Thursday, January 31, 2008

No Ticket

Mike just told me Obama is having a rally this weekend at the Target Center. I got really excited. Then I found out there are no more tickets available. Hopefully he'll be able to get something through the U. Otherwise...


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Cowboy, Take Me Apartment Hunting

Right now I'm in the process of trying to find a new apartment. I'm surprised at how difficult it is to find something I really like. I don't think my expectations are all that ridiculous. Two bedrooms. 900 square feet. Hardwood floors. Laundry in-unit. A/C. A kitchen that doesn't look like it hasn't been updated since the 70s. I've been flip-flopping on where a garage should sit on my list of priorities. A lot of my friends don't have garage parking. But last night I got into my car and it was -12 degrees out, and she barely turned over when I put the key in.

I've been struck by how similar apartment-hunting is to dating. Over the weekend some of my female friends told me, "We're going to find you a girlfriend." Good luck with that. There are so many duds out there that you try to get excited when you finally find one that meets even half your criteria, but once the initial excitement wears off you start to seriously ask yourself, "Could I really commit to this person/place/thing?" I mean, it's got radiators. Who wants that?

I'm also surprised at how many realtors basically phone-in their Internet ads.
Would it really be that difficult to post some pictures of the apartment online? The answer is no, it would not. Do you really think it's worth wasting my and your time to show me a place I could have told from a few pictures was clearly beneath me? I mean, it's got radiators. Who wants that?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I Am Woman, Hear Me Bore

A while back I wrote that, the historic quality of his campaign notwithstanding, I sort of wish Barack Obama wasn't black. For similar reasons I sort of wish Hillary Clinton wasn't a woman. I know several women who don't particularly like Hillary Clinton (at least not as compared to the other Democratic candidates) but are seriously considering voting for her because she's a woman. The first woman President! A long-sought opportunity to demonstrate how progressive our country has become!

The problem is, by voting for a woman simply because she's a woman. you've demonstrated exactly how progressive our country isn't. We should all take a note from the women's liberation movement, and remember that just as we shouldn't dismiss someone simply because of their gender, we also shouldn't give someone special consideration because of their gender.

The New York Times had a piece that summed this up nicely:

By choosing Mrs. Clinton, we are not denying Mr. Obama’s appeal or his gifts. The idea of the first African-American nominee of a major party also is exhilarating, and so is the prospect of the first woman nominee. “Firstness” is not a reason to choose. The times that false choice has been raised, more often by Mrs. Clinton, have tarnished the campaign.

This, unfortunately, was the best West Wing quote I could think of:

AMY: Who else are you considering?
JOSH: Mark Rothman and Robbie Gill.
AMY: Hmm.
JOSH: What?
AMY: I was just thinking Mark and Robbie are funny names for women.
JOSH: They're men.
AMY: I know.
JOSH: They happen to be men. They happen to be men.
AMY: You're not hiring enough women in senior positions for the campaign.

Man I hate Amy Gardener.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Nas: A Role Model for Young Black Men

Newsweek had an article last week with Nas to discuss his latest album, the tastefully-titled "Nigger." Newsweek, penetrating periodical that it is, got to the heart of the matter:

Newsweek: Don't you think that giving your album that title gives other races more reason to use the word?
Nas: No. A white person should never use that word. It's insane to think that's OK, no matter how many times I say it or another black says it.

See, I have a problem with this...I was about to call it "logic," but I'm not sure the word can be appropriately applied in this case. It really boils my potato when black people assert (with such unmitigated impunity) that they should be allowed to say "nigger" and "nigga" when white people shouldn't. One black girl at my college even demanded that any white person who made such utterances be expelled, because America's about freedom. There are two aspects to said boiling of said potato.

The first is principle. When black people say they can say "nigger" and white people can't, they're defining acceptable behavior for a group of people based entirely on skin color. I'm pretty sure they have a word for that sort of thing. I think it's pronounced "racist?"

Granted, the loss of the word "nigger" from my vocabulary hardly constitutes a significant infringement on my daily behavior. Like I said, it's just the principle of the thing.

But there's actually a more serious issue at work in this debate, and this is my second issue. The "nigger" debate is indicative of the overall dynamic of the race debate in America, which is this: black people believe their opinion is the trump card. They think they should always get the last word. If a black person says "White people shouldn't do this because it offends me" we're expected to prostrate ourselves before them and apologize for ever doing something that might bother them. Which is fair, because black people clearly live their lives with the same concern.

I understand why black people think they should get the last word, and I don't think it's unreasonable. Racism affects them more than it affects me. But I become worried when you start letting the parameters of the debate be defined entirely by one side. At what point do you say, "No, stop, you're being ridiculous"? At what point do you say: "You know what? Some things in life you just have to move on and get over"?

I can think of at least two examples where black sensitivity went two far in my opinion:

1. When my mom worked at the DOJ someone put up a cartoon that said, "The beatings will continue until morale improves." One of the black employees demanded that the cartoon be taken down because it offended her. And why did it offend her? Because it made her think of slavery, obvi! Make a note, children: anything that may make a black person think of slavery is not permissible material.

2. On The Real World: Chicago Theo, the token black dude, complained that one of his house-mates' ghost stories made reference to a character being hung by a noose. The noose, for him, was synonymous with lynchings. Did it matter that people were being hung by the neck centuries before Jim Crow came around? Did it matter that if you took all the white people who had been hung, and all the black people who had been hung, and put them all together, you'd get way more salt than pepper? No. He was offended, and he was black, and that was all she friggin' wrote.

I think white America needs to stop being victim to its own indifference and/or guilt and start admitting that sometimes black people are just being ridiculous. In the end, racial honesty is probably the only way real progress is going to be made.

The racial debate is supposed to be about right and wrong; it isn't supposed to be about black people's feelings.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Fuzzyboots Corollary

I have an embarrassing confession to make. I find girls in furry boots sexy. I'm not proud of it, but it's the truth. I know I shouldn't. I KNOW. But I just can't help myself. Which, I guess, is sort of the nature of sexual attraction generally, furry boots or no.

In an astounding act of recreational lawyering, I have crafted for myself this defense:

Girls who wear furry boots probably aren't the kind of girl I'd want to have a real serious conversation with. So it makes sense that my brain turns to thoughts of the only enjoyable thing one COULD do with them. See The West Wing for more info:

SAM: Who’s your boyfriend?
MALLORY: I don’t think...
SAM: What’s his name?
MALLORY: His name is Richard Andrewchuk.
SAM: There’s a hockey player named Richard Andrewchuk.
MALLORY: Well, unless there’s two of them...
SAM: You’re dating Richard Andrewchuk?
MALLORY: Yes, and we’re having quite a lot of sex.
SAM: I think you’d almost have to.
MALLORY: What does that mean?
SAM: What do you and Richard Andrewchuk have to talk about?
MALLORY: He happens to be a terribly bright guy.
SAM: Well good, because he’s a really bad hockey player.

I should be clear that I don't mean ALL furry boots. It's not "it is furry; therefore it is sexy." In fact, I spent about two minutes on Google trying to find a picture of a good example for what I was talking about, and I failed. Everything that came up under "fuzzy" and "furry" was just sad. They didn't so much say "sexy" as "I stole these from a sports mascot's locker." The best I could find was something like these; but without the lady, you don't get the full effect.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A Certain Point of View

Stanley Fish had an article over the weekend that offers me the opportunity to talk about something I've been meaning to say for a while now. Fish's article is on his dislike for self-proclaimed independent voters, whom he apparently sees as a feckless demographic of Americans without conviction or substance.

I'm not here to defend independent voters, especially since it's never been clear to me what that term means exactly. I will say, however, that I've often felt the opposite of what Fish described. For myself, I dislike and disrespect (or, at best, am suspicious of) people with strong political convictions--those who identify themselves as "very liberal" or "very conservative." My thinking goes something like this:

1. If you describe yourself as "very liberal" or "very conservative," you probably hearken to your liberalism or conservatism to such an extent that you have a hard time thinking in an opposite (ie, conservative or liberal, respectively) mindset.

2. If you can't think in a conservative or liberal mindset, you probably don't understand those viewpoints.

3. If you don't understand the opposing viewpoints, you can't properly understand your own viewpoint.

In his article Fish says, "To be political is to believe something, and to believe something is to believe that those who believe something else are wrong." I don't agree with that, and for a guy who spends 800 words ranting about how unsophisticated a large demographic of people is, he comes off pretty unsophisticated himself. Belief doesn't require one to be blind to the validity of other beliefs; it's not a singular phenomenon; one thought does not ipso facto exclude the remainder. Example: I can believe there is a constitutional right to abortion while at the same time recognize there's no constitutional support for such a right. Maybe it's the lawyer in me, or possibly the contrarian, but I find myself suspicious of people who are so one-sided that they completely (and perhaps consciously) reject such a large spectrum of opposing points of view as invalid.

Toby Zeigler says: "The ability to see two sides of an argument is not the hallmark of an inferior intellect."

Monday, January 21, 2008

Even their online department is incompetent

Today I ordered something from Abercrombie.com. I was relieved to be informed, "In-Stock Items will arrive by Christmas." They'll arrive by December? I should hope so.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

My phone is smarter than yours

Over Christmas my dad bought me a Smart Phone. You better get this thing some glasses and a copy of Proust, because man is it smart.



Why did my dad get me a Smart Phone? No good reason. Because it was Christmas, I guess. I came downstairs Saturday morning and my father said, “Today we’re going to the Sprint store and getting you a Smart Phone.” Okay. I’ll take it. It’s actually the exact same phone my father has, which makes sense, because he’s a CEO of a multi-million dollar company and I’ve been employed for, like, a week, so we should definitely be utilizing the same level of cellular technology.

My favorite part of my phone isn’t the fact that I can get email and the Internet wherever I am, although that’s pretty cool. No, my favorite part is the badge that comes with the Smart Phone. My Smart Phone is my way of declaring, “Yes, World, your suspicions were correct; I am in fact better than you. I need to have constant contact with my email, because I’m very important and never know when an important message might be en route.” Never mind the fact that that’s not true. Never mind the fact that the reason I took my job in the first place was because I don’t bring my work home with me and have absolutely no reason to check my email. You don’t know that. You just see the Smart Phone, and either get jealous, or want to have sex with me. Ipso. Facto.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Take this woman to be your awfully wedded wife

Speaking of women and work...I've been sort of surprised at the number of people I work with who are married. The next part of this post will make me seem kind of like an asshole, and that's unfortunate, but it doesn't change this fundamental truth: I look at some of these people - their appearance, their personality - and I wondered what exactly they would bring to a relationship, other than maybe a pulse. In short, I find it hard to believe they managed to find somebody who looked into their eyes and said, "Yes! This is the one! This is the person I want to spend the rest of my life with." Whatever. I guess douche bags need love, too. Except me. I don't need it. I will carve out my heart and fill in the hole with unmitigated rage. Or possibly mimosas. Whichever. It makes no difference to me.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I've got a pan. I've got a plan.

Today I got an email from someone at DLA Piper (www.dlapiper.com), and when I first read their email address I wondered, "Why am I getting an email from someone at diaper.com?"* Just a fun fact.

* Or rather, "Why am I getting an email from someone at diaper.com at my work address?" Bed-wetting isn't just for kids anymore.






One racial stereotype I really dislike is the one that purports to generalize black people's supposed affinity for fried chicken. Not necessarily because it's accurate or inaccurate. But because it's so silly. Of course black people like fried chicken. Everybody should like fried chicken. Here are some interesting facts I pulled from Wikipedia about fried chicken:

Fact #1: Fried chicken is delicious.
Fact #2: Fried chicken is good for you (probably).
Fact #3: Fried chicken is delicious.

The problem with the world isn't that black people like fried chicken. It's that, apparently, there are other races whose love for fried chicken is not so concrete. One might as well chastise the black race for enjoying other good things in life, like sex, or The West Wing. Oh, those crazy Negroes!

Wanna know the best part about being white? It isn't driving the Jersey turnpike without being pulled over or rocking a tiny penis. It's the ability to enjoy fried chicken guilt-free. When I sit down to a tasty platter of boneless wings, I don't have to worry about being a reinforcement of racial stereotypes. Screw that. It's just me and my fried chicken.

Fry that chicken? Indeed.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Notes from the Workplace, Part Whatever The Hell We're On Now




All right. That's it. I've had enough. So I'm just going to come out and say it: Women of the World, stop wearing boots and skirts to work. I can't focus with that shit around me all day. When I see a girl in boots and a skirt, all I can think about is banging her. It doesn't even particularly matter if she's attractive. If she's in boots and a skirt, I just need to throw her legs over my shoulders and plough her like Cadmus with the dragon's teeth. I'm like a dog with an old bone: I don't particularly want it, but I have to have it.

So, young professional woman, don't become reduced to a walking vindication of the otherwise antiquated notion that women shouldn't be allowed in the workplace because they'll just distract the menfolk. DO NOT WEAR BOOTS TO YOUR JOB. THEY ARE NOT APPROPRIATE FOR WORK.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Is there a doctor in the city?

A while back I bitched about how hard it is being an adult, because I have to spend my weekends doing adult things like setting up health benefits and investments and 401(k)s instead of drinking beer at noon and watching sports like I should be able to. Well, here’s something new to bitch about: now that I have health benefits, I need to find doctors in Minneapolis to use them on. This poses a daunting task. I don’t know how to find doctors. At least not good ones. This isn’t like window-shopping. This is a man (or woman) who will be feeling my balls for lumps and discussing my sexual history and mental health. I want to make a good choice here.

My mom says I should just ask around at work. Right. I work with lawyers. Not doctors. I don’t care what Ibsen says in A Doll’s House*, I have no reason to suppose lawyers know anything about good medicine. I should have gone to med school. Then I’d have the expertise necessary to make this determination. Of course, if I’d gone to med school, I probably wouldn’t need a doctor. Catch-22.

* “My dear Nora, as a lawyer I know what I’m talking about.” But then, you already knew that.

And on the eighth day God made Wikipedia

Anybody who knows me knows I love Wikipedia. As my membership in the pro-Wikipedia Facebook group attests, “If Wikipedia Says It, It Must Be True.” More than that, Wikipedia is the font of all knowledge. I believe in the future Wikipedia will replace the Bible as the epicenter of Western religion. No longer will we be regaled with boring tales of Genesis and Eden and how women went ahead and fucked everything up for the rest of us. No, in the future there will be only one sentence: In the beginning, there was Wikipedia. Our future little Jerry Falwells will preach of ancient times in which there was only a magical tome, from which all things eventually sprung; our future little Steven Spielbergs will make movies about evil men who are bent on recovering the lost Wiki, the source of all knowledge that will endow them with amazing power and unending wisdom.

That’s the future. I’ve seen it. More importantly, I’ve read about it on Wikipedia.

A black person in a suit? Now I've seen everything!

So it’s been a wee while since I updated this thing. I meant to write on it a couple of times over the weekend, but for whatever reason didn’t. Now all my posts will be tragically out of date. Oh well. Here come a couple of things I meant to write about last week:

I kind of wish people wouldn’t talk so much about how amazing and historic the Iowa caucus was. Every time I have to hear someone say how far we’ve come as a nation that so many white people voted for a black dude, all I can think to myself is how far we HAVEN’T come. We really need to pat ourselves on the back over this? Really? You really didn’t think we could find a large number of white people who would vote for a black dude? Do we really have such little faith in our fellow Americans? (Polling says yes.) The real testament to how far we’ve come as a nation will be when nobody bothers to notice how far we’ve come as a nation.

Quite frankly, the historicality of Barack Obama’s Iowa victory notwithstanding, I sort of wish he wasn’t black. I wish we could spend more time on his policies and political approach, instead of getting bogged down about his skin color. Maybe the reason all these white people voted for Obama was because he’s tried to be the American candidate, instead of the African-American candidate. Seriously, this just reminds me of how little I respect black voters. You shouldn’t respect them, either. Wanna know why? They’re single-issue voters. They don’t care about national security or health care or abortion or the role of the federal government. They just care about “black issues.” Be in favor of affirmative action and congratulations, you have now secured the black vote. Good job. Now go have some fried chicken.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

To sleep would be an awfully big adventure

One of my favorite activities - pastimes, really - is sleeping. I just love sleeping. I like to do everything in my power to make sure I get 9, 10 hours a day...which means once I have kids, I'll basically be fucked. One of the worst parts of working is that I can't take the midday naps I became accustomed to in college and law school.

I'm a little concerned about my excessive sleeping habit, however. I'm concerned that my idea of enjoying life literally involves sleeping my life away. As Gustav Graves says in Die Another Die: There'll be plenty of time to sleep when you're dead. Of course, he was also a North Korean colonel who'd had himself cut up to look like an English dude and wanted to melt the world with the sun, so he probably isn't the best authority on A Life Well Lived.

I think one of the things I like about sleep is the escapism. Sleep may not be where I'm a Viking, but it's nevertheless a place of wondrous occurrences. Ever since my dog passed away I've been having lots of dreams about him in which he's still alive. I also sponsor the occasional dream about - who else? - Dream Girl. Example: last night I dreamed I had brought her home for Christmas to meet my parents. It was nice. Then I woke up, thereby enduring a double dose of "PSYCH!"

I also had a dream last night that two of my female coworkers were in a loving lesbian relationship and, what's more, prone to impromptu make-out sessions in the middle of presentations. Today shouldn't be weird at work.

My point is this: I'm afraid that one of the things I enjoy most about my life - sleeping - is actually depriving me of enjoying my life. I don't know. I guess I should sleep on it.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Let's do the voice over




One of the careers mentioned in 101 Things You can Do With a Law Degree is "Voiceover Work." I don't have the voice for it, but I think that'd be a cool job. Everybody loves the Voiceover Guy. Particularly the guy who does the previews for action movies. Don something. That guy can take the crappiest writing and make it sound veritably Shakespearean. "In a world where greed has become king, one man will make a last stand...for justice. Based on the acclaimed novel by Jonathan Safran Foer...Brad Pitt...and Vince Vaughn as the voice of Sammy Davis, Jr, Jr...This summer, Everything...is Illuminated." * And then there would be an explosion to demonstrate the full extent to which things were being illuminated.

* And don't miss the smash sequel: Everything is Illuminated 2: Illuminate This.

But if I had to be a voiceover guy, I wouldn't want to do action movies. It's too easy. I'd want to be the guy who does voiceovers for romantic comedies. And you already know the ones I'm talking about: the romantic comedies that look incredibly lame and the dude knows it, but his job is to make it sound like the premise is just adorably quirky. Reese Witherspoon is a ghost. Hugh Jackman is an 18th century nobleman transported into modern New York. "Michael Maddox was just a regular guy who couldn't get a date. Until one day, he met the girl of his dreams. The only problem is...she's a werewolf. Now things are going to the dogs, and getting a whole lot...hairier. Don't miss the romantic comedy of the season everybody will be sure to be talking about: Werewolves of Lovin'."** And then of course Warren Zevon plays over the title...or better yet, a Hillary Duff version. Yeah, you'll definitely want to grab your girl and check that out.

** Tagline: Who's afraid of the big-boobed wolf?

If I couldn't do that, then I'd want to be the guy who does the dramatic voiceover previews for WB shows...which, let's be serious, are equally crappy as my smash comedy hit, Werewolves of Lovin'. "Next week, on an all-new 7th Heaven, disaster strikes the Camden family. 'I saw Lucy out after her curfew, and she was kissing a boy!" My god! Kissing? A boy! How did it come to this!?! Seriously, what was wrong with that family? They got really upset when their children had any sexual experiences when they were 17, yet had no problem with them all getting married and pregnant by the time they were 20. Not exactly the best paragon for strong family values.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

I heart Huckaby

Facebook, in a desperate attempt to prove its relevancy and therefore marketability, has teamed with ABC this primary season to provide users with a platform to "express" themselves on presidential politics. "Based on the debate, do you think a Democratic President could keep America safe from foreign threats?" one poll asks. "No," says Alison MacNeill of the Academy Of Our Lady Of Good Counsel. Why? Because "these Democratic candidates are all week." Is that some sort of metaphor, or did you just misspell?

Not content to simply ask your opinions, Facebook is also providing a forum to promote discussion on user initiative. "Bush will be remembered as one of the greatest presidents of all time," assures one poster. "Barack = Hitler!" informs another.

But my personal favorite is from Terry Huckaby of Houston, Texas (check out his tasteful profile picture) who poses the inquiry: "Can you imagine how BAD things would be if Al Gore would have been in the White House on 9/11!!!!" Interesting. Would you care to offer support for that, or is this just a place to pontificate on broad, unsubstantiated statements? "If the Dems were in office on 9/11 they would have rolled over and gave [Grammar Police say: given] away our country," says Terry. Broad, unsubstantiated statements it is, then.

To be fair, I think Mr. Huckaby is making a fair point. Here are just some of the things I think would be going on right now if Al Gore had been President:

1. Osama bin Laden would still be at large.
2. Al Qaeda would have grown as an organization.
3. International terrorism would have increased.
4. Our troops would be bogged down in a Somalia-like quagmire.
5. The spend-crazy Democrats would have wasted billions of dollars on failed policies.
6. Our borders and ports would not be secure.
7. The Iranian nuclear threat would still not have been neutralized
8. If the North Korea threat HAD been neutralized, it would probably have been the result of negotiations and diplomacy, because Democrats would rather talk to (read: appease) our enemies than kill them. I'm envisioning here something like the 1994 Agreed Framework under Clinton where we pay North Korea not to develop nuclear weapons.

Thank God none of that actually happened. Can you IMAGINE?

On the other hand, we'd probably have policies in place to address global warming. I guess it was a fair trade-off.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

The Adventures of Argyle




So what's the deal with Argyle? First of all, isn't that a cool-looking word? Argyle. Sounds like it should be the name of some character in a crappy fantasy novel for 15-year-olds. Not that I know anything about those. "Argyle carefully drew forth the Emerald Blade, marveling as the torchlight caught the brilliant gemstones encrusted in the sword's hilt." Like I said. Crappy. Fantasy. Novel.

When I was growing up, nobody ever wore argyle. It seemed to me there was an unspoken consensus that argyle was dorky. But now it's everywhere. And what's more, I like it. Not so much in the above picture. But other times.

Example: Here's my buddy Todd rocking his favorite argyle sweater. As you can see, even the ladies like it:



If Carson Kressley were here, he'd probably tell you every man should have at least one argyle sweater in his closet in this, the Argyle Age. Of course, Carson Kressley also wears pants with cow spots on them, so what the hell does he know? Unless cow spots become the new argyle.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

A condom by any other name

Here's a question: why would anybody in their right mind name their athletic team the "Trojans?" You know what the Trojans are most famous for? Getting their asses kicked. Go team.





Speaking of Trojans...the BBC had an article on Monday about how 60% of Indian men can't adequately fill out a regular-sized condom. You probably think this is the part of the conversation where I make a bunch of Indian penis jokes. But you're wrong. This is actually going to be a semi-serious discussion.

The BBC had a similar article within the past year discussing how 50% of Chinese men also can't fill out a standard condom. Here's a suggestion. If the majority of men in the two most populated countries in the world can't fit the standard condom, maybe we're making them too big. Just a thought.

Condoms crack me up, and here's why. You can't buy a small-sized condom. At least, I've never seen one. Why would I have? Who wants to walk up to the counter with a box of teeny condoms? Do they come with a douche? Because you're basically a girl.

No, instead we have regular condoms, and then we begin moving up the scale. Large. XL. Jumbo. Megatron. Ginormous. But here's a tip I learned in physics class: size is relative. If the smallest condom you can buy is a regular - congratulations, you're buying a small condom. Calling it something else doesn't change that.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Wink Martindale

Lest night (this morning?) one of the ways I rung in the new year was by debating world geography. One of my friends of more international flava was on my case for not knowing the capitals of such major international players as Bolivia and Ghana (I did, however, know the capital of Djibouti). I think he was trying to argue that I was indicative of Americans at large, insofar as I had less geographical awareness of the rest of the world as I do of the Western one. Of course, I'm not sure he knew what he was trying to argue, since he kept claiming my lack of knowledge made me an imbecile, when I had to keep explaining to him that my lack of knowledge actually makes me an ignoramus. I hate when I have to make people's arguments for them.

There is, naturally, a West Wing quote on point here, which I would have been able to offerif I hadn't been so drunk or tired:

BARTLET: What body of water in South America is formed by the confluence...?
TOBY: Excuse me, Wink Martindale? Do you really think this is the time?
BARTLET: Not quite up on your South American geography, are you, my friend?

Also:

TOBY: The Federated States of Micronesia.
SAM: Toby says it’s a country.
BARTLET: It is a country. You know where?
TOBY: I assume it’s a small island in the South Pacific.
BARTLET:It’s actually 607 small islands in the South Pacific. Interestingly, while its total land mass is only 270 square miles, it occupies more than a million square miles of the Pacific Ocean. Population is 127,000 and the U.S. Embassy is located in the state of Pohnpei and not, as many people believe, on the island of Yap.
TOBY: Why would a person have that information at their disposal?
BARTLET: Parties.

Exactly. Who gives a shit about Micronesia? I bet Micronesians don't even give a shit about Micronesia. Ditto on Bolivia and Ghana.

To be honest, I don't even know the capitals of some U.S. states. Idaho. Wyoming. I don't think I could even name a city in Wyoming. (Do they even have cities in Wyoming?) You know why? Because nobody cares about Wyoming. I read the news every day, I don't think Wyoming's ever come up in the headlines.

If you want me to know the capital of your country, you should either contribute something meaningful to the world or else be ravaged by natural or political disaster. Otherwise, I just don't care.