Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I feel infinite, but grandpa feels alone
Forgetting faces.
And when mother says I’m proud of you,
Listen.
There isn’t ever much time left.

They say
He can’t remember your uncle, can
You imagine? And he shakes the same way
every time he can’t finish that story, the
One he always finished so well.
They say he’s dying now.
Can you imagine?
There isn’t ever much time. But,

We’ll stop playing dress up when
The pictures have all flashed themselves and faded.
That slow walk never stops
Speeding up,
So pile up your tuxes
On the dresses, if we give
Ourselves to flesh we won’t fail.
maybe it's destruction aesthetics but
i can't help myself.
there's just something beautiful in the way that all walls fall down or
get knocked over when we don't need the shelter anymore.
how all rooms change color with the shifting of the scenery and
absolutely nothing ever stays the same it was.
the snow melts. the smoke dissolves. the sun dances only to drown into a landscape that never stops shooting upward. and whole mountains break and topple like warriors as the surface of the world sinks into the ocean. but

listen: i walked past your house last night.
just to look inside and see how things had changed.
just to see if i'd be angry at the way they'd torn that wall down or
how they'd covered our footsteps with carpet and
made everything a brand new color.
just to see if there was something pretty in the wreckage. something shining like the truth we built from old wounds when we looked back on our scars and said, "I'm okay now."
just to see if i was still alive in some way in some form that lit the world around me on fire and pushed our impermanence out of the window of a building a thousand storys high.
just so i could look back on now and on yesterday and on every single day since you left and say,
"I'm okay now."

but i didn't feel a thing.

i just lit another cigarette and tipped my hat to the mighty trees
knowing one day they'd fall apart like everything else
and i can just blame it all on the shifting of the scenery.
watching life dance and drown like the stars and let the roman mountains sink softly, violently
back into the earth that birthed them.

because lately,
everythings a cigarette. just lit one moment
to never stop burning until somebody sometime decides to throw it down or just let it burn until there's nothing left to eat.
and it just gives in.
and i'm just giving in.

because when you've got so much riding on one thing and one day for no reason something or someone or nothing at all decides you can't have that one thing anymore and rips it away without warning or justification
you don't have a thing to fall back on.

all you can do is tip your hat to the trees, paint the walls you haven't torn down yet, push your cigarette back into the earth and say,

"i'm okay now."
What arms you’ve left let be laid down
Pathetically. like the moments spent reaching
Out for our dreams and our hopes and our arms weren’t half the length
We needed. So we laid down effort in a casket of inadequacy
And paid homage to a time where things seemed obtainable.
Times where we would have been content to call the kids kings
And the enemies irrelevant. Wielding our weapons in signs that said:
“Fuck off! My words are sufficient! I can describe the way I feel without
Crying or breaking down doors with an angry foot or sounding cliché or something like childish or--” Don’t call me pathetic! I am a hero here!

But I gave those signs to someone who gave me their razors in the hallway at break. And told me that nowadays they lived without fearing themselves for the first time in their lives.
But I gave those signs to someone who couldn’t tell the difference between love and getting fucked over and over again until she was shown the way it feels to be respected.
But I gave those signs to my mother without money and my little brother with his first broken heart and I gave my signs to my best friends with alcohol and cigarettes until my own little protest against life’s random disdain for humanity became my own little lack of light. And I had no concrete reason to stand in front of it’s double doors and it’s rich, brick façade and wave my fists in rejection anymore. Until I screamed “Oh, call me pathetic at least, you harlots! I have no home but here and I’m all worn out from fighting and helping fight! You’ve won! You’ve won! Now let go of me!”

And when I reached out for money life gave me nothing but a smile. And the ones I’d left were nowhere to be found and nowhere to be heard.
I tell myself everyday that
I can live without fearing myself but my mind
keeps
changing.

Please grant me the strength.
Inhale/exhale/pause/talk/continue.

“The most frustrating thing,” thought God quietly to himself, “is that whenever he reaches his destination, he turns back around.”
The boy turned around.
“It’s like those steps, awkward and stuttered as they may be, have a definite purpose, a direction.”
The boy began moving again, head down, back to where he had started.
“But the moment he’s finally made it, he hasn’t really made it anywhere, he just goes back. It’s pathetic, really. If you think about it.” God readjusted his position carefully, pulling his left leg out from underneath his right leg, then placing it on top, mindful of how precarious his current seating arrangement was. He reached out to a nearby branch and snapped off a small twig, mightily.
The boy continued the uncomfortable dance, shuffling painfully from one spot to another, then rewinding the process subconsciously. In one hand, he fingered a cigarette incessantly, constantly flicking away invisible ash with an almost religious fervor and urgency. In the other, he pressed a translucent, purple, telephone tightly to his right ear; the kind of telephone you’re sister got when high school started and suddenly her thoughts and opinions on life weren’t private enough to keep in her diary, but too private to discuss in the family room with greedy, prying ears around. Now he did all the worthless babbling, so afraid of those ears at 3:00 AM that he had to slip to the back deck to whisper secrets into that ridiculous phone. It was relatively light out, that is for three in the morning it was light, and the moon and company cast thick shadows across the deck floor, their silvery reflection separated into columns by the limbs of the old tree where God sat playing with sticks.
“I bet I could build a ladder with these branches, it’d be a lot easier to get in and out of this tree.”
The boy was talking at about the same pace as his footsteps, and with similar results. There was a girl on the other end, obviously. But she wasn’t doing much talking, at least not tonight. She just lay in her bed a million miles away and listened--hard, God knows why, to every little thing he said and didn’t say.
“It’s just stupid, you know? People in my world…in our world…they don’t talk about things like that, not anymore…not about God or religion or purpose or anything even close to that. I want to make it happen again.” He cringed slightly, fumbling constantly for words to do thoughts justice and not sound arrogant. “For once somebody should just go out and confront it, I mean…just kick it in the teeth.” He waited for her to respond, knowing she wasn’t going to. “I read somewhere…I can’t remember where…Camus or something--it said what makes us human is rebellion. Not like stupid rebellion or anything political…but, we realize eventually that things are messed up, and we fight that…not to fix it, I don’t think…but to be happy. I want to be happy.” Another pause, he collected himself. “…I want to be human. And I don’t think people are human until they fight things…you know?“ He breathed out deep for the first time.
“I’m sorry, I talk too much.”
“No, you don’t…you’re not.” Her voice, fragile and distant, moved like a wounded sparrow. “What you’re saying…how you say it, it’s…I miss hearing you talk like that. I miss you.” She stumbled and swayed gently, her voice cutting through trees before perching on a nearby telephone wire, scanning the ground frantically for something important to pick up. “I miss the sound of your voice, and how you always smoke a cigarette on the phone….its stupid but--”
“No, it’s not…I understand completely. I…I miss you, too.”
“Good.”
“…”
“…”
“Listen, I should probably get going. I’ve got a lot to do tomorrow.”
“I know.” She made no effort to hide the dissatisfaction in her voice, she had seen this coming.
“I love you.”
“I love you, too.” Again, discontent.
“Good…I‘ll call you tomorrow.”
“You don’t have to, if you’re busy or something.”
“I know…I’ll call you tomorrow.”
“K”
“I love you.”
“I love you, too. Night.”
“Night.”
The boy switched the phone to off and began walking to the house. God, finally seeing his opportunity, rolled up his sleeves. He wanted nothing more than to give the ambitious young boy exactly what he wanted--a fight. He rolled up sleeves, leaned back, and threw a fragment of the tree at the boy, hitting him square in the back with obvious confrontational intent. The boy continued walking, his steps, finally directed at an actual concrete destination, dragged childishly without an ounce of purpose or direction. He methodically removed the remaining embers from his cigarette on a fencepost, and moved towards the sliding door that led inside.
“HEY! KID!” God was on his feet now, flailing his arms as if a castaway summoning a passing airplane. “YOU WANTED TO FIGHT! YOU WANTED TO FEEL HUMAN! WELL, COME HERE AND FIGHT!” He threw another stick, a larger one, it hit the boy in the neck but went unnoticed. The boy reached out to the door handle and began to enter the house.
“COME ON! LETS DO THIS, KID! YOU AND ME, RIGHT NOW! WHAT ARE YOU--AFRAID OF ME!?!”
The boy turned around towards the outside once more to exhale what smoke remained in his throat. He looked around his backyard, frozen and as dark as 3:00 AM ought to be, and thought about how random life is. God was quiet now, waiting, and the footprints weren’t footprints anymore; there were so many that it just looked like it’d never snowed in certain areas. He ran his eyes along the back fence, around the closed-down above ground pool they had gotten for free when he was nine, back across to the weathered old garage, and finally, into the old tree where God was shouting. But he didn’t see anything. He turned around and walked inside, eager for sleep that wouldn’t come.

Friday, April 14, 2006

A Film For Every American

Without the success of Ang Lee’s film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Wo Hu Cang Long), released in 2000 to immediate international acclaim, one might suggest (and with some levity) that the entire landscape of American filmmaking would be drastically different today. Prior to its release and subsequent box office and critical achievements, Asian films, actors, and filmmakers were essentially a novelty in the United States; limited to creating gimmick-riddled martial arts films for the English speaking action audience, and, in the process, only scratching the surface of an intensely complex and beautiful culture by presenting an easily-digestible and highly elementary version of it. Excepting the films of Akira Kurosawa and Hayao Miyazaki, commercial success for Eastern films in the Western world required a rigid format: ninjas, fighting, and more ninjas, all tied neatly together by tacky English overdubs. However, soon after the release of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, rising ticket sales and startling critical buzz (including four Academy Awards) proved that Ang Lee, an already established filmmaker in the United States, had successfully broken the implied restraints placed on Asian film in the English-speaking market by fusing together, in a dazzling and infinitely entertaining fashion, the immediately gratifying aspects of an action flick with the passionate and emotional appeal of a romance.
The action sequences in the film are, to say the least, stunning. The rapid-fire visual arrangements and unbelievably intricate choreography contained within the film create an irresistible entertainment quality that draws the viewer immediately into the story and maintains its grasp throughout. Additionally, these fight scenes are not without significance. Like Hero (2002) and House of Flying Daggers (2004), both similarly successful Wuxia films, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon utilizes these scenes to instruct the viewer thematically, and in the process contributes key information in developing the storyline. In the film, Jen (played by the absolutely flawless human being, Ziyi Zhang) the daughter of an important government official, is torn between her arranged marriage, her dream of vigilanteism, and her unapproachable love of vagabond and criminal Lo. After stealing the famed sword Green Destiny from the home of nobleman Sir Te and running away from her parents care, she is pursued tirelessly by heroic swordswoman Shu Lien and her companion, the legendary Wudan fighter and disciple of Southern Crane, Li Mu Bai. Throughout this pursuit, Shu Lien and Li Mu Bai, moved by their own impossible love for each other, instruct and advise Jen as to her decision using analogies and parables characteristic of more elaborate Eastern culture. These important sections of dialogue occur almost exclusively within fight scenes and swordplay itself is often analogized in an attempt to connect with the war-bent brashness of young Jen. Thusly, the battle motif accomplishes both a significant thematic and cultural contribution and, at the same time, creates an atmosphere more conducive to American audiences.
The second significant aspect of Ang Lee’s Wuxia masterpiece centers around two simultaneous love relationships; both of them in a sense forbidden. First off, the film presents the highly precarious and intensely complex companionship of Shu Lien and Li Mu Bai. From the outset of their on-film connections, Director Ang Lee creates a somber and reflective mood that signals immediately the pain and longsuffering the two have felt at the hands of their unrealistic love. By itself this relationship is a classic narrative of love-lost presented in an interesting and cultural way that offers a variety of relevant emotional insights. However, the significance of their constant push-pull association and its ultimate demise becomes even greater when juxtaposed with the similarly restricted love of young aristocrat warrior Jen and her love, the desert criminal Lo. The side-by-side placement of the missed opportunity of love by Shu Lien and Li Mu Bai and the still obtainable companionship of Jen, who is torn between three impulses--and Lo, who is torn by his unrealistic love of Jen, creates ultimately a feeling of hope and satisfaction. In the end, when Li Mu Bai dies at the hands of his arch enemy’s poison and Shu Lien’s dream of finally requiting her life long goal of satisfying her love for him dies alongside, she is finally able to convince the young and mislead girl Jen to pursue her love and abandon all other pathways. This element of Lee’s richly complex and emotional film separates Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon from the surface-value appeal generally designated to cultural Asian films released in the United States of America and lifts it to a pedestal untouched by most films; Asian or otherwise.
All in all, the film is the perfect amalgamation of action and romance. By appealing, whether intentionally or not, to both a surface definition of entertainment and a more intensely complex and emotional level, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon creates an atmosphere of gratification and enjoyment unparalleled by the majority of mainstream film. Compounded by stunning visual imagery, compellingly deep acting performances by each member of the cast, and a rich cultural context, Ang Lee’s 2000 blockbuster is still today one of the finest mainstream viewing experiences I’ve had the pleasure of taking part in.

REVIEWS:
Breathtakingly Beautiful..., 10 September 2000
Author: Drakkhen from Toronto

As a film student living in Toronto, I look forward to the Toronto International Film Festival every year. Last year, the highlight of the festival for me was American Beauty. This year, it would have to be (so far) Ang Lee's "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon".

Being of Asian descent, I've seen my share of wu xia genre movies to last me a life time. However, most of them are so centred on the fighting, that they forget the rest of the elements that are involed. The movie turns into one long scripted fighting scene with maybe a slight hint of story. Crouching Tiger, on the other hand realizes these issues, and builds these oh-so entertaining action sequences into an epic with typical asian themes such as true love and honour.

Being an epic, one would expect the usual long takes and establishing shots, and boy does it ever look beautiful. Traversing through a myriad of regions spanning the lengh of China (from the deserts to bamboo forests, to mountains high in the clouds), the film soley based on its asthetic properties is nothing short of stunning. The lighting of different landscapes and the exquisitly designed costumes all radiate with stunning colour. And then there's the cinemetography. Wow! The backdrops, establishing shots look absolutely marvelous. If your jaw dropped when you saw Rome and its coliseum in Gladiator, wait until you see ancient Beijing recreated on the screen!

Okay, so it's a good looking movie. What about the story? The complexity of the plot is rather sparse, probably reminiscent of epics such as Braveheart or Gladiator, which is by no means a bad thing. Although both Chow Yun Fat and Michelle Yeo did have major parts, this movie belongs mostly to Zhang Ziyi who IMHO did an amazing job playing a very complex role (one which required her to represent nobily as a princess, naivness, as well as show inner strength). Mainly concentrating on her unwillingness to give in to the ideals of an arranged marriage, the decently written script adds a story of an old warrior trying to retire and a 300+ year old sword.

All in all, this film blends story, well choreographed action, and a stylistic eye to create a mythilogical piece that not only represents the wu xia genre justly by doing it well, but also contributes to raising the quality of filmmaking usually applied in the making of a similar type of film.
Beware of cheap imitations, 22 December 2004
Author: j30bell (j30bell@yahoo.co.uk) from London, England

Crouching Tiger is Ang Lee's take on the Wu Xia tradition of film making. Wu Xia, for those not familiar with the style, evolved out of popular Chinese fiction. It contains formulaic elements such as honourable warriors, powerful swordswomen, powerful swords, and often magic and mythical beasts. Possibly, it has a parallel with sword and sorcery pulp literature – and even Western romances.

Although he grew up in Taiwan, not Hong Kong or China, Ang Lee has said he has always wanted to make a Wu Xia film. When he did, he brought sophistication and strong production values which, while not uncommon in mainstream Chinese cinema, was less common in the martial arts or Wu Xia traditions.

Make no mistake; Crouching Tiger is a beautiful, beautiful movie. The colours are rich, the light dances and the movements are balletic. But unlike lesser imitations, such as Hero, it is much more than that just stylish production and mesmerising action.

Most films (Western or Eastern) have a rigid plot against which characters move. At worst the characters become ciphers; they advance the story by making choices regardless of whether these choices are in keeping with their character. Crouching Tiger, like the best of cinema, has dynamic characters whose internal struggles advance the plot. The dog wags the tail, not the other way around.

At the heart of Crouching Tiger is the relationship between Li Mu Bai (Chow Yun-Fat) and Yu Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh). Mu Bai is looking for a way out of the Gang Ho (Warrior) lifestyle – he joins a monastery, as a route to enlightenment and peace, but cannot cast aside his unrequited love for Shu Lien (another warrior). On the brink of declaring their love for one another, Mu Bai's Green Destiny Sword is stolen, and his arch enemy returns. He must temporarily put aside his feelings to recover the sword and bring his master's killer to justice… Seeming to take a fair chunk from his previously directorial role, Sense and Sensibility, Ang Lee weaves a story which tragically juxtaposes the loving and giving but repressed relationship of Mu Bai and Shu Lien, with the fiery, wilful and destructive passions of Jen Yu (Zhang Ziyi) and Lo (Chang Chen). The result, for me, was breathtaking.

Some critics have suggested that the characterisation is quite slight. I think this just demonstrates the high standard to which they were prepared to judge this film. Ang Lee perfectly marries action/adventure with drama. The results may not please purists from either camp, but for the rest of the audience it is pure magic.

In many ways, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon is pure Wu Xia. But it has also re-invented the genre and given it artistic credibility. The greatest joy of the film is watching great Hong Kong stars like Chow Yun-Fat and Michelle Yeoh being given characters with depth – and watching them fill the screen with their performances. The film also benefits from great performances from Zhang Ziyi and a very under-rated Chang Chen.

Quite simply, Crouching Tiger has everything. It is beautiful, breathtaking and deeply moving. 9½ /10

A Vivid Dream And An Action Fantasy, 21 March 2001
Author: columbia2453 from U.S.A.

Less than half an hour into the viewing of this masterpiece I knew this would become one of my favorite films - of all time. Only in my wildest dreams (quite literally, this movie has touched me on a personal level) have I visualized such fantastic and precise choreography, so captivating that to take your eyes away during the intense confrontations is to deny yourself the essence of what makes this film so wonderful.

With an artistic license unprecedented, the action scenes are entirely unbelievable but purely the work of a fabulous imagination. The magical settings and the colorful characters fit well into the plot but you will take away the breath-taking martial arts sequences.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

douglas mcgray offers an especially compelling argument in the recent NY times op-ed piece entitled, "a card we should all carry." the article discusses the potential benefits of adapting, in addition to the typical state-issued ID's, a national identification card.

first of all, mcgray takes on a very professional tone throughout the entire piece. he expresses his belief that a national ID would increase the quality of life in such and such away without crossing over to a tone and mood that combats those offering differing viewpoints, as i think many articles do.

furthermore, the composition and organization of the piece is simple, almost borderline elementary, which allows the reader to absorb information without needing to sift through cluttered paragraphs searching for a purpose. the points are almost bulleted, with the subject presented at the beginning and the benefits of a national ID card placed in the paragraph following it.

the author of the article also makes a point to fully develop every argument in favor of the identification system. nothing is left open-ended or incomplete.

aside from the compelling nature of the tone, composition choice, and strength of argument, the author uses relevant facts to support each and every argument; comparing the current state of each topic discussed with the benefits of a fresh new national ID card structure. the facts prove to be the most persuasive aspect of the editorial, bolstering opinions and speculations with concrete points and ultimately painting a picture of several systems in dire need of reform.

all in all, i'm convinced. good work, doug mcgray, you have a funny name and a way with words.
i must say that this issue now appears to me to be mcblack and mcwhite. in fact, i might go as far as to say that, if editorial writing was a fertile soil and your argument the fresh seeds that litter the garden, then you, my friend, truly have a mcgreen thumb. truly, this dish was served up on a mcsilver platter and i've been caught mcred-handed doubting your ability to persuade.

alright, i'm done...mcdone. i hope you've been tickled mcpink.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

no one can argue that the health risks involved with habitual cigarette smoking are disturbing. lung cancer, emphysema, throat problems, and other health issues derived directly from smoking damage not only individuals, but families, communities, and often public medical programs. however, state legislatures all over the country seem to be approaching the problem from the incorrect angle lately, raising state taxes on cigarettes to all-time highs.

an editorial published in the washington post on wednesday of last week discusses this method of discouragement as it unfolds in maryland. the state legislature, like michigans, is again debating the benefits of increasing taxes on cigarettes and tobacco. the idea is that a higher price will dissuade smokers, and most importantly, potential smokers, from picking up a pack of cigarettes or a nasty smoking habit. the writer of the article agrees, encouraging maryland to hike the tax up to 2 dollars and invest it in the state medicaid program.

the writer fails to acknowledge the effect another raise would have on those already addicted to cigarette smoking, which, as a general rule, tend to come from lower income households. historically, raising cigarette taxes has little to no effect on those already smoking. a raise in price, rather than meaning a decrease in cigarette sales, causes a further devastation of the already sparse incomes of those who generally smoke as those people continue to smoke habitually.

furthermore, specifically targeting one demographic for taxation, in this case smokers, is completely unfair, particularly when little to no regulations combat the disturbingly health-detrimental industries of the fast food and grocery business.

Monday, February 27, 2006

i, for one, adore the winter olympics. so when an editorial published in the washington post late last week detailed their inability to earn anything but modest ratings, i was naturally a bit miffed. it seems people would rather spend their night cruelly observing amateurs stumble awkwardly through popular songs (as occurs on american idol), than watch the some of the world's greatest athletes display the talents they've perfected in incredible fashion. when popular syndicated television programs such as american idol and desperate housewives aired during significant olympic events, very few tuned into the games.

however, the popularity of certain events, once nearly entirely unknown to american citizens, have increased since the 2002 winter games. events like curling and luge, rarely practiced and even more rarely viewed in the united states, have enjoyed a skyrocket in viewer numbers since nagano. other events, like figure skating, have seen a comforting rise in the diversity of their viewers, particularly in regards to gender.

the author also points out an increase in nielsen ratings as the olympic games have progressed, which offers a bit more comfort to the disillusioned olympic sports fans as well as NBC, who has poured millions into the project again. the problem, the writer suggests, seems to be how incredibly foreign these events appear to be at first glance. fortunately, as time goes on, more and more get caught up in their beauty and complexity, and as a result, more and more tune in.

'By the time the Olympics wind up at the end of the week, perhaps the grace and skill of young figure skaters, the speed and intrepidity of bobsled teams, skiers and hockey players will have caught up with, maybe even overtaken, the competition on other channels.'

Monday, February 13, 2006

in an attempt to prove that both sides of the argument are largely full of something resembling human feces in quality, new york times writer nicholas kristof has began shooting some pretty unfair low-blows at fox news correspondent (and number 16 of 1082 of jordan dreyer's beloved List of People I Don't Know But Nonetheless Have a Significant Problem With) Bill O'Reilly. in a recent string of internet combat, kristof has attacked the neo-conservative television host for, among other reasons, misplacing his priorities in reporting by focusing his attention too heavily on insignificant issues like "the nonexistent war on Christmas" while ignoring urgent subjects like the genocide occurring in darfur, sudan. "If you really want to defend traditional values, then come with me on a trip to Darfur," he wrote.

the statement, while perhaps at the core a statement of value, resonates with the same journalistic arrogance that makes O'Reilly so despicable, and thus negates itself. jack shafer, in a recent article featured in slate magazine online, points this out wonderfully. "Kristof's taunt also smacks of the sort of self-aggrandizement you're more likely to view on The O'Reilly Factor than on the Times op-ed page. Kristof seems to be saying, As the vicar of Darfur, I stand in absolute judgment of all who have not paid witness to this crime against humanity by touring the region with me."

the fact of the matter is this, journalists are obligated to present the information they feel is pertinent based on their own opinions and ideals. it is a question of morality that calls most opinion-based writers to begin writing in the first place, and their ethical structure dictates both the "what" and the "to whom" they will be writing. condemning a writer for missing the ball on this is unfair and unwarranted.

"Kristof, a Times columnist since November 2001, can do better than this." says shafer, "If he's run out of gas, why doesn't he re-enlist as a reporter?"

Sunday, February 12, 2006

'Vice president didn't see him'

it took me several minutes to compose myself. "YOU'RE LAUGHING ABOUT SOMEONE GETTING SHOT! YOU'RE A TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE HUMAN BEING," i shouted to myself while mowing down a bag of whole wheat goldfish crackers in my parents heated bed earlier this afternoon, "YOU NEED TO TAKE A SERIOUS LOOK IN THE PSYCHOLOGICAL MIRROR, MY FRIEND, A SERIOUS FREAKING LOOK!" the shouting turned to painful coughing as several of my adorably edible fish friends swam defiantly into my throat without the proper consent of its owner. the half-laughing/half-coughing state of my face made the tears well up and my vision blurred, obscuring my view of the television and its current occupant, mr. brian "the satisfied smirk" williams of NBC. fortunately, my ears stayed alert long enough to hear him say "...mr. whittington remains in stable condition..." and continue my cruel laugh knowing it wasn't at the expense of a whole life.

i'm not entirely sure what it is about vice president dick cheney accidentally shooting a millionaire lawyer in the neck, chest, and face while hunting quail on a 50,000 acre ranch in texas saturday that makes me laugh, but after further researching the topic on cnn.com in an article from the associated press i had to chuckle even harder. the article discussed not only the nature of the accident, but the subsequent reaction, which only increased the hilarity of the event. the author made a point of politely declaring the backgrounds of all involved partys throughout the article, writing a brief summary (an epithet, if you will) of each person near or around the shooting. the effect of this practice unintentionally painted a delightful image of several rich old men in suits smoking cigars and chatting business while engaging in a light hunt for entertainment when a simple (and incredibly hazardous) mishap shattered the lining of the cloud and sent them hurling to the ground in a flash of unnecessary medical attention from mr. cheney's personal heart-monitoring ambulances. i've gone bird hunting several times, and can understand how the accident occurred. and i don't think its funny because i hate harry whittington and dick cheney and wished they both would have accidentally shot each other dead and saved the world a whole lot of trouble (ahem). but, the dangerously stereotypical image of texas bigwigs blasting quail with shotguns and fingering fat cigars (perhaps, after lighting them with money) that the article completely unintentionally painted crashing to the ground is very funny to me. in fact, dick cheney is just very funny to me.

so is this, '"
Cheney was legally hunting with a license he purchased in November," Texas Parks and Wildlife Department spokesman Steve Lightfoot said.'

it is a good thing, mr. lightfoot, a good thing.