Tuesday, August 31, 2010

112th post this month

Guess I had some extra free time and some issues to work through...

I liked the Captain Jack and Ianto Jones love affair on Torchwood.  I had not seen the earliest episodes til now. Mistake. Ianto is a hysterical sobbing lovesick pussyboy* over some girl who's become a Cyberfreak who now has to be killed. But Jack still kisses him while he's unconscious...and then threatens to kill him. What was that Italian thing about love and murderous rage?

Well, one more month without wheels. Just part of what has made 2010 mostly a year I'd rather have missed.

*No rude comments from the peanut gallery; I was never hysterical.

In the nick

...well, nickel of time...well, actually 12 bucks of it. Nick of time?

Clarity about some things is sometimes balanced by idiocy on others. I went out for lunch today. Had an exceptionally good Mexican meal at Chilango on Church Street. And when the bill came, discovered I'd left the house sans wallet, sans cash.

I called Thom, who, luckily, was just about to leave the house with the car. So he had Herschel pop in on the way and give me the 12 bucks for lunch.

I told the waiter, who might also be an owner?, that I had to call a friend to bring money, that I had forgotten my wallet, that I'd be there a bit longer til he arrived. He told me he'd buy me lunch and I could pay him back! A trusting man.

Nice lunch. Nice friends. Nice waiter.

What a relief!

The GMZ Mosque is really just an 11-story cultural center, not a "mosque" like those bigoted right-wing haters have been saying. But it would contain a 10,000 square foot...prayer space.

When is a mosque not a mosque?
When it's a 10,000 square foot prayer space in an Islamic Center.



An Islamic prayer space...with Muslim (men) in it...praying.

A thought experiment

Robins Island, Peconic Bay, Long Island,
across from New Suffolk


If you had to spend the rest of your life, perhaps, on a desert island with one other person...from all the people now living and whom you personally know, whom would you choose to be your companion there?

Blood brothers without blood


When Jack Donovan was working with Nathan Miller to put together Blood Brotherhood and Other Rites of Male Alliance, he asked me to give him some help with the Christian tradition, which I was happy to do. What I forgot to do was to reference David and Jonathan. It is a story in the Hebrew Bible, of course, in the books of Samuel, but because Christianity was created by Jews, their scriptures have been integral* to the daughter religion since the beginning. I took my task too literally and narrowly.

Due to the Hebrew taboos about blood, I guess, there is no cutting and sharing between the two warriors. But their passionate connection, their expressed covenant and its forms of enactment and consequence put them squarely within the archetypal territory that Miller (who did the research) and Donovan (who did the presentation) so beautifully map out.

I remember feeling as if I had been struck by lightning when, as an adolescent and unknowingly in love for the first time*, with my best friend, I read David's lament on Jonathan's death in battle. The language sounds formal in Bible English, but the emotion is unmistakeable:

I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: 
very pleasant hast thou been unto me: 
thy love to me was wonderful, 
passing the love of women.

The nature of their relationship has become a matter of contention in these days of gayness. The Hebrew rejection of male-male sex would argue strongly against it being such. When Jonathan's father, Saul, insults his son because of his attachment to David --the rival to their throne-- he uses language ("to the shame of your mother's nakedness") which could mean that he suspected them of this, however. On the other side, interpreters anxious to remove any hint of homo-eros, understand the phrase "passing the love of women" to mean that Jonathan loved David even more than women love their children and husbands!

In any case, it is a powerful and moving story of the elevation of unbloody blood brotherhood over status and power and even family, although, typically, when David came to the throne, he sought out Jonathan's crippled son and took care of him for the rest of his life. One of the great male friendships in Western culture.

I am sorry that I forgot to mention it for the book.

_______________________________________

*The only serious challenge to the Old-plus-New Testament Bible came from a second-century bishop, Marcion, who found the Jewish writings and their complicated God incompatible with his view of Jesus as purely good and benevolent. He not only rejected the whole Old Testament but reduced the New to St Paul's letters and a single Gospel, a shorter St Luke. It didn't fly. But if Christianity had, like Islam, asserted its own holy book uniquely and rejected its predecessor, the world would be a quite different place, I think, and Christianity a very very different religion. Alternative history speculation to follow at some other time.

And while I'm at it, let me once more smack the highminded and uninformed who accuse Christianity of "appropriating" the Hebrew scriptures. The first Christians were all Jews and the Jewish scriptures were imposed, if you want to be adolescent about it, on the first Gentile converts.  Saint Paul's battle was to liberate Gentile converts from the burdens of accepting the whole Mosaic Law in order to accept Christ. They were all "Jews for Jesus." The first Church Council was about precisely this.
That Council continued, in a way, Jesus' own freedom in radically re-interpreting a holy text while leaving the words on the sacred page.


**In those days "the love that dare not speak its name" often did not even recognize itself in the mirror!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Fallen angel

Gay unity to show diversity, in unified way.

Ah, but there is another, more insidious discrimination going on around us, one the gay media and our sub-culture have only skirted with, at best: homophobia within our own ranks, i.e., the homophobic homosexual.
Just read yet one more....zzzzz.....whiny and high-minded complaint about how difficult it is to show straights how diverse gays are, just like them, because we are so dis-united. Insidious counter-revolutionaries who are thwarting the Five Year Plan. Oh, sorry. Wrong revolutionary paranoia.

The author, who confesses his own history of being less than out and proud since birth, lists the various flawed types who retard the coming of Gay Unity. Closeted gays. Gays in denial. Too-masculinely-identified gays who don't like drag queens and femmes. Gay men who don't like lesbians. Even queens who don't like butches. Because of THEM, the Gay Utopia is held off and American queers will remain in the abject misery they suffer.

One of the commentors notes with horror that he even knows gay men who are Republicans, gay men who don't support gay marriage. Gasp! (How can we be united in our diversity when we have actual diversity going on?) A Canadian queer chimes in that since we don't read Chomsky and Vidal, our country is the laughingstock of civilization. (Which he defines as the G8 countries...)

Can the apocalypse be far off?

I'd rather spend the afternoon with my friend Bill's 90 year old Mormon uncle than ten minutes with one of these Vanguards of the People.

Paradoxy

One man is anxious about losing his lover,
yet he is the one who decides to leave.
The other man is anxious about being trapped,
yet he is the one who won't seem to let him go.




One lost his moral compass, the other sometimes thinks he's lost his mind.
Eros makes us all insane, gods and men alike.

House and Holmes

A moment on House.



House is having a relationship with Cuddy, his boss.
They are being questioned about it by a hospital official, who asks,
"How would you describe the exact nature of your relationship?"

House: "Have you ever seen Wild Kingdom?"

:))

A quite elderly man is pressing House,
"I want a full battery of tests!"
House: "Carbon dating?"

:))

How Farouk is feeling of late



End of summer...not really

For the 17 years I lived in Toronto, with its long long long grey grey grey cold cold winters, I lived for the brief summer, hot and muggy though it was. And brief it was. Two+ months at the very most. By the end of August, often the middle, a day would come when the color of the sky would change just a little and the first whiff of Arctic air would make its way down toward Lake Ontario. I woke up one August 15, Feast of the Assumption, to find all the leaves in the backyard turned to red overnight. My heart used to sink.

So when I found myself in San Diego in February 1988, fresh from a Canadian snowdrift, and the world was full of color, warm, with vegetation everywhere and people not dressed to stay alive in the cold...I fell in love with California. By 1991 I had moved here.

San Francisco is not San Diego. But the climate here is so so so temperate and friendly. It is the end of August, but the fact is that September is our nicest month. And then Fall will come, and then...what passes for winter, really a kind of robust autumn. In winter it will rain a lot and be damp and the constant vegetation will get even greener and more lush. It will be chilly sometimes...but it will not snow and it will not freeze. So I am not afraid of the end of summer.

This morning this sun is pouring into my Tuscan yellow kitchen and sideways thru the living room window. The door and windows are open and it's probably just under 60 degrees. My heart is not in great shape, nor is my bank account, but it's nice. Very nice. I only I had my car...

Backyard seen from my kitchen door

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Malesoul: Interplanetary Edition

Allison Mary

Had she lived, my sister would have been 59 today. She died in a car accident in 2004. I am the first of seven. She was the second, and so she was my littermate. Aside from my parents, the person I had known the longest. I had suffered losses in my life, including the deaths of family and of good friends, but I was unprepared for what it would be like to lose a sister, outside the cycle of nature. Such primal, volcanic pain. I did not think that a human being could howl like that. As I joined my brothers in carrying her coffin out of the church after the funeral Mass, with hundreds of people watching, --she had so many friends, including very close ones--I could hardly stand up; it seemed that I was being struck by lightning, over and over. I did not really know how physically painful grief was until she died. It hit me and tripped me up for years afterward, in ways I would never have suspected.

I have been oddly lucky in losses; not having to carry them alone. When my dad was dying, B was the best of companions all the way through. When my sister died, Thomas came over in the middle of the night and manfully stayed with me til it got light. And for the funeral, my great old friend Thom Landino and my godson Bob were literal supports for me. Grief is so intensely personal, but doing it all alone would be worse. And of course there was the rest of my family, including my parents. I sometimes felt that watching them cope with the death of a child --which they did with amazing grace and faith--was worse for me than losing her.

She was a big person, my little sister. (I never thought of her that way, actually.) Not physically, though she was voluptuous, sexy and beautiful. But whenever she was around, you knew it. She was the glue that held our family together and the matriarch-in-training. When a stranger at a party found that I was the oldest of seven, she said, "It must be interesting, being the alpha male." I laughed, "You haven't met my sister."

So when she died, we had to reconfigure ourselves. I found myself, who has lived far away from the family turf for thirty-five years, drawn in more closely to them. And my role has turned out to be something like a mediator, doing my best as the oldest and taking advantage of the fact that I am without my own family (hence, not drawn into the games of in-law-ship) and mostly 3000 miles distant.

She was full of life and energy. A New York lawyer and a terrific chef and an internet entrepreneur. She broke into a traditionally all-male St Patrick's gathering for lawyers by going in male drag. Lots of enthusiasms --from studying Chinese, to tap dancing, to sport fishing--, a world traveler, a great giver of parties and when it came to shopping, something of a hoarder. We used to joke that she had three of everything. Very clear opinions, including what was right for you. Always a man around, but none of them ever stayed; which left a sadness in her wonderful blue eyes. We still speak of her often; no shyness or avoidance of who she was or that she is gone. Whenever I am back with the family, every day I drive by the spot where she left this world. Who she was shaped my family, and her wholly unexpected dying left a gap we still try to deal with.

For a long time I could not have her picture up in my house. It was too painful. My brother made a CD of her life, with her favorite songs. To this day I have never been able to open it; even thinking about it gives me that pre-panicky feeling in my chest. But for her summer parties, she always decorated the picnic tables in the same way: big bouquets of multi-colored gladiolas set in a galvanized steel can. I have had one in my living room for her for the last six years.


When my other sisters cleaned out her house, they found her old baseball mitt and gave it to me. She had a big dose of masculine energy inside her very noticeably female frame. The last couple of years, I had the chance to sorta fit my hand in it and play catch. An unexpected grace. I know that whenever I got to play, Allison laughed.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

St Gummarus

Well, almost. Nice car, just what I wanted, in SF --black,not green-- but just too far out of my price range. Nice vendor. Told (her, I think) that if it doesn't sell and she wants a backup offer, to call me. Thanked me and said she would. Astonishingly polite for craigslist! So, St Gummarus, pray for us!

Testing the religious waters

Aargh!

Even so bright a man as The Belmont Club's Richard Fernandez writes, in reference to the recent poll about Americans' very mixed perceptions of Obama's religion
The problem here is not theology or Constitutional law. People are born in cultural contexts and they have a right to change their beliefs. There is no religious test for the Presidency; it doesn’t matter whether the president is atheist, Muslim or Christian.
 Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Or at best, very misleading.

Article Six of the Constitution includes the phrase "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

But this binds the government, not the voters. As much as I honor the Constitution, it is a political document designed to shape the government, not to shape me. It is not Scripture.


Contra Mr Fernandez, it may indeed make a very great deal of difference whether the president is atheist, Muslim or Christian.  If a man's religion is going to impact his decision in office, the people have a right to know about it. The Constitution has no right to tell me not to care about it or talk about it. See First Amendment to same.

The Constitution forbids the government from instituting the kinds of tests that were routine in Britain, for instance, requiring written subscription to certain religious doctrines or bodies, to keep Catholics or Jews out of office. But no way no how does it --could it possibly-- forbid me from caring and asking and demanding an answer and making a decision based on how that answer or lack of same. Or, if I feel like, making a voting decision based on any damn criterion I like!

UnCivil Wars

Glenn Beck is having a rally in Washington today. It is the anniversary date of a Martin Luther King rally in days of yore. Al Sharpton is having another rally there. He accuses Beck of trying to hijack the civil rights movement.  Beck's crime is that, unlike King, he wants to reduce the power of the federal government. Shocking, eh? Frankly, the civil rights movement should have had a bullet put to its head a long time ago. It has become a grievance protection racket that encourages irresponsibility, soft tyranny and government dependence. (Not only for blacks but for all the subsequent victim groups that have taken up their model.) It allows people like Al Sharpton to be taken seriously rather than put in the stocks, where he'd be kept in any civilized country. Nuff said.

Came across a startlingly titled book the other day, Negrophilia: from Slave Block to Pedestal.  The author, a Black American man, Erik Rush, points out the bizarre reversal of how Blacks are now assessed in America. His is a more rabble-rousing version of The Content of our Character by Shelby Steele, who pointed out how Whites try to buy moral absolution and racial innocence by giving Blacks license and deference. One of the results is that both groups conspire to prevent Blacks from being individuals. It's how the Race Game --and game it is-- is played now.

I note in the Washington Post's story about the rally that they describe the crowd as being "overwhelmingly white" and "mostly from the Midwest and South."  This is MSM code for "racist yokels". I am pretty sure than once I would have simply accepted that as true. People from the most cosmopolitan city in the world can be as astoundingly parochial and fearful of exotic strangers as people who grew up in the Mission district.



I am curious if the Post could point out how many countries there are in the world which provide both a great deal of freedom and a decently prosperous and safe life to most of their citizens, that are not "overwhelmingly white"?

I can think of one*, maybe two.

Maybe, just maybe, Whites are not the problem.

I have used an insight of maverick post-Jungian thinker James Hillman. He suggested that when a group makes something of a fetish of a particular value or attitude, it is likely that their shadow issue is its opposite. A secularized Jew who hates Christians and their "Christianism", he pointed out, rightly, that the religion of love and unity seemed to have a hard time precisely with...love and unity. A lot of Jungians use this idea --one Jung himself described-- in a hamfisted and predictably cartoonish way to establish a kind of adolescent moral equivalence between competitors they don't like.

I have applied it to America in noticing our choice of name: The United States of America. It is the "United" part which interests me, since it is very clear that bringing together disparate and competing interests has been a fundamental issue of ours from the beginning. The 13 Original Colonies mostly thought of themselves as independent countries and it took a mammoth effort to get them into a single harness. The Civil War revealed the power of their original disunity. I do not think that it solved the problem, even when the country was massively more homogeneous by race and religion than it is now. Keeping the States united is an ongoing task and one that I do not believe has a fatedly happy outcome. It may be the natural skepticism of an older man who imagines a kind of pristine time prior to his own --I don't think I subscribe to anything quite so simplistic. But it seems to me that America has been developing another non-military civil war for the last forty five or fifty years.

I've listened to Beck, and I've listened to Sharpton. And I'd rather live in Glenn Beck's America than Al Sharpton's any day of the week.

*And at least one of those had its governmental structure imposed on it by White people.

Bright and Breezy

Had I a car (note atavistic use of the subjunctive), this would be a great morning for a drive. Sunny, but with a real breeze, not something we usually get early in the day. Being a coastal city, and on a peninsula, the air here in SF is very often pristine, smells freshly-made. With the light today, well, a drive out to the beach would've been very nice.

Which saint do you pray to for non-green Rodeos? Saint Jude certainly took a nose dive with me this past year...did it ever occur to me that impossible cases are by definition impossible?...so maybe there's a saint for cowboys. Cowboys, rodeos. I'll check. BRB...Well, there's a Belgian saint, Gummarus, but he's for cowherds. And Gummarus sounds too much like gumar.

For you non-southern Italians and non-Soprano fans, gumar is the girlfriend on the side that a married man has. Etymological speculation here: The standard Italian for a pal, buddy or sidekick is compare, clearly a form of compadre, from cum + padre, with + father. The feminine form would be comare. The way that southern Italian transforms its consonants, vowels and endings, you could easily start with comare and wind up with gumar. Your pinhead moment for the morning.

I have 2 (?) degrees of separation from Tony Soprano, several times over. His kids went to the same school as my niece, so one brother and sister in law saw him there all the time, had coffee and gabbed, etc. My brother in law is a huge Sopranos fan and won an auction to spend an evening with the cast at a party, so both he and my sister are another link. Really ups my self-worth this morning! A few weeks ago, Hitler. Today, Tony Soprano!

Hey, with other family members, I have connections to George Soros and Angelina Jolie!

This is what's called in therapy, free association. In the real world, a wandering mind.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Too pooped to pucker

God, all this fuckin feeling is exfuckinsausting.

Got an invite on one of the homo sites from a very impressively hung young black fella --he sent pix--in Hawaii who is coming to town next week with three other military buddies and wants to know if a hot (grrrrrrr) dude like me is interesting in partying with the group...

Back in 1992 I was going out with four black guys...at the same time, but one at a time. Was doing my bit for racial integration. :))  Had more energy then, too!  Whatever the sad history that shaped them, there is hardly a creature on earth more beautiful than a beautiful African-American man. A weekly fuckbuddy named Nick, a big handsome footballplayer sized guy who took me to his pastor-brother's church in Oakland for Christmas. Talk about standing out. (He left to use the bathroom while we were out at dinner in the Castro and the two queens at the table next to us breathlessly said to me, as soon as he was gone, "Jesus, where did you find HIM?!!) A smaller and wiry Mr. Ropes and Chains from San Jose whom I met while he was bartending at The Mint. Funny thing: he came to our first date dressed in leather, with cuffs and a T-shirt from a pretty heavy leather magazine. But he was shocked when I tied him to the tree in the backyard. Apparently, like a lot of women, he was totally blind to the semiotics of dressing for a date. He wanted take me to the altar and run my life after four dates, so that sorta ended that. Forget his name now...ah, yes. Jimmy. A colleague in the HIV and substance abuse field, Tim, (long deceased from HIV) handsome and smart, part black, part AmerIndian, but he turned out to be a shapeshifter shaman --at least in his own mind--who responded to my admiration for Mission Dolores by comparing it to a concentration camp*. And good old T, my ex**, with whom I created a scandal and had to resign my job, with whom I lived for over eight years and who remains, almost twenty years later, my irascible but reliable friend.

*This before I learned of the sad fate of St. Peter the Aleut, tortured to death right there.

**I don't quite name B among my ex's --he's more of a y--because things never quite settled long enough in our three year adventure to know who we actually were to each other and what the words really meant. As he told me long ago, "I like ambiguity." And one of our first email exchanges included my saying that "I'm too old to be vague." His response, prophetically, was "And I'm too vague to be old." Funny fella.

But like I said, this is tiring. Now, off to the gym.

PS Well, back from the gym. Got backed up against the water fountain by a very handsome guy with a Southern accent and silver stache and killer smile, found myself staring right into his green eyes. "Hope ya don't mind me bein' pushy. I'm kinda thirsty". Nice to play with that kind of male energy. The man knows how to flirt :)

Amen, Andrew!

His preface:
"Whenever I am told I must be tolerant of other people’s religion, I always wonder, well, which tenet of their religion do you mean? A religion, after all, is a system of beliefs and to say that all beliefs are equally worthy of tolerance is to say, essentially, that ideas don’t matter at all. It’s nonsense of the purest ray serene.

For instance, I always try not to burn or behead those who hold different views on transubstantiation than I do – though there are days when it’s difficult, believe you me. But if, like those Westboro Baptist clowns, you turn up at a US soldiers’ funeral claiming he deserved to die because America tolerates homosexuality and “God hates fags,” then you have been un-friended by me, brother. Because your beliefs suck.

So with a group of Muslims cruelly and despicably determined to raise a triumphalist mosque near the site of the Islamist atrocities of 9/11 in New York, the question naturally occurs: Does Islam suck?"




I love this guy. Andrew Klavan, not the imam. HT to FB friend Leah.

While I'm at it. I remember years ago commiserating with a lesbian colleague at how hard it was to be a lesbian just because you had an erotic attraction to women. Being lesbian was a whole-cloth political and social attitude makeover. She just got hot for other girls, but to join the club you had to sign the whole Loyalty Oath. I idyllically pointed out that it was easier to be gay because we didn't care about politics very much, just sex. Well, did I speak too soon. Gays have now been totally lesbianized.

To the hordes of Stepford homos who march in lefty lockstep, full of fear and loathing for Ken Mehlman, but staunchly standing with their oppressed Muslim brothers and sisters on the Ground Zero mosque issue, Andrew has provoked this thought in me: wouldn't it be cool and very First Amendmenty if the Westboro Baptist Church opened up a branch down the street from where Matthew Shepherd was beaten to death?

Do you get it? Do you get it, you stupid pink sheep?

Matins


For twenty years of my life, first thing, early in the morning, I would find myself in a church or chapel chanting the psalms. Those 150 chunks of song were spread out over a month --in the tough old days, over a week!-- and I found a particular pleasure in them. They are not uniform, with a single message. You can find mostly every human mood in them, from exultation and a sense that all is right with the world to abject misery, rage and sadness. What Jung said of the whole of Scripture is especially true of them, that they are not only the word of God, but the voices of the soul. In a way I liked the Office, the set of simple daily services based on chanting psalms and reading Scripture, better than Mass. It appealed to my introversion and my intuition. It felt like sinking into an ancient river and letting it flow over you.

When I first visited my birthfather's grave, I read the Office of the Dead over him. In Latin, in the older form, the one he would have known when he was alive. Didn't seem right to disturb him with some new-fangled prayers.

Now I read the Internet every morning on my living room couch, with a cup of double-brewed coffee. Not a calming religious experience.

Been thinking a lot about reality of late. What's real and what's not. For a creature "ontologically inferior, morally weak and epistemically challenged," no small undertaking. A lot of "spiritual" people, who infest this part of the world like crabs, some kind of higher perspective is their chosen lens. Well, in the End and in God's eye, maybe We Are All One, but not on the street where I live. Passed a guy last night who had a T-shirt with the phrase "No Enemies" on it. Talk about arrogance. I don't see how it's either useful or good or right to act as if you are living somewhere other than you are. Planet Earth, not The Astral Plane.

Thinking about what's real, in relation to my recently deceased relationship, I think that B has set up his life so that no one really can know him. But then I realized that, being a Five, knowing and being known is A Big Deal for me. For a hedonist Seven, compared to feeling good and having a good time, it hardly registers on the radar. My issue then, not his.

People sometimes react against the typology stuff because it supposedly reduces the purportedly infinite uniqueness of each person to, well, a type. First of all, after you live on the planet for several decades, you realize that originality is actually pretty hard to come by. On the other hand, let's take Sevens. I have a pretty decent experience with four men who are Sevens. They exhibit a set of core compulsions with more variation among them as you move to the periphery. But they are all quite different from one another. One of them, the least mature and healthy, is a good-time Charlie with a lot of sex appeal, no sense of honor, a boy in a man's body and with a major drinking problem. The classical Bad Boy. And he showed the usual ironic migration of the Seven under stress, toward the One position, moralizing. In his case, he would lament the way the world was and opine on how it should be and use that as an excuse for his bad behavior.

On the other end, two Sevens who are in long-term relationships (one with a man, the other with a woman), responsible and creative, although restless of boundaries, both needing home and needing to flee it. Fidelity and truthfulness are not easy for them. At the risk of indulging in Five Pride, both of them show definite elements of the Five that Sevens become more like as they integrate. One is both an artist and a therapist, the other a spiritual teacher in a non-made-up religious tradition. But they both love a good time. Who wouldn't?

I won't talk much more right here about B; I sometimes skirt the boundaries of his privacy and the better part of valor right now is to discretely say that while he is a classic Seven, he is as different from these other guys as they are from one another. His flaws are typical Seven flaws --like my Five, his are rooted in fear--but he has in superabundance that Sevenish gift for creating pleasure, magic and play, even, or especially, out of the most ordinary of moments. That's partly why losing him --realizing that I did not have him-- is so awful.

One of the best and healthiest things I have ever done for myself as a Five is to finally be incarnate. One of the slow-acting benefits of working with my therapist was that in 2002 I went to the gym with a new attitude. And in the last eight years, physically at least, I have become a different man. And it is really only in the last four years or so that I would say I was pretty comfortable, literally, in my own skin. I was certainly sexually active before this new era, but since 2006 especially, it seems that another dimension in me opened up. Not only, but especially, in sexual connection, I can feel my soul living right in my skin. Incarnation. I am still a creature of the brain and of knowing. But I am also very happy to be an animal. For the moment, a healthy animal. And a male animal.

As Psalm 8 says, "When I see the heavens, the work of Your hands, the moon and the stars that You have made, what is man, that You should keep him in mind? Mortal man, that you should care for him? Yet You have made him little less than a god, with glory and honor You crowned him, gave him power over the works of Your hands."

When I met J back in 2006 and began that series of extra-galactic and transcendental sexual meetings, even though I acted like a man in love, astoundingly, I did not want to make that twosome bond with him. He was like a shaman and a mentor and a friend and although he was a powerful presence, he actually made me want to connect more with other people, in lots of other ways. That was part of why and how I met B a year later. Talk about powerful presences, in an unlikely package. As I said before, discretion here should be the better part of valor for now.

So endeth Matins for Friday, August 27th, the 19th day of the New Dispensation.

Existential anxieties at midnight

Well, brother, we both know that the world is a train wreck. But that doesn't mean you can't have a nice day."  --My spiritual father in the Dominican Order, the late friar Cornelius Hahn*.

What if the right non-green Rodeo never comes along and I am condemned to ride MUNI with the SF underclass forever?
What is the future of amoral familism in the Obaman state?
Now who will sing my funeral dirge?
When --as JPNill suggests-- I ask my mother to reveal the mystery of the vanishing green convertible, will she be able to tell me?
What book will I take with me to read on the plane when I go to Toronto and New York next month?
What will it be like to go and come back from the airport by myself now?
What disease (or accident) will be the cause of my death?
Who will come to my funeral?
When will my next really great sexual connection happen?
Will I ever get around to cleaning the kitchen floor?
What will be worse: getting what I want or not getting it?
Since Howard Bloom is right, what if Thomas Sowell is right?
By the time I need my knees replaced, what will the technology be like?
Will the seemingly ineradicable flaws in my character remain ineradicable?

(Funny line on Red Line: "I'm so tired of people bashing the President because he takes so many vacations. I mean, is he doing such a great job when he's working? Maybe we're better off when he's at the beach.")

Time for bed.
_______________

*He was famous for his brisk no-nonsense approach to the spiritual life. I once sat and poured out my fears and insecurities to him. He listened very intently and then reached out and put his hand gently on my forearm and said, "Brother?"
"Yes, Father?" said I.
"Nobody cares."

I loved him.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The drawbacks of progress

I am pretty accustomed to finding out that whenever I upgrade my technology, I lose something I liked and was used to. What the nerds who make the stuff value and what pedestrian me values are apparently not the same.

Microsoft  used to have a very nice little graphics editing program. It did almost everything I wanted. Eventually they not only stopped making it but made it incompatible with newer versions of MS. WTF?

My biggest gripe was with cellphones. My primitive phone, which I lost by dropping it into the garbage along with my lunch debris one day at the Serramonte Mall food court, enabled me to have the phone ring once or twice and then go silent, while still giving me 20 seconds or so before it went to voicemail. Very very useful.  I could be in a session or meeting and know that I had a call to get later and still not interrupt the flow of my present engagement. Do you think you can do that now? Forget it. It rings endlessly and you have shut it down manually or you put it on vibe and, if you're me, don't know the call came in.

Apple is not immune to this phenomenon. Now that I have my first Apple item, the iPhone 16G 3g. I discover that you cannot delete an individual recent call from the list of recent calls. All or nothing. Amazing. And there is no video cam. Who knew? More discoveries, doubtless, await.

Word of the day


SNOOKER

n. pocket billiards played with 15 red balls and 6 balls of other colors.
tr.v.  snookered, snookering, snookers

1. Slang
a.  To lead another into a situation in which all possible choices are undesirable; to trap.
b.  To dupe, to make a fool of.

    Jeremiah 20:7

Animadversions

The former RNC head, Ken Mehlman, whom everybody knew was gay, has just announced that he's gay. From the left, seething rage, from the right, mostly yawning. And I will note here, as part of my theme, that I have never heard the gaydom elites dedicate 5% of the hatred they spew out against traitor homos or Christians or GWB on the people who orchestrated and celebrated 9/11. One very popular gay blog opened up a thread of invective about this guy for his crimes* and then proceeded to contemptuously regard anyone against the GZ Mosque as a bigot. Sharia, anyone?

Mr. Mehlman's current drama reminds of perhaps the funniest response I got when I came out, back, as the witty black phrase has it, "when God was a child." I had decided to come out to my six siblings, as a preparation for coming out to my parents. Since I lived in another country, it took some time. And it was very draining, very dramatic for me. I have been out so long now that it's hard to retrieve the feeling of coming out of the closet; the anxiety, the adrenaline. I know people well, grown men, who are still in there; it's a complex geography**.  Anyway, when I told my sister Allison, she said that it was a great relief to her. Not what I was expecting. When I asked her what she meant, she said, "Well, I've known you were gay for a long time. I was afraid that you might never figure it out."

*Crimes. Such transcendent evils as not supporting gay marriage (like Obama), or supporting DADT (which Bill Clinton enacted) or adding homosexuality to the list of hate crimes (well, you know what I think of the whole idea of hate crimes), etc. Wow. Move over, Pol Pot. But a religion of holy law, whose divinely inspired legal system demands punishment and death for homosexual activity, well, that's a First Amendment thingy. A lot of the yapping among gays these days about their sufferings reminds me of wealthy American Jews who want you to think that Auschwitz is just around the corner because they can't get into a country club.

**I once had a boyfriend who took holy umbrage at two friends of mine in the closet, in a very complicated relationship, because they would not come out. When I had the temerity to point out that he himself, who'd been married and with children, only came out when his mommy and daddy died, I think that was the beginning of the end of our relationship. It's hard to forgive people who do things you are sorry you once did. Believe me, I know. Life can be very messy.

I have changed my mind about a lot of things in my life. I don't know if that's a sign of intellectual honesty or psychological instability. But there it is. While I have always valued and been attracted to the images, institutions and idea of stability, my own choice and actions have shown me to be a restless man. I wish I weren't, but one of the conditions of being my age is that you have your actual history to deal with, not, as when young, identifying yourself with your idea of who you think you are.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Manly...or picky?

To make a long story short, I was on the phone a couple of times today with a guy selling a car I liked. When, after some miscommunication, I finally get the VIN and run the Carfax check, it turns out that this nice black Rodeo is...green. It looked black in the pictures, but it's not. It's green.

I hate green cars*.

Now this is not some rejection of either environmentalism or Islam. Hey, my house is painted shades of green. (And I am kinda color blind, but even this blog might be green.) But that's different. This is a car. And it's "spruce green". To me that reads "no character". It's a color that says, "If I could be invisible and still be annoying, I'd be spruce green."

No way.

*I just realized. My first car was green. A green convertible. My dad bought it for me my senior year in high school. I developed a set of new friends...But after two months, he announced that something had happened with the deal which required the return of the car. Very mysterious. And back it went. I was a pedestrian once again. Gone the new friends. As I am now. Except then I was 18.

He never explained what happened. Maybe that's why I hate green cars...

__________________

Speaking of manly, got my bottle of Connemara Peated Single Malt, an evil cigar and watching Torchwood, with Captain Jack Harkness. Good man, Captain Jack. None of his cars are green, either.

There was a recent controversy in gaydom because some gay writer suggested that straight audiences won't buy gay actors like Sean Hayes, who played an uber-queen on Will & Grace as romantic male leads with women. Duh. But I bet they'd buy John Barrowman, who plays omnisexual Captain Jack. In real life Barrowman is gay, partnered, out, etc. but the guy is convincing when he puts the moves on women and men both.

Working on a new profile

"Racist, sexist, homophobic, Gaia-skeptical, Islamophobic, capitalist, carnivorous, cigar-smoking, warmongering, jingoistic-patriotic, religious-but-not-spiritual, and general all-around nice guy seeks same for fun and romance."

Waddaya think? :))

A just about

perfect day. Damn, could that man make me happy.
I don't know if he ever really understood how much.
It even amazes me.

Oh,and speaking of masculinity

ROTFLMAO!

A strange moment

I was heading out to see a friend last night and was walking down Castro Street --not in the finest of moods, I grant; the day's heat was really uncomfortable-- and coming up toward me was a male and sorta female couple. As they got closer the feminine person, whose babbling I could hear from half a block away and who looked and dressed mostly like a female but had something of the bone structure of a man, looked up at me and stopped talking right in mid-word, with a kind of scared and shocked look on her face. I kept going and wondered what had happened. Had my internal dislike of the drag queen turned into a scowl at a stranger? I forget sometimes that at 6'1" and 200 lbs with a big tattoo and a tanktop, I can be intimidating to littler people.

I acknowledge that I am quite sensitive to the imbalance between masculine and feminine energy in many gay men. And my neighborhood is something of a pressure cooker for that. People come here precisely so that they can be really gay. But it brought to mind again the fatalistic assessment of Mr Donovan that gayness is inescapeably bound up with deformed masculinity and deformed femininity. And my own irritated suspicion that many "gay" men have a primary issue with their gender identity, with sexual attraction choice is either secondary or an outcome of the primary problem.



B used to call the Castro "Chinatown" and he had no love for it. By the time we met, I was well on that page with him. Although he was no swaggering dude, he was clearly --and pretty damn wonderfully-- a regular guy. I think he was even more deeply put off by all the gay stuff than he was willing to admit and any association with that group --sometimes me?--made him profoundly uncomfortable. (Puzzlingly, though, his best friend --a kneejerk gay liberal--wrote a book about the female comic book superheroines he is obsessed with and makes dolls of them. Opposites do attract, I guess. Never could figure that one out.)

I had my own profoundly uncomfortable moment. Although I really don't like drag queen types, I don't plan to make a career of scowling at them in the street. That should be saved for the ACLU and Greenpeace and Prop8 activists who constantly bother the neighborhood. But archetypes are not amenable to transient social change. (That's my hesitation about gays trying to fit into the archetypally heterosexual institution of marriage.) So I wondered if, no matter how clear I am that I am a man, the mere fact of being involved in homosexuality calls that status into question.

Moral panic

That is the name given to various episodes where communities get hysterical and hyper-reactive over particular moral issues.Usually sexual stuff. The most recent example was the Satanic Abuse Panic in the 90's. Turned out it was about nothing. But it shows the common archetypal inheritance between supposedly educated and enlightened Westerners and contemporary Africans who burn their neighbors alive for practicing witchcraft. (I have the video.)

Anyway, there is another kind of moral panic in the air, indeed, in the culture for the last 45 plus years, but it is internal and it is focussed on the self: the panicked hyperanxiety that one might be a racist bigot and hater. White people are its primary practitioners and it has made of the once dominant social power an increasingly pathetic and culturally suicidal therapy group. Perhaps --perhaps-- with the exception of pedophilia (which is a mostly individual rather than group issue), nothing so throw white Americans into an internal and external moral panic than the spectre of "bigotry and discrimination".

Race is by far the most powerful field in which this operates, but feminism has so infected our assumptions that men are now routinely marginalized, pathologized, etc. in a wide range of places and no one seems to notice. It has become that normal.

At my workplace years ago, I was cajoled into having the staff watch a film I was subjected to in grad school, a supposedly mind-opening and ground-breaking study of race called The Color of Fear. It is basically about a group of men of color who gang up on a couple of white guys and make them feel bad. When I showed it at work and opined that it seemed to be about little more than racial vengeance, a man of color on the staff replied, "So what?"

There are a lot of people like him in the race and gender struggle. And morally panicked whites and males are pushovers for what is actually not "justice" but "payback."

The Prime Directive for morally panicked whites is "Never Offend A Minority." There is, however, no expectation of reciprocity. How often do we find blacks or Latinos, women, or Muslims apologizing for going overboard? Don't hold your breath.

Racism is universal and a fact of life, whether you call it by that name or some other title. Letting fear of being accused of it rule your moral life is a kind of suicide. It is not by accident that the Jain religion, whose Prime Directive is ahimsa, harmlessness, includes in its monastic tradition a real, even if careful, approval of suicide as a religious act. Best way not to harm is to make yourself disappear. And that's what Westerners, especially of the Caucasian persuasion, are up to.

Count me out.

And sexy men


The downward trajectory from the neck and shoulder, along the spinal column, to the curve that flows into the ass...one of God's great, I mean really great, ideas.

Angry Muslims



and their incompetent and petulant enablers in the Barry Hussein O administration.

PS This also a useful primer on the often misleading and hyped quality of news headlines, where the outlet excitedly tells you what is going to happen and then that's not what happens. He did not "storm out". He sulkily walked out like a baby.  Which is bad enough.  Background to this question, btw.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A (con)Founding Father


Watching a two hour program on Thomas Jefferson, certainly one of the most complex of the Founding Fathers. He is endlessly interesting, partly because of his complexity and his contradictions. When I was a very young man I spent a year living at Rose Hill (below) in Virginia, in Albemarle County, about 30 miles west of Monticello.



The producers advance the now commonplace notion that America is a creedal nation rather than one based on ethnicity. I have become suspicious of this half-truth, since it often gets translated into seeing America as an abstract ideological project, something I reject. Along with Samuel Huntington. It is certainly not restricted to one ethnicity, but its founding bears the determinative marks of the culture which gave birth to it.

The particular shape of the American "creed", to me and others, is a set of values, not a single idea. Certainly not, as so often assumed now, "equality." And that shape would hardly have been thinkable outside the very specific culture of the founding era. Who else but British-descended educated white men of Protestant Christian and Enlightenment ethos --a complicated but quite specific constellation of values, assumptions, attitudes, etc.--could have created this country? Even within that limit, conflict was the order of the day, as is the way with humans. Jefferson vs Hamilton vs Adams. And that's only three. That the Republic, forged out of 13 diverse and quarrelsome colonies, managed to survive is something of a miracle. And its internal conflicts and tensions erupted, of course, with tragic violence and massive bloodshed some 80 years later in our War Between the States.

I have no great hope that, as the complexion --both literal and attitudinal-- of the country moves us further and further away from the culture of the Founding Fathers, we will survive. I hope I am wrong.

:))))

One big MacShelle with fries. HT to FB friend Charles Winecoff.

Sheesh

It's hot. Got a headache from it. Glad I worked out early.

Shrapnel ain't helpin.

August morning musings

Since I ended my affair of the last three years, two friends of mine, with no connection to each other but me, are starting up newish explorations in sorta romantic relationships. Both with people they have known for a long time. I guess when I freed up that energy, it infected them.

I am again struck with how kind (and patient) friends are to me. I was describing a mistake that I have made repeatedly over the last while and opined that if I did it again, I should be shot. "Nah, not shot. But maybe pinched real hard." Now that's mercy.

It's supposed to edge close to 90 degrees today. Better do the gym early. Last night I waited til ten. A narcissistic moment: because of the heat I wore shorts, rather than the long sweatpants I usually do, and I was working my legs, so I got to actually see them while I was exercising them. Not bad for an old codger. Veinier than ever, thick, and nice definition. If only they had more melanin.

Put off my East coast trip til next month, after Labor Day.

An interesting moment when I was having dinner last Friday with my sister, hubby and nephew. She is a feeling type and no dope, so she has occasionally "outed" me about my attitudes toward my family. She notices that I avoid direct conflict with anyone; she calls it being "politically correct" so that everyone will like me. I don't deny it. I am pretty conflict averse in close relationships, for better or worse, but since my sister died, I have found a kind of role for myself a bit of a peacemaker. My family has a very bad history of siblings breaking off, always over a spouse's conflict with other family members, and I do my level best to prevent that in my generation.

Thomas, who was at dinner with us, was very supportive, actually. Not something I can always rely on! He said that it made perfect sense for me to keep peace with everyone back there because, living 3000 miles away, if I got into a conflict, it could last for years. Smart fella!

I am remembering the August days back in New York when I was a kid. Long stretches of hot sun and humidity. And in the afternoon heat, the alien music of the cicadas.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hetero/geneity/sexuality

Although not a practitioner, I am generally supportive of heterosexuality. It created me. I was raised by heterosexuals. My family is infested with them. Some of my best friends are... And there's that continuity-of-the-species thing.

But sometimes...

I caught a few seconds of Maury Povitch today. Not only would it fan the flames of anti-black racism with its endless supply of interchangeable ghetto trash...but you'd have to wonder about heterosexuality, since almost all the grotesque behavior is between men and women. It's a place where The War Between The Sexes is literal. And ugly. Really vile. The Roman Coliseum, USA version.

Some further unseasonable thoughts. If, in contemporary America,  an entrepreneurial Jew decided to open a minstrel theater where blacks performed all sorts of undignified acts for the amusement and contempt of the audience, all hell would break loose. But here is Mr. Povitch, grown rich by adopting the role of advocate and sympathetic counselor while the African-Americans freely offer themselves up five days a week to perform every repulsive stereotype of which their race is suspected. Except it's supposed to be reality, not musical fiction. And we're not allowed to notice what is going on. And it's a hit with everyone. But God forbid some Caucasian on the radio say "nappy headed" or "nigger" and the Apocalypse unfolds.

Stretches my First Amendment loyalty to the limit.

Brothers, sisters, others


I was out having a sandwich last week and brought along Nathan Miller and Jack Donovan's book, Blood Brothers. It's a cross-cultural and historical survey of male alliance structures and rituals. With all the variations there are still some astonishing themes. The prominence of shared blood is the most outstanding, of course. Exchange of clothing is frequent, too. But in many of the incidences where the bond is public, it creates new relationships between the men's families. Fascinating stuff, deep archetypal territory.

A man came into the restaurant, someone I would describe as a chatty old queen, whom I know only very casually but who is close to a good friend of mine. I guess he felt that gave him permission to comment. When he asked about the book and gave him a brief outline, he asked, "Oh, is that some kind of leather community thing?" Clearly we were not on the same page. And when I talked about this being a self-generated form of male bonding, as opposed to trying to fit two men into the model of heterosexual marriage, he announce, "Well, anyone can do that, of course, but everyone has the right to be married if they want to." Truth, from the heights of Olympus. Luckily my good friend came in and whisked him away.

Is it just me or is the difference between men and women not massive and central and obvious? Does no one suspect that a universal human institution designed to shape the male-female relationship might not fit two people of the same sex?

When I was looking for a single word to describe a male-male bonding that is both emotional and physical, I finally gave up. I still think that it has three dimensions, each of which still needs it own word: friend, lover and I would add now blood-brother.

Inner worlds, outer worlds

Had a rough dream last night and woke up angry. I remember when I was younger I would sometimes start off the morning in a bad mood --not my usual style; I am a little slow in the morning but not at all the grumpy type. I would start to wondering why and I often discovered that it was the lingering effects of an unpleasant dream I had forgotten. At least nowadays I know the causal link.

I have a trip back East upcoming that I am not at all looking forward to. Visiting old friends who are having all sorts of painful stresses and serious problems, including bad health.

Being seen as foolish or incompetent has always felt worse to me than being seen as evil or bad.

It's sunny out and today and tomorrow it's supposed to be 80 degrees and more. Practically a heat wave for us. A trip out to the beach on the M streetcar might be in order.

Still searching for a car. A couple of almosts, but not quite yet. Financially, it's probably not the smartest move right now, but losing my mobility along with everything else really grates on me. Hey, if worse comes to worst, I can always sell it.

My old job is being advertised again. The person who followed me lasted less than two years. It was an odd choice from the get-go. They clearly wanted someone different from me...and they got her. Someone with no experience with the kind of work the place did. Now the ad describes the job not as Executive Director but Executive Administrator. And they're cutting back the hours to what I used to do. But they're still paying way more than they paid me. Funny how a place can feel like home for a decade or more and then when the cord is cut, after the initial shock, it could be the planet Mars. I have no desire whatever to go back.

The one thing I really want to do at the moment, I can't.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

TrulyBloody

A funny exchange.

Unasked, the Wiccan waitress offers some pot to Sam Merlotte
after he beat up his craphead father:
Clearly you have an anger problem, Sam.
It's good for bringing your testosterone level down. 


Sam: Well, have you got anything for nosiness and bad boundaries?

The vampire king re-enacts Talbot's death by killing a human he picked up, after having sex with him. This makes two linkings of male-male sex and murder. Hardly groundbreaking.

A mystery solved at last


Ever wonder why The Swiss Family Robinson is named Robinson? Not a Swiss name. That's always bothered me. The original book in German is called Der Schweizerische Robinson, Oder der Schriffbruchige Schweizerprediger und Seine Familie which is more like The Swiss Robinson Crusoe: A Shipwrecked Swiss Minister and His Family. It refers just to the father of the family, who is the narrator. In the original, the family has no last name. Thanks to Wikipedia and Google for relieving that stress for me. We now return to our regularly schedule programming: angry Muslims and sexy men.

To keep up my blogging tradition

of angry Muslims (see previous post) and attractive men...


I know that for most of the human race, this is a very disturbing image. But with my special eyes and insight into reality...it's a beautiful, beautiful image. Beautiful. "With my body I thee worship."

Not to put too fine a point on it, Muhammad

Technology and vice

Well, I am stocked up on cigars for a while. I downloaded an app to my new iPhone, one which lays out the whole public transportation system in SF, giving you maps, times of pickup at each stop, etc. Has a GPS, so it can also tell you all the nearby stops for any line. Amazing stuff. So I took the 24 over to Noe Valley and caught the 48 up to Portola and Woodside, got my evil cigars at the Korean liquor store, had a cup of coffee at the historic Starbucks across the street from the Purple Temple of the Lutheran Ball-Crushing Goddess and then walked a few blocks --knowing I had plenty of time-- to get the 37 down to Market and Castro. And the weather is really great. Really perfect sunny Sunday morning. The city is so damn beautiful today.



At the bus stop I met an out of town vet who was planning his trip out to the VA at Fort Miley tomorrow for medical care and gave him an easier route than he was planning. In return he told me that 30 years ago he was here for a while, using meth, and spent a day or two --as far as he could remember-- on the Sutro Tower, right above where we were waiting for the bus.



Now THAT had to be cold...but he probably didn't feel a thing.

Surprise

On Facebook, wandering through the comments of FB friends' friends --some of whom are ineffably doltish. Then a link to that very funny site, Stuff White People Like. And the link is about Film Festivals. True stuff!

Suddenly a memory (jewel? shrapnel?) of me taking someone to see my favorite flick, Amarcord. (Appropriate, since the title is Italian dialect for "I remember".)  He brought a backpack to the theatre. Huh? Once we get inside and the lights go down, out comes a box of red wine. Yeah, a box. Don't ask.


And two glasses. "Hey, you can't watch an Italian film without a glass of wine!" The dude had a way of making the most ordinary moments small parties. Over and over and over. I once told him he was like Bill Clinton, who was famed for making each person he talked to feel as if they were the most important and interesting person in the world, even though they weren't.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Some Benedictine wisdom



The Rule of St Benedict - Chapter 30.

"Every age and degree of understanding
should have its proper measure of discipline.
With regard to boys and adolescents, therefore,
or those who cannot understand the seriousness
of the penalty of excommunication,
whenever such as these are delinquent
let them be subjected to severe fasts
or brought to terms by harsh beatings,
that they may be cured."

What, in our softer and vastly more privileged and deluded age, would be considered "child abuse" was, in the wilds of the Italian peninsula in the darkening centuries after Rome's fall --when and where this Rule was written-- simple common sense.

It does no credit to us that we so easily assume a moral superiority to our ancestors, based on the ethical fashions of the last ten minutes, when the protected world we live in --and who knows for how long?-- spares us from so many of the harsh basic realities that were just ordinary life to the vast majority of men in all times and places.

--

The Apple in the garden?

I am now SmartPhone equipped. I am sure that some kind of cybermayhem is to follow. For starters, the damn thing will not recognize all the phone numbers in my SIM card....


Aha! Found the route to import the SIM contacts. Life is improving...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Fingerprints

Back from a long and very pleasant and delicious dinner, I click on the TV and what do I see but the scene in The Philadelphia Story where the little sister plays Lydia The Tattooed Lady. Great.

Good lines:

Gary Grant to Kathryn Hepburn:
The moon is also a goddess, chaste and virginal.  
Hepburn:  
Stop using those foul words.


Hepburn: You hardly know him.
Grant: To hardly know him is to know him well.

Uncommon wisdom from the left

Disillusioned but committed Social Democrat theoretician and historian Tony Judt, recently deceased, sounding very much like a wise conservative:

If we have learned nothing else from the 20th century, we should at least have grasped that the more perfect the answer, the more terrifying its consequences. Incremental improvements upon unsatisfactory circumstances are the best that we can hope for, and probably all we should seek.

French balls

It's unusual when the French show balls, but they just have. They are throwing gypsies, whom we must now call Roma in PC, out of their country and sending them back to Romania. Where they belong.



One of the stupidest and most cynically destructive dogmas of modern liberalism is that any group of people --as long as they have approved victim status-- have the right to live wherever they want and the people in the host country --especially if they are white--have to be happy and grateful about it and accommodate them, even if it means offending or erasing their own native values and institutions.

One of the most obvious truths about humans is that we are tribal and that when you start mixing tribes together in the same space you almost always have trouble. Human groups are territorial. Struggle for land and the control of it is a constant of life on this planet.

The predictable cries of "racism" are based on that liberal dogma. And that dogma is not only groundless but cruel. It asks people to be angelic about your particular moral agenda despite its deleterious effects on their real ordinary lives and it disingenuously sets up other people, the official victims, for a bad experience. If people go where they are not wanted and where they have no right to be and then suffer the consequences, whose fault is that?

What is preferable, to refuse to allow an unwanted group to enter your land or to let them in and then mistreat, abuse or slaughter them? Common sense, even common decency, suggests the former.

I, as an individual, have to ask permission to enter a foreign country. I have to show a passport and tell them why I want to enter and I have to abide by the laws which tell me how long I can stay, etc. I am a guest in someone else's house. But when thousands or millions of people cross into another country without asking and then behave badly and are sent home, that's racism? Again, approved victim status is the key.

IMHO, not every group of people should be living next door to each other. It's beyond brainless to believe that they should. Ever read a history book? Or watch the news? Even groups that are similar almost always develop some kind of conflict. And whatever group of people own a land (as in a nation) have the right to decide who else gets to live there. It's what's called sovereignty, sort of an enlargement to a group of the right of private property and self-defense and self-determination, etc. The issue is NOT "What right do you have to keep us out?"* but "Why should we let you in?" The analogy between your own home (aka house) and your homeland can be overdone, but it's a damn good marker of how crazy someone is on issues of ethnicity, immigration and that completely bogus concept, xenophobia.

*This was the lie behind the disastrous US immigration policy changes of the 60's that will one day not too far off turn the USA into a white minority country. I doubt very much that that will be pretty.

Immobile

Ever have to deal with a toddler who is cranky and crying and who cannot be calmed down and consoled by any means? Food, cuddling, distraction, sleep...nothing works. I remember this from my earlier life as the oldest of seven children.



Well, I am having a much more adult and low-key version of that at the moment. I am ready to jump out of my skin but I cannot for the life of me think of anything that would make me feel better.

Eating? Nah, had breakfast, not hungry.

Sex? Nah, kind of too obviously escapeist. The porn route seems tawdry right now and I would only feel worse, I am sure. And imagining the someone I used to like to get naked with has a kind of cold invisible shield in the middle of it now. A new stranger? Too much work and I know I would not really be into it.

Talk to someone? To say what that they and I have not heard before?

Get up and go for a walk? Simple, but probably the best way. Just move. So, off I go.

I handle this just a little bit better now than I did when I was two. I think.

Some of my best friends are

Like a bunch of other catch phrases in current America*, "some of my best friends are..." is supposed to bring argument and discussion to a halt. The phrase triumphantly points out that the person noted is covering up his bigotry and prejudice about an approved minority group by pointing to the exceptional member of that group whom he likes. It is a way of counting coup in PC: You are clearly a hypocrite. End of story.

Some particularly dense young man was arguing on Facebook this morning about the Ground Zero mosque, saying that he knows some Western Muslims who are very nice and do not want to blow anybody up. Ergo, stopping the mosque is un-American, etc. Why punish these nice Mohammedans because of a few fanatics? After all, remember the Spanish Inquisition, etc.**



People as individuals and people in groups are not the same people.

Making that distinction is something that many humans have always done. Separating a liked individual from a disliked group: nothing is more natural and there is nothing inherently wrong with it. (Hell, if you like a group of people but dislike an individual in that group, is that hypocritical?) Because: people as individuals and people in groups are not the same people. Ask a Tutsi about a Hutu. Need I go on?

Just because you like the person as an individual does not at all mean that you must transfer that affection to their group(s). One of my best friends is a Unitarian. Wonderful human being. Despite the fact that her religious group is nuts. There is hardly anything they stand for that I can stand. My ex is a black man who remains my good friend; but ask him about his general attitude toward white people some time. Not pretty. See? It goes both ways. So I don't feel at all bad (or..oooooooh....."racist") for taking a dim view of a great deal of American black culture and behavior.

Hell, what about all the mixed marriages in history? When people marry, no one expects the spouse to automatically love their new partner's family. On the contrary, it's a staple of humor that while the couple loves each other, they can't stand each other's family. As with family, so with a lot of other groups. Human love is not restricted by group boundaries, but that does not mean that the boundaries are illusions. Good fences make good neighbors.

I just read this morning that Ann Coulter and Bill Maher are friends. 

That PC nostrum, which requires you to love all members of a group if you love one member of the group is just as stupid as the literal stereotyping which holds that all members of a group must be a certain way, without exception. Both of these extremes simply do not pay attention to reality.

*"racial profiling", "separate but equal", "second class citizen", etc.


**And don't get me started on "moral equivalence". That's ready for another posting by itself.

A part of me

still can't believe it.

But what's that nostrum?...The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect a different outcome.

Increasingly cold clarity living cheek by jowl with sloppy sentimentality.

I know it's not a very manly metaphor, but small memories of happy moments are like precious stones, even jewels. Trouble is that when the geography and weather changes, they turn into shrapnel. A sick feeling in the stomach.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Props, credit, whatever

She is very good. LOL. Got it down perfect!

Senza macchina ancora

Well, the test drive made me hesitate. A bit of shaking in the steering column on the highway. Some screech in the breaks. And the back window windshield wiper didn't work properly. Had to pass. But it was a nice trip to Mountain View. Thom and I had Starbucks and were accosted by a little boy just on the verge of learning to walk. He and Dad and Grandad were having an outing. Suburbia can be nice.

Cyberillusions

One of the truths about the internet is that you can lie all day long. Brad Paisley has a funny video about it, where he's "so much cooler on line."

I got a note from an admirer, a 26 year old from Trenton, NJ...who just happened to look identical to Alex Baresi, a 6'1" Italian porn star that I just happened (really!) to recognize. Mr. Trenton is probably a nun.

And although I am no fan of the doctrine of re-incarnation, if I could come back as Alex...well, I might have to reconsider. How do you improve on perfetto?

Commonplaces

 Magritte: The Lovers
When you're in the kind of transition that I am, one of the things both comforting and embarrassing is how much of yourself you can hear reflected in popular music, most of which has but one theme. Rod Stewart's "Reason To Believe" came to mind as I was drinking my coffee this morning. At least you know you are not alone, but you also know that you are just as much of a dope as the rest of the populace. As one of my sisters always says, "Betweeen IQ and EQ, big difference." Me? For IQ, serious brainiac. EQ? Borderline retarded.

Interesting dream last night. Civilization had completely fallen apart and I was working with two men --on another planet, in outer space--to retrieve words and deeds: to save human language was one man's task (and for that reason he didn't talk very much) and the other's was to gather all the knowledge about how to make things, from a toothbrush to a hockey stick. My particular interest was in finding the oldest and most ancient story of the hero, the first story humans ever told. I was searching for his name.

I was thinking of the Tower of Babel the other day. Yeah, really. You're not really surprised, are you? The result of trying to overstep the inborn limits of man led not to a unified triumph of architecture, but the estrangement of one group and individual from another, chaos and division. Conservatives are conscious of limits, perhaps before all else. But there is a drive both in the West and especially in America to believe that man is without limits. We tell our children that they can be anything they want to be. Well, they can't. I could have been a professor of Italian literature or a constitutional lawyer, but I could never have been a painter or jet pilot (being color blind), or an NFL football player or an opera singer. Nevah gunna happen. And now we think that every ethnic and racial group is equally good at everything, that two men can make a marriage and that diversity is our strength. Babble.

Has any other civilization in history decided to unravel its structures of privilege --and every society has and needs them--simply because they were perceived to be wrong? To bend over backwards, repeatedly and abjectly, to accommodate and placate former slaves, females, foreigners (including hostile foreigners), cripples, sexual deviants, atheists and crazed pet lovers? I can think of no historical precedent where a thriving civilization overnight decided to commit suicide at the hands of people it had previously, and often with very good reason, kept in second place? As the King of Siam said, Is a puzzlement.

Perhaps it's the unreality and hubris lurking within the Enlightenment project, one of whose urges was to liberate man from local particularities and to discover oddities like The Universal Rights of Man. There is a huge amount of abstraction in the Enlightenment, although its proponents probably never meant it to be taken so literally. Unintended consequences.

Judge Vaughn can assert ex cathedra without irony that "gender difference is no longer essential to marriage." Well, hell, the International Mr. Leather judges, guardians of homosexual male worship of the hypermasculine, recently concluded that being born with a dick and balls and a Y chromosome is no longer essential to being a man.
In England, atheist Gentiles have decided that you can still be a Jew without having a Jewish mother*. Next thing you know, having a primary attachment to and preference for America will no longer be a requirement for the Presidency.

*In the name of multiculturalism, a government body has overturned a cherished value of a cultural minority. What are the chances of them saying that clitoridectomy is child abuse? Though if they do, they will likely have to outlaw male circumcision...of infants, letting Muslims do it at puberty, of course, as a religious choice.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Crisis



I've run out of cigars and I have no car. (Only slightly less tragic than "I've fallen and I can't get up!")

It is weird that in order to buy the pretty non-special cigars I like, I have to travel two and half miles in this formerly free-wheeling city. Uphill. Welcome to San Francisco, this very non-religious freethinking town where, nevertheless, you must do penance if you have a vice contrary to the dogmas of The First Church of the Open Mind.*

But something vehicular may be in the wind. Found an ad for a 2000 Rodeo, silver, on the Peninsula, in my price range. The owner is gonna send me the VIN so I can do a Carfax check. Very valuable, those things. Losing my parked car in daylight to a drunk truck driver was one of the several moments that has made 2010 so far a year I'd largely like to skip. We'll see.

Used my Clipper card for the first time last night, to go over to Noe Valley for dinner with a friend. You just touch it to the machine inside the bus and, poof, you're on. No need to carry quarters around. (Both B and my ex encouraged me to get one, a rare moment when both of those guys were on the same page.) But I do hope my use of public transportation will be only occasional. The folks on some of those lines, the 24, for example, are not my peeps. The word "dregs" comes to mind.

After dinner, I discovered, for the second time in my life, that someone I considered a good friend considers me their best friend. We've known each other for 13 years but only see each other every six weeks or so. We hardly ever talk on the phone, both being introverts. It was very nice, but a surprise. My ex tells me that someone I consider a good friend is actually MY best friend but I don't know it.

Somehow Hallmark wisdom came through: "Friendship doubles your joy and divides your sorrow". But it can also divide your joy and double your sorrow! In this postlapsarian world, nothing is innocent.

OBTW, on a non-crisis wavelength: It's hard to beat the smell of bacon cooking. Great smells: the clean Pacific air that flows over Twin Peaks in the afternoons, baking bread at (of all places) Subway, the garlic and ginger smell outside Asian restaurants, incense (of the Catholic, not Asian kind), brewing --and especially double-brewing-- coffee in the morning, vanilla in the bottle, Parmesan cheese, the pine and lavender scented warm air in the Sierras, the first whiff of cigarette or cigar, the aromas of a grown man in flagrante delicto.

The car thing. The cigar things. A bunch of other things. Remind me of (at least IMHO) my major character flaw: procrastination. It is amazing how my mind will conspire against me sometimes to make me forget, actively repress the memory of, things I need to do that I don't like to do. I can decide to handle something while I am in the bedroom and by the time I get to the living room have no memory of it. It has caused me more grief and expense in my life than I care to ...remember. Maybe that'll be my next therapeutic task..unless I forget...after I figure out why I find the unattainable so irresistible. (Thanks, Leah.)

A few years ago I was leaving my job after a late meeting and a psychologist on the Board, a straight man, got into his car right next to mine. I was lighting up a cigar. He looked over, somewhat surprised, and then quoted the Freudian cliche, "Well, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar." For some ungodly reason, I grinned and replied, "And sometimes it isn't." He turned as red as a beet.

*I've been thinking of getting a dog. Probably won't, but I like the idea. One of the local animal rescue groups that sets up in the neighborhood has a website where I went to read the adoption agreement. Basically, you only lease the dog from them. It never becomes your property. You can't give it away, etc. and if they find you breaking the agreement, they state the right to "rescind the adoption." At least when you adopt a child, the kid is yours. Dogs, apparently, are more precious.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...