Monday, December 31, 2007

The View, 31 December 2007



Castro at Market, 24-Divisadero bus stop, San Francisco, 12:55 PM

(and no, none of us had any idea what the shirtless guy was doing, either)

Sunday, December 30, 2007

The View, 30 December 2007




My feet, enjoying the Keith Haring installation at the corner of 3rd and Howard, 12:45 PM

(Standing in for the lesbian shoes today: their ambiguous cousins, the Crocs flip-flops)

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The View, 29 December 2007



The lesbian shoes visit the hippies, 2:35 PM

(Fun lesbian shoe fact: All street corners in San Francisco have the street names stamped into the concrete. This was because, after the 1906 quake and fire, it was impossible to get one's bearings in the demolished areas -- because all street signs and landmarks were gone. Hopefully, this will avoid that when the Big One comes, although getting lost will probably be the least of our worries.)

Friday, December 28, 2007

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The View, 27 December 2007



My feet, the California Department of Motor Vehicles office, 1:47 PM

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Pride On The Highway

Regular sage QJ opines, given the recent picture of my workaday steed:
Wow, this car could be gayer, but it would require a semi-truck with a tiny little horn to actually be sodomizing its tailpipe.

Fortunately, I have something even gayer.

Especially with the matching plates.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The View, 25 December 2007



Lower Diamond Heights, looking towards Potrero Hill and the East Bay, San Francisco, 8:45 PM

Monday, December 24, 2007

What It's Really All About

From a sermon of Martin Luther on the Nativity.

How unobtrusively and simply do those events take place on earth that are so heralded in heaven!

On earth it happened in this wise: There was a poor young wife, Mary of Nazareth, among the meanest dwellers of the town, so little esteemed that none noticed the great wonder that she carried. She was silent, did not vaunt herself, but served her husband, who had no man or maid. They simply left the house. Perhaps they had a donkey for Mary to ride upon, though the Gospels say nothing about it, and we may well believe that she went on foot. The journey was certainly more than a day from Nazareth in Galilee to Bethlehem, which lies on the farther side of Jerusalem.

Joseph had thought, “When we get to Bethlehem, we shall be among relative and can borrow everything.” A fine idea that was! Bad enough that a young bride married only a year could not have had her baby at Nazareth in her own house instead of making all that journey of three days when heavy with child! How much worse that when she arrived there was no room for her! The inn was full. No one would release a room to this pregnant woman. She had to go to a cow stall and there bring forth the Maker of all creatures because nobody would give way.

Shame on you, wretched Bethlehem! The inn ought to have been burned with brimstone, for even though Mary had been a beggar maid or unwed, anybody at such a time should have been glad to give her a hand.

There are many of you in this congregation who think to yourselves: “If only I had been there! How quick I would have been to help the Baby! I would have washed his linen. How happy I would have been to go with the shepherds to see the Lord lying in the manger!” Yes, you would! You say that because you know how great Christ is, but if you had been there at that time you would have done no better than the people of Bethlehem. Childish and silly thoughts are these! Why don’t you do it now? You have Christ your neighbor. You ought to serve him, for what you do to your neighbor in need you do to the Lord Christ himself.


The birth was still more pitiable. No one regarded this young wife bringing forth her first-born. No one took her condition to heart. No one noticed that in a strange place she had not the very least thing needful in childbirth. There she was without preparation: no light, no fire, in the dead of night, in thick darkness. No one came to give the customary assistance. The guests swarming in the inn were carousing, and no one attended to this woman. I think myself if Joseph and Mary had realized that her time was so close she might perhaps have been left in Nazareth. And now think what she could use for swaddling clothes – some garment she could spare, perhaps her veil - certainly not Joseph’s breeches, which are now on exhibition at Aachen.

Think, women, there was no one there to bathe the Baby. No warm water, nor even cold. No fire, no light. The mother was herself midwife and the maid. The cold manger was the bed and the bathtub. Who showed the poor girl what to do? She had never had a baby before. I am amazed that the little one did not freeze. Do not make of Mary a stone. For the higher people are in the favor of God, the more tender are they.

Let us, then, meditate upon the Nativity just as we see it happening in our own babies. Behold Christ lying in the lap of this young mother. What can be sweeter than the Babe, what more lovely than the mother! What fairer than her youth! What more gracious than her virginity! Look at the Child, knowing nothing. Yet all that is belongs to him, that your conscience should not fear but take comfort in him. Doubt nothing.

To me there is no greater consolation given to mankind than this, that Christ became man, a child, a babe, playing in the lap and at the breasts of his most gracious mother. Who is there whom this sight would not comfort? Now is overcome the power of sin, death, hell, conscience, and guilt, if you come to this gurgling Babe and believe that he is come, not to judge you, but to save.


With love from me and my family....a happy, blessed Christmas, and a joyous New Year, to every one of you.

Dan (North Dallas Thirty)

What Can Really Make You Feel Old?

Receiving wedding invitations from the kids you used to baby-sit.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The View, 22 December 2007



Noe Valley street scene, San Francisco, 3:50 PM

The View, 21 December 2007



The Mazda having a cocktail after its bath*, 12:55 PM

*necessitated by the overnight visit of what was apparently an incontinent pterodactyl

Friday, December 21, 2007

Here, Kitteh, Kitteh......

I think I'll send one of these to John for Christmas.

The View, 20 December 2007



Highway 101, San Mateo County, 2:10 PM

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The View, 18 December 2007



Harbor channel, Redwood City, California, 9:32 AM

Monday, December 17, 2007

O Christmas Meme, O Christmas Meme

This is what I get for using the word "bitches" in a comment.

Oh well.

1. Wrapping or gift bags?

Gift bags. Recyclable, environmentally friendly, and makes re-gifting quicker and more efficient.


2. Real or artificial tree?

How about ANY tree?


3. When do you put up the tree?

When my husband walks in with nothing on but a Santa hat.


4. When do you take the tree down?

After four hours (otherwise you need to see a doctor immediately).


5. Do you like eggnog?

Yes; it makes a nice change-of-pace flavoring for whiskey.


6. Favorite gift received as a child?

A horse. Yes, I got one. You didn't. Talk to your therapist and leave me out of it.


7. Do you have a Nativity scene?

Yes we do; it's called the Haight. Or at least, yes, if that's what you mean by funny-looking people with beards, sandals, and long flowing robes who are staring at things up in the sky.


8. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?

Bible number ten from my grandmother. Seriously. I have translations that even theologians didn't know existed.


9. Mail or email Christmas cards?

Neither. Save them for gambling purposes. "I'll see your 'Happy Holidays' and raise you a 'Feliz Navidad".


10. Favorite Christmas movie?

A Christmas Story. None other. I triple-dog-dare you to say anything else.


11. When do you start shopping for Christmas?

For whom? I usually finish shopping for myself by March; the others of you get stuff as soon as I can switch out the name tags on the gift bags (now you see the reason for my answer to #1?)


12. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?

My husband's latkes. Even if they weren't, I'd still have to answer the question this way to preserve some semblance of "peace on earth, goodwill to Dan".


13. Clear lights or colored on the tree?

Trust me, everything looks better under colored lights. My tree included.


14. Favorite Christmas song?

Tossup between O Holy Night, What Child Is This, and Little St. Nick as performed by Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem.

And now, for the disclaimer:

1. Link to the person that tagged you, and post the rules on your blog.
2. Share Christmas facts about yourself.
3. Tag random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs.
4. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

5. Send NDT some Christmas cookies, dammit.

So here you go:

Army of Mom
Lab Kat
Chad


Happy nondenominational secular celebratory days to everyone!

The View, 17 December 2007



Southbound platform, Caltrain Station, San Francisco, 7:40 AM

Why Do You Think China Did It?

A bit of worldview for those naysayers who are screaming bloody murder over how awful it is to have a weak dollar.

Friday, December 14, 2007

In The Moon of Converging Bloggers

My blogging, as a few of you have noted, has been a bit more sporadic of late, primarily because the past two months have been a whirlwind of trips for myself, trips by my partner (which means twice as much housework), and trips for both of us (well, someone has to use the hotel room). But, oddly enough, through a cosmic convergence of epic proportions, I have managed to meet more bloggers with whom I've previously communicated over the past three or so months than I have managed in the previous three or so years of North Dallas Thirty's existence.

-- In middle August, GayPatriotWest (who, admittedly, I had met before, but humor me) came up the coast from the City of Angels to admittedly non-sunny San Francisco to brunch with me and GayPatriot commentor ILoveCapitalism in the Castro.

Notable phrase: "I'm from LA. We drive."


-- In late October, I dined with not one, but two bloggers of high repute -- Famous Author Rob Byrnes and Aatom -- on a subtropical Saturday in the heart of the steamy isle of Manhattan.

Of course, all we did was gossip about Matt and Robbie. And drink. Not necessarily in that order.


-- In early November, while perusing which candy would represent the best dollar and going-off-my-diet value in the Walgreen's at Castro and 18th, I moved just in time to see two handsome men in Southern Cal red come running in -- and it turned out to be Boi from Troy and his sidekick Keenan, hoping to find some marvy new plastic ponchos to survive that night's game in what we northern Californians euphemistically call a "less dry evening".

They chose fab white, I chose Junior Mints.


-- Finally, this past weekend, I klatsched over kaffee in downtown SF with visiting expat, genius, and all-around great guy Kevin of Club Whirled -- who graciously forgave the fact that the first thing out of my mouth was the utterly-brain-dead phrase, "God, you look like a Kennedy."

Maybe that, or he figured that someone who was wearing shorts and flip-flops in December was just not all there in the first place.

At any rate, every one of the encounters was a great experience, and several of them have written glowing and extraordinarily-flattering bits about our meetings.

The rest is strictly secret. :)

Let's see, that leaves Matt and Robbie, QuakerJono, Jamie, John in IL, GayPatriot.......

UPDATE........and Chad....(rubbing very sore behind).......

CubsTracks, Holiday Nostalgia Issue

By and large, I have tried to remain as neutral and unobtrusive as possible in the ongoing War Between the Fags over which one of them can post the most obscure, freaky, scary, and/or just plain WRONG Christmas music -- and thus not posted any sort of tune, lest the two of them join in some unholy alcohol, cabin-fever, and nicotine-fueled Axis of Lavender and start going all drag-queen-bad-hair-day on my vulnerable tochis.

But, dangit, it's just not Christmas without this.....



And yes, that is the original, which compares to all the versions after it in roughly the same way that Mouton-Cadet does to grape Kool-Aid.

Genoa City, Port Charles, New Harmony, Salem.....

and now, San Francisco.

Obviously, God's writers are not on strike.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Newest Fad: Self-Pickling

I've heard of "waste not, want not", but this seems a bit....well, excessive.

Famous Author Rob Byrnes denies any involvement.

They Still Don't Get It, Do They?

Another "think of the children" bill, another veto.

Mainly because the Bush administration is looking at two things:
A major point of contention with the White House was Bush's demand that nearly all poor children eligible for the program be found and enrolled before any in slightly higher-income families could be covered.

Bush also has opposed using an increased tobacco tax to fund the program expansion. The bill includes a 61-cent rise on a package of cigarettes.

To summarize, this bill, put forward by Democrats, allows states to avoid covering poorer children in favor of diverting money to wealthier children instead; furthermore, it funds doing so by means of a tax that, as Democrats themselves claim, disproportionately affects poorer people and families.

Thus, the Bush administration is going to veto it -- because they think a program designed to cover the poor should cover the poor first and not tax the poor to pay for it.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Enjoy Your Afternoon Meltdown

The comments sections at Dan Savage's Slog and JoeMyGod are abuzz today with screaming over the resolution proposed in the House to honor Christmas, most of them filled with invective mocking Christians and Republicans and claiming this is an unconstitutional violation.

One wonders if it would be churlish to point out that this is but one in a line of nearly-identical resolutions that previously honored holidays of other religions, i.e. Diwali and Ramadan, both of which were proposed and co-sponsored by Democrats -- and which, inexplicably, didn't generate nearly this level of heat and light.

Then again, if one understands that their objection is to Christianity and Republicans, and not religion, it becomes completely understandable -- albeit far more blatantly bigoted.

Convincing Yourself

E.J. Dionne has a particularly amusing piece out this week about how the Republican Party's downfall will supposedly be a backlash among Hispanic voters against their stances on illegal immigration.

Which is why, of course, the Democrat Party is coming out in support of blocking illegal immigrant access to free healthcare and to things like drivers' licenses.

Dionne's argument is based on the theory that Latino voters, constituting large blocs in several Western states, will, because of (most) Republicans' tough stances against amnesty and unlimited illegal immigration, turn against the GOP and thus vote Democrat.

What Dionne seemingly forgets to mention is that, in examples like Arizona's 2004 vote on Proposition 200, which requires proof of citizenship to register to vote or to receive public benefits, mandates voter identification at polling places, and requires state agencies and law enforcement to report illegal immigrants to the Federal government for deportation, according to exit polls of voters, 47% of Latinos voted for the measure.

Perhaps if Dionne were in San Francisco or Los Angeles, where Hispanic voters are regularly terrorized by gangs heavily populated by illegal immigrants, he might understand the situation better -- especially the irony that the sanctuary laws he and fellow liberals championed are being exploited by criminals to avoid capture and deportation, thus leaving them on the street to prey on the very illegal immigrants the laws were designed to protect.

There seems to be some peculiar belief among Democrats that Latino business owners and law-abiding citizens are willing to tolerate being beaten up for wearing the wrong clothes, being intimidated into not reporting crime, and being randomly killed in drive-by shootings because the people who are doing it are of the same ethnicity.

To some extent, I hope they keep it.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Original Title.....

for this link on CNN's homepage is, "Subprime mess kills equity for X-mas shopping".

So let us review; these people are already in debt enough or have bad enough credit that they are having to pay higher subprime rates for their mortgages, yet they're borrowing more money at the same rate, which puts their ownership of their house in jeopardy, to pay for holiday presents?

I'm all for generous giving, but jeopardizing the roof over your head to pay for boxes under the tree overshoots the altruism curve and careens off the cliff into foolishness.

Mother (Country) Knows Best

Apparently the UK has figured out a solution to the whole non-specific holiday madness that we could stand to import to the colonies.

Friday, December 07, 2007

No Child Left Un-Indoctrinated

GayPatriotWest's musing today bemoans what he sees as the loss of "studying the meaning of life" in the college curriculums of the present. He notes what he sees as an overemphasis on criticism of texts versus analysis and thought, a narrowing of focus into specialization versus broad knowledge, and an overwhelming emphasis on political correctness -- and wonders how it all seemingly came to pass.

I can explain a big part of it fairly simply.
For 18 years, Hilary Zunin taught Shakespeare and other literature to students of all ages and skill levels at Napa High.

Last spring, she learned that most freshmen and sophomores would soon be reading the Holt anthology instead of the books that had always been required, including John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men," Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Night," by Elie Wiesel.......

But Zunin recognized that her concept of education was incompatible with No Child Left Behind. So, years earlier than she intended, the teacher who had once taught others how to inspire in students a love of literature said goodbye to Napa High.

This apparently-heartbreaking situation came about because of Napa High's failure to meet the federal No Child Left Behind standards, especially in the area of English and reading. As a result, the entire curriculum was required to be redesigned to emphasize reading and English comprehension; furthermore, several of the freshmen and sophomores to which Zunin was teaching literature were placed in a program designed specifically to aid and assist them in this regard.

Oddly enough, their response isn't quite what you would expect.
"It's helpful," said 15-year-old Araceli Hernandez, one of 56 sophomores assigned to "Read 180," a step-by-step, computer-based reading course designed to accelerate low-scoring students by two years. That is, it's supposed to turn their skills around 180 degrees in one year.

"It helps you learn how to spell the words better, and you get to understand what they're reading," said Araceli, who was born in Jalisco, Mexico. "It was difficult last year because I couldn't understand how to do paragraphs and everything. But now that I got into this program, it's better."

Now why on earth would she have trouble understanding any of those things?

Perhaps we should take a look at her English and literature teacher's attitude.
"There are a lot of people living good lives in this country who aren't able to write a cohesive paragraph and don't know grammar," Zunin said. "I'm more concerned about them being able to put themselves in someone else's shoes - which is the essence of 'To Kill a Mockingbird.' I'm more concerned with them being able to feel compassion and to question authority in a constructive way, which is the essence of 'Night.' I'm more concerned with them looking at the nature of friendship, which is at the heart of 'Of Mice and Men.' "

Now, this raises a very interesting question; how, exactly, are you able to learn anything of the sort from these books when you lack the reading and comprehension skills to even understand what they are saying in the first place?

The answer: you don't. Zunin tells you what she wants you to learn from them, and you repeat it back to her. However, when you are faced with an actual test where you are expected to read the material yourself, explain what it's saying, and apply it, you can't; you are dependent on Zunin to tell you.

In short, you're very good at repeating Zunin's beliefs. But, as the scores and her students' remarks show, that has nothing to do with whether or not you can read and comprehend English or literature.

And as such, when you get to college, if you are expected to read and expound, then you will fail; you simply aren't equipped for it. But textual criticism, especially when led by a professor who tells you exactly what you should see is merely more of the same spoon-feeding you received in high school; is it then any surprise that it dominates the curriculum?

Unfortunately, the way out of this hole is politically and personally painful, since it involves opposing powerful unions that prefer indoctrination over education, as Zunin exemplifies, overcoming the laziness of parents and students in getting children to actually read again, and testing to ensure that all involved are actually following through and doing it.

Or we can simply sit and wring our hands and wonder why our global competitiveness keeps falling.

This One's For You, QJ



Question is, which one of us is which?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Listen Closely.....

when Hillary, et al., are screaming about the need to raise taxes for socialized healthcare.

My reply: they ought to try basic asset recovery and fraud protection on what they're already spending.

The reason why people can get away with this is easy; even the whiff of refusing a charge in Medicare sets off a stampede, with politicians trampling grass, flowers, and small children to reach a microphone and scream about "heartlessness".

Yet Another Reason To Be Busy

Every now and again, invitations from the San Francisco Republican Party cordially inviting me to this or that dinner, cocktail party, or protest wend their way to the NDT mailbox. These are usually treated in the same fashion as the occasional overzealous individual in the bar who doesn't understand the necessity of mutual attraction, interest, or personal space: a polite "Thank you", a gentle smile, and a gradual move towards safer territory.

However, if this sort of thing becomes a regular feature of the meetings, I may have to start attending, if for no other reason than the entertainment value.....

Monday, December 03, 2007

Who's With Stupid, III?

Again, just who is Barack Obama going after with this?
Obama's "credit card bill of rights" would force credit card companies to give consumers the option of dropping out of an agreement if the companies raise interest rates. It would ban increasing rates on past debts and prohibit charging interest rates on transaction fees. He would also force additional disclosures by credit card issuers of terms of the agreement.

Or, in English, banks will now be unable to charge more for people who spend more than they should, put it on plastic, and then decide they need not make payments in a timely fashion, versus those who spend wisely and pay on time.

Ironically, that will solve the problem of people carrying too much debt; banks simply will stop giving credit cards to anyone without good credit. You can't spend money they won't loan you, after all.

But I wonder how Obama's voters will feel when they are all denied credit cards?

If Things Weren't Ugly Enough Already

Read and be disgusted.

When I was tipped off to this, the gut reaction was not to publish it; after all, there's enough sordid crap out there as it is. But the main reason I am doing it at all is very simple; any gay person who exchanges kiddie porn online and goes so far as to set up and show up for sexcapades with what he thought was a thirteen-year-old boy needs to go to jail, do not pass Go, do not collect $200. If Focus on the Family wants to argue that gays support sexual predation of children, it won't be because I didn't say anything about it.

Of course, the other reason is because you wouldn't know that anything of the sort had happened from the utter silence on the matter by not one, not two, but virtually ALL of the liberal and gay blogs -- and on the few that have, they claim he's a Republican.

Perhaps they think they're doing the Democrat Party a favor by not revealing that one of their openly-gay Senate staffers, former campaign staffer for John Kerry and Dick Gephardt, and HRC mover/shaker was setting up sex dates with middle-schoolers from his Senate office.

But given their insistence that they were only protecting the children by roasting Mark Foley for sending lewd messages to an individual well over the age of consent and the Republican Party for not stopping him, silence on their part looks more than a wee bit odd now, doesn't it?

Friday, November 30, 2007

Why, Exactly....

did I agree to teach a 3-day, 8-hour-per-day class, where I am on my feet for the whole time and talking, in a location almost an hour's drive away each way......over a weekend?

I can go on about keeping up to date on the material, doing a favor for my professional organization, collecting an extra honorarium, networking, and so forth.......but while sitting here after the first day, soaking my poor swollen feet and sucking on a cough drop to ease my air-dried throat, the answer "because I am a nitwit" is looking better and better.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I Think I'm in Love.....

and it's only been one night.

A Simmons Beautyrest Vanderbilt Exceptionale "Ashton" Extra Firm, to be precise.

California King, of course.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Live and Let Live

Does one ever get tired of the namecalling?

Such is the premise of a piece linked today by GayPatriotWest in which it is speculated that Andrew Sullivan's multi-year funny turn is a matter of avoiding social and entertainment isolation.
It is virtually impossible - in my experience with ex-friends who happen to be gay and live in D.C - to have any sort of social life, let alone a sex life, as a gay man within that community while espousing "conservative" - or indeed anything less than rabidly anti-Bush views. This is a sad commentary on that particular community, but a fact as far as I can see.

My own suspicion is that Andrew has sold his soul to the Devil - so to speak - in order to maintain both friends and sex partners he is unable or unwilling to let go.

Not a bad hypothesis, given that even Andrew himself, as GPW previously pointed out, has ranted about how he "actually risked something for my conservative ideals - friends and some colleagues, estrangement from the gay establishment, and even my job". And it's not as if there's a shortage of other examples.

But, when all this is considered, does it really matter?

I think not.

Whether Sullivan's change of heart is a matter of dedication to his core principles or of excoriation fatigue, I can certainly speculate and postulate upon, but when all is said and done, a Legilimens I am not; even with a study of what Sullivan has said, what I have are little better than guesses, and perhaps not even good ones. As with the practice of outing people, I send thoughts and rationales hurtling out into the mental cosmos like errant comets, but they invariably return into the same tight and regular orbit around a defining point: ultimately, my behavior is determined by my own priorities and decisions, and not those of others.

Given that, even if Sullivan is descending into the depths of Bush derangement syndrome for the sole purpose of scoring, that really is only his issue and his issue alone; I choose not to do so myself, and I see no reason to care what his reason is -- or to indulge in public speculation about it.

My First Holiday Wish

That a law be passed to do the following:

  1. Outlaw the playing of "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" in any form other than as part of a performance of The Nutcracker in its entirety, and especially for use in commercials for over-chromed and ugly gas-guzzling cars.
  2. Provide penalties for violating the first of having over-ear headphones attached to an iPod stuck on "Repeat Track" of the same taped to one's head for no less than ninety days.
  3. Establish leniency in sentencing for those who inflict damage and distress upon inanimate, soulless objects that perpetrate such criminal behavior, including radios, televisions, cell phones, and advertising executives.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tomorrow's Menu

First

Stuffed Mushroom Caps
Spanakopita with fresh Tzatziki
Hummus with a selection of Vegetable Crudites
Shrimp with Cocktail Sauce
Caviar and Water Crackers


Main

Roasted Garlic Stuffed Pork Loin with Prune and Apple Compote
Steamed Green Beans with Sauteed Onions and Portobello Cream Gravy
Fresh Kernel Sweet Corn with Sweet Bell Pepper


Final

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Whipped Garnish
Dreyer's Mocha Almond Fudge or Cookie Dough Ice Cream
Sharon's Raspberry Sorbet
Selection of San Francisco Origin Chocolates


Liquids

Ice-Congealed Ketel One Vodka
Hess Wineries Reserve Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon
Heineken
Miller Lite and Genuine Draft
Cranberry Juice
Selection of Hansen's Natural Diet Sodas
Gerolsteiner Sparkling Water
Hetch Hetchy Original (aka San Francisco Tap Water)


And mind you, this is for six freaking people.

I keep reminding myself that the cardinal sin in Judaism is letting people leave hungry.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007

But She Followed Me Home (In a Metaphysical Way)

I suspect this is some sort of fiendish plot by John of Caulk is Cheap to make us all kitteh freakz.

According to the official site, a Daemon is the manifestation of a person's soul, an animal spirit that reflects their character and nature and accompanies them all through life.

Which, in this case, will do wonders for both my husbear's allergies and the NDT Mascot's general sanity.

But, in all of this, let's not forget the real reason we should be seeing this movie.

(h/t QJ)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Who's With Stupid, II

And the hits just keep on coming from Obama and associates.
Obama also invoked his friend, billionaire Warren Buffett, who Obama said has expressed concern that he pays less in Social Security taxes than anyone else in his office.

"And he has said, and I think a lot of us who have been fortunate are willing to pay a little bit more to make sure that a senior citizen who is struggling to deal with rising property taxes or rising heating bills, that they've got the coverage that they need," Obama said.

Fine and dandy.

So why are you raising taxes on everyone else, instead of just giving them the money yourself?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Who's With Stupid?

It's the little things that continue to amuse me about Barack Obama.

Under the pension plan Obama spelled out this week, employers would be required to enroll workers in a direct deposit retirement account that invests a small percentage of each paycheck. Workers would have a choice of opting out or adding to the account. The account could be taken with the worker to a new job.


Incredibly innovative, yes......if we didn't already have 401(k) plans, SIMPLE plans, and IRAs that do the same thing. Indeed, you can set up IRAs that are direct-deposit from your paycheck without even having to have your employer sponsor it. Furthermore, as of the Pension Protection Act of 2006, employers are allowed to institute mandatory participation and contribute a fixed amount of each employee's paycheck to their 401(k), SIMPLE, or IRA plan.

It sort of begs the question: is Obama that clueless that he doesn't know these things are there......or does he think that voters are so dumb that they don't realize what he's proposing already exists?

Monday, October 22, 2007

CubsTracks, E is for Europop Edition

In my DJ career of reasonable length, the most dichotomous music I have ever had the pleasure of playing is Europop, generally defined as any music that sounds like Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem on crystal.

People either like the stuff or they hate it. There is no in-between. Of course, I don't understand the latter people; after all, the heart palpitations don't hurt THAT much.

But that's also because I grew up with the classics of it -- such as:

Blue, Eiffel 65


Around the World (La Di Da), ATC


Castles in the Sky, Ian Van Dahl


Of course, there are the ones that are as subtle and well-spoken as a horny teenager.....

Everytime we Touch, Cascada


but those are nicely countered by the ones that successfully manage the taut and precise balance of energy, lyric, and make-you-want-to-move that good electronica and trance should.

With video for Jamie of I Must Be Dreaming......

Blinded, Hannah

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Important Point of the S-CHIP Debate

Relative to all the recent veto brouhaha, Democrats are demanding that families with incomes four times the poverty level, or over $80,000 annually, receive free health insurance coverage through the Federally-funded States Childrens Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP) for their children at an estimated cost of $35 billion -- without ensuring that 95% of children under the original S-CHIP threshold (families who make between one and two times the Federal poverty level) be covered first, as the Bush administration is insisting.

The Democrats' means of funding said expansion is by a sales tax on cigarettes -- a 156% increase above existing taxes, to be precise.

However, in the past, Democrats like Pelosi and Reid have screamed and whined that sales taxes are bad and horrible because they are "regressive" and disproportionately affect poor people, especially cigarette taxes. As an example of why, the Iowa 2006 Adult Tobacco Use Survey demonstrated (Table ES-1, page 3) that those at or below 200% of the poverty level (the S-CHIP cutoff) were over one and a half times as likely to be smokers as those who were above the poverty level.

So, phrased differently, Nancy Pelosi and the Democrat Party not only are planning to allow states to ignore covering poorer children whose parents can't afford health insurance in favor of covering wealthier children whose parents can, as well as adults without children -- they are raising taxes that primarily affect those poorer childrens' parents to pay for it.

UPDATE: Seems there's an even better twist -- since black people are disproportionately represented among both smokers and those below 200% of the poverty line, Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Barack Obama, and the Democrat Party are not only planning to allow states to ignore covering poorer black children whose parents can't afford health insurance in favor of covering wealthier white children whose parents can -- they are raising taxes that primarily affect those poorer black childrens' parents to pay for it.

I wonder what race-baiters Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have to say about that?

Kevin and Michael, Check Your Back Gate....

your moonbats are running loose in my yard. Expect a large screaming COD package VERY soon.

(Wait, what do you MEAN we're out of tranquilizer darts?)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Reality For the Iowa Voter

Meet Tod Bowman.

Tod is a resident of Iowa, a Democrat, and a staunch questioner of Hillary Clinton -- specifically, on Social Security, and more specifically, with her "considering" changes to the current cap on the amount of income that can be taxed for Social Security.

You see, he doesn't think it's fair.
Afterward Bowman approached Clinton so he could pose for a photo with her, introduce her to his children and discuss the issue further.

She told him she didn't want to put an additional tax burden on the middle class but would consider a "gap," with no Social Security taxes on income from $97,500 to around $200,000. Anything above that could be taxed.

An Associated Press reporter overheard the conversation and discussed it with Bowman. He said he didn't agree with Clinton and felt that as someone who makes under $97,500 he pays an unfair share.

"I understand that in her world $97,000 is the middle class, but here in Iowa $97,000 doesn't qualify as the middle class," Bowman said.

Well, Mr. Bowman, you're right; you probably are paying an "unfair share".

But not quite in the way you think.

You see, Social Security taxes are collected in a very simple fashion; for every dollar of income you make, you pay 6.2 cents to the government and your employer pays 6.2 cents to the government, all the way up to the income cap. As your income rises, you pay more.

But when it comes to calculating your benefit, the math is significantly different.

Basically put:
-- You get 90 cents of benefit for each dollar you make up to $680 per month ($8,160/year)

-- You get 32 cents of benefit for each dollar you make between $680 and $4,100 per month (up to $49,200/year)

-- You get a princely 15 cents of benefit for each dollar you make over $4,100 per month (over $49,200/year

Meanwhile, the government is still charging you and your employer a total of 12.4 cents for each dollar of your income, even as your benefit amount shrinks. In short, you are paying more and getting proportionately far, far less.


Keeping that formula in mind, let's analyze the benefit for an individual who makes at the taxable maximum of $97,500 per year ($8,125/month):
-- 90 cents for each dollar up to $680 = $680 x .90 = $612

-- 32 cents for each dollar between $680 and $4,100 = $3,420 x .32 = $1,094

-- 15 cents for each dollar between $4,100 and $8,125 = $4,025 x .15 = $604

-- Sum of the benefits = $612 + $1,094 + $604 = $2,310/month x 12 months = $27,720

-- Total Social Security taxes collected = $97,500 x 12.4 cents per dollar = $12,090

This person receives $2.30 in benefits for each $1 of tax they pay in ($27,720/$12,090), and they are provided a benefit equal to 28.5% of their pre-retirement income ($27,720/$97,500).


Meanwhile, let's assume Mr. Bowman makes $49,200 per year ($4,100 per month).
-- 90 cents for each dollar up to $680 = $680 x .90 = $612

-- 32 cents for each dollar between $680 and $4,100 = $3,420 x .32 = $1,094

-- Sum of the benefits = $612 + $1,094 = $1,706/month x 12 months = $20,472

-- Total Social Security taxes collected = $49,200 * 12.4 cents per dollar = $6,101

Mr. Bowman receives $3.36 in benefits for each $1 of tax he pays in, and is provided a benefit equal to 42% of his pre-retirement income.


So, as we can see, Tod Bowman pays less in and gets proportionately more back than a person with a higher income -- and the difference is exacerbated the higher the person's income goes. Furthermore, since Social Security benefits are capped (this year, at $2,116 per month, or $25,392 per year), the belief that eliminating the taxation limit on income would somehow be more "fair" belies the fact that it would force people and their employers to pay money into Social Security that they could ultimately never collect in benefits.

It's kind of surprising that a high school government teacher doesn't know that.

Madame Macchiavelli

Perhaps I am suspicious and cynical....but I can certainly see why House Democrats would be so hep on suddenly passing what appears to be a perfectly-innocent resolution.
Turkey, a NATO member, has been a key U.S. ally in the Middle East and a conduit for sending supplies into Iraq.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Wednesday that good relations with Turkey are vital because 70 percent of the air cargo intended for U.S. forces in Iraq and 30 percent of the fuel consumed by those forces flies through Turkey.

U.S. commanders, Gates said, "believe clearly that access to airfields and roads and so on in Turkey would very much be put at risk if this resolution passes and the Turks react as strongly as we believe they will."

Bagis said since a French Parliament committee passed a similar resolution last year, no French planes have flown through Turkish airspace.

And who's raising this? Oh yes, Adam Schiff, D-CA, conveniently one of Nancy Pelosi's House puppets.....er, "proteges".

Ah well, it's typical; as long as they get what they want, they don't care who it hurts in the process. If they can't block funding or support for the troops that they allegedly care about openly, they'll manipulate others into doing it for them.

Full of Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing

As much as I usually like Thomas Friedman, he's way off track on this one.
Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy didn’t change the world by asking people to join their Facebook crusades or to download their platforms. Activism can only be uploaded, the old-fashioned way — by young voters speaking truth to power, face to face, in big numbers, on campuses or the Washington Mall. Virtual politics is just that — virtual.

And why should they be rallying?
But Generation Q may be too quiet, too online, for its own good, and for the country’s own good. When I think of the huge budget deficit, Social Security deficit and ecological deficit that our generation is leaving this generation, if they are not spitting mad, well, then they’re just not paying attention. And we’ll just keep piling it on them.

The funny thing about it is that all of those were merrily progressing in their own way while Friedman and his ilk were tramping around on public property and leaving broken signs on DC streets, turf prints on the Mall, and half-smoked joints in the Reflecting Pool in protest against them. Furthermore, ironically, the generation that will have the most impact on all of those is Friedman's -- since they're the ones, given their numbers, who will be the deciding factor in whether or not we can reduce Social Security benefits, cut Medicare, and rein in costs created by the numerous other promises they made themselves while in power.

Perhaps what Friedman is forgetting is that every generation learns from the mistakes of the one before it -- and in Generation Q's case, what they've learned is that volume is no substitute for action. You work up the same sweat screaming and marching as you do building a house or teaching underprivileged kids, but the end result -- sore legs, throats, and lungs versus a family's home or smarter children -- is far better for the latter than it is the former.

Too often I see this reflected in the gay community -- people complaining that "the young folks" don't know what they had to go through, how we should be camping on sidewalks, picketing offices, getting thrown out of hearing rooms, peeing in holy water fonts, and how the fact that we don't indicates that we're apathetic and don't care.

I would posit that we're just too busy helping people elsewhere.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Inscrutable Oracles and What They Mean

The flag of Mexico pays homage to an ancient Aztec prophecy concerning the founding of Tenochtitlan. The people were told to travel until they saw an eagle eating a snake while perched upon a cactus; on that very spot, they were to build a great city, which would assure their power and wealth for centuries.

Today I saw two pigeons making whoopee while perched upon a traffic signal.

Maybe it makes more sense with the ethylene.

But It's MEDICINAL, I Tell You!

Just look and see.

In related news, HSN announced today that their premiere line of alcohol-based health and wellness products, including Stoli Exfoli(ant), Martini Facial Rubs ("Make Yourself More Lickable"), and the Red Wine Infusion Pump ("A trickle all day of fine Cabernet") will be featured in their new flagship daytime series, "Sex in The (Kansas) City" and "Rob, The Booty Hunter", and will be touted as part of a new story-arc freshening on "Pink Acres".

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Penny-Wise, Pound-Hypocritical

Three things with this.

One, the government should seriously tighten its travel approval process.

Two, once it does, it should embrace reality. Limiting the use of business class only to flights that are fourteen hours or more is considered cruel and unusual punishment in the private sector. A more logical and workable number would be eight hours or more, which would nicely eliminate virtually all domestic flights (except to Alaska or Hawaii) and to Paris, London, or Frankfurt, while keeping it open for treks where you actually need it.

And three, if Congress wants to find the most blatant wastes of taxpayer dollars on travel, a mirror would suffice.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Vanity, Lovely Vanity

I got my new personalized plates today.

Oh, yeah, like I'm going to tell you that. Take a guess.

And no, California limits you to 7 letters and one half-space, so "SLF LTHNG" wouldn't fit. :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

What, Indeed, Is Progress?

Today, supposedly, mankind reached a new evolutionary pinnacle with the release of Halo 3.

All I know is that the Irish guy (green jersey) in the Mountain Dew Game Fuel commercial is pretty damn hot.

Monday, September 24, 2007

How Do You Say "Boorish" in Farsi?

Because this certainly qualifies.
Columbia University president Lee Bollinger took Iran's president to task Monday, bluntly criticizing his record and saying he exhibits "all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator."

Bollinger's assessment came as he introduced Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to an audience of students and faculty.

As he read a long list of documented actions and remarks by the firebrand Iranian leader and his government, the crowd of 600 applauded.

Seriously, what was Bollinger thinking? You don't invite someone to speak, then introduce them by ripping them apart on stage. It's impolite at best, flat-out rude at worst -- and in the case of Ahmadinejad, who has a long and storied history of trying to provoke such behavior, moronic.
Ahmadinejad opened his remarks by saying Bollinger's introduction was discourteous, intellectually dishonest and inaccurate.

He said academic freedom should prohibit the "vaccination" of the audience with negative comments about a guest speaker and his ideas.

"I think the text read by the dear gentleman here, more than addressing me, was an insult to information and the knowledge of the audience here, present here," Ahmadinejad said through a translator.

"In a university environment we must allow people to speak their mind, to allow everyone to talk so that the truth is eventually revealed by all," he said.

And Ahmadinejad is right. That IS the point of a university environment -- something which Bollinger threw out in the name of appealing to God-knows-what.

Bollinger needs to learn the most basic rule of a Southern hostess; if you are faced with an uncultured lunatic with no manners, don't invite them -- or invite them and kill them with kindness.

After all, why bother making a scene and being the impolite one -- when they invariably make an idiot of themselves?


UPDATE: QuakerJono is thinking the same thing, only more eloquently and stuff.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

CubsTracks, 'Cause I Haven't Posted Squat in Nearly a Week Edition

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Life and all that, if you can call preparing 2008 long-term budget forecasts with data that has more exceptions and caveats than a Best Buy mail-in rebate to be living.

At any rate, a few of the songs that have been keeping me sane of late -- with pictures.

Put 'Em Up, Edun


No, that isn't the original video. But honestly, do you care?

Beautiful Liar, Beyonce (featuring Shakira), Freemasons Club Mix

Once again, there is no song featuring a Hispanic musician that cannot be made better with Latin rhythms and ambiguous sexuality (aka the Ricky Martin Theorem).


And speaking of ambiguous, as a nice wrapup......

Oh L'Amour, Erasure (Kenny Hayes dance remix, compiled by DJ Patrick Phillips)


And as a birthday reminder to John of Caulk is Cheap.....beware of attempts to recapture your lost youth.



Oy.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Pointless Gay Action of the Day

Chris Crain is upset because a TV station in Mobile, Alabama chose to emphasize what was done to a murder victim.....versus the fact that he was gay.

Personally, I think he's pissed that the good people of Alabama and their judges gave these criminals harsh sentences, rather than letting them off because they killed a gay man; it ruins their meme about how gay victims don't receive justice without special treatment "hate crimes" laws, and how everyone in Alabama is a homophobic hick.

Which is, of course, why he's criticizing a journalist who actually stuck to the facts and didn't try to sensationalize something.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Meme du Jour

Jamie started it.


You are The Sun


Happiness, Content, Joy.


The meanings for the Sun are fairly simple and consistent.


Young, healthy, new, fresh. The brain is working, things that were muddled come clear, everything falls into place, and everything seems to go your way.


The Sun is ruled by the Sun, of course. This is the light that comes after the long dark night, Apollo to the Moon's Diana. A positive card, it promises you your day in the sun. Glory, gain, triumph, pleasure, truth, success. As the moon symbolized inspiration from the unconscious, from dreams, this card symbolizes discoveries made fully consciousness and wide awake. You have an understanding and enjoyment of science and math, beautifully constructed music, carefully reasoned philosophy. It is a card of intellect, clarity of mind, and feelings of youthful energy.


What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Your Handy Field Guide to Homo Ursus, Part Two

And you knew this was coming, didn't you?

In our first installment, we discussed the Zen-like behavior attributes of the modern metrosexual-free gay bear, explaining once and for all that it's more about the aspirations than it is the size of the ass.

Now we need to hit on the next part, which is, "What most stirs one's loins?"

For this, we will ask you to view the associated images and clips and make your choice based on the usual, "If I were stranded on a desert island...."

Would you fight for the right to karate .....or would you rather wrestle?

When you're looking for a ride, does your motor run for a Mack .........or a Freightliner?

And finally, do you prefer yours shaken........ or stirred?

Please report your score in the Comments (i.e. "karate", "freightliner", "shaken") and compare.

(Note to the FCC: This qualifies as educational programming! It's the History Channel for heaven's sake! OK, maybe not the last, but it's still....uh.....uh...)

My Weekend in Three Words

DIE, MONSTERS......DIE!

Seriously.

And of course, what soundtrack did my husband decide would be good accompaniment to our ceaseless work with pickax and shovel, chasing roots that were well on their way back to China?

Friday, September 07, 2007

On the Political Waterfront

The lovely thing about dealing with insane gay partisan Democrats is that, if you wait long enough, their stories about why they do what they do invariably collapse and unravel under their own weight.

For instance, Mike Rogers, courtesy of GayOrbit:
For example. Is it ok to be in the closet, getting laid, while voting against the community’s interests? Well, it depends. When I met MN State Sen. Paul Koering a GOP’er he was against marriage equality. I realized that even though Koering was going to vote against the community that he was on a journey, so outing him would not have been helpful.

Well, first, Rogers contradicts his own "out them all" hatemongering and screaming elsewhere with that.

But this....this is the kicker.
(Koering eventually became a friend, came out an voted the right way — AND got reelected….He’s the only GOP state legislator in America who is out…. and all because I did NOT out him.)

Read that again...Rogers himself admits that outing is counterproductive to having out gay Republican legislators, and would certainly seem to apply to gay Republican staffers as well.

Which is why he does it.

Rogers's ranting about hypocrisy or gay rights is at best a smokescreen; as I've demonstrated innumerable times, he goes completely and hypocritically blind when it's Democrats practicing the former or opposing the latter, and he attacks Republicans who support the latter. In actuality, his whole reason for doing what he does is to eliminate gay Republicans from elective office and from being Congressional staffers.

Why?

The same reason that bloggers like Steve Gilliard, activists like Harry Belafonte, and Democrat leaders like Mike Miller attack black Republicans and conservatives as "house slaves", "oreos", "Simple Sambos", and "Uncle Toms" -- with the support of their party, who is more than happy to pay these people and provide them with things like candidates' illegally-gotten credit reports. In the matter of gays, "minority rights" organizations like HRC and even (at the time) LCR, even devote staffers and staffer time to helping them, and organizations like "Equality" California reject openly-gay Republican candidates in favor of endorsing their Democrat opponents, regardless of record.

The whole thing smacks of mafia and corrupt union practices; these are the Democrat Party's docks, and if you try anything, they'll send their hired thugs to break your legs (and, given the penchant of the outers for harassing employers, coworkers, friends, family, other journalists, and mere associates, theirs too). Everything is devoted to opposing and making it as painful as possible for gay people who deviate from the required Democrat Party allegiance, or, even worse, dare to run anywhere but under the proper plantation flag.

As I have always stated, the problem here is simple; as long as gays automatically support Democrats and oppose Republicans, regardless of action, they will be treated as a hostile force by Republicans and as a high-dollar prostitute by Democrats.

The actions of Rogers and his supporters only perpetuate that.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

I Can Die Happy Now.....

since I finally won a day of Famous Author Rob Byrne's Triviality contest.

September 5.

I rule.

Who bad? :)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Monday, September 03, 2007

Random Kosmicity

Labor Day weekend is drawing to a close here in San Francisco, the temperature gently falling from a toasty Indian-summer 80 to a thoroughly pleasant 60; a reminder indeed to all of us why, in addition to better architecture, finer culture, and less plastic surgery, we live here and not there. It was indeed a wonderful time, filled with visits from friends, delectable meals out, and the burly bearded bacchanal that is the Hairrison Street Fair.

Chief among these pleasures, though, was three consecutive days of more than eight hours of sleep -- a rare and exciting thing that has left me with a feeling I'm not sure I've had since high school. Normally, I function on a generous seven, sometimes six, and, too often than I should, five; this is like David Banda Mwale Ciccone Ritchie walking into his new bedroom.

As a result, though, I've had the occasional random odd thought, and one of them is this: I have never been single ever since I started blogging. And, oddly enough, both of the people I've been with -- the boyfriend I hooked up with almost the minute after I assumed the mantle of North Dallas Thirty, and then my partner who followed, have been liberal Democrats.

I'm not sure what the implications of this are, but if the general principles hold true.............GayPatriotWest and QuakerJono are in for one hell of a surprise.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

More Than a Bit of Difference

It's a rare occasion when I disagree with Steve Miller, the blog runner person for the Independent Gay Forum.

And this thing with Larry Craig is one of them.

Steve appears to be under the impression that the fact that Craig was pressured to resign is an indication of a double standard in treatment of sex scandals.
Yet more still. I'm away for an extended Labor Day weekend so haven't added much. Assuredly, Craig is no poster boy but a sad story of the closet (the near total lack of any sympathy for him, from left or right, is another story). Even so, here's a thought:

* A president is caught having sex with an intern in the Oval Office and lies to cover it up; he finishes his term (and may yet return as president-consort).
* A congressman sends salacious e-mails to former pages now of legal age; he resigns in disgrace.
* A senator engages in the illegal activity of hiring prostitutes; he's finishing his term and no one is suggesting prosecution.
* A senator taps his toes in a men's room in a subtle signal only a fellow seeker would recognize and respond to; he's entrapped, charged with a crime and forced to resign in disgrace.

All together, guess which orientation is cut no slack?

However, as I pointed out:
  • Congressman is accused of lewd sexual behavior and assault against staffers and lobbyists; forced to resign in disgrace.
  • Congressman has "consensual" affair with 17-year-old congressional page; issues profuse apologies, but is voted out of office in next election.

Meanwhile:

  • Congressman not only solicits, but appears to facilitate operation of prostitution ring out of his apartment; not only does not resign, but is given high-level chairmanship position
  • Congressman has "consensual" affair with 17-year-old page; does not resign and continues to receive support, fundraising, and committee assignments

The last two were gay (Barney Frank and Gerry Studds); the first two were straight (Bob Packwood and Dan Crane).

So which orientation is it that's being "cut no slack"?


UPDATE: I missed a point about Dan Crane. Turns out I had originally said he had resigned, when in fact he apologized, but was defeated again when he ran for re-election.

Which moves the point to voters cutting people like Crane no slack.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Better Comprehension Through Comedy

The human memory is a wondrous thing, able to store, manage, and recall instantly a tremendous amount of information in a fashion far superior to hard drives. Indeed, a growing consensus is that our brains literally capture EVERY bit of information that we interact with, squirrelling it away for future reference and synthesis.

Unfortunately, as it turns out, our recall capabilities are still in beta -- sort of working, but subject to random and unexplainable breakdowns, misfires, and fits of temperament.

While waiting for a zap from God or a few million more years of evolution, those of us who regularly have reason to be teaching adults things that we want to remember have realized that learning tends to "stick" when it is associated with the humorous, the clever, or the obscene. This is why you can recite SouthPark episodes word for word and in the correct voice for each sentence, but get everything but the item you were supposed to get when you go to the grocery store.

As a result, we have realized that, we can either make things clever and humorous, or we can take off our clothes in the course of a lecture. Since I've already tried the latter, we're down to humor.

Thus, to help people understand the reasoning behind my opinions on the Larry Craig situation, I turn to my favorite of the late and much-lamented Ms. Anna Russell's noveau folk songs.


Jolly Old Sigmund Freud
(sung to the tune of "Ghostriders in the Sky")

I went to my psychiatrist
To be psychoanalyzed
To find out why I killed the cat
And blacked my husband's eyes.
He laid me on a downy couch
To see what he could find,
So this is what he dredge-ed up
From my subconscious mind:

[chorus]
Hey, libido, bats in the belfry, hey, libido, bats in the belfry,
Hey, libido, bats in the belfry, jolly Old Sigmund Freud!


When I was one, my mommy hid
My dolly in a trunk,
And so it follows naturally
That I am always drunk.
When I was two, I saw my father
Kiss the maid one day,
And that is why I suffer now
From kleptomania.

[chorus]

At three, I had the feeling of
Ambivilance towards my brothers,
And so it follows naturally
I poisoned all my lovers.
But I am happy; now I've learned
The lesson this has taught;
That everything I do that's wrong -
Is someone else's fault.

[chorus]

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Blame-Shifting Without a Clutch

Fellow blogger and friend GayPatriotWest has a good piece up today covering the ongoing saga of apparent restroom frequenter Senator Larry Craig.

But I have a quibble with the thrust of several statements he makes.
The real issue here is not as much hypocrisy as it is absence of judgment. I don’t think Craig sees himself as gay. When his desires for same-sex sexual contact pass after each of his liaisons, he may just assume they’ve gone away and won’t come back. All that said, only he knows what he feels, but I would daresay he has experienced a lot of shame and emptiness and likely struggles to overcome his longings for same-sex contact.

Obviously he has not fully integrated whatever feelings he has for men into his life. Maybe when he’s not seeking sexual contact with other men, he sees himself as straight..........

Some on the left will say that his political views demand that his conduct be made public. In coming days (as is already happening), much ink will be spilled (and pixels generated) on how his conservatism forced him to remain in the closet, leaving such clandestine encounters as his only means to act on his feelings and his desires for same-sex intimacy.

It’s unfortunate that a man aware of his own such longings did not, in his public life, show much understanding for gay people.

My disagreement: the need for sex does not equal a need for intimacy.

From empirical examples like clients of the "D.C Madam", sociological studies of prostitution, police reports of George Michael, and female jewelry party conversation (long story), one thing should be obvious; even when there is an immediate and obvious source of intimate contact and an acknowledged public relationship, people are still looking for and grabbing other tasty morsels from the sexual buffet table. Indeed, for many of these men, the reason they cheat is less the absence of available intimacy than it is the fact that they're bored with what they have and are looking for something more exciting.

And that's what I think happened here. This wasn't a need for intimacy or any particular degree of relationship; Larry Craig needed to get off, and this is what did it for him. The fact that it happened with men does not make him gay, any more than the fact that several gay men I know have had experiences with the fairer sex makes them heterosexual; what one prefers sexually does not necessarily preclude other possibilities, and what one chooses at a given point in time may have no relevance to earlier or later.

However, as GPW demonstrates, the temptation here is to take that basic fact -- Larry Craig couldn't or wouldn't stop himself from soliciting public sex -- and turn it into something more useful for one's agenda, either the "Republicans are all closeted and hypocrites" meme of the gay left, or the softer, "This wouldn't have happened if Larry Craig hadn't been forced to repress his true self" that GPW uses here.

But that's not a good idea, for several reasons; it paints a picture of homosexuality involving some sort of invitation or imperative towards having public sex, it ignores the contradictory fact that openly-gay individuals have been caught doing the same (and worse) as did Craig, and -- perhaps worst of all -- it makes a full-bore assault on the intelligence of heterosexual voters by implying that, if gays had marriage and public acceptance just like heterosexuals, they would never have public sex or cheat.

Tell that to Wendy Vitter.

In short, making Craig's behavior a result of anything else other than his own arrogance and/or stupidity diverts responsibility for his actions away from Craig and onto those who happen to share the characteristics arbitrarily blamed for it.

No sale.

Friday, August 24, 2007

CubsTracks, Everything Old is New Again Edition

One of the many amusing and annoying things about living in San Francisco is the craze for "retro" that seems to be consuming teenagers and those who wish to dress like teenagers (older AND younger, to poor effect either way).

Amusing, because these people are wearing clothes that were nightmares when they were new. Red wine and blue cheese become better with age, but, as we see from the blue top and red pants combination of similar vintage, polyester does not.

Annoying, because they are paying $100 a pop for the very things I threw out about four years ago.

And, since music and clothes operate in a similar universal origin theory manner (big bang - expand - overdo - collapse - repeat), the newest and hottest thing is to take a song of erstwhile youth that has long since died out and give it the necessary facelifts, tummy tucks, chemical peels, and Botox to make the container fresh and new, even if the material is not.

Sort of like Joan Rivers.

At any rate, our first track of note is Something About You.

As first created by Level 42 in 1985:



Then re-imagined by DJ and producer Hatiras (Adam K & Soha Mix):

(OK, this was the only video I could find; just set it to about 9 minutes into the video, or a minute and a half from the end, and listen. Try to ignore the DJ who is either really into the music or in the middle of humping the Invisible Girl. And don't complain, or I'll just send you over to iTunes, you cheap-ass bitches.)



There. Wasn't that better?

And now, for an even clearer example, we turn to Steve Winwood's easy-listening staple from 1982, Valerie.



And now we see what happens when Valerie doesn't listen to her mother and goes to the Tuesday-night "Aerobics for Skanks" class at the Y.



Believe it or not, Steve Winwood not only gave his permission for this song; after hearing DJ Eric Prydz's initial remix, he recorded a new vocal track for Prydz to use in the final version.

On the other hand, that video is almost enough to drive one to heterosexuality. Never fear, though; thanks to the miracle that is the combination of YouTube with modern excessive creativity and leisure time, we have an antidote.



Happy Friday, all!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Everything Test

QJ made me do it.

*** THE EVERYTHING TEST ***

There are many different types of tests on the internet today. Personality tests, purity tests, stereotype tests, political tests. But now, there is one test to rule them all.


Traditionally, online tests would ask certain questions about your musical tastes or clothing for a stereotype, your experiences for a purity test, or deep questions for a personality test.We're turning that upside down - all the questions affect all the results, and we've got some innovative results too! Enjoy :-)

PERSONALITY
You are more emotional than logical, more concerned about others than concerned about self, more religious than atheist, more dependent than loner, more workaholic than lazy, more traditional than rebel, more artistic mind than engineering mind, more idealist than cynical, more leader than follower, and more extroverted than introverted.
As for specific personality traits, you are outgoing (100%), religious (93%), intellectual (78%), slutty (74%).

STEREOTYPES
Prep (85%)
Young Professional (80%)
Old Geezer (67%)


LIFE EXPERIENCE
Sex (33%)
Substances (11%)
Travel (65%)


POLITICS
Your political views would best be described as Libertarian, whom
you agree with around 73% of the time.

SOCIOECONOMIC
Your attitude toward life best associates you with Upper Class.
You make more than 98% of those who have taken this test,
and 61% more than the U.S. average.

If your life was a movie, it would be rated R.
By the way, your hottness rank is 71%, hotter than 85% of other test takers.

TAKE THE TEST


Powered by ThatSurveySite


I'm still not sure how he got more sex life experience.

Bet he was double-dipping with those wimmen thingys. ;)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Bait and Switch

The latest Democrat up-in-arms is over the Bush administration's change to the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which has ignited the usual shrieking over "hurting kids" and the New York Times's ominous (and slanted, so as to please Hillary) headline, "White House Acts to Limit Health Plan for Children".

And they have.

By requiring states to cover lower-income children first.
In the letter sent to state health officials about 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dennis G. Smith, the director of the federal Center for Medicaid and State Operations, set a high standard for states that want to raise eligibility for the child health program above 250 percent of the poverty level.

Before making such a change, Mr. Smith said, states must demonstrate that they have “enrolled at least 95 percent of children in the state below 200 percent of the federal poverty level” who are eligible for either Medicaid or the child health program.

The reason why is very simple; as the 2007 Congressional Budget Office(CBO) report on SCHIP showed, while SCHIP has reduced the number of uninsured children in its target demographic (for families who make between 100% - 200% of the Federal poverty level) from 22.5% to 16.9%, it has also reduced the number of families opting for private employer-sponsored coverage for which they are eligible. Estimates are that, for every 100 children enrolled in SCHIP, approximately 25 to 50 are kids who are taken out of existing private coverage and put into SCHIP because it's cheaper and/or the benefits are better.

To put this into perspective, 250% of the Federal poverty level is $51,625. The US median household income, as of 2006, is $46,236; thus, even with this change, over half of the households in the United States would be theoretically eligible for their kids to receive what amounts to free or heavily-subsidized health insurance.

What Democrats and liberals have done is to backdoor the SCHIP program; they have used an exceptions process built into the original law to extend coverage to even higher income levels and to families who already have and can afford health insurance, even as participation for those families who don't have it and can't afford it has stagnated.

In short, they've blown off expanding coverage for poor kids so that they can buy wealthier ones' parents -- and gone back to Congress to demand more money to do it.

I am four-square behind the administration on this one. SCHIP should do what it was meant to do in the first place -- provide health insurance coverage to kids in working families that didn't have access to it and couldn't afford it. To me, the fact that the Democrat Party absolutely balks at requiring a program to actually cover the poor first before subsidizing wealthier families is the height of hypocrisy -- and shows that Hillary, Spitzer, and the innumerable other Democrats who whine about covering the children are lying through their teeth.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

CubsTracks: No, We Have Some Bananaramas Today Edition

Because you asked for it, gentle readers, today we are featuring the vocal stylings of Bananarama, the UK duo (previously trio) known far and wide during the 1980s, fading slightly in the 1990s, and enjoying a welcome resurgence through most unusual channels.

In my iPod, we find the following two of their songs:

1. Move In My Direction (Bobby Blanco and Miki Moto Vocal Mix)

This single, released in 2005, is a remix of their earlier "Really Saying Something". Released as a means of capitalizing on the '80's retro movement in the UK and global dance music at that time, it peaked at #14 on the UK charts; however, it was not released in the US until after a happy accident involving its sibling........

2. Look On the Floor (Angel City Extended Remix)

Also from Bananarama's 2005 album Drama, this song was the second single released, and it flopped rather badly in the UK. However, despite the fact that it wasn't even marketed in the US, club DJs got their hands on the import version, and it took off on this side of the pond; this pushed Bananarama to release Move in My Direction fully in the United States.

Hence the clause in the first version of the Declaration of Independence which included "keeping from us seriously-kickin' dance music" among the sins of George III.

THIS one, natch, comes with a video:


Also, because we are here, ultimately, to provide pleasure to our readers, I will take the risk of showing this, even though I am of the belief that the 80s is like a mummy, just waiting for someone to say the right combination of words, wear the right ugly amulet, or play just the wrong video to bring it growling and stinking from its ancient grave, out to terrorize and murder the peasants and clueless aristocrats.

God help us all.