February 29, 2004
That low-baller in Boston came back with a new offer on my condo that was $25,000 higher than his previous offer! Wow, he must've been really sloppy with that first offer. I'm holding firm, hoping he's got another $25,000 jump in him, cuz then we can talk.
At North Shore on the Salton Sea.
February 27, 2004
My real estate guy received the very first offer on my Boston condo. Yes, it has been on the market since before Labor Day with not even a bad offer. But now we have one. A bad offer! Guy offered about 75% of my asking price. This allows me to practice rejection and counter-offer. Weird thing is the guy claimed to have known me for about 8 years. His name is Angel something-or-other. I have no idea who this is. I'm wondering if he knew someone who lived in a unit above or below me and has simply gotten confused.
Free, legal MP3s
Annoying Safari Behavior
Two behaviors, actually.
First, sometimes when I click on the tab for another window in Safari that tab instantly closes. No error message, no noise, no nothing. It's just closed. Opera has a nice keystroke (Ctrl-Alt-Z) that reopens the most recently closed window which would be real nice to have in Safari.
Second is Safari remembers everything (I'm sure there's a limit) that I've entered into form fields. When I start typing in that field again, Safari offers auto-completion choices. This is all quite nice, and is quite handy and neat most of the time. BUT, I do my weblog entries in a form. The title is, for example, a field. When I wrote the post The Ninth Gate I made the mistake of typing it as The Ninth gate. Safari would NOT let me fix that. I would correct the error in the field, move my mouse to the "Save Changes" button, click it, and Safari would revert the title to the mistyped version before sending the form. It WOULD allow me to change it to The Ninth Gatex but never to The Ninth Gate. I probably could have used IE on the Mac to fix it, but instead I just went over to my PC and made the fix there.
Chicago Public Library
The Sound of One Brain Cell Firing
Orson Scott Card is a very popular science fiction author. I never had much of an opinion of him before now. I must have read some of his stuff, and I don't remember anything about it. I can only guess none of it thrilled me much. I may have heard that he was politically conservative, but that's no big surprise. There are lots of conservative SF authors...and lots of libertarian ones, who are usually confused with conservatives when seen through liberal eyes.
But now Card has written this. Frankly, I'm shocked. It generally takes some brains to write science fiction, even mediocre science fiction. But here's a big SF author who has managed to compile just about every knee-jerk non-thought held by every bigot of the right wing. At first I hoped he meant this as a subtle satire, but no. He BELIEVES this shit!
You may have noticed I don't bother to counter the claims of the ignorant right, although plenty of my gay weblogging brethren do. I assume I'm preaching to the choir. I can't imagine the Pope sitting at his Mac and thinking to himself "I've talked to Jesus about these gay marriages, but I think I should check Ron's Log before I go out on a limb." No, I have too much respect for my little audience to explain that the sky is blue, the grass is green, and life is a mosaic...or maybe just a blur, depending on how closely you look at it.
So let's just run down everything Card manages to pack into his essay, with minimal commentary from me. If you really don't understand why he is so wrong on everything, feel free to write me or leave a comment.
- no constitution in the United States has ever granted the courts the right to make vast, sweeping changes in the law to reform society. He may not consider the unwritten parts of our constitution to be part of the constitution, but courts do make some big decisions that stand for decades, so I think he just means he doesn't like it that they do this.
- every American who believes in democracy should be outraged that any court should take it upon itself to dictate such a social innovation without recourse to democratic process. Fundamental misunderstanding of the U.S. and its constitution. We are not a pure democracy. We're a republic with protection of minority rights. In a pure democracy we would repeal all of the bill of rights and dispense with the courts. We would meet and vote on the guilt or innocence of the accused. We would vote on the rights of this or that religion. We would vote on whether your property rights are respected or not. Nothing but majority rule.
- Any homosexual man who can persuade a woman to take him as her husband can avail himself of all the rights of husbandhood under the law. This one is so laughable, I couldn't believe he was stooping so low. People of any race have always been free to marry someone of their own race. Slaves have always been free to be slaves - or die - their choice. Does this particular argument reveal that he (and other bigots) consider the emotional content of a marriage to be unimportant?
- a man and a woman come together as strangers and their natural impulses remain at odds throughout their lives, requiring constant compromise, suppression of natural desires, and an unending effort to learn how to get through the intersexual swamp. Um, gee, is Card admitting here that he's gay? I'm sure I could find lots of hetero couples who regard their marriage as a happy and natural way to live. Sorry he's so miserable.
- He goes into a long bit about how bad divorce is for the kids, without connecting this to gay marriage.
- Then he rambles into a shorter bit about how monogamy is good, but again draws no connection to gay marriage.
- Civilization thrives only when most members can be persuaded to behave unnaturally. This is like his earlier statement that heterosexual relationships are unnatural. He's got some nasty twisted thing in his head that I don't think I want to know about.
- He goes on and on talking about about children (and schools) without drawing any connection to gay marriage. He may want us to assume that every time he says "children" he actually means "your genetic offspring as the result of traditional in-out-in-out." He ignores that there are hetero couples with no children and those with children by other than plain ol' sexual reproduction; and he ignores that there are gay couples with children, including children that are their own genetic offspring.
- homosexual "marriage" is an act of intolerance. It is an attempt to eliminate any special preference for marriage in society -- to erase the protected status of marriage in the constant balancing act between civilization and individual reproduction. I don't know what he's trying to say here. I suspect he may be trying to refer to the argument that sexual reproduction with your spouse is a requirement for a valid marriage. If that's the case, there are a LOT of hetero marriages that he would consider invalid.
- The dark secret of homosexual society -- the one that dares not speak its name -- is how many homosexuals first entered into that world through a disturbing seduction or rape or molestation or abuse, and how many of them yearn to get out of the homosexual community and live normally. This brought me to a genuine LOL moment. Yeah. And there are communists under my bed, too. Of course, he doesn't say that a lot of homosexuals were converted through abuse, only that the number is a "dark secret." Some people (not me) are suggesting the only dark secret is what happened to Card when he was a teenager to make him think this.
- it is somehow evil and bigoted of them not to rejoice when their children commit themselves to a reproductive dead end. Now here he makes it more clear that he considers genetic reproduction to be the essential point of it all. He ignores the fact that there are gay people with their own genetic offspring, and that's true whether they are allowed to marry or not. He doesn't explain why it's better for those kids to grow up with umarried parents.
- A postulated but unproven genetic disposition toward homosexuality is supposed to be embraced and accepted by everyone as "perfectly natural" -- but the far stronger and almost universal genetic disposition toward having children and grandchildren is to be suppressed, kept to yourself, treated as a mental illness. Kinda off the deep end here, but let's just ignore that. The problem here is that he considers homosexuality to be the opposite of child-bearing. He needs to pull his head out.
- You're unhappy that your son wants to marry a boy? Then you're sick, dangerous, a homophobe, filled with hate. The strawman argument, I believe.
- Then Card's head seems to go ballistic as he goes on a rant through everything in our society that he doesn't like. He even drags in the war in Iraq.
Rosie O'Donnell ties the knot. Damn, everybody's getting married! It seems that all (ALL!) of my friends in relationships are making plans to get married in Massachusetts this year. (That's excluding those couples where one partner is still married to a woman - oops!) The word today is that 22,000 marriages are scheduled in Provincetown this summer. Holy bejeezus, this is gonna change things!
You Deserve Photos
February 26, 2004
Shocked, I Tell You, Shocked!
A President of the USA who shall remain nameless, just slapped the Log Cabin Republicans, dumped cold water on 'em, gave 'em a steaming hot pot of coffee, and fed 'em a double-dose of viagra. Suddenly, it is dawning on these Steppin Fetchits of the gay community that it is not in their best interest to smilingly kiss the ass of the party of homophobes, bigots and hate-mongers. They are considering working against the President's re-election. I don't know if that will go so far as to actually support a democrat. Maybe they'll get behind Nader.
Oh sure, blame the Irish!
Kansas City is considering following in L.A.'s footsteps and banning public urination. "The council is expected to vote on the measure March 4 - just in time for the city's St. Patrick's Day Parade."
Our Fathers Goes Hollywood!
Back on January 19 I posted a bit about the publication of Our Fathers. Now today comes to me this press release about the book being made into a movie by Showtime:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SHOWTIME GREENLIGHTS "OUR FATHERS,"
DAVID FRANCE'S SHOCKING EXAMINATION OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH SCANDAL AND COVER-UP
Dan Curtis to Direct and Executive Produce Film Version of Epic Controversial Book
Los Angeles, CA: February 26, 2004 -- On the verge of the release of a survey by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops outlining sexual abuse by more than 4,000 priests between 1950 and 2002, SHOWTIME has greenlit OUR FATHERS, an original film based on Newsweek editor David France's epic examination of the Roman Catholic Church pedophilia scandal and cover-up. In making the announcement today, Robert Greenblatt, President of Entertainment for Showtime Networks Inc., said casting is currently under way with pre-production scheduled to begin in April.
OUR FATHERS is an unflinchingly honest account of the scandal that has rocked not only the Roman Catholic Church, but people of faith around the world,said Greenblatt. "Filled with compelling portraits of devoted Catholics who carried their secrets of sexual violation for decades, and members of the church hierarchy who were the architects of one of the century's most tragic cover-ups, OUR FATHERS is the kind of cautionary tale that memorable movies are made of," he added.
While all of the stories and characters in the movie are based in fact, Showtime has scrupulously changed the names of the victims to protect those who are trying to rebuild their lives. We have no intention of making this movie exploitative,said Greenblatt. But when I read France's book, I was compelled to make this movie because the majority of the public has no idea how widespread or complex this issue is or how faithful Catholics were deceived in such epic proportions. The abuse -- and the institution that looked the other way for decades -- should be exposed so that it can be stopped once and for all.
Based on France's critically-acclaimed new book, OUR FATHERS: The Secret Life of the Catholic Church in an Age of Scandal, the story unfolds in early 2002, when a group of Boston Globe reporters blew open the pedophilia scandal surrounding Father John J. Geoghan and Boston's now-infamous Cardinal Law, who utterly failed at stopping this epidemic. Geoghan, while serving jail time for his crimes, was savagely murdered in prison last fall -- evidence that these abuses are considered beneath contempt even by other inmates.
Said France, I became very emotionally connected to all the people who told me their stories for OUR FATHERS. These were people who went through tremendously challenging childhoods and went on to become not just survivors but heroes in the Catholic Church crisis. Tom Donnellys screenplay really got that. He heard the sadness in their voices, but also the strength and the faith -- a faith in the fortitude of the human spirit. I can't think of a better place to interpret this material than with SHOWTIME.
Revelations over the past two years that this kind of abuse was perpetrated by thousands of priests from across the country have spun the Catholic Church into turmoil. How could so many leaders within the church hierarchy shroud the truth for so long? Why did so many of those involved stand on the sidelines and allow the abuse to continue to ruin lives? Spanning 50 years, the film version of OUR FATHERS will tell the moving stories of the individuals who overcame the anguish of their abuse as well as the crusading lawyers who took on an arrogant and monolithic Church that no one believed would ever admit wrongdoing.
The film will be directed by Emmy Award-winner Dan Curtis ("The Winds of War," "War and Remembrance," "Dark Shadows"), and written by Thomas Michael Donnelly (SHOWTIME'S "A Soldier's Sweetheart" and "Bonanno: A Godfather's Story"). Curtis will also serve as executive producer along with David Kennedy, president of Dan Curtis Productions. France, who covered the scandal as a senior editor at Newsweek, will serve as a consultant on the project. Joan Boorstein is the creative executive on behalf of Showtime Networks.
France's 656-page book, which was published in January 2004 by Broadway/Doubleday, was hailed by The New York Times Book Review as "shocking, compelling, heartbreaking, (and) rage-inducing." The New York Times said it was "devastating," "transfixing" and "adopts the ambitious format of works of living history like And the Band Played On and Common Ground."
David France is the author of the best-selling Bag of Toys, and his writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Glamour and New York. He is the recipient of the National Headliner, Unity and New York Press Club awards.
A public toilet whose walls are all one-way mirrors is being built across the road from the Tate Britain museum. It's supposed to be art. The mirrored walls allow the user to see out, and don't let the public see in. Of course, those mirrors have their limits. If someone brought a bright light inside at night, then things might be more visible.
I regret that I cannot recall where I saw this sculpture. Probably Boston, maybe Boston College or the MFA. Or maybe it's in NYC. Anyone recognize it?
UPDATE: Here it is again, Ugolino And His Sons by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux:
February 25, 2004
Interesting Mac Behavior
I use SD cards to sneaker net my computers. The iBook and W2K machine complain if I remove an SD card without "ejecting" it first. But I have found that while the iBook is asleep (but not shutdown) I can pull out the card and insert a different one and it handles the switch without a peep. But if I take the SD card out of the iBook, insert it into my PC and delete files, including the .Trash folder, then put it back in the iBook and wake it up and, voila!, all the files are still there. I don't know if the Mac has a refresh button (like F5 on the PC) so I point Finder to some other place and then back at the SD card and, damn, those files are still there. And they're REALLY there, because I can start opening 'em up and they're not corrupt. I'm guessing that when I insert an SD card into the Mac, it creates a cache, maybe a virtual disk, and since I made all the changes to the card while the Mac slept, it didn't see any need to consider that maybe the real world moved on during its snooze.
Satisfactory Customer Experience
Took the truck in for its first oil change to Palm Springs Ford (which is not even in Palm Springs) based on a recommendation from Michael S. In my search for the service department, which is hidden around back, I drove through the sales lot. Obviously, this is one of those high pressure dealerships. I felt like I was driving through Safari Land and the salesmen were a lot of starving hyenas and jackals, just waiting for me to slip up so that they could leap on my meaty haunches and bring me down.
Down in the service department, things were much more humane. They had no objection to putting in Mobil 1 rather than standard oil. Not only that, but it was fine with them to use the case I bought at Costco. I was sure they'd want to sell me theirs at a higher price. My man Victor said they would check my air filter too, and wanted to know if it was okay to replace it if necessary. I approved this extravagance, but they didn't put one in. He said it would take about 90 minutes, but it actually only took an hour (during which I climbed the mountain across the street and took the photo above). And then, glory of glories, they washed it for me!
Wow! Either service has greatly improved since I last owned a car in 1980, or it's just better here in the valley.
February 24, 2004
David Denby does not like The Passion of The Christ, but I still plan to see it.
1. Yesterday I'm pretty sure it was a bobcat that ran in front of my truck near the gym...which is at the airport, so there's a lot of empty dark land all around. It was the size of a raccoon, which is what I thought it was at first...but it had longer legs, no tail, and moved fast...not with that arrogant saunter that raccoons like to assume. But it didn't move as fast as a domestic cat, and it didn't stretch long thin legs out ahead and behind, as a domestic cat would do. I know bobcats are up in the mountains here, but no one warned me they were walking the streets.
2. Tonight I saw, for the first time, the westering crescent moon outlining the edges of the mountain. Is there a name for that phenomena? From different spots you'd see different chunks of the moon. Sometimes it would backlight those huge lone trees that stand along that ridge that comes down from the summit...you know the ones I mean? Those are so big they can be picked out as individual trees from miles away.
Just caught this movie tonight with a couple of friends. Very, very good...and no gay men were killed in the making. Plus it fits nicely with my unrequited fetish for Mormon missionaries. See it and tell me if you don't think the script is from the early 90s or even 80s. Hot pants and people slowly dying of AIDS with no mention of medications were my clues.