Friday, August 31, 2007

The Confusing Business of Life

I'm never quite sure if I make a good feminist or not. I rail against pro-lifers, I make sure I vote in every election, and I believe that women should be equal to men. Ellen Goodman's editorial in the Globe has me questioning the voracity of my feminism on a Friday before a long weekend because I liked a movie I saw this summer. This couldn't have waited until Tuesday?

Goodman's editorial doesn't seem to have a big point, but I think she's perturbed by the reinforcement of gender stereotypes at the movies and in bookstores this summer.

The remarkable thing is that the best-selling book [The Dangerous Book for Boys] and the number-one movie [Knocked Up and/or Superbad] are out there offering the most opposite and fanciful revised images of boyness since the culture became obsessed with the "boy crisis," the "boy trouble," and assorted imaginary "wars against boys."

I didn't have an entirely positive reaction to The Dangerous Book for Boys, either. A friend emailed me after seeing the book on the Today show, recommending I buy it for a boy I babysit. After reading the synopsis, I got a little angry. Why shouldn't the boy's sisters learn how to tie knots or make paper airplanes? If the authors had titled the book The Dangerous Book for Kids, I probably would have bought it, but the entire book implies that these hobbies are for boys exclusively. The idea that girls shouldn't like Latin or want to know about important historical battles put me off enough where I bought the boy a different gift.

But my take on Judd Apatow's movies is the opposite of Goodman's. I haven't seen Superbad yet, but feminist blogs like Jezebel loved the movie. I did see Knocked Up, and I liked it. Was the movie vulgar? Of course it was. Yet underneath the veneer of vulgarity there is emotion that saves the movie from being There's Something About Mary. Seth Rogen's character tries (albeit in a misguided way) to impress Katherine Heigl's young professional character. Rogen's character also promises to be a part of the child's life, and changes from a stoner to a corporate sellout to provide for the baby. Aww.

The moral messiness of Apatow's male characters is what I like about his movies. Women's comedies have hapless women like Bridget Jones who spend the majority of their waking hours jumping through hoops to attract and keep a man. In their own foolish way, Apatow's geeky high schoolers and stoner layabouts are going through the same thing, but they use booze for underage girls instead of makeup and heels to do it.

I may not agree with Goodman on frat boy comedies, but she and I can team up to torch a crate of The Great Big Glorious Book for Girls when that shipment comes in. Stage faints and "fairy flower parties"? Fuck that. If you need me, I'll be teaching little girls how to hog-tie their younger siblings.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Adventures in Klutziness

I am not a very athletic person. Yes, I work out regularly, but I do that to keep my ass from growing to the size where it will knock over the Pru. But when it comes to activities that require coordination or grace, I am not very good.

I thought I could handle some boogie boarding at the beach on Sunday. Annette and Amy P. came down to the fine state of Rhode Island to partake in the glory that is Narragansett Town Beach. After hearing that the surf would be two to four feet high, I grabbed the boogie boards from my Mom's basement. We got to the beach and watched as the surf pounded the shore.

"Awesome," Annette said, shedding her clothes to head for the water.

Amy and I took the boards out first. Annette stood by and coached Amy in how to use the boards as I tried to get the hang of mine again. The last time I used the boards was at least three years ago when I brought the kids down for a beach day, and I'd gotten rusty. When I finally caught a wave, I rode it but tipped my nose down, shooting a heavy spray of salt water into my sinuses. Undeterred, I took the board back out into the growing surf.

A wave came at me that I thought I could handle, but I noticed I'd kind of timed it wrong. Instead of just bobbing over the crest of the wave, I paddled for it. I caught the wave and soared toward the beach. On my high-speed journey to land, I rolled or tipped the board and threw myself into the crashing foam.

I couldn't find which direction was up for a few seconds, until-- SMACK. My right cheekbone hit the sandy bottom of the ocean. I held my breath until I could get my feet below me again and stood up in the relatively shallow water.

Amy and Annette laughed at me until they saw how freaked out I was. "Am I okay? Did I lose any teeth?" I asked them. (In my defense, I'm without health insurance right now, so I was making sure I wasn't looking at a huge dental bill.)

"No, you've got all your teeth," Annette said. "And a fat lip."

"And you're probably going to have a shiner on your face too."

Shaken, I brought my board back to our towels and then slowly waded back into the crashing surf. Between waves I stuck my head into the cool water to keep the swelling down. As you can see, it didn't help too much.
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I sat around, thinking of excuses for the huge shiner I figured would bloom on my face at any moment.

"I just wouldn't listen," I suggested.

"Fucking sharks, man," Annette added.

"There's the classic 'what do you mean what's wrong with my face?' line," Amy P. said.

Luckily, I haven't needed to formulate any excuses. My face looked much better on Sunday night.
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Beach hair and a semi-shiner. Why am I single?

Nobody's noticed my injury unless I've pointed it out to them, which negates all the cool excuses my friends and I developed. So I am pointing it out here to warn you that if you are thrown from any board to put your arms over your head to protect your face. That way, you won't have to explain how you got that bruise on your face and spraying liquid all over your bathroom because you lip is still kind of swollen.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Anyone Want a Burger?

At work today we had some hamburgers and beer for lunch. After the employees feasted on the delicious meaty and/or veggie burgers, we found ourselves with eleven leftover burgers.

"What do we do with these burgers?" asked one coworker.

"Maybe bring them to the post office?" Someone else replied.

"It would be nice if the Pine Street in were near here." Someone added.

Determined to unload the burgers on hungry people who could appreciate them and not unload them into a garbage can, my coworker Feifer and I decided to leave the office and try to peddle nine (a couple people took burgers on our way out) burgers on the public at large.

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"Free burgers!"

As we stepped out of the office, a crowd of four people stopped as we announced our free burgers. They were initially suspicious of a couple of giggly people with an unmarked sack of hamburgers, but hunger won out.

"I haven't eaten breakfast yet," one of the women told us as she grabbed a burger.

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We walked down Mass Ave., calling for people to liberate our burgers. One tourist came out of one of the Christian Science Center buildings and told us in broken English that she was on her way to buy a burger anyway, and thanked us. A man in a Yankees hat turned us down, but smiled and said, "You guys are nice."

After a while, we were down to one burger. "This is going to be hard," Feifer said, "because if you come up to me with a collection of something I like and offer it to me, I'll probably accept it. But if you said 'Do you want this particular item?', I probably wouldn't take it."

It turned out he was right, and despite our loud calls to the tourists around us, we returned to our office with one lonely hamburger in a big plastic bag. Luckily, one of our coworkers took it and all the hamburgers found a loving stomach today.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Called It!

Ten months ago to the day, I wrote this post. In it, I placed this image of Mitt Romney:
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With the following prediction:

He's totally using this image in his presidential campaign.

Lo and behold:
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Bundled up against the chill winds of liberal Massachusetts, Mitt stood tall.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Holla Back!

So I'm apparently late to the party on this clip, but it's still fucking hilarious. Thanks to TravelGirl for the link.

Be careful how you roll on the MV this weekend, peeps. Because there's nothing harder than a New England gangsta.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Don't Care How, I Want it Now

Hey Jessica Simpson, we know you aren't the smartest woman on the planet, what with all the dumping Nick Lachey for that guy from Jackass and the chicken-or-tuna debate you had with yourself, but this is way beyond your usual level of stupid:

JESSICA SIMPSON plans to adopt a child from a Mexican orphanage she has been visiting since she was a teenager. . . .

The 27-year-old tells Self magazine, "My father was a minister, so growing up we'd go on a missionary trip every summer. The first time I went to that orphanage I was 16. I remember holding this baby who was found in a dumpster. I wanted to adopt him right then and there. I was like, 'Dad can I have him for my birthday, please?'"

Are you kidding with that shit? A human child is not a goddamn pony, Jessica. An orphanage is not a pound where you can just grab a kitten and make your parents take care of it.

Between Jessica Simpson's grab-and-go method of adoption and Madonna's borderline baby thefts, it's a wonder any foreign countries let Americans adopt their children anymore. Which is a shame since there are many parents who give adoption a great deal of thought into adopting kids from abroad.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


If you've seen the latest issue of Boston magazine (which you all did, right?!), you may have wondered why I was so intermittently posting to this blog since I wrote all of 500 words in the August issue. At last, you can see why.

As you can see on the sidebar (points to the right) or at Universal Hub, there's a new link to a site called Boston Daily. Boston just relaunched its website yesterday, and the blog to go with it, which will be my primary writing territory. Cool, huh?

So if you need me, I'll be over there for the most part (though I'll still be posting here). Add BD to your blogroll, if you'd be so kind. It will help you live a better life. Or, at least you'll get reliably updated content there.

Monday, August 06, 2007

It's Monday. Do You Know Where Your Civil Liberties Are?

No, you don't, because over the weekend they were further eroded by a new law that expands the domestic wiretapping program. All the fun of the old wiretapping with none of the pesky judicial interference or justifiable reasons!

First, the law requires telecommunications companies to make their facilities available for government wiretaps, and it grants them immunity from lawsuits for complying. Under the old program, such companies participated only voluntarily -- and some were sued for allegedly violating their customers' privacy.
Second, Bush has said his original surveillance program was restricted to calls and e-mails involving a suspected terrorist, but the new law has no such limit.

Okay, so that sounds bad. Surely there is someone responsible in charge of deciding who can be wiretapped?
As a check against abuse, the law requires Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Michael McConnell, director of national intelligence, to design procedures for the program and to submit them for review by a secret national security court that normally approves warrant applications for intelligence-related wiretapping on US soil.

Well, Alberto Gonzales is such a bastion of justice and truth that this plan can't possibly be abused. Even though there's a provision that allows dirt found about American citizens to be kept if it could be evidence of a crime.

If you need me, I'll be deleting old incriminating emails and learning how to use a carrier pigeon to keep my messages private.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

We're Doing a Special for Dateline NBC. . .

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Now, if we could talk about me for a minute. . .

My love for Chris Hansen from Dateline NBC (that's the name on his birth certificate) grows exponentially with every episode in which he appears. Last night, CHfDNBC took the night off from nabbing pedophiles and identity thieves to nab i-Jackers, the hip name for people who steal iPods.

Through some ingenious plan, NBC laid boxed iPods in various areas around the country with a bogus CD that sent personal information to Dateline's producers, who then corralled the thieves/unsuspecting recipients of the iPods into describing why they would do such a thing. Most of the iPods were stolen by teenagers (hey, pedophiles, there's your new in!) who were immediately repentant when confronted with Hansen's brand of scolding disbelief.

The only reason I can fathom for Hansen not getting the shit kicked out of him by some angry pedophile or iPod theif is that brand of fatherly anger. His voice conveys, "I am both disgusted by you and disappointed in you" which is a pretty paralyzing combination. I am not a pedophile nor an identity thief nor an iPod stealer, and I feel bad about everything I've ever done wrong in my life when Hansen gets going. His poor kids.

Now they need a special where a pedophile carrying a stolen iPod and a fistful of stolen credit cards with thousands of dollars if receipts shows up. That is what they in the business call PAYDIRT.

For those of you who aren't in the know, here is infamous Naked Guy. Enjoy.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


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Aw crap. A moral quandary.

Despite my refreshingly unpretentious exterior, I do engage in some pretentious behavior. While I don't buy trendy bags that announce my green proclivities, I don't shop at Wal-Mart on various principles ranging from their sexual discrimination to their destruction of many local stores I once loved. I still shop at Target despite the fact that they sometimes don't fill birth control prescriptions because they do support some causes I think are good.

However, news of Rupert Murdoch's purchase of Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal (holy fucking shit, goodbye journalism!) has me thinking. Somehow, it didn't register with me that MySpace-- my favorite workplace downtime activity and means of stalking people I went to high school with to see if they got fat-- is owned by News Corp until now.

Since I was disturbed by this knowledge, I talked to my socially conscious indie-band friend Chris about his thoughts on the subject. What follows is our comment conversation via Rupert Murdoch's pedophile paradise:

Me: Chris, I have a question. MySpace is owned by News Corp. Why do we use this? Is it like watching the Simpsons, and we have to take the good with the bad?

Chris: I've been thinking that everyone should switch to Facebook. Fuck Rupert Murdoch. I hope MySpace tanks and he has to sell five yachts to cover his debt.

Me: Sigh. But I have just built up my empire of minions on this site and have resisted facebook for so long. I guess revolution is always inconvenient.

Chris: Baby steps, Derjue; baby steps.

1.) Create Facebook profile
2.) Tell others about said profile
3.) When feasible, delete MySpace account

I think I'm going to do that myself, actually. Seriously, the only thing better about MySpace anymore is the fact that everyone uses it. But the more people that try Facebook, the more popular it'll be.

Now I just have to get the thirty- and forty-something folks I convinced to join MySpace over to Facebook. The revolution will not be bulletined, friends.