Monday, July 30, 2007
Why do so many people feel it necessary to describe themselves as "open-minded"? What the hell does it mean? Usually I think it's just a code for "progressive lefty".
Are people here in SF, for example, really open-minded?
"Capital punishment should be increased, not restricted. Discuss."
Any takers? I thought not.
Exhibit A. After I somewhat embarrassed my ex the other night --so what else is new?-- by flirting with a waiter who turned out to be slightly less than one and twenty --how was I to know? the kid is mature for his age!--, I turned to his (the x's) boyfriend and said, "You know, I used to be deep." His deadpan reply, "So I've heard."
Exhibit B. Was doing an internet search for my friend L recently, while she was getting things ready for us to go out and do a set of errands.
"Have you found that information yet?", she inquired.
I had, however, wandered off the reservation and into other more interesting websites. Cyberlinks. Links will be the death of me.
"Oh, sorry. I got distracted."
"Men?", she asked. "No."
...Damn, the girl knows me well.
(PS. Exhibit C. Even though it's anticlimactic...how many people do you know who can blog a post about trivialities and give it a title in Latin that is both scripturally referent and mildly humorous. I mean...how often do you hear the Vulgate Psalms being used to be droll? How often do you see anyone even trying to be droll anymore. Do you even know what droll means? All right. I'll stop now.)
PPS. The De profundis part of the title is line 1 of Psalm 129: Out of the depths. Olim means...once-upon-a-time.
PPSS. Gratias tibi ago, Emailior Fabbro, propter claritatem orthographicam tuam.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
After class, one of the therapists came and told me that it had been very revealing, because it had never occurred to this person that men could make love face to face. Doggie style was the only way they had ever imagined it and it had been a question for this person how intimacy could take place that way. Leaving that (incorrect) assumption aside, I assured the student that it was true: men can and often do have intercourse face to face, and even kiss while doing it.
And this is what it can feel like sometimes:
Saturday, July 28, 2007
I was at the gym a while back, gabbing with my friend BH, who works there. He's a former bodybuilder and fan of existentialism, now in his 60's. We were remarking how men start to look familiar after a while and how the gender can be reduced to several types.
I wandered back into the locker room and there were two guys in their thirties, getting changed. One of them, whom I'll call A., is a stunning looking guy. Nordic, built hard as a rock, with a very easy personality and, what makes him even more interesting, either some kind of accent or speech defect. I once had a pleasant few minutes when, dripping with sweat, he asked me to spot him during one of his routines. (I later discovered that he is a stripper/dancer). Both guys were in their original skins, so I took my time getting changed, exchanging pleasantries, navigating the pleasantly tight space.
Then BH shows up again and says, "I came up with another type of guy". I say, "Well, we have made a category for the old hunks, like you, and the young hunks, like these two. What else is there?" A. looks at me and says, "Oh, I know. Clark Kent. Like you." Smiles and laughing all around.
I wander out onto the floor a while later, and A is sitting there in his prime-of-life glory, lifting something or other, and as I walk by, he says, "I wasn't kidding".
Friday, July 27, 2007
Partly to distract myself from my melancholy thoughts about the issues of the day, I went looking for some examples of "shape note" or "sacred harp" music. In "Some People Change" the sound of the black women's choir, who come dancing into the tent, continues to make the hair on the back of my neck stand up every time I hear it. It led me to thinking about indigenous forms of sacrality in America. Which led me to this:
Last December, in a happy frenzy of listening to holiday music, I asked myself which sense I would choose to lose if I had to decide, hearing or sight. I chose to lose sight, even though I live so much of my life by reading, watching. But I could create a lot of remember sights now by combining other senses. But the sounds in my ears...these I cannot hold so well. Losing hearing would mean losing music. I couldn't. My choice to keep hearing over sight rather astonished me, but six months later, I feel the same way. Chatting on IM with a deaf friend back East, I cannot imagine what his world is like. He knows he can't hear, but since he never did, I wonder what possible conception he could have of sound. So,on to the shape notes.
Sacred Harp music: see what the wacky Wiki says about it, if you like. It is both entirely American, and entirely primitive in the way that chant music is. It is the music of deeply religious people who lived tough lives. I really paid attention to it when I watched Cold Mountain, and searched for the musical background to one of the most searing battle scenes in movie history. It is a tune called Idumea.
Here are the lyrics. (The first round consists of the sol-fa exercise, then these words).
To lay this body down!
And must my trembling spirit fly
Into a world unknown?
A land of deepest shade,
Unpierced by human thought
The dreary regions of the dead,
Where all things are forgot.
Soon as from earth I go
What will become of me?
Eternal happiness or woe,
Must then my portion be!
Waked by the trumpet sound,
I from my grave shall rise;
And see the Judge with glory crowned,
And see the flaming skies!
And here (soon) is the music. The video is irrelevant and I would recommend closing your eyes or reading they lyrics. I found other videos with Idumea as the background. One was a lament for American Indians. Not on my agenda. The other was a replay of 9/11. I couldn't watch it. I still can't. I don't need the video...the images are in my head and I remember them every day.
Haunting, rough-edged, roaringly powerful harmonies, deeply human, dark, defiant, ancient and local, archetypal, trance-inducing...American sacred music:
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Comparing the restrained, even self-hobbling response of the West to 9/11 with how an Al-Qaeda attack on Russia or China --both repressive to Muslims and ruthless when threatened-- might have gone, Wretchard writes:
"There are times when I am tempted to think that the Western Left is radical Islam's Ring of Power. And the brilliance of al-Qaeda's reliance on it as a force-multiplier is that the defeat of radical Islam must consequently come at the price of altering the structure of post-war Western politics itself.
In a sense the Western Left has become a hostage to the current world crisis, and perhaps the only part of the Left that understands this are the signatories of the Euston Manifesto, who realized that al-Qaeda had already claimed its political soul: that unconciously, almost imperceptibly, the Left in uncritical embrace of any foe of America (bolding mine) had come to align itself with the most brutal, obscurantist, repressive theocrats on the planet."
Saturday, July 21, 2007
I started my "effing impressive guys" posts with him in April. Watching him again now dealing with winter in the Scottish highlands. To keep warm at night, he skinned the stinking carcass of a several-days dead deer to sleep inside the smelly skin, and peed into his water bottle to keep himself warm! Now he's fallen half naked into a cold fetig bog swamp after drinking water out of moss. Physical courage to spare. He is such a guy.
Gay Men’s Chorus Sings for the Padres
Thursday, July 19, 2007
If strength, courage and skill are necessary elements in manhood, then Ayan Hirsi Ali is quite a man. And clearly, she is a woman...a woman of strength, courage and skill.
Her amazing life story is outlined in the accessible but shifty Wikipedia, where it notes that she is writing yet another book: "Short Cuts to Enlightenment, a philosophical fantasy in which Muhammad wakes up in the New York Public Library and is "challenged by John Stuart Mill, Frederick Hayek and Karl Popper, [Hirsi Ali's] favourite liberal thinkers".
Below, see her take on, with quiet dignity, creepily vain Canadian progressive (redundant?) Avi Lewis, scion of the creepily vain Canadian progressive Stephen Lewis, he of the hyPerarTiCuLation. Avi blurts out anti-Yankee bumper-stickers. She tells the boy the truth. A hearty “You go, girl!”, is appropriate.
Friday, July 13, 2007
My gloomy sense of the West's decline remains intact. I am a man who likes to be right. Here I hope I am very wrong.
The particular form of the negative mother complex now inundating us with the backwash of Marxism is the Leveller Complex: a compulsive need to reduce everyone to sameness, under the guise of justice triumphant. I loathe it. I smell it everywhere.
Multiculturalism, feminism, redistributionism, secularism, transnationalism, pacifism, environmentalism...all facets of this great complex of decline and suicide.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Mother Cindy, recently retired from public life, now considers running for public office against, get this, Nancy Pelosi, unless LalaPelozi introduces articles of impeachment against the President within two weeks.
Can this pathetic and shameful wreck become any more pathetic? Contemptible from A-Z.
Sunday, July 08, 2007
Two bad boys I really like. "Relentless" best describes them both.
And maybe "manic". And really sexy.
Seann William Scott and James Roday.
And they're not really bad. Just much.
And completely charming.
Not maybe as charming as John Cena...but ;-)
Seann William Scott, for example: (not suitable for children and most males)
Roday, starring in Psych on USANetwork:
(This post was written my totally shallow alter ego, not the deep and mature thinking man responsible for most of this blog...)
Saturday, July 07, 2007
Now here's something that could be about sex, politics and religion!
Montgomery Gentry's song/video, "Some People Change".
(Can't embed it here, ya gotta click on the title and see it at YouTube).
There's Troy Gentry in the leather jacket, with his Kentucky tenor, barrel chest, flashing his dark eyes and pearly whites in what one grudgingly admiring reviewer called his "impossibly wide GI Joe jaw".
And then at 2:34, the entry of the choir. Always makes the hair on the back of my head stand up. The visual is great, but the sound....choirs of American black women make some of the most archetypally beautiful sounds on earth.
One of the tenets of postmodernism is a rejection of "grand narratives", overarching stories which make sense of history.
Yet there is a grand narrative, even an Urgeschichte, to which progressives, leftists and liberals all adhere. It explains most of what they think and do (and do not think and do not do).
All of human history is about the unnecessary oppression of the weak by the strong, most especially the racist oppression of peoples of color by whites.
Am I wrong?
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America
hen in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security...
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
And less decorously:
P.S. And to the author of this piece of vanity, and all his kind, a hearty American "Fuck You"!
It seems that in the middle of midlife --well, beyond the middle-- I have turned handsome.
Since last summer, that adjective has been used to me and about me way more than it ever had been in all the many years previous, and then some. Even discounting the polite usages or transparently self-serving ones, it appears that something in my face is different from what it used to be.
I have never thought of myself as handsome. But apparently I am now.
Of course, I'm not to everyone's taste (who is?), --world-idol George Clooney, for example, does nada for me-- but there's a noticeable surge in the use of the word "handsome" from a segment of the population whose opinions I notice.
It's very odd. Nice, but disconcerting.
When this word has come my way in the last ten months or so, I have A. ignored it, B. simply said, "Thanks, that's kind of you" --which often elicits the response, "I'm not being kind", C. downplayed it by saying something about being ok for my age, or D. Raised my brow in sign of incredulity.
I am certainly aware of my facial shortcomings. I will spare you the boredom and me the embarassment of enumerating them. I have never welcomed being photographed, only endured it. (With one exception). But I have resigned myself ;-) to the fact that something has changed, so that now if someone calls me handsome, I kinda accept it. Lacking perfect symmetry, I would certainly deny that I am movie-star handsome, but I will entertain the notion that I am character-actor handsome. And I certainly am a character.
I was recently with a new friend, an honest man who has given some close attention to my face, and he repeated to me, "What a handsome man you are." I started to demur, but he said, "Look at me". I did. "Now look me in the eye and repeat after me, 'I am a handsome man.'" Well, I did. And he ended with, "I don't want to hear any more of that "maybe", "kinda", stuff. So I said, "Ok. You win. I'm handsome." (I kinda like it when he wins, but that's another story.)
What might have changed? Well, I grew out my goatee last August. This few square inches of whisker, added to my ancient moustache, certainly attracted the attention of a whole new cohort of men in my neighborhood. We are such simple creatures. Invisible one day, hot the next. And I guess my consistent working out of the last years has made a difference in how lean, angular and muscular I am. And, I am told, in how I carry myself. Or maybe the wrinkles have finally coordinated with my crooked smile. Who knows.
As the saying goes, ;-), "Handsome is as handsome does."
PS The image is generic. Doesn't look at all like me.
People who know my history often opine to me about the current occupant of the Chair of Saint Peter, the guy who, if he wanted to, really could blog ex cathedra.
They are all distressed that he sounds so...Catholic.
The mind...at least this mind...boggles.
The gay fellas I know can't seem to understand why he won't come out -- ;-) -- and say that it's ok to be gay. I sympathize, of course. That dissonance changed my life.
But consider this.
The whole structure, edifice and heart of Catholic sexual morality is based on this axiom: the only valid place for the most intimate sexual activity is between a married man and woman, and where it is open to the act of procreation. Outside that, it is sinful.
Now, if you make an exception to this, the whole thing starts to unravel, and the largest Christian church in the world suddenly has no sexual morality. Next thing you know, you'd have the Anglican Communion, then the Episcopal Church. And you know that my take on them is that they are just turning into Unitarians in drag.
So, expect that at the head of the Roman Catholic Church you will continue to find a...Roman Catholic.
Monday, July 02, 2007
Glad to see some confirmation of my previous posts on the subject, that men have a three-pronged (sic!) evolutionary purpose in the race: procreation, protection and protein. Or less decorously, fucking, fighting and feeding. Which I expand to mean: power, courage and skill. Insofar as he is weak, fearful or inept, a human male is not a man.
(Feb and April 06)
"Common to many societies, men must 'impregnate women, protect dependents from danger, and provision kith and kin'."
Manhood in the Making: Cultural Concepts of Masculinity
David D. Gilmore, 1991
Sunday, July 01, 2007
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!
From far and wide,
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.