Monday, February 28, 2005

Every gay boy should have one of these!

I'm in love. Yes, with Marc, but we knew that. That's not what I meant. I actually was referring to a new love. Here's a picture...

Okay, it's a toilet, but you probably can see that there's something else going on here. Oh yes, ladies and gentlemen, there sure is!

This toilet washes your ass. Yes, it washes your ass with nice, warm water. It's like a built-in, advanced version of a bidet. Not only does it wash, you can vary the strength of the stream, and it has a massage setting! Here you can see Marc tricking it into spraying without someone sitting there (it has an IR sensor that has to be blocked for it to work)...

It also deodorizes, and it has a feature that air-dries your butt! :)

So how does one control all of this? With this...

So you ask, "but Jess, are those all of the controls?" Well, no, now that you mention it, it flips open to reveal more...

So it cleans (you and itself before and after each use), the seat is heated, it dries you, it deodorizes... and the pressure and flow can be adjusted. But (butt?) what really matters is...

It cleans and water-massages your ass! :) Also, as an added bonus, you may have noticed the settings on the control pad that say Bidet-Back and Bidet-Front. It aims at different areas on command!

I told Marc that under Bidet-Back we should write "ass", and under Bidet-Front we should write "Balls/Cat" (you know, depending upon whether it's a boy or a girl using it--yes, we do know a few girls!).

The bottom (so to speak) line is, this thing does a magnificent--and very enjoyable!--job of cleaning one's butt and, um... well, some would call it the "taint"... so what more could a boy want? Especially if you want to be nice and fresh for that special someone or any hot date! ;)

An “oh, shit!” kind of morning

The official plan for this morning began with a visit to the offices of the National Labor Relations Board in Brooklyn. It was a 10am meeting, so I figured I could catch a train around 8am and then hop the subway, making it there in plenty of time.

So what really happened this morning? Well, I just wasn’t in a rush to get to work, so I took my time getting ready. Around 8:40, as I was finishing my shower, it dawned on me. So I scrambled to dry off and get dressed, hopped in the truck (no time for the train and all that nonsense at this point) and drove quickly, but safely, to Brooklyn.

Miraculously, traffic wasn’t completely nuts, and I made it right at 10am. So I told the NLRB Board Agent that I had arrived but was waiting for my witness (the Comptroller of our hospital—I was really there in my lawyer capacity, to hold his hand while he gave the Board information).

Around 10:20, I decided to call the Finance office and ask if they’d heard from him, so I could tell the Board Agent how much longer he might be. When I called, the person who answered said, “oh sure, he’s standing right here.” “Here” being a good two hours from the NLRB’s offices. Time for the morning’s second “oh, shit!”

I was able to reschedule everything, but that really was more stress in my morning than I needed! Well, maybe I can work off my frustrations clearing snow later, since we have another @#*&ing storm coming. What a day!

Sunday, February 27, 2005

The boy is scary

We spent most of the weekend cleaning out some of the last things we hadn't previously gotten to at the other house. The living room has been serving mostly as storage space during the renovations, since it's not undergoing major renovation. All it's getting is new paint, carpet and plantation shutters.

The painters are almost ready to paint the room, so the time came to clear out lots of what we had stored in there. We cleaned, threw out some stuff and moved other items to new places in the house, so the room would be ready for painting.

Anyhow, the title of this post relates to the following. While going through some old stuff, I found a small handmade doll in a plastic bag. With it was a note that said, "Made for me by Grandma Esti in 1931."

As I read that, I called out to Marc, "I wonder who Grandma Esti was." Without missing a beat, he called back, "that was Nana Fay's mother." Nana Fay is my maternal grandmother. She must have written the note and given it to my mother at some point (my mother was born in 1935, four years after the date on the note, so that leads to the conclusion that my grandmother wrote the note).

Okay, so you followed that? I couldn't remember who "Grandma Esti" was, but Marc knew instantly (by the way, Esti is short for Esther). That's how he is. He soaks up information like that and forever has it at his fingertips. He's been a part of my family for a long time, but that still doesn't diminish this ability of his to recall such details. I sure can't remember all of these things, and I really feel like a heel for it. I suppose that's just the way I am. It's not that I don't care, but these things just don't stick well in my memory.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

The religious right wrong needs to be stopped

Have these people no shame? Again, I find myself appalled at the behavior of the religious zealots in this country.

I just read an item in the latest issue of The Advocate about a "National Youth Crisis Hotline" that is listed in local phonebooks nationwide. Gay youths calling this hotline for help will encounter people acting at the behest of Horizon Ministries. These people will quote bible passages, tell them they are sinners and refer them to the repulsive Exodus International, an "ex-gay" ministry.

Young people in crisis, feeling the need to call for help, will encounter people who will condemn them for who they are. Some of these kids may be contemplating suicide, and these idiots will make them feel worse about themselves!

What's wrong with these people? How can they live with themselves? I just can't understand how people can be so cruel.

BTK: Not a new sandwich from Burger King

A while back, when he resurfaced (and began sending letters to let the world know he was still around), I learned about the BTK killer. It was of particular interest to me, because he had terrorized Wichita, Kansas, where Marc grew up. When I first read about BTK, I asked Marc about this guy.

The moment I spoke the letters BTK, I saw (of course) instant recognition and loathing on Marc's face. Marc told me about this murderous bastard who the police hadn't managed to catch. Having lived through the days of the Son of Sam here in New York, I could relate to the fear that must have run through Wichita.

So, with today's arrest, there's reason to celebrate. This is particularly comforting, as I had recently read an article that said such killers, when they resurface, tend to eventually go back to killing. Fortunately, the police arrested someone before the killing started again. I have to assume they have the right guy. Of course, that determination is for the courts. I'll still go with the assumption, however, since the police have to know they'd be drawn and quartered if they screwed this one up. Not that the police don't make mistakes--because they sure do--but I understand that they've tied this guy to the crimes with DNA evidence and feel they have a very solid case.

Whatever the details, I'm glad to read of today's arrest. If one more vicious killer is off the streets (by the way, BTK stood for "bind, torture, kill"), then it's a good day.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Something to increase my blood pressure

As if clearing snow first thing this morning wasn’t enough to get my blood pumping, the BBC Whirled Service (which I often listen to on NPR in the morning) spent the first 15-20 minutes addressing the split in the Anglican church over those pesky gays. It was balanced coverage, and I wasn’t too agitated until a bishop from Africa got into detail on his views.

The bible says it’s wrong. Assuming we trust the bible as God’s words and not what people have made it into over the centuries, I’m not even going to debate that. Not that I agree. The bishop and those who are like-minded are wrong, but it’s just not worth debating. They treat the books they’ve been handed as if God gave it to them on a visit to heaven, as opposed to what people wrote down. Even so, it’s not worth debating.

No, that wasn’t it. What got me steamed was when he explained to the interviewer that we don’t simply tolerate or condone the behavior of “an armed robber” when he “chooses” to be an armed robber, so why should they tolerate people who choose to be gay. Even if I could stomach his backward view that we choose to be gay, his comparison of gay men and women to criminals really said it all.

You’re an evil man, bishop, and if you stand before God someday, you’ll have to answer for your hatred of His children. So, too, shall the world (if humanity doesn’t destroy itself first) one day see societies that look back on these attitudes as we now look back on the evil of the Inquisition.

Doesn’t it strike any of these people that their intolerance is completely out of step with the teachings of Jesus? I’m certainly no expert on Jesus (being a fellow Jew, I wasn’t taught a lot about him in religious school), but my understanding of Jesus is that he was very tolerant, open and loving to all mankind. So how do today’s displays of intolerance fit with his example? It really makes no sense.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Something I would do

I just saw an article on CNN's site about a Canadian couple killed by the recent tsunami. In addition to their remains, their camera was found.

When the camera was checked, photos were found of the tidal flats being exposed (due to the water rushing out to sea before the tsunami arrived), the tsunami approaching in the distance and then the wave just before in hit the beach and killed them.

There probably was nothing these poor people could have done to get out of the way in time--that's not my point. I was just thinking that this would be like me. A killer wave would be rushing toward me, and all I would be thinking was, "these should be some great shots!" Well, I guess they would be, for all the good that would do! Now that I have a digital camera, I'd probably be reviewing them on the little screen on the back of the camera as the wave swept me away!

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

I never was a big fan of the Pope

Pope: Gay marriage is 'evil'

Evil, huh? This from an organization that has killed countless victims in the name of religion. But love is evil? Uh huh. How about we talk about the church's actions during the Holocaust?

Speaking of that, the article adds that "the Pope also calls abortion a 'legal extermination' comparable to attempts to wipe out Jews and other groups in the 20th century." Really? So a woman choosing to end something that isn't a viable human being but, rather, a potential human (as is any sperm or egg, by the way) that can't survive outside of her, is comparable to genocide? Regardless of one's political stand on abortion, any comparison to the Holocaust is simply offensive.

The article adds that the Vatican's top doctrinal official said that the Pope was "only warning that evil lurked everywhere, 'even in liberal political systems.'"

You shouldn't worry too much about "liberal political systems" until you clean out your own closets, guys. Maybe once you own up to the child molesting problem--instead of having the molesters hidden/moved and trying to cover your own asses--you can look to the rest of your operation. Why do you have fortunes in art and other treasures when people are starving in the world? My other half--you know, the guy with whom I am evil in your eyes--is a Christian, but his church congregation worships in a basic structure, sufficient for meeting to praise God. They use their money for charity, instead of building fancy structures.

The idea of the Vatican taking "moral" stands just doesn't sit well with me. People who live in glass churches...

Monday, February 21, 2005

A little trip remembrance

For lack of some other subject to enjoy this evening (I know you don't want another post about the new house!), I've decided to share another picture from last year's trip to the Pacific Northwest.

On our way from Seattle to Western Montana, we decided to leave the highway long enough to find breakfast. By pure chance, we found our way to this establishment...

This, as you can see, is Twede's Cafe. Not having been a fan of the show Twin Peaks, the place just looked like a neat little diner to me. Since I like such places, it pleased me to see it. Marc, on the other hand, immediately recognized the place. He watched the show, and it seems that this place was used extensively in it.

Once we were inside, we found that the proprietors were milking their 15 minutes of fame for all they were worth. Apparently, the star of the show was noted to remark that they made a "damn fine cup of coffee." Well, they must not have been serving him what we had that morning, although I suppose I've had worse coffee in my life.

It was a decent breakfast and a nice little town, so I liked the stop. It's certainly scenic. Although I can't see living somewhere other than New York, I can easily see the attraction to living somewhere like this. It's stunning... and anywhere with a cute little diner has something going for it. (Now they just have to outlaw smoking in such places--I still remember the smoke wafting over us from the not-separate smoking section as we ate.)

Oh, one other thing I thought was interesting. Around here, businesses sponsor things like local Little League baseball teams. So what does Twede's Cafe sponsor? A bus. Yes, a bus. For what? For the bus races, of course! What a silly question! :)

Sunday, February 20, 2005

They have their nerve!

At 8pm this evening, I was checking out the headlines on WCBS, our local news radio station. Their top story was about W's visit to Brussels (apparently, he was out of sprouts).

W drew protesters, and I suppose I might be one of them under other circumstances. Then I heard them chanting, "Yankee go home!"

Oh, I feel such mixed emotions. First of all, that's not a Yankee. I'm a Yankee. That's a Texan. That's beside the point, however.

What really came to mind when I heard them chanting, "Yankee go home" is that they'd be doing it in German, if not for this country.

You may not like him, but that's the President of the United States of America. You might remember that you owe your freedom to this country. So shut the fuck up!

Yes, yes, I know. They have a right to free speech (because of us) and W is a jerk, but that chanting at the President really irritated me. I wouldn't participate in any effort to actually shut them up, but they pissed me off.

I suppose that, deep down, I was raised to respect the office even if I don't respect the man. I'd always stand in the presence of the President, and it doesn't sit well with me to hear a bunch of Belgians protesting a visit by our President. Protest the Iraq war, protest anything else he has done (there's sure plenty I'd like to protest), but "Yankee go home"? No, I don't think so. A lot of American blood was shed on that soil to keep it free. So stand up straight and show some respect or I'm sending some boys over to start breaking knees.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

"Doctors study Viagra as stroke treatment"

In doing my morning check of online publications, I noticed this tidbit at Apparently, doctors at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit have begun a study examining Viagra's utility as a stroke treatment. Yes, it said a "stroke treatment." That joke's just too easy. ;)

On the other hand, if, God forbid, I ever had a stroke and Viagra was, by then, an accepted treatment, I could just imagine some interesting scenarios. Hopefully, it would be a minor stroke, and that would leave me more-or-less unimpaired and able to say to the cute male nurse or paramedic, "hey, cutie, it seems a shame to let this go to waste!"

Yeah, I know, I'd be a heck of a catch, lying on a stretcher, no doubt with an IV in my arm. Still, I can dream. Certainly, lots of those paramedics are dreamy, as are a few male nurses, too. ;) Besides, if they give me Viagra, they're asking for trouble. I'm excitable enough, all by myself! :)

Friday, February 18, 2005

Spelling, a dying art

I do a lot reading as part of my job. Actually, I do a lot of reading in my leisure time, too.

I continue to be amazed that so many people got out of college (not to mention high school, junior high school and elementary school) without being able to spell. Notice that I called it "elementary school" in my parenthetical phrase, as opposed to "grammar school". Grammar is yet another topic of concern, and that certainly is beyond the grasp of many. The same can be said of punctuation. The fact that I stopped for a moment when typing "grammar school" to decide if the period should go inside the closing quotation mark (it shouldn't, but that's too much to explain here) would baffle so many people.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled rant. I was reading an employee's file today. I needed to review the employee's work history. This particular employee was noted by her supervisor to be a "consciousness" employee. I might think this was to distinguish her from her prior behavior, but a perusal of her prior reviews showed no problem with sleeping on the job.

I suppose the supervisor might have meant "conscientious," but could the supervisor not be able to spell that word? I know the supervisor has a college degree. In fact, she may have her Master's Degree. So how is someone graduated from elementary school, junior high school, high school, college and, perhaps, graduate school without knowing how to SPELL?!

I can understand having trouble remembering if there is a "c" or a "t" or any other letter in a particular word. In fact, I can understand having spelling trouble with words. Sometimes I forget and have to check, but I sure know the difference between "consciousness" and "conscientious". If I'm having trouble remembering what letter goes where, I grab a dictionary. I don't substitute the wrong word!

When I think that this was once the most literate nation in the world, I want to cry. How far we have fallen!

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Remain calm! All is well!

There’s a scene in Animal House, at the end of the movie when a near-riot is breaking out in the streets of Faber. A very young Kevin Bacon is in uniform, trying to calm everyone down. He’s yelling, “Remain calm! All is well!” In the end, the crowd runs him down and literally flattens him.

That’s essentially the response I got from our plumber this morning. As anyone who knows us or reads either of our blogs is well aware (to the point of nausea by now, I suspect), we’re doing major work on what will soon be our new home. In choosing a plumbing contractor, we went with one that had done a limited amount of work at our current house. They did a good job with that, and their reputation was that they’re one of the best around. Not cheap, but their work is excellent.

Well, we have had so many problems that my message to the boss there this morning amounted to a mildly veiled threat. We’ve had heat on in a room where it shouldn’t be (thermostat set to 64, temperature in the room at 72 and the heat pouring out of the baseboards), one room hooked to the wrong zone, insufficient heat coming out in another room, and now the icing on the cake—we tried out the new faucet in the kitchen sink. When turned to cold, it came out hot, but then cold, but then hot again. Okay, I figured that might be a faulty fixture and not the plumber’s fault, but then Marc tried the filtered water dispenser and got hot water from the cold side.

For the work being done in this house—and I’ll admit it’s a large amount of work—we’re paying a huge sum to the plumbing company. In fact, it’s literally enough to buy a pretty nice car. So is it so much to ask that they get things like this right? For that matter, could they perhaps check their own work before leaving?

Their next appearance is scheduled for Saturday. They’re coming out to do more work on the upstairs bathroom (put in bath and shower fixtures, install the toilet, etc.). Pete, the aforementioned plumbing boss, told me not to worry. They’ll get everything right. Even so, do we need more stress? I think not!

This is just another reason why I can’t wait until this whole job is over and done with!

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Look what I got

This is a couple of days late, but it's still worth sharing. Look what Marc got me for Valentine's Day!

In fact, he's such a sweetie that he got me not just this one but a total of twelve of these things! Isn't that amazing?

I haven't decided what to call them yet, but I don't think it matters. No matter what I call these things, they sure smell sweet! :)

Sex and religion-fueled death in the United States

I try not to blog too much about political matters, but sometimes I can't help it. Events around me compel me to speak.

Today, I was reminded by this column in The New York Times that W and his religious zealot supporters continue to use their view of morality as the measuring stick for government programs. In doing this, they're throwing away the lives of Americans. This particular column discusses the heavy funding for "abstinence only" sex education programs. This is as opposed to the more logical, more sensible "abstinence plus" programs that advocate abstinence but also teach young people to practice safe sex if they're going to have sex.

These "abstinence only" programs are nothing new. They're fueled by the Reagan-inspired neo-conservative religious fundamentalists who turn a blind eye to reality, because it doesn't fit their view of the world. So intelligent, logical approaches to important issues are cast aside, in favor of what the right wing thinks God would want them to do. Let's not bother with separation of church and state (or the fact that God can make anything he wants happen—he doesn't need these yo-yos).

Now, since this approach has been used for years, we must have made big inroads with America’s young people. So where do we stand?

Quoting from the column, "while teenagers in the U.S. have about as much sexual activity as teenagers in Canada or Europe, American girls are four times as likely as German girls to become pregnant, almost five times as likely as French girls to have a baby, and more than seven times as likely as Dutch girls to have an abortion. Young Americans are five times as likely to have HIV as young Germans, and teenagers' gonorrhea rate is 70 times higher in the U.S. than in the Netherlands or France."

Yes, this is what our puritanical approach to sex has gotten us. When will people wake up? Nothing they say can stop teens (and adults!) from thinking about and wanting sex. Nothing! How about an approach that puts aside the gasps of horror over teens having sex and gives them the wherewithal to do so safely, if they decide that abstinence isn't for them? People are dying! Wake up, America!

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Blogger sucks. How about that for a post?

I know Blogger is a free service, so I really shouldn't be complaining... but that won't stop me, because they're wasting a lot of my time!

Blogger regularly gives me problems--locking up and ditching a post I wrote, doing multiple postings after acting like it never took any of them, etc.

Today, as you can see, unless it finally let me in to correct it by the time you read this, it posted what I wrote three times. Yesterday, it posted the header three times, eventually allowing me to delete one of the extras but not the other.

Yes, Blogger is free, but it's also buggy and very aggravating. Come on, Blogger people, get your act together!


Update: Blogger finally let me in to correct the multiple posts, but it remains a buggy, aggravating affair. Someone needs to clean things up at Blogger!

We need a new approach

Today’s New York Times has a front page article on steps being considered to try to limit the spread of HIV, particularly in light of the new, more virulent strain that has emerged.

As with the original efforts to fight the spread, steps are being discussed that some may find intrusive. While no one is discussing mass segregation of HIV-positive men, as some feared in the hysteria of the early days of the AIDS epidemic, 20+ years ago, other steps are being discussed that some will, no doubt, find offensive.

These ideas include deliberately interfering with parties that are advertised online as offering crystal methamphetamine and sex, notifying sex partners of men recently infected with HIV, etc. While some will cite personal freedoms, others will point to the right of others to be protected from people engaging in unsafe behavior.

When I was dating, I made sure to take measures to protect my health (and the health of whoever I was dating, of course). I grew up when HIV was just coming on the scene, and I was either too sensible or just too scared to not be safe. I know very well the pleasures of not being safe (one of the joys of being “married”), but that cannot be an indulgence of someone on the dating scene. I’ve had some amazing sex through the years (and continue to, thanks to you-know-who), but the best sex ever isn’t worth a slow, horrible death.

So I don’t really have the answers to the whole problem. I wish I did. All I can say is that we need to examine our approach to HIV, because the steps we’ve taken so far aren’t working. The rate of infection hasn’t dropped. All that has changed are the treatments available. So if a new, drug-resistant strain starts spreading, we’re going to be burying more of our friends and loved ones again. Nothing is worth that!

Monday, February 14, 2005

People have always been this way

With life’s various challenges and desires, joys and tragedies, there sometimes comes a feeling of discovery. It’s as if things are somehow different from us than they had been for the people who came before and not always in a good way.

Throughout my life, I’ve had times when I felt the sting of tragedy. I’ve also had many occasions when I felt like I’d somehow missed out on the social graces that seem to come naturally to so many others. I’ve had friends around me my whole life, but some part of me wonders if I’m really doomed to be socially challenged.

Then there are times like this, when I get a glimpse into the lives of others that provides more evidence of what I already knew, even if I can’t always accept it on an emotional level—insecurities are part of being human, just like enduring the pain of loss and questioning the world’s cruelty is part of life. This latest glimpse into the lives of others comes from one of the books I’m currently reading. It’s called Grant and Twain.

Grant and Twain is about the friendship that developed between one of the country’s greatest generals (who later served two terms as President) and one of its most renowned authors. In reading this, I came across the mention of the death of Twain’s young son from diphtheria. Following this death, Twain’s wife, Livy (short for Olivia), was, of course, crushed. She came from a very religious background, but, following this tragedy, she said, “I feel so often as if my path is to be lined with graves,” and added that she felt “almost perfectly cold toward God.” This followed Twain’s own somewhat dark view of life—these feelings actually brought her closer to her husband.

I also found it interesting that Grant, who was fearless in battle—he was known to stand his ground, completely in control, as his staff scattered in the middle of an artillery barrage—was shy and reserved. As a young man, he bore bullying in silence, and the clear picture of Grant as a young man was that of a reserved, quiet, rather insecure person. In the last years of his life, he was swindled by a business partner, showing a vulnerability and gullibility that might seem surprising. After all, this was a fearless general, one of the heroes of this nation’s bloodiest war—a man who, when one of his officers warned him of the prowess of the renowned Robert E. Lee and how the officer felt they were vulnerable, said, “Oh, I am heartily tired of hearing about what Lee is going to do. Some of you always seem to think he is suddenly going to turn a double somersault and land in our rear and on both our flanks at the same time. Go back to your command and try to think what we are going to do ourselves, instead of what Lee is going to do.”

There are more stories like this, with leading figures from both sides of the war, men known to be fearless and brilliant themselves, tipping their hats to the toughness and brilliance of this man. And yet Grant showed the same insecurities and weaknesses that we all have. As I learn more about these great Americans, I am learning more about myself. After all, if they had their issues and insecurities, who are any of us to worry about our own weaknesses? The goal should be to make the most of what we’ve been given and not worry so much about what might be missing. In the end, I suppose we’re doing better than we might think.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Such a nice evening

We just got home from an evening in Manhattan. After a long day of running errands, doing house stuff, etc., it was nice to get out.

We had dinner with Byrne, Jeff and Michael at Veselka on 2nd Avenue. Well, actually, our first stop in Manhattan was at a lighting store on Bowery, to finish our day of renovation-related errands. Then we had dinner.

Although Veselka is best known for its desserts, etc., it also serves some fine dinner food. It was very nice, and, more importantly, the company was wonderful.

After a nice, relaxing dinner, we went to a bar called XES, on 24th Street. There, we ran in Martin, one of the boys from the rugby team. It was nice seeing him--and not just because he's so easy on the eyes! (Really, when he gave me a kiss goodbye and the whiskers on his cheek rubbed against my face, I almost had to jump that cute boy!)

So we had drinks, relaxed and waited for Patrick to arrive, which he did, with Greg, about 45 minutes into our drinking. We also were joined by the author of boifromtroy.

Oh yes, Patrick and Greg also brought a couple of friends with them. Despite being straight, they seemed very nice. Even though I really don't approve of the straight lifestyle, I respect their right to do whatever they like. They're consenting adults, and I really try not to be heterophobic.

So I'd say that this evening was the high point of the weekend. Tomorrow, it's back to chores! *sigh*

Friday, February 11, 2005

No, I haven’t, and it seems rude to ask

Today’s poll on the CNN website asks, "Have you ever dated a coworker?" Well, no, I haven’t.

For that matter, I don't think I've even met anyone who has orked a cow. I feel so ignorant, but I have to admit that I don't know what orking is.

If cows like to be orked, then so be it. People should be free to go ahead and do as they please—the main thing is that the cow isn't harmed. For all I know, cows like to be orked.

To stick to their question, no, to the best of my knowledge, no one I have dated has orked a cow. Maybe MAK knows something about these things, given his fondness for cows. Even so, I’m not going to just go ahead and ask him about his affinity, or lack thereof, for orking them, and I can't believe CNN would publicly ask such a rude question!

Apparently, the deterioration of manners and civility in this society continues unchecked!

Thursday, February 10, 2005

I don't want to live that long

Today, the Assistant Director of Nursing in one of our divisions asked for my help. She had an RN who had been out sick, who was supposed to come back on a given day and was MIA for a few extra days. This particular RN sometimes could be a little tricky to deal with, so she asked me to come to the meeting.

When we met with him, the RN explained that, yes, he had been sick. He even had a doctor's note. That, however, is not what kept him from coming back.

His partner, who he (and his supervisors, based on prior conversations) knew was sick, had needed surgery. He has cancer and barely made it through surgery this week.

As he spoke, he was telling me how long he had been with his partner (31 years) and how much he loved him. Apparently, he was worried that we wouldn't respect a gay relationship. Yes, it's a sad, cruel world, and his concern was understandable. Of course, I immediately put that to rest, telling him that we'd do whatever was needed to let him be there for his partner.

As we continued to talk, he made clear that this surgery was just a delaying action. He's coming to grips with the fact that the cancer is going to kill the man he loves.

As he spoke, I felt the pain of my own past losses and also thought how I'd feel if it were me sitting there and Marc were so sick. The thought of that, together with my sympathy for the pain etched on this poor man's face, nearly had me break down and cry.

When it comes to some things, I'm selfish. I don't want to live to see Marc sick. As some have heard me say, my preferred life path has the two of us living to happy old age (maybe 140 years old or so, but amazingly robust!). Then, while on some fabulous trip, our plane flies right into the side of a mountain. One moment we're smiling at each other, having just said "I love you" to each other for the billionth time; then, in a flash too sudden for our minds to even register, it's over.

Yeah, I know, dream on. Even so, I just can't stand the thought of him being sick. Life truly can be cruel.

If I can leave you with but one message this evening, dear reader, let it be this: cherish every moment and cherish the ones you love. The sad truth is that we're completely impotent when it comes to life's events, so enjoy the good things in life when you can!


In reading this morning’s New York Times, I’ve found myself frightened (yet again), this time by details of Condoleezza Rice’s trip to France. Not only has she made factual misstatements displaying her ignorance, but she told one gathering that she thought “the free world was wrong to accept the Soviet Union on its terms during the cold war and must not make the same mistake now with Iran.” (By the way, that’s a quote from the article, explaining what she said, not a direct quote of her—I don’t want to be seen as misrepresenting things; that’s the Bush administration’s job.)

So our new Secretary of State is saying what about foreign policy? Given her example, we were supposed to have done what to the Soviet Union? We managed to get through a long nuclear stalemate without a cataclysmic war. This is what she thinks is wrong? This woman is scary! God help us all.

The most influential blog in North Korea

Sorry about that, folks. Apparently, the North Koreans saw yesterday's entry and decided to react. This morning, I saw on, North Korea claims nuclear weapons; Pyongyang pulls out of six-nation talks. Who knew I had such influence?

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Dictatorial maniacs with nukes? So why worry?

This column by Nicholas Kristof is a scathing, frightening reminder of one of the biggest blunders of the Bush administration. North Korea has developed nuclear weapons, and we've botched the effort to stop them. Also, there's evidence that they've been selling nuclear material.

The most troubling part of this column is the author's belief that the Bush administration is unwilling to take the steps necessary to get North Korea to disarm. It can be done, with the right type of influence (imagine if you were North Korea and shared a border with the biggest country in the world) and some incentives (yes, buy them off!).

Mr. Kristof is right--this problem can be solved. The question is whether this administration, one which has set a new standard for stubbornness, bullheadedness and arrogance, can find the humility and good sense to change course and fix this mess. I have serious doubts, and I sincerely hope the President proves my doubts to be unfounded.

Monday, February 07, 2005

So what’s a “plaza dog”?

(Yes, it’s another dog-related post. Deal with it!) :P

A while back, I mentioned some of the nicknames we’ve given to our dogs. Recently, Dodger has acquired yet another nickname, so I thought I’d take a moment to explain this (silly) process.

First, some background. Many moons ago, Dodger acquired the nickname “Dodger Lee”. The “Lee” comes from his being sneaky and treacherous (in a cute, cuddly kind of way) in his dealings with his siblings and, on occasion, us. So it’s Lee, as in Lee Harvey—yes, he’s our little assassin.

“Dodger Lee” is, of course, short for “Dodger Lee Dog” which then morphed into a business name for him, D. Lee Dog. “D. Lee” wound up being pronounced “dealie” which led Marc to make the observation that he was the “dog with a dealie”—since our other dogs are girls, so he has the distinction of having a… well, you know.

He then became “Dealie Dog”. Recently, I observed that there’s a plaza in Dallas named for him (yes, I know it’s spelled “Dealey” but that’s just their error).

So, from Dealie Dog, we briefly had Dealey Plaza Dog. Now, it’s just “Plaza Dog”. A few years ago, he would have ignored all but his given name, Dodger. Nowadays, he just rolls with it. I guess he figures it’s okay to answer to “Plaza Dog”, just so long as I’m handing out treats or giving ear scratches. :)

Sunday, February 06, 2005


Actually, labeling yet another lying, sneaky politician a whore is an insult to hard-working whores everywhere. I just can't think of the right words to express my disgust at Democrats (particularly from the Northeast) selling out to the religious wrong.

What has me going this time is this article. The beginning of the article says enough: "The religious right in the United States is getting proof of their political influence from a surprising source, Hillary Clinton.
Long associated with liberal causes like abortion and gay rights, the Democratic New York senator has been talking lately about God, faith and bridging the gap with conservatives."

It's nauseating.

Friday, February 04, 2005

No, being nominated is not good enough!

Yes, yes, it's supposed to be an honor just to be nominated. No, I'm not up for an award. Actually, I'm in the running for a new job. I had my first interview a few weeks ago for a job that I think I'd enjoy. It isn't much more money than I make now, but I've never really angled for big dollars. Instead, I've tried to find things to do that I would find interesting and honorable (in the sense of doing some good with my career).

This started with a call from a headhunter (the job placement type, not a cannibal--well, not as far as I know) in December. After the first interview was set up, I got a call from another headhunter who, apparently, was trying to fill the same spot.

I was told at the first interview (which was with the outgoing CEO and the acting CEO) that they would call back some candidates for a second interview and that the second interview would be a day-long multi-part process. The good news is, I was called back. Yesterday was round two. It was comprised of four meetings, two with groups of people and two with individuals. I think it went well, but it was a draining process.

I don't know if they'll offer me the position. I've been told that there are two other finalists. Even so, there's one thing about which I should be happy. I already knew they had used at least two headhunters. What I only just found out is that they also put an ad in the New York Times. Not just a regular classified ad--they bought themselves a "window" ad.

Being in HR, I know what an ad in the Times can bring: a flood of resumes. So there is something to be said for making it to the finals in this little competition. Even so, only winning really matters. So it's nice that they liked me enough to move me to this second round of interviews, but I'll really only be happy if I'm offered the job.

The passing of a legend

This morning's news brings word of the loss of one of the greats. Yes, Dean Wormer of Faber College (Knowledge is Good) has died.


If anyone is wondering what I'm talking about, Faber College was the fictional school in the movie Animal House. The college's motto (seen at the beginning of the film) was "Knowledge is Good". :) John Vernon, the actor who played Dean Wormer, has gone to that great soundstage in the sky.


Update: No disrespect to John Vernon, but after the above post, word came of the passing of a real great. Ossie Davis died at the age of 87. Mr. Davis had a long, successful career, but many people can say that. What made him different was that he used his art to fight for things that were important.

He was a very visible figure in the civil rights movement and stood up for important causes all of his life. I can't claim to be an expert on Ossie Davis, but what I know is enough to say that he was deserving of our respect. So I mourn his passing and hope that his family can find comfort in the memories of a life well lived.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

115 pages and not a single page more!

Every so often, I'll get a copy of a book that I missed in school (you know, one of the ones most people read at some point in high school or college but I somehow missed) and add it to my stack of books. I like to fill in these gaps in my reading, in case I missed something good.

One I read not too long ago was Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. It's a challenging read, but I think it was worth the time.

On the other hand, I recently got myself a copy of Jack Kerouac's On the Road. I've tried very hard to read it, but it's beyond tedious. When I find a book difficult, I'll read a chapter or two and then read some of another book. In the case of this waste of paper, I would go for a few chapters and then read another book in its entirety.

The breaks didn't work. Apparently, it had nothing to do with my mood or whatever other book I had just finished (thinking maybe I had to be in the right frame of mind for Kerouac).

Nope. There's no question now. After a mere 115 pages--the reading of which has taken weeks, because I couldn't take more than a little of this book at a time--I'm done with it. It's a piece of crap. Whatever drug-addled, deluded morons decided this "beat generation" manure was worth reading should be beaten to death with copies of this damn book. They can start with my copy, 'cause I'm sure done with it!

Orlando Bloom is now single?

Well, all I have to say about that is, I know the perfect new partner for Mr. Bloom.

Okay, Jase, go get him!

(And wouldn’t they make a HOT couple?! You know it! In fact, if it works out, I want pictures—and, Jase, you know which kind I mean!) ;)

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Oh my God Darwin!

According to this article, there are large parts of this country where Evolution isn't being taught.

So why am I surprised when people can't read, write and perform basic mathematical calculations? If this "see spot run" level of science isn’t being taught, because school administrators and teachers are too frightened by local religious zealots, then I shouldn't expect anything else from our schools, I suppose.

I know there are good, conscientious teachers out there (like my younger brother), but those others who are complicit in this travesty should be ashamed of themselves.