Monday, December 18, 2006

Natasha Lyonne turns herself in after threatening to sexually molest a dog.

You can read about it here.

And the biggest surprise, she actually said "I'm going to sexually molest your dog."

Is it possible to be classier and more charming than Britney Spears' faux non-chalant (if it's faux-non, does that mean it's chalant?) beave-sposure? I think so. Natasha just proved it.

Mel Gibson and Mark Foley ought to take a lesson from Ms. Lyonne. This is the kind of thing that you say when you have an alcohol or drug problem. Not something about the jews. Not asking a 16 year old boy about a potential semi, but "I'm going to sexually molest your dog."

In other, more serious news, a Houston-area serial rapist and mugger has been targetting men. Five rapes have been reported; policed are concerned that there be many more men who are too ashamed to come forward.

Years ago, women were often reluctant to come forward after a rape, because rape was a failure of their virtue. Obviously, if they'd been chaste enough, careful enough, modest enough; it wouldn't have happened. Decades of counseling and public relations and feminism have finally allowed many more women to come forward; the culture has changed.

But these men have not benefited. When a man is raped, it is a failure of his manhood. If he had been stronger, more masculine, better at defending himself; it wouldn't have happened. We're in need of a cultural change that allows men who have been sexually victimized to report it.

Part of me wonders if this mugger is just completely taking advantage of the fact that men will not report rape, and is just hoping that his young (most in their late teens) victims will be too ashamed of the rape to report the robbery.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

I feel like I'm training to be a ninja.

I could go into it longer, but that's all I really want to convey.

Law school=ninja school.


Me=Ninja in training.

Vast Media Conspiracy.

It must be.

The New York Times must be owned and directed by some extraordinarily saavy conservative think tank, with the express goal of making coastal progressive types hateable. Because some of their articles serve no purpose but to make wealthy urbanites seem like effete, clueless assholes (shitbird one-upsmanship, etc, tm Paul V.)

This article in the Sunday Times could not possibly have been written as a genuine piece of journalism. It's about wealthy New Yorkers, who feel terribly oppressed by having to make conversation with baristas, doormen, masseuses, and others. Apparently, instead of developing adult strategies to extract themselves from conversation, or just learning to enjoy human interaction, these poor, set-upon people have had to endure banter from service professionals, for years now.

"THERE are days when Shannon Lanier, a producer at CBS Television, is too tired to have conversations with his doormen, all of whom are brimming with stories, none of which are brief. Sometimes, on his way up to his Bronx apartment, he dashes by them, pretending to be in a hurry. Occasionally he acts as if he’s on his cellphone.

“You don’t want to blow them off, because they’re nice and helpful, but the last thing you want to do is stand there and have a conversation when you’re so close to being home,” he said. It’s especially bad during this time of year. “They’re definitely extra chatty because they’re trying to get that holiday tip,” Mr. Lanier said."

Poor Mr. Lanier. I wonder if he didn't know his building had a doorman, before he moved in. And now, every day, he's accosted by having to make some kind of brief conversation. Mr. Lanier even understands that as a tipped professional, the doorman must depend on some form of individual gratuity as part of his compensation. And yet Mr. Lanier doesn't know what to do. Mr. Lanier is upset. And disturbed. Why don't these proles know their place?

"many people find it annoying to be cornered by a loquacious stranger, especially one whom they’re paying.

Lauren Booth, a legal recruiter in Manhattan, said that the barista at her Starbucks loves to yak away while whipping up peppermint mocha lattes and Guatemalan-blend coffees for his customers. He once told Ms. Booth a lengthy tale about his son finding his hidden Christmas presents early; he regularly gives her unsolicited advice about rearing her infant daughter; and he recently brought in pictures from his vacation and made her flip through the stack as he reminisced.

Though she had to get to work, Ms. Booth felt compelled to listen. “You can’t be rude to him,” she said. “I drink only decaf and if I make him mad, he might give me caffeine and I’ll be shaking all day.

Oh, Ms. Booth. It's tragic. Have you considered, perhaps, not going to Starbucks? Because, I'm sure, as a "legal recruiter" you have enough money to buy an espresso machine and make your own goddamned decaf drinks. In silence.

As a former Barista, this is what I know about Ms. Booth from that paragraph:
  • 1. She sucks so bad.
  • 2. Since she is "held captive" by that savage barista, I know that she's not getting a plain decaf coffee or tea. She must be getting a drink from the bar. Something that takes a while, and makes her wait anyway. Possibly a decaf latte. Almost definitely nonfat. I bet no foam, too. (No foam people mostly suck, with very few exceptions. They think that the addition of foam just takes up space in the cup, and "that's how they screw ya")
  • 3. She feels victimized easily. This is the kind of woman who, if the waitress forgets that she wanted her spinach steamed and no skin on her chicken breast, slumps in her chair and pouts, tips ten percent, and then, three days later, calls the manager.

Ms. Booth, make your own beverage if you don't want the human interaction that comes with it. If you'd feel too put-upon, making your own coffee in the morning, then perhaps order something that gets you back on your way sooner. If neither of these solutions appeal to you, maybe try acting like an adult and say "You know, I appreciate the conversation, but ..."

"Melissa Hobley, a publicist at Coburn Communication in Manhattan, said she has a high tolerance for talkative people, given that she is one herself. But she recently met her match in her new housekeeper, who likes to talk incessantly about everything from her own life to where Ms. Hobley shops. Even her housekeeper’s notes are lengthy.

“She’s sweet, so it wasn’t offensive,” Ms. Hobley said, “but it felt like a tornado had just come in the room.”"

Poor Ms. Hobley. She has to make time to talk to a servant. Nothing makes it more clear than Ms. Hobley's tragic situation, that this isn't about being pressed for time. This isn't about being tired on the way into the building. This isn't about being scared to piss off the all-powerful barista who might give you caffeine (watch out, maybe he'll slip some trans-fats in there, too, and you'll die.) this is about not wanting to be bothered to be pleasant or human to people who are below you.

Poor Ms. Hobley. Poor Ms. Booth. Poor Mr. Lanier. They have to interact with people who make less money than they do. They may have to listen to stories that aren't immediately interesting to them. They may have to endure some momentary disruption of their schedule on a regular basis.

If you don't want to interact with human beings, then don't contract for their services. Period. The end. Make your own coffee, open your own door, wax your own vulva, cut your own hair.

Or, if you really, really need that coffee, that spanking-clean mons, that whatever-the-hell doormen do, then campaign for a universal living wage, like poor, crazy Grace Ross. If nobody needs tips to survive, then maybe baristas won't have to guess how to ingratiate themselves, and will focus instead on delivering quality beverages instead of social stroking.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

In the library, night before the first law school exam...

Just a thought.

You couldn't really ever write a movie about being a 1L that accurately conveys the experience. But it would make a bitchin' montage.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Al Jefferson: My soulmate in peril.

Rumors abound that Al Jefferson, Delonte West, Theo Ratliff, and Sebastian Telfair are about to be traded to Philadelphia.

Tonight, I've gone through the five stages of mourning.
  • Denial: Won't happen. Danny Ainge isn't going to trade his only big man for rapidly aging (though prolifically scoring) ego.
  • Anger: Wait, Danny Ainge would trade his only big man for four girl scouts and a quantity of smoked meat to be named later, if he thought it would also include a draft pick in 2011. Must burn things. Must break things. Must bite things.
  • Bargaining: If Al Jefferson stays a Celtic, I'll dedicate my life to the public interest. I'll teach children to read. I'll stop trying to teach my boyfriend's parrot Maoist slogans. I'll go out of my way to wave at the homeless guy; anything, if Al gets to stay.
  • Depression: This is it. This is the end. Life is not worth living. These last two wins were just a taste of joy that I will never again experience. This is the end of watching basketball, and thus the end of my relationship. And, without a supportive boyfriend AND without the spiritual guidance of my soul mate, Al Jefferson- what's the point in continuing this law thing.
  • Acceptance: Not fucking there yet, buddy.
In all seriousness, I love Al Jefferson. He is my soulmate. We are as close as two people who have never met, and have only ever been in the same room insofar as the TD Banknorth Garden or the Meadowlands are rooms, can possibly be. We are as similar as a 21 year old, high-school educated African-American NBA player who grew up as an orphan in rural Mississippi and a 24 year old over-educated pudgy law student from the suburbs can be. By that I mean that we both enjoy pie and have had unpleasant experiences in New Jersey.

Al Jefferson doesn't want to leave Boston. He told Mike Gorman that he didn't want to leave; he told him that he thought it was important that the team stay together. Al Jefferson said that the Celtics don't need Allen Iverson, and they don't. Al Jefferson is maturing, and learning to temper his talent with good judgment. He's rebounding, blocking, and scoring like a future all-star. So of course Danny Ainge is going to trade him.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Allow me to be petty, for a moment:

I posted a letter, significantly more mature and serious in tone, but basically repeating the points below, on Salon.Com, in response to an interview with a nutritionist regarding the trans fat ban.

As I really don't believe in continued trolling of those I don't agree with (ahem, guy.) I'll post my responses to the responses that my letter generated:

"Chas", wrote "Actually, trans-fats are poison, before you take hobolawstudent too seriously, check out the book (written by this shady looking character who, if he's done any research or holds any credentials other than a snazzy website, doesn't see fit to list them, oh, and he was apparently sued for fraud in the mid-90s) Trans fats never existed in nature, for good reason: human metabolism turns them into toxins. "

Chas makes three errors here:
One, he cites a pop-nutrition book by someone who stands to profit greatly (by selling you his special snake flaxseed oil, instead of a scientific study, journal article, or even article from a reputable news source. It's ok that he does- it doesn't make him a bad person. Just not very scientifically aware.

The second and the third are neatly contained within this sentence: "Trans Fats never existed in nature, for good reason: human metabolism turns them into toxins"
Things that exist in nature that will kill you:
-Snake Venom
-Cone Snails
-Rocks (when falling)
-Brightly Colored Frogs

Natural does not equal good. Artificial does not equal bad. I'll admit, trans fats aren't healthy. But neither are water, if it's over your head, or air, if it's in your veins.

Also it displays a shocking ignorance of evolution, biology, botany, and and several other -ologies that "Chas" believes that things that are bad for humans will not be found in nature. I would not like to go hiking with Chas.

"Chas...don't lick that. You don't know where it's been."
"But things that harm me won't be found in nature! A man named Udo said so!"
I don't want to degenerate into a personal attack on Chas.

So here are a sampling of other statements about trans fats that, I think, aren't scientifically backed by any, well, science.

Trans fats, apparently "aren't broken down in the body"; but if they aren't, then how does the "human metabolism turns them into toxins"?

And what are Trans Fats? And how do they hurt you? "Trans fat is dangerous for human beings. It shouldn't be injested, just like tar and bleach and paint shouldn't be injested", (tar and bleach and paint make terrible donuts), and it's "slow-acting poison. (like) cyanide or arsenic in the food supply."

So, apparently, trans fats are poisons, that act slowly in the body, and should never be injested, because they are dangerous, but are never broken down in the body, except when they're turned into toxins. I see.

I don't just want to make fun of these people. (Well, a little.) See, it's not that I love trans fats. It's that I'm deeply disturbed when people don't criticize the information they're given. None of these people listed their sources, or explained a mechanism of action. I bet, if you asked them, they couldn't list (except for our friend chas, who has a problem differentiating between objective and subjective sources) where they got the ideas they have about trans fats, and exactly how trans fats do these things that they think they do.

Just as not to be a hypocrite; I just took a minute and did a search for scholarly articles on trans fats, to see if I could find out what they do, exactly, and what the mechanism of action is.

  • Because trans fats become saturated fats, they raise the risk of insulin resistance and type two diabetes in the same way that saturated fats do. (Odegaard, Et al "Trans Fatty Acids, Insulin Resistance, and Type II Diabetes"
  • Trans fats raise "bad cholesterol" and lower "good cholesterol", and thus, raise the risk of heart disease. Good review article. Canadian. Citation later.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

New York finds a way to raise cost of living even higher.

So New York banned trans fats in all restaurants, in a bold move to make one of Americas most expensive cities even more expensive and less fun. Trans fats are lovely things to cheap restaurants: they make cookies soft, french fries crisp, and pizza greazy. Now that trans fats are banned, every food seller will have to switch from cheap, stable hydrogenated vegetable oils to more expensive products.

Please, Boston- you decided to follow New York's lead on banning smoking, getting rid of convenient, reasonably priced tokens in favor of overpriced easily lost plastic cards- we forgive you. Just don't follow New York's lead on this.

Most people who are for banning trans fats don't even know what trans fats are. I'll explain them, so you all (you all being the four people who read this blog) feel cool. "Fats" are long strings of fatty acids, which are connected to each other with two bondy guys, or with one bondy guy. If all the bonds on the long string of fatty acids are made with two bondy guys, it's a saturated fat. If some of the bonds on the long string of fatty acids have only one bondy guy, its a poly-unsaturated fat. If only one of the bonds on the long string of fatty acids have one bondy guy, it's a mono-unsaturated fat. If the first single bondy guy is on the third link in the chain, it's Omega 3. If the first single bondy guy is on the sixth link in the chain, it's Omega 6.

Either kind of unsaturated fat makes health nuts orgasm uncontrollably all over themselves, currently.

A trans fat starts out as an unsaturated fat, but then some sciency guy or process makes one single bondy guy into a double bondy guy. This turns a fat which was "cis", or all straight looking, into one that's "trans", or all bendy looking.

It doesn't take vegetable oil and turn it into pure evil that waits in your cells to kill you later. It takes a cheap, liquid fat and makes it behave like an expensive, solid fat. Also, it may raise your bad cholesterol. But you could always eat less damned fat anyway.

It used to be that New Yorkers had a reputation for being thick skinned, jaded, cynical people who ate pizza and hot dogs and pretzels while chain-smoking and watching people get mugged. And now New Yorkers are worse than Californians. A city that once did nothing while Kitty Genovese was stabbed thirty times is now paralysed with fright over of one single extra hydrogen in the oil that fried their authentic Belgian-Style Frites served with an insoucient roasted red pepper aoli.

In fact, I'll up the ante.

If I get even one "outstanding" or similar code word- I will eat nothing but peanut butter sandwiches, and reasonable equivalents, every weekday in the month of February.

Yes, yes I do make really bad decisions.

Coffee and Peanut Butter.

If you are what you eat, I'm the roasted seed of a berry originally cultivated in ethiopia, ground and brewed into a tea, and also a salted, oily paste made of a legume native to Nigeria and originally called "nguba". Pretty exotic for a pasty and prosaic irish girl from the south shore.

All coffee, all peanut butter. And if I didn't drink so much coffee, I might be able to afford something other than peanut butter to eat.

However, I make bad decisions in life.

Here's another one!

I hereby swear that if I do well on my finals, I will eat, in recognition of its sustaining powers over this term, only peanut butter sandwiches, and drink nothing but coffee (and water) for one week (seven days) after evaluations come out in February.