Monday, January 29, 2007

my·o·pi·a (mī-ō'pē-ə) n.

1.Ophthalmology. a condition of the eye in which parallel rays are focused in front of the retina, objects being seen distinctly only when near to the eye; nearsightedness
2.lack of foresight or discernment; obtuseness.
3.narrow-mindedness; intolerance.

Let's see if you can figure out what sounds not particularly well thought out in this exchange.

"We have to get all these Mexicans out of our cities. More and more people are speaking Spanish."

"What cities?"

"Oh, San Antonio, Santa Fe, San Diego, Las Vegas...."

Illegal immigration is wrong because it's illegal. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy. And if we don't know who's coming across our border, then we don't know who's coming across our border. Another nugget o' knowledgeitude. And certainly anyone off the grid shouldn't be a drain on our tax rolls with benefits and whatnot.

But many on my side of the aisle claim to have a problem with illegal immigration, when if you ask why they eventually get around to some pretty xenophobic (read: racist) reasons, basically advocating the perceived superiority of pre-existing cultures...

However... Florida and El Paso and Los Angeles and Santa Cruz don't just coincidentally have them thar Spanish sounding names. The reason why you can get white bread in Laredo is because we did a mighty good job of eventually moving in there on a (reasonably) open market.

You wonder if they'd be as upset if there was a large influx of Canadians.

Of course, a party requires a certain percentage of extremists to a) vote for them and b) shut th ehell up. But that's a post for another night....

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Recycling is not our friend...

Movies they never need to make again....

  • The Fair Game Fiancee -- It's a week before Barry's wedding... so what's he going to do about the wacky (wedding planner/chauffeur/beer wench/gal stranded in airport) that he's forced to spend 48 hours with before his wedding? Who will he choose, the dull one-dimensional second-tier star who's waiting for him, or the spontaneous free-spirit he's improbably forced into compromising situations with? Why hasn't anyone else involved with the wedding (except maybe his best man) noticed he's spent the whole week with the girl who drinks tequila and cuts off his tie?
  • Tough Love -- There's a new teacher in town at John Shaft High, but in a world plagued by gang violence, teen pregnancy, drugs, and 1980s style ridiculously large "ghetto blaster" boomboxes, can anyone reach these youths, or will the system continue to abandon them? Watch as the teacher gets the kids to become interested in learning again by (gasp) having the lessons pertain to stuff from the kids own lives! See, counting is a blast when you realize shooting two cops plus shooting another two cops = shooting four cops. And gangs think Shakespeare's cool when they realize guys fought over whores back then too. And when the knocked-up 16 year old girl decides to drop out, the teacher goes to the kid's house and talks to her, pointing out school's important for having a good future, the girl tearfully comes back. The movie ends with the kids standing up for the teacher who's gotten in trouble for unconventional teaching methods.
  • Lose, Train, Win -- A team of kids really suck at a sport. They lose a game huge. A coach on his last-chance comes in and gets them to practice, a lot. There's a training montage with a good song that shows them working really hard. The night before the big game, he gives a big speech in the locker room where he says they are winners just for trying. Then they go out and win in slow motion (or in an oh-so-shocking twist, end up losing anyway but they sure did learn something about how a team can be almost like a team with some teamwork)
  • Something and Dance --- Turns out ballet and generic rap music do mix! Watch the life lessons that can be learned as two kids from opposite sides of the track find out that their love is strong enough they can battle their families to go hang out for a while and learn little bits of each others stereotypes. Turns out that uptight prissy whites can have fun doing something they thought only minorities did, and minorities can make a scene at girlfriend's dad's country club when he pitches a fit by standing up and accusing them all of being (gasp) shallow and elitist. But eventually minority parents and Muffy and Todd see their kids are happy and learn that other cultures besides their own are probably okay, in moderation.
  • Ask Me Twelve Times --- Guy sees hot girl in different social arena from his. Guy asks girl out, she says no. He asks again and she says no again. He finds some creative and silly ways to get around her and her friends, where she says no again. He says he's gonna ask one last time and she says no again. She realizes the guy she's dating is a prick. She goes to chase the guy she's been turning down for like a month, only to be amazed to see he's hanging out with a different chick. She storms off, he chases after her to no avail. He later makes a big, very public and very embarrassing apology. She reluctantly chuckles and takes him back. They kiss, movie ends.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

life among the faeries, part 2

I lost serious guy points today... I suppose it's a sign of being more well-rounded, but it's certainly not good dude karma.

I missed nearly the entire first half of the NFC championship game today, because I was at the theatre. Seeing a musical.

If it counts as a mitigating factor, the musical was Spamalot. So it's not like I went off to watch The Full Monty or something. Plus, I bought the tickets for a Christmas present for my sister back in October to go with a group of friends, so it's not like I was sitting there saying "Hmmm, I wonder how their opting for a matinee compares against what the starting time of the earlier Sunday game might be."

Still, it's a sign of my gradually increasing queeritude.

Offhand, the number of musicals I know backwards and forwards....
  • Guys and Dolls
  • The Music Man
  • Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
  • Jesus Christ Superstar
  • Evita
  • Tommy
  • Grease
  • West Side Story
  • Rent
  • Little Shop of Horrors
  • My Fair Lady
  • Singin' in the Rain
  • Chicago
  • 42nd Street
  • Avenue Q

mon dieu!

An old American man is at Charles DeGaulle Airport going through customs. The French official looks through his passport and speaks in an offended tone, "Monsieur, is it possible that in these advancing years, you 'ave never visited France before?"

"Well," says the old man, "no, I've actually been here once before."

"Sir zat ees impossible you must be mistaken. French officials are very effective, and eef you had been here before it would appear on your passport."

"Well, when my unit landed here at Normandy in '44, I looked around but I couldn't find any French officials to look at my papers."

Saturday, January 13, 2007

say what now

Weirdest thing I've SEEN in the last 24 hours: A beer wench who just finished her master's in neuroscience.

Weirdest thing I've HEARD in the last 24 hours: "My dad took my mom to a whorehouse in the Dominican Republic for a rugby party."

Thursday, January 11, 2007

life among the faeries....

I live in the heart of South Beach. I usually triangulate it for people by clarifying that "I'm close enough to News Cafe and Ocean Drive and the Clevelander and Lincoln Road that I can walk to all those things, but far enough away that I don't get the noise at night." While many people have the same general understanding of the residents of South Beach (the clubs and bars are mostly populated by tourists and people from other parts of town), I only recall one friend ever actually posing the question.

"Aren't there a lot of, you know, GAYS around there?"

Well, yes... actually there are.

The next question --- while presumably just the continuation of the person's thought, is what intrigued me...

"Doesn't that bother you?"


Now, I don't claim to be among the most enlightened, all-forgiving love all groups sort of Kumbaya-er. But I do try to favor pragmatism in my opinions whenever possible. So I recall my response having been a probably less eloquent version of:

"Well, what's supposed to bother me? The ones around me are very friendly and concerned about the safety of the neighborhood and their property value. They landscape in their spare time, they don't throw wild parties, they make damn good money... should I care what they're doing in their own places? What's the big negative... oh no, they have small dogs!!"

I consider myself fairly lucky to have the opportunity to have grown up in South Florida, and to be able to live here now. And that's not just because of the fact that at 12:30 in the morning I'm sitting on my front stoop in January under a palm tree and it's about 58 degrees with a soft breeze blowing. I think there was a certain point growing up when I actually had to realize that it wasn't everybody's normal experience to have on any given day a medianoche and empanadas for lunch and matzoh ball soup, knishes, and latkes for dinner. Fact is in the right environment you can appreciate diversity for the selfish reasons of what it can offer you without really having it forced upon you.

Growing up? Again, not necessarily the bastion of "all men are created equal", but perhaps more of a leaning towards a libertarian, laissez faire approach. If someone doesn't bother you then, well, why should they bother you? Not much accomplished except waste of energy by being mad at someone just for being. If they're not infringing upon you in any way shape or form, there's certainly enough other things that DO affect you AND are in your control to focus on. I'm not expressing that as well as I should because it sounds more like "tolerance through laziness" then any sort of acceptance, but anyway there it is.

My friends and I have gotten to the point where we joke about it. I'll play straight man (another poor choice of words) by tossing them an underhand pitch like chatting about how now, by virtue of "scrapbooking", I have a coffee table book where I've mounted all my ticket stubs from sporting events and concerts and such for display. This gets the intended result of them teasing me lightly for living "among them" for too long!

Someone else asked me once, if I could live anywhere, where would it be... another interesting question if given some thought... the truth of the situation is I CAN live anywhere... I've got no restrictions as such, I've had the opportunity to travel all over to see some of my options, and I work in a field where I could probably find a job in nearly any civilized, English-speaking town. And I find myself here of my own free will, with no real wanderlust save the occasional weekend trip for a football game. Here among the soft breeze, the stone crab claws, the ocean views, and the faeries....

Monday, January 8, 2007

life is like a different candy

One of my new favorite expressions... I read where someone said "Life isn't all beer and skittles."

Amen to that.

What surprised me was that I looked it up and it turns out the statement goes a ways back... long before the candy, even. Apparently, like everything else, "skittles" was apparently once an obscure old British version of bowling.

Well Bob's your uncle!

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

the laptop thing... aka "My Own Personal Beautiful Mind"

a pitch black, cold, rainy night in Washington. I come out of the airport in a long old trenchcoat, carrying nearly every piece of respectable-looking clothing I own in two bags that weigh so much the plane skipped into town. Add to my load a satchel with my checkbook, an organizer that I've had since several jobs ago, directions to my new office, and a laptop with everything I've read, thought, or written for the past two years. I was about to begin a month-long special assignment in our DC office knowing almost nobody in the town and never having ventured more than about three blocks from any given monument before.

I walkstumblecollapse into a yellow cab, having deposited the dufflebags in the trunk and electing to cling to the laptop bag.

I should take a second here to interject that I am a borderline OCD traveler. That's not to say that I have problems with the actual flying/driving/busing etc.... rather I'm the kind who will check my ticket 5 times between the house and the airport, and have often arrived at the airport in excess of 3 hours early just because I'd rather be the first one sitting at the gate reading a book then have to Pink Floydesque Run Like Hell.

Alas, back to our story... I'm clutching a sheet of instructions half-convinced that if I put it down, it will evaporate. Of course I can't go straight to my new apartment --- that would be too easy. I have to go to an empty, closed office building in the night, go up the dimly lit path in the rain, and reach into an old-style cast iron black mailbox on the front steps and hopefully pull out a large manila envelope with my name on it in big letters that contains special instructions, a map, and my key. I have to do all this while the cabbie presumably waits patiently with all my earthly possessions.

So, being the manic traveler that I am, while in the cab I try and remember what I can --- the name of the cab, the time I picked it up, etc. I key the driver's permit number into my cellphone to have a permanent record. The notion of two stops in a cab just never set well with me.

I get the instructions and the keys from the deserted office's dropbox. I get back in the cab and go on to the apartment. After a few misses, we finally get to the apartment (honestly, how hard can it be to find 234 6th street SE in a town where the numbers actually correspond?) By now it's approaching midnight. I wearily get out, grab my two checked bags, and start thinking about how to get them up a flight of stairs. I'm not thinking about the fact that the cab is pulling away with my laptop bag in the backseat.

I'm standing there like a damned fool, half-expecting the guy to turn around and come back upon realizing I've left several thousand dollars worth of technology on his backseat. Without my bag, I don't even have the address of the office I'm supposed to be going to in the morning.

More in chapter 2... if I ever get around to writing it...