Thursday, February 21, 2008

An about face about faces politics for a second!

As I mentioned once before, I've diddled around on one of the dating sites out there. Actually, I have no idea why I was being coy and didn't mention the site's name in that last post. It's

Anyway, they've suddenly altered their policy. See, it's a very intricate process to actually get to have direct communication with anyone on that site, which probably explains why I, the king of ADD and no follow through, have met precious few people from it (not that that's necessarily a bad thing). Here's how it used to work: They use whatever matchmaking wizardry they glean from the initial quiz you take and show you five matches. From there, you look at the photos and read their profile and decide if you want to get to know them better. Then, they look at your profile and decide if the feeling's mutual. Then, you compare your "relationship essentials," do a few short answer questions, swap insurance information, submit to a full genetic screening and share potential names of your firstborn, and then you can communicate directly.

Here's the kicker. At any point in time, if one of you decides that he isn't feeling it, you can abort at any time. The other person has no means to respond, unless you were dumb enough to include your cell phone number or something like that in your profile. A passive-aggressive person's delight. Potentially frustrating, for sure, but no pressure. Pretty brilliant, actually.

But they just changed it. Mostly, the process is the same, except with the photographs. Now, you no longer can see a potential matches photograph until AFTER you've confirmed initial interest. On the surface, it's an admirable if not a bit too utopian of a move. Sure, we should be judging potential matches on more than their hotness. (Side note to anyone using that site: Show a LITTLE forethought when choosing a photograph. We all have our good angles, but that's rarely on the south end of a beer-spitting hat or of you rafting the Colorado River, shot from the top of the Grand Canyon.) Nobody actually does that, of course, but it's an admirable goal, nonetheless.

One problem, though. Before, you could pretty much just fill in the blanks yourself if a potential match put you in the reject pile. "Eh, our profile's just didn't mesh." "He's probably already found a boyfriend on here and just didn't close his account yet." "His last boyfriend's name was probably Mike, too, and that would just be freaky to him."

Not now. If someone clicks that initial interest button but hits the eject button after the photos materialize, there can be only one reason. He hated the photo. He thinks you're hideous. Likewise, if you succumb to shallowness--if someone sounded good on paper but in their photograph looks, as my high school band director used to say, like Lurch--you're doing the same thing to them. Oh, well. Self-esteem and good karma were nice while they lasted!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

New standards in journalism

This handsome gentleman on the right here is the new star of WorldNetDaily. Despite the evidence to the contrary -- namely, the obvious color coordination problems between the hat and the last-pressed-in-1987 shirt--this man asserts that he is indeed gay (or, as WND would say, "gay written in quotation marks because gay still means 1890s happy to us, dernit") and once had a cocaine-fueled tryst with presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama in a Minnesota hotel.

Despite the crackerjack reporting done by WND on this case, which apparently consisted of watching this guy's YouTube video, the mainstream media has not yet picked up on this breaking story. Not even a Drudge siren yet. But just wait. This guy's going to prove his case by using a polygraph test. Basically, we'll be holding him to the same standards as one of the fine ladies and gentlemen who would appear on MTV's "Exposed."

Using WND's same standards of journalism, however, let me attempt to play a bit of devil's advocate, here. Using my imaginary reverse aging machine to determine what the man in question, Larry Sinclair, looked like in 1999, when he was a spry lad of 37 or so, let me just say -- not a chance. Sorry. Even if Obama had been trolling around upscale Chicago lounges in his limo for crack and tricks, perhaps thinking that Y2K was just going to end it all anyway, the odds of him picking up someone that looked like Sinclair, even a de-aged-by-eight-years Sinclair, are zero. There's a reason the guys from the escort services don't look like that. Not exactly a high-demand item, let's just say. The chances, in fact, are probably about as big as the chances that Sinclair would be able to get past the velvet rope of an upscale Chicago lounge.

Now, some might say WND is just throwing whatever slime it can, hoping some of it eventual sticks to the wall, particularly since another top headline on the right is "Obama mentor identified as communist." And there's another whole story about Obama's campaign, surprisingly enough, refusing to comment on this.

But nay. Go on, WND. Pursue this story and prove us all wrong. By the way, here's a scoop: Mike Huckabee and I once shot up crystal meth in a Wheeling, W.V. Knight's Inn, followed by seven hours of reciprocal fisting and a room service order of squirrel taquitos. Truly. I look forward to seeing your interview request in my inbox tomorrow.

(Sorry for the graphic imagery, but hey -- they started it!)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Faint memories of childhood

So, the CDC is finally waking up after a few decades of slumber on "the choking game," or one of the many other aliases by which it's known. I hate to tell them, but it's been popular a lot longer than 10 years. I know this because I used to play it. And if we knew about it in Brazoria County, trust me: We weren't the first ones to get fads.

I'll never forget the first night I did it. I, a kid of I guess 12 or 13 at the time, was spending the night with two friends, and they apparently were old pros at it. I watched them do it to each other several times, but I was too terrified to do it myself. Finally, I succumbed. And wow.

They did it in the second way described in the article. We were never as hardcore as to throttle each other or wrap telephone cords around our necks, for goodness sake. We didn't even call it choking, as we didn't consider it as such. I don't know that we called it anything. Basically, the "victim" would bend over, take about five or six deep breaths and the hold the final breath, as the other person tightly gripped their stomach, like a frozen Heimlich maneuver, and lifted them off the ground. When the "victim" finally released his breath, you knew he was out.

I'll admit: It was pretty euphoric. No, there was nothing sexual about it. But the hallucinations and dreams experienced when one was out were pretty vivid, sometimes scary, not that I could describe a single one of them almost 20 years later, of course. And when we woke up, after what was probably only about 30 seconds to a minute but felt like hours, there would be a bizarre tingling sensation left in the head.

Adults knew we did this. Not my parents, of course, but some other adults heard us talking about it. Hell, I even remember one Boy Scout camping trip in which we were doing it in one of the leader's vans while two leaders were in the van with us. We kind of got an idea that there might be a bit more danger than we thought to it when one kid, at one of my slumber parties, started to have a seizure after we put him under. Finally, one teacher heard us talking about it and told us what we were really doing to our brains in depriving them of oxygen, even though we were pretty much over it by then anyway.

Point being: This is nothing new, nothing underground and nothing restricted to a fringe group of kids. The kids I refer to earlier who did it with me pretty much all were honor students by the time we got to high school.

That being said, some of the comments below the article are pretty appalling (and kudos to the author for calling them out). The attitude that it's just Darwinism, that the kids who die from doing this are just stupid and getting what they deserve is ridiculous. By that logic, a kid who doesn't know how electricity works and dies after sticking a fork in an outlet also got what he deserved.

Oh, and anyone who takes any of the above paragraphs -- particularly numbers two, five and six -- out of context for prurient purposes? God'll get ya for that, Walter.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

If only there were a Rogaine ad next to the page's title

Since my dear friend Eric has already brought the Aretha issue to the surface, let me just say that this article placement on the Drudge Report is just wrong, wrong, wrong.

Not to mention that I didn't get the Aretha article, either. Why can't both Tina Turner and Aretha Franklin be queen? And does this make Beyonce the Thomas Cromwell of soul?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Some excellent news

If I may delve into the deeply personal one more time, I'm pleased to echo a good report regarding my father. It seems all tests for cancer on the prostate came back negative. An earlier bone scan had shown the cancer hadn't spread there, and some questionable lymph nodes the doctor removed during surgery also came back negative. In other words, no chemo, no radiation, no nothing. Removal of the bladder should have eradicated the cancer, and the doctor said there's only about a 5 or 10 percent chance of it being a problem anymore.

Thanks again to all for the kind thoughts during all of this. My sister recently sent out her annual request for donations for Relay for Life. I know I'll be donating this year.

Monday, February 11, 2008

If you're going to be late, why bother coming at all?

This post is especially for my Texas friends, who don't know what 8 degrees (lower considering wind chill factor) feels like. And it's a lot less painful an experiment than freezing one's hair, something my family still laughs at me about.

I had just finished drinking a bottle of water in a very warm building before walking outside. Almost immediately, the bottle turned into mush in my hand. Now, if I remember my Charles' Law -- Or was that Boyle's Law? Or Murphy? Burke? Somebody like that. -- cold makes things contract (except that rebel substance water). In other words, the air inside the bottle had shrunk to the extent that the poor plastic had nothing to support it.

So thanks, Winter, for the high school chemistry refresher! You can go now. Really. Houseguests and fish and all that.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

What would the founding fathers do? Keep quiet.

I'm now convinced that Richard Brookhiser, senior editor of National Review, works out at my gym. Or at least a darn good doppelganger. As I finished up my ab routine this evening, I could have sworn he was the one next to me who took the big ball away when I was finished.

The thing is, he's the level of celebrity you can never be sure about. You certainly can't go up and ask. If it's not him, it's not like you just asked if he was Anderson Cooper or even Paul Rudd. He's not going to say, "No, but I get that a lot." In all likelihood, he's not going to know who Richard Brookhiser is and think you're quite odd.

On the other hand, if it is him, you're immediately suspect for recognizing him, too, especially when you don't exactly fit the average National Review demographic. Honestly, I probably wouldn't have even thought it if I hadn't seen him on Colbert last night, although I've been familiar with him since we had to read his Washington biography back in freshman university political science.

Supposedly, Matt Damon works out at my gym when he's in town. Why don't I ever see him, darn it? Ah, well. I wonder: If a conservative writer works out at Crunch, specifically doing ab crunches, does that make him a Crunchy Con?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Is this supposed to be sexy?

I've never understood how spam is profitable in this day and age. It would seem to me I'd get more money rattling a cup full of coins during my morning commute than I would by tricking those one or two people who have just discovered this magical thing called email after a 20-year slumber--you know, the one or two who still forward that thing to you that says Bill Gates will write you a check for $1,000 if you just forward their email to a few dozen people.

But I understand porn spam even less. First of all, it's not like people who want porn are sitting around and waiting for an email telling them where to find it. What's more, the subject titles are never enticing at all.

Take the last few days' sampling. Sexyandtallns wants me to "see [presumably her] wide gaping holes." Charming. Grocer promises me "real university students forced to stripp (sic) of their clothes -- 2 pics!" Wow! Two whole pictures? Of a college student undressing, probably the hardest thing to ever see? Sold. Betty Klay offers a "round butt for u to play with." How about a round of mini golf? And Cassie Carrter, whom I seem to get something from every damn day, wants to show me "MidWestern Chicks Flashing Their Tits For Free." Darn it Cassie, if they were from the Pacific Northwest, I might have considered it, but the Iowa chicks just don't do it for me.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some horny women to whom sweetsarah0 says are incredibly eager to beat me. Geez, don't these people have any demographic research at all?

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Happy Super (um, Duper) Tuesday!

I went back and forth several times, but I cast my vote this morning for Hillary Clinton. And, should Barack Obama ultimately pull it off, I'll have no problem supporting him in the general election.

This is the first time I've ever voted in a presidential primary where it actually mattered. I just missed the 1996 primary because I was too young, although I was old enough for the general election (not that the primary really mattered by the time it got to Texas, anyway). In 2000, I threw a vote to Bill Bradley, whom I really liked but was already long gone from the race. In 2004, there was a really tight race in my county for sheriff that was going to be decided in the Republican primary, so I held my nose and voted in the Republican primary, skipping the presidential section (and ardently stopping the election volunteers from stamping an "R" on my voter's registration).

With that behind me, I look forward to eating hummus and watching the returns tonight. I even switched a show ticket I had so I could be home for it. Isn't that incredibly dorky? If it's a bad night for the greased-up Wink Martindale clone, as I hope it is, it will all be worth it.

A side note: CNN was at my polling place this morning, but as they obviously were there to gauge Latino voter opinion, they paid me no attention.