Tag Archives: waterboarding

Work Diary: Sept. 17, 2009… The Routine

Female, 24, Midtown Manhattan, working in corporate finance but disillusioned… would prefer to be a writer, but doesn’t have the balls to pull it off yet.  Somewhat related to the ‘female’ part.

7:30 AM – Waking Up

Monday to Friday, my alarm goes off at 7:30 AM to the cacophony of Z100’s Elvis Duran and the Morning Zoo.  As with any quality FM morning show, I’m immediately thrown into a state of utter chaos: yelling, laughing, arguing, screeching, and the occasional clip of turtles having sex (one of the Morning Zoo’s favorites).  I’m not quite sure why I allow my brain to get filled with celebrity gossip, stupid news, and turtle copulation every morning.  But perhaps I just need some dysfunction to prepare myself for the day.

8:15 AM – Getting Dressed


It’s sad that choosing an outfit for work will be the most important decision that I make all day.  Most of the time, I simply try to look “not homeless.”  I have a rotating set of acceptable, uninspired work outfits that I choose from.  So my important daily decision comes down to whether I want to look more Banana Republic, or more J. Crew.  But given my stellar (lack of) fashion sense, whatever I choose and however much I try, I probably end up looking more Talbots than anything.  Evidence?  I own corduroy shorts.  They’re not cute.

8:30 AM – The Commute

nyccommuteOutside of war victims and child prostitutes, NYC commuters are the most miserable, despondent people in the entire world.  On my walk to work, I’ll see at least twenty pigeons, at least ten piles of overflowing trash, and if lucky, a couple  of rats.  But I have never, ever, seen a smile at 8:30 AM in the morning in New York City.  If I were to see someone smiling while walking to work, I’d probably pass out right there from shock.

8:45 AM – Getting to Work

Even if I’m dreading work, for some reason I feel compelled to get there as fast as possible.  I’ve learned to dodge tourists, puddles, and dog crap with astounding alacrity.  But once I actually make it to the office, I get the sinking feeling that I just arrived early to my own waterboarding session.  Why did I run through a blinking stop, hipcheck an elderly woman, and narrowly avoid death by taxi…so that I could be on time for work?

8:46 AM to INFINITY – The Work Day

While every day is different, here is an example of how I spent today, Sept. 17, 2009, written in the spirit of NYMag’s sex diaries.  (I would write those if I had an exciting personal life, but clearly, the only romance I ever encounter is the symphonic turtle kind):

  • 9:15 AM: I need to get a new ID card, since my old one stopped working.  The woman tells me that she does not have my current ID photo on file, so she has to take a new one.  nicknolteOf course, this is the one day that I had planned to be a hermit at my desk, avoiding people at all costs in my “I need to do laundry” outfit.  My new ID photo comes out looking like I just got hopped up on acid with Nick Nolte.  I manage to have a droopy eye and a double chin.  It’d be a perfect mugshot if I were getting arrested for crystal meth.
  • 9:25 AM: I run into a co-worker in the elevator.  The elevators in my building could rival the ones on Grey’s Anatomy for the “Slowest Elevators in History” award.  (Also, I always seem to run into the EVP of the company in the elevator bank.  Of course, I only see him on days when I’m getting in late or leaving early.  I never see him otherwise.)  Our elevator is packed.  Above another guy’s head, my co-worker asks me how I’m doing.  I say I’m doing well.  Then she asks, “Living the dream?”  “Every single day,” I reply.  The entire elevator lets out a collective guffaw.  At least I’m not the only one.
  • 10:41 AM: I get an email asking me to put together a few slides for investment bankers, because part of our company is expected to go on the market.  So basically, I’m being asked to do something that may lead to my ultimate firing, once the company is gutted and sold.  (It’s like asking me to sharpen the axe that will chop off my head.)  Still, I happily oblige.
  • 1:06 PM: I get an instant message from a co-worker, lauding me for one of the “most genius accounting jokes” she’s ever heard.”  This is the joke I wrote, in the spirit of Chuck Norris: “Keith Sherin can always recognize revenue, even from far away.”  I contemplate becoming a stand-up comedian for accountants… but then I remember that most accountants don’t have a sense of humor.
  • davematthews3:10 pM: I discover that there is a co-worker in another office named Dave Matthews.  I spend ten blissful minutes hypothesizing as to What [he] Would Say about about our Satellite operations.
  • 4:01 PM: I overhear a woman who sits next to me say, “My motto is, no one’s life is that fabulous.”  She’s obviously never met Tina Fey.
  • 4:02 PM: I get an email in my inbox from the head of HR, telling us that health benefits are changing.  I blame Max Baucus.
  • 5:25 PM: A co-worker tells me that she’s doing SOX testing.  I ask her what she thinks is better, wool or cotton?  (This is the second time in my life that I’ve made this joke, sadly.)  I chuckle silently to myself.
  • 6:45 PM: Heading home.  Another day, another dollar.

doughboyTOTALS: Two accounting jokes, one reference to healthcare reform, one fantasy about DMB in corporate finance, 50+ instances where I questioned what I was doing with my life (excluded above, since that just gets annoying), and one new ID photo in which I look like a drugged Pillsbury Dough Boy.


Filed under Careers, Life

Jack Bauer and Cheney’s Policy of Torture

[Setting: The Supreme Court, Washington DC, September 2009… A large crowd has gathered inside.  Jack Nicholson has a courtside seat.]

JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS: Attorney General Holder, call your witness.

ERIC HOLDER: Prosecution calls former Vice President, Dick Cheney.

DICK CHENEY is escorted in, scowling.

ROBERTS: Mr. Cheney, do you solemnly swear that your testimony will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

CHENEY: God can’t help me now. [crowd titters]

ROBERTS: Mr. Cheney?


ROBERTS: Please be seated.

CHENEY sits.  HOLDER stands, and holds up a document from his desk.

HOLDER: Mr. Cheney, in the spring of 2002, did you sign off on a CIA memo authorizing harsher interrogation techniques?

CHENEY: I did.

HOLDER: Can you please give your rationale as to why these techniques were necessary?

CHENEY: I, along with many senior ranking officials in the Bush administration, felt that the country was in danger.

HOLDER: Grave danger?

CHENEY: Is there another kind? 

HOLDER holds up a photograph of Abu Zubaydah.

HOLDER: Do you recognize this man?

CHENEY: That is Abu Zubaydah, an Al Qaeda operative whom we apprehended in Pakistan in March 2002.

HOLDER: FBI agent Ali Soufan has testified that CIA interrogators tortured Zubaydah.  Torture methods included nudity, sleep deprivation, and waterboarding.

CHENEY [shrugs]: So?

HOLDER: These interrogation techniques are all illegal in the United States.

CHENEY: Not when I made up the law.

HOLDER: Why did you allow the CIA to use these torture techniques on Zubaydah?

CHENEY takes a sip of water, then glares at HOLDER.

CHENEYCHENEY: Son, we live in a world that has walls.  And those walls have to be guarded by men with guns.  Who’s going to do it?  You?  Me?  I dodged Vietnam five times, so it’s sure as hell not going to be me.  But even though I have no military experience, I had a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom.  You weep for torture victims and you curse the American interrogators.  You have that luxury.  You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that torture, while tragic, probably saves lives.  And waterboarding, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives–

HOLDER [interjects]: Mr. Cheney, can you give a specific example on how lives were saved?

CHENEY [caught off-guard]: Well… Zubaydah confessed to a number of Al Qaeda plots.

HOLDER: Have any of these plots been substantiated?  Did you ever consider that Zubaydah may have lied under interrogation to avoid more torture?  That his intel was faulty, at best?

CHENEY: What does it matter?

HOLDER: It matters because you were torturing this guy, and I want answers!

CHENEY: You want answers?

HOLDER: I think I’m entitled.

CHENEY [getting angry]: You want answers??

HOLDER: I want the truth!

CHENEY: You can’t handle the truth!


CHENEY pounds his fist on the ledge.  His face is red.

CHENEY: You can’t handle the truth, because deep down, in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that wall.  You need me on that wall… Well, maybe not me, but someone else that I hire to stand on the wall.  You need him.  And I have neither the time, nor the inclination, to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom my guy provides, and then questions the manner in which he provides it.

HOLDER holds up a copy of 24 on DVD.

HOLDER: Mr. Cheney, did you, or did you not, approve of torture based on an episode of 24?

CHENEY: I did the job I was sent to do.

HOLDER [voice rising]: Did you, or did you not, approve of torture because you saw Jack Bauer do it?

CHENEY: Oh by the way, I don’t give a damn what you’re entitled to. I forgot to say that.

HOLDER: Jack Bauer —

CHENEY: You’re goddamn right I did!

The crowd gasps.  Justice John Roberts faints.  Jack Nicholson gives a standing ovation.

HOLDER: Oh, shit.

CHENEY24 copy

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Filed under News, Politics

All Gaga for Obama

In celebration of Obama’s first 100 days, and also given the popularity of Lady Gaga, I decided to try a bit of songwriting for the President.  The following should be sung along to Lady Gaga’s Poker Face (play the song in a new window – with lyrics | instrumental):

Barack (0:24):

I gotta clean up what they did back in ’08
Corrupted and got busted with a messed up SEC (Oh Dubya)
So now the country’s sufferin’ and the times are hard
With Ponzi schemes and broken dreams and guys without a job

Oh, oh, oh, oh, ohhhh, ohh-oh-e-ohh-oh-oh
I’ll get it right, or we’ll pay the price
Oh, oh, oh, oh, ohhhh, ohh-oh-e-ohh-oh-oh,
I’ll go at it hard, show them who’s in charge


With Larry
And Timmy
These are the
Obama days
(Gotta stop the Dow from dropping)
Plus Citi
The Fed completes the
Obama days
(Government is going shopping)

Chorus (1:12):

Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-Obama days, Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-Obama days
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-Obama days, Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-Obama days

Barack (1:21):

I’m gonna roll with Joe a hard pair we will be
Republicans can teabag all they want with Dick Cheney
Afghanistan will see me coming on the front,
And baby when it’s war if it’s not rough it isn’t fun,

Oh, oh, oh, oh, ohhhh, ohh-oh-e-ohh-oh-oh
I’ll get Iraq, show them what I’ve got
Oh, oh, oh, oh, ohhhh, ohh-oh-e-ohh-oh-oh,
I’ll get a bomb, show them that it’s hot

karzaizardari1With Karzai
So close by
These are the
Obama days
(Karzai is grumpy, likes nobody)
Talking peace
These are the
Obama days
(Waterboarding’s not his hobby)

Chorus (2:09):

Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-Obama days, Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-Obama days
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-Obama days, Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-Obama days

Barack (2:24):

gm-ceoI’ve got my hand in GM’s pocket
Squeezing hard to keep ’em knockin’
‘Cause I’m trying
To go on and end this downspin we’ve been rockin’
With my bailouts and my guarantees
I’m fixing these securities
I promise this, I promise this
I’ll bring back life to AIG

aigsoccerWith swine flu
Coming through
These are the
Obama days
(Bacon’s not for everybody)
Arlen who
S’my new boo
These are the
Obama days
(Specter’s got a new buddy)

Chorus (2:59):

gagaobamaCan’t beat my
Can’t beat my
No one can beat my
Obama craze
(He’s got me like nobody)
Can’t beat my
Can’t beat my
No one can beat my
Obama craze
(Eight more years of peace and harmony)

— Repeat x2 —

Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-Obama days, Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-Obama days
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-Obama days, Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-Obama days

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