by mg at 09:25 PM on May 31, 2005
To give you an idea about the kind of ďwriterísĒ block Iíve been suffering recently, take the case of one Miss Danica Patrick.
Danica is the female driver in this weekendís Indianapolis 500. This has been a big story the past couple days, for a variety of reason. She isnít the first female driver, but she is certainly the best combination of skill (in her rookie year she is currently ranked 9th overall) and wholesome hotness. In the olden days, I would have pounced on the Danica Patrick story like, well, like a lot of guys watching the Indy 500 would have liked to pounce on Danica Patrick.
But, here it is several days later, and I havenít pounced on the Danica story at all. Iíve been about as ready to pounce as Bob Dole was ready pounce on Libby in the pre-little blue pill days. What is odd is that the problem hasnít been figuring out something, anything, to say about it. Rather, the problem with Danica is that Iíve got so many ways to take her, I canít pick just one.
First off, I could make the very obvious comment about a female driver and the fact that her racecar is really an example of the worldís largest, most expensive, and fastest vibrator. Going 200 mph, those cars must be shaking like Kathryn Hepburn, Pope John Paul, and Michael J. Fox doing something really shakey. Iíd imagine that win or lose Danica steps out of her car at the end of a race with a huge grin and the need for a cigarette and some cuddling. The only thing that could possibly remove the sexuality of the car would be the fact her team is funded by David Letterman.
Or I could take they story in the political way, saying how great it is to finally have a woman be as competitive as a man in a major sport. Of course, Iíd have to believe that racing was a sport. If sitting for hours without moving, going to bathroom, or interacting with any other human beings was a sport then I spent Memorial Day doing the triathlon.
Of course, I could get deeper into the charges of the male drivers that Danica has an unfair physical advantage. A lighter car is a faster car and at 5í2í and 100 lbs (get that girl a sandwich!) Danica has a 50lb advantage on even the smallest of the men. If I decided to take this tract Iíd probably get all indignant and huffy, like I am wont to do. I would likely say something along the lines of: ďExcuse me, but in what kind of sport do physical attributes represent an UN-fair advantage? Iíd like to be a professional basketball player, but all those players have an unfair height advantage over me. Shaq has like 2 feet on me even if I were standing on my tippy toes. The NBA should have his legs cut off at the knee so that he and I will be the same height and everything will be fair. ď And etc.
But, I am just not decisive enough to make that kind of decision and run with it. I do know, however, that in the old days Iíd have been most likely to write something about how the oddly hot factor of Danica Patrick. Now, people have been punditing about her for a week or so now and more than a few have pointed out that she is attractive. But, it always seems to be in contrast to the rest of the women in Indy racing (none), the cavalcade of losers that make up the pool of male Indy drivers, or the inbred masses that attend the races.
I feel safe in saying that Iím the first person to publicly state that Danica Patrick is oddly hot in her own right. Even when she isnít all dressed up and airbrushed for an FHM spread, and just hanging out at the track in her boob constraining uniform, there is something about her that makes me jealous of the vibrating power of her Indy car.
Man, I wish I could figure out what to write about her.
by anna at 08:02 PM on May 31, 2005
As with rX ads in general, most of us have made an uneasy peace with those for men who have trouble getting it up and for rubbers. We've gotten used to hucksters ernestly discussing what were once intensely personal matters.
Isn't it odd how most of the post-Bob Dole dicker hardener hucksters are young, hot (but not too hot) chicks? After all, it's a product for dudes who are mostly old coots. It's available only by prescription so it isn't like with condoms where maybe chicks buy them for their dudes to use on them. Yup, it's totally normal to be in your sexual prime with a dick limper than a Korean noodle. But just pop a few of these and a hottie will be cooing about your prowess. "Oh, baby, your dick gets hard when I stroke it! F-ing amazing!"
Uh, do they really need to point out that a 4 hour boner is cause for alarm?
Rubbers are marketed in a similarly deceptive fashion. It's almost like they are sex toys. But mostly these are used to prevent pregnancy or disease. And yet we hear nary a word about a given brand's efficacy in those key departments. It's all about how intense her experience will be.
Now I hear they're coming out with a remedy for premature cum. There's a couple problems with this. Many women secretly view sex as a wifely chore to get out of the way so they can watch Letterman or maybe catch some restful zzzs before they have to get up for their 3 hour commute. Others view it as pleasurable but once they've gotten off it grows kind of tiresome. This product must be their worst nightmare, like Bob chasing Libby Dole around the kitchen island with a raging hard-on, nipple clamps and a butt plug.
Why no depiction of gay couples in these ads? Or for that matter, interracial couples in Ad World? Mad Ave types conduct endless research and wrack their brains trying to figure out what makes middle America tick. Hell, they should visit sometime. Gay and interracial couples are so common we don't even notice them. What we do notice is their conspicuous absence from Ad World.
I once saw a cereal ad. Seated at the breakfast table orgasmic over their wheat flakes with strawberries were two guys in business attire. No kids in sight. It seems to be morning. You might surmise that they are boo-fooing one another. But I only saw it twice and then it disappeared. Back to the strictly heterosexual, same-race dating and marrying in Ad World. It's like that movie, Pleasantville. Comforting to some but utterly phony.
by anna at 02:46 PM on May 30, 2005
I might have mentioned that I am apolitical. But I am not apathetic. To the contrary, I'm very interested in the issues of the day. My problem is that everyone's argument sounds compelling. I applaud those on the left for their altruism. I like their common good theories. They believe the rich should help and share with the poor, and I agree. This is true even though by some measures, I am one of said rich.
I also dig the right's notion of personal responsibility and plucky self-reliance. They are right that many of the poor are that way beacause they're shiftless and lazy. I am also down with their belief in religion and blind patriotism. I agree with them that the so-called "international community" is a chimera. There are reasons we are separate nations---primarily that we hate eac other's guts. Why do you think France refused to ratify the stupid EU constitution, much to the chargrin of their longtime foes in England and Germany.
Just about all liberals favor abortion and oppose the death penalty. Just about all conservatives oppose abortion and favor the death penalty. (The problem with their position, when it is based on moralistic "sancity of life" arguments, is that you can't be selective with something that is supposedly sacred. This is so obvious I shouldn't even need to point it out.)
So I am kind of stuck in the middle, receptive to any well-thought-out position on any issue. You could say I lack convictions and you too would probably be right.
Ah but I do have thoughts on these 2 hot button issues. If any state is going to have and actually carry out executions (unlike say, California, where you're more likely to die on death row than get the axe,) then they all need to have it. And there needs to be uniform criteria to qualify. If you qualify you get nixed and pronto. No appeal. No more racism or sexism either. Whites and women will need to start getting the heave-ho too.
I agree with Hilary Clinton that abortion should be legal but rare. We need to do away with convenience abortions. If there is a health issue or there's something wrong with the fetus or the parents can't support it, then okay. And we need to do more on the prevention end. Condoms should be handed out for free at high schools. It should be a crime to have unprotected sex with a minor, even if you're a minor. Anyone having sex with youths must wear 2 condoms just to be doubly safe.
Of course, as a middle-aged man I really have no business having opinions about what is essentially a young women's issue. So it seems strange that at the rallies on both sides you see so many folks who couldn't have an abortion if their life depended on it. Just as the people involved in the death penalty debate are seldom if ever the types who'd ever be directly impacted by it themselves.
People are just nosy, I guess.
I'm losing because I'm old! That's what I told Victoria as we walked down the street and I was trying to explain why I keep having my ass handed to me by 12 year old kids while playing Halo2 on the xbox online. At my graduate school commencement ceremony my graduate advisor introduced me as having built up a reputation as one of the best gamers in the department. I remember being embarassed at the time, as I didn't think it was true - and even if it was - how could she possibly know about it? I played a few video games late at night between experiments and somehow that's how I'm being remembered? I guess I did get pretty good. But there's no way she could have known that!
My big innovation was to be able to shoot, side-step, and turn all at the same time so that I could simultaneously circle a target while anhilating it. When I watched other people play they never incorporated the side-step effectively into their maneuvers, whereas I had mastered it.
For Bungie's Myth the Fallen Lords - a non-first person game in which you had to organize a little troop of archers, Scottish warriors, dwarves, and spiders against an opposing team and then watch them fight it out while directing them during battle, I actually bought and read Sun Tzu's "The Art of War". Applying a few principles of the ancient wisdom to my battles made me an emperor in the online community in no time (although Emperorship was always a temporary reward as it's reserved for the top 100 players in the world). I still marvel at the notion that the ideas in such a book could influence little moving characters in a computer game.
What a difference a few years makes. The controllers these days are complex and side-stepping while turning is as novel as discovering one has an opposable thumb. They are also a study in analog comfort. No more splaying one's fingers across the awkward flatness of a computer keyboard.
I had intentionally avoided the temptation of signing up for an xbox online account, because I'm busy and I knew it could be addictive. But then one day I received an email from some of my cousins and a friend back home. It turns out they all have xboxes, and had all bought Halo2. With headsets in tow we could meet on line, catch up on the family, and kill each other over and over again.
I've found xbox online to be a mostly scary and horrible place. The day I was to start playing online, there was a story on the news about some guy who had suffocated his little baby so he could continue playing his video game without being bothered by a crying child. Note to self: don't let your insanely impulsive boyfriend do the babysitting unattended. Even just the screen names people choose for themselves is enough to make me question whether I want to devote any time at all engaging in a common activity with some of these people, even if the object is to hunt them down and kill them in a virtual setting. When a game pops up on the screen and I see that my opponents are KKKrazywhiteman, lickmyballz, alwayshard, vaginalicker, and tacorapist, I feel like I've stumbled into a dark hole of humanity. This is Halo2, the most successful and popular game of all time. This is a main stream attraction with a community of millions of players. This isn't some small, unknown, esoteric society of miscreants, and yet these people openly identify themselves with white supremicist acronyms and mysoginist monikers.
If I ever had any doubt that racism was alive and well in America, all I would have to do is turn on my xbox. The controllers are headset enabled, so it's possible to communicate with other people in the game while playing. Usually a game is made up of 8 people. The other night during a game of rumble pit (where the object is to try to kill everyone you see), two guys started insulting each other. The environment is extremely homophobic, that's a given. Calling someone a fag or a homo is as common as saying hello. But occasionally, race comes into play - even though no one knows the color of anyone's skin. One guy sounded white, one guy sounded black. I don't remember how it started, but I remember one of them saying, "Man, I hate all you white people. You're all the same...." The white guy's response had something to do with money, and the black guy retorted with, "Man, I own 6 Duncan Donuts. I got mo' money than yo' whole family!" It was a little tense and uncomfortable, but the game soon ended and I was on to a new game with new players. Then it happened again. Right in the middle of the game, there was a network glitch (usually caused by someone quitting in the middle of the game) and a blue screen appeared halting all the action. It's not that uncommon. During these usually brief hiatuses, while the xbox re-establishes the connection and sets up the game again, as players you are still connected to each other by voice, so you can hear each other very clearly.
"Wanna hear a joke?", someone said.
"Yeah, what's that joke?"
"I got a good joke."
"Let's hear it."
"How do you know if a black woman is pregnant?"
My heart sank, and I felt my sweat glands tense up, as I could tell that any illusion of social politeness was about to vanish from the virtual room. The punch line containted the words banana, pussy, and monkey, and doesn't bear repeating. I could hardly believe what I was hearing. I was so stunned all I could mutter in response was something along the lines of "racist asshole". During a game, when someone speaks, their identity appears near the bottom of the screen so you can see who's talking. If a player is abusive (as is often the case), you can leave feedback about them on the Bungie servers. But during the blue screen game interruption, you can't see who's speaking. It's just a voice in your ear.
As I sat reeling from what I had just heard. The voices quieted down, and one person spoke up.
"I got a joke for you."
"Why do black people only have nightmares?"
The voice sounded slightly African-American, but was very calm considering what had just been said.
Someone answered, "I don't know. Why?"
"Because the last one that had a dream was assassinated."
The game started up again. It was the last game I played that night. I was so disgusted I had to quit and turn off the machine. Whoever told the second joke didn't get mad, they got smart. I was impressed by their response.
Why is it, I wondered, that this device which offers anonymity in communication brings out so much anger and hatred among people who don't know each other? What does it say about our society that this black box sitting in my living room serves so often as a conduit for ugliness?
But enough about the darker side of the game. Occasionally I find myself in the group that I expect to be online. The friendly sounding nerdy types who can annihilate you with a head shot from the battle rifle, laugh with you about it afterwards, and who would sooner catch a fly and let it outside than swat it with a fly swatter.
by anna at 07:27 PM on May 26, 2005
I've thought about how, or even if, to tell this tale about how my life turned out the way it did. A seminal series of events, as it were. Here goes.
I'd been dating my future wife for several blissful months. At the time I lived in a group house with a bipolar shrew who wanted to screw me, a neat freak, this huge black guy who urged us to only wash the parts that stink and some other person I don't remember. I don't remember because he or she departed soon after I moved in. Thus began an endless series of interviews for a prospective replacement. I grew so frustrated with the process that I abstained.
About the fifth prospect was a buxom little blonde, the kind with an exagerrated walk and messy makeup. The kind other girls love to hate. But somehow she won over the two girls who were kind of in charge. The black guy said okay and she was our roommate. My future wife immediately takes a disliking to this girl. She suspects we're carrying on, which we aren't. It got to a point where I didn't even speak to the girl for fear of inciting a fight. Nonetheless, future wife breaks up with me over her.
After that something did develop between us. This in turn caused rifts within the house and we were forced out. We rented another house with my best friend and his wife, who didn't like this girl one bit either. She seethed when the girl and her only female friend boasted about causing car accidents walking down the street at the beach. And told about this little game they'd play with guys at bars. One would suggest a three-way and he'd assume she meant them and him. But then she'd pick some random guy and say that the guy she was playing with could watch them go at it but no touching.
My life spiraled out of control, an endless blur of partying and excess. My guy friends seemed to like this girl and welcomed her into our fold. Maybe too much so, as she went overboard. She'd disappear for days on end, skip work and have no explanation when she returned all disheveled. I'd get reports about her slutty antics.
So one night we're riding in her two-seater car. A pal of mine is driving and she's on my lap. Out of nowhere she announces that she wants him and plants a messy kiss on his lips. He almost wrecked the car. He had something in his pocket she wanted, and it wasn't what you're thinking (weighed in grams.) I jump out of the car and stumble home, obviously distraught. It is 6:30am. My dad is up reading the paper. He looks up, notices my condition and says, "Forget her. She is just a whore. I knew it from the first time she came on to me." He was always partial to my future wife.
So here's the thing: He was right, she was a whore. Sure she eventually cleaned herself up but that is what she was at the time. But for some reason this betrayal still irks me after all these years. And it's not her, I know what motivated her. It's him. You simply can't allow something that humiliating to happen to your friends. Similar stories out there?
Soon thereafter I turned up all remorseful on wifey's doorstep. I was 5'6" and 122 pounds. I had deeply etched black circles under my eyes. My skin was blotchy and mottled. I hadn't shaved for days. My job was threatening to fire me. I was a mess, on death's door. I had no place to go. She welcomed my back, nursed me back to health and basically saved my life. See, sometimes there is a happy ending after all.
by anna at 07:31 PM on May 24, 2005
There's all these jobs that need to be done but nobody wants to lower themselves to do them. Rev Jesse Jackson recently caused a flap when he said that Mexicans flood across our borders to take jobs even blacks won't take. As someone who's never worked an honest days work in his life, I guess he ought to know.
But there is a huge imbalance in the work situation these days. And I know why: jobs aren't advertised, or marketed, the right way.
Nanny: Drug the kids, order carryout, toss it on the table in its original packaging and then go do your nails. Watch Dr. Phil. Do what modern housewives have been doing for some time now. Only you will get paid. And you will actually enjoy servicing the man of the house. $30,000 a year + room and board.
MLB Outfielder: One of the few jobs where you can still chew tobacco, scratch your balls and spit at will. Mostly you'll just stand around in a lush field and daydream. 4 times a shift you'll swing a stick at a ball that's moving way too fast to hit. And like an overgrown mushroom after an overnight deluge, you can pop up one day twice the size as you were the day before and nobody will call you out. $5 million a year.
IT Guy: The dirty little secret is that computers seldom break and the "network" rarely "goes down." So you can while away your days gambling and viewing porn online. Just make sure to maintain that pained scowl that says you're working on some really grueling computer-like project. Say something about RAM or ROM or something now and then. $60,000+
Cabana Boy: Hey, the money's no good but those middle-aged suburban housewives can teach you a trick or two to use on your gal-pal. Just ask Eva Longoria's gardener.
Garbageman: Who else gets to cruise around hanging off the back of a truck? You're off by noon and the hydraulic lift does all the hard work. $40,000 + salvage.
Sports Agent: Syphon off 10% of 5 athletes' multimillion dollar contracts and you will earn as much as them with no physical contact or risk of injury. $2,000,000 a year.
Roadie: Again, the money's not great but sloppy seconds aren't bad. By the time it's your turn the groupies are all lubed up and rearing to go. Take your pick of orifi!
Mechanic: In this day of 100,000 mile warranties the big parts like transmissions never go bad. When a customers comes in, rub your chin knowingly like a psychiatrist. Then pretend to do something with that diagnostic machine and tell them its some obscure relay or computer chip. When that doesn't work offer to replace the entire "brain." When that doesn't work offer to buy the car for peanuts and then fix it in your ample spare time. $80000 plus car sales profit
Hit Man: Choose your own hours! $100,000+
Whore: Call yourself a "sex worker," it's much more dignified. Earn your living without getting out of bed. It's everyone's dream. $100,000 less 100% pimp cut.
Who did I leave out?
by mg at 08:16 AM on May 24, 2005
There is someone in my office building who does something so very strange that I find myself thinking about it far more often than I'd like. I don't know who the person is, or anything else about them, yet they occupy a part of my attention that should be getting used on more important things, like what is next for Rob and Amber, how much weight has Kirstie Alley lost, and that whole peace in the middle thing.
The only thing I know about them is this certain behavior. I can guess that they are a guy, because the behavior takes place in the men's room, but even on that I can't be certain.
This individual takes those toilet seat covers that they put in public bathrooms and actually uses them. Personally, I've always thought that those were for show, more than anything else because I can't imagine that any man would use one. Women I can understand. And even if a man were to use a toilet in a very toilet place it makes sense. Like if I had to take a seat to do my business at Grand Central Station, or a Big and Rich concert I might consider it.
But the bathrooms in my office are very clean and used only by professional types. Still, I can understand using them. People have weird phobias and if a thin layer of paper comforts them, all the power to them. I totally agree with the root of their concern. I, too, would rather not stick my ass where hundreds of other guys have stuck their asses, but like anyone dating George Michael has to do, I can put that thought out of my mind without having to wrap anything up with a thin sheet of toilet seat cover.
Now, the using isn't the weird part of the equation. The weird part, the part that keeps me awake at night pondering it, is that if use do use a toilet seat cover you are obviously concerned about that kind of thing. But this person in my office, this freak, uses the toilet seat cover but doesn't bother to remove it when he is done. While I can push the thought of sticking my ass the same place hundreds of other people have put there asses is an easy task for me, if I don't have any evidence of it.
I have no problem using public toilets, except if there is any sort of remnant in the toilet. A flush will get rid of most remainders (usually, hopefully). But to remove the toilet seat cover, you actually have to touch it. And when I touch it, I think about what it was touching. And it makes me feel dirty. So, so dirty.
by anna at 09:29 AM on May 20, 2005
I'm listening to the radio and these 4 grown men are engaged in the eternal "who would you do" debate. Actually, a variation thereof. Call it Who Would You Do and Under What Circumstances, With a Racial Twist.
Their premise being that white guys pass on "big-boned" girls that brothers would jump on, literally. The first example that came up was Monica Lewinsky. Some brothers called in and said they would do her in a heartbeat, even in her present alarmingly bloated condition. The discussion, almost inevitably, worked its way around to Jennifer "The Ass" Lopez. Now, this girl is packing a hefty caboose, no question about it. But she also boasts some other attributes. It is a tough call.
I have been either married or in a long term relationship my entire adult life. So I must harken back to high school to comment. Back then there were 3 criteria: 1 I'd do her. 2 I'd let her blow me. 3 I wouldn't do her with your... Knowing what we know about Lewinsky's proclivities, I'd have to say she'd fall into #2 category. Lopez, I dunno. There is just something so artificial-seeming about her.
And from the discussion that ensued, I concluded that there might be something to the racial/poundage angle. Many brothers called in to disparage such scrawny-assed white chicks as Kate Moss, Allie McBeal and Meg Ryan. They also had much to say about what they would and wouldn't do to Lopez. All spoken in code so as to elude the bleeping censors. Even some sisters chimed in to say that black men prefer some cushion for the pushin' whereas when they were pursuing white guys they felt some pressure to slim down.
In olden times being pleasantly plump was a good sign that you at least got enough to eat. But nowadays it seems that rich folks are reed-thin while the impoverished have ballooned up to Rosie O'Donnell size.
I am still haunted by her lines from that stupid Hallmark movie. Will it ever stop? "I'm hearing you!" "Our daddy is dead!"
by mg at 07:38 AM on May 20, 2005
Sure, we weren't able to find any WMDs, but check out this hot shot of Saddam Hussein in his BVDs.
<sarcasm>This makes it all worthwhile.</sarcasm>
Saddam looks fit and trim. I hope I still look that good when I'm his age, have killed that many people, and have embezelled that much U.N. Oil for Food money.
But the real question is, how does a guy that is so vain that he comissioned hundreds of statues, paintings (on crushed velvet, no less), and named countless airports and cities after himself be walking around in 2005 still wearing a pair tighty whities?
by anna at 06:41 PM on May 17, 2005
I remember when the announcement of the new TV schedule was a big deal. Would there be a new Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie or Green Acres in the works? Or maybe a spinoff of All in the Family or LA Law. Now it's like, whatever. Part of the reason is the imitative nature of the TV biz. Part of it is Hollywood narcissism. And more of it is the creativity stifling forces of censorship/"decency" and political correctness. Remove these scourges and you'd have this unstoppable prgramming juggernaut:
Down at the Hootenanny: Antics of rural folk. Sample Dialogue:
Jed: Now son, the best place to screw a sheep is at the edge of a cliff.
Jethro: Why is that dad?
Jed: Cuz then they buck backatcha jes like a real daughter!
Jethro: Did you snag muh Oxycontin agin?
Third Watch Redux: Lazy cops and firemen loll around the station and donut shops, sexually harrassing their coworkers.
Passing: A light-skinned black man passes for white and infiltrates the KKK. Hi jinks ensue.
Straight and Narrow: After his partner catches the HIV, a gay guy resolves to go straight. The jilted guy stalks him, trying to ruin his dates with a stunning degree of success.
If It's Got Subtitles, It Ain't Porn: Each week it's a different smutty foreign film, starting with this French job wherein the 1st 10 minutes shows a graphically brutal anal rape. It is art, dammit.
The East Wing: An all-Hispanic casts stars as the lowly White House domestic help. When they aren't making lewd remarks about saintly Laura Bush, they bugger each other like savages.
My Three Bitches: A brawny convict humiliates his bitches and makes them beg him to bend them over toilet seats. Then he gives them swirlies. We're not in Oz anymore.
The Sleepover: Parents rig the family room with hidden cameras and mics just in time for pre-pube Jessica's party. Perverts with pants around their ankles welcome.
That's Pathetic: Hey everybody, let's poke fun at the needy, the afflicted and has-been rock stars.
by anna at 09:20 AM on May 14, 2005
1,600 American men and women are dead due to the war in Iraq. It has cost $169 billion and counting of your money. And for what? So far as I can tell, nothing. Folks, I am a conservative and actually support President Bush. But let me be clear: This is a goddamn outrage that must end now.
Pretty-boy President Kennedy started the Vietnam war in 1963. During the first few years, naive 50s-minded Americans overwhelmingly supported our effort to combat the spread of Communism. With the American military being undefeated with just one draw to blemish its record, the thought of it getting defeated soundly never crossed anyone's mind. But that is what happened. The Viet Cong, back by the evil commies of China, chased the US forces out. By 1972 they were cowering on rooftops along with refugees, waiting for rescue copters to whisk them away to safety. Richard Nixon called this disgraceful spectacle "Peace with Honor." Some Peace---within months the evil commies had overrun our ally South Vietnam and it remains communist to this day. And don't even get me started about honor. When 50,000 young men die for nothing, puttting their names on a stark black memorial doesn't make it honorable.
The reason they lost was because young idealists grew fed up with the seemingly endless conflict with these sneaky Cong, who refused to confront the US troops directly. They'd pick off single patrol members and set booby traps that would land our men impaled on bamboo shoots. These underhanded but demoralizing tactics sound awfully similar to the ones used by the "insurgents" in Iraq. But when you're dealing with the US military juggernaut, history has shown that that is your best bet.
By 1968 disgruntled youths were swarming the streets, unfurling banners and waving their fists in protest. Year by year the crowds swelled until it seemed that everyone but old fuddy-duddies like Nixon vehemently opposed the futile war. Ultimately the oldsters caved and what was left of our army returned home to scorn and despair. See: Coming Home.
The situation in Iraq is analogous. You face a shadowy, scrappy, determined opponent backed by foreign forces that is blinded by ideology. It is a low-level conflict for the most part, the kind that can never really be won. There is no clear exit strategy. Thus, every day a few more people die and a few more million dollars are squandered. Our leaders insist that if we just persevere, some vague good will eventually come of it. It smacks of the playground kid who has clearly lost the fight but still refuses to give up and say uncle. And yet, over two years in with no end in sight, a good many naive go-go-90s-minded Americans still believe it's a good thing. Go figure.
So here's my point: Why haven't you, the tattooed, pierced youth of today, risen up and organized massive protests to put an end to this madness? Is it because today's army is voluntary? Is it because you personally, or your kids or siblings, can't be forced to go sacrifice life or limb for nothing? Well, I hope not. Because recruitment (surprise, surprise) is way down. Yesterday the army announced that is will offer cakewalk 1 1/2 year hitches in an effort to lure youngsters into signing up to die in Iraq. It is not going to work. Nobody in their right mind feels strongly enough about "bringing democracy to the middle east" to sacrifice their life for it. It is not like combating Nazis or driving the British off our soil. It isn't even like forcing those Confederate rebels to come back into the fold and renounce slavery, or stopping the spread of communism. So, soon enough, you will be drafted and summarily slaughtered for nothing.
Or is it that are y'all still preoccupied with protesting about the World Bank's policies toward impoverished Third World contries? What do you care about that?
Or is it because, inexplicably, the nightly news doesn't lead with horrific shots of soldiers wounded, dying, weeping; or shots of little girls running naked down the streets aflame from napalm? I suspect that is because military honchos have wised up and don't allow such footage to exist and influence public opinion as it did in the late 60s and early 70s.
Come on people, do something. Don't just sit on your hands and allow this senseless carnage to continue.
by adam at 01:40 AM on May 12, 2005
It has been two years since I returned from Hawaii to resume what passes for my normal life in New York. In that time I've:
lived off mom and dad, found an apartment, found a job, found another apartment, alienated old friends, made new friends, fixed my car, gotten engaged, broken up, gotten engaged again, and not gotten into law school.
I haven't seen a lot of friends as often as I would've liked to, I didn't do anything big to advance my career, I didn't get much writing, reading, or guitar playing done mostly because I spent so much time at a job that didn't do much to advance my career (rinse, repeat). So when my now-fiancee got accepted into a residency in California, I thought long and hard (two minutes) before deciding that I was going to move to the Bay Area with her. I am now in the smallish minority of men who have moved because of their (future) wives' jobs. This, according to the Romanian medical student at my office (along with the fact that I only drive very small cars) means that I "must have a big one," a rumor that I am loathe to refute.
This is hard for me. I missed New York every minute that I was in Hawaii, and now I'm looking at a good 5 or 6 years away again. Granted, at least this time I'll be on the same continent and within a measley 7-hour plane ride, but New York has always been deeply bound up with my self-identity and with my conception of my own future. I'm a third-generation New Yorker (a rare thing today) and I want to raise my own children here.
More than that, I have a dream: I go to the Bay Area, finish law school (well, get in first), do my thing in the public sector, and then once Amy finishes her residency we pick up the cars, the house, and the kids and move back to New York for my triumphant return.
We leave in exactly one month and four days. In that time there needs to be much fixing of ancient bad European cars, disposing of unnecessary possessions, throwing of engagement parties, finding of rabbis and reception space, and wrangling with various evil California management companies and utilities. I'm not ready, but I'm going anyway.
by anna at 06:49 PM on May 11, 2005
You don't realize what a sheltered life you've led as a teen until you go to college. In my case this was true even though my folks threw me out at 16 and before that they pretty much let me run wild. It's just that there is so much going on in the real world that you know nothing about.
When I got to junior college, my roommate and lifelong pal Roger made the football team as a walk-on. This being no small feat as this team was the perennial national champ. So he introduced me to these BMOC jocks who lived high up on a hill in a dorm that resembed a cheap motel. Each room had a door to the outside. One day we were up there and I noticed a long line forming outside one room. I'm like, what's up. Somebody informed me the team was pulling a train. (I nod knowngly, having not a clue what they meant.) The starting QB and running backs were done so now it was the receivers' turn. This tight end asked me if I wanted in on the action. I peeked inside and quickly decided no. This went on for about an hour. They then summoned the kicker, who was from another country and a bit of a dweeb. They told him this girl wanted him to perform certain favors on her. Not knowing what had gone on, he was glad to oblige. They shot pictures of him that if it were today, would be all over the net.
I asked who she was and was told she was Lay It Down Sally, after the Eric Clapton song. I filed that information away and went about my business.
Several weeks later my other roommate Mark brought her into our apartment. He knew her because they both came from the same town. They talked for a while about his girlfriend and some common acquaintences and then got down to business. For a long, long time. Listening from my bed in the same room (the apartment only had one main room and a bathroom,) I couldn't believe how long it was. Must have been five minutes at least! Afterwards Mark asked me if I wanted any of it and I was like, no I am fine.
But the reason I remember this after all these years it that my reply wasn't without hesitation. I actually considered it for a moment, even after what I'd seen at the motel-like dorm room and just heard. Despite her sordid reputation she actually was kind of cute. Think a feisty Cameron Diaz with a gap between her top front teeth and cutoff jeans about six inches tall.
Guys are dogs.
by anna at 06:56 PM on May 09, 2005
You have to hand it to the hairdressers, trainers, makeup people and plastic surgeons of Hollywood. These are the underpaid, workaday sorts who can transform this frumpy mess into this glamourpuss. Or this housefrau into this gracious looking lady.
Celebrities. You can't live with them because they won't let you past their gates and velvet ropes. And judging by the infinite resources that are sunk into chronicling their every move, you can't live without them. The other day two middle-aged women at my office were discussing the Brad-Angelina-Jennifer situation. One said she thought Brad wanted a more exotic looking beauty. She felt that Jen was more of a girl next door cutie. The other, seemingly bitter about men in general, said guys always dump the older gal for something younger and sleeker. I volunteered that maybe he'd just grown sick of waking up next to someone who looks like a man. Then a younger guy chimed in with this ill-advised observation: "Guys dump old chicks for young chicks because they are looking for a tighter fit." It hung in the air like a lingering fart. Like "I've got to go feed my hostages," there just isn't any rejoinder for that.
Nobody up in their world will admit any interest in these icons. But somebody is snapping up all those copies of People, Us and InStyle. Somebody watches Access Hollywood. In many ways, celebs are like our caged pets. We peer at them from time to time. We take note of their promiscuous breeding habits. We laugh when they overdose.
They exist in a parallel universe vastly different from our own. They seem to always have flashbulbs going off in their faces as they stand there on display, doing that fluttery actress wave or flashing that million-dollar smile on cue.
I have a theory about this non-acknowledged but all too real international obsession. Deep down we're all still stuck in the gossipy high school phase. We're still standing around speculating about why the hot cheerleader who was dating the fresh-faced white quarterback slunk across town to bang the studly black tailback. As our own lives settled down into routines of humdrum monogamy, child-rearing and work, we turned to these carefree sorts and their drug-addled antics. We live vicariously through them. We will sit and listen to them prattle on endlessly about themselves and how all their colleagues are Creative Geniuses and how grueling shooting the action or sex scenes turned out to be.
I won't. I am up in my world. Though I will say there is no way Tom Cruise would despoil Natalie Portman. She's a virgin, you know.
by anna at 07:00 PM on May 05, 2005
You ever get stuck behind a car in traffic that has some really annoying bumper sticker like, "I'm reading your email?" I do, and I hate sitting there trying to fathom what in the hell that is supposed to mean. But other times I get stuck behind cars with stickers whose meaning is ALL TOO CLEAR.
For instance: "Guns Save Lives." And then, in smaller print, "2.5 million Defensive Encounters Every Year." Obviously this is someone in favor of toting guns around and using them on others if need be. This is not wrapped in the cloak of "hunter's rights." They at Gunssavelife.com are talking about shooting people who annoy them. As are the folks who promote books like Dial 911 and Die. This book basically says the police are under no obligation to protect anyone. You must protect yourself. Or die. With guns. (No links provided for obvious reasons.)
Let's talk about this factoid for a minute. First of all, I seriously doubt there are 2.5 million encounters involving private citizens and firearms. And even if there were, I'd guess most of them involved two parties that were both armed. Otherwise it is kind of overkill to pull a gun on somebody. They always say not to pull a gun in case you're fully prepared to use it. So basically you've got a Wild West style who-can-draw-and-fire-quicker type situation. Hardly one you want to be in for the first time with your life on the line. (Maybe you need to go practice on somebody.) And so somebody gets shot, maybe killed, in many of these encounters. And yet, "guns save lives." 2.5 million times every year, in fact! Unbelievable. I suppose there are lives and then there are lives.
It's also important to remember that the shooting of persons with hanguns, particularly if not at point blank range, is a tricky matter indeed. Adrenaline is pumping and you're liable to miss badly. Or perhaps even worse, the dreaded superficial leg wound that only irks your assailant or burglar and incites him to plug you.
Which is why it is all the more disturbing that in Jeb Bush's Florida, they want to pass some redneck law that would make it easier to shoot other people who piss you off in some way. It stands a good chance of passing and when it does it will make the shootout at OK Corral look like a piano recital. What a scene, hotheaded Columbian drug dealers hopped up on coke shooting it out with senile old retirees.
On the other hand, sometimes the other side goes too far. There is a local story that has circulated for years. Who knows if it's really true? But if you can believe this, they say an old woman lived in a ground floor apartment in a seedy area. Locals kept breaking in through a window and stealing all her shit. Fed up, she rigged up a shotgun so if anyone pried the window open, they'd be eating buckshot. Sure enough, some hooligans tried to break in and bought it. She wound up charged with manslaughter. Key to the prosecution's argument was that she had a reasonable expectation that somebody would try to break in and come into harm's way as a result of her prank.
Well, that is all I have to say. Mainly I wanted to post something on this historic 05/05/05. Supposedly that only happens like once in a lifetime. Unlike the defensive encounters with handguns. Which, if these jokers are to be believed, happen 6000 times a day.
by mg at 07:31 AM on May 04, 2005
Am I at the right website?
The answer to that, today no more so than any other day, is probably not.
So, here it is, the long awaited "something big" that I promised last week. Pretty shocking, no?
It probably isn't that big, really. I mean, websites redesign every day. But it truly feels monumental to me for a lot of reasons that probably mean nothing to anyone else.
1) To begin with, this site has not been redesigned in 2+ years. In the first two years of BS I went through 7 redesigns, and over the last two years there have been none. That last design was certainly the better of any that had preceded it, but I was sick of looking at it. I'm sure I'll get sick of looking at this new design as well, but at least now I've got a couple month window that doesn't make me physically ill every time I type http://www.badsamaritan.com into my browser.
2) In the past year or so I must have started on close to (or more than) a dozen redesign attempts. It got to the point that this nagging need I had to redesign was keeping me from actually writing. I had begun to felt like every time I sat down to write something for BS, what I really should have been doing is redesigning BS. Hopefully, now that the redesign is up, when I sit down to write something for BS, the only nagging feeling I'll have is that I should be spending more time with my wife and kid.
3) The color schemes (especially the red, blue, and yellow) and the pixel-type for the nameplate have been fairly consistently used as design elements for this site since it began. Part of the problems I'd been having with all the other redesigns has been trying to work within the constraints that forced on me. The "ah-ha" moment came when I realized, "Hey, this Bad Samaritan brand isn't Nike, Coke, or John Deere, you can do whatever the hell you want with it." So, I decided to forget the past completely and just try to do something new and cool and that I wouldn't mind looking at every day. I think it is all those things, and more, but what about you guys?
5) That little bloggy column over there on the right (----------->) is new. When BS authors used to say they felt pressure to make everything they wrote here brilliant, I used to scoff and tell them that it's just a stupid website, write whatever the hell you want. But lately I've been finding it hard to find the words. Half of it is being so tired when I get home I don't have the energy or creativity. Half of it is having a toddler toddling around. Another half of it is the redesign nag mentioned above. But the biggest half of it was feeling like I didn't have anything interesting to say and no ability to express anything interestingly. That thing over there (-------->), I hope, will keep me (and any other author who'd like to participate) in the habit of writing every day and help make writing the kind of life-stories that have always been BadSam's bread and butter, easier and less painful.
6) That little bloggy column over there on the right (----------->) is important for another reason, too. There have been long stretches recently without new stories. I thought adding a couple new authors would help that, but I should learn by now it's never that easy to fix a problem. Having a more "bloggy" area in addition to the main stories will help keep the content fresher and hopefully encourage more frequent visits.
There are still some tweaks to be made and all feedback is appreciated. But I needed to get this up today rather than wait any longer for all the reasons mentioned above. Plus, I had one of those "It's the last day of class and I haven't done homework or studied all semester" type dreams last night, and just figured I'd hand in my homework today, even if it wasn't finished rather than suffer through another one of those dreams tomorrow.
I have always had an interest in serial killers. Not so much that I want to kill people, as I want to know what exactly made these people tick. i wanna know if they'd kill me on a whim, or whether there is some specific criteria I would have to fit before I became a victim.
A book I am currently reading makes a lot of implications about what humans do when we have idle time. The example he gives show that in the past serial killers were often successful barons, or knights. They had money and power, entertainment and some form of personal fulfillment were the only accomplishments left to these people. And when left to their own devices they began to murder.
Obviously though, not everyone starts to kill just because they retire. Not everyone kills after losing their job. There is some other primal need there. An addiction.
So then my question becomes how do people develop these addictions? Society frowns on most of the atypical behaviour of a young serial killer. Low grades, animal mistreatment or other forms of violence, reclusiveness, theft, peeping, and the list goes on.
Other peope make sure to note the aspects of society that supporty the lifestyle. A rediculous number of crime dramas on television, some based on fact, others fiction. Maybe these shows help create the desire to commit a perfect crime. Or to help seperate one's self from the rest of society. These shows have essentially become the textbook for serial killing, the killers can run through hypotheticals of whether they will get caught or not.
The scariest part about serial killers is that they are not crazy. they are thought out, meditated, just like you and me. They intermingle in society, and judging by the number of people we interact with everyday, chances are you have either met a killer or a victim.
They have dark secrets. But I'm sure even a serial killer could be disgusted by the dark secrets some us keep.
by anna at 06:43 PM on May 02, 2005
Today I ate lunch at a chicken joint located next to a hotel with a huge banner that proclaims, "Free High-Speed Internet Access (for hotel guests only.)" I'm musing, "No way! You mean any bozo off the street can't walk in and use your computers?"
At this point I become aware of the garrulous presence of a large group of SWAT team guys. And no, there was no hostage situation at Chik Fil A. They were evidently there for a convention at the hotel. We're talking ultra-manly men. Square jaws, buzz cuts, barrel chests and rippling biceps. Some wore tight t-shirts with slogans like: Domination. Confrontation. Elimination. They spoke loudly of guns, sports and babes. You wouldn't smell more testosterone at a Mike Tyson prize fight of yore.
I instantly felt inferior. Never mind that I bagged more than my fair share of babes back in the day. Never mind that I have a stunning wife. Never mind that I make a good living. Never mind that I have visited all the important places in the US. Never mind that I am into sports, knowledgeable about wars and armies and weapons. I was the wimp getting sand kicked in his face by a brute who later steals his woman and spits in his face.
I feel the same way on the soccer field. These are macho men. They use special soccer lingo. There's a team comprised of army men. There's another Latino team that exudes their brash brand of machismo. There's even an Arab team that seems manly in its own quaint way. Even my teammates make me feel like a prison bitch when I screw something up. "You've got to get rid of the ball faster." "You are too quick to get rid of the ball. Look around. Make a play." "That just isn't getting it done. You suck."
You might have surmised that I've always felt more comfortable with the fairer sex. All my life I've either had a steady girlfriend or a wife. These people have always been my main confidantes and companions. I can simply relate better to women than men. Since I've been married I've learned that it is possible to also be friends with women without there being romantic complications. This has eliminated the need for men in my life.
Here's where it gets a little shady. A couple times I've found myself relating to gay guys. One was a guy I worked with. He was openly gay, yet interested in many of the same things as me: Sports, cars, weapons and old movies. It was one of those deals where you talk about such stuff at work, and start considering going the next step and suggesting lunch or some other type of outing together. But in that situation I never did. Even though he had a longterm boyfriend, I certainly didn't want to convey the idea that I wanted to.... you know... take it up the toucus. So I would toy with the notion and then bag it. Eventually he left to take a job as a bricklayer.
I can only imagine the ribbing he takes from the mortar men.