November 30, 2002

I'm a big, fat pig

This year, I'm thankful I didn't go home after Thanksgiving dinner was over - it helps if you can sleep over so as to get a good jump on leftovers the next day. Special thanks to Karen for the eggplant parmesean recipe; it made a great dinner, lunch and another dinner the subsequent day.


November 27, 2002

Desert Planet

"The side of the dunes that faced the sea and received the monsoon winds rose abruptly, but straggling clumps of scrub grass grew in places where the incline was not as steep. The man looked back over his shoulder at the village and he could see that the great holes, which grew deeper as they approached the crest of the ridge, extended in several ranks toward the center. The village, resembling the cross-section of a beehive, lay sprawled over the dunes. Or rather the dunes lay sprawled over the village. Either way it was a disturbing and unsettling landscape."


November 24, 2002


Anthony Swofford, a Marine sniper in the Gulf War, has an article in this month's Harper's. It's similar to, but much better than, his op-ed piece from the NYT last month, and presumably like his upcoming memoir due out this spring. His take concerns both the terror of war generally and the absurdity of the Gulf War in particular. So he writes about both the personal effect a Blood for Oil policy has on the soldiers ordered to carry it out:

"We joke about having transferred from the Marine Corps to the Petrol Corps, and while we laugh at our jokes and think we're damn funny jarheads, we believe we might soon die, and this is not funny. We have been deployed to protect oil reserves and the profits and rights of American companies, many of which have direct ties to the White House and oblique financial entanglements with the secretary of defense, Dick Cheney, and the commander in chief, George Bush, and the commander's progeny."
and what happens when you come under Iraqi rocket attack:
"I stand in place and piss my pants again, piss all over and running into my boots, thighs both, knees both, ankles both, bottom of my feet both, clear piss and no underwear, because otherwise chafed crotch because Vaseline only works to mile ten and all wars and battles occur farther than ten miles from all-safe points, and rotten balls if you don't remove your underwear at mile ten, and rockets landing red glare and more rockets, hitting everywhere around us, but they haven't hit us, so far they have only caused great amounts of terror and oblivion."
It's interesting the response Swofford is provoking in the converative press/blogworld. Some seem only blithely aware of the larger point being made while others are embarrassed for a soldier made afraid by battle.

Ah, the marketplace of ideas.

November 22, 2002


The first college debate tournament I attended was hosted by Penn. I thought I had a rough time because my partner kept wanting to run cases about Star Wars and we ended up losing more than we won. However, I now realize that I got off easy.

Being crammed into unlocked common rooms is the norm for tournament housing, and you've got to expect a touch of uneasyness when a horde of dorky debaters takes over a shared college space. But I can't begin to understand how a Penn student finds himself walking around West Philly with a container of motor oil in his hand and mischief in his heart. Of course, this is the campus where a peace protester self-immolated a few years back, also around the time of the debate tournament ... so it would seem there's some kinda rhetoric-related bad vibe going 'round.

November 19, 2002

Oh, be a fine girl - kiss me!

Despite the full moon and the light pollution of a major city, the Leonid meteor shower did not disappoint. Conditions were favorable enough for me to see nearly two dozen Leonids between 2:15 and 2:45am while sitting at the corner of Hill St. and Sanchez here in San Francisco. Several times I mistook the reflection of headlights off overhead power cables for astronomical objects ... and I have to remember that urban stargazing would be better if I brought along a flashlight to switch off the automatic streetlights. However, no amount of light or haze could have drowned out the one meteor I almost figured for a plane until I saw its broad, phosphorescent tail dissolve into the night sky.

Fire with Fire

The army dismissed nine of its linguists, six of whom were studying Arabic, after discovering they were gay. Of course, there's a shortage of Arabic speakers needed to translate the War of Terrorism into an international best-seller. But if you're going to defeat a fascist regime of religious intolerance you're going to need a little of your own.

November 18, 2002

Rodent Death Squad

Once, Jerry O'Connell was the fat kid in "Stand By Me" and slept with Sarah Michelle Gellar. Now, he's in a movie with a computer generated kangaroo that inadvertently steals money from the mob. Really.

November 17, 2002

Valtrex: the other white meat

Have you ever noticed that the logo for the pork board is suspiciously similar to that of pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline?


November 13, 2002


The "Hole in the Wall" project provides free internet access to children in India via kiosks across the country. This, among other things, has lead to the kids using these computers to refer to the hourglass icon as Shiva's drum.

November 10, 2002

Oh what fun


My step-neice Alex shortly after meeting me for the first time (there was an incident with a too roughly thrown mini-wiffle ball ... we're good friends now)

November 06, 2002


St. Louis, Missouri - home of toasted ravioli, possibly the ice cream cone, and my friends Alex and Carrie Chen who were married this past weekend. Congrats!


November 03, 2002

Dodged a bullet

Thankfully, the USOC selected New York as the US candidate for hosting the 2012 games. I can't imagine the nightmare of trying to go about normal life in San Francisco had the SF/San Jose/Palo Alto/Turlock bid been accepted.