Deuel_Nathan

Was it really that bad?

Fuck off.

 

Y’know, being a dad…wife in the war, Middle East, etc.

It was a fairly constant struggle for me: The fact that it wasn’t that bad at all. In fact, many times—a lot of the time—it was quite excellent. I can’t really adequately describe what it’s like to get rip-roaring drunk by yourself, as the bats fly overhead, wife in Baghdad, with the sound of the call to prayer ringing out over Istanbul, the moon coming up, and you light an illicit cigarette and the hum of the earth is loud and…A grilled fish lunch at an old cantina in a secluded cove north of Beirut, with the table literally in the water, catching up with an old friend from Riyadh, the waves licking up over the table cloth, sea froth kissing the food with salt water, cold bottles of beer…Or to have Christmas in Erbil, in northern Iraq, the odd situation of your wife agreeing to watch the kid while you put on a suit that doesn’t quite fit, so you can get in a taxi and try to track down Christians who fled Baghdad, in the wake of a bombing at a church that killed dozens, to find a woman who will speak to you, in the middle of the street, on Christmas day, with the taxi idling, getting a good enough quote to go back to the house, so you can file a story, so you can sing “Jingle Bells” and squint in the sun of northern Iraq, and later that night, toast it all with a bottle of duty-free scotch.

PEOPLE LIKE US

Friday was the bombOn our leafy terrace in Lebanon, beside the civil war in Syria, my wife Kelly and I were entertaining an old friend, the new Beirut bureau chief for a major news organization. This woman was moving to town to cover the battle and was scouting houses before she brought her husband and young children. I swirled a large glass of wine, a father myself, and recounted how just a few weeks earlier, a massive, seven-hour shootout had raged just below our balcony, shell-casings bouncing off the asphalt. How I had cowered in our bedroom, checking periodically to ensure our three-year-old daughter was still asleep, listening as thousands of additional rounds of machine gun fire bounced off the walls outside. How Lebanese soldiers arrived in camouflaged armored personnel carriers, and how seven or eight grenades exploded when the bad guys down the block determined that they would fight to the death. How, instead of cowering beside me, my wife Kelly had put down her wine glass, grabbed a notebook and a flak jacket, and walked off into the night.

I mark you archetypes:
Clean-cut fame slut
And earnest, humming wakeboard boy,
All American, what puritan joy!
And please and thankee
No hanky-panky
Do praise the Lord
No Betty Ford
‘Cause I’ve seen the seventies
And heaven, please!
It’s getting dark
And Noah’s Ark
Has got to be coming round
‘Cause that roaring sound
In the western sky
Is the fire next time,

 

Unclear about all of this?  Over at the Washington Post, Ezra Klein cuts through the static and offers up a comprehensive breakdown of this week’s Supreme Court review of the Affordable Care Act.

Health reform opponents contend that the decision not to do something — namely, not buy health insurance — is economic inactivity, rather than activity, and therefore not a behavior the federal government can regulate. Health reform supporters argue that the decision to not purchase health insurance has an economic effect. An individual without coverage, for example, may not have the money to pay for an emergency room visit, sticking hospitals or taxpayers with the bill.

I am sick of the fucking internet. I’m not supposed to say this because I am a child of technology. When I was 12, my big brother got us on AOL. He was in a chat room for fans of the Allman Brothers Band and introduced me to all these people. As they all said hi to me, I felt shivers running up and down my spine. I was so excited I couldn’t stop moving.

Chat rooms felt like a dark closet full of strangers, outrageously intimate. I liked to engage in religious debates the most. I also wanted a boyfriend but found teen chat rooms annoying. I would stay home when the neighborhood kids went out to play because I didn’t like them and preferred to talk to strangers on the internet. I mailed my cheer-leading pictures to a boy in New Orleans who may or may not have been a real person.

I hang out with real geeks because I wish I was one of them. I am uncool in the non-hipster way of being uncool. As in, I’m too awkward to get along with normal people but I don’t know any programming languages. I taught myself HTML once upon a time and thought I was pretty badass, but I couldn’t stay afloat once CSS came on the scene. I know how to crimp a Cat 5 cable, and I can put together a PC. I married my husband because I thought it was hot when he wrote code.

Every now and then I get this need to be well informed about the world, and I go on a news binge. Last week, it was a combination of Norway, Lulzsec, the debt ceiling and Google News Badges. Those badges don’t update properly. The thing says I read 5 articles about Norway, so I started reading a lot of articles on different topics. Then I read like 20 on Anonymous, but it wouldn’t update. I have a bronze Norway badge. I am disappoint.

Although it damn near made me kill myself over the weekend (only a slight exaggeration), I go back to Google News on Monday like an addict looking for inspiration. There are people out there breaking the law and pissing people off and making a difference in a way I can never do. It’s totally possible that the things they’re doing all completely wrong. I’m not convinced anyone is doing anything that’s not completely wrong.

I am a project manager. I am a rule follower. I respect authority.

Every few months, I decide I’m not really a writer. I am angry that I went to college and even more so that I went to grad school. I wish someone had told me how worthless it was. I’m not saying it wasn’t fun or that I didn’t meet lovely people and learn some stuff, but look, I discovered yoga at age 16, and I knew I wanted to teach yoga at age 17, yet I dropped that idea and went to college because that seemed like the appropriate thing to do. I am so tired of the appropriate thing.

If I had followed my instinct, I would have a career by now.

I try to tell myself this is my dharma, that karma put me here. I tell myself I’m here to learn something, and I’m working extra hard to learn it as fast as possible so I can get the fuck out of this cubicle and start doing what I wanted to do all along. Did I really need all those student loans to have this realization, karma? I am $32k in the hole for a degree I will never use.

I don’t mean to be such a downer about it. I mean, I can use a semicolon like nobody’s business, but I rarely do because most of the time it’s pretentious. I fucking love run-on sentences.

I’m tired of buying things. I hate things. I hate stuff. I hate clutter. It’s not just the laptops littering the living room but also the server racks down the hall from my bedroom, and also the ones in the basement, and the miscellaneous cables scattered around the technological wasteland that is my house. It’s also the unwashed underwear, the piles of recycling, the perpetually half done renovation projects, the stacks of unread books and magazines on the floor and dust bunnies, my god the dust bunnies. And furthermore, it’s Twitter and Facebook and Google + and Google Reader and Google News and my two blogs, one of them disused. It’s also IRC and GChat and once upon a time AIM and ICQ. It’s also Skype and Ventrillo and Stickam and Daily Booth and Youtube.

There is a BMW being born on my behalf and a loan check to prove it. I feel like a teen mom except I’m not a teenager, not a mom, and not a reality TV star, but my life does have that familiar ring of this is not really- this- this- this is not really happening

You bet your life it is.

I am often afraid that if I said what I really thought about the world, I would be burned at the stake. Maybe I should just make peace with that. After all, this flame proof suit will not last forever. Maybe sometimes it’s better to douse yourself in gasoline and go for the fucking glory.

Maybe I should be a little less dramatic.


Some days I just want to get a lot of tattoos and become totally unemployable as a way to force myself out of the corporate world. One day I will. If I achieve only one thing in life, it will be becoming unemployable.
I hate the way journalists on television say “hacktivists” like they’re trying to drive home a clever pun. They deadpan the news like the world’s worst comedy troop telling grand sick joke. Why hasn’t anyone hacked Congress yet? Those guys are the real assholes, right? I wonder what kind of delicious secrets they’ve got. Just a thought.
A guy walks into a universe and says “God? Is that you?” and the Pope says, “Yes, son, take off your clothes.” The headlines spew sex scandals and it’s all the same to them whether you’re a rapist priest or a member of congress who fails to grasp direct messaging. If there are genitals involved, they’re all over it.
Sex crimes are our favorite joke, but trading legal tender for an orgasm will cost you your career. Sometimes I hate the world.
Every generation has its drama. We all think we’re in the middle of something new and brilliant. They had Kennedy and Nixon and all those poor dead boys, and we have about half the world protesting, a handful of countries with no governments, and a digital revolution that is not at all what we were hoping for, no matter what you were hoping for.
Tomorrow. I swear. Tomorrow I’m getting that tattoo.


“… some green movement momentum has been lost, Earth Day supporters agree. But they welcome the debates the day brings… Critics long have accused its organizers of being anti-business or anti-growth. The Washington Post last year characterized the day a ‘global guilt-fest.’”
– MATT CAMPBELL, The Kansas City Star, Wed, Apr. 21, 2010 10:36 PM

“Oil fell toward $83 after soaring U.S. inventories signaled demand in the world’s top energy user is lagging the recovery in the global economy.”
– Alejandro Barbajosa, Reuters, Thu Apr 22, 2010 12:00am EDT

I’ll pump ’til my ecstasy ruptures your mantle
And bathes me in puddles of fossilized corpses.
I’ll sway in the lamplight as evening approaches
Observing the towers—all empty, yet shining.
I’ll dance between raindrops and autos that pass me
And tingle when neon advises a stripper.

My ecstasy poisons the lightbulbs and hookers.
I stumble—a jackass—beneath a coal shadow.
The alley absorbs the low echo of motors.
The moonlight’s too distant to rescue this drowner
Awash in an ocean of fossilized corpses—
I’ll pump ’till my ecstasy ruptures our mantle.

 

ri·dic·u·lous
adj.
Deserving or inspiring ridicule; absurd, preposterous, or silly. See Synonyms at foolish.


I love a good comedy. Some of my favorites are White Men Can’t Jump, Death at a Funeral (the original British version), and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. And Slade Ham is pretty effin funny too.

But some things you just can’t write in a script.

I’m on my way to work this morning, listening as nerds do, to NPR. On comes “The Tale of the Covered Teat;” or, at least that’s what I’m going to call it. In my ears came the voice of University of Virginia political scientist, Larry Sabato.

Sabato said, and I’ll summarize, that a politician only has but so much political capital to spend and that spending it on something trivial like what Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli did is devastating to a politician’s career. Look at John Ashcroft when he spent a few thousand dollars draping blue sheets over partially nude statues at the Justice Department eight years ago. He became an instant target of criticism because of something absolutely silly to most Americans.

“When you asked to be ridiculed, it usually happens. And it will happen here, nationally,” Sabato said. “This is classical art for goodness’ sake.”

So what did Cuccinelli do?

Cuccinelli had the State of Virginia seal altered, a breast plate added.

The actual seal (as shown above) depicts the Roman goddess Virtus, the goddess of virtue, standing over a defeated opponent. That opponent, Tyranny. Virtus wears a blue tunic with her left breast bare to the wind.

Not on Cuccinelli’s lapel pins he ordered using PAC money for his campaign.

Oh no, an exposed titty?!

Cover your children’s eyes!

Breasts!

I mean, breast!

A supple, supple breast!

An areola!

And all this time, all my life living in this state, I always thought that Virtus was a guy and he just had moobs.

When the media got word of the issue, Cuccinelli tried to laugh it off and say he was trying to turn a “risque image into a PG one.”

Heck, who knows — maybe tomorrow Cuccinelli will alter his name, deducting “Cucci-” and just be “Nelli.”

After all, the connotations of “Cucci” to young children in our Commonwealth could be horrifying.

Nelli.

I like it.

Has a certain ring to it.

Brings to mind the rapper Nelly and his bandaid look, which, speaking of, Cuccinelli may need to cover up this ridicule sure to be featured on tonight’s episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

I’m sure a conservative friend of mine will think I’m blowing this way out of proportion, which would be inaccurate. I’m not outraged or furious this happened. I get a kick out of it because this adds to the ever growing cartoon of the current Republican state of Virginia politics. Hell, if you can’t laugh at this then what can you laugh at?

First, Bob McDonnell, a man who received his law degree at Christian Broadcasting Network University (yes, you read that right correctly. A school Pat Robertson formed. Name later changed to Regent University) was elected our governor and his sideshow in conservatism, Ken Cuccinelli, came along for the ride and has since tried to take the words gay and lesbian out of our state’s discrimination laws and filed a lawsuit against the federal government challenging global warming. I can’t wait for his next speech at a local tea party rally.

It should be an interesting four years. I’ve got my material. Slade, you should move to Virginia. Your star will be on the rise for sure. It worked for William & Mary graduate, Jon Stewart.

WASHINGTON – Toyota to recall 270,000 Priuses after reports of malfunctioning brakes. Spokesman for the company cites green initiative.

“It is our belief at Toyota that brake dust and brake fluid are harmful to the environment. As 21st century innovators and leaders in green vehicular technology, we took the initiative and eradicated these two harmful agents from spoiling our beloved Mother Earth and killing innocent dolphins.”

Pressured with questions regarding Toyota’s other recall, the company spokesman offered his take on the matter saying, “You say tomato. I say tomahto. My friends, the press–these accelerators are not jammed. They are simply locked. Jammed and locked are two wholly different issues. By coupling locked accelerators with malfunctioning brakes, we, at Toyota, are preserving our planet. When an accelerator locks and you have no brakes and you’re going down a mountainside at 80 MPH, everyone, and I mean everyone, knows that you put the gear shift in Neutral. And what does Neutral do? It saves gasoline. Saved gasoline saves planets. Toyota’s Green Initiative. Any more questions?”

Click to watch video of Crash Test Dummies performing Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm.

Visceral

By Mary Hendrie

Essay

Visceral: Of or pertaining to the viscera.

Viscera: The organs in the cavities of the body, especially the abdominal cavity.

Viscus: Singular of viscera

Viscous: Of a glutinous nature or consistency; sticky; thick; adhesive

Vicious: Addicted to or characterized by vice; grossly immoral; depraved; profligate

I could go on looking up definitions of words all day. My vocabulary is so lacking. Visceral, though. That’s a good one.

This word keeps cropping up lately, mostly when people describe their reactions to dramatic events. A visceral reaction: instinctive, possibly even impulsive, wild, presumably a strong response. An animal moment. A moment in which we are not just in touch with our guts but ruled by them. One with them. We are intestines.

[Go ahead. Allow yourself to get strange. Maintaining normalcy is exhausting.]

Visceral is a car wreck, the way time slows down, the way we have no clue, no matter what we tell the police and the insurance adjustor and the other driver, no clue what we did in that split second that allowed us to live. We just remember spinning.

My theory, and I always have one, is that we use these words to reflect more of what we wish we were than what we actually are. We are so goddamned civilized, or at least on the surface, with all our methods and tools. With all our evolution, we are standing up straight, even at an unnatural incline in our shoes, and we are buttoned down and made up and watching the news and trying not to cry because it will damage the five-minute-makeup job we have perfected. I cannot cry over Iran because I will have to explain myself, and I didn’t bring the makeup to patch up, and there is nothing crazier than crying at your laptop because someone across the world got beat up by a cop.

Civilized people know these things happen and do not cry about it.


Mitochondrial DNA is a profound, primeval truth.  As far back as all the creatures we can see with our naked eye, ourselves included, it’s meant that the blueprints for the energy of our lives are passed only through the lines of mothers.  Poetry is all about such profound truths.  Sometimes those truths possess lives in cruel ways.  Sylvia Plath is known as a writer and a woman who killed herself.  Her daughter became a writer.  Her son has just killed himself.  A tragic purification of the mitochondrial line.  It so happens that Sylvia’s imagined rival, mistress of her husband Ted Hughes, and Sylvia’s rival to the dramatic (but not poetically) minded, also killed herself, and her daughter with Hughes.  But that is soap opera, not poetry.