Tuesday, July 31, 2007
But my bigger problem is with performance-enhancing clothes.
Speedo just introduced a new body suit that compresses the muscles and is enabling pro swimmers to set new records. Not because of their training, strength, technique or ability. Because they wear a suit. Michael Phelps (pictured, sans suit) set a new butterfly record wearing it.
In powerlifting the same practice exists. Powerlifters who wear a special shirt that compresses their muscles (so much so that it forces their arms to extend in front of them like Frankenstein when they walk) and gives them a 30 percent increase in strength. The LTR resisted this, competing "raw" (i.e., sans special shirt) but finally gave in because he is in a decided minority and thus at a major competitive disadvantage.
In ancient Greece the athletes competed naked. There's something to be said for the athletes competing unaided by technology, relying on their personal performance. Technology-enhanced sports loses something -- and that something is more than just a chance to ogle beefcake. It's the loss of true human competition. "Swifter, Higher, Stronger" and now "better dressed." I don't like it.
Monday, July 30, 2007
That's what my nearly three year old son says when he's done talking to you -- which could be 10 seconds after saying hello or after several minutes of "conversation." We call him every Sunday. He's becoming more conversant. I can also get him to sing to me - the alphabet song is a favorite and yesterday he added the Barney theme song to his repertoire.
Years ago when my niece and nephew watched Barney it annoyed my socks off and when I heard the "I love you, you love me" lyrics it was puke-inducing. But when sung to you by your own child, well, totally charming.
The LTR get to spend the next month with him, starting this Thursday.
My two favorite pieces were instrumental, Copland's Quiet City and Shostakovich's Chamber Symphony for Strings. The ensemble played with great clarity and the trumpet solo by Tom Cupples brought out the best in the Copland piece.
I've never heard the Shostakovich and I'm going to get a recording. The music was inspired by the composer's visit to Dresden and he was shaken by the after affects of the allied bombing and utter destruction of that city in WWII. But the true nature of the piece is more autobiographical and has to do with his feelings of confronting life in the Soviet Union. The communists were rough on their artists in those years. The strings under Ozment played with great fire in the Allegro Molto and great delicacy and dynamic range in the three largos.
The program also included the world premiere of Terrance Johns' Vox in Rama for a capalla chorus. This was an effective setting of Rachel's lament from the New Testament, and the soprano solo -- sounding like a plaintive wail -- was chilling. I could have listened to this piece again. Not so the Martin Mass for Unaccompanied Double Chorus, which I thought was over long and after a while sounded like one solid line of sameness. My only other quibble with the concert was most of the music was on the grim side...perhaps fitting for a benefit for Darfur but a little wearying nonetheless. The Dona nobis pacem from the Bach Mass in B minor was a welcome bit of hope at the end (though the orchestra overpowered the chorus a bit).
Learn more about Sonus Cura.
Example -- Lucas Goodman (pictured) came out to his high school rowing club. Here's what one of Goodman's teammates said about the possibility of bunking with him on the road (the team doubles up when traveling to save money:
"So what if I sleep in the same bed with a straight guy or with Lucas?" Casey Ellis asked. "Either way, there's going to be another guy there with me."
Wow. That's a statement not only about acceptance, but about two men being comfortable and secure in their own sexuality. That's curiously absent from the fuss over being in the same locker room with a gay guy that we heard about when former pro basketball player John Amaechi came out. Like this comment from another NBA player:
"As long as you don't bring your gayness on me I'm fine," Randolph said. "As far as business-wise, I'm sure I could play with him. But I think it would create a little awkwardness in the locker room."
I'm glad the next generation of athletes are more secure in their masculinity and sexuality than that.
Kudos to these young men and women. Read the whole story about Lucas and other gay athletes and their teammates.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Andrew declares Obama (Sen. Obama to you) to be the winner of last week's dust up with Sen. Clinton (Hillary to, well, everyone).
Casual in Istanbul is (sadly) shutting down.
Chris invites us to help him craft tough questions for the Dem candidates at the upcoming HRC debate.
Zac experiences the promise and brutality of Internet dating at a Wal-Mart parking lot.
Michael gets a gun.
Curtis finds his moment of Zen with the dawn and a doe.
Matty craves a drink before jetting off to help his in-laws move (just push the astronauts away from the bar at the airport, Matty).
And, Naked Boy is off on a mystery trip after declaring his hatred for Dick.
As for me? Well, I'm spending the day in the recording studio mixing the recording of our last concert, then tonight perhaps to see a musical that a friend of mine is in.
Friday, July 27, 2007
Why has it become acceptable for men to wear athletic gear to work or social situations? Increasingly, I see men wearing Under Armour ® brand apparel in business casual environments and casual gatherings. Did I miss a memo about gym attire being integrated into office attire? Did my favorite local gay bar suddenly become the newest location for Results? Trust me when I say that Under Armour ® does not go seamlessly from day to evening wear.
I see co-workers wearing examples of the brand’s golf shirts to the office. I feel very strongly that these should be left for the golf course. If they are to be added to work situation, then you either need to work at the golf club, the store where these are sold, or on work trip to the country club with a client or colleagues.
Another example of the brand I see men wearing during business hours with nice trousers is the ultra tight shirt. Allow me to reiterate, this is for the gym or sports related activity. I had to bite my tongue a few days ago in an elevator with a man who wore one of these with his suit pants and wing tips.
I know that guys will say, but these are comfortable. Indeed they are. I have a few of their items – that I wear to the gym or while working around my house. Comfort does not equate to athletic wear. And when you consider the cost of the aforementioned gym apparel, there is no excuse for purchasing a similarly priced (if not less expensive) polo or T-shirt that is equally comfortable and much more appropriate for business casual or social gatherings.
It all goes back to consideration of where you are going and what is appropriate attire for the occasion. Not all offices have a strict dress policy, so this may be acceptable. And perhaps in social settings you are hanging out with members of the PGA. Whatever you do, be sensible and look at yourself in the full length mirror before you leave the house. If in doubt, call a friend for help.
- To date, every state legislator, including those running in conservative districts, who voted to support the freedom to marry and ran for re-election won.
- Even state legislators who evolve from opposing to supporting the freedom to marry win; in Massachusetts they showed a 100 percent re-election rate.
- A report published by the Human Rights Campaign after the 2004 election found 94 percent (604 out of 640) of state legislators nationwide who voted in 2004 against discrimination were re-elected in the 2004 election.
- Open-seat races with both a pro-marriage and anti-marriage candidate have most often resulted in victory for the pro-marriage candidate. Pro-marriage candidates won a vast majority, 71 percent, of the races, and none of the pro-marriage candidates lost their races because of their stance on the freedom to marry.
Read Wolfson's full post on the Democratic responses on the marriage issue in the last debate.
Has Hillary reached the iconic pantheon level of Cher, Oprah, Madonna? What male politician has attained universal first name status? Maybe Arnold? Rudy may be edging up there, but not quite.
One could say maybe it's a sexist thing, but I don't think so. We don't refer in casual conversation or blogging to the Speaker of the House as Nancy. Nor do we refer to the two Barbara's (Mikulski and Boxer) by their first names. And it's not a power thing - no one sees Hillary as a shrinking violet. Feminist, maybe. Overly feminine, I don't think so.
Personally, Hillary is more pleasing to the ear than Clinton. As Obama is more pleasing than Barak, which sounds vaguely like something you would do to wood before you shellac it.
And right now I prefer saying Hillary to yet another name for her: President Clinton. I'm not ready to go there yet.
Krauthammer ends by saying:
The country might decide that it prefers, yes, a Republican -- say, Sept. 11 veteran Rudy Giuliani-- to a freshman senator who does not instinctively understand why an American president does not share the honor of his office with a malevolent clown like Hugo Chávez.
Wait. What? If I recall correctly, the "Sept. 11 Veteran" mayor was busy doing what after 9/11? Coordinating emergency response, right? Besides why is Krauthammer so certain the Dems are going to nominate Obama. After this week, Hillary looks...what's the word...oh yeah, whisper it: "inevitable."
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
I freaked. I mean, I've been pretty critical of DC Metro Bus drivers in this space. I mean, they've run over people on Pennsylvania Ave. So I thought, "Oh shit, I'm dead."
No. She said, "hey, I like your legs" (honestly, I'm not making this up). Blushing, I said, "Thanks, it's the biking." She said, "I like having you in front of me."
I couldn't think of what to say in response to that and thankfully the light changed green.
I mean, I know the Metro system is running a goodwill campaign and all to make up for running over people, but seriously, this is a bit much, dontcha think?
"Oh God, I could never do that to a child. Can you imagine what it would be like, having your two dads coming to school speech days? And hearing those awful queeny rows while you are trying to get to sleep?"
Hmmm. I think that tells us what he really thinks about gay people . Not all gay people indulge in "queeny rows" and any good parent knows to keep adult disagreements away from the kids.
I'm glad Rupert isn't planning on adopting -- he'd be an awful parent, as he readily admits. Unfortunately this convinces me he's also an awful example of an "out" gay man. Not very proud, is he.
Triceps: The Power Behind the Push
Another tip for those whose bench is flat is to mind those triceps. That set of muscles is actually 2/3rds of the mass of your entire arm, and are critical in a strong bench press – particularly at the very beginning of the press when the bar is on your chest..
Want big guns? Want a big bench? It’s time to inaugurate triceps day. Or, hit them hard after a regular bench session.
Close grips flat bench (your hands should both be inside the gnurling on the bar) 3x10
Kick-backs (Scott hates these) 3x10
When you’re through with these sets, you can really fire up those babies by doing 2 sets of 50 of the triceps pushdowns with the cable machines. Don’t loaf (drape) between sets, and then get your ass down to the nearest watering hole to show the guys that pump - the pumped arms, that is – the other pump is your secret.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Britannica online has this to say about a debate:
formal, oral confrontation between two individuals, teams, or groups who present arguments to support opposing sides of a question, generally according to a set form or procedure.Note the word "confrontation"
The presidential "debates" thus far are less a confrontation and more a staged joint news conference. Even with the questions coming from YouTubers, candidates were left unchallenged in their responses or thinking. A point-counterpoint might make the candidates uncomfortable, because they'd actually have to commit acts of thinking in public, but that spectacle is exactly what the American people should be treated to as we decide who to place our trust in during this perilous time. And if our candidates' positions can't withstand the normal give and take you'd find in a high school debate club, well that says a lot about our candidates and the level of political discourse in this country, doesn't it?
"I won't go as far as civil marriage." But he's okay with equal and full rights under "civil unions.?
Why? Why create something separate? If you support full equal rights, why not call it marriage? You say marriage is between a man and a woman...Why? Why can't it include people -- Americans -- of the same gender? Other countries have allowed same sex marriages and it has not caused civil disorder. One state allows it in America. Why create a separate institution for gay people that would be "equal" on paper only and never in practice, as America's long history of separate but equal has already demonstrated.
The question was brilliant. You Tube should be flooded with such videos of gay couples asking the American people directly, will you let us marry?
Monday, July 23, 2007
Soooooo, that means as president, if presented a bill legalizing civil marriage for gays you'd be for it?
Artful dodging, this one. He points out wife Elizabeth is all for letting the gays marry. Could it be he's maintaining opposition, talking about that bridge he won't cross, while he lets his wife send a subliminal message to the gays that he's more with us than he can politically let on right now?
Or is that just the cynicism talking?
Sidenote: How was a local TV station able to place a hidden camera at a checkpoint at a major airport without being detected? Isn't that telling about security in and of itself?
Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon says he's okay with the lax security because TSA "has been informed." He also engages in a Bush-era tactic: tarnish the credibility of the accusers -- in this case ABC's private security experts. He also says - without backing it up, that this happens in other Airports.
Watch and read the news stories here -- and you'll feel you're getting your money's worth from the TSA.
The theme: Viagra advertising slogans. The only rule was they had to use past ad slogans, originally written for other products that captured the essence of Viagra. Slight variations were acceptable.
About 7 minutes later, they turned in their suggestions and created a Top 10 List. With all the laughter and camaraderie, the rest of the week went very well for everyone! The top 10 were:
10. Viagra, Whaazzzz up!
9. Viagra, The quicker pecker picker upper.
8. Viagra, like a rock!
7. Viagra, When it absolutely, positively has to be there
6. Viagra, Be all that you can be.
5 . Viagra, Reach out and touch someone.
4. Viagra, Strong enough for a man, but made for a woman. (Obviously a straight man's response.)
3. Viagra, Home of the whopper! (No comment!)
2. Viagra, We bring good things to Life!
And the unanimous number one slogan:
1. This is your peepee. This is your peepee on drugs.
Our adventure started in Waynesboro, VA, in the heart of Old Red Virginny, where we spent Friday night so we could get an early start on the trail Sat. morning. An old, grizzled man greeted us at the desk of the Days Inn and said to us, "I see we have you down for a king sized bed. That won't work, will it?" Without missing a beat the LTR said, "no it will be fine." Then the guy turned to me, as if he didn't believe the LTR and asked me if it was okay. "Sure, I said. Makes it easier to suck his dick in the middle of the night." You should have seen the guy's mouth drop.
Ok, I didn't really say that, but I might as well have when I affirmed the sleeping arrangements. Still, he gave us the key.
I did my best to pack light, since this was our first back country trek in years. Still our packs must have weighed more than 50 pounds each. I don't know what I could have left behind. I didn't use one tee shirt nor sweat pants, but other than that everything carried in was used. I'll be going online for tips on packing light...for me, planning and packing carefully is part of the fun.
We started at elevation 3,600 feet at Reed's Gap. We ascended to nearly 4,000 at the highest peak on three sisters, then descended to 2,000 feet to Harper's Creek where we made camp. Overall we hiked a total elevation change of 5,000 feet.
Here's the LTR preparing dinner on our camp stove next to the crackling fire I built.
Sunday morning we rose, ate breakfast and ascended back to Reed's Gap.
I'm a bit stiff and sore but otherwise feel like the trip was a great experience and a step towards getting ready for our five day hike on the Inca Trail in September.
Ta ta ta ta ta ta Touch Me!
One of my favorite guilt pleasures is the quest for tactile clothes – things that make me feel great and also feel great on me. And the bonus when it comes to tactile clothing is that it begs to be touched. In other words, people won’t be able to stop touching you, or at least what you are wearing!
When you are feeling special and would like some extra feel-good attire, here are a few suggestions. First and foremost, this is a time when it’s okay for it to be all about YOU. What feels good on your skin? Super soft natural fibers!!! Ultra soft cotton is a wonderful feeling. So is cashmere. I have found some super soft cotton items at Banana Republic; almost every time I wear one of these items, people ask if they can feel the fabric because it looks so soft, touchable and inviting.
Speaking of soft, touchable and inviting, there is a store I have been bragging about for quite some time now. My friends always ask whenever they see me, “Oh I like that – is it from Alex?” Alex Boutique has some amazing apparel for men (yes they have women’s clothes too, but this is all about the men). I have found some incredible items there – ranging from luscious, soft velvet jackets, luxuriously soft leather apparel, shirts made of fabric so soft, you’d swear it’s a sin, jeans that feel as if they are made of the softest denim known to mankind and of course the most amazing velvet pants that make my ass look unbelievable. It’s a dream come true, and the best part is that the clothes you will find there are from some more obscure designers, so aside from the fact that you are going to get glances and touches, not every queen in the Metro DC area will be sporting the same look as you.
Remember some basics when searching for lovely tactile clothing… make certain it fits properly… not too big, not too tight. Also, don’t overdo it – remember that you should look as though your selection was made effortlessly. Otherwise, you look as though you are trying too hard, and we don’t want that, do we? When you are ready to literally feel great in what you wear, you know where to find the Friday Fashionista. The lines are open for questions from callers now.
Friday, July 20, 2007
Yesterday morning the Jackson entourage toured the museums before they opened to the public. I wonder how much this special tour cost taxpayers? I wonder what criteria someone must meet to get special favor from an institution like the Smithsonian? Or should only creepy has-been pop stars need apply?
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Is your bench routine flat and your strength/size-gain goals seem to be falling by the wayside. Try this. One day a month, do your bench workout twice. It’s a two-fer.
The first time (in the morning), go as heavy as you possibly can to still attain five reps of five. Run those five by fives through your whole workout. For a target weight, you should be working with 80 percent of your one rep max. So, if your one rep max on the flat bench is 200, you should be working with 160.
Flat bench: 5x5@ 160 lbs.
Decline bench: 5x5@ 80%
Incline bench: 5x5@80%
Flies: 5x5@ 80%
Wait at least 3 hours, but preferably six, and go back to the gym. Now do the same exact routine, except swap out the heavy set of 5x5 with high volumes of singles at a very light weight. Your goal is to get fifty (that’s 50 – honey) reps at each one of these exercises. I would work with no more than 50 percent of my one rep max.
Flat bench – 50 reps. You push out as many as you can, rack the weight, catch your breath for 30 seconds, and start benching again. Repeat this until you hit the magic number of 50. Do the same for the incline, decline and flies.
I can almost guarantee that you will wake up in the middle of the night with massive tit throbbing that will require sufficient aspirin…but you can actually feel yourself growing.
And make sure you get your 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight on days when you lift. Recovery is critical if you a set of eye catching pecs.
How many times a day do we have to listen to the same instructions? A simple "You've reached so and so, please leave a message" would work just fine and save countless hours waiting patiently (or in my case, impatiently) for the rambling VM instructions to end so we can actually leave a message.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
I had an original cast recording years ago. Back in the Dark Ages when you listened to music on vinyl. So I can't compare it with the original. It's a sudden and jarring change, I can't see that it makes musical sense, and must have been done to accommodate Madonna's voice.
Oh -- and this came up as the LTR returned from his powerlifting competition in Charlottesville. Powerlifting is for straight men what figure skating is for gay men. Powerlifting is the most red-state, testosterone-laden event imaginable. Most of the guys (who fall in the "bear" category) put on elaborate shows of testosterone before a lift, like flexing and screaming at the weights. Some also snort ammonia before a lift. When I first saw it I thought they were doing poppers. I briefly considered becoming a participant in the sport until the LTR told me what was really happening. Fortunately, the LTR is more low key, and though not the only gay powerlifter out there, he is definately in the smallest of minorities.
He still managed to lift a personal best -- 10 pounds heavier on the bench than last year, when he set the state record for his age/weight class in Virginia. Which means he likely set the record again this year.
At any rate, as we were driving home, we were listening and singing along to the Evita soundtrack. I looked at him and said, "honey, I guarantee you are the only powerlifter driving home from the competition singing show tunes." He agreed.
But that's when I heard the key change and wondered about it.
One of the things Thomas Jefferson was most proud of was his authorship of the Virginia "Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom." In it he writes:
"Our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry."
The VA Assembly agreed with Jefferson and passed the measure, thus, in 1777 proving to be more progressive than nearly all the candidates running for president in 2007.
Rev. Reggie Longcrier and Jefferson have it right.
"You're assuming it's a zero-sum game, which is what I don't understand," Townsend said. "The fact is, we were harassing them in Afghanistan, we're harassing them in Iraq, we're harassing them in other ways, non-militarily, around the world. And the answer is, every time you poke the hornet's nest, they are bound to come back and push back on you. That doesn't suggest to me that we shouldn't be doing it."
The War on Terror as poking the hornet's nest. That's a tragically apt analogy. As anyone who grew up in the country knows, when poking the hornet's nest, you either run or you get stung. It's ultimately a futile experience. As we're seeing in Iraq. We've poked. And we're getting stung. And the hornet's nest is still there.
You can get a better view on the Undergear site where he is modeling these sport briefs.
Particularly if you check out the cool "zoom" feature and the "click on a (ahem!)
I wish I knew who it was, if he had his own Web site and all. Meanwhile I'll keep calling him "Phil."
Oddly enough, it was my Grandmother who turned me onto to catalog porn. Sometime back in the 1970s when I was a little fella she was browsing the Sears Roebuck catalog and she showed me a photo of a male underwear model who was showing more than a suggestive bulge. A bit of his dopplanger was actually hanging out, and Grandma knew right where it was. I can remember her saying, "Don't tell anyone your Grandmother showed you this."
I'd like to believe Grandma heard about it at the Democratic Women's Club - you know, "did you hear...page 117..." I can see the mouths hanging open and expressions of "Oh my word!" over beer battered fish fillets and weak ice tea. I prefer this version to thinking Grandma was oogling the men's underwear section of the catalog (umm, well, like I do) and discovered it on her own.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
I've always been distracted by the way there doesn't seem to be a set pronunciation for specific characters' names. Sure, people could mispronounce others' names in real life, but once you knew someone and were friends with them for several years, wouldn't you learn the correct way to pronounce their name and have some respect for it? In A New Hope, we hear General Dodonna distinctly mispronounce Leia's name as "LEE-AH" instead of "LAY-AH." Lando Calrissian always calls Han "HAN" instead of "HAHN."
Revenge of the Sith continues this tradition with Anakin mispronouncing his own wife's name! He, for some reason, insists on changing Padme into a three syllable word: PAD-UH-MAY. During the scene where they have a lover's reunion, I keep expecting Padme to lash out and say: "It's PAD-MAY, jackass! Not PAD-UH-MAY! Remember when we were married in that clandestine ceremony and the guy said do you take PAD-MAY to be your wife? Well, that's me. That's my name, AN-KIN!"
Yes, the one in Ohio. That Akron.
Someone should tell the Akron Convention and Visitor's Bureau they need to do two things:
1) Get a beach (a sandy lot next to the Cuyahoga river doesn't count).
2) Repeal your prohibition against same sex marriage.
Both seem equally unlikely.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Some say this amendment only applies to "militias," in my view, "the right of the people" wording and legal precedent at the time the Bill of Rights was passed which was that individuals could be legally armed suggests otherwise.
At any rate, how has the handgun ban been working out? You can see the map of DC and murders between 2004-2006 below, courtesy of Wikipedia. The red or solid dots were killings committed by guns.
Monday, July 16, 2007
Andrew Sullivan is into bears, identifies as one and celebrates bear-dom. Okay, whatever turns your crank. But what gives me
For example, this from an article he wrote about bears for Salon:
Whence the name? Well, it's obvious in a way. They kinda look like bears. Big and burly and friendly, they are legions of Yogis, followed by quite a few Boo-boos. The smaller, younger ones tend to be known as "cubs." The more muscular ones go by the name of "muscle-bears." Some leaner types who aren't that hairy but enjoy the atmosphere that follows the bears are known as "otters."
Sullivan goes to hairy length to explain why all this is so much better than the gym-toned circut party boys and their focus on looks. Well, read Sullivan's passage again. Bears, according to him, are just as body-conscious.
I'm all for embracing my masculinity (fact is, I'm all for embracing masculinity, mine or otherwise)-- but why should that mean turning a hairy back on good hygiene, physical fitness and a nicely tailored shirt?
(The photo is of the bear flag, which is credited as being created by Craig Byrnes, who lives in my basement. Which he calls the "Bear Den.")
I hate that. The same person has done that to me twice now. I guess I know now he's not sincere.
Here's how good he was -- the photo is the food ration given to able-bodied adult slaves. A few pounds of corn meal, a pound of fatback (the fat off of pork) and a couple of fish. For a week. What you are looking at is what Mr. Jefferson gave his slaves to live off of for a week. Children and those unable to work got half that.
Of course they couldn't live off it, so they had vegetable gardens and poultry, which they had to tend to after dark, since Mr. J claimed all work from sun up to sun down.
These ration's were typical on Virginia plantations at the time, so Mr. J was no worse in this regard than his neighbors. But in one wise he was worse. He knew slavery was wrong. He admitted it. One can't deal honestly with Mr. Jefferson without acknowledging his rank hypocrisy on slavery.
There are many things I admire about Thomas Jefferson -- and I intend to write about one of them later -- but in this regard this American icon remains severely tainted.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Peter Pace: Iraqi troop readiness is down 40 percent, sir.
President Bush: Is that a thumpin'?
Dept. of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff: I've got a bad feeling about this.
Pace: But not to worry, it's only because they've been taking heavy casualties.
Bush: What, me worry?
Press Sec'y Tony Snow: So...declining Iraqi troop readiness is not bad since the reason for it is that they're losing to the insurgents?
Snow: The media won't buy it.
Vice President Dick Cheney: Arrest them. Arrest them all.
Bush: Can we do that, Dick?
Chency: Sir, would you rather go hunting with me?
Bush: Never mind.
Sec'y of State Condoleezza Rice: Anyone want to hear the new piano solo I've been practicing?
Chertoff (sucking his thumb): I've got a bad feeling about this...
Sunday, July 15, 2007
A great weekend.
Friday, July 13, 2007
I will be the first to admit that I like nice things – clothing, shoes and accessories in particular. But one thing I just don’t get is the need to wear on your shirt, jeans, belt and/or shoes the label or logo as if it were a flashy neon sign. Understated style goes a long way.
Let’s clear there air here – I am not talking about adornment on your items. I love a little color, a nice design and some flair. However, the current trends for flash and look at me style are focused on larger than life branding. One recent example – take a look at all the queens running around with the gigantic polo logos on their shirts. It’s called “The Big Pony Collection.” It screams – “Look at me; I paid $100.00 for this polo shirt!”
Before any of you start in on my personal wardrobe and my expenses… yes – I tend to be extravagant from time to time with my clothing and accessory choices. However, I also believe that while the human mannequin is made to display fashion as living art, it is not meant to be a living billboard. I love items that have character or are tactile – it goes a long way. A fun print on your shirt or some nice texture makes people want to reach out and touch you. You become approachable and stylish all at the same time! And it is more subtle than the gigantic, pretentious logos screaming: PRADA!!! BOSS!!! POLO!!! I am not necessarily opposed to those brands – I am merely speaking out against blatant label worship.
The next time you are walking out, take a look in the floor length mirror and consider for a moment, do you look nicely put together and understated? Do you look at ease, like it was barely an effort, yet you still look like a million bucks? OR, do you look like a sign on the Vegas Strip that you know cost a lot, but still looks cheap and gaudy?
Bill -- next time you want to be playful just ask us to meet you in the bedroom with a can of whipped cream and a bull whip.
And leave the gay slurs at home.
I'm not making this up (I couldn't). It's in the Washington Post. So it has to be true.
Don't look now, but Obama is doing it. I got an email from him titled "You Call this Progress?" in which he asks me to write an LTE about Bush's failed Iraq war and war on terror. In the email is a link to a Web form where I enter my name and address and then am given a sample letter (below) to send in.
Now, I personally don't have a problem with this. Presumably no one who didn't agree with the content of the canned letter would use it.
What I have a problem with is that the media denounced the GOP for using this (common) tactic while you can bet they'll stay mum on Obama's (and likely Hillary's and the rest) use of it. If it's wrong for the GOP to use it then it should be "wrong" for everyone. If it was newsworthy when the RNC did it then it should be newsworthy now. I'll bet you won't hear a thing.
Here's the letter, coming to a local paper near you:
I am writing today with disappointment over the recent actions of President Bush. A new threat assessment from U.S. counterterrorism analysts shows that almost six years after 9/11, Osama bin Laden is still alive and his organization is still training terrorists. Al-Qaeda has regained strength. Its resurgence demonstrates that the Iraq war has been a deadly distraction from the real threats we face.
This week, the Bush administration released a report on the "progress" we have made in Iraq, highlighting the administration's denial of the situation there. Their dismissal of the new threat assessment further masks the fact that the war in Iraq should never have been authorized or waged, and that it must end now.
Thank you for your time.
For the record, Gravel is unabashedly pro-gay marriage, backs repeal of DADT and speaks clearly and forthrightly on full equality for gay and lesbian Americans.
Chris Crain, the vigilant HRC watchdog, gives the HRC a pass on the Gravel snub. He says Gravel would be a "distraction." He makes this comment after he notes that in the previous presidential debate held by HRC in 2003, Sam Donaldson moderated and held the candidates' feet to the fire over the distinction between marriage and civil unions. In the absence of a professional journalist that is unlikely happen in this debate and the candidates will likely be lobbed softball questions by moderators Joe Solmonese and Melissa Ethridge. Crain laments this fact.
But holding their feet to the fire is precisely what a Gravel in the debate could do. Gravel himself nails it:
Ironically I think the real reason why HRC didn't invite me is that I'm too vocal in my advocacy of gay rights. None of the top tier candidates would have been comfortable facing an opponent who consistently points out their refusal to embrace true equality for gays and lesbians. HRC simply bowed to the star factor. It's just a shame that this travesty was perpetrated in the name of the LGBT community.I don't think this rises to the level of "travesty." I do think it's another example of our largest and most resourceful gay rights organization missing an opportunity to give voice to equality. The equal sign that is their logo looks less and like an equal sign and more like a gymnast's parallel bars upon which Solmenese and his cronies can can cavort to the pleasure of the Democratic party establishment. And perhaps that is the true travesty.
Here's NASA's description:
Resembling an aerial fireworks explosion, this dramatic image of the energetic star WR124, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, reveals that it is surrounded by hot clumps of gas being ejected into space at speeds of over 100,000 miles per hour.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Undercover congressional investigators posing as West Virginia businessmen obtained a license with almost no scrutiny from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that enabled them to buy enough radioactive material from U.S. suppliers to build a "dirty bomb," a new government report says.
The investigators obtained the license within 28 days from officials at the NRC, the federal agency that in addition to regulating nuclear power plants oversees radioactive materials used in health care and industry, the report by the Government Accountability Office says. NRC officials approved the request with a minimal background check that included no face-to-face interview or visit to the purported company to ensure it existed and complied with safety rules, the report says.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
When are we getting together to share manly stories of fatherhood?
It was signed "smooches."
You know someone is pretty comfortable in their own skin when they can run the gamut on the testosterone scale so quickly in the same email. I love it.
Where's the outrage? Oh, he's a Democrat. I forgot. My bad.
"If you excel at helping your students achieve success, your success will be valued and rewarded as well."
This comment was greeted with silence and a few boos. That's because the NEA is not really about the children.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
"It's upsetting," Walton said. "We were told this law was going to give us the same benefits as everybody else, even though they weren't calling it marriage. It just goes to show when something is separate, it's never equal."
I don't see how this is going to help the Madam's case (excuse me, alleged madam) as former clients who are outed by her list publicly admit their shame.
Vitter was on the federal marriage amendment bandwagon and espouser of "traditional family values." The gay blogosphere will be filled with schadenfreude over his exposed hypocrisy. I think it's wise to remember Matthew 7:3.
One night in 2003, on the wintry streets of Kosovo, a group of thugs stalked and beat Gramoz Prestreshi almost to death. Police in the war-scarred Balkan province laughed and called him names. The emergency room workers made him mop up his own blood. It was a sordid but hardly unusual episode in the hostile environment homosexuals encounter in societies of all kinds.
I am reminded again how much I don't understand the fear the creates such violence. Why are we wired to destroy those who are different? It can only come down to insecurity. Insecurity of one's own sexuality, manhood, social position. My college adviser used to say something like this:
There are three types of human beings. Those who don't try to build themselves up, those who work to build themselves up, and those who build themselves up by trampling on others. The third is the rat of the human race.
Of course, stories like the one above can happen anywhere, including here. It wasn't that long ago that a transvestite was beaten on the streets of DC and the ambulance crew, when they discovered her gender, teased and mocked her. Again -- enough fear and insecurity to lead humans trained in caring for others to abandon their compassion and treat someone as sub-human. I still don't get it.
"I would steer you away from that number of troops being immediately along the border," McCormack said.
Thus downplaying, and artfully dodging, Iraqi claims of 140,000 Turkish troops massing on Iraq's northern border.
Monday, July 09, 2007
This week he is expected to issue a decree declaring the Catholic church the one true church of Jesus Christ.
Next week he will declare that Jesus prefers Prada.
Okay, joking about the last one, but the rest is true, according to WaPo.
Another example of religious extremism on the rise, in the West as well the East.
Sunday, July 08, 2007
The gay scene in Lima is free of dress-code, uniforms, and clones; dress for all occasions and places is casual light-weight summer wear (but in the southern winter months you will need a light sweater or jacket). There is no age-ism. There is also a lack of attitude. You will find Limeños very friendly, interested in foreigners (gringos), and a fair proportion speak some English. It does help to be able to speak some Spanish, but not speaking Spanish isn't a bar to having a good time. Do I have to tell you where the best language classroom is?
Yet the gay scene, and gay rights, are in their infancy. More here.
Perhaps the greatest irony of the political debate over Iraq is that many of Bush's critics, who accused his administration of going blindly to war without considering what would happen once Hussein's regime was toppled, now blindly support a policy of withdrawing from Iraq without considering what might follow.
Saturday, July 07, 2007
The title comes from the song from the show The King and I, "We Kiss in the Shadows."
202-351-9410 or firstname.lastname@example.org. 1320 14th street, NW (across from Dakota Cowgirl).
Friday, July 06, 2007
Good! We need to juice things up around here.
So merit pay proposals? When the president's salary is based on how well his underlings do their jobs, and it's this way all the way down, then we'll talk.
That's a non-sequitur. Just because the Pres. acts like he's accountable to no one we are okay with no accountability everywhere else?
He makes a good point:
I can sit here and argue the ineffectiveness of standardized testing, and talk about how students can be extremely smart and be fully engaged in a classroom setting and do badly on exams. Or I can argue that students may have learned a lot because of a great teacher but chose to blow off the testing because it's uncool. Or I can argue that it doesn't make much sense to punish the teacher who can be the best in the school because her students don't care to prove it.
No test is perfect, granted. But if a teacher can't inspire his or her students -- at least enough of them -- to want to do well academically, which means passing tests -- then, well...
I'm sorry, but if a teacher has made such a big impact on a student's life for him to tell her, "You're such a good teacher," then she's done her salary worth. How often do teachers hear this from the general public?
I agree. To a point. But we're not talking about a teacher's base salary. We're talking about giving bonuses for teachers who get their students to do well on tests. Think about that for a minute...the level of achievement in US education has sunk so low that we think it's worthy of a bonus if a teacher's students do well on tests.
I would certainly not want *my* salary to be based on the performances of others. Teachers have regular reviews done by superiors, are mandated to continue their education, have state and federal regulations and guidelines to follow, and they have parents of their students to contend with.
And they have tenure. Look -- my sister teaches elementary kids. I know it's a tough job from listening to her bitch. And I don't think her complaints -- especially about parents -- are illegitimate. We should give even more support to the teachers who excel and get their students to succeed, despite indifferent or non-supportive parents, bureaucracy, lousy facilities and resources. That's what this merit pay proposal is about, isn't it?
Teachers do not get a free-pass in their profession, and they certainly take more of a beating than they deserve.
Again, I'm not saying punish teacher. I'm saying reward those that overcome all the obstacles you legitimately raise as an issue and who still manage to get their students to perform.
Deborah Torres-Gore, who teaches second- and third-graders in., said other factors must be considered when judging the effectiveness of teachers.
"When I look into the eyes of a student who I have taught in the past — or I stand at the door in the morning and my students say Mrs. Gore, 'I love you,' or Mrs. Gore, 'You're such a good teacher' — am I effective or not? I think I'm effective," she said.
I get it -- results don't matter. We just need to feel good!
I have a choice to make. One of those situations where what I should do and what I want to do are not the same thing. Sigh. And what I should do may be okay, I just don't know and can't know unless I do it. Choices were easier years ago when there was less at stake.
So, in the meantime, let's deal with a few random things:
The Kennedy Center concert was a huge success. Just playing there, standing where the great artists of our time have stood, was in and of itself the thrill of a lifetime. We played well and the audience reax was wonderful. Not many people in DC really know what we can do and what we sound like and the expectations were, I think, low. We easily blew them out of the water. The fly in the ointment was the WaPo review which said of us that our "enthusiasm somewhat compensated for our general lack of polish." Whatever. I know we aren't perfect -- we're a non-auditioned, non-professional ensemble. The thing I hate about criticism like this is there is nothing specific or constructive we can take from it -- it is just a sweeping generalization. We were good enough to get invited to perform at the Kennedy Center and you (Mr. Reviewer) will never see the hall from OUR vantage point -- the stage. Fuck you.
I just can't get myself worked up over the whole Libby thing. I haven't followed the story from the beginning that closely. I agree with Michael at Gay Orbit that Libby took a fall for his boss and that makes the commutation just. As the special prosecutor Fitzgerald concedes the act by the Pres. is w/in his constitutional rights. I think there are far more egregious offenses by the administration to get worked up in a froth over than this one.
The home remodelling job is just about done. I've had strangers in my house every day except one since mid-May. I'm ready to get the house back. And am very pleased with the results.
Finally, in the last several months, I've made two new friends. One I met online (through this blog) the other I met in the sauna at the gym (I know, sounds, seedy, doesn't it?).
This video is for my blog-friend; it has three of his favorite things, the Internet, musical theater, and porn. Enjoy.
Thursday, July 05, 2007
Despite losing his case to get $54 million from family owned dry cleaners for allegedly losing his pair of pants, Roy Pearson plans to press on and is asking the judge in the case to reverse his decision. He's made it clear to the dry cleaner's lawyer that he does not plan to back down. According to Marc Fisher:
Pearson apparently continues to believe that his crusade to get rich off an immigrant family's small business would somehow better the lives of all D.C. residents.
The family that owns the dry cleaners -- the Chungs (pictured) -- have been wiped out by the more than $100,000 in attorney's fees needed to defend themselves from this sadistic lunatic. If you want to help, you can contribute, or attend a fundraiser on July 24.
And, if I can find the name and email address of the DC government official who is responsible for possibly appointing Pearson to a 10 appointment as a DC admin law judge, I'll share that too.
Jones said this was the first massage he'd given since going public. As I took off my pants, Jones asked if he could take off his shirt. His 50-year-old physique hid his age well, except for his eyes, which looked tired as he talked of his past (he first got paid for sex while in his teens) and patrons, including preachers like Haggard who made up 15 percent of his clientele and paid his $200 fee in ones and fives. "It's sad," he said as he worked his hands down my back. "I knew it was from the collection plate."
More pathos here.
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
I'm contacting a soldier from DC and sending a letter, at least as a starter. Here's what my contact posted today on the anysoldier site:
The 4th of July is around the corner, I sincerely hope you all will remember us as you enjoy your family’s togetherness. In 18 years of being in the military I have never seen as many families ruined, people displaced, suffering and anguish as I am seeing today. The troops are as dedicated to mission success as we have ever been but the war has taken tolls on people’s lives that you will rarely ever hear about...
...I have never been more honored to serve in such a capacity as with the US Military but as my time grows ever so close to retirement, my heart goes out to the ones who must endure the coming years.
So tomorrow, before I join my neighbors and friends in drinking beer, eating bbq and watching the fireworks, I'm going to sit down and right a letter. And tell some soldier who may not get any other mail that I appreciate his or her service and that we haven't forgotten them.
But, in this gloomy time for the Republic, when the president has squandered the good will of the free world and sacrificed our ideals on the false altar of security, Robinson finds something positive to think about this Fourth of July:
Robinson is on to something -- our first and best defense is our freedom and democratic ideals. Abandoning those is giving true aid and comfort to the enemy. You could learn something here, Mr. Bush.
The radical, anti-Western, jihadist ideas that inspire would-be suicide bombers in Britain and elsewhere in Europe have a much harder time finding receptive ears here -- even though it's the United States that many Muslims around the world believe is leading a modern-day crusade against Islam. I know there are Muslims here who are bitterly angry about U.S. foreign policy under George W. Bush but who do not respond by killing themselves and others.
I think that's because the United States, for all its faults, is still the most inclusive society on Earth. Our nation has a way of making outsiders into participants, a way of convincing people that they are protagonists, not just pawns. The United States can fall short of its promises, but it has a genius for manufacturing possibility. If people have even a glimpse of a better tomorrow, no matter how unbearable today might be, they are less likely to pack a car with explosives and crash it into an airport.
Which makes it all the more aggravating when he works himself up into a projectile sweat and a hissy fit to ridiculous proportions, as he is over the president's decision on the Libby prison sentence:
It is hard to think of an action more contemptuous of the rule of law - except for so many decisions made by this lawless president, acting as a monarch.
Hey Andrew, take a moment to read the U.S. Constitution, particularly Article II, Section II:
[the president] shall have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.
Note it doesn't say he has to consult with the Department of Justice, his cabinet, his lawyer or his mom. I agree this president has acted in contempt of the Constitution with respect to habeas corpus and in contempt of international law with regards to the Geneva Conventions. But here he is acting within his rights.
Take a deep breath, Andrew. Spend a little more time at the beach or surfing the web for sites devoted to bears and beards. Bush's decision may be a miscarriage of justice, or not, depending on your viewpoint. But he is not acting above the law as you breathlessly exclaim.
"I hope I can share my story," he said. "I feel strongly God has put me here for a reason. Even in the darkest days of late-night parties, substance abuse and all kinds of things – when I felt like, 'Why am I here, what am I doing?' – there was always a voice there.
In his column, Glatze doesn't mince words, calling homosexual sex purely "lust-based," meaning it can never fully satisfy.
Well, yes, if you're looking for complete satisfaction from drugs, rampant partying and promiscuous sex. Straight or gay that lifestyle won't bring fulfillment. Glatze is focusing on the wrong behavior.