Location: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States

I'm just trying to develop an online body of work (even if the work is throwaway nonsense) to advance my writing career.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Step Into My Office

To begin with, what's the deal with this Taipei 101? For those of you who don't know--and I didn't until recently--Taipei 101 is the name of a nearly 1700 foot office building in the Taiwanese capital. Since its completion in 2004, it holds the official title of the world's tallest building and I, for one, object to this. It's not because the building isn't legitimately taller than Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur or the Sears Tower in Chicago, because it is, but if you thought those two looked a bit on the odd side, wait until you catch a glimpse of Taipei 101! This structure is not terribly attractive and in certain photographs looks downright hideous. It's also quite jarring because, unlike New York City, Hong Kong and Chicago, Taipei does not offer a titanic skyline, so Taipei 101 comes off like a behemoth among a bunch of runts (granted, the runts are probably 30 stories high). In fact, since the name they've given it sounds like an introductory college course, I think its official moniker should be "the Steroid Building."

The good news is no fewer than three world cities--Chicago, Dubai and New York--have already approved plans or begun construction on monstrosities even taller than Taipei 101 and they all promise to be less visually confounding. Even the one in Dubai, surrounded itself by relative midgets, appears far more intrinsically elegant.

Elsewhere in the world of office buildings, while riding in an elevator recently, I overheard one well-dressed man in his 30s explaining to another similar looking gentleman the ins and outs of Einstein's Laws of Motion. The second listened attentively and seemed interested and, I'll have to admit, the first did appear to have a rudimentary grasp of how the laws worked. The problem, however, was that the first man was actually explaining Newton's Laws of Motion, not Einstein's. Einstein, so far as I know, never conceived any Laws of Motion, or at least, he didn't call them that, even though his description of the photoelectric effect and his Special and General Theories of Relativity did a lot to explain how light traveled. I'm no authority either on Einstein's theories or Newton's Laws, but I at least know whose idea was whose. I didn't have the heart to tell Man #1 or Man #2; they both seemed much too impressed with themselves.

Office buildings are intriguing places because they often contain large numbers of people who work closely together but have nothing in common. In general, though not always, these people attempt to be friendly toward one another, with varying degrees of strain. That strain is either amusing or disheartening or both, depending on one's mood and worldview. I've heard black people asked why they never wash their hair and it was neither a joke nor an attack, but an innocent--albeit pathetically ignorant--question. Anyone with the last name "Lopez" or "Martinez" is presumed Mexican, and when a female co-worker said she was from Nicaragua and not Mexico, someone asked her "what's the difference?" Seriously. And again, it wasn't intended as a slight, an insult or a lame attempt at levity. Some folks is just that dumb!

And interracial misunderstandings aren't the only anecdotal features that make the workplace so interesting. Differences in age, upbringing, religion or politics can lead to simultaneously sidesplitting and heartbreaking exchanges among people trying desperately to make friends, to share an experience, to know each other. The good news is, this misguided repartee doesn't always lead to lasting acrimony. Or maybe that's the bad news. After all, based on my recent output, I could sure use more to write about.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The New (Per) Version

It's time I admitted to being an aspiring pervert. Not of the sexual variety, mind you, as I don't care to share that information and if you're the type who's interested in whether I am or not, I prefer you back away from the screen right now. I'm talking about a political pervert. Yes, I have decided to become a contrarian for its own sake and thumb my nose at convention.

This idea came to me in a vision. No, vision isn't the correct word for it. Visit! That's it. I received a recent visit from a political canvasser who encouraged me to support a particularly homely candidate for State Senate. The young woman assured me the man for whom she so steadfastly campaigned was a "fresh face" with "new ideas." She was a nice lady and I accepted her brochures and offered my tentative support. After she left, I looked again at the candidate's face and wondered what a stale face looked like if his was meant to be so fresh. Then I read his vanguard ideas and nearly fell on the floor at their innovation and bravery. Here were the "big three" and brace yourself, because you've never seen anything like this:

1. Healthcare

2. Education

3. Economic Development

It didn't take long to realize I had, through perversely ill luck, happened across a loose cannon. The nerve of this guy advocating education in a pamphlet absolutely anyone could have read, assuming the person was literate. I won't go so far as to say the guy can't believe what he wants, but to recklessly distribute it like that seemed very irresponsible. I also learned this candidate is married and has a golden retriever named "Smokey". Clearly, this is a dangerous man.

To spare my community further ignominy, I have decided to run for State Senate myself. I feel my most worthy qualification is the fact I have no qualifications whatsoever. Furthermore, I'm fundamentally opposed to education of any kind and since I got a 'D' in economics, you can imagine how I must feel about this so-called "economic development." I'm against healthcare and fully support the advance of all illnesses; viruses have rights, too, and it's time people stopped trampling them. What's more, I'm tired of candidate after candidate speaking out against crime. I am the pro-crime candidate. In fact, if elected, my entire staff will consist of convicted felons. I consider this a bold move for a politician, as generally officeholders tend to select future felons to handle their affairs. So it's like eliminating an entire, costly step in the process. Now that's efficiency and that's good government!

I hope I can count on my readers for support and if you're a reader who happens not to live in my district, perhaps you'd be interested in a job. Don't bother with a resume', but I will require a copy of your criminal history. If it's blank, don't bother. Thank you.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

G Day

When I began writing this entry, it was June 6th--D Day--and President Bush had just proposed his Protection of Marriage Amendment. Before I could even organize my thoughts about the matter, it was DOA in the Senate. It will be resurrected, of course, by somebody even if it isn't President Bush.

I'm not here to dismiss anyone who opposes gay marriage in principle as a heartless bigot, but I find the primary argument in the debate baseless. Something about marriage defined as a union between a man and a woman being the basis for civil society all these centuries. I won't say that's altogether false, but it's woefully incomplete. Many societies of the past tolerated far greater sexual deviance than ours does and, as far as I know, it was never the sole reason--and rarely even a contributory reason--for their collapse. If you don't believe me, check out the excesses of the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations.

And as far as defining marriage goes, it sounds more like semantics to me. Ike and Tina's relationship was called a marriage; Hank VIII (pronounced vee-eye-eye-eye) had wives executed and marriages annulled at a whim; husbands murder wives, wives murder husbands, and some of the most important people in history have been in troubled marriages. If these perversions of marriage take place and society presses on, why trivialize the Constitution by transforming it into a kind of dictionary?

In retrospect, it might have been wiser for Bush to keep his mouth shut on gay marriage, in light of the recent demise of Abu Musab Al Zarqawi. Bush can still, of course, tout this as a victory in the War on Terror, but with the door slammed shut so abruptly on his domestic proposal, it will now look like a week of mixed results for him. By the way, I neither need nor want to see pictures of a dead guy in the newspaper.

D-Day has come and gone and this time, didn't hear many people talking about it; they were too preoccupied with the whole 666 thing. Do I even have to start on the cretinous, superstitious nonsense of numbers? It's the same with 13. Let me ask this: How can the number 666 mean anything intrinsically when it was the Arabs who came up with their current appearance? If 666 were truly the mark of the beast, wouldn't it appear as VI VI VI? The current numerical system wasn't even devised until the 9th Century AD and wasn't adapted by Western Europe until 300 years later. Does the symbolic nature of numbers transfer from language to language and culture to culture? I suppose anything's possible, but I have trouble getting shaken up about it.

Thank you for reading, and remember, if you don't like this blog, XIII VI VI VI on you!