Archive for July, 2005


Friday, July 29th, 2005

The Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism. That’s right, the war on terror ain’t just for terrorists anymore! And it’s no longer a war either, it’s a struggle! Against violent extremists! So, when are we due to send troops to kill off every abortion clinic bomber in the United States? They’re violent extremists.

I guess the term “war on terror” sounded great after 9/11, when the time for being angry and sounding as tough as possible was right. But it appears the latest armed-cum-ideological war since the ill-fated “war on drugs” isn’t fairing much better these days, with more terrorists than before 9/11, an increasingly frustrated Iraqi people, and a U.S. military death toll that’s bound to exceed the death toll of the 9/11 terror attacks before we finally find our way out of there.

That’s okay, though. After all, it’s not a war, folks, it’s a struggle, like the new slogan says. Neverind the 1800 dead U.S. troops and tens of thousands of dead Iraqi civilians, it’s a struggle! When you talk about an armed invasion as a “war”, you know, it just doesn’t workshop very well in public relations circles, especially after the public finds out the case for war was built on a farce!

The media’s alreay tried its best by neglecting to mention those little details the public doesn’t really want or need to hear, such as the largest U.S. military death toll since Vietnam and the fact that there are now more terrorists out there than there were before the whole thing started,and that they’ve set up shop in Iraq.

By the way, am I the only one who thinks about fascist and communist slogans? The Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism? Proletarians of the World Unite!

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Category politics, rants | Tags: Tags: , , , ,

Parking Garage Labyrinth

Monday, July 25th, 2005

Parking lots are amongst the least aesthetic and most strictly functional of buildings, and they are by design not unlike the modern Colosseum of suburbia, where soccer moms in SUVs and eco-kids in Priuses are forced into a gladiatorial bloodbath. With one, sometimes two entrances and exits, narrow driveways, tight turning spaces, and enough room for hundreds of vehicles, parking lots seem to have been designed expressly to pit motorist against motorist, to be the place where near-road raging motorists finally crack and go on murderous rampages.

They are also veritable labyrinths, and that leads me to conclude that the engineers and architects behind the design of most large parking lots are sociopaths. The single entrance and exit, and cramped spaces can be explained away by the fact that land is at a premium, but bizarre numbering systems wherein parking space #499 directly precedes #800? Floor levels marked 4/5 and 5/6 instead of 4, 5, and 6? Obviously the work of a murderous sociopath.

Such was the picture the other day. My librarian friend Louise and I took the metro rail to Downtown Miami, and I parked at the Dadeland station parking lot. This was not nearly as difficult as I’d previously expected. I even managed an easy to remember space: #711. Like in 7-Eleven. What I didn’t realize until we returned to the parking lot was that in this parking lot, numbers didn’t necessarily run in order. Lulu and I were on floor 4/5, which was the floor we remembered parking on, started counting upward from the 400s, and immediately ended up in the 800s.

We took the elevator one level down, hoping that the 700s would be directly below the 800s. This, however, was not the method to this madness, for after some walking we found ourselves again in the 800s, and then the 900s. In addition to this, there was a series of about ten parking spaces on each floor numbered with each year in a particular decade. Cute, really cute. I’m sure there was much back-patting for that idea. At any rate, after climbing up as high as floor 5/6 and still finding ourselves nowhere near parking space #711, we were still at a loss.

From there, the details are hazy, but I do remember entering the elevator a second time, walking down about a half level, and then back up a bit, passing the 1980s series of parking spaces, and finally reaching space #711. I don’t really know how we got back to our space, and if I ever have to park in this parking lot again, I still won’t be able to navigate it any better. I can imagine someone leering at the monitor, watching us trudge through this maze through the security cameras with a sick pleasure. When you’re lost in a parking garage, it is definitely not you. I’m a college student and Lulu is a graduate student, but we weren’t able to navigate the maze. After navigating through this parking garage, I know it was specifically designed for people to get lost in.

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Category humor, rants | Tags: Tags: , ,

Apparently, Europeans Are Boring

Sunday, July 24th, 2005

The other evening, I was sitting at Borders, and I couldn’t help but listen to a conversation between two girls at the counter:

Girl 1: “So, how are things with your new boyfriend?”

Girl 2: “He’s European”

Girl 1: “Oh? {interest piqued} How’s that turning out?”

Girl 2: “Well, actually… he’s kind of boring. Like, the other night, I asked him where we should go out tonight, and he shrugged and said ‘I don’t know, let’s just stay in’.”

Girl 1: “Oh.” {mild disgust}

Apparently, Europeans are boring by American standards. I despise “clubbing” and I’d rather stay in or “chill” than wander around trying to find someplace to go simply for the sake of going out. Sounds like Europeans are my kind of people.

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Category humor | Tags: Tags: , , , ,

The Re-Cuts

Monday, July 11th, 2005

2005 was the year the mash-up hit the big time. Perhaps 2006 will be the year of the re-cut. Earlier this year, several Brokeback Mountain spoofs became bona-fide internet phenomena, breaking the “scene” for re-cut film trailers wide open.

The idea is similar to that of the mash-up. Essentially, you re-edit a trailer to make it something it was never intended to be, obviously with hillarious results!

Here’s a sample of some great re-cut trailers:

1. American Pie

First, we have a re-cut trailer for American Pie, where the venerable teen movie becomes a slasher flick:

2. Seven

Next up, a re-cut Seven trailer turns the film into a buddy cop comedy… romance (Brokeback Mountain for that).

Tom Hanks goes from being a literal man-child to a psychopathic pedophile who kidnaps someone’s son in this re-cut trailer for Big.

3. Big

4. The Shining

Rounding out this sampling is another oldie. The Shining is re-cut as a heartwarming tale about a foster father with writer’s block whose family trip leads him to come to an understanding and blah blah blah. You get the formula.

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Category humor, video | Tags: Tags: , , , , , ,


Friday, July 8th, 2005

People my age have virtually no prospect of leaving home, let alone owning their own. In an age of “irrational exuberance” and an out of control real estate boom, becoming a homeowner has become little more than a passing thought, something relegated in people’s plans under the category “someday”. Being a homeowner is the anchor, the foundation of one’s position in society, and against all odds, I have built that foundation.

Today, I have become a homeowner. All these years of eschewing expensive toys and parties for stocks and savings accounts have finally paid off. In the stagnant post-9/11 economy, with all the Enrons and WorldComs, the tax cuts to the rich and the layoffs to the poor, I’ve put my money in the only place that seems to have been thus far unaffected by the specter of terrorism or the prospect of slowing economic prosperity: real estate.

This morning, at approximately 8:30, I went to the title company that has been working with me, up in Weston, and I dove into a pile of paperwork like it was an eating contest, initialing here and signing there. I left naught fifteen minutes later with a small briefcase full of photocopies and a financial future full of promise. From there, it was three hours straight to Orlando, my future hometown and base of operations, and where the next phase of my life will play out.

I’ve staked my claim on this planet. I’m a homeowner.

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Category living, personal | Tags: Tags: , , ,