Wednesday, March 29, 2006

I See Dead People

Four o'clock flight from Miami to D.C. I am walking down the aisle to my seat in the ass of the plane. Through first class. Hmm, that guy seems familiar. Abbe Lowell. A relatively famous D.C. lawyer. Who is the fat guy in a baseball cap sitting next to him? So familiar. Then, it hits me. It's Jack Abramhoff.

I'd known he was in Miami; I was there on business and a U.S. Marshall told me he was being sentenced today. He got six years. Not enough, but something. I was meeting with some folks near the court house, and it had been a zoo.

I have a history of confronting political celebs. I got into a weird staredown with Bob Dole once on the U.S. Airways shuttle from DC to NY (I'll admit he won; that motherfucker is even scarier and cadaverous in real person. I thought he was going to eat my brains.). Then there was the time I ignored Oliver North when he said hi to me on a plane. He was sitting right next to me. Fuck him. He even offered me his peanuts, and I looked at him like he had slightly mispronounced the word and was offering something else. I told Jerry Brown in 1992 that he'd lose the Democratic nomination because he refused to shake my hand.

My moment with Abramhoff was too fleeting for me to cause trouble. But, he wasn't my only brush with celebrity. This guy I know in Miami owns a boat, and he took a colleague and mine out for a cruise around the waterways around Miami last night. We ended up cruising Star Island. I saw the giant Shaquille O'Neal bobblehead on Shaq's pier. And learned that Gloria Estfan really, really likes huts. It was huts everywhere.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Sorry

So a few of us were at a bar last night, watching the NCAA basketball tournament. Specifically the Georgetown game. You grow up in DC, you love the Hoyas. That is just the way it is. And a Hoya is apparently a bulldog. Again, the way it is.

So, one of my friends refused to actually watch the game. "I can't watch the game," she said. "I put too much meaning into it. Its as if how Georgetown does is somehow a reflection of my fate."

Oh.

Final score: Florida 57, Georgetown 53.

As the final seconds wound down, I turned to her and said, "Sorry, God still hates you."

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Mind Games

When I went to school, learning was about...well, learning. Now, learning is about meeting testing standards. And, testing-based education has started to homogenize learning, creating a generation of ciphers who can meet some arbitrary, meaningless standards. Florida is even exploring the idea of tying teacher pay to test results.

Maybe it is a paranoid Thursday for me, but why do I feel like this is part of a larger conspiracy to control the minds of the young. Think about it, first, you have academic achievement tied to tests. Then, you lock teachers into focusing their efforts solely on test results. What becomes the most important thing in the whole process?

That's right: the test. Whoever controls the test controls the intellectual development of the youth. Normally, the cirriculum is controled by the local school board. But with the federal No Child Left Behind law and state laws, the control of the cirriculum is being taken from local school boards and is going into the hands of increasing conservative state and federal lawmakers. I wouldn't be surprised if "intelligent design" starts to creep into the testing.

Instead of learning to think, it won't be too long until kids are learning what to think.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Worst. Song. Ever.

So, I have spent a good chunk of my weekend loading my several hundred CD collection onto the Ipod. Some of my CD purchases are some real stinkers. But, one song took the cake for being the absolute worst song ever.

Vanity, with "Pretty Mess." Here is a link to the video which is a sexually suggestive disaster. Not sure if I'm right? Key lyric, "he made such a pretty mess on my dress." The song was recorded in 1984, 11 years before Monica Lewinsky flashed her thong and almost brought down the presidency with her loose lips.

This song drove Vanity to God; she is now a born-again Christian. It drove me to lock my knife drawer. And to punch a kitten, but I wasn't supposed to mention that.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Kids

Seems like almost every one of my friends is expecting a child or just had one. On Sunday, I went over to my friend N's house; he and his wife had just had a baby girl.

I thought I was just to come in, take a peek at the baby, spend an hour with N talking about what the Redskins will be doing in free agency this year, and then head home.

Apparently, my friends really don't love their child, because they immediately handed me the baby. I wasn't quite sure how to handle it without breaking it. Should I carry her around by gently biting the scruff of her neck like a cat? If I didn't hold her right, wouldn't her back break or something. And here were these maniacs handing her to me.

She was small. Cute little thing. Pretty mellow. She seemed comfortable. Maybe I was doing this right. Maybe she sensed my vibe and dug me. It wasn't so bad.

Then she farted. Think it was more than a fart, actually. Yeah, that was about right. Back to daddy.

On my way out, N suggested I give his daughter a kiss goodbye. Let me tell you something about me: I am not a terribly affectionate person. I shake my parents hands when I see them. And now he wanted me to give this little stranger a smooch on the forehead. I almost didn't know how to do it.

Recently, I was thinking I was ready to have a kid. Seeing the way she was already making N a better man, I think that's right.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Almost There, Part 2 ("Hate Mail")

What a beautiful day it was becoming yesterday. Started off the morning by playing a servicable round of golf. The weather had been perfect, 65 degrees, no wind. On the way home, rolled down all the windows, popped the moon roof and blasted James Brown's "Get On Up, Get Into It, Get Involved" over and over and over. When I walked through the door into my house, it smelled lemon fresh; the cleaning folks had been by. I almost expected Angelina Jolie to be there to hand me a martini and take me upstairs (or maybe Garcelle Beauvais, I'm not fussy). That is just the way things were going.

Then, I turned on my computer. I had an email from my friend who wrote the article in which I was featured last week. Many letters to the editor, apparently. Mostly great. But, the letter they published was a negative one. Mostly, it slammed my friend. But, I got singled out as well for some jokey non-PC comment about a lefty cause (while generally progressive, I don't embrace all the causes like this one). The letter writer was this shrill, sensitive person who felt I was demeaning "an important cause" for the sake of silliness. And I was wrong, wrong, wrong.

Was I demeaning the cause? Yes. Was I being silly? Absolutely. I am rarely not silly. Am I pissed? Not at all. It was hilarious. You are nobody until someone hates on you.

Maybe the day was continuing to get better.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Almost There

I've almost got my mojo back, a couple of things to clean up, and I'll be blogging more regularly. M. Fresh was in town yesterday, and I have to say the healing effect of too much wine and good conversation is powerful.

In any event, I have been plagued by strange, knowing looks for the past few days. People looking at me like they recognize me, but are not sure from where exactly. I don't have a familiar face.

No, its just that I took one of many small steps I have been taking towards fame. Deep down, I think I'm an attention whore. Which explains the anonymous blog read by about 15 people a day.

The step? I was featured in the local paper in a story this past week. Well, one of several people featured in it, a human interest story. But clearly the best and certainly the most witty. Since I have always jealously guarded my true identity, I can't say too much more about it.

The weird thing has been dealing with it in the office. The jokes of the jealous are many and telling. Guess who won't be getting tickets to the Nobel Prize ceromony in, say, 2016. For what? I don't know, bridging the divide between Generation X and Y? It doesn't matter really. It's mine.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Saab Story

Been away from the blog for too long. Mostly out of laziness, combined with busy-ness, with some sex, international travel and rock n' roll folded in for good measure. Good things, little bad, but next week, I'm happy to say, I'm going to visit Joseph K and try to cheer him up a bit.

Someone in a large, red F150 truck killed my car a few weeks ago, so I've been riding a scooter in the dead of winter. Taking the bus when it's too horrible to contemplate zipping around in near-zero temperatures, but otherwise showing up to work looking like a blue Michelin man, though with long, brown hair and a very runny nose.

So, there I was, shivering at a stop light, getting ready to ride and freeze from a position of sitting and freezing. A woman in a white Saab was in the lane next to me, basking in her heated leather interior, talking on a cell phone. The light turned green, and I pulled ahead of her. Suddenly, she hit the gas and zoomed past me...only to be stopped at the next stop light about 100 yards off. I pulled up next to her and looked at her quizzically. She looked back at me. The light turned green, I sped ahead, she hit the gas and beat me to the next light. This went on for the next four lights.

What possessed her to race a frozen girl on a scooter -- top speed 35 mph -- in a Saab -- top speed 150-200 mph? What could she possibly have wanted to prove? "Yes," I yearned to cry through chattering teeth, as if she could hear me over her cell phone and surround-sound stereo system. "Yes. You win! Congratulations! You will always win if you're racing against a scooter. You're in a Saab, bitch!"

At the next light, she revved her engine and looked over at me, smiling in some vaguely malicious way, issuing her challenge. I smiled back and hatched my plan. Because my scooter is considered a "motorized bicycle" and no cops were around, I drove it onto the sidewalk, crossed the intersection via the crosswalk, and was on my way, leaving her in my wintery dust.

Scooter 1, Saab 0.