I once saw Mike Tyson in an airport. I always thought boxers would be huge, you know, six feet four inches, all brawn and sinew. Perhaps because I was expecting something completely unlike Tyson did it take a few seconds to recognize who and what I was looking at. He is about five feet eight inches tall, and as wide as a doorway. His neck was fat as a basketball. Looking at him, I felt both that weird satellite uplink pause of oh, wow, a celebrity, and also oh my God, he is a monster.
He was surrounded by people. His entourage was pushing people out of the way. He looked like the consummate boxing celebrity, smiling and smirking, walking through the people who were asking for his autograph.
The moment passed but the impression was lasting. Years went by and I heard stories about him biting off somebody’s ear and I thought of course he did; he’s a wild animal. Anytime you go in the ring with him, you’re basically fighting an animal without any regard for human life. He was mean, like a dog trained to attack anything and anyone.
Later still I heard he lost some money, then made it again. Went to prison for rape. Had a giant tribal looking tattoo inked over his already ugly face. He converted to Islam. He lost all his money again. And I heard he raised pigeons.
Reluctantly I started to think that was kind of cool. I love pigeons; I imagine a time when human beings called them doves, and welcomed them into our gardens. I know their sweetness and their soothing songs. So it appealed to me to think of Mike Tyson loving the tiny fluttery creatures. Did they calm him? Is he calmed down at all?
Somehow, his enjoyment of the doves makes him seem reformed.
Tyson doesn’t seem very smart and I don’t think those blows to the head helped matters. He doesn’t seem to have any self-awareness.
But there is something about him that seems open to life. He doesn’t seem to care that he’s broke, or that he’s no longer anywhere close to the best boxer in the world. I am not talking just about the stubborn will to survive, which most people have innately. I mean, he seems to have the desire to seek out new things.
I can’t bring myself to like him, even in the most remote sense. But as long as he has his pigeons, I think we’re all safe from him.
I saw Mega Mind (3D) with a young member of the family today and kept thinking there was something I wasn’t getting. It’s a great looking movie with a clever premise: an evil mastermind kills his opponent, realizes he has no purpose, and then becomes good in order to fight a much worse mastermind. But something kept playing in the subtext, something I am sure it’s target audience didn’t get: it was full of images of Obama and September 11.
Posters of Mega Mind, looking queerly like Obama, is splashed on every building with the catch phrase “No I Won’t.”
But far more curious, the town looks like New York with the Freedom Tower reaching high above the rooftops. And there is a weird scene when the skyscrapers come crashing down in a way that actually looked a lot like the Twin Towers.
It felt strange. Not quite insulting. But it was an unrelenting subtext — in scene after scene after scene, in 3D, it was as if someone had stuck a silly Will Farrell cartoon on CNN footage of the attacks.
The movie was fine. Whatever.
But if you see it, I’d be curious to know if you saw the same thing I did or if I’m just feeling particularly sensitive tonight.
A few years ago I told the tale of my horrific experience at the hands of the TSA while I was traveling from Washington DC to New York to see Sean. With all the focus on over-aggressive TSA procedures, I figure now is a good time to repeat it.
I had been seeing Sean for a few months and I would fly up or he’d fly down every weekend. At first, I carried a sleek black computer bag that I love – it’s buttery soft leather, looks great and travels well. Every time I went through the checkpoint at Reagan National Airport, I’d get secondary screening and they’d test it for bomb residue. After the third time or so, I quit taking it and eventually got into a routine of zipping through the checkpoint.
Then one afternoon while I was still standing at the x-ray machines while my carry-on went through the scanner, a female agent told me I had been selected for secondary screening. I said fine. I thought she would take me into a private area or something, but no. Without blinking an eye she reached over, pulled up my shirt, and began to feel under my bra. I was in front of everyone, and I yelled at her stop. I was completely embarrassed and feeling completely helpless. I pulled away and a big male agent came over and said, “Do you want me to hold her still?”
Another man behind me said, “This is crazy,” and another agent called the police.
The big fat male agent held my shoulders and the lady again put both her hands inside my bra, cupped my breasts, bounced them and then yanked my shirt down.
I was crying at this point. The man holding my shoulders let me go and told me to “straighten up.”
I struggled to straighten my bra, and grabbed my bag and ran out toward my gate. I was completely humiliated. Every person in the line had seen my breasts, they’d seen a female agent molest me and a big male assist her.
You may recall that on Sept. 11 of this year I was grabbed and assaulted by some random guy. He went to jail. But the TSA agent was given a paycheck.
These stories are common now. But the most disturbing cases are those involving children. With those scanners, children’s nude bodies are shown, pictures are snapped, and thus child pornography laws are being violated. Of course, if a parent doesn’t want her/his child viewed by child molesters, that parent can opt to have a TSA agent molest the child right in front of the parent.
You apologists should not attempt to tell me that flying is a privilege. It is not a privilege any more than going to Times Square is a privilege. We pay extraordinary prices to fly commercial, and we’re treated like cattle. It’s a service that anyone can pay for.
Terrorists are Muslim. There’s your profile.
Abolish the TSA.
I’ve been blogging since 2002. In that time, I think you’ll agree, I’ve never really been a bitchy blogger. I don’t call people out for stupidity. I don’t attack. In general, I just meander among a few well-loved blogs, and stay in my own happy little backyard, bothering nobody.
So you know that when I found the blog today – the one written by the sassy fat-proud woman – I approached with the non-judgementalness that I approach all blogs and all people in general. Within three minutes, I knew I would never come back.
The blog is not difficult to find. She is nothing if not prolific. All she talks about is how awesome she is and how she has 36,000 Twitter followers. I don’t – I have less than 1,000 but I’m happy with that. As I said, I don’t go prostituting myself out for followers. So anyway, between her breathless descriptions of having 36,000 Twitter followers, she begged for money because she didn’t want to work. And she wanted some company to buy her a new MacBook Pro. Buying one seems completely outside her experience.
And she talks about her “brand” a great deal. Her brand. Like she’s Coca Cola.
The internet is vast. There is plenty of room for her, and junky SEO bloggers, and blogs about Enron and Hello Kitty and politics and technology and whatever else. No problem with her being online and writing whatever she wants to write.
But I would caution anyone from becoming so immersed in his/her own blog that she fails to see she doesn’t really have 36,000 friends, and people who comment on your blog aren’t your friends, and your little slice of the pie is nothing compared to the real world. Your brand means nothing. Nobody cares if you get a company to buy you a new MacBook Pro.
I say this because I fear becoming exactly like her.
Watching the Waters has a horrific tale of child abuse committed by the state.
I begin with a disclaimer: I don’t know this woman, or the woman whose child was removed. I don’t know if it is one of those situations like with MilitaryMom, who blogged her sons drowning death and the general suspicion was that she was an irresponsible mother neglecting her son so she could describe her chickens. But the facts as they are presented here are incredibly scary:
I am sometimes so incredibly floored that I cannot put together coherent thoughts.
This is one of those times.
A good woman, an incredible parent, a mom who takes in the hardest of the hard children, has had three children removed from her home.
Her county is working overtime (they showed up at her home on Veteran’s Day) to try and remove her other 10 children.
Her crime? The alleged abuse?
I would love to say I am joking. I would love to say that this is a prank of some sort. It is not.
Rachel’s blog is here. I’ve not read it all, but there are updates and it’s harrowing.
Again: I don’t know if there is more to the story. But I think in general there should be an extremely high bar for removing legally adopted children from a home. (This seems to be an increasingly common response by governments in which the person has little recourse. Removing children is traumatic for the children and the parents. The governments should be damn sure there is actual abuse or illegal activity happening, and not just something they don’t like. Selling drugs from the home? Sure, remove the kids. But if a parent smokes while outside? No. NO.
Every day I rant about the ballooning scope of government. This is the danger of that expansion: that they are becoming intimately involved in the most sacred relationship at all: that of a family.
This has got to stop.
Weasel Zippers has the low-down, but it’s the comments I like best.
NYT has published an article about the trend of not showering. Proponents have many reasons for not showering: it saves money, it saves the environment, they like the natural oils of their body, they don’t feel like they need a daily shower. Some believe that deodorant causes cancer.
Allow me to put to rest all these ridiculous notions.
Your passing on a shower makes not one iota of difference in the environment. Not even half of an iota. It also probably doesn’t save money since if you keep showing up to work smelling like a zoo, you’re going to get fired. The natural oils of your body are waste products that need to be cleaned off. And deo does not cause cancer. It causes you to not be offensively smelly – so even if it did cause cancer (and it doesn’t) the risk is worth it.
You stink. If you shower less than seven times per week, you stink. If you don’t regularly wash your hair, you look oily and you stink. Some who don’t shower are under the mistaken impression that just because people don’t tell them they stink, they don’t. This is wrong. Most people will simply avoid the subject, and not say a word, even as you’re punishing their olfactory with your vile odor.
Not observing basic common hygiene is an anti-social act. I’m concerned that so many people are questioning this very basic cornerstone of decency. The world is offensive enough. Men who wear their pants hanging off their asses, people wearing flip-flops who have thick yellow nails and whose heels have never known the healing touch of loofa, women who wear half-shirts and are carrying enough exposed fat to be mistaken for a lifeboat.
Please, I beg you. Shower. Don’t make everybody else’s life more difficult just because you think you smell fine. Believe me, you don’t.