Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Dear Penthouse

I haven't posted here for over 45 days. Did you miss me? Doubt it...

Anyway, a particular event happened yesterday morning, which has inspired this post. Now I've never read any of those letters to penthouse (Like Robin Williams, "I swear I only buy it for the pictures of naked women!"), but I decided to do this post in that style.

Dear Penthouse,

I am an average joe at the office. Not unattractive, but no supermodel, if you take my meaning. Not much ever really happens at the office: I sit at my desk, do my work, and occaisionally gaze out the window. Not that I have much of a view. Last year, they completed work on the building next door, converting it from an old office building into luxury furnished apartments for the super-rich who are in town for a limited period of time, or who need a place to stay while their $5 million house is being constructed.

Needless to say, as construction commenced, there were running jokes around the office about how some immodest teenage bikini models were moving in to the apartment across the way, and whatnot. None of it was true, of course, just fantasies of the over-worked and underpaid middle class geeks who inhabit the office. In fact, until yesterday, I had not really seen anyone over there except for the occaisional cleaning staff.

But that all changed when I came into the office yesterday. Yesterday was overcast and a little drizzly. I got to my desk a few minutes after 9am, and sat down to change my shoes and logon to my computer, my standard office arrival routine. I noticed almost immediately that there was a light on in the window across from my office--the first time this had happened since the building was completed. The blinds were open enough for me to see that I was looking into an empty bedroom, and I turned my attention back to the same morning routine I have followed for years: change shoes, logon, get a glass of water, check e-mail, etc.

Suddenly, a flicker of movement in the corner of my eye caught my attention. As I turned my head to see what it was, I realized that it was in the apartment I noticed earlier. Remembering the jokes my office buddies used to make, I felt a brief thrill of excitement quashed almost immediately by the thought that it was probably some middle-aged, overweight hairy guy walking around in his tighty-whities.

But no, the thrill of excitement returned, rekindled by the sight of a young, beautiful woman with flowing dark hair. She was entering the room, and, oh, my God, she was wearing nothing but a towel wrapped around her waist. I could almost see the beads of water from her shower quivering on swells of her full, bare breasts. Her nipples were standing out at attention, and she walked with a strut that was almost a swagger, inviting all onlookers to view and enjoy her nakedness.

I don't think she saw me; she continued her morning routine, which I observed was much more interesting to me than my own moring ritual, by walking to the mirror and proceeding to brush her long, dark hair. I could see her reflection from the window, enjoying tantalizing views of her chest in the mirror, and her towel-wrapped backside as she spent several minutes grooming and preaning.

Then she left the room and disappeared. I sat stunned with wonder at what I had just seen, my heart racing, my breathing heavy, and my eyes searching in desperation for her naked return.

I was rewarded a moment later when she again pranced about the room in all of her topless glory and unabashed innocence. She disappeared again and then returned wearing pants and a bra, and as she pulled on her shirt, I knew the show was over.

But if tomorrow morning is anything like today, I think I'll have a new morning routine.

Sincerely,

Watching from the Window
Washington, DC


Um, yeah, so I guess I got a little carried away, but isn't that the point of these things? Just as a side-note, the cleaning crew came in yesterday after she dressed and left, and they closed the blinds. This morning, the blinds were open again, but no sign of the girl.

The worst part is that I've had this office for just over two years, and this is the first time anything like this has ever happened. And now... NOW... I'm being moved to another office, in another building, without a window.

Just my luck...

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Protecting "Traditional" Marriage

Could someone please explain to me why banning same-sex marriage is somehow "protecting traditional marriage?" I just don't understand how granting marriage rights to one group somehow lessens the rights of another group who already enjoy those rights. So what, exactly, are you trying to protect marriage from?

A Baltiomre Circuit Court judge recently ruled that same-sex marriage is constitutional in the state of Maryland; however, the ruling has been appealed. Rather than wait for the issue to be resolved through the judicial system, and pursuant to the call of Gov. Ehrlich (R), members of the GOP in the Maryland House of Delegates are pushing to change the law with a proposal to amend the Constitution put forth by Del. Donald H. Dwyer Jr. (R-Anne Arundel). If approved in the House by a three-fifths (3/5) vote, the issue will be put on the November ballot.

Not only does the proposal seek to define marriage as the union of one man to one woman, it also "would nullify local laws in Montgomery County and Baltimore that allow gay public employees to extend health benefits to their partners and to own property jointly." (Washington Post)

Ridiculous! By this logic, we should bring back segregation, and slavery... revoke women's right to vote, enact laws against Jews owning property, and just for kicks, revive Prohibition!

Elbridge James, the NAACP chief, said his group would view a constitutional ban as a return to the 1860s, the 1870s and the 1920s, "when African Americans lost their rights."

...

Jamin B. Raskin, an American University law professor... said, "[the proposed bill] wildly overshoots the mark" by eliminating basic rights available to gays now. He called it the first amendment of its kind since Prohibition specifically aimed at taking away rights, instead of advancing them.

"This bill would turn the Bill of Rights into a bill of wrongs," he said.
(Also from the Post)

It truly amazes me how backward this country is sometimes. Even Civil Unions are degrading in a way--it's the "separate but equal" argument all over again, which is certainly separate, and anything but equal. If Civil Unions are actually equal to Marriage, then why aren't they just called Marriages? Even the simple act of specifying a unique term suggests that the two institutions are not equal.

It's like saying, "2 = 2, unless it's 2 gay people, then it equals the union of 1 + 1."

We need to stop discriminating based on sexual orientation, and grant the same legal rights and privlidges to all couples.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Commuting

According to the U. S. Census Bureau, I am classified as an "extreme commuter" because my commute lasts at least 90 minutes, door-to-door. This may sound like a long commute, but it's really not so bad, since most of that time (about 50 minutes) I'm on the train between Baltimore Penn Station and Washington Union Station. I usually read the paper in the morning, or catch up on some extra sleep. In the afternoons, I used to do the same thing... but not anymore.

Now I ride in the Bar Car.

Yesterday morning was the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. I'm not going to make arguments (political, ethical, legal or otherwise) on the correctness of the ruling; however, I would like to rant for a few minutes about how it affected my commute. Every year, there is a March for Life in DC for anti-abortion protestors. On the train yesterday was a school group from Good Shepherd, a Catholic school in Perryville, MD.

Now I am all for freedom of expression... if the kids from Good Shepherd want to march, I have no problem with that. What I have a problem with is them taking over the train as if it were a school bus.

It wasn't really the kids who bothered me, it was the teachers/chaperones. Every 5 minutes, they were demanding the attention of the car to go over rules for the day's events. Then, at the insistence of their teacher, they played the "toilette paper game," which consisted of giving students on each side of the train car a roll of toilette paper to pass from seat to seat, unrolling without breaking as it went. It was a race to see who could unroll down the row and back the fastest. Totally obnoxious at 7:30am.

I'm all for fun and revelry, but damn it, not at 7:30am! And not by wasting valuable paper products. See, I'm really grumpy in the morning, mostly because it's morning, and I'm awake.

To their credit, the kids were pretty well behaved. I guess they were junior high kids, so they mostly chatted, played with their cell phones and mp3 players, and generally stayed in their seats and didn't bother anyone outside their group. But something about the teacher really grated on me.

Maybe it was the 20 minute dissertation on how the students must be well-behaved, because they were not only representing themselves, and their parents, but also their school, their church, the diocease of Wilmington, the Catholic Church as a whole, and God himself. Nevermind that her ranting to the whole car about the importance of good behaviour was the rudest thing I happened to see from the group... but I'm sure it made God proud that the teachers of his blessed school in Perryville are socially inept.

Makes me want to send a letter to the school suggesting that next year, they get a bus...

Is it hypocritical of me to complain about this school group and then contribute to the afternoon festivities (which are also loud and obnoxious) of the "bar car?"

Maybe.

But it's my blog, and I'll bitch if I want to...

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Patrick Henry Had it Right

The U. S. Supreme Court ruled today that the Oregon state law allowing terminally ill persons wishing to end their lives gracefully the right to seek medical assistance from doctors is outside the scope of drug regulation by the FDA. It seems that the Bush administration, under the leadership of former Attorney General Ashcroft, was threatening to bring legal action against doctors who engaged in this activity, citing federal drug use regulations.

The central question was the issuance, by the Attorney General, of an interpretive ruling, which asserted that assisted suicide was not a "legitimate medical purpose" under the Controlled Substances Act. The majority of the court found that the Attorney General lacked the authority to make this determination, based in part on his lack of expertise in the field of medicine, and in part on the specific assignment of authority under the CSA, which did not include the assignment of these broad powers of interpretation with respect to medical standards to the Attorney General. Essentially, the interpretive rule would have subverted the state of Oregon's right to determine its own medical standards, thus shifting the state-federal balance of power (in the majority's determination) in such a way never intended by the Congress through the CSA.

I'm glad to see this ruling. I don't like the idea that the Bush administration is using scare tactics to legislate supposed morality. Commonly accepted standards of medical ethics include Voluntas aegroti suprema lex, or autonomy: in this case the right of the patient to choose or refuse treatment. Also included is dignity. Is it dignified to suffer needlessly? To watch oneself or a loved one wither away in body, mind, or spirit because of a debilitating, terminal disease? Isn't one cure for an incurable disease a dignified passing? Couldn't this best be accomplished through medical means, rather than other (possibly messier) methods of suicide?

I hear that drowning is an easy way to go (Virginia Woolf walking into a river with rocks in her pockets) or carbon monoxide poisoning. But how is sitting in one's car in the garage with a hose from the tailpipe to the window more dignified than seeking a physician's aide? How is dying in a hospital bed under controlled medical conditions wrong, when the alternative is to throw oneself into the river, only to have the bloated, decomposing body wash ashore weeks or months later? How is this dignity?

...

On another personal liberty note, Chris Miller recently posted commentary on the NSA's illegal spying activities. Since his comments are hosed at the moment, I thought I'd add my disgust that a recent poll found that half of all Americans think that it's okay for the NSA to spy on them illegally. Only 46% were opposed, and the remaining four percent didn't know what a wiretap was.

Along with the smoking ban in DC, yet another degredation of personal liberty...

Friday, January 13, 2006

Busted for Driving... Sober?!

Now this falls under stupidity...

TOKYO (Reuters) - A Japanese driver, afraid of having to take a breath-test, fled a police drink-driving checkpoint even though he was well under the legal alcohol limit, but ended up crashing his car.
The 44-year-old man drove through the checkpoint on a road in the western Japanese city of Ikeda late Wednesday. Pursuing police officers found the car about half a mile away, upside down in a dry riverbed below the road.

...

A spokesman for the Osaka prefectural police said the man was not in breach of drunk-driving laws and they were treating the case as a simple traffic accident.
Maybe he drives better when he's drunk...

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

New Dishwasher

New dishwasher. Bought, installed, and running. Hope we don't trip a breaker...

Oh yeah, new sink and faucet installed too, but weren't worth pictures.

UPDATE: Actually, NOW it's running. After we installed it, it ran once, then died. The Troubleshooting guide said something about a heater circuit, and directed us to call support. They came this morning and said that the heating circuit wire had come undone--something fairly common, I gather. I hope that this means that I won't be washing dishes by hand (again) tonight...

Friday, December 23, 2005

He Found a Friend

My brother-in-law is visiting for the holidays. Guess he and the dog are getting along well.