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Munged.Org Where Wookie waxes loquatious, because he can.

Leaving...

I’m home in NYC as I type this. The date above says Tuesday but in fact I’m still on Monday.

I leave for London tomorrow. I was supposed to leave today, but I missed my flight home from San Francisco, thus missing my flight to London this morning.

I return to the States just before Christmas.

In Yosemite

I’m in Yosemite tonight. This is my last day here, but it is snowing, and it is supposed to drop a lot of snow on us. We shall see. If it does, I might be stuck here until it clears. Planning on leaving tomorrow to go to Death Valley and poke around there. Then on to Las Vegas, arriving on Sunday night for four days. I return to NYC on the 9th, and on to London on the 10th.

Today is my birthday. It has been a good day: First hike around the Yosemite Valley floor, seeing beautiful stuff, take a tour and see other stuff, get a massage, a perfect steak dinner, and then hang out with a bunch (30 or so) of the locals/staff of the places around here.

All in all, a good day, and a very good week.

Travel Plans

I’m home today, but I fly tonight to San Francisco to spend Thanksgiving with some friends. Then I’m off to drive around in the desert Southwest US for a while, with a stop in Las Vegas. I return home on the 9th of December.

Who Saves The Souls Of Those Who Save Souls?

On my way to work today, I passed a large group of kids, probably 60 or 70 of them, with chaperons, hanging out on the sidewalk around the subway station stairs. All were in blue T-shirts, holding flowers. I just passed by them, wondering what they were doing in my area of Queens.

As it turns out, they were in my area of Queens to catch the subway into the city. As I stood on the platform waiting for the train, the entire blue-shirted lot of them showed up. They were obviously tourists. They were so engaged in taking pictures of a train coming into the station from the other direction that they were hanging out over the edge of the platform, and almost got hit by the train coming from behind them. New York has a death because of this every few years. I was thinking of escaping to a less blue part of the platform, when the train actually showed up.

As the train was pulling in, I took the time to really look at their T-shirts: Blue, with white lettering in a small symbol on the front said: “Michigan Prays for New York”.

Two girls struck up a conversation with me, wondering when they would get to the subway (about half the subway lines outside of Manhattan run on elevated structures), and how fast did this thing actually move, anyway. I cleared up their misconceptions, and asked them about what they were in the city to see and do.

They were in the city to “help New Yorkers understand why god did this to them”. They didn’t actually use the words “It is all your fault”, but I figure they got close enough.

The irony of this is that New York City is no less devoutly spiritual than any other place in the country. Many inhabitants are probably more so than the rest of the country, because quite a few are first or second generation immigrants, from parts of the world where church isn’t something you treat like a social club. I’m not going to claim that a higher percentage of people go to church every Sunday in New York than in any other part of the country. But to assume that New York is full of godless heathens is inexcusable arrogance and ignorance of the highest order.

The part that really offends me about this is the attitude that two wrongs make a right. Wrong number one: being a godless heathen, or at least living near them. Wrong number two: murdering a few thousand innocent people who’s only crime was to show up to work that day (especially the rescue workers) and are just as likely to be good churchgoing people as the kids on the subway with me, just to prove a point.

Those who know me well know that while I am not religious, I am not against religion when it is carried out responsibly. It is possible to be both religious and intelligent, the two aren’t mutually exclusive. My father is a shining example. But being both religious and evil also aren’t mutually exclusive. As much as religious people would like to believe, believing in a god, doesn’t automatically make you Good.

But this is a prime example of religion not being used responsibly. It is in fact Evil. The sad part is this is Evil perpetrated by children at the instruction of adults.

I would not have been offended by this whole thing if these kids had actually been in the city to help somehow. But in fact they were here to accost people on the streets. I shudder to think what happens the first time someone from this group actually tells a New Yorker, or even worse yet another tourist, that they are responsible for 9/11 because god had to teach them a lesson. This is more damage than good.

I can’t think of anything more prideful, more hurtful, more ignorant, more arrogant, or more shameful, than what these kids came here to do. I hope they learn a lesson about the evil of their ways. But I expect they’ve already been told to ignore that lesson, since it isn’t the one their elders probably brought them here for.

I tried to do my part but I don’t think it worked. And the world is a sadder place for my failure.

The Man Show

The Comedy Central show is an interesting idea. An idea that we like. Guys like to see gorgeous women in total states of undress bouncing on trampolines. Or those same women dancing on a stage with a pole. We cheer for any guy that can drink a beer faster than it can be poured on the ground.

We think the time has come for a show where we don’t have to wade through “plot” to catch 5 seconds of left breast. We don’t want sensitivity, cuteness, or domesticity. We want a show that involves fast cars, fast women, guns, nudity, sports, beer, farts, sex, gambling, dogs, and beating each other up. Plot is fine, so long as it is worthy of Steve McQueen or Clint Eastwood. This is the shit we like, the show we want.

The problem is: This isn’t that show.

Before we really get into this, let us just say that we believe “The Man Show” does as good a job as can be expected … given its limitations.

The limitations on “The Man Show” stack up as follows:

  • Adam Corolla and Jimmy Kimmel
  • Comedy Central’s (presumed) censorship
  • Real men are never this introspective

For starters, there are Jimmy Kimmel and Adam Corolla. So far, Jimmy Kimmel’s big claim to fame is as sidekick to Ben Stein on “Win Ben Stein’s Money”. We ask you is this a job for a real man? We think not. And Adam Corolla’s big claim to fame is as Dr. Drew’s sidekick on MTV’s “Loveline”. We think not. (We won’t delve any deeper into Loveline or Dr. Drew, that is another article.) We are looking for retired spots figures with missing teeth, NASCAR drivers, astronauts/test pilots, or any other guy who would be banging a different Juggy on every commercial break.

Then there is the fact that this show is on Comedy Central. Come on! This show needs to be on a network that allows nudity and swearing. Do you think the Sopranos would have been anywhere near as interesting if the strippers in the Bada-Bing club were wearing bras and panties? Short answer: No. Juggy Dancers on trampolines would be fun to watch if they weren’t wearing bras that kept any actual bouncing action from happening. Juggy Dancers on trampolines is meaningless if the boobs aren’t free to do what we love to see them do. On Comedy Central, we have to wonder if the stuff Fox is tossing back by the quart is in fact beer.

Finally, this is a show that analyses all the things that real men like. Real men don’t care, or want to know, what we like and why we like it. This whole thing comes off like your girlfriend leaving a Cosmopolitan magazine on your coffee table in the hopes you’ll actually read the section on what turns them on in bed. Real guys don’t care for any of this, we’re just gonna do what we like anyway. This show smacks of a show for women about men, thinly veiled as a show for men. Adam and Jimmy, the co-creators, are at the heart of this problem, being two guys who seems to like to analyze why they like all the things they like.

Can “The Man Show” be saved? Probably not. Is it good enough anyway? Not really. Will we watch if it is on and we are bored? Yeah, probably. But while we are watching, bored out of our skulls, we will be hoping that two perverts with no necks pitch the same idea to HBO.

wook

Thoughts a Week After 9/11

On Tuesday, September 11th, 2001, a day forever known simply as 911, hijackers flew airliners into New York City’s World Trade Center. The “Twin Towers” have existed in the skyline since the late 60s; far longer than I have lived in this great city. After standing with gaping holes in their flanks, pouring forth smoke from intense fires caused by 60,000 pounds of jet fuel , the towers finally collapsed upon themselves into a 10-story pile of twisted metal girders, cement chunks, and shards of glass.

An unknown number of people were killed in the disaster. Many of them rescue workers responding to the first attack.

A lucky few souls, a very few, were pulled from the rubble by rescue workers. Everywhere in the City, you can see the desperate hope that missing people, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, friends, and lovers, will turn up alive somewhere, somehow. Flyers with names, ages, vital statistics, and descriptions are posted everywhere. Most notable are the TV vans, some of which are parked around town, with not a square inch of paint showing between the missing-persons flyers taped to them. By now, there is a dreadful, but sure, knowledge that while a couple lucky souls might still be pulled from the wreckage that is “Ground Zero”, the list of the victims is probably written in the missing persons files.

The show of support has been incredible. So many construction workers have volunteered to clear rubble that the only way they will take anyone is if they are an iron/steel worker, and have a union card to prove it. So much food has been donated to the rescue workers that as much as half of it goes to waste. Blood centers and hospitals have turned thousands away who wanted to give blood because they couldn’t handle the load. The last I heard, the Red Cross was looking only for money, and socks.

My part in the whole disaster has been that of a spectator on the sidelines. I was sleeping late the morning of 9/11; it had all happened by the time I found out. All I know of the events of 9/11 I learned from TV. But since then, I have lived and worked with people affected to greater or lesser degrees. That has affected me. I have seen the confusion and shock of people who were close enough to the tragedy that they feel they survived it. I have seen the despair of those who lost loved ones. Talked to people who were across the street from the WTC when the second plane hit. I have heard their stories of seeing people falling, maybe jumping, from 100 floors up. I have talked to people who were supposed to be on one of those airliners, but for whatever reason were not. I’ve watched people I know and love barely control emotions, both the joy of being alive, and the sorrow of loss. I can not help but to empathize, and try to understand, no matter how inadequately.

We cannot begin to gage the effect this will have on the lives of Americans from this day forward. Civil liberties that we have always taken for granted will probably be taken from us in the name of safety. This is probably the greater tragedy, since the terrorist will have won a victory, however small. War has been declared on an enemy that exists only as a word in a dictionary. Normal people will walk around with a haunted look in their eyes anytime they look down the avenues of Manhattan and see only clear, blue, sky.

Our search for the terrorists who perpetrated this act will cross all national boundaries. By committing an act so despicable, so huge in scope, America has been given permission to track down terrorism in all its forms no matter where it lives. No nation on earth dare tell us “No” when we show up at the border in force. All nations will submit to an invasion of sorts, or find themselves actually invaded. The US is often called “cops of the world” in a derogatory tone of voice by the rest of the world. The world has seen nothing yet.

My greatest hope is that we treat the nations we invade in the search for those who did this as well as we would hope to be treated were we in their place. I hope we leave these places better, cleaner, healthier, than when we arrived. To do anything else will invite even more hatred.

And maybe that would be the best revenge. Provide food and shelter to the starving refugees of Afghanistan. To provide medical assistance to any nation that suffers terrorist attacks no matter how small. Provide technical and financial assistance to build up the war-torn lands of today to self-sufficiency, as we did for Germany, France, Japan, and others after World War II.

Only then should we hunt down and punish the terrorists of the world. Let them see that our soul and spirit - indeed our desire and ability to do good in the world - can not be crushed. Only then, should we hunt them down and punish them.