Saturday, June 17, 2006

World Cup Fever

it was an amazing world cup game between the usa and italy this morning. not quite as riveting as the gargantuan upset by ghana of the czech republic, but damn entertaining nonetheless. three ejections, horrible officiating and an american team that refused to give in to a european powerhouse despite playing the second half with one less player. so, kudos and here's hoping our team actually scores a goal of its own next time against ghana.
however, those of you who have not been following the world cup, let me show you some of the highlights via a pictorial essay:



um, wherever

sweden, ya

japan, hai

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

When You're A Jet...

so, lecram got me thinking about my smoking addiction, which has been at a pack a day for about 19 years (i've been smoking for 23). needless to say, this is not a record i am proud of. on the other hand, i'm not ashamed. it is what it is. i cannot remember the day i took my first drag. nor can i remember the day i bought my first pack. i can remember the reason and the rationalization. i lived in germany at the time and many kids my own age would ask me if i had tobacco. after a while, i realized that a good, simple way to meet people was to have tobacco on me (in germany, at that time, all the kids rolled their own tobacco). so, i would carry tobacco and papers and wait for someone to ask and i would produce the aromatic pouch. and-voila-a conversation would begin. in this way i met quite a few interesting teenagers (mostly counter-counter culture) and created friendships.
eventually, i just had to know what all the hip hubbub was with smoking. it certainly looked cool, but i had grown up in a strict nonsmoking, nondrinking house here in the states, so i had to overcome my fear of being a bad boy (back then i wasn't into spanking so much, maybe a light slap or two). defeating the fear took oh about two, maybe one long minute and i carefully placed the damp weed into a zig zag-like paper and rolled the most bulbous, bumpy and asymmetrical piece of crap cigarette this world has ever seen. too tight at one end and falling out at the other i had to huff and puff until i was blue in the face before i could begin coughing my lungs out. which i eventually did. but i didn't get the hipness of it. it made me feel a bit nauseous, light headed and i had to go crap. and i didn't get good high from it like all the pot i'd smoked my senior year in my american high school. it certainly wasn't going to make the arcades a better experience.
but it did smell good before being lit and it did allow me to meet people and it did make me feel oh so cool by carrying it. and i quickly realized that learning to roll this stuff would help me immeasurably in rolling the "other" stuff.
so, i kept with it, offering to roll for people (and thereby began the education of me in rolling the perfect joint for which i was properly lauded in my college years). but, as has been borne out in almost every smoker's history, it was my willingness to help others that led to my downfall. as i got better and quicker at rolling, i began rolling one for me as well. i knew it looked odd that i had tobacco, but never smoked with the person asking for a ciggie. so, i began rolling for me. after a while, the petit mort high was pretty cool. a smoke after 4 or 5 beers, then 3 or 4, then 2 or 3, then with every one was a good kicker. and we drank a lot in germany. i had good, solid teutonic school friends who went to the local pub (located on land owned by the Prince of Denmark) every weekend where the owner/bartender was a blues fanatic who'd owned a bar in hamburg and played host to every blues legend who ever toured europe (plus, folk like van morrison and bob dylan) and had a record collection so extensive i don't think i ever heard one album twice (the musician he like to talk about most when in his cups was muddy waters who he evidently was perrrrsonal friends with, though not sexually). Peachy, his name was. just like michael caine's in the Man Who Would Be king.
where was i? oh yes. so, i began a long relationship with tobacco, which is sustained to this day.
fast forward more than half of my life and we arrive at today. this morning, in fact, when i went to the doctor to have some mushrooms looked at on my elbow. well, a rash that the doc thinks is fungal ala crotch rot. when her very cute assistant jotted down my particulars and addictions, it was at that moment that i was asked if i'd like to quit smoking. i said i wasn't not interested and she told me of The Pill. Wellbutrin. Zyban. the doc said for me to look it up on the internet and decide if i wanted to try it. so, i did. and this is what i found. well, i found a lot of sites talking of the drug, but this is the one i enjoyed the most.
the problem with quitting is that i know i must take time to psych myself up to it. i can't just one day say "you know, i think this is the last one". i almost have to have a wake. so, i will think about it, maybe even discuss this with lecram. perhaps he and i can make a pact (like a suicide). though i doubt it. i'm as bad a quitter as i am a joiner (unless, of course, we're talking about romantic relationships).

Monday, June 12, 2006

today at work i was informed by a co-worker with access to email that my dear, dear founding owner sent out an email to all within the company who have such addresses. within this missive was a passioned cry for unity from all to stand up and face down our state's wish to include ethnic history education in our schools. he asked all who read the email to call their senators and whonot to get the message across that this is not acceptable. i have not yet read the email, but it was imparted to me that the contents included a summary of the hated ethnicities. this included blacks, browns and gays. the owner's fervent wish was that none of these American histories be taught to our children.
i am a bit nonplussed. our office is a diverse one. in an office of 60 or so people, we have two blacks, a large handful of browns, and the person who shared this snippet of info with me is a lesbian. we, also, have a few gay men and one man of middle eastern origin. is it just me or did this owner just commit a very actionable offense?
what prompted this i do not know. it may be a bill before the legislature or something we will vote on in the future. all i can say is that this email (if i was told it correctly) was very ill-advised and could come back to bite him in the ass.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Asymmetrical Warfare

Let it be known that this weekend witnesses the advent of a new euphemism brought to us by the same people who provided the war in Iraq: asymmetrical warfare.
Catchy, isn't it? And stunning in its simplicity. Any prisoner of war who commits suicide while under arrest can be accused of attacking us by using this two-word phrase. Evidently, even though these "detainees" have not been convicted in our courts of even a misdemeanor, any person of Arab descent residing at Guantanamo Bay in cages under armed guard and video surveillance is engaging in enemy activity and possible war crimes by hanging himself in his cell. It must be a clever psy-op campaign designed to destroy American morale there and here by making the world believe (erroneously, of course) that our military (and, by extension, our current administration) cares not a whit about the welfare of those we keep locked up at great cost with no end in sight.
However, it seems to be only those successful in their suicide attempts who garner this assessment of their criminal enterprise, because no such acknowledgment was given to the previous 41 failed suicide attempts that have been documented.
Of course, it is widely known and accepted that all prisoners at GitMo are Al-Quaeda. Bill O'Reilly recently visited there as part of some odd investigative reporting stunt and, in a televised interview with FoxNews, referred repeatedly to the prisoners as "Al-Quaeda". Not "detainees", not "prisoners", not "humans". "Al-Quaeda" (or however we're spelling it these days).
That brings up the question, by the way, of just how many spelling variations we've had for this terrorist group. Do you think that could be one reason why we haven't been able to stamp it out? Because we can't stick with one variation? Can you imagine an intelligence operative reading intercepted emails or somesuch and discarding the info, because it was sent by "al-quaida"? Hmmm, nope, must be from some other bandwagon-jumping nutjob gang.
Hell, we can't even agree on how to pronounce Iraq. We have "eyerack", "eerock", "eerack", "eyerock". "SawDOM" and SAWdum". And we're 15 years past the first fight with this country and its leader. Then again, we Americans still claim we speak English, which any foreigner with a rudimentary understanding of the language can tell us with authority we do not. "Nuculear" comes to mind as an opening salvo.
Anyway, I just wanted to introduce "asymmetrical warfare" to y'all.