Monday, January 30, 2006

Healthy Choices

I read this article in today's Washington Post about various legal proposals that would allow doctors, nurses and pharmacists the right to refuse treatment (abortions, birth control, stem cell research, euthansia) that causes the moral consternation.

It took me half a second not to have a problem with this. While I guess I could be considered socially liberal, I am also principled. I am a relativist. My socially liberal view is rooted in libertarianism. I think people are morally empowered to make their own choices however wrong I might think they are. It can sometimes lead to odd results (like being pro-choice, but anti-abortion).

If I am a relativist, then who am I to get into the choices physicians, nurses and pharmacists make in how they will treat people. Physicians make treatment choices all the time based on corporate pressures and economic pressures. If we substitute moral for economic concerns, how much worse are we as a society? It is a value judgment that makes one thing acceptable and another not acceptable. Value judgments are the least, well, valuable judgments we can make.

In any event, the whole medical world should be opened up to choices. Too often, doctors self-righteously and arrogantly prescribe plans of treatment that are borne out of their arrogance, not a dialogue with patients. Just as physicians might want to be empowered to treat on moral grounds, so too should patients have a say in their treatment by eliminating the information disequilibrium between them and doctors.

If medicine should be a moral dialogue, shouldn't the patient getting drug company A's drug know that drug company A paid for their doctor's golf trip last spring? Or that the same doctor won't prescribe the morning after pill, but is shtumping drug company A's local rep? I am just saying...

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Evolutionary Value of Sluts

I was reading this Slate magazine science and technology column and came across a piece about large testes. In species where females have many mates, the males testes tend to be larger. The reason being that if you want your sperm to beat out the other guys' sperm, you need more of it, ergo the evolutionary need for big nuts.

An interesting note: The article mentions that chimps have much bigger balls than gorillas for the evolutionary reason noted above. That fascinated me (Gorillas tend to be significantly bigger). Not only are chimps many times stronger than humans, but they probably have bigger balls (at least when compared on scale). Throw a cape on those fuckers, they are superheros, man.

Friday, January 20, 2006

"I Hate To Break It To You, But God Is A Man And He's White"

Wendy screamed that into my face two nights ago. I didn't know who she was. Just a minute before, she had stumbled up to our table and asked if she could use our matches. We said yes. We ignored her, and turned back to a discussion of the nexus between religion and political ideology.

"You talking about God?" she asked.

"Yes," I said. "What he -- or she -- may mean to -- "

"I hate to break it to you, but God is a man and he is white!"

I turned towards my two friends, and we all just busted out laughing. We were a bit white, Jewish, colored and amused.

Wendy then decided she liked me first. She pawed at me, like a mother bear cuddling her cubs. Except substitute hands and breasts for paws.

I realize that I'm losing my mojo. I used to be able to flirt and handle flirtatious overtures. Nowadays, I feel helpless in such circumstances. I was later told that I had the pained, vacant look of a war refugee everytime she bore into me. Sounds right.

"What are your politics?" she finally asked us. Libertarian, Communist. "I love communists! You are Greek aren't you," she said to the Jewish guy in the group. He wasn't Greek or a Communist. "I was in Greece last year. Hooked up with a lot of Greeks. But, they were gross. They were all uncircumcised."

Was she in for some suprise with this "Greek."

"What about you, hon," she said pawing at me.

"Um, kind of a Clinton Democrat."

"Yahoo! Serious. I would have been Monica Lewinsky in a second. Cum-stained dress and all. I would have framed the shit."

"Because he's God, right?" I asked.

"I need another fucking beer." She was proving something I thought impossible. That someone could get drunk off Michelob Ultra. Probably took her 48 to get there, but here she was.

We took to calling the Jewish friend Dukakis. Wendy decided she wanted Dukakis in a way the rest of this nation ever did. She cornered him and made her move.

The other dude and me watched it from a distance. He turned to me and said, "You know, right before she came up to us, she was sitting with a table of guys. When she came to our table for the matches, they said, 'Now's our chance and ran out.' Literally ran out."

I turned to him and said, "Now's our chance."

"What about 'Dukakis?'"

I shrugged. "She said she's a VP at Planned Parenthood. Here to hand out condoms and her dignity apparently. Probably no new Dukakises tonight. "

We laughed, and then we waited for him.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Blogging The Game

I am an enormous football fan. The kind that can describe the Cover 2 defense and knows what the "Mike" linebacker is. And, I am an even bigger Redskins fan. I have felt a bit conflicted about calling the team the "Redskins." One of my best friends is part Native American. I asked him whether it was an offensive term. He basically responded, "Who gives a fuck." Good enough for me. Go Skins!

My beloved Skins are in the NFC Divisional playoffs today. Massive underdogs to the Seattle Seahawks. I am fired up for the game, but it is hard to hate Seattle with the some hatred I have for, say, Dallas or New York. They're too damn polite to hate. They are also tragically inept in the playoffs, so you knid of feel for them. They are the Pagliacci's Clown of the NFL.

The fellas are coming over for the game. Former Banality Fair alum, Cotton Mather. He gets even more emotional about the Skins than me. So much so, that he has to put his dog in the basement during game days; the dog thinks Cotton's yelling at him and gets depressed.

Also joining us is my historian friend M, and my economist friend N. They'll be referred to hereafter as "the Historian" and "the Economist." I guess that would make me "the Chippendale." Or "the Messiah." Who am I kidding, "the Common Occupationist."

So, I'll be blogging the game....

3:07: Local Redskins pre-game show. Fox local news stooge Dave Feldman interviews a Seahawk cheerleader who shows a stronger command of the game and matchup that Feldman. Hardly suprising. A beaver has better command of game analysis than Feldman.

3:33: Fox pre-game show. Bad jokes about Jimmy Johnson's hair. Seriosuly, that is what they lead the damn show off with. Now, those are entertainers. Never letting football get in the way of good schtick. This is the reason I don't watch pre-game shows normally. But, I am so fired up for the game, here I am.

3:40: They are making jokes about the gap between Michael Strahan's front teeth. Enough. I turn the channel over to "Dallas Cowboys Heerleaders: Making The Team."

4:30: Game time. The announcing team is disappointing. Mostly because if features fat, neckless Tony Siragusa who insists on doing bits about eating sausages and how fat he is rather than providing information. Ugh.

7:40: Seattle 20, Washington 10. We suck.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Conflicted

I dunno how I fell about this Alito..."thing." I think he may be a problem for those who support a woman's right to choose or those who challenege an imperial assertion of executive power. That said, one wonders if there should be some deference...no matter how stinky...to the president's discretionary power to apppoint whomever he might desire. So long as they are qualified. Does the victor have a mandate to reshape things? Its easier to care about competitive eaters than this kind of meaningful shit, I swear...Then, there is the geek-not-so-chic think he's got going on. Hard for me not to relate...

Sunday, January 08, 2006

The Metrosexualization Of Joseph K

I am a "regular dude" sort of man. Not the beer commercial type of "regular dude," although I like twins wrestling around in mud in support of Coors Light as much as the next guy. I've played sports and broken things. I've scrapped in my day. If my female friends heard my conversations with the fellas, they'd probably vomit. God, I guess I am kind of a pig.

When it comes to clothes and hygiene, like most regular dudes I keep it simple. At work, I wear suits, shirts, ties, etc. At home, I wear pretty much the same pair of jeans, and about three shirts and two sweaters. I like them, and they are enough.

T finds my sartorial simplicity vulgar. And so, she's tried to revamp my image. Revamp is probably the wrong word. I have no image. I'm a ghost in a mirror.

She got me a gray argyle sweater. The kind of thing worn by the smiley knuckleheads in Old Navy ads, although the sweater came via Banana Republic. I've never worn anything argyle in my life. I told her it was nice and promptly put it in the back of my closet. Check. She then took all my others sweaters to the dry cleaner. Check mate.

So, I was forced to wear the sweater she got me the other day. I was meeting a couple of friends for lunch. The girlfriend of one of my friends was joining us.

When, we met, that girlfriend was wearing the exact same sweater as me. When I was asked by my lunch compatriots why I kept my coat on and buttoned as we ate, I was like, "You mean you don't feel that draft?"

It's not just clothes. This friend of ours got me body wash and hand cream from Crabtree & Evelyn for Christmas. Hand cream. I use soap and shampoo. I am not exactly sure what he thinks I am supposed to do with the hand cream. Put it on my hands? Why exactly would I do that? I am pretty sure he is not nearly as confused by the Barnes & Noble gift card we got him.

The body wash smells really perfumey too. I like my soap unscented or smelling "Fresh." So, normally, it too would go in a drawer somewhere. But, I ran out of soap a couple of days ago. A couple more things to know about me: I can be cheap and lazy.

Which is why I've smelled kind of like a geisha since Wednesday.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Proportionality - and Happy New Year

Well, old M. Fresh sat down over the weekend and tried to come up with some New Year's resolutions. Given that the brain was addled by a steady application of champagne and Greyhound cocktails (great and wonderful amounts of vitamin C for those who want to mellow out and thwart a nasty virus at the same time), and horrified by Dick Clark's "comeback" -- god, get that man to a hospital -- I wasn't expecting any revelations that might save the world in some way. And why save myself, I asked myself? No. No quitting smoking. No "I will become a Goddess of Exercise" shenanigans. No no no.

This year, I will try to achieve proportionality with my neighbors in the condo complex next door.

In attempting to achieve this goal, I have promised myself that I will spy on my neighbors with greater frequency. In my neighborhood, there's a particular menace whom we'll call P. He's not a bad guy, but he does tend to enter your yard to inspect your lawn in the summer (wearing a badge, no less) to ensure that you are in compliance with watering restrictions. He sifts through your trash, because you have not thrown it in the dumpster properly, probably gleaning information about you that might cause you to invest in a shredder. If you break P's rules, you can expect a city inspector to show up at your door and leave a citation for a hefty fine. P. is like this, because he doesn't have anything to do, and lost his wife a few years ago. I feel bad for him. But I don't feel bad for P. when I spot him, in his window, staring out across the parking lot between us, with binoculars, while I am changing out of my work clothes every day. P. is giving me the creeps. Drapes are not enough. P. must be made to feel what it is like to be under 24-hour surveillance.

Other neighbors have walked by my house and, seeing me smoking outside, have commented on something that occurred in my fenced-in backyard. The Condo People can see into my yard from their balconies, and they let me know about it. Like when I set up a grow light in a back room of my house. To grow herbs (of the cooking variety) in the winter time.
Neighbor: Hey, whatcha growin?
Me: Huh?
Neighbor: Saw your grow light, dude.
Me: Um...I'm growing herbs.
Neighbor: Right on, dude!
Me: HerbZ, with an "s." Like coriander.
Neighbor: Sure, dude! Later!
These people must be informed that they, too, are being watched. This is going to require me to purchase a high-powered telescope. I am not afraid.

The other thing I'm going to do in order to achieve proportionality is to pee on the condo complex next door, as well as its nice fluffy lawn. Several Condo People have dogs. And when those dogs take a walk, the Condo People see no problem in letting their dogs pee and shit on my house and lawn, as long as I'm not out there smoking and keeping an eye on them. I can't smoke enough to do so. I've even been inside, and seen them surreptitiously let the dogs do their business, and then slink away, like they're getting away with something. It's gross, yes, but I will say it: gardening, sinking your hands into the soil and then [surprise!] smushing into some surreptitious dog shit is not a pleasant experience.

I don't have a dog, or I would set it loose on the condo complex and its residents and pets. However, I am able to pee. Prodigiously. Proportionality would dictate that I pee on them, at the same rate and volume that they pee on me. I figure I can achieve proportionality with pee alone, as long as I eat some asparagus beforehand.

2006 is going to be a great year.