Blanketing opinions that I'll probably regret soon.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Be George Bush in a Helicopter

Here's your chance. Those with vertigo should not click on that link.

(Click on the photo and move it).

Spanish Messages

At all costs, I try and avoid using this space to gripe about "life's little annoyances" but in this case I cannot stop myself.

One of the most annoying things on this earth is when you call someone's voice mail, and there's a long, drawn-out message like, "Hello. You have reached ________. I am currently away from my desk right now. At the tone, please ..." and then, to piss you the fuck off, they repeat the entire f'n message in Spanish.

It's Seinfeldian to say it, but do we really need instructions on what to do at the end of a voice mail message? And if a latino person calls and there is no message in Spanish, are they going to be completely dumbfounded and speechless if there's no translation?

This is a WTF to end all WTFs.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Slippery Little Phalus

I've heard my friend Justin tell the story of extracting a vibrating dildo from his patient's large intestine, but it's even funnier in writing. Some choice bits:

"The circulator nurse had been quite close to the field, wanting to be one of the first people to witness the birth of the much talked about sex toy, so when the vibrator unexpectedly landed at her feet, she yelped something and jumped back. ... It was wet and slippery, and before we could grab it, the damn thing slid off the belly and onto the floor, where it bounced around like a fish out of water. ... We were all very lucky to be wearing masks, because although we were able to suppress outright laughter, grinning was irresistible. ... Finally she made a grab for it, but the slippery little phalus eluded her grasp, and immediately thudded to the floor again. At this point, the rest of us began calling out suggestions and taunts akin to a county pig wrestle." Read more...

Holy F'n Crap! Live Giant Squid on Camera for First Time Ever

A set of extraordinary images captured by Japanese scientists marks the first-ever record of a live giant squid (Architeuthis) in the wild. Read more.

Now they just need to get footage of a giant squid fighting a sperm whale. I've seen that drawing a hundred times but it's never been witnessed, much less photographed. This is a first step.

White Stripes Show

My saturation point for live music is exactly 60 minutes so it's saying a lot that I stayed at the White Stripes show for an hour and fifteen. (Thank you, Happy Pants, for the free tickets). White Stripes are the only band that breaks one of the fundamental requirements for a good rock band: you must first have a good drummer. It confounds me every time. How can that chick chop stick and sing off tune, yet contribute in large part to the most rockingest show I've seen all year? Listen to the show here.

As far as I could tell, Jack White was mostly playing a Danelectro guitar run through no fewer than 25 overdrive/equalizer/distortion pedals, giving that Sears & Roebuck made (no joke) guitar the sound of an incoming inter-continental ballistic missile. I snapped a few shots while there.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

A little skip in my step

I feel bad for saying it, but sometimes other people's minor misfortunes or non-fatal failures put a little extra skip in my step, a little sparkle in my eye. Mind you, I feel bad for saying it out loud, because it's such a horrible thing to admit. But I bet if you got down to it, a lot of people feel the same as I do.

Here is a short list of some things that give me that positive little charge I need to get through the day or week:

- When powerful people are stopped from doing what they want by non-powerful people, eg, an immigration attorney having an application/petition denied, or a CEO losing money from a strike.

- When people have trouble finding an affordable house to buy.

- Every time gasoline prices go up by even one cent, my mood improves twofold.

- When I see SUV drivers not able to park in my neighborhood.

- People that have to sit in traffic for over an hour each way on their commute to work.

- The idea that the housing bubble might burst.

Can't think of any more for now.

Buenos Aires for 11 Days

Just bought my plane tickets to Buenos Aires for my November trip. All I'm sayin' is fuck turkey. I'm gonna be eating the best steak on earth every night for like less than $7. (Side note: does anyone actually like Thanksgiving food?) I guess by now it's a little-known/well-known secret that BA is very inexpensive and classy. For example, below is the balcony and living room of a two bedroom apartment we're probably renting in BA (Palermo) with two other friends for $500 a week (I'll do the math: that's $17.80/person per night).

Other places available are here. You know how right wingers always say, "If you don't like the US, then leave."? I have a sneaking suspicion that that cliche will hit very close to home while we're in Argentina. (Side note: like Thanksgiving, does anyone actually like the USA? [feigned sarcasm]).

If you're planning on traveling by plane over the winter holidays, buy tickets now. Over half of the airlines are bankrupt so they ain't budging on price and at this point you'll have to fly all night just to take a short hop.

Monday, September 26, 2005


I saw a 10-point buck behind my apartment today. What's going on here? I can walk to the White House in about 20 minutes and all the rest of the monuments in 25, yet I saw an animal not a stone's throw from my apartment that would've made a hunter drool. My Ward is the most populous place in the whole metro area.

This town is weird. What's next, am I gonna find out that monkeys live in the park? Oh wait, I guess they do.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Today's Iraq Protest

This was the biggest protest I've seen in DC so I went down to snap some shots of the crazies.

The Cheney guy had the Bush guy on marionette strings.

This little girl was trying to hide behind a sign.

I love counter-protesters.

And a former marine, showing that he's a true American.

Faith and her faithfuls were out in full. (She runs for DC Mayor every election.)

Faith's guitarist.

Old Scratch made an appearance:

I'd be willing to bet there aren't many Republicans in this crowd.

These folks are trying to shout down a crazy Christian counter-protester.

Constitution Avenue.

This is what Rush Limbaugh means when he says "Feminist".

Catholic Workers in the background.

These folks were friends of a friend.

Each sheet had the name and picture of a dead American soldier.

The only celebrity I saw in the march.

Friday, September 23, 2005

1970: Back when hijacking a plane was no big deal.

Just saw a show on Discovery Times channel about the 1970 PFLP hijacking of four jetliners on the same day. From Wikipedia:

On September 6, 1970, the PFLP hijacked four passenger aircraft ... The Pan Am flight was diverted to Cairo; the TWA, Swissair and BOAC flights were diverted to Dawson's Field in Zarqa, Jordan. The TWA, Swissair and BOAC aircraft were subsequently blown up by the terrorists on September 12, with no casualties.

The footage of this is amazing. PFLP brought all non-jewish passengers out into the baking sun while PFLP leaders paced around and ranted on a bullhorn in broad freaking daylight. The media was there interviewing and taping it all like it was a press conference. Meanwhile the 100 or so jewish passengers baked inside the aircrafts in 130 degree desert heat. After getting all the people out, they torched the three planes.

One of the hijackers, Leila Khaled, is still alive and free. She often speaks publicly at relatively mainstream organizations and in 2002 spoke to students at a London university. Mind you, this woman armed two hand grenades, held them in both hands, and threatened to kill an entire planeful of people.

No big deal. It was 1970, back when hijacking a plane was cool.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

My Life as a Teetotaler: Week Two

The anxiety is gone. I don't have ridiculous thoughts like, "Will I still be me?" anymore. In fact, I feel like I'm in a better mood and I'm less cynical. I feel interested in things---like economics, politics and the news---that I haven't cared too much about in a while. I have more energy and I don't think so fatalistically about my problems.

I sat alone at a packed restaurant/bar this weekend with good-qwality alcohol in every direction. The bartender was passing down Booker's Bourbon to some guys who'd never tried it and I didn't flinch. And you know, it really wasn't too hard to sit there and sip my tonic water with lime. Maybe I'm not as bad off as I thought. I mean, I was not only able to resist it, but I didn't have a craving for it, either.

They say the can-take-it-or-leave-it feeling is important.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Eleven-year-old Co-Pilot

A few days after 9/11/01 I remember sadly thinking that kids will never be given plastic aviator wings and sit beside the pilot while he explains the gears and levers. It seemed like a sad loss of a way of life. I remember when my dad took me to the cockpit and it was a huge deal for me.

But today when I was boarding the plane, I noticed that a mother and father were waiting for their kid to come out from the cockpit. I looked in and saw the pilot explaining and showing some kid all about how to fly a plane. This was the happiest thing that I saw all day.

I guess there're still some of life's little freedoms intact during our never-to-end war on terror.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Silver Spring, Maryland: whatever random thing you want.

I just had to spend four hours in Silver Spring, MD waiting for my car to be repaired. I had no idea that place was so weird. In the time I was there, wandering from store to store, I saw the following saleable goods or services:

- A frozen package of four (4) giant water bugs.

- Wigs, painted nails and hair extensions. (There were about 15 stores like this.)

- Plane tickets to Buenos Aires.

- An assortment of fully automatic assault rifles and high powered handguns.

- This vinyl album:

(In the bottom left it says, "A BIG BAD BLACK BEDFUL OF FUN - FOR ADULTS ONLY)

- A $1410 couch.

- Tickets to this movie.

- Sheet music for most of the works of Bach & Mozart.

- A harmonica.

- A whole eel, frozen solid, like a cold stick.

Of all the above, I bought two. Guess which ones.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Sinister Piffle

The WSJ has a pretty good synopsis of what happened in the recent Hitchens/Galloway debate.

If I had to choose two words to sum up the overwhelming impression left by this week's raucous "debate" over the Iraq war between polemicist Christopher Hitchens and British MP George Galloway, I'd have to choose the ones that came straight from Mr. Hitchens's mouth: "sinister piffle." Mr. Hitchens was of course referring to everything Mr. Galloway had said up to that point, a verbal burble that unfortunately defined too much of the evening.

Read more

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Kaki King

Oh my lord this chick can play guitar. And you're just listening to six strings and two hands. Unbelievable.

And she's kind of hot, too.

Hitchens vs. Galloway

Just listened to a debate between Chris Hitchens and some drunk Scottish guy named George Galloway who was intellectually inferior to Hitchens by no fewer than 25 fathoms. They were debating the war in Iraq (Hitchens for, Galloway against) and even though I'm against this war, their debate almost changed my mind.

Hitchens could debate the most intellectual heavy-hitters and win, but instead, they gave him some crazed Scottish street-ranter. Here's the gist of the two positions:

There's a lot to be proud of in Iraq, like the existence of 6 TV networks. Under Saddam your whole family would be murdered for owning one satellite dish. In addition, the explaining should not always be put on the pro-war crowd; the anti-war crowd has a lot of explaining to do for being against the outcome of various wars in recent years (ie, Yugoslavia, Kuwait, Afganistan). Plus, Saddam is locked up.

Hitchens has no right to be for this war because he used to be pro-PLO and anti-Gulf War I. He's a hypocrite. Plus, the Iraq war has killed a lot of people.

That was his only counter-attack to the Hitch.

Hey George Galloway, the Left is never gonna get anywhere with red herrings and ad hominem attacks, you fuck stick.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

New Instrument

What's the name of that new instrument that makes you think that your cell phone is ringing? It happens to me at least once a week: I'll be listening to some song and I'll grab the cell phone, but realize it was just part of the music.

It must be something new bands are using because I never remember hearing that sound like five years ago.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Re-occurring Odd Things Around the White House

Monday through Friday I bike through Lafayette Park, onto Pennsylvania Avenue, right in front of the White House and onto the final leg of my route to work. I've passed the White House hundreds of times in the past year.

On each of those trips, exactly two somewhat odd, somewhat un-noticeable-to-the-untrained-eye, re-occurring rituals are played out. I've lost count of the times I've seen this:

Odd thing #1: A large gaggle of tourists---usually Asian or American midwestern school children---are gathered, not near the White House where they should be, but around the homeless woman who has been camped out in front of the White House since 1981 in protest of the existence of nuclear weapons. She has these wooden signs that say, "BAN NUCLEAR WEAPONS, OR HAVE A NICE DOOMSDAY". The tourists are just chatting away with this woman. Weird.

Odd thing #2: Some tourist---usually a white, midwestern-looking girl---is taking pictures, not of the White House, but of the freaking Bank of America building across from it on Pennsylvania Ave. It's not like the building is interesting or special or something; it just looks like your average bank.

Why are these things happening? WTF?

Monday, September 12, 2005

My Life as a Teetotaler: Week One

I'm no stranger to a little hooch now and again ... and again and again, but last Sunday, the shit caught up with me. Or should I say, "came up outta me"---out of me, and all over the hotel room and my lovely wife's unpacked clothes. At first I blamed that simply-labeled bottle whose only design was three letters: G-I-N. But as sobriety set in I had only myself to blame.

That behavior got me banned from the sauce: I've gone cold turkey. I can honestly say that these seven days are the longest I've gone without alcohol in several years. On days three and four, there was some anxiety and I felt like the Burt Bacharach song, "I just don't know what to do with myself". But as the days moved on, I felt my mind becoming clearer, my thoughts sharper and my sleep sounder. Saturday and Sunday mornings were really strange because I actually woke up feeling good. The fact that I was surprised because I felt good on a weekend morning is very illuminating. How bad had it gotten that I was shocked at feeling normal? Bad. Pretty bad.

It's not to say I'll never drink again, but it's about time for a break.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Animal Rescue Bake Sale: A Gi-normous Success

My wife organized a bake sale for Humane Society Animal Rescue teams in New Orleans today and we sold out of all our goods.

I'd like to thank all those involved in our bake sale and happily report that we raised $1,084.00 which I just donated to HS Rescue Teams online.

Since it was Adams Morgan Day we got all the foot traffic coming from the Metro. It was one of those days that make you think that maybe people are good after all. So many folks just dropped twenty dollar bills in the pot which put us over the one grand mark.

Friday, September 09, 2005

We're the Unicorns and we're people, too.

A few weeks ago I worried that I might not like music any more. "Might not like music any more ..." What a horrible phrase.

That awful feeling came to an abrupt halt when I started re-listening to The Unicorns' album "Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone". Like any album, it's not all perfect but a few of those cuts keep me coming back time and time again. They're like Pavement with a half-broken Casio and one or two guys who practices his guitar for four hours a day.

I haven't been obsessed with a band like this since Fischerspooner.

Good Slide Show

This one is 197 pictures long but totally worth it. Watch it from beginning to end. It gives you a clearer picture of what happened than watching CNN for a week straight.

I'd even say it cuts through a lot of the bullshit, excuses and blame that's being tossed around right now.

Biking in the City: A Guide

I've been biking to work in DC for about five years, so now that District gas prices are the highest in the nation, I'll give you a couple of pointers in case you decide to commute by bicycle.

- It is not illegal to bike on the sidewalk, no matter what people tell you. The sidewalk is safer than the street. If there are a lot of pesky-ass pedestrians walking in front of you, just weave around them. If someone gives you shit, rehearse a rude comeback before getting on your bike in the morning. It's hard to think of a witty response to "Get off the fucking sidewalk!" while moving on two wheels at 15 miles per hour. (And PS: Old people tend to yell at bikers more than the young.)

- You don't need a helmut. All the time that I've worn mine, I never used it once. In the summer, your head will become a sweat factory under that worthless piece of plastic and hard foam. So unless you're really clumsy, save the money.

- Stop signs and stop lights don't apply to bikers. Don't let any car-driver tell you otherwise. One of the benefits of riding a bike to work is that you don't have to obey that type of shit. Bikers have no blind spots so who the fuck cares.

- "One Way" streets do not apply to bikes. Again, we ride bikes because in dense traffic, getting from point A to point B is faster than a car. Downtown, cars drive slow enough that they can avoid you if you're riding against the flow of traffic anyway.

- Any car that honks at you gets a middle finger. Cars don't realize how loud a horn is outside the car. It will startle the hell out of you and in that adrenaline rush, the bird will instinctively shoot upward. It's just a reflex.

- No one respects bike lanes. Those lovely painted white lines with the cute little bike logo mean nothing. No one respects them. Not even bikers.

- Get the hell out of the way of all cars with Maryland or Virginia tags. These suburban commuters are not used to pedestrians and bikes. No one walks or bikes in the suburbs (I know, I used to live there) so they're not concerned about you, and what's more, they may be looking to kill you. A biker is often *plain offensive* to a suburbanite. And keep a special eye on the VA/MD Sport Utility Vehicle drivers because their range of vision is like less than 45 degrees.

- Weave through traffic as much as possible. In part, this is why you're riding a bike anyway: to get to work faster than car drivers. You may want to saw off the ends of your handle bars to get through tight squeezes.

- DC taxi drivers are actually very courteous. Strangely, these cars will yield to you more than any other. If they hit you, they'll be sued so hard that they'll probably have to return to Eritrea, so they're going to avoid a biker like the plague.

- You don't need side view mirrors or a water bottle or all that crap you'll spend too much money at City Bikes for. If you're just going to work and back, just turn your head to see who's behind you. You won't be thirsty, either. Get a damned drink at work.

- Watch out for parallel-parked car doors. When biking past parked cars, always give them about 3-4 feet of room in case someone opens their door. This may mean you'll have to bike in the way of moving cars but fuck 'em. Let them swerve around you. They're the ones that decided to drive into the city, not you.

- You won't end up sweaty and uncomfortable at work. This is just an excuse people make for being lazy and driving to work. Unless you're a big fat-ass, sweatiness is nothing to worry about.

Anyway, that's all I can think of for now. If I've left anything out, let me know.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Old news, but still ...

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Road Warrior Photo Gallery

Just ran across a photo gallery of four guys who headed out from somewhere down south with "6 chainsaws, 5 coolers, 180 gallons of gas, 1 12 gauge, 2 .40's with hollow tips, 1 baseball bat, 15 cases of water, shovels, axes, splitters, and plenty of food."

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

My Labor Day

This past weekend I sailed across the Chesapeake Bay from Mayo, Maryland to Tilghman Island on the eastern shore. The sail there surprisingly took only about 4.5 hours.

On the way over we were passed by some fast-moving guys on small catamarans. They were hiked out to the side which was really cool.

My friend's son, Blake.

At Tilghman Island there was a full on Redneck Xtravaganza going on. It was totally unexpected. Along with the repeated- high-horsepower-boat-motor-revving displays and beer swilling there was this "Hot Bod' Contest".

Best sailing weather in a long time.

Is this 1970s Biafra or something?

This is the saddest, most depressing picture I've seen.

I don't even want to put it directly on my blog.

Friday, September 02, 2005

I'm glad summer is over so I will be forced to stop wearing flip-flops.

I have a conflicting relationship with flip-flops. While I care very little about fashion or what clothes look like, I firmly believe that a man's bare feet should never be seen (the only exception is if he's within 100 feet of a body of water). Do you know anyone who likes looking at a man's hairy-ass toes? Disgusting.

Having said that, flip-flops are the most low maintenance footwear known to humans. This, and they're 10 times less hot than ordinary shoes. So for the past three months I've struggled every day wearing such things because they're so comfortable yet I look like a tool whenever I leave the house. Now that September's here and the weather calls for less offensive footwear, I won't be so conflicted.

Fall, it'll be good to see you when you get here, my friend.

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