Friday, September 30, 2005

The Rise of the Amazons

Who knew you could buy this kind of stuff at Amazon.com?!?!

And in case you can't think of a reason to use these items, here's a list by Annie Sprinkle entitled "101 Uses for Sex."

Explore. And enjoy!

And another thing: aid me on my quest to find the artist and title of the song that was in moderate rotation on MTV2 in the summer of 2001. The song was a fairly typical post-punk tune with some angry, skinny white guy with black hair and wearing black clothes screaming into a microphone, but on stage next to him was a black guy (forgive me, but I don't know his nationality, so it seems a bit silly to say he was African American) wearing a blonde wig a la Marilyn Monroe. That's about all I remember. Thanks for your help in advance.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Farfalen - oy vey

Yiddish hopeless, doomed

Let this be the first attempt to make Yiddish the official language of the Internet. I mean why should everyone have to 1/2 learn broken English when Yiddish lends itself much more nicely to global communication? It's all about bitching and complaining and putting curses on friends and family members as well as enemies.

Here are some links to help you along:Even though Stephen & I came up with this idea a few weeks ago [perhaps we do have too much free time], this article in The New York Times reminded me what a great idea it was. I espeically like this passage:
Yiddish is the language par excellence of complaint. How could it be otherwise? It took root among Jews scattered across Western Europe during the Middle Ages and evolved over centuries of persecution and transience. It is, Mr. Wex writes, "the national language of nowhere," the medium of expression for a people without a home. "Judaism is defined by exile, and exile without complaint is tourism," as Mr. Wex neatly puts it.
Now you have no reason to be meshuganah!

Meanwhile, leave it to the US military to not only get free access to Internet pornography (our tax money hard at work) but to also upload [illegal] photos of murdered and desecrated Iraqis. Don't bring these fuckers home; leave their sorry asses in Baghdad!

Goot gezugt!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Six of One + Dissemination

The Catholic Church’s latest witch hunt (or if you prefer, inquisition (or perhaps crusade)) against homosexuals in the seminaries has got me thinking about when I lived in Poland and Ukraine all those years ago.

I remember how strange I thought it was when Morgan told me about a fling he had with a seminarian: he met some guy out at a bar in Krakow and went home with him only to wake up the next day in a seminary where all the fellow priests-in-training where fully aware of what was going on. Morgan, an atheistic Swede who never shied away from sex, finally called off the affair after only a couple of days because he felt so dirty among these “men of God” who apparently had no problem with one of their own picking up + shacking up with other men under their noses.

Here is but one sad excerpt from my journal regarding similar things:

June 10, 2000

We arrived in L. late in the evening a few days ago and proceeded to walk in pitch-blackness to the cathedral, where we would be staying for the next few nights. The bishop offered his clammy, swollen hand to me when introduced. Fat from the table of God, this man lived (and behaved) like a god among his people. Nuns--celibate and scrawny women who devoted themselves not only to serving God but also to serving the bishop--were preparing for tomorrow’s meal: tables and tables of sandwiches and salads filled the huge dining hall. A place was made for my companions and me to eat some supper. Of course, being a vegetarian was a complication, as I did not want to only eat eggs and I do not eat fish.... It was good to see exactly how the bishop could maintain his figure even while observing official Catholic fasts. Some joke was made about me being so fat for a vegetarian.

...

We have been staying at the ‘parsonage’ in L. with the bishop. When W. first invited me, I ... was willing to indulge the fact that we would be attending the ceremony at which his friends would be ordained as priests. Even after the close to seven-hour bus ride from Lublin on a bus that had seen its heyday no later than 1953, I was able to discern more to the story upon our arrival. The bishop was sending out very clear signals that he felt somehow threatened by me. It was not until after several minutes of behind-the-door negotiations that W. was even allowed to share ... a room not under the bishop’s direct supervision with “that American man.” I did not even try to understand this intrigue at the time, but the next day W. gave me some background: Several years ago this bishop drunkenly attempted to have carnal knowledge of the young and beautiful W. After fifteen minutes of battling for his honor--for why indeed would sexy and young W. have sex with a 90-kilogram bishop?--W. won out and for all practical purposes has been on the bishop’s special payroll since.

“And that man there has a wife and two kids, and he still likes young boys. And that priest there tried to pick me up on Plac Litewski in Lublin a year ago but since has conveniently forgotten.” My head is reeling from these scandals.

By his own admission, W. is a cynic when it comes to religion. How could one not be a cynic when it comes down to these truths? When there is no one questioning the systems of power? In a country of such hardship, why is the bishop the fattest man at the table and the one who has the relatively new and expensive exercise bike collecting dust in his solarium? And with these celibate women running around serving these fat old queer priests, I am able to feel a little bit closer to normal and less tainted.

We caught a ride from L. to about halfway to L’viv with someone who owed a favor to the bishop. W., with a fistful of Deutsche marks—his “pay” from the Catholic Church for not confessing the sins of these queer, old priests, takes care of all the arrangements, even paying the bus fare the remainder of the trip to the city.
In conclusion, a Catholic Church without homosexuals would be like a Catholic Church without Catholics. Why don’t they stop trying to tear themselves apart--even Jesus warned against a house divided against itself!--and instead focus on a real problem: pedophiles.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Mother of All

Clover at 14


Today is the 14th birthday of the most important female in my life: Clover Leaf. Happy birthday, Mama Cat!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

The World in My Eye

Here are some "blind" online images that I wanted to share. I hope you enjoy. If you want more information about any of them or why I put them here, just ask.

Image #1
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Image #3
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Image #5

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Mea culpa my ass

Our president is scheduled to address the nation tonight from the former city of New Orleans. Surely somewhere in his address he will repeat his the-buck-stops-here sentiment. But the more I think about his apology, the more worthless & futile it seems.

I certainly agree that someone somewhere has to claim responsibility for the inefficiencies and downright idiocies of this administration, but why let Bush off so easily with just a simple “I’m responsible”? Why not force an apology from ex-FEMA Director Brown? [Perhaps Attorney General Gonzalez could make some “quaint” torture suggestions.]

I’ve been reading a lot of political philosophy lately, and if there’s one theme that the classical thinkers have in common with the Enlightenment thinkers, it is questioning the origin of justice. Does justice come from the gods, or is it something merely legislated by a society? One thing is for sure: if there were any justice, Brown would be bailing water out of New Orleans bucket by bucket until he died. [Or was gang-raped by a band of criminals & petty thugs scavenging their way across the drowned Gulf Coast; afterwards, I’d even consent to a full pardon for him.] Instead he gets to “save face” by simply resigning and moving on to his next sinecure.

But now that Bush has “taken responsibility” for the lack of any real federal response to Hurricane Katrina, why should he stop there? Shouldn’t he also take responsibility for the daily suicide bombs in Iraq? [Before the US invasion & occupation, there was not 1 single suicide bomb in the entire country. Ever.] The tens of thousands of civilians killed in Afghanistan & Iraq by the US military? The thousands of US soldiers killed in 2 wars built entirely on lies? The lies & baked intelligence fed to the public regarding WMDs? The terrorist attacks of September 11th? All his fault—much more so than a hurricane!—and yet not a peep.

At the very least, shouldn’t his underlings & appointees take some of the fall? But even the sneaky and very snakey Dr. Anaconda Lies got to completely ignore warnings that bin Ladin was determined to attack within the US while she served as the National inSecurity Advisor, to go on national television & defend her incompetence & stupidity, and then to be promoted to chief diplomat of our country.

At this rate, I’d be all for bringing back the guillotine for politicians guilty of gross negligence & what any real leader would see as treason. Some heads would roll, but eventually we’d get some decent people in charge.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Tom Petty Is Right

That's right, baby: You don't have to live like a refugee! Particularly if living like a refugee means you and your extended family are holed up in a one-bedroom apartment across the hallway with 2 huge dogs. It's not that you smoke on my front porch and I get to smell smoke when I open my door. It's not that you leave your cigarette butts in the planter. (Because I'm always willing to "remind" you that people do not behave that way when they share public spaces with strangers, and by "remind" I mean sprinkle all your cigarette butts in front of your door to insure that you will pick up your trash.) [Oh, did I mention that I'm antisocial?] It's not that when everyone knocks on your door, the barking of your 2 huge dogs vibrates my walls. Or that you have a fairly steady line of visitors throughout the day bringing covered casseroles and other goodies like used television sets. (And that the dogs have several opportunities while I'm studying & reading & minding my own business to bark.) It's not that I've heard your sad & pathetic story about losing everything in New Orleans repeatedly since before you moved in next door to me, especially when the various do-gooders come over bearing casseroles or used television sets and you repeat your own sad & pathetic story to these do-gooders outside my front door. It's not that you "escaped" the hurricane in your Mercedes or your Lexus. It's not the fact that your 3½-year-old daughter likes to play outside my window in the sprinkler. It's not your pregnant wife who's about to split open and deliver another child any day now, adding one more to the already 6 people sharing one roof across the hallway. Or that I have to hear all those people come & go, or watch them parade in front of my window while I'm studying or reading or otherwise minding my own business, or walk through your throngs when I need to leave or come home. It's not that I don't have sympathy for your mother-in-law who is about to die of cancer any day now. It's not that I'm worried about her dying in the apartment next to mine; although if she expires before the baby is due, then there will be zero population growth (only 6 people still in a 1-bedroom apartment!)--which isn't really a bad thing. It's not that I'm bothered by having to speak clearly & loudly when I speak to your father-in-law with the hearing aids. It's not that the apartment manager was stupid enough to rent you an apartment in your time of need (although he conducted a credit check and background check on me when I moved in; but, of course, you'd certainly pass the credit check if you drive a Mercedes. And Lexus.) It's not that you're white and have a job and therefore are several rungs above the truly needy who barely survived Hurricane Katrina & her devastation. It's not any one of these things...

...it's all of them together that makes me hate your fucking guts.

But it don't make no difference to me; everybody's had to fight to be free....

Monday, September 12, 2005

Stare Decisis

Latin for "let it stand." The legal principle of deferring to previous judicial precedents. The confirmation of Judge John Roberts seems so far to be primarily a debate between keeping the law as it is and overturning legal decisions (as has happened 174 times already by the Supreme Court alone), especially regarding the right to privacy, the right to abortion, and the right to non-heterosexual marriage. [Oh yeah, it's coming.]

I'm impressed by Roberts' articulate & concise opening statement before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Although I'm never really comfortable with sports metaphors, his analogy seemed fitting: even though the umpire determines who wins & who loses, nobody goes to a baseball game to watch him do his job. After hearing so many other politicians and ideologues recently spew idiocy from their evil heads--particularly Pres. Bush, and now ex-FEMA Director Brown--I could listen to Roberts talk all night long!

On a more personal note, am I reasonably justified in my anger at Sigur Ros for not playing any venue even near Texas on their current tour? For fuck's sake, I live in an international major metroplex!

Being a part--although, granted, only tangentially--of a rather conservative Catholic (is that redundant?) university is surreal: hearing the classmate that dresses & acts the most liberal in my afternoon class say things like, "Seattle is so liberal that you just can't talk politics with those hippies" made my head want to explode. That was after walking past a closed office door & reading "Cogito ergo sum pro-vita." [I think; therefore, I am pro-life.] on a sticker. As a thinking human being who does quite a lot of his own cogitare, my gut reaction was to shout, "Without choice, there is no life!" Instead I kept silent [fully aware that silence=death] and left campus as soon as I could. My "Our Father" goes something like this: Oh god! don't let these fucking papists deny me my degree for not swallowing all that shitty dogma! Amen.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Eulogy

New Orleans is one of my all-time favorite American cities. I’ve been fortunate enough to have visited it 3 times in my life: February 1987 to march in a Mardi gras parade; August 1992 on a roadtrip with Stephen, Kris & Tony; and August 2001 with Stephen & Kennan.

My first trip to New Orleans was life-changing in that I saw all extremes walking down Bourbon Street on the last weekend of Mardi gras: holy rollers speaking in tongues, big-tittied women flashing their ta-tas, seemingly mild-mannered guys dropping trou for a few colored beads, Hare Krishnas dancing in circles (and then vomiting). It only made me want to return....

New Orleans




Top 10 Memories of New Orleans (in no particular order)
  • Café au lait with chicory + beignets at Café du Monde

  • Pralines

  • Scratching an X on Marie Laveau’s grave at the St. Louis Cemetery

  • Drinking at Pat O’Brien’s courtyard and being mesmerized by the fountain with flames

  • Pirate’s Alley

  • French Quarter

  • Mardi gras

  • Mississippi River

  • Fortuna’s baklava at Casa Blanca (sans the belly dancer! -ching-cha-ching-ching) – even though that was miles outside the city limits

  • Cypress
And I will return again.

Friday, September 9, 2005

Bad Haiku (Warui no haiku)

The landscape of night
Is mapped on your face; your frown--
The street where I live.

The sound of your voice
Grates on my callous heart like
Skinned knees on gravel.

Half-drowned, on the beach--
You swam for miles to rest here;
I sank like a stone.

-----

Just a small sampling of some rather bad haiku I wrote more than 10 years ago--April 16, 1995, to be exact. Despite the obvious as well as the not-so-obvious flaws in what I wrote, my haiku are considerably better than those from a poorly programmed online haiku generator. Computer scientists have been trying for years, but you just can't program good angst!

Finally, a found haiku--if you will--from my days as a "little ambassador" to Warsaw; my colleagues & I "discovered" this brilliant piece sitting on the table of one of our several haunts, Cafe Brama:

Note from Cafe Brama

My translation follows:

It is with deep regret that we must inform
You that for reasons
beyond our control
we are removing
from our menu
sun-dried tomatoes.
The Avocado Salad,
Mozzarella Toast as well as
the Mozzarella Sandwich
are going to be served now
with fresh tomatoes.

After listening to Pres. Bush's recent speeches regarding Hurricane Katrina and his inability to lead the country--or at least the poor part of the country--through this disaster, I was thinking that perhaps the White House could hire the poor counter staff from Poland who penned this beautiful prose: it's much nicer and more eloquent than a grocery list of equipment.

Thursday, September 1, 2005

Just Do It



Despite the fact that today marks the 66th anniversary of what is typically seen as the start of World War II when Nazi Germany invaded Poland, I'd like instead to focus on another anniversary--this one, too, involving Poland and the start of something bigger.

Twenty-five years ago the Soviet-backed Polish government recognized the independent trade union Solidarność. Just a month before, unionists successfully striked across southeast Poland, but August 31, 1980, is now seen as the date when the Iron Curtain began to fall. Of course, it was a long and difficult slog afterwards, especially when martial law was declared a year later.

But the Poles persisted and persevered (see, I can say something nice about those people!), and they now enjoy a communist government that was democratically elected by the people. I’m sure Pope John Paul II is rolling over in his grave.

So, Happy Anniversary to Solidarity. They did it without (western) Europe’s support, without Amerika’s cash & bombs, and even without the initial support of the Catholic Church. [Too bad the lazy Iraqis couldn’t follow Poland’s lead….]