Saturday, May 31, 2008

Cosmo Drinkers Rejoice! Ice Discovered on Mars

Elated scientists probing the arctic surface of Mars with their newly-landed Phoenix spacecraft said Saturday they are convinced they have found a bright and shiny layer of real ice only inches beneath the Martian soil and directly under the body of the lander itself.

"It's the consensus of all of us that we have found ice," said Peter Smith of the University of Arizona in Tucson as he talked to reporters in a conference call only six days after Phoenix landed safely from Earth. "It's shiny and smooth -- it's absolutely astounding!"

My interpretation of this event is a little different. Imagine: a whole new world ripe for martinis. I don't know about you, but I'm getting my shaker and my space suit ready.


Bill O'Reilly: Gay Marriage Advocate?

Is Bill O'Reilly making our arguments for us now? Watch this clip of him grilling his guest on his lack of a reason why gay marriage is bad for America:

Thursday, May 29, 2008

iMac's Back!


While this is not my specific Mac (I WISH my desk were so clutter-free), I just wanted to say thanks to the Apple Store in SF. They handled my repairs quickly and called me today to say the repairs were done.

The white bar on my display is gone thanks to a newly installed screen. :)

Thanks Apple!

Got Spam? (That's Spam as in "meat" by the way)

When I lived in Hawai'i, I learned that the Spam and Hawai'i connection was not a myth. The Safeway in Kona had the largest Spam section I have ever seen. Who knew there were so many varieties? I think, though, that I only ate Spam once while I was there. It was part of a local dish, and I didn't mind it. Hey, it was fried. What's there not to like about something fried?

When I read tonight that sales of Spam have increased, most likely due to the downturn in the economy and the relatively inexpensive nature of Spam, I was reminded of my Big Island Spam memories and of a couple of cookbooks that we used to sell at my bookstore: Hawai'i's Spam Cookbook and Hawai'i's 2nd Spam Cookbook (creative titles, huh?)

spam cookbook spam cookbook 2

So, when you're at Whole Foods and reaching for the Spam, don't forget about Ann Corum's cookbooks. They may be the saving grace for your next wine, cheese, and canned meat party.

From the AP:

Spam's maker, Hormel Foods Corp., reported last week that it saw strong sales of Spam in the second quarter, helping push up its profits 14 percent. According to sales information coming from Hormel, provided by The Nielsen Co., Spam sales were up 10.6 percent in the 12-week period ending May 3, compared to last year. In the last 24 weeks, sales were up nearly 9 percent.

The Austin, Minn.-based company, also known for the Jennie-O Turkey Store, has embarked on its first national advertising campaign for the 71-year-old brand in several years. They've credited the sales increase to that, along with new products like individually packaged "Spam Singles" slices. Also helping sales, executives said in an earnings conference call, was the fact that people looking to save money are skipping restaurant meals and eating more at home.

Full story here

Monday, May 26, 2008

Sydney Pollack Passed Away

sydney pollack

I was sad to read that Sydney Pollack died today. He was the director of one of my favorite films, Out of Africa, and I enjoyed his cameos on Will & Grace. And, of course, there's always Tootsie.

To help memorialize Sydney, I offer the words of Isak Dinesen:

"If I know a song of Africa, of the giraffe and the African new moon lying on her back, of the plows in the fields and the sweaty faces of the coffee pickers, does Africa know a song of me? Will the air over the plain quiver with a color that I have had on, or the children invent a game in which my name is, or the full moon throw a shadow over the gravel of the drive that was like me, or will the eagles of the Ngong Hills look out for me?"

Dearest Sydney, we heard your song, too, and it was good. You will be missed.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

My Mac is Sick


I have to take my Mac in to the shop today. I'm having trouble with the display--a big white bar running from top to bottom. So, I'm typing this on a significantly smaller window than I would normally use. Boo!

I hope the people at the Genius Bar can help or get it fixed and back to me soon. :(

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Real John McCain

Poor Sen. McCain. First Ellen, now this. But, when you talk out of both sides of your mouth, things like this are bound to happen. Especially when there are cameras recording what you say.

Why Aren't You Listening to Duffy? Why Wasn't I?!

I recently visited a new (for me) blog called About a boy and his briefs, and Christopher (Chris?), I have to say, writes one mean blog. I mean that as a compliment. I found myself going further and further back into his archive and really enjoying what I found. While perusing, I found his entry of this video by Duffy.

I had been reading about Duffy as the Second Coming from Britain, but I had yet to listen to her. I'm ashamed. She's wonderful. And now I've immersed myself in her sound.

I wanted to share the song that converted me. Enjoy.

French boys will be boys

You should seriously NOT click on these videos if you don't want to see young men acting dumb and skateboarding or running around naked in a Benny Hill homage. I'm sure they were based on dares. They're French and needed to prove their manhood. Or at least show it off. :)

Or, unlike Americans, they were just having fun without the self-conscious gay panic that pervades straight male culture.

Nevertheless, these videos always amuse me. Guys having fun, goofing off, and recording it for the whole world. Gotta love the internets.

And, bravo, Chardan. Bravo indeed.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Ellen and John McCain

If you missed John McCain's appearance on Ellen's show (like I did), the miracle that is YouTube will let us all watch it together.

I like that Senator McCain has really thought through his position on gay marriage and can make a cogent argument against it. Yeah, cogent. . .

Insults for Travelers

I came across a nice list of insults (and some nice commentary) from various countries today and thought I'd share. If you can explain them, you get bonus points. If you start using them in daily conversations, you get a gold star.

• The Spanish: "Suck butter from my ass" (Chupe mantequilla de mi culo): Yup, I've heard this one many times -- I didn't know it came from another most commonly used insult here "I shit in the milk" (me cago en la leche), which is insulting because milk comes from your mother and you drink it, so obviously taking a crap in it is just an outright offence.
• The Arabs: "A thousand dicks in your religion" (Elif air ab dinikh): Ouch.
• The Irish: "He's as thick as a bull's walt" (that is, as dumb as an erect bull penis).
• The Bulgarians: "Let a hungry Carpathian long-haired she-wolf blow your dick, fuck" (Gladna Karpatska valchitza s dalag kosam minet da ti prai deeba): I'm not quite sure how good that translation is, but yikes...
• The Chinese: "Fuck the 18 generations of your ancestors" (Cao ni zu zong shi ba dai): Wow, that's a curse that insults everything you stand for!
• The Icelanders: "Grandfatherfucker" (Afatottari): I'm surprised that hasn't carried over to the English language.
• The Armenians: "I'll make sarma with your penis' skin" (Glirit mortin hed sarma shinem).
• The Serbians: "May God give you to search for your children with a Geiger counter" (Da bog da trazio detzoo Gaygerovim broyachem): I totally don't understand this one.
• The Romanians: "Stick your hand in my ass and jerk off with my shit" (Sa-mi bagi mana-n cur si sa-mi faci laba la cacat): BY FAR THE WORST I HAVE EVER HEARD.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

My Mother's Scar

This is painful to see. But, I must not look away.

Hearing the news that a loved one is ill catches you by surprise. Imagining all the terrible things that could happen occupies your waking thoughts and your fitful dreams. Seeing the reality of your mother in pain is nearly too much to bear.

Bear it, I must.

Get well soon, Mom.


San Francisco Values vs. Missouri Audiovisual Skills

Dear Representative Mike Graves,

Please hire someone with a modicum of talent the next time you set out to produce a political ad--IF there is a next time. You could choose someone from, oh, I don't know, the SF Art Academy?

PS Not one person I know dresses or dances like this.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mom Update

My mom's MRI turned out well Tuesday morning. Apparently, the surgery was a success. They will keep her in the hospital for observation for a while, of course, but I talked to her today. She seemed lucid and sounded tired. Luckily, the rest of my family (two brothers and a sister) are there with her.

Now I just need to plan a trip to see them. June, perhaps?

Thanks to those of you who sent kind words. I truly appreciate it.

Aussiebum and the Fetishization of Underwear (and Australians!)

Have you seen these Aussiebum videos? Have you tried their underwear? It's okay, I guess. Runs a little small, but who's judging. . .

I thought I'd share a recent vid of their new Boxer Shorts. I don't think I like the shiny fabric, but the boy's cute. :)

Gay Iranian Teen Offered Asylum in Great Britain

Britain said Tuesday that it is granting asylum to a gay Iranian teenager who fears that he could face execution if forced to return to his homeland.

Britain's Border Agency said it would allow asylum for Mehdi Kazemi, who traveled in 2005 to London to study English and while there learned that his lover in Iran had been charged with sodomy and hanged.

Kazemi, 19, then sought asylum in Britain, but it was rejected, then in the Netherlands. The Netherlands' highest court rejected his claim in March, ruling that Britain was responsible for the case under European Union law because it was there that Kazemi first applied for asylum.

Britain's Home Secretary Jacqui Smith decided after that to reconsider the case, and there were appeals in the House of Lords that he be allowed to remain due to fears his life could be at risk in Iran.

Some human rights groups claim gay people are executed in Iran because of their sexuality.

The case has drawn attention in both countries to the plight of homosexuals in Iran, and the differences in the way various EU countries deal with asylum-seekers.

Monday, May 19, 2008

My Mom Went to the Hospital and All I Got Was This Subdural Hematoma

subdural hematomas

But, seriously, folks. My mom had surgery tonight to relieve a subdural hematoma (just one, not two like pictured above). According to the surgeon, everything went as planned, and now she just needs to rest tonight. They'll check things out with another MRI tomorrow. I guess I'll be the only sibling not at the hospital. Ah, guilt.

Take care, everybody.

Gay Marriage? It's a Non-Issue in the Body Politic

At the start of this year's election season, according to the Pew Research Center, only 22% of U.S. adults said that gay marriage will be important to their vote in the coming elections - a substantial decline from the 32% who expressed that view in October 2004; sharp declines were also recorded in the proportion of voters citing other social issues -abortion and stem cell research - as very important. Only about a quarter of Republicans (27%) and roughly one-in-five Democrats (19%) and independents (17%) said gay marriage will be very important in their vote; in all three groups the proportions rating gay marriage a major voting issue have declined substantially. In contrast, the economy, health care, Iraq and education continued to rate as top issues for voters while the number concerned about energy rose sharply with 65% of voters saying energy will be very important to their vote, up from 54% in October 2004.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Bay to Breakers 2008

I hope you had a chance to see or participate in San Francisco's annual Bay to Breakers run today. If not, there's always next year, so get to planning your costume.

I'm thinking something subtle. . . like Barack Obama's love child. :)

Here's the race set to the Cure:

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Did you see Fantasia last night on American Idol?

She has been BY FAR the most entertaining thing on this show in weeks. Well, other than the "Will Paula Be Stoned Tonight" Game that we all play.

Here's Fantasia's "possessed" performance. I think she may have the "duende."

From the California Supreme Court's Ruling Today

Under the strict scrutiny standard, unlike the rational basis standard, in order to demonstrate the constitutional validity of a challenged statutory classification the state must establish (1) that the state interest intended to be served by the differential treatment not only is a constitutionally legitimate interest, but is a compelling state interest, and (2) that the differential treatment not only is reasonably related to but is necessary to serve that compelling state interest. Applying this standard to the statutory classification here at issue, we conclude that the purpose underlying differential treatment of opposite-sex and same-sex couples embodied in California’s current marriage statutes — the interest in retaining the traditional and well-established definition of marriage — cannot properly be viewed as a compelling state interest for purposes of the equal protection clause, or as necessary to serve such an interest.

A number of factors lead us to this conclusion. First, the exclusion of same-sex couples from the designation of marriage clearly is not necessary in order to afford full protection to all of the rights and benefits that currently are enjoyed by married opposite-sex couples; permitting same-sex couples access to the designation of marriage will not deprive opposite-sex couples of any rights and will not alter the legal framework of the institution of marriage, because same-sex couples who choose to marry will be subject to the same obligations and duties that currently are imposed on married opposite-sex couples. Second, retaining the traditional definition of marriage and affording same-sex couples only a separate and differently named family relationship will, as a realistic matter, impose appreciable harm on same-sex couples and their children, because denying such couples access to the familiar and highly favored designation of marriage is likely to cast doubt on whether the official family relationship of same-sex couples enjoys dignity equal to that of opposite-sex couples. Third, because of the widespread disparagement that gay individuals historically have faced, it is all the more probable that excluding same-sex couples from the legal institution of marriage is likely to be viewed as reflecting an official view that their committed relationships are of lesser stature than the comparable relationships of opposite-sex couples. Finally, retaining the designation of marriage exclusively for oppositesex couples and providing only a separate and distinct designation for same-sex couples may well have the effect of perpetuating a more general premise — now emphatically rejected by this state — that gay individuals and same-sex couples are in some respects “second-class citizens” who may, under the law, be treated differently from, and less favorably than, heterosexual individuals or opposite-sex couples. Under these circumstances, we cannot find that retention of the traditional definition of marriage constitutes a compelling state interest. Accordingly, we conclude that to the extent the current California statutory provisions limit marriage to opposite-sex couples, these statutes are unconstitutional.


Hot damn! Where should I register? :)

It's Official: Gay Marriage Ban Overturned in California

Get out that tuxedo and veil! If you're straight, gay, pretty or not, you can now get married in California. I'm very proud of California right now. I just hope we can keep the forces of intolerance and hate from trying to turn back the clock.

Kudos to the California Supreme Court!

Read more here.

Monday, May 12, 2008

And Here's Bill O'Reilly to Play Us Out. . .

What does "play us out" mean? Don't get mad, Bill. I'm trying to explain. Stop screaming, Bill, it's just a phrase, a colloquialism, a few "bons mots." Bill, put down the gun. No, Bill, no!!!

See more funny videos at CollegeHumor

Contrarian Mondays: Ordering Iced Tea at Starbucks


Why does it take the good people at Starbucks so much longer to make my iced tea than it does to make a venti quad shot soy sugar-free vanilla latte? I'm pretty sure my drink consists of water, ice and the tea concentrate. I don't even want sweetener. It should take 30 seconds to make. So WHY do I wait 5 minutes for my drink?

I guess the answer to that would be laziness.

Still, Peet's had tea brewed and hands me my iced tea before I leave the cash register. Now that is service.

Get you act together, Starbucks!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

I Like Rugby More and More

Can you imagine this scene occurring in America, Land of the Free? The Austrian National Rugby team decides to have some fun in Vilnius, Lithuania by singing and stripping to their unique version of "Singing In The Rain."

(Definitely NSFW)


What Can You Buy for $7.00?

Three Venti Iced Teas at Starbucks plus a decent tip
A Quizno's sandwich
Maaaaybe 2 gallons of gas (unless you're in SF)
16 first-class stamps
Or, a trip across the Golden Gate Bridge.

They are proposing a hike of $2.00 in the bridge's toll for morning and evening commuters and on weekend and holiday afternoons. In other words, peak travel times will cost you more.

Well, that's one way to deal with congestion. Price it out of the market.

I'm glad I don't own a car.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Cheerleader Smackdown: The Cock-Ts vs. The Goldstar Beavers

I went to see my friend Beth and her burlesque cheerleading troupe, The Cock-Ts, perform at Annie's Social Club on Friday night. I offered to record the performance for them. I mean, they never get to see themselves perform! Why should we in the audience have all the fun. So, I put it together, uploaded it to Vimeo, and thought I'd share. Enjoy. Be warned, though. It's the full 30-minute show.

Cheerleader Smackdown: Cock-Ts vs. Goldstar Beavers from Todd X. on Vimeo.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

As The World Turns: Survey for Luke and Noah Storyline


As The World Turns on CBS has a gay storyline, a romance between Luke and Noah. So far they've kissed three times, and each time the American Family Association organizes homophobes to call Procter & Gamble, the show's sponsor, to complain. There have been so many calls on the issue that P&G has set up an option in their phone menu for you to call in your support or opposition to the storyline.

So here's some simple actions you can take:

Call P&G at 1.800.331.3774.
Then press 2 to get to the "As the World Turns" survey.
Finally, press 1 to ask P&G to continue the Luke and Noah storyline and fight homophobia.