Saturday, July 31, 2010

Peregrinus expectavi pedes meos in cymbalis


For my birthday in 2008, good old B bought me a pair of hiking boots. Despite my bad pronation, the outside heels have been only lightly worn down. They are terrifically comfortable and provide excellent support. Make walking in the woods or parks a pleasure.




The purchase was interesting. The difference between a polite middle-class culture (mine) and a canny working-class look at the world (his). We went to REI, an excellent outdoors store. We got a salesman to try on some boots, do an assessment of my needs, etc. And after a half hour or more, finally tried on and really liked the Vasque Breeze GTX. At this point, B said, Well, this is our first stop today, so thanks, we'll get back to you. And off we went to the Sports Basement, where he found the very same shoes for $20 less. I would have felt beholden to the salesman for the effort he put in. B did not. Once you get past the playful exterior, he is one tough cookie. No apologies.

Devil in the details


One of the History Channel's relatively rare pieces about Communism* detailed the tyranny of the Ceaucescus, Nicolae and Elena, who together ruined Rumania in a proetarian folie a deux. When the programs details what they did, foul deed by fould deed, then you see the evil of Marxism clearly. Tyrants are more alike than different, regardless of ideology, but Communism creates monomaniacal tyrants with great regularity. It is not anomalous but natural for it. And like Mao's wife, Nicolae's was perhaps even more vile than he was. When the couple were shot, the soldiers enthusiastically pumped her with far more bullets than her husband.

*Their focus on Nazism has given rise to a nickname, The Hitler Channel.

Tertium non datur

At the beginning of the night, this dream: I come home from the gym late at night and the house is dark; as I pass his bedroom I see that he is already asleep. Before going off to my own room, I stop in to kiss his sleeping form goodnight. When I bend down, he awakens, takes my arm, pulls me down and says, Come on, come spend the night with me. I slip into the dark warmth next to him, wrap him in my arms and fall asleep, happy.


Later in the night this dream: I stand on a grassy knoll in front of what appears to be some kind of fortress. Reminds me of the Devil's Postpile

 but not so high, and overgrown in places. I look up and on top of it, astride his horse, is actor Will Patton in his Postman role as General Bethlehem, standing guard. 

Behind him to the right, high inside the fort, is a kind of square and shallow concrete bunker open to the sky. In it is standing a naked man, Latin-looking, short, dark haired, pudgy. Nested into a sort of triangular depression in the exterior of the wall down on my level is a similar bunker. This one, I know, is for me.

From the Jung Lexicon:


Transcendent function
A psychic function that arises from the tension between consciousness and the unconscious and supports their union. (See also opposites and tertium non datur.)
When there is full parity of the opposites, attested by the ego's absolute participation in both, this necessarily leads to a suspension of the will, for the will can no longer operate when every motive has an equally strong countermotive. Since life cannot tolerate a standstill, a damming up of vital energy results, and this would lead to an insupportable condition did not the tension of opposites produce a new, uniting function that transcends them. This function arises quite naturally from the regression of libido caused by the blockage.[Ibid., par. 824.]
The tendencies of the conscious and the unconscious are the two factors that together make up the transcendent function. It is called "transcendent" because it makes the transition from one attitude to another organically possible.["The Transcendent Function," CW 8, par. 145.]
In a conflict situation, or a state of depression for which there is no apparent reason, the development of the transcendent function depends on becoming aware of unconscious material. This is most readily available in dreams, but because they are so difficult to understand Jung considered the method of active imagination-giving "form" to dreams, fantasies, etc.--to be more useful.
Once the unconscious content has been given form and the meaning of the formulation is understood, the question arises as to how the ego will relate to this position, and how the ego and the unconscious are to come to terms. This is the second and more important stage of the procedure, the bringing together of opposites for the production of a third: the transcendent function. At this stage it is no longer the unconscious that takes the lead, but the ego.[Ibid., par. 181.]
This process requires an ego that can maintain its standpoint in face of the counterposition of the unconscious. Both are of equal value. The confrontation between the two generates a tension charged with energy and creates a living, third essence.
From the activity of the unconscious there now emerges a new content, constellated by thesis and antithesis in equal measure and standing in a compensatory relation to both. It thus forms the middle ground on which the opposites can be united. If, for instance, we conceive the opposition to be sensuality versus spirituality, then the mediatory content born out of the unconscious provides a welcome means of expression for the spiritual thesis, because of its rich spiritual associations, and also for the sensual antithesis, because of its sensuous imagery. The ego, however, torn between thesis and antithesis, finds in the middle ground its own counterpart, its sole and unique means of expression, and it eagerly seizes on this in order to be delivered from its division.["Definitions," CW 6, par. 825.]
The transcendent function is essentially an aspect of the self-regulation of the psyche. It typically manifests symbolically and is experienced as a new attitude toward oneself and life.
If the mediatory product remains intact, it forms the raw material for a process not of dissolution but of construction, in which thesis and antithesis both play their part. In this way it becomes a new content that governs the whole attitude, putting an end to the division and forcing the energy of the opposites into a common channel. The standstill is overcome and life can flow on with renewed power towards new goals.[Ibid., par. 827.]

Friday, July 30, 2010

Sometimes things work



Less than an hour ago I got an email alert from the Bank of America that they had detected irregular activity on my debit card and were closing it down until I verified the new charges. I checked and found two strange charges, totalling less than $25, in Minnesota and South Carolina. After waiting on the phone for fifteen minutes, I verified the fraud and they said I could go down to my bank and get a new card.

Luckily it's the afternoon and the bank is a block away. Within 5 minutes I had my new temporary card; the one with my handsome mug on it will come in the mail, but with the same account number.

The good looking blond guy who handled this at the branch office recognized me and said in his French accent, I opened your account for you, didn't I? No, j'ai repondu, I've had an account here since you were, maybe, eight years old. But we did some business this past year. He checked the screen. You're right: I was eight in 1991.

It pleased me that this card thing got handled so fast and easily. It pleased me less that the fella who did it for me was a little kid when I moved here...

Books and covers

One of the things I like in a man is how different he is  from how he appears to be. My buddy Deke, a big scary former Marine, loves classical music and novels. My friend Bill, the quiet older bodybuilder behind the gym desk, reads Aeschylus and Montaigne. My former almost boyfriend B could be any number of guys cracking jokes while shopping in the plumbing aisle at Home Depot and yet is one of the most sensually magical men I have ever met.

Here's two handsome guys with cute all-American smiles who look like they'd be grandma's favorite good boy.

On the left, Matt Hughes. On the right, Forrest Griffin. Below, these fellas in their natural habitat, championship fighters in Mixed Martial Arts...



Cover is one thing. Book's another!

Indignities

B wanted me to see an episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, a comedy series I've never watched. So at the end of an otherwise very nice day, I endured 21 minutes of it. Didn't laugh once. My short review was that it reminded me of Married with Children.

Maybe it's my age but if I ever did, I no longer find characters funny who are, well, contemptible. The family in Married with Children was contemptible; there was never a time that you laughed with them, only at them, and they seemed to have nothing but contempt for each other. The Philadelphia crowd were so beyond stupid that they would have been rejected for a Porkies remake. When comedy becomes a matter of making human beings so pathetic that you are ashamed to belong to the same species, something is wrong.

The Real Housewives women are the same. Narcissistic cows without any redeeming qualities.

Makes me see nihilism in the culture, the kind you got from Seinfeld and its co-creator Larry David, with his hideous hit, Curb Your Enthusiasm.

They ain't Groucho or The Marx Brothers or even Carol Burnett or the Three Stooges or Mel Brooks. And while I'm at it, why is it so funny when comix have to say shit and motherfucker every other word? Black comedians are the worst offenders here, but a lot of what passes for funny these days seems to me to be hopeless snotty rage of an adolescent kind.

B is not a fan of nihilism. In fact, Groucho is his epitome comedian. Very good taste in fun. Usually.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Corporeality

A local temple to the Goddess, formally known as Ebenezer Lutheran Church, or HerChurch, is a purple eyesore a few miles away. On their website is a staff list, which includes the "Minister of Embodiment." Some middle aged white woman, dancing.

When I am working out, I am well aware of my body. When I am up close and personal with another man, even more so. Sometimes overwhelmingly so.

I am also aware of my body when I feel emotions, especially the dark ones of fear and anger and grief. Mostly in my stomach. As if I have been kicked and then jumped on. Exhausting.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Modern times

On Facebook, when you sign up and give your info, they have some pre-set options for Relationship Status: Married, Single, In a Relationship and..."It's Complicated." Too bad you have to choose just one...

A good day

Drake's Estero at Point Reyes. We did an 8 mile hike, easy, about 4 hours. From the Sunset Beach, where we had lunch, --roast chicken, artichokes, pesto pasta with green beans, watermelon, cookies and chocolate--you can see the Farallons. This part of the park was empty. We saw four people only. Many more cows, egrets, hawks, vultures...


It's elk rutting season and they make a lot of noise. Very inspiring :)

On not getting it

As soon as I wrote the title, I realized it was ambiguous. Did I mean "You just don't get it!" or "Gettin' any lately?" It is the former. Incomprehension is my theme, not nooky. (Although they are not always incompatible...)

There are plenty of things that I don't "get" (or as the hairy ossified of my generation still occasionally say, "grok".) Age does indeed bring certain kinds of wisdom, but part of that is the increasing recognition of all the things you don't "get". I suspect that when it comes time for me to die, the world will be even more of a puzzle that it was when I was younger.

Anyway, in my cybering through the realms of religion, I keep running into liberal Catholics who seem to think that the Second Coming of 1968 is just around the corner. While predicting the imminent demise of the patriarchal hierarchal clerical Vatican church, they bemoan (and bemoan and bemoan, "prophetically", mind you) all the signs to the contrary. In a funny way, they are like fundamentalists who expect the Second Coming of Christ any minute now. I suspect that neither Jesus nor 1968 will be returning any time soon, however.

Last week the Vatican announced two sets of changes to canon law: one details crimes and punishments related to clerical sexual misconduct and the other details crimes and punishments related to attempts to ordain women. Of course, the screaming began, that the Vatican finds pedophilia and women's ordination equivalent crimes. How awful and insulting, etc.

I am pretty sure that the smarties in Rome were aware of the effect it would have to publish these simultaneously and in the same document. But they can, of course, deny it. Ha ha.

But I think the feminist Catholics and the liberals, etc. are wrong. I don't think the Vatican finds the idea of diddling the altar boys equal in opprobrium to trying to make priestesses. I think the Vatican finds the latter worse than the former. As they pointed out, priestly sex with minors is a crime against morals and trying to ordain females is a crime against the sacraments. I would say that in almost every instance, the Catholic Church would prefer to deal with moral rather than with sacramental crime. And this is what the 1968 crowd, lacking all Romanita, don't "get."



IMHO, what has held the Roman Church together through 2000 tumultuous years has been doctrine and sacraments: a clear set of beliefs which are not optional, and a priesthood-controlled set of sacred rites. Both saintly and scandalous popes were in agreement on this. The Church saw heretics as a far graver threat than mere sinners --be they drunken wife-beaters or licentious and simoniac clerics--and acted accordingly, like it or not. The Church has always been and always will be rife with human bad behavior of all kinds. The outraged of the moment, moralists all, seem to know nothing of history or of what actually and really holds human communities and traditions together, allows them to survive the savage contingencies of terrestrial life.


Catholicism is about nothing if it is not about the Mass. And essential to the Mass is the priest. Most of what you need to know is right there. It may not be sufficient, but it is crucially necessary. Priests can be good or bad, stupid or smart, but if they are not first of all valid, real, then there is nothing there at all. Whoever commits sexual immorality --or abuses power or steals money, etc-- is doing something which has always been done and always will be done. Human sin is inescapeable. The Church, especially in its Roman form, sighs, occasionally makes a scene, but moves on. But an attack either on dogma or on the sacraments, especially the priesthood or the Mass, is an attack on the Church's very core, its capacity to survive. No one should be surprised that its response to such an attack would be firm and fierce...unless they are awaiting, full of peace and love, not "getting it", the Second Coming of 1968.

Monday, July 26, 2010

TrueBlood. True

One glaring irony of gay writers Alan Bell's TrueBlood is that the right-wing bigots are right. While vampire spokesman proclaim the "just-like-you" message of  Vampire Liberation and accuse the Christian Right of fear-mongering, it turns out that the Right is right about the blood-drinkers. Hmmm. Does Alan B know this, seeing how the parallels between vampires and homos are pretty clear?

Where's Joe McCarthy when you need him?

Like the French aristocracy who thrilled to the subversively democratic thoughts of the philosophes...until those thoughts eventuated in the Revolution and its guilloutine-driven Terror...Hollywood's wealthy leftist royalty get their frissons from dallying with America-hating tyrants. Oliver Stone, son of a Jewish father, friend of Castro and Chavez, now opines that Hitler was not fairly judged, given the domination of the media by Jews.

I look forward to him re-contextualizing Communist mass-murdering tyrant Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge buddies.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Shooting blanks

Funny line from Instapundit. Italics are mine. I was wondering if anyone else noticed!

So who’s the whitest? Journolist, the Obama White House, MSNBC hosts, or the burglars in Broadview Security commercials? I’m thinking, I’m thinking. . . .

Friday, July 23, 2010

Who knew?

B., as he often does, provides moments of puzzlement and enjoyment.

He did a Google Image Search of ExCathedra and assessed the pictures that show up as being composed of "naked men and angry Muslims." Sex, and a political religion. I won't dispute my interest in those subjects.

He sent me a pic of some graffiti he found in the toilet of a local Irish bar. Seems to transcend the divide.


"The Jihad is in my pants"

And he bought a quirky (of course) birthday gift for my friend Bill. Because of the ups and downs --mostly the downs-- of our relationship, not all of my friends are big fans of B. He himself has sometimes referenced the torch-bearing peasants running up the hill to burn down Frankenstein's castle. Anyway, Bill has always been a big supporter of his. Says he understands him. So the gift included something like An Idiot's Guide to Christian Orthodoxy. Bill holds the completely untenable position of Christian Nihilist. B thought he might find the classical version of The Faith interesting. Anyway, included in the book is a reference to St Peter the Aleut, an Aleut native who converted to Orthodoxy when the Russians ruled Alaska.

 Well, it turns out that St Peter the Aleut was gruesomely tortured to death by Spanish Catholic priests for refusing to turn Roman and that this martyrdom took place about ten blocks from my house, at Mission Dolores! I don't remember that item being on the tour...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The distaff side


I remember having a frank and funny conversation a long time ago with a lesbian colleague of French Canadian background, about God. She was a staunch feminist but could not cuddle up to the notion of Goddess. I told her I agreed. First of all, would a Goddess create menopause and childbirth? And more importantly, one of God's primary roles is to forgive sins. A male God can actually forgive, partly because he is likely to forget. A female Deity would be very unlikely to forget and hence, to forgive. She laughed and agreed with me.

I am struck with how often women, both in real life and in the media (TV, films, etc) seem to spend a lot of time trying to get men involved in things they are uninterested in and to get men to think and feel about things the same way that the women do.

Saw Christopher Nolan's new film, Inception. I enjoyed it very much. Imaginative and gripping. The one female in the team seemed really outstandingly out of place, but I suspect it was purposeful. She reminded me of the archetypal Eve and the Gnostic Sophia, the young female whose intense curiosity, breaking bounds, sticking her nose in where she was told to stay out, brings about catastrophe. But whose gift for love and tenacity plays a major, even crucial role, in saving the scenario in the end.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Ssssssssss

The Brit who runs the Dyson vacuum company and appears on the commercials has the most sibilant "s" I have ever heard. He is beyond rich.

Sex and violence


Yesterday I realized I was feeling irritated, frustrated, angry, tense. Then I realized that I was horny. Sex felt like the perfect way to express and to calm my anger. So my question: did my horniness manifest as the anger or did my anger manifest as the horniness? Or am I trying to put words onto something which is both at the same time?

The three archetypal roles of the male, originating in the hunter-gatherer world where our species was formed and spent the vast majority of its time:  fathering children, fighting for the group and against its enemies, and feeding them protein thru hunting. Distill these down and you have sex and violence. That's what little boys are made of. And made for.

Jack Donovan recently wrote a very restrained, rational and civilized piece defending the preference for men in certain roles from charges of "misogyny". I was led to think of the larger gender wars going on in Western culture, where masculinity has been pathologized. Precisely because of issues around sex and violence. Wouldn't the world be a better place if women were in charge?

Well, sister, let me put it to you this way. Wouldn't the world be a better place if everyone were a Quaker? Better? Not at all sure. More peaceful? Sure. Possible? See below.

But as it is with Quakers, so with women and feminized men: you can only survive in a world where either a) non-Quakers and non-females protect you from the great number of non-Quakers and non-females or b) everyone must become a Quaker or a female.

The likelihood that the whole world will become a Femdom paradise is pretty slim. Consequently, there will always be lots and lots of male-driven societies out there and unless you have home-grown males to protect you against them, you will become their vassals. Feminism can only occur in societies where the men allow it. So women, and especially feminists, have a crucial stake in making sure that society produces sufficient numbers of actual men. Who else can protect them and their privileges?

Part of the reason I get so incensed when I see thinks like arch-cunt* Maureen Dowd profiting from a book called "Are Men Necessary?" is that it is so deeply dishonest. She and her kind could not exist for ten minutes without relying on the works and ideas and sweat and lives of vast numbers of the men she has such disdain for. Contemptuous privileged women like her provoke misogyny in me.

*This is a word I once found so objectionable that I could hardly even speak it at all. Up there with the N-word. Shows you what my feelings are for Modo and her kind that now I will put it in print.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Craigslist

A brief rant against people who 1) don't acknowledge emails to them about their sale items and 2) leave the damn ad up after the item is sold.

__________________________

A counterexample. Here's a craigslist seller who not only answers inquiries, but contacts you multiple times to try to unload the stuff, even when you tell him you don't want it. Most recently:
I'm making sure that I reply in detail to every contact I get off of Craigslist.
I don't want to upset anybody.

Yes, they are still available.
I very much appreciate your interest.

It would be an honor for me to sell this Rodeo, oops I mean these Japanese objects,
to a man of  your stature and cumulative global experience.

To think that this folk art could end up in a home like yours is a thrill.
The objects have very low milage.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Gulf States

I just ran across a liberal blog which described the Tea Party movement as "a Nation of Islam for White People."

Tea Party.

Nation of Islam.


I am reminded of a line from the parable of Dives and Lazarus: "...between us and you a great gulf has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us."
Lk 16.26

Is it just me or is she standing inside a big...


You know what? Well, maybe it's just another form of an old Irish custom...

And while I'm at it...another ambiguously genital religious sculpture in Toronto. The first one is Our Lady of Lourdes. This one is a modern steel sculpture on the back of what used to be a seminary for the members of the Society of Mary. (I lived a block away). The Virgin's arm, which reaches down to grasp the Child...you can see it as her sleeve, or Him with a huge hardon! Our Lady of Oedipus?

Sex and religion can't really be separated. In the monotheisms, eros is sublimated, but present. I used to enjoy (aesthetically and theologically!) the triple plunging of the big Easter candle into the water of the baptismal font during the Paschal Vigil. And then, of course, we have Bernini's St. Theresa in Ecstasy...

Past subjunctive

Despite my continuing interest in and appreciation for Catholicism, I gave up practicing it many years ago, for reasons that still make sense. But had I not --past subjunctive--, I sometimes muse how things would be with me now. In all the ebbs and flows of both personal and Church life, I think I usually wanted to be a classical Catholic. Liberal on some things, conservative on others. Most of my friends and colleagues were liberals and those who were my friends I liked --naturally-- and those who were my colleagues I both did and didn't. And thought I had a couple of real conservative connections, older men who were very very smart and quite the characters, I did not like the run of most conservative Catholics. They seemed very tense and angry all the time.


Well, just let me say that were I still involved in the Church, I would still be having migraines over the endless schlock that passes for Catholic worship. Although fiddleback chasubles look like ornate sandwich boards, I would be very sympathetic to the Latin liturgy.



And what would really irk me would be the Catholic take on social issues (and the greying but still angry army of nuns who'd be pumping it out). I say the following with no authority and little but impressions to back me up: Catholic social doctrine was invented out of whole cloth in the 19th century to chart some kind of middle ground between capitalism and the various forms of socialism. In its current incarnation, it is pretty socialist. And the crowd who holds sway in the RC "Justice and Peace" industry --now an unquestioned "essential part of the Gospel"--are all lefties. That would be really hard for me to tolerate, seeing as how I am in favor of hunting, corporal punishment and the death penalty. And the active complicity of the American RC bishops in the invasions from Mexico...well, maybe that's a place to practice the three aforegoing activities. My humble opinion is that if you want information, solid and reliable, about the Chalcedonian doctrine of the two natures of Christ, the RC Church is the place to go. If you want some direction on how to respond to the Gaza blockade...please. Stick to what you know.

So my decision back in the mid 80's still seems right. It's kinder to both sides that I remain an interested alumnus.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Miss O'Gyny

After forty years of feminism, it seems that many women have become quite masculinized, while many men, and society itself, have become feminized.



Portrayals of women and men on television. Very common to see "strong" women who demand to be treated as the equals of men unless they want to invoke the traditional privileges of women to a) utter irrationality and b) wounded victimhood. The frequency with which "equal" women still feel they can berate, insult, emotionally control and/or blackmail and even assault men and expect to be indulged with compliance and no retaliation...pretty amazing.

Brief, client-centered therapy

Yeah, right

I passed this sign in a window on my way to the office:



"You are a beautiful magickal special person
from a long line of sacred beings."

Well, that may be true of the few pneumatics among us, but as a blanket statement it is, of course, ridiculous.

Case in point, note the behavior of these "beautiful magical special persons from a long line of sacred beings":
Israeli doctors and others band together to save the life of a dying Palestinian infant, only to have the child's mother explain that she hopes he will grow up to be a suicide bomber. It's all here, in all its splendor.

You can read it and weep, or you can read it and realize what it means on this planet to be at war and to have enemies.

It is a commonplace that for war to succeed, you have to "dehumanize" your enemy, make them Other. Well, even the language used for that nostrum shows its bias. You don't have to dehumanize your enemy, you simply have to make them "not us". Only Western liberals think that "common humanity" is a powerful category, when in fact it is very thin. It is our least common denominator and consequently only appealing to those who have lost touch with real humanity, which is local and tribal, and whose "civilized" layer of behavior is thin and temporary, at best.

And I would make the case that seeing your enemy as an implacable fiend actually humanizes them. Because that kind of more-than-animal savage is what we, uniquely, can be. There are enmities in the natural world. Lions and hyenas. Different species. Lion prides against one another. Intra-species territoriality. But take the behavior of primates like chimps. Predatory war. And we, too, are primates. No more savage species exists.

The words "human" and "inhuman" are by necessity deeply ambiguous. We can, in fact, show astonishing compassion and self-sacrifice. But we can just as well rip the child out of pregnant woman's belly after raping her sisters and beating her husband to death and then celebrate it with a festive lunch. As the great philosopher Ann Coulter put it, "The natural state of the world is Darfur." What is more natural to humankind than inhumanity?

What is most troubling to me about the Israel story is not the cold and implacable enmity of the mother, but the incomprehension of the Israeli doctor. She is a far more representative case of humanity: to save a child from death so he can grow up to be a warrior and die for her tribe and her god. Hardly new. Because for her, and for him, this life is a blink in eternity. Her world is vast, with a meaning determined by an all-powerful God and an infallible prophet (whose own history with Jews was very bloody), and can accomodate this behavior, so scandalous and puzzling to the doctor and his passionately sentimental and fearfully tiny view of life. If he does not wake up, she will indeed have Jerusalem. And not feel the slightest twinge of shame that she helped destroy the Jew who saved her child.

One of the great contributions to psychotherapy comes from Melanie Klein. From her observations of infants with their mothers, she developed this idea: babies instinctively split their mothers into the good mother who meets their needs and the bad mother who frustrates them. This she calls "the paranoid-schizoid" position. Eventually, if all goes well, the growing baby realizes that the good and the bad mother are the same person. This shocking infantile insight into the deep ambiguity of mother herself produces what Klein calls "the depressive position." It is a sad loss to realize that there is no perfect mommy. All you have is a mix.  But that is real life. She is mom and she is --usually-- loveable and loves you, but in an inescapeable mix of, shall we say, "both good and evil"? How many adults seem to have forgotten this truth?



I sometimes think that liberals have never met an actual human being.



Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Times and seasons

A year ago today I was as miserable as I can remember being since my sister died in 2004. Unlucky in love, then lucky again...or so I thought...then back to my default unlucky. Some days I think that the heart is a curse. As I told Mom when she opined that the Lord was "testing" me, "No, Ma, He's not testing me, He's fucking with me." I survive, though, with effort. Some days I am not sure why. And some days, to be frank, I don't care if I do.


You know how men can be about clothes. You get attached to an old shirt or a pair of shoes and wear them beyond their time. I have a set of sweat pants and a tank top that I like to work out in.

On the left, sweat pants. On the right, a tank top...


Mine are Navy blue. But by this time, sweat...and other things...have spotted them badly. My ex, Thomas, tells me he's ashamed to be seen with me when I wear them. So I decided to redye them. Then discovered that unless you drench them in a dye fixative, both me and my laundry will be stained Navy blue for some time. Finally tracked down the fixative in a fabric store...my idea of hell, from childhood shopping trips with my mother...in the Mission. Going in there is practically a Coming Out Statement. But I bucked up, and now the dyed and fixatived and very dark blue things are drying on my back deck. We'll see how it turns out.

On the bus over there, I was treated to one of the reasons I bought a car. Some ghetto trash Latina of substandard intelligence and barbaric impoliteness was shouting into her cell phone for the whole bus to hear. Jefferson and Co. may have believed that all men are created equal, but things change right after that. I'm on craigslist, looking for that new car.

Picnic lunch on the couch: salmon cream cheese and crackers, potato salad, bologna, grape tomatoes, ginger ale. Nice on a warm sunny afternoon.

I am, of course, filled with patriotic pride at Ms. Obama's performance with the NAACP.  Burlap bags.

I wonder if there have ever been other civilizations besides the modern West where the road to power was to achieve victim status. (And then hold on to it for dear life, other grounds for respect being on the thin side..)

On a new Vonage commercial, most of the actors have foreign accents.

Too manly?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Catholic on the Orient Express

Masterpiece Theatre's new version of Murder on the Orient Express has David Suchet as Poirot. A very different style and presentation for him. What is striking is his overt and unapologetic Catholicism, --with rosary in hand, he thanks God, in French, for being born a Catholic!--which plays a role in this crime solution, his attitude and its aftermath. This is a dark and cramped story, without the supercilious lightness of so many of the other Poirot tales, and his moral mood is similar. Surprising and impressive.

Update. A "making of" film showed later, with Suchet --who was confirmed in the Anglican Church several years ago--riding the contemporary Orient Express. Included among the interviewed riders, two men...on their honeymoon. Suchet: "How splendid. Congratulations." Times change.

Veinity

I've always had a thing for that long strong vein flowing out of the shoulder and down the arm...the cephalic vein.

Unintended consequences

Part of the conservative temperament is concern about unintended consequences. History is full of examples where the intended outcome fails to appear and what arrives instead is something quite different. This is especially true when high moral purposes clash with ingrained human behaviors.

Prohibition in the United States is a great example. A case can be made that the levels of alcohol abuse in 19th century America were catastrophic. But when the moral crusaders finally succeeded in amending the Constitution itself --something which continues to amaze me--, the unfolding consequences were a massive growth in the power of organized crime, with its attendant corruption and violence, fed by the huge market for illegal alcohol. After almost fifteen years, the amendment was repealed.

My dislike of puritanical moral crusaders continues. Now they are trying to eradicate risks to health or safety, or basic human emotions like hatred or greed or any hint of inequality in life. What do you think their chances of success are? And what will be the outcomes of their attempts to coerce the rest of us to comply with their highminded visions?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Eastern Sierra Nevada

Senfina plendaĉ

That's Esperanto for "endless whining."

Now competing with the Vegans of Color for the silliest forms of utopian whining ("Though many of us resist observing the fourth day of every July as the United States’ Independence Day,  most of us did enjoy an extended weekend and a little extra time to eat well these last few days."), I ran across a YouTube video of the Prague Manifesto, where an Esperanto speaker rails against the anti-democratic, oppressive and unjust language order which results from some natural languages achieving dominance in the world. The solution, not surprisingly, is for everyone to speak Esperanto as their second language so that in international affairs, business, etc. we would all be on a level playing field, plata kampo de lud.

Unjust vegetable order. Unjust language order. Will the injustice never end??!!

Senfina plendaĉ.
The whiner may have failed to notice that Esperanto is a European-based language both in grammar and vocabulary, using the Latin alphabet, and consquently creates --gasp!-- privilege for the very White speakers....Tsk. Tsk. Tsk.
 

Friday, July 09, 2010

Nice!

Radical cheek

The art for the AIDS Walk poster over the last few years is reminiscent of the Maoist posters from the cuddly old fella's revolutionary days. So cool, eh? The People (of Color) Rising Up. Let's not notice that the Cuddly Old Tyrant engineered the deaths of tens of millions. Well, his intentions were...cool. Just like Che. And if you support the AIDS Walk, you need to support government controlled health care...


Here's another great one. Guess we couldn't use that, though.
Wrong Mass Murdering Totalitarian Tyrant. Not the cool one...

Perspectives

The manslaughter verdict against Johannes Mehserle is evidence that "the justice system is broken". When OJ Simpson got off for slaughtering his wife, it worked? Hmmm.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Face off

I have sometimes imagined myself put together differently from the way I am. More mesomorphic. More likely to tan than to burn. Etc. But I have always imagined continuing with my own face. Maybe improved here and there, but very much my own face. Wouldn't like to look in the mirror and see someone else.

But there might be exceptions. And this mug is one of 'em. Fellow Celt Edward Burns. A truly fine looking man.



Queery

If the author of Androphilia is wrong about the current social construction of gayness being inseparable from gender-bending effeminacy, how to explain the ubiquity of drag queens throughout gaydom?

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Sierra synchronicity


World-renowned author of ExCathedra casting his shadow on the Devil's Postpile.
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