Friday, April 28, 2006

You Just Got Fucked

And these symptoms are totally hip too. Just so you know,

Fluid retention
Mood swings
Morning sickness
Rib pain
Sore breasts
Yeast infection
Varicose veins

[CNN: It's Hip to be Pregnant]
[BellyBelly: Common Pregnancy Ailments & Side Effects]

Friday, April 21, 2006

Hunting Badgers in Brooklyn

I have made a number of very disturbing observations in my neighborhood of late. I'm not talking about assaults, robberies, or the occasional giant trash bag full of dead pigeons.

I'm referring to the product that you see to your left. For $39.99 (plus $5.99 shipping, plus the last shred of your masculinity), you can own the Bumper Badger™.

There are at least two cars on my block that sport this thing. And every time I see it I want to rip it off and destroy the fucking bumper with an ice pick. Look, I keep a car in the city and I also park on the street. I understand the desire to keep one's car in good shape. But I will never put anything called the Bumper Badger™ on my ride. I mean, seriously, why not just wear a sandwich board with the words Feckless Yuppie over your body.

What's next? The Muffler Monkey™? The Headlight Hyena™? The Gas Cap Giraffe™?

To the enterprising people at Chariot Auto who realized they could make a shitload of money selling a $40 doormat to my neighbors: bravo.

To my neighbors: it's never too late to get your dignity back.

Or is it.

P.S. The Bumper Badger™ is not related to the Bag Hutch. Technically.

[Bumper Badger™]

Friday, April 14, 2006

Get Your Torture On

Ask anyone who has been a prisoner of war, or an enemy combatant, or someone who gets repeatedly trapped in that same, endless drunken conversation with his old college friend who insists that he's going to "die alone": torture is no laughing matter.

Until now that is.

Last month Time Magazine released the full interrogation log of suspected "20th hijacker," Mohammad al-Qahtani. The log, consisting of 83 pages of flowery prose (not!), is chock full of insight into just how your tax dollars are at work down there at Guantanamo Bay.

(Taxes due Monday by the way. You're welcome.)

I'll say one thing: this is not easy reading. First of all, it's 83 pages, small type, very repetitive, and no discernible narrative arc. Second of all, 20th hijacker or not, some of the shit that this guy is subjected to is harsh. Really, unless you have yellow ribbons so far up your ass that they are now fighting for space in your brain, you can't read this and not have some sympathy for the poor fucker.

But I'm not going to kill your pre-weekend buzz with such gravitas. If there's anything I've learned from decades of morning drive radio, it's that Friday is time to get wacky. And wacky we will get.

We start on p.19,

Control began “birthday party” and placed party hat on detainee. Detainee offered birthday cake - refused. Interrogators and guards sing “God bless America”. Detainee became very angry.

Birthday party? Cake? Singing? What's to get angry about? Oh, because it's in the context of being tortured by your infidel captors?! Got it.

Detainee ate one Hostess Cupcake with interrogation team.

[Scene: somewhere in the White House, late 2001]

Dubya: How are we going to finance this war?
Rumsfeld: Two words, sir: product placement.
Dubya: Brilliant, Rummy, brilliant.

Interrogators ran puppet show satirizing the detainee’s involvement with Al Qaida.

For those that want to play at home.

Corpsman checked vitals – O.K. Christina Aguilera music played.

I would have picked Frampton Comes Alive, but hey, it's your torture gig not mine.

Interrogation team enter the booth and started talking about how glad they were that he was back and that they would have a BBQ in his honor. When the detainee stated that he would not want any of that food, the interrogators told him that the BBQ wasn’t for him, it was for everyone else.

Ah, the ol' "You Mistakenly Thought We Were Going to Have a BBQ in Your Honor" move. A timeless classic.

The lead held the coffee in front of the detainee and when the detainee reached for the coffee, the interrogator poured the coffee on the floor. The detainee seemed to be mad at the interrogators for the remainder of the shift.

Wow, ya think?

In order to escalate the detainee’s emotions, a mask was made from an MRE box with a smiley face on it and placed on the detainee’s head for a few moments. A latex glove was inflated and labeled the “sissy slap” glove. This glove was touched to the detainee’s face periodically after explaining the terminology to him. The mask was placed back on the detainee’s head. While wearing the mask, the team began dance instruction with the detainee.

Not even sure what to say about that one.

He also appeared to be very annoyed by the use of his mother and sister as examples of prostitutes and whores.

Hmmm, yeah, understandable I guess.

Detainee expresses great ignorance about dinosaurs and space, topics that are taught in U.S. grade schools. Detainee asked interrogator if the sun revolved around the earth.

Well, those aren't exactly ideal testing conditions. Imagine trying to take the GREs while the proctor dumps your coffee on the floor and then talks about how he fucks your mom. Oh, and Christina Aguilera is blaring in the background. Not easy is my guess.

Torture, it's a complicated issue. I'd get into it more, but I just got back into town and my friends want to throw me a BBQ.

Have a good weekend. And, uh, stay out of trouble.

[Time - Detainee 063: A Broken Man?]
[Time - Complete Interrogation Log]

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Baggage Claim Blame Game

I only had moderate expectations for my recent trip to Miami. Sure, I never got around to seeing Verdi or very much of South Beach, but goddamn was it a good time. Drinking Patron and eating fresh, local seafood poolside at 4pm every afternoon after a round of golf was just divine.

And things seemed to follow suit on the way back as we touched down and deplaned at JFK . Three of our four pieces of checked bagged showed up right away. I helped load up the taxi and asked my wife and spawn to wait while I retrieved the last suitcase - which happened to be my own.

After about 5 minutes I noticed that a bag identical to mine in every way except for numerous tags and markers, had made its way around the conveyor belt about 4 times.

I triple checked to make sure that it wasn't mine. This bag had a lock, 2 tags, a red piece of masking tape around the handle, and an additional marking on the underside. It was definitely not mine.

Ugh, wait a second.

It occurred to me then that someone, in haste, grabbed my bag by mistake, leaving his own behind.


How this person failed to notice that the bag he took HAD NO LOCK, TAGS, OR OTHER PERSONAL MARKINGS on it was beyond me. But at that point it was too late. He was long gone.

I went out to the cab and told my wife to leave without me, as I had to report the incident to the American Airlines lost baggage department; and God knows how long that was going to take. I could probably fill two posts about lost baggage departments, but for now I'll say simply that tired luggage-less travelers + overworked customer service employees = bad news.

It is a continuous miracle that people are not fucking killing each other in there. I kid you not when I say that I saw, in the course of 5 minutes, the following,

1. An 80-year-old man with a thick Hungarian accent shouting repeatedly , "Vat are you people doing? Vat is going on here?! I can't believe you do this to sick old man!"

2. A demure, pregnant, Dominican-American woman sitting on the floor, quietly weeping into her hands.

Baggage claim pathos. Who knew. Thankfully, I am neither pregnant nor Hungarian, so things weren't so bad, all things considered.

Still, believe or not, it took two days for this clown to figure out he had the wrong bag. TWO FUCKING DAYS! Who doesn't open their luggage for two days? The bag finally found its way from Albany to Chicago and then to NYC. It was delivered to my door 4 days after the start of the brouhaha.

The point of the story? I think the moral here is to pay attention and not take other people's luggage - accident or otherwise. Actually, scratch that. The moral of this story is not to take my luggage. Do whatever you want with everyone else's.

Caveat: leave the old, Hungarian guy alone. I think he's gone through enough already.