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02 May 2005 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)
San Francisco International Airport: Click for larger image
I spent most of the past three weeks flying from one city to another earning my living.  Spending so much time suspended between the stratosphere and the ground leaves a lingering sense of being disconnected from time and place.

I think about dying frequently while flying.  I wonder whether the bankrupt airline I fly is saving money by reducing maintenance.  This thought occurs most frequently when I glance down and realize how long a plane falling from 37,000 feet takes to hit the ground and the corresponding amount of time I will have to feel powerless as the end of my life rushes upward. 

This idea of plunging to my death is followed by one of three thoughts:  first, that I still have not written a decent will and I really should do so; second, will I have time to place one last mobile telephone call before the impact; and three, if I cannot make a call, where might I scribble a note and place it where it will survive the crash? 

If my plane falls from the sky, check my buttocks for a last will and testament.  You might have to dig a little - falling 37,000 feet can push things deeper than intended.

 Vacationland  (Related Pages) (Comment)

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09 May 2005 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)
San Francisco International Airport: Click for larger image
I fly a lot for business.  I fly so often that by March I once again earned Uber- Frequent- Flyer- Status with my preferred bankrupt airline.  I know the names of the counter people at Portland's JetPort, the average delays at all airline hubs, and where to buy pizza without a wait in O'Hare while the tourists wait twenty minutes for stale Big Macs.

Sometimes I use my travel time for useful activities such as responding to client requests, creating new marketing material, or reading the latest books published by my competitors.  Sometimes I do these things, but not often. 

I really spend my skybound confinement reading magazines.   At the beginning of the month fresh issues of Wired, GQ, or Dwell offer reasonably balanced content and images.  Two flights later I am reduced to National Geographic and Trains.  By Week Two my reading involves nothing more than, cheap, glossy magazines with hunky cover models and questionable content like Out and Details.  Week Four, ask me where I am flying and I cannot tell you.  Ask me what Marky Mark said about his latest movie or the current hotspot in New York (where I've never been and never go) and I can provide you scads of information.

I learned two things reading ninety magazines in five months:  first, newsstand magazines are only for gay men and women; second, gay men are easily duped.

Point one:  Muscled men draped in transparent, sweat-soaked cotton shirts staring from the covers of twenty seven different publications are not intended to drive sales among heterosexual males waiting for airport cashiers to ring up their Giant Size Hershey bars.  Straight guys who diligently avoid eye contact in lavatories or locker rooms are unlikely to peruse the swimsuit edition of GQ while seated in a 747.

(Side note:  Congratulations to the editors of Men's Fitness who made their magazine the one crossover success story in the gay-porn-as-mass-publication.  Closeted, married men across the country can pretend to read about improved abs while carrying the latest issue in the bathroom for a good wank.)

Point Two:  Gay men are trendsetters.  We created the goatee, the armband tattoo, and made certain MINI Coopers were not just chick cars (for which I claim personal credit).  All of these trends are now over but gay guys made them happen.  This trendsetting explains why most gay men have credit card debts just shy of the national deficit.

Every fashion magazine allots at least one page to touting overpriced designer jeans.  One might argue paying $285 for a pair of D&G jeans is trendy, I say it just shows queers are easily duped.  Not only are designer jeans outrageously overpriced (just ask the Salvadoran worker who stitched your pants), but they ruin a good ass. 

In gay currency a nice ass is zippier than Porsche, blue chippier than Microsoft, an instant win in the lottery of desire.  Nothing ruins a nice ass faster than an overpriced pair of jeans.  Diesel is the worst offender.  A pair of $275 Diesel jeans turn a nice, round, tempting ass look into flat boredom. Why pay a premium to look like a meth-addicted, bulimic party boy with a maxed out VISA? 

Levi Strauss perfected the ass-framing jean two decades ago.  The label isn't so glamorous, but a $65 pair of Levi's leaves you with an extra two hundred bucks for buying trashy magazines.  On a transcontinental flight, that is a whole lot of soft core porn.

16 May 2005 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)
White Supremacist: Click for larger image
Greetings from Chicago's O'Hare airport.

I think I missed something important during my continual travels.

How was Michael Bolton nominated to represent the United States in the United Nations?

To his credit, Michael did have some reasonable hits in the 80's, although I'd guess his fan base was largely girls in stirrup pants with overly teased hair and chunky jewelry.  Michael cut off his own Fabio wannabe hair, but he still looks like an aging romance novel cover model.

What makes a has-been singer qualified to fill the role once held by Madeline Albright, a woman fluent in five different languages?  I'm not certain if Michael even participated in recording "We Are the World".  Michael Jackson did, but he probably didn't make the short list of candidates.

Was Kenny G too busy to take the job?  Is David Hasselhoff too intimate with his European fans?  Is John Tesh unwilling to consider public sector work?  Since the primary job of the UN Ambassador is to lie and obfuscate, how about springing Bernie Ebbers or Ken Lay?  Neither Bernie or Ken have a hit record, but if John Ashcroft can sing a song about eagles soaring, they could probably do a Milli Vanilli act for the Security Council.

Do we really need an ambassador whose musical career is only slightly more notable than supermarket Muzak? 

Filibuster you Democrats!  Filibuster until Sharon Osborne agrees to take the job.  Or Cher. Or Crazy Helga.

24 May 2005 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)
San Francisco: Click for larger image
I just completed seven weeks of business travel.  Spending so much time in airliners, generic hotels, and windowless conference rooms slows the mind and impairs creativity.  I spent nights laying on my hotel bed staring at the hotel television without a single thought passing across my synapses.  The proof is a series of dull entries for the past two months.

After so much travel, what am I considering?  More travel.

First I did Road Trip 2003, followed by Road Trip 2004.  This year I'm considering three options:  Road Trip 2005: Maine - two weeks to explore Maine from fishing villages to Potato Blossom festivals; Road Trip 2005: Nevada - searching for brothels, abandoned mines, and ghost towns; or Rail Trip 2005:  circumnavigating the United States by rail before Amtrak says farewell.

This year I'm marketing these ideas to various publications, so you might even see Sister Betty's 2005 journey in print.  If so, I'll offer autographs for a reasonable price. 

Related topics:

Mark and David join the exodus of creative people from San Francisco this week.  Good luck on your cross country journey and best wishes for your new home. PlanetCharlotte anyone?

Goodbye, Robert Davolt.  I will miss your voice on the 'net.

30 May 2005 - (Link to this entry) (Comment)
F-Line Cars with Graffiti: Click for larger image
I am sitting in an uncomfortable vinyl chair, the only occupant of the waiting area in the closest urgent care clinic.  An infection is taking over my lungs and breathing is increasingly difficult.  I waited a week hoping this would pass.  It only grows worse.

A small black boy materializes beside me.  He is no more than four years old.  He doesn't speak; he thrusts a tattered Sports Illustrated magazine toward me.

"You want me to read this?"  A sentence of any greater length would leave me gasping for air.

He nods.  I take the magazine and without invitation he climbs on my lap.  I slowly turn each page and point to the pictures.  I know nothing about sports. 

"Basketball?"  I say.  He nods and makes a motion like he is attempting a jump shot.  This boy is so light I cannot feel his weight on my leg, only the heat of his body.

I point to a photograph of a swimmer.  "Water."  The boy pretends he is swimming.

A nurse calls my name.  I stand up, the boy climbs into the chair I occupied and watches me walk away.  He is gone when I return.

The doctor gives me giant antibiotic tablets.  "Usually when I put something this large in my mouth, it is wrapped in latex."  She doesn't laugh. 

Three days later I can breathe again.


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