Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Kidney stones

I was thinking the other day about the time I had a kidney stone, but instead of a boring narrative, I will relate the story through song! (Just what you needed.)

Kidney Rock (sung to the tune of "Jailhouse Rock")
It happened early morning around two a.m.
A pain that made me nauseous, gave my head a spin
I had to wake my brother and get in the car
And rush on down to Frankford Hospital E.R.

It was a rock, oh yeah it was a rock
Everybody in the E.R. stopped to take care of my kidney rock

I staggered in the door and went up to the nurse
I thought by then that I was ready for a hearse
They said I was the worst that they had ever seen
But soon I was in bed with my friend morphine

Oh rock, oh yeah it was a rock
I was tripping 'til the morphine stopped and thinking 'bout my kidney rock

So now I have to drink a river every day
And strain it all before I can throw it away
I hope that someday soon this kidney stone will pass
'Cause peeing in a bottle is a real pain in the ass

Oh rock, come on pass now rock
Leave the door to the bathroom unlocked until I get rid of this rock

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Lord of the Crossing

Those who are reading A Song of Ice and Fire are thinking of Lord Frey, which is neat but not what this post is about. I'm talking about crossing guards, who are usually female, which pretty much blows the title. Sue me.

I took the train into town yesterday, and that means walking 1.5 miles through Mayfair to get to the station. On the way home, the schools were emptying, so I got to see crossing guards in action. I have a strange admiration for these women and (more rarely) men. I like the idea of people who make the crosswalks safe for children, which is really odd considering I don't care much for children. I always respect the authority of the crossing guard, waiting until she signals the children to cross even though I am technically outside her authority. If the job actually paid something, and if I liked children better, I'd consider it. If the city created adult crossing guards I would sign up, and perhaps be lucky enough to get posted at 5th & South. That means I'd get to be outside and people-watch whilst making sure no boneheads block the box.

Friday, November 21, 2003


I saw on Cyn's blog some reflections about having a clone. I most definitely do not want a clone, Daddy. Reasons why:

1) I don't like sharing my clothes.

2) A bad hair day is hard enough to live with when you only have to see the results in a mirror. To see them on another person...too horrible.

3) I keep enough chocolate around the house for one of me. That's all.

4) He'd probably decide to get red highlights, too. Bitch.

5) He might hold a rival Halloween party, and on the same night as mine.

6) His blog would no doubt be titled, "You Only Turned Thirty Once, Fool!"

Thursday, November 20, 2003

I have the extended Two Towers!

Picked it up Tuesday and watched it Tuesday, ha-cha! I'm not crazy about the movie in general, if truth be told; the fights are too Hollywood, what with Legolas and his shield-skiing, and with Gimli and Aragorn fighting off about one hundred orcs by themselves. Besides, the movie takes considerable liberties with the storyline as set down by Tolkien, and unnecessary ones at that. However, here's my run-down of what I like and what I don't.

Magic-rope scene: Like, although it doesn't add a great deal to the story.

Denethor/Boromir scene: Dislike, and in a strong way. It paints Denethor as a grasping, scheming old buzzard, which is just not how he appeared in the books. Denethor was strong-willed and stubborn, yes, but he was also perceptive and clever, with a strong sense of duty.

Additional Uruk-hai footage: Like, because it demonstrates that Saruman, a traitor to the White Council, had betrayed Sauron as well.

Gollum going hungry: Like big-time. Frodo's reaction is a mix of loathing, pity and disgust, which to my mind is the only way one can react to Gollum. He's truly wretched.

Hurons: Like. They were a crucial part of the Battle of the Hornburg, and it was nice to see Peter Jackson knows it.

See it for yourself, but be warned: You ain't getting my copy for awhile.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003


The next time some chowderhead proposes amending the U.S. Constitution, I swear I am going hari-kari in alphabetical order. Every time there's a happening that someone doesn't like, the amendment idea gets floated. In 220+ years, this nation has enacted fifteen amendments, one of which (Prohibition) was motivated by chowderheads, and another of which (anti-Prohibition) was motivated by those who realized they'd given the chowderheads the wheel. That leaves thirteen substantive amendments, and most of them concern things that mean a lot: extending equal protection of the law to all citizens, banning slavery, guaranteeing women the right to vote, etc. That's what an amendment is about: Making a sea-change that is fundamental to a free society.

In the wake of the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling, the "I'm a primitive bigot" crowd has renewed its bleating for a same-sex-marriage amendment. Folks, this an issue that is fundamental to a free society? Does making sure Tom and Ivan never marry really protect our liberty? However, I welcome the chance to fight this out in the open. Bring on the amendment, chowderheads. We will fight you in the House, the Senate, and then in fifty state legislatures, making you argue in favor of bigotry every step of the way. In the end, if the people of this nation genuinely feel that same-sex marriages are something the union simply cannot endure, then I'll know the United States is a place where equality and justice are labeled, "straight only." I'll give Canada a try; they'll soon allow gay marriage, and they believe in universal healthcare too.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

The times they are a-changing...

...and they're turning pink, as you can see.

There's alot of talk about backlash, particularly in light of the recent anti-sodomy law ruling, but I don't think it will amount to much. Once people calm down and realize that this neither breaks their legs nor picks their pockets (a Jefferson paraphrase), they'll move on to some reality show or something. I think most people tend to vote based on what affects their lives, and civil unions really don't affect that many people. Of course, the God Squad will go bananas, but in my opinion that's a good thing. And fun!

NOTE: The term "God Squad" does not refer to any old Christian, but rather Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Timothy LaHaye and the people who support them.

A shining planet known as Earth...

If the title of this post reminds you of something, you rock! It's part of the montage dialogue of "Battlestar Galactica", which is now available on DVD. Yay!

BG is pretty cheesy at times (OK, it's cheesy most of the time), but I thought it was a fairly interesting story nonetheless. What I found particularly interesting was, in the course of its one season, the way the writers took the story away from the humans-vs.-Cylons conflict and explored some new territory. Most television shows stick to the tried and true, for fear of losing even a sliver of their audience. That kind of lowest-common-denominator approach to storytelling is what drove me away from television in the first place. Anyway, my mother is bugging me about what she can give me for Xmas, so I think I'll tell her that BG is the way to be. Oh yes.

Monday, November 17, 2003

The Worst Date I Ever Had

I thought I'd relate this story because I feel masochistic or something. I'll relate the lessons I learned along the way as well, except you'll get them in order and at the time I should have learned them. See how nice I am?

I met this guy who was an R.N. Fool that I was, I thought, "Hmm...that profession requires a high level of trust and responsibility. That must show in his personal life."

Lesson #1: A man's profession has zero to do with the quality of person he is. A doctor of impeccable repute can still be a lying sack of dirt marked "Danger!" in pink flashing neon letters.

We did a lunch date first, and then proceeded to an evening date. He proposed the Cartwheel, a club in New Hope, and I agreed.

Lesson #2: Stay away from clubs until at least the fourth date.

He said if I drove to his place, he'd drive us the rest of the way to New Hope. I agreed.

Lesson #3: Until the fourth date, always have your own transportation.

When we arrived, he asked me repeatedly if I knew this song or that song, and I told him repeatedly that I did not listen regularly to dance music, club music, or popular music.

Lesson #4: If a man asks you the same question twice on one date, and you've answered twice, he's not listening and flee.

He rarely spoke to me for our time at the Cartwheel, and spent a good deal of our time checking out other guys.

Lesson #5: When a man checks out other guys at a time he's supposed to be checking out you, he's wasting your time and flee.

He got completely hammered and thus I was forced to drive us back in his car. He handed me the keys and went off for a last bathroom visit before we left. I weighed his car keys in my hand as I weighed the choice before me: Do the honorable thing and wait for him to return, or get in the car and leave that rat bastard in the dust. I chose the honorable path and waited.

Lesson #6: Honor sucks.

If you've ever taken River Road, you'll know it's dark, narrow and twisty, and full of deer. Given that I was driving an unfamiliar car that wasn't mine, I elected to drive conservatively. Naturally, he felt free to complain about my driving, which made my hands clench knuckle-whiteningly.

Lesson #7: You can drive home an unconscious man just as easily as one who is awake.

Two geological ages later, I pulled into the parking lot at his apartment complex, turned off the car, and just about broke my legs getting back to my car. Scientists would have us believe it is impossible to attain infinite speed, but my 1993 Toyota Corolla proved them all wrong. I was taking no chances on him trying to kiss me or something.

I hope you've learned something from this post, because I sure did. I learned that date is more fun to talk about than to actually have endured.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Volunteer Blues

I went to the William Way Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Community Center (otherwise known as the Way Gay Center) last night to volunteer for a planning committee, and - surprise, surprise - almost no one showed up. Three of us hung out for 35 minutes before throwing in the towel and moving on. This committee, BTW, is supposed to work on new programming to draw people to the Center, so it's ominous that the chairperson never even bothered to attend.

I used to do loads of volunteer work: the gay Ultimate group, Team Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Gay Men's Chorus, Q'zine. I dropped out of all of it over a period of two years because I developed the dreaded Volunteer Burn-Out (VBO). VBO happens for many reasons, but typical causes are:

- When 2% of the members do 98% of the work
- When 98% of the non-working members don't even bother to attend the events put together by the 2%
- When 98% of the non-working members feel free to criticize - but not assist - the work of the 2%

I soldiered along for as long as I could, but eventually I got to the point where volunteering was no longer enjoyable. My attitude towards volunteering is thus: If it's not fun, I'm not doing it. Well, it became really not fun, so I dropped out. Somewhat rejuvenated, I'm looking to re-enter the world of volunteering, and last night was an inauspicious start.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

I dance a jig of glee!

These feet are a-tapping, because Roy Moore is history. Looks like someone down there understands that the chief justice of a state supreme court cannot openly defy a court order. Of course, this nut will probably run for governor, but if the people of Alabama are foolish enough to elect a nut, that's their problem.

It's funny. The Religious Right often contends that excluding mention of the Christian deity from the classroom endorses "humanism" (one wonders if they know what they mean by that), but including mention of that deity does not promote Christianity. Huh? So exclusion promotes but promotion does not promote. In a nation where only the bare majority of citizens accept evolutionary theory, this should come as no surpise. Little wonder the Europeans see us as a bunch of pudgy, lazy, religion-obsessed little prudes with itchy trigger-fingers.

My take on the media

Oftentimes we hear politicians say, "The media is liberal," or "The media is irresponsible." Here's my opinion: "media" is plural! It is! "Media" is the plural of "medium"; therefore, one should say, "The media are liberal." I even looked it upon in Merriam-Webster, which, although it acknowledges the use of "media" as a singular, still maintains it's plural. And so do I.

Now, to comment on the media, I think this stuff about the liberal media is just hooey. Sure, journalists as a group may be more liberal than the average American, but what about the folks who own the means of communication? They're nearly all rich, male, white, heterosexual and over forty. Class, to which party do most rich, male, white, heterosexual, over-forty people belong? If you said "Green" or "Democrat", you are fucking stupid. If you said "Republican" take a seat at the head of the class. No matter how liberal the journalist, if the editors and publishers are conservative, so is the publication/broadcast.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Stupid or just foolish?

You'll often hear, "People are stupid," a statement with which I just do not agree. People are, generally, not stupid. People invented the internal combustion engine, the Internet, antibiotics, vaccinations...these are not the works of morons. When folks say that, I think they really mean, "People are foolish," a kettle of a different color.

Stupidity is an actual lack of intelligence. Stupid people learn slowly, process information clumsily, and show a general deficiency in terms of memory or knowledge. I have met very few genuinely stupid people in my life. Foolishness, however, has little to do with the way one learns, stores, and processes information. There are many well educated people with degrees in this and doctorates in that, who are indisputably intelligent, but who show an amazing lack of intuition and enlightenment, and who consistently make bad decisions. I have met many foolish people. I often think of it in AD&D terms: intelligence and wisdom.

Example: Two women approach a weatherbeaten rope-and-plank bridge over a deep chasm. One woman is all intelligence and no wisdom, and her companion is all wisdom and no intelligence. Ms. Intellignce draws upon what she knows of rope, wood, weather and physics, and calculates that there is an 80% chance the bridge will bear the women's weight. Therefore, she recommends crossing. Ms. Wisdom, who knows nothing about physics, looks at the deep gorge, considers what will happen if the bridge gives way, and weighs that against the importance of crossing. She recommends either finding another, safer, way across the chasm, or abandoning the trip altogether.

See the difference? Ms. Intelligence has an amazing ability to calculate the odds, relying on her mental prowess, but Ms. Wisdom keeps a long view of the situation, relying on perspective and common sense. Obviously, you can tell which I favor. Nearly anyone can be taught facts and theories, but it's harder to teach wisdom and good judgement. Given the state of the world, I suggest we should concentrate less on the former and more on the latter.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

The problem with Star Trek is...

Since becoming a raving Babylon 5 fan, I've gotten some perspective on Star Trek and what's wrong with it. Don't get me wrong; I very much enjoyed TNG, and I fully realize that B5 owes a great debt to the entire franchise. However, Star Trek has some failings, and I'm blogging 'em.

Too much technology: Transporters and replicators, which are essentially the same technology, really make it difficult to carry off a story, because they solve perhaps too many problems. There was a TNG episode in which the crew cured someone of a disease by transporting her back to the ship with everything but the disease. Couldn't they do that with any disease? Doesn't that in effect mean that the Federation can cure any disease? Besides, that transporter was mighty selective in who it could or couldn't affect. I remember an episode in which they located Picard's son (who at this point was a stranger to all of them) on a planet where he was mountain-climbing and beamed him right up lickety-split. This is the same transporter Wesley Crusher was able to foil by taking off his communicator. Sorry...if the damn thing can find a stranger on a planet, it can find some snot-nosed little brainiac on the very same ship. (Note: Picard's son was pretty cute, and when they beamed him up he was wearing a tight little athletic outfit, and he had his back to the camera. Oooh-lala.)

Too perfect: I agree that, should humanity survive until the 23rd century, we shall undoubtedly have shed much of the pettiness that currently bedevils us, but that doesn't mean we'll be anywhere near as perfect as the TNG crew. My goodness...just once I'd like to see Geordhi get annoyed with Data, or remark that Riker just rubs him the wrong way. Vastly enlightened people are still people, and that means they'll have bad days, annoying habits, and personal agendas that differ from Starfleet's. B5 had a labor strike, for Pete's sake, whereas Captain Sisko's worst at-home problem was the replicator not getting his coffee exactly right.

Money is obsolete?!?!? No, no, no! I don't care how wonderful Earth is, or how advanced its still have to have currency. You must. Must. If not, how do you determine where/how people live? Can a Federation citizen demand a castle and get it? Or a starship? Doesn't work, wouldn't happen.

Too many mega-beings: Let's see...there's the Dowd, the Q, Nagilum, and of course those folks who live in the center of the galaxy and holo-project their heads onto the bridge for fun. Mother of all can't swing a dead cat in the Star Trek world without hitting something that's omnipotent. Even the Vorlon and the Shadows from the B5 world aren't omnipotent; they're just really, really scary.

BTW, I have to wait until early January for the fourth season of B5, about which I am not happy. I have zero patience with this sort of thing.

Monday, November 10, 2003

More songs

I was again thinking about the days of Cathy and I and joke songs, and another came to me. This was written when Jack-o was simultaneously turning into a gray elf and dodging child molestation charges. Enjoy!

Black or White (sung to the tune of Michael Jackson's "Black or White")
I used to be a human now I'm not sure
And children used to love me not anymore
That was when I was the King of Pop, when moonwalking was still at its height
But now I'm just a has-been and I don't know if I'm black or white

The NAACP just won't let me in
Because they say they don't know where I have been
My nose has been sculptured and now they say my skin is too light
And the Ku Klux Klan won't take me 'cause they don't know if I'm black or white

I ain't afraid of no D.A., I ain't afraid of TV
I got lots of money to buy off testimony
I live in a giant playhouse, America's weirdest child
Compared to what I look like, even LaToya seems mild

Even Elvis Presley's daughter wasn't weird enough to take my spotlight
She ran with $15 million 'cause she don't care if I'm black or white

The bridge needs some work, but otherwise I like it. Joke songs also make good blogging material, so no one can accuse me of neglecting The First Time I Turned Thirty.

Friday, November 07, 2003

Weird Al? Bah!

My friend Cathy and I (when we were coworkers) used to rewrite popular songs ala Weird Al to suit whatever was going on in the office or at the world at large, and one I did came back to me the other day, word for word. I inscribe it here, for the ages. It's based on the Paula Abdul hit, "Promise of a New Day." If you don't remember it, you are a lucky, lucky person.

(A little background: Back in the 90's, the state of Colorado amended its constitution to forbid localities to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation. A few years later, the Supreme Court of the United States overturned Amendment 2, saying that Colorado did not have the authority to allow certain kinds of discrimination but to forbid others. Hence this song.)

Promise of Some New Gays

Colorado's gonna have to adjust, 'cause Amendment 2 just bit the dust
What did the high court say?
Promise of some new gays
Homophobia it just took a fall, and though Scalia wants to kill us all
Looks like we'll have our day
Promise of some new gays

And so small-minded laws won't change the world, oh no
So the only promise is that gays in Denver will live and marry one another

See the lesbians all skiing the slopes? The Consitution crushed the bigots' hopes.
What did the high court say?
Promise of some new gays

And so small-minded laws won't change the world, oh no
So the only promise is that gays in Denver will live and marry one another

Now the drag-queens have the freedom to roam into Boulder and then call it home
I think they're going to stay
Promise of some new gays

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Alien! Alien! Alien!

As you might have guessed from the title, which is marvelously subtle, I'm seeing the director's cut of "Alien" tonight. Okay, it's at the Riverview, which is less good, but I can overlook that in favor of the movie. This is one of my all-time favorite movies, and one I've seen countless times. I've seen a few of the deleted scenes, but never in sequence, so needless to say I am most excited.

I played some pool Saturday night, and performed erratically as always. In this way I am like Presto from the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon: Sometimes he got the most amazing, encounter-winning shit from that hat, and other times he got purple crepe paper, which, while attractive, isn't much help against Venger.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

I feel so dirty!

I went to the polls today, and I voted for John Street. Ugh. As I reached for the button, my hand jerked back spasmodically, and I had to repeat my Election-Day mantra, "Must keep Republicans out of power." Only then was I able to cast my vote for Street.

I thought long and hard about my vote, and in the end I decided to vote Democrat because a Republican mayor would certainly do his damnedest to impede Ed Rendell's reelection, and to support boneheads like Santorum and His Fraudulency. Katz may be pro-gay and socially liberal and all that, but when the Republican Party blows its trumpets, he'll respond, even if it means betraying every voter in this city. Therefore, I voted my fears instead of my hopes, something I always advise people not to do. And that's why I feel dirty.

Monday, November 03, 2003


I used to refuse to vote on the grounds that it didn't change anything, but I admit I've reached the opposite conclusion. These days I vote as often as they'll let me, although not because I think this candidate is truly superior to that one; in truth, very few politicians stand head and shoulder above the rest. However, in my reading on election reform, I've come to realize that voting is very important, but not for the reasons most people think.

Politicians ultimately care about votes more than money, because votes are what get counted on Election Day. Sure, money helps you get votes, but you can't actually trade in dollars for votes. (Neat idea, though.) Now, one might say, "Well that proves that politicians listen to their constituency", an assertion that is not quite correct. Politicians care about the opinions of their voting constituency, which do not always equate to the entirety of their disticts or states. It's well known that certain demographics vote more consistently than others, and that the whiter, older and richer you are, the more likely you are to vote. It therefore should come as no surprise that rich white folks wield an inordinate amount of power in this country. Don't believe me? Consider the third rail of US politics otherwise known as Social Security. Since old people vote in droves, if you touch it, you die, at least politically. Therefore, if you are a politician, you worry about the desires not of your entire constituency, but of the constituency most likely to vote. Who cares what people who sit home on Election Day think?

That being said, if poor folks voted in the same or greater numbers as rich folks, I guarantee we'd see a dramatic shift in national priorities. I predict that the minimum wage would rise, public transportation would see increased funding, and universal healthcare would become a topic of serious debate, instead of merely a pipe-dream. I'm not pounding the drums of patriotism here either; this is pure self-interest. My college philosophy professor once said that if everyone were merely smart egoists the world would be a better place, and I believe it. However, even for those of us who believe in altruism, voting matters.

That's why I vote.

Sunday, November 02, 2003


Yes, I am posting about Halloween two days after it's over. Live with it.

Sean, Ed and I went to NYC to see the parade, and I of course stole some time to visit not one but two Daffy's. The visits were disappointing as the clothing there was much more conservative than that of the store in Philadelphia. One location was in Herald Square, which I suppose explains it, but I was left unfulfilled all the same.

Anyway, the parade was the coolest, and the weather was perfect for perching on a construction scaffold to watch the costumes go by. My personal favorite was the drag-queen combo of Blanche and Baby Jane Hudson. When they passed by I yelled, "But ya are, Blanche! Ya are in that chair!" We also chatted up some British guys, one of whom was to die for. (Rule of physics: All cute guys are made even cuter by the presence of a British accent.) The Village, of course, was a madhouse, but that's when it's most fun. I got home around 1am, tired but satisfied that my Halloween had been well enjoyed.

I'm not sure I could live in New York, as much as I like to visit. Even if it weren't almighty expensive, it's awfully frenetic, even for a city boy like me. Personally, I like that Philadelphia keeps a certain serenity despite the fact that it's the fifth-largest city in the US. That of course raises the question of why I'm looking to leave it, the answer to which is a blog in itself. And I'm not starting another blog.