Sunday, November 30, 2008

an apple a day

...keeps the neurologist away. years ago, i took that old saying to heart and, while i haven't stuck to it religiously, i still eat an apple a day when i can.

at some moment of brilliance in my life (one of many, be assured) i decided it would be efficient to consume the entire apple, including the core, leaving nothing to throw away but the stem. plus, i'd read that apple seeds contain trace amounts of cyanide and i thought this would somehow inoculate me against any nasty poisoning snafu that might arise in the future. one never knows.

this has since become a habit for me, and now people stare in awe as i appear to be finishing an apple, but instead grab the stem and eat the core from the bottom up (slowly poisoning myself over time.) it's quite a conversation starter, believe you me.

the apple pictured here is…or rather was an aomori apple. big as your head – if your head is little. and there's nothing wrong with a little...okay, big as a large woman's breast. apples, the forbidden fruit, often symbolize breasts. apples=breasts. so let's cut to the chase: this proves that my homosexuality is environmental – i grew up around apples. large apples. and i know i'm showing you my core, here, so you'll just have to wonder if i eventually ate it. (you'll spend hours, i know.)

fuji apples are named after fujisaki – a town located in the minamitsugaru district in the aomori prefecture, japan – where they originated, not after mt. fuji like some people think (sorry blaine, i was wrong.) they've been in the marketplace since 1962 (only a year longer than i've been in the marketplace) although initially developed in 1930 and brought to the united states in the 1980's, where they are now the fourth most popular apple. go fuji. you kick red delicious ass. and galas can blow me.

studies have shown that apples not only prevent heart disease, several forms of cancer, and tooth decay, but they lower bad cholesterol, raise good cholesterol, and lead to healthier lungs. in addition, they contain a specific antioxidant – the flavonoid quercetin – that combats cognitive decline associated with alzheimer's disease and other age-related mental illness. that same flavinoid gives the apple it's color. personally, i think flavonoid and quercitin are both pretty gay sounding. sorry apples.

my own personal study shows that eating an apple's cyanide-laced seeds completely counteracts any benefit the fruit might have in deterring cognitive memory loss. what?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

prop me up

think prop 8 had no immediate effect on my civil rights in new york? think again. and charles blow knows how we can "pitch" gay marriage to black women: it's good for their health.

the milkman cometh

is milk the best movie of the year? rolling stone thinks so. the new york times thinks so. the consensus is growing.

Friday, November 28, 2008

respect, empower, and include

part of an obama campaing mantra. from laurin manning, who worked as a blogger for the obama campaign:
"Respect, empower, and include. Those words were emblazoned on the walls of the Iowa state headquarters, and we put them on the walls in our Ohio headquarters (and many other offices around the country) as well. 'Respect, empower, and include' wasn't used in ads and whatnot, but, rather, was an operating philosophy for the staff -- that came from and was practiced by the highest level folks on the campaign."
while one campaign was trying to point up our differences, trying to divide us, the folks working and volunteering for obama were hearing – and seeing – this message.

(photo courtesy michael gottwald)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

check your briefs

kenya believe it?

article II, section 1 of the united states constitution states: "no person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the united states, at the time of the adoption of this constitution, shall be eligible to the office of president;" meaning, of course, barack obama cannot be our president because he was born in kenya. oy.

cal thomas' right to choose

cal thomas makes the church choice for barack obama: he should use jimmy carter as a role model. thomas: if as president, barack obama adopts Carter as his church role model, he, too, will serve as an example to the nation that there is a power higher than a president's and, as scripture reminds us, "those who seek him shall ever surely find him." hey cal. stfu.

hey wisconsin. have another drink.

does wisconsin have a drinking problem? the new york times thinks so. so does the milwaukee journal-sentinal. here's a happy statistic from their series wasted in wisconsin: more than 475,000 people in wisconsin have at least one drunken-driving conviction on their record. nearly 8,000 have five or more. don't you get to a point in life when you realize waking up and throwing up should not both be daily occurrences? don't you up?

tim is safe in indiana. not india.

my friend tim ewing answered his phone this morning, "i'm in indiana. not india." the news of the terrorist attacks in india, combined with tim's absence from skype or ichat worried me: tim's diversity work has taken him to mumbai several times in the last few years. "when i heard about the bombings at the taj mahal hotel, i pulled out my ipod and showed my mom pictures of the inside of the hotel – i stayed there in july. cafe leopold, just around the corner, frequented by artists, poets...was one of my favorites. it was bombed too." in yonago, japan, i have yet another reason to be thankful on this thanksgiving.

more on mormons

did the mormon church break california state election law in their support of proposition 8? fred karger thinks so.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

five minutes a day

have you met my friend ray?

article I, section 6

is this why the appointment of hillary clinton as secretary of state is taking so long? barack obama doesn't want to violate the constitution? (just think of what the "he doesn't have a legal birth certificate" crazies would do with that!)

a commenter to msnbc's first read says: "
"please, after torture, listening in on americans' phone calls, no habeas corpus, we're supposed to believe THIS would be a problem?"
well, yeah. probably. i mean, look at sarah palin! she still wants to talk, doesn't want to talk, wants to talk about obama's ties to unrepentant domestic terrorists! that is, of course, when she isn't pardoning a turkey. (just in case you missed it.)

arrogance or ignorance?

tony award winning actor shuler hensley, one of my best friends, my close friend, my friend, who? when did i eat a penny? someone i shared a life with, shared a pecan pie with, shared a dressing room with worked with in a dream i had, at hardee's, a couple of times, will soon be out of a job. probably not – and hopefully not – for long. but come january 4th, 2009, shuler's run in the mel brooks musical "young frankenstein" is officially over. actually, come january 4th, "young frankenstein" itself is officially over.

the new york times suggests the theater community is not terribly sad that the big green monster (played by shuler himself) is being put to rest (i.e. the villagers have finally come to angrily and happily burn down frankestein's castle.) the times also mentions, at least twice, that initial word of mouth for the show was good. guess i was listening to the wrong words from the wrong mouths. (although i gotta say, word of mouth on shuler's performance was always great.)

the show was brooks' follow up to the tony-est winning, long-running, record shattering musical "the producers" (currently coming back to life at my old stomping grounds, the skylight in milwaukee, which is where i met...shu...) after a success like that, who could blame the producers of "young frank" for charging $450 for premium seats? a measly $375 got you a not-so-bad orchestra seat, and $120 (sorta the standard for good seats elsewhere on the great white way) sat your ass in the dress circle.

well, that was then.

“what (some very smart broadway people) perceived as our arrogance,” robert f. x. sillerman, brooks’s producing partner, said, “was nothing more or less than my ignorance.”

"as anyone who has seen this stunning production can attest, it is a spectacular and extravagant musical. in these uncertain economic times, my partners and i have decided to end our run on broadway and focus our efforts on the first national tour, which will launch in september 2009."

$450 seats. i'm just sayin'.

if i spend $450 to sit in the same seat for over two hours hoping to be taken away from my dreary everyday life, i wanna end up in maui, not walking out of the hilton theatre not humming the tunes.

after 30 previews and 484 regular performances, "young frankestein" unhooks the electrodes on january 4, 2009.

and shuler? no worries – he won't be outta work for long.

Monday, November 24, 2008

can we suspend bush?

remember during the presidential race when someone suspended his campaign so he could rush to washington and solve the ecomonic crisis?

how about this, instead? – have it on my desk by january 20th.

now can we talk about leading?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

the obama's right to choose

not sure you've heard yet, but the obamas are moving to washington, d.c.

they've found a house. (one of the previous tenants, a gal named laura, even gave michelle obama a little tour"I showed her the closets, I showed her all the things that women are interested in.") they've chosen a school for their girls. they're looking for a dog that won't make malia sneeze too much.

and now comes the hard part: they've got to pick a church.

david waters from the washington post's on faith
As the first African-American First Family, will they be criticized if they choose a black church, or if they don't? If they choose a white pastor, or if they don't? If they choose a United Methodist or American Baptist congregation rather than a historically black denomination? If they choose a church across town, or in a tonier part of town rather than one near the White House?

After the Wright fiasco, dare they choose another church in the liberal United Church of Christ denomination, or another pastor who subscribes to black liberation theology? And if they don't, will they be criticized for bowing to political pressures? Just about any choice they make will be seen as political by some.
yes, by some.

who, i wonder, are the "some?" certainly not me. i couldn't care less which church the obamas choose. even waters goes on to say that maybe the obamas should "spend the next four to eight years visiting every possible house of worship from Baptist to Buddhist, from Methodist to Mormon to Muslim, from Catholic to Jewish to Pentecostal. It would be a great learning experience for the First Family and for all of us." maybe they should spend a chunk of time not going to church, too. last i heard, that's legal in the u.s.

honestly, i don't even want to know. it's none of my business, and it's none of yours.

who does want to know? who will criticize the obamas for which church they choose, or scrutinize their choice? (privately and/or publicly?)

the answer to that question says more about religion in our society than anything else.

UPDATE: 1:12 pm – it appears that lately, instead of going to church, barack obama is treating something else like a temple.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

yo-ho! yo-ho! a pirate's life for me!

we pillage, we plunder, we rifle and loot! literally. apparantly pirates are not such nice guys. seems to be a rash of pirate activity lately.

everything old is new again

so, okay: hillary clinton as barack obama's secretary of state. if you've read this blog much over the last year or so, you can probably guess my reaction. ("i just might want this woman sitting across the table from someone like mahmoud ahmadinejad." – 11/12/07)

the possibility certainly has the political chatterers all a-twitter, on both sides of the aisle. and now time magazine's karen tumulty and massimo calabresi ask one of the most pertinent political questions of all:
"Would this move, if it happens, be just the first manifestation of that new kind of politics that Obama was promising in his presidential campaign? Or proof that he understands the oldest kind all too well?"

huckle-berry crazy

mike huckabee is confused. and – i know you think he's charming and folksy and all – he's kinda evil.

first, he tells the ladies of the view that comparisons between the african-american civil rights movement and the gay rights movement aren't legitimate, because, you know, homosexuals haven't met that violence threshold of being hosed down, or having their skulls cracked.

(let me take a breath here and say to mikey – and others – that homosexuals have been hung and beaten and murdered for their sexual orientation; mike may not have paid attention to it the way we have. but i don't think anyone wants to compare that with what has been done to african-amercians in this country. i don't. nor do i think a tit-for-tat between the two groups is the point. i do, however, think the way the law approaches each group is worthy of comparison.)

but if that weren't enough, huckabee later told bill bennett that proposition 8 didn't ban same-sex marriage. maybe the huckster needed to read the wording of prop 8 a little more closely.

(oh, and p.s. that thumping beat and high belting you hear coming from the west is gay marriage in california saying, "i'm not dead yet!")

the christian right is irked

and i had nothing to do with that either.

the japanese are irked

and i had absolutely nothing to do with it.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

h8 v. hate

here's what i fear. from time magazine:
The Mormon Church is not the only group being singled out for criticism. African-Americans, 70% of whom voted yes on Proposition 8, according to a CNN exit poll, have become a target.

According to eyewitness reports published on the Internet, racial epithets have been used against African-Americans at protests in California, directed even at blacks who are fighting to repeal Proposition 8.
from the associated press:
...Anger over the ban and its backers was evident at the protests. One sign in Chicago read: ''Catholic Fascists Stay Out of Politics.''

In San Francisco, demonstrators took shots at some religious groups that supported the ban, including a sign aimed at the Mormon church and its abandoned practice of polygamy that read: ''You have three wives; I want one husband.''

Chris Norberg, who married his partner in June, also referred to the racial divisions that arose after exit polls found that majorities of blacks and Hispanics supported the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

''They voted against us,'' Norberg said.
i have plenty of catholic friends, christian friends, mormon friends and african-american friends who support same-sex marriage, fight for same-sex marriage, and probably marched for same-sex marriage on saturday.

knowing how to fight intolerance is crucial, but meeting intolerance with intolerance, hate vs. hate, is not a tactic i'm interested in. we need to be strong and vigilant, yes. but if we achieve a goal at the expense of friends and even enemies, it will be an awfully lonely achievement.

UPDATE 4:40 p.m. – an update from the new york times:
...While some speakers were obviously eager to tap crowds’ current outrage, others took pains to cast the demonstrations as a peaceful, long-term, campaign over an issue that has proved remarkably and consistently divisive.

“We need to be our best selves,” said the Rev. G. Penny Nixon, a gay pastor from San Mateo, Calif., who warned the San Francisco crowd against blaming “certain communities” for the election loss. “This is a movement based on love.”

how they did it

just in time for saturday's nationwide protests: the new york times reveals that although the "unusual stew" of support for california's proposition 8 included "Catholics, evangelical Christians, conservative black and Latino pastors, and myriad smaller ethnic groups with strong religious ties," it was the mormon's who were the crucial final "spice" in the mix, leading to the passage of the amendment banning gay marriage in the state; spice to the tune of raising $5 million in a matter of days, and in the end as much as half of the nearly $40 million raised on behalf of the measure.

Friday, November 14, 2008

a steele trap

how do you safely take on an african-american president without being accused of playing the race card? you choose an african-american to head the republican national committee.

how ironic that while watching the republican national convention this year, i commented several times, "where are the hispanics? where are the african-americans? oh sure, that looks like america – like white america!" now it seems likely that former maryland lt. gov. michael steele will be the new leader of the rnc. he's in the running, at least.

how do you court the white vote in the republican party? here's a good start:

"obama played the race card beautifully," steele said during a recent conference call with bloggers. he also suggested that in taking rev. wright off the table, john mccain gave up the one issue that might have helped him win the white house, because "it went to the core" of obama's character.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

moron mormon more on marriage

the fallout from the november 4th passage of california's proposition 8 has been surprising and strong. in the words of dan savage:
"Gay people generally aren't the placard-waving, bomb-throwing, chaps-wearing, communion wafer-stomping radicals we're made out to be... Most gays and lesbians are content to be left to alone; many gays and lesbians go out of their way to ignore political threats and political activism and political activists. Only when gays and lesbians are attacked—only after the fact—do gays and lesbians take to the streets."
scott eckern, artistic director at california musical theater, donated $1000 to the pro-prop 8 camp, came under fire from high profile theatre-folks like marc shaiman (composer, hairspray) susan eagan (actress) and others, and ended up resigning from his post. this was met with cheers from some in the community, but not all. kel munger, theatre critic for the sacramento news and review writes:
"Forcing Eckern out of a career he loves—and has been exceptionally good at—only hurts the movement for equality. It also hurts the artists—gay and straight—who have benefited and would have continued to benefit from Eckern‘s talent and expertise. It hurts the community—gay and straight—for whom musical theater is a place where many cultures meet (usually with a lot of laughter, a few tears, and some dancing)."
from the tuesdays comment section, laurin points out that on a practical level, progressives (including the gay community) need a more effective campaign model:
"Progressives have to figure out how to run more effective issue campaigns... There's obviously not an easy answer -- as these fights have been fought all over the country for a decade and there's only been one successful one -- but there's an inherent problem in not having a more streamlined, accountable campaign model, and that needs to be figured out."
for now we've moved on to a more raw, emotional form of expression: marches, rallies, and protests. protests around california have been civil (despite some missed fed-ex deliveries and an injured policeman) but highly visible. a protest in new york city this week was 3000+ strong.

the mormon church, who funneled tens of thousands of dollars into a pro-prop 8 campaign in california (including it's own "blacklist" – "The names of any companies and organizations that choose not to donate in like manner to but have given to Equality California will be published" they warned in fundraising letters) has been the focal point for much of the protest ire. but others, including individuals like eckern, have also been targeted.

and there's more to come: this saturday is a national day of protest with rallies and marches being planned in cities all across the country. the website join the impact lists information on protests in cities like fairbanks, alaska, charleson, west virginia, milwaukee, wisconsin, nashville, tennessee, orlando, florida, and hundreds more.

i think it's important in this struggle to be vocal and open, and to educate. the more discussion and dialogue among family members and friends the better. and these displays of unity among our community are vital. we are not going away, this is not about your faith or your religion. my relationship, my possible marriage, in no way threatens yours. i don't want to be married in your church, i'm not fighting for the right to be married in your church, and more than likely i don't even want to come to your church, thank you.

but i'm also reminded of my own personal struggle to come out to a mother who was used to seeing television coverage of things like gay pride parades in san francisco, and anita bryant. "is that what you are?" was my mom's question. in her mind, i would soon be wearing a dress, or a leather vest with butt-less chaps, or a harness. or all three. okay, so she was right. that aside, i didn't need to scare her.

and in time, she came to love me even deeper, understand me, and fully support me and my relationship. she came to realize that i was born with these feelings, they weren't taught to me (like her religion had been taught to her.) she came to realize that i still left my wet towel on the bathroom floor, i still didn't enjoy vacuuming or dusting, and that my relationship with another man was just as normal (if not more so) than her relationship with my father. but it took some tough words from both of us, and some butted heads.

the gay community is not unfamiliar with protest, civil unrest and civil disobedience. the modern gay movement began in 1969 with the stonewall riots. in 1987, larry kramer started act up in response to what he felt was the gay men's health crisis inability to fight the necessary political fight to end aids and aids discrimination. we would not be where we are today were it not for the grit and determination of the people who fought those fights and others (and continue to.)

blacklists, however, only fuel hate. hate vs. hate gets us nowhere. we're struggling for something based in love. hate should not be part of the equation.

as we in the gay community fight for the right to marry – a civil right we deserve – we should march, shout, yell, and do what we need to do (i'll be right there with you.) but let's keep in mind how we won the hearts and minds of our own families: through honesty, courage, perseverance, and example.

photos from the new york city march against prop 8, courtesy of andrew parkhurst.

a thin line between love and H8

this is what happened in new york city yesterday, in my neighborhood. had i been there, i would have marched.

these protests don't seem to be slowing down or going away. they seem to be getting bigger and louder. i'm wondering if perhaps the mormon church and california did the gay community a favor.

yummy yama

tobi foster peeking through the remains of a yamachan chicken wing. we're having yamachan for dinner tonight, and i'm finding it difficult to think about anything else.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

she's gone away not going anywhere

sarah palin's not gone yet. in fact, she's more in the media now than even before the election. to some of us, that's welcome news. 'cause i think, the more she's out there representing the republican party, the better for the dems. (if we're lucky, it might also mean more tina fey on snl.)

the best line about palin and her recent comments to the press ("i've never been an obsessive partisan" made me spit green tea out my nose) comes from msnbc's david shuster:
"does she live in some sort of parallel universe? and maybe, does the republican base live there with her?"

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

marriage: take two

on proposition H8's passage...

andrew sullivanusing the sacramento bee as his source:
"The final analysis is pretty clear. There was a big overlap between new, largely black Obama voters and the forces for discrimination against gay married couples and our families...The massive black turnout was the critical factor."
nate silverusing, uh, the sacramento bee as his source:
"The notion that Prop 8 passed because of the Obama turnout surge is silly. Exit polls suggest that first-time voters -- the vast majority of whom were driven to turn out by Obama (he won 83 percent [!] of their votes) -- voted against Prop 8 by a 62-38 margin. More experienced voters voted for the measure 56-44, however, providing for its passage."
silver also has some comforting words about the future:
"The good news for supporters of marriage equity is that -- and there's no polite way to put this -- the older voters aren't going to be around for all that much longer, and they'll gradually be cycled out and replaced by younger voters who grew up in a more tolerant era...two or four or six or eight years from now, (marriage equality will) get across the finish line."

marriage has been redefined

Marriage is thus something more than a civil contract subject to regulation by the state; it is a fundamental right of free men....The right to marry is as fundamental as the right to send one’s child to a particular school or the right to have offspring.

Indeed, “We are dealing here with legislation which involves one of the basic civil rights of man..." Legislation infringing such rights must be based upon more than prejudice and must be free from oppressive discrimination to comply with the constitutional requirements of due process and equal protection of the laws.
a quote from the 1948 california supreme court case perez v. sharp, in which the court recognized that interracial bans on marriage violated the fourteenth amendment of the federal constitution.

much more on prop 8 protests and fallout here.

UPDATE 11/12/08 1:18 am – the l.a. times reports:
Forty-three Democratic legislators, including leaders of the California Senate and Assembly, filed a brief Monday urging the California Supreme Court to void Proposition 8.
more here.

Monday, November 10, 2008

a lesson from george w. bush

i'm not a regular reader of powerline, or john hinderacker. but many thanks to josh marshall's talking points memo for pointing out this gem from "arguably the most influential conservative blogger in the country" –
Obama thinks he is a good talker, but he is often undisciplined when he speaks. He needs to understand that as President, his words will be scrutinized and will have impact whether he intends it or not. In this regard, President Bush is an excellent model; Obama should take a lesson from his example. Bush never gets sloppy when he is speaking publicly. He chooses his words with care and precision, which is why his style sometimes seems halting. In the eight years he has been President, it is remarkable how few gaffes or verbal blunders he has committed.
and now, for your listening entertainment, here are just a few examples of george w. bush as that "excellent model":

Sunday, November 9, 2008

breaking the good china

a teaser headline on aol's main page today reads:
"who can beat barack obama?"
it includes pics of four possible republican presidential candidates for 2012 (palin, romney, and...blech, i couldn't stomach looking at the others.) it hasn't been a week since the presidential race ended and we're already beginning the next one. i don't know about you, but if this actually happens i'm going to break something. dinner wear, an expensive vase, something. maybe i'll go out into the garage to smash plates like my sister does.

the right-wing's favorite talkers, in a stunning show of bi-partisan cooperation, have already begun reaching out to the other side. rush limbaugh made this announcement to his 15 million+ audience last thursday:
"The Obama recession is in full swing, ladies and gentlemen. Stocks are dying, which is a precursor of things to come. This is an Obama recession. Might turn into a depression."
"the obama recession." fascinating, isn't it? before november 4th, many on the right were reluctant to even say the word "recession." now we're not only knee-deep in it (among other things) but we're naming it after a man who was elected less than a week ago. someone who won't actually be the president for another two months.

see, the collapse of the financial markets, failures in banking and investment, the nearly bankrupt auto industry, the sub-prime meltdown, all had nothing to do with it. rush limbaugh (his excellence in broadcasting credentials clearly exposed) wants us to know the truth: the reason our economy is collapsing is because it anticipates the tax increases barack obama has pledged on capital gains and for the highest income earners.

i'm anticipating some broken china. maybe even the good china.

i'm also anticipating renaming a few other things. didn't hurricane katrina need a last name? how about "katrina bush"? the next time we waterboard someone or rip out their fingernails, let's say they were "cheneyed." and how about this: "the bush terrorist attacks of 9/11"?

no one expects the folks on the right to have pretty things to say about obama. no one expects sean hannity to greet him with candy and flowers, as some sort of liberator. okay, i expected it for five minutes and then someone kicked me. the right-wing hacks should be skeptical, and poke, prod and dig as much as they can. that's healthy, and needed. one would hope, however that there would be a modicum of truth and honesty in their bloviating. then again.

the actual truth is this: limbaugh, hannity, and their crew are laughable in their animus and anger.

how are things in yokohama?

sound check in yokohama, in the kanagawa prefecture. rob hancock, jackie vanderbeck, moi, and elissa beckwith, with our friends the tokyo philharmonic orchestra.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

south korea's having a bad day

now that we’ve left south korea and we’re back in happy japan i can say it: korea is grumpy mc-two-shoes. wow.

when we returned to manhattan last year from our first trip to japan, i could be heard around town telling friends how kind the japanese people are. “in two months no one pushed me or shoved me and i was never in anyone’s way. it was great!” first impressions are sometimes a bit skewed (i used to sort of like lou dobbs until i realized what a blowhard he is) and upon returning to nihon this year, i realized it is not quite as clean, as friendly, or as polite as i’d remembered. don’t get me wrong, it’s ten times friendlier than pretty much anywhere i’ve been in the states (including columbus.) but the rosy picture i painted of “never being in anyone’s way?” perhaps a touch too rosy.

and then we went to korea.

let me backtrack and say i’ve reconsidered my earlier remarks: japan is by far the cleanest, friendliest, most polite place i’ve ever been. seriously.

now. korea.

have i mentioned how polite the japanese are?

within five minutes of arriving in seoul, south korea i was pushed, shoved, and bumped into more times than i have been pushed or shoved in three years of living in manhattan. if you live in manhattan, you know what kind of pushing and shoving i’m talking about. now maybe i sound like a woose here. “oh, someone pushed you did they? it wasn’t all nice, and cute like you wanted, little baby american person?” go ahead and mock. the next time you’re climbing up the side of a mountain and someone seriously nudges you out of the way when there’s about a half an inch of trail between you and no trail…well. you’ll be a woose too.

and can you say “korean stank-eye?" walking down the street in seoul i often felt like i was a hobo intruding on a private dinner party. like i had just personally offended the mother of every fourth person i passed. “what are you doing here?” they said with their eyes. “i don’t trust you for a minute.” “that hairstyle is so 80’s." "i bet you don't even like pig intestine."

that said, the theater we played – the sejong center – was stunning, the korean audiences were wildly enthusiastic (unlike the very polite, and sometimes very quiet japanese audiences) and the lotte hotel was the best i’ve ever stayed in (you really can’t beat remote control curtains.) and at the top of that mountain, at the end of the trail was a very sweet, very dear man who not only offered to take my picture, but gave me a gigantic korean apple, and struck up a bright little conversation.

of course, he was japanese.

the dumping continues

wow. more palin dump, again from fox:
"i just wanna rattle off a couple of things that insiders say she just simply didn't know. there were real problems with basic civics: government structures, municipal, state and federal government responsibilities. she didn't know the nations involved with the north american free trade agreement, we're told. we're told she wasn't actually able to name all the countries in north america."
it goes on. even bill o'reilly has trouble mustering up any defense of her.

someone who could have been vice-president of the united states couldn't name the countries in north america. i know you don't think you read that correctly, so i'll mention it again: the woman john mccain chose to be his running mate, the woman who would have been, say it with me – a heartbeat away from the presidencycouldn't name the countries in north america.

that's right senator mccain: country first!

(and there's still more, this time from the new york times.)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

wasilla hillbillies

"wasilla hillbillies looting neiman marcus from coast to coast" is the quote from an angry sarah palin campaign aide. newsweek adds to the dump, and it's a pretty healthy load.

the dump truck dumps

here it comes: the real trashing of sarah palin. the only surprising thing? it's started by that bastion of the liberal-elite "gotcha" media – fox news. this clip is just the beginning of what fox's carl cameron calls "an avalanche" – she didn't know the countries in nafta (clue: it's the north american free trade agreement) she didn't understand that africa is a continent not a country, she refused to do preparation for interviews, and then threw temper tantrums when they went poorly. but let's here it for palin in 2012!

barack hussein obama

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America - I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you - we as a people will get there.

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government can't solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it's been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years - block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. In this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.

Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House - a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity.

Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, "We are not enemies, but friends...though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection." And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn - I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


the information center: a hotel room in yokohama, japan. bbc on the telly, msnbc streaming live on the mac, cnn and fox on computers in the next room, constant blog checking. some serious media overload. plus, lot's of screaming and pounding on walls when a state is called for obama (housekeeping was very confused by us.) all that, and some excited, anxious, optimistic americans.

one for claus

not long ago, i asked a college student type person i know if he was going to vote in this year's thrilling presidential election (isn't everyone as wacked-out about politics as i am?) he had just turned 18 and in my warped political haze, i assumed he'd be excited to participate in an historic election like this.

after all, it's not often that a candidate like barack obama comes along, and there certainly are issues at stake that will directly effect this kid's future (the economy, jobs, mmm...war with iran, maybe?) and hey! he's a college student! he's part of the youth vote, right? those youth voters are gonna make the difference in this election! they're gonna show up at the polls! and besides, what a great thing to be able to tell your grandkids"i voted for barack obama." (a few of you might prefer to tell those grandkids "i voted against the baby-killing terrorist!" i'm trying to be inclusive, here.)

"not gonna vote," my college student friend told me, "i don't like either one."

harumph. "write someone in!" i suggested.

i wondered, though, if it was really true, or if – like myself at 18 (too busy drinking heinekin and shots of tequila, and singing "come on baby, let's do the twist" at weddings five times a week) – he just hadn't learned enough about either candidate to make a choice. after a brief conversation, he confessed that if he voted, he knew who he'd vote for. i breathed a sigh of political relief.

a few days later, we talked again and he told me he'd discovered that it was too late: he couldn't vote because he hadn't registered. yikes. after doing a little research though (very little) i discovered that in his state you can, in fact, register on the same day that you vote. hmm. so, no dice there.

when confronted with this information, (and by confronted, i know...confronted) he reverted to the old "i don't like either one" line. odd, since he actually told me earlier that he did favor one over the other. so why not vote?

it was a mystery to me. i've been known to have a touch of the o.c.d. so naturally i bombarded him with information about registering, where to register, what i.d. to bring to register, voting on campus, why he should vote, videos and emails and websites and pdf's and the like. i even arranged for someone from one of the campaigns to call him and offer encouragement or help with registering (that wasn't going overboard, was it?)

i haven't heard from him since.

but i bet he thought about it, and finally sucked it up and went out and voted.

for santa claus.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

transparency awol

andrew sullivan points out that one of the four candidates for president/vice-president refuses to hold press conference and has not released any medical records whatsoever.

any guess who it might be? your right.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

check out those buns!

the coffee bun, so far as i can tell, originated in singapore. no wait, it's indian. or...malaysian. mexican? oh hell, i don't know. if you do, clue me in.

i discovered them in seoul, south korea, in the food court of the lotte department store. this was no ordinary "food court," however. and these were no ordinary buns. (that's what she said.)

pappa roti was the brand/franchise. roti=bread, or in this case bun, i.e. the father of all buns. but there are others: roti boy, roti mum. it's a cinnabon, i thought. upon further inspection, it looked too bready to be a cinnamon roll. and the swirl of creamy stuff going on top, prior to baking...was it sweet? sugary? it seemed to disappear as the buns baked...or bake right into the dough.

as difficult as it is to describe them, i will try: they are a bready, unbelievably light, freshly baked bun that has a somewhat crusty topping which gives them a slight maple taste. inside, there is a tiny splotch of butter. butter. they melt in your mouth, they are not overwhelmingly sweet, and are perfect with a cup of coffee.

and since i had my first taste, i haven't stopped craving them.