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1 May 2003 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

"The crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism. Our whole educational system suffers from this evil. An exaggerated competitive attitude is inculcated into the student, who is trained to worship acquisitive success as a preparation for his future career." – Albert Einstein
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“We must bear in mind that imperialism is a world system, the last stage of capitalism...Our share, the responsibility of the exploited and underdeveloped of the world, is to eliminate the foundations of imperialism: our oppressed nations, from where they extract capital, raw materials, technicians, and cheap labor, and to which they export new capital – instruments of dominations – arms and all kinds of articles, thus submerging us in an absolute dependence.”  - Che Guevara

“ impoverish the earth now to support outward greatness appears to be injury to the succeeding age.”  - John Woolman

2 May 2003 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

I spent six hours today working on the code for the Road Trip 2003 website.  Pages for the Odometer Contest and the Pennies for Change Pledge Form should be available tomorrow.  If you came looking for the pledge form, thank you. 

The new Road Trip 2003 logo is now part of the navigation bar.  You can peek at the Beta version of the daily pages by clicking here.

3 May 2003 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

Road Trip 2003 begins in twenty-eight days.  The web pages are nearly complete.
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Road Trip 2003 is also a fundraising event and I am inviting you to help raise four thousand dollars for two hard working groups.  Take a look at the Change for Change Campaign page and consider pledging a penny for every mile I travel.  I’ll match the first five hundred dollars penny for penny. 

By tomorrow, the Odometer Contest will be online as well.  Guess the odometer reading at various points in the trip and you might win a Road Trip 2003 mug, shirt or lunch box.  Check back shortly for details.

5 May 2003 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

Road Trip 2003 consumed this evening as the remaining details are resolved.  You can click here to see a map of the entire route.  A list of stops on the route is available by clicking here.  I invite you to offer suggestions of sites and interesting places to visit along the way.  Just drop me a note.
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Thanks to Drew for being the first person to contribute to the Change for Change Campaign.  I plan to see the capitol of consumerism, the Mall of America, and I may even visit this store just for Drew. 

Al Sharpton running for president is a little bit like Sister Betty running for governor.  Yes, it is good for a few laughs, but no one really believes either one will be elected. 

6 May 2003 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

Thank you to Gary Young, Henry Mensch, Kent Jones, Christopher Constant (who lives in Alaska!), Christina Henriquez and David Ellard for pledging to support the Road Trip 2003 Change for Change Campaign.  I need just forty five more people to pledge at the one-cent-per-mile level to reach the $4,000 fundraising goal.  Click here and add your name to this list!  (Oh, come on, a penny per mile is just eighty bucks….)
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The topic of children arose over lunch with an attorney today.  I plan on adopting a child someday, perhaps two if I’m feeling especially energetic.  It seems a number of gay men in the neighborhood have adopted recently – a Quaker couple in the local meeting has two boys now, a couple around the corner just adopted a baby, and the son of a couple up the street is nearing two years old.  The lunchtime lawyer mentioned he and his partner are building a house so they can adopt.

I love seeing gay men with children.  Although the ability to adopt is central to queer rights, it isn’t at the heart of why I enjoy seeing gay men with kids.  First, gay men have enormous amount of love to offer a child.  The world today has a severe shortage of love and we’re wise to tap into this resource.  Second, gay men must choose to adopt and it is not an easy process.  Children of gay parents are wanted.  They don’t happen, they aren’t accidents, they are intentional.  Loved and wanted is a good start for any child on this planet.  Since many of the children adopted by gay men have waited years to be adopted (many in really bad foster homes), loved and wanted is the greatest gift they may ever receive.

Despite the increasing number of gay men with children, I’ve yet to find a gay man to date who shares my desire to be a parent.  The thought of committing to raising another human being seems to frighten even the most adoring queer man.  If there is a stable, queer, intelligent and settled gay man out there who is interested in raising a child, drop me a note.  (There are other criteria, but we’ll start with the easy ones…)

"One sure measure of the mind and heart of any society is how it treats its children." - Reportedly from a PBS special show "Orphan Trains".

7 May 2003 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

Thank you to Bill Sanderson, Jeff Glover, Giorgio and Amie Althaea for joining the Road Trip 2003 Change for Change Campaign.  A special round of applause for the Bears of San Francisco who have promised 3-cents-per-mile!  Thanks to Drew and Jeff Glover for spearheading this large donation!  Have you pledged yet? 
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Responding to my note of suspicion in attributing yesterday’s quote, David writes: “… Mohandas Gandhi originally said, ‘The true measure of any society may be taken in the way it treats its animals.’ But it is also variously misquoted as ‘A measure of a civilized society is the way it treats its most disadvantaged members.’  So...children, animals, and the disadvantaged.  I suppose the commonality of them all is that they don't have a voice.”

I received a request today to bring Ba-da-Bingo to Kansas City during my stopover next month.  If a group in Kansas City wants to help with the event, I’m more than happy to discuss the possibility.  However, I won’t be traveling cross country with a bingo cage in the boot.  I am happy to put in a public appearance in any city I visit (and I may do some impromptu appearances without invitation); if you are part of a group that would like Sister Betty to visit, let me know

I am especially interested in finding two or three gay people in Saint Louis to accompany Sister Betty on the Budweiser Brewery Tour.  (Sorry kids, I’m not showing up as a nun at this place alone!).  If you know some queer folks in Saint Louis, drop them a line and let them know I am looking for help. 

By the way, if you send me your address, I’ll post an official Sister Betty Road Trip 2003 Postcard to you from somewhere in the United States.  One card per household, please.

8 May 2003 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

I keep a shoebox of photographs in my closet.  I gave up on photo albums years ago.  The photographs are stacked neatly in no particular order.  When I acquire new images, I insert them wherever they fit.  The result is a misaligned history of my life ricocheting between years and decades.  Somewhere in the cardboard space reside images from my grandparent’s wedding around 1920, photos from a 1970’s Instamatic, prints of digital images from last month.
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Photographs were less common when my grandparents posed for their wedding photo – my grandfather in a stiff suit and my grandmother with round glasses.  Even in the 1970s when we ran around holding little Kodak cameras with flash cubes on top, photography was reserved for special occasions such as birthdays, weddings and vacations.  The images from those years seem to always capture the preeminent moments of life.

I take more photographs now than I ever did before.  Digital photography makes it easy and inexpensive and the images are no longer limited to distinguished moments.  My digital camera is nearly always tucked in the side of my bag and I burn compact discs full of images.  And yet, I still send the meaningful images to Shutterfly, adding these prints to the box in the closet.

I suspect my motives for keeping the box are not so unique:  they remind me of where I’ve been, help to recall faces that may fade over years, provide souvenirs of love, avouch the passing of time. 

I added a photograph of an ex-lover to the box today.  I ran my finger around the edge in the same way I once slowly traversed his jaw line.  I love you, I said.  Then I put the print with the others, closed the lid, turned my eyes to the skyline while my mind strolled through the past, the future and the joy of life.

10 May 2003 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

Thanks to John Lopez for joining the Change for Change Campaign.  With 21 days remaining until Road Trip 2003, with the help of a great list of people I’ve reached 25% of my fundraising goal.  Click here to pledge!  Ah, come on, you can pledge as little as $20!  (Am I starting to sound like the annual NPR beg-a-thon?)
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Today was the consummate San Francisco day:  sunny, warm, clear skies, gentle breeze.  I dined on Market Street and headed over to Delores Park for several hours.  Since the day is still full of possibility, I’m headed back out the door…

11 May 2003 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

It is a rare Saturday when you find me awake before 10:00 AM.  On May 31st, I will be up bright and early to start the road trip, and I am inviting everyone over for a Bon Voyage Breakfast/Party/Thing starting at 8:00 AM.  Donuts, champagne, big hats, and I’m on the road by 9:00.  It happens at the corner of 19th and Collingwood.  You can see the Evite and RSVP by clicking here.  If we’re lucky, San Francisco will give us a rare warm summer morning.  If not, bring a jacket.
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The FEMA website gives this suggestion if you are in a car during a tornado:  “If there is no time to get indoors, get out of the car and lie in a ditch or low-lying area away from the vehicle. Be aware of the potential for flooding.” 

I admit I don’t know much about tornados.  However, it seems that if I am going to be picked up and flung through the air, I’d prefer do it inside a steel roll cage with six airbags and a stereo (hey, you don’t know how long you’ll be up there – just ask Dorothy) rather than just my wimple and flannel shirt. 

Another website says you shouldn’t try to outrun a tornado because they can move very fast and the speed limit on most highways is 70 miles per hour.  Who do they think is going to obey the speed limit when a tornado is bearing down on your little vehicle?  I’ll pay the speeding ticket, thank you very much.  The likelihood of a ticket is fairly low anyway – the officer is presumably lying in the ditch while his patrol car is hurled through a barn roof seven miles distant.

Give me an earthquake over a tornado any day.  At least earthquakes aren’t followed by flying monkeys.

12 May 2003 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

Jeffrey B. Kane is the latest person to pledge to the Change for Change Campaign.   Thank you, Jeffrey.
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Today is the 156th Anniversary of the Roadometer, one predecessor to the modern odometer.  Mormon pioneers moving from Missouri to Utah in 1847 wanted a way to track the distance they traveled.  One of them devised a series of wooden gears to count the rotations of the wagon wheel and they dubbed it “Roadometer”.  [Read the full story by clicking here]  This serves, of course, as a wonderful opportunity to mention the Road Trip 2003 Odometer Contest.

"I walked some this afternoon in company with Orson Pratt and suggested to him the idea of fixing a set of wooden cog wheels to the hub of a wagon wheel, in such order as to tell the exact number of miles we travel each day. He seemed to agree with me that it could be easily done at a trifling expense." 

"Brother Appleton Harmon is working at the machinery for the wagon to tell the distance we travel and expects to have it in operation tomorrow, which will save me the trouble of counting, as I have done, during the last four days." 

"About noon today Brother Appleton Harmon completed the machinery on the wagon called a 'roadometer' by adding a wheel to revolve once in ten miles, showing each mile and also each quarter mile we travel, and then casing the whole over so as to secure it from the weather." - from William Clayton's Journal

13 May 2003 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

Thank you Mark Huebner for joining the Change for Change Campaign.
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I once read a quote from an interview with a retired priest.  Asked what he learned in decades of hearing confessions he replied:  “People are much unhappier than you would think.  And, there is no such thing as an adult.”

I make my living teaching and consulting for businesses.  This quote comes to mind frequently while I work with clients.  A great many people carry large reserves of unhappiness as they struggle to live with the expectations of what it means to be an adult.  For many, joy – if it exists at all – is experienced only in fleeting moments and happiness is a word reserved for infrequent events.

It would be easy to create a list of reasons our lives, society and world gives us for despair.  Whether this moment in history is more or less difficult than any moment in the past is largely irrelevant – it is the moment which we occupy and our only real point of comparison is our own experience.  And, I could also create a list of reasons for hope, although I might argue it would be a somewhat more conservative list.

What is true is this:  We live in a time when meeting the expectations of the world, both those external and those we have internalized, is daunting if not impossible.  We hold ourselves and others to ideals in excess of what most humans can deliver.  We despair as we consider the future, many long for a simpler time they remember in grainy detail, and together we muddle through the day. 

How long has it been since you rose from your bed with passion and excitement for what the day held?

What solution to offer?  I offer two suggestions, both incomplete: 

First, we have the ability as a society to set a different path, to realign our expectations, manifesting a more joyful and just world.  While I like to believe this possibility exists, I also realize the reality that it will come to pass in my lifetime is small. 

Second, as individuals we can grow in our conciousness and our understanding of our place here, both in time and place.  We can relax our expectations of ourselves and grant greater license to others to be human in all the word implies. In short, we can learn and increase our capacity to love - both externally and internally.

14 May 2003 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

Thanks to Larry Kasten for pledging to the Change for Change Campaign.  The pledges now total nearly 50% of the goal.  Go, click here and join in!
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I spent nearly two hours traveling the thirty four miles home in stop-and-go traffic from a client site in the East Bay.  I cannot imagine myself having to make the Bay Bridge commute on a regular basis.  I suspect I would rather collect urine specimens from herpetic goats than accept regular employment on the other side of the bay. 

I would suggest a solution to California’s budget deficit might be to begin enforcing the traffic laws.  Tickets in a single day for speeding (maybe not on the afternoon commute), tailgating, illegal lane changes and failure to signal might easily handle a large portion of the missing thirty-six billion dollars. 

To complete today’s multifarious thoughts, here are Sister Betty’s ten random suggestions for an improved, increasingly peaceful and mellifluous existence:

  1. Use sizeable words whenever you can.
  2. Exorcise television from your life. 
  3. Fill the space left by the absence of television with something that doesn’t require electricity.  (Items requiring two D-cell batteries excluded.)
  4. Spend no more than thirty minutes listening to or reading news each day and ignore news you have no ability to impact or which is unlikely to make a significant difference in your life.
  5. Move your online relationships to the real world.
  6. Read marginalized periodicals.
  7. Take time each day to sit in silence in a place other than your vehicle.
  8. Never commute to the East Bay.
  9. Look upward on a regular basis.
  10. Volunteer for a meaningful project without any expectation of praise, thanks or reward.
That, my friends, is another piece of writing arguably devoid of merit.  I am now going to bed.

15 May 2003 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

I spent my afternoon at the hospital.
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I left my Navy career with one estimable souvenir:  a ticker that beats to a different rhythm than the rest of my body.  This month it sympathized with the French public sector workers by going on strike.  My heart and I visited Kaiser today to let the doctors poke, prod and pronounce.

Hospitals aren’t designed for altitudinous people.  The nurses have to stand on stools to reach my ears, the examination tables require extensions and the chest x-ray machine could barely reach my nipples.  [I really wanted to see the chest x-ray, but they are now covered by the Homeland Security Act and such a viewing isn’t permitted.] 

I know that someday I’m likely to be found in bed, a spot of drool on the pillow to mark my final attempt at humor.  I hope someone discovers me before the cats run out of food. 

[Before you start sending my sappy email filled with Hallmark thoughts, stop yourself.  First, my departure isn’t something I worry about.  My only concern would be the welfare of the aforementioned cats – probably the only felines in the world with their own trust fund. Second, despite the antics of my thoracic muscles and several readers, I may last another week or twenty, thirty or forty years.] 

Having stared through my peritoneum, attached wires to my extremities and glanced down my throat, the diagnosis remains the same:  the jolts of electricity at the inlet and outlet of my heart go awry from time to time and, well, there just isn’t much to be done.  Would I like a new allergy medicine?

So, I have a new inhaler while I continue to live with a heart which, like a small child which hasn’t yet learned to sleep through the night, wakes me at 2:00 AM.  It’s a good excuse to get up and feed the cats.  Someday someone will be glad I did…

17 May 2003 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

Random bits:

Becky, my legal expert, tells me there are in fact many stranger beneficiaries than two cats with a trust fund.

Road Trip 2003 begins exactly two weeks from today.  Have you joined the Change for Change Campaign yet? 
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David gave me a transcendent birthday present today.  One of David’s ex-boyfriends turned up at a party months ago wearing a visually offensive shirt.  I fell in love with the shirt (and I admit to a bit of a crush on the ex-boyfriend, too).  David conned the ex out of the shirt and it became my birthday present.  Now, if I can get him to do the same with the former occupant of the shirt...

Today was spent constructing a website for Shawn.  It is a simple site and I love the way it turned out.  Click here to take a look.

18 May 2003 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

Summer must be just around the corner - tourists have returned to San Francisco.  The busses are rolling down Market Street.  The streetcars deliver unsuspecting foreigners from Fisherman’s Wharf to the Castro.  People hold folded maps and turn in circles looking for street signs. 
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For now, the tourists dress appropriately.  The weather is warm until late in the afternoon.  In a month or two, you’ll see travelers in shorts running for shelter when the fog rolls over the hills at slightly past two o’clock.  Mark Twain reportedly said “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”  This line is rarely printed in travel brochures.

I’ve often tossed around the idea of starting Sister Betty’s San Francisco Tours.  Perhaps I will start with a walking tour of the Castro, add a few stairway tours and expand over time to a big, pink stretch limousine from which you can see the city and moon charter busses of Japanese businessmen. 

19 May 2003 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

The weather is far too beautiful to be inside and it seemed everyone was out.  I came across Sister Gina walking Saint Lucy Furr on the way home from the gym.  Sister Dana and I had dinner together.  On my way back from dinner I spotted Drew and Leigh.  I encountered David on the street and we joined Patrick for drinks at The Bar on Castro.  Patrick introduced me to Jeff and Andrew – one of whom is a professor of criminology and the other is a student at the Culinary Academy.  Drinks completed, David gave me nine of his recent drawings for my office.  (Tomorrow:  A test to see if you can remember all these characters.)
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The MINI goes to the East Bay tomorrow for a pre-Road Trip 2003 inspection and fluid change. 

The Wave is featuring a piece about Ba-da-Bingo written by one my favorite writers, Karen Solomon.  In addition to writing for just about every news outlet in the Bay Area, Karen is well known in knitting circles and once offered to knit a dildo cozy as a bingo prize. 

I may start keeping a list of the most vacuous Scratching pieces.  This may make the top ten.

20 May 2003 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

Thank you to Kenneth Glover from Massachusetts and Casey Caston for joining the Change for Change Campaign!
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I have been privileged to love a number of astonishing men in my life.  Some of them loved me in return, although from time to time I was too doltish to realize it in the moment.  Receiving love was never a great strength of mine - a deep lesson I learned in my childhood and a subject for another day.

While I treasure a great many memories of these men, it seems one moment stands out for each one.  For Tim the Marine, my first love, I hold in vivid detail the moment I met him and the sensation of holding him in a dark corner of a loud dance club.  I remember sitting in a hotel room with Richard as he recovered from an allergic reaction to shell fish.  I recall racing Al across Salt Lake City on motorcycles, Dane in the car at Fort Bragg, and David standing on the edge of the Seine.  I can still see Eric standing in the midst of a disassembled photocopier in his living room and Brian surviving only with the help of a ventilator.  There is Peter standing in front of my mother’s refrigerator extolling the virtues of her cookies and the sensation of my hand on Joey’s stomach as he slept curled in the arc of my body.

As each of these moments is treasured, so are the men.  Each was prized - although not always in the moment they were present, each gave a lagniappe* no one else could offer and each one occupies a place in the ether around me each day. 

One of these men left recently to pursue a different dream and trailing behind the thought he may be quickly replaced.  While the physical space of his presence may one day be filled by another, his presence in my life will always remain vacant and full at the same moment, the elasticity of love extending through time and connecting this moment with the past.

I sat with an old lover yesterday.  While he may not have been aware of it, I admired how handsome he was, his humor and his wit.  I touched his face and recalled the days of watching him sleep and wondering how anyone could see him and have still doubt the existence of God.  Life is indeed filled with thaumaturgy* and effulgence*.

*Oh yes, I have been playing with thesaurus.  Lagniappe means “an extra gift”, thaumaturgy means “miracles and magic”, and effulgence means “radiance”. 

21 May 2003 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

What a difference a dealer makes.
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In a single day, I confirmed nearly all the difficulties I’ve experienced with my MINI Cooper had less to do with my car and more to do with the dealer.  After attempting for a year to get MINI of San Francisco to fix my car, and following the advice of MINI’s corporate headquarters, I went across the bay to East Bay MINI.  They fixed what ailed my tiny car, changed the oil, replaced the air filter, washed the car and returned it to me for a total charge of $20.  I love my little car.  I loathe MINI of San Francisco.  They are a shoddy, arrogant and incapable dealership which might better be shuttered and used for homeless housing. 

I shall rant no longer about MINI of San Francisco.  Take my advice – buy and maintain your car elsewhere.  (This same advice was offered by MINI’s corporate headquarters…)

On the upside, the MINI is now ready for Road Trip 2003.  Aside from a few last minute supplies, I am too.  Have you signed up for the daily Road Trip 2003 updates?  Have you pledged to the Change for Change Campaign?  Do you want a Road Trip 2003 t-shirt?

I did something completely different today:  I walked up to someone on MUNI I thought was cute and had his name and telephone number by the time I reached my stop.  I even had a pretty firm commitment for a dinner date this weekend. 

22 May 2003 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

NPR featured a story tonight about high-school exit tests in Florida.  The test is now a requirement to graduate.  Minority students are failing at greater rates than non-minority students.  The governor is adamant the tests are effective and must stay; minority leaders are calling for a boycott and demanding the test be removed.
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I’m dismayed at what passes for political “debate” in this country.  Nearly without exception, any issue is divided between two opposing groups who exchange barbs, sound bites and jabs in a struggle to obtain sufficient power to force one agenda over the other.  There is no real discussion of any issue.

Is it not possible to consider both sides may have reasonable points and needs?  Is it possible the tests do help raise standards and at the same time certain populations – for multiple reasons – may require a longer period for adjusting to these standards?  Must we reduce our evaluation of students to a single item and exclude all other indicators of success?  Do we have the ability to listen to each other and create solutions which might step outside what can be presented in a network newscast – whether the issue is school testing or something else?

Our society is too complicated to point to any single reason why we surrendered our ability to assess, consider and discuss what faces us.  Perhaps this skill was never widely developed to begin with.  What we can say is that complicated issues cannot be resolved in 30 minutes like a network sitcom or decided by judges on a national talent show.  We exist in a moment where the population of the earth is greater than ever before, where the demands of humanity on the planet are extreme and the wide divergence between those with wealth and those without creates enormous geopolitical strain.  Lacking a sober and reasonable examination of the data and careful consideration of the long term implications of our decisions, we are likely to ricochet between extremes as our planet and our society slowly crumble beneath our apathy. 

24 May 2003 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

Road Trip 2003 begins in seven days.  Today I am running about the neighborhood to find the last items on the pre-trip checklist. Tonight I am eating dinner with MUNI Guy.
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The New York Times today includes this article about MINIs.  Like Alexandre Klabin, I too enjoy watching people attempt to get their steroidal cars into the space I just vacated. 

Now, I must showed and get dressed.  I have to go hunt down the blue wig I’ve much touted but don’t yet actually own. 

While I’m out running around, you still have time to join the Change for Change Campaign.

25 May 2003 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

MUNI Guy and I had an excellent date.  We may go to a movie tonight.

Having viewed the meager assortment of blue wigs and found them lacking, Sister Betty decided to be creative and sewed a fashionable traveling veil ala The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys
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[The following should be read in Baptist-preacher-voice tongue-in-cheek mode...]

Now, readers, friends and assorted visitors, I mentioned the Change for Change Campaign for several weeks.  A generous number of people have signed up and pledges now total 50% of the goal.  Thank you to everyone who has contributed!

If you aren’t web savvy, you may not know every time you visit a website, your browser leaves a little data behind.  Through the magic of server logs, I can watch the traffic and get a sense of who stops by on a regular basis.  There are several  hundred people out in the real world who come by every day.  About a third are newbies, sixteen or so have pledged to the campaign, a handful are on disability or truly poor and the rest of you are Free Loading Schmucks.

Now, I don’t use the term Free Loading Schmucks lightly.  Some of you may not realize that charity is a good thing.  You may think you really need your twenty bucks for a carton of cigarettes, two drinks at that overpriced bar you frequent or two dozen burgers at the local corporate burger point.  You, however, are wrong.  You need to score some points with the Almighty by clicking here and giving your twenty bucks to the Change for Change Campaign. You don’t actually have to hand it over for six weeks, you can use that piece of plastic in your wallet and it is tax deductible.

In summary, click here, sign up, and change from being a Free Loading Schmuck to an Agent of Happiness and Love (or some other appropriately sappy title).  Generosity is a good thing. 

If you sign up your group or business at the penny-per-mile level, you can have your logo posted on the list of donors.

[Sister Betty is not above twisting arms for charity - or spanking, stripping, chanting, singing or appearing on television.

26 May 2003 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

MUNI Guy has an intricate salt water aquarium.  Fish, starfish, shrimp, crabs, snails, coral and worms fill the tank, each forming part of an intricate ecosystem.
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We know the world consists of ecosystems: soil, water, air, plants and animals forming a cycle, a web, an interconnected tangle of life.   We know removing a small piece results in a change to the entire system.  When we look at small ecosystems, we see they are connected to larger ecosystems, which in turn are connected to larger systems.  If we stand back far enough, the individual organisms disappear into a single living entity.

We humans, especially those of us in the western world and the United States, like to believe we are separate, individual, unconnected to systems or others.  In elevating the individual above the collective, we may evaluate our actions on the sole criteria of their impact our individual lives.  This mindset ignores the reality we are part of a human ecosystem – interconnected to people we may never consider.  The groceries in our stores do not grow, package and transport themselves, the medicines we consume did not invent and manufacture themselves, and the energy coursing through the wires and walls does not jump from the ground to our homes.  In ways to numerous to count, our survival each day and our quality of life are directly influenced – and even determined – by the actions of others.

On the micro level we exist as separate beings, on the macro we exist as pieces of something larger.  A healthy society balances the needs of the individual with the needs of the whole.  Society suffers when the needs of the individual are paramount; the world suffers when the needs of any single society are.

27 May 2003 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

Thank you to MUNI Guy for joining the Change for Change Campaign.  With three days remaining until Road Trip 2003, the remainder of this week will be consumed by last minute planning and details.  Thank you to Bill and Andy for providing a nifty, 40-channel CB radio so I can chat with truckers along the way.
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Tomorrow night I celebrate my birthday with a small group of friends.  While technically my birthday isn’t until Saturday, this birthday celebration marks the halfway point to my death when considered against the average life expectancy for white males born in the same year as I.  By the same statistic, I shall only live three years past my retirement, which means I’ll need to spend my IRA pretty damn fast.  Sugar daddy nun anyone?  I hope we have gay nursing homes by the time I need one.  The décor will be flawless, the entertainment to die for (at least the trustees hope so), and where better to spend one’s last years but in a place filled with men wearing dentures?

I thought I would be able to attend Quaker meeting tonight, but I forgot about a client dinner.  I have to run out the door, which means the chance of any meaningful writing before Road Trip 2003 begins is fairly small.  Don’t forget to sign up for the daily email updates, the Pledge for Pledge Campaign, and go see Down with Love.

By the way, the image today is one of my favorites.  I swear this scene is just as I found it – I had nothing to do with the shoes.  Anyone who knows Sister Betty knows I never wear heels.

Semi-private note to my monkey-lamp friend: I thought of you this weekend.  I hope the first weekend went well.

29 May 2003 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)
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I celebrated my birthday last night at Ponzu with a wonderful crew of people:  Patrick, Shawn, Leigh, Dane, Steve, Erika and MUNI Guy.  Erika presented me with original One and Only Fried Egg Penis Amulet Keychain to guard my journey.  It has to be one of the coolest gifts I’ve ever received.  Leigh was not as shocked as she was last year, but I think she went away with some new gay-lingo.  MUNI Guy scored extra bonus boyfriend points for showing up with very upscale chocolates and a little something else…

One day remains before Road Trip 2003.  The living room is now the staging area for the technology (laptop, cameras, GPS, radios).  Tomorrow:  laundry and packing.  Having spent nearly three years planning this trip, it seems odd it is just hours away…

Thank you to Jeremy Callahan of Washington, D.C. and Kevin Filocamo for joining the Change for Change Campaign.  You still have time to join by clicking here.

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See also:

31 May 2003 - Road Trip Day 1


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