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Friday, October 21, 2005

Bush's Great Triumph

Some of theBrazilian Jiu-Jjitsu guys here talked about Bush legacy. 30 years from now he'll be remembered for X stuff. The liberals talked about corruption, idiocy, conspiracy, Jews controlling Bush from their low earth orbit satellites, er, I mean neocons, and such. Conservatives weren't much better, citing bad fiscal policy and some other things. (It is all the rage to rag on Bush in conservative circles now... Is this an unconscious attempt to reach across the aisle to moderates now so that the moderates will listen two years from now? I find it strange.)

Anyway, it is all a bunch of crap. Bush will be known as a great Crusader for the West. Not the West of 800 years ago, of Catholicism and Monarch and such, but of the West of today. He will be known as the crusader who brought democracy, capitalism, and yes, LIBERTY, to the Middle East.
And if you're going to pick a single moment that encapsulates all this, I think Saddam's trial is that event. It symbolizes the end of the Arab Strongmen, and the beginning of rule by and for The People. It symbolizes rule of law over rule of the gun. Liberals want the war in Iraq to be about the hell of war, or WMD that were not found, but that's not what it is about. Dave from Dean's world puts it best.

I first read Orwell’s 1984 about 10 years ago, and I’ve re-read it a few times since. Every time, I am newly horrified by his dystopic vision, and newly committed to the ideal of human freedom. But 1984 is just a book: these people really lived Orwell's imagined horror, and worse. That, more than anything else, is why I supported the removal of Saddam's regime and continue to support all efforts necessary to the building of a free and democratic Iraq. War, even war for freedom, is a terrible thing, but generally fluid and short-lived relative to the static, long-lived nightmare of tyranny and oppression.

Read the entire post by clicking here. Read about what a horrible tyrant Bush has overthrown, learn about how he is being given a trial by the people who now rule the country he once terrorized into paralyzed submission.

And give Bush credit. History will.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Another CLOWN excerpt:

Chapter 29.

And then I called Kelly‘s cell phone. Kelly is the dude, everybody knows a person like this, who is always up for a party. They come in different variety’s: Lonely, Desperate (for a woman or a man), Cokehead, Xhead, et cetera. Kelly was the alcoholic variety. After the big earthquake I got drunk at his earthquake party. When he got fired I got drunk at his ‘I got fired’ party. When he got another job he threw a Kelly got a new job party. When he broke his pinky by slamming a car door on his hand, (it happens) he threw his “I’m a dumb ass party.” (Which was the best of them all because he re-enacted it for us on his other hand and sprained that one.)

“Hey, Kelly. It’s Clown.”

“Clown! Hey buddy, I was just going to call you to catch up with you. How you doing?”

Kelly was ‘just about to call’ everybody who called him.

“I’m good.” I didn’t want to say ‘I’m depressed and I’ll feel like hell if I don’t get drunk.’ I figured it wasn’t necessary.

“Alright! Hey, I was thinking about getting some drinks tonight at 1st Ave. What do you think?”



“I don’t know, man. I’m a little short.” This next part is kind of- well, I’m not proud of it. I never had the money to go drinking, he always did. Every time I called him it was because I wanted to go clubbing or drinking and I always needed him to pay to do it. He never let me down, not once, even though I know he knew what was going on. All the always-up-for-a-party people are ridiculously lonely and I took advantage of Kelly. Anyway, like I said, this is honest.

“That’s okay bro, I’ll cover ya’!”



“I don’t know when I’ll be able to pay you back, man.”

“Don’t worry about it, bro! I’m up and you’re down, and someday you’ll be up and I’ll be down, and then you can buy me drinks.” I figured Kelly’s down would involve detox and A.A. meetings. But he was right, I’d buy him all the coffee he could handle.

“Okay. Thanx, Kelly.”

“Where are you now?”

“I’m getting off work. I’m by the SAM.”

“I’m actually at 1st Ave. right now, buddy. I was actually thinking about having a few MORE drinks here. Get your ass down here!” Kelly is almost always at 1st Ave., that’s his bar. Which would be kind of crazy considering it is expensive as hell, except that Kelly is second generation rich. First generation rich has the money but wouldn’t spend it, second generation has the money and doesn’t think twice about spending it.

“Alright, bro,” I said. “Thanx,”

“Shut the fuck up and get DOWN HERE!”

“Okay.” I hung up and laughed. Kelly, for all that he is an alky flake, is maybe the most consistent person on the planet. Always up for a party, always as full of cheer as he is of shit.

First Ave. is a nice French restaurant with a beautiful bar right near the entrance. The bar itself is large enough for a dozen people and surfaced in burnished bronze. Bronze is easily scratched, even by the bottom of a martini glass or the texture of a roughly used rag. Light reflects up off of thousands of bronze swirls to play over people’s faces, dark hardwoods, and bottle after bottle of good, expensive liquor. First Ave. isn’t a drinker’s bar, it is a bar for people who know how to drink.

Before I started drinking with Kelly I drank Bud Lights or Red Bull and Vodkas if I was being social, and Wild Turkey shots if I preferred the active oblivion of drinker‘s nirvana. Kelly converted me into a Pilsner, Grey Goose Martini, and Maker’s Mark man.

When I walked in he was already scaring the women.

“Clown!” Kelly always yells and laughs abnormally loudly when he is drunk, which is almost always. I don’t know how his voicebox handles it. “Nancy this is my good friend Clown! But don’t let the name fool ya’!” Along with the voice comes the laugh. It is louder than the voice, and it belongs in a Kung-Fu movie. It sounds like this:


It really does. Five separate, individually triumphant, booming HAs, one after the other, evenly spaced, nearly identical except for the last, which is a tad more triumphant than the rest.


It is Kelly’s version of a ‘barbaric yawlp,’ a declaration of existence and self-love and independence and stuff like that. It is funny as hell.


“Hi,” I said. I held out my hand.

Nancy was tall, in her mid-twenties, and plain. Dirty blonde. Too skinny, too pale (especially to be wearing a black business suit), too tired looking, and too above it all. I disliked her immediately. Her shake was limp and her skin was cold. She pulled her lips back in a lazy attempt at a half-ass smile.

“What are you drinking?” Kelly yelled into my ear.

It was only 5:20.


“Mark!” Kelly yelled out. Mark was grinning at Kelly from three feet away across the bar. Nancy, Kelly and I were the only three people at the bar.

“Yes, Kelly?”

“A Pilsner for my buddy!”

I’d met Mark a few times and liked him a lot. I reached over the bar and shook his hand.

Chapter 30. Drunk

Mark’s a bartender. I mean he’s not some guy behind the bar. He’s bonafide. He’s a master of his trade, and it is one of the old and damn good ones. I don’t give the same amount of credit to all trades. I don’t give hardly any to lawyers. I give a hell of a lot to bartenders. They put up with drunken asses with a smile, defuse tension with a look, and say no to more drunken, begging women in a week, than an ordinary mortal says no or yes to in a lifetime. Bartenders rock. The guys behind the bars are dicks. You can tell the difference almost immediately, there are hundreds of signs.

Good bartenders use ice picks, bad ones use pre-crushed ice. I mean the ice doesn’t even stay in the drink, it is just to cool the glass or the shaker, but a good bartender will still eschew pre-crushed ice. A good bartender treats every worthy drink the way a geisha treats a tea ceremony: there’s a right and beautiful way to make a drink that has nothing to do with how much the drink costs; or whether or not the guy drinking it is too close to gakking to know the difference. Good bartenders are rare and wonderful. Mark is one such bartender.

He said: “Pilsner?”

I nodded and he poured it. A good bartender will put a little head on a beer too, so you get the flavor. Some bartenders worry that customers that don’t know anything about beer will be upset, thinking they’re getting screwed out of a tenth of a glass of beer. A good bartender has principles and will educate those people (even if they don’t want to be educated, he’ll convince them so gracefully that they neither know they’ve been chided nor resent it.)

He gave me a Pilsner and I decided to call Tamai before I started really drinking.

She wasn’t home so I said:

“Hey Tamai. Got my first beer here, drinking to ya’. Bummed you‘re not here. Hope Rebekah’s okay. I’ll give you a call later.”

I was bummed so I downed that beer pretty quick. Kelly was hitting on some girl who had just walked in and was waiting for her date to show up. Kelly’s technique, which he’s explained to me several times, boils down to this:

1. Act Like (his term) The Room’s Alpha Male: This involves the HA HA HA HA HA laughter, talking about how you’ll slap guys around if they’re not cool to the girl, and bragging about how many problems you have because you’re making so much money in business.

2. Approach Medium, Pretty, and Beautiful Women: Hanging with the mediums makes the prettys jealous, and hanging with prettys makes the beautifuls jealous.

3. Ask a girl for her number as long as she’ll keep talking to you and eventually the girl will wear down.

I don’t much care for his system, but credit where it is due, it works. But I think it works for the following two reasons:

1. He approaches every girl that walks into the bar. Eventually one that came to the bar fighting horrible loneliness or feeling fantastic horniness will walk in and say yes.

2. He keeps buying them drinks while he talks to them. They want the drinks and they like it that a guy is buying them drinks, and, hey, the drunker they get the better he looks.

But I also think some of the women say yes just because they are idiots and buy all the lies he sells. When Corrina and I were going out all these women used to look at me differently. The fact that Corrina was with me seemed to make them feel attracted to me. I asked Corrina about this and she said that, for a lot of women, a man with a sexy women on his arm is more attractive than a better looking man with nobody.

Women. Go figure. If an ugly women walked into a bar with a good looking guy I would NOT think the woman was pretty. I’d think the guy had bad taste or no nerve... duh. Just one more way in which women are... well, let’s say different, instead of some of the other words that come to my mind.

Kelly is the guy I was talking about earlier when I mentioned how some guys take girls home and then brag about how they glued their eyes shut or “triple dipped” ’em, in case you haven’t figured it out.

I watched Kelly until the girl’s date came in. He apologized, (not Kelly to the guy, Kelly just sort of stepped away, the date-guy to the girl for being late) and she said it was cool but that she didn’t feel like staying at 1st Ave. He said okay and they left. Then she ran back in to grab her cigarettes, which I guess she left on purpose, because she gave Kelly a business card.

The moment she was outside half the guys in the bar (that means one other guy and Kelly himself, the other half that didn’t cheer being Mark and I) cheered Kelly.

He sidled up to me:

“Yup. You seen that, dawg.”

I shook my head with mock admiration. I hadn’t cheered for him, but hell, he did get the number.

“She was pretty hot,” I said.

“Yup. But she’d look BETTER WITH MY DICK IN HER MOUTH! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!.”

Mark said:

“Kelly, cool it. It is a little early to be yelling about your dick being in women’s mouths. The restaurant is still open.”

Kelly: “Oh, my bad, dawg.”

I downed the rest of my drink. When I feel bad about using and being two faced with Kelly I think about how he uses and is two faced with women. “Mark,” I said, “I would like a Maker’s on ice, another Pilsner back, and a dozen oyster shots. If you please.” That’s about 40 bucks at 1st Ave.

“Okay,” Mark said. “You want to start a tab?”

“Kelly” I said, “can you hook a brother up? I heard you telling that girl you made some big deals this week. Spread the wealth.”

Kelly: “Of course, dawg. Anything you want, all night long.”

“I’m going to get messed up tonight, Kelly. Oblivous. Just FYI.”


Chapter 31. Kelly.

I got the drinks and the food and started getting drunk. It didn’t take long to get there. Used to be I’d get a little drunk and be, like-

“Alright now I’m ready to DRINK.”

And I’d drink ‘till I was asleep, puking, or some nasty mix of the two. Such over over-indulgence is frowned upon at 1st Ave., and now I get drunk enough to be, like-

“Alright, now I’m ready to drink. But I won’t. I’ll enjoy this high.”

And I do. Really things are so much more fun that way, you know?

But not getting oblivious-idiot drunk has its own dangers. When you’re wasted you’re yourself but you’re different enough from yourself that you notice different things. Non-drunk me might see a nice looking woman, but notice her ring, and so not take the time to appreciate her. Drunk me wouldn’t notice the ring and so would appreciate her. Drunk or sober I wouldn’t do a married woman if I knew she was married, I mean I’m still basically the same person. But, drunk, I see her differently.

So I’m looking at Kelly as the night goes by, and he’s running his game on men and women, just trying to make himself look good all night, and all the stuff I usually remember I forget. And Kelly became the nastiest thing to me. Sober, I’d bitched at him and made fun of him but he was a friend so I never thought about why. But, drunk, I saw everything. Every moment of Kelly’s day is spent selling an image of himself.

And it’s a good thing I wasn’t too drunk, because you know how when you want to work something complicated out you tell it to a friend? You think aloud to get it clear? I wasn’t drunk enough to do that. I almost did it, using Mark. But I realized how mean it would have been, so I had a dialogue with myself.


Pay attention dude; this is a big deal. It is one thing to sell who you are. We all do it. We all want to be liked so we try to let people know who we are, hoping they’ll like us. Not Kelly. Kelly hates himself, so he sells something he ISN’T because he wants to be liked. Ya’ dig?

Other Me:

(Raises his right eyebrow.)


Well, okay, maybe it isn’t that uncommon, and maybe we all do it a little bit. I mean we all put our best foot forward. The thing is, at some point, a decent person shows the truth because that’s who they are and why would you want someone to like someone you’re not who they think is you? I mean what’s the profit on it?

Other Me:

(No real reaction at all.)


He doesn’t even think it is wrong when he knows he’s lying. He’s talked himself into it to the point where he thinks lying is a form of magnanimity. He thinks that, if you think it is important to tell the truth, you’re anal, so lying actually shows you’re a good person because it means you’re not petty!!! And he thinks we all, like, all lie so much, that if you consistently lie then you’re being more honest because you are consistent so people never believe you, whereas a person who only lies once in a while can convince someone a lie is the truth!

Other Me:

Easy now... Don’t forget to breathe.


(Deep breath.) So an honest man is petty and deceitful but a liar is generous and honest! Don’t you see it!?!?

Other Me:

Keep it coming, this might be Epic worthy if you work on it.


Okay. But then here’s the kicker. Here’s the sick part. Kelly sells it to himself. That’s why he’s drunk all the time, because otherwise he can’t maintain the illusion. You see? You see how fucked up that is?

Other Me:

Okay, that’s all good. But--- wait, you’re pretty much done, right?


Yeah, man.

Other Me:

Okay, don’t take this personal or nothin, but, if you’re going to sit there and think this kind of shit about him maybe you shouldn’t be drinking his money up.


Well . . . Okay, fuck you. I don’t need you anymore ‘cause I’m not going to worry about it anymore. Buh-bye.

Other Me:

Are you going to keep dri---



That was it. I wanted to drink so I stopped thinking about it.

I think about that now and I think it was pretty dangerous. I figured Kelly was an ass so it was okay for me to use him. And maybe, metaphysically or whatever, it was. But from a selfish perspective I was only hurting myself. I was saying Kelly is an asshole so I’m not an asshole if I’m being an asshole to him. It doesn’t fly. If I’m being an asshole, (of the user variety, in this case) I’m being as asshole, right? That’s the trouble with hanging out with people you don’t admire because you can get stuff from them. Pretty soon what you’re getting from them is their personality. Anyway, the way things worked out I don’t think it mattered.

Chapter 32. Jeff and Joe.

I called Tamai again, to get my mind going in another direction, but she didn’t answer again. I was already pretty drunk so I just said:


Then I called back and said “That was me, Clown.”

Then I called back and said “ Just F.Y.I.”

Then I started to call back but realized that was as cool as I was going to get phone message wise, so I put the phone away.

It was weird that she wasn’t home. It was just after ten o’clock. I wondered for a second if maybe her kids were really sick and considered calling her back to express that but vetoed the idea. Then Jeff and Joe walked in. Jeff is my fratboy friend. He’s Kelly’s friend, actually, or at least we met through Kelly, but I dig him ‘cause he’s funny. His last name is Cwacklefugen. Seriously. He goes about 5 foot 6 inches, 150 pounds soaking wet. Imagine Charlie Brown grown up and with a perverted but great sense of humor. That’s Kwak, as his fratboy friends call him.

Joe is about 6 foot 3, 260 pounds, solid. He’s my pro football friend, well, actually, I met him through Kwak, but I dig him too. He used to play linebacker for the Seahawks. Joe grew up in Compton, California, and Kwak grew up in some suburb I don’t know the name of, but if I did it wouldn’t matter. It was just a white boy Northwest suburb, which is like saying it was a white boy white boy suburb. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, I’m just saying you can’t get much farther from Compton, California than WhiteboyGate, Washington.

They’re a weird combination. Big and small, short and tall, black and white. Then when they start talking you see it. It is all about the humor.

“Clown!” Jeff says. “Whatssup, slice, haven’t seen ya’.”

Joe says, “Hey Clown, how’ya doin’?”

“Good, good.”

Jeff: “Yo Marky-Mark!” Mark smiles and spreads his arms open. “Yeah,” Jeff says, “see if you can call The Funky Bunch over, and, uh, oh yeah, beers for the boys.”

Mark starts pouring and Jeff slams me on the shoulder. Little Jeff’s super physical, and he‘s a drunk-puncher, likes to punch your shoulder when he‘s drunk, whereas Joe doesn’t touch, ever. Once Jeff punched Joe’s shoulder like five times and finally Joe flicked his ear. Jeff jumped around in a circle yelling “ow! holy shit! that hurts like hell! ow!” and such for like a minute. But it didn’t cure him of drunk-punching permanently.

Jeff to me: “What you been up to, bitch?”

“I don’t know, man, writing.”

Jeff to Joe: “You know this fag writes poetry?”

Joe: “Nah. He does?”

Me to Jeff: “Fag?”

Jeff to me: “Yeah. You write poetry, right?” And he and Joe crack up. I know, it isn’t funny. But they both crack up.

Jeff: “No, seriously. That’s like his life. Writing poetry.”

Long pause . . . and then Jeff and Joe just bust out laughter again. The absurdity of my life’s choice amuses them.

Jeff: “No, man. I respect that. Follow your dream, right? Most people give up on their dreams when they’re still kids and shit, right? That reminds me . . . Did you blow bubble’s when you were a kid?”

Me: “Yeah.”

Jeff: “Yeah, well, he got back in town last week, he wants your new number.”

And they both die laughing, again. They went to some U.W. fraternity together. I guess that’s what people at these fraternities do, is develop an appreciation for this type of humor. Then, I guess they grow out of it.


Chapter 33. Priest.

You never expect to see a priest in a bar, but First Ave. has a semi-regular priest. He’s 35, but a really young 35. Smooth skin from the clean living, I guess. I don’t know his name, I just always thought of him as Priest. He told me his name a few times but I never remembered it. I’d avoid him because I didn’t want to go “Hey- man...” to a priest.

I didn’t know why I never liked him. He’s always got a nice smile, he never seemed judgmental or anything. He came in one night and Kelly started schmoozing him like Kelly does everybody, and next thing you know Kelly was going to Priests’ church’s Sunday picnics and Priest was coming to First Ave. for a couple of glasses of vino and the occasional port. He’s cool, I guess. I just don’t get it. Shouldn’t he be full of God’s love? Why would he be in a bar? I only go drinking when I’m dead inside. If Priest gets dead inside what’s that tell you?

So I started thinking about killing him. Again, don’t ask me how it actually happens. I don’t know the trigger. I just started thinking about how it would be a lesser sin to kill a priest because you almost know he’s going to heaven. Which is kind of weird. It tossed everything upside down. Suddenly it was better for me to kill a good person rather than a bad one.

If I killed a bad one I’d be hurrying them to hell, and even stopping them from maybe changing their ways, whereas if I killed a good one then I’d be hurrying them to heaven, and maybe stopping them from becoming evil and going to hell. And if you think of it that way it’s just a damn good thing to murder good people. And then, I guess I was pretty drunk, I started thinking that the Romans that starved the lions so they’d eat the Christians in the Coliseum were the BEST people. I mean if you kill a good person they go to heaven, but if you give a bunch of people a chance to recant their belief in God and THEN kill them for saying no, you make saints. So the lion keepers, or, I guess the Roman governors, were actually the best people ever.

Part of me felt this was crazy talk, so when I noticed Priest had come in I decided to ask him about it. Kelly was hitting on some woman and nobody there really talks to him except Kelly, so he was just sitting alone on a barstool, with his elbows on the bar and a glass of white wine cupped in both hands. I walked up to him and clapped him on the shoulder. “Hey- man...” I said.

I sat down next to him. “Hi, Clown,” he said. “How are you?”

“I’m good. Lemme ask ya’, no offense?” I raised my eyebrows.

He smiled. “Okay.”

“Do you think a priest’s life is worth more than other peoples’?”

“No, Clown. Do you?”

“I mean to God. Not to me.”

“No. I don’t think God values my life more than other peoples’ lives, Clown. Do you think God does?”

“I don’t know. But, I mean, there’s got to be a scale right? Not like a weight scale.” I spread my arms wide until I whacked some lady walking out right across her breasts with the back of my hand. I looked over and said “Oh shit.” She was with a big, mean looking man.

Before she could even say anything Priest goes:

“I’m so sorry. We were having a theological discussion and my friend was just using his hands to express something. I hope you’ll excuse us.”

Situation diffused. The big, mean looking man gave me a little look and they walked out.

“Thanks, Priest,” I said. And then I was like ‘Oh, shit, I called Priest Priest out loud.’


“Right. Right right right. I didn’t mean to-”

“What were you going to say?”


“About a scale?”

“Oh!” I put my hands out but Priest, deftly is the only word I can think of, grabbed both of them and pushed one so it went up and the other down, rather than sideways. I said, “Okay, cool. This works better anyway. So a good man’s here,” I said, and held my right hand above my head. “And a bad one‘s here, well, no, a bad one’s like in the basement, okay? So that kind of scale, not a bathroom scale, right?”

“All right.” He took a sip of his wine.

“So if we’re equally good people, just for example, you and I, aren’t you still way more likely to get to heaven?”

I was drunk. Like I keep saying, I’m not trying to look good here. I’m just telling you what happened as I remember it. The way I remember it, I was an idiot. More so than usual.

“You’re saying God likes me more because I do his work?”


“As opposed to a person who is equally holy in all other ways, but does not seek to bring others to God?”

“Yeah. Fucking- excuse me, I’m sorry, but fucking exactly. Thank you.”

“I want you to imagine your scale stretches from the center of the earth to the moon, all right?”

“Yeah.” I was nodding. I was into it.

“Now look at my finger nail.”


“Not even that much, Clown. There’s not even that much difference. If there’s any difference at all. The scale is so massive that, if there is a difference, it really isn’t worth thinking about.”

I took a really deep breath and tried to absorb what he’d said. I couldn’t, my mind went blank. I nodded. I didn’t want to look stupid. I kind of understood that what he’d said was very important to me, but I could not compute it. It wouldn’t work. If Priest had waited another minute maybe things would have turned out differently. He waited, I’d guess for a full thirty seconds or so, which is a very long time to wait in the middle of a conversation, but it wasn’t long enough.

He goes:

“Do you know what grace is?”

And that was it. Suddenly I figured out why I didn’t like him. It was because I kept on expecting him to try to sell me his product. And he just had. I dismissed everything he’d said to me. I nodded and smiled, but for me he was just a car salesman. I said:

“Hey, man, I’ve gotta use the bathroom.”

He smiled and said “Okay.”

Walking to the bathroom I decided Priest was just like Kelly. They were both always selling. I mean if you talked to Kelly you never talked to him because he was a person trying to sell you Kelly. You never talked to the real person, only to the salesman. Every word he said was calculated to make you like him. And I figured it was the same with Priest. You don’t ever stop being a priest, right? I mean you can’t put it down, like a miner puts his helmet down, after a hard day. So every word he said to me was calculated to save my soul or whatever. What a dick.

(I know I’m not supposed to be making excuses and stuff, but, I was drunk. Still, that’s what I thought, so that’s what I thought.)

When I came back out Priest was talking to Kelly and Jeff. He was telling some joke about The Pope. I can’t remember the actual joke, all I remember is that he said “JP3.”

“What’s JP3?” I asked.

Kelly and Jeff and Joe looked at me like I was an idiot.

“John Paul the Third,” Priest says. Which cracked me up. Even the priests in Seattle have to be cool. Why had I even bothered to ask this dude anything?

Priest turned to me after a few minutes and handed me a card. “That’s my personal number, Clown. If you want to talk some more please call me. Anytime.”

“Okay.” I said it like I was surprised, like nothing was wrong in my life. Why would I want to call?

“Are you okay?” he asked.

“Yeah. I just, you know, it is something I’m working on for The Epic.”

“Oh. Alright. Anyway, call anytime. Anytime.” He shook my hand and said goodbye to everybody and left. I checked my watch. It was 11:00. That was an important time for me because the last buses to the U district from downtown stopped running around midnight. I had three choices.

A.. stay and drink and crash at Kelly’s, or

B. stay and drop twenty dollars for a cab at 2:00 a.m. when the place shut down, or

C. leave and get a bus for home.

I decided to call Tamai.

She answered this time, but it was weird.

“Hey,” I sad.


“How you doing?”

“Fine. It is eleven o’clock.”


“My kids are sleeping.”

“Are they okay?”

“Yes. Goodbye.”


If you’ve heard that particular click you know how much it hurt. It said I had messed up big time, that a petty thing like calling her late was a reason for her to be a bitch to me. Which meant she didn’t care for me nearly as much as I thought she had, which meant I was an asshole and an idiot for hoping for so much. I’d miscalculated and now I’d have to feel a lot of pain for it.

I said aloud: “Fuck. I fucking hate myself. No. I hate women. Mark! My brother!”

“What can I get you?” Mark asked.

“I’m going to get drunk drunk drunk. Cool?”

“You driving?”


“You crashing at Kelly’s?”

“Kelly?!?” I yelled.


“Can I crash at your place?”


“Cool,” Mark said. “What’ll you have?”

“I don’t want to pass out, though,” I said.

“Red Bull and Vodka? Caffeine’ll keep you awake, Vodka will keep you drunk?”

I thought that this was a trick question. Drunks are always sure they’re catching people being crafty. I responded to his gambit with one of my ow.

“I don’t want vodka. How ‘bout Makers?”

Mark frowned down at me. There was no way he was going to put Red Bull in with Maker’s Mark.

“Okay,” I said. “How about just some Red Bull. And a glass of Maker‘s Mark after?”

Mark looked at me, thought about it, and nodded. “Can do.” He filled a glass with ice and Red Bull and handed it to me. “Here you go, cowboy.”

I yelled “Misogyny!” and downed the glass.

Chapter 34. Female.

“You like that?” Mark asked.

“It was cold. It’s okay.”

“Well, it’ll keep you up for sure.” He leaned over the bar and emptied a last gulp from the can into my glass. I swished the glass and drank again. I said: “Makers Mark?”

He looked at me, and then I guess he decided to really get me drunk. Here’s what happened next, as well as I can remember.

He gives me a glass of ice and bourbon, about half as full as normal. He says, “Okay, here we go. You’ve got Makers Mark in there. That’s smooth. Lot of caramel and sugar flavor there. Your drink, and I like that too.”

And I drink it down. It is wonderful. I order another.

“You ever tried Knob Creek?” he asks.

“‘Zit good?”

“My favorite.”

“Knob Creek Manhattan then!”

I don’t like it as much. It isn’t as sweet, nor as smooth. I comment. He says:

“Okay, here we go.” And he pours me like a half a shot of bourbon in a shot glass, “That’s Makers Mark. Again, a great brand. Now this,” and he pours me like half a shot of bourbon in another shot glass- “is Knob Creek. Knob Creek is my favorite. Made by the same people who make JB. Try that.”

I taste the Makers. Very smooth and sweet. Just a little piece of heaven that has been concentrated so much it is sin. I like it. Then I try the Knob Creek. And Knob Creek has more bite. A little bit of hell in a glass, but concocted so it is heavenly. I really don’t like it as much. I like the Makers Mark.

And then he says “Okay, and now we’re going to another level. We’re going to the highest rung on the ladder.” He hands me another half full shot glass. “That’s a barrel bourbon.”

“Uh huh?”

“Bourbons are cut with water to make them a hundred proof. That’s 132 proof. Try.”

It was ridiculous. It was tastier than the Makers and burned more than the Knob Creek. It was incredible. I felt like I was drinking the sweat off God’s brow. I was drunk.

The thing about those caffeine drinks is you can’t pass out. You can’t. No matter how drunk you are.

A trio came in: one guy, one cute girl, one big girl. I saw and assessed the situation: Third wheel lonely. Less attractive than her best friend jealous. Past midnight on Saturday, lonely. There were only two things that could happen. When I approached she’d either be a bitch to look good in front of her friends or she’d take me home to feel good about herself and look good to her friends. But the approach would decide it.

They sat down with the Pretty Girl in the middle, so that she would either have to talk to her man or her girl friend. Then Pretty Girl kind of angled herself away from her girl friend. He’d be getting the attention tonight so this was a true third wheel situation. She turned my way and I took a sip of my drink, met her eyes and smiled. She did a little double take thing and sort of smiled as she looked away.

I moved down the bar and sat next to her. She acted like she didn’t notice.

I said, “Hi.”


“You know what’s nice about being drunk?”


“You still feel the same way about things, but because you’re drunk you’re not afraid to say how you feel.”

I can’t express how difficult this was to get out. The extraordinary concentration. The mental fatigue I fought off. When you’re drunk or stoned time either goes faster or slower than normal, and time was going so slow while I said that sentence that I could barely remember what I was trying to say from one word to the next. It actually came out all right, though.

“Oh, yeah?” She says.

“Yeah. Take you. You walk in here, and I see you, but ordinarily I wouldn’t say what I think about you, you know?”

At this her friend turns around. She’s been listening in. And her friend’s boyfriend, a hippie looking skinny dude, looks at me uneasily. She, her friend, and her friend’s boyfriend all think I’m going to say she’s fat. I say:

“I think you’re fucking money. I think you’re beautiful. I could never tell you if I wasn’t drunk, but I can still see you even though I’m drunk, you know? That‘s the beauty of it.”

She‘s thinking . . . thinking . . . her friends are watching, and finally she says: “That was a bad line.”

“No- what’s your name?”


“Don’t do that, okay? Don’t be all cool with me. Don’t reject me so I can’t do it to you. If you do that we both lose. I’m being honest with you.”

“All right.”

“I’m being sincere.”


I introduced myself to her friends then, and then I called Kelly over. I told Kelly I was going to buy them drinks and he, of course, insisted on getting everybody’s drinks. I acted surprised.

I asked Mark for another barrel bourbon, on ice, but a double, and decided I was pretty much in. From that point forward I would just keep my mouth shut, not stretch it for a while. I drank and talked to the girl. Mostly I listened to her and her friends. After a certain point I leaned in and whispered “you’re beautiful,” and kissed her. I could barely keep my eyes open. She could’ve just let me kiss her mouth, like not returned it, or turned away, but she kissed me back. She rose up into me.

I don’t remember much after that, except the actual sex. It was rough, unsatisfying. I couldn’t finish because I was so drunk, and after a while she was just wishing I’d get off her. She waited until I came, though, which was nice.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Officials spotted San Diego 9-24 points in the 1st Quarter.

The officials caused this loss. What follows is a play by play breakdown. The bolded areas are specific about how bad officiating gave San Diego 9-24 points in the 1st quarter of the Oakland Raiders vs. San Diego Charger game.

After a 60 yard kickoff return, (which I did not see because the Jaguar game ran late) San Diego started their first drive at the Raider 43 yard line.
1st and 10. Gates false starts.
1st and 15. Danny Clark knocks down a pass down the middle, meant for LT.
2nd and 15. Pitch right to LT. Gibson strings it out, knocking a Charger offensive lineman backwards. Fabian Washington makes a nice tackle. Gain of two
3rd and 13. Excellent pressure up the middle forces Brees to throw the ball early to LT. It is pretty much a throw away, as Kirk Morrison had excellent coverage. (GREAT DEFENSE.)

Punt. Chargers get a great bounce and down the ball at the Raider 4.

1st and 10. Crockett up the middle for 3.
2nd and 7. LJ up the middle for 1 or 2 yards.
3rd and 6. Bonehead play by Collins or Moss… Either Moss didn’t turn when he was supposed to or Collins screwed up. With all the talk about Moss not finishing routes, I think he assumed the pass wouldn’t come to him and decided to just run up field to clear out. (Disappointing series by Oakland offense. Turner needs to learn to set up the run with the pass. Duh.)

Punt. Great punt by Lechler, 55 yards and high enough to give coverage time, and great coverage by Cooper. Cooper blasts the return man, knocking the ball loose, but SD recovers.

1st and 10 from SD 30. LT up the middle for a yard. D-Line dominating the trenches.
2nd and 9. Pass to TE Peele in the right flat. CWood makes the tackle but not before the 1st down. No db covered Peelo on the play.
1st and 10 from SD 40. LT up the middle for -1. GREAT DEFENSE.
2nd and 11. Pass to Peele up the middle for 6. Kirk Morrisson was on him immediately. Good coverage, immediate tackle.
3rd and 5. Brees has time but nobody is open. He’s flushed to his left and throws a prayer to Eric Parker. No catch. The official calls defensive holding on Nnamdi. The instant replay shows, unequivocally, unquestionably, that there was NO holding. The official is not reaching for the flag until AFTER Parker makes his cut, which means the official is reacting TO Nnamdi’s left hand which DID NOT REACH OUT AND HOLD PARKER. There was no hold. Had there been a hold the correct call would have been pass interference since the ball is catchable. An absolute bullshit call. There is NO hold. THE RESULT OF THIS TERRIBLE CALL IS THE CHARGERS GET A 5 YARD AUTOMATIC 1ST DOWN. They would have been forced to punt.

1st and 10 from Raider 49 yard line. Pitch left to LT. Raider string out the play. Tyler Brayton runs himself out of the play. At the snap he runs diagonally towards the Raider 35 yard line, hoping, apparently, to catch Thomlinson 15 yards downfield! I can’t blame this on coaching. It is inconceivable to me that Brayton was not told to contain. LT cuts back and there is ZERO containment. Gibson ends up making the tackle after a 15 yard gain. Another good play by Gibson, actually, to recover that quickly.

1st and 10 from Raider 35. Off-tackle to Thomlinson. Gibson makes a SUPERIOR PLAY. He comes up , takes on the pulling Charger offensive lineman, number 68, KNOCKS HIM ON HIS ASS, and then KNOCKS LT ON HIS ASS!!! Great play!
2nd and 10. Touchdown pass to LT. Somebody didn’t pick him up. The only guy I saw running free was Danny Clark. Gibson, who was on that side, covered the tight end. Clark covered a crossing receiver for a moment but I think CWood had him in coverage, much the way he had coverage on TO on that play where he delivered the big hit agaist Philly… Not sure. Anyway, touch down Chargers. But the drive should have ended with a punt on the Bolt 45. This touchdown was the result of bad officiating.

Now, some people like to say “Well they didn’t score a touchdown on the next play so you can’t blame the officials.” This argument is stupid. The Chargers score touchdowns on about 1/3rd of all their offensive drives. The percentage of times they score touchdowns on drives that begin on their opponents’ 49 yard line or better is obviously higher than 33%. They average 2.83 points per offensive drive. (These statistics are available here, at Football Outsiders) Again, the average number of points they score from their opponents’ 49 is higher than that. The officials, by any fair or logical measure, just gave them at least 3 points, but if you could get the stats the number would probably be 5 or 6 points. So far the officials have spotted San Diego 3-7 points.

Chargers Kick off. (Why do you people like Carr? For every exciting return he makes he flubs two catches. He can’t judge a punt in the air! Turner needs to David Dunn his ass.)

1st and 10 from Raider 28. Play action. Collins tosses it high and deep for Moss. Moss is double covered. He sees the ball in flight, adjusts, (Ghost-to-the-Post-ish) and is about to make a great catch when the San Diego defensive back impedes his progress, stopping his run to get under the ball. Watch this play again. It is clearly pass interference. The dolt db is NOT MAKING A PLAY FOR THE BALL. HE IS TURNED AROUND!!! HE IS FACING MOSS WHEN MOSS RUNS INTO HIM!!! MOSS THROWS A HAND UP LOOKING FOR A FLAG. IT IS OBVIOULSY PASS INTERFERENCE! THE BALL WAS CATCHABLE. The other dolt DB makes the interception. (Moss then taps him on the helmet before he can get off the ground. No call on the tap. I’m not 100% sure about the tap, you can’t tell.) This happens at the San Diego 30 yard line.

Janikowski can make a field goal from there, assuming the Raiders don’t gain another yard. However, the Raiders may have been able to go in for a TD. We’ll never know. That’s another 3-7 points the officials have GIVEN the Chargers. SO FAR THE OFFICIALS HAVE SPOTTED THE CHARGERS 6-13 POINTS. To make things worse yet, the interception is returned all the way to the SD 45.

1st and 10 at the SD 45. LT to the 47. Great play by CWood and Clark.
2nd and 7. Draw to LT. CWood was blitzing and couldn’t adjust to make the tackle. 5 yard gain.
3rd and 2. Pitch left to Thomlinson again. Once again the Raiders string it out. Once again Thomlinson cuts back. ONCE AGAIN BRAYTON HAS RUN HIMSELF OUT OF THE PLAY!!! AHHHHH!!! AHHHHH!!! WATCH SOME FILM! I don’t blame this completely on Brayton. LT’s vision is crazy and he makes a move on him. In the end CWood fights off THE CLEAR AND OBVIOUS HOLD. THE BLOCKER’S ARM IS OUTSIDE CWOOD. CWOOD’S JERSEY IS DISTENDED. And CWood makes a vicious tackle after a gain of 18. I'm not counting this as a penalty that translates to points. Had the hold been called it would have been a short 3rd down, and I'm only translating the most obvious and direct bad calls into points.

1st and 10 at the Raider 29. Turner up the middle for a gain of 15. CWood makes one of his cause-a-fumble tackle attempts and Turner runs through it. Ugh. Turner then runs through Hill’s two attempts to tackle him before going out of bounds. CWood’s fault. (I hate to admit it, he’s my favorite Raider, but he should have stopped that run after a 5 yard gain.)

1st and 10 at Raider 14. Turner off tackle. CWood makes a great play but it is holding on San Diego anyway.

1st and 20. Brees with lots of time… Good coverage forces him to dump it off to Turner. Gain of 7. Nice tackle by Morrisson.
2nd and 13. McCardell jukes Washington but drops a beautiful pass in the endzone. It should be 3rd and 13. Is it? No. Burgess swats Brees’ shoulder pad at the end of the play- his wrist passes along the side of Brees’ head, and he gets called for roughing the passer. This is an obscene call. The Raiders were in a great position to force a field goal, and instead have to contend with San Diego getting a new set of down at the Raider 7 yard line. You can reasonably assume the Raiders would hold San Diego to a field goals given 3rd and 13 from the 17 yard line. You cannot reasonably expect that given a 1st and goal from the 7!!! The officials just spotted San Diego another 0-4 points.

The officials have now spotted San Diego 6-17 points!!!

1st and goal from Raider 7. Thomlinson off tackle left scores a touchdown. Sigh… Not sure where the D failed. Seemed like Kelly didn’t shoot the gap fast enough or Sapp took himself out of the play. The score is now 14-0.

Carr makes a nice runback on the kickoff. Okay let him return kickoffs. NO PUNTS!
1st and 10 from 35. LJ up the middle for 2.
2nd and 10. Porter watches the ball into his chest, watches it bounce off his chest. The Raiders are shell-shocked. You can’t blame them.
3rd and 8. 1st down to Porter down the middle for 12. Nice catch and run.



2nd and 10. Collins takes a sack. San Diego celebrates as though they’ve earned anything all day. 3rd and 14. Collins to Gabriel. He breaks 2 tackles and gets to the 25. Gain of 42. GREAT PLAY by Gabriel.

1st and 10. 21 yard pass to Randall Williams. Great pass.

1st and 10 from the 4. LJ for a touchdown. You might ask why I still say the officials gave 3-7 points to the Chargers when we scored on the drive despite the bad non-call. How else are you to judge these things? I mean are you only supposed to count the bad calls the Raiders CANNOT overcome? No. That makes no sense. You count them all. Do you count the bad calls that went against San Diego. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Yeah, you do. And I’m counting them. There are none.

Kickoff. Chargers return it to the 26.

1st and 10 from San Diego 27. Pass to O’Neal. Gain of 8 after CWOOD MISSES ANOTHER TACKLE. UGH.
2ND and 2. LT for 4 up the left side.



At the end of the 1st quarter the score is Oakland 7, San Diego 14. The officials have GIVEN San Diego 9-24 points. Had the officials called the game fairly the Oakland would be leading by 2 at worst, and leading by 31 at best.

I’m reading a lot of people calling for Turner to be fired, for Collins to be benched, or for both. Many people are worried the Raider players will grow discouraged and stop trying. No team in the NFL can overcome this kind of officiating when playing against a team like San Diego. It is simply impossible. Don’t blame Turner, don’t blame Collins, don’t blame Al Davis, and DO NOT credit San Diego. The officials are playing against the Raiders. They are not being neutral.

I challenge any professional sportscaster to sit down and show where any of the calls or non-calls highlighted above were correct calls or non-calls. They cannot. The officials are growing arrogant. They are not even bothering to try and hide their “management” of the game. Raider fans, do not allow them to make you hate or feel disgust for your Oakland Raiders. All the anger, pain, disappointment, and frustration you feel should be focused and channeled toward protesting the officials’ blatant bias. They are ruining our game.


Comments are greatly appreciated, even criticism, so don't be shy. For more Harkonnendog Raider click the links below:

1. 8 Raider Predictions for 2005 season- How'd I do so far...?
2. 8 Raider Predictions for2005 season
3. Plunkett: Best Raider QB Ever? 5/19/2005
4. And yes MORE incompetent Raider reporting! 3/17/2005
5. More incompetence from the Bay Area media 3/4/2005
6. Monte Poole and Tim Kawakami = Sad but Funny 2/24/2005

(This is generally a political blog, with occasional short stories or exerpts from my novels CLOWN, NEVA, or JACOB.)

Great anti-Bush post of the day.

Right here, from the National Review

The last paragraph:

Which brings us to the Bushes. People have been trying to figure out what kind of bubble the Bushes live in for a long time. But it is not the cocoon of wealth that insulates them from reality and explains their frequent missteps and tone-deaf remarks, but that of family itself. The problem for W is that the ethic of friendship and loyalty that the Bushes cultivate and that brought him to power is threatening now to bring him down. He has made the common dynastic mistake of confusing loyalty and merit; in his eyes, the merit of people like Michael Brown and Harriet Miers consists in their being his friends. They are loyal to him, and their loyalty must be rewarded. Thus in Bush, the very loyalty that was a private virtue has become a public vice. His greatest failing is his inability to hold people accountable for their errors. Because they are his creatures, he seems unable to disown them or even to see their faults. This is an inexcusable failing in a democratic leader. As the Machiavellian FDR would be the first to acknowledge, aristocratic virtues have no place in the modern executive. For while Americans do love a prince, they want nothing to do with a king.

What I think is missed here is the fact that, if you accept the premise of the piece, Bush is only as successful as the cronies he appoints. Given Bush's success- he is a second term President of the United States with a same-party legislature and he's about to get a same-party judiciary, I have a hard time believing he doesn't pick his cronies well. So when Bush says "trust me" regarding Harriet Miers, I trust him. I trusted his father when it came to Thomas, who was no more qualified than Miers, and that worked out pretty well.

Monday, October 17, 2005

A Jinn Paralyses Me at Night = Getting Pressed?

This is from Islam Online (Cyber Counselor)

Question As-salamu `alaykum.
During the night, when I am sleeping, I get this strange sensation that almost paralyses my whole body and prevents me from screaming for help. The worst thing is that during that time, I think something is having sexual intercourse with me. Then whenever I put a Holy Qur'an under the left of my pillow, the feeling of paralysis goes away. This thing happens mostly when I do a good deed. I would like to ask if it is Satan causing this to happen, and if so, how can I fight against this bad thing?

The answer is at the link if you're interested. I'm not, being a Christian and all. I just found this phenomenon interesting... in Hawaii people call this "being pressed," or at least my Korean friends call it that. Most of them are Christian, though, non-practicing, but they all ask Jesus Christ to save them when this occasionally happens and it goes away after that invocation.

I figure it is sleep paralysis. Your body turns everything off so that you can't move, thrash around and hurt yourself, or others, while you're dreaming. But my friends and the person who asked the question woke up and their bodies were still in dream mode... That's my guess. But when I offered that explanation up one of my friends said the demon or whatever was laughing.

That's one of those moments, you know, when you tell your friend he's a liar or a dumbass or you let it go. I always let it go. Besides, what if he IS right, then that thing might come after me!

Friday, October 14, 2005

Trump's kicking ass in this year's Apprentice.

Trump is doing a great job this season. I almost stopped watching after last year because he was the suck- this year he's making excellent choices.

It could all be a matter of editing, I know, but at least they are taking the trouble to edit the show so that Trump looks good. I watch the Apprentice to reconfirm my belief in a moral universe- the good and/or strong win, the bad and/or weak lose, and the world therefore makes sense.

Last year's Apprentice didn't confirm that belief and the show sucked. It was a show about nihilism, almost. So far this year's Apprentice is all about justice. The Rebecca drama is really all about whether or not she is good and strong- or was she guilty of cronyism- and Trump's decision to spare her was all about not knowing the answer to that question.

Great season. The Trump is earning his title "The Trump" this year.

GREAT post of the day, from a terrorist POV.

The best thing about the internet is you get news and opinions that (did you know that you use "that" when what follows "that" is crucial for the sentence and "which" when what follows is not crucial? now you do) haven't been filtered by reporters. You get the raw silk and make the shirt for yourself.

This is a report by a terrorist, translated into English, which describes the frustration he feels with the way his jihad is going. Very enlightening.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Digging Hugh Hewitt

I don't visit him as regularly as Instapundit. I can't stand the layout of his blog. (It sucks, and that's not opinion, that's Plato's absolute suckness, that layout.)

But Hugh and I agree on Miers, and we agreed on Schiavo. It is really nice that one of the big righty bloggers out there feels my pain.


I wonder how strong that association is. Are ALL the righties who were for murdering Schiavo (in effect, at least) against Miers? 90%? 95%? 5%?

Think I'll email him about it, ask him if he sees a patter nor not.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

If I was a woman I'd SO do this guy.

What a wonderful, sad, hilarious post of the day.

It is called "A 40-year old virgin reviews 40 year-old Virgin."

An excerpt:

When 40-Year Old Virgin becomes available on DVD, a copy of this poem is going into the case. Seeing this monument of poetic masturbation about my fear of even so much as asking a woman out anymore tucked into the movie case of 40-Year Old Virgin will amuse me to no end. (Well, that and the "wings shudder back to the Known of the glove" line, and, in fact, the whole "glove" motif, which is unintentionally, gut-splittingly funny, especially if one remembers the condom scene from the movie.)

What a night. What a strange, beautiful, hilarious night this has been.

So, here's the deal: The first nine bloggers to express an interest in the comments section (profanity and insults are certainly permitted) will receive, free and with a signed copy of "I Am A Big Fat Pussy," one Dungeons & Dragons or GURPS rulebook. Yes, I own such books. Nine of them, to be precise. By my count, that means I have negative-seven testicles. Thank goodness I never got into painting miniatures.

Isn't somebody going to help that poor man?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Bond- Metrosexual Bond

Via Ace of Spades, I've learned the new James Bond is this guy. I'm disappointed. This guy is the wimpiest looking Bond yet. More than that, it looks like he's made a living playing sensitive guys. I was also able to discover an excerpt from the new Casino Royale.

BOND: (sits down across from the evil number 10 and introduces himself)
Bond- Metrosexual Bond.

NUMBER 10: (pulls a cigarette from his Spotted Owl skin case)

I gave them up.

I'm American, Mr. Bond. I meant 'are you gay?'.

I know. I meant I gave men up. I'm in purely hetero phase, now. Not that you're unattractive, and that's a lovely scent you're wearing. In fact- I have oysters and the new Barbara Streisand Sara Mchlachlin Duets album back at my flat...

Have you got a 9mm or a 12 gage, Mr. Bond?

Why is it "Number 10," Number 10?

Top or bottom?

But of course, darling.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Latest storyblogging carnival is up!

The latest storyblogging carnival is up at Tales by Sheya at http://talesbysheya.blogspot.com/2005/10/storyblogging-carnival-xxix-is-here.html. Check it out, and please link to it on your blogs.

Yet another take on Miers

I was all set to write a piece about Miers when I went to Instapundit and found Hugh Hewitt already wrote it, and the Volokh Conspiracy countered it. This is Hugh Hewitt excerpted from the Volokh Conspiracy:

The idea that Miers cannot go toe to toe with the giant brains on the Supreme Court is a very odd argument, on a number of fronts. It assumes that the business of judging is very difficult and that only scholars and intellectuals are suited to the task[.]
. . .
[T]he most important quality in a justice, from Bork's published point of view, would be humility in the face of majoritarian choices consistent with the federalist framework.
. . .
The other argument is a subdivision of the "not smart enough" argument, and it suggests that even though she is smart, ConLaw played at its highest level requires a lifetime of practice, either in the classroom, the federal courts, or at least as an appellate litigator like the new chief justice.
From this I especially dissent. Simply put: It isn't that hard. It is wrong to argue that it is so. It is anti-democratic to argue that it is so. The Left wants you to believe it is so, and the center-right should resist that.
. . .
ConLaw is a just another set of rules, vastly lengthier than those of golf or baseball, and subject to much more frequent changes, which is why they appear complicated to many observors. Further, some of our justices have spent quite a lot of paper and ink arguing absurd theories that tell us "A" is not "A," with the intent of persuading not the people but other judges of such propositions that the Framers and their friends . . . intended to ban "under God" from the Pledge.

The Volokh then calls Hugh a hypocrite and blah blah blah and ends with:

It's easy to repeat platitudes about how a judge won't "legislate from the bench" or will just "follow the Constitution." But the hard part is sticking with those principles when they no longer comport with the results you really really want to reach.

To be fair, I agree with Hugh that Supreme Court Justices don't need to be academic super stars. But they do need to be reasonably self-aware. And my guess is that self-awareness tends to come most often from the experience of testing and evaluating arguments again and again, whether as a judge or in some other forum.

Which is correct except for the last two sentences, which are crap. All those brilliant and experienced judges on the supreme court seem to be missing that self-awareness and humility, except CLARENCE THOMAS, who became a judge for the first time in 1990, and was nominated to the Supreme Court in 1991.

Self-awareness and humility may be important, but more important is an ability to resist the wiles of the Washington liberal-super-elite. Miers, like Thomas, will be immune because the Washington liberal-super-elite won't have her.

So good on ya' Bush.

Friday, October 07, 2005

CLOWN Chapter 28: Boxing

Chapter 28. Boxing.

Tamai insisted on paying for lunch, which was cool, and I went to back to work first so we wouldn’t be ‘outed’ by Karl.
After about an hour in the closet Alex came in to share one of his poems with me. Alex is a good kid. He looks kind of like an elf. He’s short and skinny and he has a triangular, super-fair face and red hair. Plus he has a triangular goatee on his triangular chin. For some reason I imagine elves look like him. Anyway, he’s well convinced that he’s already a damn good poet and someday he will be a great one.
I let slip that I was working on The Epic one day and he told me how he was published. I guess a few of his poems were accepted by magazines or by those companies that publish your poem if you agree to buy the anthology of poems they’re going to publish. I’m the jealous type, and I never wanted to see any of his poems after he told me he was published because I didn’t get published until I was a grad student. Even then I was only published by my own college’s literary journal, and I was an editor on the journal.
Then he showed me a couple of his poems. They sucked pretty. There are different kinds of good poems. There are poems that are good for high school kids. Generally they are cliched but serious and tackle important themes (to high school kids.) There are poems that are good for college undergrads, which means the students successfully do basic things like avoid gerunds and use meter and pay some attention to form. Then there are poems that are good for literary grads, which means that they are polished, very well executed, but often passionless. And the students usually seem to be showing off.
Then there are great poets’ poems. I don’t know if I’m explaining this right. Imagine a high school kid who can fight really well. Just a kid who likes to fight and does it well. There’s your high school poet. Now imagine a kid who has some talent and walks into a gym his freshman year and busts his but for five years and wins his state’s Golden Gloves championship. That’s your college undergrad. Imagine that kid is from a fighting state like Philadelphia and he won the Golden Gloves. He’s got a shot at a national title, he’s special. That’s your grad student poet. Now imagine that kid turned pro (whether he made the Olympics or not, doesn’t matter) and became a champion in his weight class. That’s your genuine poet. Imagine Roy Jones Junior and you’ve got a possible Great Poet.
I mean the discipline has that kind of depth. There are phenoms in poetry that are the exceptions to the rule, but in general the learning curve is long and torturous. Alex was like a high school kid who had boxed at the local gym for a couple of years and I was a professional fighter. I wasn’t a champion, maybe not even top ten, but compared to Alex, well, it was a joke. The thing is, if we were boxers I could get in a ring with him and he’d be humbled (and better off for it) in about thirty seconds. But poetry doesn’t work that way.
If Alex ever approaches my level of understanding of poetry then he’ll start to understand how ridiculous it was for him to approach me with his poetry as if we were peers. I’m not a snob, I’m being honest. It is offensive when someone who hasn’t put a hundredth of the work into something that you have pretends they are your equal at it. But I’m not good at expressing myself that way, and I don’t want enemies at work, (don’t crap where you eat, right?) so I generally just said what I thought he wanted to hear. It was faster that way, anyway.
So after I read the poem he brought, (I can’t remember it exactly, and even if I could I wouldn’t victimize you with it) I said:
“Excellent. Reminds me of E.E. Cummings.” It was obvious he’d read a few e.e. cummings poems before he wrote it.
“Really? That’s funny because I don’t think I’ve ever read him.”
Bullshit. “Wow. Don’t read him then, otherwise it might mess up your voice.” Nobody who knows jack about poetry would let a blatantly patronizing statement like that go by. Alex ate it up.
“Okay. Thanks. So I got accepted into U.W.”
“That’s great.”
“Yeah. I think I’m going to major in Librarianism.”
“I thought you wanted to be a poet.”
“I am a poet. But, you know, I think I’ll do that on the side.”
“I want a steady income, you know?”
“Yeah. Poetry is a great hobby.”
“Well it isn’t going to be a hobby. I mean that makes it sound like it won’t be important in my life. I don’t think you have to give up a normal life to be an artist. I don’t think you have to judge yourself as a person by your poetry in order to consider yourself a poet.”
“That’s where we disagree, I guess.”
Karl walked in then. “What’s going on, guys?”
Alex answered. “Clown’s saying that if I choose a major other than poetry I won’t be a poet. Clown thinks that if you write poetry and also have a separate career then poetry is just a hobby. He thinks you have to be obsessed with something to be an artist.”
“I don’t say all that.”
“I think you implied it, at least” Alex said.
“I just think that poetry is huge. It’s an entire world, and that if you aren’t going to go all the way you shouldn’t call yourself a poet. And I think an artist is, by definition, someone who values themselves according to how good their art is. Otherwise you’re a craftsman.”
“Well then-” and Alex said something. I had stopped paying attention. I was already wishing I hadn’t gotten into the argument. If Alex and I had been boxers I could have just knocked him out. Then Karl says:
“Sounds like a bunch of semantics to me, fellas.”
“No it isn’t semantics,” Alex said. “It’s important.” And Alex began one of his long “I think - blahblahblahblah...” arguments.
I realized that, as much as I despised Alex for thinking he and I were equals, compared to someone like Karl we were equals. Karl goes through life without ever thinking about poetry, or art, or being an artist. I don’t know what Karl thinks about. Is Karl like a dog, just a bunch of instincts? Is it:
Karl want eat Karl must work. Karl want acceptance Karl make nice.
I mean is he just a bunch of impulses and obedience to those impulses? Wouldn’t that mean he IS just instinct? Wouldn’t that make him about the equal of a dog? And wouldn’t that make it just about okay to kill him? I mean it isn’t okay to kill a dog, but it isn’t the same as killing a person, right?
I would never consider killing Alex. I mean he at least has the potential to contribute something, or to appreciate something. He fits my definition of a real human being, I guess, whereas Karl just seemed like something much much less.
“I think you need to worry less about that stuff and more about filing, Alex. You understand?” Karl asked. I didn’t know what Alex had said but it had upset Karl somehow. As usual Karl’s response was to pull rank.
“Yeah,” Alex said. “Okay.”
“You get me Clown?”
“The sooner you leave the quicker I’ll be back in the zone.” I could see Karl was trying to figure out whether or not to be offended so I said “Catchu later Alex. Take it easy.”
Alex left. Karl still wasn’t sure about whether or not I needed more chastising.
“I don’t mind you guys talking and all,” he said, “but there’s your time and there’s their time. You know?”
“Okay then.” And he left.

8 Raider Predictioins Revisited

On June 28th, 2005 I made 8 predictions regarding the 2005 season. With ¼ of the regular season gone, and bye-week purgatory to get through, I thought it would be a good time to look back and see how (un)prescient those predictions were. Click here to go to the original post. The reasoning behind each prediction is there. This post will simply give the prediction and then judge how (in)accurate it was.

The original predictions will be bolded.

1. Collins goes to the Pro Bowl. Culpepper does not.

So far so good. Collins has a 94.7 passer rating and 0 (!!!) interceptions. Best of all, Collins is still learning Randy Moss and he has already played the Eagles and Patriots. He won’t face another defense that good until the playoffs. Look for his numbers to improve.

Culpepper, on the other hand, has a 67.2 passer rating with 10 (!!!) interceptions. Those are Sean Salisbury numbers folks.

2. Raiders make the play-offs. Minnesota does not.

Too soon to tell, really. Minnesota, at 1-3 is TIED FOR 1st PLACE. No kidding. The Raiders, at 1-3, are dead last. Having said that, the toughest part of our schedule was the 1st quarter, and I would have been happy enough if we’d been 2-2. Dungver now leads the pack at 3-1, but we will play them twice, and beat them twice.

3. Raiders sweep Dungver.

Too soon to tell. Dungver is already better than I thought they’d be, but I think we match up well against them.

4. CWood makes the Pro Bowl. Champ Bailey does not.

Hard to say. CWood was far and away the best defensive back in the league over the first 3 games. Against Dallas he had a couple of mental mistakes he has played well enough to make the Pro Bowl. Bailey has also played well, and through injury. Statistically:

CWood has 23 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 1 interception, and 4 passes defended.

CBailey has 13 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 2 interceptions, and 4 passes defended.

Advantage, Charles. Also, Bailey has not played us yet. Last year Porter made Bailey his bitch, (there is no other way to say it) and ESPN et al did everything possible to ignore it. When Moss does the same they won’t be able to ignore it, and the world will know what every Raider fan already does: CWood is the better player.

5. The Chargers lose their charge.

Dead wrong. Completely wrong. Not that it excuses the bad prediction, but this is the reason I gave for the prediction. “Why? I don’t know. Maybe not. I just hate their coach, so I hope it will be so.”

6. Courtney Anderson and Antonio Gates have better years than Gonzalez.

So far this is dead on.

Gonzales: 16 catches for 129 yards and 0 touchdowns.
Gates: 18 catches for 280 yard and 1 touchdown.
Anderson: 10 catches for 150 yards and 2 touchdowns.

7. Raiders will win 10 games. Game by game I have us winning 11.

This is dead on, too.

@ NE. loss Correct.

KC. Win Wrong

@ Philadelphia. Loss. Correct

Dallas. Win Correct.

Now it might seem like I was wrong about this because we lost to the chefs. BUT!!! at the end of that prediction, after all the other games, comes this disclaimer: So that extra loss is for the officials screwing us out of at least one.” I think the chef game qualifies, given the ghost-push-off call that the NFL apologized for making. (Of course, assuming the refs will only screw the Oakland Raiders out of just one game was kind of stupid. Don't know what I was thinking, there.)

8. Raiders run defense will be top ten in the league.

So far so good. Right now we are 13th, allowing 99.2 yards per game. We’ve not yet faced Thomlinson, though. We also haven’t faced a lot of weak running teams that we’ll completely shut down.

To sum up... not that great, not that bad. Predictions 1, 6, and 7 seem right on. Predictions 2, 3, 4, and 8 seem likely, but it is too soon to tell. Prediction 5 seems dead wrong, though I hope it turns out to be true.


Comments are greatly appreciated, even criticism, so don't be shy. For more Harkonnendog Raider click the links below:

1. 8 Raider Predictions for2005 season
2. Plunkett: Best Raider QB Ever? 5/19/2005
3. And yes MORE incompetent Raider reporting! 3/17/2005
4. More incompetence from the Bay Area media 3/4/2005
5. Monte Poole and Tim Kawakami = Sad but Funny 2/24/2005

(This is generally a political blog, with occasional short stories and such.)