the awesome/terrifying freedom

out here, somewhere, figuring it all out.

bono vs. jesus

where have i been? feeling uninspired. scribbling out the new blog ( shh!) listening to u2, and feeling inspired again.

loving the new album, which seems to be a development on the band's rediscovery of the 'music as religious experience' axiom from 'all that you can't leave behind' and their incredible incredible elevation tour. in the first listening, this album tops the last one primarily in melody. with some distance from 'atyclb', i've found that i'm not compelled to listen past the first half - which is a shame, because there are some great lyrics, especially in 'new york,' but the melodies are a tad overcomplicated and, (dare i say?), uninspired. 'atomic bomb' overall has more instantly memorable tunes than any u2 album since 'achtung baby,' and the lyrics, as always, are top notch. what this album also gets right is the placement of the songs - the more experimental and deliberately alienating tracks (at least to me, and they are few - 'love and peace,' 'all because of you,' 'one step closer') are spaced out and carry through to a melodious payoff in the following tracks. topping it all off is the anthemic, upbeat, simple, and really quite moving 'yahweh,' which invokes the name of god most directly, confirming the underlying christian themes throughout the album. it's a surprising and cathartic discovery. the album begins with the clever line 'girl with crimson nails/has jesus round her neck/swinging to the music' and ends with a divine conversation about free will and the role of personal pain in the pursuit of anything worthwhile.

who needs jesus when we have bono to take his greatest hits and remix them?

even bono seems to ask the question on 'miracle drug,' which may be my favorite tune - anthemic, with thoughtful, intelligent lyrics that seem to be about the mounting conflict between spirituality and science - do our deepest feelings lose significance as we discover the chemical triggers for love and divinity?

on being well rested

first, a leaf. click for full resolution.

and here's the sleepy hollow postcard shot in full res.

slept yesterday. that's pretty much all i did. and i woke up this morning with that rare 'eyes wide open' feeling. god, i haven't had that in so long. ah, this is what it feels like to be aware in the world. read a story about how the invention of the light bulb had forever destroyed humanity's ability to get enough sleep. and thinking about it - we are all designed by evolution to sleep while it's dark, and get up when it's light, which means about 9 hours a night. nine hours a night!!! this is how the pyramids were built. we look at it now and can't fathom the accomplishment, but with nine hours of sleep every night, even as a slave, i'm surprised they weren't bigger.

not so bad

oh and new analysis says that gay marriage wasn't as big a factor in the election as we thought. and if you look at the true voter maps that break down red and blue by county and population density you can see that there is no 'vast republican majority.' the rural repubs continue to hold merely a slim edge over the rest of us in metropolitan areas (aside from dallas and houston, they can secede). and there are great, promising arcs of blue across the south, providing a nice pathway from new york to new orleans. will have to keep that in mind for the next road trip.

that pesky bible

i'm a snot fountain this morning. ugh. started writing this post a week ago. then got busy. then got bored. then just didn't want to think about any of this stuff or the election for awhile.

hey annonny nonny (aka brick boy): it's all well and good. your breakdown of sexual orientation works on a simple hunger level - 'should i have the donut or not? i like donuts, but instead i will use self control and not have the donut. this makes me not a donut eater. tra la. the end.' you imagine that being gay holds similar weight.

but i implore you to try and understand that it goes far deeper than that. homosexuality is not a behavior. it goes to the core of identity. it speaks directly to the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. it's difficult to get this point across, because you don't have a frame of reference for it. you only know your own experience. it's very easy to say 'if i did feel attraction to a man i would do such and such and such' when you don't have any experience of the crippling oppression so many of us experience while in the closet - especially those of us who subscribe to the 'moral' beliefs about sex and attraction being reserved only for heterosexuals. these are men who lead tortured, unhappy lives of deceit - never knowing or understanding the joy and potential of sex and love, having forced themselves to fit the antiquated society mold, lying to themselves and their families.

actually, one way that gay marriages will help straight marriages is by removing the need for closeted, self hating people to force themselves into unnatural relationships.

it's a tired analogy, but i'll repeat it again: think of it like left and right handedness. sure, lefties can cripple themselves writing with their right hands. it's a choice, right? so why don't they just choose to fit in with the rest of us? handedness is a morally irrelevant genetic predetermination. so is sexual orientation. tra la. the end.

it would be nice if the issue of choice wasn't an issue - it shouldn't be. we should all have the choice, and the choice (as well as the genetic predetermination) should be morally irrelevant. it's too bad that we do need evidence that homosexuality occurs naturally - as though its occurence in humans isn't evidence enough of this. when concrete evidence is found - i'm actually quite curious as to how the 'immoral choice' people will react. will they concede that homosexuality is natural, but then seek to find genetic 'cures,' or will they outright reject the evidence? (they do it so well with pollution and global warming)

what if a conservative mother's unborn baby tests positive for genetic gayness? would she believe the doctor? what if there was a gene therapy to increase the chances of the kid being straight? would she do it? hell, would i do it? if she did, she would be admitting that gayness is genetic. if she didn't, she's risking a life of convincing junior to choose trucks instead of barbies. will we see a future in which gayness is viewed as an unfortunate genetic affliction - like down syndrome?

scott sends this:

As with everyone else, I've been arguing this topic with evangelicals since the election. It seems there is only one solution with adequate support from both sides: strike "marriage" from all government related documentation (state sponsored marriage certificates, tax documents, etc). Effective immediately, no American citizen is married as far as the state is concerned. Consenting adult partners may freely obtain civil union licenses, gaining access to all rights and privileges with which marriage had hitherto been associated. Religious and tradition-minded couples seeking "marital" status could then go to the religious organization of their choosing. Evangelicals would be free to restrict same sex marriage within the confines of their church. The Episcopal and Unitarian churches would accept same sex marriages with open arms. Everybody's happy. Am I right?

yep. i think you're right. though not everyone is happy. the problem is that it won't appease those who want to abolish all forms of recognizing gay relationships - because that's the root and eventual goal of all this legislation. these people see anything granting recognition to gay relationships as tantamount to government approval of moral deviance. they won't rest until the universe is put back neatly into tidy boxes where all gay people have been 'rescued' from their immoral 'choice' and we can all be a happy heterosexual society.

in other news. i've been taking a lot of boxing and kickboxing classes. i go to two of the gayest gyms in the city to take these classes, and me and my friend neal are the only gay men in the class. we punch the bags with a room full of angry angry women and two other guys who are straight. what's up with that? it's the weirdest thing ever. that room should be packed with angry queens wanting to beat the shit out of each other.

in roads

if you don't read the comments, you should. lotta fun stuff goin on down there.

to anonymous: please register and use a name! that way we won't confuse you with the other anonymous's out there. it will also give you an identity so that we can engage you in conversation and not get all sarcastic. and no need to put the post to rest. there's still a lot to discuss here.

thanks john and sunny for your brilliant rebuttals. you make me proud to have such smart, articulate friends. i wish i could put things so consicely. but let's not scare anonymous away! you, anonymous, are the perfect person with which to engage this discussion. you're more open minded than most and not overtly hateful in your objections.

i think the big question is, how, exactly, is straight marriage harmed by the inclusion of gay marriage? yes yes the definition is changed - it's more inclusive - but how are actual marriages changed?

also, i'm curious - do you think homosexuality is a choice? you say that it 'ebbs and flows.' do you feel that it's a 'trend' rather than a biological inevitability present in countless animal species?

i understand your moderate point of view - the problem is that the passage of these amendments fuel the fires of homophobia across the country. it says loud and clear: take your committed relationships elsewhere. You may not see it as a hate based initiative, but you must understand that those who do hate see these amendments as a godsend, literally.

equality will win

how frustrated am i right now that blogger was not running all morning. every blogger in the world must be trying to post.

at the beginning of the morning i was just feeling a little disappointment. i was going to call today's postsometing snarky like 'poop' and chalk it up to impressionable simple minded americans who bought into bush's fear based campaign.

but reading that most people voted based on 'moral issues' was a slap in the face. bush did win out of fear, but not of terrorism, he won out of fear of gay people.

i'm deeply saddened, not just by the presidential outcome, but by the loss of so many gay rights in 11 states. it didn't really hit me until about 1:00. i feel the way i did when amendment 2 passed in colorado - like a second class citizen. i read andrew sullivan's post and it really got to me. especially this last part:

STAND TALL: But one more thing is important. The dignity of our lives and our relationships as gay people is not dependent on heterosexual approval or tolerance. Our dignity exists regardless of their fear. We have something invaluable in this struggle: the knowledge that we are in the right, that our loves are as deep and as powerful and as God-given as their loves, that our relationships truly are bonds of faith and hope that are worthy, in God's eyes and our own, of equal respect. Being gay is a blessing. The minute we let their fear and ignorance enter into our own souls, we lose. We have gained too much and come through too much to let ourselves be defined by others. We must turn hurt back into pride. Cheap, easy victories based on untruth and fear and cynicism are pyrrhic ones. In time, they will fall. So hold your heads up high. Do not give in to despair. Do not let the Republican party rob you of your hopes. This is America. Equality will win in the end.

v to tha o to tha t to tha e

vote fuckas.

my polling place is at the elementary school by my apartment. it was total chaos. and i've never used such strange, archaic voting machines. they are like machines out of a 'myst' game. pull this giant red lever. twist these little knobbies. pull the giant lever again. and the thing is the size of a refrigerator. are there gnomes in there? there were a lot of parents who had brought their kids with them into the booths, which was cool to see - you know, 'c'mon junior, daddy's going to show you the importance and meaning of democracy.' and junior's all like 'what cool little knobbies.' it was strangely moving, though. glad to be part of the kerry landslide in new york state, and hopefully part of the decisive victory is predicting.

got a comment today about kerry's mary cheney mention in the last debate:

Joe--It wasn't that Kerry was saying Mary Cheney is a lesbian. Yes,we've all known that for forever. What WAS offensive was Kerry speaking FOR Miss Cheney. "If Mary Cheney were here tonight she would say.." HOW does he know what she'd say? It was sort of a weird non sequiter as well. The moderator didn't bring up Mary Cheney. In the other scenario,VP Cheney was there,a direct question was raised and John Edwards said some nice things about how much the Cheneys loved their daughter and basically that it was not something he wanted to make political hay over. WHICH was very cool of him. Kerry just was...condescending in a bizarre way. As if ONLY he could understand what views M.C. held or should hold. Hope that helps you understand the way 'we' saw this particular exchange.

interesting. whoever you are, thanks for this - it's an almost gay-friendly look at the exchange, but i wonder, who are 'you,' and do you believe that homosexuality is a choice? kerry's exact quote was 'We're all God's children, Bob. And I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she's being who she was, she's being who she was born as.'

this to me is like saying of a black person 'i think if you were to talk to a black person they would say that yes, they are black.' end of issue.

please write back - because my very deep feeling is that you would only find this phrase presupposing or offensive if you believe that homosexuality is an affliction to be overcome, or a choice. am i right? prove me wrong.

also, it was not a non-sequitur. mary cheney's position in her father's campaign, in addition to her long term, committed partnership reveal a deep-rooted hypocrisy in the administration's views. how could kerry not bring it up?

the red flag for me is when you say 'views.' if you think that a person identifying as gay would have differing 'views' about choosing to be gay, then you're on the other side of the fence. i can't even really debate you on it. if you know many gay people, if you've really talked to gay people about their experience in the world, i think you would find (heh, i'm practically using kerry's phrase here) that what kerry said is absolutely true. we're being who we were born as. if you don't see it that way, then yes, you'd be offended, and i'm sorry for that. and to you i say - talk to more gay people, the ones in your office, the ones in your family, the ones you like and respect but have never really broached the subject with - and ask them if it's a choice.

what this section of the debate said very clearly to me was that kerry acknowledges the gay experience better than any presidental candidate in history. clinton half heartedly tried to get rid of 'don't ask don't tell' and was loosely pro-gay, but was never asked point blank (at least in a debate), the basic question - do you think it's a choice? i actually sat there in a sort of shock as kerry spoke of it so specifically. i got a little teary in fact, softie that i am. and maybe i got teary in the same way that pro-lifers get when bush talks about abortion and stem cell research.

you may never believe or understand that being gay is my identity. just as i may never believe or understand how one person can hold capital punishment to be ok, while in the same breath deeply mourn the loss of embrios. we really are a divided nation on so many fronts.

it's gonna be a fun night.

i remember when i was a kid, on election days in colorado - it was the year dukakis lost. my dad and i watched the tv all night as the map turned red red red. actually it turned grey grey grey because of our black and white tv. and my dad kept saying 'there's hope in new york because of the time difference. they're two hours ahead of us, the polls haven't closed yet and they're all gonna vote after work.' sadly it didn't turn out that way. wait. that's totally wrong. the polls in new york would close before the ones in colorado. was he talking about california? in any case, it's exciting this year, to be on the other end of the country, after all the polls have closed and watch the chaos ensue. or not. here's hoping colorado goes blue. or um, light grey for those on black and white sets. here's hoping propsition 36 passes even it means losing electoral votes to bush. here's hoping that the litany of amendments to limit the rights of gay people are not passed - if only to save everyone the fortune in legal fees the country will have to spend while inevitably overturning them in the courts.

sleepy hollow

went to sleepy hollow this weekend..

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