miércoles, julio 20, 2005

Pre-game intensity

"If my momma comes out on the field, hit her, too!"

Linebacker Carlos Emmons getting the New York Giants defense hyped up before a game.

Beam him up, God

The Starship Enterprise lost one of her most beloved crew members yesterday. Scotty (otherwise known as James Doohan) passed away. He was 85 and suffered from pneumonia and Alzheimer's disease.

Damn it, Jim, he gave it all he could.

So long, Scotty.

domingo, julio 17, 2005

You can't spell New York without "Fuck You"

Ms N and I took a trip to the City yesterday. We started with a little trip down to the Village for walking and such, then we picked up some cupcakes and went to her uncle's house in Brooklyn for barbecue chicken.

Note: Magnolia cupcakes are the best cupcakes in the entire world. There is a line to get into the store - it's worth the wait. Before you go in, it's easy to make fun of the fact that they have a guy manning the door. I mean, come on, he's a bouncer for a cupcake shop. But once you've eaten one of their products, you understand. It's confectionary crack.

After dinner with family and a dessert during which a knife fight almost broke out (those are addictive cupcakes), we went back into Manhatten for a nice, romantic walk through Battery Park and a ride on the Staten Island Ferry.

For those of you who don't know about it, the SIF runs from the southern tip of Manhatten out past Governor's Island, Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, floating corpses of former people who ticked off the mafia, and the Verizano Bridge. Once you get to Staten Island, they give you a few minutes to get off the ferry and onto the next ferry back to Manhatten. The view approaching Manhatten is unbelievable. It's an amazing experience to share with your sweetie arm-in-arm.

Well, most nights. Last night we got hosed.

We arrived at the Manhatten terminal at 9:40 - just as a ferry was pulling out. The security guy at the gate said the next ferry was leaving at 10:30. Fortunately there were a lot of empty seats in the terminal, so we sat it out. The guy said that once we got to Staten Island we'd have about five minutes to get off the ferry and then go through the gate to get back on.

10:45 rolled around and they were finally ready to leave Manhatten. We got on the ferry out and, since it was late, decided to sit in a bench instead of taking in the full view. After all, the best view is coming in, not going out.

Of course, since there are always people who make the ride round-trip, they coordinate the ferries so that if one arrives late, the other waits.

Sorry. I had to throw in a joke there. This is New York. Our ferry arrived 15 minutes late. They held the return ferry 10 minutes late so it was loading up while we were pulling in. Just as we were stepping off our boat, the horn blew on the other one. It pulled out right as we got there. They claim that the horn is blown to alert other boats in the harbor that the ferry is pulling out. Bullfrog. That horn is there to say "fuck you, pendejos!" to all the people disembarking from the incoming ferry.

So, we grabbed $15 worth of snacks (I though ballparks were overpriced!) and hung out for an hour in the Staten Island terminal.

Keep in mind, it's now approaching midnight. I happen to think that the view of New York from the harbor is worth such a wait, so I wasn't worried at this point about the delay, even though I knew it would mean a crappy ride home - what, with the fighting off sleep and all. I was going to get that ride in with Ms N. It was worth the investment.

Oh, yeah, I forgot. I was in New York.

The midnight ferry is the short bus of the Staten Island Ferry System. It has no observation deck. If you want to see the city, you have to stand in a small section on the lower level in the very front, which was already jam packed by the time we found it. No view.

We finally left Manhatten around 1:00. Despite the best effort of two Red Bulls, I was still fighting off sleep by the time I got to my Turnpike exit.

Ms N, I had a wonderful time with you. I love you very, very much.

Managers of the Staten Island Ferry: no cupcakes for you. Bastards.

jueves, julio 14, 2005

Oh yeah, the boy drinks Sprite

My kids are visiting my parents in Alaska for the next few weeks. I sent my daughter an email wishing her a wonderful time and all. In it, I also did the obligatory Dad thing and went over a few of the rules, but I figured I’d throw in a chuckle at the end so it didn’t seem like I was just lecturing. Leave it to a child, however, to provide a bigger chuckle in return.

Amidst the well-wishings, I wrote:

Don't forget that you still have to mind your manners. No arguing with your brother. And don't try to get him to laugh milk out of his nose, either.

To which Emily replied:

Dad, Alex doesn’t drink milk, so you don’t need to worry about milk coming out.

lunes, julio 11, 2005

A very Monday-esque Monday

It's not yet noon and I am placing my third trouble ticket in with the help desk.

Thank you, Ms N, for such a wonderful weekend. Were it not for the amazing high I am on after spending all that time down in Baltimore with you today would really suck.

miércoles, julio 06, 2005

Putting Iraq into perspective

I got one of those emails that gets circled around. Normally, I give little credence to what is said in those emails - what, with no confirmable source and all - but this one stuck with me. I decided to do some independent research and, lo and behold, there is some validity to what it said.

According to the FBI, Washington DC is getting safer. As recently as 2000, there were 1,508 violent crimes per 100,000 residents. However, during the first Clinton administration that rate was almost twice as high - up to 2,922 violent crimes per 100,000 residents.

According to the Pentagon, as of this weekend there were 13,190 US casualties (killed or wounded) in Iraq. We have averaged roughly 160,000 US troops in Iraq since April, 2003 - two and a quarter years. That means we have about 360,000 man-years recorded by our servicemen and women in country. This works out to a violent crime rate of 3,664 per 100,000. This is 25% more dangerous than our nation's capitol was just a decade ago.

Keep in mind, Washington, DC, like many other US cities, has many areas in which the crime rate is significantly lower. This means that it has many neighborhoods where the rate is much, much higher. Keep in mind that our troops on the ground in Iraq are in the most dangerous parts all the time. Also, casualty counts include accidents, which means that some of these soldiers might have been wounded or killed in training back home had the war not occurred.

We had a war, followed up by an occupation in Terror-Central. Every Tom, Dick, and Achmed who has a bone to pick with Uncle "Great Satan" Sam is strapping on a boom-vest or rigging up a roadside greeting. The terrorists, unfortunately, have answered our Commander in Chief's encouraging call to "bring it on" and our troops, unfortunately, have had to bear the brunt of it. Yet this "quagmire," as some of the leftists I frequently read in the New York Times like to call Iraq, is actually no more dangerous to our troops than many parts of the United States are (or have been recently) to the people who live there.

When you factor in crimes against tourists or visitors, the rates go up even more. In other words, statistically speaking, for the three hours one night this year that I, suburbanite minivan-driving accountant that I was, did tax work in Camden, I was in as much danger as any one of our troops in Iraq. This is the same for any student of Penn, Drexel, NYU, John Hopkins, UCLA, or any number of big-city universities across the country who wanders a few blocks off campus. When my fraternity did service projects in West Philly, North Philly, and other places we were armed with mops and scrub brushes. The Woman on the Verge, who has a confessions blog on blogger, lived by herself in one of those neighborhoods. Ms N grew up in another place that was not much safer than Baghdad.

The critics are more than happy to point out that the US Army is recruiting heavily from the poor and uneducated, which means that the already less fortunate are more likely to be the ones in harm's way. The irony is that there are a number of soldiers in Iraq right now who are actually safer there than their family members back home. Philadelphia, Washington, New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, San Francisco, Dallas, Miami, and Chicago are amongst the US cities that have areas that are more dangerous to their residents that Iraq is to our soldiers.

I think that our invasion of Iraq - remember, Sodom Insane had everybody, including the Democrats, France, Germany, and Iraqis convinced that he had weapons of mass destruction stashed away somewhere - was justifiable. I have no problem that we are there. I do have a problem with the way things were handled. Crummy Rummy was just on TV this weekend saying that the low troop count was a result of the generals on the ground saying they didn't want any more soldiers, yet he overlooked the fact that he and Shrub got rid of the generals who contended that there should be more troops. I think that the effort to win hearts and minds was overlooked and underfunded and that, more than anything else, has led to the increase in terrorist attacks against our troops. The people in charge ignored those who had thought out probable outcomes to our actions, and as a result many of the unfortunate predictions came true. That has increased the costs of the invasion in terms of dollars and lives. Were our government a corporation, the CEO and several top executives would have been fired over these mistakes - mainly because of the drop in the stock price.

Yet the dangers caused by Georgie the Kid and Dopey Don (my apologies to Congressman Don Young, who has held this nickname for much of his time representing Alaska in the House), not to mention the Big Dick, are matched by the dangers caused by the media whores and blogophiles who like to stretch the truth to get ratings or readers. 3,664 per 100,000. That means that for every 100 men and women we send over for a year, 96 come back unscathed. High schools across the country yearn for numbers that good.

martes, julio 05, 2005

I'm more in need of a Prayer for Owing Money ...

You're A Prayer for Owen Meany!

by John Irving

Despite humble and perhaps literally small beginnings, you inspire faith in almost everyone you know. You are an agent of higher powers, and you manifest this fact in mysterious and loud ways. A sense of destiny pervades your every waking moment, and you prepare with great detail for destiny fulfilled. When you speak, IT SOUNDS LIKE THIS!

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.