The article is mainly about the fact that Dubai can't even keep up with its own growth. Which, in the end, is a good thing. My only question though...would you really want to live in Dubai? It's so hot. And the people there are...well, really bad drivers. It's like Miami with Turbans.
“For architects, Dubai is a tabula rasa, a blank slate,” says Patrick Fejér, design partner at Bregman + Hamann Architects, a Toronto firm that last year opened an office in Dubai, where it is working on three high-rise residential towers as well as several commercial projects in neighbouring United Arab Emirates states, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi.
“There's an ‘anything goes' attitude in Dubai and we have tremendous freedom to create something out of the ordinary. Dubai is all about escapism and fantasy and our job is to translate that into the look and function of a building,” Mr. Fejér says.
In this wealthy emirate, innovative ideas about function and design are front and centre. Money is no object and even such staid organizations as banks and insurance companies are housed in stunning, eye-catching structures that lend colour and flair to the fast-growing Dubai skyline.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
As part of checking my e-mail I always swing by my spam mail, since on a few occasions reader mail has ended up there. It's only been twice, so I usually skim over my junk mail just to make sure a legit e-mail hasn't accidentally ended up there.
Today, as I was checking my spam mail, I received a letter from a reader who thought I'd laugh at one of his spam mails. Titled, "Is Your Wife Boring?", the e-mail contained the following lovely anecdote...
Is wifey boring you? Is she too tired from cooking and cleaning? Or are you just getting plain old fed up with doing all the work and watching her sit around the house claiming she's "not in the mood"? Well--how about you give our girls a try?! We have every girl you could ever want! Our little asian sluts will surely do a better job than your deadbeat wife!
Hmph. Now I know why it was in my spam mail. Oh, and believe me, there was more, but as it is I'm not sure if this entry is really worksafe...
I found the e-mail funny. It seemed like it was written by a housewife whose a little P-O-ed at hubby. But, at the same time, it just made me feel a little sorry. Not for myself--but for this country. We have millions of people working day and night to ensure that loving homosexual couples can't get married, yet the pornography business is raking in more than most small countries. ($14 Billion, by the way). It's destroying marriages, families and even people's lives. If the wingnuts are really trying to save the sanctity of marriage, why don't they start with the marriages that already exist?
See, just another reason Gays choose their lifestyle: threats of murder! I mean, wouldn't you want to be hated by more than half of your country? Wouldn't you want to be a marginalized and brushed aside part of the population, only important when politicians want to win an election off of people's hatred of you? Wouldn't you prefer to be the victim of a hate crime--a crime specifically against you because you chose to be gay?
Choosing to be gay is the life! This is what I've always dreamed of! Gosh, all those straighties just have no idea what they're missing. After reading a lovely piece like this, I'm just so glad I chose to be gay!
Monday, September 29, 2008
I'll have a full update tomorrow. I just got back and I have SOOO much to catch up on. Oh, like reading three books. By next Tuesday. Don't worry, it's not like I work a full-time job on top of a 22-credit hour school schedule. Not at all.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
On top of that, eating is expensive. Have you been to a restaurant recently? (I know I haven't!) Prices are soaring through the roof, and portion sizes aren't looking like it's worth what you're paying (not that I would know, of course).
Eating is also so time-consuming! As a student, I simply do not have three times a day to stop what I'm doing and begin gourging on something that is unnecessary in the first place.
So what did I do? Well, I did what every sane person would do--I stopped eating! That's right, I just shut my mouth and found other things to do. It only took maybe three weeks of involuntarily shaking and chunks of hair falling out before I began to realize that, maybe, eating is necessary.
So when I saw that some loons out in California are going to starve themselves for 40 days in order to "save marriage"...I said, "Well, more power to them! If they can do it, then maybe there is some truth to this non-eating lifestyle. Perhaps I can finally be at my goal weight--67 pounds!" (I know, even that's a bit on the hefty side).
So, Pastors and crazy loons in California, let me know how it goes. I'm currently 150 pounds, but I've always dreamed of being so emaciated I needed help up the stairs. Can you please let me know if after 40 days of fasting you're thin as a rail? Will you look like a crack addict on Sunday? Will you be so thin people will say, "I just loved your work in Schindler's List!"? If any of the above happens, get back to me! I want to be thin enough that Jesus looks beyond the gay thing and finally loves me!
Oh, and if you pass out and die, thus not allowing you to vote for Proposition 8? Well, it's God's Will.
- Hurricane Katrina? "Nah, it ain't no natural disaster! God was just trying to kill all dem' homosexuals! All they is is a bunch o' sinners!"
- September 11th? "Oh, no, it wasn't some crazy terrorists who are fed up with the US...it was those hell-bound cock suckers! They did this to America!"
- AIDS? "All those poor innocent Africans dying of AIDS is the punishment of God on the fags! GOD HATES FAGS!"
- National Security? "If gay marriage passes in this nation, you can kiss this nation goodbye!"
Oh. My. Rod. How do these people even function?
Anyway, it hasn't taken long for some whacknut crazy Christian to say that the financial crisis is, too, a fault of the gays. Because that is rational.
I wish I had my old "WWJD" bracelets, because I'd love to send them to this whackjob, Mike Heath. Really, is this what Jesus would do? Really? Spend all your time pointing finger at people who are unlike you? This is what Jesus is like? Wow, really sounds like the kind of guy I'd like to spend an eternity with.
We are all rightly concerned about the nation's financial situation today. Our crisis is a symptom, not the cause.
Ruth Graham told her husband Billy years ago that God would have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah if He doesn't judge America. They were reflecting on a list of sinful conditions existing in our nation in the 1960s. Things have only deteriorated since then.
I am not saying I know whether this financial crisis is God's judgment or not. It is not for me to know that definitively. Graham's observations are instructive, however.
If Maine's politicians really want to get serious about making Maine strong in light of this national crisis they will do the following immediately:
If we did that in 2009 I think God would crack a smile.
- Put Maine on record as being against abortion the nanosecond the Supreme Court releases the Roe shackle.
- Defund the Family Planning Association of Maine.
- Amend Maine's Constitution to define Marriage.
- Eliminate domestic partnerships and ignore pleas to create civil unions.
- Unleash Maine's private sector to make Maine energy independent.
- End discrimination against private religious schools and homeschools.
This is what gets to me about religion. Under the regime of God, no one is responsible for their actions. Take this example right here--according to this loon, the failure of our economy has nothing to do with the brokers on Wall Street, the horrific lending practices that mortgage companies have adopted, the asinine deregulation of our banks, the self-destructive high taxing of the middle class and the wildly ludicrous policy of trickle-down-economics. Instead, it is all up to God. God is punishing the world for the gays actions. But, the punishment is brought fourth through the actions of people. If this punishment is directly from God, that means that God is the one who crafted this financial crisis. And for that to happen, God would have to be in control of everything that happens. You simply cannot destroy an economy overnight, so every bad decision made by every single person in America is God's will--in order to punish 5% of the population. God, you're a douche!
If that is the case, then my Atheism is solely God's decision. The words I am writing right now are under his control. Why? Because in order for God to have power of the big stuff, he needs to have the power of the small stuff. Fannie Mae going under? It's God's will. The hurricanes that keep killing people? It's God's will. The kidnapped tourists? It's God's will. The Iraq War? It's God's will.
People, can we all agree that is stupid? You and I are in charge of our actions. We are human beings with the mental capacity to make rational decisions for our life. In order for God to have any sort of power whatsoever, we could not have free will. And thus, this financial crisis is not a punishment on a small sect of Americans--it is the result of bad decisions by bad Americans. It's time we stopped looking for someone to blame and start looking for how we are going to fix this.
Oh, what I would give to have seen a crooked old drunk fanning a fart at the popo.
Piece of cake for the hockey mom, right?
Last October, the [trust] fund [for American Highways] had an $8.1 billion surplus; this month Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters announced that the fund's balance would reach zero by Oct. 1. What changed? As gas prices rose, Americans drove less, and gas tax revenue, which funds most transportation projects, declined. The instability of gas tax revenue underscores the conflicting logic driving transportation policy. Transportation officials encourage mass transit but rely on drivers to generate most of the fund's revenue. When drivers shift to buses and subways -- as they have this year -- revenue takes a hit, and an overburdened mass transit system is stretched to its limits.
The beginning of the article notes that congress agreed to an emergency $8.1 Billion bail-out of the highways, but even this would only last a year at best.
What does this mean? Only that our highways are going bankrupt because of the decline of driving. Looks like the free market yet again has saved us!
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
CHICAGO– Obama versus McCain, and the places we live — what difference will this election make? After the speeches, ads, debates, saturation media, are over and the voters have spoken, how will the new president work with the cities and metropolitan areas that a vast majority of us call home?
My short analysis: With Obama, we’re likely to get an activist federal government in areas from transit and infrastructure to housing. But it won’t be the Democrats’ historic center-city “urban policy.” Instead, Obama’s looking for ways to shift and coordinate federal programs to help boost the fortunes of entire metro regions.
McCain? One has to be a super-detective to discern any city-metro policy at all. We know what he’s against, starting with pork-barrel spending, particularly earmarks for politicians’ pet local projects. We know he’s for less government regulation and lower taxes for individuals, small businesses, corporations.
But do we have even a hint of a federal partnership with urban/metro America under a McCain administration? So far no. The silence could be intentional. The Sarah Palin vice presidential selection, the Republican National Convention’s celebration of small towns and invective against “cosmopolitanism” and community organizing, smacks of a calculated anti-urban message.
Chicago’s Metropolitan Planning Council, in an effort to smoke out the candidates’ positions on metro-area issues, held a public forum Sept. 8 with surrogates for the presidential contenders. State Rep. James Durkin, Illinois co-chair for John McCain, faced off against former U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry Cisneros, representing Obama.
Durkin underscored McCain’s anti-tax, anti-regulatory positions. But when the moderator asked — “How would a McCain administration prioritize and fund transit, road and freight investments to not only help communities, but help commerce and keep our economic strong locally and internationally?” — Durkin was at a loss for answer.
Cisneros, by contrast, could cite and praise Obama’s pledge to create the first-ever White House Office on Urban Policy. With a director reporting to the president, its role would be to get the federal government’s historically “siloed” cabinet departments and agencies to work collaboratively with cities and metro regions.
For over 50 years, at least since President Harry Truman, said Cisneros, “We haven’t had a president who would be as grounded, as versed in urban and metropolitan matters” as Obama.
It’s true, Obama doesn’t campaign much on his city-metro agenda. But he committed himself clearly in June before the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Noting “crumbling roads and bridges, aging water and sewer pipes, faltering electrical grids,” Obama endorsed a new national infrastructure bank, seeded with $60 billion in federal funds over 10 years, to move road, bridge, airport, rail and other metro area projects forward.
Obama is also calling for $200 million in annual grants to spark “regional clusters” in advanced sciences or cutting edge technologies — one of several ideas germinated by the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. Underscoring the forward-looking investment theme, Obama told the mayors:
“Yes, we need to fight poverty,… fight crime… But we also need to stop seeing our cities as the problem and start seeing them as the solution. Because strong cities are the building blocks of strong regions, and strong regions are essential for a strong America.”
There’s a touch of historic Democratic generosity toward cities in Obama’s promises. His list is long — for example restoring federal funds for community-oriented policing programs, full funding of Sec. 8 housing vouchers, full funding of community development block grants, increasing the minimum wage, broadband in all schools and more.
The promises do make one wonder: in times of record deficits, where will the money come from? Yet the billions to arm for the foreign policy aggressiveness McCain is espousing — especially with simultaneous tax cuts — are arguably far more worrisome.
A big McCain question is whether, if elected, he’d govern with serious domestic purpose, pleasantly surprising us as President George H.W. Bush did by picking such able Cabinet secretaries as Jack Kemp at for HUD. (A parallel current-day pick might be ex-Indianapolis Mayor Steven Goldsmith, a top urban expert).
Or would McCain be more like George W. Bush, filling his administration (especially urban policy posts) with ideologues and mediocrities?
The answer’s unknowable — a big crap shoot.
By contrast, an Obama presidency would at least aspire to deliver 21st century intellectual power, strong personal commitment to our cities and regions, and intent to appoint the most skilled administrators the country has to offer.
That alone wouldn’t clean away the detritus of the last years — the housing foreclosure mess, an ominously rising federal deficit, ending the Iraq war, catchup on global climate issues. They’ll still pose a daunting challenge. But with a youthful administration, and a Congress and president of the same party, metro America’s chances would surely be brighter.
There are 42 days until the election, and only 12 more days to register voters here in Ohio. Simply put, I am not doing enough for the Obama campaign. As of now I have donated money and gone to a few rallies--that's it. I haven't knocked on doors, I haven't hit up the phone banks, and I haven't gone out canvassing.
Why does it matter? Because the next twelve days will shape the next twelve years. We simply cannot allow us to barrel on in the current direction hoping the free market will fix everything. We can't continue to deregulate every Government infrastructure yet at the same time allow the Government to nationalize every single one of our industries. After the past few weeks, they own the banks, the mortgage companies, the finance companies, Wall Street and soon enough they'll roll into Detroit and nationalize Ford, too.
John McCain wants to keep this up. He doesn't believe our economy is in trouble at all. He doesn't believe our health care is in trouble. He believes everything is swell over in Iraq. And then he also believes his silly little VP is ready to run this country. This man is delusional and should be seeking psychiatry, not the presidency.
Our country is in trouble, and the world is too busy to even notice us in our free fall. John McCain doesn't have a single plan that will help Americans. What we need is a change, and Barack Obama is the only candidate who brings to the table the plans, energy and momentum to provide that change.
Starting Wednesday, I'm going to start going door-to-door. If I talk to 50 people and only get one vote, I will have accomplished something. Every vote counts here in Ohio. If you're not registered, follow this link for directions on how to register. You only have 12 days left.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Yeah, she didn't like that one very much. I wonder why?
Me, inebriated: "Lady, why aren't you having a drink?
Woman: "Oh, well, I don't drink."
Me, inebriated: "Don't drink? You don't drink? Why in the world would you do something like that?"
Woman: "Because I had a bad experience once. Some guys took advantage of me."
Me, inebriated: "Honey, what you call 'taking advantage of', I call 'good fortune'!"
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
...sigh. I'll get them up here, eventually. In my recent move I lost the cord that connects my camera to my computer, and those things are not too easy to find. I'll figure out how to load photos, eventually.
I will let you know that the Trump Tower looks AMAZING! I remember on one of my first trips to Chicago they had just begun to build it, and now it's such a feeling of near-liberation to watch it come to completion. There will be a "topping ceremony" on September 24th where they put the remaining windows into the building and dub it complete. As of now, though, the hotel is already opening and functioning, and the majority of the building is finished.
The Trump International Hotel and Tower is now the second tallest building in The United States, coming in only after Chicago's Sears Tower. With its spire it stands at 1,362 feet. Prior to the Trump Tower, the AON Center was the second tallest building in Chicago at 1,170 feet.
I'm on my way to check the grounds of the Chicago Spire. Once completed, it will be the tallest building in the United States at 2000 feet and the second tallest building in the world.
It further goes on to say that suburban life is proving to be ineffective in terms of health, quality of life, and overall efficacy as areas for people to live.
“There’s a clear indication now that suburban living is associated with obesity and high rates of lung and heart disease,” says William Rees, professor at the University of British Columbia’s School of Community and Regional Planning and founder of the ‘ecological footprint’ concept. “The nature of planning in North American cities, which tends to separate residential from commercial from shopping uses, virtually forces everyone to use a car.”
As citizens from London to Bombay to any other large, well-developed city will tell you, cars are not only unnecessary in downtown living; they’re a downright headache to use. On top of the gas money savings from stowing your vehicle, a lack of cars creates some health benefits. "People that live in downtown areas where they don’t use vehicles as much, but walk to work, walk to restaurants, walk to shopping and so forth, those people on average weigh less and have healthier cardiovascular systems than people living in the suburbs,” says Rees.
“Eco-densification, densifying urban development, getting out of sprawling situations is a remarkable improvement in public health and it has the additional advantage of further reducing automobile dependency, the higher densities result in much more economically viable public transit systems and clearer advantages.”
I really like Indianpolis. I'm not going to pack my bags and head west, but I find it to be a beautiful city with a downtown on par with Columbus. There are monuments everywhere; in fact, it has the second highest numbers of monuments within city-limits of any American city, coming right after Washington D.C.. Seems a bit random for lil' old Indy, huh?
The city is centered around Monument Circle, an enormous memorial erected in reverent memory of veterans of the American Revolution. All of the streets are built in consideration of the circle, including Market Street which runs up to the circle and then around it. City planners are looking to change that.
As of now, traffic from one of the busiest streets in Indianapolis circles the Monument. However, a group of business developers and urban planners are looking to close all vehicular traffic through the circle, trying to give a more "European" feel, where people relax and hang out in the circle.
Seems like a great idea to me. As it is now, they shut down traffic at the circle for many major events, so why not turn it into a large-scale Dupont Circle? When I lived in Washington D.C., it was always wonderful to relax by the fountain at Dupont, as many other people do. Bringing the same social good to Indianapolis would only help their downtown and their city.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Can you imagine what would happen to this world if the wizards on Wall Street created a private social-security company and then pulled a Fannie, Merrill or Lehman?
Gosh. That would be...bad.
I would like to believe that when most people think of me, they don’t imagine a man who runs into problems with the law. (Right?) Well, for the most part, that's true. Except for this one thing...
It was a cold Sunday evening in February and I was on my way to a Christmas party. You see, for those of us in the restaurant industry, we don’t celebrate Christmas—we work it. And when it comes to any type of work function to celebrate the season, it’s not for weeks until after holidays are over that we actually get together to kick back our feet and drink a few too many beers.
So once arriving at my destination, a bar in the Arena District, I reached for my ID and realized I left my wallet at my house. Silly me! I fortunately only lived a few streetlights away, so I hopped back into my car and drove back to find it.
As I was dialing my best friend Tonia to let her know I was going to be late, I suddenly saw lights flashing in my rear view mirror. I hadn’t been speeding, I certainly hadn’t been drinking, and I could think of no reason I was being pulled over—well, except that I didn’t have a license on me.
“Tonia, shit, I’m getting pulled over.” And I hung up.
The police officer, a tall, younger man with short shaved hair, strolled up to my car and lightly tapped on my window. “License, registration and proof of insurance, please.” He spoke nonchalantly, chomping on some gum and not even looking me in the eye. He had that slight twang in his voice; not a southern dipthong, but more along the lines of a boy who grew up in Grove City, Ohio.
“Sure, officer, but may I ask why I am being pulled over?”, meanwhile trying to figure out how I was going to explain to him why I didn’t have my license.
“Your tags. They’re expired.”
“But that’s impossible, I got them just over a year ago!”
“Yeah, exactly. They’re only good for one year.”
My eyes stared dumbfounded back at him. I had only been in Ohio for a year, and back home in Maryland you only had to register your tags every two years. In all sincerity I had no idea.
I explained to him the situation, which he understood. “Still, I need to see your license, registration and proof of insurance.”
“Ok, well, officer, that’s the thing—I’m on my way now to get my license. I left my entire wallet at home. But I only live up the street!”
“Sir, it’s no big deal. What about your insurance?”
“Officer, honestly, my Geico ID card is in my wallet.”
“God, it’s not your day, is it?” The officer said, smirking and finally looking me in the eye. “Let me just see your registration and I’ll let you be on your way.”
I reached into the glove compartment and found the registration, which I handed to him. He walked back to his car and sat for a few minutes. I rested there relatively smoothly, knowing that when he returned to my car I’d be allowed to get back on the road, grab my wallet and return to the party.
Distinctly, I remember the way he walked back to my car: the frivolity was gone; the smirk he wore had disappeared. Now, he walked stern, fast, angered. Instead of a light tap on my window, it was a pound.
“Sir, state to me your name and social security number.” The officer yelled, Grove City drawl gone.
“Chris Hooker! Nine-two-nine-seven…”
“Sir, step out of the car.”
“IT WILL BE IN YOUR BEST INTEREST TO DO AS I SAY.”
I jumped out of the car, only to be thrown against the door I had just shut. “Sir, you are under arrest.”
“Officer, what did I do?”
“Operation of a stolen vehicle, false identity…”
“Stolen? What? I own this car!”
The officer said nothing further as he clamped the cuffs around my wrists. He had them so tight I felt a sharp sting against my skin. The blood was losing circulation to my hands. It was not just merely uncomfortable; it hurt enough to shut me up.
He roughly dragged me back to his cop car and threw me into the back seat. “Officer, what is going on?”
“Sir, this vehicle you are driving is not registered to a Chris Hooker, nor to the social security number you provided. You have expired tags, you do not have a license, nor do you have proof of insurance. And, though this is not as important, you’re missing a front headlight.”
I had no idea what to say, because everything he said was true—except that I owned the car. This was just a terrible misunderstanding, one that even I had not understood.
“Officer, what is the social security number?”
I recognized the number, but I had no idea why. My parents had not co-signed my car, but for some reason I thought it could have been their social. I sat their in silence, maybe uttering a “umm” or two. “Officer, I think that is, umm, my step-father’s…”
“Huh? You think?”
“Well, it just sounds like it.”
“So what do you want me to do about it?”
“Call him. Ask him his social.”
The officer adjusted his mirror to look at me in the reflection. He let out a deep breathe and said, “Fine, kid, you get one call. If he doesn’t pick up, I’m driving off.”
Those few seconds were probably the most stressful moments of my life. I have never had so much staking on my step-father picking up his phone. And, considering my step-father is the kind that frequently turns off his cell-phone for no reason at all, I was thoroughly terrified.
He picked up.
“This is Stan.”
“Hi there Stan, this is Officer McBride. I have your son.”
“Oh Lord, what has he done?”
“Before I answer that, tell me your social.”
If I hadn’t been cuffed, I would have been biting my nails. The agony was culminating to this very second. If I was wrong, and that was not his social security number, it was off to jail for me.
“Well, I’ll be damned…” The officer said. It was exactly my step-father’s social.
After a few more minutes of talk, we discovered what had happened. When I registered the tags, I presented my military ID, since my step-father was retired navy. That ID card presents two social security numbers—my step-father’s, since he was the actual retiree, and me, the dependent. When they registered my vehicle, they must have accidently misread the ID card and typed in the wrong social security number.
The officer got off the phone with my step-father and then turned around to speak to me, “So, son, you’re kind of lucky today. Except for one major problem—how can you prove any of this?”
Fuck. I wanted to scream it.
“I mean, kid, you have no proof of anything and then you give me some number to call in which some guy magically knows the right numbers…and you expect me to believe it?”
Fuck. I almost screamed it.
“On top of that, your license isn’t even coming up in Ohio. I found a 19-year-old Chris Hooker in Maryland, but that license was registered years ago. If that’s you, and you’ve been living here in Ohio for at least a year, that is another punishable offense. You are required by law to change IDs within three months of moving. In a court of law they can fine you $3000 and make you spend up to 3 months in prison.”
I didn’t know what to say. Everything he was saying was true—but it came from sheer ignorance, not from flippant indolence. I truthfully had insurance, a valid license (in my mind), valid tags (in my mind) and I certainly owned the car. From his perspective, though, things looked far worse.
“Kid, let me ask you something—where were you going?”
“A work Christmas party.”
He arched his neck back around and gave me a bewildering and confused look. “A Christmas party in February? You’ve got to be making this shit up.”
“No, no, really! It’s a restaurant thing.” I said, hoping that maybe if he got to know even a little about me he’d realize I wasn’t the type to steal a car—much less one that had invalid tags!
“So, where do you work then?”
“The Ocean Club at Easton. I also work at Cheesecake Factory.”
That’s when he slouched a bit and that smirk popped back onto his face.
“Oh, boy. I bet that’s a fun job.” He said, chuckling all the while. “Do a lot of those coloreds come in?”
If it were possible, I think my eyes would have fallen out of my head. I could not believe that a cop just asked me if “coloreds” ate at my restaurant.
“Yeah, you know, I’ve been there. Cheesecake Factory. They’re always there. They just love it. So loud and yelling and shit. Do they always ask for extra shit?”
I was at a loss for words. I had the most racist man I had seen in years just burping out some nonsense to me—yet at the same time, I had an opportunity. One that I knew I had to take. If it was $3000 in fines and 3 months in jail, or the loss of my dignity…well, my dignity was far easier to restore! Like they say, ‘it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission’.
My dignity was taken and sold at a low-low price, and that’s when I burped out the same drivel right back at him. “Oh, god, you know they love them some extra shit! Extra hot wings with extra blue cheese, extra ranch on their salad with extra bacon, extra bread with extra butter! And, do I get an extra tip for any of this extra shit? Hell no! I'm excited if I even get a tip!"
The cop could not stop snickering. I, on the other hand, could not have felt worse--but I continued on. "They always roll up into Cheesecake and they’ll be like, “Man…I want me a boof’!”
The officer just busted out laughing, even clapping his hand. “’Boof’…ha ha ha, is that for ‘booth’? That’s classic! Did no one teach them grammar when they went to school?”
“School?”, I interjected, “School? You know they never went to school!”
Oh I had him with that one. He just let out a howl as if I was the funniest person he had spoken to in years. “Oh, my…that’s…I can’t even breathe!”
I immediately piped in and told him the true story of when I waited on Lebron James and the fiasco that ensued. ‘The King’ and some other Cleveland Cavaliers went to Easton picking up random girls and decided the best way to woo them over was buying them a free dinner at Cheesecake Factory. There were 16 of them total and they ran me around for Strawberry Lemonade as if I were a homeless man at the last call of an all-you-can-eat buffet. The Cavs who were of drinking age opted out of ordering a bottle of wine—but instead ordered a bottle of Hennessey. No joke. And, I swear to God, they asked for Kool Aid with it.
The cop could not get enough of it. He thought I was the funniest thing since Harold and Kumar. After finishing my story, he looked at me in his mirror, directly in my eye, and said, “You know, kid, you’ve got a lot against you. You have no ID, no real registration, no proof of insurance, you don’t have an Ohio license, your tags are expired and even your front headlight is out. On top of that, the registration you provided me has very conflicting information. Everything I know is saying your stole this car. However, for some odd reason…I believe you. Maybe it’s cause you’re funny as hell, I don’t know, but kid…I’m letting you go this time. You have one week to come to the station and prove to me everything that you are saying is true. If you don’t, I’ll come for you and put you away for a year.”
And just like that he hopped out the car, uncuffed me and let me go on my way. With my dignity diminished, my spirits low, and my mind disillusioned, I pulled myself back into my car. I drove home, shaking, and eventually found my ID. Then, not surprisingly, I took a deep breathe, put my jacket back on...and headed straight back to the bar. Because after a night like that, I think anyone would need a drink, and of course, an audience to listen to the tale.
In a questionable move, photographer Jill Greenberg was hired by The Atlantic magazine to shoot photos for McCain's cover feature. However, unbeknownst to him and the magazine, she deliberately took unflattering photos of him, later posting them on her website with a little photoshop touches added. For example:
But that one is merely the truth. The next one is hardly as subtle.
Hmph. I'm torn. I loathe the guy, but at the same time I don't believe he is a bloodthirsty warmonger. I do believe he loves this country and wants to fix the past eight years. I dislike this almost as much as I dislike the Obama Waffles debacle.
Lastly, I'm a little curious why she would make such a bold and media-covered move, yet make an egregious mistake: she spelled it warmongerer instead of the correct warmonger. It's just one "er", not two.
Am I the only that noticed that?
If you hadn't heard, some whackjob Christians at the Values Voters summit in Washington D.C. put together a marketing campaign, Obama Waffles, which picture Obama as a Muslim with a sign saying, "Point box toward Mecca for Tastier Waffles". It also states, "Best if used before November 4th, 2008". It has a sultry picture of Michelle Obama saying "They're selling like hot cakes!"
The mere assertion of "Values Voters" is beyond me. The implication is that they are above the rest of us; their vote is based on some moral code, while the rest of us are a bunch of heathen non-value voters. We who care that every American has health insurance, are the ones void of values. We who would rather work to improve a criminal instead of just killing them off, are the ones bereft of virtue. And we who want equality for all people, are the godless sinners who care nothing for right or wrong.
And they say they come with humility. What mindless arrogance to boast of yourself as the only voters with values and then simultaneously proclaim that our murdering of innocent Iraqis is just, that our 46 million uninsured Americans is simply a "dip" in the free market, that the poor are just a bunch of lazy fucks and that homosexuals choose their lifestyle and thus don't deserve any type of rights or even representation under the law.
It's a pity there really isn't a hell.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
And now, I'm off to Chicago.
Well, minus the windstorm that knocked over a tree and thus killed my power.
I'm writing from the SEL (Science and Engineering Library @ Ohio State) and luckily this mammoth of a building is keeping me nice and cozy. However, The Oval is tore up from the winds, trees are uprooted everywhere and also my car almost got trampled by a tree (my car was about five feet from being smashed!).
I'm leaving this evening for Chi-Town via the Megabus. My roundtrip ticket cost me $30! On top of that, I'm trying to have the cheapest yet greatest vacation ever. How much am I bringing? You'll think I'm crazy, but I'm only bringing $100 for four days in Chicago. I'll be living off of Ramen and a flask of Kamchatka, but I don't care. I'd rather be poor and have my bills paid than live lavishly without electricity! And fortunately I'll be staying with my good friend Michelle, where I'll be able to cook my Ramen and pasta-san-sauce, so I'm certain between all the great (free) things to do in Chicago, I'll be quite content.
And lastly, I'll be blogging a lot over the next few days. Why? Oh, because I won't be able to afford anything else!
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Whoopi Goldberg, I'd like to put it out there--will you marry me? No, seriously, will you? I'll drop out of school, quit my job and we can run off to anywhere you want. I'll cook your breakfast and make your coffee. I'm not very good at folding or ironing, but I'm sure I can learn. And I'm witty! I've got wit for days. I'm sure that's enough to bring to the table...right?
Friday, September 12, 2008
I'm a 23 year-old student slash part-time blogger and I knew what the bush doctrine was. She is a possible future leader of this nation and she doesn't even know simple CNN-esque vernacular? Yet again her lack of preparation for the presidency absolutely terrifies me.
They have The Ohio State University, an internationally recognized research institution, ranked at #292. Although we are the flagship University of the state of Ohio and a member of the revered Big Ten, they put tiny and unknown all-male Wabash College way ahead of us. They ranked it #12.
Speaking of the Big Ten, University of Minnesota, the fourth largest school in the country, was ranked at #524, and University of Wisconsin-Madison, a beacon of prestige, was ranked at #335. Honestly, this is outrageous. They even have the historically significant Howard University ranked at #560!
I'm amazed that they even published this list. Not only because of my Buckeye Pride, but because this list could not be any more bogus. It's insulting to see the well-respected University of Maryland at College Park at #410 and then never-heard-of Occidental College almost 200 places above it at #233. Ridiculous!
A middle school teacher suffered some bruising and a big scratch on his back after he struck a bear while riding his bicycle to school.Oh, this was so close to being a great candidate for The Darwin Awards!
Jim Litz said he was traveling about 25 mph Monday morning when he came upon a rise and spotted a black bear about 10 feet in front of him. He didn't have time to stop and T-boned the bruin.
He tumbled over the handlebars, his helmet hit the bear's back and the two went cartwheeling down the road.
The bear rolled over Litz's head, cracking his helmet, and scratched his back before scampering up a hill above the road.
So help me out on this one--is this cake irreverent? I can understand that the pastry chef was trying to offer some form of compassion to those lost on 9/11, but at the same time...can anyone honestly eat a bite of the World Trade Center? Comment and let me know what you think--offensive or apropos?
Oh, and let's really hope they didn't put candles on it.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Growing up, my favorite book was "Where the Wild Things Are". As if the Whitney Houston albums and Cat Woman Halloween costumes weren't enough, turns out that even my favorite book should have been a sign that I was gay--the author Maurice Sendak just came out!
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
And so people drill me and ask me how I could live without God, how I can look around me and see so much beauty in the Universe and still not see what they see. They ask me to name one reason why I don't believe in God, and my answer is always simple.
Onions. That's right. I do not believe in God because of Onions.
You see, Onions are the oldest vegetable known to man. They are ubiquitous in nearly every culture, therefore finding themselves nestled into every form of indigenous food preparations: they are diced in Mexican salsa, tossed in Asian pan-fried noodles, form the base of Indian curry, are used in nearly all Italian sauces and basically are found the world over. Yet if a God did design onions, the oldest and most widely used vegetable humanity has ever known, why did he do so in such a poor manner? Consider that when you slice an onion, the cells release a toxic gas that forms sulphenic acid. The spontaneous and erratic behavior of this volatile gas eventually strikes the human eye and causes a dampened source of sulfuric acid boiling your eyes away. The nerve endings in the back of your eyes start to burn, and your tear glands react in order to dilute the acid in your eyes. Is this the "ultimate" design of God? Is this the best he can do? I mean, if he really is all-powerful and all-knowing, he should have thought that one out. How could God create an imperative design flaw for the most widely used vegetable in the world?
And then I begin thinking about other vegetables and fruits. Take coconuts. Have you ever tried to cut one? I've used a hammer and a baseball ball yet I still can't figure out how to open one of the damned things. How did God expect his creations to utilize coconuts 5,000 years ago with the limited knowledge they had then? And even if they could cut one of the annoying little brats open, do you see what little substance they provide? They're nearly entirely hollow and are pretty much useless, unless you feel two hours of banging a coconut is worth an ounce of coconut milk.
And then Pineapples! They're all prickly on the outside and they are impossible to open without a knife. Or what about Ginger--have you even seen what a Ginger Root looks like? I'll just throw it out there: PAIN IN THE ASS! Or, Apples--why would God make 4,000 types of Apples? Seems a bit over-the-top, especially since he can't even get Onions right.
Or, he just doesn't exist. I prefer that explanation.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
And you have to ask why I want to leave Ohio?
The sign was meant to be "loving" according to the Pastor of Havens Corner Church, a church in Blacklick, Ohio. However, I'm just curious why they haven't had Church signs that share ALL of the warnings from the Bible? I've made a list of suggestions for next weeks marquee:
- "All-You-Can-Eat Shrimp at Red Lobster. Cost? HELL!" (Lev. 11:9-12)
- "Hanes' Soft Blended Shirts Won't Protect Your From The Flames of HELL!" (Lev 19:19)
- "'Every Kiss Begins with Kay', but Every Girl in Hell Has Gold Melted into Her!" (Timothy 2:9-10)
- "Bootylicious? It's ok, Destiny's Child is a Christian Band."
- "Salvation Drive Next Saturday! Can't Make It? Then Attend Our Local Stoning Next Sunday!" (Deut. 12:2-7)
- "If You Really Loved God You Wouldn't Let Your Cattle Graze Together." (Lev. 19:19)
The LA Progressive is featuring an article written by an active resident of Wasilla, Alaska, Anne Kilkenny. As an avid member of the community where Sarah Palin was mayor, Anne has known Sarah for 17 years. In this letter she lays out the truth--that Sarah Palin could be one of the worst things for The United States of America.
You have to read this article. Whoever you are voting for, make an informed decision. Acknowledge who would be a heartbeat from the Presidency. And then consider if that is someone you really want running this country.
Columbus? Well, it struck a not-too-low #21 on the top 40 list.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
So when Sarah was mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, she decided to make a list of books to ban at the local library. When the librarian refused, Sarah worked to have the poor old lady fired from her position. Luckily the whole thing blew up in her face, but now we are left to wonder: do we want a Vice President who has almost no respect for the constitution? Censorship is the issue at stake here, and if big brother comes swooping into our libraries to start banning books, what will be next? The Government already taps our phones, reads our e-mails and monitors our homes without warrants. Under a Sarah Palin regime, she'd have no problems trashing the constitution, because if you recall from her speech, reading a criminal their rights is a cumbersome task not worth our policemen's time.
Sarah Palin, you are a nazi. The mere notion of you having any shred of a chance at The White House is a terrifying thought, and not only for this country--it is a terrifying thought for freedom itself. I hope your Presidency never finds fruition. I hope you do not get re-elected as Governor. If I had my way, your career in politics would come to a screeching halt. And, yes, I'll say it--I'm crossing my fingers that you go back to your anti-American Alaskan recession group so the world can really see how crazy you are. Because, Sarah Palin, you really are a batshit crazy loon.
Friday, September 5, 2008
- Cocktail Servers
(So, truthfully, I was just looking for an excuse to post another picture of the world's finest city, Minneapolis!)
They derived these rankings by factors such as number of people over 65, life expectancy in the metropolitan, number of Doctors per-capita, percentage of people living below the poverty line, cost-of-living and house affordability. Here is the top ten best cities for retirement:
- Columbus, Ohio
- Dallas, Texas
- Minneapolis, Minnesota
- Houston, Texas
- Salt Lake City, Utah
- Indianapolis, Indiana
- Denver, Colorado
- St. Louis, Missouri
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Nashville, Tennesee
The unemployment rate soared to a nearly five-year high in August as employers trimmed jobs for the eighth straight month, the government reported Friday.Although I have a job, I work as a server and thus rely on tips. With the gloomy economic climate as it is, the first thing people drop is dining out--and thus my salary has taken a stab (more like a gouge).
The unemployment rate rose to 6.1%, the highest level since September 2003. That's up from 5.7% in July and 4.7% a year ago.
In addition, the economy suffered a net loss of 84,000 jobs in August, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, compared to a revised reading of a 60,000 job loss in July.
The U.S. economy has lost 605,000 jobs so far this year.
I know this isn't a political blog, but these YouTube videos are just so funny!
Political Analyst Bill Schneider had this to say about the speech:
My view is: It was a simple and sincere speech that gave testimony to his character, avoiding most divisive social issues. But it did not seem to answer the question, "What are you going to do about the nation's terrible economic problems?"
His answers seemed very much part of the past: cut spending, cut taxes. He really needs to find a new and bolder economic plan.
He tried to claim some of Obama's major campaign themes Thursday: unity and change. But when McCain talks about change, he talks about changing Washington. When the Democrats talk about change, they're talking about changing the way things are going in the country.If voters are choosing between two men, they will probably choose McCain. If they're choosing between two policies, I think Obama has the edge: His are newer, smarter and fresher.
McCain represents the failed policies of the past. We tried Reaganomics and Bush tax cuts, and look at where we are now: we have the largest deficit in the history of our nation, unemployment is coming close to 6%, we're in two failing wars, we have an economy in crisis, gas prices have tripeld since 2000...these are the facts, and when McCain continues with "cut taxes, reduce spending", just as every Republican has said, I agree with Bill Schneider...we need a new economic plan. And after last night, it's official that McCain has no new good ideas in order to fix this nation. He claimed to want to "open new markets" that will stop jobs from going overseas...but, for one, he made no mention of what these new markets were (recall he couldn't even identify what financial markets were) and also usually opening new markets will ship jobs overseas!
Lastly, John McCain's ending was just terrible. Not the actual writing; that script was rather beautiful. But his delivery was so poor. He continued to barrel on through the zenith of an hour-long speech, shouting over crowds that were cheering. It was like the Academy Awards, and once the "shut up music" began to play, he just kept on going. Really a bad way to end the most important speech of your life.
There are only 59 days left until the election.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
A+ for delivery.
"I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a 'community organizer,' except that you have actual responsibilities,"
"Listening to him [Barack Obama] speak, it's easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform -- not even in the (Illinois) state senate... What does he actually seek to accomplish, after he's done turning back the waters and healing the planet?
F- for content.
Horrid...absolutely horrid. She spoke outright lies about Obama "never passing a law" and Obama's "plans to increase all taxes", she insulted and mocked his role as a community organizer (a swipe Obama has not taken about her own thin amount of experience), she referred to blue voters in the city as elitists...I seriously did not think I could dislike this woman so much.
Sarah Palin, thumbs down.
(And PS, can we all agree John McCain looked like the Crypt Keeper tonight? Eww, gross).
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Speaking about the possibility of Sarah Palin's pregnant daughter, Bristol Palin, appearing on-stage tonight at the RNC with her baby's dady...
Perhaps I'm focusing on an irrelevant issue, but the presence, or non-presence, of Johnston on the stage tonight strikes me as important. It's one thing for delegates to be understanding and compassionate about the fix these two teenagers have gotten themselves into. It's another to actually celebrate it. And, given what we've learned in the last few days, if Johnston is up on stage with his girlfriend and the Palin family, and Republicans are wildly cheering, it will certainly look like they are celebrating this situation.
I don't usually engage in these scenarios, but I'll do it here. If the Obamas had a 17 year-old daughter who was unmarried and pregnant by a tough-talking black kid, my guess is if that they all appeared onstage at a Democratic convention and the delegates were cheering wildly, a number of conservatives might be discussing the issue of dysfunctional black families.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Barack Obama's campaign plans to relaunch his "urban agenda" Monday in what people close to the strategy say is an effort to assure urban leaders and voters of the Democratic nominee's commitment to cities and minorities without alienating skeptical white voters.
The plan features an increase in the minimum hourly wage, a new White House office focused on metropolitan areas and $60 billion to establish a national bank to finance public-works projects.
The campaign didn't give a total cost for the plan, but the 32-page blueprint that will be released during a meeting of the Democratic Party's African-American caucus includes tens of billions of dollars in annual spending on antipoverty programs, the new federal bank, education efforts and other new initiatives. Obama aides say much of the funding would come from an estimated $200 billion saved from reducing government waste and ending the Iraq war.
Michael Coleman, the black mayor of Columbus, Ohio, will lead the discussion Monday before the caucus. A series of town-hall meetings staged in various cities will follow, each led by mayors and other local leaders.
I'm the biggest supporter of anything pro-Urban planning (see: name of website), but before shelling out upwards of $100 billion, I'd like to see a bit more than a 32-page pamphlet telling me about it. (Yet at the same time, it sure beats anything McCain has to offer...oh wait! He doesn't have anything to offer. The free market will fix poverty! Duh!)
(Via The Dispatch by Bill Chronister)
Steve Curtis is about a month from opening Ohio's first zpizza, a gourmet pizza concept that began in Laguna Beach, Calif., in 1986. The restaurant will take the 2,286 square feet at 945 N. High St. once filled by the Emack & Bolio ice cream shop.
Zpizza, which lists about 80 shops across the country and expects 100 by the end of the year, uses high-quality ingredients to create pizzas available whole or by the slice, as well as salads, sandwiches and some desserts.
Examples of pizzas include vegetarian options such as a Greek style and Tuscan mushroom, and a Provencal with homemade garlic sausage. There's a whole-wheat crust option, and soy cheese is available. There's also a meatball sub.
Prices start at $2.50 for a slice and $5.95 for the daily special of two slices and a soft drink. Salads are priced from $5.50 to $6.95 for a small, and whole pizzas are expected to start at $8 for a small cheese and range up to $19.95 for an 18-inch "zcreation."
On top of that, after only 9 months of operation, Charlotte's brand new light rail system is almost at ridership projections... for 2025. Looks like people are finally getting with the program!
(Streetcar? Columbus? Anyone?)
Sadly, Don LaFontaine died on Monday. He voiced over 5,000 movie trailers.