Thursday, June 30, 2005

Many are the mysteries of religious faith. For instance, it is well known that Jesus brought good news for the poor, but what about rent control south of Washington Ave? Jesus is also famous for saying the poor would inherit the earth, but has he had an appraisal done lately? And in any case who would handle the landscaping? So mysterious is God's will that most people mistake it for indigestion. Then there is Buddha, who's first great revelation was that life is suffering--and boy was he fun in the sack. Of course, it is not for us mere mortals to be burdened with these great questions of the universe--only crushing credit card debt, thanks to bankruptcy reform and a Republican-led congress.
Film Review: Star Wars - Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

Well, thank god that's over.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Climbing down the ladder of success, while rewarding, is not without its challenges. For one thing, nobody gets it. For another thing, "nobody" necessarily includes hot chicks. This is where the vow of chastity derives its origins, along with the vow of practicing just in case. Of course, the realm of the flesh is only one battlefield among many--and yet it covers my whole body. Death may be my only exit strategy, but it's better than anything Rumsfeld's got, and at any rate it's the best way to vacation like a European.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Film Review: Batman Begins

The pre-Batman Batman is trained in the orient as a ninja by an Irish actor with a bad fu manchu. Through rigorous martial training, he is compelled to face his fear of bats, which he sustained in youth while recreating at the bottom of a well. This pre-fetish incarnation of Batman transcends his fears by embracing them, laying the groundwork for his new identity--in this case a symbol, both "elemental" and "terrifying." (Saddled with the task of making a rational case for the Batman franchise, I challenge you to do better.) This brings us to the middle third of the movie, easily the most worthwhile as it develops the most important relationships, best characters, and sexiest costumes. The whole ending is a goddam travesty, and it pains me to reference it. Let's just say the Scarecrow is a welcome reprieve from the overarching sub-plot of ninjas using microwave weaponry to vaporize the city's water supply in order to catalyze inert psychedelic properties that have been deposited there. Katie Holmes is not terrible, and one can only thank divine providence for delivering Rutger Hauer a non-embarrassing role. If you loathed the other "Batmans" as much as I did, you will find this film about as tolerable as Episode III in relation to its abjectly offensive predecessors.

Friday, June 24, 2005

In Defense of Karl Rove

Boy, Karl Rove sounded like a real Nazi Wednesday night when he made that crack about liberals reacting to 9/11 by offering "therapy and understanding" to our attackers, while conservatives "prepared for war." You see, Nazis also hated liberalism, which in their situation included parliamentary democracy, and they sought alliances with traditional conservatives like the military and more contemporary conservatives like the industrialists in order to undermine and eventually destroy it. (The last issue of Foreign Affairs referenced some of the anti-liberalism of the Third Reich--see the May 28 posting below.) Anyway, old Herman Goering would be proud to see that his trademark technique of mobilizing a population for war is still being employed by the great men of our era; indeed, the Nazi's had a much stronger argument for defense against "European encirclement" than the Bush administration ever had for Iraqi WMD.

Probably the most comical aspect of Rove's comment, however, was the Democrats' demand for an apology and/or resignation. Gee, that's rich: You're accused of questioning the single most disastrous foreign policy move since the South Vietnam invasion, and you want it taken back? What the fuck is wrong with you people?

Thursday, June 23, 2005

In Praise of Mortality

Thank goodness for the limited lifespan. After all, one can't get by without shaving forever. And just think what cell phones will be like in 1,000,000,000,000,000 eons--or public schools, for that matter. Think of how long it's going to take to clean up the mess of the current administration--and that's just in the city of Philadelphia. No, the world is like a really fucked up day, and death is the good fortune of not being an insomniac.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

There are no hot chicks at my job, so if, while reading this, you discover that you are one of my co-workers, please stop complaining to me about it. Also, none of us have a snowball's chance in hell of dating a celebrity, so shut up about that while you're at it. Oh, and don't complain about work.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

I greatly enjoy my work, which is lowly and meaningful. It is lowly because it involves physical work, and it is meaningful for the same reason. Something tangible--indeed, even necessary--has been accomplished. Also, one saves money on gym memberships; and who really feels like "working out" after work anyway?

Regarding the issue of "intellectual work"--i.e., the freedom to experience numbness in your wrists and buttocks after prolonged exposure to nothing particularly unpleasant or challenging besides your fellow "intellectual coworkers"--what's centrally important is whether or not you have health insurance. Indeed, medical coverage is more important than the variety "intellectual work" itself, if only for the anti-depressants you will require while doing it. (In fact, it's best never to use one's mind at work. A mind is much better suited to thinking--the function for which it was designed--but this is quite ill-advised in most work environments, if altogether forbidden in journalism.)

Friday, June 10, 2005

Simplify, simplify, simplify.

I've come to reverse my opinion on hot weather: in the final analysis, most people prefer air conditioning. There is a net decrease in loitering throughout Philadelphia. (No small victory in the campaign for psychological space.) Then there are other considerations: I eat less, which saves money--particularly if you shop at ACME. And though I drink water all day (healthy), no time is wasted at the urinal as it simply bursts forth from the millions of tiny urethras in my derma I like to call "pores." There is also the sense of accomplishment that comes from working through the hottest period of each day without registering the severe pain which radiates from chest to jaw. Truly, the heat has simplified my life.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

My morning commute takes me deep into the heart of South Philadelphia, to the Stella Maris "convent" as I like to call it, since I've never spied anyone besides sisters on its grounds. By the time I arrive the shadows are among their shortest on any given day, yet everything seems abandoned. The sisters may as well be apparitions as often as I have observed them over the course of several years--at least from my vantage point at the western-most gates. Inside, the parking lot is empty. Whatever the function of the buildings close by (and the total acreage is substantial), my best guess would be administrative, or possibly even a kind of converted dormitory--perhaps a better explanation as to the dearth of activity in mid-day.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

I wanted to say something about blogging. If I haven't been doing that much of it lately, well, you can hardly blame me: I've been doing it for two years and still have a readership of three. I look at successful blogs--The Daily Kos, Talking Points Memo, et al.--and repeatedly resolve that this number must be reduced--dramatically, if possible. The usefulness of an online journal, whether for reference or rants or contemplation, should be readily apparent; the usefulness of having every waking thought a public event, much less so, I think. But my best attempts at driving away readers appear to have been in vain. Even non-readers manage to stumble onto the site from time to time, which is truly awful--except that they rarely return, small consolation though it may be.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Dear friends,

I write today from the confines of my presently tropical bedchamber. I'm afraid I did not sleep well last night thanks to my moist circumstances. I am the kind of guy--were you to ever sleep with me--who likes a light frost on the bureau before bedtime. I'm not a particular fan of cold, but it casts into sharper relief the warmth around me, preserved as it is by the series of buffers (e.g., blankets, comforters, "human shields," etc.) I employ for that purpose. It is the bane of my closest associate and business partner, whose circulation is better suited to the surface of the sun--or shall we say several centigrade greater than what I now endure.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Wachovia Admits Ties to Slavery

from The Philadelphia Inquirer
Wachovia Corp., the nation's fourth-largest bank, has asked African Americans to forgive the company for its history of owning slaves and using them as loan collateral.

"We apologize to all Americans, and especially to African Americans and people of African descent," Wachovia chairman Kennedy Thompson said in a statement yesterday. Based in Charlotte, N.C., Wachovia is the leading bank in the Philadelphia area.