Why I’m not a model

You know how women generally are pissed off that the media — magazines, television, movies, and advertisers — promote an unhealthy, unrealistic standard of beauty? Well, just try being gay some time.
In the gay world, if you don’t have washboard, 6-pack (or preferably 8-pack) abs, a smooth body, and in general look like an Abercrombie and Fitch model, you might as well be dead. It’s really incredibly annoying given that you’d expect us to be one group that embraces diversity.
I’ve even found myself guilty of this expectation as well, although it mostly asserts itself when I’m hit on by a guy who’s 20 years older than me.
As an experiment this evening, I thumbed through the October issue of Out magazine, taking note of the images within. I ignored images of people too small to be really seen, like the covers of books in a book club ad. All in all, there were 202 images of slim, classically good looking, tanned, muscular or gym-fit people.
There were 37 images of average, overweight, or people over 45 (or so). And these images included:

  • Liza Minnelli and David Gest
  • President Ford
  • Sarah Jane Moore and Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme
  • Kathy Kinney
  • Elton John
  • an ad portraying straight real estate “experts” as unattractive
  • an ad featuring a portly Provincetown policeman expressing his unappreciation of public nudity to a slim and gym-fit nude man

Is it any wonder that even trim, fit, hot guys are afflicted with body dymorphic disorder in the gay community?

Attention personal shoppers

Hmm. Advice, please:
I’m going tomorrow morning to take a look at an electric scooter — an EVT168 to be precise. This is a scooter of the same type as a Vespa, a kind of retro Italian thing, but instead of running on gas, it’s completely electric. It plugs in to charge, runs at about 30mph for up to 30 miles.
Right now, all my driving consists of short trips to the store, to the post office, and to the mall; and a Prius is incredibly inefficient on short trips. A scooter would be ideal for my every day errands, and should I move to a more urban environment as is my current plan, it would be even better.
But here’s the thing: it costs $1900.
If you crunch the numbers logically, it’s clear that it would take a very, very long time to recoup that investment just from the savings in gas from not driving the car. And since my car is a partial-zero emission vehicle anyway, I don’t think the environmental impact of driving the scooter would be that improved, either.
What do you guys think?

San Jose Summer

Yes, summer is over, and we’ve entered autumn, my favorite season. When I got home last week, I traded in shorts and t-shirts for sweatshirts, especially in the morning. I hauled out a heavy bedspread and made up my comfy bed — you know, all overstuffed and warm.
And then, it got hot.
This last week, the temp has risen above 90° a couple of times, and I’ve actually turned the air conditioner on. At the end of September. In a city where some people don’t even bother having an air conditioner.
Almost as if by artificial means, the forecast for tomorrow — the first day of October — drops from today’s 87° to 72°. It’s like Mother Nature has a calendar herself, and she forgot to turn the page.
(Why is it that every time I think “Mother Nature” I always think of actress Dena Dietrich?)

What they have become

There was a time, oh, 25 years ago, when I intimated that I might be a Republican. (Gasp!) Yeah, back when I first started paying attention to the news, I decided that less government interference and more liberty was the way to go — and that’s what the Republicans promised. But the Republicans have veered pretty far from that agenda. I haven’t so much, but I do seem to lean much more toward the FDR and LBJ brand of Democrat, where government is used to create a better society and lift everyone up. Today, Republicans use government to enrich the rich and keep down the poor… while letting the poor believe that somehow they too can be rich. It’s a massive fraud on those hopeful downtrodden people.
Anyway. This morning, Eugene Robinson gives perhaps the best description of what “Republicans” are running the government now:

There was a time when the conservative movement in this country was the preserve of principled eccentrics such as Barry Goldwater. These days Goldwater would be thought of as a libertarian more than anything else, a firm believer that what people really needed was a good leaving-alone. In his prime, he occupied fringe territory that was light-years from the mainstream.

Ronald Reagan changed everything, shifting the nation’s center of gravity to the right. In retrospect, whatever you thought of Reagan’s policies — and I didn’t like them — the man at least had a certain generosity of spirit. His idea of the black experience in America may have been Sammy Davis Jr.’s career, his views of women may have been antediluvian and his impression of gay people may have come exclusively from dining with Nancy’s friends, but at least he had some experience of people unlike himself and an appreciation of their humanity.

The crowd now in control of Washington, thanks in part to DeLay’s undeniable skills, could best be described as Reagan’s illegitimate heirs.

Theirs is a greedy, small-minded conservatism. In their policies, they seek not to improve government, and certainly not to shrink it, but to ruin it — to starve the regulatory agencies with tax cuts, then spend so wildly on pork that there’s nothing left to pay for actual government work such as, say, preparing for a hurricane.

The Republican Party’s “small government” rhetoric is hilarious, but while you’re laughing, keep a grip on your wallet. Since 2000, the number of registered lobbyists in Washington has more than doubled, to an astonishing 34,750. That’s a lot of mouths at the trough.

DeLay and Co. don’t just want to bankrupt the government, they want to force the whole country to conform to their “moral” prescriptions. On private matters such as abortion, homosexuality, religion, even end-of-life decisions, they demand that all of us do as they say. When it comes to the millions who lack health insurance, though, or to persistent poverty in the inner cities — well, those problems are for individuals and “faith-based” institutions to grapple with as best they can.

Karl likes ‘em tubby

OCBQ notes that White House ::ahem:: “correspondent” “Jeff Gannon” was one of the very few people in attendance at last weekend’s pro-war rally in Washington.


I guess he’s probably trying to resurrect his right-wing career, because now that he’s got such a large beer belly, his gay prostitution career is just about over.

$21,000? I’ll take two.

Thom points out the announcement of the 2006 model year Prius, igniting once again that flame of necessity in my early-adopter brain. I had to have the original model back in 2000 before anyone else, and was pretty successful there; then in 2003 my status as a Prius Pioneer meant that I got first dibs on the current model. But I’ve been driving it for 2 years now, and that label “2004” is so… last year. Could I? Should I? I mean, I can afford to buy the thing, and I’m sure that my extremely low mileage 2004 model would sell in a heartbeat, but… is the allure of a leather interior, a back-up camera, and a convenient jack for my iPod really worth the effort? Worth the paperwork, the licensing, the wait at the DMV, and the insurance cost? My current Prius is gloriously perfect save a small scratch in the paint on the rear bumper. I mean, the interior still has a hint of new car chemical, and I even keep a little duster in the glove box. (Pity I’m not that fastidious when it comes to my home.)
If I was still living in Arlington, my pals at Alexandria Toyota would fix me up. But the people here at Capitol Toyota (ironic name, that) don’t know me from Adam. Would they understand me?
Nah. There are people out there homeless, there are people in my own family whose cars are falling apart and in danger of rendering them unable to get to work. My current car is like new, and is still state-of-the-art… I feel guilty enough already with my current situation, why exacerbate it with a shiny new vehicle? Unless, of course, I find an efficient and useful electric scooter to shuttle me back and forth on my errands without burning gas…

Makes me wish I had won something

Wrapping up continues from the DC Shorts Film Festival, and today I finished making the awards for the audience favorites, soon to be winging their way to the winners:


These are for the films that were voted best in each screening by the audience. Four films were chosen for “loftier” awards: Best Local Film, Best Female Director, Festival Directors’ Favorite and Filmmakers’ Favorite. Those films receive a custom designed and handmade glass trophy, which are now off being engraved with the winning film information.

Dontcha just love awards? I think I’m gonna make a few bogus awards for myself and scatter them around the house. I hope they glint as beautifully as these!

Thoughts for the day

Just some interesting points to ponder today:

  • Another #2 al Qaeda operative killed? How many #2s are there, anyway? A look at yet more administration propaganda
  • People like this are why the Republican party is doomed: Bill Bennett, the Reagan Secretary of Education and now one of those vile right-wing radio asses, actually said: “…if you wanted to reduce crime, you could — if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down.”
    What? A conservative endorsing abortion?!
  • Research shows that religious belief can cause damage to a society, “contributing towards high murder rates, abortion, sexual promiscuity and suicide. … The study concluded that the US was the world’s only prosperous democracy where murder rates were still high, and that the least devout nations were the least dysfunctional.”
    Of course, this is science, which as we all know is the enemy of religion.
  • As a counter to the anti-war protests last weekend, organizers of a “rally for the troops” in DC prepared for 20,000 people. They got about 400. The anti-war protest numbered in the hundreds of thousands. Gee, which side do you think is more organized and able to mobilize? We should have had the anti-war people mobilize after Katrina. Big question here: both protests claimed to support the troops. One, by bringing them home and gettng them out of an ill-conceived and poorly run war; the other by blaming Cindy Sheehan for their deaths. Weird.

You take the good, you take the bad

… you take ’em both and there you have Conservatives…
DeLay is down at the moment, which makes a lot of people — including me — quite optimistic that we may be seeing the beginning of the end of the Republican corruption rampant in government. Unfortunately, they’re still cementing power in their bid for a “permanent majority,” and their ultimate goal of creating a conservative judiciary is in their grasp. It’s likely that in just minutes, their stealthy, silent, right-wing (creepy) 1950s Chief Justice will be confirmed and take the bench for the next 30 years.
If we had to have a throwback to the 50s nominated, why couldn’t it have been Ward Cleaver?

The house across the street

Last night as I sat in my living room, I kept seeing bright flashes of light out of the corner of my eye. I puzzled as to what could be causing this phenomenon — an emergency vehicle on the street? Planes flying low over the hill? Someone taking flash photos?
Tonight, I discovered that the latter was the truth, but only because the flashing started again. What in the world could be going on, I wondered? Finally, when taking Diego out for a stroll, I discovered that there was a complete photographic setup in place across the street from me — not just a guy with a camera, but a bunch of those reflective umbrella things with lights, glimpsed through the open window, flooding the entire street with light every time the flash went off.
I have no idea what is happening in that house, but as I am always rushing hellbent toward the most pessimistic answer, I say that there’s some kind of porn shoot going on across the street.

See? Sitting is against the law

Also via Gawker, here’s a story that goes along with the previous entry about being arrested for sitting on the sidewalk:

The long arm of the law has no mercy when it comes to Sandra Catena. The 47-year-old dance instructor learned that the hard way while daring to sit on a bench at the Rivington Playground. She was approached by two officers asking if she had any children with her; when she told them no, she was served with a convenient little ticket. Apparently, it’s illegal for an adult to sit on a playground bench unless with children, and now Catena is looking at a $1000 fine and up to 90 days in jail.

Let this be a lesson to us all: ‘Tis better to go down as a pedophile than as a loner.

Return of the illiterate designer

I’m glad I’m not the only one who notices how spelling seems to have gone into the toilet lately. Here’s a UPN ad that was noted by Gawker: