Friday, August 27, 2010

Will He Please Just Stop?

When will Carter finally admit that he's the worst American of all time? C'mon, he's actually talking to the North Koreans! Doesn't he know this simply gives their regime legitimacy?

His downward spiral is just getting too hard to watch....

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Get Off My Lawn!

I admit it: I've been a 70-year-old man since I was ten. I happily read Texts From Last Night and chuckle at the tawdry-baudy 20-somethings discussing their STD's in 160 words or less. And I chuckle at myself especially when I come across one like this:
There is too much vodka and too much dick.
I chuckle because I've never been interested in a woman (girl?) who thinks that way...and also because it reminds me that I have always harbored a deep and abiding prejudice against guys who think that way. It always struck me as, fundamentally, a user mentality--flesh as commodity; thrill as a substitute for experience. And I've felt this way since I was first aware of sexuality (which was pretty early).

It's made for some occasionally rocky relationships with other guys....

This is not to say that I begrudge like-minded people choosing to look no deeper into one another than the bulge in someone's pants--or the two in someone's shirt. I guess I'm just surprised to be reminded of how, despite my socially liberal roots, I'm still entirely uninterested in the socks*.

*I think the meaning can be deduced. But still, my favorite reader should create a post or page elucidating this phrase. 'Cause it's awesome.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dating Rule #1

Nature demonstrates the importance of dinner and a drink....



I just realized this makes two insect related posts in one day. Am I just cimex/muscae-curious? Hungry maybe? I really couldn't say....

Bedbugging Out

I don't see movies very often. When I have, I've usually gone to the AMC in Times Sq. I thought it only played host to some annoyingly loud patrons but,'s a little worse than that.

When my brother and I lived in Harlem, we had to deal with our own bedbug infestation. (A tip: you can't kill them with a bug bomb, it only drives them into surrounding apartments. Thanks, friendly neighbors!) We couldn't sit on the couch; we had to wrap our mattresses in plastic to keep the wee beasts contained while we slept. And still the crafty little fuckers would find a way. (My brother finally took to sleeping in his chair, and even then he would wake up with bites that mirrored the chair's creases. Yeah, gross.)

Almost makes one long for the glory days of DDT. I mean, what's a little diabetes and breast cancer in the face of a good night's sleep?


P.S. I know it's because the city's citizenry lean heavily blue, but I think it's funny that Democrats are 10% more likely to suffer infestation than Republicans. What can I say, the awful little bloodsuckers can sense a handout...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Drive To Succeed Gone Wrong

Clearly, Ms. Montag's cosmetic surgeon's Jeep had a few rolls that could have been removed. Buh-dum!

What? Heartless, you say? Yes, well--that was part of the weight removed during my last procedure.

Okay, but yeah it's a pretty unfortunate accident...

My Very First Edition Of...

What Digby said.

And I dig the out-and-out snark. She's skirting TBogg territory...

Monday, August 16, 2010

I Will ImBieber Your Soul!

A band mate from Deep In Vein points out that the hardcore metal group Cannibal Corpse is pursuing a new and different artistic path.

Scary how accurately Corpse is now capturing the horrors of the modern world, isn't it? Hail our new Justin Bieber led overlords!

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Having just watched the episode of South Park in question, I'm a little confused as to the judgment call that it was a "hatchet job" on the Mormon religion. (You know, the one with the gold plates no one saw and the apparently Sicilian angel Moroni explaining how the Native Americans are actually ancient Jews...yeah, that one.)

Now, I'm not what most churchgoers would call "irrational, unquestioned belief" friendly, but I thought Matt and Trey handled the issue as gently as mass media entertainment requires. I mean hell, they even let the little Mormon kid Gary have the last words, which--if Mitt Romney has his way--prophetically were "suck my balls." What more could any believer in God As Really Wise Alien Man ask for?

By the way, Matt and Trey's best joke may just be the other religious people laughing at this send-up of those silly Mormons. How could they ever believe such weird stuff? Tsk....


Update: I mean, compare their treatment of Mormonism to the spiked gloves they use to handle Scientology. Brutal.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I Ain't No Lawyerin' Type...

...But I do live on the east coast in an elitist Blue enclave, so obviously--arugula and fine Bordeaux in hand; condescending smirk on face--I'm qualified to comment on the legal question that has arisen from Prop H8ers' failed dreams to never, ever again have to imagine two bearded men kissing.

(Why does that image keep popping up? By the power of Christ! Christ...who had a did St., I wonder what Jesus really meant when he was talking about putting his church on Peter's rock...agh! there's that image again!)

The question now is whether the H8ers have "standing" to bring an appeal. Among other judicial questions, the H8ers must demonstrate that they are directly injured by Judge Walker's repeal of the law, as only injured parties may sue. Someone has to demonstrate that a given law actively violates their rights.

For simplicity, think Rosa Parks. Rosa couldn't have just claimed a seat at the front of her sister's kitchen table and called it done when her brother-in-law told her to move. She had to go sit her butt where it was going to be actively disenfranchised.

With that in mind, I find all the handwringing about how the denial of standing is the equivalent of "winning on a technicality"--as opposed to on the merits--deeply wrongheaded. For me, the idea of standing goes directly to the heart of the thing: the bigots have long hung their case on the idea that gay marriage somehow threatens heterosexual unions. But if they can't even summon the evidence for standing, if they can't summon evidence that someone's--anyone's!--personal, straight marriage is demonstrably and directly harmed, then the very heart of their argument is voided.

That is the farthest thing from a technicality that I can imagine.

After all, if no one is injured by marriage equality, why outlaw it?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Holy Crap

Andrew Sullivan, he of the Atlantic magazine, had a post yesterday quoting Adam Serwer, entitled "Extra Punishment." Serwer's quote reads, in part:
Two states in the union, South Carolina and Alabama, segregate their HIV-positive inmates, a policy that is essentially a compound punishment on top of whatever sentence they've already received. They're forced to wear markers identifying their status, they're denied access to many of the same privileges and programs that inmates who aren't HIV positive have [...]. Being HIV positive means that they're forced to live under maximum-security conditions regardless of the severity of their crimes.
After reading it, I sent Mr. Sullivan an email with what I conceded was probably an off-base musing and then closed my computer for the night...only to find today that my email is itself quoted in a follow-up post on the matter (which was edited for clarity, thank you Daily Dish staff). Ahem:
I may be exposing my ignorance, but my first reaction to the separation of HIV+ inmates from the general population is that it's a misguided attempt to deal with a particular long-term effect of rape and infection. I'd be very interested in debating how to stop rape from being an ipso facto part of many people's sentences in this country.
The end of that sentence (and the email), was "which could potentially lead to HIV+ people not being singled out as part of their sentences...." (And yes, I did make use of my beloved, informalizing ellipses in front of a real writer. And yes yes, I know this means I just now quoted myself in my own forum, but that's why this is a blog--you're supposed to indulge your more uncouth, more egotistical impulses. At least, that's what I've gleaned from the Teabagger blogosphere...)

But for realz, how cool is this?

I found Sullivan initially because of his strong, clear stance on gays' civil rights, and ended up sticking around for the mostly right, sometimes wrong, but always thoughtful ideas of an avowed conservative (as separate from Republican or Libertarian). Now, to be quoted in one of Sullivan's posts after devouring his work these past many months--to think that some tiny thought I had in my little ol' head actually added something, however briefly, to the national debate, well...

Speaking as the guy with the ten site visits a week (hello newcomers from Korea, Dubai, and Italy, by the way!), this is like getting my two minutes on American Idol: I may not be able to sing, but at least everybody knows I was here!

Actually, I can quantify how cool this is: my wife even thinks it's cool...which mostly just confirms that we're both big dorks.


Having come to my political awareness during the early years of George W's first term, and watched the destruction he reaped thereafter, I have to say I kinda disagree with this idea that the president should always be "politicking."

I think Obama simply expressed his point a little more crudely than necessary. It's true that politics and government are inseparable. However, what the President seems to be saying to me is that he's now shifting his focus for the next three months to campaigning. "Campaigning" also seems to be how brooklynbadboy understands Obama's use of the word "politicking."

So, taking that common rhetorical ground, I just want to point out that all Bush did for his eight years was campaign and the results were disastrous. The neocon crew of ne'er-do-wells had no interest in the act or purpose of governing, they only cared about winning. It's all they understood. (It obviously doesn't help that their entire philosophy revolved around the uselessness of government. Kinda hard to run an organization effectively when you are fundamentally inimical to its purpose.)

Now, having seen what the alternative looked like during the Bush years, I, for one, am willing to give the President a little leeway on this point. Even though I disagree with some of the things he's done the last twenty months--well, mostly I'm disappointed by what he hasn't done (cough, Gitmo, DADT, Iraq, cough)--I happily concede that he has been spending his considerable energies actually governing.

That said, ya know, three months is a long time, Sir; please don't abandon the helm entirely. 'Cause, ahem, sometimes good government is the best kind of campaigning.

Jes' saying....

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hard Time Killing Floor Blues

I just spent the last day or two learning this song, originally by Skip James and given new, wonderful life by Chris Thomas King. I had to arrange it for myself using only the lower three strings--since the intended DADFAD tuning would play hell on a normal guitar set-up--but the final effect is undiminished.

I desperately want to perform this live, as a surprise mostly. I have no idea where it would fit in a proper set, but the simplicity of it reminds me of early Hebrew writing at its best, and I dare say Erich Auerbach would agree: it's elision at its most expressive, transmitting the profound despair of human existence more in its silence than in its sound.

One note at a time, simply played, just like life. Both disturbing and elating...

Gun Control

He'z no got it.

And all I can think about is this:

Gunning for love...oh, and cops too...

I enjoy firing guns, but c'mon y'all, everything in its right place. Doesn't bringing a tool designed solely to kill to a ceremony honoring the generation of new life and the continuation of society seem a little, I dunno, cognitively dissonant?

Then again, in the case of the Hutaree it may in fact be perfectly consistent if you're actively pursuing the dissolution of your country.

As for the incident in Akcagoze, I guess Turkey really is a Westernized nation....

From The Dept. Of Polishing My Fingernails On My Smoking Jacket


Mawage: Putting the "Itchin" In "Tradition"

Via Sullivan, we have an argument for more traditional marriages.

Ha! Okay, I guess that was a sorta kinda an in-joke for anyone who knows that Sully is a very outspoken proponent of what Republicans call "non-traditional" marriages. Like that? Eh? Anyone? Bueller?

Moving on....

I disagree entirely that marriages would benefit from being standardized and, frankly, I think the writer Sullivan quotes misses the point entirely. The trappings of a marriage ceremony don't much matter; the vows are what place the two individuals in the greater stream of human life on this Earth--the pledge to fidelity, to respect, to support.

In his own photo-negative, misanthropic way, David Mamet has a nice anecdote about this:
"I was once at a marriage ceremony where the parties swore to 'try to be faithful, to try to be considerate....' The marriage was, of course, doomed. Any worthwhile goal is difficult to accomplish. To say of it 'I'll try' is to excuse oneself in advance. Those who respond to our requests with 'I'll try' intend to deny us, and call on us to join in the hypocrisy--as if there were some merit in intending anything other than accomplishment."
This is the standard I held to when Erin and I wrote our vows: "I take you...," "I promise to...," etc. And I think as long as these fundamental words are spoken, as long as this contract between two people is simply and unequivocally stated, then it doesn't matter whether the surrounding shenanigans happen inside or outside, at an altar or on top of a Ferris wheel.

After all, each wedding is a celebration of a unique couple joining in a universal institution, a confluence of the singular and the eternal. It seems to me that a personalized ceremony (reflecting the uniqueness of the couple) using thorough, unambiguous vows (thereby acknowledging the eternal) is just the right way to recognize such monumental themes...

Wrong Angle

I'm always amused by the intellectual laziness of arguments like this:
A devout Southern Baptist, (Nevada Republican Senate nominee Sharron) Angle has said she felt a "calling from God" to run for the Senate, a comment opponents mocked. She also took heat for saying she doesn't believe in abortion in any case, including rape and incest, because "God has a plan and a purpose for each one of our lives."
I had a wonderful argument in college with a believer who espoused this same line, and my thought experiment in response came down to, "what if God's plan for this 'person' were for the proto-he or -she to be aborted?"

Did she have an answer? No. Was I being harsh? Yeah. But it's good practice to follow the snaking paths of one's beliefs to their possible implications. Not that believers are generally skilled at such an exercise--or else they wouldn't be believers.

I only ever occasionally find the energy to engage in the debate about God's plan, which is essentially the age-old attempt to reconcile free will with the concept of an all-knowing, all-powerful deity. Such a reconciliation is impossible since the latter half of the equation is false. You can spend a lifetime worrying the thing over--millions and millions of people, in fact, have--and it would be nothing more than a life spent swimming in circles in a very small mental fishbowl.

Anyway, you have fun with Ms. Angle, Nevada. Stay classy!

Monday, August 9, 2010


I would say that Andrew Sullivan again provides a rigorous and right defense of the continuing struggle for equality for gay Americans.


I would say that, but he's teh gay, and as we learned from the Teabaggers' reaction to Judge Walker (since it has become about the man, as they view him through the prism of his decision), being teh gay obviously makes Sully terribly biased, so it doesn't count.

I'll say this about the Teabaggers, they know how to maintain beautiful minds...

Thursday, August 5, 2010

History? What Story?

I find the figure 8 of stupid floating around the gay marriage ruling right now infinitely amusing. (C'mon, Prop 8--"figure 8 of stupid"--"infinitely" [the symbol 8, eh?], and I crammed all of that into a single sentence. I am so back in form.)

Okay, ready? Have your pain pills handy? Let's do it:

We have the 14th Amendment, one of the Republican Party's greatest achievements, passed to bring an end to the Dred Scott era and the idea that black people could never enjoy the rights of citizenship in this country. Fast forward--70% of black Californians who voted, voted "yes" on Prop 8, effectively relegating a minority of our population to second class citizenship. Yesterday, this ballot proposition was struck down on the grounds that it violated, you betcha!, the 14th Amendment, based on its Equal Protection Clause, the part of the amendment that enshrined citizenship for former slaves (ya know, black people) in the Constitution...which is (oh man, is this genius) the part of the amendment Republicans want to "revisit" as part of their Latino outreach progra...oh, sorry, as part of their election year war against illegal immigrants plopping brown fetuses on our soil and calling them Amurrcan.


But hey, none of this counts since Judge Walker is teh gay.


So the judge who ruled that Prop 8 is unconstitutional is, we're being told, teh gay. And because he is teh gay, we're being told he should have recused himself from a case covering the legality of gay marriage.

Which just makes me wonder, does he have a long term partner whom he is otherwise not allowed to marry? Cause that would be a conflict of interest that might require recusal. Or is this a case of a single, 66-year-old friend of Mary simply announcing his desire for marital bliss, like some lonely bridesmaid?

But more seriously, where does one draw the line? Should a black judge recuse himself from a discrimination case? Should a female judge be allowed to preside over anything involving the glass ceiling?

Or, if Judge Walker is in fact teh gay, is this a basic reminder that members of the oppressed classes, when given the authority (see: Marshall, Thurgood), will act on behalf of justice in a way that the complacent majority would never find the energy for?


Nah, I'm going with the "lonely bridesmaid"....


Postscript: And just imagine how supportive Prop H8ters would have been of Judge Walker's teh gayness if he'd upheld the initiative!

At least I was spared my side rolling out the Uncle Tom references. Small blessings....

On Target

Wal-Mart's ethical alter ego does the right thing:

We noted recently that Minnesota-based Target had availed itself of the new freedom created by the Citizen's United decision to give $150,000 to support far-right Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer. And in so doing they reaped a big backlash. Target's aim seems to have been to support Emmer's economic policies. But the backlash came over Emmer's extremely anti-gay policy stands. (He's also really against waiters.)

Target's CEO has now taken the pretty extraordinary step of issuing a public apology for the donation.

Let the shopping for tight fitting, soft cotton tank tops and gay wedding presents recommence!



Now that I'm back in the saddle, I feel honor-bound to point all ten of you towards this.

Shield your eyes at first; it's that kind of awesome.

Quote Of The Day: Hater Edition

A Facebook commenter watches a video of Stevie Ray Vaughn playing Texas Flood live and coughs:

"the guitar rules but the drum and bass will just put me to sleep. Still numb, player. I feel nothing! Way to masturbate all over the pentatonic scales while the rest of the band takes a nap, Stevie!"

To be fair, Stevie occasionally dribbles a few knuckle children on the Aeolian scale as well, but let's not quibble.

This is probably the most succinct summary of why I came (ahem) to SRV so late in the game, long after I fully appreciated Hendrix, Clapton, et. al. The man wields perfect technique in service of profoundly soulful riffs...and his rhythm section has all the feeling of a click track. I've told every drummer I've jammed with that I have no interest in their "playing dead" as a direct response to the (at first inscrutable) embarrassment I felt when I first heard Stevie's band. Play with me, not for me, I say.

I have less problem with the whole arrangement now, especially after he added in a keys player, but that's mostly because I've dismissed the issue as a flaw of the Texas Blues genre.

So, yeah.

P.S. The odd font size and formatting of this post completely elude me, try to fix it though I have....

He Got It Almost Right

According to entirely sane, totally not-gay religious person, John Hagee:

"The Rapture is the Great Escape! Escape from what? Escape from the Great Tribulation that will happen as soon as the church leaves the earth."

If by "Great Tribulation" when the church leaves the earth you mean a collective sigh of relief followed by an epic wine and cheese soiree because all the finger waggers have been sucked into the clouds, presumably to frown only at each other forever and ever amen....then yes, you're spot on.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Creaking Door Of A Closing Confessional

I have to admit something. This admission is not only eased by the fact that no one will read it, it's also spurred by that fact.

I used to think it something of a curse that I never built much of a readership for this blog. After taking an extended break it occurred to me that a possible reason for this is that I had let this blog resemble its title--always meant half-facetiously--much too much. I was saying nothing, and sometimes I wasn't even saying it well.

Self-censorship is not always a bad thing. I won't ever get into any negative aspects of my social and/or artistic life in this space--I will leave those classy souls airing their spats on Facebook to their rarefied perches. But, reviewing most of my more, ahem, recent posts (assuming they can still be called that), I see that I had begun to limit myself almost entirely to the safety of posts announcing upcoming events. Obviously an effective strategy considering my whopping ten page views per week.

What started as a forum established with the hope that I could practice my wordsmithing and share the random deep and (mostly) shallow thoughts of my day-to-day existence had quietly sunk into the sterile cowardice of words for words' sake. This blog had passed out of the realm of self-censorship into straight up P.R. Not quite my original intention...

I'm not really sure how to make my planned transition, but I very much aim to return to subjects about which I have an interest and an opinion--politics, art, religion, and other various bullshit (did I just repeat myself?), etc. Relaxing into this will be tricky; it's not easy to loosen a locked jaw. I learned that on 7th Ave. But I will do my best. I mean, hell, I live in New York City...who really would notice another poor schlub screaming random liberal, anti-religious, absurdist-leaning Jeremiads in this neck of the woods?

I mean, hopefully a few more than usual, if I let those screeds actually reflect real feelings....but, you know, other than that....