Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Today's good political news is that Guiliani dropped his 9/11-fetishizing ass out of the presidential race, so we won't have to worry about America turning into that particular police state. The bad news is that John Edwards also dropped out of the race, if you were even aware that he was running in the first place. The early-stage primary wasn't about finding the best presidential candidate but about who the media could cling to like a barnacle during the few moments they weren't too busy to cover steroids in baseball or Cloverfield or other important news. I'm completely clueless about how the media functions, which stories become big stories, who comes up with that thoroughly uninformative graph on the USA Today, why Natalie Holloway's disappearance is newsworthy but Chioma Gray's disappearance hasn't gotten a single back-page below-the-fold headline. (I'm sure the fact that Holloway was a white, blonde, ex-cheerleader has nothing to do with the media interest.) Edwards, with his "Two Americas" thesis, seemed to be the only candidate with some cognizance of the distinction between the American lifestyle afforded by wealth and the one afforded by ━ not poverty ━ but the lack of wealth and the lack of political power and social autonomy that accompanies it.

The media's election narrative, written way back in 2004, didn't have a guest role for Edwards since he's not black or female, as Senator Obama pointed out in one of the zillion previous debates. The nation, at least in the eyes of the media, either influenced by or influencing the vox populi, is looking for change from the Thirty-Percent President, but we're so vapid that we're satisfied with someone who looks different. Edwards was the only candidate among the thousand or so in the race advocating genuine policy changes. He pushed for universal health care, renewable energy, ending the genocide in Darfur. And when was the last time a politician called for an end to poverty? But what was most important about Edwards' candidacy was that he actually spoke out with untested ideas, rather than re-packaging the stale but comfortable hegemony that's politics' stock in trade. The media, as stagnant and complacent as any other corporate bureaucracy, in neglecting Edwards, was also stifling the unfortunately un-American message that things could be better, for real.

Fortunately, some of the Edwards platform, like the Gore platform, has leeched into the rather banal campaigns of Hillary and Obama. Hillary, I hate, but not in a right-wing conspiracy sort of way. I just hate her for being the Republicans' object of scorn, and because her very existence probably cost Gore those two-hundred Florida votes back in 2000. Also, she cried, and what the hell was up with that? I'm sticking with Obama, even though I don't like his message about rising above partisanship in Washington. "I'm a uniter, not a divider," makes you either one of two things: a liar or a pussy. He's supposed to have beliefs and if he's going to compromise them, I'd like it to be in service of something other than crazy Senator Inhofe's pigheadedness.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

B-List Celeb I Don't Care About: Dead!

Heath Ledger died two days ago. Noooooooo! The New York tabloids are keeping their usual sense of perspective, reporting on Ledger's death as if flags should be flown at half-mast. At least they're showing more restraint than "nina" from Tbilisi, posting on the BBC's message board:

Heath,I loved you always and everywhere.When I heard about your death I thought I would die with you but I couldn't.I remember once when I asked you an autograph,you smiled sweetly and asked my name.It was the best memory of my life.
i am now devastated.
Please don't say that Heath's dead.He lives in our hearts...forever...
Rest in peace my love

I'm surprised that A Knight's Tale even made it to the Republic of Georgia.

I understand mourning if you knew the man, if you'll experience some genuine loss from his death. But you didn't, and I don't care how many times you've seen Brokeback Mountain or The Brothers Grimm, or if you own the complete series of Roar on DVD, you didn't know him. He made his living pretending to be other people, okay? Maybe, if you stretch, if you pick up on the tics and nuances of individual actors, you can see him as someone whose job it is to entertain you, in the same way your supermarket checkout boy is the guy who bags your groceries. But since you spend your time writing misspelled posts on internet bulletin boards, I doubt that, too. You'll wake up tomorrow, go to work, have lunch, day after day, and eventually Access Hollywood will run story after story on some other instantly interchangeable twenty-something promising actor; the next thing you know, you're dreaming about marrying Casey Affleck or Zac Ephron on a beach in Malibu, nina.

The tabloids will keep up their usual respectful, objective coverage until Brangelina adopts another foreign baby or Britney has a back-alley abortion or something.

I didn't lose any sleep over that construction worker who fell forty-two stories to his death (around the corner from Ledger's apartment, too) ― and you didn't either ― so what makes Heath Ledger so much more worth the hyperbole? Front-page news versus the Post's "Local" section, buried among "Out of Control Psych Hospital $lapped" and "Charges Due in Base-Haul?" A "tragedy" or "tragic," according to... let's see: Nicole Kidman, Rob Reiner, the Australian prime minister, the president of Warner Brothers, and Mel Gibson. Benazir Bhutto's death was a tragedy that threatened to throw an entire nuclear-armed nation into chaos; Heath Ledger's death is unfortunate at best, although we all know it'll turn into an exhibition for Pat O'Brien to cream himself over while he's on The Insider pretending to give a damn.

If you saw Joel McHale's brief eulogy for Ledger on The Soup, he (inadvertently) highlighted what's so ridiculous about the reaction to Ledger's death: "In all our time doing this show, we've never had reason to mention him," which is the classiest celebrity worship possible. That's our standard? He wasn't a psycho douchebag with uncontrollable rage issues? Let's try raising our expectations of people a little bit.

This Joke Was Timely Once...

This is interesting. Listen to this: Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee just received an endorsement from Total Gym spokesman and star of the 1980 classic film The Octagon, Chuck Norris. Do we have a picture of that? Yeah. There: there's Huckabee and behind him, we've got Chuck Norris, in his business flannel. Apparently he's gonna be roundhouse kicking a moose later on. Yeah.

But I don't know. I'm not sure about this. Personally, I'm waiting to hear which candidate's getting Steven Seagal's endorsement.

You would've laughed at that two months ago.

NOTE: Joke also works with Ric Flair and Triple H (the only professional wrestler I've heard of).

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Perfect Gift (For the Budding Serial Killer in Your Life)

Do you know somebody who likes dolls, but also likes gruesome images of death? And are you always wondering what to get them for their birthday, since there's a conspicuous shortage of necro-Barbies on the market? Well, your problems are all solved, thanks to (what else?) the Internets. Psycho: meet Headless Historicals, a custom doll-maker who, as if that's not creepy enough in itself, specializes in recreating historical figures in whatever horrible manner they died. So you can decorate your kid's room with Isadora Duncan and a sky blue scarf around her skewed neck ("the longer end is stained with grease and tire marks"), or charred Joan of Arc, or Charlotte Corday holding her own severed head, so the children have something to dream about, snuggled real, real tight in bed. Nothing to fear: it's not like the dolls are possessed by the vengeful ghosts of their likenesses, coming alive when everybody's asleep for a midnight showing of Faces of Death. Still, I wouldn't want to meet the artisans, Shiva (really) and Garith (really), at the, uh... medieval festival, I guess. Or any of their 1,287 MySpace friends, either.

My favorite part of the site are the "Fun Pages," including the Violent History Bookstore and the indispensable Execution Device Dictionary. As your future World Emperor and El Presidente-For-Life, it's the first place I turn to when looking for ways to dispatch those who dare defy my iron-fisted rule. Roasting dissidents alive sounds like it could be "fun," but I have a feeling that spending a night alone with plastic Jayne Mansfield and her leaking doll-brains would make a worse punishment.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

No Pets Allowed

So disappointed this morning to walk into Grounded and see a Sorry, no dogs allowed sign taped up on the front door. Grounded was one of the final coffeeshop hold-outs when it came to the neighborhood pets: places like La Colombe, sugar Sweet sunshine, and Ninth Street Espresso already caved into the anti-animal lobby. (Cafe Grumpy: We love your dog but the health dept doesn't. Sorry.) The Board of Health, fresh off of saving us from the silent killer trans-fat (thank you guys for forcing the partially hydrogenated cooking oil out of my French fries; I nearly had a moment of joy there), issues a $300 first-time fine to food sellers hosting mammals of the furry variety, whether they're rats or the cats scaring the rats away. I still have plenty of reasons to chill at Grounded, but my top two have disappeared, thanks to the city's dog ban and the newly-fickle work schedule of the cute barista I enjoy ogling from behind my laptop.

It's pretty much the same as the citywide smoking ban, which as a non-smoker who enjoys watching people huddled together in the cold, wind and rain, giving themselves cancer, I fully supported. Not exactly. But before the smoking ban, there wasn't a single bar or club in the city you could walk out of not reeking of menthols, and now there is. I'm capable of making a choice, if there actually is one.

I understand the risks of eating food or drinking coffee prepared around dogs, but plenty of people prepare food around their dog without any kind of health issues. They're called dog owners. Most, if not all, of the dogs taken out in the neighborhood here are groomed, healthy, and housebroken, and I think the risk of finding dog detritus or effluvia in my latte is pretty slim.

What really bothers me is that while dogs are prohibited, it's perfectly fine to bring your slimy, snotty, drooling infant into Grounded. Let's see... dogs carry fewer germs than babies, they hold their pee and poop until they're outside, they sneeze at the floor instead of human level, and they're socialized not to scream randomly and for no reasons. I say we keep the animals here and kick out the children. Why can't we see more signs on restaurants (and movie theaters, museums, etc.) that start sorry, we love your baby but...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

In the latest Winning the War on Terror News, militants bombed a five-star luxury hotel in Kabul on Monday. The Taliban took responsibility, which: duh. I don't think anyone in the military or diplomatic community saw the attack and thought, "Well, it's either the Taliban or Ron Johnson from Billings, Montana, and I have no idea which!" This incident raises a number of questions:

  1. There's a luxury hotel in Kabul?
  2. Why?

Building a luxury hotel in Kabul seems a little like hooking your black-and-white TV up to a Blu-Ray player or putting 22-inch chrome rims on your 1979 Datsun.

The bad news, for me at least, is now I'm going to have to put my vacation in Afghanistan on hold. I guess I'll have to spend two weeks relaxing on the beaches of Somalia.

Friday, January 11, 2008

It's Simple

Another round of job interview brainteasers. Answers below:

You have a cube, 10 inches on a side. Cut it into smaller cubes, 1 cubic inch each. How many smaller cubes do you have?

No, that's not the brainteaser. I didn't realize that at first and thought it was a trick question.

Remove the outside layer of small cubes from all six sides of the big one. How many small cubes do you have now?

Scroll down for the answer.

Answer: 512, or 83. I had to visualize this: (1) Remove the right and left layers, leaving an 8 × 10 × 10 prism. (2) Remove the top and bottom layers, leaving an 8 × 8 × 10 prism. (3) Remove the front and back layers, leaving an 8 × 8 × 8 cube.

This took maybe a minute of mental processing and afterward, the hiring manager gave me, "Or ten minus two cubed. Here's another one."

You have eight balls, all indistinguishable from each other except that one of the eight is heavier than the rest. You also have a balance scale, which you can only use twice. How do you figure out which ball is the heavy one?

Weighing half of the balls against the other half will require log2(8) = 3 weighings. Same problem splitting the balls up five and three, six and two, seven and one, and eight and zero. "There must be another way to divide up the balls," the hiring manager encouraged (?) me, although I still wasn't convinced this wasn't a trick question. "There must be another way to divide up the balls." He must have said it twenty, maybe thirty times, in a couple of minutes. No pressure.

I don't know; inspiration struck. The first weighing needs to divide the set of balls into subsets with at most 21 + 1 balls in each, which is the largest number of balls that can be compared in a single weighing. Divide the balls into subsets A, B, and C, where A and B have three balls each and C has two. If A and B have equal weights, then the heavy ball must be in subset C, and it's trivial to solve from there. The case where A and B have unequal weights can be generalized: Say A is heavier than B. The heavy ball must be in subset A. Now, arbitrarily weigh two of the balls from A. If their weights are equal, then the heavy ball must be the remaining one. Q.E.D.

I enjoy these kinds of problems, but what's up with the interviewer pushing me, hurrying me, tapping his fingers on the desk and molding my mind like the solution's obvious and I must be the stupidest person ever to not see it right away. Yes, it's easy for you because you have the answer, jackass!!!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

If You Copy From One Source...

There's a commentary piece in the Education Life section of the Times all about cheating in college. Cheating makes Jesus cry. Back when I was in school, the old-timey educators made cheating — specifically warning us about the massive repercussions for cheating — their number one priority, even bigger than warning us about the massive repercussions for violating the school's arbitrary and ill-defined sexual harassment policy. It's a scare thing, the professors, entrenched in their "library" with "books" that need "photocopying," are faced with these new-fangled interwebs and haven't adapted yet, and we have to sit through apocalyptic, and spurious, proclamations that cheating is easier than ever and be scandalized. I became inured to this blather way back in middle school, reminded incessantly about the MLA, their ultra-pedantic citation rules, and the doom that would befall us should we separate the magazine date and page number with a comma instead of a colon or use italics (like a paper written on a post-1987 machine) instead of underlining. Besides the author, title, and page number, I usually just made up the rest of the information because I have better things to do than figure out where my copy of the Encyclopedia Britannica is published. No, I don't consider that cheating — I consider that being efficient, and who died and made the Modern Language Association the bosses of works cited anyway?

You can't get away with serious infractions like improper citing these days. Our education system has taken a zero-tolerance approach to "academic dishonesty," which, as a euphemism, I find just a tad dishonest in itself. At Columbia, we had to sign an honesty pledge — my professor at the time called it a Communist honesty pledge and told us not to sign it (in euphemisms, of course). And he was right, with Columbia tickling my resentment bone, working under the premise that I wasn't honorable enough to keep my eyes on my own paper. Four years of college, I may have cheated once or twice, but I can look at myself in the mirror and sincerely say that I was never academically dishonest, even leaving that inane pledge unsigned. I am thankful that I went to a school where I could not sign a piece of paper and forget about academic dishonesty, instead of one of those schools with an honor code and a student honor committee and mixed judicial boards, scrutinizing and following all your work like it's a psycho ex-lover. It's not new, but becoming more prevalent, according to the article:

Codes that define honorable behavior go back to the 1700s — the College of William and Mary in Virginia has what is believed to be the first. But they have become common policy. At Hillsdale College, in Michigan, for example, all entering freshmen must now sign an honor code. Students at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, must sign a pledge on all graded academic work signifying they have received no "unauthorized" help. At Haverford College, in Pennsylvania, students are called on to report their own breaches of academic integrity as well as to confront others who violate the code.

I never really thought about loopholes for cheating before, but I'm a fan of UNC Chapel Hill's passive participle there.

I bring this whole topic up because there's another article in Education Life simply titled "V.I.P." It's about guidance counselors and how they help high-school students get into their top-choice college. I cheated — and I mean steroid injecting, insider trading level cheated — on my road to college, purchasing test prep, hiring a college consultant, taking a summer class at Columbia so I could get an insider to write me a recommendation. First SAT score was 1460, but I presented to Columbia as a 1730 fraud after about thirty Princeton Review practice tests. My consultant told me to read Growing Up by Russell Baker, and I did, just so I could tell Columbia that it was one of my favorite books. (Catcher In The Rye makes you look banal, The Crying of Lot 49 looks like you're trying too hard to impress someone.) Come to think of it, I must have had at least ten different handlers polishing me up. They did what they could, but no one advocated for me face-to-face with the Columbia admissions director. Or the admissions director at Brown, my first-choice school (Columbia was #3), or from any other school. I never even thought that they could if they wanted to (which they probably did) and had the time (which they certainly did not).

It’s a level of support taken for granted at private secondary schools, where parents paying $30,000 a year keep power counselors on speed-dial and count on their connections to admissions directors.

Christoph Guttentag, Duke’s dean for undergraduate admissions, acknowledges that admissions officers are more likely to know private-school counselors, in part because those counselors make an effort to know them. But he insists their recommendations aren’t given more weight. Two-thirds of Duke’s admittees come from public schools.

I'd like to interrupt this rant for a digression regarding that statistic: two-thirds of Duke's admittees come from public schools. Without any context, that stat is absolutely meaningless: Is that a small or large percentage? What percentage of applicants are from public schools? And, most importantly, if the admissions process were blinded (and why isn't it?), would Duke have selected the same class? I used to be naive, but these days I'm pretty confident that Christoph Guttentag dropped that number to obfuscate the fact that "their" recommendations are, in fact, given more weight, and the Times is complicit in this deception. That feels... what's the word?... dishonest.

So to get this straight: trading thousands of dollars to boost your on-paper credentials is okay. Spending hundreds of thousands for a guidance counselor who's golf buddies with the dean of admissions, that's not cheating either. But forgetting to attribute a quote demands a sentence to academia hell?

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Hospital Time

About eight this morning, my parents pushed me out of bed. Bad news: Grandma slipped on her icy steps, and with her osteoporosis — she grew up in the days before calcium was invented — almost certainly broke her other hip. Nice thing about hips is you can only break them once... each. She went out to get the newspaper, slipped, and dragged herself back inside to her phone and called us. Mom flipped, cursed Grandma off, "I told her a million times not to go on those steps!" Mom has to parent her mother, except Grandma is geriatric and not a toddler, so she can't put up childproofing gates and keep her in the kitchen at all times. "I don't understand why you do these things!" I do. We treat her like a pet; we were asking my mom stuff like, "Is it okay if Grandma goes into the garage?" Which is where she broke her first hip, but it's her garage. Don't let her climb on the bookshelves either, cause she'll fall and pull them down on top of her.

I guess there was a point in this whole mess where somebody called an ambulance, and I met Grandma down in the emergency room. I had to spend an hour or so before I left contemplating her mortality, and what a horrible grandson I've been, taking her for granted.

I hate, hate, hate contemplating her mortality. I can't be detached and sardonic — the fall aside, she probably will die pretty soon, and I'll miss her, even though I can't look at myself and extrapolate a reason why. It's easy to imagine missing her food, or her little Christmas scene, but we have a rapport as individuals, which I don't see but I don't want to lose, right? Right? Or do I just record all of her Old Country stories, copy down her recipes, learn who's who in all the photo albums and then we're done? At least we're not done quite yet.

The emergency room is behind heavy doors, "Authorized Personnel Only," and it took some time to determine if I was authorized personnel or not. Not sick, and not a doctor, so pretty much useless. Maybe some people are happier in the dark, but I feel even more helpless when I'm out of the loop, watching her in her morphine slur for hours and hours, assuming everything's okay cause she's in the hospital, where there's gauze strips on the floor, syringes left on a table where any old opiate fiend could snatch them, MRSA passing its little drug-resistant self around. I produce carbon dioxide and anxiety. It's a relief when the ER doctor tells us, for sure, that Grandma fractured her hip — but aren't they supposed to show you the x-ray, stick it up in that lightbox and point to the broken bone? — and there will be surgery, as if it's nothing. They've performed this procedure, hemiarthroplasty, a million times, nothing to worry about.

I'm bothered by the lack of curiosity, or perhaps it's faith, that everybody else has around Grandma. Lab tech comes in, friendly seeming guy, to take blood. This is not normal. It is, in the hospital, but I'm talking in general. The lab — if they're not expecting to find massive issues — at least has a reason to think something might not be right. There's a tacit agreement to keep the medicine away from lay people, and that'll make my hypochondriac imagination go orgasmically wild. Grandma could die on the operating table! She could have osteomyelitis, bone-eating germs escaping into her bloodstream, and put her out before she even gets to the operating table! She could have spinal stenosis or fibromyalgia or the hantavirus.... What the fuck do I know?! Would appreciate some help here, since I'm kind of relying on someone else's thoughts for a bit of understanding.

Friday, January 4, 2008


I read this article in Wired, "A New DNA Test Can ID a Suspect's Race, But Police Won't Touch It." I must have been way ahead of the curve, forensics-wise, because ever since DNA became the buzz-initials of Court TV, I always assumed that was just one of the many amazing powers of genetics. The Human Genome Project, wrapped up its mapping stage in 2003 (the end product was over 200,000 pages of nucleotides), and the DNA Ancestry Project is busy categorizing the species by haplogroup, so the genomic databases are filling up pretty quickly. Apply all of this information to the DNA found at a crime scene and it's possible to solve for a suspect's ancestry, and that sounds like a pretty useful tool.

But — I didn't realize this — everybody's ancestry correlates to their race, and skin color, which I guess is the whole point. It's tough to put out an APB for an individual in Haplogroup Ia, but it's easy to tell the cops to be on the lookout for a white guy.

I don't know how well the technology works, but the Innocence Project has exonerated over two hundred people convicted on the basis of other evidence. Perfection isn't the standard the justice system looks for. If the law enforcement community were merely wary of genomic profiling — it's that "p" word that's at issue — I'd be disappointed, but there's downright hostility. A (black) prosecutor in Baton Rouge, where genomics helped police catch an African-American serial killer after going through a thousand white suspects, reacts to the concept with useless Luddite fear: "If I could push a button and make this technology disappear, I would," and then admits that his serial killer would still be on the loose, presumably killing people, without the DNA testing.

I feel safer. I wouldn't want my police — who have no problem using lie detectors, unreliable eyewitnesses, and even psychics as tools — to take advantage of little things like facts when it comes to figuring out who committed a crime.

I'm glibber than I should be, though. "Once we start talking about predicting racial background from genetics, it's not much of a leap to talking about how people perform based on their DNA — why they committed that rape or stole that car or scored higher on that IQ test," says Troy Duster, former president of the American Sociological Association. I'm still undecided on Duster. Is he merely stating his experience in similar cases, that given the opportunity to draw ignorant conclusions from this genomic information, somebody, somewhere will? Or (this was my initial reading) is he arguing against the technology itself, believing that it can be used to draw legitimate conclusions about suspects' "performance," conclusions society shouldn't have access to? Either way, he illustrates a real point, that some dimwit, given access to information, will misuse it. Like it's DNA's fault that people commit crimes.

The difference between DNA profiling and other [insert stereotype here] profiling is that your DNA is the cause, and the only cause, of your racial background. The genetic code doesn't determine your skin color, and then also demand that you behave according to the appropriate stereotype. Somebody explain to me how a big old molecule can be racist, but the idea that [insert race here] people must behave like all [insert race here] people isn't.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Groovier Than the Diner

Our sleepy little hamlet turned just a little more hedonistic when a cabernet lounge opened up on Park Avenue a couple of weeks ago. Fanwood and Scotch Plains were never blue law temperance strongholds; being a small, suburban New Jersey community, of course we already had four liquor stores in town and a depressing dive that reeked of cigarette smoke, sports pennants, and tubby, unshaven, withered middle-class dreams. I hoped we'd be getting a coffeehouse, but, on paper at least, my town feels a little more complete anyway with a place that will probably serve alcohol to high-school students and provide a midnite stage for their shitty poetry. In your face, New Providence!

I checked out "Peace Music Bar Love Vienna Go" (that's its real name, as far as I can determine) a few days ago, on a lonely Friday night, hoping to re-write the narrative of my boring town: bank, bank, copper fitting factory, Chinese restaurant, Chinese restaurant, bank. The front door is solid and there are heavy scrim curtains obscuring the curtains, but the back door was ajar, letting heat trickle out and cold trickle in. I had a hunch from its incomprehensible name, and I was right: Peace Music Bar Love Vienna Go is a 60's themed speakeasy, really really striving for that acid-tainted orgiastic Factory salon of post-modern critique: lava lamps and Buddha statues, copies of Life magazine dated April 12, 1963 or June 8, 1965 on a petrified wood table for your perusal because even your indolent lounging has to be sophisticated.... Except the crowd was New Jersey suburbanites, between the party hat-shaped glass my rum and coke came in (just standing within ten feet of the thing made me look super-fey) and the football game on TV, with oversized hairy ladies cheering periodically, the net vibe adds up to Austin Powers being served with papers for alimony and child support.

Not that I have anything new against Peace Music Bar Love Vienna Go; I just think that ten years ago, it would have fit nicely as a grand character in my small town narrative, instead of a footnote, just the only other place in town with mood lighting. Maybe — I hope, cause this place is totally stifling — the lounge functions better as a salon. The people necking seemed to enjoy the place, its funky chairs, and its mood lighting.

I tested the waters at around 10, probably before the busy season, and immediately stumbled into some dude with a guitar and then into two kids who kindly took a break from feeling each other up to stare at me. I, in turn, stared at the dopey Lee West egg chair they were simultaneously crammed into and splaying out of. "Where the hell did all these people come from?" I wanted to know, like they're carpenter ants. Fanwood's population is 7,174, and of that, 7,160 are second-grader moms with second-grader mom hairdos and second-grader mom jeans, and the lounge has maybe fifty people in there, none of whom are second-grader moms. I walked past some blue-collar professionals, people who still think they're attractive, sipping beer out of cosmo glasses. The owner... it's a 60's bar, he's wearing an 80's power suit, the kind of shiny metallic tie in vogue in the late 90's, and a Tony Little ponytail I can't really place in a particular decade, it's so timeless. Somehow I feel you could chop up the individual facets of his soul into maybe fifty pieces and you'd wind up with the whole crowd.

Now that I'm looking at these pictures of Tony Little (for the link, asshole — even if I was into hyperactive informercial man-whores I wouldn't scour the internet for Tony Little pictures. Billy Blanks, duh!) I'd like to recommend that our Peace Music Bar Love Vienna Go owner do something about his dry, split ends. Holy shit, will you look at this guy's hair? The freaking Girls Next Door don't have hair that sleek.

I stood around, drank my cuba libre, read Time magazine and got all the latest news from 1961. Gawked at the bartenders, who I swear are still in high school, and therefore can't be blamed for not knowing how to mix a cuba libre (or for not carding me, and I'm always carded). Hummed along to "I'm a Believer." Fascinated by a lava lamp. Went home and watched "House," not even a little drunk.

I'd go back, though. I'm a sucker for that mood lighting.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Breaking News: Annual Astronomical Event Occurred

Against all odds, our planet completed its orbit around the sun and I decided to mark the occasion by resuming my blog. Had the Earth crashed into the sun this time around, I figure, no blog. Thus endeth the four and a half billion year streak in a celebration of thermonuclear confetti, with performances by Nickelback and Natasha Beddingfield, plus the world-famous Times Square ball, right?

Nope, physics still works. Lucky you.

I put the blog on hiatus because it was teetering over a deep, depressing well of suck, but my New Year's resolution is to pull it away from the precipice with insightful commentary, perspectives, and bitching. Maybe proofreading, too. That is the one, single, only way I need to improve myself in the upcoming year.

I was going to put "get in shape" on my New Year's resolution list, but maybe I'll hold off on that until Halley's Comet returns to our solar system.