In college I lived in one of those flimsy apartment buildings designed for students. Both the walls and floors were wafer-thin. Soundproof wasn't a word that came to mind. I had two roommates, one of whom was named Rob. He always professed a deep obsession with our upstairs neighbor Maria, to the exclusion of all other girls. This seems a tad odd, seeing as how her boyfriend Tony came to visit her every other weekend. Turns out Rob was gay.
Maria was a handsome woman, what used to be called big-boned but in a good way. She'd shamelessly lead Rob on, flirting with him to no end. Literally. He never got anywhere with her. I guess in retrospect she was flirting with me as well, but I have always been oblivious to that sort of thing. (See: incident wherein girl tells me she isn't wearing any panties and I ask if she had not gotten a chance to do laundry.)
So one Friday evening she invites me up to her place, where I'd never been. She mooned about Tony, how he'd played football in HS and loved to hunt. She showed me a picture of him, with a mean scowl and an intimidating black pony tail to boot. One drink leads to another and before long a romp ensues. I am thinking about the lovelorn Rob down below, listening and brooding. Right after that she tells me I should get going as Tony was expected any minute!
As I was going down the stairs he was coming up with a duffel bag slung over his shoulder, no doubt stuffed with his hunting rifles. We nodded ascent and I scurried into my place. Rob was glaring at me. We heard a fierce argument from above. It sounded like furniture and lamps were being thrown around and there were loud voices and screams; inexplicably followed by contented moaning. I'm thinking it's bad enough when someone makes you sleep in the wet spot when it's of your own making.
There is a knock on the door. It is Tony. He storms in and commences to rough up Rob. Rob is a big guy who's been in the Army but the fight is a mismatch from the start. Seems Maria had fingered him as the culprit behind the mussed sheets and said wet spot.
Or at least that is what she told me the next day. She related this story with a black eye and a swollen, split lip. Tony was nowhere to be seen. In a perverse twist she said his jealous rage had turned her on. The police dutifully took a report.
Talk about mixed feelings.
Somewhere between the outright genocidal mania in present-day Darfur or Rwanda circa 1994 (when the "international community" stood by wringing its hands and debating the precise definition o' "genocide") and the idyllic peacenik nirvana of 1906, when 230 murders were reported in the entire US, lies a murder rate we can all be relatively comfortable with.
Actually, a given individual's murder rate can vary from day to day. It is either zero, meaning one hasn't been murdered or 100%, meaning one has experienced being murdered on that particular day. It's just like any other crime rate. Either your home has been burgled or you've been or seen someone being gang-raped in recent memory or you haven't. Out of sight, out of mind.
It is different in Iraq. You can't get away from the murder rate. It is everywhere, as pervasive as TV or the internet elsewhere. Go to school, get killed. Line up to apply for a job, wind up in bits and pieces strewn along the street. Drive up to a phony goverment checkpoint and note that the guards have opened fire on you and your family. Stroplight, random car bomb. Dead. Kneel down to pray in a mosque and the entire building goes up in smoke. Get kidnapped. Wind up having your head gently removed on grainy website as arabs shake their sinewy fists and shout something in Arabic. (That something being Abu Akbar, which means God is great! Whenever somebody says this, no matter the language or context, terrible atrocities follow. Hmmm.)
3709 citizens were murdered thusly in October, all to remain unsolved due to the pesky lack of a government, police or court system. 200 more bought it just yesterday. People have ready access to mortar shells, rocket launchers, machine guns and grenades. In a multi-billion dollar industry, armies of contractors roam the streets in Toyota trucks equipped with machine guns mounted in the bed. New private militias spring into action every day. It's a wonder they even bother to collect the mounds o' corpses anymore.
Meanwhile US newspapers intone that the mayhem is spiraling out of control, edging toward civil war. More lately they've begun hedging their bets, saying it is edging toward full-on civil strife.
Look. It is a goddamn civil war between Shiites and Sunnis. What's more, it will never end even if US soldiers were to come storming out of their fortified Green Zone en masse. Nothing is going to stop them until everyone is dead. The only benefactors, the one laughing all the way to the bank, are those much-maligned Kurds. Who, along with the Palestinians, have long been the N-words of the middle east. And oddly enough, their chief tormentor: The guy King Bush I derisively called Sad Am. He got to voice his opinions to a worldwide audience via Court TV and he looks much more fit and trimmer than when they fished his disheveled ass out of that rathole. He enjoys three squares and meditates and reads his Koran as he awaits his hanging.
But my question is this: Why is anyone in their right mind still there? Why haven't they all fled? Yes, I realize many lack cars just as they did in New Orleans as Katrina breathed down their necks for days on end. But don't they have bicycles? Aren't there buses running over the border? Don't they have feet at the bottom of their legs? Can't they walk or at least hobble with a cane?
And yes I also realize a lot of people don't or can't. Their legs have been blown off by the bombs and landmines everywhere. But I will tell you this: If I were in Bahgdad, I would get over that border if I had to crawl. I wouldn't stand around waiting to be torn limb from limb by a total stranger. Which will ensue eventually if you stay long enough.
1.6 million people have done just that. I think that is about 1 in 12, mostly professionals with money if no jobs due to the lack of an economy. The ones who are left are a scourge, the bottom of the barrel just like post-Katrina New Orleans. Desperate people. Violent people. Vengeful people who say things like this: "If I catch a terrorist [code word for your opponent these days the world over] I will not kill him with a weapon. I will not turn him over to the government [sic.] I'll catch him and cut him to pieces and drink his blood until the last drop." Like Sanka, good to the last drop.
These are the good folks we're fighting for?
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I'm riding along with the radio on. They're playing a game where listeners call in and relate embrassing or awkward experiences they've had during the week. The worst one wins an x-box 360. It's called Donkey of the Week. Usually it is some lame thing related to fantasy football or toilet paper stuck to someone's shoe at a party.
So a guy calls in and says he was an usher at a wedding. At the rehearsal dinner he got hammered and started making goo-goo eyes at a bridesmaid. They flirted and one thing led to another. Naturally he winds up bending her over a toilet, hiking up her gown and having at her.
It's all good. That is, until they go to leave. There looms his girlfriend, whom he claims to love. She is steaming and not in a good way. She starts berating him and then pushes him back into the bathroom. Up until now it all sounds pretty routine.
Then he slips in that she proceeded to administer the "good ol' taste test." Yes, the taste test! I about veered off the interstate when I heard it. When the hosts expressed disbelief, he said, "Man she Asian. Dem bitches got short fuses, youknowwhatI'msayin'?
That explains everything.
Now this raises as many questions as these 72 comments do in my mind. If it is the "good ol'" taste test that implies that he is familiar with it. Either this girl or others (or guys) have given him the taste test before. And why did she even need the taste test? Here's her man and another women slipping furtively out of the bathroom together, hammered and no doubt disheveled to boot.
She needed a taste test like OJ needed a trial (or a $3.5m book deal.) And once you've started the taste test, wouldn't etiquette (if not logic) dictate that you...continue? Or should she bite it off and spit it into the toilet he bent the bridesmaid over? And is this some Asian chick custom like their tongue-up-butt number? And unless she is, like, bi, which I don't believe anyone really is, how does she know what taste she is testing for? Has she dipped into her own honey pot for a snack in a pinch? I have got to say these two were made for one another.
But most of all, how is it that this guy didn't score the x-box 360? I mean, it doesn't get any more busted than the positive taste test.
I see this bumper sticker all the time and it always is on cars driven by people who look foreign born and they usually have the flag of another country displayed somewhere on the vehicle. Maybe the rest of us just take our freedom and prosperity for granted. People in the most godforsaken places on earth do not.
It's gotten very trendy to pretend you care about the atrocious conditions in various hellholes around the globe. Oh the genocide in Darfur just breaks somebody's heart. But UN types are quick to point out that the dire situation periodically improves.
Sometimes a celeb will go these awful places and pluck a hapless baby from the squalor and muck. She'll brush away the swarm of mosquitoes and flies and clutch the young-un to her silicone bosom. It makes for a great photo-op but she hastily turns the day-to-day management of the kid over to her staff. In short a meangingless gesture.
Yeah Darfur is bad. So is Cambodia where Mr. Pot murdered all the smart people. Thailand sucks with its thriving preteen sex trade. Russians are dropping off like flies. Bosnia bites. Africa is ravaged with the AIDS and drought. Somolia has no government. There are too many Indonesians. Innuits are falling through the mushy ice. At any given moment 100 or more low-level wars are raging. People the dimensions of Nicole Ritchie starve to death by the minute. Sucks to be them.
But nothing compares with the strife and hellish conditions in the absolute worst place on Earth. How can this be? An oil-rich country, relatively secular and stable until 2003 and now the worst place to be bar none? Who is responsible for this outrage? You are. You trusted George W. Bush. You must be stupider than him except that is impossible.
Of those 100 wars, 99 involve intercene conflicts usually between rival tribes or factions within a given nation. Only one involves a nation forcibly invading and overrunning another inarguably sovereign nation with a duly elected president and then stringing him up by his gonads. Only one leader would have the audacity to pull off something like that on a whim. Only George W. Bush.
God damn George W Bush whose only good point is that he has not engaged in a zesty threesome with his daughters. God damn Dick Cheney who can still claim he hasn't shot several billion folks in the face, just the one and it was so an accident. And most of all god damn that smug Donald Rumsfeld. Good riddance.
Of course the dems wrested control of congress from the pubs. Bush Cheney and Rumsfeld are pubs. Hell Nazis could have beat the pubs soundly. If they met the age, citizenship and sobriety requirements a rowdy bunch of frat boys could have bested those old warmongers.
If you're not part of the future then get out of way.
I shall now impart to you that which was imparted to me by a departing old flame. That which combines the perfect mixture of cruelty, off-handedness and keep-your-head-up reassurance. That ideal breakup line:
It wasn't meant to mean a thing.
Like everyone this side of NAMBLA and their ACLU partners, I deplore the sexual predation depicted on NBC's Dateline series. You know the deal: NBC comes into town, sets up shop and enlists the services of an actress who flirts with 30-something married creeps in chat rooms. (Note to self: stay the hell away from chat rooms.) She pretends to be 14, or creepier still 13. Never 12. They arrange to meet at her suburban home. Conveniently no shotgun-wielding dads are ever in sight. They are probably off trolling for their own nubile teens at the public library. Telltale cookies, don't you know.
So he shows up bearing such romantic gifts as condoms and beer. Nothing to get a youngster's juices a-flowing like Bud Light. She acts all casual as if this is so totally like, normal. She says she'll be right down and that is the last we see of her. Chris Wallace comes lumbering in with a perpetual scowl etched across his mug. He does not approve of these shenanigans and he tells the perp so. They always say this was their maiden voyage into the roiling sea of man-on-teen action. The scene ends with the quarry face-down on the driveway with rude cuffs on. Sometimes guns are drawn. Justice is served. Our teens are safe until the next time NBC comes to town. And they will, as the show is wildly popular
The problem is that the actress doesn't look 13 or 14. She looks more like 17 or 18. And being an actress she is invariably hot in a vivacious, cheap makeup, cheerleader, ironed-hair, Marcia Brady sort of way. This leaves the viewer feeling ambiguous. Yeah the guy was trolling for young'uns and as such should be castrated forthwith but the actual girl appears to be a suitable candidate for consenusal boot-knocking. Or to use an even older term, defiling. And besides, data tells us it's probably too late for that. She's likely been somebody or other's fuck buddy or a friend with benefits since 8th grade. So why not just let them be? Why does Wallace feel the need to rain on their carnal parade?
I met Marcia Brady once at Michael McDonald's Santa Barbara mansion. One huge room held only a baby grand white piano and a stool. Like Nigel's prized guitar it looked as if it had never been played. The maid fussily dusted it. I was there for a wedding. All of the guests were members of the local AA chapter. At the reception they grudgingly provided watered-down local wine to the few drinkers present, myself included.
Like all men of my age I grew up obsessed with Marcia. We weren't aware that she was banging Greg in between his zestful sessions with Mom. We didn't know about the rampant substance abuse on the set. Ditto for dad being a turd burglar who'd go on to put an agonizingly familar face on the AIDS epidemic. She seemed so wholesome and girl-next-door. A perfect candidate for despoiling. We all longed for her coltish legs to be wrapped around us.
Because back then she was neither a wanton pig who inhaled all the vegetarian hors d-euvres nor an annoyingly judgmental a-hole who sneered when I smoked outdoors. She didn't claim to be suffering from jet lag after having flown in on the red eye from some phony-baloney theater engagement. I made a point of blowing smoke in her fat face.
North Korea has once again shocked the world by agreeing to begin attending the fabled "six nation talks" that of late have consisted of just five nations that don't meet. It is like an AA meeting without the drunks or the coffee. Let's listen in.
Condi Rice: You just detonated a feeble A-bomb. We believe this is unacceptable. You need to disarm.
Kim Jong Il: Forget that. You are old but cute. Would you like star in my upcoming porno? I have many nubile American starlets line up! One star in in Saw III. They suck Kim dick but don't do that tongue-in-ass thing. Such prudes!
Condi Rice: You can't be serious.
Kim Jong Il: Never more serious. Do you know I spend more weekly on American cognac than average North Korean make in year? That why they call me Dear Leader! We've arranged for lunch. At noon caterer be here. He cook a cocker spaniel at table with torch. You gonna like!
Vladimir Putin: Thanks but no thanks. I'll just have vodka with more vodka on the side and vodka for dessert.
Mao Tse Tongue: We have nukes. Russkies have nukes. America have nukes. Why not Kim? Sure he weird but what difference? Just because citizens root around for grubs while he smoke cigars and bang starlet doesn't mean he be deprived of nukes!
Vladamir Putin: Pass me the bottle Mr. Jones.
Emperor Hirohito: Look, I no want dog. Send in California roll. And no, you can't have nukes because your missiles maybe hit Japan. We already been through all that.
Condi Rice: I second that. No dog. Can we get back to the nuke issue?
Emperor Hirohito: Yeah, what she said!
Kim Jong Il: Don't even get Dear Leader started. What about comfort women issue? You Japs enslave my chicks, turn them into whores and refuse to pay them. What kind business is that?
Emperor Hirohito: They stuck their tongues up my ass. Whoo-hoo!
Mao Tse Tongue: Watch it!
Vladamir Putin: Zzzzzzz...