Here's some misnomers that have been eating at me lately:
Significant Others: As a term of endearment this just doesn't measure up. "Oh! Oh! Give it to me hard, my significant other. The size of your penis is so.... appreciable. See also: Domestic partner, which sounds like an attorney specializing in family law.
Postmodern: I defy anyone to define this word in a meaningful way. Given that the term modern is inherently relative to time, what is postmodern? It's like asking what's past the edge of the universe.
Roadside Bomb: Roadside has an amiable, folksy connotation, like a roadside produce stand. Bombs are seldom folksy or amiable.
Eating disorders: Such afflictions as anorexia would more rightly be called starving disorders. Obesity is an eating disorder.
Fake vs. Real Boobs: One is made of flesh while the other is made of silicone or saline solution in a pouch. How is one real and the other fake?
Detainee: This means delayed. As in, "Sorry I'm late for dinner. I got detained at the office." Yet now it's a euphemism for prisoner.
Undocumented Workers: Most of whom will never have proper documentation and many of whom never work.
Displaced Persons: This is a newer version of undocumented worker. It implies that the illegal alien got here but not of his own volition, like he was blown by the wind. People are displaced by natural disasters, not raft rides to Miami.
Pro-life: Aside from these guys, who isn't in favor of life?
Pro-choice: I bet they aren't for choice per se. Are they for Atomic Dog's choice to shoot that abortion doctor dead in front of his kids, for example?
Swing States: As polarized as our nation is, it's insulting to imply that all but 17 states are already sewn up for one candidate or the other.
The 9/11 hijackers: It's traditional to ID criminals by their most heinous offense i.e. the 9/11 mass murderers.
Niggaz: This is a sneaky way of using the N word without seeming racist. White entertainers (J Lo for one) sometimes use it to boost their street cred. Never do that.
Street Cred: See above. See also: indie, alternative, hip-hop and alt-country.
Crises and Disasters: Drained of meaning through overuse. See: "Health Care Crisis," "Education Crisis," and disaster areas. We may need to go with catastrophe from here on out.
In its class and of the season: As in, "most cargo capacity in its class" or "the feel-good hit of the season." What class? What season? As defined by whom?
Feel-good hits: I hate those.
The party you are trying to reach is not answering. Please try your call again later: Funny but I had noticed how it just rang and rang. Maybe I'll try back later.
Any faves or additions?
Last night I watched the first part of a new series on PBS called “Origins.” I like PBS because it makes me fell smart without having to read. I can read, obviously, I just don’t like to. Watching PBS lets me feel superior to the people watching Trading Spouses without necessarily doing any more work than they are.
Neil Degrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden planet here, hosts the show in New York City. I’ve seen him around before, and heard him on NPR (which I also listen to because it makes me feel smarter) this morning. He is a very smart fellow, but also entertaining, which is what inspired me to watch tonight, as much as my general interest in popular science.
Despite all the elegant and beautiful science going on in the universe, the thing that struck me the most watching the show was some simple footage of the moon landing. The moon landing happened in 1969, which sounds like forever ago, even in geological time. In reality, the moon landing was just 7 years before I was born and putting it in that perspective makes it sound like it was not all that long ago to me.
But when you look at the pictures of the technology around the NASA control room, you may as well be seeing pictures from the Victorian era. The folks in the control room at NASA were watching the footage from the Eagle module sitting on the surface of the moon. They were watching on 13” Black and White television sets with dials to change the channels. They had built a spacecraft that could put people on the moon, but they didn’t have the technology to broadcast the signals coming back from the moon in color!
Neil Armstrong was able to broadcast his famous “Small Step…Great Leap” comment from the moon, but no one had ever heard of a cellular telephone. They had sent people into space, but it’d be another decade before people would be playing Space Invaders in their local arcade. A computer as powerful as the one in your car would have been as big as your car.
There were no CDs. There was no VCR. There were no Fiber Optic wires. There were no pocket calculators. There was no leaf blower. There was no Internet. A word processor was an actual person. There was no tab on a can of soda. There were no Post-It Notes!
Is that not the craziest thing you could ever imagine? A bunch of guys got together and decided we should go to the moon. Against all logic these guys were somehow able to do it, and do it 10 years before Sony built the first Walkmen?
The universe is pretty frickin’ amazing. But we humans, no matter how insignificant we might be in that universe, you gotta admit we are pretty frickin’ amazing too.
With "Hurricane Jeanne" downgraded to "Slightly Overcast with a 60% Chance of Rain Jeanne" and now meandering her way up the Atlantic Seaboard, the people of Florida can finally breathe a sigh of relief. That would probably sound (or look) something like this: “Ahhhhhhhhhh” only slightly moister.
Despite the fact that hurricane season is only half over, this has already been the busiest hurricane in all of recorded history. I may not have the facts straight, so that could be a total lie, but it sounds pretty cool, doesn’t it? This has been the busiest, and most damaging, hurricane season in all of recorded history.
Tropical Storm Lisa has reared her soggy head, but doesn’t look like she’ll be much problem. At this rate, we’ll run out of the alphabet before we run out of weather conditions. I hate to admit it, but I’m looking forward to more hurricanes, just to see what the weather geeks come up with for “Q”, “X”, and “Z.” Wouldn’t it kind of kick ass to get your ass kicked by Xena: Hurricane Princess?
The people of Florida and the Caribbean have already lived through (or not, as the case may be) four hurricanes in the past two months. First there was Charley, then Frances, Ivan, and finally Jeanne. What makes it worse is that just as things start to get back to normal and BAM! another frickin’ hurricane. People have been evacuated and re-evacuated from their homes. Just think about this: They’ve had to reschedule two Miami Dolphins games. Two! And it is only the third week of the NFL season.
Think about this as well, there who have been without power since the first hurricane hit. As hard as it may be to comprehend this kind of loss, these unfortunate souls have missed the entire new Fall TV schedule. They’ve never seen Joey or The Benefactor. They have forever lost the chance to find out who is Donald Trump’s new Omarosa.
There are some people calling this hurricane season divine retribution for Florida’s role in the 2000 presidential election, but for on thing, I’m pretty sure the people of Haiti don’t vote in our presidential elections. And, if you really think God is personally involved in earthly elections, you’d have to imagine the big guy would be able to pull off a little rain sooner than three years after the fact. Sure they were in servitude for generations, but when those Hebrews needed a sea parted for them, God was there - he didn’t cause decades of drought until finally the sea went and dried up, and I don’t think it’d take him three years to whip up four hurricanes, no matter what class they are.
Besides, we all know God is on George Bush’s side. So, if anything, God orchestrated this to thin out the herd of Social Security and Medicare recipients who make Florida their home. Who needs Social Security reform or universal healthcare if you just kill off all the recipients? And what sneakier way to do it than using a “natural” disaster. This sounds to me like a case for CSI:Miami, but the case better be air tight, because I’m guessing God can find himself a pretty good lawyer.
I strolled into Barnes and Noble today intent on buying a book. I'm not averse to shelling out serious money for a newly released hardcover if it's something I'm interested in. To me a decent book is really your best bang for the entertainment buck.
I ask about my hero Bob Dylan's memoir Chronicles. It's not due out till 10/12 but they are running excerpts in Newsweek. The excerpts would ruin it for me so I will just bide my time and be there 10/12 when B&N opens.
I have read a review though. The so-called Poet Laureate of the spaced-out hippy generation hated hippies and druggies. When he was living in Woodstock, NY with his wife and kids, they would make the trek to his house and climb around on his roof. They'd try to make friends with him. He was so terrified of these gentle-souled stalkers that he started stocking up on weaponry to shoot them with.
Dylan rarely granted interviews and doesn't to this day. He prefers to remain an enigma, which is part of the reason I identify with him so. But when he did do a sitdown, the topic would always be the Deep Meaning of his lyrics. He'd always insist that he was just looking for words that rhymed and fit the meter, like most songwriters do. I love that even if it isn't true. It's just such a cool thing to say.
Hopefully it won't seem immodest but there have been times when I've read comments to my posts here and kind of felt the same way. Usually my posts are just some shit I threw together while drunk, often to disastrous results. Yet every so often someone will read some cosmic significance into my besotted rambling.
The following exchange once took place on The Tonight Show:
Johnny Carson: You've been a remarkably prolific songwriter in your brief career. What's your secret? Do you try to write the lyrics to a song one day and the music the next or what?
Jimi Hendrix: Man, I just try to get up everyday.
Audience: Raucous laughter.
Then one day he didn't. In a matter of months, neither did Jim Morrison or Janis Joplin. Interestingly it is widely thought that Morrison drank himself to death. After 1967 or so he eschewed illegal drugs, claiming they made him paranoid. He also pulled out his dick and started jerking off onstage in Miami. Hippy-dippy, my ass.
I think it's a common misconception to try and attribute certain characteristics to a person based on their art. Almost invariably those perceptions are flawed. Dylan, for instance, was hardly the peacenik troubadour as his early work might suggest. As soon as he could he junked the acoustic folk music scene and appeared onstage with The Band at the Newport Music Festival in 1966. The band, acompanied by legendary organist Al Cooper, raced through a little ditty called Like a Rolling Stone. Diehard folkies in attendance booed them unmercifully. Traitors!!! Sellouts!!!
I know; you think it's easy being me. Sure, you think...all I do is sit here in my underwear spewing forth with unassailable brilliance on matters from the political to the prosaic. Let me tell you, though, it ain't nearly as simple as y'all might think. Sometimes though, I have to blow off some steam. I'm pretty easygoing (just ask She Who Endures My Myriad Eccentricities), but I have my limits, just like anyone else.
Consider yourself warned, then. Time for me to take another mental dump...proceed at your own peril.
Mean people suck. Stupid mean people suck more. Stupid, mean, self-absorbed, arrogant, abusive, self-centered people who can't recognize that they are all of these things suck worst of all.
If I hear George W. Bush say one more time that John Kerry has said that our world would be safer with Saddam Hussein still in power, I'm going to throw up. Kerry has never said that, Bush knows it, and yet he keeps repeating the lie. Why? Because Bush has convinced himself that it is true, so he feels perfectly justified in spreading this lie. Why does he continue? Because it works. Most Americans, for reasons I cannot begin to understand, swallow this crap unquestioningly. Most Americans are fools.
Josef Goebbels was right. Repeat a lie often enough and with enough conviction and it eventually becomes the truth.
We should all be thanking whatever Deity we answer to that we are not Haitian.
Yeah, how much do think I miss Miami now??
If there is a God, Minnesota's John Santana will win the AL Cy Young Award this year.
"Better to fight terrorism in Iraq than here in the US" is not a political philosophy. It's a cop-out and a ignorant validation of George W. Bush's lies and miserable policy failure in Iraq.
John Kerry and George W. Bush. These are the best options we can come up with? If you look in the dictionary under "Empty Suit", you'll find a picture of both these non-entities.
Is it just me, or is Mean Girls merely a marketing vehicle for Lindsay Lohan's breasts? Is young, slutty, and barely legal now the latest trend? Or did I not get the memo?
Bud Selig is Satan.
Tom DeLay may be not BE Satan, but let's just say that he first in line in the order of succession.
Dan Rather thinks he's Satan, but the proof he had apparently couldn't be authenticated by an impartial expert on Evil.
Klingons are people, too...they just can't vote.
Jon Stewart for President. Why the hell not? At least there would be someone in the White House with a sense of humor and a grip on reality.
If you live in San Diego and just retired after working for the city, you might want to check the balance of your pension account- NOW.
If George W. Bush had devoted half as much resources to hunting Osama bin Laden as he did to capturing Saddam Hussein, would we still be wondering where he is? And when is the last time you even heard Bush talk about bin Laden- or even mention his name?
Can we PLEASE lock Gary Bettman and Bob Goodenow in a hot, airless room and refuse to let them out until the end this damn NHL lockout?
This week's sign that the Apocalypse is upon us...from an ad on ABC: "Wifeswap raises the bar in reality television...." Sorry, y'all, but the bar has been set so low you'd need a map, a metal detector, and a shovel to find it.
Vote Bush, or the terrorists will win!
OK, now that I've managed to get all that off my chest, I can get back to what REALLY has me occupied today: wondering what the "October Surprise" will be....
Here's some food for thought, if not fodder for discussion: Whatever you might think about the war over in Iraq, the US's 2003 invasion of this sovereign (what does that word mean again, George W?) nation was the first such foray since 1972. In that case cowed US forces fled Saigon and soon thereafter North Vietnam conquered South Vietnam, which ceased to exist. Before that you have to go back to the early 50s, when North Korea attempted to take over South Korea only to be repelled by UN forces led by---you guessed it---US forces. Before that you must go back to the late 30s/early 40s when Nazi Germany was busily overrunning its neighbors including Poland and the cheese-eating surrender monkeys of France.
And how about this: When US forces came to save the day in 1941, we weren't the superpower we are today. In fact, our military spending lagged behind that of freaking Portugal! My how things have changed. My how much they stay the same.
Now could somebody please 'splain to me why I'm paying $2 a gallon for gas when we control the vast oil fields of Texas, Louisiana, Alaska and American Iraq (2nd largest in the world)? I'm just asking.
This post has been modified to fit your screen.
The FCC's puritanical crackdown mustn't be working. I heard the following quiz on the radio today. (Gay readers should pretend they're of the opposite gender.)
1 Have/Haven't used a sex tip from Cosmo.
2 Like rich or struggling artiste types.
3 Face or body.
4 Wear/Don't wear scarves to cover up hickeys.
5 On belly or boobs.
6 Talk dirty or moan softly.
7 Spit or swallow.
8 Been/Haven't been date raped.
9 Prefer top or bottom.
10 Rather give/get.
1 Have/Haven't peeked at Cosmo sex tips.
2 Trashy or glamorous.
3 Tits or ass.
4 Wear/Don't wear turtlenecks to cover up hickeys.
5 Leave it on belly or boobs.
6 Talk dirty or moan softly.
7 Prefer he/she spit or swallow.
8 Been/Haven't been date raped.
9 Prefer top or bottom
10 Rather give/get.
So. What say ye?
The air is dry as a bone here in L.A., one sign that summer is over. I am glad, as the last several weeks of hundred-degree heat have gotten tiresome. Now, it's only about 85, and people are perspiring not because it's hot, but because it's dry. When it was hot, it was so hot that even Australians were complaining about the weather. "It's oppressive, really," said one. Now, when an Aussie says it's oppressively hot, it must darn well be very hot.
Another marker of the seasons is the approach of the Harvest Moon Festival. This is a big holiday in Chinese culture. It falls on the 15th day of the eighth month of each lunar year, which has the brightest full moon of the year. This year, it's the 28th. How do you celebrate the Harvest Moon Festival, you ask?
Well, you visit relatives, if you're not currently fighting with them, or if you are, you may also go and make tight-lipped smiles and pleasantries. You will probably fib about you own life so that you sound more successful than you really are. But everyone else will be doing it, too. You also eat moon cakes, which are one of the few holiday foods that haven't been bastardized and commercialized so that they're available in the Chinese community all year long. I mean, imagine if hot cross buns were available any time of the year. How special would that be?
Moon cakes generally come in boxes of four and are so heavy with fat, sugar, and calories that it's folly to try to eat more than one at a single go. They have a pastry crust that goes all around, and contain different fillings within. Every year the same drama plays out in my parents' house around these little dietary smart-bombs. About three to four weeks before the festival, my mom will throw frugality to the wind and buy a box of moon cakes (about fifteen dollars' worth) even though it's nowhere near the right date for eating them. Since she knows that she's going to have to buy more later, she gets mid-range moon cakes which, while good, don't taste quite so great. The box goes in the refrigerator and everyone in the family struggles for a few days not to rip it open and devour the cakes inside. Sometimes a rogue operative (usually my father) will just go ahead and do it, and when we open the box later, we'll find three cakes instead of four, with no explanation given. Eventually my mom brings the box out and cuts each moon cake into six little slices, and we engage in a feeding frenzy, under cover of whose chaos at least one sibling manages to bogart another sibling's share. Feelings will be wounded, but will quickly heal.
Later, about one week before the holiday, my mom will buy the moon cakes that we'll "really" eat. These get saved for proper consumption. They will be more expensive than the first set, and, while mediocre moon cakes are good, deluxe moon cakes are heaven. Sometimes my mom gets the deluxe set from the market, and sometimes from a specialty bakery, perhaps the L.A. branch of some chi-chi posh Hong Kong bakery. Different bakeries go in and out of style over the years, and you'll see lines of little old Chinese ladies with their sons idling their Japanese import cars in parking lots in different parts of town. One year my mom got our "good" moon cakes from a restaurant which was making them in the style of the province which she came from. Those were very good, and very different from usual. Sadly, that restaurant has gone out of business, not because its food wasn't excellent (the Chinese restaurant business in my area is a cutthroat bloodbath), but because there wasn't enought of a market for cuisine from Guangzhou. No matter where they're from, the good moon cakes my mom buys will always show up in a very fancy box which everyone will begin lusting after upon first sight. My mom will deflect demands for "just a taste" from every member of the family all week long and at long last, on the night that the moon will be bright enough to read by, she will open the fancy box and slice four moon cakes into six slivers each. That's if my father hasn't successfully executed any covert operations. And that's what's on my mind right now. Moon cakes!
I can feel it in my bones. I'm gonna spend my whole life alone. It's fuck and run. -Liz Phair, from her classic Fuck and Run.
We all seek some sense of belonging. No man is an island or so they say. But that doesn't mean we all do feel a part of things. Increasingly more and more folks feel alienated by or even estranged from the human race. I fall into this misanthropic category.
In the Fall of '73 I was a freshman in high school. They had a pep rally to fire up the student body about an upcoming football game against our crosstown rivals. Students flocked to the gymnasium. Cheerleaders and athletes exhorted everyone to come out and support the team. There was much hooping and hollering. We ducked out the back to loll around the parking lot, smoking. Roger said, "I guess this means we're the outcasts."
I joined no clubs. I participated in zero activities. Because I was a star soccer player the football coach offered me a tryout to be the placekicker. Despite the opportunity to bag cheerleader babes, I declined. One of my biggest regrets was blowing off the prom. You only get one chance to do that.
Always we felt like it was us, the outsiders, against them. We were hungry dogs peering through a frosty ski lodge window at them, warmed by the fire and their own conviviality. For me this disconnected feeling continued through college and well into adult life.
For six years of college I pretty much kept to myself. When I would go to parties I felt invisible yet unwelcome nonetheless---like a fart. I joined no frats, attended no games. Everyone else seemed to be having the time of their lives, oblivious to those of who most decidedly were not.
I used to have a photo that summed it up. About ten drunks all have their arms around one anothers' necks, holding up drinks and joints to the camera with huge grins plastered across their faces. Off to the side is Roger and I, grimacing, hands in out pockets.
My wife and I were active in Cub Scouts. We were Den Leaders. There was a shortage of volunteers so we kind of got enlisted as a condition of our kid being in the troop. All the while it was the same cliquey thing. We were never really part of the group, which only made us compete all the more firecely in the inter-Den competitions. More often than not we'd win.
To this day I feel this way, particularly at work. There are those who are connected and thus going places and those who aren't. I guess every job has those workers who organize employee clubs and arrange morale-boosting events that boost no one's morale. These are people who claim to love their jobs. They don't mind endlessly tedious meetings, viewing them as a chance to network and further their careers. Same goes for so-called "team-building exercises." They use terms like "QA" or "FYI" or yes, "network" as verbs. They make those " air quotation marks" with their fingers. They socialize with one another after work. They actually believe corporate "mission statements." In many cases they wrote them.
These are the folks who think it is important enough to hold class reunions that they will take time from their busy lives to actually organize them.
I don't know why but I've always resented these perky, organized people. They are gregarious. They keep in touch with old friends and send boastful Christmas cards. They lead clean lives. They balance their checkbooks. They have retirement and college funds. They are blind to the vague nuances and seeming ambiguity that plagues the rest of us. They are up on things. They are mainstream. They are of this world. They are popular pep rally people. And I hate them all.
I suppose that is as good a way as any to divide the human race: those in the rollicking gymnasium and those misanthropes hanging out in the parking lot at age 14. And thus shall it remain regardless of what lofty professional, academic or even societal level one might attain. Might as well get used to that fact early on.
You are who you are.
The first week of my foray into the “real world” is over. I feel like a newborn again (not that I really recall what it felt like to be a newborn, but you get the idea.) For twelve years and then another six, I was sheltered in the womb of Mother School, blissfully ignorant of the outside world, unprepared for the shock that I would get when ejected from my warm, comfortable, sheltered life and thrust, unprepared and naked, into the cold, cruel world. Maybe newborns know this and that’s why they promptly bawl their lungs out.
I arrived in LA on September 3rd, after much driving, as I’d mentioned previously. The drive out was an exercise in the emotional rollercoaster. For years I’d been itching to get out of Iowa and here I was, finally doing it. I’d packed up all the essentials in my car (mostly personal items and nonreplaceables) and headed west, young man. As I drove though western Kansas under cover of darkness, one thought kept assailing me:
“What the fuck do you think you’re doing, Iowa boy?”
Perhaps it was the mess my body was in after a hard night of boozing or a deeply-embedded parental voice, chastising me for leaving Lawrence at 9 p.m., but whatever it was, I’d never felt so insecure and unsure of my decision. I grew up in Waterloo, Iowa, which combined with its neighbor Cedar Falls forms a community of around 110,000; I was moving from Ames, Iowa, a town of 50,000; and I was moving to Los Angeles, one of the largest cities in the world. Though I’d spent time in New York City (though never more than a week at a time) and Rome (though constrained within a few-mile radius of the Field of Mars), I’d never really done this. Was I ready to just dive right in and move, without a job lined up, to Los Angeles?
Perhaps it was the altitude, but as I drove through the sleeping city of Denver, I came close to having a panic attack. I kept reminding myself that it was just nervousness and insecurity talking, and by the time I started winding my way through the mountains, the sun rose. Perhaps it was the additional altitude combined with the massive amounts of caffeine in my system and tiredness, but the exuberance that washed over me as I caught glimpse of a crimson sunrise over the mountains was incomparable. There’s something about mountains that seems vaguely mysterious to me; coming from Iowa, we don’t get much more than rolling plains. Mountains and oceans have always carried a majesty that demands notice, for they are the stuff of music, poetry, writings, souls. They have been worshipped, feared, revered, battled. They have been named and given personalities and have killed the unwise and the innocent, the young and the old, the high and the low.
I drove through the mountains that make Colorado so famous and as I looked at them, reaching quietly to the sky, I remembered why I was moving. I was leaving the cradle of Iowa, leaving behind almost everything that I was familiar with, almost everyone that I knew and loved – and that was precisely what I needed. Iowa was a good place to grow up, but I needed somewhere else to live the next stage of my life. I’d outgrown it, mentally and emotionally. It was physically and metaphorically a place in my life that is over and that I needed to leave. There are so many things I have yet to do and discover, so many roads to explore, and I can’t keep finding myself back in the same place. Every street, every corner in Ames is steeped in six years of emotion, stress, depression, drunkenness, celebration. Old friends, new friends, an enemy or two. It was time to start fresh.
So that’s what I did. I packed my bags, left the emotional baggage in the dumpster, and started my life in Los Angeles. A few of my fears dissolved quickly, as I found myself with gainful employment within a week. Now, the first week of work is done and it looks like it’ll be good. It’s a very small firm; apart from myself, there are the two partners, another designer, and a programmer/PHP guy. The first week went well and I hope I can do some good work. One of my first tasks will be to redesign the site for the firm; once that’s done, I’ll throw you all a link.
Here’s to a new life.
Here in Washington there are two newspapers, the Post and the lesser-known Times, owned by the Moonies. We subscribe to the Post. I skim it in the morning. At lunch I like to read the more conservative Times. It's interesting to see the none too subtle differences in phrasing. The Times often uses the term "Islamofascist" while the Post never does. The Times calls people "terrorists" while the Post often inserts "accused" or "alleged." The Times always puts quotation marks thusly: gay "marriage."
But the Times is hard to find. I think agents for the Post pay stores not to stock it. In the town where I work, there is just one place to get it. It's an old-fashioned newsstand, fully stocked with a wide array of periodicals. The other day I went there for the first time in a while (it's kind of out of the way and I only get 45 minutes for lunch.) There is, of course, the porn section. Guys stand there gazing at the magazine covers wrapped in clear plastic. Nobody ever seems to buy them. A guy sits impassively behind the counter. Every so often he goes, "Finding everything okay?" This query is answered with a vague, collective murmur.
There is another rack that used to have a collection of those miniature magazines like Penthouse Forum. It also had a variety of more niche-oriented erotic story magazines. Some have pix of hunky-looking men. I've surmised that these cater to gay men.
Well, now all those are gone. They've been replaced by a dozen different periodicals with names like Family Stories and Barely Legal. As I'm fishing in my pocket for change to pay for the Times, I notice this change. A pervert is standing there peering at one of the Family things. I too pick one up out of curiousity. What are they talking about, Family? A quick glance confirmed by suspicions: these mags are devoted to.... incest. Yes. Mom and son, dad and daughter, siblings, whatever. How freaking creepy is that? And who knew there'd be such an extensive market for it outside the hills of West Virginia and Kentucky? Did I miss something here?
Chris mentioned in a comment a while back how people seem to be reassured, instead of disgusted, by the world-wide availability of reliably sub-par food from international franchises like McDonald's. It got me to thinking about times when I'd eaten fast food in other countries.
I've eaten at the following: a Kentucky Fried Chicken in Hong Kong, Yoshinoyas in Japan and Taiwan, a Burger King in the Netherlands, and McDonaldses in Japan and Italy. I like going to these places for a few reasons. First, because I like to see how the corporate marketing machine reacts to different markets. Will they bend to appeal to local tastes? Or will they sell exactly what they sell in America instead, and just bully people into coming in with a multimillion-dollar ad campaign? And second, I like to see how the locals react to these big lumps of corporate Americana (of course, the Yoshinoyas are an exception, since they originated in Japan). Is it a part of normal life? Is it a novelty? Are they eating the wacky American food for kicks? Do only media-obsessed youngsters go there, or is there a cross-section of the population inside? Well, I never actually picked up enough information to answer any of these questions, but I can tell you what I do know:
At a Japanese Yoshinoya you can get a raw egg cracked over your bowl... and the food there is much better than at Yoshinoyas here. The store, just off the Ginza district in Tokyo if I remember correctly, looked like it had existed for 60 years, easily. It had these smoke-stained walls and these scarred and time-stained wooden counters and stools. Tons of character. In case you're wondering, the egg cooks itself on your hot food, a la runny sunny-side up eggs. Lots of middle-aged men.
The Taiwanese Yoshinoya was alright. It was a strip-mall restaurant near the base of the National Palace Museum, shiny-clean and sterile. They had different dessert options than they do in the U.S., including a kind of Taiwanese soupy custard (basically egg-drop soup with all the soup replaced by egg). There were teenaged girls in the store while I was there.
The KFC was fun because it was in downtown Hong Kong and full of wage workers on their lunch breaks. I loved the working-stiff hangout-ness of it. The food was expensive and the chicken a little drier than American KFC. There were a lot of service workers, all Filipino. I am guessing that they are some of the people that keep the other, important-looking people in suits in business. Try looking that up in your Fodor's.
At the Japanese McDonald's, located in the Harajuku (info here and here) district of Tokyo, I had Chicken McNuggets. They didn't taste quite the same as they do here... they were better. While this was before Chicken McNuggets here became all white meat, and I believe that at the time, Japanese Chicken McNuggets were already all-white meat, I wonder if the real difference was that they were more careful fried. Japan is the land of tempura after all, which when properly fried is not greasy. That's a high standard against which to compete. There were young trendoids inside, but Harajuku is nothing but young trendoids.
I ended up at the Italian McDonald's while in Florence only because a friend and I were running late on our way to Fiesole. Fiesole is a city in a Henry James novel... and we felt like heathens going to McDonald's when we were on the way to a place where Great Literature had happened. So all we got was coffee. It was better than the scalding-hot, tasteless stuff Mickey D's sells here, though. There were some middle-class looking families inside.
The Burger King, located in Amsterdam, was totally unremarkable, except that it was inside a late-1800s train station and the interior was all paneled in dark wood. It was like eating at a Swiss chalet that served Whoppers. There were a few families in here, too.
So that's about it. If you want to hear about a local food experience that I had overseas, check out my comment in this ol' thread. Bon appetit!
I am totally torn. I've heard about this mega-concert downtown. It's called Rock for Change or some such pretentious thing. Tickets go on sale Saturday. Decent ones will cost $78 apiece.
It's been so long since I've attended a show that I don't know if that is a lot or not. But the bill includes REM, Jackson Browne, John Fogerty, Bonnie Raitt, James Taylor, John Mellencamp, Dixie Chicks and Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band. I love all of them.
I've never seen the Chicks, REM or James Taylor live. I was there at Merriweather Post in '76 when Browne recorded his seminal road album Running on Empty. I still thrill over his simple "thank you all" at the close of The Loadout/Stay. The last time I saw Raitt play Little Feat (the real deal, with Lowell George, not that phony baloney thing they have today) was backing her. And of course I have seen rock's consummate showman countless times. He's not called the Boss for nothing.
The money is a bit of an issue. Ian wants to go as he likes Mellencamp and REM. That makes it 3 x $78 plus subway fare and refreshments. Lots of refreshments at premium MCI Center prices. That is the real issue for me. Over the years I've shunned concerts and other shows unless they are in the daytime. At night I drink. In my house. Like a freaking recluse. For I am deathly afraid of being arrested again, because it would involve a lengthy... prison stay. I have heard some awful stories about what goes on there.
I envision the police congregating outside venues and setting up roadblocks to make mass arrests as revelers deaprt. And I do not care to be fucked in my ass. Plus there's the matter of my job. And don't tell me not to imbibe. That simply isn't going to happen. If I tried that the night out would be all about not drinking and wishing I could. It would ruin everything.
Also, this is some political shit to raise money for the Democratic party. The last thing I want to hear is some aging rock stars sermonizing at me about George W Bush or something. I've never voted. I will never vote. I am apolitical.
On the other hand, I am intrigued by the format. Bands, particularly old ones, love to bore audiences to tears with their newer, unfamiliar material. There are old classics they are sick of playing. I've seen Dylan play several times and he never does Like a Rolling Stone, for instance. But with all these acts crowded on the same bill I would think they would simply play their best hits and leave. That is what I want in a concert, not a bunch of formulaic new tunes or jams. And certainly none of those dreaded drum or guitar solos.
The fact that Springsteen will likely be the headliner along with Little Steven and Nils Lofgren on guitar probably makes this a foregone conclusion that we will make an outing of it. Maybe we should rent a limo. How long is this damn thing? What to do?
Well, Amy and I have made it. This coming weekend is when we were going to have a wedding, until we decided eloping was the way to go. That means we get to take a small honeymoon until we can set up the big one to Ireland. So, we’ll be heading to the Outer Banks, in NC, for a week of sex, sex, and more sex! Wait, I’m sure there will be more than just sex going on (eating maybe?) but I am a guy and that’s what I do; I think about sex. The only thing that has me just a bit worried is the barrage of hurricanes and other tropical storms assaulting the US. What the hell is going on? Is the end coming and I didn’t get the memo? Did Dubya piss God off trying to conquer the world? Does this seem like more inclement weather than we've had in recent years or is it just me? All valid questions I think. Questions aside, I am a bit worried that this crap is going to ruin the first vacation I have had in seven years and it just happens to be part of my honeymoon. I know, wah wah, cry me a river. There are people getting their homes wiped from the face of the earth and others losing their lives but damn, I want a vacation. When Amy and I planned this outing “hurricane season” never crossed our minds. Maybe that’s because we don’t have to brave too many of them this far inland. I’m not too worried about Ivan. That one’s path looks to be heading through Tennessee, Western Virginia and such but Jeanne is another story altogether. The projected path of this vacation killer puts it right off the Atlantic coast of Florida by Tuesday. That’s usually a bad omen for the coast of the Carolinas. Oh well, we have a three level beach house on stilts and if the bastard comes calling then it might run into hurricane Rob. My projected path will be from the hot tub to the master bedroom skirting the coast of the refrigerator. I’ll probably be a category five by the time I make landfall on Amy’s southern coast. Wheeeeeeeee!!!
A while back I suggested the start of a Bad Samaritan CD Exchange. People seemed to really like the idea. And then I asked them to do something about it, and only the hard core bothered showing up.
Well, the exchange is now in its fourth month. There are 15 lovely people involved, and so far I’ve received 6 CDs full of almost totally new-to-me music. These CDs have all been great. In fact, each time I get a new one I think, “This is the best mix CD I have ever heard, nothing could be better.” And then, a couple weeks later a new CD shows up in the mail and I think, “No, this is the best mix CD I have ever heard. Those ones I got last month were crap. How could I ever have liked them?”
My turn is coming up in
November October, and I already have my idea for the theme – “Man vs. Machine.” That, or “Piano Rock.” Or maybe “Story Songs” (like the infomercial). Either way, my mix CD is going to blow the crap out of all the mix CDs that have ever been made before. This mix CD I’m putting together will stand so far above the rest, that this CD exchange is going to end afterwards, because no one believes they could ever match up, so why bother trying?
So, if you want to join up on this thing before it all falls to crap, send me an email. The way things stand now the most you’d have to do is one CD every 8 months, and send it to a dozen or so people. I’ve got a three-month old child and I still manage to find time to work on this mix CD (mainly because I don’t help around the house or change diapers), so you should have no trouble finding time in your sad little life for working on this.
Email me if you are interested in participating. You know how to email, don’t you? Just put your lips together and blow. Oh, wait, that’s something else.
Come Mope with Me: Eternal pessimist seeks anyone who wants to commiserate about my misfortune all day and night.
Uncontrollable Twitch: And I holler out curse words at most inappropriate times, like at your mom's funeral.
Come on Home, Anna Nicole: Elderly WM seeks sweet young thing to share deathbed. Pre-nup a must. Now go soak my dentures, bitch.
Explosive Temper: Three murder charges, three acquitals. Justifiable homicide, doncha know. MWM seeks a busty plaything willing to risk it all.
Truck Stop Waitress: But I clean up damn good.
Let's Rub Taints: You know that weird little strip of skin down there?
Practical Joker: Whoopee cushions, hand buzzers, puns, groaners and sugar in your gas tank, I do it all.
Leave Me Alone: Write me letters. Send email. Leave messages. I'll never reply.
Let's Talk About My Things: Starlit strolls along the beach with me monopolizing the conversation about all my possessions and how much they cost. A bundle, trust me.
I Will Kill Your Dog: Damn thing never was much good as a watchdog anyway.
I'm Reading Your Email: So I'm nosy, you gotta problem with that?
Release My Inner Child: Beat him senseless. He's been bad. A real hellion, that one.
Nag, Nag, Nag: Dessicated Jewish mother with empty nest syndrome seeks 20-something male to guilt-trip into suicide. The more faults the better.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome: And lots of other medical ailments! Let's lay awake and talk about them. After that we can look at my baby pictures.
Feel Me Up: Doing the deed is overrated. French-kissing is dirty and gross. Dry humping is okay. Go home with a wretched case of blue balls every night. Don't worry about me, I've got a vibrator.
I'll Latch On and Never Let Go: Stalking is the sincerest form of flattery. My last GF wound up in witness protection. DWM seeks SBF for involuntary lifetime commitment.
Try Your Patience: I have nothing to wear. Does this skirt make my butt look big? Better not answer that, buster.
Town Bicycle: Pull it out of my ass and shove it in my mouth. I'm ugly as sin but game for anything. Ride me. Everyone else has. HIV-tested last year.
Rich 'n Handsome: Gay M seeks F to be my beard at social functions. Great pay and benefits.
Tie Me Up and Just Leave Me There: It's okay, really.
I love Fall. It is soccer season, which means our Saturdays are consumed by first my son's game and then mine. Neither of us possess great skills but we play a physically intimidating game. It is fun. Come Sunday I settle down in front of the TV to indulge in my other obsession: football. Not just any football, Redskins football. I couldn't care less about any other teams. Not just any Redskins football, physical smash-mouth Joe Gibbs-coached football. Not the prissy, finesse-laden ball favored by the Rams or Gibbs' lame predecessor Steve Spurrier. We're talking Riggo Drill, the infamous Body Bag Game against Philly and such. And now he is back. Hallelujah. I've waited long for this day and now it has come. I wasn't disappointed as the 'Skins eked out a 16-10 victory long on muscle and short on trickery.
Today I get up and divide the paper between me and my wife. She gets Style and Metro and I get the rest. I disappear into my smelly lair. I read columnists waxing rhapsodic about the Return of the King, the good old days redux. Smash-mouth football. I feel good. Then I pick up the front page and learn about this.
Now admittedly, this is a Gibbsesque, violent, smash-mouth approach to a grisly wartime situation. Yet this is no game. It is difficult to imagine how those helicopter gunmen felt at the time they openned fire on the revelers or looters (depending on which account you read.) Somewhere in the online netherworld is a grainy video of the attack shot by one of its victims, a reporter doing his job. I bet it's uninformative about whether the revelers/looters were really dancing or systematically dismantling the Bradly Fighting Vehicle for future use against American troops. And who knows if they were truly "civilians" or not. That line has grown so blurry that it is almost meaningless.
But a couple things are for sure: 1) Maybe this was a time for some Rams-style finesse. Get on the loudspeaker, warn people to move away before firing Hellfire missiles in their directions. Freaking cameras were rolling, for Christ's sake. 2) WE NEED TO GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM THE MIDDLE EAST FOREVER. Even if you buy that we're there to help people, dude, they obviously aren't buying into it. Some might, but enough don't that a thousand of our citizens are dead for trying to help out a bunch of ingrates or perhaps, even something more sinister still. Sometimes shit just doesn't work out. Face facts. Move on.
As Bruce Springsteen once sang, "It's a town full of losers, we're pulling out of here to win." And the key word is, forever, as in never to return. Nothing good has come of our meddling there and what's more, nothing ever will. Let those boys 'n girls come home, brew up some chili, sear some hot wings, ice down some beers and watch the 'Skins roll to their 5th Super Bowl.
Or else deploy them elsewhere to hunt down Osama and Doc Zawahiri and force-feed him his own nuts; seared to a crisp with a generous dousing of hot sauce, like the wings. Isn't that why we were ever in that hellhole in the first place? Or did I miss something?
There have been some issues with the site recently, but everything should be smooth sailing from here on out. You may now return to your regularly scheduled weblog.
How long does a man remain a traitor to his country? How long should that country wait to punish him? Does time ease the despicable nature of betrayal? These are all questions that the case of US Army deserter SGT Charles Jenkins will force us to confront. How long IS long enough? Is there (or should there be) a statute of limitations on treason?
CAMP ZAMA, Japan -- Saluting and standing at attention, accused U.S. Army deserter Charles Jenkins surrendered to U.S. military authorities Saturday to face charges that he left his army unit in 1965 and defected to North Korea.
Jenkins, 64, turned himself in at the U.S. Army's Camp Zama accompanied by his Japanese wife and two daughters....
"Sir, I'm Sergeant Jenkins and I'm reporting," Jenkins declared as he met the provost marshal, Lt. Col. Paul Nigara, after arriving in a minivan from his Tokyo hospital.
"You are now under the control of the U.S. Army," Nigara told him in response before escorting Jenkins into a base building.
Jenkins is charged with abandoning his unit and defecting to the North, where he lived for 39 years. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted. While in the reclusive communist state, he made propaganda broadcasts and played devilish Americans in anti-U.S. films.
I must admit to having some decidedly mixed feelings in this case. Yes, Jenkins betrayed his country, but this happened 39 years ago. Now Jenkins is a sick old man who is a threat to no one but himself. He is the one who has to look himself in the mirror and come to some sort of peace with his actions.
There are those who would say that living in North Korea for 39 years (not exactly the lap of luxury) has been punishment enough. Realistically, the US Army may not be able to seriously argue that Jenkins' defection and subsequent actions on behalf of the North Korean regime placed any American soldiers at risk. Of course, it is entirely possible that Jenkins' actions did exactly that. Thirty-nine years later, though, would (or should) a civilized nation execute a traitor such as Jenkins?
There is little doubt that SGT Charles Jenkins was and is a deserter and a traitor- and as such deserves to be punished under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Jenkins did provide aid and comfort to the enemy. Does (or should) the fact that his desertion happened 39 years ago be viewed as a mitigating factor? Is there a statute of limitations that a compassionate and humane country and it's army should respect? I'm not certain that I can answer those questions, but part of me thinks that, having spent 39 years in North Korea, perhaps Charles Jenkins has already been punished.
Today marks three years since the September 11th attacks.
In many ways it feels as if a lifetime has passed since that day. There have been two wars fought. The USA PATRIOT Act has infringed (?) on our freedoms. We are in the middle of a contentious presidential election. Three times as many Americans, English, Afghanis, Iraqis, and others have died since. The plans have been announced for the rebuilding of the Twin Towers.
Yet, whenever I see footage of the Twin Towers falling, it still hits me like the very first time. We’ve lived with the knowledge of these painful, unnecessary deaths for more than a thousand days, yet it still makes no sense, and hopefully never will. This morning, they are reading the names of each of those killed in the towers, the Pentagon, and the four downed airlines. I can’t watch.
September 11 has been officially dubbed as “Patriot Day” in the United States.
I don’t know about you, but patriotism, and that differencing of others based on really meaningless classifications (religion, sexuality, nationality) is exactly the reason why someone would hate so much they’d be willing to kill others, and themselves.
The idiots who strap bombs to little children and blow up busses in Tel Aviv are “patriots.”
The idiots who want to Nuke the Middle East and “turn it to glass” are “patriots.”
The 19 hijackers were “patriots.”
The hundreds of police, firemen, and emergency officers who rushed into the Towers were not patriots.
They were individuals doing whatever they could to help others. They weren’t Americans helping Americans; they were people helping people.
The 2,749 who died in the Twin Towers were not patriots either.
They were just innocent victims, people going about their lives. The only injustices they’d been involved in were the same ones we all commit: forgetting to call their mom, cutting off someone in traffic, taking a penny, but not leaving a penny. A lot of them weren’t even Americans, and had nothing more in common with each other than dieing together as 110 floors collapsed in upon themselves.
Not that anyone reading this has any say in the matter, but for me September 11th will never be “Patriot Day.” This day shouldn’t be about patriotism. It should be about cherishing innocence, and doing all we can to protect it. There is no way to end hatred, but today of all days, shouldn’t become another cause of it. Hate if you have to. Kill if it is absolutely necessary. Today, for me, will always be “Innocence Day,” in remembrance of those innocent victims who lost their life on September 11th 2001 and every day since. Today should be about preventing the loss of more innocent lives, and maybe trying to approach innocence ourselves.
Part of my job is to convince disabled people to accept complicated settlement packages that usually involve vehicles like "Medicare set-aside accounts," annuities and such. Most of them are suspicious, preferring to leave things as they are i.e. with my company holding an enormous bag. The biggest item in the bag is prescriptions. OxyContin. Dope. Welcome to the new, even more futile "war on drugs."
Today I had a rare taker. I moved in for the kill with my spiel about how if you can ever figure out Medicare's supposed "prescription benefit for seniors" you'll be in like Flynn. The guy says he isn't worried about that. He figures he can stretch the $93,000 allowance I've given him for a lifetime of prescription i.e. dope needs. And all his other medical needs (less the 20% copay) will be covered by this "Medicare set-aside account." He'll be set. My company will be tickled pink to kick him off their rolls.
How does he plan to do this with the skyrocketing cost of medications? Well, he lives next to an old folks home. Every day he watches them hobble out with their walkers and their canes and their wheelchairs to wait for the charter bus. The bus to fritter away their life savings in Atlantic City? No. The bus to Canada, five hours away. Just over the border there are makeshift pharmacies stocked with all their favorite dope, er, medications.
My guy (age 42) figures he'll just join them on their monthly trek up north seeking affordable relief. Before his settlement, my company footed his $4000 a month prescription bill so what did he care? He sat there on his balcony watching the old people gather for what has to be an arduous journey, thinking, "I'm sure glad that isn't me."
Now he has the charter company's brochure and he is good to go. There's a complimentary all-U-can-eat buffet in Toronto or wherever it is. Is it just me or is there something drastically wrong with this picture?
The best parts of me believe that I should take the briefest of moments to say hello to all and wish everyone a merry new school year. Or maybe that's just for me. It looks as if I'll be stealing MG & Snaggle's dueling roles of time-starved student.
My grandest apologies for falling off the face of the earth, though there’s another bluff to fall from in sight. Orientation starts next week. I'll get an ID card, a quick instructional on how to use the library, and probably at least one decent panic attack.
And so it is, after twelve days in a car and four balding tires, five thousand miles worse-for-wear, I have only one solid observation that I am comfortable in sharing: the east coast is goddamned H-O-T.
Let's meet the Jews or as they are sometimes affectionately known, The Tribe. Stuttering John once ambushed a celeb with this query, "Do you blame the Jews?" "Blame them for what," came the reply. Then the punchline: "For everything."
As with all effective comedy there's a grain of truth there. Some people do tend to blame Jews for all the world's myriad woes. There's tons of diseased minds out there, churning out crazed conspiracy theories that hold Jews responsible for running the world, Sept 11, greed and just about everything else. You can read all about it in The Protocols of Zion.
From Egypt to Morocco to Libya to Syria newspapers routinely spew blatantly anti-Semitic rants. But the confusing part comes when you consider that a Semite is simply an Arab. Most of these people are Arabs. Yet they are anti-Semitic. Go figure.
When America and all its allies except Israel attacked Iraq in 91, what did it do? Why, rained Scub missiles on Israel, what else? It's even stranger when you consider that Israel is the one military ally we could actually make more than symbolic use of. These guys rock when it comes to hand-to-hand combat.
Yet Jews are hardly the most hardy or athletic sorts. The book Great Jewish Athletes would be a thin book indeed. Israel just won its first gold medal for like, wind-surfing or something.
Some Jews are underhanded, devious, miserly double-dealers, just like their reputation. Some of them are very shrewd at business. Just as some Gentiles are underhanded, devious, shrewd and miserly. So what?
But they are defintely battle-proven warriors. 3-4 times Israel's neighbors have banded together and plotted to erase it from the face of the Earth. 3-4 times the combined Arab armies have been soundly defeated by Israel, humiliated in a matter of days and sent packing with their uncircumcised tails between their legs. Fact is, Israel is strong whilst Arab armies are weak. Arabs haven't won a war since staving off the marrauding Christian crusaders thousands of years ago. When Iraq and Iran fought throughout the 80s it ended in a standoff. The closest thing they have to a victory is Afghanistan repelling the Soviets and that was with CIA assistance and support. If they ever attacked Israel again, the result would be the same and they know it.
When you look at the ongoing dispute about Israel and its so-called "occupied territories," it's important to keep that historical perspective in mind. With the exception of one ill-fated excursion into Lebanon i.e Syria, they aren't the aggressor, they are the finisher. They were attacked by multiple nations time and again. And time and again they vanquished their foes on the battlefield and won the Golan Heights, Gaza Strip and West Bank fair and square. Thus those areas shall belong to them forevermore.
Most modern borders were drawn as a result of armed conflict. Just look at the US, for example. The Indian nations had it but they weren't strong enough to hold it, so we snatched it away from them and sent them away to "reservations" i.e hellholes to rot and die in. This is simply a stark reality. To the victor goes the spoils. If you want to hold onto your territory then fight harder.
Why then do we hear all this hoo-ha about the "occupied territories" or the fence Israel is building in its own land as any government might fence in a potentially virulent nuclear reactor. Why is there a double standard when it comes to them? Because they are Jews?
Yes. Sniveling, hand-wringing types blame them for all the problems they've created for themselves. But why? What's it about them? And should they be allowed to keep their battlefield spoils?
Living for a number of years – okay, my entire life – without having any significant responsibility makes it all the much more difficult when, all of a sudden you’ve got all these people relying on you to take care of them.
As you know, I’m recently married. I’ve been even more recently childed. Over the past year that we’ve been married the wife has been taking care of me. She was making those big New York City teacher dollars, bringing home the turkey bacon, and many mornings, frying it too. At the same time she was sitting backwards on chairs trying to make inner city kids care about learning (to the strains of Coolio), I was usually “studying” or “doing research.”
I’m not saying school was easy, but it isn’t work (as that poor sap Snaggle will soon be learning). While I was in school I stayed in my pajamas for entire days; and I sleep naked.
I really only ever had to leave the house on nights I had class, or if the stupid internet let me down and couldn’t provide me with the sweet, sweet knowledge I was looking for.
Sure, writing a 25 page paper is no picnic, but I’ll take staying up for one all-nighter a semester than having to drag my ass out of bed every morning, with no hope of it ever ending, until I’m dead, or retired (at which point I’ll have to wake up at 5:30 every morning anyway because of God’s shoddy work on the male prostate).
But now I’m done with school and as I don’t have the mammary-fortitude to feed little Frances it was decided that I would be the one to head back to work. It feels as if I have been out of work forever. Even before going back to school, it felt like I hadn’t held a job in years, and that I’d never be able to find full-time gig ever again.
As graduation neared, I revamped my resume for library jobs. And started selling myself like reality TV chick looking for a couple extra seconds of fame, even if I had to take my clothes off and spread. But no one was buying. It began to really discourage me when $25,000 a year jobs didn’t even feel it necessary to send me rejection letters. “If I’m willing to pretend I want to work in your crappy library, the least you should be willing to do,” I thought, “is pretend you wanted me there.”
Then the kid was ready to join us out-of-womb people, and I decided to quit looking for a while. The afternoon before she was born, I got a call back from a job I’d only sent a resume to as a lark. I called the dude back in the morning, after having been awake for something like 50 straight hours, left some nonsense message that, I’m sure, made as much sense as a Bushism greatest hits compilation.
Somehow, they still wanted to interview me, and I scheduled an appointment just two days after bringing home the kid from the hospital. Of course, I threw my back out the day before the interview, and couldn’t even get out of bed. Somehow, in pain, all drugged up, and unable to stand without a slight (read: severe) stoop in my back, I mumbled and stumbled through the interview, which consisted of five separate interviews with seven different people.
Then, I waited.
And waited. And waited some more. I didn’t hear anything back for three weeks. I emailed the HR guy: nothing. I emailed the person who would be my direct manager: nothing. Another two weeks passed up, when I got a call asking me if I could start two days later. I’ve been working every damn day since.
And that is the story of Labor Day. The End.
After much driving (26 hours straight through, actually, not including the first leg to Kansas) I am here in Los Angeles. Sunshine, palm trees, and... too much. I'm all veklempt. More later.
Look, this is it. It is over. The world has gone absolutely, stark-raving mad. It is simply depraved.
First off, why can't they leave innocent children out of it? After all, the Koran specifically forbids this and these "separatists" cloak themselves in the mantle of Islam.
It has been an incredibly bad week for Russia. Two airliners downed, a suicide bomber in Moscow and now..... this. Can you imagine if these three events had occurred in the UK or, God help us, the US? Can you imagine the government's response?
But the thing that strikes me the most is how these things are treated as just another "overseas story" worthy of no more than passing interest. So long as it's Russians, no big deal for the Western media. Russian blood seems to be cheaper than matches. You read about how a million of their soldiers died in the siege of Stalingrad and it's just mind-numbing, not unbelievable. Do you know how a million corpses must smell?
Newscasts here openned with the story and then said, "And, in other news overseas..." Even in Russia, it wasn't the only story. Did anything other than the terrorist attacks take place on Sept 11 2001?
So now what? Does Vladimir Putin do to Chechnya what we did to the Taliban? Can you do that in your own country? Or does he let them have their own country and be done with it?
It really is difficult to come up with an apt punishment for people who would commit such an atrocity. Some quality time with Pfc Linz England? Having their genital lopped off and stuffed in their mouths as occurred in the safer, American Iraq recently? A Columbian necktie? What?