Seen Archive 

Cost-benefit analysis

posted 03.28.05

So we're tucked in and ready to snooze the other night and Ume turns to me and says, "I've done a cost benefit analysis of my relationship with Chris - she's running a deficit."

Honestly, how am I supposed to fall to sleep laughing that hard?

Interesting stuff

So, we think about our issues and how being gay affects us on a day-to-day basis... How about the gay experience for the adult children of gays? I listened to an interesting talk, by way of the Center For New Words/WGBH Forum Network: Children of Gay Parents Tell It Like It Is (Abigail Garner)

Check out Abigail Garner's website, Families Like Mine, for interesting articles and views on growing up with gay parents.

She identifies herself as "culturally queer/erotically straight"... hmm... I had straight parents, does that make me "culturally straight/erotically queer"? Could be. She mentions having felt a reluctance on the part of some queer people to accept her into the queer community - darlin' we have trouble accepting and tolerating each other, ill-prepared as we are by society to socialize and play nice with other gays. My advice would be not to hold your breath waiting for anyone to accept you, just barge on in, and poke at people until you wear 'em down - if this sophisticated technique isn't successful, at least you have the satisfaction of having annoyed somebody.

You can check out other talks sponsored by the Center for New Words on the WGBH Forum Network.

I've also been listening to programs on the Outright Radio site, some great stuff over there. I particularly like one of the segments in the program called, "Living on the Fringe". It's about a trucker. They do a darn good job producing these shows, I highly recommend checking them out - they have written transcripts as well as audio files.

Other forms of entertainment

While surfing around for the latest news in lesbian entertainment, I learned that Karina Lombard was not invited back for Season 2 of "The L Word"... ARE THESE PEOPLE FREAKIN' NUTS?! Did they miss the scorch marks on the screen when she appeared? Oh, come on!

Sigh. Impermanance is a tough taskmaster.

But there are other bits and pieces looming on the horizon of lesbian entertainment - D.E.B.S. has opened in theaters. It's said to have a lesbian aspect and looks sufficiently silly... we just might check it out.

Hey, wanna watch the PlanetOut Short Movie Awards for 2005 online?

The overall winner was "PROM-troversy" (it loads reasonably well with a DSL connection) - it's sweet and possesses an important message - never underestimate a girl who wants to be prom queen...

I liked the animated short "Listen"by Susan Justin, I just wish the quality of the online version was more clear - bummer.

You can browse PlanetOut's extensive gay, lesbian and transgender movie listings. I find this an especially search friendly site - it's a great way to pick a few flicks for the weekend.

Speaking of extensive listings, check out the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Center of the University of Pennsyvania for books on living the life lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender.

While we're doing our homework, why not check out this brief history of LGBT people in America?


"The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease."

- Voltaire

"Logic is in the eye of the logician." 

- Gloria Steinem

"When ideas fail, words come in very handy." 

- Goethe

"A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices."

- William James

In the news

It's been a bleak week in the news, with the Shiavo family's personal tragedy being used to further the right's crusade against the "liberal" courts, the shootings at the school in Minnesota, more killings in Iraq...

The Shiavo case:
One Ethicist's Perspective (Here and Now, 03.21.05)

Bush Decries School Rampage; Critics Question Delay (Reuters, 03.27.05)

Are we surprised?
Delay Caught on Tape (Here and Now, 03.24.05)

This ought to be interesting to watch:
Jimmy Carter to Chair Election Reform Commission (Reuters, 03.24.05)

Better late than never?
Sunnis now want to join Iraq politics by Jill Carrol (CSMonitor, 03.24.05)

U.S. Troops Tortured Iraqis in Mosul, Documents Show by Andrew Marshall (Reuters, 03.26.05)

Is this what my parents used to call a draft?
Army Orders Further Involuntary Troop Call-Up (Reuters, 03.23.05)

Nice change of pace:
Scientists Find Soft Tissue in T-Rex Bone (Reuters, 03.24.05)

Octopus 'Walks' on Two Arms, Researchers Find (Reuters, 03.24.05)

New Compound May Prevent Allergies, Study Finds (Reuters, 03.27.05)


posted 03.18.05

I saw crocuses! Real, live, growin'-out-the-ground, likely to have flowers on top - crocuses. Imagine that. There may be a spring at the end of all of this encrusted chill. Go figure.

Image upgrade

So I was driving along, minding my own business (naturally), and out of the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse of bicep. It was 40 degrees out, and that's practically a heat wave in this neck of the woods just now, so seeing a woman in a t-shirt wasn't any big deal. Seeing a buff, lean woman with a tan, in a black t-shirt, blue jeans, and boots, swinging a leather jacket over her shoulder as she stepped out of her sleek ride - that's something else.

What I want to know is this - what snowbank did she get that tan on? Not the one I've been chilling my ass on all winter, that's for sure. Migrant species, I expect. What I want to know next is - did she have that look before or after she started reading fanfiction? And, while I'm on about it, why were her muscles all bulging and whatnot as she was opening the car door? Always thought that was a low stress kinda move, not requiring much in the flexing department - and yet, she was pretty flexed - wouldn't think a big girl like that would be overly taxed by a car door handle. Maybe it was stuck...

Anyway, the look suited her - a very no-nonsense, eat your heart out, kinda statement. But... I really can't help looking at someone like that as kind of a comic book character. Odd, when you consider it - 'cuz she's real. Only... she looks so much like something out of fiction, off a movie set - that my brain didn't register her as entirely real - more like entertainment (though I didn't stare, 'cuz that's rude).

I drove on and thought, "Gee, maybe I should spruce up my image and stuff." I did buy a new pair of jeans last week (a trial I'll spare you - only know this, I suffered). They're black - Ume likes them. I haven't worn jeans in years, I prefer what I call "camp pants" - made of lighter khaki-type materials. Good for everything those pants - very servicable, practical pants. But Ume tires of my worn serviceable look and says things like, "I don't want people to think that you're not well taken care of, go buy some new clothes!"

To which I reply, "If I was well taken care of, someone else would be buying me new clothes."

But she hates shopping as much as I do, so that's not happening any day soon. Hell, she'd pay me to go shopping for her, if she thought I'd do it. As it is, when she goes shopping I have to go with her. "I'm not going shopping to buy a bunch of things, get them home, and have you tell me you don't like them."

You see, while I'm not overly discriminating about my own clothes, I can be pretty picky about hers. So we go shopping together, and I let my inner drag queen run wild, "No, no, no! That shirt's not nearly tailored enough. I think something a little more snug will do nicely - very nicely. And maybe we should do something about those pants... have them taken in maybe here, a bit there. You shouldn't be hiding that, you know. And put that corduroy right back on that rack, madame! Are you trying to give me hives?" (My inner drag queen would never be caught dead wearing half the stuff I schlump around in. A bitch on wheels, he is - but he does a fair job dressing my Ume.)

Shopping online has major pluses, but is also a pain. (There's just no winning with me today.) I mean, it's still clothes shopping - and you're still likely to have to send half of it back. Especially because they lie about the sizes. And how cute is it that I've gained weight as I've aged, but my pant size remains the same? Neat trick - annoying marketing ploy. "Gee, I'd better buy these pants, they say I'm skinny!" Anyday now, I'll be a size four again... Not!

But who the hell cares about my shopping aversion? I guess while I'm sprucing up my image I'll have to stop running on about things like shopping. Not very edgy, whining about shopping. Which isn't to say I want edgy... but that seems the going fashion... I'll have to think on it. Maybe I'll sign up for one of those total makeover shows, while I'm at it. Now that'd make Ume's hair curl! "Ume, I've been chosen to be a contestant on "The Swan"! (She wouldn't know that that's a reality tv beauty pageant for women who've had plastic surgery - so I'd have to tell her that too.) They're going to slice open my body, break my bones, work me out, and I'll be all sparkly and fit at the other end of it! I'll cry from joy and relief, because I'll look like the women in the magazines! Maybe even Michael Jackson! I'll be the very picture of feminine allure - with jutting out hip bones and pouty lips. I may even be able to feel good about myself, because I'll look so much like a marketing agency's idea of womanhood. And even if I don't feel good, people will think I do, because I'll look so plastic - I mean, perfect!"

Ume would give me the squint for sure and say, "Have you been at the tequila again?"

There's no point in trying to change in the face of that kind of negativity. So I think I'll just skip the extreme makeover idea. Even thinking about spiffing up my image is tiring - I don't think I'm cut out for this upgrade, sounds too much like work. Instead, I'm going to recycle the image I've got, which is an energy efficient, environmentally friendly kind of move, really. And that sounds cutting edge enough for me. It's all in how you look at it.

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In the news...

Little steps:
Court Rules California Cannot Ban Gay Marriages (Reuters, 03.14.05)

US Starts Women's Meeting with Anti-Abortion Stand (Reuters, 02.28.05)

Good discussion of current events in the Middle East - the laudatory stuff about Bush is gag inducing, but I survived it:
Shock and Awe -- Two Years Out (The Connection, 05.18.05)

Are we shocked that Ralph Reed is involved in all this slime too? No.
Washington Lobbyist Abramoff's Relationship to DeLay (All Things Considered, 03.15.05, audio file)

Ethics Charges Continue to Hound DeLay (Day to Day, 03.15.05, audio file)

No way:
Frozen Bacterium Has Implications for Mars -NASA (Reuters, 02.23.05)

Holy cow, guess they don't like Lawrence Summers over at Harvard U. Seems his leadership style is considered aggressive and authoritarian by a goodly portion of the faculty, who have delivered him a vote of no confidence on his leadership this week. And that, apparently,was unexpected.

This vote of no confidence came as a shock to people - no one realized the extent of the antipathy the faculty had for Summers' management style. What's he been doing over there, anyway? Poking people in the eye with pointy sticks?

Should he stay, or should he go? Hmm, I'm uniquely unqualified and uninformed to judge this one - so I'd better take a crack at it.

As much as I think he's wrong, and ignorant remarks like his about women's innate abilities don't help to further women's progress in the workplace - I don't think he should get the boot for that reason. That would be a bit much. He's apologized and retracted the remarks - says they were wrong.

But apparently there's more to it than those remarks. Those remarks were something in the way of a last straw for a lot of people who work for him. And they were something of an opportunity too. They were used to raise the broader issue of Summer's controversial management style, in general. And apparently, a significant sector of the faculty doesn't have confidence in him (the pointy stick leadership style being less than popular there in the land of "I'm smarter than you, so just get over it.", or so it would seem).

On the one hand, I'm prone to side with the mutinous faculty, because Summers said something I found stupefyingly dense. On the other hand, I'm prone to stick up for his right to say stupid things, because I say them all of the time. And saying stupid things is practically as American as apple pie - I mean, can you think of another country on this planet that would have elected someone with the powers of articulation that George Bush possesses? I can't.

Sounds like the ruckus is really about internal politics, and this regrettable episode was just one in a long line of episodes that have rubbed folks in one direction or another. I don't think it's really about censoring objectionable speech - that's just an objectionable pretext to unseat him, for prior pointy stick type behavior.

Makes for interesting watching, that's for sure.

Summers gets vote of no confidence (Boston Globe, 03.05)

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Don't panic!

posted 03.10.05

You're in the right place! On the right page! It just looks different.

Take a deep breath. Adjust. Not all change is bad.

If you're using an older browser, you may be seeing an unformatted, raw looking layout. Sorry, but it's time for y'all to go through a painful growth spurt - download a new browser. I'll make it easy for you - go to and download a lean, mean, fast, more secure browser - Firefox.

I was tickling my brain by learning a little about coding web pages with CSS. This was a fascinating endeavor that lead me to spend a goodly amount of time dissecting other people's code - and fiddling, and generally going about the business in my usual ass-backward manner. After I'd wasted a sufficient amount of time... I sat down and studied a bit. Then, when I had a clue what I was looking at, I went and lifted the code from someone I figured had a clue about things CSS...

Those brilliant and gregarious folks' sites are (in no specific order, except alphabetical):

Only several Buffet pages are getting a design overhaul - the others will maintain the look of yesteryear, so we can remember from whence we came - and whatnot.

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The more things change...

You're not the only one who's had change thrust upon you. I too have been buffetted by the winds of significant change. (Honestly, how long did you think this would be about you and your problems...)

It all started last week. Ume and I were on the verge of going to bed. I was standing in front of my dresser preparing for my night of beauty sleep (a.k.a. throwing my clothes on top of the dresser before going to bed). Ume was standing next to the bed (she usually beats me in, which is counterintuitive really, as she takes longer in the bathroom and wears more to sleep in than I do) and she looked at me and said, "I'm sleeping on this side."

"But that's my side," I noted, innocent of the seachange that was about to engulf my otherwise unremarkable day.

"Yes, I know, I want you to sleep over there."

"But... that's your side." Tossing the last of my vestments atop the pile, I was still struggling with the enormity of the situation.

"I know it's my side, but I want to sleep over here."

"Are you telling me you want to.. to... switch sides?" I asked, astonished.


"Just like that?"


Reeling, I leaned my weight against the dresser for support. "Couldn't you have given me some kind of advanced warning? Sent up smoke signals earlier - maybe a telegram or something? I mean - it's my side! You'll be after my pillow next."

"I just want to sleep over here tonight, I didn't think it would be such a big deal." She sighed.

"You must be confusing me with your other girlfriend again, the one who doesn't mind having the rug pulled out from under her feet moments before stepping off it into bed. She's younger, more flexible, I expect."

"Do you really mind? Or are we just arguing for the sake of your amusement?" Ume asked.

"Put that way, no, I don't mind - not really. But keep your hands off my pillow. You'll be sleeping with your other girlfriend tonight for sure, if you go trying anything like that. Why do you want to sleep over there anyway?"

She shrugged. "Change of pace."

"Oh." I turned the light out and climbed into bed.

It's not all that different on Ume's side of the bed, except it smells better ('cuz she does, naturally), and I'm somewhat confused as to which direction I should turn when I get out of bed in the morning.

And so on we go, buffetted by the winds of change - adjusting, growing - and clinging for dear life to a pillow we love.

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In the news...

I've been following this thing over Larry Summers' (Harvard U's president) remarks and liked this response:
Grading Larry Summers by Robert Kuttner (Boston Globe, 05.02.05)

Oh please, gag me:
The Iraq effect? Bush may have had it right by Daniel Schorr (CSMonitor, 03.05.05)

I knew that's where it was!
The Secret to Man's Aggression: in His Finger? by Alison McCook (Reuters, 05.04.05)

Ooh la-la, a new direction at last? One can only hope... Interesting discussion:
The Superpower Myth (OnPoint Radio, 02.25.05, audio file)

This got weird coverage, or at least the coverage I heard was odd. Could it be that Bin Laden asked for help, because he's been unable to get anywhere while skulking from cave to cave? Let's hope so:
Bin Laden Asks Zarqawi to Make U.S. a Target -Source by David Morgan (Reuters, 05.02.05)

Retiree Group Hits Back in Social Security Row (Reuters, 05.02.05)

Now you know:
An acre of ground contains [close] to 1 million earthworms producing up to 1,000 tons of castings annually.

Welcome to a Republican run country:
Major Bankruptcy Revision Poised to Pass Congress (Day to Day, 03.09.05, audio file)

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