Thursday, June 30, 2005

A vacation worth lampooning

Starting this morning, in the interest of exploring red states other than my own, I am trekking to Arkansas (it's a McGibboney thing). I'll be there visiting family until Sunday. In the meantime, as always, feel free to explore the rest of my catalog if you need an Ian fix. But after that, get outside, ride a bike, make love or any combination of the three.

And, by all means, let me know if I begin to type with an accent. I understand how annoying stuff like that can get. Later for now!

Something completely different

An anecdote from my actual life

One year for homecoming, I had two dates. I have no photographic proof of this, but believe me when I say it happened.

The time frame: October 1996. I was a junior in high school. The week before, I had come upon my first homecoming date in an odd way. At the football game immediately preceding homecoming week, we were playing our crosstown rivals on their home turf. Both teams were playoff bound, thus making it a very well-hyped and well-attended event. Our fans, too massive to avoid spilling out of the stands, were clasped to the fence as if they wanted a shot at the cheerleaders standing on the track just feet away. I was the head football manager, fortunate enough to have a perfect view of both the game and the cheerleaders' asses.

At the end of the fourth quarter, our team was down by two points. Stuck on our own 10-yard line with barely two minutes left to play, we seemed done for. We could already see and hear the condescending "YEE-HAW!" jeers of the rival teams' fans. On the sidelines, we gritted our teeth at the thought of these hicks holding a celebration bonfire or pig roast or hayride or whatever it fuck it was these yahoos did when they won.

Fast forward about 80 yards, because this is a date post, not a football post. After a miraculous offensive drive downfield, we kicked the winning field goal. Our side went nuts while the hicks grew silent. Indeed, such was the celebratory mood that several dozen students stormed the field, apparently ignorant of the fact that we still had three seconds left to play. Close call. Whew. Well, after we managed to burn up those three seconds and preserve our one-point victory (and thus retaining the Cypress Trophy hoarded each year by the showdown's winner), I was running around, hugging everyone in sight (along with everyone else, smartass). Before I knew it, I found myself in the arms of a girl. She was a friend of a friend, someone who had randomly stormed the field.

"Hey Ian! I have something to tell you, but you know, I'll do it Monday," she said. "I'm too nervous right now."

"Hey, babe, whatever it is, you got it!" I told her, and she smiled really big. Looked like I had two reasons to celebrate that night.

So that's how I got my first homecoming date. As the week went by, I spent lunch days with her and we got to talking. Her name was Cassandra, and she was a freshman in a group of girls with whom I often hung out. Not bad looking, but not quite the model I had seen in the haze of stadium lights and my own rose-colored victory glasses. Still, we made arrangements to meet at the dance.

The night of the dance, I rode with my college-freshdude brother and his girlfriend, who was my age. This wasn't by choice, but having no car myself it was my only gameplan. Real suave stuff. So I get there, only to find that I can't find Cassandra. I mingled my way through the throng, hoping to spot her before my friends started to doubt the existence of my date. Finally, I located her, waiting in line with her friends for pictures. I don't know if it was the darkness of the strobe-lit gym or her apathetic reaction when seeing me or what, but something suddenly made her unattractive to me. I got that very chilling feeling people often get when they realize that they're stuck in a bad situation. Still, I was cordial and tried my best to have fun.

But as an agonizing hour went by, I found myself barely able to dance, laugh or even talk. To this day, I still don't know what went on, though I strongly suspect some internal drama between her and her friends. All I know is that, after a while, I drifted off. Just like that. If she wasn't going to have fun, then I was going to find my own way. After some time, Cass came up to me, gave what had to be my least-romantic first kiss ever, and said she was leaving. She did not offer a hug.

Not long after, I ran into my best friend and his date, who had come separately. His date--way too hot for him, I thought with a smirk--had a friend named Crystal. The attraction was instant. She was a blonde, blue-eyed beauty. Like me, she was fun and outgoing. Like me, she also had a date. He was some tall doofus who was neglecting her. So we told him that we had known each other for a long time--the perfect excuse for us to "reminisce" with a little sensual slow-dancing. By the end of the dance, she and I were clearly attached. We made a date for the following weekend. I told her I had to go and wait for my brother outside.

I stood outside, enjoying the cool (for Louisiana) October air, a teenage boy reveling in my dual-datery. I couldn't wait to tell my brother--well, actually, I found out I could wait. And wait. And wait. And wait. True to form, he was working on his own timetable. I called it, "Colin minutes." Aggravating.

After a while, Crystal comes out. We were both pleasantly surprised to see each other. Before we know it, we're making out, mere feet away from the vice principal. Right at that moment, my brother pulls up. Nice. He was proud of me. I still get shivers from thinking about that kiss. From then on, Crystal and I were always up for sharing that awesome night on the phone. We spent much time at school and weekends together. For the two weeks we went out, it was magic.

The morals of this story?

1) Big brothers can be real dicks sometimes.
2) Lafayette High is much better than Acadiana High.
3) Bob Dole never really had a chance in 1996.
4) Having two dates in one night rules. If at least one is fun.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Cheaply produced clip post

For those of you who have forgotten or are too new to this site to remember, I used to write columns for my college newspaper. From time to time, I shamelessly pimp them here just in case Jon Stewart or somebody equally cool stumbles upon this site and decides, "Hey! Let's hire that kid!" I can dream, can't I? I don't have much else to do. Hear that, Jon? :)

Stem cells: nerves of steel (10/20/04): Depending on whom you ask, stem-cell research is either mankind’s best hope or a one-way express rocket to Hell. The stem-cell extraction process, to most people, goes like this: scientists grow fetuses in a secret lab at UC-Berkeley, assisted by a harem of hippie sluts. Babies are then extracted feet-first from the womb and positioned to allow for maximum wailing while a doctor takes a large kitchen knife and slices the fetus like an orange. After exchanging high fives, the doctors slip the remains into a meat grinder. And voila!

Yay! A column on porn! (10/6/04): For every porn-loving rapist, there are a million people who enjoy the same images and live decent lives. You're sitting next to one, if in fact that doesn't also describe you. Show me someone who has never viewed pornography and I'll show you a liar.

Veterans versus veterans (9/1/04): If you rearrange the letters in “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth,” you get “That far-r.w. beef, it rots on U.S. TV.” Makes sense, really.

Bush's selective service (3/3/04): The National Guard’s slogan is “You Can!” But if Bush’s service records prove anything, it’s that "You Don’t Have To!”

Cajun Brass 1, Cajun Music 0 (4/20/05): Another excuse given by UL officials was that the band was banned under the same provision that prevents beggars from soliciting money on campus. I suppose there’s a profound difference between bums and the credit card people who prowl campus, seducing unsuspecting freshmen with free t-shirts. To campus officials, it’s apparently more acceptable to ruin students’ credit than to expose them to the sounds that define this area.

Milk carton dictators (4/16/03): Osama bin Laden, by the way, is the leader of the terrorist faction al-Qaida and the self-proclaimed mastermind behind the plane hijackings. That was just in case anyone forgot about him, being that Bush has not mentioned his name in public since July 2002.

Bush: macho cheese (6/11/03): Believing that Bush is, or ever was, the definition of a macho fighter pilot requires the same stretch of imagination I had when I played Ghostbuster. Unfortunately for Commander Maverick, imagination is not the nation he is leading.

Make love, not headlines (11/27/02): Her name was Jennifer, and she was a drop-dead brunette beauty of 19. She was a native of Tallahassee and a freshman at Florida International University. Our attraction was as instant as it was intense. Before the sun could completely sink behind the distant edge of the water, we were in her private enclave, ready to give new meaning to Florida’s political reputation as a “swing” state.

Newsies or floozies? (2/16/05): Journalists rely on the five “W”s in order to give the best-possible information: Who? What? When? Where? Why? Given recent events, however, another “W” seems to have arisen: “whore.” By taking bribes from the subjects of their articles, several journalists have recently hurt the already scarred face of the media. Who is to blame for this trend? Yet another “W”: George Bush.

My will be done (4/6/05): If, by happenstance, I am in Florida at the onset of incapacitation, I request to be whisked away as soon as possible, preferably to a state without such an insane governor. Someplace like California.

More at the sexy site

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Milking the nipple of justice

Alberto Gonzales, like his Torquemadic predecessor John Ashcroft, has deflected attention from the idiocy of his Justice Department's platform by screwing with the nude statues of justice. Specifically, he's taken down the blue sheets that had swaddled them for the past few years.

I suppose that signifies a new phase in the GOP-controlled Justice Dept.: we're going to be even more nakedly partisan than ever before.

Still, here's to continued clumsy and ironic photo-ops!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Cell Who Thief Lag

Was that anti-flag-desecration bill passed yet again? Or do I need to get rid of these old newspapers clogging my workspace? Probably both.

The anti-flag-burning amendment is the Republican equivalent of the Equal Rights Amendment, except for the equality aspect. It's been around forever (I think Betsy Ross learned how to read on its text), and every once in a while is brought out by the GOP so that they seem like patriots and make the Democrats look like America-hating jackasses when they inevitably vote it down.

Yep, this old standby of the hot-dog-and-apple-pie right* has won approval yet again by the House of Representatives. They sure love passing this thing, being that they've done it six times since 1995.

(*--I apologize to any hot dogs and apple pies I may have offended. I am a huge fan of both, as long as the hot dogs aren't dinky.)

Having grown up reading my grandfather's American Legion magazines and seeing Libyans burn American flags on CBS News, I never was one for flag burning. In fact, you could almost say there was a time when I would have supported this amendment. Shocking, I know. But an article in my high-school newspaper would change my mind as a freshman.

Ironically, the article was written by a conservative student regarding a recent flag ceremony in which students had caused a lot of ruckus. The writer was imploring that we need to show more respect, because the flag grants us all these rights and stuff. Which is, of course, incorrect--the flag doesn't grant rights, the Constitution protects them. Still, asking for decorum during a flag ceremony makes perfect sense to me.

One clinching passage in this editorial would change my view on the flag for all time. "How much freedom do you have in this country? The flag even gives you the right to burn her. That's right!" So I thought about that, and it occurred to me that the principle behind it had to be the coolest thing ever. Just imagine, a country so free that one can burn its flag in protest! It's enough to make you not want to burn the flag!

More importantly, I saw for the first time that allowing something doesn't force you to do it--a distinction that would refine my views on abortion, marijuana, gay marriage and gun rights, among countless other issues. I learned that a free country isn't limited to what Ian McGibboney chooses to do. Unfortunately, too many otherwise-educated people still don't understand the difference between legalizing something and being forced to do it.

The problem with banning flag desecration is that it opens the floodgates to more exceptions to the First Amendment. And that would set a dangerous precedent for those in power who already view the Bill of Rights as an annoying obstacle in the fight to preserve security.

As far as laws go, the flag-burning amendment would make a mockery of the Constitution. Compare the amendment's purpose with other amendments: the Bill of Rights covers speech, personal protection, state power and privacy. The subsequent amendments protect races and classes of people, shape government and lower the voting age. Pretty major stuff. And now flag burning? Are we bored?

To see footage of the Congressional debate, you'd think that this amendment was to key to preventing another 9/11 and is the only way to honor the dead. But as always, that's merely a smokescreen. Since 9/11, patriotism has risen, they say. As far as I'm concerned, that's bullshit. I can't think of a time when Americans weren't by-and-large patriotic. What we saw after 9/11 was a more blatant showcase of flagarama, well-intentioned but verging on the edge of jingoism. More and more people flew flags than ever, and uttered "God Bless America" as if it were a password. I realized that this explosion was more than sincere patriotism when flags got bigger, more adorned and more windshield-blocking. I also noticed the lack of understanding of flag protocol, as people somehow got it in their heads that flying a flag until it was faded and disintegrated was some badge of honor. But as I learned from reporting on a Boy Scout flag-retirement ceremony, there's so much more to it than that.

For one thing, there are times when a flag HAS to be burned. It's the standard retirement procedure. After being cut up along the stripes and union, the flag is then burned and/or buried. I wonder if the new amendment is going to be used against the Boy Scouts?

Too many people see the flag as they should the Constitution. But the flag is a symbol; the Constitution isn't. Watching someone burn the flag doesn't give me any rush, positive or negative, any more than most protests do. But if I saw anyone burn the Constitution, I'd be really upset. I don't doubt I'm the only one who feels the same way. So why no amendment banning the burning of the Constitution? Plug in all of the reasons that people offer for the flag amendment, and they all work. It's a winner!

Amendment XXVIII
You know this document, the one you're reading? Don't burn it!

Now that's an amendment I'd be proud to flaunt. But only if we must make exceptions to free speech. Personally, I'm fine with leaving well-enough alone.

Thanks a lot, Blogger!!

Once again, what should be here has been irrevocably lost. I had just spent hours writing what I thought was a really excellent and smart post, and made damn sure to back it up in light of the last few times this happened.

Alas, when I hit "publish," it said the post could no longer be found. And with that went my backup cut copy. Instead, all I could pull up was the draft that I had started with hours before. It was all I could do not to punch a hole in my wall. Seriously. What is the point of writing if you can't rely on the technology not to erase the entire goddamn thing in 1/32,000,000th the time it took you to write it?

As it was, I had accidentally posted the rough draft last night, which looked weird and screwed up my template. But I was not able to see this for some reason, despite numerous refreshes. The post is apparently jinxed. God hates me.

So please be patient. The post will be rewritten within an inch of its life. It's worth it, I think. But I stress that one should never rely on Blogger's text box with anything even remotely valuable. That "recover post" function is a cruel false ray of hope. Until Blogger makes it worth a damn (perhaps with an auto-save function), then they shouldn't have it in the first place.

There, I feel better. Not really.

Monday, June 20, 2005

The Extreme Job Guide

The following was inspired by a job-hunting guide I obtained from the UL Alumni Association, as well as my own experience. Presenting the official and unabridged Ian McGibboney Extreme Job Guide!

Where to look

Experts suggest signing up with a major job-search engine. Think hard about this. Do you really want to subscribe to a service whose point it is to get you to not need the service anymore?

Throughout the job hunt, you might find the following kinds of letters useful: application letters, prospecting letters and thank-you letters. These help get your foot in the door and establish rapport. Networking letters are especially good for looking like a desperate leech.

Networking, networking, networking! Sucks, sucks, sucks.

Spending lots of money at Kinko’s

Keep in mind that employers take notice of creatively written cover letters. Personnel people go through dozens of these each day, so you have to make sure your message stands out from the crowd! With that in mind, cover letters should follow a strict business-letter format, no more than two or three paragraphs long, surrounded by one-inch margins and printed on heavy white or off-white paper.

What to put on a resume: your name, contact info, education, work experience, skills and school activities. Remember how they told you in high school that you should focus on one or two things and do them well rather than joining every organization and doing nothing? Well, it works the exact opposite way in college! Isn’t that funny?

If, even after careful consideration, you find your resume lacking, just copy a sample from a resume book. Hey, it worked for Christina Applegate in “Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead.” And just look at her now!

In today’s technologically driven workforce, resumes are often scanned into a database wherein employers can search specific skills at the touch of a button. A list of keywords at the top of your resume will help facilitate this process. That is, if you really want to work in a place where you’re nothing more than a goddamn search term.

If you receive an acceptance letter, congratulations! Your hard work has paid off. If you receive a rejection letter, reject it.

That important first time

If you are a budding professional, chances are you’re fresh out of college. One important thing to remember is that the working world is very different from the academic setting. In college, you were probably in a relaxed and diverse setting where exchange of ideas and debate with professors and other students were encouraged. This is poor training for the business world, where bosses do not want to be challenged, ever. You do as you’re told, you dress as you’re told and don’t rock the boat. Also, there’re fewer babes. The working world sucks, which is why they have to pay you to work there.

What you wear will make all the difference for your first impression. Sure, this is even shallower than high school; but in the business world, shallowness is celebrated. Get used to it! Men should wear navy-blue suits (with or without stripes), a white shirt and a contrasting yet conservative tie. Women should wear a conservative dress or pantsuit in a tasteful pastel. Clothes should not be wrinkled or mismatched; at the same time, you don’t want to look better than the interviewer, because you don’t want to piss them off. Strike a balance.

Your interviewer might ask you a hypothetical question, such as what you would do in a specific situation. By doing this, they are attempting to gauge your ability to work in their particular setting. Your first instinct might be to offer up an innovative solution or to apply procedures in a unique way, thus showing your mettle and get-go. Don’t. This is actually a test to see how high you hold yourself up to the established hierarchy. The correct answer is, “I’m with whatever you say, boss.” Remember, you’re a fucking peon.

In a job interview, you may find yourself facing illegal questions. These include such irrelevant yet possibly influential inquiries regarding your marital status, arrest record and personal life. You have the right to refuse answering such questions as, “Are you old?” “Are you white?” and “Good God, are those real?”

Actually having a job

You might find that your new position isn’t quite what you expected, perhaps realizing that the job title overstates its actual duties. Looks like somebody’s being punished for puffing up their resume!

Management always respects someone who is prepared for any situation. Make sure they catch you searching online for a new job.

If your dream job escapes you, remember that you can always find work posing as those happy entry-level workers you see in job-hunting booklets.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Mr. Bill: "To Shell with it"

SNL icon Sluggoed from Louisiana coastal campaign

From Yahoo! via

"Saturday Night Live" icon Mr. Bill is saying a resounding "Nooooo!" to further appearances in a public awareness campaign aimed at saving Louisiana's wetlands.

In recent months state residents have watched as Mr. Bill, the animated clay character famous for his 1970s appearances on the comedy show, lent a hand to ads for the America's Wetland campaign.

But now Mr. Bill's creator, Walter Williams, is yanking his character from the campaign, saying he believes it is selling out to big oil companies the very people accused of having a hand in destroying wetlands in the first place.

Look at the license above. What does the shape of the capitol resemble? Besides that, I mean. An oil derrick, of course, which should surprise exactly no one. In Louisiana, everything's about the oil bidness, even environmental campaigns. Have you ever seen those commercials with birds flying and other pleasant natural footage, followed by some petroleum conglomerate saying, "At Drillerxxonvron Corp., we care about what we rape?" I think they started here.

Williams said Shell Oil Co. is using the campaign to which the company donated $800,000 as a public relations move to masquerade as a green-friendly business. The last straw, he said, came when TV spots featuring Mr. Bill showed up in Shell-sponsored kiosks at tourist centers throughout Louisiana.

"If they had taken the Shell stickers and logos off that would have been fine," Williams said.

I once bought a table-hockey game that had Shell stickers on it. They're EVERYWHERE, much like Sluggo to Mr. Bill. NOOOOO!!

The campaign was kicked off two years ago by former Gov. Mike Foster to sell Americans on the idea that Louisiana's wetlands need billions of dollars in federal help.

That may be the first sentence I've ever read beginning with the words "The campaign was kicked off two years ago by former Gov. Mike Foster" that didn't make me want to tear out my hair.

Louisiana should be happy when it can get such a visible name and face for its most serious environmental issue, a character that can reach across demographics to send such an important message. From all accounts, the promotion was successful and will continue with existing Mr. Bill material. Still, I applaud Walter Williams for taking a bold stand against the co-opting of his campaign by oil interests. If only the state would do the same.

When even Mr. Bill snubs you, that's not good.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Class of 1997 still missed

BAKERSFIELD, CA--Teachers at Bakersfield High School said Friday that, just as they promised eight years ago, they have never forgotten the Class of 1997.

"I still remember the last day of class that fateful year," recalled English teacher Debbie Bender, as she held back tears. "I pledged to the senior class that I would really miss them. And guess what? I still do!"

Bender then ticked off some of her favorite Class-of-1997 anecdotes, including Nicole Dobbins' first-place win at District Rally in English; the eternal bonds of friendship that formed between Rebecca Malan, Stewart Gonzales, Lang Nguyen and Carlos Rosser as they toughed out AP English; and the 1997 annual Key Club Fish-Dinner Fundraiser, which she wistfully remembered as "a huge success."

"Yes indeed," Bender concluded, "The Class of 1997 was known for its heart, its patience and the friendships that made it undeniably unique. I told them never to be strangers and I wished them nothing but the best in life. Today, as they stand well past the threshhold of the future, I want them to know that there will never be another bunch like them. And while we say that to every outgoing class, I want the Class of '97 to know we really meant it that time. And still do."

Study: ignorance bliss

MANHATTAN, KS--Ignorance, a popular mental coping mechanism, really is bliss, according to a new study by Kansas State University.

"Long considered a negative aspect of the human condition, ignorance has been shown by this study to be the best mental strategy for dealing with today's world," explained Thaddeus Cullen, Professor Emeritus of Psychology. "Our findings illustrate that deliberate mental blocking of such complex issues as politics and religion have a positive effect on one's health."

Among the statistics: those who say they "don't watch the news" were 76 percent happier than those who "are mad as hell and aren't going to take it anymore"; people living in secluded rural areas were far more likely to "love America" and were less likely to fret over "the state of the world" than their urban counterparts; and Republicans were a whopping 95 percent more likely than Democrats to be "self-satisfied" and "blindly patriotic."

Additionally, Cullen said, ignorant people are more fertile, yielding an average of 3.3 more children than those deemed non-ignorant.

"We found that subjects deprived of such elements as reproductive education and safe-sex resources were far more likely to create lots of babies," Cullen said. "Thus, we can only conclude that the sex lives of such parents are far more fulfilling.

"The study declares that those with a working knowledge of the complexities of life are measurably less blissful than those who choose not to think at all," Cullen concluded.

Informed of the study's findings, Democratic Party leader Howard Dean visibly bristled.

"I'd rather not know that, thanks," Dean said, sticking his fingers in his ears.

Color Me Badd still wanna sex you up

NEW YORK--Fourteen years after topping the pop charts with their album C.M.B., Color Me Badd still wants to sex you up, the band said Friday.

"Hey, beautiful lady, I need you tonight, lovely, lovely lady," said lead singer Bryan Abrams in a statement. "I wanna make you feel alright, yeah. I can't deny, baby, I wanna love you down. Even after all these years of obscurity."

Further adding that Color Me Badd would make love to you "until we drown," Abrams advised that secrecy would be essential in consummating the union so many years in making. "Disconnect the phone so nobody knows, yeah. And make sure to turn off your ringer, now that you carry cell phones at a rate unheard of in 1991."

You declined comment, other than to recite an indecipherable chorus of "Aw, tick tock, get um, stop stop."

Popular weekend-night DJ wants weekend off for once

ASHEVILLE, NC--Citing a lack of social life, Paul Kosar, a top-rated weekend-night disk jockey at Classic Rock 104 WQNS in Asheville, said he wishes he could have the weekend off.

"Just wanna say hey to all of you PAR-TAY-ERS tonight!" Kosar said as he started off his "Friday Night Frolic," the top-rated midnight show in the Asheville radio market. "Whether you're cruisin' to Jack of the Wood or gearing up to catch some tunes at the Orange Peel, or are just kickin' it at the house, we got some rockin' tunes for you tonight! Stay tuned for some Zep, Skynyrd and some sweet advice from Paul the Party Man! All coming up!" Kosar then pushed the button activating the commercial feed, as he has done every Friday and Saturday night since his hiring in March 2000.

Kosar admitted that his reputation as a top party guy is tempered by his schedule. "Here in Asheville, I'm the voice all classic-rock fans associate with partying, late nights and good times," he said. "But what most people forget is that I spend every weekend projecting that vibe from this tiny, dank, windowless, poorly lit booth. I don't know how I do it, honestly." Kosar then took a call, mustering up his best party voice. "Paul the Party Man! PAR-TAY!! WOOO! How can I help YOU?"

"Paul duuuuude, I just LOVE your show, man," the caller said. "You are Mr. Friday Night! I bet you get all the chicks! Play me some ELO, duder!"

"YOOOOOU GOT IT, MAN!" Kosar replied cheerfully before switching into the song "Calling America."

"At least someone's got it, man. I don't," he muttered off-mic, before dropping his head in his hands.

Also in the news:

--New South still Old South
--God Republican
--Employment update: help not wanted
--Health report: Yellow Pages need to drink more water

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Welcome Independent / Verm readers!

Yesterday my blog was mentioned in not one, but TWO local newspapers.

The first was a mention in The Vermilion, the first post-Ian issue. Their new liberal columnist, David Coy, seems to be ready to take the reins. Cool.

The second mention was a bit of a surprise. The Independent, an independent (natch) weekly in Lafayette, did its latest cover story on the blog explosion. They featured a trio of local bloggers, including two friends of Not Right, timshel and howyamoman'dem?

I guess I can say this publicly now: timshel himself, "Ricky Prado," is actually Karl Schott, a guy I've known since 4th grade. We wrote on our high school's newspaper together for a year, which was the year Clinton won re-election. I once mentioned here how I had a friend who was the only one out of 11,000 people at a local hockey game who cheered at the news that Bill had taken Louisiana. He was that guy.

I'd lost touch with him after high school, but then saw him again when I met Murph, himself an expatriate Cajun in L.A. (and, ironically, the first one to notify me of the mention). Like Murph, Karl/Ricky is a great guy, and I only wish he still had the time to continue his top-notch blogging. Alas, the bastard had to go get a life. Mwehhh. Seriously, we miss ya, man. You just added to your legacy by being showcased as the leadoff blogger in the cover story even though you're blog-dead. Awesome!

The second blogger is the one that all Not Right readers look to (or should) for authentic Cajun recipes, howyamoman'dem? Named for the standard Cajun checkout-line greeting, "howyamoman'dem?" is run by Chrissy Lemaire, another Cajun expatriate in San Diego (What boat did I miss?) who is appalled by the non-authentic Cajun culture out there. Come to think of it, Cajun culture is indeed one of the most easily and consistently misrepresented cultures out there. I can't even do it properly, and it's in my blood! At least in a quarter of it. Anyway, Chrissy knows how to do it right. Check her out whenever you're hungry.

The third blogger is one I'd read before, through the Lafayette, LA listing (a listing I highly recommend if ever you need a LAFF RIOT), the less-political, more melancholy Portrait in Linen. It's the diary of a 31-year-old mom and the kids she homeschools. A nice entry to round off a diverse listing.

Then there's me and the others who merited a sidebar mention, in quick descriptions that would do TV Guide Channel proud:

Not Right About Anything is Ian McGibboney’s blog on the state of the world from a slightly left-leaning worldview.

"Slightly?" They're generous.

Crabwalk is the highly entertaining blog of Rayne, La., native and award-winning Dallas Morning News journalist Joshua Benton. Lots of emphasis on indie bands, media coverage and humorous links.

Oh, so he's "highly entertaining," while I'm just "blog?" What kind of passive-aggressive shit is that? Actually, it's probably true.

Seriously, though, it's a great honor just to be nominated. I would have mentioned phizz as well, though maybe the world isn't ready for the guy I call...hmm, maybe he's not ready to be outed just yet. And don't forget Manda at Shrimp Porn, which should have gotten in for the name alone. On the pachydermic side, they could have mentioned The Conservative Cajun and The Manning Report, if both of them hadn't quit blogging to become full-time Alan Colmeses to my Sean Hannity (with the ideologies reversed, of course). And I'd be amiss if I didn't mention the blog by the Independent's resident cartoonist, Greg Peters. So I'll be amiss. Just kidding! Here's Suspect Device.

Of course, this is only a partial list of what's out there. You should always check out all of my links. To "learn something," as the kids say nowadays.

Oh, and did you notice that the Independent actually mistyped my address? Classic. I totally endorse that, because I have a strong sense of irony. But seriously, kudos to the Ind for one of its strongest issues of the year. I suggest you check it out. Unless you're coming here from there. In which case it's pointless.

Top 10 observations about online job hunting

1) They ought to call it!

2) It's a sad commentary on the state of our nation that the media category is typically lumped together with arts and entertainment. Look, I don't search media jobs so I can find "fashion models wanted," okay? How about lumping together "writing" and "media?" That way, I can not find jobs all in one fell swoop.

3) Too many of these jobs are entirely arbitrary to their categories. I'm finding Navy jobs under "writing." Is that Bush's employment plan?

4) On a Louisiana job site, the only job under one category was in MANHATTAN. What?

5) Based on the help wanted, everyone in south Louisiana is either a nurse or an oil driller. They ought to tell college students that at freshman orientation.

6) Truck driving is the industry of the future! Sign up to get your CDL today!

7) It's a little discouraging to see sites like Monster offering memberships. Isn't the whole point of a job site to help you get a job so that you don't need the service anymore?

8) Regarding job fairs: one is going to be held in New Orleans in July. They are urging you to dress in your finest suit or jacket. Repeat: in New Orleans. In JULY. Are we so pretentious as a society that we will adhere to outmoded dress codes even in a place where clothes should be optional for half the year?

9) At least one job engine offers only six-figure positions. I figure, why not give it a shot? It can't be any more daunting than the rest of these sites.

10) Some guy asked me on Aldaynet if a poor person ever gave me a job. I told him no and, in this economy, neither has a rich person. But thanks for playing.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Have you SEEN me?

Want to know why this case is sweeping the national news?

You're looking at it.

I do hope they find her. Along with all of these other kids.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Amateur Psychology with Ian

Relax, everybody. America is not sliding to the right. I think the reason everyone thinks so is because the people in power (in both the political and the corporate spheres) are the ones who most want us to think we are now a neoconservative country. But in reality, they are just the ones who want power the most and who have the biggest stake in maintaining the illusion that they are who everyone wants.

Consider the classic Type-A personality. You know the type. This describes that person who, when you were in school, joined every club and very aggressively sought positions of leadership in those clubs. The person who worried that every insignificant action was going to work against them on some phantom "permanent record." The person whose only priority in college was to network, network, network! The person whose graduation sashes somehow validated their existence. They were so ambitious they ambitionized themselves right into a plummeting spiral of chain-smoking, alcohol and/or religion while watching "Wall Street" as a documentary, absent of any satirical irony. Michael Douglas is their Michael Moore.

So what kind of person becomes inclined toward such self-actualizing (and self-destructive) behavior? One root is insecurity; in many cases, these people are children of hyper-expectant parents. I once knew a kid who got grounded for six weeks for making a B, for example. A grade of 94 in those days. In cases such as these, the parents are generally very successful people who are used to a particularly high plateau of achievement. The flip side of this are lower-income parents who want to live vicariously through their children. In both circumstances, the parents have decided that 1) their child is going to be successful at any cost and 2) that by "success," they mean one primary definition: wealth and connections.

The latter is generally where the problems begin. When parents stretch the universal parental hope (that their children can support themselves and their families throughout life) into an extreme push for material comfort, the younger generation often has little option other than to satisfy those expectations. The result is that a genuinely gifted student in a creative endeavor is stuck going to business school (or other practical profession), often due to the parents' stake in paying tuition. They are led to believe that what they want is idealistic or otherwise wrong, and thus devote their lives to accruing money. What good is satisfaction in doing one's trade or craft if it can't buy you a nice home in a gated community with a couple of SUVs to boot? Because, you see, real happiness lies in dressing in a suit every day, going to work, then coming home and changing into another suit so you can attend a pricey gala and get sloppy drunk with the same and like-minded people with whom you spend 100 hours a week working.

It is at this point of realization that a prospective student/worker can take one of two broad paths: 1) they can ascend the corporate ladder with gusto or 2) they can choose to do what makes them happy, even if they have to make certain sacrifices. Granted, there's no shortage of people who find true happiness in working their way up in the business world at all costs. But I would guess there's fewer of these people than most would imagine.

Those that do take the corporate-ladder path out of a sense of calling are generally the ones who prize the tenets of unfettered capitalism: accrue as much capital as possible, develop a strong work ethic, network, etc. Doing this in its purest form also requires an attitude of self-centeredness, an every-person-for-themselves attitude. These are the people who don't mind stepping on toes, working the interoffice political system and caring only about the bottom line. The people who think "putting food on the table" is the be-all and end-all of human life, even if they they can already hire servants to do the actual food-putting on the table.

What kind of person is most likely to take on this Type-A attitude? Precisely the kind of person who believes in the ideal of all Americans as bootstrap-pullers and thus don't want to pay even a dollar to help anyone else, unless it comes tagged with a picture in the local high-society pages. The ones who think the only reason people are poor is because they're lazy, stupid, black or any combination of the three.

In other words, conservatives.

In my experience, I find that extreme Type-A personalities are (almost to a T) inclined toward conservatism. This is not to say that all conservatives are this way; far from it. I am friends with many conservatives, none whom exhibit these traits. Likewise, I know several Type-A liberals with whom I am not friendly. It's not an attractive quality no matter what the political belief.

Nevertheless, conservative belief leans toward authoritarianism--in other words, control. Someone has to be in control of others, and under the conservative model it is the one who holds control who has the best position. This can be seen in many conservative/religious families, where the father is the ultimate head of the brood (and in some cases abuses that power). Everyone adhering to this mold acknowledges the power and respects it. Some wish to be controlled. Others covet the power, whether out of awe, insecurity or revenge. And this is where the real world comes in.

Recent years have seen the worldwide acceleration of right-wing leaders and machines to power. They have not gotten there out of luck or (entirely) corruption. In most cases, they are elected or chosen because they resonate most with the people. This consensus allows them to crush opposition, saying that "this is what the people want."

But not so fast. People do not swing in political theory as much as the experts would have us believe. Indeed, much of the public will cheerfully admit to wanting to jump on whatever bandwagon seems cool or will make them popular. This has been the case for centuries, and for what I credit entirely with the concept of women feeling like they must hurt to feel beautiful. In political terms, this means that enough people are swayed by the loudest or most emotionally resonant message to turn the tide in an election. Whoever is offering up the most popular message at any given time is going to win. This is true in both the political and the public spheres (in which promotion is generally based on how much ass one kisses as a peon).

All of this is coalescing as conservatives ascend the ranks of power both in private industry and in politics. Because they want it more, and because they think their survival and social standing depend on it. More than anything, they know how to get what they want and they spare no shame in doing so.

So what can liberals, progressives and moderates do? Well, first off, we can be thankful that we are not so deeply insecure as to require power to be validated. The left has the lion's share of creative types, social workers, teachers, blue-collar workers and enlightened corporate employees. People who make a difference without letting the need for work and money override their humanity. Liberals within the political and corporate-ladder systems can steal a page from the conservative playbook and assert themselves more. Liberal-leaning people should never feel insecure; indeed, we are the ones who advocate the best-possible conditions for everyone. Our current dilemma is in broadcasting that to others and ourselves. Current events prove, however unfortunately, that the loudest and most aggressive voice gets the ear. We need to seize that voice and make it our own. In other words, work that Type-A personality in our favor (or, even better, somehow reduce our society's reverence of this trait in favor of a more humane success strategy). We cannot, and should not, let success and political triumph go only to those who feel entitled to it. Because they are the ones who are least deserving of it.

We have the right ideas and attitude. We just have to want it more.