Wednesday, July 7

[Your body breaks, your needs consume you forever]
Has Blogger been acting up? Or are these Birmingham News computers just screwy? Probably the latter. I've been crashing everything I've touched for two weeks. Uh, I guess that makes me the defective unit, not the computers.

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Saw Farenheit 9/11 this weekend. It didn't disappoint. Of course, I'm one of those ambivalent naysayers who unabashedly loves the leftist propaganda but worries about some of the misleading aspects of Moore's filmmaking. Any holes in the narrative weaken the argument, so I hate to see him take potshots or creative liberties with the truth. Still, a good film with a lot of info to make you feel like shit -- for driving a gas-guzzling car, for not voting in 2000, for ever having greedy thoughts. Hopefully it'll make enough people feel like shit that we oust Bush with force.

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Relatedly, I just edited a story about three Army commanders who were quietly punished for impeding an investigation into a 19-year-old Iraqi boy's drowning. Turns out some of Our Boys pushed him into the water because he missed his curfew. And now he's dead. This kind of stuff is constantly coming across the copy desk. This big bomb killed seven innocents, but it's OK because we shattered the glass in an al-Qaida hideout. This other bomb destroyed a daycare but it's OK because it got close to the place where some militants like to eat lunch. I can't see how anyone can root for war, any war, especially this war, when the dead and mutilated just keep piling up. For freedom?

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I laid out the editorial and op-ed pages yesterday, as well as the Just for Kids page. That was pretty fun. And way laid back. I got to leave at 4:30. I had a flat tire with a giant screw sticking out of it, taunting me, so I rushed home to find tire repair shops in the phone book. There was one a couple of streets over. When I got there, it was after hours, so when it came time to pay, the big, sweaty, burly man at the counter said, "Just buy him dinner, baby," referring to the man who had fixed the tire. I thought he was kidding. He wasn't. "What do you want to eat?" I asked the man, instantly feeling weird. Didn't I have to ante up some taxes for The Man? The man (lowercase) didn't have much of an audible reply, so I shelled out $24 -- the amount they had quoted to me on the phone. That ought to buy him a nice porterhouse and a baked tater.

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Feigning for soda and chocolate milk, I went to Food Fair, a local grocery with a dusty, broken parking lot and bars on the windows. I was the only white person in the place, so I was acutely aware of my otherness. I was the self-conscious minority. It wasn't hostile or anything, just obvious. When you suddenly don't have that invisible network of the majority to support you, things change. When I left, the White Face of Authority was planted at the exit: a white cop leaning and watching the checkout lanes and the cigarette stands. I'm not sure what to say about that. You don't want to give the black cops "black assignments," but a white cop is so stereotypical when you think about every segment of Cops ever. Why not a Chinese-American cop? Why a cop at all? Maybe I don't want to know.

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It was sunny today. I didn't go swimming. Mother Nature decided that it was not time for me bless this world with another neurotic Turner child.

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I have been watching Futurama DVDs non-stop. This week with commentary. How can I get a gig like that? Their writing staff includes two people with Ph.D.s in math. And so many of their jokes are so cerebral and nerdy that no one gets them, so they have to point them out in the commentary. That activates my hilarity unit.

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There's a new full-time designer at work. He's doing the usual rounds of meeting everyone and learning the programs. He's from Spain. He says "good deal" a lot. Thinking back, I think I did the exact same thing ... and probably still do without realizing it. It's really debilitatingly annoying. Monkeytrumpets.

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