Friday, March 30, 2007

2 Otters Holding Hands, er, Paws

From Boing Boing, a video that will "make your teeth hurt."

Be sure to watch the whole thing; the best part comes about a minute, 20 seconds in.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

I love you so much, it makes me sick.

Well, I have to say I'm a little disappointed that it wasn't actually directed by Alexander Payne, but the trailer for I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry is out. I'll withold judgement until further notice, but the trailer mostly looks like the same old tired gay jokes, stereotypes, and satiric send-up of homophobic violence that everyone thinks is so funny these days. I don't doubt the integrity of its ultimate message (that everyone is equal, I'm assuming), but the packaging looks fairly unbearable.

In other news, good ole Barack has made the closest endorsement a mainstream politician running for president is ever likely to make in favor of gay marriage. It was yesterday on The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, and though his response was fairly dodgy, all you have to do is read between the lines (and not even very carefully) that he's clearly in favor of gay marriage.

"Well, I think that 'marriage' has a religious connotation in this society, in our culture, that makes it very difficult to disentangle from the civil aspects of marriage. And as a consequence it's almost -- it would be extraordinarily difficult and distracting to try to build a consensus around marriage for gays and lesbians. What we can do is form civil unions that provide all the civil rights that marriage entails to same sex couples. And that is something that I have consistently been in favor of. And I think that the vast majority of Americans don't want to see gay and lesbian couples discriminated against, when it comes to hospital visitations and so on."

Civil unions are almost always used for a cop-out to say that you support gay relationships when you really don't, but in this case (and maybe it's just wishful thinking) I want to believe that that's not what Barack is talking about.

We were actually talking about gay marriage in my American Dilemmas class this morning, and people can parade around "civil unions" all they want to, but under federal guidelines set up by the hideously hateful Defense of Marriage Act signed by one Bill Clinton in 1996, even civil unions lack most of the legal benefits of marriage. All civil unions can really do is make a relationship legally recognized in whatever state they occur in, and offer some extra rights afforded to gay couples, but since DOMA is a federal law, most of the rights granted to married couples (like joint income tax filing, and automatic inheritance, just to name 2 big ones) can't be given by any state. Furthermore, it's because of DOMA that states can hold elections to make gay marriage unconstitutional in any particular state. Before that, according to federal law, a marriage in one state was a marriage in every state. So, Massachusetts granting gay marriage to its citizens (which is looking less and less likely to be the case in the near future), would have translated to every state. Not so anymore, thanks to Bill Clinton. Of course, if that was still the case, I'm sure there would have been all kinds of states that would have refused to acknowledge marriages performed in Massachusetts and there would still be legal problems, but were that the case, and the Defense of Marriage Act didn't exist, then legally, those states would probably have had to recognize the marriages.

Which is sort of crazy to think about.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Did anyone else see the dancing horse on Sullivan?

It's so cute it made me squeal.

Arkansas bill banning gay foster parents dies in committee.

Thank God. Gov. Mike Beebe thinks it's bad for foster kids to be adopted by gay parents because it could "stigmatize" them.

That statement is so stupid that I can't even begin to refute it. So I won't. And I bet if challenged, Mr. Beebe probably wouldn't be able to make a very good case for backing it up, either.

This, however, is probably my favorite exchange:
Walt McKay of Mountain Home, a licensed counselor, testified children, especially those who have been put up for adoption or removed from their home, need a stable environment.

"Statistically, homosexuals and heterosexuals who aren't married are not able to provide it," he said.

Rep. Kathy Webb, D-Little Rock, asked McKay if he was aware of research by organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychiatric Association which suggests the development, adjustment and well-being of children with homosexual parents does not differ greatly from that of children with heterosexual parents.

"It's really difficult to find an unbiased opinion on either side," McKay said.

Yeah, good response.

Dan Savage explains that banning gay and lesbian foster parents would cost the U.S foster care system $130 million a year!

America is far too capitalistic for my taste, but I will say, it's interesting how the struggle for gay equality in this country often comes down to economics. The gays have become such a powerful force in the economy that we can no longer be ignored.

Like, for instance, the Iowa Senate adding same-sex orientation to its list of illegal discriminations. It was largely a matter of economics.

Backers of the bill, mostly Democrats, pushed it to passage on a 32-17 vote. They portrayed the legislation as a needed strike against discrimination that would also make the state more economically attractive.

"It is difficult to convince a talented young person to come to Iowa or stay in Iowa when they can be discriminated against simply because of who they are," Gronstal said. He said several of Iowa's top companies, including Principal Financial Group, Wells Fargo and Pioneer Hi-Bred International, already shield homosexuals from workplace discrimination.

That's something, I think, more and more states are waking up to. Virginia and Michigan, the two states in America that currently have the most, and harshest, anti-gay bills on the books, will probably realize this sooner or later as well. Whether or not they'll admit it is another matter.

But hey, whatever it takes.

Not that I ever eat at Burger King because I think it's disgusting, but I'm happy to hear it.

One reason I've been trying to cut down on my meat intake lately (and especially beef) is because of the recent report that farming cows was one of the biggest contributors to global warming. If I'm gonna bitch about it (and especially become murderously angry at my customers at work because of how many grocery bags they use), then I feel I should put my money where my mouth is, literally, and either no longer eat beef, or pay more attention to where the beef I eat comes from.

I've also decided in the last week to no longer eat pork, at all, unless I know absolutely where it comes from, and that the farm where it was raised treats them humanely. Pork production is one of the cruelest meat industries that exists.

So I was delighted when I read an article in the NYT this morning about Burger King creating new policies on where they get thier eggs and pork.

According to the article, In what animal welfare advocates are describing as a “historic advance,” Burger King, the world’s second-largest hamburger chain, said yesterday that it would begin buying eggs and pork from suppliers that did not confine their animals in cages and crates.

The goal for the next few months, Burger King said is for 2 percent of its eggs to be “cage free,” and for 10 percent of its pork to come from farms that allow sows to move around inside pens, rather than being confined to crates. The company said those percentages would rise as more farmers shift to these methods and more competitively priced supplies become available.

Temple Grandin, the autistic animal-rights activist who once built a "hug machine" to satisfy emotional needs, since she couldn't stand to be touched by humans, and who has done historic work with McDonalds and Whole Foods, said Smithfield’s decision to abandon crates for pregnant sows had roiled the pork industry. That decision was brought about in part by questions from big customers like McDonald’s, the world’s largest hamburger chain, about its confinement practices.

“When the big boys move, it makes the entire industry move,” said Ms. Grandin, who serves on the animal welfare task forces for several food companies, including McDonald’s and Burger King.

It's a small step, but I'm glad to see it happen.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

This thing has turned into a runaway train

I met with my advisor yesterday morning to set up my schedule for next semester, and we decided that I will certifiably be graduating next May. I always pretty much knew that's when I would be graduating, but to now have confirmation of it, to know exactly what I will be taking the next 2 semesters, because I only have exactly 10 classes left, is really exciting. It seems much more real now than it previously has. And I can't believe how quickly it's gone by!

But it's also completely terrifying. Because it seems much more real now than it previously has. That means, seriously, my days in Austin are numbered. When I think about it abstractly, it was always exciting and fun to think about moving on to a new city and school somewhere else next Fall, but just scares the shit out of me. What a difference a day can make.

It's still exciting, but last night I laid awake thinking about all there is to do: take the GRE (probably at least twice, which needs to happen this summer), and then start collecting all of my materials for grad school applications, which all needs to happen by this fall! I've narrowed my list down to 6 schools, and even that seems daunting when I think about all that needs to go to each one.

I also got offered a job last week at a summer camp: Camp Pinnacle. I haven't actually accepted yet, because I'm still waiting to hear back from the summer research position I applied for at the University of Maryland, which I want more than almost anything right now. I'm not holding my breath about it, but if it doesn't come through, I'm heading to Pinnacle. It's in the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina, right outside Asheville, which would also be awesome, because I could go hang out with Matt on all my days off. I also talked to my Counseling and Guidance professor yesterday about taking her internship class over the summer, and using my job at the camp as my internship, which she was totally down with. Which would save me so much trouble, since you have to put in 150 hours of internship for the class. I thought I was gonna have to do that in the fall, along with working, along with going to school full-time, and I had no idea how I was gonna manage it.

Also, it turns out, my professor is from that area of North Carolina, and has a cabin there, and her kids all still live there. And, her whole family has been involved with Camp Pinnacle since it's inception! Her grandfather, father, and 2 or 3 uncles all were counselors there, and she grew up going to the camp in the summers, and has several grandkids and nephews and nieces that still go there every summer. So she and I totally geeked out about that for awhile, and she got very excited that I would probably be working there. So that was fun.

I was on Cloud 9 all day yesterday. Until, of course, I went to bed, and then I laid there tossing and turning thinking about everything I need to get done in the next 6 or 7 months. That may seem like a long time, but I realize now it flies, and it feels like a lot. Driving to class this morning, I started thinking about how I already miss Austin. I'm gonna cry like a baby driving away from here. I'm getting choked up now thinking about it.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Juke-Joint Jezebel

Today driving home from school I heard a KMFDM and a Ministry song on the Flashback Lunch thing on the alterna-crap station.

Hearing that stuff always immediately transports me back to the last couple of years of high school and my first year of college. Mandy, of course, always figures prominently in each of these nostalgic trips. We complained so much about how unhappy we were, how bored we were, how everything was stupid, but I think if we're really honest with ourselves, we can admit that those years were awesome. I really miss them sometimes. Those years of figuring out who we were, and being allowed to be really obnoxious about it, and trying on so many hats.

We thought nothing of spending an entire evening dying our hair crazy colors and putting together outfits for the weekend of going to a rave, or going to see some crappy punk rock band at the dilapidated skate station in Fayetteville. We planned whole weekends and road trips to Tulsa, Dallas, Kansas City, Little Rock, Springfield, and Memphis to go see bands like KMFDM, Thrill Kill Kult, REM, Depeche Mode, Reverend Horton Heat, Social Distortion, Nine Inch Nails. Wherever we went we would seek out after-hours clubs that would let in kids under 21 so we could continue dancing through the night until 3 or 4 in the morning.

We got lost once in Kansas City for hours in the middle of the night. I think it was that same trip where those dudes at IHOP threatened to kill us in the parking lot, and they had guns, and the cops were called and it was a big deal. We got yelled at outside Springfield at a Waffle House for singing Roy Orbison songs at the top of our lungs on the way home from a Bush(!!) show. My friend Sean and I drove all night long, two nights in a row, just to go to a big warehouse rave once in Memphis. Whole weekends were also spent just cruising through Fayetteville, desperately searching for something to do, never realizing that the cruising and searching was the point. We blared music in our cars, attended more parties in people's backyards or out in the middle of nowhere than I care to count, got kicked out of IHOP multiple times for commandeering the entire smoking section with our friends and not buying anything but coffee. We lied and told our parents we were at so-and-so's house and then went camping at the lake with 10 other kids, usually sleeping in our cars, sometimes going skinny-dipping if it was warm enough.

I don't know how we possibly thought we were bored. We never stood still for a moment.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

I've been trying to think of some kind of clever title for awhile now, involving ginger and butts, but I just can't think of anything catchy.

There's a guy I work with I'll call N., that is quite hilarious. He's 29, and he loves to talk. He's one of those guys that will just follow you around talking (probably all day if he could) and you don't even have to respond. He'll just keep talking. Luckily, he's really smart and has a totally perverse sense of humor, so despite the fact that sometimes I wanna knock the shit out of him and tell him to just...shut...up!!! we get along really well.

So, two of his many obsessions are old, bitter, aging gay men, and people who stick stuff up their butt. He's constantly telling me about his gay friends, and the stuff they put up their butts. He thinks it's the funniest thing in the world. He has one friend who's fairly young (our age I guess), who, apparently, enjoys challenging himself by trying to get bigger and bigger things up his butt. N. takes an enormous amount of glee in regaling me with second-hand tales of his friend who can now fit a jar up his ass. N. holds up his hands to model the circumfrence, and his eyes get wide, and he just laughs and thinks it's the funniest thing in the world. And then he tells me about his other friend, that he swears must have been f*cked by hundreds of guys. Yesterday he told me that he thinks the guy must have a distended butthole and just have poop fall out while he's walking, he's been f*cked so many times. Which he of course thinks is...hilarious.

And I have to admit, the way he tells the stories is pretty funny. Yesterday I finally had to silence him by telling him that he's told me the story about the guy who sticks stuff up his butt about 50 times. N just smiled and kept on telling me the story anyway. We were both outside on our breaks at the time, and then two other guys that work there (two very cute guys, both on which I happen to have little crushes) joined the conversation, and were rolling on the floor laughing so hard listening to N re-tell his butt stories.

All three of these guys are totally straight, by the way.

So then I mentioned figging to them and asked if any of them had heard of it. None of them had, so I explained to them what figging is (site totally NSFW, by the way). I'm not sure where I first heard about it, but figging is the practice of peeling ginger root and sticking it up your butt. The reason someone would do this is because when ginger interacts with the skin, apparenlty it enflames it or something, somehow, and when you stick it up your butt and leave it for about 30 seconds to a minute, it begins to burn like you've never felt before. It'll burn like you think you're dying, but then the burn subsides after a few seconds, and apparently leaves you with a crazy euphoria that's like being totally stoned, and feels incredible and gives you amazing orgasms. I told them I've never tried it, but I have to admit I've always been a little curious.

Like me, the boys reacted with a mix of curiosity and revulsion. But we all laughed about it.

So for the whole rest of the day, every time one of us saw another one, we'd make a joke about holding the other down and shoving ginger up his ass just to make him squeal.

I'm not making this up. And since we were just talking about "peeled ginger," we could freely talk about it in front of customers (as in, making jokes about finding some peeled ginger in their backpack or locker or something) and laugh hysterically, leaving the customer completely perplexed.

Sometimes my job is totally awesome.

I'm sad tonight.

I don't know why; I'm just moody.

I came home from work and had what's quickly becoming my favorite comfort meal: baked salmon with shit-tons of butter and garlic and steamed veggies. I could eat it all day long.

I also love bunny rabbits. Especially bunny rabbits that love each other.

UPDATE: Apparently, loyalty to the Republican party has been on the serious decline since 2002. Sullivan predicts that Karl Rove has created a permanent minority party.

There's reason to feel better tonight!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Behaviorism & Genetics

Last night Dylan and I got into an initial discussion about the president of the Southern Baptist Association's recent article about the science world's possible finding of a genetic basis for homosexuality, and what that could mean. The Baptist douchebag of course looks at this hopefully (in a bizarre turn of events in their constant harping about it being a choice), because to him, a genetic base could mean a "cure." Which is just further proof that the specter of gay is far more frightening and important to the far-right than their own professed beliefs that all babies, born or unborn, are God's creations and not to be "tinkered" with. In other words, they don't believe in abortion for any reason, or that life should be toyed with by science for any reason, unless that reason is that you know you'll give birth to a gay baby, in which case it's perfectly all right for science to butt in and fix it. The first people that would propose such a solution are probably the first people that would also vote against stem cell research. It's completely confounding. It doesn't even make me angry, it's so confusing.

Anyway, mine and Dylan's discussion led into a further, and slightly more emotional, talk about the general ethics of messing with unborn life in the first place. If he and I were both to say that it would be morally reprehensible to abort a baby just because you knew it would be gay, what about handicapped babies, or babies that you know will be born with severe disabilities or brain damage? I mean, where do you draw the line? If it's okay for one couple to abort a child they know will be retarded, for instance, why is it worse for a couple to maybe not even abort a gay baby, but just take out the "gay gene" and then have a "straight" baby? I don't really have answers to any of those questions, and if I can stand back in non-judgement against people who might abort their child because it's brain-damaged (and even go one step further to say that I would do that too, I know without a doubt), then I also have to stand back in non-judgement against a couple who, in 10 years, might choose to abort a gay fetus. But is there a difference? Should we only take into consideration how that baby might affect the adult's lives? Do you draw the line at behavioral versus physical attributes (retarded versus future sex life)? Dylan brought up some gay friends of his that he said have told him that if they could somehow turn a switch to make themselves straight that they would do it. I know where they're coming from, because I used to say that too, until I realized it was an attitude rooted in internalized homophobia, self-hatred and shame. It makes me sad because it condones an almost fascistic point-of-view that everyone should be the same, and fails to just accept that you are who you are, and you're created the way you are, and that's just the way it is, whether you believe you were created that way by evolutionary accident or by some kind of god (or a combination of the two). Autistic people have hard lives too, but they just are who they are, and that's all they know, and that's what makes them who they are. I can't imagine being a heterosexual, and I can defiantly say that if heterosexuality were offered to me in a pill, I would never take it. I wouldn't even know how to function as a straight man, and being gay has shaped so much about who I am, for better or for worse, that getting rid of that part of me would be like committing suicide. I would essentially cease to exist and someone else would be walking around looking just like me, but not being me.

But the discussion also got me to thinking about the founder of behaviorism we've been studying in my psychological history class, John B. Watson. It feels to me like a very bitter school of thought, mainly because it completely shuns emotions and introspection in favor of purely observable behaviors and reactions being all that matters with humans. In fact, it goes further to say that we're basically indistinguishable from animals, in that we humans are nothing but a collection of condititioned responses and behaviors. Watson even went so far as to suggest that humans lacked instincts and that when we're born, we're nothing but amorphous, empty shells containing nothing.

Watson was known for being extremely stoic and unemotional, and found emotions to be useless and trivial. He strove for a society based purely on scientifically shaped beliefs and behaviors, and advocated an end to all religion, myths, traditions, and convention. This all came about starting around 1913 or so, and was extremely popular. (As an aside, in his later career, Watson worked in advertising, and figured out much of what we now consider to be psychological responses to advertising, i.e., what makes things sell.)

Watson claimed that he could take 12 newborn babies, and condition them in such a way that by the time they were teenagers, he could have them completely molded into whatever he wanted, such as a star athlete, an expert violinist, a thief, an artist, a lawyer, and so forth, regardless of the child's natural abilities, talents or proclivities. Watson didn't believe in such things.

In one famous experiment, he conditioned a toddler to be terrified of bunny rabbits by loudly banging on a pipe with a hammer behind the baby's head every time he played with a cute little bunny that Watson provided for him. It worked like a charm, and not only did the child become terrified of fuzzy bunnies, he became terrified of anything even remotely resembling a bunny, like a fuzzy scarf, a fur coat, or even pictures of Santa Claus. Of course that experiment would never fly today because it's unethical and it's abuse, but the point is, at one point, people thought this was okay.

I'm not sure that people will ever think that genetically tinkering with unborn fetuses is okay, aside, inexplicably, from right-wing hatemongers. Just because the technology is there to do something doesn't mean that a) it will be available, or that b) any scientist or doctor would be willing to use it for dubious purposes (although if enough money were involved, I have no doubt that doctors and scientists could be found who would be willing to do it). People were intially excited about Watson's proposals to shape people into anything, but eventually the public turned on it, and recognized the emptiness and immorality of such a proposal (not including that Watson was clearly wrong, and probably never could have followed through on his bold claims). It's an interesting proposal in purely theoretical terms, but I can't imagine anyone, religious or not, wanting to live in such a sterile and mediated society.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

I stole this from Stacy* because I thought it was hilarious, and because I hate irony. And hipsters.

"Alt.heimer's" is a term that the Slang Dictionary defines as "a condition
afflicting chronic hipsters who can no longer recall if they like something
genuinely or ironically.

Example: 'As Ron stared at the hideous leather
pants and retro Star Wars sheets he'd just purchased, he realized his
Alt.heimer's was advancing with terrifying speed.'"
-Rob Brezsny

*Stacy's blog.

Well, that basketball player IS pretty hot....

The Daily Show takes on gay conversion therapy.

"A Letter to America's Heterosexuals"

Today in the L.A. Times there is an op-ed piece of sorts by the gay activist and writer Larry Kramer. Despite changing the title from the subject above to "Why Do Straights Hate Gays," and describing him as an "aging 72-year-old gay man," (I mean, could they make it sound any more dismissive?), it's worth a read.

There is not much nuance to the letter, and reads a bit like an undisciplined, whiny temper tantrum, and I was almost embarassed to read it. It's so easy to forget that a man who is now 72, though, grew up in such an incredibly different environment than I did, and that I take so much for granted. I told someone at work the other day that I would never march in a gay pride parade as long as I lived because I wasn't proud to be gay. Which is not to say I'm ashamed of being gay, but that I don't think people should be proud to be gay any more than straight people should be proud to be straight. I realize this grossly misses the point, but I ended my conversation with this person by saying, "I'm proud, though, that all those people marched a generation ago so I don't have to." God, if I could go back and slap the shit out of myself only a week ago. What a smug, ungrateful attitude. Which is also dangerously insouciant. Rights are never a given (even here, where so many people seem to think they are), and even if you have them today, you could lose them tomorrow.

In the piece, Kramer also makes a rallying cry to boycott voting for any politicians, because "there is not a one...that wouldn't sell gays down the river." I'm not sure I completely agree with that, but he makes a good point. After all the flap about General Pace's comments last week about gays being immoral, both Hillary and Obama were disgracefully slow to respond, and Obama even outright ignored the question in favor of signing autographs and brushing off the reporter by hopping in a limo. Though he didn't outright say it, his attitude conveyed a sense of disinterest and apathy in this subject. Finally, several days later, through a rep, he issued a statement along the lines of "I don't think gay people are immoral."

Gee thanks.

And of course John McCain is a complete joke, and the fact that politicians even pay remote lip service to right-wing evangelicals in this country is absolutely terrifying. These contemporary fascists should be shunned, ignored, denounced, and maligned. The fact that they even have an iota of a say in politics and legislation in this country (which was formed on the basis of escaping religious persecution) is stomach-turning.

Anyway, I've decided to past Kramer's letter here. It's worth a read.


Why do straights hate gays?
An aging 72-year-old gay man isn't hopeful about the future.
By Larry Kramer, LARRY KRAMER is the founder of the protest group ACT UP and the author of "The Tragedy of Today's Gays."
March 20, 2007


Why do you hate gay people so much?

Gays are hated. Prove me wrong. Your top general just called us immoral. Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, is in charge of an estimated 65,000 gay and lesbian troops, some fighting for our country in Iraq. A right-wing political commentator, Ann Coulter, gets away with calling a straight presidential candidate a faggot. Even Garrison Keillor, of all people, is making really tacky jokes about gay parents in his column. This, I guess, does not qualify as hate except that it is so distasteful and dumb, often a first step on the way to hate. Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama tried to duck the questions that Pace's bigotry raised, confirming what gay people know: that there is not one candidate running for public office anywhere who dares to come right out, unequivocally, and say decent, supportive things about us.

Gays should not vote for any of them. There is not a candidate or major public figure who would not sell gays down the river. We have seen this time after time, even from supposedly progressive politicians such as President Clinton with his "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military and his support of the hideous Defense of Marriage Act. Of course, it's possible that being shunned by gays will make politicians more popular, but at least we will have our self-respect. To vote for them is to collude with them in their utter disdain for us.

Don't any of you wonder why heterosexuals treat gays so brutally year after year after year, as your people take away our manhood, our womanhood, our personhood? Why, even as we die you don't leave us alone. What we can leave our surviving lovers is taxed far more punitively than what you leave your (legal) surviving spouses. Why do you do this? My lover will be unable to afford to live in the house we have made for each other over our lifetime together. This does not happen to you. Taxation without representation is what led to the Revolutionary War. Gay people have paid all the taxes you have. But you have equality, and we don't.

And there's no sign that this situation will change anytime soon. President Bush will leave a legacy of hate for us that will take many decades to cleanse. He has packed virtually every court and every civil service position in the land with people who don't like us. So, even with the most tolerant of new presidents, gays will be unable to break free from this yoke of hate. Courts rule against gays with hateful regularity. And of course the Supreme Court is not going to give us our equality, and in the end, it is from the Supreme Court that such equality must come. If all of this is not hate, I do not know what hate is.

Our feeble gay movement confines most of its demands to marriage. But political candidates are not talking about — and we are not demanding that they talk about — equality. My lover and I don't want to get married just yet, but we sure want to be equal.

You must know that gays get beaten up all the time, all over the world. If someone beats you up because of who you are — your race or ethnic origin — that is considered a hate crime. But in most states, gays are not included in hate crime measures, and Congress has refused to include us in a federal act.

Homosexuality is a punishable crime in a zillion countries, as is any activism on behalf of it. Punishable means prison. Punishable means death. The U.S. government refused our requests that it protest after gay teenagers were hanged in Iran, but it protests many other foreign cruelties. Who cares if a faggot dies? Parts of the Episcopal Church in the U.S. are joining with the Nigerian archbishop, who believes gays should be put in prison. Episcopalians! Whoever thought we'd have to worry about Episcopalians?

Well, whoever thought we'd have to worry about Florida? A young gay man was just killed in Florida because of his sexual orientation. I get reports of gays slain in our country every week. Few of them make news. Fewer are prosecuted. Do you consider it acceptable that 20,000 Christian youths make an annual pilgrimage to San Francisco to pray for gay souls? This is not free speech. This is another version of hate. It is all one world of gay-hate. It always was.

Gays do not realize that the more we become visible, the more we come out of the closet, the more we are hated. Don't those of you straights who claim not to hate us have a responsibility to denounce the hate? Why is it socially acceptable to joke about "girlie men" or to discriminate against us legally with "constitutional" amendments banning gay marriage? Because we cannot marry, we can pass on only a fraction of our estates, we do not have equal parenting rights and we cannot live with a foreigner we love who does not have government permission to stay in this country. These are the equal protections that the Bill of Rights proclaims for all?

Why do you hate us so much that you will not permit us to legally love? I am almost 72, and I have been hated all my life, and I don't see much change coming.

I think your hate is evil.

What do we do to you that is so awful? Why do you feel compelled to come after us with such frightful energy? Does this somehow make you feel safer and legitimate? What possible harm comes to you if we marry, or are taxed just like you, or are protected from assault by laws that say it is morally wrong to assault people out of hatred? The reasons always offered are religious ones, but certainly they are not based on the love all religions proclaim.

And even if your objections to gays are religious, why do you have to legislate them so hatefully? Make no mistake: Forbidding gay people to love or marry is based on hate, pure and simple.

You may say you don't hate us, but the people you vote for do, so what's the difference? Our own country's democratic process declares us to be unequal. Which means, in a democracy, that our enemy is you. You treat us like crumbs. You hate us. And sadly, we let you.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Not that John McCain held any credibility with me to begin with, but this is really too much....

From the NYT, McCain stumbles on HIV prevention.

The way conservatives have this almost inherent ability to deny reality still shocks me sometimes. I know I should be used to it by now. Staggering.

A transcript of the encounter follows. (Weaver is John Weaver, his senior adviser, and Brian is Mr. Jones, his press secretary):

Reporter: “Should U.S. taxpayer money go to places like Africa to fund contraception to prevent AIDS?”

Mr. McCain: “Well I think it’s a combination. The guy I really respect on this is Dr. Coburn. He believes – and I was just reading the thing he wrote– that you should do what you can to encourage abstinence where there is going to be sexual activity. Where that doesn’t succeed, than he thinks that we should employ contraceptives as well. But I agree with him that the first priority is on abstinence. I look to people like Dr. Coburn. I’m not very wise on it.”

(Mr. McCain turns to take a question on Iraq, but a moment later looks back to the reporter who asked him about AIDS.)

Mr. McCain: “I haven’t thought about it. Before I give you an answer, let me think about. Let me think about it a little bit because I never got a question about it before. I don’t know if I would use taxpayers’ money for it.”

Q: “What about grants for sex education in the United States? Should they include instructions about using contraceptives? Or should it be Bush’s policy, which is just abstinence?”

Mr. McCain: (Long pause) “Ahhh. I think I support the president’s policy.”

Q: “So no contraception, no counseling on contraception. Just abstinence. Do you think contraceptives help stop the spread of HIV?”

Mr. McCain: (Long pause) “You’ve stumped me.”

Q: “I mean, I think you’d probably agree it probably does help stop it?”

Mr. McCain: (Laughs) “Are we on the Straight Talk express? I’m not informed enough on it. Let me find out. You know, I’m sure I’ve taken a position on it on the past. I have to find out what my position was. Brian, would you find out what my position is on contraception – I’m sure I’m opposed to government spending on it, I’m sure I support the president’s policies on it.”

Q: “But you would agree that condoms do stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Would you say: ‘No, we’re not going to distribute them,’ knowing that?”

Mr. McCain: (Twelve-second pause) “Get me Coburn’s thing, ask Weaver to get me Coburn’s paper that he just gave me in the last couple of days. I’ve never gotten into these issues before.”

This went on for a few more moments until a reporter from the Chicago Tribune broke in and asked Mr. McCain about the weight of a pig that he saw at the Iowa State Fair last year.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Dick Cheney's...clout?

As narrated by everyone's second favorite "news" person.

Do you think Dick Cheney has ever laughed?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Sometimes I don't, actually, regret once saying that America deserves whatever it gets.

And, you know, you really can't blame the conservatives for being so scared and freaked out. America is, by definition, a liberal and progressive country, that, I believe in my heart of hearts, ultimately does the right thing, even if it might take decades.

- Arkansas votes today to keep 800 foster children homeless. Because it's what's best for them.

- Dan Savage rips Garrison Keillor a new one after the self-appointed leftist argues that gay men are to effiminate to raise children. And shame on Salon for running it.

- And lastly, some professor at UNC makes an open call for the execution of homosexuals. And yet, somehow he's allowed to keep his job. Because the title "How to Bomb a Tennessee Blues Joint to Kill a Whole Bunch of Those Self-Righteous Niggers" just doesn't have the same ring to it.

And conservatives think that America's university system is all run by pinko commie lefties. Silly fucking morons.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

There are gay couples in Arkansas?!?!?

Apparently, legislation in Arkansas to ban gay foster parenting and adoption is well underway. After a 75% vote in favor of banning gay marriage in 2004, some want to take their hatred a step further.

No state law bans private adoptions regardless of sexual orientation. Before Fox's ruling, prospective parents had to meet the same requirements as prospective foster parents -- no gays allowed -- to adopt through the state program. Since Fox's ruling, the state no longer inquires about a prospective parent's sexual orientation.

On Monday, Womack noted the high court's focus on the review board's lack of authority in imposing the gay foster parent ban and said his bill, if it becomes law, would withstand a court challenge.

"The court was clear that the state's responsibility is to protect the best interest of a child," Womack told the committee. "That's what I'm trying to do here."


Gov. Mike Beebe, who said during his successful gubernatorial campaign last year he would support reinstating the gay foster parent ban, said Monday he was still reviewing Womack's bill.

"Some of this is going into a different area. What we talked about during the campaign was foster care and the fragile nature of those children," Beebe told The Associated Press.

Sometimes it's true that you can never go home again.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Don't call it love.

Yesterday I was accused by a friend of being a "cynic" because I said I didn't like The Notebook, and thought it was a horrible movie. I know my friend was kidding (well, I think she was), but if you want to know the truth, what I think is cynical are naive notions of the wreckage of heartbreak, and offensively romanticized portrayals of Alzheimer's Disease. Okay, perhaps not cynical (that word is so over and mis-used, it makes me want to scream), but certainly manipulative and exploitive.

Another time, a close friend told me that the only way I could not be moved to an emotional wreck by Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (a movie I hold a particular resentment towards) is by being cynical about love.

I will proudly stand and say I am not a cynic about love. A bit pessimistic perhaps, but not cynical, and there is a huge difference.

What I've been trying to do with this post, probably fairly unsucessfully, is segue into a discussion of Black Snake Moan, a film I just saw. It didn't move me to tears, exactly, but it did twist me into all kinds of emotional knots. It's the kind of film that I can already tell will stick with me for days. Haunting, I think, is the adjective critics like to throw around to describe these kinds of films that grasp some kind of deep emotional truth, that, I think, is sorely lacking in modern filmmaking.

I don't know anything about Craig Brewer, and I never saw Hustle & Flow, but based on BSM, he seems like a man who has an innate understanding of what it is that makes us human, warts and all. And that sometimes those warts, used effectively, can be our biggest strengths. Acknowledging the reality of who we are, and what we have to give, and confronting our biggest emotions, no matter how frightening or painful they may be, can be the most generous gift we can give anyone.

BSM could have been awful. It could have been the most exploitive, trashy, dumb, and (okay, I'll say it) cynical movie ever, and on paper, it seems like it. But Brewer doesn't shy away from the hard stuff, from the despair, from the wreckage, and from the sincerity of his love for his characters. It's real, it's palpable, and it's smart. He pulls wonderful, and wonderfully compassionate, performances from all of his actors, and even when the movie falls a little short, you still have to admire his sincerity and the effort.

Everyone dreams of finding that one person in life that not so much completes them (I don't believe in such an idea; it fosters codependency), but will love them and accept them, even with all their disgusting insides hanging out; with their metaphoric black eyes, and skinned knees, and fucked-up sunken eyes; with their restless souls and bodies; and their pasts full of shame, regret and misery. Very few people are lucky enough to find that person, the one that not only loves those aspects of you, but lets you love those aspects of themselves. Craig Brewer believes that such a love can exist, and redeem you, and he makes you believe it too.

That, to me, is worth getting weepy over. Not Gena Rowlands pretending like she's really old and confused and dying of Alzheimer's in a beautiful garden filled with laughing children.

You can find your place, but never fit in.

There's lots of documentation that homosexuals have shorter life spans, and are more prone to suicide and depression, so it's not very loving of us to let them stay in that situation. - Ron Luce, director the of Texas-based ministry who brought 20,000 kids together in San Francisco this past weekend to protest treating gay people like human beings. So far, that's the best excuse I've heard yet for condoning discrimination, simply because it's true. What Mr. Luce doesn't seem to understand, however, is that it's because of people like him, and the environments of shame, hostility and hatred they create that make gay people more prone to substance abuse, depression and suicide, thus overall creating shorter life spans.

You can read a more in-depth reporting on the story here.

But on the other hand....

The New York Times reported this morning on the closing of the famous "gay playground" the Roxy Nightclub over the weekend. Which ordinarily I wouldn't care about, as very little makes me feel more alienatd from other gay people than going out to gay clubs does, but I wanted to point out this wonderful little quote at the bottom of the article about their practices of inviting people to their parties:

He went on: “This was the emergence of the Chelsea era, and the Chelsea Boy look. Everyone worked out really hard. And they all worked on the same body parts.”

Mr. Blair, who had owned gay health clubs, explained the coding system that he and his business partners devised for the Roxy’s loyalty cards and mailing lists. “We rated everybody on a scale from 1 to 4 based on how they looked,” he said. They kept the rankings in a database, so that for certain events they could direct their invitations to a specific mix of loyal customers and trophy guests.

“We gave out very few 1s — that’s the worst-looking, or for straight people,” he said. “Then, most people got 2s; if they’re pretty, they got a 3. Four is for people we have to let in free — either they’re really hot or they’re a friend of mine or somehow important in the club community.”

He explained that 3s were actually more desirable guests than 4s. “A 3 is a cutie that pays,” he said.

On second thought, perhaps Mr. Luce is on to something. Most of the time, I feel like we're all our own worst enemies.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

I'm not sayin' he's a starf*cker...

...but what are the odds that I'd be right next to Alan Cumming 2 nights in a row. It was supposed to be lesbians tonight, but I guess they were too precious to come out in the torrential rain. But Alan Cumming was bartending. He gave me my drink. I was even next to the paparazzo that got literally thrown out of the bar because he wouldn't stop taking pictures. To Alan's credit, he was very patient and nice about it, and politely asked several times for him to stop taking pictures, but he just wouldn't. But then finally the other bartenders, like, wrestled the guy out. I guess he deserved it.

I also met Jamie Babbit tonight. She's very tiny and cute. Tonight also made me incredibly happy that I no longer "make films" and feel the need (and pressure) to constantly go to these things and schmooze. I can just go and enjoy myself and if I happen to meet a cool director (or a nice celebrity) then I do, but I don't beat myself up about not chatting them up, or coming across as cooler (or something), or being horribly inept at "schmoozing."

Apropos to that link, does anyone besides me detest the new IMDB layout? Ick. It's horrible.

Alan Cumming

Is much cuter in real life than in movies. He's a wee little smiley man with sexy crow's feet.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention my favorite part of the evening, which was my running directly into a tree walking down Lavaca. And I was totally sober. I just ran right into it. I even have the bloody scratches on my hand to prove it.

And then last night I had a dream I was at a party, and someone had a tiny little green garden snake that decided to latch itself onto my sweater sleeve, and I was so freaked out that I fell into the bonfire, and then I started bawling in front of everyone. It was awful.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

I wonder how right-wing Christian nutjobs would feel about a gay serial killer arguing on their behalf

I'm currently engrossed in a fascinating interview with Jeffrey Dahmer on MSNBC right now that was done in 1994.

What's really making it interesting to me is that it's a totally straight-forward, pretty non-sensational face-to-face interview with him and his father in prison. What's really striking to me right now is how much sadness and remorse Dahmer seems to be showing. I am by no means, obviously, a seasoned psychiatric professional, but he doesn't come across as the smug, sociopathic, often boastful person that most serial killers do.

One thing he discusses is how he went to great lengths not to kill anyone, and that he always felt incredibly bad about it. That's the reason, he claims, for attempting to "zombifie" men with the drill and what-not, so that he wouldn't have to kill them. I'm not sure that morally speaking, performing homemade lobotomies and trying to make young men into your sexual servants is really any more excusable than just killing them, but I think it's worth noting. He seems incredibly sad and even more withdrawn when he gets into talking about his motivations, which basically, were that he was lonely. He was desperate for companionship, to have power over someone so that they could never leave him. Which is also what he attributed to the cannibalism. It was Dahmer's way of forever keeping the young men with him, and truly making them a part of him, so they "could never leave."

On the other hand, Dahmer also seems keenly aware of what he was doing the entire time, and how wrong it was. He comes across as having a very acute notion of morality and how much he must have hurt people. The narcissism shown by most serial killers seems strangely absent with Dahmer. Also to his credit, he deflects the idea that Stone Phillips introduces that maybe Dahmer's homosexuality was to blame. He more or less shrugs off the question of that, which I find really dumb. I suppose being closeted and terrified of your sexuality can make people do really stupid and hateful things (the more homophobic someone is, usually the more gay they are....), but Dahmer was neither. He claims ease with his sexuality and was never particularly closeted. In a separate interview alone, however, his father indirectly blames the gay for the killing, and attributes the "intensity" of Dahmer's lust and sexuality to a possible link to the killings. Whether or not that played a real role, I'll let Dahmer's doctors determine. Dahmer also rants about midway through about evolution, and how poisonous an idea it is to introduce to children because it discounts God and any meaning in life. Such are the rants of a born-again, "reformed" serial killer.

The separate interviews with his parents are staggeringly heartbreaking. Especially his mother, who has been subtlely blamed by the father for making their child into a monster. He seems like a bit of an opportunist. The mother is absolutely tragic.

I could write an endless post about this.

Inside your mind, indeed

I'm not sure what's more hilarious: teenage goth girls getting weepy over a Phantom of the Opera song, or some heavy-metal dude with a dred-locked beard singing a Phantom of the Opera song. You be the judge. Regardless, it's quite hilarious. I couldn't stop laughing.

This has to be in Norway or Finland or one of those lame countries that's obsessed with metal. And, The Phantom of the Opera, apparently. (Also, he fucks up the lyrics.)

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The curves around midnight aren't easy to see.

Today I'm exhausted. I've had some trouble sleeping this week for some reason, and I'm working extra hours at my job (almost 40 this week), and today I officially started my second job at the hospice. So today I was in class from 8 to 12:15, then worked from 1 to 7. (Whine, whine.) I don't know if it was exhaustion or what, but today in the office, while I was counting out methadone, xanax, and countless other medication I couldn't even begin to pronounce, much less spell, I just started crying. Out of the blue. Luckily I was alone in there, with the door locked (since I had medication spread out everywhere), but it was still sort of embarassing. I guess I was just feeling a little emotional on top of quite fatigued. But I have recovered, had a lovely dinner topped off with some gelato, and am unwinding watching my nightly routine of the Daily Show and the Colbert Report.

Also, for some trivial blogging, I picked up this meme, where you basically create the soundtrack to your life by shuffling your itunes (or ipod, whatever the case may be) and applying each randomly selected song to the various parts of the film they will inevitably make about you when you die.

Just as a caveat, even though I have almost 400 songs in my itunes library, it barely represents a fraction of my entire music collection, but does, however, represent most of what I've been listening to for the past year or so.

So, without further ado:

Opening Credits: "The Bluest Eyes in Texas" - Restless Heart. Since the opening credits song is supposed to set the tone for the whole film, I'm not sure how I feel about a song about being torn up and guilt-ridden over leaving the girl you love, and being forever haunted by the tears in her eyes, setting the tone for my life story. It's certainly romantic and creates a nice ambience. For a really depressing movie. Was also featured prominently (and hauntingly) in the feel-good movie of 1999.

Waking Up: "Free to Go" - Dwight Yoakam. Love only calls us for awhile, and is always free to go. So I wake up the next day, to an upbeat ditty for sure, but clearly having just had my heart broken once again. Or maybe it's just an extension of the night before, when I just stopped at another hotel room. Perhaps I'm feeling better, more zen, about my situation this morning. Nevertheless, I slap on my eye cream and moisturizer (which is the one daily regimen I never forget to pack!) and face the world with the dark circles gone (or at least greatly diminished) and prepare for a new day.

First Day of School: "My Love" - Justin Timberlake. I've never been one to jump head-first into relationships (it's taken me years to come around, in fact), but I guess I meet someone at school I really like a lot. Must be that fantastic eye moisturizer!

Falling in Love
: "Hazy Shade of Winter" - the Bangles. Uh.... the man I fall in love with is a coke head? That sucks. But so typical. Ooh! Maybe it's Robert Downey Jr.! Oh, wait, he's a coke head. And he breaks into children's bedrooms. Well, we've all done silly things under the influence of ridiculous amounts of narcotics. Haven't we?

First Song: "Evil Angel" - Rufus Wainwright. I swear to God, I'm not making this up. But it seems to be shaping up into a great film so far. Let's recap: I leave the girl I love, I'm haunted, I'm driving across Texas alone, stop for a night in a crappy hotel in some podunk town and watch the stars. The next morning...I go to school? Okay, go with it. Oh, maybe that's why I left, to go to school someplace far away and start anew. Hmmm... I like this story so far. So the first day of class, I meet this great guy, fall instantly in love, but, big downer, he's addicted to drugs. It's all fun and gaymes until someone gets addicted! Or sleeps in a strange child's bed. So now he's evil (but I still love him!), but I know what I have to do. Which brings us to......

Breaking Up: "Live to Tell" - Madonna. I'm sensing a theme: If I ran away, I'd never have the strength to go very far. It just occurred to me that I'm supposed to be soundtracking my real life, not some imaginary script that fits the soundtrack. Okay, well, I dump the loser, but I can't quite let him go. I've run away all my life; it's time for me to stay and fight for this douchebag, even though I'm pretty much over it. Maybe I'm just still broken-hearted because it's comfortable and I enjoy being the martyr. No, I don't like that. I genuinely want to help him. So I vow to fight.

Prom: "Queen of Hearts" - Juice Newton. The joker ain't the only fool who'd do anything for you. So he gets moderately clean, promises to stand upright, so I take him to the fall formal (go with it). But, darn it, once again I find him in a stall blowing the lead football player for a tiny bump! Okay, I'm done. I realize I miss the girl and decide to go find her again.

Driving: "Daniel" - Elton John. Can't you see the car whizzing through the arid Texas desert, with the "clouds in my eyes?" That must be the coke head's name. That's what I get for falling in love with someone with such a stupid name as Daniel. But I already miss the asshole. Too bad he's a scar that won't heal.

Flashback: "Sour Girl" - Stone Temple Pilots. I won't even get into why this song is even in my itunes library to begin with (it's far too convoluted a story to get into right now). So I get back to wherever and find the girl, but the new love I've found has made her lose her luster. I left the bitch for a reason, right? Luckily, I've found that with time and distance (and some reality) there's always a reason they're gone. Now I remember why school was more important.

Getting Back Together: Since there is not one shred of myself that wants to still be with any of my (two) exes, I'll skip this. There will be no getting back together. But just for fun, let's see what itunes would have selected for this wrench in the plot: "Ready to Run" - the Dixie Chicks. I swear. to. God. I am not making this shit up. Maybe I slept with the girl again, thinking it's what I wanted (or at least talked to her about getting back together and going to some good friends' wedding together and made out), and then the next day she changed her mind. Oh, wait, in my version, I'm the one that changes their mind. I decide to say to her, "The intensity of your feelings terrifies me." Just to be an jerk, and twist that knife a few inches deeper.

Wedding: Oh, this is working out perfectly! So, I go to the friends' wedding solo, sad, but okay otherwise. The song that plays in the "getting ready for the wedding" montage, including tying the groom's tie for him, which I'm honored he asked me to do, is "Famous Last Words of a Fool" - George Strait. Boy, I'm really conflicted. I still love the girl (and poor strung-out Daniel), but I know that neither one is right. So even though I love them, I have to convince them both, and myself, that I don't anymore. You won't break my heart/and I don't love you/the famous last words of a fool.

Birth of a Child: "Crazy in Love" - Beyonce. I don't know whose baby it is, but this song seems appropriate for the crazy, rushing to the hospital, barely making it, and some crazy slapstick things happens, third-act scene where the baby is born and everybody believes in love again, or some stupid shit.

Final Battle: "Blue in the Face" - Alkaline Trio. Even though everyone is in love with the new baby and happy and life couldn't be better, I realize that once again it's time for me to move on. I actually find this song to be incredibly sad. In a wave of self pity brought on by soul-crushing loneliness, I pack up my trusty Chevy and head off in the middle of the night, leaving a good-bye note to my loved ones on my bed for someone to find. Because even in my absence I have to be melodramatic and make a grand exit, even if no one actually sees it.

Death Scene: "Bloody Mary Morning" - Willie Nelson. Somewhere in Houston I stop to have breakfast and upon leaving the greasy spoon, drunk at 7 am, I slip off the curb and get smacked by a bus of morning commuters.

Funeral Song
: "Deathly" - Aimee Mann. Now that we've met, would you object to never seeing me again? I actually really do like the idea of this song being played at my funeral.

End Credits: "Falling" - Roy Orbison. Finally, in death, and over the end credits, our Young, Tragic Hero finds the peace he'd always sought. The song is about faking being in love with someone to get her to sleep with him, but then (oops!) he really accidentally falls in love with her. But she's leaving him anyway. So I guess he doesn't find peace. But now he's dead, so who cares.

The End.

I have far too much time on my hands. And so do you if you actually read all of this.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

You look so careless when they're shooting that bull, don't you know Heartaches are Heroes when their pockets are full.

Today in my Counseling class, we took little individual surveys about the prevalance of "irrational" belief systems and values that we have. Like, where they have questions on which you agree or disagree, with different values to each question, and you add them up at the end, and there are categories and everything. It's quite complicated, and I'm not really sure what it all means.

However, for column A, I scored 9 out of 10 (the closer to 10, the more you hold the "irrational" belief), which reads:
The higher the total, the greater your agreement with the irrational idea that it is an absolute necessity for an adult to have love and approval from peers, family and friends.

I also scored a 9 on D:
The higher the total, the greater your agreement with the irrational idea that it is horrible when things are not the way you would like them to be.

And, a 9 again on F:
The higher the total, the greater your agreement with the irrational idea that you should feel fear or anxiety about anything that is unknown, uncertain or potentially dangerous.

I also scored a 7 out of 10 on B:
The higher the total, the greater your agreement with the irrational idea that you must be unfailingly competent and almost perfect in all you undertake.

I also scored multiple 6's and a couple 5's. All over 50% on the scale of irrational beliefs.

On Friday, we're going to go over them in class.

* * *

On my way to school this morning, I got to thinking about why I bother keeping this blog. It's something I've considered before, but never came to any conclusions about. I still haven't, really, except to say that I really enjoy doing it, even if I do often have existential conflicts about what to write (personal vs. non-personal, and if personal, how personal?), and only think about 4 people ever read this thing regularly. I guess I write it for people to read.... No, that's dishonest; I absolutely write it for people to read, but why?

For me, it just feels like a fun way to sort of keep in touch, even if it might only be a one-way touch. The older we get, and the more scattered our lives get, and the more entrenched we become in our routines, communication just becomes more scarce. It's also a way for me, I think, to feel like I'm still out there. It's hard to explain, I guess, but over the past couple of years, I've just begun feeling a really acute disconnect and sort of alienation from most of my friends. It's no one's fault, and there's nothing that can, or should, really, be done about it; it's just the way things are. Sometimes it feels like we all have less and less in common, or maybe I just have less and less in common with people. Babies, buying houses, honeymoons in Europe, careers that are taking off; these aren't really issues I have much to contribute to. Well, anything to contribute to, actually. I'm really happy for my friends, but, you know, it's not a conversation I can participate in.

I guess that's why I've come to the conclusion that I now enjoy leaving the party early, so to speak. When I stay to the end, it depresses me. Either I go home alone, or the house empties out. But when I leave, everybody waves to me, and I'm the one that's missed. I think that's a metaphor for all of my relationships. Is that weird? Is it incredibly selfish? Maybe. Do I care? Not really.

One thing I think I've come to discover about Austin is that it's a great city to be either 20 and in college, or in your 30's and married. Anything inbetween pretty much sucks. It's a weird feeling, and maybe every city is like that, I don't know. But I feel really done with it, to the point where I'm starting to panic about this summer, because it's looking more and more like I'm going to be stuck here, and that makes me unhappy. I'm pretty much counting down the days until I leave this years-long party (it's roughly 530) and test my lack of faith in another city somewhere far away. Assuming any of them will have me.

It's funny how your perceptions can change so easily, and your constitution can be challenged so aggressively over one little thing, or some small series of events or changes. It makes me wonder, a lot, about my future. If you'd asked me even two years ago I could have told you what I thought it would be, and what it would entail. Now I wouldn't even venture to guess, and in some ways, I don't care. Giving up all expectations, and a large amount of Hope, can be quite liberating in its own weird way.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

On the backs of Gay Men

Another interesting response, though really it's a rant against Mitt Romney.


So, yeah, I have nothing to say about Ann Coulter, but I did want to point readers to a pretty great response by Andrew Sullivan to her appearance on Hannity & Colmes last night.

And yesterday I had a thought. (I know, it's crazy.) What if Ann Coulter is actually a totally left-leaning crazy liberal, and this whole screaming banshee act she has going on is just that: an act? What if she's intentionally, by playing a role and being a martyr, actively (in cognito) simply demonstrating how bigoted, racist, homophobic, hateful, and dumb the far right and most Republicans are? Now that even Republicans are starting to denounce her for making them look bad (not that they need any of her help!), her plan would seem to be starting to work.

What if she's really a hero?

UPDATE: I just read this, further down the scroll on Sullivan's site, from some other dude:

The political equivalent of Britney Spears shaving the hair off her head, Ann Coulter made headlines at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) by calling Democrat John Edwards a faggot. Wearing a leather dress and a Christian cross around her neck, Coulter must be a liberal infiltrator whose purpose is to give conservatism a bad name.

I really felt sorry for those Republican presidential candidates who attended CPAC and were forced by the liberal media to respond to Coulter's remarks. It's guilt-by-association, but Coulter had to know that making such a remark would put those candidates in an uncomfortable, even embarrassing, position. As a former staffer and contributing editor of Human Events, I can't understand why this conservative weekly publication continues to feature her on the masthead as a "legal affairs correspondent" and puts her columns on page one. Jed Babbin, the new editor, must be sick to his stomach. Coulter's columns are anything but legal analysis.

Infiltrator: that's a good word I should have used.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Dear Austin,

Today is our 8-year anniversary. It's been a nice ride. For the most part, you've been very good to me.

It's also my mother's birthday. Happy Birthday, Mom.

And thank you, Austin, for 8 mostly great years. There is one thing, though: can we talk?

Friday, March 02, 2007


The new issue of Texas Monthly has a really interesting article about the current state of gay parenting in Texas. Surprisingly, San Antonio has the highest percentage of children living with gay parents of any other U.S. city, and according to a 2000 census poll by the Urban Institute, gay couples in Texas are more likely to adopt children than in any other state in the country. Nationally, about 1 in 4 gay couples has children, but in Texas it's closer to 1 in 3 couples.

The article focuses primarily on the Texas State Legislator's attempts to deny parenting status, and the ability to be foster parents, to gay couples throughout the past decade, with most efforts led by two Republican legislators, Warren Chisum and Robert Talton. In 1999, and again in 2003, legislation was introduced that would have forced the removal of children from any "gay" homes, and banned all future placement in any gay households. Another bill filed in 2003 would have outright legally banned gay adoptions.

As of now, gay adoption isn't illegal in Texas. Generally, when a gay couple has children, it's a child left over from a previous marriage or relationship, and often the new partner adopts the kid. In both straight and gay adoptions, this is called "second-parent" adoption, and is incredibly common, as you can imagine, among straight people. In Texas, as in other states, it's not illegal for gays to engage in second-parent adoption, but not exactly condoned, either. In cases where a gay couple adopts a child that doesn't biologically belong to either of them, or when a gay couple applies to be foster parents, the home is treated as single-parent household with "other adults present," and only one partner is principally dealt with by the CPS (Child Protective Services).

What makes all of this so sad, as is the case with gay marriage, are the potential legal quagmires and emotional devastation. If a same-sex couple splits up, whoever the "principal" guardian is can legally bar the other partner from ever having any contact with the child whatsoever, and the barred partner has absolutely no legal recourse. They may be prevented from visiting children in the hospital or adding a child to an employer's medical plan. If the birth or adoptive parent should die, the remaining parent again has absolutely no legal obligations or privileges to the kid. The child's biological relatives, or even a sperm donor that may have never met the child, have more legal right than a parent who might have raised the kid from birth. There are more children supported by Social Security payments in America from a deceased parent than are on welfare, but again, a non-custodial gay parent cannot (absent a legal relationship) bequeath these payments to their children, even if the parent has paid into Social Security for decades. Surviving children are also subject to significantly higher taxes on inherited property than are children of heterosexual parents who both have legal rights to the child.

Gay parenting in Texas became a huge issue in 1997, when CPS employee Rebecca Bledsoe removed a foster child from a family in Dallas for the sole reason that the parents were both lesbians. She was admonished and demoted by CPS, so she sued. Her lawsuit held little weight, but it opened the doors for all kinds of legislative action against gay foster parenting and adoption (in addition to marriage), all of which were supported by then governor George W. Bush.

In one side-note, in a 2006 television interview, Tennessee legislator Debra Maggart claimed that gay men adopted children for the sole purpose of having unfettered access to children they can molest. This tells you the kind of mentality we're fighting here.

In 2005, Robert Talton once again tried to ban gay foster parenting, and it was defeated only at the last minute, partly through the work of openly gay Austin legislator Glen Maxey. Of the roughly 19,000 children in foster care in Texas, between 2,000 and 3,000 are presumed to be in gay households. The immediate cost of finding new placement for them would have cost the state (taxpayers) over $8 million, and provide a huge setback for CPS, which is already scrambling to find enough suitable homes for all the foser kids.

After the 2005 defeat, to his credit, Chisum agreed to leave the gays alone. "Some of them do a fabulous job of stepping in when no one else will," he said at the time. Talton, the magazine notes, remains unconvinced and is expected to bring up the issue in session once again in 2007. Gay families all over Texas are holding their collective breath.

You know what really sucks?

Being told you're vastly overqualified for the jobs you're applying for, but that you're just slightly underqualified for the jobs they want you for and that they think you'd be great at.

It's incredibly flattering and irritating at the same time.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Credit in the straight world

The only thing that keeps me going at work is my co-workers. I love them. Almost all of them. Some I really, really like, and some I don't like as much, but there isn't a single one among them that I actually dislike. And that's saying a lot for me. We have a lot of fun, have lots of inside jokes, have funny code words to make fun of customers in front of their faces and then laugh hysterically to each other when they leave. Okay, it's mean, but if you had to deal with these people, you'd do the same thing. It's a bond we all share. We have a good time.

Something weird has been happening lately though, and I can't exactly say that it bothers me, it just...confounds me.

Okay, well, two things. First off, in the past week I've had no less than 3 of my co-workers (one of which is a manager) come up to me and tell me that some girl asked about me, like, directly, as in, "Is that guy single," or "Is that guy dating anyone." One co-worker (the one who calls me "Topper," presumably because we both go to St. Ed's, and that's the mascot there, and not because of any other reason...) even said a friend of his that comes in there all the time has a huge crush on me and always comes through my line, even if there's a line. It's happened a couple of times in the past too. Which of course is all very flattering and good, but also sort of annoying.

Secondly, some of these same men, and a few other guys who work there, all of whom are straight, by the way, have decided that they enjoy regaling me with very intimate details about their sex lives, including their masturbatory habits, and how badly their girlfriends give head. With details. It's so weird. Is this just something guys do? Seriously. I know that sounds dumb, and I know among friends dudes talk about bad head or whatever, but I don't even know these people, not really. And like, why do they pick the gay guy? Well, there's tons of gay guys there, but I guess why do they pick me specifically? Does this mean I'm in? Is it because I sort of play along sometimes and say things like, "That's why girls shouldn't give head, because they don't know what they're doing. You should just leave that to us." Or because sometimes I feel inclined to share my own masturbatory habits (depending on how attractive I find the guy)? But they always listen attentively and seem to enjoy it. And it's mostly totally univited. I'll just be standing there, minding my own business, and some guy will just walk up to me and say something like, "God, I had to masturbate like, five times yesterday, and I've been walking around with a boner all day today." Or, "Man, I have fuckin' bruises on my dick from getting the worst head of my life last night. With teeth and everything. I should show you. It really hurts."


So how do you respond to that? Like, "Oh, gee, Blank, that's crazy."

I've pretty much always gotten along better with straight guys than other gays, so does the fact that I sort of secretly enjoy that the straight guys consider me "cool" enough (or however you'd define it) to be so open with me signal some kind of internalized homophobia that I'm not even aware of, or have things just changed this much since I was 19 or 20 years old? Of course, some of these dudes are closer to my age, so that wouldn't explain it.

Did growing up in Arkansas shelter me that much? Am I way overanalyzing? I just think it's weird. But maybe it's not.

It paves my way, but it corrodes my soul.

In lieu of any remotely original thoughts of my own today, but needing to kill some time between classes, I decided to bring you the boys of FAGATS, and their mildly amusing series of entries entitled, "Why You Are Gay." Which, if you are actually, gay, might even give you a couple of chuckle-worthy "Ah-Ha!" moments.

Why You are Gay:
1."In the Night Kitchen"
2. "The Neverending Story"
3. The Hardy Boys
4. Trapper Keepers
5. "A Separate Peace"
6. "School Ties"
7. And last but not least, and particularly apropos to this week for me, just posted yesterday, Friends, Summer Camp!!

And speaking of summer camp, I have my first phone interview on Friday for a camp in northeastern Pennsylvania, which you can read about here. I'm trying not to get my hopes up or anything, but it's exciting. I talked very briefly yesterday to the guy who's going to be interviewing me, and he seemed pretty awesome. So cross your fingers for me.

In the meantime, I'm going to do my best not to think about the fact that the man I went on a blind date with last night, set up by a dear friend, which went quite swimmingly, lives only 2 blocks away from the last man who completely shattered my heart.

Good times. Happy Thursday.