Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Amour est bleu ... berry

Blueberries
Picked a peck of blueberries with Stephen & my sister Becky this past Sunday. We drove out past Mineola to Blueberry Ridge Farm. More than 25 cups of organic blueberries for $13 and an hour of mild labor.


Banana Peppers & Tomatoes
Went back to Canton and shopped for other fruits and veggies at the farmers' market afterwards. It's nice to cut out the middle men (i.e., huge multinational corporations) sometimes. Peace through food.

A Little Lesson on Dignity & Fear

What better time to discuss the relevancy of human dignity and fear of divine retribution than the final week of June?

Cognitive scientist Steven Pinker makes a fine point about the first topic in his op-ed "Sniffing out the gay gene." Here are excerpts:

Homosexuality is a puzzle for biology, not because homosexuality itself is volutionarily maladaptive (though no more so than any other sexual act that does not result in conception), but because any genetic tendency to avoid heterosexual opportunities should have been selected out long ago....

Just as puzzling is the existence of homophobia. Why didn't evolution shape straight men to react to their gay fellows by thinking: "Great! More women for me!" Probably the answer lies in a cross-wiring between our senses of morality and disgust.

People often confuse their own revulsion with objective sinfulness, as when they dehumanize people living in squalor or, in the other direction, engage in religious rituals of cleanliness and purification. An impulse to avoid homosexual contact may blur into an impulse to condemn homosexuality.

Cultural conservatives like the talk-show host Dr. Laura Schlesinger ostensibly condemn homosexuality for another reason - that it is a "biological error." Actually, it is she who has made the biological error. What is evolutionarily adaptive and what is morally justifiable have little to do with each other. Many laudable activities - being faithful to one's spouse, turning the other cheek, treating every child as precious, loving thy neighbor as thyself - are "biological errors" and are rare or unknown in the natural world.

Regardless of where homosexuality resides in the brain, the ethics of homosexuality is a no-brainer: What consenting adults do in private is nobody's business but their own.....

Philosopher John Corvino discusses in his lecture "What's Morally Wrong with Homosexuality" that homosexuality is indeed a moral issue, insofar as morals and ethics are what determine how we treat one another. He then proceeds to show the idiocy of arguments against homosexuals: from having his student organization banned from Notre Dame because it was antithetical to Biblical standards (unlike the approved Jewish and Muslim student organizations) to being told by a Catholic priest that if everyone was gay, there wouldn't be any people. His response: if everyone were Catholic priests.... You see where that "logic" leads.

Thankfully, not all of us have to be queer, or Catholic, or even intelligent to have worth and dignity as humans and individuals.

Dignity is a good counter to fear. You'll recognize fear in these articles:

If only these "religious" radicals would spend a few minutes each day reading their Bibles or Korans, they'd see that what they are attempting to do is an abomination in the eyes of God/Yahweh/Jehovah/Allah/Ooga-Booga/Super Man: how hubristic is it for mere mortals to try to take away free will? And tsunamis, hurricanes, and even terrorist attacks are not punishment from the Big Ooga-Booga in the sky: the first two are caused by naturally occuring phenomena, and the last by social & political conditions. There is no fear in knowledge. Nor is there any fear in a true relationship with the divine. Oops, my own ooga-booga is starting to show! And so concludes another rant that started out with good intentions....

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Just Once

Just once I'd like to be wrong about people, especially politicians. Especially Texas politicians.
  • Gov. Perry: "Adios, mofo." He doesn't even have the balls to not sound like a cartoon character portraying a Texas politician!
  • Rep. Pete Sessions preserves innovation in telecommunications by stifling the free market economy. You try to figure it out; I'm on break.
So far, I have no indication that I'll ever be wrong.

In honor of the solstice, watched La petite Lili last night. I thought it was a nice, postmodern poem about film and reality. It was certainly a good way to celebrate the longest day of the year before Kris showed up and shared our wine with us.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Let there be light

Not only is today the longest day of the year, but we also have a full moon tonight.

Last year Stephen, Kris, Theo & I had a picnic at White Rock Lake. That seems like years ago, especially since Theo died.

Yesterday I kept the air conditioner off until 8:00 pm just to see if I could. The morning air was fairly cool and sweet, and I didn’t even have much problem running errands in the afternoon. Today will be another red ozone-alert day.

More things you should know about me:

  • I have an intense dislike of helicopters. Seeing & hearing them, especially in the morning, makes me real mad.
  • Now that I sleep with an apparatus that helps me breathe, I’ve started having the same kind of bizarre, vivid dreams I had as a kid. Someday I may share them with you. (You’re getting it, Paris Hilton! You and your little dog too!)
  • My teeth are unusually straight for never having had braces.
  • I suffer from a rare affliction known as “hot-dog fingers.” And when Sonia squeals, “I love your little hands!” I feel shame.
  • The only life-after-death experience I had was boring: people in black robes were asking me questions. (Bureaucracy is hell, no?)
  • The smell of dill makes me dizzy—which explains my behavior in Poland....
  • Drew Barrymore makes me feel warm inside.
  • I consider a good pun better than sex. And I’ve had great sex.... ;)
  • When I’m not working hard, I’m fairly lazy.
  • Despite all my attempts to make & keep friends, I remain fairly antisocial. Despite all my antisocial tendencies, I’ve made some great friends.
  • People I’d invite to my fantasy dinner party include Hal Foster, Bill Moyers, Sadako Ogata, Arvo Pärt, Gus Van Sant, Ani DiFranco, Sylvia Poggioli & Wim Wenders. (Sorry, but Jesus and Oprah were further down the list.)

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

Epistemology

Typically we say there are three ways of knowing: rationality (e.g., if we go to San Francisco, and San Francisco is in California, then we (also) go to California when we go to San Francisco); empiricism (e.g., the shape of the city beneath the airplane matches the shape of San Francisco on a map); and faith (e.g., I had a ticket to San Francisco, and I boarded an airplane...).

I propose yet another way of knowing: sociologically. That is, only in San Francisco can two straight men shout on a crowded street to two homosexual men, “Would you like to try our nuts?” and do so without a hint of homophobia or insult. But then again, they were just selling roasted almonds. Nevertheless, I’m not sure two straight nut vendors could bring themselves to use such suggestive selling techniques in ambiguous contexts in Texas.

Which reminds me of a joke: How do you get a Republican onboard the stem-cell/cloning bandwagon? Tell him he’ll be able to genetically alter the sexuality of his subjects before they’re born! I know, I know—not that funny. The truth never is. [Whispered: And yet it remains a joke....]

But fuck the woefully wrong right for just a minute (no pun intended) while I revel in the glory of my post-San Franciscan vacation. It was pure bliss just to be in San Francisco—not merely running around the city taking in the sights (although I’m never sure if that should be sights (things to see) or sites (places))—I've done both on previous trips—which brings us to ontology, or modes of being.

To be (but not or not to be) in San Francisco means that I am spending time with one of my favorite people on this planet: Lady Chrzanka—(former) neighbor, colleague, travel companion, confidant, and inspiration. Always up for a conversation until 1:00 in the morning, whether it’s over a bottle of Belvedere (the Belweder—or at least the snow weasels frolicking atop the Belweder—once saved our lives, but that’s a story for another post) or good chamomile tea with lemon. Thanks to her and her fortuitous (yet propitious) location, a place that we spent a lot of time just being was the Red Door Café: good coffee, good French toast (or perhaps it’s called “liberty toast” here in Texas), good music, good art, good goodness. She also shared the mysteries of Green Apple Books as well as Baker Beach. New favorite places with old favorite friends.

Now the clock begins again but with a little less lurching and a lot less madness thanks to the sigh, the respite, the reprieve of being in and knowing of San Francisco. That, my friend, is philosophy.

Friday, June 3, 2005

The End of an Error

In so many ways, the 80s ended last night, June 2nd, around 8:15pm, after tuning in to NBC’s Hit Me Baby One More Time to see what A Flock of Seagulls was up to these days. I immediately got up from the couch and washed the gel out of my hair for the last time. And I ran. I ran so far away.

Answer me this: why did the only new wave band have to be the worst act?

[Meta-blogging ahead]: This site has taken a turn for the worse: it’s more about shitty politicians than me. To remedy this _____ [problem/waste of time/insanity], I’ve decided to spend the next few lines writing solely about me and the things that make me happy.

My favorite I Love Lucy episode is #149. You know the one, when they’re in Italy and Lucy keeps trying to call Little Ricky because it’s his birthday, but because of the time difference and the broken elevator and the rude woman on the phone, she keeps missing her chance. Instead, she plans a birthday party for all the little Italian urchins who claim that “she’s a-my birthday too, Signora!”

My favorite Simpsons episode is “The Crepes of Wrath” from the first season. Bart is “deported” to France and loses his red cap to the mule Maurice: “Un chapeau rouge pour toi, Maurice!” His host family treats him vilely, making him sleep on the bare floor and using him to see if their mixture of wine and antifreeze is too strong. In the end, Bart is fluent in French and is able to alert the authorities.

My favorite painter is Egon Schiele. I especially like his self-portraits.

My dream job is to be a professor in Berlin or achieve at least cult status as a writer.

I have studied eight languages: English, Spanish, Russian, Polish, Czech, Japanese, Ukrainian, and now Latin. I am/was fluent in English, Polish, Japanese, and Ukrainian, and I can read Spanish fairly well. Now I rarely speak English and much less the others.

Now that I’m stumped as to what to write about myself and even more bored, maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all!