Friday, November 23, 2007

For You (And Me)

My mom and I were discussing how she believes that there is an openness about her, a frank way of putting herself out there when in general she is closed down. She only lets people know what she wants and therefore comes off--in her mind--of being open and honest.

Well, it's Thanksgiving, a holiday that asks of nothing but eating and sincerity. The hack thing to do is to make a list of all the things you're thankful for on Thanksgiving. The cheap way to go about it is to discuss all of the things that you're thankful aren't happening, so you can put something up, feign being clever, and not give anything away. The real way to do it is to be raw, bare, open, and (unfortunately, probably) unedited.

I am thankful for the fact that I come from a middle class home and that I didn't have to struggle for anything. Whatever I wanted, if it was reasonable, was mine. I'm thankful that I have never been forced to have a job, or had to deal with money issues strictly on my own. I'm thankful that where I went to school was always an academic issue and never a monetary one. I'm thankful that my dad has probably taken years off of his life to work for this to happen for me. I joke that because of my spending, he'll be working til he dies at 90. I have few goals, and one of them is to make god damn well sure that he never has to work again as soon as I possibly can. I'm thankful that if this never happens, he'll love me the same.

I am thankful for the blessing and the curse of living and growing up in such a small town. I am thankful that I can walk down the street and have the comfort of knowing someone at almost every other house. I am thankful that I grew up not having to worry about violence, or bullies, or dealing with bullshit peer pressure. I am thankful that there were teachers who gave--and still give--their time to a school that is criminally under funded, improperly cared for, and never get their due credit (like any teacher anywhere, really). I am thankful that I had the opportunity to learn from everyone and everything around me, and that I became wise enough to indulge and appreciate the experience long after I first soured on it and right before I left it, probably forever.

I am thankful for friends who have become almost innumerable. Everywhere I turn there is someone that I can trust and love and, even more importantly, joke around and be stupid with. There is such an incredible diverse and special group of people everywhere I go that it astounds me. Kids in high school, kids in college, adults who have gotten married, filling every inch of the spectrum. The only problem I seem to have is that there aren't enough hours in the day to appreciate all that they offer, all that they so unselfishly give out, seemingly unaware of how special they are. I am thankful that they can take me at face value, and the special ones that can see right through my "happy jokey guy" bullshit and see me for me, that I don't need to perform around. I'd run out of space for names, but I love all of you. I am absolutely nothing without you. Nothing. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I am thankful for the gift and ability to write something like this out. I'm not thankful that I'm far too much of a lightweight to go around and tell people this stuff face-to-face, but, what can ya do? Write about it on the internet, I guess. I am thankful that my parents always encouraged me to be creative. Fuck, they let me be a film major without a blink of an eye. I am thankful for my mom for giving me a vast vocabulary; even though the word I learned from her the most is probably "fuck" (which is my fault, and not a lack of due diligence on your part). I am thankful that I just wrote and directed a 10-minute short film. I'm a filmmaker. An actual, bona fide filmmaker.

I am thankful that I have been able to use a keyboard and a varying succession of keystrokes to let my frustrations, tears, anger, surprise, glee, thoughts, feelings, and fears in such a safe and cathartic way. I am thankful for the fact that people actually read this, enjoy it, and sometimes even taking something from it. I am thankful that when I write about topics, I'm not alone. I am thankful that my bullshit can actually be used for something other than letting off steam.

I am thankful for my apartment and my roommates. I am thankful that I can live with two people who are essentially on opposite sides of the coin in many respects, and are linked in the most basic ways. I am thankful that I can walk away from college knowing full well that I got an education in life at the very least for two years. I am thankful that I can talk about films, writing, comedy, and anything else on the radar with Zack. I am thankful to grow as an artist off of him, and I hope I'm pushing him, too. I am thankful that Ben is a fucking rock, and reminds me a lot of my dad in so many ways. I am thankful that there is someone who always has two feet on the ground, who keeps me earnest. I am thankful that fate put us in that apartment, because it's meant the world to me.

I am thankful for a dedicated family who refused to let me down, or feel unloved, or insecure, or push me in any other way than positively. I am thankful that this extends far up and around the tree, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandmas. I did not know how to be a son, my mom did not know how to be a mother, and my dad did not know how to be a father. It took a while--and a lot of work--but we all came through swimmingly. Of course it could be better; when can it not? We are once again going to hit a new transition with me leaving, and I am thankful that I do not have to worry about it. At all. We're all going to be ok. We're going to make it.

Finally, I am thankful that I can say thanks.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Heart Of The City

Boston just sounds different after it rains. The T doesn't glide by as easily. Cars make a more deliberate sound as their tires pull down for more traction as they move in the night in either direction past my apartment's windows. It does not matter if you're in Ben's room, the living room, or directly behind me in my room, the soft torrent of cars never ceases. It is past one so the T no longer rumbles, but that bass is replaced by shrill screams of drunk college kids heading East; the reverse Manifest Destiny. They have already conquered the West on this night, and the ones who haven't already found a bed retreat to their own. And certainly not like church mice.

As graduation--and the real world which sits directly on its broad shoulders--approaches with every passing day, there is one thing that I fear more than anything else: losing the heartbeat of Boston.

There is nothing that I have fallen more in love with than Boston. I have had girlfriends, I have had friends, I have had films, songs, but nothing affected me quite like this city has. It happened immediately, even with imminent death feet ahead. After a play rehearsal one night senior year, my Dad and I packed up the Explorer and headed north via I-84 en route to Boston and our room at the Hotel Commonwealth. On the way, we both had to trade off who was in charge of the gas-powered monster since either one of us would be ready to pass out at the drop of an odometer. When we arrived, I did not know--or care--where we were in relation to Boston. All I knew was that there was a bed waiting for me in the tower above.

The next morning I had to visit Emerson College and Boston University, the two Boston schools with film programs. My dad opened the window to find the Green Monster, feeling like an arm's reach away, staring back at us. There it was. It is akin to brushing your teeth, looking in the mirror, and hey, the Mona Lisa. What's up. It was still early (at least relative to my sleeping schedule, one of the few traits that I will carry with me where ever I land) but I scrambled to get out of bed and put my glasses on to take it in. My dad and I stood there for a good thirty seconds, standing both in awe and out of respect.

I walked the same streets that my mom fell in love with god knows how long ago in that oft told story, "I was walking down Commonwealth Avenue...". The story that got me to think of BU in the first place. I remember seeing so many foolish "Cowboy Up" bumper stickers, for we ventured up after the 2003 ALCS. (I did not know then that that moment would be my happiest as a Yankee fan in Boston.) I met BU's campus and just knew, like how the guidance counselors always spout out about how you just "feel" it but you think it's bullshit, and then you find out first hand how wrong you were. Sort of like how my mom walked in to the only house I've ever known as home, took three steps inside, and realized this is where the Anton Family would reside. Where later her son would grow up.

It's been almost four years since that trip. In that time--and in Boston--I have been in love, fallen out of it, turned 21, watched my Terriers win Hockey East, stayed up talking til 4 AM on countless occasions in various locations, have been intimate, have been lonely, have been surrounded by friends, have been decidedly alone (or, as I prefer, the French "seul"). I have met friends for a lifetime; I have met enemies who I still scowl at as I walk Commonwealth Ave. I have lived in a dorm, I've showered with three other friends in separate halls, I've stolen all the furniture in Claflin Hall, I've eaten far too many meals on campus, I've seen three new eateries open up in the GSU, I've been drunk, I've been high, I've gotten an apartment that is my second home in a way that I've never imagined.

And I know that when I graduate, these aren't the things that I will miss the most.

I get Boston. I got it immediately. It's a city that is discredited; a "false" city. Paling in size to Chicago to the west, failing to meet the enormity of all that makes up New York City to the south, and not being nearly as fun and reckless as Montreal to the north, Boston is a city that cannot be easily categorized. Or easily accepted for what it is. It is racist, it is caring, it is green, it's industrial, it's beaten down, and it’s rich. It's a city in transition. You don't know what's going to become of Boston. You certainly know where it's come from and what that journey has been, but who knows what's next? The possibilities are endless, considering the right opportunities fall correctly. New bridge, new tunnel; there are lots of prospects. It's just up to Boston to use these facilities and advantages to push forward into a bigger, brighter future.

This is where I point out that the term of "college town" is not describing the amount of schools in the area, but the fact that it simply is a town in college.

I'll miss growing with Boston. I'll miss walking home half way across campus, seeing a young-ish looking kid walking hurriedly West and knowing--for certain--that he lives in West Campus, is a Freshman, got ditched at a party and is refusing to piss anywhere but on his floor. He spins his keys by Pleasant Street, seeing his home looming large above what used to be a McDonalds, and he grows satisfied while I gain the satisfaction of feeling Boston move all around me. That girl is drunk, probably off cheap Vodka (Popov) at a frat party. He's a junior and is starting to get tired of this scene and starts to long for the grown-up allure of bars. She's 25 and is jealous of both of them. And all I see and hear is Boston.

I'm going to hop into bed now, and while I sleep, I'm going to hear cars passing by at this dreary hour of 3:05 AM. Maybe it's a garbage truck, or a couple of teenagers who are coming back way late, or just a drunk kid praying he makes it back without hurting himself or others. The motives are meaningless. All I hear is Boston breathing smoothly during another restless night of sleep. Its heart beats silently, steadily, gently, right along with mine.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Pump Your Fist

Last night I was alerted to a story of a University of Florida student who was tasered by police while trying to ask a question to Senator and former presidential candidate John Kerry. A friend and reader showed great outrage, putting a link to the video on YouTube on her away message, followed by bombastic statements like, "freedom of speech is dead," and "RIP - first ammendment." She implored me to write about this on the blog, and, after looking at the situation and the issues involved, agreed. I just don't think she'll be happy when I use this platform to disagree with her.

Countless times on this blog I have defended free speech, including my use of it on this blog, censorship from my college at sporting events, and most dear to my heart, when to fight for it, and when it is mired in social and political agenda. As someone who also has a rather "edgy" radio show and who fancies himself a writer, freedom of speech is an incredibly important right that we have to fight for, especially now as our civil liberties seem to wane daily. This case, however, has nothing next to nothing to do with freedom of speech. I know you just got the angry face on and overreacted—again--but let me explain.

Here is the common perception of what happened, as seen on videos from YouTube. A college student asks a political-based question that is not answered. He is then pulled away from the podium by officers of the law as the student yells, "are you watching this? Why are you arresting me?" The student is dragged away kicking and screaming up the aisle towards the entrance for roughly a minute to a minute and a half as a handful of officers try to hold him down. He is eventually tased and taken away. Another angle of the event can be found here, courtesy of Breitbart and YouTube.

This story has been passed on from student to student as a rallying cry, an important reason to stand up and say something (as if we need another reason to). The calls to action are mainly because of three reasons surrounding the event that give it extra credence: a politicized situation, being pulled off of the podium, and police action.

A very crucial aspect is the involvement of John Kerry. If this student came out during a question and answer with, let's say, a distinguished political science professor, would it be different? First, the school wouldn't have used police, letting the Sophomore stable of kids in security blazers deal with keeping the order and peace. Second, his image as the "Anti-Bush" while he stood watching as freedom of speech is being tased out of someone is a big deal. If you read an account of what happened, such as this article which we'll get back to, the question and answer period was over but this student refused to let his answer be heard. He then rushed towards the podium (and, in turn, towards a Senator) after police repeatedly asked him not to.

Once he got up to the podium to ask a question, he didn't ask anything. He ranted, and tarnished an opportunity to ask Sen. Kerry a question that Kerry went out of his way to allow. If this wasn't a Senator on stage, security would have asked him to leave, eventually pushing him out of the auditorium. This isn't an isolated incident, it is routine in this sort of situation. Who hasn't seen someone escorted out by security by not complying with rules?

Throwing gas on the fire, while the student was being pulled away from police, he screams out "why are you arresting me?" Who said anything about being arrested? Why would they, for saying the word "blowjob" in public? I am relatively sure that they were going to escort him out of the building and let him off on his merry way.

Instead, he resisted needlessly from the start. He got so out of hand that he could be not calmed down by two officers and they needed assistance by the other police in the building. Why were there so many police that eventually found themselves around him? Because their job is to take care of security risks and disruptions just like this one.

Let’s be realistic. Could you walk around to a local police officer, have them ask you to stop doing something and resist. After they ask you again to do it you refuse yet again, eventually having them physically touch you. You then tell them to "get the fuck off of you," and resist their control further. Do you think you would get away with it? Apparently so if you’re saying that you were only instituting your right to free speech.

Furthermore, when he was on the ground, he was instructed for a good thirty seconds to roll over and he refused. Instead of simply following their orders, he resisted, choosing to become a martyr or a hero for the cause. He was tasered, following what I assume is procedure, adding the cherry on top. We now have a case for police brutality when the only thing he did was make damn well sure that everyone knew he was getting tased (“please don’t tase me!”) instead of following proper action to ensure that he wouldn’t be.

In conclusion to this section, I think that a kid went out of his way to be a pain in the ass to a police force who might not be prepared to handle this sort of situation. However, to say that he is a victim or some sort of martyr for the cause is taking a gigantic leap. We have fallen victim to the Fox News-ification of all news from all outlets. We are shown a small, selective piece of footage (one of the videos on YouTube is apparently from his own camera, possibly one of the videos linked above) and having it be used to rile everyone up and drown us all in hyperbole.

According to the Gainesville police report, which could very easily be a case of police covering their own asses, discusses how once the student was out of view of cameras he calmed down, reigniting once they got outside where more video cameras were sure to be there. He even went so far as to say, "I am not mad at you guys, you didn't do anything wrong, you were just trying to do your job," according to Mallo's account (from the article linked above). I'm sorry, I'm not falling for getting out my pitchfork for something that was being sensationalized as it was happening.


That does not mean that there are legitimate gripes with freedom of speech involved with this situation, both from the media coverage and the uprising of students over this specific “encroachment” of free speech.

Returning to the Breitbart article, there are some troubling issues brought up in regards to the credibility of the student in this situation. From the AP article, "Video of police Tasering a persistent questioner of Sen. John Kerry became an Internet and TV sensation Tuesday, generating fierce debate about free speech and the motives of the college student involved—a known prankster who often posts practical jokes online."

While I do believe that he overdid his reaction for his fifteen minutes of fame, does this mean that being a prankster suddenly absolves you of any credibility? What if this was genuine? If I'm tased by an officer in a situation where I was in fact incorrectly tased, would this blog somehow make the incident change?

The article goes on, describing the student's website. It contains "...several homemade videos. In one, he stands in a street with a sign that says "Harry Dies" after the latest Harry Potter book was released. In another, he acts like a drunk in a bar while trying to pick up a man dressed in drag." Why is this news worthy? Why does the AP feel the need to critique the comedy styling of someone who is mired in this situation?

To show how classy they are, the AP report then decides to disparage the kid totally, writing, "Another site had pictures of Meyer licking a woman's face and making a suggestive pose as he stood behind a fake cow. The site listed his activities as 'getting wasted' and 'being ridiculous.'" It is one thing to criticize if he was making a big deal out of an isolated situation, but it is quite another to have the audacity to say because he makes silly videos that he shouldn't be regarded with the same respect as anyone else.

Just because someone has immature pictures on his Myspace or irresponsible messages on his Facebook profile doesn’t mean the AP has the grounds to use that against him to damage his credibility. There is a responsible way to discuss the event and the issues involved, and I find it shocking that my blog is being more respectful than the Associated Press. Freedom of speech is one thing, using words as a legitimate and respected news source to destroy a twenty-one year old is simply irresponsible to the highest degree.


Finally, I love how selective we are when we describe Freedom of Speech. The Imus Incident (gotta love those Important Capitalizations) was a clear issue of freedom of speech that hardly anyone got behind. Here is someone who was taken off the air for saying something that was completely FCC compliant and for that reason and that reason alone, does not justify his firing. The outrage only came because it involved an intangible of race. How many people who are saying what a travesty this kid getting tased is and such a slap in the face of the first amendment defended Imus? A handful?

You cannot choose to fight for this right only when it is convenient to you. Of course college kids are going to get up in arms, look at what this incident involves: a college student being "silenced” during a political rant at a politician before being abused by police. There is nothing out of the ordinary here. I just feel that it is disingenuous to label this a first amendment issue because people are upset only for the factors of age, police, and a politicized situation. And, once again, it's going to be heresy to come out against this as a true indictment of freedom of speech because of those attached factors.

The real shame of this entire situation is that even the first amendment could be so easily warped to fit a specific situation that has little relevance to what is really going on while a genuine case of censorship is laid to waste because of the racist and sexist implications involved. I love the fervor, I do, it's just sadly misplaced and badly timed.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Long And Winding Road

It's been six years. Wow. Like anyone else, I can ramble through the particulars of the day: pre-litigated Coach Feldman telling us about a plane hitting the World Trade Tower but having to teach us about safety while lifting weights, or going into Chemistry and watching both towers fall, the crisp, clear day outside and how something this terrible isn't allowed to happen on a day this beautiful. I'm sure you've been running through these same scenarios in your mind all day as well. The details still cut with incredible precision, and I doubt they will dull in time.

It's strange how the day has been mutated ever since. It has become a talking point, a fear tactic, a construction plan, a reason for more death, a squabble over a politically correct statue, a tent pole for polity. It's been a while since the tiny American flags were on every car, front door, and overpass. It's been a while since tragedy was transformed into unity, patriotism, a rallying cry, before being belittled as a conspiracy theory, a talking point, a charade. It says something dire about our society how we could turn a negative into a positive and then right back into a negative. The tragedy keeps unfolding.

Six years. We've all had that weird "has it been six years already?" moment, where we try and go back and touch the clothes, listen to the music, see the people. We try and put ourselves back into the proper perspective to re-break our hearts. To us, six years in the past is a marker of where we've been, where we've gone, and what has changed between points A and B. What gets lost is what those six years could mean. The infant boy whose mother died is now a second-grader. The sixth-grader who has to cope with the loss of her father is starting college. A wife has to spend what was to be her 25th wedding anniversary alone.

I hate the phrase "never forget." It's common sense; I don't have to be reminded to remember. Far too often we remember the Tower Two getting hit, the awful long shot of both Towers in line with each other, a plane coming from the right, a dreadful pause, then the blow out of fire, smoke, debris and flesh from the left side. We think of terrorism, we fill our hearts with hate.

Tonight, remember the people who were working a boring job to pay the mortgage, or to get their kid through school, or because that's what their parents always wanted her to be only to be killed. Remember the kids who, in a flash, had to traverse an infinitely more difficult road through life than we can imagine. Remember the firefighters and police who held the badge and their duty over their own lives. Don't think about the conspiracy, the wars that have come forth, the fear that is held over us. Remember the victims, remember the heroes, and remember the families of both.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Bigger Than Guns, Bigger Than Cigarettes

It's been a while, friends, and I am forced back to work not just because my friend Katie chastised me for my laziness last night, but also as preparation as I will once again be trying out for a column in the BU independent newspaper, the Daily Free Press. This time I'm going to actually follow the guidelines and write three 800-word columns and not, say, try and condense old posts from here into manufactured ideas that lose half their humor but are still in the Land of A Thousand Words. Instead, I will form NEW ones that I can't reproduce here because if they're printed in the Freep, I think Google can sue, cause they're an evil, heartless corporation who tries to keep the little businesses down, MAAAAAAN. Anyway, here are some more random thoughts.

Let's tackle some college-related quotes I've seen recently. "I live for the nights ill never remember with the friends ill never forget." Yeah, yeah that's good. So you only live to get black out drunk with people who enable you to get black out drunk in the first place? That's probably not healthy for you, your liver, or your social life. I've never understood why being in college can somehow wipe out the fact that you are starting a debilitating problem that could ruin the rest of your life. But oh, to waste those halcyon days not being wasted. What's the point of showing up, am I right?

Point of fairness: if you are to believe that having more than four beers is in fact binge drinking, I might have some questions to ask myself as well. But not now, cause I’m a senior at college whooo!!! Edward Forty Hands mother fuckers!

Here's a recent quote that has been going on with the recent influx of fresh meat men girls: its not goodbye... its see ya later. There is an inherent difference? It sounds like some sort of Diet Coke commercial. We're not differentiating between Apples and Balzac here folks, you’re saying parting words twice with the same meaning.

Why is goodbye such a bad thing? True, no one says "Let's say our final 'see ya laters' to Grandpa," when they push their kids into the hospital room, but I like goodbye. It's formal, it's straightforward, it's to the point. I also enjoy its shortened "bye" form, which is easier to use in the fickle world of the "how personal do I want to get?" society that we live in. If a loved one said "see ya later" to me, I'd probably ask when and where so I could stand them up for not giving me a proper fucking goodbye.

Is being traded in baseball for a player to be named later one of the most humiliating things one can go through? Your team wants you gone so bad that they usually pay the other team to take you off of their hands AND don't even have the time to figure out what they are getting in return for your services. They are so desperate to get you out of their jersey that they'll trust the other team will give them something of equal value. In the mean time, get the fuck out, you black hole of victory.

I'll never understand why when you're in a library or some place studying on campus and the person next to you gets up to use the lavatory they ask you to watch their stuff. This person is asking you--a complete stranger--to please watch their laptop from being stolen by other complete strangers. Your trustworthiness is based specifically on your proximity to the valuable object. I'd love to see this in prison where the warden leaves and leaves the jail in control of the closest inmate.

To close, I'll leave with you something I did this past weekend. My mom called me in mid-August explaining that the annual Anton Family Reunion would feature a comedic drumming on some members of the family who are turning 50 or 60 over the course of 2007. One of those lucky few heading towards seriously considering joining the AARP was my father. Mom thought that since every other sub-family was doing something for their chosen older person, I should write a roast of my dad for her to read aloud.

My audience is a group of people who mostly laugh at very easy, simple things, such as mugs for 40th birthdays that read, "I'm not 40, I'm just Twenty Twice!" If you read the first 600 words, you can kind of see how this is going to turn out. While I toned down a lot of my stuff (for example, no jokes about fucking or dead relatives, or both), it was not very well received, especially jokes about Poland. We're a 100% Polish family, with me--part Irish--being the freak. So in love with the motherland are they that the other Anton sect formed their own Polka band for weddings, and, uh, Polka festivals? I don’t know. Wherever there are parogies. Here is an excerpt from the opening:

I hope today finds all of you well, clearly meaning that the Anton Family Polka Band is 100 feet away from their instruments like my court order instructed, carried out in the name of “good music.” By no means would I try and demerit the skill of the performers. I’m sure they play Polka to the most of its enjoy ability: sounding like a belt sander in three-four time. My only regret is when Russia and Germany expunged Poland they didn’t take Polka with it.

Oh Christmas gifts and Birthday cards, it's not goodbye, it's just "see ya never."

Saturday, July 14, 2007

oooohhh New Things!

While a possible redesign is permanently on the backburner (I actually forgot I have a template for it), I decided to screw around to try and make things easier for you, the reader. For each post, I have added what blogspot calls a "label" and what I refer to as a "topic" cause I don't want to be seen as a "blogger douche." I clearly don't think I have this all figured out as only 25 posts marked as "comedy" since I didn't want to make myself seem like I'm Woody Allen. You do have the option to not have to troll around in the archives to find things anymore, though. You want comedy? Click the link, nothing but the funny! You want to see my series (Ask Manton, Manton vs. Woman, Boys and Girls), click series. If you want to simply read about embarrassing things I've done with girls, click, on MvW. I did all of these from 2:15-3:15 AM, so I got sorta silly at times, so excuse me.

Edit: Audience Participation! If you think I'm missing a topic or should throw one in or whatever, leave it in the comments. I doubt anyone will go that far, but hey, would make my life easier.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Get Back

Sorry for the delay. Directing is far more time consuming and soul wrenching than I could have imagined. No wonder the body of a former director of mine damn near shut down out of protest, like a Mexican warehouse when workers fight for 5 more pesos a week. I've also decided that I might actually do some more sports related quick shots, mostly because a lot of stuff in sports recently has bugged me (US reaction to David Beckham, par example). I figure the more writing I put down--regardless of content--the better it is. …For me. Man, I really sounded like I've got a million adoring fans who are waiting on my every word. I don’t even know if any of them are left around after a whopping four posts in three months. We’ll see. No more preamble. Or pre-ramble, am I right? Sorry. Just scroll down, I might not stop.

If you were the best person in the world at some remote, inane thing, would you brag about it to others? Could you go up to a girl in a bar and say, "yeah, I took first at the Yo-Yo World Championships," or "nobody crochets a better handbag than me. Nobody." Would you even want to aspire to be the World's Best WAHL Beard Trimmer User? I'd think it's a hell of a burden, personally. I wouldn't want everyone coming up to me asking for advice on how to make the perfect hand-shaped Turkey. It's a gift and a curse, and frankly, I'd just like to enjoy my dinner.

Also, because there is no international body to deny the fact, I officially declare myself the greatest person to never like sandals. I hate them, and deserve a prize for it. So there we go. The business cards will be ready next Tuesday.

While watching a Costa Rica/Mexico soccer match on Univision (yeah, it's official - I'm part of the US soccer loving cult), there was a commercial for the US Marines. In Spanish. Well, if you can make it over our giant, electronic, killer-bee infested, camouflaged super fence, I guess you can go invade other countries. We're not entirely sure that we want you as citizens, but we'd be mighty pleased if you'd die for our cause, thanks.

When acting like Rome, fall as the Romans did.

I saw a bumper sticker the other day. If you are an incredibly avid and dedicated reader, you would know of my post of middling entertainment value on how I hate those things so. Well, I found one that takes the cake, and no, it isn't "I'M PROUD OF MY CHILD EVEN IF THEY DON'T MAKE THE HONOR ROLL!" We're all excited for you, your clear distinction that your child isn't intelligent, and that you are simply doing your job as a parent: being proud of your kid. Anyway, I saw a bumper sticker that went like this:

United We
Stand Against
Aggression

I have to agree with this statement. We do need to stand up to aggression. Cause aggression...man, fuck aggression. Always coming up here and doing shit to us. And do we fight back? No. Aggression just mops the floor with us. Well, we’re not going to stand for that any longer. Starting today, I say we go to war with Aggression. That cocky fuck has had it coming for a long time.

On the way to New York, I saw another sticker relative to the one above. Yes, God May Show You Mercy....



America: We're Better Than God


Why is it that in every sports game the goalie is indestructible? For whatever reason, the people who are obviously the biggest pussies and the easiest targets have superhuman powers. In any of the EA Sports NHL games dating back to 93, you touch a goalie and you're sent backwards like he's a master of the Force. Try and go after a goalie in a soccer game and 98% of the time your player reacts like they were quickly shanked like they're playing in Rikers.

Girls utilize the word "love" far, far too much. They use it all the time. When they have a boyfriend, they constantly tell everyone (we all suffer, not just the poor schmuck boyfriend) how much they love them, putting it all over their aways or stupid facebook statuses. They love shoes, they love puppies, they love skirts, they love gum, they don't love badgers (poor li'l guys), but man do they love shitty musicians. Why can't they simply "like" things? They always go straight to LIKE like. No wonder some girls are never satisfied in a relationship; you can't love boys like they love a new Coach bag. We have far less room to pack things in.

The thing with Satan is that he's always been named Lucifer. Always, of course, includes his time as a God-abiding angel. Isn't it weird to think that at one point Lucifer was as nice a name as Michael or David? Now whenever we hear Lucifer we think of lakes of fire, Dante's Inferno, Gerald Ford and the like. What if Lucifer was instead named Lollipop? We'd have the same exact reaction as we do now to Lucifer and we'd never know how silly we were being. "The Prince of Darkness is actually named after those lovable sweets on a stick. You know, Lucifers! (Say from Charms!)"

Finally, there was a piece of news from a while back that I would like to touch on, which I call the "George Bluth Rule," NO TOUCHING!!!. Yes, it has come to this: Kilmer Middle School in Vienna, VA has decided to ban touching. Of any sorts. Ever. From the Principal, "You get into shades of gray," Hernandez said. "The kids say, 'If he can high-five, then I can do this.' " It's the best known use of the Broken Window theory I've ever seen. If one can high five, or throw a pound, and it goes unmonitored, what is stopping that boy to next time rape and slaughter his fellow 13-year-olds?

Why do people in positions of authority have such a problem using it in a proper and constructive way? More from the article, and more from the Principal, "She has seen a poke escalate into a fight and a handshake that is a gang sign. Some students -- and these are friends -- play "bloody knuckles," which involves slamming their knuckles together as hard as they can. Counselors have heard from girls who are uncomfortable hugging boys but embarrassed to tell anyone. And in a culturally diverse school, officials say, families might have different views of what is appropriate."

Hmmm, as if pokes don't escalate into fights anywhere but as a teenager, that stopping gang signs might just stop gang violence (which side is he on? hell, which side am I on? who knows anymore with this wacky no-gang-handshake situation!), or that people haven't played Bloody Knuckles. Dear god, they're being stupid teenagers. But instead of trying to weed out the kids who are just acting out because their hormones are temporarily going berserk and finding the problem kids who could end up shooting up the school, they just blanket something as natural and humanistic as contact in any sort. Their football team must be awful. This surely won't drive kids to do more physical contact, seeing that such action is restricted and kids always follow the rules, especially when strictly enforced. Keep trying to cover the problem instead of solving it. It’s working wonders.

That was kind of dark. Let's not end on that.

If you were a hot dog, and if you were starving, how could you eat yourself? Your intestines line the outside of you. You won't be able to digest yourself. Christ is that a stupid question.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Raw Power

So that whole "Grab Bag" concept didn't really hold up, did it faithful readers? Oh well. Instead of posting once a week with random thoughts, I'm just going to throw one large one at you (this one) and you're going to love it. Dammit.

The new (that's a relative term) Arctic Monkeys album, "Favourite Worst Nightmare," sort of bugs me. Not the album itself, as it is incredibly amazing and is really the only hope for the future of rock and roll, but the spelling of "favourite." We all know the British invented English and we bastardized it with our democracy, representation along with taxation, and Pong video games, but you don't need to go out of the way and point out how classy you are by throwing in the "u" in words like favorite and favour. The accent is enough, elitest punks. Go drink your teua and leavue us be with ouur American speauk.

Don't girls have to know that there is a certain level of attractiveness that would garner you the ability to cut in lines at bars and clubs? At the very least you have to be an 8 or be tight with someone at the door (oral). When I was outside a bar for a good hour and twenty minutes, one girl decided she was good looking enough to waltz up to the front and get in. How do I know? Well she said as much. "Fuck this waiting bullshit, we're getting in," she said, while fixing her shirt and doing the "sexy walk" up to the door. The best she got was jumping ahead about 10 places.

I was all ready to blast her and say she wasn't that hot until she kept making eye contact with me. If I wasn't shown away at the door (damned expired Jersey license !) I probably would have hit on her, so instead I'll say that some other,uglier girls tried and failed and they're terrible people, too! They kick baby seals and shit on river otters, the ugly skanks! Yeah!

God, I have no scruples.

As I have mentioned on this blog numerous times, I don't always have the highest regard for the latest fashion trends. Be it stupid Uggs, awful colored tights, or coffee plate-sized sunglasses, I have a big problem with things that are "fashionable" but really look "stupid and immediately regretful seconds after the digital picture shows up on the big screen in the back of your camera that you refuse to give to someone else to take a picture of you so instead you hold it in front of you instead because it somehow looks better to you."

Ahem.

Suddenly, though, everything seems to take a back seat (except Moonshoes, which I will not show again, which you should thank me for) to the newest wonder of stupidity: Crocs. These jackass pieces of footwear have absolutely no reason for existing, let alone being on sale, thereby putting forth the idea that someone looks at them and somehow decides to exchange currency to wear them in public. What are Crocs, you ask?



I guess they're golashes that are fun colored? I don't even know what function they are to provide. But, with each pair of Crocs sold, there should be a complimentary straight blade for you to slit your wrists when you either find a mirror or look back at pictures in a photo album 10 years from now. By then it should be rusted, making it hurt more, and maybe make the penance a tad more equal for the atrocious crime you have committed against humanity as a whole. If those fucking things gave you superpowers I'd gladly not have heatray vision cause I'd rather be normal and not look like a complete asshole (who may or may not be able to burn things with merely a glance!).

I saw a dead possum on the side of the road and it looked more like a puppet used in the forests of Endor in Return of the Jedi. Possums are not of this earth, and might come in large groups to smash your SUVs with two large trees, or at least sicken you with their heavily convoluted cuteness. Don't say I didn't warn you.

I usually don't write about common things ("how do you know when milk goes bad?!?!?"), but I must touch on the DMV as it is truly the place where time stops. You can walk into your local DMV and every piece of American popular culture in society since 1950 is on display. I saw a greaser, a guy with a mullet, a woman with a fanny pack, and a douchebag in Crocs. The DMV is truly the microcosm of America. Man, that's more hurtful than I intended. Ouch America. Ouch.

AND I DIDN'T EVEN TALK ABOUT THE DMV'S SERVICE LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL GET IT IT'S LAKSIDASICAL AT TIMES

The DMV also featured another feature of our culture that has been sucked of any credibility. Remember when the term "Express" actually meant faster? It has been bastardized to the point where it's now ironic. The express line at the grocery market doesn't mean you get through faster; instead you're in a line five deep with people who only have six items and all pay with credit cards or checks. The Express side of the Garden State Parkway only has two lanes while "local" has three, so if there is a crash on Express, it turns into Stop. The express registration is in the DMV, and is there for impossible to be anything other than "above plodding." I was told of an Express Planned Parenthood around the University of Maryland. I can only imagine the tag line: Baby free in 30 minutes or the next mistake is on us ! No, Express Planned Parenthoods did not come from my imagination, sadly.

Why is it that with the end of TV shows we demand closure and are batshit if we don't receive it? The end of the Sopranos came and went with no absolute resolution and people started losing our minds. It's baffling that in our culture where death--and inescapable end--is always avoided and pushed out of the collective conscious, it is totally expected in fiction. Closure in something fake is some sort of right while death in reality is an unexpected and terrible twist of fate.

If you're from a small town and are stifled by it, you can add another song to the list of "this is absolutely about me." I have Ben Folds - Silver Street there, but you can toss on Built To Spill - Twin Falls. It's a good song anyway; it's just that my current location sort of tips the scales of importance. Throw in some more in the comments if you feel so inclined.

For any form of ID, if you're ugly and when the person behind the table asks "is this picture ok?" do you always say "no, not really" in your head while you shake your head yes? You know that the picture sucks, but it's not the camera's fault or because you didn't smile, it's because the genetic game of Yahtzee just didn't work out for you.

Can someone explain New Hampshire to me? As I enter, the sign says Welcome! Bienvenous! There is a scenic view of trees and greenery, bordered along the bottom with "Live Free Or Die" in white cursive as if it actually reads "Happy Fun Times Galore." Also, the mile markers are also outfitted with kilometer readings, as are some of the exit signs. This is the state that has a NASCAR event north of the "border," but for some reason believes in the metric system? The shit? At least I can get a shitload of Jack Daniels for 10 bucks less there. Or a horse. Whatever is cheaper, I guess.

To close, I have a special celebrity sighting. Getting off of an elevator at the New York Public Library branch by Lincoln Center, I saw David Blaine. It was magical just being around him. Now I'm sure that merely being in his presence will allow me to stand, be cold, or sit in a pool for very long periods of time. Also, he's incredibly in shape and if you give him shit like I just did to his face, he could rip you in half. Twah.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Mayday

How does one chart maturation? In our society, when you hit a fixed age you are supposed to fill a certain quota of maturity. When you're 17, you are now responsible enough to drive a two-ton vehicle that could easily be turned into a killing machine. When you're 21, you are allowed to legally consume alcohol, taking the burden off of older siblings or friends to purchase it for you illegally, and having the confidence in you to know when you should stop drinking (and if you are not trusted, there are DUIs, DWIs, and public drunkenness). Of course, not everyone is the same, so do these blanket gestures really apply in real life? It's a subject I've grappled with in my own life both physically ("Mom, it's not a big deal if I drive around with my friends after midnight all right, it's a stupid law anyway!!") and theoretically as the basis for my screenplay now four years in the making.

After a lot of thinking--and living--I have found a sort of litmus test not as much for maturation as much as for the impending onslaught of tomorrow, of jobs, of what was once "the future" and might now be “today.” The best way to characterize where you are in life is the question, "What does May mean to you?"

Let's go back a ways to Sixth Grade, which is about to wrap up, at least in the Northeast. After being the low person on the totem pole for the last few years (damn turnover from 3rd grade to 4th made you Kings of Recess into lowly serfs again), you're at the end of your reign over the entire K-6 school. (To be adjusted to other schools who have 6-8 middle schools, please take this as 5th grade. Thank you.) It only gets better: next year, you move in to Middle School. That's almost High School! That means it's almost time for driving, for parties, for breasts (if they haven't shown up yet)! It's time to stop being a stupid little kid and be an adult (read: teenager). For you, it’s all gravy from this point forward. Goodbye, stupid Elementary School, hello best summer ever (the Pool! Biking everywhere! Maybe a trip to the beach!!) and Middle School!

Of course, they have no idea what is coming instead is Middle School, where no one is ever happy with themselves or their station in life, the denizens are all incredibly insecure with everything and everyone around them and refuse to believe that anyone else is going through the same feelings that you are when clearly everyone is. They don't know that what affects them in the next two or three years will forever cement who they are as people from that point forward. Hell, you never know that until you're a Junior in High School.

You've made it out of puberty, right on the cusp of stopping the acne and weird hair growth and just before you're able to grow legitimate, non-comical facial hair (or, for girls, decide whether to bleach or wax said facial hair). You've just finished the most pressure-packed year of your life, because Junior year is the one that colleges look at the most, and everyone goes to college cause if you don't go to college you don't have a future, and if you don't have a future you won't have a job, and if you don't have a job you won't have a life worth living, and if you don't have that you'll be living on the street alone with HIV or some other god awful disease because you didn't stay awake in your SAT Prep class and now you're slowly dying, starving, cold and alone. Deep breaths. But no matter; you can now drive, so you have your first inkling of true freedom, leading up to the all important age of 18. You'll be a Senior, once again at the top of the food chain, with upwards of five grades looking up to you with either love or fear (it'll be a few years until you read Machiavelli, but instinctively you choose to instigate fear). You're the head of the class, done with SATs, and moving on to college applications. It's almost summertime, and it's time to start Senior year right!

Holy shit High School is almost over. Holy shit you're going to college in a few months. Holy shit your best friends are going to Ithaca and Syracuse and you're going to Boston and the person you have a crush on is going to Maryland. Maryland! You know how far away that is? Oh my god, High School was so easy. All those times I would panic over what is going on...then you take an AP course, and then they tell you that's not even HALF of what college is like!

Man, college is going to be great, it really is, but how are you going to do it without your friends? How can you attempt to get through with all of that learning without them around to support you? This summer will be the last one where everyone's together, and that means everyone...even the people you don't like. How can you live without Tweak? Yeah he's annoying but...but he's Tweak! He's always there! Now he won't be there. You might never see him again. You might not see anyone else again. Holy shit, let's make this summer count, cause it's the last one ever!

Pardon my forray into second-person narration there. It was going to go into full-on first, but I decided that'd be too much of a shock to the system. Not unlike May your freshman year of college. Somehow you survived, getting by with facebook, the internet, text messages, and lots of alcohol. By now you're starting to think about the rest of your life in concrete terms, specifically "What do I want to do with it?" You might take different classes to test out if you're into History or Visual Arts, Business or English. You find out that sometimes learning isn't that bad, and that you're treated with a certain amount of respect that you haven't gotten before. That respect comes with a more personal responsibility, where you have to get things done without your parents or peers harping on you (your parents will be on your back when the report card comes, with the harshness of disappointment directly linked to how much money they are spending for you to not do well). You rushed home on Thanksgiving to be back with your friends where everything seems like it used to, a return to normalcy as you still adjust to sharing a shower with twenty other men. This feeling is still around in the summer, where you're sort of older, wiser, more experienced, and ready to do different things like the stuff you always said you would when you were out of High School and looked forward to college.

The things that change most are the sweatshirts, from a Nike swoosh to a “College” or “University.” The settings normally do not. For some reason, while everything seems like it's the same, it's just...off. Yeah, it's the same people in the same basement at the same party, but they aren't the same people, this isn't the same party, but those are the same Solo cups, which is disgusting, frankly. A lot of what united everyone was the common enemy: High School and the inability to really "grow up."

Now everyone has that opportunity. Most take the baton and run with it, some don't, and some run faster than others. A disconnect grows. Whose fault is it? With the friends at college, you can talk differently, share different view points, do different things, go to bars, go to parties with new and interesting (and different) people. You grow on your own, becoming more and more rounded only to return and try to jam yourself back into a square hole. You get through it, but it's more difficult than you can imagine. It's exactly the same as your "last summer ever," except, for some part of you, it was the last.

Sophomore year gets a bit more serious. Remember how everyone else was doing this and that to prepare for colleges? SAT prep courses, summer courses for college credit, visiting 30 schools in a month? Now you're expected to have internships and job opportunities. The time for summer being about fun over everything is being pushed aside, replaced as a means for the rapidly approaching "future" which is morphing into the "present" every passing day. You're warned to enjoy this time more than ever, cause it will never be this fun again while also you're being told you're crazy if you don't know what your major is, if you aren't trying to make connections, if you aren't doing slave labor that will look good on your application. This dichotomy extends to your friends, who are starting to really differ. They just don't get you like the kids at school do, who you ironically miss more in your three or four months apart than the kids you grew up with and don't see for eight or nine months. Then again, they don’t really get you, either. Maybe you avoid the whole situation and stay at school for the summer. Ha, “summer.”

Then Junior year ends and holy fuck now you're a senior. This is it. You have only one year to somehow relish being this young and stupid while juggling future opportunities for yourself out of college. Look back on your life and see how it is all leading up to one year from now. You will walk on graduation. You will be thrust into the real world, or if you're lucky, try and linger on with Graduate School. The future isn't really the future anymore. In fact, a lot of your close friends are leaving, moving on, starting that journey that you are hesitant to start and they are downright reluctant, or petrified, to head into.

You wonder how you can survive without your friends at school, the ones that keep you sane, the ones that make hockey games worthwhile, the ones that you can sit around and talk with til the sun comes up, the ones with whom you can put on a movie and never even watch the damn thing cause you're all too interested in each other, the ones who somehow know you so incredibly well in such a short time. You wonder about how you can live without them in a much more real and tangible way than with Tweak, who you only remember when your hometown friends remind you of his existence. You had a common enemy again, but your side didn't win. No one ever does, really. You lose to reality, to the present, to the inevitability you've been resisting this whole time: adulthood. So, start spending money at the bars you can now legally get into and drink away this feeling as fast as humanly possible.

Senior year.… Senior year I really can't divulge on, simply because I haven't experienced it yet. The way I see it, it's High School all over again, except the stakes are raised. You don't have anything else to prepare for, you've been prepared for the last 12 years plus for this moment. You don't have anyone else around you to ease your way through the next few months of adjustment, as you've already been reassured countless times by many different friends who have known you for various lengths of time. You have one last summer (maybe) to try and get everything out of your system before the real world hits you like a ton of bricks. You’re perched at the edge of the nest, looking down at the ground before peering back at your tiny little wings. Before you can jump, you're nudged out from behind: Mayday! Hope you can fly.

Hope I can fly.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Welcome To The Grab Bag

It has come to my attention that I do not update this blog enough. I really wouldn't know; I'm never really around to hear about it. My life is winding down...wait, that doesn't sound right. My busy days are winding down and slowly succumbing to the summer sun, leaving me more time to sit on my ass, play Guitar Hero, drink beer, and oh yeah, update this, I guess. The real reason why I haven't been updating as much as usual is a combination of my screenplay (film due out October, 2011) and, of course, my radio show. But now I am free (free!), and vow to be better with my posting.

How can I guarantee this, you ask? Well I will tell you, Impatient Reader.

I think of a lot of nonsense as I walk the streets, drive the streets, and do things away from streets (meadows?). I have a few post-its on my wall with ideas that I just never made it from yellow paper to the blue-backed internet. Basically what I'm saying is that there are a lot of little pieces of thoughts that never could be formed into a full post, nor could they really be partnered with anything else in a logical way.

So I figure the hell with logic. I'll just lump them all together and call it the Grab Bag, a weekly feature that was supposed to be every Wednesday...but I'm writing this early on Tuesday...so it's going to fall between Tuesdays and Thursdays, I guess. How about that? Not only is the content a Grab Bag, but whenever the hell it's posted is, too. There will still be full posts (I have a rather large one in the pipe for later this week) on top of this lazy ass conglomeration of whosits and whatsits. To the randomness we go....

I'm always puzzled when people feel it's the right time to befriend someone on Facebook. In the last few days, there has been a rash of friend requests from kids at my old High School. Looking beyond the fact that I'm obviously well-liked and a popular fellow, I just don't know what it is that makes people decide "ok, I’ve known him for a decade plus, NOW’S the time!"

I got a request recently from someone who is a younger sister of an old friend of mine. We haven’t talked recently, and I doubt my name is flowing through the halls more than it has to on a usual basis (27 times or the state cuts funding). Was she walking around and saw a beard and thought of me? Did she watch Queer As Folk and have "hey, Mike Anton!" pop into her head? I believe she reads, or read, this blog, so maybe that was it. Either way, I hope it wasn't because she was watching Dateline: How To Catch A Predator and thought of my last relationship.

If you're pro-life, you should never be allowed to eat eggs; it’s hypocritical.

How is it that ugly, fat, or incredibly dorky people are always in relationships? It makes no god damn sense to me. I'm single for years at a time, but I always see terrible looking (and sometimes smelling) people holding hands as they walk down the street. I can’t even escape it on the internet as they list having a boyfriend or girlfriend on facebook who is equally as into Battlestar Galactica as anyone could be. Is it because they look past the ordinary superficial boundaries, journeying far below the surface to find the true beauty inside of others? Nah. I think they just know that they have nothing going, have equally given up, and think, "fuck it, at least they have a penis or vagina." I was going to write "penis/vagina" and decided against it, although it may very well be the case for some people. Who knows? Grab Bag indeed!

Does it creep out anyone else when something is italicized, but when a word should be italicized in the italicized text, they just make it normal? Doesn't that ruin the whole reason for italics in the first place? It is sort of like the grammar Special Olympics, where you can somehow make plain, old, boring text feel good by giving it a bizzaro award. "Here you go for being ordinary in the face of excited text or in an aside, when being fancy just won't get the point across." I say we use bold, just to drive home the point. You get it?

Thank god for hyperlinks, or else the only reason we’d have underline is for magazine titles. Ouch.

Why did someone have to refer to gay people as fags? They totally ruined one of the most fun put-downs in the English lexicon. Everyone says it, even Hip Hop Superstar Eminem(tm)! The British were smart enough to co-op it as slang for cigarette, so they can always try and pull the lame excuse, “no, I was just calling him a cig.” At least they have something. On top of the Italics movement, I move that we de-hate the word "fag." This makes the homosexual community feel more accepted, makes straight people feel less guilty when it's the first thing out of their mouths when their friend does something dumb, and affords us the opportunity to beat the British like it's 1783, and those limey fucks are getting cocky again. Let’s see the sun never set over that, fags!

No, no, I meant cigarettes.

For whatever reason, people from all over the world check out my blog. Oh wait, I do know the reason: they want porn. The weird, ridiculous searches that lead to my blog have been well documented, but the new version of Blogger has led to a veritable feeding frenzy at an edible underwear party. Therefore, I have decided to really up the ante and trick Google and desperate perverts (why would you show up at "Almost Enlightening" for porn?!) by throwing out all the weird things I can think of at once. Feel free to throw in your own words in the comments and I'll be sure to add them. Ahem:

Suck lick thong girls underage Mortal Kombat II boys party teen panties KFC moist bra orgy duck Paperboy! oil lube used condom ew gross stegasorous backwards wet Kazaam hard eat soft rough fast slow watermelon head legs thighs binoculars push long

I’ll report back next week if there is any hike in the hits. At the very least, I made my Mom blush.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Racing In Circles

There is a dichotomy that is running rampant in America, and that is of equality when it is comfortable for all parties. On one hand, it does not matter what skin color you happen to live in as you should be allowed to have the same job opportunities, the same respect, and the same dignity of anyone else. But then, whenever it is most appropriate to the situation, the dividing lines are drawn. Race becomes a cause of concern and a means of division to get points across. This schism is becoming all too real and apparent in this "post-Imus world," and it needs to stop.

The Imus Incident--given caps and a name because it is so obviously important--is by no means a polarizing issue. To polarize would mean that there would be two different and equal opposing sides that people would gravitate to. There weren't two sides in this case, unless you wanted to be Wrong. The only side one could take is that Imus is a racist sonuvabitch who has no right to spew his hate speech anywhere, let alone on the public radio waves that could be broadcast to anyone close enough to his hateful radio transmitter. To think otherwise would label you just as Imus himself was labelled. No one would stick up for someone who is a racist out of fear of being called a racist as well. Who is going to defend him, Oprah? Dr. Phil?

The pile on began. Throughout all facets of media, from talking heads to blogs, it rained shit on Don Imus. A lot of people took advantage of this incident and tried to show how liberal, good hearted, and morally correct they were in opposition to such a terrible person. It was the equivalent of a decathlon against Terry Schiavo. The bigger the story got, the more elitist the response became.

Let's see someone on his high horse. ESPN seems as good a candidate as any, having carried the Women's NCAA title game that put the Lady Scarlet Knights in the news in the first place. Tim Keown, a columnist for ESPN's Page 2 (a sub-site on espn.com that tries to mix pop culture and sports, usually in a comedic vein), takes a very strong and holier than thou approach to the whole matter. His column, found here, discusses the Incident in the most pompous, arrogant, and elitist way imaginable. He does not go out and call Imus's listeners stupid, instead implying it by saying that they "were laughing into their gun racks and plastic tablecloths." He does not give any merit to the rights of freedom of speech, instead criticizing the humor. On the comment of "nappy-headed hos," he asks, "That's the kind of humor you can't get away with anymore? That's humor? And Bernard McGuirk saying the word 'jigaboos'?"

The issue becomes confused. What someone feels is funny or not should have no baring over whether or not a man should lose his job. Furthermore, the arrogance to tell people what is or is not funny, what is or is not tasteful, is astonishing. Who put you in charge of what I should have to listen to? There is no universal mandate on what is racial insensitive and what is not. Dave Chappelle had an incredibly popular show that dealt with racism on a constant basis, and he's hailed as a genius (and rightfully so). Where were all of these people when Chappelle would mock whites? Is that not racist? When he would go after Asians, that wasn't racist? No one threw him off the air. People weren't coming out of the woodwork to badmouth Chappelle's Show. The Klu Klux Klan still has the right to march the streets of New York, why in God's name can't "nappy-headed hos" be broadcast in radio waves above their hateful pointy hats?

A week later, another (shittier) radio show in New York, JV and Elvis, was suspended after they made a prank phone call to a Chinese take out place using a stereotypical "Asian" voice. An Asian coalition, much like Al Sharpton's National Action Network, decided to put them out on the streets as well. In the New York Times article, the final line did not have anything to do with the comments from the radio hosts, but that the organization "was not yet as media savvy as Mr. Sharpton’s." Is that the real issue here? What small entity decides what is most appropriate for the masses to hear?

We have all learned that race isn't something to be toyed with. It is an issue that divides. It brings up many emotions, including anger, and it's best to not fan those flames. Thankfully, we have all learned our lessons, and from now on.

Study shows black players whistled more than whites.

Poll: Whites, blacks view Bonds' chase differently.

Or not.

The first story is about how white refs in the NBA call more fouls on black players than on white players. The discrepancy "is large enough that the probability of a team winning is noticeably affected by the racial composition of the refereeing crew." Let's just go beyond the fact that the majority of players in the NBA are black and that most of the refs are white, beyond how this isn't based on a single ref but calls made by all three members of the officiating team on the court, and even beyond that the study used statistics only and did not look at whether or not the foul calls themselves were fair or not.

The second story describes a large racially based discrepancy between blacks and whites on how Barry Bonds is viewed. 74% of black fans want Bonds to break the all-time career home runs mark, currently held by Hank Aaron (an African-American, like Bonds) while only 28% of white fans are rooting for Bonds. Furthermore, 46% of black people polled feel that Bonds has been treated unfairly while only 25% of whites do. Of those 46% of African-Americans, 25% think he is being unfairly treated because of his race (21% blame his personality). For the white side of the equation, 66% blame his unfair treatment based solely on steroids, and virtually none say it is because of his race.

For all the bullshit pandering that people like Tim Keown like to spew, the media conglomerate that pays him is very obviously keeping racial issues at the forefront of national thought to further their own profit. What does this story have to say about race? What general good does this do for the race relations that we hold so dear, especially after the Imus Incident? Where are the outraged masses to march on ESPN and demand that they not poll specifically between blacks and whites as we are all equals? Where are the Asian-American groups to ask why they were not equally represented? Why is the line drawn here?

The schism in this society is brought out by all of us, perpetrated by all of us, and then when someone "crosses the line," we all put up our dirty hands and attempt to show that we have wiped them clean. We are all guilty of playing into this game and then casting the first stone when it is comfortable and accessible in an effort to show others how "correct" we are, too. How can we have the audacity to say that we live united under one common, humanitarian banner when garbage like this permeates the air of society? These stories don't come from a "shock jock." This can't be pinned on someone who doesn't have the proper taste as any of the other Morally Correct people who are strewn across our land. No, this comes from the same media who shook their finger at a Don Imus. The hypocrisy is never ending.

This will not be the last time, either. At some point, another figure of questionable morality or decency will make a comment that is racially based and they will be run through the ringer. The media will ask aloud who is to blame, what sociological underpinnings make it so that the black race feels inferior and subject to ridicule, that whites have to be tolerant of other races, etc. etc. We are being played the fool. If polls which further divide the races are not published, what happens to Al Sharpton's position as a black leader? What happens to the Network he has put up? What happens on a slow news day when there needs to be a new angle on Barry Bonds? These stories sells papers, they make for airtime, and they bring up ratings and we all play along like marionettes.

This goes beyond the simple idea of what is funny or not, what is insensitive and what is not, or what is racist or what is not. This is about the majority (meaning all people) being jerked around by a minority who are thinking of themselves first and using a racial banner in order to achieve their personal goals. Instead of trying to unite, we are turned against each other, on purpose. Never once will they turn the mirror on themselves. Never once will they try and understand that they are the ones who perpetrate the never-ending racial issues. Never once will they question themselves because it drives stories, sells papers, fills up airtime, and gives certain people positions of power. This is an issue of morality and ethics, but it is not pointed at the proper targets, nor will it ever be.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Turning Your Orbit Around

It’s Easter Sunday and once again I attended mass. On the way back my roommate Zack asked me a very good question: why do you go to church? As you might have realized, I do have my reservations with Catholicism (look at the post below for one teeny tiny example), but yet the last two years I have not only gone to church on Easter, but sort of looked forward to it. Clearly I'm not there to praise the lord for his holy elevator journey. I think it's my way of paying tribute to my parents, specifically my Dad. We don't see each other a lot, but there is a connection that he's going to pretty much the same service that I am, be it 225 miles due south.

As per usual, I have some critiques and a list of grievances about the proceedings that I'll bother you with.

-I saw some girl bring coffee in to church. Ok, what is that about. You don't bring coffee in to church, let alone on Easter Sunday. Who would ever think that's alright? They can serve you coffee in the rec hall downstairs that is used for bingo night, that's all well and fine, but don't bring your Starbucks in to wash down your sacrament with. Thanks.
-Why must everything be sung? I understand the pomp and circumstance, but some of these things are a stretch and a half to try and make lyrical. We can just say things; look at the Our Father! The only people who can sing cause they do it properly are Southern Baptists. All I could think of is how great that part is in Blues Brothers and how lilywhite and crappy it is at Marsh Chapel in Boston.
-There were people dressed up in suits, some had jeans and a t-shirt, and one girl had cowboy boots while wearing a dress. I just...I just don't know.
-When did we start clapping in church? No one should clap. We should do like it always was: stew in silence and stare in appreciation.
-The amount of hot chicks at church for Easter is astounding. It was better last year when we attended the six o'clock, when everyone was sobered up from the previous night and went "eh, yeah, I guess I'll go." One of these attractive lasses sat directly next to me when most of the pews were empty.

One cannot hit on a girl in church. Do I lean in and go "man, what a great homily, huh?” or "she really pronounces 'Nazareth' well, doesn't she?" At one point I tried to look down her dress (she was 5'5" - it's hard not to from up here) before realizing that I was doing that, on Easter Sunday, in church. While it was one of the lesser sexual crimes perpetrated in a church, I still felt wrong. I did not judge her when she neglected put in any money for collection, but I was willing to look past that.

Unfortunately, it was all over during the Our Father. Apparently, it's a well-known custom to hold hands with the people next to you during the prayer, eventually raising your hands up together afterwards. This is something I did not grow up with, and only way I caught wind of it was when I used to go to mass with my cousins on my Dad's side. The Our Father is gearing up and she grabs her friend's hand, then hesitantly goes for mine. I don't move, cause I don't deal with that noise. Suddenly, Zack grabs my right hand and in that instant I became a giant asshole. I totally blew it. What can I do now, try and grab her hand at the "...as it is in Heaven" part? She gave me a look, and I felt small. She did the "peace be with you" handshake and was courteous, but my opportunity was blown. Thy Will be done indeed.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Heaven Help Me

*WARNING: Blasphemy is about to rain from the sky like sulfur.

I was reading up on the new Iron Man movie that changes the origins of the character. Instead of in Vietnam, Tony Stark now has an incident in Afghanistan that gets him into the iconic wonder suit. Comics will do this occasionally. When a character’s ideology or general beliefs don’t mesh with what’s current, he is either put out to pasture or changed (it's not a stretch to see Captain America die in 2007, is it?). Comics will have to update their characters roughly every 10 years or so, just to keep them fresh and viable in society and popular culture. But yet, there is one book whose characters are rigidly steadfast, whose feats border on the impossible, and is to be read as absolute truth from two thousand years ago.

Yes folks, Superman goes through more changes than SuperSavior ever does, and Kal-El doesn't have wars fought, laws made, morality based on, or terrorism enacted His name. I have had many problems with Catholicism over the years, from roughly five years old onward. It's rather evident in this blog (try and count the times I capitalize the pronoun "his" properly). What I've never done is look back critically, in an almost revisionist mode, and try and modernize the situations or problems with Jesus in the here and now. Somehow, this all came about during a lecture on the rise of Conservatism in 1980s America. You connect the dots.

For as long as I can remember, we all knew everything was going to be ok once Jesus came back. And he is coming. Oh yes, he's coming. The more time that goes by I keep thinking that we're getting stood up. It’s been two thousand years and he still hasn’t called us back. What if Jesus is actually trying to salvage a younger, prettier humanity from all that is evil? We could be floating in limbo and see Jesus and 6 Billion others at a bar having drinks. Man that'd be awkward. "Oh, these are my....friends, ya know.”

*cough*

We are all so cynical now that I don't think we'd believe Jesus if he did come back. We'd deem him some yahoo, a puppet of Jerry Fallwell, a loon, someone looking for cash or a reality TV deal (Pimp My Savior?). All of his "miracles" would be debunked on Discovery, or, God forbid, he just stands around on a really, really high church for 3 days before he is “set” back to Earth. Man, Jesus would be a hack and a half. Then again, he could very easily just start the Rapture. That’s a good one.

He could have very well been born into a virgin mother in 2007, but I find this to be a big problem as well. Would anyone believe that someone just GOT pregnant? If your girlfriend or wife said that, would you fall for it? She could be beaten for cheating or gotten an abortion from the phantom rape. It would at least give the old people who sit in front of Planned Parenthood every day on my walk a good reason to keep showing me baby pictures. I would also hope that the doctor that would perform said procedure wasn't Jewish or Italian, cause that'd be 0-for-2 all time against Sons of God. Those numbers don't bold well for postseason success; ask Judas-Rod.

How overbearing must Mother Mary have been? I had a protective mother, but she only had, you know, a regular son. I don't know what it would have been like to raise the Son. I don't think Jesus chewed his own food til he was 13. Or was it the opposite? Did Mary think his son was of God, and therefore invincible, so no matter what she did he'd be ok? Mary could have bounced that baby into the manger and she’d be all right. I’d say somewhere in between, but I don’t think moderation is allowed when dealing with these sorts of things….

Apparently Jesus had siblings, and were therefore born of Joseph. I wonder if Joseph saw Jesus's faults (I think he had a weak left in basketball) and taught his kids to exploit them. Joseph could have been the ultimate bad sport parent, pushing his kids past the brink just so he could compete with that Creator Of All That Is Heaven And Earth guy. Jesus is inside eating...sand?...and the kids are outside doing wind sprints til dusk.

I wonder if Jesus could have been a carpenter by trade? I guess it’s a good back up plan if downsizing snagged that whole Son of God thing. Imagine if you had a table made by Jesus? Who knows how much that would bring in on eBay.

Did Jesus actually rise up to Heaven literally? Could you wave goodbye to him until he went out of site? Is he nothing more than a balloon filled with helium? I'd hope he miracled a rocket ship or something; sparklers at the very least.

Why is it so weird to think of Jesus as being a normal guy? I hope he had a wife and he had kids. What do you want him to do, just ignore his human feelings and walk around in sandals until he was hung out to dry? He died for our sins; the least we could do is acknowledge that he got some. Good for him.

I have come to two conclusions on Jesus's sex life. One is that he was gay. Considering he didn't write the Good Book (or the one starring him, The Good Book Two: Heaven Harder), maybe his friends were kinda freaked out by dudes kissing dudes and wrote about how it should never, ever happen. The idea that I tend to hold dear is that he did have kids and they had X-Men like super powers. Jesus descendents are now a whole race of super humans, always lurking, always watching. Where do you think the show Heroes comes from?

I don't think the big J-Man would be able to cut it in today's culture. His face would be sprawled all over the Christian equivalent of Page 6, seen canoodling with famous (and loose) nuns. "Giving her the host" indeed. I doubt that he could snag myspace.com/jesushchrist without paying a hefty fee. Ditto for anything JC related on AIM or gmail. There are already like 300 Jesus Christs on facebook, too. After that, what’s the point? He’d truly be a stranger in a strangle land (I know, that wasn't Jesus, but it's appropriate). Maybe, just maybe, he could summon up some of that old magic and heal the lame, namely Nickelback.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Gramophone Filled With Dog Shit

Tonight, the music industry got together (meaning everyone from one of four companies) and gave out awards that used to have meaning. That's right, it's Grammy time! It's sort of like the Oscars or the Emmys, except it has even less credibility than the Golden Globes (they've only given Madonna one award).

It is shocking that at one point those awards actually held some sort of merit, as if winning them could solidify one's career. I think I blame Santana. He wins a baker's dozen and it was shocking. "My god, he came back from 30 years of playing shit only stoners would listen to, makes a song with that Matchbox 20 douchebag, and all of a sudden he can fill his swimming pool with golden awards!" Ever since there's always someone or some group walking out with more gold than you can put on a plane. Now, every year, someone has to have way too many awards to hold and they giggle and everyone takes pictures of this jackass and you have tomorrow's headlines: "HASBEEN/DEAD GUY/WHO? WINS TONS O’ AWARDS. I GUESS WE SHOULD CARE."

In example, how long has Ray Charles been making albums for? Decades upon decades. Can anyone think of anything remarkable to come from him out of the last twenty or so years? Other than the Pepsi song, I don't think the greater populace knew he was alive. So towards the end of his life, he makes a cd of duets with various “stars” (like Norah Jones, a 5-time Grammy winner, who is still a nobody), has Jamie Foxx play him in a movie, croaks, and then wins 80 Grammys that year. If he didn't die, if that movie didn't come out, and if the nation wasn't baffled by a blind man being addicted to heroin ("I couldn't find the vein WITH vision!") he wouldn't have won dick. The cd would have come out, sold in Starbucks across the nation, and done nothing.

This year, the day that the nominations were given out I knew who was going to win: the courageous Dixie Chicks. These uppity broads said some borderline mean shit about George Bush and are riding that train for as long as it can go. Stupid liberal cock fucks stand and admire. "My god," they think, "these are some educated southerners who have seen the liberal, blue-state light, and put down Evil George W. Bush. They are heroes of free speech!"

Those fucking bitches could have shit on a plate, passed it out as a pâté to guests, have them revolt and vomit, tape the whole fucking thing, and still would win best record, song, and ALBUM of the year. What? What? Who does that? Who gets all three? What the fuck?! The song, entitled "Not Ready To Make Nice," really shows that they are going to rebel, maaaaan! They're going to take on whoever they want to, maaaaan! They're not a country band anymore, cause they're ABOVE that maaaaan! There are worse words I want to use here, but my mother reads this, so I'll be polite. They are vaginas to the utmost.

Lifted from the AP: "That's interesting," Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines crowed from the podium after winning the country award. "Well, to quote the great 'Simpsons' _ 'Heh-Heh.'

"Just kidding," added Maines. "A lot of people just turned their TVs off right now. I'm very sorry for that."


Don't worry stupid, no one was watching anyway. You're in a pretty bad place when you're trying to rip off the Video Music Awards, which is such utter crap it should be used against terrorists in interrogations. They'd easily give up the minute they hear one of those 18-word-long Panic! songs. What the hell is up with that, anyway? Why must they have such long titles? Does this make them more important, deep, introspective?

As Maines accepted the album of the year, she joked: "I'm ready to make nice!" She then added: "I think people are using their freedom of speech with all these awards. We get the message."

This cutesy bitch should be hit with a fucking shovel. Holy fuck. You aren't cute, you aren't a proponent for free speech. Let's see what you got out of burning bridges in the south: a movie, kept the mainstream audience you've had before hand, added bed wetters, and got five Grammies. Tough. Wow. The nation wept for you. I'M GONNA MAKE NICE NOW LOL GUYS NO REALLY I'M NOT BUT THANKS. People are using their freedom of sp BITCH IT'S ABOUT MUSIC!

Well, actually, no, she's right. If it were about music and not politics (heaven forbid at a MUSIC awards show), then Gnarls Barkley wouldn't get the shaft for anything but Alternative (what does that even fucking mean?) and Urban (the classy term for "black music that isn't rap, we guess"). At the very least, the very good Stadium Arcadium from the Red Hot Chili Peppers would have gotten a nod. But no. No, that's not possible, because we shouldn't award one of the most original, unclassifiable (well, other than Alternative) albums of the last ten years. The only time the Grammys caved was when they gave best album to Outkast for Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, and they ended up looking like assholes cause it came across as, "LOOK! HISTORY! WE GAVE THE NEGROS AWARDS!"

I don’t even know why I’m so angry. I only watched the show for roughly 15 seconds, just enough time to see The Roots lose to Ludacrus for Best Rap Album. Luda also beat Pharrell...who apparently put out a rap cd. I'm just so befuddled I don't know what to do with myself. Before you ask, no, I didn't watch the Police open the show. If I wanted to see old people scrounging for their check to pay the rent I'd go to my local grocery store. At least they won't pretend that they hate everyone around them.

The best irony for this shitfest is the award itself: the ornate, golden Gramophone. Once essential to playing and enjoying music, it is now nothing more than a relic, a kitsch item for the older set who use it not to listen to Benny Goodman, but to look at and think of days past. It harkens back to the good old days--as they are always better when they are now out of reach--when things were different, when things were great, when things meant something. But now, that Gramophone is worthless, a relic, a piece of history that is best left there: in the past. How appropriate.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Alert Status Red

Throughout time, there have always been odd coincidences. On the bigger scale, you have David Bowie and Bing Crosby singing "Little Drummer Boy," or the British and French working together for the first time in the Crimean War. Of course, there are smaller odd combinations, such as taking the wrong drink at Starbucks (sorry confused-looking Asian girl, but don't fret - your drink sucked, so you’re welcome whilst you enjoy my café mocha) or reading Hunter S. Thompson at the School of Theology's library. I have propped myself in here with the haggard looking friends of Jesus to do some work, but I can't not discuss what happened in Boston yesterday. It seems as if some great satirist put his work into action and everyone is taking it like it's Death of a Salesman.

If you are not aware, there was a terrible bomb scare all over Boston, spilling into Somerville, and getting as close to me as the BU Bridge. I guess I would have been scared if I didn't hear of the bomb threats until around 4 PM, when the truth started to come out. I just got the tail end of, "the devices, these...hoax devices, seem to have a similar characteristic that...seems to show that they are of the some unified front." What was that image?



To say that I almost shit my pants when that came on my tv would be an understatement. It's simply a Mooninite, a Space Invader-esque character from the College cult show on Cartoon Network's [adult swim] programming block, Aqua Teen Hunger Force. The heavy irony here is that they are invading Earth from the Moon to take our planet over. “Cartoon terrorists take their mission off the screen an into reality…more at 11.”

I watched in gleeful joy as the local news stations had such "breaking news" as the "hoax devices" are from a show called "Aqua Team Hunger Forces," pulling production assistants from the booth to try and explain what's going on. The young chap called it "guerilla marketing," while the anchor goes "guerilla...indeed," before using his Stern Face and staring down the barrel of the camera.

Every bit of this coverage is humiliating. The constant repeating clip of the Boston bomb squad water cannoning the "explosive." Helicopter shots of a panicked Boston, hiding in fear from glorified Lite-Brites. Mayor Menino threatening "whoever did this" (did what?) with two to five years in prison. The anchors having to swing twenty minutes of tv time out of a toy. It was surreal.

This campaign has been going on with no problem in other, larger cities without the sense of inherent panic. When someone thinks of terrorism, doesn't Boston fall somewhere below Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago, who had no problem with this advertising? What really shocked me was all of the bluster being thrown about by the officials of Boston and Massachussets. The use of a term like "hoax devices" certainly makes it seem as if this was the desired outcome of the marketing. "Let's totally think people are doing to die! Awesome! That’ll get our name out there!”

We have ventured onto a weird cross section of generational gaps and national security. Most people here at BU would probably consider this to be laughable. Here we are, so stricken by fear that we immediately panic when cartoon characters are being lit at night in various points all over Boston. "But Manton," you say, "they placed these 'devices' all over heavily populated areas of Boston including interstate overpasses and T stations!" Yes - it's an advertisement. Where do you want them placed, back alleys, trashcans, the fucking desert (ie the Garden during a Celts game).

Two people have been arrested for putting the terror devices up all over town. You can view the amazing interview on YouTube, where they discuss the history of various hair styles and their origins instead of fielding “proper” questions. One reporter quips "are they going to take this seriously?" Why should they? Why are you? So these guys might get martyred because of an easy-to-assume media who get their viewer ship by terrifying the public blew up (pardon the pun) a mix-up?

Who can you blame in this situation? Clearly someone will have to be to blame, and it looks like it will be these two schleps and Time Warner, who owns Cartoon Network, the show, and therefore the ad campaign. They had a wonderful statement that explained their sorrow that the advertising pieces could be mistaken for bombs. They did not apologize for putting them up, but simply that they were mistaken for combustibles.

This is an embarrassment, and new governor Deval Patrick doesn't like having the egg on his face. They have already published how much money Boston had to spend yesterday, so Time Warner will foot that bill. The over dramatization is in full effect; people were "fearful" and given a grave disservice from not being allowed on roads and public transportation. The media will drop buzzwords and phrases like "hoax" and "...in a post-9/11 world" while flashing NEWS ALERTS that transpire to nothing.

This is the culture we live in, folks. Dominated by fear and insulated from the dangers of light-up cartoon characters who happen to "give the finger." Every article or piece of news condemned the wrong people. The only people to blame are those who overreacted. Put a twenty-year-old kid with the cops and the entire problem is diffused immediately. Send out one bomb squad, figure out what it is, go around town and take down the rest if permits weren't officially offered. Slap on the wrist, we all go home.

No, instead, we have a big hairy mess from people overreacting who place no blame on themselves. In fact, it's the opposite. Good job Boston for responding so well to a terrorist situation! Could have used the help a couple of years ago. But now we can sleep easy as every neon light bulb and walk/don't walk sign is taken from the city, keeping us safe and snug and secure. I blame light bulbs. If we can't plug in lights to advertise things, then, well, Edison-ists win.

God Bless America!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Hello, Timebomb

My roommates and I were invited to a party downstairs in our apartment building. It was the first event held by one of the sororities on campus, and the invite list on facebook was somewhere in the 90s (meaning there would be roughly 150 people there at any one time). Filled from front to back with ladies of varying degrees of sobriety and attractiveness, we walked in, found two girls we knew, and proceeded to talk to them almost exclusively. After nimbly dodging a drunken freshman girl--who then fell in a lap of a couple heavily making out on the couch, leaving the gent none too pleased--my group retired towards a table that was once the playing field for flip cup.

Across the beer can mass grave was a group of five or six females, all of whom were intently looking in my direction. Playing it cool, I paid them no mind and continued to talk to my little entourage. From out of nowhere came a flash of light from a digital camera. Jarred, I shook my head and looked at the source: two girls, rather short, fairly unattractive. The one holding the camera giggles and says aloud, to no one in particular, "oh man, let's get more crowd shots!" That was followed by another picture of me exclusively, this time with the camera slightly ajar, giving it that wonderful Dutch Angle/"there's something wrong here" vibe. Meekly, she turns to her right and randomly holds down the trigger, flash goes off. She turns back to her friends. I do the same.

A few seconds later, I hear someone yell something from across the table. I look over and the photographer is asking me a question. "Are you Jewish?" she asks. With the help of a few bottles of beer, I stone faced a, "no, Roman Catholic" retort. She shoots me a confused look. I try and further my case by telling her that I'm even confirmed. I feel it isn't necessary to go the extra step and say that my confirmation name is Joseph. She says, "oh," prompting me to wave my hand in front of my face and say, "I know it looks it, but, no." I am Polish after all, and being Jewish became rather unfashionable around the same time the Antons moved to America. Dejected, li'l Annie Lebovitz turns to her friend, and they continue to point at me and debate my ethnicity, facial structure, and perceived religion for the next minute or so.

For the record, even if I was wearing a yarmulke, I would tell the girl I was Muslim. She was certainly not worth a conversion.

Have you ever wanted to beat someone so fucking badly in beer pong that it becomes almost as intense as a legitimate competitive sport? There was this one kid who kept hanging around the table, pointing out good shots, going "ooohhh" when there was a close miss, and laughing when a shot was way off. His commentary went unappreciated by all around. I figured he was just an asshole, smiled at him, and then when he turned his head I made faces at him, because I'm a coward and a backhanded son of a bitch. Oh well, the people on the table with me laughed.

The girl and I win. While we set up the next game, we see our next opponents. Lo and behold, it’s the douche himself. I turn to the girl I'm playing with and say, "I don't want to play anymore...but we can't fucking lose this game." She nods her head in agreement; so serious she refuses to say anything. That's quite the level of seriousness, sirs and ma'ams.

This guy was shooting with his right hand, but floated his left hand up as if he was shooting a basketball. He made his first shot, left the right hand leaning, got a big high five, and made an "oooohhhh it's on now!" sort of noise. I wanted to take the table leg and throw it, much like a javelin, through his giant round head.

Anyway, turns out he was the worst kind of asshole: he wasn't very good. In 10 cup, he hit maybe three, letting his partner do all the hard work (whilst she leaned with her elbow blatantly over the edge). So while that jackoff talked and talked and did dumb shit with his hands, my partner and I won, going undefeated, and beating a pure dick in the process. I hope he is now racked with self-doubt and cries himself to sleep.

Oh who am I kidding, he's probably wearing a hat that says "I'm #1" while he poses all alone in his bathroom with his shirt off, staring at himself in the mirror, trying his best to convince himself that his life is one worth living. Godspeed, sir.

There are absolutely no advantages to having the toilet paper be set for an overhand setting. The preferred method--hell, the only method--in the Anton house is the underhand orientation. This is the type that has the paper coming from the back, towards the wall dispenser, and dangles nicely straight to the ground. The overhand set up has the next sheet right on top of the roll, just waiting to be wrenched away, one 4"x4" slice of papery goodness at a time.

Has anyone ever had a problem with underhand? I can't believe it's possible. It's always ready to gently roll off, and you can usually control when the sheet ends. Overhand is a grab bag of lengths which could lead to the dreaded "one at a time" problem one experiences mostly at restaurants or places where you already don't feel comfortable going to the bathroom in.

This bothers me nearly as much as orange juice with pulp. This has baffled me since I was three. I was at my grandma's shore house, and my mom pours me a glass of what she swears is orange juice. "Incorrect," I counter, "this has stuff in it. Juice doesn't have stuff in it." She tries to placate me saying that it's just pieces of orange, and it comes with the sweet nectar of Tropicana oranges. I will hear nothing of the sort.

If this sort of willy-nilly processing happened with any other food, there would be hell to pay. Would you accept pieces of grape in your wine? How about apple bits in your apple juice? At least one foreign embassy would burn in effigy for the lax processing involved in creating that liquid product.

That is the most crucial part, really. It's a liquid and therefore shouldn't contain any solids. If I'm thirsty and suck down a glass of liquid, I don't want to deal with shit sticking to my teeth that I eventually have to sort of chew and then swallow. This is a mixture of mediums that simply should not be. Pulp should be barred from every household in America. We have the internet, a Polio vaccine, the Nintendo 64, but somehow we have pieces of fucking oranges in our orange juice. What's the point of modernity when shit like this continues to occur? I write on my 2004 laptop and drink oj from the dark ages. Fucking ridiculous.

Culling it all together: I'm not Jewish, I hate people who talk and have no game in beer pong, ineffectual toilet paper configurations, and orange juice that was drank when leparcy was still an issue. Yup. All in a night's work.