Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Spam of My Heart

Years ago I joined this social networking site called Quechup, which sent me nothing but spam in the form of e-mails allegedly authored by buxom Russian women. I've blogged about this a few times in the past, yet with each and every unsolicited digital turd sent to my inbox, my faith in humanity dies a little every time.
Today I received another shit nugget from a nubile young woman named Anastasia. Here's the full text of her indecent proposal:

"Hello my new friend :) My name's Anastasia.
I write to you because I want serious relations.
I saw your profile on dating site
Therefore I write to you now. I think, that you are good man and I hope,
that my heart does not deceive me. I search true relations for creation family.
I write to you and I hope, that you write me also.
If you and I hope, that you write to me also.
If you are interested, please write to me on my this e-mail.
I shall by glad, if you will answer me.
I shall wait your message with impatience.
your Anastasia :)"

Oh, Anastasia. As much I would like to have "true relations" and "creation family" with you, I must decline. We come from two different worlds. Mine involves proper grammar and sentence structure. I understand this will come as a shock to you, but I don't believe you exist. Sure, it's a lovely photo of you, but it's probably not you. It was probably taken in the student union at Minsk University or a brothel in Moscow's red light district. As far as waiting for my message "with impatience," don't hold your breath. I hate impatient people. Your demands to immediately get into a relationship with me without asking me a single question about myself proves you're desperate, and desperation is a turn-off.
Please don't take this rejection to heart. You might be a wonderful woman, with strong Russian hands and a prominent brow. I could picture you wearing a babushka, holding a bushel of grain and singing the Soviet national anthem. I'm sure you're the talk of the village during the beet crop harvest.
The truth is, you're just not my type. I don't go for two-dimensional Russian stereotypes sent to me via spam. If I want to meet a superficial woman with a St. Petersburg accent, I'd smuggle myself into Russia.
Good luck on meeting the good man of your dreams, Anastasia. We're just not a match.
I'm into Asian women anyway.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Saucy Journalist Tales

One of the persistent problems with being a journalist besides the constant harassment, moral depravity and instances of extreme violence at the hands of stubby-fingered political aides, is the lack of respect from an ungrateful public. A journalist's job is to inform society of the grave errors and precarious situations it's entangled itself in. Besides these gloomy pronouncements, journalists should also issue a caveat, a dire warning if you will, letting people know that if left unchecked, the government/environment/unstable Third World regime might destroy us all.

So we tell people of the open manhole and not to get too close, because that could mean falling in. However well-intentioned or researched the reporter's articles are, people inevitably fall in, just before muttering something about the "damn liberal media".

This past week I was assigned to cover the arrival of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to our little podunk part of the state. The governor came to Cape May County Airport and stood in a cavernous airplane hangar and delivered what was a rehearsed speech on the evils of the New Jersey Education Association, a teacher's union he accused of everything from child molestation to witchcraft.

Christie has it in for the NJEA because the union's hucksters make more money than God and have this haughty attitude they are above reproach. Christie probably felt a tinge of envy.

According to Christie, the NJEA collects $130 million in dues annually and spends the money on television ads attacking the governor's proposal that teachers should pay more into health care costs.

While I agree with Christie that teachers should pay more and should not automatically have tenure, his speech was the same generic NJEA-bashing speech he gave for the last five months. All across the state, he's stumping against the teacher's union.
The problem is, it's the same message he's regurgitated ad nauseam for quite a while. I understand it's New Jersey and the unions don't want their gravy train to end. However, it's good to modify your message and add new material. Give the people something relevant to chew on, and don't come across as a bloated schoolyard bully threatening the union with corporal punishment if they don't acquiesce to your demands.

His bravado and chest-thumping only forced the union to dig in deeper and not budge. What happened to bipartisanship and compromise? Where's the love, Gov? Why twist the arms of your enemy when you could persuade them with that silver tongue and Oscar Wilde-esque wit? A few pithy yet jocular anecdotes would win your nemesis over and you would be heralded as the state's supreme statesman.

Sadly, the governor's tactics in accusing the NJEA of "hurting the children" were made without compunction. His threats and scolding only emboldened his supporters, while driving a rift between his administration and educators.

In the process, he's looking like a douche.

Christie's message came across as the NJEA were allied with Satan and should be cleansed from the earth in a deluge of fire. His intent, that the state is in financial trouble and public employees should take the burden off the taxpayers by contributing more toward their pensions and health benefits, was lost to the rhetoric.