Tuesday, June 30, 2009


This is officially my double century post on this blag. Who knew I could actually do this that many times without getting bored and moving on to something else?

I have returned from the woods. I wish I had not. I want to be back by the lake in the mountains, surrounded by people who have known me since I was born and people whom I've known since they were born.

I want to make 70 grilled cheese sandwiches again. I want to wake up when the tent gets too hot in the sun and go to sleep only when no more games of spades can usefully be played. I want to hear old white straight people who could easily not care thoughtfully discuss the lot of immigrants, workers, and even, shockingly, teh gays, and what they can do to change things for the better. I want to teach teenaged boys to knit and let children climb me as if I were a very small tree. I want to absent-mindedly hum along to some old mining song while playing poker for amazingly low stakes. I want to watch another wine bottle melt in the fire pit.

I want to be out of the world, off in my other time where every year lasts ten days and folks I haven't seen for fifty or a hundred weeks still know more about me, sometimes embarrassingly more, than the people I see every day. The real world has too much in it, and not enough time for a three-year-old's smile or a trio of gray-haired ladies singing cheerfully about aging.

Folks who couldn't make it this year, you were missed. JP, JK, BK, PR-M, RR-M, DR-M, JM, NC-S, AC-S, SS, DC, MB, DB, and all the rest.

In the real world, there are thousands of people and millions of dollars dedicated to fighting against the civil rights of all sorts of disenfranchised people. In the real world, there are fathers who care too much about gender norms to show that they love their children. In the real world, I have to prove myself, sell myself, ensure that I make my mark. In the real world, my mom is sick and pretending everything's okay.

I need to be back in the place that stops time. Can I go back now please?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Back east

I have crossed the country again, for the fourth time this year. I will be in the greater NY metropolitan area for the next three days, then into the woods (heh. into the woods.) of western Massachusetts for the annual Commie Camp, then back to Lawn Guyland until early-mid July.

If you're around here, let me know! I want to see you! I have lost track of who is where and when, so I may not contact you, but please contact me.

In other news, Iran has exploded. Twitter talks of people being beheaded and beaten and all sorts of frightening things. If I had prayers, they'd be there. As it is, thoughts are there.

In local news, the NY State Senate continues to implode. Senator I-brutally-attacked-my-girlfriend-with-a-broken-glass-no-wait-I-mean-I-tripped has returned to the Democratic Party. Senator I-am-under-investigation-for-corruption-to-the-tune-of-untold-thousands-perhaps-millions-and-also-I-don't-live-in-my-own-district remains caucused with the Republicans. That leaves a 31-31 tie, with no tie-breaking vote because remember when the Governor was indicted for soliciting an amazingly expensive DC sex worker and the Lt. Governor took over his job? LI Republicans apparently want to secede from New York State, though boring Republicans remain mired in logistical concerns. I sort of wish they would succeed in seceding just long enough to pass gay marriage and then get re-annexed.

And in other local news, Jon Cooper may be running for US Senate to unseat Kirsten Gillibrand. Keep your fingers crossed.

Okay that's the rundown of the inside of my mind for right now, except that Une Pipe and I created a formula for what makes British humor funny in America:

religion is dumb + funny accent + transvestites = humor


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Updates and thoughts

1. We had a conference on Music and Humor last weekend. It was fabulous and funny and I enjoyed just about every paper I was there for. Some of them I missed while teaching or transporting cake from one building to another, but the ones I heard were excellent. Especially the keynote, which was on Weird Al. "Polka Your Eyes Out" instead of Haydn's "Surprise" Symphony at a musicological humor conference? Sweet!

2. I got an MA on Monday. It was pretty awesome; everyone was nice to me. I wrote three papers for the exam. One was on Princess Ida; one on Brahms, Dvorak, and Debussy chamber music, and one on a German techno song. Apparently the examiners all liked the three new papers. The three old papers I had to submit with them didn't even get read.

3. Had me a birthday yesterday. Saw an unbelievable concert at the Gay & Lesbian Center--the debut performance of the Forever Young Chorale. Or, as one member crowed, "fags and dykes on Social Security!" The two openers, Renaissance and Ian Harvie were excellent, and the choir was conducted by Matt Alber, former Chanticleer member and current pop singer-songwriter. It was way more than I expected--they sang Tracy Chapman, George Michael, and all sorts of music that was far younger than they were. The energy was amazing and the costumes were fabulous and the room was packed. If you're in LA and have some time Saturday, go hear them at 2:40 on the mainstage at LA Pride. You totally won't regret it!

Now some thoughts. I'm a big supporter of the whole gay marriage thing. If you've gotten this far without noticing that, I can't speak to your ability to perceive the obvious. I work for marriage equality all the time, and it's something I'll continue to do for as long as it's needed. But I'm not going to work to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

If you're up on your gay politics buzz, you know this is the other big issue in the news. This is the issue that Obama's reversion-to-type has most significantly undermined, as he has gone from "supporting" its full repeal to, according to reports, intervening in a Supreme Court petition that could have overturned it, had it become a case. It's important to a LOT of people, LGBT and the homosexually challenged alike.

DADT is even important to a large number of people who call themselves "progressive." I liked that word about five years ago. It wasn't just a new word for liberal (now with added trendy environmentalism!); it signified something closer to radical politics than it does now. Progressives, in the sense of the word I'd like to rehabilitate, don't advocate for more people in the military. They don't spend time, energy, and money trying to make more soldiers for the US Army. They don't make the arguments that I'm hearing from a whole lot of gays and media personalities: how can you fire gay Arabic translators? Who will tell us what the terrorists are saying when we waterboard them!? Jon Stewart, of course, says this sort of thing in a humorous way. Everyone else, though, seems to see it as a serious argument.


Are "progressives" really willing to grant the right wing the ENTIRE "WAR ON TERROR" FALLACY in order to press for military acceptance of LGBT members? Is there no way to advocate for full civil rights without starting from a wingnut perspective?

Yes, I believe that DADT and marriage inequality are representative of more than the issues they claim to be. Marriage is more than marriage; military service is more than military service. True. If we want to be treated as equal citizens of this country, we want those rights. But if we are going to give up on criticizing the imperial machinations of a corrupt, diseased, swollen-far-beyond-the-bounds-of-safety military establishment to get those rights, do we still want to be citizens of the country we are making?

I will fight to my last breath for LGBT people to have the right to love. I will not fight at all for LGBT people to have the right to torture.

Monday, June 8, 2009


I just found out that a guy I was good friends with in elementary school shot himself. He was one of the nicest guys I knew then. We drifted apart after elementary, and we didn't really ever talk in high school or after, except for once when we ran into each other some time about a year or two after we graduated. My memories of him are fuzzy.

I don't quite know how to react. He hasn't been part of my life for ages. But it's still shocking and disturbing. And I still don't know, and may never know, why. That's hard.

Because of my gestures toward anonymity, I won't put his name up here, but if you knew me then and want to know who it is, I can send you an email. RIP.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Two things

Two unrelated quick hits:

1. It is unheard of that I could agree with Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, about anything. I hope that this can be the first such occasion: "Mr. Obama’s remarks 'may well signal the beginning of a renunciation of America’s strategic alliance with Israel.'" I think he and I may differ slightly on whether or not this is a good thing.

2. A depressing glance into my psyche: the quickest way for a man to lose my respect is for him to demonstrate any physical interest in me. What does that say about my self esteem?

That's all for tonight, folks. We are having an awesome conference that I will write about when it ends.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Today I listened to part of a radio broadcast from a morning show that airs in Sacramento, that perennial seat of culture and enlightenment. I did not listen to the entire broadcast because I was physically unable to. I cried and nearly threw up.

This is the broadcast. I warn you--it's so far beyond offensive that it makes any clever metaphor I could envision trite and useless. I didn't even get up to the worst parts, of which I've read some excerpts and summaries at Pam's House Blend and the GLAAD blog.

I don't have words for this kind of transphobic, abusive, disgusting, utterly indefensible behavior. I can't repeat what they say; it turns my stomach. I can't remember the last time I heard anyone say anything that made me feel like this. The only other stimulus that has provoked this response in my body is watching scenes of torture in movies and TV shows.

But this is real life.

The intersection of thinly-veiled misogyny and advocacy of child abuse with the most hate-filled transphobia I've encountered just adds an extra layer of filth. I can feel my dinner coming back now. I need to stop writing about this.

Monday, June 1, 2009

George Tiller

George Tiller is dead. Murdered in cold blood during church.

The internet is full of far more eloquent elegies and polemics than I can pen; check out this post on BitchPhD for one excellent take, and this one for links to other excellent takes.

I have very little to add, other than to express the undoubtedly somewhat contentious point that it seems fitting to me that the church was the site of this vicious, brutal attack. I know that many, many, many religious people are wonderful, moral, decent human beings (like Dr. Tiller himself); some of them are my very good friends. But I can't shake the feeling that the widespread reactionary perversion of various stripes of American protestantism had something to do with the crazies who attacked Dr. Tiller, both fatally and, earlier, constantly, non-fatally.

Rest in peace, George Tiller. You have earned it so many times over. May there always be more like you, and may they not have to suffer what you suffered for believing in women as autonomous human beings. Medical Students for Choice

Silence is golden?

My voice is gone. I couldn't even make the "mmm" sound when my breakfast was delicious (tofu fried in olive oil, cinnamon and cumin, over a bed of leftover vindaloo rice). This is not a problem today, as it's my day off, but it will rapidly become a problem the rest of this, the last week of the quarter. I am supposed to sing in seminar on Wednesday. I am supposed to hold office hours and teach and train a data entry party and celebrate National Donut Day and various other things that require a voice.

And since the Incident of the Mysterious Disappearing Honey, there is no throat-soothing tea sweetener in our apartment. I must put my sick self together enough to walk to the farmers market and get some more. This involves things like getting dressed, washing myself, and other activities that my sniveling self pity doesn't want me to do.

Bah. I must be off to the market; the missing honey shows no signs of returning in a blaze of glory. Woe is me. I am woe.