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

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?