Friday, January 31, 2003
Kriston, this one is for you because I know you can't get tired of reading about your Bucs. But for my money, the best part is the little add-on at the end that discusses that beer commercial with wrestling women. This guy seems to have the exact opinion that we did about it. (this is one of those Salon Premium articles, so you have to click through the Benz ad in order to read the whole thing.)
Unbelievable! Apparently, Ireland is planning to ban smoking in the pubs. A national institution, down the drains. I mean, California I can understand what with the lack of red meat and the wheatgrass binges. But IRELAND? It's a travesty. And I don't even smoke. Read the comments from disgruntled patrons, they're priceless.
Here's a new spin I hadn't heard before. Iraq's oft-cited gassing of the Kurds may be less clear-cut than it seems. Yes, I was skeptical too when I started it, but apparently that episode is quite murky. If the gassing ocurred as an act of war, or was even released by Iran and not Iraq at all, it does not become any less tragic, just less convincing as a premeditated act of terror targetting civilians. I still don't buy the whole U.S. imperialism arguments the writer seems to go into at the end, but the uncertainty surrounding the gas-poisoning does effectively erode the human rights motivation for invasion...
Thursday, January 16, 2003
This was in the Post a week ago, but I just now saw it:
For the past couple of weeks, those wags at Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe in Dupont Circle have been marketing a beverage called the "Trent Lotte." The menu describes the $3.25 item as "separate but equal parts of coffee and milk" - a not too veiled reference to Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott's career-damaging 100th-birthday praise of fellow Republican Sen. Strom Thurmond's segregationist 1948 presidential campaign. Yesterday bartender Mark Kutcher told us that the coffee and steamed milk are served in two different containers, and it's up to customers to integrate them. "We think it's really funny," Kutcher said. "That's why we do it." But we seriously doubt if Lott is laughing. Our call to the deposed Senate Republican leader's press office yesterday was greeted by grim silence.
You've Come a Long Way, Baby
The Village Voice has an interesting fact sheet on women's issues over the past 30 years.
Tuesday, January 14, 2003
While there are few things funnier than laughing at cultures we don't understand, we must always be vigilant to spot the fakers. That's right. The web has made it possible for certain nefarious individuals to create ostensible "Official Websites" of various countries, and through unfortunate translations and cultural faux-pas, make otherwise upstanding locales such as, say, North Korea, look a little low-budget. For example, Slate.com found a link to what seems to be the Official Page of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. It boasts such features as a souvenir page (set of 5 stamps of the Dear Leader! Hurry while supplies last!) and an explanation of traditional Korean dress ("The traditional Korean clothing is composed by the inferior clothing.") But alas, it was all put together by some Kim Jong Il groupie in Spain or something.
My favorite, though, has to be the Official Tourist Site of the Moscow Government. Set aside any qualms you may have had about a trip to the Evil Empire, for as this site assures us, Moscow is "as beautiful as ever, despite all crises and misfortunes!" This site is chock full of valuable information for the intrepid voyager. Worried about the lack of an official taxicab system in Moscow? Never fear! Just a hitch a ride with a friendly driving Russian, and remember this tip: "the shabbier is the car, the more credible is its driver, because frauds, mostly, do not have bad cars " Have you been hearing any stories about rampant crime in Russia? Well, it's all propaganda. You see, "It's up to local Mafia people to shoot at each other. In case you are not intended to do some illegal business in Moscow, you may, somehow, feel safe and protected." Women, just remember, you "should better avoid close company with "hot-tempered" Caucasians in lifts." Most importantly, the capitalist tourist should know that "Moscow is worth spending money. Keep it in mind and try not to forget at home all the money you will need here. Put some cash into your pockets and all Credit Cards and Traveller Checks you have into your big wallet."
Shhhh...can you hear Lenin spinning?
Pop culture schlock Joe $$$ beats out earnest indie rockers in local girl's evening itinerary. As it turns out, the walk to my TV is shorter than my walk to the number #90 bus. I know I'm not alone in bemoaning the rotting of my brain while still being a willing participant. Still, it's hard not to notice how times have changed. Sample conversation between myself and my peers one year ago:
Me: It is preposterous to argue that Russians as a culture have a natural "slave mentality" that craves autocracy. Conditions of history and geography have demanded that national security be a near obsession from the time of the Tartar invasions onward.
Peer #1: You can see in their pre-revolutionary paintings representations of a nascent capitalist system at work in the peasant communes.
Peer #2: To what end standards of beauty?
And the conversation last night:
Me: That Heidi is such a heinous bitch. I mean, hello?
Peer: Oh my God, that girl is totally after his money. I hope she chokes.
Tune in next week, when Zora bitch-slaps MoJo for grabbing Joe $$'s ass under the Arc d'Triomphe!
Monday, January 13, 2003
Of Paint Thinner and Other Exfoliants
or: Going Public
There is nothing like a weekend spent cooped up inhaling paint fumes and wiping burning paint thinner from your skin to make you want to reach out and touch someone. But it's cold outside and I don't like touching people, so it's got to be virtual. I hope for this to be a repository for thought-provoking, insightful, cogent analyses of world events and the elusive workings of the human psyche. But until I have anything worth saying on the above topics, I'll be worrying through less profound dilemmas such as the one currently on my mind:
What to do for tonight?
A) Go see Cursive at the Black Cat, to get yourself out of the house and make up for the time they cancelled their show in Austin.
B) Succumb to Joe Millionaire