Saturday, June 24, 2006

Surviving A Mugging

Three Japanese aerobics instructors give us some tips on surviving a mugging:

Not Memorable Memorables

I was talking on the phone the other day with this guy with whom I have an infrequent work relationship.

Other Guy: Yeah, so I don't know if you knew or not, but I have left Texas. My wife and I moved the family to Charlottesville.
Joseph K: Sounds good.
OG: And we owe it to you.
JK: What?
OG: Yeah, after that time you and I spoke about Charlottesville, you convinced me it was a great place to raise our kids. And so far, so fantastic!
JK: Oh.
OG: Fantastic!
JK: I heard you the first time.

I didn't even remember the conversation he was referencing. I talk to this guy maybe once a year.

But this was not the first time this has happened. When I was in high school, we were at beach week, and I got drunk on some cheap swill. I got into a conversation with a friend about his girlfriend. I don't remember what I said, but the next afternoon, he came up to me and said, "I did what you said. And, I think in the long term, you are going to be right. She's definitely not the one."

I had no idea what he was talking about. I couldn't recall the conversation at all. I thought they were a perfect couple.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Univision's World Cup Coverage

There are many obvious reasons to choose Univision's World Cup coverage over ABC/ESPN's coverage. ABC/ESPN's announcers are terrible, offering insipid, useless insights. ABC/ESPN clouds the screen with useless graphics (did I need to know that England has had possession 67% of the time? What does that add?). And, for some reason ESPN2 comes through a bit fuzzy on my TV.

Univision, on the other hand, offers more energy and insight. Of course, I don't speak but maybe 10 words of Spanish so I don't understand any of it. But what I don't understand on Univision seems more profound than what I can understand on ABC/ESPN. "GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL!" I get that.

But, leaving aside the game coverage, I just discovered Univision's pre-game show. And, it crushes ABC/ESPN again. On ABC/ESPN, you'll have Eric Wynalda or Judy Foudy repeating trite, obvious talking points. Dull. For Christ's sake, they have Brent Musbeger hosting the Czech-Ghana pregame show on ABC right now, and a featured studio analyst is some salty, incomprehensible former NASL player. He just grumbled to Alexei Lalas that he should watch more Italy games. What is his problem? (update: I was watching them argue about the US team after I posted this, and Eric Wynalda just challenged the salty guy to a fistfight after the show is over. And, he was not kidding. Musberger has lost control of the set.)

On Univision, it's a party. There is a band playing jazz music. The studio is filled with half-dressed women dancing to the beat. There are some knuckleheaded dudes thrown in as well, but they are given zero air time. The show is hosted by three attractive, busty women and this dude who doesn't say much. Two of the women are dressed in matching tight USA shits and blue hot pants. They're also wearing white go-go boots. The other woman is dressed in this top with a plunging neckline and a skirt that is about as short as you can get before having the FCC come after you. And, they are not just eye candy. The two women in matching outfits just gave some complex analysis of the Czech-Ghana game. I think. I recognized the word "Ghana." I am watching it now, and the band is playing "Good Times."

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Job Approval

George Bush's job approval rating is at anywhere from 33% to 38%. I think the closest I ever got to that level of job approval is when I worked at a copy store when I was in college. My boss found it incredulous that I once ordered a bunch of 83 pound stock paper when he clearly asked for 84 pound stock.

"How could you be so stupid? Raffy never makes a mistake like that," He exclaimed.

He made it pretty clear that my approval rating had slipped below at least 50%. Raffy was an old, friendly Filipino guy with special needs. His approval rating was always higher than mine. He was a master collater.

"I'm a Dean's list student, Mr. Agwal. I'm not stupid."

"I don't care what list you are on at your school. How could you botch an order for 84 pound stage ivory white?"


"Because what?"

"Because maybe my life's aspiration is not to manage a shitty copy shop."

"You know that's it -- "

"It is it. Just draw up my last check and cut it." I was standing in his face, looking down at him (I had three inches on him.)

He wrote the check and shoved it at me.

My job approval rating was definitely down at 30% or so. Four of us worked there. Mr. and Mrs. Agwal, Raffy and me. I am pretty sure Raffy approved of the job I was doing. My approval for the work I was doing was lukewarm at best. I kind of did suck at copying shit.

But, Mr. Agwal had some recourse. We don't.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

I'll Have What She's Having

One of my boys got married today. It was an early wedding; the reception was pretty much over by 7:30. It was such a beautiful day, so, Sister K and Future-Brother-In-Law K (FBLIK) to grab a post-reception drink at this place in Dupont that has an outdoor deck.

Unfortunately, there were no outside seats, but we got a table near the patio, close enough we could feel the breeze. I ordered a beer, and Sister K and FBLIK got dirty martinis. We settled back in our seats and took in the scene.

Here is something I didn't know: there is a gay pride celebration in DC this weekend. Cool. Here is something else I didn't know: the place we were at was a recommended hang out spot for lesbians during pride weekend.

"Hey, FBLIK, I, uh, think we might be the only straight dudes in here," I said after taking in the scene.

"Really?" FBLIK is a good guy, but can sometimes be oblivious. There were only six men in the bar, and I'd bet a lot of bread I was right. Especially since two were stroking each other's thighs.

Here is something else: these were some really attractive lesbians. Seriously, I thought I'd dropped into a Penthouse letter, except they absolutely had no use for me.

"The L word is one of my favorite shows," Sister K said. FBLIK looked slightly uncomfortable. "It's like I am in an interactive episode."

"Yeah," I said, taking a long draw off of my Red Stripe. "Yeah."

Wait, maybe there was one other straight guy there. There was this 50-year-old brother who was yakking it up with these two cuties. They were laughing at his jokes, but fondling each other. He stroked one girl on her back, and she didn't seem to mind. Like a fly they weren't bothering to brush off.

"Oh, yeah, I guess you are right," FBLIK said.

"What?" I asked.

"About us being the only straight guys." FBLIK said this about 15 minutes after my first observation.

"Well, it's really these ladies' night. Let's just finish our drinks and free up the table," I said.

Grunts of agreement. We drank.

Then, a bunch of the women at the bar got up and started dancing. I have seen dirty dancing before. But, I've never seen anything like this. It was...graphic. Very graphic.

"You guys need anything else?" The waitress asked.

"I think we're -- " FBLIK started.

"One more round," I interrupted. More dancers were doing their thing.

"Another beer?" she asked.

"Oh, no. Time to upgrade. Vodka martini. Belvedere. Straight up with a twist."

"It was a nice wedding," Sister K noted.

"Beautiful," I said as I guzzled my martini and became a pig with little resistance. "Fucking beautiful."

Monday, June 05, 2006

Not In Defense Of Marriage

Iraq is burning. An energy crisis is looming. Healthcare costs remain untenable. The country's fiscal policy is so counterintuitive (and severely flawed), it is almost amusing. Almost. So, today Bush decided to tackle these problems by pushing for a constitutional ban on gay marriage.

Here is my view on gay marriage: I am against it. That is because I am against all state-sanctioned "marriage." Our country supposedly separates church and state, but religious figures are empowered to create an institution with significant social consequences. Everyone, gay, straight, whatever, should enter into civil unions if it makes sense to them.

Everything became screwed up when a socio-religious institution (marriage) was melded into the state. We took a religious instatution and transformed it into a social contract. Yet, your socio-religious bent determines who you think should be "married." (Or, in my case, some terrible lapses in judgment). Consequently, who should be married and to whom is a relative notion. And hence the red herring-laden "debate" about the "defense of marriage."

Objectively speaking, why does the state need to recognize "marriage?" To determine certain property rights? To empower a partner to make health decisions for another partner? What else? Really. It is of minimal objective value.

The other rights married people have been created by the state to sanction relationships. Tax reasons? Why is that, in the abstract, necessary or fair? Frankly, I don't know why we give tax breaks to people who have kids. Why should my portion of the national tax burden be determined by a choice to have x number of kids? Do I really need to be married to purchase property with a spouse? Why does some woman need my last name? To raise kids? Please. How many male-female households do you know that are NOT fucked up? Help me here.

There really is no reason for even civil unions except to facilitate certain limited social transactions (see above). Otherwise, the state doesn't need to be involved with relationships. If you want to get married, go to your church or synagogue or mosque and have at it. But, it should have no more social significance as, say, a baptism. No reason for that institution to have a direct nexus with any state apparatus. No reason for it to have any social meaning or impact on my life.