Thursday, 28 February 2008

mindgames

Please compare this...

Just when liberals thought it was safe to start identifying themselves as such, an acclaimed, veteran psychiatrist is making the case that the ideology motivating them is actually a mental disorder.



...to this...

A study funded by the US government has concluded that conservatism can be explained psychologically as a set of neuroses rooted in "fear and aggression, dogmatism and the intolerance of ambiguity".



...and make up your own mind. (The logos are links to the full posts.)


Thanks to Joe.My.God and commenter REBELCOMX.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

the drugs don't work

The BBC reported today that a
University of Hull team concluded the drugs [anti-depressants] actively help only a small group of the most severely depressed.

I didn't know I was that severely depressed. O wait, it's just the placebo effect I'm experiencing. Don't these people understand I don't care how it works as long as it does? On the other hand the guy from the British Pharmaceutical Industry has got a point, these meds were tested and approved all over the world, so they must have shown some benefits other than just the placebo effect.

In the end all it comes down to is that anti-depressants aren't miracle drugs. Thanks BBC, I couldn't have figured that out by myself.

The title of this blog is borrowed from a The Verve song, which apparently was inspired by Richard Ashcroft's father dying of cancer. I love it and it's always had the most profound effect on me. Being vulnerable with 'flu and sleep-deprivation is perhaps not the best time to be thinking about it, though.

Now the drugs don't work
They just make you worse
But I know I'll see your face again

like a virgin

Yesterday after work I stopped in the mall next to the train station looking for a new French press. I found one too, it's bigger than the old one, but that means it's sturdier too.

As I was in the department store, I noticed they were having a sale on bedlinnen. I almost bought some black cotton sheets with a charcoal and grey pattern, but decided that the design was too crude.

Eventually I settled on a very simple (off-)white set, making me feel almost virginal.

And if you were wondering, yes I am posting at four AM local time, a nasty cough and fever are wrecking my night. There is no way I'm going to be fit enough to get up in 1.5 hours, so I just e-mailed the relevant parties.

The birdies outside are waking up, I'll try to find a spot that's not too cold and not too warm and catch some more sleep.

Monday, 25 February 2008

what a turkey!

Apparently Joe isn't taking my hint (I went online at work to send it to him, damn it!), so I'm posting this myself.

The Irish are pretty clear about their entry for the Eurovision Song Contest. Dustin is definitely a turkey! Frighteningly enough that probably means it'll win...



Now I'm off to watch a documentary about a doctor in Teheran who has performed hundreds of sex change operations, sanctioned by the Iranian government.

spare some change?



Last week I took some pictures of the stairs I take out of the train station. They're side stairs, more or less, there's an escalator ten meters further. Although I never see any homeless on these stairs, there is plenty of evidence they spend time there during the night. There's the smell of urine and stale beer, the empty beercans, the cigarette butts...

You can see the cigarette butts at the bottom of the stair next to the drain. The piss stains are usually located at the two platforms along the way. It is nicely sheltered in a corner between the station and the convention center next door (there's also a theatre in the building, Dirty Dancing, the musical is due to premiere there in two weeks.)

Sometimes I spot them inside the station, hanging around or selling the homeless newspaper - or at least holding up a copy, but then I figure anyone would get sick of that day in, day out. It's a monthly magazine, so it's not as if you can shout out topical headlines or something like them newspaperboys in the movies.

But mostly I tend to ignore them. Two guys, a guitar and a cap got on the train at Rotterdam Alexander today and started singing something I vaguely, but not quite, recognised. I think it was some reggae song. True to form I smiled politely and shook my head at the one with the cap.

This reminded me of something I watched last night. Episode #1107 of South Park, entitled Night of the Living Homeless (South Park being on heavy rotation on Comedy Central over here), in which the boys suspect a sudden inlux of homeless people was caused by Kyle giving a homeless man $20. As it turns out, it was the people of nearby Evergreen who solved their homeless problem by advertising the virtues of South Park to the homeless.

The homeless first started arriving in Evergreen about three months ago. At first there were only a few of them, asking for change, sleeping in the parks. But then more showed up, and we realized there was something different about them. They fed off of our change to the point that they could actually start renting apartments.

We knew it wouldn't be long before the homeless actually started buying homes, and then we'd have no idea who was homeless and who wasn't! The people living in the house right next door to you could be homeless and you wouldn't even know! Nobody could trust anybody. Fights broke out. War!

That's when I started suspecting that my own wife, who I had been living with for 20 years, was actually homeless, so I had to burn her... in her bed... while she slept. After she died I vowed I wouldn't let the homeless destroy our town, so we came up with a plan to get rid of them once and for all.

The boys then come up with a plan of their own, they modify a bus and sing a version of California Love by Tupac Shakur to tell the homeless people just how great California is. There's a reference to Matt Stone's house in Venice in there (I wasn't sure when I heard it, but the possibility made me giggle anyway): "In the city, city of Venice. Right by Matt's house, you can chill if you're homeless."

You can watch Night of the Living Homeless here (I hope!)

Like the South Park boys, I offer no solution.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

I tried to be like Grace Kelly



At least I watched Dial M for Murder yesterday. K and Sunshine were still in bed, doing unspeakable things, no doubt, but lets not dwell on that, so I had a quiet morning, went out for some rolls and watched TV whilst crocheting. What else can a girl ask for?

(If you must know, this was following a good night out in Amsterdam - at Prik, of course - and I don't know how many Cosmopolitans. How did I know I was getting seriously drunk? My grammar was failing. K laughed at me when I told him!)

Anyway, I don't think I've ever seen that film from end to end (how many have I said that about now? I guess my attention span has improved a lot!) and realised how clever it was.
May the saints protect us from the gifted amateur.

I just had to 'borrow' these pictures from here...






And by popular request: My first two weeks at work were great. I came home pretty tired at night at first, but that's getting better now, though I'm still taking it easy. The work can be a bit monotonous at times, but the people are nice, the atmosphere is good and I will get a bit more variety as I learn more.

clean

Found this free postcard downstairs next to the bathroom at Prik:


(source)

So I took I one with me and gave it to K. Then a little while later someone else did the same thing. This afternoon he stuck both of them onto my fridge, but I took countermeasures... - Sunshine, if he hasn't found it when you read this, don't tell him! - I slipped a copy of this card into K's bag, in the book he is reading.

And I am clean now, honest, guv!

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Bosie

One of the books that I got from/through K is The Penguin Book of International Gay Writing. In the introduction David Leavitt* mentions Bosie Douglas. I thought it was funny/interesting and felt like sharing.

About the only constructive thing Lord Alfred Douglas ever did was write a poem called "The Two Loves." The poem, which compared heterosexual and homosexual romance dialogically, concluded:

     "I am true love, I fill
     The hearts of boy and girl with mutual flame."
     Then sighing said the other, "Have thy will,
     I am the love that dares not speak its name."

A bad poet and a worse friend, "Bosie" Douglas probably had no idea that in slapping together this crude bit of undergraduate verse he was signposting the future of Anglo-American thinking about homosexuality. For in the aftermath of the Wilde trials, the "naming" of homosexuals would become an obsession to the English-speaking world. To be named by hostile outsiders, it was assumed, meant condemnation, rejection, exile. On the other hand, to declare oneself--though dangerous--allowed for the possibility of escaping a life of lies.

This struck me because Joe's most recent Open Thread Thursday was on coming out. Also, "A bad poet and a worse friend" is such a wonderful description it immediately caught my eye.

* I've only read one of his novels, but several of his collections of short stories and I've enjoyed those very much.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

the uppper hand




You Are Upper Class


Class isn't always about money, and you've at least got the brains, manners, and interests of an upper class person.

You don't have a trashy bone in your body, and you don't pretend to be someone you're not.

You're comfortable with your station in life, and class issues don't really bother you.

The finest things in life are within your reach, and you're comfortable enjoying them.

You may end up: A business leader, corporate lawyer, or philanthropist

Other people who share your class: Bill Gates, Oprah, former world leaders like Bill Clinton, and those reclusive billionaires no one ever talks about.



The Justice of the Peace

Distinguish carefully between these two,
This thing is yours, that other thing is mine.
You have a shirt, a brimless hat, a shoe
And half a coat. I am the Lord benign
Of fifty hundred acres of fat land
To which I have a right. You understand?

I have a right because I have, because,
Because I have -- because I have a right.
Now be quite calm and good, obey the laws,
Remember your low station, do not fight
Against the goad, because, you know, it pricks
Whenever the uncleanly demos kicks.

I do not envy you your hat, your shoe.
Why should you envy me my small estate?
It's fearfully illogical in you
To fight with economic force and fate.
Moreover, I have got the upper hand,
And mean to keep it. Do you understand?

-- Hillaire Belloc --


I wish

Saturday, 16 February 2008

what did we learn today, boys and girls?

After decades of knee replacement surgeries, some bright spark figured perhaps the 'standard' model, based on the male anatomy, might not be ideal for women. So nowadays you can either get the 'normal' knee or a 'gender' knee, which takes into account the different dimensions, shapes and angles of the female body compared to the male. While I applaud this development in itself, the terminology and the fact that they've been using the male form as standard for all this time irritates me.

In very rare cases you can have monozygotic (if you're wondering why I didn't say 'identical' keep on reading) twins who are not of the same gender. This happens when the fertilized egg contains not two but three sex chromosomes. When an egg containing XXY chromosomes splits, it can occur that one twin ends up with XX and the other with XY.

Yes, I've been watching a lot of TV today.

my head

It hurts.

I think I may be experiencing my first ever hangover. Wow!

Or it could just be lack of sleep...








(I just remembered I cleaned the oven yesterday - or at least made a start, it's going to take more than one treatment - perhaps the oven-cleaner has something to do with it. That stuff is nasty.)

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

everything is connected

As I walked towards the computer I thought of that title. As I thought of the title, I thought of something else: "That's a very Unitarian Universalist thing to say." Of course it's not just Unitarian Universalists who think that way, but I'm not talking about others now.

I am almost done reading a book by the late Unitarian Universalist Kurt Vonnegut called Timequake. I don't know whether to describe it as a novel, an autobiography or a lecture. "If it's the latter," I thought, "I hope they don't find out I last paid college fees ten years ago." Strangely enough I do still remember my college ID number. It's 9119299, do with that what you like. I don't think there are any perks connected to it, if only because the university must have changed its system for identifying students umpteen times since its inception in 1575.

In the book, which is very funny, as some but not many of my lecturers were, he ascribes to his uncle Alex Vonnegut the encouragement to really notice things when they were going well. To do this one would have to say out loud - on such occasions as drinking lemonade on a hot afternoon in the shade or smelling the aroma from a nearby bakery - "If this isn't nice, what is?"

I like that. I like that a lot.

Also he quotes the Indiana state song, On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away, which caused me to almost sing out loud on the train home. I can still hear Rufus Wainwright's song as I type:

Oh, the moonlight's fair tonight along the Wabash,
From the fields there comes the breath of newmown hay.
Through the sycamores the candle lights are gleaming,
On the banks of the Wabash, far away.

The conductor on the train from Rotterdam today was very worried about a throng of people about to descend on the train at any moment. I was standing on the 'balcony' between two first class compartiments. She offered me a seat in first class so that the impending crush of people could get on quickly and safely (although she didn't say that at first, only when there were a few more people). I declined, saying I'd been sitting all day.

Another book I recently finished A Density of Souls by Christopher Rice. (The son of Anne and Stan Rice does not appear to have a brother Dan.) I was very reluctant to read his mother's vampire novels and was proven correct when I did. His father's poetry, a lot of it quoted in his mother's books, doesn't speak to me. But Chris Rice's book blew me away.

What's it about? Just read the damn thing, okay?

Monday, 11 February 2008

tired

...but satisfied.

Sorry, I don't have a long story about my first day at the new assignment in me right now. It was a pretty good day, they seem like nice people, the work isn't too bad... *winks*

I had some dinner, a nice shower and now I'm off to bed.

off to work

Today I start a new assignment. It's going to take some time to get there, but waking up at 4.30 AM was a bit ridiculous. I didn't do it on purpose, I was just wide awake, thinking "Did I miss the alarm?"

Of course the alarm wasn't set for another hour, but I couldn't go back to sleep - for fear of sleeping through it after all... At least it gave me time to potter around, have a (very thin!) sandwich and some coffee.

I'll see you again later tonight, quite a lot later.

Sunday, 10 February 2008

so tempting

Ever wondered why certain Christian groups, especially in the USA, have this thing about being persecuted? Do you, like everybody else besides them, it seems, get a feeling of "You think you're persecuted? Look around you!"

My previous theory revolved around the shrinking of our world, no community can keep isolated effectively anymore and therefore their leaders feel threatened not so much because their rights are being eroded as their control. And the outside threat has been a tried and tested method of keeping that control over a community...

Although I still believe this is part of it, I realise there is another component, one that ties in with other apocalyptic beliefs, like the rapture, although that, if I understand correctly is apocalyptic in a later sense only, i.e. related to imminent disaster, and not of the Apocalypse.
10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Matthew 5, King James Bible

That must sound very tempting, if you're persecuted for your religion, you'll go to heaven. So very tempting to turn every hint of a slight into an attack. You're going to revel in "them" being out to get you, because it's reinforcing your hopes of a better life.

It's not such a bad thing in itself - if only it weren't for the fact that they're making it into something, they try to force reality - and if they're right about his existence, God - into something favourable to them. Which doesn't really stroke with other parts of their religion. Or even the same sermon I quoted above:
5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Matthew 5, King James Bible

Friday, 8 February 2008

books books books

My church's bookstore is faster than your church's bookstore!

I ordered some books from the UUA bookstore on Monday and was very impressed to find a delivery man on my doorstep on Thursday (I was also rather wet as I had just stepped out of the shower...) They came from their depot or whatever America to my house in Holland in 72 hours. I'm used to it taking packages AGES to get here - or there.

So now I'm going to go back and read my Jefferson Bible.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

for my friends

31%

I was watching the scores add up as I was answering the questions and it seems that the fact that I would eat veal (although these days I tend to stick to fish and fowl) and I'm hardly squeamish about blood contributed a large part of that score.

Does human flesh taste like veal?

132,642 People

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Super Tuesday

K

It wasn't just Super Tuesday in the US yesterday, it was all over the world. These people are in Amsterdam, at De Balie, voting in the Democratic Primaries. Their organisation, Democrats Abroad gets to send 22 delegates to the conference in Denver at the end of August (the whole organisation, not just Democrats Abroad NL, of course).

Also check out this report from CNN's Robin Oakley about the voting by Democrats, abroad. (But ignore the part where he says India instead of Indonesia.)

welcome

Mary GraceWelcome into the world Mary Grace. Like a true diva you made everyone wait for your grand entrance (12 days!), but finally today was the day you deigned to reveal yourself to the world.

Despite expectations, old wives tales and statistics, you resisted the full moon and waited until there was no moon at all.

Mary GraceI hope your Mommy and Daddy won't mind me using these pictures, but they have something else (you!) on their mind right now.

I know where you're house lives

A few years ago, with the help of K, I found out the address of one of my favourite people in the world. And a couple of months ago I was sure I was on the trail of another. Today I am satisfied I found him. Not that I will ever do anything with the information. Except if I ever find myself in New York City I might walk by their respective buildings - a few times...

Knowing I know something others don't gives me a fuzzy feeling, but it's a bit scary too. I admire these people and I want them to be safe. If I can find their details, someone else could too. Back on the bright side, I guess I could always offer my detective services for money.

The title of this post is a translation of the way people in the Dutch Antilles would express they know where you live ("Ik weet waar jou huis woont"). Most people over here in The Netherlands will recognise it as a threat, but remember, it's not language that threatens people, it's people that threaten people. And they would also say "This is where my house lives..." when they were chatting to you and pointing out where they lived.

The use of "you're" is deliberate, it mirrors the incorrect use of "jou" in the Dutch version. I think it's a very nice example of living language, but I do wish they used proper grammar.

what's holding Ted back? meth or man meat

If Ted Haggard, the fundamentalist Christian minister who was exposed by former prostitute Mike Jones, was declared completely heterosexual again by February last year, does that mean his failure to come to a complete spiritual restoral is due to crystal meth?

In a press release the new pastor of Haggard's New Life Church says that Haggard
has recently requested to end his official relationship with the New Life Church Restoration Team and this has been accepted by them.

New Life Church recognizes the process of restoring Ted Haggard is incomplete and maintains its original stance that he should not return to vocational ministry. However, we wish him and his family only success in the future.

Or perhaps Haggard has realised his taste for men is something that cannot and should not need to be cured...?

Check out the song I posted about here. I suppose "meth and cock" didn't work quite so well for the song, perhaps it should've been "meth and man meat"?

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

does god hate Australia?

As an alternative to picketing Heath Ledger's funeral, Fred Phelps' fag-hating Westboro Baptist sect had announced to start a new website called God Hates Australia. There is just one minor detail they neglected.

Correction
There has been recent statements in the media that godhatesaustralia.com was registered recently by the Westboro Baptist Church. While their intention may have been to register godhatesaustralia, they were too late. Love thy neighbour.

Source: God Hates Australia

*smiles*

the brain that wouldn't die

Jan Compton: "Like all quantities horror has its ultimate. And I'm that."

I'm in the process of watching this classic 1962 movie for the very first time right now. It is in the public domain and can be viewed online, for instance here.

With many thanks to Jockohomo for posting about it.

Sometimes I feel terribly left out for not getting to experience all those classic movies of the era, but it seems I get a shot at catching up, thanks to places like the Internet Archive. Pretty soon now I'll be able to identify all the references in this Scissor Sisters video. I always knew they were there, I simply couldn't tell you what they were.




Two completely unrelated notes:
  1. I got the job.
  2. There are some people trimming shrubs and stuff across the street and they insist on letting the engine of their wood chip cutting machine run continuously. The drone is driving me (more) insane.

Monday, 4 February 2008

JRM

Jonathan Rhys MeyersIt seems like ages since I last perved out over Jonathan Rhys Meyers. But I'm tired and my defenses are probably weaker. There's just something about the guy for me.

And no, I don't mean his small pupils and bloodshot eyes.


Jonathan Rhys MeyersThese pictures were taken last Friday as he left the Villa nightclub in Los Angeles after - apparently - a good night's partying... I found them on Just Jared.
Jonathan Rhys MeyersAlthough I'm not saying he looks drunk in those pictures, they remind me of one taken a couple of years ago, when he definitely was.


Jonathan Rhys Meyers

And just to show what kind of a pervert I really am, here's one from a very saucy photoshoot. It was taken around the time of the filming of Oliver Stone's Alexander, hence the long hair.

Embiggening does wonders, especially for the last one...

bureaucracy

As I think I mentioned before, I had a job interview last Thursday. What I may not have made absolutely clear, is how complicated these things can get when dealing with major financial institutions.

I work for an agency, which is one of many. Not wanting to deal with all of those individually, the company assigns one, or a handful, of intermediaries who take care of a lot of their business for them. So I had to drag my sorry ass out of bed at 5AM to get to the other agency and then after a chat there go to the client and meet with the manager and team leader.

Although the decision hasn't been made yet as to hiring me, the intermediary decided to go ahead with the screening required by the company, which meant they sent some forms to my agency, who forwarded them to me. I filled them in, scanned them. Lost the files. Scanned them again. Resized and sent back to my agency.

Then today I'm told that I have to fill in a request for screening for all my previous employers in the past year. Not that that's such a difficult job, it's just the current agency and myself.

Yes, that's right, I have to give my consent to them asking me whether I was a good employee when I was freelancing as a journalist and then I have to fill in the form to say that I was a good employee...

To top it all off, my agency doesn't seem to have copies of my qualifications on file and to be honest I don't know if I ever handed them over.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Scottish policeman nominated for sexiest gay "quite chuffed"

David Lyle
Chief Inspector David Lyle, from the Lothian and Borders force, today said he was flattered someone had seen fit to nominate him for the Sex Factor 2008 contest, hosted by dating site Gaydar. (...)

On his online profile on the dating site, which includes half naked pictures of himself, the inspector describes himself as a "big-chested, big-hearted man who laughs a lot". (...)

"I have had a profile on Gaydar for eight years and the force has known about it since day one. The main reason for using it is trying to reach out to police officers who are not out. I have been able to make contact with a lot of gay officers who have nobody to talk to."

Source

Saturday, 2 February 2008

my heroin

I just got back from picking up R in Amsterdam and taking him and some of his stuff back to the apartment he and K still share. It's a strange situation. Especially now he's suffering from another breakup. But since we're no longer in competition for K's attention I like him a lot better.

Let me stress that I would have done this no matter what, I'm just a nice person like that. But I was in seventh heaven when we got there. There were boxes and boxes of books for me to sort through and take home.

K got it right. Books are my heroin.

Friday, 1 February 2008

see you in Church

Poor K gave himself a bit of a shock earlier when he called. Saying goodbye, he told me: "See you in Church on Sunday."

Not something either one of us expected ever to say...

to fuck or be fucked

With thanks to Uroskin, here is the Skinhead Hamlet:

HAMLET: (Alone) To fuck or be fucked.
(Enter OPHELIA.)
OPHELIA: My Lord!
HAMLET: Fuck off to a nunnery!