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Monday, February 27, 2006

One thing is certain: a man needs a maid.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

On some nights, waiting tables is like pulling teeth.

A couple sat down, and after reviewing the menu, were ready to order.

"I'll have the chicken," the man said.

"I'm not eating," the woman said. "But can I have a dessert menu? I'll order something when he's finished."

"Sure thing!"

I brought out the menu, followed by the man's food; he ate it; I asked the woman if she had made a decision on her dessert.

"No, I'm sorry. I just need another minute."

I came back about five minutes later.

"Ooh--not quite ready yet; sorry."

I came back again. And again. And again. I made suggestions, jokes, and hints. Finally, more than two hours after they sat down, I asked her if she was ready, and she said that she'd order the next time I came back. I waited five more minutes.

"What'd you find?"

"I, uh, ha ha," she began nervously. "I actually decided that I'm not going to have anything."

I laughed out loud.

"Are you serious?"

"Yeah, sorry about that."

I laughed some more. "No, no! That's fine!" I actually gave the male half of the couple a high-five. Unable to control myself, I continued:

"Now you have to promise me something. You don't have to eat anything here, but you should at least eat something today."

"Actually I ate three times."

"I wouldn't know that, would I?" I grinned.

I dropped off the check, and it sat there for 45 minutes. I transferred it to another server and went home.
"Would you marry me if I were rich?" I asked.

"No," RC said plainly.

"What if I had a beard and was rich?"

"I hate beards."

"Hm," I said. "What if I promised to never grow a beard?"

"Eh . . . no."

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Last night, I met a girl with a sternum or "cleavage" piercing. From the moment she introduced herself, I couldn't help but notice it.

An example of a sternum piercing.

My question is: Why the hell would you get something like this? She had reasonably nice breasts--did people not notice them enough? A similar accessory for a male would be a belt buckle that featured a flashing LED in the shape of an arrow pointing to my crotch.

I'll avoid making any broader statements about women and breasts and needing attention for now; I just thought it was kind of funny.
"One day, back when I was really poor," said the gay guy I work with, "I was taking a cab home from a night out. I only had like $14 on me."

"Uh-huh," I nodded.

"The cab driver was gay, and he kept hitting on me, you know?"

"Right," I said, knowing exactly where this was going.

So when we got back to my place, I started thinking that if I played this right, I wouldn't have to pay for the cab."


"So, yadda yadda yadda, I didn't have to pay for it."

"Wait--why not?"

"Huh? Oh--I let him suck me off for the cab fare."

"Oh, OK," I said. I congratulated myself for predicting exactly where the story would lead.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

"Man, they're going nuts over the bombing of that huge Shiite mosque in Iraq," I mentioned to Lan.

"What happened?"

"CNN says that like 50 Sunni mosques were attacked the same day."1

"Well," he said, "sounds like things are pretty much wrapping up over there."

"Yep--that independent Iraqi army should make short work of those pesky terrorists," I said. "And of course they've got freedom to be thankful for."

"Yeah--crazy freedom."

1NPR noted today that Condoleezza Rice stated that just because there is an increase in violence "doesn't mean that the country is erupting into civil war." There was no word on whether or not Rice kept a straight face or not.
I was driving down 24th St. in West Campus yesterday. Just as I was about to cross an intersection, a Suburban came from the opposite direction and made an illegal left turn, plowing into the little BMW driving just a few dozen feet in front of me. The momentum from the SUV powered the convertible across two lanes of traffic, and over a curb into a parking lot. The BMW was smashed up in a bad way; the Suburban didn't look too bad.

I quickly pulled over in case anyone was hurt. Both drivers exited their vehicles shaken, but seemingly unharmed. The guy from the BMW was noticeably annoyed; the girl who hit him was crying and apologizing frantically. I asked if they were OK, and they both said they were.

When the girl went back to her car to call someone, I asked the guy if he wanted me to be a witness. I gave him my information.

"I never had a chance," he said. "I was only going like 30 miles an hour."

"There was nothing you could do," I agreed.

"Goddamn SUV's." He turned to the girl. "You know you're completely at fault here, right?"

She cried some more. I wanted to high-five him, but instead I told him to call me if I could help, got into my car, and drove off.
"Before you go to bed tonight, I want you to come up with a list of schemes," Lan said.


"Yeah--schemes. They should net us a lot of . . . something. Girls, money, power, I dunno. I just need a good scheme."

Monday, February 20, 2006

Two Conversations About One Thing

"I think I'm going to be a virgin until I'm married," I told a co-worker.

"But--you're not even a virgin now," she said.

"Iknow; I'm going to re-wrap my gift!"



"Have you heard about that hymen reconstruction surgery?" I asked.

"Yeah, I heard about that!" TT exclaimed. "Who the hell does that?"

"The betrothed. So they can get a better dowry."

"That's so stupid; it's just a little flap of skin. It can break in so many ways: riding a bike, falling down--"

"Or if a guy fingers the shit out of you."

Sunday, February 19, 2006


- "So, you want some wine?"

- "I hear this wine is really good; you should try it."

- "You should take some shots."

- "So, how long have you lived here?"

- "Do you miss home?"

- "I love Ween. Don't you?"

- "No, I said Ween, not weed. But I sure would love to smoke out right now. Wouldn't you?"

Friday, February 17, 2006

From August 2003 to May 2004, I worked as an intern and congressional aide for a prominent US congressman from Central Texas. It was one of the most valuable experiences of my life, and I learned more there about politics than I ever did in any class.

Particularly noteworthy was the experience I had working on the campaign trail. I worked at phone banks, attended fund raisers, and mailed out flyers--all with close proximity to the congressman. I was watching democracy in action.

On the eve of of the congressman's most recent re-election in 2004, I attended the would-be victory party. When the results were announced and the opposition conceded, the crowd burst into celebration, and drinks flowed all around. At the end of the night, the district director announced that she would take care of the tab. We were all pretty impressed, since it sat somewhere around $1500. After that, the campaign and office staff stopped at another bar where the booze flowed just as heavily. Again, the DD antied up and paid the bill.

"Get whatever you want," she told us. "It's on me."

All the staff, including myself, were impressed with her generosity. And it didn't end there. She often paid for lunch for the staff if we'd worked particularly hard, and when a staff member left, there was always a nice parting gift. For Christmas, she thoughtfully bought presents for each staff member. These kindnesses were unexpected and pleasant, but not overly strange.

Today at school, I was talking to a colleague over lunch. Knowing my experience, she asked me if I knew about the recent dirt regarding my former employer. I didn't.

"You haven't heard?" she asked, surprised. "One of this former staff members embezzled $166,000 from his campaign. Did you know her?"

After some questioning, I found out that yes, it was the former district director.

"Basically, when a check was written (to her) on the campaign, one hard copy came back, and [she] would take it out of the envelope and destroy it. No entry was made in the checkbook ledger," the congressman's campaign treasurer said.

In a statement, her lawyer said that the money she took didn't buy big-ticket items, but paid for meals and nights out.

"[My client] deeply regrets her actions and intends to repay all of the money taken without authorization," the attorney said. "She has a serious personal psychological problem that has manifested itself in a spending addiction for which she is seeking long-term professional help."

The congressman said that he and his wife "are both shocked and saddened." He described his former employee as "a friend of over a decade, whom [my wife] and I would have entrusted with anything we have."

Shocking proof of the lengths that people will go to for a buck.1

1I can't help but think of my cousin's ex-wife, who had a similar spending problem.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

"Mr. F------ won Teacher of the Year," I mentioned to some students yesterday. "Is he a pretty good teacher?"

"I heard that you have to do a bunch of paperwork to get that award," said one student.

"Someone told me that it's all political," said another.

"Boy," I said, "that sounds like something a losing teacher would say."

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

"That girl you were with the other night was pretty cute," TT told me.

"I'm not so bad myself," I said.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

The Roadrunner Review is now back up and fully operational--and believe you me, I had words with my hosting company. I can't wait to hear back from them in two to four days and see what they thought about my strongly worded statement.
"Yo, you ever shot anybody before?" he asked me. He was holding something behind his back. He had a wild look in his eyes.

"Naw, mister," I replied. "I ain't never seen a gun before."

"Well then peep this." He pulled out a big, scary-looking shotgun out from behind him.

"If you wanna run with me, you gotta get yo hands dirty, y'know what I'm sayin'? Now you see that guy over there? Blast that muthafucka."

"But mister! That's Harry Whittington, a millionaire attorney from Austin! He's been appointed to several state boards, including when then-Gov. George W. Bush named him to the Texas Funeral Service Commission! I can't cap him!"

"Do it," he said. "Unless yous a bitch."

"A brutha can go to jail for that shit. I ain't doin' nothin'," I said.

"Fine, you little ho," he said gruffly, grabbing the gun. "I'll do it."

Then he shot.
"JD Salinger and Sylvia Plath are pretty much the same--they're just speaking from the viewpoint of a different gender," she told me.

I considered her comment. "Hm," I said. "That's very interesting."

Saturday, February 11, 2006

From The New York Times:
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Bush administration officials said they had been caught by surprise when they were told on Tuesday, Aug. 30, that a levee had broken, allowing floodwaters to engulf New Orleans.

But Congressional investigators have now learned that an eyewitness account of the flooding from a federal emergency official reached the Homeland Security Department's headquarters starting at 9:27 p.m. the day before, and the White House itself at midnight. . . .

The federal government let out a sigh of relief when in fact it should have been sounding an "all hands on deck" alarm, the investigators have found.
I learned something about myself recently: I debate like a ten-year-old boy with a secret crush.

When fifth graders fawn, they're known to be mean or antagonistic: pulling pigtails, name-calling, throwing dirt balls, etc. In an argument, I usually want to exhaust all the possibilities. I don't let inconsistencies get by, and I push to make sure I've been fully understood. I often come off like a jerk.

Alternatively, if I don't respect the person I'm arguing with, I become a patronizing professor: stroking my chin and saying things like 'That's an interesting point,' when they make their claim about the benefits of a flat tax system or how good Garfield the movie was. In the same way, when those same young students are indifferent to others, they of course ignore them. The sentiment in both cases is 'Who cares?'

This isn't necessarily a unique or inventive new theory; it's just something I noticed about myself. Please don't let it stop you from wearing pigtails.

Friday, February 10, 2006

"As long as there are human beings—particularly boys and overgrown boys—around to fart, and make fart jokes, there will be cartoons. Of that you can be sure. This is not at all a criticism of boys or what they turn into; it just happens to be a fact, and a diamond-hard one, that boys aren’t subject to the depredations of the Four Horsemen of Appropriateness—Received Notions About Femininity, Fear of Not Being Perceived as Nice, No Boy Will Ever Want You If You Act / Look / Talk Like That, and Caring Too Much What Other People Think of You. These soul killers, having been loosed on the world by all the manufacturers of pink toys and spaghetti-strap toddlerwear, and sometimes by well-meaning, anxious mothers, come after girls before they even start elementary school and turn them into polite (if sometimes mean) little beings." (Nancy Franklin, "American Idiots," The New Yorker, January 16, 2006, 86)
I was chatting with some high school newspaper students when their regular teacher returned after three days. When he arrived, one student was showing me the article she had written, which was very good. I told her so.

"See, Mr. H------?" She said. "He likes me. How come you don't like me?"

"How many times do I have to tell you?" Mr. H------ replied. "It's because you're black."

She gave him a mean staredown for about six seconds before she (and a relieved me) burst into laughter.

For the record, she is black.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Speaking of the New Yorker, there's a new Haruki Murakami story published on their Website.
"At its peak, in 1980 or 1981, my identification was so complete that I might have wished to wear "Fear of Music" in place of my head in order to be more clearly seen by those around me." (Jonathan Lethem, "The Beards," The New Yorker, February 28, 2005, 66)

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

For some reason, I recently remembered the name "Smitty," and found it totally hilarious.
I was talking to a friend about the difficulties she was having at school.

"The sorority keeps telling us to do things that I just don't get--it's like all they care about is surface stuff," she said.

I thought about it for a minute. "So what you're saying is that the sorority is really just concerned with appearances, and it's like they care more about the way things look than actual substance."


"Well, I just don't understand that."

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Whitesnake's Definitive Collection came out today. Just so you know.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Back in September, a Danish newspaper commissioned 12 drawings of the Muslim prophet Muhammad from their cartoonists. The New York Times reported that "[t]he Danish paper said it had asked cartoonists to draw the pictures because the media were practicing self-censorship when it came to Muslim issues." The Washington Post reported that the paper printed them "to directly challenge Islam's ban on depicting the prophet."

I'm no media expert, but this seems like a pretty stupid idea.

To make things even stupider, the pictures were "recently reprinted in European media and elsewhere in what the newspapers say is a statement of free speech."

"The drawings have touched a raw nerve in part because Islamic law is interpreted to forbid any depictions of the Prophet Muhammad for fear they could lead to idolatry."

Luckily, it didn't lead to a whole lot of idol-worship, but it did lead to worldwide protests (mostly peaceful), a huge boycott of Danish goods, the torching of a Danish embassy, and a bunch of people getting killed in Afghanistan.

""Long live Islam! We are Muslims! We don't let anyone insult our prophet!" chanted the demonstrators, many of whom appeared to be teenagers. They also chanted, ''Down with America!'' and slogans against the Afghan and U.S. presidents," the Times article reported.

Some protesters, in an effort to prove stereotypes about the extremism of Muslims, showed their disapproval in other ways:

I certainly don't defend the actions of the violent protesters--I think it's pretty ridiculous--but how could anyone expect anything different? Radical Muslims are a group of people who are characterized by their fanaticism and violence in the name of their religion. If you're the editor of Jyllands-Posten, and you want to make a statement--do it through the editorial pages, not through the publication of images that only serve to instigate division and violence.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

My neighbor was forced out of his apartment after the management got a bunch of complaints about the noise coming from his place.

"I don't really care much for those new girls that run this place," he told me.

"I don't either," I said. "They're always bitching about the woman that used to manage it, and I liked her just fine."

He chuckled. "That woman embezzled a bunch of money from the owners and left the country. She was stealing people's rent and deposit checks."

"Oh." I paused. "Well I still don't like them."

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Patrick Stewart, as Dinosaur Comics notes, is a great actor, but the poor guy is just starting out with HTML.
One of the dumbest things I've ever heard:

"You must admit you're wrong before trying to convince others of something."
Something I was really hoping would never happen--someone from the class coming to eat at my job--happened tonight. And I had to wait on her.

"Am I the bane of your existence?" she asked, once things got obviously awkward.

"Well," I said, "do you mean tonight, or in general?"
CC and DL: Are you still out there?

Thursday, February 02, 2006

I announced Lan's abortion solution in class last night.

The solution, if you haven't heard it, is that if anyone wants to have an abortion, they should have to eat the aborted fetus afterwards.

This will placate pro-choicers, because they still have the option to have an abortion. Conversely, it will quiet pro-lifers because they'll see that if someone does choose to have an abortion, they'll be punished with one of the most gruesome acts imaginable as a matter of consequence.

"See?" I concluded. "It works out perfectly!"

"Chris," YO began, "there are so many reasons why that wouldn't really work. . . ."
Sometimes I begin thinking that maybe there should be some kind of checks and balances system for Oprah, so she doesn't eventually buy Wal-Mart and then take over the world--because that's pretty much what she's poised to do, you suckers.
I was jarred awake by more hammering this morning.

For a few moments, I had this strange yet lucid dream that I had an angry roommate who was building a bookshelf in the next room. I guess that's because that's exactly what it fucking sounded like.
The Academy Award nominations are up!

Who gives a shit!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

After reading this post from the fantastic Madge DoRightly, I've come up with an accurate slogan that adequately describes her situation (and others like it):

Men: Sometimes we're both a bitch and an asshole!