Friday, September 30, 2005

monco

fancy redesign

yeah, fridays at the multi-media lab. i guess you could say i got paid for doing this in a way.
i think it looks a little slicker, but if i'm in the minority we can always go back to the way it was.
internet explorer pushes down the sidebar but that's probably due to my giant obituary picture in an earlier post. firefox and safari seem to handle it fine though.
obviously i ripped off the heading and color scheme of the famous grouse website

sorry to push down your past so soon chris. everyone should read it anyway.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

ch

Guilt mixed with anger, and Dickens.

I apologize for my recent absence from the blog. I attribute this mostly to the fact that editing The List for the Indy diverts all of my intellectual onanism into page 19 of the newspaper rather than having it posted on the Infamous Grouse--though I think my ten-hour bouts of reading Bleak House may also be killing my will to blog.

Anyway, I'm currently missing a discussion section for PS11 (Introduction to Political Thought), which is only compounding my dangerous love-hate relationship with the course and its instructors. Today, I spent so much time reading and taking notes on Thomas Hobbes that I forgot that my section started at 6:30, not 5:30. I blame myself for the most part. But then again, who the fuck decided to have such an inflated sense of self-importance that they would design discussion sections at ridiculously non-standard meeting times, and have them last 30 minutes longer than the usual section? John Tomasi, evidently.

In other news, I'll be guest DJing Nathan's BSR show tonight, at 11pm EST (I think). I'll be playing San Diego hardcore. I'm not sure what he's playing.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

He Hate Me

The War At Home

My job at the MML allows me a lot of time to procrastinate while looking up various random shit on the net. Since me and Nathan (once again) find ourselves alone in this endeavor I thought I should share some of my findings.

First off, I should give a little context (feel free to skip if you're part of the D.O.T). I have spent the last few months trying to figure out what I am going to do with the "office room" that is attached to my bedroom. Essentially, its too large to be a walk-in closet but too small to be a complete room upon itself. Until recently, it was a storage space for my 21 rolls of tape and hundreds of cardboard boxes I recieved from my housemates for my birthday. I've decided I wanted to make it a War Room/Shrine to Cleveland.

Quick plug: Wednesday (9/28) at 8pm - List 120 – The Brown Dems are showing the movie "The War Room" about James Carville and George Stephanopolus's behind-the-scenes work on the Clinton '92 campaign. This is one of the best documentaries I've ever seen and a must see for anyone interested in politics. Carville (who someone describes at one point as "someone's drunk uncle") has some awesome one-liners and is coming to Brown Thursday (9/28). Trust me: this will be the best movie List has shown since the female masturbation video!

So I thought I should do some research on my beloved home and I found some things that y'all may also find interesting/trifling:

1. As you may (should) know, Ohio State and Michigan have a long-standing and bitter football rivalry. However, the rivalry between the states did not start there:

(from Wikipedia - Toledo War)
The Toledo War of 1835-1836 was a largely bloodless boundary dispute between the state of Ohio and the Michigan Territory over a 468 square mile (1,210 km²) strip of land including what is now the city of Toledo, Ohio.

When Ohio became a state in 1803, its constitution included a provision that redrew the Ordinance Line such that it angled slightly northward and included Toledo and all of Maumee Bay in Ohio. The discrepancy between the original Ordinance Line and Ohio's revision defined an area that became known as the Toledo Strip.

When
Michigan applied to become a state in 1835, it claimed the original Ordinance Line as its southern boundary. However, Ohio refused to cede the Toledo Strip.

Michigan's youthful territorial governor Stevens T. Mason responded by sending a militia force to the area. Lucas did the same. The Strip was at the time covered with dense arborvitae swamps (collectively known as the "Great Black Swamp"), which today have been almost totally drained to create farm land.

The two militias got lost for weeks and never actually found each other in the swamps. Though at one point a Monroe County, Michigan, deputy was stabbed while arresting an Ohio man in a tavern, no one else was seriously injured.

2. There's been a lot of discussion over Ohio's recent move to change its liscence plate motto from "The Heart of it All" to "The Birthplace of Aviation." The controversy seems to lie in the fact that North Carolina already had the motto "First in Flight" on their liscence plate and of course the first plane flight happened there. Surely, just having one of the Wright brothers birthed in your state isn't liscence plate-worthy right?

Well it turns out the Wright Brothers did do all of the actual work in Dayton, Ohio. The actual construction and plans for the first flight were done in the good ole Buckeye state. North Carolina was only involved when it came to the actual flight (again from Wikipedia):

"[Kitty Hawk, North Carolina was chosen] on the advice of a National Weather Service meterologist because of its strong and steady winds and because its remote location afforded the brothers privacy from prying eyes in the highly competitive race to invent a successful heavier-than-air flying machine."

Check and mate.

3. Without a doubt, the single most embarrassing moment in Ohio history that I get the most crap about (besides perhaps the 2004 election) is the Cuyahoga River catching on fire. Yes, it's possible for a river to catch on fire. However, it wasn't as bad as people have made it out to be:

"Cleveland at the time was not particularly impressed. The Chief of Police was not called; the regular crew, which was always dispersing oil slicks and watching for river fires, had it under control in under half an hour."

A half-an-hour? That's an episode of Seinfeld. That's not that bad. Well maybe this is:

"This was not the first time that the river had caught on fire. Fires occurred on the Cuyahoga River in 1868, 1883, 1887, 1912, 1922, 1936, 1941, 1948, and in 1952. The 1952 fire caused over 1.5 million dollars in damage."

However, Cleveland still got an unneccessary bad rap (source):

"The only picture (left), taken after the fire was pretty much out, ran in two local papers the next day, but the only story was brief and buried... Burning rivers in industrialized areas were common through the late 19th and early 20th century. Rivers and harbors once burned in Michigan, New York, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, among other states."

We wouldn't even be talking about this today but a song by Randy Newman entitled Burn On, Big River put a national spotlight on the city. A month later Time magazine ran this:

"Some river! Chocolate-brown, oily, bubbling with subsurface gases, it oozes rather than flows. "Anyone who falls into the Cuyahoga does not drown," Cleveland's citizens joke grimly. 'He decays.'" - Time Magazine, August 1969

Fucking liberal media.

4. Finally, a quote from a good ole-fashioned right-wing wacko (from Cleveland no less). From http://deporttraitors.blogspot.com:
The (A) Anti- (C) Christ (L) Loves (U) Us -NOT

A US federal court in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, opened Monday to hear whether the so-called "intelligent design" doctrine should be taught in basic schools to challenge Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.

The Prince of Darkness ally, the ACLU, is leading the fight against "intelligent design" in this case.

Kenneth Miller, a Brown University professor. If nearly all original species are extinct, then the "intelligent design" creator was not very intelligent.

Kenneth Miller, repent or die in your sins for calling God The Almighty "not very intelligent".


UPDATE: 9/28: 2:12 PM
VICTORY!
As kos put it, "Holy fucking shit."


From the liberals at NYTimes.com:
DeLay Is Charged With Criminal Conspiracy in Texas
WASHINGTON, Sept. 28 - Representative Tom DeLay of Texas, the powerful House Republican majority leader, was accused by a Texas grand jury today of criminal conspiracy in a campaign fund-raising scheme...

"I have notified the speaker that I will temporarily step aside from my position as majority leader," Representative Tom DeLay said.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

monco

found a dollar

found a dollar next to the computer at the CIT. after over an hour no one has claimed it. perhaps i am being paid for services as of yet unrendered.

but maybe i'm just a thief.
monco

mike and chris should get their acts together

yeah, i think it's just me and brandon now. it's funny how that worked out considering we're the ones that don't have computers at the moment.

in fact, i'm convinced that fate is trying to push me back to a pre-technological state piece by piece. first the car becomes illegal to drive by some random twist, then my computer more or less dies out of the blue, then my ipod's click wheel ceases to work (it still connects to the computer so i got the files and music off, thankfully). i'm afraid of what's coming next, perhaps my phone? perhaps my external hard drive? or will it be my stereo? maybe electronics will begin to explode as i walk past.

hopefully, though, i'll be able to get my computer back into working order within a week; apparently lisa's little brother can get stuff off of the computer. that would be real nice.

since my ipod broke just before playing the first song of my radio show last thursday, i was forced to use bsr's limited library. i normally play hardcore and country or variations on those genres, but bsr has very little decent hardcore so i had to use what metal i was able to find, none of it good. i'm talking obituary and soilent green....OBITUARY.


but i thank what lucky stars are still in my sky these days for smithsonian folkways, their albums are reliably good and slavaged the country half of things (well, it was bluegrass that night).

all in all, though, it was perhaps the worst radio program i have ever broadcast in my time as a dj.

but right now i'm sitting in the mcm editing room listening to a playlist on my ipod i made at the very beginning of summer (since i can't listen to the ipod anymore if its not connected to a computer).

i made this playlist back when life was at its luckiest, things were all going right those days, not that things are all that bad now, but damn i wish it were early summer again.

it's been smelling like fall.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

He Hate Me

Dear Other Mike,

I just got your postcard from Australia. I would send you one back but I'm just too damn lazy so I'll just reply to you in this post. Apparently me and Nathan are the only ones who still care enough about our readers to post consistently (directed at Mike and Chris).

So 2 months without poker, huh? You're full of shit, I don't believe you for a second. Believe it or not, there has been a cease-fire between me and the Asian-Jew forces of 17 Thayer. I wish I had some really exciting/stupid stories for you but it's been pretty calm around here. Here are the top stories from the year thus far:

Broken Computers
Nathan and my computer's aren't working so we've been pretty cut off from the world. However, both me and Nathan are "working" at the MML so that's gives us plenty of time to fuck around on the internet. So yeah, we're slowly turning into Brian Lee minus the shitting.

The Fish
We won a fish at a raffle contest at the Wickenden Pub that as of now lives in a beer mug. He's tried to commit suicide on more than one occassion and actually jumped out of the tank yesterday only to be saved by Nathan. I'll allow him to recount the entire story but it was quite dramatic.

New Dorm A 2nd Floor
EVERYBODY lives on New Dorm A 2nd floor. All of Brian's token minority buddies have moved in together and taken over the building. Brian had a huge birthday party there this past weekend that was spilling into the hallway. After all was said and done, you could literally see the streaks of blue from the jeans of people being grinded into the wall. Otherwise, most people are off-campus and off-meal plan.

So yeah, I wish I had more for you but I think that's about it.

The only stupid drunken story I can think of is when me and Mike downed a liter of Hot Cinnamin Schnapps in one night while watching Being Bobby Brown and the next morning I woke up Hu with my repetitive puking.

Oh, and then there was the time that we were in New Dorm and this middle-aged white guy straight out of the country club with a sweater tied around his neck walked in and I started pointing and laughing at him.

But yeah, I think that's about it. Mike still disappears. I assume Brian still shits and Pat still laxes and I still watch my reality shows. Everyone (including me) has become a bit of a work-aholic recently so we don't see each other much except for late-night drinking.

It sounds like New Zealand and Australia are as beautiful as you hoped they would be and you're having a pretty good time. Go out and do something stupid to make Americans look bad for me. Gotta go, keep in touch and I can't wait to continue to make you my bitch upon your return in the fall.

Your pimpo,
Brandon

P.S. I will fulfill your request and fart on Brian the next chance I get.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

monco

it's been too long. in a number of ways.

my computer is still at the store where data is hopefully being recovered, but the general malaise of a computer/internetless bedroom is starting to lift. i had left my room impassably messy after my frantic search for a non-existent windows xp disc, too frustrated to clean it up, as if that would help the situation.
but i guess the frustration is going away because last night i cleaned it all up. i guess my room has been a good indicator of my mental state these past two (is that all it's been?) weeks.

going up north to cambridge to see lucero and annie's new apartment tomorrow. that'll be fun.

oh, ed, we looked at your blog in my digital media class the other day. the reaction was muted, but they enjoyed the cats. they did not see the porn.

i actually don't really feel up to posting here right now, it's just been a while since i have and i may as well make the most of my time in the computer center.

i think i need a vacation

and a few other things

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

He Hate Me

Post Game

I hope y'all appreciate the time and energy I put into creating these polysemic titles. In case you haven't figured it out, nearly everything I write (and say) has at the very least a double meaning attached. If you're ever confused, just assume one of the meanings has something to do with prison rape.

That said, on to today's rant. I've often felt that there's a body of information that other people were born with that I am 21 years or so behind in discovering. This feeling is especially salient given my recent inner/outer mono/dialouge about future career options (if you haven't read the Brown Man's Burden post below, you should do that now or the rest of this won't make as much sense).

I went to career services today to see the corporate recruiter for Bain & Company, a financial consulting firm, to see what she had to say. She was a former Brown grad who sort of reminded me of a less fanciful/plant-oriented Lisa with a Harvard Business degree. The entire situation was very awkward as we sat around a table in an "informal meeting" with other interested Brown seniors. Some were in full corporate interview wear (shirt and tie) while others were dressed in t-shirts and shorts. The room also seemed to be split by students eager to sell their soul to the highest bidder and students looking to find themselves in the fast-paced 60 hour/week world of business.

As I asked stupid question after stupid question, the "sell out-types" glared at me disapprovingly while the "find myself-types" nodded approvingly. For the rest of my fellow confused seniors, here's how she described our options post-Brown.
  1. Join a business firm - Go to business school - Do business
  2. Go to med school - Be a doctor
  3. Go to law school - Be a lawyer - Quit - Find yourself, then start over again
  4. Get a Ph.D. - Be an academic
  5. Other
I wonder what the breakdown is of how many Ivy students and Brown students take each of these options.

This really strikes me as a situation where race and class make a big difference. Of family friends and other adults I know semi-well, I can only think of 2 people who've done any of the first four options (my godmother is a lawyer and my boss at Black Studies is a Ph.D.). I think this is one of those times when its good to have those family/personal connections with those in these upper-class professions.

So is this stuff that everyone else knew and I am just late? Am I understanding this right or is there something else I'm missing? Do any of you actually plan to pursure options 1-4?

Comments would be greatly appreciated by all.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

He Hate Me

The Brown Man's Burden

(WARNING: This post will be sappy and self-obsessed. If you are looking for entertaining procrastination I suggest that guys click here and girls click here. I will address the problematic nature of that last sentence in a future post.)

I am suffering through my first bout of senior depression and figure that I can probably blog my way out of it. So here goes.

The last few months have been my favorite at Brown since my first few months in Unit 26 freshman year. I've got multiple jobs that require little work and all of my classes are really interesting. However, as I sat in Engin 9 today, my mood started to change for the worse.

Hazeltine was being his normal loveable self while imploring the class for reassurance that his teaching method was effective.

"Am I making sense here? Does anyone understand a goddamn thing I'm saying?"

We were talking about how best to market birth control pills in Bangladesh when the memories and feelings began to flood in. For those that don't know, one of my many nicknames in high school (besides Angry Black Man, etc.) was "Bangla" or "Bangla-Deezy" - short for Bangladesh. No, I'm not part-Indian/Arab/whatever or anything. Its just that it was cool at the time to refer to people by their first intital and last name -- in my case B English. A friend of mine suggested that when you said B English fast enough, it sounded like Bangladesh and so the name stuck.

Anyways, mentions of Bangladesh invariably make me think of home. Usually at the beginning of the school year I am very homesick for the urban/suburban landscape of the Heights but this was not so much an issue this year for a number of reasons. Primary among them: I was only in town for a couple weeks I couldn't get too reattached, so many people have come and gone that the home I long for is for the most part non-existant, and I have filled my longing with an emerging love of Providence.

However, the most major reasons for the smooth transition this year was my large extended Brown family and Brown's plethora of ugly white girls.

I guess I should explain the latter first. As I will explain in a future posting, my thesis (hopefully), and sort of explained in the links in the introduction, guys are taught to transfer feeling of pain, despair and weakness into anger, transcendence, and strength. This may be problematic and unhealthy but it is also very effective (I learned that lesson in high school - hence, the angry black man).

In this case, I have transferred my longing for the beautiful Black people of Cleveland into pointing and laughing at ugly white girls (and confused white men with sweaters tied around their necks, for that matter). And at Brown there is no shortage of targets ripe for ridicule. Is it just me or is everyone else shocked by the proponderence of white people, asian people, ugly people, and gay people at this university. Quite frankly, they're all a bit much.

Equally as important in my smooth transition has been all the cool people that I'm glad to see back from various locations around the world. There's a real freshman year feeling of treating college like summer camp instead of job training that makes me think this might be our best year at Brown.

This is where the depression comes in. After this year, that's it. Obviously, this is something I figured out before today but I rationalized myself into believing that college wasn't all that great and my post-college career would be really interesting. However, listening to Hazeltine talk about some consumerism bullshit that I wasn't trying to hear and getting these career services e-mails telling me to show up to the Faculty Club to kiss some financial firm's ass is not my idea of a good time. And of course, I live by the mantra "Above all else, have a good time."

However, its not that simple. I think every Brown graduate feels a number of burdens on their life after they leave college (besides loan repayments). First burden: you should do something worthy of your Brown degree. Obviously, this is up for lots of interpretation but it seems to me that that limits you to a few options:

1. Do something to help save the world.
2. Do something only really smart/educated people can do.
3. Get rich.

The second burden that I think most of us feel is that we should we take care of our families. That means that we should probably pursue option 3 (if possible in tandem with option(s) 1 and/or 2).

A third burden probably only refers to certain segments of the Brown population: the burden to help those who you've left behind (read that however you'd like). That usually means get rich and give back. That makes things interesting because getting rich usually requires selling out but not giving back also carries with it the stigma of selling out.

Having written this, though, I actually feel a lot better. Yeah, burdens exist but I don't have to deal with them now. I have the rest of my 20's to be a poor, useless drain on society. I can save these larger questions for a mid-life crisis down the line.

In the meantime, I can take simple pleasure out of shit like this:
  • This guy is the Thai me.
  • Shame on you Florida Marlins. You're still my favorite NL team but you should reward this type of behavior, not punish it.
  • And finally, this is why I always order General Tzo's.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

harry j. blige

Deployment

Just to give you all a little update on my whereabouts: not only am I alive, Brandon, but I will be leaving the Bay Area tomorrow evening (or early Tues morning) in a Red Cross-sponsored Saturn headed for Houston TX. It's supposedly a thirty five hour drive if you go non-stop. From the Red Cross headquarters there, I should be sent to volunteer at another location closer to New Orleans. I don't know what I'll be doing, exactly, or where I'll be: I've gone through the training, though, and if I do what I'm told during the workday, so I hear, they give me three meals a day and a mattress. If I have reliable access to the internet--which I probably won't--I'll try and put out a post or two. This should really be something.

Hope all is well at #17.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

monco

also broke

my computer is out of service for the time being, and has been all week. the effect of this has been exile to the computer center and a (hopefully small) wad of my cash going to the computer store.
on top of that, the week has been incalculably busy.

honestly, i have very little idea of what has happened in the outside world. apparently this has happened:

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "Little Reggie," the smaller of two alligators at large in Los Angeles, was behind bars on Friday after firefighters ended a tense standoff by hauling the thrashing reptile from a drainage canal.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

He Hate Me

Broke

First, I'd like to welcome Mike into the Infamous fold and apologize to him for pushing his post down in my continued effort to dominate the blogosphere.

Also, I'd like to suggest that our readers check out When Penguins Attack, the blog of Christine and crew back in the beautiful midwest. The links section is hilarious. I particularly enjoyed the Stinky Meat link which details one man's experiment of placing rotting meat outside his neighbor's house and tracking its progress. It seems like something we would do.

As I write this post, I am sitting in the Rock sitting next to a white girl with dredlocks. Oh, to be back at Brown.

The reason I'm not writing this from my normal blogspot at 17 Thayer is the power port on my laptop is broken and rendered my computer non-functional. The bad news is that I will be disconnected from the world (AIM, reality blurred, myDD, BOCA, bigbootyhoes.com, etc.). The good news is that my parents bought a three-year warranty for my laptop that will be three years old in two months. Victory!

So basically, don't expect to see me online and I'd appreciate AIM texts to my phone or old-fashioned phone calls to be alerted to Jo's-ings, free food, alcohol, and other trife.

In another example of if the door don't open, then break a window, I was disappointed upon my return to find that I did not have enough money in my account to purchase books or even buy Yaffa blocks (hence the Yaffa blocks I stole from someone's trash). However, after hundreds of hours of Wilcoxin Matched-Pair and Mann-Whitney statistical tests, I've got (in the words of Ja Rule) DOLLUHS, DOLLUHS! Don't get me wrong though, in the words of James's favorite song:

"I've got everythang in my mama's name, but that's OK cause I'm still fly." Let's just hope that it doesn't reach the point where "I can't pay my rent cause all my money's spent."

Added 5:53pm:
I didn't actually think there would be a bigbootyhoes.com so I Googled it first to make sure. I didn't want to just check for the actual site because I didn't want to be at the library with people walking by saying, "Are those big bootied hoes on his computer screen?"

On the sponsored links menu on the right, the following showed up (click here for the actual search):

Sponsored Links

Big Black Booty XXX Sites
Find hot big ghetto booty sites
tons of videos and more. $1.00
www.pornohunters.com

Big Black Bitches
Bargain Prices.
You want it, we got it!
BizRate.com

Booty
Free to Join. 1000's of pictures
Of Beautiful Christian Singles
www.LoveandSeek.com

I found the bizrate link particularly humorous, especially on the next page where the screen flashes:

...searching the Web's best stores for:
Big Black Bitches


And on the Christian singles site (you should really click on the link to see it but I know y'all are lazy so here's an example):



The big booty hoes were not delievered as advertised.

Monday, September 05, 2005

michael

Just call me Snoop Bloggy Blog

After receiving a top-notch blog tutorial and a series of suggestive glances from Nathan--not to mention a baseless comparison between myself and a banana-wielding bear--I feel the time is right to make my long-awaited debut on the infamous grouse. You will have to excuse me for my prolonged absence. A general lack of computer/internet access this summer coupled with an inexplicable fear of online journals proved to be an insurmountable obstacle.

Now that I have made my entrance, let’s clear up a few things. My posts will be almost entirely devoid of touching inner monologues, profound political analysis, biting social commentary, passionate tales of adventure and intrigue, or anything of the sort. In contrast, you can look forward to a barrage of corny jokes, an exclusive behind-the-scenes glimpse at my digestive troubles and grooming habits, links to animal news stories, and detailed accounts of my mundane, mediocre existence. So if that tickles your fancy, then kick back, relax, and step into my post office.

As many of you know, I spent half my summer in DC working at the National Archives. As an American history concentrator and former employee of a library (shelving department, what what), it was in many respects the perfect internship. While I didn’t get to eat dinner and nap on the job, I was given a surprising amount of access to precious 19th-century documents. I mostly helped out with research on Reconstruction and the impeachment of Andrew Johnson for educational publications distributed by NARA to high schools and colleges throughout the country. I particularly enjoyed the accounts--written, of course, with eloquent 19th-century politeness--of the political elite beating the molasses out of each other. Take Andrew Jackson, for example. Following a dispute over a horse-race, Charles Dickinson called Jackson a "base poltroon and cowardly tale-bearer...who, by frivolous and evasive pretexts, avoided giving the satisfaction, which was due to a gentleman whom he had injured." Jackson gladly accepted Dickinson's call for a duel, which took place in a Kentucky holstery in 1806. Jackson fatally shot Dickinson in the stomach, suffering a shot to his rib cage in the process. Later, during his presidency, Jackson survived an attempt on his life. A deranged man claiming Jackson deprived him of his rightful claim to the British throne fired two shots point-black at the President, who, as the story goes, stood perfectly still. After the second shot missed, Jackson proceeded to beat the man senseless with his cane. The episode is depicted in this famous etching. Perhaps the modern Democratic party could stand to revive some of Jackson's fighting spirit. A Yale historian has written an excellent analysis of the culture of honor in the early American republic, if you're interested.

Duelicious, isn't it?

On the weekends I made the obligatory stops at DC's cultural and historical attractions (the kind of outings Brandon would loathe, I think). Luckily the museums were free, which appealed to both the nerdy and stingy sides in me. While I usually hung out at Brickskeller--home to the largest collection of beer in the world--on one fateful Tuesday night I found myself at Chaos, one of DC's finer gay nightclubs. Being an old man as I am, I was delighted to discover that the special event of the evening was a club-wide game of bingo, moderated by three lovely drag queens named Miss Xavier Bloomingdale, Gigi Couture and Regina Jozcette-Adam. Positive that I had won one particular round, I screamed "Bingo!" and rushed to the front of the club in hopes of winning a free wristwatch. Unfortunately it turns out that my elderly sensibilities have also damaged my hearing, as I learned to my horror that I had misheard one of the letter-number combos. As Miss Xavier Bloomingdale snatched away the wristwatch--and my dignity--the club went dark and a loud techno song blared out "You're a loser, you're a loser, fuck you fuck you fuck you." I ran back to the streets, never to return again.

So yeah, duels and drag queen bingo. What more could I have asked for?

Back in Oakland I took what little work was available. Teaching "Rockin' Robin" on piano to a five year-old boy who lived down the street proved to be my most challenging task of the summer. Not much else exciting to report. Oh, except for this ostrich which fell out of a truck and landed on the Golden Gate Bridge, where it held up traffic for ten minutes while the authorities tried to capture it. I can't think of a corny joke to drive home the humor of the situation. I hope a picture will suffice.

Christine and I then took a mini road trip on our way back to St. Louis (where she goes to school). We passed through Nevada, Utah, Wyoming and Nebraska on our drive. Eastern Nevada might well be the most depressing place I have ever seen in my life. It was like a post-apocalyptic nightmare. Omaha, in contrast, has been dubbed "America's new indie-rock capital." It is also considered a mecca for steak-lovers--the city motto used to be "Rare. Well done." Needless to say, the city easily won us over. You might even call me an Oma-ho. Upon arriving in the Show-Me state of Missouri, I was surprised to discover that many of Christine's friends are dedicated fans of the infamous grouse. It seems they've also created a blog of their own, which can be found here if you're curious. Great minds think alike, eh?

And now I'm back in the 401. Highlights of the last few days have included couscous, a bosomy bed, an unexpected 24 marathon, wallball, backwards street races, and a salesman at the mall who, with typical Rhode Island quaintness, informed me that I should fire whoever irons my shirts. It's good to be home.

On a more somber note, I've been simply overwhelmed by the pictures and videos coming out of New Orleans and the Southeast this week. I don't have much to add to what has already been said on this blog. It's just a devastatingly sad situation, made all the more tragic by the growing realization that human incompetence and negligence may have resulted in hundreds, if not thousands of deaths. I can only echo feelings of utter hopelessness and despair. My thoughts go out to all those affected by this terrible disaster.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

He Hate Me

More on the New Orleans Disaster: The Media Responds

9/4/05 - Links fixed

If you haven't seen it, here's the link to the Kanye West rant against Bush on NBC's Hurricane Telethon:
Windows Media Player Video
Quicktime Video

Here's the text:
"I hate the way they portray us in the media.

"If you see a black family it says they are looting if you see a white family it says they are looking for food.

"And you know that it’s been 5 days because most of the people are black and even for me to complain … I would be a hypocrite because I would turn away from the TV because it’s too hard to watch. I’ve even been shopping before giving a donation and so right now I’m calling my business manager what is the biggest amount I can give.

"And just to imagine if I was down there, those are my people down there. So anybody out there who wants to help with the set up, the way that America is set up to help … The poor, the black people, the less well off as slow as possible. I mean, Red Cross is doing everything they can.
"We already realize a lot of the people that could help are at war now fighting another way and they’ve given them permission to go down and shoot us."

(Mike Meyers tries to get back on prompter, reads from script and then camera cuts back to Kanye. He pauses before
Kanye West: "George Bush doesn’t care about black people."
Then camera abruptly switches to Chris Tucker.

For the record, I disagree. I do think Bush cares about Black people. I just think he doesn't understand how best to care for Black people.

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CNN's Anderson Cooper (former host of "The Mole", came to Brown last semester) also seems fed up with the situation and went off on Sen. Landrieu (D-LA).
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Part of the transcript:
LANDRIEU: Anderson, tonight, I don’t know if you’ve heard — maybe you all have announced it — but Congress is going to an unprecedented session to pass a $10 billion supplemental bill tonight to keep FEMA and the Red Cross up and operating.

COOPER: … I haven’t heard that, because, for the last four days, I’ve been seeing dead bodies in the streets here in Mississippi. And to listen to politicians thanking each other and complimenting each other, you know, I got to tell you, there are a lot of people here who are very upset, and very angry, and very frustrated. And when they hear politicians slap — you know, thanking one another, it just, you know, it kind of cuts them the wrong way right now. Because literally there was a body on the streets of this town yesterday being eaten by rats, because this woman had been laying in the street for 48 hours. And there’s not enough facilities to take her up. Do you get the anger that is out here?

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Believe it or not, some of the most moving journalism has come from Fox News and Geraldo Rivera. Warning: some of this stuff is hard to watch.
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For more clips of this craziness, go to crooksandliars.com (one of the largest liberal video blogs). Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) may have said it best:

"To the President of the United States, I simply say that God cannot be pleased with our response." Cummings also said: "We cannot allow it to be said that the difference between those who lived and those who died in this great storm and flood of 2005 was nothing more than poverty, age or skin color." I have no more words.

Friday, September 02, 2005

He Hate Me

The Elephant in the Bayou

(CNN) -- New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin blasted the slow pace of federal and state relief efforts in an expletive-laced interview with local radio station WWL-AM.

"I told him we had an incredible crisis here and that his flying over in Air Force One does not do it justice... You know the reason why the looters got out of control? Because we had most of our resources saving people, thousands of people that were stuck in attics, man, old ladies. ... You pull off the doggone ventilator vent and you look down there and they're standing in there in water up to their freaking necks...

We ain't talking about -- you know, one of the briefings we had, they were talking about getting public school bus drivers to come down here and bus people out here. I'm like, "You got to be kidding me. This is a national disaster. Get every doggone Greyhound bus line in the country and get their asses moving to New Orleans. That's -- they're thinking small, man. And this is a major, major, major deal. And I can't emphasize it enough, man.

This is crazy... every day that we delay, people are dying and they're dying by the hundreds, I'm willing to bet you. We're getting reports and calls that are breaking my heart, from people saying, "I've been in my attic. I can't take it anymore. The water is up to my neck. I don't think I can hold out." And that's happening as we speak...

And I don't know whose problem it is. I don't know whether it's the governor's problem. I don't know whether it's the president's problem, but somebody needs to get their ass on a plane and sit down, the two of them, and figure this out right now."

-- New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin
(read whole interview here, it makes the point better than I ever could)

As I write this, I am sitting at the Providence shittle counter at the airport waiting for the 2pm shuttle to Brown. I am already feeling a bit homesick but I am also looking forward to what should be an amazing senior year and the fun and challenges that lie ahead. However, my mind is dominated by thoughts about a place I’ve never been.

I’ve spent the last 48 hours transfixed in front of the television watching the horror taking place in New Orleans and the rest of the South that has been destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans (the 35th largest city in the United States with 462,269 people – for comparison, Cleveland’s population is next largest with only 3500 less people, Boston has about 100.000 more people) has been totally destroyed.and rendered uninhabitable. If you’ve been any where near a TV in the last couple days, then you know words can not do the scene justice.

As I’ve been watching, two questions keep popping into my head: where is the help and where are the white people? Death, dying and desparation seem to permeate the streets of the city. Every time you see a rescue or a survivor they are a white person who has survived the storm but whenever you see old people literally dying in the streets and babies limp bodies in their sobbing mother’s arms there are a crowd of helpless black people. The mayor of the city has said thousands are probably dead under the waters and as the days pass, the number of deaths that could be prevented with some clean water, food, and shelter continue to mount. One scene that was especially heartbreaking was a man with dozens of children that he had to raft to dry land and leave their mothers behind to die.

At the barbar shop yesterday someone remarked that this was the Black 9/11. I’d say it’s much worse. In a city where nearly a quarter of the people are below the poverty line, mostly Black, disaster struck and the underlying racial/economic inequalities rose to the surface. These are the types of events that make me feel hopeless and helpless in this country. Maybe if I had a reassuring voice of a Bill Clinton or a Peter Jennings to reassure me I’d feel better but with Jr. as president and a bunch of flustered stand-in TV anchors showing the action, I just don’t know what to hope for. We miss you Peter.

I plan to write my Congressmen and ask for them to appropriate funds for volunteers to move into the disaster zone and help out (maybe through Americorps or something). I am strongly considering traveling down there after graduation and trying to help out in some way. I’m tired of beng helpless.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

ch
Well, to continue an already tired theme, here are three signs that my summer is over:

1. Mark Bellhorn is a member of the New York Yankees.

2. I've had more than my usual one beer per night for three days running.

3. My will to read has evaporated into the late-summer air. Today I was bored enough to rent a Fassbinder movie, but apparently not bored enough to make a dent in my still-lengthy summer reading list. Here are the fifteen books I did actually get through:

Moretti, Atlas of the European Novel
Philbrick, In the Heart of the Sea
Amis, London Fields
Mulisch, The Assault
Coetzee, Elizabeth Costello
Coetzee, Dusklands
Smith, No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
Anderson, Imagined Communities
Scholes, Textual Power
Hemingway, The Fifth Column
Various, London Review of Books: An Anthology
Coetzee, Master of Petersburg
Moretti, Graphs, Maps, Trees
Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow
Frank and Weiland, Commodify Your Dissent: Salvos from The Baffler
plus half of
Pamuk, My Name is Red
Various, Left Legalism/Left Critique
He Hate Me

WE'RE NUMBER 12!

Cleveland no longer poorest U.S. big city

Triumph! Cleveland is no longer the poorest big city in the United States. We're twelfth. There are so many people to thank. First, and foremost, thanks goes to the newest poorest city: Detroit.

FYI, the rankings are:

1. Detroit
2. El Paso, Texas
3. Miami
4. Newark, N.J.
5. Atlanta
6. Long Beach, Calif.
7. Milwaukee
8. Buffalo
9. Philadelphia
10. Memphis
11. Baltimore
12. (tie) Cleveland
12. (tie) New Orleans
14. Stockton, Calif.
15. St. Louis

Thanks to that bitch Katrina's wet pussy drenching the Gulf coast, New Orleans is sure to rise up the list and leave Cleveland all alone at 13th place. A fuck you also goes out to those bastards in Baltimore. Quoth the Raven, you are poor.

And did y'all see Big Brother on Tuesday. Is the fiend ship not out its damn mind? They've officially reached the point of a cult. Do not let Kool-Aid or black Nikes into that house. After reality blurred declared a week ago that "Big Brother 6 has officially reached its boring stage," the reality tv blog posted today (I feel like people don't actually click on links so I'll just the post whole article below- for non-watchers all you need to know is Janelle is good and the rest of the house are evil whores):

April says viewers "are all pieces of shit" because America made Ivette cry

I take back what I said about the second America’s Choice question (viewers voted for which houseguest should recieve a phone call from home) being lame and not impacting the game...

After Janelle won America’s Choice and received a call from Michael (a former houseguest), Ivette broke down and sobbed. “Ivette’s feelings are really, really hurt right now. She feels like, how could America pick Janelle to get a phone call…?” Maggie asked.

Well, Maggie, basically we’re not fond of Ivette. Or you.

April was also upset. “It hurts my feelings to know that America loves Janelle. Any one who would sit here and think that Janelle deserves a phone call from Michael over any one else in this house, I just have to question their character,” she said.

For an example of strong character, flash back a few weeks to April talking about Janelle: “At least I don’t have to suck cock to get by in life!”

Even better, the Friendship started calling the producers and CBS liars and cheaters. They couldn’t believe we would vote for Michael to call Janelle, since they only knew each other for two weeks. Maggie said, “There’s no way America picked Janelle.”

April agreed. “We don’t believe it. … There’s no way that could have happened. There’s just no way,” she said. “The houseguests are missing their loved ones, and you’re going to frickin’ get Michael to call Janelle? I mean, that’s just crazy, that’s stupid.”

And then April did the one thing that has perhaps never happened before on a reality TV show, at least not in recent memory: She attacked us, the viewers. And used a swear word.

April said, “If America did honestly pick her, then the fans that watch this show are all pieces of shit. Bottom line.”

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Now that's entertaining TV.

I've also figured out why my favorite houseguest, "Hurricane Howie," is such a pitiful klutz. HE'S A JEW!"

Some of my favorite Howie-isms:

  • "I've been with White chicks, Asians, Latinos and Afro-American Black women."
  • "I've been with blondes whose carpet matches their tiles."
  • To the useless gay Beau: "If you were a man..."
  • From Big Brother: "Howie... Please stop sniffing the panties"
  • "I've gone black & gone back."
  • "I want Kaysar back in the house so he can think for me again. It's hard to think on my own.''
  • People are appalled by me, disgusted by me, but deep down they're like, 'That's awesome!"
  • ''I've never seen kung fu porn, but I'd like to.''
  • ''Are those space pants? 'Cause your ass is out of this world.''

However, none of this stacks up with Kaysar's quote of the season:
(to Maggie): I sealed your partner's fate.

Today was a good day.