The killer in you is the killer in me

by anna at 01:09 PM on May 31, 2004

As I toil away in my wallpaper removal hell, my thoughts turn to---of all things---Kurt Cobain. Yes, the lugubrious, striny-haired waif who once fronted Nirvana. And yes, it's such slow going that I am pitying myself ala Cobain, the millionaire musician who was married to a hot rock chick and yet supposedly blew his brains out over a persistent tummyache or something.

Lugubrious is a word you hardly ever see outside music reviews. But it suits Cobain and his lyrics to a tee. As I understand the term, it means morose and self-absorbed to such a degree that it becomes absurd. I think it describes much of today's music, which Cobain helped to spawn back in his day.

My daughter used to have a copy of his "suicide note" taped to her wall. In it, ol' Kurt goes into some detail about what was stuck in his craw. One of the things that irked him so was that when he took the stage he longer felt like Freddy Mercury did. Cobain ever feeling like the flamboyant, devil-may-care Queen frontman is something I can't fathom.

Though this guy did have it all: fame, fortune, creativity and even a new daughter who is currently the subject of a bitter custody dispute. Assuming he really did, which many people doubt, why would he cash in his chips? And why in such a violent and messy way? He could afford all the pure China White he could cram into a needle. Why wouldn't he have OD-ed? It just doesn't add up. (Interestingly it wasn't long before his grieving widow was seen jet-setting around the planet on the arm of actor Ed Norton among others.)

I guess I just don't understand depression and suicide too well. I feel so blessed to have a decent, fulfilling job, a lovely devoted wife, a cool kid, hairy nuts and now this home that I just can't imagine how others who are just as fortunate or more go around feeling so bad all the time. Now people who are lonely, destitute, diseased, in legal trouble or whatever, I understand that. But Kurt Cobain? Freddie Prinze Sr? Jim Morrison?

What gives here?

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by anna at 08:50 AM on May 29, 2004

Like CBS's ill-fated reality venture The Beverly Hillbillies, wherein actual hicks were deposited in the posh environs of Beverly Hills and hilarious hijinks ensue, Fox has now put the kibosh on Dude, Seriously, I'm Gay. Our culture will suffer immeasurable losses as a result.

Right. First of all, what have these reality show producers been licking---hallucinogenic toads? Where have they been ensconced all these years since the advent of political correctness, which is really just a derisive term for being somewhat sensitive to the sensibilities of others (unless they happen to be wily lawyers or buxom blonde women. Witness: What do you call nine lawyers chained together at the bottom of the ocean? A start. Why do blondes have flat heads? So you have someplace to set your beer....)

In the pilot, contestants were vying for $50,000. They had to convince gay men that they too were indeed gay. In the background, a so-called "jury of their queers" sat in judgement as to how well they were doing in the masquerade.

One can just imagine their snidely stereotypical, Simon Cowell-esque commentary. "Way too swishy for my taste," one juror harrumphs, reading from a cue card. Another adds, "Yeah that was just so over the top." "But I just loved the leather vest." "Hated it." "So Village People." And so forth, all scripted in advance as is every utterance on all supposed "reality" shows.

The contestants reportedly claimed that they'd found themselves trapped in their "worst gay nightmare," whatever that means. One confessed to a former wresting teammate that he'd been attracted to the sport because it afforded him an opportunity to come in close contact with "sweaty boys." Another had to "fork-feed" his date. (Which, I suppose, is better than force-feed.) There was no actual intimacy shown, however. Clever editing, one presumes.

Let's not forget that these guys went into this with eyes wide open and a pile of explicitly worded releases signed, dated and witnessed. They knew exactly what they were getting into. Yet they were perfectly willing to undergo this sort of thing for money and perhaps that gutteral 15 seconds of reality TV "fame."

My guess is that for $50,000, a lot of strictly heterosexual men would allow other guys to do just about anything to them. Whether they could or would actively participate i.e. be the giver or doer is another question entirely. But if all they had to do was passively allow an act to occur, I'd guess many would go right along and cash that hefty check ASAP. They might even secretly enjoy certain ministrations. So long as they had the remote control in their hands, that is.

Thank the Lord (and gay activists who protested so loudly) this trash will never make the airways. But I must say, I might have tuned in to see The Beverly Hillbillies had it made the cut. (The show, that is, not the movie, which must rank as one the worst cinematic atrocities this side of Gigli.) Who knew that rural folk had activists? I'd always thought they were among those few groups (see above) that you could still poke fun at without fear o' being publicly castigated as an insensitve boor who should perform community service in a heavy petting zoo.

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We Live in a World of Gray

by ezy at 12:43 PM on May 28, 2004

I, just recently, have had to face something about myself I never thought I would. I am a racist of sorts. I don't parade around in sheets burning crosses or yell nigger, spic, wetback, gook, nip or any of the other hate names whenever I see someone who happens to be a different race than me but I am a racist just the same. Adamís post made me think about this and I was going to post it last week but chickened out. So, here goes.

cont'd »

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Bless Your Tiny Corporate Heart

by adam at 01:34 AM on May 28, 2004

Verizon has a new ad up on TV, and although I know that they're a heartless corporation and really don't care about anything at all, I need to say: Verizon, just this once, you rock. It is so nice to see an ad on TV that depicts a multiracial family doing something normal, like having techno-aware kids roll their eyes at their dad's computer hopelessness. People go CRAZY for some reason whenever there's even an implication of interracial dating on TV. And it ain't just the whiteys - lots of people start talking about "our women" and preserving purity mumble mumble when they're confronted with the mixing. So despite the risks I'm glad to see a company stand up and portray the world as part of it really is - in technocolor.

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I Write Letters

by adam at 01:17 AM on May 28, 2004

Today I saw John McCain on two of my favorite shows - The Daily Show and Late Nite. I like Senator McCain, and after listening to him talk I felt compelled to write him. Here's my letter.

I am not your constituent. I am a lifelong liberal, and generally consider the Democratic Party to be far too conservative. Having said that, were you the nominee during the 2000 campaign I would have voted for you, not because I agree with everything you say but because I believe that you try to do the right thing - something I cannot say for many other politicians.

I understand why you must align yourself with the leader of your party - idealism without the means to put it into practice is useless, and to deprive yourself of your party's support would be to deprive the rest of us of your ability to make a difference. Still, it pains me to hear you come out in support of our current president - I don't know you, I but cannot believe that you think he is the best choice for our country.

The Vice Presidency may not be a glamorous job, but I heard you tell John Stuart that we may live in the most politically divided America in recent memory - what could do more for our country than a ticket united by the desire to do good rather than by the desire for partisan power? Can any right-headed American put the good of their party about the good of the country?

Yours Sincerely,
Wilmington, DE

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I wanna glide down over Mulholland

by jean at 05:05 AM on May 27, 2004

I journeyed to a Mecca of sorts last week— the Midwest. I was visiting one friend in Central Illinois (Bloomington), and another in Chicago.

As some of you may know from my comments, I grew up in Los Angeles and live there now. I've traveled places, but never lived anywhere else, excepting ten weeks of summer internship in Washington, D.C. College, although only 30 miles away, was a world away and gave me actual contact peoples and cultures that I'd only read about; watched on TV. I mean people from other parts of the United States. And once I started working, I truly started getting to know The Midwesterners. Midwesterners, especially those from Chicago, hate Los Angeles.

cont'd »

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Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose

by anna at 06:48 PM on May 26, 2004

You'll find no porn on my browser cache. There's no copy of Hustler under my bed. And you won't catch me hanging around strip clubs, stuffing my hard-earned pay into garter belts.

See, my wife is opposed to these sorts of things. Early on she informed me that she considers it disrespectful to her. And I respect her wishes.

Besides, I never quite got the strip club thing. The idea is for the customers to get all horny and then...what?

Now I know some gals approve of their guys frequenting these places. They justify this by saying that he's only looking, but is he? Or they figure he'll get all worked up and then give her a great time when he comes home. But is he thinking about her or some sleazy stripper who gave him a lap-dance?

I'm curious how y'all feel about your SOs engaging in these types of activities. not how you think you should feel, how you do feel.

So I get this new claim. Under occupation, the word stripper is crossed out in favor of "exotic dancer." Ah but she's a stripper and she seeks $2 million in damages because she wanted to go home early one night. Her kid's babysitter had called and said the kid was deathly ill. Her manager was having none of that. Evidently she is the headliner and hugely popular. He calls her a stupid whore, shoves her up against the wall and then throws her out the back door like so much garbage. All this in front of the other dancers.

According to the employer she wasn't hurt all that bad. In fact, she soon was doing her full repertoire of gyrations at a club nearby and earning big-time tips.

Now my company frowns on adjustors hiring detectives to do things we could do ourselves. At the same time I know that we need to verify that she's dancing at the other club first-hand. This is what's known in insurance jargon as "mitigating the loss."

Therein lies the dilemma. When this claim is reviewed by my boss, as it surely will be due to the amount of money involved, he will want to know why I didn't go downtown and observe the claimant doing her pre-injury occupation. Were I to do that, I'd be violating my wife's trust and I am not about to do that. You might say, why not just go on the sly. Nobody's the wiser and it was strictly business anyway, right---like those vice cops who accept head from massage parlor prostitutes. Well, there's no on the sly with our relationship. Somehow she would know as surely as she did when I,... oh, never mind.

What to do, what to do?

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of course, i've had it in the ear before

by mg at 04:02 PM on May 25, 2004

In case anyone was wondering where Iíve been the last couple weeks, I was in Africa for a conference. Oh, no, wait, that wasnít me. Actually I was finishing up a photography internship at Abu Ghraib. No, no. I was bike riding with George Bush. In all honesty I was practicing my dance steps for my upcoming tour with Madonna.

cont'd »

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Government by Nuisance, Government by Extortion

by adam at 02:41 PM on May 25, 2004

Ok kids, here are my proposals for a new Constitutional amendment. These are based on a drive I took through Manhattan, when I observed cops doing things I couldn't understand and tickets being issued for things whose illegality I couldn't grasp.

I - No law shall be established if its main purpose is the collection of fines when the law is broken.

II - The government shall, if challenged in a court of law, be required to explain the reasoning behind the law which it seeks to enforce. If no reason for the existance of the law can be found, the law shall be rendered null and void.


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by adam at 01:40 PM on May 24, 2004

I have to go back out to the garage and get some rust repairs done, but here's a quote that I found particularly interesting (via 100monkeystyping)

I don't want to dwell on the past, but for a few moments to speak of the future. And I address my remarks particularly to you younger men and women who had perhaps not established yourself in this industry at the time of the great witch hunt. I feel that unless you remember this dark epoch and understand it, you may be doomed to replay it. Not with the same cast of characters, of course, or on the same issues. But I see a day perhaps coming in your lifetime, if not in mine, when a new crisis of belief will grip this republic; when diversity of opinion will be labeled disloyalty; and when extraordinary pressures will be put on writers in the mass media to conform to administration policy on the key issues of the time, whatever they may be. If this gloomy scenario should come to pass, I trust that you younger men and women will shelter the mavericks and dissenters in your ranks, and protect their right to work. The Guild will have the use and need of rebels if it is to survive as a union of free writers. This nation will have need of them if it is to survive as an open society.

-Michael Wilson, speech at a meeting of the Writers Guild of America (1976)

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The beards have all grown longer overnight

by anna at 09:01 AM on May 23, 2004

Soon after 9/11 some wag observed that now everyone we happen to dislike will be branded a terrorist. And that has proven to be a pretty accurate prediction.

Go on al-Jazeera and listen to them jabbering about American terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ariel Sharon's goons bulldozing occupied homes out of spite are terrorists. Right-wing militias are terrorists. Every rinky-dink radical Islamic group is described as a terrorist organization "with links to al-Qaeda."

Of course the most obvious example is W's insistence on including the conquer of Iraq in "the global war on terror." First of all, that's a misnomer. We're not at war with terror. Terror is an emotion, one that can be caused by terrorists, soldiers, final exams and job interviews. More importantly, Iraq wasn't exactly a hotbed of traditional suicide-belt-style terrorism unti we took over. Now resentful locals with nothing to lose are indeed hooking up with jihad-minded nuts to wreak major havoc. Is that terrorism, warfare or part of "the resistance?" It depends on who you ask.

Ah, the resistance. Arab leaders love to wring their hands at the wretched plight of the Palestinians under Israeli "occupation." Do they offer any help aside from arming them with paltry weapons that time and time again have proven useless in the face of overwhelming Israeli military superiority? Hell no. From what I've read, Palestinians rank right above Kurds at the bottom of the pecking order in that region. And their continued suffering makes it convenient to label the so-called "Zionists" as, you guessed it, terrorists.

And could someone please 'splain why we're paying $2.25 a gallon while in control of the 2nd largest oil reserve in the word? Could this too be the handiwork of those shifty "terrorist" saboteurs? Or is that we just can't get it together to start those wells to pumping and ships to shipping crude over here?

I don't have the answers any more than Linz does. But I do know that one place to start is by laying aside all this needlessly inflammatory rhetoric that is only diluted in meaning through its endless repetition.

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Amy, what you gonna do?

by anna at 07:56 AM on May 20, 2004

I've met Ezy's fiance Amy. She is quite pretty and engaging. So is my wife. I can still picture the two of them on my old kitchen floor, playing with a pit bull minutes after they'd met.

Ezy, nice guy that he is, is no Cary Grant or Brad Pitt. Neither am I. Nor do either of us rake in Bill Gates money. We're both wage slaves living check to check in a very expensive area.

You see a lot of this: So-so looking guy with drop dead gorgeous girl and vice versa. You also see a lot of high wage earners hooked up with wage slaves. The question is why. Logically, you would think people would gravitate to others that are close to themselves on the attractiveness (and income) scale.

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The Winds of Change Are Blowing

by ezy at 02:16 PM on May 19, 2004

Amy and I made it to Missouri and back in one piece. Well, almost in one piece. I had a four wheel ATV incident that Iíll tell you about in a minute. I met her family and they were all good, simple, Midwestern people. They are a lot like my family which made things much easier. All of them seemed to like me too which was a big bonus. We arrived at the Kansas City airport on Thursday of last week. Amyís aunt and her best friend picked us up. Let me tell you, that ride was something else. Amy and I had been drinking at the airport bar in Cincinnati and on the plane. Aunt Nancyís friend, who was driving, was popping pills. The woman is a walking pharmacy. I looked in her eyes and saw no-one home. I just put on my seatbelt and laughed the entire way. Well, I had to screw with her some because I was drunk and she was high. I canít believe they put a drunk and a person high on pills in the front seat together. Well they did and we had a blast. We went to the bar where her cousin works and had a few more drinks. We were tired from the travel so we went to her auntís house and hung out together.

cont'd »

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It's laughter and it's loving I disdain

by anna at 07:56 AM on May 19, 2004

My family grew up different. We lived in a sprawling restaurant. My parents worked all the time. Every so often we had to clear all the furniture out of our makeshift living room to make room for a banquet. We three kids were often left to fend for ourselves.

So in the 2nd grade I was being hassled by some other kids for acting different. I asked me sister what to do. She said to take some time, observe how others act and then imitate them. When you lack a personality of your own, just adopt that of others. This advise has served me pretty well through the years. In fact, I lurked here for six months, observing y'all, before I ever typed a word. Imagine that.

But there is an unfortunate side-effect. When I am speaking with someone new, I tend to subconsciously alter my speech pattern to resemble what I imagine theirs might be like. With black people I add a little street jive. (Think P. Diddy.) With west coast people I try to sound laid back. (Think Stephen Wright.) With southerners I throw in a slight drawl. (Think Jeff Foxworthy.) And with Hispanic people I try to sound just a little bit Latin. (Think George Lopez.) I have no idea why I do this. Maybe my pathetic stab at relating to people.

So I am standing there in my yard. A Latin-looking guy is busily washing out his boat. It is huge and impressive. "Hey, man, nice boat," I say in my faux Spanish voice, "where you take it?" The guy smiles and in that impeccable ultra-white guy voice that Richard Pryor invented and Chris Rock perfected says, "Why, thank you. I take it out to the Potomac River. My kids love it. By the way, I am Jose. It is nice to meet you." We shake hands and exchange mundane pleasantries. Before long we're carrying on a real conversation and making plans to do things. He's telling me how he plans to buy an even bigger boat but first he needs a more powerful truck to pull it. I've long since dropped the phony accent. We're getting along swimmingly.

But still I'm kicking myself for having been such a presumptious prick. Sometimes I give myself the creeps.

Jose is probably posting about his laughable encounter with me on his blog.

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Wipe Your Nose Off, Son

by adam at 02:01 PM on May 18, 2004

I've been chronically underemployed for the last year or so, and in this I'm hardly alone. I've been sending out a lot of resumes, and for most of this time I've gotten nothing - scarcely even an automated email response, never mind actual phone calls or interviews. So imagine my suprise when - within the course of two weeks - I've had/will have four interviews. So far they're going well.

Or at least that's what I thought. Apparently I forgot what several web sites protest is a vital part of the interview process - the thank you note. Opinions seem to vary, but I found all kinds of pages saying that not sending one is rude and that most employers won't even consider an applicant who doesn't send one. I've never even heard of the practice, and yet when I do interview I usually do well despite my failure to follow it up with faux enthusiasm.

Am I alone in thinking that this is a hopelessly shit-eating gesture? I think part of the problem is that I began my working career during the heady days when your employer wasn't doing you a favor by employing you - they needed a worker, you had a pair of hands and a brain for hire, and that was that. You scheduled your interview, did you thing, and then everyone shook hands and said thank you, etc. These things always ended with, "We'll contact you when we make our decision." That's exactly how this interview went.

In these days of mass resume-bombardment, most employers don't bother writing notes acknowledging the receipt of an application. That's fine. This specific employer kept me waiting for 15 minutes - something which would've been completely unacceptable had I done it, but on their part is a calculated signal that my time is unimportant. This was a mild irritant, but I can live with it. Several questions of mine which the interviewer couldn't answer but for which he promised he'd get answers have gone unanswered. Also fine - if/when they make me an offer, we can cover those issues. But now I'm expected to thank him for interviewing me?

I know that I'm hardly the most polite person in the world, and so I ask: Why is this necessary? I said 'thank you' after the interview itself, he said he'd contact me. Am I missing something here (other than a job)?

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Music to drown yourself by

by anna at 09:55 PM on May 17, 2004

Sure, music and movie critics have been assembling their best of lists forever. But Blender magazine and VH1 have teamed up to compile their most godawful tunes of all time list. Understandably, their list is skewed towards more recent songs that have videos to show on the endless reruns.

Some of this shit is like shooting fish in a barrel. Don't Worry, Be Happy, She Bangs and I'm Too Sexy come to mind. But The Sounds of Silence? I love that song.

I agree about the worst song of all time being Starship's We Built This City. I have never heard a more commercialized, grating piece of crap in my life. That is, unless it was J Lo's flagrant attempt to connect with her audience Jenny From the Block (which made the list but should have been in the top 3.)

But I have some older tunes I'd like to add to the list: the Beatles' Revolution #9 (where John Lennon simply intones "Number 9, number 9, number 9..."). America's Horse with no Name ("I've been through the desert on a horse with no name. It felt good to be out of the rain...") David Bowie's Fame, just because I hate the cadence and all his stilted posturing. The Doors' Roadhouse Blues (Well, I got up this morning and I got myself a beer...") Velvet Underground's Heroin, dropped like a bombshell into the smiley 1966 milieu ("When that smack is flowing in my veins, I really don't care anymore about all the Jim-Jims in this town or everybody putting everybody else down or all the dead bodies piled up in mounds....")

More recently there was the Lemonheads' butchering of Paul Simon's classic Mrs. Robinson and ditto for Limp Bizkit trying to cover Pete Townshend's bittersweet Behind Blue Eyes (in which they omit the best part: "When I smile tell me some bad news before I laugh and act like a fool...") And there was that chilling song about those people that abandon their children to go flitting off somewhere ("The children got up but they couldn't find them...")

And speaking of Townshend, his Squeezebox and Who Are You? have to rank as two of the worst songs ever written by a talented writer seeking to fulfill contract obligations while drowning in drugs and drink ("I woke up in a Soho doorway where the policeman knew my name. You can go to sleep at home tonight if you can get up and walk away.")

Feel free to add your own nominations.

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Let's Not Talk About Sex

by adam at 11:59 AM on May 16, 2004

I read this article about Rebecca St. James, and I didn't know whether to laugh or be mad. I flipped a coin, and I'm going for mad. This is just another example of dogma over good sense - the abstinence movement's main dividends have been a loss of sanity in sex education in this country and encouraging unhealthy attitudes about sex among the youth. We're the same way about alcohol and drugs, and that doesn't work either; we tell kids, "Just don't do it!" and they stick to it right up until their first serious temptation, when they end up sucking dick on camera on Bourbon St. during Mardi Gras.

I think what's worse is that it's almost impossible to fight back against this kind of thing. Here's a group of religious fanatics running around encouraging young people to supress their needs, to not explore, and to refuse their own bodies, and what can I say? "No kids, don't listen to them, have as much sex as you want when you're ready to?" In a country where a government official was fired for having the temerity to suggest that masturbation was a pretty normal thing? These people don't just expect no pre-marital sex, apparently, but no nothing, and that's dangerous - if you don't allow people to express their sexual desires in some fashion, they divert that energy to other unhealthy pursuits, like violence, breakdancing, or football.

The best line from the article:
"I've got a lot of mainstream media attention even in countries like Norway that are not known necessarily for their morality. It's such a counter-culture message they are fascinated about it."

Miss St. James, you are a twat. The Norweigians are a peaceful people who are known the world over for mediating international conflicts and solving them. They have little to no crime at home, they get along with their neighbors, and you suggest that they're not known for their morality because their women are capable of having orgasms? Eat it, Becky. (Seriously. Give it a shot. You might like it.)

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What the world is coming to

by anna at 07:10 PM on May 13, 2004

At last we have an answer to the age-old question of whether people would flock to snuff films if they were more widely available. As with the prior Islamic snuff film with Daniel Pearl, web-surfers have been all over the Nick Berg tape. As of today, it occupies the 10 top spots in the Lycos Top 50 list. There were 12 times more searches for it than its closest competitor, perennial Paris Hilton. Whatever this says about people, it isn't good.

Accounts of the latest travesty always say the tape can't be authenticated. Bullshit. Berg's family knew he'd been decapitated before it ever surfaced. Also, you don't think these anal births had the inclination or wherewithal to import Hollywood FX wizards, do you? No, it is all too real.

I know, I know, the decapitation was in retaliation for atrocities at that Iraqi prison from hell. But while most people's reaction to those ranged from puzzlement to revulsion, few decided to abduct a random Jew, hold him prisoner for a month and then parade him in front of a cheesy web-cam only to behead him with a smallish bolo knife. The callousness of that defies belief.

Mr. Berg was a human being with siblings, parents, a job and a penchant for adventure. His apartment in Baghdad overlooked Saddam's Penis. What kind of soulless person would it take to do something like this to him?

And let's not forget that it is no easy feat to lop off a muscular, middle-aged man's head with a small knife. There's lots of dense tissue, the aorta and a fairly rigid spinal column to get through. Not to mention that this is a far cry from shooting somebody from ten paces. Not too many people besides OJ could stomach the up close and personal nature of the gore involved with beheading someone.

Of course it was cowardly as hell. The murderer had to bring five of his buddies in case things turned ugly in front of the camera. Berg was a bulky weightlifter. What if he got loose from his shackles? If this spindly bum was half a man he'd have taken those shackles off and tried to decapitate him man-on-man. He'd have lost and be dead right now. Instead we've got this a-hole holding up the severed head like a fisherman displaying his catch. Ugh.

In high school a guy named Alvaro tried to behead me when I refused to fork over a large sum of money in my pocket. He had a gleaming switchblade in his hand. I told him to fuck off and a tussle ensued. We rolled down a hill with him trying to press his knife into my throat. He was an athletic guy with a very promising career as a soccer player. I was about to get my throat slit when a van load of my pals happened by. They beat and kicked Alvaro until he was unconscious. They took his knife and left him bleeding in the gutter. I was too stunned to even move let alone speak.

He suffered lifelong nerve damage in his leg which ended his soccer prospects. He was also left with this weird stutter. But he wasn't prosecuted or even deported for trying to kill and rob me because he was a diplomat's son. Did I feel bad? Yeah, I did. I still do.

But I do wish something like that had happened at Nick Berg's murder scene. Maybe something involving a garotte like that scene in The Godfather where Luca Brasi bought it.

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chuck woolery

Death and Interesting Courses

by chuck woolery at 12:52 PM on May 12, 2004

As some of you may recall I mentioned awhile ago that I was going on a course this past week. This is the primary cause that I've been quiet (no posts or comments) for the past week, between getting ready to go on the course, going on the course, and catching up from going on the course.

The Course was called Sudden Death Investigations, and turned out to be a very interesting course, albeit a somewhat morbid, hope you have a strong stomach type of course (lots of pictures).

The course was run by the Medical Examiner's office and the local police force (primarily their homicide unit). It was mostly aimed at police officers and medical personnel, but a few prosecutors were there as well. Me and one other prosecutor from my office went on the course.

cont'd »

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What About Bill?

by adam at 03:48 AM on May 12, 2004

I saw this link on Laurence Lessig's blog that pointed out an old interview that Terry Gross did on her NPR show, Fresh Air. I wasn't even aware of this interview before, but I tried to picture Terry Gross, possibly the most mild-mannered person on any broadcast medium anywhere, interviewing the rather less mild-mannered Bill O'Reilly. I blanked - I just kept getting images of Gene Simmons having tea with Jewel for some reason.

So I listened to the interview, and I was surprised and I wasn't. Terry asked many questions, some quite innocent and some fairly leading. One could argue that inviting a guest onto one's show to ask about supposed inconsistencies in their past statements, about the substance of their critics statements against them, and other sensitive topics is unfair. I think the stronger argument is that when you make as many waves as Bill does and achieve a certain level of fame, that this is to be expected.

cont'd »

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The Peter Pan Syndrome

by adam at 12:00 AM on May 12, 2004

I've been snacking on a lot of blog tidbits recently, and I'm struck by a chord that seems to resonate in every quarter of our society: never change, never learn, never apologize. We are unfortunate enough to have a government that never allows the facts to alter what it dogmatically knows to be true. Any admission of a change in position, whether that be in response to changing facts or not, is tantamount to political suicide. If the facts challenge a theory, then the theory can't be wrong - either the facts are innaccurate, or the theory was not correctly put into practice.

cont'd »

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Just roll me over when you're done

by anna at 11:07 PM on May 10, 2004

I have a friend whose husband works a late shift. By the time he gets home she's fast asleep. And the title of this post is exactly what she's instructed him to do if he's feeling amorous.

It occurs to me that you could accurately measure your level of self-esteem by counting the number of times you have had sex with persons who were more or less comotose. Perhaps they weren't when the intimacy began but for whatever reason they are now. I think this is particularly true when it comes to women. Or men. Or the so-called "intersexed," whom I just found out about from my new 200 worthless channels digital cable.

There were a bunch of other examples of this sort of thing I'd written down at work but presently I am at home. Kindly help me out with other examples.

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The dogs bark but the carnival moves on

by anna at 08:38 AM on May 08, 2004

There's so much that is troubling in today's world. Terrorist attacks, exorbidant gas prices, multiple high-profile trials where famous folk are charged with all manner of depravity, abuse of detainees, the existence of John Ashcroft and Michael Jackson etc. It's difficult to even think about perhaps the most insidious threat there is: the constant bombardment of product peddling that begins at birth and continues well past death. But it's been on most prominent display of late.

The Friends finale has come and gone. Leading up to it, NBC whores touted it as the Biggest Event since the Campbell Soup Crucifixion. 52 million people bought into that flawed notion, justifying the $2.5 million price tag for ads. For the record, these elitist snobs are not your friends, nor will they ever be. If you approached one of them, their bodyguards would probably break your jaw.

Those marketing geniuses formerly known as the Olsen Twins have released their first theatrical movie New York Minute. You can hardly escape pictures of their smiling mugs. Yup, they're everywhere you look. Yet, given the scathing reviews, you'd have to expect the film to disappear from theaters in a proverbial New York minute. Will it? Hell, no. Countless parents will shell out $20 for their pre-teens to see it again and again.

Let me just say here that I find it really creepy when DJs salivate about these young ladies. Ditto for the endless debate over which one is hotter or who they've had sex with. Anyone who does that should have to watch every episode of Full House in rapid succession.

Van Helsing may prove to be the biggest marketing bonanza ever. We're talking TV spinoffs, action figures (collect 'em all!,) deals with fast food joints and even a deal where the vampire-slaying star does a spot for the Red Cross blood drive (get it?.)

ABC once resorted to placing these talking gizmos in urinals to hype its flagging sitcom Norm, starring the relentlessly unfunnny Norm Mc or O'Donnell. You'd piss in there and this disembodied voice would go, "Catch the new hit comedy everybody's talking about..." Did anyone ever talk about it? Don't be silly. This isn't the first season of Survivor, after all.

Even sports has succumbed to the corporate marketing bug. Every stadium sports a corporate logo. Every kickoff and touchdown dance is brought to you by a company. Baseball has considered putting ads for Spiderman II on its bases. Only when both its aged fans groused did Commissioner Bud Selig relent.

Aside from the walking billboards of NASCAR, one of the biggest marketing juggernauts in sports is the LA Lakers dynasty. They've now got four future Hall of Famers in their lineup, provided 2 guard Kobe Bryant's career isn't derailed by a long prison stint. At the beginning of the season, some were suggesting that the season be cancelled. Just annoint them champions and be done with it. Well, right now the glitzy Lakers are on the verge of being eliminated in the second round again by the homely defending champs the San Antonio Spurs. Can you say small market Finals, boys and girls? Ha! (Same goes for those vaunted New York Yankees Featuring A-Hole and Derek Jeeter. Right now they're trailing the Red Sox and none of their players are among the top ten AL hitters. Money can't buy chemistry. There was more chemistry among guards and prisoners [not "detainees"] at Abu Ghraib prison.)

The only encouraging diamond in all this American Idolized rough is that guy who tried out for AI but was rejected for his godawful rendition of She Bangs. I think his name is Dennis Hong but I may be thinking of OJ's forensic pathologist on CSI. He's only gone on to record a top-selling album that people just seem to like. He's so bad he's good. Maybe there is hope after all.

But seriously, you do have to wonder what types of people we'd be if we hadn't been subjected to all this phony hoopla, hype and hyperbole all our natural lives. Probably more like Lajo or ChuckWoolery, neither of whom watch TV.

comments (7)


With all of the crazies in the world, who needs TV?

by ezy at 03:37 PM on May 07, 2004

Hey all. Sorry to be gone so long. Work has been kicking my ass. I love my job and all but the busy season always makes me wonder why I do this. Even my AutoCAD has been acting up lately. AutoCAD is supposed to be my friend but has been doing some inexplicable things of late. I am in the middle of a huge design contract for the Dept. of Homeland Security and (surprise, surprise) they moved my deadline up. Normally this wouldnít upset me but I am leaving next Thursday to visit Amyís peeps in Missouri and have to have everything done before I leave. This puts me in sort of a bind. I will be working all weekend instead of boozing it up with my baby. Iím raw. Anyway, I come in this morning ready to be very productive and start up my PC. I browse to the folder on the network my work is in and double click on the first drawing. It opens and, to my horror, about eight hours of work is missing. How in the hell is that possible? I have my CAD set up to auto-save every five minutes. I checked that it was still set up that way and it was. Well, there wasnít anything to do at that point other than re-do the work. Wait a minute, work shouldnít just disappear. I closed the drawing and re-opened AutoCAD. I then browsed to the same drawing and opened it. There it was. The most beautiful thing I have seen in a while, my missing eight hours of work was right where I left it. I guess AutoCAD felt that I wasnít under enough stress and decided a little joke would be a good idea. Gods of AutoCAD? If you are listening, that shit was not funny, at all.

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comments (7)


you wanna hear about my new obsession?

by mg at 09:05 PM on May 05, 2004

I just got home and I’m wet all over. Wetter than a Scandinavian model looking at Donald Trump’s bank statement.

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And I sit at home looking out the window imagining the world has stopped

by anna at 07:54 PM on May 05, 2004

Both my stepdaughters gave birth to sons recently. There is Ethan and Little John. Even though one was induced both were protracted, grueling ordeals. I suppose the babies were comfortable in their cozy little placenta worlds. They much preferred to go with the known than deal with this cruel and unforgiving world.

Likewise, my wife has been letting our dog Daze E out into the new yard, which lacks a fence. The yard backs to a forest teeming with wildlife. In short, a dog's dreamworld. So does Daze E run off to chase deer and squirrels? Hell no. She does her business and barks to be let back in. Politely, of course, as would befit a dog trainer's dog. And I think a lot of us are more like that than we'd care admit. We'd rather stick with the familiar than deal with the daunting unknown.

No relationship is perfect. Mine is no exception. We have our ups and downs. Right now we're in an up as Nan says this house is growing on her. The decorating is fun if a bit drawn-out. A couple posts ago I wrote about a down that followed the kiss from the drunken squaw. Another came when I gave her purloined flowers for Mother's Day. I won't make that mistake again come this Sunday.

Yet, at 45, I can't imagine what my life would be like were she to move on. Being single has never been my cup of tea. Couplehood suits me. I crave companionship and luckily I found an ideal mate.

Now don't get me wrong---I also treasure my solitude. Some of my most enjoyable moments are spent luxuriating in the tub with a wet crossword and lukewarm coffee. But that is only because deep down I know I am not Tom Hanks in Cast Away. I am not alone.

If for whatever reason I did find myself single after 15 joyous years of marriage, I wouldn't know where to turn. See, I've always been part of a couple. That is why I couldn't fathom prowling meat markets in search of a new mate. Where do you go? What clever things do you think up to say? How do you cope with the inevitable awkwardness and rejection?

And what if the person you meet and take a fancy to turns out to be one of those creeps who shares intimate details about themselves with total strangers? How do you deal with that? Or what if they have a jealous ex that stalks them and then hauls off and sucker-punches you in a bar as happened to me once? What then?

comments (6)


i'm sorry, but i'm not sorry

by lizard at 09:05 PM on May 04, 2004

when i started posting at bad sam, i was guest columnist, because i was very, very good at hounding mg till he realized giving me a column was the only way to shut me up. still, i wanted to be a real author, so i put extra effort into being the baddest samaritan i could be, by writing the worst how-to advice i could write: over the months, i instructed folks on the finer points of being a crazy catperson, getting drunk, and swimming in shark infested waters; however as it turns out, the single most dangerous column i ever wrote involved the decision to wear shorts (or NOT wear them). someone could put an eye out! or worse. much, much worse.

those columns were callous, insulting, and downright offensive; this was terribly difficult for me, because in real life i'm a sweet mild-mannered simpering wimpy lump of political correctness. couldn't offend a fly. not even a little baby fly, a little innocent baby fly.

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comments (6)