Friday Fives – the Future of Mexico

einsteintongue

What hobby attracts the most assholes?

Wow.  That is a thoughtful and odd  question.  Needless to say, it would be something involving men.  Weightlifting.

 What’s a weird hobby you have?  

Not arson, I can tell you that much.  Not even sure why you just brought that up.  Let’s look.  What are my hobbies?  Guitar and bass playing.  Traveling.  Writing to you aholes.  Probably that one.  I have been doing this, on this very web address, since 2003.  Snark BEFORE TMZ, Salon.com, Buzzfeed, Cracked, the Daily Show.  Did I invent it?   No.  we would go back to the Harvard Lampoon.  Sure, there was snark and thoughtful social commentary as long as language goes back.  However, the Lampoon organized it.  They published.  They wrote original material.  They made movies.  They win.  Plus, Simpson’s was entirely run by Harvard nerds for the first few generations.

If you could shoot anything out of your index finger, what would you choose?

Clean tap water.  I would go back to Mexico (note, I literally woke up in Mexico today.  We are there a lot) and help them with their water problems.  They have tap water, but you can’t drink it…. Still.   I have been traveling to Mexico for almost 30 years.  It hasn’t changed.  It is still all charm, and a total fucking mess.  That is why we visit.  People think of Cuba as being this magical place stuck in 1959, and it is.

Anyhow,  getting a cup of water out of your tap is an incredible advancement, and one we obviously take for granted.  In Mexico (again, this is on my mind because I was just back from a week there.  We go a lot, annually.  Both wife and i speak Spanish, and we have been all over the country) you can’t drink the water.  It also means you can’t get a mixed drink.  Why not?  Because your mixed drink has ice in it, made from the (bad) tap water.  So, you keep a nalgene*** bottle of purified water with you everywhere… even to a restaurant.  Other than that, drink beer!  BUT WAIT… was that beer kept in a cooler?  Maybe with water and ice?  Maybe there is some of that water on the bottle or bottlecap.  You have to consider that, too.  We take lime and rub it around the top before we drink,

Mexico kinda feels the same.  At least the places we go, outside of some random wifi in a restaurant, I could drop you where we were this week and defy you to even give me a decade we were in.  LOVE it.

How about some pics from our vacation?  Scroll down.  Hold on, they are still on my phone.  Through the magic of time edit, it is done now and they are down there.

What’s something you will never do again?

That I am willing to share, in writing?  Ok, that scratches out most humiliating stupid ideas that have made great stories.  It’s safe to say skiing.  I never liked skiing, and never got in to it.  Grew up in Phx, you remember.  The skiing there, frankly, is sub par.  Since then, I have had a few knee surgeries.  Plus, the idea of paying… a LOT… to be stuck on a mountain outside in a snowstorm… with no way to safety but sticks lashed to my feet… well that doesn’t seem like fun.  That seems like a big problem.

How do you think the world will end?

I don’t think it will be war, I think it will be disease.  However, let me end with this AMAZING quote by Einstein – I do not know how WW3 will be fought, but WW4 will be fought with sticks and stones.

mexico vacation photos below

*** nalgene – I am guessing everyone from Colorado reading this knows that this is, and others may not.  It’s just a water bottle, but its the greatest water bottle ever.  unbreakable, strong, light, big, dishwasher friendly.  If you don’t have several get some now.  You will thank me.  REI has the best, and I think kind of pioneered the design and popularized the brand.

slate20blue2032oz20nalgene

pictures from Mexico.  Why?  Why not?

hijacking a plane – they ruined it!

*** Update 10.1.14 – bottom, after you read this

You know, there was a time was hijacking was a glorious and time tested event. Mostly, it was a victimless crime. Yeah, sure, you got detoured to Cuba or Algeria…. But you lived, right? Think of the stories you will have to tell. Look at DB Cooper; all reports say he was both handsome and very polite. Now that is my kind of terrorist! See, the hijackers never killed anyone, because had they, there would be no ransom money. No one will pay you for dead Americans.  Trust me on this one!  Of course, you and I know ransom money rarely works out even if they pretend to acquiesce. Mostly, the bad guys get killed.

You have probably heard in the movies ‘the United States does not negotiate with terrorists’. This is true, for the most part, and it comes from hijacking. They have to remove the incentive. If each time the US paid a bad guy who hijacked the plane… people would hijack planes daily. So, how does it end? Well, we usually shoot the bad guys. Wanna see a cool movie about this stuff that I think is a thoughtful and entertaining look – Dog Day Afternoon. It stars Al Pacino as Al Pacino. Get it? I mean sure, his character has a name… but dude plays the exact same guy in pretty much every movie.  In this film, he plays a gay psychotic and manic depressive nutjob going through a break up with his boyfriend, who is the hospital as we speak to get gender reassignment surgery.  Yet… it is really just Al Pacino doing his thing.

People understood the rules of hijacking. It was a kind of gentlemen’s understanding. Don’t mess with the hijackers. Be quiet and make NO trouble. No one gets hurt. Yes, they will scream a LOT. Odds are they will threaten to kill you a bunch. Stay cool, you will be fine. Hijacking was grand good fun for all involved

Those were the good old days. Then, the terrorists won. As you know, 9/11 began with hijacking. Initially, no one touched or challenged the hijackers. If you are under 30, you are likely thinking “why in the hell didn’t they attack the hijackers? They were all going to die anyway, that much is obvious, right?” Wrong. As I mentioned above, hijackings rarely resulted in passenger deaths. We also know from recordings that the bad guys didn’t say “Hey, we are going to fly into some buildings.” No. They said “stay cool and no one gets hurt”. Sadly, everyone in the first two planes died a horrible death.

What was different about the fourth plane, then? Why did they attack? This is the question you should be asking. The people on the fourth plane knew all about the first three planes. The fourth plane, which we suspect was heading for the capital building, was hijacked an hour after the first two crashed into Manhattan. So, those folks in the last plane knew they were going to die. They had nothing to lose. What they did took balls of steel, and I forever admire their sacrifice. Let’s roll!

Hijacking, now, is ruined. You can’t just tell everyone to chill out… anymore. You can’t say “give me a million dollars and fly me to Cuba”. If you do that now, the passengers (me included) are going to kill you. For that, the terrorists won.

* bonus trivia: Seth McFarland was supposed to be on the first plane. He overslept. He had the greatest and most thoughtful response to the usual question. People asked him “do you believe you were spared, or have a special purpose in life now?” He answers “

No. To believe that, then you believe all the people who did die died for a reason, or deserved to die

His point being (in case I didn’t explain it right) is to say “to imply god spared me and wanted me to live is to imply god wanted all those other 3,000 to die”.  He is a good man, and I have lifelong respect for him and his thoughtful response.

**** update 10.1.2014

More proof that hijacking was just ‘plane’ fun before 9/11. Just after I wrote this piece, this story came across my desk, via Reddit. It’s a 45 year old story, so it seemed like creepy fate when this popped up a day after my groundbreaking and courageous piece. Do you remember Allen Funt? He was the guy who ran the original ‘punk’d’.   He did a wildly successful show called ‘candid camera’. It was just like it sounds, put regular people in super awkward situations and film them. Then, most importantly, film the reveal. Everyone watched this show. EVERYONE. Know why? Because it was great? No. Because in 1969 you only had 3 channels. NBC, CBS, and ABC. That was it.

Because of this, Allen Funt was one of the most recognizable people in America. In 1969, Funt was on a flight from New York to Miami with his family. The plane was being hijacked. Hijacking was scary common back then. This happened in February, and it was already the 12th hijacking that year. The hijacking was real, very real. Problem was, no one believed it. Since everyone had seen Funt, they all assumed it was a bit, and they were on TV.   Even as the plane was being re-routed to Cuba, everyone thought it was a bit. Rather than being terrified of the hijackers, passengers complimented them on their acting skills and believability.

These people would NOT believe they were being hijacked. The plane was diverted to Cuba (that was all the rage for generations. Why? It was an independent country with no extradition to America and it is super duper close. By plane, it was an extra ten minutes from Miami. Anyhow, then the plane landed in Havana, the passengers stood up in the aisles and gave their hijackers a standing ovation for being so credible.

Don’t believe me? I rarely believe me, either. Here’s proof. This is one of Funt’s kids who was on that plane