe.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve been crazy busy lately. I haven’t had time for much of anything, and so haven’t been able to keep up with the news (though I unfortunately do know what happened on Celebrity Fit Club 3 last week).
In order to not lose track of the world, I did a blitzkrieg news binge this morning, and thought I’d share everything what I learned. Whether you've been busy like me, lazy (like me usually), or you just don't watch The Daily Show, you can read this so you won’t have to bother reading the news yourself.
Mayor Ray Nagin apologized for making comments about rebuilding New Orleans as a chocolate city. I don’t understand why everyone got all upset about this; I think having a city made entirely of chocolate would be a great way to bring tourists back to that hurricane ravaged city. If only they could build a city with fewer black people. And while an entire city made of chocolate may be a difficult architectural feat, I’ve heard of stranger building materials. Jefferson Starship, for example, built a city on rock and roll, and rock and roll isn’t even corporeal.
Something happened to Paris Hilton, and every newspaper in the country reported on it.
Canada held national elections for a new Prime Minister earlier this week. There were, uhm, two different guys running and, uhm, one of them won. It doesn’t really matter, its just Canada. I do know the guy they elected is super conservative. All that matters is that you Canadian hockey-watchers bitch at us down here for 6 years about the puritan we elect, and then you elect someone that makes George Bush look like the Brokeback President?
The impact this could have is huge. For example: all the liberal Hollywood types who constantly threaten to move to Canada whenever something doesn’t go their way are going to have to threaten to move to Mexico. From what I've read, there are already Minutemen, or "Hombres minuciosos," lining up on the other side of the Mexican border to prevent Alec Baldwin and Susan Sarandon from getting in.
And speaking of George Bush he is also in the news himself for some trouble over allegations of domestic spying. Apparently the government has been tracking what books we buy on Amazon.com, what DVDs are on our Netflix queue, what kind of milk we buy with all those store loyalty cards, and what kind of porn we download off the internet. They’ve even been opening all our mail with giant steam machines (hence the need for 3 cents more in postage).
Oh, wait, I just read another article. None of that stuff above is true, they’ve just been recording conversations with suspected terrorists. What’s so bad about that again?
Pope Benedict XVI issued his first encyclical. I don't know what an "encyclical" is, but I'm guessing it was sealed with hot wax, has lots of gold leaf on it, and smells like incense. Those Catholics love incense. The encyclical confirms that the only pure love is the love of God. No mention about the love of altar boys.
A California couple who stuck a finger in Wendy's chili bowl was sentenced to 9 years in prison and ordered to pay almost $22 million in restitution. WTF? Michael Jackson loaded cancer boy up with Jesus juice and probably stuck in more than a finger, and yet is still free to parade around the Middle East in women’s clothing. R. Kelly peed on a minor last century and it doesn’t seem like he’ll even be brought to trial, much less justice. Nine years and $22 million seems a little steep for just a finger – especially considering it wasn’t even their finger.
Oh yeah, and Iran is working on nuclear weapons.
Evolutionists and creationists just might have more in common than they’d ever care to admit. Although, as we’ve seen, it is merely a theory rife with gaping holes and discrepancies galore, those who believe we’re just an opposable thumb and an enhanced cranial capacity removed from baboons seek to discredit traditional religious teachings with all the dogged fervor of the most Bible-thumping southern Baptist evangelist.
The biggest difference between the two camps is the way evolutionists seek to leech all vestiges of mystique, magic and majesty from our lives. Creationists tend to revel in all three.
I just got done watching a documentary on the Discovery Channel. In a rich baritone the narrator followed investigators around the middle East as they dug up clues to discredit Biblical accounts of the Jews’ exodus into the desert. Turns out Moses wasn’t channeling the mighty hand of God when he parted the waters of the Red Sea. Actually he and his followers scampered across a marshy body of water known as the Reed Sea. And he was no wise 80 year old prophet either. Rather, he was in fact the prodigal son of Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses I. The narrator made a big deal out of declaring that these historical events had nothing whatsoever to do with the power of God, but rather the all-knowing hand of MAN!
Meanwhile sailors and scientists plumb the depths of the Dead Sea, hoping to locate remnants of Noah’s Ark. If they succeed, it will prove that it was no Great Flood but just a local phenomenon. It just seemed like a worldwide flood to the locals because that little stretch of land was all they knew of. An analogy might be drawn to Americans’ myopic view that everyone across the globe looks up to us and aspires to emulate us and our system of government/culture. Word to the wise: They don’t. They despise us and everything we stand for. Except, of course, for our money---which they seek to steal.
Perhaps we veered off course when Thomas Jefferson made the “pursuit of happiness” a central tenet of the Declaration of Independence. Up until then the emphasis had been on righteousness and dignity, happiness be damned. Ever since we’ve become more preoccupied with ourselves and our own, mostly materialistic, enjoyment. And in order for this viewpoint to gain widespread acceptance, spirituality had to be rooted out of day-to-day life at every turn. Hundreds of ACLU lawyers make decent livings doing just that.
I was raised in that Bible-thumping southern Baptist tradition. All my life I had assumed I’d been baptized. I even had a vague memory of the event down by a muddy river. I tucked this belief in my back pocket like an insurance policy. I figured that even though I’m not a churchgoer and I never pray, just in case there is a God and a Heaven and a Hell, I’m covered. Hedging my bets, as it were.
Then came Sept 11. Our neat little secular apple cart got rudely overturned. Our society seemed to be coming apart at the seams, torn asunder by the very religious zealots we’d worked so hard to exclude from the discourse.
My faith in Man’s overall goodness was badly shaken. I felt a craving for something deeper. So my family started attending an Episcopalian church faithfully. Episcopalian rituals involve taking Communion. But only those who’ve been baptized are allowed to partake. It was brought to my attention that the baptism I’d recalled was not really mine but my sister’s. I’d co-opted her harrowing experience as if my own. The dunking in the water had proved so traumatic for her that my parents decided not to put my other sister and myself through that ordeal. Poof! Just like that my insurance policy was cancelled. I realized that I was on my own. What a desolate, empty feeling that was.
Like those Bible-thumpers, dour evolution advocates can’t content themselves with the knowledge that their sacred theory holds water, is likely true and proves quite helpful in explaining the vagaries our natural world. No, they must evangelize. They must attempt to win over the doubting Thomases and naysayers among us. They must squelch all manner of dissent. And they won’t stop until we drop the “theory” from the theory of evolution. They won’t stop until evolution is a universally accepted fact.
Oftentimes they will liken it to the “universally accepted fact” that the Earth revolves around the sun. Nobody doubts that anymore, right? Well, actually there are many primitive cultures where that belief isn’t widely held. They don’t believe the Earth is round either, because it doesn’t look round from their vantage point. Surely their views can’t be discounted altogether.
Go to www.abarnett.demon.co.uk/atheism/factandtheory.hrml and behold the musings that begin thusly: “The single most common misconception that people have about evolution is ‘it’s only a theory.’” The writer goes on to note: “Life evolves. That is a fact.” Not a factoid, mind you, but a stone cold fact.
He goes on to cite a pretty compelling scenario. So compelling, in fact, that you’re falsely led to believe he’s actually conducted the experiment. He has us suppose that a rancher is raising rabbits on a cold, isolated mountaintop. There are long-haired rabbits and short-haired rabbits. Each winter the short-haired rabbits practically get wiped out. Meanwhile the long-haired rabbits are breeding and reproducing like, well, rabbits. In the very next paragraph he blithely announces that, “Over many generations, the farm will consist almost entirely of long-haired rabbits…. Far fewer short-haired rabbits, and eventually none at all, will be born…” And then he trots out the tiresome saw that there is no debate among “scientists” as to whether evolution takes place. It does, and that is that. Case dismissed.
His stated purpose for writing this treatise was to set the record straight once and for all, thus alleviating the need for him to keep repeating himself time and time again on his message board. Somehow I doubt he succeeded.
Surprisingly this fanatic concedes that Darwin’s theory could be “totally, hopelessly and utterly wrong.” And yet, evolution still exists independent of the theory that some might say created it!
He also grudgingly acknowledges the obvious flaw in his rabbit ranch example i.e. that all the rabbits are still rabbits. Nope, not a gnu or caribou in the whole teeming bunch. Ah but he’s got that covered too. Turns out what’s happening at the ranch is micro-evolution, which isn’t to be confused with the mind-numbingly gradual process of macro-evolution from one species to another. Given enough eons of humping one another on that frigid mountaintop, one of those long-haired hares would rise up and attain the subhuman level of sophistication seen among those who go on shows like Maury and The Jerry Springer Show. Again, you simply cannot win with these people.
Which isn’t to imply that the religious zealots on the other end of this silly brouhaha are any better or less contentious. I’m reminded of the time Israeli leader Ariel Sharon was lying in a coma, the victim of a massive stroke that nobody could have been surprised by. The guy was old, unhealthy-looking and he weighed in with tonnage comparable to a rhinoceros. But no, that wasn’t it. According to blowhard preacher Pat Robertson, ’twas God’s hand that had struck the fat slob down. Why? For attempting to reconcile differences, turn the other cheek so to speak, with his longtime rivals the Palestinians. Yes, the very central tenet of Robertson’s professed faith.
Yoko One once drew flak for saying that women are the niggers of the world. Hailing from Japan perhaps she didn’t know how emotionally-charged the N-word is in America. Be that as it may, along with Kurds the Palestinians are the niggers of the middle east and you’d better not make nice with them. You wouldn’t want that vindictive Old Testament God cutting you down with a massive stroke, do you?
We switched to Dish Network. Part of the come-on was that we'd get all the pay movie channels for free x 3 months. What this means is we can choose between 27 different drivels at any hour of the day or night. So when I used to come home from work and watch the news, now I sit entranced by cheesy B-grade movies and a glass of wine. This has resulted in me being unaware of the postal stamp rate-hike, my bills being returned for insufficient postage and all my utilities being rudely cut off. A cascade of misery I blame on Dish Network.
But I did get everything turned back on at gunpoint. So yesterday I got home and watched Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! There's this Hollywood hunk, see, whose career is floundering. In an effort to resucitate it they run a promotion when ordinary Janes can win a date with him. A chick who toils away at a Piggly Wiggly in some desolate West Virginia hamlet is the big winner.
Except this West Virginia damsel looks like all the Hollywood actresses he's grown accustomed to banging. Perhaps that is because the part is played by the comely Kate Bosworth, a Hollywood hottie. They hit it off, he buys a farm there, milks a cow, splits some wood, bangs her and feels newly rejuvenated.
Nobody talks like a real West Virginian. The actors all have teeth, perfectly capped.
Ah but the manager of said Piggly Wiggly takes issue with this storybook romance. He confronts the hunk while he's taking a dump. He informs him that the impossibly cute Bosworth has not one but six distinct smiles. Seems he's catalogued them over the 22 years of their association. Hamilton then uses this intimate knowledge to convince her to run off to Hollywood with him.
I'm sitting there thinking, six freaking smiles? That is a helluva lot of smiles to know about one person. My wife of 17-or-so-years doesn't smile a whole lot, but I am fairly sure she only has one grin, one grimace and one scowl when I am embarassing her to no end. She has one sigh. Then the dreaded self-doubt starts to creep in as it always does with me. Am I just so self-absorbed and different from others that I've failed to distinguish the nuances and vagaries of her smiles and sounds? Has everyone else gleaned more in-depth information about their mates' non-verbal communication than me? Have I simply not paid enough attention, as with the news? What is wrong with me?
Though I do know what brand of perfume she prefers. I buy her a new bottle every Christmas, to take its place next to the full one from last year. That Jessica McLintock sure does last.
Yes, I know it being well past the ides of January it is probably too late to be making any New Year’s resolutions, especially considering that most other people have probably given up on their’s already, but I’ve decided to make one anyway.
I normally don’t do the whole resolution thing because I’m pretty honest with myself and know that if I can’t be convinced to change something about myself in August, it probably means I wont have much more success changing myself just because I’ve bought a new calendar recently.
But on my way home from work tonight the wife had me stop at the grocery store for a one or two things. As I was standing in line with 10 things (the list having grown with each successive cell phone call beginning, “I just remembered one more thing…”), my eyes grazed across the selection of celebrity-related magazines. On one of the covers there was a story about Angelina Jolie announcing she was pregnant, and I found myself thinking “Feh, that is old news” and immediately a New Year’s resolution sprung to mind.
This year I resolve to know less about things I shouldn’t know about, like celebrity dating habits. And the flip side of that resolution being that I should know more about things I should know about, like car maintenance, world politics, child psychology, the mating habits of South American poisonous tree frogs, ballroom dancing, string theory, and countless other things that may or may not have any impact on my daily life, but are at least about my daily life (hey, don’t ask what the mating habits of South American poisonous tree frogs have to do with my daily life and I wont ask you any questions about what goes on in your bedroom either).
I guess there is nothing funny about any of this, I’m just saying…
You might think there's nothing worse, nothing more demeaning, than farting is someone's face while they are going down on you. You might be wrong.
It all started when a new case came in. The injured party (formerly the claimant) had the odd surname of Hoosyadadi. We started joking about it and a friend/coworker shared an anecdote about her ex-husband and an intimate encounter they had. I am forever scarred.
They were going at it hot and heavy when he slapped her on the ass and exclaimed, "Who's your daddy?!" Now how dehumanizing is that? First off, it implies that there is some question as to your parentage. In other words your mother is a whore. Or, if it a rhetorical question to which the obvious answer is the guy asking it, then you get into a whole creepy incestuous realm and...
Talking dirty is a tricky business best left to professionals. For instance, "Who's your daddy" has an innately black ring to it, like "yo, yo, yo." A white person might decide to go with the more grammatically correct, "Say, who is your father?" And that just doesn't work at all.
You'll note I said ex-husband.
I have a dream. Or at least I recently heard someone else talking about their dream.
And though today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Iï¿½m not talking about the good doctor, or his dream. The King, now he had a good dream what with all the races getting together and all. Curing polio or whooping cough would be a pretty good dream too. Winning the lottery wouldnï¿½t be a half bad dream either. Even something selfish like being the meat in a three-way sandwich getting Brad and Jennifer back together would be a dream I could get behind (or in the middle of).
But this personï¿½s dream was to become the assistant manager of the store where she worked.
Now, I donï¿½t want to squash anyoneï¿½s hopes or dreams, but assistant manager? You donï¿½t have to equalize the races, cure a disease, or participate in deviant sexual acts with celebrities, but if your dream includes the words ï¿½assistantï¿½ anything you should be shooting a little higher.
Iï¿½m reminded of the old American folk song, Big Rock Candy Mountain. The song is written from the perspective of a hobo talking about their ideal of a perfect world. In this perfect world, the Big Rock Candy Mountain, all the cops have wooden legs, the boxcars are all empty, and the barns are full of hay.
Not, in the Big Rock Candy Mountain I wouldnï¿½t have to done anything illegal, like steal, loiter, or be publicly drunk, so the cops would leave me alone. Not, in the Big Rock Candy Mountain Iï¿½d have my own car or better yet, jet pack, so I donï¿½t have to ride the rails. Not, in the Big Rock Candy Mountain Iï¿½d have a home with a nice bed so that I didnï¿½t have to sleep in barns.
In the Big Rock Candy Mountain you are still going to be homeless, jobless, and an alcoholic, but at least there's a lake of stew and of whiskey that can sate your hunger and further your liver problems.
It is a certain kind of mentality that says ï¿½I donï¿½t want to be great.ï¿½ And I just donï¿½t understand that. Iï¿½ll not try to insinuate that I am great (which is a totally different kind of mentality), but how can you not try to be not just be better, but to be the best? Not just the assistant manager, or the night manager, but the gall darn manager.
As Iï¿½m nearing 30 years old it is with the added introspection that comes with reaching another milestone that makes me take a closer look at what Iï¿½ve accomplished in my life. I canï¿½t think any of the plans Iï¿½d made while younger would have dropped me off here.
I have a great job and a great family. Things are very good, but I never thought Iï¿½d end up here, and Iï¿½m not sure exactly where I want to go anymore. And as satisfied as I am with everything in my life, I know I wonï¿½t just settle for what I have now. I know I canï¿½t just settle for assistant manager.
I donï¿½t have one right now, but its time to go to sleep, so maybe tonight, Iï¿½ll have a dream.
Some of you might know that the United States staged some sort of attack on three homes in a border region of Pakistan. The alleged purpose was the assassination of Al-Qaeda's second-in-command Abu Hamza Rabia. I don't know what he's guilty of, but based on videotapes of the man I know that he's not exactly someone I'd want to have over for tea and jam sandwiches. But it appears that he wasn't in any of the houses, and 17 people (many of them children) were killed instead.
The reason we are worth saving as a civilization is that we don't believe in extra-judicial killing. We also don't believe in lobbing missiles into populated areas just on the off chance that someone we don't like is there. These are things that terrorists do, and I would rather see us disappear fighting for what makes us great than survive by becoming the devil. There is no such thing as "acceptable collateral damage" in a non-warzone attack against a non-military target.
If we have evidence of Abu Hamza Rabia's crimes, then we need to bring him to trial and see that he spends the rest of his life in jail. If we don't have evidence, then we need to keep working to find some. Within our own borders we have a word for someone who simply goes out and kills someone he suspects of a crime without the benefit of due process: vigilante. We don't tolerate vigilantism at home, and we certainly shouldn't tolerate it being done in our name abroad.
A coworker, who's a nurse, has a little problem. Turns out there's a pipe that runs from her water meter to her townhouse, where she lives alone with a menagerie of pets. It has a hole in it. The water authority says it is spewing a gallon a minute into the sewer system. That is 1,440 gallons a day! She's understandably perturbed by this turn of events. Today she told me she's considering a turn to prostitution to pay for the calamity. Not to mention her water bill. She figures she can dress up in her nurse outfit and have plenty of paying customers.
So she's had to leave work several times to meet with water company people, plumbers and backhoe operators. When she got back her supervisor had this to say: "How are you planning on making up the time you've missed?" How's that for empathy for someone who really is in a tough spot? Aside from the aforementioned plan, she has no way to pay for this nightmare.
FEMA had more sympathy for the deluged citizens of New Orleans' 9th Ward. George W Bush doesn't care about black people.
This supervisor is one of that rare breed in today's corporate world, the Truly Committed. Or more accurately, Should Be Committed. They really believe in the company and its stated "goals" and "visions." They pen endless emails delving into the nuances and vagaries of corporate minutia. The rest of us can't delete their pointless drivel fast enough. By the time you delete it, though, another one appears.
Most of them are old, of the generation before mine. They came up in a time where you got a job and actually stayed there your entire career. The company maintained a paternalistic relationship with its lifelong employees. I got out of college at the tail end of that era. I worked for a company that employees affectionately called "Mother AETNA." I swear.
Of course it's misplaced loyalty. Just as employees today are essentially mercenaries poised to jump ship at the first hint of a better offer, companies in general couldn't care less about individual employees or their welfare. It is an exchange of time and effort for money and that is all. No more Christmas bonus, no more Christmas party where spouses were invited and you could drink, no nothing.
I kind of miss those times. I miss having something to believe in. Back in the day one of the few things I really believed in, felt committed to, was music. But nowadays I couldn't imagine anyone mustering much passion for Blink 182, the goddamn Dave Matthews Band or Pink. It's all just a big plastic sheet of materialistic bullshit so far as I can tell. Though I Guess This Is Growing Up is a kickass song. I have it in my iPod.
Maybe I'll join Scientology or Kabala or something.
Angelina Jolie has lips the size of a life preserver. She will never drown. Guys like big lips, which is a huge boon to the collagen mining industry. Most of them can instantly envision hers wrapped around their tools. But they are prominent enough without slathering them with bright red lipstick to accentuate them all the more. Yet she seems to do just that every time she's photographed. I'd hate to have to wash her wine glasses.
Guys like big jugs too. But they can get to a point where the best word to desccribe the woman's appearance is cartoonish.
Ditto for long legs, or what was once known as "gams." Guys figure if they are long enough to wrap around your waist twice, that is twice as good. And yet they can be too long. Uma Turman has mil long gams and Ethan Hawke dumped her for some Canadian model who doesn't even appear on the 'net let alone have multiple photo galleries. (Search for Jen Perzow, you'll never find her.)
Guys like girls who look bewitching. And certainly Lisa Marie Presley fits the bill. In fact, she takes it too far too. You'd half expect her to put a freaking spell on you. Maybe that is what happened to species-unto-himself Michael Jackson.
Which, in a roundabout way, brings me to my point. There's a lobbyist in my town who is in a heap of trouble. His name is Jack Abramoff. His main clients are the Indian tribes who've achieved the ultimate comeuppance with their casino gambling windfall. Turns out he's cheated them out of millions, bribed multiple congressmen and agency officials, evaded taxes and committed mail fraud.
In this town, influence-peddling is a badge of honor. It is the same as clout. You are judged by how much legislation or agency rulings you can buy on behalf of your clients. It's a sleazy business to be sure, but you people keep sending 1/3 of your paychecks here, so we have to work doubletime to ensure that we spend it all and more. Wouldn't want any Indians to go hungry or lack firewater when you could support their lavish ganbling-based lifestyles now would we?
Abramoff just went too far. He didn't realize that sometimes less is more. Sometimes you have to tone things down a little or it becomes too obvious, and an embarassment. Hence you'd be hard pressed to find someone in this town who'd admit to dealing with him. And yet, for five years, things were so nice. Lord, they were lovey-dovey.
He had his slimy fingers in everybody's pie. Now, in a stroke of twisted irony, crazed convicts are going to have their rods in his pie at the most inopportune times of the night and day. Heh-heh.
Remember, less is more.
Mining accidents and submarine accidents turn us all into miners and sailors for a time. Or maybe it's just that tragedy focuses empathy like a laser that burns through us all slowly until we know the fate of people who are suddenly just like us, except they're trapped in a mine or a submarine.
Hope is painful. I was hoping that the 13 miners trapped in Virginia would be found alive, despite the lack of communication, and the deadly carbon monoxide levels found after drilling exploratory rescue holes.
I was working on a cabinet in the basement when a sense relief swept over me as I heard the news on the radio that the 12 miners had been found alive. I came upstairs and turned the TV to CNN to see Anderson Cooper on location outside the mine talking about the story, and seeing people celebrate on the news. Everyone looked so happy.
Several hours later my cabinet was finished, and I turned on the news again. Anderson was still there, talking to people reveling and cheery at the good news, asking them if they had heard the church bells ringing to signify that the miners had been found. One miner had been taken to the hospital and Anderson kept talking about how the other miners were fine and were going to meet the family members at a church nearby. But he kept waiting. And waiting.
Then a woman he had talked to earlier came running up to say that the miners were not alive. Only one had survived and the other 11 were dead. She had just come from a meeting at the church, where the company officials were talking to the families. Screaming could be heard in the background. The families were stunned and angry, chaos had broken out.
Anderson looked stunned. The mood had suddenly changed from optimism and happiness, back to confusion, sadness, and almost anger. He kept trying to get her to say exactly what she had heard.
There's going to be a lot of false headlines printed. Tomorrow's USA Today reads, "12 miners found alive." People went to bed thinking the miners were alive, but will wake up to find that they are dead. Now as I watch the news everyone is backtracking, trying to figure out how bad information got out and floated everyone on a cloud for 3 hours. Ben Hatfield, the president of the coal company is being peppered with questions from the press, and he's struggling.
It seems clear to me. Everyone wants perfect information, right now. The moment someone on the rescue team finds the miners, and at least one shows signs of life, the information is going to spread like wildfire, because the human need is so great. And whether the information is good or complete, our desire for it is like dry brush waiting for a spark on a windy day.
No one in the communication chain is a skeptic, parsing out certainty from the confusion. Now that the miscommunication is out no one can understand how the information wasn't perfect. But we don't live in a perfect world. Black and white concepts like living or dead aren't always immediately apparent. Maybe the miners were dying as they were found. Sometimes, two miles down a mine shaft, it's hard to tell if a fully clothed, partially warm body of someone who has been trapped underground for 40 hours is dead or alive. With cell phones and people overhearing things, it can be hard to reconstruct how we think we know something that we feel certain of.
The families are angry and feel they've been lied to. The one miner who survived will wake up to a difficult and guilt ridden world. Sometimes life throws curve balls. Like trying to rescue those twelve men, whether it's thinking, or digging, or communicating with others, we simply have to do the best we can. Twelve men are dead. Let's not learn nothing from it.
What the hell, another year gone by?
I never had cable until my recent move, when the cable company convinced me it’d be cheaper to have both cable TV and Internet, and I couldn’t find a loophole in the system (though I’m sure they must have installed cameras in my apartment and I’m now on some “live from Amsterdam” webcam porn site).
Since I’ve never had cable, when Eviltom made references to I love the 80s I didn’t understand. When he said he wanted to be a commentator on Best Week Ever I really had no idea what he meant. I’d just say “Yeah, uh huh” like I knew what he was talking about so that I wouldn’t look un-cool. Because, you know, Eviltom is so cool. Now that I have cable, and can watch all the VH1 I want, I understand what he was talking about all that time (I’m still waiting for the TV show that’ll explain what he is talking about the rest of the time).
It might be sad to say, but I watch a lot of VH1, probably more even than ET does (but at least I have the excuse that I have a kid and can’t leave the house). I have now probably spent more time watching people talk about how they love the 80s and 90s then I spent participating in the activities we all loved during the actual 80s and 90s.
Is it still nostalgia if you didn’t live through it the first time?
God, I hope so, because otherwise I’ve wasted as much time watching someone talk about Rainbow Bright than I ever spent playing with Rainbow Bright (Not that I ever played with dolls. Unless you count G.I.Joe, He-Man, and the Thundercats.).
But to get to the whole point of this windup - watching these shows evoke two very strong reactions in me.
The first of which is that we, and I’m speaking for all humanity here, are quite silly. That Flock of Seagulls hair ever existed, that the O.J. trial was a major news event, that people willing picked giant noses on Double Dare, and for a million other reasons conveniently collected for me by the producers of I Love the…, I question evolution, because surely we are no more advanced than the chimps. We may not throw our own poo literally, but there is an overwhelming amount of evidence contained in the hours upon hours of VH1 programming that we do so figuratively.
The second strong reaction that the shows evoke in me is that time has no meaning. As you watch any of these shows, I guarantee you’ll find yourself uttering the phrase (as I did), “That was 14 years ago? No fucking way!”
It is now 1986; and that means twenty years have passed since ALF, the Simply Irresistible video, and Ferris Beuler took his day off, which is unbelievable. If it has already been ten years (aka: a decade) since Jerry Maguire showed us the money, we all tickled Elmo, and theologist/one hit wonder Joan Osborn asked “What if God was one of us?” then really, what meaning does time have?
With that in mind, I don’t know if I can ever wish someone a happy new year again, because really, what does time mean? Instead, I’ll just leave you with this holiday wish – “Happy One Year Closer to VH1’s I Love the 2000s.”