Friday, August 19, 2005


I'm at the gym, aimlessly trying to do some bicep curls. It's pathetic, I can barely get the bar up and my face contorts and twists in ways I try to keep private. My cheeks are red, my eyes nearly dilated. I complete my set and fall limp on the bench. My brain has shut itself off, conceding that it's time for my body to work. I'm staring blankly at the mirror when I hear "Freaking democrats, they are the reason why I dont have my boat."Huh?As my mind has gone into standby mode, it takes a while to process what I've heard. Strange images come into my head, one of Al Franken standing on a boat dock waiting for someone to leave a boat unattended. My mind finally figured out what the guy was saying and I stood up, looking to see who had said it.There are several breeds of people at the gym. One person is the ultimate die hard muscle ripping fanatic. I, as you may have guessed, am not that type. There's the casual gym goer (myself), the sporadic gym people who show up every three or four months recommitted to making it this time, and the older folks who go to the gym because it gives them something to do. I looked up to see an entire posse of older people huddled around talking to one another. In the center was Jerry. Jerry is the leader of the older folks. He comes to the gym every day for about three hours and has about ten times the muscle tone that I have. I've speculated that he got so big merely because he comes to the gym when none of his gang is around and is forced to exercise. Usually he leans on gym equipment talking loudly. He likes the Red Sox and takes every opportunity to make fun of Yankee fans. I steer clear of this whole Red Sox/Yankees Connecticut timebomb by claiming to be a Mets fan. Who knows what I am? Jerry is boatless because of democrats.The rhetoric of politics in America has gotten silly. In order to be heard in a conversation, a person needs to say something so audacious that everyone will turn and pay attention. The bar keeps getting higher and scarier. Democrats and republicans are both responsible for this Orwellian situation, albeit I would suggest that Rush started it all. As a society we need to stop the madness. I'm not suggesting that free speech be outlawed, I just mean that we need to stop listening. People need to recognize that idiots like Rush are created because people respond to them. Turn off the tv or radio and make up your own mind.

Monday, August 15, 2005

The Return...

Texas in August is hot. The kind of hot that constantly causes you to feel uncomfortable. Despite my ridiculously odd comments, it was actually coller in texas than it was in Connecticut while I was here. Despite the immense heat, I enjoyed visiting my brother Mark for the long weekend. We had a lot of adventures, so I'll just describe the best. My favorite part of the trip was on Saturday night when Mark and I went out for pizza and just talked about the old days. We told stories about our days at camp till really late and we laughed. Mark also shared with me something that was startling. Apparently I was expected by everyone to fail out of college within a semester. My family was utterly surprised when I showed up at the end of the first semester with Dean's list grades. Mark and I compared our perceptions of things that happened during my high school days and were shocked to find how different our interpretations were. I love sitting around and just talking to my brother. He is always insightful and fun. Visiting him was great. For now, I'm plane weary and want to take a nap. The cats also apparently have missed me...

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Texas on my Mind

I'm going to be traveling to Texas to see my brother for about four days, so my journal wont be updated for a little while. It wont really hit me that I'm flying until I see the plane parked in front of the gate, and then I will get nervous. Despite my flight anxiety, I tend to fly about four times a year, so I've come up with some interesting ways to cope with it:
1. Noise Cancelling Headphones--These amazing products completely obliterate any engine noise, seriously diminishing any anxiety. Usually I tend to use these in concert with relaxing classical music to wipe out any ideas my mind might have.
2. Meclizine (aka Bonine)--This over the counter drug essentially numbs your inner ear canals, causing you to relax. You wont be disturbed by sudden plane movements because you wont feel them that much. I also use this drug sometimes while sailing if the seas get really rough.
3. A really fun book--My current favorite author is Clive Cussler, who writes Dirk Pitt adventure novels. Cussler's "brain candy" are exciting, suspenseful and interesting. Check him out if you've got some time and dont want to think while reading.4. Food--I know this one sounds silly, but sometimes comfort food can ease that long flight. I pick something that I dont usually allow myself to have (today I'm thinking Fritos). Comfort food usually does the trick for me.That's it I suppose. Texas is always interesting for me since it seems like another world. I'll be sure to write about it when I get back. Until then, have a nice weekend and I'll be right back on Monday.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


My friend Warren died about two weeks ago, and I've been thinking a lot about death ever since. There's this one image of Warren I can't get out of my head. I'm standing at Union Station in Hartford, patiently waiting. Excitement lingers, I haven't seen Warren in over a month. The bus pulls in and Warren gets off and runs over to me. He drops his bag and gives me this enormous bear hug and beams at me. Warren and I were two completely different people, I'm a white suburban middle class shy guy and Warren was a Caribbean-American outspoken dude from Brooklyn. But we had this bond that defied any sort of cultural identity. I'll miss him a lot, but I'll always remember his great hugs and the long talks till morning.Death is an inevitable part of life; it's something we've all got to deal with eventually. There's a quote from Star Trek II that I often think about when death occurs. The quote is "how we deal with death is at least as important as how we deal with life" and it is pertinent to many situations. Many of my friends are dealing with death for the first time. It takes some time to figure out that the person is really gone, that you will never see them again. Death makes us stronger, it allows us to change and grow and succeed. If a person is able to confront death and overcome it, that person can do just about anything.Yesterday, I had a lot of time to think on my way home from visiting my girlfriend. I'm a lot of things, shy, intellectual, bookish, semi-athletic, but it had never occurred to me that there's a part of me that's a natural survivor. I watched as my mom fell apart when my dad died and I kept going, never telling her how hurt I was or becoming morose. I knew then that even if things are at their worst I need to keep a brave face and move forward. Since then I've been through a lot of death and I've been upset by it, but I've also understood that I am capable of rebounding and moving on. Loss is hard, but falling apart and giving up is even harder.Speaking of which, Dad's death is the only one that lingers over me. I think it's natural for me to want my dad around, for him to be proud of what I have done with my life. The point is though that I have moved on, that I've become something important. The greatest testament to my father is that despite all his worry and fears, I'm a good person with an excellent life. I know how happy that would have made him.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Physical Education

I find Bruce Reed's remarks about Bush's health ( at Slate appalling for many reasons. The suggestion that a president's health has something to do with his effectiveness on the job is ridiculous. Also, wishing anyone else ill health, even if he is a particularly bad president, is in poor spirit. No matter how bad a person someone is, they dont deserve bad health. It's also important to note that President Bush seems to defy any statistics regarding his presidency. Despite the lowest poll numbers he's ever faced, the man seems invulnerable. Why is someone picking on the man's excellent physical health, when there are so many other things to find flaws with him?I am a bit of a health nut myself in that I try to regulate what I eat and exercise as much as possible. However, the oppressive heat this summer has made exercising outside nearly impossible during the day. Today I saw tons of people jogging at around noon and I was genuinely scared for them. The heat, which still lingers around 95, was startling at that time. Do people not realize that it's not a good idea to jog while your body is struggling to breathe? I'm just afraid that someone is going to pass out on the side of the road from heat stroke or something. Lately I've been getting my cardio in the less balmy gym, albeit it still gets really hot there sometimes.Please people, do not run in the middle of the day when the heat is above 90. It will not get your body into shape and you will end up doing more damage then good. If you must jog outside, jog in the early morning or at sunset. Sweating is good, but if you dont replace the fluids you sweat out, bad things will happen.I occasionally look over at Matt Drudge's yellow website The Drudge Report. Is this man an idiot or just a vile propagandist. What infuriates me is the way Drudge links to AP articles in very misleading ways. The latest one I saw Drudge's headline said "Dems Attack Bush For Working Out..." I clicked on the article. It was a press release from the democrats saying that Bush spoke about the importance of good physical health while cutting back programs regarding physical education. In no way did democrats attack Bush for working out. They were criticizing his mixed messages. Drudge consistently complains about the liberal media targetting conservatives and always talks about how he's a balanced news source. If this is true, he needs to stop misrepresenting other people's articles. Or, he just needs to go away all together. Happy vacation George. I know those 12 American deaths in Iraq wont interrupt your brush clearing. I'm a teacher and I criticize how many vacations the president takes. That's sad.