Sunday, April 29, 2007

Sweet Nothings

M and I exchange our own peculiar endearments that may seem odd to most. This stems from his wacky sense of humor and strange concept of sweet talk. While some may not seem so odd if said in the Western cultural context, they are occasionally touchy in our own cultural background. Yet, I know him well enough to appreciate some of his comments as well intended, if slightly confused attempts at sweetness. A recent example: he pointed to the new baby orangutan at the Phoenix Zoo last year and said, "She looks just like you!" I love baby orangutans and all, but their look isn't one I aspire to. Yet, there was a certain cuteness in the way he said it that didn't appall me--even if being called a monkey is a huge insult in our culture (is it not in any culture?). Of course, I like to think I look nothing like this:

What he said yesterday though, still bugs me. He was walking into the other room, stopped, looked at me with an attempt at identifying something and walked on.

"What was that", I asked.

"Oh, nothing. You just look like the Queen of England with your hair like that. "

The look of WTH?! made him rephrase, "Oh, not exactly like her. Younger, and your hair isn't as stiff as hers."

I love you too, baby.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

An Excellent Judge of Character

Remember Disney's Aladdin? A street beggar finds a magic lamp, that has the genie that grants him wishes that will help him win the girl (and eventually the kingdom, but mostly the girl). Well, when Aladdin (aka Prince Ali) bursts into the Sultan's palace, the Sultan giddily reassures his worried Dark Prince of a minister, Jaffar, that he is 'an excellent judge of character'.

I thought of that line as I was reading about Randall Tobias, the Bush Administration's deputy for HIV/AIDS prevention in Africa. Apparently Mr. Tobias, who promotes the ABC approach to HIV/AIDS prevention for others had to resign when ABC News found he had procured the services of an escort agency. Mr. Tobias told ABC News that 'he contacted the escort service "to have gals come over to the condo to give me a massage" and that there had been "no sex" involved' (are there no spas in the District?). Of course, all of this comes to light a few days after President Bush expressed confidence in Mr. Tobias and praised his efforts. Mr. Tobias, whose character the President admires, controlled the distribution of funds for prevention of a disease in Africa, preaching abstinence and the Administration's version of morality, while he himself engaged in assorted activities with prostitutes. I'm not sure how he intended to promote a lifestyle he couldn't adhere to himself to people half way across the world; I wouldn't want to call him a hypocrite. I do think however, there's something unacceptable about wagging your finger at people from a society with crippling disadvantages and possibly withholding life saving funds from them, if they don't listen to your stated philosophy of how they should live, regardless of how you are living yourself.

I know the President thinks he's an excellent judge of character. He repeated claims that he has talked to someone/looked into their eyes and found them to be worthy of his trust/goodwill/praise. In case you're a little rusty, allow me to remind you of his judgment of some of the folks he deals with in no particular order:

  • Dick Cheney (oh my God, the Dark Prince!), who accidentally shot his friend in the face and was somehow the victim when all was said and done
  • Vladamir Putin, whose soul the President looked into and found 'trustworthy'
  • Paul Bremer, who among other things, managed to lose $9B which is logistically hard to misplace and was honored for his accomplishments
  • Donald Rumsfeld (the other Dark Prince) who claimed 'stuff happens' when questioned about the death and destruction in Iraq
  • Michael 'Heck of a Job' Brown who was looking for a pressed shirt to wear for his interview while New Orleans was drowning
  • Michael Chertoff, who had to be told thousands were stranded in the Superdome and Convention Center by a NPR reporter during a live broadcast, angrily denied it, and later admitted he wasn't aware of events on the ground in a city that everyone in America was watching drown on television
  • Paul Wolfowitz , who launched a campaign of anti-corruption in Third World countries (denying World Bank assistance unless they addressed corruption issues) while he secured a tax free salary from various government funded sources for his special 'lady friend'...

I could go on, but I'll get back to Mr. Tobias and the President's excellent judgment. I don't care what a middle aged and balding man did with prostitutes, and pray to God I don't have to hear the details everywhere I go. I do care who fills this position next, someone who realizes that abstinence is not a realistic approach to disease prevention, not because it's a bad idea per se, but because it has been proven repeated to not work. In short, I hope who ever takes over for Mr. Tobias keeps his personal life personal , and comes up with a better solution than his predecessor.

Oh, and I hope Mr. Bush stops praising people, it is a sure sign they're really screwing up on the job.

Friday, April 27, 2007

So many thoughts, so little time

It's Friday night and I'm waiting for M to come home so we can go to dinner. Mmmm, sushi.

I have so many thoughts that I want to write about and post. Considering how much time I have spent thinking of my blog, you'd think I'd be prepared with a theme and direction. You'd be wrong; I chalk that up to the fact that you may not know me all that well. There are some things you should know about me for future reference.

I'm ridiculously indecisive. M literally refused to go to Baskin-Robbins with me for almost two years after an especially long trip there. We are barely recovering from that episode, and I fear he will one day suggest a quick trip to Cold Stone. That may end our ice cream adventures forever.

I have been known to procrastinate. Some would even call me a procrastinator. While it may be hard for some to believe, I really am capable of focusing better when I know I have a short amount of time. I don't think this is an especially good trait, but it is an unfortunate fact. It is not easy writing 20 something pages of coherent, collected thoughts on a business proposal two nights before the deadline. I have done it though, with good results.

I'm impatient. I have prayed for patience, and still cannot wait for any period of time. I panic and feel anxious when things take longer than I anticipated. Combine this charming trait with my inability to quickly decide and/or my tendency to procrastinate, and you will have an idea of the hell that I create for myself sometimes. Ok, a lot of the times.

I have thoughts. Lots and lots of thoughts. Garbled, mangled, well thought out as well as fleeting. They keep me up at night, haunt me in my sleep and ultimately impose themselves on unsuspecting audiences. I'm proud of some of them, not so impressed with some others. I don't think many of them have caused me shame (yet) and I do shame easily.

My greatest fear is that I will not matter. Not necessarily in a "No body loves me" kind of way-- which is part of it--but in a significant and meaningful way. If I don't wake up one day, what have I contributed to this world? What has my life been about? What will be remembered of me? I want to be more than someone who rearranges and shuffles stuff; I want to leave something behind.

There's plenty more, but it will come later. The appearance of this space will probably change. I know I won't stick to any particular topic or theme (sorry), but will try to write something as often as possible. Comment, I love knowing what people think.

(Hey, why wouldn't people love me?)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Pushing the Limits of Anonymity

I've been thinking of starting a blog for a long, long time. I've waited this long because I am used to being invisible. I am usually not brave enough to say what I think, and quite frankly with all the stuff out there, who cares what I have to say-- and I say a lot. On the other hand, I have always wanted to write and be discovered, preferably before I die.

Finally, I think the desire to write won over any logical reason I had for not writing. So here I am, in all my muddled glory. Enjoy.