Thursday, July 31, 2003

There will be a little blogging vacay as I help Kriston through the culture shock of moving to DC and post-TX withdrawal symptoms. In fact, now that he's here, you may never see me again. I don't need you anymore! So THERE, internet!

Is anyone else getting sick of this line about GWB having the great re-election position of being an incumbent who won two wars? I mean, was there really a great big surprise that we won them? He won two wars because he started two wars. Partial retraction for Afghanistan, which I supported and which we didn't provoke. But my larger point is: I could win five wars if I were president, just by going and getting IN five wars. So is that really the standard we want to set? Just go get in more wars! We'll win for sure and people will vote for you! We spend more on our military than the rest of the world combined, and somebody's going to be all impressed when we win? Come on. It's like thinking the Denver Broncos are really amazing because they just creamed Pohick Junior High's Fighting Eagles in a series of games that weren't even scheduled.
Sorry, Mom

I'm writing an e-mail to my Mom as soon as I finish this post. You see, I like to move places that make her nervous: Chicago, D.C., Moscow, anywhere outside the TX borders, really. I don't know if it's like this in other states--I imagine it is--but my ma seems fairly certain that a step across the Red River is an invitation to slaughter and rape and burglary and anthrax. I'm exaggerating a little. But just a leeetle.

So I was justifiably surprised to see a report in the Dallas Morning News asserting that Dallas is on pace to having the No. 1 crime rate for large cities for the 6th year running. Three Texas cities make the top five, with San Antonio coming in at #3, and Houston dragging behind at #4. The numbers consist of reported crimes in homicides, rapes, robberies, assaults, burglaries, thefts, and auto thefts. Furthermore, the rate is the number of crimes per 1,000 residents, so there goes my theory that D.C. didn't make the top ten due to its small size. Hell. I'm in freaking Disney World here, apparently! Texas looks like a dangerous, lawless, anarchic state, and I'm composing an e-mail to my parents at once to urge them to move to the safe environs of Maui.

I'll come visit!
Office Space

Matthew Yglesias has a little post on Joe Schmo American who isn't really following presidential politics with the rabid media-obsessed mania of the rest of us. (Notice how I neatly number myself among a majority that is largely a product of my imagination, or, perhaps of my local conditions.)

It reminds me of a conversation I recently had with my office-mate:

Me: I love General Wesley Clark.
Officemate: Who?
Me: Oh, he's this former NATO commander who might run for pres. You might have seen him doing military analysis on CNN during the war.
Officemate: Um. Nope. I was watching 6 Feet Under then. I missed the war. So, he is a Republican?
Me: Oh, no Republicans are going to run against Bush!
Officemate: Wait, wait, wait. Bush gets to go again?
Me: .....
Officemate: Well?
Me: Uh, yeah. He's only done one term. He'll run for re-election.
Officemate: Huh. Does anybody ever just, you know, not run again?
Me: Yeah, sometimes. LBJ didn't. But Bush is going to run. And there are something like 9 democratic hopefuls right now! Maybe more, I lose count.
Officemate: Woah! Nine?? That's going to be a huge ballot, right?
Me: ..... Well, look, only one of them is going to get the democratic nomination.
Officemate: Oh, so there will only be one of them going against Bush?
Me: Yeah. Dean is popular with the progressive left, but Kerry's got the edge of---
Officemate: [expression a mix of boredom/confusion]
Me: None of this--seriously--none of this is ringing a bell?
Officemate: I don't pay attention to all that crap.

Can you really blame her? Sometimes I think she's got it all figured out...
Bouncing Baby

This story, about a woman in Boston giving birth on the T, summarily destroys all my weenie public transportation tales combined. It's also gross, so bonus points there.

Read on, if you dare:
After the train left North Quincy, while crossing the Neponset River around 7:20 a.m., passengers reported hearing a muffled groan. Judge, dressed in a pink velour top and matching skirt, stood in the middle of the fourth car. Suddenly, her water broke.

''At first I thought someone spilled coffee, but it kept dripping,'' said Chin, 32. ''But she stood staring out the window ... I started doubting what I saw.''

About 90 seconds later, Chin said, ''I saw a head, then full baby fall out from her skirt, hit the floor sideways and slide the length of the doorway, stopping when he bumped up against the next row of seats. Still she stared out the window. Either she didn't know it happened or didn't want to acknowledge it.''

Judge bent down, picked up the baby and wrapped it in her scarf, Chin said.

People were vomiting from witnessing the birth. I think what would have done me in would be watching her pass the placenta on the platform. She simply stooped, picked up the afterbirth, put it in her shoulderbag, and continued up the stairs.

This woman dropped a baby like I drop my bus pass.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Is the RIAA suing you?

All you file-sharing music downloaders, check this database to see if your IP address or username is on one of the subpoenas filed in the DC District Court.

As when a number of Social Security numbers were stolen from the UT database, I'm sure Kriston's number will be among the unlucky...
Is it me or does it look like someone stuck a honey-baked ham under J-Lo's bra? Seriously, look. Her boobs go from her shoulder to her lower ribcage.

Furthermore, I will insist on pronouncing the title to this stupid movie as "jiggly" rather than the more genteel "zhilly" that they were going for.

Ha. Ha.

And it's probably a good idea, too

The Washington Post on Bush's news conference today:

The appearance before reporters marked the eighth time since taking office that Bush has fielded questions at a formal news conference, and the first time since American and British forces invaded Iraq last March.

By comparison, Bill Clinton had held 33 formal news conferences at a comparable point in his administration; Bush's father, former President George H.W. Bush, had 61.

Columbia Heights

When I first moved to DC, I lived in a neighborhood that was, as they say, "in transition." What this meant in practical terms, was that you didn't walk more than a block from the apartment building after dark. I only lived there about 3 months before finding a more permanent home. Good thing, too. Scanning the paper today, I see that my old 'hood is having an upsurge in gang violence, with 2 slayings in the past few days.

There was only one grocery store near that house, and it was within walking distance. I'm sure there are much scarier grocery stores in D.C., but this was definitely the most frightening one I'd ever frequented. It was dingy like it hadn't been cleaned in eons, the lights were barely trying, and the street around it was populated by empty store fronts and liquor stores. I used to wear ugly baggy clothes and a sweatshirt with a hood over my head and my hair frazzled so that nobody would harass me while I walked to the store. This never seemed to work--I might as well have been wearing a leather micro-mini and hooker boots. My roommate used to tell me not to go to that grocery store, but it was just so close that I didn't really have a choice. I asked our next-door neighbor Ana, a tough broad who had lived in the neighborhood for 20 years, if she thought going to the grocery store was unsafe. "Oh, no!" she laughed. "You're perfectly safe! I mean, as long as you go before 6pm, nothing will happen!"

You could say I've had a sheltered life.

Sometimes I feel bad that I sold out and moved to a neighborhood of creature comforts and little league parks and families walking dogs. I feel guilty knowing that other people would like to raise their families in this neighborhood but simply don't have the means. I tough it out for a couple months before jumping ship, and reminisce about my days in a neighborhood that by DC standards, really wasn't all that bad. But then I read stories like this one, and I'm glad I can take a walk for some ice cream in the evening and fear nothing more than an unleashed dog.

I was watching "Tough Crowd" with Colin Quinn last night--that's the Politically Incorrect-esque program where Quinn discusses current events and political questions with his comedian guests. He usually plays the hard-nosed, no-bullshit, voice-of-common sense guy that usually ends up irritating my delicate sensibilities. My tolerance for listening to any sort of punditry on TV has plummetted these days. I don't like listening to disagreeable arguments when they can't hear me argue back. Or feel the hurt as I fling things at the TV. Quinn wasn't rage-inspiring last night, but he did (all in the guise of common-sense guy) try to make a point which a lot of people try to make, and which is at best wrong, and at worst, completely offensive.

It was his opener: apparently some story hit the major news media (NYT, WaPo, etc.) about some woman who was beating up some little girl in the neighborhood and yelling something charming to the effect of "We don't want no spics or nig--rs* in this neighborhood." I missed the full story, but that was the point. And Quinn's point, in turn, was that if this had been a person of color calling a white person "cracker" or "honky," it would have never made the media. He said that the media is trying to perpetuate the myth that everything in race relations is just how it was 50 years ago.

I'll probably agree with him that this is a better item for local news rather than national. And I'll leave aside his patently ridiculous belief that a media outlet reporting instances of racial conflict is trying to convince the world that it's 1950 rather than simply exhibiting an example of racisim persisting in our society. What really bothers me is his conflation of derogatory terms. You see, I'm reading a series of essays by Stanley Fish right now, who is a notorious academic/lefty/multiculturist upon whom the PC banner was foisted. He brings a lot of academic weight to bear in his arguments, and while he is shakier on some points, on this one he is on sure ground.

To wit: in order to proclaim that the term "honky" or "cracker" is morally or psychologically equivalent to "nig--r" is to sever those words from the historical context that gave rise to them. The white (usually man) who is implicated in the first terms, has always been ascendant, dominant, and free from the types of oppression visited upon the black population. It is essentially free of meaning other than a casual insult, because it does not signify anything other than the intention to vilify. The other word, however, explicitly recalls a very specific history and a very specific set of associations. The word goes hand in hand with disenfranchisement, exclusion, violence, and subhuman treatment. "Cracker" cannot possibly. Fish states, and I agree, that such words must be understood in their historical context in order to be at all intelligible. Colin Quinn takes one criteria, namely: does a given word/action display racial content, and decides that any such word or action is equivalent and equally deplorable. That would be fine and acceptable had history never happened, and if we were all disconnected beings meeting in space. But words have meaning, history bears upon our perceptions, and to fail to take this into account is to perpetuate the very inequalities that we purport to eliminate.

I imagine I would not get very far into this diatribe on Colin Quinn. The guests last night just accused him of trying to be "that white guy" who won't back down to black people. Keep it up, they told him, and when the NAACP turns up the heat, he'll be tap-dancing on BET just like Trent Lott.

*I realize that I fully typed out one epithet while masking the other. This is completely a product of my own associations. I know this may represent a level of hypocrisy on my part. I intended to simply write them both out, but the second term was too repellant and I couldn't do it. The first is still a disgusting epithet, but it doesn't seem to carry with it the weight of systematic violence and terror that the second does, and I think that is why I am still able to write it.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

I've been taking a break from my usual themes lately (politics, the Hitch, inanity from the White House) because I started feeling like a broken record. Despite my best efforts, the Republicans and the religious right are going to just keep on having opinions and advancing their agenda of maximum annoyance, and if I miss a few days, I imagine I'll be able to pick up where i left off without too much plot confusion. This isn't a Shakespearean tragedy. National politcs play out more like a sitcom--the formula is always the same, you just change the situation from week to week.

So that's why you got to hear about my prom, and why you'll get to hear about Dismemberment Plan's great show last night.

Kriston has been trying to get me to go bonkers over these guys for quite a while. I thought they were really good, but they never really got me too excited. I was always happy to listen to them, but never requested them at the jukebox, you know what I mean? But when I heard several months ago that this seminal DC band was breaking up, I had to go hear their final hometown show.

But silly me, I didn't buy tickets in advance, and the show (obviously) sold out. Luckily, they decided to have a "okay this time for real last show" on Monday night, at Ft. Reno. This is a free outdoor park just a few blocks north of my casa, so I knew there was no way it could sell out. I would after all get to see the Dismemberment Plan's final DC show. It was kinda sprinkling, and I was only a fair-weather fan, but I decided to adopt the guise of a hardcore fan and wait it out.

The pleasant drizzle very quickly turned into torrential showers, and the opening band stopped playing when their keyboard went Snap Crackle Pop. But did I leave? No! Because I'm harcore? No! Because i was already soaked, and if I left right then, I would just be a sopping loser who stood in a field by herself getting drenched for an hour for no discernible reason. Right. But if I stayed for the show, you see, I'd be a true fan for whom no wind nor rain nor sleet nor snow would prevent the enjoyment of a good show. This determination lasted a bit longer, after which I decided that a sopping loser was what I was, through and through, and I might as well be a sopping loser all the way back home while I'm at it. I took off for the bus stop.

It isn't only national politics that plays out as a sitcom, you see. It's also my life. Can you guess? Five minutes waiting for the bus, and the rain stops, the skies clear. I had no choice but to pick up and walk back to the park, where the D Plan was setting up. And good for them, waiting it out. They saddled up and played a show that won me over to true fandom. Songs that sounded a little too polished on the album were rougher and more urgent live. The older stuff, their more frenetic and strange songs that left me puzzled when listening to the albums, sounded absolutely amazing on stage. They put on a fantastic performance for an audience that seemed to know every word to every song.

So was that it? Did I witness the final dismemberment of the Dismemberment Plan? Nope. Frontman Travis comes to the mic and says "Alright, this rain thing is kind of bullshit. I mean, it's funny, but it's bullshit. You all were standing out there for an hour. We'll do another show. We'll do one more. But THAT will be it." So, having missed the FIRST last-show-ever, but making the SECOND last-show-ever, shall I go in for the THIRD-and-potentially-final-but-we-kind-of-think-the-guys-just-can't-let-it-go show? We'll see if I remember to buy tickets.

For the English Majors

Time for some highbrow literary humor that, if understood, means you're completely unemployable:
[via IowaBlog]

Charles Dickens: Please, sir, I'd like a martini.
Bartender: Sure thing. Olive or twist?

James Joyce: I'll take a Guinness.
Bartender: So Charles Dickens was in here yesterday.
James Joyce: (drinks)
Bartender: And he asked for a martini and I said, "Olive or twist?"
James Joyce: (drinks)
Bartender: You see, it's funny because he wrote a book called "Oliver Twist."
James Joyce: What a shitty joke.

Ernest Hemingway: Gin.
Bartender: So Charles Dickens was in here two days ago.
Ernest Hemingway: Joyce already told me that story. Fuck off.

Franz Kafka: I'd like a mineral water.
Bartender: Olive or twist?
Franz Kafka: I can't digest solid food.

Mark Twain: Give me a brandy.
Bartender: So Charles Dickens came in the other day and ordered a martini.
Mark Twain: Did he take an olive or twist? Ha ha ha!
Bartender: (tearful) You did that on purpose, didn't you?

Virginia Woolf: I'll take your second-best cognac and unadulterated experience.
Bartender: We don't have that. This is a bar.
Virginia Woolf: Patriarchy! (drowns)

Monday, July 28, 2003

Liquid Snorted Through Nose Moment of the Day:

Bill Maher commenting on the up-side of having Arnold Schwarzenegger running for Gov. of California [paraphrased from memory]:
"At last we'll have a candidate who can explain the Bush administration's stance on Civil Liberties in the original German."

We're the Kids in America (wo-woah)

Saturday night, the Black Cat hosted a New Wave Anti-Prom party that offered the chance for young twenty-somethings to find closure with painful highschool memories by letting everyone re-live their prom now that they're more beautiful, confident, not afraid to dance, and in fully ironic gear. It's easier to dance in public when your tongue is in your cheek and your ponytail is cocked jauntily to the side of your head. So there among the lace gloves and the crimped hair and the taffeta, in front of a giant screen showing Molly Ringwald movies and two DJs spinning The Cure and Madonna and Billy Idol, we danced our ironic little tooshies off and posed in front of the cheesy prom backdrop for pictures with our cheesy prom smiles. The whole experience got me thinking about my real prom, and to borrow a phrase from every Compare and Contrast paper, there were many similarities and a few differences:

My date for both proms was neither a ladies man, nor likely to try and take me home:
First prom date was a trumpet player who was painfully shy with girls, and besides there was no romantic interest between us. Saturday's prom date was gay. Both, however, happily stomped on my twinkly toes whilst dancing. Saturday's prom date also grabbed my ass a lot more.

There was a lot more yelling at this prom
This difference is almost certainly attributable to the fact that my friend (we'll call her "Athena") was not at my first prom. At this prom, some dumb guy in suit pants and vest (he was posing as the prom photographer) approached her and after learning she was from Austin, proceeded to explain why he hated Texas, and how there was "nothing redeeming about Texas." He even said--you won't believe it--that he doesn't see why Texas is any better than Rhode Island! Rhode Island?? I'm sorry, is that a state? I had no idea! Unfortunately for this fellow, he did not know with whom he was messing. "Athena" is a hellcat, you see, and not exactly a blushing violet. "What the hell is your problem?" we hear her yell. "Who does that? Who walks up to a stranger and starts trashing their home? That's not right. You're seriously pissing me off. I think I'm going to hit you. I'm seriously going to punch you if you don't shut your mouth." Myself and my other fellow Austinite rushed to her defense and told this guy that he and whatever poor-excuse-for-a-state that he hailed from could shove his opinions where the sun don't shine. Then he tried to get a hug. At my original prom, we all just smiled politely and tried not to have opinions.

My feet hurt
I wore the same shoes to this prom that I had worn to my original prom. Except in 11th grade the shoes were not half a size too small, and I'm fairly certain that I didn't do much dancing.

The Booze Factor
I know that a lot of kids at my original prom had already figured out that these things are more fun if you are drunk, but I wasn't one of them. Now I know better, and woohoo! Let me tell you, somebody should alert the planning committees of these Highschool shindigs. In the spirit of the theme, our drink of choice was Franzia wine, or as we like to call it, Chalet du Box. For full disclosure, I have to admit that sometimes alcohol can also have adverse affects on human behavior. It caused my date to cuckold me by grabbing at cute boys as they passed by and asking if they were gay. [They were. They all were.]

Prom King and Queen
This time, they were not the head cheerleader and the football player. This time, they were the guy sporting baby-blue tux ruffles with mohawk, and a glittery "Queen" with glam-makeup and platform shoes.

Overall, quite a bit more fun than my first prom, though a little less momentous. The aftermath was less painful the first time around, too. After dancing into the wee hours, I had to drag my semi-conscious self out of bed at 7:45 am, flop into a car, land on a beach in Delaware, and sleep on my tummy in the sand until my rump was cooked a nice healthy shade of melanoma pink.

Friday, July 25, 2003

Things I am Thankful For

Enjoyable interviews:
It's surprisingly refreshing to have an interviewer ask your opinion on the direction of reforms in post-Soviet states, rather than your opinion on appropriate filing techniques. If nothing else, I'm grateful for the good conversation, and the kindly assumption of intelligence.

Weekend plans:
Free beer and hotdogs on Saturday, anti-prom party on Saturday night, beach trip on Sunday.

My boyfriend's new tattoo:
Now if he'd only get a motorcycle, I'd just about have my bringing-him-home-to-meet-the-parents fantasy fulfilled.

Au bon Pain:
For that fresh mozarella and tomato pesto sandwich they keep making me buy

Hops and Barley:
I'm so glad you both exist, and you both came together in a beautiful relationship more commonly known as beer. You make it worth going to work on Friday, if only for the pleasure of getting off work on Friday.

King Henry V:
Thanks for having an interesting life, and waging interesting wars, and having controversial progeny. Otherwise the book I'm reading would be really boring. I don't care if you never really said "Once more into the breach, dear friends." I think you're great. But not as great as-

Gen. Wesley Clark:
Just cuz.

I need to come up with a name for my new car when it arrives. I previously wanted to have a car named "The Hitch," but I've disowned him, so nix that. Unlike Guppy, my last car, a car of The People, this one is a bit bourgeois. Maybe Yvonne, or Cassandra. Or "My Owner is a Big Fat Sellout." We'll see.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

As usual, the Poorman destroys my most considered arguments with insightful, undeniable pillars of logical reasoning. In this post, he notes that the real reason we needed to take Udai and Qusai alive (or Ebay and Eefquay, as he calls them) is so that they coud answer the most pressing questions of the day:
"where are the WMD?", "are they hidden in your beards?", and "why did Saddam name you in Pig Latin?"

I concede.
I'm getting rather irritated at finding this theme popping up around the web (notably, in the NYT op-ed pages this morning): "It's great that Udai and Qusai are dead, but you know, it really would have been a lot better if we had captured them alive."

Yeah, no shit. I'm sure the soldiers involved in the operation were perfectly aware that their target was more valuable alive. I do not doubt that if it were possible, they would have liked to pull them kicking and screaming to the detention cell. But guess what? It didn't work out that way. It would have been nice if the man who killed a NYC Council Member yesterday had been taken alive, but guess what? It didn't work out that way. I've seen enough action movies to know that in the heat of battle, you do what you have to do to come out alive. All the armchair generals in the world busily stating the obvious are, I think, rather insulting to the men that are risking their necks out there.

I know there's some hemming and hawing about how US Forces greatly outnumbered the Brothers Grim and entourage, but I again reply, I do not doubt they would have taken them alive if they could have. Udai and Qusai aren't the surrendering type. They would have gone on shooting if there was an entire battallion stacked against them, and if the US troops were confronted with the choice of killing the brothers or sacrificing a few of their own for the capture, I'm glad they chose the former. Having them alive would have been good, but keeping our troops alive is better.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Is that my ship coming in?

It's shaping up to be one hell of an August for yours truly. Within the next two weeks, I'm getting a car, a boyfriend, and maybe, just maybe, a fantabulous new job. Got my eyes peeled for lightning...
Washington Post's Style Invitational

The Washington Post's Style Invitational once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.

Here are this year's winners:

1. Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

2. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

3. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

4. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

5. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.

6. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

7. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

8. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

9. Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.

10. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

11. Karmageddon: It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.

12. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

13. Glibido: All talk and no action.

14. Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

15. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

16. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

17. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a grub in the fruit you're eating.

And the pick of the literature:

18. Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an asshole.
Andrew Sullivan today is positively offensive. He claims that "anti-war types" have forgotten that 9/11 ever happened. Not only is it insulting to me, I hope he realizes that plenty of 9/11 victims' families were skeptical of the war in Iraq and that by brushing with such broad strokes, he impugns them with the charge of insufficient reverence to their own beloved dead. It is only slightly less insulting that he charges others of us with the same by drawing the straight line from 9/11 to Iraq. Ipso facto. This fallacy has been beaten to death, but unbelievably, it still pops up. I really don't understand how he can write with a straight face that all skeptics of the Iraq War are traitors to the memory of 9/11--an attack by a borderless terror network populated and largely funded by Saudi Arabia with a temporary base in Afghanistan and no discernible ties to the Iraqi government. But I'll let that one go.

He goes on to say the following:
These people, it's worth remembering, believe that the exercise of American military power is almost always more morally problematic than any foreign tyranny or even a serious security threat to the homeland. They can only justify American military power if it is wielded under imminent, grave danger that can be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. That's why they are so exercised about tiny pieces of evidence today. They still believe we were wrong to remove Saddam from power without incontrovertible proof of WMDs of a type unobtainable in police states; they still believe America had no moral sanction for such an action

Let's pick this apart real quick-like. If I'm to be maligned with the charge that I am hesitant to deploy the almighty forces of American military power, then I accept it. I do not see the moral superiority of the opposing position: American military power is justified where danger is not imminent, not grave, and cannot be proven. It does not take a doctorate in International Relations to see why this is a (let's be nice and say) problematic military doctrine. Furthermore, what is this "serious security threat to the homeland" he speaks of? Because it sure as hell ain't Iraq! The only moral case for invasion of Iraq, in my book, was the humanitarian case. And that is why I'm glad to see torture victims speaking out, and I'm fucking elated that Udai and Qusai are dead. But the Bush Administration's credibility on humanitarian invasions is a joke, especially considering their reluctance to get involved in Liberia, or, well, anywhere that isn't part of the grand Middle East plan. I don't think you can get very far by accusing skeptics of being judicious in the deployment of military might, of risking the lives of service people, and asking for an investigation if it appears that facts were bent to convince a nation to go to war. He should not take such pride in being so very ready to send soldiers into battle without the strictest of criteria being met. It's all so very easy from your wi-fi connection at your beach house, isn't it?
This is so very unfair. SO UNFAIR! Why, why, WHY does New York get to have EVERYTHING? It was a minute consolation that at least they also had crap Mexican food. But look at this. The Times is reporting on the rise of Taquerias throughout the boroughs of New York. These look like the real, deal my friends. Little stands in the back of grocery stores, food served on paper plates, barbacoa. The most popular Tex-Mex restaurant here in DC is three-stories high and has white linen tablecloths and folded cloth napkins origami-style at your place. And their strawberry margaritas taste like cherry jolly ranchers dipped in motor oil. I have found a little mom-and-pop Mexican place near my house, but it's no taqueria.

You know, I'm not convinced that there are no taquerias in DC. There is a large hispanic population, it's just a lot of them are Salvadorean. And it's not like taquerias are going to have websites or be featured on the Dining Guides that I usually peruse. So I just need to get off my duff and start exploring some of these neighborhoods. There have got to be some decent tacos al pastor in this town. I realize it is quite irritating to constantly here texpatriates moaning and groaning about the lack of Mexican food, and I had pretty much given it up, but if NEW F'ING YORK has taquerias, then we have no excuses.

Dios mio.
Shocking findings!

A completely unsurprising result of a recent public opinion study in Russia shows that almost 60% of Russians are unhappy. Hard to believe, eh? I believe further studies would show that 45% their daughters are still unmarried and 65% of their sons are good-for-nothing lazybones who will never make anything of themselves, and 75% of the toddlers have their shoes untied and forgot their jackets.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

In an effort to rid myself of the mean streak of misanthropy that has been growing (choose your own cliche: like a cancer! like a virus! like a weed!) over the last 9 months of near-solitude, I'm forcing myself to attend a, oh what are we calling it, a gathering tomorrow. I realize I've done jack squat to meet new people or make huge sweeping circles of friends, instead contenting myself with sitting in the corner of the bar with a book, muttering about how "bad Saul Bellow is better than obnoxious conversation anyday," ignoring the overt attempts at fellow patrons to alleviate my conspicuous solitude "Oh! How's your quiche?" "Fine."

Independence is a fine trait, but I think it can be taken too far, and I believe that is precisely where I have taken it. So tomorrow begins Day 1 of my new self-help course entitled Intro to Schmoozing. This "gathering" is sponsored by the Eurasia center, and will therefore feature specials on vodka, vodka martinis, and Eurotrash. Oh, wait. I'm supposed to be loving mankind. Right. So then I won't mention how I figured the cheap vodka should be a fine balm for the pain of forced, awkward conversations with jet-setting Eurotrash? Social skills, my dear, social skills!

I read in the helpful guide "Women for Hire" [not about prostitution], that when you are looking for a job, you should advertise that fact from the rooftops, because you never know who can help you out. Mention it to people in the checkout line at the grocery! it suggests. Mention it when you're waiting in line for the bathroom! Say it to the person next to you on the subway! So there's my problem. I've seen those people, those people that follow that advice. And I (oh, fuck the nice thing) hate those people! Acting like a blabber-mouthed twit can't possibly be a prerequisite toward good job-having, can it? I have a very strong feeling that anybody who would respond well to such a routine, would not be a person I'd be happy working with. But I imagine that people are equally uninclined to go to bat for a sullen, smug, self-satisfied neophyte who thinks she's too good to play the game. Unless of course, it's an older man, who will go to great lengths to advance the career of a skirt he's just met, however sullen. That's a story for another time, I think.

Really, I don't hate people. I adore the rush of a busy sidewalk, and the look of a park dotted with picnic blankets and bike riders. I even love the unwashed masses of the subway. From the infirm to the intern, there is always excellent people-watching in the city, and it's one of my favorite pasttimes. I just don't like talking to any of them. That's all.

Monday, July 21, 2003

Yesterday I finished reading Christopher Hitchens' lastest book review in The Atlantic Monthly, Thinking Like an Appartchik. I'd like to summarize the article for you, if I may, by quoting a line from Christopher Guest's Waiting for Guffman. In essence, Hitchens uses this book review as a forum to say:
"I hate you! I hate you...and your...ASS FACE!" to Sidney Blumenthal, whose book he is reviewing.

Here inside the Beltway, and inside any other micro-Beltways in which my fellow nerds travel, it is no secret that Sidney Blumenthal's book, The Clinton Wars, includes an unflattering portrait of Hitch the Snitch. Hitchens of course testified to a House Judiciary Committee divulging information from an informal lunch with Blumenthal. That's where things got ugly and there has been hissing and snarling and snooty high-brow mudslinging ever since. In short, it's been very entertaining for those of us who aren't into WWF.

What isn't entertaining is letting Hitchens then write and publish a "book review" on The Clinton Wars. Let him write and publish it, but don't insult us all by pretending it has the veneer of objectivity necessary to earn the title of "review." Let it be an op-ed piece, or an expose, or a spittle-drenched diatribe, but not a review. You'd get as much informative information, though far more entertainment, from a Ja Rule review of Eminem's memoirs. If you read the article, and really, don't bother, you'll see that it's just Hitchens defending himself against the various charges made against him, and counter-attacking with variations on the theme of "Blumenthal's a namby-pamby yes-man and he sleeps with his blankie."

I question the editors' decision to let Hitchens write this review, but I'd be pissing into the wind, as my brother says. The fact is, Hitchens v. Blumenthal will actually sell some issues in this freaked-out, twisted-priorities, no-life-having sector of society. So why not? It's sensationalism, but it sells. Furthermore, and I do hate to think this played any part in their decision-making, but the recently deceased, former Atlantic Editor-at-Large Michael Kelly reportedly takes a rap in Blumenthal's book. The two didn't get along. Is it possible that the Atlantic editors would sic Hitchens on Blumenthal as a sort of posthumous revenge from beyond the grave? I rather doubt it, (see "Hanlon's razor" post below, and substitute "prospect of great profit" for "stupidity") but it's a thought.

Finally, I'm coming damn close to officially disowning The Hitch. I hate to do it, but the qualities I always admired in him--his subtlety of thought and his elegant yet forceful style--seem to have all but abandoned him. I know that would be a great disappointment to my faithful readers who have come to look so forward to the regular updates on Mr. Hitchens, but I think I'm losing the heart. I'll find a copy of "Letters to a Young Contrarian"--back in the days when he would write "Do justice and let the skies fall"--and see if it comes back to me...
I found a quote that perfectly encapsulates the reason why I've never been able to be much of a conspiracy theorist, especially when it comes to the machinations of government. It's called Hanlon's Razor:
"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."

I think this works equally well in the micro-level of personal relationships. I can't tell you how many times I've heard girls concluding that various wrong-doing males were part of a vast conspiracy to shatter their self-esteem, contort their minds, or whirl them into a deadly tango of manipulative mind-games, when really, the guy's just a doofus who hasn't remembered he was supposed to meet you at the coffee shop.
Quote of the Day

70-something year-old Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif) to 30-something Rep. Scott McInnis (R-Colo) after McInnis told Stark to "Shut up":
"Are you big enough to make me you little wimp? Why don't you come over here and make me; I dare you. You little fruitcake. You little fruitcake."

Friday, July 18, 2003

Foiled intern makes good as diplomat

Flak magazine singlehandedly made my decision to get out of bed this morning worthwhile, by putting up this little gem today. You surely remember the exploits of Paul Kelly Tripplehorn, Jr. and his torrid intern affair, no? Flak was quick to note that this young man's sense of tact and his unique rhetorical skills are a perfect match for the current administration's Foreign Service. Imagine with us, if you will, Ambassador Paul Kelly Tripplehorn, Jr., and his correspondence with foreign dignitaries (they parody the entire original e-mail, whereas my previous post only highlighted bits of it. You can find the original in its entirety here ):

From: Ambassador Paul Kelly Tripplehorn Jr. []

To: Queen Beatrix, Head of State, The Netherlands

Subj: Add'l revisions to draft version of NATO charter amendment 4.919 (you suck)

Dear Queen Beatrix,

As of this afternoon, I was planning on ruining your country by making phone calls to all of President Bush's parents friends and have you blackballed from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as well as every prestigous multilateral institution in the world, but then (lucky for you) I decided not to do that because you are a sad sad country and I will just let your international ties self destruct right before my eyes.... [more]
Hey all you editors and editrixes! Editrices! Whatever!
Blow the dust of that style guide in the locked-up classroom of your mind, and take The Economist's Style Quiz! [Disclaimer: I only followed this link because the thought of the Economist quizzing me on Marc Jacobs and Balenciaga had me snorting coffee through my nose. It's, like, writing style. Get it?]

I got a 9 out of 12, but shoulda had a 10. Damn hyphen rule, I knew that one. I also inadvertantly did well on Americanisms. [they're bad, per The Economist] Screwed up "tone" as well, but any faithful readers of this humble blog shouldn't be surprised at that. I'm sure you'll all get stunningly perfect scores, and I'm just so proud of each and every one of you! Now go forth and edit.
From the newswire: New Saddam Tape Urges Iraqi Holy War.

Yeah, I heard that Saddam recording. It was pretty good, you know, but I liked them better the first time, when they were called Osama. What is happening to the recording industry? Interpol rocks, but hello? Joy Division called, and they want their sound back! Everything is so derivative now. I mean, if I want to listen to someone calling for the death and destruction of me and my loved ones, I'm going to go for the original every time. I think Osama really thoroughly explored this jihad bit, and Saddam is just embarassing himself. Of course, it could just be a tribute recording, or a cover of Osama, but if so he really should clarify because I smell a copyright lawsuit.

In honor of the new tape, I'm going to replay one of my favorite Poorman posts ever. Written many moons ago when Osama released yet another tape calling for jihad:
This is all getting a bit repetitive. Wage jihad against America. I think we've got it now. Fucking established. If there was anyone out there who was mistakenly racing hot rods against Armenia or shaking peapods against Albania or something, and for whom this tape proved a much-needed clarification of official Qaeda policy, then, obviously, I stand corrected. But judging by the fact that your organization has spent the past eighteen months dying, being arrested, and blowing up obscure sections of the third world, I think you might be spending too much effort on building brand awareness and not enough on, you know, terrorizing me. Bring it, don't sing it. I'm not saying I actually want anything bad to happen, I just think that, based on recent performances, your tape-recorded messages belong less on the front page, and more in a very special episode of "Where Are They Now?"

"I don't need any other girls. One crazy bitch is enough."
--My sweetie pie, on his undenying devotion to moi
Sir, kindly remove your cock from my shoulder

This is not the way I wanted to start my fancy Friday. I grumbled my way onto the bus, silently doing some sort of drinking resolutioning that involved the creation of a new truism: you can drink without dinner, and you can get free drinks, but never the twain should meet. And then I kerplunked into my seat to begin my morning scrunchy-eyed ritual of hating everyone who steps on the bus for really good reasons such as: I hate her hair; look at his fat ass; she has a bad attitude; who does he think he is walking on the bus like that. It was getting rather crowded, which was fine because I had a seat, so my only preoccupation was to hope that no old folks got on because I wasn't feeling my morning freshy best.

Some guy was standing in the aisle next to my seat, when a woman pushed past him to get to the door. And as she pushed past him...ugh...he puuuuuuuushed his torso forward to let her by and ever so insistently.......oh lord......pressed his crotch into my shoulder. This, I think, is the most severe breach of bus etiquette I have experienced since that guy grabbed my inner thigh, and at least he had the excuse of being schizophrenic/drunk/high/mentally retarded/generic street crazy. The dick that was acquainting itself with my upper arm was attached to a man in suit and tie, so really, his mother ought to have taught him better. So the bus ride resulted in not one, but two truisms. A record I think. Number one is recorded above, number two still needs some work with the wording, but it definitely involves an interdiction against contact with stranger's genitalia prior to morning coffee.

The word for today is: ewwwwww
A sentence I never thought I'd type

My drinks this evening were all courtesy of Lyndon Baines Johnson's illegitimate child.


Thursday, July 17, 2003

I'm intrigued...

For many people seeking a wild Saturday Night, the idea of going to a Quiet Party would be about as appealing as a trip to the library. But me? I'm curious. It was an idea started by a couple of New Yorkers, and it seems to have caught on in Manhattan. Here's the thing: you go into the bar, and you can't talk. No blaring music, no people screaming "WHERE ARE YOU FROM" at each other. Blissful silence. The tables will have paper tablecloths and index cards and scraps of paper for people to write notes to each other. According to the press on these parties, people write little snippets such as:

"Talking is so early '90s."

"No slurping. This is a quiet party!"

"Is it bad manners to read other people's leftover notes?"

"Do you write here often?"

The guy I am talking to is too old. Let's switch. No thank you.

Hop if you're cute.

Scream if you hate me.

I have to go home now — I've disgraced myself.

Some write out complicated math equations or brief one-act plays. I was very good at passing notes in Junior High, which is the last time I tried this. I bet it's like riding a bike. And you probably lose some inhibitions when you're being funny and writing instead of talking. This idea especially appeals to me in D.C., because I don't imagine anyone would bother to write " you work on the Hill?" or "I handle telecom for Senator blablablah." It'll be like the time we were all playing "Asshole" and Athena became "President" and her rule was that the annoying red-headed girl was not allowed to talk anymore, and then everyone had a really great time. It might be too much of a singles scene for my unavailable self, but if you don't want to "talk" to someone, I suppose you could just close your eyes or respond in Cyrillic and pretend you don't read English.
Get yer scorecard here for Hipster Bingo! Just print it out and bring it along to your next trip to Emo's, Black Cat, or wherever your city's hipsters linger.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Sullivan breaks his silence

Andrew Sullivan has finally acknowledged in passing the roaring debate over the "smoking sentence" from the State of the Union. Speaking of the deficit disaster, he says:
Right now, the president doesn't seem even to acknowledge that there's a problem. But it's a far bigger one than some phony hysteria about a minor CIA goof.


Tuesday, July 15, 2003

I missed this Post Editorial this past weekend regarding General Clark, but I'm glad I found it. The more I read about him, the more I'm convinced that if the Dems don't come to their senses and rally around this guy, they're throwing the race away.

Let's face it: Kerry's a Massachusetts Liberal who can't win over middle America. I admire Dean's principles and his guts, but he's going to be too much of a firebrand, and that turns people off. Edwards has a good story, but he's been laying awfully low. Look, I've got my finger on the pulse of America, so listen up: people are worried sick about the economy, they're freaked about health care, they don't really like this aura of secrecy about the Bush administration, but they're willing to deal with Bush's disastrous policies on ALL of that because of National Seurity. Where other polling numbers show a healthy split, Bush and Co. have the National Security question tied up. And I don't know any dems who can beat that.

I think only General Clark can come in with the requisite credentials to lay that question to rest. As this op-ed notes:
When the press refers to him, his first name will always be "General." Without being the least bit exploitative, his ads will feature him with stars across his shoulders.

And he doesn't scream "scary liberal" to our soccer moms and CPA dads:
Clark's appeal is that he intelligently veers from traditional Democratic rhetoric to make the party's case. Take the gun issue. Instead of hemming and hawing about the Second Amendment, he says, "I have got 20-some-odd guns in the house. I like to hunt. I have grown up with guns all my life, but people who like assault weapons, they should join the United States Army -- we have them." In a flash, he could reverse the damage of 30 years of Republican culture warmongering.

I like him, man, I like him. I don't know who I can get behind if he doesn't run. It seems so late in the game, since we already have about 734 democratic candidates, but this article indicates that at this point 12 years ago, Clinton was barely on the radar screen.

We just need to find the guy, the one guy, who can beat Bush, and I think Wes is our man.
Tsk tsk

From a WPost article today on interns:
"I think D.C. is the only place to go where everyone is young, and there are so many bars," said Darshan Somashekar, 20, an intern at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. "It's so cool. It's so cool!"

You do? Where oh where have you come from, dear child? Mogadishu? Vladivostok? or, gasp, Salt Lake City? Now, I have come to appreciate many aspects of my new home here in Washington, and I've had many new experiences and opportunities that were not available, perhaps, in the somewhat more provincial town of Austin. But the good lord knows that it is not a wild college town, and while it has many charming attributes, it is decidedly not "so cool." Somebody start a fund to get this kid on a whirlwind tour of Austin, Boulder, and Madison.

CalPundit gives us a jaw-dropper. Here's the President talking to the media yesterday:
The larger point is, and the fundamental question is, did Saddam Hussein have a weapons program? And the answer is, absolutely. And we gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power, along with other nations, so as to make sure he was not a threat to the United States and our friends and allies in the region.

Does he think that's true? Does he think we think it's true? I know we Americans are accused of having short attentions spans but the whole "Let the Inspectors do their job" thing was rather a big deal and I don't recall that the protesters were chanting at Saddam. Is it nitpicking to wish your president didn't live in Bizzaro World? Take that italicized phrase and put it in Steve Corell's mouth and you have insta-Daily Show. Somehow it isn't so funny when it's real...

Always there to ask the hard questions, Andrew Sullivan is determined to bring these liberals to task for their failure to support gay marriage!

Yes, [Kerry's] position is better than many on the right. But I don't see why liberals should be given a pass on this issue. They need to explain why they support inequality for gays, without a facile resort to broad platitudes - monogamy, child-rearing, etc. - that collapse upon inspection. [emphasis added]

I can only assume that the logic works something like this:
--Democrats are the party of social liberalism and they claim to stick up for the rights of minority groups such as people of color and gays. Therefore, if they support civil unions but waffle on gay marriage, they are lying hypocrites who must be brought to task!
--Republicans never claimed to stick out their necks for anybody, much less a bunch of gays who are trying to take over the world and convert their children to sinful ways, so they should hardly be expected to "explain why they support inequality for gays."

This is the kind of mental and moral acrobatics necessary for Andrew Sullivan to justify his continuing affiliation with the conservative party. It sure sounds tiring to me.

Weird, looks like Kriston and I posted on this at almost the same time. (He beat me by a nose.) What could that possibly mean? Must have something to do with the fact that we are both unbelievably bored at work.
Petty theft or elaborate, meta-, uh, art something?

According to Reuters, police in St. Petersburg have tracked down Gogol's missing nose.
A giant 220 pound statue of a nose was erected years ago to commemorate Gogol's famous tale "The Nose" in which a government official searches desperately around the town in search of his errant nose.

Last September, the nose statue likewise went missing, and didn't turn up until last Friday.

An homage to Gogol, or a thoughtless vandalism? I suggest St. Petersburg residents remain on the lookout for any suspicious characters trying to purchase dead souls...
Wha' Happened? Vol. IV
When Preppy Love goes BAD

Since Capitol Hill is more incestuous and wickedly gossip-filled than an all-girls' High School, tales of humiliation and woe spread faster through the halls of congress than veneral diseases. Seeing as it's currently what they call "Intern Season," it is only appropriate that the Hot Gossip du jour should involve an unlucky pair of Texas interns from Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison's office.

Seems that a summer romance went awry, and an incensed (and semi-literate) Paul Kelly Tripplehorn, Jr. [I didn't make that name up. His e-mail address involves the word "tripplehorny." ahem.] fired off what he surely intended as a blistering e-mail to his lady love, a Ms. Megan Muller of the University of Texas at Austin.

The subject line, "you suck," more or less set the tone for this missive. It opens:
Well, as of this afternoon, I was planning on ruining your career by making phone calls to all of my parents [sic] friends and have you blackballed from the workplace as well as every prestigous law school in the country, but then (lucky for you) I decided not to do that because you are a sad sad person and I will just let your life self destruct right before my eyes....

Michele [sic] I am sorry, I don't care how big of [sic] sadistic fucked up [sic] crush you have on me but people like me simple [sic] don't date people like you. You are too competitive with me and you just simply will never be better than me. I will always have more friends than you just because I don't care about beating people and lying to get to the top. (You are an absolute hipocrit [sic] in everything that you do, I am not going to go into details why you are
because that would be a waste of my time and yours but I can assure you if you were to ever meet yourself you would hate your twin.)

But wait! There's more...
Everyone knows you are a pathetic social climber who will go to any discusting [sic] means to move up the ladder. But guess what Michele, [sic] you will never move up the ladder because I am at the top and people like me hate people like you.
I do not even know why I wasted my time typing this for suck slime. [is that what the kids are saying these days? suck slime?] Everyone tells me that you are so beneath me (which you are) and I should not get worked up over suck trifles. By the end of the day if I wanted to, I could make a phone call and have your life absolutely ruined but there is no need because you are falling fast enough towards failure without me. In the end, all I can say is that people love me and people hate you.

He signs:
"Once again from your intellectual, moral, social, and emotional
Paul Kelly Tripplehorn, Jr."

According to the Roll Call article on this story, the young man was dismissed from his position, and a photo from Sen. Hutchison's site with the star-crossed lovers in it has been removed. God bless interns for making the summer a little sunnier. I'm sure that's the sentiment of this guy, quoted in the Roll Call article:
"This young intern ought to know that one must learn how to use spell-check before one is even allowed on the ladder," one veteran Congressional aide cracked about the climbing-the-ladder aspect of the correspondence. "Now he should really go fetch me a latte and fill the copier with some paper."

Oh, um, my lawyer says to add this:
wink wink.

This story has made its way to the Washington Post gossip column! Complete with picture of Mr. Benjamin Bumpington-Hornswoggle III. Or whatever his name is:

Monday, July 14, 2003

Beach Blanket Bile

The Guardian compiled a list of summer reading suggestions from various authors, poets, and notables.

Leaving no benign effort un-hated, leave it to Christopher Hitchens to offer the following advice for your summer reading pleasure:

I don't think of the summer as a reading period, any more than any other season. I therefore never have anything to offer. The whole concept of beach and book-bag is multiply repellent to me. I hate holidays anyway.

Ah, yes. The Sound and the Fury it is, then.
I'm alread concocting a Very Special Holiday Tale entitled "The Hitch Who Stole Christmas."
New faces, old story

She met him on the 4th of July. They had what you call a spark. He stayed the night, and then half the next morning, watching Wimbeldon with her. They had bagels. They promised a game of tennis. He left with her number, she stayed with her hangover.

By the 12th of July, she was unhinged. He has not called. Within minutes of meeting her, strangers know the story. Through the course of a long night out, she checks her phone every few minutes. She mutters "Don't ask for it if you're not going to use it. It's crueller to take it and not use it." She glares accusingly at her phone.

She has a sack full of explanations. He's going through a divorce. He's very busy at work. Maybe it's because she was too drunk and nearly was sick. Maybe he meant to call, but has not summoned the nerve.

God, by 28, you ought to know better.

Everybody, say it with me: He's just not that into you.

Friday, July 11, 2003

The Rules

Finally, the most comprehensive and authoritative set of Shotgun Rules I have yet come across. These rules take into account important considerations such as:
--You must be outside to call shotgun
--The car must be in sight to call shotgun (for instances when the preceding activity took place outside)
--When one party's hand is on shotgun door, other parties cannot claim shotgun
--The invalidation of Shotgun rules for long road trips in favor of rotational shotgun

It also includes the all-important Significant Others Clause in which any girl/boyfriend gets automatic shotgun privileges (violate this rule at your own peril. Ask Seth about the forces of fate that flung a side mirror at the bridge of his nose after his flagrant flouting of this principle.)
Mama, don't let your babies grow up to be homos

From the Washington Post:

"Compassionate" Conservative Rick Santorum speaking to GQ Magazine about what he would say if one of his children confessed homosexual urges:

"I have temptations, as we all do, all the time, to do things we shouldn't do. Whether we have that disposition because of environmental factors, genetic factors, whatever, it doesn't mean you have to submit. We are people of free will and free choices."

Translation, for those not fluent in politicalese:
"Boy, if I ever catch you with one 'a them namby pamby nancy boys, you're gonna be suckin' the business end 'a mah double-barrel shotgun."

Thursday, July 10, 2003

The Slow, Sad Demise of The Hitch; Part XXXVIII

No, this one isn't written by Hitchens, so you're spared that at least. It's one of Hitch's friends and proteges, bewildered by his behavior and bemoaning the polemicist he has become in terms I relate to. Rather than mock his drinking habit and slovenly appearance like some other less classy adversaries, this writer describes an experience that mirrors my own pretty closely--reading him with great relish and admiration, and then watching in dismay as he descends into uncomplicated and even hypocritical thought.

I can barely read him anymore. His pieces in the Brit tabloid The Mirror and in Slate are a mishmash of imperial justifications and plain bombast; the old elegant style is dead. His TV appearances show a smug, nasty scold with little tolerance for those who disagree with him.

He also coyly places their conversation in Hitch's "fave D.C. pub just down the street from his spacious apartment." I've already got the apartment stalked. And shockingly, I can't seem to think of his area bars. I think this calls for a field trip. What in God's name would I say to the Hitch if I met him? "Buy you a drink?" "Please stop staring at my breasts?"
Pardon my French

SueAndNotU will be out of commission today, because she has to go fucking puke.
Girl, please

We have a winner! In the category of Worst Line to Ever Work on a Female, Leonard Slatkin, the acclaimed conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra, takes top prize. According to my inside sources, Slatkin was carrying on a torrid affair with married deaf percussionist Evelyn Glennie over e-mail. Glennie's then-husband recounts his discovery of the winning words of wooing:
"One email said, 'The thought of my modem inside your laptop turns my mainframe on.' It was pretty tacky." The article goes on to quote Slatkin's e-mail to Glennie: "Will we have to be on line to make love? I'll nibble on your bits and byte."

And it seems that she liked it. Now, I'm not one to get in the way of whatever gets you going, but Evelyn honey, you're bringing down the sisterhood. You gotta have some standards or these guys will think they can get away with sad-sack lines like that.
Betcha didn't think this sentence would ever appear in the Washington Post:
The 35-year-old Texan is soft-spoken, self-deprecating and so cautious that he makes the man he's replacing, Ari Fleischer, sound like a gangsta rapper.

I am sure you'll all join me in thinking that nothing short of divine intervention could make Ari Fleischer sound like a gangsta rapper, but behold: Scott McClellan, the new press secretary.

I've got my fingers crossed for a first lady so demure she makes Laura Bush look like L'il Kim.
As a tax-and-spend Liberal, and a big fan of anything that pisses off the suburbanites who come in and crowd up my streets, I'm 100% behind the DC City Council's decision to go to court over the cause of a "commuter tax." Here's the thing. Every work day, 500,000 non-residents from Virginia and Maryland pour in to D.C. (population 600,000). They use our roads, they are protected by our policemen and firemen, and then they leave and pay (much lower) taxes to the states of Virginia and Maryland. D.C., in turn, has to overtax its own residents to maintain the level of services necessary to attend to its doubled work-week population. Currently, there is a ban on the imposition of a commuter tax that MD and VA residents who work in DC would have to pay. DC is going to court to overturn the ban.

"In effect, D.C. residents wind up paying their share of services and the share of nonresident workers who get services as well," said Walter A. Smith, director of the D.C. Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, a nonprofit advocacy group coordinating the suit. "We call it discriminatory taxation without representation."

Like I said, I'm all for it. And VA and MD can offer tax deductions for residents who have to pay into other jurisdictions. The rate wouldn't have to be very much to bring in millions to DC. DC residents get the shaft on every possible issue it is possible to be shafted on. If I had my way, VA and MD residents would also have to pay higher prices for drinks in our bars, have to take their own cab services, and also have to go to the end of any line I happen to be standing in.
The reprisal against Iranian student protesters has not received a lot of press over here, so thanks to Andrew Sullivan for a bitter shot of reality. In my over-stimulated, technological, desensitized existence, it's the rare photograph of brutality that illicits much more than a "oh no" from me. I intellectually understand brutality and death, and I respond appropriately, but these images usually do not seep under the skin. It's a necessary defense mechanism, if somewhat unfeeling. So I was surprised at my own reaction to these pictures of a Tehran University dorm room after a police raid. And these photos of some of the victims. Heads up: some of these images are quite disturbing.

I have certain lofty, idealistic, and altogether nostalgic associations with campus life and dorm life. Here in America, there's something hedonistic and carefree about it all. The stiffest curmudgeon will have a longing glint in his eye if asked about his college hijinks. My brother's dorm would throw beds out the windows. My dorm mates would build 12 foot tall snow penises. Everybody has their story about yakking in inappropriate places. Armed with such an arsenal of associations, I was not prepared to see dorm life for the Iranian protester. It looks to me like the death of innocence, though I'm sure that died in those halls long ago. There are blood stains where we had vomit stains. Strewn trash and clothing spread by an officer's rampage, not debaucherous dorm parties. We protested something having to do with Asian American Studies and then went to the football game. They're brutalized for voicing opposition to an oppressive theocracy.

It's terribly sobering and leaves me at a loss and not a little ashamed.
Oh my God, me too! That is so weird!

"We have struggled to not proceed, but to precede to the future of a nation's child."
--GWB, 11/12/00

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

tres cool!

My little banners at the top of my blog just went into a foreign language!
I'm so Euro!
Now I'm only one glittery halter top and one pair of J-Lo shades away from Eurotrash!

(for those of you who are wondering why the quality of my bloggish musings has plummeted into pulp, I can offer an explanation. I really really want to post about some potential good news, but I don't want to jinx anything so I keep coming to my blog, and writing about crap. We should know more within a week. Stay tuned for The Rapture. Which is also the name of a cool band. Washington Social Club is also the name of a band who is probably cool, and who I will check out on Friday if I don't go see Guided By Voices at their outdoor show on Pennsylvania Ave. Which is the name of the street on which I work. Which is equidistant from the White House and the Capitol. Which means that the president and his entourage are always getting in my way. Which is always a delightful, inspirational occurence, dear FBI censors.)
Free Verse, or "Holiday from Relevance."

I have never in my life had a manicure or pedicure.
I fail to see why these are pleasing and relaxing.
Picking at my toes does not make me feel better.
Paying someone to pick at my toes would not make me feel better.
Paying someone to pick at my toes would make me feel like I just wasted a lot of money.

Or perhaps I am missing The Point, which is
Probably to be Pampered.
But when I want to be pampered,
I do not pay anyone.

This is what I do

I take my boyfriend's laptop.
I set it on the toilet. (Or la toilette, when I'm pampering)
I put a Sex and the City DVD into the drive.
I draw a bubble bath.
I pour a glass of champagne, and keep the bottle chilling in tupperware by the tub.
I watch the show on le toilette,
I listen to le bubbles pop in the tub and in the glass.

I hope no roommates come home.
Why I'm glad I have only told 4 people I have a blog

I can type things like

My feet are stinky!

And not be accused of communism/revisionism/fascism/moral relativism/elitism/vegetarianism.
Just poor hygiene.

Pop Quiz

Identify the speaker of the following quote:

"Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."

Was it:
A) Donald Rumsfeld
B) John Ashcroft
C) Ann Coulter
D) Hermann Goering, former leader of the Third Reich's Luftwaffe

Oh, what the hell's the difference? (But for the picky, it's D.)

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Absent any natural swimmin' holes such as Barton Springs or Deep Eddy, my roommate and I ventured to our Greater Washington Boys and Girls Club public pool over the holiday weekend.

I have not been to a public pool since...well...surely some time in High School. A Marching Band pizza party or something like that, where you sucked in your tummy so much when walking in front of boys it gave you intestinal disorders. It has been so long, in fact, that when the lifeguard blew his whistle and announced "Adult Swim for 30 minutes," I actually got out of the pool. Then pretended like I did it on purpose.

There was a group of young pre-teen girls in the pool. Five or six of them, all probably around 11 or 12. They were screaming and playing Marco Polo (which became "Sean Paul" after awhile. Innovating classic games to include pop culture icons had not occurred to my traditionalist play buddies). Then they started another game, similar to one I had played as a child. In my version, you run up to the end of the diving board and jump. Your friend in the water shouts out a word, and you have to say the first thing that comes to your mind before you hit the water. Sometimes this works and the free association results in hilarious and embarassing slips. More often, as with my sister and I, you just make a sort of strangled yelp and belly flop.

In this version, the girl in the water would think of something for the jumper to say. Then the jumper would run and yell it out before hitting water. Of course, this would not be a fun pre-teen game if they were yelling "macaroni." It has to be dirty. It started innocently enough. I grinned with nostalgia as the girls jumped in the air squealing "I like Kyle Chapman!" But it was only a few turns before these prepubescent girls shocked my frumpy ears by screeching "I like sex buddies!" and "Kyle Chapman makes me horny!" and "I like big dicks!" Lawd a mercy, these girls would have made a sailor blush!

Okay, it was kind of funny, but I started to have the same reaction I get when I'm at a provocative or titillating art exhibit. I start looking at the people around me and become embarassed on their behalf. There were some old ladies, some young parents with toddlers. It was a small pool. I decided these girls didn't really understand what they were shouting exactly, or they would have been more embarassed than to broadcast their secret games in public. And I wondered the inevitable--the thought that always comes when you realize you might be getting older. I thought, "Were we like that?"

I know for certain we were not yelling these things from the rooftops, or diving boards in this case. We were far too shy and embarassed. But I think...I do think the words were there and the curiosity and the gigglings. I was always behind the others in getting the jokes. Or at least I felt I was behind; probably we were all bluffing.

At any rate, for a good public pool adolescence moment, I highly recommend you find Raising Victor Vargas on-screen as soon as possible, or snatch it as soon as it comes to video. I saw it a month or two ago, and it was fantastic.
Is it so wrong

to include "office dress code doesn't require pantyhose" on your job expectations?

Monday, July 07, 2003

What I want for Christmas:

A president who can correctly use 'gravitas' in a sentence. *sigh*

What do you think of President Bush’s using war imagery as a political tool, like when he recently flew onto an aircraft carrier?

Gen. Clark: The world expects something more of an American president than to prance around on a flight deck dressed up like [a] pilot. He’s expected to be a leader. That’s my fundamental issue with it. It doesn’t reflect the gravitas of the office. Furthermore, it’s a little phony.

Ooh, he also says he likes the "battle of ideas" that accompany political life. Can you imagine?
So when I originally started this Blog, I was archiving my entries weekly. Then I decided that the long list appearing on the left of my screen was unsightly, so I switched to monthly at the end of May. Now, with the advent of the New Blogger, all entries created prior to my archive frequency switch (ie, January-May entries) don't seem to have archived. They don't work. If anybody knows how to fix this, I'm all ears.
Of Thee I Sing
A Play in One Act

The Place: The National Mall, Washington DC
The Time: July 4, pre-fireworks
The Players: One family from "The South," one local African-American family

Act I, Scene I
As the curtains rise, we see groups of people bedecked in patriotic colors resting on blankets. They have coolers, glow-sticks, bottles of water at their sides. The lighting should reflect twilight, the clothing should indicate a hot, sultry day in mid-summer. In the center of the stage are two families. Members of the JONES family are wearing typical tourist gear: American flag jogging suits, fanny packs, colorful shorts, and witty t-shirts that say "You Don't Know Me; Federal Witness Protection Program." Ha ha, those always slay me. The JACKSON family is a black family, long-time residents of D.C., and their dress should be casual and unremarkable. The families should pantomime talking; the scene begins mid-conversation.

JONES: Yeah, so this is our first trip up here to Washington.
JACKSON: And how are you enjoying your visit? What do you think of D.C. so far?
JONES (frowning):'s okay. There's a little too much.......diversity for our taste.


[DISCLAIMER: I'm totally for real. I could not have made that up.]
Back in the saddle again

After a long, satisfying weekend cavorting with fellow members of the Austin Diaspora, my mind is largely drained of Interesting Thoughts. This does not, however, prevent me from posting. It looks to be a promising week chock full of interviews, so cross your fingers that SueAndNotU can project a facade of competence and initiative.

At my last interview, the gentleman I spoke with was comfortable enough to break decorum and mock my fellow applicants. "See that reject pile over there?" he asked, nodding towards an impressive tower of paper. "Those are a bunch of 'hard-working go-getters.' I don't want to speak with people that are 'hard-working go-getters.'" I laughed with him at their folly, but inside I was indignant on their behalf. How is Joe Jobless supposed to guess which organization wants to hear the cliche and which doesn't? It is just as likely that my interviewer would have thrown out the stack of resumes that didn't indicate 'initiative' or 'problem-solving skills.' As a fellow job-seeker recently confessed to me "My interests are whatever the fuck the person hiring wants them to be. My skills are whatever the person hiring needs them to be. My personality is whatever it needs to be to get me a damn job." This is just a teeeeensy cynical, of course, but Dorothy, we're not in the mid-90s anymore. You aren't going to have much luck projecting your unique and off-kilter self and just wait for the companies to drool over your originality and gusto. The dot-com sneaker millionaire age is kaput, and we seem to be back to good old fashioned, tried-and-true, ever-lovin' ass kissing. These folks who have been continually employed for the last decade or so forgot what it is like in the trenches. And I, I feel a bit ashamed for betraying the solidarity and snickering at a comrade-in-arms. But what the hell. My interviewer liked it.

Thursday, July 03, 2003

I had heard that Bill Moyer's speech at the Take Back America conference brought the house down. The transcript is finaly up, and I'm only on page 2 of 9 so far, but it's looking like good stuff.

In one way or another, this is the oldest story in America: the struggle to determine whether "we, the people" is a spiritual idea embedded in a political reality—one nation, individible—or merely a charade masquerading as piety and manipulated by the powerful and privileged to sustain their own way of life at the expense of others.

You can read it here.
Bring it, yo

A long time ago, a few of my friends were discussing plans for the 9/11 memorial in NYC. A certain acquaintance (hint: starts with K, rhymes with "heaven") suggested a giant middle finger pointing east, featuring the words "Bring It." This is very funny because it was suggested by Kevin (oops!) and not the leader of the Free World. K-heaven is a great guy, but all things considered, not a conduit through which foreign policy decisions flow. Something tells me in that gut-instinct way, though, that George Bush should not similarly be inviting Iraqi militants to attack U.S. troops.

"There are some who feel that the conditions are such that they can attack us there," Bush said. Extending his right hand for emphasis, he added: "My answer is: Bring 'em on. We've got the force necessary to deal with the security situation."

Via Atrios, blogger Adam Felber spoofs the rest of the speech:

" fact," the President continued, "I don't think Iraqi militants have the guts to kill more Americans. I think they're yeller." Bush, who during Vietnam war bravely combatted an extremely inconvenient schedule, made his remarks a mere 6,211 miles from the front lines.

Wednesday, July 02, 2003


When I lived in Chicago, I used to love taking the el through the city at night, past the old brick tenement buildings that bellied up to the train tracks. In any given building, people would be going about their business with blinds open and lights on. I could look over at a building and see dozens of discrete little pods of life happening; one woman washing dishes, some kids watching TV. I could see these brief, framed scenes all at once, but the people in them were oblivious to the neighbors above or two doors over.

I get the same voyeurestic pleasure, though less visually interesting, from overhearing snatches of cell phone conversations on the city bus. Usually it's nothing much: "Yeah, what's up. Leaving work. On the bus. Call you later."

But sometimes there will be a minor drama performed for your pleasure. Coming home from work today, I was riveted to the conversation of the girl behind me.
"I am sitting down. What is it?"
"Oh my God, I think my heart just stopped. I really think it did........ I don't know whether to be depressed or excited.... Do your parents know?"

and then, the confirmation, which I had already guessed:

"When are you due?"

It was tense. The new Mother is named Dana. The pregnancy, obviously unplanned. She's going to keep it. She's turning 21 soon, and a little annoyed that she won't be able to drink on her 21st. Twins don't run in the family.

Dana's friend on the bus is supportive, but asking hard questions:
"Don't take this the wrong way, but are you ready for this? Are you covered by insurance?"

I have no doubts that I was not the only one bending my ear to the point of muscle strain in this girl's direction, marvelling at the uncanny way in which perfect strangers briefly share the most intimate moments.
Happy Birthday America

I am very much looking forward to long weekend.
Two un-American friends coming into town for festivities. After sitting on National Mall with 10,000,000,000 fellow patriots for fireworks show and slugging down-home Kentucky Bourbon from clandestine flasks, we will inevitably turn into our normal selves and act like arty-pretentious types and go to underground dive bars and scoff at capitalism.
Big clue that you are old and lame:
You now understand Doonesbury.

Sure sign of the apocalypse:
You find Doonesbury funny.

God, someone get me a Monty Python movie and a lobotomy STAT.
SueAndNotU, in a nutshell

1) Everything's going wrong!
2) Damn Republicans!
3) Capitol Hill is wack!
4) I have had experiences on public transportation!
5) Men and women sure are different!
6) Somebody else said something funny!

Future plans include:
7) My spoon is too big!
8) I am a banana!
On etiquette

On a rush hour subway train last week, my friend told me that while she thinks that all young people should give up their seats for the elderly on public transportation, she holds young men to a more stringent standard. If she sees an elderly woman standing, and young men and women sitting, my friend would expect that the young man give up his seat. "I know, it's not fair," she confessed. "But it's just the reaction I have. I get mad if girls stay seated, but I get really mad when guys do."

Fine. But the thing is, I have almost never seen a man stay planted in his seat when an elderly person (usually a woman, some of the elderly men are insulted by the offer of a seat) is standing. But those bitches are another story.

Yesterday at rush hour, I wedged myself into an already crowded bus. Following me was a grandmotherly woman with her polyester blouse, grandmotherly white soft leather purse, and those tan orthopedic shoes that look rather like mocassins. She stood right next to the sideways seats near the front of the bus, the ones that are priority seating for her age group since it is easy to get in and out of them. Sitting in those seats were three young girls, not a one of whom should legally be served a drink, if my guess is on. The bus was so crowded, that there was really only one person who could have given up her seat for the woman without a massive reshuffling of people. Grandmother was practically falling on this girl. But I watched this young lady set her gaze firmly, fiercely straight ahead. She would not acknowledge the woman bumping into her legs with every convulsive jerk of the bus. I was aghast. If someone made my grandmother stand on the bus I would be enraged. She could fall and break a hip. I've seen men in their prime go flying on these rattle trap buses. The road rage I used to experience in my more mobile days has since been replaced with bus rage, and today it was roaring. It probably didn't help that the little princess in question was clutching a Prada bag, had a lime green sweater tied buffy-style around her shoulders (a pet peeve), and was shielding her guilty eyes behind Gucci shades. The eyes, they say, betray the soul. So best to wear dark glasses if you don't have one.

Of course I quickly felt complicit in this little scene. I was smooshed about five people back from grandma and princess. I could have said something like, "Excuse me ma'am, do you need to sit?" or "Can someone offer their seat for this woman?" or "Bitch, you better have a broken foot, because that's the only reason I can think of why your little ass didn't pop up in the air the moment that woman stepped on this bus." Instead I went for plan B, passive aggressive glaring. But the soulless one was remarkably determined in her oblivion. Eventually, the standing-room-only crowd thinned to the point to where the people across the aisle could see the affront to justice that was taking place. Instantly, a young man popped up, walked over to grandma, and insisted she take his seat.

The boys are alright. Somebody needs to teach these girls some manners.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003


No blogging today.
Am channeling inner power suit
Concentrating on Accomplishments and Job Skills

Dream job interview in 4hrs.

If you hear nothing more about this, it means things went poorly and it is not to be discussed.

Peace out.

I am a Desirable Candidate. Round 2 next week.