Friday, August 29, 2003
"It breaks your heart.
It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops."
That particular gem of prose came from the pen of A. Bartlett Giamatti. He was a professor of Renaissance literature, President of Yale, President of the National League, and when he died, the Commissioner of Major League Baseball. Mpre importantly, he was a life-long Red Sox fan. And as such, he understood clearly how baseball wiggles it's way into the fabric of your life for a chunk of each year, only to rip itself from that fabric in way that for Red Sox fans is usually brutal and heartbreaking.
As I write this, the football pre-season is drawing to a close. Over the past few weeks talk of the Patriots has filled workplaces, bars, homes and Dunkin Donuts. Listening to these conversations I noticed some things so obvious that I wondered why it had never occurred to me before.
Football players are invariably referred to by their last names, as in 'Brady looks good so far' or 'Bledsoe was a class act' or 'I like Belichick's syle.' If you approached a stranger on the street or anywhere else and said 'So, do you think Tom can do it again this year?' you'd probably get a funny look. Yet we refer to the Red Sox players in a much more easy and intimate manner - by their first names. Pedro. Nomar (Nomah!). Manny. Grady. Almost as if we know them, although we certainly don't.
I think this difference is due to the way in which the respective sports intrude into our lives. Football arrives once a week with a crash and a bang and lots of fanfare, with rock n' roll theme songs for commercials and exploding teen popstars at half time. A football game is an event, a happening, a rite, that engulfs you for a few hours each week and then recedes until the next go around.
Baseball compels your attention in a more subtle manner. Earl Weaver once said "This ain't a football game, we do this every day" and that pretty much sums it up. Sixteen regular season games as opposed to one hundred sixty two. You simply can't get as riled and fired up for each and every baseball game the way you can for football - if you 'do' baseball, you do it every day, not once a week. You may miss a game but baseball is always there in the background, creeping into your life as you check the scores over coffee or scan the dial for the latest news as you come home late at night. When that presence in the background stops, as it does each year, it leaves a strangely empty void. If football is weekly gladiatoral contest with chess-like overtones, then baseball is a war, a long, drawn-out campaign of attrition. When you threw in long-standing rivalries, like the Yankees-Red Sox, it becomes less a war and more a blood fued, with ancient grievances relished and new ones inflicted.
Now we're fast approaching that time of year when the game will abruptly vanish from the background, when we'll have to stop doing baseball for a cold winter. Right now, the Red Sox are 4.5 games back of the Yankees in the Division race and a half game up on Seattle in the Wildcard race. The Yanks are in town for their final stand at Fenway, and the Red Sox will get their final licks in against them in the Bronx next week. Right now there is still hope that another year of doing baseball will finally pay off for the Red Sox Nation. Maybe..just maybe...this is the year.
"Today, October 2, a Sunday of rain and broken branches and leaf-clogged drains and slick streets, it stopped, and summer was gone. . . . It breaks my heart because it was meant to, because it was meant to foster in me again the illusion that there was something abiding, some pattern and some impulse that could come together to make a reality that would resist the corrosion; and because, after it had fostered again that most hungered-for illusion, the game was meant to stop, and betray precisely what it promised."
-from The Green Fields of the Mind by Bart Giamatti
N.B. - just to get whet your appetite for this weekend's action, here's some Red Sox links:
David Halberstam reports on the State of the Nation.
John Updike's classic essay on Ted Williams' last game (and the only bit of his writing I've ever been able to somach.)
A scathing bit on the Boston sports media that informs and infuriates.
Last night I made my usual Thursday evening trip over to the Plaza to visit my sister at the her place of work. Since she's working two jobs, moving into her new condo, and in the final stages of planning her wedding, her schedule is pretty full. Visting her there is the easiest way to catch up with her.
Anyhow, as I made my way down Franklin Street and past the Washington Street interchange with 3A, I was noticed the area was crawling with police. All kinds of police: Weymouth cops, Quincy cops, Braintree cops, Norfolk County Sheriffs, State boys. There were cruisers zipping up and down the street with flashers on but no sirens; cruisers parked and police milling about at various intersections. I thought to myself 'damn, looks like they're cordoning off the area for a manhunt or something.' Then I chided myself for being over-dramatic and watching The Fugitive too many times.
Apparently I was correct in my first impressions. There were some serious goings on in the neighborhood last night.
Thursday, August 28, 2003
Wednesday, August 27, 2003
Walking on Sunshine
Allright then. This blog has been ranty and preachy and kinda disagreeable to look at lately.
Let's all take a deep breath. Now relax...and indulge in a mindless, meaningless quiz.
SPIRIT is your chinese symbol!
What Chinese Symbol Are You? -- Updated (7/21/03)
brought to you by Quizilla
Burning House of Love
There's a great post over in the Warren at Silflay Hraka by Blackavar, basically discussing the lies Hollywood sells us about sex and relationships. And while I really can't put it any better than he does, I can't resist throwing in my $0.02 about the subject.
The traditional male stereotype used to involve a single guy wandering around, shagging whatever blip popped up on the radar screen, until cowed, coerced, or shotgunned into marriage.
The key words there are used to. I'm sure there are still men who exemplify this kind of behaviour, but I don't know any of them. The vast majority of men in my social circles are married or planning a marriage - and happy about it. Some have children or are expecting children - and are pleased as all hell about that. Some are stay-at-home dads - and delighted to be able to spend all that time with their kids. And some of these men are former fraternity members - supposedly the very archetype of the infantile behaviour described above.
Women have now won liberation. They are just as free to amble about lonely as a cloud; to have casual sex, to have "committment issues" and to have problems communicating. Welcome to equality girls... bring a sweater, it's cold out here and a mite bit lonely.
Yes indeed. Those of us in my circle of friends who are still single are all looking for someone to settle down with. Because after a while, the 'glamorous' life of a single - devotion to career, going out on the town all the time, casual sex, the works - gets to feeling like an empty life, a hollow life. Hell, a lonely life. Not that we (or at least me - I obviously can't speak for other folks) are about to settle for whoever comes along. It's just that eventually all the bullshit mating rituals and courtship rites we engage in while single get tiresome, and the thought of finding someone you can trust, someone you can partner up with and thereby put to rest this nonsense, becomes very appealing.
I believe we are hard wired to mate, have kids, and settle down - male and female alike.
I've been arguing this point for at least the past ten years. Human beings are social animals. It's in our nature to partner up and form family units. And for whatever reason, it's usually been women who objected to this line of reasoning. When I mention thnigs like 'maternal instinct' and 'biological clock' I'm told these things don't apply to them, they don't children, they prefer careers to marriage. And oh-ho-ho the merriment we have when down the road they complain to me about their burning desire to have children and about the feller they're dating and his lack of desire to marry and reproduce. If you're female, twenty five or under and reading this - trust me on this. Odds are very high that, whatever you may think or feel now, at some point in the future you will want to partner up and have kids. Just saying.
And before one of the three or four people that reads this thing sends me hatemail about being a sexist pig. I'm not saying women should eschew career or freedom of choice in favor of being barefoot and pregnant. I'm all in favor of working woman and would have no qualms about being the housedad. I simply object to the notion that you can ignore or wish away our 'hardwiring' as Blackavar puts it; I also object the to the idea that there's not a price to be paid in living a certain way and making certain choices.
If my beloved Mach-5 is not out of the shop by Friday, my already scanty plans for this weekend will become scantier.
This does not please me, not one bit.
Tuesday, August 26, 2003
Rock n' Roll McDonald's
As anyone who lives in Massachusetts probably knows, sometime ago the city of Boston enacted a ban on smoking. Many communities already had such bans in place, and I hear rumors of a ban to come in Quincy, along with a statewide ban.
And across the state folks righteously nod their hands in approval, because smoking is a filthy habit and the politicians say it's for the good of the public.
Trouble is, I get reeaal nervous when politicians and other do-gooders start doing things for the good of the public. Somehow it seems synonomous with telling you what to do and treating you like a child. Yeah smoking is a terrible and short of a cure for cancer, the world would be better off without them. That makes smokers and smoking an easy, obvious target - a good place to start, where the politicians won't get much push back.
But once the precedent is set, and it has been, do you really think it will end there? Having righteously stamped out the dreaded coffin nails, do you think the people in power will resist further attempted modifications of your behaviour?
Not a chance. Next up on the list of targets - the fast food industry. Here are some choice nuggets from that article:
The debate has spilled over into public policy, with proposals for a junk-food tax, limits on food advertising, demands for more details on labeling and lawsuits against food manufacturers. Several states are considering limits on sweets sold in schools; Some are debating whether to force chain restaurants to list nutrition information on menus.
Some say that Americans, from cradle to grave, are being influenced — even suffocated — by mountains of food promotions and gimmicks.
Kelly Brownell, professor of psychology at Yale University, calls all this the "toxic food environment ... There is no evidence that the federal government is doing anything to address the problem," Brownell says.
Lawyers are "salivating over the idea that these foods are as addictive as nicotine," said psychiatrist Sally Satel. "The term addiction can be stretched until it's meaningless. It's litigation addiction."
So - all of a sudden it's the Federal government's job to tell us what to eat? And the lawyers, of course, smell big freakin' $$$$$$$.
Ya know, the airwaves and the internet are filled with cries of conservatives blaming liberals, and liberals blaming conservatives for ruining the country. Ya know what I think the problem is?
The death of common sense and individual responsibility. People are willing to surrender their freedom for the false security of being told what to do, and for the ability to blame others for their own problems. Are you a big fat slob because you eat at Mickey D's 3 times a day? Don't charge of your life and hold yourself accountable for your choices - get a lawyer and sue. Blame the advertising. Blame the company. But whatever you do, don't acknowledge that you have the freedom to choose your own actions, and that sometimes those actions have real live oh-my-gawsh consequences. And most certainly do not acknowledge that those choices - and the consequences - are your responsibility.
I don't like other folks interfering with the minutia of my life. I don't any goverment - state, federal, or local - acting like some sort of surrogate parent. I already have parents, and they set me loose in the world a long time ago - to make my own decisions and suffer the consequences, good or bad.
If I want to smoke three packs of Lucky Strikes a day and top it off with five pounds of bacon, that's my business. If I want to exercise for two hours a day and eat nothing but organic foods, that's my business too. I certainly don't think it's the government's business to try and modify my behaviour at that level. Tell me not to rob banks or embezzle company money? Fine - those are reasonable restrictions. Try to alter my eating habits by taxing Big Macs? Now you're just being a fucking busybody.
Note I changed the name of this post from 'Banned in Boston' to the above. I can't believe I didn't think of that earlier.
Friday, August 22, 2003
Coming Soon: GeekFest 2003
A post at the Bear's Cave zipped me over to The Society for Aesthetic Deletions. The reason?
New Line Cinema will re-release The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, with additional scenes and footage added, just two weeks before the worldwide December 17 release of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
This news comes from Variety, which is apparently a paid subscription. Julia at SFAD was kind enough to post the details here. But what it boils down to is this: on December 16th you can attend a 3 PM showing of the Fellowship, a 7 PM showing of the Two Towers, and then at 11 PM catch the premiere of The Return of the King.
And yes, I'm geeky enough to plan on doing this.
Thursday, August 21, 2003
A Financial Windfall
Well well well my loyal half dozen, I do believe my karma has changed and my ship has indeed finally come in. This morning I received the following communication:
Greetings in the name of Allah, the beneficent,the merciful. I am Mrs Fatima Rasaq, Azeez a widow to Late Sheik Mohammed Rasaq Azeez, I am 74years old, I am now a born Muslim faithful, suffering from long time cancer of the breast, from all indications, that my condition is really deteriorating and is quite obvious that I won't live more than six months,because the cancer stage has gotten to a very bad stage. My late husband was killed during the Gulf war, and during the period of our marriage we couldn't produce any child. My late husband was very wealthy andafter his death, I inherited all his business and wealth. The doctor has advised me that I may not live for more than six months,so I now decided to divide part of this wealth,to contribute to the propagation of Islam and in assisting the less-privileged Muslim faithfuland all humanity in Africa, Arabia, America, Asia and Europe. I selected you after visiting the website and I prayed over it, I discussed this with my Attorney, Tareq Amin I am willing to donate the sum of US$18,000000.00(Eighteen Million US Dollars) for the development of the holy word as well for distribution to aid faithful, through employment and also for the less privileged, including Muslim cancer patients. Please I want you to note that, this fund is lying in a Security Company in Asia,United Arab Emirate (UAE). For that, my lawyer Mr.Tareq Amin,We will file in application for the transfer of the money in your name as you wish.
Provided you are ready to use this money for this purpose.
You will therefore have to travel to Dubai, UAE, to sign for the
officialrelease of this money as well as advice on how you want the money remitted to you oryour organization. My Attorney would accompany you on this trip.
Lastly I honestly pray that this money when transferred will be used for thesaid purpose,because I have come to find out that wealth acquisition without Allah is vanity upon vanity. If you have to die says the Allah, keep fit and I will give you the crown of life.
May the Grace of Allah be our guide and be my refuge when i leave this world. You should contact the security company in Dubai UAE where this cosignment is preseently deposited.
I awaits to hear from you.
Yours in Allah,
Mrs Fatima Rasaq.
C/o Barrister Tareq Amian
My reply was as follows:
Greetings in the name of The Whiskey and The Sexy. I am Daniel XXXXXXX, widower to the late Wonderbeagle Molly. I am 33 years old and a lapsed Catholic. I am sorry to hear of your ailments; I too stagger under many infirmities in this vale of tears. I suffer from defective lungs, a cranky colon, shattered ideals, a broken heart, and a cynical mind. My condition is deteriorating and it is quite obvious I will be barking mad by the time I reach the age of forty.
I am delighted you enjoyed my little plot in the internet. Tell me what pleased you the most? My sparkling prose? My incisive wit? The judicious sprinkling of amusing quizzes? I am open to any suggestions for improvement.
Now, to business... your proposition is quite noble, but I would like to make a counter offer. I have dedicated my remaining years of quasi-sanity to spreading The Whiskey and The Sexy wherever Southwest Airlines will take me and people will provide me a place to crash. And quite frankly Fatima (if I may be so bold as to address you thus), eighteen million U.S. dollars will purchase an un-fucking-believable amount of whiskey, sexy, and flat-out mayhem. With that kind of scratch and the help of a few trusted cohorts I could create a booze-soaked sexual frenzy of a Gotterdammerung that would make the Vikings look like Mormons and Ghengis Khan seem like Mother Teresa. It would truly be a lasting monument to all that is The Whiskey and The Sexy and The Bitch Godess of Women and Whiskey would smile on you for eternity.
Unfortunately, my current condition and my extreme aversion to heat, religious lunatics, and getting shot at prevent me from traveling abroad to your corner of the world. However, provided you are ready to use the money for my purpose you can travel to Quincy, MA, USA to arrange for the transfer of funds. A meeting in my 'offices' at XXX XXXXXX would simple enough to arrange and I can almost guarantee us a table in the back. Your lawyer Tareq Amin, my chief negotiator Bunny C. and my war-time consigliere Heather could quickly transact our business.
Lastly, I honestly pray that if I get my greedy monkey hands on this money I die without a single fucking penny of it left. As esteemed colleague Dr. Ken once said, 'we're not here for a long time, we're here for a good time.' It would be a goddam shame not to make the most this opportunity, wouldn't it?
May the Blessed Saints John Power and John Jameson be our guide and my refuge while I walk this world. You should contact me or leave a message at the establishment referenced above.
Can you dig it?
Staight outta Quincy,
c/o XXX XXXXXX Pub
A couple of brief notes. The XXXXs denote names and locations left out for security reasons. And I will of course, publish any further correspondence I have with the esteemed Ms. Rasaq.
Soul Mate, Soul Man
Ken at the Inkjet Blues Journal posted the following survey this morning as challenge. Play along at home.
1) Define in one sentence what a "soul mate" is.
Some one who understands you on the deepest level, who tolerates your flaws and appreciates your virtues.
2) Can there be more than one potential soul mate?
Yes, I think so, especially if one accepts the fact that there can be different kinds of soulmates other than a romantic soulmate. You could, for example, connect deeply with someone on an intellectual level, without having carnal feelings for that person. Some of my closest friends, people I feel especially attuned to, I would consider soulmates of a sort.
3) Have you met or married your soul mate?
Er, judging by my train-wreck relationships, and assuming you mean soumate in a romantic sense, that would be a big fat no.
4) Is your life worse off if you never find a soul mate?
"Life is pain, highness. Anyone who tells you differently is selling something."
No Joy in Mudville
The loss last night was a particularly brutal one for the Red Sox, sropping them two back in the wild card race. I'm not going to offer any commentary on the game itself - if you want to know what all the local (and by local I mean New England) media has to say, you can go here.
I do have one brief comment. After the game was over, NESN displayed an overhead shot of the two teams passing each other in single file to shake hands, just like we used to do in youth soccer. And I wondered - did any members of the losing team spit on their hands prior to shaking, like some kids I used to know?
Formality and Absurdity
Just the other day I received my invitation to my sister's wedding. As I dropped the envelope on the kitchen table, it occurred to me that sending me an invitation was kind of silly. It's not like I was unaware that she's getting married, or that the actual date is a big surprise - I've known all this for some time, and she knows I certainly plan on being there, performance art toast and all. So why go to the trouble of sending me an actual invitation? Etiquette I suppose (I can't remember which book it is that she's going by - Crane's etiquette?), and formality. It seems such an uncessary formality, though it will make a lovely memento.
But my sense of the absurdity of it all was heightened when I opened the envelope and picked through the contents this morning. First of all, was the card for me to RSVP - to my own parents. Kind of a waste of postage - they already know I'll be there. And there was the section for me to indicate what I and my 'guest' would like to eat...guest? Hello! My parents and sister all know I'm single and not I'm about to bring a 'date' to my only sister's wedding. Frankly, the only real purpose the invite serves is for me to indicate whether I want fish or meat so my sister knows what counts to give the caterer.
Oh well. It is, for the record, a beautiful invitation, simple and elegant, with calligraphy done by my mother's best friend from high school. And since I'm a (closeted) sentimental romantic fool, I'll definitely be saving it.
Wednesday, August 20, 2003
From The News Desk
This is an interesting blip from the entertainment world. Apparently one Mike Gordon aka "Cactus", bassist for the band Phish, was arrested backstage after a Dead show. He allegedly attempted to take some 'art photos' of a nine-year-old girl in a secluded area. He may be charged with endangering the welfare of a minor.
Here's the interesting part of the story: law enforcement sources have indentified the girl's father as a leader of the Hell's Angels Motorcycle Club. And while judging by the story the child's parents have no desire to file charges, Gordon did not quite get off without punishment...
The DA's office says the evidence is being evaluated. Regardless of whether Gordon has to face a judge next month, law-enforcement sources say unofficial justice was already delivered. The Hell's Angels, who detained Gordon for police, were not, the sources say, gentle with sensitive areas of the rock star's body.
And I can't say that I feel the least bit sorry for him.
Tuesday, August 19, 2003
The Boys From County Hell
“Hordes of teenagers on the lam from high schools across the tri-state region emerged with them, carrying six packs in brown-paper bags that were promptly snatched by the police. Many wore hip-hop fashions that looked ludicrous on them: baseball hats askew, enormous pants that could clothe any three of them at a time, brand-name jackets that must have set their parents back the price of a top-line oven. Some of them looked eleven or twelve, although Jimmy figured they were older than that. When they passed, the spoke the slurry slang of convicts they learned from watching MTV. God, he thought, their parents must be appalled.
Liam shook his head. “It’s a whigger parade. Look at them all wanting to be black. Not just black like Bill Cosby or Martin Luther King or Michael Jordan – but stupid, poor, locked up, and black. Fucking idiots.”
The quote above is excerpted from The Rackets, by Thomas Kelly. I finished reading the novel a couple of weeks ago, but that particular passage stuck with me. Kelly wove a sharp bit of social commentary into his book, one that prompted a chain reaction of thoughts on my part.
At first reading I found myself nodding my head in agreement with Liam’s views. Whenever I see young men – whether black, or white, or asian – all decked out in hip-hop or gangsta fashion, I can’t help thinking ‘ you guys look damn silly. I can’t believe your folks let you out the door dressed like that.’ I suppose that makes me officially old and cranky. One generation shaking their heads in dismay at the fashion choices of a younger generation is hardly a new story.
The next thing that occurred to me was how ironic Liam’s comments were, considering that he and Jimmy are on their way to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. You know – St. Patrick’s Day – when thousands of Plastic Paddies ‘celebrate’ their Irish ‘heritage’ by wearing buttons emblazoned with ‘Fuck Me, I’m Irish’ and green plastic hats, drinking green beer, fighting, puking and urinating in public, and generally acting like drunken buffoons. In the novel Liam himself is the cliched Irishman, overly fond of excessive drinking and fistfights – also someone I’d look at and say ‘you’re an idiot.’
After considering this, I started to wonder why people, especially young men, insist on perpetuating and glorifying these stereotypes. Perhaps it’s the glamour of the outlaw image that these stereotypes afford those who embrace them that appeals to people. I suppose acting like a ‘gangsta’ or a ‘Wild Colonial Boy’ allows one to assume a rebel persona: the hard man, the loner, the trickster, the one who breaks society’s suffocating rules. But when you strip away the romantic bullshit around that kind of nonsense, what you’re left with is pretty bleak. The thug life that gangsta wannabes want to be a part of leads to death or jail for thousands of it’s actual participants. Follow the Irish ‘traditions’ of hard fighting and harder drinking and you find poverty, insanity, broken homes and marriages. You can admire men as diverse as Tupac and Brendan Behan for their talents – but both men embraced the stereotypes and dies because of them.
Man, I’m definitely getting old – I just wrote a preachy post. But it irks me to no end to see folks buying into that kind of bullshit. Imitating people who wind up dead or in jail simply makes no sense to me – and the loss of talented folks is immeasurable. Brendan Behan is one of my favorite authors – a drinking, brawling, IRA gunman who served his first jail sentence at the age of sixteen. He had a genius for the English language that could make you scream with laughter or wring tears for your eyes. He also died at the age of 41, leaving behind a body of work that is far too small. So much for perpetuating stereotypes.
"It's a queer world, God knows, but the best we have to be going on with" - Brendan Behan
Friday, August 15, 2003
Sex as a Weapon
My muse started the weekend before I did, so no long-winded posts for you today my pretties. But just so there's some fresh content here for ya'll, here are some links I think you'll find entertaining.
Steve writes about why men are compelled to check out other women besides the one they're with.
In response the above, the Broad explains why women shouldn't get worked up about this.
Remember Jesus Jones? They've sold out - and were happy to do so!
Go vote in silflay Hraka's ongoing beer poll. Ten beers enter! One beer leaves!
Now go forth and sin no more.
No wait a minute. Have a good weekend. Sin frequently.
Thursday, August 14, 2003
Night of the Lving Randandom
PERSON1: I like your shirt.
DAN: Of course you do. Chicks dig Tigger.
PERSON1: I have a stuffed Tigger on my desk.
PERSON2: Do you have the movie?
PERSON1: I didn't like him in the movie.
PERSON2: Tigger couldn't carry the movie?
DAN: Tigger's not really the leading cartoon kinda guy. More like a supporting cartoon, a character actor cartoon.
PERSON2: Yeah, Pooh usually has to carry the show. Him and that other guy, that kid...
DAN: Christopher Robin?
PERSON2: Yeah, Christopher Robin. So who do you think wins, Jason or Freddie?
DAN: I don't know, but it'll be fun to find out. A definite must see.
PERSON2: Maybe I should get a bet down on this, talk to my bookie...
DAN: What's the line on this fight?
PERSON2: I dunno... not sure what odds Vegas is giving.
DAN: Well it's definitely a return to the 80's, the hey day of slasher films.
PERSON2: I think I'll dress retro for this one. You know, Pumas, a Champion sweatshirt...
DAN: Oh! Good idea... maybe I'll wear a pair of Girbaud jeans, pegged of course.
PERSON1: You two are demented.
Apparently yesterday was the 12th annual Left-Handers Day. Famous lefties include Leonardo da Vinci, Steve McQueen (naturally), Jimmy Hendrix, Julius Caesar, and (ahem) Jack the Ripper.
Since I was remiss in observing the occasion yesterday, I will be celebrating my heritage this evening.
I swear I don't seek these quizzes out. I just keep stumbling across them - this latest via the Bear's Cave. I confess I like the ones with the pretty pictures though.
"You must remember this, a kiss is still a
kiss". Your romance is Casablanca. A
classic story of love in trying times, chock
full of both cynicism and hope. You obviously
believe in true love, but you're also
constantly aware of practicality and societal
expectations. That's not always fun, but at
least it's realistic. Try not to let the Nazis
get you down too much.
What Romance Movie Best Represents Your Love Life?
brought to you by Quizilla
Wednesday, August 13, 2003
Red Red Wine
Last night I attended a wine tasting in preparation for my sister's upcoming wedding. It was a very casual event, held at the house of a family friend and attended by about a dozen of us - my sister, her fiancee, parents and a few others.
During the course of the evening I was told to start thinking about my toasts - apparently I'll be giving one at the rehearsal dinner and one at the wedding.
I'm not sure about this. I'm kind of thinking that an interpretative dance might be a better of way expressing my emotions on these joyful occasions.
Tuesday, August 12, 2003
The Irish Immigrant
One of the benefits our local (as in watering hole) is the supply of free copies of The Irish Immigrant, available at the beginning of every work week. If you stop by on a Monday, Tuesday or even Wednesday evening, you're bound to find one of the gang paging through the latest issue.
The Immigrant has three chief attractions for us: a weekly glimpse into that rogue Andy Capp, the cross word, and best of all, weird news bits from Ireland. By weird news bits, I mean stories that leap off the page and make you think 'what the fuck is that all about?' More often than not, these stories involve some sort of violent trauma, extreme alcohol consumption, criminal courts and motor vehicles. And every week we grab a copy looking to see what sort of mayhem they have for us. Now, no doubt the editors of the Immigrant select from a large volume of stories available to them, and pick only the most, shall we say, distinctive ones. So it's not like we're getting a balanced picture of what happens daily in Ireland. But the probably unintentional effect is that the Emerald Isle comes off as a sort of outlandish place.
Take this story from the latest issue: Body lay bed for a year. Sorta gets your attention doesn't it? And it gets better too. This poor woman's 'skeletal remains' lay in the bed where she died - while her brother and sister, who both lived in the house, went on about their business. Here's a quote from the article: The Irish Examiner reports that, when questioned by gardaí, Sonny Lyons claimed that he had no idea his sister was dead as she had become totally reclusive and had confined herself to her room.
Damn. I have to tendency to procrastinate myself, but I like to think that if a roommate vanished, I might get a little curious after a while.
The comments feature I use for this blog (BlogOut) has gone on the blink again. Hell, the entire Klink Family website seems to have vanished. This is not the first time this has happened, so even though it means I'll lose older comments, I'm thinking I might have to switch to something else to allow comments here. If anyone out there has had a good experience with a commenting system other than BlogOut, drop me a line and let me know.
Monday, August 11, 2003
Friday, August 08, 2003
After reading the Yeti’s and the Broad’s musings on men and women respectively, some thoughts of my own on the subject popped into my head.
Now what I know about women could be inscribed on my forehead with room left over, so I won’t be pontificating on the fair sex. But I do know plenty about men – specifically the difference between men who like women, and men who don’t. So pay attention ladies, this will benefit you the most.
I’m not talking about sexual preference either, mind you. I’m talking about heterosexual men who don’t like women. Huh? What do I mean? It’s simple – there are plenty of strait guys out there who don’t like women. They may want, desire, fear, mistrust or need women. But they don’t like women. If you removed that whole pesky biological imperative to seek out members of the opposite sex, these men wouldn’t bother with women at all. To them, women aren’t really people, they’re some sort of ‘other’ – girlfriend, wife, trophy – whatever they’re needed for. The ever-delightful Mimi Smartypants described them in passing as “Golden-Tee-addicted, Budweiser-guzzling date rapists with seriously skewed ideas about money and success, and whose notion of 'treating you right' goes no further than roses, bubble baths, and teddy bears.”
Here’s the dirty little secret: men who genuinely like women want to be around women, even when you take the whole sex thing out of the equation. Not that there’s anything wrong with the sex thing; we here at Obscurorant are firmly in favor of The Sexy. But men who like women aren’t always about the sex thing. They like women just because, well, they’re women. Aesthetically pleasing? No doubt – but different (and therefore interesting) in other ways as well; they way they think, their outlooks on life, perspectives on situations - I could go on forever. Men and women are very different, and men who genuinely like women appreciate this… no treasure this difference. And actively seek it out. And enjoy it. And when the sex thing does enter the picture, they appreciate the whole woman as a person, not just as some cutout that fulfills a need for sex or arm-candy or whatever.
And yeah, I consider myself in the men who like women category. Sure I’ve done my time in all male settings. And I still do enjoy time spent out with ‘the boys’ spitting, scratching, cussing, beer drinking and doing other man things. But the age of thirty-three – I frankly prefer the company of women. It’s no accident that of my five closest friends, three are women. Of course these are women who like men – because the same dichotomy occurs with strait women as well. (But I’ll let a woman to comment on that related phenomenon.)
When I reread the above, it all seemed rather banal and thunderingly obvious. But then I think of all the women I’ve known, mistreated by men in their lives, and making excuses for the culprits. And I think of the men I’ve known in the same situation. So I guess it’s not so obvious after all.
Love Is A Battlefield
A little while back Tales From A Yeti Suit ran a series of posts on Why Men Suck. (The Yeti is himself a man, by the way).
This past week The Broad at Bat, inspired by the Yeti, wrote on Why Women Suck. She finished the series today in fine style.
Check 'em both out, for some humorous writing with grains of truth.
Thursday, August 07, 2003
Burning Down The House
The main emphasis in rearranging my apartment is to make more room. I don't have much space - but I do have quite a bit of stuff taking up space. So the first step is going through this junk and throwing out the things I don't need. I put a bunch of junk out with the trash last night and there's more to come.
The second step is making better use of the space I have. The big ugly entertainment center that takes up one whole wall will have to be dismantled (so it can taken out the door) and replaced with something(s) that don't quite dominate the room as much. Trouble is, that entertainment center holds a lot of things - TV, DVD player, books, CDs, DVDs, tools - all of which will need to find another place to live. This, of course, will be the tricky part. Made even more trickier by the fact that I need to do it in one fell swoop. The thought of getting rid of the entertainment center and then leaving it's contents strewn about the apartment is more than I can handle - I don't have enough room for chaos. No, I have a replacement ready and waiting to go in right away.
For the moment I'll have to be content with getting rid of stuff. Then one weekend...bing bang boom - out with the old, in with the new.
Wednesday, August 06, 2003
Yesterday I posted some observations on the nature of friendship and was asked ‘who’s not your friend?’ A harmless enough question, from which no offense was taken, but it showed that I should probably mention the guidelines I use when writing about my life (as opposed to scribblings about movie or current events or the like).
So here it is: I do not use this site as a forum to write about my dealings with real life people that I know personally. I may mention them in passing while recounting a weekend away or memories from long ago. I may wish them a happy birthday. But I don’t write specifically about my interactions, conversations and relationships with them. It’s a fine line to tread I guess, but I think I’ve done a pretty good job of it.
There are two reasons for this policy. First of all, the many folks I know in real life who read my ravings deserve their privacy. I want them to be able to enjoy the site, without being concerned that I’m writing or ranting about them. The one exception I’ve made involved a friend who died some time ago. Another seeming exception was actually a composite of people and events going back to high school. It was an extremely generic and non-detailed post but I yanked it anyway, since people misconstrued what I was trying to say. And sure, I wrote about Molly – but privacy was never a big concern for her.
Secondly, I’m not interested in making this site some sort of online journal about my personal and private life. It’s not in my nature to let it all hang out like that, and frankly, that kind of writing would be goddam dull. You already get the interesting bits, like the Nomah dance. The rest is pretty damn ordinary. I eat. I work. I hang out with friends. Reading about it in any detail would make your eyes bleed with boredom.
In short, observations about friendship, or anything else, are just that – observations. There are no hidden clues here.
Tuesday, August 05, 2003
Rain Rain Go Away
...and other random thoughts for today.
I have to attend tonight's Red Sox game with my dad. Some clear skies would be nice.
I think after this month is over, some more getaways will be in order. I'm thinking Chicago, Austin and of course, Annapolis Rock City. I'm also open to suggestions.
The more someone claims to be your friend (barring beer hugs of course), the less likely they really are your friend.
Your friends are a reflection of who you are. You can't choose your family; you can choose your friends. Who you select says a lot about you as a person.
I'm (finally) resuming the project of redecorating/re-arranging my apartment. I'm bored with the current look, and my many pounds of stuff i.e. books, CDs, and DVDs - needs to be stored more efficiently.
Seriously, I'm running out of room in there.
And don't suggest I get rid of some of my books. The superfluous ones are already gone.
Eventually (really Heather, I swear it) I'll learn enough HTML to do sometihng with my main web page. I'm thinking of photo galleries first.
Monday, August 04, 2003
Although we celebrated the length and breadth of this past Saturday, from the Barking Crab to Bickfords, today is Heather's birthday. Happy birthday to my favorite tech-geek, drinking buddy, confidante and fellow bibliophile.
Be sure to stop by her blog and wish her well on turning the big three-oh. And while you're there, give some props to Heather's betrothed, who not only recently had a birthday himself, but also took the lead in planning Saturday's festivities that allowed all of us to get our beer on in most serious manner.
Friday, August 01, 2003
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
In my not-so-humble opinion the greatest 'spaghetti western' ever made was Sergio Leone's The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, featuring solid performances by Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef and a tour-de-force by Eli Wallach as Tuco - the Ugly. I must've watched this movie a dozen times on Channel 56, and now on the DVD.
So I was delighted to find out that a restored and expanded version of this film has been released in the United States. Weighing in at about three hours, this director's cut features an additional 20 minutes of footage excised from the orginal, a new 35mm print, and a soundtrack re-worked in Dolby Digital. If you live in the Boston area, this new cut of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly is playing today through Sunday at the Brattle Theatre in Cambridge.
I'll see y'all at the movies.