Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Too little to worry about?

Not enough on our minds, maybe?

A bit too relaxed on a Monday morning?

Need to be jolted awake?

Maybe. Else how can we explain the decision to fly a jet – oh, not just any jet, by the way: Air Force One – low over Wall Street without any advance notification. Chased by two warplanes. Because, really, what's a low-flying jumbo jet over Manhattan without a couple of warplanes on its tail.

The FAA and NYPD knew in advance, of course. And made the decision – issued by memo – not to spill the beans. That would've spoiled the surprise. And thousands of workers would have missed the much-needed exercise they got evacuating skyscrapers.

So to do a quick crisis inventory, we've got the financial crisis (in various flavors), the foreclosure crisis, the automotive crisis, the global warming crisis, the Afghanistan/Pakistan/Taliban crisis, the ongoing healthcare crisis, the Social Security crisis and I can't even remember the other crises. Obama's going to have to grow extra hands to keep plugging the dike. And on top of all that fun, people in positions of authority gave a thumbs up to a federal photo-op within crashing distance of Ground Zero.

Maybe they were right. Someone does need to be jolted awake.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Real Writers Need Not Apply

Actual posting on CraigsList:

Fictional Writer Wanted (Greenwich Village)

Reply to: see below
Date: 2009-02-08, 10:12AM EST

Looking for fictional writer with an MFA or finishing an MFA to revise/re-write novel. Don't have time, myself, to revise. Please submit two page writing sample to alvaroalban@hotmail.com along with CV. Please include the following under subject of email: "Pamela Project" Thanks. Please only serious fictional writers with credentials respond.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Suck on THIS

Well folks, it's my sad duty to report another sports doping scandal – and this one involves regular dope. Yes, Olympic champion Michael Phelps is in hot bongwater. A fine, upstanding British newspaper, the News of the World, which exists primarily to make the New York Post look like responsible journalism, published a picture of Phelps diving headfirst into an encounter with a large marijuana facilitation apparatus. Phelps used the device right out in the open at a university party. Apparently he spends so much time underwater he was unaware that most college students today carry camera phones.

In a statement made after his mellow was harshed, Phelps acknowledged his "bad judgment" and "regrettable behavior." Regrettable indeed. Phelps has millions of dollars in endorsement deals and stands to lose some or all of that money. Why? Because apparently being unmasked as a "mary jane" addict makes him less credible as a spokesman for Kellogg's Frosted Flakes. Really? I would argue the opposite – who knows more about sugary cereal than a stoner?

Now some will say Phelps is setting a poor example for children. Why's that? Because he's demonstrated that a person can partake of the ganja and also be an Olympic multiple gold medalist? In fact, there is a long, proud tradition in sports of athletic excellence coupled with substance use. Do the words "Mickey Mantle" mean anything to anyone? And it's not just sports: Kate Moss has shown that supermodeling is compatible with cocaine. And Jimi Hendrix … Well, let's get back to Michael Phelps.

Is Michael Phelps an example of how even a superstar athlete at the top of his game, with so much to lose, can make a tragic mistake? Or does he in fact represent evidence that possibly, for some people, maybe a lot of people, marijuana is not so different from alcohol, which last I checked continues to be on the list of legally abusable substances. You probably shouldn't smoke dope for breakfast, and you definitely shouldn't drive or for that matter go shopping under its influence, but for an adult it has now been shown that marijuana in moderation doesn't prevent you from being an Olympic gold-medal athlete, in fact, the best in the world, in fact, possibly the greatest ever in your sport. For all we know, marijuana is the single most important element of Phelps' training regimen, delivering the relaxation he needs to help him cope with the fact that for the last 15 years he's spent 10 hours a day wearing a Speedo and silly goggles and compulsively swimming laps like that polar bear in the Central Park Zoo. Maybe that redness is his eyes isn't just the chlorine.

If there's one thing I'd like to see our society quit cold turkey, it's forcing our so-called role models to disingenuously disavow doing things we know they as well as the rest of us are doing. Can we all enroll in a 12-step program to try to kick our addiction to hypocrisy, would that be possible, America? Or am I just high?