Saturday, April 30, 2005


I just finished watching Kill Bill: Volume 1.

I liked it, even if it was kind of gross. But right now, what I'm having trouble with is the idea that Sophie has had the same ringtone -- let alone the same cellphone -- for five years. People thought I kept my Sam Gamgee AIM icon too long, but that's just ridiculous.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Yeah, Sounds Like the Upper West Side

The residents of a small town in Kentucky are demanding an apology from the A&E network, claiming that a recent episode of City Confidential inaccurately portrayed Pikeville as some sort of jerkwater hillbilly place.

“You start the piece by showing a rebel flag on Julius Avenue, an overweight man without a shirt smoking a cigarette and an old pickup with a few women in the back,” City Manager Donovan Blackburn said. “As I am sure you would agree, you can go to almost any city in America and find the same.”

Donovan, my friend, you need to get out more.

Andy Was Here '05

Well, it's the end of an era.

I took my first temp job at the age of 19, during a semester I took off to save up money for my move to New York. I had one year of college under my belt, but not any real experience. The girl at the reception desk at the temp agency in Portland, Oregon, took a look at my scanty excuse for a resume and said, "We really can't help you, you, like, don't have any skills."

I asked if I could at least be allowed to take a typing test. "Okay," she sighed.

After they clocked me at 88 wpm, they were a little more interested. At first I did pretty dull things: stuffing envelopes, doing telemarketing for a comedy club, etc. I was better at this stuff than at retail; my manager at Williams-Sonoma at Pioneer Place actually asked me once, "Are you trying to piss me off or are you just stupid?"

Despite that, when I finally arrived in Manhattan, what I thought I wanted more than anything else was to work at the gift shop at Lincoln Center. I thought that would be so great. Soon I realized that if I wanted to be treated like total crap, I could get a lot more than $6.25 an hour. Back to temping I went!

Over the years I did a wide variety of things and worked for many interesting (read: insane) people. Highlights included doing data entry for the Birdathon fundraising drive at the Audubon Society, assisting Neil Cavuto at Fox News (this was before I was politically aware), and being fired without explanation from JP Morgan Partners and BlackRock Financial.

There was a certain comfort in my temp status. If I didn't like my job for some reason, I could call the agency and asked to be reassigned. I had unlimited vacation and sick days -- I just wasn't paid for time off. Furthermore, being a temp -- and being blond to boot -- I benefited greatly from the soft bigotry of low expectations. I could always get myself out of a mess by pleading stupidity.

All that is coming to an end next week as I start my first real job ever. It's kind of intimidating, and maybe not a little pathetic to be finally joining the grown up world of responsibility just six weeks shy of my 31st birthday.

So here I sit on my last day in the investment banking world, God willing. (I'll be here Monday to transition the new person, but don't intend to "do" anything.) The filing is done. The loose ends are tied. Expense reports submitted. Saltine crumbs wiped off the desk. And though there won't be any physical, tangible proof of my existence left behind, I like to think that the Legend of Andy the Temp will live on here as it does elsewhere.

Thought for the Day

If God is your co-pilot, switch seats.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Fantasies Come True...With Bad Timing

So I haven't been real successful in the dating realm lately. I mean, honestly, I can't even say I've been on anything that resembled a "date", offhand I can't remember. Seriously, part of the problem is that I live so far uptown that going "out" is a major effort, and I don't really like staying up very late. But I often kick myself and say, "Andrew (which is what I call myself when I'm lecturing myself), hot guys don't just come knock on your door. You have to put yourself out there in order to meet people."

Okay, well, read the post below and you'll see today wasn't exactly super mom turned out fine, but I was rather distracted all day and work was kind of stressful as a major project we've been working on utterly fell apart and a head or two might roll because of it. (Not mine, I'm leaving anyway.)

So I came home, had a couple of my trademark Pink Hobbits (1 part lemonade, 1 part cranberry, 1 part 7Up, season with vodka to taste), and watched The Two Towers. (Confession: I'm so drained I didn't think I could make it through the extended edition, so, gasp, I watched the theatrical release version. On VHS. I know, I know.) I had the volume up maybe a hair lighter than is polite, but it was relatively early in the evening. (I also have new neighbors downstairs whom I haven't met yet.)

Then I was soaking in a hot bath, while listening to a Smithsonian CD collection of music from Central Asia. Look, I'm a complete fucking dork, okay? I admit it. Yeah, and I had some incense burning. What's your point? And maybe a candle or two.

So I'm in the tub -- and I like it hot, baby -- when I hear someone POUNDING on my door. I wait a moment or two, but the POUNDING continues.

We've had plumbing problems in the building before, so I'm wondering if my tub is leaking downstairs again. Or maybe my Azerbaijani folk music is too loud. So I hop out, dripping water all over everywhere, throw on my robe, and go to the door.

There is the hottest fireman I've ever seen. And that's saying something. I mean, he was CUTE.

I'm dripping wet, in an old bathrobe, my face red and flushed from the bath. Oh, and I'm having complexion problems today, too.

"Hi, we got some reports about smoke, do you smell anything?"

"Umm...nothing unusual...I have some candles and incense going, is that what you mean?"

"Hmm, I doubt it, but maybe I should check it out, if that's okay."


Okay. So he comes in and is looking around.

"Okay, nothing out of the ordinary here, thanks."

Nothing out of the ordinary? A white gay guy soaking in the tub surrounded by candles and incense listening to Mongolian long songs? New York must be weirder than I thought. Oy. This calls for another drink.

[PS, I'm also a little nervous after the fire department checked out complaints in Brooklyn earlier this week and left without finding anything. However, since I want to be cremated anyway, I guess maybe that could be cost-effective. : ( ]

Explain, Please

Okay, I know AOL polls are unscientific and most aol users are kind of...ummm, well, let's just say the best and the brightest are probably using some other domain. (Full disclosure: I'm on AOL.) But here's a poll that's ongoing tonight during Bush's press conference. Over 45,000 respondents so far.

59% rate Bush's overall performance as "poor." Only 18% rate "excellent."

75% oppose Bush's social security plan.

74% oppose Bush's energy plan; 40% say they don't understand it.

71% oppose Bush's handling of Iraq.

75% oppose his handling of the economy.

And this President is supposed to have a "mandate" of some kind? This President who squeaked by with 51% of the popular vote after widespread voting irregularities in Ohio and Florida?

Even Better than Buffalo Tennis

Car wars ... Chris at the wheel in his Darth Vader outfit

Let's have a caption contest. Um, not sure what the prize is, I'll think of something. (Here's the origin of this pic, it's pretty good, actually.)

Fudd Me

Points if you catch the above reference.

Well, today didn't go quite like I planned.

The boss asked me what was happening in terms of rescheduling a meeting we'd had to postpone from Monday. This particular meeting has always been a problem. I send out emails to all the relevant parties saying things like, "Please let me know your availability for a meeting at 2 p.m. on Monday, April 25" etc. You know, real hard-nosed of me. They never respond, ever. I was desperately trying to get in touch with someone, anyone from this meeting to confirm that it was actually happening before I sent my boss to Philadelphia for it.

Then of course we canceled it.

I followed up immediately with an email suggesting alternate dates for rescheduling. No responses. Not one from any of the five people (not from my company, they're all external). No one returns phone calls.

This morning the boss asks again when that meeting is going to happen.

So I composed an email to the participants saying I was "somewhat dismayed" that I had not received a single response from anyone to any of my emails and phonecalls, and that if there was a more convenient way for them to have me coordinate the meeting to please let me know.

I got one response in 35 seconds. (Yes, I timed it.)

"I would think “dismay” is fairly strong for someone who cancelled when several of us were en route from out of town when we received the cancellation notice."

Yes, we canceled the meeting at the last minute. For, as far as I can tell, no good reason whatsoever, but I don't make it my business to ask. I'd already apologized profusely and made all the usual excuses. No one had responded to my urgent cancellation notice, either.

So, hummppfff! to that guy. First of all, I am a secretary, Mr. I Can't Be Bothered to Answer An Email. I'm not the one who canceled the meeting, don't shoot the messenger. Secondly, if you think "somewhat dismayed" is harsh, then you should have heard what I really wanted to write, you arrogant fuckwit.

I guess I'll just pass this off to my successor.

My mother and stepfather are in New York currently, on their way to Europe tonight. Last night at dinner my mother was complaining of sharp pains in her leg, and I thought it would be best for everyone's peace of mind if we could get her in to see my doctor this morning. He graciously made time for them, and then decided her symptoms might mean she had a blood clot, which of course can cause a heart attack or a stroke. Sigh.

So, off to the hospital she went. She had an ultrasound. It was neither a boy nor a girl, nor a clot. It was a cyst of some kind. But this required an MRI to determine what kind. (As the clock ticks down toward their departure time.) Apparently it's just a water-filled cyst and will probably burst on its own at some point, nothing to worry about, just a little uncomfortable for now.

Still, thinking about my mother undergoing a bunch of tests at a hospital just hours before she heads off to Europe for a month was a little disconcerting. I was sure she'd be fine, but as I know my mother I know how she sometimes panics a little bit and I was more worried about her stress than anything else. But she called and said she was okay. They probably gave her a little something for the plane ride. Where's mine?

I also had hoped to corral my boss for a second today to at least say in person "thanks so much, I'm leaving to take another job" but this office has been a complete zoo today. I shouldn't even be blogging right now, but my brain needed the break. I am going home tonight and curling up on the sofa with some beer, leftover Chinese food and a couple of hobbits.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Enough About My New Job and Tom DeLay

Police herded the buffalo into a tennis court before putting them into a trailer and returning them to their farm.

Looking at this pic just makes me feel better.

When the Olympics come to New York in 2012, we've got to get this. I think America would totally kick ass in the 300 meter buffalo hurdle. Or maybe we could make some sort of triathlon out of it: cross country race, tennis match and police-officer-tipping.

Best snide comment on this event, from the comments section on Slacktivist:

Seen and Herd in the Suburbs

"Typical media bias. They take photos of the dozen buffalo at their anti-tennis protest, but they don't show you the ten-thousand pro-tennis llamas down the street. Bastards."

You May Congratulate Me Here

Sorry, several people have noticed that the comment function on the post below doesn't seem to be working.

Anyway, further detail about the job, if you're interested: I will be the assistant to the deputy director (and also do HR and office management work) for one of the nation's most active and prominent gay rights organizations. A big change from the investment banking world! (And I couldn't be happier.)

I can't help but feel a bit validated, after turning down so many job offers from places where I've been doing temp work because I just really didn't want a corporate job. I kept telling my friends with my smiling naivete that I was sure there was something better out there for me and that I was just going to trust in my life path. Not that I didn't have private moments of doubt...

I almost accepted the position where I'm now finishing up my last days as a temp. The new job will pay half what this one would have, but it will come with much less grief (I hope!) and at the very least it's something I can care about. To me, that's worth more than money.'s casual dress! Yay! (Offset by the fact that it's at the far eastern end of Wall Street; couldn't possibly be farther from my house and still be in Manhattan, but oh well.)

Anyway, I'm sorry I haven't written anything of interest in several mind has been preoccupied! Also hopefully now I will have more time. Thanks again to everyone for their support!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


I got it.

: )

Working on details of when my first day will be.

Also working on details of celebratory happy hour (probably early next week).

Thanks, all, for your tremendous support and good wishes, and MOST especially to my crack team who helped me craft that great cover letter.

They won't be able to read this for several weeks, probably, as they are traveling, but a deep debt (um, pun intended) of gratitude to my mother and stepfather who recognize, appreciate and support my desire to move into this kind of work and are willing to help me through the transition.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Why Did God Give us Minds?

So we could change them, obviously.

And why did God give us friends?

So we'd have an external warning system to let us know when we've made a mistake.

Positively everyone thinks I should still go for this job, salary be damned. My parents have offered to help out, because they know I want this.

I'm still mulling it over. I have reached a certain age where I feel an obligation to be financially independent; furthermore, though I have simple tastes, I do have a slight materialistic side. I was hoping for more money. Not because I think I'm "worth" it, but because you know, I was hoping to be able to finally afford cable and a gym membership. And maybe a cat. : (

I still have some time to think about it.

And as for what I "need,"'s what Jesus had to say about that.

Friday, April 22, 2005

What's Worse than Not Getting the Job?

Having to turn it down.

I really wanted this. I still do. I think it would be great for me. However, they called this afternoon to let me know that their budget only allows them to offer a salary that is fully $10,000 short of what I need to pay my bills. It's not a question of me thinking I'm worth more or finding a way to cut my costs. It's just well below what I need to meet my obligations.

They told me I could have the weekend to think about whether I still wanted to be considered, but I'll have to call them on Monday and withdraw.

I'm pretty down right now. I hate my current work situation and I was desperately hoping to have a way out of there today.

Thanks, everyone, for all your support and good wishes. Keep wishing.

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.

Every time an angel appears in the Bible, the greeting is "Fear not!" or some variation thereof.

According to Mark (5:36), Jesus said, "Do not fear; only believe."

I bring this up because after having spent years standing up for fairness and civil rights, the Microsoft Corporation recently withdrew its support for a Washington State bill that would have made it illegal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.

The measure failed by one vote.

Microsoft is denying that a prominent evangelical church in Redmond, Washington, exerted any influence on their decision.

That, however, is not how Dr. Ken Hutcherson of the Antioch Bible Church sees it.

Hutcherson met twice recently with Microsoft officials, where he threatened to boycott Microsoft products if they did not change their position. "After that," Hutcherson told the New York Times, "they backed off."

Hutcherson then added, "I told them I was going to give them something to be afraid of Christians about."

Excuse me?

Mine is not the God of Fear, but the God of Hope. I believe in a Gospel of love, not intimidation.

Dr. Hutcherson is well within his rights to choose not to patronize companies with policies he considers objectionable. He is within his rights to encourage others to do the same.

But his entire ministry is called into question if he thinks people should be afraid of Christians. Fear is a tool of Darkness, not of Light.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Today's Guest Blog

Government Crippled By Politics

My Day

No, I am not making any of this up.

My current boss is out of town on business.

I arranged for a rental car to be delivered to his hotel this morning. It was late, so he was late to his first meeting.

He got lost on the way to the second meeting.

The third guy claimed he didn't know he was coming, even though I confirmed it yesterday.

American Airlines canceled his flight home.

Now that's cheap!

Someone at work wanted reimbursement for a $1.50 ATM surcharge incurred on a business trip.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Strolling Down Memory Lane

A recent post on Tony's blog inspired some nostalgic reminiscence on my end. Eleven years ago (dear GOD I'm old) I took a job at the gift shop at Lincoln Center. I, too, had my share of memorable customers. (I mean, hell, eleven years down the road I'm still complaining about them!)
  • Impeccably well-dressed and coiffed elderly woman comes in and says, "I want a nice gift for my grandchildren. How much are these pencils?"
  • "I'm looking for a ballet video for my granddaughter; what can you recommend?" I pointed to Swan Lake from the Kirov. "Doesn't the swan die in that? I don't think that's appropriate!"
  • Guy comes in and says, "Do you gots any recawdings by Julio?" Julio who, I asked. "You don't know Julio? The greatest Italian tenor of all times? Where's your manager, you don't deserve to work here if you ain't never hoid of Julio." He meant Gigli, as in Beniamino.
  • They warned me not to play any recordings we didn't have in stock. Nonetheless, I popped in Lakme. The famous flower duet came on, and I had a rush at the register of people demanding the recording, which we didn't have.
  • I also unfortunately played a video of Parsifal on Yom Kippur.
  • "Heya, I'm looking for a CD by the three guys, Domingo, Paparazzi and Caruso."
  • An elegantly dressed woman comes in and makes a rather large purchase. She says to the chick at the register, "I get a 10% discount." Carla says, "You got Met ID?" The woman snorts and says, "I am Mrs. Domingo!" Carla says, "I don' care. No ID, no discoun'."
  • "Do you have any recordings of Barber of Seville with Pavarotti?"
  • Guy comes in, says, "I want a CD of good opera music, but I don't want any of that Wagner stuff, I don't like him." He pronounces 'Wagner' as in Lindsay or Robert.
  • At the first intermission of Aida, a woman asks, "Do you have the recording of tonight's performance?"
  • This one may not work on blog format, but I'll try. Imagine yourself a 19 year old innocent boy, recently arrived in New York from Oregon, where they pronounce the letter "r." Woman comes in and says, "You got common?" I thought for a brief second and said, "I'm sorry, common what?" She says, "Carmen, the opera!"
  • My first day on the job, I'd been there all of ten minutes: woman walks up to me and says, "Do you have John Dexter's autobiography?" It was Beverly Sills.

Today's Guest Blog

It's Matt's World

An Intrinsic Moral Evil

So, there you have it, the new pope is Benedict XVI.

In some respects, I think people are overreacting to the choice. “He’s a Nazi!” exclaimed someone at work this morning, ignoring or unaware that membership in the Hitler Youth was mandatory and that the future pontiff was in fact drafted into the German army, from which he eventually deserted. “He’s just a corporate Pope,” commented another, meaning he was “promoted” because he’s been there forever. (Incidentally, I thought this was an odd, insightful comment, coming as it did from a senior investment banker.)

Many in the gay community are experiencing a collective shudder; we know he’s not a fan. But lumping him in with vitriolic homophobes of the Fred Phelps variety isn’t constructive to our cause, either. We must address him objectively, as we would have him address us.

To his credit, he wrote in 1986, “It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation…The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected.”

That concession of “intrinsic dignity” is a small plot of common ground from which we can begin to work. While it remains an echo of the emotionally abusive “love the sinner, hate the sin” doctrine of American evangelicalism, it’s still a comparatively moderate statement.

More recently, the former Cardinal commented, “To create a legal form of a kind of homosexual marriage, in reality, does not help these people.”

To my mind, the problem with this statement lies not with its opposition to gay marriage, but with the inclusion of the word “legal.” On the issue of marriage, religious beliefs should have no bearing on what is legal, and vice versa. A secular couple married in the United States by a judge counts as “married” in the eyes of the government, but not in the church. We will probably never get the Catholic Church to accept same-sex marriages as a sacramental rite, as a basic tenet of their belief is that sex is for the purpose of procreation. As a matter of civil rights, church approval on the issue of same-sex marriage is irrelevant. The Catholic Church disapproves of capital punishment now, but you don’t see the federal government scrambling to comply.

Most troubling was another comment he made in the same 1986 interview cited above, where he said, “Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered to an intrinsic moral evil, and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.”

That’s a tougher challenge.

Jesus said in the Gospel of John, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” We know our truths. We know that our identity was not chosen, but rather accepted. We know that what draws us is neither evil nor perversion nor base lust, but rather love as it is known in a universal manner. Do lust, evil and perversion exist? Certainly, and they are aberrations that know no sexual identity. Our own life experiences have taught us that feelings of profound love and commitment between people of the same gender are real and possible and valid. The side of truth is the side of God. We must trust the wisdom and boundless compassion of the Almighty, and trust also that in His time, in His way, he will reveal His truths to those who will listen.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

No Comment


Operation Get Me Out of Finance 2: The Follow-Up

I think the second interview went very, very well! I feel good about it. (Though I think my reference to Austin Powers maybe sailed right over her head.)

They said they would let me know by the end of the week!

PS -- I sent a thank you after the first interview; should I do the same this time as well or is that overkill?

Monday, April 18, 2005

enough for one day

Eh, I didn't have time for two substantial posts today, but check out what I wrote for It's Matt's World.

For a Limited Time: Double Your Andy!

This week I am guest blogging for It's Matt's World while Matt takes an e-vacation. It's quite an honor! Be sure to check it out.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Tom DeLay, Feminist

"If you want to empower women in America, give 'em a gun."

-- April 16, 2005

Friday, April 15, 2005

Letter to Senator Frist

Senator Bill Frist
509 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Frist:

I am a Christian. I am also a Democrat. Is there a reason you think these two identities are somehow mutually exclusive?

I urge you to reconsider your participation in the April 24th telecast project being called “Justice Sunday,” the organizers of which dare to accuse the Democratic party of religious prejudice in blocking a handful of President Bush’s judicial nominees.

I support blocking these judges because, based on court decisions they have made and statements they have publicly issued, there is legitimate reason to believe that these individuals cannot fulfill their proper duty as impartial arbiters of the law.

Furthermore, as a United States Senator, I hope you realize that what qualifies America as a democracy is not simply majority rule, but also a complex and thoughtful system designed to protect the rights of minorities. To this end, the filibuster is an essential tool of a valid democracy, part of the mechanism of checks and balances that prevents tyranny of the majority. An independent and impartial judiciary is also an essential part of the Founding Fathers’ vision for America.

Faith should not be a political issue. In this country we have both freedom of religion and separation of church and state; those with beliefs different from yours – even those who choose not to subscribe to any particular faith or ideology – have equal rights, access and protection under the Constitution.

I pray and read the Bible for guidance on a daily basis. The lessons and values I take from Scripture far more closely align with the priorities of the Democratic Party than that of the Republican party today. In fact, the Democrats are not nearly as liberal as I would like for them to be.

No political party can claim to be the sole guardian of faith and morality. Furthermore, it is most certainly immoral to falsely accuse the Democrats of being anti-faith. You know full well the concerns Democrats have about these nominees, and it’s utterly disingenuous to allege wholesale prejudice. You might be able to fool some voters, but there’s Someone who knows exactly what’s going on.

Yours in Christ,


Thursday, April 14, 2005

I am Not the Weakest Link

Second interview Tuesday at 9 a.m.!

You may post congratulatory comments and encouragement below.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Communication Problems

An homage to my favorite new website, Overheard in New York:

On the elevator at the 181st Street A train station tonight I overheard one of the more interesting conversations in recent memory. An old lady was haranguing and old man; she's kvetching at him in Russian, and he responds in English.

Woman: Akh, skoreye ubegu!
Man: Yes, yes, I know.
Woman: Davno uzh porabi.
Man: Yes, you told me the same thing yesterday.
Woman: Bolyat moyi skori nozhenki so pokhodushki.
Man: All right, but what do you want me to do about it?
Woman: Vi bolshe mnye ne drug!
Man: Bah.


What the hell is this?

I mean, okay, it's Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in a press conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. But what is that picture behind them, the national emblem of Afghanistan?

It looks like an enormous dead tree taking over the earth, with a Christmas ornament and an ear of corn hanging on it.

Then there's like a tree root coming through the ceiling or something, and something that resembles either a rock, a skull or a mortar shell embedded in the wall over the tree.

Meh. I don't like modern art.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Job Hunting is Like Dating

I think the interview went about as well as could be expected. I didn't say anything that I immediately regretted, such as, "Is the diet working?"

I smiled. I spoke with confidence about their work and the current political environment. I tried to flatter without sucking up. I tried to talk myself up without being arrogant. I did my best to let them know that I am very, very interested in this position, without coming across like I was begging.

I tried not to cry when they said they were seeing other people. I'm ready for commitment, here. I've got china patterns picked out and everything. I respect that they want to wait until after a second date.

I hope they call.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Bush's iPod

There was an interesting fluff piece in the Times today about the President's iPod. He's got 250 songs on it. Pfft. Amateur. I've got 3,264 and counting. (A new CD came out in Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble series; I highly recommend these recordings, they are really beautiful, exotic and thrilling.)

Is it a surprise that nothing on Bush's playlist is also on my iPod? (For the record, I do have some country on mine. Shocked?)

Best line in the article? "As for an analysis of Mr. Bush's playlist, Mr. Levy of Rolling Stone started out with this: "One thing that's interesting is that the president likes artists who don't like him."

I wonder if there's anything there by the Dixie Chicks.

This might also explain that bulge.

What's on your iPod?

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Sunday Stroll

Sometimes, I really, really, really love living in Manhattan.

Today was one of those days. Not a cloud in the sky, 72 degrees, no humidity. The kind of day when all seems right with the world, and New York takes on a fairy-tale like quality usually reserved for Woody Allen films.

I took the subway downtown to find the location of my job interview on Tuesday; I don't know downtown so well and as it's first thing in the morning, I didn't want to get lost. Also I wanted to know how long a trip it was. Today, with no crowds and no problems, I did it door to door in 45 minutes, though I suspect rush hour will take at least an hour. After finding the address, I went for a little walk.

I started at the far eastern end of Wall Street, where I spent some time gazing across the glittering East River at the magnificent Brooklyn Bridge; then I headed up Wall Street to Broadway, and paused for a moment at the monument that marks the spot where George Washington was sworn in as the first President of the United States; I wondered what he thinks of that other George W. now running things. If only Bush II's motto was "I cannot tell a lie."

From there I headed north along Broadway past City Hall, west on Canal to West Broadway, meandered up through SoHo, turned north on Sixth Avenue at Spring Street, then west on Bleecker to Seventh Avenue, where I stopped to have my haircut at Freetime on Christopher Street. Then I walked back up Seventh Avenue to 23rd Street, west to Eighth Avenue, and then doubled back to 14th Street and hopped on the subway. Altogether it was probably about four miles.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Passing Thoughts

In a recent email, a close (and very Catholic) friend of mine wondered whether American conservative Protestants and Evangelicals were "holding their heads and screaming" that President Bush attended the funeral of Pope John Paul II.

I responded:

You know, honestly...I don't think too many of them are. At least none with any sense, although I realize that excludes probably hundreds of thousands.

My sense of most of the ultra-conservative Evangelicals is that they are not actually all that familiar with Scripture; hence the Christians in Colorado who referenced Leviticus when sentencing a man to death recently. Hello, Matthew chapter 5, people -- if you're a self-identified Christian, you might want to start with the Gospel first, sheesh. I don't think they are all that aware of and/or interested in real issues of doctrine, such as the presence of Christ in the sacraments, etc., etc., because their entire lives and minds seem consumed with a preoccupation with the sins of the flesh. On these matters which are so important to so many evangelicals, they found an ally in the Pope. I bet many of them are unaware that he called our Iraq war "immoral"; and if they are, I bet there's moral relativism going on. War = bad, gay marriage = much, much, much worse.

Though we are divided by differences in doctrine both great and small, and though criticism can quite fairly be lodged at John Paul II for his inability to do anything of substance with regard to the abuse crisis in America (and presumably elsewhere, where the cultural taboo is too strong to even address the subject) and for many of his unenlightened positions on sex and sexuality, I think everyone recognized that one thing he had was sincerity.

John Paul II was not a preening, self-important bag of hot air that held the Bible in one hand and used it to swat at people with whom he disagreed or groups of people he didn't like. He was humble and gentle, eloquent and considerate. Even when you disagree -- profoundly! -- it's hard not to find respect for someone with that kind of integrity.

And ultimately, isn't that what Christianity is really about? I'm not talking about the pope, I'm talking about our reaction to him. Christ would have us say, "Yeah, I really disagreed with him on this, this and this" but still have us celebrate his very meaningful life and in whatever appropriate way, mourn and celebrate his passing. (I loved it when I read that the crowd gathered in the square applauded loudly when it was announced that he had died; that's an Italian tradition. I want people to clap when I die.)

Requiescat in pace.

UPDATE: I think this would confirm my hypothesis.

Friday, April 08, 2005


Yesterday was not a particularly good day at work.

The boss called from the road in Massachusetts to yell at me because "my" directions were wrong. Hello, is my name Mapquest?

Anyway, that motivated me to re-think my movie rental plan and instead I sat down and went through job listings again. The first thing that came up was exactly the sort of thing I've been looking for. I drafted a cover letter and sent it off to a couple of friends who were online to get their thoughts.

I got lots of thoughts.

Four hours later we christened it "the Joan Rivers letter," because after so much work it was unrecognizable.

So: a big, big, big, big thank you to Jon, JP, Andrew, Alexandro, Kevin, John, Stephanie, Toby and Mom. (I hope I didn't leave anyone out.) I really, really appreciate the time you took to help me out -- let me know how I can return the favor. You guys rock.

The interview is Tuesday at 9.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

The Third Commandment

This morning some drowsy thug on the A train dropped an open bottle of grape soda into my lap. Who drinks grape soda at 8:00 a.m.?

I confess, I took the Lord's name in vain. Loudly.

He did not apologize, nor did he look like the kind of person I should press for an address to send my cleaning bill to.

Please post your cleaning suggestions below.

What are you implying?

I received the following email at work this morning from an administrator:

To: Mary Jean, Therese, Andy, Maggie, Yvonne
From: Julie

Hello ladies,

Is there an office available for John tomorrow?


Monday, April 04, 2005

I'm Not a Jew, But I Play One on TV

One of the many unique aspects of life in New York City is that someone, somewhere is always filming a tv show or a movie. The most ubiquitous is, by far, Law & Order. Go to any show on or off Broadway, and a guaranteed majority of the actors will list an L&O appearance in their credits.

So this morning the street in front of my apartment has been blocked off for filming, and giant dressing room trailers and catering vans lined the curbs. A group of Hasidic Jews was standing right in front of my building watching the proceedings.

As I passed them on my way to the subway, I goodness, some of those guys are really cute under all that hair, they would clean up nice. I turned around to get a second, final look, just as one guy was removing his hat.

The curls were attached to the hat.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Friday, April 01, 2005

My iPod's Favorite Songs

Having recently become a fan of Battlestar Galactica, I have developed a healthy suspicion of machines. I am worried that my iPod is thinking for itself.

I always listen to the thing in shuffle mode. Every time you upload new music or edit a playlist it resets. Now, I have 3,264 songs in my iPod, so the probability of hearing a song more than once in a short space of time is low. Yet certain songs come up with disturbing frequency, such as Pet Shop Boys' "DJ Culture," Maria Callas' first recording of the Lucia mad scene, and "Der Musensohn" sung by Bryn Terfel. Even though I've only got one Ute Lemper CD in the mix, I get an average of two Lemper songs a day.

Also my iPod apparently does not like Dolly Parton at all.

Should I be concerned?