Posts Tagged 'dick cheney'

My Brush with Low-Level Religious Terrorism

Ok. For someone who has lived in Los Angeles for the better part of a decade, I have an odd confession. I hate driving. I’m not scared of cars, but I loathe being dependent on them. And the grinding tedium of stop and go traffic often leaves me more aggravated than a full eight hours on the job. So I take the bus a couple times a week.

The thing I like about the bus, aside from not lining Dick Cheney’s pocket with more of my hard-earned money, is that I get a half-hour or so of reading in before and after work. It’s a nice buffer between the bustle of the office and relative quiet of home. And this morning I was eager I dive into my new book, Absurdistan by Gary Shteyngart. I’ve been wanting to read this puppy since I read an excerpt in the New Yorker some two or three years ago. Yet the moment I get a seat and open my book, some guy next to me who looked like a thinner version of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and who was sporting an outfit that looked like a silken Mao suit opened his book, the Bible, and started spouting off a sermon. Using the bendy part of the bus as his pulpit, he delivered Biblical commandments in a booming, sonorous voice that was almost impossible to block out. Almost immediately, I pipe up saying, “Please don’t. This is a crowded bus…” but that didn’t even register. Between Western and Westwood, I don’t think the guy paused for more than five seconds. I realized with greater and greater frustration that there was no way I was going to be reading my book this morning. Nothing short of a kick to the teeth is going to shut him up.

He continued, “You work five days a week, six days a week. But then you send all of your money at clubs, the bars. You hook up with prostitutes. Go to crack houses?” Jesus, how does this guy spend a weekend? Once we rolled into Westwood, he shambled off and the whole bus said a collective, “Hallelujah.” Yes, I thought. This was my brush with low-level religious terrorism.

This Week’s Links

My weekly culling from the internets:

An obese inmate in the dock for a murder charge is hopping mad that he lost over 100 pounds as a result of eating prison food. America: This is you.

Bill Geerhart is clearly a man with too much time on his hands. In the early 90s he wrote to a host of famous/infamous people like Charles Manson and Dick Cheney as a curious 10 year old named Billy. See the results here.

In the insane landlord department, there’s this tale of horror from San Francisco.

And in the insane local tradition department, there’s the cherished Indian baby dropping festival.

Creepy yet beautiful Japanese anatomical drawings.


Well, I’ve graduated. I’m done except for my thesis film which remains an albatross slung around my neck. I’ll think of more overwrought metaphors later…

Anyway, Ted came down and videotaped much of the ceremony, which was held in a large courtyard. There were African dancers, massive puppets, some weirdo painted in red, and a least one guy strutting around in speedos and a Mexican wrestling mask. We were told to wait in a nearby hallway where we made teary-eyed promises to keep in touch and we drank cheap beer. This was taken as me and my cohorts were being lead to our seats.

The speakers spoke. I and most of my friends paid more attention to each other and to the hipflasks of cheap whiskey being passed back and forth. It was a very relaxed affair. I got up, walked around a bit. Talked to some of my non-graduating CalArtians. Talked to my mentor who informed me that she suddenly thought that my thesis should be cut by half. If I hadn’t indulged in some of that cheap whiskey, I would have been furious. Not only does that suggestion indicate that she didn’t understand the intent of the piece (and as such has been less than truthful with me for a better part of a year) but her timing shows a real lack of tact. But fortunately, I was three-sheets to the wind at the time.

Later on stage, a fight broke out between Spiderman and a cowboy with another Mexican wrestling mask. Spiderman quickly vanished his opponent and the head of the department shoved them both off stage. By the time I got on stage, sporting my friend Jeff’s secret service shades. The Dean made it clear that there was no time for me dedicate my degree to Dick Cheney and the corporate thugs at Halliburton.

I was given a daisy and a class photo in a binder that looks like it should have a degree. (I’m assuming my degree will be mailed to me.) As I got off stage, someone sprayed that disgusting chemical party string stuff at my forehead.

June 2023

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