Monday, January 24, 2005


So today this kid shows up in class without any shoes on his feet. Health issues aside I think there is a problem here with decency and manners. (Not to mention that the very selfsame person was wearing his hat indoors...another issue entirely.) I'm not perfect. God knows I'm not perfect. But at least I make an effort. What happened to the world that everyone just does what "feels good" and not what is polite, decent, and mindful of other people?

First issue, being polite:
I try very hard to be polite whenever possible. (And if anyone who knows me and finds me being impolite, point it out..."I'll call you on your shit if you please call me on mine" -Propagandhi.) This covers the spectrum from even the most basic things like saying please and thank you to people when you want/receive something. That is just something you have to do, there are no if's, and's, or but's about it. Especially when the person who you are talking to is in the service industry. Don't take advantage of their civility or it may leave you with unidentified ingredients in your food. I once received an email from my mother that was a forward, which are silly by nature, but there was one lasting sentence in this whole electronic mail calling itself "the rules of life" that remains with me still--"If a person is nice to you, but mean to a waiter/waitress, they are not a nice person." But it should not stop there, open doors for others (not just women, but especially the elderly.) Don't wear hats indoors, men. Women, never admit to farting...Girls don't do that--I'm just kidding, women can do whatever they want...this IS the 90s after all. Just be nice to other people.

Second Issue, reflection/disturbing others:
Other people have eyes. Not just that they have noses, sensibilities and ideas about how the world should go. Unless you are an intentionally outstanding jackass you should be ever watchful of overstepping your social bounds when you enter into a situation. Every social situation has an acceptable set of behaviors that can land you in the good graces of anyone, if followed correctly. Basically if you are not able to behave yourself based on the norms of a situation you find yourself in you come across as ill-mannered, boorish, and--above all--selfish. Now, that is all well and good if that is how you want to put yourself out there for the world, but keep in mind that you are not only representing yourself, but also your family, your home town, and anyone else who had a hand in your upbringing. So yeah, you can go around thinking, it's okay if everyone in this room with me thinks that I'm a drunken lout, etc., but you have to remember that a good percentage of them are imagining you being brought up by yetis and shoving porridge down the front of your trousers while watching The Dukes of Hazzard reruns in a hovel somewhere. So do your folks proud and act like an adult, and know how to act out in public. Be cautious. "It is always better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt." I think Twain said that, but don't quote me on that.

Final Issue, dressing yourselves:
Dress like a hobo if you want, that's fine, but don't be mad if you are treated like one. Especially if you stink.

-Andrew R. Leith

p.s.- For those of you who don't know me...or don't know me very well here are some bands that I like, and think you should too:
1. The Smoking Popes-mid nineties emo-ish rock that is mostly about girls (but really Jesus)
2. [early] Lawrence Arms-snotty angry social commentary or melancholy lamentations, depending on who's singing.
3. Alkaline Trio-so sad it hurts...but in a good way.
4. The Dillinger Four-angry sociopolitical rock that takes forever to understand (listen with the lyric sheets out) but once you do gee-whiz is it good stuff.
5. The Weakerthans-every time it reminds me of a laaaazy autumn afternoon...Delightful.
Okay, that's all. Type at you later!

Friday, January 14, 2005

Guilty...but why?

As men, what are we?

There are things in my head--questions mostly--that can barely bear examination. For example, why are we (meaning men...and not men in the sense of humanity, but men in the chromasomal sense) so freely and easily controlled by sex and sexuality? A broad (no pun intended) question, I know...but one that seems to need asking.

Sitting early yesterday morning in a large metropolitan airport I was once again faced with a burning question about the members of my gender when it comes to dealing with the opposite gender...nay anyone we find attractive to be more fair and correct; why are men so needy, lewd, and indiscreet? Oh, of course most men think they are being discreet, but no no there is hardly anything about our leering that would suggest discretion. Two examples from the morning of 13 January 2005 come as a blatant example of the bluntness and uncontrolable/seemingly incurable male behavior to which we are all prone.

First, while parusing the latest and lamentably last issue of Freeze Magazine--one who's passing will leave a void in the literary development of many skiers--while waiting for boarding to begin on my flight to Chicago from Albequerque I sat and watched as the crowd began to grow. Among that predominantly male growing crowd were four people I thought of note. Person number one was my dear dad, who is a good man, despite some of his faults. Persons number two and three were two men with unfortunate hair. One of these men looked to be in his 40s or 50s and was wearing what can be described as a "cosby sweater" and his companion was a twentysomething with a "George-Cloony-circa-E.R. era-roman-hairdo". The fourth and final member of the silent melodrama that I watched being acted out in the terminal this sunny morning was a shapely young woman who appeared as though she could have been anywhere from her mid twenties to mid thirties.

The action unfolded thusly: The young woman approached the gate as she walked down the terminal. I looked up from my ski-porn long enough to assess that yes, she was good looking, but I wanted to know more about the everyday life in Are, Sweeden, so it was back to the ski rag. All of the sudden my father uttered the tell-tale old man phrase of seeing something pleasing but probably unatainable and my attention was grabbed by the slightly lecherous "oh MY" that issued from his lips. (First of all there is something about that phrase when it comes from an older gentleman that has a sort of foppish quality to it, but we are not going to get into that today, other than to say that it often sounds like the "oh MY" should be followed by "what DOOO we have HERE!?" But that's just the way I feel about old men being creepy, and that's neither here nor there within this discussion.) Anyway, over the next three quarters of an hour I was intrigued not by the actions of the young woman in question, but by the actions of the other men around me.

Q-1: Do men really think that women cannot see them when they do the none-too-subtle "look over the shoulder as though taking in your surroundings but really just end up staring at a woman" maneuver?
A-1: I submit that, yes, a great many men fancy that they are quite the sly fox when busting out this move, when, in reality, even if the woman at whome their attentions are being directed does not catch their gaze there are other people around who see their actions and wonder why their gender is so creepy. Although guilty of the same activities now and again myself it seems all the more pathetic when you catch someone else in the act of sneaking a peek. If you find a woman attractive, talk to her. Chances are a lot of people are too scared to hit on her and it may be your lucky day and you'll find a special gal...(funny advice, I know because many of you who know me can attest that I am the last person to take action, even when intense attraction is involved, but it is SOUND advice, even if the author here is trying to live up to it himself.)

Q-2: What is up with men's fascination with sex?
A-2: Turns out that while sex is a lot of fun it's a very strange activity once you get down to brass tacks. If it was meant as something purely as a tool for reproduction why does it feel so good? Are the good sensations a necessary way for humanity to involuntarily bolster population levels? Truth is I don't know but next to making-out sex is about the weirdest thing normal people do. Everyone knows that sex sells, but why is that? How did so many men around the world get behind the idea that "If she'll just take her top off I'd be glad to give her a good portion of the money I have on my person right now?" The sex industry is a multi-million dollar a year moneymaker all because it has been proven time and time again that men will throw money at exposed body parts without any realistic hope of love or relationship. There is something about the hope that men get from naked women that buoys men's generosity and ultimately their wallets. It's mind boggling, really.

The second industry of this Thursday last is that a taller gentlemen who was standing to fiddle with his items in the overhead compartment allowed a flight attendant to pass him in the aisle, but then gave her the full body once-over with his eyes when she had passed. Supremely creepy, this move was noticable to everyone except those directly involved in the action. Somehow there is some cuircut in men's brains that makes it impossible to just allow any relatively young and fit woman to pass by without making her the source of scrutiny and/or fantasy.

Try as I might to rise above these problems I recognize that I am a member of the male gender in modern society and I will still foster urges that ought to be repressed to check out every woman that walks by. I don't want to be dirty and weird. In fact, I want to be able to base a woman's appeal on the things that come out of her mouth more than what she's wearing, but it's a long process of reprogramming my own mind, and I'm getting there--slowly but surely I am getting there--and someday it will be all about personality and all anyone will have to look for in the opposite gender is someone who it is fun to spend time with and everything else means fuck-all. If we all keep looking we'll find that special man, woman, someone special that we all would like in our lives without becoming a spectacle of unwitting embarrassment to those around us in society. Because, that someone is out there, we just need to hope to find them before it's too late.

-A.R. Leith

p.s.- If you're bored and online check out and That's all for now and I'll try and make things more interesting and updates more frequently in the future.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Confusion, it would seem.

Right-o, it would appear that there was some confusion over the contents of the gibberish that I typed down yesterday, so this little bit is just to clarify before I sleep:

The crux of the update of 4 Jan. 2005 was that there are a lot of people out there who talk just to be talking to people, and that's not all that rad. Now it is understandable just to pass the time with your friends by chatting idly about whatever, but it is quite another thing to come at a stranger with a subject matter that is superficial and nobody should really care about. I don't know, maybe I'm just bitter, but whatever.

The point is, "Shut your mouth and open your eyes". There is a whole big world around us every day and a lot of people are so busy talking about useless crap that many a wonderful thing just passes us by. For me it goes back to my feeling about being in is hard to learn with your mouth open. Take in the world around you and talk about those things that really matter to you and others. I think it makes for a better connection with the people in your life, and it definitely makes for better conversations.

Alright, that's enough for now. More later...if you're lucky. Ha!

-A. Leith

Monday, January 03, 2005

Commas and Ellipsis...

An excellent point was made today in a movie I was watching (Garden State, if you haven't seen it, you should.) that there are no real beginnings or endings in life...that is until the very end where there is an ending, but nobody is really sure about that one yet. Put into punctuational terms the theory is that no matter what happens until the big final "?" there are only commas and ellipsis in our lives that are bridges to other eras in our time here on earth. A very interesting idea to ponder. Especially since I am generally of the belief that life might just be a series of disappointments. But is it really, or are people--me in particular--looking at the wrong part of their situation. Of course there has always been the phrase "When one door closes, another door opens", but that's bollocks and so cliche that it kind of hurts my head a little bit. The truth, however, is that there is a lot of opportunity to be had in everyday life if you just have the proper perspective on things. Paying close attention, like close listening or reading, often produces some of the most staggering possibilities where there once were none.

Without the lows in life could we really enjoy the highs? Having often been told that the music I listen to is "depressing" and "too angry" I cannot be bothered because to me the music is hopeful in that there is always the underlying opposite amplitude of the wave that is implied but not expressed by many singer/songwriters. So yeah, I listen to whiny emo rock sometimes, because the implication is that before the times being whined about there were good times and smiles and something that felt so good that it couldn't possibly end...but it did end, and when it ended it hurt all the more. So the downs correspond to the ups. That IS life, and that is what makes life good.

Okay, I know this entry is getting clogged up with quotes (especially since I have just recently been accused of singing to myself too much) but the next two are from the same band and just might be pertinent to the topic at hand: The dillinger 4, a lovely little rock outfit out of Minnesota with a lot of sage advice/thoughts on the world around have quipped "thousands of us dead today, thousands went unfed today, and all we talk about's the fucking weather." and they also asked us to take head of windy city author Nelson Algren and "celebrate the ugly things." I would like to ask everyone who reads this, and I know it might not ever be many, but take time out of your day to think about both of those statements. First, take notice of the content of your everyday conversations, does it really ever mean anything, does it get us anywhere, or does it just distract us from the ills of the world. Second, having looked at what we talk about and why can't we then find the beauty in all the things that we have not been talking about all this while. Not so much beauty in the sense that it is right or good, but beauty in the sense that it gives us understanding of the world and, more importantly, the people around us. Can we really understand the pain and joy of the world if we consistently ignore it because it would disrupt our bubble?

Since we're already here and busy doing it just two more quotes before I'm done and sleeping:
"Is it really worth talking when everything goes left unsaid?" -The Lawrence Arms
"Do we ever take the time to really discover how little we know about each other?" -Less Than Jake

-A. Leith

p.s.- check out Timberlake's page at he has lots of pictures and such, where I have none. I'm not good with pictures.