Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Buttars Is So Sad!

Poor Senator Buttars. His anti-monkey bill failed in that creche of enlightenment, the Utah House of Representatives. We all need to jump in and turn that Frumpy Buttars frown upside down. Quick, someone, shun a homosexual!

Utahns Stand Up

It's time for the latest installment of our multipart series Utahistan!

In this episode, brave Utahns stand up against bigotry:

Under a clear sky, many people sported blue "equality" buttons and put yellow tape in the shape of an equal sign on their backs. Some carried homemade signs that read "I love and support my gay son" and "Equality - a fair and just Utah!" And flyers that read "Why is (Sen.) Chris Buttars obsessed with gay sex?" were put on car windshields around the Capitol.

Buttars is, of course, our favorite rascally scamp of homo-hatin', Utah's loveable mascot of ignorance, our very own Professor Chaos lurking behind the mask of golly-gee cuteness. Hey, I don't need to explain it to you. After all,

Everyone Knows, It's Buttars!

Monday, February 27, 2006

Thirty-Four Percent

Ever since the whole "Dubai Ports" controversy hit last week, I've been waiting for a new Presidential Approval Rating poll. My guess was that this latest "Scandale Du Week" was really going to hurt Bush, because it was going to piss off the most not people who already hat him, an essentially reliable part of his base, i.e., immigrant-hating xenophobic assholes.

Well, we've got it. The new CBS poll has him at 34%, a 12 point drop.

It's true that Nixon actually got down to 24% at his resignation, but really, this is amazing. In our polarized age, in a country essentially 50/50 in political affiliation, this is getting down to the bitter enders. Remember, 24% still approved of Nixon as he became the first President to resign in scandal; there will always be a substantial chuck of folks who will pass the "killing puppies live on television" test.

They don't matter.

But at least there is one town where George Bush can consider retiring.

"Straight Acting" Down South

My film will be broadcast on New Zealand television soon. Any country that obsesses over Rugby, loves itself a good beer, and elects a tranny to Parliament can't be too bad in my book.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Vox Non Populi

A panel of appointed civil servants has suspended the democratically elected Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone (aka Red Ken) because he told a reporter that he was acting like a Nazi. When the reporter responded that he was Jewish, the mayor replied that he was behaving like a concentration camp guard.

A bit brash, yes, and he did violate Godwin's Law, but really, I make tasteless analogies every day. The idea that you can remove an elected official from his work because of a minor exercise of free speech like this is just batty. The people get to decide if this man does his job, and if they don't like what he said, they can fire him.

But that's not the way the wind is blowing. The portents of censorship continue, be it England's new laws against reciting religious hatred, the jailing of a crackpot holocaust denier in Austria, or the crackdown on photography in public places (which I've experienced first hand), it's becoming ever harder to speak your mind, however intemperate. Just ask a Dane.

These two protestors who Andrew Sullivan photographed at the pro-Danish rally in Washington today certainly got it right:

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Blood And Lots Of Treasure

Jon Stewart just pointed out that the cost of the Iraq war per American taxpayer. The current total? $2083.


Sorry, I just did my taxes.

I mean, I could have spent a week in London for that money. Why won't, at his next "press conference", some reporter just ask Bush if he thinks that the average taxpayer had gotten their money's worth? Certainly, for all the success we've achieved, it must have been worth it, right?

Gay Bashing Double Header

What a gold star day for the Utah Legislature. They manage to pass not one, but two, gay-hating bills. First, on the Senate side, everyone's favorite teen-sex obsessed man-child Chris Buttars gets his bill passed, which is aimed at allowing school districts to do away with gay-straight alliances. This Adam-and-Steve hokester can't even keep his lies straight, going on the Senate floor to announce that the bill had nothing to do with gay-straight alliances, while all week he's been railing against just those alliances as nefarious "conditioning clubs" where unsuspecting youngsters will be sucked into a "deathstyle".

Not to be outdone, on the House side, equally wrinkly LaVar Christensen passed his bill, aimed at shutting down any attempts by any city in Utah to offer benefits to domestic partners. This particular bill was meant to shut down Salt Lake City's government, which has been working to come up with a domestic partnership provision. Though it's targeted directly at queers, the House bill also slams unmarried straight folks as well; I apologize if you hetero co-habitors out there managed to get "peppered" in the process. You gotta be on your toes when you hang around with the queers. The bat might catch you on the windup.

All is well indeed.


Holy crap the Sowden House is for sale! One of the most original pieces of architecture in L.A., the Art Deco-meets-Mayan house was designed by Lloyd Wright, Frank's little boy. It's also the site where author Steven Hodel claims his father murdered the Black Dahlia. A living bit of L.A. history if ever there was one.

Thanks to LACurbed for the heads-up.

Rugby Players Are Hot, Reason # 14,382

Steve Thompson, the cubbishly hot England Rugby hooker, did a great promo commercial for the Six Nations, where he wields a wicked blade on a poor leek, the traditional symbol of Wales.

For those of you who don't know rugby, the "hooker" is the middle player in the front row, who hooks his arms around the shoulders of the two usually taller props, binding together to form a row. He's usually built a bit short, beefy, and with a face formed by thousands of scrum mashes against his opponents. He's also traditionally the first player to pass out at the drink-up.

Here's some examples:

A Delightful Music...

In a trick picked up from Paul Cameron, the suspended Psychologist who cooked the obituaries to come up with the lie that gay men only live until 43, Christian evangelists have now posted this list of rock stars who died before their prime, as a way of proving that Rock and Roll kills you dead! They even had the bad taste to include John Lennon. Their hand-picked summation?

Average Age Of Death Of Included Rock Stars: 36.9 Years
Average Age Of Death Of Americans: 75.8 Years

Will someone inform these ghouls that everyone dies?

Onward Christian Soldiers

Recently yet another Anglican church here in California split with the local diocese because it wasn't significantly homophobic. These churches usually then ask to be placed under a diocese that they believe to be more pure in their gay-hating, which usually means dredging up a diocese in Africa.

One of the heros of this "Conservative alignment" in Anglicism is Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola, who has a long and active history of anti-gay activism in the church. He even signed something called a "Covenant of Concordat" with the split-off Reformed Episcopal Church. He has used Anglican meetings as stages for his unhinged activism against what he sees as the "spiritual desert" that has become the church in Europe and America.

But apparently, it's not only queers he wants to bash. In response to recent unrest amongst Nigerian Muslims in his country, supposedly incited by the silly Danish cartoon controversy, he's decided to do the Christian thing and turn the other cheek. Or maybe not:

The Christian retaliation came after a widely publicised statement by the powerful Anglican primate, Peter Akinola, who warned that community leaders may not be able to contain "restive youth".

"May we at this stage remind our Muslim brothers that they do not have the monopoly on violence in this nation," he said.

How many more examples do we need that conservative religion is about three things, power, power, and power?

How We Screwed Up Iraq

There's nothing more annoying then a young Republican political junkie. I know, I was one. The kind of precious arrogance that comes from knowing nothing about the world, the nasty one-upmanship of an insecure ego, the hormone-driven self-love of thinking that no one has ever been as smart as you. It's a lovely cocktail of adolescent nastiness and undeserved cockiness that just makes most people want to punch you in the throat.

Well, apparently that includes Iraqis. The Mercury News explores the myriad ways we blew it, including letting these smarmy pricks loose in an ancient land:

The coalition government relied heavily on a revolving door of diplomats and other personnel who would leave just as they had begun to develop local knowledge and ties, and on a large cadre of eager young neophytes whose brashness often gave offense in a very age- and status-conscious society. One young political appointee (a 24-year-old Ivy League graduate) argued that Iraq should not enshrine judicial review in its constitution because it might lead to the legalization of abortion. A much more senior Iraqi interlocutor (a widely experienced Iraqi-American lawyer) became so exasperated with the young man's audacity that he finally challenged him:
``You must have thoroughly studied the history of the British occupation of Iraq.''
``Yes, I did,'' the young American replied proudly.
``I thought so,'' said the Iraqi, ``because you seem determined to repeat every one of their mistakes.''

Dear George,

The people that most fervently support you really are xenophobic assholes and no-nothing yahoos. You aren't going to win them over by pointing out that by opposing the Dubai ports deal, they are acting like xenophobic assholes and no-nothing yahoos. They'll take it as a compliment.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Pissing Off The Pope

Old Ratzinger must be getting his Fanon in a wad over these two stories. First, the largest Catholic University in the country, DePaul in Illinois, is now offering a Gay Studies major.

Second, in Ireland, once the crown jewel of European Catholicism, a new poll shows a majority of the Irish favoring civil unions for gays. Only one is six said that they felt that homosexuality was wrong.

When you consider that when I was born, in 1970, Ireland was the most actively Catholic country in the world, this is pretty amazing. But the power of the Church in Ireland has fallen like scales from the eyes. Part of this is due to the many scandals of the Church there, especially that of the Magdalen laundries. But even more profoundly, the Irish have embraced modern European life wholeheartedly. The result is a booming economy (for what was once the poorest country in Northern Europe) increased political stability, and a more tolerant and heterogeneous population (Plus Munster kicks ass in the Celtic League!). In Ireland, the Church once had the kind of semi-theocracy it would love to see everywhere. It failed. Ireland is the better for it, especially Irish gays.

But you nancy boys still aren't going to get their gold!

Ya Rastafari

The government of Jamaica did the unpardonable act of refusing to ban Brokeback Mountain from the island, and boy are people pissed:

According to Elder Allan Russell of the Emmanuel Apostolic Church, Lee's film is an attempt to "indoctrinate the world to a most sinful act." He called for it to be banned "before any further damage can be done to the minds of our young people."

Most sinful act. Sure, gay people falling in love is right up there with genocide and murder.

One love indeed.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Brokeback Mountain, In Legos!

Thanks to Towleroad.

Straight People Are Gross

Read this explicit "Contract" of "Wifely Expectations" an Iowa man sought to force onto his wife. Shudder.

Death Of A Million Dollar Car

At dawn today, some asshole managed to wrap a Ferrari Enzo around a telephone pole up in Malibu, doing something like 150, and then just walk away.

When I was 17, I had to get up early one Saturday morning and climb into my '66 Karmann Ghia to head down to my job at Music Plus. U2 tickets were going on sale at 6am, and there was already a line. As I rounded a nasty curve in our Fullerton neighborhood, I noticed a brand new Porsche 911 Turbo, sitting in the road, with it's lights on and the drivers door open. I stopped and walked up to the breathtaking red machine, only to notice that the driver, apparently knowing nothing about the fishtailing rear-end dynamics of the 911, had broken the tail loose, hit an old pair of railroad tracks, and slammed the car into a high curb. There was a long gash down the passenger side, and the rear axle had been busted by the impact, forcing the rear right wheel under the car. The heavy passenger side power mirror had been ripped right off, and lay forlornly on the grass next to the dead beauty.

I slid down into the warm brown leather of the driver's seat, and let my hands fall into the meaty three-point wheel. For just one second, I could imagine how such a car could control you, begging you to make it go further then you should. With a sigh, I climbed out of the smashed classic and went back to my rusted two-tone Ghia with the faulty electrical system and smelly rear engine, so alike in design to the 911, but a world apart. There wasn't a soul in sight. Like the fool in Malibu, the owner must have decided to walk it off after a hard night on the town.

I puttered away with the decapitated, busted rear view mirror sitting in my passenger seat, a piece of something that I would never have, something that it's owner didn't deserve. If I'd been up in Malibu, I'd have figured out some way to cart off that lovely V12.

Poor James Dobson

Apparently he momentarily wiped the usual rabid foam flying from his mouth when he discusses gay rights, and his fellow 'mo-hatin' gimps are ramming him good. Poor baby. Here's my favorite part:

Another critic, Paul Cameron of the Colorado Springs–based Family Research Institute, said Thursday that Dobson has "come off the tracks" of the Christian movement in backing rights for gay couples. Cameron believes gay people are more prone to crime and disease and don't have children, so they shouldn't be entitled to the same rights as married people. "The destructive should never get the honors that belong to the productive," he said.

Ok people, chant it like Jesse Jackson:
The destructive should never get the honors that, um...

Mr. Cameron needs to work on his rhyme scheme.

He's right though. I am destructive. I'm a rugby player.

You Thought Your Mom Was Cool

This woman, Rachel Bevilacqua, is claiming that she lost custody of her son because she attended (without her son) X-Day, the Burning Man-like party held each summer by the satirical Church of the Sub-Genius. Here's what she says happened in court:

On February 3, 2006, Judge Punch heard testimony in the case. Jeff (Jary, her son's father) entered into evidence 16 exhibits taken from the Internet, 12 of which are photographs of the SubGenius event, X-Day. Kohl has never attended X-Day and is not in any of the pictures. Rachel is depicted in many of these photos, often wearing skimpy costumes or completely nude, while participating in X-Day and Detroit Devival events.

The judge, allegedly a very strict Catholic, became outraged at the photos of the X-Day parody of Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion of the Christ — especially the photo where Jesus [Rachel's husband, Steve Bevilacqua] is wearing clown makeup and carrying a crucifix with a pool-noodle dollar sign on it while being beaten by a crowd of SubGenii, including a topless woman with a “dildo”.

His Honor also strongly disapproved of the photos of Mary Magdalen [Rachel Bevilacqua] in a bondage dress and papier maché goat’s head. The judge repeatedly asked, “Why a goat? What’s so significant about a goat’s head?” When Rachel replied, “I just thought the word ‘goat’ was funny,” Judge Punch lost his temper completely, and began to shout abuse at Rachel, calling her a “pervert,” “mentally ill,” “lying,” and a participant in “sex orgies.” The judge ordered that Rachel is to have absolutely no contact with her son, not even in writing, because he felt the pictures of X-Day performance art were evidence enough to suspect “severe mental illness”. Rachel has had no contact with Kohl since that day, February 3, 2006.

Hipsters and hippies everywhere, beware.

Grad School Is Over

A recent feedback letter to American Apparel. I'm not making this up:

This comment is in regard to American Apparel's hypocritical exploitation of womyn. Why is it that American Apparel functions with every intention of maintaing a non-sweat-shop company, but simultaneously insists on using disgustingly exploitative advertising? Every time I go into Los Angeles, I'm flooded with sexual images (of the current socially accepted idea) of "beautiful" womyn- and often just their faces- advertising American Apparel. So I guess my question is this: What is the point of stopping the explotation of some people while (or with) exploiting others? Are womyn not also people? It's a hypocritical as PETA, asking for animal liberation while utalizing a road of oppression and exploitation of womyn as well. How can you expect to stop exploitation if you're simply perpetuating it on a different level? You can't limit equality. In your mission statement, you say you stand for human rights. Oh, yes, that's right, in this country womyn aren't considered huMAN, and the support of this imperialistic, repulsively patriarichal country IS half of the name of your company. Golly, that explains it all. (And yes, I'm well aware that the 'American' in American Apparel is to establish that the clothing is made, sweat-shop-free, in the United States of America.) I've been told that youre owner/founder is a nymphomaniac, which could certainly have something to do with it, but I wouldn't quite expect that to translate into the advertising. And although your tags do PROMOTE being sweat-shop free, your actions speak very loudly that humyn freedom, equality and justice is not at all your concern. This all makes me deeply question the sincerity and integrity of your company, and I know for a fact that I am not alone. I know myriads of others who also boycott American Apparel because of your sexist advertising and explitation of womyn. Regardless of the fact that you promote humyn rights, you are in now way being thorough with your demonstration with it, and it's apalling. In resistance, xxxxxxx xxxxxx

I almost wet myself over this one. Tone, spelling, grammer, the use of womyn, the misspelling of patriarchal, this is pure 100% gold. And to think, I actually believed that such "womyn" were just a figment of Rush Limbaugh's fevered imagination!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Blasphemy Behind Bars

Sentencing a crackpot to three years in prison for denying the holocaust is a reamarkably stupid thing to do. Yet this just happened in Austria, where British writer (I don't think I can bring myself to call him an historian) David Irving was just sentenced. There is no doubt that Irving is full of shit. He himself admits that he changed his views on the Holocaust after reading Adolph Eichmann's personal files. Plus, Irving had entered Austria illegally (he's been banned from the country because of his views), to address right-wing group. But why was he banned because of his views in the first place?

Banning crackpots only gives them the two gifts they most desire: attention and respect. It makes them martyrs for their pet causes, and since most crackpots see themselves as the stars of their own personal heroic dramas, only reinforces their convictions. It makes no sense whatsoever as a government act, and will only spur more interest in, in this case, Holocaust denial.

I'm a free speech absolutist. I believe that there is no speech that should be banned. You heard me, no speech. Yell fire in a crowded theatre, you might be guilty of manslaughter, but you should not be prosecuted for your words alone. Want to draw a picture of Mohammed in a dress? Go ahead. What to advocate the execution of homosexuals? Fine. Until you take the knife in your greasy little hands, I don't care. I might tell you that you're an asshole, and you should shut the hell up, but I'm not going to abuse the legal system to block my precious ears from your lies.

This idea, popular on both the Authoritarian Left and the Authoritarian Right, that we should be unsullied from ideas that we might not like, is a huge obstacle to progress, on both a personal and societal scale. We must wrestle with ideas. The weak ones will break. Whether it's the P.C. censors of the European Union or the butt-clinched scolds of the American Taliban, when it comes to infringing on free speech, there is only one thing to say.

Fuck off.

Reality-Based Legislation

It's time for the newest installment of Utahistan! my regular series dedicated to my hereditary home.

It seems that a Utah Legislative Committee, in a froth of gay-hatin', just passed a bill banning teenagers from discussing "Human Sexuality" in school clubs.

Still unresolved is whether discussions of "Animal Sexuality" are good to go. FFA be warned!

Buy the way, do fart jokes count?


The Department of Health and Human Services sets up a website advising gays to be, you know, healthy. Don't use drugs, don't have unsafe sex, don't kill yourself because your parents are assholes, that sort of thing. Run of the mill government services niche marketing:

That's before the American Taliban found out. Yup, those good Christians at the Family Research Council, who subscribe to the tenet that a good 'mo is a dead 'mo, had the website scrubbed with all the efficiency of a KGB photographer wielding an exacto knife.

Because they hate the sin, and love the sinner. To death.

Props to The Malcontent.

Not That There's Anything Wrong With That

Well, the Mr. Hetero contest went off without a hitch. Here's a photo of the contestants:

Yeah, I'd wear a blindfold too.

Medical Update

FYI, it will be three weeks from my surgery on Thursday. I'm starting to eat some soft solid foods (scrambled eggs, won-ton soup) and I'm getting adjusted to the tiny size of my new stomach-pouch. I'm not ever really hungry, and it's hard work to get the protein I need (I'm getting sick of protein drinks!) but I feel good, although I have very little stamina and am pretty wiped out in the evenings. In these three weeks I've lost about forty pounds, and I can definitely remark the difference in how my knees feel, how my clothes fit, and how much easier some tasks are. Going down the steep slanted stairway leading to my house is no longer the semi-controlled descent it was for a while there. The next few months should be challenging, but I've got no regrets. I just wish that I was already there!

As for my mental connection with food, I'm still struggling with it. That cheap endorphin rush was a great cure-all for boredom, and I've struggled to fill that void. In a couple of weeks, when I can actually start going to the gym and properly exercising, things should improve. Until then, I'll just walk my dog, eat my scrambled eggs, and stick to the program.

Nature Abhors A Vacuum

George Bush's chief science adviser? Apparently it's popular novelist, screenwriter, and anti-global warming loon Michael Crichton.

Yeah, the guy behind Jurassic Park and Congo. Watch out for the killer apes!

The Evil Side Effect Of Brokeback Mountain

Gay cowboy chic:

Photo courtesy of Joe.My.God.

The Feedback Loop

I talk a lot about the feedback loop, the closed circuit of bullshit that people create to prevent the hard work of critical evaluation. The most powerful feedback loop in the country right now is of course the one running the country; conservatives dismiss objective reporting as "liberal bias" in favor of highly self-selected media that confirms for them the righteousness of their ways. If you want a sterling example of the feedback loop, look no further then this paragraph from a new MSNBC story on the e-mails generated during the Katrina fiasco. To think that this happened nine whole days after the hurricane hit:

By the following Tuesday, Sept. 6, the post-Katrina backlash was in full frenzy. Brown realized his job was in jeopardy. At 8:32 a.m., Clay Johnson III, a longtime Bush aide, e-mailed Brown. "What a great opportunity for every cheap-shot artist in the world to take a free swing at you and the president." Brown replied, "Yes ... And if [Bush] doesn't have confidence in me, which is understandable considering the circumstances, let me know. I will readily step aside." Johnson's reply: "I've not heard one person here disparage you [sic] work. I'll keep you informed."

Friday, February 17, 2006

Where's A Whole Foods When You Need It?

Thought Not has uncovered the shopping list the boys of Brokeback Mountain offered up to their outfitter. No wonder the boss figured it out:

Brokeback Mountain Weekly Grocery Lists


* Beans
* Bacon
* Coffee
* Whiskey


* Beans
* Ham
* Coffee
* Whiskey


* Beans al fresca
* Thin-sliced Bacon
* Hazelnut Coffee
* Sky vodka & Tanqueray gin
* K-Y gel


* Beans en salade
* Pancetta
* Coffee (espresso grind)
* 5-6 bottles best Chardonnay
* 2 tubes K-Y gel


* Fresh Fava beans
* Jasmine rice
* Prosciutto, approx. 8 ounces, thinly sliced
* Medallions of veal
* Porcini mushrooms
* 1/2 pint of heavy whipping cream
* 1 Cub Scout uniform, size 42 long
* 5-6 bottles French Bordeaux (Estate Reserve)
* 1 extra large bottle Astro-glide


* Yukon Gold potatoes
* Heavy whipping cream
* Asparagus (very thin)
* Organic Eggs
* Spanish Lemons
* Gruyere cheese (well aged)
* Crushed Walnuts
* Arugula
* Clarified Butter
* Extra Virgin Olive oil
* Pure Balsamic vinegar
* 6 yards white silk organdy
* 6 yards pale ivory taffeta
* 3 Cases of Dom Perignon Masters Reserve
* Large tin Crisco

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Please Don't Sue Me Mr. Cruise


I think I may have just found the cure for my Bush fatigue. Dan Savage has a famous acronym he frequently uses in his sex advice column:

Dump The MotherFucker Already!

One of his readers has written in with a brilliant suggestion. A new public campaign, a la the "Santorum" brohaha, to introduce this new acronym:

Impeach The MotherFucker Already!

T-shirts, bumper stickers, the works. Sign me up.

Gay Marriage Is Good For Your Health

So says some British researchers:

Entering into a civil partnership could improve the health and wellbeing of gay men and lesbians, researchers said today.
Same sex civil unions should give gay men and lesbians the same health benefits as heterosexual married couples, including a reduced risk of depression and a longer lifespan, according to the study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health

But of course this benefit is offset by the nefarious way that gay marriage WILL DESTROY MARRIAGE FOREVER!!!!


I Always Thought That Line Dancing Was A Bit Queer

Here's the Lyrics to Willie Nelson's new single,
"Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly Fond Of Each Other".

Well there's many a strange impulse out on the plains of West Texas
There's many a young boy who feels things he can't comprehend
Now a small town don't like it when somebody falls between sexes
No a small town don't like it when a cowboy has feelings for men.

And I believe to my soul that inside every man there's the feminine
And inside every lady there's a deep manly voice loud and clear
Well a cowboy may brag about things that he's done with his women
But the ones that brag loudest are the ones that are most likely queer

Cowboys are frequently, secretly fond of each other
Say, what did you think all them saddles and boots was about?
And there's many a cowboy who don't understand the way that he feels for his brother
And inside every cowboy there's a lady that'd love to slip out

And there's always somebody who says what the others just whisper
And mostly that someone's the first one to get shot down dead
So when you talk to a cowboy don't treat him like he was a sister
You can't fuck with the lady that's sleepin' in each cowboy's head

Cowboys are frequently, secretly fond of each other
What did you think all them saddles and boots was about?
And there's many a cowboy who don't understand the way that he feels for his brother
And inside every lady there's a cowboy who wants to come out
And inside every cowboy there's a lady that'd love to slip out

The Nose Knows

By far the weirdest side effect of my surgery has been the way it has increased my ability to smell food. Because of a backed-up sinuses, I usually can't smell that well, but with my greatly decreased diet, I've apparently compensated by paying extra attention to food smells. One of my co-workers is eating Thai food about 30 feet away, and I can smell the curry and bamboo scent. Opening a can of dog food practically knocks me out. Driving past an In-n-Out Burger, I feel like my Basset/Beagle Luke must feel every day with his oversized shnaz. Nobody warned me this would happen! The body is amazing; all our art and science and still we can be surprised.

Gay Dog Face-off

There's a cuteness contest running between Andrew Sullivan's Beagle and Ollie from Thought Not's puppy. May the best gay blog dog win. It's a hollow prize, though, for there is one pup before whose cuteness the blogosphere must bend. All hail the Basset/Beagle king, Luke!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Slow Going

I've been experiencing a lot of fatigue after my surgery, what with the five or six hundred calories a day I'm currently consuming, but I've also been experiencing an even deeper political fatigue. There's been so many ripe targets in the last few days, including Chertoff, the Katrina report, the new Abu Graib pictures. I even have a hard time rousing myself over l'affaire du shotgun. Jon Stewart has covered the funny, and Sullivan the serious, and the only thing I can add is how perfect a metaphor the whole "hunting trip" is to the chickenhawk way of life; you ride in your luxury S.U.V. out to the brush where some tame pen-raised quail are waiting, you stomp around until they finally take flight, and you blast them with a big gun. This makes you a hunter. Right.

I once hunted rabbits in the Idaho brush at night from a truck with a spotlight. When you hit the rabbits with the light, their natural reaction was to freeze, and it was easy to pick them off. I came away from the experience with the feeling that what I had been doing was sleazy and unfair, using a cheap trick to accomplish what should have been done by skill. Apparently, this kind of "hunting" is a way of life for the Vice President, and all the other "Big Dicks" out there running the show, who seem to think that being a man means easy winning at as little cost as possible.

But even such a ripe tomato hardly spells me from my stupor. It seems so far from making a difference. We live in the age of freedom from accountability; no matter what the pseudo solons running this country do, nothing changes. So many people are caught in the feedback loops of their own choosing, and no one seems willing to try the big picture anymore. Maybe Yeats had it right and the center cannot hold. There's a reason why The Second Coming is one of my favorite poems. Sometimes it perfectly captures my mood. This is one of those times.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all convictions, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Back To The Grind

So today is my first day, or at least half-day, back at the big pink factory. I'm feeling much, much better. I get my stitches out this afternoon. I'm pretty tired and I don't feel like I could do a sit up to save my life, but overall, no more pain or dicomfort. I'm still on the liquid diet and I'm sure that is one of the reasons I'm so easily fatigued (about 500 calories a day right now) but I've been eating soup and yogurt, and in a couple of days, I'm going to try scrambled eggs. Small victories are good.

The best part about my checkup this afternoon is that I'll be getting myself weighed, and I can see what has happened in the last two weeks. I know that I'm losing weight. When I came down the steep stairway from my house this morning, my bad knee didn't complain, and I just felt lighter. Plus, I had to cut a new hole in my belt. Hopefully the first of many!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Tight Ends

Are you a coach who doesn't like a minor rule change in High School football? Blame it on the gays. Atlanta Malcontent has the goods.

Gratuitous Sucking Sound

Of all the things I love about Los Angeles, its mesmerizing ability to make people absolutely bat-shit crazy has to be at the top of the list. Maybe standing here, on the far edge of civilization, we all get a bit lost in the long gaze, the whorling vortex of empty that hovers at the edge of life. Los Angeles in its lazy haze brings forward all the anxiety of the modern dilemma, without the distractions of tribe and history and god/tradition that distract people in more settled places from looking over the edge. Besides, back East they are too busy shoveling snow.

I mention this because I can't explain what would inspire a successful, wealthy, admittedly-B-list-but-still-working movie director to don women's clothes on a warm L.A. night, when the wind blows dry and clear down from the desert and the whole city seems to sleep fitfully under too much reflected light, and then walk down to Benitos Tacos on Santa Monica Boulevard (aka "Tranny Taco") to solicit an undercover cop posing as a John.

I think that sometimes in this city, it's real easy for your grip to slip. Just ask Lee Tamahori. Or if you prefer, help him pick out his outfit.

To Clarify

Once again, Wonkette comes up with the perfect graphic. For future reference:

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Dick, Dick, Dick

Andrew Sulivan pointed out yesterday how nearly all the recent scandals and bad decisions coming from the White House are in some way the responsibility of Dick Cheney's bad judgment. Then today, in an almost comical moment of allegory, he accidentally shoots a man.

This from the guy who was supposed to be the "steady hand" in the administration.

In the long view of history, the great mystery of our political age may be how a man in such a powerless office as Vice-President was ever able to wrap his hands around the power necessary to fuck so many things up so fast. Forget about George Bush. Dick Cheney's malignant heart is what really pumps the blood of corruption through his beloved Washington. It also makes you wonder if the man has taken an NRA safety course in his life.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Accountability Moment

Remember the destruction of New Orleans, that little event that George Bush pretty much left out of the State Of The Union address? Remember the "we didn't know how bad it was" defense?

"Well, I think if you look at what actually happened, I remember on Tuesday morning (Aug. 30th) picking up newspapers and I saw headlines, 'New Orleans Dodged the Bullet.' Because if you recall, the storm moved to the east and then continued on and appeared to pass with considerable damage but nothing worse." –Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, "Meet the Press," Sept. 4, 2005

From today's New York Times:

"FYI from FEMA," said an e-mail message from the agency's public affairs staff describing the helicopter flight, sent Monday night(Aug.29th) at 9:27 to the chief of staff of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and recently unearthed by investigators. Conditions, the message said, "are far more serious than media reports are currently reflecting. Finding extensive flooding and more stranded people than they had thought — also a number of fires."

They knew. But of course we knew that.

"I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees." –President Bush, on "Good Morning America," Sept. 1, 2005

I Heart AA

My employer, American Apparel, is amazing. Not only are they giving me the time off for my surgery, but they also do stuff like this:

American Apparel is making biodiesel fuel available to employees. Biodiesel is a vegetable-based diesel substitute that will run in any diesel vehicle without alteration or conversion of the car or truck. It is a clean-air fuel that is lower in carcinogens and particulates than petroleum fuel, and because it is vegetable based, biodiesel is carbon neutral, meaning it does not contribute to global warming. It supports our farmers while reducing our dependence on foreign energy sources.

I'm seriously considering buying a diesel because of this. Say, a nice W124-bodied Mercedes, anywhere between '87 and '95. It's not just the appeal of less pollution (making penance for all my years of driving guzzlers) but it's also the esthetics of the thing, of filling your tank at work with an organic fuel that doesn't fuck with the environment, feed political corruption, and fund Islamic extremism. That's thinking locally.

Come on, even George Bush feels compelled to make lip service to problem of cheap oil imports. If even a third of America's big employers were this responsible, our addiction to oil would be severely pared down. It's good for the country, it's good for the environment, it just makes sense. Alternatives to fossil fuel need to move past the "early adopter" stage, and this is how that happens.

A House Divided

One of the main arguments used by those who oppose gay marriage is that it's unnecessary; that gay couples are free to draw up their own legal agreements between themselves through Power of Attorney contracts and other legal methods.

Right. Do you really think that the religious right will stop at banning marriage?

Already a Virginia law passed that calls into question the ability of any "marriage-like" contracts between same sex couples to stand. And then there are little micro-initiatives like this one in Utah:

Draper Republican Rep. LaVar Christensen's HB148 stems from a lesbian partner's custody battle before the Utah Supreme Court. In that still-pending case, a district court judge awarded visitation to the former lesbian partner of the child's biological mother. Under Christensen's legislation, unmarried heterosexual or gay couples could not make custody agreements. That right would be reserved for married couples. In a legal battle, a court could not award custody or visitation against the biological parent's wishes.

Little by little they will chip away in the states where they can, rolling back rights for gays, and in this case, unmarried straight people as well. The argument is the same for overturning Roe V Wade; to outlaw abortion in just the conservative states first, since they know they can't do it nationwide. If this keeps up, we'll end up with a sexual Mason-Dixon line. Andrew Sullivan's states-rights experimentation arguments aside, this is not a good idea, and not just for those unfortunate enough to be born in states with Senators like LaVar Christensen. It's bad for all of us, because bigotry is never content to rest. It must flourish.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Don't Ask...

The Army is still kicking active duty soldiers serving in Iraq out for being gay. Read the story of Jeff Howe, who enlisted after September 11th and was on his second tour of duty when the sexual Torquemadas caught up with him.

Maybe the whole damned corps should come out and get shipped home. That's what I would call an exit strategy!

Tips to Andy.

Making Savage

Read this excellent interview with my Secret Celebrity Stalking Victim Dan Savage in the Onion. He's got the long perspective down, and still makes funny. I can't tell you how it hurts for me to laugh right now, but it was still worth it. Let's hope the stitches hold.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

I'm Alive!

Well, I made it through surgery, and I'm now home from the hospital. Still exhausted, sore, and uncomfortable, but doing OK. I've mastered getting up and down, walking, and having juice, Jell-o, and clear broth. The liquid diet is going to last for at least another 10 days, and I'm sure it'll get old, but I have no desire to eat anyway.

A couple of quick observations:

1) I lost 12 pounds in the two days before the surgery, just by eating no solid foods. I felt bad at first, then much better. I think an occasional fast is probably a good thing.

2) Cedars/Sanai is a very plush hospital. It's good to have insurance. Very good.

3) There is an obscene amount of food advertising on television. I noticed, because the ads inevitably filled me with nausea. But seriously, a good 1/3 of TV advertising must be for food, especially late at night.

4) It sucks not being able to laugh, even temporarily.

OK, I'm going to go lay down some more and watch the silly game. I'm sure it'll be a blowout. Thanks again for the kind words and e-mails! I expect to resume semi-regular blogging in a couple of days.


Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Pause In Transmission

OK, I'm signing off until after surgery. I'll be in the hospital until Saturday, and then recuperating at home. I'll probably get bored and be back on the internets by next week, and you'll get a full report of the gory details.

I'm a bit nervous and unsure, but also excited. I want more then anything to be in shape to play rugby in the third Bingham Cup, in New York in late May. That's the prize I'm keeping my eye on. The next month will be pretty miserable but this is hardly the first time I've had to radically re-invent myself. Thanks for all the support, the nice e-mails and comments. It really makes a difference.

I'm sitting on the edge of my bed right now, and the Basset-Beagle, who has been especially mild-mannered in the last few days, just came up and leaned himself against my back, his snout on my shoulderblade. I hope that he'll still want to do this when I am far less padded!

See you on the flip side.


Best Line From The SOTU

Without question, George Bush telling us how he is going to protect us from the looming threat of...

Many thanks to Wonkette.

Mea Culpa

Most egregious line from the State of the Union speech:

"We have entered a great ideological conflict we did nothing
to invite."

This one just really pissed me off. The United States and Europe have been meddling in the Middle East for a century. Whether it was Winston Churchill drawing the borders of Iraq and Jordan and making a deal with the Hashemites to rule them, in exchange for giving up Mecca to the Al Saud, or it was the C.I.A. overthrowing Iran's Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddeq in the Cold War 50's, or, of course, the first war we fought in Iraq, in the Middle East America has long stirred the pot.

This is not to say that the philosophies of men like Bin-Laden, men who also cite these events, hold any water. They hope to also regulate the affairs of the whole Muslim world themselves, and given the military power to do so, wouldn't stop there.

But it does explain much of the common animosity of the average person towards us. America's oil politics have been sewing the seeds of hatred there for a century. Some of this hatred is unjustified, such as the ridiculous brouhaha over the Dutch cartoons of Mohammed, and some of it is justified, such as the resentment of the massive support and aid that the West gives to tyrants and bullies throughout the region, ignoring their corrupt rule in exchange for their political support and the free flow of that black drug which George Bush pointed out last night that our nation is addicted to (buy the way, if America is addicted to oil, what does that make the oil companies?).

All of which is to say that when Bush says that we did nothing to invite this conflict, he is betraying ignorance. No surprise there, but it's a dangerous ignorance. I love my country, and I don't believe that we deserved what happened to us on September 11th. But the first step towards fixing a problem is acknowledging its existence. We have a problem with our history in the Middle East. It has made us widely reviled. This reality doesn't necessarily mean that we must take a certain course of action; where people like Chomsky go wrong is that they are great at cataloging America's ills, but offer no real alternatives of what the next step will be. Well, how about this. Let's acknowledge that American foreign policy did exist before September 11th, and that, in the past, we've done some things of which we should not be proud. Let's ask ourselves what we can do to rectify that history. Christopher Hitchens argued in the ramp-up to the war that the overthrow if Hussein was justified by America's long history of supporting oppression in the region; that it was the way that we could pay back the wrongs of the past, including our past support of Hussein himself, and give the people a chance. I didn't agree because it seemed to be an exceedingly difficult task for which our country was in no way prepared. But I acknowledge that it's a good point, and a point based on the actual real history of our actions in the region. No wonder the administration, so divorced from reality, didn't bother to make it.

Unfortunately, George Bush is not a man who even begins to understand what it's like to be afraid of a bully. Until we come to terms with our heavy-handed past, we have no real future in the Middle East.