Sunday, July 22, 2007

First Impressions from Spain (not Mars)

It's midnight here in Barcelona and it's 6:00pm where I came from. I'm a little, uh, confused right now. After the seemingly undending soporific waves, I seem to have fought my way into the Spanish lifestyle okay. I haven't even been here 24 hours, so I won't make grand assertions or rash generalizations; what I will do is make broad observations and baseless assumptions. Wait, those are the same. Anyway, here's some things I've noticed about Barcelona so far.

1. The taxis don't know where you're going unless you point to it and they can read it. I was dropped off at the wrong hotel because I misprounced (Duques de Bergara). How dare I!

2. Las Ramblas is where you can find, at 9:30am on a Sunday, Brits stumbling blindly down the street after a night at the clubs and Spanish hobos pissing on trees in the middle of the walk.

3. People babbling in foreign languages is much easier to ignore than people babbling in your native tongue. The plane was full of Spanish-speakers but I didn't have much trouble getting to sleep.

4. Immersion is the fastest way to learn any language. I came to Spain only 16 hours ago with a broken understanding of it. After only a day, I've managed to have at least four long conversations with people involving an exchange of information leading to an answer entirely in Spanish, the last of which the American-ish couple next to me didn't even realize I was from the U.S. Everyone figured out I was from the U.S. after I told them and so I had to eventually apologize. They're not fond of Americans.

5. The "WALK/DON'T WALK" transition lasts about 2 seconds, leading any elderly person in certain peril if they're not careful. I've seen 4 geriatrics get nailed by Vespas already today.

6. Speaking of, everyone here rides Vespas or bikes. It seems more practical, but this is a far different city than anything in the U.S.

7. Las chicas son buenas.

8. Everybody smokes everywhere; even the metro smells like smoke.

9. Don't stand near the sewers, they smell like a port-o-potty.

10. You owe me $50.

11. Spain is a generally homogenous society. There's a few black/darker-skinned people, but all in all everyone's the same, kinda. It's a whole lot different. It's also a good thing I got something of a tan (while death-camping) before coming here.

12. There are powers of the Force you can't even begin to imagine.

Anyway, enough of this self-referential cultural screed. I'm going to bed. Buenas noches.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Sen. Redenbacher (D-WV) castigates Michael Vick for "barbarism"

REUTERS, July 20, 2007, Washington, D.C.:

The posthumously revived corpse of beloved popcorn-spokesman Senator Orville Redenbacher took to the Senate floor for over 25 minutes Thursday to decry the indictment of Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick for allegations that he led a dogfighting ring out of one of his homes in Virginia. After much legal scrutiny, Reuters has confirmed that dogfighting is indeed illegal in all 50 U.S. states and its territories, in addition to every developed and most developing countries around the world. The indictment would appear to hold up in a court of law.

Sen. Redenbacher took the moral lead in this fight against the inhumane treatment of other creatures, even as many of his fellow legislators recently celebrated Vick's revival of the ancient pastime of dogfighting. "It's barbaric! Barbaric! Barbaric! It's barbaric! ......................... Barbaric! ...... Barbaric!!! It's barbaric! ................ BARBARIC!!!" Redenbacher strongly repeated 8 times while madly pumping his fist at a handful of bewildered tourists and a sleeping C-SPAN 2 cameraman in the cavernous Senate chamber Thursday [5:20 - 6:40 in the clip].

Clearly finding his wheelhouse, Sen. Redenbacher again vituperated the indictment by vicariously handing down God's own judgment on the matter by stating that "I am confident that the hottest places in hell are reserved for the souls of sick and brutal people who hold God's creatures in such brutal and cruel contempt." Some critics have wondered whether Redenbacher's 12-year hiatus in the tomb has affected his recollection of having been a leading member of the Klu Klux Klan's Exalted Cyclops chapter for 5 years in the 1940's before winning his first seat in Congress, where he has led for over 55 years. In the past, Redenbacher has indeed made several vague allusions to his views on racial integration:

"Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds."

"I shall never fight in the armed forces with a Negro by my side."

It appeared that Redenbacher worked himself into a froth enough to have even caused a brief, mild stroke, evidenced by the long pause in his oratory [located at 6:10 in the clip]. An aide of the reanimated Sen. Redenbacher was seen shooting a concerned glance at the Senator just as he began to regain consciousness and his soul returned to his body.

Following this long-winded, meaningful diatribe, Sen. Redenbacher retired from the Senate chamber and stiffly plodded toward the nearest cemetery.

Sources say he forgot to validate his parking.

---Brice Lord, reporting

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The only news you'll hear from the Tour de France this year

Trivia Question: When will the Tour de France be held this year?

Answer: It's been going on for nearly 2 weeks.

Despite the extreme condition of physical fitness required of individuals to compete in this 22-day marathon on wheels, nobody really cares about it; that is, unless Lance Armstrong plans to win again with the gross audacity not seen since Babe Ruth pointed to the center field wall in 1933.

Is the Tour even on television anymore? Or is it on something crappy like ESPN The Ocho, reserved for niche events like Japanese Shame and Pain Tournament and Hot Dog Eating competitions? Sometimes you'll meet someone that is like really into the Tour de France and just needs to tell you that he enjoys it because he doesn't miss the forest for the trees like everyone else. These are a similar breed of asshole to those who dig the America's Cup sailboat race. I bet the application to the America's Cup looks something like this:

Registration for America's Cup (Sailboat Race)
Complete the following information, filling in the circles when necessary.

Name: _Brice Lord___________
Address: __1549 Awesome Lane______
Race: o White o Other
Annual Income: o $19,000,000-$20,000,000 o >$20,000,000
Domeciles: o 2 o 3 o 4 o more than my neighbor
Wife's Modeling Agency: o Ford o IMG o Elite o DNA
Boat type: __sail-thingy with big pole in the middle for the wind__

Notice how the America's Cup administration department hasn't even figured out how to use the "forms" function in MS Word.

You know, the America's Cup would be a SHITLOAD cooler if each boat was given a mounted Howitzer and a couple of sea mines. The commentators then might stop talking about a teams' tacking ability and focus on something more interesting, like casualty rates.

Where was I? Oh yeah, the Tour de France.

So a dog got hit by a bicyclist the other day and it's downright hilarious. Fucking dog. It just walks across the road, on which a hundred bicyclists are streaking past every minute---at probably around 30mph---and thinks that's a fine idea. It gets hit and sends the bicyclist flying. The dog walks away from the wreck sheepishly eyeing the camera like a child who just poured milk onto his little sister's head. And when I saw this last night, predictably, Erica Hill, Anderson Cooper's own Ed McMahon, says, "Well I hope the dog is alright." Fuck you Erica! If I drove my Moroccan boyfriend's yellow Miata against traffic on I-495 causing a wreck that ejected a family of four from their Chevy Tahoe would you hope aloud that I came out of it okay without regard to the family? No, you wouldn't because any reasonable organism wouldn't do that. Just because it's a dog doesn't mean it's allowed to be fucking retarded. You're still pretty hot though, Erica.

Anyway, here's the video of the dog getting hit by the bicyclist:

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Voy a España.

No viajé Europa nunca, incluye España: un país que quiero visitar. Afortunadamente, por mi trabajo, voy a Barcelona para asistir a un simposio. ¡Qué bueno! ¡Me divertiré! Después de Barcelona, nosotros visitaremos Madrid. Dije "nosotros" porque mi prometido Marroquí estará conmigo. El viaje será diversión, pero en Barcelona especialmente, debemos guardarnos de carteristas.

Hay muchas problemas con carteristas ("pickpockets") en Barcelona. Tan muchas problemas que Web sites advierten a turistas de los peligros. Mirar este video del trabajo de los carteristas.

Me iré para Barcelona el sábado y mi prometido se irá el lunes. Nosotros seremos en España por 10 diás. Hasta que volvemos, ustedes sean excelente el uno al otro.

Para una traducción, ir aquí.
[For a translation, go here. Requires some copy and pasting.]

Overheard in DC

Outside the L. Ron Hubbard Church of Scientology at 20th & R St, NW:
[on cell phone] "Well, now we might be talking statutory rape."

Thursday, July 12, 2007


"Strange memories on this nervous night in Las Vegas. Five years later? Six? It seems like a lifetime, or at least a Main Era -- the kind of peak that never comes again. San Francisco in the middle sixties was a very special time and place to be a part of. Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run . . . but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were here and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant . . . .

History is hard to know, because of all the hired bullshit, but even without being sure of "history" it seems entirely reasonable to think that every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes to a head in a long fine flash, for reasons that nobody really understands at the time -- and which never explain, in retrospect, what actually happened. My central memory of that time seems to hang on one or five or maybe forty nights -- or very early mornings -- when I left the Fillmore half-crazy and, instead of going home, aimed the big 650 Lightning across the Bay Bridge at a hundred miles an hour wearing L. L. Bean shorts and a Butte sheepherder's jacket . . . booming through the Treasure Island tunnel at the lights of Oakland and Berkeley and Richmond, not quite sure which turn-off to take when I got to the other end (always stalling at the toll-gate, too twisted to find neutral while I fumbled for change) . . . but being absolutely certain that no matter which way I went I would come to a place where people were just as high and wild as I was: No doubt at all about that. There was madness in any direction, at any hour. If not across the Bay, then up the Golden Gate or down 101 to Los Altos or La Honda. . . . You could strike
sparks anywhere.

There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning. And that, I think, was the handle -- that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn't need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting -- on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave.

So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in
Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark -- that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back."

--- Hunter S. Thompson, Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas, 1971

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

It must be July ...

Now, I'm not a huge sports fan, but I enjoy watching my share of football (college and pro), March Madness, NBA playoffs, and the odd Orioles game and soccer match now and then. But, come summer, we're all hung out to dry in the sere desert of mid-season MLB baseball. The problem here is that by the all-star break there is absolutely nothing happening in any sport except baseball. The NBA and NHL playoffs are over, both drafts (NFL and NBA) are finished, and even golf is lukewarm. There's Wimbledon, but the matches are played in the middle of the day and I'm not exactly going to take 2 weeks off of work to watch British people clap supportively every time the chair judge repeats that flash photography isn't permitted because tennis players wear all white and there's a chance the extra light rays might stain their clothes. This would all be fine and dandy if the MLB were gearing up for the quadruple-fortnight World Series, but at this point it may as well be another 8 years away.

The unique majesty of baseball's World Series is only 5 short months away.

Mid-season baseball is boring. By now we all know who's good and who sucks. The Red Sox are good. The Yankees suck. The Mets are good. The Cubs suck. The Nationals suck. The Orioles suck [of course, we're never really given an opportunity to wonder if the Orioles will suck or not because they have been thoroughly consistent in this aspect for the past decade, largely thanks to an opprobriously egomaniacal owner]. And we're only at the fucking All-Star break for god's sakes, of which its Home Run Derby is as big a joke at the NBA's dunk contest---not to mention that Barry Bonds opted not to enter the homerun derby, which is bewildering on 10^5 levels (sorry, I've been taking a GRE test prep class). By the way, to call this period a "break" is hilarious to me. The only people on a baseball field at any time that ever actually do anything are the pitchers and the ball boys/girls, so having a "break" is pretty unnecessary. Well, maybe we should count the fans who occassionally interfere. Even the baseball commentators are obviously bored right now. There could be a game-winning inside-the-park grandslam hit by a wheelchair-bound, terminally ill 10-year old girl in the bottom of the 9th inning and the announcers would still be talking about how they're continually amazed at the number of bugs there are buzzing around the stadium lights.

Kevin Garnett remains seriously concerned about what everyone is telling him that he's thinking.

So except for baseball dragging us along, what are we left with to entertain us while hiding inside from the brutal summer heat? Well, as far as sports news goes right now, there's three huge, earthshaking stories I absolutely need to follow closely right now. First, we can all vapidly gossip about whether or not Bud Selig will end up sitting down in a baseball stadium when a chemically enhanced titan hits another ball over a wall. Second, that little Asian hotdog eater got beaten by a three-hotdog margin by an American named after a yuletide nut. And finally we can continue to follow the neverending carnival of rumors about Kevin Garnett being traded to the Boston Celtics (June 19), Phoenix Suns (June 25), LA Lakers (June 26), Charlotte Bobcats (June 28), Chicago Bulls (June 30), Dallas Mavericks (July 5), Golden State Warriors (July 9), and the Miami Sound Machine (July 10).

An acute visual representation of my wasted time.

Smartly, the hosts on the only sports show I enjoy, Pardon The Interruption, have taken vacations for what feels like a month, and so I'm left with listening to the possibly unintentionally self-deprecating humor of Dan Le Betard and the pacifist verbage of J.A. Adonde, whose dialogue together leaves me feeling like I just ate a pound of feathers without knowing it.

Fortunately, it's just under 2 months until college football kicks off and I can begin worrying about Michigan coming back in the fourth quarter of every game rather than worrying about the Orioles struggling to tread above a .450 win record.

Sir Charles

This is what it would look like if somebody had a stroke in the middle of their golf swing. It's actually Charles Barkley's.

Friday, July 06, 2007

ETCW! - Not for the squeamish

I went and got the old blog MPAA-rated over at Mingle^2. Here's what I got:

Online Dating

Mingle2 - Online Dating

This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:
fucking (11x)
shit (6x)
fuck (5x)
shitty (2x)
dick (1x)

I actually laughed when I saw this come up. I'm pretty proud of the 16 utterances of "fuck", and the single "dick" to top it off is appropriate---though things have been twice the fun since my Moroccan boyfriend Michael moved in, if you know what I mean. And a big thanks to Mr. Kevin, Esq. for blowing my cover, by the way.