Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Home Surgery

Yeah, they look really cute, but I think the one on the left tried to kill me. She likes to claw at my cheap Ikea kitchen table, spewing splinters about the apartment. Tonight, as I walked through the kitchen, one such splinter drove through my sock and embedded itself in the bottom of my foot.

It was huge! After a fair amount of sniveling, digging around with a needle, and internal speculation about what would happen if I showed up at the emergency room with a foot splinter, I removed it. But not before some panic. One internet site told me to soak my foot in water to soften the skin and aid removal. Another warned against soaking a wooden splinter for too long, because it can expand. Adding to my frustration, it took me forever just to get this photo that doesn't even come close to showing the horror show that was my foot after I washed it, post-removal:

On the plus side, my soles are looking pretty smooth today. Thanks, overly pushy nail salon owner!

Anyway, here it is. The splinter that almost took me down, along with the tools I used to remove it, and a dime for scale:

I'm pretty sure I am now qualified as a surgeon in certain states.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Another Report From the Field!

The pronouncement from the vegan bistro at 1st Avenue and 6th Street.

Anyway, as you probably already know, Obama won! As soon as NBC and pals called it, I started hearing shouts from outside like when the Giants won the Super Bowl. Eventually, I wandered outside, and in fact, it was more like New York had won a whole bunch of Super Bowls and even the hipsters cared!

Crowds of people were at the intersection of First Avenue and St. Marks, many of them banging on pots and pans. Every time cars would go by, the crowd would cheer, and the cars would lay on their horns:

At one point, an ambulance went by, lights flashing. The driver picked up his microphone and announced, "President Barack Obama!!"

Virtually every time people passed one another on the sidewalk, cheers and high-fives were obligatory. Among the people I high-fived was this guy:

There was, not surprisingly, a still larger crowd at Union Square:

As well as vendors cashing in on the result:

Hangover factory Lilly Coogan's had this to say:

And this building on St. Mark's Place offered its own verdict:

When I walked by, they were blasting "Happy Days are Here Again" out of the windows.

So, good job, everyone! Democracy worked!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Report From the Field!

I woke up around 6:30 this morning, and, because I am a big dork, I was too excited to get back to sleep. So, around 7:20, I pried myself out from under my cat Spider and went to vote.

The line at my polling place was the longest I've ever seen it, and I usually just go around 8:45 a.m. on my way to work. I think the only other time there has been a line at all was for the 2004 presidential election, and that was pretty short. Today's line got still longer while I waited. I was still out in about 20 minutes, but the big turnout is a good sign, no matter who you support.

But especially if you support Obama.

Anyway, people, vote!


In case you hadn't heard, Election Day is upon us.

Already, the ridiculously small town of Dixville Notch, New Hampshire has voted, and the returns are in: for the first time in 40 years, Dixville Notch has gone Democratic. Barack Obama beat John McCain, 15 votes to 6. Everyone else: don't forget to vote! Even if the line is really long and you live in New York or California so that, despite what everyone says, your vote will make absolutely no difference. Vote, or spend the rest of your life lying about how great it was to vote in 2008.

To be honest, the whole Young Everyone for Obama contingent (*cough* especiallyamongmycolleagues *cough*) is often obnoxious and makes we want to write in Hillary Rodham Clinton, but I won't do that. Despite his supporters, I like the cut of our next president's jib and most of his policy positions. Unlike everyone in the middle of the country, I don't think he's an elitist jerk just because he went to prestigious schools and apparently did his homework while he was there. Unlike everyone on both coasts, I don't think the middle of the country is a bunch of slobbering buffoons incapable of voting for someone who isn't white.

In short, I find virtually everyone in America highly objectionable at this point, but it still seems pretty obvious that the best man (by my measure) will win. So calm down, everyone! It's like I've been saying for months:

Seriously, the Republican Party is not organized enough to mount whatever weird scheme involving black helicopters and Bolivian cocaine that would be required to steal the election absent a Bush v. Gore style virtual tie. Luckily, Oliver Stone doesn't get to direct our actual lives. And if you're a McCain supporter -- well, I won't lie. I think you've backed the wrong horse, but at least his SNL appearance was entertaining.

So, at this time tomorrow, this neverending campaign season will finally, finally, finally be over. Then let us never speak of it, or Sarah Palin, ever again.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Tomorrow's Bookshelf...Today!

One day, some talented Washington Post-type will write a book about the inner workings of McCain's 2008 campaign. I will read that book the instant it shows up in the Review Copies section in the basement of The Strand.

I don't know what is going on back there. I just know it is entertaining.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

They Called Me Mad at the University

I have probably told this story somewhere before. If so, bear with me.

September 11, 2001, happened right at the beginning of my final year of law school. My school had, in addition to the fall and spring semesters, a winter semester where the 2Ls and 3Ls would take one course concentrated into the space of something like three weeks. In the wake of the terrorist attacks, Professor Philip Heymann, with a couple of others, offered a winter semester course called "Terrorism in America." I took the class.

One morning, I was sitting in the back of the room with my coffee, still waking up, and Heymann decided to cold-call me. "Can you think of a situation," he asked me, "Where the world would face a threat that would cause all countries to band together to oppose it?"

I'm paraphrasing, but that's in substance the question he asked. I assumed (and still assume) that he was fishing for some sort of terrorist threat as an answer, but even in my days at Harvard, I was not so naive as to think that any earthly threat could get all nations to band together. So I gave him the only answer I could think of:

"Well, maybe if a large asteroid or comet or something was headed toward the earth."

The class laughed at me. Heymann was not impressed, and said that he had been looking for a more realistic response.

He moved on, and I said nothing further, but in my mind, I was sort of incensed. A comet or asteroid threatening the earth was unlikely, was it? The way terrorists hijacking planes on U.S. soil and crashing them into major landmarks might also seem unlikely on September 10, 2001?

Anyway, fast forward to a few weeks ago, when The Atlantic Monthly ran a cover story on the threat of asteroids hitting the earth. To say nothing of the various news pieces that have run about the threat, both before and after 2001.

What I'm trying to say is that I was right, and Heymann was wrong, however however far-out the threat may appear. If you'll forgive my pessimism, I still think we're far more likely to get smacked with a huge asteroid than to bring all countries together to fight a terrorist threat, and now that I think of it, I don't even know that I believe the Asteroid Menace would bring world unity. And if we do get hit with an asteroid or a comet, it will suck, but at least chances are that those who laughed at me or dismissed my concerns will go down in the same extinction event that takes me out.

I would never wish asteroid-related harm on anyone, but if large numbers of mankind are wiped out, it would be infinitesimally preferable for it to happen in a way that proves me right about something.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

We May Be Through With the Past, But the Past Wants Us to Watch Its Videos

I got an email from an ex the day after my birthday. We had dated, or whatever you want to call it, for about a year and a half. It was always sort of unorthodox, but finally, in August of this past year, I had just had enough. So, because among our problems was his persistent inability to return phone calls, I wound up having to break up with him via email, and then it irritated me further that he had turned me into a person who breaks up with people via email.

The breakup email was, I thought, pretty nice, its main points being: (i) goodbye, (ii) good luck, and (iii) if you want to discuss this in rational fashion, we can.

Months passed. I heard nothing.

So, my birthday comes and goes, and the day after my birthday, I wake up, and there is an email from the guy, really short, wishing me a happy late birthday and saying he hopes I'm well. I replied, thanking him, and left it at that. It was nice of him, I guess, though I couldn't help but wonder at his motives. This is a person who, even when things were good with us, couldn't be bothered to communicate with his voice most of the time, and this wasn't a tendency that was specific to me. Certainly, had he remembered my birthday this year and had no access to email, he would not have called. He has given no sign that he seeks closure or wants to be friends or anything similar. Nevertheless, the magic of email is allowing me to occasionally hear from someone who would otherwise have faded from my life through his own sheer inaction. Bizarre.

As a postscript, I may have found out his true motive -- broadening his audience. Earlier this week, he included me on a mass email linking to a new video he made. Aiiieeee! I am a content recipient!