Here’s my blog entry from 9/11/01:
What I did today was cry. I went to my creative writing class, and saw all of the flags flying at half-mast everywhere. Finally, driving to work on 28th st I was stopped at a red light and I saw one of the big ones we have around flying at half mast, a huge fluttering reminder that our country, our people, our very spirit of freedom had been attacked, forget about what I think about corporations and globalization, because everything that makes us a great nation was attacked along with everything that makes us bad. I bawled. I broke completely down, pounded the steering wheel and stared at that flag, the red-white-and-blue dancing in the wind, and I thought about the people who had jumped from the world trade center.
I’ve only been once, but I’ve got to say that the Russian and Turkish Baths on East 10th in Manhattan is one of my favorite places in the whole world. I was recently reminded of my visit there and wanted to reminisce a bit. They say it best:
This authentic russian room is the highlight of every visit to the baths. The oven is filled with 20,000 lbs. of rock which are cooked overnight. During the day, these rocks give off an intense heat. This is one of the few rooms of its kind in the United States.
Surrounding a huge rock-walled furnace, women and men alike will be immersed in a hot, very steamy, stone furnaced “radiant heat”. When the heat starts to get unbearable, take one of the dozens of buckets around the room, fill it with ice cold water, and like the Russians hundreds of years before you have done, dump it over your head. Now don’t be self-conscious because as you will soon notice, everyone is dousing themselves with buckets of water. In that sheer moment as the ice-cold water pours over you, comes one of the most enjoyable moments you will ever experience. It is sheer delight.
Russian & Turkish Baths, 268 East 10th Street New York, NY
WTF do we watching this for?
I know I don’t want to sit home an a friday night and hear all about the sex lives of a group of 40 year old women who I have nothing in common with (especially not the same income bracket).
If you were say, out on a Saturday night for a martini (having, perhaps, an actual sex life), and ran into four 40 year old women would the first thought in your head be, “Wow, I wonder how much action they’re getting!”?
To me, a gathering of 4 middle aged women reminds me more of a bridge game or an advertisement for various incontinence products moreso than a prime opportunity to catch some steamy gossip about the over-40 straight singles scene.
Here’s my two cents on the Rudy Giuliani $9.11 controversy.
Mostly, my sentiment about this are as follows: sure, his people didn’t plan the event, but they haven’t cancelled or at least apologized for this blunder. I think it’s because Rudy is content to ride the horse of his hero status because it gives him cred that no other candidate could possibly have. But when this cred is deeply examined it doesn’t really amount to much. The most mileage Rudy should get out of his “America’s Mayor” moments after 9/11 is his KBE and the fact that he made his moment when it was his time to. Is he a hero of 9/11? I wouldn’t say so. Rudy did what leaders (even mediocre leaders) do in time of crisis—he led. He was the face of calm, of courage, of hope in the shadow of the burning towers and for that he deserves our thanks. But there are thousands more people who did more than Rudy did, and those people are the true heroes of 9/11. He didn’t dig out ground zero, he didn’t help take down flight 93, he didn’t rush into the first tower moments after it was struck. He was just a face on television assuring us that everything would be okay. Does that make a president? Probably. He certainly wouldn’t be any worse than a Nixon or a Bush (or, arguably, a Clinton) but I don’t think he has the greatness of an FDR (or, arguably, a Clinton).
Still, it’s no surprise that his supporters are playing the 9/11 card as much as they can. The only other thing he has going for him is his experience of running the nation’s largest economy and most diverse city. If it weren’t for that he would be a pretty mediocre candidate. But the 9/11 thing can go a long way in distracting us from the things that make him a rather disagreeable candidate to both mainstream Democrats and the conservative Republican base. He’s not very religious. He’s divorced. His (lukewarm) sentiments on gay rights are both cozy for Democrats and devastating for most Republicans. He wore a dress. But the rug of 9/11 is big enough to sweep all of this under. He saved a city. He brought us all together. Just based off some of the hype you’d think he was rescuing babies from The Towers on 9/11 and then let half the city crash on his couch afterwards. Never mind that he “believes in a woman’s right to choose.”
As long as I’m talking about Rudy, let me touch on some other reasons I was dissapointed in him. When he first threw his hat in the ring he sounded like a Republican I might (were I extraordinarily drunk at the time) vote for next November. But then I looked up his stance on some issues important to me.
- Abortion. He says he hates abortion but believes in a woman’s right to choose. I pretty much feel the same way, so ok there. I also admire the spirit of Federalism in his stance on abortion, saying it’d be okay if Roe was overturned so the states would be able to decide. But also women. Just not if you live in a state that’s decided it’s not okay. Um. Sure, yeah.
- Gay rights. In my opinion this is the area where Rudy is his most hypocritical. He believes marriage should be between a man and a woman, but then he went and got divorced. Twice. And is Catholic. You can’t really talk about “the sanctity of marriage” without noting that divorce is very legal in this country. If you really want to preserve marriage, you should outlaw divorce. And adultery. And probably pornography and birth control while you’re at it, too. All of these things chip away at what’s supposed to be a permanent bond between one man and one woman (and are forbidden to Catholics), for life, in sickness and in health, etc. etc. But how strong can marriage be when it’s so easily broken? You don’t need gay people to destroy marriage—the straights do quite a fine job of it already. So go ahead and keep your marriage, Rudy, but just remember how precious it was to you. Especially the first two.
- Education. Rudy is fine with allowing school vouchers drain away public funded education. If you don’t know what a school voucher is here’s a nutshell: It’s basically a refund of the taxes you pay that go towards public schools for your kids. If your district spends $87.95 per child per year you’d then get a voucher for $87.95 to put towards private or home schooling. The problem being that you don’t pay taxes for your kid specifically, you put your money in the pot to share because Americans are supposed to believe in equal opportunity for all, at least at the K-12 level. It’s basically a back door route to segregation (based on race, class, religion, etc.) that would leave poorer students in even more underfunded public schools while allowing the more fortunate (read: mid-to-upper class whites) students to pursue a private education. I’m very much in favor of free universal public education from kindergarten through the Baccalaureate level. If we spent as much money on education as we do on war we could have a society as smart as our bombs.
Those three things are what disappointed me the most with Rudy, and most of the other Republican candidates have commonalities along those same lines. Which I suppose is why I’m a fierce, red-nosed Ted Kennedy Democrat most of the time.
If you need more proof that Our Leader is a buffoon, take a look at his speech to the United Nations. The speech itself isn’t all that bad, but the fact that he needs phonetic pronunciations of exotic places and world leaders is rather telling. Take a look at the speech and find your favorite. Mine is “French President Sarkozy [sar-KOzee].”