Friday, August 03, 2007

The Wee, Wee Hours

Despite the fact that there's been so much happening in and around my immediate and overall worlds, I haven't found the time to stop by -- yet again -- and the only reason I managed this missive is due to the fact that the intense NYC heat, coupled with allergies and a load of work, has rendered me unable, apparently, to get more than a few hours of sleep at any given time. And although I have lots of things to address in the dark, pre-dawn hours of the morning, dusting, laundry and cleaning in general don't sound nearly as appetizing as do me visiting here to give the place a little sprucing up.

I've been meaning to address the Michael Vick situation: Mr. Vick, as you most likely recall, was recently indicted for his role in a dogfighting enterprise which he bankrolled and, apparently, in which he was a major participant. For most of us, the notion of dogfights -- or even cockfights -- is sort of a non-issue. In this country, we tend to focus on things that seemingly are above ground, and for most people, the concept of dog-fighting isn't even on the radar. So it was so much more appalling that Mr. Vick, who up until the last several months was a relatively upstanding member of the society of pro athletes, was accused of not only bankrolling this operation, but being personally involved in the brutal disposal -- a polite euphemism for barbaric execution -- of dogs deemed not vicious enough for combat.

To expand on this for just a moment, this "disposal" involved electrocution, beating, drowning or -- worse -- repeated slamming of a dog's body onto the ground until it died. How can anyone who performed any of these acts -- specifically, the final item on that list -- consider him- or herself a human being? What kind of person could repeatedly slam another living creature into the ground until it ceased to be alive?

The other noxious tidbit associated with this "industry" is the fact that females and males are trained to compete in the ring, occasionally against one another. This particular fact makes breeding suitable combatants difficult; females are trained to inflict pain on their male counterparts, so finding suitable males to merely survive the mating process is difficult in and of itself. Apparently, to answer this dilemma, some industrious individual invented something called a "rape box" -- essentially, a barrel or some sort of surface to which a female dog is tied to, or onto which strapped into a harness, and the male is permitted to mate with her at his leisure and his safety. Despite the name, this secondary aspect of this "industry," while abhorrent, is not quite as repulsive as the matter-of-fact, brutal disposal of the participants.

Aside from the fact that several NFL players had originally supported Mr. Vick and suggested dogfighting wasn't even illegal (both points they later recanted), it is fairly clear that this issue reveals a disturbing and, frankly, disgusting dichotomy. This is not about financial class -- Mr. Vick has wealth beyond which most Americans cannot even fathom -- this is about character, or lack thereof. Moreover, it also reinforces the fact that no matter how much money one earns, class is something which is inherent in the individual, whether he has millions or nothing.

The other major news story of the day is the tragic collapse of a major commuter bridge in Minnesota yesterday. We've by now all seen the horrific destruction this incident has left behind, both in terms of the physical damage to the bridge and the loss of life it caused. What's worse, however, is the notion that this bridge, like many others around the country, had been listed as needing upgrades/repairs in order to make it safe for use. Those improvements, unfortunately, never came, and the four or more people whose lives were lost as a result are a sad, permanent testament to the pernicious result procrastination can have when combined with government inefficiency.

The main concern, of course, is that because this bridge, like many other American commuter bridges, was built nearly 75 years ago, the traffic patterns for which it was designed and the traffic which it withstood were, and remain, far different. Essentially, without suggesting this will happen again with worse consequences, it certainly does suggest that it's a possibility.

Finally, personally, nothing much of excitement has been happening. In tandem with the weather, the workload and the aforementioned lack of sleep, I've been doing as much as I can both in and outside the office to insure I'm ahead of the curve. Since a lot of my work requires me to be downtown and put in face-time at city agencies, I've borne the brunt of one of the most shitty weeks, weather-wise, that the New York summer dishes out. It's been between 85 and 95, from my understanding, this whole week, and leaving my air-conditioned, 70-degree apartment in the morning to hit the bus stop a block away is an exercise that makes me wonder why I even bother showering at all.

Last weekend a friend and I hit Costco for a variety of goodies, and I wound up getting everything I needed and then some. I mention this because I bought a case of Diet Coke in cans and a case of Poland Spring 24oz water in sports bottles. Normally this supply would last me months, but due to the extreme weather, I've sucked down way too much DC and the Poland Spring, thanks to regular work-outs, won't last another ten days. It could be worse, of course; we could be living in the age of tap water and fans without air conditioning.

Finally, Kaia and I have been addressing her impending month-long stay in NYC ahead of her eventual move here, but between her schedule and mine, we haven't been able to spend much time searching for sublets. We both know where we're headed but at the same time, it's frustrating when reality throws obstacles in our path, and 3,000 miles between us is only one thereof.

As a post-script, the movie 300 came out on DVD and since I never got around to seeing it in the theater (despite wanting desperately to see it), I opted to get it on DVD. Since I upgraded to a widescreen HDTV, I've been doing a lot of work and watching programs I've recorded on the HD-DVR (the hard-drive recorder). Essentially this means I have an infinite -- literally -- supply of stuff to watch. Between that and the fact this week is "Shark Week" -- Discovery Channel's week-long series of shark-related programming -- I haven't had the time to fire up 300 on my DVD player. Earlier in the week I planned on watching it this weekend, but since I've got plans for almost the entire weekend I honestly don't know how or when I'll find the time to watch this film, which is sort of aggravating. It's akin to being all dressed up with nowhere to go, except I've got shitloads of places to go and nothing to wear. Or something like that.

Nevermind. It's early, I'm overtired, and I'm done apologizing ;-) Until next time...