Saturday, January 31, 2009

Two Choices

The way I see it we can play life one of two ways: We can pretend like we know what the hell it is that we're saying and doing, or we can seek out experts who know what in the world they are talking about.

The following is depressing but true: If you truly want to understand something you basically have to have a PHD in said thing. The PHDs know what they're talking about (some of them), the rest of us are just passing the time. Popular conversation on any given subject is basically a joke; I try not to think about that too much because I wouldn't be able to get up in the morning if I was ever conscious of the fact.

That's a long way to run to make the only, simple point that I wanted to make:

David Brooks is an absolute genius, his genius is recognized by both left and right, and all of us should start spending more of our time listening to people like him and his ilk.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Obama Drives A Dagger Into Seattle's Heart

Super Bowl Picks at the White House

President Obama set aside any air of impartiality on Thursday and waded into the thorny politics of the Super Bowl. His pick in Sunday’s game? The Pittsburgh Steelers..."

Well sir, you can kiss the Seattle vote goodbye, at least for those who truly love their Seahawks. We will never forgive the Steelers for steeling our Superbowl victory from us.

A Little Transvestite Etiquette, Please?

I'm talking about drawing a line in the sand. Past this line, you do not cross.

We live in a culture where the highest value is, ironically, one from the Bible: "Judge not, lest ye be judged." The only difference is that the Bible puts the statement in context, and from it we learn there are some things we should make judgements about, and some things that we shouldn't. But in our culture we glory in leaving this statement without any context. Yes yes, of course we all agree that it's wrong to steal (unless it's from a "big corporation" or someone richer than you), or that it's wrong to lie (unless that lie actually contributes to a greater truth, or an "emotional truth" as stated by my university lit teacher)--but the things that we reserve the right to pass judgment upon are being squeezed into an ever-narrowing circle.

That's why I'm drawing this line in the sand. Past this line, you do not cross.

This morning I sat down on the bus and in an adjacent seat was a thing. Hopefully you will see this is the kindest word I can use to describe this person. It took me a while to discern what was going on. Thing had woman hair, and I happened to be sitting very close, and it looked like scalp underneath (i.e. not a wig), so that was good. Thing had on a smashing banana yellow pants suit, so still, no problems. But then I tuned into thing speaking into its phone: thing sounded like twice the man I am.

I was boggled into full stare mode, which is rare for me. I reassessed the situation because I figured that I had figured wrong. Clearly this wasn't a woman. I scanned down and, you got it, a brown leather purse placed gingerly in thing's lap.

This is where I draw the line in the sand.

Look, I know there is a big to-do about how these people "present." And I suppose the polite thing to do is to treat them as what they are presenting as. That's fine with me. I don't think I am required to treat people in certain ways based upon their moral judgements. I mean, a lot goes into that, but as a rule I am going to be kind and cordial and friendly with anyone who isn't trying to kill or kick my ass.

But thing is asking too much of me. I'm sorry jack, but you've gotta go 100% on this thing if you don't want me to laugh at you. 100 years ago a man couldn't put on a dress and expect to pass through his day unscathed by social animosity. Today, rightly or wrongly, I think that is a fairly reasonable expectation, that you will have to take little to no crap for that "lifestyle choice." But I don't think half-assing it should be tolerated. The illusion needs to be completed, is it that hard to bump your voice up a couple of notches? In the world that we happen to live in there are only two choices on the menu, man or woman. We get to be one or the other. These days we even let you choose, but you gotta choose, thing--you can't keep your deep voice and your high heels, too.

I understand, thing, that you're pre-surgical or post-mental or bi-curious or cross-tran-un-sexual, but a little propriety would be nice. I'd even love for the two of us to set down and you could explain your whole process to me--but start sounding a little more like Marilyn Monroe than Michael Moore, or no dice.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

These Are The Worst Things About Being Human

When pressed I will admit that I enjoy being human. When considering the whole, I am glad that God reached into his Mighty Bag of Tricks and pulled out this blessed, cursed, damnable and strange thing known as humanity. That being said, in case you haven't noticed, there are some down sides to the gig. In exposing these I do not wish to complain, I do not want to anger God, Jesus, liberals or Sandinistas, I only want to initiate a dialogue that will resound about the halls of humanity, cherrished for it's truthiness and verve. I am a humble man, but I am also one of the greatest minds that I know of, so please drink from my well of insight.

These things represent the worst aspects of being a human person:

1. You get songs stuck in your head.

2. People you love become your greatest annoyance and source of anger unless you work very hard to combat this inevitable phenomenon.

3. Jews get picked on relentlessly, mercilously, even though, historically speaking, they really haven't done anything to anyone.

4. Stupid, arrogant and talentless people succeed more often than you would think.

5. Every once in awhile a human like Rod Blagojevich gets born. He's not bad enough to warrant vigilante justice, he's just one step below, and those are the worst human beings to have to deal with.

6. Democracy got invented. As it turns out this was the best possible alternative to anarchy. I mean, it's horrible, but as the man said, the rest of the options are worse. But the largest deficiency in democracy is that you have to listen to so many awful, pointless, braindead opinions that the nasau it creates has to be measured by the ton. If you're paying attention then you're weeping, and if you're not paying attention then you must be really bored.

7. The average person will spend 1.7 years answering wrong numbers.

8. Now matter how hard you try, no matter what you do, occasionally you will step in dog crap. When this happens, as it will, it is best to just burn the shoes. Some people try to clean them, but they're never the same. Never.

9. Going number 2, and the rudimentary technology that accompanies that process.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Ambitionz Az A Ridah

Over the years I've dabbled here and there with the idea of being a rapper. A lot of people have told me that I do posses some of the requisite skills, but I tend to dwell on the negative aspects of the business. The constant turf wars, the choosing between the east or west side, the merchandising...I don't know if I have the time for that on top of my day job.

Anyway, I wanted to share this documentary style video that I made for promotional purposes. Leave me a comment if you're feeling supportive and encouraging—go ahead and rot if you just want to hate on me. Thanks.

Woman Ripped in Half, Please Pray for Her

I know that we're in the 21st century, but stuff like this still happens; the worst thing we can do is pretend that it doesn't. Religious bigotry will end this world if we do not confront it. Though this man doesn't identify himself with a particular religion it's obvious that he is accessing some type of magic from a demon or warlock. Please watch this video and be aware of the dangers that lurk in the dark parts of our world. And tell a friend because you might just save a life.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Most People Think MLK Was a Good Guy

I was very surprised to see this stat in my daily Rasmussen Reports email:

Martin Luther King Jr.
What I'm surprised about is that it is only 86%. I've never heard a disparaging word uttered against the man. He's obviously a national hero and that's as it should be. The obvious answer would be that we have a lot of racists in the country. Well, you know, we certainly have some out and out racists, but I don't think they're more than a few percent of the country. Most of us are the closeted, "it's news to me that I'm a racist" kind of racists. And I don't even know that the term "racist" is the proper word to describe those types of folks..."human" might be a more apt descriptor.
But the most interesting thing about Martin Luther King's high favorability rating is the fact that in some ways he was a real piece of crap. Like Clinton, he was a womanizing, cheating bastard who couldn't keep it in his pants for love or money. But in the scope of his entire life, at least down here on earth, the good far, far outweighs the bad. I don't know how Jesus would call his case, but I'll take the moral clarity that sparked a movement that lead to civil rights for millions of the disenfranchised over a man who was able to maintain his fidelity any day, but clearly we call things differently than He does up there. How we measure people is quite arbitrary sometimes, but I don't have a suggestion for how we might improve that.

I don't think that we should dwell at all on MLK's infidelity, I don't think we should hold it against him in view of his entire life, but it is at least interesting that we don't, isn't it? Clinton will never fully escape the joke that he made of himself, and that's because his goodness didn't ever quite outweigh his creepiness. MLK is very much the reverse. Is that why we don't hold it against him? It just didn't make it into the popular mythology that evolved along with his memory. But perhaps it is more just a function of the time that he was in. Kennedy was a self-destructive maniac in a lot of ways, probably more so than MLK, but those things just didn't get talked about back then.

I guess the moral of the story is that the picture that we get of people is most of the time arbitrary, and very often the aspects of personality that are emphasized are more a function of the era and contemporary cultural narratives than they are particularly important in an objective, universal kind of a way.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

An Inside Look at Jason's Playbook

(I didn't mean to post this, but since i did, you can benefit.)

Hey, Jason, you need to pull your stuff together. In case you haven't noticed, other people are coming across as smarter than you. People generally seem more reflective, insightful and knowledgeable than you do. I have a few suggestions that should get this fixed. First off, over the long hall you're just going to have to do more study and research on all the stuff that's in the world. But in the short term you should do these things that should act as an immediate salve to any notion that you might be dense or somehow impaired:

Bone up on the Korean war. You see, no one ever talks about this war, so if you sound like you know what you're talking about people will say, "Wow, he even knows about the Korean war, obviously he is a master historian."

Learn about one of our presidents from the 1800's that no one ever talks about. Quote him frequently and admiringly. If done right this should have the same effect as the first suggestion.

Start saying "But is it really?" after everything everyone says. Even if your point is not immediately obvious it will be taken as deeply philosophical, which is good.

Increase your usage of the following words: purportedly, praytell, purloined, substantiate, gladhand, facile, indomitable.

Pick a few choice words and pronounce them the same way the Brits do.

Refer to everything George W. Bush ever said or did as "stupid," "braindead," "idiotic" or "evil."

Treat in a derisive manner anything you perceive to be well regarded as popular or hip. Some good examples: American Idol, the Twilight series, Saturday Night Live, The Office. WARNING: this works in reverse fashion for Barack Obama-- don't screw with him!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Oh, The Humanity

I'm surrounded on all sides. The...chewing...will...not...stop. It's interesting what it does to me. I've never gutted anything (besides a trout), does that help? Does that help you understand what this does to me? The fact that my mind would product that third sentence while people around me chew and chomp their apples and celery?

I wish I was not plagued. I wish I was not chosen to endure this suffering for some unknown reason. Chewing sounds don't seem to bother most people, oh how I long for such a life. To not have my heart race and my head pound when someone unsheathes an apple, mercilessly ripe for consumption--this would be such a gift.

I don't know how my life could get any worse, but I trust there are ways.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Irony Running Red Through the Streets

As a preface I must say that irony is a pretty cool thing.

(As a side note: the other day someone called me out on my calling something ironic. They were like, "Oh yeah, how was that ironic?" Immediately I shrank to about a quarter of my regular size, parked my thumb in my mouth, and begged for the person's forgiveness. Nothing could possibly be worse than not knowing when to label something as ironic; there is nothing on this earth that can show just how daft you are as a display of anti-intelligence like that. Anyway, I considered my usage for a good long while and concluded that I had accurately identified a peice of irony. I further concluded that though it seems I have a more liberal application of irony than the enxt guy, it really is only because I have a keener perception of the world around me and a deeper understanding for the general goings on.)

Now then, wouldn't the following situation be ironic?

We all know that there is not a good chance that Elvis is still alive. The same goes for 2pac. But do you know the one guy who it makes sense that he might still be alive? You guessed it, Andy Kaufman. He was a man way ahead of his time, precocious, always pushing the envelope and even talked about faking his own death.

But here is where things get really awesome.

What if he did fake his own death, planning all the while to return, and then accidently died before making his return? I think I'm correct in suggesting that would be quite ironic. Because the only way to pay off faking your own death would be to resurface, so how bad would it be to step in front of the wrong bus one day and you've blown your opportunity to go down in history as the greatest hoaxer ever?

Then again, it is the most conceptually funny thing that's ever occured to me that he would actually want it that way. That he would be just tickled to fake his death, then die later and no one would ever know. If there is anyone in the world who would ever want to do that, it would be him. And he'd love the idea that it might occur to some that that's what really happened.

Andy, you're a friggin' genius. I think.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Great Seattle Umbrella Controversy

Over the last few years I've heard some strange things being said as it pertains to umbrellas and Seattle's weather, and at this point I think something needs to be said.

I've heard not a few people saying that real Seattleites, of which I certainly claim to be, do not carry umbrellas. These people say that the rain is just too intense, too savage, for any man to be able to maintain the integrity of an umbrella for any length of time. They say that all they need is a raincoat, because they are a real Seattleite.

Well pardon me while I go throw up. I really have no idea what these people are talking. If you want to successfully navigate an umbrella in the pounding Seattle rain it only takes one thing: the will power to purchase, and keep on purchasing, expensive umbrellas.

It is true that the cheap, miniature $4.99 jobs just aren't going to get the thing done. They really have two fundamental problems. The first is what everyone cites, that they're weak and don't hold up. It's true. Their ribs are tiny and they are apt to blow inside out and they just don't make it. But the less cited problem they have that is really my main problem and that is their diminutive circumference does not provide adequate coverage to maintain a dry body. I'm sorry, but putting a glorified paper plate over your head will not get the job done. I don't know how it is everywhere else, but in Seattle you have to be prepared for the sideways rain, the pour, the swirl rain, power rain, slant rain, all that stuff. That tiny thing is a guarantee for drenched pants and an only semi-dry head.

The expensive umbrella is the final answer to the problem. Your expensive umbrella is going to run you anywhere from $12 - $14.99. The features of an expensive umbrella are that they are two to three times as long as a cheap umbrella, they should be hooked at the end, they don't fold or have a button that makes it "shoot up", and I've never seen one turn inside out and that includes in hurricanes (I mean, I've never seen someone try to brave a hurricane with an umbrella, and technically that still counts as me never having seen even a hurricane flip one inside out). There are two negatives to a large umbrella, though they are ultimately worth it. The first is that they are a pain in the ass to carry around. The advantage of the small umbrella is that they usually have a strap you can sling around your wrist, they pack easily under the armpit, and they fit inside most bags. None of these things are so with the large umbrella. It is cumbersome, it is inconvenient. You're constantly needing to find a place you can stuff it when you're not using it and you don't want to lug the thing around.

And it is this first problem that leads to the second problem: You're going to lose it. And if you're like me, you're going to lose it frequently. I mean, it's not that bad, I'm probably on my sixth one in as many years or so.

The last time I lost one was yesterday. I stepped off the bus and, you got it, no umbrella. Mercifully the bus had come to a stop at a red light just 50 feet down the road. I ran up and knocked on the window. Usually they won't open up for you unless you're at an official stop, but this lady was cool and let me in. I told her I forgot my umbrella and I'd just ride to the next stop, and the lady was so cool she said she'd wait for me to grab it and get off! (The bus, I mean.) We need more bus drivers like her, and I got a free umbrella—when I step off the bus without it that thing is as good as gone; if I'm able to recover it I consider that getting a new umbrella.

So really I'm on number seven.