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3 January 2004 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)
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The Ba-da-Bingo website is updated for 2004.  General Admission tickets are also available online.  2004 is our Farewell Season...get your tickets soon!

In response to my New Year's Eve entry, Mark from the United States Geological Service sent this note:

"We are not in the same place that we were last year... It is true that we are relatively close when the area of space we consider is our solar system...The solar system is  moving between the neighboring stars at about 20 km/sec. If the reference space to be considered is opened up to that of the Milky Way galaxy, we have moved on. We are in one of the smaller arms of this spiral galaxy called the Orion  arm between the larger Sagittarius and Perseus Arms that are rotating around a centerpoint at about 250 km/sec (220 million years for a complete rotation.  The galaxy itself is also moving through the universe towards the Andromeda galaxy at about 130 km/sec. Even if you had marked a space where you were last January 1 such as a residence due to plate motion on the planet it will be ever so slightly different than last year. 

Maybe that is part of the adventure to be had in our lives.  Although we may try to develop a stable path through life the entropy of the universe is always counterbalancing our efforts.  Maybe it is time to go with the flow.  It reminds me of something I just read on a cash register receipt.  This quote, from Robertson Davies  'The world is full of people whose notion of a satisfactory future is, in fact, a return to the idealized past.' "

5 January 2004 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)
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I have two cats:  Havana and Squiggly Cat.  Squiggly Cat wasn't always Squiggly Cat.  She was once named Turbine.  The story of her former name isn't interesting.

People like to tell stories about their pets. Some people write continually about their pets.  I generally assume these are the same people who refer to morning television shows as "news".

I spent my entire day in the back office working on client projects.  For eight hours I listened to National Public Radio without interruption, neither speaking to nor seeing another human being. I've come to the following conclusions:

  • National Public Radio is more intelligent than most media outlets, but only slightly more so.
  • Joe Lieberman is ignorant to believe the myth that anyone can be president, even an excessively bitter, old man. 
  • People who compare Saddam Hussein to Hitler lack a working knowledge of world history.
  • People who believe Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden are connected lack a working knowledge of current events.
  • The Democrats lack the necessary intelligence to realize attacking their own candidates does nothing to defeat George Bush.
  • I don't care if men in Australia dangle babies in front of crocodiles.  We treat children poorly  in the United States and say nothing about it.
  • If I record a scratching, threating message and mail it to an Arabic newstation, it will probably receive international attention. 
Business requires I fly to New Mexico.  Perhaps leaving the house will result in more interesting thoughts and photographs.

13 January 2004 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)
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I lived the past five days outside Santa Fe, New Mexico. Santa Fe is two thousand feet higher than Denver and just as cold.  I love the arid highlands of the Southwest.

I would rather be nailed to the side of a Volkswagen SUV and forced to listen to angry rap lyrics than fly on an airplane.  It isn't the flying I object to.  The idea that a machine can lift my body to 37,000 feet at 600 miles per hour is a marvel.  I like flipping through the Sky Mall catalog to see what other people put in their houses (wicker entertainment centers, mosquito death machines, engraved golf tees and golf club cozies).  No, my angst is directed toward two parties in particular:  Homeland Security and other passengers.

Believing terrorists are (a) so unimaginative that they will try the same feat over and over and (b) welfare mothers and functional illiterates form the best front line of defense, Homeland Security has filled our airports with folding tables and cheap uniforms.  I have no idea how much a Transportation Security Agency employee (a sub-sub-sub-department of Homeland Security) gets paid, but I suspect it is slightly less than the checkout person at the local supermarket.  It is possible the same folks who planned and executed ramming two jets into two skyscrapers might be frightened by blue eye shadow, bulging waistlines and polyester shirts touting "TSA Team SFO", but this vision frightens queers more than Arabs.  (We queers may make unfortunate design decisions, but we rarely carry high explosive.)  As I remove my shoes for the twenty-ninth time and hand my laptop over to be handled like a value meal Whopper or case of Wal-Mart diapers, I consider Homeland Security to be a modern New Deal program that creates paranoia rather than infrastructure.

Once clear of the fiberboard folding tables and metal sensing wands, I am free to wander through the crowds of people who eschew checked baggage for the opportunity to fight over limited overhead bins.  Suitcases and children are fitted with wheels and dragged behind travelers waiting to wedge themselves into seats too small for the expanding American ass.  As the airliner prepares to depart, I am invited to review the Seat Back Safety Card with clever illustrations of the plane lightly bobbing on a gentle sea, the passengers patiently waiting for a turn in the next life raft.  We can survive as long as we have reassuring cartoons.  And thus we elect George Bush. 

(That ending was predictable.  I will have to edit it later...)

14 January 2004 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)
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A reporter from Poland contacted me last week and asked for several of my photographs to publish in an upcoming edition of the Polish newspaper Aktivist.  In a year or two I anticipate MoMA will want to create a traveling retrospective of my work.  Of course I will refuse their request.  I will hold out for the call from Pompidou.

I accumulated a list of intriguing websites over the past two weeks.  Here are my suggestions for moments when you surf instead of work:

Erika Lopez, creative genius, author and creator of new writes: "The only girls who're gonna cry in our chick flicks are the ones who get run over by trucks and have body parts dangling from little flaps of skin." 

Mark of the US Geological Service recommended  Similar is the Propaganda Remix Project.

Rosatom is the Russian agency in charge of Russia's nuclear power plants.  The Rosatom logo features a nuclear power plant nestled in a leaf. If you need more radioactive fun, you can also travel to

15 January 2004 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

People frequently complain that my web site isn't sufficiently intimate and revealing.  I am not certain what these comments mean nor do I understand what people are asking for.  I could reveal that I keep a handgun in my office safe, once had sex in a radioactive material storage area, use baby wipes instead of toilet paper, consider "Hershey" a better descriptor for bad sex than good chocolate, read Trains magazine only while sitting on the toilet, and I often lie to other passengers on airplanes about what I do for a living.  Although I might talk about any of these topics over dinner, I rarely consider writing about them.

Today, however, I will bow to the requests and reveal a deeply held, personal secret:

I rid my home of television years ago.  Then MUNI Guy moved in.  Now we have cable and I can watch Surprise by Design, Monster Garage, and American Chopper late into the night.  If we had only the Discovery Channel and bowl of popcorn, I would be completely satisfied. 

[Interior design, landscaping, hot men building cars, hot men building houses, motorcycles...perhaps Discovery is aiming for the gay male demographic...]
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My true love, however, is none of the shows mentioned above.  Indeed, I am in love with Monster House.  And I have a crush on the host, Steve Watson.

From Discovery I learned Steve used to be a comedian in Los Angeles, that he grew up in Cleveland and he is three years younger than I am. Discovery says:  "Although he's handy with a sledgehammer, he's not just one of the crew. He's the boss, and he's the one making the hard decisions." 

At least three dozen teenage girls share this crush.  They post their notes on the Discovery web site and make intellectual comments such as "Why is Steve so sexy? Like he talks hot, looks hot and he is just ALL THAT!" and "Hmmm....Steve + half nekkid=hottie"

MUNI Guy learned quickly not to talk to me when Monster House is on.  I nod my head and say "Mmmmm." 

I wonder if Monster House would turn the Portland house into a giant convent, or a Big Blue House, he just bend over?

20 January 2004 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)
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In today's mail:  Anonymous delivery of an extra-large Kum & Go T-shirt directly from West Des Moines, Iowa. 

If there was a single item I wanted from Road Trip 2003 but could not have (excepting a parking valet in Portland, Maine), it was a Kum & Go T-shirt.

Road Trip 2003, Day 7, just after leaving Gardiner, Montana: 

"I forgot one of the best items of today.  The local version of 7-11 is called 'Kum and Go'.  I am not making this up - some marketing person actually created this brand which is plastered from one side of Montana to Wyoming.  Unfortunately, they don't sell shirts or I'd be making a fortune at Folsom Street Fair!"

I know just three people in Iowa:  my brother, his wife and their daughter, none of whom have any known connection with Kum & Go.  Examining the standard Tyvek envelope with corporate return address, I suspect someone with access to the company T-shirt vault sent this gift.  Not only did someone think to send it, this person made the effort to find my mailing address and picked the correct size.  (MUNI Guy sincerely hoped it was the wrong size and would end up in his closet.)

To the person who sent me this shirt, I extend my sincere appreciation. 

(My writing here was interrupted by a UPS delivery of Hello Kitty vibrators.  In San Francisco, UPS and Fedex deliveries are usually made by very butch lesbians with tailored hair and very tight shorts - the kind of lesbian I picture playing softball on weekends and hockey on weeknights.  These same lesbians are often seen months later with various medical devices compensating for gruesome sports-related injuries.  Gay men desire to be as butch, but we haven't the stomach for metal pins and traction attachments unless they are worn for show in leather bars.  The delivery person today was male - a rarity like short hair on women in the south or Bostonians who can pronounce "idea" correctly.)

My last thought from today, also borrowed from Road Trip 2003, Day 7:

"My father used to read aloud from the bible after dinner each night.  Then he'd ask us what we learned from what he read.  At some point, I figured out that if I answered 'I learned to be a better person', I didn't really have to listen to the bible reading to begin with.  What will I learn from this road trip?  Well, I can't say.  But I do know that I may start a tall-rights group to lobby for showers with nozzles above my nipples and free Vanilla Coke in every room."

22 January 2004 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)
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Lunch today at Chow with my favorite female author, Erika Lopez

Our meal is complete and we are standing to leave.  Two black women walk through the door and eye our table.

"Are you twins?"  Erika asks of the two black women who look remarkably similar.

"No," replies the taller, and very familiar looking woman.

"Oh, you are so beautiful," says Erika.  "You could be a singer."

"Thank you," replies Tracy Chapman.

26 January 2004 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)
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I plan to adopt a child.  Maybe I will adopt two.  MUNI Guy agrees with this plan.  I suspect my desire to raise children is sufficiently attractive to him that it overrides my failure to make a single visit to the gym in the past five months.

MUNI Guy wants a baby fresh from the EZ Bake Uterus.  He wants to see a toddler drooling, pooping and crawling about the floor while attempting to explore electrical sockets with fingers wet with fresh snot. 

I never considered adopting a baby.  I always pictured myself adopting an older child.  To paraphrase a Harvey Fierstein line:  I don't care how old they are as long as they're old enough to dust. 

"From 1989 to 1998, the number of children in California's foster care system has grown by more than 50%-- from 68,000 to 105,000. The dramatic increase in the state's foster care population has been attributed to many factors-there are a greater number of children living in poverty, increasing numbers of parents who abuse alcohol and drugs, and increasing cases of child abuse and neglect." - California Foster & Kinship Care Education Program.

[For all the right-wing spin and family values nonsense, those 108,000 children aren't the product of happy, loving and well adjusted straight parents.  The country needs queer parents simply to fill the void left by irresponsible and apathetic heterosexuals.*]

There are plenty of children in the world.  There exists a distinct shortage of intelligent adults with sufficient parenting skills.  Babies, like kittens, find homes relatively easily (excepting children born addicted to drugs, but we'll leave that topic to Pro-Lifer folk).  Parents wait for months and years for new children to drop from the womb while older children wait for years to escape a system rife with trouble. 

I hold no illusions of saving the world.  I only need to turn on the radio for an hour to realize the hope of salvation is something held only by religious zealots and NASA engineers.  Every time I take my recycling to the curb, I consider how we save bottles and throw away children. 

Someday the Big Blue House will feature children.  Yes, nuns can be fathers.

* I don't consider all heterosexuals to be irresponsible and apathetic.  I know of a great number of fabulous straight parents.  I do believe, however, that a great number of straight folk give insufficient consideration before bringing children into the world.

27 January 2004 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)
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Relaxing its fixation with all things Middle Eastern, NPR reminded me today the Academy Awards are fast approaching.  I spend a greater than average number of hours in the cinema.  I watch enough films that I can now rate the quality of day-old popcorn and golden flavoring with relative authority.

The number of incredibly, outstandingly, immeasurably lousy films last year is remarkable.  Most of the films were so bad they blend into a long celluloid stream of explosions, bad music and disreputable acting.  I spent a month's wages at the box office and can recall just three films with clarity: 

I confess I frequently and routinely fall in love with handsome male actors.  I will trudge to obscure films to catch a glimpse of my favorite stars.  Ewan McGregor, Jason Statham, Colin Farrell, Vin Diesel (even with his remarkable box office decline) and Ben Hawkins are certain to earn my nine dollars and fifty cents (six dollars in Portland).  For years I've drooled over Ben Affleck.  His virtually unknown film, Boiler Room, captures his early talent.  This year I surrendered my adoration for Ben.  Having endured Paycheck, I've decided Ben is yet another thin, hairy chested white boy whose acting is following the trajectory of Aaliyah, who at least had the common sense to take a nose dive before her career did.

The final Lord of the Rings was notable only for the number of unnecessary endings designed primarily to frustrate an audience with full bladders.  My heterosexual girlfriends love Viggo Mortensen.  I don't see the attraction.  Sean Astin, however...  [Sean wasn't always a fat little hobbit.]

The best film of the year is The Station Agent.  If you share my weakness for handsome actors, Peter Dinklage and Bobby Cannavale are adorable.  Throw in a good story and a few trains...the movie is a winner. 

David argues I have no taste in film.  He endured my movie selections only long enough to declare he would never again endure my movie selections.  I argue my wide ranging taste allows me the breadth of vision to truly know a good movie when I see it.  In either case, we agree most films are dreck, suitable only for the masses who still believe George Bush isn't an evil muppet. 

If you rarely venture to the theatre, I recommend you (a) buy a DVD player with appropriate surround sound capabilities, (b) join Netflix, and (c) add the following movies to your queue:  Mambo Italiano, Phone Booth, The Station Agent.

29 January 2004 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)
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I am told Maine is enduring the coldest winter in 20 years.  A weather reporter claims this season ranks among the five coldest winters in recorded history. 

My first floor tenant (who I will refer to as Tenant Chick) called my property manager/maintenance guy (better known as "Hip Property Guy") yesterday to report water in the basement.

Tenant Chick:  "The sewer is backing up into the basement.  There is water on the floor and I think there is a sandwich floating in it."

Hip Property Guy:  "Well, don't touch it.  I'll be right over."

The weather has been cold enough for long enough that the sewer drain pipe has frozen.  To fix the problem a plumber must insert a "Hot Stick" into the "Sewer Opening".  (I did not make up these names.)  I am not the only homeowner in Portland with frozen sewer drains.  Plumbers are so busy sticking hot sticks in sewer openings there is nary a free plumber to be had.  Fortunately, Hip Property Guy's wife stayed on the telephone until she found an available plumber. 

Hip Property Guy:  "That wasn't a sandwich."


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