August 14th, 2002


Should we talk about the weather?

Even though it was the third Code Red Ozone Action day in a row today, I drove in to work. It's kind of a catch-22: they make today Code Red because the air quality in this festering bog is so dangerously shitty that human beings should not be outside breathing, yet, they suggest that we take the bus into work on days like this in order to ease the pollution. If the air quality is so bad that I shouldn't be outside, why are you suggesting I walk to the bus stop rather than stay in my climate-controlled car?

On the radio, the weather guy said, "tomorrow the heat will break and we'll get down into the lower 90's for the remainder of the week". Um, HELLO? BREAK? DOWN? LOWER 90's? One of my professors in college told us that foreign diplomats who are stationed in Washington get a bonus in their pay for living in such hostile weather conditions. Last time I volunteer to live in a swamp.

This reminds me of an episode of History's Mysteries I caught a few weeks ago. They were talking about this brothel that was roumoured to be located on what is now the National Mall in the latter half of the 19th Century. Apparently, vague mentions of it have been made and a few presidents were thought to have visited it. They did an archaeological dig on the Mall, and came up with nothing until they hit this one spot where they found hundreds of champagne bottle corks and all of these corset hooks. X marks the spot, I guess.

While the show was fascinating, something crept into my head that night that has failed to leave. Picture it: 1892. Plumbing, and therefore easy means of bathing, are few and far in between, but people hadn't bought into this whole "germ" thing yet anyway. Air conditioning? The best you might ask for is a breeze from the river, which was probably floor to surface in raw sewage. Who's to say how efficient the sewer system was in D.C. at that time? Inside, government officials who left their wives at home to protect them from the vile weather are looking for the company of a young lady, a cigar and a drink. Unhealthy whores with poor hygiene wearing layers and layers of corsets, petticoats and assorted dressings are there to provide this service for a fee.

Now, in your mind, step into this brothel and take a whiff.
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Dear Proud New Father/Co-Worker

Your baby is cute.

I still don't really like to stand around making baby talk and googly faces at her every time you bring her in. Yes, she's cute. And she's the smartest baby in the entire world. And you should be proud of her for saying "ba-ba." But it makes me a wee bit uncomfortable to see a grown man that I have to work with sing the alphabet song, and there's only so many times I can stare wide-eyed at your progeny asking her if she's got anything to say.
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