Monthly Archives: February 2004

Bend It Like Bikram

Christmas comes early! I was number crunching my weekly estimates for a project
at work and found that I’d over-estimated my spending for the past three months
– suddenly money is saved! I tell ya, Great Moments at work!

Ron was back from Hawaii for a day or so and is off flying again already.
He brought me a real live lei home. It’s in the fridge and I’m supposed to spritz
every few days. He also brought me a shell necklace so we can look like island
boys (not sure there’s such a thing as a caucasoid island boy). He’s pretty
dark but part of it is a farmer tan. I’m determined to get him back roller blading
again this summer (last summer, our lack of employment had ass mostly indoors
in a gossamer veil of self-pity). I still think that I saw Ron long before I
met him one day when I was jogging on the lake – he’s a total badass on the
blades (from his ballet days). He can to spins and skate backwards and other
tricks. He’s such a show-off.

Teleclass pilot is tiring but going well. I’ll be done with the bulk of sessiosn
after Saturday. Tons of audio to encode and upload. You learn alot listening
to yourself. I have got to excise the phrases: sorta, y’know,
like and uh from my vocabulary. It sounds really unprofessional.
I’ve also noticed I have a tendency to affirm what a participant is saying as
it is said. I’ll agree and say ‘right’ in the middle of an explanation which
would probably seem less intrusive in a face-to-face environ but on teleconference
it comes off as impatient. I’ve also learned that I’m a loose cannon on teleclass.
At least I haven’t slipped into profanities yet – that would be entirely inappropriate
– but I do have a good time and I think that elicits a great informality that
gets people to relax, learn and have fun. My launch into RSS explanation yesterday
wasn’t very well reasoned. I gotta re-tool that – probably going to toss that
to the end of the course – or make it, it’s own entity. It is hard to explain
RSS without someone experience the ease of use of a news aggregator. I did get
a great testimonial to use in my marketing

Cheers, Andy!!! What an enlightening and thoroughly invigorating class you’ve
given us. I am so very grateful. Need any outrageously awesome testimonials?
It didn’t better my sex life (which is already sterling, thank you) but has
given me a couple of clients and several more inquiries that may lead prosperous
places. I’m a blogging fan! And an Andy activist!

Had a nice wheat-free week and pretty much super-low processed sugar. Though
I think the rice pudding I had last Wednesday might have had some sugar in it.
One of the owners of Nookie’s – I think his name is Michael – is one of those
older, handsome vibrant people that you just admire and hope that when you’re
his age – late 50s? – that you are as active and glowing. Like with my buddy
Kevin who proves there are second, even third acts in life and sometimes turning
60, moving into a studio apartment and biking around Chicago is a perfect way
to celebrate aging.

I have to blog that I’m super proud of my parents lately. They’ve both begin
doing light weight lifting. Dad is tall and stocky and I think just light weight
lifting will really help his strength and he’ll quickly get his football playing
build he had in high school. I was nagging mom that studies have shown that
just light weigth training, even in senior citizens, has been shown to increase
bone mass and help strengthen the joints. I probably don’t say enough positive
stuff about my parents on this blog – but I am really proud of their commitment
in learning t’ai chi and undoing the wreckage of a high-carb, high-fat midwestern
diet. It’s crazy to think how we used to eat every morning: scrambled eggs,
bacon, toast, orange juice… and now I’m all about Kashi and soy milk, Heather’s
a massage therapist and mom and dad are t’ai chi heads.

Started Rolfing again last night. My right butt cheek is so tense it’s flipping
my right hip out big time. That and I’m certain my hamstrings are so tight that
it’s causing my pelvis to tilt out of whack. Very excited to get back into that.
I really trust my massage therapist – the same guy that did it last time – so
there isn’t any heeby-jeebies to get over. Last time all of my alignment problems
seemed to radiate from my right psoas muscle being constrained causing my back
to tilt right and other assorted bullshit. It was awesome he worked on my right
leg a lot and lots of stuff released. It’s so creepy when they park the pressure
on your quad or tendons and then you feel like you’ve got a little fish flipping
around in there and the whole muscle releases. He did some work in my abdominal
wall to – I’d noticed that when I did diaphragmatic breathing that the left
side of my stomach extended farther out than the right – that’s even now. And
the neck work – ah, the neck work – you think you’re going to die but when the
pressure is released it’s like being bathed in Krispy Kreme glaze. A lot of
loosening up of the chest too – the one thing about Rolfing is it makes you
really understand how all the different muscles and pieces connect altogether.
How the psoas starts at your pelvis and wraps all the way up your stomach and
then around your hip and up to your back.

And following Mark‘s recommendation
– I’m going to jump into a Bikram Yoga class on Sunday. Bikram is notable for
being the ‘sweat your nuts off’ version of yoga. You do a series of 26 poses
twice over 90 minutes in a steamed, heated room. I’ve noticed that I don’t have
a huge respect for effortlessness in my life. I don’t like the gentle tweak
of the Alexander technique, I need the ‘hands in your guts’ feel of Rolfing.
I don’t go for brisk light comedies, I like dirty profane enraging documentaries.
I don’t have the patience for t’ai chi but want to try this version of Sweatin’
to the Yogis. Even as a performer and musician I was not very comfortable with
lightness and ease of art – I wanted to be sure I was entirely involved and
immersed in what I was doing. That was a big habit for me growing up. I’d have
a pet project – say the Whitechapel murders – and I’d check out every book I
could find on it at the library and build a little safe info-womb. I loved the
library when I was a kid – or in college. I loved waking up early on a Sunday,
working out and then going to the library. Picking a few topics and just bathing
in data. Mom and dad taught us to have a great respect for information… did
I mention that every room in our house has at least two bookcases? And all the
books were always within reach of Heather and I – even The Joy of Sex
or the The Sex Book that had us wondering what the hell frottage was.
I always detail my upbringing as hippie without the drugs. Sure we hung out
at weaving communes, sheared sheep and wore tie-dye shirts and Heather and I
had a minor obsession with the occult growing up (Remember the Wicca book, Heather?
We were goths before goth was goth!). Mom and dad had a great hope in the time
they grew up – during the civil rights movement – one reason they became teachers.

To all spammers: Yes, I am happy about the size of my penis. Thank you for
asking. Also: I’ll pass on the bukkake.

Had lunch at We today with Todd – that was fun.

I have absolutely no clue what is going on in Haiti. I know there’s rumors
that the CIA is encouraging the destabilization of Aristide. I know that the
leader of the guerillas is not a Haitian – he’s an American. I know that this
will be Haiti’s 33rd coup if it goes through. I try to rack my brain and wonder
what kind of natural resources Haiti has that the United States would want so
bad. I know that the coast Guard has turned back over 1,000 refugees fleeing
by boat: No you stay in there and get slaughtered. Gonna do some online
research on this and hopefully get some more understanding. But consider this:
George W. Bush falls over himself to masturbate democracy on everybody everywhere.
Even though the last thing he wants is a democratic election in Iraq (they’ll
elect an Islamist state) and in Haiti’s case we are supporting the deposition
of a democratically elected leader. Democracy becomes a mask for well you
asked to get pillaged – you voted us in, right?

Alright we got a server outage at work so I have to check on that all day and
then I also have my marathon teleclass today – the whole class in a matter of
hours. This should be fun, insane or both.

NYTimes: 2000 Elections Disenfranchised Black Voters (3 Years Late)

Greg Palast – in his usual whimsical tone – smugly notes that the story he covered and tried to break to a reluctant, pussy-whipped American press is finally being acknowledged by the Paper of Record. (Note to Paper of Record: How can you be the paper of record when you insist that people register to read your stuff? Just a thought.)

Truth is – the New York Times participated in the media blackout, just like everyone else did. But don’t worry – the rest of the world knew about it. It was just our dumb luck to have a press that rolled over on it’s lazy ass and begged to suckle some more. I highly recommend Palast’s The Best Democracy Money Can Buy – he is my favorite muckraker along with Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation). The complicity of the news media in not reporting this story was just a taste of things to come to this Look at the fags! (Not the body bags!) diversion we have right now.

Danny Schecter reports:

?What? ? he shouted at me on the phone.? You must be kidding.? He couldn?t believe it because the New York Times refused to carry the story at the time when it might have done some good. It didn?t even report on the Civil Rights Commission?s findings it references in the editorial, only on Republican OBJECTIONS to those findings. You would think that the ?MASSIVE PURGE? they cite in 2004 might have been news fit to print back in 2000. The Washington Post carried Greg?s article on the subject but not until June 2001. The NATION ran it and followups earlier. CBS News wouldn?t run it, Greg was told by a staffer, because Harris office denied it.

If you think the neocons are hijacking Christianity for their own bigoted, close-minded, imperialist goals… just hear the deafening silence as the very foundation of democracy gets flushed down the pisser.

Kurt Vonnegut was right:

And those now in charge of the federal government are upper-crust C-students who know no history or geography, plus not-so-closeted white supremacists, aka ?Christians,? and plus, most frighteningly, psychopathic personalities, or ?PPs.? PPs are presentable, they know full well the suffering their actions may cause others, but they do not care. They cannot care because they are nuts. What has allowed so many PPs to rise so high in corporations, and now in government, is that they are so decisive. Unlike normal people, they are never filled with doubts, for the simple reason that they cannot care what happens next. Simply can?t.

The Florida elections madness and Enron were two of the major political events that really activated me into exploring under-reported perspectives and stories. Again, read Palast’s book: If you think the Jews or the Republicans or the Freemasons or whoever run the world – you’re sadly mistaken: it’s the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Blow your own mind.

Amy Goodman Coming to Chicago

If you don’t listen to Democracy Now every day: you should.

http://democracynow.org/

Every day, Amy Goodman details stories you don’t even know, didn’t even consider are happening all over the world – and in your own backyard.

Amy Goodman is on my list of heroes along with Greg Palast and Karen Kwiatowski. People have the guts to stand up and call the lies that shape our lives.

Clinton scolded her: “You have asked questions in a hostile, combative and even disrespectful tone.”

Newt Gingrich called her “the kind of reporter I warned my mother about.”

Last year Goodman sneaked into the World Economic Forum, a hermetically sealed gathering of the powerful (and a few well-behaved journalist guests) in Manhattan. She found Nicholas Platt, a former U.S. ambassador to the Philippines and asked him if American support of Indonesia was worth it, given that its military killed tens of thousands in East Timor. Platt squinted at her and inquired (on the air): “What ax are you grinding right here?” “I survived a massacre in East Timor,” Goodman responded.

Amy Goodman embodies the spirit that sterile 60 Minutes sold off long ago. Go get ’em! When I was a kid we’d watch 60 Minutes every Sunday night with dinner and I would marvel at the lies and schemes that haunted the past and admired the tenacity of the journalists. They were fearless.

She took Charlie Rose down on his own program.

And she’s coming to Chicago!

Every weekday, I stream DemocracyNow during lunch and am using so enraged by the end of the broadcast that I can’t sit still.

As she accepted a prize for that work, Goodman was asked to explain her approach. She replied: “Go where the silence is and say something.

Stuck in the Craw

I just caught someone on a professional discussion board posting an article about weblog promotion as their own. That really pisses me off. To quote an entire work and pass the work of your own is just fucking lazy. If you want to appear as an expert, do the goddamn research.

Ah, deep cleansing breath.

Sorry for the profanity – I’ve been reading MeFi’s heated discussion over George Bush wiping his ass with the Constitution. 260 comments and counting! And full of great arguments on both side.

Karen Kwiatowski: True Honor

There are still heroes and Karen Kwiatowski is one of them. “After two decades in the U.S. Air Force, Lieutenant Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski, now 43, knew her career as a regional analyst was coming to an end when – in the months leading up to the war in Iraq – she felt she was being ?propagandized? by her own bosses.”

Karen worked with the Office of Special plans – a group given the task of not investigating Saddam’s WMD development but tasked with justifying a war to help regain economic control over Iraq. I’ve been following her in the news and she is tearing ass across the current administration and exposing what we all suspected: there was no justification for war.

LA Weekly: You gave your life to the military, you voted Republican for many years, you say you served in the Pentagon right up to the outbreak of war. What does it feel like to be out now, publicly denouncing your old bosses?

Kwiatowski: Know what it feels like? It feels like duty. That?s what it feels like. I?ve thought about it many times. You know, I spent 20 years working for something that ? at least under this administration ? turned out to be something I wasn?t working for. I mean, these people have total disrespect for the Constitution. We swear an oath, military officers and NCOs alike swear an oath to uphold the Constitution. These people have no respect for the Constitution. The Congress was misled, it was lied to. At a very minimum that is a subversion of the Constitution. A pre-emptive war based on what we knew was not a pressing need is not what this country stands for. What I feel now is that I?m not retired. I still have a responsibility to do my part as a citizen to try and correct the problem.

Pecs, Tats, Catholicism and Irish Heritage

Orlando Bloom shirtess.
I you are looking for workout inspiration or just a daily dose of the male form,
I’ll point you to On a Midnight Train
to Georgia.
Every day, Matthew posts a couple pics of handsome, muscled
men that have me slowly developing an eating disorder. I’ve added a few of his
pics to my ‘workout inspiration’ folder on my hard drive. Recently, he featured
the handsomest picture of Orlando Bloom I’ve ever seen… (my sis is gonna love
this pic of him) usually he’s really femmed up in magazines these days (Ron
still wants to be Legolas and plays as him when ever we play Return
of the King
on PS2… plus whenever we watch the LoTR movies he says: ‘Here
come the gay elves!’ before the battle of Helm’s Deep) But this pic doesn’t
even look like him (full
size pic from MegaStarCity
).

Sexy shirtless guy in his underwear.Another
great picture is this one.

Got the latest of GQ which has may be the
most useful article I have ever seen in a glossy men’s magazine. They do an
entire photo shoot using clothing only from Target, K-Mart and Wal-Mart. Smart,
smart idea on their part and some nice style. When Karen and I were producing
Bruises we learned that you can outfit an entire play and set from Target
for under $100. And if you can’t find it at Target you probably don’t need it.
This of course, does not apply to Restoration, Moliere or Shakespeare revenge
tragedies. (much more on men’s mags below)

Tattoo shopping some more lately. I’ve been researching the heraldry and symbolism
behind my Irish heritage and the story of the Ui Briain clan in Ireland – notable
mostly for the rule of King Brian Boru in the eleventh century. I figured it
is much more sensible to research the symbols and mysitcism of my own hertiage
instead of using a glyph or expression from another culture. I’ve thought of
taking elements from the family shield
the three lions – or the motto lamb laidir an uchtar (“the strong hand
uppermost”). Or the clan even has their
own Celtic knot.
I’m trying to choose between an armband on the left arm
to compliment the solar icon on my shoulder or a dragon on the right upper arm.
I know my parents think I’m a nutcase for getting any tattoo in the first place
– and sometimes I wonder if I’m just being guided by marketing forces I cannot
see – that I’m being programmed to want/adorn myself with markings to achieve
some kind of image I’m buying into. But why can’t I just get one because I think
their cool, sexy and distinctive? Then yesterday I notice if I get an armband
I’ll have the same set of tattoos as Nick
Lachey
from 98 Degrees and The Newlyweds. I need to get down to the
library and do some more research on the Ui Briain clan… if anyone has any
guidance on where to head first, lemme know (blogging librarians I’m looking
at you!). Regardless, I need to get the tattoo in the next month or so, so it
has time to season a bit and not stand out to fresh from my current one.

(from Feb 21) Ron is in Honolulu for about five days having his version of MTV
Spring Break. I told he needs to come back as dark as possible. You have to have contrast to be a successful multi-ethnic couple.

Had a coaching session downtown. Todd called and he now works at the same hotel
Brigitte does – only Brigitte didn’t know that Todd and I trained together for
coaching certification as well as Todd didn’t know that the Brigitte I talked
about was the one just down the hall. Brigitte’s worlds suddenly collided.

Felt a little sick the past two or three days. Nothing major – just sleepy
all the time.

I really sometimes enjoy not watching TV. I’m getting enough buzz about Mel
Gibson’s Christ movie without actually seeing previews or commercials
for it. I think that every artist has to portray iconic moments from their beliefs
in one way or another. I still look forward to directing Godspell similarly
to the way we did it in college – in a bombed out crackhouse with dumpsters,
teen runaways and child protistutes. It was a fun show to work on (I assistant
directed) since we turned the text on it’s ear but still came across with a
very holy sense of reverence towards the end. The Last Supper scene was absolutely
stunning with a female Jesus reciting a Jewish prayer. I still do want to write
the gospel according to me – I think everyone should write their own versin
of the gospel.

As I walked down Belmont past the Catholic Church I thought to myself: what
if the Church had remained as revolutionary today as it was in Roman days. If
Catholic nuns and priests were at the forefront of the civil rights movement,
condemning genocide instead of assisting the Nazi’s escape, opening marriage
to same-sex couples and recognizing the sanctity of two people – any two people
– to dedicate their lives in Christ for collaboration and love. In high school,
our religious studies classes took great pains to illustrate how the Pope’s
embracing of social justice was a major factor in the fall of evil Communism.
What if the Catholic Church was still revolutionary and a paragon of open-love
and acceptance for all people? Where the majesty of the art, music and architecture
of the church was matched by the majesty of an intense devotion to the love
of all humanity. And then I giggle when Ron and his friends talk about going
to the Sunday evening mass – that’s considered the Gay Mass – or at least the
Cruise-y Mass – where during Communion you might as well be serving Cosmopolitans
instead of the blood of Christ. I haven’t been to Church up here since last
summer when I had massive panic attacks between the first and second readings.
I did go to Christmas mass back home this year though.

The new anti-inflammatory meds are nice on the shoulder and ankle. I’ve started
getting back into doing very light cardio – on a bike – they said that that
was good because there was no chance of pounding the ankle. Wrote out my eating
for the week. I still have this mid-week slump where I just can’t focus or concentrate
come Thursday morning. It is partially if Iforget to turn the lights on before
I start the day so I end up sitting in low light most of the day. I’ll start
worrying when I find myself stroking my touchpad gurgling, “my precious…”

Saw Return of the King again – with Kevin and Kelly – and Ron – what
a total ball. We all met downtown for dinner. Kevin and Kelly have huge infectious
laughs by themselves but when they get together it is out of control – so much
fun. Kevin and I both remarked how the third movie opens with a tight closeup
shot of a worm. That’s just awesome. And the Gollum transformation sequence
is so great – you can tell Peter Jackson has a love of slimy, gory, bloody horror
flicks. The scenes of Serkis with Gollum prosthetics on are just inhuman looking…
and that line: “We even forgot our own name…” That line just sends
a chill down my back. And the scenes with the big elephant thingies – all the
details… all the arrows stuck in their hides as the battle progresses – and
the stomping of horses. So fanastic. I just keep picturing George Lucas over
at Skywalker Ranch in a constant tizzy in how to make the third Star Wars
movie have any relevance or impact after Peter Jackson’s depth charge of trilogy
movies the way they should be.

Very excited about getting comped into a coaching conference – plus, it gives
me an excuse to go see Karen. I’m guessing Ron will fly in to San Diego that
weekend so he can show off his Trophy White Boy to all of his friends.

What is Nader doing? I mean for God’s sake. He is a much better advocate than
a candidate and I was actually thinking that that would be a great flip for
Howard Dean – if he became an advocate – a thorn in the side of the Democrat
party.

Listening to Kerry’s speech from 30 years ago was just stunning. How often
is that kind of frank truth spoken in a public forum. And then Amy Goodman interviewed
one of the other soldiers that was part of that investigation – this guy laid
down on train tracks to prevent weapons from going into Central America and
has his legs torn off. This guy ripped into Kerry for supporting the Iraq war
and helping in signing over Congress’s powers to declare war over to the White
House. It will be a long time before we hear about the Iraq My Lai Massacres
which are happening as I write this – either renegade platoons on a power trip
or wholesale slaughtering of entire villages. We are killing people for money.
You really can’t get around that. The smartest thing I’ve read in a long time
is that these assholes don’t consider Vietnam a tactical failure – they consider
it a PR failure. It just wasn’t branded correctly. The slaughter of brown people
continues to enrich the pocketses of the whites. (on proofreading – good God
I’m on some kind of race-aware warpath today aren’t I!)

None of Bush’s family will ever know want or hunger for the rest of their lives
– for four generations they have gradually infiltrated various levels of government
to become a Dynasty of Deception. They will privatize everything and commodify
anthing. They don’t care – they have all the money they need. Never underestimate
the power of the rich to stay that way.

I just don’t get Details magazine. It was one of the monthly barrage
of magazines I choose in order to cash in some American Advantage miles. Now,
each month my mailbox is packed with glossy goodness: Entertainment Weekly,
Wired, Details, GQ, Stuff, Fortune and Money.
And with Details and GQ I just don’t understand the gay-iety of
the magazines. Are they just polite magazines that closeted guys can have on
their coffeetables when the ‘rentals come to visit? Do straight men really care
about crystal meth and it’s connection to the re-emergence of HIV? Does anybody
really give a fuck about Prada? I mean Jesus. Something about their whole aesthetic
seems so sterile and antiseptic. I’m all for minimal but Listerine ain’t a mystique.
I’m such a fashion-dumbass though and gladly. I see all of Kenneth Cole’s faux-caring
ads and wonder when he’s going to do about all the people in the world’s shit-holes
that makes his clothes for him to jack up and flood the market. That would be
a Season of Caring. Or Marhsall Fields has a new campaign – they’ve decked out
a train stop with Miss Manner’s type sayings with a pomo twist. How about “Poor
people make your clothes. You paid way too much.” Back to Details.
I seriously wonder the discussion the brand managers have about appealing to
out readers, closeted readers and the fashion set. And Men’s Fitness
magazine- what happened? All the men’s health magazines (including, well, Men’s
Health
) seem to be pulling back from the bold beefcake bodyshot cover that
makes the magazines attractive to 3/4 of the human population (that is, straight
guys who envy, gay/bi guys who lust and women who wish they could date it).
Trying to find that source of a marketing study where men – regardless of sexuality
– looked at male chests just as much as women when seeing adverts. Men’s
Fitness
seems to be trying to have it’s Maxim and eat it too. They
keep putting some ultra-butch celebrity on the front – L. L. Cool J and Joe
Rogan who have great bodies being the first – but now it’s a guy that doesn’t
even look like he’s in shape. Last month it was this dickhead guy from some
TV show and this month it’s a guy with a white tank on and thinning hair – I
look better than him. It sucks cause Men’s Fitness used to have a lot
more research-based approach to the fitness rag than say Men’s Health
(notice: recent covers all the models are clothed). And it’s either that or
the seriously homosexualized fitness magazines like Men’s Workout (for
Men Only!), featuring some of the most over-air brushed femininos you can imagine
(hilarious article bout
fitness models turning up in gay porn videos
). Or FitnessRX. And
then there’s Muscle Media which I like from time to time but the constant
EAS sell is just annoying. Okay, Bill Phillips you win, alright?

John Kerry’s Godwin

As any net-head knows, Godwin’s law states:

As a discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.” There is a tradition in many groups that, once this occurs, that thread is over, and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress.

In much the same vein, “terrah” has become the Godwin for Mr. Bush – a term to cease all exploration, dialectic and discussion. The (real or imagined or manufactured) threat of terrorism becomes an excuse to retract and restrict civil liberties and promote and extend shitty financial policy.

OxBlog reports that John Kerry uses the same approach with national security, that his status as a Vietnam vet shields him from any criticism or discussion:

He, like every veteran, deserves thanks and praise from every American for what he did there. But that doesn’t insulate him from criticism based on what he’s done since — his anti-war activities when he returned are fair game; his votes in the Senate are fair game; his statements on Iraq are fair game.