Category Archives: Politics

Ai Weiwei — “I’m so fearful”

It’s strange when you stumble upon something–a book, a movie, a person, idea–and it changes your whole concept of the world.  It happened to me just now when I watched this PBS Frontline profile of the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei.  I simply did not know that he existed.  And now that I know he exists, it seems he doesn’t exist–his whereabouts have been unknown since April 3rd, with most people suspecting that the Chinese authorities are detaining him.

Below is an installation he did of 9000 children’s backpacks, a response to the children who died in poorly constructed government schools in the Sichuan province earthquake in 2008.  The backpacks spell out a sentence that a mother told Ai about her daughter: “She lived happily for seven years in the world.”

What the PBS profile really gets across is that Ai puts his life in danger doing provocative, controversial things.  He doesn’t mind risking his life to try to fight unjust things.  At the end of the profile, the filmmaker asks Ai, “Do you ever examine yourself to say, why is it that you are so fearless compared to other people?”  And he says, “I’m so fearful, that’s not fearless.  I’m more fearful than other people maybe.  I act more brave because I know the danger is really there.  If you don’t act, the danger becomes stronger.”

You heard it here first

Unless you heard this somewhere else, such as inside a stall in the women’s restroom of Penn Station.

This is probably the most informative piece of bathroom stall graffiti I’ve ever encountered. And possibly the only piece of bathroom stall graffiti I’ve seen that makes no mention of cock.

There was also graffiti on the stall door that said organized crime’s influence had infiltrated New Jersey Transit and the Long Island Rail Road, too! I didn’t know how to take any of this news…so I posted it here.

Search Phrase Free Write

Two people used the search phrase “steak vagina” yesterday to find my page.  Those two people, or that one person who searched the same phrase twice, are/is to blame for what follows.

Steak is good when properly prepared.  I’m still deciding how I feel about A1 Steak Sauce.  I think I like it.  I like steak when there’s that bit of pinkness (not redness) right in the middle–I guess that qualifies as medium?  Medium well?  I used to always request my meat cooked medium well, but the meat usually comes back completely well.  Which is a bummer.

Advertisers love to use backyard barbecues as the setting of commercials in the summer.  Men manning grills.  And tongs.  And lighter fluid.  There’s something so American about it.  There’s this commercial Jim Gaffigan is in right now in which he makes some snarky comment about a grill being a thoughtful gift.  I bet he doesn’t actually want a grill for Christmas, though.

My supervisor just came around and told my coworker and me that we could eat the chicken in the fridge.  I don’t think it was prepared on a grill.

I like those steak chew toys that dogs sometimes have.  If I were a dog I would love one for Christmas.  It need not squeak though.

Some people don’t eat steak, but they eat vagina.  Some people don’t eat vagina, but they eat steak.  Some people eat neither steak nor vagina.  Some people aspire to eat vagina and see no correlation between that and eating steak.  Some people eat three times as much steak in a month as they eat vagina.  Some people are morally opposed to eating steak.  These are probably not the same people who are morally opposed to eating vagina.

“Steak vagina.”

Proverb of the Month!

Oh man, my blog is cool. No, really. This is going to be awesome.

A proverb, (from the Latin proverbium), is a simple and concrete saying popularly known and repeated, which expresses a truth, based on common sense or the practical experience of humanity. They are often metaphorical. A proverb that describes a basic rule of conduct may also be known as a maxim.

This is contentious stuff! I’m weary of any so-called “truths”. I’m also weary of “common sense” and “metaphors”. Metaphors are wolves howling at the moon on a foggy night. Metaphors are adults who still wet the bed and neglect to do laundry for two months. Oh, and yeah, that whole “basic rule of conduct” thing? Fuck that, too. That’s almost as bad as a metaphor. That’s so bad it’s like a simile.

Proverbs are lame. Especially when they’re included on the slips of paper inside fortune cookies that should be reserved for, oh I don’t know, FORTUNES.


Proverb of the month:

Two dogs fight for a bone, and a third runs away with it.

So, there you have it. This month, heed that wisdom and be a greedy pacifist bitch.

Voting Day Blues (and Red States)(hahah!)

The other day I woke up in the middle of the afternoon to the sounds of children yelling and screaming, and I got a little concerned that some kind of disaster had struck.  But then I realized that I live directly across the street from a public school.  It’d been summer, so this mid-afternoon commotion had been on hiatus.  But now it’s back.  In full effect.  Monday through Friday. 

This afternoon I woke more around dinner time and rather than children screaming, there were sign-wielding democrats screaming!  Primary day!  The day when public schools everywhere are transformed into polling locations!  Normally I only get out of bed to eat or relieve myself, but today I got out in an attempt to fulfill my civic duty.  It was great.  To feel like a citizen.

I threw on pants and a t-shirt and booked it out of my building.  I didn’t bother to brush my teeth or my hair–there’s no superficiality in politics, just as there’s no crying in baseball. 

Even in my disheveled state (pun intended, New York), the sign-wielders handed me a flyer and asked, “Are you going to vote?!”  And I declared, “Yes!”  And they exclaimed, “Good!”  I really felt part of something, ya know?

I have no idea what the story behind this image is.

I have no idea what the story behind this image is.

Unfortunately, upon entering the public school, I remembered that I’m registered as an Independent, so I couldn’t vote in the primary at all.  All the women behind the folding tables consoled me as I cried big, civically unfulfilled tears and they told me everything would be okay–I could come back in November.  I threw a bit of tantrum.  I said, “I hate the system!”  They nodded sympathetically and recommended I move along. 

I trudged back to my apartment building.  I was really looking forward to wearing one of these:

Adventures with radical bird folk

June 13th was the day of a significant occasion, yet one that I was unaware of until the last minute.  I came dangerously close to missing it, which would have been a tragedy because the occasion was…  National Pigeon Day. 

And no, it’s not just an arbitrary day for pigeon lovers to come together and make noise about feeding regulations and building spikes that prevent nesting (though there was that).  June 13th commemorates the death of Cher Ami, a homing pigeon that saved 200 lives while serving with the 77th Division of the U.S. Army in France during World War I.

Pigeons are fierce, man.  So fierce that there are falcon nests installed atop the Tappan Zee Bridge to scare away the winged things and the rust and ruin inducing droppings they bring.  Come on.  That’s something.  Can your poop bring down a feet of engineering?

Anyway.  It really was a cool thing and I’ve been meaning to mention it and I’ve especially been meaning to share a couple photos I took at the Central Park event.  It was like I had been a lonely religious zealot for years and suddenly I had found a group as fanatic as I.  Or maybe much more fanatic…

Life of the party.

The life of the party (and the subject of my dreams, now and forever).

UNTIL the hen showed up.

UNTIL the hen showed up.

Whats more bizarre--a hen on a leash or a child?

Requiring and reveling in all the attention.

From humans and canines alike.  The dick.

From humans and canines alike. That whore.

As much as I felt a kinship to the people at the event, part of me didn’t know if my breed of pigeon loving was the same as theirs.  It’s like, I’m perfectly content admiring and contemplating them from a park bench, but I’m not sure that’s enough if I truly want to be accepted into the National Pigeon Day group. 

My love is more passive, I guess.  I like carrying a tote bag with a pink pigeon screened on its sideI like reading books about them. And of course singing along to lyrics that mention them (Ben Folds’ “Annie Waits”: Annie sees her dreams / Friday bingo, pigeons in the park; Tom Petty’s “Mary Jane’s Last Dance”: There’s pigeons down in market square / she’s standing in her underwear).

So, in conclusion, pigeons make me happy, I love them, but I’ve yet to wave an angry poster as their advocate at City Hall or boycott a supermarket that tries to keep them from calling the “O” or “A” in their neon sign home.  We’ll see.

By the way–there’s totally a link to my pictures here, on the organization/holiday’s blog, which brings me way more joy than is normal or healthy (qualities no one should strive for, anyway).

Hey, Mr. President. Sup?

Not all of us have our own personal physician.

Not all of us have our own personal physicians, chefs, and trainers. Just sayin.

Every few days or so I receive an e-mail from the Obama Administration. They put me on their mailing list after I registered to vote via one of their campaign drives. Most of the e-mails ask recipients to donate money for some cause or another, which I’m not exactly in the position to do. Today’s e-mail didn’t ask for donations (right away), it asked simply for a signature and a story.

The chance to finally reform our nation’s health care system is here. While Congress moves rapidly to produce a detailed plan, I have made it clear that real reform must uphold three core principles — it must reduce costs, guarantee choice, and ensure quality care for every American.

As we know, challenging the status quo will not be easy. Its defenders will claim our goals are too big, that we should once again settle for half measures and empty talk. Left unanswered, these voices of doubt might yet again derail the comprehensive reform we so badly need. That’s where you come in.

When our opponents spread fear and confusion about the changes we seek, your support for these core principles will show clarity and resolve. When the lobbyists for the status quo tell Congress to hold back, your personal story will give them the courage to press forward. 

So share my personal story I did, and boy oh boy was it cathartic!  Everyone loves to vent, but venting is so much more fun when there’s the (extremely) off chance that the President of the United States might read your ramblings:

 I will be personally reviewing many of these signatures and stories. If you speak up now, your voice will make a difference.

Perhaps Barack, over a cigarette one of these nights, will read my rant. It ended up having a sort of middle school essay competition feel to it, but gosh darnit I don’t care. I meant nearly every word:

I’ve been out of college for one year. One month after I graduated, as is the case with many, I was no longer eligible to be a benefactor of my parent’s health insurance. Today I attended my friends’ college graduation ceremony. There were inspirational words imparted, hollers of celebration, but sobering the atmosphere were the harsh economic realities each speaker acknowledged the graduates would face. And despite having a one year headstart of sorts on this year’s graduates, I couldn’t help feeling that my own career and financial situation is no better off. It’s not only been one year since I graduated, with high honors, from college–it’s been one year since I had my teeth cleaned; one year since visiting my doctor; one year with no pap smear or professional breast exam from my gynecologist.

I remember the day last year when I called my doctor’s office to cancel an upcoming appointment. It had been scheduled before my insurance ran out, but because the day of that appointment was less than a year since my previous one, I would have had to pay, regardless. I explained this to the receptionist who asked me when I wanted to reschedule the appointment for. But I’ve yet to reschedule that appointment. She asked, “What will you do?” And one year later, I still don’t know the answer.

It’s not as though I’m not working, not striving, not trying my hardest each and every day to build a strong future for myself. The summer after I graduated I interned at the Library of Congress. I was, for three months, an employee of the United States Government, and I’ve never felt so inspired.

When I finished the internship, though, the realities of the job market became clear. It took me months to secure the position I now hold. And while I’m lucky to be working, I’m also lucky if, after paying my rent, I can afford a few groceries–never mind a few prescriptions or a few cosign payments.

Still, I feel fortunate. My story is similar to countless recent college graduates and will be the story of ones to come. But my story doesn’t include battling a life-threatening illness or a condition that requires constant treatment. I’ve felt healthy this past year. But should something happen…I don’t know what I’ll do. And I have no way of knowing, despite feeling healthy, that I actually am healthy.

The speaker at the graduation ceremony I went to today was this guy. Yeah. The Permanent Representative of Chile to the United Nations. And while he was wildly interesting with stories about coups de tat, strapping dynomite to his chest, and dinner parties at Barbara Walters’ house…I couldn’t help thinking, doesn’t Heraldo Muñoz have something much more important to do?

Inanimate Men and Pirates

A Facebook friend of mine shared a link to an article entitled, “Somalia: You Are Being Lied to About Pirates,” that is pretty damn provocative. Especially this bit:

In 1991, the government of Somalia – in the Horn of Africa – collapsed. Its nine million people have been teetering on starvation ever since – and many of the ugliest forces in the Western world have seen this as a great opportunity to steal the country’s food supply and dump our nuclear waste in their seas.

and this bit:

European ships have been looting Somalia’s seas of their greatest resource: seafood. We have destroyed our own fish-stocks by over-exploitation – and now we have moved on to theirs. More than $300m worth of tuna, shrimp, lobster and other sea-life is being stolen every year by vast trawlers illegally sailing into Somalia’s unprotected seas. The local fishermen have suddenly lost their livelihoods, and they are starving.

oh, and this:

No, this doesn’t make hostage-taking justifiable, and yes, some are clearly just gangsters – especially those who have held up World Food Programme supplies. But the “pirates” have the overwhelming support of the local population for a reason. The independent Somalian news-site WardherNews conducted the best research we have into what ordinary Somalis are thinking – and it found 70 percent “strongly supported the piracy as a form of national defence of the country’s territorial waters.” During the revolutionary war in America, George Washington and America’s founding fathers paid pirates to protect America’s territorial waters, because they had no navy or coastguard of their own. Most Americans supported them. Is this so different?

In other news, here’s a portrait of two of the most important men in my life:

Ken imitating the parrots on the shoulders from the good ol' days of piracy.

I didn't notice until afterwards that Ken was imitating a parrot on a pirate's shoulder.

The recreational activities of female genitalia.

Oh. My. God. Something beautiful has happened. In the past few days, HUNDREDS more people than usual have viewed my blog.  And it’s all thanks to a little search term called…vagina.

Plain ol’ “vagina” is bringing in the most people, but runners up include “big vagina,” “dirty vagina,” “vagina is purple,” “piece of vagina” (ah!), “light up vagina” (OOH!), and “how to make a finger vagina.” That last one sounds like it came from a terribly confused soul who inquired about a noun when a verb was intended.

In case you only recall there ever being talk of Barbara Walters lap dances or Tom Brokaw sex dreams on this blog, click here to see a giant bicycle vagina. That also sounds like it was meant to be a verb (giant vagina bicycling), but it really is a noun. It’s a giant bicycle vagina. And it’s amazing.

Well.  I got completely distracted by vaginas in this post.  Here are some less interesting things I may have done had vaginas not stolen the show:

  • Complained tirelessly about banks and their exorbitant overdraft charges.
  • Cooked you a steak like Cher in Moonstruck.  (You’d have eaten it rare while wearing a wooden hand.)
  • Wished you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day.
  • Referred you to this Craiglist ad.
  • Compared Kim Jong-Il to a summer’s day. 
  • Presented a hypothetical question asking: “If you were a predator, would you be less likely to pursue as prey someone who walked down the sidewalk wielding a fork?”
  • Reminisced about the Halloween I dressed up as a fork.
  • Mentioned the fork that is literally in my road, in the tar of my road.
  • Displayed an obvious affection for bullet points.
  • Retracted Kim Jong-Il comparison.


Don’t you love eating in diners?  For me, it ranks right up there with watching Barbara Walters receive a lap dance.  My roommate took me out to one in our neighborhood tonight.  Along with our food, though, we unwillingly consumed an hour’s worth of Pastor Arnold Murray’s Family Bible Study.  Of all the things to blare on a flatscreen television in a New York City diner…The Shepherd’s Chapel from Gravette, Arkansas?  I kind of felt like God was trying to send me a message, especially after I posted my blasphemous Ash Wednesday poem…a casual “shape up or ship out (to the depths of hell)” kind of thing. 

But honestly I’ve become more of a Buddhist lately, so I think I’ll be all right.  I haven’t begun meditating or practicing yoga or pilgriming anywhere, yet, but it’s on the to-do list (right after #11: Be Serenaded, Preferably to the Stylings of This, This, or if nothing else, This).  

At one point Pastor Arnold Murray started going off on, not surprisingly, liberals (though he prefers the term “nutcases”).  I enjoyed the way the word rolled off his Arkansas tongue.  He said the problem with liberals (among other things) is they spend too much time listening to college professors…which I tend to think is the antithesis of a problem. 

There was a speaker directly above our booth, so it really felt like he was right there with us.  In case you’ve never seen Pastor Arnold (despite his Bible study being televised on 225 stations in the US and Canada):

“Life without discipline is not much fun,” indeed.