Thursday, April 27, 2006

21st Century Lynching

Are you a brown boy who wants to kiss a white girl at a party in Houston? Prepare to get severely beaten, sodomized with a metal pipe, covered in bleach, and left for dead.

This is how it works. First, the angry rhetoric. Then, some young knucklehead who has been juiced on the hate busts loose. After which the original haters, the spewers and insinuators, those who speak in code and cloak themselves in doublespeak, distance themselves and join in condemning the violence with their lying tongues.

Sure, lay this at the door of the two teenagers who did it. But don't forget to lay it at the door of Tom Tancredo. Of the Minutemen. Of Lou Dobbs.

There's enough blame to go around.

Thanks to Sullivan for the heads-up.

The Boss Must Be So Proud

New Jersey may be the only state where Dick Cheney outpolls George Bush. Mind you, it's only by one point, and they both still have dismal approval ratings (27 and 26 percent respectively) but somehow, I have the impression that the fact that the Vice President shot a man in the face actually helped him in the Garden State. After all, we learned just a few weeks ago of one household where they voted for Bush:

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Give Me Diesel Or...

Back in the day, I rolled in a '92 Jeep Wrangler. It was fly yellow, with a black hardtop. I drove that truck for over five years, the longest stretch of any vehicle I ever owned. It was tragically taken from me by a drunk driver, who plowed into it at 2:00 on a Sunday morning while it was parked in front of my old house in Koreatown. It's a long story that involves seven crashed cars, a drunken illegal immigrant, a "Club" brand security device, and being handcuffed in the dirt by the L.A.P.D. Someday I'll tell you all about it.

Suffice it to say, I miss my Jeep. Designed for the rocks, it was paradoxically a great city car; short and high, with a tiny wheelbase for easy U-turns and parallel parking. But while I loved my yellow Wrangler of fury, I don't miss some things about it. The lousy build quality, the narrowness that meant that passengers were practically sitting in your lap, the kidney-crushing freeway ride, the useless back seat.

Jeep has worked on fixing those problems. The new Wrangler coming out in 2007 is wider and better built, with a much nicer ride. Best of all, Jeep has finally done something that they should have done years ago, a move that I have been waiting for them to make.

They've decided to offer it in four doors.

This is the first new vehicle in a long time that actually captures my imagination. The thing is, the Wrangler is essentially a vanity vehicle, a rolling catwalk with limited practicality. It looks great, but it is not an adult vehicle. The extra doors changes all that. It somehow makes the vehicle more "Land Rover" and less "High School". Now, the Wrangler is actually a vehicle you could carry something in, a vehicle that more then one passenger can ride in for a trip to the mountains, a vehicle that maintains all the things I loved about my Wrangler, while doing away with its toy-like shortcomings. It's just cool. It looks cool. It stands well. I can see driving this truck down to Laguna on a Sunday morning with my friends, up to Mammoth for a winters weekend. They're going to sell a million of them. My adversion to financing companies aside, I'd buy one in an instant.

If they just offered the goddamn diesel.

You see, I've made a promise to myself. The next vehicle I buy will be one that addresses the Gordian Knot of America's dependence on oil. I just can't bring myself to own another high-mileage gas burning vehicle. As much as I love trucks, sucking down an eighty dollar tank of gas, knowing what it does to our environment and our national security, has become morally untenable. I've stopped driving my Ram, and I'm trying to keep driving to a minimum even in my fuel-wise Cavalier. But like any car nut, I still want to roll in something cool.

Jeep has the answer. Right now, they are offering a four cylinder Common Rail Diesel engine. This powerplant, essentially designed for Europe, is currently available in the U.S. in only one Jeep, the incredibly bland Liberty. Jeep has announced that they are going to make this engine available in the Wrangler, complete with a manual transmission.

They are going to only sell it overseas.

If Jeep offered this vehicle here, I'd buy it. I can't really afford a new car, but I'd find a way. I'd work overtime for this kind of truck. I'd buy it, and I'd fill the tank with biodiesel, which my employer has been kind and decent enough to offer right here at the factory for employees. It would be my automotive wet dream; a rugged, great-looking, eco-friendly truck that I could drive with a clear conscious, without sacrificing any of the things I love in a vehicle. If Jeep actually did this, I can also promise that this truck would be the new darling of the urban enviro set. Fuck the Prius. Can you imagine how it would sell in Hollywood, an enviromentally responsible ride that actually made you look cool?

If anyone from DCX is listening, it's time for you guys to start niche marketing.

To me.

Monday, April 24, 2006


John Aravosis recently posted this reather cranky blog about criticisms of the Primary system:

Will these so-called Democratic strategists ever learn to shut up? The latest absurdity? Saying that the primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire somehow show that the Democratic party is racist. Why? Because, according to the unnamed strategist, "you're basically saying only white people's votes count in those early states."

Uh huh.

Well, newsflash. I don't see a very large gay or Latino or Jewish or Muslim or Asian population in those states either. So that makes Democrats homophobolatinojudaiomusulmanoasiaticophobic too, right? So maybe we should make east LA and San Francisco states and hold the first primaries there so we can suck up to the cumbaya chorus?

Sure, that would be saying the votes of white people don't count, but somehow that calculus never seems to matter when you're intent on finding some harm when there is none.

And we wonder why Democrats never win the majority in the election. I'd like to see these Democratic strategists have the nerve to actually discuss their complaints publicly, by name, then let's talk. But at this point, it's hard to take someone seriously who doesn't even have the courage of their own convictions.

In his understandable exasperation with mushy-mouthed PC "consultants" though, John misses the point. I can't imagine two places, lovely though they may be, that are less representative if the modern, forward-looking, diverse, tech-driven, progressive America that I want to see the Democratic Party represent, then Iowa and New Hampshire. Yes these "consultants" are idiotic to make this about race. It isn't, or rather, it is only in small part. Both Iowa and New Hampshire are pretty conservative, traditional, backwards-looking places where Democratic politics are ruled by local issues and machines, mainly agriculture in Iowa and labor in New Hampshire. The strangle-hold that these states have on media attention in the early primary race does shape and effect the outcome. While there is an argument to be made for the "crudicble effect" of retail politics in such small places, really, these states and their parochial power are in large part responsible for the unpalatable "consensus" candidates that have been ruining Democratic chances for the Presidency.

So here's what I suggest. About a year before the election, the DNC should hold a lottery. States will be assigned their order in the Primary according to how they are drawn in this lottery. The first Primary Election may be in California one year, Maryland the next. The old rule books will be torn up, and politicans aspiring to national office will actually have to hone a national message that can win in Alabama and Massachusetts both. Every election could serve as a spotlight and civics lesson on the different challenges faced in each region of the nation (imagine a politician who had to address, as his first issue in the Election, the dire poverty of New Orleans or Detroit, the environmental issues of New Jersey, or the immigration issues of New Mexico, instead of the usual early-primary bullshit about Ethenol subsidies and teacher's salaries), and because it is just as likely that a large state will be early or a small one, it helps equalize the money factor (the most cogent argument against, say, letting California go first was that this punished candidates without deep pockets. This way, the size of the state is left up to chance).

If we did this, we would have a system that would energize and captivate voters across the nation and provide just the shock of sunlight and freshness that is missing from the current primary season.

Sorry New Hampshire and Iowa, but traditions die. Election results are forever.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Soul Killers

From the popular gay blog Joe My God:

Dear Joe,

I found your blog today after googling for items about Exodus, the ex-gay organization you wrote about yesterday. I am a mom in Texas and I keep an eye on whatever Exodus is doing, because you see Joe, I found some of their materials among my son's personal items after he took his life in 2002. Joe, he was only 19 years old and he was just the sweetest boy you'd ever want to know. My son had problems, yes, but his father and I (we are divorced) both feel that the Exodus people took advantage of his confusion about who he was. Even though he knew that we loved him, they helped him hate himself. Please don't stop writing about Exodus and the terrible, terrible harm they do to young people. I miss my boy so much.

Just a mother, Texas

Someday. Justice. There must be.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Now Back To Our Regular Programming

I haven't been posting regularly, I know. Chalk it up to distraction, other writing projects I'm working on, and a head cold I just can't seem to shake. Plus, my wireless at home has been on the fritz. But I'll whip my brain-hampsters on their little wheels, and hopefully they'll come up with some new ideas.

I just finished reading Joan Didion's non-fiction book of essays about California, Where I Was From. It's full of her memories of her post-war childhood and adolescence in the Central Valley. I also watched Good Night and Good Luck last night. These two books got me thinking nostalgically about the generation that they most mark, the World War Two generation that is now slipping away into the inevitable.

As a history-obsessed kid, I always felt that I had been born in the wrong time. Since I was obsessed with the Civil War and the American Revolution, I often daydreamed what it would have been like to have been alive through such events. But now, if I were picking a time to have been alive in America, it would have been to be born into this now-fading group. Here's how I would have done it:

Born in the roaring Twenties, I would have witnessed the calamities of the Depression and the rise of modern liberalism is response. Maybe I'd write letters to my heroes like Marc Blitzstein and Paul Bowles and John Steinbeck. Maybe I'd join a nice "subversive" political group. And get thrown out.

As a young man, I would have gone off to fight in the last good war.

After the war it would have been New York. 1945-65. The artistic height of the American Century. I could have haunted Birdland, watched art history being dismantled, and seen the birth of the American literary voice on stage, brought to life by Marlon Brando. I would have booed Stravinsky and seen my mind blown by modernism and watched Mingus wave a gun and gotten into a fist fight with Arthur Mailer at Lenny Bernstein's pad. I'd flirt with Tennessee Williams, break Truman Capote's heart, and fuck Jack Kerouac at the Chelsea Hotel. I could have beaten the shit out of Roy Cohn at the St. Mark's Baths, and gotten Gore Vidal to introduce me to Jack and Jackie at a party. I could have bought some amazing art, made the scene at the Black and White Ball, taught young Larry Kramer a thing or two about the life, listened to Martin preach from the pulpit at the Riverside Cathedral, and gotten out of town with it while the getting was still good, before Ford to New York: Drop Dead.

Then off to California. 1965-80. First San Francisco, for all that. The birth of modern rock. The death of the old establishment. Good drugs and free love that wasn't free. Goofing on Henry Miller and fronting on Eldridge Cleaver and making out with Susan Sontag for the hell of it. Then down to L.A. for the Seventies, with the requisite trip back North to march in the streets when Milk was run down, to try and find communal enlightenment I didn't really need.

Yeah, L.A. in the Seventies. When the old guard died and everyone looked good. An old house in the hills, with music drifting up from Joni's place down the street. A Mercedes convertible and easy money, galleries and sunshine, and getting out before the cocaine and Reagan ruined everything, watching the last American frontier die in a faded technicolor sunset light.

So I would be an old man now, in my rustic cabin in Guerneville or Provincetown or Monterrey or Santa Fe, with my books and my records. I would be watching the fading of my empire, the death of the nation my generation once saved, savoring the bitter wisdom that comes with age and shaking my head at the puppies who presume to run things, the half-men and marketers who distract and manipulate a nation of children, all the while remembering what it once was when we were men, for that too-brief moment when America ruled, when America ruled as no one had ever ruled, not just power in arms, but power in culture, power in knowlege, power in art and life. That one moment when everyone wanted to be us. My generation's moment, when the West climaxed and America shot off like a bottle rocket, before it all turned to ash in the mouth.

Yeah, it would have been a pretty good life.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Big Fat Spence

For those of you who might have wondered how I am doing 2 and 1/2 months after my surgery, I've lost 78 pounds. I actually played in my first rugby match in about a year on Saturday. I only played for 20 minutes, but it felt great to be back on the pitch, getting my head knocked around. I'm back down to a size where I can actually wear some normal, non-fat-guy-store clothes (size forty waist and XXL shirts) and last Friday, as I was leaving work, the owner of American Apparel, who hadn't seen me for a few months, commented on how much skinnier I was, and on how he wanted me to model the XXL shirts in the new wholesale catalog. I guess we're going after the "hot bear" market these days!

I might even think about dating again soon.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Four Little Words

Japanese. Blackface. R&B. Group.

The best part?

They're on Sony.

It takes a lot, and I mean a lot, to offend me. But this one just jumped right past even my expansive parameters of political correctness.

Japanese. Blackface. R&B Group.

Thanks to Doug for the heads-up.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Comfortable In Your Skin

What is it about Michelle Malkin that bothers me so, that just seems a bit off?
Oh, that's right. Bitch wants to be a white girl:

Michelle Malkin, The Michael Jackson of punditry!

Keifer Sutherland Rampages Through My Heart

My two worlds collide yet again, as once more Keifer Sutherland makes the scene, this time in the American Apparel on Robertson. Can someone please help this man find any. White. V-neck. T-shirts. Now!
(hint: the store is full of them)

No doubt there's my usual homo joke in all this somewhere, but I don't want him going all Tom Cruise litigation on my ass. Let's see, something about a closet...
Well, at least his undies will match.

Semper Fi

A retired Marine general who was witness to the planning of the Iraq war sums it up better then I ever could:

What we are living with now is the consequences of successive policy failures. Some of the missteps include: the distortion of intelligence in the buildup to the war, McNamara-like micromanagement that kept our forces from having enough resources to do the job, the failure to retain and reconstitute the Iraqi military in time to help quell civil disorder, the initial denial that an insurgency was the heart of the opposition to occupation, alienation of allies who could have helped in a more robust way to rebuild Iraq, and the continuing failure of the other agencies of our government to commit assets to the same degree as the Defense Department. My sincere view is that the commitment of our forces to this fight was done with a casualness and swagger that are the special province of those who have never had to execute these missions--or bury the results.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Tom DeLay, Icon

From Kevin Drum, the Canadian weiner at the National Review:

As Tom DeLay leaves Congress, the television screens and newspapers flash that haunting grinning mug shot. That is part of the record of course. But it is not all the record. And when your grandchildren and mine visit Capitol Hill decades hence, they will see Tom DeLay’s face not in pixels but in sculpture, arranged with his sometime partner, sometime rival Newt Gingrich in the arcade alongside James Madison, John Calhoun, Thaddeus Stevens, Joe Cannon, Sam Rayburn and the other bygone powers of the House of Representatives. These leaders also had their faults. They too had their failures. But the United States is a just and generous nation, and those who write its history will tell the story in full: not only the tawdry chapters, but also the magnificent.

I've already ordered my Tom DeLay Life-size Memorial Dildo(tm). It's great for fucking the American People!

The limited edition double-headed Gingrich/DeLay model is on backorder.

Thanks to Sadly, No!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Gay Or British?

Time for the lastest chapter of our continuing series,
Gay or British?

In this week's episode, finally a politician with balls. And they're all over the internet.

Charles Anglin, a Lib Dem councillor from South London, is unapologetic after his profile from a gay sex site was circulated, including a picture of him naked and clutching his, ehem, legislative package.

A link to Anglin’s profile on the website was circulated to a number of newspapers last week.

The pictures included him posing naked cupping his genitalia. Other pictures included him laughing for the camera.

On the site, Anglin described himself as a single gay man, into “wrestling” and “reading”.

The naked picture of himself was removed after he spoke to The Voice.

Anglin told The Voice that the images had nothing to do with his political life.

“I’m a gay man and I’m not ashamed about that. I’ve always been open about my sexuality," he said.

“I don’t think it’s an issue. It has nothing to do with my political life. It’s not political what I do with my private life.

It looks like Charles is "Anglin" for my vote. Judging by the looks of him, he gets it:

Little Anal Annie

Ever wonder what Ann Coulter loves?
Ann Coulter loves some anal sex.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Bash Watch

Police in Jamaica apparently had to fire their guns in the air to disperse a lynch mob intent on killing a young gay man on a college campus. He made the mistake of hitting on the wrong guy. Yeah, that sounds like a capital offense.

Tips to Towleroad.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Parking Hogs Everywhere Beware!

This guy rocks.

Hit With The Boring Stick

So yesterday, I pulled up next to the new Mercedes S-Class, which is totally re-designed for the 2007 model year. This was the first one I've seen in person. Back in the Eighties, the S-Class was my favorite car; a beautiful tank of a vehicle, with fine, long lines and nice un-fussy details, the sedan was an instant classic, recognizable from a hundred yards. There was nothing on the road like it.

There still isn't. The new S-Class looks like a Toyota. A very large Toyota, but a Toyota nonetheless. Think of it as a 4270 pound Camry.

You wouldn't even notice the thing if it weren't for this large size. In my case, what first caught my eye was the ridiculous wheel arches, flares of sheet metal that bulge outward in clumsy, clunky half-circles. They remind me of the idiots who used to ruin their vintage S's with silly chrome arches around the wheels. Now, Mercedes does the tack-ons for you. The British have a word. Chav. The new S-Class is chav.

It's an ugly amalgam of random lines going off in different directions, as if two designers got into a fight at the easel. Or I should say at the CAD station, since like so many modern cars, this one stinks of computer design. Just look at the long and pointless flare along the rocker, the strangely hipped line from around the taillights that swings across the rear, the afterthought grill, and the confusion of angles at the front wheel arch, where the disparate designs try and fail to come together. But most of all those silly wheel flares. There is something unredeemably "Dodge" about them.

I'm sure that this new flagship car is a technological tour-de-force, loaded with gadgets that will completely isolate you from the actual experience of driving. For the safety features alone, the car is undoubtedly exceptional. But I can't shake the feeling that if I was rich, truly rich, I'd take my money and spend it on finding the most pristine late-eighties 560SEL on the road. With the money I would save, covering the repairs should be no problem.

Tom Delay Is Glowing

I can't begin to describe how bizarre this is:

When DeLay was booked on the Texas charges, he wore his Congressional I.D. pin and flashed a broad smile designed to thwart Democrats who had hoped to make wide use of an image of a glowering DeLay. "I said a little prayer before I actually did the fingerprint thing, and the picture," he said. "My prayer was basically: 'Let people see Christ through me. And let me smile.' Now, when they took the shot, from my side, I thought it was fakiest smile I'd ever given. But through the camera, it was glowing. I mean, it had the right impact. Poor old left couldn't use it at all."

How far from reality do you have to be to make a statement like this? What kind of ego do you have to have to believe that God speaks to people through your smile?
By the way, everyone I know who saw this photo couldn't believe how creepy it was. Now we know why.

Tom Delay. The glowing face of modern American Christianity.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Hot Or Not?

The Puppywar phenomenon has now reached the Bears. Vote for your favorite bearded guy on this site.
My #1 so far?

Or maybe I should enter this guy below in the contest, who has been popping up in my Google Adsense space. This is my punishment for blogging so much about the Religious Right:

Manly Chests

Please read this column on the "Renew America" web site by right-wing crank Fred Hutchison. I have yet to come across a better example of the circular logic and sexual paranoia of the Religious Right. He's created an entire belief system crafted to keep him from ever having to question himself, or consider the points made by anyone who contradicts him. I especially loved his 7 step guide to becoming evil.

Of course, this guy is obsessed with gay sex and manliness. He believes that gays are on a path that will eventually lead to terrorism. He also tries to slip Islamic fundamentalism, and for the hell of it, Communism, into this same system. Yet it's evident that these evils are but pale shadows compared to the true monstrosity of, well, gay vampires:

The first chapter of the book The Abolition of Man, by C. S. Lewis, is titled "Men without Chests." Lewis cites the classical idea that man is composed of three parts: the head, the chest, and the belly. The head is oriented towards a higher realm of reason, metaphysics, and spirituality. The belly is oriented downwards towards the sensual appetites. The chest is designed to mediate between the head and the belly.
Men without chests are sensual. Lewis said that without the chest, the head becomes detached from the body, and withers. Then the belly with its appetites unrestrained becomes the predominant motive force of life.

Gay males are men without chests. They have an aching void where their manly chest is supposed to be. They seek to fill this void by attempting to suck the maleness out of another man through sexual appetites of the belly. Gay sex is parasitical and has nothing to do with love.

Suck the maleness? I can't even begin to wrap my mind around the "aching void" that must haunt poor Fred Hutchison every waking moment of his lonely life. How ever does he valiantly resist all those wicked homosexuals trying to suck his maleness from him?

But it gets better! After reading this whole essay, this claptrap of desperation, this punched-together piece of superficial classical learning and pseudo-Christian apology, I was curious about Fred Hutchison. So I clicked on the biography link. There are no words to describe what was revealed:

Yes, this is Fred Hutchison's bio picture.

Really, all you can say is....

Not to be cruel or anything, but, well, fuck him. Let's be cruel:

He's a retired accountant, having refused to get his doctorate because of his fear of becoming a "talking head" (I didn't know that the producers on the cable networks and Sunday talk shows were so hot for commentators with that ever-sexy "scary man in a van" look).

Despite the fact that he spends much of the column defending boring married sex, there is no mention of his being married.

He's wearing a pink blazer and holding a fucking pink rose!

I would bet dollars to donuts that this is one of those guys who has a pornography collection in his basement. I don't mean a few dusty videotapes, but one of those world-class pornography collections, tens of thousands of magazines and tapes and discs, meticulously catalogued and shelved with infinite care, each item lovingly placed in its dust jacket, arranged and cross-referenced by featured act and flavor. When he finally kicks the bucket, his distant heirs will stumble across this beloved treasure, and the pieces about "Uncle Fred" will fall together. If they are enlightened sorts, they'll contact a museum or library, to come out and sift through this fantastic window into late-twentieth century erotic history, and to learn from one man's dedicated chronicaling of it. If they are not so enlightened, his heirs will rent a dumpster and spend three days hauling the stuff out in wheelbarrows, so they can unload the house as fast as possible.

Oh well, at least that's just how I imagine it, with his Penthouse filed right next to his Plutarch, his C.S. Lewis side by side with his Lesbian porn. I'll freely admit, unlike Fred Hutchison, that I could be wrong.

Heads-up to Sadly, No!