Sunday, June 29, 2003

On Frugality

by Woody Allen

As one goes through life, it is extremely important to conserve funds, and one should never spend money on anything foolish, like pear nectar or a solid gold hat. Money is not everything, but it is better than having one's health. After all, one cannot go into a butcher shop and tell the butcher, "Look at my great suntan, and besides I never catch colds," and expect him to hand over any merchandise. Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons. Not that it can buy happiness. Take the case of the ant and the grasshopper: The grasshopper played all summer, while the ant worked and saved. When winter came, the grasshopper had nothing, but the ant complained of chest pains. Life is hard for insects. And don't think mice are having any fun, either. The point is, we all need a nest egg to fall back on, but not while wearing a good suit.

Saturday, June 28, 2003

Six: Prostrated punditry

And so it was that I found myself in the improbable embrace of romance, dear friends, viewing war coverage in bed with a date! So what if the embrace was initially my own--a nervous reaction to doing anything in bed with a date? Surely the chances were good that someone would join me soon, and with both arms, or both legs, depending on the arrangement. If ever there was a payoff to the ease of internet dating--three months of intensive correspondence, exorbitant phone bills, and the anxiety you would be bound and kidnapped; or, even worse, that you wouldn't--this had to be it!

"It looks like we're winning the war, shminky. It's not easy though. Leon says the Iraqis aren't fighting fair."

"Did he just say they're hiding weapons instead of leaving them in the armories where they're easier to destroy?"

"I think so. They're also firing at us and then hiding behind things when we shoot back. They won't face us in the desert like men."

"They truly are a dastardly race of people. Don't they know our bombs are only there to help? Why do they have to resort to terrorism all the time, blowing themselves up hither and thither; why can't they just fight fair--with jets and tanks and naval destroyers?"

"Blowing yourself up is so passé."

"There's no bravery in it anymore. Bravery is manning the controls at a safe distance."

"Well, at least Saddam Hussein won't be flying planes into buildings ever again. Consider your pilot's license permanently revoked!"


"This only underscores our benevolence as a superpower, that we would care so deeply for the needs of these backwards people."

"I know I never cared about them until now."

"Look! Leon says we even provide medical care to the wounded, orphaned children of our enemies! I mean, we don't even do that for the wounded, orphaned children in our country!"

"We don't even do that for the healthy, non-orphaned children in our country!"

"Clearly, sudden, extreme violence will usher in a new era of liberal prosperity for these people."

Five: De Oppresso Liber

"Well, here's to Hudson Hotel thinking of everything," Maureen said, wine in hand.

"Yes, and to victory in the Middle least, for somebody."

"Yes, to victory. And liberation. Don't forget that."

"Of course. Liberation."

"Military or otherwise."

"This Sam Adams needs liberation."

"My career needs liberation."

"I need to be liberated out of my tax bracket."

"You need to be liberated out of those pants."

"You'll never get UN approval."

"Then I'll just have to go it alone, won't I?"

"Can I watch?"

"Hey, you're the boy, aren't you? You're the pace car. Why am I doing all the work?"

"Oh, okay... Well, why don't you step out of those wet clothes and into a dry martini?"

"What wet clothes?"

"Step out of those dry clothes, then."

Maureen laughed, "and into what?"

"That's immaterial."

"That's not a very convincing argument."

"I'm the pace car, remember? If I'm going make all the advances you have to do your part, too."

"I am!" Maureen said indignantly. "My job is to resist your advances!"

"You never told me that!"

"Of course, snoopy! Don't you know how these things work? The boys fight each other for the girl and the girl holds out for the best genes."

"Let's not talk about my pants."

Maureen rolled her eyes. "You and your monkiness! Listen, I want to help. Look at the monks, they wear beautiful saffron silk robes and carry cell phones. The pope has all of his robes and vestments hand tailored by the finest tailors from, I don't know, Milan. And his shoes, well, an Italian man wouldn't be caught dead in cheap footwear."

"Great. I'm competing with the Pope."

"Or take Calvin Klein. His aesthetic is monastic. But he uses the most luxurious fabrics and other materials. So there's hope for your unmaterialistic soul yet."

"If you're really going to resist we're never going to get anywhere. I can only pretend to be clever for so long."

Maureen considered. "You know, it's really very selfish of us to be going on about our own affairs when there is such turmoil in the world tonight."

"Yes!" I declared. "Let's let the turmoil of the world distract us from our own. We don't even know the current score, or whether U2 will be performing at half-time."

"I'm sure Leon will inform us of everything worth knowing. We'll have a much better view of the television from the bed, no?"

"Verily, verily, my dear. A capital idea."

Friday, June 27, 2003

In Defense of Yellowstone

President Bush and Secretary of Interior Gale Norton are working hard to develop as much protected wilderness as possible; and now they've set their sights on Yellowstone National Park.

Next Monday, the World Heritage Committee will meet in Paris to consider a Bush administration request that international protection for Yellowstone National Park be downgraded.

Visit the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) to make your voice heard.

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Part Four: A Curious Riddle

The suite itself was very nice, and easy enough to traverse. A bed was plainly visible, as well as a loveseat, coffee table, and television. An office area consisted of a small glass table and chair. The bathroom was an enormous space, with one self-illuminating mirror, toilet and shower. Interestingly enough, the shower was not physically distinct--it boasted neither stall nor basin--and instead simply presented itself on one wall of the room. Maureen explained to me the luxury of space in New York City, but still I insisted on knowing how the water from the shower did not end up beneath the sink.

After some deliberation, I contrived a protected position on the loveseat, with my hat serving as an ad hoc waist-level buffer. I resolved not to make eye-contact with the bed until absolutely necessary. Maureen joined me, fully female and now ordering drinks. Was I thirsty? Yes, I am fond of beer. Juice, maybe, only don't add too much juice. Water is best, just be sure put the scotch in first. When the room service arrived I hid behind a partition, which I now regard as particularly foolish, as it only prompted Maureen to ask, "Why are you hiding behind the partition? I want you to meet someone." I was summarily introduced to a Hawaiian, if you can imagine--one of Maureen's subordinates from the restaurant of the hotel. The Hawaiian was a friendly-enough fellow, and not entirely unsympathetic to the chance of finding his boss alone in a room with a person of questionable income. He would return later with more drinks and a complimentary gift from the restaurant staff: a Hotel Hudson intimacy kit. In retrospect this Hawaiian understood my predicament better than I did. Neither money nor occasion have I had to purchase such a device in years.

Monday, June 23, 2003

Part Three: A Harrowing Journey

"Don't you love it, scallop?" Maureen asked me, two room keys and several elaborate lies later. "This is where I work. Isn't it dreamy? Over-designed and painfully hip."

"I feel like I'm not appreciating this to my $400-a-night fullest. What is that? Some kind of dance music? Where are we anyway?"

"This is the elevator, dear."

"Why is there dance music in the elevator? What's that green halo around everything? Why can't I see my feet?"

"That's the Ian Schrager difference."

"$400 a night so I can't see where I'm going?"

Maureen laughed. "Quit cryin', Rye-anne. You love it."

A wall receded before us and after several steps and some examination I satisfied the impression that we were no longer in the elevator. Maureen was advancing along a narrow corridor, interminable in length, her eyes no doubt better acclimated to the overpriced gloam. Despite my relative blindness I kept pace as best I could, rarely discerning a floor but rather a succession of lights suspended from either wall, not unlike the landing strip of a runway. These met me in clusters as I walked, and the intervals produced a familiar enough effect: we were in among a long arrangement of private rooms, proceeding to our own.

"Christ, will you slow down," I gasped, anxious lest I speak too loudly and disturb, well, whatever the hell might be molting down here in middle-earth. Maureen materialized and guided me by the hand, which is by far my best appendage to be led by, although I still held out hope this would not spoil the evening. "Hurry, hurry, your royal boyness," Maureen chided, "the last thing I need is for my boss to find me marshaling men into rooms at discount rates. My boss is an oompa loompa from the chocolate factory. He has one of the sourest temperaments known to man, even too sour to make their famous oompa loompa sour balls. He is a little man: Little hands, little nasally voice, little hair, little teeny feet, little closed mind--closed shut like a little mouse trap, it is!! Why, even his heart is little, but little does he care."

Sunday, June 22, 2003

A Man for all Treasons: Part Two

Wartime advantage or no, I immediately made haste to apologize for a variety of personal shortcomings my date--we will call her Maureen--would doubtless recognize in the coming hours. My sunglasses, for instance, were far too stylish, and I feared being mistaken for someone too eager to make a good impression. My pants, as I have already made mention, were a kind of elaborate rag suspended from my hips which I had hoped to conceal as best I could with my large hat; but I soon realized this strategy worked best in a seated position that I could not easily reproduce while walking. I apologized for my vulnerability to the sun and my constant consumption of water and hourly lavatory constraints. Mercy on Maureen, was woman before ever so be-pelted with regrets! "Stop doing that, will you?" she finally told me. "You're fine."

For some time we walked about the city, avoiding a variety of topics, and making our way to the Hudson Hotel (pronounced "Hudson Hotel"--the article is silent). The reader may well question the wisdom in booking a hotel room on the first date, and I must confess a certain degree of trepidation regarding the matter myself. But soon I felt very selfish indeed: if soldiers can so bravely answer the call of war then surely I too can be-bed unfamiliar females. I considered the bravest souls of Operation Iraqi Freedom--anyone under attack from the US military--and decided that I had it easy. And besides, Maureen had a crazy discount.

Suffice it to say I have never experienced a hotel so uniquely odd and ostentatiously expensive as Hudson Hotel. Maureen had to assure me that I would not be forcibly removed from the establishment at a moments notice, so convinced was I to be tromping beyond the privileges of my caste. "Just make sure they know you're with me," she explained. But this proved difficult even for Maureen: when consulting a front desk co-worker about checking in, so untenable was the premise that she had reserved a room for me in her name that the general manager, a large German, was summoned to sort out the whole mess.

Friday, June 20, 2003

A Man for all Treasons: Part One

As a part-time laborer garnering little more than $10,000 a year, it is not often I find myself in the welcome company of modern females. It is sometimes said that a man of my position would find himself better matched as companion to the less discriminating--say, pigeon or ox--than endeavoring to impress an American woman on character alone, with no means to secure an evening of motion pictures or automobile riding. To this end I have found the internet an invaluable tool in concealing my basic impropriety and allowing me to behave very much as a man experienced in courting females.

Most recently, my efforts brought me to New York's Hudson Hotel, where I had for some time been corresponding with an employee whom I found to be convincingly female on all subjects. My sojourn in New York was to coincide with the opening remarks of Operation Iraqi Freedom--a moving occasion by any standard--and I anticipated a weekend spent in the throes of patriotic rapture, or unpatriotic rapture, depending on who was winning. Be that as it may, and because my companion and I were only meeting for the very first time, I suggested a policy of restraint, to which my friend counter-suggested a policy of restraints, to which I departed for New York ten hours early and in possession of little more than dental floss and a wide-brimmed hat.

Always harbouring a deep love of humanity, it is not often I allow my affection to be tested by venturing outside the confines of my home. My bus ride into New York was neither splendid nor without incident; I recall a bus filled with Chinese, and myself acting as the nucleus for an oasis of white college students. As one can expect, each race enjoyed liberal use of their cell phones; but insofar as I do not understand Chinese, I was very sorry to be seated amongst my peers.

When I arrived in New York, war had begun. CNN anchor Leon Harris, scarcely human under his trademark mask of cosmetics, beamed enthusiasm in announcing the start of "another desert war!" Such was the bedlam that I felt myself distinctly at an advantage: surely my companion would be more invested in the offenses of Saddam Hussein than the offenses, personal and financial, of her date. The truth was better than I could have expected: When we finally met she said to me, "That Leon is a waste of perfectly good affirmative action." I was taken by the hand with no mention of the hole in my pant leg.

Rumsfeld: Freedom, Belgian courts, are untidy

In 1998 the UN General Assembly voted in favor of a treaty authorizing a permanent international court for war crimes. The United States, China, and five other nations opposed the treaty, and 21 nations abstained. The treaty has been signed by more than 130 nations (including the United States), and formally came into effect in July, 2002, when the court was established. Called the International Criminal Court and located at The Hague, it may prosecute war crimes, genocide, crimes of aggression, and crimes against humanity. Under the G. W. Bush administration, the United States opposed implementation of the treaty, out of fear that American officials or military personnel might be arrested abroad on baseless charges. In May, 2002, the United States repudiated its signing of the treaty and indicated that it would refuse to cooperate with the court; it subsequently insisted that U.S. forces used as UN peacekeepers be exempted prosecution by the court.(1)

Belgium indicts US with war crimes in Iraq, Rumsfeld mad

Why American officials should be exempted from international law

US war crimes from Gulf War I

Interview with former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark on American militarism and international law

Thursday, June 19, 2003

Why did we go to war?

This is the best my co-workers and I can figure out: If we find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, then it will have been about weapons of mass destruction. If we don't find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, then it will have been about something else. "We didn't lie," one Bush official told ABCnews, "it was just a matter of emphasis." In other words, the war will ultimately be about whatever we want it to be about, and we'll let you know once we've made up our minds.

So much of this is right out of George Orwell's 1984. In fact, because 1984 is so often associated with state totalitarianism, we don't usually apply it to propaganda systems in democratic societies, which are usually much more sophisticated and convincing. When the only news source in a country is government controlled, people know well enough to discount what they're hearing. This was how I always viewed Orwell's Oceania--a kind of clumsy, Soviet-style system, holding a bludgeon over people's heads lest they fall out of line. (Having re-read 1984 again recently, I think there's more to it than this, but I will leave that aside for the moment.) It's not as interesting in terms of propaganda because the propaganda isn't as good. If you want to see propaganda that people can invest themselves in, you have to look to the free societies.

What's been interesting to me about the Iraq war, however, is just how unsophisticated the propaganda has been. Orwell's Oceania had a proclivity to declare itself at war with one country one day, only to turn around and deny it the next: it had really been at war with someone else. The intellectual class--writers, editors, teachers, archivists--were assigned the task of destroying official records not keeping with current government declarations, and to rewrite history according to the new narrative. The government of Oceania relied on its population being so beat-down and apathetic, and their attention span so limited, that they wouldn't remember, or wouldn't care to remember, that just yesterday they were at war with a totally different enemy. The purpose of war was simply a means to control the population, keep them afraid, and provide justification for their detainment or execution if they stepped out of line, thus becoming 'enemy combatants,' to borrow a term from our current administration and its Patriot Act legislation.

Normally I would consider our society above so crude a means of persuasion, but in the case of WMD's, it's practically right off the pages of Orwell's most famous novel. Our administration sends us to war because of the 'imminent threat' we face from Iraq and their weapons program. That's what they sold the war on, remember, not liberating Iraqis or giving a shot to the arm of Middle East peace. Iraq has 'tens of thousands' of tons of weapons, and so on and so forth. Blair tells his people Saddam could prep a warhead with bio-chem weapons in 45 minutes. Most of this is never verified, who knows where this information is coming from, but people begin to accept, yes, Hussein is our greatest threat. So we lay waste to the country, its communities, its infrastructure, kill a lot of people, some good, some bad, some theirs, some ours--and now we can't find any weapons. 2 months of searching and zilch. Tens of thousands of tons of materials, and we can't find a goddam firecracker. Now it comes out, well, the whole war wasn't really about WMD's after all. My supervisor is saying, "I could have told you that." Of course, the war wasn't about that! And suddenly I am surrounded by experts in the affairs of state and foreign policy, who understood this all along.

Are we really that apathetic and distracted not to notice that we went to war for one reason and came out of it going to war for another--any other--reason? Christ almighty. Stop watching The Matrix and start paying attention to the matrix around you.

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

On-line dating

We all know that if it weren't for the internet, I wouldn't have scored a date with a woman in the last four years. Some will argue that such single-minded reliance on technology for companionship is a sad testament to the alienation of the individual and the breakdown of civil society in the modern era. To these people I say: No one else has gone so far, done so much, or risen so high with so pitiful little. In the blogs to come I intend to outline some of my most objectionable forays into the world of digital dalliance. But in today's selection, I offer you my most recent exchange:

From: katriles
To: summerhead
Date: 06/17/2003 04:20PM EST
Subject: summerhead
Message: Hi there! I read your profile and was very impressed. I would love to speak to you if possible...... If you could email me back I would really appreciate it. Have a great day and I look forward to hearing from you!

From: summerhead
To: katriles
Date: 06/17/2003 06:53PM EST
Subject: hello katriles

Hello Katriles,

Thank you for writing me. I was saddened to see that your profile was blank, and not a picture to be found. As I don't have any information about you I'm feeling at a loss. Maybe you can provide some detail in response, no?



From: katriles
To: summerhead
Date: 06/17/2003 07:01PM EST
Subject: Re: hello katriles


I am so appreciative of your response - and so quickly too! Your profile might just not do you justice! The first bit of information about myself that I feel compelled to reveal (though fear of not receiving another response from you does hold me back a bit)is that I am actually NOT looking for myself right now but on behalf of some incredible women that I know... I can explain more if you are feeling openminded (you seem to be as you ARE on great boyfriends)and interested in meeting great women. First maybe I can invite you to an event that my company is having?? We could then meet in person and talk. On Thursday June 19th we are holding a benefit for the charity MANNA - it's called "Bring on the Bachelors" and the guys who attend have the chance to win a dinner with Gwen, Helene and Erin (picture attached) from the second episode of ABC's tv show the Bachelor - are you familiar with it? If you want to attend you can sign up at or if you can't and just want to talk you can reach me at 610.355.9628.

Take care and I really do hope to hear from you soon!!


From: summerhead
To: katriles
Date: 06/17/2003 07:43PM EST
Subject: bated and breathy

Hi Kate,

Wow! Charities, network television and a chance to win--I don't know what kind of racket you're running, but, damn, it's a good one. I'm just afraid my poor heart won't be able to handle so much excitement on the first date! Ordinarily, raffling for single females is the best chance I have for landing a date; but do we lose in intimacy what we gain in network ratings? Oh, Kate, please assure me! I want to do the right thing--just tell me what that is!



From: katriles
To: summerhead
Date: 06/17/2003 07:48PM EST
Subject: Re: bated and breathy
Message: Ryan,

The right thing for you to do would most assuredly be to attend the charity event. A chance to perhaps win dinner out (you would be with all three women and two other lucky men) with these ladies as well as take a shot at some of the awesome silent auction items that we have to offer OR the free giveaways? There shall never be another opportunity so sweet! Please consider it... If you don't think it the best thing for you - then at least tell me that you will talk to me (or let me talk to you!!) about how we introduce people to one another over dinner at super restaurants...
Peacefully yours,

From: summerhead
To: katriles
Date: 06/17/2003 08:59PM EST
Subject: 3 girls and 3 guys? I don't like those odds.
Dear Kate,

This is the most fun I've ever had being solicited--thanks! Bearing that in mind, I recognize that this is your job: I respect your time and I don't want to monopolize it (too much). I'm sure Erin, Helen and Gwen are great (they certainly look it, don't they?), but I worry I might not live up to ABC's standard of bachelordom; I don't inline skate or anything like that.

A-ha! Well, Catherine, it appears you've been found out! You are a representative from the 6[2]8 social network--"an upscale dining and social club." Do you know the last female (she, sadly, was also the first) to proposition me online was a journalist who wanted moi for an "on-camera interview?" Why can't I meet a nice non-professional girl; or better yet a strictly unprofessional girl who won't let her work get in the way of me? But I digress. Catherine, I am not by any stretch of the imagination "upscale." I own approximately two pair of pants; my shirts are so frayed they have tentacles at the cuffs. I'm no good at clubs: I would never want to be in any club that would have someone like me for a member.

I'm sorry dear. I hope this doesn't mean we can't still be friends.

Good luck with everything!


True to form, this little e-fling started with a bang and ended in a fizzle. Kate's average response time was about 7 minutes--at least insofar as I kept my caste position and wardrobe options to myself. It's taken her over an hour now to let me know about our friendship. I hope she's just eating dinner.

Monday, June 16, 2003

The Manufacture of Consent

Why of course the people don't want war ... But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship ... Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.

--Hermann Goering, Nazi leader, at the Nuremberg Trials

Sunday, June 15, 2003

Death Interviews JRB of Souvenir Recordings

Last night I dreamt that I was interviewed by Death about involvement in the Philadelphia-based band Souvenir Recordings. This is a transcript of the conversation:

Death: Mr. Boyd, thank you for having me today.

Ryan: I'm a big fan of your work. How do you find the time?

Death: Yes, well, things are busy, you know, all things considered. But's its getting to the point where we've subcontracted a lot of the work out; for instance the whole Iraq thing: I told them from the beginning that I wouldn't touch it unless they got me some help this time. I mean, you had this huge humanitarian crisis before the war even began. Then Bush says he's going to drop ordnance all over the goddam place; that must have started last September or so, you know, when I started hearing about it. And so I told them no way. Africa alone has enough work already; if they want Iraq done right, then they'd better just go on and hire more people.

Ryan: I guess it worked.

Death: Yeah, they laid off me a lot. When it comes down to it they know it's in their own best interest to let me run the show. But you get these kids from Wharton--you know, Ivy Leaguers--who think they're going to come in and cut costs and slash benefits and turn this into a cash cow. But that's not the way it works; this isn't the health care system. Once I raised a stink about it things got better almost immediately. But enough about me. How is the band going?

Ryan: Well, the band is awful, at least in strict musical terms. We are doing pretty well otherwise.

Death: How did Souvenir Recordings get started?

Ryan: I don't know. We all met. It's not a great story or anything, and it doesn't really lend any insight into why we're so terrible.

Death: Okay, next question. Do you prefer playing in a band or by yourself?

Ryan: I think neither.

Death: Do you like playing live?

Ryan: I do, but only insofar as I really don't. I feel like I've accomplished something when I do it.

Death: Who are your influences?

Ryan: Actually, right now I really admire Sleater Kinney and the girl from Cat Power. I don't really know anything of their music. I like who they seem to be as people. Sleater Kinney work day jobs and seem very down to earth. The girl from Cat Power talks about her ultimate goal as quitting music and working with kids. She's so clearly not a part of that world--the industry, the indie scene, everything. It's really inspiring.

Death: You haven't heard their music?

Ryan: I know one SK song, and I love it. But my impression of them is as some kind of indie-punk, and punk is not my thing. Cat Power I don't think I know anything. It's some kind of indie. But it doesn't matter. I like that they're approaching everything on their own terms and that's inspiring to me.

Death: Do you know when SR will be releasing anything?

Ryan: What a terrible thing to ask!

Death: You're not interested in recording albums?

Ryan: Personally, no. Collectively, yes, I think it's on the horizon.

Death: How can that be reconciled?

Ryan: Just promise you'll come visit me again soon.

Saturday, June 14, 2003


Americans answer the call of their nation in different ways. Today I received notice from an old college friend of his decision to leave a vibrant career in information technology so that he might chart a new course in our nation's military. For those of you who knew Matt in college, the development should not be entirely surprising. Here is the body of his letter as he sent it:

Dear friends and family,

In this time of international tension, I have felt the call of my nation in the tears of every child in need of liberation. With this in mind, I have decided to terminate my employment at Level(3) communications in Denver, CO and seek a position in our nation's military. Though I have experienced some trepidation about this life change, I think it is the best thing I can do to help make the world a better and safer place. I have been in contact with an Air Force recruiter, who assures me that there is a new fast-track flight school program that will make use of my personal talents and aptitudes. I am very interested in a special operations team that looks like it offers some exciting opportunities.

Please do not be concerned about this sudden change; I am approaching this challenge in the best of spirits. Despite security concerns, I wanted to share w/ you this picture of a fellow cadet on my team who is about to graduate into an "active" combat role. I'm anxious to join the team, and I look forward to showing the world what American ingenuity can do.

See you in the big blue!


Friday, June 13, 2003


If at first you don't succeed, try, try and try again. Then give up. There's no sense in being a damned fool about it.

--W.C. Fields

Thursday, June 12, 2003

Souvenir Recordings

Souvenir Recordings will be performing at the East End Cafe on Saturday, July 12th, probably around 10pm. If you're planning on attending, let me apologize in advance.

We've been playing shows less regularly than we should, and far more often than is justified (i.e., a sum greater than zero). In the meantime, we have been recording a full-length mess in my basement.

In other news, I will be playing a supporting role in a friend's band, Overlord, with shows beginning in August. My friend, George, is also pictured below, surrounded by riot police. You can visit his main site here.

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Class Reunions

For last ten years, I have lived an impressively human existence. For example, I have aged remarkably; I am ten years closer to death now than I ever was before. I consider this one of my greatest accomplishments since graduation. I also attended college and earned a degree, but I never let school get in the way of my education.

Tuesday, June 10, 2003


There is nothing wrong with celibacy except the person who chooses it; but in my case that is one poor choice among many.
Your Secret Is Safe With Us

He may look like an idiot and talk like an idiot, but don't let that fool you: He really is an idiot.

--Groucho Marx


As a veteran of World War II, as a student of the history of our wars, and contemplating still another war, I suggest we keep certain things in mind. First, that we must be extremely skeptical of whatever government officials tell us about the reasons for going to war. Second, that what is certain about war is that large numbers of innocent people will die, including many children, and what is uncertain about war is that any good will come of it.

--Howard Zinn (1)


The woman who likes me best is the best prepared: she knows to bring a book.

Monday, June 09, 2003


When we protest we exist in several places along the continuum of time. The prevailing opinion will always say we are living in the past: When we protest today, we are living in the 1960's, as though we suffer segregation or the draft; when we protest in the 1960's, we are living in the 1930's, as though the Great Depression is at our backs; when we organize during the Great Depression, we are living during industrialization, as though we knew anything about children in factories.

Our champions exist in the future: When we protest during industrialization, people of the 1930's have child labor laws; when we protest during the Great Depression, people in the 1960's have social security and a 40 hour work week; when we protest in the 1960's, people in 2003 have anti-discrimination laws and a lesson called the Vietnam War.

When we protest we are justified in the future and past; in the present we are attacked. This is the way that history happens.

Sunday, June 08, 2003


Sex for me is mostly a process of evasion, at least at in the anticipatory stages--which is to say the vast bulk of the time. It is forever putting me at odds with women, who question the usefulness of this strategy, particularly when they have invested so much in it themselves.

Humor vs. honesty

I try to keep my offensive views to myself. I don't want to be perceived as "too serious." To accomplish this, I will frequently employ the use of humor. The disadvantage to being funny, however, is that people start to take you seriously.

Saturday, June 07, 2003

The Policy of Truth

The disadvantage to being honest is that it alienates. People are emotionally symbiotic; they want you to like the same things they like. My co-workers want me to like The Matrix. They defend Keanu Reeves: didn't I like Speed? My friends want me to like the bands they like; they want me come out with them in the evenings, to fulfill the obligation we have as 20-somethings. My supervisor wants me to like the 'war on terror'; he brought me a Wall Street Journal article detailing how colonialism squashed the Barbary Pirates. Men want me to like sleeping with women; and sometimes women want me to like it, too.

Maybe I'm sensitive because I don't like Keanu Reeves, and the idea of squandering two hours of my limited time on this planet with him and his runway-model, fetish-clad comedy troupe is more than I can bear--particularly when there is a load of laundry I could be doing instead. I'm not saying I'm above the Matrix; I'm not above anything, except a maybe respectable occupation.
Fighting a war of compassion

Now that the United States has successfully colonized Iraq, the world can breathe a welcome sigh of relief. Never again will Saddam Hussein threaten our national security by having control over the second largest oil reserves in the world. Hussein will not hold these long-suffering wells hostage any longer; they have been liberated to pump oil for benevolent contractors like Dick Cheney's Halliburton and Donald Rumsfeld's Bechtel. Truly, it is a watershed moment for humanity; and a beacon of hope for freedom-loving oil wells everywhere, who languish in captivity under tyrannical regimes the world over.

President Bush and his Coalition of the Willing (COW) forces represent the best of freedom and justice-loving nations. If it weren't for countries like Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Eritrea--and their well documented records on human rights, religious tolerance and free elections--the United States would have to face despotic regimes like Iraq, Syria and France unsupported. Let us not forget those nations who stood by our side, like Macedonia; or those who conspired against us, like Germany. To paraphrase William Safire, we will remember our friends--and our enemies.

President Bush has supported our troops every step of the way. Giving countless speeches and umpteen 'thumbs-up,' our President has distinguished himself as a man willing to make the ultimate sacrifice; and if he does not make the ultimate sacrifice personally, he has the presence of mind to send tens of thousands of others to make that sacrifice for him. Such esteem is not reserved solely for American servicemen and women, either; indeed, thousands of Iraqis from all walks of life have been championed in making sacrifices of themselves--oft times without prior knowledge they would be doing so. Millions of Iraqis have gone dutifully without water, food, electricity or medical attention so that first priority could be ensuring the safety of much abused oil wells. No doubt President Bush intends to reward the Iraqi people in the weeks to come, making good on his promise of democracy. It will be with great anticipation that we gather to witness the form of government the Iraqi people choose--as soon as the American military makes its decision. Similarly, veterans returning home from the war will enjoy a special acknowledgement from President Bush in the form of his 2004 budget, which pays particular attention to their needs and the needs of their families. In these ways President Bush makes clear he is a man who understands the meaning of sacrifice.

It is not since the fall of Manuel Noriega in Panama and the lasting victory of the drug war that the world has been spared so great a calamity by so narrow a margin. George Bush has proven that America can fight a war of compassion and win.