Monday, February 28, 2005

What's in a Name?

“What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” - William Shakespeare.






What is the importance of a name? Why is it that a child having the father's last name is something that has to happen? Why when that child is a boy? Does it really matter that the family name is carried on? Majority of the names now can only go back a few generations anyway? Someone please explain this to me.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Friday night at the movies


Since we all felt better by the end of the week and can now spend several hours in public without having to stop and cough up a lung every 15 minutes, we spent Friday evening in Minneapolis. All four of us. SETU drove, which meant that Leland "Buzz" and I sat in the backseat shrieking and hollering directions and repeatedly stomping our right feet on imaginary brake pedals.

No, I exaggerate. SETU is actually a very good driver. Very steady; very confident; very careful. And I'm sure SYTU will be equally good when he gets his driver's license next year. I have much to be thankful for. Later this weekend I will sacrifice a Gold n Plump three legged fryer from Cub on the altar grill to propitiate the gods.

I really should stop calling them the Surly Elder and Younger Teenaged Units, because they are really not surly very often, if at all anymore. So, what adjective to use instead? They are both taller than their parents, and have been for quite a while now. Their current heights are hovering around the 6'4" mark, more or less, depending on hair length and what degree of teenage slacker slouch they are affecting this week. I think I'll refer to them as the Towering Elder and Younger Teenaged Units -- The Two Towers -- until something better comes along.

They each have their own crowd of peeps, buds, friends, what have you, and their own social lives, so we hardly ever go out to the movies like this anymore - - not all together, and not on a Friday night, but Leland "Buzz" made the admirable suggestion that we go into town and see "National Treasure" at the Riverview, and that sounded like a great idea to all four of us, so that's what we did.

Leland "Buzz" and I saw "The Incredibles" there last month, and I've been raving about the Riverview ever since. It is now officially my Most Favorite Movie Theater of All Time. Click on the link and take the Quicktime virtual tour of the lobby and the auditorium. This is Movie Heaven, imho. The movie-going experience could not possibly get any better than this.

My favorite movie house for many years was the Uptown, because I lived in the neighborhood for a decade, and had so many memorable times there...

In '77 I introduced my sister and brother in law [the ones who are now Limbaugh-tomized and worship at the Church of Dear Leader] to the joys of Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Uptown. They hadn't drunk the rethuglican koolaid back then, altho in restrospect I can see why, when it was offered to them, they gulped it down with gusto. My brother-in-law: a straight-arrow, Navy ROTC-bred, decorated Vietnam vet nursing a simmering hatred for all those lazy, undeserving, liberal-coddled welfare cheats and dope-peddling hippie freaks he saw everywhere when he returned home from his tour of duty. And My sister: the classic obedient wife, taking all her cues for social interaction and all her talking points verbatim from her husband.

Oy. I suppose I should be concerned that they're going to read this post, but I know they never will. After all, these are the people who bought a desktop PC a couple years ago and hardly ever turn the thing on, much less read email or surf.

I had been going to RHPS about once a month, with a different friend or group of friends each time, and finally I decided it was time I coaxed my sis and her hub out of their suburban sanctuary and got them to take a little 'walk on the wild side' in funky boho Uptown. Ooooooooh. Jebus. Remember, kids, this was nearly thirty years ago. Anyway, so sis and hub agreed to meet me at the Uptown, and showed up looking exceedingly tense and uncomfortable; sneaking peeks at the black bustier and fishnet stockings- clad Frank N Furters in line; sis clutching hub's arm in the viselike Honey Get Me Outta Here death-grip.

I remember commenting to my boyfriend at the time "Look! Brad and Janet have arrived!" *snigger snigger*.

During the movie I had no idea how sis and hub were faring. They sat stock still and in silence all through the brazenly naughty behavior on display onscreen and in the aisles. Throwing toast in the air!? Zounds, what debauchery! Afterwards, as we walked to the car, brother in law chuckled and then started singing "What a guy. Makes you cry. Unt I did!" and sis asked me, with a tiny hint of lust-tinged tremolo in her voice "So, who is this Tim Curry anyway? Has he been in anything else?" ...And I knew that everything would be OK.

Fast forward several years to New Year's Eve 1981. I had just broken up with a bf whose style was to waltz into my life and remain there intensely for several months, then disappear for the next six months, then re-appear. I got sick of it eventually, and the next time he appeared on my doorstep I sent him packing, never to return. It was the right thing to do, and I kept telling myself how mature and wise I was being, and how my unwillingness to tolerate being jerked around in such a manner demonstrated an admirably high level of self-esteem on my part... But, damn! I was hurting, and feeling very lonely in my bed, and it was New Year's Fucking Eve, and I didn't know what to do with the honking great shitload of pain, and then I got a phone call from another former bf.

[... this being the first big Relationship of my life ... the person I'd lost my virginity to... the guy I'd lived with for 4 years ... the guy who, after 3 years of living together sat down with me and carefully informed me that, altho he loved me, he had another side that he needed to explore and learn about and try to understand, and suddenly I realized why he had started going for walks around nearby Lake Calhoun at three in the AM.]

So. Former bf, to whom I referred always by his initials DAPJ, or just "D", had just been dumped by his lover, the guy he'd been living with for the past two years. He was, like me, feeling lost and hurt and alone. D and I were friends before we were lovers, and when we split up we re-affirmed our eternal friendship and love, and vowed to always be there for each other whenever the need should arise. Now, here it was New Year's Eve 1981, and the need had arisen.

We decided to go eat chicken almond ding and mooshu pork at Port Arthur and then go see the double feature at the Uptown: the 1939 "Lost Horizon" and "It's A Wonderful Life". This was at the time when the craze for "It's a Wonderful Life" was just starting; I remembered reading a New Yorker article about people who were having "It's a Wonderful Life"- viewing parties and I'd never heard of the movie before.

So, first came "Lost Horizon", which was swell. Still eerie after all these years; and still a thrilling moment when Ronald Colman finally makes it back to the pass high in the Himalayas and crosses over to blissfully disappear forever back to Shangri-La. You could hear a collective, satisfied sigh from the Uptown audience. It was a full house, with a palpable feeling of shared joy and camaraderie. It felt like the whole place was filled with like-minded kindred souls, society's orphans on New Year's Eve, banding together for warmth on a cold winter's night.

Then came "It's a Wonderful Life" and it was a revelation; we'd never seen it before. Everybody laughed during Uncle Billy's "I'm all right, I'm AL-L-L RIGHT" and then recognized with delight that Bert the cop and Ernie the cabdriver were, of course, BERT and ERNIE! Many of us wept as Jimmy Stewart stood on the bridge crying "I want to live again! I want to live!"
Afterwards we emerged from the theater to find that a beautiful light snow was falling. As everybody in the audience lived in the neighborhood, there were a couple hundred of us walking home together, on the quiet, snowy sidewalks in the moonlight at 2 AM on New Year's Day. As we walked D and I linked arms with three other people and we all sang:


"Buffalo gals won't you come out tonight,
Won't you come out tonight,
Won't you come out tonight.
Buffalo gals won't you come out tonight
A-a-a-a-n-d
Dance by the light of the moon"


We felt whole; we felt healed; we felt bathed in warmth and fellowship and love.
And that's why I'll always love the Uptown. But, here in the year 2005, I'm telling you: if you're in the Twin Cities and you want to go to a movie -- go to the Riverview.

The cost of a ticket at the Riverview is $2 for shows before 6 PM. After 6 the price soars to an astronomical $3. Still, throwing all economy and prudence to the winds, a full house showed up Friday evening for "National Treasure". A lot of diversity: families; little kids; couples on dates; old folks; goths; bikers; people of all gender preferences and orientations and a multitude of ethnicities. Everybody friendly and out for a good time, and that's exactly what was had by all.
Big comfy seats, lots of legroom, state of the art sound system, carefully preserved original 1948 decor -- to quote the immortal Wavy Gravy: "We must be in Heaven, man!"

When the credits started rolling at the end of the movie, the entire audience applauded, and the applause was for having had a couple hours of pretty good entertainment at a great old movie house on a Friday night. When was the last time you experienced that at the local cineplex?



--Tild Dallelie

Friday, February 25, 2005

On Talking Heads and Artificial Intelligence

He is a bit of a tease.

Jeff Gannon on his "The Conservative Guy" circa 2002-2004 website, page titled "Who is CG?", set the stage for his recent show:
In many circles, I have become known as "the conservative guy". Some people don't even remember my name because I am an average type guy. I've been a preppie, a yuppie, blue-collar, green-collar and white-collar. I've served in the military, graduated from college, taught in the public school system, was a union truck driver, a management consultant, a fitness instructor and an entrepreneur. I'm a two-holiday Christian and I usually vote Republican because they most often support conservative positions.

And then, well we all know about Jim Guckert, who peculiarly enough, rather than resurrected with the revelation that he is the legitimate infant and Gannon a Changeling, instead is symbolically buried with Guckert/Gannon briefly disappearing from the web then returning as Gannon at Jeffgannon.com, the changeling given full inheritance rights.

What's odd is Gannon's mockery. Mockery isn't quite the same as a sense of humor and I take his tease, early as 2002, that people don't remember his name, as mockery. But who has he been mocking?

Aside the obvious, what bothers me the most is the absence of and obvious disdain for creativity, imagination or intelligence in whatever proceeds from "Pretty Woman" Gannon, the movie referenced being one I don't like and only mention as it seems someone somewhere begs a comparison be drawn. Yet whoever that someone may be was disturbingly content with the dregs at the bottom of the glass, not even caring to send Guckert to a crash course finishing school so that the absence of meat on the model's bones only meant all the better a showcase for the designer's style. Or maybe that's me missing the point and Guckert/Gannon is the most sterling, crystal-clear reflection of itself the the Bush administration has to offer, this most definitive Pygmalion product.

A Pygmalion which at least on one level seems to be mocking us. The Conservative Guy is adamant that we are all like him. His mission, he says, is to convince us of it. His belief is we are all conservative at the core, none of us exempt. On his website offers us a survey to take, that should convince us the same.

The survey allows for no buts, hows or whys. Only yes or no. Gannon seems to believe that all people who happen on to the same bus for even a moment are there for the same reason, have come from the same place, and all have the same goal.

Now, don't imagine I'm looking to Gannon for any shard of honesty. Take for instance the question of his name. I don't know if he's referring here to the name of Gannon, or alluding to Guckert (I think the subtext is Guckert) but he says his name isn't remembered because he is the penultimate average guy. Elsewhere, he's said that he chose Gannon for a pseudonym as Guckert was hard to remember and difficult to spell, which means he chose Gannon as a memorable name and Guckert is given as unique. Neither meshes with the idea of the Penultimate Conservative Guy who fades into the wallpaper background because he is so ordinary, because he is the Everyman that Gannon states he is.

While insisting he is an ordinary wallflower, Gannon at "The Conservative Guy" demanded confrontation, heckling the liberal reader to dare and write him, to take him on. This is the same personna that at Jeffgannon.com taunts, "I'm back" and chides that the Left is terrified of him which is why it tried to bring him down, but that he will fight the good battle which will be told (of course) in a book. Seems he imagines himself the Hunter Thompson of the Right. "Fear and Loathing in the Press Room," he titles a column (which he calls a blog). One of the symbols he chose to represent himself on "The Conservative Guy" was a gun, the other an SUV. He says he was thought of as a harmless gadfly. Which insinuates he was anything but, biding his time to ask "the question" which burst the cocoon and out pops Super Gannon, Conservative Avenger. Upholder of All That is Right.

I couldn't have cared less about Gannon's personal life. But if one thinks about it, the reason it did come into play, a matter of interest, is his transparency as a "reporter". As has been observed by others, what he did was faxing. What he was handed he turned around and handed out, no filter of scrutiny applied. When there is no content there is nothing left to lack at but the package. Gannon set up today's scene two years ago when he put up his "The Conservative Guy" website. Two years ago, it may have been taken as self-evaluation. Today, it reads as bait, a tease. "Who am I? What's my real name?" And, again, the assertion that the reader is no different than he. Supposedly, he's addressing Liberals, though his website being what it is was most likely to be visited by other conservatives. One could also look at it as an odd sort of calling or business card, his Other ID for those who brushed elbows with him and cared to look him up.

Gannon is in many ways exactly what he professes himself to be, so ordinary, forgettable, that one feels it a perverse waste of time applying any thought to him. It's a role he's playing, of which he's been proud. But he's a bad actor. He couldn't separate himself out of the mix. While he was on stage reading from the book, he'd a billboard up behind sassing, "Who am I?" Unlike Superman, no matter how proud he was of his cover, he perhaps wanted it to be blown. Now that it has been, there's not all that much to sift through. If people are looking for a story, it's because Gannon isn't one, so it's his circumstance which must be, the vehicle that's been getting him around. The man is the ashes to ashes dust to dust that breaks a cold sweat on anyone who faces the void.

His Pygmalian, whatever or whoever it might be, would be much the same. Never mind how he got where he was. Gannon is what the Bush Culture thinks of its constituents. He is Bush Culture. Teasing, mocking, substanceless. A culture in which there is nothing to honor but the machinery of appetite. Hunger and crude oil.

Idyllopus

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Will the Real James Guckert Please Drop Trou....

So, Jeff Gannon gave an interview on the Today Show this morning.

It was quite an interesting little spectacle. And it was little. Quite short. Very edited.

I give Campbell Brown some props for having the wearwithall to sit in front of such a pompous fool and press him on the issue of his naked self on the Internet.

And for not cracking up when he insisted that the reason he used the name "Gannon" was because "Guckert" is, according to JG "difficult to pronounce."

JG was pretty uncomfortable being in CB's "hot seat," but that may have had to do with the fact that his shirt collar was so tight on that thick ole neck of his...I was surprised he could breathe.

Funny thing is, though, most people who work in the adult entertainment industry--whether as escorts, dancers, S/m dominants, or porn stars--usually work under pseudonymns. Supposedly "Gannon" is a pseudonymn and "Guckert" is his real last name....

All I can think of is: what a dope.

Perhaps, though, he didn't realize that adult entertainment isn't supposed to be reality. It is entertainment: a performance for someone else's benefit. The entertainer is contracted to act a role--usually a role he/she has personally chosen because he/she believes the role will be easy or because the role specifically does not project his/her true sexual orientation or proclivities.

Yet most people believe that if a sex perfomer chooses a role, than that is who the performer is. Most people cannot imagine performing sex, or something like sex, for money, if there is no interest in the types and kinds of acts one is engaging in.

That, though, is the strange quirk of sex industry work. And the people who are best at it are the people who keep their personal procliviteis to themselves. How may of us may have, at one time or another, met a female dancer who was a lesbian, or a male dancer who was straight.

Why might someone work a role opposed to one's sexuality? Some of that has to do with the very fine line between adult entertainment, lewd acts, and prostitution (the explanation of which is very complicated, and I won't get into here)....and some of it has to do with power. Some women enjoy being a "tease"....and some men enjoy being a "tease" as well.

Gucker's sites claim that he was a "dominant top"...and some men and women who play the role of "dominant top" are not that in real life...

Who really knows if JG is gay, submissive, Republican, or just a really big tease????

Be that as it may, I think there is one true way that we might be able to know whether or not Jeff Gannon is James Guckert...it requires a measuring tape and just a little bit of cooperation from the young man in question...;-)

--Tish G.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Tip: State Court Jury Duty and bored? There's Scrabble and Backgammon in the coat closet

I phoned in and listened to the recorded message thinking I hope I don’t really have to be paying attention to any of this. No, such luck. Yes, I know it’s my sacred civic duty so tar and feather me already but one of the last things I wanted to do was to be honored with the privilege of jury duty. We’re self-employed and homeschooling. My husband was going to and would have had to cancel his studio session today in order to stay home with H.o.p. but his brother, who had just moved down from NY Saturday ("The most frightening thing in the world is waking up and realizing I moved to Atlanta") dropped by Sunday evening and offered to babysit. Also, H.o.p. was concerned with mom having to go to a government building. He hears enough about the government that concern is the first response (no, not shame on me, shame on them) upon hearing that mom is going down to a government building. ("It's all right, sweetie." "But President Bush is in the government building." "Not this government building.") The kind of concern that isn’t assuaged when he says, “Don’t go!” and I say but I must and he demands to know why and I tell him the not-so-fine print that the government will hit me with a hefty fine or submit a bench warrant for my arrest if I don’t go, which means a court date regardless. I mean, they make jury duty so inviting in the first place, don’t they? If instead you opened your mail to “Summoning the Honor of Your Presence for coffee and homemade blueberry muffins with prosecution, defense and judge" then I’d feel a bit differently about it, more relaxed, even if the fine-print said the coffee and muffins would be at my own expense. Send me a blue slip that says Summons for State Court Jury Duty 8:15 a.m. Monday or you’re arrested and I get testy.

There’s an old joke as to do you really want to be tried by peers not smart enough to get out of jury duty. My take on it is what’s the privilege of jury duty, fulfilling the right of the accused to a jury by one’s peers, when the accused may simply be one of those not protected by any number of those laws which exempts from libablity anyone who earns more money than the judge. Where’s the justice in a country where we say it is stealing when you take someone’s $75 television but call it profit when you can, for instance, pollute to the point of extinction or pirate the pensions of hundreds of thousands. Where’s the justice when we’ll slap a person in prison who is actually endangering their life with certain select self-prescriptions, but legislate protection for corporations that willfully endanger the lives of thousands. And don’t tell me that a corporation holds the same rights as an individual under the law but is an institution and the owners aren't responsible for its actions and that's the way it has to be "because" (kind of just like politicians aren’t liable for anything that they conveniently can’t recollect telling a subordinate to do). When a car-pooling van makes a traffic violation, we don’t call the situation corporate and absolve the driver of responsibility.

If you want to read more of a way too long post about a fairly boring day in a state that appreciates your participation in justice to the tune of $25 a day, no child-care reimbursement or reimbursement on travel expenses, go here. If you live in Fulton County, GA, you'll at least learn a few helpful things like take the fingernail file out of your bag and throw it away because it's not allowed in the court building.

Attacking the Arctic and the Aged

They're winding up for that powerful right cross -- that maiming Right Double Cross.

SNEAK ATTACK #1.
Right now, the oil industry’s allies in Congress are plotting a sneak attack on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. In the next two weeks, oil industry allies in the House and Senate will try a backdoor trick to pass the controversial proposal to drill for oil in the Arctic Refuge by inserting it into the federal budget bill.

See the website of the Defenders of Wildlife to get a succinct explanation of why drilling for oil in the arctic is not as benign an effort as the oil industry and its flunkies would have you think.

Lend your voice to the those who are trying to stop this sneaky maneuver and save the Arctic Refuge! Click here send a free message to your members of Congress urging them to do everything they can to stop drilling in the Arctic!

And, while you have the Arctic on your mind, check out my Alaskan blogger friend's blog -- Klondike Kate's Aurora

SNEAK ATTACK #2
The lobbying group that orchestrated the Swift Boat guys' misinformation-filled attack on John Kerry is now after the AARP, using the same kind of sleazy tactics and a war chest of $10 million. It's all part of the political ultra-Right's plan to support Bush's intention to privatize Social Security -- an effort that erroneously claims that there is a crisis. But there is no crisis.

(Just like there were no Weapons of Mass Destruction.)

The American Spectator website is running a sleazy and untruthful ad about the AARP in order to discredit its support of maintaining an strengthening the current Social Security system.

Now, I don't always agree with how the AARP sets its positions on issues -- just like I didn't agree with all of Kerry's approaches.

BUT in both cases, I looked at the bigger picture and how close they were to my positions on issues AND I totally resent the evil methods that thr Right uses to launch their attacks on those issues.

Such is the case with AARP and Social Security.

Watch out for that Right Double Cross.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Uncle Duke's Legacy

If you think about it, Hunter S. Thompson, who shot himself to death over the weekend, could be considered Uncle Duke of all us bloggers.

Many of us who keep blogs aren't just journalling for posterity. We write commentary beyond the mundaine and trivial events of our boring lives--commentary that encompasses politics, social issues, media and entertainment--and are, in effect, doing some minor form of Hunter's "gonzo journalism." In our own ways, we report on the world with our personalities rather than with the cold objectivity that was considered the hallmark of journalism (although, today, with the advent of infotainment, objectivity in journalism and in MSM may be debatable).

So, here's to Uncle Duke....whereever he now may be....

--Tish G.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

President's Day Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, in the County of the Kings there was a pretty maiden of Irish and English descent. Sally was the daughter of a widowed mariner, fair of hair with eyes of blue. During the reign of Eisenhower she fell in love with a Hellenic American young man who had recently returned from the Korean War. His name was John, and he was the son of a widowed merchant. Not a Greek god, but a Greek grocer. He was dark and handsome, but not tall at all.

Posted by Hello


Their families were pleased with the match, and they soon married.

Two years later, their first child was born. It was a girl. When Sally laid eyes on the child, she was certain that a mistake had been made. Sally was accustomed to pale Celtic babies, not this squalling red faced Mediterranean infant with pitch black hair. Eventually she was convinced that, yes, this was their daughter. The young parents had planned to name the child Karen if it was a girl. However, Sally was in a room with a woman who had just named her baby Laura. The potions given to new mothers in those days were potent - and Sally decided that maybe they should call their girl Laura, too. Fortunately, John was able to remind her that Karen was to be the name. And so it was... and so it is.

Happy Birthday to me on Monday. To those of you fortunate enough to have a day off - enjoy it!

And this is why the people in the US are celebrating with a three day weekend. Well, not really - but it's better than Presidents Day to me. I can celebrate the meeting of my parents, their love, their marriage and my birth.



Also posted at:

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Saturday Sickblogging

My home -- the isolated, fortified family compound known as Tildebunkport-- has turned into one big infirmary. What follows is a listing of the residents, their respective illnesses and prescribed treatments.

  • Tild -- Bronchial infection; laryngitis. Zithromax; Tesselon perles; Paintshop Pro. The internets. Perfect Peach herb tea.
  • Leland "Buzz" [aka Mr. Tild] -- Strep throat. Penicillin VK; ibuprofen; salt water gargles; season one of "Deadwood" on DVD; rainbow sherbet.
  • SETU [Surly Elder Teenaged Unit] -- Severe bronchial infection; laryngitis. Augmentin; Cough syrup with codeine; Desert Combat; The Shinns; leftover Leeann Chin potstickers.
  • SYTU [Surly Younger Teenaged Unit] -- Inexplicable health. Fruity Dyno-bites; 7-UP Plus; "El Mariachi" trilogy; Futurama. Ipod.

I'm sick of the news, sick of surfing, sick of blogging and sick of the internets in general, so I decided to waste the entire afternoon doctoring up old magazine ads. Here is my total output for the day. And yes, I am kind of pleased with how it turned out. Heh.



This post can also be found over here, with all the sick folks.

Friday, February 18, 2005

..and still more on the trouble with Gannon....

Here's a short little bit on AlterNet that gives more wonderful reasons why we should care about the Jeff Gannon debacle.

And when you read the artcle, be sure to check out the link to Frank Rich's piece in the New York Times. It's about time someone who's in "it" noticed that the News is, in its own way, no longer News at all.

With the White House openly using taxpayer money to fuel their right-wing propaganda machine, the line between infotainment and news becomes more blurry and more troubling than it was just a short while ago.

Tish G
(I've got a few other things besides Jeff Gannon on my mind...read them here)

Monday, February 14, 2005

To Out or Not to Out?

[You'll also find this entry posted at Rox Populi.]

Blogdom is going wild over AmeriBlog's expose on Jeff Gannon/James Guckert --the "reporter" for Talon News. Here's the gist:

Why does it matter that Jeff Gannon may have been a gay hooker named James Guckert with a $20,000 defaulted court judgment against him? So he somehow got a job lobbing softball questions to the White House. Big deal. If he was already a prostitute, why not be one in the White House briefing room as well?

This is the Conservative Republican Bush White House we're talking about. It's looking increasingly like they made a decision to allow a hooker to ask the President of the United States questions. They made a decision to give a man with an alias and no journalistic experience access to the West Wing of the White House on a "daily basis." They reportedly made a decision to give him - one of only six - access to documents, or information in those documents, that exposed a clandestine CIA operative. Say what you will about Monika Lewinsky - a tasteless episode, "inappropriate," whatever. Monika wasn't a gay prostitute running around the West Wing. What kind of leadership would let prostitutes roam the halls of the West Wing? What kind of war-time leadership can't find the same information that took bloggers only days to find?

None of this is by accident.

Someone had to make a decision to let all this happen. Who? Someone committed a crime in exposing Valerie Plame and now it appears a gay hooker may be right in the middle of all of it? Who?

Ultimately, it is the hypocrisy that is such a challenge to grasp in this story. This is the same White House that ran for office on a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. While they are surrounded by gay hookers? While they use a gay hooker to write articles for their gay hating political base? While they use a gay hooker to destroy a political enemy? Not to mention the hypocrisy of a "reporter" who chooses to publish article after article defending the ant-gay [sic] religious-right point of view on [the] gay civil rights issue.


There's a part of me that takes more than my share of glee in the toppling of another gay neo-con who gives head to BushCo. Then, there's the other part of me who doubles-over, sickened, when we, the righteous, put more emphasis on the prurient than the relevant when it comes to these sordid tales. Depending on the day, you could catch the "evil" Roxanne or the "good" Roxanne.

As a hetero, I've always felt that because I don't have a dog in the fight, the act of "outing" an enemy isn't up to me as much as it's up to the lesbian/gay community. When I first read the AmeriBlog entry cited above, I have to admit that I was a little put off. On the other hand, Jeff/James seems like a real wanker.

What do you think?

Related Reading:

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Mad Kane Applies For White House Press Credentials

Now that "Jeff Gannon" has fled the White House press scene, I figured that Scotty McClellan & Co. could use some new media blood. And being totally unqualified for the gig, I decided to apply for White House press credentials. My "Dear Scotty" letter begins:

I've always fantasized about being a White House correspondent. But until now, I've never sought so lofty a position because -- silly me -- I assumed you had to be an actual journalist.

Now that I know otherwise, please consider this my application for White House press credentials. Of course, I know that being Bush's chief media guy and all, approving press applications doesn't fall into your job description. But I'd be mighty grateful if you'd pass this on to whoever screens these things.

The janitor, perhaps? Or maybe the White House chef? One of the Bush twins? Or is it the new Bush family dog that just got out of obedience school...

The rest of my White House press credentials application is here.

Nostalgia and Regret

Last night the local PBS affiliate broadcast a recently taped Electric Light Orchestra concert.

Listening to their old songs produced a serious fit of nostalgia in me. This morning, I rooted thru my collection of old 45 rpm records, some in pristine condition, found a bunch from the mid '70's (my formative teen-age years), cranked up the old stereo....and got to thinking....

How may of us end up having very mixed emotions when we walk down memory lane?

I go thru serious paroxisms of "coulda-woulda-shoulda" when I play songs from my misspent youth. It often takes a bit for me to get back to the realization that life is what it is and the decisions I made at that time were the best I could with the faulty and inaccurate life information given to me.

And, actually, the current totalty of life hasn't been completely misspent. It's been unusual, and not what most people's lives are like, but, damn! I've learned some interesting stuff and gained a great deal of wisdom in the process.

Perhaps I should put away the ELO and start listening to the Black Eyed Peas. I'm 44, but my life isn't over yet.

--Tish G
(for more on the effects of nostalgia on forgiveness, go here)

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

A Confluence of Significant Events

In case y'all didn't look at the calendar this morning, today is Chinese New Year. It's the Year of the Rooster--or, more appropriately the Chicken, since in Chinese astrology it is a female year. From what I've read, technically, it is a Green Wood Chicken Year.

It is also Ash Wendesday, the first day of Lent. So, if you haven't given up something yet, you still have time. If your still a semi-practicing Catholic, you might also want to consider eating fish if you find walking around with smudgy ashes on your head a bit too embarassing.

There are also 5 more shopping days left 'till Valentine's Day...for those who are counting in anticipation or are dreadding (in anticipation).

It's also the official First Day of the New Moon.

Whew! I think I've covered it all. That's alot of karmic stuff for one day! If I missed anything, let me know.

Tish G.
(this, and other musings on how to give up stuff like porn and chocolate for Lent, as well as the evils of pork rinds, can be read here on her blog)

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Just What Are Women Good At?

You'll also find this entry posted at my blog, Rox Populi.

We know women don't blog as well as men, especially about political subjects. We know this because a bunch of men who blog have said so.

We know women aren't very good at math and science. We know this because a dude working way above his mental pay grade said so.

Tonight, I learned through Matt Yglesias (via Mouse Words) that women aren't as funny as men. Matt also reports that he's funny. I don't know about you, but whenever I read Matt's blog I leave laughing my fucking ass off. So, maybe he's right.

Using the logic at work in the "there are more men getting paid to be funny, therefore men are more funny" axiom, I could also deduce that Asians aren't as funny as white folks and that Jews are funnier than Cubans. Yet, when liberal men examine the "men are more X than Y," it's always about gender and never about race.

Wonder why? I don't.

Conservatives Finally Hearing the F-Word

In the February 14 issue of The American Conservative, Scott McConnell writes:
...The last weeks of 2004 saw several explicit warnings from the antiwar Right about the coming of an American fascism. Paul Craig Roberts in these pages wrote of the “brownshirting” of American conservatism—a word that might not have surprised had it come from Michael Moore or Michael Lerner. But from a Hoover Institution senior fellow, former assistant secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration, and one-time Wall Street Journal editor, it was striking.

Several weeks later, Justin Raimondo, editor of the popular Antiwar.com website, wrote a column headlined, “Today’s Conservatives are Fascists.” Pointing to the justification of torture by conservative legal theorists, widespread support for a militaristic foreign policy, and a retrospective backing of Japanese internment during World War II, Raimondo raised the prospect of “fascism with a democratic face.” His fellow libertarian, Mises Institute president Lew Rockwell, wrote a year-end piece called “The Reality of Red State Fascism,” which claimed that “the most significant socio-political shift in our time has gone almost completely unremarked, and even unnoticed. It is the dramatic shift of the red-state bourgeoisie from leave-us-alone libertarianism, manifested in the Congressional elections of 1994, to almost totalitarian statist nationalism. Whereas the conservative middle class once cheered the circumscribing of the federal government, it now celebrates power and adores the central state, particularly its military wing.”

That's right, Scott. That IS the sound of goose-stepping jackboots. Those ARE brownshirts. Even tho McConnell is apparently still clueless enough to think that America's move towards fascism "has gone almost completely unremarked, and even unnoticed" --gosh, I wonder how David Neiwert or Laurence Britt would respond to that little statement -- there's no doubt that the scales are falling from our conservative friend Scott's eyes. Read the entire article, and afterwards see if you don't find your faith in the intelligence of the loyal opposition restored just a teeny bit. "Conservative" does NOT necessarily equal "Wingnut."

Hunger For Dictatorship





Thanks to AnonyMoses for the link.

Also posted at Tild~.


Saturday, February 05, 2005

The Gonzales Vote in Verse

I've posted a poem about the Gonzales vote over at President Boxer. Here's how the post begins:

Liberal Oasis is disappointed with the Gonzales vote, and so am I. Okay, getting 36 votes against the Torture Maestro is far from awful. And yet:

The Gonzales Vote In Verse
By Madeleine Begun Kane

Gonzales was a test of sorts:
Can Democrats unite?
Most Senate Dems came through for us,
And fought for what was right.

But Lieberman sure let us down...

The rest of my Gonzales Vote in Verse is here.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

After Despair

Cross-posted at Goddessing and MatriFocus.

This past Sunday, I didn't go to one of my regular group meetings because I was deep into production of the Imbolc Issue of MatriFocus. I missed a learning activity on despair, facilitated by two group members who are long-time environmental activists, gardeners, and teachers of sustainability.

despair. c.1325, from O.Fr. desperer "lose hope, despair," from L. desperare "to despair," from de- "without" + sperare "to hope," from spes "hope" (see speed). Noun replaced native wanhope [want of hope].

and

hope. O.E. hopian "wish, expect, look forward (to something)," of unknown origin, a general Low Ger. word (cf. O.Fris. hopia, M.L.G., M.Du. hopen; M.H.G. hoffen "to hope" was borrowed from Low Ger. Some suggest a connection with hop (v.) on the notion of "leaping in expectation." (Online Etymology Dictionary)

I can't imagine that Sunday's work on despair wasn't inspired or informed by the work of Joanna Macy, an activist, teacher, deep ecologist, and systems thinker:

For the past twenty years, she has guided people through a process first called "despair and empowerment work" and now called the "Work that Reconnects." This work is generally conducted in workshops where group energy supports participants; it invites people into despair about the plight of the planet and the destructive course we are on. The work does not end there. Joanna uses exercises that strengthen the minds and hearts of participants for the struggles ahead. Through this work, participants transform their despair into compassionate action. (Personal Transformation)

It's interesting to see this progression of possibilities on the other side of despair: from hope, to empowerment, to compassionate action, to "solidarity and the courage to act," to "work that reconnects" (from her newest book, Coming Back to Life: Practices to Reconnect Our Lives, Our World).

Macy encourages folks to do despair work in groups, because we tend to think that despair is a personal problem that we must handle alone. She says:

I learned, when I began to work with groups 20 years ago, that despair arose in relation to something larger than individuals, personal circumstances. There is a complex of strong feelings that I call ingredients of despair. One is fear about the future based on what we’re doing to each other and to our planet. Another is anger that we are knowingly wasting the world for those who come after us, destroying the legacy of our ancestors. Guilt and sorrow are in the complex. People in every walk of life, from every culture, feel grief over the condition of the world. Despair is this constellation of different feelings. One person may feel more fear or anger, another sorrow, and another guilt, but the common thread is a suffering on behalf of the world or, as I put it, feeling 'pain for the world.' (ibid.)

So what do we do with this "suffering on behalf of the world"?

1. Find hope. As devastating as the Asian Quake Tsunami was, from a geological perspective, it gives us some reasons to hope.

"It's hard to find something uplifting about 150,000 lives being lost," said Dr. Donald J. DePaolo, a geochemist at the University of California, Berkeley. "But the type of geological process that caused the earthquake and the tsunami is an essential characteristic of the earth. As far as we know, it doesn't occur on any other planetary body and has something very directly to do with the fact that the earth is a habitable planet." (Quakes Renew the Planet)

And there's reason to hope that the December 26 tsunami may:

... "prove to be an ecological boon over the decades for coastal areas hardest hit by the giant waves." (ibid.)

Tsunamis enrich soil by distributing rich sediments from river systems across coastal plains and bringing fertile soil into lowland areas. While this will bring back no lives lost recently, it is fundamental to feeding future generations.

2. Chop wood, carry water. Begin again. Carry on.

Tsunamis and earthquakes have destroyed before and they will again. Thera, Crete, Atlantis. Some archaeologists argue that quakes are responsible for the downfall of the Harappan Civilization, the ends of the Bronze Age and the Mayan Classic Period. (Ancient Civilizations Shaken By Quakes)

Those who survive do what living creatures do. We carry on. We find food. We build shelters. We make love, have more children. We make community. One life does make a difference, and if the mitochondrial Eve theory is correct, human beings populate the planet today because of one woman's chances and choices 200 thousand years ago.

3. Reconnect with the divine. What's your preferred spiritual technology? Prayer? Meditation? Trance Dance? Solitary Magic? Group Ritual? A Walk in the Woods? Art-Making?

When and where do you feel most alive? Go there. Do that. Recharge.

4. Play. Remember the immortal words of Emma Goldman: "If I can't dance, I don't want to be part of your revolution." (Or was it: "If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution.")

5. Do something about what causes despair. Macy says:

I’ve become convinced that, in part, people remain uninvolved because there are so many issues. They don’t know whether they should try to protect sea mammals or battered children or work for the climate. (Personal Transformation)

So just choose one thing, the issue you have the most passion for, and do what you can. We know that all of life is connected and can be confident that the pieces, large or small, that we do will affect and be affected by the work being done by others.

6. Don't go it alone. Macy says:

I think it’s a cardinal mistake to try to act alone. The myth of the rugged individual, riding as the Lone Ranger to save our society, is a sure recipe for going crazy. The response that is appropriate and that this work elicits is to grow a sense of solidarity with others and to elaborate a whole new sense of what our resources are and what our power is. (ibid.)

7. Stop stuffing your despair. Macy, again:

It takes tremendous energy to repress something so strong, which stems from our instinct to preserve life. Repressing our feelings of pain for the world isolates us, and can also drain us. When we allow ourselves to experience these feelings, we cease to fear them. We learn to turn them into strong solidarity with all beings. (ibid.)

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Would you pay for it?

In the new movie "The Wedding Date" Deborah Messing plays a young professional woman who hires a male escort (played by Dermot Mulroney) to be her date for a friend's wedding. The reason for hiring a date is that her former fiance is the Best Man and she does not want to look like a loser. And, by the end, she redeems the male escort and makes an honest man out of him.

Now, men have been hiring escorts of some stripe pretty much forever. Usually it's because they want no strings attached or are so massivly dysfunctional that they cannot maintain a true intimate relationship. So, what does this say for women? Is it a matter of "you go sister!" or have we come to the point where we are so desperate that we must ape the pathetic behavior of dysfunctional men?

I'm sorry, but I could never pay a man to escort me anywhere, not matter how old I get or no matter how much I might need a date. And IMHO, when a woman begins to pay for it, she is not saying she has power but is admitting that she finds herself so unappealing that she cannot get a guy unless she pays for a man to pretned that he likes her. And that is seriously pathetic.

I wonder when the American mind will be able to grasp that any sort of pay-for-play interaction is merely a performance on the part of the person being paid? And that it takes a heck of alot to perform that you are attracted to someone.

I know of dude by the name of Desmond, who is a male escort and hires himself out as a "professional ravisher." Pretty funny actually. and I can't imagine anyone needing to pay some dude to "ravish" her. How much fun could this be if you know that he is performing the part and might be thinking about baseball or car racing or another woman (or even another man)while he is putting on a performance for you?

So, I'm wondering...am I wrong in thinking that women wind up looking pathetic if they are paying men for sexual services? Or is this some bizaare wave of the future?

--Tish G.