Friday, September 30, 2005

Heard on WNYC: "Marry Your Baby-Daddy Day"

Seriously. I didn't note exactly where this was being held--it was somewhere in New York City--but someone had organized "Marry Your Baby-Daddy Day" for members of the black community who had made a baby or babies but weren't married. I suppose it's better than their not being married, but I also feel like it's a little late now. It certainly isn't going to increase their commitment, based on current divorce rates, but I suppose it's a nice enough idea.

Interestingly enough (although I suppose it's a coincidence), this WNYC story was soon followed by former US Education Secretary William Bennett's fascinating take on crime prevention. The dumbass actually said, "If you wanted to reduce crime, you could -- if that were your sole purpose -- you could abort every black baby in this country and your crime rate would go down . . . That would be an impossibly ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down." When given an opportunity to back away from the statement, he apparently declined to do so. Amazing that someone who served under two Presidents (Reagan and Bush the First) has so little political sense. Even if he's a bigot, he should have the sense to keep it to himself. Hell, even if you can say the black community commits more crime per capita, it's still a stupid thing to say! As if all of those babies are destined to be criminals! What a moron! On the other hand, he's apparently a Fox News contributor, too, and this does fit with their level of work.

On a lighter note, there was an article on the late Truman Capote in today's New York Times. The article included the source of the name of Capote's story (later a movie), Breakfast at Tiffany's: the title "came from a story Capote heard about a one-night stand between a middle-aged man and an unsophisticated marine. The couple woke up Sunday morning, when the stores were closed, and the older man, in frustrated gratitude, could offer the marine only breakfast. 'Pick the fanciest, most expensive place in town,' the older man said. The marine picked the only expensive place he knew. 'Let's,' he said, 'have breakfast at Tiffany's.'"

One other interesting thing today. During my commute, I've been listening to the audiobook of Charles Kuralt's America. Mr. Kuralt wrote this book in the last couple of years of his life. I felt sad in thinking that he was only 62 years old when he died, but I was comforted by the thought of what a full life he had. How many of us will live lives like his? Anyhow, the interesting thing...

The book took Mr. Kuralt to his twelve favorite places, from the East Coast to Alaska, and from New England to the Deep South. He started in New Orleans, and that was hard to listen to. Today, I reached the end of the book. He finished in New York City. Not just in the city. His last chapter included a favorite restaurant that is on the same street as my office. It made me feel more of a connection to this special American.

So that brings the work week to an end. Tomorrow: the Gotham Knights play the NYPD rugby team. We're going, and this should be interesting! :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

A day of beauty

A day of beauty. No, that's not one of those all-day spa treatment things. Today, I saw and heard beautiful things (and, for once, this isn't a reference to hot boys, either).

It's hard to describe beauty, but I have to try.

This morning, as I was standing on the subway platform in Penn Station, I heard a violin. One certainly encounters musicians in the NYC subway system, some good and some bad, but this was something else entirely. This was amazing. When I first heard it, the words that went through my head were, "oh my God, that's gorgeous." I couldn't see the source of the music from where I was standing, but I immediately decided that it must be some kind of recording. It was too beautiful to be coming from a subway performer.

I had come up a particular stairway to stand at a particular point on the platform, so I'd be near the exit I needed that morning at the 14th Street station (I had to pick up a shirt at the dry cleaner near work, and that's near the center exit). Even so, this beautiful sound was far more important to me than being conveniently located at the next stop. So I wandered south on the platform until I found the source. It was a real violinist! There he stood, hypnotizing me with the gorgeous notes he was making.

As I and several other commuters watched and listened, he mentioned that he'd performed music for movies (in response to someone's question, I believe--I think they may have seen him in the movie, actually serenading one of the characters). He was a true artist, and he brightened my whole morning. I happily peeled off a couple of bills from the money in my pocket and left them in his open violin case, asking him to please come back soon. I think I saw a couple of CDs near his case, and next time I'll see about buying one.

This afternoon, I had to go to our corporate offices for a meeting. Walking Manhattan's streets, I was reveling in the beauty of this lovely day. A gorgeous blue sky was beautifully set off by a scattering of puffy white clouds. Looking up at the Empire State Building, I wished I'd had my camera with me. I'd never seen it look more majestic, framed by a perfect early autumn sky. What a glorious day!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Rugby photos

Because I've been too tired to really write anything the past couple of evenings, I'll just share some of the rugby photos from Saturday (you can click on each one to see a larger version)...

Okay, those are the highlights. If you want to see the full set, go here. It's not as big a set as usual (for a few reasons beyond my control, upon which I shall not expound here), but it was a pain to get (given the length of the trip), so I hope you like them!

Politics test

With thanks to The Tin Man for pointing this one out, here are my Politics Test results...

You are a

Social Liberal
(60% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(30% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on OkCupid Free Online Dating
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Saturday stuff

Today, the Gotham Knights played a rugby match in Wallkill. Marc had to go into the office, so he couldn't go to the match. However, Matt was able to go along, and we had a nice time.

Wallkill is a looooooong drive from here, at least for purposes of watching a rugby match. The match was to be played at the Wallkill Airport. After the navigation system couldn't even find the address (I looked up an address online, but the nav system said the street numbers didn't go that high--turns out they did), I thought this might be a small airport that had been closed in the past few years.

Turns out it's a small airport that's still used as an airport...

The massive main terminal building

They just happen to have a small athletic field next to the airfield, and that's where the rugby match was played. I'll post rugby pictures soon enough. For now, a shot of the one flight that departed while we were there. I believe this is a British Airways 747...

Okay, maybe not. :)

It was a fun day, despite a very long drive (traffic was hideous on the way up). Matt is good company, and it was fun to spend time with him. One humorous note was when he decided that he wasn't interested in playing rugby (he'd been considering it). Coming from a veteran hockey player, this was saying something!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

A warning for dog owners

Today's New York Times reports on a new dog flu that has proven deadly for some dogs. There's no vaccine for this disease.

According to the article, the extent of the risk/spread may have been exaggerated so far, but it's definitely out there, contagious and very dangerous. So read the article.

If you have a dog or dogs, watch for illness and get treatment for anything that may be related to this flu. This sounds serious to me!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

When you piss Him off...

Maybe it's just me, but is God gunning for some of the people who used to live in New Orleans? If I were a New Orleans evacuee now sheltered in Houston, I'd have to wonder!

Imagine how some of them must feel. First, Katrina slams New Orleans (and other nearby areas), and now a Category 5 storm is making a beeline for Houston (and/or Galveston, but that's close enough for jazz).

We have friends in Houston (who have a beach house in Galveston), so I'm certainly concerned. Still, I have to marvel at how this hurricane season is going.

Well, at least our environmental laws are being gutted, so we can count on more global warming that can help fuel more exciting hurricane seasons. At this rate, I'm worried that it won't be long before one powers up the east coast and tears our roof off (or worse).

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Movie recommendation

This weekend, we watched Radio. It had been on my Netflix list for a while, but I wasn't really in a rush to see it. It seemed like it might be a nice movie--and Netflix' prediction was that we'd like it (based on our prior movie ratings)--but I wasn't dying to see it.

So we watched it. It stars Ed Harris and Cuba Gooding, Jr. Cuba Gooding plays "Radio", a mentally challenged man who is nicknamed Radio due to his fascination with radios.

I won't go into detail here, because I can't think of a way to do that without ruining the film for you. I will say that it was very well acted, and I found it to be quite touching.

One very emotional scene brought me immediately to tears. Part of that was because I could very easily relate to what Radio was going through at that moment, having recently gone through the same thing myself.

Aside from that scene, the film is filled with touching scenes. Both Marc and I thought it was a wonderful film, and we highly recommend it!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

"I need a fork"

I've mentioned my nephew, Owen, on prior occasions. He's now two-and-a-half years old, and he's precocious to say the least.

A while back, he started speaking in full sentences, and he's never been shy about speaking his mind. That goes for his actions, too. Even compared to kids much older than he, his manners are excellent. There are occasions, however, when he simply focuses on his needs as he sees them.

Today, we had a family event. My cousin's baby daughter was being christened. At this moment, I am sorely tempted to say something about the strange rituals of the Catholic Church, but I think I'll let that go for another day. After all, the real fun was at the party afterward.

After a couple of hours, we'd all had a nice meal and were looking forward to dessert. I'd spent a fair amount of time playing with Owen and chasing him around. The high point of that was when I put him on my shoulder and twirled him, then set him down and watched him stagger like a drunk (yes, I'm that kind of uncle--nephew torture is a free service, but he loves it).

As the time for dessert approached, various sweet things were being set up by the catering staff. In the midst of this, Owen came over to the table and said to his father (my kid brother), "I need a fork!" Without waiting for an answer, Owen spotted a fork on the table, grabbed it and turned away.

As Owen headed away from the table, a few people saw where he was headed and started yelling to my cousin's wife, who was near Owen's path, "Kristin, stop him!" She didn't realize what was happening fast enough to do anything to stop the charging child.

After a moment, I also realized what was going on, just in time to see him plunge the fork into the sheet cake that had just been brought out. Owen then withdrew the fork and shoved it into his mouth, as several of us tried to suppress our laughter--we didn't want him to think we approved (but it was very funny)!

That made the whole day worth it! :)

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The threat to marriage

Gay couples are a threat to marriage? Well, no one has ever given me any logical explanation for how our getting married in any way impacts anyone else's marriage.

Of course, we gays can't sustain a monogamous, committed relationship. I mean, I can't even think of any such couples. Well, none except...

Marc & me... 10+ years
Our friends Tom & Steve... 28 years
Our friends Brad & Bob... 26 years
Patrick & Greg... how long, guys? 7 years now?
Matt & John... 7 years
Correction: Matt & John are close to 9 years
Bruce & John... 7 years

These are just a sampling of couples we know... the ones I could come up with off the top of my head. We know plenty of other committed, loving (not to mention tax-paying, just like straight people, law-abiding) couples.

So what's today's latest example of the sanctity of heterosexual marriage. Well, certainly the fact that the majority of straight marriages don't last should be enough, but just to put the icing on the cake...

Renee Zellweger and Country Music Star Kenny Chesney Have Four-Month Marriage Annulled

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

A glimmer of hope

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that would add "actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and disability to federal hate crime laws."

Of course, it still has to be passed by the Senate and signed by the President, but this is a hopeful step. Deep down, I do believe that the passage of time will see more positive changes, but there will be steps forward and back before we get to a fairer society. So today sees a step forward. May there be many more (and soon)!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Responsibility goes hand-in-hand with consequences

That stupid bastard currently holding the title of President of the United States clogged the airwaves today with his blather about taking responsibility for the mess in New Orleans (well, he did qualify it, so he limited it to whatever the federal government may have done wrong--just so he can later point his finger at the state and local officials).

Fine, dumbass. You take responsibility? When you take responsibility for a mistake, there are supposed to be consequences. You're too stupid and/or ignorant to realize that. You just like to say the big words.

You've never taken responsibility for your actions. You were abusing illegal substances and shirking your very limited responsibilites while John Kerry was fighting for the country over in Vietnam. You were silent or, more likely, arranging things as he was being slandered by your minions. No? Not your doing? When you set them loose, you're responsible!!!

I am so sick of you, you useless pile of dogshit. Yes, you sufficiently duped the American people to actually win this last election, but now they're catching on.

Keep up the bad work, Mr. Bush. Your place in history as a blot on the Presidency is virtually assured. Oh, and good job putting your mom out there. She really showed the true Bush family colors. The members of your family don't know a thing about poor people, do they? That's pathetic. I'm not poor, but I can see the real world, and I possess a decent level of empathy. Too bad you apparently can't say the same.

Just to be clear, all of the dim-witted statements you make about taking responsibility won't erase the memory of you finally showing up in New Orleans and joking around at the podium, smiling and smirking as American citizens were dying nearby. You're a pathetic embarrassment, Mr. Bush, and I can't wait until you're gone. I just fear the damage you'll do in the next few years.

Sunday, September 11, 2005


Behold the Flying Spaghetti Monster!

I first read about this in the Times on August 29th. I sent Marc an e-mail about it and meant to post something on here back then, but I got distracted by posting photos of the rugby boys.

As you may have read, the fine minds behind the Kansas educational system continue to debate the teaching of evolution. (It always amazes me that someone as smart as my Marc came from Kansas, because there seems to be a dearth of intelligence in that state!) Apparently, many would prefer "intelligent design" or at least want to see both taught. The fact that there is no scientific basis for "intelligent design" is irrelevant to them. (Would someone please tell me why people who supposedly have God on their side are so insecure in their position that they must have it shoved in everyone's face in every possible venue?)

In response to the intelligent design movement, we have Bobby Henderson. As explained in the Times article, Mr. Henderson said he had a divine vision. An intelligent god, a Flying Spaghetti Monster, he said, "revealed himself to me in a dream."

In perfect deadpan he wrote that although he agreed that science students should "hear multiple viewpoints" of how the universe came to be, he was worried that they would be hearing only one theory of intelligent design. After all, he noted, there are many such theories, including his own fervent belief that "the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster." He demanded equal time in the classroom and threatened a lawsuit.

Two dozen academics have endorsed the pasta god. Three members of the Kansas board who already opposed teaching intelligent design wrote kind letters to Mr. Henderson. Dozens of people have posted their sightings of the deity (along with some hilarious pictures). One woman even wrote in to say that she had "conceived the spirit of our Divine Lord," the Flying Spaghetti Monster, while eating alone at the Olive Garden.

I see that the story has been picked up across the pond by the Telegraph.

For those with an interest in getting more deeply involved in Flying Spaghetti Monsterism, you may explore this doctrine at Mr. Henderson's website. May God or the Flying Spaghetti Monster (whichever you prefer) bless your efforts.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Tom DeLay is an asshole

I already knew that DeLay was an asshole, a bigot and an all-around evil man, but you'd think a politician would be smart enough to not say things this amazingly stupid--speaking to some kids evacuated due to the disaster on the Gulf Coast, he said, "Now tell me the truth boys, is this kind of fun?"

Yeah, I know, because they were sleeping on cots like they were at camp. Pleez! What an asshole!

Friday, September 09, 2005

Leave without my dogs? Never!

Today's New York Times has a photo of a woman crying because she's being evacuated from New Orleans and separated from her dog (the dog is with her in the photo). I just can't imagine that. How horrible!

I'm not at all prone to violence. As someone who once carried a gun as part of his job, I'm happy to say I was also someone who fervently hoped he'd never have to use it (and I never did outside of a practice range). I haven't gotten in a fistfight since grade school. Violence just isn't my thing.

Even so, one thing that might bring out physical violence in me (aside from a threat to Marc or any of the rest of my human family) is saying I have to leave my home and abandon my dogs. What a thought!

I know there are problems evacuating people. I know the scale of human tragedy is staggering in the wake of the hurricane. Even so, how can the authorities be so cruel to people? How is this possible in a civilized society?

I don't limit this to dog owners. Cats and other pets count, too. How can it be acceptable to tell people who are already victims of a terrible tragedy that they must abandon living things?--living things they love! Horrible. Truly horrible.


I don't know how many people will be reunited with their beloved animals, but one way to help the animals directly is to give to the Humane Society of the United States. I've given more to the organizations helping humans, but I set aside and sent in funds for the animals, too. If you're interested, you can help by going here and clicking on the "Donate" link. Don't waste time. They need our help now!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Kerry obviously isn't the answer

Back in May, I got a call from a fundraiser for John Kerry. I told the fundraiser to buzz off. I had better things to do with my money--it's not like the Presidential race was still going on!

Today, I read some interesting information. It seems that every President since Carter would beat Bush in a head-to-head matchup. The one person who couldn't beat Bush in this poll: John Kerry.

After all that Bush has done (and not done) to screw up this country, including this latest debacle involving the hurricane (the poll was just taken in the last few days), Kerry still couldn't beat him. So the message is clear. The problem in the last election wasn't that people liked Bush; it was that they didn't like Kerry. (Well, a clear message and suggestion of leadership might have helped, too.) I just hope the Democratic Party leadership (and membership) is paying attention, because John Kerry seems to think he's still a viable candidate!

There's a special place in hell...

I don't actually believe in hell, but if I did I'd have to think people like Texas Governor Rick Perry would get a front row seat for doing things like this. He's driving hurricane relief fundraising towards his own foundation. It seemed bad enough to me that he was using a state website to direct people to the Salvation Army, since that's a religious organization.

For him to use this tragedy to push his own group--and therefore make himself look good down the road through all of the good his organization will have done--is repugnant.

Well, Rick, if I'm wrong and there is a hell, at least you'll have racist bigot William Rehnquist to keep you company. He'd have just arrived, and I'm sure he'll be glad to save a fellow Republican a seat.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

More on the hurricane (and the moron & the hurricane)

Chris has pointed out another good way to help people in need as a result of Hurricane Katrina's destruction (and our government's incompetent response to it). He has provided information on the needs of the deaf community in the affected area, sharing a message from Bill Prickett, the Superintendent of the Louisiana School for the Deaf.

After reading Mr. Prickett's request for assistance, I plan to send a check (and mark it "For hurricane relief"--an important step, so they're not constrained in how they spend the funds) to the Louisiana School for the Deaf at:

Bill Prickett, Superintendent
Louisiana School for the Deaf
P.O. Box 3074
Baton Rouge, LA 70821

On another note (this about the moron I parenthetically mentioned in the title of this post), I was just watching The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, as he reviewed video of President Bush failing to respond to the hurricane. Not only was it as pathetic as I'd remembered, but when I once again saw him laughing (LAUGHING!) as he made jokes at the podium when he finally set foot in Louisiana days after the hurricane, I could hear the blood pounding in my ears.

This is beyond politics. This moron thinks this is funny! And he compliments the head of FEMA for the job he's doing? Is he fucking kidding? He should be ashamed of his failure and his administration's failure. Spin this however you want, asshole, you are a pathetic failure. Was 9/11 really not enough of a disaster drill for you?

A card from Jase

I'm home today. Sick, sick, sick. It's not contagious or so I'm told. That's good, because I'd hate for Marc to get this.

On a happy note, today's mail contained a few good things (like the fully filed/recorded copy of our deed to this house--it takes months from closing to get that in your hands) and a postcard from Jase.

Jase says he's having a great time. He had no idea he could make so much money from selling his body to other tourists. Even tourists from other countries apparently are happy to pay for his services. As Jase says in his card, "sex is a universal language, so it doesn't matter where the client is from." Jase thinks he can at least double what the trip cost him, but he's getting very sore from all of the "work". Such an industrious boy!

Okay, okay, what he really said is it's sunny (he thinks he already has a sunburn, but he says he doesn't care) and the food is great. As of the date he wrote the card (about a week ago, based on the postmark), he was a few days from heading to the west coast. He was hoping to see more of our fellow homosexuals in San Jose. Apparently, "there's not much to see on this side [Puerto Viejo]."

I guess we'll have to wait for his return to learn more!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


Well, this is lovely. For several days now, I've been coughing. It wasn't so bad late last week. Even Saturday, it was just a nuisance. That was good, because we had a nice day that day.

It was downhill after that. I haven't had a good night's sleep in a few days. The feeling of congestion in my chest was accompanied by what I guess I could describe as a very disturbing vibrating feeling coming from the center of my chest, from my windpipe--I could feel the congestion partly obstructing the air going in and out of my lungs!

I promised Marc, beginning Sunday night, that I would get checked out when I returned to work (I do work in a hospital, after all). So this morning I went to Personnel Health Services. They checked me out and declared that I have bronchitis and a low-grade fever (a fever apparently is common with bronchitis). They gave me Zithromax, in case it's bacterial (although these things are usually viral, so all the Zithromax is likely to do is twist my guts into knots) and told me to keep taking the over-the-counter drugs I already was using.

I've had bronchitis once or twice before. Let me tell you, it sucks. It's especially troubling when the build-up of... um... stuff (I'm trying not to be too gross here) is noticeably interfering with breathing.

As I sit here, there's a humidifier working next to me. I've taken my Robitussin-DM and had some hot tea. All of this is helping, but I really wish I could just be well.

The next question is whether I go in to work tomorrow. I probably should have been in bed today (that's what everyone is telling me regarding bronchitis), but I really couldn't see doing that unless I was very, very sick. I mean, how would that look? The HR Director calling in sick after a 3-day weekend? Not good!

I guess I'll have to see how I feel in the morning and then decide what to do tomorrow.

Monday, September 05, 2005

What happened to Bill Clinton?

I'm a little under the weather (on a three-day weekend...nice!), so I've been watching a lot of TV today. Right now, I'm watching the noon news broadcast on our local ABC affiliate.

A few minutes ago, they showed a press conference with former Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush. Looking at Clinton, I can't help but think there's something wrong with him. He looks terrible! I looked for a still from the report online but haven't found one. Otherwise, I'd include it here.

He's 59 years old, but he looked like he was in his seventies or eighties. Really! I know he had heart surgery last year, but I've seen plenty of people come through the same kind of surgery and look fine (even great) afterwards. Not the case for President Clinton.

Maybe this has nothing to do with the heart surgery. Whatever the case, he really doesn't look good. I hope nothing is seriously wrong!

Watch Kitchen Accomplished

If you haven't seen the Food Network show Kitchen Accomplished, you've been missing something. Specifically, you've been missing this...

Peter Marr

Here he is in a shot with his castmates...

Cat (yes, Cat) Cora, the chef, Peter Marr, the contractor,
and Wolfgang Schaber, the designer

These photos really (really!) don't do him justice. Just watch the show sometime. He's adorable! He spends a lot of time glaring at Wolfgang when Wolfgang does or says something silly. Probably because Wolfgang's so flaming, and Peter wants to throw us off the trail. Otherwise, we might wonder if Wolfgang is doing nice things for Peter between takes. ;)

Oh, one last thing, if you like 'em tall. It's not that the other two from the show are short. Peter's tall! He looks tall in that second photo because he is tall. 6'4"!

Even scarier

As much as John Roberts worried me as a nominee for Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, he doesn't give me a warm feeling as Bush's nominee for Chief Justice.

It's particularly troubling that Bush is in such a rush to get him nominated. Rehnquist's body isn't even cold yet (although I'd bet his soul is very hot by now, if you know what I mean!), and Bush has nominated this relative unknown to be Chief Justice of the United States.

With Senate hearings set to start on Judge Roberts tomorrow, this sudden shift really could throw things off kilter. But maybe that's what Bush wants, so Roberts gets through before we really know enough about him. It certainly makes me think this guy must be very conservative, even more than I even realized before, if Bush wants him to be the Chief Justice for decades to come.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

40 million uninsured? Wow!

I was watching 60 Minutes earlier tonight. They had a story on Americans going overseas to get surgery. Some went for cosmetic surgery and others for life-saving procedures like heart bypass surgery, with everything in between being offered.

This story was a repeat. I remembered seeing it before, but I didn't remember one statistic they mentioned. Forty million Americans have no health insurance. None.

The only explanation for more not having been done to address this--at least the only one I'll buy--is that it's easy for the insurance companies to buy influence in the halls of power. To all of the politicians who could do more and are sitting on their hands, I say, "I don't know how you can live with yourselves, knowing that so many citizens of this wealthy country are going without health insurance."

There are a few approaches I can think to try. A national health insurance system is one, but that's just so socialist. Know what, kids? That the concept is socialist doesn't make it wrong. The government is hip-deep in healthcare anyhow. Oh, and we're already footing the healthcare bill, so who cares if it winds up in our tax bills? It might be more honest and more efficient.

If not a national healthcare plan, then changes still need to occur. The current system only provides a safety net for people who are dirt poor. Then there are people with good jobs that come with health insurance (or who have the money to pay for it themselves). In between, there's a large group of hard working, honest citizens of this country who can't afford coverage and don't qualify for government help.

This situation is a disgrace. 40 million uninsured Americans. 40 million! This has to change!

Chief Justice Scalia?

Well, Rehnquist has died. He was out there on the right, so the damage should be minimal, but this is another chance for W and his wingnut radical conservative buddies to turn the court further to the right. God help us!

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Our day so far

Marc's Camry needed new tires. So we began our day here...

Tires are a safety issue, so Marc didn't skimp on the new ones. He got top-flight all-season Pirelli tires, and I'm glad he did. We left the car there, so they could mount and balance the tires, and then we headed off for other places.

We went to Borders Books...

We were there to buy more books for a trip we're planning to Europe next year. So we went right to the travel section...

After Borders, it was time for lunch. So we went to a place we'd heard a lot about. It's hard to find good barbecue in New York, and Marc, being a Midwestern boy, is very picky.

We went to Smokin' Al's Famous Barbecue Joint in Bay Shore...

Their approach to napkins made me think this could be good...

Marc looked over the menu...

And there was plenty to look over...

There was another good sign, as far as my beloved was concerned. They had suitable drinks...

The first thing we got was an appetizer called "Burnt Endz". Made from the crispy ends of brisket that has been cooked for several hours, it was DELICIOUS!

Burnt Endz

Marc definitely liked this, and so did I!

Then our main courses arrived. I'd say they offered generous portions, but that really wouldn't do justice to what showed up at our table. Marc put his hand into this picture of my meal to give you some perspective...

Now, generous portions are nice, but the real measure is how it tastes. This stuff was AMAZING! After trying barbecue places in the city and never really being thrilled, we finally found a great one, and it winds up being in Bay Shore, here on Long Island. Oh, and here's what Marc got. Another tiny meal...

We both ate about half of what we were served. We took the rest home in doggy bags (but the doggies won't be getting this!).

Then our server, Mike, gave us recommendations for dessert (we stopped early enough to have a little room left). We split a piece of pecan pie with ice cream. Marc commented that he never liked pecan pie at restaurants, because it couldn't measure up to homemade. So how was this? Good enough that most was gone before I thought to shoot a picture of it...

Marc said it was, " good as my mother's, and I don't say that about anybody's pie."

Post-pie Bokey

We were quite full when we were done...

Even the service was good. Mike was charming, and he had pretty eyes--that never hurts! We left him a very generous tip, but he had earned it. It wasn't the tip I'd like to slip him, but I think he probably was content with the cash! ;)

As we finished, Marc's cell phone rang. The car was ready. So we headed over and got it back with its new tires...

After that, Marc drove home to begin preparing for guests we're having over tonight. An old friend of mine and his wife (yes, we have straight friends! *gasp*) are coming for dinner. After that lunch, I'll be eating light!

While Marc headed home, I had to gas up the truck. Both of the gas stations I normally frequent were out of gas and had their pumps blocked off. It's reminiscent of the 1970s...

As bad as the prices were there...

...they were even worse when I found another station that had some gas left...

The prices are obscene. There are a lot of people in the gas business, starting with the heads of the oil companies, who deserve to go to jail. The country is in crisis, and they're price-gouging. There's simply no way that the supply of gas in stations on Long Island can be feeling an impact from the hurricane yet. Also, with the oil companies recently seeing record profits, their patriotism is highly questionable. Bastards.

It was bad enough just recently when I paid $50 to fill the tank on my Explorer. Today, I paid $60. I realize that SUVs aren't exactly economical to run, but this is ridiculous!

Seven things

Having been tagged by Ms. Tuna...

7 things I plan to do before I die:
1. Visit Bora Bora.
2. Have sex with my other half thousands more times.
3. Get back to a happier weight.
4. Take care of the people I care about.
5. Retire (or at least partially retire) and fill my days with fun things.
6. Travel to lots of nice places (aside from Bora Bora, there’s much of Europe to see and a lot of the USA).
7. Take lots of photos, possibly part of the plan under number 5.

7 things I can do:
1. Drive my partner to heights of ecstacy.
2. Take very good photos (but not of #1--we’re not exhibitionists!). :)
3. Lead people, usually at work.
4. Talk angry people out of being angry--I'm not always successful, but usually, and lately it has come in handy at work (unfortunately!).
5. Teach, both in the workplace and in academic settings (yeah, they still let me back in the law school to teach trial techniques once a year).
6. Try jury trials, even though I haven’t done that in years.
7. Sleep late and love it.

7 things I cannot do:
1. Blow myself, although I could when I was a teenager.
2. Sing. Marc will tolerate my singing along in the car but only because he loves me.
3. Tell good wine by taste.
4. Figure out what spices are in a meal. As in, “Bokey, I had this great fish for lunch. They put amazing spices in it.” “Well, what did they put in it?” “I don’t know.” “Well, just some of the spices. You don’t have to remember all of them.” “I don’t know what was in it! I can’t tell! But it tasted great.” “Thanks, TTB, that really helps.”
5. Tolerate stupid people.
6. Tolerate ignorant people.
7. Stop worrying--about all kinds of things. I’d list them, but we don’t have that kind of time!

7 things that attract me to the opposite same sex:
1. A nice smile.
2. Nice legs (thighs, especially).
3. A nice butt.
4. Pretty hair.
5. A positive, friendly attitude.
6. The ability to laugh with (not at) other people.
7. Being Bokey.

7 things that I say most often:
1. I love you.
2. Bokey, let’s play.
3. Good morning/hello.
4. Thank you/you’re welcome.
5. No! Bad dog! Get off of there!
6. Want a treat? (Sometimes this relates to biscuits for dogs. Sometimes it’s said to Marc while in bed.) ;)
7. Oh yeah, baby. Suck me! That feels so good!

7 celebrity crushes (just 7?):
1. Chad Penington
2. Dean Cain
3. Matt Dillon
4. Orlando Bloom
5. Jerry O'Connell
6. Heath Ledger
7. Johnny Depp (when he’s not being too weird)

*That’s just seven off the top of my head. The list of celebrity men I’d jump (if I were single and they were willing) could go on for quite a while!

7 people I want to do this:
Seems like everyone has done this one already, but maybe these are still left:

1. Crash
2. Michael
3. SAM
4. Albert
5. Matt
6. Wayne
7. Jase, once he returns from far-off lands

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Well put

This editorial in the New York Times, entitled "Waiting for a Leader", is worth reading. It's sadly accurate:

George W. Bush gave one of the worst speeches of his life yesterday, especially given the level of national distress and the need for words of consolation and wisdom. In what seems to be a ritual in this administration, the president appeared a day later than he was needed. He then read an address of a quality more appropriate for an Arbor Day celebration: a long laundry list of pounds of ice, generators and blankets delivered to the stricken Gulf Coast. He advised the public that anybody who wanted to help should send cash, grinned, and promised that everything would work out in the end.

We will, of course, endure, and the city of New Orleans must come back. But looking at the pictures on television yesterday of a place abandoned to the forces of flood, fire and looting, it was hard not to wonder exactly how that is going to come to pass. Right now, hundreds of thousands of American refugees need our national concern and care. Thousands of people still need to be rescued from imminent peril. Public health threats must be controlled in New Orleans and throughout southern Mississippi. Drivers must be given confidence that gasoline will be available, and profiteering must be brought under control at a moment when television has been showing long lines at some pumps and spot prices approaching $4 a gallon have been reported.

Sacrifices may be necessary to make sure that all these things happen in an orderly, efficient way. But this administration has never been one to counsel sacrifice. And nothing about the president's demeanor yesterday - which seemed casual to the point of carelessness - suggested that he understood the depth of the current crisis.

While our attention must now be on the Gulf Coast's most immediate needs, the nation will soon ask why New Orleans's levees remained so inadequate. Publications from the local newspaper to National Geographic have fulminated about the bad state of flood protection in this beloved city, which is below sea level. Why were developers permitted to destroy wetlands and barrier islands that could have held back the hurricane's surge? Why was Congress, before it wandered off to vacation, engaged in slashing the budget for correcting some of the gaping holes in the area's flood protection?

It would be some comfort to think that, as Mr. Bush cheerily announced, America "will be a stronger place" for enduring this crisis. Complacency will no longer suffice, especially if experts are right in warning that global warming may increase the intensity of future hurricanes. But since this administration won't acknowledge that global warming exists, the chances of leadership seem minimal.