Friday, January 31

Freeze Dried - Always good for a chuckle, CNN is reporting on a service being offered to military men to freeze and save their sperm for future use. Whether they are killed in battle or their reproductive systems are disabled due to exposure to chemical agents, this service will allow their loved ones to continue their genetic line, no matter what. Salon (reg required) offers a bit more detail, mentioning the different ways in which men may make deposits at the cryogenic facilities, including the "masturbatoriums." I'll leave the innuendos and double entendres to any and all who wish to comment on this timely story.

Learn to multi-task, people! - The Merc reports on the phenomena of television viewership dropping when people spend more time on the Internet. The information comes from a UCLA study and shows that "Internet users watched about 4.8 fewer hours of television each week than non-users. Internet veterans (emphasis mine) watch about 5.8 fewer hours of TV than non-users." Maybe it's a function of people not having a wireless connection to bring the laptop in front of the TV or not having a television in the computer room. But I know that I prefer to have the TV blaring in the background while I surf the web. How else am I going to stay on top of all the latest pop culture trends?

Thursday, January 30

A lot of gay men are masculine, like sports and aren't stereotypes - That's the party line at Woofs, an Atlanta area gay sports bar profiled recently in the Journal-Constitution. And regardless, even flamers prefer partners that are masculine jocks not stereotypical fairies, so I think this is a winning concept anyway you cut it.

Gay-Straight Alliances - I'm sure that there are plenty of students in rural eastern Kentucky who could easily be convinced to "turn into homosexuals" by a campus club. Because being thrown out of your home is something every kid is searching for. Nice way to blame the loss of all non-curricular school clubs on the gays since, naturally, there wouldn't have been any problem to begin with if they hadn't tried to start their own club. These attitudes make it all the more remarkable that there are kids in these communities who come out. I guess they find the strength because of the promise, as Margaret Cho says, of someday finding a safe, welcoming community like "Chelsea and West Hollywood, where there are streets paved with cock."

Wednesday, January 29

Gay in CA - With expanded ranks, gay and lesbian legislators in California are now forming a caucus and using their position to strengthen the existing domestic partnership legislation. Looks like the separate-but-not-quite-equal parallel system of acknowledging gay relationships is becoming even further entrenched.

Saucy! - For all you Joe Millionaire fans out there, comes the shocking revelation that Sarah (the slut who gave Evan a bj in the woods) is a refugee from the world of soft-core fetish videos!

Incoming! - Jamie has had some personal experience with the assembly and use of kartoffelkanone, the latest teenage rage (and safety nightmare) in Germany.

A Bun in the Oven - Beaverhausen congratulates the Mitchells, newly of Washington DC, on their new home purchase.

Tuesday, January 28

Cruising - My former workplace, The Oaks mall is a hotbed of illicit activity! It's sad that especially in suburban and smaller cities, this kind of underground action may be the only outlet for MSM. I know we've had similar stories from the Hampton Roads area posted on Beaverhausen...any further comment, John?

Monday, January 27

A Gay Old Time - A short while back I sarcastically referred to the Washington Times as a friend to homosexuals everywhere. I had intended to link that comment to this article in Metro Weekly exploring the "other" DC paper's refusal to adopt the term gay in its style guide, instead using the clinical-sounding homosexual. This rigorous policy extends even to replacing words in letters to the editor:

"Because the Washington Times uses only sturdy English, " Rarey says via e-mail, "this paper avoids using what Mencken described as ‘greasy, meaningless words.’ Thus, the word gay -- which, according to the OED, has meant mirthful since Middle English -- is not used as a euphemistic synonym for homosexuals or homosexuality, except in quote marks."

Obviously the Times is not a friend at all. Its approach smacks, more than anything else, of mean-spiritedness, in the style of a bigot who's still upset that those queers ruined a perfectly good word. Isn't it just sad?

Lust-See TV - Finally, a hard-hitting piece on the go-to guy for quotes about television and popular culture, Robert Thompson of Syracuse University. On the one hand, I've got to admire this guy for turning an interest in The Love Boat into a full-time, respected gig. He really is regarded as THE authority on television by the media, receiving "six to 12 media calls" on average a day. However, when I applied for graduate programs, his was not one of the one I applied for. Why was that? Because it's narrowly structured to provide graduates with academic credentials focused only on TV. If you want to be a professor of television, that's great, but yet is there any room for someone else to break in to usurp the mentor's position as TV Guru? I'm interested in all this stuff, but I don't have any interest in being an assistant professor struggling for tenure.

Now, onto the author of the article. It drives me crazy when people talk about consciously not watching television. You don't have to be a non-stop consumer like me, but how can you not want to participate in some of the shared experiences that it affords? How can a writer have any popular cultural literacy without watching The Simpsons? And, even for his description of Friends as being risque, the show seems incredibly mild compared to 80s series like Golden Girls or Night Court that were constantly pushing innuendos. But perhaps he makes a valid point in describing the majority of television viewers as just going along for the ride...watching because of the "overpowering cultural flow." Maybe if there was greater discussion after viewing American Idol and Joe Millionaire about why people are willing to humiliate themselves, we'd have greater self esteem as a country. But I think the author also fails to note the power of, you guessed it, the Internet, in bringing fans together in serious discussions about meaning and symbolism. I think the universe of people interested in sharing their opinions and closely examine particular programs and themes is larger than he might think.

Superbowl Commercials - Okay, so I didn't exactly see all of the Superbowl, but the Pepsi Twist commercial where Ozzy wakes up next to Florence Henderson was pretty damn amusing. However, the lamest of the lame had to be AT&T Wireless' tired take on Antiques Roadshow. Not only are parodies of the PBS appraisal-fest showing their age (references on episodes of Fraiser and Will and Grace from 2001 or earlier come to mind), but Sprint PCS did a funnier Roadshow commercial years ago! What were they thinking?

Living Conditions - Spoiled kids used to privacy and needing additional mattress space to have premarital sex are influencing the design of new residences at colleges and universities! Let me speak from personal experience and say that sharing a twin XL with Kevin didn't make for the most restful sleeping conditions for either of us. However, I did have some good dorm experiences and the housing gods made a great match in setting me up to share a room with Netty, who became and still is a close friend. I'm not sure that further isolation in an apartment or suite would have been the best thing for me in terms of cultivating friendship. But, I didn't really have an option, with off-campus housing being prohibitively expensive in Palo Alto.

Martha, in her own words - Why did Martha Stewart take so long to give her side of the story? Now that we're able to hear all the details, it does sound a lot more plausible that maybe she wasn't trying to hide anything. She honestly may not know have know what going on with Waskal and was just dumping the stock. But, then why go into a media cocoon and not defend yourself? I guess it goes against her philosophy of tight control, but the lack of a key message from her let the NY Post and Newsweek and everyone else fill the void with speculation and unflattering pictures.

Especially when I hear what the allegations have cost Martha (compared to the relatively miniscule amount she made from the stock sale) I question whether a woman as savvy as she is would have made the error to engage in insider trading. The New Yorker article notes that the investigation is estimated by Martha to have cost "about four hundred million dollars" from the decline in value of eponymous stock as well as legal fees and lost opportunities. Would the losses be less significant if she'd just spoken up earlier and had a sitdown with Barbara Walters? Doesn't see need to reach her K-mart crowd as well as the New Yorker readers?

J. Crew Taps ex-Gap CEO - Mickey Drexler, who brought the Gap family of stores into ubiquity, is now poised to aid J. Crew in their expansion and operations. Drexler was on the board of directors of Restoration Hardware when I worked there, and he was universally regarded with respect and awe for his strategic planning at Gap. But, as we all know, Gap, Banana and Old Navy have languished lately. Given the particularly tight focus of most J. Crew merchandise toward preppy, I'm interested to see what kinds of superficial and tangible changes we'll see at J. Crew stores, marketing and reputation in the future.

Sunday, January 26

Pop-sicle - Jamie's dad took part in a charity polar-bear plunge into the Chesapeake Bay yesterday, where he was joined by Maryland political notables. This in a week when the abnormal cold in the mid-Atlantic was newsworthy. Brrrr.

Neighbors - The Washington Post takes a look at W's reluctance to mingle with the other residents of the District.

Saturday, January 25

TiVo - Yet another reminder that while some of us think of Tivo as being ubiquitous, it still hasn't really caught on in the flyover states. But this article really goes to show just exactly how TiVo can revolutionize your life: it's not just commercial skipping and time-shifted viewing, it's about skimming Joe Millionaire without really having to watch it, so you have just enough watercooler culture literacy to chime in.

Friday, January 24

Positively Scandalous - Okay, since the Rolling Stone bug-chasers article has really picked up steam since Drew mentioned it yesterday, I'm going to take the easy route and purloin some links from's Federal AIDS policy newsletter to tell the tale.

It seems that Newsweek found fault with the quality of reporting in RS's inflammatory article, which suggested that many gay men seek out HIV infection by looking for bareback sex with sero-positive partners. The Moonie-owned Washington Times, a friend to homosexuals everywhere, decided to run with the story on page one. As a result, it wound up in this morning's White House press briefing:

Q In view of recent wire service reports of an increase -- startling increase in cases of AIDS, HIV and syphilis in New York and California, as well as this morning's Washington Times page one story, does the President believe there are no such things as "bug chasers"?

MR. FLEISCHER: I'm not aware of what you're talking about, Lester.

Q Page one. These are people in the homosexual community that feel it's erotic to contract AIDS. And this is what is reported --

MR. FLEISCHER: I've no idea what you're talking about, Lester.

Q You don't read the Washington Times?

MR. FLEISCHER: Of course, I do.

Q You do? Well, then what about it? You must have read the story?

MR. FLEISCHER: Lester, I expressed yesterday the President's thoughts about AIDS and people who have AIDS. And the President's thoughts are that people who have AIDS deserve to be treated with care and with compassion --

Q The ones that went after it to get it?

MR. FLEISCHER: -- that people need to be treated with care and compassion. He is very proud of the fact that his budget has unparalleled amounts of money, both foreign and domestic, to help people with AIDS.

Q Yes, but what about the ones that go after it?

MR. FLEISCHER: You only get two, Lester, and you've sure have had them.

Although not clear from the transcript, "Lester" appears to be Les Kinsolving, a conservative radio talk-show host and the White House correspondent for Talk Radio Network and WorldNetDaily. Be on the lookout for that helpful GLAAD alert any minute now.

Cheese, please - Ben's favorite destination restaurant, Cheesecake Factory, is moving into my neighborhood, according to the Washington Business Journal. There it will join the Clarendon Market Commons to create a hotspot of "lifestyle center" mixed-use developments at the heart of the the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor.

Thursday, January 23

Bodily Integrity - The more I read about the lack of scientific rationale for circumcision, the more I wonder how much sensation I've been robbed of. Now, I'm not going to go out and get foreskin reconstruction. But faced with the hypothetical scenario of mutilating my own hypothetical son, I wouldn't do it. How about you, John?

Nell No More - Nell Carter, star of Gimme a Break!, the sitcom vehicle that launched Rosie O'Donnell and Joey Lawrence's careers, died today. The reason I found this blog-worthy was the use of a couple euphemistic adjectives in the lede: "Nell Carter, who played the sassy, matronly housekeeper..." Is it just me or does sassy = black and matronly = fat? Just checking.

GLSEN - Unfortunately, I will be working this weekend and will miss out on the Safe Schools Summit. I would be interested to hear the stories and advice given in the workshops, coming from my own perspective as a closeted high school student. I do wonder why the event is being held in Modesto though...I understand that staging it in a larger city probably wouldn't have the same impact, but I can't imagine that the Modesto location will attract much interest.

PFLAG scholarship - PFLAG has announced a new scholarship named for Esera Tuaolo. I wonder if there will be any cries that this scholarship will encourage homosexuality? But realistically, I wonder about the size of the potential pool of openly gay high school athletes. I also wonder how my local Congressman Robert Matsui became part of the announcement?

Future History - In researching the preceding story below, I came across this interesting website at National Archives. It represents an attempt to take a "snapshot" of the Clinton White House website -- and thus solve the tricky question of how to preserve for posterity a medium as fluid as the World Wide Web.

Diversity for Diversity's Sake - Where is this controversy headed? Some of the same neocon bloggers who raised hell over Trent Lott are mad about Thacker's appointment to the AIDS panel, but its obviously a much smaller deal to the general public and the media that feeds off it. (Yeah, it's Page One at the WaPo, but there can't be any sticking power here, right?) It's not the first time there's been a ruckus over Bush and AIDS. Moreover, I'd bet Karl Rove is more sensitive to the bruised feelings of the President's right flank, who are wondering just when they'll get a bone thrown to them. My prediction -- Thacker stays and the Bushies just wait for the hullaballoo to blow over. No one really cares who is on the AIDS commission. What do they do, anyway?

From Texas to Kansas - Matt Limon's case should be simpler for the Supreme Court to handle than the Lawrence v. Texas sodomy case, which is already on the docket. The reason is a somewhat obscure legal technicality. Given the largely conservative makeup of the Court, the current justices are more easily swayed by an appeal to the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause than by arguments relying on the "right to privacy" -- which of course does not appear in the text of the Bill of Rights.

Equal protection is exactly what the Limon case is all about -- rebuking a state for treating a person differently under the law because of his sex. The same is true of the Texas homosexual conduct law being challenged in Lawrence, because that state also criminalizes conduct between males while permiting the same conduct between members of the opposite sex.

Frankly, I think the court could ask that these cases be heard together and dispose of them in a single ruling. (In a cost-saving division of labor, the ACLU is handling Limon's appeal while Lamba Legal has Lawrence.) However, hearing the cases jointly would signal that the court is not looking to make the broader case -- requested by Lambda and sought by gays and right-thinking people everywhere -- to throw out both homosexual and so-called "universal" sodomy laws (which apply to both gays and straights). Because the latter type of law doesn't offend equal protection, such a ruling could only be made under a privacy right theory. Living in a state that has such a law, I much prefer a broader ruling.

Is that a roll of quarters in your pants...? - Ben, which is your choice for the California quarter? Most are pretty awful, and I'm surprised by how many feature the Golden Gate Bridge. How's L.A. gonna feel about that? Virginia's design, by the way, does a nice job of reminding the nation that the entrepreneurs of Jamestown predated those hard-line radical Christian segregationists at Pilgrim's Rock by thirteen years.

Wednesday, January 22

Mars Ain't the Kind of Place to Raise Your Kids - Could W be about to issue JFK-style challenge to send man to Mars? I know how well that's gonna go over with the gang who already bashes him for cutting entitlements while lowering taxes on the evil rich -- not to mention the more skittish environmentalist types who a liable to go apoplectic at the thought of nuclear-powered spaceships. While I would support such a program and think it would be an exciting endeavor, the age has passed when you can expect large government projects to enthrall a nation. Maybe if we sold the TV rights to Rupert Murdoch and let him hold a reality series to choose the astronauts who would take the journey, complete with some kind of "Adam and Eve" first colonists angle. Yeah, that sounds about right.

Verizon loses -- and so do we - The Washington Post reports that an Oregon trial judge has ordered Verizon to turn over the name of a DSL subscriber who has allegedly downloaded mass quantities of copyrighted mp3's. WaPo's Filter has an explainer, and blogger Glenn Reynolds has penned an article questioning the legitimacy of these legal proceedings. At least we can count on a promised appeal. But no amount of tireless work by the RIAA and its evil software robots can turn back the technological tide here. When are the record companies (not to mention Hollywood) going to recognize that they can't put the genie back in the bottle? They need to adapt their business plans to reality and move on. This victory will, ultimately, win them nothing.

The appeal of rough trade - After viewing the swimsuit photos (already mentioned here), Drew weighs in on Joe Millionaire with a novel (for him) take on a possible gay version.

Driver's Ed - In the long-standing tradition of classroom-based Driver's Education, students are shown disturbingly graphic films like Red Asphalt to encourage them to be safer drivers. Now, that theory is being questioned, as more films start to include the emotional component of loss rather than just the gory images of smashed brains on the highway. We watched hours and hours of these movies in my freshman class, but I can't really say that it had much of an impact upon my driving ability. However, I do have very fond memories of the other general safety videos we watched, involving poor acting and terrible stunt doubles.

Arnold - Is the news of Schwarzenegger's latest lawsuit a sign of things to come when he inevitably assumes his position as Governor of California?

It's Like Hollywood, with Ugly People - So the saying goes about D.C. Washington is a city filled with egos but the pecking order isn't based on looks -- not by a long shot. Well, that's gonna change this week when The West Wing comes back to town. It looks like Constitution Avenue, by the National Mall, will be filling in for the traditional march down Pennsylvania Avenue. They've picked a portion called the Federal Triangle with its the grand governmental offices as a substitute backdrop. Look for it in an upcoming show. Ben, can you tell us when Bartlett gets inaugurated?

Taste Test - Hmm, maybe Britney decided she likes her men a little beefier. If she's really dating Fred Durst, I approve of her change from prettyboy to cubby-types.

Tuesday, January 21

Santana Row - I headed down south yesterday, to meet Netty for lunch and a day of shopping. While the Stanford Shopping Center has always claimed to be the premier mid-Peninsula/South Bay shopping destination, a new rival has cropped up. San Jose is finally moving to prove the truth of its self-proclaimed title as "Capital of the Silicon Valley" with the introduction of an ultra-upscale new live/shop lifestyle center called Santana Row.

With high class retail outposts like Tiffany and Kennth Cole already across the street at Valley Fair (sorry, I'm getting my branding wrong, that's Westfield Shoppingtown Valley Fair), Santana Row really had to pull out all the stops with luxury stores like Burberry and Gucci. They've also got fine dining options nailed, with new locations of established and well-regarded restaurants like Yankee Pier, the Bradley Ogden take on New England cozy. The food was excellent, even if the execution seemed to have many wrinkles still to be worked out.

Nevertheless, it's nice to see that even in these rough times in the tech economy, somebody is willing to shop. Especially after the center experiened major fire while still under construction last summer.

Namesakes - I knew "benjamin" meant "right hand of god" in hebrew, but I was wholly unfamiliar with the sad story of St. Benjamin. Thanks to Brian, I've learned all about the history though. While I was named after Dustin Hoffman's character in The Graduate (NOT the rat in Ben, the dog in Benji or Goldie Hawn in Private Benjamin), I wonder if I get my inclination to be a martyr from my namesake saint. And isn't there just something hot about the statement: "After this torture had been repeated several times, a knotted stake was inserted into his bowels to rend and tear him." MMM.

A Blogger's Disappointment - Come on James Taranto. I know you relish the role of cranky conservative thorn-in-a-liberal's-side, but whatever good points you made in a recent column about Laura Whitehorn, did you really have to resort to old-fashioned gay baiting? Citing a biography that said nothing more explicit than "[Whitehorn] lives in Manhattan with her lover, the writer Susie Day," Taranto wows us with the witty "That's more information than anyone could possibly want about Whitehorn's sex life." Not only is that statement false on its face -- maybe some women find her physically attractive -- it's also the kind of semi-bigoted comment that went out of favor in more intelligent circles at least twenty years ago. I'd expect better of you, my fellow blogger.

Compare and Contrast - The Virginia House Courts of Justice Committee has been conducting an anti-gay witchhunt in the last few weeks. After unusual delay and a trial-like inquiry, as reported in the WaPo, the committee approved the reappointment of a straight female judge to the intermediate level Court of Appeal and has postponed renewing a possibly lesbian judge to the Circuit Court in Newport News. Judge Annunziata, of the appellate court, committed the sin of tolerance and moderation in a case involving homosexuality. Verbana Askey, the trial court judge is facing rumors of being a lesbian herself after a female subordinate filed sexual harrassment charges.

Annunziata provoked the committee's ire when she dissented from a divorce case where the court gave custody to the father because the mother had lesbian relationships after separating from her husband. She argued that the court "applied different standards when evaluating the parties' post-separation sexual conduct." Delegates who voted against reappointment said they wondered if the judge was "the kind of person who is willing to substitute her own policy and political goals for that of the General Assembly."

More problematic to the committee is whether or not sitting judges comply with the state's prohibition on consensual sodomy. Wrote the Post's Virginia columnist,

Virginia Beach Del. Robert F. McDonnell, a Republican, apparently thinks that the sexual orientation of Virginia judges is worthy of legislative scrutiny -- as long as legislators themselves aren't subjected to scrutiny.

It's a sticky situation, but Newport News Circuit Court Judge Verbena Askew, a law-and-order jurist of the sort usually embraced by Republicans, risks not being reappointed to the bench thanks to accusations of sexual harassment. That, in turn, has led to the suggestion that Askew may be a lesbian, which she denies.

Different people see this matter in different ways (Askew was not exactly forthright about the existence of a three-year-old civil settlement of the harassment charge), but it took McDonnell to inject into the controversy Virginia's infamous ban on "crimes against nature," saying that the unsubstantiated claims raise "some questions about the qualifications to serve as a judge."

Engaging in oral or anal sex remains, of course, a felony in Virginia, even when it occurs between married heterosexual partners. Sure enough, a reporter asked McDonnell whether he had ever violated this statute.

"Not that I can recall," the delegate said.

Moving on to twenty-first century news, I read that the newly re-elected Republican governor of Iowa has put gay civil rights at the top of his legislative agenda. Meanwhile, in District news, gays are praising the appointment of Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) as chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the District of Columbia. In the weird world of D.C. politics, where home rule is an ephemeral concept, this committee and its chairman hold an inordinate amount of power over local budgets and policies. Sounds like things are looking up across the Potomac.

C-c-celera! - Our friend Brian's company -- a biotech firm sometimes confused with the latest Japanese sports coupe -- is in the news. While he was interviewed, we're sorry to see he didn't make it into the article or the photo.

Cape Town Confidential - A particularly grisly mass murder of gay sex workers has made front-page news in South Africa. (Reports in this country and elsewhere politely refer to the victims as the employees of a "massage parlor.") It seems that some underworld figures bent on revenge went looking for former employees of Sizzlers, in the Sea Cape part of Cape Town. While some activists are already gearing up the hate-crime protest machine, the better bet is that this was a simple, if brutal, mafia execution. Vital evidence has come from one employee who survived and was able to provide information about the crime. Police are now searching for the possible leader of four men implicated in the massacre, described in Hollywood style as a bleached red head, with a goatee and tattoos of a curled-up snake on his upper left arm, and the words "fast gun" tattooed on his right wrist.

South Africa is unique among the world's nation-states in that its post-apartheid constitution explicitly guarantees equal protection for homosexuals. Considering how conservative the RSA was under white rule, today's South Africa is a case study for a society where legal protections outstrip the social consensus on straight tolerance. Still, the big cities are actively marketed as gay travel destinations. The British-settled coastal city of Cape Town is sometimes called the gay capital of Africa. Despite the connection to organized crime, these murders can't be good news for local gays -- especially seedier but highly profitable businesses like massage parlors -- who thrive on tourist dollars. However, the police appear to have strong leads, so perhaps the case will be quickly closed.

Monday, January 20

Black and Blue - I can't let the weekend pass without mention of our Friday night adventure. Brian, Scott and I scouted out Mid-Atlantic Leather 2003 -- DC's premiere leather lifestyle event. We stopped by to see the scene at the Washington Plaza hotel on Thomas Circle, which had been colonized by a dizzying array of leather- or rubber-wearing fetish fans. Most incredible was the marketplace featuring booths by such organizations as Instigator Magazine and Dick Wadd productions. The accessories for sale were nothing short of astonishing -- buttless chaps were definitely on the mild side of the wares on display. A rugger who accompanied us -- and who shall remain nameless in this blog -- inquired about the sale rack at the whip store and got himself a free demonstration. (Those rugby boys can take some punishment!) We later adjourned to the Green Lantern for a couple of beers but ended the night relatively early. A short visit to S&M land is about all I need to get my quota of deviance for the year.

DJ Sucks - KRS said it to REM a decade ago, but he couldn't have imagined how bad it would get. The Washington Post has an explainer on why all radio now sounds the same, and suggests that satellite technology may be the savior for those seeking programming diversity. Don't count your chickens, I say.

Hanging out with the drama club - That's how Brian described Feint, the monthly alternative party organized by Queers Against the Laughable Mainstream (QALM) at Staccato in south Adams Morgan. While the premise sounds pretty pretentious, in fact it was laid-back and enjoyable. It was fun to pick out songs in the mix by groups like Echo & the Bunnymen, and the volume was just right to permit conversation without wearing out your vocal chords by the end of the night. The crowd was mixed with a fair number of attractive guys, as long as you go in for the chin-bearded indie look. Ruggers Brian and Jamie struck up a conversation with a guy wearing a New Zealand All-Blacks jersey, and we come to find out he's there with his boyfriend Bob Mould. That's a pretty nice vote of confidence for a couple of young, up-and-coming party producers. (This being DC, you don't expect to meet celebrity rockers when you go out for a drink.) So they gave us tickets to come see Bob spin next weekend at Velvet Lounge.

Yes Ben, the DC boys are becoming urban hipsters. Compare and contrast with your experiences this MLK weekend.

If You Enjoyed the Nancy Drew French Toast Story, You'll Love the Star Trek Convention Story - Hi, I'm Ben and I attended a Star Trek convention. Okay, I know I won't be able to convince you that I only went because it sounded like a great people-watching (and -mocking) opportunity. Friday night, Kevin and I heard that there was going to a gathering of Star Trek fans at the middlebrow Radisson hotel a few miles from where we live. The mimeographed flyer mentioned that the big name guests were to include Gates McFadden (Dr. Crusher) and Levar Burton (Geordi LaForge). Their introductions were preceeded by a homemade music video featuring scenes from the TV show edited to fit a catchy 80's ditty (banana-clip wearing Geordi's featured Timbuk3's "The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades").

Now, I liked The Next Generation as much as the next guy, maybe even a little more. Nevertheless, I think that only people who are truly deserving should get a standing ovation. I refused to stand when McFadden was introduced. Now, Burton, you could make a case for...he was Kunta Kinte after all, and who didn't love Reading Rainbow? Yes, many of my fellow convention goers proved the worst of the Comic Book Guy and Professor Frink (see last quote on the page) stereotypes to be true. How many times do you think these people have been asked "What your favorite episode?" In fact, both McFadden and Burton must have been working from the same script with their patter about the Sacramento fog to loosen up the audience. However, once Gates McFadden mused that she "wished the Bush Administration was bound by the Prime Directive" we had to abort our mission and escape.
Other assorted question:

  • Why would people come to a Star Trek convention dressed as storm troopers?
  • If Star Trek is your life and you are going to a convention and making the effort to get dressed up as a Klingon, why wouldn't you go all out and use a latex appliance for your forehead ridge instead of a cheap plastic Halloween mask?
  • If I had saved a TV Guide from 1987 that happened to have Patrick Stewart on the cover, could I sell it for 5 bucks?
  • Why do people with mullets not seem to recognize that their haircuts are unfashionable?
  • Why wasn't there any slash fiction for sale out in the open?
But the saddest question of all,
  • Why did Herb Jefferson Jr of Battlestar Galactica (wearing an imitation Members Only jacket) bring his own pathetic little folding table to set up in the hallway, hoping to catch passersby who might want to purchase an autograph?

Saturday, January 18

TV Beat - The television critics have been in Hollywood (not Pasadena) all week, dishing on the latest midseason replacements and hearing about the latest developments in the world of episodic television. Even with ratings down this season, NBC is bringing back The West Wing for another three seasons. Look for more off-topic shows like CJ's trip to Dayton to fill those 66 episodes. I think they're probably pretty likely to bow out after a total of seven seasons. And Fox has renewed The Simpsons for another two years, which will make it the longest running television comedy of all time. But, in perhaps the most exciting news of all, Will & Grace is continuing its longstanding tradition of gimmicky stunt casting, with appearances by Minnie Driver, Demi Moore, and (wait for it) Madonna.

Salad in a Bag - Not that I'd describe myself as "lazy," but I can't tell you the last time I bought a head of lettuce rather than salad in a bag. The NY Times probes into the high tech innovations that made it possible for us to have such a convenience. I think that anything that allows you to cast off a bulky appliance probably has some merit.

Sorority Life Sucks - Our dear, dear ladies of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi are coming back to the air for a reunion special, reports the Davis Enterprise. Now, by all accounts, they weren't very happy with the way they were portrayed the first time around, so one wonders if they aren't simply digging themselves in deeper. It makes my anticipation of Fraternity Life all the more palpable. What made this show so fantastic was that it showed women pitted against one another just because they were bitchy and not because they were fighting over some pseudo-rich-boy-type.

(And, speaking of which--John, any local insider scoop on hometown Joe Millionaire boy, Evan Marriott?)

Hairy Jerry- I caught Jerry O' Connell on The View at lunch today. Kangaroo Jack aside, Jerry was looking quite good, especially since his open collar showed a nicely hairy chest. But, this just lends further credence to the conspiracy theory against a hairy chest, as seen in these publicity photos showing an artificially smooth Jerry in various poses.

Friday, January 17

So very wrong - Maybe I'll get a comment from Adam out of this story, about how the Hummer H2's high gross vehicle weight gives it a loophole in the bar against luxury vehicle tax deductions.

We've been blocked! - It is somewhat satisfying to know that I personally (with you Ben) have been censored by a communist dictatorship. News of China's new Internet filter on blogspot sites comes courtesy of Rob O. Okay, so it seems that only posters are blocked for now, not readers, so I guess we are getting through to our vast Chinese audience. It's still cool to be part of something that's making the Reds see crimson.

Liquid Lunch - Given our upcoming planned trip, this recent report on tourists' opinion of Ireland caught my attention. It confirms what I've heard -- everyone who has ever visited the Emerald Isle seems to have enjoyed the experiece greatly. However, it seems that the foreign guests have found Ireland lacking on one category -- the food. I always thought it was "British cuisine" that was a contradiction in terms, but if even the Germans find fault with Irish fare, maybe I should be concerned. Good thing the local libations are supposed to be meals in and of themseves. I guess Jamie and I will find out in March and give you our report.

Gay Gentrification - Some cities are taking to heart the prescription that urban revitalization follows if you can get gays to colonize the blight. We've seen it here in D.C., but our problem is we prefer to live somewhere that's already walkable. What good does it do Jamie and me if it is the straight couple who buys from us in five years who are the ones to enjoy the shops and better crime environment?

Monday, January 13

Angel in America - Any occasion when Drew praises an article by Mike Signorile is noteworthy. In this case, it's about the unusual reticence in the press about the cause of gay photographer Herb Ritt's death from AIDS. (Obviously this is a subject near-and-dear to Drew.)

I am just barely old enough to remember reading the first reports of celebrity AIDS victims, back when I was a precocious ninth-grade Newsweek reader, so the concept of obituary "cover stories" isn't completely foreign to me. Thankfully, I am not old enough to have lost anyone close to the disease. (A couple of peers lost their closeted fathers.) Let's hope I can still say that a few decades from now.

Dialing for Dollars - Ben, don't forget to cash in on the Microsoft anti-trust settlement in California.

More from the "Attack Queers" - Do I detect just a hint of schadenfreude in this op-ed by Bruce Bawyer about the closing of New York's Oscar Wilde bookstore? The point he makes is valid. It is not necessarily a bad thing that independent gay bookstores are struggling -- if it is because gay literature and reference is now widely available. Your local Barnes & Nobles stocks plenty of books of interest to gays, and "gay writers" are increasingly accepted in the category of mainstream lit. At the same time, this is the Village, in New York City. The Big Apple is supposed to be the kind of place where even the most arcane specialty shop can survive and thrive -- where entire stores are devoted to doorknobs. Something seems amiss if a world-renowned specialty bookseller can't make it there, especially now that it has little competition.

Bawyer's made a name for himself disclaiming gay community. He's a founding proponent of the utopian post-gay society, where being gay is about as important to you or anyone else as being left-handed. I won't suggest it's a bad thing that gay authors are accepted in traditional publishing or that gay characters have become common in everyday literature. But I believe it is still important to hear voices whose experiences you identify with. It's fair to say most of the reading I have done in my lifetime was before I came out in 1997. In that time, I barely read anything with characters whose experiences equated with mine. That's why Becoming a Man was such an important book to me. Since that time, I have really come to treasure the ability to see my own world through the eyes of the gay characters I discovered through literature.

Terry Gross interviewed Richard Price on Fresh Air the other day. The author of Clockers and other semi-autobiographical novels about the projects of New York, Price read for Gross a passage in his recent work Samaritan. In it, the main character goes back to the old neighborhood and volunteers to teaches creative writing at his old school. He brings books for the class to read, telling them:

Let me just say something about these particular books. They're mostly written about people who grew up without advantages. Some in cities, some in rural, hard lives all around. And the reason I chose them for you was because I feel we read to learn new things, sure, absolutely, but more often than not, what we really get out of the good books we read is self-recognition. We read and discover stuff about life that we already knew, except that we didn't know we knew it until we read it in a particular book. And, this self recognition, this discovering ourselves in the writings of others, can be very exciting, can make us feel a little less isolated inside our own thing, and a little more connected to the larger world.

I truly hope that the closing of gay bookstores, in New York and elsewhere, and the mainstreaming of gay authors, does nothing to rob gay people of this invaluable resource for self-understanding.

Sunday, January 12

Visit Beautiful Santa Fe - Can somebody tell me why the North Korean officials meeting for talks aimed at ending a nuclear geopolitical standoff have been spending their time in New Mexico acting like a couple of tourists?

Saturday, January 11

Resolved - One of my New Years resolutions was to become more actively involved in my local community. I figured, not only is it good karma to help others, but also that I should probably make efforts to increase my friendship base in Sacramento after living here for a year. So, this morning, in the spirit of becoming a community activist, I attended the monthly meeting of our local chapter of GLSEN, the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network. There were only about 10 people at the meeting: me, a couple lesbian students, a few PFLAG mothers and the rest teachers. Without boring you on the details, I should share that there was no written agenda and so the meeting lasted for two hours. So, we'll see if participation in GLSEN gives me a greater sense of community and belonging, but the strangest realization I had (especially as I've become aware of deeply my liberalism runs) was how anti-teachers union I am. Collective bargaining with teachers unions is one of the most challenging aspects of role of a school board member, and so I've been exposed to the horror stories in my job. But, at the very least, the participants were excited for my presence, as they somehow regarded me as an Education Professional. Perhaps that will become a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Deus ex Machina - Hard on the heels of news that TiVo is finally evolving into a networked home media center comes high praise from a high official, as FCC Chairman Michael Powell (Colin's son) publicly calls the digital video recorder "God's Machine." It's an odd off-the-cuff remark that has produced chuckles in some quarters and which will no doubt raise ire in others, but there can be no doubt that having technology regulators who are also semi-leading-edge users will help in the long run. It's more fodder for the on-going debate over whether the FCC chief, who has taken unusual actions like attending hip-hop conventions, is good advocate for consumers.

Now where's the love for us early adopters who are stuck with TiVo models that can't be upgraded to take advantage of all the sweet new features?

Restore Thyself - Slate weighs in on a subject that, I must confess, has been troubling me too. How will RSTO survive these difficult times? Perhaps a former employee who co-writes this blog could offer some insight on ways to keep yet another founding tenant of Macarthur Center from closing up shop.

Tastes Like Chicken - In another of our occasional series on culinary news, here's a link to a wistful WaPo story about the declining interest in a regional Winter delicacy, Chesapeake Bay muskrat.

Van Wilder: Party Planner - Is National Lampoon going gay? Jamie had rented VW while I was out of town and we sat down to watch it this evening. We both agree that cutie Ryan Reynolds' lead role seems custom written for a homo, and he plays it spot on. Sure he's got a heterosexual love interest (poor Tara Reid with the exuberant days of American Pie burst like a tech bubble), but the character played by the sexy, 6'3", 26-year-old is remarkably campy. His constant wise-cracking, carried off with just a hint of an unselfconscious Big Gay Al lisp, yields a distinctly homo vibe. Think Jeff Corwin. Putting aside the Tom Green-ish gross-out humor, the movie wasn't nearly as bad as you'd expect. I'd give it a B- (crediting mostly for the constant screen presence of the charismatic Reynolds.) I even thought RW Hawaii's Teck Holmes does a surprisingly competent job in his supporting role.

Friday, January 10

Future Radio - The Washington area seems to be the epicenter of the digital radio --- ummmmm --- revolution. Right, that's it. I regularly see stories about local venture XM Radio, which works something like DirecTV for radio by delivering 100 channels of satellite audio programming (usually to your car). Thank god I don't commute enough to need that. XM is struggling to jump start an expensive luxury technology in slow economic times and competitive market. Not helping is another local firm, iBiquity, which offers a terrestrial technology to let ground stations simulcast analog and high-definition digital signals. Seems like any success the latter has is going to mean trouble for the former and eventually D.C. will be left with one less company (if not two).

Male Bonding Incident - As shocked as I am that my Republican friend John K. even reads Salon, I appreciate his sending me a link to their recent article about homoeroticism in American football. As it happens, I caught the Pepsi-FritoLay commercial just last week. (Sorry if I am behind the times, but I don't catch Sports Center as often as I used to in my "evil fratboy" days.) I agree with Kaufman that depicting the conflicting feelings of straight guys about male companionship isn't homophobic, it's funny. (You can find the older Heineken spot online here. Hopefully the Pepsi ad will be up soon too.)

As with many of life's more complex psychological phenomena, advertising does a great job of exploring these issues while flying below radar. Guys who couldn't possibly engage in a philosophical discussion about sexuality will see ads like Pepsi's and maybe even absorb a bit of the underlying message. Subtly gay-positive media can thus reassure that most fragile of beasts, the straight male ego. Hetero guys can learn that "there's nothing wrong with that," because the images are associated with comforting things like sports and beer. I maintain that if we can reach the hearts and minds of that demographic, then we've got it made.

Speaking of sports eroticism, I really had to restrain myself from springing for a copy of ESPN Magazine at 7-11 the other day. Again, I realize it's old news, but they had the dated issue with Arizona's Luke Walton on the cover. Yum! Ahem. Here's a shot just for you, Ben.

Unmarriage - How can you write an article about alternatives to marriage and only once mentions gays? If they are serious, then they need to see how civil unions and DOMA also affect their agenda. Seems pretty silly to me.

Thursday, January 9

Fat and Poor - Salon reviews a new book called Fat Land that investigates why we're so damn tubby as a society. I gather that the argument the book is making is that only in a country as affluent as ours can people afford to dine out at restaunts as often as Americans do. However, in turn, rich Americans and poor Americans eat at different kinds of restaurants. While poor Americans are eating supersized extra value meals, the rich are flocking to trendy raw food eateries like Roxanne's. While the poor are watching TV and toiling away at minimum wage jobs, the rich are doing cardio with their personal trainers. I'm sure I'm oversimplifying, so I'm interested to read the actual text. Plus, it's hard to pass up the irresistable cute image of a pudgy baby surrounded by food on its cover.

Wednesday, January 8

Martha's New Mag - Troubled domestic diva Martha Stewart has a new magazine at your supermarket checkout counter these days. Everyday Food, is a digest-size journal that aims for a broader audience than the flagship MS Living, and apparently calls for fewer exotic and expensive ingredients. Perhaps most telling of all, Martha's name is only lightly sprinkled throughout the content of the magazine, finally providing a franchise for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia that doesn't rely entirely on its famous founder.

Ouch! - The WP takes the Old Dominion to task for being, well, old. In an editorial entitled "Not Welcome in Virginia," the Post uses the birth of 2003's first baby to a lesbian couple who moved out of Virginia to have better parental rights to lecture the state on keeping up with the times. I completely agree, but I doubt very much the people who decide such things here are listening to the WaPo editorial board anyway.

Ranking Members - No, I'm not talking about John's forthcoming post on penis size, I'm talking about Congressional Committee chairmanship. Someone remind me how I, regarded by most as a bleeding-heart liberal "San Francisco Democrat," ended up working for two conservative Republicans during college. Well, my dear old boss Elton Gallegly is in the news, as he tries to assume the reins of the House Resources Committee.

Humiliation Sells - What's with the ever-growing onslaught of mid-season replacement reality TV? As loyal readers know, I've been an ardent fan of Survivor from the beginning and a long-time viewer of The Real World (although, am I the only one who simply can't get into the Vegas cast?). Cheap to produce and easy to attract audiences ready to see people humiliate themselves, 2003 will see the debut of even more reality programming, from Celebrity Mole to High School Reunion, The Bachelorette to I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here. But, really, it's Joe Millionaire that's getting all the press. There's nothing like watching women make fools of themselves for a rich and handsome man. Meanwhile, some people think this craze has gone a bit too far, going so far as to file lawsuits against the producers. I feel robbed of another opportunity to see Ashton Kutcher's smiling face.

You've got phone spam! - Good ole Billy Bob Tauzin, his pockets bulging with lobbyist money, has put the kiebash on the FTC's "do-not-call" anti-telemarketing list, according to reports in today's Washington Post. Being chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee has to be one of the most lucrative jobs on the Hill. Kinda reminds me of a story about another Lousiana pol. If there is an upcoming vacancy in the Axis of Evil, can I nominate this guy?

Tuesday, January 7

What Evil Lurks? - This truly is an amazing photo. A night-time satellite image of the Korean peninsula shows the vivid technological glow of South Korea contrasted with the Mordor-like darkness of the North. It seems possible to me that the U.S. faces no adversary as foreign in its thinking and inscrutible in its actions than the DPRK. Even Islamofascists exist in a society where computers and satellite TV news are an integral part of life. Compared with the relative modernity of Iraq, North Korea truly resembles the nastier realms of Middle Earth.

Candle in the Wind 2003 - Ben, is Marilyn Monroe a bigger gay icon in Europe than she is here? In your discussion, feel free to cite the new Germany-based designer "boy" band Marilyn's Boys, which, as the Deutsche Welle notes, is entirely gay (literally).

Networking for Success - The NY Times reports on how The WB built a financially successful television network, by appealing to selective demographics instead of trying to attract the greatest number of eyeballs. I've got to wonder how many gay male fans overlap with that female 12-34 demo, since so many gayboys are fans of shows like Smallville and Charmed. Maybe Outlet will take a cue from the WB playbook and put on shows that appeal to gays that aren't necessarily ALL about homo life.

Revenge of the "Nice" - ClearPlay has entered the legal briarpatch that also ensnared CleanFlicks, according to a report in Variety (via WP). At stake is whether Hollywood copyright holders have the right to prevent their films from being sanitized of objectionable violence, language or sexual content. Interestingly, the ClearPlay technology works with normal store-bought or -rented versions of motion picture DVDs that must be played on computers also running the ClearPlay software. Pretty cool concept for a bunch of goody-two-shoes. I'm still impressed that my computer DVD player can time-compress movies, allowing you to watch them at a fractionally faster speed without distortion. When is TiVo gonna get that capability? And is Hollywood poised to sue if they do?

Delicious Dish - Great article from the Washington Monthly about the Voice of NPR, that carefully modulated, softly spoken, authoritative but melodic tone of voice mocked so lovingly by Saturday Night Live. Wonder what effect NPR's new Los Angeles studio will, like, have on the Voice.

Highway 99 - The NY Times has a piece on the highway that cuts through the farming towns of California's Central Valley, Highway 99. Since Interstate 5, the main north-south route that between LA and SF actually bypasses the cities of the Central Valley for an even more desolate stretch of land, many wanna-be snobby urban hipsters such as myself have never even visited them. Looking at the vast Bed, Bath and Beyond suburbia that is spreading through the "fly-over" cities of Modesto, Fresno and Bakersfield, is a reminder that the philosophical splits in California are more accurately divided between east and west, not north and south.

Monday, January 6

Pink Triangle History Lesson - The NY Times has a refresher on Nazi persecution of homosexuals in their report on new exhibits at the Holocaust Museum. (A very worthwhile experience if you are ever in D.C.) While the treatment of Uranians in post-Weimar Germany is an interesting subject, I've always felt like it smacked of victimist me-too-ism to play up that experience in the shadow of the Final Solution. Still, it's good to have a reminder of where gay liberationists got the idea for their pink triangles in the 1970s.

Friday, January 3

Blawgs R Us - Cool! Microsoft nemesis (and Stanford professor) Lawrence Lessig has a blog. Maybe it's just my naive impression, but it seems like law professors have been on forefront of "expert blogging." (We can't count political commentators, who generally are not experts at anything except mouthing off). Just as the Internet allows common folk like us to read the source material and decide for ourselves, having access to legal eagles means know you can pierce the spin cloud and find out what the law says and how policy prescriptions by pundits and politicians would change things in the real world. Personally, I'm gonna miss the SEC law blog that Broc Romanek used to write for R.R. Donnelly's website, but he's moved on to greener pastures. Maybe I can get the firm to pony up for a membership.

Crusing Altitude - Blogger Steve Miller noted in a recent WP story on air marshalls the humorous tale of an undercover law enforcement officer who became suspicious of a fellow passenger who kept eyeing him. The man followed him through the terminal to the baggage claim and was accosted there by local police. At that point the sheepish passenger admitted he had been cruising the sky cop. “Hey, man, it’s okay,” the passenger said, according to the intelligence official. “I just thought he was cute.” And who can blame him?

Games People Play - With the Virginia legislature leaning ever more to the right, I'm going to continue to peg my hopes on the Supreme Court. Politically, why would any moderates go out on a limb to support gay Virginians on sodomy law reform if they can just wait it out and get the same result? This is how the game is played. Lovely.

Hoppin' John - Yesterday Blake and I had a discussion about eating black-eyed peas on New Year's Day, which led into a discourse on how I must not be a true Suthuhner if I wasn't familiar with the practice (let alone regularly partake). NPR came to my rescue by having their culinary correspondent Vertamae Grosvenor give a full explanation on Friday's Morning Edition.

2003 - A Space Odyssey - I'm not sure if you can say taking an extra forty-six years to achieve manned space flight should be considered "challenging" American pre-eminence, but it seems the Chinese will finally meet the goal this year, as the NY Times reports today. People like to think of space travel as high-tech, but let's remember that the Americans and Soviets got pretty comfortable with the subject back in the days when a transistor was the size of a nine-volt battery and digital watches were still a couple of decades away from practicality. Check out the Chinese National Space Administration's website, which remineds me of the clumsily formatted style popular with Taiwanese memory manufactuers. I'm sorry, did they steal their symbol from the United Federation of Planets? I always thought the Chinese were supposed to be the Romulans.

On a personal etymological note, I'm dismayed to see nowhere in the mainstream media any enthusiasm for using the term "taikonauts" to refer to our new celestial competitors. The word was popularized by Arthur C. Clarke in his book 2010 which involved similar rivalry between a joint U.S.-Soviet space program and a secretive Red China project. It's a cool word (how many English words derive their roots from Chinese and Greek?) but -- alas -- it seems destined to be relegated to the insular world of space geeks.

Thursday, January 2

What's that sound? - Sometimes I wonder if certain shows deserve all the buzz they get. After showing up in every gay rag out there, I get an email today from an alumni group promoting PBS's Lance Loud! A Death in An American Family. Until earlier this year when this guy passed away, I had never heard a thing about him. I certainly couldn't have identified him as a gay icon. In any case, the producers seems to be reaching the right people with their marketing campaign, and being the media sheep that I am, I'll be sure to TiVo the show and find out the scoop.

Rehash - Anyone know why the Onion is rerunning stories from August 2000?

Billboards - Big Brother is monitoring the radio listening habits of Sacramento drivers! But, don't become alarmed, it's all in an effort to customize billboard messages to reach the appropriate target audience.

Laptops in the Classroom - Glenn Reynolds has a personal take on the NY Times report about students web surfing in college classes. I'm quite familiar with the unique distractions of Internet access when you are trying to get work done. I also am old enough that my school days actually pre-dated the World Wide Web, while my firm had no Internet access during the first year or so of my professional career. On the other hand, we are all having to get more used to multitasking our lives. Just the same, I think I would pay attention to the professor if I were a student today. My patented style of learning is almost wholly derived from classroom absorbtion, since I have always had this severe aversion to doing homework. Keep good notes and pray the professor's exam sticks to the lecture materials. (I hated those profs who would threaten to throw in questions from stuff they "didn't have time to cover" in class. It's hell doing a semester's worth of homework in a three-day reading period.)

Okay, don't anybody Sex Panic - Why does it make me cringe when I read in The Blade that the born-again head of Bush's AIDS advisory panel has asked his group to read an explicit book that takes a critical view towards gay male promiscuity? Sure the argument the book makes has some resonance, but remember this man Tom Coburn is quoted as saying "he can't take a position that endorsed homosexuality." The book's author, Gabe Rotello, presents the controversial argument that condom use is too unreliable to prevent the spread of AIDS and other STD's. That fits in exactly with Coburn's argument that abstinence (outside of marriage) is a better strategy at fighting AIDS. But where Rotello uses the argument to support greater recognition of gay marriage and domestic partnerships, it seems unlikely that Coburn would cross that line. Makes you wonder where he's heading with this reading assignment.

TV ain't eleemosynary work - I'm sure this column won't be the only piece of unsolicited advice Showtime and MTV will be getting about their gay pay-cable channel, Outlet. I know there are benefits from being a "good corporate citizen," but let's leave the business plan to the experts, shall we?

Wednesday, January 1

Alien Clones - I've been waiting for John to post this one, because I know of his interests in serious scientific discovery and outer space. So, while trying to keep a straight face, let's review the "facts" of the case of the cult that is claiming to have cloned several individuals. I'm sure that this scenario is 100% on the level and not at all a publicity stunt. Meanwhile, tempers are starting to flare as allegations of exploitation and abuse have been made. Better call for the mothership!

Africa - Weena, my friend, confidante and sometimes-roommate over the past 14 years, left UCSD med school for the fall to work in Kenya. She had been volunteering at Nyumbani Orphanage which was recently profiled in the NY Times. It's a bit strange to read and see pictures of the place and people who Weena described in her email in in an American newspaper. By the way, the girls on the swings are Knight and Christine. Christine was my Weena's one-on-one program charge. But it helps me to understand why Weena was so enthusiastic about returning to Nyumbani in the future.