Friday, October 22, 2004

An Open Letter to the CTA

Dear CTA,

We both know I'm one for excitement. I mean, come on. I wouldn't partake in your services were I not!

However, I don't know how appreciative I am of times when the El car I am on catches fire. Smoke is cool and flames can be sometimes, but still...endangering passengers lives is not.

Be thankful that Chicago residents are dull and robotic when they ride the El, otherwise, rather than calmly exiting the car and complacently standing on the platform, we would have rioted and set fire to more of your cars as you rolled away with a cloud of smoke trailing behind you.

Best wishes,


Sunday, October 17, 2004

By David Brooks

SCHIEFFER And our first question goes to Senator Kerry. Sir, your spending plans will cost over a trillion dollars. Your combined tax plans will cost $500 billion. How are you going to balance the budget?

KERRY Bob, I'm glad you asked me that question, but before I dodge it I'd like to thank you for moderating this debate, I'd like to thank Arizona State University for being such wonderful hosts and I'd like to thank Dick Cheney's daughter for being a lesbian - in case anybody didn't know.

Bob, as you know, this nation is on the brink of an apocalyptic catastrophe. Civilization as we know it is hanging on by a thread. Our culture has collapsed, our economy is in tatters, the human spirit is extinguished, children never laugh, God is dead, and families like Dick Cheney's are ashamed of their daughters, one of whom is a lesbian. All of this is because of George Bush.

Did you know that right here in Arizona the average share of the national debt on a per capita basis is rising faster than the inverse of the median lost wages ratio of the typical swing voter in Ohio, Missouri and Florida combined?

Bob, when I'm president, we're going to have a president as gloomy as this country should be. But the difference is that I have a plan to balance the budget. In fact I have seven plans. Seven and a half if you count the one I was working on in the limo, not even counting subclauses. When I'm president, our country is going to marry a really rich country, which will pay for everything. Thank you.

SCHIEFFER Mr. President?

BUSH You need a plan. I know that. I'm president. I wake up every day looking for a plan. In fact, I supported Mitch McConnell's plan. But my opponent voted to raise taxes 1,500 gazillion bazillion times. He even voted for some of my budgets, which have created deficits as far as the eye can see! He's a liberal!

The first thing we need to do is cut back. I'm not going to have a flu shot this year. I'm not even going to take a Tylenol. I'm going to have a root canal right here on this stage without Novocain. But we also need to declare an international war on deficits.

I'm excited about 19-year-old girls in Afghanistan who are voting in favor of the line-item veto for the first time ever. I'm excited about the millions of Iraqis who have been liberated from Saddam's Hussein's trial lawyers and their frivolous lawsuits.

SCHIEFFER According to the prearranged rules of this debate, each candidate will now have two minutes to spew forth sentimental blather in order to connect with the American people.

KERRY Thank you Bob. I'm a Catholic. I was an altar boy. In Nativity plays I was usually cast as one of the posts holding up the manger. I know that a lot of people are tired of politicians who just tell them what they want to hear. America, I want to look you in the eye and pledge I will never pander to you.

Spirituality is important to me. I've always felt that we humans are insignificant maggots scuttling across the muck of the universe, and that life itself is just a meaningless moment of agony between the suffocating stench of the womb and the foul decay of the grave.

SCHIEFFER Thanks for that uplifting message. Mr. President?

BUSH America, we've been through a lot together. Imagine how bad things would be if I'd made any mistakes. But we've come through it.

We haven't enforced the Dred Scott decision. And what about my timber company? Can you believe the networks? Oh, never mind. Do you want some wood? How late does this go, anyway? I'm losing it.

SCHIEFFER As I was driving in tonight one thing occurred to me: All three of us are surrounded by strong women. What the hell are we doing up here? Why aren't they running the country?

KERRY Bob, it's true that I am married. She's my second wife, to be precise. Can't recall her name at the moment, but she's fully funded. And I've got two beautiful daughters. Heterosexuals, both of them.

I want to tell you about my family unit and what it means to me. We're in the 79th percentile in most demographic categories. Our compatibility fitness score is within the standard deviation for median households worldwide. ...


This Stuff

I expected college to be a lot like a series of monologues, where each individual would get a moment of self-declaration and in that moment, we completely mature, learn, and grow. But that hasn't happened and I don't think it will any time soon.

Instead, "College," the theater show, is set on a stage that has been designed as a cest pool of competition, gossip and hormones, where, we the players ("college students") port North Face fleece, Nalgenes, and five-hundred pages of reading for each week, and off stage right, parents and authority figures tell us to function.

"College" should really be a musical instead. Oh, wait. Waa Mu definitely already did that. But they didn't have a musical scene in a library--and that needs to happen.

Last night I was lying in bed thinking about all the things that had happened to me in a week's time. I'm positive nothing happened to me during the entire LENGTH of summer that compared in terms of dramatic interest. More dramas should be set on college campuses.

I've been cryptic lately with everybody. I apologize.

My backyard is big with big trees, divided in half by a white fence that runs the width of the green space. Stretching away from our back door and porch, there is a patio, a walkway to our pool, the white wooden fence, and then another stretch of lawn where our barn flanks the right side and my old wooden swingset flanks the left.

When I was seven, I'd run the entire backyard in circles. I'd start at the backdoor's steps, run crosswise toward my swingset, climb the swingset and jump down, run the width of the yard to the barn, turn, follow the white fence down toward the big tree with the old swing (where I once fell and scraped open my chin), around the pool (keeping my distance from the edge like Mom asked me to), and then leap over the lavender bushes.

Once, as I tried to jump those bunches of lavender in one leap, I thought to myself (as I fell into the grass and proceeded to roll down the hill toward the patio in one motion), "Someday, I'll look back and think about this and I'll know I was really lucky."

And I was right. I do look back. And I was lucky. Everything was simple, and even though I knew it, I couldn't appreciate it.

I think I'm going to jump in leaves later this week and maybe run around campus. I think I'd smile if I saw someone else doing it in between classes or at night on their way to the library, so maybe I should go for it


Tuesday, October 5, 2004









Monday, October 4, 2004

An Open Letter to God

(Upon Spending Hours in Library and After a Late Beach Walk Full of Introspection the Previous Night)

Monday, October 4, 2004

Dear God,

Please don't let me become just another college student on her way to just another grad school, who will ultimately lead just another suburban-working-mother life. Help me make my life interesting and fill it with the unexpected. Remind me when my eyes glaze over with humdrum existence that a world lives outside of me, begging to be breathed in, exhaled, and experienced. Shake me at my foundation and challenge me daily.

Help me make my life extraordinary, if only for the reason that I lived it.

With much love,


PS. Good job with that whole running the world thing. I'm very impressed. Oh, and could you maybe throw a vote left in this upcoming election? Thanks!