Friday, May 30, 2008

The Zen of Mass Transportation

One of the feel good stories about the rise of gas prices is that more folks are using earth-friendly mass transportation. Here in San Francisco, where Muni use was already high, I have felt this in the last two months as the lines I ride (the 41 and 12, primarily) have gotten considerably more crowded.

The shot above is from the 41 the other morning, where by the halfway point downtown it is impossible to snag a seat between 730 - 9am. The mere fact that I reverently think of sitting during my commute as 'snagging a seat' - like winning a lottery or some other such unexpected special thing - suggests just how crowded our mass transit is becoming.

It's wonderful and terrible at once. Nobody said saving the world would be convenient, or that it would be comfortable. In fact, it was great discomfort at the pump and not our magnanimous do-gooderistic tendencies, that forced the recent move to mass transit, so perhaps discomfort was a necessary a factor in the true move to save Green of both kinds.

Wired echoes this in a recent article 'Rethinking What It Means to Be Green' flipping many of the conventional wisdoms on their heads. The part that stuck with me, and helps me achieve a self-sustaining zen on a crowded Muni bus: live in a city, it's simply more efficient (and not at just giving you a headache). Living in a city, a cultural and now, ecological, choice has always had it's inconveniences. Only now we can justify them with the higher purpose of saving the Earth. Try that out in your mantra next time you have to tolerate a crowded bus.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Justin Timberlake, No Marlboro Man, But Looks Fetching in a Cap

One more sign that I'm out of touch with pop culture.

Why does every woman in America think this guy is hot? With his scrubby, Amish starter-beard and gay little jigging cap I can't imagine why anyone would take him seriously.

What lamentable commentary on the state of the American male is it that this is the guy who gets to preggerize Jessica Biel? What example are we permitting (Jessica) to shape the sartorial and presentational aspirations of today's teenage boys?

I myself live by the code of a different place - a masculine land called Flavor Country where the role models for men remain men.

Monday, May 19, 2008

A Childhood Revelation from the Stink of Post-Asparagal Pee

Today I had asparagus for lunch. You can probably tell where this is going and if you have no patience for stuff with no practical point you might as well quit reading.

Since, a.) I'm one of those lucky phenotypes that can both produce the enzyme and detect the odoriferous result of Asparagus-eating, and b.)have an endless fascination for the gross idiosyncrasies of the human body, this was a profound experience.

It was like the second time I smelled pot. The memory of the aroma, so ingrained and evocative it instantly transported me back down its own, dark neural pathway to the first encounter - opening my parent's refrigerator as a toddler and wondering about that tin box of stuff that looked like Oscar the Grouch hide, wreaking with the all the damp richness of Mother Earth herself. Only years later, at the second coming in the Bogus Basin Ski Area parking lot, did it click in my mind the nature of the beast whose path I'd previously crossed.

Ah the power of the subconscious. But here today, the warmth of the smell wafting up from the urinal did the same thing. Back to childhood I was flung and there emerged this disturbing visage...

Stinkor(!), He-Man and the Masters of the Universe's token skunk-faced villain, who's ostensible benefit to the Snake Mountain contingent was the wretched smell of his loins and its debilitating effect on the forces of good.

Turns out the 'stench of evil,' or, more accurately, its stripped-down, suburban-safe Mattel-made iteration, is really just the small of urine after a hearty helping of asparagus.

Obama is the Bigger Man

As if responding to the hope I posited on Friday, Obama has shifted focus and is now taking on John McCain. Sure, it may be melodramatic to insinuate that I had anything to do with it, and Obama's nomination is virtually locked up as of tomorrow, but hey, better late than never and I'm glad to see this day.

Though the question remains how bruised Obama will be after the battle with Hillary and whether he can sway those middle of the road Republicans (to whom I have one thing to say vis a vis John McCain: (and don't click here) 'old balls').

Friday, May 16, 2008

Quit It Bitch, You're Ruining America!

This isn't an original thought, but it's something I've been itching to express myself. I really can't stand the way Hilary Clinton is conducting herself here in the waning days of her campaign. It's pretty clear that Obama's going to win the Democratic nod and this stubbornness with which Hillary is clinging to her protracted campaign is pure hubris that is weakening the Democratic party's chances at a win in the Presidential election.

I understand that this was likely her last best shot, but as a statesman you've got to stand for principals larger than own advancement if you really think you're cut out to be the leader of the free world. America deserves as much.

What we're seeing out of Hillary is proof-positive of a trait many expected she had starting long ago when she stood by her man and his wandering trouser snake, cold, over-ridding, android-like careerism. Is this what we want in American president?

I guess all I wanted to say is that it's sad Hillary can't bow out gracefully for the benefit of the party and let Obama concentrate on the next race against McCain. Then again, maybe I'm drinking the kool-aid a little here. After all, if Obama's really got the stuff he should also be able to recognize the victory and take his fight to the next level.

Sidenote - Since visual aids are imporant in blogging, I wanted to get a picture of Hillary looking detestable. A simple Google image search (I didn't use any descriptive modifiers, such as 'scary' or 'ugly' or 'bitchy') yielded literally dozens to chose from, the first of which is called 'Scary Hillary Clinton.jpg.' If that isn't an indicator of zeitgeist (and thereby Hillary's refusal to see the forest for the trees) I don't know what is.

God, how did they let this go so wrong...

Monday, May 12, 2008

By The Numbers, Dogs vs. Children in San Francisco

Quoting census data from 2006, the San Francisco Examiner reports that 'San Francisco has roughly 110,000 residents under 18' and 'between 120,000 and 150,000 dogs.' The fact was pertinent to a squabble over recently re-sodded grass in a city park, and what constituency base had greater claim to the turf - pet owners or parents.

The humanitarian in me says the parents, but then the dog owner in me needs a spot for my pooch to poop.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Firebrats in My Fluorescent Light Fixtures

I glanced up at the fluorescent lights in my bathroom this morning and noticed strange, wriggling silhouettes darting across the inside surface of the glass dome that covers the fixture.

This was upsetting, to say the least, particularly because the bugs looked horrific - all flailing limbs and appendages covered in fine, feeling hairs and sucking mouth parts living in the two most sensitive areas of my apartment (where I clean myself and prepare my food).

If I can see them in the lights, where else could they be living where I can't see them? (Chills.)

A little research revealed that this little pest is a firebrat, the burlier, hairier cousin of the familiar, book-eating silverfish. Both of which are nasty, fast-moving and feed on the detritus of civilization - wall paper, glue, old insulation and natural fabrics like silk, wool and cotton. My theory - the moisture from my shower and kitchen is condensing in the light housings and over time turning into mold which feeds the little families of firebrats.

Elsewhere, a friend of mine ate an inch worm in her salad and a co-worker's been itching lately and thinks she's got 'morgellons.'

Moral of the story - there are so many nasty things in the world. What can we do about it? Tireless vigilance and energy for sanitation? Or acceptance of the truth that we are but victims of a world we can't control.

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Subcontinental Sneeze in the Buffet

At the enormous, international sales conference last week, the hazards of buffet-style dining for 5,000 were eminently illustrated when, like many a Carnival Cruise, people by the score started turning up sick.

Was it the shellfish in the cioppino? Or the one-two punch of reanimated-from-powder guacamole and refried beans at enchilada night?

Perhaps more than any of the above it was a microcosmic recreation of the colonial-era clashing of hemispherically-endemic germs. Every continent but Africa and Antarctica were represented, and in that international bouilliabaise, with all its talking shit and swapping spit and none of the scrubbing like doctors that we do in airports and festivals, one can only imagine the stripe of exotic rhinovirus and flu bug feasting on the unprepared immune systems with free and easy access thanks to the lack of sneeze guards.