Like most people I’m allergic to fairly normal things – pollen, dust, mold, etc. I can live through most of those without much trouble, but mold is the worse of it for me, and when I’m around the stuff I am absolutely miserable without being on heavy antihistamines.
My wife’s parents used to live in Iowa, in a house that was hit by the 500 year flood in the early 90s. The place got cleaned up, but every time I went there I’d still have trouble breathing, itchy eyes, and constant sneezing.
During our vacation last summer we rented a beautiful house on Martha’s Vineyard. I don’t know whether it’s because MV is an island, but the place felt constantly most. It rained Sunday, the first night we got there, and there were still pools of water on the deck by the middle of the week. With that much moisture, there is bound to be mold. Even if I couldn’t see it, my lungs, eyes, and nose felt it.
So, I started taking these allergy pills the wife had been thoughtful enough to buy and bring with us.
I barely slept at all the first few nights we were there. I don’t normally sleep well in strange places, and I thought this was no exception. I spent those first few nights in this sort of constant half wake half sleep state. I imagine everyone has felt this way at some point, usually while drunk or very sick, where you know there were times you were asleep, but still felt like you’d been awake throughout the entire night.
We grilled out on the deck every night. On the third or so night we decided to eat inside because we’d started cooking so late. As we were getting ready to eat I noticed this huge moth fly into the house and around the table. When I say this moth was big, it could easily have been a bird or possibly a small pterodactyl.
I saw it fly in, but then I lost it. I spent the next 10 minutes looking around for this moth.
But I could not find the fucking moth.
Throughout the entire dinner I was agitated and constantly looked around expecting this moth to fly into my mouth at any second. I couldn’t concentrate on anything else that was happening. I just sat there looking and waiting for the moth.
I never found the fucking moth.
Dinner ended and we went to bed. Again, I spent the night half awake and half asleep. My wife was asleep next to me and Franny was asleep across the room in a portal crib. At one point I entered what felt like a state of complete wakefulness. The room was completely dark and completely silent except for the sound for wife and baby sleeping. Yet, I was sure that someone, or something, else was in the room.
I knew that if I turned on the light, I would see it. If I made a sound, I would hear it. Yet, I couldn’t move and I couldn’t speak.
I actually imagined (No, imagine isn’t right - at the time I believed it to be absolutely true) some kind of vampire, sitting in the crib with the kid, slowly sucking the life from her. And all I would have needed to do was turn on the light to stop it, and save her, but I couldn’t.
I was gripped by this overpowering fear, as much from turning on the light to see whatever it was I knew was in the room, as from turning on the light and seeing nothingness and knowing my brain had worked so hard to convince me of somethingness. I spent what felt like hours, and may well have been, paralyzed by the thought there could be something in the room, and paralyzed by the thought that there could be nothing in the room.
Eventually the sane part of me won out, I convinced myself there was nothing, and drifted off to sleep. I woke up the next morning, Franny was okay and there was no evidence of bogeymen in the bedroom.
I tried to shake off the anxiety of moths and vampires and headed down for breakfast. I told the wife about my night and how I felt I was going crazy. As I was preparing to take my morning dose of allergy medicine I decided, for whatever reason, to actually read the label on the box. My previous allergy medicine had been a six hour dose, and I’d been taking around the same dose of this stuff.
Well, it turns out these new pills were for a 24 hour dose. I’d been tripling up on the damn things.
What’s more, the warning level says the possible side effects are sleeplessness, agitation, and nervousness. Of course, there was also the obligatory mention of the possible interaction with MAOIs (a.k.a. anti-crazy pills).
Along with the Big Lie (popularized by Hitler) the Sweeping Generality is an effective if underhanded debating technique. Slate's Dahlia Lithwick uses it thusly: "No one disputes that there are circumstances in which people have a fundamental right to assert a moral or religious objection to performing duties---such as miltary service---and thus cannot be pressed by law into performing them." She isn't talking about military service, she is talking about the doctor in California who refused to off a killer-rapist whose been languishing on death row since 6 AD; as well as hundreds of whack-job pharmacists who flatly refuse to dispense birth control or morning after pills.
I, as an Army of One, can single-handedly refute Lithwick's absurd claim. I disagree. So there: forget about "no one disputes." Because I do.
First of all, why would a so-called "moral or religious" reason for your disinclination to do something everyone else must do automatically trump some other reason, like fear or mere laziness or cruelty or an aversion to seeing somebody die?
No one disputes the notion that the death penalty should be applied for parking violations. Clearly there are too many people on Earth. Just as everyone agrees that a fire should rage across Gitmo and end all the controversy about those thrown down a legal black hole forever there.
Secondly, how do we know that the supposed conscientious objectors aren't simply lying in an attempt to shirk their duties? Just because they cloak themselves in religious or moral robes doesn't mean they aren't naked with a raging hard-on for young buys underneath. We've certainly seen enough shenanigans from preachers over the years.
As to the specifics of Angelo Morales, if anyone deserves the death penalty, and obviously some do, he is a prime candidate. He commited his heinous crime when quite young. And due to the excrutiatingly slow legal process in the nation of California, he has lived a relatively good life for many, many years. His actual conviction date was 1981, 25 years ago! I t wasn't so long ago when that was an entire life expectancy.
But I am more steamed about these drug dealers cloaked in white coats. They always look like total strangers to the sun. And who are they to defy the lady's doctor's orders such than an unwanted unborn tyke can be born into a life of misery, neglect and despair? Who'll probably grow up to be another Morales. Maybe they'll grow up and kill a pharmacist in a botched OxyContin robbery. Wicked irony, no?
Incidentally, if you're planning on having a drive-thru abortion anytime soon you better get moving now. South Dakota (motto: hey, we're further south than North Dakota) has banned abortion. They've got it set up so you could wind up in a custody battle with your rapist or your dad. If he wins you might owe him child support. You might have to have your weekly visit with the future Morales at the halfway house.
The person who has stood in the way of this madness is one Sandra Day O'Connor. She has retired to the sunny confines of Arizona. So now the swing vote is some other guy with too many vowels in his name. Don't think for a second that this outright ban is a coincidence. It's only been a few weeks since this Supreme Court sea change sailed through Congress and already the bill awaits the governor's signature. Abortion-haters are pledging millions of dollars to assist in the knock-down-drag-out legal battle to come. Stay tuned!
As usual, when I mingle with the great unwashed, unpleasant consequences ensue.
I'm driving home and the radio jokers have funnyman Rick Moranis as a guest. He's plugging his new comedy-country CD The Agoraphobic Cowboy. They played a snippet from I Ain't Goin' Nowhere, which you can hear on the link (click listen.) I dug it.
Wifey-poo is working so I am cooking dinner from a microwave-only chicken recipe my son dug up online. We like these because at $1.51 a "therm" (whatever that is) gas is too pricey to use the stove. I am sipping wine to the tune of 3 glasses. We eat. Another glass of wine. I immediately rush out to Sam Goody, located in a nearby strip mall.
Or at least it was. Now it is a nail salon. Bah! I now must go to the real mall. I clickety-clack along the tiled corridor in my black dress shirt, black leather jacket, black dress shoes and signature shades at night. There's another Sam Goody there. I go in and there's one of those going out of business, everything must go signs. Everything is in total disarray. Two fat, pimply employees are joking amonst themselves. Since nothing is categorized or alphabetized I can't make heads or tails of it. The wine isn't helping. I really need to pee.
I interrupt to ask the pimply girl if they have the tape. She asks what genre it is. I say, "Well, it is kind of comedy---Rick Moranis, you know, Animal House, Honey I Shrunk the Kids,---but it is also country. Johhny Cash kind of thing." She looks mystified, pokes around a little and pronounces that she doesn't know. I asked her what the problem was, why is Sam Goody kaput? She blames it on the internet and tells me to try Best Buy. I really, really have to pee.
Best Buy: bladder bursting. No visible bathroom. Guy scours country and comedy and then says he'll check in the stock room. Squirming, holding tip of johnson, hopping around. Taking forever. Tells me my best bet is the internet. Freaking poet, this guy.
Skulk out to the side of the building, whip it out and let loose a torrent o' pee. But what is this, coming from the back? The release of pee has triggered something else entirely! My drawers are chock full as a baby's two day old diaper. I'm figuring I can contain the damage by simply discarding them in the alley. So my pants are on the ground with my dress shoes and I an delicately removing them when security guard appears, visibly horrified at the sight he sees. I pull the mess back on and scurry to my car. Still no tape. In hell.
Wife: "Where have you been all this time?" Me: "Trying to get a Rick Moranis tape. Sam Goody is done." She: "Wasn't he that Animal House guy?"
My son ordered the tape.
A huge uproar is developing over the sale of operations of shipping ports in York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia to Dubai Ports, a state-owned business in the United Arab Emirates. President Bush has assured that every precaution has been taken to ensure the safety of this country: "If there was any chance that this transaction would jeopardize the security of the United States, it would not go forward."
Personally, I don’t see what all the fuss is about. Just because we are fighting a war that has pitted us against a largely Arab enemy, doesn’t mean that every Arab is out to get us. I stand by Bush on his decision to fight for this sale to continue, and for the rest of the following policy changes and appotments that are also being proposed.
Susan Smith has been named director of the South Carolina Department of Children and Family Services. President Bush defended the appointment, saying “Only her own kids were dragging her down, she really likes other people’s kids. And I hear she has a steady boyfriend now who likes kids too.”
Mary Kay Letourneau has been appointed the chief of Office of Innovation and Improvement in the Department of Education. President Bush defended the decision, “Throughout her career Mary Kay has come up with many innovated ways to motivate her students. She is a great teacher, and now has new opportunities to practice her love with children.”
Orenthal James Simpson has been seated as the chair of a committee to study domestic violence. President Bush, defending the appointment, said “I don’t read newspapers, and I don’t know what the Juice’s background, but I did overhear one of my staffers saying that OJ was real experienced with domestic violence. Besides, he’s a fucking Heisman winner, that’s gotta count for something.”
Operations of the Department of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been handed over to Anker West Virginia Mining. “Hey,” said President Bush defending his action, “there weren’t any fatal disasters while they were in charge Sago mine.” The President added, “It was actually weeks later when the mine collapsed,” killing 12.
Mike Brown has been tasked with heading the National Weather Service. Defending his move, President Bush said “Oh, Brownie, he’ll do a heck of a job."
Exxon Valdez captain Joseph Hazelwood has been named director of Water for the Environmental Protection Agency. President Bush defended the appointment, “If anyone about being a drunk, getting in trouble, and then turning your life around it’s me. That Hazie will do a heck of a job.”
Our cat Slash is losing his fur. He resembles a possum. The vet attributes this to stress. The stress may be stemming from constant battles with a band of semi-feral cats that roam our neighborhood.
We were mystified by them until a neighbor clued us in to what everyone else knew. Seems there was one of those crazy cat ladies down the block. Her hubby came home from work early and decided to take a leisurely swim. He found her buns-up kneeling in the cabana with---who else---the pool boy.
Enraged, he threw the whore out and then proceeded to throw all her cats out too. It isn't clear what he did with the pool boy or if he started cleaning the pool himself. Maybe he boo-fooed him for good measure.
These cats were ill-equipped to deal with the al fresco lifestyle. For one thing, they were obese. For another, they'd all been declawed. Many perished, but alas, not all. The colony bred amongst themselves, producing the clawed, outdoor-inured kitties that torment poor three-legged Slash. But some of the original declawed fat cats remain.
One of them came with our house. We first noticed it on the second night. We were eating dinner at the breakfast nook, having promised not to use the formal dining room unless entertaining our imaginary guests. He appeared on the ledge of our bay window, like a shimming, wide-eyed apparition. He scared my son a little. He dubbed the cat Ghost.
Now I have long maintained that to own more than one cat is to stray into crazy cat lady territory. I refused to allow Ghost in our home. But my wife took pity on him and made the cardinal mistake of feeding him in the carport. This not only kept Ghost hanging around but also attracted his brethren from the semi-feral colony. The lean, mean second-generation kitties would often beat the fat, clawless Ghost in fights and steal his food. In response he'd squawk at my wife, because he doesn't really know how to meow. She'd feed him more which attracted more feral cats which sparked more food fights and so on.
She even insulated a cat carrier and put blankets in there to make him more comfortable. The semi-ferals have taken up residence.
I go out to the carport to smoke. Ghost tries to rub up against my leg in a feigned stab at being affectionate. Ah but I know better. He's just trying to guilt-trip me into feeding him, because my wife has taken a job and often forgets to do so. I am thinking that maybe we can starve him out and he will eventually leave. No such luck so far. He just squawks louder and more maniacally as he rubs up against my leg and chases me all around the carport like some sex-starved husband chasing his post-menopausal wife around the bedroom.
For a time we did allow him in for a trial visit. He didn't get along too well with our #1 cat. And he shit and pissed all over our dirty laundry piles. We feared that he'd start soiling the clean laundry pile and we'd wind up going to work reeking of cat piss with cat turds lodged in our pockets. So we threw him out just as cabana man had done years before. To this day he lurks by the door, hoping to slip in and hightail it for the laundry piles. When the imaginary visitors come over he manages to do just that. They act disgusted when we hunt Ghost down and throw him into the carport.
I am thinking about killing him. Or else maybe I'll go on a feral kitty killing spree. And I suspect my son is feeding him on the sly, as he sure hasn't dropped any weight.
Way back in 1979 Islamic militants overthrew the US-backed puppet known as the Shah. The group, including the current president, snatched hundreds of US embassy employees and held them hostage. These events impacted me personally because many of the Shah's associates fled to this area. Their children worked for my parents. One of them was also my soccer teammate. Another was my girlfriend. Persians are beautiful people who go to great lengths to distinguish themselves from Arabs.
Nonetheless my friends and I went downtown to a rally, shouting hateful anti-Iranian slogans and tossing our signature Molotov cocktails off the back of pickup truck. My girlfriend was less than amused. No Persian nookie that night.
A lot has changed since then. Iranians are the most youthful and growing population in the world. Within ten years they will outnumber their neighbors the Russians, a once-proud, sclerotic, besotted population destined to be overrun by Iranians united with their Chechen brethren. As China and India have modernized, Iran has only grown richer with oil revenue. They've developed nukes and will soon wipe Israel off the map, unless Israel wipes it off the map first. (The smart money is always on those crafty Israelis.) Defying the oppression of bearded mullahs, Iranian women have started sporting peek-a-boo burqas in bright, provocative hues.
But one thing hasn't changed: the terms of the agreement that brought those hostages home. The one signed in ink by then-despised, now-revered corpse Ronald Reagan. Those terms specified that we would never again meddle in the internal affairs of Iran, as we'd done for decades before the revolution.
Now I hear Condi Rice is openly calling for a $75 program to promote democracy i.e. overthrow the crazed mullahs there! It is one thing for CIA spooks to secretly plot such mayhem, but openly ditching a signed agreement?!
These people seemingly know no bounds in their so-called War on Tear.
I wouldn’t say I’m a clumsy person, but I get lots of random cuts, scrapes, and bruises.
And random really is the best way to describe them because, more often than not, I can’t even remember where the injuries come from. I’ll just look down at some point during the day, and like a 12 year-old girl getting her first visit from Aunt Flow, I’ll notice that, Hey, I’m bleeding and have no idea why.
So it was no surprise, and also quite surprising, this morning when I woke up and felt a sharp pain when I bent and un-bent my arm. I tried to look at my elbow, and couldn’t, so went to look in the mirror and found a big red mark on my left elbow.
I vaguely remember at some point during the day before banging my elbow into something and thinking, “Ouch, that hurt.” But I could just be doing my impression of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and practicing a bit of revisionist history because I’m not entirely sure that actually happened, as I don’t remember where I might have bumped it and what I might have bumped it into.
None of that wanna-be Memento stuff matters though. The only thing that matters is that it really hurts. Every time I bend or un-bend my arm there is this deep bone-aching pain. And the bruise on my elbow has really prevented me from participating in my absolute favorite pass-time. No, not that. I haven’t been able to lean all day. This has really curtailed my daily thinking man time.
The classic rock station is doing 30 years in 30 days. Each day they feature songs from a given year starting with 1966. Now they are up to 1976, my heyday. I am simply amazed at how so much of the music just...sucked.
Driving to the grocery store I heard a song called Convoy that I'd never heard before. Most of it was just truckers babbling in their CB radios. We are talking simply awful. But I am sure it was popular in its day. Popular among the mainstream morons who comprise the majority of any population.
People think of the sixties and they think love beads, be-ins, drugs, war protests and such. And certainly there was some of that. My long-haired, good-for-nothing, Parkinson's disease-addled brother doled out free, legal acid in Haight-Ashbury circa 1965. He knew Owlsley, Grateful Dead pal and alchemist. This was powerful stuff, pure LSD-25.
Ah but my sisters were of age then too. They attended no protests, took no drugs aside from beer. They were boy-crazy, obsessed with getting good grades so as to get into a good college. Later they went on to snag "good catches" as hubbies, bought houses and became soccer moms. I think that is true of 90% of the sixties youth.
Many of the other 10% drifted out to San Fransisco after the so-called summer of love in 1967 (which my brother claims never happened.) By the time they got there the scene was so over. Speed took the place of acid. Muggings, rapes and robberies were common. My brother and the original hippies and the Grateful Dead and Ken Keasey and his Merry Pranksters were all long gone, moved out to the country. How disappointing that must have been.
Ditto for the recession of the 70s and the go-go consumerism of the 80s and 90s. That impacted only a small percentage of people directly. The rest just went about their business, blithely oblivious to imaginary trends.
It's kind of the same today. You've got two lunatic fringes, one epitomized by blowhards like Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannety. These guys would suck George W's dick to fruition if given half a chance. They insist we're engaged in WWIII against the evil "Islamofascists," whoever they are. The other fringe would like nothing better than to shove a hot fire poker up W's dick. They think Dick Chaney is Satan incarnate. They also believe we've brought all this terrorist mayhem on ourselves with our Western arrogance and failure to recognize the "root causes" of terrorism. And we need to "be sensitive" to other cultures' nuances and vagaries. We shouldn't go around dissing prophets unless they are the ones of ur own main religions. See: swastikas everywhere, Jews to blame for everything, Protocols of Zion, PissChrist, dung-covered Mary etc.
Namby-pamby idiots and dull-witted rednecks.
On and on they prattle, on TV, the net, radio and newspapers. Barbs, asides, putdowns, bloviation, accusation and vitriol. Nobody else really cares. We aren't going to be touched by terrorists. George W isn't going to wiretap us or designate us as enemy combatants and throw us down a legal black hole forever. So we honestly do not care one way or the other. We go about our humdrum lives, trying to earn a living, stay warm, raise our kids and accumulate things.
We're not out to solve world hunger. We're out to solve hunger in our homes. We're not out for world peace. We just wish for a little peace and quiet at home.
Ah, the utter banality of it all.
Amidst much hullabaloo, the woman who received the first ever face transplant spoke publicly for the first time on Monday.
While she is a medical miracle, to be truthful, she was not the recipient of the first face transplant, but rather the third. The first (and second) ever facial transplants were performed quite a number of years ago and the story was told in the documentary film Face Off. At least I’m pretty sure that was a documentary.
There are so many ridiculous things about this face transplant story that it is difficult to know where to start. To begin with, the woman lost her face because she passed out from overdosing on sleeping pills and her dog started chowing on her grill. I've been passed out from drink and drugs more than once (okay, every night from about 1998-2003), but I can honestly say I've never been so far gone that something could have started gnawing on my face before I woke up.
Secondly, the woman who donated her nose, chin, and lips for the transplant died because she had successfully committed suicide. The woman who received the nose, chin, and lips, from what I can gather from the sleeping pill overdose, probably tried to commit suicide herself, but failed (and miserably, I might add). I imagine it is tough to wake up each morning, take a long look into your eyes in the mirror, and be faced with the horrible results of your own failure. But to then to look down a little south from your eyes to your nose, lips, and chin and see the face of someone who had succeeded where you failed has got to be a real kick in the groin.
The third ridiculous aspect of this story is that a number of the news articles made sure to point out that the patient had started chain smoking again. Now, it probably doesn’t need to be said, but I’m not a doctor. Still, I can’t imagine that someone who’d just had some skin stapled to their face shouldn’t be too near open flames. Am I the only one who saw that episode of I Love Lucy?
The fourth, and most ridiculous, fact in this entire ridiculous story is that the woman who had the face transplant was visited in the hospital by a man who'd received a double hand transplant. I'd be so worried that if he tried to stroke her face the universe would explode like when matter and anti-matter come into contact on Star Trek.
Watching the video of her talking to the press made me wonder. Would I rather be so physically deformed that it is obvious and unquestionable, like say having dog tooth imprints running across my cheek, and deal with people staring at me for that, or would I rather be only slightly but still obviously deformed, like having some skin hanging off my skull like a loose pair of cargo pants, and have people staring at me trying to figure out exactly what was wrong?
I think I’d almost rather be horribly disfigured, rather than be slightly disfigured. What about you?
I'm listening to Bill O'Reilly prattle on. He muses that mostly Muslims are decent, non-violent people. But he estimates that 20% are "Islamofascists" intent on snatching your babies from their cribs and using them as firewood. As a trained statistican, I am thinking, man that is a lot of baby-snatchers. There are 1 billion Muslims. That comes to 200,000,000 baby-snatchers, 2/3 the entire U.S. population. We don't stand a chance!
This blowhard has an MBA from Harvard, so he couldn't possibly be that stupid. And yet he repeats this "statistic" as if a wedding vow.
200,000,000 is a stupendous number. It's so mind-boggling you can't even really consider it compared to, say, 80,000,000. They are both more than we care to count.
The next radio commentator was raging about the "budget cuts." Turns out the government, once again, is increasing defense spending and decreasing "domestic programs" by a whopping .5% or something. A welfare mom might have to skip seconds on the mashed potatoes, as we have 2 wars to fund. The bill for those is..... $277 billion and counting! The human mind isn't really configured to conceive of billions of anything (see above.)
It's the same way with abortions. Anti-abortionists (I refuse to use the deceptive "pro-life" as I am pro-death) estimate that 46 million (or billion) fetuses have been capped since 1973 in the U.S. alone---one for each two live births. You'd think abortionists were on a rampage, kicking down doors and forcibly sucking fetuses from wombs with a vacuum-like device. And that doesn't count Russia, where the average woman has 11 in her lifetime. Make your to-do list: 1 Stand in bread line. 2 Get mugged. 3 Swill vodka. 4 Abortion. Bring a friend, get 2 for 1 deal.
There's also that pesky "budget deficit." It's $427 billion for 2005, up from a mere $412 billion in '04. But this is akin to getting your bank statement and noting that you spent $4,300 and only deposited $3,600. Troubling, but no big deal. Or at least not at as big a deal as your $19000 credit card balance, growing by the moment like a cancer. Check this out.
Speaking of big numbers, how 'bout these? 30 wars going on. 21.3 armed soldiers. 150 million people dead in wars, 108 million in the 20th century.
You call this progress?
Tomorrow's the big day for wife-beating. Shelters will be packed. 911 will be deluged with calls from distraught wives. Their husbands will get drunk, bet money on the losing team and take it out on the wifey-poo.
Except for one thing: Like the long-disproved link between violent video games and actual violence, it's just another urban myth.
Seems wife-beating is pretty constant, something that is always with us like CNN News prattling on and on in the background. That is, unless it happens to happen to you. Here's an account from a teenage daughter of an abused wife: "He pushed her face through the air conditioner and it broke her nose. And then he took her into the back bedroom and, like, started hitting face into the door and like, he put a metal coat hanger around her neck and grabbed it really hard like this and shoved her body in between the door and tried to push the door like that and it broke her ribs and collapsed her lung. And then he grabbed her by the hair and he was screaming at me and my brother. And he pulled her outside by the hair and told her to crawl to the fire department."
Despite her inarticulate rambling, that's a pretty harrowing account. Guy sounds like a freaking Neanderthal.
Of course the lady kept going back to the a-hole and of course she's now dead of a shotgun blast in her face. Ironically she'd hooked up with someone else and made plans to tattoo each other's names on their fingers and maybe, like, shack up. They were getting ready to go to a New Year's Eve party when he whacked her.
Who knows where this shit comes from? Perhaps from rap music, which glorifies bitch-slapping and pistol-whipping hos. Or at least it views this as a necessary eveil to keep the unruly bitches in line. I don't know.
All I know is I wasn't brought up that way. I was taught never to raise my hand in anger at a women. Ad truth be told, I'm kind of ashamed to say I've never raised my hand in anger at anyone.
Except for one intruder in my home who wandered into what he thought was a friend's house, helped himself to the last beer and passed out on the couch. I beat the living shit out of him, not for scaring my stepdaughter half to death but for snagging the last beer. I hit him with a fire poker. When the police got there he looked like he'd squeezed his head down into the disposal and turned it on.
I've been following the outrage over those Danish cartoons that depicted images of Mohammed, and I'm trying to decide what all of this means. I think the fact that the cartoons were published at all tells us what we already know about Northern Europe: that it's pretty much secular and that many think that religion is a silly thing to fight over. And unfortunately, what it tells about about the Muslim world are things that we already know, too. First, because most of the countries that are currently engaging in protests don't themselves have free presses, they're unable to understand that the Danish government wasn't involved in any way in the publication of these cartoons, nor does the government have the power to prevent them because (second) blasphemy isn't a crime in most European countries. Third, it reminds us that the moral hierarchy in some Muslim countries is different from that in the West: Islam's 'right' to be free from offense or ribbing takes precendence over free expression or, for some people, human life. Fourth, the Muslim world is filled (no less than anywhere else) with people who will attribute to an entire group the actions of the few; note the calls for boycotts of all European goods, or the loud denouncement of all Danes. Finally, in countries where no religion other than Islam enjoys legal protection, the population nonetheless feels justified in violently demanding that non-Muslim countries not only respect their beliefs but enshrine that respect in law - protection that no other religion enjoys.
The US State Department recently issued a wishy-washy press release that affirms the US' support for free expression while simultaneously siding with the protesters. This is a grave error. We should have sent a strong message that what the protesters are demanding is not something that the West does for Islam or anyone else. I hope that Denmark stands strong on this, and that the right to question or even insult the beliefs of others (and yes, this is a right) does not fail in the face of absolute intolerance of dissent.
Man have I got a tale for you! Whether you choose to believe it or not it's all true right down to the names.
I went to junior college for two years and it was the funnest time of my life. The classes were a breeze compared with my rigorous HS curriculum. All we did was party, fuck and get robbed. Then it was time to come home for the summer and prepare for my Real College Life at a real University. That's when the trouble began. My mom insisted that I cut my shoulder-length hair, which is pictured somewhere in this blog's archives. I couldn't begin to tell you where.
I went to the haircut place. The stylist was very flirtatious, taking 15 minutes to shampoo my hair and rubbing up against me while fussing over my hair. We began dating casually, but I liked her sister better. This girl was Bunny, who'd become my stalker. After I dumped her she'd dream up all kinds of ways of insinuating herself into my life and that of my friends. During the course of these encounters I learned that she was more fertile than the Nile Delta.
Down at the Real University, 300 miles from home, she became my neighbor. Pure coincidence, she insisted. Turns out there's a big market for haircuts in college towns. Oh, and guess what she had brought with her: magic mushrooms. A delicacy indeed, but not just any 'shrooms. These were supposed to be very potent. They didn't look like any I'd seen before.
So we took them: Me, Bunny and my roommates Rob and Charlie. After about 15 minutes we realized this was a huge mistake. We were in another world, a scary parellel universe. Somehow we wound up at a noisy video arcade where I proceeded to have a grand mal seizure. My roommates dragged my writhing ass out of there. Bleeding profusely from my tongue.
Next we wound up down by a river in a forest. Overhead it was a clear night and starlight abounded. Like supernovas the stars collided and exploded. You could see each one's solar system in vivid detail. The forest crawled with fairies, satyrs and other mystical beings. Knights were jousting outside a castle on the riverbank. Charlie left abruptly and drove 100 miles to a monastery that he joined. He doesn't know how he knew where it was. Rob was balled up in the fetal position, hollering, "HELP ME! HELP ME!" over and over.
This left me stuck with the dreaded Bunny. We went down into the river and the water was red and scalding hot. We jumped back out and much to my regret some amorous activity ensued. But I must stress that this was one-sided in nature---I made sure of it because of the Nile Delta issue. Think Bill and Monica. Only Monica was cuter.
Inevitably she reported being pregnant and refusing to abort the imaginary fetus. She claimed I was so high I didn't recall everything that occured on the muddy riverbank and quite honestly, I couldn't. These things were that powerful.
We all wound up chauffering her to imaginary medical appointments and enduring her graphic reports about morning sickness, a bulging belly and so on. She even produced some sonigram images. Eventually the whole fiasco ended in an imaginary miscarriage.