Saturday, February 15, 2003

Eros, Agape, Philia


These are the three kinds of love--in case ya didn't know. Eros you have for a lover, agape for family and maybe all of humanity (if you are very good) and philia is for friends.

I went to see Talk To Her by Almodovar last night. I am crazy for his movies. I suppose what I love about them is that eros always drives people crazy but philia and especially agape-philia tends to save them in the end.

It is sort of our dream althogh we aren't aware of it--watch the sitcoms. The promise of perfect friendship is more alluring and more plausible and perhaps more entertaining than the promise of perfect romantic love. One the sitcoms your 'friends' have a never ending inexhaustible interest in your life. They are always available. Somehow you can meet them anywhere--even at work! And they even spend major holidays with you. Love comes and goes but the friends are there forever (unless they leave to go into making movies).

But Almodovar's vision of friendship is particularly beautiful and moving. Much better than any sitcom. The friends often end up together--their troubles bind them tighter than any joys they might have. I'm a sucker for that--a big sucker. I did love this movie. I cannot help but love all his movies.

(Not to mention that people get to go crazy all the time--another one of my deep fantasies--a world where strong emotions are a perfect license for craziness....which would probably amount to a non-technologized non-20th century American world...)

This movie is the first where the men are the friends. Generally, it is the women and they leave the men behind. Even the women who are rivals, who hate one another ultimately may bond over their common plight.

I'm afraid my friends have come and gone. Come and gone like lovers are supposed to--new ones arise to take the place of old ones. The old ones remain friends whom I often don't see but of course love. Still, they no longer share my life. My lover, on the other hand, has stuck around. Still, I dream of that 'best friends forever' thing. Maybe always will. The "Louis" to walk with into the sunset.
What Did All The Fun Boil Down To?

El chico and I went out to eat but we went to this college hangout where we used to hang out when we were young. And there were lots of young people there listening to a very bad band. We simply wanted to eat our barbequed meat in peace and then go home.

Why don't we want to go out anymore? I wondered to my lovely companion.

I mean: I was always up for a drunken night on the town. A drunken night out of town. Any kind of booze, drugs, music and I was drawn to it like a duck to a junebug. Tequila shots and blurry half-remembered walks through the streets at 3 a.m.

He was always a bit more circumspect in his drinking and smoking. Still, he never turns down a puff or two...or three.

What happened?

Then it hit me: Was it all so that we could go out and find someone to have sex with? It never seemed that obvious. Now that we know who we will have sex with we simply don't have the incentive? I still drink and smoke at home, after all.

That seems so sad. I guess what confirmed this is the whole reason for going out is that none of the girls were wearing hats and their hair looked so good but it was below zero outside.

Anyway, all that exploratory nightlife didn't really pay off big for either of us in the sex department. I think we are cute but we are shy. So it is good we found each other.
OK, that was more like 1/2 an hour for that story.

Shucks, that didn't turn out so good...but these really are spontaneous so I can't expect to much. Maybe I'm in training for next years NaNoWriMo? Or maybe I simply want a cathartic escape? Or both?

Ah, who cares?!?

Ten Minute Story

I'm really going ten minutes on this one.

Let's see title? The Weak Girl

Mary wasn't always weak. Somehow before adolescence she'd lived up to all those red head stereotypes of being feisty and tough. If other kids cheater--at jacks, dodge ball, four square, hopscotch she'd lash out in a rage. She was an icon of justice--a red headed firebrand. No one could break her will.

She started weakening when she got a scholarship to a private high school. A rich kid's school. Showing up in her striped polo shirt with some paint splotches and green cords. All that had been cool in her grade school Girls hadn't even started wearing bras yet. What made you cool was your ability to kick someone else's ass or talk your way out of trouble (her specialty). They hadn't even started shaving off the body hair yet. What a shock that place was. She was persecuted from the moment she arrived. Then her mother died and that was it: She became weak.

For some reason she stayed weak. She got the grades and escaped from her sorrowful lower middle class home to an East Coast liberal arts college. Small, but the most prestigious of its type. A place where a girl whose back yard was full of broken down appliances could either rule from her roost of lower class bitterness or be slowly eaten alive. Since Mary was weak now, only the latter possibility was open to her.

She met Justine the first day of school. Well, saw her anyway. Entering freshmen had these meetings in the President's office and there sat Justine--smoldering, self-assured, slender, dark. Each student was supposed to say what their special contribution to the college would be. Mary tried her usual self-deprecating humor 'Um...I don't know. I don't even know what I'm doing here,' she said. Justine said something so intellectual it bordered on the unintelligible. All were wowed by Justine.

Justine ignored Mary for a bit of time but in their literary theory class Mary was singled out by Professor Lake. He smiled kindly at Mary and said to the class "If you want to the scoop on DeMan, ask Mary. She wrote the best paper on DeMan I've ever gotten from an undergraduate." Justine later told her it wasn't that--but the fact that nothing Mary ever wore matched. That, and her man-sized watch, Justine said. Justine said that--except for Mary's long hair--she had her pegged for a lesbian. Her long hair--to Justine--simply seemed like some kind of ultra-lesbian statement. Which baffled Mary. None of the lesbians she'd met so far had long hair. In fact, she was embarrassed by her eye-catching long deep red, nearly auburn, hair which she kept long in memory of her mother's love for it. A day didn't go by when someone said "you have beautiful hair." Cars would follow her down the street. Justine's hair was cut short and dark. She wore little granny glasses. Her conviction she was desirable made her so.

Her strength puzzled Mary. She didn't have words for it. Later, she would think it might be called 'a sense of entitlement.' Underneath, she thought, wasn't Justine afraid? Wasn't she also insecure? Wasn't her idea that she should be adored and admired by all simply some kind of bluff? It wasn't in Mary's category of things women could do: Assume they were brilliant. Assume they were beautiful. Assume they were desired by all. Justine would say of some professor 'he wants a piece!' In fact, she was likely to say this about nearly anyone--men and women alike. Occasionally she would assure Mary that people wanted a piece of her, too. To Mary, this seemed ludicrous.

When Mary met Justine's family, her confusion about whether Justine could mean the things she said began to wane: She did. She did mean it. Justine was a category that went beyond Mary's limited experience of broken down mothers of six and Catholic school teachers. Justine invited Mary to stay at her mother's house for the summer so that they could take advanced Greek. Her parents were college professors. Her father had cheated on her mother with a graduate student. Her mother had divorced her father. Her father had ended up with a string of glamorous and sexy women. Her mother had ended up alone. Justine seemed to blame her mother. "He said he had to leave her because she was so angry. He couldn't handle her anger," she said with a kind of contempt. Justine's father was so hard for Mary to put her finger on it. Proud. Almost evilly proud. He was frightening in his smug smile, his dismissive questioning, his false interest in the eccentricities of Mary's working class family. "So you really know how to make lots of different kinds of jello salad?" he would say admiringly. Mary had never told the father this. She had told Justine in a joking way once. She began to realize that she was a sort of subject. Justine needed her companionship but she was also for show.

This would have bothered her more except the hypocrisy was too evident: They were subjects for Mary as well. She respected them as little as they respected her and analyzed and dissected them to the same degree. They were fascinated and amused she attended mass each Sunday (she prayed for her mother). But they seemed to her to be empty people with nothing propping them up than the desire to be better than others. It was mutual watching--mutual observation. She saw that Justine wanted to be like her father. That her father was heartless towards his ex-wife. It was a different sort of world--a world where self-fulfillment ruled, couched in a theoretical language--an unintelligible fog over everyone's self-satisfied eyes. Survival of the intellectually fittest and triumph of the least moral and the most heartless.

For this was the thing: Behind Mary's big blue eyes, her freckles, her sparkling red hair, her involuntary blushes lived a sharp eyed cynic. A weak, vulnerable cynic. But a cynic and observer nonetheless. As bad as the college professors and Justine made her feel she had little doubt that there was nothing there to envy.

The problem was the Justine had the power to make her cry. Mary spent many nights crying in secret in the bathtub with the water running.

And then she met Brendan--Justine's friend from high school. Another professor's son. Back from his Ivy League school for the summer. She was alternately tongue tied and blustery around Brendan but she managed to have many interesting conversations with him. Justine for some reason did not like him. Mary liked to study outside and couldn't bear the library but Justine loved the library. Brendan would walk his dog in the afternoon, run into Mary and they'd walk together...long conversations, long walks.

Nothing much happened. Mary knew enough to squelch all feelings of wanting--of wanting anything. Bad luck and semi-poverty had taught her that. She didn't want Brendan. She didn't want anyone. She finished her summer school classes and left the town--a quick hug goodbye to Brendan and that was it.

As a scholarship student she had to live in the dorms but Justine was moving into a new apartment. Mary--always the helpful friend--helped Justine move in. She stayed the night. During dinner Justine said "You know Brendan? I did that kid." Mary didn't know why but she began to be very, very sad. She was quiet for much of the night and stayed up and read after Justine went to sleep.

Justine soon began avoiding her and not returning her phone calls. This went on for the rest of college.

Graduation came and went. One day in New York City she ran into Justine. They were both interning in New York. They made arrangements to get together for coffee. Justine finally broached the subject: "Mary, you know how we just stopped talking?" Mary, embarrassed at this foray into something personal, merely nodded. "It just freaked me out how you seemed to get all sad whenever I was interested in anyone. It felt like we were too close to a relationship and I liked you but I just didn't feel that way about you."

It was so hard for Mary not to laugh but amazingly she did not correct Justine's impression. She went on, as she always did, weak and compliant as ever. She shied from any idea of puncturing Justine's self-aggrandizing depiction of the death of their friendship. For the rest of Justine's life she would go forth with the image of Mary, the sad thwarted lesbian, broken-hearted over her, Justine.

She later heard Justine was made editor of a national magazine. Her world of glamour far from Mary's pathetic world of social service. Mary continued on, the lowly altruist, driving her rusty 20 year old car and eating frozen food. She'd always known the score--the meek are the weak and the strong rule the earth. She didn't have what it took. She didn't have what it took to move forward in life. She thought to herself: "It isn't self-abasement or insecurity that makes me know I am nothing. For everyone is nothing and we are all destined for obscurity and the grave. Still, it would be nice to forget that sometimes." And this was the only envy she ever felt--only a flicker, always mixed with pity.


Thursday, February 13, 2003

One Minute Blog

Going out of town tonight so only have one minute. Must leave will be late for work.
4 alarm clocks did not work today but I put the radio on super high and accidentally it must have been set to NPR. It was so loud you almost could not understand what the people were saying but it was only chaotic yammering. The chaotic yammering of war.
Buying Vogue

These people are rich.
They are special and different.
They are famous and semi-famous.
Some even have love, have babies.
They have stuff that is perfect and wonderful.
Their life is much better than your life.
You paid $3.95 to find that out.

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Explanation of ten minute story below...

My plan is to write one complete self-standing story every day...And I have to finish it...OK, but I can't do that now because...

Wha?!? Now wait a sec....

I really must stop reading the newspaper and national publications...For my own sanity and I mean that literally....

Ay caramba. I read the New Yorker last night. I thought it would help me fall asleep. I couldn't have been more wrong since it terrified me more than 'The Ring' (which interrupted my sleep for many nights).

This is the plan as reported in "After Iraq" by Nicholas Lemann

--First you have a war in Iraq.
--You win the war in Iraq.
--You create institutions of democracy in Iraq. [After somehow getting everyone to get along.]
--You show the people of Iraq how to create a humane representative government. [A war and sanction devastated country.]
--They take to this like ducks to water.
--You also have some control over economics of the region by controlling who Iraq trades with.
--The pan-Arabism [which is approximately 80 years old] and Muslim fundamentalism [a bit more recent] and traditional Arab elites [pretty much have been there always but currently since the end of colonialism in the late 19th century/early 20th century] which deeply affects and in fact shapes the countries of Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Jordan is profoundly transformed.
--Jordan changes because Hussein no longer courts the Palestinians in Jordan.
--Syria changes because they also cannot get oil from Iraq under the prior terms and the pressure of its regional partners it realizes its sponsorship of Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah no longer flies.
--Saudi Arabia has to toe the line because the U.S. and Europe are no longer desperately dependent on their they also can't sponsor terrorism freely.
--Iran, heartened by the democracy in Iraq becomes a democracy as well.
--Egypt also becomes a democracy because of the inspiring example of democracy in Iran and Iraq.
--There is no more terrorism because there is no one to sponsor it: Current and future leaders get rid of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah.
Also, they don't want what happened to Iraq and Afghanistan to happen to them.
All nationalist, religious and traditionalist aspirations die a rapid death.

It is true that they have the 'we'll show them' theory: Douglas Feith, the Under-Secretary of Defense for Policy which is the job that Wolfowitz held in the first Bush administration as quoted in the New Yorker:

"'One of the principal strategic thoughts underlying our strategy in the war on terrorism is the importance of the connection between terrorist organizations and their state sponsors. [quite sensible, actually]...One of the principal reasons that we are focussed on Iraq as a threat to us and to our interests is because we are focussed on the connection between three things: terrorist organizations, state sponsors and weapons of mass destruction. If we were to take military action and vindicate our principles, in the war of terrorism, against Iraq I think it would'--he paused, looking for the right word--register with other countries around the world that are sponsoring terrorism, and would perhaps change their own cost-benefit calculations about their role in connection with terrorist networks. I think this process got under way with Afghanistan. There you had a regime that was ousted because of its support for terrorist operations against the United States. If the Iraqi regime gets outsted because it ultimately proves unwilling to disarm itself in a cooperative fashion with the U.N. and if the United States leads a coalition and overthrows that government, I think the combination of those two actions will influence the thinking of other states about how advisable it is for them to continue to provide safe harbor or other types of support for terrorist organizations....we may be on the way to creating a new international way of thinking about terrorism....our goal is to make terrorism, like piracy, the slave trade, or genocide in the minds of people around the world. It is to delegitimate terrorism as an activity, as a is interesting how military action sometimes reinforces philosophical messages."
"After Iraq" p. 72.

Occasionally they would say things (Feith and Cambone) like 'well, it might not work out. We might mess up...'

I assume anyone reading this closely would think 'wha?!?' Talk about wishful thinking, holy smokes...I mean the simplest person could wonder "Hey, you said the U.S. might mismanage the 'peace' [actually, the occupation of Iraq]...uh...what happens if the peace is mismanaged?"

If A can cause B and B can cause C and C can cause D and D can cause F and F can cause G...etc....then we get to Z and Z is really, really great!

If this is your plan, shouldn't you ask yourself: Well, what else might A cause? What if A doesn't cause B? What if...A causes lots of other terrible things.

Then there is also this idea expressed that democracy has increased all over...I suppose, to some extent, that might be true, sort of. But you also think: Why are you so interested in that? Is it altruism? But if it is concern for the people who live under undemocratic regimes and you pat yourself on the back that the people of Nicaragua can vote (they could before, actually) how come it didn't worry you when there was the drought and the coffee crisis and mass starvation in Nicaragua? Why did you subtly threaten economic sanctions if Daniel Ortega (former leader of the Sandanistas) was elected to the presidency--in a supposedly free election?

I'm not even going to consider that whole question since it is obvious that the concern to make the world 'more democratic' is not a concern for the people who live in the countries and their way of life.

I'm not going to come up with some big conspiracy theory, etc. I'm just going to say: They said it! This is their millenarian, castle in the clouds, hopelessly optimistic plan.

Here are some assumptions that are necessary for the plan to make sense:
(1) The leaders of Syria, etc. are in charge and calculate their political decisions on the basis of self-interest
(2) The people who live in the country--and who might be inclined toward pan-Arabism, Islamic fundamentalism--either (a) do not affect the internal politics of the country or (b) will also be 'persuaded' by a war and the threat of war--if they do happen to affect the politics of the country. E.g, the leaders do not utilize/tolerate terrorism because it props up their own power since they know the population favors opposition to Israel.
(3) When you have a 'democracy' that democracy will not see itself as opposed to the United States and its interests. There will be no democratic inclination toward terrorism, pan-Arabism, Islamic fundamentalism. E.g., when Iran 'goes democratic' they will somehow be inclined to work in harmony with the Western powers and particularly with the United States.
(4) No one genuine believes in Pan-Arabism, Islamic fundamentalism and would adhere to it on principle whatever the costs happen to be.
(5) The elites won't cling to their power regardless of any outside threat.
(6) The U.S.--by the threat they pose--can credibly threaten war on any nation that supports terrorism. We could bomb Syria, for example--Because, if we're going to scare Syria into submission, it has to also be possible for us to bomb Syria or they will obviously know we're bluffing.
(7) One problem is that terrorism is 'credible.' People committed genocide and enslaved others and piracy because it was 'credible.' I mean: People still commit genocide and piracy! (And enslave others to a more limited extent than in the past.) We'll just bomb and bomb until everyone realizes terrorism is 'just wrong'?

Oh, there's lots more but I have to get going now...Think of your own--it's loads of fun.

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Ten Minute Story

OK...I'm not instituting my new plan to write a 10 minute story (well, they don't always have to be 10 minutes but I only have 10 minutes at the moment).


Trina always looked for excitement. She remembered when she was a child how every day was a long saggy stretch into nothing unless something bad happened or there was something to break up the monotony.

Valentine's Day sometimes worked but only when another kid would cry because he didn't get a valentine. (Trina had a soft heart and anyway her mother made her give valentines to every kid in the class--although she did differentiate with respect to candy hearts.)

It wasn't that she wanted kids to cry--it was just that it made things less dull and similar. She remembered the time Janet cut her leg on the fence and blood oozed out. Janet was sweet and pretty and everyone loved her so it created a great stir that she was injured. Only Trina knew the first aid for wounds and where the pressure points were--even the gym teacher didn't know. So she got to apply the pressure point on Janet's leg. And then when she released the leg when the paramedics came the blood sprung forth again.

The image was always before her mind of injury, devastation, emotionality, excitement, change. The unexpected--how she craved it, sought it, tried her best to make it come about.

Another glorious day occurred when Nicky bashed another kid over the head with a chair. He was upset perhaps because his sister had died recently. Where was Nicky now? Probably in some prison somewhere.

When it came time to date, to find love and marriage Trina realized that you had to want permanence in order to make loss meaningful but that permanence itself would be the same old drag. Knowing what might happen day in and day out seemed like a form of torture. (She jumped from job to job always looking for the possibility of a job that would somehow be different every day. She sought irregularity and chaos in all her loves but she never brought it about that chaos would occur. She didn't take risks of that sort. Cheating on her boyfriend seemed boring since in that case she would be in control--she would be the cause of the surprise. This is not what she wanted. She wanted it to come out of the blue--love like a shockwave in the most unlikely places; a lover ripped from her arms (somehow) at the moment of greatest devotion.

She hated suspense. She didn't like fear and anticipation and being caught ordinarily--they were just time killers--second best when the spectre of boredom raised its terrifying head.

She wanted destiny but destiny tinged with doom or dissolution.

When he came into her life it was as if a dream had been answered. She never knew what he would say or do.

And it didn't matter that she was bored.


Monday, February 10, 2003

Can we just pretend that never happened?

(Note to self...aaaaahhhh...rage feels good; porkchops taste good; bacon tastes good.)

Take Ray's Citizenship Quiz!

Look at this crazy link I found through Kid's Blog
Oh, oops! I forgot about rage..

Rage as a cure for sorrow. I remember when I first discovered this...A friend had been mean to me periodically and it used to make me sooo sad...

Then one day I decided to hate her.

It was the first time I'd ever hated anyone. It was the first time I ever had full awareness of the power of anger and resentment. It was such a nice distraction and a much more powerful feeling. I enjoyed it, in fact.

I'm slow to anger but once I get started whoooo boy. goes...I'm feeling blue and low down (something I don't think anyone should admit to but I need to explain the following...although overall context will remain unclear to anyone but me):

Fuck you! You fucking pissant asswipes!

First, fuck you you lousy people in this lousy world--country, what have you--that when someone is sick and might die you barely even care. Are you too busy shopping fuckers?

And you goddamn people with your smug lives who never reach out to anyone in need....Who run away from any trouble....

And you bastard warmongers!!!

And anyone who wants to tell me what to do and who is going to mess up my life....

Go to hell!!! All of you!!!

Yeah, yeah.

OK, now I'm really embarassed. Sorry.
The secret of happiness

What is the secret of happiness....

I remember when I was a kid there were these independent TV stations--they would have strange shows. One was called the 'Bluebird of Happynews.' It only had...yeah, right...happy news.

Those pre-cable many great local shows. It was better than community access since they got paid and could do more but still be strange.

Of course, I don't have cable. Maybe public access is amazing and fantastic? I only remember a few hideously boring faux talk shows that I watched at my in-laws house.

Talked to a guy today...He told me how he got across the border. Well, two borders since he was from Central America. It cost him $5,000. Another friend who snuck across fronted him the money. His kids and wife are back home. He sort of has dreams of going back for a visit.

After I talked to him I had this strange feeling and I realized it was the feeling of total admiration. All told, he supports 7 people all by himself on his minimum wage salary. All he does is work and work. He was brave enough to cross and take those risks. Just: Responsibility and guts and ambition.

I didn't know what to say...I guess I said a bunch of stupid things. It is as if you would think I would say 'wow...I am privileged...' but I don't think so--only economically. (Of course, that counts for something.) He's truly doing something important with his life.

I guess I must be arrogant. I don't admire people much, I realized. I sort of babbled because it dawned on me that here was a person capable of things that are very extraordinary--a kind of courage and sense of duty I don't think I could ever have.

What guts it takes to go from your little town somewhere to these huge cities. It takes guts to move from New York to San Francisco (a few)...Can you imagine the guts it takes to go from a village with no electricity to New York City...or Chicago? Sometimes I see these new immigrants and I think: How did you do that?

He said he was scared to leave the house for months for fear of getting lost. He lived with the friend who loaned him the money.

And he said he was happy. He was happy because it is working--he successfully cares for his children, his parents, his wife and everyone. They are all making it in this tough and screwed up world and that makes him happy. He wants to do more...and stay out of trouble so he won't get deported. I think he will.

Then...talked to another guy from Morrocco later on. He's convinced the Jews control congress and the media, etc. I was trying to convince him that's bunk--I doubt if he believed me.

It is always so strange to think the way you look at the world can be highly arbitrary. It feels so secure but it depends on so many things that might have been entirely different. Just another one of those babbling to strangers view. For some reason, I enjoy talking to certain strangers. Don't know why. Educational?

Oh, I have a new plan for this thingy here. My plan is to write short fiction every day instead of simply bla bla. Then I can justify my short story addiction to myself. I've been doing a bit better lately....but only a bit. No, writing bla bla stories won't serve as any form of justification since they will be bla bla--I'm a natural bla bla producer.

What will it do then? Well, I'll just see how I manage it. It might be interesting.

Here are my rules
(1) The story has to have a beginning middle and an end. I have to complete the story...even if it is 'and they all died.' The End...
(2) However, installations will be permitted as long as they are self-standing in some way
(3) I can't do too much other bla bla since it will take up too much time.

Shucks. I had some other rule but I forgot what it was.

Sunday, February 09, 2003

This is good: The best page in the universe

Above link shamelessly stolen from 'Everything Is Wrong'

One thing I've never gotten is why misogyny and sexism sometimes make me laugh...sometimes. I remember having the 'naked woman silhouette' on my car and reading Maxim magazine (and..borrowing Maxim from someone really sexist)...I don't get it...Really.

I remember making a collage once where I took the front of a 'Rice Krispies' box--the one where the three Rice Krispies guys are stirring the bowl...and I put this woman's legs sticking out of the bowl. Somehow, in that context the face of the 3 Rice Krispies guys (Snap, Crackle and Pop) looked crazed. {I wonder who thought up Snap, Crackle and Pop? It's poetic, actually. It's downright brilliant.}

Why did I make this collage? Because it made me laugh.

Racism doesn't make me laugh. Anti-semitism doesn't make me laugh. Xenophobia and ethnocentrism don't make me laugh. Homophobia and heterosexism never make me laugh. None of these blights on civilization make me laugh. (Oh, but of course when Richard Pryor and Chris Rock make fun of it I laugh...but it's different because I honestly laugh when people are sexist...sometimes but never when people are racist. No, I get outraged and violent then.)

Why does outrageous male sliminess where man asserts his perogative and control over woman sometimes make me laugh? Sometimes! Damnit! I said sometimes! Wait...shut up...I carry a gun, ya know? A nice feminine pearl handled gun in my very dainty patent leather handbag. And you aren't making me I'd be careful if I was you.

I don't laugh when some man is insecure and gets really resentful when I don't let him go out with me/sleep with me/talk to me for seven hours straight/call me all the time, etc. Ressentiment and the repressed rage of repressed rage of paley white upper middle managers doesn't make me laugh. But I do laugh when a man just blatantly hits on me and asks things like "Are you a good cook?" I guess with the idea that he assumes I'll put out but wants to see if the breakfast I make him in the morning will be tasty.

Sure, it might annoy the hell out of me. But it makes me laugh.

But one thing that made me laugh like hell was this movie called Ms. 45 where the woman goes around blowing away all the 'bad' men. Yeah, a woman's violent revenge makes me laugh, too.
See, I didn't turn over a new leaf...

"A decision to quit OPEC would have major political and economic ramifications. The economic beneficiaries would be the oil-importing countries, primarily the United States, which could enjoy economic growth with low oil prices for many years to come. If the decision to quit were dictated from Washington, it would be the economic equivalent of the recent national security doctrine that trumpets the United States' hegemony over the world. [51] But the political implications are also far-reaching. Forcing Iraq out of OPEC, and encouraging a major production increase by Iraq, would be an economic declaration of war on OPEC. It would lower incomes in all the major Middle East countries, deal a blow to the Russian economy, and could destabilize the region from Algiers to Novosibirsk. From the US point of view, it would be a myopic policy leading to even greater dependency upon Persian Gulf oil supplies and inviting decades more of political, economic, and military struggles in that region. The conjunction of circumstances that would lead to a free fall in oil prices in a world without OPEC constraints might qualify as a "best economic case" but it is sufficiently remote that I have not included it in the "happy" outcome for oil markets."

Read the article--Some kinds of post-war 'peace' may be very expensive.

I'm always impressed by graphs and tables (Not really, in fact. But I do send them around to impress my friends.)