קסם וחסר מזה

Enchantment and lack thereof

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Location: Columbus, Ohio, United States

Sunday, August 29, 2004


dirtybirdrachel: i would like very much to get really high this week?

Note: this is posed in the form of the question. She's probably high.

See Garden State. Not because it's a decent movie, but because I am the guy in it. (for the most part) You'll probably see what I mean. He's Jewish too!

Why does Jason call me a retard? The other day he commented on my musical talents:
"Jeff is a magician at heart....I mean a music-itian."
-Jason Swartz (The new Retard)

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

The Democrats are making nothing but mistakes

This "new" and "united" Democratic party appears to only be united in their attempts to oppose Bush. They base their stance to counter anything Bush says, coming up with few concepts on their own. The Democratic party seems to always be one step behind Bush, responding to his attacks with defenses, while attacking him little as an entity.

Whenever Bush proposes a new plan, say the withdrawal of American troops from friendly European countries, the Democrats, using Kerry as their spokesman, are quick to oppose it and criticize it. Kerry called Bush's proposal to remove troops from Europe and Asia "recless"; yet less than 2 weeks earlier Kerry told George Stephanopoluous:

"I think we can significantly change the deployment of troops, not just [in Iraq] but elsewhere in the world. In the Korean peninsula perhaps, in Europe perhaps."


The "new" Democratic party, with its "positive", "no Bush-bashing" stance appears afraid to challenge Bush. While nobody will shut up about Kerry's Vietnam service record, nobody dares mention George Bush's going AWOL in the National Guard to avoid being drafted. They aren't going to win the election if they don't grow some balls. The Democrats need to start playing for keeps, enough with this touchy-feely bullshit.

It seems the Democrats spend more effort attacking Ralph Nader than George Bush. They see Nader as a threat to them winning the election. I've got news for the democrats, George Bush is a bigger threat to you! The Democrats are engaging in what Nader calls "dirty tricks". Nader is being sued by Democratic party branches in over a dozen states. Democrats are going over his ballot petitions with a fine tooth comb. Whether they like it or not, Nader is going to be on the ballot in these states. Why waste this much time and money on somebody who is not going to beat you in the election? Why are the Democrats so scared of GWB?

George Bush is a disgraceful president. My major qualms with him include his disregard for environmental protection and alternative energy opportunities, as well as his allegiance to corporate mega-giants over the American people. Just because your dad was the President, and a mediocre one at that, does not mean you should be one too. I find it embarrassing that the Bush Presidents think they can fit in the same father-son role as the great Adams Presidents who founded this nation. Former C.E.O.'s (especially failed ones) have no place in a government for and by the people. The number of millionaires in our federal government is atrocious, corporations have their hands in Uncle Sam's pockets and he does whatever they say.

The Democrats had an excellent opportunity to landslide Bush right out of office. They should have been working on plans for the 2004 election back in 2000. The Democrats should have selected a candidate who would not only unite the party, but attract conservatives away from Bush as well. Instead they chose John Kerry, a man who has swung both ways on just about every issue ever. People can't be sure exactly what he is going to do if elected, because he has probably already contradicted himself. A political drone, Kerry does as he is told by the party, which usually goes against his previous senate votes. He beats the military drum too loudly; we all know he served his country, we do not want to do the same. Kerry, probably in an attempt to compete with Bush, emphasizes the importance of military service. I hope that Kerry doesn't become another "war president".

If you don't feel like reading all that, it can be summed up in this poem:

I don't like Bush
I don't like Kerry
Either one wins
And things will get scarry
I'd like to say to both:
"See ya later"
Who's going to save America?
Mabye I should vote Nader

-Jeff Friedlander

Friday, August 20, 2004

Kerry is a dumbass - American basketball is a discrace - Just don't do Nike

Op-Ed columnist Maureen Dowd for The New York Times (Thursday, 19) said it best:
"George W. Bush can't defend the mess he's made in Iraq and John Kerry can't effectively attack Mr. Bush on Iraq."

It's a shame really. In his attempt to cover absolutely every non-Bush base possible, Kerry opposed the 30% of the Democratic party against the war. He stated that he supported his vote to go to war; furthermore, he said he would have voted the same way even if we knew there were no W.M.D.'s and even if we knew Iraq posed no immediate threat to America. For this reason, as well as many others Kerry is a dumbass.

I wouldn't want to sell Bush short here, I am marginally more excited about Kerry than I am about him. They are really both dumbasses. One of the few reasons Kerry is less of a dumbass than Bush is because he actually served in the armed forces in some capacity. He didn't have his daddy help him get out of it. Which brings me to my next question:

Why isn't Bush's military service history a SERIOUS CAMPAIGN ISSUE?!?! I mean, I hear endless yammering about whether or not Kerry was a good commander, but we never hear anything about Bush's unaccounted-for absences in the National Guard. Why are the major media outlets, including the newspapers, afraid to challenge Bush on his war history? Let's level the playing field a little, eh?

Speaking of playing field: What's the deal with team U.S.A. Basketball? We were supposed to have a team to beat all teams: Allen Iverson, Tim Duncan, Carmelo Anthony, and LeBron James. Yet we were humiliated as Puerto Rico, one of our own territories, wiped the floor with us. Didn't the US invent basketball? Hell, we were always dominant in basketball.

The problem is this:
  • No cohesion - The players are not used to playing together
  • Their heart isn't in it - They aren't making any money
  • International rules are "confusing"

This is a fine illustration of monetary influence on professional sports. Basketball players have up-teen million dollar salaries. Combined with tens of millions of dollars in endorsements, these "ballers" can afford all those cool "cribs". Does anybody need over $100 Million (LeBron James) to be successful and happy? All the guy is doing is wearing Nike sneakers while he plays a game that he loves to play. Granted he plays well, but where's the line?.

Nike cuts $90 million contracts, no-sweat. All the contractees have to do is wear the shoes, and star in a few commercials. The sweat is in the shops! Nike assembles shoes in countries like China. In China the minimum wage is the equivalent of 31 cents an hour. Someone who works a 40 hour week takes home only $12.56 every week at this rate. In China, Nike pays its workers considerably less than this, only 21 cents an hour on average, which is much better than their workers in Vietnam make, only 12 cents an hour! Workers in China are forced to work 12+ hour days to make the minimum wage that they must live on.

It doesn't get much more extreme than this. Nike can illegally pay its workers pennies an hour to make their shoes, and at the same time, pay professional athletes millions of dollars just to wear the damn things! Oh, and to make up the difference, they charge a hundred or so dollars a pair to the consumer. I'm sure Nike makes a negligible profit there, with full-year revenues of $7.9 Billion. Just do it!

Did you know?

Ready to attend a thrilling Bush - Cheney rally? You had better be prepared to pledge allegiance to the Bush administration. The RNC requires all attendees to sign a form pledging their support for President Bush. Not only must you sign this contract, you must also disclose your driver license number, address, email, and telephone number to gain access, according to www.retrovsmetro.com. I wonder why these events aren't open to the general public like campaign rallies of the past have been.

Boston.com %2F News %2F Nation %2F Bush-backers-only policy riles voters at RNC rallies

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Interrogating the Protesters

For several weeks, starting before the Demo­cratic convention, F.B.I. officers have been questioning potential political demonstrators, and their friends and families, about their plans to protest at the two national conventions. These heavy-handed inquiries are intimidating, and they threaten to chill freedom of expression. They also appear to be a spectacularly poor use of limited law-enforcement resources. The F.B.I. should redirect its efforts to fo­cus more directly on real threats.
Six investigators recently descended on Sarah Bardwell, a 21-year-old intern with a Denver anti­war group, who quite reasonably took away the message that the government was watching her closely. In Missouri, three men in their early 20's said they had been followed by federal investigators for days, then subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury. They ended up canceling their plans to show up for the Democratic and Republican conventions.
The F.B.I. is going forward with the blessing of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel the same outfit that recently approved the use of torture against terrorism suspects. In the Justice Department's opinion, the chilling effect of the in­vestigations is "quite minimal," and "substantially outweighed by the public interest in maintaining safety and order." But this analysis gets the balance wrong. When protesters are made to feel like crimi­nal suspects, the chilling effect is potentially quite serious. And the chances of gaining any information that would be useful in stopping violence is quite small.
The knock on the door from government inves­tigators asking about political activities is the stuff of totalitarian regimes. It is intimidating to be vis­ited by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, particu­larly by investigators who warn that withholding in­formation about anyone with plans to create a dis­ruption is a crime.
And few people would want the F.B.I. to cross-examine their friends and family about them. If en­gaging in constitutionally protected speech means subjecting yourself to this kind of government moni­toring, many Americans may decide - as the men from Missouri did -- that the cost is too high.
Meanwhile, history suggests that the way to find out what potentially violent protesters are plan­ning is not to send F.B.I. officers bearing question­naires to the doorsteps of potential demonstrators. As became clear in the 1960's, F.B.I. monitoring of youthful dissenters is notoriously unreliable. The files that were created in the past often proved to be laughably inaccurate.
The F.B.I.'s questioning of protesters is part of a larger campaign against political dissent that has increased sharply since the start of the war on ter­ror.
At the Democratic convention, protesters were sent to a depressing barbed-wire camp under the subway tracks. And at a recent Bush-Cheney cam­paign event, audience members were required to sign a pledge to support President Bush before they were admitted.
F.B.I. officials insist that the people they inter­view are free to "close the door in our faces," but by then the damage may already have been done. The government must not be allowed to turn a war against foreign enemies into a campaign against critics at home.

NOTE: I did not write this, I found it in Tuesday's New York Times. That is all.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

The troops are coming home!

Taken From The Columbus Dispatch (Tue, Aug 17):

Major troop shifts planned
Realignment would bring home as many as 70,000 U.S. forces...

CINCINNATI — It’s time to bring the troops home, President Bush said yesterday. Speaking at the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ national convention, Bush unveiled his plan to return up to 70,000 military personnel — none from Iraq or Afghanistan (NICE MOVE, GEORGIE!) — to the United States.


Retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark, a rival of Massachusetts Sen. Kerry in the Democratic primaries and former NATO Supreme Allied commander, blasted Bush’s plan as a unilateral political move that will "significantly undermine U.S. national security."

Having U.S. troops leave Europe will send the wrong signal to terrorists and U.S. allies in NATO, and it will harm the ability to deploy forces quickly to hot spots that are more accessible from Europe, Clark said.
"This is not going to make America strong," he said. "It’s going to make us weaker."
Clark said he thinks most veterans this year will cast their vote for president based on the situation in Iraq. Bush has gotten the United States into "a mess," he said.

Outside the convention, Paul Davis, a former Marine from Clermont County who spent three months in the hospital after being wounded in Vietnam, carried a sign with a copy of his discharge papers — challenging Bush to produce his.

"I don’t want George Bush sending my grandchildren to a war that we shouldn’t have been in in the first place," Davis said. "Kerry’s been to war and knows what it means. . . . George hid out during the war."


Saturday, August 14, 2004

Dear Erika,

Why do you insist on getting me wet? First your pour water all over me on your birthday, last night you spit in my face. Is this revenge for the time I broke your toe?



Friday, August 13, 2004

We Be Jammin' Mon

"Music is the most beautiful thing that human beings can create."
-Jeff Friedlander

According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, a jam session is:

"an often impromptu performance by a group especially of jazz musicians that is characterized by improvisation"

As I have stated earlier in this journal, I play the drums passionately. For the past 3 years I have joyfully played them, originally at drummer-friend's houses until I finally got my own set a year and a half ago. For that whole time, I had never played with other musicians, I had only my home stereo to keep me company. Until this week, I believed that I was a mediocre-at-best drummer, that my inability to keep a consistent beat would more annoy my fellow musicians than create a decent sound.

Everything I thought I knew about my abilities changed this week. John Broz and I have created a small studio in his basement; inside is my drum set, his keyboard, and some big old speakers. On Wednesday we sat down and started to play Franklin's Tower and things were just groovy. Playing with other musicians makes things sound so much better, I learned so much about what really sounds good. In all my time drumming, having never had a lesson, I have mainly focused on rock and roll: simple, easy, and usually fast enough that you can't really hear mistakes. In the past 3 days I have played everything from rock, to techno, swing, and jazz. I have also taught 4 of my friends how to hold their own behind a set. I never knew I could do all that.

I think I like jazz the best because its so easy to improvise. Music is dynamic, it's always changing. This works well for me, it fits into my style. Most musicians have some sense of structure, either sheet music, or some sort of rough idea of the song. My style is completely different, I am always thinking of new ways to accent or transition. I usually have no plan as far as what I will do next, but the years of practice have helped me look ahead enough in the song to make just about anything fit in. If it sounds good: I'll keep it for a few measures. If it sounds bad, I'm already doing something different. This may not be the best way; you need consistency in rhythm, you can't keep changing it all the time; but it sure sounds good. I guess thats what jam music is all about, if it sounds good, you're doing it right. It doesn't matter how you're doing it, as long as it pleases the ears.

Anyone in the Athens area who plays an instrument: let me know if you want to jam. I bet you'll enjoy it.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

In other news

For those of you that remember my writing to my representatives about HR 3922 (The Drug Impaired Driving Enforcement Act):

I found the article that was featured in the Athens News, the one which alerted me to the issue itself and the one which I wrote my congresspeople about. By the way, I have still not recieved any replies to my 9 letters to Congress, but that may be because of the summer congressional recess (continuing until September 6).

Acording to the Selective Service System...

A notice on the Selective Service System's website reads as follows:

Notice: Notwithstanding recent stories in the news media and on the Internet, Selective Service is not getting ready to conduct a draft for the U.S. Armed Forces -- either with a special skills or regular draft. Rather, the Agency remains prepared to manage a draft if and when the President and the Congress so direct. This responsibility has been ongoing since 1980 and is nothing new. Further, both the President and the Secretary of Defense have stated on more than one occasion that there is no need for a draft for the War on Terrorism or any likely contingency, such as Iraq. Additionally, the Congress has not acted on any proposed legislation to reinstate a draft. Therefore, Selective Service continues to refine its plans to be prepared as is required by law, and to register young men who are ages 18 through 25.

You can view it yourself at www.sss.gov .

Judging from this statement, my previous concerns about the draft were invalid. Though a draft can be called up at any time by the President or Congress, the SSS claims that there is no need for concern at this time. I apologize for exaggerating the threat of a draft before considering all the facts.

Friday, August 06, 2004

How to get an official fake ID through your university

This chapter will teach you how to get your very own fake ID made for you by your university. An example of such an ID is shown below:

By the end of this chapter you will be an expert in fake ID getting. Just follow the easy steps.


This ID is official, no bouncer can legally take it away from you; don't try it on a cop, ya idiot.

It has your picture, hologram, and a birthdate of your choice. A lot of bouncers just look at these things briefly and wave you though.

It is official looking. Notice the magnetic stripe on the back, the toll-free number on the back, the official logos, identification numbers, etc.

It works at just about any bar or small grocery store.

It only costs $22.

If you play it right, it will be the last ID you ever buy.

Your university makes it for you!

You can buy beer with it! My actual birthday is 21/06/84, at this age the bastards won't let me buy beer. Thanks to my sloppy handwriting, that 4 is now a 2 and I can drink.


Most gas stations won't accept it because it is not government-issued. But they too cannot take it away.

Mind the fine print, "This card is intended to verify cardholder's student status and is not for age verification" (Though no bouncer has ever noticed that)

They expire at the end of the year, but most bouncers don't care about that either.


I'm sure you'll be able to think of some yourself, but plan ahead. If they won't take it because it's not government-issued, point out the 1-800 number on the back, tell them they can call it for age verification, they will not call. If they ask for a second form of ID, your regular student ID will do just fine, as long as it does not have your birthday on it. It's good practice to carry a second picture ID with you that doesn't have a birthday on it. You may notice that my birthday is amiss, I'll explain the year in a moment. The day and month of my birthday are opposite from the American style of MM/DD, rather the makers of this card use the European date style of DD/MM. This confuses more people than you would imagine. A simple explanation that the card is meant for Europe should settle them down. You'll be put on the spot sometimes, it's important to stay cool, be confident (like you do this all the time), and be prepared.

How do I get one?:

1. Locate your university's office of study abroad.

2. Go in and request an application for an international student ID. Provide as few details as possible as you want to leave no room for suspicion.

3. Fill out the application with all your normal information IN PENCIL. The back of the form is a questionnaire, fill it out with total bullshit, be sure to indicate that your international study program is not university affiliated, just to be safe.

a. Conveniently write your birthday as if it were a few years earlier on the application.
b. Write your real birthday on the application IN PENCIL.

5. Take the form to the university registrar's office so they can verify your enrolment. (They will simply look for your name, or ask you for further identification so they can look up your schedule on the computer. Here at OU, they simply check your enrolment and stamp your application with the seal, they do NOT look at your birthdate whatsoever. If you have already written your fake birthdate and they ask you about it, laugh it off and tell them how tired you are from studying, you must have made an honest mistake. Promptly fix this mistake IN PENCIL.)

6. Once that official business is over you may alter the information on the application however you want. Though I only recommend changing your birthday to the fake one if you have not done so already. Putting your real name on the ID will allow you to use a second form, and if anybody finds it they probably won't ask questions. It doesn't even have an address!

7. Return the form to the international study abroad office, pay them $22, and your ID should be ready within the week.


Hey skeptics, let me assure you that this 7-step plan works. Not only have I done it successfully, but I have helped many others do the same. I know the system here and nobody upstairs has caught on yet. I know its possible at other schools, and have accounts of students at other universities doing the exact same thing.

The office of study abroad as well as the registrar's office at your school are far too busy to bother with re-checking your information, believe me. They won't give it a second thought.

Follow my 7-step program to success; I guarantee you results! Not only will you be the coolest guy in the dorm, the man making the beer runs, you'll also score chicks. Buying beer for underagers is a great way to make a few bucks in tips too.

If you like beer, and you aren't 21, I highly recommend this plan to success. There is little risk to you, you can claim any fraud as a simple mistake, and it's your word against theirs. I can nearly guarantee that the powers that be have no idea of this loophole, as there is no mention of it anywhere on the internet.

I hope today's lesson has enlightened many of you. Please let me know if you succeed, I will be happy to hear that more underagers are breaking a foolish law that shouldn't exist. Now go out there, expert; get that ID!

Don't think of this ID or buying underage as an illegal act; think of it as an act of civil disobedience, non-violent protest against a law you do not believe in. We all make a difference.

Special thanks to Rachel Mace for inspiring me to write this How-To segment and
to John Feltenberger for showing me the way.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Leave it to Family Guy to make you happy.

Peter: It all started when I was 18.
Hippie Chick: Here Peter, try this. (Hands him a pill)
Peter: What is it?
Hippie Chick: It's a cheeseburger.
Peter: Of course I know now that it wasn't a cheeseburger. But back then I would have believed anything.

Vacuum Cleaner Repair Man: I fixed your vacuum, turns out there was a half-eaten meatball clogging up the intake.
Peter: Well, did--did you save it?
Vacuum Cleaner Repair Man: No.
Peter: You bastard.


There was supposed to be a post here about prostitution, but it got erased when I pushed Ctrl-i after the last sentence. Doesn't that mean italics?