Friday, February 22, 2008


What does it say about me that when forced to stay in and convalesce I alternate between watching PBS and these clips from some of my favorite sci fi movies? I haven't seen all of the movies listed there, but I wonder which science fiction cranial explosions best suit our Oval Office contenders? I haven't seen Brain Damage or Deadlock, but I have seen Battle Royale and Suicide Club, two movies mentioned in the comments, so they're going to sub in for this exercise.

1. The first question I have to ask myself is, "Which Presidential candidates are Scanners? On the freedom-fighting, consciousness-raising, not-to-be-used as weapons side I lean towards Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, or Ron Paul. Who gets to be Michael Ironside and lose his brain but keep his body? I'm less sure on this one. I'm thinking Mitt Romney. Who doesn't want to see Mr. Mormon slaver all over titian amazon Elizabeth?

2. Who do I want to see swell up like a balloon? The Governator was the star of Total Recall, so I think the best candidate for Mars-air-lock-head-explosion is his Arnold's candidate of choice, John McCain. There's no real need to overthink this one.

3. Wow. I don't know that any of the candidates really embody "body-eating, shape-shifting, evil alien from outer space?" The current administrations international military and economic policy already have that covered, so my evaluation will have to rest on who I would most like to see Kurt Russell waste with a flame-thrower. Mike Huckabee. Also, I think his head would make the best spider. The middle legs would fit perfectly around his ears.

4. Here's where things get tricky. My best substitute for Brain Damage is this clip from Battle Royale, only the greatest film about high school EVER. If you look at elections as a fight to the death that are also fraught with death traps and betrayal, this film connects most directly to our current political situation. I'm going to try to be optimistic, to give change a chance. I'm going to say the person most likely to brutally slaughter the remainder of the competition and survive, teddy bear in hand, is Barack Obama.

5. Finally, we replace Deadlock with Suicide Club. Frankly, I wouldn't mind seeing all of them lock hands and jump onto the subway tracks. Then we could start again and I could stop being so election-fatigued.

Funwall? No wonder he's got the youth vote locked up...

This website offers more compelling reasons for me to change my primary allegiance than ten debates!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

How NOT to propose a NSA sexual relationship

A dear friend of mine received this email yesterday, and I'm still confused. I'd think it was just a bit of spam or some sort of chain email if it weren't for the overwrought email she received on Valentine's Day. I can't figure out what the author thought the outcome would be from this sudden burst of anonymous missives. If you're wondering how best to avoid scaring the attraction out of your potential fuck-buddy, or if you're the one making my friend feel like she's living in the Hotel Overlook from The Shining, my step by step dissection might help you.

From: Mister Rightnow <>
Two Words Mr. President: Plausible Deniability

You should have stopped when you decided this email address was going to seem clever to Your Object of Desire(from here on out, YOD). Also, "Plausible Deniability" is not something a woman as liberal as YOD wants to see in her government's bag of tricks.

So, how are you? Well, I hope.

This will not put YOD at ease. Pleasantries work better when they come from someone identifiable.

The subject line of this email is quite intentional; it's the operating premise for what I'd like to propose.

"Operating premises" tend not to play an important role in sex, unless you are Alfred Kinsey or Masters & Johnson.

We've been friends, of sorts, for awhile now. Friends who occasionally do things together, enjoy each other's company, but don't really share lots of mutual friends or are in everyday contact with each other.

This makes you sound like a stalker, not an acquaintance.

I like you, respect you, feel warmly about you, and think you're attractive, but that's never kindled into something more than friendship. I suspect you feel likewise.

Again, this is something that would be more easily evaluated if YOD KNEW WHO YOU WERE.

Because I value that, I don't want to see it disrupted by what I'm proposing. Thus the plausible deniability.

Normal people take this risk every day. If you are that worried about plausible deniability, you are probably a sociopath.

I don't think you're in a relationship, and don't even know if you're seeking one. Neither am I, and because I may be leaving Madison in a few months, and for numerous other reasons, I'm staying single.

But I really miss being intimate with someone I enjoy being with. And intimacy, for me, can't work with someone with whom I have no emotional connection. This is particularly difficult for me because I have a very healthy libido (in the classical sense). In the past, that has led to a series of monogamous relationships, but that's precisely what I'm taking a break from now.

So heading off to some bar, or browsing personals, won't work. The first has no emotional connection, and the second presupposes a relationship (usually).

You could do away with both of these paragraphs. They both make you sound self-centered. You've known YOD for a while and you don't know if she's single or anything about what she might want from her life? What exactly is the "classical sense" of "healthy libido?"

In thinking about how I could resolve this conundrum, you came to mind. She seems to have a healthy sexual appetite, is comfortable with herself, and would be capable of viewing this as something that might be good for both of us, I thought.

My head hurts. Is being lonely and horny really a "conundrum?" Also, it's not exactly the height of flattery to tell a woman that she seems to be just desperate enough to go along with your plan.

But how do I ask her? I don't want to wreck our friendship with some drunken, blunt come-on. Or make some dramatic, in-person appeal.

WHY NOT? People do it all the time, get turned down, and move on. Overcoming the fear of rejection is a natural part of dating. Besides, if YOD was drunk as well, she'd probably at least have made out with you(NSA too!).

That's why this message is deliberately framed so that if you're not interested you don't have to even acknowledge it, and our friendship will not suffer. Above all, I'd like to keep that intact, even if it may not last beyond my moving from Madison.

You might think that this email does that, but what it ACTUALLY does is make YOD apt to look at every male acquaintance askance. How will you keep your relationship intact if she's constantly wondering if you're the wordy creep who basically admitted he wanks to memories of her at night?

Rest assured about a number of concerns: I'm not seeking a relationship. I'm not possessive. I'm not *hyper*sexual, or into any bizarre kinks (Are you?!! Hmmm!). I'm great to snuggle with (I seem to generate a ton of body heat), I love to talk and listen, I'm generally supportive – oh, and I'm a very good, considerate lover.

This reads like a paragraph from a Craigslist Casual Encounters ad. Not. Sexy.

So tell me what you think. Or not. If the latter, our friendship will continue. If the former, it could take on a surprising new dimension.


All my best.

-(Hah! and you thought I'd sign my name here? NOT!!) ;P

Snotty sign-off. Furthermore, only a pornographic emoticon is acceptable in this context. Why not go with "Best of luck with all your future endeavors?"

Mr. Right Now will not be receiving a response from my friend, but it may receive a response from some other ladies-I'm sending it in to Jezebel's Crap Email From a Dude.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

OMG Racists!

Tyra Banks finally got around to reading Freakonomics, and today's show is all about what are names make people think. A multi-ethnic group of people were shown different names and encouraged to say what they thought those people would be like. My favorite quotes from the panel after only 20 minutes:

"Jose sounds like he should learn some English."

"[Ashleigh] is definitely promiscuous."

"Deedrica sounds black black, ghetto black."

The best part? The names they are evaluating are the names of CHILDREN who, conveniently, have names that tend not to match their races. And their moms are in the audience. Separated into different sections based on their races.

I wish I had TiVo.


At 7:12 this morning, my mother was voter number 32 at the McFarland Village Hall. "I almost cried when I handed in my ballot," she told me. "I couldn't believe I got to vote for a woman for President!"

Friday, February 15, 2008

Don't feed the bears

Contrary to popular opinion, I am not, nor have I ever been, an evil, scheming wench. At least not without provocation. Elephants, you are on notice.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Opinion of the Day

With all due respect to my lovely boss, Ray Manzarek's keyboard part on "Light My Fire" is the greatest musical abortion in rock history. Or at least in "Classic Rock" history. Daughtry probably wins the general on that one.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Bad Analogies

Barack Obama heads into Super Tuesday with a bunch of new, serious endorsements, a ton of money, and enough charisma to keep all those JFK comparisons coming four years after his Democratic Convention keynote speech. He has managed to energize Americans from all walks of life, built an army of eager young campaign workers, and his inaguration speech is virtually guaranteed to include at least one moment that rivals Kennedy’s 1960 “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” And he still has another 9 months to inspire unity among the Democrats in a way that hasn’t existed in my lifetime. Why is that not enough to secure my endorsement?

I can’t fully support Obama because I can’t manage to forget one part of my freshman history class: for all the rose colored memories and inspring speeches, JFK wasn’t a very good president. The most apt comparison that causes me worry is JFK’s handling of Vietnam and his handling of relations with the USSR. The assassination of Ngo Dinh Diem? Bay of Pigs? Cuban Missile Crisis? The Kennedy administration was not exactly filled with high points. What does this have to do with Obama? Barack Obama has been in the Senate for 3 years, and his political experience before that consisted of local and state politics. He has served on a national level, and has had exposure to the intricacies of international relations, for a small fraction of the time that Kennedy had.

The damage wreaked by the war in Iraq cannot easily be reversed. Tensions with Iran and North Korea and the unrest in Pakistan cannot be defused through eloquent speeches alone. Hard choices are going to have to be made, unpopular choices, choices that damage idealism and probably hurt people. Can somone so renowned for his ability to appeal to a wide audience really be expected to alienate those who believe in him? This is a man who said he wasn’t going to run for President in 2008. Many of the best approaches to the problems America faces today are decisions that lead to a one term tenure in the White House. If keeping the White House for 8 years is the goal, where is the urgency to sacrifice the allure of legacy for the reality of change? I’m wary of the prominent place that that word has in Obama’s campaign. How much will really change?

I’m not sure about Hillary Clinton either. She has stonewalled the release of documents that would illuminate an important part of her political history, she is well known to be funded by large corporations and industries that I despise, and she is far too militaristic. My (already significant) reservations on the issues only get greater when I think of how polarizing she is and the unifying effect a Clinton nomination would have on the Republican party. Even so, I know how she’ll screw me over is she is elected. Comparisons to her husband are apt. She would most likely continue to liberalize trade in ways that cause Americans to lose jobs. She would probably couch her health care plan in language that obscures the real cost to middle-class and poor Americans. She won’t reverse the tax cuts.

Neither candidate has articulated serious, well-thought-out plans for the economy, withdrawl from Iraq, or health care. What good do comparisons to Presidents past do if neither of them will tell us what kind of president they will be? At the moment they allow us to fill in the gaps left by their silence on questions of substance. The only candidate who actually spoke in those terms was Edwards, and he was done in by his inability to call up memories of times better. That’s what is so screwy about politics these days. Actually admitting what kind of leader you want to be makes it too easy for people to knock you down for not being inspiring enough.

I don’t really want to be inspired anymore. I just want progress. Real progress. 2008 marks my ten year anniversary of political involvement, and for the first time in my life I’m undecided. I don’t want the next JFK or the next Bill Clinton. I want someone who is willing to ignore the siren call of historical significance and actually fix things. Both Obama and Clinton fail that test for me. Where do I go from here?