DC Trip

 

I spent this last four day-weekend in Washington, DC.  It was so nice to be in a very cosmopolitan area, after being removed from such things, thanks to the army, for so long.  Its been a long 18 months.  Anyway…

I met a good friend of mine, who had never been to DC (I visited when I was in high school), and we pretty much did touristy things.  It was terribly warm and muggy.

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Highlights include shopping in Georgetown (though being fashionably assaulted by the hyper-homo manager of Club Monaco was really not too nice – that guy needs to calm it down a bit.) and seeing Rolling Thunder drive by the Lincoln Memorial.  I also got some great shots of orchids at the National Botanical Gardens.  The Adams Morgan district was way cool, I’d like to spend some more time there, with all its independant shops and restaurnats.  I got in some religious tourism the first day and went to the Franciscan Monestary, the Basilica, and the offices of the Archdiocese for the Military Services.  I did not get to visit the mandirs or the OCA Cathedral of St Nicholas, due to a nasty case of snoozebuttonitis.

  

As far as dining, I finally had the chance to visit Teaism, a tea house, after visiting it online.  I visited the Dupont circle location (twice), across the street from the Embassy of Tchad.  For lunch one day I visited Etete, an Ethiopian restaurant, which was ok, just ok.  I have had better in LA, plus the tej was bad and made me sick for the rest of the day.  While in Georgetown we visited Paolo’s for drinks and apps and we were going to go to Mie N Yu, which looked really interesting, but the host staff was terribly rude to my friends, refusing to seat them (again), so we went across the street to the retarded Bistro Francais, where the service was lacking and the food was substandard.

 I stayed on the Air Force base and made good use of the DC metro system.

 All in all it was ok, I learned I need to get a better camera bag and wear better shoes next time.

Apéritif?

One of my favourite apéritifs is Campari and tonic, with a lime.  The Ft Bragg liquor store finally sells it.  Until now I havent been able to find it any shops nearby, though it is about 3.50$ more here then in LA. I miss LA. Yum.  For those who are uninitiated into the culto di Campari, Campari is an Italian bitter made of a secret mixture of herbs, spices, and fruit.  www.campari.com www.campariusa.com

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 *photo from wikipedia, edited by me.

The liquor store here also sells one of my other favourite apéritifs, Pernod, a type of pastis.  Pastis, a reformulation of absinthe, is an anisette-flavoured liquor from France.  There are other brands besides Pernod, such a Ricard and 51.  Pastis is generally enjoyed as an apéritif, with a side of water and/or ice.  There are other anisette liqours that I enjoy such as ouzo, arak, or sambucca.

Al-Mormon

What if Al-Qaeda used Mormon tactics of persuasion?

n.b. no personal offense meant to anyone.

Daddy’s Babies

Giant Cockroach In Bathroom ‘A Harrowing,Kafkaesque Experience,’ Grad Student Says

Feb 2000. 

NEW YORK–  A routine toothbrushing turned into a profound exercise in nightmarish, existential horror Monday, when poverty-stricken Columbia University graduate student Marc Edelstein, 24, came across “the most gigantic cockroach this side of Gregor Samsa” in the bathroom of his one-room, walk-up efficiency.

“It was terrifying,” Edelstein told colleagues at the Ivy League university’s English department shortly after the encounter with the giant cockroach. “Every day, I can’t believe I am living in that apartment. The humiliations society forces me to undergo, just to get my stupid Ph.D, defy all rational, intellectual thought. Sometimes, when I wake up in the morning and see the squalor in which I live, it feels as if I’ve somehow found myself on trial before a group of faceless, bureaucratic agents for some horrible crime I didn’t commit, and no one will even explain to me what my crime was.”

Edelstein, whose combined rent and tuition far exceed his meager earnings from work-study grants and a part-time job as a teaching assistant, has struggled with an insect problem ever since moving into the 108th Street and Broadway apartment in the fall of 1997.

Edelstein called the cockroach “a deeply disturbing symbol of the alienation and pain seemingly inherent in every aspect of modern grad-student life.” What’s worse, he said, the enormous insect so paralyzed him with “intense, soul-searing fear” that he was unable to kill it before it escaped down the drain.

“This wretched, prehistoric creature,” Edelstein said, “has survived to torment me anew another day–a day of reckoning that, although I know in my heart is soon to come, I am nonetheless powerless to prevent.”

The doctoral candidate is no stranger to hardship. In March 1999, Edelstein called his part-time job at the hot-dog eatery Gray’s Papaya “a vision of underpaid, overworked, meat-flinging degradation and brutality that I dare say would not be out of place within the pages of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle.” Despite mounting student-loan debts, Edelstein quit the food-service job in August 1999 in “a vitriolic burst of invective and abuse rivaling the most impassioned deliverances of Alexander Pope.”

Edelstein has also suffered “innumerable indignities” at the hands of his landlord, Randy Bosio, whom the tortured scholar described to his dissertation advisor as “a fetid, shambling, coin-rattling wraith of a man who brings to mind one of the more unsavory, shadow-dwelling denizens of Dickensian London.” On other occasions, Edelstein has likened his landlord to one of the nightmarish “Mugwump” creatures from William S. Burroughs’ Naked Lunch, claiming that Bosio’s sole directive is “to attach himself to the flesh of the innocent and suck them dry.”

Said Bosio: “Something about that kid just ain’t right. Once, I let myself into his apartment when he wasn’t home, just to fix the sink, and when he got back and found me there, he accused me of ‘an Orwellian invasion of individual privacy,’ whatever that meant.”

Edelstein’s woes were compounded last October, when his eight-month relationship with Meredith Astor, the 26-year-old daughter of prominent New York arts patrons James and Patricia Astor, ended in a devastating breakup, prompted by Meredith’s shame over Edelstein’s low social standing.

“It was your basic F. Scott Fitzgerald situation,” said Edelstein officemate Howard Underwood, who started dating Astor shortly after the split. “After Meredith left him, he plunged into a turbulent maelstrom of drink and despair. Every night was a nonstop party, a denial-fueled attempt to escape the inevitable collapse of the artificial world he had created for himself, masking his inner desperation and decay under a superficial veneer of false, empty revelry.”

“I had to start picking up some of his T.A. hours because he wasn’t showing up for discussion section,” said Underwood, who will marry Astor in June. “Pathetic, really, much like the eventual fall of the gilded, faux opulence of the Jazz Age.”

“Meredith’s WASP-y, socialite, upper-crust parents never approved of me,” Edelstein said. “Tight-lipped, goyish, Edith Wharton archetypes. I know she never would have left me if it weren’t for the mannered, insufferable manipulations of her high-society family. Hello? The novel of manners has long since been supplanted as a reflection of prevailing social mores, people!”

After enduring such “infernal, Dantean torments of the soul,” Edelstein said the cockroach incident was “the last straw,” prompting him to decide to leave Columbia.

“That’s it. After staring down at the writhing legs of that foul, accursed insect, I felt the horror of the void permeating my being to its deepest core, and I realized I cannot go on here at Columbia,” Edelstein told his mother during a long-distance collect call shortly after his run-in with the cockroach. “I’m transferring to the University of Mississippi. Flannery O’Connor says a good man is hard to find? Well, a good graduate program is hard to find! I know I said I’d never do it, and that if I had to live in a horrible redneck cesspool of a state like Mississippi, I’d become so estranged from my surroundings that I’d end up like that Eudora Welty character who lives at the post office, but I’ve had it with New York. I can’t go on.”

“I’m giving up. Do you hear me, O cold, unfeeling universe?” shouted Edelstein, standing atop his building’s roof. “You’ve won, you impenetrable void of utter meaninglessness! You have destroyed me at last!”

“The horror… the horror…” he added.

The Onion

GOD SPEED MOON CAT

My Pick for Eurovision 2007…

Slovenia! Alenka Gotar with Cvet Z Juga. Great song and hot video.

Runner Up: Bosnia & Herzegovina: Marija Sestic with Rijeka Bez Imena

School evacuated over condoms

From Metro.co.uk

A school in America was evacuated last Thursday after officials were alerted to a suspicious package – which turned out to be a box of condoms.

The condoms – which, despite the current administration’s distaste for sex education programs, aren’t actually dangerous – were delivered to Des Moines Area Community College in Iowa on Thursday.

College authorities called in the police and postal inspectors to investigate the package. What they found was a box of 500 condoms.

The condoms had been sent to the teacher of a class on human sexuality, by a previous speaker in the class.

Authorities somehow resisted the urge to destroy the condoms in a controlled explosion.

Federal Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Programs Not Proven Effective in Delaying Sexual Activity Among Young People

Final Report on Federally Funded Programs Released Today

[SIECUS.org] NEW YORK, NY— After years of delay in its release, a federally supported evaluation of abstinence-only-until-marriage programs funded under the 1996 federal welfare reform law has proven the programs ineffective in changing teens’ sexual behavior.  The report, conducted by Mathematica Policy Research Inc. on behalf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, found no evidence that abstinence-only programs increased rates of sexual abstinence. Also, students in the abstinence-only programs had a similar number of sexual partners as their peers not in the programs, as well as a similar age of first sex.

“This report should serve as the final verdict on the failure of the abstinence-only industry in this country,” said William Smith, vice president for public policy of the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS).  “It shows, once again, that these programs fail miserably in actually helping young people behave more responsibly when it comes to their sexuality,” Smith continued.

In 1996, the federal government attached a provision to the welfare reform law establishing a federal program for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs.  This program, Section 510(b) of Title V of the Social Security Act, dedicated $50 million per year to be distributed among states that choose to participate.  States accepting the funds are required to match every four federal dollars with three state-raised dollars (for a total of $87.5 million annually, and $787.5 million for the eight years from fiscal year 1998 through 2006).  Programs that receive the Title V funding are prohibited from discussing methods of contraception, including condoms, except in the context of failure rates.

On a call yesterday organized by the Abstinence Clearinghouse, abstinence-only proponents were clearly rocked by the potentially ruinous news in the report.  High profile abstinence-only advocate, Robert Rector, led the preemptive damage-control planning.  He outlined several strategies the abstinence-only movement could use to rationalize the findings in the report saying, “The other spin I think is very important is not [program] effectiveness, but rather the values that are being taught,” Rector said.  Whether or not these programs work is a “bogus issue,” Rector continued.  

Whether or not these programs are effective is the single most important issue.  Existing research has already shown that comprehensive programs that include messages about both condoms and abstinence have been proven effective, and yet, federal and state governments continue to dump millions of dollars into abstinence-only-until-marriage programs that are not effective, and, in fact, have been shown to cause harm,” continued Smith

Eight states have already made the decision to refuse Title V money.  The overwhelming feeling in these states has been that the money came with too many strings attached, was ineffective in achieving its goals, and promoted extremist policies. Even with increasing numbers of states recognizing the waste and futility of the Title V spending, a federal legislative solution is still needed to ensure that proven, comprehensive sexuality education gets the funding it needs.  

“This Congress has a momentous opportunity to end the charade and use these federal funds to support programs that actually work,” said Smith.  “We fully expect this Congress to look at the government’s own commissioned evidence set forth in this report and end funding for these failed and ideologically driven programs,” Smith continued. 

The program under scrutiny in the report is set to expire on June 30, 2007 unless Congress takes some action to extend it.

The King is Dead, Long Live the King

The passing of the guidon was today.  We said farwell to CPT Fickel and welcomed CPT Parker aboard.  Poor CPT Parker has no idea what he has just gotten into…  Really is too bad that we are losing CPT Fickel, but he is moving on. 😦  We wish him luck.  We also lost 1LT Thompson, but she will be close by and we’ll have 1LT Burns.  Best of luck to both the outgoing command staff and the incoming. 

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A.M. LaVey

AML1, originally uploaded by Massagewallah.

Vote for this photo @ http://www.jpgmag.com/photos/145493 !!!