I’ve always thought capital punishment made little sense as a “deterrent.” It only seems to work, really, on two levels: First, to restore a simple balance: Take someone’s life, forfeit your own. Second, as a last chance at redemption. I learned this, of course, at the movies.

dead man walkingIn Dead Man Walking — a story based on a fervently anti-death penalty nun — it is only in the face of his own, imminent demise that the condemned man experiences the first glimmer of honest remorse. Nothing more sobering, it’s safe to say, than one’s own death.

tookieYet the problem of “collateral damage” � innocents sent to their death � remains unanswerable, and the strongest (only?) argument against the death penalty, IMHO. What’s to balance, or redeem, if you didn’t do nothin’ wrong in the first place? Like Tookie, scheduled for death next Tuesday, who has maintained his innocence all along, despite damning evidence and an apparent slipup/confession early on. And whose own redemption has already been declared, and documented (of course) in a movie.

we thank thee, o lord

bibleWhy is no one is ever called on the bizarre (when you think about it) practice of using King James English whenever speaking on The Lord’s behalf? “Thee.” “Thine.” “Unto.” You heareth it all the time, these guys riffing on something, slipping in and out of “bible speak” for just the right effect.

Can’t blame them, really. I have one of those “modern” Bibles, painstakingly translated, as “accurate” and literal as possible (or so I’m told). But they blew it, I think, by using plain old (modern) English. It definitely lacks flair. Never did read much of it.

I just finished creating some fake “Bible pages” for use in a documentary. The producers couldn’t find the right blend of age and style for the particular passages they wanted to highlight, so I laid out the text (with flair) and comped it with some nicely aged parchment. Blasphemous work, to somebody, somewhere, I’m sure. They’d probably chastise me, then forgiveth me, tell me I “know not what I do.” But I do. Eth.


stewConsciously or not (mostly not), I think we’re all out to prove something — a thesis or assumption about life, the universe, and everything*. And like anyone trying to make a point, we notice, and accumulate, proof.

I have a dear friend who once stopped a conversation to laughingly point out that anything is “arguable” (apparently I like to say “arguably,” when being argumentative). He’s right. Anything is arguable. And anything is provable, just about… Elvis lives. Aliens poked me. Tom Cruise is insane. Or, more critically, “life sucks.” Or doesn’t…

This raises an important question: What am I trying to prove? And don’t say “nothing,” ’cause that’s arguably a load of cr*p… We’re all proving something. We can’t help it. “Look! See? Life does suck.” Or “Damn, life is pretty amazing.”

I (of course) prefer the latter. It brings me things like the note I received tonight from John, my oldest friend in the world, writing to basically celebrate how amazing his life is. And submitting the wonderful photo above: His dog Stew, being (arguably) absolutely f*cking amazing.

egad: “xtina”

xtinaI have an actress friend who talks, gestures, and laughs exactly like Christina Aguilera. It’s amazing. Not deliberatly; in fact, I’m not sure if she even knows. I didn’t even know, until I saw Aguilera host SNL some time ago. She did an a capella version of “Beautiful” that was actually not sucky, then proceded to leap into the skits (which were mostly SNL-grade excruciating) with impressive gusto. Did a hysterical impression of Kim Cattrall as Samantha the tramp on Sex and the City.

Is it me, or has Xtina (why the name thing, with these people?) emerged from the vast popstress sh*tpile landscape as “the classy one”? Or at least the “actually talented one?” Plus lately it seems every time I see her little face, she’s doing some cool benefit, or singing the national anthem in her (actual) hometown, as a surprise special guest. Or telling folks to donate to hurricane relief, rather than give wedding presents.

Um — maybe I should, like, listen to her music, before I go on like this…? Uh, no. Maybe not. No.

paperless trail

babySo it’s my birthday. Increasingly, this reminds me of that commercial, where a baby SHOOTS out of the womb, flies through the air, morphs into an adult, ages, then SLAMS into a grave. All in about 20 seconds.

My response? Leave a trail. And — since I recently discovered that the tools to create pages like this were already on my web host — that trail, for me, will be written.

It’s impossible not to feel a little ridiculous, publishing into outer space and not knowing if anyone’s listening, but I’m doing it anyway. ‘Cause seriously, I can feel the wind whistling in my ears as I hurtle along, somewhere between Waaah and RIP.

Besides, the view from up here is pretty cool, and I enjoy writing down what I see, along the way. Only now, they’ll be “published.” Like this photo, and this one, from my friend in Alaska.

Comments are encouraged; they’ll be like birthday presents!

steve jobs is a weirdo

I don’t know why I did it, but I think I’ve convinced my sister to buy a Mac Mini. It’s so small, and cute. But mostly, it’s not Windows, about which she has developed some understandable resentment and apprehension. Not unlike my feelings, for Steve Jobs.

jobs Okay: Many years ago, I was at MacWorld, in SF, for some reason — I think demoing some 3D software — and found myself on the show floor before the doors opened, eyeing the new Mac hardware (the new “Blue & White” G3s). Suddenly, I noticed Steve Jobs himself, with some other guys, hovering, pointing, murmuring importantly. His pals walked away, briefly leaving him alone, so I grabbed the opportunity: I walked over, extended a hand, smiled, said “Hello… Steve?” and began some inane compliment.

But Steve recoiled as if I’d held out a live snake. He then waved his hands apologetically, chuckled nervously, mumbled “No, no…” and walked away. I was floored. Embarrassed, though thankfully no one was looking, just then.

I got the distinct impression that he was petrified to shake hands, but hugely embarrassed that this was the case. So he ran away. Poor guy. I mean, maybe somebody warned him about an attack or something, that morning. Or maybe he’s got some phobia about people touching him. In any case, no matter how amazing his products are, they have all since been tainted, for me, with the slightest tinge of “Yuck,” especially whenever Mr. Jobs’ image is used to promote them.

But the Mini should be great for Sis. Thanks, Steve. Freak.


arnoldWell, poor Arnold apparently got handed his ass last night, in the latest California Special Election. And what an intriguing, well-defined ass it is. I love it. I want to love him, as well, but the air is so thick with partisan bullsh*t, and I can’t tell anymore. Shame. The fact that the Shriver/Kennedy family stands by him says something (to me, at least) but maybe it shouldn’t. What do they know?
da man
One thing is for sure: California needs an outlandish governor, and it’s looking less and less like Arnold has it sewn up, come ’06 (or is it ’08?). Anyway, Warren Beatty apparently put the kibosh on running, today. Big baby. Who, then? Hm. Oh, yes.

reality radio

cellHeard from an old girlfriend today (now happily married, as am I, so hush). A quick catch up, then back on the phone for more mind-numbing tech support (see below). Later, I received another call. It took me a while to realize it’s the same person’s phone, having accidentally called me back. Rustling, inside her purse. Laughter. Garbled voices, including hers. Her baby, gurgling. I laughed. I shouted Hello! Again. Made shrill beeping sounds. Then, gave up. When I checked later, same deal. I hollered, I yelled. I even listened in, for a while, before giving up. When I checked again later, finally, dial tone.

I understand this is quite common, but this was the first time it’s happened to me. And I couldn’t help thinking: What an absolutely modern phenomenon, “accidentally” calling someone, while in the midst of your day (picking up the little one from daycare, in this instance).

We’ve all heard horror stories (urban myths?) about cheating husbands or criminals caught this way… But the mix of amusement and voyeuristic curiosity when receiving one of these is undeniable. I wanted to just listen, try to puzzle out what was happening, exactly. I thought I could, briefly, when I heard her voice shift from adult-speak to a baby-coo, louder, closer to the phone. That’s probably when I could’ve screamed, gotten her attention. But that’s when I hung up.

It reminded me of a friend who recently told me about receiving a phone call, late at night. At the other end of the line, nothing � except distant, blood-curdling shrieks, muffled pandemonium. It took a moment, but she finally figured out that what she was hearing was an inadvertent call from a friend, who had earlier mentioned planning to see a movie that night. A horror movie. Makes you wonder how soon someone’s going to package the phenomenon, somehow: Reality Radio. I’m tellin’ ya.

going easy on ‘tards

bushIt’s days like this that make me want to go a little easier on Dubya. Every time someone says he’s (obviously) “stupid,” someone else says he’s actually quite bright, if you know him. I find this impossible to believe, but maybe he’s just not smart about certain things. You know, like, expressing himself. Like otherwise smart people who are computer retards.

mouseBeing “technical” makes me the default tech support for loved ones, so I’ve had my share of surprising moments in this regard. And by “surprising,” I mean having to struggle not to scream… Like the time I “taught” someone’s otherwise lucid grandmother to use her new computer, and found myself blindsided by the fact that she simply could not get the mouse � kept lifting it, pointing it at the screen, to move the cursor. Seriously. Anyway.

So maybe that’s the deal with Mr. Bush. {cough, cough}.