Friday, July 29, 2005

Christmas in July

I've chronicled my drop in moviegoing here several times, along with the rationale--watching at home is a better, cheaper experience, allowing us more control, fewer unwanted interruptions, and the opportunity to make good use of the widescreen TV and surround sound system we splurged on last year. The disadvantage is this: I had no real knowledge of the contenders for the Academy Awards when they were announced this spring and no opinion about who should win. But I have one now!

In the last week we've watched Million Dollar Baby, Hotel Rwanda, and Being Julia. The former won Best Picture, and deservingly so--it fired on every cylinder, from the writing to the music to the sublime acting. But the latter two were mostly scorned by the Academy--Don Cheadle and Sophie Okenodo were nominated for acting awards for HR and Annette Bening was nominated for BJ, but the films were otherwise overlooked. That's too bad. Having seen all five of the BP nominees, I'd have slotted HR into that list; surely it was more deserving than one of the following four films: The Aviator, Ray, Sideways, or Finding Neverland. I'd have replaced that last one, which seemed a bit overpraised to me.

In any case, if you didn't see either of these movies because their lack of nominations left you feeling less-than-compelled, take my advice: See them anyway. Hotel Rwanda is devastating, yes, and it might make you ashamed to be an American, or a white person, or both. (I actually said "White people are terrible" at one point during the film, and I'm pretty white myself.) Being Julia will rescue you from the heaviness of HR, offering you Bening at her bitchy best, as transcendant as she was in American Beauty but with a bigger, better role that she simply owns. There's clearly a bit of Bening poured into the performance--throwaway lines about there being no parts for older women because the writers are all men, for instance, clearly resonate with her--and the movie burns bright because of it. Plus, who can resist a movie with Jeremy Irons and Michael Gambon, AKA the new Dumbledore? The last ten minutes are beyond belief.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Expectations Set

Leahy: 'Activist' Nominee Won't Get Vote

If you were thinking the hearings for John Roberts would be informative, think again:
As a historical footnote, one memo was hard to beat — a one-page paper in which the young Roberts reported that beginning 'my first day on the job' he had been helping O'Connor prep for her own confirmation hearings to the high court.

'The approach was to avoid giving specific responses to any direct questions on legal issues likely to come before the court, but demonstrating in the response a firm command of the subject area and awareness of the relevant precedents and arguments,' Roberts wrote in the Sept. 17, 1981, memo.
Assuming he follows his own advice, I don't see how we'll have any idea how Roberts will deal with the thorny issues that come before the Supreme Court until next summer when the rulings start being handed down for the upcoming term. At least that's less of a wait than the next Harry Potter book!

A E I O U

Ill. Republicans Offer Reward on Daley

Does this mean we can move some vowels around and offer our own reward for dirt on Tom DeLay?

Actually, that seems to be forthcoming on its own. Maybe we should just offer a reward for his head?

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Spiraling Shape


Tower would get city in touch with its feminine side

I have to admit, I think this new tower, proposed as the tallest in the world and a new center for the Chicago skyline, would be an interesting addition. Eric Zorn doesn't like that it's so thin--he seems to think that it looks like a big screw, hardly the right image for the "City of Big Shoulders"--but I think the Fordham Spire would add some visual intrigue to an already breathtaking skyline. If you follow the link up top and click on the photos link within the article, the second photo gives a good idea of what the skyline would look like with this new addition. Yes, it's a little scary at first--you might feel like aliens have invaded and put this strange, spiraling building into the familiar scene--but isn't it also kind of cool? And who wouldn't want to pay $5 million or so for a condo inside this big birthday candle?

OK, maybe it's too weird for Chicago. But I hope the architect pushes it forward, cuts back on the shininess of the structure, and finds a way to get the thing built at its current height and shape, or something close. It would be, without a doubt, the most visually striking aspect of our skyline for decades to come.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Context

'It's blazing like a fire' as temps hit 102

Now that it's "cooling off" around Chicago--if you can call 89 degrees at 5:00 cooling off--I thought a bit of context for yesterday was necessary. I described the day as a blast furnace, and noted ruefully when I went to pick up our pizza--which we ordered to avoid using the oven or stove--that the shop, which contains hot ovens, was barely warmer than outside.

Turns out we weren't crazy to avoid going outside. Yesterday was only three degrees cooler than the all-time high temperature in Chicago, 105, and was one of the 12 hottest days since 1900. That's right--in 105 years, only 11 other days have been as hot, or hotter, than yesterday.

Here's hoping we don't add a 13th day to that list anytime soon.

Oh Canada

Toyota, Moving Northward

Last night on the third-to-last episode of Queer as Folk, one of the major couples, fearful--in the wake of a bombing incident at a gay-rights rally--that a new law would make null their adoption of one another's biological children if one of them were to die, discussed moving to Canada to escape the currently tenuous political environment for gays in the United States. I admit it--I check the weather in Toronto on occasion, too.

Today, Paul Krugman makes a good case that gays aren't the only thing headed to Canada. Discussing a new Toyota plant that the company decided to open in Ontario rather than here in the states, Krugman nails many of the things wrong with our country:
But last month Toyota decided to put the new plant, which will produce RAV4 mini-S.U.V.'s, in Ontario. Explaining why it passed up financial incentives to choose a U.S. location, the company cited the quality of Ontario's work force.

What made Toyota so sensitive to labor quality issues? Maybe we should discount remarks from the president of the Toronto-based Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association, who claimed that the educational level in the Southern United States was so low that trainers for Japanese plants in Alabama had to use "pictorials" to teach some illiterate workers how to use high-tech equipment.
Not a pretty picture of America's underfunded educational system, is it? Maybe that lack of education is why people don't understand this problem:
But education is only one reason Toyota chose Ontario. Canada's other big selling point is its national health insurance system, which saves auto manufacturers large sums in benefit payments compared with their costs in the United States.

You might be tempted to say that Canadian taxpayers are, in effect, subsidizing Toyota's move by paying for health coverage. But that's not right, even aside from the fact that Canada's health care system has far lower costs per person than the American system, with its huge administrative expenses. In fact, U.S. taxpayers, not Canadians, will be hurt by the northward movement of auto jobs.

To see why, bear in mind that in the long run decisions like Toyota's probably won't affect the overall number of jobs in either the United States or Canada. But the result of international competition will be to give Canada more jobs in industries like autos, which pay health benefits to their U.S. workers, and fewer jobs in industries that don't provide those benefits. In the U.S. the effect will be just the reverse: fewer jobs with benefits, more jobs without.
You can see where this will leave us, right? One of two things will happen: either the U.S., determined to reduce the cost of health care, will cut out the most wasteful element of its system--managed care companies that siphon off money to fund unnecessary administrative costs--by moving to a national health insurance system, or our companies, saddled with insane costs or unable to find quality employees because they can no longer afford to offer benefits, will start to fail, being replaced, if at all, by businesses that pay their employees less and offer fewer benefits. In other words, our present system has in it the seeds of our destruction as an economic power. By offering health care to its citizens, Canada has gained a competitive advantage over us. And if well-educated American gays start pouring over the border? Judging from the example of the workers who needed pictorials, the nation can ill afford to lose us. I'd like to see the Democrat who dares to make that case during the next election!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Flamethrower

Looking Back at Roberts

Poor John Roberts--he gets a nomination to the Supreme Court, the pinnacle of his very successful career, and the next thing you know people are commenting on his dancing kid and his anti-abortion wife and anything they can dig up from his quite uncheckered past. But this from Wonkette takes the cake:
Wonkette operatives have alerted us to some details in John G. Roberts background. We're not making any conclusions here -- we wouldn't want to comment on an ongoing investigation -- we're just laying out the facts: He is a graduate of an all-boys Catholic school where, as a member of the wrestling team, he regularly grappled with other sweaty, repressed boys. That is when he wasn't the drama club playing Peppermint Patty, for God's sake. He was also an editor of the school newspaper, "The Torch."

And yet the Right still asserts that "he's no flame-thrower."

We like him more and more.
Wonkette fails to mention that his wife looks chilly and their children are adopted...

Is the Far Right sure he isn't going to be an even bigger disappointment than Souter?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Cooler Heads

Canada legalizes gay marriage nationwide
Becomes fourth nation to sanction equal legal rights for homosexual unions


No offense to John Roberts, but while we in the States are looking at a Supreme Court nominee who may or may not support the Court's recent holding that a ban on gay sex is unconstitutional, a Supreme Court Justice in Canada today signed the bill that makes gay marriage legal in every province of that country. Can it really be that much colder in Toronto?

Oh, Really?

Battle Over Nominee May Center on Abortion

And the winner of the award for "Most Obvious Headline That Could Have Been Written Any Time in the Last 15 Years" is...

Seriously, did anyone in America who hasn't been living in a cave NOT know that the most controversial issue up for discussion when a new Supreme Court justice is nominated is abortion?

Anyhow, the quick view of Roberts is this: Not the scariest guy Bush could have nominated, but probably the most frightening combination of "conservative" and "inscrutable" he could have found. There's no way Democrats can torpedo him for refusing to answer questions at a nationally televised hearing; the guy is smart and polished and will no doubt resist all demands for specificity while looking cool, calm, and collected. He has no stated positions with which Democrats can make hay. He's not a woman, but he can hardly be held accountable for that.

The end result: He won't write opinions as witty or mean-spirited as Scalia, so the Right won't adore him. But he'll vote with Scalia and Thomas and Rehnquist a lot--more than O'Connor ever did. And he's going to get confirmed, unless he has an illegitimate child or a gay lover on the side. The balance has shifted. It's not a good thing.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Duped

AP: Appellate court judge Roberts is Bush pick

Or perhaps he wasn't listening to me...

One Week Later

Highway 290 Revisited: Renewed Hope?

Hello, Mr. Bush. Glad to know you're reading.

One week ago, in this space: "He could also pick Edith Brown Clement, who is somewhat unknown but less rabidly conservative than, say, Luttig--and a bit older, making her a bit less scary as a lifetime appointment."

Today: Bush Stays Quiet on Clement Speculation.

Looks like I may have unwittingly chosen our next Supreme Court Justice...

Monday, July 18, 2005

Vacation Photo

Storm Lashes Yucat√°n, Then Goes Out to Sea



A sad story, yes--tourists in Cancun had to sleep in a shelter because of a hurricane. But how sad do you think the guy in this photo is going to be? His vacation got ruined AND there's a picture of him--in the New York Times, no less--with his hand down his pants. Don't be surprised if the photo is gone by the time you click the link above--someone at NYT is bound to notice...

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Friday, July 15, 2005

Gay Old Time

The Harry Potter series A.O. Scott

This linked conversation from Slate in 1999 allowed me to find, finally, critic A.O. Scott's explanation of how much the Harry Potter series speaks to gay readers:
What I mean is that being a wizard is very much like being gay: You grow up in a hostile world governed by codes and norms that seem nonsensical to you, and you discover at a certain age that there are people like you--what's more, there's a whole subculture with its own codes and norms right alongside the straight (muggle) one, yet strangely invisible to it. In out-of-the-way spots in the middle of large cities are secret places--bars, bookshops--that cater to this special clientele, and suddenly, one day, you find your way to them. The reaction of many straights (muggles) is hostility and denial, on the order of the Dursleys. But some muggle parents, like Hermione's, love their wizard children and support them. (Hermione reciprocates by taking a course at Hogwarts in muggle studies, the one moment in the series that made me laugh out loud.) Consider too that there are wizards born of muggles and muggles born of wizards, so that having magical power (like being gay, at least according to some schools of thought) is, while not hereditary, clearly innate. Your use of the phrase "a place for us" was especially suggestive (though by "us" you meant the muggles), since that's the title of a fascinating book by D.A. Miller (published last year by Harvard) about the role of the Broadway musical in forming, at once in secret and out in plain view, modern gay male cultural identity. The process of acculturation he describes (which involves playing the cast album from Gypsy in your parents' suburban basement), is not unlike what Harry undergoes in the early chapters of Sorcerer's Stone.
Scott makes an interesting case; while this surely was not J.K. Rowling's intent, it does help explain why I'll be reading as fast as I can all weekend. To those of you who will be doing the same: I wish you a gay old time!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

On Second Thought, No

Rehnquist Says He'll Stay on Supreme Court

Crazy right-wing nutjob replacement for O'Connor, here we come!

Do Not Relent

McClellan, in Third Day of Stonewalling, Tells Press They Have Taken a Pound of His Flesh

Click the link above and read the press firing away at Press Secretary Scott McClellan. If they start running clips of this stuff on the news, people are going to start turning against Bush. Oh, wait--they already have.

On the Prowl

Longer Old Course tailor-made for Tiger

I'm alone this weekend, an unusual occurrence that I usually don't much like. But this particular weekend is shaping up to be an ideal time for solitude: Amazon just e-mailed to say that my copy of Harry Potter is on schedule to arrive on Saturday, and Tiger Woods appears to be cruising toward a march to glory at the British Open. Is there anything better than early-morning golf with Tiger in contention, an air-conditioned house, a hot cup of tea, and a great book? There may be, but I definitely find these weekend conditions acceptable!

In Case You Were Wondering...

Mr. Bush, Pick a Genius

David Brooks wants Bush to put Michael McConnell on the Supreme Court. (Or Mary Ann Glendon, whose third Google result is this screed against gay marriage.) He says he wants a principled genius on the Court--then spends his entire column talking about why McConnell fits this description. As Wonkette said, "Subtle, Dave." (Thanks to Marilee for sending the Brooks article.)

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Capitol on Fire

Rehnquist Retirement Watch: Fever Pitch!

Rehnquist is in the hospital with a fever (perhaps becuase his ears started burning when everyone said he'd retire on Friday, or Monday, or Tuesday...) and no one is saying when he'll be released. Paradoxically, this specific case of ill health may be delaying his retirement over general health issues at a moment when the Bush White House could certainly use a distraction. Here's hoping he's forced to hold off long enough for Dems and the press to string up Rove by his feet.

Resume Building

Bill Clinton plans private summit on global woes

Bill Clinton may not win the "Best President Ever" award, but he's definitely bolstering his resume to apply for the best post-presidency career. If the vision he lays out in this article comes true, and it happens as a result of his energy and orchestration, it will take a bitter partisan indeed to deny the value of old Bill's service. And if he gets this ten-year plan going and Hillary gets elected president? We could be in for a hell of an eight year ride--again. Sounds nice, doesn't it?

Three Makes a Trend

The pope and the pussycats
New leader of the Catholic Church loves felines


Not to say Benedict XVI isn't a good guy...but when I saw this headline, the first two images of cat lovers that popped into my head were Dr. Claw and Gargamel.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Renewed Hope?

First Lady Wants A Woman Justice

Harry Reid says a consensus candidate is likely after meeting with President Bush and other Senators. Laura Bush says George should pick a woman. This shortlist from Emily Bazelon and David Newman offers a few women Bush could choose who might not annoy liberals enough to filibuster. He could also pick Edith Brown Clement, who is somewhat unknown but less rabidly conservative than, say, Luttig--and a bit older, making her a bit less scary as a lifetime appointment. Of course, Bush will have an easier time finding a woman who fills the bill if he has more than one pick...retire already, Rehnquist!

Monday, July 11, 2005

Truth Will Out

Plame, By Any Other Name

I was going to write today about a seating fiasco, crappy food, and an otherwise fantastic Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert (featuring soloisy Itzhak Perlman) this weekend at Ravinia. And about how great Batman Begins is. And perhaps about last night's action on Six Feet Under. If you want to hear about all of that, write to me.

There are bigger fish to fry today--namely, Karl Rove. The epitome of evil to liberals everywhere may finally get his due. Rove has been saying for two years now that he didn't "name" Valerie Plame. And Bush has been saying for two years that anyone involved in leaking her identity would be fired.

Well, Karl didn't leak her name--he just told Matt Cooper (the journalist covering this case who isn't rotting in a jail cell) that the wife of Joseph Wilson was a CIA agent. That's the very definition of a distinction without a difference, isn't it? And with one of their own in jail over this story, the press has gone apeshit, judging from this transcript via Talking Points Memo (with minor corrections):
Question: Do you want to retract your statement that Rove -- Karl Rove was not involved in the Valerie Plame expose? -- involved?

McClellan: This is -- no, I appreciate the question. This is an ongoing investigation at this point. The President directed the White House to cooperate fully with the investigation, and as part of cooperating fully with the investigation, that means we're not going to be commenting on it while it is ongoing.

Question: But Rove has apparently commented, through his lawyer, that he was definitely involved.

McClellan: You're asking me to comment on an ongoing investigation.

Question: I'm saying, why did you stand there and say he was not involved?

McClellan: Again, while there is an ongoing investigation, I'm not going to be commenting on it, nor is --

(Questioner): -- any remorse?

McClellan: -- nor is the White House, because the President wanted us to cooperate fully with the investigation, and that's what we're doing.

Question: That's not an answer. It's not an answer. And you were perfectly willing to comment from that podium while the investigation was going on, and try to clear Karl Rove. Why the double standard? Why were you willing to say Karl Rove was not involved when -- and talk at length about it, when the investigation was going on, and now that he's been caught red-handed, all of a sudden you've got a new line?

McClellan: No, I don't think it is the way you characterize it, as new, because I have said for quite some time that this is an ongoing investigation, and we're not going to get into discussing it while it's an ongoing investigation. I've really said all I'm going to say on it.

Question: But you did -- you did discuss it while it was an ongoing investigation. You stood there and told the American people Karl Rove wasn't involved.

McClellan: I've said all I'm going to say on it. Go ahead, April.
It goes on:
Question: Scott, is the President aware of Karl Rove's role in leaking information about Joe Wilson's wife?

Mr. McClellan: Again, this is a Question relating to an ongoing investigation, and you have my response.

Question: Scott, without commenting on the investigation, you said in September of '03, if anyone in this administration was involved in it, they would no longer be in this administration. Does that standard still hold?

Mr. McClellan: Again, I appreciate all these questions. They are questions relating to an ongoing investigation, and the President directed us to cooperate fully with that investigation. No one wants to get to the bottom of it more than he does and --

Question: -- the standard then still apply?

Mr. McClellan: The investigation is ongoing, Peter, and we're just not going to -- we're not going to --

Question: Did the President set a timetable --

Question: It's not about the investigation, it's about the White House decision --

Mr. McClellan: We're not going to talk about it further from this podium.
Plenty of commentators can tell you the salient details of this situation. But politically, here's what I think you should remember: This administration has done everything it can to make life hell for journalists, and now one of them is in jail as a result of a leak that appears to be the fault of Karl Rove, who many consider the architect of the "Feed the press bullshit" strategy. The press has mostly played nice with the Bushies through these five years for fear of losing access--but if you think they'll roll over now, when there's obviously blood in the water and one of their own has been fucked over, you've got another think coming. People may not like Judith Miller very much--she wrote a bunch of articles on WMD that helped Bush get his war in Iraq--but no journalist wants to see a colleague in the clink.

Bottom line: They're calling for Rove's head, and the notoriously loyal Bush, with his approval ratings plummeting among everyone but the very core of his base--and his base fuming over the possibility of Gonzales on the Court--may have no choice but to oblige. It may not effect any real change, but there will certainly be some psychic benefit to liberals everywhere in seeing Rove run out of town on a (taxpayer-funded) rail.

Friday, July 08, 2005

'Triumph of Liberty'

www.AndrewSullivan.com - Daily Dish

While I wait out the Rehnquist retirement watch, I thought this quote, posted by Andrew Sullivan this morning, worth sharing in its entirety:
"We are not legislating, honorable members, for people far away and not known by us. We are enlarging the opportunity for happiness to our neighbors, our co-workers, our friends and, our families: at the same time we are making a more decent society, because a decent society is one that does not humiliate its members... Today, the Spanish society answers to a group of people who, during many years have, been humiliated, whose rights have been ignored, whose dignity has been offended, their identity denied, and their liberty oppressed. Today the Spanish society grants them the respect they deserve, recognizes their rights, restores their dignity, affirms their identity, and restores their liberty. It is true that they are only a minority, but their triumph is everyone's triumph. It is also the triumph of those who oppose this law, even though they do not know this yet: because it is the triumph of Liberty. Their victory makes all of us (even those who oppose the law) better people, it makes our society better. Honorable members, There is no damage to marriage or to the concept of family in allowing two people of the same sex to get married. To the contrary, what happens is this class of Spanish citizens get the potential to organize their lives with the rights and privileges of marriage and family. There is no danger to the institution of marriage, but precisely the opposite: this law enhances and respects marriage." - Spanish prime minister Luis Zapatero, hailing the inclusion of homosexual couples in his country's marital laws.

Countdown to Crazy

Rehnquist watch: Will he or won't he?

Rumor has it that Rehnquist will announce his retirement in about half an hour--10:00 CDT. We'll know soon...

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Two-fer

More SCOTUS Surprises?

According to Wonkette, at least two sources--a political blogger and none other than Robert Novak (of Valerie Plame fame)--have said that Chief Justice Rehnquist will resign tomorrow.

Now, this morning's sad events in London might make William rethink his timing, but not his decision. Could it be that there will be two vacancies this summer?

In that situation, I think it's pretty much guaranteed that Bush will put Gonzales on the Supreme Court. He can pay back the fanatic right with his other pick while ensuring that both picks sail through the Senate by giving Democrats someone who won't arrive on the Court with a "Roe: NO" rubber stamp in his desk drawer. (Bush did indicate, long ago, that he doesn't think the country is ready for Roe to be overturned--and anyone who has done the political calculus knows that the threat of abortion becoming illegal turns a lot of Republican-leaning women into Democrats.) If Bush crafts such a two-for-one package, this summer's acrimony might never materialize.

Of course, Bush could also try to get a three-fer by elevating Scalia or Thomas to Chief, replacing him with a Luttig- or McConnell-type judge, and plugging Gonzales into the O'Connor hot seat. But I doubt that such a strategy would be greeted with the same degree of acceptance by Democrats as the one above. Which way will Bush play it? Will Rehnquist really retire? Did he and O'Connor have this planned all along?

Wal-Marted

Chrysler joins Ford, GM in offering 'employee discount'

Is it just me, or is offering the employee discount to everyone in America on every American car a sign of a little desperation? As this article notes, people are going to expect these discounts in the future--and if they don't get them, they won't buy a new car from GM, or Ford, or Chrysler.

Look at how the article ends:
Merrill Lynch analyst John Casesa agreed with that assessment in a note to investors.

''We are concerned that this everyday low price strategy has only set the domestic industry's starting price point a notch lower and in the long run will further erode brand-equity and residual values,'' Casesa said.

A discouraging sign for the Big Three is that the employee-pricing promotion did little to affect June sales of Asian brands, which continued to climb. Toyota spokesman Xavier Dominicis confirmed Wednesday the company has no plans to match the Big Three's discount program. Toyota sales were up 10 percent in June.

''Our outlook is a long-term outlook, and we're seeking sustainable growth,'' Dominicis said. ''Toyota buyers tend not to be the deal-of-the-day buyers. There's a lot of loyalty when you look at our buyers.''
What Dominicis is saying, essentially, is this: The other brands have turned themselves into the equivalent of Wal-Mart, selling cheap crap and trying to win on volume. We're going to make good stuff that people really want, and they'll be willing to pay more for it because they know they're getting something solid for their money.

And you know what? He's got a point! The only way I would buy an American car now is if I couldn't afford a Toyota. They make rock-solid cars; my last American car was a headache factory. Making the price lower isn't going to entice me back--not until I'm convinced that that price doesn't correlate to lower quality. And right now, I'm not convinced.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

All a Game?

Salon.com Politics

Tim Grieve has a good take on this morning's NYT article about the Bush team asking the religious right to tone down its rhetoric in advance of his nomination to the Supreme Court, especially regarding Alberto Gonzales, who most conservatives find too iffy on abortion to stomach.

Grieve says this is all a game to make it look like Bush is resisting his base. And he makes his point:
Does this sort of perception game matter? Of course it does. Just ask yourself this: How is it that, over the last few days, you've found yourself wondering whether Alberto Gonzales would be such a bad justice after all?
He's right! If you'd told me a week ago that Bush would name Gonzales to the Court, I'd have been aghast; today I'd probably leap for joy that it wasn't Luttig or McConnell or Janice Rogers Brown. Such is the expectations game being played with those of us who follow these things.

But will Bush actually name Gonzales? I shudder as I say this--he is the guy who found a way to make torture legal, after all--but I hope that Bush's base has pissed him off enough with their demands that he gives them the finger by giving the country the not-quite-as-conservative Gonzales. We shall see...

Quid Pro Quo

Housewife Charged In Sex-For-Security Scam

This article from The Onion is delightfully inappropriate. To wit:
During the arrest, Akron police officials entered the Crandall household and seized more than 150 items Mrs. Crandall had received from her husband over the last 19 years, including a four-speed adjustable food processor, 12 pairs of earrings, a matching sofa and loveseat, a box of two-ply kitchen garbage bags, and a portable radio.

In exchange for these items, Agee said, Crandall's husband received sex an estimated 950 times—most frequently in the master bedroom, but also in the downstairs den three times, and once on the floor of the sewing room.
I think I just remembered what I want to be when I grow up...

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Inevitable

Straight, Gay or Lying? Bisexuality Revisited

And so I become a member of the LGT community, as this article calls into question the B in LGBT. Can we call it "legit" and call it a day?

Seriously, I've always had my doubts about the idea of bisexuality--especially among men, which is what the study discussed in the NYT article above debunks. Here's a nice nugget to chew on:
Seated alone in a laboratory room, the men then watched a series of erotic movies, some involving only women, others involving only men.

Using a sensor to monitor sexual arousal, the researchers found what they expected: gay men showed arousal to images of men and little arousal to images of women, and heterosexual men showed arousal to women but not to men.

But the men in the study who described themselves as bisexual did not have patterns of arousal that were consistent with their stated attraction to men and to women. Instead, about three-quarters of the group had arousal patterns identical to those of gay men; the rest were indistinguishable from heterosexuals.
The proof is in the porn!

All I know is this: Lots of people claim the label "bisexual" at one point or another in their lives, and the people I know who have done so, including me, were all using it, to steal a phrase from a friend, as a station on the train to gay town. If it turns out that guys who are "bi" are either (A) Trying to come to grips with being gay or (B) Trying to get a blow job without having to give one, it won't come as much of a shocker to me.

Mark Your Calendar

HBO: Six Feet Under - Episode 56: 'Eat a Peach'

We all know how much I like to be right, right? Last night Six Feet Under gave me a little gift in that department.

I've been saying for several years now that it's possible that Maya is not Nate's biological child--he never asked for a paternity test, and Lisa just showed up with baby Maya and used her to force Nate to the altar (for the wedding we finally saw, on video, during this season's opener.) During last night's episode, as Nate and Brenda debated how to tell Maya about where she came from--how she used to have a different mom, and what happened to her--Nate finally spilled out all his mixed feelings about the situation. What should we tell her, he asked. That her mom got pregnant and used it to trap me into marrying her? That she was having an affair with her brother-in-law, and he might have killed her when she wanted to end it? That I might not even be her real father?

Thirty episodes I waited--and today I am satisfied. Maybe Maya is Nate's daughter; maybe she's Hoyt's--and will thus grow up with two people unrelated to her because her father killed both her mother and himself. But either way, I'm glad the show has stopped pretending that this possibility hasn't been out there, and that it wouldn't have occurred to Nate from time to time. The scene revealing his feelings about this was, coincidentally, one of the best all year between Nate and Brenda. I hope this bodes well for their ultimate fate as the show draws to a close.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Missing Moderate

O'Connor to Retire From Supreme Court

I am actually crying right now. This will be the ugliest summer in the history of politics--far worse than if Rehnquist had retired. And he still might...

It's a beautiful day, but the dark clouds are gathering...