Friday, November 30, 2007

Houston, We Have a Problem

I rarely drive to work. I did Monday because the weatherman said we were going to have heavy rain and storms on the afternoon commute. Of course, the weatherman is right about as often as I drive to work and they rarely happen at the same time. In other words, it didn't rain.

However, as I was backing out of my parking space, there was a loud "pop" and the Jeep jolted like I'd hit something. I thought maybe I blew a tire. A quick 360 inspection showed nothing wrong...so I got back in, put her in reverse. There was a funny noise, it felt like I had a flat tire and that the emergency brakes were on -- and neither was the case.

This time I looked under the jeep.

Uh-oh.

This is the right front wheel. This is how it's supposed to look:










This is the left front wheel. Notice that big ball thingy and frame resting against it.









Turns out it was a defective ball joint. Can you imagine if this happened going down I-95 at 70 mph, instead of in a parking garage?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Underwear and Bike Shorts

The Friday Fashionista has gone into hibernation (rumor has it he's working for a living) but I just got a fashion tip (well -- clothing advice) from another friend:


You aren't supposed to wear underwear with bike shorts.

I did not know this. I recently made the switch to Lycra bike clothing. In the past I've worn shorts or in colder weather long johns and sweats. But now with a longer winter commute and the problems of wind and rain and the length of time it takes all that cloth to dry, I decided to try form fitting Lycra.

But the hot helpful employee at City Bikes, whom I consulted with, failed to tell me with bike shorts you go commando. This, according to the Web site Bike Maintenance:

Bicycle shorts are not used with underwear because that would defeat the
advantages
.


Well, I didn't know. And since bike shorts cost a lot more than regular shorts, I sure don't want to defeat the advantages. So -- if you see me on the bike trail, rest assured I'll be living free and easy!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

No Day But Today

"Give in to love, or live in fear..."

Several friends/readers of this blog have been going through the ups and downs of relationships. It put in me in mind of this song from Rent (because, as you know, everything I learned about life I learned on Broadway).

I dedicate it this morning to Stephen from Oz:

The Informal Presidential Primary Road Poll

I hit on what I thought was a brilliant way to help pass the time on the Thanksgiving drive -- tally the number of bumper stickers we saw for each presidential candidate and report the results back to you, my deserving readers.

Well, in the nearly 800 miles round trip here's what we saw:

1 bumper sticker.

For Ron Paul.

It's possible we missed some, but both of us did keep our eyes peeled.

We did see numerous bumper stickers in the vein of "my kid beat up your honor student" or "My golden retriever is smarter than your honor student."

And several "OBX" stickers.

But not even one faded "Kerry Edwards 04" sticker.

So, I guess, they just aren't paying much attention yet in the heartland -- at least not enough to deface their cars with political endorsements. But they sure are proud of their dumb thuggish kids and smart dogs!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Hillary Supportive Web Site Offers Cash for "Dirt on Obama."

Vote for Hillary dot com, linked to by Andrew today for offering money for people to say nice things about Hillary on blogs, is also offering money for something else:

Well, if there truly is dirt on Obama, we here at Vote for Hillary Online would like to get to the bottom of what it is. We are not endorsed by the official campaign here, so we do not necessarily need to abide by the same policy of not releasing the information. And if in fact this is as devastating as we think it may be, then it is important that the American people know about it. Adequate information in the hands of the voters is vital to a healthy democracy so we can all make informed choices.

We are offering $100 for this information that was rumored to exist. By the way, please do not waste our time with information that is already available to the public. We already know that Barack Obama used to be a heavy drug user.


I don't know if this site is a joke or not. Okay, well, clearly it is a joke, but I don't know if they are intending to be one or not.

One of the conditions for getting the money is that the info has to be "damaging to his career if made known."

Nice.

And this:

Also, please keep in mind laws pertaining to slander. It is not legal to make false accusations in order to ruin someone's good name


No, let's make sure we can ruin someone's good name the legal way!

And, guys...$100 for info to bring down a major political candidate? Puh-leeze.

I rather hope this site is a satire. Otherwise it's really sick.

UPDATE: It's a satire. I read more.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sunset Continued

Yeah, yeah, you've seen this before, but this is the best sunset shot I think from my office...the George Washington Masonic Temple in Alexandria, Virginia. This is it, as tomorrow we report to the new office in a different building on the first floor...so this is the final one with this view.

American Values?

I just got done listening to Fred Thompson bash Rudy Giuliani's "New York" values on Fox News (which, I think, is headquartered in New York...is this a tacit affirmation of those NY values?). In 2006 the Republicans attacked Nancy Pelosi for her "San Francisco values." Then of course, there are all those "values" voters, a code word for right-wing Christianists.

Today, we celebrate being gay-Americans, Jewish-Americans, African-Americans, etc., with the emphasis placed on the left side of the hyphen. But can we define what the word on the right-hand side means? Can we define an American "value" that transcends communities, religions and regions? We throw words like "liberty" and "freedom" around with as much sincerity and meaning as we would in telling the grocer to "have a nice day." And yet we fight wars -- cultural wars and blood wars -- over these words.

Post 9/11, I'm not even sure "freedom" is the goal anymore. Today the goal is "security." And that word can be defined by the lack of attack on the homeland. And thus, without the values of freedom and security acting as a balance, a president and Congress can justify any act as long as it makes us more "secure."

I wish a leader in the presidential race would take Americans through a discussion of what freedom and liberty mean in a way that isn't sectarian or provincial. America is having an identity crisis. We increasingly, in our mad quest for security, have forgotten who we are. And our politicians play to our fears over our differences by throwing around code phrases like "New York Values." It's much harder to win elections talking about what unites us.

Our original national motto was "E Pluribus Unum," Latin for "out of many, one." We're doing good on the pluribus part, not so good on the unum part. And with the current crop of sorry presidential candidates, the marginalization of America will continue.

Have a nice day.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Meet Cooper

I've been thinking about adding Cooper's Corridor to the Scoot-O-Verse for some months but have shied away from it because, well, I am not worthy.

Cooper is "Just a gay man of the woods living in Northern BC ... father of two wonderful adopted sons, ardent naturalist, ecologist, a passionate lover of the earth's wild and hidden places." He is part native Ojibway and that heritage seems to instruct his life and his thinking. At least, that's the way it seems to this European-American.

I've hesitated linking to him because Scott's Take is so, well, crass. And political. And sometimes just about beefcake. Okay, I'm not going to apologize for the politics or the beefcake but the paths we walk here are ground glass to the soft leaves at Cooper's Corner. Which is not to suggest that Cooper doesn't have his struggles or pain. And certainly not to suggest that the gentler way of Cooper isn't strong. I am someone who has thrown a lot of sharp elbows in life, and I sense he has not, and I also get he is the stronger one.

Okay, I may be a little in love with him, but not in a romantic sense...in some ways his is the life I wish I could live.

Years ago I penned a poem about a camping trip I took in the Shenandoah, which included these lines:

The deer dance in the darkness
Their elvish eyes aglow.
And in my dreams I fancy
I'm dancing with the doe.

And ended with this:

My heart lies heavy with the thought -
This source of many ills:
My home is in the city;
But my heart lies in the hills.

There are many posts of Cooper's I could link to show you what I mean, but tonight this one touched me. I think there is a lot I could learn from him.

So, spend some time in the Corridor. You'll be a better person for it.

Forget Global Warming -- We're Causing the End of the Universe as We Know It

No, it's not from the Onion. The UK's Telegraph reports that astronomers on Earth may be hastening the end of time:

...astronomers may have accidentally nudged the universe closer to its death by observing dark energy, a mysterious anti gravity force which is thought to be speeding up the expansion of the cosmos.

The damaging allegations are made by Profs Lawrence Krauss of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and James Dent of Vanderbilt University, Nashville, who suggest that by making this observation in 1998 we may have caused the cosmos to revert to an earlier state when it was more likely to end. "Incredible as it seems, our detection of the dark energy may have reduced the life-expectancy of the universe," Prof Krauss tells New Scientist.


No, I don't really understand it either. I'm waiting for the film from Al Gore to explain it all.

Black Friday

I don't get it. Do the savings truly justify the inhumane wake up times, the lines, the harried sales clerks, the kneeing of fellow shoppers in the groin just to get the last gizmo for little pimple face for $10 less?

Compare my morning yesterday with Zac's.

Oh, I did do some shopping yesterday. I did it online.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Unintended Movie Double Entendres

In the WWII movie Midway, this scene:

An airplane, over the pacific. Shot of two pilots. Pilot looks over towards co-pilot, says in disgust: "Jeez, Johnny, how many of those can you eat?"

A third airman lifts his head between the two pilots where he was kneeling and looks at the questioning pilot sheepishly.

It's the subtle subplots that makes these old movies so interesting (it's not Charlton Heston's acting, that's for sure).

Perfect Morning

The LTR and his sister are upstairs in the kitchen, sharing conversation as only a close brother and sister can.

Calls come in from Grandma's house and plans are made for the family gathering later in the day.

And me, resting in the den, stretched out on the couch wrapped in a flannel blanket with my dog resting at my side, while I sip a cup of warm coffee and watch Northern Exposure re-reuns.

And outside, the snow continues to fall.

Perfection

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The First Annual Thanksgiving Day Swim

Staying at the LTR's sisters house last Thanksgiving, the LTR managed to lock himself out in the morning when letting the dogs out -- every day.

This was mild compared to what happened this morning. I'll let the LTR tell it:

Well, it was cold, and gloomy - as it always is in Akron - and pouring down rain, and five in the morning. So instead of letting the dogs run outside for a quick pee in the back yard, which isn't fenced, I decided to let them out the side door, which opens to the built in swimming pool. Much to my amazement, Ranger, who is terrified of water, ended up in the pool. On top of the pool cover, sinking into the pool, that is, and quickly becoming submerged in water that was pouring in from the sides and falling from the skies.

Panicked at not being able to reach her in the middle of the pool, and not finding anything long enough to reach her and pull her over, and knowing that everyone was sleeping in the house and my time was running out because the dog was sinking, I layed my body flat on top of the pool and stretched as far as I could....finally grabbing a handful of blond hair and jerking Ranger out of the pool.

At that point, I decided to renter the back patio of the house,
where I stripped off all of my soaked clothing, coat, etc. Realizing that once again I was locked out of the house, I walked around to the front of the house in my underwear and let myself in through the garage. The plan was to grab a towel, dry off the dogs, and get to my parents' house by 6 am to help with the turkey. As I walked into the back room with a towel in hand for the dogs, cold from the plunge and naked except for my soaked boxers, I again looked out back,
and who is in the pool again? Yes, it was a repeat of the whole rescue saga again. Except this time, it was at 5:10 in the morning, and I was wearing only undies. So I did the whole thing again...

When I arrived at my parents' at 6, the first thing out of their mouths was "well, did you lock yourself out of the house....'My answer: "you're not even going to believe this shit....'
Actually I could believe...except for leaving Ranger by the pool after the first time she'd fallen in. And a reader accused me of channelling Britney Spears' parenting skills?

Perhaps a more apt comparison would be Lucy Ricardo...

Eat Smart Today

Here are some tips for not completely losing it at the dinner table today, courtesy of Health Castle:


Don't go to the Thanksgiving dinner hungry: we often eat faster and more when we are hungry - therefore eat a wholesome breakfast and lunch on the day to avoid overeating at dinner time.

Thanksgiving dinner is not an all-you-can-eat buffet: Fill your plate half with vegetables, one quarter with a lean meat and the rest with a starch of your choice. Eat slowly and stop when you are full.

Turkey - go skinless: choose your 4-oz turkey portion skinless to slash away some fat and cholesterol. Save your appetite for the side dishes and desserts.
Side Dishes - watch your portion size: go for smaller portions. This way you can sample all the different foods. Moderation is always the key.

Make a conscious choice to limit high fat items: high fat food items can be found in fried and creamy dishes as well as cheese-filled casseroles in a traditional Thanksgiving meal . For instance, mashed potatoes are usually made with butter and milk; green bean casseroles are often prepared with cream of mushroom soup, cheese and milk and topped with fried onions; candied yams are loaded with cream, sugar and marshmallows. If you cannot control the ingredients that go in to a dish, simply limit yourself to a smaller helping size. Again moderation is the key.

Drink plenty of water: alcohol and coffee can dehydrate your body. Drink calorie-free water to help fill up your stomach and keep you hydrated.

Thanksgiving Day

Thank you to all who read this blog, and especially to those who have become my friends.

I hope you all have a happy and safe and nutritionally fulfilling Thanksgiving Day with those you care about most.

Cheers!

Good news: We're supposed to get snow here later today!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

357 Miles Later

Blogging by Bberry still. Almost to sister of LTRs (SLTR) house where we are staying. Tonight we go to his parents (PLTR) house for a pre T-day dinner. Tomorrow the whole family of LTR convenes for all the traditional fixins. The best is Ma LTRs oyster stuffing.

The LTR himself is in a fine whack - jammin to Ru Paul, Queen, Elton John, George Michael and at moment, Boy George.

My throat still hurts and I've been napping periodically.

Blogging by Blackberry

On the road and doing this post by bberry. On 13th street passing civil war fort stevens where abe lincoln became only sitting president to come under enemy fire.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Attack of the Killer Throat

My throat has chosen Thanksgiving week to throw a temper tantrum.

It started last Wednesday night. It started kinda quiet-like, with my throat going, hey, I'm not happy here, then totally escalating into a hey asshole I'm pissed and you are not going to for one second forget I'm here and in agony!

And so now it's difficult for me to swallow food or drink.

Right before the biggest eating event of the year.

So I tried to get into see my doctor before the holiday. No dice. So I went to an "urgent care" center. Regardless of whatever care I got it wasn't "urgent." I was in the waiting room for nearly three hours.

But they ruled out Strep (which is what I thought I had). And mono (which thank God I didn't have). But they don't know what "it" is.

But that didn't stop 'em from prescribing drugs, which I am happily taking. I don't know if it'll do any good...but I'd rather try than do nothing.

But it still sure hurts swallowing.

(insert your joke here)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

America Bows Out of Presidential Race

From the Onion, of course:

WASHINGTON—Citing exhaustion, an overcrowded field of candidates, and little hope of making a difference in 2008, roughly 300 million Americans announced Tuesday that they will be leaving the presidential race behind.

The U.S. populace, which has participated in every national election since 1789, said that while the decision to abandon next year's race was difficult, recent events, such as disappointing victories by both Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani in regional straw polls, left them with no real choice.

HatTip: Our man among the rent boys in Prague.

Two Hot Dudes Off Diamond Head

Me and the kid off Waikiki -- Diamond Head in background. He's more interested in the sticker he's holding than the hot fellow passenger I asked to take our picture.

Gratuitous Cleavage

From the streets of Waikiki when I was there in August.

This couple sat next to at lunch. Luckily, and purely by coincidence, we left the restaurant at the same time.

He appeared to be military. She was more portly than this picture suggests. He was hotter than this picture suggest. Has anyone else noticed the trend of really hot military guys with overweight wives?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Near-Collision in the Friendly Skies

Two jets nearly collided into each other over Indiana this week:

The Tuesday incident occurred at a time when the airplanes were being directed by the Chicago Center, a regional traffic control facility located in Aurora, Ill., that handles flights in an eight-state area when they are 14,000 feet and up. A collision between the flights at about 25,000 feet was avoided when a cockpit safety device in one of the planes alerted pilots, according to the FAA.

Officials said the controller directed the Midwest Airlines plane flying east from Milwaukee into the path of the United Express jet heading west out of Greensboro, N.C. The planes came as close as 1.3 miles apart horizontally and 600 feet apart vertically, according to the FAA. The mishap remains under investigation.


But, not to worry -- the FAA says flight control errors are more likely when air traffic controllers are not busy -- so the upcoming heavy holiday travel schedule can only make things safer.

Heckuva job, guys.

More on Marion Barry

Gene Weingarten on the Barry-Page dustup (courtesy Metroblogger):

The controlling fact, for me, would have been this: The only reason this became public is that Marion Barry chose to make it public. And he chose to make it public in a quite hilarious way: Marion Barry, suspected and convicted scuzzball, tax evader, former crack user, erstwhile obtainer of oral sex in a crowded prison reception room, calls the elegant, sophisticated Tim Page, and I quote, a "lowlife."
Might we add Page is a Pulitzer Prize winner.

A Jihad for Love

A Jihad for Love. That's the title of a documentary about gay Muslims. Watch this BBC news clip on the film and note how much in common orthodox Muslim thinking and Christian evangelicals have in common.


Friday, November 16, 2007

The Crack Addict Still Has Bite

Marion Barry, DC's former Mayor for Life and current Councilman, the same Barry who got busted for smoking crack and muttering into the survelliance camera "the bitch set me up" (referring to the prostitute he was with), doesn't cotton to criticisim and proves he's still got the punch to move the Washington Post.

After Barry's communications director sent a blast email to the DC media, including, for some reason, the Washington Post's venerable music critic, Tim Page, Page responded with this missive:

Must we hear about it every time this Crack Addict attempts to rehabilitate
himself with some new - and typically half witted--political
grandstanding?


I'd be grateful if you would take me off your mailing list. I
Cannot think of anything the useless Marion Barry could do that would interest
me in the slightest, up to and including overdose. Sincerely, Tim Page.


Barry put down the crack pipe long enough to call Len Downie, Executive Director of the Post, and get Page suspended.

As Metroblogger wrote, Page didn't say anything that was factually incorrect. So why'd the Post cave?

Barack Blows It

David Yepsen, that vaunted political reporter from Iowa, wrote at the beginning of this week that if there was a turning point for Obama in the campaign in his chances to win, it his stellar performance in last Saturday's Iowa state Democratic dinner.

If there was a turning point where he squandered that opportunity it was last night's debate in Nevada.

How could he stumble and fall flat on his face on the same question that he got Clinton on at the last debate -- drivers licenses for illegal immigrants? He fell with a thump into the same trap that he pushed Clinton in just two weeks ago:

It was Obama in this debate who was tripped up by the question. Asked by moderator Wolf Blitzer whether he supported the idea, Obama said "I am not proposing that that's what we do." Pressed by Blitzer -- "this is the kind of question that is sort of available for a yes or no answer," Blitzer said -- Obama said he did support offering licenses to illegal immigrants. Obama's advisers insisted his answer was consistent but the unfolding of the question and answer did not play well for the Illinois Senator.


No kidding. Who's evasive now?

Obama's campaign had to know this question would come up -- surely they prepared a better answer than this. The scary thought is that they probably did but the Illinois Senator fell apart under pressure. And that is a scary thought when you consider he wants to get in the same room with Chavez and the rest of the rowdies. I'm not sure he could keep it together.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

People's Sexiest Man Alive

It's Matt Damon.

But does this mean the previous "Sexiest Man Alive" is now obligated to die? Are previous years' "winners" either no longer sexy or no longer alive? I remember when it was Matthew McConaughey. Last I checked he was both still A) alive and 2) sexy.

Perhaps each year People should either deem the previous recipient of the title still the "sexiest" or kill him. All for the purpose of clarity, of course. After all, our culture will survive without another McConaughey movie and, unless he's waiting for me in my bed tonight, I won't miss him.

Obama, Not Kucinich

Barney Frank and Tammy Baldwin have both come out and endorsed Hillary for president, even though they both disagree with her on marriage equality.

As a reader points out, the only Democratic candidate who supports full marriage rights is Dennis Kucinich which does about as much for us as writing to Santa Claus and asking for marriage to be tucked into our stockings come Christmas morning.

The real comparison is Hillary vs. Obama -- Obama is more progressive on the issue than Hillary, as noted earlier. But, as usual, our leaders, be they Members of Congress or HRC, follow the Democratic establishment.

More Sunset

Another sunset from my office, this time with the sun setting over the George Washington Masonic Temple. Next week my office moves down the street and to a ground floor. I will miss these afternoon shows.

Another Look at Obama and Civil Unions

Andrew Sullivan reported this about Sen. Obama:

I would, as president, make absolutely certain that all federal laws pertaining to married couples [pertain to] same-sex couples who have civil unions as well.


(That's Obama speaking, not Sullivan. Andrew's ego is not big enough -- yet -- to openly fantatasize about being President)

I did not know this. This makes Obama the only Democrat to take this position, I think? Am I wrong?

If so, Obama is much stronger on gay rights than I thought, and certainly stronger than HRC's HRC. It ain't gay marriage, but it ain't nuthin'.

More on the Obama - Clinton difference at Chris Crain's place.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Honoring and Dishonoring Gay American Veterans

Yesterday was Veteran's Day, and today the government is closed to honor the service of our men and women in uniform. Here are a few stories of gay veterans, proud Americans deemed unfit by our country to wear a uniform, though in some cases they left their blood and limbs in the desert of Iraq.

One of the first soldiers wounded in the Iraq war, Staff Sgt. Eric Alva, speaks out against Don't Ask Don't Tell.

Sgt. Robert Stout, an Iraq war veteran and Purple Heart recipient. His Senators, Mike Dewine and George Voinovich, both Republicans of Ohio, refused to meet with him in 2005.

A short documentary on Stephen Benjamin, a Navy Arabic Translator discharged under Don't Ask Don't Tell.



And here the Republican Presidential Candidates dishonor the service of these Americans:

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Visiting the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum

Yesterday, my partner, the LTR and I took my parents out to the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy National Air and Space Museum.

Here's the LTR standing next to the Museum's display case of Air:











The display of Space looked pretty much the same.

Of course, one of the reasons we went there was to see the Shuttle. We were a little disappointed (click pic to enlarge):

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Go Mama Gone


I was biking home last night passed Go Mama Go, a -- jeesh, how to describe it -- trendy Asian home decorative boutique store -- and noticed there were stacks of flowers in front, and a picture of the owner, Noi Chudnoff (pictured, right) on the big storefront window.

Oh no, I thought.

Chudnoff, born in Thailand, a grandmother, opened her store and became a fixture in the gay community here, supporting so many gay-related community causes. Her presence was inescapable at almost every gay community event. When walking into her store -- as I did just a few weeks ago -- you would bask in her benevolence.

She did indeed die this week, after a freak fall caused a brain hemorrhage. She was one of those people who, although you didn't know her personally, somehow affected your life. Our community will miss her spirit.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Spock's "Vulcan" Mother???

Fascinating:

Star Trek" is beaming up Winona
Ryder
.
Paramount Pictures and director JJ Abrams have set Ryder to play
the Vulcan mother of a young Spock (Zachary Quinto).\

Wait a minute. I may be a little stale on my Trekkieness but wasn't Spock's mom human? Wasn't that like the whole point?

Remembering the Wallace Shooting

They're letting the guy who shot presidential candidate George Wallace back in 1972 go.

I remember when this happened. I was eight. It was the second big public event I remember. The first was the landing on the moon. Coincidentlly I watched news of both events while at my grandparent's house.

The moon landing fascinated me.

The Wallace shooting gave me nightmares for a long time.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

For Only $5...

Okay, I know what I'd order.

This photo from the cover of Under Gear. Yes, I've posted pics of him before, he has several times manfully graced the cover of IM or Under Gear. And featured prominently in their pages.

You can see my previous post with links to other "Phil" (that's what I call him) photos here, as well as the story of how my grandmother introduced me to male porn. I know I shouldn't post scantily clad menses on my blog, but my Grandma made me do it.

Children Will Listen (and open the wrong drawers)

My son, waking me up back in August using his best "scary face" in our remodeled bedroom. One of the things we did was expose the brick walls, as you can see.

The other was to get new furniture, including matching rustic nightstands, one of which can be seen in upper left.

With our remodel, later the morning that this picture was taken, the LTR and I were discussing how to best use all the new storage space we had.

LTR: What do we put in the nightstands?

Me: Our "toys" (if you know what I mean and I think you do)

Our son: What's in here (pointing to the nightstand drawer and opening it).

Me (looking at LTR): Then again...

So right now in my nightstand (I don't know what the LTR has in his) I have misc. bike items. The other stuff I was referring to is safely hidden away where three-year-olds can't find it (I hope).

The Gumshoe Walks Again

Zac emerges from his romance cocoon to blog about his romance. Well, it's a good post and there's truthiness and good humor in it. Welcome back to the 'sphere, Zaco!

Lake Titicaca

Legend has it the first Inca chief and his wife rose from the waters of Lake Titicaca, the world's largest high-altitude lake (about 15,000 feet above sea level, if I remember right).

The lake is also famous for (other than the cheap giggle it entices when you say it out loud) the floating islands built by the Uros Indians. They're made of reeds and support homes, churches, schools and on one island, a 7th Day Adventist Church.

We ventured out to the islands in the Bay of Puno, an archipelago of 45 tiny man-made reed islands.

Here's your favorite blogger posing with one island's mascot. Each little island contains several families. The men mostly fish, the women sell crap to tourists. Some homes boast solar panels for TVs and radios.






Meanwhile, back in Puno on the banks of Lake Titicaca, we took in the nightlife of the somewhat seedy downtown (at least compared to Cusco) and ran into this fellow in the middle -- Michael,

a shoe salesman from Colorado. Michael was somewhat like Waldo, he kept popping up. We first met him standing in line waiting for the bus to take us up to Machu Picchu, saw him again at Machu Picchu, again back in Cusco, on the train to Puno, and the LTR and I were sitting in this bar in Puno and in walks, Michael.




The other attraction in Puno, and docked off our hotel, is the Yavari, a British steamship built in the 1860s and carried in pieces by mule over six years from a port in Chile to Lake Titicaca.

It's been restored and will someday be returning to service as a charter boat.


You can learn more from the Yavari foundation.

Of course, after our tour as we were walking off the boat, who is walking up the dock but:

Michael

Monday, November 05, 2007

Oprah Wept

USA Today um, today, carried the story about Oprah weeping when she heard the news about abuse at her school on page one.

Page one.

Page one...really? I'm not saying the truly great O's tears weren't real or justified...but is it really that important I know about it?

King Tut Revealed

You can see his (real mummified) face here.

It's a history-making moment. Not just for the reveal, but an official's use of the words "godlen boy" three times in a single sentence:

"The golden boy has magic and mystery, and therefore every person all over
the world will see what Egypt is doing to preserve the golden boy, and all of
them I am sure will come to see the golden boy," said Egypt's antiquities chief,
Zahi Hawass.

Lost in Time

The first week after "fall back" always seems out of kilter. It's like jet lag without the jet. I find getting up in the mornings a little easier, but all of a sudden I'm biking to work in full sunlight instead of twilight. The entire trip in I'm thinking I'm way late -- until I start passing the same people I see everyday commuting in the other direction. Even then, they look strange in full light, like they don't belong. Kind of like Ron Paul at a Republican debate.

And then all week you can't trust a clock...which one's have been set back, and which ones are an hour ahead?

At least when you travel across time zones you're in a new environment, not just a new time. having the clock move while you don't is a jarring experience.

It's the one week of the year when "hey buddy, do you have the time?" isn't just a bad pick up line.

Obama: That Durn Hillary; She's Campaigning Like She Wants to Win

Under the headline "Obama Criticizes Clinton's Drive to Win," the genteel Senator from Illinois:

described Clinton as a skilled politician running a textbook campaign but said the textbook itself is badly flawed and skewed against ordinary Americans. "It's a textbook that's all about winning elections but says nothing about how to bring the country together to solve problems," he said.

Umm, Senator...you have to win if you're going to really solve problems. You could use a little drive to win yourself.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Hillary and the Gender Card

I'm late on the dance to this one, but Hillary needs to back off laying the gender card and claiming to be a victim during the 537th Democratic debate last week.

Signs she's doing that according to this report.

Mrs. Clinton was swiftly criticized on the Internet and by some female columnists for wanting to have it both ways, projecting herself as a strong leader but then complaining of mistreatment by men

Look, if Clinton is going to claim she needs help for being picked on by he six male candidates for president, what message is she sending about her ability to stand up to these six guys:

Bin Laden
Chavez
Il-sung
Putin
al Sistani
Ahmadinejad

I for one don't doubt she could -- but her willingness to rely on her gender as a tactic to fend off legitimate lines of questioning says all I need to know to remind me why I don't trust her.

Friday, November 02, 2007

120

That's the number of miles I commuted on bike this week...11 miles each way, 22 miles a day, five days.

This Blue Heron greeted me most mornings. He's fishing in the shallows of the Potomac north of Old Town Alexandria.

I'm getting used to pedaling home in the dark...I have a good light, but many oncoming cyclist's lights are blinding. So you momentarily lose your night vision...which caused me to almost plow into a pedestrian wearing no lights or reflective gear last night when an oncoming bike passed me.

I love my commute, though...it is a beautiful way to start and end the day. And, assuming I don't torpedo a pedestrian, a healthy way to boot.

Friday Fashionista – Down with Abercrombie and Bowling Shoes

I have found myself perplexed about why so many gay men are sporting Abercrombie these days. It may be okay for the under 25 crowd, but there comes a point in a man’s life where he needs to put aside boyish clothing. To be completely honest, I don’t find much there in the way of fashion. It does not take that much imagination to look like a frat boy in ripped up jeans and a shirt with a number on it.

Here is my plea to you men – give up the Abercrombie and save it for the 15 to 25 year olds. It’s time to dress like a man – that does not mean boring. By no means am I advocating you run to the nearest Haband to purchase a pair of forever-fit elastic waistband pants. No, no, no. I AM advocating dressing age-appropriately. There was an article in Details a few months ago with some sage advice for the 20 something’s, the 30’s guys and men in their 40’s and 50’s (sorry guys but the Details online archive kind of sucks – I will look through my old issues at home). Each age group was given several examples and options that were flattering to the stage of life as well as lifestyle typical of each group. Let’s face it men, along with getting older, there is the added benefit (hopefully) of more disposable income to dress better than we did previously. It’s a good thing to be able to afford nicer things than we could when we were in our twenties or thirties.

On another topic, someone asked few weeks ago about the “bowling style” shoes that were very popular a few years ago. I gave a brief answer, but I wanted to elaborate a little more. These shoes had their moment about 3 or 4 years ago – perhaps longer. If you are wearing these things, get rid of them. If you find yourself at DSW looking over these shoes, step away. If you really feel the need to have something hot and now, get yourself some of the 70’s retro takes on athletic shoes such as the Puma that have become so popular. Or you can always go with a classic such as the Converse – they never go out of style. And whether you are 18 or 48, they look good.

As always, keep the questions coming – your humble Friday Fashionista lives to serve.