Tuesday, October 3 2000
People keep writing to tell me that my website is blocked by censorware, the software that schools, libraries, corporations and airports install in answer to the perennial question, "What are you doing about the children?" Censorware is, of course, one of those answers that demands the question, "are we asking the right question?" But we're all intelligent people here and I'm sure we all agree that censorware isn't the hippest technology on the internet. (I get a kick out of the fact that right wing house speaker Dick Armey's website is censored because, well, it's about a Dick.) I've found an informative website that keeps track of the latest developments in censorware technology called Censorware.org. The way I see things, eventually my website will be vindicated by history, which is still having a good self-conscious chuckle over the censorship of Ulysses and the Diary of Anne Frank.
This afternoon I had a meeting with the CEO of the British version of the website about my latest workplace task: lead developer of the UK site. The CEO is a pleasant, attractive British woman. We seemed to get along rather well.
In the evening I watched the first presidential debate between Al Gore and George W. Bush with my housemate John. Prior to this, I hadn't had the chance to see either man perform for such a prolonged period. What can I say? George W. Bush is even more of an idiot than I'd suspected. Genetics teaches us that, on average, the child of an extraordinary person has capabilities about midway between the unspectacular human average and the capabilities of the average of his two parents. If you combine this phenomenon with the softness that results from a life of luxury, it's easy to see why aristocracies fade into inbred incompetence over the course of a couple generations. It should come as no surprise, then, that the spoiled fratboy son of one of America's most mediocre presidents is himself about as remarkable as a half-full plastic bottle of Heinz Ketchup. This is not to say that Al Gore doesn't come across as a sweating, condescending opportunist, but at least there's a little fire in his eyes indicating someone left the light on in there. When I look into the mechanically blinking bullet holes that pass for George W. Bush's eyes, I see nothing at all (certainly nothing more than I saw in Dan Quayle's). The only time Bush doesn't blink is when he sends another poorly-defended retarded teenager to his death.
Then, immediately after the debate, the ever-so-helful commentators were making as though somehow the former drunken coke-fiend had won, simply because he hadn't started crying or pulled out a gun and shot himself in the head. For a country that likes to think of itself as being at the top of the human totem pole, we sure have a low standard for our highest elected official.
So who do you think won the debate?
Earlier in the day I'd found an entire collection of old bowling trophies in one of those large plastic trashcans peculiar to Santa Monica. For some reason they'd been thrown out with several dozen eggs, making a rather disgusting scenario for me to fish around in, considering my inexplicable congenital oviphobia. But the trophies featured little metal men with 50s haircuts frozen in mid-bowl. I thought they'd be useful for some sort of kitschy art project. So I brought one home. When John saw it, he thought we should go back and get the rest. So off we drove.
The trashcan had accumulated considerably more trash since I'd seen it earlier today, and this made our mission considerably less pleasant than previous alley excursions. While we breathed through our mouths and pushed aside bags of unmentionable disgustica to get to the trophies beneath, a cute woman drove up and parked in a nearby garage. "You know what we're not getting?" John asked me. "What?" I asked. "A date with her!" We had a good laugh over that one.
Back at the house I hosed the trophies down, getting rid of wads of clinging toilet paper and god knows what. As John pointed out, they don't make metal and wood trophies like these anymore. From the dates some of them were awarded, they all seemed to have been made in the early 70s.
This got me to thinking about the cruel tragedies that befall most of the purposes to which life is applied. In this case, it seems likely that someone devoted the bulk of his free time to bowling. But when he died, the first thing his heirs did was throw away his awards and then unthinkingly besmirch them with household waste. It was left to me to find them and give them another life a kitschy artifacts in some as-yet-unimagined art project, further insulting the memories of somebody's life work: award-winning bowling talent.
Fernando came over and we all decided to walk down to the funky coffee shop on the corner of Rochester and Centinela. I've been entertaining the idea of making that my hangout ever since I moved to West LA, but only in the absence of my former cripplingly-jealous girlfriend can I actually pursue this plan.
What with its dim lighting, red walls and faded baroque furniture, the place feels like an opium den. A couple freaky-looking geek guys were in there typing on their respective non-networked laptops while a pair of lovebirds on the couch conversed in Russian. I drank an extremely strong cup of coffee and John drank tea, which he revived later with a refill of hot water. We mostly talked about my brother and Fernando's brother (who has various behavioral problems and is causing Fernando to consider moving out of his parent's house). It's a fun coffee shop, but to get used to going there I'm going to initially need someone like John so I don't just hang out there with no one to talk to.
We walked up to Rubios in hopes that it would still be open (John had some coupons for free fish tacos), but it was closed. So we wandered through the alleys, Fernando being a good sport and helping us look for valuable things to bring home with us. (There were none.)
For linking purposes this article's URL is:feedback
previous | next