Friday, September 29, 2006

Who Would You Eat?

There are fun little games out there people play in bars when they’re bored like “Fuck, Marry, Kill” or “Would You Rather” or “Last Word.” But I think my favorite of all time has got to be “Who Would You Eat?” Like if you were in plane crash in the Andes like that rugby team in “Alive,” which person out of your group would make for the best eating? We started this game during a CAX in 29 Palms a few years ago, as we were sitting around under a tent in 128 degree July heat, waiting for a fire order. It was hot. We were bored. And the only radio station we got was some shit out of Yucca Valley that kept playing "She’s So High Above Me” every fourth song. And then our Staff Sergeant says “Hey, if we get stuck out here, which Marine here would you eat?”

Now one might automatically think “Hey, take the biggest guy around since he’ll provide the most meat.” But it is not so simple. Think about Beef categorizations for a minute: It is not the amount of meat that makes a steak Prime beef, but rather the marbling. So you can’t just pick the biggest guy in the group, because what if he doesn’t have enough body fat and the meat is tough and stringy and tasteless? Similarly, you don’t want to eat the fattest guy in the group because he’ll be all gristle and no meat. And nobody likes chewing on a piece of fat. So you have to find the big guy with a nice layer of fat on him who could feed your entire group. We had this Haitian Sergeant who lived on a diet of fried chicken and Scotch who was about 6’2” 230. I won’t tell you his real name, but around the unit he forever became known as Sergeant Lunch.

To further illustrate my point, I will give you some celebrity examples: Terrell Owens would not make for good eating. While large and muscular, he has no body fat and therefore would just not taste good at all. Shaq his first 7 or 8 years in the league? HORRIBLE eating. Shaq now? De-liscious. Jason Giambi is another guy who would make a nice marbled filet, but Ronnie Coleman? Not so much. I think you get the idea.

I brought this game to my fraternity the next fall and after everyone’s immediate revulsion at the idea of sitting around the chapter hall deciding who among us would make the best entrée, it actually became a favorite drunken pastime. There was one guy in particular, who was one of those short, stocky, muscular guys with a huge gut and massive calves who quickly became the survival eating favorite. Every time he’d come in a room one of us would inevitably say “Man, you know what I could go fore right now? A nice Rib-Eye.” And then everyone else would agree. I don’t think he ever quite understood the joke.

Females can make for good eating too, but you have to be careful. A girl you would fuck, at least if you are a white guy, is definitely not a girl you would eat. Marissa Miller? NOT good eating. Latinas look like they would make for some tasty meals, though. Just not the fat ones, you need ladies with a little muscle to them. Last night we thought Sara Ramirez, who plays Dr. Callie Torres (George’s girlfriend) on Gray’s Anatomy was a perfect example of a girl we would definitely eat. It becomes funny when you have this conversation in a bar, because you will see a girl and say “Man that chick has a nice ass. I would totally eat her.” People listening think you are being disgusting. Which I guess you are, but in a totally non-sexual way.

Now don’t get me wrong. I do not advocate cannibalism or the eating of other people. But when you get tired of the usual conversational games, this is a fun one to play that can totally weird out anyone who is eavesdropping. I’ve thought about the various people I know who read this blog and who I would eat, and I think Ali from Rum and Popcorn is definitely the blogger who would make the best meal. Sorry bro. See if you and your friends can have as much fun with this game this weekend as I have. Until Monday, Bon Appetit!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

4 Men and A very stupid Redhead

Hi, I am Alice, a feisty redhead. I live in Park Slope; this is the most incestuous neighborhood in all of New York (that I know of). Everyone knows everyone. We all hang out at the same bar; I have known the people in my hood for years. You DON’T hook up with people in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, if you hang out in the neighborhood enough, like me, you are probably going to break this rule a lot over 3 years.

It happened one night at the local bar, I walked in on an innocent Tuesday to 4 faces that I definitely didn’t want to see in the same room together. My first thought was to immediately duck behind the trivia machine, as I am waiting for my beer, I start pondering my options. Leave. Move to the other side of the bar. Pretend I don’t see them. Or suck it up and say hi. I opted for moving to the other side of the bar and pretended I didn’t see them. Heather, being the bitch she is – starts cracking up and sending me texts at the bar.

Having expressed my previous frustrations about dating a chronic liar 18 year old, anything other than him was better. Being a lady of leisure, i.e. unemployed sap, I have plenty of time to get myself into trouble. And guys seem to be attracted to a girl who has nothing better to do but frolic and be happy. Here are the players:

Catholic Guilt guy: I went out with this guy in January, we made out a couple of times on my stoop. But his terrible breakup and my dating a guy I actually liked kept things from going any further. I kind of just forgot about him, having known him for years, he was never that memorable to begin with. Not to mention, he never wanted to be seen in public with me, which was kind of weird.

The Makeout Bandit: A previously engaged HOT musician, this guy is known all over the slope as the makeout bandit. It eventually led to the breakup of his impending marriage, because he finally realized that making out with random females did not make a serious commitment. Everyone has made out with him including two of my girlfriends. So after a night of heavy drinking a couple of weeks ago, I decided to see what all the fuss was about. He is a TERRIBLE kisser; having someone grind his mouth into yours is NOT hot. Moving on.

Catholic Guilt guy and the Makeout Bandit are friends. A fact that I completely forgot when I decided to make out with him. Thank god, he’s not the kiss and tell type.

June Guy: I met this guy in June, I was so annoyed that I had to play wing woman and talk to this guy that I fabricated a whole life for myself in our conversation. I told him I worked in Finance and long hours. Apparently my hatred of him didn’t stop me from making out with him in my drunken state and waking up really pissed at myself. A story I later forgot when I saw him again three weeks ago. I ended up making out with him again, much to my chagrin. And gave him my real number as opposed to the fake number I gave him in June. Damnit, woke up hating myself again.

Barfly Guy: Last Monday, after Monday night football beer and wings, we stopped at the corner bar. This guy was sitting there and he gave me a weird smile as he started talking to me. I was like Jesus, why is he leering at me. I don’t remember any of our conversation, because I wasn’t paying attention to him when he talked. I had to ask him 4 times what his name was and I was annoyed he was talking to me in the first place. Being 1 am on a Monday night, I decided to stick around for another beer as this guy chattered in my ear. He then walked me home where out of nowhere he kissed me and asked me to go home with him. I was like no, are you kidding me? I had just met this guy 20 minutes before. At this point, he actually yelled at me for not wanting to go home and have almost anonymous sex. If Matthew had answered my 2 am phone call that night, he would have heard the whole story as he was the first person I called. I have never had a random stranger yell at me. He later called me the next day to ask me on a date, I never called him back.

June guy and Barfly guy are friends, which accounts for the leering stare he gave me.

When I walked into the bar that night, all four were there and talking to each other. I didn’t know what the fuck to do, so I pretended to listen to the Jeff Buckley whining open mic’ers as I mentally raced for a solution. June guy and Barfly guy spotted me and started whispering to each other and smiling. Damnit, they figured it out. I wasn’t really worried about Catholic Guilt guy and the Makeout Bandit, I had been friends with these guys for years, plus they are older and not likely to discuss their park slope makeouts. And they are both shady bastards.

I actually got kind of pissed off, because I was wondering if June guy and Barfly guy were in on some conspiracy. About 10 minutes later they both came up to me and started joshing me. Well, at least they have a sense of humor. And what ended up as an almost walk of shame turned into probably one of the funniest nights of my life. I hung out with June guy and Barfly guy as they both vied for my attention, it was kind of flattering. And received a creepy text message from Catholic Guilt guy that said, “Let’s have a night tonight to make up for all those nights we never had.” To which I replied, “Are you fucking kidding me?”

The moral of the story: don’t shit where you eat because it will come back to bite you in the ass.

I have actually been hanging out with June guy and think he’s pretty fucking hilarious. I have not made out with him again, I don’t want him to think I am easy. And I am currently figuring out how to break up with the 18 year old who called me this morning and left me a “mopey” message.

Oh, and I would like to thank heather for her oh-so-helpful text messages, “ha ha” and snickering at the bar. Bitch.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Little Havana, Estoy Aqui!

This is not a joke. This is not like the time Larry tried to pull a misguided April-fools move and told everyone he was moving to Knoxville. If you look over on my profile section, you may or may not notice a small change: you remember how it used to say my location was Palmetto Bay, Florida? Look what is says now. No, I am not using the major metropolitan area as my location to make myself sound cooler. Quite the contrary, living in the only White part of Miami kind of furthers the effect. No, the fact is my days of taking the Turnpike everywhere and having to pack three days of clothes with me everywhere I went are over. As of yesterday I am a resident of The City of Miami.

Now, knowing me, one would probably think I have moved to Coconut Grove or Brickell or maybe, if I’m feeling a little bit Hip, the Design District. No, folks. White Dade is now residing on the Miami River. And not than nice new part near Brickell with Finnegan’s and those fancy High-Rise Condos. Most people know my little section of the Miami River as Little Havana. The same little Havana where you are hard pressed to see an English street sign and people protest in the streets whenever someone is sent back to Cuba. Yeah, THAT Little Havana.

Reactions have ranged form “You realize you only have a couple of weeks until they realize you’re White, right?” to “You are just doing this to get more material for your blog, aren’t you?” to “No, seriously, dude, where’d you move?” Don’t think I don’t full well understand the irony of a guy who has made a blogging career of bitching about people in Miami moving to a neighborhood that literally looks like it belongs somewhere in South America. I know what I’m in for. But I wanted a good location and didn’t want to have to pay much more than I was in South Dade. And while certainly not the finest of areas in Dade County, Little Havana is far form the worst the city has to offer.

I am across the street from a shipyard that specializes is boatloads to Haiti. Boatloads of what, I don’t know, but I sure as shit ain’t gonna ask. There is a “Mecanica” on the corner, so if my car breaks I can bring it in and he can pretend to not speak English in order to facilitate some sort of “misunderstanding” in which he overcharges me and doesn’t fix anything. I am steps from more ham and cheese sandwiches than you could shake a roasted pig art. Good thing I’m Jewish. There is a “Taberna” about three blocks away that had not one but three sex workers outside last night. So if things with this girl don’t work out, I won’t be at a loss for action. DCJ is also walking distance, so should one of my friends end up incarcerated I can go and join him for breakfast every morning. And the Orange Bowl is only a mile West, so for those four remaining home games I won’t have to deal with the parking hassles of those sold-out UM home games.

I have been in Little Havana for 24 hours and already I have spent half an hour at Publix finding someone who could understand that I needed weed killer and ice-cube trays. That was after I was misinformed by no less than two separate people as to where the local Fluff-and-Fold was. Blog fodder? Yeah, there might be some. But really, I’m moving to a place named after a Latin-American city. I’m expecting it to be bad. But how bad still remains to be seen. Palmetto Bay, with its English-speaking checkout clerks and convenience stores that carried products not made by Goya, may seem like paradise in a few months. We shall see. But if you thought the bitterness was strong before, you ain’t seen nothing yet. We’re kicking it up a notch for year two. Welcome to White Dade: Little Havana. Let’s see how long I can survive.


***Since I am moving this week, Alice will be guest posting over here tomorrow. I may or may not appear on her site, we shall see. Just so no one is shocked when there is a post tomorrow with a phrase like "I was in a room last week with four guys I'd made out with in the past month." Fill in Anonymous comment about me making out with guys here.

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Greatest Kickball Game in Miami History

We weren’t supposed to be that good. We lost our fist two games and hadn’t beaten a team with any experience until the last game of the year. Sure, we’d played better as the season had gone on, but there were teams with their names embroidered on their shirts out there for chrissakes. Teams that made female teammates cry when they made baserunning errors. Surely the stupid kids in Pink would be out of the tournament and drunk by 4, right? That’s why we brought a generator and DirecTV to Bayfornt Park on Saturday: We figured it would be a short day of kickball and a long day of drinking.

But that’s why they play the games. Dispatching our first two opponents was not exactly a major chore. The first team consisted of kids who apparently used to play the game at Fat Camp and the other was made of people who appeared as if they last played kickball sometime during the Eisenhower administration. But the third round looked to be our demise. If all went according to form, we were to play the Freeballers, last season’s defending champs who, in addition to having their own team flag and being ranked 14th nationally, had embroidered Kickball shirts and practiced fielding bunts in-between games. They had beaten us earlier in the year about 612 to nothing, and greeted us at the postgame handshake by saying “Welcome to the league,” instead of the customary “Good Game.” Well, when the underdog Yellow Team, known more for their postgame dance-offs than their kickball, upended the Freeballers (who I later found out were big fans of the blog) in the quarterfinals, every single person in the park rushed the field to celebrate with them. The Evil Empire was vanquished and it was anybody’s tournament to win.

Riding high on emotion, the Yellow team came to face us a mere 30 minutes after we had dispatched team AARP 10-1. We were sweaty and tired and our best player was already suffering from heat exhaustion. And the shit talking was endless. Our girls and their girls did not stop jawing at each other for the entire game, with the phrases “Cameltoe” and “Cankles” being shouted from sideline to sideline for the better part of an hour. This entertained the vast amount of spectators we had, since we were the last semi-final game. Our prospective opponents in the Finals, the undefeated Orange Team, were there scouting their opponents. All the losing teams were there too, most of them highly intoxicated. But the game was not as competitive as the female trash talking, and we easily defeated the Yellow team 5-0. And so it was on to the Finals.

No team had ever won four games on their way to the championship. Meaning no team seeded lower than 4 had ever advanced this far. We were seeded 6th. We had given up 2 runs all day, and despite being covered in sweat and totally sober, we made our way to the field in front of the Hotel Intercontinental for the championship game. Our opponents had won 14 games in a row and would have won the championship the previous two seasons except they all got drunk before their first game and lost. Both times. This time they would not make the same mistake. So it was the overachieving Pink team against the regular-season champs in a winner-take all championship. Nobody, including most on our team, figured we would win this one. As one of our teammates said in his pregame pep-talk “All we’ve beaten so far are some fat kids, some old people and a bunch of loud Cubans. We still suck.” How inspiring

What was inspiring was us going out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning. I even had a 2-run single to knock in the second two. Unfortunately, due to my subpar fielding, I gave those two runs back two innings later by not getting to a deep fly ball in time. We took a 4-3 lead into the bottom of the sixth and final inning as the sun set on Downtown Miami. With one out and a runner on second, the Orange team kicked a long fly to right which was caught by the guy playing there instead of me. The runner at second tagged and was thinking home the whole way. The throw came into the pitcher and had the runner at home beat by a good 15 feet. Throw him out and we’re the champs. The runner slid into home as the ball sailed in towards him and the whole field awaited the umpire’s call. Safe. The game was tied.

League rules dictate that if the game is tied the title is determined by Rick Paper Scissors. Fortunately, like most of you, our league president felt this rule was extremely gay and we agreed to play one more. Which was scoreless. So we played another, and we scored in the top half of the inning thanks to a great hustle by our pitcher who had missed the game-winning throw, and a sacrifice fly by yours truly who couldn’t field a key fly. Redemption is great, isn’t it? So we took our slim lead to the bottom of the inning, where out beleaguered closer could not close and gave up one run which was not nearly as dramatic as the inning before. Exhausted, drenched in South Florida sweat, and emotionally drained from what can only be called the greatest Kickball game in Miami history, the teams were finally forced to decide this hard fought title by Rock, Paper Scissors. I thought maybe a winner-take all game of foursquare would have been more appropriate.

Our three players and their three met at midfield among literally dozens of spectators and players. Flashbulbs were popping as both sides threw One, Two, Three, Shoot. The first two, as all RPS games go, ended in inconclusive ties. But on the third and final throw, the Orange team threw paper to cover two of our rocks and the game was over. We had fought hard all day, done what no one thought we could, and all was lost in a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. They get the trophy. They get the trip to the Regional Finals in that vacation paradise of Richmond, VA. We get a “wow, you guys played a Hell of a game” from everyone else. Like we even lost the damn game. Look, nobody beat the Pink team on Saturday, at least not at Kickball. But that did not make our loss in another child’s contest any less painful. But our Cinderella Story did not leave us completely empty handed for as we enter into this season at Peacock Park we have something that few other teams can claim: respect. And that, friends, is all any of us who kick around a red ball for fun can ask.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Quiz: Are You White?

Apparently there has been some recent debate over what exactly is considered "White." Only in Miami is a discussion like this even possible. Because if a blonde haired, blue eyed Argentine walked into a bar in any Red State and started speaking broken English and then lapsed into Spanish, every single person they encountered would say “Hey, you Mexican? Lemme git my dishwasher out here an’ maybe he can translate.” Not to belittle Hispanics, quite the contrary. Unfortunately, the vast majority of this country, however, lumps all Spanish speakers into an ethnic group known as “Mexican." Call it sad, call it ignorant, but it is the truth. In Miami, we use terms like “Anglo” or “American” to describe what the other 49 states and 37 counties call “White.” But because so many in Miami come from countries in Latin America where they were considered the white people (as opposed to the darker skinned Hispanics) they get confused as to what qualifies as White in America. So, for those of you coming from Colombia or Argentina or Cuba who may think you are white, here is a handy little quiz for you to take to see if you qualify for the American definition of what a white person is. It is quite long, but then again, you have all weekend to do it. Bust out your MS Office calculators and get ready to take the White Dade Quiz of Whiteness. Scoring is at the bottom.

How White Are You?

  1. When someone approaches you speaking Spanish, you

A)Respond in Spanish

B) Respond in broken Spanish in an attempt to get them to learn English

C) Tell them “Sorry, no hablo espanol”

D) Ask them how long they’ve lived here and then ask why they have not learned the goddam language yet. In English.

  1. You speak Spanish

A)Fluently

B) When necessary

C) Not much, but enough to find out where the bathrooms are in Tijuana

D) But refuse to just to spite those fucking immigrants

  1. You live _______ your family

A) With everyone up to and including 8th cousins in

B) With most of

C) In the same city as

D) As far away as possible from

  1. You tend to date

A) Women with big asses

B) “Exotic” looking women

C) Anything

D) Blonde haired, blue eyed, skinny English speaking girls ONLY

  1. When you are pulled over, you are

A) Arrested, possibly beaten, maybe killed

B) Removed form the car and searched

C) Given a ticket

D) Warned, referred to as “Sir” and told to “have a nice day.”

  1. Your own more CD's by

A) Daddy Yankee

B) Jay-Z

C) Jimi Hendrix

D) Bob Seger

  1. You dance

A) Very well and at every opportunity

B) Passably, but I don’t need to

C) Only when I’m drunk

D) I would rather amputate one of my feet than dance

  1. When you are at the front of a line you

A) Have extensive small talk with the cashier about his family, his business, his dog, the whether, traffic and anything else you happen to feel like discussing, completely oblivious to the massive line forming behind you

B) Ask copious amounts of questions, take a long time making a decision, and speak a language that is not that of the person taking your order. Regardless of how many people are behind you

C) Move as quickly as possible so as to keep the line moving

D) Berate the cashier for not speaking the goddam language, as well as berating the people in front of you who took so fucking long ordering because they didn’t know what “Chicken Fries” meant in Spanish

9. You are in a club and Reggaeton comes on, you

A) Get up and start shaking your ass

B) Sing along with the words as you sip your drink

C) Sit quietly and hope the music changes soon

D) Launch into a 10 minute tirade about how this is the worst form of music ever created and whoever listens to, performs or promotes it should have their tongues cut out in a slow, painful manner

10.The best part about Miami is

A) I don’t have to learn English

B) I feel very comfortable and at home here

C) The beaches and the nightlife

D) There is nothing good about Miami

11. The Worst part about Miami is

A) Having to learn English

B) It moves too fast

C) The traffic and the Hurricanes

D) All the fucking Spics

12. I live in

A) Hialeah

B) Kendall

C) Pinecrest

D) I don’t know but it sure as Hell ain’t America

13.) I use the word “Bro”

A) Bro, like in every sentence, bro

B) When speaking to a male sibling

C) Never

D) When I am making fun of Cubans and how ridiculous they sound

PART II - A or B

1. When you say “my Country” you mean

  1. Anywhere but the United States
  2. The United Goddam States of America

2. Football is played

  1. By everyone in My Country
  2. On Sundays

3. Women Should

  1. Stay home, cook, clean and take care of me and my children
  2. Have their own jobs and contribute as much to housework as I do

4. Columbia is

  1. A country
  2. A city in South Carolina/Missouri/Maryland and/or a river in Washington State

5. Miami

  1. Is “our” city
  2. Used to be a nice place

Part III True or False

  1. I know what “Malta” is
  2. I watch Telenovelas
  3. I have never used the phrase “Man, I need to get some sun”
  4. I live with two or more generations of relatives
  5. I have pictures of my entire family all over my living room wall
  6. There are more than 5 images of Jesus Christ/the Virgin Mary in my home
  7. My last name ends in Z
  8. I attended one of the following High Schools: Belen, Columbus, Lourdes Academy, HML, or any other school not called “Gulliver” “Ransom” “Palmetto” or “Hillel”
  9. I only eat meat that is well done, charred to a crisp is preferable
  10. Fidel Castro is the most despicable tyrant of the 20th Century (not Stalin, Hitler or Edie Amin. Fidel Castro)

PART IV True or False

  1. The only way to eat a steak is medium-rare or below
  2. I find emaciated women attractive
  3. I have trouble communicating in Miami on a daily basis
  4. My first reaction when getting off a plane in another city is “Damn, there’s a lot of White people here.”
  5. I have no idea what the fuck a “Media Noche” is.
  6. I have never eaten anything con anything
  7. I don’t know the difference between Espresso and Cuban Coffee
  8. I aspire to someday move to Tampa
  9. I have no desire to ever learn Spanish
  10. My parents do not live in Miami

Scoring

Section 1 – A - 0 points

B – 1 point

C- 2 points

D – 4 points

Section 2 – A - 0 points

B – 2 points

Section 3 – True - 0 points

False – 2 points

Section 4 True – 2 points

False - 0 points

Where You Rate

65 - 92 You are DEFINITELY White. You do not have an ounce of soul, spice or flavor in your body and you are damn proud of it. Chances are you grew up somewhere where the white population was around 80%, or the South. You may own several pieces of attire with the Rebel Flag on it, and you are most likely a NASCAR fan. Your parents could have been born in Senegal, but as far as I’m concerned you are a dirty White Boy. Archie Bunker would be proud.

55 - 64 You are PRETTY White. You may be tolerant and somewhat interested in other cultures, but you are still white at the Core. You may date people of other races occasionally, enjoy a mojito once in a while, and may even blast some hip-hop or Salsa music form your car. You may not even look completely white, but in my mind you are. You can appreciate other cultures, but, at the end of the day, you’re still white

30 – 54 Chances are, you are NOT WHITE. You may be light skinned, blonde haired, and blue eyed. But in this country, that just makes you a pale-skinned Mexican. Go ahead and check that “Hispanic” box on your college/job application as anywhere but Miami it ensures you preferential treatment to those of us who scored higher on this quiz. You’re not White. Take advantage of it

10 – 30 You probably didn’t even understand enough English to take this quiz, but in case you found someone to translate it for you, guess what? You’re not white. I’m sure this comes as a great shock to you.

10 or below – Go back to “My Country.”

I hope this cleared things up for you. If anyone was interested, I scored a 70. Which makes me definitely white. But then again, I’m proud of that fact. Have a great weekend and enjoy some Dick con Pan. Of course, that may alter your results.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Fuck Mass Tranist, Get Rid of School Zones

Traffic in Miami is pretty awful. I don’t think there is one person in this city who would disagree. It has gotten to the point that you pretty much do not ever dare to go North or East between 6:30 and 9:30 AM or South and West between 4:30 and 7:30. If you do, you are destined for endless hours of honking, frustration, anger and saying to yourself, at least a half dozen times “I’ve got to get the fuck outta this place.” This is why I have set my life up so that I never have to sit in traffic. I won’t go into the particulars of how, but suffice to say rush hour on the Palmetto is not a concept I am at all familiar with.

So the end of August rolls around again and I am making my daily trip up Old Cutler Road at 1:30 to the gym, and all of sudden traffic comes to a dead stop. “Funny,” I think, “there must be some sort of accident.” Well, I was right insofar as there was an accident causing this slowdown, but it was not the sort involving automobiles and grinding steel. No, it was the type that involves people and grinding bodies who do not use protection. Some of you call them children. A bunch of little walking accidents apparently don’t know how to look both ways before they cross the street, and therefore the speed limit on half of Old Cutler is slowed to 15 miles an hour for two hours each morning and afternoon.

Now, anyone who knows me knows that I hold children in about the same esteem as I hold your typical household cockroach, aka pests that the world would be much better off without. And anyone who knows me also knows that I absolutely, 100% refuse to ever sit in traffic, meaning that I will take a friend to the airport 4 hours early at 5 AM to avoid sitting in Rush Hour. So when my least favorite thing on earth causes me to engage in my least favorite activity on Earth, I tend to get a liiitle bit agitated. And when I ever get a chance to go through a school zone and there is nobody ahead of me, I full-on floor it in the hopes of teaching some little punk a valuable lesson.

First off, how the fuck does it take 2 hours for a bunch of little snot-nosed brats to cross the goddman street? I remember when I was in school we got out at 3 and the place was a ghost town by 3:30. Now, I know kids in Miami are a little slower than in the rest of the country, but you can’t legitimately tell me it takes them two hours to figure out how to get form the door of their classroom to the other side of the street. Maybe they explain that in “Vamos a Cuba,” and that’s why nobody can figure it out. Secondly, why is this slowdown even necessary? The rest of us seem to manage to cross streets safely without harmless motorists being forced to waste half their day waiting for them. Why are kids so special that the rest of us have to stop so they can cross the street? Teach kids about crosswalks and those little guys on the stoplight that tell you when you can and cannot cross the street and we can avoid a lot of unnecessary traffic. It would take exactly one kid getting run over because they were too lazy/stupid to look both ways before traffic education would be a required part of their daily curriculum. Pro-education, anti-traffic. Damn, if only I were Hispanic I could run for local office.

But were this mandatory delaying of my day not enough, parents, as they do with everything else, seem to think their child is more important than the needs of the rest of the population. So they sit in the middle of the road waiting for their kid to get out of class. The driveway at Gulliver or Pinecrest Elementary or Lourdes Academy always seems to be backed up, and none of these inconsiderate people who were too stupid to use birth control seem to think it might be courteous to keep driving or get the fuck out of the way so the rest of us could get though. No, their little darling prince/princess needs to have curbside service form Mommy in her Mercedes SUV, and all of South Dade can just wait until he gets out of class. Memo to all parents everywhere: Your kid is about as important to everybody else as the current weather in Mongolia. So stop expecting us to wait while your kid gets out of school. Circle around, or, better yet, have your kid call when they are outside and you can come pick them up. It’s not like the little fat ass has anything better to do. He’s just in a rush to get home so he can sit on MySpace and play EverQuest.

Miami has enough traffic problems without us having to take four more hours out of the day to slow down. Teach your kids how to properly cross the street or pay the goddamned consequences. It’s not like there’s a shortage of children anyway. Because some of us have places to go, and the people waiting for us will not accept “your kid being late coming out of school” as a valid excuse. So show some goddam consideration and let the rest of us go by. Or, better yet, get rid of the school zones altogether and let them learn life’s lessons the hard way. Because none of them seem to be learning them right now.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

My White Boy

I’m married to a white boy. A white, Jewish boy, actually. And even though I live in Miami, this most multicultural town of ours, there are still times when people act surprised that a Catholic Cubanita who was born in Little Havana would end up with a white Jewish boy from Kendall. I find it both amusing and annoying.

But all right, I’m willing to play the game. I’ve dated Hispanic guys – a bunch of Cuban-Americans like myself, an Argentine, a Brazilian – and Ben was actually the first gringo I dated. Not that I'm proud to even admit this, but it took me a couple of weeks to figure out he wasn't Cuban. And about two months to figure out he was Jewish. How awful - I had known him (albeit socially and always drunkenly) for over two years, and I'd never even considered that he might not be Cuban-American or Hispanic, like all my other friends. Take that as a testament to how very sheltered my upbringing was, with me safely ensconced first in a private school that had reopened here after it had been shut down in Cuba, and then in a private Catholic high school that only served to suck me into the predominantly Hispanic, incestuous social vortex that is Miami Catholic high schools.

So shame on me, dating a guy of a completely different cultural and religious background, and I was clueless. I remember being so taken aback when I found out he was Jewish - did I even know any Jews who weren't also Cuban? But that's his fault - at the time he was so heavily into the situation in Northern Ireland that I had every reason to believe he was Irish Catholic. I know, my ignorance just gets worse, doesn't it?

I have to say that for me, being with a white boy, a non-Catholic one at that, was exotic. I mean, the customs, the food, the funny little sayings - it was all fun and exciting for me. And the best part? Boy did housework. I mean, all the guys I grew up with never had to worry about things like chores, laundry, etc. Their mami took care of it all. That's the major bummer about being a Hispanic woman - the understood rule that women cater to men; they serve their food, wash their clothes, and keep the house clean. That rule never washed with me. My parents raised us to be independent, even as my mother was the principal housekeeper who always served my dad his dinner. Growing up, my mom did those things even though my dad never required her to - it was just understood. And yet, whenever my mom had to work overtime or was sick or tired or simply not there, my dad took perfect care of himself. I chalked up their behavior as old-country, old-school rules they couldn't escape, but I never seriously believed they would ever apply to me, even if I ended up with a Cuban-American (CA) boy. I mean, we were living in the United States at the end of the 20th century, for hell's sake. And then I dated a CA who seriously expected me to have dinner ready and waiting when he got home (assuming we married, and this was regardless of whether or not I had a job and whether or not I got home before him). He also had no inclination to clean a toilet or put his own clothes away. Seriously, there was just no way that kind of servitude would be a real option for me.

And with my discovery of the American boy, I realized there was hope. Here was a man who grasped the concept of "you drop it, you pick it up" and "if you're hungry, get off your ass and do something about it." Here was someone who couldn't even fathom the concept that my worthiness as a partner, never mind a wife, was not measured by how well I kept house or how willing I was to serve him his dinner and fetch him his beer. This boy did his laundry when he ran out of clothes, cooked his own food when he was hungry (not to mention the meals he cooked to woo and impress me, that in itself earning him major points), and picked up his own clutter. This is not to say that settling down with a white boy meant I had no household responsibilities - it just meant I wasn't going to carry the load all by myself. I hate to do dishes; in fact, I specifically told him, when he proposed, that I wouldn't do dishes on a regular basis. And so, he does the dishes and I clean the bathroom, his least favorite chore.

But all right, I need to be PC about this, so please don't get me wrong: I'm not hating on the CA boys. I've known some wonderful, cool CA's, and some of them did not at all buy into the whole macho bullshit. They are as modern and equitable as their white-boy counterparts. But in my experience, these boys are in the minority; or, the minute they shack up with a girl, find themselves playing the role their father played at home, sometimes even to their own amazement. That's true of any culture, though, so I can't exactly fault them for that. And as it is, I know that plenty of white boys are just as Neanderthal and backwards about helping out around the house as any other cultural group. So really, it all boils down to the individual, but whatever.

Either way, I think the fact that Ben is Jewish also played a big role in us being able to relate to each other despite our differences. He grew up next door to a Cuban family and in Kendall, so it’s not like he wasn’t exposed to my kind since his childhood. And since he’s not one of those people who hates on Hispanics because they’re different or “taking over” Miami (you know, a racist), it's not like he had some major internal battle going on inside him when we started to date. With Jews, though, there's another dynamic, and it's not the whole "Jews are supposed to marry other Jews" thing, because that just didn't register with him, and his family never harped on that. It turns out that Cubans and Jews are very much alike - to be totally stereotypical (but completely right), both groups normally come from large extended families and are very family-centered and have turned guilt and melodrama into an exquisite art form.

Still, he also hasn’t been immune to the drawbacks of being a minority in a predominantly Hispanic city. He's had to deal with people insulting him because he couldn’t understand something or respond. He’s also had to deal with nasty co-workers who talk shit about him in Spanish right in front of him, unaware that he can understand what they’re saying (these are also the same co-workers who used to insist he join in while they said grace and praised Jesus during office parties, and who would spend the day singing hymns and saying shit like “I love you, Jesus” as they went about their workday). But as I point out to him, he’s currently in his dream job, making the kind of money that will allow me to buy as many shoes and boots as I want, so ultimately, being a gringo had no negative effect on his job prospects. And it never will, in Miami or anywhere else. That may not be true for all the white people, but you know what? We're all subjected to all manner of insults and bullshit at work, and we all cope somehow.

But thanks to Ben, I’ve gotten a better understanding of the frustrations the non-Hispanics here feel. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve witnessed him trying to get customer service (in English), only to have the person continue in Spanish, and then actually getting annoyed because he can’t understand. The worst offenders are in Burdines/Macys (oh yeah, I’m calling them out!). They'll do it to anyone, because when I approach them in English, they barrel on in Spanish. Like, I don't look "American" at all, but WTF - I could be Italian or Middle Eastern for all they know. That's not just rude, it's unacceptable. Ben's a fair guy, and if he sees the person struggling in English - but still trying nonetheless - he'll say some words in Spanish and together they hash it out. I love that about him. And I can empathize, because Lord knows that if I lived anywhere but here, people would call me Mexican and treat me like a half-wit, or something just as ignorantly humiliating and awful. Not that being called Mexican is awful, it's just incredibly ignorant and ridiculous.

So we live our lives trying to understand where we come from and figuring out how to navigate life in a world where we have to deal with ignorance and prejudice. That's right, we open each other's eyes to humanity's stupidity and ignorance, just like in the movies. And how do we battle the ignorance, the hate, and the close-mindedness? We procreate. So that our mixed-culture, mixed-religion children may help create a new breed of human so mixed, that one day no one will be just Cuban. Or just Jewish. Or just Catholic. Or just white.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Someone Thinks I Need More Pictures of Babies

So tomorrow is the big Miami Cross-Blogination event. I did not find out about it until very recently and therefore have not been able to sufficiently plug it here, but today I am. Something like 21 Miami bloggers will all guest post on each other’s blogs and create mass confusion and hysteria. I guess the idea is to get people who don’t read certain sites to check them out for a day. Or maybe we just felt like letting the rest of the country know the kind of confusion and discombobulation those of us who live here deal with on a daily basis. Or maybe its just fucking hot and we needed something different to do. Who knows.

At any rate, if you come here tomorrow looking for your usual dose of pseudo-racist misogynistic venom, you will be sorely disappointed. The lovely Tere, author of “A Mom, a blog, and the Life In-between ” will be posting here tomorrow. I’m not sure who made up these assignments, but giving a lady who posts pictures of her baby and such memorable quotes as “Having your baby say ‘mama’ and look at right at you as he does it has got to be one of the best feelings in the world” a day to post on this site has got to be someone’s sick idea of a joke. I like Tere’s blog, and despite the fact that it is not currently on my blogroll I do read it form time to time. But really, I have a post written on the right side here called “I Hate Your Kid ” and have gone on many a rant about my vehement dislike of children and my intense desire to never have any. Change of pace, anyone? Maybe Tere can spray a little sunshine on bitter, hateful world that is White Dade. Hopefully.

If you are still jonesing for your daily dose of Dade, I will be over on Freckle Face Girl. Okay, are you done laughing now? Good, then we can continue. I asked Stephanie if she had any problems or things she didn’t want me to write about, and she pretty much said “Do what you must.” So I’m thinking about either a post on why women should be more open to anal sex or a long description of why I hate Latin Culture and everything associated with it. Any better suggestions?

So again, if you come here tomorrow and there are pictures of a little baby and gushing about the joys of motherhood, do not think I have gone soft or that the girl I’m seeing found my Blogger account and decided to take it over. Please take the time to read what Tere has to say because, if nothing else, it promises to be 180 degrees from anything I’ve ever done. And please also take the time to check out whatever offensive material I have decided to poison the Freckle Face Girl with, because I may get extra nasty just for the occasion.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Sleeping Our Way to a Healthier America

I read this article in a fitness magazine yesterday that linked increased sleep to weight loss. Basically, it stated that people who sleep more tend to have lower body fat, lower BMI and better general health than those who do not. They gave a variety of reasons ranging form late-night snacking to sleep helping to produce enzymes that assist in carbohydrate metabolism, and also pointed out that people who are active tend to sleep better than those who are not. And while nobody would argue that that sleeping 8-10 hours a night is better for you than the bed-at-12, up-at-5:30 lifestyle many Americans lead, it was nice to see my philosophy of sleep priority being validated.

So I mention this study to the girl I’ve been seeing, since she had been complaining about sleeping too much this week. Surprisingly, she was not happy. “Yeah, well, I mean maybe it’s good for my health, but I fee like I’m getting nothing done.” This attitude, my friends, may be exactly what is wrong with America. Why we are so fat, why we are so stressed, why nobody here is ever happy. Everyone here is focused on working and being “productive” and “getting things done,” and never stops to think that there are things more important than work. This leads to a lifestyle where we take 10 minutes for lunch so we wolf down a whopper and fries, don’t cook a real dinner, don’t get to the gym enough and don’t sleep. That is a perfect recipe for obesity and diabetes.

There are more important things in life than making money and working hard. Things like health, for instance. Things like physical fitness and not letting your kids become little basketballs. When you need to “stay late” at your job because you feel pressured to be productive (aka make More Money for the company) you can’t make your kids a proper nutritious dinner. So what do they get? Pizza Hut. Or KFC. Or something equally disgusting coming out of a can. You may even forgo involving them in physical activities like sports or dance because you just don’t have time to take them there. So instead they sit at home on MySpace and X-Box and get fatter and fatter and fatter.

Sleep, exercise and proper nutrition should always trump “productivity.” But nobody in America will ever sit back and say “I want my employees to be healthier, so I am mandating nobody come in before 8 or stay after 5. And everyone must take 1 hour for lunch.” Not everyone would take advantage, of course, but I think as a whole we’d all be a lot better off if we stopped focusing so much on being productive and spent a little more time thinking about being healthy. Me, I sleep 9-10 hours a night, on average, and work out for about 2. This, of course, is for nights when I don’t go out. And I believe this is a big part of why I get sick about once every 3 years, am rarely sore from anything, don’t really get hangovers, and can be in better shape than 90% of the population while subsisting on a diet of pizza and chocolate chip cookies. Rip me if you like for being lazy, but I guarantee I actually do more physical activity than most people I know. I am just more motivated by looking and feeling good than I am about “being productive.”

I think in the long run, a greater focus on health and wellness would actually benefit the economy. Less time lost for sick days, less money spent on health insurance and happier employees. But it is a pipe dream. I love capitalism, but unrelenting devotion to immediate profit is its major flaw. But that is the American way, isn’t it? Work as hard as you can as much as you can so you can get more stuff than the other guy. Of course, for our generation, “stuff’ most likely means a massive gut, fat kids and diabetes.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Greg Behrendt Undermining Men Again

Greg Behrendt may have earned his way into the Cockblocker's Hall of Fame when he penned his stupid-girl classic "He's Just Not That Into You," essentially giving away all of the tricks we men use to string women along for sex. Thanks a lot, Greg. But now Mr. Behrendt is aproaching Michael-Jordan of cockblock status, as his new talk show debuted this week on CW South Florida (formerly WB39) I don’t know if it is more embarrassing to admit that the only reason I caught his show was that I was too lazy to get off the couch after the 12 o’clock Maury Povich Patenrity-Test-palooza, or to just lie and say I was actually interested in watching it. Either way, it was a solid hour of my life I will never get back. It’s not that Greg Behrendt is not an entertaining guy, to the contrary he is very quick witted and was probably a damn funny stand-up before he went into rehab and left his testicles there along with his cocaine habit. But his new show affirms him as Benedict Arnold in the Battle of The Sexes, actually encouraging a lot of women's horribly misguided behavior. He is, in fact, the guy that tells girls that they are right, thus negating any argument we could make. “Well, Greg Behrendt says…..”

Today’s show featured guys getting what Greg liked to refer to as “Man-Overs.” This is where women brought in their horribly design-and-fashion impaired guys to pretty much strip them of their identity and be re-formed in that woman’s image. Now, the unoriginality of this subject I’m not even going to touch, since my man Maury has been doing makeover shows since Greg was blowing lines of the waitress’ tits at Caroline’s. What got me was Greg’s constant encouragement of these women trying to change the men they were with. He kept saying “We are raising these men up to the level of excellence that their women are already at.” Let me tell you something, any bitch that’s going to drag me on national television and tell the world how bad I dress is a lot of things, but excellent is definitely not one of them.

One of the guys was a computer engineer who looked about my dad’s age. His wife was a good 10 years younger than him (wonder how THEY got together) and wanted him to stop dressing so “dorky.” Honey, you married a COMPUTER NERD. Were you expecting him to all of a sudden wake up one day and go “Hey, honey, let’s go spend some of that dot-com money on Prada Loafers?” No, you stupid bitch, you wanted Bill Gates you fucking got him. Deal with it. Another woman had a Husband who looked like this hard-assed middle-aged biker who would just as soon rip your throat out as talk to you. But I guess his “old lady” got the best of him, as he managed to force out a “yeah, I’ve had this look for twenty years and I’m ready for a change.” So Biker Butch goes backstage, and comes back out having cut off all his hair and looking more like a High School chemistry teacher than a guy who would squish your head under his Harley. Again, “old lady,” you wanted the rough, tough manly-man biker dude, and that’s what you got. Don’t take Mr. Tough Guy and convince him he needs to start wearing black slacks and a dress shirt. It ain’t him.

I can’t wait until I get “The White Dade Show.” I’m gonna have a similar episode except it’s going to feature guys who get involved with women who are the sexual equivalent of watching C-Span. I’d call it “Give My Girlfriend a Sex-Over.” To raise her to her man's level of Sexual Excellence. We’d even have little before and after videos like they do on Greg Behrendt’s show. “We see here Eileen just laying back and letting Bruce do all the work. Wow, Bruce, no oral, huh? That’s terrible.” Then my male audience will shriek in horror like Behrendt's does at poorly dressed men. Then we’ll bring the girl out and critique her sexual performance on national television before sending her backstage with a female porn star to show her how to be “dirtier.” We’ll finish with a little “after” video too. “Oh, look at that, Bruce. She’s licking your asshole. Wow, isn’t that great everybody?” And the crowd will give her a standing ovation. That wouldn’t bother anyone, would it?

The point is that if you are in a relationship, you have to accept that nobody is perfect. So if you are a girl and you are with a guy you love but you wish he would do his shopping at Bal Harbour instead of Sears, too bad. You get what you got at the beginning. Similar if you are a guy, most women are probably not going to be comfortable if you try and turn a librarian into a porn star. Women, for centuries, have thought that they could change men. And the sooner they get it through their heads that they never will, the less problems we will have. Shows like Greg Behrendt’s just serve to convince women that they can change who we are, instead of just accepting us for ourselves. Bad clothes and all

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Tales of A Jewish Marine: What the Hell is Halvah?!

There aren’t a whole lot of Jews in the Marine Corps. I would venture to say I may have met more in Provo than I did in six years with the Corps. I guess Jewish mothers just don’t enjoy telling their friends that little Jacob just picked up Staff Sergeant as much as they would talking about his Med boards. When I told my mom I was enlisting she went in the hospital for a week. That is not an exaggeration. Becasue there are so few of the Chosen People in my blessed Corps, most Marines don't know much about Jews. This became quite obvious to me as I arrived on the Yellow Footprints in San Diego to begin my career as a United States Marine.

Since I was to be in Boot Camp over the holidays, and MCRD San Diego made no celebratory plans for the 9 or so Jewish recruits there at the time, we were actually permitted to do something almost no recruit is ever allowed to do: Leave the depot and interact with civilians. We were taken to a Hannukah party at Milton’s Deli in Del Mar, where we had dinner with several Jewish veterans, ate traditional Jewish food, and received a souvenir T-Shirt from the Naval Station San Diego Jewish Center. Unfortunately, no one had bothered mentioning this little shindig to our company commander, who called me into his office as soon as I got back, in full Drill Instructor rage.

Where the frick did you go, recruit?!” (Drill Instructors are no longer allowed to swear, so instead they use these "substitute swear words" that make their tirades even more comical).

“Milton’s Deli in Del Mar, Sir,” I replied.

Milton’s Deli in Del Mar?!He made a face as if I told him I had spent the evening at Chuck-E-Cheese’s and somehow thought that was appropriate behavior for a Marine Corps Recruit. “And what did they let you eat?” God forbid I eat anything that was discernable as food. Marine recruits are kept on a strict diet of cardboard, gruel, and the occasional banana. And Chili Mac, lest I forget the Chili Mac.

“Latkes…”

“Lacka? What the Hell is a lacka?”

“It’s like a potato pancake, sir.”

“Potato pancakes, huh?” he said. From his tone it seemed that Captain Cook thought the good folks at Milton’s Deli in Del Mar had figured out how to lace potato pancakes with cocaine. He sneered. “What else?”

“Some bris…roast beef,” I figured I wouldn’t tempt fate again just in case he thought “brisket” was Jewish slang for cigarettes, “carrots, a Diet Coke and some Halvah.”

“HALVAH!” He jumped up from his desk and screamed at me an inch from my face in a way only Marines involved in Recruit Training can do. “What the Hell is Halvah?!”

Now, how on earth is a scared, 18-year-old recruit supposed to explain to an irate officer who has probably not seen a Jew outside of his television, what Halvah is? I had to stop and think for a minute, since nobody had really ever bothered asking me to explain this choice Jewish delicacy to them before. My hesitation seemed to irk the officer. “I asked you a fricking question, recruit!”

“Sir, it’s, it’s well, it’s kind of like a combination of peanut butter and chalk.”This was the best I could come up with. It was at this point that I realized the Jewish tradition of humor was not appreciated by the Corps either.

“Is that supposed to be funny, recruit? You trying to make some kinda joke at me ‘cuz I don’t know what your fricking Hav-la-vah is? You think I’m stupid, recruit? Do you?” he screamed. It was painfully obvious that Captain Cook had never eaten Halvah before, as any Jew knows that a mixture of peanut butter and chalk is about the most apt description one can come up with that is not spoken in Yiddish.

“No, sir, that’s what Halvah is. This Recruit can see if he can get some if…”

“Shut up, recruit! I’m not gonna waste my night sitting here and discussing some crap you ate at some party you shouldn’t have been at. I don’t fricking care! But you bet your ass I’m telling your Drill Instructors and I’m personally seeing to it that you have firewatch for the next week!”

Stupid Halvah. Why couldn’t we just have normal desserts like normal people that some hick Captain from Middle-of-Nowhere, Mississippi could understand? No, we have to make some complicated dessert that, when you try and explain it, makes you sound condescending and sarcastic. No wonder people don't like us; we can’t even describe dessert without coming off like we know more than you do.

I returned to the squadbay and somehow managed to hide my souvenir T-shirt from the Drill Instructors, concealing it in my foot locker until I graduated in February. To this day, it is the oldest T-shirt I own and every time I look at it I think of Captain Cook and how I should have known, at that very moment, that nobody in the Corps knew a whole lot about Jews.