Friday, September 28, 2007

Schadenfreude

The Germans have several unique words that don't have an English counterpart; one of the is schadenfreude. It means taking pleasure in the pain or misery of others. That really doesn't quite describe how I feel at this moment, but it's the closest I can think of.

I know, an opening paragraph like that deserves a serious explanation. Here it is.

There was this woman that I kind-of sort-of dated - way back in 1992. I have to say we "kind-of sort-of" dated because we never actually went on a date. Whenever we bumped into her, she was constantly touching my arms, commenting on how she liked my cologne and generally exhibiting a certain level of interest.

I eventually took the hint, asked her out on a date and she said "yes". We made plans to meet after class, since we were both in college at the time. When the appointed hour arrived, she was nowhere to be seen. I figured she was just blowing me off.

The interesting thing was that I got a phone call the next morning, apologizing profusely and asking for another chance. I agreed. Long story short - this pattern of her saying she wanted to go out, never showing when ever we made plans repeated and then calling to express her regret repeated itself a couple of times.

Eventually, I gave up on and began referring to her as Psycho Girl during any conversations about the subject to my friends. In fact, fifteen years later, none of my friends from that period of my life will mention this woman's name aloud. She is always referred to as Psycho Girl.

Anyway, I learned through the proverbial grape vine recently that Psycho Girl is on the board of directors for one of Detroit's largest employers. I know this sounds really bad, but I can't help wondering if it's okay for me to blame her for the anemic state of the economy in southeastern Michigan at the moment?

(If anyone has an opinion on that, please feel free to leave a comment.)

Of course, all of this was one-upped to the nth degree when I found out about another ex-girlfriend of mine.

There is another young woman who I dated a few years after Psycho Girl who is simply know as Uber-Bitch. We had a brief relationship that never really went anywhere. I broke it off because there really wasn't any chemistry between us.

She responded by making a series of phone calls to various literary agents in New York that she knew, telling them that under no circumstances what-so-ever should they try to publish a novel that I had finished writing. I eventually found a home for my novel, but her efforts did pose a few challenges for me.

Anyway, I have since learned that Uber-Bitch's life has had a meltdown in recent years. She is in the process of getting a divorce from this guy that she met after me and her career has come plummeting down. Her years of back-stabbing and manipulating have reportedly led to her getting fired from her current job.

To top it off, from what I'm hearing, no one else in the industry who is in a position to hire anyone is wiling to even talk to her. The whole thing is karma meets schadenfreude in dark alley.

When I heard about this, I couldn't help but ask myself: just how many copies of my novel should I send her?

(Again, if anyone has an opinion on that, please feel free to leave a comment.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Triple the Keira

Keira Knightley recently remarked that she is "twice the size" of most actresses in Hollywood.

Um... yeah. I don't think so.

The only time Keira Knightley is twice the size of other actresses is if there are three of her all at once.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I Like a Boy

I found the video below on YouTube. If this doesn't do wonders to boost military enlistment, I don't know what will.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Coming to a Radio Near You

Thanks to my involvement with Detroit Synergy, I will be on the radio this coming Monday. I will appear on Detroit Today, which airs on WDET 101.9 FM. We're going to discuss this trend of people leaving Michigan for one reason or another.

The segment will air on Monday, September 17 at approximately 10:20 a.m. If you're not lucky enough to live the WDET broadcast area, you can always listen on-line.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

September 11th

September 11th.

I miss the days when today's date meant nothing more than it was brother's birthday.

I miss being able to look at the calender 1/12 of the year and not think about the pure horror and disbelief that I felt as I watched United Airlines Flight 175 slam into the South Tower of the World Trade Center live on CNN; the utter dismay when it collapsed less than an hour later and - above all else - the overwhelming sense of helplessness when I saw the North Tower still standing, but knew it would collapse soon.

I miss what it was like to walk through the World Trade Center itself.

I miss being able to sit back on boring days at work and just ponder what it would be like to go back to Windows on the World.

I miss being able to visit buildings like Renaissance Center in Detroit, the Sears Tower in Chicago or the CN Tower in Toronto without thinking twice about it. I know, of course, that those buildings are as safe as anyone could reasonably make them, but there's just enough about them to remind me of the World Trade Center.

I miss being able to flip through pages of an old sci-fi story I once wrote, without thinking about how those characters could have saved most of the people in the World Trade Center that day. (They had a spaceship that could hover in mid-air and hold its position, even while pumping a few hundred gallons of water onto a flaming building. Yes, I am a sci-fi nerd.)

I miss being able to respect the leaders of my government. I knew that even if I disagreed with President Reagan or the first President Bush, they wouldn't have used the tragedy of that day as an excuse to invade and occupy a country like Iraq nor to limit the freedoms and privacies of Americans.

I miss the life that I had 6 years and 1 day ago. I fear that I may never get it back. That fear, of course, is only amplified when I browsed through my friend Paula Turner's portfolio and see the photograph that she took to the left, which shows where the World Trade Center once stood.

I miss the days when September 11th was simply my brother's birthday.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

My Confession

I have a confession to make.

I'm helping to plan Detroit Synergy's Wooden Anniversary Pub Crawl. It's a great time, having a lot of fun with a couple hundred of your best friends, as we bounce between 8 different bars in one evening. There will be drink specials at each of these bars, of course, and the folks at Hard Rock Cafe are offering free parking for participants.

Like I said, it's a great time. More importantly, this is Detroit Synergy's big fundraiser. The group doesn't charge dues or anything so it relies on pub crawls to keep themselves afloat.

None of this is all that newsworthy - or even worthy of a "confession" per se. Well, here's interesting part.

Some of my Wolverine friends, decided that they didn't want to go because it was the same day that the University of Michigan was playing the University of Notre Dame. I was a bit frustrated by this. I tried to be as accommodating as possible when it came to scheduling the pub crawl. I picked the only day in September when there were no Tiger, Lions or Red Wings games and made sure that there wasn't anything going on at Hart Plaza or Cobo Hall.

However, when the Wolverine fans decided that they didn't want to come to the pub crawl because of Michigan/Notre Dame game, I had to take drastic action in order to make my event a success. I had to sabotage Michigan's entire football season.

I snuck into the Michigan locker room early yesterday morning and put molasses onto the shoes of each player. Not too much, mind you. It was only a dab on the sole of each shoe. If I used any more, they would have noticed for sure. However, and this is the important part, it was just enough to slow the Wolverines down.

The result of this, of course, is already known: Michigan lost to Appalachian State by a score of 34-32. It was, in the opinion of every commentator and Wolverine fan, the most humiliating defeat in the school's history. They lost to a team that most had never even heard, in a game that everyone - and I do mean everyone - expected them to not only win, but to win by a large margin.

And they had this defeat handed to them on their own home field.

Even Mitch Albom is now saying that the Wolverine's season is essentially over. No matter what they do from this point forward, there is no way for them to redeem themselves from a loss this bad.

This, of course, means that those Wolverine fans no longer have an excuse for not coming on the pub crawl. With the season essentially over, none of them really care whether or not they'll beat Notre Dame. Plus, they now have all the more reason to drink.

It was a desperate and completely unfair of me to resort to such a tactic. I readily admit that. However, desperate times really do call for desperate measures.

All I can say is that I hope my Spartan friends don't start using Michigan State's game against Pittsburgh as an excuse for not coming to the pub crawl. I would not relish having to sabotage another team's season just to get more of their fans at this event.

It would be so much easier if everyone simply checked out some of the details for the pub crawl, maybe took a look at photos from a previous pub crawl and then simply registered here for the event. After all, a drink special - or a football season - is a terrible thing to waste.