"CNN confirms that fugitive polygamist Mormon sect leader..."

did you manage to catch this headline this morning? it was at the top of the cnn.com homepage, in that big red 'alert' bar.

i saw it ...and i had to read it five times over. my hang-up was that i couldn't believe it was actually real. let's look at this one more time just in case you're missing the hilarity:

CNN confirms that fugitive polygamist Mormon sect leader...

this was published in the good faith of journalisitic intergrity by one of the largest news sources in the nation; and, i'm not talking about the relatable fact that the phrase conveys (which is ridiculous in itself: does this really happen?). i'm specifically ridiculing the language.

fugitive. polygamist. mormon. sect. leader.

someone at cnn has officialy lost his mind. this isn't news; it's the line out of a sitcom. it's a long lost seinfeld episode. i'll tell you how it goes: this mulitisyllabic villain is actually elaine's bad date for the night. he ends up being married to george's new girlfriend, who ran away from her husband because he was too controlling. she came to new york to start over and reinvent herself (no wonder george thought she was 'wild'). meanwhile, george has actually come to believe in his new girlfriend's reinvention rhetoric and decides that he is no longer 'george'. he is 'jorge'.

this is a bad joke if someone thought that the entirety of the english-literate world would take such a headline seriously.

but what's perhaps more disconcerting is the fact that this title had to pass by so many people. cnn has got to be a labyrinth of fact checking gnomes, one only slightly larger than the next (redundancy is invaluable at a company that large). these words passed by countless eyes, seeing the words and the fact, but nothing else. i guess it's fault and folley: it's upsetting that this was published, but it's also really fucking funny.

Let's Do Lunch

s: "hey! I haven't seen you in ages! wow, crazy running into you like this; how have you been?! gosh, i would love to catch up, but i'm actually on my way to a meeting downtown. lemme get your phone number. i'll call you; we'll get some lunch."

a: "uh, okay. it's--"
and right at this point i wonder if i can get away with giving this guy the wrong phone number. but then what if he calls straight back so that i'll have his?
"--415.423.7798." gave out the real one.

s: "great, hold on real quick. let me call you back so you'll have my number too."

that would've been awkward. but now i got this dude's number, and, frankly, i don't even remember who he is. And so, here we arrive at another instance of a social retardation: what the hell is up with 'lunch'? nobody actually plans on meeting for these so-called 'lunches.' they don't even plan to call you. and, that's fine, really, because i don't plan on calling them either. so why bother going through the effort of looking like you care? it's not like saying hello and then moving on is rude. on the contrary, i find it sincere. i'd rather have a short exchange with someone i never see than a long one that gets pinned to the unreal expectation of meeting for a lunch that will never happen with a person i don't really know.

in fact, suggesting to do the 'lunch' thing makes you look like a schmuck. you stare someone in the face, act happy and surprised to see them, then even go so far as to suggest the two of you make an opportunity out of this chance encounter by meeting later to 'catch up'--and none of it's true. what's really being said is: "do i know you? i think i do. do i want to try and know you more? eh...not really. i deduced your current status via your appearance at present. you seem to be doing fine. there's really no need to draw this out any further just to see it go nowhere because we all know that's what's going to happen. we weren't close friends before; why start now?"

suggesting to do something with the intention of never doing it just for the sole purpose of coming off as nice: that's what's called being an asshole.

in the future, don't be surprised if this happens:

s: "let's do lunch."
a: "go fuck yourself."


That Thing in Your Ear

"hey man, what's up?
wait a sec. what the hell is that thing in your ear? do realize that it's blinking obnoxiously? can you even hear what i'm saying?"

wtf? when did it become normal to walk around with some dongle hanging out year earhole? is this herb on the left really that excited about the shit that's stuck to the side of his head? i hope not, because he looks like a moron.

it's like i woke up one day and, suddenly, arrived in bizarro world. everywhere i look, people are sticking these things in their heads and then just leaving them there like nothing ever happened. this shit won't stand. that thing doesn't belong in your head.

i went to the deli yesterday, and Dude sitting next to me is eating his pastrami on rye, talking to his buddy, with one of these doodads sucking his aural canal and blinking at me. as if, all of the sudden, he's going to get THE call; the call to end all calls. and, god forbid his phone might ring three times before he can fish it out of his pocket. Noooooo. when that call comes, he's got to be ready. and by ready, i mean a loser with some bluetooth schbiel surgically implanted onto his face.

another example: at dinner the other night. i'm in a nice restaurant, having a pleasant dining experience, when something begins to catch my eye. yeah, an awkwardly out of place blinking blue light keeps flashing in my peripheral vision. i look over, and some guy is all dressed up, sitting at the table with what appears to be his girlfriend, laughing, joking, holding hands, with his headset in his ear.

this shit is ridiculous. do people think it's cool to look like a robot? maybe it's just that i didn't get the memo and we've all begun to be assimilated and will soon be part of the borg 'collective.' ...fucking borg.

i wonder if these things will ultimately get relegated to the lexicon of tampons. like, will someone eventually leave one of these things in his ear for too long and develop a nasty case of toxic shock syndrome? is the packaging going to start coming with warnings about hygiene and proper maintenance of 'the device' as it pertains to your earhole? is there going to be an o.b. equivalent of the bluetooth earpiece: "designed by an eardoctor to perfectly conform to the curves and contours of your body." then comes the debate over cardboard versus plastic applicators, vending machines in bathrooms, and that ever pesky odor problem. let's not even get into the uncomfortable talks with mom and dad about the new needs of your growing body.

i tell you: this shit has got to stop because it has already gone too far.



the comments section was closed off for some reason.
but now,
it's open.
so feel free to go to it if the mood strikes you...


A Vist and A Toothbrush

my parents have come to new york to visit me.

this is an interesting moment. frankly, there hasn't been a time when i was actually alone with my parents--just the three of us--when they've made one of these visits. in most cases, i'd travel to somewhere other than home to see them. and, for the most part, this other place was one of my siblings' current place of residence. that said, there was always company involved in any long-distance parental consultation. even still, for the last three years, coming to new york to visit meant visiting me and my sister (she recently moved). so, to get down to it: i've always had a buffer zone. by the transitive property, that also means that for most of my semi-adult life (if you can even venture to call it that), it's never been 'just the three of us.'

and that pretty much brings us to up to right about four hours prior to now.
here we are.

at this very moment, my parents are on an official visit here--to new york--on business from the familial consulate back in the Homeland. this single visit could have ramifications that echo in the eternity of reunions, reminiscing, and any awkward silent moment shared among family members... because we all know that everyone fills space with gossip.
that means you.
and, by 'you', i mean me.
that means, as an ambassador to this delegation, i must act like a statesman. And so, there is to be no awkward silence. Yet, inevitably, every now and again these conversational black holes manage to suck all the words right out of peoples' brains until they're left staring blankly at one another, which just makes everyone feel weird. Thus it follows that there must be a contingency plan for when such a moment does indeed arrive. Contingency plan: fill aforementioned awkward silence.*
*all parent-worthy 'filler' must be 100% natural. gossip-free.


what in the world do i have to say? current events: jon-benet ramsey, israel, and beirut. not your typical uplifting, witty-yet-appropriate small talk. you don't just have a chit-chat about missiles landing in haifa or dirty men in bangkok. that stuff only puts a sour taste in your mouth. that's what we call a Dinner Killer. i've got useless facts: water is most dense at around 4 degrees celsius, toilet bowls flush the other way around in the southern hemisphere, eggs are really really hard to crush if you try to squeeze them from their top and bottom most points. but that's all pretty much crap, which, when measured on the conversation scale, is well below 'gossip.' and so yields a 'negative, Ghostrider." after all that, i got nothing. i'm screwed.

well, this mental tail-spin starts to kick in right about the time we sit down for dinner. up until this point, there has been meaningful--but expected--conversation. things like:
'how are you?" or,
'how was your day?", or maybe
'what's goin on these days?" or perhaps even
'did you get that thing at that place like you were saying you wanted to do the last time we talked?'
in reality, it was all of those and a few more that were equally uninteresting/less-than-crucial. nonetheless, it's nice to share those details, especially with loved ones. at this point i'm thinking, "so far so good," conversation has been flowing well for a good...oh...say....17 minutes. about the time it took to meet them at the hotel and share a cab to the restaurant. mind you this has been intense one on one time; full parental focus. lockdown.

now, i freeze. two thoughts were developing simultaneously: one was traveling linearly along the path of the general discussion, anticipating upcoming questions and comments and preparing the mind accordingly. the other was a bit more hurdy-gurdy, planting a seed of anxiousness that feeds upon the awareness of the inevitable Lull. if they leave the cerebral cortex at about the same time, when will these two thoughts collide? i'll tell you: 17 minutes.

faced with this pileup and an ever mounting heart rate, my brain begins to shut off all non-essential systems. i'll let you in on another gem: when defcon 5 jumps off in your head, cognition is about the third to go. first you wet yourself, then you realize you can't smell the urine in your pants, then you can't remember anything after that. if you're lucky, you might be able to rig a jumpstart and manage to reboot. one thing that has worked for me in the past is liquor

w: "hi guys, welcome to Z. would you like anything to dri--"
a: "vodka soda." stat.

moments later that sweet, sweet nectar--the very same libation responsible for some of my most infamous undoings--is politely gushing over my lips and rushing through the spaces between my teeth. ah, that bitter-semi-sweet blend of a tasty russian vodka, a judiciously applied amount of soda water, and the hint of a lightly squeezed lemon. the effect sends serotonin rushing to my upper most extremity. the light-bulb flickers back on.

it's sort of like that experiment your science teacher would show in seventh grade. you're all dissecting frogs, some are doing it more precisely than others. you've gotten past the goo that lines their bellies. then you see that tiny little stomach, some other odds and ends. then, before you go for the brain (you know you'll do it), you see it. right there between those tiny little lungs. it looks like a slightly overgrown caper, and you wonder at how that little thing is responsible for powering this slightly larger little thing. that's when you hear:

t: "everyone, come over to my dissection tray!" the class hazily complies. finally, you're all gathered round.
t: "remember when i told you that we all carried a charge? well, now i'll show you how we need electricity just like our clocks do." as he's speaking, the teacher places two little clamps--one on either side--on kermit. teach flips the switch. then, ZAP; the little guy starts working. he's brain dead, but he's working.

well, i wasn't brain dead, but it got me working again.

surprisingly, i didn't really need to worry about the Lull or filler. things managed to just sort of take care of themselves. we talked about our family, my siblings and their various newsworthy activities, a little about life, and then just told stories. my parents talked to me about some of their experiences growing up. some funny ones, but mostly inspiring ones. i did my best to counter with tales that seemed equally well-aged.

looking around, i realized that it wasn't just us at the kitchen table in our house as it had been so long ago. we were in a restaurant. we were in new york. and yet, oddly it felt like home. dad finishing mom's sentences. mom telling me to get my elbows 'off the table.' all of the endearing little habits and favorite turns-of-phrase found themselves right back where i had remembered them. having my parents around made everything feel like home.

and as such, home wouldn't be complete without an awkward yet sentimentally meaningful gift. for chanukah, i used to get a right-footed sock on one night, and a left-footed one on the other. sometimes, i'd get tic tacs or post-it notes. once i got a box of number 2 pencils, followed by a notepad the next night. and, of course, there was always the little case of thumbtacks packed in the deceptively huge box. all of these gifts were, in and of themselves, pretty meager. their purpose was more for humor than anything else...and we always had a pretty good laugh at them. so much so that when it came time to actually need one of those gifts, the use of it wasn't simply evocative of its utility; rather, its use became swaddled in the memory of what it had once occasioned.

my parents came to new york to visit me. they gave me a toothbrush.


Spelling Error

yeah. i know. fuck it.

let's use this opportunity to introduce some belated irony into an already sardonicly themed blog. *gasp*

now it's doubly funny because:
1. i'm not overprivileged
2. it's as if i'm overprivileged and stupid


why do people keep calendars? seriously. i have not met a single person with a filofax, a blackberry, a pda, a laptop, or any other kind of calendar keeping device that has actually attended more than 20% of their scheduled 'info-sessions' for the day. in fact, i think that this whole calendar business is one big ruse. you know what i think? i'll tell you what i think: calendars are bullshit. that's right, i'm calling bullshit on all of you calendar keeping mutherfuckers. you might as well call that shit snakes on a plane because it's that ridiculous. i can hear it now, "there are mutherfuckin calendars on the mutherfuckin plane, bitch!"

deep breath.

on a slightly mellower note, i sincerely do believe that the entire point of a calendar isn't in fact to make and then keep appointments in this wondrous grid of times and dates, but rather -- wait for it, wait for it -- that calendars exist for the sole purpose of rescheduling everything. calendars are in fact a limbo for all things interpersonal. i know people whose entire existence is defined by the shuffling and rearranging of calendar events. phone calls--phone calls, mind you, because you can never actually get scheduled to meet in person--go a bit like this:

a: hey, what's up?
b: nothin much, just hangin out with my filofax. we're chillin
a: uh, right. so you wanna catch a few drinks tonight. maybe get faced and egg some cars?
b: wait? what was that? i...i was alphabetizing my Filofax. we weren't paying attention. did you say something about omelettes?
a: no, i said let's get shitfaced and egg cars.
b: oh. oh. hmm. well...(pages flipping)...we'll see. let me ask Filofax.
a: okay?
b: well, we have a 2:30 with scott, but we think we can move him around to maybe the 5:00 spot. you'll only need an hour right?
a: are you serious?
b: what was that? didn't hear you, was rearranging some dates here...
a: actually, i only really need fifteen minutes. (sarcasm)
b: oh really? oh! that's great! then we don't even have to move scott around! we have a fifteen minute spot between scott and jessica. let's say 4:45? (clearly didn't pick up on the sarcasm)
a: um. sure.
b: great! we'll see you then!

i'll call back in twenty minutes to cancel because that shit is just ridiculous. also, bear in mind that that call will set in motion a ten minute soliloquy on the other end of the phone while appointments are shuffled once more.

it's like meeting up in person is the equivalent of an asymptotic barrier. and so to be placed on someone's calendar is to be relegated to a friendship blackhole. once you're on the calendar, you can never get off of it, but also your appointment is never fulfilled. the illusion of actually meeting just seems to get closer and closer to becoming a reality; and then, you get 'rescheduled,' and the process starts over once more. thus, these calendar people walk around with books of acquaintances with whom they never have to actually meet. so beware if someone suggests that they put you on their calendar, because you may never see them again.


Speaking of Overpriviledged

so it seems that i'm the last of all of my known contacts to make the move into proper mid-adult-limbo area. which is to say that i'm not pursuing a graduate degree nor am i going to some far flung eastern continent in search of endangered species, children in poverty, or war-torn crisis areas.

and i'm also not trading over a bajillion dollars on wall street.


i'm right here, in new york. probably getting slightly underpaid and trying to figure out how much i love my life.

did i mention that i bought a bike? yes. i purchased a bicycle. that has been the biggest life-stage event thus far in my gray-area-of-adulthood phase. i guess i can justify it...or at least use this purchase to make it seem as though i'm doing some good with my life. i'm not in africa, but i am reducing fossil fuel emissions by .000001%, and that's saying something.

i can see how this will miraculously play itself out. let's set the scene.
Occasion: Going away party for Brendt
Place: The Cub Room (popped collars, khakis, and seersucker required)
Where's Brendt going: Brendt has been trying desperately to become a distinguished member of the Fulbright Society. But his fondness for 'the yayo' in his formative years has placed a bit of a tarnish on an otherwise sterile and gleaming collegiate record. That said, Fulbright et al have been more than reluctant to embrace this future presidential candidate. So, Brendt cashed in a few of the options on his trust fund and is off to Botswana to "find himself." Oh, and also for "the children." (He just hates how they suffer with those potbellies of theirs, the flies, and improper hair care)

The conversations vary from guest to guest. There's the typical social-scene jockeying. "I went to Harvard. I met my girlfriend at Princeton grad school." or "I went to Princeton. I met my boyfriend at Harvard grad school." or the ever popular, "I went to Yale. I met my girlfriend at Yale grad school. Then I transferred to Harvard grad school."

Then it's on to questions about which fundraisers you went to, who you saw there that can corroborate your presence at said event. And, finally they sink their teeth in:
q: so, what are you doing these days?
a: oh, just working a bunch. trying to see how things go in new york.
(then a long pause; they're dying for you to show some interest. okay, i'll bite)
a: and you?
q: OOHHHHHH, i'm so glad you asked. recently, i went to micronesia, on a grant from the ornithological society, where i recently rediscovered the once-thought-to-be-extinct micronesian duckbilled dodo bird. it was really amazing. there i was--in 'the bush'--with my sherpa, Dippo (great guy, bad hygiene), and i hear this little 'yeep, yeep.' i look to my left, and, OH MY GOD, there was this precious little chick-a-dee all alone in the dense, overgrown, native foliage. so, carefully...
(i order another drink)
...i bend down and cradle this young ipsaltum incalcanea--that's the correct ornithological naming: genus, species, you know--in my hands and it just begins to chirp it's little beak off. it was so cute. and, i mean, i rescued this poor thing. well, then we hiked back to base camp where i had Dippo prepare my salt bath, ginseng tea soak, my facial mask, and my pedicure, while i quickly pulled a new can of pedialyte out of the minifridge , poured it into a bottle, popped on a nipple and began to nurse my little pet back to health. all the flight attendants in first class were just cooing as brought Dippie--that's what i named him, after Dippo--home for his unveiling. they just kept bringing be champagne and strawberries. what a flight!
a: i bought a bike.
q: oh, that sounds like... You pedal? like, you exercise on your way to work?
a: yeah.
q: don't you sweat? isn't that gross?
a: i sweat. it's not that gross.
q: huh. i see. that sounds....nice (translation: plebian).
a: yeah, well i'm helping to reduce fossil fuel emissions.
q: is it for a grant? do you have to go somewhere far way for these 'emissions'? like Chad or something?
a: no. it's not for a grant. i don't have to go anywhere.
q: right. oh i see Buffy over by the tea sandwiches. i'll catch you at the......
and they're gone.

so is life more meaningful the more ridiculous and far removed the stuff is that you do? i wonder how much more respect i would get if i spent a shitload of cash to go somehwere far away to help some small tribal village that, albeit a wonderful gesture, in the grand scheme of things, is really only ammo for my resume, conversation, and....well that's it. it just seems that these types of folks go on these pilgrimages because
1. they have too much time on their hands
2. they have too much money on their hands
3. they don't know what to do with themselves
4. in the end, it makes THEM feel better
which is pretty much antithetical to the entire point of their journey.

it just all seems a bit more like self-adulating theater to me than anything else, which is sad.

but then again, isn't that what this blog is?

it's a trap. wittgenstein anyone?


The Name

i guess i have to address the title of this blog before i begin to do anything else.

this isn't a comment meant to suggest, or rather proclaim, my financial state. nor is it an attempt to reference some wonderous upbringing filled with nannies, various hampton residences, 'summering,' and the countless number of totalled mercedes i have discarded while living this theoretical 'overpriviledged' life.

however, this isn't to say i'm not without priviledge. and this is where it becomes important to make a distinction. THE distinction, in fact. the fountainhead of this highlighted advantage isn't derived from money or breeding. it is a symptom from which many people suffer. simply put: we have a lot on our minds and we wind up having more time than expected to ruminate on said thoughts. or maybe it's better expressed the other way around: we have a lot more time on our hands than we tend to think...and that leads us to think about some really weird stuff.

it's a 'chicken and egg' kind of debate. but i'd rather just eat the omelette.

and, so, this is where overpriviledged comes in. it's a sounding board for all those interesting thoughts that find their way into my head during the moments that i don't even realize i'm thinking about something until all of the sudden, "Aha!"

so, bear with me as i begin to flesh this out. it could end up being kind of fun.