Sunday, March 30, 2008

Warning: Some Heavy Lifting Required

I started moving stuff into my new apartment this weekend. The process has given me new appreciation for why some women are so obsessed with landing a man. You'd need one anytime heavy lifting was required in your life. Some of those boxes, for real...I don't know what I would have done if I was a girl.

Because I haven't moved in yet, my apartment and I are still at a point in our relationship where we are discovering new and delightful things about each other. Example: I learned this weekend that most of my light switches have dimmers. Counter-example: My apartment learned I like taking a piss with the door open.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

My Niece Has Got Talent

My sister's kids crack me up:

In her defense, she's got as much stage presence as the real Hannah Montana, and she's ACTUALLY singing.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Stuff Black People Like #11: "You Just Can't Understand"

Let’s do another one of these.

Much like evolution and global warming, it’s a well-known, scientific fact that being black is an entirely unique experience. After years of research scientists have determined that nothing in a non-black person’s life will make them able to relate, sympathize, empathize, or analogize to life as a contemporary black person on any level. It is simply a scientific impossibility. This should therefore never be attempted.

Fortunately this principle is taught early to black children and so they will be both able and willing to frequently remind you of it should you forget and make the mistake of expressing an opinion on black society. They will gently explain to you, “You just can’t understand what it’s like to be black.”

You may think to yourself, “I also can’t understand what it’s like to be Hitler, or a terrorist, or a pedophile, or a member of the KKK, but I have no problem expressing opinions on those issues.” You may even think, “Well, you can’t understand what it’s like to be white/Asian/Hispanic/Native American/etc!” This is perfectly natural. However, it also means you will have forgotten the above-mentioned conclusions of the scientific community.

While it may be true that black people do not know what it is like to be white or a Native American, experts agree that these experiences are simply not unique enough to prevent black people from effectively imaging what such a lifestyle might be like, and therefore does not serve as an obstacle in judging them. This is not the case with the black experience.

When engaging in a racial discussion with a black person, therefore, it is best to immediately defer to their unique status that gives them an unparalleled perspective on race issues. If the black person is forced to remind you that you are simply unable to comprehend the black experience, this probably means you have just said something very foolish that reflects your limited, non-black view of life. You should then admit to your mistake and try to explain that you are not racist because you watch Chappelle Show.

Remember: If it’s black, hold it back. If it’s anything else, judge for yourself.

While you may be tempted, do not attempt this:

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Stuff Black People Like #5: Streetball

If you read this blog, there’s also a good chance you read Stuff White People Like. When I first read this blog, I thought it was hilarious. Poignant. An insightful commentary into white society.

But after the first couple posts its allure has started to wear off on me. Some points:

1. The blog isn’t so much about stuff white people like as about what a certain demographic of white people like. This demographic seems largely to comprise of liberal, upper-middle-class college grads from the Northeast and Pacific Northwest. This by itself doesn’t bother me so much, since that’s probably the same demographic of white people that reads blogs…or probably the same kind of white person you interact with, if you’re a minority who reads blogs.

2. Many of the posts seem to spend a large amount of time criticizing white people for essentially trying to be smart and progressive. Oh, those crazy white people! What will they think of next? White people read the New York Times. White people want bilingual children. The list goes on, and I’d keep providing examples but I'm already getting tired of inserting hyperlinks. Just go to the website and read some yourself.

I’m still waiting for a “Stuff Black People Like.” But apparently people would rather bitch about the concept than actually implement it. It can’t be that difficult:

#5: Streetball

If you are ever lucky enough to play against a black person in a game of basketball, do not pass up this opportunity to ask him about his former days as a streetballer. Every black person at some (usually vague) point in his life will have participated in “streetball,” an experience which will have bestowed him with considerable perspective and wisdom for the game. Do not be surprised if he references this wisdom on many, sometimes odd occasions: he is merely trying to make you an additional beneficiary of his experience.

For example, if a former street baller makes a particularly good cut to the basket, he will declare, “That’s how they do it on the streets, baby!” At this point you should nod knowingly and defer to his superior basketball knowledge. Though you may be tempted, DO NOT, under any circumstances, ask when in his life he played basketball on the streets or how he otherwise came about this knowledge.

Streetball is significantly different from and more difficult than regular basketball in several fundamental respects:

1. Streetball is usually played without a net, or possibly a net constructed from chains. This makes the experience significantly more hard-core and is only for players of the most advanced level. In addition, many streetball courts have rims that are poorly attached and may rattle when a shot is made.

2. The rules of streetball are considerably more lax than a regular game played in a gym. In streetball, you are just as likely to be shivved or kicked in the nuts as fouled. You should therefore never call a foul on a former streetballer no matter how hard he fouls you, because your attempt to enforce the rules will only make you the object of his ridicule and disrespect.

3. While the rules of streetball are considerably more lax, there is one very important rule that can never be broken: streetball must be played without a shirt. There are several benefits to this:

A. This gives you the opportunity to bump your sweaty, muscular bodies against each other, which is one of the points of the game.

B. It is likely that there are many attractive women nearby who are watching you play. It is further likely that they will be so impressed by your obvious skill that they will wish to have sexual intercourse with you. If by chance they have never seen a man’s torso before, the removal of your shirt will provide them with an ample opportunity and further solidify their sexual desire.

There is a famous streetball legend of a player who one day tried to play the game with his shirt on. But he never came home and no one knows what became of him.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Expressions: Holey Arrays

Here's an expression I don't understand: a "whole array." Example: "Fans can look forward to a whole array of new characters in my next book." Really? They can? A whole, entire array? Well, that's good news. Thank God it's not 3/4s of an array, because that would be disappointing.

What is it about arrays? Who are these people who have spent so much of their lives stuck with mere portions of arrays that they feel the need to make special note when they finally encounter a whole one? It seems to me that being an array should constitute a binary condition: either you are one, or you aren't.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

March Madness: Don't Get Upset

Georgetown Hoyas - R.I.P.

Friday I wrote of upsets. Oh, how prophetic! How clairvoyant! The past 48 hours have seen so many upsets. USD over UConn. Siena over Vanderbilt. WVU over Duuuuuuke. And I just had to sit here and take it as Davidson came back from a 17-point deficit to defeat Georgetown. Upset? You bet I'm fucking upset! I had Georgetown in the Final Four!

And here comes the cruel irony of March Madness: even though Stephen Curry and the Davidson Fucktards (I'm pretty sure that's their team mascot; honest!) have slain my Hoyas and smote their ruin upon the mountainside, I now have to root for them to defeat the Kansas Jayhawks and make it to the Final Four in order to stay alive in my pool. Right now I'm ranked 7th out of 73, and I'll be a Western Kentucky Hilltopper before I see it all taken away from me. The enemy of my enemy is my friend? Au contraire. The enemy of my enemy is my enemy.

UPDATE: Make that 6th out of 73.

Friday, March 21, 2008

March Madness: The Story So Far

This is the one time of year I wish I went to Michigan State. So if someone asked me what I thought about March Madness I could say: “Madness? This – Is – Sparta!”

If you read this blog you’re probably a dork and don’t know the secret to picking your brackets. So I’m going to tell you. The secret is, you have to pick the right upset in the early round--the game where a significantly lower-ranked team defeats a significantly higher-ranked one. Yesterday this game was Kansas State over USC.* I picked wrong. I had Kentucky over Marquette. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

* I told you Tommy Trojan was a loser.

It was almost Belmont over Duke, which would have pissed me off to considerable end. Belmont? Really? WTF, Duke? What. the. Fuck. Duuuuuuuukkkeee.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Life After Law School

This is my favorite time of year. Spring. The weather is getting warmer. The sun is shining. March Madness is upon us. I'm moving into a new apartment. Usually I come on here to either mock something, complain about something, or moan about something (usually DG*--what a sissy). But today I've come here to tell you that life is good. I believe I'm experiencing what other people refer to as a "good mood." Most peculiar. What is this feeling?

* We're elevating her to an acronym.

I think part of it might have to do with this being the first spring in four years when I wasn't in law school. In law school, there are no such things as "good moods" or whatever you Earth people call them. There are only varying degrees of bad moods. Grumpy. Surly. Vengeful. It may sound silly, but it's true. Consider: a friend of mine once said, "People in the outside world can't comprehend the soul-crushing reality that is law school." Or, to put it another way: I may not understand what it's like to be black, but black people don't understand what it's like to be a law student. Law school had me in a desperate, despondent mood pretty much all the time, and I probably didn't treat some people very well. All I can say is: that wasn't me, that was the law school talking, baby. I had a fever, and the only cure was more booze.

No more. On Christmas Eve 2001 my dog got an infection that basically caused his entire left eye to swell up within 24 hours. Even though we got him to the vet and he got over it, he was never really the same after that. Thinner. Tired. More worn. I'm afraid law school might have done something similar to me--that, even though the experience is over, it took something out of me, took something from me, that I'll never get back. Maybe it was something I never had to begin with.

But I've come here to tell those of you who are still blossoming lawyers-to-be: right now, at least, it looks like there IS life after law school. There are one or two glaring omissions in my life right now; but overall, I don't feel like complaining. We'll see how I feel tomorrow. "La donna e mobile, qual piuma al vento, muta d’accento e di pensiero." --Giuseppe Verdi, Rigoletto.

P.S. Kevin Love can kiss my ass.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

My Dog Is Smarter Than Your Honor Student Marine

Today at work I saw a car in the parking lot with a bumper sticker that read: "My Marine Can Nail Your Honor Student At A Click And A Half." Hmmm. Maybe he can, at that--although I'll bet he requires the aid of some sort of high-powered sniper rifle to do it.

But why exactly is your marine taking potshots at honor students? What's the deal with that? That's the real question.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I Missed You on the Charts Last Week

I want the extended remix of this song for my iPod:

Apparently, the place is JUST LIKE a mini-mall. But it's not.

If I ever have reason to head done South, I'm totally swinging by.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Defend Your Queen

Here's an interesting exchange from this morning's Meet the Press:

TIM RUSSERT: Congresswoman Ferraro, Geraldine Ferraro of New York, who was selected for vice president in 1984, said some very controversial things as well. Here's what she said: "If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman of any color, he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is, and the country is caught up in the concept." Congresswoman Ferraro, when challenged on that, said, "I really think they're attacking me because I'm white. How's that?"

REP. NITA LOWEY (D-NY): I would like to suggest that we move on from that as well. Hillary Clinton has dissociated herself from those remarks, and now it's time to get back to the real issues of the campaign. These are, are specific incidents that don't really help the Democratic Party, and you can't always be responsible for the enthusiasm of your supporters. And I'm satisfied that Hillary Clinton has disassociated herself.

MR. RUSSERT: But you don't find Congresswoman Ferraro's comments acceptable?

REP. LOWEY: I'm not even discussing them. I think that we should move on. This race is not about Geraldine Ferraro. This race is about Senator Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton. And I think my voters want to know what they are going to do for them and not only domestically but internationally, where we face extraordinary challenges.

MR. RUSSERT: But if someone said if Clinton was a black woman she wouldn't be here now, or if she was a man of any color she wouldn't be here now, the only reason here--she's here is a white woman, you would take offense?

REP. LOWEY: Tim, Senator Clinton can't be responsible for everything one of her enthusiastic supporters say, and I'm sure it'd be the same for Senator Barack Obama. Let's move on. They've taken positions on both of these comments.

Why are these people so bad at this? Seriously, why - is the Clinton camp - so bad - at this? How can Hillary and her communications team - the team of "experience" - be so bad at reading the political landscape? Just denounce it, so we can all move on. Just denounce it. The solution to this problem isn't that difficult. What do you gain by defending Geraldine Ferraro? Is she really that much of a party Elder? Last time I looked at an electoral map from 1984, she was a fucking loser.

This is why I would vote for John McCain over Hillary Clinton. This. Right here. She digs in over the stupidest things. This isn't even principle. It's just being stubborn.

This is what Rep. Lowey had to say in way of conclusion:

"Hillary Clinton is the best qualified, she has the most experience, she understands and is presenting a plan on the economy, on health care, on housing, on the energy crisis, on gas prices, on food prices. I do believe that the superdelegates will look at the large states like Florida, like Texas, like Michigan, like Ohio and make a decision based upon her qualifications and who can win."

Here's a fun fact: It's a grammatical impossibility to be the "best qualified" or have the "most experience" in a race that has only two candidates.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Southern Women Are My Favorite (And Not The Way You Think)

Since I work for a (inter)national company, my job has me interacting with all sorts of people every day. Tall people. Short people. White people. Black people. Here are some of the things I've learned so for:

1. I used to hate the phrase "Southern hospitality." Particularly when you consider the South's colorful (pun?) history with African-Americans. But every time I'm on the phone with a Southerner, they're always so courteous and polite. Texas. Arkansas. Louisiana. The Carolinas. Not so much New York. Every time I've dealt with an asshole, he's been from New York. What's up with that, New York? If you're really that stressed, maybe you should move to a new city.

2. You'll hear women complain that gruffness in a man is considered commanding, while gruffness in a woman is considered bitchy. Maybe. All I know is every time I've had to deal with an asshole, it's been a man...and his gruffness has been just that: gruff, rather than commanding. The women are always a polite delight. Here's to empathy and those superior social skills.

A Southern Bell(e):

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Don't Let The Meat Spoil

Here's the thing about me. I grew up pretty spoiled. Not so much ages 0-14. But once my dad made the leap into the private sector, material comforts started heading my way. Example: I went to one of the most expensive colleges in the U.S. and didn't incur a nickel of student debt. My parents bought me my Corolla and paid the insurance. There is the aforementioned Smart Phone. Other examples abound.

We try to justify it all with the notion that somehow "I'm a good boy." I graduated at the top of my class. I got into a top law school. I got straight As. I can quote random works of literature at what are intended to be opportune moments. Etc. But the truth is, these are all pale rationalizations. The fact is, I'm spoiled.

So I enjoy it when I get to meet someone who is even more spoiled than me. Some 20-year-old who drives an AUDI A6 and whose parents send to a different Caribbean island (Tortuga!) every Spring Break, or pay the rent so they can live in a Madison Ave apartment. These people endow me with the sense of jealousy and corresponding smug moral superiority so many less-fortunates must feel toward me.

Here's to you, MTV's The Hills and My Super Sweet 16.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A George Bush Romance

Today on the way to work I was listening to a love song that was popular back when I was in high school. I miss those days. I miss the days when I could relate to these songs on a truly emotional level. Clutching cherished photos, crying on my bedroom floor. Now it's all just nostalgia. But I miss the days when I was completely enthralled with certain girls and believed there was no possible way they would ever be attracted to me. It was all so much easier then. I like things that are easy.

It's never that way as an adult. Everything's so nuanced and shaded in gray now. Nowadays I'm never emotionally attracted to girls the way I once was, and there's always some extent to which I know they can't deny my rampant sex appeal. But I want a George Bush romance. Not a romance with George Bush. But the kind of romance George Bush would write if his speechwriters wrote romances. I want a romance where America can do no wrong and the Muslims are always evil. I want the simplicity of that singular love.

Lovin' you is easy 'cause you're beautiful...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Notes from the Workplace: Except on SpongeBob Holidays

We need to have a serious conversation for a minute about what is, and is not, appropriate for the workplace. And I'm not even talking about boots anymore. I'm talking about interior decorating. There's a guy in my office who - rather than filling his designated space with important, work-related documents - has instead elected to dedicate an entire bookshelf to various SpongeBob-based memorabilia. Not just one or two pieces, which by itself would be questionable. But an entire shelf. Dedicated. To SpongeBob. Memorabilia. Not the most confidence-inspiring sight to see in a White House employee.

Hi, there! Would you like me to represent your important legal case?

Another guy has dedicated an entire bookshelf to empty Coke cans. Is he a blossoming trash artist? Or just The World's Laziest Recycler? You decide!

But these aren't my favorites. Oh, how they are not my favorites. No, my favorite is a woman who has placed on her desk a plaque that reads "Well-behaved women don't have any fun." Read that again. "Well-behaved women don't have any fun." Really? They don't? Are you sure? Because if you're sure, you might just be declaring to everyone you work with - including, by the way, your boss - that you're basically a slut.

I like this one because, in an era where I'm supposed to keep my Facebook account under lock-and-key and can't blog in my own name for fear my employer discovers that - much like some uppity woman* - I might actually have opinions, this woman can express pride that she finds certain social conventions ( like, say, not passing out in your own vomit, or wearing underwear?) too constraining. They hamper her good time.

*“But his niece—”
“You heard him. Sensible. Intelligent. His niece is probably one of those dreadful modern girls who have opinions and think women should go to Oxford…A most unpleasant sort of girl.”

What do you think, Josh Lyman?

"I'm a fan. I'm a sports fan, I'm a music fan, and I'm a Star Trek fan, all of them.
But here's what I don't do. Tell me if any of this sounds familiar: "Let's list our ten favorite episodes. Let's list our least favorite episodes. Let's list our favorite galaxies. Let's make a chart to see how often our favorite galaxies appear in our favorite episodes. What Romulan would you most like to see coupled with a Cardassian and why? Let's spend a weekend talking about Romulans falling in love with Cardassians and then let's do it again." That's not being a fan. That's having a fetish. And I don't have a problem with that, except you can't bring your hobbies in to work, okay?"

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Hillary "The Hammer" Clinton

There was a time back in law school when the only tort I knew was negligence. I therefore would attempt to turn every fact hypothetical into an action for negligence. To which my tort professor replied: "When the only tool in your kit is a hammer, everything looks like a nail."

Something similar could be said of Hillary Clinton. She's really only got one tool in her kit: the political attack. It's a hammer. And boy is everything else a nail. Girl comes across a screw and thinks, "Hmmm, maybe we should use the hammer for this." It's a screw, sweetheart. You need a screwdriver. Read that last sentence again, and you'll probably find a Bill Clinton joke lost in there somewhere.

I'm not so sure that everything LOOKS like a nail so much as Hillary WANTS everything to be a nail. High unfavorables? Somebody get her a hammer. Moderators always ask for her response first? WHERE IS HER MOTHERFUCKING HAMMER?

And here's the real tragedy. It's appropriate that Hillary gets such support from blue-collar workers, because what happens to a person, and their hammer, when we try to move towards a hammerless world, when their hammer is the only thing they've got? Do they add information technologies or consensus-building into their toolkit? Or do they just keep on hammering?

Friday, March 07, 2008

Shilling For Shell

Glenn Beck is the gift that keeps on giving. Yesterday I caught him talking about how he wants to live in a "Safety Tree." In the Safety Tree, people can say whatever they want and won't be criticized by reactionary liberals, so long as what they say is grounded in FACT. The Safety Tree is particularly nice because conservatives love arguments based on FACT (this means you, Evolution). Pay no attention to the FACT that five minutes later Glenn himself dismissed global warming as nonsense and hubbabaloo. We're in the Safety Tree. In the Safety Tree, FACT Is King.

Truly a modern-day Swift. Yes, Glenn, we SHOULD eat all the babies!

Why is Glenn so upset? He hates it when liberals criticize oil companies, because FACT: millions of Americans own stock in oil companies, and FACT: oil companies employ everyday working-class Americans. Um, so does the Mafia, dude. I need a little more from a company before I invite it over to my place and we cuddle to a Meg Ryan movie.

I'm guessing people aren't pissed at oil companies because they help lots of Americans put food on their tables. You never hear anyone pissed at Microsoft for employing people. I'm thinking it has to do more with the FACT that they market a product that is harmful to our environment in both the short and long term, and makes us dependent on a lot of countries that don't like us for 90% of our energy supply. Or maybe it's because, instead of helping to solve these problems, the oil companies have chosen instead to invest their profits in lobbying and misinformation and general maintenance of the status quo? Could be.

Have you seen the movie Michael Clayton? Remember the commercial from the evil agribusiness U-North? "U-North promotes healthy living! " "U-North feeds the world!" "U-North loves your children! " Isn't U-North wonderful? So what if U-North also knowingly sold a product that kills its consumers? FACT: Fuck Abe Lincoln, U-North freed the slaves!

Farcical, right? Not so much. The past six months Chevron has been peddling a similar commercial. "Chevron is the largest producer of geo-thermal energy! " "Chevron is investing in alternative energy! " Oh, Chevron! You get such a bad rap. You're not part of the problem. See! You're part of the solution! You're investing in alternative energy and renewable resources! I'm sure it has nothing to do with your public relations campaign or because of a shifting economy that's beginning to realize it doesn't want your services. No! It's because you care. You care about the planet. You want to leave this earth just a little greener than it was when you got here. And that's all right with me.

JOSH: What are you doing?
SAM: Protecting oil companies from litigation. They're our client. They don't lose legal protection because they make a lot of money.
JOSH: I can't believe no one ever wrote a folk song about that.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

My Apartment: The Home Where I Hide

Over the weekend I purchased I new apartment with all my new-found proverbial "dough." Here are some pictures:

This is the first time in my life I think I've actually been proud of where I live. Last night after work I swung by to engage in some Hypothetical Furniture Arranging exercises, and I was feeling particularly proud. "I can't believe this is mine." "It has so much character." Etc.

Really, when I said apartment hunting was just like dating, I hit the nail directly upon its head. There are moments when I'm completely enthralled with and proud of my apartment. Just like a woman. And there are moments where I think, "Hmmm. I don't really care for X,Y, and Z. Maybe I should have held out for something better?" Just like a woman. I guess sometimes you just have to say "fuck it" and take the plunge.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Ohio: 'Cause It's In The Way

Good job, Ohio. You fucked up the political process once again.

I always say Ohio's state motto should be: "Ohio: 'Cause It's In The Way." I usually am making a solely geographical reference - because every time I'm in Ohio, it's only because I'm passing through on my way to get to someplace better. But it looks like Ohio is in the way in more ways than one. It works on SO MANY levels! I can't even count them all!

So many!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

We're Naked Under Our Clothes

I am really getting tired of all the nakedness in the locker room at my gym. I know the guys at Ibodera already wrote about this, but today I was forced to endure an unusually high dosage of male nakedness. Naked guys here, naked guys there. I was surrounded, like the Noldor at the Fall of Gondolin. There was no escape. Naked guys weighing themselves on the scale. Seriously? On the scale? You couldn't have put a towel on before you did that? That would have required too much effort?

There's no circumstance under which I want to see a naked man for such a prolonged period of time, unless I'm watching a porn or decide to start hitting for the other team. If you're nasty, hairy, lumpy naked, I don't want to see that. There's a reason no one has put you up on a billboard. If you're handsome, chiseled, Greek god naked, I don't want to see that, either. I don't need anything else pecking away at my insecurities.

What bothers me even more than seeing all the nakedness is knowing that there are all these dudes who apparently have no problem with me seeing them naked. Indeed, they seem to WANT me to see them naked. They go OUT OF THEIR WAY to show me their nakedness. I don't care if it makes me a prude, or insecure, or uptight: by and large, I don't want other people seeing me naked. If you're seeing me naked, (a) you better be my doctor, or (b) we're about to have sex. Otherwise, no Naked Law Revue for you. No display of my dazzling derriere or the obelisk emerging from a pubic forest that is my Pen15. It's just not in the cards.