Friday, October 31, 2008

This has been a long long year. Sometimes a year passes, you wake up on New Years and you say "Man I can't believe 1997 is already over! I can't believe Boris Yeltsin is no longer in power, I never saw that one coming!" But this year has felt like a year. Even the past 10 months has felt like a year. I'm going to wake up on New Years Day and be like "Man, 2008, now that was some decade."

And while I can though wallowing in my own pains, struggles, yadda yadda yadda on a Friday night you get texts like these......and with that nothing else seems important. It's one of those things where sometimes we forget that others would feel priveleged to have our problems. And even if you question that, at least you've got your health.

The part I've left out thus far is that when I saw the text pop up on my phone I first thought it was from a family member and watched my heart dropped thinking it was in reference to an uncle. When I realized that it wasn't I became slightly relieved. And having that moment of relief makes me feel even more terrible for my friend.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Major Tom

In my spare time I scroll through the science and technology pages and focus on astronaut ailments. It's my pride. It's my joy.

One of the more poignant things I've read was on astronaut depression. If you think you're lonely down here, imagine being stuck in space. Then you really have problems. The article didn't mean to be funny or quirky but it reflected a couple of images that one just couldn't help but see as being sorta goofy

Most of the ailment revolved around people who are placed in close quarters with other, in high stress, away from other people for long periods of time.
"In 1985, a mission on Russia's Salyut 7 space station was scrapped after colleagues noticed the commander seemed uninterested in the work and spent hours looking out portholes. Three years earlier, a mission on the same space station was hampered by tension between two astronauts."

How tragic. Here you probably have one of the most highly trained elite people in Russia and the poor guy just ended up zoning out and looking out the window all the time. The matter gets even more bleak when you see here this sad cry for help from former cosmonaut Valentin Lebedev who wrote in his diary "We don't understand what's going on with us. silently walk by each other, feeling offended."

Being an astronaut sounds like a mix between going to a Nirvana concert in 1991 and working in a cubicle.

Sometimes I feel like an astronaut. But the one thing I have going for me is that my I don't have any additional physical tortures on me. The article noted that "Space and weightlessness can affect mood by playing havoc with natural body rhythms and sleep. On the international space station, for instance, the normal day-night cues are disrupted as sunrises and sunsets come every 45 minutes."

I get slightly depressed in the mornings. But I can handle that once every...oh I don't know...24 hours. Can you imagine going through that 32 times a day?

....32 X 45min =24hours , for those of you keeping score at home...

That would be a total mind, body, and soul fuck.

Oh and if you don't know why I wrote "Major Tom at the top, look at this. And if you don't know why I chose the picture at the top, it's U2's "Zooropa boy" drawn to emulate Russian cosmonauts who were sadly stuck in space for longer and longer space missions. The picture seemed rather apropos.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Greenspan groupies

So Sir Greenspan was on Capitol Hill testifying about the roots of the current financial crisis for the better part of 4 hours today.

While this was news breaking in it of itself, the real dramatic story was the story behind the story....

As I was glancing to the TV screens from the floor at work something caught my eye. A certain something something.

It was like Jabba the Hutt, except like....in real life.

Next to Greenspan, on the left, was a weird woman wearing white. It was just bizarro. It was like being drawn towards a car wreck

I think it was a Greenspan groupie.

Who was she? What person wear a bright white coat to a Senate hearing? Moreover why doesn't she have a neck?

Enquiring minds want to know.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bloomberg fun

In case you haven't notice the stock market has been in the shitter lately. By "lately" I mean everyday. Everyday it's been in the red. This is bad.

So in such extreme situations, sometimes you have to do anything to keep your sanity, and usually that means some sorta joke. There are few things in life that are more consistently funnier than joking with the help desk at the Bloomberg data service.

Looking at videos of monkeys is a close second.

Bloomberg (yes named after our Mayor, how do you think he made his fortune?) is the market information source of choice and they pride themselves on having great customer service. The only problem is that sometimes they're not the sharpest tools in the shed and can't quite tell when you're joking

So after seeing the market nosedive again on Wednesday I thought I'd have a little fun using the Help Desk chat feature:

ME: Hi there
BLOOMBERG: ***Thank you for using Bloomberg Help! We have received your question and a live representative will be with you momentarily
BLOOMBERG: Hello how are you?
ME: Hi, I think my Bloomberg market screens are broken.
ME: They are not working right I fear
BLOOMBERG: Hello, can you confirm which screens you are referring to?
ME: The World Equity Indicators, for example the "USSW" screen
BLOOMBERG: What happens when you go to it?
ME: Well everything is always red
ME: Everyday.
ME: I don't think the green font is working.
ME: The Dow is always negative and in the red.
BLOOMBERG: Well there's not any green font on here...
ME: Same with S&P. And every other stock index....
ME: They're always down
ME: and red.
ME: Help me.
BLOOMBERG: ok I will need to long in as you to replicate
ME: uhhh
BLOOMBERG: I am going to try to fix the colors so it's not red
ME: Um, you see it's red because they're negative...
BLOOMBERG: Yes so let me see what your settings are
ME: It's ok....thank you
ME: It's all good. Good night.
BLOOMBERG: ok then! Is there anything else I can help you with?
ME: No. You've done more than enough

Saturday, October 18, 2008

are we Dancer?, the Killers, Hunter S. Thompson, & Ziggy

Every generation or so is challenged by a question, a question that is rhetorical in nature but still we struggle to answer.

What exactly were Americans supposed to do differently in their lives when FDR said the only thing to fear is fear itself?

What about Rodney King's simple pleading of "Can't we all just get along?"

Well our generation finally has a calling. Our generation finally has a question that I must answer to. And that question comes, like all good questions do, from...uhh....Las Vegas.

The question in question?.... Are we human or are we dancer? The Killers new song "Human" which sounds like it's straight out of the '80s - the good parts - has a main chorus that crescendos with Brandon Flowers asking "Are we human or are we dancer?"

Haven't we all asked ourselves that question at some point in our lives? But I digress, the real question is what the hell is he talking about?
Close your eyes, clear your heart
Cut the cord
Are we human are we dancer?
My sign is vital, my hands are cold and I'm on my knees looking for the answer
Are we human or are we dancer?
Last time I checked in the Ven diagrams of life, being a dancer and a human were not mutually exclusive events. .



Now through a little bit of research I can ascertain that the line itself is a reference to quote from Hunter S. Thompson who said that America was raising a generation of dancers. Thompson, who died in 2005, was a writer who amongst other things was known for promoting the use of tripped out drugs. Hence it should be no surprise that he wrote "Fear and Loating in Las Vegas"which later became a film.

Thompson's other famed quote was s "Objective journalism is one of the main reasons that American politics has been allowed to be corrupt for so long." It sounds odd but think about it for a second.

Ok...wait...now another second... Anyone who's followed the election this year can appreciate this. Objectivity implies that both sides of a debate require equal time. The problem with this is that it doesn't enable anyone to filter out the crap. In other words, at some point it's okay to say that a claim that a Political Party is making is wrong. For example every discussion on global warming doesn't need to include some random scientist who it even exists in order for the report to be "objective"....

Just because someone has a different view doesn't mean they're right.
Anyone who has parents knows this.

But back to the LSD fiend Hunter, I'm sure the next obvious question is "what exactly is so disparaging about saying America was raising a generation of dancers?"

Well I mean that's just obvious, no? I mean really. It would just be insulting if I had to even explain that. Sorta like reading Ziggy.

I have no idea what any Ziggy cartoon strip means, but that's not really the point is it? It looks cute, and that's what counts.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

bathroom explosion

One of the strangest and most pressing fields of human research that has been neglected is the issue of trying to hold going to the bathroom while you're making your way home. For some reason there can be large stretches of a car, train, or walking in which you don't have any trouble holding everything together....

...but why is it that when you get close to your door all internal bodily controls go haywire? Like maybe it's the warmth of a home or the anticipation but like I find that I barely make it to the bathroom...even after holding it for like 30 minutes....even if that includes walking up and down stairs. Go figure. Me not know why.

Monday, October 13, 2008

2 cents

At some point if you're still an undecided voter, with only 3 weeks left and the longest primary season in memory, does that just make you an indecisive idiot?

I mean when you go out to eat and order a Coke and the waitress says "We just have Pepsi" do you still pause and think about it?

If you goto Target and you see that Colgate toothpaste isn't available, do you seriously consider the consequences for the next 4 hours?

I'm not saying that the voting choice is between two people who are similar, that in fact underlines my point. They're not similar....what are people still waiting to hear? If you seriously are looking at debates to sway your opinion and understand policy, then you are seriously mistaken.

You should look at their websites or something to get policy plans....use the debates to look at their body language not 5 point plans.

Ok? Ok. Good.

At some point you either shit or get off the pot.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

note to Palin: Don't go to a Flyers game

They've booed Santa. They've booed little children. Why did they think Governor Palin think her treatment by Philadelphia fan would be any different?


[Rangers vs. Flyers, Oct 11th]

Even Rangers Alternate Captain Scott Gomez, a native of Alaska, looks to be having a hard time holding in his smile. Even when they cranked the weird music up, it couldn't drown out the chorus of boos. The music sounds like something I've heard in the IMAX theatre at Disneyland (the 360 degree CircleVision thingy) when they show camera shot from a helicopter zooming over the Grand Canyon.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Johnny Desi

One of the ways I demonstrate that I'm a mature young adult is that I take pictures of weird people at restaurants.

It is with this view that I caught a hold of this gem. Ladies, eat your hearts out, and guys....I guess you can do the same. It's ....drum roll....Johnny Desi.

The father of one, and husband to one red woman, Johnny Desi showed his true player self in Edison with the white jacked, and popped inner collar. It's a good look for those approaching their 40s

Also don't forget the other key ingredient in any high flying wardrobe, the white shoes

At this point many of you are probably thinking the same thing, "Shakes, what the hell is your problem?" Well let me answer your question with another one:

Do you think the Spanish were angry at Columbus for finding the New World?

Did Darwin hunt the turles on the Galapagos just to get his desired findings?

I rest my case

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Things I'll Give You A Dollar For: #1

Many years ago in a former life I used to write a running a list weird things that I'd request people to do, and if they did I'd give them a dollar. That's why it was called "Things I'll Give You A Dollar For." It's pretty straightforward really....even if the list name ends in a prepositional phrase ("...For"), a grammatical no-no.

Be that as it may I figured after a little bit of encouragement that I'll end my 2 year hiatus and resume the list, here goes:

Things I'll Give You A Dollar For: #1
  1. Giving me a dollar
  2. Most stocks on the NYSE
  3. Caveatting a comment stating person's ethnicity and then stating something completely insignificant (e.g. "You Chinese and all, I guess we should cross the street" OR "For a Korean you really like hot dogs")
  4. Drop kicking one of those stupid small dogs you see people on the Upper East Side carry
  5. Finding Sisqo
  6. Leading school kids astray.
  7. Going to the L.E.S and pointing at kids saying "Man! I really like your Pumas and your cool expensive but cheap looking t-shirt...You're so counter culture!" Repeat 75 times.
  8. Gum.
  9. Wearing a McCain shirt through Union Square
  10. Asking a cab driver to please follow the Taxi Rider's Bill of Rights printed in the back seat and not talk on the phone or be excessively disturbing.
And there you have it. See, don't you think you're a better person because of this

Sunday, October 5, 2008

sometimes...

...it's good to take pictures of mean people who are playing Mr. Mister very loudly in their car. Especially if it's obvious to the guy that you're taking a picture of him.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

thought of the day

Why does it take more interviews to be considered for an analyst job in New York than it does to be nominated for Vice President of the United States of America?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

i'm not smart enough for sunglass stores anymore

I like to consider myself as being sorta bright. I can count up to double digits with the best of them. Confidently, may I add. But one thing I don't think I'm good at anymore is sunglass stores.

I used to be good at them, but not anymore. I used to be able to separate the men's section from the women's section, but now everything looks the same. Women wear aviator glasses and guys wear glasses that look like something Jackie O would wear.

As a result whever I walk into Sunglass Hut (which by virtue of living in New Jersey and being an avid fan of Mall Culture, means every other weekend) I just stumble around aimlessly hoping to see a sign that says "Men's". I've never seen one yet. Instead I go towards something which I know is definitely male eyewear, Oakley, and try to guesstimate around there.

It's not easy being me.