Monday, June 30, 2008

Tell Them How You Really Feel

I am a regular reader of missed connections on craigslist, and even though my gay chauvinism means I pretty much read only the m4m listings, I must say, they really are usually the best. To wit, one I saw today titled "To the three boys that I am dating." It's a long post, and it's so good that it's hard to pick just one part to quote. But here's a choice snippet:
Bachelor Number 1- you're a nice guy. a bit of a nerd. but that's okay because I'm a dork. but I think the contrasting difference between the two is that at least when I'm dorking out, it's interesting and endearing. whereas you tend to nerd out about really boring things.
p.s., again, I'm really sorry for coming on your bible. but you really shouldn't have left it on the nightstand table, open to the verses about man laying with another man. I wish you would let it go.
You really should read the whole thing (language NSFW).

(t/y Joey)

Good Morning: "Eleven Twelve"

Sunday, June 29, 2008

"My Very Moral Fiber"

I don't normally post on the weekend, but Rich, the mastermind of fourfour, posted this and I wanted to share it.

I will say this: in spite of the fact that these asshats have tried everything in the last 20-some-odd years to scapegoat us and limit our rights, they are on the losing end of this battle in the long run. Gay marriage is now legal in two states. Surveys indicate that opposition to gay rights is growing weaker over time across all age groups. But sometimes it's good to have a reminder of the fight that remains.

Friday, June 27, 2008

These Jawns, Them Jawns - June 27, 2008

The Supreme Court upholds individual gun rights by a vote of 5-4.

Show of Unity: Obama's campaign announces that he, along with his wife Michelle and several top campaign staffers, have each contributed the maximum amount to Clinton's campaign in order to help retire her debt. The news comes just before Clinton and Obama make their first joint campaign appearance in Unity, NH, where they each received the same number of votes during the primary.

Looks like Madge and Guy Ritchie are divorcing.

VH1’s I Love the New Millennium premiered this week. I guess even their clever writers haven’t figured out what to call this decade.

Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson installs huge waterfalls throughout New York City.

The conservative Orange County Register comes out in favor of gay marriage in an editorial.

Beating the system: Two guys in Virginia, one of them dressed as a woman, get married. I wonder what the OC Register would say about that.

Advantage Obama: MTV has changed its policy and will now accept political ads.

And in local news...

Philly tries optical illusions to slow down drivers. Somehow I don't think it's going to take people too long to figure these jawns out.

Penn President Amy Gutmann makes a lot of money. $1.1 million last year, to be precise.

Shameless plug for a good friend: WILBUR, my favorite vintage clothier in Philadelphia, is open during the afternoon and evening each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at the Antiquarian’s Delight, 615 S. 6th St. Parker Posey’s been there!


Good Morning: Deee-Lite, "Power of Love"

One of my absolute favorite groups ever.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Dept. of You Can't Make This Shit Up

Holy wow. Everything about this article is amazing. Those BBC newshounds left no innuendo uninnuendoed in writing the masterpiece, so I will excerpt but a snippet here and urge you to read the entire thing:
A West Midlands family is playing a central role in the quest to raise the profile of a forgotten British dish - faggots.

The Doody family from Wolverhampton has been crowned The Faggot Family in a national competition, and to kick off their reign they will launch National Faggot Week.
World, meet the faggot-loving Doody family. Yes, you heard me right. No, this was not posted on The Onion. Now go read the whole thing.

[Ed.: So I looked more closely, and the story is from five years ago, but this only makes me wonder how the hell I missed it back then.]

O Sweet Spontaneous Word Cloud

We're used to seeing word clouds that provide some useful information - the relative popularity of topics or tags on a particular site, for instance - but Wordle allows you to create word clouds with text of your choosing. I plugged in the first few lines from "o sweet spontaneous" by e. e. cummings:

It seems to drop the smaller words, but you can fiddle with the layout, font, and colors. Happy procrastinating!

(t/y Joey)

Why Go To Law School When You Can Play Make-Believe?

When I read stories like this, I wonder why I'm about to go through three grueling years and amass considerable debt when I could just pretend to be a lawyer!

A California man misrepresented himself as a licensed attorney in at least 16 cases at 10 federal courts since 2004, including the case of an NHL player who pleaded guilty to hiring a hitman to kill his agent and a murder-for-hire trial involving an Aspen woman, according to records obtained by The Denver Post.

Clients and lawyers knew Howard O. Kieffer, 52, as a capable attorney specializing in federal sentencing and plea negotiations through the Santa Ana, Calif.-based Federal Defense Associates legal office, where he worked as executive director.

But a nationwide review of court and other records by the Denver Post found that Kieffer:

• Did not attend the Antioch School of Law in Washington, D.C., as he has claimed.

• Has a criminal record with felony convictions for filing false tax returns and grand theft.

• Is not licensed to practice law anywhere in the United States, including its territories and the District of Columbia.

• Is not a member of the American Bar Association and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, as he has claimed.

• And has been ordered by two federal courts to show proof of his standing in the legal community.

It reminds me of this restaurant down the road from my mom and step-dad's house called Why Cook? Why go to law school, rack up thousands of dollars in debt, and study your ass off to pass the bar, when you could do just fine for yourself pretending you're a qualified, certified attorney? Way to buck the system, Howard Kieffer!

Source: Denver Post via Above the Law
Image: Denver Post

Rumination: The Governator

Every once in a while, I forget that Arnold Schwarzenegger is the Governor of California. And then I hear him on the radio, telling the people of his state not to set off fireworks this year because of all the wildfires, and the world seems impossibly funny.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Desire Named Streetcar(s)

I am a big fan of mass transit. I think it makes cities more livable, and it has much to offer us in a world where driving an automobile has become an expensive proposition. So I was happy to see this video on Philebrity today of streetcars clanking around Philadelphia circa 1951. I had no idea that street-level trolleys used to be so numerous here - in the video they are seen gliding down Spruce Street in front of HUP and South Street between the Penn Museum and Franklin Field. Pretty cool stuff.

Source: Philebrity

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Sex Is For Fags!

Just last night, B and I were watching Anderson Cooper 360's coverage of the alleged teen pregnancy pact story when Dreamboat Andy gave us Ye Olde Split-Screen Debate. The topic, of course, was: what kinds of sex education resources and classes should public schools provide? In one corner was a reasonable, sane woman from Planned Parenthood; in the other (again, of course) was Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. Dreamboat Andy mentioned that teen pregnancy is up for the first time in several years - bait for both sides - and then let the debaters go at it. It wasn't as heated a debate as I'd hoped for, but B and I had a nearly aneurysm-inducing vent about the Bush administration's insane abstinence-only sex ed policy. I mean, at least we agree on this topic, but still, it's not a relaxing way to spend a Monday night.

So you can imagine my delight this morning when I discovered Sex Is For Fags!, a site spoofing the abstinence-only sex ed. Here's my favorite testimonial:

I agree! Capri Sun truly is holy, in its precious quicksilver plastic pouch. And of course, Sex Is For Fags! has a sister site, Iron Hymen. This testimonial nearly made me spit out my coffee:

Doors are closing. Next stop: NOT MUFFY'S VAGINA! Thank you, whoever made these sites. You restored me to relative sanity.

Source: Joe.My.God.


"Fiduciary duty" has to be one of the grossest-sounding combinations of totally clean words in the English language.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Scene: Comcast Center Lobby

The woman and teenage boy on the right are real; the man and child holding hands on the left are sculptures. Life imitates art?


Today is my birthday. I won't post the usual end-of-week recap, but I will post a photo from my walk around the Comcast Center yesterday. Anyway, happy birthday to me!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I'm Voting Republican

This video is a bit bleeding-heart for my taste - the suggestion that Wal-Mart and other big box stores are purely the result of GOP policies is an overreach, to say the least - but it's funny nonetheless. And it's indicative of the horrible shape the Republican brand is in these days.

Vacation at Home: Citizens Bank Park

Some photos from yesterday's Red Sox-Phillies game with my man and the fam. It drizzled a little just before gametime, but on the whole it was a gorgeous afternoon. And the Sox won, 7-4.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Scene: Free Shakes at 7th & Tasker

I passed this storefront in South Philly on - of course - April 20. As you can see, the FREE SHAKES sign promises delicious treats, but then one notices the before-and-after photos of formerly fat people in the window. April is the cruellest month, isn't it? Though you'd think this whole operation would be more effective if they took down the before-and-after photos. (Ed.: Pardon the finger in the upper left corner.)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Vacation at Home: The National Constitution Center

So this week, I'm on vacation, and I'm spending it here in Philly. In addition to catching up on sleep, socializing as much and as late as I want, and so on, I decided to visit some of the city's big tourist attractions. First stop was the National Constitution Center.

The building is quite beautiful - and aggressively air-conditioned. I was cold the entire time. Anyway, your tour starts with a 20- to 30-minute-long presentation in the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?-esque Kimmel Theater called (cue dramatic orchestra) "Freedom Rising". It's narrated by an actor, thankfully not in period garb, and is interrupted occasionally by pre-recorded actor's voices (usually representing 18th- or 19th-century Americans, some famous, others generic), news footage, and, of course, dramatic music. On the whole, it's not a bad crash course on U.S. history and civics, though it does verge on the jingoistic at times. But I'll admit, I got chills at one point, and it does make you want to get out of there and start learning about the Constitution, which is really the point after all.

After the presentation is over, you proceed upstairs and into the main exhibit hall. It's not a huge space, but there are lots of things to listen to, watch, and interact with. It progresses chronologically from the colonial era to the present, and chronicles the major points during U.S. history that have tested the Constitution and the nation. I particularly liked the "Can You Vote In (Year)?" screens scattered throughout the timeline - we tend to forget how limited our democracy once was (and, arguably, still is) - and the desk where you can learn about the judicial branch. (The geek in me was particularly pleased to have recognized a court reporter's rendering of a young, tan Antonin Scalia hearing Johnson v. Texas.) The last room has bronze statues of the signers of the Constitution, which are alarmingly lifelike.

But the icing on the cake (the Bill of Rights on the Constitution?) was finding the following children's books in the gift shop:

While I'm not sure that "Quit Bossing Us Around!" and "I Want To Go To School!" are the most accurate one-sentence summaries of the Declaration of Independence or Brown v. Board, I like the idea of this series. I propose the additional titles Get Off My Property!: The Fourth Amendment and I Want To Get Married!: Loving v. Virginia.

In all seriousness, though, I think visiting the NCC should be required for all Americans. It is a wonderful encapsulation of our history and government, and it beautifully illustrates that the power in our nation ultimately lies with the people.

Al Gore Endorses Barack Obama for President

In an e-mail to Barack Obama supporters yesterday, former vice presidential candidate Al Gore (finally) endorsed Obama for president. The two then appeared together in Detroit for the official, public endorsement. All I can say is: it's about time! Full text of the e-mail follows:
Dear (Name),

A few hours from now I will step on stage in Detroit, Michigan to announce my support for Senator Barack Obama. From now through Election Day, I intend to do whatever I can to make sure he is elected President of the United States.

Over the next four years, we are going to face many difficult challenges -- including bringing our troops home from Iraq, fixing our economy, and solving the climate crisis. Barack Obama is clearly the candidate best able to solve these problems and bring change to America.

This moment and this election are too important to let pass without taking action.

That's why I am asking you to join me in showing your support by making a contribution to this campaign today:

Over the past 18 months, Barack Obama has united a movement. He knows change does not come from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue or Capitol Hill. It begins when people stand up and take action.

With the help of millions of supporters like you, Barack Obama will bring the change we so desperately need in order to solve our country's most pressing problems.

If you've already contributed to this campaign, I ask that you consider making another contribution right now. If you haven't, please take the next step and own a piece of this campaign today:

On the issues that matter most, Barack Obama is clearly the right choice to lead our nation.

We have a lot of work to do in the next few months to elect Barack Obama president, and it begins by making a contribution to this campaign today.

Thank you for joining me,

Al Gore

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Scene: Philly Skyline from 19th & JFK

In a nod to Joe.My.God.'s Morning Views, this is the first of (I hope) many scenes of Philly and other places I encounter in my travels.

At a cocktail party on Saturday night, I had the luck to capture this beautiful view of the Philly skyline at night from 29 floors above the corner of 19th & JFK. I'm looking east here, as Philly natives will know, and the brightly-lit spire in the distance is the top of City Hall, with Billy Penn on top. The Aramark tower is to the left and slightly farther away. The legendary PSFS building, the first skyscraper built in the International style, is visible immediately to the right of the City Hall spire.

Friday, June 13, 2008

These Jawns, Them Jawns - June 13, 2008

A weekly round-up of the edifying, the odd, the laudatory, the scurrilous.

The Obama campaign launches a Fight the Smears sub-site.

Camille Paglia scoffs at the idea of an Obama-Clinton ticket: "Hillary for veep? Are you mad? What party nominee worth his salt would chain himself to a traveling circus like the Bill and Hillary Show? If the sulky bearded lady wasn't biting the new president’s leg, the oafish carnival barker would be sending in the clowns to lure all the young ladies into back-of-the-tent sword-swallowing. It would be a seamy orgy of scheming and screwing." Wowzers. There's some imagery for you.

Insult to injury: annoying duck boats rescue Wisconsin flood victims. (via Philebrity)

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick's daughter Katherine comes out as a lesbian.

Unicorn power! Single-horned deer found in Italy.

Hollywood in the 215: Transformers 2 is filming on the Penn campus as I type. Photos here.

DISCOVERED: Reel Geezers, two hilarious octogenarians who review movies. I recommend their Superbad review. (via Andrew Sullivan)

REDISCOVERED: Philly-based art and clothing collective Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction produce fun t-shirts and other stuff, and their website is cute, to boot!

Photo: AP/Center of Natural Sciences, Prato, Italy

Respectfully, Your Boobs Are Showing

It's stories like these that make me excited for law school. Apparently, somewhere out there in this good land of ours, one Ms. B made a sartorial error not unlike the one chronicled here (potentially NSFW) prior to a deposition. When the witness at the deposition pointed this out to Ms. B, a testy exchange ensued, ending in the following:
MS. B: ...I don't need a retained tell me how to dress, sir. So with all due respect, I don't appreciate your comments at all. You're here, you're being paid for your time to answer questions, and not comment on counsel's attire. So with that said, have a great dinner.

WITNESS: Thank you.

MS. B: You're welcome.

MS. G: Respectfully, I think he's just referring to the fact that he can see your breasts.

MS. B: You can't see my breasts.

MS. G: Well, I can. And that was what he was referring to.

WITNESS: I'm done for the day.

(The deposition concluded at 5:18 p.m.)
At which point Ms. B threw on a blazer to cover her chest before heading to the local pub to drink away her embarrassment, presumably. Check out Above the Law for the full transcript!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Supreme Court Gives Gitmo Detainees Habeas Corpus Rights

A centerpiece of the Bush Administration's anti-terrorism policy was struck down by the Supreme Court today when the Justices voted, 5-4, that foreign nationals at Guantanamo Bay do have the right to challenge their detention in U.S. courts. From SCOTUSblog:
In a stunning blow to the Bush Administration in its war-on-terrorism policies, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday that foreign nationals held at Guantanamo Bay have a right to pursue habeas challenges to their detention. The Court, dividing 5-4, ruled that Congress had not validly taken away habeas rights. If Congress wishes to suspend habeas, it must do so only as the Constitution allows — when the country faces rebellion or invasion.

The Court stressed that it was not ruling that the detainees are entitled to be released — that is, entitled to have writs issued to end their confinement. That issue, it said, is left to the District Court judges who will be hearing the challenges. The Court also said that “we do not address whether the President has authority to detain” individuals during the war on terrorism, and hold them at the U.S. Naval base in Cuba; that, too, it said, is to be considered first by the District judges.
It's worth noting that among the four dissenters were Bush appointees Roberts and Alito. (The other two were Scalia and Thomas - no surprises there.)

SCOTUSblog via Above the Law

O, Baby! Fox News Refers to Michelle Obama as "Obama's Baby Mama"

I'm normally loath to make any comment along the lines of, "They would never have said that about so-and-so if s/he were [different skin color/gender/sexual orientation/etc.]!!!" Nevertheless, I think it's safe to say that Fox News won't be referring to Cindy McCain in quite the same manner as they just did Michelle Obama:

Note the Fox News Channel "Fair and Balanced" graphic at bottom right. Gotta love that. Keep it classy, Fox! The video is below, in case you want to see it for yourself. The graphic in question is up near the beginning of the clip.

Source: Salon's War Room

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Norway Legalizes Gay Marriage

Today the Norwegian Parliament voted to allow same-sex couples to marry, becoming the sixth country to allow gay marriage.
The gallery at the Norwegian Parliament erupted in applause and cheers on Wednesday with the passage of legislation allowing same-sex couples to marry.

The law also recognizes both partners in a marriage as equal parents and gives lesbian couples the same access to "medically assisted reproduction" as opposite-sex couples.

Parliament voted overwhelmingly to approve the bill, despite opposition from the Christian Democrats and Progress Party.
Nicely done, Norway!

Image: Flickr user TimOve, used under a Creative Commons license

Friday, June 6, 2008

post the first

Oh I have been to Ludlow fair
And left my necktie God knows where,
And carried half way home, or near,
Pints and quarts of Ludlow beer:
Then the world seemed none so bad,
And I myself a sterling lad;
And down in lovely muck I’ve lain,
Happy till I woke again.
Then I saw the morning sky:
Heigho, the tale was all a lie;
The world, it was the old world yet,
I was I, my things were wet,
And nothing now remained to do
But begin the game anew.

from Terence, this is stupid stuff
A. E. Housman (1859-1936)