Archive for the 'hubris' Category

brass tacks

With all that’s been happening lately with the DNC, the delegates, the debates, the endless op-eds and platitudes, I wanted to bring up something of which, apparently, many of my peers are unaware.

4 amendments and 50 years separate the right for women’s suffrage and that of all men, regardless of race, to vote.

The fourteenth amendment was ratified by congress on 3rd February, 1870.

The nineteenth amendment was ratified by congress on 18th August, 1920.

One reads:

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation 

 

the other:

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

 

In between those two came the amendment to allow direct election of two senators from each state, unapportioned federal taxes on income (non-discriminatory), and prohibition.

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can you believe roger clemens is on mitchell’s list?

he thought it was the ball?.

i expected that, but gagne?  what an a-hole.  and mo vaughn?  i guess it wasn’t cheeseburgers.

apparently, helping someone in need isn’t in the lease.

so, many of you, dear friends, have been asking what happened this weekend to destroy my recent spate of happiness.   or, to put it another way: how i discovered my new roommate was bat shit crazy.

my beloved and beyond divine previous roommate, sunny d, left me and our domestic bliss at the end of this past august.  i fault her not because she found love and i could not possibly be happier for her.  that left me in quite the quandary, because not only did i have to find a new person to share my incredibly cozy home, but i knew, hell, everyone knew, that i would never find any to equal sunny d.  or her absolutely perfect predecessor, sileva.

i asked around and around in the two and a half months sunny d gave me for a friend of a friend, but to no avail.  forced to turn to that seemingly necessary evil, i put a brief ad on craigslist.  i had many respondents, but chose one who seemed to fit the bill: a non-smoking female who loved the neighborhood, had a good job, a boyfriend close by (with whom she “often” stays) and a very nice demeanor. 

i was a bit rushed in the process because i had to leave for over six weeks of travel a week before the move out/ move in date, so i probably didn’t investigate as i should have.  although, i’m not quite sure what i would have done differently- called vinny parco, p.i.?

when i returned from six weeks, three trade shows and eight countries on the road, the new roommate, let’s call her batshit, still had not unpacked.  boxes everywhere, piles of plastic bags in multiple locations, clothes in the dining room, i couldn’t even get into the library.  it should be noted that i did come home for a couple of days here and there, to welcome her, tell her where we could displace some of my belongings to make hers more at home, clean out closets, etc.  to no effect, alas.

the situation was making me tense.  i’ve been spoiled, yes, by six years of comfort, but then it is my home, and that’s as it should be.  now, for the entire time i’ve been in the place, it’s been a “shoes off” apartment- street dirt in the bathroom grosses me out.  i informed batshit of this clearly, twice, before she moved in.  also, i informed her, to the letter, what the monthly bills ran us. 

the foreshadowing to this past sunday consisted of the following:

1) month one.  the bills come.  she writes a check but says she can’t do this every month because she’s on a tight budget.  we “need” to switch our internet…. ok.  you knew what the deal was, but i’m reasonable.  i switched to her preference the NEXT DAY.

2) ten weeks into this, she’s informed me that she’s windexed the air conditioner filter (twice!), but the freaking plastic bag of forks and knives is STILL on the counter.

3) she’s always wearing her street shoes in the apartment.

to this last point, i casually, and politely say “[batshit], can we go back to not wearing shoes in the apartment?  it’s one of the few rules i told you about and the bathroom floor is gross.”  her response was that she doesn’t want to walk around barefoot- no one’s floors are that clean.  i suggested she wear socks or get slippers, like entire continents do.  ok, i didn’t say that, but c’mon, people.

two weeks later, i am cleaning.  i don’t clean very often ( i keep things neat, but don’t clean) because when i do, i go anal and wipe down every surface and object and it takes me forever.  i’d gotten up early, gone to home depot, put up two sets of curtains, repotted some plants, watered all the others, and then started the clean up.  i have many, many plants.  not creepy poison ivy of batman comics number of plants, but a nice, fresh air, green apartment amount of plants.  including about eight or ten large ones on a table in my kitchen, which gets the most light.

whilst on my hands and knees cleaning the kitchen floor, the legs of this aforementioned table go out.  the shelf comes crashing down, breaking two bowls my sister hand made and that i love.  i duck my head under and up and balance the table on top of my noggin while holding the table top steady with both hands.  i begin to ponder what in the hell i’m going to do with this situation and the sixty or so pounds of chlorophyl, soil, terra cotta and water on top of my head.  just then, the door opens and i call out “[batshit, come help me, please! this is going to fall!]

batshit (with her sister in tow): um, i have things to do, i can’t…

me: please, just for a second?  it’s kind of urgent.

she goes in her room and puts some things away and then comes over

batshit: what do you want me to do?  what is this?

me: the table’s falling, can you just help keep the top steady while i quickly fix the legs?

batshit: i have a schedule and a lot of things to do.  i can’t be here right now. 

me: seriously?  this is about to come crashing down.  bowls are already broken, and your plants stand (next to my table) is in danger of damage.

batshit: whatever, i have to go.

this is a long one folks, click below for this week's unbelievable  conclusion....

Continue reading ‘apparently, helping someone in need isn’t in the lease.’

someone finally tells chavez to can it

and that someone is Juan Carlos Alfonso Víctor María de Borbón y Borbón-Dos Sicilias, otherwise known to us as Juan Carlos I.  i totally heart the king of spain. 

i think i fell for him when i was living in spain and there he was on the news, walking to his mercedes in a leather bomber jacket and jeans.  casual, not euro-trashy, not pretentious.  no corgis, stiff waves and motorcades.  not for johnny.

i mean, Franco grooms the kid to be his personal successor (after killing his grandfather and putting the family in exile) for six years before karma finally kicked in and the generalismo kicked it.  two days later, he’s king, bucks expectations and trends and starts democratic reforms.   three years later, there are elections, a new constitution and bam! spain’s part of the western world again.

so, now, what does he do to top this?  he tells hugo chavez to shove it at last week’s ibero-america summit.  chavez can be hilarious (eg. his pro-chomsky, anti-bush/satan tirade at the UN last year, going to visit “his brothers” up in harlem to promise them cheap fuel out of empathy for their struggle, etc.), but he’s really kind of worn out his welcome. 

when paling around with castro and proclaiming all sorts of things, he seemed kind of like a crazy head of state who could provide more soundbites than international incidents.  after all, the venezuelans got themselves into this one.  they were duped, too.

so, of course, chavez starts blathering about spain’s recent prime minster, apropos of not much (of course), interrupting the current spanish pm, accusing them of being fascist (hello pot?  this is the kettle). 

then:

Spanish King Juan Carlos, seated next to Zapatero, angrily turned to Chavez and said, “Why don’t you shut up?”

sigh.

right on jc!  at long last.  it certainly needed to be said.  hopefully, it will be the first of many (escalating) reprimands.

i killed robert goulet

me and my big mouth.  we did it again.  and we’re sorry.

jerry garcia, jimmy stewart, princess diana, mel blanc, mother teresa.  we have now to add mr. goulet to the small, but rather exclusive list.  there may have been others, i’m not entirely sure.

i don’t mean to do it.  i don’t even realize what i’m saying until it’s too late.  when your mama told you that words can’t hurt you, she was lying. 

example:

isosceles is far away, in a happy hamlet in iberia, having cafe with her companeros de piso while watching the news.  even while fluent in castellano, isosceles has issues with the news.  they speak so damned fast.  one item she does manage to fully comprehend: the exquisite screen star and man’s man robert mitchum has died.  so sad! she turns to the companeros and says “oh no.  that’s horrible.  but you know what’s really going to be horrible?  when jimmy stewart dies.  he’s so awesome.”*

cut to the same room, the same group, with coffee and the news, but now it’s the very next day.  guess what little item of news leads off the lifestyle/arts segment?

yesterday, i sat in my new boss’s office, watching a teaser for a far-off will ferrell movie.  i casually say “is robert goulet in this movie?  because he totally needs to do a cameo for will ferrell before he dies.”**

it’s subtle, yes.  but it’s there.  always a very random target, considering the order of the day.

many people would think this hubris of the highest order, but i tell you now, internet, it is an unfortunate truth.  stick around long enough and you’ll see.  i don’t mean to do it.  honestly. 

i’ll try not to do it again.  as long as kevin bacon makes it through the next couple of days, we’re golden.

the man, the legend

*that’s not exactly what i said, because i translated.

** that IS exactly what i said.  yesterday.

who would snoop on the internet?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

well, everyone, really.  google is a gateway to information about people you know, want to know, or need to know to avoid.  i don’t think there’s a single one of us that hasn’t googled a number or a person or a place, seeking out information that would otherwise be unavailable.

it seems that word has gotten out, friends, that i have a blog, this generations version of a locked diary.  you can disguise the names to protect the innocent (or guilty), and give yourself a modicum of anonymity, but that cheap little lock can still be picked with a bobby pin, dupe key you pick up at a five and dime or sheer will.  One doesn’t have to be a genius to find someone they’re looking for using combinations of words, especially if they’re looking for a unique phrase or name.

the thing is, you can drive yourself crazy.  people put all kinds of thoughts out there these days- the near infinite number of thoughts, rants, raves, opinions, etc., are mindboggling.  it’s the nearest thing we have to being able to read minds.

but, what you have to think about is this: would you want that ability?  i mean, really want it?  would you want to know absolutely everything everyone was thinking about you all the time?  you could drive yourself crazy that way.  hell, you can drive yourself crazy imagining it, or just thinking about it. 

there isn’t anything i would put on here that i wouldn’t tell someone to their face; i have no problem with confrontation and i know that anonymous is a disappearing concept. however, not every blogger realizes that.  so, in general, i guess my advice is this: if you don’t think you’re going to find something positive, don’t look for it.  and if you find it, deal with it.  you don’t know what the context is (the mood of the author, the tone of their writing, the intent in putting it in black and white).  And despite one’s ability to find something, it doesn’t mean it’s their business.

i hope you’ll excuse me while i go off to try and find out if my new imaginary boyfriend has a criminal record.

would i lie to you?

not about the important things, friends.

exhibit a:

http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z55/donniebrusco/riogrande.jpg

yes, that’s my eye and earlobe in the corner.

please, no more applause.

fording the rio grande

oh, where to begin, where to begin.

we got to barca around four or five in the afternoon: hot, tired and thrilled to be amongst spaniards.  we grabbed some fabulous food and went up and checked into our hovel.  i mean hole.  i mean hostal.  we grabbed some rest, went out for a bocadillo in a sandwich chain (shut it.  it had air conditioning, which was desperately needed at this point).  then, we decided to hunt for a decent pub.  true, the proverbial bar had been lowered to the point we could shuffle over it, but we were in barcelona and we meant business.  this, of course, left only one choice: hogan’s, an authentic australian bar squai on las ramblas.

a pint of fosters here, a pint of fosters in an irish bar and the hunt continued.  we happened upon- get this- another irish bar.  ok, a few more.  but that’s not really the point.  the point is people, that we were in an irish bar.  which means the trouble was a-brewing.  i asked cs at the beginning of the trip what the over/under was on us being in the middle of stag party at some point.  we should have made some points, because before you could say “yes, i’ll have that fifth pint of fosters, please” there we were. 

they were even easier to identify than usual because they were all wearing matching soccer (ok.  football.  they were brits) jerseys with a picture of the groom as a four year old and their nicknames on them.  before i could say “how much do i owe you for that drink?,” we were in the midst of four of the eighteen members.  let’s call them herbs, plan b, rio and mark.  because that’s what they were named.  at least according to their shirts. 

quite quickly, and without warning, i had entered into a transaction with, um, rio, to meet up at three am at the hard rock cafe for a little action if neither of us got lucky before then.  i was totally kidding and not taking him seriously, of course.  i think he sensed this so he broke out the big guns: the pinkie swear.  now i was legally bound.  it was for serious a true blue straight up transaction.  no flirting or leg work.  it was a five minute once over from either side and then a contract.

alas, as chance would have it, we never got to frequent that fine, movie-themed establishment because we kept chatting at the bar.  rio asked if i’d like to accompany him to get some fags (cigarettes, not homosexual men).  i told cs i’d be back in ten seconds as i hadn’t yet decided what my involvement would be with this gentleman, but when we got to the newstand and he asked me how to say condoms in espanol, i figured what the hell?  he’s totally full of himself and british, but really hot (think jason statham) and i’m young, white and single.  so, i told the man “un paquete de condons” and off we went.  i rolled my eyes when he told the shopkeep “the big ones, please.” let’s come back to this later.

after a brief stop at my hovel (it was closer) during which we were kicked out and i remembered that i am far too old and well paid to be staying in places that don’t allow guests, we headed off to his fancy pants hotel and headed straight upstairs.  i think it was around the point that he held the door open for me that i finally decided that i’d probably hook up with him.  alright.  ok.  it was when he told me that he liked the cut of my jib two hours before, but let’s pretend.

anyhoo, all you need to know:
seriously.jpg
(seriously. more or less, this is what we’re talking about)

without getting too graphic, let’s just say that his little throwaway comment at the newstand was not only not a joke, but an understatement.  i thought we were going to have product relevancy issues.

he taught me several handy phrases in egyptian arabic which revealed that he was, in fact, egyptian arabic and quite pleased by my earlier statements regarding the US and UK’s treatment of muslims.

i was called, in all seriousness, a ‘naughty minx.’

i am totally hooking up with more self-centered playboys.  good god did that guy know what he was doing.

finally, i LOVE this transaction thing.  no nonsense, no time wasted.  which rocked, because it meant more time for play.

when i was ready to leave at seven am, he got dressed to walk me home, much to my surprise.  he was insulted that i even conceived of the notion that he wouldn’t be a gentleman.  i was like “take no offense, in new york, i’d be like ‘bag of peanuts,’ i’m getting on the subway.” 

he gave me his email and told me to tell him when i’d next be in london, which i readily, though very wearily, agreed to. 

cs lewis was happier to see me than anyone had been in my life.  my “ten seconds” had been more like four hours and she was concerned.  for a hot second.  then we hi5ed ourselves to sleep.

turns out the world isn’t watching

abughraib.jpg

i got through security at laguardia pretty quickly this morning and headed to gate 4 for my 9:48 flight to the cleve for another day of marathon meetings.  i grabbed a couple of bananas and water at au bon pain and settled into my seat at the gate.i looked around and noticed that it wasn’t overly crowded, which isn’t exceptional, but i did see a rather large family traveling together- about 8 to 10 people in all, clearly muslim and clearly traditional.  now, i know what you might be thinking, but that isn’t where this going. 

also at the gate?  a soccer mom-esque forty-something with her yappy, yippy lap dog.  she laid a diaper and a toy or two on the floor, put her doggy down and held the leash down with her foot to keep the dog nearby. 

now, gate 4 in the continental terminal is not that big, not that that fact should have given license to soccermom to be so oblivious.  her dog was roaming about as dogs do- exploring, sniffing, nipping.  now, i don’t like lapdogs much, but this is nothing you can fault the dog for; it’s what they do. 

what can be faulted here is that this was making the family very, very uncomfortable.  a couple of the younger women quickly got up and moved as far away as possible within the confines of the gate, while the father sat quietly, if warily, across from me.  seeing that soccermom (let’s just shorten that to “sm.”) was not taking note of the fact that her dog was causing several people genuine distress, i clicked my tongue and snapped my fingers and called the dog over to me before she could reach dad.

i leaned over and got sm’s attention, hoping she’d raise her head and take some heed of her charge, and asked the puppy’s name.  “aria” she replied.  “very cute” i said and petted her white, nappy head.

now, i love dogs, but not yippy little poodles, and certainly not before i’ve had a cup of coffee.  but i was uncomfortable and facing a ridiculous dilemma.  does sm not know that letting aria roam about is inappropriate regardless of the deep religious objection of several of her fellow passengers?  do i stay out of it as it’s none of my business?  is it really not a big deal and i’m being overly culturally sensitive? 

not wanting to be a condescending jerk and assume that sm is ignorant and needs to have the situation explained to her and convinced that the family was sincerely uncomfortable, i encouraged aria to keep chewing on my laptop.  after a couple of minutes more, i leaned over to sm and said “excuse me.  i’m not sure if you know this, but dogs make muslims uncomfortable and there are several people in this gate that would probably appreciate it greatly if you kept aria a little closer to you.” 

she said “whaaaat?”  i replied “yes, in islam dogs are considered very unclean, somewhat like pigs in judiasm and your dog is making some people very uncomfortable.  i’m not sure where you’re sitting or if it matters, but it might be a good idea to rein in the leash a bit out of courtesy.” 

sm “oh, yes.  i had no idea.  thank you.”

a beat.

she puts her head back down, goes back to the paper and does nothing about anything.  i saw aria approaching the man across from me yet again, so i hooked her collar and pulled her over to me.  the man said to me “i’m sorry, but in my religion….”  i said “i know, i’m sorry.”  he said ” i saw you trying to have a conversation.” i said “yes, i understand how you feel and i tried to explain.  i’m sorry.  i’ll do what i can to keep her over here.”  he nodded and said “thank you,” both of us completely uncomfortable and neither of us sure why we felt weird for a situation that was neither of our doing.

finally, boarding was called and “mommy” gathered her baby up to board.

i’m no cultural guru and i’ve never read the koran.  but i know that dogs are anathema to islam.  i grew up with several muslims, but didn’t know this until the disgrace that was abu ghraib.  wasn’t everyone, regardless of their hawk-like outward disposition, at least fleetingly, momentarily, humanely and humanly embarassed by the events and photos that came of that iraqi prison?  even for a second?  did that not command attention, even away from britney (sp??) and k-fed’s divorce, or whatever other sensational nonsense was absorbing the lion’s share of the nation’s consciousness at the time? 

i hate being embarassed by my nationality.  liberal guilt is patronizing and ignorant.  but this hit something home: a lot of people are ignorant, selfish assholes. 

i like to think that’s a universal trait, rather than an arena in which america corners the market.  and deep down i know that to be so.  but some days it’s hard. really, really hard to believe. 

hit me with your best shot

– you’re sex on legs.

– you have any english in you?  no? want some?

– please, you beautiful hair.  come back to my house of love.

– it’s so hot that you won’t come home with me.  morals really turn me on. 

– i have this bet with joey that i’m the better kisser.  will you be the contest judge?

– i’m sixteen stone of pure man and you have the most set teeth that i have ever seen.  we must go out.

– damn! where you from, girl?  i need to know where they make ‘em like you so i can get me one.

– with your beauty and my brains, we could do anything.

– you know, susan, if you’da been just a little bit nicer to me, just a little bit, i woulda slept with you.

– hey, wanna go back to your place and watch the empire strikes back?

60% of the time, it works every time.  for me, anyway.

key things to know.  well, not really key.  more like relevant.  one, to quote the inimitable whitney houston, my name is not susan.  not even my middle or confirmation name.  second, that last one worked.  twice.  with two different guys.  what?  since when did i deny being hopelessly nerdy?

as you may have guessed, these are some of the more choice pick-up lines i’ve heard over the years, which came to mind as i zombie at home watching tv on saturday night.  by choice, people, by choice.  seriously.  scout’s honor. anyway, god bless ‘em all, i say.  because every one of them is more attractive than a guy who emails me pictures of cats with clever sayings superimposed on the photos. 

NB: this last sentence contains sarcasm, but leads me to an earnest tangent: what the hell is an LOL cat?  i thought someone was joking (badly) when i heard that term.  then i heard it again.  and i started thinking that once again, the kids were onto something to which i wasn’t privy.  so i did whatever any slightly out of touch, but not entirely clueless, thirty something does.  i googled it.  and lo, according to the software those fine folks out in silicone valley built, it’s an actual phenomenon, sweeping the web.  not only that, but the number one blog on this very site is all about them.  LOL cats.  ‘LOL anything’ is immediately disqualified from the possibility of being funny.  or even slightly amusing.  to top it off, they’re pictures of cats with sayings that match their “facial expressions.”  like that poster you thought was exceedingly lame in your fourth grade classroom with a kitten hanging from a branch and the caption “hang in there” posted underneath.  a phenomenon, people!  let me just say that there’s more than one reason to be happy to reach your thirties.

wait.  i didn’t start out to talk about these damn things.  it was about pick up lines.  which, after the cat thing, seem so much less egregious. 

what i’m trying to get to is that i’d like to invite the fine folks out there to share the best, worst, most sincere or nonsensical line they’ve ever received, given or overheard.  oh, and whether or not it worked.  it’s only fair.  i ‘fessed up to the empire strikes back thing. 

breathlessly awaiting your responses…


truth

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

truth

Upon common theatres, indeed, the applause of the audience is of more importance to the actors than their own approbation. But upon the stage of life, while conscience claps, let the world hiss! On the contrary if conscience disapproves, the loudest applauses of the world are of little value - john adams
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from the man who taught me everything:

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.”

bygones