Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Once, There Was This Boy Who...

Okay so. I hate Mitt Romney. (This may be unexpected. Please sit down until the shock subsides.) This is not to say he's a deplorable human being on a personal level, though given his backwards policies toward women and homosexual couples I'd say he's not exactly an open-minded guy I'd like to drink with. I also don't wish the man any physical harm, mainly because I saw this episode of Law and Order last night where this girl who said she wanted to kill her mother on a dollar-store version of MySpace and had some psychopath do her dirty work got put away for twenty-five years and I'm not going to jail if Mitt Romney gets hurt. If, however, Mitt Romney grows a cooter as has to navigate puberty, well, yeah, I'm going to the pokey.

(Calm down. I don't wish actual harm on any politician. Step away from the email link.)

Aaanyway. It turns out Mitt Romney and Matt Lauer have been setting a bad example for our nation by not buckling up, and I want you all to know I'm not making a Romney hair as helmet joke nor a comment about how I wish he'd crash after the quote.

After challenging New Jersey Gov. Jon S. Corzine for not wearing a seat belt, "Today" show co-host Matt Lauer apologized Wednesday for an interview with Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney in which neither man wore a seat belt while driving through New Hampshire. . . .
Romney apologized for not wearing a seat belt, saying in a statement: "Sometimes I forget to wear my seat belt. For my own safety, I need to keep reminding myself to buckle up."

Who doesn't buckle their safety belts in 2007? I know that both Romney and Lauer aren't as young as I am, but I'm relatively sure I spent most of my childhood convinced that a car wouldn't start if not every passenger was wearing his seatbelt. My mother actually sang PSA jingles to my brother and I to remind us to buckle our seatbelts. Did they not watch TV when the crash test dummies were in their heydey? (No, not those Crash Test Dummies.) (Extra points to those who figured out that I really just wanted to link to that video. How the hell did that song get so popular anyway? It doesn't make any sense. But it's still awesome.)

I don't give two shits if George Bush, Mitt Romney, Matt Lauer, Jon Corzine, or anyone who is a grown adult doesn't wear their seatbelt. That's their own stupidity on display for everyone by not wearing a safety device that could easily save their lives. I'm sure as hell going to be wearing my seatbelt, so if I collide with one of these stupid people my odds of making it out relatively unscathed are pretty good. This should not be "news" on's home page for an entire evening. If we're so stupid as a country to not want to vote for a man because he didn't click it, well, we get what we deserve, don't we?

Please, America, don't be that stupid. Keep in mind the myriad of other reasons note to vote for Mitt Romney.

I'm Comin' Out, I Want the World to Know

I misspoke a couple of weeks ago when I said Buddy Cianci would get out of jail on my birthday. Cianci is in fact getting out of jail today.

I spoke to my Mom last night, and amid the talk of her back troubles and the goings-on of my life, she told me that Buddy Cianci was getting out of jail.

"Yeah, I wrote about that," I said.

"Well, you're gonna have a lot more to write about," my Mom replied. "He's already got lots of plans. The mayor of Providence has got to be fearing for his life right now. What a slimeball Buddy is." My Mom then cackled with glee.

Apparently, Buddy wants to build a library.

On the eve of his expected release from prison, the closest friends of Vincent "Buddy" Cianci Jr. are thinking about the best way to preserve the former mayor's legacy. . . .

Cianci deserves a library of his own, according to some of his friends who also said it is the former mayor's intention. Friends are already looking for an appropriate building to house Cianci's collection of memorabilia.

Can you even imagine what that library would be like? An ashtray and a fireplace log behind glass from his first assault charge. His lawyer bills on display. Pictures of Providence before Buddy beautified it through kickbacks and corruption. Copies of signs that will certainly crop up around Providence over the next few months demanding a revolution and Buddy's restoration to the mayor's office. Yes, the rich legacy of Buddy Cianci should be celebrated so other children may one day improve Rhode Island through sketchy deals and racketeering.

Rhode Island's news outlets must be psyched for this development. Finally, the ProJo can sell papers again. People will tune in to hear the latest adventures of Buddy Cianci. And since I don't live in Providence, I can't wait to see what happens.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


I love flip-flops. Since I discovered Reef flip-flops in college, I seldom wear any other shoes in the warm weather. I love the jaunty noise they make as I walk down the halls at work, a sound of beaches and fun in an environment that sounds like computers and the stealthy footfalls of loafers. (I am a consummate professional.) One of my pairs of Reefs got lost in my moving adventures, so I now have a handy excuse to buy another pair.

What I do not like about flip-flops is their propensity to turn my feet black. By the end of the day, there is a ring around the bottom of my foot from my feet sweating, collecting road grime, then having the dirt ground in as I walk. Since I don't like the idea of getting street dirt in my bed, I generally sit on the edge of the tub and wash them off with a bar of soap. But no matter how careful I am, I always get some black soot in my tub. It looks like a bunch of English chimney sweep boys played around in the basin of my bathtub by the end of the week. "Cheerio, me lady. We were just playing a game of cricket here in your tub. Crikey, you've got some nosty feet you do, you do."

I occasionally take a scrub brush and antibacterial hand soap to the footbeds of my flip-flops, but this is only a temporary solution and the dirt ends up back on my feet. I guess I'll have to spend a few minutes a couple times a week scrubbing away the disturbingly oily black residue from my tub, because there is no way I'm giving up my surfer shoes.

Monday, May 28, 2007

You Are Not My Lucky Star

I'm cheap. Despite what my credit card balance may say about me, I really don't enjoy parting with any more money than absolutely necessary. Which is why, when my friends brought up a last-minute trip to New York City this weekend, I championed the cause of taking one of the Chinatown buses. Since we didn't want to die or end up with third degree burns on the side of the Pike, we decided to take Lucky Star, a bus line that doesn't feature so prominently in the local news, but was still cheap.

Let me tell you this right now. Never again will I take a bus that has a schedule with the appearance of a Chinese takeout menu, no matter how many of my eggs I must sell to pay off my trip.

The ride down to New York wasn't bad. When we boarded the bus, everything appeared to be in order. The bus reeked of disinfectant at first, but faded as waited for everyone to get on. No new funky smells overpowered us, and the bus backed out of the dock. As it jolted forward, the bathroom door swung open and hit my leg. My friends laughed uproariously as I kicked the door shut. The driver navigated the frightening curly-q ramp down to the Pike and the door kept swinging open. As I tossed my bag against the door to keep it shut, the guy sitting in front of us pointed out there was a bungee cord hanging on the side of the loo to keep the door from swinging when someone wasn't inside.

"Of course it's a bungee cord," I said, "because a bus' bathroom door is just like my Mom's garbage cans."

But we all had a good laugh, the bus stopped once at a Roy Rogers in Bumblefuck, Connecticut (quoth I: "I hate Connecticut."), and we arrived in Chinatown, New York almost exactly on time. We went to our hotel, walked around, met up with a friend, went shopping, had an amazing dinner in Little Italy, got picked up by the sailors' pimp at a wine bar, walked through Times Square at 1am, and went to bed. At an entirely unreasonable hour, we got up to head back to Boston. We waited by some trash cans in Chinatown for the bus to pull up.

The first sign of trouble was the bus itself. While our Boston to New York bus was emblazoned with the Lucky Star logo, this bus had an '80s-inspired aqua and hot pink brushstroke design, with no company logo. It was dinged up in the back. As its driver attempted to execute a three-point-turn in the middle of Chinatown, we got a little nervous.

Once the bus circled the block and pulled into its spot, we boarded. Unfortunately, this bus didn't have three seats next to each other in the back, so someone would end up in their own seat, ready for any freak that had $15 and a desire to see Boston in the springtime to sit next to them. We went toward the back of the bus, but I had everyone turn around due to a a funky human waste stink in the back. There was not even a hit of disinfectant. And where there were shopping-bag sized trash bags on every aisle seat on the bus the day before, there was just litter bouncing around on the floor on this bus. We grabbed some seats, with A sitting alone near a window so she could sleep.

As we sat, I began to notice things were not as good as they'd been on our trip down. The seats were ripping apart. The roof safety hatches appeared to be caulked shut. There was a pronounced odor of piss throughout the bus. There were a greater number of freaks on our bus from New York. There was the girl who is always on her cell phone and never turns it to vibrate. There was a homeless man who added to, but was not the cause of, the piss smell. An old Chinese lady yelled at the bus driver as he helped her store her belongings in one of the few overhead bins with a protective string to keep things from raining on passengers' heads. A ended up with a guy who could easily play football he was so big sitting next to her. Fifteen minutes late, the bus jerked out of its stop and on its way out of Manhattan.

I refrained from donning my headphones until we hit Connecticut. I looked around at the Bronx as we left the city, mentally sang "Jenny From the Block," and watched the old Chinese lady flip through her newspaper and tried to guess what the stories were about. I didn't breathe too deeply so I wouldn't gag from the overwhelming stench of urine. I stopped breathing entirely when the homeless guy wandered his way down the bus and started telling the bus driver something, and didn't take another shallow breath until he got back to his seat. Finally, we stopped at some rest stop on 95 in Connecticut (I fucking hate that state) with a McDonalds. Grateful for the chance to breathe some relatively fresh rest stop air, I got off the bus. After peeing and buying a coffee, we went back outside to where the bus was.

"Where is the bus?" Steph asked.

"Over there," A said, pointing to the one sad diesel pump with our one sad bus next to it.

We stood around and I sipped my iced coffee. The homeless guy wandered around, looking to make friends. He would mumble something, a nicer person than me would try to talk to him, and the homeless guy would say "No hablo Englais." He drank a Fanta he'd begged off someone.

I noticed I was about halfway done with my coffee, and saw that our bus driver was still pumping gas into the bus.

"We must have been on the fumes," Steph said. The bus driver removed the pump, then started fiddling with the gas cap.

"He's little," A commented. "Look, he can't even get the gas cap closed."

I was three-quarters done with my coffee. The driver was still unable to close the gas cap or the door to the gas tank.

"Come on, righty-tighty, let's go," Steph said.

"This delay is because I fibbed," I said. I've told a greater number of fibs this week than I usually do, and I think karma kicked my ass with this bus trip. Duly noted, karma. I'm sorry I fibbed.

Finally, the bus driver drove the bus back over to the waiting passengers. As he pulled up, we noticed the door to the gas cap was swinging freely open and closed. Someone went to the window and pointed this out to the driver.

"Surely he must have some bungee cord on this bus somewhere," I said. We climbed the stairs back into the bus that smelled like piss as the bus driver grabbed a pair of pliers to keep the gas door shut.

"We're never going to make it home," Steph said.

"We can call my Mom to come get us," I replied.

"Do you even know where we are?"

"No idea."

After a half-hour layover, the bus started back on its way to Boston. My iPod decided to play a funny joke by locking up on me. "Oh fucking no," I said to it, rebooting it. It then forgot that it had 1800 songs on it. I rebooted again, it realized the gravity of the situation, and it started playing my music. During the lull in music, I heard the homeless guy talking to someone behind me.

"No hablo Englais. But I don't speak Spanish either." Steph cracked up.

About forty minutes later, I noticed the bus was slowing down and merging to the right for an exit-only lane.

"Oh hell no," I said.

"What?" Steph said. "I just fell asleep. Are we stopping again?"

"Yeah we are."

"What the fuck?" A said, opening her eyes.

"Why do we need the Roy Rogers?" I asked. "Weren't we just at a McDonalds?"

But we had not yet stopped at the China Buffet. We got off the highway and pulled in to some strip mall in Northern Bumblefuck, Connecticut for a food break. After we'd all just eaten. Some people got off the bus, but most remained on board. Some sadists brought take-out back on board, giving the bus a nasty smell of urine and fried rice. It was horrendous.

"Never again. We are taking the train next time," Steph said.

"Agreed," A and I replied.

"I'm sorry I lied," I added.

To add insult to injury, the bus that left New York an hour after ours left pulled up while we sat in the lot. It was one of the newer models, and it appeared to be in better working order. We contemplated a mutiny, but stayed on our pee-stink bus. After twenty minutes, the driver found the one straggler and started the bus. We headed for the exit of the plaza. The driver attempted to exit from the "entrance only" lane. Steph jumped up in her seat, flung her hands in front of her face, and exclaimed "Oh my God. We're going to die on this bus" without a hint of irony or exaggeration.

The driver backed up, in theory to aim for the correct exit lane. But no. Instead, he just straightened out and headed for the entrance lane. I just started laughing hysterically as a Jeep headed for us, stopped, and let us go. Even the guy driving the Jeep was laughing his ass off. I thought about asking him if he'd mind a trip to Boston with three pretty girls. I wasn't laughing because I didn't think we were in a bad situation; I was laughing because there was nothing else I could do. We tried contacting every person we could think of who could get us at the plaza and bring us to another mode of transportation to Boston, but no one was around.

After unsafely getting back on the highway, the bus continued on. The bus shuddered so hard that every inch of fat on my body jiggled, making me horribly uncomfortable. After speeding at what easily could have been 100 miles per hour, the bus driver started slowing down quickly. When I looked to see why, I saw a Connecticut Statie sitting on the side of the road. Somehow, he didn't pull our hot mess of a bus over for speeding and generally being a cesspool on wheels. After the slowdown, I noticed the bus was shuddering even more and moving really slowly. The hills had been a problem for both buses to handle. On the downhill, we flew. When climbing uphill, all I could think of was the Little Engine That Could. "I think I can. I think I can." After we slowed, the bus barely made it up the hills. The engine sounded off, but I couldn't tell if the driver didn't know how to downshift, or if it was a mechanical problem. After going thirty-five miles an hour for about two miles, the bus started slowing down even more on a flat section of I-84.

"We are not going to break down," Steph said.

"Yeah we are."

"Perfect. That's just great." Steph jumped as we were nearly hit by a large truck. The driver, who apparently couldn't admit when the jig was up, remained in the travel lane until he had no other option but to pull over. My fat jiggled violently as the bus went over the rumble strip and ground to a halt, much to the vocal chagrin of the passengers.

"I want my money back," I said. "I am so not even kidding." I said this a bit too loudly, and the other passengers laughed at my riotous declaration.

Vehicles whizzed by our pee-stink bus as we sat idle for the first time in the whole trip. Even when we were at the China Buffet the bus stayed on. Either the driver was ignoring the law that you can't idle a bus for that long, or if he'd turned the bus off it wouldn't start again. After standing for a minute or two, the engine roared to life, and by some miracle the bus sloppily merged back into traffic, nearly getting hit by another shipping truck.

"We are going to die. It is going to happen," Steph stated.

"I am sorry for everything I've ever done wrong in all of my life. I am not a praying woman, but I am about to become one. I'd call my Mom, but I don't want her to worry."

Somehow, some way, our piss- and Chinese food-scented bus made it into Massachusetts. After sitting in tollbooth traffic because the bus didn't have an EZ Pass (how is that even possible? A friend of mine has an EZ Pass and she doesn't even own a car) we powered our bus with hope. Just outside Newton, we saw another Lucky Star bus on the westbound side of the Pike that wasn't as lucky as our shit bus, and had all its passengers in the woods and the hood of the bus was open.

"That was a gift that we didn't end up like that," Steph commented.

Buddah, Allah, God, Jeebus, Pan, whatever deity it took to get that horrible bus into South Station with all of us alive: Thank you. I'm sorry I did wrong. Ever. I have learned my lesson. I also learned never to take a Chinatown bus again.

My friends and I grabbed our stuff and hauled ass past the hordes of people waiting to get to New York. I sat on the T, thankful to be back in Boston, aware that I looked an absolute fright and almost had to smell like I'd pissed myself. I got home and showered immediately. I washed myself with antibacterial bar soap, then gel soap, then a body scrub. I used a ton of shampoo on my dirty hair. I gave myself a clarifying mask to remove all trace elements of piss smell out of my pores. I sit here, waiting for A to pick me up in her car that works and doesn't stink of pee and bring me to the beach to get away from the smell of city for a while. I very well may toss myself into the icy Atlantic to shock even more grime from my body. In any case, I'm not going to take the Chinatown bus again, ever. Can I interest you in some of my eggs? I've got to start saving up for an Amtrak ticket.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Viva Las Warren

Oh come on.

State Treasurer Timothy P. Cahill's proposal to have the state auction rights to build luxury gambling resorts won some key allies yesterday, with Mayor Thomas M. Menino, several state senators, business leaders, and a financial watchdog group praising the plan.

"I've seen it work in other places," said Menino, who has been aggressively lobbying Beacon Hill for new revenue sources. "It should be able to work in Boston."

Really? Yeah, Boston can have derelicts and jammed roads too! God, is there anything Menino won't do for a buck? Has the whole world gone mad? Am I the only person who thinks setting up casinos just to get some quick cash is as dumb as the people who go to casinos with their rent money?

"The real possibility exists that the Indians will have some kind of a casino soon," Morrissey said. "Timmy [Cahill] has seen the light. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em."

But you can beat them. Rhode Island has done so twice. When did the state just start waving the white flag when it faces a challenge? Also, I'm pretty sure you can't call them "Indians" anymore. They are "Native Americans."

Stupidity all around. This is a bad idea, folks.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Here In My Car, I Feel Safest of All

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Go boom!

Say it ain't so!
Rhode Island drivers are no longer the worst in the nation, according to GMAC Insurance.

Each year, GMAC Insurance tests drivers on a standard written drivers test.

Last year, Rhode Islanders had the worst pass rate. This year, the honor belongs to New Yorkers.

Rhode Island moved up to 47th place just ahead of Massachusetts.

What? I refuse to believe it. How is it possible that Rhode Island drivers have gotten better? Every time I go home I'm nearly killed by some jackoff who isn't paying attention to the construction on 95 (The Diglet, TM CO). Someone's always on my ass, not using a turn signal, going 50 down our back roads with wee little babies running free on them, or not noticing a light that's turned green. I got my license after I literally drove around the block. I didn't park, I didn't three-point-turn, nothing. How has the situation improved?

To my fellow Rhode Islanders, I implore you to start driving like douchebags again. Are you going to let New York be better than you at something? The next thing you know they'll be taking down the Big Blue Bug or the Independent Man and moving it to Syracuse. Have some goddamn pride, people. Cut someone off today. Sweep across five lanes of rush hour traffic at 80 miles an hour with no turn signal. Deploy your middle finger liberally. Do it for Rhode Island.

...At least we're still better than Massachusetts. Heh.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

They Never Start Working

I have a job. This job requires me to work Monday through Friday, from early in the morning until later in the evening. This job keeps me busy, and I need to be on the premises to get my work done. I need to be on premises because I don't have internet access in my home, so I can't try to accomplish anything from home. I've also been trying to keep up with my busy blogging schedule, and arrange some freelance work so I can keep Visa and Discover off my back. Therefore, I decided to get internet in my home. One wonderful neighbor of mine has a wireless signal that is unlocked, but it's availability is sporadic and I need reliable access. Since I didn't want to pay Comcast's princely sum for cable internet, I decided to use Verizon DSL.

I ordered the service a couple of weeks ago, and the man who took my order told me that I'd get the modem in the mail, and when it was my service active date to just follow the instructions on the CD they'd send with the modem. After trying to upsell me everything from tech support to 300 digital cable channels to a coaster, I got off the phone with him. I was suspicious that perhaps my installation wouldn't be as easy as the man said, but figured it was a price I'd have to pay.

Of course, on Monday, my service active date, my installation went fine until the program on the CD attempted to check my DSL connection, which didn't work. I called Verizon, with my phone hiccuping even though I had all my bars, and after yelling at the voice menu, I finally spoke to a human. After being redirected to the Mac support team, they said there was nothing they could do, and they'd have to send a technician.

"When are they available?"

"Between 8am and 5pm."

"Well, I'm at work then."

"I'm sorry, m'am, but that's the only times."

I hate these companies. No one I know has ever sucessfully installed their broadband on the first try. Whether it's Comcast or Verizon, it's always a gigantic pain in the ass to get the internet into one's home. Why do they even bother with this self-install shit? Back in the olden days, people would come out to your home to set things up for you. I don't think it's anything I've done, either. The guy I spoke to on Monday said it sounded like the DSL hadn't been activated on the phone company's side. Even after I got a phone call yesterday saying it had been activated, it's still not working. So I got to call Ed, who sounded like he came from Toronto by way of Bombay, who couldn't understand what I was telling him and I couldn't understand what the hell he was telling me, and now I am sitting here, waiting for the techician who I'm not even sure will show up, missing work for what may only be the first time of many. I'm tempted to send this shit back to Verizon and find my neighbor with the already-established internet connection and pay her $10 a month for use of her signal. I just don't understand why Verizon can't send a techician to everyone's home to install these things. For a trained professional, it would probably take about fifteen minutes to take the modem out, set it up, figure out what is wrong, fix it, and get it working. Instead, I feel stupid because I can't set the thing up, and the phone support people are only marginally more useful than the monotone voices on the CD.

Just to make sure I'm good and frustrated, I'm going to try to set up an appointment with my doctor for a physical. That should be awesome.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Said I Think I'll Go To Boston, Where No One Knows My Name

Like the many Rhode Islanders before him who turned to Massachusetts to get away from the smallest state in the union but still be close to home, Vincent "Buddy" Cianci is moving to Boston. Once he gets out of the pokey, that is.

Former Providence Mayor Vincent "Buddy" Cianci will work in sales and marketing at a luxurious Boston hotel when he gets out of federal prison on corruption charges, The Associated Press has learned. . . .

"He's going to have an office right inside the hotel. He's obviously an expert in sales and marketing. Look what he's done for downtown Providence," Regan said. "We think he'll be a great addition."

I am shocked, shocked, that Buddy isn't going to run for mayor of Providence right away. Buddy still has so many supporters in Rhode Island that I'm relatively sure they'd lobby to have a special election between Buddy and Cicilline and that Buddy would win in a landslide. Even my mother, who hates Buddy Cianci, has started laughing at his shenanigans before cursing him as a low-life thug.

Can you imagine Buddy Cianci trying to sell you something?

"Hi. I'm Buddy Cianci. You may remember me from such convictions as my 1984 assault using the very original combination of a lit cigarette, an ashtray, and a fireplace log, as well as my 2001 host of work, including mail fraud and conspiracy. All of this crime led to Providence, Rhode Island's revitalization, and now I'm here to revitalize your weekend with a stay at Fifteen Beacon, Boston's newest luxury hotel. In the shadow of the Massachusetts State House-- that I do not gaze at every day, tapping my fingers together like Mr. Burns, planning my domination of New England's most populous state-- you can stay in the lap of luxury. And, as long as you don't tell Taricani, I'll see to it my cousin has a real luxurious lady in your lap, if you know what I'm sayin'. So give me a call back, and we'll work somethin' out that's agreeable to both of us."

Yes, it's going to be a boon for business for Fifteen Beacon. Not only do I get to celebrate my birthday on July 28, I get to celebrate Buddy Cianci's release into society. Marinara sauce for everyone!

Friday, May 18, 2007

A Series of Letters to Various Personified Things

Dear Weather,

What the hell, man? Friday nights are my thing. I go out. Nothing too crazy, but I want to go out without needing my wellies, an umbrella, and a rain parka in tow. I need to socialize, to go out among my fellow Bostonians before I become a complete hermit. But this rain makes me want to curl up on my loveseat, eat some popcorn, and watch crappy TV for the sixth night in a row. Knock it off.


. . .

Dear Fire Alarm In The Hallway Of My Building,

If you do not stop beeping every fifteen seconds, I am going to lose my mind. I hope you've stopped beeping when I get home, or else I'm going to find you and yank your batteries out. Or perhaps I'll send you to Gitmo to torture the terrorists into confessing their nefarious plans.

But, I must say, at least you're not rats. I have no fear of pulling you off the wall.


. . .

Dear Work Gym,



. . .

Dear Work-Provided Booze Time This Afternoon,

I very much enjoy working in an environment where I had several people email me mojito recipes for a Friday afternoon celebration of M-named libations.

Yours truly, madly, deeply,

. . .

Dear Creative Inspiration,

What the eff, man. I used to write all the time. I have piles and piles of angsty stuff I wrote in high school and college. I'm good when I write. Why can't I sit down and focus on writing something that isn't posted on this blog? I can't go to grad school for writing unless someone gives me a big fat scholarship. I can't afford Grub Street. I don't want to be one of those writers who has a whole bunch of talent that's squandered by a fear of putting words to paper.

Don't drive me to drink. More.

Fondly yours,

. . .

Weather, seriously. Knock it the hell off. I think it's actually snowing. For reals.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Temptation of Fruit

So I’ve been shopping at the Market Basket, as it is the closest supermarket to my new swingin’ single pad. It’s quite an adjustment from shopping at Shaw’s and Whole Foods. While I find Whole Foods to be a harrowing experience, what with the permissive mothers calling out to their Jacobs and Isobellas in a futile attempt to control their offspring, but that was nothing compared with Market Basket. Everyone has a huge cart full of food and babies who are screaming to get out. There should be a ticket machine like the deli has at the produce section. But it actually smells better at Market Basket than at the deli section at the Shaw’s in Back Bay (rankest place in Boston!) and Market Basket sells the best strawberries in Boston.

I have not had strawberries that taste this good in a long, long time. I saw the pound (yes, one pound in weight) of strawberries sitting in the produce section, so I dodged some carts to get near them. The strawberries looked fine from above. I picked up the clear container and looked at the bottom. There was no sign of mushiness or rotting. What the hell, I thought, and took them home.

I figured I’d find the rotten ones in the middle of the huge container, and that I’d probably get a half pound worth of edible strawberries for my $3, which was fine. But as I took handfuls of berries out to wash, I didn’t find one rotten spot in any of them. The berries were huge and red, and firm as I rinsed them off. Unable to resist, I grabbed one and ate it while I washed.

Perfect. Firm to the bite, just juicy enough to force me to catch the juice as it ran down my chin, and flavorful. Many supermarket strawberries look beautiful but taste like Styrofoam once you get them into your mouth. Not these. Where did they come from, these great strawberries? How come no other grocery store in Boston can manage to get respectable strawberries in stock, never mind for such a low price. How do they do it? As a kid, my mother warned me to stop eating so many strawberries because I’d break into hives. Now I have to remember that warning, because I’m eating those glories with every meal. I smear a couple with Nutella with my bowl of cereal. I just ate a cup of them with my lunch. I’ll probably have them as a pre-bedtime snack. I can’t wait to go back for more, but I’m also afraid. What if my pound of heaven was just a fluke? What if the next truckload is full of the typical rotted red mess that grocers try to pass as strawberries?

I guess it’s just a risk I’ll have to take, because these strawberries are phenomenal. Maybe I’ll even make a shortcake this weekend if I’m feeling sassy.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


The internet is the cesspool of the modern world. For every useful website, for every awesome blog like the ones on my sidebar, for every shopping cart full of cheap stuff, there is a child molester, a credit-card scammer, and a political blog.

I don't mean a political blog like mine, which I've been told is political but I don't know how political my hatred of leggings is. I mean one run by an actual politician's handlers, with "content" actually generated by the "candidate." From MySpace profiles with Hilary Clinton to Howard Dean's famous 2004 grassroots action, politicians are encroaching on what was once only a den of hipsters and perverts. And me.

I'm pretty sure I've discussed Mitt Romney's MySpace page before. However, KCee just alerted me to Five Brothers, which is Mitt Romney's progeny's home on the web. (Why they didn't name it Mitt Romney's Progeny is beyond me.) The Romneys, Mitt and Ann, and their boys Ben, Craig, Josh, Matt, and "Tagg" (I use air quotes because COME ON) write about their media appearances, Mitt's values-based campaign, and how tall they are. No. I'm not kidding.

OK, I admit that Matt and I are actually each 1/4" short of 6', but we've always felt better about rounding to the nearest inch. We don't know why the other 3 brothers got all the height, and we are definitely bitter about it.

Well, thanks, "Tagg." I'd be pissed if I weren't quite 6' and my name was Tagg Romney too.

Here's Ann Romney's attempt at a MySpace picture.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Mitt Romney also forces his children to hide their location from him.

As a high school and college student, my Dad developed a reputation for being a great practical joker. His sons have all heard the stories now dozens of times. Believe me, you don't want to get him started.

I had heard the stories so many times of funny things he did to relatives on their wedding days that I went to great lengths to conceal the location of our hotel reservations on our honeymoon. I actually made reservations at 2 separate hotels and left a confirmation letter I received from the second hotel somewhere I knew he'd find it. My wife thought I was crazy, but if you had heard the stories, believe me, you would have done the same thing.

Can you imagine if you were gay, young Tagg? First of all, your first name would be especially cruel given some of the potential rhymes. Also, you'd be trying to hide your legally acquired marriage license from your anti-gay father. "No, Dad, I married 'Roberta!' See? Here's the certificate! No, the 'a' isn't in my handwriting!"

You go to Mitt Romney's Progeny for the height/weight stats, and stay for the unbiased political commentary, replete with an Apprentice-level of sports metaphors.
Wow. Dad was awesome tonight. I know that I'm biased, but, come on, that was a clear win. He looked presidential, articulated a clear vision, and was able to showcase his strength and his grasp of the issues. He was himself and it came through.

In my opinion, it was a lot like the fundraising efforts of the first quarter. Some of the other candidates did a respectable job, but Mitt Romney brought an A game and knocked it out of the park. It's clear to me who the Republicans should want on the stage to debate Hillary or Obama if we want to win.

I really hate this "he looks presidential" argument. First of all, they all look presidential compared with the bumbling fool who currently occupies the office. Secondly, Hilary Clinton doesn't have a dick, and that's had a lot to do with "looking presidential" as well. I can see why we're on a looking presidential kick after the failed "he's an everyman!" experiment, but let's get someone who has an actual thought rattling around inside his or her head this time around. Mitt Romney doesn't follow his head, or even his little stone heart. He follows what he thinks will get him the most votes. Look at his record. He's vacillated so wildly in his opinions from election to election. It's clear that he's banking on looking and speaking smooth. And we've seen where that gets us.

I see why politicians use blogs and MySpace and all the "social computing" that businesses have yet to figure out. It's like kissing babies of people who don't yet have babies. It puts a politician on a human level and makes them relateable to the coveted and unpredictable younger voter. However, it also smacks of opportunism, which is what it really is. Instead of campaigning on ideas, Mitt, and, to be fair, the other candidates, hope to pick up votes by simply being themselves. It also allows someone else, namely Mitt's children, to do his relating for him. I mean, Chelsea Clinton doesn't have a blog extolling her mother's virtues.

So add Mitt Romney's waste into the cesspool of the internet. Try to stay on the other side of the bowl, folks.

Monday, May 14, 2007

What Price Speed?

I had a lovely weekend in Rhode Island. I got to see my friend S, my grandparents, and cooked my Mom a bitchin' Mother's Day breakfast. The weather was so nice in my native land that I was sad to leave. I rode the train into South Station and debated which bus would get me closer to my apartment with a minimal hassle. One bus left Central Square, another left Davis Square. I elected to get off at Central and wait fifteen minutes for the bus. I'd have to walk up a hill, but decided it would be quicker that way.

I found the first stop for the bus I decided to take, and stood my massive duffel bag full of clean clothes next to me. Since I was by myself, I decided not to listen to my iPod while I waited. A man with a chihuahua tucked inside his button-down flannel shirt smoked a cigarette inside the bus shelter, so I had to stand in the wind since I didn't want my clean clothes to reek of smoke. The man sat next to an old woman in a work-issued pickle-stand polo shirt who appeared to be dozing while sitting up. Across the street, a woman who looked like the kids' aunt talked to a crunchy-granola friend of hers.

After five minutes, the man got up to talk to me.

"He's freezing," he said, motioning to the chihuahua. "He's not used to this cold."

"Oh," I said. Sometimes, I really wish I looked like I didn't understand English.

"But our car broke down in Watertown while we were visiting friends, so we're stuck taking the T." The woman, who I'd assumed was with the man, continued to doze unattended in the bus shelter.

"That's too bad," I said, praying the bus would show up.

"Yeah. I don't know what to do with it. The thing just shot right out. Ptttffffftttttpppppt. Can I call my bank and just tell them to stop taking my money since it's dead?"

"Uh, I don't think so," I replied, "I think you still have to pay for the car, even if it's broken."

"Oh, I know," the man said to me, thinking I was clearly an idiot for suggesting such a thing, "I want them to repo it."

I smiled tightly.

"Well, I have to get it out of Watertown somehow," he mused, petting the dog sticking out of his shirt.

"You don't want to get a bunch of tickets on it," I commiserated.

"My friend said I should just report it missing," the man said dreamily, "but that would be fraudulent."

I nodded.

"But the job market up here is just so bad. We just moved here." I still wasn't sure if he was referring to him and the dog or him and the drowsy woman. How the hell long does it take to get from Watertown to Central Square by bus?

"Are you a student?"


"Oh. I thought you were," he said, pointing to my near-bursting duffel bag.

He smiled, then walked away as a couple guys accosted me. They'd been lurking around the corner, then a huge white guy and a small black guy came up to the bus shelter. The white guy started asking for cigarettes while the black guy blasted a hip-hop song out of his boombox. Unfortunately, my head nod was interpreted as a desire to dance.

"YOU FEEL THAT BEAT?" The guy yelled over his beatbox. "UH, YEAH, CAN YOU FEEL THAT BEAT? I CAN FEEL IT."

The radio twosome walked away, and the bus finally showed up. The driver let the passengers off the bus about ten feet away from those of us who were waiting. The waiting passengers wandered over to the open doors, and the driver waved us off wearily, as if we were illiterate. He then drove the bus forward four feet and opened the doors. He looked as if he wished he were dead.

The chihuahua guy and the woman, who was indeed with him, got on the bus. "You'd better not be mean like you were on that last bus," the man said into his chest, "or else this guy will drop you off in the boonies. Not like that other dog who went to Harvard. Like that movie? Legally Blond?" The man said, mostly for my benefit. I avoided eye contact with him. The granola lady got on after me. A toothless couple from Philly got on after her. They snogged behind the chihuahua couple as I begged God to get the bus to my stop as quickly as possible.

A few stops into the trip, the bus driver narrowly avoided hitting a car that had cut him off. I nearly flew sideways into the bus driver, and pickle-shirt lady was half-standing, her Dunkin Donuts cup clutched in her hand. When we slammed back into our seats, the woman's coffee splashed forward in a half-figure 8. It looked like a cartoon as we all collected ourselves.

"Those asshole Massachusetts drivers," the guy with the dog muttered. "At least if I don't have a car I won't be the one cussing at them."

"What a nice dog," the granola lady remarked. "Is he a puppy?"

"No," the man said, "he's from Georgia and he's six years old. His name is Mr. Sandy McSunshine."

"Georgia in this country?" Granola asked.


"Yes. We have another, but she's at home. She's going to have some babies by this guy."

"Is that her son?"

Oh, I thought, we're in the dog incest place with this.

"Oh no. He's from Kentucky, but we don't let them do that."

Before I could hear any more about the sexual predilections of the man's dog, my stop came up. I took the brisk walk home, happy that I'd be alone once I got there. Next time, I think I'll take the bus from Davis.

But They're Cool People

Recently, I've had a lot of people ask me how to get the true flavor of Boston. Friends of friends who are visiting the area, or coworkers of mine from the international offices have asked how to enjoy Boston quickly on limited time. Sadly, I didn't have any great answers for these people. But I've been thinking about it, and figured those anonymous tourists who Google before they book would like to know how the locals do Boston. So here is my completely incomplete list of fun stuff to do in Boston, written on my lunch break, that could use much improvement.

A British coworker asked me last week what the one thing Bostonians are crazy about. I immediately answered "Red Sox. Fenway Park. Go." This advice, in retrospect, kind of sucks. Unless you know in February that you're coming to Boston at a certain time, odds of you getting tickets are slim. And if baseball isn't your thing, you may be slightly pissed about spending so much money on a ticket and watered-down ballpark beer. Even if you're working on the pound system, it's still not cheap to visit Fenway.

If a Sox ticket doesn't fall in your lap, fear not. You can still enjoy the Red Sox on their home turf without parting with all your traveler's checks. Your best bet is to watch the game at one of Fenway's bars. Sure, the bars immediately surrounding Fenway Park are expensive, but when Papi hits a home run, you can hear the thunderous applause over the Green Monster. My personal favorite Fenway bar is Game On, despite the fact that the beer costs nearly as much as it does inside Fenway Park itself. The nachos suck too. But the downstairs cavern with countless televisions playing the game is well worth the price, especially when you consider that Game On does a raffle in the second inning for Monster seats, so it's possible you may end up inside the park after all.

The Cask ('n' Flagon) is also good. The food is much better, and the people-watching is great from their outdoor seating. I'm slightly disappointed that their remodel led to the place looking like an overpriced Ground Round, but it's good. I'm in the middle of a hissy with Boston Beer Works, because every time I go there for dinner with a large party and we want to sit for a couple more pitchers (each) of beer, the waiter gets huffy and asks us to leave. I understand people may be waiting for the table, but we're still ordering. It's hard to manipulate pitchers around the bar area. I always forget what bitches they are in there until I'm already seated. But the beer is awesome, as are their fries.

Another thing Boston is crazy about is walking. Bostonians walk as much as possible. While this is due in part to the beauty of the city and its compactness, it's mainly because Bostonians hate the T. We walk down Newbury Street just to be seen on Newbury Street. You can try to shop, but it's massively frustrating and overpriced. Bostonians love to walk/run/rollerblade/bike/unicycle the Esplanade, which is why I love Boston in the summer. I don't know where they are for the rest of the year, but it's a parade of hotties on the Esplanade during this time of year. I'm going to start tripping them so they have to talk to me and take my number, if only for insurance reasons. You should also walk through the North End, but please watch for people who actually live there manipulating groceries. Step aside, let them through, then resume your gawking. (Annette, you're welcome.)

Visitors must also take advantage of the Filene's Basement in Downtown Crossing before it closes for "renovations." But for the hardcore bargain-shoppers, a trip to Wrentham is a must. The land of premium outlets, both Americans and foreigners go crazy for the bargains. My friend S's friend from England dropped about $600 on shirts, socks, and pants. He had to be dragged bodily away from the outlets. While taking a car is advisable, there is a bus that runs from Boston to Wrentham if you don't feel like driving.

Don't bother with Cheers. Just don't do it. It's a basement dive bar turned tourist trap. When I was at Emerson, I should have worn a sign that read "Cheers is under the big fuck-off yellow banner fifty yards in front of you. Leave me alone." If you must visit "Cheers," visit the one in Fanuiel Hall. They sell all the touristy crap and it actually bears a resemblance to the bar on TV. If you want to see a real Boston bar, visit the Pour House. Cheap, decent food, affordable drinks, a good mix of students and people who actually live in Boston. The Hill Tavern in Beacon Hill/Government Center is also worthwhile and good. Also an awesome dive, the Hong Kong in Fanuiel Hall has meat on a stick for a buck, scorpion bowls, and fun karaoke.

If I had to leave Boston tomorrow, here is what I would do with my last day:

  • Brunch at Dillon's. (Apparently, I'm leaving town on a weekend.)
  • Walk down Newbury Street.
  • Walk down the Esplanade by the Hatch Shell.
  • Walk over the Longfellow Bridge.
  • Lunch outside at Tealuxe on Newbury Street, for the good sandwiches and excellent people-watching.
  • Watch a baseball game at Fenway.
  • Dinner at Sel de la Terre, the Washington Square/Beacon Street Tavern, Super Fusion Cuisine, or the Publik House.
  • Dessert at Finale.
  • Mojitos at Bonfire.
  • Dancing and drinking on the cheap at Cleary's.

That's all for now. Weigh in in the comments section.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Miss You

Sorry it's been so quiet around these parts lately. Between New Work training, which I think has actually broken my brain for reals, and not having the Internet in my home, it's been hard to keep up with the world at large and maintain my snarking. My apologies. I signed up for DSL today, so I keep the hope alive that I'll be back online soon and in good form.

I wish I had something worthwhile to say, but I do not. It's raining. My boss ordered some frozen yogurt for our department that I am psyched for. I'm going home to celebrate the birth and general awesomeness of my Mom tonight, and I'm probably going to pass out dead once I get there.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Let The Water Hold Me Down

Send help.

Everyone in my work training is married, in the process of getting married, and owns at least one house. This would be fine if these people had a good decade on me, but they don't. They're maybe two to five years older than me. How is this possible? Am I really that socially retarded? People seem to like me. My Mom says I'm pretty. I have a brain. What the hell is going on? The only people here who aren't married or buying real estate are fresh out of MIT.

People talk about their houses and kids, then look at me. It's like a family dinner, but without the people who share your blood. I smile politely, but am really thinking unpleasant thoughts. At least I don't have to have sex with the same person for the rest of my life. I can pack up and leave this place at any time. Nothing's holding me back! I have a landlord when things break in my apartment.

I still feel like a pre-schooler in a room full of college students.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Confessions of a Broken Mind

Dear New Work Orientation:

You win. My brain is full.


. . .

End. Motherfucking. Times.

Hopefully, the data is flawed.

Romney's rivals, however, attacked the poll's credibility. They point out that Survey USA used computers to phone voters and ask questions rather than the industry standard of live operators, and challenged the poll's result that only 3 percent of the electorate is undecided -- a substantially low number compared with other recent New Hampshire polls recently.

Still. A journey of a million bad decisions begins with a bunch of rednecks with phones.

. . .

I am PSYCHED that Paris Hilton is going to jail. PSYCHED. I am naive enough to believe that maybe her brain and ethics will grow three sizes in jail. I am practical enough to know this isn't going to happen, but I'm an optimist.

. . .

I need a drink. I'm leaving now.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Movin' On Up

I am moved. The fine folks at Stairhopper Movers took all my earthly possessions and loaded them in a truck and hauled them to Somerville. They huffed and puffed to remind me that they were indeed working hard, and then left with their massive truck. I was on my own again.

So far, (::knocks on wood::) things are great. My place is deathly silent, which is great. There is no evidence of rodents. Last night, I watched Extreme Makeover: Home Edition for the first time in months. I just sat in my own company with no place to go for the first time since January. It was great.

So here is a short list of things I like about my new neighborhood:

  • The Pizza Place. It's so good. I went over there on Friday once I realized I hadn't eaten since 7am and it was nearing 2pm and ordered a calzone and frozen yogurt with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups in it. When the guy handed me the box with the calzone, I nearly dropped it since it was much heavier than I'd expected. When I got home, I was pleasantly surprised. The calzone was as big as my head, with a crusty outside and heaps of hot spinach inside and so much garlic it stung my mouth. Also in the box was a vat of marinara sauce. Seriously. I think I easily could have swum laps in it. The frozen yogurt was also excellent. While most pizza-place froyo machines just push the candy into the top layer of the yogurt, this had crumbled of peanut butter cup throughout the large cup.
  • Target. I drove to Target on Friday since I needed a ton of crap, but once I'd bought my supplies and parked the car, I took a walk through Union Square. Only then did I realize that I'm about a mile away from a Target. I can walk to Target. This means only bad things for me, people. I think I need an intervention.
  • The Packie. I was exhausted on Friday, but wanted to have a beer or two to welcome myself to my new abode. While driving around the new hood in my Zipcar, I saw a small packie. I walked back over later and walked back into the cheap beer section. And what to my wondering eyes should appear? 'Gansett. "Oh fuck yeah," I murmured, smiling as I handed over the six-pack of tallboys to the clerk.
  • Market Basket. I'd heard great things about the Basket from my friend Steph. She told me it was cheap and the meat was good. I'd read things online about the absolute horror show that this store is on the weekends. I'd heard it referred to as "the UN." It is all of that and more. I went late on Friday afternoon and tried to look like I knew what I was doing. My feet crunched across the aisles. There was a wide variety of meat. Chicken breasts were about $4 for a pound. There were the plantain chips that Missy bought for a beach snack last summer that I'd loved. For several bags of food, I spent $29. Tonight, I go back to buy things to actually cook.
  • The library. It's right near me, and it's a building from 1972. Or something. It's dated, but awesome. Funky stairs, orange metal racks of books, a rack of free stuff that included a pocket-sized Constitution. Once I can prove residence, I'm going to be there all the time.
  • My apartment. It's so new. Everything is freshly-painted. There are no holes in the wall, no uneven spackle jobs from previous tenants. The floors gleam they're so new. I still have random boxes of crap everywhere, but it's mine. The kitchen is small but beautiful. I didn't know this, but ovens have new-oven smell. I have drawers and cabinets, unlike the Shithole. All I need is some internet up in that joint, and I'm good to go.
  • This sign:Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Thursday, May 03, 2007


Dear Chew Tobacco Aficionado,

It was a beautiful night for baseball, wasn't it? Birds in the sky, kids delirious from staying up past nine on a school night, drunk girls dancing around on their seats. I imagine you, as a chaw aficionado, were inspired to make like Boston's nine men and chew a little dried leafy goodness at America's Most Beloved Ballpark. Who am I to stop you? (However, you may want to imagine what your face is going to look like after a lifetime of chewing on that shit. You're welcome.)

Also, dear sir or madam, I was also excited to watch Manny's bomb head clear over the monster. I had a great view in some prime logue seats on the third baseline. I got to say hello to Manny and Mike Lowell all night. I got to duck when foul balls came screaming toward me. My friend A nearly felt her heart jump out of her mouth after a couple doozies. After that first inning horror show, I was glad we managed to eek out a win. Go Sox.

I was not glad, however, when, in the ensuing pandemonium after Manny's second home run, you either threw or dropped your drained plastic beer cup that was filled with your spit, leafy remnants of chaw, and sunflower seed shells between A and I. Your cup hit the seat, then the spit-tobacco-seed goo hit my chair, A's coat, and a few drops on her face. It was the baseball equivalent of the dirty bomb. We missed the last half-inning because your nasty habit had us in the bathroom wiping your spit off of my friend with damp paper towels.

While I know Fenway isn't exactly high tea with the Queen, there are still some rules of decorum that keep the experience fun for all of us. You clearly made no attempt to dispose of your chew remnants in a sanitary way. If you had, the goo would have been in a resealable plastic bottle of some kind, thus just being a minor annoyance and not germ warfare.

So next time you want to engage in your vice, please do so in a manner that isn't so fucking disgusting. And for the love of God, don't throw your spit around the stands.

Spittle-Bombed Girls

I've Got It Coming to Me Because I'm Not Satisfied

Fad diets are like those amazing products you see on television when you’re completely hammered and waiting for the pizza guy to show up and deliver: you know they’re not as good as they seem, but the results sound so good you have a hard time passing them up. I myself haven’t had experience with the fad diet, but my Mom has. I watched her drink nothing but chocolate goo for a year, watched her go to meetings and be humiliated by standing on a scale in front of a room of women thinner than her, watched her forgo carbs, which I suspect she may love more than my brother and me. While she’d lose weight, it would always come back.

If you thought you had to go all the way to LA or South Beach for a fad diet, fear not. Third-tier celebrity/Kennedy hangout Martha’s Vineyard now has its own fad diet, known as the “Martha’s Vineyard Detox Diet.” This diet claims that by consuming vitamin-rich juices, thick vegetable purees, and herbal teas, you can lose twenty-one pounds in twenty-one days. Now soccer Moms all over Massachusetts are operating on dangerously low blood sugar behind the wheels of their SUVs. Wonderful.

But I’m being unfair. Some men have benefited from this diet too.

It was quite a bonus to James Hester, a former music publisher who came to the Vineyard in 2003 irritable and overweight.

"I had three chins and weighed about 213 pounds where I am normally 175 or 180," Hester said. "I was angry and had been using food as a way to manage my emotions."

After losing 21 pounds on DeLuz's program, Hester had something of a spiritual awakening. "I realized I was not only cleansing my body but my emotions as well," he says.

Couldn’t it be feasible that all Hester needed was a vacation, a chill pill, and a salad? I understand that it’s hard to get into a new eating pattern, but twenty-one days without chewing isn’t right (unless, of course, your jaw is wired shut). Using food as comfort is an easy trap. I get that. But these “drink diluted grapefruit juice and water for a week to ‘detox’” plans just seem like snake-oil to me. Start small. Stop drinking regular soda. Then kick the diet soda. Eat a salad with your regular dinner. Try fruit instead of cookies for a snack. These little steps help. Trust me.

I think DeLuz’s program is the most practical when she says this:
One of the tenets of the Martha's Vineyard diet is its flexibility, DeLuz says.
"You can follow it to a T, but even mini-cleanses here and there help. Put away the potato chips and Diet Coke for a weekend. Have some berries. Drink some green juice. Even if you eat just one meal a day of cleansing foods you're going to notice a healthy change."

There you go. No need to stop masticating, folks. Just pick up a fork and eat something that came from the ground once in a while.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

So Wrong It's Right

Wait. How is it possible that Queen Elizabeth has never been to the Kentucky Derby?

The queen and her husband, Prince Philip, will attend the 133rd Derby as part of a six-day trip to the United States that also includes visits to Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Clearly, Her Majesty is scouting for new suitors for Prince William. I'd like to inform Her Royal Majesty that I am not going to be in Kentucky for the derby. Though I suppose that could change. Life is strange.

But the Kentucky Derby is the perfect place for the Queen. Derby fans wear funny hats; the Queen wears funny hats. Put Queen Elizabeth in a bright pink, Saturn-ring-diameter hat and I am so there. And I don't even like mint juleps.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Bush Is Wacked, and So Am I

President Bush is ruining my dating life.

. . .

Let's say I meet a guy. Kinda cute in an affable way, with a twinkle in his eye and an accent. He gets me with some sweet talk, and I agree on a date. The guy's charming, pulls out my chair, asks me about my job, and pays the tab. I call my friends and tell them I think I like him. They squeal with delight for me. After a few more dates, I elect to make him my boyfriend. Once he gets that title, things get odd.

He starts picking fights with random guys who check me out. There was this one night which was really terrifying, when these two guys started hitting on me when Affable Guy was in the bathroom. They were ruthless, pulling at my clothes and groping me. A third guy was coming at me until some of his friends headed him off at the pass and pulled the other two guys off me. When Affable Guy came back from the can, he looked dumbstruck as I explained the situation. After ten minutes, he dragged me out of the bar, fuming mad and eerily quiet.

At first, he started beating up Irish guys who hit on me. He'd catch one follicle of a hairy eyeball and then his fists would be flying. It was a couple of drunk Irish tourists who skeezed me out that night at the bar, so I guess it made sense. But shortly after that, he branched out. Italian guys. Latino guys. Middle-Eastern guys. He especially hated those Middle-Eastern guys. When he was calm at home, he'd tell me he was preemptively defending my honor. I told him he should maybe rethink this. He'd roll over and go to sleep and murmur things about his daddy.

Once the assault charges started rolling in, I told him he needed to stop hitting people. But he wouldn't ever say he would. He'd say he'd think about it, that he hoped he could some day stop hitting people preemptively, but while there are guys out there who want to ogle my ass, he can't stop his war on pervs. I said that I have a nice ass, and probably people would always want to look at it. But he said that he couldn't stand for that. I started leaving a diary of his craziness in my desk drawer at work in case I went missing.

Finally, my friends sat Affable Guy down and had an intervention.

"You've got to stop this. You're hurting so many people," my friend Nancy said.

"No sir. Can't let Amy's freedom be limited by the forces of lust."

"But Amy doesn't want you to keep defending her," Barack added. "She can fend for herself with some training. Maybe a self-defense class?"

"I can't leave her abandoned in a time of need. I have to stay the course."

"Maybe you can defend her when she goes to seedy bars until she knows how to knee a guy most efficiently in the groin? Trust me, women can learn that," my friend Bill said with a laugh.

"Stay the course. Not fair to her if I leave. She wants me here."

"No I don't," I interject.

"She needs me here."

"No, actually, I don't. All I need is a locksmith to keep your crazy ass away from me."

Affable Guy finally let out a sigh. "I hope we can reach a common ground, Amy. But I am not going to stop defending you. I can't leave you without financial and personnel support. But I'm open to compromise on how to deal with this impasse."

"You mean, aside from admitting you were wrong to hit all those people?"


. . .
It's going to be a tough row for us to hoe, ladies.

I Believe in Peace, Bitch

I don't like horror movies. And by horror movies, I don't mean psychological thrillers like Silence of the Lambs. I mean movies like Hostel, or that new one with Hillary Swank and the fucking frightening locusts. Movies that are frightening just to scare the shit out of fools willing to part with $12 for a movie ticket without any sort of commentary behind them hold no place in my life or on my Netflix queue.

This morning I was reading Bitchfest, a collection of essays from Bitch magazine. While Bitch is a feminist magazine, it isn't a boring, dull, politics-only publication, but it takes on how women are treated in pop culture by women who like television, sex, and fun. While I consider myself pretty sensitive to portrayals of women, the essays in this book brought up a lot of points I'd never thought of, especially the essay "XXX Offender: Reality Porn and the Rise of Humilitainment" by Shauna Swartz. She describes a new type of porn where a woman is coaxed on a bus, promised money for sex, is debased, and is then left by the side of the road when the man is done. While it's performed by actors, the fact that it's presented as real humiliation of women is a new low for the porn industry. (I say this as a woman who likes porn on the merits. Hi, Mom!)

As soon as I got to work, I got this article from CO about the new horror movies called "gorno." Eli Roth, director of Hostel and Hostel II said this at a junket for his new film:

"Any time people see women in a horror film," he noted, "they say, 'Oh, these girls are just pieces of meat.' And, literally, in Hostel Part II, that's exactly what they are. They are the bait, they are the meat, they are the grist for the mill."

Yeah. Thanks, dude. Thanks for encouraging horny teenage boys to associate hot women and sex with torture. Last time I checked, I am more than a piece of meat, as are most other women. How is it possible that movies that show too many naked breasts have an X rating, but movies that graphically depict extreme violence are open to any kid with a fake ID or a stupid parent?

Kira Cochrane, author of the Guardian article, sums it up nicely:
...[R]ecently the levels of horrific violence on show at the multiplexes - and the sheer cynicism of the films involved - have gone through the roof. And a lot of the most nasty, unrepentant and terrifyingly pointless violence is aimed at women. ...the violence against women that's most troubling, because it is here that sex and extreme violence collide.

I don't really have anything else to add. It's a really sad time to be a woman, what with our eroding abortion rights, continued low pay when compared with men, and getting raped and murdered in porn and at your local movie theater without anyone complaining. Check out Bitchfest, and complain with your wallet when Hostel II comes out. Otherwise, you're just grist for the mill.