Monday, October 14, 2013

The paradox of falling love

“You will notice that what we are aiming at when we fall in love is a very strange paradox. The paradox consists of the fact that, when we fall in love, we are seeking to re-find all or some of the people to whom we were attached as children. On the other hand, we ask our beloved to correct all of the wrongs that these early parents or siblings inflicted upon us. So that love contains in it the contradiction: The attempt to return to the past and the attempt to undo the past.” 
 -- from Woody Allen's Crimes and Misdemeanors

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Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Temptation of St. Anthony

"Well, we don't think much of your painting. I've seen better pictures done by a five-year-old."

Karabekian slid off his barstool so he could face all those enemies standing up.... "Listen--" he said so calmly, "I have read the editorials against my painting in your wonderful newspaper. I have read every word of the hate mail you have been thoughtful enough to send to New York."

"The painting did not exist until I made it," Karebekian went on. "Now that it does exist, nothing would make me happier than to have it reproduced again and again, and vastly improved upon, by all the five-year-olds in town. I would love for your children to find pleasantly and playfully what it took me many angry years to find.

"I now give you my word of honor," he went on, "that the picture your city owns shows everything about life which truly matters, with nothing left out. It is a picture of the awareness of every animal--the 'I am' to which all messages are sent. It is all that is alive in any of us--in a mouse, in a deer, in a cocktail waitress. It is unwavering and pure, no matter what preposterous adventure may befall us. A sacred picture of Saint Anthony alone is one vertical, unwavering band of light. If a cockroach were near him, or a cocktail waitress, the picture would show two such bands of light. Our awareness is all that is alive and maybe sacred in any of us. Everything else about us is dead machinery."
-- from Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut

(Video link)

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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Quote for the Day

There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning. 

- Louis L'Amour


Sunday, September 01, 2013

I Got A Name

I was in a nostalgic mood this morning and played Jim Croce's Greatest Hits album. It carried me back to my childhood, and the thought occurred to me that one of the strongest connections I have with my parents is the music of the 70s. Given how much their playing loud music bothered me as a kid, it's pretty ironic that now few things make me feel closer to them.

I've also been thinking back to Labor Day weekend four years ago. I was in Portland for a good friend's wedding, and during the trip I made the decision to move back. Given my situation, it seemed like the best possible plan. I had so much hope.

Alas, things didn't go smoothly at all. Hard to believe that four years have passed since that moment. But I've still got Jim Croce. :-)

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Monday, December 17, 2012

President Obama at the memorial in Newtown

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Hey, where's my gift???

While Romney is blaming Obama's victory on the "gifts" he promised to all sorts of special interests (Latinos, African-Americans, young people), an analysis of exit polls shows how important the gay vote was to the president's re-election:
Mr. Obama’s more than three-to-one edge in exit polls among the 5 percent of voters who identified themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual was more than enough to give him the ultimate advantage, according to the study, by Gary J. Gates of the Williams Institute at the U.C.L.A. School of Law, in conjunction with Gallup....
Exit polls showed that 76 percent of voters who identified as gay supported Mr. Obama last week, and that 22 percent supported Mr. Romney. Among straight people, each candidate received 49 percent of the vote.

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Thursday, November 08, 2012

Obama's thank you

Here's an amazing video of President Obama thanking a group of young campaign workers. There's nothing I can add to what he has to say.

(Video link)

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Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Number eight

This was the eighth election I've voted in. It was the first time I've voted for the same candidate twice. And it's only the third time I've voted for the the winner.

I may not have cried like I did on that night four years ago, but it still matters.

Health care reform matters.

Supreme Court appointments matter.

Standing up for equality matters. Especially on a night when voters finally started showing up in favor of gay marriage.

Here's to Obama and Biden's re-election.


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Saturday, November 03, 2012

Cher says... VOTE!

A public service announcement from Cher and Kathy Griffin:

(Video link)

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Friday, October 26, 2012

Why someone else supports Obama...

Works for me. :-)


Saturday, October 20, 2012

The gays speak out for Obama

Wow. Just wow.

(Video link)

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Presidential debate #2

One of those "a picture's worth a thousand words" moments...

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Farewell, my friend...

Friday, September 21, 2012

One more reason I love Jill Biden

Enjoy :-)

(Video link)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

With friends like these...

Republican commentator and former Reagan assistant Peggy Noonan had tons of advice for Mitt Romney today. From her "Time for an Intervention" post:
The central problem revealed by the tape is Romney’s theory of the 2012 election. It is that a high percentage of the electorate receives government checks and therefore won’t vote for him, another high percentage is supplying the tax revenues and will vote for him, and almost half the people don’t pay taxes and presumably won’t vote for him.
My goodness, that’s a lot of people who won’t vote for you. You wonder how he gets up in the morning.
This is not how big leaders talk, it’s how shallow campaign operatives talk: They slice and dice the electorate like that, they see everything as determined by this interest or that. They’re usually young enough and dumb enough that nobody holds it against them, but they don’t know anything. They don’t know much about America....
And his tone is fatalistic. I can’t win these guys who will only vote their economic interests, but I can win these guys who will vote their economic interests, plus some guys in the middle, whoever they are.
That’s too small and pinched and narrow. That’s not how Republicans emerge victorious—”I can’t win these guys.” You have to have more respect than that, and more affection, you don’t write anyone off, you invite everyone in. Reagan in 1984 used to put out his hand: “Come too, come walk with me.” Come join, come help, whatever is happening in your life.
You know what Romney sounded like? Like a kid new to politics who thinks he got the inside lowdown on how it works from some operative.

(Video link)

With less than seven weeks to go, there's still time for Romney to come out of his political coma and make a stronger showing. Which means there is still work to be done to re-elect President Obama. If you haven't contributed to his campaign, what are you waiting for? You can start right here.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Leadership quote of the day

Speaking on the prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace:
... You recognize this is going to remain an unsolved problem.... We have a potentially volatile situation, but we sort of live with it. And we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately somehow, something will happen and resolve it.
-- Mitt Romney

Here are the full videos of Romney speaking candidly to fundraisers at a $50,000 a plate dinner a few months ago. Thank you, Mother Jones!

(Video link)

(Video link

The full transcript of the video is here. And a great commentary on all of this from David Brooks:
Forty-seven percent of the country, [Romney] said, are people “who are dependent upon government, who believe they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to take care of them, who believe they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.”
This comment suggests a few things. First, it suggests that he really doesn’t know much about the country he inhabits. Who are these freeloaders? Is it the Iraq war veteran who goes to the V.A.? Is it the student getting a loan to go to college? Is it the retiree on Social Security or Medicare?
It suggests that Romney doesn’t know much about the culture of America. Yes, the entitlement state has expanded, but America remains one of the hardest-working nations on earth. Americans work longer hours than just about anyone else. Americans believe in work more than almost any other people. Ninety-two percent say that hard work is the key to success, according to a 2009 Pew Research Survey.
It says that Romney doesn’t know much about the political culture. Americans haven’t become childlike worshipers of big government. On the contrary, trust in government has declined. The number of people who think government spending promotes social mobility has fallen.
The people who receive the disproportionate share of government spending are not big-government lovers. They are Republicans. They are senior citizens. They are white men with high school degrees. As Bill Galston of the Brookings Institution has noted, the people who have benefited from the entitlements explosion are middle-class workers, more so than the dependent poor.

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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Is this why Mitt Romney doesn't want to release his tax returns?

After reading this New York Times article that mentioned the IRS's amnesty program for Americans who hid money in Swiss bank accounts to avoid taxes, I found myself wondering if that's why Romney has been so adamant about not releasing any tax returns for years prior to 2010.

Apparently I'm not the only one speculating about that, as the possibility also occurred to Matthew Yglesias.


Are you better off?

Friday, September 07, 2012

When love beckons

Twenty-five years ago on a warm Labor Day night, I stopped midway through my run across campus and said--out loud, but to no one other than myself--"I'm gay."

It was an announcement that had been working its way to the surface for a long time... the final statement of something that in the beginning was not even expressed in words. I had known I was different from the other boys since at least the seventh grade. By the time I was eighteen, I was beginning to awkwardly reach out physically. But until I was able to break the silence, there was an unyielding wall between my inner universe and the one I shared with everyone else.

I had no idea that night of the changes that would come; I didn't sense how dramatically the trajectory of my life had shifted. But in that moment there was a perceptible change in my experience of the world. The lights had just been turned on in a darkened room.

Within a month I would be the secretary for GLAS, Stanford's student group for gays and lesbians. In two months, emboldened by my first relationship with another man, I wrote my parents a coming out letter. And a mere seven years later, though decades ahead of the societal curve, Tommy and I were married in San Francisco in front of friends and family including my parents, sister, grandmother, aunt, and cousins.

During my first decade of being out I created a new identity for myself: distinct from the adolescent who didn't quite fit in, different from the young man who'd been teased as "one of the girls" during his first year at Stanford. I was out at work, with friends both straight and gay, in my volunteer work, in my relationships, and with my family. While no one who's lived with a secret for twenty years suddenly becomes an open book, my life was finally integrated. I got to be the same person on the outside as I had always been on the inside.

There are things within each of us that we may or may not share with others; in that, at least, we have a choice. And every choice we make nudges us down certain paths while steepening others. Sometimes we confidently make our way down a long road and end up lost, as uncertain as when we'd begun. None of this is too say that I regret coming out; that was inevitable. It's more a recognition that the future, more likely than not, will not match what we've imagined. It hasn't done so for me. The new life I created in the years after coming out is now frayed and tattered; a lot of dreams remain unfulfilled. On the other hand, I never expected a sitting president to bring tears to my eyes by speaking out for gay rights at his party's national convention.

IN THE DAYS that followed my momentous run across campus, I began coming out to my closest friends. One of them, Robin, wrote me and included a quote from Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet, which I then included in my letter to my parents:
When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams
as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you.
Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest
branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them
in their clinging to the earth.
I don't think I've really understood the full meaning of that until today.

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Thursday, September 06, 2012

Awesome speeches tonight at the Democratic National Convention

Elizabeth Warren:

(Video link)

And Bill Clinton, wow! He's still got it... no one communicates the way he does.

(Video link)

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Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Quote for the day

No, Governor Romney, corporations are not people. People have hearts, they have kids, they get jobs, they get sick, they cry, they dance. They live, they love, and they die. And that matters. That matters because we don’t run this country for corporations, we run it for people. And that’s why we need Barack Obama.
-- Elizabeth Warren

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Friday, June 22, 2012

It's Doris Fish Day

Twenty-five years ago I made the drive from Stanford to San Francisco on a warm Thursday night. After parking and a few anxious moments of convincing myself to get out of the car, I walked into a gay bar for the first time. My life changed in the next moment when I saw men dancing together.

The emcee for my evening--and the End Up's Wet Jockey Shorts contest--was the incomparable Doris Fish: the first drag queen I had seen in person. To this day she remains my favorite.

Four years later on June 22, 1991, Doris aka Philip Mills died of AIDS, the same month that I moved to San Francisco.

The last time I saw Doris was two years before that. My friend Gerard and I had gone to a fundraiser at the Victoria Theater to help pay her medical expenses. I recently ran across this video of Doris performing that night. It's a memory that has always remained so clear for me because of how the energy in the theater changed when Doris came on stage. The show had been entertaining enough up to that point, but there was the "before Doris" part of the show, and then there was Doris. She had such a powerful presence; even as she was thanking the crowd for turning out, her acidic wit ensured that no one got too weepy.

Somehow that evening was half my life ago.

I miss you, Doris. And I miss what it was like to be young and gay and free in San Francisco. This was your life. And it is mine.

(Video link)
Funny how a lonely day, can make a person say
What good is my life
Funny how a breaking heart, can make me start to say
What good is my life
Funny how I often seem, to think I'll find never another dream
In my life
Till I look around and see, this great big world is part of me
And my life
This is my life
Today, tomorrow, love will come and find me
But that's the way that I was born to be
This is me

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012


As a software tester, it's unfathomable to me that a mistake like AMERCIA could make it out of Romney's team. And yet... it did. And it doesn't get any better than this. :-)

My favorite #AMERCIA tweet of the day:
Some poor app designer is getting strapped in a cage on the top of a car and driven across country tonight. #amercia

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

RIP, Donna Summer

Who knows why certain songs set up home within us? Who knows why anything, or anyone, does?

This is one of those songs that is magic for me, one that is going to have to be played at some point during my wake. I remember listening to this song one perfect day after a long and eventful canoe trip, sitting next to someone I loved as the sun shone overhead. I've long imagined what it would have been like to have been on the dance floor when Donna's disco version of "Macarthur Park" was first played.

(Video link)

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Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Richard Lugar's parting words on partisanship

Here is Senator Richard Lugar's statement about the state of politics in America, released after he lost his primary battle in Indiana. Here's an excerpt:
Unfortunately, we have an increasing number of legislators in both parties who have adopted an unrelenting partisan viewpoint. This shows up in countless vote studies that find diminishing intersections between Democrat and Republican positions. Partisans at both ends of the political spectrum are dominating the political debate in our country. And partisan groups, including outside groups that spent millions against me in this race, are determined to see that this continues. They have worked to make it as difficult as possible for a legislator of either party to hold independent views or engage in constructive compromise. If that attitude prevails in American politics, our government will remain mired in the dysfunction we have witnessed during the last several years. And I believe that if this attitude expands in the Republican Party, we will be relegated to minority status. Parties don’t succeed for long if they stop appealing to voters who may disagree with them on some issues.
Legislators should have an ideological grounding and strong beliefs identifiable to their constituents. I believe I have offered that throughout my career. But ideology cannot be a substitute for a determination to think for yourself, for a willingness to study an issue objectively, and for the fortitude to sometimes disagree with your party or even your constituents. Like Edmund Burke, I believe leaders owe the people they represent their best judgment.
Too often bipartisanship is equated with centrism or deal cutting. Bipartisanship is not the opposite of principle. One can be very conservative or very liberal and still have a bipartisan mindset. Such a mindset acknowledges that the other party is also patriotic and may have some good ideas. It acknowledges that national unity is important, and that aggressive partisanship deepens cynicism, sharpens political vendettas, and depletes the national reserve of good will that is critical to our survival in hard times. Certainly this was understood by President Reagan, who worked with Democrats frequently and showed flexibility that would be ridiculed today — from assenting to tax increases in the 1983 Social Security fix, to compromising on landmark tax reform legislation in 1986, to advancing arms control agreements in his second term.
I don’t remember a time when so many topics have become politically unmentionable in one party or the other. Republicans cannot admit to any nuance in policy on climate change. Republican members are now expected to take pledges against any tax increases. For two consecutive Presidential nomination cycles, GOP candidates competed with one another to express the most strident anti-immigration view, even at the risk of alienating a huge voting bloc. Similarly, most Democrats are constrained when talking about such issues as entitlement cuts, tort reform, and trade agreements. Our political system is losing its ability to even explore alternatives. If fealty to these pledges continues to expand, legislators may pledge their way into irrelevance. Voters will be electing a slate of inflexible positions rather than a leader.

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Obama's evolution

While the potential impact on the election concerns me, I can't deny that I got chills when I heard that President Obama announced his support for same sex marriage.

(Video link)
Frank Bruni at the New York Times wrote a pair of blog posts before and after the Obama announcement about the confusing gay landscape we're now inhabiting and the historic significance of the president's announcement. And Richard Socarides has a great response at the New Yorker.

Once again I'm reminded how much the world has changed in my lifetime...

From FiveThirtyEight

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Saturday, May 05, 2012

Finding Portland

Portland looks great in this video. And it's going to look great as the sun comes out this weekend. Thanks for forwarding, Jack!

(Video link)

Depression and Junior Seau

Bonnie Bernstein has a thoughtful post out on Junior Seau and depression:
Depression is a disease. One frequently accompanied by feelings of shame, particularly among men, because society still struggles to differentiate between sadness and a condition that often requires medication to treat effectively. In severe cases, thought processes are so distorted, the only thing in focus is despair. It is incomprehensible that there’s anything positive in life to latch onto or anyone who cares enough to listen and help. Meld the ball and chain of depression with a prideful man like Seau, and it’s no wonder he didn’t confide in friends or loved ones about his inner demons.

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Friday, May 04, 2012

The ethics of eating meat

A great essay on the ethics of eating meat from Jay Bost, a New York Times reader who's made the journey from being vegetarian to vegan to meat eating. Well worth a read. He includes a nice quote from Aldo Leopold:
A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

One chart that says a lot

While Apple's profits have soared, their aggressive tax avoidance strategies have sharply limited a corresponding increase in the taxes they pay:
According to the New York Times, those strategies include channeling most of their profits through small subsidiaries in places like Reno, Nevada (to avoid paying California taxes) and Luxembourg (to avoid federal taxes).

Legal? Yes. But one more example of how the rich and powerful have lobbied to create a system that they can artfully game to avoid paying their fair share.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Song of the day

My friend Romaine are going to see Bonnie Raitt at the Edgefield on September 7th... which just happens to the 25th anniversary of my coming out. And that makes Bonnie's new video of "Right Down the Line" very timely. :-)

(Video link)

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Friday, April 06, 2012

Wicked with Wanda

(Video link)

And thanks to Broadway Cares for caring all these years... it made a difference. It makes a difference.

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Thursday, April 05, 2012

Spring has sprung

And I listened to Boston's "More Than a Feeling" about ten times at the gym today. :-)

(Video link)

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Tuesday, April 03, 2012

I guess this gives new meaning to the term "barfly"

Interesting stuff:
Fruit flies apparently self-medicate just like many humans do, drowning their sorrows or frustrations for some of the same reasons, scientists reported Thursday. Male flies subjected to what amounted to a long tease — in a glass tube, not a dance club — preferred food spiked with alcohol far more than male flies that were able to mate.


It's not too late

I read Kathy Martin's story yesterday, and I have to say... it inspired me:
Life can bestow unexpected gifts, and sometime in her late 40s, Martin, a real estate agent living on Long Island, a busy working mother who had never been in a track meet, discovered a glorious secret hidden away in her body. Not only was she a good runner, she was also an outstanding one. In fact, she was one of the most remarkable female distance runners in the world.

This discovery of greatness in her legs came too late for the kind of dreams a younger woman might have: intercollegiate championships, Olympic glory, being the absolute fastest of the fast. As decades pass, maximum heart rate slows, aerobic capacity wanes, muscle mass tends to dwindle.

But Martin has been redefining what is possible for an older body, setting a string of formidable national and world records.
Before I rode in the week long AIDS/LifeCycle five years ago, I'd hardly spent anytime on a bike since high school. And after only putting in the bare minimum amount of training, I wasn't too sure midway through day 2 (my first 100+ mile ride) if I was going to survive the experience. But I got a second wind in the afternoon; by day 5, I was flying. I thought to myself, "This would have been the sport I'd have excelled at had I thought to try it when I was younger."

And now Kathy Martin comes along to remind me that it's not too late.

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The latest on vitamin D

It's not just for bone density anymore.

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Believe it or not: moving towards energy independence

The Romney/Gingrich crowd would never admit it, but America is actually moving towards energy independence:
Taken together, the increasing production and declining consumption have unexpectedly brought the United States markedly closer to a goal that has tantalized presidents since Richard Nixon: independence from foreign energy sources, a milestone that could reconfigure American foreign policy, the economy and more. In 2011, the country imported just 45 percent of the liquid fuels it used, down from a record high of 60 percent in 2005.

“There is no question that many national security policy makers will believe they have much more flexibility and will think about the world differently if the United States is importing a lot less oil,” said Michael A. Levi, an energy and environmental senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. “For decades, consumption rose, production fell and imports increased, and now every one of those trends is going the other way.”
As President Obama stated in January, oil production in America is at an eight year high.

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Danger, Will Robinson!

Romney now has the physics community worried:

(Video link)

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Thursday, March 29, 2012


It's strange how endings work, especially when what's preceded them hasn't.

When I read E.M. Forster's Maurice as a young man, I wanted to like it, of course. But it didn't move me, at least not until the final pages when the petals of an evening primrose came to symbolize something that had quietly, permanently slipped away. There was something in this passage that penetrated as the rest of the novel had not:
'Next Wednesday, say at 7.45. Dinner jacket's enough, as you know'.

They were [Clive's] last words, because Maurice had disappeared thereabouts, leaving no trace of his presence except a little pile of the petals of the evening primrose, which mourned from the ground like an expiring fire. To the end of his life, Clive was not sure of the exact moment of departure, and with the approach of old age he grew uncertain whether the moment had yet occurred. The Blue Room would glimmer, ferns undulate. Out of some eternal Cambridge, his friend began beckoning to him, clothed in the sun, and shaking out the scents and sounds of the May term.

But at the time, he was merely offended at a discourtesy, and compared it with similar lapses in the past. He did not realise that this was the end, without twilight or compromise, that he should never come across Maurice's track again, nor speak to those who had seen him.
When I finished the book, I read that page again and again. And now, more than two decades later, I searched the internet for those words and found them on another blog... they'd been someone else's favorite part of the book as well.

I HAD REMEMBERED MAURICE because I'd just watched Louis Malle's Damage, and once again the ending connected in a way that the rest of the movie did not. Somehow the incomparable voice of Jeremy Irons speaking these words made the whole two hours well spent:
It's takes a remarkably short time to withdraw from the world. I traveled, until I arrived at a life of my own.

What really makes us is beyond grasping. It's way beyond knowing. We give into love because it gives us some sense of what is unknowable. Nothing else matters... not at the end.

(Video link)

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Song of the day

I watched the live stream of GusGus performing at EVE Online's FanFest in Iceland this afternoon. Here's "Arabian Horse" from their album of the same name.

(Video link)

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Romney the Etch-a-Sketch

From the New York Times:
There is, perhaps, no more enduring critique of Mitt Romney than the one about him having shaky principles that shift with the political winds.

So it may not have been particularly helpful when one of his top advisers on Wednesday suggested that Mr. Romney’s campaign views the Republican race as an Etch A Sketch toy that can be shaken up and redrawn from scratch.

(Video link)

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A baby aspirin a day...

Really good news today on the benefits of taking a low dose (81 mg) aspirin every day. Not only does it reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, researchers at the University of Oxford report that in as little as three years, aspirin can significantly cut the risk of cancer and its spread. From the New York Times:
Researchers at the University of Oxford found that after three years of daily aspirin use, the risk of developing cancer was reduced by almost 25 percent when compared with a control group not taking aspirin. After five years, the risk of dying of cancer was reduced by 37 percent among those taking aspirin.

A second paper that analyzed five large randomized controlled studies in Britain found that over six and a half years on average, daily aspirin use reduced the risk of metastatic cancer by 36 percent and the risk of adenocarcinomas — common solid cancers including colon, lung and prostate cancer — by 46 percent.
The University of Oxford also notes that one risk of taking daily aspirin--the possibility of stomach bleeds--reduces over time and is clearly outweighed by the benefits. Their story here.

ALSO ON THE CANCER RESEARCH FRONT, here's an interesting article on the use of viruses to fight tumors:
Cancer cells are able to replicate wildly, but there’s a trade-off: They cannot ward off infection as effectively as healthy cells. So scientists have been looking for ways to create viruses that are too weak to damage healthy cells yet strong enough to invade and destroy tumor cells.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Quote of the day

The next time (and there will be one!) that Mitt Romney uses the "blind trust" excuse for why he's not responsible for his investments, just remember his own words:

The blind trust is an age-old ruse, if you will, which is to say you can always tell the blind trust what it can and cannot do. You give a blind trust rules.

-- Mitt Romney, 1994

(Video link)

He's currently using this "ruse" to explain away his investment in a Chinese surveillance company.

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ACT-UP, 25 years later...

I just read Frank Bruni's thoughts on How to Survive a Plague, a new documentary about ACT-UP and the early years of the AIDS crisis in the gay community. That period coincided with the years when I was coming out; I remember participating in ACT-UP protests in D.C. during the March on Washington in 1993 and in NYC during Stonewall 25.

Can't wait to see the film!

(Video link)

March on Washington 1994

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

The road we've traveled

It's far easier to run for the presidency than to succeed in the office. Once you step into the White House, both your allies and your opponents will fault nearly every move you make.

I know this video was made to make President Obama look his best, but it nevertheless reminded me of what 2008 felt like and how far we've come in the last three years. Like they have been for most people, these have been challenging times for me.

And while there is still a long way to go, and course corrections to be made, for the first time in my life I'll be voting twice for the same man to serve as president.

(Video link)

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Monday, March 12, 2012

Sad but true...

The Pacific Princess from The Love Boat has struck out... another piece of my childhood destined for the scrap heap. Farewell, Julie McCoy...

(Video link)

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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Queen redux

Fun. has been compared to Queen. (Speaking of, where is that Freddie Mercury movie???)

Here is Fun.'s "We Are Young."

(Video link)

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Quote for the day

Things aren't the way they are, they're the way you are.
-- Anaïs Nin


Sunday, February 19, 2012

When you were young

Just watched Flashbacks of a Fool... good flick. Between the plot and this Roxy Music track, I had some of flashbacks of my own. Oh, the paths we take...

(Video link)

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Saturday, February 11, 2012

RIP, Whitney Houston

Whitney died today; she was only 48 years old... so sad. Here's her classic "I Will Always Love You" from The Bodyguard soundtrack (which was, for the record, the first album of all time to sell more than one million copies in a week).

(Video link)

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Joke of the day

Today at CPAC, Rick Santorum's sugar daddy, Foster Friess, shared this joke:
A liberal, a moderate and conservative walking into a bar.

The bartender says "Hi, Mitt."

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Thursday, February 09, 2012

James Fallows on the Obama presidency

James Fallows takes a balanced look at the successes and failures of the Obama presidency, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the man himself. It's long but well worth a read, especially for anyone who feels like Obama hasn't lived up to their expectations. A couple of excerpts about the presidency in general:
The end of a president’s first term is an important time to ask these questions, and not just because of the obvious bearing on his fitness for reelection. Hard as it is to have any dispassionate discussion of a president’s performance during an election year, it will be even harder once the election is over. If a year from now Obama is settling in for a second term, a halo effect will extend back to everything he did during his first four years. His programs will be more effective in reality, since he will get that many more years to cement them in with follow-up measures, supportive appointments to federal agencies and the courts, and possible vetoes of any attempts at repeal. And, through the lens of history, they will seem more effective, since whatever he did in his first term will appear to have been part of an overall plan that was ratified through reelection.
We judge presidents by the specific expectations they ask to be measured against: inspiration (Kennedy, Reagan, Obama), competence and experience (Eisenhower, the first George Bush), strategic cunning (Johnson, Nixon), integrity and personal probity (Carter), inclusiveness and empathy (Clinton), unshakable resolve (the second Bush). But eventually each is judged against his predecessors, a process that properly starts with a reminder that all begin their terms ill-equipped, in ways that hindsight tends to obscure.

The sobering realities of the modern White House are: All presidents are unsuited to office, and therefore all presidents fail in certain crucial aspects of the job. All betray their supporters and provoke bitter criticism from their own side at some point in their term. And all are mis-assessed while in office, for reasons that typically depend more on luck and historical accident than on factors within their control. These realities do not excuse Obama’s failings, but they do put his evolution in perspective.

Presidents fail because not to fail would require, in the age of modern communications and global responsibilities, a range of native talents and learned skills no real person has ever possessed.
And then this really interesting insight into the inexorable growth of the U.S. national security apparatus:
It is no wonder that the “national-security state” in all its aspects has continued to grow throughout the decades since the beginning of World War II. Defense budgets, intelligence and surveillance networks, private military contractors, irregular forms of war: these and other executive-branch tools of international power work like a ratchet. Some presidents rapidly increase them in times of emergency, as George W. Bush did after the 9/11 attacks. No president scales them back. Thus the imbalance continues to grow between international efforts, where a president has an ever greater array of tools and weapons, and the frustrating domestic arena. Despite having run on his opposition to the Iraq War and overseen the formal U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, Barack Obama has, if anything, expanded the range of executive military power, from his unilateral (and mainly successful) decision to intervene in Libya to his expansion of drone attacks
For the Obama-specific analysis, you're going to have to read it here at The Atlantic.

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Video for the day

Lana Del Rey's "Video Games"

(Video link)

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Wednesday, February 08, 2012


The vast majority of Americans believe that foods containing genetically modified crops should be labeled:
In a nationwide telephone poll conducted in October 2010 by Thomson Reuters and National Public Radio, 93 percent said if a food has been genetically engineered or has genetically engineered ingredients, it should say so on its label — a number that has been consistent since genetically modified crops were introduced. (New York Times)
I first worked on the issue back in 2002 when I was active in the failed attempt to pass Measure 27 in Oregon. Somehow, despite the strong public support for labeling, it still hasn't happened.

If you're part of the 93%, let Congress know here.

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The world moves on...

The world really does change. When I was back in Kansas visiting my family in January, I went out in Manhattan one night with my sister to celebrate her friend's birthday. Midway through the evening Molly and I were at a bar waiting for her the rest of the gang to catch up. I spied a table of guys and said, "Molly, those guys all look gay!"

"Oh, yeah, this place is gay-friendly," was her casual response.

I was floored. I had spent my freshman year at Kansas State back in the 80s, and the idea that there was now a gay-friendly hangout in Aggieville was a shock. I know, it's been a long time, and it shouldn't have been. But somehow we still sometimes expect that the places we've left behind are going to be preserved just as they were.

AND TODAY IN WASHINGTON STATE the legislature passed gay marriage. Governor Christine Gregoire has said she'll sign the bill.

The world marches on. :-)

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Sunday, February 05, 2012


I'm thinking it's been about 20 years since I've seen the Super Bowl, the associated ads, or even the halftime show. Today I watched the ads here, but only this one stood out:

(Video link)

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Making sense of it all

I was pretty down throughout the second half of 2011, and I spent a lot of time beating myself up about decisions I've made over the past ten to fifteen years. Life often felt like I was looking in the rear view mirror and seeing one wrong turn after another...

I took a walk today, and it occurred to me that the vast majority of the bad decisions I've made in my life (with respect, at least, to relationships) were made in an environment that for a long time was my favorite place to be. What a paradox. I wondered what it was that I was looking for at the time, considering that I so clearly now feel like so many things I did were mistakes.

It makes me think that we can't really have it all. We all want many things; some of them require choices that make other things less attainable. No revelation there... but it does make it a bit easier to forgive myself now.

And I also realize that there isn't necessarily any logic to the past: my past behavior, my life as seen in that rear view mirror. Some of it just happened; some of the decisions were made in the heat of the moment. It's unchangeable yet malleable: what I couldn't understand or accept last fall can be reconciled in the bright sunshine of a February afternoon.


What's up in Nevada?

With 44% of the precincts reporting, Romney is the winner... with approximately 7000 votes state wide????

Even when the rest of the vote comes in, it's going to be a very underwhelming number.


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Saturday, February 04, 2012

Yosemite memories

It's been far too long since I've been there... but this video sure brought back some great memories of hiking in Yosemite.

Yosemite HD from Project Yosemite.

Thanks to James for taking me there for the first time nearly a quarter century ago...

Yosemite 1989

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Wow, just watched Ryan Gosling in Drive. Great flick!

And I love this song from the soundtrack: "A Real Hero" by College, featuring Electric Youth.

(Video link)

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