Entries from: August 2007

America’s Compass is Broken!

A friend sent me this image of a Political Compass Test that I myself had taken as part of a Political Science class in college. Here, the current presidential candidates are plotted out according to the views they are campaigning with. I find it interesting how scewed the American socio-political perspective is in light of this chart. For example, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are viewed as left-wingers when in fact, they aren’t liberal minded at all! How did America get this way? I’m not saying we should be more liberal, just that perhaps we wouldn’t be in such and ideological quagmire if there was greater variety of ideas. It looks to me like almost all of our Presidential options are coming from the same point of view.

Now I ask you the reader, how do you view the candidates? Take the Political Compass Test for yourself and see where you fall on the chart. How many of the candidates align with your views? Respond here on randomn3ss… lets see which candidates really are candidates of the people!

Russia’s Summer of Love…

The US has been experiencing a steady growth in population for the entirety of its existence. Not quite a year ago, America welcomed its 300 millionth citizen, something I personally view as a blessing and a curse. Not all countries however are growing like the US, example #1: Russia. Those kooky Russkies have come up with a plan to tackle their low birth rate because, according to the Associated Press, a la the Washington Times, Russia’s population has been declining since the 1990’s and is expected to fall below 100 million by 2050. Their solution? The declaration of September 12th the “Day of Conception,” where everyone gets the day off to go home and hump.

The hope is for a brood of babies exactly nine months later, on Russia’s national day. Couples who “give birth to a patriot” during the June 12 festivities win money, cars, refrigerators and other prizes.

One couple won 250,000 rubles, or about $10,000 US. I’d live with that much snow if it meant I got paid to have babies!

Escape from the Rock, barely…

I love living near San Francisco because it is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Last Sunday I got to see it in a way very few people have the opportunity to. At 6:30 in the morning I found myself on the bleachers in Aquatic Park pounding a Red Bull as I pulled on my oh-so-snug wetsuit. The location provided me with the perfect view of the island of Alcatraz. That’s right, in one hour I would be boarding the boat that I planned to jump off of into the bay and then swim the mile and a half from Alcatraz back to Aquatic Park. Mind you The Escape from the Rock Triathlon is entirely voluntary.

So the hour rolls by, I’m pretty edgy now as the Red Bull has kicked in and I’m not normally a consumer of caffeine. To make matters worse, the ferry is delayed because some assholes are late and the boat captain is kind enough to re-dock so the three stooges can board. To distract myself I’m eyeing my adorable boyfriend in his oh-so-snug wetsuit till we reach our destination. Feeling so cute I could puke, my man and I hold hands as we jump off the boat into the freezing cold bay and swim a bit to where all the other crazy people are lined up, with the safety kayaks. My hands and feet go numb well before the horn blows, and then my mothers voice pops into my head, reminding me not to get eaten by the Great White Sharks that like to feed on anything that looks like a seal.

The swim leg of a triathlon is usually my strongest but this time, I got my ass kicked. That mile and a half was the most mentally grueling swim I have ever done, EVER. I am not much of an open water swimmer and sea sickness is not something I’ve had to deal with previously. Then there was the view. Breathing to my right, away from the sun afforded me a lovely view of the Golden Gate Bridge, which was pleasant. However as not to get lost, I had to keep looking ahead to the target buoy, which I could only see when I was on top of a swell, and looking back to see how much progress I had made. I could not get away from that fucking island and therefore, I am absolutely positive Alcatraz is inescapable without a wetsuit. On top of all that my boyfriend beat me out of the water. Talk about salt in a wound.

I mentioned that this was a triathlon, so when all that swimming was said and done, I still had 13 miles of biking and 8.5 miles of running to go. I managed to get through the 2.5 miles of running from Aquatic Park to Crissy Field and onto my bike pretty smoothly. I pounded some GU and was feeling pretty good. I was out of the water and just simply wanted to finish this crazy thing I had talked myself into. Unfortunately the bike portion was next and I am a terrible biker. I’ve only been riding for 3 months and don’t have my own road bike. This is particularly degrading in the bike transition area where it seems like everyone else is fucking Lance Armstrong.

The Presidio area of San Fran is like the rest of the city, all hills. So me and my wrong size bike got passed left and right on every hill and around every turn. I managed to hold my own going downhill despite the fact that my rear brake is non-existent. As I rounded the last turn back to the transition area I felt an overwhelming sense of pride that I hadn’t slammed into one of the guard rails (which more than one person had done at full down-hill speed). By this point I had to pee really bad knowing full well the only bathrooms were out of TP.

One unpleasant bathroom stop later I was back out on the course for the last leg of the race, the long run. Did I mention that San Francisco is all hills? My legs were on fire for the entirety of the run portion and then the course turned onto the beach. Running in sand is the most painful thing on the planet and coming up was the Sand Ladder. It is exactly what it sounds like, 200 vertical feet of sand for steps. Ironically, I was incredibly relieved to reach this point in the race because the course was literally all downhill from here. To make myself feel better I started singing “I Will Survive” (“at first I was afraid, I was petrified,” you know the words). I wasn’t singing to myself, I was singing out loud and I’m certain I was offending a number of older men who I was passing at the time. I made it up that stupid sand ladder and down the rest of the hill and to the finish line in 3 hours and 20 minutes. As got my finisher medal and hugged my boyfriend, I could barely stand but I couldn’t stop smiling either.

Thank you Brian, I couldn’t have done that without you.

Wake up America

Al Gore’s written a new book and just like that depressing video of his, he’s right again. Here is a video of Mr. Gore giving a speech on his new book, The Assault on Reason. As much as I am irritated by the way in which he gets his point across, I recognize that in order to give a politician or anyone the opportunity to say something worth saying, I have to sit and listen for more than 30 seconds. If you care at all about what is happening in your country, give Al Gore 10 minutes to give you a clue. He really hits the nail on the head and explains how Americans have been asleep at the wheel. Americans shouldn’t have to keep missing the point.

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Hypothermia can be Fun!

On Saturday May 5th, I competed in my first triathlon relay with my boyfriend and another friend. It was the Napa Valley Vintage Half-Iron Triathlon and I was responsible for the swim leg. For those of you who may know me, this should come as no surprise. Here was my day start to finish…

Brian and I woke up at 5 am and couldn’t manage to put clothes on and eat by 5:30 (designated departure time), so we ate our oatmeal in the car. That was a joy to scrub later. After a little detour, thank you MapQuest, we arrived at our destination with 15 mins to spare. After shivering while staring at Lake Berryessa for a half hour, Biker Brian was late, we got registered and numbered and it was time to get into my swim suit. The thing about triathlons is that everybody wears a wetsuit, this is for two reasons. First, because all of the swims are done in open water and most of the time, its really fucking cold. Second, because the neoprene is supposed to assist in maintaining proper body position in the water therefore enabling the swimmer to be more efficient. This is debatable however and seeing as though I haven’t bothered to find a wetsuit I opted to swim without one. I have swum in 65 degree water before, this should be no problem. 1.2 miles is only 2100 yards which I swam in 26 minutes the weekend prior.

Ok, so I’m in my suit and its 8 am and the Sun is rising and the race official is telling bad jokes. I’m a little cold, no, more than a little cold. The air is cold and I haven’t warmed up, I’m half naked for gosh sakes. I am in total denial of how bad this swim is going to hurt. The first wave of swimmers takes off, I opted to go in the second wave. This guaranteed I’d always have people in front of me to chase after. As I wade in the water I realize the officials lied about the water temperature, its way colder. There was four minutes between the two waves and being able to start in the front of the second wave meant standing in that cold water letting my muscles tighten slowly and painfully. My remarkable ability to deny reality has proven useful once again and I ignore the cold. I should have gotten a wetsuit. Too late now.

The gun goes off and I dive in, instant brain freeze. I’m sighting on every stroke both because my head is cold and because I cant find the buoy, I wear glasses. I finally see it and then take note of the swimmers around me. One guy even with me to my right and another guy a little ahead to my left, must catch guy to my left. I catch up to him as we reach the buoy and I make the right turn facing directly into the sun. The rest of that first loop went rather smoothly. I even caught up to the first wave as we swam past the boat launch marking the beginning of the second loop.

That’s when things got interesting. Remember my brain freeze? Turns out that part of the lake is particularly cold and not only did my brain freeze come back, but my muscles cramped just a wee bit more. Now I’m having a hard time keeping my stroke at a normal length. The whole time I’m passing people and that’s taking my attention away from the cold and the cramping. Did I mention that when its that cold its really difficult to breath in fully? Half way through the second lap I felt like shit. I didn’t think I could get any stiffer when suddenly I realized this was because my body was pulling heat away from my limbs trying to keep my heart warm. That is a really interesting feeling, they call it hypothermia. This made me pick up the pace. If I don’t get out of the water I’m going to freeze. This made for wonderful motivation to pass more people. “Dig woman dig” I repeated to myself as I lengthened my stroke and started kicking again. This was going to be ok. I can do this. Positive thoughts filled my head as I started to choke on gas fumes. Yes gas fumes, the ass hole driving the rescue boat had his exhaust pointed at the swimmers and I was breathing it, for about 30 strokes. By the time that was over I made the last turn back towards the boat launch and kicked into something resembling high gear. It was over already!

I slipped and almost fell standing up on the boat ramp (slimy nasty boat filth) and ran, barefoot, 200 yards to the transition area to pass the time chip to Biker Brian. My frozen fingers begrudgingly grabbed the Velcro and it was over. My job was done in 31 minutes and I loved every minute of it.

After some violent shivering (all that cold blood hit my heart at once) and a headache from the gas fumes, I warmed up and watched Biker Brian pull us into 12th place. Then my Brian (yes sir I claim him!) ran his cute little butt off and we finished 1st among the relays, 4th overall. Not bad for my first try. Thanks guys, you did most of the work.

Money, Sex and Chocolate Pt. 2

My next step in thinking about the erotic nature of money was to explore different types of human dynamics and apply how we relate to sex and money in generally the same way. The first of these dynamics, and the second article in this series on Money, Sex and Chocolate is regarding Dominance and Submission.

Power is a very primitive human desire and there isn’t anyone I’ve observed that believes he is more powerful than the man (or woman) who possesses an obscene amount of money. Power is what makes people like Hitler think, “Perhaps I’ll take over the world today.” George W. Bush may claim God told him to become President but anyone who can balance a check book would be able to see how he (and Dick Cheney) have benefited from their occupation of the White House. Why is this? What do we get from feeling powerful? We must gain some sort of animalistic gratification, after all dominance and submission are elemental to human interaction. We are constantly forming varying types of social hierarchies in everyday interactions. The philosopher Hegel in his Master/Slave dialectic,

Thinks the master / slave relation is primitive: it’s a defective form of self-consciousness whose logic is self-defeating, so that it renders itself logically obsolete and is superseded by the superior form of self-consciousness that is economic cooperation.

Economic cooperation, ah hah! Ok so there is something gained by either side of this dynamic. Either by dominating over someone else or being dominated by someone else, the participatory parties are gratified, resulting in a balanced existential interaction. A good example of this natural tendency manifesting itself sexually is Sadism and Masochism,

Often interrelated (one person obtaining sadistic pleasure by inflicting pain or suffering on another person who thereby obtains masochistic pleasure), are collectively known as S&M or sadomasochism.

A similar situation arises around interactions with money. Many people feel a sense of sexual empowerment deriving from their financial gains. In fact, many high-net worth women profess to having better and more exotic sex lives. This happens because, as I mentioned in Part 1, money is an enabler in enhancing sexual experience.

The other facet of this power/sex/money ménage et trios is that of submission. Take “groupies” for example, and I’m not limiting the word “groupie” to women who sleep with rock stars. I’m talking about women who are sexually attracted to men simply for their money and therefore, power. Such a woman is satisfied to be dominated by a powerful man with the financial means to enable her security. Perhaps this is not the healthiest of interactions but it happens and is functional at best.

So it is by evoking feelings of power, exerting dominance or being submissive to that power, that we derive a good deal of our sexual pleasure from money. This is not the only emotive property of money as you will see but, in my opinion, is the most obvious and most intense.

“We live by the Golden Rule. Those who have the gold make the rules.” ~Buzzie Bavasi

Related articles:

Money, Sex and Chocolate Pt. 1

Infants are not weapons

Shortly after reading Sofia’s article, I stumbled upon this story.

A woman pleaded guilty Tuesday to swinging her 4-week-old son like a bat to hit her boyfriend during a fight, fracturing the infant’s skull in the process.

The argument was made in her defense that the child was actually hurt during the fight between the two adults and that she claimed she swung the child to protect her boyfriend. The child has now recovered and is living with the woman’s parents, along with her four other children.

Why we as a society are not THROWING condoms and birth control at every woman on the planet is beyond me. It is irresponsible to have a child if you are not of sound mind enough to know that it is unhealthy for the child to use him or her as a weapon. Some things will never cease to amaze.

Money, Sex and Chocolate Pt. 1

Power couples such as Donald and Melania Trump, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver, Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, what makes them successful? More importantly, what makes them possible? Money. They all know it; they’re just okay with the idea. There is an erotic essence to money that has evolved, perhaps, a bit out of control. Money has been responsible for a large quantity of creativity, ingenuity and achievement through our sociological evolution. In fact we have allowed money to become such an integral part of our lives that we now experience the same emotive properties from money that we receive from sex and chocolate. How has it come to be that such value, far beyond that of dollars and cents has come to be placed on little pieces of paper? Freud’s pleasure principle explains that,

We have to sublimate most of our desires for sexual pleasure, and turn that sexual energy into something else–into writing a paper, for example, or into playing sports. Without the sublimation of our sexual desires into more productive realms, there would be no civilization.

That would help explain why in this MSN article,

Grove and Prince surveyed people with an average net worth of $89 million, and who make more than $9 million per year. They found that money is an enabler in a number of ways to enhance sexual experiences. More money equals better sex.

Erotic is defined as “Tending to arouse sexual desire or dominated by sexual love or desire.” Now consider the erotic nature of money. A man, who would ordinarily be considered unattractive, is suddenly capable of having any woman he wants because he has money. This would not be possible if we did not attach such values to money as powerful, secure, competent, accomplished, cultured, glamorous, sexy. It has been nurtured into us through society that money is attractive, to the benefit of society. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “money makes the world go round.” Well so does sex and in American culture they’ve teamed up. How else would you explain Brittany Spears?

This is the first of four articles exploring the erotic nature of money. Check back for discussions on Dominance & Submission, Reward & Sacrifice and Fulfillment & Emptiness. Pay attention to how your money makes you feel, kind of scary when you remind yourself its just paper.

Women prefer men who have something tender about them – especially the legal kind. ~Kay Ingram

People found hugging for 5,000 years

There are plenty of romantic stories that fill our hearts with hope for everlasting companionship but rarely do we find real life examples. Elena Menotti and her team of archaeologists have discovered 5,000 year old fossilized skeletons near Mantova, Italy locked in an “Eternal Embrace,” just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Why impeachment is inevitable

Let me very clear about the word impeachment. The American Bar Association definition states that It is a process, authorized by the Constitution, to bring charges against certain officials (President, Vice President, judges and cabinet members) of the federal government for misconduct while in office. Should there be suspicion of misconduct it is the House of Representatives responsibility to bring charges against that official. It is then the Senates job to try that official for those charges. Dean John D. Feerick of Fordham University (1984) describes �misconduct� as

That which undermines the integrity of public office. Misconduct must be substantial and serious.

Impeachment is simply the process of investigation. There are no predetermined punishments that come along with the process, except maybe the loss of dignity. With this understanding of impeachment one can reasonably conceive of the grounds for impeaching former President Clinton. The crimes for which Clinton was charged where not all that serious, reflected by the fact that 63% of Americans at the time opposed his impeachment proceedings, compared to today’s grassroots movement supporting impeachment that claims 53% of Americans support impeachment.

If Clinton was lying when he said I did not have sexual relations with that woman, you know the line, read again what Bush said about the war in Iraq on October 7, 2002. Keep in mind we know for sure Iraq did not have nuclear weapons.

The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. Saddam Hussein has held numerous meetings with Iraqi nuclear scientists, a group he calls his “nuclear mujahideen” — his nuclear holy warriors. Satellite photographs reveal that Iraq is rebuilding facilities at sites that have been part of its nuclear program in the past. Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes and other equipment needed for gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons.

Lying in order to fabricate a war is just one of the several offenses the Bush Administration is accused of committing. The offense of lying doesn�t seem so bad when compared to the Violations of the Geneva Convention the Administration has already been convicted of. Or what about the warrant less wiretapping? Regardless of whether you think these actions necessary, spying without a warrant is illegal and an investigation should be conducted to see how spying such as this was allowed to happen and how it might be remedied.

Between the beatings, the lying and the spying Bush and his team have created a triple threat to the strength of the American Constitution. We owe it to our Constitution to launch this investigation. What would be the consequences of overlooking impeachment proceedings? We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, before all else we establish justice. The bedrock of this great nation would be cracked beyond repair. We would cease to be Americans.

Fortunately we live in a country founded on the idea of individual responsibility. You can impeach Bush, do-it-yourself style.