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Monthly Archives: November 2008

It’s been a while since I doled out a public service announcement, but on this day when Americans give thanks, I have to get a very important message off my chest. (If for nothing else, to amuse bored Canadians, people hiding from their families, and others who find their way here.)

With the leaves falling off and the holidays present, you may think that it signals the time of year where, especially if you’re single (and sometimes if you’re not), that the best way to dole out some holiday cheer is with whatever’s in your pants. No.

Look, the holidays can bring out the internal longing for human connection like no other time of year, and this is actually a very good time to get closer to people, and maybe meet someone of significance, or someone for fun. However, a bad hookup decision is still a bad hookup decision no matter what time of year it is. If it was a bad idea to bring back that ex you know is a jackass on October 7th, it’s not any more legit on November 30th. Just because it’s your last holiday season as an unmarried person, it doesn’t mean that it’s time to spread Christmas cheer, if you know what I mean, for the last time to all you can.

The overall point is that the holidays eventually end and the hard, cold reality of January will settle in. And when you’ve realized what you’ve done and you contemplate how to get out of it, it’s going to make January a series of cold, cold winter’s days, even if you live in Southern California.

So before you let that spiked egg nog make you think, “Hey, why not, who wants to spend December 13th alone?” Flash forward the clendar to the far less festive date of February March 13th, and think if a Presidents St. Patrick’s Day atmosphere would make what or who you are about to do make sense. If the answer is yes, then proceed. If the answer is no, then stop and extricate yourself from the situation. If the answer is no, and you still go through with it, you know what it makes you? A Hookup Turkey! Don’t be one, because the only people who get to feast on the carcass of a Hookup Turkey are the gossipers and friends who will be going (because they will find out, they ALWAYS find out), “What the f*** !?!?”

The more you know…

*edited with realization that Feb. 13th is the pre-Valentine’s Day Hookup Turkey post-season…

If there’s oneball, lebron james, lebron james in new york topic that seems to be sparking heated debate in ye olde sports website forums, it’s whether or not LeBron James will opt to stay in Cleveland, where he can make the most money and remain a hometown hero. Or will he take less money in NBA salary to make more money, supposedly, in endorsements and business deals on his way to becoming a billionaire athlete and ‘global icon’?

The debate is furious. New York fans waiting for the resurrection of their franchise, now bolstered by the shrewd, cap-clearing trades of last week, feeling that LeBron has given just enough hints that he wants to play the big stage versus Cleveland fans, nervous Midwesterners, and New York-haters, who feel that he likes Cleveland, cares about the home folks, and doesn’t really need the bright lights and the media glare of New York. 

Of course, the answer lies somewhere in the middle. He likely hasn’t made up his mind yet. He’s still twenty-three, and the decision will probably come down to two things: where’s the best place for him to win multiple championships, and is it truly important to him to be an international celebrity and marketing powerhouse? Perhaps all these factors will change by the time he’s 25.

But that’s way too boring. Better to make the decision now for him. Right?

I hate to say it to the contingent that wants to see him stay home, but all the signs point to New York. A guy who is happy with the comfort of home doesn’t say things like, “I want to be a global icon.” Surely there are musicians from his native Ohio he could be palling around with other than Jay-Z.  He seems too obsessed with fashion, the media spotlight. Tim Duncan wants none of that stuff and happily plays in San Antonio. And there was really ever little doubt that he would leave there as long as he was assured that the team was committed to putting a winning product on the floor.

So I don’t think it’s unreasonable to consider that if he thinks New York can give him the spotlight he wants while at the same time providing him the support he needs to win championships, he would go there. Of course, he can also look at his main man Warren Buffett and see that it’s not impossible to become an influential billionaire Midwest-style.

I wouldn’t bet on it, though. I look at many of the people that I know now who live in New York but didn’t grow up here. A ton of them came from places they loved and appreciated (mostly), but knew that they had a little bit of a thirst for the big stage and possible greatness. That, I think more than anything else is what brought them here. And unfortunately for Cavalier fans, if the Knicks continue to do things right (that’s still debatable), LeBron James may decide, like many young folks, to go for the big stage.

So I was doing my usual Sunday night ritual, drinking at the Turkey’s Nest and watching football with the guys, when I inadvertently mad the acquaintance of a very drunk fellow. Not a big deal, since I was quite inebriated myself. However, this guy was rather touchy-feely. To the point where my roommate practically demanded he quit molesting me. I mean, I’ve been around dudes who like touching, but this was ridiculous. There was even some rather weird touching of my chest. Not good times.

He was there with another guy and a girl. I thought that this couple was dating, but something seemed off. As in guy #2 was sane and sensible, while the girl was incredibly wasted, incoherently talking about her “Patriots” who had played far earlier that afternoon and had no reason to be spoken of during a Chargers-Colts game. But they definitely seemed to have something going on.

Later in the evening, around 1 am, the weird trio had left the bar, only for guy #2 to eventually return. He sat next to me at the bar, and soon apologized for guy #1’s behavior. “Yeah man, he was all over you,” he apologized.

“I don’t know what was up with that,” I responded. As a drinker, I know how tough it is to deal with friends that are acting in a rather embarrassing fashion. “How do you and your girlfriend know him?”

“Oh, her? She’s going out with him. I just met them tonight.”

“What?”

“Yeah, those two are weird. I see him all over you, and at the same time, she’s like hitting on me. She was kind of cute, I wanted to do something, but then I’m like, “This whole thing is weird.’.”

“Ha. You walked ’em both home?”

“Yeah. Weird.”

Well, just when I thought meeting people in bars couldn’t get any worse, now I was targeted by what appears to be a couple that has nothing in common except drinking, probably drugs, and pathetic attempts to pick up dudes.

Where does such a couple meet? How do they evolve into bisexual swingers? Does she try to pick up girls once in a while? Do they have three-ways where they share a guy, or do they prefer to pair off? How long have they been doing this? Do their parents know? Why the hell are they casing the Turkey’s Nest?

They live in the neighborhood, so I’m sure I’ll be seeing them again. You know, some say New York is a series of small towns. And every good small town should have it’s signature predatory bisexual swinger couple. Congratulations, Williamsburg!

http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2008/11/abc_kills_three.html

Dirty Sexy Daisies has been canceled by ABC. I can’t believe neither show made it. And by I can’t believe, I mean “I kind of saw it coming.” But the good news is that Billy Baldwin can go back to making movies!

It looks like the Big Three automakers are not in good position to get their hands on some of this bailout money they’ve been hoping for. Too many people have expressed skepticism about handing the auto industry a blank check to continue to function in the manner that they have operating in. Others in favor of the bailout are rightly concerned that a crucial hub of American industry could not survive the damage of simply being allowed to go bankrupt. Not to mention the economic impact on Main Street of numerous job losses.

At the same time, there are concerns about how the bailout of Wall Street is going. Are they really using that money to get the credit markets liquid again, or are they just using it to continue to subsidize the exorbitant executive compensation of the same people who screwed up, and not to mention keep afloat businesses who thought they had all the answers?

Well, I am no finance expert by any stretch of the imagination, and I’m not a lawyer either.  But there has to be a way to try and keep these vital businesses afloat with federal money (because we have no choice) while not leaving it in the hands of these same doofuses who helped get us to where we are in the first place, or turning it over to a new bunch of doofuses who learned at the knees of the old doofuses. I have to admit that I was swayed a little by the Mitt Romney op-ed today, where Romney, a Michigan native whose father was once the leader of an American auto company, made the case for bankruptcy.

But as much as I agreed with many of his points, I can’t believe that at this juncture, with the economy in such a state of crisis, that you can simply afford to sit back, let the Big Three die, and see what happens. There’s no way you really want to take that chance.

But, as previously mentioned, you don’t want to give the money to the same people who messed it up. Why should you listen to them? I’m not quite sure it’s worked with the credit markets yet. Just throwing government money at the problems can’t be enough, and can’t be effective.

Hence, my unscientific, uneducated, and unresearched idea that I hope people far more qualified than I will pick up and run with. If one of you twelve to eighteen people is educated and smart enough and actually has some power.

If you’re coming to the government for money, it’s already pretty much a sign if you’re in trouble financially, right? It’s not as if it can possibly be a point of pride to go to Capitol Hill shrugging your shoulders and saying “Look, things just got messed up, okay, plese let us have this money.” And if you’re really in dire shape, what are your options? If you don’t get this money, you’ll have to what? Declare bankruptcy?

So essentially, coming to the government for bailout money is an admission of failure and financial ruin around the corner to begin with. So, instead of the Treasury simply writing checks and going “Don’t screw this up again!”, the Treasury, Congress, the President, and our leaders should say, that you’re not going to get bailed out, but we can save you using the principles of bankruptcy.

For lack of a better word, bailruptcy! I’m not quite sure how to do it, as I admit, but there has to be a way for the government to be able to keep these companies afloat yet be able to impose the market-type corrections that a bankruptcy would bring about. A federal-government managed bankruptcy (and yes, we’d be nationalizing our industries more, but this is just where we are now) could guarantee that these vital industries get to continue. Except now there’s a new entity in charge, one that’s not just looking toward the next quarterly earnings report, with long-term goals to get these vital indstries healthy again and eventually, get the American people’s money back and get the hell out of the industry.

So instead of a bankruptcy judge per se, a person with bankruptcy-judge skills backed by the government legally starts to oversee the transformation of, let’s say ,a car company into one that can be competitive. The government backing supervision, and yes, investment assures that the company won’t be liquidated, supposedly the big fear of a corporate bankruptcy. It gets the protection from creditors while also getting the bums who ran this thing into the ground out of the way to begin with.

I think I know just enough to know that this wouldn’t involve rewriting the Constitution or anything. It would be just a matter of creating a new system to allow the Federal Government to save industries without wasting valauble resources. This could be done, right? I’m even hoping  that I can’t possibly have been the first person to come up with this idea, I’ve just been too busy to read it write more coherently and eloquently by our finer finfacial and legal minds. I know there was talk of placing conditions on the Wall Street bailout, but I’m talking about far more than that here. If the government is going to intervene in the economy because it has no choice, dipping a foot in the mess isn’t going to get it done.

Bailruptcy mitigates the dangers of a bankruptcy without the lack of institutional control that appears to be a bailout. I’d end this post by declaring bailruptcy the answer, but it came from me. After being swayed by the likes of Mitt Romney. So, I implore anyone out there with some real expertise who likes it and can make it happen, I’m leaving the ball right here, run with it.

Heard in the elevator on the way up to work today:

Latino Guy: So yeah, man, it’s fucked up.

Black Guy: What happened?

Latino Guy: Well, they sideswiped my car, man! Scratches all along the side and everything.

Black Guy: Oh man, what was it, a Lincoln?

Latino Guy: A Cadillac.

Black Guy:Noooooooo! (hunches over in disbelief as he and Latino Guy leave elevator)

Honestly? This went from a nuisance to a tragedy because it was a Cadillac?!? I think I would have found this incredible regardless of the race of the guy, but the black guy escalating the level of the tragedy sadly took it to a new level for me.

I’m no car guy by any stretch, and I know Cadillac has the name recognition in the lexicon of American culture, but is there really a difference? Lincoln been a luxury manufacturer since its inception in 1917…by one of the founders of Cadillac. It’s been making presidential limousines forever!

So what’s the damn difference, dude? You know, other than your need to embody old routines from chitlin’ circuit comics?

When did it become acceptable in discussions of pop culture and art to take the stance that “Well, I don’t like it, therefore it’s crap.” How does one acquire such a mentality?

I only ask because I actually managed to hear an intelligent discussion between two people about a band they disagreed on. I rarely hear these anymore, and it was kind of refreshing. There was an actual attempt to exchange ideas and change minds, or at least open up new perspectives.

That’s how these discussions should go down.

If you’ve read me regularly, you probably know where my long-running animus towards stupid, pointless arguing that solves nothing comes from. My likable but insane roommate Diddy, who while a fairly intelligent fellow, takes a horrible approach to trying to engage in discussion about topics where there is disagreement. In observing his behavior, however I have learned a few things about communication. Mostly, why it breaks down.

In any case his model of discussion is this: “This is my opinion, it coes on high from the Mount Olympus, and you are wrong. Justify yourself to me.”

He might be the most intractably upfront about it, but a lot more people take this approach, even if it’s in a far more covert fashion. This especially manifests itself for people who cannot and will not separate their personal opinions from a critical opinion. Especially when they think they are one and the same.

And then, when they claim they are engaging  you in discussion, they’re just saying, “Prove me wrong. Which I am not.” I’m beginning to learn that once I recognize this mode of thought, I’m walking away. It’s not a discussion. Anyone who takes that attitude tends to also not listen to the nuances of the conversation, I’ve noticed. So if you’re actually making a complex point  that partially agrees with their point while partly disagreeing, they’ll hear the disagreement part and focus on that. Because they must stand firm in their beliefs…instead of processing a complex thought and maybe looking at it from another perspective.

And it is pretty complex to separate the fact that you don’t like something from intellectually understanding its merits. Plus, let’s face it, it seems bolder and more stand-up to say, “This music is crap! What is wrong with you jackals!” than to say, “You know what, enjoy it, but it isn’t my cup of tea.” My insistence on doing this has probably held back my blogging popularity considerably. That and posting three times a month, of course.

Would discourse of all things cultutral be less exciting if people said “It sucks” less often and said “It’s not for me” more often? Which would make “it sucks” far more valuable and taken seriously again? I mean, I hope when I say things suck, I tend to think they really suck. I do make fun of things that people enjoy, but I understand that they are some source of enjoyment. I think that’s fair. And complex.

And of course, because you know better and it sucks, you’ve probably stopped reading this. Back to your personal Mount Olympus, where all you own and care about rules, and all others are peons stealing your air.