Monday, May 25, 2020

Celebrate intentional communities to thrive differently

Celebrate intentional communities to thrive differently

Why: Reopening the world, reinventing tourism, and making cities hospitable to visitors and residents cannot happen without accepting the reality that the vibrancy of flourishing cities emanates from the vibrancy of individuals and ideas in a dance of cooperation, collision, collusion, and avoidance.  The global response to the pandemic has initially and necessarily been an uniform safety protocol based on social distancing, a concept anathema to cities and their denizens.  As the world becomes conscious of its new normal, it becomes imperative to recognize nuanced approaches to safe socializing resulting from and respecting the felicific calculus that Jeremy Bentham has recognized in us all.

How can can one possibly understand what makes one happy without necessarily processing everything through one's unique prism of psychology, experience, knowledge, economic situation, and mental and physical health disposition?  A drastic change in any of these factors, for any of us, could change the answer "what makes me happy?" instantly.  And similarly, as the equation changes over time for each of us, a new, more accurate solution becomes apparent.

The uniformly applied social distancing protocol fails to acknowledge the vastly varying psyschologies, experiences, knowledges, economic situations, and mental and physical health dispositions of the diverse people of the world, and as a result, the solution in the long term is ill-fitting, ill-suited, and literally making some of us quite ill.  No city can expect or aspire to be hospitable under these conditions.

I submit that despite the science-driven authoritarian and benevolent policy to distance ourselves, many people will socialize at distances calculated through the prisms of what makes them happy, despite, in spite, and in light of the risks for themselves, and possibly, others.  You can't legislate happiness and you can't expect everyone to have the same mindset, but you can certainly legislate unhappiness regardless of everyone's vastly different psychologies.

I suggest a reality-based approach of social sorting, where individuals are respected to gather in like-minded, felicifically-calculated, shared-risk communities.  As radical and rebellious as this may sound, it's actually a page torn from the history and present day struggle of gay men during the global AIDS pandemic.  Even to this day, the official CDC guideline for this community is "safer sex" with barriers aka condoms, aka a form of distanced intimacy.  To expect that every gay man for the last 30 years has dutifully adhered to this guideline is naive and unrealistic.  The reality is that gay men sub-divided into sub-communities of risk acceptance, whether they admitted doing so in public or not.  There are the men with red ribbons on their lapels claiming to wear condoms always until there is a cure, there are those who concede that sometimes they make exceptions, and then there are those bold bare-backers who seek non-judgmental, barrier-free sex--the kind of sex that humanity has enjoyed for the vast majority of its existence on this planet.

I suspect that this type of social sorting for COVID-19 risks is already well underway despite what the global CDCs dictate.  People will calculate the limit of their obedience, whether itis 6 months, 12 months, 2 months, or already done.  And because of their  vastly varying psyschologies, experiences, knowledges, economic situations, and mental and physical health dispositions, there will be nothing, really, that we can do it about it.  If gay men want to fuck without condoms, they will.  And if people want to gather in groups in cities, they will.

So, what are we going to do about it?  I suggest that we help them find each other.  Rather than judge, we recognize their social sorting and facilitate it, if it's desired.  And in order to do this, we will help people calculate where and how they fit in.  I call it simply, for the lack of a better name, the Theory of X, where X equals the maximum number of months of strict social distancing that you can personally tolerate before you've had enough.  And "enough" is based on your own psychology, experience, knowledge, economic situation, and mental and physical health disposition.  I believe we'll find the groupings helpful in that two over lap and the third does not:

X = 0:  Can't do it anymore
X < 2:  We've done 2 months, maybe can do 2 more, will take it one day at a time
X > 6:  I can handle it, let's do it

Interestingly, people belie their calculus with an identifier.  In the gay community, it's whether or not you possess or insist on a condom.  In the COVID-19 age, it's whether you are wearing or insist that others wear a mask and keep their distance.

Let's take a look at unhappy communities of individuals where their calculus is mismatched.  A business owner is about to go out of business, lose her home, and the ability to take care of her family.  She's read the news, she's google'd the science, she understands the risk, she's worried about the safety of others, and yet, after running it all through her felicific calculus that accounts for her unique  psychology, experience, knowledge, economic situation, and mental and physical health disposition, she has determined that her X = 0.  Unfortunately, most of her employees are X > 6.  Fortunately, there's another business whose owner is X > 6 and most his employees are X = 0.  By facilitating social sorting, both businesses and employees can improve their happiness.  Once a business and its employees are properly socially sorted, then it becomes a matter of marketing to socially sorted customers.  Is this very unlike the red districts, left banks, east ends, and gayborhoods of the world's greatest cities?

In summation, my principle of "celebrate intentional communities to thrive differently" is firmly rooted in the Pleasure Principle and the recognition of and respect for every human's right to calculate their own felicity.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Austin Orientation Class for Newcomers

The way it works is all the Austin newcomers come here and work so that the rest of us can slack. It's a pyramid scheme. Didn't you get the memo? Yeah, here's how it works. You enroll them in your Austin Orientation Class. The class meets one time per week for 30 minutes at a bar of your choice. The newcomer always buys. In exchange for teaching the class, the newcomer will mow your lawn, go grocery shopping, do your laundry, or whatever chore prevents you from slacking.

Here's the syllabus.

Week 1: Mopac and Loop 1 are the same damn thing, and btw, it ain't a loop, so don't try make a loop around the city on Loop 1 or you'll end up on a toll road and that'll really tick you off.

Week 2: Koenig is the same as Allendale

Week 3: Koenig is pronounced "Kay-nig". Duh!

Week 4: Allendale is the same as 2222

Week 5: Koenig is the same as 2222

Week 6: Allendale is the same as Koenig

(thanks to this one bit of screwy info, you've earned yourself a lot of slacking at some poor newcomer's expense)

Week 7: Bee Cave is the same as 2244

Week 8: 290 East and 290 West do not meet IH-35 at the same place

Week 9: IH-35 is the same as I-35

Week 10: Townlake is the same as Lady Bird Lake

Week 11: Congress Ave Bridge is the same as Ann Richards Bridge

Week 12: 1st Bridge is the same as the Drake Bridge

Week 13: Manchaca is pronounced "Man Shack"

Week 14: Guadalupe is pronounced "Guada Loop" and this ain't a loop either but it's about as congested as the other road that ain't a loop. Maybe they're congested because everyone's looking for the loop? Maybe Guadalupe should be renamed to "Where da loop?"

Week 15: Guadalupe near UT is the same as The Drag.

(end of semester. use this opportunity to tell your newcomer about the hill country or big bend and then get them to drive you both out there)

Week 16: Ben White and 71 are the same thing.

Week 17. Research and 183 are the same thing.

Week 18. Westlake is a rich enclave with its own schools and cops, but they still call themselves Austinites even though they don't pay Austin property taxes. Very tricky. There is no interesting food in Westlake, they come to Austin for that. There is no interesting shopping in Westlake, they built their own Galleria way out west hoping that Austinites wouldn't be able to find it. It's working.

Week 19. Rollingwood is a suburb of Westlake where another 10 Austinites have figured out a way to avoid paying Austin property taxes. I'm not really sure how big Rollingwood is. It's seems about large enough to park a police car wth a radar gun along Bee Cave (see Week 7) to catch folks going from Austin to Westlake and vice versa. This makes Bee Cave sorta like a toll road.

Week 20: Austinites will spend 20-30 minutes trying to get across town in traffic, but they won't consider driving 15 minutes up IH-35 to visit friends in Pflugerville or Round Rock. Newcomers take note: If you move to Pflugerville or Round Rock, even if it looks close to Austin on the map, it's psychologically very far. The chances that you'll get Austinites to visit you are worse than if you lived in New York or San Francisco.

Week 21: Austinites are tolerant people except when it comes to bikes and pedestrians. For some reasons, Austinite drivers hate bikes and pedestrians. Go to way N. Lamar and watch how Austinites will drive circles around pregnant women and the elderly pedestrians stranded in the chicken lane. In any other state, traffic would stop. Similarly, bicyclists risk their lives while trying to share the road. It's frightening to watch Austinite motorists crowd them out of the lane or even shout or throw things at them. Newcomers, we're actually hoping you can help change this by not doing it too.

Week 22: Back to happier thoughts. Don't ask 5 Austinites where the best bbq is and expect a consensus. In fact, don't ask 5 Austinites anything and expect a consensus. Be prepared to watch them set up a task force, hold community open houses, hire some consultants, invite you to participate in a 'What makes BBQ great" charrette, set up an Austin BBQ Facebook page, start Twittering you to participate in the BBQ poll, set up visits to other towns that also eat BBQ, start up a BBQ Music Festival, start up a BBQ Lovers for Haiti Fun Run, set up a BBQ Industry Entrepreneur Center for Excellence, develop a 20-year plan on how to make Austin BBQ the Best BBQ in the World, but never actually get around to answering your question.

An academic year is typically 30 weeks long, but this is Austin so slack off the rest of the time. Besides it's probably getting hot.

Monday, December 19, 2005

The Company of Men

The Company of Men

I know not class, know not race, know not town, nor religion
I know not politics, know not friend, family nor position
I fly
Over sand, over surf, field, and over mountain

I fly and you can too
When you take my hand
And join the company of men

I respect not time, not place, nor institution
I know no doors, no walls, laws, nor prohibition
I fly
Into fears, into dreams, into hopes, and indecision

I fly and you can too
When you take my hand
And join the company of men

I give you courage, give you hope, give you love
I flow through you, bind through you, and fill you from above
I fly
As the spirit, as the guide, as the power, as the dove

I fly and you can too
When you take my hand
And join the company of men



His faults were easy to overlook
But somehow, mine were not.
Though he faulted me
for finding him flawless,
I accepted that as well.

A failure in his own estimation,
from a marred vision of self-image
and deprecation
He cannot see why I see him as I do.
The irony is that I don’t,
For love had closed my eyes.

He took himself away from me.
Now unfortunately,
my eyes are forced open.

I see more clearly than I did
when anticipating a future

Friday, November 25, 2005

Wounded Men

Wounded Men

I tend to kiss the wounded men
Make wounded love, make wounded friends
A wounded marriage to a wounded spouse
A wounded life in a wounded house
A wounded babe, it begins again
With a wounded son kissing wounded men

Monday, November 21, 2005

They Always Warn

They Always Warn

They always warn before they strike;
I pretend surprise.
Righteously burns the venomous bite
from fangs of love-laced, proffered lies.

Toxic is the truth, when dosed
by those who're prone to live
lives of hope and dreams bespoke
by those who're prone to give.

Yet nary does a day pass by,
when in the throes of death I spy
the end of love in someone's eye
and soon to speak the words "good bye."

And then the numbing does set in
to ease the sight of rendered skin
shed, uncoiled by former friend.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Families Matter

Families Matter

This is a photo of my brother-in-law's ballot. I'm so proud of him!

An open letter to my family:

As expected, we lost in Texas and now I'm a second-class citizen when it comes to creating a family. If I decide to spend $10K on attorney's fees, I could come up with a set of contracts that mimics a fraction of what straight people get when they pay $42. There are about 1200 rights and protections accorded to married couples. Unfortunately, the loss means it'll be more likely that I'll have to substantially more money to defend the contracts in court.

The good news is that I'm living in the right county. Travis county was the only county to defeat Amendment 2. Also, our polling statewide showed that voters aged 18-24 voted with us. This means it's only a matter of time before the old bigots and homophobes die out. Winning elections is not just about counting votes. It's also about changing attitudes. I think we have time on our side.

In contrast, last night Maine was able to defeat their anti-gay measure.

And let's not forget, the CA legislature recently passed a law in support of gay marriage, but Arnie single-handedly veto'd it. Also, Massuchussets has successfully defeated homophobia and bigotry and allows gay domestic partnerships.

Here are the countries that allow gay marriage [no distinction]:

Here are countries that allow gay civil unions with equal rights and benefits [but not called marriage]:
New Zealand
Buenos Aires, Argentina
South Africa
Britain (in process)

A lot of the countries on the list are our NATO allies. Why is it that the US agrees with them when it comes to war (except lately!), but we disagree with them when it comes to morality and environmental issues? Too often our position on human rights seems more line in with North Korea and Iraq.

I'm glad my straight family joins the leading nations of the civilized world in supporting my right to create a family of my own.


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Wynn is a winner

Austin Business Journal - 5:30 PM CDT Monday
Wynn leads rally to defeat gay marriage ban

Austin Mayor Will Wynn joined other area politicians in front of Austin City Hall at a rally organized by the anti-Proposition 2 political action committee No Nonsense in November to speak out against the proposition's definition of marriage between a man and a woman.

"The First Amendment of the American Constitution prevents us from making any laws that codify religious values," Wynn says. "I understand full well that a lot of well-intentioned folks oppose gay marriage on the basis of their religious beliefs. And, I respect the First Amendment rights of these citizens to speak their minds about their opinions. I don't, however, want their, or my, feelings and thoughts about religion put into law."

Also present were city councilmembers Brewster McCracken, Lee Leffingwell, Raul Alvarez and Betty Dunkerly, state representatives Mark Strama and Elliott Naishtat, county commissioner Karen Sonleitner, and county constables Bruce Elfant and Maria Canchola, according to No Nonsense Travis County coordinator Celia Israel.

No Nonsense is a "PAC funded by contributions from different friends just to fight this amendment," Israel says.

The Texas Ethics Commission lists former state representative Glen Maxey as treasurer of No Nonsense in November.

The organization raised $160, 746 and spent $85,680 from July 14 though Sept. 29, 2005, according to its latest campaign finance report filed with the Commission.

Wynn invoked his sixth-generation Austin heritage to help defeat the proposed constitutional amendment.

"One of the great cultural characteristics of Texas is that, here, we mind our own business," he says. "So, let's just not get into the habit of taking our opinions and trying to turn them into the laws of the land, particularly constitutional amendments. Every time we let this happen, we lose a big part of what it is to be of and from the Great State of Texas."

© 2005 American City Business Journals Inc.

Friday, October 14, 2005

The Freedom to Fail

On the eve of my realization that I was again single, I invested in my future to someday marry someone I have yet to meet. Last night, I attended the political fundraiser for the "No Nonsense in November" campaign to defeat next month's proposed Texas state constitutional amendment. This mean-spirited amendment takes the current state law against gay marriages and goes several steps further. More on this point in a second. I'm no lawyer, and I don't mean for my disclaimer to be disparaging of my lawyerly friends, but I've developed a layman's viewpoint on this issue that I'd like to share. I encourage you to discuss this viewpoint with better qualified individuals to develop your own viewpoint. But more importantly, I urge you to discuss it with your straight friends, acquaintances, co-workers, and family members. The proposed language needs MANY readings and discussions in the public forum before we can hope that the people of Texas, regardless of their political affiliation or stance on gay marriage, will do the right thing.

Don't Preach to the Choir

Although I've been "out" for years, there are still plenty of people in my professional world that don't know me as a gay man. This proposed amendment has prompted me to come out to some select colleagues so that I could discuss the amendment with them. Most of these colleagues are executives in various companies who respect me and my work. A surprising number of them are Republicans. Many of them had probably guessed that I am gay, though until recently, the fact remained irrelevant and unconfirmed. I doubt any of them would want to see injustice come my way. The feeling is mutual. This professional mutal respect was the basis for coming out and discussing an amendment I feared my colleagues would inadvertently support unless they discovered that it hurt someone like me.

Plan B

Texas already has a law on the books that limits marriage to men and women. As a result, gay people with property (many of us), with children (increasingly more of us), and with concerns about who gets to make medical decisions about us when we're unable (all of us) have had to come up with Plan B. This plan means hiring a lawyer and constructing a series of contracts, wills, trusts, and powers of attorney that more or less confer upon us the same rights and protections that legally married people automatically enjoy when they purchase a $41 marriage license. Our "license," on the other hand, costs about $10,000. As result, few of us can actually afford Plan B and risk uncertain futures should the following situations arise:

If you die, will your joint property transfer to your partner, your family, or your partner's family? What about your personal property?

If you die, will your children remain in your partner's custody or will they go to your family, your partner's family, or worse, the State?

If you become unable to make medical decisions about yourself, will these decisions be made by your partner, your family, your partner's family, or the court?

Perhaps these questions are less meaningful if you, your partner, and your families are on the same page. But what happens if you're not? It's for these very reasons, that marriage is useful in automatically addressing the critical, but often ambiguous post-life decisions for straight people. Simply put: the spouse decides. But recently, in a famous national example, we saw a man and his wife's family caught in a tragic dispute over the disposition of her comatose life. Rightfully, the court sided with the spouse. What would have happened if this were a gay couple? As you can see, these post-life issues matter and engaged our country in a national debate. Do you want your post-life issues to be decided by national opinion, or would you prefer that they are decided by your partner? If the latter, hopefully you can afford Plan B's $10,000 price tag. If you can't, then things may not go as you intend.

What the Amendment Does

I'm concerned that the proposed constitutional amendment is a direct attack on those who can't afford Plan B (most of us). Here's the language from the amendment that concerns me:

SECTION 1. Article I, Texas Constitution, is amended by
adding Section 32 to read as follows:
Sec. 32. (a) Marriage in this state shall consist only of
the union of one man and one woman.
(b) This state or a political subdivision of this state may
not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to

SECTION 2. This state recognizes that through the
designation of guardians, the appointment of agents, and the use of
private contracts, persons may adequately and properly appoint
guardians and arrange rights relating to hospital visitation,
property, and the entitlement to proceeds of life insurance
policies without the existence of any legal status identical or
similar to marriage.

Great, if you can afford Plan B, then hopefully every anti-gay marriage homophobe in the state will obey SECTION 2 of this constitutional amendment, if they're aware of it. Fat chance. How long did it take for the South to obey the Emancipation Proclamation? 100 years? Not yet? How long did it take before the United States Supreme Court and the Administration to move decisively to end racial discrimination? And is the work over yet? How many lives have been ruined in the interim?

Now imagine your life in the aftermath of this amendment. Can you see yourself quarreling over constitutional interpretation with a nurse while your partner lies on the other side of a locked door? How about engaging an ignorant child protective services officer in a debate as they take your son? Perhaps you can sue your partner's family before they are able to sell your home out from under you? Perhaps you have many thousand more dollars to spend in order to protect your $10,000 investment in private contracts.

This proposed amendment is hurtful because it sends the wrong message to the people of our state that want to hurt us because they disagree with us. These people will not read the language of this amendment. They will not respect Section 2. They will only remember their victory over fags and dykes and it will fall to us to engage them in the corridors of hospitals, state agencies, court houses, and mortuaries when we are at our weakest, when we have lost our loved ones. We need to deny them this victory while we are strong. We need to discuss this unjust amendment outside of our normal circles. We need to help straight people understand its unfairness before we allow this amendment to intensify the discrimination we are already facing.

While the amendment and the contract challenges may not withstand ultimate judicial scrutiny, the suffering and loss endured by gay people who've had their will and intent countermanded by homophic meddlers in their personal affairs will be real and possibly irremediable. Keep in mind, that until recently, Texas carried discriminately-enforced anti-sodomy laws on the books. Gay civil rights advocates actively pursued decriminalization because it had been used as justification by many employers for workplace discrimination against gay employees. There's no limit to the creativity that homophobes will employ to suit their needs at the expense of gay people.

In Summary

Texas already has a law on the books that defines marriage. This amendment unnecessarily reiterates the law. I'm afraid that we are setting up our state's court of last resort as no refuge from future injustice against the gay citizens of Texas. If we can't solve our problems at the state level, for those of us that cannot afford the pricetag of equality, are we ceding control over our lives while we wait years or decades for possible Federal intervention?

My relationship recently ended. We entered into it willfully and somehow, as many seem to do, we bungled it. We did not have the choice to get married. Perhaps if we were married, we'd still be together trying to work through it. Who knows. Most marriages fail. We had the option of Plan B, and although we could have afforded it, it wasn't appropriate for us. But for many others, Plan B is not an affordable option. So these people in love will willfully enter into a committed relationship that will ultimately end, if only by death. More likely it will end by the myriad mundane ways that lead most marriages and committed relationships to fail. What happens then will be determined by you in November.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

The Prankster

the Prankster
(47% dark, 34% spontaneous, 27% vulgar)
your humor style:

Your humor has an intellectual, even conceptual slant to it. You're not pretentious, but neither are you into what some would call 'low humor'. You'd laugh at a good dirty joke, but you definitely prefer something clever to something moist.

You probably like well-thought-out pranks and/or spoofs and it's highly likely you've tried one of these things yourself. In a lot of ways, yours is the most entertaining type of humor.

PEOPLE LIKE YOU: Conan O'Brian - Ashton Kutcher

Take the test yourself:

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Spanish Prime Minister's Speech on Gay Marriage


not legislating, honorable members, for people far
away and not known by us. We are enlarging the
opportunity for happiness to our neighbors, our
co-workers, our friends and, our families: at the same
time we are making a more decent society, because a
decent society is one that does not humiliate its
members. . .

Today, the Spanish society answers to a group of
people who, during many years have been humiliated,
whose rights have been ignored, whose dignity has been
offended, their identity denied, and their liberty
oppressed. Today the Spanish society grants them the
respect they deserve, recognizes their rights,
restores their dignity, affirms their identity, and
restores their liberty.

It is true that they are only a minority, but their
triumph is everyone's triumph. It is also the triumph
of those who oppose this law, even though they do not
know this yet: because it is the triumph of liberty.
Their victory makes all of us (even those who oppose
the law) better people, it makes our society better.
Honorable members, there is no damage to marriage or
to the concept of family in allowing two people of the
same sex to get married. To the contrary, what happens
is this class of Spanish citizens get the potential to
organize their lives with the rights and privileges of
marriage and family. There is no danger to the
institution of marriage, but precisely the opposite:
this law enhances and respects marriage.

Today, conscious that some people and institutions are
in a profound disagreement with this change in our
civil law, I wish to express that, like other reforms
to the marriage code that preceded this one, this law
will generate no evil, that its only consequence will
be the avoiding of senseless suffering of decent human
beings. A society that avoids senseless suffering of
decent human beings is a better society.

With the approval of this bill, our country takes
another step in the path of liberty and tolerance that
was begun by the democratic change of government. Our
children will look at us incredulously if we tell them
that many years ago, our mothers had less rights than
our fathers, or if we tell them that people had to
stay married against their will even though they were
unable to share their lives. Today we can offer them a
beautiful lesson: every right gained, each access to
liberty has been the result of the struggle and
sacrifice of many people that deserve our recognition
and praise.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

On the river Amstel

I've heard of bike-friendly cities, but until arriving in Amsterdam, I guess I've never been to one. Not only are there dedicated bike lanes, they are specially colored, and it appears that that cyclists get their own signals at major intersections. It's frightening and amazing to see several bicyclists turn left across a 5-way intersection without fear of being run down. At night, the riders all wear a similar white glow light that hangs down the front of their chest.

For a city of just a million people, Amsterdam has invested an extraordinary amount into their public transit system. In addition to the impressive network of bike lanes and bike-oriented traffic signals, there's also rail-based trams, buses, and heavy rail. I'm pretty sure I heard that they are extending their subway under the historic district (which one?)in a massive and ambitious effort to be completed circa 2016. Other than that reference, I've not seen any sign of the subway. It's hard to believe that there could be a subway under all that water and mud upon which the city seems precariously built.

They say that Amsterdam is built on Denmark and Finland because all the wood pillars holding up the buildings come from there. It's a perpetually flooded city, really, standing in 3 meters of water--one meter of mud, one meter of bicycles, and one meter of water. If you fall in, you can always grab a bike and pedal out.

Water from the sea used to be one of Amsterdam's three historical enemies and it's symbolized by the color white on their emblem. War is red and the Plague is black. They seem to have tamed the sea, using it to clean out the canals every other day, thus avoiding the stench that mars Venice. With several hundred islets and a couple thousand bridges crossing an impressive network of canals, the logistics of water level management seem daunting--one mistake and the centuries-old city would be washed away or destroyed by the subsequent wood rot.

The Red Light district really has red lights. And there really are women standing in store windows...well, they're not really stores--they're sex shops. Many times, the red curtains are drawn which indicates that commerce is taking place. The oldest church in town is situated in the heart of this district. Either it knows its market or the girls know theirs.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Monkey or Duck?

Very few people realize that the quack of a duck and its variations have many connotations within the simian world. Listen carefully. What do you think this means?

this is an audio post - click to play

Monday, June 20, 2005

Flight of the Love Birds

In cage he found love birds no more.

Two piles of feathers on patio floor.

All doors latched tight to prevent their flight

They flew with serpent to Paradise's night.

this is an audio post - click to play

Thursday, June 09, 2005

When Worlds Collude

Tonite is the "victory" party for the Save Muni Wireless rare defeat of SBC in the Texas Legislature. It's not over until it's over, but a win is a win.

It's hard to feel good when elsewhere in the Legislature evil bastards are working to marginalize me as a human being. It makes me wonder if I've been putting my efforts into the wrong battle. In short, the Legislature passed a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage or any legal status identical or similar to marriage. Hey straight people, this seems to include domestic partnerships and common law marriage.

The amendent strategy forces challenges to the existing ban in state law to be heard on the national level as opposed to the Texas Supreme Court. Perry says it will prevent judicial activism. That's code for pre-empting the checks-and-balances in his own state.

Because the federal appeals process is so lengthy, this will increase the amount of time that Texans are oppressed. Does oppression seem like too strong a word? According to Rep. Thompson, the amendment "repeals the contracts that many single people have paid thousands of dollars to purchase to obtain medical powers of attorney, powers of attorney, hospital visitation, joint ownership and support agreements." Read more on this in Molly Ivins' response.

To make things worse, "our" lionized governor shamefully signed the bill from within a church. Clearly, Christian arrogance has reached the point where it's now okay to brandish their stranglehold on public policy from the pulpit. What more is in store for those of us deemed "not Christian enough" in their view? I find myself struggling to sympathize with "modern" Christian views when these guys are Hell bent on making my life difficult. Although I was raised and educated with Christian ideals, I feel very little left in common with these extremists who have turned the faith into a power-hungry, hate-mongering cult.

Today my legislative worlds passed into each other's orbit when a friend sent me a link from Eugene Mirman's site about a Christian telephone company trying to get people to switch from "Gay T&T". Apparently, the big telcos allegedly support the gay agenda. Can it be so? Do I want these guys as allies? The Christian telco absurdly claims that MCI sponsors a pedophilia site in Canada and Verizon "trains their employees to accept the gay lifestyle." Mirman's recorded conversations with these Christian telco nutjobs provides several minutes of, um, entertainment. It doesn't feel right to laugh. With such strange-bedfellows, I'd rather sleep alone.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Possum Temple and Voodoo Pew

Upon Town Lake rippled with Spring sky hue

Four scroggs set off in a boat built for two

Turtle heads breaching and three cormorant in tree

Witnesses to daytrippers drifting to sea

A fortnight of toiling with weather and oar

They circumnavigate to opposite shore

And there they catch breath for a year or two

In Possum Temple and Voodoo Pew.

this is an audio post - click to play

Sunday, January 30, 2005



Fast asleep in bed

Midnight visitor arrives

Purring cat on head.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The English Reserve

The English Reserve

The English reserve is the tethering nerve

which holds taut the stiff upper lip.

But the secret, my friend, is the nerve’s other end

And to that which it's tied and guarded with pride

By chaps on the street and gentlemen’s men.

this is an audio post - click to play

Monday, January 10, 2005



Two days' grind with yoke and flog

Two days hence 'til weekend fuck

Midweek respite to bind with mates

Bring your arse to Dog and Duck.

this is an audio post - click to play

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Where but the Pub?

Where but the Pub?

Got socks 'round the ankles and battered pride?

Where but the pub swim haddock deep in batter fried.

this is an audio post - click to play

The One that Got Away

The One that Got Away

Parting lips for pints and quips

In pub I wait for Mark and chips.

this is an audio post - click to play

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

I Walk Alone

Video code provided by KEKAI BOY

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Austin Wireless City guide for community wireless groups

Austin Wireless City guide for community wireless groups

Before you can you have a community network, you have to have a community. There are all kinds of communities, and some communities are better than others at doing certain things. But the likelihood of having the right community in...

Posted in Muniwireless on August 12, 2004 02:03 PM

Punishing the Persona: Correctional Strategies for the Virtual Offender

"Punishing the Persona: Correctional Strategies for the Virtual Offender" in Steve Jones (ed.) Virtual Culture: Identity and Communication in Cybersociety, Sage: London and New Delhi, 1997.


The development of cybersociety poses significant
theoretical and socio-political challenges attributable to a
social space populated by "bodyless" beings. This chapter
explores the phenomenon of bodylessness and its
ramifications for the criminal corrections process. In the
case of a well-known virtual rape, the perpetrator's account
was deleted following a meeting of the virtual community's
members. This virtual execution of his online persona is
rigorously analyzed to determine if punishment of virtual
bodies is a suitable means for meting out virtual
jurisprudence. Guided largely by Foucault's insight into
non-corporal or bodyless punishment, a standard of "just
adjudication" is developed to insure that the punishment
fits the crime. In part, this standard directs punishment
for virtual offenses primarily towards the virtual body.
Accordingly, offline offenses ought to be directed primarily
towards the user. To this end, a classification scheme is
proposed to differentiate virtual offenses from conventional
computer crimes. Three cases are examined in light of this
classification and standard. They are the "rape of legba;"
the University of Michigan student, Jake Baker, who was
arrested and expelled for his Usenet posting of a "sex
fantasy;" and Kevin Mitnick, the infamous hacker accused of
committing several computer-related crimes. It is hoped
that the guidelines developed herein for adjudicating
computer-mediated offenses will insure that the punishment
delivered is commensurate with the crime.

The Social Construction of Rape in Virtual Reality

"The Social Construction of Rape in Virtual Reality" in Fay Sudweeks, et. al. (eds.) Network and Netplay: Virtual Groups on the Internet, Assn for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence/MIT Press: Cambridge, Mass, 1998.


The current social construction of rape in virtual reality is not a worthwhile endeavor in that it forces theorists to adapt an undesirable concept in order to import it into virtual reality. Rape exists as such in "real life" because of the social construction of women relative to the social construction of men. The relationship of these constructions is not and does not have to be analogous in virtual reality because virtual reality presents an opportunity for social reordering. Among these opportunities is the exploration of the ramifications of bodies presented arbitrarily. Given these opportunities, theorists seeking to pursue positive constructionism ought to endeavor to develop virtual-reality specific constructions which empower rather than import real life constructions which victimize.

Searching for the Leviathan in Usenet

"Searching for the Leviathan in Usenet" in Steve Jones (ed.) Cybersociety: Computer-Mediated Communication and Community, Sage: Thousand Oaks, Calif, 1995.


The purpose of this thesis is to identify signs of Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan in the Usenet computer conferencing network. Certainly nothing that the Usenet users can experience can compare to the Hobbesian scenario in which persons are forced to give up the right to govern themselves in exchange for personal safety. This is certainly true on the surface, but there is another level of interaction within Usenet other than user-to-user. It is the level of the users' "personae," and it is at this level of understanding that the fear of vanishing from existence is ever present and near. For personae within Usenet, life can be described as "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short." And it is for their sakes that this researcher has searched for and found a Leviathan in Usenet.

I am

I am

Me awash in a dark sea unwashed and struggling to get my bearings among frantic herrings I am just one among many curiously furiously deposited here

Born here borne by a storm here whirlwind and fear here recently posited here against my will Our will But still ragingly alive with a drive for the first time in our lives

I am

Here with these others these virile brothers in a leaderless not pointless struggle of death and life and I am at sea me among a frantic mob of the mindless mono-purposed like porpoises moving en masse on cue herdlike birdlike

I am

Thirsty to break free Thirsty to drink in a saline void somehow devoid of everything sane yet sanely I persist to exist Thirsty to sink sink yet propelled compelled gun held to my head to continue press on with the others struggling brothers

I am

Swimming to live Swimming to give Swimming brimming doped up hoped up with endorphins like dolphins on speed speeding we are all swimming in the dark without needing without pleading explanation explication we are swimming and

I am

Starting to get tired now Starting to expire now Starting now to stop somehow Others are falling starting to drop They are calling mootly mutely to their deaf brothers who are not dropping who are not stopping who are not expiring like they are like the weak calling to death like the weak

I am

Still remaining Still retaining the desire the fire to exist and persist and resist and to swim swim until we are free free I scream into the stream primally brine-ily and at long last we are near but we fear We can see it and we fear it the light the hope the dream

I am

Pushing and pushed to the front with the pack at my back now strangely unkind with cruel acts they are tripping ripping standing on the backs of others former brothers to see the light to be the light yet it will only be me only just me I see that in this sea it's the purpose for I am the purpose because I am the first

I am sperm

Morning Wood

Morning Wood

In my dreams the fields of corn

Bamboo speed grow for harvest each morn.

The magic crop returns each day

There for the husking, no price to pay.

And from this dreamscape I emerge and feeling good

With silky whispers in my ear and a cord of morning wood.

Yes, morning wood, I said.

Magic crop of the bed

Thriving each sunrise while the rest of me lies dead.

And I wonder what I've done, how I've earned this gift daily

To rise and shine and give God his Glory! Glory!

While strumming chords of gratitude on my special ukelele.

Now I want you to know a secret of mine

This Don Juan of the Dawn, studly steed, my morning equine

It comes without calling, arrangement or invite

Yet I've come to expect its welcome breeze to lift and carry my boyish kite

To crayola clouds dyed in new day's light on the edge of the sunnyside of dreamy, fading night.

Oh yeah, the secret. Okay, here it goes.

But keep it to yourself, 'cause nobody knows

But that tool-like stiffness, hammer handle of Thor

Rock-hard mallet of whacking, capable of cracking

Smiles on the faces of Mt. Rushmore--

Isn't mine.

There! I said it and I know it to be true

For my little pecker couldn't snap dried spaghetti in two

Now don't get me wrong

For I love my ding and the way it dongs

And let's me sing all of my favorite songs

And while it may not crow with the cock chorus of the morning grow

It croons pleasantly when it does

With a friendliness that's hard to miss

And when accompanied by sweet kiss and gentle stroke behind my ear

My fallible, gullible lovejoy spouts

Shiner Bock beer.

No, not really. Just kidding about the beer. But the rest is fair

The fickle in my pickle and the semper fidelis of the morning formation

Do not compare as they should and this has brought me to speculate

About the nature and properties of my morning wood.

It isn't connected in the normal way.

I mean, I can feel that it's attached, its weight and its sway

But the pleasure connectors seem not to be plugged in

It's a dildo from Heaven but crippled for sin

The divine plan eludes me, perhaps rent to own?

But some ethereal organ donor must be connected to my magic bone

And thy Kingdom will come if thy will be done

Except for myself who's been left out of this fun

Stone pestal to slammed mortar, I've put it to good abuse

But when it comes to self-pleasuring

Alas! It's of no use.

Am I making myself clear about the irony here?

To have an ironclad warhorse magical dreadnought of steam

Power to part petals and smash lucky flower

To serve breakfast coffee but to settle for no cream?

It's unknown to me! Magnificent erection of mysterious birth

It's a confection meant for others

The mirth is the girdth.

So the joke told in this chicken-chokehold which I've tried time and again

Since morning wood burns not in my personal stove

I'm fated I guess to give it to a friend

And I have and I do give away my wood gladly

For it comes not for me no matter how madly

But for you, and for you, and for you

This bumper crop I can give to you

For it's non-connectedness to me matters not in your view

And that's your secret.

So in this dream, I'm in this field.

Two rows diverged in the corn and I

Couldn't tell which was the one

Less traveled by.

So there I stood until I could

Each night the dream, each morn the wood

Steadfast there among the corn

Lacking direction every morn

So there I stood until I could

And finally learn to burn my wood.

the feeling of and

the feeling of and

the other woman is a man and i'm him

more or less about me being the man though she wears the dress

we share the same man who's historically straight

man enough for me but queerish of late

and i've been here before once straight now the whore

why the misogyny to deny denigrate imply implicate other women

when the burden should be shouldered by the men who prick other men

while the women they impress again and again

get screwed by these men not man enough to end

the misery of three and the mess that began

when men out on a limb found the him without a her and the her within a him

a feeling of homo

the him in the him

but it's the feeling of and

as in the he and the him

now that's the scariest part out on this limb

but i cannot replace the she in a her and she cannot replace the him in a he

so the question remains or

as in choose her or choose me

The Last Bat

The Last Bat


Poets' Lands

Poets' Lands

I want to spend some time away and visit poets' lands

I want to breathe the air of wine and eat the fruits of verse

I want to learn from poets wise in a universe memorized

Or scribbled and ranted, sometimes recanted

Where tide and time are rhythm and rhyme

Where oceans and land are laid by poets' hands

I want to dip in Dillon's pond

Of tears and memories

Sunset boys with nothing on

To bask for years in the span of a day

Chasing the phrase under shady word play

I wanna go to Minnesota

And walk in Abraham's land

To cross some Northern brooks and shuffle through Northern sand

And Abraham must join me as we stroll his countryside

With miles of verse to be traversed and metered by his stride

I want to train the horses at Patrick's father's side

Who needs to break them of their spirit and make them safe to ride

But I insist that Patrick's there to firmly hold my hand

To unclench my fist and to resist the power of the man

To educate to liberate the fillie and the father

To articulate to propagate with poetry the preciousness of the flower

I want to spend some time away and visit poets' lands

I want to spend some time way and sleep in poets' hands.

Auto Erotic

Auto Erotic

Look both ways

Belt click, leaning back

Music on, the right volume

Adjust the left mirror. Answer click

Adjust the rear mirror. Whistle. Handshake.

Now the handbrake.

Receiving. Ack, ack, ack.

Mission transmission for emission

Two tons of masculinity paused, parking, stalking, stalling in a stall, waiting for magic or just a trick.

Fan spinning, coolant flowing, rubber belts doing what they do wheels poised, axels potent with latency, tailpipe steaming somehow alluring

It's 12:37a.m. and nothing decent yet.

No, not that one. No, not that one, either.

Shoddy offers and riff-raff hustlers

You passersby keep on passing by

like the time on the dash

like my fleeting patience with mediocrity

like the juice in my cellular's battery

like my weakening signal

I'm drained and should go home or find that attachment and plug into the lighter and stay awhile.

It's 12:45 and no bites worth biting back

'cept for the sexy street motion of the black and white slider cruising by

infiltrating my resolve with a thought from those who police

No Stopping, No Standing, or Loitering.

No Cruising, No Pandering, nor Solicitation for Titillation,

Excitation, Imagination, Desecration, or Recreation.

No Exhibition without Permission.

And Definitely Absolutely No Unauthorized Copying.

Thank you, Move Along. End of transmission.

Roger, yeah. 10-4. Right okay.

Thank you for your input, but you do not understand me, Sirs.

But you can be sure that I understand where you come from.

Can you understand why I need to come from where I come from?

I'll not come along with you.

Hey now, unhand me Philistine.

Don't hurt me with that, oh mighty leatherman, gunboy with your shiny star, heavy tool belt decked out and accessorized for effecting the standards of modern arrest control technique with boots and jails and restaints and blink

It's 12:50.

Still nothing and outside it's still.

Windows fogging

I should breathe less hotly or less altogether

Clouds of moisture, my moisture wasted on glass panes

tantamount to licking them

lips pressed on windows

Seeing my breath reminds me to smell it cupped in the palms of my hands.

It's okay, I'm fine. I'm still waiting.

An incoming alert sends my right hand from my lap to my mouse

Fingers sliding on smooth white ergo plastic

as I drive the cursor to the right place and click with anticipation

Click, click-click, click-click-click.

I need a line, an opening move

Put the text to the test, save the rest for the best

Half-truths for your naked dare, savoir faire is everywhere!

But alas, dumbass! Your worldwise strategize vaporize in ruleless games.

No daddy role model, no sage cousel, no big brother to go first.

Make your move or go home, my gonads would say if they could.

So I pushed a pawn to King Four, regretting it instantly.

How Pathetic. How Ordinary. So Missionary and Predictable.

How By the Book in a world of sticky pages where moments ago I feigned defiance at those who would throw the book.

P-K4, at least it's a move,

A first move, in a darkened parking lot or before phosphor screen in an always nighttime world where a good job leads to blow job if you control center, develop your pieces in order, and never ever trade when you're down.

Now it's his turn.

Checking the rear view, his eyes are reflected in his own mirror checking me out checking him out.

My tailpipe, is it still gleaming?

My metal, is it shiny and green enough?

Are my lines sporty enough?

Is my total package new and alluring enough?

Do you want me?

His brake lights FLASH.

Was that for me?

A binary message of a sort?

A clever modulation of libinal drive encoded, transmitted, demodulated then decoded by my hungry limbic brain?

Perhaps I'm reading too much into this event.

Perhaps Joe Brake Light is simply preparing to back out

Drive to his Hyde Park Home,

Lovely wife, his boy Elroy, daughter Judy.

He did it again. Mere coincidence? No.

I tapped mine, too. Not once, but twice.

If a car could wink, mine just did

Tongue ready to slide from the trunk and moisten bumper lips.

He winked back.

It's 1 a.m. now

Message received, two giant modems manufactured by Honda and Ford

We exchanged initial bits in preparation for bites and more.

His wipers twitch and I flicker my fogs

while watching in the mirror as his body tremors

and I realize he's turned on.

My injectors spray explosive mist up inside my carburetor

My mouth runs dry while below I give it a little gas.

His Ford torso creeps backwards, my Honda in motion

Bristling against submission, I accelerate the rate

Hitting the road, while looking back

He doesn't follow.

Paused on the asphault with my right signal beckoning

He's just sitting there

lights on, indecisive and mysterious behind darkened windows.

I strain to be sexy, channeling pulchritude to manifold blowing pheremones out my exhaust

Don Juan engineering trapped in a Honda Accord body

Coyly strutting on my struts, pumping the pedal

I wag my hatch back and flash a reflectorized plate smile.

It works.

He rolls up behind and I drive ahead.

Knowing this time he'll follow.

And he does.

Sit Outside

Sit Outside

Sit outside and bear witness

for just a moment be alone and remember

where you were today a year ago

and the year before then and before then

Poised scarlets and oranges soon to be

piled springtime memories

at curbside

A warm and breezy respite from Texan summer oppression

Mexico-minded birds prepare

for the great circular clashless wonder

and so should you

however tempting the brief Autumn sun--the Winter succubus:

Don't go, stay here with me.

Sit outside while bearing witness and wonder

where you would go

where you are going

and where you thought you'd be

the last time hope withered

the last time Hell's fires burned in the trees

the last time it smelled like October.

Just Words

Just Words

hope is the arch we stood under

ithink youwant ibelieve youneed

in words the masonry

ifeel youknow ihope youwon't

a life is a building together

iseem youought ican't youcouldn't

upon a literal foundation

weshould wecan't weneed wewon't

of propositions to be misunderstood

howdidi howcouldyou whatdidwe wherewereyou

now the crushing reality of living in castles of sand

Monday, November 15, 2004


The creep of roots and rustling leaves

A wooden caress despite mute pleas from anguished hollows.

His sap follows the kiss while salty dew and breezy bliss moisten bark bristling from our tryst

With irresolute branch and bending bough,

Imagined sweat beading upon oaken aching brow.

Knowing your nature, is my conceit, transparent timber.

Despite you, the Speechless, I hear your entreat.

Your non-words unspoken, shouted and cried.

Your timorous, untried love, shaken, belied

Leaves me to the fantasy of secret intercourse with a tree.

Hugging you, loving you tightly inspite of myself

Nightly nestled in naughty arms unrequited where quiet's harms

Ruminate, germinate, grow twisted and strong

While I duet alone our love song of soil and inequity

Recorded in rings within the bowels of a tree.

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Love the monkey, love the virus

Love the monkey, love the virus.

So much of our technology allows us to "live with" our consequences despite ourselves--Living with AIDS, Living with a Jarvis II, Living with Dialysis, Living with Gene Therapy, Living with Hormone Injections, Living with Special Prosthetics, Living with Voices in your Head, Living with Herpes, Living with Mom, and last but not least, Living with Monkeygeist. We are what we've become. We are tautologically and ontologically an expression of the existence of ourselves, begging the question (does it?), How are you going to live with others?

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Defend Marriage with A Drink

Defend Marriage with a Drink

So rumor has it that our imaginative legislature has let us down again by codifying state-sponsored homophobia with the passage of the Texas version of the Defense of Marriage Act. Don't they realize that the more wrong something is, the naughtier it is, and the hotter it becomes? It's called fetishization and lots of people get off to it. The more they fetishize our sexuality, the hotter it becomes, and the more often that many of us will get off to it. Strangely, once it becomes legal to cruise Pease Park and commit sodomy wherever heterosexuals do, we run the danger of becoming bored in a sort of "been there, don't that" sort of way. Felonious sex is kinda sexy and trendy at the same time. Afterall, everyone knows we do it and still they're curious. Once the trend fades, the fad passes, and state legislatures begin to take naughtiness off the books, we run the risk of being plain old horny human beings. Now that doesn't sound very cool at all. That's an old tune that's been played out for ever. Why else are all the sitcoms and dramas incorporating gay sex life into their plots? It's naughty and it's cool. As long as gay sex remains forbidden, we'll remain as cool as smoking in the boy's room. So in weird way, we need to thank the Texas legistlature for helping us get our rocks off and keeping us in the limelight.

There's more. Decent sociological research shows that unmarried men live shorter lives, and are more likely to drink and commit crime than their married, domesticated counterparts. In fact, the domestication of males is among the primary supports for marriage as an institution of social stability. I guess those of us who are banned from getting married are doomed to a shorter life of sex crime and alcohol. In essence, a typical weekend for a healthy gay man. I propose that this Friday we all have a drink in defense of marriage. This act unwittingly preserves our cool and trendy lifestyle. They tell us "No! No!" and we get to shout back on our backs "YES! YES!" At the end of the evening, please be sure you keep your end of the bargain with the Legislature by bargaining with your end somewhere naughty.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Passed Over

Passed Over
My weekend was all about eating.  Friday night has already been sucked into the fog, but I recall that Saturday was breakfast at Steven's followed by a Tivo binge at my place (Extreme Engineering, Will and Grace, Friends, Enterprise) and capped by a nice evening walk to the Hyde Park neighborhood wine tasting.  Sunday began with the sleepy realization that HEB was closed and the brief but frantic search for alternatives since we were committed to bringing greens and starchy things to some friends' house for Easter brunch. Fortunately, the pagans of Whole Foods were open and we exchanged a small fortune for a correspondingly small, albeit attractive and organicky haul of asparagus, black seasame seeds, congealed coconut oil, toasted peanut oil, cilantro, yellow potatoes, gyrure (sp?), orange juice, and a rare Klingon vegetable that we humans call "celery root."  We added a couple bottles of bubbly to our load and journeyed to our friends's home in Barton Springs and paired our food stuffs with their spinach-stuffed-lamb-of-God-leg and bedeviled eggs.  Yum.  We ate for about 5 hours and then limped through their neighborhood gawking and cackling, at the nicer homes and the inferior homes, respectively.  What a fun game!

...then we had to do it all over again at 7pm because I had doubled-booked us.  A simple mistake really.  I told one set of friends that we'd join them for Easter and another that we'd join them on Sunday, April 20th.  So by the end of the evening, with no unleaven bread in sight, there was not a chance that any of us gay first borns had any chance of rolling along with an exodus, let alone outrunning the angel of death.


Friday, April 04, 2003

My Support for the War (such that it is)

My Support for the War (such that it is)

I support and oppose lots of things that I personally do not have the time, and often the capability, to participate in.  For instance, I support dolphin-safe tuna,but perhaps not enough to get into a Greenpeace speedboat and throw myself in front of a Russian trawler.  I also support the Equal Rights Amendment, but I doubt that I'll ever find myself testifying on Capitol Hill.  I also disagree with some of the plays called by UT quarterbacks, but it's even less likely that UT Athletics will be seeking my counsel than either Greenpeace or the ERA movement.  Similarly, I'm pro-choice, but I've never encircled a clinic in its defense.  I have testified in the Texas capitol on gay rights adoption, testified before the Austin City Council against overzealous church expansionism in neighborhoods, marched for gay rights, laid on train tracks to protest the Gulf War, written letters to various elected officials for various issues that I no longer remember, and spoken to audiences on the importance of preserving our civil liberties.... yet, I can't consider myself any more or any less firm in my convictions or any less hypocritical than someone who did not choose to engage in any of these activities.  As political beings, we choose our fights.  It's a personal choice, but the choosing alone does not belie hypocrisy.  Modern war is conducted by professional experts.  It's best that way, especially if we want to win.  My support for the war (such that it is) is not diminished because I do not personally bear arms in the conflict.


Wednesday, April 02, 2003

Why I Didn't March This Time Either

Why I Didn't March This Time Either
[Jerry Brown shared an article in the The Village Voice, "Why I Didn't MarchThis Time" by Nat Hentoff.]

I'm enjoying Jerry's and Nat's reflections on a complex situation.  When asked to post an antiwar sign in my front yard, I passed, and I didn't like the way it felt.  I felt that either I had changed from the guy who protested the Gulf War, or that the reasons for war were different.  Jerry described the change(s) best.  The point really, is that you can't describe it with a yard sign ...or a bumper sticker.  Sound-byte liberalism is no more sastifying than sound-byte hawkishness.  I've found myself seeking discussion.  In my relatively short life, I've been both liberal and conservative in view.  I can say from experience that liberals have more fun--sex, drugs, and the Grateful Dead.  Liberal protests of any sort are almost cookie-cutter produced with drums, glib signs, music, dancing, smiles, love, and warmth...all my friends.  It doesn't matter if it's antiwar, pro-life, pro-gay rights, pro-affirmative action, anti-death penalty, anti-apartheid...They're a great way to see people and catch up. It's almost worth fudging one's pro-anti inclinations just to join the party.  At the party, it's almost always the same people, wearing different buttons..  It feels like Peace and Love, Inc.  But the choreography of produced liberal protests chaffs against my internal skepticism... that maybe it's all just an "event...".... that maybe if it lacked the coolness factor, if it wasn't so fun, if folks didn't see all their friends there, that maybe protesting wouldn't be the "thing to do."  Sometimes, I want to pull random liberal protestors aside and ask "Why are you here?" and hope that I can get a response with more depth than a yard sign.  I guess I shouldn't have such high expectations. I fear that the conservative protestors that I see at pro-gun, pro-war, pro-KKK, anti-hate crime legislation, anti-gay rallies are possibly less likely to provide me with a satisfactory response beyond jingoist hate and greed smattered with red, white, and blue.  But there's definitely no doubt about it: conservative protests are not as cool, the music's worse, the people are uglier, and signs are not nearly as clever.  So if a rally or protest is unable to communicate a satisfactory message that reflects a grappling with complexity, it seems that really just becomes an experience, a spectacle, an orgy of expression, a be-in of kinship, cameraderie, a televised show to fill a hungry news hole, a fellow-feeling with others who are *feeling* something similar--sorta like "We're feeling hungry," but after discussion finding that they are feeling hungry for different things... so afterwards, they agree to fuck instead.


Monday, June 17, 2002

Guiltless Sleep

Guiltless Sleep

I must be headed in the wrong direction.  Two nights in a row, I've had near nightmares of the office (I don't really have an office, per se) where I'm working for two different CEO's (a different one each night) and they're clearly hiding information from me.  When I awoke, I had some anxiety and the feeling that I need to race to the office and defend myself.  And then I remembered it was a dream, again.  The timing of these dreams is interesting.  In the next few days, Boulderdash is going to enter the next phase of its life: we're going to start cashing larger checks from our main customer, we're getting a million more bucks of investment money, a new CEO, larger office space closer to town, more employees, my friend and co-founder is going to be demoted from CEO to VP Engineering (this could be a blessing in disguise) and I'm going to get re-org'd under him (the VP of Marketing reporting to the VP of Engineering...hmmmm)--this is because the new CEO is probably gonna demote me too, eventually.  Literally, the growing pains of startup caused by the "pros" pushing the amateurs out of the way.  Oh don't mind us beginners, we just got us here, that's all.  The coffee is over there.  By next month, we'll have moved and my commute will be the packed highway instead of the rolling hills drive that I've enjoyed for the last two years.  But right now, it's 8:39am and I'm still unshowered, barefooted, and in shorts working from home.  I do this in the quiet of the morning before I head out for my 45 minute commute to our very affordable small offices out by the lake.  I guess real VPs of Marketing don't do this.  They are sleeping poorly, rising early, and defending themselves in the office.


Wednesday, March 27, 2002

Ass Play

Ass Play
Apparently "that sucks" might have something to do with a lazy dawg.  In other words, "that dog don't hunt, it sucks eggs."  I forgot about that origin--but I wonder whether most people have that or cocksucking in mind? Probably the latter.  As far as "that dog don't hunt," we're familiar with that sentiment in Texas.  Are you familiar with "she looks like she was rode hard and put up wet"?

Back to ass.  It seems "that's ass" is a shortening of the full phrase "that smells like ass."  Hmmm, while more descriptive, it doesn't really clear up what the checker boy was trying to tell me.  Anyone see the Sex in the City episode intended to expose the general public to the joys of ass.  Have you ever met anyone who went crazy for the smell of your ass?  Have you ever had anyone go crazy on your ass?  Actually kiss your ass?  Have you ever rimmed someone?  Been rimmed?  I was once exposed to the Theory of Holes which basically said any hole associated with shit was a bad hole, as contrasted with all the other good holes.  Some philosophers claim the association to shitholes as the most damning characteristic of homosexuality.  There's another real bad hole--one that's usually good, but sometimes bleeds with menstrual flow. That fuckhole is so bad in some cultures that the owners of such holes are not allowed to bathe in the same water as everyone else or be anywhere near the food.  In some religions, the bloody fuckhole is the sole reason for exclusion from the priesthood.  Interestingly, they seem to be more tolerant of shitholing behind the cloth.  But I digress.

Is there a way to conduct an informal ass-play poll?  I'm curious as to how many straight folks partake.  In the Boy Scouts, playing grab ass was a bad thing, but apparently, according to the Scoutmaster, we did it all the time.

Does Sucking Really Suck?

Does Sucking Really Suck

I hope to do some sucking tonite.  What's implied in the phrase "that sucks" is that sucking is bad, of course, unless you are getting blown.  It's bad if you are a man doing the sucking because men shouldn't do women's work.  It's good if women do the sucking because that's what the bitches should do.  Hmmmm . . . but sucking has been so mainstreamed that no one bothers to think about this stuff, including most suckers, homosexual, women, or otherwise.  Why is sucking such a mainstream perjorative and when did its meaning get so divorced from oral sex that it's okay for grownups to say "that sucks," or even "that blows" in front of kids?  This reminds me of an episode on the bleeding edge of the mainstreaming process.  It was at the check-out counter when the young clerk commented on the "Flying Dog" beer in my basket.  He said "that beer is ass!"  To this day, I do not exactly know what he meant.  Was it a thumbs up or condemnation?  Our parents went through this with "bad."  We're a much more colorful generation.

The Pharmakon of Nigger

The Pharmakon of Nigger

Nigger is a very powerful word, one which I believe should not be excised from our language.  It's a perfect pharmakon--an ancient greek concept wherein the cure and the poison are one and the same, depending on the measure.  It's the origin of the pharmacy.  Similarly, nigger does not emanate measuredly from the mouths of all people.  When heard, it can feel poisonous and hurtful.  Let me offer a recent example of nigger as a cure: It's the story of Bryonn Bain ("Walking While Black") and how he came to draft the Bill of Rights for Black Men.  Bain's poultice for curing racism would lack potency without the pharmakon of nigger.

Off-handedly, I'd say nigger is a more powerful word than bitch, but that may be as a result of my privileged viewpoint as a man.  There's no doubt that bitch has been so mainstreamed that it no longer sounds poisonous to most people.  It's rather insidious isn't it?  A slow-killing word with deep effects and long-term consequences stemming from a long history of poisoning society against women. Anecdotally, as I "became" gay, I had several early closes brushes with bitch.  Some gay men call each other bitches, but I must admit I had to draw the line here.  While I was just becoming comfortable with being called a fag, being called a bitch was beyond the pale.  I've often drawn out the overlap between homophobia (and to some degree, pedophilia) has with misogyny.  It seemingly arises from a deep-seeded fear of men becoming women or being forced to perform the woman's sexual role.  It's really sobering stuff when you think about it and the disparagement dates back as far as pharmakon's etymology.

But as with all good drugs, bitch's mainstreaming has produced useful cultural side-effects.  The connotation of someone bitching at someone else is a valuable addition to our lexicon.  If someone can suggest an acceptable alternative, I'll try it out.