May 29, 2003

From this week's Stranger:

Driver's Ed

Plainclothes cops are staking out crosswalks around Seattle, hoping to catch scofflaw drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians. In a typical sting, a cop starts out across a crosswalk, giving a motorist time to stop. If the driver doesn't, another cop catches the driver and issues a citation.

The cost of ignoring a crosswalk: $86. "A lot of people just don't seem to understand their obligation to pedestrians," says SPD Lieutenant Richard Belshay. "The citation is their education." One hundred seventy tickets have been issued in just five sting operations so far.

If I can't have pedestrian robots, plainclothes cops aren't a bad second.

May 28, 2003
Stop Me (If You’ve Heard This One)

I say, "Okay, I’ll have another one, but you have to help me write an entry."
One round later I say, "No, really, I have to write something."
And there’s one more round, and she says:

Okay, okay, so there are three guys, and they’re standing on Lookout Point. And they’re all drinking. Beers. And they’re drunk, and Guy #1 says to Guy #3, "Dude, I have this really cool trick: I can fly." And Guy #2 is like, "Man, just stop." And Guy #1 says, "No, no, no, really - I can fly! Anyone can fly. All you have to do is take a beer, crack it open, chug it really fast, and say over and over, ‘I can fly, I can fly, I can fly!’ If you really believe, you can jump off the cliff, and you’ll fly!!"

So Guy#2 is like, "Don’t listen to him." And Guy #1 is like, "No, really, you can, I’ll show you." And Guy #1 takes a beer, cracks it open, chugs it as fast as he can, throws the can on the ground, and yells, ‘I can fly, I can fly, I can fly!’ and he runs and jumps off the cliff and he falls and he falls and falls (sound effect), and then he suddenly flies back up and lands on the cliff.

So Guy #3 is like, "That’s amazing!" And Guy #2 says, "Really, don’t listen to him."

Okay, so Guy #1 is like, "I’m gonna do it!!" And he cracks a beer, chugs it down, and says "I can fly, I can fly, I can fly" as he runs to the edge of the cliff and jumps off.

And then ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, splat, he dies.

And Guy #2 says to Guy #1, "You’re such an asshole when you’re drunk, Superman."

May 23, 2003
Where Have All the Liberal Arts Grads Gone?

MA IN COMP LIT: My thesis was on Goethe’s Faust.

MFA IN THEATRE: Sometimes I think about what it would take to make a production of Part Two work, and then I come to my senses.

MA IN COMP LIT: The bit where the bugs fly out of the robe would be tricky.

MFA IN THEATRE: Yeah, but it would look great back lit. So when did Provisioning say the new server would be in?

MA IN COMP LIT: Tuesday.

May 22, 2003
Take That, Dubya

Yesterday I got this note from K with the header "Help Women, Fight Bush":

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is the world's largest international source of funding for population and reproductive health programs in developing countries. In addition to promoting reproductive health and family planning, the UNFPA helps to combat maternal deaths during pregnancy and childbirth from diseases that are virtually unknown in developed countries. In July 2002, the Bush Administration withdrew $34 million in funding from the UNFPA, claiming that the money would be used to perform abortions.

Two American women have started a campaign called 34 Million Friends of UNFPA to encourage 34 million individual citizens to donate $1 each to replace the withdrawn funds. Donations are tax deductible, so you can send your tax dollar to do good rather than to do Bush's bidding.

Here's a link that has more information on the UNFPA:

Here's a link with more information about 34 Million Friends of UNFPA:

I knew there must be a good reason for PayPal.

May 21, 2003
Only the Equitainer Shields Your Sample Against X-Rays

Giggling at cold semen transporters is soooooo immature.

May 19, 2003
Behold My Unrivaled Powers of Observation!

Oh, man - I said Hamilton was on the twenty. Jackson is on the twenty. Hamilton is on the ten. Lincoln's on the five. Mercury's on the American Express Card, unless you're in Canada, and then it's Tiger Woods.

I guess that's Mercury - he looks more Roman than Greek, so I'm not going with Hermes. And in fact the only justification I have for even assuming it's Hermes/Mercury is that he was god of commerce. I tried to get Google to back me up on this, but failed in spite of a nearly OCD level of effort. If anyone can confirm or deny the Mercuriosity of the portrait on the American Express Card, I'd be most grateful. Maybe then the twitching would stop.

The Youth for LaRouche

On Friday I stumbled into the tail-end of a Lyndon LaRouche rally.

THE YOUTH FOR LAROUCHE (handing me an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of newsprint with the headline "LaRouche Leads Democratic Presidential Candidates in Number of Individual Contributions"): LaRouche in 2004!

ME: Good lord, is he still alive?

TYFL (surprised): You know who he is?

ME: Uh, yeah. He’s the perennial Libertarian candidate. Why is he running as a Democrat?

TYFL: No, no, he’s not a Libertarian. He’s for big government. He’s an FDR Democrat. They’re just trying to discredit him.

ME: I’m pretty sure he ran for president as a Libertarian in 1984.

TYFL (who may not have any first-hand experience of 1984, is not quite sure what to do with my troubling specificity, so he ignores it): No, he’s like FDR, like Alexander Hamilton…

ME: Uh huh.

TYFL: You know, the Secretary of the Treasury.

ME: Right. The guy on the twenty. One of the authors of The Federalist Papers. Established the gold standard.

YFL: Exactly, the gold standard!

ME: Shot Aaron Burr.

YFL: Uh, yeah…

ME: Well, good luck.

Now, the interesting thing here is that it turns out the Youth was right – once again my memory of the Eighties failed me. LaRouche ran as an Independent in 1984 (and in every presidential election since, usually after losing in the Democratic Primary).

I take some comfort in knowing I’m not alone in this confusion - apparently a few news organizations made the same mistake...and the Libertarians weren't any happier about it than the Youth for LaRouche.

May 16, 2003
Orinoco Whoa

Yesterday the sound of an Enya song coming through someone’s window made me imagine dolphins frolicking among the rainbows reflected in the bead of drool that had formed at the corner of my mouth after a high colonic so high it cleaned out my brain.

Yeah, I didn't see it coming, either.

May 15, 2003
Separated at Birth

On my way home last night I saw a Mini that looked like this:


And this is the cell phone I finally bought after years of resisting the critters:


So that's what happens when companies share market research.

Hey, if you have one of those fancy phone covers, you can still make your own matching Mini!

May 13, 2003
It Is All Good

Courtesy M's hecka mad web surfin' skills, upgrade your teen lingo from bogus to butta.

May 12, 2003
Militant Pedestrians Unite!

Apparently I’m not the only pedestrian who has considered using unconventional means to teach bad drivers the value of courtesy and attentiveness, although I seem to be the only one whose name doesn’t start with "E"...

From Eric:

I say pedestrians should just carry aluminum baseball bats with which to defend ourselves. Comes in even handier when you come across an overly-sensitive car alarm.

From Emily:

When I was a blithe young thing, I lived in a seacoast tourist town, through which the main route whipped like the wind through Oklahoma. I worked at a shop with locations on either side of this main throughway, and needed to cross at the crosswalk a dozen times a day. As is inevitable when cars pass through the center of town at highway speeds, I was struck by a passing car once or twice every summer, despite my (no doubt negligent level of) caution. I devised (but never put into practice) two plans:

1) I planned to lay in a supply of bricks and fashion a template with which to stencil the four long sides with the state's laws regarding pedestrians and crosswalks. When a driver seemed in need of instruction or appeared to be in doubt, I would offer them this timely reminder by the shortest route possible, which usually seemed to be through the windshield. I do not advocate the destruction of property or the terrorizing of drivers, law-flouting or otherwise.

2) I located a disused but still serviceable pram, which I planned to outfit with balloons filled almost to bursting with strawberry Jello. I intended to push this with my on my daily route, and, in the event of a near-miss, push it ever-so-gently toward the oncoming car, causing the upending of the pram and the bursting of the distended Jello balloons, which would shower the hood and windshield with gory-looking globs of deep-pink gelatinous/liquid goo. I do not advocate, as I may have mentioned, the terrorizing of drivers, or indeed anyone. Nor do I any longer think it's a good idea to cause people to think they're responsible for the smushing of a baby.

I never went through with these for a variety of reasons. Since most of the traffic was tourist, i.e. transient, there was no learning curve to speak of. Also, as a teenager, I was already admittedly a bit of an oddnik, and didn't feel the urge to enhance this image by being that girl who pushes around a pram full of Jello. I usually satisfied myself with striking the hood with whatever I was carrying to or fro (oftentimes large bags of garbage, so very satisfying) while informing the driver pleasantly if loudly of the laws regarding crosswalks.

Still, I sometimes hanker for a pram and some balloons.

I’m with you there, Emily.

May 09, 2003
Zombie Flowers

I bought cut tulips last weekend, even though they sort of give me the willies, what with the whole continuing to grow and turning to get sunlight even after they’re cut thing. Once I came home and found a vase with the tulips it was holding in a puddle of water on the floor. For a split second I thought someone had broken into my apartment, but then I realized that the top-heavy tulips had been stretching toward the windows, and tumbled off the shelf.

Which is why the tulips I have now are in a very heavy vase indeed.

May 07, 2003
Traffic Control, Angry Young Woman Style

Here’s the plan:

We build a bunch of non-sentient robots, see? They look just like normal pedestrians, and we program them to walk around, blindly obeying traffic laws. If the light turns green, they go. And hey, let’s make it interesting - maybe sometimes they stop briefly but suddenly in the middle of crosswalks, because, you know, the law says cars should be at least an entire lane away from pedestrians crossing the street (hint: if a pedestrian can reach out and smack any part of a vehicle, that vehicle is too fucking close).

On the inside these robots are meaty and juicy, just like real pedestrians, so if some aggressive, rude, and/or inattentive fuck in a car hits one, the robot thunks and crunches and splatters just like a real pedestrian. And maybe we let the driver think they hit an actual person for a day or a week or a year or forever.

Because, you see, if I were a meaty, juicy pedestrian robot I would have been hit not once but twice on my way home from work yesterday, and I’m still pretty pissed off about it.

May 05, 2003

I forgot Grey Gardens was playing in Seattle over the weekend, so I missed it.

May 02, 2003
Bestsellers in the Micro-Help Section

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Flossers

Getting the Loom You Want

Who Moved My Remote?

Fifteen Days to Shorter Fingernails

Chicken Soup for the Congested

May 01, 2003
Al Fresco

On my way home yesterday I noticed that a cloudy day had turned into an unexpectedly clear and balmy evening. I also noticed two women sitting out in front of a salon, one of them busy putting foil highlights in the other’s hair.

You just don’t waste good weather in this town.