honorary Hose Monster:
Most of you have probably heard the audio file explaining why "fuck" is the greatest word in the English language. However, watching Larry King explain with the animations here makes it so much better.
As I walk to and from class, I notice with some frequency a car parked in the law school parking lot sporting a couple of bumper stickers shown to the right. (Stickers lifted from GWBush.com.) I guess I can concede some initial humor in these stickers. However, and not to be overly pretentious or anything, I really doubt whether people associated with law school with find these messages all that amusing.
To tell the truth, everytime I see the car with these stickers, I find myself growing just a little upset and disappointed.
To be fair, I'm working under the assumption that whoever owns this vehicle has some connection with the law school, and this may not in fact be the case. Given that I see that car in the same space multiple times every week, I think at the very least it's a legitimate assumption, if not a true one. And furthermore, even if the owner of this car is not a law student, faculty or administration member, the rest of this post still holds true. The only change might be that my level of disappointed is marginally reduced.
The "Don't blame me sticker" doesn't really provoke my ire as much as the other sticker. I do think it's somewhat misleading, especially in connection with the other one. That sucker really makes my head shake.
First of all, I'm sure none of us need a civics lesson with regard to how we elect a president. A candidate can carry the popular vote and lose the electoral college vote. Albert Gore suffered this fate two years ago, holding a popular vote margin of about 500,000 votes over Bush.
NEWSFLASH: Gore didn't win.
Most of you who know me or read this blog regularly know I'm no George W. Bush fan. But this does not necessarily make me his opponent. I certainly have my disagreements with him, but I expect I will have disagreements with any political candidate for any office, certainly for the president. I'll criticize Bush regularly, but I do so knowing that I probably couldn't do much better, wouldn't want the job in the first place, and generally respect his idiocy for wanting to be president in the first place.
Happily or not, George W. Bush is my president.
Back to the point. It really irritates me to see something so ignorant as "Gore Won" outside of the law school because, notwithstanding the obvious fact that he's sitting in the Oval Office right now, legally trained minds are better equipped to understand why Bush won better than anyone.
First of all, we have the Supreme Court Case, which I don't need to analyze at any length here. Federal elections fall under federal jurisdiction, meaning the United States Supreme Court is the voice of last resort on any matters of contention. If you're a lawyer, whether you believe the Court correctly awarded Bush the election or not, you recognize the absoluteness of the Court's ruling and dictate your legal expression accordingly. Your training takes over.
That's the easy part. The more exciting one is the implication of the sticker that because Gore carried the popular vote, he won the election. Obviously, the Constitution recognizes the possibility in the first place. You could make a reasonable argument that the Founders included the Electoral College system to take just a little bit of power out of the people's hands, maybe as a way of providing a little extra insurance against the danger of democracy that the people will choose a bad candidate for important office. I doubt whether these same Founders anticipated their future citizens making themselves look dumb by putting bumper stickers belying some ignorance as well, but that's a question for another time.
Furthermore, a legally trained mind will recognize that Gore's carrying the popular vote and losing the electoral college, aside from being Constitutionally permissible, is not at all a big deal, given that such an occurrence was not an issue of first impression in 2000. In 1876, Samuel Tilden carried the popular vote, but Rutherford B. Hayes ultimately garnered more votes in the Electoral College (though this came to pass through some interesting history, which is worth reading about here, if interested). The 1888 election between incumbent Grover Cleveland and challenger Benjamin Harrison provided a more bright-line precedent, with Cleveland blowing Harrison out in smaller states while narrowly losing states with more Electoral College votes to the challenger. A legally trained mind would recognize immediately that experience had already set a minor precedent to validate the mechanism of the Constitution.
The bumper sticker on the car seems to suggest that the vehicle's driver is either extremely pissed about spilled milk, doesn't know a damn thing about history and civics, and is just ignorant enough to think that such a statement, that Gore won, is either true or amusing.
It just depresses me. And not because I voted for Gore.
* * * *
What a shitty post. I had high hopes for this one when I started it. Oh well.
Dear Fat Sarah:
First of all, I know it's a pain in the ass, but you should change your name. It's not at all accurate. Allow me to suggest a few alternatives, such as "Sparkling Sarah," "Smiling Sarah," or at the very least, "Phat Sarah."
I'm writing today, Miss Sarah, to express my great joy that you have a blog and a host of other projects available for the rest of us to peruse at our leisure. I'm writing today to say that while I'm very glad that we can read all of these items, I'm excited that our readership is not your primary motivation for exploring yourself.
I enjoy how you have turned the dub side into a false audience on which your practice your day to day soliloquies, where you take the stage and talk to yourself and try to puzzle your way through your hopes, fears and inherent desires.
When you write to the invisible wall, you give the wall a remarkable sense of honesty with a double shot of serious mixed in and a seemingly contradictory two fingers of jest that gives that first drink just the right zing upon hitting the tongue, spins the head just a bit with its strength and warms the belly as it splashes down to hit the gut. Perhaps sometimes you try to mix the perfect drink, only to realize that the next customer in line simply wants a beer, but hey, that's life sometimes, and as your tips grow and your regular customers keep coming back, eventually that guy at the end of the bar will order up that drink you poured a long time ago.
I think it takes big balls to speak to yourself as honestly as you do. Big balls figuratively speaking, anyway.
But as Shakespeare realized that each character talking to the audience can only let narcissim overwash him to a certain point, so do you realize that the dub side cannot subsist as a daily diary. It has diverse interests too. It wants to know about sports. It wants to know stories about little girls growing up in middle America who believe in God abstractly, but perhaps not concretely.
It wants to celebrate its birthday too. And you let it, realizing that you can only listen to someone ramble on about themselves for so long, even if that someone is you.
I write to tell you that I am extremely happy to have discovered you. I do not often write fan mail, but I am an emotional person and this is an emotional reaction provoked by an exciting experience.
Please accept my admiration and thanks for allowing me to criticize and compliment you in the past. I look forward to continue these actions in the near and enduring future.
Anyone who caught last night's episode of Smallville had the privilege of seeing William B. Davis' return to prime television. The same Mr. Davis, who achieved a certain amount of cult fame playing The Cigarette-Smoking/Cancer Man of one of the finest television shows ever, The X-Files. In last night's Smallville, Davis managed a few minutes of screen time playing the corrupt mayor of Smallville.
As I said, it was good to see him on television again. However, I wish I had seen him on some other show. As much as I like Smallville, I think his appearance on the show diminishes the reputation of his outstanding acting.
Shows that air on the WB have a certain appeal to the generation brought up with the Walshes and their friends in Beverly Hills. In my mind, they serve a very important function of television: pure entertainment. However, great character actors do not come up on these shows because they tend to be character-centered and not story-centered.
Other shows like the X-Files give actors not playing the main roles a chance to establish a presence, to prove their ability and the mastery of their craft. Speaking of the X-Files, no greater presence came out of that show than the Cigarette-Smoking Man. Originally he was meant to be a minor character; he spent the better part of entire season appearing in the story but never speaking a line. But the producers of the X-Files realized how he could command a scene and convey an fear to the audience through the simple act of dragging on a cigarette. As the show grew, the CSM had an entire show devoted to him, had season premieres and finales written to make audiences wonder what cliffhangers he might create or resolve. The CSM is one of three character who appeared in the series pilot and the series finale. The other two were obviously Fox Mulder and Dana Scully.
William B. Davis embodied the CSM and turned an extremely minor character into the fulcrum of an entire series. For eight seasons he fascinated me with his ability to make an audience feel his evil as it drips off the screen. This capacity seems even more incredible after encountering the real life Mr. Davis, which I had the pleasure of doing four years ago. He was affable, humorous and jesting at every turn. He smiled intensely the whole time. He was a contrast in every possible way to the character that he turned into something special. He convinced me of the incredible caliber of his acting ability, of his ability to become a character and turn that character from a simple fiction to a presence, something more than just a character confined to a story. He jumped an entity into the collective imagination of those of us who enjoyed a great show for a long time.
Tragically, seeing him in Smallville last night destroyed so much of that feeling of respect I harbored for him. I know that's not fair; as an actor he wants to work, have his work seen and make a buck like anyone else. But it's still really hard for me to realize that he went from a diabolical force to a teen villian.
Nohr, Part 2 (Read the first Nohr story, which I like much better than this one and may be one of my favorite purely expository things I've written, here).
Nohr had not always been like this.
Not more than two years ago, he had contemplated giving up smoking for entirely different reasons: he was infatuated with a girl. He would not let himself call it love when he thought about it alone in the relative quiet of his bedroom, while she slept at his side, because the word frightened him and left him feeling entirely without control. But he would tell her he loved her when she said so to him, and returning the demonstration of emotion allowed him to feel in control of the moment, that his mirroring the emotions would keep her in his bed and in his life for a long time to come.
Since the moment he had met her a year prior, she had made not so jaded references to the fact that she didn't like cigarettes. She never once hid his Lucky Strikes, or made a comment or unpleasant face when he would slide one between his lips and light up after dinner or sex, but he could tell that she would prefer he abandoned the habit. So he tried off and on to kick it, but after a few days, the slight shakes (they never affected him that much) grated on his nerves and his free time, and he would head over to the corner convenience store to pick up another pack. Had his smoking seemed a true obstacle to keeping her around, he might have exerted a little more effort in kicking it. But already having the essential pieces of his general happiness in place, the motivation to change things drastically in any respect fleeted in and out of his mind, never really taking up residence and driving any change.
He returned to his apartment one day to find her stuff missing and her key on the coffee table. No note of apology or message on the answering machine begging for forgiveness or any explanation of her departure. Nothing but a big emptiness in the corner of the closet where her evening clothes had collected over the months of returning home to his place for the evening and a void in the top drawer he had cleared out for her after the entire work week they had foregone work, calling in sick and spent the time bed together.
Trips past her apartment revealed its vacancy, calls to her phone number bounced to an operator telling him that the line had been disconnected. Disappeared, slipped out of his life, leaving no clue as to how or why.
With nothing to occupy his evenings, Nohr began frequenting the bar around the corner from his apartment. As the days passed, his intimacy with Jack and Jim grew stronger, the nights grew longer, the black circles under his eyes grew deeper and darker.
He had refused to change the sex-stained sheets on his bed for six months, and only managed to wash them because his mother had planned to visit and he only owned one set of sheets. He would have simply gone and bought a new set of sheets but for the sudden decline in money owed to his repeated trips to the bar and the loss of his job.
One evening's swim through the amber colored liquid dancing a slow waltz with the ice cubes in his glass found Nohr next to another sad soul on the bar stool next to him. Another regular. The barkeep kept their glasses full all evening and only charged them for half of the whole bottle of Beam they went through that night. He remembered waking up next to her in the middle of the night with a feeling of disgust in the pit of his stomach and wanting to vomit, not really sure if the bourbon or the revulsion made him feel so queasy. The next morning he found a slip of paper with her name and number written on it, only partially obscured by the candy red lipstick kiss tattooing the paper. He never called her, nor did he ever think about calling her. But weeks later they encountered again, this time over a bottle of Jack, she trying subtly to find out why he had never called and he not doing a very good job at feigning interest.
He felt a slight smile escape his gut when she stood up, whispered "fuck you" in his ear and left that night.
That had happened just under a year ago. Since that time, Nohr had quit his secure job and replaced it with piddling employment at a mechanic's changing oil and rotating tires. Not the greatest life, but it sustained him enough to continue pursuing his new interests: drinking whiskey and bedding women whose names he could never care to remember.
My girlfriend just called me up all excited because she's apparently decided on my Xmas gift. Of course, it's not really fair to call me up and tell me that she's so excited and then refuse to tell me what is making her so excited. She did give me a hint, telling me that she got the idea in part from something I talked about in the HM Blog last week.
I think I just figured it out. Now I know why she's so excited.
Safe, effective, all-natural penile enlargement.
Maybe I do need it.
Today is Veterans' Day.
Most everything I could write would be trite an full of crappy rhetoric. So I'll try to keep this brief. And I'll express my thanks to service members past and present, and those considering a role in the armed services, for their sacrifice and contribution to creating and maintaining the benefits I enjoy in my daily life.
Given the current political climate, I sometimes feel that soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen get unfairly stigmatized for the job they do. The debate over how to handle the Iraq situation has led a great number of us to openly question the proper course of action or even outright denounce the proposed use of military force in the Gulf. I count myself among one of those people currently questioning the course of action and wondering if force is the right step.
However, while the men and women of the armed forces will be the tools of force, I strongly feel that it is extremely unfair to direct any ire or anger at the people in uniform. What they do, what they've always done since the military was officially brought under civilian control with the ratification of the Constitution, is carry out the steps of action implicated by decisions made by politicians. It is not theirs to openly question these decisions, only to advise and abide, to carry out unpopular and acclaimed missions.
I think it's probably pretty difficult to take action contrary to your own political and moral beliefs. To be a service member is to accept this element in your life. I applaud that sacrifice.