Thursday, June 28, 2007


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In personal news...I'm pregnant!

Just kidding.

Today I can't stop laughing over this story about a New Zealand couple and their choice of birth name, which was rejected because it was alphanumeric:

Pat and Sheena Wheaton said they decided to name their new baby "4real" shortly after having an ultrasound and being struck by the reality of his impending arrival.

If I named my kid based on my gut reaction to an ultrasound, chances are my future child would be called "oh hell no". Hmmm...on second thought I kinda like that, sounds Hawaiian. Other names rejected by the New Zealand Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages include "Satan" and "Adolph Hitler."

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


A self-described ex-goth emailed me to petition Ikea, the neurotically-minimalist Swede furniture behemoth, for obvious reasons:

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Doesn't this description seem more than a bit obscure? Did a disgruntled prepster intern have a field day in the marketing dept or what? I didn't even know there was a legitimate gothic community in Sweden...

Here's a few more that I came up with, if I were working for Ikea and, at the time, I was a conformity-loving, Ritalin-addicted college student embittered by "alternative types", but loved my generic Ikea chicness:

"Brusselsprouttikki hanging lamp: your grad will need to get high to hang this stylish lamp, but not high like stoners, who can be a bad influence."

--or how about, "Bootikafka duvet cover: futursitic modern chic, yet won't inspire D&D sessions and sloppy kissing that can be expected from sci-fi dweebs, who can be a bad influence."

--or, "Kournikovalla shag rug: your grad will feel so comfortable passing out on the rug, she won't ever want to get ruffied by a frat boy again, who can be a bad influence."

Monday, June 25, 2007


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WWWD: What Would Walt Do?

Managing to rise, like a phoenix from the ashes, from my life as a child with absolutely zero nostalgia or emotional attachment to all things Disney, I have instead found myself deeply suspicious of the American and youth-exploitative empire.

It probably started when I was a teenager in the early 90s, and I heard about the Disney Company's plans to purchase land just a few miles outside of the Manassas National Battlefield Park in Virginia. They wanted to install a new theme park, blasphemously called, "Disney's America." In the process, their plans for outlying hotels, restaurants, shopping centers, etc, would have corroded the pivotal American landmark that was the backdrop for the Battle of Bull Run pts.1 and 2, featuring all-star Confederate general Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson.

And now, Disney World Resorts has announced that, along with the help of Gloria Estefan and of course the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (UCIS), they will host the naturalization of 1,000 new American "dreamers" on Independence Day, at Cinderella Castle no less. I guess the "It's a Small World" ride was fully booked that day.

Meg Crofton, president of Walt Disney World Resort, said,"And what better place than Disney World, where dreams come true every day of the year. We are honored to participate as America bestows its greatest gift – the gift of citizenship."

Yeah Meg, you and your fatcat Disney execs are true humanitarians. I'm sure the fact that your associates over on the west coast are desperate to staff "Disney on Ice" has nothing to do with it.

Perhaps, by some outward appearances, it would seem that the Disney Co is simply celebrating the idea of immigration. To some bizarrely-interpreted capacity this could be said to be a positive. However, I find it incredibly suspicious that a children's entertainment empire like that of Disney, with such an insatiable stranglehold on American popular culture, would team up with government agencies to clandestinely cloak a politically-motivated initiative with the guise of theme parks and entertainment.

And what of their lord and personal savior Walt Disney? WWWD? Not so sure the Communist fearmongerer with mild Nazi-sympathizing tendencies would be all too thrilled.

Friday, June 22, 2007


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The view facing west from the Cat Cay Yacht Club

It's boring and sunny here in San Francisco, at around 5 in the pm. But in the Bahamas, it's about 9:30, and golden sun is about to ignite a dazzling glow along the horizon of the sparklingly congenial Atlantic.

Now you can experience a sunset in all its beauty all day long (I have been). Or just marvel at Todd Hido's explorations of suburban twilight and feel estranged and alone in the universe (I have):

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Thursday, June 21, 2007


Inspired by a heart-wrenching NPR story overheard this morning, I bring frightening news of infant mortality rates in America: we rank 36 out of 196 nations (according to the WHO), and Mississippi's rate is just as high as Russia's, with an 11.4% rate per every 1,000 births. Check out this index for some global perspective.

Why is this not a larger news item? Are these tragedies endemic to minority groups in southern states, slung down an Orwellian memory hole like the horror that is the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina?

Southern regional director for the Children's Defense Fund, Oleta Fitzgerald, told NPR, "Nobody wants to take care of poor children, whether they are black or white or whatever color."

I know that threat of poverty among U.S. citizens has become this monstrous elephant in the room for most mid to upper class folks in this country--some Marxist instructor of mine in Santa Cruz once noted that the top 10% of wealthy Americans are under the illusion that they rank in the top 1%. A measurement that is questionable to be sure, but I would make the argument that this mass delusion has been made salient by recent measures passed by this administration over the past 5 or some odd years. But why all the denial? Why don't people realize how impoverished their quality of life really is in this country?

To me, real wealth isn't measured by how easy it is to pay off a mortgage, or buy an excessive amount of sport utility vehicles. It is measured by how able one is to exert political authority and actually become an acknowledged citizen of the United States. Whether they are lobbyists, members of a 527, or even a significant individual donor to a political campaign, the wealthy are the ones who are in a position to assert their own authority, enabling them to remain in the top tiers of society for the rest of their natural born lives. I probably sound very naive in this assessment, but I think that Americans in general cannot fully conceptualize the weight and breadth of all that this simple notion implies.

On a not-so-much-but-still-kind-of-in-a-sick-way brighter note, a recent Rand McNally survey (the road map making dudes) showed that, of all the presidential hopefuls, Rudolph Giuliani was ranked the number one road trip buddy for this summer! Why is this important? Well, for a nation who voted into office the candidate they would most like to grab a beer with, an awful lot.

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"Many people think that history is a dull subject. Dull? Is it 'dull' that Jesse James once got bitten on the forehead by an ant, and at first it didn't seem like anything, but then the bite got worse and worse, so he went to a doctor in town, and the secretary told him to wait, so he sat down and waited, and waited, and waited, and waited, and then finally he got to see the doctor, and the doctor put some salve on it? You call that dull?"
– Jack Handey

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


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I've become quite the New Zealand folk music fan recently, well, actually just a fan of one band in particular, "Flight of the Conchords", having become instantly enamored with their HBO series. Then I discovered their live act, which is arguably even better, with painfully hilarious songs like the social commentary "Albi the Racist Dragon", the Barry White-inspired "Business Time" and the very impressive rap-off "Hiphopopotamus vs the Rhymnoceros". Yeah I'd say they're charting musical territory that acts like Tenacious D can only dream about.

Describing themselves as "New Zealand's 4th most popular guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo", the marketing department really knew how to work it, as the Conchords seem to be everywhere these days. Nearly a month ago a friend of mine invited me to a premiere screening of their first show here in SF, then I found a DVD of the show literally lying in a gutter in the Mission District. Then today I saw a movie poster for one of the band members' upcoming films, "Eagle vs Shark", which appears to be a smartly-soundtracked Napoleon Dynamite-esque romcom. Watch out Jack Black, Jermaine Clement is the new you--only way more awesome. The movie comes out next month.

I can't wait, in the meantime, I will be watching Mel's vlog (as the Russians might call it) on the Conchords' HBO site with bated breath.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Okay, feeling check: I'm feeling really inadequate today. I've been on the horn to Washington all morning and I've had quite enough of it thank you very much. Although I really like the idea of saying I am "on the horn to Washington". I think I'll say I'm "on the horn to Washington" more often. Yep, I was on the horn...nevermind. I'm trying to execute this difficult feature exploring the way in which the two-tiered structure of government, or state/federal partnership functions when so many states must reduce themselves to lobbying groups in order to get their concerns addressed. Apparently no fed on the Hill is at all bothered by their gripes, as no one wants to talk to me. This jerk Joe was the worst though, this geek staff member of a certain mid-western Senator who must live in the shadow of a certain man whose middle name is that of a certain evil dictator overthrown in recent memory.

Anyways, when I got through to his highness grand poobah of media relations, he graciously allowed me 15 seconds to describe the piece before chiming in, "Why did you choose the Senator for this interview?" I said, "Well..(basically I thought the guy would be desperate for media attention)...I see that the Senator is a member of the Subcommittee on the Financial Services and General Government, and..." He interjects, "He is the CHAIR of the Subcommittee, and the Subcommittee is a federal appropriations committee which hardly deals with state legislative issues and I'm afraid I just don't think this interview is in the Senator's best interest as he receives 200-300 interview requests per week (HA! try millennium!)and I'm sorry but I am going to have to respectfully deny your request."

Ouch. Oh well, as a means of catharsis, I would like to join in the mass inadequacies that must penetrate the collective conscious of several world leaders who are making headlines today. First and foremost: Tony Blair, are you feeling a wee bit inadequate today? You must be, otherwise you wouldn't blame the media for your current state of public disapproval. Kindly remove your man parts from our president's backside, and don't let the door hurt your swollen man parts on the way out!

Also, Fidel Castro, are you feeling inadequate today? Yes the world knows you don't care much for our president, but your recent editorial about Bush's visit to Albania left something to be desired. Really, a man whose hatred for W burns like that of a thousand suns can only come up with: "He tried to commit them further to spill generous blood in those peaceful wars"? Really? I know you're no Molly Ivins, and that you may be a bit on the, er, how should I say it, waiting list for God's waiting room, but come on, the entire world has your attention and don't recruit a speech writer?

And Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, everyone knows you're more than a little inadequate at this time. Media types throwin' around the word "Hamasastan" and all. But here, for you, I offer this comic relief. If America's boundaries were re-worked, it might look a little something like this:

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Monday, June 18, 2007


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Best Dr. Tobias Funke quote ever:

Tobias: Well, yes, but I'm afraid I prematurely shot my wad on what
was supposed to be a dry run, if you will, so now I'm afraid I have
something of a mess on my hands.

Michael: There are just so many poorly chosen words in that sentence.

I would like to apologize for belittling my mother and underestimating her intelligence on immigration matters, as posted last week. She has a weird sense of humor when it comes to forwarding me emails--she just likes to get me riled up (well done!)...also, upon further reflection, I do realize how crass and puerile I sounded in my post through over-use of the term "retard", in some instances shortening it to "'tard".

I hope that I did not offend anyone by using the term. I do realize how ostensibly offensive it is to the mentally retarded to be compared to xenophobic conservatives. Maybe someone should sick the Grammar Hammer on me:

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Saturday, June 16, 2007


Who is responsible for the following quote:

"Toi and moi have lived through about as bad times as ever were. I don't mean just wars. Wars are spinach. Life in general is the tough part."

a) D.H.Lawrence

b) Charlie Chaplin

c) Katharine Hepburn

d) Ernest Hemingway

Answer is here.(Note: the geniuses at this website left a grammatical correction note in the text. It's not 'Spinach cap.')

Friday, June 15, 2007


The other day I had a wonderful visit with my beautiful friend Tessa, who has cleverly transferred her comics images to patches of fabric. She signed mine all special-like:

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Her use of fabric to display her art reminded me of an exhibit I visited twice this month on First Thursdays at 49 Geary, "The Wonder of You" by Orly Cogan. There were massive quilts filled with pastel stitchings of nude figures, zoo animals, lots of drugs and cupcakes. My friend Sean called it "very born-again Christian":

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I love everything about reclaiming the domestic arts for decidedly undomestic means. Why embroider "Home is Where the Heart Is", when you could be quoting Charles Bukowski or making an anti-war statement? I particularly like this group of anarchist knitters responsible for this fine piece of work:

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Crafty ladies I salute you.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Today I lashed out at my mother via email at a completely asinine letter she had forwarded to me, written by some frustrated, conservative Iowa crackpot (I think she might have found it humorous and somehow politically forthright). It was entitled, "A Great Deal!" This idiot had the nerve to tell the Honorable Senator Tom Harkin that he was looking for ways to declare status as an illegal immigrant, as, under new immigration law approved by Harkin, he would only have to pay a $2,000 fee and taxes for three of the past five years. Also, the pantload (my dad's favorite insult) went on to say that he would enjoy the local ER as his primary health provider (has he ever been to one? they're a joke! wtf?), and the "preferential treatment" his daughter would receive in applying to law school, as I'm sure admissions offices to pricey law schools are bombarded with applicants with migrant working backgrounds.

Bottom line, I know what the pantload was going for: he feels cheated by the system. But why is it that when the system fails hard-working American citizens, the first thing most conservatives do is attack minority groups with absolutely no political voice who, might I add, are paying social security for services they will never receive? Illegal immigrants are nothing more than scapegoats for bombastic retards like this dude who have no concept of how this country operates and who it institutionally fucks over. Upon comprehensive studies on the subject, I have devised this pie chart with information taken from the US Department of Health from a study entitled, "How you are getting fucked on the whole health care thing/who shapes your disinterest in defending your rights to fair coverage":

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Has anyone ever dared to venture what would compel a person to risk their lives to come to this messed up country to begin with? Is it really to take advantage of our system? Are illegal aliens really living off the fat of the land? Was I the only one in the world to read, this past December, that 1 in every 20 Hispanics in our country dies of hunger each year?

Oh and they are bringing leprosy in record numbers!!! Or that's what you would believe if you swore by that 'tard Lou Dobbs, who made this declaration on his crappy "news" program by citing some douchebag lawyer and Renaissance studies scholar who, in speeches, claimed that Mexican immigrants habitually molest children and rape is as serious to them as stealing cows back in their home villages. Her name is Dr. Madeleine Cosman, and I'm glad she's dead.

Read this article, get some perspective and shut the hell up.

P.S. Sorry mom.

Send it to someone you love, or someone who fears you.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

PICTURES FROM MY SECRET SPY PHONE (and SF political roundup)

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Oh look kids, here's a picture I shot at the Asian Heritage Festival a few weeks ago, which was right around the corner from where I live in the SOMA. The tall cracker in the center is not a Steven Seagal stunt double, but none other than San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom! When Gavin's not initiating sexy policies like free wi-fi and gay marriage for all, or sleeping with his co-workers' peers or b-movie actresses or underage Republican models, apparently he can be found posing with Asian beauty queens! (Yes, I am bitter because he won't be my boyfriend, despite all the love/stalking I have shown him).

In other local San Fran political news, Supervisor Ed Jew, who is not a Jew but actually Asian, is also not authorized to represent the Sunset District, as he was found guilty of lying about his current residency. He was arrested this morning but is now out on bail. He basically used his mommy and daddy's address as his own--ooh, and the authorities only checked his "home" because they were investigating him on extortion charges. What kind of moron performed the proof of residency anyways? I bet it would be easier for me to falsely represent a district than open a video rental account. I digress...I don't want to be a Jew.

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"He was a cowboy, mister, and he loved the land. He loved it so much, he made a woman out of dirt, and married her, but when he kissed her, she disintegrated. Later, at the funeral, when the preacher said "dust to dust", some people laughed, and the cowboy shot them. At his hanging, he told the others, "I'll be waiting for you in Heaven, with a gun."
– Jack Handey

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


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I feel a little hung over from all the hoopla surrounding the yo-yoing prison jaunts of Paris Hilton. Yes I delighted in Sarah Silverman’s comments at the MTV Movie Awards about Hilton chipping her teeth on the prison bars — like many Comedy Central viewers, I take great joy in the roasting of celebrities, no matter how harsh and offensive, as well as at what mental cost in to the subject.

It’s easy to gleefully rejoice in the misfortune of celebrities — when beautiful, glamorous women get fat, are cheated upon, display quizzical mental states — trash culture media and its adherents bask in the spectacle like a Roman holiday. Celebrity gossip mags and websites and VH1 are founded on the innate human indulgences of the proles.

However, I’m starting to genuinely feel compassion for Ms. Hilton. As much as I despised her reality TV show where she mocked the other half, and am disgusted by her ability to take an accidental pornographic incident and turn it into an empire of sorts, I do not think she should be spending time in prison for reckless driving. Of course her failure to comply with the law is not something to be taken lightly — but prison, really?

I’m sure many Hilton haters are gleefully imagining the dynamics of the princess among the paupers, fantasizing about how she’s finally going to face those little people, and they’re going to be brutal and unforgiving. Money can’t get you out of this one sweetheart. But who makes up the current prison population in the US? What types of women are currently behind bars — are they violent, insane, hard-bitten butchies?

According to the Women in Prison Project, a study conducted by the Correctional Association of New York, incarcerated women aren’t simply the gender counterparts to male inmates.

•29% of women in state prisons nationally are mentally ill, a rate significantly higher than the male inmate population or the general population. Nearly 8 in 10 female mentally ill inmates report having experienced physical or sexual abuse.

•Nearly 20% of incarcerated mothers report being homeless in the year prior to their incarceration.

•The majority of women inmates are incarcerated for non-violent crimes such as prostitution, fraud or drug offenses.

And in the UK, the Howard League for Penal Reform claims that 70 women have died in prison in the past ten years, compared with only one who took her own life between 1985 and 1990. Self-inflicted deaths among women constituted 12.5% of all suicides in UK prisons, although women only make up 6% of the total prison population.

If only the public conversation could shift from the current schadenfreude to what’s going in women’s prisons: why are so many women so readily incarcerated when it’s clear that they are in desperate need of basic rehabilitation programs?

Yesterday I was flipping through a trashy British fashion rag I am bizarrely addicted to. Hilton was snapped, in her alien sunglasses and gluttonously massive handbag, clinging to two books: the Holy Bible and "The Power of Now". If that doesn't scream mentally off, I don't know what does.

Monday, June 11, 2007


As I type this, I have been on hold with the Embarcadero Center post office for nearly 45 minutes and have no desire for it to ever end. I am in a purgatorial state of grace--a lavish, soothingly euphonious netherworld where I have an excuse to be unproductive for a spell while chained to this grim cubicle. Muzac envelops me, easing my tension and causing me to envision marble-lined elevators and a corporate lobby of muted asian decor...I am in rapture as I listen to smiley voices beckoning me to purchase more postal services, I picture them as 50s-style caricatures with oversized heads and teeth that sparkle:

...premium international shipping with global express a business or a more secure way of receiveing mail...only you have the key...heading for london, tokyo or shanghai?...get your passport application faster by requesting expedited you can buy stamps at everyday places...

Here's a fun photo:
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Thursday, June 07, 2007

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Today I read about this Suoi Tien Park near Hanoi, a Buddhist-themed water park, aquairium, crocodile farm and campground. Naturally. Attractions include Heaven Palace, a recreation of what eternal life would be like for exiles of hell after years of drugs, gambling, adultery, etc etc...sound familiar? Probably because fundamentalist Christians have been doing a haunted house version of it every Halloween.

There is also entertainment:
"Should you, our honored guest, want to enjoy music and song programs, please come to Frog Stage containing of over 5,000 persons or to other big stages, at the same time, you can enjoy the music and fresh air after a week of tiresome labor."

Frog Stage I'm all over it. And another thing you can't get in the US and A is a "Bat Cave with Innumerable Bats". Or how about "1,500 crocodiles of all sizes which cause fearful feeling for tourist"! Yesss.
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Of its conception and construction, the site explains: "People of the 'open door time' now have constructed a brilliant cultural work". Who are these "open door time" people and what do they want from me?

My excitement for this amusement park quickly bowed to a fevered nervousness (I don't know if it's the caffeine, or pure raw fear that is making my little hands shake at this very second) when I noticed that I was visitor number 066006. But that's not all--I returned to the site FOUR HOURS LATER and this is what the bottom of the screen said:
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What the hell.

Monday, June 04, 2007

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The meat in the lady sandwich wants to be our new King of Democracy.

Former Republican Tennessee senator, as well as Law and Order sex kitten, Fred Thompson, filed papers on Friday to begin raising funds for his presidential bid. Why should anyone care? Why is this not the equivalent of Gary Coleman running for Governor of California? Because none other than George P. Bush (yes there are billions of bluebloods with the name George Bush and using frivolous middle initials), our dear president's nephew, is reaching out to his GOP cronies for contributions. And former counselor to Dick Cheney, Mary Matalin, will be his advisor. And Lawrence B.Lindsey, W's first economic policy advisor and tax cut architect is going to be his economic policy main man.

Although he doesn't have an official website, he does have a store.

Unfortunately no punching bags or dart boards are being sold at this time.
ENERGY: You can get with this, or you can get with that

This summer, if you find yourself lazily sedated upon hot sands, staring vacantly into the great blue horizon full of natural wonder, think of Delaware, and think of this:
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From WaPo, an artist's mathematically-sound rendering shows what a newly-approved wind farm could look like to northern Delaware beachcombers. Imagine 413-ft-tall white monstrosities, with blades stretching taller than the Statue of Liberty.

It seems that wind power is really picking up momentum. A report by the U.S. Dept of Energy claims the U.S. produces roughly 16% of the total world wind market, and has the fastest-growing wind capacity in the world, with over 61% of the total wind power capacity installed since Bush took office in '01. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, over 153 million people (over half the total U.S. pop) live in 673 coastal counties; this includes the Great Lakes region--that's a lot of potential beachcombers, many of which assuredly will hold a strong sense of a "not in my backyard" mentality. As strange and discomforting as this view may appear, I think I'd rather look at some creepy white blades than oil rigs, like the ones shown in this shot off the Gulf of Mexico:

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Plus, there's the whole getting off the oil thing. That too.

Friday, June 01, 2007

STARBUCKED: show some self respect
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This morning I found myself just outside my corporate digs 15 minutes early and still a little drowsy from the night before. As naturally as it is to playfully kick a pigeon whenever the bird-rodent should come in one's path, I found my feet leading me somewhere else, somewhere comforting, somewhere like...Starbucks.

But it wasn't a comfort, and it wasn't like the satisfaction one must get (hypothetically) when one's sneaker gently brushes up against the grimy tailfeathers of a loathesome avian beast. I stopped in the midst of a cable car track, with oncoming traffic to my left which I acknowledged with a blithe wave, and looked, horrified, at the massive line of caffeine-deprived zombies stretching almost around the entire block as if there were a rock concert. Yeah who knows, maybe Jerry Garcia was in there pulling an Elvis, handin' out soy orange mocha low-cal lattes. But I wasn't about to find out.

"Show some goddam self respect!" I yelled, one hand cupping my mouth to make myself feel like I was louder, and the other flailing about madly. Or at least that's what I my head.

I hate Starbucks. The first time I ever tried their house blend, I immediately ran to the nearest outdoor trash bin and projectile vomited. Then I proudly exclaimed, happy with my new find, "That's a damn fine cup of coffee!" But times were different then...before the war. Back then I went to the LA warehouses and I listened to the techno, tripping the light fantastic on substances I dare not speak the name of, and trying to knock the invisible balls out of neo-hippies' hands. There were even times when I felt particularly daring and would show up at a morning ballet class while in college, doped up on the godless black sauce of destruction, only to find that pirouettes would be my ultimate demise. I would get dizzy and have to sit some exercises out. I felt like an after-school special. Only I wasn't anorexic or on performance-enhancing drugs. I was Starbucked (use your own expletives to come up with crafty variations, this is a family blog.)

Upon years of reflection I have come to find that vomit-inducing caffeinated substances do not a balanced morning routine make. Yet I must have me a fine cappucino, there is something about the subtle caffeine kick and the foam. Oh the frothy foam! It's a miraculous thing when you find a perfect cup with a perfectly whipped foam--like the miraculous way Denny's does hashbrowns. I became obsessed with making foam as a waitress, and the result oftentimes left me covered in milk and the butt of many a joke and manager's grimace.

I asked myself why I hate Starbucks today. Yeah, it was one of them deep thinkin kind of days, and I reverted back to my unsubstantiated belief that Starbucks did not practice fair trade. I did look for the fair trade label on some bags of coffee about five years ago and none was to be found. All that the PR department put on the bag was something like, "Starbucks really thinks it would be peachy if laborers in Sumatra were paid a liveable wage, we're gonna get right on that...yeah...we really are ethical, if not in practice by intention!"

But alas I am wrong. They have actually gone fair and I have nothing to complain about except their Wal-Mart approach to competition, but come on, if I went on hating every chain there ever was on that premise, I'd just be one of those annoying assholes who takes to vegetarianism and uses alternative fuels because they can afford the luxury and turns their nose up at anyone else who cannot. Anyways...I take Starbucks over other shops because they have vanilla powder. Seriously that's it.

I hate Starbucks (insert Nat King Cole melody here) for sentimental reasons...