Wednesday, July 25, 2007

She was the sort of woman

She was the sort of woman in whose face one could see her male relatives. She didn’t know this, though, and so at the bar with girlfriends she’d wonder why the boys would give her a quick look and then slide in next to not her. Or if one, for whatever reason, did slide in next to her, the next morning she’d wake and he’d be there but then go, a sort of look of panic on his face when in her face he saw her brothers. She’d look in the mirror, after they’d left, and wonder why; she’d tilt her chin up and to the side, then check her profile. She saw nothing, though, having for all her life looked at herself in the mirror, and indeed her brothers and father straight in the face; nothing looked off.

Save for one thing: her nose, which was not a bad nose; it was her grandfather’s hooked nose, and she loved her small, feisty grandfather—but she recognized nevertheless that this was not a woman’s nose, at least not an American woman’s. It would have looked OK on a Slavic peasant girl, evoking everyday nobility and feminine tenacity—but on her it declared itself too assertively, and assertive was not the current American female ideal.

So: she got it chopped off, planed down, turned up—retrouss√©. When it was done the boys slid in more often next to her and, mornings, didn’t leave so quickly. But in the mirror, into which she still of course looked daily, she now saw the difference. Absence announced itself: she no longer looked like the male members of her family. This made her sad in an odd way, mourning the loss of something she’d never been aware of ‘til it was gone, but also happy and damnedly free, cut loose from familial history and entirely her own as she studied the sidewalk’s flecks of mica while walking home in the cool city night.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Is it just me ...

... or do many of the paragraphs in this New York Times article about the mysterious Higgs boson, or, more colloquially, "God particle," sound like the dissection of some internecine gangsta rap conflict?

To wit:
The team, known as the D Zero collaboration and numbering some 600 physicists from 19 countries and 88 institutions, will not even say whether there is a bump in its data until the scientists have decided for sure that it is nature calling and not just a random statistical fluctuation.
D Zero is the younger of two rival detectors at the accelerator. The other, known as the Collider Detector Facility, or C.D.F., was built and staffed by an equally large group that is scouring its own data for the Higgs and other new phenomena.
The race is further complicated on the American side by the rivalry between the C.D.F. and D Zero groups. Earlier this summer, Fermilab had to schedule a pair of back-to-back seminars so each group could announce its own discovery of a new particle, a combination of quarks called the cascade-b.
Oh, snap!
Dr. Konigsberg, of the rival team, said they had their own analysis of their own b-quark measurements underway. He compared the rumor to a game of telephone that “starts one way, ends up the other.”
Them physicists are straight gangsta macks, 187 on the Higgs boson, son.

Monday, July 23, 2007

A heartwarming story

Courtesy of my good friend Joe Gordon:
So I went to this place called the White Star Tavern on Saturday. It's a dive down by Drake Field. A guy at work told me about it and says that he goes there all the time. A few of us from work, Todd, my colleague in employee relations, my old boss Robert, and Brent, our guide, went for the sheer hell of it. And let me tell you, if Roger's Rec [a filthy Fayetteville bar—ed.] is a 6 on a 10-scale of nasty redneck bar-dom, the White Star was a good 8.5 if not 9.

It's one of those places where, when the door opens, you immediately go from blazing sunlight to smoky, neon-lit ambiance. The Johnny Paycheck song blasting from the jukebox seems to be turned down and all conversations cease when a stranger (me) walks in. Robert was already there, so I strolled over to him at the bar and then ordered a Busch (not Busch Light) in a bottle. They only serve beer ($2 anything) and they only take cash. The music seemed to get back to it's normal level and the conversations resumed. Soon after taking a pull on my beer, a gentleman also by the name of Joe asked me if I wanted to play pool. And, if I did, I had to use the cue he was offering to me: an old mop handle with blue chalk rubbed over the nub end. I politely declined, but Joe gave me the crook eye nonetheless. We took a seat at a table. At one point a sign fell from the wall revealing the sole window in the place allowing sunlight to stream in. The crowd at the far table erupted in jeers toward the bartender who quickly ran over and wedged the old metal Budweiser sign back in place, thus calming the rowdy redneck vampires. I stayed for about an hour and a half, had four beers and then left. Quite an adventure.
I should say so. Here's to broke-down bars and mop-handle pool cues. Long may they live.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Doesn't this picture of this hotel room ...

... look a bit malevolent? It’s like a conspiracy cabal meeting of pillows and chairs. Or it’s like the Simpsons wherein the babies at the day care stage a coup d’etat and liberate all the pacifiers from the locker. And then when Homer, Bart and Lisa come to pick up Maggie, they creep tentatively through the day care and then back out slowly, carefully, through the piles and piles of staring, satiated babies all sucking with a wet, echo-y sound on their pacifiers.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

It's not narcissism ...

... if someone else asks the questions.

But so: I invite you to visit my friend Ross Mote's blog, where he's posted some questions answered by yrs. truly.

Dig it.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Back from hiatus

Hi all. The above is a pic of me at Gay Head on Martha's Vineyard, after a 20-mile bike ride that wore my ass out. Note the clay cliffs in the background—they're really cool, all different colors.

To see more pics from our trip to Martha's Vineyard, go here. I highly recommend the joint.

More TK.