Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Ladies and Gentlemen,

I apologize for my prolonged (re: 10 month) absence. One would be amazed how much time guiding the future of 130 youths of America can take. Last year, I had sixty-eight, and I struggled to churn out one post per long while. This year, I have twice that number, and it is equally challenging though more time consuming. I can at least rest assured in knowing that some small portion of our future leaders is heading out into the world with an eye on the truth and not that rubbish we're expected to believe.

Still, something caught my attention that I felt needed addressing. Anna Chapman. How did this slip by my radar? And no, I'm not simply referring to her hotness on par with Jewel Staite (though we will discuss the pros and cons of a hot spy later in the program).

Oh, big deal. So she spied for the Russians. It's the Russians. Who cares about them anymore? The Cold War is over, and we're no longer enemies. Maybe neighbors who aren't so keen on the way the other mows his lawn at five in the morning EVERY SATURDAY. If she's passing on secrets, I can't imagine they're beyond the international equivalent of neighborhood gossip. Who didn't return whose rake? Or, I suppose on a more accurate scale, who isn't returning whose scientists. The fact that her discovery led to a highly publicized spy exchange simply proves the no-big-deal nature of the situation. What? You mean you're going to give back the tools we left at your place and we're going to return the stuff you left at ours? Sounds awfully neighborly of you. And the fact that the media heard about it at all says it's nothing to care about. International neighborhood gossip. It's the really big secrets that you never hear about. Which brings us to my point.

She was a spy, alright, but it wasn't the political intrigue that should shiver the very marrow of our bones. No, it's something much more dark and sinister. I'm referring to the clear cut case of techno-corporate espionage that's going on here. Everyone talks about the encrypted files she transferred. No one focuses on the fact that she sent them from Starbucks. And while the press covers her new banking job, people are overlooking the seriousness of the situation. She works in IT. As an advisor. On innovation. This very same woman whose fashion choices are discussed as regularly and as fervently as her... ahem... questionable career choices. I'm not implying that as an attractive, fashion-minded young woman, she is incapable of performing IT work. Quite the contrary. Do a google search on Jewel Staite's character Kaylee Frye from the show Firefly to see what kicks her up and above the competition in the Women Mr. Truth Would Manipulate Circumstances to Ensure When He Gets Stranded on a Desert Isle, She/They Are Stranded with Him Contest.

The connection between coffee, clothes, and computers is, in my opinion, far more sinister. I believe, based on the evidence presented before us, that Anna Chapman is a hipster. Let's take a look, shall we?
  1. She did her work from a coffee shop, which hipsters love. True, it's Starbucks, which hipsters hate (at least publicly), but it would be irresponsible to ignore, especially considering Starbucks' Seattle origins, one of the world's Hipster Hotspots. Plus, free wi-fi, and we all know being a hipster is all about spending big bucks on presenting an image of being cool while not spending big bucks.
  2. Her clothes. Yes, they're pretty. And maybe they're expensive, maybe they aren't. But they are nice without looking like they cost a fortune. They look more like lucky finds to me. "OMG! I totally just found the cutest red dress at a thrift store and was able to snag it for twenty rubles!" It's like pre-faded jeans. They look cool AND because they are artificially aged, they make it look like you thought they looked cool way before anyone else thought they looked cool. Being the first on the scene (before it's the scene, actually) is kinda what being a hipster is all about.
  3. She met her husband at a rave. Granted, now that's not the thing for hipsters. They're into out of tune singers with an acoustic guitar and midi samplings from the final levels of MegaMan, but... hipsters, what can you do? Still, they met at a rave in 2001, before they became completely blasé.
  4. She's a spy for Russia. Being a spy for Russia in America is so two decades ago. The feud is over. Which makes it pointless. Which makes it ironic. Which makes it hip. Hipsters love jobs that sound important but actually accomplish little to nothing (such as environmental advocate, speech writer for a third or even fourth party candidate, or undergrad in a liberal art). "Oh, you're doing your dissertation on the development of third world cultures when exposed to the latest album by The Unicorns? Well, I'm a spy for Russia." Score one for Comrade Hottypants.
  5. She's into tech in a big way. Hipsters love tech. If your iPod isn't big enough to hold every band you've never heard of, you're just wasting their time. In fact, for all of their Corporate America hating, they love them some tech corporations (except Microsoft). Sorry, Microsoft. They love their big old Corporate Apple. Why? Because it's pretty, but not good for actually doing much of anything useful. Still, she's an IT girl, which means she's smarter than a mac. Probably runs Linux (because it isn't Windows but you can run programs on it that aren't designed for making music and movies you've never heard of look and sound prettier).
  6. She lived in New York City at the time she was busted. New York City is considered the cultural center of the U.S. It's the place where trends start, where fashion and music have bizarre incestuous relationships producing a myriad of singers/fashion designers. With a history of counter culture (the whole bohemian village thing...), it's Hipster Heaven. Finding bands no one knows about to introduce to others is easy. Finding main stream things to ridicule is even easier.
Let's put it all together, shall we? She's an IT girl who hangs out in coffee shops with Mac loving hipsters, passing herself off as one of them all while spying, and now she's in charge of technological innovation? Sure it's a bank you work for Anna. We know who your real employer is. We know that the Russian spy thing was really just your harmless facade.

You work for the Japanese. Let us not forget that Japan, of course, is an Asian country, and oh yes, tech is big in Asia. Tech is huge. They can make robots for anything and design game systems like it's nobody's business. But how many Japanese products have that "Hipster Flair" the way an iPod does? And let us also not forget that Russia, though we never think of it as such, is situated in Asia. From Japan it's a hop, skip, and a jump to Russia. How difficult would it be for Japan to convince Russia to hire her on as a spy? After all, why pay for a spy yourself when you can have a spy on another country's dime.

Here's the truth, for the first time, regarding the espionage of Anna Chapman. Japan approaches her about spying on them. It seems their tech, though powerful, isn't "cool." Anna, being the sexy woman with a sexy foreign accent, could probably unearth all kinds of secrets of cool if she lived in New York. With their tech and that New York style, Japan would be an unstoppable force. But Japan wants to play it safe. They know about the kind of wrath Steve Jobs can inflict when he gets angry. So they approach Russia, Anna's homeland and former rival to the US. They plant a bug in Russia's ear that Anna Chapman should be their answer to James Bond. Sexy and secretive. Perfect, right? With this cover, Japan feels the U.S. will not care if Anna gets busted. They'll slap her on the wrist, send her home, but all of her true work, the Cool Equation (an equation using her IT based math skills to calculate exactly how cool something is), will come with her. And because she's a spy for Russia (and not a very secretive one if her husband noticed her slipping off to meet with Russians all the time), she's hip and ironic and allowed to infiltrate with open arms her real target, not the U.S. but the In Crowd.

Well played, Japan. You have her back home in Asia doing innovative tech work. Sure, it's for a "bank." A bank with the same initials as Russia's big spy program. Lets face it. That Russian bank is really a front for your shadowy colorful-mp3 cartel. Had to throw in a little irony there, didn't you? Keep her hipster vibe going? You win this time, Japan. But only because I'm fine with you taking Apple down a peg or two.

You have been informed.

P.S. I promised a pros and cons list of having sexy spies.

  • Easier to get secrets out of people with large libidos. Or even medium libidos.
  • Easier to get away with cheesy puns and one-liners.
  • Nobody wants to tango with the fat, sweaty, balding spy at the Embassy Ball.
  • Makes your country look like you have standards. "We have so much talent to choose from, we only hire those who can do the job AND look good on the cover of a magazine."
  • Gives enemy spies self-esteem issues.
  • Better scenery during boring mission briefings and debriefings.
  • Gives the impression that all of your spies are sexy, letting the nerdy, schlubby spies slip by unnoticed.
  • Increased risk of being frisked at airport security.
  • When caught, rest assured, their picture will be all over the internet.
  • Won't have much time to spy due to a full dance card at the Embassy Ball.
  • Makes other spies more likely to kill them in a jealous rage.
  • Will invariably shag every other attractive person around while on a mission, people who usually end up being spies and capturing them in their moments of vulnerability.
  • Insist on dressing in the sexiest of clothes regardless of the mission. "Sniper skiing in the Alps? I think I'll wear the bright red evening gown with stiletto heels."
  • Hard to slip by enemy security when they're undressing you with their X-Ray scanners and their eyes.
Don't get me wrong. I think the sexy spy is, well, sexy. To an insane degree. But I just don't see it being that effective for you in the long run. Still, what a steamy, Hollywood run it would be.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Prayers Do Come True

Ladies and Gentlemen, I know I've been away for a long time. Work devours my time like a lion devours wildebeests, birthday boys devour cake, and Oprah devours small children.* However, lately, work has been giving me anxiety attacks and gastritis, which is kinda like baby ulcers that one day grow up to be real ulcers. So what do I do? I panic. I freak out. I talk to myself. And then, like Big Oprah, I turn to a higher power and ask for help. And do you know what He does? He helps me.

Oh yes, on Sunday night, I was having awful anxiety. I was stressed beyond all reason, chanting to myself to keep myself doing lesson plans. And I begged the universe for something to happen to keep me from having to go in and take that abuse from 7:30 to 4:30. Do you know what the universe did? You do if you read ahead. If you didn't, however, I'll go ahead and tell you and let you in on what the other readers have already looked at.

The universe, kind and loving, gave me debilitating, stress-induced stomach pains. I woke in so much glorious pain. I couldn't help but smile as I slumped my way to the phone. "Thank you, universe, for making it hurt so much!" And I called in. And no sooner did I call in then all that stress related pain started to fade away. A little. But the universe, kind and loving as it is, continued to keep my best interests at heart. That cold front last week that promised to close schools for snow but fell through? It came back and froze pipes all over the city, busting water mains, sending water gushing into the streets, water that would turn to ice in those freezing predawn temperatures. Schools closed early Monday and are still closed today.

Thank you, All Mighty Power. You've given me a gift. You gave me awful stomach pains, that I would not have to deal with emotional pains. You took out an entire city's water supply and made the roads slick and dangerous so that I wouldn't have to go to work today. You gave me time off from work that I wouldn't need to spend a sick day on. AMP, I know you care about me because you're willing to put everyone else in danger with those icy roads and boil water notices all so I can avoid being disrespected by a handful of children for eight to nine hours. That's the nicest, sweetest thing anyone's ever done for me.

I could do something nice for you, AMP, but I've decided instead to pay it forward and do nice things for others. I was thinking this morning about how maligned air conditioners are sometimes. During the summers, the toil ceaselessly to keep a home at a cozy sixty-five degrees when it's thirty degrees or more hotter outside. But when those same people you keep cool overburden an electrical outlet and accidentally set the house on fire through negligent abuse of electricity, do they ever stop and say, "Hey, that poor, hard-working air conditioner is killing itself trying to keep us cool. I should turn it off before I leave this burning building so its last moments of mechanical life aren't spent killing itself trying to keep a five hundred degree inferno a cozy sixty-five degrees." No, it's all "family albums" this, and "get the pets and children" that. But not me. I'm paying it forward, AC. I'm going to shut you off when one of my many overburdened electrical sockets catches fire. Because I'm a nice guy like that.

You have been informed.

*Seriously. With her weight fluctuations, when her weight is up, she's all about self control and self-improvement, but when she's down, she's always hanging around some kids who need help. Who's to say she isn't eating one or two of those poor starving children every time she builds a school in a third world nation? Next thing you know, she's Big Oprah again and it's all about loving yourself for who you are and changing yourself into who you want to be.