Pur Autre Vie

I'm not wrong, I'm just an asshole

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Halloween for Adults

So, in fact, Halloween already is for adults. We bribe kids with candy to induce them to dress up in adorable costumes and visit our houses. Still, I was thinking, other than buying candy and dressing up as sexy cats, adults don't do much. So here's my idea for a more grown-up version of Halloween, which is compatible with keeping the Halloween traditions already in place.

Don't dress up as anything. Just adopt someone else's personality for the day. Use distinctive phrases, imitate mannerisms, exaggerate idiosyncracies. Part of the fun is figuring out who everyone "is."

I think it would be a good exercise in understanding other people. It's like a social mirror, it lets you see yourself as you're seen by others. I guess for it to have this value for everyone you'd have to do it Secret Santa style, so that everyone gets an imitator. Anyway, on the assumption that my idea won't catch on, I'm going to go ahead and start imitating other people for a day, just to try it out. Bonus points for anyone who can identify me on any particular day.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Time to Settle Down

So I have a reputation as a bit of a man-about-town, a playboy, a law breaker and a heart taker. Whether this reputation is deserved I'll leave for another post (the reputation is extremely well deserved). Suffice it to say that my days of careless love are over. The culprit is not a sagging libido or a bout of conscience. It is not the fear of vengeful husbands or conventional STDs. It is Cimex lectularius, the bedbug.

The New York Times says there's a resurgence of bedbugs, even in clean and reputable hotels and apartments. Bedbugs can live for a year without feeding, so they're extremely hard to get rid of. The final straw, for me, is the annecdote at the end of the piece in which a lady went out to bars and went home with a man just to avoid her own bedbug-infested house.

At first, this would seem great. More women eager to sleep at my place! Such women, though, could easily transmit bedbugs to my apartment and then to my tender skin. This is exactly how bedbugs operate.

Provisionally, before I go "cold turkey" on anonymous sex, I'm going to adopt the time-tested methodology of prisons. All women entering my apartment will deposit their clothes in an incinerator and get into the shower. There they will shave off all body hair while I hose them with cold water and then throw de-lousing powder on them. After that we'll make passionate love with the lights on.

The lights aren't for erotic purposes, they're to keep any remaining bedbugs away from my skin. If my system doesn't work, I'll have to find a woman who will go steady. I'll rid her of bedbugs and then commit myself to her completely and forever. We'll stay that way until they figure out how to get rid of these damn bedbugs.

Just Wondering

So I'm just wondering:
  • Has Bush pardoned more turkeys than he's pardoned people?

  • Isn't Bush worried about losing his tough-on-turkeys reputation?

  • Isn't the threat of execution the only thing that can deter turkeys from rising up and killing us all?

  • How hard does the DOJ have to work to make sure he doesn't decide to fry the bastards at the last minute?

Monday, November 21, 2005

Meet my Friends

So a lot of people who read this blog don't really know my other friends very well. To remedy that, I'll introduce my friends one by one, starting with the ones whose names mean "holy water."

Amrit Amirapu is a ridiculously nice guy. He looks like Rupert Everett, and like Rupert Everett he worked as a child prostitute. His name means "holy water."

I can't remember when I met Amrit, but I know he was always up to no good. He and various other people, usually Jeremy Collins, were always scheming. Amrit has a propensity to write long e-mails confessing his love to pale women. If you're feeling a bit down, go to Amrit's room and grab a beer. You can talk with him, he appreciates the feeling of wanting something out of life that he cant' seem to get. This is because Amrit has internalized the romantic melancholy of the men who colonized his people. Someday he'll get what he wants.

What he wants, deep down, is to make the world a better place. He's not sure yet how to do it. I think he should be a journalist. He lives in Boston where he teaches, I'll visit him when I get a chance. He's too easily taken in by seemingly earnest people like Noam Chomsky. The truth, Amrit, isn't always the opposite of what the powerful say. That would be too easy.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Amino Acids

So I've been feeling kind of down lately, until last night. My theory is that I hadn't been getting enough protein, or perhaps that I was missing a few crucial amino acids. Last night I had a veggie burrito at Caffe Florian, and within hours I felt great. Black beans and rice. So I guess it's time for me to learn to cook rice and find some good bean recipes.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

A Quick Note

In my last post, I wrote, "I get a suboptimal amount of sex." To be clear, this doesn't mean that I don't get a lot of sex, just that I should get even more. In point of fact, I get lots of sex. It's ridiculous how much sex I get.

Now, it's also true that I don't kiss and tell. I do tell, though, I just don't kiss. Kissing is for homo-sexuals. Straight men don't kiss. If you're a straight man, and you kiss women, I've got news for you: you're not straight. Kissing is basically the most girly thing there is. If you kiss, you might as well start prancing around, giggling, and batting your eyes. Some might argue that kissing isn't always gay, but I've got news for you: that dog won't hunt.

In fact, the saying "gentlemen don't kiss and tell" stems from the fact that, at one point in time, homosexuality was frowned upon in polite society. A man who kissed was gay, a gay man couldn't be a gentleman, ergo gentlemen don't kiss and tell. The "tell" part of the saying was meaningless; they added it for rhythm.

So while I don't kiss, I most certainly tell. I can't share any of my recent sexual escapades for legal reasons, but once the settlement goes through I'll divulge all the awesome details.

An Awesome Proposal

So, certain people are really awesome. I've addressed this previously: guys who can dance have way too big an advantage in terms of impressing women. It's not just dancing, though. Women tend to be attracted to a guy who has a good body, a handsome face, a good sense of humor, intelligence, artistic skill, or money.

What immediately jumps out about these attributes, aside from the fact that I don't possess any of them? I barely have to say it: only money is taxed. This is clearly inefficient, and once you see why, you'll understand that I get a suboptimal amount of sex.

Imagine two bridges across a river. People travel across both to get where they need to go. For the sake of the example, imagine that they are identical in all relevent respects (we can relax this assumption without changing the outcome). Each traveler will decide which bridge to use based on the expected costs and benefits. Holding benefits equal, costs are the decisive factor. Imagine that costs increase exponentially with increased traffic. Now an equilibrium will emerge in which each bridge is used equally. This is because if a bridge were used less, people would be drawn to it (lower costs). It all evens out.

Now imagine that a tax is levied on travel across one of the bridges. A new equilibrium will emerge in which the non-taxed bridge gets more traffic than the taxed bridge. Because costs rise exponentially with traffic, total costs are increased.

Finally, imagine that a similar tax is levied, except on both bridges. For the same amount of revenue, costs are lower. This is because traffic will once again be the same across both bridges, minimizing traffic costs.

The lesson is that, for a given level of tax revenue, we want to have as big a tax base as possible. We don't want to get all our tax revenue from a tax on one particular activity, because this will skew incentives in an inefficient way. Ideally our tax will be neutral among activities.

Now we come to attributes that attract women. Taxing only money is like taxing only one bridge. A more efficient solution would be to tax physical attractiveness, sense of humor, etc. at the same rate as monetary income. Sure, it's not an easy calculation, but you could do some econometrics and figure out the extent to which each attribute contributes to sexual success.

Not only does my plan provide much needed revenue to the federal government, it makes the market for sex more efficient. People will no longer be so wastefully funny, strong, or intelligent, and people like me will get laid a lot more. To my future sexual partners, driven to me by the new tax, I say this: the sex will be only somewhat worse, and you'll get that warm feeling that comes from knowing that it is socially efficient. Oh, and don't throw away your vibrator: you're going to be needing that.

Who Are These People?

It's amazing what you can get people to say on the record or on camera. Ali G has basically made a career of it. Anyway, the New York Times ran a piece on the things real estate brokers stumble in on, mostly sex, drugs, basically anything fun. Darren Sukenik, "a senior vice president at Prudential Douglas Elliman," shared some advice:

"Bad kitchens, bad bathrooms, horrible pictures of ugly families - all of that doesn't matter as long as the price is right. But what it can do is affect how many people want an apartment, whereas the perfectly staged apartment can make someone on the cusp really want it." [emphasis added]

So I guess the lesson is, if your family is ugly, you better hide the pictures before prospective buyers come around. If, on the other hand, they walk in on you having sex, that's something to laugh off. But wait: if they see you having sex, won't they know you're ugly? This is the kind of thing the reporter really should have nailed down before filing the story.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

New York

New York has left me somewhat incoherent. In that spirit, here are my scattered thoughts.

New York pizza is delicious, but not unique to New York. You can live many places and enjoy New York style pizza. As a result, NY pizza does not constitute a reason for living in NYC, any more than champagne provides a reason to live in France, or movies a reason to live in Hollywood.

I saw a dog pick up a styrofoam cup in its mouth and carry it off down the street. The woman walking the dog said, "Clean up the streets!" The weird thing is, the dog had already picked up the cup. I guess it was more of a general sentiment, not a specific command.

People around NYU smoke like chimneys. Walking down the sidewalk is almost as bad as being in a Chicago bar, while being in a NY bar is presumably much nicer.

You can get Magic Hat beer in NYC, and that does constitute a reason to live there, or at least a reason to live somewhere on the eastern seaboard.

Every time I rode the subway, someone attractive was on the train. "But James, that's tautological," you're thinking. Not so! I'm ugly.

My experience of race was somewhat different in NYC than anywhere else I've been. Blacks and whites commingled freely, and racial tensions seemed muted. On the other hand, I take it the city is still fairly segregated, and I certainly saw a lot more black faces in Harlem than I did around NYU. Race seemed like less of an issue than in other cities, though.

People are nicer than you might think, but it's still New York. I took the M60 bus to LaGuardia. Initially I was at the corner of 125th and Lexington (I think), but several people told me the bus wasn't stopping there (the marathon caused a detour). So that's good - people went out of their way to help me out. On the other hand, the reason I didn't figure it out myself is that someone had torn down the notices put up by the MTA. That's the kind of needless shit that makes me angry.

I saw quite a few White Sox hats.

Central Park is ugly. I'm not saying it's not nice - undoubtedly it's a great place for sports and relaxation and whatnot. Still, the stone is a really grim brown color, nature at its dullest. It doesn't inspire anything except maybe deep depression.

Is everyone in NYC rich? It doesn't look like it, but housing prices would seem to dictate that result. Anyway food is reasonably priced, for the most part, although there aren't enough supermarkets.

Subways are a weird mix of awesomeness and disrepair.

In conclusion, New York is not as good as Chicago, but it's still an excellent city. I'd go so far as to say that it's among the best cities I've ever been in. Hopefully I'll get a job there, and then I can drink Magic Hat and hate on the Yankees from up close.