Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Bumper sticker observed at Cathedral and 39th St. NW:

Bush/Cheney 1984

Just wait two seconds and you'll be laughing your arse off.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Clarissa the Great

I'm tired of constantly mocking myself and Kriston, so I've decided to spread the love around, and start publicly mocking my friends and loved ones. Now don't get all huffy and indignant and ethical, you voyeuristic bastards. You know you want it.

I have a very dear friend. We'll call her "Clarissa." Clarissa is a source of endless amusement to me, and better yet, does not know that I have a blog. So, perhaps she will become a source of endless amusement to you too. Does this make me a blog pimp, now that I'm selling my friends out for a laugh? Eh, I leave that to the philosophers. Onward.

I have known Clarissa since the fourth grade, but our official friendship did not begin until seventh grade. Because she was tall and blonde and had elephantine breasts for a young lass, and because in the social hierarchy of elementary school, this is a golden ticket to the elite caste, she did not deign to be my friend until the ravages of junior high and an unfortunate foray into Western wear had shed her of her reputation. She had joined the losers, our twitchy pile of humanity at the end of the lunch table lurching around with crippling neuroses and insecurities that caused us to compensate by hairspraying our bangs to ever higher heights. (I would just like to have a moment of catharsis and tell you that Honest To God, I once walked out of the C Hall bathroom (hello? the eighth-graders hall?) with a line of toilet paper stuck to the bottom of my shoe. And per the cliche, yes, it was pointed out to me by an eighth grade boy on the basketball team. These things happen, and they happen to people you know. We'll save the onset of menstruation and implications thereof for another post.)

But back to Clarissa. Clarissa has been trying to get married since, oh, I'd say 9th grade. By that time she was a worldly 14, she'd been through the whole dating thing, and she was more or less ready to find a nice soulmate and settle down already. At some point I started calling her the ringwraith, and it just keeps getting worse. I was reading the other day about a tribe in the Amazon that has no distinct word for the concept of "one." Instead, they have a word that indicates "a relatively small amount." The absence of the discrete integer "one," renders them unable to count. I believe dear Clarissa can relate, because she found "The One," by my count, approximately five times. And in this, the first of possibly many Clarissa installments, I present them to you:

The One #1:

He was a new kid in highschool, two years older, and he listened to the Dead Milkmen. He drove us around in his van that had the back seats artfully ripped out. He lived in a gated community, but he wore his ripped-up t's even to the country club, so serious hardcore. Clarissa turned into an Alterna-teen, and I just jumped on board for the Flaming Lips and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. He taught us to drink coffee. He took us to flop-houses for addled itinerant young crackheads who put on house punk shows in East Dallas. He claimed that he could talk to cats and see the auras of trees. We believed him because, well, we were idiots. It was true love for awhile, but then you know, sic transit gloria. While they were breaking up, I went to go hang out with him at the movie theater where he worked and he tried to hold my hand. I was totally freaked out and felt dirty and awful and I never told Clarissa. I think he subsequently might have become gay-ish.

The One #2:

Total hippy. Dead Milkmen was gone, Grateful Dead was in. He drove a VW bus. Clarissa threw out the knee-high alterna-teen socks, chucked the Jesus Lizard tapes, stocked up on hemp and flax, started buying cigarettes in singles because she hadn't worked her way up to a pack, stopped shaving her legs for nine months, and told The One #2 that she had actually never shaved her legs before. The One #2 and I didn't get on so well. This was to be a trend. He left for Europe (Amsterdam, natch) and she dumped him. I think he also became gay-ish.

The One #3:

Another hippy, which was convenient, because Clarissa had already blown a wad on a new wardrobe. The One #3 and I really didn't get along. I was a square. He was a free spirit. He was making my best friend a big turd. They followed Phish and went to Amsterdam. She contemplated a VW bus of her very own. It was true love forever, until college happened, and the ambition this implied was too much for the relationship to bear. Poof. He didn't go gay, but he did move to Alaska, learned how to blow glass to sell on the streets, and got some big gnarly dreds.

The One #4:

Oh my God. This guy was such a complete waste of human flesh that I did not allow him in our house. The One #4 met Clarissa at a point when she was a accomplished senior in college, taking LSATs and on her way to Law School more or less on a whim, as she really was not interested in practicing law. But that's another issue altogether. The One #4, on the other hand, had been kicked out of college for low GPA (an impressive feat at our merciful public institution), was on probation for DWIs and therefore without wheels, and had recently been fired from his job at Blockbuster Video. He sat at his house all day waiting for Clarissa to pick him up and buy him things. He liked to tell Clarissa she was stupid, which was pretty rich indeed. Never was a boyfriend hated like The One #4. I shall never forget the look of horror that came over the faces of our circle of friends, when Clarissa announced she might invite him to join us for tubing. We will drown him, we warned her. Drown him DEAD. But, she eventually had to move away to law school. When he told her that he wasn't interested in moving with her, she considered screwing off of law school, but some gleam of sense must have intervened, because she went anyway, and left him in the Dustbin of History, which believe me is a Ritz Carlton suite compared to what he deserves.

The One #5:

When Clarissa told me she had met a great, nice guy, I knew one of two things to be true: 1)He was another worthless chump like all his predescessors; or 2) He was a nice guy, and therefore I needn't bother learning his name because he'd be gone in two weeks. Lo and behold, something was rent in the fabric of time, and it came to pass that Clarissa had truly found happiness with a lovely human being. I like him. She likes him. He likes her. We like us. It's almost too much to bear. So it seems The One has been whittled down from Five to a manageable single, solitary unit. Stay tuned for future installments of The Hitching of the Ringwraith. Girl's got plans.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Bluff, called

Those of you who know Kriston personally might have picked up on the fact that from time to time, he just completely makes shit up.

Entirely. Out of nowhere. But he says it with the same serious voice he uses when he's talking about the shit he actually knows, so sometimes I gullibly bite.

For example. I was recently staring into space, carefully considering the ponderous questions that confront mankind:

"Why does Yglesias exhale so loudly when he smokes?"

"That's what some people do."

"Well, I think it's weird."

"It's one way of smoking. There are four ways to smoke."

Can you believe that my bullshit alarm didn't go off at this point? Four ways to smoke? The taxonomy of exhaling? A methodology for hand position?
Instead of thinking critically about this, I just ask, "What are they?"

So Kriston has to start laughing and confesses that he just completely made it up, and that if pressed, he could probably come up with four categories of smoking.

Consider the gauntlet thrown, my friend.
In case you hadn't noticed, I've been keeping my eyes squarely on the Olympics to avoid the ugly world of politics for a few brief, shining weeks. But if you have to dive in, take a dip in Josh Marshall's prose. He says what you're thinking. And says it real purty.
Tragediya Nemova

So, the Alexei Nemov who so ignited my 16-year-old heart in 1996 will not have another chance to smile stupidly or otherwise while his national anthem is played, due to the perfidy of fascist lying dogs of judges.

That being said, it was one entertaining night of gymnastics, as the crowd mounted the barricades in defense of Nemov's awe-inspiring performance on high bar. For those of you who missed it, this is a largely boring appartus upon which men swing in a bunch of circles, do some arm-twisties that look boring but are apparently hard, usually one big flippity in the air, and then dismount and hop around. But Nemov, Nemov did SIX, count 'em, SIX flippities in the air, including FOUR in a row. Gymnastics is a complex and subjective sport, stuffed full of arcana and scoring convolutions that require an advance degree to pick apart. But there's one thing even the pros agreed on: cool-looking flippities are good gymnastics. "Nobody in the world does this!" enthused our commentator.

Then of course all hell broke loose when he got a shamefully low score, and the competition was effectively shut down for ten minutes or so. Vive la resistance!

I scanned the Russian press this morning, and Nemov, class act that he is, said that the support of the people in the hall meant more to him than a medal. The headlines declare that Russians will defend the honor of Nemov. And my Russian colleague went through a ritual well-known to Russians worldwide; one that millions have surely re-enacted countless times over the past 24 hours: arms thrown in air, pronouncements that "this is huge disgrace," coupled with theories linking the scoring to the demise of Russian power after the Cold War. Trouble is, this time, I think I agree.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Land Ho!

I'm flying down to Texas tonight to meet my sister, and then tomorrow morning we start our road trip back up to D.C. So the S.S. SueAndNotU will be unmanned for a few days and left to the whims of the high seas. I know the captain is supposed to go down with the ship, but this is such a muddled metaphor, that I wouldn't know where to begin.
La La La I can't Hear You

A thousand apologies for the acute posting malaise. But unlike your normal, benign posting syndrome, I'm currently suffering from a particularly rabid strain that only pops up every 4 years. You could call it Olympic Fever, but in the age of the internet, there are new symptoms that aggravate the disorder to an unprecedented degree.

As any Olympic-watching freak knows, all Olympic moments don't actually take place between 8pm and midnight EDT, and I'm sorry to say, aren't all actually narrated by Bob Costas in real time. This was never a problem for, say, Barcelona '92. We just went through our day, watched the NBC coverage in the evening, and clipped out photos the next day of our current Olympic crush. (I had it bad for Tommy Moe in '94. Went so far as to compare our relationship to the far more laughable and immature relationships my friends were having with their real-life boyfriends. I was a freshman. And I was sad with a capital S!)

Anyway, so round about Nagano '98, the cursed Internet came along and ruined my life. The time difference was too much and a innocent act such as checking the weather on the internet during the day caused my unbelieving eyes to see headlines that utterly RUINED the upcoming NBC broadcast. Suspense was shattered, days were jumbled, and my Olympic moments were ruined.

You don't have to get burned too many times before you learn your lesson. So for the two weeks of Olympic games, I go into Total Information Blackout. I'm not messing around. Cotton stuffed in ears, websites of newspapers completely off-limits, local and national TV news broadcasts shunned like a motherless child. Even friends must be treated with suspicion. You are safe nowhere. Around every bend is someone waiting to ruin your Olympic moment. Hell, even at Pub Quiz, somebody's team name was a spoiler. But I heard "Michael Phelps..." and the hands dutifully clapped over the ears, and I was none the wiser.

Because of my great aforementioned ear-clapping reflexes, I got chills last night when I watched Paul Hamm battle back from ignominy and defeat to pull off an amazing comeback and win an improbable, unprecedented gold for the U.S. I yelped along with him when they told him he'd won gold, because just like him, I didn't already know. I watched my gals on the 4X200 shatter the oldest world record in swimming, and I was in delicious suspense when the men's 4X200 came down to the last, agonizing inches to determine gold.

I have No Idea what is happening outside Athens city limits. Iraq? shrug. The presidential campaign? Don't look at me. For two weeks, all this is white noise. If it's not about the triumph of the human will over adversity and rippling torsos, then count me out, buster.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Lord Help Me

I know it's wrong. I know that God frowns at me from above. But Jaysus, Mary, St. Joseph and all the saints. If Michael Phelps insists on pulling his little swimmy suit down that low, even in dismay at his relay team's performance, I'm going to have no choice but to have a sinful crush on a 19-year-old. Pedophile! Harlot! Jezebel! Save me!
But come on ladies. Are you with me?

Friday, August 13, 2004

New Olympic Party game!

I just invented it. It's called "Who's Going to the Gulag?" and the contestants are Russian Olympic gold medalists. So, whenever the Russkies win an event, keep a close eye on them during the medal ceremony, becaue the loser is the one who breaks the following commandment from Comrade Putin:
President Putin recently told his National Olympic Committee chief, Leonid Tyagachov, that he wants the Russian athletes to sing the national anthem without chewing gum or smiling stupidly

I would add to President Putin's directive with a further request. If it all possible, Russian athletes, while you are on the medal stand, please try to be Alexei Nemov, Russian gymnast hearththrob of 16-year-old SueandNotU's memory.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Ukrainskaya Dusha

Ukraine it is; I'll be shipping out to Kiev late October for the presidential elections to be held on Halloween. Sorry, Kriston. We'll have to do our Napoleon Dynamite costumes another time. And for those of you still wondering, my utter delight in the states of the former Soviet Union stems almost entirely from little tidbits such as this, from the Lonely Planet travel guide:
"A country whose state song declares that 'Ukraine has not yet died' might not seem the most uplifting destination, but don't let that deter you."

The phrase Russkaya dusha, or Russian soul is short-hand for the passions and famously enigmatic workings of the Russian psyche. It's no surprise to me that a Ukrainskaya dusha would be equally cantankerous.

Anyway, it's going to be a momentous presidential election over there, but I imagine you won't hear too much about it, because I hear through the grapevine that there's something electoral going on over here at roughly the same time. I'll be sad not to be in this lame-o poliical town for the festivities, but I guess that means I'll also miss any explosions targeting our freedom.

Everybody, cross your fingers that I'll be toasting John Kerry with a sloshing glass of Ukrainian vodka somewhere around 6am Kiev time on November 3.

UPDATE: I just re-read that last sentence, and realized that if I were a politically right-leaning person reading this blog, I'd instantly think "Christ! These liberals really are a bunch of commies!" Seriously, toasting Comrade Kerry with Soviet vodka? With supporters like me, who needs Swift Boat Veterans for Truth or Douchebags of Liberty?

Tuesday, August 10, 2004


My definition of a great day is when you check your e-mail and the OSCE has sent you a message asking if you would be interested in participating in one of the upcoming election observation missions. And if so, would you prefer to be sent to Kazakhstan, Bosnia, Belarus, Ukraine, or Macedonia? While some might find this a nightmarish choice, I feel like I just won a Carribean cruise.

I'm lobbying for Ukraine as it's by far the most important election of the bunch, but it would mean that I'd miss Halloween AND our own presidential elections. While I could always vote absentee, I was hoping to be around for the celebration. My second choice is Bosnia, because I've been wanting to go there for ages, and I've got a thing for landmines. But as I told the recruiter, I'll go anywhere. It's only for a week, all the elections fall between October and November, and my job will pay for my time spent with the OSCE, so no need to take vacation time. Although I can always change my flight home and spend a few extra vacation days in Wintry Kiev or skip over to Croatia or... Ah. I love traveling. Especially when someone else is paying. Democracy rules.

Monday, August 09, 2004


Next Thursday I'm flying down to Dallas to pick up little sis, and drive with her up to DC where she will then take up permanent residence. We're trying to think of some good audio books to pass the time through the wasteland of Arkansas and western Tennessee. (Eastern Tennesse, starting at about Nashville, is actually quite lovely.) Although intellectually I would like something educational that I've never bothered reading (like the Iliad, or the Divine Comedy), I fear that such material may cause me to drive us into a scenic Walmart somewhere around Texarkana. And those Walmarts, I have learned, are stocked to the brim with assault rifles. So maybe something lighthearted and entertaining? Is Dave Sedaris as funny as they all say? I've already done the Bridget Jones bit. Any ideas?
Holy Mole

Despite its being the early flush of August, this post is by way of a Valentine to Kriston, who as you'll soon see is more or less performing community service every day for hanging around a fucking headcase such as me. This is a public declaration of sorts—a voyeuristic peek into the inner workings of an average evening so that you will know for sure that our relationship's uncanny duration is based pretty much on the grammarpolice's tolerance for pain.

We'd been having pretty much a perfect Sunday: we discovered a lovely little gourmet foods market by my house that sold Lone Star beer (a rare, rare find), and we popped a couple Texas longnecks and strolled through the community garden plots behind my house. Cradled up to Glover Archibold Park, there are these rows and rows of garden plots, where people come and tend their tomatoes, pumpkins, herbs, whatever. We were sipping our beers and admiring one precocious patch of jalapeno peppers, when the proprieter of that plot came along and offered us all the peppers we could stuff into our bags. Score! Gorgeous weather, nostalgic beer, the abundance of nature, and jalapenos!

We decided to take advantage of our bounty and make something that involved peppers. I scoured recipes and got the great idea that we should make a Mexican mole sauce and have chicken with mole. So, here's lesson number one and two about cooking on a whim:

1) If the recipe you find is prefaced by the cook's gushing exhortations about how making the dish was a "spiritual experience" that took "all day," you should probably just turn the page, or at the very least -
2) Do not start a spiritual recipe at 9pm

Oh, hindsight, you gloating bitch.

We'd already bought a whole chicken (expertly hacked to pieces by Kriston who then turned to me with a disturbing grin and said "I feel like a murderer!"), chocolate, spices, seeds, cinnamon, nuts, the fucking holy right hoof of the Lord Goat of Oaxaca, I mean Christ. It was complicated.

And I start right in with the roasting, the toasting, the carmelizing, the marinating, the - the pureeing. Oh, Lord, pureeing? This mountain of ingredients, apparently, must all go into a food processor. Or a blender. Neither of which Kriston owns. Nor does Upstairs Erik. All of these boys are USELESS BACHELORS. And it is now like 10pm, and I am nowhere near finished and my spiritual experience is RUINED and I'm, shall we say, getting a wee bit tense.

I weighed my options. It was too late to run all the way back to my house for a food processor, which as a decent American, I OWN. Mashing would be futile. Cutting into tiny pieces would only fuel my gathering rage. So spitting in the face of the culinary gods, I grabbed two coffee bean grinders and set them side by side on the counter like tin soldiers. I looked at them sternly. They looked back stupidly. "I am about to make mole sauce in a coffee bean grinder," I thought to myself.

This is the point at which our heroine experiences what the Greeks called hamartia, or the tragic flaw. The heroine descends upon an inevitable path to misfortune through some weakness of character, or moral blindness, or error. Thus Oedipus marries his mother, Othello is murderously jealous, and our heroine chooses to spit in the eyes of the culinary gods by pureeing her spiritual experience into Starbucks coffee bean grinders.

So, cooking tips number 3 and 4:
3)Do not indulge your hamartia by spitting into the eyes of culinary gods, or at least-
4) Read the damn recipe through first.

Was that the weighty bulk of fate I felt on my shoulder as I slowly fed chiles and roasted tomatoes into the little, burbling grinders? Should I have stopped when they first started spewing and oozing clumps of rainbow-colored gunk? Did this messy operation lead inevitably to the moment when I would add too much chicken broth and then freak the fuck out?.

Because I did indeed, freak out. Upon realizing that I added too much, I started trying to drain chicken broth from my sauce, even though it was thoroughly incorporated into the sauce by then. I screeched and grabbed a pot lid and sloppily poured goop straight into the sink.

"What are you doing?" asked Kriston, still unaware of the shit that was edging closer to the fan.


"Jesus, you can't drain it, it's too late."


As Kriston started rifling through doors, I was at this point, using my fingers as a strainer for this boiling-hot sauce. I was essentially pouring clumps of half-finished burning mole all over my hand, screaming for a strainer. All over the counter. All over the floor. The walls, in fact, were not spared.

"PUT IT OVER THE GODDAMN SINK," said Kriston, finally getting into the spirit of things.

Instead, I just threw the whole bowl on the counter, splattering sauce on everything that wasn't already covered, and glared at the recipe again.

Add chocolate, the recipe said innocently. And stir on the stovetop FOR AN HOUR.

It was past 10pm at this point. There was mole on everything. My dry-clean only pants. My hand-wash top. Kriston's entire life. So once again, I decided it was a good time to freak the fuck out some more, and I start slinging mole-covered appliances (grinders) all over the kitchen while crying hysterically.

I could not see Kriston through my Tazmanian Devil whirlwind of chaos, but I'm sure he had that look on his face that he gets when I do this from time to time. That look that says, "I hope I look concerned, but I do not understand why she is crying, and please please please god make her stop doing that, because I do not know how." Eventually, god bless 'im, he managed to restrain me by the shoulders look into my eyes (not plucked out, so Oedipus still has me beat), and tell me repeatedly to "CALM THE FUCK DOWN." I told him that I ruined our dinner and I wasted all that money and we would go hungry and never never never eat and it was all my fault and I don't deserve food.

"We...have...ravioli," he told me through gritted teeth. And then he cleaned the whole kitchen, rightly assuming that any more contact with mole would send me into an apocalyptic fit of destruction. I eventually calmed down, ate my ravioli like a good girl, and we have decided to complete this recipe tonight. Anyone for mole?

Friday, August 06, 2004


I always love a good mechanical solution to a social-sexual problem. Below, an exchange in the Letters to the Editor section of the Springfield State Journal-Register:
[from Polyglut]

A simplified look at same-sex marriage

There have been many articles and letters published lately regarding homosexuals being able to “legally marry.” Here are some facts related to that subject. Without male/father and female/mother, there would be no homosexuals, right?

Stop and think about this - in order to make your microwave or toaster or coffeemaker work, the plug/male must be inserted into the electrical receptacle/female. Even your cell phone must be charged from time to time and it too must have the male end inserted into the female end. So the female/male relationship is and always will be ongoing, as I have illustrated.

Simply stated, to live with someone of the same sex is fine by me, but if you can’t get a toaster, coffeemaker, microwave, or cell phone to work without a male/female relationship, how then do you expect a marriage of two of the same sex to work?

Nancy Eller

Keep Americans, Europeans apart

I agree with the logic used by Nancy Eller in her Tuesday letter, in which she stated that gay marriage could not work because a “male” plug must always be inserted into a “female” socket. However, I believe that she did not take it far enough.

On a recent trip to England, I observed that plugs made in America cannot be put into sockets made in Europe. Therefore, I think that a federal amendment should be introduced banning marriages between Americans and Europeans.

Yogesh Raut

Rough times for Riggs

It's a gut-wrenchingly gorgeous day outside, and my lunchtime stroll was only interrupted by the Riggs bank in my building being robbed. Which, as long as nobody gets hurt, is a charmingly retro kind of crime. Although with the Pinochet thing and all that lately, Riggs must be having one hell of an annoying month. I vowed to keep my eyes peeled for one tall skinny guy, and two short fat guys with striped shirts, black bands over their eyes with eye-holes cut out, and big sacks with dollar signs painted on them.
In which I begin a measured discussion and dissolve into an incoherent bile-spewing rant

In a Post editorial this morning, Northwestern sociology prof Gary Alan Fine ponders the "surprising" and "troubling" ire felt by liberals and progressives towards the president.

This is not breaking new ground, really; who among us hasn't stepped back and marveled at the fierce loyalty and revulsion that this unremarkable man has inspired?

In his turn at bat, Professor Fine offers the following hypothesis:
My argument was that presidential hatred developed not from actions the president took while in office but from images of the president as a young adult. The president represented critical cultural divisions of a previous generation, divisions that were never fully healed.

Thus, Clinton was a draft-dodging hippie, not a Rhodes Scholar and Governor. Likewise, Bush is a fortunate son with few native talents that rode the coattails of his A-list connections past a young adulthood of mediocrity and banality.

I agree that his riches-to-riches story is not the stuff of inspiration, except insofar as it inspires resentment and disgust. We've all known some version of the undeserving, unworthy kid who had what we never did, didn't appreciate it as we would, and probably snorted it up his nose. But this alone does not inspire hatred. A lack of respect, a distrust, a good helping of scorn, sure. But if you've reached a certain age, and met enough of such people, you start to shrug it off as an unfair, but inevitable fact of life.

I can't speak for others, but for me, it's not about youthful follies; it's about a particularly needling sort of hypocrisy. I believe it was in The American President where Michael Douglas says "This job is all about character." And I know full well that getting worked out about hypocritical politicians is a recipe for an ulcer, but the glaring inconsistencies with this one are just too much for me to bear. Because this one, his whole moral capital was earned on character. It wasn't expertise, it wasn't gravitas or leadership, it was character. He made his character the commodity we were buying into, and he thereby made it open to scrutiny.

And so I hate that this man who never had to fear for his livelihood, never faced the prospect of unemployment checks, had companies handed to him, looks us in the eye and tell us that he, he knows the value of hard work and self-reliance. This man whose university entrance depended on family connections looks minorities in the eye and tells them that seeking those same preferences based on race is wrong. He tells us that each unborn life is sacred, but mockingly mimics the pre-execution pleas of a woman executed on his command.

But most of all, I know that we live in a dangerous age, and bile rises in my throat when I realize the the man selected to shepherd me through is a man who takes pride in the fact that he doesn't read a newspaper. A man to whom the contours of history are irrelevant details. There have been men in that office that could inspire a nation in terrible times to be a better, nobler people; we have a leader that tells us to shop more, reap tax cuts, and eye our neighbor with murderous distrust. I am desperate for a leader with nuanced thought, gravity, perspective, vision. And I'm supposed to be happy, because I have a leader that would be nice to drink a beer with.

I don't know, Professor Fine. It's a real mystery.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

The 'Stans are Steamed

Apparently the Kazakh Embassy does not find Borat, the fictional fun-loving, genitalia-happy, incest-prone representative of Kazakhstan on Da Ali G show to be a laughing matter.
The ideas of satire and freedom of speech are fine, and we will always defend them vigorously. Yet, in these times of great peril and tension, Mr. Cohen and his show should really know where to draw the line. Humor of Mr. Cohen’s type is vicious and comes perilously close to “fighting words.”

So the Kazakh press attache is threatening to whoop some Borat ass, is how I read that. When questioning my Kazakh colleagues about their take on this hot-button issue, they just look at me quizzically and tell me Borat is not a Kazakh name.

In other news, I just came back from a talk by Georgian President Saakashvili, which brings me up to two viewings of the Georgian President, and zero of my own. Why, oh why do you hide from me, W? When I last saw Saakashvili all shiny and new from his new presidency, he was very smooth and polished. Today, he was totally losing his shit because the Russians are steppin' all up in his grill. And then he got really exasperated when someone questioned media freedom in Georgia (which is pretty damn free, esp. for the CIS), and he unwisely defended it by noting that Georgia is a small, gossipy country and even if he shut down every TV station, people would just tell each other everything. Fer real. Take that CNN; if we weren't such a big country you'd just be a surrogate for my big mouth.

And that's political commentary for Thursday, peace out bitches.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Public Service Announcement

Want to fly to Boston for under $60 one-way? To Chicago for $79? For all of you in the mid-Atlantic, New England, Midwest-ish regions: a brand-spanking new sketchy discount airline of our dreams. Hoorah!

Everybody in my office has already heard about this. So you probably have too. So you don't have to tell me. I know.

I am so bored I would like to poke my eyeballs out with a stick.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Orange-colored Sky

I was walkin' along, mindin' my business, when out of the orange-colored sky...Flash! Bang! Alakazam! Wonderful you walked by.

"Perhaps I should have a personal rule for myself," I mused while settling on a bench. "No more eating lunch on the front yard of the White House during elevated terror alerts."

Immediately followed by, "What a stupid thought that was."

Really, though, the instinct to think something like that is little more than a reflex: a Pavlovian nod to the news and to the hype before you resume nibbling on your sandwich and taking photos of the tourists—who aren't bothered either—as they strain for a look at the White House from across a moat of concrete and metal gate.

Returning from lunch, I rounded a building that abuts the White House lawn, and ran into a pair of men at the far corner. "Oh, what do you know, I'd find you all the way over on this side, huh?" said one to the other. "Yeah, where it's safe over here!" replied the other before they both let out those deep-bellied guffaws particular to Washington suits.

I smiled to myself, loving that we all laugh at this. We scoff and roll our eyes as the prophets tell us with doomsday tones that "We Have Credible Specific Reliable Unspecific Target Threat Surveillance Planning Suspicious Vigilant - There Is Nothing To Worry About." It's terror fatigue, and most of us just can't be bothered.

Back in Carrollton or Dayton or Cheyenne or wherever, our parents are petrified, terrorized, on our behalf. But here I walk into my office every day and talk to colleagues just back from Baghdad or Kabul, on their way to Dushanbe; colleagues who lived and worked in Tashkent or Islamabad. It's what you call perspective, and the Color of the Day hasn't even come up as a joke. It's just that tired.
Quote of the Weekend

Leave it to Yglesias to come up with socially inappropriate comments that will cause you to snort beer up your nose.

Two recently engaged friends came over to Kriston/Matt/Erik's on Saturday to enjoy the luxury of fried chicken and beer on the porch. As the subject turned to their brand-spanking-new engagement, Yglesias crinkled his face in distaste and said, "I don't know. Marriage. Don't you think it's kind of a faggy thing to do?"
Rookie of the Year

Credit where credit's due. Erik joined our gruff and seasoned pub quiz team a blushing young virgin, yet came through with the skills of...let's not complete the metaphor, I think.

No, we didn't win or even compete effectively, really, but we did win "Best Team Name" for the second time ever, but the first time with a non-ripped-off name. Drawing on the convention coverage we all marinated in last week, Erik came up with the stellar team name, "Reporting for Booty." The Pub Quizmistress snorted as she read it for the first time.

However, last night also marked a disturbing new trend in pub quiz demography. The Republicans have found us. Also grabby old men with bad hips. Look, it's a fucking jungle out there and it's every man for himself. So I'm truly sorry that your pops has a cane and two bad hips, but I came an hour and a half early to be sure that my friends have chairs and I'm not going to give one up to your old man just because you chose to saunter in late. I hate to be that way, but if one of our team members ends up standing, it really interrupts our chi.

And the Republicans. Republicans at Pub Quiz! It's like having The Man at Woodstock or drag queens at a Promise Keepers rally. It really harshes our buzz. Pub Quiz is for Bush mockery, and more Bush mockery, with the occassional other cabinet members thrown in for good measure. It's a special place, a healing place. But the usual mirthful roll call of team names was hushed when we got to "Two Purple Hearts, No Balls" and "Real Men Like Bush," the latter of which manages to efficiently sneak in a girly-man style homophobia dig.

Are these funny names? Are we so blinded by our partisan rancor that we can't take a laugh at our own expense? Is it true that we find jokes about Iraqi detainees fair game, but not jokes about our own nominee? DAMN STRAIGHT. We're not humorless liberal hacks for nothing, people, and anyway, it follows along the same rule as mothers. I can mock my mama til the sun goes down, but you best not open your yap. Go find your own pub quiz. Hooter's trivia night is across the street on Wednesday's, and I'm sure the liking bush joke would go over like gangbusters for that crowd.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Equal Opportunity

Today, I have discovered that men are every bit as good as women when it comes to effectively keeping me out of a room. As mentioned last month, women simply have to announce that they are busy milking themselves, and would you mind coming back later?

Whereas men, if they desire a monopoly on the ladies bathroom, merely have to affix a sign to the outer door stating: "DO NOT ENTER. Old men working."

And enter I shall not.

A Load

Whatever else the democratic convention may have accomplished—did we sway those swinging voters? will the polls bump or jump?—it's immediately clear that the convention titanically succeeded in raising so much money, that it cannot be adequately captured by the term shitload:
[via burntorangereport] On Wednesday, the campaign shattered its previous online fundraising record, raising over $3.3 million dollars in one day, only to crush it on Thursday with a total of $5.6 million raised -- bringing its two-day total to $8.9 million. At times during Kerry's speech, johnkerry.com received over 5,000 hits per second.

I don't know if "assload" is more or less than a "shitload" of money, and all my other ideas are too crude even for a sailor-mouthed degenerate such as myself, I will content myself for now with acknowledging that John F. Kerry has raised a Jesus H. Christload of cash during the convention.

So, Catherine, I propose that you hold a National Kicking Cancer's Ass Convention. It seems to work brilliantly for these other guys. The way I see it, even if you do really really poorly in comparison with the democrats and only raise $1,000,000, that's 500 marathons that you can run, minus just a little for a very reasonable commission in exchange for this awesome idea. Hope/help is on the way.