Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Obama's New Clothes

Hillary Clinton's camp released this photo of Barack Obama taken from an August visit to Kenya. Obama wears traditional Somali clothing. Why did Clinton's camp release the photo? Does it have anything to do with Obama having Muslim ancestry? Is this possibly insinuating ever-so-slightly, maybe on a subliminal level that since the terrorists we're fighting are Muslims, and Obama has a Muslim name and ancestry that the Junior Senator from Illinois is packing plastic explosives for Al-Qaeda? At a recent rally for Republican Senator John McCain, a supporter referred to Obama by his full name: Barack Hussein Obama. Why just stop there? Why not insist that Obama and Osama bin Laden were college roommates? If the guy has Muslim ancestry, he must be a complete terrorist, and therefore unfit to be president. I mean, it's not like we've ever had a president who used fear to intimidate people and waged acts of violence for his own personal reasons, right?
The problem with the photo is it's a desperate move by the Clinton camp to make people question Obama's background. Showing a photograph of him dressed like Hadji from Jonny Quest isn't swaying anyone. It's just showing that politicians, when going abroad, dress in native garb as a goodwill gesture.

See? Looks like Ally McBeal's pajamas. Stunts like releasing photos are basically what modern political campaigns are all about. Let's make the opposition look stupid, let's create fear, let's demean and demoralize. It isn't about showing what your candidate stands for or what they'd actually do if elected.
Obama may be running a Seinfeld campaign - a campaign about nothing. It might be flowery speeches and pixie dust and rainbows. So when Clinton complains of Obama's pretty speeches and shallow message of hope, she should look to her own husband, whose own campaign in 1992 sounded eerily similar. Except Bill Clinton never was caught dressing in a stupid turban.

Fine! I stand corrected!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Dark Horse's Indiana Jones Cover

Cover to Dark Horse's upcoming Indiana Jones comic book, based on the new movie. From what I've read, it's going to be Indiana Jones and alien artifacts and explores extraterrestrial contact with ancient civilizations, which, if you're into sci-fi and pulp like me, is a double bonus.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Friday, February 15, 2008

Indiana Jones Trailer

The Man in the Hat is coming back in theaters this year.
"Damn, I thought that was closer!"

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Let's Play Patient

The numbness in my arm returned so I went to the emergency room on Tuesday. After giving me an EKG and a CAT scan of my head, they admitted me to the hospital. My friend Sam visited me in the emergency room and kept me company while we watched the primary results come in. The doctor examined me and said the numbness in my arm might be a pinched nerve. I was placed in a small room in the emergency wing while nurses checked my vitals and every time my blood pressure was high. They transported me via wheelchair to my room and I was given Ativan and slept for a few hours. The next morning, I was given a few tests – an ultrasound on my carotid artery and heart. As they wheeled me to my test, I saw my friend Pam, who works for the hospital’s public relations. I waved to her and she stood there, shocked to see me.
“What happened?” she asked, horrified.
“Long story. I’ll tell you later. I have a room,” I said.
I spent the rest of the day in bed. My mother, Zack and Pam visited me on Wednesday. It was a real comfort seeing familiar faces in the hospital. I spent the hours watching TV or trying to sleep, and every four hours a nurse came in and checked my vitals. Wednesday night I received a roommate – an elderly Mexican casino worker who suffered an accident at work. His English was limited but his daughter translated for him, telling the nurses he was in great pain following his surgery. I slept little on Wednesday night. The nurses had to give the man a catherter tube so he could pee at 2 a.m. Try sleeping through that.
Thursday morning I had an MRI and MRE – an experience I’d soon forget. Twenty minutes of solid mental discipline spent on your back in a confined space. Time to practice Zen Buddhist meditation and remain perfectly still. After that, I was given an EEG, where they connected several wires to my head and shined lights in my face. I felt like Alex from A Clockwork Orange. I waited for them to play Beethoven and show me a video of Nazis raping schoolgirls.
Tuesday afternoon, the doctor discharged me from the hospital. He said tests revealed no stroke, tumor or heart attack. He said my cholesterol was high at 221 and that I am to have a low cholesterol, low sodium diet instead of taking medication. He said he didn’t want to put me on medication and said I had three months on this diet to lower my cholesterol through diet and exercise, or it was Lipitor time. Guess my days of eating English chocolates and Ben & Jerry’s are over. After a few anxious nights, I returned home, unwashed and smelling like a Third World outhouse, yet determined to take better care of myself.
My experience at Shore Memorial was scary, but I was in good hands. The nurses, doctors and hospital staff all were professional and made me feel at ease. Say what you want about hospital food, but I devoured my meals when they brought them. As I lay in my bed, looking out the window at a church steeple in the distance, I ruminated about my life and existence. I wondered if I did have a stroke, heart attack or tumor how would I deal with it. Before I knew the final results, my father called me and said, “Whatever it is, we’ll deal with it. We’ll adapt.” That’s a healthy philosophy. I like my dad.
After I got home, I went to the food store and stocked up on oatmeal, Cheerios, vegetable and fruit. I’m going to eat better and exercise. A sedentary lifestyle binging on high fat, high sugar foods might be the agenda for other Americans, but not me. I’ve seen the light. And all this stress bullshit is over, too. You know what I say to stress? Fuck stress! It’s exercise, meditation and relaxation for me. Life’s too damn short to stir yourself into a tizzy and punch someone out because they sorely deserve it. You can pay someone else to do that for you.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Primary Pitfalls

So I go to vote in today’s primary. I was previously registered as a Republican when I moved and had to register to vote in the town I’m currently in. When I filled out the voter registration form, I did not declare a party and remained to be not affiliated. It’s kind of like saying to the political parties, “I just want to be friends and I’m not looking for anything serious.” But I really wanted to vote in the primary for a Democrat and thought New Jersey’s traditional June primary would be the right time to once again declare a party. I have this six month rule about dating – after six months, it’s pretty serious.
But wait! New Jersey pushed up its primaries to February! But it was too late to declare a party and vote in the primary, I thought.
“No, it isn’t,” said a co-worker. “You can declare a party at the polls if you’re not affiliated.’
“Really? You’re sure?”
“Yes, I am.”
“You’re not shitting me, man?”
“No, sir. I am not,” he replied. “If you’re not affiliated, you can declare your party at the polls and then switch back to non-affiliated.”
This was perfect! I can go to the polls and pull the old switcheroo on the elderly woman eating the donuts. It’ll be perfect.
Alas, it didn’t work out that way. You can only declare your party at the polls if it’s your first primary election. I wasn’t even on the voting rolls in town.
I was told by a nice elderly lady (who wasn’t eating donuts) to go before the county election board who’ll have a judge hear my case. Two hours later I’m in Superior Court Judge Raymond Batten’s court room raising my right hand and swearing-to-tell-the-truth-the-whole-truth-so-help-me-God. Representatives from the state and county argued since I filled out my voter registration in early January, it didn’t give me enough time to switch my party. See, unbeknownst to me, you have 50 days before a primary election to change your party affiliation in New Jersey. Because I opted for non-affiliation when I registered in January, I didn’t have enough time to make the change.
So the judge denied my right to vote in the primary but said I could vote in the general election in November.
Weirdest thing about the day? When I went before the judge he asked me to spell my name, which I did.
“Aren’t you a journalist? A newspaper reporter?” the judge asked.
I answered in the affirmative.
“You write for a newspaper?” he asked.
I said I did.
Sometimes reporting in a small county has its moments.

Monday, February 4, 2008


Change is an inevitable part of life. No one can force you to change - you must change willingly.
For a little over two years my wife and I have been separated. We want to divorce but have questions about the ownership of the house and other financial matters we were solving on our own.
This week we have an appointment with a mediator - the first step in a long overdue process we've put off for two years. During that time we lived apart and I experienced a panic attack due to stress. On Friday night, I had another panic attack, one that forced me to visit the emergency room. I thought I was having a heart attack, but the EKG and blood-sugar tests turned out fine, according to the doctor. I got my blood pressure checked twice and although it was high it did decrease the second time they checked it.
The panic attacks were a result of trying to change when others wanted me to and I wasn't ready. Now I perceive life with caution - my health and well being are vital and essential. The maintenance of my relationships with family and friends is crucial during this time.
The 800-pound gorilla in the room has always been getting divorced. The attacks were a warning that I should calm down and not put things off. I've heard from friends who urged me to get a lawyer and settle things that way, but I guess I was too afraid or just not ready. In liht of recent events, I can't put it off anymore.
The mediator will help us hammer out an agreement, one we both can live with for dividing up our assets. I want to be fair and firm but more importantly, I want it to begin.