Thursday, April 28, 2011

Things I Hate Edition: Number 312

This, dear readers, is the 4 door Wrangler.  It was introduced in 2007 and already makes up 60% of all Wranglers.  The Wrangler as many of you know is the vehicle of the young and male and white.  Or female lacrosse players, my empirical evidence shows.  My Dad had one in 1994, that I used to drive.  It was a stick shift that was loud and got terrible gas mileage.  But you could take the top off and drive up and down the main drag until someone noticed you.  Usually it was my Dad who noticed that I was wasting gas. 

For years, seeing a Wrangler in your rear-view mirror meant you should pull over.  Not because the vehicle demanded respect, but because the driver was clearly an 18 year old hopped up on Mountain Dew and Accutane and would probably ram into the back of you and not even notice. 

There are two rules with the Wrangler: 
  1. You need to get a stick shift.  Period.  It's a Jeep, descendant from the original workhorse of World War 2.  If you need an automatic, you should get a crossover with blue tooth built in.  The jeep is meant to go off the road, even if you never let it.  And automatics don't do serious four wheeling.
  2. Never get a four door Jeep.  Listen, if you're getting a 4 door Jeep it's for a couple of reasons.  You either have a bunch of friends, or you have a family.  If you have a bunch of friends, tell them to pile their fat asses in the back.  If you were a real Jeep owner, you'd have the top down and they'd be climbing over the tire anyway.  
If you own a family, you need to give it up man.  Yes, you had a Jeep in high school/college/the military, but now you're older and fatter.  And you can't recapture that youth.  Not by buying a vehicle you once had and putting a car seat in the back.  You are a sellout.  If you want a Jeep, have two cars.  The minivan/station wagon that you need to carry around your snowflake, and the Jeep that gets muddy and has knobby tires.  But stop disgracing a vehicle with a proud long history of utility and power. 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Sex can be scary for 5th graders

Found this on Fark.  This is from a Chicago Tribune photographer, Chuck Berman, at a 5th grade sex ed class in Illinois.   I just love the kid on the right.  God knows what photo they're showing.  The girl behind him looks like he's going to puke.  I'll run a caption contest in the comments. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I Hate Times Square

I am a New Yorker.  I was born there 34 years ago and lived there for 27 years, with a 4 year stint about two hours north of it for college.  I love New York City so very much.  I like to say that if you live in New York City, you always live with another person, and that's New York City.  A living and breathing thing. 

Having said that, I hate Times Square.  I was in a cab that took me through Times Square and it reminded me of how much I missed the old New York. 

Some history for people, Times Square was originally named Longacre Square until the New York Times moved their headquarters there to 1 Times Square, which is the building they drop the ball from every year.  They are no longer in that building.  They actually moved out of it 10 years after they moved in..  The area was very popular in the 1900's, and fell into decline around the 60's and through the 80's.  In the early 90's the state took control of some of the historical theaters and a group of corporations and the city turned the tide between 1995 and 2000.  The Disney Store opened and that was when you knew the Square was different. 

I hate Times Square for two reasons.  The first is that I froze my ass off there as a cop for 4 years, surrounded by morons from out of town who were confused why there were so many people there.  I had some girl in 2000 tell me she needed to meet her friends about 10 blocks away but there were people in the way.  I was like "Lady, it's the millenium.  You should have thought ahead."  And it took forever to warm up and 30 seconds to get cold again. 

But the real reason I hate Times Square is because it's not part of New York City.  It's full of tourists all surrounded by dazzling lights of chains that they have 10 miles from their homes.  I took some photos in the cab. 

These are what I'm sure are the flagship locations for these middling restaurant chains.  I totally understand why tourists eat here.  The city can be so confusing and loud and there are so many choices, that you end up choosing something familiar.

But that's not why you come to New York City.  You come here to marvel at it being the city that never sleeps. And that doesn't mean Times Square where you tourists choose not to sleep.  A place where you can get anything you want anytime day or night.  A place that's different.  This is not different.  I saw a line at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company.  Are you fucking kidding me?  Do the people going there even remember the movie that title comes from?

Times Square used to be seedy and dangerous.  With hookers and porno theaters.  It wasn't really dangerous, but it kept the tourists away.  Times Square was a rude awakening for people arriving to the city for the first time.  And it should be.  The city should give you a gut punch, almost as if to say, "You sure you're ready for this?" So that when you do make it, you feel an accomplishment.  You can call yourself a New Yorker.  Navigating Times Square is no more exciting or dangerous than walking from Epcot to the Magic Kingdom now and it's sad.  But the saddest thing is that those people who marvel at it, don't even know how special it used to be. Here's a video. of how it used to look before it got "cleaned up"

Friday, April 15, 2011

Blood goes out, blood comes in, never a miscommunication

Today, I went to the National Children's Medical Center on a glorious sunny afternoon for my monthly platelet donation.  The hospital is pretty cool.  It's on a complex with three other hospitals in Northern DC (VA Hospital, Washington Hospital Center, National Rehab Center) and it also has a Goodyear Speedwalk which is like a flat escalator.  It's made of rubber, which is wild.  I imagine when they put the first mall on the moon, the escalator there will feel like this. 

Some of you probably have given blood.  Due to the restrictions on blood donation, less than 40% of the population can donate, what with the rules on cancer history and gay sex and overseas travel.  Having said that, only 10% of the population do give blood.  When you gave blood, you usually give a pint of blood.  Whole blood contains a bunch of things.  Red blood cells, plasma and platelets.  When you give platelets, they take whole blood from you, remove the platelets in a centrifuge and then return the rest of it. 

Giving platelets is to an Ironman what giving blood is like to a 5K.  You can tell in the donor center, when you're like, "I'm here to give platelets." The staff looks at you and nods.  I also have a very high platelet count.  Which probably isn't a big deal, but I like to think of it as a blood donor center equivalent of "You have really big hands..."  The staff is terrific there, and I get as many Lorna Doones and Oreos as my fat ass can eat. 

And I get to help children with cancer and other diseases all while sitting on my ass.  Like the line goes in Boogie Nights, "I am a star." Though I keep my pants on.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The District of America: Congress's Bitch

So DC was abuzz last week with the possible shutdown.  It obviously would have been felt much more here than anywhere else, and so it was all that people talked about.  One of the interesting news items from that week, involved the DC local government, and the fact that they couldn't spend money either, if the budget wasn't passed, because all of our appropriations are approved by Congress.  Even though the city is spending the tax dollars that they collected from their residents, they are in effect a federal colony.

Most people know that DC has no representation in Congress.  Well, we have Eleanor Holmes-Norton, who is a delegate to the House of Representatives.  We essentially have the same status as American Samoa and Guam politically.  She used to be able to vote, as long as it's didn't break a tie (meaning as long as her vote didn't matter).  But the Republicans changed the rules to eliminate even that role.  We're currently like the Holy See at the UN.  Just sort of watching and hanging out.  Washington, DC has more people than Wyoming, but we don't have any Senators and one non-voting lady in the House. 

It's so bizarre, it's almost funny.  But when you realize that you can't call anyone who can doing anything to voice your concerns, it is frustrating.  And the reality is that because DC has been so transient, this issue hasn't been a huge one because people know they're going to go home and have representation there.  But the reality is that Republicans don't want representation for the District, because we have a lot of black people here.  Chocolate City is one of the nicknames of DC.  And black voters are generally Democratic voters, so that causes a problem.  There was a proposal a few years ago which would have given us one voting Rep and Utah would have added one as well, to ensure parity.

All I know is, it's nonsense.  And I hope these people eventually get what they want.

Update: I'm pretty proud of my Mayor today.  For the first time since he's been elected. 

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Green Mountain Boys

I'm up in Vermont until tomorrow.  My journey here began with a flight on US Air from BWI to Philadelphia.  The air time of the flight is literally 19 minutes.  And I still got a beverage in first class.  This of course is the terrible irony of the free upgrades on US Air.  I only get them when it doesn't matter, like 19 minute flights.  5 hour flights from California?  Hells no. 

I also wanted to alert my 7 readers that I have found one of the most amazing culinary delights I could ever imagine.  Pulled pork inside a cheddar and scallion muffin.  No, seriously.  I would like to warn you that this is not the same thing as a pork muffin, which I learned through googling is:
a small chubby person with fire red hair, freckles, and milky white skin.
Damn, look at that pork muffin with the pokemon backpack. I'd like to take him to a family reunion barbeque and introduce him to my aunt gracie.
The good news is that it's a small chubby person, ottherwise this would totally define me.