July 2004 Archives

Mercy me!

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In response to a thread my lovely and talented sister Rachael wrote over at Skillful Creamery, I've been thinking about race and race relations.

I suppose that folks should be called what they want, but there are some cases that this causes real strife. The residents of Macedonia really hacked off the Greeks when they started claiming they were Macedonian; Greece claims that Macedonia is actually a province in Greece, that Phillip (and Alexander the Great) were from there, and the people who live there are Macedonian, and their neighbors ill-advised name was wrong - although they have no problems with the country as a political entity, just the name.

By the same token, I've sometimes had difficulty with the idea of African-American taken to mean black citizens of the U.S.

Africa is a continent, America is a different continent and to hyphenate them seems like a contradiction in terms.

My mother, in the above entry, states that white America is in the majority. This kind of analysis may run the risk of creating greater dissent; my friend Steve Kacir, who is a Doctor of Biology at some University somewhere, has written an excellent article arguing that the concept of race is only useful biologically when describing the divergent evolution of speciation, where one species becomes two.

For humans, it's also useful to describe someone (so they'll be recognized by your friend who is picking up your friend Keiko at the train station while you make dinner, for example). We might want to say: She's a short Japanese girl, about five-two, with purple hair up in ponytails. She looks like a Virtua Fighter, only without the skin tight leather outfit. Just ignore her if she says "And stay down!" or "Finish him!"

Note: Keiko actually does this. She thinks it is hilarious. So do I.

Implicit in the above description is the idea that Keiko will have Asian features - slightly concave teeth, an extra fatty pad underneath the eyebrow, dark, straight hair, etc.

That's pretty useful; trying to tell Chris what Keiko looks like without mentioning her race would be a serious challenge. If she was named Lisa Graf (as a Korean friend of mine from High School is), then the problem becomes nearly intractable.

To that end, we can agree that it's okay to use just about any non-denigrating term of description to describe someone.

The problem comes in when we try to define the term "denigrating" in a universal way.

If we allow relativism to govern the definition then we have abandoned language as a method of communication. For example, if we say that what's denigrating depends on the point of view of the individual, and each person has their own idea of what denigrating is and we have to respect each person's view and interpretation - as Lacan and Derrida suggest we get to do - then we can suddenly no longer communicate, because our words don't mean the same thing.

This has actually happened within living memory in the United States, where the term Negro was favored because it was the scientific term and free from bias. This got replaced by black, then African-American then People of Color.

As a side note, Mercy was hot! She was totally smokin', but she was one of Mara's friends and in the "little sister's friends" category instead of the "totally smokin' babe" category. She's my age or maybe even older, but for some reason was in Mara's grade. Alas and alack, now she's married and has a baby.

I landed in Stockholm at one and was on the train to Kalmar by half-three.

Contintental Airlines, the foul, wretched bastards they are, may they rot in Hell, had still not found luggage, so I went to Sweden with no "going out" clothes. Continental lost my luggage (again) when I flew from New Jersey back to the U.K. Because of colossal incompetence on Continental's part, I didn't get to fly from New Jersey to Edinburgh, but instead to Birmingham and then to Edinburgh. But never mind that. I'm just trying to put it all behind me.

The train to Kalmar wasn't really a train to Kalmar, but a train to Alvesta and then a switch to a train to Kalmar.

T in the Park was mingin' after just one day; after three days of depositing trash outside it was stupefying.

Part of what made it so difficult to understand was that, in the course of a day, you were guaranteed to have to walk past a huge dumpster into which you could put your trash.

When Roddy and I left, we took pictures that showed the difference between us and them.

Barbie is a slut

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I saw this girl at one of the concerts and just happened, purely by accident, to be reading her boobs and thought "Hey! That shirt's hilarious!"

So was this girl.

What does this mean to you?

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Okay, so while we were at T in the Park, we noticed this sign.

Anyone want to hazard a guess as to what, exactly, this means?


T in the Park

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Every year, Edinburgh plays host to close to a hundred bands in a colossal frenzy of music and action called T in the Park.

'T' because it's sponsored by Tenants Lager, which is basically the only beverage you can drink. This doesn't bother most folks, who show up and start drinking beer at noon and stop sometime after three am.

The music is fantastic and, like Glastonbury, you can camp there.

I did, with my friend Roddy.

The Drive

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Drive we did.

From Alexandria, Virginia to Stowe, Vermont.

It took eleven hours.

Where's Violetta?

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I was over at Three Legged Duck this morning, as I am basically every morning, to get my dose of Violetta.

For those of you who have not partaken of the sweet nectar of Violetta's thoughts, this is a blog not to be missed, and you can still get much enjoyment by reading all of her back posts.

The thing is, Violetta is normall astonishingly prolific. She can post five or six times in a single day.

Fruit Cocktail

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You may remember this post: The Definite Article: June 2004 Archives

In it, I talked about the Fruit Salad of Legend, The Drive and the triumph of the human spirit.

Today, I'm going to show you my picture with the Fruit Salad of Legend!

Am I not gorgeous? I am. I am gorgeous. Don't hate me because I'm beautiful.

There you go. We've kept the Fruit Salad of Legend on a shelf for six years, waiting for this day, the day of The Drive.

Then home to Virginia...

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I did make the flight the next day.

It was a packed but uneventful flight back; Norah Jones & Cravin' Melon on the MiniDisc, a quick connection to DCA and Chris picked me up from the metro station.

Chris Tisdale, for those of you who might not know, is one of the men I admire most. He is the embodiment of the twin virtues of honor and integrity. He also happens to be my roommate in Alexandria.

Take me home, 95.

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sung to the tune of "Country Roads" by John Denver

Almost fatal, North New Jersey.
Newark Airport, Pulaski Highway
Pollution's old there,
killed off all the trees
Trash piled high in mountains,
blowing in the breeze

I 95, Take me home
To the place I belong
Jersey City, Newark momma
Take me home, I 95

All the greenflies gather round her
Slumlord Lady, stranger to clean water
Dank and filthy, smog covers the sky
The burning trash of the Garden State
Gets cinders in your eyes

I 95, take me home
To the place I belong
Jersey City, Newark momma
Take me home, I 95

I hear her voice
From a cheap motel she calls me
Sirens remind me that the cops aren't far away
And drivin' down the Golden State I got a feelin'
That I ain't got the tolls again today, again today!

I 95, take me home
To the place I belong
Jersey City, North New Jersey
Take me home, I-95


Taffy Nivert is turning over in his grave, but what do I care?

I'm too tired to post the rest of the journey back to the sweet, sweet arms of Alexandria, Virginia and Chris Tisdale, my long-time male companion, but rest assured I will do so soon, along with a few pictures of us and the fabled fruit salad.

Picture of Ange

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Hey, guys! Here's a picture of Ange, since she's been posting and, while Rae and Mensch know who she is, Maman & Papa have never met her - and I don't think Mara has, either.

Check out the Chest Puppies on this Hottie!

Ange and I were in the Marine Corps together, and the Marine Corps forges a special bond between people that seems to last a long time, or at least until one of them clumsily tries to have drunken sex with the other one's cat on Halloween. Not that I'm speaking from experience, I'm just saying, you know, that would about end it.

Karl is married.

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To Danielle, which had a kind of inevitability about it.

For me, it involved a trip home, to Alexandria, VA. I've decided that this is as much my home as is Edinburgh. A itinerant Schroedinger's Cat, I'm at home in both places.

I'm eating Blockbuster brand toffee popcorn.


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Ever been on a holiday that was so exhausting that you need a holiday to recover from your holiday?

First, a trip to America for Karl & Danielle's wedding, followed by a short period of convalescence for reasons to be provided in a later post, followed by T in the Park, a huge music festival that lasted all weekend, followed by a week's holiday in Sweden.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from July 2004 listed from newest to oldest.

June 2004 is the previous archive.

August 2004 is the next archive.

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