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'Winning' the war

(11/15/05 5:00am)

Richard Nixon actually campaigned in 1968 that he had a secret plan to win the Vietnam War. Times are changing now, and I don't think even a secret plan, not even one cooked up by the infamous not-crook himself, could help the U.S. effort in Iraq. You can talk all your military business, your supply lines, your conflicting Sunni Muslim, Shi'a Muslim, Kurds, insurgents, terrorists of all shapes and sizes, radical clerics, civilian targets, roadside bombs and what have you, but I don't think that's the entire or even most important problem. I think it's that we just can't conceptualize the Big Win.


(11/02/05 5:00am)

Been here in Europe a while now with a big group of nice, well-adjusted youth who complain about school work and try to save money. The youth, they travel a lot and they take the digital cameras with them. Supposed to take pictures of stuff, people, etc. and send them back home. My favorite is the picture of "me with these really cool people I (circle one) 'came to Europe with' or 'met in a hostel' (circle one) 'eating dinner in a pizzeria' or 'drinking at a nightclub' in [insert European City]." I know this picture and maybe you do, too. In it, bright-eyed young people with straight teeth and their arms around each other smile at you from a u-shaped semicircle behind a table. They look fun.

Got pride in juniper studies?

(10/04/05 4:00am)

I am in Prague, Czech Republic right now. I am studying in a New York University abroad program. The only reason this is important is because I'm taking a class here called "The Cultural History of the City in Central Europe: Prague, Budapest, Vienna and Berlin." During our Sept. 26 class we discussed green spaces, and, in particular, the role of juniper bushes in Viennese gardens. These are the first lines of my notes from that day.

Cool, contemplation

(09/20/05 4:00am)

Like many a Duke undergrad, I spent my summer doing research. I was out at the College of Temporary Dwellings in Albuquerque, N. M., reading extensively about social trends in our country and compiling a paper "relating to a specific topic to be used toward furthering the knowledge base of the academic community as a whole." That, at least, is what I told the committee who gave me the grant. Taking into the account the limitations of my current publication format, I've condensed my findings, which are entitled "Cool, Past & Present: A Discursive Inquiry Into the Concept of Cool in The United States, 1956-2005" into a slightly more accessible format. It is by no means complete and will seem far too broad to those of you out there who have done similar research, but it is a subject nonetheless that I feel people should hear about, academic formality be damned!

The ditch

(04/08/05 4:00am)

It was the day the Pope died, and I felt like a hungry wolf as I left my dorm room. I needed some things, some soap and toothpaste and something to eat. But it was raining, so I figured I’d go to The Loop, get some fried mozzarella sticks and figure stuff out. I diverted. I started walking to my car. I would drive somewhere, eat and get the necessary toilet articles.

Marrying ketchups

(02/21/05 5:00am)

Last August, two of my friends and I road tripped to Canada. We took our time getting up there, meeting weirdos, taking pictures and camping out. But eventually after enough crappy food, rainy weather and bored-as-hell hours in a town that claims its fame from being the second landing spot of Jacques Cartier, (Gaspé, Québec) we decided to high-tail it home. We made it to Boston in a day, saw my aunt and her family, and then left early the next morning to drive back to South Carolina. Around DC we got caught in some major traffic for approximately 18 million hours, and when it finally cleared, we pulled off and stopped at an IHOP.

Great like Gatsby

(02/18/05 5:00am)

I carry a copy of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby in my car’s glove box. Why? Out of the desperate hope that one day someone will be sitting in my passenger seat when they pop the handle, see the book and say, “Why do you have a copy of The Great Gatsby in your glove box?”

I am waiting

(11/18/04 5:00am)

Y ou’re standing at a bus stop when one, two, three, four, five, six full busses roar past. You’re late to class. When you finally catch one, your driver’s mind is racing because they can’t leave work to go pick up a sick child from school or because they can’t go to a scheduled doctor’s appointment at which they’re supposed to find out whether or not they have cancer. You stop and your friends mutter that the driver is lazy because they’ve left their seat to go get some water when, in reality, Duke Transit policy states that they must leave the bus order to have a drink, no matter the weather or their health condition. You get off that bus to find your University isn’t the shining beacon of progressive thought you figured it was or hoped it was capable of being.

The meaning of BCL

(10/28/04 4:00am)

Let’s start with a story this time. It’s the Saturday of Parents’ Weekend, and my folks are here to take in the UVa game. We’re trying to find a place to park in the Blue Zone (second lot, left side), when, from out of the tailgating chaos come two spots, one on our left and one on our right. Not seeing them, my dad drives a little past and needs to back up to get into the one on the right. A lady in a blue car had come forward to the point where he can’t back up, so I get out of the car to try and help solve the situation.

What's Darfur?

(10/07/04 4:00am)

In 1997, a French movie called La Haine (Hate) about the lives of three young men in a Parisian housing project was released. It begins with a dramatic sequence of a Molotov cocktail falling slowly toward the earth while a creepy French voice-over tells an old joke. “A man is falling from a fifty story building” the voice says, “and after each floor he passes he says to himself ‘so far, so good… so far, so good.’” The point being that it's not the fall that matters, but how you land. It’s where my tagline comes from, so there, now you know.

Capturing Bobby Fischer

(08/26/04 4:00am)

The story goes like this: Bobby Fischer, perhaps the greatest chess player of all time, attempts to board a plane in Japan a few weeks ago with an invalid passport. He’s on his way to the Philippines, where his estranged girlfriend and child live. He’s also a fixture on popular radio there; his show is a combination of old blues tunes and virulent anti-Semitic, anti-American rants.