Archive for the 'People We Don't Like' Category



16
Aug
10

Fear the Schmear

The New York Post can be always be relied upon to deliver the important stories of the day that really make a difference in our harried, overcomplicated lives, such as this nugget about a woman who got tossed out of a Starbucks by the cops after getting into an argument with a barista about the way she was ordering a bagel. (It’s a biggie. It took a team of three reporters to cover it.)

She asked for a “toasted multigrain bagel,” and when the barista asked if she wanted butter or cheese on it, she dug her heels in the dirt and refused to specify or say “neither.” To her way of thinking, there was  no need to use their weird lingo.

“When you go to Burger King,” she told the Post, “you don’t have to list the six things you don’t want.”

No, lady, but when you go to Burger King, you don’t order a flame-grilled quarter-pound hamburger sandwich with mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onion, mustard and ketchup on a sesame seed bun, either. You order a “Whopper.” You use the conventions of the fast-food place you’re in. We all feel like assholes when we order a chalupa, but that’s what Taco Bell calls it. We can’t be responsible for the fool who named it. Just suck it up, and move on. There’s a line behind you.

Continue reading ‘Fear the Schmear’

Advertisements
02
Aug
10

The Redcoats are Coming!

With My Rifle by My Side

Are those ducks or geese? Or terrorists?

Do your kids have enough firepower at their fingertips?

Just out this summer is a children’s book about the 2nd Amendment: With My Rifle By My Side (via joemygod). The title reminds me of similar stories about teddy bears and dolls. With their best buddies, real or imaginary, at their sides, there is no adventure they can’t meet, no task they can’t accomplish.

These days, apparently, teddy bears and dolls are just a distraction from what our children are truly called to do. Kids, we are told, need to be taught to defend their country.

The book is about “A boy’s initiation into rifle safety and hunting; and his awakening to the solemn necessity of firearms for preserving personal and national liberty. The young protagonist observes of the Founding Fathers: ‘With their rifles by their sides, they protected their right to be free. They defended their land, neighbors, towns, and families.’
Continue reading ‘The Redcoats are Coming!’

13
May
09

Gay Blood? Don’t Bank On It.

Shall I be insulted by, or merely appreciate the irony of, a sign posted outside my office in the elevator lobby encouraging us to donate blood. As corporate social service initiatives go, it’s a fine idea in concept. But since 1985, gay men have been banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from making blood donations.

This floor is occupied by Logo, the GLBT network. I guess they’re going after the handful of folks across the hall who work for Nickelodeon?

To their credit, the Red Cross and the American Association of Blood Banks want all donors to be treated equally. Right now it’s a lifetime ban, but they would have the deferral period be reduced to a year, which is the current rule for heterosexuals who may have been exposed to HIV risk.

The FDA is undergoing a review, but who knows when they’ll make a final decision.

I think they’re still missing the point, though. The risk comes not from man-on-man action, but from the absence of condoms. Straight folk may have unprotected sex within a year of their blood donation and pose no apparent risk.

That’s still kinda discriminatory, no?

Fortunately for me, I can’t give blood anyway. I have such anxiety about needles, whether it’s an injection or an extraction, that I’m likely to pass out and hit my head on something. That, to me, is a more immediate threat to my health than the idea of getting blood from a gay guy.

11
Apr
09

Rat Race to Nowhere

It is morning rush hour, and commuters are coursing through the hallways and platforms like blood-borne pathogens heading for the heart.

A train pulls into the station, its wheels squealing loudly, distinctly. It’s one of the old E trains. A mass of people begins to push through the open doorway before passengers have time to exit. Swimming upstream, the passengers are able to eventually push their way through to freedom.

A guy a couple of people in front of me enters the crowded train and stops in the doorway. He wants to be close to the exit to give himself the greater advantage when he reaches his stop, whenever that may be. There’s nearly room for two abreast to pass through the doorway, and for all he cares, people can just slide past him. It’s not technically a problem, right? Until a second person decides stop in the doorway for the same reason.

I have room to avoid him, but I bump my arm against him and graze him purposefully with my bag. It helps calm me to imagine him dropping and scratching his iPod or getting a smudge on his clothes from leaning against the door.

By and by, we approach my stop. Others, too, are exiting here. I can tell when people ostentatiously begin to stir around me. Several move toward the door. Someone gently nudges me from the side. Maybe it’s an accident; maybe she wants me to move. I take a step closer to the door. I’m getting out here, too. Hold your damn horses. We’re all in a hurry, lady, but don’t you worry. We’ll all get off this train, I promise you.

The doors slide open, and I feel the woman trying to get around me to my left. She is smaller than me, and I can see her black hair as her head comes out around my upper arm. I take a half step to the left, hold my left arm out a little further from my body, and she pushes against me harder. I push harder back, but not enough to stop her. It’s not worth making a fuss. I just want to clarify my existence, hoping I’ll embarrass her for the unnecessary contact. She makes it through the doors before me.

I glare at her as she awkwardly dashes toward the stairs in her uncomfortable shoes, hoping she’ll turn around to see the rude creep who was tying to keep her from getting off the train. Really I’m laughing to myself. We’ll see how far she gets. I continue at a calm pace behind her and dozens of others.

She never does look back, but it delights me to see her swallowed up in a crowd of frantic commuters whose hurry is equal to or greater than hers. In the end, her reward is to be no more than two people ahead of me on the stairs.

On the landing we all veer right to take the escalator to the next level down. There’s a short fence jutting out from the escalator entrance meant to corral us and prevent people from jumping in line in front of others. The desire is for order and forced politeness, and the majority of us is willing to comply. We round the far end of the corral, but two guys slip in through the gap between the far end of the fence and the handrail conveyor belt. They end up right in front of me, craining their necks to find a way past the people in front of them.

The idea is to stand to the right so people can pass on the left. But there are so many people at this time of day, no one is standing to the side. We are all walking down the escalator, and everyone’s progress is slow. The guys try to press past the others, but to no avail.

At the landing, they take off like broncos and meet further resistance when they reach the final set of stairs down to the platform. Again, I end up right behind them.

When my connecting train approaches, I see there are a couple of open seats in the car nearest me. I don’t imagine I’ll be lucky enough to get one of them, but I figure we’ll see what happens. It’s a little like roulette, whether the train stops with a door right in front of you or six feet to your left or right.

This time, I’m one of the first to board. I have a shot at a seat. Someone in front of me is milling about confusedly, and I can’t get by. A woman approaches the seat, and just as she turns to sit, a younger woman wearing all white literally runs up behind her and steals the seat in one swift motion. If the older woman hadn’t noticed, she might have sat on her.

The woman in white glances up for a second. The other woman turns on her adversary and raises her voice for us all to hear. “Oh, I see. You need that seat? Go ahead. There you go, honey. It’s all yours!” Her friend tugs at her arm to discourage her from saying more.

The seat stealer looks at her quietly, blankly and then stares into the space between herself and the floor.

I am filled with something like hatred for her. I want someone else to speak up and say something. I keep my eyes on her for several stops. I wonder if she’s avoiding eye contact with everyone on the train.

After a few stops, the irate woman now long gone, a space opens up next to the woman in white, just a little too small for a person to fit into. But before long another woman turns to present her back side to the row of seated passengers and, without so much as an “excuse me,” wriggles herself into the tight space. She can’t even sit back all the way. This new woman is an obnoxious cow, but I briefly I feel some schadenfreude over the woman in white’s obvious discomfort.

Leaning forward with her oversize purse on her lap, she fumbles with a magazine or newspaper and holds it out in front of her. Forgeting her surroundings, she allows the straps of her bag to flop down to both sides, hitting her neighbors in the face and chest before landing limply in their laps.

It is obviously annoying to the strangers. Every move she makes causes her purse straps to rub against them, but neither of them makes any move to stop it. My allegiance begins to change. Could it be that I have some sympathy for the woman in white? The purse lady is actually worse than she is.

I long for a confrontation. Why do we take such pains to avoid talking to fellow passengers? To avoid touching them? Why do I never make any confrontation?

My exit comes before either of theirs. I never get to see how it ends. But it never really does end. The players in these little scenes of denial only change. They never quit.

24
Mar
09

Mission Accomplished

The dirty little “secret” about RuPaul’s Drag Race is it doesn’t matter who wins this competition. RuPaul is not passing on any crown. Are you kidding me? She’s just gettin’ started! This entire season has been all about one person: RuPaul.

And I’m not saying that’s a bad thing.

Fittingly, Season One closed on one more example of the contestants acting as co-stars warming their hands on RuPaul’s fire. The girls had to learn new choreography for a guest role on RuPaul’s new video and they had to record a rap for inclusion in her single. However, I think what we saw this week firmly placed Nina and Bebe among the fiercest of the fierce.

Bebe Zahara Benet
Camaroooooon!
[www.bebezaharabenet.com

Tonight Bebe won the crown and our hearts. I had always hoped Nina would win. She’s the only one who has never had to lip-synch for her life, and her heart and charisma enriched the experience for everyone. But I would have been satisfied with either of her or Bebe. And Bebe’s plans to start a charity for kids in Camaroon with HIV/AIDS is, frankly, one of the highest marks of a true champion.

Rebecca’s lucky star, on the other hand, seemed to have faded this week. From the start of this episode (and frankly before), the race was down to Nina and Bebe. Through every step this week, Rebecca just couldn’t cut it. She didn’t hit the choreography, she had half as much rap as she needed, she couldn’t pull herself (or her wig) together for the video shoot, and she had no capacity for taking direction from Mike Ruiz.

Either she’s finally feeling the pressure, or it’s just a bad day. Or maybe it’s because she shouldn’t have gotten this far in the first place. “You never, ever rush a queen,” she says. But the other two seemed to manage just fine. She’s full of excuses this week, but even she knows her time is up.

In this week’s “Under the Hood,” Nina confronts Rebecca with a few things. It’s a classy moment: Rather than part ways with bad blood, she calls out Rebecca’s shadiness and makes peace with her. Nina and Bebe bend over backward to give her the benefit of the doubt: “You probably don’t know you’re doing it” and “you probably don’t do this intentionally.” But it was a real barrier to her ability to make any friends on this show, and it did a lot to keep people from trusting her. It’s nothing personal, but it’s an important lesson for them to impart.

And they seal it with a kiss. Mwah, mwah.Ay, Loca. Work it out.”

Rebecca concedes a few times this season that she probably appears standoffish to the others, but it’s not intentional. “It’s just the way I am.”

But when asked about the others’ reactions to her, she always says something like, “I’m used to it.” In other words: I am a victim, those bitches don’t like me, they’re jealous of me, and I’m used to it, so whatever. She recognizes she’s improving her look or her performance, but she’s not improving herself or her professionalism: witness her Viva Glam breakdown, tonight’s disastrous video shoot tardiness.

Ru asks her point-blank, “Do you think it’s this kind of behavior that alienates you from the other girls.” And her response is either ugly or just thoughtless, I’m not sure: “I think it’s maybe because they’re a little older…”

Nothing to do with her, of course.

When Nina and Bebe are talking about staying in touch and working together after the show, Rebecca says nope, I’m here to win, and “I can’t let things like friendships get in the way.” If this is just “how she is,” it sucks, and it will always hurt her.

So, while she’s fixing her wig and being friendless, Nina and Bebe are holding hands, blowing kisses, and forging a friendship that will carry them through their success in ways Rebecca can’t seem to imagine.

19
Mar
09

The Right Looks Up ‘Marriage’ and Finds ‘Revolution’

A right-wing Web site is fuming over their recent discovery that Merriam-Webster has added a secondary definition of marriage to its pages.

World Net Daily sarcastically reported Tuesday:

“One of the nation’s most prominent dictionary companies has resolved the argument over whether the term ‘marriage’ should apply to same-sex duos or be reserved for the institution that has held families together for millennia: by simply writing a new definition.”

The change occurred years before any states legalized gay marriage. It went unnoticed until now, apparently because writers at World Net Daily do not make frequent use of dictionaries.

(Personally, any publication that accepts written work from Ann Coulter, and that hawks “Where’s the birth certificate?” bumper stickers (attempting to call into question Barack Obama’s citizenship), doesn’t have much of value to say to the more thoughtful readers of the world. But I digress.)

Merriam-Webster editors are mystified by the fuss. From the story:

“Its inclusion was a simple matter of providing dictionary users with accurate information about all of the word’s current uses,” the company said, adding that it was surprised by the recent attention because it was “neither news nor unusual.”

“We were one of the last ones among the major dictionary publishers to do this,” said Merriam-Webster spokesman Arthur Bicknell.

Someone who commented on a YouTube video complaining about the definition says, “The word ‘marriage’ has never been synonymous with same sex relationships,” said the forum participant. “What is happening is the meaning is being changed to trigger it becoming synonymous, not the other way round.”

If he’d take his bible out of his ass long enough to concentrate, he’d realize that the definition does not make heterosexual marriage and same-sex marriage synonymous. What it signifies is merely that the term is used in that way. It is a figurative meaning.

Dictionaries include figurative and idiomatic meanings for a great many words. Note definition No. 6 of dig and definition No. 5 of bird.

The World Net Daily writer goes on to cite a 1913 dictionary definition that not only doesn’t mention same-sex marriage, but in fact adds biblical references to the traditional definition. In fact they are citations, meant to show context, not that Matthew, Mark, Luke, John or God himself are editors of dictionaries. It could have just as easily referenced a Jane Austen novel.

More importantly, should we be shocked that a word’s usage should change between 1913 and the year the Merriam-Webster change was apparently made? Of course not. Why would a 1913 publication of any sort refer to “same-sex marriage” when that concept wasn’t even part of the public consciousness? It would be like expecting Oscar Wilde to identify as “gay.” He never would have done so. Does it mean he wasn’t a big flaming queen? Certainly not.

Completely outside of the argument for or against gay marriage, consider the idiocy of World Net Daily’s complaint. I’m not thrilled that “ain’t” is in the dictionary, and that school students gleefully point to it to justify poor grammar. However, its legitimacy is determined not by whether you or I like it, but by whether or not it is used — and useful — by speakers of English. Whatever you think “ain’t” implies about its user, we all know its meaning. Ergo: ain’t.

Same-sex couples in long-term relationships have long thought of themselves — and referred to themselves — as being “married.” It’s a matter of convenience, being far less wordy than “partnered with a member of the same sex.” And until very recently on the scale of human history, we didn’t have a choice but to be figurative.

10
Mar
09

Shannel, No. 6

Shannel    
I’m beautiful, dammit!
[www.poptower.com]

Oh, Shannel … Say it ain’t so. A sixth contestant has been cut from RuPaul’s Drag Race. And she was wronged!

I’m a little mad at her for giving up the fight. Her “I don’t want to be here anymore!” was a major disappointment for me. Week after week, she has taken harsh, often meaningless criticism with dignity and respect. Even tonight, Santino said she’s “saying everything right,” but she’s just not connecting with him. What does that even mean? I think it says more about the judge than the contestant.

It’s hard to say how much her announcement affected the judges’ decision. I think it was honest exasperation, not a strategy. And who could blame her? You can see it in this week’s “under the hood” and, sadly, her exit interview. What more can she do?

When she got pitted against Rebecca in the lip synch, she put up a fight again. I think she saw a light at the end of the tunnel. I did. And maybe I’m no judge of these things, but I think her performance was better than Rebecca’s.

Maybe it all went wrong when she lifted up that dress and shook her little butt. That and the Hannibal Lecter-esque lip-smacking earlier on, which was met with the sound of crickets chirping, may have been just a step too far. Oh, I wish she’d just hold back a bit and let her talent carry her forward. Instead, she always resorts to a trick: snakes, juggling, those assless chaps. I picture her as a trained circus animal, with Merle Ginsberg tossing her lumps of meat after each jump through the fire hoop.

Everyone wants to ditch Rebecca this week — even 47% of the audience! I wanted her to get far, but her time has come. She was so overrated during the vogue-off. Shannel characteristically pulled a cartwheel out of her ass, but her posing was better. I thought the whole drag ball/vogue theme, a nice nod to the drag history, would have given an advantage to the more seasoned of the girls. But that Rebecca has nine lives, and I think RuPaul has a soft spot for her.

The best part of the vogue-off was RuPaul’s commentary: “Paint your face, honey!”

“Face! Face! Face!”

“Why you all gagging so? She bring it to you every ball!”

This was a tough episode: swimsuit, evening gown, and business suit. Forget about Miss America, honey. And these ladies aren’t even ladies! Plus, these colors were truly awful — more Froot Loops than mango mojito.

The inclusion of Charo was a stroke of genius on so many levels, not the least of which was a welcome lightening of the mood. I don’t know where she went, but I’m glad she’s back! (Looking strangely the same as the last time I saw her — on Pee-Wee’s Playhouse!) Who can resist her? She even got the pit crew to dance. I wish to god she had stayed on as a judge, but the flamenco diva magic ended far too soon.

The runway question, “Why should you win?” was a telling moment. Bebe led with a dignified answer: “There is pride and dignity in dressing up.” Nina said she wants to inspire others. Shannel answered like a politician, saying a lot without ever really answering the question: “I love myself,” essentially.

But I hate, hate, hate Rebecca’s answer. When someone asks why you should win, you need to have a real reason, something personal and meaningful. I want to make my grandma proud. Or I need the money to buy a house for my mom. But the best Rebecca can come up with is “I want this.”

That’s not a reason; it just restates the question: I want this because I want this. OK, obviously she’s working hard. This is not easy. So, let that be her reason. It would have been better if she’d said simply, “because I deserve to.” At least that speaks to the competition, not just some childish sense of entitlement.

Line of the night: RuPaul’s repeated declarations of “Extravaganza eleganza!”

Charo, on the dance: “Be careful. Spooning leads to forking.”

Charo, on the posture: “Even if you don’t breathe, nevermind. If you drop dead, you drop dead with class.”

Charo, on the walk: “Uno, dos, uno, dos. I am the biggest bitch in the world.”

Nina: “How am I gonna place a mango in an evening gown?”

RuPaul, to Shannel: “Yes… something to wash down the fava beans.”




the untallied hours

the tweets

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

Advertisements