Friday, July 16, 2010

Twenty Years Ago, I Fell



"If I Fell" is John's conditional love song. The entire song is cast in the subjunctive, the word "if" sung seven times in the course of the 2-minute-and-21-second song as the "I" of the song, on the verge of falling in love, stops and plaintively lays out the conditions that he hopes his girl can meet so that he will be able to allow himself to fall in love again, chief among which is that she not "hurt my pride like her" - the narrator's previous lover.

This is perhaps my favorite of all of the John and Paul close, two-part harmony songs that the Beatles recorded in the early years. I think it is deceptive in its emotional complexity, easily dismissed as a simple moon-June love song.

John himself seemed to do this: When the Beatles performed this song live, it was not unusual for John and Paul to giggle their way through the introduction as John would mockingly call the song "If I Fell Over" while pretending to stumble, which would cause both him and Paul to go into peals of laughter. John evidently did not have a particularly high opinion of this song:

That's my first attempt to write a ballad proper. That was the precursor to In My Life. It has the same chord sequence as In My Life: D and B minor and E minor, those kinds of things. And it's semi-autobiographical, but not consciously. It shows that I wrote sentimental love ballads, silly love songs, way back then.

It should already be clear that I disagree with John's offhand dismissal of this early work of his.

John takes the low harmony on this, while Paul takes the high harmony. In fact, I would say Paul's part is the melody because it is so strong, and I think anyone singing this song to him- or herself would probably end up following Paul's part rather John's; John's part is not particularly melodic, yet it is a superb complement to Paul's vocals.

I intentionally sought out the version of the song on which Paul's voice breaks in the second bridge - he doesn't quite reach that high note on "vain". I think this adds to the sense of poignancy in "If I Fell"; it adds a sense of discord that I think strengthens the song, gives it depth; because in these lyrics, John is asking that this great risk, this risk he is provisionally willing to take again, the risk that comes with making yourself vulnerable to another, to love again, come with a guarantee of sorts: That his lover not "hurt my pride like her" - the perfidious "her" who wounded him so deeply that he now weighs a chance at love in a balance with the risk of hurting his pride resting on the opposite side of the scale; the her who caused him to think of love as conditional, subjunctive, and perhaps not worth the risk.

John and Paul join together to sing the same melody at times on this song and it is interesting and instructive to notice the words on which they break off and go into their respective harmonic parts. For instance, John and Paul sing the same notes in the line beginning "would love me more than ..." and their voices break off, John going low, Paul high, on the concluding word " ...her". In other words, they separate on "her", the harmonic parts themselves suggesting a parting of ways, an element of discord that haunts the song and the mind of the narrator, whose sense of worth and very ability to love has been compromised by the "her", the "she" of his past, the very mentioning of whom in the song is often accompanied by the largest tonal gap in John and Paul's respective harmonies1.

The song, and the narrator, are haunted by "her" and the narrator's inability to let the hurt she caused him go.

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"If I Fell" has had a special place in my heart since 1990, when I had, right around this very time of year, what I later realized was my own "If I Fell" moment:

Teh 'Bride and I had met only a few months earlier and it took awhile before I got up the nerve to ask her out on a date2.

On one of our earliest dates, we went out to a restaurant, and something happened. I can't even remember what it was. But we were having a conversation and Teh 'Bride ended up laughing or maybe just saying something that had me convinced that she was making fun of me, laughing at me. I can't be more specific than that because I really don't remember what it was and even if I did it would be something so insignificant that my telling it would not make any of this make more sense to you because it would be so meaningless that it would probably just confuse you more.  And I didn't really know Teh 'Bride then, so I didn't yet know that she wasn't like that, that she couldn't possibly be guilty of doing what I for some reason thought she had done.

But, thinking I had been made the brunt of a joke, I nursed my wounded pride by clamming up for the rest of the meal.  

Don't hurt my pride like her.

And when I took her home after dinner, I got out of the car with her and basically told her I didn't think this was working out, and maybe we shouldn't see each other anymore. And Teh 'Bride, naturally, was shocked because she had no idea where this was coming from, what had provoked it. And I was vague about it because I didn't want to admit to what small thing it was that made me think she'd been mocking me — and I swear to God that, now, I don't even remember what it was. I just know that I had decided to put the worst possible spin on it and think the worst of it.

I don't know if Teh 'Bride would even remember this incident. But I do because it was a pivotal point in my life. I still sometimes wake up at night remembering, remembering how I nearly threw away my one, my only, chance at happiness.

I nearly did.

But Teh 'Bride didn't let me.

My recalcitrant insistence on not being more specific than saying "It isn't working out" and "We should end this" flustered Teh 'Bride, and confused her, and hurt her and pretty soon, as she insisted I explain myself, she began to cry.

Yes, I realize what an asshole this makes me sound like. I made her cry.

Those of you who read this blog have made it clear that you love it when I tell stories about Teh 'Bride (and Teh 'Dad) and some of you wish she would write more guest posts; and a few of you have suggested that the best way for this blog to increase readership would be to go All 'Bride All The Time. Because you read what I write and you conclude, What an asshole! And you're reading now about how I mistreated Teh 'Bride and you're thinking, He's an even bigger asshole than I thought! And the truth of it is that you don't even know the half of it; because however big an asshole you think I am just from reading my blog, I assure that, in real life, I am an even bigger asshole.

But despite that, Teh 'Bride loves me. I have no doubt of that. Because it's all I need.

And she cried and she refused to accept my vague excuses and she broke through my wrongly wounded pride and soon I fell because I realized that she really, truly already had. She had fallen and was willing to show it. I don't know why she fell for me, but I know it's true.

Because I too, at that time, was looking on love as conditional. I was weighing the possibility of love in a scale that was counterbalanced by my pride: If I give my heart ... If I love you too, don't hurt my pride ... I required her to show evidence that she had fallen first; that she was willing to be vulnerable first.

And I don't think she had done that for anyone else before. But she did it for me.

She had broken my pride. And I fell.

Twenty years ago, I fell. And I'm elated to report that, thanks to Teh 'Bride, I'm still falling.
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1 There is also a significant harmonic gap on the word "two", suggesting that the possibility of two acting together, being on the same note, as it were, has been compromised.

N.B. I am not suggesting that these places are the only ones in the song where John and Paul's voices diverge drastically; but I am suggesting that the other places where their voices stray from each other have a tendency to underscore this phenomenon of suggesting discord and distance.

Also, I am obviously woefully ignorant of technical musical/singing terms and the words I use to suggest my meaning are probably just out-and-out wrong and would probably just confuse someone who does know the correct terms. If you are one of those people, I apologize for using such phrases as, e.g., "tonal gap" to describe the distance between the notes John and Paul sing: if that is anywhere near the correct phrase, I confess it is entirely by accident. It's just the best phrase I in my ignorance could pull up. I just hope people can kind of extrapolate my meaning from the context in which I use those problematic phrases and words.

2 Teh 'Bride would claim that we never went out on a date. It was a joke in her family to say that she and I got engaged without ever once going out together. This, of course, is utterly false, but stems from an older family joke.

Because Teh 'Bride would claim she had never been out on a date with anyone. Also false, but closer to true. She was living at home when I met her (she was still in library school), and her doting Irish Dad, Bob, who loved his elder daughter dearly, would kid her, asking,

"When am I gonna get rid of you?"

"Never!"

"How many dates have you even been on in your 26 years of life?"

"None!"

"NONE!" Bob would shout in his inimitable way. "NONE!!"

Because Teh 'Bride obviously knew a lot of guys, and she had, indeed, dated one or two, but none of them really seriously. And she was friendly with quite a few kinda piggish guys, guys who went through women like Kleenex, and she got some sort of kick out of watching and then giving them infinite shit for being such utter pigs, because she thought they were funny but also kinda sad, and I know a few of them came on to her but she just laughed at them because even though she didn't know it at the time she was waiting for me.

And I realize how grossly egotistical that sounds, but I don't mean it that way. Because if I said that to Teh 'Bride, she might laugh at me or wave her hand in dismissal but I don't think she would disagree with me. Because I'm not saying it in a Of course she was waiting for me — what woman wouldn't want me? way. Because that's absurd. I mean it in the sense that she is the one woman I was meant to be with forever and I am the man who was meant for her and when we met we both knew it, only she knew it before I was willing to fall.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

It's a pretty devastating thing when something that has been dawning on you slowly over time — months, maybe even years — finally hits you with the full force of a revelation, an epiphany.

It just dawned on me yesterday that I absolutely detest my job.

In one sense, it's a relief finally to admit this to myself. I don't know how it goes with the rest of you — there might be as many different reactions to similar circumstances as there are individual people to react to those circumstances; or maybe there are only a few, two or three, types of reactions and perhaps, for all I know, mine is in the majority, is how most folks would try to cope — but in my own case, I spent a lot of time lying to myself about how I feel about my job because telling myself that I liked it, or, on really bad days when I couldn't quite pull off the verb "like", that it wasn't that bad, just made it easier to drive to my job every morning, as I knew I had to, and endure every bleakly soul-crushing and despair-filled minute of working at a place I couldn't admit to myself I hated.

It's what you do to survive.

No, wait. Not "you".

I.

I wrote "you" in that sentence above but I don't know if this is how "you" feel or would deal with a similar situation or even, for that matter, who I mean by "you"; and so I should really make an effort to own what I'm saying here and not cop out by implying "you would behave thus", as though this were somehow impersonal, as though this were happening to some unnamed other, someone else; it's happening to me and it is how I feel and so simple, basic honesty dictates that I speak true by saying "this is how I dealt because I hate my job".

My job is not particularly difficult or particularly time-consuming; I am not compelled to work odd hours or weekends; I get vacation, sick and personal time ... I could go on for quite some time facilely listing the various "advantages" and "benefits" of my job but the very fact that I can do that betrays that I have been doing so in my own head for quite some time in a desperate effort to stave off the realization that I utterly hate working where I work. Because it's all true: The benefits and advantages that I have listed in my head numerous times are all real; there are any number of jobs out there that are far worse than mine, that are more physically demanding, that involve working longer hours for less money and zero benefits ... and that's part of the reason I lied to myself about how I feel about my job. There are people way worse off than I am. What right do I have to whine and complain about my job? What right do I have to hate it?

Because all of that is true, too. But the fact remains that I do hate it and that fact may be far more revelatory of a deep flaw in my character than it is of the nature of my job and that, I realize, is also part of the reason I couldn't admit I hate my job — what does it say about me that I hate and can barely abide this relatively cushy job? Or, to be more blunt, only a whiny pussy would feel he has the right to complain about a job like this.

And that may be true too. And I didn't want to see myself that way and so I lied to myself about how I felt about my job.

But from here, from where I sit, my job does not seem cushy; it feels, in fact, like a plague, a curse. And, not being what you might call a disinterested and objective party in all of this, I'm in no position to say whether that's because my situation is truly as bad as I feel it is or because I am, in fact, just a whiny pussy who should learn not just to suck it up, but to be glad of what he has.

So I can't say whether or not I have a right to feel this way. All I can say with any authority is it's how I feel.

And I've been a bit vague, I realize, as to just why I feel this way about my job, and so I will attempt to articulate just what it is I find so contemptible about it, which, oddly enough, has nothing to do with the job itself per se as it does the people I work with.

Not the public. As a reference librarian, I have to deal with the public all the time, and it can be trying at times, but that is only to be expected.

Not even necessarily the people in my own department because as webmaster I'm pretty much left to myself in IT.

But I'm going to let discretion be the better part of valor here and revert back to form, i.e., vagueness, just in case; because I know I am pretty much stuck with this job unless something comes along or I can find some other position somewhere far from where I currently work — which latter is unlikely, given the current economic situation.

But I will say that I am currently forced to work with people whom I consider to be extremely contemptible, people from whom I have to be able to extract reliable information in order to do my job as webmaster ... people who, for reasons I can't begin to fathom, fight me every step of the way in my attempt to get this information in a timely and usable fashion and then ...

Well, I'll just leave it at that.

I don't work to make friends, but there are 3 or 4 people at my job whom I actually like.

Most others I am basically indifferent to, which is fine. I assume they are indifferent to me, too. It's a job, after all, not a social club.

But there is a core of selfish, self-serving and self-righteous people there whom I find both personally and professionally contemptible, for whom I have feelings that verge on actual hatred, one of whom, through typical backhanded dealings, has just leaped to the forefront of that group.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Pig Roast!1!

Okay, calm down, Running Carnivores1! Because, sadly, Teh Pig Roast never happened. Well, not for Ian and me, at least.

Perhaps I should explain. Have a seat. This could take awhile because, as with most Abortive Pig Roasts, this involves a long, drawn-out discussion of tendentious sectarianism and subsequent religious schism-formation.

Because last night, Teh 'Bride had to work the 1:30 to 9:00 p.m. shift because it's Summer Reading Program time at the library and, because of budget cuts and other general fucktardedness, she has no one to cover Thursday nights; so now she's working Tuesday and Thursday nights for the month of July.

Sucks for her.

But I bring this up because last night she was supposed to meet Ian and me during her dinner hour at the non-sectarian Pig Roast they were having at the farm just down the street from her library. Ian had made Teh 'Bride promise that we could go to this Pig Roast because, every summer, the Baptist church that is right on the main street of our town - teh name of which street is - WAIT FOR IT!1! - "Main Street" - has this like ridiculously big Pig Roast that is ostensibly free and open to all comers. And for the past couple of years, now that Ian's fucking teachers have taught him to fucking read, Ian's been reading the big ass "FREE PIG ROAST on July Whatever!1!" signs and has been asking, "Can we go to that?"

And Teh 'Bride sez, "No" because she reckons there's free and then there's "free" and she considers the Baptist Pig Roast to be the latter type of "free"; because Teh 'B. suspects that once you get there and the Baptists learn you are heathens - aka nominal Catholics - you will be aggressively proselytized and Teh 'Bride would rather pay full retail price for shoes than be proselytized, and believe me, Teh 'Bride don't EVAH pay full retail price for anything, especially not shoes.

Because, see, Teh 'Bride has nothing against Baptists per se; she just doesn't like being proselytized period. Because she was raised a Catholic, but none of it took - literally, none - and she stopped going to church and CCD as soon as she could get away with it, which happened when she was like 12 and was calling her parents by their first names and probably pulling switchblades on them, too, for all I know. Because my parents made me go to CCD till I was in like High School and I wouldn't have dreamed of missing Mass because, yeah, eternity in Hell was waiting at the other end of that journey, but more important and scarier still, so would be my Angry Irish Catholic Mither.

So I was a bit of a pussy on this issue and, therefore, ended up actually knowing a thing or two about the theology behind my nominal faith, whereas Teh B.? Yeah, not so much.

Because Teh 'Bride and I met when we were both working for this NJ Book Jobber; and our job was to code books based on pre-pub info. And at one point, Teh 'Bride, absurdly, was the "subject expert" on religion books. And one day she was looking at the pre-pub info on a particular book and she comes into my cubicle and is all, "Glavey, this abi [= "Advance Book Information"] sez this book is on John. Is that Old Testament or New?" Because there was a different subject code for each.

Me: John is a Gospel.

Teh 'B.: [Blank stare]

Me: Which - gospels - tell the story of the life of Jebus?

T'B.: [I, Glaven Quisp Heisenberg, did not know until this moment that a blank stare could get blanker, but Teh 'Bride's just did.]

Me: And sooooo ... that would make Teh Gospel of John a Book in the ... BLANK Testament ...?

T'B.: [Even blanker stare with a bit of pissed-offedness mixed in] Can't you just fucking2 tell me which Testament it is?

Yeah, Teh 'Bride never put much credence in that whole Give a man a fish versus teach him how to fish aphorism. Her aphorism of choice? Just fucking TELL me already!

So anyroad, I tell you this to prove that Teh 'Bride has nothing against Baptists because their beliefs are different from ours, because she has no idea how their beliefs differ from ours or, for that matter, what "ours" are. Because her beliefs basically revolve around saying "No!" as quickly as possible as soon as someone asks her, "Can I tell you about Teh Good News of Our Lord Jebus? He is risen!"

"So he's aware of alarm clock technology. Big deal. So am I. No one's calling me God's love-child because of it."

So anyroad, the point is, we went to a non-denominational, non-sectarian Pig Roast last night, held at teh farmers market, because we were willing to risk being proselytized about agrarian reform, although that never happened.

Because the Pig Roast started at 3 p.m. and by the time Ian and I got there at 5, the pig was gone already (the thing was supposed to go till 7 p.m.!) and so I called Teh 'B. at work in case she hadn't left yet to tell her and she hadn't left and she was super busy in the YS Dept. so it was just as well because she probably couldn't have gotten out in time to meet us anyway.

So Ian and I went to dinner at Applebee's instead.

Have you heard the Good News about Applebee's? It's Happy Hour between 4 and 6 p.m., and pints of Sam Adams are only 3 bucks!

Hallelujah!1! He3 is risen!
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5.1-mile run this morning at a 9:18 pace.

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1 Or should I say "Carniwhoo-wers"? No, better not. That might be considered offensive  ... to whoo-wers!1! Hahahahahaha! *eyeroll*

2 Teh 'Bride did not say "fucking" - she never does - but I think she should have and it makes it a better story to pretend she did.

3 "He", here, refers to my blood alcohol level.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

ZOMG!1! Found: Teh LOOSE MOOSE!1!

It's been a while since I've seen a picture of her, but I'm pretty sure this is her:


No wonder she has retreated in shame from teh Blogosphere ...

Hmmm ... Striped shirt ... those glasses ... Could be Waldo's sister.

ZOMG!1! Teh Loose Moose is WALDO's sister!1!!!11!

Kankle? No Thankle!

The other day, whilst watching TeeVee — most likely something Highbrow like SpongeS@ck SquareN*ts or Real Whoo-werWives of Whoo-wersylvania (who were most likely calling each other "whoo-wers"1) — I had my bare feet propped up on the coffee table because sometimes I'm churlishly meretricious like that, and Teh 'Bride noticed my still-unhealed kankle wounds2 and, because she loves me, especially my gams — which, by the way, ladies, truly ARE smokin' HAWT — she made me promise I wouldn't do any more kankle runs during the hot sweaty summer months.

And outwardly, I was all like, "Very well. I grudgingly accede to your unreasonable request, since you made me put 'I will grudgingly accede to all of your unreasonable requests' in my marriage vows, right after 'No combing the n*ts@ck hairs at the dinner table', which I made you put in your vows because how am I supposed to concentrate on eating my dinner with that going on down there?"

But inwardly? I was all Woo-Hoo! No more Kankle Runs for at least two more months!

And so like this morning could easily have been a Kankle Run Day, and probably would have been, but, thanks to Teh 'B., I just did a regular non-kankle-strapped run of 5.7 miles in 53:25 for a 9:24 pace which, in this heat (roughly infinity degrees) and humidity (Dew Point3 roughly Googleplex), I deem marginally acceptable because by denigrating it that way I will cause a certain someone to become apoplectic enough to berate me in the comments about how SHE would be SO HAPPY and would COUNT HER BLESSINGS if she were THAT fast and then she'll be all HARRUMPH!! and/or *eyeroll*  and/or Glaven, you're a total douche!4

But the point is, I would have done a kankle run this morning and was quite willing to and the reason I didn't has nothing to do with the fact that I'm a total pussy, which, by the way, is not a proven fact and where do you get off calling me a pussy on my own blog? You're a pussy!

Yeah. Hurts, don't it?

Let's call it even.

*eyeroll*
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Physical Therapy Update: I am still going to physical therapy. End Physical Therapy Update.
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1 "... who were ... 'whoo-wers'"! Best Pun 4EVAH!1! And if you don't thinks so, you're a WHOO-WER!1! But let's not lose sight of the real issue, here, which is that these women are whoo-wers!1!

2 I did try to minimize damage by wrapping my ankles in duct tape on my last kankle run, but kankle weights, like water, evidently seek their own level (whatever that means; probably nothing) because the weights just found somewhere else to rub on my ankles and now I have even more Kankle Stigmata. And that just goes to show you that there are certain things even duct tape can't do, but, Man O Man can it ever SPICE UP A MARRIAGE when used correctly or, depending on where you stand on the question of what constitutes proper duct tape usage, incorrectly!1! But don't be stupid, people. Always have a safe word.

Ours is "n*ts@ck".

And if your partner is immediately all "N*ts@ck! N*TS@CK!1!!1!!" like five minutes into things, just as it's getting interesting (and, incidentally, illegal in 17 southern states), well ... remember ... duct tape fits nicely over the mouth, too. Just saying. It's not a one-trick (or one-orifice) pony2a. And "MMMPHFF!1!" sounds nothing like "N*ts@ck!1!!" so if something happen that one partner technically didn't "consent" to, hey, how's that your fault, right? And if, afterward, she's not buying that explanation, you can always apologize while you're waiting for the next available doctor in the emergency ward and explaining, "Look, it fit in there, there has to be a way for it to come out safely. Then we'll just buy a new on, because I, for one, won't be using that again."

But fellas! Do NOT try this unless you have a safeHOUSE lined up beforehand.

2a Word to the wise: Make sure the pony is over the age of consent. Take it from someone who learned that the HARD way (that's what she said!1!).

3 Not to be confused with Dewey Decimal Point, which, around here, is always set at 305.3 for sexytimes!1!

4 O, B*tch! You're so cute when you're b*tchy! Almost like a real girl with real girl-parts!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

More Vacation Stories

It seems there's a certain commenter hereabouts who can't tell the difference between the kind of language that is acceptable to use in a Late-Nite Trannie Dance Club and the kind that is acceptable to use on a goddamn fucking family-friendly motherfucking blog like this fucking one FUCK. I'm not naming any names but since a picture is worth a thousand words, you can all just say "RBR" to yourselves now about a thousand times if you want because here:

"Don't judge me! It's not my fault! I don't know any better — I was raised by cross-dressing wolves."

Because in "her" comment "she"1 said (among other things):

"At least I did not vacation in a gorgeous wilderness resort and run on a treadmill like a total douche."

And yeah but, see, the joke's on her because that's not why I'm a total douche2.

Because the reason I ran on the treadmill is that I wanted to know how far I ran and I didn't have access to MapMyRun or any Intertube sites and I don't own a Garmin because, as I've written on many other occasions, Garmins are for total douches because whenever I read people blogging about their Garmins, it's almost invariably about how their Garmins FAILED them at some critical moment — like in the middle of a race — but THAT's not the part that makes them total douches ... what makes them total douches is they then go on to tell you how much they LOVE their Garmins it's not the GARMIN'S fault it sucks, it's actually somehow a moral failing of their own, AND DON'T YOU FUCKING DARE SAY SOMETHING BAD ABOUT MY GARMIN!1!1 which, let's face it, is pretty much the Definitive Battle Cry of Teh North American Running Douchenozzle3.

And that's why I ran on a treadmill. So I'd know how far I went, how long it took me, how many calories I burned (roughly), etc.
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At Rocking Horse Ranch, you eat your meals "family style", which means you're assigned a table and you sit there with maybe two or three other families. This can be either fun and informative or, if you're, say, me, extremely uncomfortable and awkward. You're not always assigned the same table, so you might have to make small talk with like 7 or 8 different families over the course of a 4-day stay.

Ian is a very social kid, a trait he learned from my peoplely-personable wife, Teh 'Bride, who hates when I call her a people person because she sez "I hate people!" to which I always respond, "Thank you for proving my point because People-Personablity has zero to do with whether you like people and everything to do with how well you handle social situations, which you, 'Bride, handle well, because strangers don't make that Who farted? face after talking to you for a few minutes whereas they start to make that face about 10 seconds after talking to me and in nearly a third of those cases I haven't even farted!1!"

But anyroad, Ian got into a two- question routine on day one. When a family sat at our table, he would immediately ask the Dad (or, if there were no adult male present, the oldest male kid): "Do you like fishing?"

He usually got at least a "O, I like it okay" response to this one, but sometimes there were fishing enthusiasts with whom he could talk for awhile before moving on abruptly to his second question:

"What's your favorite baseball team?"

Now, you could see this made some of the Dads uncomfortable because RH Ranch is only like an hour-and-a-half from NYC and so everyone  was either a Mets fan or a Yankee fan and you could see, say, Yankee-fan Dad's eyes narrow, wondering if this were some Mets-fan kid trying to start a fight (or a Mets-fan Dad wondering if this kid were a Yankee fan spoiling for a fight).

This part of Ian's routine always kinda made me chuckle inwardly for two reasons: One being the reaction (just described) of the other Dads; and the second being Ian's disappointment when no one answered "The Phillies" — because as far as Ian was concerned, this wasn't a I'm-trying-to-get-to-know-you-type question; it was an actual Quiz Show-type question to which there was a right answer, viz., "The Phillies".

Ian had no idea where we were geographically ... or maybe I should say geopolitically?

And so he never got the answer he expected or wanted.

But then on our last day, we got assigned a breakfast table with this family the paterfamilias of which I kinda knew because he had played in the Beer Softball4 game the day before and, before that, the family softball game. And his kids were wearing Sixers jerseys and I knew he was from somewhere in South Joisey. But Ian didn't know this because, rather than join in the family softball game, Ian had opted to continue fishing, which is what he did roughly 23 hours out of each day.

And so he asks the guy the fishing question and I'm waiting and waiting for the other shoe to drop because today, on our last day there, Ian was finally gonna get the "correct" answer to his baseball team question.

And, of course, Ian doesn't ask it.

Sigh.
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1 Okay, I'm not a very good typist so to save me a few strokes (THAT'S WHAT "SHE" SAID!1!), from now on the scare quotes around words like "she" and "her" are to be understood.

2 There appears to be something not quite right about that sentence but I've read it over 6 or 7 times and can't figure out what it is. I just have this feeling that I'm not saying exactly what I mean but ... I guess it's okay as is, so I'll leave it.

3 Disclaimer: NOT a paid advertisement for Garmin, Garmin products or any products of Garmin's Parent Company, Douchenozzle Ripoffs, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of BP.

Speaking of BP, 8.8 million people saw this before I did and I assume the 7 of you who read my blog already have but in case you haven't, or were off trying to figure out why your fucking useless Garmin wasn't working, here you go:




4 Which is really more "Beer" Softball because the "beer" is a keg of Coors Light, but they served it in these like ginormous like 40 oz. plastic cups so it made up for what it may've lacked in quality — i.e., any — with quantity. And the way the whole deal works is at like 1:30 they have the Family (i.e., "Beerless and kids can play") Softball for an hour; then, at like 2:30, we chase the kids off the field and the staff guy wheels out the keg, and this is when the real men play, by which I mean the ones who are so fat that, against all rules and regulations, they bring their kids into the game as their "pinch runners" because they want their chance to hit the ball, but they haven't personally run on their own personal legs since like 1987 and so they make their kids do their running for them because, to do them justice, first base is a long way away from the keg and 40 oz. of beer is only gonna last like, what, 10 minutes? Five maybe? And what if you're stuck on base when you run out? And so Beer Softball was supposed to last till like 4, at which point the keg gets wheeled over to the volleyball court where the fun is supposed to continue, only now as Beer Volleyball. Except the dads are lobbying hard to keep playing Beer Softball because they consider Volleyball to be Teh Gayest Sport Ever (and they're including in their estimation the sport of Same-Gender Sex, which they consider slightly less gay) and they think even adding Beer to Volleyball will not sufficiently de-Gay it. Plus, they aggressively point out to Dan The Staff Kid, (who kinda looked like this
)

You kinda took a long time wheeling that keg out here and it was really more like 2:45 when it finally got here and so we were kinda ripped off of some prime "Softball-Playing" time (where "Softball-Playing" = "Beer-Drinking"). It never really got too ugly, and I only threatened to punch the Staff Kid once, but luckily the crisis was averted when we stole the kid's underwear and ran it up the flagpole.

By which point, some of the dads were drunk enough that they ended up agreeing to play Beer Volleyball, which is TOTALLY gay, unless you're steady server, like I was, which is totally hetero and, let's face it ladies, hawt.

Am I turning you on?

And while I was working hard playing Soft- and Volleyball for my beers, Teh 'Bride stayed up by the pool drinking free daiquiris and eating free fried cheese because it was free daiquiris and fried cheese day, too.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Is That a Banana Boat Between Your Legs?

... Or Are You Just Happy to See Me1?

One of the things we did on vacation: ride the banana boat! (That's what she said!)

Of course, "we" = "Ian and I", because Teh 'B. don't do banana boat rides. But she took those pix, above. And as you can see, I'm the very last one off the banana boat at ride's end because I'm that coordinated.

On one of the banana boat rides, Ian was at the front of the boat and jumped in front of it when he got off and promptly disappeared under the boat; which, of course, sent me into immediate panic mode and I jumped off the side quickly, so I could find him, and as I was jumping, he popped up almost directly beneath me and I landed partially on top of him, although he'd say I landed fully on top of him, which is a lie!

Anyroad, that was slightly scary but the scare lasted only a few seconds.

Ian spent most of his time fishing. And he became known as The Fishing Kid because not only was he about the only one catching fish, he was catching the biggies:

In this last pic, you can see that this HAWT chick in a bikini showed up to admire Ian's fishing skills and that girl in the background, who's closer to Ian's own age, is all, Pffff! What chance do I have against that kinda competition? But Ian's all business when it comes to fishing and he didn't notice either of them. The sap. Because I think that white bikini chick has a tat on her right tit. HAWT!1!

This here is two videos I slapped together:



The first part was filmed by me with my nano; then I handed the nano off to Teh 'Bride so she could film that N*ts@ck-Fondling Fucktard in rolled up jeans who tried to help Ian bring the fish in. You can see him for a few seconds. He's holding a net.

What you can't see, because Teh 'Bride stopped filming, is that teh N-FF, at one point, grabbed the fishline to try to pull the fish closer. And he broke the line and the fish got away. And Ian was crying and all inconsolable and all, "You N*ts@ck-fondling Fucktard! I hate you! You're not my daddy!"

Well, he didn't so much say that as imply it with his tears.

So here's this one that has a happier ending:


_____________
June numbers: Yeah, I am that far behind.

I ran nearly 30 miles in the first six days of June which caused me to think that the prospect of my having a 100-mile month was looking pretty good. But then of course I started thinking, You know, you haven't done a kankle run in a while and you have a 10k coming up next month and how are you not going to embarrass yourself if you don't work on your speed? Which is what I tell myself kankle runs do — make me speedier.

As I noted in a previous post, I have exactly zero reliable evidence for that; the only thing I know for a fact kankle runs do is give me leprosy of the kankles when the weights rub against my skin and cause me to have open, weeping sores down there2, just like Our Savior (I'm just sayin'), and just as those sores have stopped bleeding and seem to be healing, roughly a week later, it's time for another kankle run, which opens them right back up.

Another gift from Teh Kankle Run (which is the gift that just keeps giving): It causes your weekly mileage totals to plummet. Because in this heat, I truly cannot get myself to run more than say 2.5 miles with kankle weights on. And it takes me like a half hour to do that.

Anyroad, it looked for awhile there that the kankle runs were gonna cost me my 100-mile month. But I managed to get an 8-miler in on the treadmill at Rocking Horse3, and in the end?

Run miles: 100.43

Walking: 22.

No bike miles because Morrissey is still broken. And the walking miles are way low because I've been having PT on my shoulder twice a week in the afternoons (and will be having it again this month) and missed my lunch walks on those days. But since I'm at the PT place working out for an hour, I'm getting at least as much exercise on those afternoons; probably more. But they cost me at least 20 miles of walking.

I really have to get Morrissey welded, though.
_____________
1 No reason on earth it can't be both, ladies!

2 By which I mean on my kankles, not, y'know ... down there2a.

2a By which I mean my n*ts@ck.

3 I had my nano so I even videoed myself during the cool down to show you all my numbers and make fun of all you pussies out there who are forever bellyaching about how boo-hoo-hoo-hard it is to run in a climate-controlled room on a treadmill where you can watch TV or check out the shapely @$$es of the other people in the gym to distract you (Hahahaha! Fuck you, chicks who may've been behind me! Boy, did you get hosed, having to stare at my famously flat Irish @$$! Better luck next time!), etc. Yeah, that's tough all right. But when I got home and watched the video, which was all foggy-looking anyway, I realized how annoying my Pennzer-accented voice is and I wondered how people could resist punching me in the face as soon as I open my mouth because I know I sure wanted to punch me, and so I deleted the video and thus spared you.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Glennzilla Keeps Glaven Sane. Sort Of.

Noam Chomsky, by far my favorite political writer, will be 82 in December of this year. Obviously, he is not going to live forever; and for a long time I wondered if anyone with political insight, acumen and, most important, honesty akin to Chomsky's would emerge for progressives to read. I kind of doubted it, because Chomsky, I thought, was unique.

And Noam is, of course, unique.

But I have recently come to the conclusion that Glenn Greenwald (aka, Glennzilla to his fans) comes pretty close to Chomsky in terms of fearless honesty. And there is a certain irony to this because those who attempt to refute Greenwald's arguments seem constitutionally incapable of stating them honestly first - which is a phenomenon that should be familiar to anyone who has read "refutations" of Chomsky's political writings. As Chomsky's political opponents did (and do) to Chomsky, so Greenwald's do to him: They construct straw man versions of the arguments Greenwald makes and then "refute" them — a relatively easy thing to do — deliberately drawing attention away from the actual argument Greenwald makes and hoping thereby to make the issues he brings up disappear by using the classic prestidigitator's trick of simple misdirection. This happens to Greenwald again and again, to the point that he routinely includes pro forma disclaimers in his blog posts explicitly stating what he is not saying so that anyone taking issue with his arguments will be forced to stick to his actual argument.

Sadly, though predictably, this tactic rarely works.

Glenn's latest series of posts, and the risible and truly dishonest responses to them by the Serious and Responsible Representatives of The Corporate Media, serve as a perfect illustration:

On June 27, Greenwald posted on the topic of Dave Weigel's resignation from the Washington Post. Specifically, Greenwald's post dealt with The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg's post gloating about Weigel's forced resignation. It is worth quoting the first paragraph of Greenwald's post in full (in fact, it would be time well-spent reading the whole thing):
In a stunning display of self-unawareness, The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg pointed to last week's forced "resignation" by Dave Weigel from The Washington Post as evidence that the Post, "in its general desperation for page views, now hires people who came up in journalism without much adult supervision, and without the proper amount of toilet-training."  Goldberg then solemnly expressed hope that "this episode will lead to the reimposition of some level of standards."  Numerous commentators immediately noted the supreme and obvious irony that Goldberg, of all people, would anoint himself condescending arbiter of journalistic standards, given that, as one of the leading media cheerleaders for the attack on Iraq, he compiled a record of humiliating falsehood-dissemination in the run-up to the war that rivaled Judy Miller's both in terms of recklessness and destructive impact.
Goldberg is, as Greenwald rightly points out, one of the many Village Sages who parroted the Bush administration's party line on the Iraq invasion and, like the Bush people, was unquestionably and categorically wrong in virtually every pro-war assertion he made1; Goldberg, like many other corporate media stenographers, helped put this country on a path to a war that has cost thousands of American lives and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives (at least; the real number is probably over a million); and not only has he not been called to account for this — he has, instead, been rewarded. He has not lost his standing as "pundit expert" ... to the other Villagers, at least.

And it is, as Greenwald points out, the height of "self-unawareness" for an unrepentant Village Idiot like Goldberg to lecture anyone on the issue of "journalistic integrity" when Goldberg himself gladly acted as stenographer for every claim the Bush administration adduced as reason to start their criminal war of aggression against Iraq; Goldberg, like his stenographer colleagues, did not blink an eye when each of these "reasons" turned out to be objectively false; and he compliantly refused to notice as the Reason For the War changed from "Saddam was behind 9/11" to "He has WMDs" to "Al Qaeda Trains in Iraq" to "We're Freeing The Iraqi People" to "We're Bringing Democracy to the Middle East" — even though most of these "reasons" for starting the war were not even adduced until after the war had already begun and the earlier, now-debunked, justifications had proved to be not merely false, but to have been known to be false (or at least of highly dubious probity) before the war was even started.

Greenwald's point, which he backs up (as always) with copious factual evidence, is that Goldberg is not an aberration, but rather typical of the corporate media's slavish devotion to propagating the lies and deceptions of the powerful; and moreover that, in the Village, being consistently factually wrong doesn't matter, as long as the lies you spread serve the interests of the powerful. Goldberg is still gainfully employed, as are Thomas Friedman2, and Joe Klein (or, as the people in the comment section of his own blog frequently refer to him, "JokeLine").

Jokeline himself eventually got to play a significant role in this drama. When Goldberg disingenuously defended himself against Greenwald's justified charges of journalistic hackery and self-delusion by claiming the invasion of Iraq helped the Kurds, Greenwald responded:
Goldberg apparently thinks that if you can find some citizens in an invaded country who are happy about the invasion, then it demonstrates the aggression was justifiable or at least morally supportable [...].  I'm not interested in an overly personalized exchange with Goldberg, but there is one aspect of his response worth highlighting:  the universality of the war propaganda he proffers.  Those who perpetrate wars of aggression invariably invent moral justifications to allow themselves and the citizens of the aggressor state to feel good and noble about themselves.  Hence, even an unprovoked attack which literally destroys a country and ruins the lives of millions of innocent people -- as the U.S. invasion of Iraq did -- is scripted as a morality play with the invaders cast in the role of magnanimous heroes.

It's difficult to find an invasion in history that wasn't supported by at least some faction of the invaded population and where that same self-justifying script wasn't used.  That's true even of the most heinous aggressors. Many Czech and Austrian citizens of Germanic descent, viewing themselves as a repressed minority, welcomed Hitler's invasion of their countries, while leaders of the independence-seeking Sudeten parties in those countries actively conspired to bring it about.  Did that make those German invasions justifiable?  As Arnold Suppan of the University of Vienna's Institute for Modern History wrote of the German invasion of Czechoslovakia (click on image to enlarge): And, of course, German citizens were told those invasions were necessary and just in order to liberate the repressed German minorities.  To be a bit less Godwin about it, many Ossetians wanted independence from Georgia and thus despised the government in Tbilisi, and many identified far more with the invading Russians than their own government; did that make the 2008 Russian assault on Georgia moral and noble?  Pravda routinely cast the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan as one of protection of the populace from extremists.  I have no doubt that one could easily find Iraqi Sunnis today who would welcome an invasion from Hamas or Saudi Arabia to liberate them from what they perceive (not unreasonably) as their repressive Shiite overlords; would Goldberg therefore recognize the moral ambiguity of that military action?  If, tomorrow, China invaded Israel and changed the regime, there would certainly be many, many Palestinians who would celebrate; would that, in Goldberg's view, make it morally supportable?
There are quite a few examples in Greenwald's response post of population segments that were happy to have had their homeland invaded. Guess which example both Goldberg and Jokeline singled out and keyed on?

Jokeline3
Greenwald -- who, so far as I can tell, only regards the United States as a force for evil in the world -- has laid out the incredible notion that the liberation of the Kurds, which Jeff celebrates (and so do I, and so do civilized people everywhere) as a happy byproduct of George W. Bush's dreadful war in Iraq, can be compared to the Nazi seizure of the Sudetenland . . . .This is obscene.
Goldberg:


You would be hard-pressed to find more blatant examples of willful the mischaracterization of an opponent's argument (outside of Faux News, obviously, where this type of thing is done routinely).

But it gets kind of really interesting here; because if you read the comments at Jokeline's blog, you see that not only are Klein's own readers not fooled by Jokeline's tactics — they consider it somewhat pathetic of him to have used them. Some of the comments are really quite brutal ... and funny:
Go back to your vacation JokeLine, and when you get back you can continue your slide into irrelevance to all but your fellow villagers...
_____
Jesus, Klein, what are you, three years old? "MOM! GREENWALD SAID MEAN THINGS ABOUT JEFFREY!"
Get a grip, dude.
_____
Quite a fan club you have here, Joe. They seem to understand you quite well.
I've got a suggestion for you. Those old media smear techniques you employ here don't work so well on the internet, because Glenn's column is only a click or two away and we can read it for ourselves. So it's no longer enough to call him an America-hating lefty and then lie about what he said. That might have worked for you in the past, but now it just makes you look not only dishonest, but stupid.
_____
You are either unbelievably stupid or purposefully ignoring the obvious meaning of what Greenwald wrote. The fact that a segment of an invaded population welcomes the invasion is not evidence of the invasion's merit. Incredibly simple. Just like you.
I'm sure you have neither the time nor the reading comprehension expertise to get to the bottom of what Greenwald wrote. You saw the word "Nazi" in a column he wrote and in your eager stupidity thought you had an opportunity to scalp someone that has publicly embarrassed you God only knows how many times.
Greenwald's column is smarter, better researched, more meticulous, more relevant and most of all shows a much greater understanding of and respect for the rule of law. You are an irrelevant, unprincipled, confused old man. Go back to your vacation and stay there.
_____
Joe, sounds like you are nursing an anger that has pushed you over the edge. Did Glenn knock you down and take your lunch money one too many times? Your primary colors are showing.
And, as for these quotes:
"used the opportunity to launch another of his litigious, ambulance-chasing foray"
"He can't plead ignorance, can't get away with a litigator's trick"
You're right. Glenn is one of the most qualified legal minds in American journalism, has practiced law at the nation's most prestigious firm, and has likely forgotten more about law than you'll ever know. Hence the Rovian mode of attacking his strength?
On the merits of whether Goldberg is mendacious or merely incompetent, I think you've already had several of your hats handed to you by previous commenters.
As to the third-grade level "neener neener" quality of this post: carry on; it's your tattered reputation, not mine.
And yeah, the sample comments above? Those are all just from the first page of comments. The comments go on like that for quite a few pages.

So to recap: Goldberg, whose propaganda helped the Bush administration launch an illegal war and who got just about every fact wrong while playing journalistic stenographer, feels he is perfectly within his rights to upload a post gloating about the firing of Dave Weigel, whom Goldberg basically calls a hack because Weigel, in Goldberg's estimation, fails to live up to the Journalistic Gold Standard exemplified by people like himself and Jokeline; but when Greenwald calls Goldberg out on this, and backs up his accusations with facts, both Goldberg and Klein cry foul and accuse Greenwald of being somehow beyond the pale.

Got that? That's the state of Corporate "Journalism" in this country these days.

Reading Greenwald is my palliative, my antidote for that attitude.
________
I should mention here that the reason I find Greenwald to be just the tonic for a disillusioned political soul is not so much because he goes after the previous (Bush) administration for their myriad sins; but because he also goes after the present administration — the Obama administration — and their acolytes for their many misdeeds, which, frankly, rival those of the Bush administration.

Those of us who opposed, e.g., Bush's suspension of habeas corpus didn't do so merely because we thought Bush didn't have that authority and had no right to claim he did; we opposed it because we thought no president had that authority and that any president who claimed he did should be fiercely resisted. Few other than Greenwald have pointed out that Obama has continued this Bush era atrocity and expanded it. Many who support Obama seem to believe O, if my guy does it, it's okay. They, like Obama himself, lack any discernible principles.

I have little time or sympathy for people who try to sell their warped political ideologies as ethical or moral stances. Their Aren't these terrorists horrible, morally bankrupt people? laments seem false and meretricious.

Which terrorists are we talking about? Because the bare minimum that any system of beliefs that wants to call itself ethical has to meet is one of universality: If it is wrong for you to kill innocent people, then it must also be wrong for me to do so. If my stance is it is wrong of you (or those you agree with politically) to do that but okay for me (or those I agree with politically) to do that, then what I have is an authoritarian political ideology (and a pretty odious one), not an ethical or moral belief system. I have absolutely no moral basis upon which to condemn someone else's odious behavior because I have made it clear that I have no problem when I or people I like commit those acts.

And so all of those people who worked themselves into high dudgeon and used morally charged language to condemn Bush and Cheney when they decided it was okay for "our side" to use torture, renditions, kidnapping, disappearances, illegal detention, etc. ... and who now give Obama a pass when he has adopted and, in many cases, expanded those very same tactics ... I have no patience for them. They are moral cowards, hypocrites and, in my view, are just as bad as the Bushites— possibly worse.

Greenwald doesn't merely point out and condemn Obama's adopting some of the worst policies of the Bush era — he also exposes how the Obama administration has gone beyond those policies. Even Bush didn't claim he had the right to assassinate American citizens — but Obama has claimed that right. The man who campaigned on restoring the rule of laws says he has the right to order outright murders.

Browse through the recent archives of Greenwald's blog and you'll find he's written plenty on the sins of the current administration. And we should all be glad he is, because Jokeline isn't; Goldberg isn't; the Democrats aren't protesting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan now that Obama is running them. The Democrats are trying to restore habeas corpus now that it's their guy who is locking people away without charge and fighting tooth-and-nail in the courts to be able to continue to do so.

And since the corporate media take their cues from the two major parties, they aren't talking much about these things either.

Greenwald is not nearly as fluid a writer as Chomsky — he tends to repeat himself and can occasionally become a bit overly impassioned — but he has the same fierce integrity and willingness to risk saying what needs to be said even if it opens him up to attack4.

In short, Greenwald is loyal to principle, not party or personality. That's rare and, to my mind, not just necessary, but comforting.
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1 It is worth quoting extensively from the 2006 Ken Silverstein-authored Harper's Magazine article, "Goldberg's War", that Greenwald links to in his post to see just how aggressively wrong and irresponsible Village Expert Goldberg was:
Goldberg and his friends predicted that events would unfold smoothly in Iraq ... .
Prior to the American-led invasion of Iraq, Goldberg wrote two lengthy articles in the New Yorker which argued that there were extensive ties between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. Much of what he wrote in a mammoth March 2002 story was based on the testimony of Mohammed Mansour Shahab, a prisoner in a Kurdish-controlled town in northern Iraq. Jason Burke of the London Observer later demolished Goldberg's story when he spoke to the same prisoner and found that he couldn't even describe the city of Kandahar, where Shahab had claimed that he'd traveled on Al Qaeda-related business. “Shahab is a liar,” Burke concluded. “[S]ubstantial chunks of his story simply are not true.” Goldberg also peddled the Iraq–Al Qaeda connection during a February 2003 interview on All Things Considered, delivering the grim news that Saddam's agents had some years earlier helped Al Qaeda “in the teaching of the use of poison gas.”
Goldberg's hysteria peaked when it came to his claims regarding Saddam's “weaponization” of a biological agent called aflatoxin. Aflatoxin, he wrote on October 3, 2002 in Slate, “does only one thing well: It causes liver cancer. In fact, it induces it particularly well in children.” (In this same Slate item Goldberg attacked Slate contributors who opposed the war, saying the critics had “limited experience in the Middle East” and that this led them to “reach the naive conclusion that an invasion of Iraq will cause America to be loathed in the Middle East, rather than respected.”) Within an hour of President Bush signing a congressional resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq, Goldberg was on CNN and again claimed that Saddam had “weaponized aflatoxin, which is a weapon that has no military value. Its only value is to cause liver cancer, primarily in children.”
Saddam, to state the obvious, was indeed an evil man, and any experimenting his regime was doing with aflatoxin would have been cause for concern. But the September 2004 report from Charles Duelfer, the Bush Administration's chief weapons inspector in Iraq, stated that Iraqi scientists conducted experiments with aflatoxin, possibly as a means to “eliminate or debilitate the Regime's opponents,” but concluded that there was “no evidence to link these tests with the development of BW [biological weapons] agents for military use.”

[...]
Whatever Saddam's regime intended to do with aflatoxin—and Duelfer's report reached no conclusion on that subject—it did not involve wholesale tot-slaughter. But it seems to me that Goldberg was out to prove that Saddam was singularly evil—a man who would kill kids with cancer, no doubt cackling with glee as he watched them expire—because the American public might be less willing to support war if he was merely an evil dictator, which are a dime a dozen.

[...]
What's truly astonishing is that neither the New Yorker nor Goldberg have ever been held accountable for the egregious propaganda that was published prior to the invasion.
The New Yorker has published investigative reporting, particularly that of Seymour Hersh and Jane Mayer, that has exposed the war as both a tactical and moral failure. But Goldberg himself has never, as far as I can tell, acknowledged that he may have been mistaken in some of his earlier assessments, or questioned his own reporting. Back in late 2003, at a panel discussion hosted by the New School for Social Research, the topic of Saddam's weapons of mass destruction came up. “Did the CIA simply mess up?” Goldberg asked Paul Wolfowitz. “Did I?” is the question he should have asked.
This is the "journalistic" record of accuracy of the man who blithely accuses others of not being sufficiently "toilet-trained"to be allowed into the Village's Journalistic Stenographers Club. It simply does not occur to Goldberg that, before he makes such judgments, he should at the very least clean the shit off of himself.

2 Friedman is beyond a joke. Duncan Black, at the blog Eschaton, came up with the concept of The Friedman Unit:
The term is in reference to a May 16, 2006 article by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) detailing journalist Thomas Friedman's repeated use [...] of "the next six months" as the period in which, according to Friedman, "we're going to find out...whether a decent outcome is possible" in the Iraq War. As documented by FAIR, Friedman had been making such six-month predictions for a period of two and a half years, on at least fourteen different occasions, starting with a column in the November 30, 2003 edition of The New York Times, in which he stated: "The next six months in Iraq—which will determine the prospects for democracy-building there—are the most important six months in U.S. foreign policy in a long, long time."
Friedman is yet another hawk who propagandized in favor of this criminal war and has, like the other Corporate Stenographers, practically never been right and, not coincidentally, never been called to account for his role in this travesty. He is still gainfully employed at the "liberal" New York Times and still appears as an "expert" pundit on any talking heads show that will have him on.

And they all still do.

3 Jokeline was evidently on vacation when Greenwald's post about Goldberg hit the blogosphere, and so Klein titled his mendaciously disingenuous response to/attack on Greenwald "Vacation Interruptus". It is truly amusing to see how many commenters on Jokeline's post came up with a variant on "If this dishonest tripe is what you intend to publish when you come back, why don't just stay on vacation?"
More sympathetic voices expressed a hope that Jokeline's response had been published from the bar of the hotel he was vacationing at because they hoped they could attributes its twisting of Greenwald's argument to alcohol rather than  dishonesty.

My point is that even Jokeline's own followers found his deliberate misreading of Greenwald's argument to be inexcusable and manifestly dishonest.

4 Chomsky has learned, over the years, pretty much to ignore his critics' more extreme attacks because they tend to be so over-the-top and dishonest that there is little point in responding. Greenwald still tends to respond, but his responses are pretty instructive, too: They usually include a "See what I mean about the dishonesty of these people?" aspect. And it really is true that Greenwald's critics always do use the very same dishonest tactics he says they use and it's always interesting to see him point that out. His critics kind of make his point for him.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Smells Like Revolutionary Teen Spirit

Or perhaps it just smells like the crack of my ass. Whatever — it's all good.

Today I participated in the Revolutionary Run at Washington Crossing Park in Pennsylvania. I ran this race last year, too. There's a one-mile run, a 5k, and a 10k. I ran the 10k, just as I did last year. Last year, I was guaranteed a PR because it was the first 10k race I ever ran; this year, sadly, there was no such guarantee. But on the upside, it was guaranteed I'd do no worse than my second best time, because this would be the second 10k race I'd ever run.

And to be honest, a second best time was the best I thought I'd be capable of today because, frankly, I just wasn't feeling it this morning. Last night, our town had its Independence Day fireworks display, which we can see from our front yard, but since today's race started at 8:30 (meaning I'd have to be on the road by 7:00 a.m., which, for me, means up well before 6:00, because I likes to take my time in the morning so I'll look purdy for all the other racers), I thought I would hit the hay no later than 9:15. Which, it turns out, was when the fireworks were supposed to get started. But that's okay — with the AC on, I probably wouldn't hear too much, and even if I did... meh ... I could wait them out and be asleep well before 10.

Except Ian managed to see the parents of one of his friends and he invited them to watch the fireworks from our front yard which had me cursing under my breath at Teh 'Bride, saying, "He gets this being nice to people shit from you because he sure isn't getting it from me! What have I told you about interacting with people? We Heisenbergs DON'T DO THAT!" Because I knew now, now I'd have to come outside and play host and be somewhat sociable at like fucking 9 o'clock at night which I fucking hate to do unless I'm drunk and I wasn't because I'd stopped drinking beer at like 7 because I had a race the next day!

All that hard work not drinking ... right down the drain!

So long story short, I was up till past 10 and then I managed to wake up at like 3:30 a.m. and I didn't get back to sleep.

So by the time I got to the Washington Crossing Park for the race this morning, I was tired, cranky (even more so than usual), had a slight headache, and even felt a bit nauseous.

Luckily, the nausea went away almost as soon as the race began1.

But I knew a PR was not in the cards, just based on how I felt pre-race.

But I had forgotten one thing.

I had used up all my Arm & Hammer deodorant a couple days before, and the only deodorant I could find under the sink was Girl Deodorant. There was probably more Man Deodorant in the basement — Teh 'Bride tends to buy in bulk as part of what she calls her "Pantry Principle" which means she keeps our basement well-stocked with non-perishable items and, to give you an idea of how well-stocked, well, we have enough toilet paper in the house to keep our collective asses well-wiped for like three decades, even if we all happened to get dysentery at the same time — but, having just emerged from the shower, I didn't feel like going all the way to the basement for Manly-Smelling Deodorant, and so I just chose this one:



I have NO idea why Teh 'Bride bought Teen Spirit deodorant, seeing as neither she nor I nor Teh Boy is a teenaged girl, but I figured, of the three of us, I probably am closest, and so I used it.

And reader? Teen Spirit Pink Crush (with the kissy lips and hearts on the label) propelled me to a 13-second PR in my 10k race.

It did not feel, during the race, as if I were running faster than I had last year; and for some reason, I thought my time last year was 54:something, so as I approached the finish line and saw 54:57, 54:58, 54:59 ... I figured, O well, not bad. I knew I wasn't going to beat last year's time anyway ... And I saw the clock turn to 55:012 as I crossed the finish line, and I was okay with that time, because before the race, what with the tiredness, the headache and the nausea, I was thinking, If I finish without walking any of the course, I'll be happy.

And I managed that goal rather easily.

Then I ran into my next-door neighbor, who'd run the 5k last year. This year she ran the 10k. She asked how I did3 and I told her and I added that I thought that was about a minute slower than last year.

But when I got home, I checked last year's time and it turns out I ran the 10k in 55:14 last year.

So I ran it faster this year.

Hey, no one is more surprised than I am.

And very soon, no one will be more surprised or more drunk-on-beer than I am because it's past Noon and I am going to go out and find me a likker store that's open on Teh Fourth of July and I am gonna buy me some good strong beer and then I'm going to browse to this here site and I'm gonna shake my Flat, Drunken Irish Arse at the computer screen and say, "Thomas Jefferson, you can't touch this! (But all John Hancock has to do is ask because he has a Big Han(d) and a big...4!)"
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1 Which, by the way, it did almost exactly on time. Maybe one minute late. Which fucked me up a bit, because the 5k, scheduled to start at 8:15, didn't get started till 8:21. I know, because I watched the start. And the way they started it was there was a guy with a bullhorn who said, "Runners, get ready!" and then BLAM! Some dude in a Revolutionary War uniform shot a musket into the air.

Which is how I figured they'd start the 10k race, too. And I figured they'd start the 10k about six minutes late, too, since it followed the same route as the 5k for a couple of miles and they wouldn't want to risk having the fast 10k-ers running up the asses of the slow 5k-ers. Right?

Wrong.

Because at 8:31, without, as far as I could hear, any "Runners, get ready!", there was a BLAM! and the 10k race began.

Of course, I had positioned myself where I belonged — somewhere in the middle of the pack — so there was about 15 seconds of walking as the pack peristaltically accordioned itself forward far enough for us to begin "running", which "running" was, for another full minute or more, merely at a slightly accelerated walking pace.

So being surprised by the BLAM! basically didn't cost me any time, not that it would've mattered much if it had.

Making this whole discursive footnote kinda useless and unnecessary! Hahahahaha! Fuck you, reader! The Founding Fathers wanted me to have the right to waste your time! Because they loved me, especially T. Jefferson, who used to come on to me in the most blatant way imaginable. He'd say, Shake that flat Irish arse for me, you whoo-wer! And I'd be, "You can look, but you can't touch, TJ. My heart belongs to another, and my ass is part of the package deal. Love me, love my flat Irish ass, I always say."

TJ: But I do! I do!

2 Unofficial. The times are not posted yet. Now they are. 55:03. FUCKERS! 11 second PR, not 13. 8:51 pace; 305th out of 608 racers. Missed the top half!

3 I already knew how she'd done because I'd watched her cross the finish line.

4 ... signature, you pigs!