Sunday, May 28, 2006

You know what I like about extreme right wingers. They really believe their crazy shit. I have a hard time imagining some flag waving god-botherer making clandestine contributions to the ACLU. Yet, the same zealot whose ten-foot puppet of a beady eyed Uncle Sam is ready at a moments notice to defend democracy can’t put the bong down long enough to cross the street to the church which is his local polling station. Saving the rain forest is fine as long as it means some poor spic can’t poach logs or shoot an endangered monkey, but to hell with you if it means I can’t take that road trip to Boulder in my polluting gas guzzling truck. There never seems to be much conviction with the left. The only true revolutionaries and do-gooders I ever met wore suits. Blah. Blah. Blah. Whatever. I’m boring myself.

In other news. Here’s the other Dr. J.

In other other news.

World cup is coming! I’m not a dedicated sports fan but its hard not to feel the anticipation as is comes closer and closer. I’m really behind the US team this year as it drives the Europeans nuts when they win at a sport most Americans think is a children’s game. FYI. The US team is in the top ten world ranking

Thursday, May 25, 2006

In the half hour commute to the office I can experience the full spectrum of the human condition. From happiness to sadness.
All over the town advertisments for the local festival were wheat pasted. They showed the smiling visage of Cowboy Joe firing his toy gun. I've come to enjoy running into Cowboy as his cackle and smile never fail to cheer me up. It's good to see the neighbourhood appreciates him as well. I ran into Cowboy and asked him if he knew he was famous. Conversations with Cowboy follow the path he dictates not the course that might naturally flow from each conversants contribution. I don't know if that how it is with all cowboys or just this one. In response he told me I should bundle up, and asked if I was from America. Yes, I said. He told me he has a brother in America and that he likes cowboys and sailors. He gave me a parting cackle and I positioned myself at the nearby bus stop.
Moments later two old men greet each other in front of me.
"How you doing, pal?"1
"I'm in a bad way. I found my old lady dead. Came home to find her on the bed."
"No." The 'o' was drawn out and hung sympathy. "Terrible. I'm sorry."
"Och. I don't want to talk about it." He shut his eyes tight and shook his head. "Here's my bus."

1I tried to transliterate their thick Scottish accents, but its best for us all if you just use your imagination when you read the dialogue.

Monday, May 15, 2006

A few inconsequential observations

Number 1
Garbage trucks smell the same no matter what side of the ocean you are on. You would think that a country's garbage truck smell would reflect the terroir of the local population's refuse, but every garbage truck I unluckily cross on early morning commutes smell the same. It's a unique smell when, or if you want to, think about it. Maybe garbage trucks in Asian smell different. I don't know. Anyone reading this whose had a whiff of Asia's garbage trucks are encouraged to leave comments.

Number 2
Old ladies are crazy for the little dividers they provide at the grocery checkout conveyer to separate your groceries for them. Even if you both only have one item and they are clearly seperated by a foot of space, the little grey head willgrab a divider to introduce between your stuff and hers. I suggest a number of things once they put the divider down, firstly you pick it up and say, "that won't be necessary". It drives them nuts. You could also just put you one of your items on their side of the divider and then give them a wink when they look at you accusingly. If you don't want a direct confrontation with someone's grandma, just crowd all your purchases against the divider. It makes them nervous and figity. It's cute.

Number 3
Do not go out on the streets of Scotland if one of the following have occurred (heaven forbid both occur on the same day): either the national football team loses a match or the movie 'Braveheart' plays on the television. Both make the natives restless and irritable.

That's all for today.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

I like that I am considered a 'foreign national'. It makes me sound dangerous and subversive.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

I was going to write a little entry about the old man in the coffee shop who was flirting with the waitress. I was going to write a little clever phrase like “with a twinkle in his eye and not a tooth in his head he sang an old French chanson to the smiling waitress”. But, on the way home I saw a rough looking and young man, maybe a junkie, punch and kick an old homeless man I have seen on many occasions. A businessman immediately shouted at the assailant and rushed across the street to intercede. The attacker stopped his kicks and shouted the explanation that the homeless man had stolen his hat. I never saw a hat on either man and assumed he was referring to a previous occurrence. With this explanation and the assault ceased, the businessman looked unsure. We all looked unsure. A dozen people who had come to this intersection with nothing more to think about but waiting for the light to change and to look both ways for errant traffic were all unsure. One man was sure. I hadn’t noticed him in his usual spot where he sits and panhandles with his dog. He’s another young man whose living on the streets had prematurely aged him. He rushed across the street, past the businessman, and made a lunge for the fallen man’s attacker. He and his dog were only just missed by the taxi moving through the crosswalk. The dog was excited and confused at his usually sedentary master’s quick and clearly malicious intentions for the other man. It barked and jumped with frenzy. A half-hearted pursuit began. I didn’t know the full story. I didn’t know who was the bad guy. Maybe the first guy did steal a hat. Maybe not. All I know was I didn’t want to see anything more. No one else seemed to know what to do. The only man of action, the businessman, stood frowning at this newest development. Who knows why I shouted what I did? I don’t remember planning it. It just happened and luckily it produced the correct result.

“Hey! Take care of your dog!” The dog was confused and lagged behind its owner as he threaded through the crowd behind the man that had kicked the first beggar whom still lay motionless on the ground. The owner of the dog momentarily returned focus to his pet and forgot his pursuit. The dog caught up and gave a nervous bark and the man returned to his pursuit, but hopefully that gave the first guy a few seconds extra lead to get away. Who knows if I let the bad guy get away, but a kicking for a stolen hat was enough violence for one day.

Friday, May 05, 2006

I thought this was a nifty little bit of trivia. Imagine someone describing American foreign policy as farsighted these days.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

I get a titillating masochistic sensation in my heart when I see the smokers now pushed outside of pubs by legislation pulling sad lonely drags from their cigarettes while they attempt to keep warm. As I make my way home, I keep an eye out for these huddled wretches so I can relish in their misery. Today I got a nice treat. One man stood in the doorway of a pub on his own. He was the twin of Buster Keaton. The po-faced expression. The lanky and floppy limbs. He was even smoking like the silent film comedian. He took long exaggerated drags that sucked his cheeks between his teeth. He then pulled his head back as if avoiding a slap; next he threw his head forward as to spit and blew out great blue-grey billows of smoke. He did this a number of times with his arms rigidly at his sides. He gave a jump of shock when he saw me staring and smiling as I continued down the other side of the street. He grabbed the cigarette between his two forefingers and looked sheepishly in another direction.

More than seeing smokers suffer, I love catching another human in that pure and unreflective state. That wonderful time when our self-consciousness is forgotten and we behave as our true selves. To me that is when a human is the most beautiful. It is usually only when we are alone and without any concerns or care. That it is why it is such a rarity for someone else to witness. I smiled and winked when he caught my gaze. Just a little thanks for having been able to see another as they really are. I hope he has someone to go home to and tell the story of getting caught acting goofy and I hope he tells the story with a laugh and a smile.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Whatever it is, I want two!