Wednesday, October 10, 2007

That's All Folks

So yeah, I'd been thinking about taking a permanent vacation from blogging, and thought this would probably be the best time. Something had to give with fatherhood, and as much as I've enjoyed blogging, the creative juices were beginning to feel fairly empty. I knew it was bad sign when my latest idea for an entry was to write about my hatred of tattoos, for the second time.

When I started, I never guessed I would do it for so long or get so much out of reading other people's blogs. The blogosphere is a strange/random place, but also an unexpectantly friendly one. I really did find myself maintaining and creating friendships. Anyway, thank you everybody who's come here to comment and listen to me attempt to make lists out of just about anything. I'm sure I'll continue to visit your blogs. Toodles...

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

It's a Boy!

Yes, it is true. On September 28th Elliott Arthur Chuckdaddy was brought into the world! Some observations and thoughts so far

1. Acing His Tests Already

Well, little Chuckdaddy is already off to a great start. Good weight (8 pounds 3 ounces), solid height (19 1/2 inches), passed his hearing tests, putting on enough weight... The only one he didn't so well on was his Jaundice test, where he scored low-intermediate. Ouch. But no worries, he's getting yellower by the day!

2. Breast Pumps Are Weird

Wife got to use the electric breast pump at the hospital. Tres creepy. The scene reminded me of something out of an x-rated science fiction movie.

3. Real Men Wear Slings

Yeah that's right. I've been rocking the Kangaroo pouch sling and it is the shiznits. I can walk around with him, do things around the house, pee... And he's just silently sleeps away. Oh what? You think I'm a wussy-ass hippy? Yeah, well try saying it to my face punk and I'll kick your ass (while wearing my baby)

4. All Work And No Play

Grandma is doing a great job of giving us perspective (among other things). For example, last night after eating he started freaking out and I was ready to rush him to the rocking chair for some high-powered rocking w/ my finger in his mouth. Grandma though brought up just playing w/ him? Play? What a concept. At times I worry that I'm thinking of him more like a machine- one that I am scared of breaking and one that makes funny sounds I need to fix. But I need to remember too just to sit back and, well, play with him.

But yeah, definitely a life-changing event, but a great one. It is already hard to imagine that just 1 week ago he did not exist...


Monday, September 24, 2007

Albums of 2007 Thus Far

So, I realize this is a bit premature. But as Chuckdaddy's daddiness comes closer and closer... Well let's just say I might be giving two shits about the best albums of 2007 at the end of the year when diaper genie maintenance and the pros and cons of montesorri schools become paramount to my existence.

Anyway... What are the albums of this year so far? I feel like there's been a bunch of good ones, by people whose previous album I liked better (Andrew Bird, Spoon, Beirut (I think, I just started listening to it), White Stripes...). I also liked Peter Bjorn and John's, but the only album that really stood out to me was Feist's Reminder. What about you guys?

Albums of The Year
Feist: Reminder

Overrated Albums
Any ideas?

Honorable Mentions
Spoon: Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
White Stripes: Icky Thunp
Andrew Bird: Armchair Apocrypha
Peter Bjorn and John: Writer's Block
The National
The Field
Of Montreal
Panda Bear
Arcade Fire
LCD Soundsystem
Okkervil River
Patrick Wolf


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Things That Are Great

1. Ricola Cough Drops
God these are good. They make me want to have a cough. I mean, every other cough drop I've had was, besides being useless, a tease. They'd all numb every part of my throat other than the back that was actually causing the cough. Oh Ricola, Luden's doesn't even compare.

2. The Fusion Razor
You know, I've always made fun of men's razors and their obsession w/ adding razors, but I got the new Fusion sent to me in the mail and it kicked serious ass. It has not 3, not 4, but 5 razors. I hadn't shaved in a month (which actually doesn't mean a whole lot) and it was like a hot knife through butter.

3. Friday Night Lights
Is anybody else watching this show? My wife and I love it. I'm considering adding it to the trinity of TV awesomeness (Sopranos, 6 Feet Under, and The Wire). Seriously well done, great acting, believable dialogue... Can't say enough about it.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Stereotypes of Lesbians

As long as they aren't mean-spirited, I'm actually kind of a fan of stereotypes. My wife works w/ refugees, and my favorite work updates are ones that concern some cultural generalization (The over dramatic Cubans, those dour Ukrainians, the Spicy Cheetos loving Somalians...). Of course, stereotypes can be used for racist purposes and an individual can always prove them wrong, but I find they are often, at least moderately, true.

I don't think this is the case w/ lesbians. Before knowing any lesbians, I assumed that most had short spiked hair, were good at sports, and tended towards being humorless hyper-feminists. Well, living Portland has given me a crazy large sample size of lesbians. And, many do have short spiked hair and, more than you would expect, are in softball leagues. But only 1 of the 12 I know fit the humorless type, and, actually, most seem to have great senses of humor.

I was thinking about this b/c in my Birth Class there was a lesbian couple and they were totally the class clowns. This gave me a theory. Being a minority and knowing you stand out, you have a choice. Everyone's going to be paying attention to you, so the best way of making everyone feel more comfortable, is to make them laugh. Ergo, lesbians actually become funnier than your average Joe. This would fit with the long tradition of other minorities being known for their homor (jews, blacks, gay men).

What do you guys think? Am I right? Should we be altering the lesbian stereotype? I think it's a solid hypothesis, although it does nothing to explain the propensity of Canadian comedians (Dan Aykroyd, John Candy, Rick Moranis, Jim Carey, Martin Short...) during my formative years.


Saturday, September 15, 2007

Overthrows #12, #13, #14 (Panama, Afghanistan, Iraq)

Panama (du du du du du) Panama-a (du du du du du ) Panama (du du du du du) Panama-a-a-a-a-a-a

Noriega was an interesting guy, and by interesting I mean amoral to such a ridiculous degree that he was shockingly skilled at playing all sides. He managed a friendship with the US and Cuba, to work w/ drug dealers while reporting others to the DEA, and to call for Central American unity while funding the Contras.

America liked him b/c he helped the DEA, was an informant for the CIA (when Bush was in charge), and helped them in their fight against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. That he was getting paid by a Colombian drug cartel 100,o00 per flight out of Panama and was a murderous thug did not start to be a problem until Congress began getting involved in a particularly egregious act. Hugo Spadafora, a reformer and critic of Noriega, was found missing a head that had apparently been cut off slowly. His brother brought this information to Jesse Helms (?) who began hearings.

Reagan's administration reacted by trying to hush these up, w/ plees to Helms to shut his trap so as to save their operations in Nicaragua. He ignored these plees and soon Kerry joined Helms in denouncing the America's support of this man. Things only got worse in 1988 when an old ally of Noriega became disillusioned at his chances for power, went mystic, proclaimed publicly Noriega's misdeeds, and said this great quote, "I am a criminal. I am ready to go to jail for my crimes, but I think Noriega should go with me."

Reagan was starting to change his tune and tried to convince Noriega to leave office, even promising to drop all criminal charges if he did. Noriega considered this, but in the end chose to stay in power (He wasn't technically president, but he fixed all the elections and controlled whomever was elected). With a new US president in 1989, Bush I, and another fixed election in Panama, the US decided to send extra troops. When one of these was killed by some Panama soldiers, a 25,000 troop invasion ensued. Noriega was removed and replaced by the guy who actually should've won the election.

And I'm going to skip summaries of Iraq and Afghanistan due to their recentness.

Ranking (Worst to Least Worst)

1. Guatemala (1954)

2. Nicaragua (1909)

3. Chile (1973)

4. Iran (1953)

5. Honduras (1910)

6. The Philippines (1898)

7. Cuba (1898)

8. Iraq (2003)

9. Panama (1989)

10. Vietnam (1963)

11. Afganistan (2001)

12. Hawaii (1893)

13. Puerto Rico (1898)

14. Grenada (1983)

The Panama invasion could have been gone better, for instance, we let a Panama coup die on the vine and our invasion was followed w/ looting and fires. Still, looked at it as an independent event, we took out a murderous thug and replaced him w/ a democrat.

But it's a little ridiculous to focus on 1 day and ignore the fact that wouldn't have been in power (probably) w/o our support. And let's not forget that Panama only exists b/c of a fake independence movement we started to separate it from Columbia and give us control of the Panama Canal. I'll put Panama at 9, the overthrow probably did actually help matters there, but our continual presence certainly did not.

Afghanistan and Iraq are tricky, at least partly b/c we're right in the middle of them. In both cases the governments we overthrew were bad ones and we have tried to bring in democracy. And before you start rolling your eyes, remember these are in comparison to invasions where we replaced popular presidents with generals. It does matter that the Taliban and Saddam were not good people.

Being pretty much against any war, I was opposed to our Afghanistan invasion. Still, it has to be our most understandable overthrow. We had just experienced the worst terrorist attack in the history of the world. And although the Taliban had not sanctioned it, to say they were "harboring terrorists" is not the joke it became w/ Iraq, it was the truth in Afghanistan. I place it above Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Grenada b/c it's still a mess there. We need to keep in mind that they were in the midst of their own civil war (to some degree) when we came and there have been significant improvements in some places. But I wouldn't say I have a lot of confidence that our presence will make a bright future for Afghanis (except for the opium growers, that industry's doing great!).

And then there's Iraq. One of my first thoughts after reading this book (Overthrow), was how ridiculous it was that people called the Iraq war our first preemptive war. So... what exactly did Chile, Guatemala, Iran, Honduras... do to us? I guess it was our first non-clandestine preemptive war, but, that's all besides the point. Iraq is certainly worse than Afghanistan: no reason to go there, more violent, and less successful. But I can't put it worse than #1 - #7 since it really was a bad person we were taking out. And things are worse there, but perhaps not as much as it feels to us. Yes, the invasion has caused terrible chaos, but Saddam supplied controlled cruelty. The Kurds are certainly happy for the invasion (75% support US troops), and, surprisingly to me, more Shias say things are better than worse (46% say things are "quite good" versus 32% who say things are "quite bad"). The Sunnis feel otherwise (88% support attacks on us and only 3% support the troops), but this due in some part to their loss of power.

I'm not trying to defend the invasion, which I think was wrong, or to say the occupation has gone well. I'm just saying it's not our worst overthrow, not even close in my opinion. That award will go to Guatemala, which just edges out Nicaragua, Chile, and Iran. Sorry guys, better luck next time!

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Great Sports Names

Here's just a random list of some sports names I always liked. Any great ones I missed?

Milton Bradley

Coco Crisp

Joe Jurevicius

Plaxico Burress

Sterling Sharpe

World B. Free

Shawon Dunston (maybe doesn't belong, but I always just thought he had a very fun name to say)

And for a much funnier list of dirty sports names feel free to click below.


Monday, September 10, 2007

Overthrow #11: Grenada

Grenada? You might be wondering why we even got involved in this island nation of around 100,000 people. Was it to dominate the nutmeg market (they produce about 1/3 of the world' supply)? No, it appears it was more about getting some of our world power mojo back.

Grenada's politics were very unstable. After getting independence from the British in 1974, they were led by a crazy guy named Eric Gairy who acted as a dictator and tried to convince the UN to investigate the Bermuda Triangle. He was couped by some commies, who then were couped by some uber-commies in 1983, who felt the other guys weren't going far enough.

The US claimed their reason for getting involved was to save the lives of US students at a Grenadian medical school, and the uber-commies had just killed off the old regime. But it probably was more about getting a notch in our cold war belt. At the time, the US was struggling in the Middle East. Actually, the day after making the decision to invade, was when a suicide bomber killed hundreds of marines in Lebanon. Actually, the US war-ship that was sent, had been on its way to Lebanon. Regardless, the takeover was quick. In what might have been the most asymmetrical war ever, 6,000 US soldiers landed and secured Grenada. Reagan reacted to the victory by proclaiming, "Our days of weakness are over. Our military forces are back on their feet, and standing tall."

Ranking (Worst to Least Worst)

11. Grenada

No offence to all the Grenadian Xpress riders or any of you major nutmeg fans, but it's hard to get too upset about this. The uber-commies had grabbed power by force, and things didn't bode too well for the people there. And the US overthrow was actually followed by elections. Albeit a US-okayed candidate won, but they had become more democratic, and, according to the book I'm reading, most Grenadians look back positively on the US interference. There were certainly some sketchy aspects to it. The rest of the world was so turned off that 100 nations of the United Nations passed a resolution "deeply deploring... a flagrant violation of international law."
Still, the world really didn't change for the worse b/c of this and neither, appearantly, did Grenada. We certainly can't say that about most of our overthrows.

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Find Out Your Ultimate President

Miguelito led me to this website that matches you to your ultimate 2008 presidential candidate. Kucinich was my #1, but this candidate I've never heard of, Gravel, was a close #2. Wife had Gravel and Kucinich in a tie.

Anyone out there ever heard of this guy? Also, am curious who other people will get.


Monday, September 03, 2007

Sad News: Jack Passes Away

A very very sad labor day weekend. Our mutt terrier, who was perfectly healthy Thursday morning, got some awful disease called AIHA (Autoimmune-Hemolytic-Anemia), in which his body started killing his own red blood cells. After 2 in-vain blood transfusions, we made the terribly gut-wrenching decision to put him to sleep Saturday night at 2am.

We met him on a beach outside of Puerto Vallerta. He was a mangy skinny street dog who neglected the meat we bought him so that he could follow us. Every morning we'd see him at a local convenience store and he'd come w/ us wherever we went. After a week of this, we were smitten and decided to bring him home. A vet's note and a traumatic flying experience later (we were kicked off 1 flight when his carrier didn't fit) and he had made it to Portland.

Maybe it was his story, or maybe just him, but although we only had him 2 1/2 years, he made quite an impression on us. We'll miss him a lot. I've really appreciated all the support we've gotten from friends and family. That's it for now, thank you for all of your positive thoughts.


Friday, August 31, 2007

Pet Peeves #13 - #16

Pet Peeves #1-#12

13. iTune Updates

I feel like every other week it wants me to update to another version. I'd be happy to just ignore their advice, since iTunes 5.4 seems pretty much the same as 7.3, but then it asks me every freakin' time 'till I give in. Just in time for 7.4...

14. Having To Go Inside To Pay For Gas

This is an Oregon thing and yes, it is stupid that people have no choice but to pump gas for us. But nothing annoys me more than when stations pump my gas, but make me go inside no matter what anyway. That's way more of a bother than just pumping it myself.

15. The Extra 4 Digits of a Zip Code

I mean, is this really necessary? My letters seem to get to places just fine w/ the standard 5 number zip codes. Is my mailman going to be confused by the multiple 212 Pine Streets in area code 97214? And, if they're going to add more numbers for specificity, do they need 10,000 more possibilities?

16. Hornets in My Classroom

OK, this is not actually a pet peeve, b/c this is the 1st time it's happened to me. But it's kind of weird. Yesterday, I'm setting up my room and I notice a bunch of hornets crawling around the window. I get closer + discover they're on the inside of it. Then I look up and see there's 20 more spread across the ceiling. Kind of disconcerting... Anyway, I get to have an exterminator visit my classroom today. How exciting!


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Iron Cage Match #1,420

Quiznos versus Subway

Quiznos so kicks Subway's ass. First off, the toasted subs? Yeah Subway's sticking them in a little toaster now too. But Quiznos was there 1st AND they have the super-cool assembly line style toaster. Way better. Secondly, Quiznos pickle bar is totally fucking awesome. I mean, I get to pick how many pepperoncini's I get? And I can choose banana peppers?

The only thing Subway has that's better is the outrageously charismatic Jared. And I'll give them that. I mean, does Quiznos even have spokesmen? But Jared really has no effect on the food, so even that's a pretty weak argument.

So yeah, it appears to be no contest. GO QUIZNOS!!!


Monday, August 27, 2007

Overthrow #10: Chile

The Chile ( I like to chee-lay) overthrow is what you get when a country has lots of experience w/ overthrows. But why did we even care about Chile? Well, Chile does have lots of copper, and the 2 biggest copper companies were American companies. Additionally, Chile's phone company, ITT, was also an American firm. So when Chile's new President began talking about nationalizing their resources, some US business men were not happy. Nationalizing is sort of a double whammy for developing countries (See Iran). It both greatly upsets our businesses and sound a little bit Commie.

The US had first gotten involved in Chile in 1961. Kennedy was looking for a country he could positively reinforce for not being communist, and Chile, w/ its already long democratic tradition (since 1833), was picked. Their reward was US money. At first this was a good thing, but by 1964 the CIA began to get involved (never a good sign) and they began to move the money towards the Center-Left candidate and purposely in the other direction of Leftist Allende. This was enough at first, but eventually, in 1970, Allende received the most votes.

The US responded with every covert and uncovert trick they could muster from up its overbearing sleeve. Congress still needed to approve his presidency (Allende had a plurality not a majority), and the CIA paid to fill the Chilean press w/ anti-Allende propaganda. This failed and Allende was approved to be president. Next, the US focused on convincing the military to coup his ass. General Schneider, a supporter of democracy, refused and found himself dead less than 2 months later. Still, the Chilean military would not move on Allende.

Then the CIA upped it to the next level. Economically, American foreign aid banks stopped assistance, the World Bank suspended its $21 million loan, and Chile's credit rating was reduced from B class to a D. Additionally, US companies in Chile began a slow-down campaign that included delayed payments, slow deliveries, and credit denials. Politically, the CIA sent $3.5 million to opposition parties, $2 million to a propaganda campaign, and $1.5 million to groups to help them organize demonstrations.

By 1973 Chile was falling apart. The economy was in shambles and people were striking across the country. At this point the US finally found a general interested finishing the job, Augosto Pinochet. Once Allende had heard of the impending coup, he fled to La Moneda, the presidential palace, for the final showdown. The military showed up and ordered him to step down, Allende replied, "I will not resign. I will not do it. I am ready to resist by all means, even at the cost of my own life... Long live Chile! Long live the people! These are my last words. I am sure that my sacrifice will not be in vain. I am sure it will be at least a moral lesson and a rebuke to crime, cowardice and treason." The Chilean military responded w/ artillery fire, a British plane bombing the palace, and a charge inside. Allende was found inside, dead.

The aftermath in Chile was not pretty. General Pinochet became president and began a general beat down of all opposition. Leftist leaders were executed, officials from Allende's government were sent to a desolate island, and tens of thousands of people were arrested. Eventually (1990), Chile would get rid of him and Pinochet would be arrested for kidnapping, torture, and murder charges. A government-appointed commission estimated that 27,255 people were tortured under his rule

Ranking (Worst to Least Worst)
1. Guatemala

3. Chile

4. Iran

7. Cuba

This one is bad bad bad. I put it over Iran b/c it seems like Pinochet was worse than the Shah. You could argue it's worse than Guatemala and Nicaragua, but Chile at least avoided Civil Wars and is in much better shape today than both. Not sure this is b/c of the US takeover, but still...

I guess I also see it as a little less bad then Guatemala and Nicaragua since Allende was a bit more of a troublemaker. He did nationalize the copper companies and the phone companies, and gave them nothing. Now, I understand his thinking. But what makes Arbenz and Zelaya's fall even worse for me was they were actually trying to work w/ the US and its business interests. Both agreed to pay off the foreign companies and Arbenz was only taking land that was not being used. I'm not saying Allende asked for it, I'm just saying...

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Friday, August 24, 2007

How'd I Do on My Summer Goals

Ah, yes. It is that time when the bastard calender feels the need to turn a page and my life is forced onwards back to reality... Yes, school (planning/meetings next week) starts Monday, meaning my summer officially ends today. I thought I would check in on how I did on my summer goals.

1. Cooking Staples

I did alright finding some cooking staples. I started off well, with a big coup being my discovery of the website epicurious (not as exciting as it sounds). As long as I went to the popular section, I found fast and good recipes. Still, my cooking majorly lagged w/ grandma and uncle in town and then when my class started and things went into high gear for the approaching baby. At least I found the website though- that is going nowhere.

2. Car Registration

As you all know, I successfully reregistered my car. Who' the man? Now if I could just get my teacher's license redone before September 8th...

3. Take A Class

Successfully completed Modern Middle East History. Definitely liked it, but certainly a lot more work than when I take a teacher class.

4. An Awesome Lawn

Okay, so after all that talk about edging, I think I did it twice. Which is fine.

5. Putting Together the Basketball Hoop


6. Find Where the Moths Are Coming From

Well, the moths finally reached a tipping point where more than just 1 or 2 were flying out of the pantry. Wife and I throughout much and I cleaned + vacuumed the pantry. The moths are pretty much gone. One weird thing though, some were living even in closed jars. WTF?

7. Avoid Rush Hour

I did a very good job w/ this. No reason to mix in with all you working folks on the road. Until Monday that is...


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

To All The Bloggers

Here are a few questions I have for the blogging community...

1. Spacing

Does everybody else have issues with the way their blog adds incredibly large spaces when you go to publish it? I swear, I do the best I can to keep an entry on the short side, and then it adds complete paragraphs between a list of numbers.

2. Comment Boxes

I've noticed that about 1/2 of comment boxes are a little windows and 1/2 open up to a whole new page. Were people's just decided by random or do people have strong opinions about this? I'm not sure why this option needs to exist.

3. Responding To Your Commenters

I notice that a lot of people now make at least some response to every commenter. Is this rude not to do? If I fail to do it is it like not calling someone back? I am quite happy to inflate my comment totals as much as possible, but am not sure I have a ready response for my millions (err max 8) comments.

4. How Much Time?

How much time are people spending on theirs and others blogs? And how much time at work? I don't check mine at work. But my job is weird. I am either working in some state of mild panic (doing 4 presentations a day will do that) or am lazily procrastinating on my luxuriously long breaks. But what about you guys? On a side note, I think I'll take whatever number people give me and double them (like doctors do w/ your drinking and probably why mine got freaked out when I said I drank 2 beers a night).


Monday, August 20, 2007

Overthrow #9 : Vietnam

I'm not really sure about this one. Yes, it certainly was an overthrow, but it was an overthrow of a guy we installed. Does cutting the strings of your own puppet count?

The Specifics: Since WWII, Vietnam had been fighting (led by Ho Cho Minh) for their right to rule themselves against France. In 1954, France gave up and sued for peace. At the ensuing meeting, it was decided that Vietnam would be split in half for 2 year (the North- Communist, the South- friends of France), and then would reunite.

France had no interest in sticking around, so the US decided to get involved, mostly due to fears of spreading communism. The US picked Diem, a fat anti-communist Catholic, to lead the South. Quickly, things began to fall apart: mutliple coup attempts, Budhist priest buring themselves, protests... Basically everyone hated Diem (although he did manage to get 98.2% of the vote in a 1955 referendum, it must've been a very vocal 1.8%), and even moreso when he put off reunification and constructed a cabinet of his family members. Everybody's favorite Ho had had enough, and started a war to reunite the Vietnams in 1960.

The US at this point also decided they were through with per Diem. They chose General Doung Van Minh ( A general? How strange) to be the new puppet and in 1963 they took Diem out. What does stand out in this overthrow is Diem wasn't exiled, he was murdered by Big Minh's men. They claimed his bullet ridden stabbed body was a suicide (see picture at right), but no one believed this. This meant that JFK had sanctioned the act that killed a Catholic.

Ranking (Worst to Least Worst)

2. Iran

6. Cuba

7. Vietnam

I'm going to rank this one pretty low. Again, per Diem was not the choice of the Vietnamese people in any way, he was the choice of the CIA. You could argue, and some have, that this was the pivotal event that led to us getting more involved into Vietnam, so consequently this event started the Vietnam War and all of its badness.

I think that's playing a little too "What If". You could argue that JFK would have pulled us out if reeelected and not assassinated (as he had told friends), and certainly if BFK had been elected the history of Vietnam would have changed. I think the biggest event for getting more involved in Vietnam was us getting more involved in Vietnam. So sorry Vietnam, but you just barely edge out Hawaii and Puerto Rico, and that's pretty much just for the violent way per Diem was ousted.

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Friday, August 17, 2007

How To Be a Music Snob

Worried that your new tat and tight pants aren't enough to secure your position in the Portland Indie Rawk scene? No worries, if you just follow these simple rules you can sound like the music snob you always wished you were.

1. Their Old Stuff

One problem non-music people can face is when people around you are talking about band you don't know much about. Do you nod along appreciatively? No, you need to have an opinion. The best safe response is just to say, "Yah, that album's OK. But I don't think it's as good as their old stuff." Remember, "Their old stuff" is always good (just be sure it's not the band's 1st album), and "Their Greatest Hits" and "MTV Unplugged Album" are always lame.

2. Read Up!

Info about bands is way more important than the music itself. Take some time to keep up w/ what new albums are coming out and some intra-band gossip.

3. I'm Going Through a _____ Phase

If you only are into the newest coolest Indie music, you endanger being a status quo version of hipsterness. Shake it up by occasionally going through different phases of music. It's best if these are really specific w/ lot of descriptors (like Underground-70's-hard-core or 80's-Electro-Pop or, as Miguelito Friguelito once said, Swedish-Heavy-Metal). If you're not feeling creative, just say your going through a Jazz stage. That will at least give you some grudging respect.

4. What To Say When People Ask What Kind of Music You Like

You have 2 choices. The best response is to not answer, but merely shrug your shoulders and with it shrug off the notion that your musical tastes could be so simple as to be diluted down to a type of music. If you're of the nicer type, still don't answer the question, but instead go into a lot of detail about 1 band you're listening to. But whatever you do, don't say, "I like everything, except for country and rap". That is so high school girl in the 80's.

5. Embrace a Cheesy Song

This one's tricky, and you have to do it w/ a lot of confidence. But occasionally you'll need to pick a Top-40 song or some past equivalent, and talk about how great it is. If done badly, you come off as a media pawn. But, if pulled off, you appear as someone who is so not a media pawn that you can see through their schlock and still spot a good song.

A perfect example of this was a music snob I knew (Who not only worked at record store, but was told he needed to be more polite to customers. How snotty do you have to be to actually stand out as rude at a record store?). At a jukebox, he put on TLC's "Waterfall". When I showed surprise, he responded, "Dude, it's one of the best pop songs ever."

And feel free to use that line. You might need it when your cool friends stop by unexpectedly, and catch you listening to Justin Timberlake. Good luck and remember, as John Cusack said in High Fidelity, "It's not what you're like, it's what you like."


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Worst of Portland

I'm not feeling very negative today. Just thought it would be fun to put together this list. Any ideas?

Worst Intersection

11th and Sandy and Burnside

Or 37 corners. As if it's not dangerous enough, it has the disappearing lane when you're going west on Burnside and the parked car in your lane when you're going East.

Worst Asian Food

Anything that advertises their Chinese-American food

Most Overrated Restaurant

Pizza Ascholl's

Or Pizza AHoles as I like to call it. I still haven't quite figure out why 1/2 of Beaverton waits around the block for pizza that doesn't have enough cheese and is burned on the bottom. Maybe it's a Beavertron thang.

Worst Restaurant Period

The Mummy

I talked about this on one of my first posts (oh, memories...). I think its badness actually warrants a visit (just get drinks though)

Worst Suburb

A tough one, since as incredible as I think Portland is, I am not fond of the 'Burbs (Where I make my livelihood). Any thoughts?

Worst Parking Lot

The New Seasons on 2oth and Division

They seem to have put a lot of thought and energy into that store, you'd think they would've done their measurements correctly.

Worst Parking Garage


That place scares me.

Worst Tourist Attraction

The Chinese Gardens

OK fine, I haven't been there. But even mentioning it makes me yawn.

Worst Annual Event

The Rose Parade or Cinco de Mayo

I might need to attend one of them to determine the loser.

Worst Rated Bar on City Search

Dr. Feelgood's Pub

Not sure why I find that fun to find (it actually takes some time to get to the bottom).

Worst Rated Restaurant on City Search


Holman's! I totally disagree.


Monday, August 13, 2007

Fatherhood Worries

So, no overthrow again this week. It's starting to feel like homework, and now that I actually have homework (Modern Middle Eastern History Rocks!!!), I find myself not being as into it. Anyway, I have much more important things to do, like making bookshelves (IKEA!) and getting ourselves moderately organized.

One funny thing that has been happening to me lately though, is I keep on having the same conversation w/ random middle-aged guys when they discover my wife is due soon.

Them: "Whoo, get ready b/c your life is going to change"

Me: "Yep."

And then it seems like I haven't sounded scared enough, so they keep going. "No, I mean be prepared. Your life will never be the same again. I mean, it's going to be great and all, but, man, your life will be totally different."

I've now had this conversation with 2 people I work with, the UPS man, and the friendly guy down the street who likes to tell me how much things cost. Interestingly, my wife hasn't had this type of dialogue once.

Now, of course I realize sering children is a big deal. But since I don't think it's possible for me to truly take in its life-changing implications, I might as well just wait. Here are a few things I am worried about though.

1. Wearing a Baby Bjorn

I'm not sure how else I'm going to carry around my child, but I just think guys look like such dorks w/ these things. Am I alone? I've considered avoiding it by going hippie and being the only guy in town wearing a sling. But then I'd probably put it on incorrectly and the baby would come toppling out. No, I think, unfortunately, I can only be trusted w/ the kid strapped to me via Baby Bjorn.

2. Ever having a complete conversation again

I always see new parents having trouble talking since they're always on alert for what baby's doing or responding to various issues. This makes sense, but I think parents get in this habit and let themselves be interrupted for like the rest of their lives. I just kind of hate that whole cult of the child everything 5-year old Jimmy says is fascinating. I'm all for sticking all the kids in their own room and both parties doing their own thing.

3. Watching bad movies repeatedly

I'm a bit of a movie snob, and there are very few cartoon movies I like. And I know, sooner than later, we'll be having to trade The Wire and Entourage for repeated viewings of Shrek VII. I know Hipster isn't having a problem w/ this (Since Shawshank is pretty much what you'd get if Disney made a jail movie), but I'm not looking forward to watching Dumbo 87 times. I guess that's what Uncle Petrovich is for (Hopefully, the kid will like Batman Begins).


Thursday, August 09, 2007

Technology I'm Not Into

1. Having a 5 on Your Cell Phone

I don't even get this. Does this mean calls are only free if you have them in your 5? Versus Verizon where everyone is free if they're on you network? Also, I always see this commercial and think of how evilly 8th grade girls will use this. Lisa? Oh yah, she used to be in my 5, but now I've kicked her out. And Tonya? I like her, but she just doesn't make the cut

2. iPod

I think I'm very alone on this. but my iPod continues to pick up dust. I was all excited when I got it, and thought that even though I don't use walkmen, I could use the iPod to move music from home to work. But it's such a fucking bitch to move music back and forth. I guess if I did the iRip or iCopy or iBitchassho things would be alright, but it seems just as easy to carry a CD to work once in while and rip it to my computer. And instead of organizing me, my music now seems all spread out (is that song on my iTunes at home? At work? In a CD downstairs?)

3. IMing

Messenger scares me. Maybe it has to do w/ the type of job you have, but I can't think of anything worse than being interrupted constantly by small talk. And isn't the point of e-mail that you get to think for a little before you write? I just think it is a very very bad development. Or perhaps it is already out.


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Ways to Go Straight To Hell

For many of us, whether or not we will spend our afterlife in heaven or hell is probably a bit up in the air. I mean, people are biased towards themselves, so most probably think heaven's their final destination, but many people can also think of more than a few discretions that might make their afterlife a bit hotter. Below are 3 ways, with no grey area, that can make your eventual path clearly towards one of the fiery circles.

1. Parking in a Handicapped Space
There's something about this that just seems so utterly wrong. I mean, does anyone do this? Like do bank robbers park in them when robbing banks? Or does some mild moral reflex pull them over to the space with the yellow diagonal lines running through it? I bet even serial killers don't. Seriously, I bet Jefferey Dammer never once parked in a handicapped space his entire life.

2. Calling Your Recovering Alcoholic Friend When You Want To Get Wasted
I think many of us have done some form of this, just not gone all the way. I mean, you know there's always that person that will drink with you, and on most nights you wish they would avoid the bottle. But then there's those times you just feel like taking it up a level... And you know who'll be there for you. But hopefully, none of us has actually actively brought a friend back off the wagon.

3. Kicking Your Dog
The worse thing about kicking your dog would be, you know, they would still come back to you. That next day when you came home from work there would be Fido welcoming you at the door. And that is why you would be going to hell and they to heaven

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Monday, August 06, 2007

Overthrow #8: Guatemala - Fake Civil War

Ahhh, been a little out of commission lately. The combination of this class I'm taking, tutoring, and the Portland opening of Ikea with the consequent assembly required left me actually quite busy last week. But no worries, I wil, trudge on to Guatemala.

Now, the Guatemala overthrow was extremely fucked up. It happened in the early 50's during the reign of the democratically elected Arbenz. He was a nationalist who felt a little bit funny about the fact that their economy was ruled by foreign businesses who didn't pay tariffs (and often little to no taxes). The most egregious offender was the infamous United Fruit (which Sam the Banana Man started) who by this point owned 20% (about 1/2 a million acres) of Guatemala's arable land, 85% of which they didn't even use. Arbenz passed a bill that would allow the government to buy back the foreign-owned land that wasn't being used.

United Fruit was obviously not happy about this. Lucky for them, not only did many high-ranking officials in Eisenhower's administration own stock in United Fruit, but the Secretary of State at the time, Dulles, grew convinced Arbenz was a communist being funded by the Soviet Union (no evidence has ever emerged to support this). In 1954 Eisenhower, behind the forceful urging of Dulles, decided to secretly fund Operation Success: a 4.5 million CIA operation to overthrow Arbenz.

And this overthrow is nuts. They picked former army officer (is it always a former army officer?) Castilla Armas to lead the "revolution". They had him invade from Honduras, while flying planes over Guatemala City, and broadcasting "Voice of Liberation" radio (which was supposedly somewhere in Guatemala, but actually in Florida). This continued for several days, with the CIA planes shooting up the airport and the "Voice of Liberation" radio giving false reports of popular unrest. Basically, the CIA had created and was carrying out its own civil war. Many Guatemalans were now assuming a Civil War was happening. Arbenz did not and made this public statement, "Our crime is having an enacted an agrarian reform which affected the interests of the United Fruit Company."

After this statement, things began looking up for him and Operation Success almost folded. Instead, the CIA architects decided to take it up a level and called for more planes to cause more destruction to Guatemala City. Eventually, Arbenz saw no other choice and abdicated. Soon after, Castilla Armas became Guatemala's new leader. Within weeks, the Land Reform bill was revoked (along w/ banning political parties and outlawing "subversive" literature).

The next 4 decades would be terrible ones for Guatemala. America would send hundreds of million of military aid to support one after another military dictators. Guatemalan resistance would head to the hills and engage in a guerrilla warfare. Between the rebels and the Army's killing (I mean, disappearances) of suspected rebels, around 200,000 people will die in Guatemala during this time (an estimated 93% were killed by the soldiers). Guatemala is now at peace with a democratically elected President, but much of the country remains impoverished with crime being a major problem.

Ranking (Worst to Least Worst)

1. Guatemala
2. Iran
3. Nicaragua
4. Honduras
5. The Philippines
6. Cuba
7. Hawaii
8. Puerto Rico

I know it seems like I'm just putting whichever I read most recently at the top, but this one does stand out to me as possibly our worst overthrow (although we still have Vietnam and Chile to get through). Like Iran and Nicaragua, a democratically elected President was overthrown. But the aftermath was the bloodiest. And even though things are going better there, whereas Iran still has their backlash regime, having been their recently, I know how much Guatemala still is still recovering. So yes, Guatemala, I give you #1 status, and am not sure anyone is going to knock you off the thrown.

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Yahoo For Me

I just wanted to make the announcemet, that as of July 27th, 2007, Chuckdaddy has officially renewed his car's registration. All it took to motivate me was 2 parking tickets and being pulled over twice (both times I got warnings, suckers). But after a historic Friday DMV to DEQ to DMV trek, my plates that expired in November are now free and legal.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Home Run Chase Sucks

I too am going to join the crowd of saying it really is bad to see Barry Bonds about to break Hank Aaron's record and I don't really see 2 sides to the issue. Here is my reaction to a few common defences:

Innocent Until Proven Guilty

This is normally a statement I endorse, but Selig's "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy to steroids has made people dependent on speculation. And you don 't have to speculate very much when a guy grows 2 hat sizes during his 30s.

But Pitchers Could Use Them Too

Yes, but they obviously didn't do as much good. Maris's 37-year record was broken 6 times in 4 years. I don't remember any pitching records being broken during that time.

Barry Bonds Was on the Hall of Fame Path Anyway

Yes, and that's why taking steroids took him to a ridiculous level. Kind of like if Superman started roiding. And if he'd have maintained his pre-roid pace, he'd be at about 650 homeruns, not 750.

It's Just Statistics

Records matter in MLB, or at least they used to. Baseball is obsessed w/ numbers, particularly career ones. And although there is some ridiculousness to this (different-sized ball parks, expansion...) the only factor that has made numbers literally uncomparable was the steroid epidemic. And for the sole reason of steroids, numbers may never again hold the same importance.

On a funnier note, here is Chris Rock's take on why Babe Ruth's homeruns should be discounted as well.

Bob Costas: Is race irrelevant?

Chris Rock: Ty Cobb's numbers are bullshit and Babe Ruth's numbers are bullshit.
Bob Costas: Because of segregation –

Chris Rock: Because they didn't play against black players. It's like saying I won the New York City Marathon but no Kenyans ran that year. Babe Ruth has 714 Affirmative Action home runs.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Bumper Stickers

I normally kind of hate bumper sticker. But I've seen 2 pretty funny ones recently.

1. Blame Canada

And my favorite

2. If ignnorance is bliss, why aren't more people happy?

How about you guys? Any favorite bumper stickers?


Monday, July 23, 2007

Overthrow #7 : Iran

Ah yes, in with the Cold War and unfortunately for any nationalistic country intent on getting fair profits from their natural resources- enter C.I.A.


The British were full-on exploiting the Iranians for their oil, only giving them (at most) 16% of the profits from their oil (nearbye Middle Eastern countries had deals giving them 50% w/ the Americans). Mossadegh was elected in 1951 and pursued two main ideals: (1) nationalizing their oil and (2) promoting democracy. Time magazine described him as the "Iranian George Washington". Unfortunately, both of his ideals went over very badly w/ the British and their monarch, Mohammed Reza Shah whose power was becoming increasingly ornamental.

The Take Over

First the British went for it. They tried to get rid of Mossadegh by blockading ports and attempting their own coup. After these failed, and their embassy was kicked out, Britain went to the Americans for help. Eisenhower had just been elected, and after some convincing (Britain played the Communist card even though Mossadegh disliked that ideology), the US embarked on its first covert C.I.A. overthrow.

The details here are very disturbing. The C.I.A. wanted to destabilize Iran, but this was extremely tricky since Mossadegh was very popular. To do it, they bribed Congressmen, religious leaders, and journalists to say and write negative things about Mossadegh. When that failed to do the trick, the C.I.A. paid off 2 Iranian operatives who had relations w/ street gangs to start riots around the city. In the middle of this C.I.A. induced chaos, the US's new selected leader (General du jour Zahedi) announced on Radio Tehran that he was the new leader. Soon after, Mossadegh resigned and went into house arrest.


The immediate ill effects, was the Shah taking charge and all pretenses to democracy being thrown away. Also, the US now had their foot in the door into the oil profits (20%). All of this, for obvious reason, embittered much of the public to the US and led to the 1979 Iranian revolution. Additionally, even though it is doubtful Carter would have tried to overthrow the new government, many Iranian feared they would which led to the hostage crisis. Today, we are still known as, "The Great Satan" in Iran and have horrible relations w/ them.

Ranking (Worst to Least Worst)

1. Iran

5. Cuba

I'm putting Iran right on top. Like we saw in Cuba and Nicaragua, our success in getting rid of a Democratic leader resulted in a backlash government that was every Conservatives worst nightmare, in this case the religious fundamentalists that still rule Iran. Whether or not Iran would've remained a democracy is a hypothetical, but it cannot be argued that the US directly caused them not to be. That US attempts to import democracy to the Middle East today is met w/ cynicism, is hardly surprising. Additionally, this overthrow led to destabilization and anti-Americanism in the entire region. Not to mention today's problems with an Anti-Semitic American Hating President intent on gettin the bomb.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Great Song Lines

Thought we could all just compile some great lines from songs. I'll place them in order based on greatness. Here are 4 of my favorites.

1. "Well, I woke up Sunday morning. With no way to hold my head that didn't hurt. And the beer I had for breakfast wasn't bad, so I had one more for dessert." Johnny Cash - Sunday Morning Coming Down

2. "I'd pour me a drink, but I'd only be sorry. 'Cause drinking doubles alone, don't make it a par-arty." Barba Mandell - Sleeping Single in a Double Be

3. "Watch out for the medallion, my diamonds are reckless. Feels like a midget is hangin from my necklace." Ludacris- Stand Up

4, "Later in the evening as you lie awake in bed. With the echo from the amplifiers ringing in your head. You smoke the days last cigarette, remembering what she said." Bob Seger - Turn The Page