Tagged: absurdity

Tastes like…

Still hard to believe that the “Beyond Meat” COO was arrested for biting a guy’s nose. You really can’t replicate the taste of real meat, evidently.

Why I Love Flying (?)

It’s the absurdity plus the corporate know-nothing-ism. Conversation with an airline club employee:

BC3: Thanks for checking me in. Could you also help me with a seat change? I’m trying to get out of the bulkhead. Any other seat is fine.
DA: What do you have… 1A? Let me check. Yes. 1A is a bulkhead. So you’re fine!
BC3: Right, but I’m looking to get out of the bulkhead.
DA: I have 1B and 1C available, but those are aisles.
BC3: No, I’m trying to get out of the bulkhead. No problem. Just thought I’d ask.

This is where I should have walked away. However…

BC3: [trying to be chatty and fun] 1B and 1C are the worst seats up front anyway. That’s the seat where you get bumped or kicked by every other passenger as they board the plane.
DA: [truly confused] Well, they’re all bulkheads.
BC3: Right, but I’m saying–see, because they’re right at the very front, right on the aisle, every single person passes by that seat. So, every person can bump, kick, or brush by you.
DA: Well, I would beg to differ with you. Not every person goes past that seat.
BC3: Look. I’m just–look. Like, take 30C. At least if you had 30C, you are only going to get hit by the people seated behind row 30. Row 1–
DA: I just don’t think I agree.

I gave up.

Not thirty yet

So I’m sitting at the Caribou Coffee, here to do some writing and thinking. There’s an incredibly bad guitar singer here with an amp — which never happens. I’m trying to work, but the old man is cranking out bad renditions of the Beatles and the Monkees. (Come on man, pick one and get good at it!)

I am grateful, then, that I at least have my laptop with me so I can listen to my own music. But there’s some terrible problem, and I can’t get the music working! Windows Media Player says it can’t access all of my files, which is bizarre. So I download WinAmp, copy the music to other locations, try Yahoo Radio, reboot multiple times — anything to drown this guy out, but nothing works. It’s a travesty and I can’t think!

Finally, after half an hour of screwing around and NOT writing, I figure out the driver problem, and I crank up the first song that plays: Sedated, by the Ramones. Ahh, sweet blessed peace. I start jamming along, banging my head and really being happy.

And that’s when I notice them. A group of four ‘tweenies, sitting in front of me, giggling. And one of them has a camera phone and is trying to casually hold it over the shoulder so he can video my inspired Ramones performance. The others are dying laughing and trying to discreetly help him point it the right way.

Not wanting to wind up on YouTube, I stop chair-dancing and just stare at the phone intensely. They quit taping me and act like it never happened.

That’s when I turn on the flashlight on my phone, lean over, and take this picture of the little bastards:

Four punks at Caribou

(Perpetrator in blue hoodie.) They immediately melt in mortified embarrassment. Giggling stops, whispering starts. Nobody can stand to look at me after that.

Suck on it, punks. I’m not thirty yet.

Take the hummus challenge

As you may know, I recently had a few people around for a party and decided it would be a good idea to settle the question: who makes the best hummus in Columbus?  Over twenty people voted and I tabulated the results.  There’s something for everyone.  Go to my Columbus hummus challenge page and see the results.

Welcome back, Class of 2008

Welcome back, 2E’s of Capital Law! Here at the beginning of our fifth semester, I find it’s a good time to take stock of where we are and where we’re going. Time slips by so quickly.

Law school has been a lot tougher than we imagined, but we made it to the midpoint, right? Here at the end of the first half of the second year, we’d be exactly half done with law school… if only we had followed the lead of our turncoat former colleagues, those wretched people who switched to the day program. Now they’re part of the snobby “day people,” those green youngsters who until recently were still mired in extensive disputes over Property I and the system of conveyances. We didn’t follow that path. No, we decided to be “smart” and keep our jobs while losing our heads, and now must face the reality of 28 more months of night school, including summers. “I’ll pay for school as I go,” we said, “so I won’t be in too much debt at the end.” Ha.

Here at the uneasy start to a fresh semester, I like to think what’s become of us. One thing is: there are a lot fewer of us than there used to be. As you might know, I keep a semi-morbid list of the fallen: those students who started with us, but are no longer with us. People have left our class for a number of reasons: lack of interest; deciding the law isn’t for them after all; the high cost of tuition; better job offers; medical problems. I truly regret the loss of so many colleagues, and encourage those still left to hang on, because I think the rewards are worth the pain. Still, I can’t help keeping track out of curiosity.

2008-chartAccording to my official count, we started August 2004 with 91 students. Every semester, we lose about 10% of our class, not counting those day student emigres. The current total is only 46 who’ve hung in there. At this rate, I will be the only student left come May 2008, and even that isn’t certain. Last night over pizza, Prof. Darling evoked the spectre of my own dropping out. “I can imagine the sad scene when you slowly cross your own name off the list, closing your computer forever.” (I love FASHes!) :)

One of the things they warned us about law school is it tends to turn us all into competitive jerks. Either you are outwardly competitive and trying to impress everyone else, or you are competitive but covering it up. Most people pretend not to be interested in this, but one thing I’ve discovered is, secretly, they are. And what a perfect environment we’ve got for the comparing! Not only is there the all-present GPA, but we also have created a variety of other ways to measure ourselves, usually in pompous, sanctimonious, self-aggrandizing ways: all the clubs, elections, societies, and just plain old cliques and study groups. (In some ways, law school is more like high school than college. At least in college, there was a pretense that we were supposed to act like adults now. I’d pay extra tuition never to hear about another “important” law school election again.)

From the Bureau

We were told that if every person in P&C Systems completed their United Way pledge card (whether or not they actually gave to United Way), we would be allowed to wear jeans every day until October 21st.  Corporate drones love to wear jeans.  Every day you would get a report of the number of people who had still to complete their pledge card — 400, 200, 75, and it kept going down.  The deadline to finish the job was today.

We came very close to 100% participation in the UW ePledge process, with 99.9% of associates completing United Way pledges online by the end of today.  Unfortunately, that means no free jeans days will be awarded.  However, it was a great team effort and your contributions will go to hundreds of great charities.  Thanks for your great participation!

0.1% would represent approximately 2 people.

A visit to the grocery store

Well, I’m fresh back from a trip to the wonderful Kroger — a trip that, I maintain, would have been made partly unnecessary by the Fishline.

It appears the pimply, nice U-Scan boy who used to work every single night has quit. I haven’t seen him in about two months. This a shame, because I love him. Even if it’s actually slower than using a cashier (who can say?), doing U-Scan just feels faster. He was the fastest vegetable code number typist I’ve ever seen. So, wherever you’ve gone, Face, I salute you.

Is it just me, or can the steady erosion and decline of American values be traced to when Sunny Delight changed its name to Sunny D?

And finally, it appears that you can now buy these fabulous Butterball chicken breasts that have been marinated for you. This is a Godsend for anyone who is not getting enough sodium in his diet. But here’s the best part: they’re sold in individually sealed chicken bags. No more touching raw meat — ever! All you have to do is carefully cut them open with a steak knife, dump that knife into the dishwasher, and Keshia Knight-Pulliam! you just got off scot free. I can’t emphasize how many “out, damned spot!” washing experiences this could have saved.

Religious musings

I recently discovered a religious paradox while having a discussion with a Muslim friend at work. He is fasting while observing Ramadan, an Islamic holy month.

His definition of the fast is that no food or drink can be consumed between sunrise and sunset. Consequently, he has to get up around 5am to eat a big meal before work, then goes all day without food. There are other restrictions as part of the fast, such as no smoking, I think no swearing, and so on.

However, there is apparently an important exception to the fast. It is OK to break the fast if you are traveling. We both figure the exemption comes because traveling out of town can be exhausting, so you have to eat something.

We think this may have come because when all this fasting business began centuries ago, people pretty much walked wherever they were going. It is certainly unreasonable to expect somebody to walk miles each day with no nutrition, particularly if you don’t know where the food is going to be on the way.

The problem arises with the definition of “traveling.” My friend says there is a specific distance, set by Islamic law, that you must go to be considered a traveler. He didn’t know it exactly, but said it’s about ten miles. We joked that he can get McDonald’s in Reynoldsburg any time he wants and he would be cool with God.

Now, conservative Muslims are more likely to fast — some liberal followers don’t observe it at all. But conservatives are also more likely to stick to a strict interpretation of “traveling” and use the ancient measure of ten miles. I think liberal followers would be more willing to look at the traveling exemption and take into account several obvious differences in 21st-century travel — it’s much faster these days, food is readily available everywhere, and you can travel thousands of miles in a day with no serious physical exertion. Certainly, liberal Muslims should interpret the rules differently based on today’s realities. And ironically, conservatives have given themselves a free pass on fasting as long as they manage to skip a few miles out of town. As I understand it, theoretically, you could do this every day and be considered to have fasted in accordance with Islamic law.

I’m not making a commentary on Islam per se, and I certainly don’t claim to understand the full story here or on all of its precepts generally. But I find it interesting to highlight a situation where it seems clear to me that following the rules strictly (eating ten miles away) produces an outcome that is generally opposite to the actual intent of those rules (fasting as a sign of strength and commitment in one’s religious beliefs). Conservative adherents to all faiths should take a look at their regulations and consider whether the practice actually encourages the desired outcome.

Columbus gets her arches back

Well, I had the pleasure of attending a rather unusual party last night.  As you might have heard, Columbus used to be famous for its lighted metal arches over High Street.  (According to the legend, Columbus was known as Arch City into the fifties.)  These arches were downtown and probably made a walk through the city rather attractive, and I think they must have nicely complemented the linearity of what was a great shopping and business street.  The arches were taken down, and I don’t know why.

Now Downtown has declined, but my neighborhood has been resurgent for twenty years.  Local business leaders and politicians have talked forever about getting new arches on High Street in the Short North to bring back that cool landscape and feel.  Last night, they finally put one up.

I was annoyed on my walk home to find that the street was being closed.  How many construction projects must I endure?  This counts as the sixth in a year and a half, with that disastrous fiber-optic project as the worst.  I went upstairs and made some dinner.  I kept looking out the window, though, and realized that the first arch was going to go up right outside my building.  Then my buddy Marc called and we talked about it.  Eventually, he wheedled me into agreeing to meet him so we could watch it go up.

I noticed the mayor out on the street holding champagne glasses, so I decided it was a good time to uncork a nice Australian red, which I dumped into a couple of plastic cups.  (If the mayor can violate the open-container law, so can I, right?)  Then I headed downstairs to stand in the street like everybody else.

“Everyone” was there.  By everyone, I mean a good chunk of the local shop owners, city politicians, and urban design/planner types.  Dorothy Teater was there, and she chatted amiably with Mayor Coleman.  (I was one of the six people who voted for Dot when she was up for mayor in ’99.  I’ve always felt sorry for her since she had to be county commissioner with Arlene Shoemaker for so long.)  I recognized the Rigsby’s owner, the guy who owns my building, some of my mom’s clients, a real estate agent, and a lot of others, and I got to meet some new people who I’m sure I’ll never remember.  There were also a lot of construction workers, contractor/suits, Rigsby’s diners, local residents, and half-drunk yahoos from the Short North Tavern.

It was cool.  The thing looks more round than I expected.  The arches have to be tall enough for semis and buses to pass under, even at the curbside lanes.  (Let’s hope they’re big enough for trains, too, eh?)  I figured it would look like some jungle-gym crossbar, but it was elegant.  The “light bulbs” are actually unbreakable plastic knobs that let light out via fiber optics.  They say they can do any colors except red, amber, and green, since these are the traffic light colors.  So for Independence Day we can have purple, white, and blue!

The mayor cried “photo op!” and gathered round a lot of workers and contractor types for photos and videos.  Then he said, “Let’s have the city people up here!”, by which he meant City government workers but which the half-drunk yahoos interpreted as themselves.  Coleman made a toast to “the future of Columbus, which is exemplified by the dynamism of this neighborhood!”  OK, Mr. Mayor, you never were a great speechifier, but you got a lot of “woos” and applause.  (“Take it to the next level!”)  Then a crane lifted the arch slowly into position.  Then the mayor stared at it for a while and then announced “I’ll be back in ten minutes!” and ambled off in the direction of the Tavern.  He never came back.  I toyed with the idea of being the first civilian to pass under the arch but, fearing further pedestrian challenges to the police, decided to content myself with being one of the first.

The rest of the evening I spent finishing the wine and complaining with all of the Short North Democrats about tomorrow’s election.  It made me feel good to live in a real community, which has civic leaders, business boosters, and a lot of residents.

It was a little anticlimactic actually, since they never turned the first arch on.  I thought it would be awesome to see it snapped into position and then illuminated, but that didn’t happen.  In fact, Marc said he noticed later they’d taken it back down.  No matter.  This morning two were up and they looked great.