Monthly Archives: September 2008

My commute to work pretty much goes as follows. I drive about 25 minutes or so to get onto and then 22 miles down Interstate 3 to the town of Paulsboro, where I peel off and take Splinterstate 803. Including the usual delays at the entrance ramp, it generally takes me about 10 minutes to drive 8 miles down 803 to get to Castlewood, which is where I frequently get my gas. The drive from Castlewood to New City is another 6 miles or so. Once in New City, I exit to 740 and within 10 minutes or 5 miles or so land in Enterprise City and at my job at Mindstorm.

If you read the above carefully (you probably just skimmed over it, that’s what I would have done), you’ll notice something missing. I deliberately left out how long it takes to get from Castlewood to New City. I left that information out because I have absolutely no idea how long it takes, though I’d say that it averages about 30 minutes or so. If you’re keeping track, that means that it takes me about 45 minutes to cover 35 miles of the commute and approximately 30 minutes to cover the other 6.

But I didn’t leave the 30 minutes out of the initial description so that I could shock you with it later. I left it out because it is always the variable in my commute. My commute may average 75 minutes but that’s only if you’re looking at the median and the mode. That’s how long my drive usually takes in the morning. Somewhere between 70 and 80. Sometimes less, but sometimes much, much more.

I knew that having a daily commute time of over two hours would take its toll when I signed on to work at Mindstorm. I knew that it would be less time doing things that I enjoy doing and more time in the car and that there is the blood-pressure toll of long commutes in traffic (something that I never experienced in my long commute in Deseret, thankfully). I accepted that or at least thought that I did.

But what drives me crazy is the drive from Castlewood to New City and I don’t know how to make it stop driving me crazy. It’s not just that it takes almost as long as the rest of the commute. It’s not even that I spend that time barely going or weaving through traffic with all the success of Peter Gibbons in Office Space. It’s that so much of my day revolves around just how bad that six mile stretch is going to be. And perhaps moreso that I have absolutely no control over it.

My morning commute takes somewhere between an hour one day and two hours and ten minutes another. Anyone that’s lived in a city isn’t completely surprised by that variance, but what surprises me most is that the two hour drive was not marked by some sort of accident or closure or construction. As near as I can tell, nothing happened at all. When it’s construction you usually see it an can pass it and closures are also obvious enough. When an accident is cleared you can usually see the cars and people on the side of the road or even if you can’t there comes a point where everything suddenly speeds up and you say to yourself “Oh, okay, they must have cleared whatever it was that was causing the congestion. Nothing like that.

And 90% of all of the congestion takes place on that six mile stretch. If the drive takes half-an-hour more than usual, you can bank on 20 (probably 25) of those extra 30 minutes occurring between Castlewood and New City and most of the remainder being the stretch either right before it or after it. Every day, whether traffic keeps me on the road for an hour or more than two hours, traffic stops in about the same place, on Exit 6 to Castlewood. The reason that this is so frustrating and disheartening is that when you see the stall in front of you and you come to a half, you don’t know when you’re going to be moving again. When you’re driving to Paulsboro and then to Castlewood you are sailing but you know… you know… that you’re going to be sitting there in fumes and scrambling as best you can just to get one or two cars ahead. And so it’s like waiting for the shoe to drop or the hammer to fall. Since there aren’t many exits, if you think you might even need to go to the bathroom, fill your tires, or something like that you had better stop ahead of time just in case it’s another hellacious day.

I have driven in traffic and I have driven in traffic, but I have never in my life seen anything like it. Not just because I know every morning that it’s going to happen but because there’s just no way to account for it. I can leave at 6:45 in the morning and it will be there and I can leave at 8:30 and it will still be there. And there’s no pattern as to when it will be better and when it will be worse. I can’t say “If I leave at such-and-such time, at least it won’t be as bad”. On the three worst days I’ve had I left at 7:10, 7:40, and 7:50. I thought that I could avoid it by leaving at 9 or so because one day I left then and the roads were clear, but it was a fluke because it was the Friday before Labor Day. I tried it again and it took the usual (to the extent that there is ever a “usual”) buck-fifteen.

The only saving grace is that I have my audiobooks. I’ve made my way through the entire Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy radio plays and audiobooks and am not working on Terry Pratchett. I’m considering Spanish tapes to try to make productive use out of my time. There are worse things than being trapped in a car, I’ve decided.

Like shared or public transportation.

Category: Road

A not-so-hypothetical question:

Let’s say that you are taking a political science class and you wrote a paper that you considered to be A- material. You get it back and it you actually got a 98 on it. You’re initially thrilled, but then you look and see you got deducted two points for a factual inaccuracy that was not only true but provably so. The professor isn’t there when you get your paper back and before he gets back from appearing on The O’Reilly Factor you get your grade for the course, which is an “A”.

Do you:
(a) Track the professor down, point out his error, and ask for the two points back? After all, that non-error was all that stood between you and a perfect paper.
(b) Realize that you got the best grade you could for the course and that there isn’t any point going through the hassle of tracking him down for the sake of something that doesn’t make a material difference.

Category: Coffeehouse, School

A while back in a conversation about sexism in advertising, Brandon Berg commented:

IMO, the value in pointing out stuff like this is not to advance the idea that men are oppressed and reviled, but to rebut the idea that misogyny pervades American culture. As Peter points out, women are a protected class, and ads that played to negative stereotypes about women would not be tolerated.

In retrospect, I was too dismissive in my response. There was an underlying point worthy of consideration. It was explored a little bit later when there was a meme going around regarding “female privilege”, a sort of rejoinder to the feminist notion of “male privilege” which allegedly pervades our entire culture with the effect of favoring men. The idea was that men would list out ways in which women have it better than men. Berg threw in twelve of his own. Here are the first couple:

1. If I marry, there is a very good chance that I will be given the option to quit my job and live off my husband’s* income without having my femininity questioned.
2. If I become pregnant, I and I alone choose whether to terminate the pregnancy or have the baby. As a result, I can be reasonably certain that I will never be held financially responsible for a child I didn’t want to have, and that I will never have my unborn child aborted without my consent.

I agree with some of them and don’t entirely agree with the premise of others, but given his list and others it really is undeniable that there are circumstances where it appears to men (even men that are not closet misogynistic pigs that secretly hate all women) that it is advantageous to be female. And these areas extend much further than having to smash bugs and mow lawns.

None of this negates the fact that male privilege does exist. There are ways in which we are advantaged merely because we are male. These things can be chalked up not just to biology, but also to social norms and traditions that have outlived the circumstances that originally spawned them.

What it does mean, I think, is that we should bear in mind that male privilege is not true as a broad statement that men are privileged in all ways or all ways deemed important. Such a thing would negate even the possibility of female privilege except as a canard to avoid the issue at hand which is men disadvantaging women and that doesn’t seem quite right. I think that there’s a lot more to it than that.

It seems to me that male privilege and female privilege can simultaneously exist because they pertain to different things. Ways that are surprisingly difficult to weigh against one another and come up with a universal statement that on the whole, men/women are actually the favored ones or that it pushes enough in both directions to even out.

I’ve commented before that as far as relationships go if you are socially charismatic but ugly it’s better to be male but if you are attractive and socially awkward it’s more advantageous to be female. This can lead to arguments about which is the harder cliff to climb. Men might say that women can at least make themselves look better with dieting while it’s much more difficult for a person to change their personality. Women can point out that there’s a lot about your appearance that you can’t change and it is quite possible to at least gain enough social skills to improve your station. At the end of the day I would say that whether it is better to be male or female in the dating market depends on what your baseline attributes are.

As it is with the dating market I think it is with life in general. Sort of. While the dating market has more to do with what you’re bringing to the table, I think that life in general has somewhat more to do with what you want to take from it. Whether it is advantageous to be male or female depends, I think, on what exactly one wants from life. This can apply to a whole lot of things, but for this post I am going to focus on work and family.

If you want a demanding career balanced with a family our social structure is far more beneficial to men than to women. A lot of men puncture holes in the whole “Women make 75% as much as men” by pointing out that if you control for various factors that it’s fair to control for that gap disappears. And that’s true. On the other hand, that’s only taking one step back while looking at the disparity. Take another step back and it becomes apparent that our social structures, by tradition and in some cases but not all biological necessity, make it so that women on the whole have to concede to the circumstances that justify the disparity or they will pay a price for it that men don’t.

The entire structure is set up to assume that between the ages of 18 and 50-something, a person is able to devote most of their uninterrupted energy towards school and the workplace and it extracts penalties if you deviate from this path. From an employer’s standpoint this makes a lot of sense. Skills are lost when people leave the workforce. Continuity is better if you can have one person working 40 hours a week than two people working 20.

That’s a lot of it, though some of it is simply because that’s the way it has always been and it’s always been that way because it could always be that way and it could always be that way because it primarily concerned men. In other words, there are things that could change without great efficiency costs but they don’t change out of inertia. While typing this, I think of the whole residency situation for doctors, which is twice as inhospitable for women as it is for men.

But whatever the cause, at the end of the day it leaves men at a competitive advantage in the workplace in ways that women didn’t choose. Or, if they did choose, they had to make choices that the men never really had to make. Men can have the career and leave the household to be run by their girlfriends/fiances/wives. That’s more difficult for women not only because they have to find a guy that will play a long for reasons other than crass laziness but also because out of biological necessity they have to take it easy during pregnancy and for a span afterwards which can put a strain on a household’s finances that the inverse couple never would because the man can just keep on working. It’s no coincidence that almost all of the male residents that Clancy worked with had wives and kids while that wasn’t true of a substantial portion of her female coworkers.

But if someone is not ambitious it forces men into situations that their female counterparts can much more easily sidestep. Ambitious men are more comfortable with unambitious (career-wise) women than vice-versa. Ambitious women are often suspicious of unambitious men. Some of it has to do with the social norms which say that a man should want to provide for the family and whatnot, though some of it also has to do with what I believe to be the fact that men that buck this norm are generally more likely to be moochers than their female counterparts. I say this because some men that want a breadwinning wife simultaneously object to having children and this only very rarely seems true of women (in fact, I’ve never seen it, though I’m sure it exists).

Slightly more simply put, if a woman’s primary social value is in her ability to bear and raise children, and it is much more likely to be the case than with a man (replacing “bear” with “sire”), then the less emphasis she places on her primary value the less valuable she ultimately is, on the whole, as far as the relationship market is concerned. Similarly, if a man’s primary social value is to be able to provide for the family, the less interested he is in that the less valuable he is in the social market on the whole.

I am oversimplifying by reducing it all to “staying at home with the kids” vs. “working long hours to provide for the kids”, but less extreme variations also ring true. Even if a woman doesn’t want kids or doesn’t want to stay at home with them, if she wants a career that wouldn’t bring home enough money to support the family but keeps her busy and satisfied that’s easier for her to do than it is for him. To pick an example, one of Clancy’s fellow residents in Deseret had a wife that had a little catering business that she took care of while the kids were in school. I think that it’s often harder for a man to pull off that kind of part-time arrangement. On the other hand, there is an easier place for women to do such things at least in part because it is more difficult for her to avoid having to take some time off work or with greatly reduced hours, so it cuts both ways though notably does so in ways that favor men and women that want traditionally male and female things and leaving those with non-traditional aspirations a tougher and less likely road with more sacrifice required.

Another way of looking at all of this is to say that generally speaking it is advantageous to want what other people like you want. Bucking norms comes at a cost. Hardly news, I know, but I think that it’s generally pertinent to the discussion. For women, I think more of them would like to become successes in the workplace than would men like to have less workplace success in favor of more time with the little ones and I think the fact that women want this in larger numbers (and it’s among the more vocal men that want it) that makes the discussion focus a lot more on what men can do more easily than women. On the other hand, for the fewer men that do buck the traditions they can have a much harder time of it at least in part because while a woman can succeed in the workplace without a man, a man cannot have a family without a woman.

Category: Coffeehouse

Politico ran a rather vapid-yet-interesting article on the hair (and/or lack thereof) of would-be vice president Joe Biden:

The most common hypothesis is that he received a hair transplant, where follicles from the bushier back of the head are grafted onto fading spots closer to the front of the dome.

In 1987, a Washington Post reporter asked him to confirm the theory. “Guess,” he responded. “I’ve got to keep some mystery in my life.”

A quick Politico survey of stylists and hair transplant surgeons — some of whom have followed Biden’s career path for years, while others didn’t know about him until yesterday — found that there was little mystery.

“When he had darker hair it was pretty obvious, he had larger plugs,” said Dr. Michael Beehner, medical director of the Saratoga Hair Transplant Center in New York. “With the lightening of his hair, it looks much, much better now.”

The article was originally interesting to me because I’ve always found the notion of people (by which I mean men, because it’s so commonly accepted of women) bolstering their appearance in ways that are supposed to look natural and yet pretty transparently isn’t. I am thinking of an old Colosse County Commissioner who was 80 and looked it but nonetheless colored his hair a very implausible dark shade of brown. Or people that after having gone gray suddenly come in to work with brown or black or whatever hair. Or comb-overs in general.

I decided when I was young that if I was ever going to color my hair, I’d do it in a transparently fake color like light blue or purple. Ironically, the only two times I ever have colored my hair was once gray for a costume (though it stayed gray for weeks) and once brown for odd work-related reasons that may warrant its own post at some point. On the other hand, I can also think of it like a tattoo or some other body decoration wherein if the guy thinks that he looks better with it than without it who am I to argue?

But then I saw pictures of Biden at the convention with Obama and my mind went off on a different trajectory altogether. Even though I follow politics relatively closely and knew who Biden was and all that, most of the pictures I’d seen of him were from the front. I hadn’t realized that despite the fact that he looks full-headed (with assistance, of course) from the front, the entire crown of his head is shiny-bald.

So that got me thinking… if he’s going to go to the trouble of covering up his baldness in front, why do it so half-assed? Particularly in this age of Rogaine which covers precisely the part of the head where Biden remains bald. Biden would look much better bald than in his current state. At some point in the 2000 election, Gore mysteriously lost the growing bald patch in the back of his head and you know what? It worked! The bald patch was far more conspicuous and distracting than its mysterious disappearance.

Then again, maybe I’m the only person that finds the bald patch so distracting. For some reason, I find that style of baldness the be by far the most unsettling. Far moreso than horseshoe hair, excessive devil’s peaks, or pure baldness. There’s something weird to me about a person appearing not-bald from one angle and then obviously bald from another. Or maybe it’s sorta like the first paragraph of this post… the trying to cover something up (the goingness of bald) and yet doing so unconvincingly. So much worse to try and fail at such things than not to try at all. Yet for the most part they aren’t even trying. Except for cases like Biden, they’re not planting hair in the front it’s simply still existing there (at least for the time being) and they’re simply declining to take it off. Though then again, isn’t that essentially what a combover wearer is doing?

Me? If it comes down to it, I’ll actually cut the front off before I’ll sport a bald crown with hair surrounding it. I’ve already decided this, probably about the time I was deciding on the blue/purple that I never followed through on. I’m not too proud to try Rogaine first, but if that doesn’t work I’ll shave it all off or get a buzzcut before I let a bald crown empire slowly overtake the rest of my head. I guess that’s my personality… either do it completely or not at all.

If Biden does become Vice President, it’s really going to be oddly difficult for me to stomach his differing point of view on this particular issue.

Drudge linked to this a while back to a case in Texas wherein a woman was arrested for running a sex operation out of her spa and a cop was fired for having sex with her. It’s a rather bizarre story and unfortunately I can’t quote it lightly, so the blockquotes are probably a tad excessive. It ultimately comes down to a “He said, she said”.

She said:

After an abusive marriage and tragic life in China, SuJun Han believed she had found some hope in Beaumont: a good-paying job and a businessman boyfriend.

The job got her busted and the “boyfriend” turned out to be a cop.

“I’m at the lowest point in my life,” said Han in an interview with The Enterprise last week in Houston. Han was charged with prostitution in May when police raided her VIP Spa in Beaumont.

The 45-year-old China native says she was operating a legitimate business, and the only sexual contact she had was with two men who turned out to be Beaumont officers – and her passionate intercourse with one of them was for love.

Han says the raid three months ago on her VIP Spa added more dark punctuation to a life peppered with abuse from men, including at the hands of a husband who forced her to give away her firstborn daughter.

He Said:

Breiner is one of two officers suspended indefinitely without pay for engaging in sex acts during the undercover investigation. Breiner is the only officer trying to stop the city from suspending him, saying that because he did what he was asked to do, the punishment violated his constitutional rights.

“I don’t agree that he should have had sex. I don’t agree that (Lt. Curtis) Breaux told him he should have sex,” Coffin said.

Breiner has said all along that Breaux told him he would have to have sex with the women to make the case.

Breiner added that the other undercover officers didn’t want to participate in the sting because they didn’t want to have to testify in open court. Also the officers indicated their wives wouldn’t allow it.

Lt. David Kiker is the other officer who was suspended without pay for having sex. Breaux and Sgt. Robert Roberts were suspended five days for failing to notify department heads of the lengths the officers would go to pursue a felony conviction.

Breiner testified to experiencing manual stimulation, oral sex and vaginal penetration with women at two spas.

Assistant City Attorney Joseph Sanders asked Breiner if he enjoyed having sex with the women.

At first he shrugged his shoulders and shook his head. At times when Breiner responded to the attorney’s questions, he raised his voice and answered questions with a question.

“If you are asking if I had an orgasm, yes. It was a job, sir,” Breiner said. “I didn’t have pleasure doing this. I was paid to do it.”

Sanders also asked Breiner if he had a problem getting aroused.

“Obviously, you haven’t listened to the tapes. Yes, I did,” Breiner responded.

There’s a saying that the truth usually lies somewhere between… but it’s kind of hard to believe either of these are really telling the truth. Just because I think she’s lying doesn’t mean that I think he’s telling the truth.

Category: Courthouse

Probably a year or so ago, I was in a company-wide meeting at Soyokaze where the CEO made a joke about how management screws up and it’s the employees that have to work late and put it all back together ha ha ha. It was intended as self-deprecating humor though it didn’t get the laughter that he was looking for. I don’t even remember the precise joke, but I remember writing a little note on my pad and passing it to my coworker Pat that read:

“Sharp humor is less funny to those doing the bleeding.”

What I meant by that was that if a joke is being made about something that is intrinsically unfunny to you it doesn’t matter if you’re not the intended target of the joke (if the joke is made by someone that isn’t bleeding).

I was thinking about this the other day when I was watching a movie. The film was a harrowing drama about a character being stalked and terrorized by an obsessive ex-lover wherein he flees for his life with his life in peril at every step. Well, okay, it actually wasn’t a drama, it was a comedy. The movie was My Super Ex-Girlfriend. And it was quite funny.

Nonetheless, the thought occurred to me as Uma Thurmon dropped a shark in Luke Wilson’s living room that it shouldn’t be funny to have a guy being terrorized by a vindictive ex and that if the genders were reversed the movie never would have been made. Well, maybe as a Lifetime Movie or something starring Julia Roberts, but not as a comedy. It wouldn’t be the slightest bit funny.

Then of course I asked myself “Why not?” After all, it makes no real pretense of realism. No one would watch the movie and think “Gosh, I wonder if everyone will make it out of this okay!” It’s a light comedy and obviously so from the outset. But the comedy only works if the victim is male and the opposite’s redemption at the end could only take place with a female character. In any other case, it would be lambasted as making light of the serious issue of domestic violence.

That’s what reminded me of my little note at the Soyokaze meeting. That kind of humor only works at an emotional distance. Only if you feel safe and it doesn’t bring to mind some traumatic experience. Men don’t generally have a whole lot to fear from violent women, so we can laugh. Women can laugh too because the victim in the movie is male. So it works.

It reminds me of a thread on Bobvis about a rape joke. Dizzy’s reaction to the joke and to anyone that would forward the joke (or find it funny) was fierce. My position was that you can’t help what you find funny, but you can help what tasteless jokes you pass along. Anyway, Dizzy made what I thought was a strange comment about how men wouldn’t laugh at a rape joke if involved a man getting raped in prison.

In fact, many such jokes are told. At least two comedians I know of (Chris Rock and Ron White) have routines that involve prison rape and “federal-pound-me-in-the-ass prison” was an ongoing joke in Office Space. So I commented that prison rape isn’t nearly as off-limits generally because there is this (misguided) sense that the victims have it coming. But Spungen made what I thought was a much better point:

Guys would think [a joke about prison rape or a man getting raped by many women] was hilarious, because it never happens. Or at least, seldom enough that they never worry about it. Guys will even joke about homosexual rape, because they just don’t worry about it.

Guys can afford to keep a distance from the subject material because it’s something that we so seldom have to worry about. I actually did have a possibly dangerous ex-girlfriend at one point and even feared for my (and Evangeline’s and later Clancy’s) safety at least a little, but it was this weird freak thing (or this thing with this weird freak) and so once that passed that was the last I would ever have to think about it. Don’t have to worry about my friends, either. May have to worry about my female friends, though, which is why a My Super Ex-Boyfriend movie would be less funny even to me.

Category: Coffeehouse, Theater

Comcast to make monthly Internet use cap official

NEW YORK (AP) — Comcast Corp., the nation’s second-largest Internet service provider, Thursday said it would set an official limit on the amount of data subscribers can download and upload each month.

On Oct. 1, the cable company will update its user agreement to say that users will be allowed 250 gigabytes of traffic per month, the company announced on its Web site.

Comcast has already reserved the right to cut off subscribers who use too much bandwidth each month, without specifying exactly what constitutes excessive use.

“We’ve listened to feedback from our customers who asked that we provide a specific threshold for data usage and this would help them understand the amount of usage that would qualify as excessive,” the company said in a statement on its Web site.

Comcast: Users Who Exceed 250GB Cap Twice Face Service “Termination”

Sam Gustin says: It’s been rumored, but now it’s confirmed. Comcast, the nation’s largest cable company, is instituting a 250GB bandwidth threshold to begin October 1, the company said today.

“If a customer uses more than 250 GB and is one of the top users of our service, he or she may be contacted by Comcast to notify them of excessive use,” the company said in an update on its network management Web page.

As part of the policy, if a user exceeds the 250GB usage cap twice in a six-month period, they face losing their service.

As a (relatively pleased) Comcast customer, I have sort of mixed feelings about this.

On one hand, this is better than a lot of alternatives. It’s good that they’re coming out and giving a number. I much prefer above-the-board policies over vague terms like “too much”. If 38 pieces of flare is the number, say it’s 38. I also think that this is probably better than Time-Warner’s tact of tiered plans. My first thought was “Comcast should let people that go over just pay extra” but I think that would incentivize them to revise that number downward and find ways to overcount used bandwidth because it’d mean more money. By kicking people off, they’re drawing a line in the sand that would more accurately put the limits closer to profitability. It’s worth noting that the companies that are simply charging more for “over-use” are putting their caps waaaaay lower. Absurdly low. That’s another good thing about Comcast’s plan… 250GB is a lot of transfer. Almost enough that you can be sure that anyone that goes above that is probably doing something rather sneaky.

Almost, but not quite. That’s what brings me to the reservations with the plan. As Web pointed out when we discussed TW’s tiered plan, used bandwidth is something very hard to gauge. Sometimes when you don’t think you’re using much, you are. Sometimes when you think you’re using a lot, the people at the other end are trying to save on their own bandwidth and have thus minimized the transfers. Could a person that’s not downloading tons and tons of nefarious gigabytes from BitTorrent or what have you go over 250GB? It’s not easy, but it can be done. Though they throw out a lot of numbers about how many songs someone could download or whatever, they overlook one huge thing which is streaming video and streaming audio. Some people don’t just watch trailers online, they watch movies from Netflix and TV shows from Hulu and listen to Internet radio and Rhapsody and a ton of other stuff. I honestly don’t know how much of that would be required to hit their maximum. That’s a problem in and of itself. I’m a relatively knowledgeable guy when it comes to computers… and I don’t know.

The good news is that they will alert users that are going over the limits. That’s good. They need to do something like that. If I’m at risk of getting my service shut off entirely, I want to know. The problem is that I want to know well before it happens. I need some sort of meter or gauge. If they add that, that’d go a pretty long way towards easing the uncertainty and allowing people to moderate their use when they can and if they find that they’re running low on bandwidth they can curb their uses towards more critical functions.

So in review, I think that they did a good job setting the limit as high as they did in order to target only the worst offenders and it’s good that they’re giving hard numbers. They just need to give a little more notice than a phone call when it’s already too late and cut service the second time around.

Category: Server Room

There was a short time in Colosse when the Republicans were on the rise in city government. They couldn’t seem to swipe the mayor’s mansion, but they got quite adept at picking up lower profile races where the Republican voters were well-organized and the Democratic voters complacent and not always knowing that the guy that they see all those signs for is an icky Republican. They managed to win even city-wide elections despite the Democratic tilt of city politics in addition to a handful of Republican-leaning districts. With a couple surprisingly conservative black Democrats and a not-popular mayor, they even had a majority on the council for a couple of years.

The funny thing about the Republican city councilman is that they almost all looked exactly the same. Unusually young-looking handsome white fratboyish men with dark hair and a winning smile for the cameras. I followed politics closely and even I couldn’t always tell them apart. When one was term-limited out, another would step right in and take over the same role as seemlessly as Girard Christopher took over for John Haymes Newton as Superboy. Coincidentally, both actors looked a lot like Colosse Republican city councilmen.

Anyway, this post in particular involved Councilman Trevor Gaines. One night Gaines left a strip club that he’d been cut off for drinking too much. While driving, he swerved off the road, hit the railing, and ended up with a flat tire. He was walking down the road to his mother’s house, which was apparently nearby, when someone pulled over to offer aid.

  • If you’re a city councilman, it’s not good to be caught drunk driving, much less doing so in a way that results in your car kissing the rail.
  • The people that stopped to help him almost certainly didn’t know who he was, so all he needed to do was refuse the help and keep on walking.
  • If he could just sleep it off, he could return and pick the car up the next day. Or perhaps it would have been towed, but that was preferable to a DWI.

Unfortunately, he wasn’t moving very fast physically or mentally. He didn’t really manage to get away completely before onlookers started gathering. He told the Samaritans, “No, thanks! I can’t get caught here because I am drunk and I am a city councilman and I drove my car into a rail!”

Though he’d cleared the first, he was apparently hadn’t made the second stop on the above logic train.

He pleaded it out for a fine and community service announcements. You might think that his political career was over, but shortly before election day he had a stroke of good luck that got him some sympathy votes: The newspapers found out that his wife had been sleeping with another Republican city councilman. Maybe she thought that the Republican City Councilmen were as interchangeable as I did.