Friday, December 09, 2005


Brazilian: Nun's Death Was Self-Defense
Dec 9, 4:36 PM (ET)
BELEM, Brazil (AP) - The man accused of killing American nun and rain forest defender Dorothy Stang told a jury Friday that he acted in self-defense after mistaking her Bible for a gun.

That's certainly an understandable mistake. You really have to watch out for those nuns--their Bibles can be deadly. No wonder he emptied a six-shot revolver into her.


"China Clones Threatened Gazelle Species" is what the Associated Press headline said. When I read it, I thought "threatened" was the verb. I wondered how a clone could threaten a species--maybe it could overwhelm it genetically. But when I read the article it was obvious that "threatened" was used as an adjective, and "clones" was the verb.

English can be such a pain.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


No, I'm not changing the name of this blog again. Last night I went down to the LGBT Center to be a volunteer lawyer at the monthly West Village Trans-Legal Clinic Name Change Project. We help people, almost all of them transgender, to complete the papers they need to get their names changed legally. I don't do this every month, but it works out that I do it about half the time.

Every three months the director, Tom Hickey, sends out an e-mail, asking who is interested in volunteering for which months. Then he works out a schedule with four lawyers per month. Experience has taught him that one or two will fail to appear, but he fills in, especially if only two show up. November was a surprise for him, though--all four volunteer lawyers showed up. And as luck would have it, only six clients came. I handled two of them, and left after 90 minutes.

I was scheduled again this month. When I arrived there were already several clients waiting. Then Danny Shaffer, the administrator from LeGaL, the LGBT Law Association of Greater New York (co-sponsor of the Clinic), told me I was actually the only lawyer who was there. Cynthia Kern was not scheduled--she was actually there to do some filming for Dyke-TV. The other person, whom I did not recognize, was just there to observe, so she could volunteer in the future. And Tom was home sick.

Cynthia said she'd try to return after the rest of her filming, but otherwise it was just me, and a growing group of clients. I plunged in. Fortunately none of them had any unusual cases. None, in fact, had any of the usual complicating factors, such as spouses (ex or current), or minor children. But it still took time to fill out the forms and tell the clients what they had to do next--while the Clinic assists with the paperwork, the clients still have to file the papers at the court themselves.

After three clients I took a bathroom break. When I got back I was delighted to see Cynthia had returned. Otherwise there was no hope that all of the clients would be taken care of. I went back to work, and I think I saw three more (I lost count), when it got to be close to 9 o'clock, our normal ending time. Danny said there was only one more client, and asked if I could handle her. He also said we had to vacate the room at 9, but the Center had another room we could use. I said OK, and the client, a Center staffer and I went off to the other room. Eventually we got someone to unlock it, and I did my last case.

After answering a question from Danny, I was done. It was 9:45 and I think I had seen seven clients in just over 3½ hours. I think the most I had ever done in an evening before was four. I was exhausted. I hadn't worked so hard since I retired. In fact I don't remember working that hard anytime during my last job, which started in 1998.

But at least I helped seven people get names that reflect their true gender, and that made me feel good.


"The world is getting bigger; your penis has to get bigger too."

Monday, December 05, 2005


Saturday night I attended the Metropolitan Opera's 1,175th performance of Giacomo Puccini's La Bohème. I haven't been to quite all of them, but I have seen it a good number of times. It's my favorite. If anyone is unsure of whether to go to the opera, I would suggest La Bohème.

The story is pretty straight-forward (a rarity in opera). It's your basic boy gets girl, boy loses girl, girl comes back to boy and dies. (It's the basis for the story of Rent, now playing in a theater near you.) Set in the Latin Quarter of Paris in the 1840's (the East Village of its time), its characters are "bohemians"--young, penniless artists, poets, musicians, etc., not the usual upper-class movers and shakers who customarily populated the opera stage even in the late 19th century. The music is uncomplicated, I'd even say unsophisticated, compared to most of grand opera. The critics hated it, the audiences loved it--the Met has been filling the house and boosting its coffers with it since 1900.

Filmmaker Franco Zeffirelli did the production, which the Met has been using since the '70s at least, when I first saw it. His sets are spectacular, but I was surprised that only one of them got applause this time--audiences must be getting used to them. I remember when all three sets would get ovations, plus sometimes an additional one when the interior of Café Momus is revealed. There is much to delight the eye: a little pony or donkey pulling a vendor's cart, and a beautiful horse actually trotting across the stage, pulling a carriage bearing Mussetta for her grand entrance. A troop of soldiers preceded by a marching band parades down a huge flight of steps (stairways are a Zeffirelli signature--he puts them in every possible set).

The cast was more than adequate: Mimi was sung by the excellent Hei-kyung Hong (my wife took an extra copy of the program to give to her manicurist, who is always proud of her Korean heritage). The rest of the cast sang well, if not quite at Hong's level. And none of the starving artist bohemians was noticably fat, all too common among opera singers. Both Hong and Alexandra Deshorties, who played Musetta, are beautiful, easily making their attraction to the male characters believable.

As always, Mimi died in the last act, and as always, my eyes teared up, as Rodolfo cried out her name. Yes, it's a tear-jerker, but I love it.

Sunday, December 04, 2005


"With our new Viagra Soft Tabs you will be able to open a bottle of beer with your penis."

Why in the world would I want to do that?


Suddenly yesterday I noticed several people reached this blog by doing searches for "caprice bellefleur." I've gotten plenty of hits from people looking for just plain "caprice," or "caprice naked," (and one for "caprice prunes!"), but never ones that were actually looking for me.

I can't figure out why people are suddenly looking for me. The searches came from all over the world--one was from Singapore. Would any of you searchers care to leave a comment and tell me why?