Archive for May, 2009|Monthly archive page

bonfire

so not too long ago, a couple of teenagers tried to run a stick-up at a drug store in Oklahoma City. one of them had a pistol. the pharmacist, a Gulf War veteran with what I’d call a penchant for firearms, pulled out his own grip, and shot one of them in the head while he pulled on a ski mask.
the second robber fled with the gun. the pharmacist chased him out into the street, but the guy’s in his fifties, wears a back brace. the robber got away, and the pharmacist went back inside. stepped over the unconscious teenager on the floor, and got another gun. and then shot the kid five times in the stomach.
he was 16, and the shots to the stomach killed him.
gun rights? self defense? racism? discuss.

memorial day

the windows are open. the fan is on. I can smell the trees.
the phone rings, and it’s my brother. “what are you doing?” he wants to know.
“watching war movies.” war movies are on all day. “‘The Battle of the Bulge’ is on.”
Telly Savalas rips across the screen in a Sherman and blows some Kraut right to hell.
“war movies,” he says. “you know they’re the reason we exist?”
how do you figure?
“well.” he draws his breath, like he’s picking something up. probably the kid. “dad was watching these same movies when he was, like, 8. and then one day when he was older, a bulb turned on in his head and he said, ‘I’m joining the marines.'”
and the rest, as they say, is history.

for more on the kind of dumb asshole war movie I am describing, please revisit my May 2005 achievement, Anthony Quinn is too real for you.

I got chips, but no salsa

I really should do something constructive with my time.
the last week has been a wash. I have turned my brain off and gone to work. which is pretty irresponsible, given the economy and the job. if the roof caved in at work, I don’t know if anyone would come out to fix it; the corporate office would call it a business cost, and probably allow the building to continue rotting.
what I should be doing is applying for jobs. scheme. get things in gear. plan for moves two or three steps down the road. but … and there’s always a but … I don’t know in which direction to take my first step.
you could take that to mean anything you want it to, really. I am feeling listless, and bored, and lonely, and a little bit stupid. and I gotta figure a way to snap myself out of it.

one thing that still gets me up is the news, though. North Korea is claiming to have pulled off another underground nuclear test. I supposed ‘that sucks’ would be an understatement.
the world is going by outside, people are building bombs. fighting wars, getting married. but I can’t see it all, not from my window.

he goes to prison

we have a vast prison system in America. we fuckin’ love putting people in jail in this country; it’s an easy way for politicians get tough on crime, victimize minorities and abuse the criminal justice system to gain votes. but no one wants to take on two hundred assholes that we have failed to even charge. there’s too much legal limbo! no one can decide which court to try them in! it’s too fucking confusing, no one can figure it out!
a friend pointed out to me that it’s a good thing that closing Guantanamo isn’t exactly going smoothly — the Obama administration has been offering up a lot of massive proposals and very few details (think of the restructuring of the domestic auto industry), she is right. it’s good that there will be further public debate. 
with that acknowledgement, I will rashly say: anyone who tells you that they don’t want terrorists housed in the United States because of security concerns is … ill-informed. to mince words. Terra Haute hasn’t burned to the ground because of its federal penitentiary. and no one even knows where Florence, Colorado is.
here. bring them to Virginia. they can stay with me. I won’t bat an eye.

come out swinging

Obama

but this debate, which has been driven largely by those on the right in an attempt to make the Obama administration look soft on national policy, is growing into something of an image of our times. I mean, really, his political advisors dropped the ball on this, this public faceoff with Dick Cheney. this shouldn’t be happening, they shouldn’t have even let it get to this point.
but goddamn, did he look good doing it. I don’t know when it happened, but at some point it became more than just politics. at some point, it stopped being about public relations and making the other asshole look bad, and it became about conviction. I’m watching this play out, and I see two choices: do I like being told I’m kept safe at night? or do I like my chances in an open society? and that’s not a choice at all.

va politics

so this story ran in the paper about ten days ago, and I sit about fifteen feet from the guy who wrote it. which was pretty cool, as I got to ask him a bunch of questions about it after I read it.
 it’s about Pat Mullins, the interim chairman of the Virginia GOP, whose home base is in the county just east of here. he’s been playing the politics game for a couple of decades now, and back in 2000 he was involved with a political action group that tried to smear then Republican primary candidate Eric Cantor — now the minority whip in Congress — over unpaid taxes. but — and this is where it gets solid — there was apparently a healthy streak of good ol’ fashioned anti-semitism involved in the ordeal, as well. Cantor is jewish.
this group, the Faith and Family Alliance, it  distentigrated over this tiff, and everyone has gone their separate ways. one guy is now a senior adviser on GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell’s campaign. and another is doing seven years in the clink for soliciting sex from a minor on the internet. of course he is.
Mullins is now seeking the permanent party chair. I think they’re voting on this pretty soon, maybe in only a few weeks. to be fair, it’s debatable how much Mullins was involved in all of this, and he and Cantor have now mended fences. but that doesn’t make any of this any less salacious.
yeah. yeah, maybe the reporter sold it to me a little bit, but I think it’s very interesting in a ‘it’s state politics, so really, who gives a fuck’ kind of way. and I was convinced, convinced, it was gonna take off. but no one’s paid any attention to it. this is political intrigue, people! so let’s make with the false outrage!

I’m gonna get some traction soon

I love it when Ralph Nader is in the news. though this is only a column, and Nader isn’t really the news. 
the news is more about GM’s hopes to sell us Chinese-made Chevrolets under its proposed restructuring plan. good thing the government is bankrolling this.

also: got new running shoes. these kicks are slick. I will run like a goddamn antelope with these things on, or so Saucony would have me believe.

solid gold

are you hungry?
you are, I can see it. it’s in the lines of your face. well, I got something for you to eat.

I am going to the super gym

okay.
in news that doesn’t really matter unless you follow politics, house speaker Nancy Pelosi has fucked up and thrown all-consuming gasoline on the torture debate. she seems to have personally known about waterboarding, but said the CIA lied to Congress about its use.
now that’s a two-part statement. so, the first part: from what I’ve read, I’m willing to believe she knew about it — she was the ranking democrat on the intelligence committee at the time — but this could be downplayed as not such a big goddamn deal. take one for the team, madame speaker, you creepy old broad. there’s so many fucking democrats in the House that I don’t think even a weakened majority leader would be so politically painful. maybe I’m naive. or maybe this whole situation could have been handled much more deftly.
and the second part: instead of just owning up to it and downplaying her involvement … and that wouldn’t be hard to do, because having knowledge of the Bush administration torturing prisoners and not bringing it to light doesn’t exactly make you complicit; if anything, that’s the Bush administration admitting that what it did was criminal. but I digress …
instead of being concise and definitive, she’s being combative and unclear, which is just what the Republicans wanted her to do. so imagine this evolving debate about how much Nancy Pelosi knew about “enhanced interrogations” is a christmas gift, from her, to them. it has a bow. it is wrapped in shiny, colorful paper. 
and then she got buckwild and accused the nation’s intelligence agency of lying to the US Congress. which is like, the greatest stocking stuffer ever.

purpose

I went to the ACAC today.
a friend of mine hooked me up with a guest pass that they handed out as part of a membership drive. so I showed up with a five-day-old beard, in day-old laundry.
I felt a little underdressed. this gym is off the chain. there’s so much shit in there, it’s unbelievable. couple of different pools, racquetball courts, yoga studios, an indoor track, free weights, steam showers. every single treadmill has a cable television on it. there’s a fucking nurse on staff. a goddamn sundeck on the roof. and it’s about three blocks away.
it’d cost about twice as much as the gym I go to now. which makes sense; how else are they gonna pay for the absolutely necessary indoor waterfall without a price hike?
it is what grandma might call bourgeoise, yes. but I was still impressed. they should hurry up and build the YMCA already. this town needs more gyms, and cheap ones.

and I bought a reggae compilation with this song on it. hurray for reggae!

vision

I have three days off. thank you, big guy in the sky. and Mar is visiting Charlottesville tomorrow. I am pumped, I haven’t seen Mar in, what. four months?

jesus christ. just give Canada back one of its hockey teams already.
the Phoenix Coyotes are filing for bankruptcy. whatever the minutae may turn out to be, there is one overarching reason that this has happened: no one gives a fuck about hockey in Phoenix. 
now I may not know much — I’m not long in this world, after all — but it just so happens that I’m an amateur Canada expert because the guy I sit next to at work is has dual US/Canadian citizenship. and is more of one or the other when it suits him. choose a team, pal.
hilarious, I know. but does anyone doubt that Ontario will fall on that team like starved men on a bucket of chicken? they will eat that shit up. give Canada back the Winnipeg Jets.

why am I still up? what kind of marathon am I running here? I’ve got shit to do tomorrow, I need to be asleep.
there is a large truck outside on Avon Street about four doors down across the way. it is idling, loudly, and if I can hear it, know that half the block can, too. the engine is whining, like something is charging up, or about to snap. not what you fall asleep to. but I’m going down anyway.