Monday, November 30, 2009

Listening to President Clinton Tomorrow at Colombia


So how totally cool is this? I entered a (free) drawing to see President Clinton speak at Colombia tomorrow.
.
It is World Aids Day and the Clinton Foundation (his post-Presidential non-profit) does a lot of work with Aids research, primarily in Africa.
.
So I won!
.
I get to go hear him tomorrow. Now I know that my mom isn't a fan - but still, it should be really cool to hear him in person at Colombia.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

*-less Books on vacation

In a bizarre twist, I read two books over vacation with the suffix"less" in the titles. They were both great, but very different.
.
Soulless was a very odd little book that I found in the Science Fiction section, but could have easily been found in humor, vampires, old British fiction, and possible lite romance. It is a new book, but it reads charmingly like a 1920s / 1930s English book of manners and drawing rooms murders. I thought it was a perfect antidote to thinking and worrying too much about life.

Then there was Speech*less (I think the picture was an early shot - my book has a * not a - in between the Speech and Less).
.
That book is the tale of a idealistic Republican Speech Writer who in 8 years or so proceeds through stints in Congress (where he likes some conservatives, has no respect for most Democrats and really hates Republicans who have abused there power - and finds that is the great majority of both parties). After a spell with a Congressman and Senator Kyl from Arizona (whom he likes), he gets hired by Donald Rumsfield - who he really likes. After Rummy retires he is hired by the White House for the last few years.
.
He is a funny writer, except for a hideous blind spot to all Democrats. ALL. He never even explores this knee jerk reaction -but he covers it very little. Mainly he reserves his wrath for Republican turncoats (John McCain & Lindsey Graham do poorly there), Reflexive Republican boosters (anyone who unquestioningly hailed Sarah Palin as the next coming fits into that category) and the professional Washington Fixers (Josh Bolton (Bush's Chief of Staff), Bob Gates and other professional politicians devoid of ideology come to mind). He is funny as hell about it.
.
He doesn't really get much of any vibe from Chenney. But he is HIDEOUSLY disillusioned by three people. Kay Baily Hutchinson - who it turns out cares about very little but her J Crew Purse Boys (they carry her purse and discharge it's contents on her command). Karl Rove - who he thinks was less the "brains" behind GW than the asshole that wouldn't admit he was EVER wrong. And Condi Rice - who he complains changed every policy decision late in the President to preserve her reputation regardless of what Bush had promised.
.
As for GW - he comes across as a little too loyal to friends and unaware of the world outside the White House. Both Rove and Bush happily admitted they didn't watch the news or read the papers. (As an aside - for the longest time GW, like many of us, thought Hillary Clinton would be the next President and told people just to wait till she had her fat ass behind this desk.)
.
It was a really funny book. Takes a while for him to get to Congress (maybe 50 pages) - but once he's there it is a great read. And, even though he falls terribly prey to partisan hackery - he acknowledges that this is what is destroying the country.
.
And to read what he says about Charles Schummer is hilarious - even if you are a Democrat.

We're Home

Well we are home and it is fine to be back. We got to see Trevor and Randy and recover a little.
.
I have to let Rio sink in a little. It was different to be able to see so much and stay so long this time. Having Sam there to help show us around made it more than just a beach and tan holiday (although there was plenty of that) and more of a cultural thing.
.
Sam is starting a restaurant and it isn't quite ready yet (still in the refurbishing phase) so he had a fair amount of time to hang out with us. It was interesting to see so much of the city through local eyes.
.
It was very very cool.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving to All

Well Happy Thanksgiving everyone.
.
I know it is a little mean to send this picture out when family is in Mankato, Missoula, New Jersey, Rochester (burr....) and all - but it is where we are.
.
This is Ed at the top of Corcovado hill where the statue of Christo (Christ the Remdemer) is, I think he is a cutie, my honey.
.
Below is a picture I took of the view from the hill.
.
We are having a great Thanksgiving - hope you all are as well.



i

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tour of the Flavalas Today

Today we toured the flavalas. There are the cities within a city in Rio. They are usually up high - and basically run by the drug lords.
.
Funning enough, they are relatively safe - the drug lords don't want the police to have to come in. Unless there is a drug gang v. drug gang fight.

This is one of the largest ones there is. We bought some art from the locals.
This one is smaller, and has been rehabbed by the country to include water, power and sewage.

This is Philip. Philip goes to an auxillery school in the flavala that the tours pay for. So the tours teach outsiders about these places - and give back by offerring extra schooling.
.
The only thing we couldn't do was take pictures at the entrance (the drug lookouts apparently get REALLY mad there).

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Rio: Beach and Gardens

This is the beach at Ipanema where we laid out and got RED! This is the view from Corcovado (where the Christo Statue is).
There was a GREAT tropical botanical garden here. It was amazing. It was probably the best tropical botanical garden I have ever seen.




Me and Ed and dinner (below) and the gardens (above).

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Rio is Mue Bueno

The view from our room.

Eddie and Sam at the Samba school.
Yes. We are having a blast.

Friday, November 20, 2009

So, I'm in the lounge

so I am in the lounge at JFK and someone is talking REALLY LOUD AND IT CARRIES THROUGH OUT THE LOUNGE.
.
Do you think it is rude that I went over to her and her friends (including men) and said, very politely, I don't know if you know this, but your voice carries in the room - it recoshays off the bar back wall.
.
Someone with her said, "how rude." And I wheeled around and said, "I didn't mean it rude, I simply asked her to take it down a notch." And she seemed cool with it.
.
If we don't ask how will people know it bugs us?

On our way to Rio


We are on our way to Rio....
.
Smell you later.

I Couldn't Afford It Now


Unlike my 1 year at USC, I spent my 3 years at UCLA on my own dime. That is, I paid for it myself. My mom had a 3kids at home and my dad was... well my dad was my dad.
.
And I am proud of it. I worked almost full time at food services on campus (20 - 35 hours a week) - so I was able to schedule around my classes as well as get a meal free every day I worked (plus hamburgers for my roommates, when I closed Campus Corner daily).
.
I left with about $3,500 in student loans (all paid ).
.
So it is really sad to hear of yet another increase in fees at UCLA. Yearly "fees" (there is no "tuition" for in state students) is now about $10,000 a year. Ten years ago it was $3,500 a year. When I went (30 years ago!!!!) it was $700 a year.
.
I don't think you could work your way through school and lodgings now. I wouldn't be able to go to UCLA - despite my grades and all (I would probably have to go to Long Beach State - which isn't horrible but... it's Long Beach State, doesn't look as good on a resume).
.
I don't blame anyone and I am not bitching. I just think it is really really sad. UCLA holds so much magic for me... I learned so much... I grew more than anyone will know... My friends and I became the people we are because of UCLA...
.
It's just really sad that this experience is now out of the reach for so many people.

For Lisa & Laura: Tim Burton Show Online Pix

Lisa and Laura, well I hate to break it to you both, but I think you may have to come to New York before April 26th. That is if you want to see the (wait for it) new Tim Burton Exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art.

..
.
There is a gallery of the stuff at Daily Beast here.
.
And the Exhibition information here.
.
Just let us know when you are coming. AND don't even ask for anything because Christmas is coming...

Project Runway Season 6: Ho Hum


I say Ho and I say Hum...
.
Project Runway Season 6 was a disaster. I don't know if it was the move from New York to LA (I CAN'T imagine it was that), or if it was just tired.
.
Maybe it was the new production company - which makes more sense. The season seemed flat most of the year. Well, at the very least , flat after the first 5 episodes when they got rid of anyone with personality. (Note to Irena: Bitchiness, pettiness and eye-rolling does not make you a personality - just a Petty Eye-Rolling Bitch).
.
Maybe it has just run its course.
.
But the finale (which I will not spoil for those of you who tivo'ed it or my British friends) was kind of crap. They picked the best designer of the year - but not the best runway show.
.
I was not amused. And I mean that really... it wasn't amusing or entertaining or surprising. It was only annoying. And WHAT was Heidi Klum wearing the finale (I couldn't find a picture of it, which makes sense because if I was Heidi I would burn those pictures too!).

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Good News Story! Cafesjian Center for the Arts


So, this is The Cafesjian Center for the Arts in Armenia. Web Site Here.
.
From the New York Times Story...
.
The center, a mad work of architectural megalomania and historical recovery, is one of the strangest but most memorable museum buildings to open in ages. Imagine an Art Deco version of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon stretching nearly the height of the Empire State Building, its decorations coded with Armenian symbolism.
.
Did I mention the artificial waterfalls?
.
.Built into a gigantic hill in the commercial heart of this capital city, with a staircase that climbs the outside linking the gardens, the place was originally conceived in Soviet times to be topped by a monument to the Soviet revolution. That it has been turned into a contemporary-art center by a rich American is a twist of history whose symbolism is lost on no one here.


Below are some of the pieces I saw on their web site and loved. I love the idea, I love the execution. I want to go!

Just because you can, should you?


Avatar?

.
Now part of me thinks, this could be a fun movie. But it is basically a Computer Generated Movie - with some live bits thrown in.
.
Granted, an amazing Computer Generated Movie, but still...
.
Just because you CAN do something, it doesn't mean y0u SHOULD do something. Unlike most of opinions, I think I will wait and see if it is any good first - if only because James Cameron has a great track record in movies that I wondered about at first (Titanic, Terminator 2).

(Many of you know how rare it is for me to hold back just because I don't have all the information. I am the King of Snap Judgements. Granted, it isn't as exalted a title as the King Of Pop - but I have been working on it just as long.)
.
So this has a chance to be good. It also has a change to be James Cameron's $200 million pet wet dream gone awry.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wanna Touch 'em?


See, this is what I miss about LA!
.
Tonight on "Modern Family", Elizabeth Banks played a friend of the gay couple. And she saw them for the first time with her new boobies.
.
And what did she say? What all good girlfriends in LA say when they get a new set of boobies...
.
Wanna touch 'em?
.
Scooter is homesick tonight. I miss LA and the totally lack of inhibitions about fake boobies....

DAMN YOU NEWSWEEK!!

"News"week has done it. They have made me write a defense for Ms. Palin.
.
Damn You Newsweek!!!!
.

Okay. (Deep Breath).
.
Newsweek is just being creepy, annoying and sexist here with Sarah Palin.
.
For their story on her, she did not pose for this tawdry picture.
.
No, in fact it is an old picture she did for Runner's World (where it was appropriate).
.
Newsweek, in it's infinite wisdom, decided this was the right picture to show now.
.
And that is just stupid, sexist, rude, out-of-context and annoying.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It is the Big Day for the Mascot(s) of the Month

Sarah's book is out today. We won't get into the details, as it is all over the nets. Good or bad, all publicity for Sarah Palin is good (her fans find any rapping on her as proof she is the underdog).
.
In fact if there is anything that would bug her, it would be her daughter's baby daddy nuding it up and releasing the first pictures that same day.
.
Which brings us to ...

... Levi's first release pictures from Playgirl. Of course, I think if you are going to wax your chest, at least trim your underarm hair so it doesn't clot up abnormally - but I am sure it will appeal to someone.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

If you want to look at our pictures from the Woolworth Building Tour.


It was amazing. Here are pictures.
.

I Will Detail Later: But Two Very Cool Things Yesterday..

We did 2 very fun things yesterday. We are sleeping in to recover, but I will preview what we did before I post, as it were.
.
.
First we had a semi-private (25 people) tour of the Woolworth Building. It was the tallest building in the world from 1916 to 1932. We went in the Rooftop observatory, the top tower, the sub-basement swimming pool and lobby. It was giving by an Teacher of Architectural History who wrote a book about it, plus an ex-employee who used to work with Mr. Woolworth and the new building owners.
.
We were able to do this rare thing because I won a raffle from OpenHouse NY. Very cool.

After that, we went over to Williamsburg in Brooklyn - a hip & happening little village in Brooklyn - for dinner with new friends. We meet them at the Empire State Pride Dinner. It was a lot of fun and the food was great I thought (more "okay" for Eddie).
.
Anyway more later, just that we had fun.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Really Funny: Except it happened under Bush and REPUBLICAN Homeland Secuirty


But it is MUCH funnier to blame Obama, because, you know, you are a lying Republican that hates the black man. But yes, REALLY, the shooter was investigated and cleared under the (W) Bush administration. Asswipes. (Just as a reminder, Obama was sworn in to office in late January 2009.)

Sarah: Oh You Wonderful Wonderful Mascot



The Plum Line:
.
One of the whackiest claims Sarah Palin makes in her new book is that she agreed to her disastrous interview with Katie Couric -- a central event during Campaign 2008 -- because a top McCain aide told her Couric had low self esteem, leading Palin to take pity on the CBS anchor.
.
A McCain adviser I just spoke to adamantly denied the claim, and provided a counter story: Palin was repeatedly urged by McCain aides to prepare for the interview, but refused.
.
Here are the all the interviews put together for your enjoyment and to show you how sweet Sarah was to pity poor Miss Couric.
.

2012: Not as many yell back at the screen moments as you want


Roland E learned the wrong lessons from 10,000 BC.
.
Yes, people laugh inappropriately and yell back at the screen. But that is WHY we go. I gotta shell out $14.50 in New York - if I am not being moved to tears by Kate Winslett, damn it I want to scream "Oh No You Didn't!" in the theater.
.
"Don't Open the Door!!! Oh well.. I told you don't open that door."
.
2012 is filled to the brim with (bloodless long-shot) death and big time destruction - but is short on truly laughable moments.
.
Woody Harrelson being an exception. He chews giant pickles and scenery with equal aplomb. John Cuzack gets out of every scrap with fire, volcanic ash or cracks in the earth nipping at his ass - but Amanda Peet screws up the joke with her face twisted into near tears. Not really Amanda's fault - she has nothing else to do in this film but scream hold the kids and not show her boobs because they haven't been redone (don't ask).
.
Anyway, it was fun enough - but Ed was sitting away from Randy at I (25 minutes early and still no 3 seats together) and I don't think my humorous asides were nearly as funny to Randy and they would have been to Ed.
.
PS - New Magnetic South Pole: Steven's Point Wisconsin.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Wheee!! It's Not Even Out Yet

I TOLD YOU it was going to be a big Sarah / Levi Month!!
.
The month is not even half over AND Sarah's book isn't out yet and still the McCain Camp is calling bullshit. This is going to be fun.

quote (from AP)
-------------
Rogue: An American Life," would feature some dubious claims, including ones that would be disputed and even debunked pretty quickly. It is, however, a little surprising to see that one assertion Palin reportedly makes in the book has been challenged days before the book is set to be released, and while it's still under an embargo.
.
The Associated Press managed to obtain a copy of "Going Rogue," and published a glimpse into some of what the former Alaska governor's book contains on Thursday. One of the things the AP noted was that Palin discussed $500,000 in legal fees she says she's faced recently, and that she claims about one-tenth of that sum was the result of a bill she got from Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign, which wanted her to pay for having vetted her to be the Republican vice-presidential nominee.
.
"She said when she asked the McCain campaign if it would help her financially, she was told McCain's camp would have paid all the bills if he'd won; since he lost, the vetting legal bills were her responsibility," the AP reports.

.
A former advisor to McCain quickly came out to deny that there was any such bill. CNN's Peter Hamby
quotes the unnamed "former senior campaign advisor" as saying, "That is one hundred percent untrue... All those bills are from her personal attorney Thomas Van Flein, mostly relating to the Troopergate investigation and other ethics investigations. It is not legal to pay for those investigations out of general election funds, even if the campaign was so inclined."

One Thing I Love About This House


... sure, the view is great - the location cannot be beat - but, I love the icemaker.
.
You see, I use a lot of ice.
.
Ever day (sometimes every other day), I make a big pot of hot tea, and poor it over a pitcher of ice and put it in the fridge.
.
And, I have ice in about everything I drink.
.
Now our old icemaker on Quebec used to freeze up (for NO reason). But this freezer door has a warning beep if you leave it open a even a tiny bit - which seems to reduce this problem. I think Ed was leaving the door to the freezer on Quebec open - but I don't blame him - it seemed closed to him.
.
Icemakers in side by side fridges aren't really as large as needed.
.
Anyway, that is one of my happy morning thoughts as I drink my ice tea.

Oh no they di'int

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Catholic Church in DC Promises to Stop Outreach to the Poor if the District Recognizes Gay Marriage


I don't live or work in DC. AND I know the Catholic Church hates fags (although the church goes out of its way to protect pedophiles, seeing how buggering children is better in the eyes of God than being in a committed monogamous relationship with a same sex partner).
.
What I didn't know is how MUCH they hated fags.
.
Enough to threaten Washington DC with ending services to the poor and hopeless - because - well God hates them if they live in a city that allows gay marriage.
.
-quote-
.
The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington said Wednesday that it will be unable to continue the social service programs it runs for the District if the city doesn't change a proposed same-sex marriage law, a threat that could affect tens of thousands of people the church helps with adoption, homelessness and health care.
.
Under the bill, headed for a D.C. Council vote next month, religious organizations would not be required to perform or make space available for same-sex weddings. But they would have to obey city laws prohibiting discrimination against gay men and lesbians.
.
Yeah... and I the one going to hell.

Mascot of the Month News 2: Sarah Palin "You Like Me... You Really Like Me..."

Speaking of Mrs. Palin...
.
The Insider hasn't forgotten about her.
.
No, in the same investigative story about Levi, Sarah and Thanksgiving Dinner - they did have a poll question.
.
You have to go to the sidebar, but there it is, waiting for your response.
.
They dragged out an oldy but goody in the form of did she break the law by getting her daugther's baby daddy a job that was wait-listed AND required a high school diploma (which he didn't have).
.
And, by a significant margin, people said that she shouldn't be investigated for this.
.
So yes, finally a election she won.
.
Although rumor has it she will quit the Insider polls for the good of the web site soon anyway. Something about not wanting to be a lame duck.
.




Latest Mascot of the Month News: Part 1 - Levi


Well, the Insider has the dish.
.
Apparently Sarah Palin told Oprah that Levi was invited to Thanksgiving dinner with his son and his baby mama.
.
So the Insider asked the burning question, Will He Go?
.
Unfortunately, Levi hasn't received the invitation yet (the Oprah Interview hasn't aired).
.
PS, doesn't the accompanying shot from the Insider make it look like Levi is either contemplating the square root of 421 or trying to hold a fart in?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

One Amazing Change in Los Angeles Since We Moved...


..is the preponderance of places to buy Pot. Apparently anyone with anxiety, headaches or a menstrual cycle can get signed up to buy Pot legally.
.
And, since the Feds aren't busting them anymore, they operate "medical marijuana" supply houses openly.
.
Which is fine, but it is REALLY BIZARE to see Bill Boards advertising Pot.
.
Although it hasn't been a problem with the people or anything - but apparently has put illegal pot dealers out of business.

Crude World: The Violent Twilight of Oil



I went to a talk toady at the Open Society Institute put on by Revenue Watch. Peter Maass (pictured) wrote and spoke about his book, Crude World: The Violent Twilight of Oil.
.
He gave a great discussion and he had a deep knowledge of the topic. It was about a few things. First, how Oil, as a resource, is not great for a country - but instead fosters a lot of trouble, skews production inside a country and increases corruption.
.
There are about 3 exceptions to this general rule.
.
1. The USA where oil resource ownership is NOT controlled by the government because we found oil first. So our resource wealth has been a lot more spread out and not controlled by the government.
2. Norway (and to a lesser extent, Canada and Great Britain) where Democratic Institutions were already in place before oil was found.
3. Kuwait, UAE and Brunei, where the massive amounts of oil versus the small size of the public allows for the state to provide services even when corruption occurs.

.

He also spoke of the many countries where oil wealth has been terrible for the people, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Ecuador, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Russia, etc. And what the impacts of oil wealth have been on the people.
.
Anyway, it was really interesting and Peter Maass was cool. The book is written about people not institutions.

Day to Honor Veterans


It's November 11th, which means it is Veteran's Day.
.
For me, Veteran's Day is a time to step back and little and reflect on the sacrifices that our armed forces have made over the years. This is the time to thank them and honor their commitment to duty, country and people.
.
This picture is Westwood National Cemetery. I used to pass it everyday on the way to UCLA. It is across the street from the Federal Building in Westwood. Demonstrations for or against whatever the issues of the day were, had to be conducted across the street from the final resting place of these brave men and women. The location forced upon you a sense of purpose and reality.
.
If you stood at the Federal Building, across from people who gave their lives for you and the country - you had to believe in what you were doing. With the gift of age, I might not always agree now with my younger self - but I can say that I tried to honor them by making my voice heard at the time on issues of the day.
.
Go on, say thank you to a Vet - who laid down so much for us.
.
Thank you Nick. God bless.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Monday, November 09, 2009

Yeah... finally someone gets behind my feelings on this....

This should make you happy if you are gay or Republican...
.
It makes me happy because finally I have others to say what I have said to every damn Democratic Party fundraiser call since they screwed us.
.
Sign and join if you want...
.
Pause in DNC Donatations (Don't Ask, Don't Give).

------------

I'm writing to ask you to join me in boycotting the DNC. The boycott is sponsored by AMERICAblog, and cosponsored by Daily Kos, Michelangelo Signorile, and Paul Sousa, among others.
.
A year ago, the LGBT community, our families, friends and allies across the country were elated by the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States. We poured our hearts and wallets out to elect a Democratic president and Congress, and on November 4th, 2008 we had great hope.

.
Over the past year our joy has turned to frustration as President Obama and the Democratic Party have moved away from their campaign commitments to gay and lesbian Americans. While President Obama repeatedly promised to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT), and repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), he has now backtracked on all three commitments.

.
There has been little, if any, pressure from the White House for votes on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). The administration continues to send mixed signals on the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT). And we've been told not to expect the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to even be considered until President Obama's second term. In the last two weeks alone, the Obama administration continued to defend DOMA in the courts, and the White House and the Democratic party refused to lift a finger to help us defeat anti-gay ballot initiatives in Maine and Washington state. LGBT Americans, our families, and our friends kept our promise at the ballot box, we now expect President Obama to keep his in the White House.

.
Please join us in pledging to postpone your contributions to the Democratic National Committee, Organizing for America, and the Obama campaign until the Democratic Congress passes, and President Obama signs, legislation enacting ENDA, repealing DADT, and repealing DOMA -- as promised.

.
The Democrats have it in their power to end this tomorrow. And we remain hopeful that they will. Thanks so much.

.

Gavin and Mickey... This is a snuggleball

Gavin and Mickey didn't know what a snuggle ball was. This is it. Terrier Heaven in sheepskin.