Friday, June 29, 2007

Why I Am A Bad Person: The Inner Judge Edition

A few weeks ago, Lionel told me the story of the worst transvestite he'd ever seen. Apparently, he met a person who simply threw on a denim vest and acted like a woman- but in a very bad, wrist-flappity, mincing, fluttering kind of way that really convinced no one and sort of insulted women everywhere. Other than that the fluttery, affected giggle, no effort was really made not to be mannish, no make-up, short hair, a five o'clock shadow. As he put it, it was like meeting a man pretending to be a woman pretending to be a construction worker.

But who are we to judge the work put into the life choices of others? If a dude decides he wants to dress like a woman, well, bully for him and his poor execution, right?

I thought about this yesterday, walking up 19th Street. I saw a woman (whoaaaaaaaaa, man!) at happy hour dressed with the sparkly, meticulous precision of a transvestite. Her pink camouflage-pattern capri pants were dotted with rhinestones that glinted in the afternoon light; her faux-punky deconstructed blouse glittered with rhinestones in the afternoon sun; her engineer's cap from two seasons ago glimmered in the afternoon light (are we sensing a theme here?), and her enormous feet were jammed into dainty little peeptoe wedges that showcased her pedicure dappled with - you guessed it, rhinestones. Across her sharp, angular jawline, she had fastidiously shellacked several layers of foundation that didn't quite mask her facial hair, and over her thickly lined eyelids, her eyebrows were plucked within an inch of their lives and then pencilled right back in. Although she looked a little like Gaston in casual drag, there was clearly a lot of work that went into affecting the image, and I appreciated the effort.

I thought to myself, "Good for her! I'm glad she made the life choice that works for her, and I hope she's happy!"

But as I got closer, something didn't seem right. Something was... missing.

An Adam's apple.

Because she wasn't a transvestite; she was a regular woman. And I thought to myself, "Well, that's just tacky."

Thursday, June 28, 2007

We Could Also Form A House Subcommittee to Appropriate Funds For Head-in-Ass Disease

I don't have a lot of regrets in my life; I'm generally quite happy with the woman I've grown up to be. But as I look back on my high school years with the myopia of a decade of "wisdom", I do regret that I walked around so often with my head lodged firmly up my ass.

I'm also fairly certain that when I hit my mid-30's, I'll look back on my 20's and think the same thing, "Sigh, if only I hadn't been such an oblivious tool." Eh, whatcha gonna do?

And yet, there's hope for the future. Probably not mine; I'm doomed. But it looks like the youngsters of today have been adequately instructed on the proper methods of extracting one's head from one's ass. Dan Schorr will tell you the story much better than I.

And the White House Response? It would seem that Our Fair Leader, El Presidente, is damning himself to a lifetime of myopic headhanging, too:
White House spokesman Dana Perino said Bush let the student know "the United States does not torture and that we value human rights," a statement seemingly contradicted by Bush's signing statement which gave him power to largely ignore a Congressional ban on torture spearheaded by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).
I wonder if Bush is really, really regretting his push for educational reform. The good news for Bush is that when it's all said and done, even his educational reform will be a failure, and that can only be a good thing for him. See, the smarter kids get, the more they'll realize that the Bush Administration will leave behind one of the worst legacies in the entirety of American History. James Buchanan/Warren Harding bad.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Do I Get Any Credit for Being The First-Born Girl?

Today, Slate asks in big, obnoxious letters,

Are firstborns really smarter than their siblings?

Well, let's see. I have five older brothers.

Fraternal Unit #1: Successful tv/movie writer in L.A.

Fraternal Unit #2: Small Particle Physicist at Los Alamos. The National Lab. I thought Quarks was a t.v. show for a long time.

Fraternal Unit #3: Convicted felon and professional douchebag. It bears mentioning that he's adopted. No, I'm not kidding. He's the only adopted one in the family, too, so we really can't count this in the whole genetic scheme of things.

Fraternal Unit #4: West Point Graduate, currently an officer Captain in Iraq; awarded a bronze star.

Fraternal Unit #5: In the midst of an argument when he and I were 9 and 8 years old, respectively, we presented our cases to my mother. I stomped my foot and said, "But Mo-OOOOOOM!" He quoted Hegel. I got grounded; he got a raise in his allowance.

♫ME♫: When I was four, I announced to a large gathering of family and friends that my greatest professional aspiration was to be a cow. At the next such gathering, still smarting from their mocking laughter, I haughtily announced that I had moved on from the childish nonsense of a bovine career, owing to the revelation that I was a child progeny.

There hasn't been much progression since. I probably should have stuck with the cow.

So, yeah, I can see where Slate would get that idea. Moo, fuckers.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Please, Learn from My Mistakes

I spent a loverly weekend at Assateague Island National Seashore, whatwith the wild ponies and the miles (five-ish, to be precise-ish) of unblemished (albeit, drudged so that the surf is worthless) seashore. And in the course of my weekend, I had a few revelations/valuable life lessons, which I relate to you forthwith:

1. Have you ever noticed how there's not a whole lot of pornography or fetish stuff related to camping on the beach? There's a really, really good reason for that. Consider the following:
  • "I just want to slather you in DEET and lick it all off!"
  • "Let's get naked, cover ourselves in sand and see where it goes!"
  • "Are you pitching a tent? No, seriously, are you pitching a tent? Because I'm really tired."
  • "No, leave the lights on... ow, stop shining your headlamp in my eyes!"
2. Assateague is the island off the coast of Maryland where the wild ponies are1. And if you're anything like me, that is to say, female, you like ponies and/or horsies for some strange, reason, which had been inexplicable- until now.

Yes, I have solved the mystery of why little girls are so damn hepped up about the ponies: it's because they exhibit almost exactly the same behaviors. Both ponies and little girls are cute, but deadly, vicious creatures. They both really want to be in social groups, but once they get into a pack, they are mean, snotty, territorial beasts. And when crossed, both really like to toss around their hair, stomp their feet, and whinny. It's precisely the same sound. And so long as other members of the group are looking on, girls/ponies will nibble on salad-y grass kind of things, but the minute they're alone, they'll go for trash. In the ponies case, quite literally. Actually, probably in some girls' cases, too.

So, there you go, the Goo solves yet another anthropological mystery of the universe.

And is not at all bitter about all those years she was forced to go to school with all girls.

3. There is no happy ending to the following: "WOW! It's slimier and grosser than I thought it would be in real life. Can we keep it?" No matter how it ends, someone is going to suffer.

4. I've been told that sometimes fairy tales come true. However, it has been my experience that stereotypes come true a lot more often. Particularly the stereotypes you really don't want to think about a family of fat, pasty, mustachioed white folks relaxing with their fishin' gear on the beach, spilling out of their matching American flag swimwear as they baked their necks into a deep, angry red. But then they start talking about their trucks and how Mitt Romney ain't gettin' their vote cuz he's all Mormon, and how somma the mommas on the beach jist needed to give those kids a good hard smack to shut 'em up, and well, it's just downhill from there. I do have to admire their candor, though; they felt perfectly comfortable (negatively) critiquing my ass in my bikini bottoms (seriously, they did) as though I couldn't hear them, despite the fact that they plopped down no more than two and a half feet from where I lay.

5. My final Life Lesson from the Beach was taught to me by none other than the Object of My Affection. Now, he claims that he isn't a bad driver, he is merely an inattentive driver. And despite the fact that my driving record is completely unblemished and the only thing more scarred than the Object's driving record is his car, he still feels the need to teach me about the Unwritten Rules of the Road.

In this weekend's lesson, we were surrounded on all sides by a group of terrorist crotch rocketeers; the stupidest people I have ever seen. I have been through some terrifying experiences: held up at gunpoint, almost kidnapped by a cabbie in Dakar in the middle of the night, and forced to watch a seven-hour marathon of The Simple Life, but none of those compare to how scary this was. The seven of them would zoom in between lanes of packed cars at 80-100 mph, then stomp on their brakes to purposely slow down traffic. They wove in between lanes of traffic, cutting off anyone they could. At one point, some of them followed a driver off the ramp and surrounded him forcing him back on the highway.

I am still shocked that no one died.

As the crotch rocketeers came up behind the Object, who is normally a mild-mannered, if somewhat (COUGH) distracted driver, he gripped the steering wheel and yelled, "No way, motherfuckers; you are not getting by me!" He then proceeded to steer uncomfortably close to the car in the next lane, who was trying to give as wide a berth as possible. Meanwhile, I popped my thumb directly in my mouth, curled into a fetal position, and prayed the rosary, not giving a flying fuck that I'm an atheist.

Why didn't someone just call the police, you're wondering? Ahhhhh, but we did; we called 911! AND GOT A RECORDED RESPONSE: "PLEASE do not hang up the phone. Your call will be answered in the order it was received."

No, not even kidding.

And after five minutes of waiting, we just gave up and I went back to the happy place inside my head.

Much to my delighted surprise, we got home in one piece. I politely inquired why the Object chose the particular course of action he did. He smiled patronizingly at me (for I am but a simple womanfolk), explaining, "That's what you do with douchebags like that. You don't give them an inch. No exceptions! What are you gonna do, just slow down and give them all the room they want?"

"YES. That is exactly what I would have done."

"Noooooo! That's exactly the wrong thing to do! That just rewards their bad behavior!"

So you see, now I know better. And I will teach this lesson to kitty, too, so that next time the Object stretches his overly long legs2 into my sleeping territory, kitty and I will know that we are to apply this valuable life lesson to the Object and shove him out of bed, as there are NO EXCEPTIONS.

And then we will all call 911 and rock out to the hold music.

1.Not to be confused with the island where the wild things are, natch.
2.Seriously, they don't actually fit in the bed.

Just Don't Fuck It Up.

Where the Wild Things Are... in movie form... directed by Spike Jonez... written by Dave Eggers...


Because Perverseness is One of the Primitive Impulses of the Human Heart

Well, Good Morning, Poofygoers!

You know, I have a post all set up and ready to go, but on my way to work this morning I saw the Jews for Jesus out canvassing, and I thought, "You know, let' s get Tuesday off to a nice perverse start, shall we?"

And so we turn to FourFour, who has a lovely little tale of fan worship.

The money quotes:

"I walk through an obese version of a major player in America's weight problem en route to my workout because I enjoy the sweet, fried smell of irony."

"Meanwhile, big, bad me, Mr. Unimpressed by Fame started shaking uncontrollably. I'm not going to pretend like I'm not amazed by the immediate fact that they're two different people attached at the head making their way through the world."

So go on and read that, and c'mon back here round your second cup of coffee or so, and we'll get on with our regularly scheduled posting.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Welcome to the World: Tips for New Users

Dear Allister Jane,

Congratulations on your recent arrival on Earth, and let me just say, way to come into the world fist-pumping and ready to rawk! Truly, this is a great day for little girldom. Here's some things you might want to know about the world:
  • Fun is exponentially related to messiness. This is why adults like movies with explosions so much and why diggers are a LOT more fun than Barbies. Messiness that permanently stains, especially really frilly clothing is the highest echelon of fun currently available to humans.
  • As a general rule, avoid lead poisoning. This means no plates painted in Tijuana, no drinking DC tap water, and sadly, no Thomas the Tank Engine.
  • Horsies? Awesome. You should really start asking your dad for one now.
  • Don't do that whole weird toy miscegenation thing where the Transformers can't play with the My Little Ponies or Micro Machines and the Kinex have to stay away from the Legos. Your toys can all get along.
  • Lip gloss? More trouble than it's worth. The other girls in the neonatal nursery might start telling you it's really cool and will make those other lumpy potato-like things with sticky-outy parts (we call those "boys") like you, but it's really just a goopy mess.
  • Get started practicing your adorable puppy dog-eyes look, since it renders fathers completely defenseless, and then you can get that rad tea party set you've had your eye on. If you can perefct a good, pleading look without any hint of wheedling, you'll be set for life.
  • Don't try the puppy dog look with moms. Or aunts. Maaaaaaybe grandmas. Go with paternal grandmas, just to be safe.
  • You know what's always a funny joke? At family gathering, innocently ask your parents why you look more like your uncle than your dad. That would also be a great place to bust out some huge, adorable eyes.
  • Oh, while we're on the topic of parents, yours are cool. And give them a high five for your awesome name, cuz it's a lot better than the one they originally had, Return to Castle Wolfenstein Lowery.
  • Shoes and handbags? While admittedly, they're fun, they just don't live up to the hype, and they take up a LOT of closet space. That said, you can easily impress your kindergarten colleagues by donning a matching pair of shoes. Extra points if you can tie them yourself.
  • Fishies? Not trustworthy, just look at their shifty, beady eyes. They will eat you the first time the opportunity presents itself. Be very wary, possibly avoid them altogether.
  • When you're about six years-old or so, if someone tries to convince you that watching a movie called "Bloodbath in the House of Death" or "Full Metal Jacket", don't believe them. Just trust me on this one, you definitely want to wait until you're a ten to see those.
  • Spiders? Despite the widespread opinion of many, many women, and the lack of a child-friendly -ies suffix, not actually a problem. Plus, they eat mosquitoes, which is pretty sweet.
  • Milkscreen. You never, ever know.
  • Fuck the Wiggles. The Teletubbies are where it's at.
I hope this helps; good luck with the sleeping, pooping, and crying.

Love and Snuggles,

The Goo

How Has This Not Been Brought to My Attention Prior?

Hey, so you know how the Pulitzer Prize Patrol had to create a new category of prize for Maus, Art Speigelman's beautiful work about his father's surviving the Holocaust? Well, didja know what else Art Speigelman is famous for? Garbage Pail Kids!

The series was the brainchild of Topps consultant and Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Art Spiegelman, who came up with the product idea after the success of his earlier creations, Garbage Candy and Wacky Packages.

Does that mean my preteen dream of seeing the Garbage Pail Kids on the cover of the New Yorker could still come true?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Oh, What A Tangled Interweb We Weave...

When I was about 8 or so, my brother, a small-particle physicist, explained the concept of the ever-expanding and infinite universe to me. I was quiet for a moment, absorbing the concept. Not so much for the awe and mystery of the universe, but for the implications it had for me and the course of my life. "Wait a minute," I asked my brother. "So the universe is infinite, and never ending, like a ball that goes on forever and ever, but keeps getting more air pumped into it?"

"That's one way to think about it," he responded.

The wheels turned in my head. "So that means that anywhere on that ball is also the middle of it, right?"


"Interesting," I replied. "MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!" I bellowed across the house. "MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM! MOM! Guess what!"

"Hush, stop that racket," she chided. "You're not the center of the universe."

"Actually, I kinda am. Tim said so."

And thus, a precedent of scientifically justified narcissism was set. So do I think narcissistic blog disorder is a problem?

This disorder is characterized by the creation of a blog in which the individual consistently denigrates not only the opinions of others, but the very fact that others have opinions, saying things like "nobody cares what some overpaid starlet has to say about global warming" and "nobody cares what some crusty career politician thinks is wrong with society today." Simultaneously, the individual assumes that people do care about what he or she has to say, in spite of the individual's only political or activist experience being watching the movie Dave twice.

No. No, I do not.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


You know what's stupider than burning rocks? Trying to squeeze liquid out of rocks and then burning them. That's what Barack Obama, my candidate and yours1 would spend a jazillion tax dollars investing in, rather than actual viable methods of renewable energy. It's a little too Biblical for my tastes:

17:1. Then all the multitude of the children of America setting forward from the desert of Sin, by their McMansions, according to the word of the Lord, encamped in the freeways, where there was no gas for the people to drive with.

17:2. And they chode with Obama, and said: Give us gas, that we may drive! And Obama answered them: Why chide you with me? Wherefore do you tempt the Lord?

17:3. So the people were thirsty there for want of gas, and murmured against Obama, saying: Why didst thou run for president, to inconvenience us and our children, and our way of life with fucking wind energy? Don't you know that kills a few birds?

17:4. And Obama cried to the Lord, saying: What shall I do to this people? Yet a little more and they will stone me.

17:5. And the Lord said to Obama: Go before the people, and take with thee of the ancients of Illinois coal lobbies: and take in thy hand the polls wherewith thou didst strike the river, and go.

17:6. Behold I will stand there before thee, upon the coal Horeb, and thou shalt strike the coal, and liquefied gas shall come out of it that the people may drive. Obama did so before the ancients of Illinois coal lobbies.

And the ancients were much pleased. The Lord, too.

But alas, not anymore, for Barack has renounced his ways, according to Grist: "Illinois senator and presidential hopeful Barack Obama (D) has qualified his support for coal -- which is, you may recall, the enemy of the human race." The L.A. Times adds, "With his statement Tuesday, Obama seemed to be making his choice clear: pledging to oppose any plan to turn coal into liquid fuel unless it adhered to strict environmental safeguards."

It's good to know that environmental policy isn't going to force us to rely on the same foundation faith-based science the Creation Museum is founded on.

And the greens were much pleased.

1.Is anyone else out there secretly a little relieved that we don't have to vote for Dennis Kucinich again?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A Solution That Works For Everyone

Not to sound misandrist or anything, what with the objectifying of men, but I have a great solution to the US Men's National Team jersey woes: just don't wear shirts!

Shoutout to Jake for the article!

Monday, June 18, 2007

PIRG Prigs

You know why I refuse to donate any money to PIRG, Save the Children, or Greenpeace? Because of the canvassers. As the weather gets nicer, the canvassers, not unlike vermin, come out in droves, making the four-block walk between the two ends of the Dupont metro a veritable gauntlet of guilt.

True story: a week or so ago, I literally had a run-in with a PIRG canvasser as I was trying to get to the DMV to get a new license before I had to get on the road for the two hour drive to physical therapy. The license-getting, while admittedly was probably doomed from the get-go, was a perfectly timed operation, with little room for failure - or canvassers.

Canvasshole: Do you have a moment to save the environment?
Goo: Sorry, not right now; I'm running late.
Canvasshole, blocking the Goo's path to the DMV: Why do you hate the environment? It's people like you who are responsible for the proliferation of global warming.

To be fair, 65% of the canvassers are earnest kids trying to make a difference in the world. But it's the other 35% of obnoxious, pompous douchebags that curdle my blood. Now, on a normal day, I would take this opportunity to engage in some verbal sparring with the li'l whippersnapper; there's nothing I love more than breaking the soul of a young idealist 1 . First, I like to point out that their direct mail campaigns, which I have never signed up to be a part of, are not exactly earth-friendly in terms of the amount of paper they generate. Then I like to shut them down by pointing out that with all the people trying to get honest information about global warming, their aggressive tactics to guilt people into saving the earth are as detrimental as the tactics that have alienated the pro-choice movement into the polemic shitstorm it has become. But I needed to get to the DMV, so I went with simple eloquence.

Goo: I don't hate the environment; I hate you, you little shit.

And this is when the canvasser grabbed my arm.

Canvasshole: Do you really think that's necessary?

Goo: Augh! Bad touch! Bad touch! No touching, no touching! Augh, I'm so angry; I'm gonna go home and blog about you!

And that's when the canvasser finally stepped back, looking aghast, understanding the magnitude of what had just occurred. Apparently the blog is mightier than the s-word.

1. For those of you who don't know, PIRG is essentially a cult for environmentalists- they aggressively recruit bright college graduates, then pay them next to nothing to go out for 18-hour days and raise money door-to-door for the organization, not unlike Jehovah's witnesses (who, in my experience, are much nicer to talk to). They call them "fellowships", and after a few years of suffering through this, some of them get promoted to do actual work. While PIRG has had many successful campaigns in terms of advocating for the environment, it's an awful, abusive lifestyle, and they can hardly call themselves a truly progressive organization, which would take into account quality of living.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should probably mention that several of my favorite people, including the Object of my Affection, were formerly PIRG employees.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Just in Time for Friday

As the sun rises on a breezy June morning, a sense of tranquility pervades the sleepy land of the internets. But wait... is it tranquility... or is it the noxious miasma of Friday boredom seeping through your tubes? Gasp! Who will save us now? We're doomed to a Friday of monotony, toiling away at work with nothing to while away the hours that stretch longer and longer, pushing away the weekend!

But wait!

What's that?

Up in the sky!

It's a macro! It's an RSS feed! It's... it's...


Never fear, for images of the Silver Age of comics will delight you for hours until the evetime bell chimes the end of the workweek!

A few of my favorites:

"Where I come from, that'd be considered "regular mathematics."

Incidentally, 20 x 16 x 10 = 3,200, not 32,000. "

"Would it really be that difficult to just use your powers and take the antitdote from her?"

"What, you've never heard of Tiger-Man? Probably because in the debut issue the most menacing villain they could come up for him to fight was a balding middle aged man wielding a floor lamp."

"Well shucks, if we'd known all we had to do was bury the enemy in pieces of paper, we could have saved a hell of a lot of time and effort winning that war."
A lesson for the Iraq war, perhaps? Lord knows it's better than the gay bomb.

Hope that doesn't ruin your Father's Day.

Hat tip to the Capital Insider, Alexander the Great!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

It's Everywhere!

Unlike Manifest Density, I don't have problems with Nigerians contacting me for money. Kitty, however, can't say the same thing; he's constantly harassed by Nigerian kittens. From a recent electronic missive:

Amalinze Teh Cat
Lagos Cat Pound,
Lagos, Nigeria

Dear Frinend,

Oh hai, Iz Amalinze, the favouritest kitteh of teh late pressydentalist of Nigeria. As you knoez mah late master wuz very very rich man and he givez meh all fisheez of Nigeria. I luv fishees cuz flavr be nice. But, as kitteh, I no can has fridgerador of mai ownz for fisheez can be fresh.

Mai good frinend, ther can beez many many fisheez and without more fridgeradors, oh noez! Tuna go bad. I eatz many but Iz small kitten and much sick.

So Iz writin u, mai very good friend, as u is well known in Nigeria as godly person with lots of fridgeradors.

U can help storez mai tuna yes? I givez u 20% (TWENTY AMERICAN PER CENTS) of each fishee -pluz heds!

Pleez u can writes bak soon. Wether iz hot and ther be many bad kittehs looking with the eyez at my fishees. U helpz then wez can be friendz more.

Ur good friend,

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I'm Still Gonna Go Out and Buy a Belt During Lunch

Last night, after two hours and 36 minutes of being a good girl and doing intense and frustrating physical therapy, I fell into a restless sleep, dreaming that my physical therapist was systematically trying to kill me. When I woke up late, for some reason still unbeknownst to me, kitty smacked me across the face. I sighed, got out of bed and put on the crisply ironed and professional-looking outfit I'd laid out last night

Rushing to work, I realized my fatal flaw for the day- I desperately needed a belt. My bottoms were sliding down my hips until my whale tail peeked out. Nothing says "take me seriously as a professional woman" like wearing your clothes in the same manner as America's least favorite jailbird. Needless to say, it was bad. It got even worse when I accidentally brushed past a man on the sidewalk. When I turned around to apologize for bumping him, he sized me(and my inadvertent whale tail) up and spat out, "Trashy bitch!"

And then, lying on the ground, a beacon of hope, a ray of sunshine in this otherwise bleak and muggy morning: the mini-frisbee that the Object had winged to the ground two days ago when we were walking home. The exact same one, in almost exactly the same place. I swooped down to pick it up and with a flick of my wrist, tossed it at my heckler, snapping, "I'm neither trash nor a bitch, but I do have good aim. This is trash, dickwad." And for once in my life, my physical prowess matched up to my mouth and the mini-frisbee hit him squarely in the nose.

I continued on my way to work, this time with the slightest hint of a smile turning up the corners of my mouth.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Hat Tricks and Shenanigans

The most popular person in DC this week has got to be Ben Olsen, the DC United midfielder who scored his first career hat trick in Sunday's match against the league-leading New York Red Bulls. The goals were no accident, all three of them were perfect opportunities created by assists from Fred, Josh Gros, Jaime Moreno, and Christian Gomez, who all found gaping holes in New York's tired lineup. And of course we can't overlook Emilio getting back on the scoreboard; I'd missed seeing his name in lights!

"Olsen left the field to an ovation usually reserved for the glamour players of the game," reports Steven Goff. As the Object of my Affection and I strutted our black and red proudly around Adams Morgan Sunday, fans stopped us to talk about the game. "Best game of Olsen's career!" "It's a whole new season!" And there you have it, the great benefit of following a sports team. In addition to the hours spent obsessing over the game instead of mulling over grad school options, I get to have a whole built in community of peoples I wouldn't otherwise associate with.

I'm a pretty recent convert to soccer fandom, and I'm not the only American-come-lately. Attendance at MLS games is slowly rising, and you can even catch them on Thursday nights on ESPN (2- el dos!) And lord knows I'm doing my part to get peoples to come out to the games. But as soccer becomes increasingly popular in the U.S., its fans and recent converts to fandom are going to have to figure out how to deal with the fact that most U.S. sports fans abhor the idea of mixing sports and politics, while most of the world has been mixing soccer and politics for quite some time now, which makes for some very strange bedfellows.

As it happens, it may be time to address that right about.... now.

"Fans who were kicked out of an exhibition soccer game between the Chinese national team and Real Salt Lake [RSL] say it was because they stirred up a political controversy by waving the flag of Tibet... The fans had been waving the flag of Tibet, the Himalayan region that has been battling China over independence for decades, during the game Thursday night. Some of the Chinese players stepped off the field early in the second half and refused to play again until the flags were put away. The fans put away the Tibetan flags, as well as flags of Taiwan and a sign referring to China's Tiananmen Square protest in 1989, but brought them out again later in the game. [A fan] said he and several other fans were then kicked out of the stadium. "

WOW. Wow.

Real Salt Lake's Communications Director Trey Fitzgerald defended the decision to quash free speech, "We are given the right to make that request [that fans leave the stadium] because it is a private event held at Rice-Eccles Stadium."

As to the legality of that, let's go with Professor Howard M. Wasserman.

To be fair, this wasn't a protest staged by a bunch of idealists looking to hold China accountable for its human rights violations- or at least, that was the secondary concern of the RSL fans. "Coker [one of the fans kicked out of the stadium] acknowledged he was partly trying to distract and annoy the Chinese team, but he also wanted to raise awareness about Tibet's fight with China." And you know, RSL is the worst team in MLS, and China couldn't even beat them; I'm not sure how much heckling was really warranted. That said, playing out international politics on the soccer pitch is nothing new, and the fact that the Chinese stopped playing was no more honorable than a big, sissy Pescadito-style dive.

Soccer has always been a sport to play out international politics on a new playing field with different rules- quite literally. I lived in Dakar during the World Cup in 2002. In the opening game of the series, Les Lions de laTerenga trounced the world champions, Les Bleus de France. Not only was it a great soccer victory, it was moreover a great victory of national pride and a sense of an African nation coming into its own and showing up its former colonial oppressors. Maybe you think I'm being dire, but as people poured out into the streets and a national holiday was declared, people would see my white skin and make proclamations to the effect of, "You'll never keep us down again!"

It goes the other way, too, with national or regional pride being a thinly veiled excuse to heckle the opposition, as in the China-RSL case. The Celtic-Rangers rivalry is a prime example- nobody actually gives a flying fuck who's Catholic or Protestant, they care who's a Celtic and who's a Ranger. Because of team affiliation with it, religion becomes fodder for jeering.

So, to get this straight, RSL is totally cool with setting aside the cultural value that Americans hold most dear in the name of diplomacy- in an exhibition game? It seems like in this case, we're holding commerce and happy trade relations with China as a greater cultural value. Look, the tensions between China and the U.S. will continue to be ignored so long as our trade relationship remains friendly. At the same time, you can't deny that there are cultural divides and economic differences here burbling below the surface that will boil over unless we do something to relieve the tension. U.S. sports fans are not used to having their politics played out on the field, but as soccer becomes increasingly legit here in the States, we're not going to be able to drop our freedoms at the first "boo." And I fully expect that as we anticipate the 2010 World Cup, the U.S. will take its fair share of abusive heckling over the war in Iraq and our own human rights violations. Soccer officials need to realize this and account for it- not necessarily condone it, but at least realize that it's better for these tensions to play our on the soccer field than on the battlefield.

Monday, June 11, 2007

What's Better Than LOL Cats?

LOL Stoics.

Shoutout to Dave for the link!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Why I Have a Life-Threatening Crush on Melissa McEwan

Apparently, the guy who plays the biblical Adam in the Creation Museum, the museum "designed to convince sceptics that the Book of Genesis is literally true and its account of creation scientifically defensible", has a side job where he:

"...'Sells clothing for SFX International, whose initials appear on clothing to spell 'SEX' from afar. It promotes 'free love,' 'pleasure' and 'thrillz.'' Only thrillz? What about spillz and chillz? If it’s only thrillz, that’s not such a big deal, but if SFX also promotes spillz and chillz, I can see where Answers for Genesis might be right to be concerned."

UPDATE, UPDATE! From Eric Linden, the actor who plays Adam, "Adam was the one who brought sin into the world, and apparently I have brought it into the Creation Museum, and for that I sincerely apologize…"

Ahem Ahem Ahem:

I have an announcement to make:


This is how the conversation went:

Richard the Awesomest Physical Therapist Ever: I can tell you're working hard, doing the exercises; you're making progress.

Goo: Progress is good. I'll do pretty much anything to avoid surgery.

Richard the APTE: Well, until today, I thought you were one of the more likely candidates I've treated, but your progress is extraordinary, and I think we can get you better without it.

Goo: So, no surgery?

Richard the APTE: Yep, no surgery.

Goo: FUCK YEAH! Does this mean I can go surfing in the Outer Banks in August?

Richard the APTE: Let's just stick with the good news about the surgery.

Goo: What about a boogie board?

Richard the APTE: Let's just stick with the good news about the surgery.

Goo: Backpacking?

Richard the APTE: Let's just stick with the good news about the surgery.

Goo: So, no skimboarding the Wedge.

Richard the APTE: That's right out forever, unless you want to be a quadraplegic. You should know, though, you're going to feel a lot worse and have a lot more pain before you get better. You've got some really rough weeks coming up ahead.

Goo: Let's just stick with the good news about surgery.

N.B. The video above not only expresses the absurdly huge wave of relief that washed over me upon finding out this news, but also serves as punishment for The Object, whose reaction was, "Cool, I never thought you were gonna have surgery anyways. I'm gonna watch the U.S.-Guatemala game tonight, ok?"

Thursday, June 07, 2007

A New Low-go

That's the logo for the 2012 Olympics in London. Apparently, the pink and yellow blocky things are not a tangram gone retarded. I'm told it's the numbers 2, 0, 1, and 2, and that it cost $800,000 to make. Naturally, Britons are pissed off: "Lutz noted that the organizers say the new logo represents 'the Olympic spirit and the ability of the Games to inspire people to take part.' But, he said, 'others would say that it represents the multicolored vomit sprayed across the capital's pavements at 3 a.m. on your average Sunday morning.' "

I'm not sure which is my favorite story that's arisen from this whole logo brouhaha. There's the one where London officials adamantly stand by their decision, invoking the logo's ostensible appeal to youth. The youth reaction? "It certainly doesn't appeal to children, I mean I'm 16 and dislike it, my brother is 10 and thinks it's plain." To be fair, youthful is awfully close to juvenile, as in, drawn by a seven month old monkey riding the short bus.

I loved hearing the news that the logo not only will cause you an epileptic seizure that the Pokemon would envy, but also a big fucking headache- literally and metaphorically (check out the sweet reader logos in that last article; I particularly like the Sex Pistols themed logo).

But by far, my favorite story is how this has become a moment to revel in one's sense of patriotic pride- at least if you're Chinese. "Meanwhile, the Chinese are pleased that at least most of them support their own culture-loaded stamp to represent the image for the nation's debut Olympic experience." I'm sure it's a much welcome respite from the international fervor surrounding the Chinese panda murder controversy. One particularly thoughtful Chinese compatriot slammed the logo with the most damning criticism of all, "I don't really like it because it's too electronic looking," Zhang said. "It looks like it was designed by the French or Americans."

I couldn't agree more; I've so often found myself wondering when we Americans will be released from under the oppressive thumb of electronic French design.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

No, Really, I Don't Got Rhythm

Stop what you're doing.

Jake Mandell's tests for tonedeafness, rhythm comparison ability, and adaptive pitch are way more interesting; I promise. And don't worry yourself too much about the methodology, just have fun with it.

I was really, really psyched about my 97.1% score in the tonedeaf category, until I took the the rhythm test. As it turns out, white people really don't have rhythm.

Not only do I support this statistic, but I actually bring the average down.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


That pretty picture is Meridian Hill park, which is right next to my house. On early June mornings, walking through Meridian Hill park (also named Malcolm X park, so named for the statues of Joan of Arc and James Buchanan) is the highlight of my morning. Everyone who walks through seems to be in a good mood, savoring the last vestiges of spring before the oppressive heat of DC summers makes it so hot that one sweats simply by waking up in the morning.

This morning was particularly idyllic. A storm came through yesterday, granting a reprieve from the humidity of the past week and leaving only a cool, crisp breeze in its wake. I strolled through the park, soaking in the sunlight and smiling at the joggers with their frolicking pooches and the group of senior men doing Tai Chi perfectly in unison.

Before I turned the corner that goes down the steps of the hill overlooking the DC monuments (one of the loveliest views in the city if you take the hideous apartment building at the bottom of the hill out of the equation), I smelled a pungent but familiar odor, the smell of hair that hasn't been washed in years under the acrid smell of dried urine that's been caked on clothing for so long it's turned to ammonia. And as I rounded the corner, I saw the man who matched the smell.

And then I got a double huzz1.

The man was masturbating furiously, as though trying to punish his penis for having made its way out of his pants. And before he, uh, was spent, he stopped abruptly, and his whole body relaxed- except that. I thought he'd fallen asleep, but then, a stream of urine so dark that it was almost orange shot out of him at least a foot and a half into into the air before spattering down all over the man, who made no effort to move or shield himself.

You know, I've always been vehemently against animal testing for cosmetics and toothpaste and shit. But at that particular moment, I wanted to advocate for such testing, just so I could go over to those labs and get my eyes bleached out, too.

1. (n)The shudder that accompanies great disgust or when the hairs on the back of the neck try to jump off of the skull; generally come in single or double strength.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Prepare Yourself for the Onslaught of Panda Guerillas

"We have to give captive-bred pandas better survival training, especially combat and defence skills."

I would like to know what, precisely, panda combat training entails.

Furthermore, while I wept at length (no, seriously) for the murdered panda, have we fully thought through the consequences of cadre of pandas trained for heavy action?

"The bear was covered in bite injuries, according to scientists."

Are you ready to see the Eiffel Tower covered not just in panda bites, but panda bite injuries?!

This Week In Environmental News- The STFU Edition

So wait. If, as Michael Griffen asserts, global warming is no big deal and "I guess I would ask which human beings -- where and when -- are to be accorded the privilege of deciding that this particular climate that we have right here today, right now, is the best climate for all other human beings," does that mean he's not interested in the "save the earth by working less" campaign? Ummmmm, why not? Do you not get the part where we would work only 32 hours? That leaves a hefty 136 hours at the beach. Or diffracting neutrons or smashing space shuttles or whatever those crazy kids over at NASA are doing these days. Sometimes, Michael Griffen, we have to make sacrifices for the greater good of humanity. Working less than I do now would be horribly, horribly difficult for me, but I would be willing to make that sacrifice in the name of our dear Mother Earth.

And while we're on the subject, yesterday, Mr. Pressy-dent decided he was gonna be the International Leader of Heehaw and Global Warming. "
So my proposal is this: By the end of next year, America and other nations will set a long-term global goal for reducing greenhouse gases" Which is awesome, except that we already tried doing that with a little thing called the Kyoto Protocol, which everyone except Bushiecomelately signed. I guess the major difference between now and then is that we have realized since then how much of a role poor people are playing in global warming.

The White House also expressed opposition to energy efficiency targets advocated by the EU, arguing that a standard applicable in one country does not fit another."

"To develop this goal, the United States will convene a series of meetings of nations that produce the most greenhouse gases, including nations with rapidly growing economies like India and China."

It's like being Godzilla and asking Domokun why he's smooshing all those cities.