Political Figures

I saw Eliot Spitzer speak today, and I came away both greatly impressed, and also somewhat sad. Spitzer is a man with an immense amount of intelligence, fortitude, and political charisma. As he spoke today, it struck me just how forthright he was. He was very clear on his views, and made no bones about what he thought was smart, and what he thought was dumb (hint: it rhymes with the Tee Party). One of the choice moments of the day was when he stated that, as a politician, he'd always been somewhat embarrassed by the level of self-promotion that he'd had to do. Which he then tossed out, off the cuff, that:

Although, embarrassment is something you learn to live with when you've had my life.
What was sad was that his career as a politician is basically totally done, at least in the short run, because he cheated on his wife and bangs hookers with his socks on. Which is terrible. But frankly, I don't really give a shit. I think that as far as making political decisions goes, I would trust him to do the right thing. But that won't happen.

I'll post later about what he actually talked about.


Just read an article in the NYT about gamers finding love in World of Warcraft. My immediate reaction was to think that there is now finally a venue for finding a date that is considerably more embarrassing than match.com, eharmony, etc. However, I did find the following point interesting:

With more than 12 million subscribers, World of Warcraft is one of the most popular games of its kind in the world (others include EverQuest, Aion, Guild Wars). That’s a sizable dating pool. Match.com, by way of comparison, has fewer than 2 million subscribers.
Obviously, the two are very different, and match is way more focused, making the direct comparison almost worthless. Still, it is some sort of venue where the two people can get to know each other over a shared activity, so maybe that helps? Also, the other shocking fact from the article:
More than 40 percent of online gamers are women, and adult women are among the industry’s fastest growing demographics, representing 33 percent of the game-playing population — a larger portion than boys 17 and younger, who make up 20 percent, according to the Entertainment Software Association, an industry group.
My reaction to this is that the sample here has to include people playing Words with Friends or something, because this cannot possibly be true of World of Warcraft. If it is, my vision of the world will never be the same.


When I was younger, I had no independent musical taste of my own. That said, I knew I hated what my parents listened to. My mom listened mostly to classical, and occasionally a bit of Barbra Streisand. My dad was way into the oldies, and would listen to Nat King Cole, Johnny Mathis, the Righteous Brothers, Andy Williams, etc. I didn't know much about music, I just knew that I hated what my parents were listening to. Them being who they were, it really could not possibly have been cool.

I have recently been listening to a lot of new soul, after being inspired by my much cooler, younger cousin Chris. Oddly enough, it's all a bunch of white dudes who are recreating (not even updating, just recreating) the sounds they heard when they were kids. It's definitely an old sound, and although I'm sure there's probably some weird hipster chic to it (look at me, I'm listening to black music appropriated by white guys with thick black glasses!), it's definitely something that I think can only fly to the extent that I'm almost 30 years old and have no need (or possibility) of looking cool. This has gotten me to thinking though. Am I hitting that stage where I'm turning into my parents? Will I have kids who flip through my music collection and go, "Jesus, my dad is such a loser?"

Ignoring the fact that it's looking like I will die alone and childless, this is putting me in a serious state of existential crisis, since half of my identity is being precisely who my parents are not. Ignoring that though, some of these songs are totally legit. I totally encourage you to check them out at your leisure.

James Hunter - Carina

Jamie Lidell - Multiply

The one about Honeybadgers

This video was recently passed on to me, with my roommates saying that I was the narrator. I hate them. But the narration is actually pretty funny.

Book Review: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

These days, I keep a running tab of what I'm reading on goodreads, which I'm pretty much using as a way to remember what I think about the books that I read. I have a nasty habit of reading things and forgetting their content, so taking the time to write about them has been a helpful way of keeping track of my thoughts. In any case, I'll occasionally be posting some of my reviews here. Here's a review of a book that I just finished today, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.


Despite whatever fronts I may put on, my core being is a big nerd that falls really easily in love with women that I am too shy to pursue (or who are otherwise basically unattainable). So, imagine my interest in a book that is nominally about a fat nerdy kid that falls really easily in love but is terrible with women. So, basically, a book about a hyperbolic version of myself, except from the DR and really fat.

Unfortunately, I never really got the full sense of resonance and connection that I was looking for (a la Nick Hornby's High Fidelity, where the previously aforementioned resonance was almost unbearable at times). For starters, the book is really about the terrible, terrible misfortunes that befell not only that fat kid, but also his entire blighted family. Many of these are quite sad, but oddly non-compelling. The underlying trope of the book is that the family is cursed, which adds an element of "magical realism" (or whatever kids call it these days) that makes the events feel less like a human tragedy and more like a set of just really crappy events. That the family members are bull-headed, stubborn, and given ample warning of the oncoming tragedies also makes it hard to feel really sorry for anyone.

Also, there's a ton of stuff in Spanish here, which I could only partially understand/guess at. Me being the completionist that I am, I constantly felt like I was missing out on stuff while reading this book, since I didn't have Internet access and couldn't look up every phrase that got tossed around (and there are a lot). This feeling kept me from fully immersing myself in the book, and at times made me feel as if the author was just peppering the pages with little things to make the world seem more authentic (much like he does with his nerd references, which I think in some cases were actually wrong).

All in all, it was a fine book, but it didn't really do it for me. I will say that there were definite moments that touched me, and that at times, I definitely empathized with some of the despair that Oscar felt throughout the course of his life. And the story of Oscar's grandfather was also crushing. But I think overall, I found this book to be just OK.

Live From Wilmington

Piss Christ

Happy Patriot's day everyone! I'm out in Wilmington today, enjoying a nice golfing vacation in a place that's considerably warmer than Boston. I don't know anything about golf, but this is still nevertheless, totally awesome. Quick post today. Apparently, people have violently attacked a piece of art from 1987 known as "Piss Christ," as part of an anti-blasphemy campaign (link to story). The artwork is a photo of a crucifix immersed in a jar of the artist's piss, hence the super literal title.

I've always been a huge believer in freedom of speech, and this case is no particular exception. However, lately, especially following the hubbub about Pastor Terry Jones, I've been wrestling a bit with the limits. While I'm not a religious person, and find the activity of fundamentalists to be pretty hard to fathom some times, I get that this artwork is kind of a dick thing to produce, given the beliefs of so many others. Regardless of the intent, it's a pretty big "fuck you" to a ton of people who (in a way that I will never really get) derive some greater meaning from even the most minor representations of their faith. And sometimes, when you're enough of a dick (e.g. have a fake trial of the Koran and then stage a burning of another people's holy book with the intention of getting enough media attention to piss people off), you get a lot of people angry enough to go around and kill people in response, or something similarly ridiculous.

At the same time, limits on speech, just because it is going to piss someone off, is frankly ridiculous. Someone will always be pissed off about what people say (e.g. Dutch Muhammad cartoons) and it frankly seems ridiculous that the entire world should have to hold it's tongue because some crazy people are going to get super offended and then go on a rampage in reaction.

So how do you draw the lines? Be insensitive and let the jerks take over the airwaves, or give in to the wusses that can't suck it up and just live their own lives? Is there any clean way to cut a path down the middle?

A more serious one

Election season is basically upon us already. Which means that everybody in the world is suddenly going to become super politically opinionated about things that they really couldn't give a crap about during the quiet part of the cycle. I've already gotten embroiled in discussions about taxes and I'm like, why?

I think the most tiresome part about the election season is that everyone suddenly becomes so certain about what is right for the country and really upset about how stupid everyone that disagrees with them is. If it was all so simple, then why is it so difficult to persuade people of the proper course of action? Why is it that our nation's leading economists, who all ostensibly have really awesome degrees and a bazillion years of education, can't really agree on what to do?

My guess? Shit's complicated. The least we can do is acknowledge that fact, acknowledge that finding an answer will involve a serious discussion, and acknowledge the possibility that we might be wrong/not know everything. Oi, I sound so preachy. Pet peeve vented.

A quick one

So, today I eliminated my chances of ever becoming a U.S. President and increased my chances of getting a heart attack by preparing and consuming ~3/4 of a pound of seared foie gras. Poorly.

Mental note for the future: controlling the heat so that the fat doesn't start smoking is probably a bit more important than I thought.

Live and direct

Hey team,

Every few days or so, I get an e-mail from Blogger letting me know that someone has posted a comment to this blog. They are never disqus comments though, meaning that they're on one of the super old posts. When these emails show up, I get momentarily excited. Maybe someone has chanced upon my blog and become so intrigued by my keen insights and trenchant wit that they were compelled to write a deep and thoughtful response! And in fact, many of them even start off with some very nice comment about how interesting my post was, and how they can't wait to read more on the topic.

And then I get to the signature, where I find out they're from an escort service. Sigh.

Even so, I have realized that I vaguely miss having people read things that I write, and then responding to them. So, here we are. Read my words. Love me. If you just pretend, that would also be totally cool.

Location:Pearl St,Cambridge,United States


Copyright 2006| Blogger Templates by GeckoandFly modified and converted to Blogger Beta by Blogcrowds.
No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission.