July 4, 2008
Senator great baseball man
This made my day and is everything great about America.
Bunning: "Regular order!"
Byrd: "Who said that?"
Bunning: "I did."
Byrd: "Who are you?"
Bunning: "I'm a senator."
Byrd: "You're a great baseball man."
Bunning: "I'm a senator; I have the same rights as you."
Byrd: "Yeah, man, you're a senator." [Ends by laughing hysterically at Bunning.]
July 2, 2008
I have more to say about my first two days in Atlanta than I could ever write but this sort of caught me off guard. The cable guy installed my internet this afternoon and, checking my usual favorite blogs, the first piece of news I came across since I left DC was that someone I knew from there had just been shot about a ten-minute walk from where I was living 48 hours ago. I know Brian Beutler through several friends and co-workers, and he's a great guy, and nothing is making happier right now then the news that he will be making as complete a recovery one can after, well, being shot three times in the spleen.
Long-time readers will be aware of the rarity of this statement, but I think Megan McArdle (a personal friend of Brian's) is spot-on about the problem with DC crime:
I've lived in West Philadelphia during its 90s nadir. I've never felt as unsafe in a place as I do in DC. Almost everyone I know here has had some sort of personal contact with a criminal intent on robbing them, whether successfully or not. I'm lucky that I live near a well-lighted street--but frankly, the sheer menacing stupidity of a criminal who trails two people several blocks isn't reassuring, it's frightening. The fact that he thinks this tactic might work speaks to a certain lawless aura in the city. And I live in the safe part.
When DC does try to "do something", it's something stupid and quasi-fascist like locking down neighborhoods instead of putting more cops on the beat and using the advanced police tactics that are now the norm in every other city.
DC has areas that are better and worse than others, but there's no "bad part" of the city. There isn't a special area or areas where "most of the crime happens." My nice, high-end townhouse I shared with a bunch of people shared the same alley as the housing project where the kids who robbed two of my neighbors at gunpoint lived. Wherever you lived, the crime and threat of crime was your next-door neighbor. And all the time, there really is that feeling of helplessness. Because if you actually stop a crime, then they want to "retaliate." Or, most depressing of all, they're children. Summer is the worst time for crime in DC, because all the kids in the poor areas have nothing to do.
I lived for four years in New York and I was never as nervous about crime as I was in DC. I live in Atlanta now and for all the nightmare stories I've heard, I can't imagine it's as bad as DC was. I hope I'm right, but more importantly I hope that someday the actually necessary steps to reduce crime in DC can be taken.
The strangest thing about all this is that I'm not ragging on the cops themselves here. I've had to deal with police twice living in DC, and in both cases they've ben responsive, courteous, and willing to give me the straight answer on something, even when it was just "there's honestly nothing we can do here." But it's that latter answer that needs to be addressed.
June 30, 2008
"Complaints & grievances"
A dead celebrity or public figure is pretty much a free meal ticket for the standard editorial cartoonist, because all you have to do is draw them approaching the gates of Heaven with St. Peter saying a line attributed to said dead person. Here, I'll give you a freebie: when Bob Barker dies, there will be twenty-seven cartoons of St. Peter saying "come on up!" See? It's that simple.
The George Carlin ones, though, angered me further than the usual ones. It's simply insulting, and to be honest embarrassing, for any cartoonist to think that they're "respecting" or "honoring" by depicting the existence of Heaven and God the man who said this:
When in comes to bullshit...bigtime, major league bullshit...you have to stand in awe of the all-time champion of false promises and exaggerated claims...religion. ... Religion has actually convinced people that there's an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of 10 things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these 10 things he has a special place full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry for ever and ever until the end of time...but he loves you.
Yeah. That's the guy who wants a tribute in the form of a caricature of him with a halo and wings.
Look, this isn't some long-winded rant against religion. This is a long-winded rant against disrespecting anyone's personal religious beliefs. And Carlin's were pretty clear-cut. This wasn't some hidden concept, folks: In almost any of Carlin's 60-minute routines in the last decade, about five to ten minutes of them were devoted to his mockery of religious faith. You don't have to like it, you don't have to respect it, but you sure as hell have to Google it if you're going to pretend you're devestated by the loss of a person you apparently never paid any attention to before he wrote your cartoon for you that day.
Angrily packing and driving a very long distance now. Have a great week, folks.
June 29, 2008
Oher than the new comic for Monday, there will likely be little to no posting until the end of next week. This often happens when you pack your computer and move to a different building 700 miles away.
Burial place of Pierre Charles L'Enfant, the one man in Washington who earned a view like this
I decided last night that, silly as it sounds, the thing I am going to miss most of all in Washington (aside from my friends, obviously) is the Rock Creek Parkway. If you've never lived in D.C., imagine if New York's West Side Highway was actually built at ground level, went straight through Central Park while keeping all the forest area around it, and occasionally went under gagantuan stone bridges built a hundred years earlier in the usual gothic-American style of most D.C. monuments with birds flying by and ivy slowly creeping up it to reclaim the bridge back as a natural part of the earth. I swear to God every time I drove to Trader Joe's I felt like passing those giant statues in the first Lord of the Rings Movie.
I guess in a way it's a reminder of what I really truly love most of all about D.C. in general- it's just so damn beautiful. I'm going to miss walking along the Mall at night. Walking past the White House in winter. The unique weirdness of traffic stopping because of motorcades. Free museums. All the stuff I didn't even have time to see- I'm going to miss that too.
Goodnight, Washington. Until we meet again.
So I was at the so-to-be ex-apartment on Friday packing stuff when the doorbell rings and there's a UPS package for me. I open it up, not having been expecting anything, and it turns out my family bought me a GPS computer for my move to Atlanta without telling me.
So, yeah. My family sent my a new robot buddy in the mail. My family's awesome.
Your (spoiler-free) Doctor Who thought of the day
Does anyone else find it very odd that Russell T. Davies apparently likes to write fan fiction for his own goddamn television program?
Join us next week for the finale episode, when the Doctor meets Batman and Luke Skywalker as they unite to fight the Predator and Megatron, and Rose turns into Buffy the Vampire Slayer*.
* - Oh, right. That actually fucking happened.