April 24th, 2008

A Sopranos Character?

About nine years ago my then-wife and I were looking for a hotel room for a romantic weekend in Paris.

One of the websites had been very poorly translated into English and read "Every room has jack uzzi inside."

I remember thinking "Who is this Jack Uzzi creep and why the fuck do I want him in my room?"

Open Source Boobs

What's wonderful about this entry from theferrett is not the entry itself.

It's the tags people have put on the entry.

A brief synopsis of the entry and what happened.

1. Ferrett is one of these dudes who goes to sci fi conventions.

2. Him and a couple dudes got an idea for an "Open Source Boobs Project" where they'd hand out buttons to women who were interested that read "Yes you can."

3. The deal was if a girl had a "Yes you can" button on, then, for this one convention it was OK to go up to her and ask "May I touch your breasts." She had the right to say "no" but if she said "yes" you could briefly touch her tits.

4. He posted about this and drew roughly 1,200 comments.

5. Then people started fucking with his tags, creating ones like "how am I married to a woman?" and "my sexism - let me show you it" and "try this on me and I'll kick your ass."


I realized something interesting with my shrink this afternoon.

Years ago when I first came back to Montpellier after my wife left me and I had my breakdown I was still in pretty bad shape - to the point where I did not leave my apartment for several weeks, because I was scared of the outside world.

My dad picked up on this and threatened to essentially shut down my bank account (he had power of attorney) and come drag my ass back to the states if I didn't get out of the apartment for at least an hour or two every day.

He didn't want me to hide from the world and generally figured that if I was unable to do that, I was unable to live an independent life.

So, we made a deal. I would be at one of the local pubs around 7 p.m. every night. And a few nights a week he would call that pub and make sure my ass was there. He made it clear that if I ever wasn't there, that there would be hell to pay.

For about a month he checked up on me every so often and simply knowing that he would made me confront and conquer my fears and kept me from becoming a complete agrophobe living on pizza deliveries.

The thing is, a couple weeks ago my dad admitted to me how phobic he is about using the telephone. Today, I realized how hard it must have been for him to make those calls to check up on me.

I didn't think about that at the time and boy do I feel guilty now.

When he comes to visit in June I'm going to take him aside and thank him.

He deserves it.

The Best Day Ever!

For the first time in two weeks, daddy opened up the balcony doors!

Two flies then came into the apartment!

I've devoured one already and the other one will be mine soon!

And the black boy cat that lives across the street keeps looking at me!

Oh, happy day!

Harlot's American Tabloid Ghost

I recently started rereading Normal Mailer's Harlot's Ghost.

Like American Tabloid it's fiction based on Freedom of Information requests both authors sent out about the CIA and FBI activities during the 1950s and 1960s.

Nobody ends up looking particularly good in either tale.

In both stories the CIA people themselves never really do anything. Instead they come up with schemes and then employ local talent on a freelance basis to pull it off.

This explains a lot about the the CIA's successes and fuck ups during that time. In places where the hired thugs were reliable (West Germany, South America) the CIA did pretty well. In places where the talent was unreliable (Cuba, most of Asia) they did fairly poorly.

In any event they were hardly James Bond.

Both books also are pretty negative about JFK. The authors see him as a good looking, but malable fuck up, who didn't trust the CIA at all, and didn't understand that Hoover and most of the FBI didn't give a shit about stopping organized crime.

(In both of the books there are references to JFK being called "2.5 Minute Jack" by Hoover, because that's the average amount of time he lasted in the sack according to FBI surveillance audio.)

Where they differ is on Vietnam. Mailer seems to be arguing that Vietnam was the CIA's attempt to fuck over JFK and eventually distract LBJ from the agency's fuck ups in Cuba.

American Tabloid takes a more cynical interpretation. He thinks that with JFK and LBJ cutting the CIA's budget, or at least giving it more scrutiny, the CIA needed a way to raise a lot of black market cash for themselves.

Vietnam was perfect, because they could easily manufacture millions of dollars of heroin there. They had a built in distribution system, because the mob hated JFK and and LBJ. The mob also needed to raise extra cash because they'd lost a ton of money when they got kicked out of Cuba and had yet to make a reasonable return on their investment in Las Vegas.

Either way, both authors argue that the CIA wasn't really concerned about the Vietcong, they just needed some kind of distraction from what they were really up to.

Anyway, I highly recommend both books. I don't endorse either author's interpretations 100 percent, but they are food for thought on American history.