WaPo reports today that "President Bush . . . dismissed calls for U.S. troop withdrawals from Iraq as unrealistic."
Because, of course, charging into Iraq with no clear plan, mission, timetable or defined goals was realistic back in 2003. It's a very convenient time for you to venture into the "real" world, Mr. President.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
WaPo reports today that "President Bush . . . dismissed calls for U.S. troop withdrawals from Iraq as unrealistic."
I visited a friend's house recently (within the past two weeks). At some point as we were walking through the house, I noticed a calendar pinned to the wall. Absently, I noted, "Your calendar is still set to November, 2006."
He looked at me. "Today is...?"
I was so embarrassed.
Posted by Dennis! at 10:11 AM
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
It's late, but here, in narrative form, are some observations from my Thanksgiving.
I purchase a fruit tart from Whole Foods and make my way to the bus stop, where I am to catch a crosstown bus to a friend's house in the Capitol Hill area in Northeast DC. The bus is surprisingly -- no, shockingly -- on time, requiring me to run to catch it. It's nearly 4:00, and I've lazed most of the day away. Most of my friends have probably started their dinners by this time; some are on their second helping, others are at their second dinner. I'm just getting started, which is all for the better, because I have a terrible habit of stuffing myself silly when presented with massive quantities of delicious food.
I take a seat in the third forward-facing set of seats, selfishly taking both seats for myself. The bus isn't all that populated, and I would have been willing to move my tart if someone needed the seat. No one ever did.
Across the aisle and one seat behind me is a girl reading a book while her earbuds presumably entertained her. She never looks up for the entire time I'm on this bus. I start creating random stories in my mind about how she's a drifter, and she's just riding the bus for fun "to see the sights." That theory would work better were she actually looking out the window instead of casually ensconced in her reading material.
An older gentleman sits facing the front door of the bus in a raincoat and suit. His suit is rumpled, as if he's actually worked through the day in it. But it's Thanksgiving Day, I think, but I suppose there are people out there who work in this day. He's reading through the Washington City Paper with studied concentration. He either finished the feature article long ago or he generally isn't interested in that kind of stuff, because he's concentrating more on the tail end of the paper, including the personals. He seems to reading every last one of them.
A few stops later, a large older man with white hair and matching (short yet scraggly) beard climbs aboard. He looks homeless, though he lacks the smell usually associated with homeless people. He's carrying two large plastic garbage bags, filled close to bursting with what appears to be junk. One man's trash is another man's treasure. Or maybe he just didn't have "nice" looking bags to carry his stuff in; not all of us have the luxury of courting around Whole Foods bags. He sits facing City Paper man; his eyes appear to glaze over as he stares vacantly out the window.
At one intersection, the bus waits for an inordinately long time. The driver has seen something I was unable to from her superior view: a large black woman was apparently making her way to the bus with some difficulty. Perhaps she had tried to run, but one could only imagine that she wouldn't have been making terribly great time even if she had made the effort. She sports a large waist-length fur coat (whether it's real fur is up for debate), which seemed incongruous when paired with her short skirt which revealed her ample thighs. Her hair consisted of both a bad cut and a bad color job; the short platinum blond waves matted themselves to her scalp like limp lasagna noodles.
A woman who appeared North African boards at the next stop. The bus continues to pull forward as she stands there and fumbles through her purse in search of the right change. From near the back exit, a voice calls out, apparently to her, "Yo Jessica, is yo' Mac-Donalds open?"
A woman with dirty blonde unruly hair also boards, carrying an oversized backpack. It's unclear whether she's one of those crunchy granola hippie types (perhaps she was backpacking across the country?), or whether she's just down on her luck and trying to keep it together. She sits two seats in front of me, her giant backpack sticking up at least two head lengths past hers.
Jessica doesn't even look up as she responds to her friend: "I don't know; I'm not there." She pays her fare and takes her seat next to Literary Girl; three rows behind her is her friend.
As we drive on, we pass the McDonald's. It is presumably the McDonald's to which Jessica's Friend referred, for she comments, "There it is... Dang, it is open!" For a brief moment, I contemplate how sad it must be to even consider having a Super-Size Value Meal as Thanksgiving dinner, but then I hear Jessica's Friend continue: "Oh wait, it ain't open."
"Hey, Jessica, you going to DC General?"
Not bothering to turn her head, Jessica responds: "Yes."
"Is it nice there?"
"It's not bad." The lack of eye contact makes me wonder whether Jessica and this woman are actually friends. No indication is given why they both happen to be heading to DC General. Where I had presumed that Jessica worked at McDonald's, perhaps she works at DC General. Or are they both friends of a long-term care patient? Or perhaps they struck up a friendship visiting their respective friends?
"I'll ride up with you," Jessica's Friend offers. "Want to come sit by me?"
Again without looking at her, Jessica takes her up on the offer ("Sure!") and moves to sit next to her.
At some point during this conversation, Fur-Laden Large Woman With Bad Hair disembarks. She is met by two well-dressed men on the street. Apparently they are all heading for the same place; the two men are each carrying what appears to be food products in boxes. I surmise that they are volunteering to serve Thanksgiving dinner to someone or another. In many past years here I have looked for the opportunity to do this and have somehow never succeeded in finding one.
A clearly angry black man boards. He's carrying two grocery-sized plastic bags. He too strikes me as homeless, and I wonder if he's even paid the fare. If the driver is demanding it of him, she isn't doing it loudly enough for me to hear, which takes some effort seeing as I'm less than ten feet from the front of the bus. He stands behind the driver, grasping at the poles for support after putting one of his plastic bags down on the seat. He mutters frequently, including inflections that, judging from the tone and vehemence of his exhalations, are likely curse words. (Perhaps he has Tourette's?). At one point, he clearly states "I'm not even gonna bother to take a seat," though he does sit down literally ten seconds after he says it. After approximately 8 stops he gets off, still cursing, including a few choice words at the driver. I still don't remember if he ever paid or not. If he was ejected for nonpayment of fare, it was the most drama-free ejection I've ever seen. Of course, given how long he was on the bus, he may very well have reached his final destination anyway.
City Paper Guy gets off a few stops later, abandoning his paper on the seat recently vacated by him. Before I -- empty handed except for my fruit tart -- can even think twice about it, Two-Trash-Bag Man lunges across the aisle and snatches it. He flips through a few pages for under a minute, then shoves the paper into one of his overfilled trash bags. This reinforces my initial thought that he appears to be some kind of pack rat.
As we approach Union Station, Jessica and Her Friend abruptly change plans. Jessica's Friend suggests they take in a movie; Jessica politely demurs. In the alternative, her friend suggests that they go looking for some food. Jessica quickly agrees, and they both hop off right outside the station, hoping that someplace or another will be open at this hour on Thanksgiving night. The nature of their relationship remains completely unclear to me, but it looks like they were willing to enjoy each other's company for Thanksgiving, and I am happy they both don't have to spend their nights alone.
As we continue to wind through Northeast Washington, I take in the views of the homes there -- well kept rowhouses, many of which probably have substantial amounts of history attached to them. The streets are strangely quiet; nary a pedestrian can be seen. I see one couple with a stroller leisurely making their way down the street, but that's all. I suppose they're all gathered around their dinner tables eating turkey, or around the television watching football. That'll be me soon enough.
I start to fret about whether I've remembered my stop correctly, and whether I should get off at 11th Street or 14th Street. I can see the street on which my friend lives, but alighting early could result in an unnecessarily long walk. Thankfully, I find that I did in fact remember my stop correctly, and I get off and walk about a block and a half to my friend's house.
It was a magical Thanksgiving even before I ever made it to dinner.
Posted by Dennis! at 12:09 AM
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Insanely catchy, if laughably simplistic. Check out the "cool" handheld keyboard! I still have no idea what any of it means, but it's fun.
Lately, my life seems to be a lot closer to "I don't love you BECAUSE you don't love me" than just the random happenstance of mutual non-love. "I wish I could quit you!"
Posted by Dennis! at 6:14 PM
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Thursday, November 09, 2006
I'm not saying that Democrats should be hardasses about everything now that they've taken control of both houses of Congress.
All I'm saying is, it's really easy to call for bipartisanship when you're the party who has had one-party control of government yanked out from under you.
And it's particularly less-than-palatable when that call for bipartisanship comes from one of the guys at the very center of partisan power grabs for the better part of six years.
Yo, Dubya: I didn't see you asking for bipartisan cooperation when your Republican cronies were busy redistricting Texas to dilute out Democratic votes. I didn't see you clamor for compromise while you consistently nominated (and pushed through) ideologue after ideologue to the federal bench. I didn't see you ask your Republican friends to give any thought to their opposition concerns across the aisle when it came to -- well, any significant issue at all in the past six years that you've been in office.
For as long as you've occupied the White House, I cannot remember a single time when you've ever even noticed that this country has two political parties, one of which disagrees with yours on many issues. You consistently held fast to your party line, and you basically took the position that your party had the power, and your party therefore had the right to make the rules, however myopically they may choose to do so.
So -- again, not that I'm encouraging Democrats to retreat into a "we're in control now so everyone else shut up" shell -- but I find your plea for bipartisan cooperation now to be hollow and, frankly, more than a little desperate.
Posted by Dennis! at 5:44 PM
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Everyone seems pretty confident Democrats will be taking over the House as well as the Senate.
I've been giddily skipping around my office all day.
On a sadder note, gay marriage bans passed in three more jurisdictions. This saddens me because it says that even while Democrats were getting to the polls and casting their votes to defeat Republicans, these same Democrats are voting at their polling places against gay marriage. I tell ya, if we can't get Democrats' minds past the "icky" factor of gay marriage, then there's no way we're going to get Republicans to support the idea. And thus, gay men and women will forever be denied full and equal participation in this society.
Still, on balance, control of Congress makes me happy.
Posted by Dennis! at 4:46 PM
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Some incredibly superficial thoughts on this Election Day (because I'm just too tired to rant on about the crap that's happening at polling places) about the front page pictures that show upon the WaPo website:
- The poor random voting woman must be mortified. She's kind of plus-size, and her eyes are bugging out as if from surprise for no apparent reason. It's not the most flattering picture of her.
- The shot of Adrian Fenty hugging one of his supporters makes him look a little standoffish. Though still, I'd like to be the one pressed up against his body.
- Jim Webb's wife is stunningly pretty.
- But the bearded smiling guy behind him is hot.
- What's up with Eskimo woman with George Allen? He's in a suit and tie and no special winter gear, and she's Nanook of the North.
Oh, right, because you actually expected substantive shit on this blog.
Posted by Dennis! at 4:07 PM
Monday, November 06, 2006
Boss: "I'm back from lunch. Any calls?"
Me: "No, it's been really quiet."
Boss: "Hm. Why?"
Me: "Uh, because no one anywhere picked up the phone and dialed our particular 7- or 11-digit combination?"
Girl: "Did he tell you his gym story?"
Me: "You mean his story about a guy named Jim or about his workout?"
Me: "Gym story, like J-I-M?"
Girl: "Oh, no, like "J-Y-M."
Me, and everyone else listening: [burst out laughing]
Friend: "So what are you doing right now?"
Me: "I'm in the middle of a Charlie's Angels marathon."
Friend: "Wow. You truly are a loser."
[Friends having some conversation about oxycodone and other pain meds.]
Me: "No, what you need to do is dissolve some of that in some water, load it up in a syringe, and shoot it up your asshole. The effect is just that much faster."
Me: "Okay, why I picked that particular moment to inject myself into that conversation I don't know. I'm just going to go quietly back to my beer now."
Random guy in gay bar: "Who do I have to blow to get a drink around here?"
Almost everyone else in earshot at the bar: "Me."
Me: "Not me, I just drink here."
Friend, upon noticing that the phone in his rear pocket was beeping: "Oh, that IS me. I thought I was just hearing some random beeping noise."
Me: "Do you often hear random beeping noises coming out of your ass, or is that only when you back up?"
Posted by Dennis! at 5:26 PM
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Dear Metro Riders:
I'm addressing this to all Metro riders because I'm fairly certain not all of these actions can be attributed only to tourists. I know we Washingtonians love to hate tourists, and we blame them for a lot of the stupid stuff that happens in this city, but trust me, there are a lot of really stupid people in this city.
Why do you insist on using the "new" farecard machines for paper card transactions? Many years ago, Metro introduced SmarTrip cards to use as fare payment, but did not eliminate paper farecards at the time. Because these SmarTrip cards are plastic and reuseable, they had to install new farecard machines to accommodate them. These new machines have reader devices for the plastic cards and also accept credit cards. The "old" machines still deal only in paper farecards and hard cash.
My question, then, is this: Why do you insist on using the newer machines for cash transactions involving paper farecards? Along a bank of six farecard machines, some new and some old, I invariably have to stand in line behind you while you pop in a few singles for the purpose popping out a paper farecard. While the older machines remain idle and could have easily served your purpose, you pick one of the new machines, while I (a SmarTrip card holder) have no choice but to use the new machines, thus forcing to wait behind you. We could have both conducted our transactions at the same time -- you at an "old" machine, me at a "new" one.
You, my dear, are a moron.
Why do you insist on using the handicap turnstile? Just a gripe of mine, but why do you, a fully able-bodied person, tend to gravitate towards the extra-wide turnstile, even when all of the other turnstiles are not being used? Are you really so grossly obese in your mind's eye that you think you can't fit through the "normal" sized turnstile? Then what makes me laugh is when you try to go through those handicap turnstiles but don't realize that the paper card slot works differently than the others: so you stand there like an idiot for a second, wondering why your card has just been kicked back out of the slot you put it in while the turnstile bars have opened.
You, my dear, are an idiot.
Why do you insist on standing right in front of the doors? Lots have already been written about this, but really, make some room, people. If you force me to, I will shove past you to get out those damn doors before the train starts making its way to the next stop. I find it particularly annoying when you stand there and glare at the people who have to get past you as if you're the one being inconvenienced. Buddy, you chose to stand right near the door, and the door's not just for decoration you know.
Why do you insist on standing right in front of the doors? When you're on the platform, you ought to know that there's no prize for being the first to board the train when it pulls up at the station. Hence, standing right at the door where the train pulls up is retarded. When people are trying to get off, they (and I presume you, when you reach your eventual destination) don't particularly like being made to walk the gauntlet. This isn't Tailhook '91. Get out of the frigging way and let us off.
Really, is it just so hard?
Posted by Dennis! at 7:48 AM