Saturday, October 07, 2006

Caption Competition

O.K. What is Bush saying to Foley? Suggestions accepted.

UPDATE (Also see comments)

"You need medical help after 4 hours"

"Bigger is better"

"Gay and straight approaches to fishing"

"How big is your screen?"

"Cialis lasts all weekend"

[NB: The picture is from Andrew Sullivan's blog 10/6/2006.]

Friday, October 06, 2006

The Pope Abolishes Limbo

Infallibility has it's good points.
Limbo is....peopled by all history's unbaptised children, many gazillions more than can fit into even a big Starbucks. Limbo divides into Limbus Patrum, the temporary resting place of the souls of good persons who died before Jesus's resurrection, and Limbus Infantium, home for children who die without being freed from original sin (ie baptised). It is the latter that Pope Benedict XVI will abolish later today at a mass in Rome.

The Guardian 10/6/2006

Apparently the Pope decided to keep Limbo going for another year.
The Times 10/7/2006

Ruth Gledhill has a long discussion of the issues at The Times 10/04/2006

Foley's Downfall

A picture of the guy who had the long IM with Mark Foley, at Passionate America. Not bad sleuthing. For those who have not been able to bring themsleves to read all the IMs (which amount to cybersex), at one point the young man in question asks Foley if he has a "fetich", and states that his is people who wear casts [Warning: do not follow link if feint of heart]. Not an innocent.

A Race Riot in Britain

While looking at Little Green Footballs, to see how US Republicans are coping with the Foley scandal (now typically overblown in my opinion), I was alerted to this story in the Evening Standard (London) 10/5/2006.

The LGFer seemed to think that the riots were caused by Muslims. The Evening Standard is a conservative newspaper, and only the slightest reading shows that in this case it was white racists attacking Muslims who wanted to dedicate a place for prayer.


It's all about karma for the fuss over Monica.

If you enjoy seeing GOPpers squirm, look at Little Green Footballs

UPDATE: (Even more Schadenfreude)

Cannon: Teens "egging on" Foley in online sex scandal
Salt Lake Tribune 10/6/2006

The View from Britain

Until the Foley flap unfolded, most analysts had assumed it would not be quite as bad as that this time. Only about 40 House seats are in play, compared with over 100 in 1992. Competitive Senate races are far fewer and even tighter. But in Foley's wake, political calculations are changing. Now, twin nightmares keep the lights burning late in the West Wing.

One is that the Foley affair may accelerate the alienation of the socially conservative, evangelical Christian base which represents the Republicans' core support. The other is the prospect of a Democrat-controlled Congress turning President George Bush's final two years in office into one long, multi-pronged investigation into the propriety, legality and honesty of his administration's actions since 9/11, particularly over Iraq.

The Guardian 10/6/2006.

Did someone say "impeachment"?

Les Mis in a Minute

Gin and tonic. Man in prison for 19 years for stealing bread gets parole. Bloke in charge marks his card. Man steals from kind bishop. Bishop takes pity. Man's life is changed. Ten years on. Man is mayor and factory owner. Factory lady exposed as having illegitimate child. Lady sacked and becomes prostitute. Lady dies. Man's life is changed. Man buys lady's daughter from comedy bar owners. 10 years on. Boy falls in love with daughter. Revolution in air. Girl dressed as boy brings letter from first boy professing undying love for daughter. Man reads it. Man's life is changed. Interval. Revolution. Many die. Boy marries daughter. Man leaves. Comedy bar owners return. Make boy realise man saved his life. Man led to heaven by factory lady and girl who was dressed as boy. Finale.

The Guardian 10/6/2006.

The article is on Les Misérables becoming the world's longest running musical. You either like musicals or you don't; some of the most sublime moments of my life have come in connection with The Sound of Music, West Side Story, and My Fair Lady. But there is nothing quite like the experience of Les Mis, which I saw three times on Broadway. As The Guardian notes the show is an exercise in moral philosophy: it pits Christian forgiveness, in the person of Valjean, against the arid Legalism of Javert, and yet still makes Javert a fully human figure.

Rosamund Carr RIP

It seems it is still possible to live a good life.
Rosamund Carr, who died on September 29 aged 94, abandoned her life as a Manhattan socialite and moved to Central Africa with her adventurer husband; she remained there for more than 50 years and chronicled her experiences of the beauties and tragedies of the region in Land of a Thousand Hills — My Life in Rwanda (1999).

Daily Telegraph 10/5/2006

'The Worst Drivers Own BMWs'

BMW owners have been named as the worst drivers in Britain in a poll of more than 5,000 motorists.

The survey showed that the image of the BMW driver has not changed since they came to symbolise the brash winners of the boom-bust economy of the 1980s.

"They seem to be unable to use signals, expecting others on the road to have psychic powers," said Ian Vince, co-author of The Myway Code, who organised the survey.

"We were really surprised that BMW drivers got so many votes. We expected Chelsea Tractors and 'White Van Man' to come in higher.

"The BMW is a smug car and perhaps there is some envy towards the drivers from those of us in our Fiestas."

Class War, as reported in the Daily Telegraph 10/6/2006

Getting Religion - the English Way

The Church of England is to offer a speed-dating service to help lapsed worshippers find the church of their dreams.

Representatives of 10 churches will meet potential converts in a hotel lounge.

They will have five minutes with each of them, one to one, to try to sell them their particular place of worship and brand of Christianity.

The event is aimed at young people toying with returning to church but too busy to find one that suits them.

Daily Telegraph 10/6/2005

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Multi-Level Marketing

You walk into a job interview. The office is strangely bare - looking just like the "rapidly growing company" opened last week.

You find out that there is no pay, just commission

Basically it works like this; you get some poor punk to give you a $200 check for affordable health insurance. You (the agent) then get an immediate check for $250, and then 5% of all subsequent payments. The "manager" gets 6% of that amount each month. Each manager gets $1,500 for a recruit who makes $10k in sales.

You need to pay $300 up front to get on this gravy train.

Tory, Tory, Tory

In his speech today to the UK Conservative Conference, party leader David Cameron opposed reductions in taxation, endorsed same-sex marriage, praised government-controlled healthcare as "one of the greatest achievements of the 20th century," omitted any words of praise for the British mission in Iraq, attacked Tony Blair for drawing too close to the United States, aligned himself with a more liberal approach to Britain's surging crime rates, urged the Anglican Church to admit non-Anglicans to church schools while endorsing more state funding for Muslim schools.

David Frum, National Review Online, 10/5/2006 not liking the style of the new leader of the British Conservative Party, David Cameron.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


A friend is considering suicide.

There was a story in the New Yorker about a guy (one of the three who lived) who jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge. Just as he let go, he realized all the problems of his life could be solved. Apart from the fact that he had just let go of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Through early morning fog I see
visions of the things to be
the pains that are withheld for me
I realize and I can see...


that suicide is painless
It brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please.

I try to find a way to make
all our little joys relate
without that ever-present hate
but now I know that it's too late, and...


The game of life is hard to play
I'm gonna lose it anyway
The losing card I'll someday lay
so this is all I have to say.


The only way to win is cheat
And lay it down before I'm beat
and to another give my seat
for that's the only painless feat.


The sword of time will pierce our skins
It doesn't hurt when it begins
But as it works its way on in
The pain grows it grin, but...


A brave man once requested me
to answer questions that are key
is it to be or not to be
and I replied 'oh why ask me?'


'Cause suicide is painless
it brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please.
...and you can do the same thing if you please.


Rationale for Studying History

Friend: I am having a discussion with my Education instructor about building a lesson plan.This is a major part of my grade and I am so lost.
UNFHistoryProf (my AIM name): I never did lesson plans, I just read all my life, and came into class and had a general idea what to talk about
Friend: I am supposed to picka Sunshine State standard, then develop a 'rationale' and 'concept maps' from that. I finally begged the lecturer for an example of a 'rationale', and he said "Here's a good rationale:Citizens need to be able to interpret the relationship of geography on Florida's history because this relationship has influenced and will influence their lives as well as the lives of those in their communities. "
UNFHistoryProf: History helps people know where they are in time as a map helps them know where they are in space
Friend: Now, this is where I get totally flustered. He also goes on to say,"Mmmmm.... with that rationale, we could investigate Spanish exploration, tourism (early types, e.g., springs in the late 1800's to Walt Disney), animal conversation (e.g., alligators (hunting), bald eagles (pesticides), bears/panthers (human efforts to build highway underpasses as a result of population growth in S. Florida)), population by cultures (e.g., Hispanic, Minorcan, Greek), sports (even baseball's spring training location fits here)..."
UNFHistoryProf: The study of history encourages the distillation of webs of interpretation from a seeming infinite number of unrelated facts. History is about creating an histoire (French: story) out of an istoria (Greek: investigation) and doing both well. It's also a kind of intellectual masturbation for geeks. It saves on KY for those who have been circumcised......


As readers may be aware, getting a job is a current high priority. I am best at teaching, but can do many other things. If you know of anything let me know at

Standard Resume:
Academic CV:
Transcripts: transcript.pdf

Also Sprach Zarathustra

The Guardian 10/4/2006

Scandals Past

Everybody that I know is glad Foley is gone, but there seems to be an issue here to purposefully politicize a personal issue, and I find that repugnant.

But, what about all the GOP "state referendums" on gay marriage to get out the vote. The GOP Has used gay-crap constantly to throw at the Dems: now it's all a "private matter." The real matter is GOP hypocrisy. Every time anyone goes on about Clinton getting a blow job they need to ask why G.H.W. Bush's adultery, or G.W. Bush's cocaine use and/or DUI was blown over by the media.

Who Caused 9/11?

Well Osama and his cohorts did.

But it becoming clearer that so did the Clinton-obessessed GOP.

At this stage the best hope of us all is that Al Gore becomes the only person since Roosevelt to win three national majorities.

Clinton's cigar did not affect his job. If anything, when he went after Bin Laden, GOPpers and Dems said he was just "wagging the dog."

Republicans caused 9/11 by deliberately sabatoging a Democratic president over a blow job.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Researchers at the University of Exeter surveyed nearly 500 children. They included children aged 7-11 in ten junior schools and children aged 11-14 in one comprehensive, one Church of England, one Methodist and two independent schools. Nearly half the children were Christian and nearly a third were Muslim.
While most of the children knew that Jesus had a reputation as a caring person, fewer than one in ten believed that Jesus was, or is, God. A third found Him “a bit confusing” and more than a quarter thought him “hard to believe in”. The children struggled to understand Jesus’s death and Resurrection, and resorted to the language of magic to describe him, linking the miracles with the magic tricks of Paul Daniels.

In reference to the Resurrection, one boy asked: “If he rose from the dead, how come he ain’t here now?” Others wanted to know why Jesus didn’t help them today, and why he doesn’t “come down” and tell everyone He is true.

Q: What does the Bible say about the birth of Jesus that makes Christians believe he is special?
A: Jesus is the prophet of Allah
Q: Why is the cross an important symbol for Christians?
A: Because he was crossified on a cross
... Because Jesus was crusified on one to replenish our sins ...
... Because he hang himself
Q: What do you think Christians mean when they say that Jesus is the “Son of God”?
A: God is a dad to Jesus, but God and Mary weren’t married
Q: Why do you think Jesus chose fishermen like Simon and Andrew to be his disciples?
A: Because he liked fishing. And fishing is a wise sport.
...To fight for him
Q: According to the Bible, why did some people want to arrest and kill Jesus?
A: Because everybody thort he was a wizard.
... Some for shopping the cheats, and one for money.
... Because he heeled people on days he shouldn’t.
... They thought he would become rich
Q: What do Christians celebrate on Easter Sunday?
A: Chocolate
... When he rowed into Jerusalem waving palm trees
... Christmas

The Times 9/29/2006

Jews in London Arrested for Anti-Semitism

[a]...story about the Jewish people arrested by police a few days ago in the run-up to the Jewish New Year. What were they arrested for by those beloved guardians of our free society at the Met? Yes, you guessed it. They were handcuffed and led off to the cells at Charing Cross police station - under suspicion of inciting anti-Semitism.

Ruth Gledhill, The Times 9/26/2006

A Gay Governor for Florida

Charlie Crist: Bear with us. Crist, Florida’s GOP candidate for Governor, is another famously-closeted occasionally-outed always-denying Republican… from Florida. Florida’s already home to Katherine Harris, whose disastrous spectacular campaign has meant that many would-be Republican voters may stay home. Now add in that funny picture we put up top of Crist with Foley. It could turn into the candidates one real weakness, if his loser opponent could manage to make it stick. But it’s a long shot.

Wonkette 10/3/2006

GLBT News Summary for Progressives .

GLBT News Summary for Progressives . . . . . Ray's List: NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST.


Monday, October 02, 2006

George W. Bush...

...the only man in the world to make Jacques Chirac look like a good leader.


My friend Scott Carson of An Examined Life addresses the great existential question for many of us - "So Many Books, So Little Time" 10/2/2006

It turns out that, if you are around 40 and expect to read around 1 book per week for the rest of your life, you only have around 1600 left. If that is the case, why own around 4,000 books, one has to ask oneself. And why buy any more?

These are deeply disturbing questions, involving not only great decisions about not only what to read, but calculations of U-Haul and shipping rates, and $120 month storage units.

PS: A friend suggested a solution - "You go back and reference them after you read them! Right?"

But what happens after Google Books digitizes everything? After all a $15 a month Google full text access fee (it's coming) would work out cheaper than rent or mortgage, and it would be searchable.


I just heard about the details of the attack on an Amish school: I almost threw up in my car. The perp, because of some incident in his childhood, separated the adults and the boys from the girls, and then shot the girls (aged 3 to 16) execution style.

Brits just don't get Americans on guns. Indeed, it was the Tories under Mrs Thatcher who banned all guns. The ban is so strong that the British Olympic shooting team has to train in France. (I don't know what they will do in 2012 when the games are in London.)

Violent crime is much lower in England. There are violent criminals of course, and some gun crime, but the police still do not carry guns. [In fact I never saw one until I went on a high school trip to Russia in 1976.] There is a limited number of deaths one can perpetrate with a knife or battery acid.

There seems to be a problem with violence in the American psyche. And, while it is true most gun owners are not criminals, it is equally true that ALL perps of gun crime are gun possessors.

One could not effectively remove guns from American life at this stage. It would be possible, though, to ban the sale of ammunition. Gun owners could then stroke their, umm, guns, without harming others.


A friend points out that "real 'gun nuts' load their own ammunition, or own black powder rifles."

I suggest that "gun nut" is someone who needs either a facelift, or some viagra, KY, and a Kleenex.

The Fall Out

I have never seen NRO's the Corner so quiet. Only Larry Kudlow addressed the mess.

Meanwhile, Bob Woodward seems to the biggest loser (apart from the GOP that is).

Who is the Funniest Party Leader

There is not much choice in Britain, it seems.
The Guardian 2/2/2006

Smoking Room

Only in Canada
...Douglas Hutchinson, a professor of philosophy at the University of Toronto...this week received an official blessing to puff away on campus to his heart's content - or discontent, as the medical case may be.

Anti-tobacco types can relax a little, however. Professor Hutchinson, a 10-a-day man, is only doing it for health reasons. Clean, green marijuana joints, rather than the dreaded nicotine sticks, are his drug of choice.

According to news stories, Prof Hutchinson has been regularly toking up for more than a decade now. Until last week, however, his self-administered "therapeutic treatment" for an unspecified medical condition had been a private arrangement.

The Guardian 10/2/2006

Gay Scandals

There is now no doubt that Mark Foley acted both unwisely and possibly illegally. (Although the age of consent is 16 in DC and most other American states, it is illegal to solicit anyone under 18 over the Internet.)

What is odd is the timing. I say this, even as I hope the Democrats win, and the story is very bad for the Republicans.

The problem is the very long history of using a "gay scandal" as a political tool, and even more particularly in the lead up to an election. For non-gays each scandal seems new, but for gay people with any life experience there is a depressing sameness about each episode.

A Primer: Gay Political Scandals

  • Prince Philippe zu Eulenberg 1907-09 (Germany)
  • Roger Casement 1916 (UK/Ireland)
  • Alfred Redl 1913 WWI (Austria-Hungary)
  • Lord Montagu of Beaulieu 1954 (UK)
  • Ian Harvey 1958 (UK)
  • Maureen Colquhoun 1974-78 (UK)
  • Robert Bauman 1980 (US)
  • Jeremy Thorpe 1978 (UK)
  • The Queen's detective 1982 (UK) [I cannot recall the details)
  • Peter Tatchell 1983 election period) (UK)[In this case the fact that the Liberal Party candidate was also gay, did not stop the Liberals going after Tatchell simply for being gay]
  • Gary Studds 1983 (US)
  • Dan Crane 1983 (US)
  • Barney Frank 1990 (US)
  • Jim Kolbe 1996 (US)
  • Jerry Hayes 1997 (UK)
  • Tom Spencer 1999 (UK)
  • James McGreevey 2004 (USA: New Jersey)
  • Peter Davis 2006 and here (New Zealand) [Davis' is husband the NZ Prime Minister]
  • James E. West 2005 (USA: Washington) [This case is remarkable for its similarities to the Foley case.]
  • Mark Foley 2006 (USA) (election)

    Note that these kind of scandals are sometimes related to actions, sometimes just to the fact that a person is gay. All shades of the political spectrum are prone to use this mode of attack. See a disreputable list of Republican Sex Scandals at dkospedia
  • Sunday, October 01, 2006

    The End of the American Republic

    Non-American writers are really upset at the recent Congressional Bill on the treatment of detainees

    Robert Harris compares it as a response to the Roman reaction to a terroist attack in 68BC in "Pirates of the Mediterrean." New York Times 9/30/2006.

    Niall Ferguson, usually thought of as a neo-Thatcherite, is aghast at American Conservatism in the Sunday Telegraph 10/1/2006.

    Teacher Suspended for Museum Tour

    “Keep the ‘Art’ in ‘Smart’ and ‘Heart,’ ” Sydney McGee had posted on her Web site at Wilma Fisher Elementary School in this moneyed boomtown that is gobbling up the farm fields north of Dallas.

    But Ms. McGee, 51, a popular art teacher with 28 years in the classroom, is out of a job after leading her fifth-grade classes last April through the Dallas Museum of Art. One of her students saw nude art in the museum, and after the child’s parent complained, the teacher was suspended.

    New York Times 1/10/2006

    October is Lesbian and Gay History Month

    October is Lesbian and Gay History Month. The most usual approach to these kinds of "subaltern group month" [i.e. a none-elite group whose history has often been ignored] is to take a Great Person approach. [See for example 1/10/2006].

    There is a problem with this kind of approach to history, best summarized by Wayne R. Dynes in Homosexuality: A Research Guide (New York; Garland, 1987):182
    The impulse to draw up extensive biographical lists of notable homosexuals of the past began with the 19th century homosexual scholars in German-speaking countries. Parallel tendencies occur with scholars representing other minority groups, where such lists seem to function to provide historical witness of the collective worth of an ostracized group. This "hall of fame" approach has recently been criticized as skewing homosexual and lesbian history towards an unrepresentative elite, effacing historical variety and class differences. The search for famous homosexuals also provokes a largely fruitless series of debates over whether figures of the past, such as Socrates or Caesar, were truly homosexual.

    I accept Dyne's point as legitimate, but very often we know about the elite, or we know about no one at all. As we weave our history, all our investigations are legitimate.

    As gauche as it might seem to modern historian, there is a stage of the history of almost any oppressed group where people will make lists of past members of the group. Womens/Black/Jewish historians have all manifested the approach, and it is a starting point. History cannot stop at this point; it needs to go on to look at why oppression occured, how groups resisted oppression, and at the underlying constructions of sex and gender in any given society.

    I have web site that deals with the whole topic at People with a History.

    The Laughing 9/11 Bombers

    Exclusive film of suicide pilots at Bin Laden’s HQ on January 18, 2000.
    The Sunday Times 10/12006

    Ségolène Royal

    There is a very possibility that the next president of France (the election is next year) will be a woman.

    Imagine, Ségolène and Hillary in charge of the world's most active militaries instead of Jacques and George. It could happen.
    The Sunday Times 10/1/2006

    American Borat

    Kinky Friedman, irreverant country singer, satirist and self-proclaimed "equal opportunities offender", was his usual ebullient self as he bounded on to the stage at the latest stop in his remarkable campaign to become governor of Texas.

    "You know the definition of politics?" the former frontman of the Texas Jewboys band asked a packed audience at the Flying Saucer bar in San Antonio. "Well, 'poli' means more than one and 'tics' are bloodsucking parasites!"
    Despite a racism row over a 26-year-old tape of him using the word "nigger" during a comedy routine, Friedman appeared relaxed. "I offend everyone," said the man whose best-known musical hit, They Ain't Making Jews Like Jesus No More, took satirical swipes at just about every group.

    "I have always used humour as a weapon to attack bigotry. I don't pretend bigotry doesn't exist. I'm a realist, not a racist. I've campaigned against racism for years but this is the price you pay for taking on the entrenched interests of the two-party system. Somebody organised this hit job pretty well, but they only attack you when you're carrying the ball, and we're carrying the ball."

    He outlined his eclectic political platform: his social policies range from support for prayer in school and more police on the streets to backing gay marriage and decriminalising marijuana to clear space in prisons for real criminals "like paedophiles and politicians". Friedman says he has not touched hard drugs since 1985.

    He has a predictably unconventional plan for dealing with the influx of illegal immigrants from Mexico. As well as deploying 10,000 National Guards along the border, he proposes placing five Mexican generals in charge of their side, putting $2 million in a holding account for each and deducting $10,000 for every illegal caught crossing. "It's a joke but it also happens to be a good idea."

    Sunday Telegraph 10/1/2006

    Etiquette Comes to Australia

    It is no surprise that the authorities in Australia have been warning people not to refer to the British as whingeing poms during the coming Test series. Observers have commented on the wave of politeness that has been sweeping the country lately, forcing thousands of ockers to flee their homes for fear of being engulfed by good manners.

    There are reports of a move to change the national song to May I Have the Pleasure of the Next Waltz, Matilda?

    Sunday Telegraph 10/1/2006

    Also fun in the Sunday Telegraph
  • On the George Foreman Grill
  • Logic

    A non-friend said to me;

    All Cretans are liars.

    You are a liar.

    Therefore you are a Cretan

    Umm, but I come from England.