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Category Archives: politics

I found out about today’s slaughter when we were eating lunch in the office.

The tone immediately went from, “Can you believe we got a free, delicious meal? We should totally eat there forever” to “Those kids that survived will never be the same.” “Where were you when 9/11 happened?” “Remember Columbine?” “It’s teachers and kids; those kids will never feel safe in school again.” “Who thinks it’s okay to kill kids?”

Just months earlier, there’d been a similar tragedy in a theater involving a machine gun and a man without the right thought process. And the tweets, Facebook posts, news updates, revealing pictures on Tumblr, and sad feelings started outpouring.

But nothing changed.

All we got was another guy with a machine gun and more bullshit social media. We had town hall questions central to the presidential election. We had whole communities lose a generation. And we got some fucking tweets.

So I thought I was going to be prepared for that. Maybe I’d be up to learning more details. Maybe I’d be ready to learn just how many people died this time. But as I tried to go about my day as if nothing had happened–I don’t deal with senseless murder well and tend to try to distract myself with happier things–I still found the Facebook posts and tweets seeping through those attempts. So I started reading some of it. I found myself willing to rally behind a lot of the “Fuck the NRA” ideas or “When kids die, that should be enough–at the very least–to ban automatic weapons” concepts, but when the more “heartfelt” comments started creeping in was when I lost my mind.

It was the all-caps-lock-outrage posts about the kids dying. It was the idea that you have to hug your family now. Now you have to hug your family–because family’s never been important before. But the posts that pissed me off most were the posts about people’s hearts going out to Connecticut.

What is your heart, a boomerang? My god, you’re a real hero here. You sent your heart and your prayers to Connecticut? And it came back? That’s really far, I bet the postage was expensive. You’ve sacrificed a lot with your heart donation.

So I tweeted the only thing I’ve said about it all day on any social platform (besides what I’m typing): “I’m not reading any of your gun-related social media posts and breaking news updates until you call your Senator or your Rep.” Because nothing else solves this. Everyone is sad about it, but digging deeper into the details of who this man was (is?) or how he came to the decision to bring a gun into a school doesn’t fucking solve anything. No one cares if you’re sad about it, because we’re sad about it, too. You’re not the first person to have emotions, just the first person to tell us all about it.

And that’s when I totally checked out of social media (as well as television and news sites) for the day. I already know what happened. Here’s your archetype: Lonely person feels lonely. Without using the proper psychiatric jargon, a screw got too loose and made that person feel like their potential had gone unrecognized. That person came to the conclusion that people will notice them when they achieve revenge on _____ group of people or ensure humanity understands their greatness by killing _____ group of people and living to tell the tale.

I don’t want to know. There are too many absolutely beautiful things and people in this world for me to focus on someone who needed help, slipped through the cracks, and did something absolutely abhorrent. To get back to one of the lunch questions, this is a human who missed out on the counseling that would have helped them understand society’s rules–specifically, the rule that we don’t kill (or touch) kids. There were signs, but something went wrong and this person was set free in a society that did not subscribe to the same rules they did.

But more importantly, it’s your job as a member of that very society to understand that what we’re doing right now is missing the main two issues: mental health and gun reform. Fucking Christ, what animal needs to be hunted with an automatic machine gun besides the most dangerous game. Yes, I’m saying we can have automatic guns in the military for freedom or whatever, but what zombie horde (OF CHILDREN) are you fighting off that you need a machine gun? But even before that, let’s talk about basic healthcare. I’m not entirely sure we need to have a mental screening before gun purchase so much as we need a healthcare system that can carry the load of a mentally unwell person desperately in need of help.

Maybe you’ve had the flu. Maybe you’ve had, I don’t know, blood poisoning or ringworms or something. Try this on for size instead: the entire chemistry in your fucking brain is off. There’s no “Hey, guy, check out this quick-fix penicillin. Boom, polio over” or what have you. What you have is a history of, shit, to quote an excellent movie and its title, violence. Sometimes violent people do violent things. But there are people who can help those very people or come very close.

And until either you or those specially trained people are helping them, shut the fuck up about how you much you care. Seriously, put up or shut up. Yep–in this case, specifically–either drive to Connecticut to help grieving parents get to and from funerals, hearings, ceremonial events or fucking call someone in Congress. Your social moment did nothing. I literally could not give two more shits about how angry you are because I’m just as angry. Don’t share another goddamn link about who this murderer was or where things went wrong because we have all already heard the story. The glorification just escalates the next one.

At the most basic level of American politics, maybe your congressperson of choice is firmly for or against reform. But there’s a tide here. Your call lets them know they’re in the right or wrong–they can either change sides or bolster the thousands. Unless you’re protesting with signs, email campaigns, letter writing, pitching in in CT, etc., those people making the laws don’t know what’s happening or they’re being paid too much to ignore the repetitive news coverage–and those are the people making changes, not the twenty-second literacy test where Facebook asks you “What’s on your mind?”

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Despite being spread out across England, Spain, and two states in America, my family and I managed to meet in the Oslo airport on Saturday about a month ago. Once everyone was gathered, though, we were immediately lost. I’m usually the navigator, but I wasn’t really feeling cognizant since Norway is six hours ahead of NYC (I effectively pulled an all nighter by not catching any sleep on the plane).

But it turned out fine. We pulled into the town that we share our surname with around 6 pm or so. Yet, it’s hard to call where we stayed a town so much as a set of three farms on a fjord. As far as we could tell, it’s not even really part of the two towns that bookended the fjord. It seems like all that matters is the name of your county and they’ll figure out how to get there from that. No one ever really explained that.

Our hosts were a man name Lars and his wife, Gurid  (pronounced goo-rid). I actually asked my dad a couple times during the trip how to say her name out loud (when she wasn’t around) and he mostly ended with something kind of like “girding.” They explained how theirs is the only one of the three still in operation, though all three had been in operation (and profitable) up until the mid-nineties or so. They also mentioned that it’d be hard to find any cops unless you’re in the city, but every inch of Norway is covered by helicopter for medical emergencies.

They seemed absolutely delighted by this, and when we had a late-evening tea with them the night before I had to depart, the shared the same pride in their healthcare system. Lars mentioned how his son had been sick as a child and Norwegian doctors couldn’t figure out what the problem was. They were told to see specialists in either Sweden or England. They chose England, where their son was cured, and didn’t pay a cent. Their taxes are extremely high, but they’re more than willing to pay knowing full well that it’s saved their son and will save someone else. Pretty great.

As long as we’re talking politics, they were a little shocked by the Tea Party. We all expressed our mutual confusion since you can’t elect people into the government who don’t want government. Why would you want to get rid of “Obamacare” but want more Medicaid? But I mentioned that sometimes generations are remembered for the loudest groups, even though they’re the smallest. The stereotype is that everyone in the sixties was a hippie. Everyone in the seventies loved disco. But talk to people who lived through it, and it’s just another one of many, many things that happened, but not everyone signed on.

So maybe we assuaged their fears that America is gorging itself on hot dogs, praying in schools all day, and playing baseball in meth labs or something. Which brings up another shocking point: Norwegian food has been shockingly Americanized. We had an incredibly difficult time finding a restaurant with a menu replete with Norwegian specialties. Sure, some places had salmon plates or elk burgers, but everything else was pizza and hamburgers. I mean, right across the street from Oslo City Hall had tourist places, pubs (pub food), fancy restaurants (Italian, Indian, and Chinese), and a 7-Eleven with bacon-wrapped hot dogs for 20 Kronor.

Which is pretty much the cheapest thing I saw the entire time. There might’ve been a candy bar that topped out at 15 Kronor, but I probably didn’t see anything under 30 Kronor until my fourth day there–that’s $5. For something like gum or soda. Apparently, minimum wage is $20/hour there, so that kind of makes a little more sense, but it still felt like gut punches every time a bill came.

In fact, we bought two Oslo City Passes thinking we’d save money and have guaranteed parking. It turned out that parking was only in certain areas and we couldn’t find any of the areas, despite asking twice and being given a map. Also, there don’t seem to be any parking spaces available in downtown Oslo unless they’re inside parking garages. Which are also roughly $90 per day; more expensive than New York City parking and O-Town’s probably half the size. But the passes proved a wise investment in the long run. On the first day we rode the museum ferry for free and visited three museums. The next day was a marathon with four museum visits on their Culture Night, when some museums are open as late as midnight. The passes even covered our ride to and from Lars’ driveway outside Oslo (where he let us park our car) that day.

Kind of an amazing feat, considering how most cultural highlights seem to shut down by six. Malls and eateries seem to stay open until about ten, but forget Sunday. When we mentioned that even the beggars weren’t on the streets on Sunday, Lars joked, “Even beggars need rest!”

Don’t get me wrong, Lars has clearly done well for himself, what with his house in Oslo and farm out in the countryside, but this reminds me of a story of Norwegian work ethic my dad told me. The entire Oslo office in his company seems to lose its staff about every three years because they all quit. Now, they have an American manager who will sometimes ask for extra effort or for people to stay late. Something like, maybe an extra hour the night before a huge pitch to ensure nothing goes wrong the day of. People say no to him all the time. Everyone’s in at 9:30, takes an hour-long lunch break, and is out at 4:30 on the dot. They have supposedly incredibly powerful laws that say that’s exactly what they’re entitled to for a full-time salary. I think it’s probably because I worked in retail where staying late meant more pay and that projects weren’t always finished unless I stayed late, but I still stay late pretty regularly in spite of my salary. I just have work to do, so I stay until it’s done. My dad said the same thing about his job and it’s obviously the same case with the American manager. My only conclusion is that even if minimum wage takes care of everyone, Americans have to work their asses off to earn their salary. Or that’s just what I tell myself to keep pretending we can be the greatest country in the world forever. If that’s still our thing.

But speaking of country, I should detail this place a little for you. Oslo’s the biggest city in Norway. Something like 5 million people or so live and work there six days a week and then don’t leave their house on Sunday. Maybe for church. Drive for an hour and you’ve been in the countryside for 45 minutes. Depending upon your direction, you’ll also be at the place where we stayed. On the other hand, drive for an hour from downtown Houston and you’ll be in the suburbs. Take a train from Grand Central for an hour (not including the time it takes to get to Grand Central) and maybe you’ll be somewhere just outside of Brooklyn or in the Suburbs. Jesus, drive from the Financial District to Central Park, and depending upon your route, you might not make it in an hour. At any rate, it’s three farms, two of which have only a barn and a house. The main one had a barn, a main house, and two guest houses. We stayed in one of the guest houses and met the family who rents the other guest house. Everyone said people had been living in the area since the 1100s (Viking time), but the barn’s foundation was the oldest at somewhere around early 1800. All of the houses have windows facing the fjord, and walking down to it is maybe a five-minute walk. We took a rowboat out to fish in it, but didn’t catch anything. People we talked to also sadly mentioned that Utoya Island, of the 2011 slaughter by some deranged asshole, is almost directly across the fjord. We spent most breakfast time not facing that window.

We spent most of our time in the area looking for family members’ graves. We were a little shocked to discover that the government removes tombstones after 60 years. Sure, maybe everyone’s stopped mourning, and the families and churches have maintained records…but no one told us what happens to the bodies. We told Lars and Gurid that some cemeteries in America are as old as America. They also didn’t tell us why the government didn’t just clear more land and bury bodies there. Seriously, the only thing bordering the two churches we visited were lots and lots of trees. One was kind of close to a ski jump, so maybe they’re trying to prevent zombie-related jumping deaths. Nope, that can’t be it.

Speaking of which, Norway really seems to love the great outdoors. I can only imagine that’s one of the reasons the labor laws are so protective. You can legally walk through any forest you like, but are banned from passing through fields (probably to keep people from stealing crops, ruining crops, being mistaken for deer and shot). Skiing is huge and, from what I could gather, ski jumping seems to have been perfected there. But that confuses me quite a bit. My mom asked me if I thought people were more overweight there than in New York and I wasn’t sure. I honestly feel like the ratio of obese people to skinny people was pretty much the same, and probably because everyone there seems to eat nothing but the aforementioned burgers and pizza.

Mom also asked me another question that really stood out for me. After visiting my sister while she studied in Copenhagen, I’d come to assume that Norwegians were just as Amazonian and ridiculously attractive. Yet when my mom asked me if Norwegian women were attractive, I told her they were probably about average, though when those stereotypically Scandinavian women with blonde hair did show their face, it was stunning. A rare occasion, though.

All told, as many expectations were met as broken, though. Everyone we talked to was nice, helpful, and probably as excited by Vikings as we are. Our hosts even went out of their way to look up some of our family history for us, which might not have helped too much considering how there’s a very good chance that some of the people living on the farms ended up just taking the name of the farm. But even if we didn’t get all the things we were looking for, we still had too much fun. Dad said on the first day, “We can do whatever you want; it’s vacation.” So for my sister that mostly meant having at least one ice cream per day, despite temperatures of roughly 60 and below. All told, it was an eye-opening trip full of incredible highlights, and it’s always a joy to be around my family when we do amazing things like that.

Itinerary Summary, in brief:

  • Saturday: Landings, waiting, long drive out to the countryside because of untranslatable Google Maps directions to actual signs, long talk while settling in (when I should have napped), expensive dinner (mom got an elk burger!)
  • Sunday: Slept in pretty late, guided tour of one of the other houses on the farm before the renters went back to Oslo, drive down to the largest ski jump in the world, drive in to Oslo, walk on the top of opera, walk to and around fort, heartbreaking realization that nearly everything is closed on Sunday, settling for dinner at a (delicious) pizza place called Mamma Rosa’s
  • Monday: Country drive searching for family gravestones including a Viking ruin, drive up the hill behind the farms to fossil town
  • Tuesday: Cobalt processing plant, Hedeland Glass Factory vist (which was mostly closing for the day, but still neat), picked up and read about 90% of The Hunger Games
  • Wednesday: Finished The Hunger Games and sister started it, train into Oslo after parking in Lars’ driveway, City Hall tour (absolutely incredible; home of the Nobel Prize ceremony), Resistance Museum, coffee and brownie at Akers Brygge (the mall), walk into town, rain, bookstore, terrible search for a dinner place until we found an American-style pub called Gatsby’s
  • Thursday: Terrible parking attempt and surrender to the same parking garage we used on Sunday; museum boat to Viking house, Folk Museum, Kon-Tiki Museum, and back; dinner at Deli de Luca where I decided to try their iskaffe only to find out it’s pretty much the most delicious coffee milkshake (is=ice cream kaffe=coffee) ever invented; Operahusset (the national opera house) mistake where we found out the lady sold us tickets for the show a week from that Thursday; sister finishes The Hunger Games
  • Friday: Park at Lars’, train in, bonus iskaffe while browsing for Norwegian gifts my girlfriend would like, Internet connection again at Operahusset (the only place I could find free Wi-Fi) while my sister took a tour of the dye shop with people who seemed to kind of wanted to hire her if she lived there, Catching Fire purchase, four museums
  • Saturday: Fishing attempt, waffles–oh my god, the waffles in this country–with Lars and Gurid, Catching Fire completion
  • Sunday: House prep and drive out to the airport for me, driving off to Western Norway for the family

Full Albums:

  • The Beastie Boys, Hot Sauce Committee, Part II1
  • Booker T. & The MG’s, Green Onions
  • Bruce Springsteen, Greatest Hits
  • Buddy Guy, Sweet Tea
  • Driver F, Chase the White Whale
  • Fleetwood Mac, Rumours
  • Foo Fighters, Wasting Light
  • GZA, Pro Tools
  • James Pants, Welcome
  • Janelle Monae, The ArchAndroid2
  • M83, Saturdays = Youth
  • Money Making Jam Boys, The Prestige
  • Robyn, Body Talk
  • The Weeknd, House of Balloons3

Random Excellence:

  • Snoop Dogg, “Gangsta Luv (Mayer Hawthorne G-Mix)”
  • Senses Fail, “Handguns and Second Chances”
  • The Cure, “Strange Attraction”
  • Erykah Badu, “Gone Baby, Don’t Be Long”
  • Interpol, “Success”
  • Rage Against the Machine, “Testify”
  • Miike Snow, “Black & Blue”

Songs of the Week:

  • Outkast, “Skew It on the Bar-B”
  • Massive Attack, “Angel”
  • Katy Perry, “Teenage Dream”
  • Genesis vs. Katy Perry, “Invisible Gurls”
  • Broken Bells, “The Ghost Inside”

Reviews:

1. Hell yes. “Funkey Donkey,” “Crazy Ass Shit” and “Too Many Rappers” are definitely my favorite songs, but that’s not saying too much because this whole album’s pretty freakin’ amazing.

2. Truly a beautiful album. That girl can really sing.

3. Get it? House of Balloons? Because everyone in the songs are high? But seriously, this album’s kind of amazing. If you like R&B, you like this album. Sometimes the whole album feels like “Fancy” by The-Dream, but without the incredible outro. It’s not a bad thing, just saying that they sound similar, though they’re obviously different.

Comment:

Of course I’m sorry it’s late, but I think we all knew this wasn’t going to get published on time, right? My birthday was Wednesday and Barack released his birth certificate. Thursday and Friday were my birthday as well, then Saturday came and Barack straight up mopped the floor with Trump’s wig while promising he had better things to be doing. Also, it was my birthday. Sunday came and it turns out the better thing he was doing was accomplishing the mission and discovering Osama bin Laden. Sunday was not my birthday but last night did involve revelry to celebrate one of my friend’s birthdays (which was actually on Sunday).

A lot of the language I’ve seen concerning the sitting president seems to revolve around his inability to get anything done. Sure, he’s a Democratic President with a Democratic Congress, but it seems to me that the basic problem is not really his inability to force legislation through congress, but rather democratic dogma itself.

This is extremely reductionist, but, for the sake of argument, let’s say democrats are progressives and republicans are conservatives. How do you plan for progress? How can you get everyone to agree on what will be best for the future? How is it that you plan for a future with multiple wars, languages, religions and races? How do you maintain America’s reputation as a melting pot for a multitude of cultures while fears of terrorism and Islam increase almost daily?

For conservatives, defining policy seems to be pretty easy: if it was okay in the fifties, it should not only be okay now but also a law. No abortion! More God! Less Gays! Less government! But for progressives, a lot of the answers seem to come after sitting around for a couple months, talking about our feelings and then making the best choice possible—because there’s no rule book on this shit. The future could go any way, but it doesn’t seem to go backwards into the past.

And I guess that’s why I believe in the audacity to vote for the hope of progress and change.

Whew, I am glad that whole election thing’s over, aren’t you? I’d have to say–in addition to this being the most “historical,” “important” and “divisive” election in years–that it’s easily been the most emotional.

One of my closest friends and I were talking a while ago and he was saying cars with McCain/Palin bumper stickers were getting keyed at his school. He was predicting that America would be split in 25 years. I asked him–since he’s currently attending Wake Forest–if he meant that he was afraid the South would rise again, and he said he was actually much more worried the Red States would secede from the Blue.

I tried to tell him that states change color all the time and that, similarly, generations tend to be remembered only for the extremes. The sixties are remembered for hippies, everyone remembers disco in the seventies and voodoo economics in the eighties. Yet, if you talk to your parents, it’s not always the case. Both my parents neither went to Woodstock nor enjoy marijuana. My Dad almost went but his brother was too high to drive him. No one in any of my parents’ families seems to have enjoyed disco or leg warmers (maybe even just the 80s in general). All I remember of the eighties was my sister being born. Maybe a train set. The minority often comes to represent the majority, but, as America always does, we learn a lesson, we move on and we forget that lesson.

The history books will talk about “Oldest Candidate,” “First Female Vice Presidential candidate,” “First Female Presidential almost nominee,” “First African American President” and some might even mention “First Irish Catholic Vice President” (yeah, bet you guys didn’t know that one), but I don’t think they’ll include a sub-section on “The Beginning of the Heartland Secession.”

People in every state can’t agree on politics and the Electoral College is a surprisingly a poor indicator of US political leanings. I voted Blue–and this may come as a surprise to to the frequent readers of this blog considering my earlier political posts–and absentee in one of the Reddest states ever. Also, consider Georgia: It hasn’t been blue since it went to Clinton in ’91; they went Red in ’95 against the same man.  Furthermore, in the current election, it looks like (at this moment) Obama only has 52% of the popular vote, yet, according to my own personal calculations (McCain gets MO, Obama gets NC), Obama has approximately 67% of the Electoral vote.

So what I mean, at the most basic level, is I’m glad the election has been decided and we no longer have to debate who you like more–a Muslim terrorist or a septuagenarian who wears diapers (you didn’t hear the latter rumor? Well I guess you caught me attempting to spread a divisive rumor at the last minute). That is, I’m glad we’re no longer going to fight about what we believe personally–did any of you actually debate the issues or were your debates characterized completely by “last eight years” and “dead on election day?” One of the best quotes I found from a recent Matt Taibbi article (extremely liberal journalist for Rolling Stone) was actually about Ms. Palin’s nomination but really provided the most insight about the election in general: “The great insight of the Palin VP choice is that large chunks of American voters no longer even demand that their candidates even have positions; they simply consume them as media entertainment, rooting for or against them according to the reflexive prejudices of their demographic, as they would for reality-show contestants or sitcom characters.”

He also asserted that people voted for whoever best represented them: pitbulls, women, old people, black people, etc. But i guess, then, doesn’t it indicate that this has been one of the most relatable elections in years? Finally we have people attempting to listen in and making a decision because it’s not just a bunch of white dudes saying they’re going to lower taxes lower than each other. As great as it may be to have such a high interest level, I’m thoroughly pleased we won’t have to deal with this again for at least four years. I just don’t want to have to piss of my friends by talking about the Economy, Afghanistan, Al-Qaeda, Troop Levels, Abortions, Global Warming, Alternative Fuels or the Great Nation of Texas anymore.

Yeah, so I woke up Saturday morning and I was more dehydrated than I’d ever been after playing a summer game of lacrosse in the South (more to come in this department as we go along). I told some of my co-workers this afternoon that I’d broken my liver.

That’s a) not possible and b) not true because all I had was moonshine in my apartment and a White Russian (insert your own “Why not a Black Russian? Racist.” joke here. My response to all is, “Not Funny. Heard it already.”) at a bar. While we’re talking about that, the bartender was a dude dressed as a girl who danced only when Madonna played, giggled at me for ordering a White Russian, asked for an ID even though you have to present an ID to get into just about any bar in NYC–particularly on a Friday night Halloween–, put a cherry in it and charged me $11 dollars for it. Never before has my favorite cocktail been so gay. To be fair, it was half Kahlua, half vodka and a dash of milk. Well played, man-girl (Madonna?).

Anyway, I think the reason my night was so good was because of how terrible my day was. I was sick, full of coffee, Sudafed and not nearly enough sleep. That was actually the situation that had been compounding for the whole week. The office is incredibly business-oriented, so no one wore a costume except me. My costume was basically my business-attire, so it’s kind of cheating, but I still felt like the odd man out. When I was leaving, I told someone to have a Happy Halloween and she looked at me like I had just threatened to hide ratoncide in the deli-style buns of her ham’n’swiss. It’s a hard way to experience your favorite day of the year.

At my retail job, the dress code is just as strict and the costumes were just as disappointing. When I walked in and asked one of my friends what her costume was, she said, “I’m you.” We laughed a little and I said, “Well, you’ve definitely got to work on your 5 O’Clock shadow, but other than that, it’s pretty good.”

But back to that morning–at one point, I was attempting to remove a staple from a incorrectly-stapled collection of papers and, since I don’t have a staple remover, the staple dug itself into the tip of the pointer finger on my right hand. About 4 hours later while retailing it up, I was sorting through those tags that set off the alarms when you steal everything I’ve been working on for the last two hours, when the pin dug itself under the fingernail on the same finger. The good news is, no arteries appear to have been severed, but the bad news is, I now understand why the Vietnamese used to stick bamboo shoots under fingernails as a form of torture back in the ’70s. Typing, the least difficult exercise known to man, is now very, very difficult. Fuck you, “Y!”

Beyond physical damage, I sustained a fair amount of mental damage while at the office. I finished everything on my “To Do List” (more to come in this department as we go along) and went to update my boss. She told me she was looking forward to it, but that she was busy at the moment. When I asked if I should start some more tasks that could easily be inferred from the indications of the “To Do List,” she told me not to start them. She assured me she’d be ready in 10 minutes and, when she got back to me an hour and a half later, I’d sent an email to my dad detailing how I felt “like a fourth grader; Nap! Now you can’t because you don’t have your mat…but don’t go get it!”

We had a meeting where everyone was pissed off the entire time and our boss basically just scolded us for not listening to her, even though every time she gives us directions, she comes back an hour later to tell us that what we have done is wrong because she’s just changed the directions. She gets pissed we didn’t know these directions would change. So, she basically told us to anticipate that, on every project, she would change her mind and that we should be able to read it. When I got out of the meeting to head off to the world of retail, panties and jokes about regional managers (“She’s a fucking bitch.”), I sent an email to the researcher who was working remotely with a subject line that read, “that meeting.” The body consisted solely of, “was like watching a porn without sex scenes; terrible dialogue and everybody involved already knew where it was leading (in this case, next week, not the bedroom).”

So I left, deposited the check (“Yeah, sure! Can’t wait to see you next week!”) and got on the subway again.

Alright, that about does it, let’s skip all the retail and beyond the third subway trip. Got home, made coffee and ate dinner: Mac’n’Cheese Spirals. Too good. This must be the beginning of a good night, but also a stretch in cognitive abilities in retrospect. It turns out the roommate has gotten a bottle of Moonshine for free at work, but we have ice and no idea what something that tastes like bubblegum could mix with. We christen her, “The Bazooka Joe.” (The recipe’s pretty labor intensive, be careful: 1. Catdaddy, 2. Ice.)

So our mutual friends are in town and I have college friends that are in town, too. We get off the subway, urinate in the Union Square Starbucks–like half of Lower Manhattan–and attempt to find my friends. On the way, my roommate proceeds to get, approximately, 117 compliments on his costume. I, on the other hand, receive no recognition for my Stay-At-Home-Dad costume (more to come in this department as we go along) and I begin to assume that everyone thinks I’m Rene Magritte. Updates with my friends from college reveal that S_____’s in a bar on 23rd (9 blocks north), Co______’s not going to tell me what her plans are because she hasn’t saved my phone number and thus does not know who this is and Ca____’s in a McDonald’s on 6th and 16th with other friends from college. The police won’t let us go North, so we decide to wait for them to head South. They get caught in the parade and head North. We stand on the corner while my roommate gets more compliments and a discussion from a girl in a dress with a picture of Freud around her neck (Freudian Slip).

Discussion over and abandoned on this suddenly large island, we decide to head South to our favorite cheap bar. On our way, the roommate makes a “your kind” joke that is intended as ironic racism, but is interpreted as racism. It’d been ten minutes of healthy, hilarious conversation until this misstep, at which point we part ways with the young lady who took offense. We are both sad but persevere and get to the bar. Once there, I greet a random friend from college, attempt to order beverages but can’t get to the bar because everyone else in Lower Manhattan knows this place is cheap too so we leave. We stand on the street corner and wonder what we will do for the rest of the night.

Then our mutual friend walks by (easily the most crucial “then” in this essay. But, again, that insight only comes from knowing where this night goes way in advance). I grab her by the shirt sleeve and start yelling. Everyone else is right behind her. It’s E____ (front runner), C____, D____ and her boyfriend G___ and, finally, two new girls. S________ and A__ are Peter Pan and something I’ve forgotten, respectively, as well as crazy sexy. I initially think, “Hey, this S_______ is pretty cute and she’s very funny, but that A__ seems to want nothing to do with me. What a shame; she’s rather cute, too.”

But then, for some reason, A__ decides I’m Todd Palin. I think it was because I told her I was a Stay-At-Home-Dad, but really have no idea why. She and I start waltzing to whatever-the-hell-bar-it-was-we-went-to-that-night, the whole while speaking like we’d just tag-teamed a polar bear with CO2 emissions, hanging chads, shotguns and hunting knives. I later realize she looks like Kristen Wiig and come that much closer to never seeing my heart again. If my memory serves, at one point I decided I loved her so much that I bit the side of her face. Like a nibble, not really like a, “Hey, gotcha face, ya bleedin!” bite. The things you’ll do when you’re dancing in the street. Or in a bar.

We left (and waltzed again. If you saw a guy and a girl being totally and obnoxiously metropolitan by waltzing on a street on a Friday, I’m sorry I ruined your night) and had to split ways (Uptown and Brooklyn are surprisingly far apart; also, N.B my dating habits) but while we were talking and waiting for the subway, I met a man who’d been recruited by and played for Butler and later got drafted by the MLL. He confessed that he’d done my weight in blow, probably two times over. I told him that was just another one of the reasons I’d quit, but that didn’t stop him from giving me his phone number so I could play some lax.

We transferred trains to get back home but–surprise!–had to wait for the other train for a while. So we talked and examined my costume. I had the Enchanted DVD in my pocket, a bag of cough drops and some Sudafed (really for me, but also) just in case the kids get sick, two condoms in case the wife gets frisky (she is extremely powerful and does not tolerate mistakes), keys to the Minivan and a Moleskine with a checklist, schedule and notes in it. The writing got increasingly sloppy as you moved your way towards the end, but I have transcribed it for you below:

  • Friday Night Movie Night (not done)
  • Empty trash (check)
  • Clean toilet (nope)
  • Schedule minivan check-up (check)
  • PTA Meeting Agenda (check)
  • Schedule dinner with the wife (nyet)
  • Pick up Tommy 2:30 Sally 2:45 (check)
  • Burp Jimbo at (no): 10AM (check), 2PM (check), 6PM (check), 10PM (negatory)
  • [chicken scratch] Call the mistress, tell her to fuck off (no check)

The schedule said:

10/31: bake a pie
11/13: Minivan to JiffyLube
11/14: 4PM tie pick-up
11/20: get bag of Starbucks wholebean for the wife
11/4: resubscribe to The New York Times

Tommy wear contacts [someone had the audacity to accuse Tommy’s goaltending inabilities on his not wearing his glasses in the goal, so I made a note to tell him later to wear his contacts]

The Soccer Schedule said:
Soccer
10/20: Tommy: The Bandits, 4PM
11/4: Sally: Cowgirls, 3PM
11/5: Tommy: Bandits, 6PM
11/14: Sally: CGs, 4PM
11/17: Tom-boy: Goal for Bandits–defense for the Tigers’ defense pretty strong.

Other notes from that night said:
2. alcohols
In love w/E___’s friends.
[phone number and name for dude who loves coke and lax]

We all agreed that #2 made absolutely no sense and moved on. Then we got on the subway, got off the subway, went our own ways, and I wrote the post below.

Lessons learned: Moonshine is a good reason for Nascar to exist,  but the connection’s not strong enough anymore for me to want to watch left turns. Biting is never a good idea. Showing up at the stock room is oddly reassuring after a day at the office. My pointer finger is a piece of shit right now. I like redheads. Even more so when they want to waltz. I still don’t want to do coke. Halloween remains one of the most hallowed of holidays for me. I like “South” as a direction in general. I still like my friends.

I think my favorite quote from Hillary Clinton in the entire political season came less than a week ago. If memory serves, she said something along the lines of, “Asking the Republicans to save the government is like asking the iceberg to save the Titanic.” USA! USA! USA!

I also saw a poll this morning that said elderly white women have shifted their support from Obama to McCain since Palin joined the McCain ticket. What happened to those comments Hillary had about supporting the party, you silly lilly livered Wonderbreads? Palin is, as objectively as I can put this, nuttier than squirrel poop and stands for nothing that Hillary did.

Also, this thing she has about experience…she was what? A mayor and now she’s governor? Her comments about how she’s had more experience as mayor of a small town in one of the smallest states in the union (population, not size) than a community organizer are, strictly speaking, insane. I would be more than pleased to see her attempt community organizing in Chicago. Obama also became a Senator, which is also clearly anything but experience. You’re absolutely right–because you know who else was a Senator? That McCain character. Clearly not fit to lead. Speaking of which, remember the last person who was a governor before they became President? I think we all know how well that worked out.

Also, is it just me, or was the best part about the Republican National Convention Triumph the Insult Comic Dog?

Dear Republicans,

I think it’d be great if you stopped pooping on America in the name of Patriotism, Terrorism and lower taxes.

Thanks,

Chris

…and I quote, “Change is coming.”–John S. McCain.

I think George W. Bush is an idolator.

For all that talk the man does about the glory of God and that Jesus character, he certainly loves oil. Remember when the Crusades–v1.0–was basically just the most powerful alliance in the world (Catholicism) attempting to reclaim Jesus’ homeland out in the Middle East? Wouldn’t it be fair to say that America is currently the most powerful country in the world and that this is our attempt to reclaim what is most important to us in the Middle East?

I mean, when we invaded Afghanistan, it kind of made sense. When we invaded Iraq it made sense to the people selling it (Congress), but now that we have a huge deficit and oil is actually much, much more expensive than it used to be, is it not fair to ask if there was an ulterior motive? Perhaps Mr. Bush’s history with his own oil company–before he found out about these holy dudes–is an indication of his interest level. And that “Surge,” or, as I like to call it, Service Pack 2, sure has been helpful. Send more troops and then cut all their medical funding and veteran support when they get back home? Awesome, I see what’s important–to be a patriot we have to support the troops, but only while they’re abroad.

I don’t know, maybe idolatry is going a little bit too far, but it is a pretty cool theory. I think part of me just wanted to be holier-than-him, so that is kind of lame in retrospect.

Are you kidding me? I’m voting for my party, not my country? I beg to differ, sir. I vote blue because I think they’re the best choice for my country. The last eight years sure have been great for “our country’s party,” haven’t they? Lowest approval ratings and the biggest deficit in history. Gee, I sure can’t wait until my grandkids have close to zero income because the “greatest country the world has ever seen” finally decides to pay off its debts. Hopefully, I will no longer be alive to watch because Chinese bullets will have pierced my cranium in multiple locations. (Irony? The crap the Republicans have pulled in the last eight years could, theoretically, lead us to communism–at least increased taxes–to pay off our debt. You can’t spend money if you don’t have an income, dumbass. Leave it to the Red-publicans to lead us into the hands of the reds by trusting them with loans and excessive imports. Bye, technology!!!) So thanks, party of patriotism and national defense; while you complain about Iraq and Iran, the rest of the world is breeding terrorists–even though one man’s terrorist is another man’s patriot–and investment bankers. Hey Fed, great work on Bear Stearns! Catch you in the reddest America you’ve ever seen.

Let me put it to you this way, good sir: The definition of insanity is doing something again and again and expecting a different result.

Joe Lieberman is pretty much just a newer, lamer Zell Miller.

[P.S. Sorry again–I was starting to piss of my roommates while I was yelling at the TV, so I figured I’d protest on the intrawebz.]