Levin clears his files.
I've puzzled over it since last year's playoffs and I still don't understand how superstar
basketball players can miss so many of their foul shots. We're talking about guys able and
positioned to compile humongous career stats--twenty-thousand women, a hundred million
dollars--those are Hall of Fame numbers by any measure. So what's the problem? Are they
ashamed to be seen cashing in their free throws? They can give them to me. I'm seriously
middle-aged, five-foot-seven, myopic, arthritic and usually nauseous. Not every part of my
body is still getting a proper supply of blood. The closest I've come to resembling an athlete
has been in the manner of my deterioration; as with Mickey Mantle it was my knees that
went first. But shit. I made six of ten just yesterday and it wasn't even my home driveway!
Since my memory loss is strictly of the short-term variety I have no problem remembering
the last time I got laid.
Can we cut the crap for just a minute? Managed care isn't about reducing medical costs, it's
about making money for the people who run and invest in HMOs.
Is it me or is it Congress? I mean, doesn't it miss the point just a little to allow a "successful"
lawsuit against an HMO to result in higher premiums for its members instead of a devaluation
of the HMOs stock and a lower annual bonus for its CEO?
I've never been represented by anyone in the House of Representatives.
The fitting response to "gatekeeping" doctors who refuse to order certain procedures or
make specialist referrals because it means losing a percentage of their HMO take is, of
course, to break their collarbones. But short of that, I think physicians found capable of
compromising patient care for financial gain should thereafter be addressed not as "Doctor,"
but as "Mister," the appropriate title for the businessman they've opted to be. It may not seem
like much in the way of vengeance, but I've noticed that doctor's get unhinged in a major way
when you call them "Mister." (No, I'm not going to bother reconstructing any sentences to
accommodate women doctors. Women are supposed to be more compassionate than men. If
they pull that "I don't think the hole in your heart is big enough yet to warrant a cardiologist"
shit, they don't rate even GENDER recognition--call them "Mister," too!
When you're put on hold in America you might very well be subjected to a lackluster Naval
Academy Choir cover of "Bitch Better Have My Money." But when I called a company in
Italy recently I got to hear the entire first act of "La Boheme."
Mother Teresa's death, coming literally in the wake of Princess Diana's, struck a friend of
mine as a mean-spirited attempt to diminish Diana's moment by obliging us to remember who
our real saint was. My own take was something quite the opposite. A canonization ritual
elsewhere in progress, I thought she'd seized an opportunity to complete her identity with an
exit that would go relatively unremarked. I don't know what's required to achieve sainthood
status, but it seemed to me that her timing demonstrated how centered she had to have been--
how free of ambivalence she was about the life that she led--and that it was testimony to her
attainment of, if nothing else, a state of grace.
I've been pondering the "offers" to insure my accounts against default that I receive from
credit card issuers. I agree that, stifling any chance for me to save money by charging interest
rates that would embarrass my local loan shark, these companies have good reason to be
concerned about my ability to repay them should I lose my job. But, you know, the peace of
mind problem here is all theirs. I myself miss no sleep over the prospect that I may one day
be forced to stiff people for whom capitalism is too heady a system--who get much too
overheated and giddy when they use it--and who should never have been allowed to
participate in a free-enterprise economy. So I'm afraid that, in response, the best I can do
is tender a counteroffer. I'll consent to the insurance if they pop for the premiums.
When individuals or groups demand that I respect them, they are evincing an uncertainty
about their respectability--and a need for my reassurance--that only makes me contemptuous
How slovenly we've become in our pursuit of money is no way better demonstrated than by
the loose subscription cards that cascade from our magazines. I appreciate the fact that a lot
of magazines are in trouble and I know that good subscription numbers sell advertising, but for
me these cards have resulted in only a pronounced aversion to newsstands. And I can't be
alone. The choice of having a torso that's permanently bent at an angle perpendicular to your
asshole, or leaving a trail of "blow-ins" from your subway stop to your apartment door--
tipping off the entire neighborhood that you've squirreled a copy of "Miraculous Mammaries"
inside the annual face towel issue of "Macrame Times"--has to be hurting magazine sales at
least as much as the dwindling literacy rate. (It should go without saying that those were
arbitrary titles that happened to come to mind.)
Re: The final installment of Ken Burns's "Jazz." Isn't Branford Marsalis the entertainer who
used to lead "The Tonight Show" band? What exactly qualified this man to pass judgment on
the work of an authentic artist like Cecil Taylor?
In most of our stores these days, trying to negotiate a simple purchase with personnel who,
would be loath to inflict. But it's stores where the salespeople are trained to pounce and hover, and where
the security guards greet you at the door like they haven't seen you since you did hard time
together, that irritate me the most. Betraying both desperation and a guiltiness about
something, they automatically lose any prospect of getting my business.
The real mission of proselytizing religious groups isn't to share a revelation, it's to validate
beliefs they're not sure of by securing the agreement of others.
Since I think that, for the most part, the people in charge of educating New York City's
children would be more suitably employed as highway dividers, I certainly don't want to
appear to be coming to their defense. But it should be pointed out that in its front page story
about that faculty-written junior high school graduation program with all the spelling errors,
the "Daily News" incorrectly identified "programme" as a misspelling of "program." In fact,
"programme" is a legitimate, if chiefly British, variant. Apparently the folks who wrote and
edited the "News" piece are themselves products of New York's school system.
Where can you relax or drop your guard these days? I'm thinking of how stressful and
enervating the dumbing down thing has made all but the most basic of verbal exchanges; of
the automatic defensive posture rampant greed forces you to take when you enter into the
most elementary of financial transactions, and of the increasing incidence of random violence.
And I haven't begun to talk about what you have to deal with after you've left your family in
Since I get all of the violence and profanity I need at home I only go to the movies for sex.
People tend to be confused about this. I'm not pro-choice, I'm pro-ABORTION. Okay?
There are currently six-billion humans on this planet, most of whom are stupid and
unattractive and all of whom show up at precisely the moment I'm in a supermarket aisle and
reaching for something on a lower shelf.
You want to know what's wrong, why I'm so jittery all the time? I'll tell you. It's the
egregious flaws in nature's design of the female body. I mean a freshman at Pratt, for Christ's
sake, would have known better than to locate the portal to the world in such close proximity
to the anus. On the order of something my plumber might try to get away with, this
demoralizing arrangement has made the moment of one's birth tantamount to exiting a
subway station in downtown Jersey City. Yes, there may have been some practical
justification for joining the female genitalia and the birth canal--although I find it interesting
that even the manufacturers of Coke machines, and in a time of budget constraints, have
managed to maintain a respectful distance between the coin slot and the delivery bin. But at
the very least, these organs should have been positioned where the former would be quickly
accessible, where the necessity to get undressed would have been eliminated.
(The spot I'd have chosen is the side of the neck, just above the clavicle.)
[Dan replies- A few points: Regarding that sick bitch, Mama T- Iíd suggest you watch a documentary
shot in the late 70s-early 80s about her piligrimage to, I believe Nicaragua,
during an earthquake. I recall seeing it on NYCís Spanish-language Channel 31
(with subtitles). There were many disgusting scenes of
what bleeding hearts would call oppressive colonialism but the 1 that stuck in
my mind was this- at an Indian hospital Mama T is visiting a sick childrenís
ward- there are Moslem & Hindu kids, mostly. They are starving & sick.
Does she help? No. To the heathens she offers some bread & vittles ONLY if
they will say a Catholic vesper with her. The kids that will not she DOES NOT
feed! She was a sick & evil woman- GRACE, MY ASS! Itís easy to nail a
Custer, Hitler, Stalin, or Ted Bundy as evil- but that CUNT is right there
frying with the boys. Letís hope her skirt-wearing Polish boss soon joins her!
Or as the old disco song goes: ĎBurn, baby, burn!í Re: White men & their
Jazz obsession- letís face it- the music is dull, the infatuation borders on
fetishistic. Rock on, baby! As for abortion- the pro-choice label is for cowards
who have ceded the dialectic to lunatics- such as Mama T, Bubby!]
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