EB: Giving ’em the business!

Brain dumps from the original Bonehead.

Can’t Get Right.

Situation: Driver in Acura coupe fails to signal but otherwise, properly, attempts to move aside and let driver in Ford SUV overtake in the passing lane; Ford driver, anticipating that the Acura driver will do as many other SoFL drivers do, chooses not to wait for a courtesy that often isn't displayed at all and simply goes right to execute the pass.

Remember that Bobbing and Weaving thing I did where I was trying to understand all the nonsensical dipping and dodging that people will paint on the freeways down here in South Florida?  I saw it again on my way home from work last night and, as loathe as I am to admit this, it's actually starting to make sense. 

First things first – since all this was going to take place up ahead I applied the brakes.  Believe me, I could care less about having a great view; I just wanted some extra room to maneuver in case things got ugly.  Have you ever seen that motion a car makes when the driver goes but then suddenly yanks it back into place?  That kind of a snaping/wobbling looking movement, right?  Yeah well when that Acura driver realized the Ford was following them over that's what happened and it's usually a bad thing.  Back in the day, my friend/driving instructor used to tell me "it's all about smooth" and for good reason – jerky movements will disrupt your vehicle's balance and that make you into a roadside decoration. 

Fortunately there was no big bang but the end result is the Acura driver nearly got nailed in the ass for trying to do the right thing.  That was really important – did you get it?  The Acura driver nearly got nailed in the ass for trying to do the right thing.  I used to find it infuriating that these squatters will to go all the way over to the passing lane to pitch camp down here in sunshine land but eventually I just got used to it.  That doesn't make it ok, I just lowered my expectations.  Look, when paying your taxes on time incurs fines, or when pedestrians are safer crossing against a green light instead of with it, shit's pretty fucked up… and though I often focus on the drivers I don't blame them for all this, I blame the police.

"When in Rome", my ass.

-E

May 14, 2006 Posted by | Driving | 4 Comments

Just A Little Tiny Bit Fraudulent.

Around a year or so ago I saw this pretty funny stoner flick called "Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle"; a movie featuring, among other things, Doogie Houser like you've never seen him before…  As if the title wasn't a dead giveaway the plot involves our heroes, Harold and Kumar, trying to make their way to White Castle to satisfy a spontaneous but undeniable craving for those tasty little steamed burgers.

You watched that bullshit?

I did.  What can I say – I'm a movie guy.  I was home, it came on, I didn't have anything better to do…  Ok, so as our heroes are embarking upon their quest the encounter resistance from (hit the music) The Bad Guys!!!  I don't know any of their names… probably something like Biff, Chaz, and Duke… whatever, I'll just call them The Bad Guys.  In a nutshell, they were a bunch of testosterone tweaked, macho's with a passion for extreme sports, snack foods with the word extreme in it, and making multi-digit hand/finger signs while screaming out "Extreme!!!" at the top of their lungs.  No, I'm not making this up.

Ok, so as the picture begins to come into focus you can start to see these guys somewhat.  Profiling right?  It's ok, we all do it.  It's all a part of learning and, recognizing patterns is considered one of the signs of intelligence; if every tall guy you met had red hair and you didn't think it odd when you came across a dark-haired guy standing 6'6, there may be something wrong with you.  Anyway, you can see the formation of a basic type here right?  Abercrombie-Lean and wearing jeans bought faded from the store, a "vintage" t-shirt, maybe some sort of wristband or choker, and wool skullcap in the middle of fucking summer…  You with me so far?

Why the hell do MEN wear chokers?

No.  Leave that one alone…  Ok now where was I??  So The Bad Guys are being bad guys and eventually our heroes, 'Roldy and Kumar, end up borrowing their SUV.  Kind of a long story there, but go with it.  The guys pop in a cassette called Extreme Mix or some horseshit like that and, far from what they were expecting, they're then treated to the melodic harmonizing of 90s pop group Wilson Phillips

The three chicks? 

Yes sir, that's right!!  Wilson Phillips!  Check this out – I've met some pretty tough hombres in my time.  Don't ask me why but for some reason "hombre" sound tougher than "guys", "dudes", "fellas", etc…  maybe it's because, in my head, it invokes Sam Elliot's voice and how can THAT be anything but tough?  I'm talking about some rock hard cats here and every last one of them had a soft underbelly.   Guys that secretly dig Celine Dion and chick flicks.  Why was it ok watching Al Pacino or Richard Gere tango in their movies but watching Hulk Hogan dance with his wife on VH1 just felt wrong?

C'mon guys, you know it's happened.  You're on the couch putting some mileage on the clicker and not really paying much attention.  You're distracted.  You snap back in when the phone rings.  You realize you've been watching Natalie Portman and Susan Sarandon cry and bitch about their feelings for the past half hour and for some God forsaken reason you can't wait to find out what happens next.  On your phone is one of your boys and instinctively the bass in your voice clicks up about three notches.  Then your eyes spring wide open as you hear the television out of your free ear and, to keep the peace, you reach for the mute button before anyone finds out…

Damn.  Where's Tim Allen when you need him?

-E

May 9, 2006 Posted by | Random Ramblings | 2 Comments

Drinking the Kool-Aid.

Ok – I've got my 10-foot pole and my tap shoes and it's time to go do this thing.  I just watched what could possibly be one of the most distressing, disturbing videos I've ever seen in my life.  If you are easily offended, sensitive to profanity, or otherwise intolerant, I don't recommend you watch this video:

Spirit of Truth

If you decided not to that's cool too but the rest of this post might not make as much sense to you so you may want to just skip it and come back to hang later; but if you checked it out then let's roll…

Now, none of us are new here, right?  We've all made and heard enough jokes that we've probably developed a good sense for when someone's being genuine and when someone's just fucking around.  And that's what makes this video so genuinely frightening – this man isn't kidding!  He's not joshing or joking or pulling your leg.  He thinks he is giving testimony.  Did you get that loud and clear?  He thinks he is giving testimony.    

Dawg – I'm really glad you brought the pole for this one!

Fa' really real!  Notice his choice of words…  Listen to his voice…  Look at his haircut for fuck's sake!!  This man is serious (delirious?).  When you can speak with conviction and make statements like:

  • Bitch, I'm flowin' straight from the survival scroll!
  • Is you down with that?  If you ain't down with that shut yo' goddamn ass up!

I think it's safe to say that "one of these kids is doing his own thing".  Don't be fooled by the funky soundtrack, there is nothing haphazard about this presentation; he is quoting George Clinton and the King James Bible both liberally and accurately.  No accidents.  The televangelist featured here is both ministering and, simultaneously, employing more 'motherfuckers' than Eddie Murphy in the early 80s. 

I know that for a long time I've been saying that a person's intentions should dictate the appropriate response to the words they say but in this video we may have reached the extreme condition at which this rule no longer applies.  Whatever the denomination of this man's faith is, it would be better served if he weren't preaching it!  If you can imagine using a fork to try and dig a ditch you'll get the idea – the effort may be noble and the intention admirable, but it's simply not the right tool for the job. 

What I can't help but wonder is how many times this kind of thing has happened because, in the history of the world, this surely can't be the first.  If that can be accepted as true, all as part of the fallibility of man and his feeble little flesh, then what other truths can we accept?  For instance, how can we possibly know that no other men along the way had gotten their signals crossed just as badly as this poor slob did?  What if that man was named Mohammed?  Moses?  Or even King James I of England?  If even the potential exists that this can be true, than how can anyone hope to know what to believe in?

The ball is in play.  Have fun with it…

 -E

May 7, 2006 Posted by | Religion | Leave a comment

By Request: “Oooooo say can you wiki-wiki-wik-seeee…”

Ok, so here we are: Cinco de Mayo and this whole immigration thing has reached a boil.  This thing is big… no, huge.  Actually, that's still understated – we're talking about Andre the Giant-sized, holy shit big!  Oh come on, you know who he is!  Let's look at it starting with December 16th, 2005.  The House of Representatives passed a bill authorizing greater use of law enforcement to control illegal immigration, including a massive wall along the Mexican border, felony prosecution for illegal immigrants and those assisting them.  How do you like that grouping: Terrorists, murderers, rapists, and undocumented immigrants.  Think about it…  And by the way, that "passed a bill" link I slipped in there is pretty cool – not only can you get the verbiage of the bill but you can also get updated on it as the status changes if happens to be a hot button item for you. 

Now, some say that in a post-9/11 America it is more important than ever for us to secure our borders and I say that’s great if you really mean it.  While listening to NPR radio the other day, the callers expressed some great points on this topic.  One that stood out in my mind is that we're going to put a big wall up on the Mexican border but none on the Canadian border?  Is it because Mexicans are fleeing into America but Americans are fleeing into Canada?  Well, not exactly, but did you know that W's re-election drove record numbers of Americans to Canada's immigration website? Another good question is, at the heart of the matter, is this really just a thing about Mexicans?  You hear stories all the time about people making it here from Cuba paddling in a refrigerator but trying to make that same trip from Haiti will earn you an unpleasant date with the Coast Guard.  And how often during any of these discussions does anybody bring up the numbers of immigrants from Europe or Asia or elsewhere?  I guess all immigrants aren't created equal?

Then, there's been lots of talk about how important immigrants are to America's economy… you know, all the chatter about doing jobs that Americans won't do.  First off, I think the concept is extraordinarily arrogant, even for us, but most importantly it's a load of BS.  When you've got farmhands that will put on a plastic sleeve and go shoulder deep up a cow's asshole, you can find guys that will do anything.  CNN reports that there are approximately 50 million employable citizens in this country that aren't working and nearly 12 million illegal immigrants of which nearly 60% are employed (the largest concentration of which is in the farming and construction industries where they make up 24% and 14% of the labor force, respectively).  It's really beginning to sound like the problem, like so many others, is like rooted in dollar signs. 

If you're here illegally you're not part of the system.  Medical benefits and such are no longer your employer's concern and neither is a fair, "living" wage.  Forget about the amount of money that companies spend on benefit packages whether you use them or not, just for a moment, and let's look at exchange rates.  Right now, the average Mexican citizen is making around 46 pesos/day which is the equivalent of about $4/day; you couldn't get an American citizen to just sit and stare at you (much less, do any actual work!) for that kind of money.  And talk about win-win??  Forget about comp time – if your guy gets hurt you just pick a different guy off the truck tomorrow!  This is exploitation at it's finest.

The flip side to all this is that cheap labor should lead to cheap goods.  I wouldn't dare discredit the invincible power of greed, but this is one of the counter arguments I've heard: Do you want to pay $800k to purchase a home or $300k?   Meaning, if companies are forced to spend more on labor you'd best believe that the additional expense will be subsidized out of your paycheck.  It's a stunning counter because it makes the issue both personal and expensive for everyone no matter what your lineage.  Anyone that wants buy food to eat or a home to live in would be negatively impacted by not having illegal immigrants here busting their asses for $20/day.  I'd love to give you an answer for that one but the truth is I just don't know.  Tax cuts for compliance, and stiff fines for violators could help, but we're talking about a significant amount of money here.  Maybe providing "free" labor comprised of welfare recipients and inmates in those two industries hit the hardest would lessen, if not entirely offset the difference? 

Whatever the answer is, amnesty certainly isn't it.  Not only does it not provide new opportunities for the nation's unemployed but what message does it send to the millions of citizens that emigrated legally??  The people that waited in line and learned the language and took the test…?  They were rewarded for their patience and hard work with citizenship!  One of the best quotes I've seen from this side of the issue came from a Latino man, and retired Colonel, who said "…we and millions like us did it legally.  We're all here today to tell those protesters, 'You do not speak for me.'"  The colonel isn't the only one – there are websites like 'No Illegals' where immigrants and others have organized to battle back based on the contention that "We as American Citizens and Legal Immigrants have been sold out for the cheap labor and corporations that control our political system…"  Amnesty won't do; if you begin a policy of giving away what once had to be earned you are not helping.

And then there's the Star Spangled Bwiki-bwiki-bwiki-banner.  Somewhere in here I think is the other greatest constituent to the great immigration dilemma of the day: fear.  Basically, a Brit hooked up with some Latin musicians and reworked the Star Spangled Banner into 'Nuestro Himno', which translates to 'Our Anthem' in English.  Can you say mixed reactions?  Initially I wasn't a big fan of the idea when I first heard about it but then I came across some interesting pieces of information: First, there is no officially declared national language in the United States; and second, the U.S is fifth in the world in total Spanish-speaking population!  All of this got me to thinking, again, about how language is used and whether benign intentions are enough? 

The song isn't dissing or mocking or in any other way downing the country or the song.  It's just a new version.  A way for one of the many different peoples that inhabit this nation to say "this our thang too"… and believe me this isn't the first time.  What can anyone possibly find more offensive about this version than any other?  The song gets butchered on a regular basis – the most famous of which, I think, was at Woodstock.  If acid had a signature sound, it'd damn sure have been Jimi that day…  you could even hear when it kicked in and just took control of his mind.  And just like the present, many were opposed to this new creative rendition.  What's really the big deal about a Spanish-language version of a song that a good number of American's don't know the words to anyway? 

The big deal is dominion.  Fear.  R&B versions aren't always well received but at least they're in English.  Everyone from Robert Goulet to Natalie Gilberthas publicly forgotten the words from time to time but at least they tried to do it "right".  If you're singing my song and I can't understand what you're saying then what good is it?  But that's just the point – it's not your song, it's our song.  Or rather, it's Nuestro Himna… so get over yourselves.

-E

May 5, 2006 Posted by | Politics | 1 Comment

Getting Beasted?

This is the story of a child that didn't know how far was too far.  It was an overnight business trip to Philly with my boss about three years ago. 

I know, Poca, I know…

Five A.M. meet up at the airport, we go in and execute the training, five P.M. the following evening we're outta there.  A job well done, if I do say so myself.  Here's where the action begins.  Me and the boss had seperate seats for the ride back and I found myself sitting next to a nine-year-old child traveling alone.  Smart kid, funny, sociable…  I'm sure his parents bragged about him to no end.

Maybe an hour into the flight the kid gets bored with his video game, pulls out a deck of cards and invites me to play.  Since we didn't play any of the same games he offered to teach me one of his favorites – some game I'd never heard of but bore a vague resemblance to rummy.  Being that he was only nine I wasn't expecting a detailed explanation of the game which was a good thing because I didn't get one, he showed me some basics of play and apparently figured he'd demonstrate the rest on me instead of to me.  It got ugly, and fast!  I lost game after game, sometimes not even by a respectable score.  I really couldn't care less since I was coming back from a business trip where I'd performed admirably; what does it matter if a kid that I met during a little 3-hour flight got his shine off against me in a card game that I'd never even heard of before?  Well, then the little prick opened his mouth.

Say again?

First it was a little laughter in-between hands.  I suppose laughing at a defeated opponent wouldn't qualify as being a gracious victor, but whatever.  Then it became more laughter.  Then some taunting…  "Dude, you suck!", that sort of stuff.  I could hear the echo of a fearsome banging from inside a cage somewhere deep within me but I still played it cool; gave him my best Bruce Willis smirk.  It wasn't much of a warning but it was the best I could do – anything I would've said back would likely have been incindiary.

Bring it on you little motherfucker!!

Uhm.  Yeah, something like that.  Things were a little different for me when I came up.  It was still ok to talk trash but there were rules: 1) Be careful, because you never know who you're fucking with, and 2) Never, ever, ever spit game you can't back up.  You've got to be ready to have your bluff called and then there's no more time for words, it's put up or shut up.  Upon his next win he enthusiastically shouted out "I Beasted You!!" and the smirk was frozen.  Did he say bested?  No, he said beasted.  Pupils dilated.  The 2×4 holding that cage shut snapped like a twig…

Demon, unleashed.

To me, my competitive streak is like a personal demon.  There are times when it used to absolutely consume me.

Go get 'em, boy!

Oh yes, another job well done – I dedicated every brain cell in my power to putting a mean one on this little boy and at the end I beat him like he was my kid… and I talked hot, stinkin', dirty, nasty shit the whole way through and you know what? it was kinda fun!  He wanted to talk like a man so he got beat like a man and I didn't feel bad about it at all.  I took a page out of a friend's playbook and declared the final game "The Man" game; the loser would have to humiliate himself each and everytime the question 'Who's The Man?' was asked. 

Just after landing my Demon was admiring the new notch on his belt as I tucked him back into his cage, and the boy gleefully put his cards back into his knapsack.  Before we disboarded I kneeled down and asked one last time before I never saw him again…  Who's The Man? 

-E

April 28, 2006 Posted by | Random Ramblings | 3 Comments

Get Your Evil On.

Go ahead, you know you want to!  It's in us – somehow, in some way, it's in us.  It's the whole reason that we attentively watch skateboarders when we go to the park.  It's the reason everybody slows down to get a good look at the carnage of a roadside auto wreck when, instead, they could speed by; but very few pull over to go help.  It's the part deep down inside that knows you love your kitty but still wants to throw her like a fucking shot put when she rips up your furniture again.  Watching someone slip and bust their ass is always funny unless they get hurt… right?

Turn out your fist and stick out your pinky and stick that little fingertip into the corner of your mouth 'cause you know you got some in ya'.  Let's get this out in the open where everybody can see it: It's ok!  A kind, elderly woman on the phone once commended me for having "the patience of a saint" all the while, completely unaware of the many many folk that I've choked out in my day.  Hey, it happens. 

Yo!  Remember that guy that was squirming so much that when he tapped out you didn't realize it until he started flailing with his leg??

Heh.  Yeah.  Wait, where was I?  Right – the evil thing!!  Ok, it's like this: way back in high school one of my teachers came to class with a list of famous quotations.  He had no intention of requiring us to memorize the stuff but he did want us to think about each one and discuss them.  What was so special about each quotation that of all the utterances throughout the history of man, these survived the test of time?  One of the quotes he gave us was from the ancient Greek: Metron Ariston, meaning 'moderation is best'.  Evil… Moderation…  Put it all together.  Balance achieved through the intertwining of extremes. 

Kinda like that old song lyric about a whore in the bedroom but a lady in the street?

Why why why do I keep letting you in here??  I'm just saying it's cool.  Be the hero.  Go get a white horse to ride and be prince charming if you want.  Fuck it – why not go all the way and just be Shrek!  But don't forget to get dirty once in awhile.  You can try to be perfect if you want, and you won't be the first to fail – so don't go hard on yourself when you do, but believe me it's alot easier if you just haul off and bitchslap somebody every so often.  It'll help you stay balanced.  Trust me, I know these things!  😉

-E

April 27, 2006 Posted by | Random Ramblings | 1 Comment

By Request: Playing A Bad Hand.

A while back I was talking with a close friend about playing Spades.  Spades is a card game involving four players divided into two teams of two.  He and I played as partners for years and we took our show on the road – for a good while not only did we play within our circle of friends but we traveled all over our metro area looking for new opponents.

Mind you, we're not talking about chess or Stratego or even checkers for that matter, we're talking about a game where cards are shuffled and dealt and therefore the luck element cannot be ignored.  Since he and I were somehow born gifted with reliably bad luck at card games, we often played the role of that one-legged man in the ass kicking contest… it wasn't easy but we still kicked alot of ass! 

Ok – here he comes with this D.H. Lawrence thing again…

I don't know where I first heard the expression adversity builds character but whoever said that was a damn genius.  I know that problems are problems are problems, and that one man's famine could be another man's feast, but have you ever met someone that never had to wonder where they would live or how they would feed their family?  Someone that never had to make decisions that would ultimately determine survival?  I have.  I've met this person as he bore different faces, time and time again.  He can be just as good-hearted of a person as the one standing to his left but in some deep, dark corner of his spirit he knows that his mettle has not yet been tested. 

When you draw the connections inside your head and see each thing as being more than a thing but as an interconnected cog in a microcosm of all things, your view of the events unfolding around you changes.  You become less likely to throw your hands up and say "Oh lordy why me???" and instead you tuck your chin down and apply the talents and gifts that you have.  You take the hand you're dealt and you play it; you take that one lonely trump card and you play it; you count and you scheme and you pimp a 10-of-hearts all the way around the table if you have to because it's all you've got.  You just find a way.

Damn, I miss that game.

-E

April 26, 2006 Posted by | Personal Revelations | 3 Comments

Why’d you kick me?

A wise man once said “Don’t rub the lamp if you don’t want the genie to come out” and, although overly simplified, the wisdom in that statement is undeniable.  I’ve long held the opinion that just as no one should be able to make you do something against your will, no one should be held accountable for the choices you make.  For instance, just a short while ago a friend told me how pissed off she was at a particular towing company in the city; when I asked why she said her car had been towed and subsequently broken into and she lost thousands of dollars worth of goods.  I then asked why was the car towed and she said she had hundreds of dollars in unpaid parking tickets.  My response: “Well, I guess paying those tickets would’ve been cheaper huh?”  As I understand it, that response qualifies me as being a dick. 

That response?  That response?!  Asshole.

Accountability, or at least the lack thereof, is something I’ve always found puzzling; this is likely because I learned it at an early age.  I try to pick up life lessons from all around me as I meander along and this whole accountability thing was expressed to me decades ago at that very same Tae Kwon Do school where I learned that I was gifted with the ability to absorb a pretty impressive beating.  One day while sparring in class, a guy got kicked in the nuts and he was pissed!  My instructor stopped us all to give the guy a minute to regroup.  Upon seeing that the kid who got kicked was eager to fight again, Alonzo instead wanted to talk to us all and make sure we understood what had just happened:

“You have no reason to be upset with that man.  It’s not his fault that he kicked you in the balls.
What??
It’s not his fault.
It’s not his fault he kicked me in the nuts?
No it’s not.  It’s your fault.
But how is that possible, sir??  I didn’t kick myself.
You didn’t kick yourself, but you did make a mistake.  Then, you allowed your opponent to exploit the mistake you made.
  …puzzled look…
Look.  If you’re a man and he’s a man then anything he can do to you, you can do right back to him.  But also, there is nothing he can do to you that you can’t take action to prevent.  You are just as capable as him or any other guy in this room and none of us can take advantage of you unless you allow us to do so.  Now tell me – why did he kick you in the groin?
  …pause…
So it's my fault because I didn’t block?
Right.  And if I tried to kick you in the groin right now what would you do about it?
I’d block it.
Good!  Everyone line up!  Face your partners and bow out…"

Just that quickly, that young boy and the rest of us that were paying attention in class, all got a brief glimpse of what accountability is all about.  Going back to the example earlier where my friend’s car got towed, that really is a sticky one because, unlike my classmate, she had no opponent.  The argument could even be made that the outcome was far less foreseeable than a foot to the jewels but, her devout refusal to feed the meter for months ultimately had consequences that she did not care to face.

If you listen closely you can hear Sir Issac Newton somewhere far off in the distance shouting 'checkmate in three'; it ain’t just physics, baybee.

-E

April 24, 2006 Posted by | Random Ramblings | 2 Comments

The Single Girl’s To-Do List

The other day while driving to work, two local lady DJs were discussing this article they saw in Cosmopolitan about a list of 20 things every single girl should do before getting into a serious relationship.  Interested?  Hell yeah!  It certainly wouldn't be the same as, say, planting a mic in the girls locker room but I still think of a discussion like this as a potentially educational opportunity. 

While trying to find the article online I came across another interesting looking article on Cosmo/iVillage called Why He Goes Psycho Before He Gets Serious. Remind me and I'll come back for that one later…  Anyway, I started looking for similar content elsewhere because, as we all know, very little magazine content is original.  Since the stuff gets recycled every few months I was pretty certain I'd be able to find similar content elsewhere and BAM – along comes handbag.com. Their article, get this, is called 10 Things To Do Before Saying 'I Do'.

Boy, you really lucked out on that one huh?

At first I thought it could just as well be advice for men, but coming from a website called HANDBAG I figured the odds were in my favor.  Ok, no more stalling here's the list:

  1. Travel alone: Nothing feels as incredible as completely losing yourself in another country. Whether you stay a day or a year, give yourself the opportunity to experience the freedom of being utterly alone…you'll never feel so self-reliant or in control of your own destiny. And while you're at it…
  2. Have a holiday fling with someone who speaks not a word of English. Surely every woman's fantasy. No need to explain why you need him out of your bed by 10am…and he wouldn't understand you anyway. A swift kick should dislodge him from under your duvet.
  3. Acquire a hobby: It's time to indulge your interests – whether they include paper mache or parachuting. So what if your passion for collecting novelty tea cosies means trekking several hours to Swansea for their annual cosy-swap? Once you're married, you'll treasure the 'me time' that your hobbies will bring you, even if what you love is something as simple as meeting girlfriends for a monthly book club meeting.
  4. Live on your own: No, not with Ma and Pa. Not with flatmates. And certainly not with your bloke. Spend at least one three-month stretch living completely alone. If you don't already, you'll learn to love your own company – an important lesson for every woman. And if you're planning on staying married and having children, you may never have this chance again!
  5. Devote time to charitable causes: Figure out what it is you truly believe in – whether it's animal rights or resettling refugees. Spending a couple of hours each week making a difference in the community can put into perspective the everyday issues we all tackle in our relationships.
  6. Meet someone online: Create a profile, attach a photo, and let the worldwide web work its magic. Once you're married, it's unlikely you'll be in the market for an internet hook-up so make hay while the sun shines.
  7. Cry yourself to sleep: Experience heartache. Wallow in its agony. Learn to get over it and how to move on.  Knowing what real pain feels like will make you a better partner.
  8. Learn useful things: Don't rely on the other people in your life to know how to change the tyre on your car, cook dinner for six, or back up your hard drive. Put your brain to good use.
  9. Live dangerously: Do things on a whim. While you don't have someone at home worrying about you, get wildly drunk, dance on tables, catch the train to Paris and stay up all night. Or learn scuba diving, start your own business…take risks!
  10. Spend lots of money on something foolish: There's plenty of time for being sensible when you're married. Providing you actually have the funds to cover it, go nuts in Harvey Nicks, throw an enormous cocktail party for your friends, buy those Jimmy Choos you love in EVERY colour, or treat yourself to a disgustingly expensive haircut. You have nobody to answer to but yourself.

And there you have it.  So, a few observations:

  • The column was written by a Brit, that much is obvious.  Not that it matters much but some flexibility for cultural differences should be accounted for when considering this article.
  • Travel alone, have a fling, live alone, test your hottie rating with online dating, learn useful stuff and live dangerously… well, the pattern there is pretty apparent but what makes that particularly good advice for single women?
  • While I appreciate the asswhippings I've endured because, in hindsight, I understand that they ultimately made me a stronger man, I have no idea why anyone would recommend having your heart broken.  Sure, crossing the finish line feels sweet but DAMN that's one shitty race to have to run.
  • And the last one about spending lots of money on something foolish – on the radio their variant of the article said you should "max out your credit cards" before getting married.  Uhm, if I started on that one it'd take all day and I've momentarily misplaced my 10-foot-pole…

So what's the verdict?  Is this really great advice and I'm just too testosterone-blind to realize it?  Help me out, folks.

 -E

April 23, 2006 Posted by | Relationships | 2 Comments

By Request: The N Word.

A friend asked if I had ever written up anything specifically addressing 'the N word' and I told her no.  We discussed the whole "-a" versus "-er" topic regarding how Nigg is applied and, seperately, the concept of "claiming" the word through desensitization.  And, of course, let us not forget the Sticks & Stones school of thought.  This is probably going to be one of those things that I write and I end up having second thoughts for days and weeks afterwards but fuck it, let's roll.

Application: One could argue that nigga has taken on the requisite flexibility to become the brown man's equivalent of dude and, in fact, for said brown folk that have infiltrated corporate america, the two have become so interchangeable that the choice of usage often depends primarily on the demographic makeup of present company.  Think about it. 

Perspective: Life can be like going to a stadium to watch a ballgame – there are literally tens of thousands of seats we can sit in to watch the game; and though we all watch the same game from every seat in the house, each seat offers a slightly different view.  I've heard opinions on the N-Word ranging from "the filthiest, dirtiest word in the English language"; to "I say nigger fifty times a day… it makes my teeth white", now that's pretty broad range huh?  I'd say the dirtiest word (or at least one of them) is coward, but that's just me… and that brings me to my next thought.

Getting Personal: I've always been one of those 'deeper meaning' kind of folk – as in, anything said without malicious intent likely won't bother me much.  For example, I'm in my 30s but I can still clearly remember the first time someone called me a nigger: 1981, a kid in my class named Justin called me from his house to tell me him and his buddy were going to whip my ass at school the next day for being a dirty, shit-colored nigger.  The following day, instead of brown-bagging my lunch I plastic bagged it because mom always packed me a can of juice and since a plastic bag is longer I could spin it up and brain him with it if he wanted to try me.  Yes, even at the age of seven I was thorough.  The point being that his use of the word was intended to make me feel bad about who I am and that just won't be tolerated.

Respect: Often when I encounter people from, say, the more beligerent end of the equation, they're either young militants or people actually old enough to remember Jim Crow and fire hoses.  Regardless whether you're from that time or not, if you aren't aware of what has happened, and if you don't respect the struggles those people had to endure to have the freedoms that are enjoyed today then you are doing yourself a disservice.  There are words to describe a person that benefits but does not appreciate and none of those words are compliments.

Evolution: Every generation seems to have a cute little nickname – The Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y…  I often refer to the present crop as 'Generation I Don't Give A Fuck'.  Of course every batch has their distinct flavor of tree-hugging protestors in general anything that isn't on MTV or MySpace.com just ain't that interesting to these little shits.  This is usually the demographic you're dealing with when you get the "I didn't say nigger, I said nigga.  That's a whole different word" argument.  Horseshit.  Plain and simple.  We're talking about the same shit, simply acknowledge that it's a slang word for a slang word and we're done here, let's move on. 

Bliss: Ever just sit and watch kids playing?  Kids that haven't been exposed to racism?  Kids that haven't even seen flinching and dirty looks much less racial slurs?  I have.  It's the reason I haven't given up yet.  Anybody that's ever burned themselves knows that fire is hot and it's got nothing to do with fireism, it's just growing up.  Badness happened and you learned from it and unless you're in some way damaged it's what you're supposed to do.  If all slurs and racism are learned behaviors and unlearning is a supremely difficult task to attempt (even a firefighter would call you crazy for rushing into a burning building without gear!), then, can the best weapon possibly BE ignorance?  As scary as it is to even consider the idea, if I pissed down your shoe twice a day for a week to try and aggravate you and you didn't even budge then not only am I not getting to you at all but I'm also wasting my time trying. 

I guess which side of this fence you find yourself on depends on whether or not you feel that the ends justify the means.  Maybe those little pricks have something of value to contribute after all? 

-E

April 22, 2006 Posted by | Observations | 1 Comment