Big Smoke

'cause it's hard to see from where I'm standin'

Alt Fashion

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59th Street.

She wears a striped orange bandana, knotted in the front. She has a silver nose ring.

She wears a brown leather jacket, absolutely, positively, festooned with fleur de lis, once a symbol of French Catholicism, then French Imperialism, then French Republicanism, now just general Frenchitude, yet cut as an American WWII bomber.

He wears a black canvas jacket cut to mimic the shoulder padding of a leather motorcycle jacket except it would certainly not survive such rigors.

She wears jeans covered in German deer hunters’ camouflage.

He wears a navy blue wool peacoat, to ape mariners’ wear, except the collar is cut to promote wearing upwards, which he does, and provisions are made for non-existent epaulets.

He wears tight cotton Chinos, despite this being winter, highwater to show off his burgundy leather not-boots.

She wears wheat Timberlands, hood formal wear, as do her sisters in charcoal and bright fucking red.

Her sisters wear acid wash white and grey jeans, respectively. Both wear grey bubble jackets.

She wears a red bubble jacket and remarkably restrictive grey leggings, accentuating the panty lines below the cut of the coat.

He wears tortoiseshell glasses and a grey scarf done up alike an ascot, presenting the image of an Austrian nobleman down on his luck.

He wears grey sweatpants, baggy in the ass and tight in the ankles, giving the look of never being properly pulled up, yet they most certainly are.

So are hers. And her sisters. And him. Such is the fashion of the time.

She wears faux-leather kneehigh go-go boots. He wears Santeria-level white-on-white Nikes.

She has never bombed anybody.

He doesn’t ride a motorcycle.

She doesn’t streetwalk.

He has never shot a Filipino.

She isn’t a hippie.

He has never captained a ship, and is presumably not a Nazi.

125th Street.

Tea Party Holds Nation Hostage, Gets Concessions

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Apparently we do negotiate with terrorists.

Tech v Teach

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“I need you to block Youtube and Facebook from the lab computers.”

“They’re already blocked, by design. We use a DoE proxy to get to the internet. The kids are using CGI proxies – basically money-laundering for IPs – to circumvent it and there’s little I can do from my end to stop them because the computer itself can’t block what it doesn’t know is being accessed.”

“So block the CGI proxies.”

“They’re an endless cycle of temporary websites. That’s several full-time jobs’ worth of work, done by people who are paid more than me and work in a central office without yelling high schoolers.”

“Then what am I supposed to do to control the class?”

“Do what I did when I taught a tech class for half your pay: Walk around the room and look over the kids’ shoulders.”

“But I do that. They just turn it right back when I leave.”

“Then I have no advice for you. You’re the one with the Master’s in Education, and have therefore taken a course or two in classroom control.”

Actually, I do have a piece of advice for you: Teach them something they find interesting so they don’t retreat to Youtube and Facebook to get away from the class.

The basics of Adobe Illustrator is beneath them. I have these same kids, and they’re tearing apart and rebuilding whole computers. They’re bored to tears in your class and they’re taking out their frustrations on the equipment.

For one lab alone, I’ve had to replace five keyboards, eleven mice, three monitors and one motherboard over the course of two months. Kids have changed the default language for the OS, enabled the BIOS password, and many other mischievous deeds of idle hands. ENGAGE THEM MOTHERFUCKER.


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It’s not going to be a fun two years coming up.

To be fair, Jon Stewart’s rally was great, but even as he pointed out, “it’s not how many people attend, it’s how many people the media says attended.” And, as if on cue, the NYTimes et al barred mention of the rally from the front page, relegating it to two op-ed pieces and a short article that failed to mention any of the pointed criticism Jon Stewart held the rally for in the first place.

But that’s not nearly as insane as the insinuation that, what with Obama declaring himself “humbled” by the political winds changing (and here I was two years ago predicting the end of the Republican party – I may yet not be far off) pundits are claiming that – finally – there may be bipartisanship in Washington. Because, as we all know, Republicans were all simply waiting for the right opportunity to collaborate with their comrades across the aisle.

It’s not a terrible stretch of the imagination to point out that, to a great swath of the political system, all politics is merely campaigning and reality is subservient to the goals, however amorphous as they may be, dictated by the Republican party. In that stead, this election isn’t a mandate for Republican policies – for there are none – but instead a grossly misdirected referendum on Democratic inability.

And while Jon Stewart has attempted to take the moral high ground by having us and them (mostly them) tone down the hyperbole and acidic rhetoric, we may not see the fruits of that for at least another generation to come. Simply put, too many of the American people are too ill-educated, too easily distracted, and too cynically apathetic to allow proper function of this here republic, and education takes at least a generation to fix itself… and we’ve yet to begin to overhaul it.

In a sense, the corrupting of the executive and upper congressional branches – invented largely to temper the hoy polloy through the closest system a representative government can get to an oligarchy – has finally spread to the only direct representation the people have through the House, such that direct representation of a people who have no idea what it is they want is largely useless.

And until they figure that out, our economy will contract, our influence on the world will diminish, and we will become yet another failed empire.

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