Medical Update

Please excuse teh Mexigogue from submitting a regular blog entry. I have cancer of the face. My entire face has been eaten away and there’s nothing left but a grinning skull and two uncomprehending red eyes, it’s really quite embarassing. The recovery time is expected to take 24 hours or two pitchers of beer, whichever comes first.  Obey yo thirst.

Word

I don’t like it when people use words wrong. Sometimes when they do it it’s because a word with a technical meaning has become overused by people in general until it begins to take on non technical secondary meaning. Thus “alternative” which comes from the latin “alter” (the other of two), which originally meant the other of two choices (think heads or tails on a coin) now has come into general usage to mean simply “other option.” One choice is now said to have three or more “alternatives”, which was unthinkable in the original sense of the word. The general usage notes for that word in the dictionary have changed over time accordingly.

My children made a similar blunder when they recently were using the word “obsessed” to refer their fascination with video games. I told them obsessed was the wrong word to use if they were talking about a preoccupation that fell within normal parameters. Dictionary.com defines the word as:

ob·ses·sion (b-sshn, b-)
n.

  1. Compulsive preoccupation with an idea or an unwanted feeling or emotion, often accompanied by symptoms of anxiety.
  2. A compulsive, often unreasonable idea or emotion.

The key to the clincal definition of obsession are the words unwanted, anxiety, and compulsive. These do not properly describe my childrens’ love of video games, which I would describe as healthy and normal.

Another word that people tend to use wrong is the word anal as it relates to personality or behavior. I once heard someone say “that person is so anal!” I said “Do you even know what that means?” This person said “It means somebody’s being an asshole.” I laughed haha. Being anal and being an asshole can and sometimes do coincide, but that’s not what it means.

In Freud’s development of personality theory he used the term anal to refer to the stage of development where a child learns that pooping on himself, although mildly pleasurable, is frowned upon by society and viewed with a universal disgust. The child then learns to hold back his poopstivity until the proper time so as not to get this negative reaction. In short he learns to put up with short term mild discomfort (delaying his bowel movements) in exchange for the longer term payoff, hence the term anality.

This carries over past early childhood and manifests itself later in various forms. Some people, when parking their cars, like to take the extra time of backing into a parking space rather than driving straight into it. Even though this takes twice as long as just parking straight in they do this because they like to just drive straight out when it’s time to leave.

They argue that backing in saves them time but when you look at the overall amount of time they spending backing in plus zipping out at the end of the day their parking time exceeds the time of the person who parks straight in and then backs out to leave. But argue as well as you may these people won’t listen to reason. They’re the same people who like to hold their poop in until the last possible second, because they like the sound of super charged high pressure bowel movements so they can shock everyone within a three block radius and scare animals and small children. End of story, game over! Game over!

The Mighty Pinkerton Guards

I think they’re Pinkerton that guard the State buildings. Anyway one one of them confiscated my ID yesterday.

To preface suffice it to say that as a contract employee my state ID has to be renewed every year. Last year about this time the scrutinizing eye of the old guy Pinkerton guard caught the expired date on the identification that hangs around my neck when I was trying to get into one of the downtown buildings to deliver an envelope. No biggie, I thought. This guy is just doing his job, going through the motions of making everybody think he’s keeping the world safe from terrorism in the post 9/11 world (which is not the case). Let’s flashback:

September 12, 2001. I’m at work in my office’s then Okemos building and we have the front door of our leased building deadbolted. The day after 9/11 America had already begun taking precautions so we could make believe to ourselves that we were doing something about the terrorist threat. Pretty soon it wasn’t just deadbolted doors but universal IDs, sign in sheets, and key fobs to give us access to our own buildings.

Let me point out that Al Qaeda operatives, trained in Afghanistan and elsewhere, are routinely trained to become proficient not only in Russian and Chinese but in American weapons as well. They are trained to use explosives, often speak multiple languages, and also all sorts of nifty James Bond type things that we can only imagine. Those guys are elite. Are we really to believe that they will be foiled by a deadbolted door at the HIV/AIDS office? Are the Al Qaeda operatives to be overpowered by a 60 year old Pinkerton guard with a sharp eye for expiration dates? For that matter are the terrorists unable to forge State IDs with the correct dates? And finally the next time a jet plane is poised to slam into a giant building are we really going to accomplish anything by protesting that none of the hijackers are on the sign-in sheet?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for doing those things that can actually make a difference. You wanna have air marshalls on the planes? I think that’s a great idea. You wanna give the Guy in a UNLV Jacket a fully body cavity search at the airport because his shoes look suspicious? Go right ahead, whatever makes the airways safe. But DON’T tell me that the old guy stopping me at one of the state buildings is making the world safe from terrorism because a) I can’t fit terrorist device in and ID envelope and b) if the real Al Qaeda comes to get the MDCH this guys is not even a speedbump on the way in. He would be toast.

SO the guy confiscates my ID again yesterday and the reason it made me mad is because he’s the same guy who snagged my ID the last time it expired and although I’ve come to this building 40 times since then (of which he was there to wave me through 30 of those times) he never seems to remember me. SO I go back to my home office and tell them I have no more ID and they send me RIGHT BACK TO THE SAME BUILDING so I can get a form signed for a new ID.

So I was mad because of all the time I was wasting trying to match wits with this elite strikeforce of national security and evidently I looked so angry when I went back to the building that the security dude radioed ahead to the photo ID office that an angry individual was going to get his picture taken. I know he radioed ahead because when I got there I presented the form to the security person there and said “I’m here to get a State ID” and she responded “Yeah, we have to confiscate those when they’re expired, that’s our policy.”

I had said nothing to her about having my ID confiscated.

On the upshot when I got my picture taken I was still angry so my picture came out looking really cool because usually I’m nervous and just end up looking dorky. This one eminates pure baldhead and goateed evil so I’m happy with a picture of mine for the first time in about ten years. I’m going to scan this one and use it as my avatar in the future. So something positive did come out of yesterday’s events, even if the world wasn’t actually made safer for democracy.

Ultimate Battle

Bruce Lee versus The Wiggles.
leevwiggles.JPG

Any questions?

Touch Fouls

No this is not a post about Michael Jackson.

In the world of debate (proper) the times are seldom when your argument will actually render your opponent physically unconscious and unable to rise for a ten count. For that reason debates are almost always won or lost in the eyes of the spectators (even if the only spectators are the two people battling). Even people who have never been schooled in the art of formal debate tend to have an innate idea of fairness. Therefore, even if someone is not familiar with the term ‘ad homeneim’, he is still likely to regard the use of blatant character attacks as a foul and if you use these tactics they will often be judged against you. If our purpose is to ‘win’ the debate we should try to avoid these tactics (there are other purposes of debate which do not involve winning but I won’t enter into that here).

Sometimes, though, it would be advantageous to provoke your opponent to anger (or some other strong emotion) as this overflow of emotion often gets them to commit mistakes or even say something they really mean. It is for that reason that I sometimes employ the use of ‘touch fouls’, which is to say commit an offense so mild that a spectator might view it as inadvertent or even a mistake. Rather than the spectator blowing his ref whistle these fouls are often allowed to go unchecked but the opponent is sufficiently riled in order to begin the demise of the cool-headedness or (even better) provoke a blatant retaliatory attack. The best thing to do in this instance would be to become even more calm, then your opponent appears to be nutty.

One way to do this is to know your opponent’s sensitive points. If your opponent was hit by Hurricaine Katrina don’t refer to him as a victim, call him a “participant”. If he is advocating for people afflicted by an illness that has not reached consensus as a genuine medical diagnosis, make the quotes sign with your fingers every time you say illness. If your opponent is an evangelical Christian then refer to the prominent Biblical personages as “characters.”

These tactics, when used discreetly, are often enough to result in a frothy mouthed tirade that will help expose your opponent’s weaknesses and lose him points in the eyes of the spectators. Geoffrey Fieger tried this against then Michigan Attorney General candidate Jennifer Granholm by referring to her as “hysterical” for opposing his proposed crime fighting measures. The only thing was that she was smart enough not to be provoked to anger but I ended up voting for Fieger anyway just for having the balls to try the tactic.

Sometimes, when I think I’m ahead on points enough in a debate already, I will use these tactics just to irritate the other side and the debate will denigrate to clinches and rabbit punches which score nothing for either side and ultimately I win because I won the first rounds before some jackass started the cheap shots. Sometimes I do it just to amuse myself. There are some purists who would regard the use of touch fouls as the same as hard fouls and as such they would regard my tactics as dirty pool nonetheless. To those people I say “Go fuck yourself with something sharp, and God bless.”*

*the last line was stolen from Russ Martin in his response to a listener to wrote in to him that he needed to accept Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior and revamp his radio show style.

Sports

Go Miami. I’m from Miami so I can say that. I fondly remember my childhood, going to Miami Elementary School, Miami Junior High, and the day I proudly graduated from Miami High School. Go Miami Heat!!! Beat those other guys.

In other news Mexico beat Iran in their first World Cup game of the year. It was the first time in my life I watched soccer, almost a full half of it!!!

Bad Day!!

FIRST of all I had to get up an hour earlier for work so I’ve been tired all day. THEN I’ve been at work and I was all hungry. SO I got Popeye’s Chicken for lunch and the grease made me feel all icky. I got back to the office and immediately had to go to another building to pick up a document but when I got there everybody was at lunch. THEN on the way back here I got beat up by an EMO!! SO DON’T ASK ME HOW MY DAMN DAY IS GOING!!!!!!

The Day I Had a Feud

Summer of 1996 (or thereabouts):
Living at 822 Clayton, Guy in the UNLV Jacket is my roommate. I stop by Quality Dairy on West Willow and meet this chick named Gina who works there. I get her phone number and invite her over “to play cards”. That was the catchphrase back in the day. Gina agrees to come over and I tell UNLV, hey man, this chick looks good.

Gina indeed comes over but I don’t understand it. Whereas she had looked good when I saw her at the store she now looks crazy and she talks kind of crazy too. No matter, her body is still intact and after downing a bunch of beers everything is all good. We end up doing the watchacall.

It turns out Gina lives a block away from me so sometimes I spend the night over there. The more I learn about this chick though the more concerned I get. She has an infant child. I know this because one day she comes over (uninvited and unbeknownst to me) with the baby in a carrier and just sits on the front porch for an hour waiting for me. UNLV comes home and is like “Can I help you?” She says “I’m waiting for teh Mexigogue.” And she has an older kid who’s been taken away by the state. Asked why they took the first kid away, she responds that it’s because she smokes weed. No, says UNLV, they don’t take your kid away because you smoke weed. She must have done something else. At any rate she’s still on probation for something so periodically we have to hide our malt liquor bottles so her PO won’t find out she’s still drinking.

One day we get into an argument at her place and I say I’m about to leave she threatens to push me down the stairs if I try to go. I take a look down: the stairs are steep and hard. Fuck it, I sit down and eat teh chicken gizzards and hearts she has cooked (please, I need you to be more ghetto if that’s possible, this story still hasn’t reached rock bottom yet). At this point I’m really pissed off but I’m not gonna risk life and limb so I decide to wait it out. After she calms down I leave, determined nevermore to be involved with her. Walking away in one piece was a really liberating feeling that day.

The next time she calls trying to invite herself over I tell her it’s all done and that’s that. She asks what I’m talking about, I say she’s just too insane, even for me. She comes back with: “Aw motherfucker, you wanna feud!?!” I’m like what?? No! Where am I even gonna find a straw hat and a shotgun?? No I don’t want to feud, I want shit to just be over! Somehow I talked her down and all was well that ends well. I think I told her “It’s not you, it’s me.”

Yeah, it’s me: I’m just not fuckin’ nutty enough to be with someone like you. And I never got involved with anymore nutty chicks after that, the end!
Those were good days though. It was all part of the magic of living at 822 Clayton.

Clarity

Ok, this guy in Virginia was scheduled to be executed for a triple homicide he committed. His lawyers, however, had argued for and gotten a temporary stay of execution on the grounds that they claim their client is schizophrenic and does not understand the concept of death.

The temporary stay has been lifted and so the state has now been left to resolve this problem. Let’s see, they guy is sentenced to death but he really doesn’t understand the concept of death: what can the state do to make this more clear to him? Hmmmmmm. . . . . Nope, I’m not coming up with anything. Anyone out there got any ideas, this one’s got me stumped.

Free?

This keeps on happening. Once again DNA evidence has exonerated a man who had been imprisoned on a rape conviction. Once again we see a news article showing the face of a man who is happy just to be out. Once again it’s a black guy and once again he appears to show no bitterness to the system. I’m like what the FUCK?? If I was him as soon as they took the cuffs off the next article in the news would be about a lot of dead honkeys.

On the one hand stories such as these show what a great tool DNA testing is and it also shows the greatness of American jurisprudence on the willingness there is to right the wrongs of the system, which is to say overturning convictions. But as far as justice is concerned how do you repay these defendants for the many years they have served behind bars for crimes they did not commit? Is there monetary amount? Are you fucking kidding me?? No amount of dollars can repay someone for not only the hardships they endured in lockup but also for the amount of their life they have lost forever. You can’t get those years back! Dollars are not gonna do it, if this guy was falsely imprisoned for rape then he should be allowed to rape someone when he gets out. Can you imagine that?

“We’re really sorry for all the trouble you’ve been through. There is no monetary figure that will compensate you so when I take these cuffs off we’re gonna let you go on a tear. You have 24 hours, we will not hold you responsible for anything you do.”

Yeah. It would make juries think twice about convicting people in dubious cases “just to be on the safe side.” Reasonable doubt bitches!! Don’t ignore that part like it’s just in there as a formality.

And that’s another thing about our system of justice. On paper it’s the best in the world. We have the presumption of innocence for the defendant and the burden of proof being placed on the state. But in practical application when a jury walks into a courtroom and sees a guy in a yellow jumpsuit that guy looks guilty right off the bat. If his skin is black he looks even more guilty. Since the processes involved in judgment are largely subjective there is no getting around the fact that race plays a big part in our criminal judgment system and that really really sucks. There’s that old running joke about everybody in the penitentary claiming to be innocent. The truly terrifying other side to that is that some of them really are.

In discussing racism with my kids my sister once told them “The reason for the racism is that some people of certain groups act in a negative way and that ruins it for everybody because people then begin to think that everyone in the group is like that.” I corrected “The reason that racism exists is that some people are too stupid to know the difference between judging a group and judging the individual.”

Kudos to Phelps and anybody else who works for or otherwise supports the Innocence Project.