Sunday, October 30, 2005

Schadenfreude

I recently wrote an e-mail to a friend of mine, attaching one of the many recent stories about Bush Administration Cronies Getting What's Coming To Them. Harkening back to one of Joseph K's recent posts on intelligent design, I noted that, perhaps, yes, "there is a god." Those long arms Mr. K mentioned, however, here, turn out to be the long, long arms of the law.

I can scarcely contain my glee that Tom Delay features in a mug shot, that Bill Frist is being investigated by the SEC, that Scooter Libby has been indicted, and that Karl Rove may be next. The conservative base is, finally, splitting apart. I'm heartened that Harriet Miers is out of the Supreme Court picture, and I don't even care that her and her "best President ever's" trumped-up reasons for withdrawing her nomination don't withstand scrutiny. I do remain distinctly uncomfortable that various sundry conservatives agreed with me about Miers, but I try to put that out of my mind and pretend it didn't happen. It's eerie that all the Troubles are happening at roughly the same time, but, I guess, if everyone is shitting at the same time, at some point the pot's got to overflow.

In some circles, perhaps, it would be considered un-American to revel in the fact that All the President's Men (and Women) are scrambling about, suddenly unhinged from their smug senses of entitlement and righteousness that were at odds with the law, sane foreign policy, and fiscal discipline. However, while I celebrate whatever intelligent designer has decided to put a stop to, or at least a brake on, the evolution of the neocons and their brazen, nonsensical philosophies, I can't celebrate the ruin they've visited upon our country and its reputation. It's going to take generations to win back what they've lost. Schadenfreude be damned.

And, let's not forget, we've got three more years of this crap. What could possibly be next?

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Joseph K Answers Your Questions

A few entries ago, I referred to the strange search referrals Banality Fair gets as "reader mail." That is inaccurate. They are, at their core, queries and people have been brought here for answers. And, so without further adieu, I'll answer some recent queries.

1. "Receptionist thong?" -- No, I am not a believer in originalism or strict constructionism. People associate originalism with a non-activist judiciary. That is flat wrong. In the name of originalism, Scalia, Thomas and their ilk have time and time again ruled statutes and laws "unconstitutional. By doing so, they have effectively overturned Congress's -- and therefore -- the people's will by somehow diving the hundreds of years old inetentions of some dead cats -- judicial fiat. For example, between 1994 and 2005, Justice Thomas has sought to overturn 68% of the statutes that have come before him for judicial review. If that isn't activist, then I don't know what is.

2. "Vacation hook up stories?" -- One time, I paid for a standard room and got upgraded to a suite. I was like, "Woah, dude! Talk about a hook up!" It was hot, really hot. Well, not the bidet. That was chilly and suprisingly messy.

3. "Gay cruising sites in Charlottesville?" -- Golly, the only suggestion I have for you if you are looking for a hot circle of beef in Charlottesville is to go to Big Jim's BBQ just off US 29 near the 250 intersection. Best burger within 200 miles of DC.

4. "Shirtless men sleeping snuggle?" -- I think the unpopularity of the president will carry over to the 2006 mid term elections. There are too many structural (mostly economic) problems fueling the current discontent that go beyond the Miers fiasco and the Libby indictment.

5. "Purpose of lipstick?" -- Dermal lubricant, Joseph K irritant, take your pick.

6. "Gossipers, backstabbers, napoleonic personalities" -- We all aspire for the trifecta. How did I get there? Hard-work. Perserverence. General shittyness.

7. "Arguments for smoking?" -- For some people, it is the only thing that will make them seem even marginally cool.

8. "Hooker and hos?" -- the line between the two is at about $80 in most urban areas.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Hell?

I've been on the road all week. In perhaps what might be hell. San Diego. It's beautiful, the weather is perfect, the people nice. And get this: no one jaywalks. One person got a ticket some time, and now no one jaywalks. The street will be empty, and people will just stand there. As a New Yorker/Washingtonian, I found it obscene.

It reminded me of the old joke. This guy goes to hell. He's told you have a choice as to which of three rooms you want to spend eternity in. He goes to one room and people are screaming, surrounded by flames. He passes. The next room is people, impaled and screaming. He passes. In the final room, there are a bunch of people knee deep in shit. "Now this," he says,"I can do." The demon leading him around says, "Ok."

The guy goes in and stands in the shit. The demon then says, "Ok, break's over. Back on your heads."

San Deigo is probably like that.

P.S. So, this guy is sitting next to me on the plane. I am reading the Wall Street Journal. The guy asks me to look at the sports section. I felt more like an ass explaining why I couldn't than he probably did for asking.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Whisper whisper

Office gossip.

I have to know who is sleeping with whom. I'm dying to know which conference room was used for amorous pursuits, whether they were splayed across that long, cold marble table, astride a black leather cushiony chair, or slamming into the now quiet speaker phone, pressing and pressing and pressing against the mute button. Missionary? Doggy style? Dirty, sweaty, raw? Were there paper cuts involved?

I need to understand how the mail clerk hooked up with the executive -- presumably while delivering mail -- but was there something more insidious afoot? Did he plan it? Did she? What sort of mail incited them to uncontrollable, adulterous sex on the credenza? And does everyone know he was promoted to head mail clerk, only because he slept with the boss? Or did someone really think he merited that promotion? Who was fooled, when he can barely make it out of bed every morning, always late, because he's a drunk?

And what about that NRA gun freak? Think he'll lose it someday? And if he does, will we be able to escape the office in time?

I live for this stuff. I love this stuff. I want to be more sophisticated, believing that all this is below me, that I should rise above this fascination with other peoples' business. But these heady, seedy whispers give me something beautiful and human and awful to ponder about, to chatter about, to obsess about, all day long.

If only work were as interesting as the gossip swirling around it. Think of how productive we, as a nation, would be, if the work we did were as thrilling as the sleaze that exists in spite of it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Intelligent Design

Big debates going on about "evolution" versus "intelligent design." Like that shit is mutually exclusive. Perhaps evolution is beneficially random. In any event, how do we explain chimps using tools? They are creatures that were taken out of the creationist oven a few minutes too soon? What is the purpose of these hairy, less sophisticated genetic cousins of ours? Laughs? That lasted for three years in the early 80s. There must be more.

I want to give intelligent design a chance, but help me with this: just about everyone I know thinks their arms are too long. Not cartoonishly long. Settle down! No, maybe half a foot long. Maybe a foot. They don't want to have Tyrannaurus Rex short arms. Just not so long. Hip length, not mid-thigh. It's just unnecessary. If we had shorter arms, we guys would look a little better in suits. Hugs would be a little more complex and therefore more rewarding.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Reader Mail...Sort Of

Not really reader mail, because we don't get mail or email from our readers. No, instead, I am going to list and comment on some of the more memorable recent search terms that got people here. That's not mail at all. What the hell was I talking about in the subject line? And why won't I just change it instead of babbling in the text?

1. "what can I eat if I am allergic to shellfish" -- Good question. Technically anything. If you want to die, lots of shrimp.

2. "the one that got away" -- ...is not thinking about you. Move on.

3. "silicone valley" -- yes, there really is a wondrous valley of fake breasts. Just beyond the land of "idiots who can't spell" (I'm, like, always there...).

4. "norweigan breasts" -- Sorry, no points. You didn't answer in the form of a question. This is part of the response to the Jeopardy "answer" "things Joseph K has never seen." It's true.

5. "colonel sanders eyeglass frame" -- sometimes, hipsters don't get that some uncool things are just uncool. Like them.

6. "what happened to super sugard crisp cereal" -- your momma did.

7. "latasha kickboxing porn" -- There still are untapped frontiers in the adult film industry.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Revealing A Little

The story of my life and fate. Done poorly, apparently. I think I'll pass on seeing it.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

How Low Can You Go?

I am not so sure if Kanye West was correct when he said "George Bush doesn't care about black people." But, one thing is certain, black people sure as hell don't care for Bush. In a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, Bush's job approval rating dropped to 2% among African Americans. Two percent. The margin of error in the poll was 3.4%. That means a negative number of African American approve of the job is doing. Unborn African Americans already disapprove of Bush.

What to do? Get pissed off? Complain? According to this report, many are coping by slathering themselves in K-Y oils and and making liberal use of K-Y lubes, all of which are apparently available at Wal-Mart (not a goddamn thing you can't buy there apparently). Well, if you are going to get screwed, might as well make it slippery.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Columbus Days

I spent the better -- or at least the middle -- part of last week in Columbus, Ohio. Notwithstanding its prominence in the last election, I always viewed the prospect of a trip to Ohio with an almost perfect apathy, a bland expression, an unfurrowed brow, an unstifled yawn.

It's not that exciting events don't happen in Ohio. I assume, though am not certain, that they do. And it's not that one would find oneself in Ohio without anything to do. Looking around the place, it was apparent that all-you-can-eat buffets are mighty popular in Columbus, Ohio. I'd say two out of three people heartily enjoy such pursuits on a regular basis. And certainly, this past week, there was something for me to do, like sit through interminable meetings, saying nothing, trying to stay awake, taking notes, almost perishing from nic-fits, barely listening to an insufferable blowhard rant and rave about some issue that no one will remember him for. But, at least there were a few moments of mild adventure.

1. For the fourth time this year alone, in only 5 roundtrip flights, the airline lost my luggage. Arriving at midnight, I had to face the fact that I would arrive at the next day's meeting wearing the same clothes and, well, underwear, that I'd pretty much exhausted the day before. And if the airline never found my bag? A prospect too horrible to imagine. I tried to minimize my movements during the next day's meeting, so that wafts of stench would not be set in motion and overpower those in the close conference room. I'm not sure I succeeded. Though I am getting closer to learning never to check my luggage ever again.

2. I met a federal "secret agent" while smoking outside the hotel, fuming about the incompetence of airlines, worrying about the stink of my clothes. He showed me his badge and gun, I showed him some amused interest, as he explained that he could not tell me what he was doing in Columbus, Ohio, or he would have to kill me. He was young and imbued with the power of Secrets of State. He told me, as we were going back inside the hotel, through doors reserved for the disabled, that he never entered a building through revolving doors, because they were "deathtraps." I speculated as to how many ways one could die, trapped inside revolving doors. I wondered how many people die every day in revolving door incidents. Stupidly, I used several sets of revolving doors throughout my stay in Ohio. I'm glad nothing happened to me, despite having taken such huge risks with my life.

3. I almost killed a cab driver, though not with a revolving door. It's the old story about the cab driver taking you the long way to your destination, not knowing you've already Mapquest'ed the route. He demanded a tip at the end of the journey. In my two-day-old clothes, still mad at the airlines, this was too much. So, I began screaming uncontrollably, hurling insults, cursing god. I don't think he was expecting this reaction, and though he tried to scream back, my obvious insanity overpowered him. I think I finally won something worthwhile.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

International Incident

I once came close to starting a war with Cuba. It was one of those things, you know, where people (Cuba!) overreact to shit. At the time I was representing the trade interests of the government of Trinidad and Tobago.

Wild and crazy night yesterday. My parents live not too far from me and are downsizing their home. As a result, I've been given piles and piles of my old crap to sort through and preserve or toss. And I was up until 1AM last night doing exactly that. Some of the stuff dates back to first grade. My handwriting then was better than it is now.

It was when going through that stuff that I came across materials from the model Organization of American States ("OAS") program I was involved with in high school. As I mentioned earlier, our school was represented Trinidad and Tobago; we often wondered who Mr. Fleishman pissed off at the model OAS program for us to be stuck with...what was it called again?

In any event, at the model OAS, my colleague O and I were tasked with addressing trade issues. There is a great imbalance in trade in this hemisphere. Without boring you all, for all the whining the U.S. does at the WTO about Airbus subsidies and Canadian steel, it shakes down and loansharks the poorer Caribbean and Latin American countries, dumping its products and making it difficult for those countries to export to the United States. Compunding the problem, these countries have to import a lot because they lack the natural resources (oil) or manufacturing infrastructure to supply their citizens. The unfortunate result are imbalances of trade and deficits in the Caribbean and Latin American, and they have been saddled with IMF (International Monetary Fund) loans to pay trade debts. Sorry, I said I wasn't going to bore you and...

So, my friend O and I proposed a trade program aimed at (1) encouraging American businesses to invest businesses and (2) even lowering some trade barriers in exchange for IMF loan forgiveness. O used a snack he had brought to illustrate the point. He made some incomprehensible speech about carrot sticks. We were both hoping the incredibly hot girl leading the U.S. delegation would appreciate our creativity and savoir-faire (we were both thought we looked suave in the finest off-the-rack suits our parents could buy).

The Cubas erupted in indignation, accusing us of selling out our country for loan forgiveness that should come as a matter of right. We said something like, "We don't see how you are any more justified than us seeing as you have been the Soviets' bitch for the last forty years." Things escalated from there. O threw a carrot stick at the Cubans. We said some choice things about Fidel. They claimed to not even know if Trinidad and Tobago was a real country. The hot girl from the U.S. delegation popped bubble gum.

Bolivia called for a vote on our plan. I was worried until the hot girl from the U.S. got up and made a stirring speech in support of our measure. "Its, um, like a good idea. I like it." We won with 80% of the vote.

As we filed out of the meeting room, one member of the Cuban delegation whispered in my ear, "Next time, you're mine, Trinidad."

I turned to him, "Are you fucking serious? This was a fucking model OAS. Who the fuck cares? You're not the trade ambassador from Cuba. Your name is Ernie and you go to St. Albans. It's over. Get a fucking life."

As I walked off, I noticed the hot girl from the U.S. had been nearby and was now looking at me. She giggled into her hand. I smiled, but never tried to talk to her because I was shy.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Makin' Babies

With the recent news that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are expecting a child, people may be wondering how or why this happened (I know I did). It is probably worth looking briefly at the various theories on how babies are sired.

1. "The Birds And The Bees" Theory: If birds and bees do it together, then sometimes nearby women get pregnant. And sometimes, pregnant bees or birds can can birth to bee-bird hybrids known as Albanians.

2. "The Stork" Theory: Under this theory, enterprising storks move beyond merely eating fish and hanging out on piers to delivering babies from unknown sources to childless couples. The couples are encouraged not to ask where the babies came from.

3. The "Kissing" Theory: Some puritanical types claim that kissing a boy or girl outside of marriage can lead to babies. I can state to a certainty that this theory is completely without merit. I don't kiss while stroking (ironically its because I believe in the "K.I.S.S." method, i.e., "keep it simple, stupid"...I do indeed find it difficult to pat my head and rub my belly at the same time). So someone explain the three little Ks.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Passed Over

I was more than a little steamed this morning when Harriet Miers was announced as the latest Supreme Court nominee. It should have been me. But, I was told by Andy Card that I was "over-qualified."

"What do you mean?" I asked him.

"You know, the degrees from good schools. The Phi Beta Kappa key --"

"But, I lost that. I don't --"

"Whatever. Listen, K, there are other factors. I mean you can read and write. You can spell. Frankly, I think you would have been bored in the position. Frankly, if Justice Kennedy could read, he probably would have clawed his eyes out of his head from boredom."

But, I'll never forget my interview with Bush. Actually, most of it was forgettable. Except this exchange.

"So, Kay-ee" that was his cute, clever nickname for me, "I hear your parents are immigrants."

"Yes, sir."

"So, they enjoy their taste of American freedom?"

"Oh, very much, sir. Well, they can do without the chalkiness on the backend. And my Dad thinks its a little bit salty, but he thinks everything is too salty. But, otherwise, they think their freedom tastes great."