Tuesday, December 31, 2002

lucky for me, the party that i'm attending tonight is within walking distance of my apartment. all the better for getting sloppy drunk, then walking home. the jen(n)s live not three blocks away and have kindly offered to host a gathering. there is a big container full of pear sangria chilling in my icebox. there is also a bottle of champagne, selected not for its vanilla bouquet or particular hue but because there were animals on the label wearing suit jackets and that made us laugh. have i mentioned that i don't know anything about selecting champagne?

my champagne knowledge is limited to the following: if i'm ever in a rap video, i understand that i am required, by law, to pour copious amounts onto a stripper's posterior whilst the camera quick-cuts to flashes of me riding in my bentley (rented), smiling with platinum fronts (poor investment decision), shooting dice (to prove that i'm still 'street'), or just sitting in the hot tub, biggie smalls-style.

bonus entry
over the course of months and years, friends develop a lexicon that is only wholly-understood by those within the group. this unique language is evolutionary, often self-referential, and strengthens the bond between individuals. here then are a series of words and phrases culled from the 2002 edition of our lexicon.

jackass (n.)- [brought back into vogue by mark] used in reference to those outside of the group or, if you are the one who issues the late hit in NFL2K2.

holmes (n.)- [brought back into vogue by michael and sam] a friend or acquaintance
[***the spelling of this word, holmes or, alternately, homes, is the subject of spirited etymological debate. both forms are acceptable; although, preferences seem to vary based largely upon the geographical location of the speaker.]

you beefed it.- you made a mistake or possibly injured yourself.

you beefed it, holmes.- you made a mistake or possibly injured yourself, holmes.

schplay (n.)- term of endearment. as in, ' hey schplay, what you doin' today? wrong!'

culpepper (n.); culpeppa (alt.)- term of endearment. as in, 'what up, culpeppa?'

last heard: epmd 'you gots to chill'
last read: "Since the [Oil for Food] programme began, Iraq has earned approximately $57 billion in oil revenues, of which it has spent about $23 billion on goods that actually arrived. This comes to about $170 per year per person, which is less than one half the annual per capita income of Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Iraqi diplomats noted last year that this is well below what the U.N. spends on food for dogs used in Iraqi de-mining operations (about $400 per dog per year on imported food, according to the U.N.)."

Monday, December 30, 2002

never mind that i don't even have cable OR that i use my television mostly to watch DVDs and play video games with the brothers engelbrecht OR that the only reason i moved the television in the first place was because that was the only way i could fit the new stereo into the living room. despite all of these excuses, the new girl was still a little unsettled by the fact that my couch now faces my television. she liked the way that it was before, the couch on the opposite wall and the tv pushed into a corner so that it didn't appear to be the center of the room and the focus of attention like everyone else's house.

now, i share her aversion (nee: hatred) for 99% of commercial television. i agree that there is very little which separates the people who watch reality shows from chimps. i even believe that the current administration is in cahoots with the NSA and the CIA to use certain programs for mind control, but, for the love of pete, woman,...my apartment is tiny and that's the only way that i could fit it.

as another little tv aside...last night, we met her sister and brother-in-law who were visiting from ohio. they had been stuck with their three kids and her parents for much of the week and wanted us to come out for dinner and drinks. taking pity on them, we made the drive from the big city for a visit. friends, there ain't much to do in concord, NC at 10pm on a sunday night, so we drove to concord mills mall and went to jillian's. i won't waste time here berating the patrons, i'll just say that i thought the new girl was going to have a seizure as we sat eating four cheese penne surrounded by ten wide screen televisions all set to sports.

last heard: stereolab 'heavy denim'
last seen: the contender
last read: People bring their kids to our shows, so sometimes we'll have 10-year-olds, and then we'll have people in their 60s or their 50s that say, "Oh, I used to listen to The Clash in '77 and we love you guys."

Saturday, December 28, 2002

the brother-in-law kindly lent me his brawn and his truck to get the stereo over to my house. you might remember me gushing over it a few weeks ago. it was the cabinet system that my uncle replaced the tubes in and features short-wave radio bands and a working phonograph. it would have come to live with me weeks ago, but the ice storm foiled those plans.

now it's sitting in my living room, under the front window, warming itself in the thin lines of sunlight that peek through the blinds. little speakers flip out from its sides like ears. all of the instruction manuals are printed on brittle cracking pieces of paper and are only printed in german, so if the needle breaks, i will be left with a very large piece of furniture. maybe it would make a nice bench. for now though, i get the fun of playing those thrift store records that i discovered over the last few months. sermons and hawaiian records.

last heard: stereolab ABC music: the radio 1 sessions [editor's note: what is a peel session?]
last seen: less than zero
last read: Match the following staunch proponents of war against Iraq with their reason for avoiding military service in Vietnam

Thursday, December 26, 2002

some may find it gauche that i am about to delve into all of the material things that i received for jesus' birthday. if you are one of those people, then go away.

i just want to express my gratitude to the family and close friends who, despite my being on the cusp of thirty, still buy me gifts they know i will appreciate instead of those things that might be better suited to regular grown-ups. they know that i have no use for briefcases or port wine cheese balls or those things which cut the ends off of cigars. i am told that those are good examples of what thirty-year-olds get for christmas...but, not me.

i loved all of my gifts. i didn't get one bad thing. here is a sample: books, a huge plastic jellyfish, pete's dragon on DVD, a harmonica, the screenplay for the royal tenenbaums, a mixed tape, the pooh cup, cash, a computer that three of my friends built, et cetera.

also, i hope everyone liked the things that i got them to commemorate the birth of the lord and savior.

last heard: all girl summer fun band 'stumble over my'
2002 in books:
to a god unknown- john steinbeck
strange fruit: billie holiday, cafe society,
and an early cry for civil rights
- david margolick
werewolves in their youth- michael chabon
in cuba i was a german shepherd- ana menendez
culture jam- kalle lasn
the spirit catches you and you fall down- anne fadiman
the cheese monkeys- chip kidd
birds of america- lorrie moore
the neal pollack anthology of american literature- neal pollack
car- harry crews
bee season- myla goldberg
the feast of love- charles baxter
white teeth- zadie smith
in the drink- kate christensen
sailing alone around the room- billy collins
typhoid mary: an urban historical- anthony bourdain
interpreter of maladies- jhumpa lahiri
colors of the mountain- da chen
motherless brooklyn- jonathan lethem
lullaby- chuck palahniuk
the death of vishnu- manil suri
the bridge of san luis rey- thornton wilder
the good people of new york- thisbe nissen

Monday, December 23, 2002

confession: until i was an adult, i thought that the line in winter wonderland was 'in the meadow, we can build a snowman/and pretend that he is parse and brown.' you're right, that makes no sense, but, i'm the same person who, as a kid, thought that emergency was the greatest show ever but decided that i could never be an EMT or a fireman because you had to live at the station all the time and could never have a wife or kids.

ten cats i've met
mister meow-ghee

five dogs i've met

and, also, one fish

* denotes a pet i've owned

last heard: tullycraft 'twee'
She packed her Little Teddy tote bag/
saved some secrets for herself/
Picked out her favorite Lucksmiths single/
took the Cher Doll off the shelf/
She grabbed her Slumberland guitar case/
and her 14 Iced Bears ring/
Took down her I.F.O.J. poster/
and that band that Would Be King

last read: Dave Kneebone will kick your ass at Warlords.

Sunday, December 22, 2002

because my dad, an army man, had us moving around every few years, we never spent much time around extended family when i was a kid. everytime we'd make a special trip home to see cousins or uncles, it was like meeting strangers. we'd visit my mom's family in bloomfield, new jersey sometimes. being italian and also catholic, our new jersey relatives begat many. most were people whose names i would have to be reminded of whenever the teacher would ask our class to write some crappy family tree assignment.

the grown-ups would usually sit around drinking coffee and eating some entenmann's, and, i would venture off to another part of the house with cousins. my aunt jennie and uncle steve had a modest house with faux wood pannelling in the basement. gathering at their place was fun, they had a pool table downstairs, but, i never got to play on account of i wasn't tall enough to see over the side of the table and hold the stick, much less aim and shoot. as i wandered around the basement, sometimes i'd hear, 'lift jimmy up and let him take a shot.' i'd get excited, scurry over to the table, and the big kids would throw me a bone, but this didn't happen often. mostly, i'd wander around in the darker corners of the basement or behind the bar looking for interesting things to mess with.

one time, i found an accordion in a black case. it was a long time ago, but, if i remember correctly, it was busted up which is why it was down there in the first place. i was too puny to lift it up, so i'd squat next to it, wrap my arms around one end, purse my lips, and stand up. what followed next was pretty genius. i'd mash a few keys down with my chin or part of a fist or my forearm, then squat. the thing would bellow terrible out-of-tune music that would make all of my cousins turn from their round of billiards. sometimes, i'd manage to get three good squats out before they made me quit, but i would just go back a few minutes later. i think they secretly liked it because everytime i went back to jennie and steve's the accordion was still in the same place across from the stairs by the wall.

last heard: 'give the people what they want' episode of this american life

Saturday, December 21, 2002

i had always assumed that kids liked it when you 'raised the roof,' but yesterday i found out for sure.

after about thirty minutes of playing catch in independence park, the girl and i started strolling back to my place. we rested on a bench, watching the traffic pass on seventh street which stretched before us about 100 feet away. a school bus pulled up to the red light and, like magic, into the row of halfway-down windows popped the tiny faces of now-standing elementary school kids craving the attention of other cars and people in the park. they started hollering and waving to no one in particular, looking around for someone to return their enthusiasm.

that is when i calmly looked across the field, cocked my arms at the elbow, and moved my arms up and down, the international sign for 'come on, raise the roof' (as featured in dreamcast's NFL 2K2). the kids went crazy and soon each little window had a kid face in it, yelling and throwing me the international sign for 'come on, raise the roof' in return. as the bus took a right onto hawthorne road, they did the only thing they could do to show me how much they appreciated my gesture, they started singing/screaming jingle bells and frantically waving goodbye. as the girl and i waved to our new friends all she could say was, 'oh, that poor driver.'

last heard: yo la tengo 'autumn sweater'
last read: "Listed below are 10 threatening themes we have identified from the right-wing quagmire, followed by 10 genuine reasons for hope and celebration."
shameless plug: a little thing i wrote for michael

Thursday, December 19, 2002

there are some weeks where nothing happens and those are very, very good. i like it when nothing happens. long stretches of days where i wake up well-rested at 6am, work out, shower, spend an uneventful day at work, go for a walk saying hi to the neighbors and their dogs, then i spend the rest of the night watching a DVD and drinking the same concoction of milk and sugar and tea that my mother used to make for me when i was ten. sometimes there'll be company, but often times not.

then there are weeks like this one. my work time has been busy. my non-work time has been busy. there has been very little sleeping in. i skip shaving hoping that the boss won't notice or, at least, won't say anything. projects sit half done, like the tape i'm trying to finish for millie which sits in the stereo, side A complete and side B percolating in my head.

...and i have to work this weekend...but i'm off tomorrow with plans to start and finish my christmas shopping, record side B, maybe do laundry (but probably not), and perhaps see a movie. the girl and i will throw the football for a bit, then try some ethiopian joint.

but, enough about me, how are you doing?

last heard: the bodysnatchers 'ruder than you'
reading: thisbe nissen's the good people of new york [excerpt]

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

LJ's architecture issue came in the mail today. aside from fairfield's frank lloyd wright-inspired interiors (pg.44) and the gehry-esque elements of cerrito's new building, it is pretty much the same uninspiring mess that was served up last year.

why do administrators and boards select designs that in no way fit the surrounding architecture? why do architects create spaces whose garishness is rivaled only by the horrible public art that is often housed there? why can't they just make 'em so they look like those nice, old carnegie libraries?

...begin dream sequence now...
i think that one day i want to move to a small town (within one hour's drive of a large city) and become director of a carnegie library with a staff of less than ten. it will, of course, be on main street and i could stroll to work from my house, not five blocks away. lawns along the way would be leaf-strewn and littered with toys and folks would wave to me from their porches, not only because they knew me as a pillar of the community, but because we wave to everybody in our town.

last heard: b&s 'my wandering days are over'
last read: Thornton Wilder's The Bridge of San Luis Rey

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

in addition to good coffee and a cadre of wrinkled, cadillac-driving old men, the skyland diner on south boulevard also boasts an impressive wall of 8 x 10 photographs of professional wrestlers, each autographed and lovingly framed. the wall chronicles wrestling from the mid-20th century until the age of brett hart and ric flair; thus, sparing hungry patrons the horror of having to choke down their food whilst staring at the WWE's current crop of closet boy-kissers.

the jen(n)s and i ended up at the skyland last night, as the penguin was apparently closed for the evening. the aforementioned wrestling pictures complemented the brass chandelier above our heads quite nicely and the room's soft pale light accented the warmer hues in the paintings of vegetables that adorned the north wall. it was a total dining experience, the waitress' voice was smoky-deep and gravelly and my cheeseburger was tasty.

if you live in the queen city, then you are aware of the fact that the number of late night, non-waffle-house, dining options like the skyland is woefully inadequate for a city of our size. in fact, city planners might do well to focus on this dearth of after-hours eatin' places as it is likely the reason that our burg has failed to attract more clever, creative types like the people who visit 42short regularly.

last heard: the carpenters 'superstar'
last read: "Above and beyond the stupefyingly scandalous baggage Mr. Kissinger brings to the table, one question must be asked first: What possible business connections could the man Bush appointed have that would scuttle an investigation into a massive and carefully coordinated terrorist attack? Think Unocal. Think Halliburton. Think Carlyle Group. Think....The issue at the heart of Kissinger's resignation was a reluctance to reveal secrets. Kissinger did not want to reveal who is paying his salary. George W. Bush agreed with him. Why?"

Monday, December 16, 2002

people describe me to their friends and, in doing so, use adjectives like 'quiet' and 'even-tempered.' i consider myself a calm boy as it takes quite a lot to rattle me, however,...i was unprepared to turn a corner at my sister's wedding reception and witness my grandmother shakin' it fast to 'brick house' by the commordores. only now, two days later, are the acute symptoms of PTSD beginning to dull around the edges.

for my part, i wore a tuxedo and ushered like the wind. i was a good usher-er. my sister and new brother-in-law penned their own vows and the whole church sniffled during their recitation. the other thing i discovered is that, while i'm not much of a drinker, a glass of white wine, a champagne toast, five gin and tonics, and some kind of shot involving rumplemintz and jagermeister makes conversation silky smooth.

ps-i didn't vomit.

last heard: the streets 'has it come to this?'
last read: flipping through the bust music issue

Thursday, December 12, 2002

and so it begins.

i am working the half-day today, jumping ship around noon to do all of the things that are required of a loving brother whose only sister will be wed on saturday. these tasks include, but are not limited to:

tidying up my digs
driving to my final tux fitting
meeting and greeting out-of-town relatives
shuttling relatives around the metro area
serving as referee/ombudsman/arbitrator between relatives
attending a teppanyaki rehearsal dinner (with new girl in tow)
and, most importantly, doing this as part of the bachelor party festivities.

i will also be guarding the gates of engelbretz manor this weekend while its residents enjoy a week in 70s-during-the-day, down-right-balmy orlando, florida. these housesitting adventures are always a pleasure, as they afford me the opportunity to do laundry, burn music, and wade through the murky, chest-deep tivo waters.

busy days, ahoy!

last seen: partners of the heart, office space
last heard: stereolab 'pack yr romantic mind'
The greater is the beauty/
The profounder is the stain/
Significant of the forbidden/
Transgressed in eroticism

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

sorry if you're hearing this for the first time, but jen just told me...
Stereolab's Mary Hansen Dies In Bike Accident

everyone has a shitty movie that they secretly love. (some of us only watch those kinds of movies.) when we first meet people, we keep quiet about the film, because we don't want anyone to know how big a freak we are. if the relationship continues though, you eventually end up subjecting your new friend to the movie as a way to further bond. you figure, if they still love me after this, then maybe we have more going on than just sex for money.

as some of you know, for me, the film is vision quest; i'm not ashamed to admit it. really who could resist this tale of a high school wrestler featuring such B-list heavy hitters as matthew modine, linda fiorentino, and daphne zuniga? if that weren't enough, hows about a side order of madonna in her screen debut and, thankfully, no speaking lines, only singing.

well, last night, the jen(n)s introduced me to one of their classics and, yes, i still love them. some have called it one of the silver screen's most touching morality plays, a film that teaches us about others and, ultimately, about ourselves. that film is, of course, bring it on. a film that not only features many, many mark-style girls, but also added the word dyke-a-delic to the american (or, at least, my) lexicon. thank you, director peyton reed, and thank you, jen(n)s.

last seen: bring it on
last heard: call and response 'california floating in space' [editor's note: if you took birdie, saint etienne, and stereolab and mixed them in a big bowl, then added the tiniest hint of japancakes-style gee-tar and baked it in an oven pre-heated to 350 degrees for 25 minutes, it might taste something like 'california floating in space.' mmmmm...'california floating in space.' can i lick the bowl, mom?]
last read: "Either "Echo" or "Frances" [Still deciding.]"

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

conversation at the reference desk
setting- yesterday. a patron has been on the internet for over an hour and a half. i tell him that i can give him five more minutes then his time will be up since we have a waiting list. after five minutes...

patron: [approaches desk, huffing, leans on desk] well, that was a complete waste of time.

me (the guy who deals with people like this everyday): hmmm...90 minutes of nothing, huh?

patron: i just wrote a long message and, when i tried to send it, somehow i lost everything.

me: [in best genuinely-concerned voice avec ten degree sympathetic head tilt] oh, that has happened to me before, too. i'm really sorry about that. [go back to typing on my computer]

patron: well, that was a complete waste of time.

me: [looking up] yep, like you were saying.

patron: [audible sigh and turns to walk up the stairs]

last heard: velvet underground 'stephanie says'
last read: "It's the United States whose weapons are sold to one or more sides of virtually every one of the five dozen or so wars now raging in the world."

Saturday, December 07, 2002

elizabeth, my neighborhood, still looks like a war zone. i went back this morning to check for electricity (none), see whether there were still electrical wires lying in my yard (yes), and throw out my no longer refrigerated food (the bag of frozen peas was mushy and warm). michael and mark have power in their respective homes; they have graciously offered their guest beds, hot water, and hanging out time.

yesterday, christine was off from work and let me tag along with her and michael to the movies. we went to see the new james bond film, 'die another day.' while i wasn't expecting much but a good time and hollywood explosions, one thing did have me scratching my chin. in the movie, the bad guy devises a reflector in space to harness the power of the sun and aim it at specific places on the earth. he mentions some good uses...vast expanses of frozen tundra magically changed to fertile crop land...but, of course, he is a bad guy, so mostly it will be used as a weapon. instead of burning up ants with his giant reflector, he aims to kill folks. i was with him so far, that is until i heard the name of his magic weapon. when it was unveiled, he called it icarus. now, if you are building a secret weapon with aims at global domination, why would you name it after a myth about a boy who disobeys his father, flies too close to the sun, melts his wings, plunges to the earth and dies? you are just lining yourself up for failure or, at the very least, bad luck.

all i could think about were the future bond films where evil geniuses crafted super-spy blimps named hindenburg or bomb-laden cruise ships christened titanic.

last seen: die another day, goldmember
last heard: the clientele 'rain' (in the car on the way over to mark's) & kurtis blow 'the breaks' (while mark plays Grand Theft Auto: Vice)

Thursday, December 05, 2002

yeah, so, there was this big ice storm last night.

i woke up a little after midnight to the sound of huge icey tree limbs crashing to earth. from my window, i could see that one of them had landed on my car. since there was no power and the moonlight was obscured, i couldn't really tell if it had pierced the back window of my little ford. even if it had, there wasn't all that much i could do about it at midnight o'clock, so i tried to go back to bed. every half-hour, i would hear something that sounded like three bodies tied together, drop through the trees, breaking limbs on the way down, and then land with a thud.

sometimes the thud was in the driveway or yard. sometimes the thud was on my neighbor's roof. sometimes the thud was a block away. sometimes the sound of falling, falling, then the object would lodge in the trees, so, no thud.

when there was sunlight, i met reggie, my loud sexual intercourse upstairs neighbor, in the back yard. i helped him clear the driveway and drag tree parts away from his truck. he helped me lift the log off of my car and, to both of our amazement, not a scratch.

there are power lines and phone lines in my yard. the proper authorities were called (thank you, cell phone) and have assured me that the lines might be off of my yard by 6pm saturday. i do have heat since that is gas-powered, but all of the food in my fridge will need to be tossed.

on the bright side, three different people, who have already had their power restored, have offered me a place to stay. in exchange for their hospitality, i can offer the two DVDs that i rented on the way home yesterday, but never had a chance to watch.

last heard: the pacific ocean 'i'm part of everything again'

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

hooray for paranoia!

it is snowing outside and, in charlotte, that means panic. we were just told that the library will be closing at 2pm and we get to go home early. sorry that there isn't a longer entry today, i have to go buy hot cocoa, call the new girl, and make snow angels in the wet messy slush. adios.

last seen: the royal tenenbaums
last heard: bettie serveert 'private suit'
last read: "the message that Kissinger's appointment sends the rest of the world is so poisonous and antithetical to our announced intention of promoting justice and democracy that I wish President Bush had exercised a bit more wisdom before taking this drastic step."

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

nowadays, my uncle is a man of many ailments. his heart, his diabetes, his everything. he hurts always. he can often be found, during daylight hours at least, parked in front of his computer, while one of those lumberjack competitions entertains no one in particular on a huge tv in one corner of the room. he isn't always content just sitting there though. this is because before he got sick, he was a moderately-active, fix-it kind of guy.

need a lamp re-wired? call ernie. need [insert name of random broken machine here] fixed? call ernie. need a six-foot sword forged out of metal to go with your kilt for the highland games? call ernie. (yes, he has done all of this, even the sword.)

in his spare time, he would buy things at garage sales or on ebay and restore them to their former glory. one time, he rebuilt a pump organ in the garage. one of his more recent projects was an old radio/phonograph deal. in this big wooden case, there was a busted up shortwave radio and a turntable. he ordered new tubes for it online and installed them himself. i was even there when he fired the thing up and an eerie yellowish glow shown out of the front dials. we fooled with the knobs and could hear people speaking in spanish and german. we sat there, then stared at each other, not knowing what the hell those people were talking about.

aside from his obvious industriousness, another benefit of being ernie's nephew is that the joy he gets out of these projects ends as soon as he has fixed whatever is broken. he couldn't care less about the finished and newly-functional object. that is where i come in. last night, my aunt called and asked if i wanted the old stereo. well, i almost peed my pants. this weekend, i'll be going over there to pick up my new toy and i can finally play records in my house.

last heard: shannon wright 'i started a joke'
last read: i am knee-deep in a stack of sugary sweet back issue goodness which the mailman left on my doorstep yesterday.

Monday, December 02, 2002

it sounds funny, i know, but there is peace in listmaking and solace in my desk calendar. i tried palm pilots and leather-covered day runners at first, but they proved useless. too much work for too short a high. instead, i settled on something simpler and more functional, the blue-collar, month-at-a-glance organizer. i was never (self-)important enough for a planner with spaces for every hour of the day. in my life, there has never been that much to do and, so, i would finish my day looking back at all of this empty white space and end up with a lower sense of self-worth...from an inanimate object! honestly, i have people for that. none of those worries with the month-at-a-glance though.

i retired the 2002 edition today and, before throwing it away, i sat and read it like a book. (am i the only one who does this?) a two-inch-by-two-inch box for each day and every box crammed with my pen or pencil scrawl. the margins full of phone numbers and URLs. on the backpages, lists of books and records.

...for a homebody, i made it to a lot of good shows:
they might be giants 4/2
belle and sebastian 5/13
david cross 5/16
elvis costello 6/23
dave attelle 8/14
sleater-kinney 10/22

...i also had dinners or lunches with a lot of people; most of whom i still talk to.

...but, my favorite part of the end-of-year reflections are the days with anything written in CAPS or with exclaimation points.

BOWLING!!! 3/2
stay late for elections!!! 11/1
change status of portuguese videos! 3/13

last heard: future pilot aka 'ananda is the ocean'
last read: "So long as wars of conquest are draped in the garments of political correctness, an alarming number of left-libs will be corralled into a "progressive" cheering section, while the neoconservatives, of course, will sign on to practically any war."

Sunday, December 01, 2002

a few words on racial issues

white people and cornrows do not mix.

black folks age really well. so, if you see a black man who looks elderly, then there is a good chance that he is between 110 and 120 years old.

also, white people and dreadlocks is just plain wrong.

thank you.

last heard: unrest 'yes she is my skinhead girl'
last read:
Maximum milligrams of speed prescribed to U.S. pilots
by military doctors during the Persian Gulf War: 5
Maximum milligrams prescribed during the Afghan intervention: 10