Sister Betty's Search and Site Map Page
Go to Sister Betty's Home PageSpecial Features from Sister BettySister Betty's EventsShop Sister Betty's StoreSister Betty's JournalSister Betty's Photo GalleriesTesla
Buy this Photograph
Publication Permissions
Sister Betty's Photo Galleries
Videos and Short Films from Sister Betty


01 April 2004 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)
Click for larger image
I dedicated considerable time to creating the appropriate April Fool's prank for today.  I was less creative than I hoped.  My favorite April 1st entry remains this one from 2002.

I take exorbitant numbers of photographs.  Digital photography allows for boundless creation with no accompanying cost.  I have a second hard drive dedicated to storing images I have yet to peruse. 

I once disliked looking at photographs which lacked explanatory text.  I wanted the photographer to explain the image.  The more photographs I take, the more I understand why some images are best without further comment; further comment would only serve as distraction. 

Language is an odd tool.  Language arguably separates humans from other species.  Language allows us to formulate and share grand theories and stretch our reach beyond the edge of the atmosphere and the solar system.  And yet, we humans lack words to adequately convey the most fundamental experience of human existence. Perhaps now, at thirty five, I finally begin understand what art is about. Maybe true art is the attempt to express that which language is insufficient to contain.

02 April 2004 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

Leigh and I encountered this boat while driving through Oakland today.  The boat had rolled down this steep driveway, into the street and slammed into the curb on the far side.  The concrete curb snapped the front wheel, forcing it upward into the hull.  Three feet further and the boat would have fallen over a retaining wall and onto the freeway below.  The sides of the boat were scarred from the brief journey and gasoline fumes leaked from the deck.

Click for larger imageClick for larger image
Click for larger image

Leigh and I both grabbed for the camera.  The intoxicated boat owner emerged from his house and stumbled across the street.

"That's my boat....damn thing been nothin' but trouble...ain't my boat no more.  Ain't my boat no more."

I became mired in Bay Bridge traffic later in the day as I returned home.  The police had much of the bridge closed while they negotiated with a man threatening to jump into the bay.  In three hours I moved three miles.  With no exit and no alternative route, I could only wait until he jumped or someone pushed him.  Once the cumulative man-hours of people waiting in traffic exceed the life expectancy of the jumper, the police should be allowed to give him a nudge.

05 April 2004 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)
Click for larger image
Leigh and I went to Marin to trade in the MINI for a new Honda Element.  Try as I may, I could not bring myself to give the little car to the dealer and I left without a new car.  The four-wheel drive makes much more sense for Maine but I cannot give up my sometimes troublesome, irksome and oh-so-fun to drive car.  Although I am frequently known for spewing vitriol at owners of multiple cars, in two months time I will likely own two cars - one of which will be an SUV.  With such changes do not be surprised if I announce that I am considering heterosexuality.

An afternoon with Leigh is an afternoon of delight.  Leigh introduced me to the burgers of Marin Joe's, handled the car salesmen with aplomb, and later sat with me on the seawall in Sausalito eating ice cream. 

I first met Leigh when I was shopping for someone to sew new habits.  Leigh showed up at my apartment sporting her measuring tape and a hot Italian boy who plunked himself on the sofa and dripped sexuality for thirty minutes.  With her hot red lipstick, a laugh that made the windows rattle and the cats dance, and a body that seems to be drawn by a lewd animator, Leigh is the hottest chick I ever met.  She made me want to make a pass at a woman for the first time in my life. 

Leigh stitched the best nun clothes I could hope for.  Every time we spoke she shared an adventure with another saucy foreigner.  Italians are fun but not meant to last when you learn they already have mates. 

If I were heterosexual I would send Leigh a dozen roses every day until she consented to marry me. 

When I make my list of things I will miss about San Francisco, Leigh will be just below "the easiest place for gay guys to get laid in the world" and just above "insanely good restaurants".

07 April 2004 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)
Click for larger image
One of my friends is suffering from a lingering and severe cough that produces wads of phelgm in the size and shape of squirrel brains. In San Francisco, whether or not you are fortunate enough to have health insurance and access to scientifically sound medicine, such a malady is likely to attract suggestions from those who trust in magical, Eastern cures.  While certain people believe they gain relief from Chinese Bong Bong weeds, sautéed insect dung and the flailing hands of aura balancers, I remain skeptical.

Years ago I worked for a wealthy man whose wife suffered from a mysterious and questionable ailment.  Educated doctors were unable to offer more than comforting words.  An alternative practitioner was located in San Francisco's East Bay who promised a cure.  Operating out of the back room of a martial arts studio, the old geezer demanded four hundred dollars for a small tin of white cream over which he chanted in a language spoken entirely through the nasal cavity. 

When thousands of dollars of cream failed to properly balance the wealthy wife's Qi (which means "silly sounding word used to separate you from your money"), she wisely dumped the geezer.  The geezer was replaced with shark cartilage therapy which was in turn replaced with something requiring pureed fetal tissue. 

The wealthy husband needed a cure of his own and found it in a younger woman in Atlanta.  The wealthy wife discovered the younger woman and the need for chanting nursery rhymes while swallowing boiled rat livers was overshadowed by the need to find a good divorce lawyer.

We all desire to be cured of our ailments, real or imagined.  When modern medicine reveals its limitations or is unavailable, the treatments from distant and mythical places have their allure.  All of this, of course, is our continual pursuit to deny both our decay and inevitable demise. 

Perhaps I just need an aura cleansing and balancing session conducted by an intuitive aromatherapy massage healer.

09 April 2004 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)
The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence - 20th Anniversary, 1999
Easter Sunday marks the twenty fifth anniversary of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.  Twenty five years of history and madness are summarized (with photos) by clicking here.  A roll call of Sisters past and present is found by clicking here.

Summarizing nearly six years with the Sisters is an attempt to recall with clarity an acid trip lasting half a decade.  There are moments of amazing beauty, incredible terror - all performed in vivid technicolor. 

You are invited to join the Sisters this Sunday in Delores Park from noon until 5:00 PM for an astounding twenty fifth anniversary celebration.  Bring a friend, bring a picnic and bring a camera!

10 April 2004 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)
Click for larger image
I spent the afternoon in Chinatown.  Chinatown is the place to shop when you need cheap and flashy baubles. 

I wonder what factory workers in China think of Americans as they churn out a continual stream of cheap consumer goods.  Certainly it would be impossible for a single factory to exist for each item in the panoply of plastic and recycled metal paraphernalia demanded by merchants around the world.  I speculate Chinese workers are asked to produce baby monitors one day and transparent dildoes the next. Are houses in Chinese factory towns filled with slightly discolored toasters, action figures and fake leather handbags?

12 April 2004 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)
Click for larger image
This would be my favorite photograph from yesterday were it not unfocused.

The downside to running a de-centralized consulting firm is that I spend many days in the office working alone with National Public Radio in the background.  If you listen to as much public radio as I do, you will rapidly come to believe only four news stories exist in the entire world:  Iraq, Israel, abortion and something about organically grown mushrooms.  Late at night and on the weekend when I am gone from the office, NPR provides music and discussion from every possible minority in the world:  The Lesbian Auto Mechanics Metal Guitar Hour, the African American Celtic Harp Discussion Forum, Mothers of Organic Farming, Kindergartners Against War and Hand Me Downs. 

Having now listened to seventeen hundred man-hours of discussion about late term abortions, I think I have a pretty good understanding of the related procedure.  The descriptions provided by numerous doctors are so vivid I believe that given a corkscrew, a plunger and a Cuisinart, I could open my own clinic. 

Ultra-uber-liberals (a sect for which even my socialist politics fall short) argue that unless you are part of a minority, you can never understand what it would be like to be that minority.  Such a proposal ignores the power of the human imagination.  I never lived through the Great Depression but the Grapes of Wrath pulled me into a land of dust, dirt and poverty.  I will never have to decide to abort a child and still I can imagine the great despair which must accompany such a decision.

The right wing folk ask a valid question.  Although the Supreme Court once answered the question, I am uncertain how comfortable I am  with their decision.  When does a fetus become human? 

This question is essential.  Listening to description after description of how abortions are done, I am left with a profound sense of horror that this procedure would ever be conducted when the mother's life was not really threatened by the pregnancy.  However inconvenient a child may be, I struggle  to see how feeding a fetus through a pint-size wood chipper generally makes us more humane or reasonable.

My now-dead lesbian aunt would slap me four times for even considering this question.  She believed (and said) a fetus was a parasite until it emerged in the world and found an apartment of its own; for a man to comment on the issue was ridiculous and irrelevant.  She also had colorful stories about treating gay men who placed unusual objects in their rectums.  I may tell those stories another day.

I do not want to send women back thirty years to hidden offices, questionable doctors and a life trapped with children they can ill afford nor want.  Nor do I advocate adding to the population of children who survive childhood only through the aid of green cheese and television.  Had you asked me about abortion two weeks ago I might have nodded my head in agreement with an absolute right of choice.  Now I am less certain.  An intelligent conversation (which is not being conducted by either side) of what limits are appropriate and humane is merited. 

Click for larger imagePerhaps it appears my uber-liberal roots are slipping so quickly I may soon need to consider whether to write checks to the Republican Party or directly to George Bush.  No, I don't think so.  But I will send a dollar if someone starts a charity to fix Dr. Rice's unfortunate gap.

13 April 2004 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)

I reached a significant gay milestone when I spent more than five hours last Friday night considering which lavatory sink to install in my bathroom at the expense of going out for either dinner or cocktails.  The onset of homosexual middle age starts when washroom decor decisions eclipse the desire to see what fresh and intriguing men wander the neighborhood.

16 April 2004 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)
Click for larger image
Friday night and I'm listening to Muppet Show tunes at high volume while I work.  Being gay is wonderful.

I just completed plotting the route for Road Trip 2004.  The most time consuming part of any road trip is finding hotels in flyover states with non-smoking rooms.

I am excited about this road trip:  I will be relocating to Maine, Erik is coming along for the entire journey and I'm working on a something tentatively called "High Heels for America."  More details about Road Trip 2004 in a few days.
Click for larger image
The Sisters' email list contained a link to Sister Constance's 100th birthday.  (We have our own considerably younger Sister Constance in San Francisco.)  A nun since 1933, the interview with Sister Constance is worth reading.  I hope I have someone to put starch in my habit when I reach 100.

Oh!  I nearly forgot an important topic:  Matt and Brian were heading home with their new daughter on Monday when they received a call saying the birth mother had changed her mind.  Hours after becoming parents, these guys had to return their daughter.  Go look at their website, read the story and print out copies of their Dear Birthmother letter.  Let's find a child for this couple.

Tomorrow is the Great Bingo Bus Adventure 2.0.  I have a luxury bus and 47 passengers to get back and forth to the Russian River...

19 April 2004 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)
Click for larger image
Road Trip 2004 now has a website.  The route is complete from San Francisco, California to Portland, Maine.  No contests this year.  You can sign up for the daily road trip email update by clicking here.

Road Trip 2004 includes visiting Mesa Verde, the Cumbres and Toltec Railroad, the Big Texan Steakhouse and Hotel, Oklahoma City, and the hospital where I was born.  Christopher from Alaska noted the route runs by Groom, Texas and its fifty foot tall cement cross.  Somehow two gay men visiting Groom, Texas to stand under a cross seems appropriate this year.  If you know of interesting, quirky or unusual sites along the route, click here and give me the details.

Go dig around in your closet and find a pair of high heeled (high heel or high heeled?) shoes.  The selected shoes should neither be smelly nor mildewed.  Directions on what to do with your shoes will follow shortly.  Here is a hint:  It is time to Heel America.

20 April 2004 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)
Click for larger image
[Today's photo is of Novice Sister Jane D'oh - not to be confused with Sister Betty]

I traded in the MINI today for a Honda Element.  The MINI is adorable, fun to drive and destined to strand me in a snow bank next winter.  The Element is the only four-wheel drive vehicle capable of seating someone my height.  Large cars are designed for little people.  I am not certain I understand why.

Aside from being the ugliest car I have purchased, the Element is also the first car I have owned with automatic transmission.  My father was a big believer in manual transmissions and silently insisted his children accept this reality in the same manner as creationism.  Manual transmissions are wonderfully fun on the open highway and miserable when waiting for someone to jump from the Bay Bridge.  My membership at Gold's Gym fails to provide sufficient muscle to hold a clutch for three hours.  I suppose buying an automatic transmission means I will soon be searching for slacks with elastic waistbands and shoes without laces. 

Automatic transmissions leave me with one hand wondering what to do.  I suppose I could masturbate without worrying about confusion during emergency shifting resulting in injury.  I can perform one-sided dance maneuvers to hip hop songs.  I can reach over and touch the leg of the person next to me while simultaneously accelerating - or slap their hand away from my leg.  I can adjust a wimple, drink a soda, flip off other drivers or aim a gun - all without a thought as to what gear I am in.  Automatic transmissions are a marvel indeed.

I saved the license plates from the MINI and will display them over the workbench in my basement.  I may buy another sports car as I get closer to forty.  For the moment, I will enjoy the elevated view from the Element and wonder if I will ever use the MP3 player port on the dashboard.

23 April 2004 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)
Click for larger image
My primary concern about Maine is finding a new barber.  It takes a significant amount of time to train a barber properly.  I considered the possibility of flying my current barber across the country twice a month.  I have yet to discard this idea. 

When I was stationed in Idaho, I frequented a barbershop operated by two men in their late seventies.  The two cut hair in the same location for more than forty years.  The shop was a tiny space with two barber chairs, two chairs for customers, a television always featuring baseball, and an old soda vending machine.  Six dollars bought a haircut, a scalp massage and a shave.  The two barbers rarely spoke to each other.  They worked in silence; the shop filled by the sound of scissors, soda and baseball. 

24 April 2004 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)
Click for larger image
I just completed a new addition to Trains. Click here for the Santa Fe Southern Railroad.

I am off to bowl with Tall Men Together

I dated a Federal Express delivery man a little over two years ago.  Eschewing the standard dinner and a movie date, I suggested we go bowling.  He insisted he was a terrible bowler.  I hadn't bowled since I was in junior high school and I asserted we were evenly matched.  Arriving for our date, I found Fedex Guy with bowling shoes in one hand, a monogrammed ball in the other, and two friends similarly equipped.  I bowled a 62; he bowled a 280.  We went out once more and then I stopped returning his phone calls.  I wasn't upset about the lopsided score.  I just cannot date someone who owns better shoes than I do.

25 April 2004 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)
Click for larger image
I am an HTML god.  Perhaps not.  I did, however, add new sections to Trains, Photos and gave Stairways a facelift.  Oy.

Allergy season started at 10:56 PM on Friday night.  I was feeling especially smug that my allergies had not started months ago.  I believed, mistakenly, I might even escape the snotty nose/itchy eyes for another month.  I did not have allergies before I moved to California.  I did not have allergies when I was in the Navy.  The combination of civilian life on the West Coast is clearly to blame.

27 April 2004 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)
Click for larger image
What is the attraction of lesbians to bumper stickers?  Whenever I see a car this decorated, without fail it is being driven by a woman with short hair and comfortable shoes. 

It used to be Christians cornered the market on bumper stickers.  Ten years ago it was commonplace to be trapped behind a station wagon emblazoned with "In Case Of Rapture This Car Will Be Unmanned", "My Other Car Is A Golden Chariot", and "Catholicism - Now With 30% Fewer Priests".  Christianity became hip and the multicolored placards were replaced with simple, chrome Jesus fish.

White trash also had a turn with bumper stickers.  Rusted out hulks featured notes such as "Don't Like My Driving? Call 1-800-EAT-SHIT", "At Least My House Still Has Wheels", or "Proud Parent of a Proud Parent of a Proud Parent at Central Junior High".  Poverty turned chic with the introduction of mud flaps with porno-posed chrome women.

Gay men flirted with bumper stickers, but they never stuck.  Demur little rainbow window stickers, license plate brackets with rainbow bears and the occasional leather flag adorn the most outrageous gay owned vehicles.  Gay boys settled for cars with lots of chrome and a simple bar room saying:  "He can suck the chrome off your bumper."

By 2004, bumper stickers have become the exclusive domain of Proud Parents (heterosexuals satisfied with children who are neither acknowledged drug addicts nor carting guns to schools), the extreme left ("Give Peace a Chance"), the extreme right ("Kill 'em all, Let God Sort Them Out") and lesbians.   The shiny invitation of chrome is unappealing to the remaining proponents of bumper space advertising.

I am at a loss to explain why women who enjoy potlucks have not yet learned the turn of the century issued in clean lines, conservative colors and bumpers free of glue.  I do not even know where I would go to purchase a bumper sticker.  I suspect such a purchase would require weaving through drifting incense smoke and booths touting herbal cures for colon cancer. 

To be clear, I am more baffled than judgmental.  Couldn't the mass of stickers be replaced with a single, twelve inch by twelve inch sign that says "I love Beaver, and I don't mean Oregon!"?  This would reduce paper consumption (fewer stickers), confusion (not everyone understands what a six dancing bears in different colors mean) and increase safety (the rear window is, after all, designed to be transparent).

Maybe bumper stickers are simply cheaper than Earl Scheib.

28 April 2004 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)
Click for larger image
I am in Santa Fe, New Mexico on business once more.

I arrived at the airport and handed my bags to the man at the curbside check-in kiosk.  Reaching in my pocket for a tip, I realized I only had $20 bills.  Handing the attendant twenty dollars seemed excessive.  What should I do?  Ask for change?  How boorish.  I handed him the twenty, nodded and walked to my departure gate.

My bag was the first piece of luggage on the carousel in Albuquerque - plastered with "Priority", "Urgent" and "Special Handling" stickers.

29 April 2004 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)
Click for larger image
I am a music slut.  I cannot commit to a single genre. I jump from old jazz to modern jazz to pop to country to latin to hard rock to oldies; never rap.  My ears are Polk Street hookers turning five dollar tricks on a Sunday night during a Republican convention where the boys are songs and the cars are radio stations.

Listening to country seems proper behavior while in New Mexico.  Country music recorded in the 1960s and 1970s is my favorite.  Johnny Cash was corny and he rhymes every other line somewhat oddly, but his songs are quirky, fun and carry the heart of a guy with enough smarts to wear black all year and marry a looker.  I am less enthusiast about modern country music which generally lacks imagination and sounds suspiciously similar to pop stations further along the dial.

During the first Gulf War (when we liberated a significantly smaller country) the Navy played Proud to Be An American more than the national anthem.  I saw sailors cry as the sound of slide guitars and twangy incantations blurted across metallic loudspeakers.  I also saw sailors cry when they caught the clap in the Philippines, Thailand, Korea, or any of thirty other countries.  I cried when the third sailor I fell in love with left me for his girlfriend. 

What do country music, the clap and failed loves have in common?  I do not know.  But, if you put those three subjects together, add a line about beer, you may have just written the next great country song.


Sister Betty Navigation
Copyright - All Rights Reserved Road Tripping with Sister Betty Railroad Graffiti Trains with Sister Betty Stairways of San Francisco Radiationworks Site Map for Other Nifty Websites RSS/XML Feed