Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Dick

I don't go around parading this, but I think Andy Dick is one of the funniest people out there. Or, at least he was in 2002. My evidence:

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

and finally, Exhibit C:

Feel free to hate him (the man was arrested for stripping the shirt off a 17 year old girl), but that's funny stuff.

god or God?

I don't believe in God. Let's be reminded of that.
I was going through my own blog archives recently and came upon an old post where I basically posited that God must be a universal set of morals. That's it. If there is a set of morals that can apply to everyone, that is God. Why? Because "God" must apply to everyone, right? If he/He's all powerful and created all, then he must apply to all. I think that's a valid statement. If we can't all adhere to a set of morals, ostensibly proscribed by Him, then some of us must knowingly not be of His loins. Boom, he just proved He doesn't exist. Otherwise, God created the world and man in his image, except for the ugly one's who don't believe in him. Then where did they come from? They look a lot like us. My point.

Then, a friend of mine countered in the "comments" section that there are no universal morals. That's apparently Philosophy 101 (I never took a philosophy class in college).

My point. If there is not a single idea or moral conduct that everybody can adhere to, there is no God.

Or, I'll concede, there is no single God. Maybe a different God for different people. Maybe the different gods are chilling out in the sky, having a couple of mugs of Nectar, laughing at us as we try to figure it all out. Odin is passed out in the corner, while Shiva impresses all with his patented Six-Fisting Chug. Buddha lets out a wet one, tumbles to the floor in a fit of laughter, and makes Yahweh squirt Nectar out of his nose. They all high five. That's awesome.

They Finally Get It
According to an Al-Jazeera article (yes, I choose Al-Jazeera over CNN. If nothing else, it reports on things I am more interested in. But more importantly, it reports with a degree of responsibility), the Taliban have issued a book detailing the new code of conduct for fighters. It demands a decrease in suicide attacks, less civilian deaths in operations, and to attempt to win the "hearts and minds" of the populace.

We're fucked.

I say that only in jest. On the surface, it might seem like the American military/NATO/ just the Amercian military is going to have a tougher time in the future because they are no longer the only group preaching peace. But, I see a glimmer of hope. Here's why.

When presented with the choice between siding with the Americans (in theory: rebuilding infrastructure, building schools, security in the cities, etc.) or the Taliban (forced poppy cultivation, Sharia law, and recruitment and near brain-washing of the youth), I would think that a rational Afghan-- barring direct intimidation-- would choose the Americans. But now with this new proclamation, the choice isn't so clear cut. The Taliban are looking to popularize their vision. They are campaigning. They want to be a viable and attractive alternative to the American model. (This is assuming that this whole thing is legitimate unto itself, and that the Taliban will actually adhere to this new book, and wouldn't be so stupid as to issue this and then continue acting violently towards civilians.) With this new book, they are fighting smarter, not harder, because hard fighting only increases civilian resentment and American retaliation.

However, think about this: What if the Taliban have begun secret negotiations with the US (probably through a Pakistani middle-man, but that's fine) to moderate their views and enter the legitimate political arena?
Mullah Omar could not openly announce his intention to moderate and could never even hint that he was talking to the Americans. To do so would kill his movement and entire organization. It removes the sense of "them" and "us", or "good" and "evil", from a Taliban perspective. But, he could do so in secret. He could see the direction his movement is heading (more on this in a bit) and basically do a policy review. Now, I am not saying that the Taliban will abandon their views and try to emulate Hamas successful entry into mainstream politics. They won't abandon their pursuit of the imposition of Sharia law. But they might. I think they'll find a way to "legitimate" their entry into politics. What better way to start this process than to start talking to the occupying power? And I bet that the American military said, "only if you agree to these terms can we continue this dialogue." The new book is the fruit of these discussions.

The Al-Jazeera article goes on to say that Omar wants to centralize the movement. Duh! Right now, the Taliban is a fractured movement, with many fighters only labelling themselves "Taliban" for promotional purposes, while not adhering to the original doctrine of Mullah Omar. If he asserts his control and brings the disparate groups together, he can steer their direction more easily. The US, if they worked with him, would encourage this. It's better to have one powerful man to deal with and convince than to have hundreds of sub-commanders to deal with, who switch sides at the drop of a coin (literally). The saying goes "You can't buy loyalty in Afghanistan; you can only rent it."

Further in the article:
"Whenever any official, soldier, contractor or worker of the slave government is captured, these prisoners cannot be attacked or harmed," it says.
Yep. That sounds pretty American to me. I bet we added that part. Let's keep going:

"The book further states that if a "military infidel" is captured, the decision on whether to kill, release or exchange the hostage is only to be made by the Imam, a reference to Mullah Omar, or deputy Imam."
We get our boys back. That sounds good to me.

I can't say that this whole manifesto is a bad thing. It's great for the Afghan public's safety. It's maybe not so great from an American perspective in the NATO vs. Taliban war, but we are, theoretically, trying to help Afghans. Therefore, my conclusion is that a moderating and more controlled Taliban who have someone to answer to (Mullah Omar) is better than a suicide bombing and uncontrolled Taliban who pursue individual goals decided upon by a regional commander.

And the theory that we are negotiating with Mullah Omar has credence because, let's face it, the Taliban have lost ground in Afghanistan recently, and with Obama's push in the region, they're not going to be in power any time soon. Why not moderate and get a degree of power? It's pure Realpolitick. Instead of no power, have some. The Pakistanti government finally woke up and started pushing the Taliban back in the north west. By my limited geographic knowledge, that means the Taliban are being squeezed between two pincers. Add that Russia and the US are on better terms, and Russia is allowing the US to transport military hardware to Afghanistan through its borders, and Mullah Omar must recognize that the Taliban's future is bleak indeed. He should take what he can get, and if that means dealing with the Americans, well, it might just make for a happier and safer Afghanistan. I think we can all look forward to that.

At Least They're Not Drinking Wine

Now, I can understand the viewpoint of the MA senator. Budweiser is an un-American company. It hates freedom. It is the Benedict Arnold of Brews. The Quisling of Quaffs. The Petain of Partytime. For Obama to choose such an un-American beer to drink is political suicide and demonstrates his lack of political know-how and leadership. He has failed to grasp the views and dreams of the "real" American, the Sarah Palin American...

Why the FUCK is CNN wasting it's time, again, on such drivel! It proves nothing, enlightens nobody, and advances no thought or insight. I say, again, that CNN sucks.

Why do I check CNN almost daily then? Well, the website is set up brilliantly. The content, however, isn't worth the "0" and "1"s it's made of.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

O MAn...

I joined a gym recently. Ok, ok, stop laughing. I will be the first one to admit that the skinny kid with daily groomed scruff-beard doesn't exactly scream "I need to get a lift in". But, I enjoy it. Perhaps it's just because of the cute girls (who generally ignore said scruff-beard kid. Why would you choose a Cooper in a room of Yukons? [I was going to write "Smart Car", but that was just too pretentious]). Or maybe it's the ability to push my body to the absolute limit--something I enjoy immensely. Reaching the point where it is no longer a matter of mentally pushing myself on through self-motivation, but being physically incapable of going further, reaching the biological limit of progress, the point where my sinews and striated fibers tell me to fuck off, is a feeling of utter bliss. I'll just try to not crap my pants the next time that happens (I've never crapped my pants, thank you. I do nearly puke every time, but that's another story).

[I am typing at a Cuban cafe right now, and some dick is slurping his pulled pork next to me. How he actually is accomplishing this feat is beyond me. He is doing it in that sort of militant lean-over-the-bowl-and-shove-everything-inside-and-let-whatever-doesn't-fit-fall-back-into-the-bowl-so-I-can-shove-it-back-in style. I wish to claim his still beating heart.]

But there is one part of the gym I wasn't quite expecting, nor do I look forward to each time I return: Naked old men.

I am being completely truthful, and I might simultaneously be betraying some unknown pact of secrecy amongst Those Who Lift, but old men love getting butt naked in the gym changing rooms. They love it. They can't get enough of it. If you're old and you go to the gym, you like getting naked there. You can't put on an ankle sock or check your complexion in the mirror without having some Old Man Ass (OMA) staring back at you. The trick is keeping your distance and averting your gaze. Futility defined.

And for some Satanic reason, they are always bending over. These prostrated geriatrics must hang around all day, staring at their shins, just waiting for some unsuspecting young bearded man to turn a corner and be greeted by OMA. Their patience is admirable. Their asses are hairy.

I, consequently, am a little bit more comfortable in letting my unmentionables hang freely. I mean, I don't go parading around, but if there has to be a moment of Full Monty before I get a towel around my waist, so be it. But I still have the modesty to cover up. These guys are airing their balls out like it was laundry day at Grandma's farm.

Why the nakedness? I suppose the urge comes from that curious characteristic of age which manifests itself in many ways: Simply not giving a shit.
Bumper to bumper traffic. Check my mirrors, or just go for it? Ah, fuck it.
Pretty girl walking the street. Say what's on my mind or keep dirty thoughts to myself? Ah, fuck it.
Shit my pants. Clean myself in the bathroom or enjoy the warmth. Ah, fuck it.

I never thought about it, but I actually envy them. Here's to not giving a damn!


A question that has been in the back of my brain for some time now is if there is a universal flavor that everybody enjoys. At first I thought I had the answer, and it seemed so obvious I was surprised I didn't think of it sooner.


But then I woke up the next morning, swigged a liter of water, took an aspirin, and tried not to puke.

The more I thought about this question (which I am fully aware doesn't have an answer, but do me a favor and humor me), the more I realized that I had to simplify it. I had to break it down. Okay, instead of brainstorming for the perfect flavor, let's think "feelings". What feeling does every person, regardless of race, religion, or ethnicity, enjoy? Working with this line of reasoning, how can we derive a feeling from a flavor? That would give us our universal flavor.

When I was brushing my teeth, it hit me. And it was good.


Everybody likes minty fresh breath. I mean, EVERYBODY likes minty breath. Everybody likes mint. Both the possessor and outside observers enjoy minty fresh breath. Margaret Thatcher likes minty breath. Muammar Gadafi (who's head, parenthetically, looks like it was used as the mold for the monoliths of Easter Island: chews mint when he his tummy hurts. Moroccans have mint tea, Cubans have Mojitos, and Southerners have Mint Juleps. Five out of five dentists recommend mint. Mentatdent is the greatest toothpaste ever, and I dare you to find some poor bastard who admits to preferring the white paste side to the cool blue mint gel side. The pope has been known to get cranky if he doesn't have his Triple Stripe Aquafresh (can you imagine the Pope brushing his teeth? The visual of him propping up the Pope hat in his right hand, holding the Pope robe back in his left, while he dips his head over the sink to hock a frothy dollop of toothpaste plop is priceless. Do you think he checks his teeth, smiles at the mirror, and winks at his reflection?). The Treasury Department loves the Mint.

Who would ever say "Minty breath? Oh man, not for me!" Nobody. Ever.

This was all proven wrong. I have customers at my restaurant say they don't like mint.

How could you not like mint! What the hell is wrong with these people! It's mint! It is the very definition of fresh. It is the Alpha and the Omega. It is the eleventh Commandment. By not liking mint, these sick "people" are saying... you know what, I don't care what they are saying. It probably smells like fermenting llama crap (which, coincidentally, is great fertilizer for mint).

If you don't like mint, you hate freedom. It's as simple as that. The terrorists win every time you brush your teeth with Tom's of Maine Cinnamon flavor. You fucking commie.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Greatest Hits, Vol. 1

I set out before to transcribe, word for word, my diary that I kept in Morocco onto this blog. However, you can't imagine how boring that is. Therefore, I will post some tasty selections and quotes for you, distinguished reader.

I present, the Best Of Collection, vol. 1:

"Thought: I would love to be an old Spanish man. Clothed in a loose white collared shirt and bright slacks, I would laze the day away, letting the Spanish sun bake my already bronzed leather skin. Maybe I'll split my time between Spain and Bavaria, trading my slacks for a lederhosen and my rioja for Augustiner."

"When I first entered the ferry [to Tangiers], I must have entered into the ladies section, because I was greeted with one of the most disorienting sights yet experienced: A graceful ocean of color. Each of the dozens of women were clothed in brightly colored headdresses, and the resulting rainbow stopped me in my tracks and made me smile."

"June 4, 7:30am. Just woke up on the train [the Marrakesh Express overnight train from Tangiers to Marrakesh]. I slept okay. Surprisingly chilly. Spend most of the night chatting with my bunkmates who were three young Moroccans, all involved in the tourist industry and speaking great English. We talk about American culture, Green Day, Desperate Housewives, etc. I learn a bit more about Islamic culture and traditions. We share bread and yogurt drinks."

" 'George Bush is the mafia!'-- said by a 15 year old boy in Marrakesh."

"Marrakesh is filled with thousands of shoplets selling everything from yogurt, bread, copper, fish, chicken organs, spices, pet birds, hookahs, leather shoes, tea sets, carpets, 'natural medicines', and jewelry. Almost seems exclusively geared towards tourists, yet the streets are not filled with them. The city is a giant social network, where everybody seems to know everybody else. I was sitting in a cafe, chatting to a local man clothed in a magnificent blue cloak, only to run into him hours later at his own souk! A handshake, a "salaam aleikum" and we were temporary old friends."

"June 4, 20:40pm. The city suddenly echos with voices from all corners. The muezzin- the call to prayer. It started in the east, and slowly spread from mosque to mosque until at least five voices were calling over the loudspeakers. Slightly horrifying but at the same time it was so special that it could almost be comforting. Everybody in the city recognized and listened. It was communal."

"June 5, 12:09 pm. Currently walking through the Ville Nouvelle, a veritable oasis in this desert heat. Well, that's the romantic vision of it. Truly it is a bit foreign in this foreign land. The streets are maintained... and paved for that matter, the sidewalks of hardy construction, and political leaflets are nowhere to be found.
I just saw a fully veiled woman lift the flap over her face to pick her nose. That was special."

"With a moment to relax, here are some of my first impressions: I am shocked by the beauty of the flora and the women. It can be said that in the harshest climates can be found some of nature's greatest beauties. Cabernet Sauvignon for example. Even Assam teas. Harsh climate, complex and robust constitution...
As for my general experience with the people, it has been overwhelmingly positive. Hospitality is ingrained in the culture. The flip side is that it is uncomfortable and foreign for a Westerner, as far as the assertiveness, aggression, and dare I say, the deception of the merchants. They call, beckon, mock, shout, grab, and insult just to get your attention. I had one owner insist that I hated Moroccans because I did not go to his stall. The bastard. Don't pull that shit. When I walked away, laughing somewhat mockingly at him, he said in English "this is bullshit." He couldn't be more correct."

Contentment through Contradiction

"Tea is to making love as black espresso is to fucking. Sometimes, you just wanna fuck."

I wrote those immortal words when I was drunk at a cafe in Spain. Reading it again, it got me to thinking about how I appreciate things that are the complete opposite of each other. My guess is that I appreciate these things for that exact reason: their very differences appeal to me. I drew up a list of opposites that tickle me:

The serenity of the forest : The bustle of the city
Roasted chicken : Coq au Vin
Jeans and a t shirt : Perfectly fitted designer suits
Cheap beer : Bordeaux
a tender kiss, gently supporting her chin, and brushing soft hair from her brow : Use your imagination
Salted beef : Beef Wellington
Holding hands : Wasted clubbing
Snow in the mountains : Heat on the beach
Hemingway : Shakespeare
I could go on and on, but I think the point is made.

A Prediction

Allow me to make a prediction:

With the current crisis in Iran, I think that we will start to hear rumors of the Baseej being used as a new SAVAK or a sort of Iranian Stasi.

When Ayatollah Khamanei came out and proclaimed the elections legitimate, and threatened the use of force to those who did not submit, he squashed any possibility of moderation or tolerance or dissent. He showed that the Iranian govnernment is not in the business of accepting criticism. The death toll and the hundreds still in prison attest to that.
However, with such widespread discontent, the government needs some way of keeping their angry populace in check. They need a way of controlling the anger. The most logical and efficient way to do that is to spread fear. Historically, this can be accomplished through a secret informant network, or the threat of a secret informant network. Let's give a quick list of historical precedent:

1. The Stasi in East Germany.
2. SAVAK during the Shah's rule in Iran.
3. The Gestapo in Nazi Germany.
4. The KGB in the Soviet Union.

The Baseej, a paramilitary organization often employed in combating riots, would be the perfect outfit to assume this role. They are un-uniformed, numerous (estimates range from 30,000 to 7 million, though the former is more likely [see "the Economist country report"-- I can't do footnotes in this blog]), young, and loyal to the Ayatollah, whom they ultimately report to.

I could be wrong that the Baseej will fulfill this role, but I think some group will. It's just that non-uniformed police groups scare the crap out of me. What use are they unless a government is trying to spread fear? Otherwise, they would be an official and uniformed police force.

Let's hope I am wrong.

Future posts:
-Holy Crap, Moussavi is Still Alive! Why? Answer: He is weak enough to be useful to the government.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Intelligence of a Newt

You fucking idiot.

Oh Sultan of Stupidity, Master of the Moronic, Newt Gingrich, let me list the number of ways you have proven that you lack an iota of intellect:

1. You publicly announce your support for covert operations. "Covert" means secret. Let's re-phrase this: You came out and announced to the world that you want the US to secretly target Iranian oil and gas facilities to destabilize the Iranian government. This, at a time when Ahmadinejad (yeah, I had to Google the spelling) accuses the US of interfering in the Iranian elections! Well, you just justified that ridiculous and xenophobic argument! You made A-mad's saber rattling more legitimate. You are an idiot.

Now, the moment some facility has an accidental (I held back from placing accidental in quotes) explosion, guess who they are going to blame? Or, let's hope the Tehran isn't so cynical as to pull a Reichstag Fire incident...

2. You publicly announce your support for covert operations-- on Al-Jazeera, a news outlet that, oh, let's be generous and say 4% of Americans read. So, you are obviously not trying to appeal to your domestic constituents. What are you trying to do, Gingy? Provocation seems the only logical motivation. Hell, an angry Iran (I dare not even mention a possible war) would be great for the failed Republican Party (actually, just those aged Cold warrior, moot, war mongering Republicans). What better way to slander the new Obama tactic of actually talking to Iran, rather than just posturing and flexing your muscles at each other, hoping that one of us loses their respective Nationalist boner before the other does. An angry Iran and a shouting Iran is good for those who desire power in the US.

3. The Reagan technique? Wait. Eastern Europe was throwing off the chains of a Soviet imposed system during the 1980's. They did not choose that system of government. Just ask the Hungarians about trying to topple the Soviet regime in their country. Iranians, though dissenting, are not fighting against a foreign power. The current election scandal is a domestic struggle. The Velvet Revolution was a domestic struggle against a foreign influence. Different situation. Gingrich, again, justifies A-mad.

There you have it. Gingrich is an idiot.

Friday, July 10, 2009

CNN- Crap and No News

CNN truly is a steaming crap pile. Check out this headline:

I don't even have words to express how irresponsible this "reporting" is. Let me mount the soapbox for a moment:
In a democracy, freedom of the press is not only a right, but a responsibility. It is impossible for a population to know the workings of their government, both good and bad, without a free and independant press. It is their chosen duty to bring information to everybody else. When they report on psychics predicting that Michael Jackson will be reincarnated in 20 years, it makes me want to punch baby seals.

CNN, you are wasting your money and promoting idiocy. Congrats 4 u!

The Face of Evil

It is always depressing when the existence of evil is proven. Yesterday, I experienced it once again (perhaps you will remember the first time that I recognized the presence of evil in my own life and saw it [and felt it] first hand, when a guy sort of assaulted me on Halloween. I have never seen such anger in someone’s eyes. When I confronted a warring couple in an apartment building hallway, the guy turned around, shouted “Fuck you, you fucking German!” [Oh yeah, did I mention I was wearing Lederhosen? I chuckled at his observation], came at me and then just pushed me up against a wall. Channeling my inner Bruce Lee [complete with three weeks of Kempo training and a knack for first person shooters], I pulled off an impressive swim move and swatted his arms off my chest. Unfortunately, I jammed my thumb doing it—the only lasting physical wound of the encounter.)

I was on the 2 train, on my way to work, with my gym bag wrapped around my arm and my man-bag thrown over my shoulder. I refuse to wear sunglasses on the train (and roll my eyes at those who do. Honestly, do you not notice every single other person not wearing them? No, you chose to single yourself out. Congrats, you regular ol’ James Dean you! Show those florescent lights who’s boss! Dumbass. And never, NEVER, hit on a person who is wearing sunglasses. This is one of my golden rules, and if you learn one thing from my meanderings, it is to never court a person wearing sunglasses. Granted, many people can look quite attractive in sunglasses {few sunglasses properly fit my Jupitorian head} but pity those who approach these veiled beauties, because I bet you that 9 times out of 10, that veil is hiding something that really should remain hidden. Especially in conditions when sunglasses are irrelevant, just keep moving. Don’t open Pandora’s Box, because once the curtains are drawn aside, the freak show takes the stage.) and choose instead to have my sunglasses dangle from my chest pocket. It seems more safari-like to me, like something Hemingway or the hunter-guy from Jurassic Park would do. Putting them inside the pocket is one step away from a pocket protector, and putting them in my man-bag runs the risk of unintentionally crushing them. No, “the dangle” is Romantic and fashionable. I chose you.

Somewhere downtown, a group of maybe ten or eleven Spanish 12-14 year olds came on the train, obviously on a vacation in New York City. They were boisterous. They were loud. They were kind of annoying. Granted. A few stops later, some wonderfully pleasant, cheery, beautiful woman with great teeth and obviously well educated enters the train and insightfully exclaims, “Wha da fuck is goin on here?” She starts moving through the train, pushing the children out of her way. “Scuse me, scuse me. Goddammit. Wha da fuck?” This most blessed woman then starts proclaiming aloud, “These fucking people from otha countries… don’t know what the fuck they’re doin. I’ll slap the shit outta them. Yeah you,” she points at a skinny girl of about 13 years, “I’ll slap the shit outta you.” She then turns to some spineless excuse for a human, who nods his head like an idiot just because she is talking out loud, “They come here and don’t know wha da fuck they’re doin.” Dicko just keeps nodding his head.

I go into overdrive. If this woman slaps this girl, I mean, if she actually slaps a little girl, I have no idea what I am going to do to her. She cannot be allowed to slap this kid. That cannot happen while I am sitting across from her. I’d fucking kill myself. I start formulating emergency contingency plans: With cat-like reflexes I stand up, seize her hand in mid air as it is about to strike (give it a second for the drama to sink in) and then demand in a stern Austrian accent “Sit down before I make you sit down.” She is stunned into awed silence, falls back trembling onto the hard blue plastic bench, takes out a worn prayer book, crosses herself, and happily offers stale vanilla wafers that she produces from beneath her shawl to the cheering children, only to, caught up in the moment, pop open the aged plastic wrap in a fit of joyous excitement, sending the cracker crumbles catapulting into the air in a festive firework display of vanilla goodness. The children cheer in unison and pat me admiringly on the back, shouting “Viva el guapo! Gracious senor!” Just then a camera crew bursts on the subway and flashes a spotlight on my still perspiring face. A recently showered Emilio Estevez thrusts an arm through the crowd of reporters, pushes a microphone in my face and shouts “How’d you do it?” Out of breath, assuming the role of the everyman, I humbly admit, “I couldn’t have done it without my Wheaties!” SNAP! Pull back and reveal my face emblazoned on the Wheaties box, high fiving Michael Jordan in our matching Hanes underwear, with the old woman actually physically cleaning her laundry on my tan washboard abs…

In reality, I said to the kids, in Spanish, that she is not important and “bienvenido a Nueva York.” I am not sure if sarcasm translates well, but they seemed to get a kick out of it.

The lady continues hurling invectives at the now mocking children. One especially bright and brave girl is translating all the insults this woman utters for her friends, complete with an impressive mimicry of vocal inflection. The woman has no idea. She is just mumbling to herself and talking to Dicko. The kids alternate between stunned silence and fits of the giggles. I try to comfort them with rolls of my eyes and offering my seat to them. I put my butt in the woman’s face (the most action she’s had since Procol Harem’s farewell tour) and physically prevent her from continuing her thoughtless diatribe.

I realize this old woman with no teeth was insane. I realize that if I said something, I would have provoked her and she probably would have slapped one of those girls. She was North Korea, and I was wearing a man-bag. Nothing I could have said would have shut her up. It doesn’t take away from the fact that this witch was evil and threatening young children. Now, the argument can be made that since she was crazy, she wasn’t evil. She didn’t know better. Wrong, I say. Evil does not need to be a logical or coherent decision. It can exist and manifest itself through the most perverted of life forms and it is still evil. History teaches us that. And oh yeah, she hates freedom. She hates our way of life. She wants to put food on her family.

Dammit, I’ve gone and done it again. I’ve contradicted myself. Whatever.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Submitting to cultural norms, I have taken recently to listening to an iPod while walking. Well, it's not really an iPod, per se, but more of an iAmLame. It's one of those cheap knockoffs that I think was purchased through an infomercial. RIP Billy Mays. I envied your beard. May it always be brown.

However, I don't think that I am doing it right. I would have thought that this was relatively straight forward: put little buds in my ears (which, sort of like losing your virginity [at least for a girl, I imagine] hurts like hell the first time and only feels good after practice and use. I have the horrifically invasive type of ear buds that basically rape my eardrums, and I swear I have unintentionally widened my ear canal. Growing excited with the possiblity of improving my hearing from the dilated ear canal, I realized that it has been offset by my affinity for listening to music at a supersonic decibel level), walk with a swagger in time to music, and drown out the noise of the world around you.

I was wrong.

I don't know what most people are doing, but they are completely willing and capable of carrying on conversations, reading, detecting oncoming traffic, forming intricate exegeses, and generally commanding complete spatial awareness while wearing their ear buds. I, on the other hand, might as well be blind with them in. When wearing my iLame, I space out more than Stephan Hawking at a Laser Floyd show and have nearly been killed on numerous occasions.

Listening to music at such a volume as I do, it sort of sucks the smarts out of me. I find it tough to focus. My time is spent concentrating on not strutting too much (oh man, strutting to a beat is biological; I can't help it), and consequently I lose all touch with reality. Cars honk their horns, slam on their brakes and hurl venomous insults at me, all the while, I am holding back my struts and thinking about if I should sing "Open Arms" or "Faithfully" at my next karaoke session.

And why is it that now, since I wear my iLame, does the entire fucking population of New York City want to talk to me? Never before have more people stopped me in the street to chat or ask for money. And I feel like an idiot, because I don't hear their calls until somebody physically taps me on the shoulder to get my attention, or as one woman felt comfortable doing, grabbing my gym bag and shaking it (apparently one of my zippers on the bag was open and she didn't want me to get pickpocketed. I pulled the buds out of my ears [it hurt like hell] and after she repeated her good Samartian observation, I informed her that I don't keep my wallet in my gym bag and would be mildly amused if somebody reached into that cavern of cadaverous cosas). However, I have casually chatted with individuals with their buds in, and they were totally capable of interacting. What's the point! What whispers are they listening to? [Note: the number 1 song at the time of my birth was "Careless Whisper" by George Michael. I'm not too proud of that, but thought you should know.]

My only remedy would be to lower the volume, but that, truly, would be admitting defeat. I think it was the sagely Ted Nugent who once said "If it's too loud, you're too old." So I choose not to lower the volume, thankyouverymuch. Embrace the Noise! Cum on Feel it! If I were killed by an 18 wheeler because I was listening to the Guess Who's Greatest Hits, there are worse ways to go. I think I would earn some street cred... if it was 1968. Fuck. Fine. I'll turn down the volume-- but only to 10. Mine went to 11.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Toilet Humor

Let us take a moment, step away from my Moroccan reflections, and come to terms with a cultural phenomenon taking the West by storm:

Men spitting in urinals whilst peeing.

I remember the first time I experienced this curious habit (and it is a habit; you're either a spitter or you're not). It was my freshman year of college, and I was a shy, young, shaven, and naive lad of 18 years. I was standing in the dorm bathroom- a spartan space covered in those small blue tiles that apparently exude a cleanly confidence- readying myself to pee, when I overheard the guy in the toilet stall next to me. Now, I know what you're thinking: Dude, spare us the details. Have patience, dear reader! I didn't hear what you thought I thought I would hear. No, instead, I heard this guy pee, spit, and then the plop of spit hitting the water. This sequence of pee, spit, plop continued for the remainder of the year. And it continues to this day.

I don't know why they do it. The act isn't a manifestation of manliness, I imagine. Rarely is the spit prefaced with a hardy hock. No, it is usually a contemplative spit. Almost an introspective spit. And I've noted how the spitter often watches their spit admirably [no, I don't make a practice of observing other guys peeing. Sometimes, you just notice things without necessarily trying], tracking its progress in its new watery abode, watching the dissolving puddle with a mixture of curiosity and wonderment, much like a dove being released into the breeze. Quietly they mouth, "Carry on, my wayward son." Then, silence. Tranquility. And there is not even a face shredding guitar solo.

So what motivates the spit? Peeing is, granted, a very soothing activity (foolish be the man who claims to not revel in a good pee [I think Shaw wrote that]). Perhaps the spit is motivated by a hybrid of Chaos Theory and that biological mechanism when we get the urge to pee when listening to running water. Peeing produces calmness, and the only appropriate subconscious response is to slightly agitate the tranquility with a single drop of our life juice, thereby proving the perfection: to skip a pebble on a glassy lake, to drop a penny in a fountain, to watch the rain in a roadside puddle.

Spitting in the urinal is, therefore, an affirmation of the divine.

Conversely, the spit can be a means of personal purification. Peeing- ridding oneself of the undesirable, is often accompanied by an honorable fart (I used to laugh and laugh whenever my father would fart in a public restroom. I just couldn't come to terms with how he, a respectful businessman, could let loose with such carefree abandon! Hippie. I, the prudish youth, could only bring myself to maybe cough and smuggle a minuscule, disreputable, glaucoma eye test, puff out, and subsequently blush profusely).
The pee-fart combo isn't enough for some. They, the Great Ones, strive for total baptism. These modern day Johns (Huh... You think that's where the term came from? I guess toilets kind of resemble baptism fountains. I think John the Baptist would be kinda pissed if he discovered what his name is associated with today. [Oh, I am feeling so very punny.]) must even evacuate their saliva. Therefore, pee-fart-spit is the ultimate ablution.

Before this reflection degenerates into the definitive text on bodily fluids, I shall stop. But, the next time you see or hear a fellow spitting into a toilet, stop and appreciate- another soul was just saved.