Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I Spy a Family

I've been forgetting! Work has been sucking up so much time that I've hardly been posting anything anymore (yes, YES, Huntington, those Sonoma photos are coming!).

Anyway, I (like certain others) have a new nephew — Drew — in Ohio... as of May 29. First time for me being an uncle. And here is where I wax unoriginal about how I remember changing my baby brother's diapers, and now he's a father, blah blah blah. It is all a little unbelievable though.
And I'm feeling my biological clock ticking again. Maybe I should just spend some time with the child, and I'd reconsider my urge to procreate.
What I'm really sad about is having missed the family's week at the "shore" house on Long Beach Island earlier this month. My luck to have had two different jobs during the past 12 years at which summer is the busy season, with no hope of a July vacation.

Do the "Ubangi Stomp"

I am not necessarily wetting my pants in anticipation of seeing Hairspray (2007). I've seen the original version maybe two or three times and like it a lot — John Waters is a demigod — but the idea of a musical? Others The always thought-provoking Angry Young Man summed it up better with this reaction: Meh.

In any case, though, I found the following quote from a recent interview in the Santa Barbara Independent with the film's co-star, Nikki Blonsky, to be both memorable and endearing:
There were a lot of mean girls in my life, but my grandmother taught me at a very young age that when people make fun of you, it’s because they are really insecure with themselves. So, when at school, other girls made fun of me [and] I was fine with it. I was happy with who I was. But if it makes them feel better to make fun of me, then that is my gift to them. That was my motto.

So, folks, when you are laughed at and made fun of, consider that YOUR GIFT to those who would put their boot on your neck, and, in the pithy words of Motormouth Maybelle, “brace yourself for a whole lotta ugly comin' from a neverending parade of stupid.”

Perhaps not bad advice, both those sentiments.

Monday, July 30, 2007


Just what I needed on a Monday afternoon: the razor-sharp wit and lilting, upbeat melody of a classic paulista samba, Tiro ao Álvaro. Thank goodness for the variety of internet radio, which you really should be doing your part to save from excessive royalty burdens.

Anyway, you can sign in for free here on Rhapsody if you're curious to listen to the version by diva Elis Regina. Such sarcastic lyrics from such a smile-inducing song:

De tanto levar frechada do teu olhar
Meu peito até parece sabe o quê?
Táuba de tiro ao álvaro
Não tem mais onde furar
Táuba de tiro ao álvaro
Não tem mais onde furar

Teu olhar mata mais
Do que bala de carabina
Que veneno estriquinina
que peixeira de baiano
Teu olhar mata mais
Do que atropelamento de automóvel
Mata mais que bala de revólver
After so many arrow shots from your eyes
My breast looks like you know what?
A target practice board
Which can take no more holes
A target practice board
Which can take no more holes

Your looks kill more
Than a carbine's bullet
More than strychnine poison
More than a Baiano's knife
Your looks kill more
Than an automobile running over me
Kills more than the bullet of a gun

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A Big Round of Lemons for Everyone

A post on Joe.My.God this morning made me remember that I found a recent piece by Peter McQuaid in POZ magazine particularly witty:

I was at a party recently, talking with a new acquaintance whom I really rather like because she’s funny and weird and smart and has a really hot husband too, who’s nice. I don’t even recall how we got on the subject, but she said “I have a friend who says, ‘When life gives you AIDS, make lemonAIDS.’” And then she paused for a minute and said, thoughtfully, “I guess you wouldn’t think that was so funny if you had AIDS, huh?” She looked a little concerned. She knows I’m one of The Gays. (I’m not gay, I’m a Gay, or one of The Gays, and I am proud to be one of them.)

What she didn’t know at the time was I’m one of The Gays with The AIDS. Well, actually I’m only poz.

So I told her. “You know, I have The AIDS and I thought it was pretty hilarious.” And I was hoping my date would play along with me and say “What!!! You have The AIDS! You didn’t tell me! I could be infected!” And then throw a really big fit in the middle of this really classy catered party. Fun times, right?

I’m poz going on seven years, and I say, “Why not have some fun?” I mean, hell, I’ve spent enough on health insurance and copays to buy a house by now, which makes me one of The Lucky Ones. I’ve been blamed for everything from the rising rate of HIV infections in young men (because 19-year-olds are all desperately looking to have unsafe sex with bald guys pushing 50) to 9/11.
You gotta have a Sense of Humor, right? And although I think my days of pushing the “live-on-the-edge” envelope are [mostly] over, at some point, you do realize that we all basically end up in the same boat, so why the hell worry? There's still a lot of scary stuff lurking out there — pretty much all of it totally unknown — but I've found that often, what we might envision as "the worst thing that could ever happen" to us... really isn't.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I Love Joel Stein

I think he's one of the funniest newspaper columnists out there, and in last Friday's column for the Los Angeles Times, he combined humor with a healthy dose of scathing political reality. Here's just a sample:

STOP BLAMING George Bush. "He lied to us." "He tricked us." Suddenly everyone — Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, all of my friends — is claiming to have been a dove who was bamboozled by the cleverness of our president. When "American Idol" drops to a 30% approval rating, I predict you all also will claim that Paula Abdul outsmarted you into watching two hours of karaoke each week.

Most Americans can't locate Britain on a map, but I'm supposed to believe that back in January of 2003, everyone became an honorary member of the Council on Foreign Relations and followed the details of reports of yellowcake from Niger? I don't think so. Even now, I'm pretty sure that if the Cheesecake Factory put "Yellowcake from Niger" on the menu, people would order it.

If Joel weren't already married, I might want to have 10,000 of his babies. I even got excited at the news that he was supposed to be co-teaching a workshop called "How to Give a Blowjob." But sadly, the stuffed shirts at the Times decreed that was not to be.

In all seriousness, this column got me thinking about whether I really ever want to support any presidential candidate — even someone who "apologized" — who voted to authorize the Iraq invasion. Any excusemaking in that regard is a big, steaming pile of bullshit — but an especially deadly, immoral, and repugnant pile.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Such a Relief (I Think...)

I believe the "process" referred to in the following is most likely meditation practice, or "mindfulness" in general. In any case, I like the sentiment.

Somewhere in this process, you will come face to face with the sudden and shocking realization that you are completely crazy. Your mind is a shrieking, gibbering madhouse on wheels barreling pell-mell down the hill, utterly out of control and hopeless. No problem. You are not crazier than you were yesterday. You also are no crazier than anybody else around you. The real difference is that you have confronted the situation; they have not. So they still feel relatively comfortable. This does not mean that they are better off. Ignorance may be bliss, but it does not lead to Liberation. So don't let this realization unsettle you. It is a milestone actually, a sign of real progress. The very fact that you have looked at the problem straight in the eye means that you are on your way up and out of it.
--Henepola Guanaratana