Friday, May 28, 2004

A Request to be arrested

I have been bad. This week, I broke a federal law and a state law simultaneously. I live in California, where it is illegal to smoke in bars. I don't smoke cigarettes. I do, however, smoke cigars on occasion, and on this occasion, I smoked a Cuban cigar in a California bar. Federal law, state law. Both broken. Not only that, but people think cigar smoke is foul, so I probably broke a civil code as well. Triple guilt! I should be arrested! Of course, being a former libertarian who still clings to some of his past, I am opposed to both of these laws. Was this an act of civil disobedience? No. It was an act of being too lazy to walk outside, and too tipsy to care. So call it "Convenient Civil Disobedience." Take an average joe, and throw in a little obstinance, a few gin and tonics, laziness, and a head half-full of semi-intelligent ideas, and *poof* you get Thoreau. But seriously. Did the "Trading with the Enemies Act" really hurt Castro? I'm sure the powers that signed this into law assumed that tobacco farmers--angered by their loss of American profits--would rise up against Castro. Did this happen? No, because the Cuban tobacco farmers were simply able to sell their tobacco to the rest of the world, and garner even a higher price for their tobacco on the American black market. Ho hum. Another silly law that fails. I'm off to Sedona for the weekend. Who knows what I will smoke there, or where I'll smoke it. Ciao!

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

So where was I?

Damn, work has me hopping lately. So where was I? Oh yeah ... Al Quaeda's ranks are swelling, and gosh darn it, our U.S. intelligence is just sure they're going to attack this Summer. We don't know when or where, but the Official U.S. Intelligence Ouija board clearly spelled out the word S-U-M-M-E-R. Then, Top U.S. Cryptologists entered the word into the official U.S. Intelligence Cootie-Catcher, asking, "Will there be an attack this summer?" S-U-M-M-E-R. They open the flap and it said "Yesssss." Then they asked the question "Where will the attack occur?" They shook the official U.S. Intelligence 8-ball and it said "It is uncertain." Kidding aside, my question is this: what is accomplished by saying "there will be an attack this summer, but we don't know when or where?" What? Should we batten down the proverbial hatches? Raise the security alert from yellow to orange? Red maybe? Who might stand to gain by causing ambiguous, unfocusable fear of terrorism? "OMG! Jim! Are you saying that Bush would manipulate intelligence spin for his own agenda?" In the words of the Dude: "Fuckin-a!" -Jim

Thursday, May 20, 2004

8-year-olds, Dude

I am a huge fan of "The Big Lebowski". In fact, I'd go so far that it's now my favorite movie, and has eclipsed "Blade Runner", which had a 20-year run in my #1 slot. But now something amazing has happened. Something serendipitous. Something synchronicitous. Something really really coincidental! Look at this link, then come back. In the movie "The Big Lebowski", there is a character played by John Turturro named "Jesus Quintana" who ... among other traits ... has a history of pedophilia, and is a registered sex offender for having sex with minors. And here we have another Jesus Quintana, in real life, who was apparently guilty of the same crime. Coincidence? Perhaps ... I do know that every major studio does *intense* searches for just such coincidences before scripts are approved for production. If they want to make a movie about a guy names Josephus Schalbotnik from Pittsburg, who gets with a crime, they first do a search to find out if there is really a guy named Josephus Schalbotnik *anywhere*. If there's actually one in Pittsburg, they make the writer change the name to avoid a lawsuit. In this case, a studio didn't do it's homework. Oopsie! (In case the Coen Brothers read this, however, it's still the greatest movie made in a long, long time. Nice job, guys.)

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Cleveland Steamers

Warning! Disgusting story forthcoming! This was imparted to me from Dread of "The Ronkainen Project". I recommended he post a blog about this but he has higher sensibilities than me. Having no taste and even less scruples, I publish it for you here. Dread saw this first hand. I'll tell it to you quick: 1. Big guy named "Bear" sits at bar drinking. He's a regular. Nicest guy on earth. Everyone likes Bear. He's *really* big, though. 2. New guy comes into bar. Not as big as Bear. Very drunk. Huge asshole. 3. New guy starts up with Bear with the "What the fuck are you looking at, fucker!?" 4. New guy challenges Bear to a fight. 5. Bear stands up. 6. Bear punches new guy. 7. New guy falls down. 8. Bear unbuckles his own pants, drops his drawers, and squats over new guy, who is now unconscious. 9. No one intervenes. 10. Bear takes a dump on new guy's chest. 11. Bear pulls his pants back up, pays his tab, leaves. Dread later learned that what Bear gave the new guy is called a "Cleveland Steamer." (I guess it's cold enough in Cleveland for such a contribution to literally "steam". I wouldn't know as I've never let one loose in freezing cold weather. Still, the name is catchy.) Now ... after you wash your hands ... you can listen to the rest of the story. When Dread imparted this story to me, he and I were (as usual) discussing our differences over the situation in Iraq. While Dread and I don't agree on this subject, I will compliment his ability to find an apt metaphor. He recounted this story, and told me that the United States was giving Iraq a "Cleveland Steamer." We're letting the world know that if you fuck with the U.S., not only will you pay, you will be *really really* sorry for fucking with us. The real motivation is to avoid the original fucking-with, and everyone stays happy. I could go into a few reasons why I don't agree with Dread, but at least his argument was cogent. Crude, yes. But cogent also. This metaphor has given me no small amount of enjoyment these past few months. And then this week it suddenly hit me, like one of those V-8 moments. The insurgents in Iraq are giving *us* a Cleveland Steamer. In fact, I think they have more of a stomach for it than we do--and they're better at it because they've been doing it longer. They probably have a different name for it, though, like "Baghdad Bomb" or a "Fetid Fallujah". I wonder how much we still have to learn about who we are dealing with here ...

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Welcome to the New Economy

Tim Sanders, "Chief Solutions Officer" at Yahoo, has coined a new phrase: New Economy Depression Syndrome. As is frequently the case, whenever a "disease of the month" is announced, hypocondriacs everywhere raise their hand like Horschak on "Welcome Back Kotter" going "Oh! Oh! Oh!" Well color me Horschak. If New Economy Depression Syndrome (affectionately called NEDS) is a real disease--I gots it. I've seen Tim Sanders speak in person. He is a tiny bit of a bullshit artist, but I also think (like many bullshit artists) that he is pretty smart. In the case of NEDS, while I think it might be a bit of a publicity stunt, I think Sanders is definitely on to something. I heard a statistic that the body of human knowledge doubles every two years. Our corporate lives are the ol' "Head of the spear" (to coin a phrase) of where we apply this knowledge to our daily lives. Since it is in my nature to understand everything I'm dealing with, I am constantly in a state of mental fibrillation trying to grasp each component I must manipulate to output my company's proverbial widgets. However, in order to really understand it all, I would have to be in training 24X7. Since I have to get shit done I have to plod through uncharted territory without really understanding where I am or what I'm doing. Am I alone here? Is this just me?

Friday, May 07, 2004

For the Sake of My Sanity

Did your brain ever devise a phrase that it simply would not let go of--forcing you to somehow immortalize the phrase so that you can let it go and move on with your life? Well my brain has done this. It concocted a phrase last week that it keeps replaying in my mind. I simply must print it so I can stop the voices! The voices are saying this:

"You say Potater I say radical cleric Moqtada al Sadr"

Please ... please forgive me I beg you. It had to be done.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Steve's funeral was yesterday, and now I have a eulogy under my belt. I'm happy to say that I succeeded at making people laugh (quite a bit) during Steve's eulogy. Steve would have wanted that, and I was glad to do it. When you're 42 years old and you bury your best friend, you better learn a thing or two or you aren't paying attention. What I learned, among other things, is this: I spend too much time alone and online. When I'm dead and gone, the internet will not attend my funeral and talk about who I touched its life and made an impact. The internet won't miss me even a little. No, this guy needs to spend more time with real people doing real things and creating memories that will be registered in brains rather than temporary internet files. The blog shall continue, though.

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