Saturday, December 24, 2005


"Spermamax can get pregnant even a man."

Now that is really big news.


My friend Betty has perpetuated the Meme of Fours over in her blog. I can meme-itate her:

Four jobs you've had in your life: donut shop clerk; advertising salesperson for a college newspaper; civil service attorney; mainframe computer programmer

Four movies you could watch over and over: Star Wars; A Night at the Opera; What's Up, Doc?; Klute

Four places you've lived: Cleveland Heights, Ohio; Madison, Wisconsin; Greenwich Village; Upper East Side

Four TV shows you love to watch: Masterpiece Theater; Mystery!; Law and Order; World Series of Poker

Four places you've been on vacation: Constanta, Romania; Sark; Martinique; Berkshires, western MA

Four websites you visit daily: (en)gender message boards; New York Times; 1010WINS; PlanetOut

Four of your favorite foods: ice cream, bread, pasta, potatoes

Four places you'd rather be: there's no place I'd rather be

Friday, December 23, 2005


This appeared in my inbox:
Congress today announced that the office of President of the United States of America will be outsourced to India as of December 30th, 2005.

The move is being made to save the President's $400,000 yearly salary, and also a record $521 billion in deficit expenditures and related overhead the office has incurred during the last 5 years.

"We believe this is a wise move financially. The cost savings should be significant," stated Congressman Thomas Reynolds (R-WA). Reynolds, with the aid of the Government Accounting Office, has studied outsourcing of American jobs extensively. "We cannot expect to remain competitive on the world stage with the current level of cash outlay", Reynolds noted.

Mr. Bush was informed by email this morning of his termination.

Preparations for the job move have been underway for sometime. Gurvinder Singh of Indus Teleservices, Mumbai, India will be assuming the Office of President as of December 30th.

Mr. Singh was born in the United States while his Indian parents were vacationing at Niagara Falls, thus making him eligible for the position.

He will receive a salary of $320 (USD) a month but with no health coverage or other benefits.

It is believed that Mr. Singh will be able to handle his job responsibilities without a support staff. Due to the time difference between the US and India, he will be working primarily at night, when few offices of the US Government will be open.

"Working nights will allow me to keep my day job at the American Express call center" stated Mr. Singh in an exclusive interview. "I am excited about this position. I always hoped I would be President someday."

A Congressional Spokesperson noted that while Mr. Singh may not be fully aware of all the issues involved in the office of President, this should not be a problem because Mr. Bush was not familiar with the issues either. Mr. Singh will rely upon a script tree that will enable him to respond effectively to most topics of concern. Using these canned responses, he can address common concerns without having to understand the underlying issues at all.

"We know these scripting tools work," stated the spokesperson. "President Bush has used them successfully for years." Mr. Singh may have problems with the Texas drawl, but lately Bush has abandoned the "down home" persona in his effort to appear intelligent and on top of the Katrina situation.

Bush will receive health coverage, expenses, and salary until his final day of employment. Following a two week waiting period, he will be eligible for $240 a week unemployment for 13 weeks. Unfortunately he will not be eligible for Medicaid, as his unemployment benefits will exceed the allowed limit.

Mr. Bush has been provided the outplacement services of Manpower, Inc. to help him write a resume and prepare for his upcoming job transition. According to Manpower, Mr. Bush may have difficulties in securing a new position due to limited practical work experience. A Greeter position at Wal-Mart was suggested due to Bush's extensive experience shaking hands and phony smile.

Another possibility is Bush's re-enlistment in the Texas Air National Guard. His prior records are conspicuously vague but should he choose this option, he would likely be stationed in Waco, TX for a month, before being sent to Iraq, a country he has visited.

"I've been there, I know all about Iraq," stated Mr. Bush, who gained invaluable knowledge of the country in a visit to the Baghdad Airport's terminal and gift shop.

Sources in Baghdad and Falluja say Mr. Bush would receive a warm reception from local Iraqis. They have asked to be provided with details of his arrival so that they might arrange an appropriate welcome.


"R.I. Couple Finds Rare Pear in Clam"
caught my eye. But it was a typo. "Pear" was missing an "l" at the end.


Sir Elton John and his partner David Furnish were joined in civil union under the new law in the UK yesterday. I believe that the wife of a knight is called Lady xxx, but what title does Furnish get?

Thursday, December 22, 2005


I just started a new half gallon of "non-fat" milk. It tasted good. It definitely had some fat in it. I wonder what the rules are on that sort of thing.

I'm sure there's been a little bit of fat allowed in "non-fat" milk for a long time. When I was a child skimmed milk, as it was called then, had a bluish tinge around the edges, but you don't see that anymore.


"Sides Try to Prevent London Subway Strike"

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


I think once every generation there has to be a transit strike in New York City--maybe just so the newer transit workers will no longer have to listen in silence to the old-timers talking about the last one. Since the Metropolitan Transit Authority seems to have money to give away, with its holiday discount fares, it's as good a time as any for the workers to go out.

Personally, I'm trying to avoid the whole thing as much as possible. We cancelled the CDI open house for this evening, and the next thing on my calendar is a dinner with friends in Brooklyn on Friday. Otherwise, I'm staying home, or at least going no further than I can walk in the cold.


Saturday, 12/17: Eleven hours after leaving the Ax-Stoltzman concert we were back at the Metropolitan Museum to see the Vincent van Gogh: The Drawings exhibition. Because it is so popular, museum members are allowed in at 9:00am to get a head start on the crowds. Though most of the drawings are good-sized, and could be viewed from a distance, it was nice not to have to jockey for position when I wanted to see them close up. Even by 11:30 it wasn't too bad, at least in the last room. (It was also nice not having very many little children in the galleries, making noise and getting underfoot.)

Van Gogh has been my favorite "modern" artist for a long time--though lately Matisse has been giving him a run for the money. So I was looking forward to this exhibition, despite that the drawings would not have van Gogh's colors, which is one of the main things that makes me like his work so much. There were a few paintings in the exhibition for comparison, however.

Van Gogh worked very quickly. He did over 1,100 drawings in his slightly over 10 year career as an artist, which did not start until he was in his late 20's. He was largely self-taught, and it was interesting to see his development with the chronological display of his works.

The most interesting thing to me, though, was when he did drawings after finishing a painting. Most artists use drawings only as preparation for the painting, but van Gogh frequently did them afterwards, as a means of showing people in other cities what he had just done. This was long before the days of faxes, scanners and digital cameras. Often he would send off drawings to a number of people--but the drawings did not always look the same. He varied them depending on the recipient. What he sent to his brother would not match what he sent to a possible patron. He also sometimes wrote in the colors he used, especially when writing his brother--it reminded me of the Paint-By-Numbers kits of my childhood.

I enjoyed the exhibition, though I must admit I spent more time looking at the few paintings than at most of the drawings. It was worth getting out early for it.


After the van Gogh we were hungry so we went down to the new cafeteria in the basement. While it is a strictly utilitarian space, unlike the beautiful cafeteria/restaurant/bar the Met used to have, the food was much, much better. But it wasn't cheap. The salad bar is $9.60/lb.

After lunch we did the obligatory stops in the restrooms. As usual I finished first, so I wandered into the mini-gift shop conveniently located nearby. I got a very nice CD (that's compact disk in this context), called "Painters in Paris," a Museum Music compilation that was created as a "companion" to the Painters in Paris: 1895-1950 exhibition. I was really interested in the two Josephine Baker songs. I had seen silent movies of her, but I had never heard a recording. It turns out her voice was quite different than I imagined--much lower-pitched.


That evening we went and saw Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. It was cute, though I'm not sure I like the new Dumbledore. I guess the death of a sympathetic character necessitated the PG-13 rating.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


"Man, Girl Shot at Wal-Mart in New Mexico"

Yeah, Wal-Mart is a dangerous place. Stay out of them.


Friday, 12/16: We went to a nice concert at the Metropolitan Museum by Emanuel Ax and Richard Stoltzman, playing the piano and clarinet respectively. Debussy, Brahms, Bernstein, Beaser and Foss were the composers--the last two present in the audience.

The clarinet is not my favorite instrument. It usually has a very shrill, unpleasant sound to my ears. Only the most skilled players can make it sound good to me, but Stoltzman is one of the best I've ever heard. He was always in total control of his instrument, which was really necessary in Debussy's Première Rhapsodie, which was used as an examination piece for aspiring clarinetists.

Stoltzman preceded some of the pieces with short remarks, usually humorous. After one, Ax whispered something to him causing him to laugh uncontrollably. They were having fun, and the audience was, too. They both played wonderfully.

Ax was looking good--I think he's lost some weight recently. Stoltzman always presents a very slight figure--I think he must get his clothes in the boys' department. His boyishness is heighted by his haircut--sort of the old Beatles' cut--except Stolzman's hair is gray. It really looks silly.

I had never heard of Robert Beaser, but his pieces were quite good. The last of the four they played, "Ground 0," was the single somber one. This was Beaser's reaction to 9/11, and ended with Stoltzman slowly walking off to the rear of the stage as he played the final bars. Octagenarian Lukas Foss' "Three American Pieces," some sixty years old, ended the program. Stoltzman thanked Foss for allowing them to perform them, since he was sure Foss would have preferred them to play something he had written the previous week.

A Gershwin piece was the encore. They brought Beaser and Foss up to the stage to join them in receiving the audience's appreciation.

The only thing that marred the evening was the couple behind us. She wore a jangling bracelet she could not keep still and refused to remove, and they brought along their grandson, who sniffled throughout the first half of the concert. And there was a guy a few rows back who should have been in bed with his cough.


Thursday, 12/15: While I might have had more fun at the Stonewall Democrats' holiday party down at the Girlsroom, the "hot new lesbian nightclub on the Lower East Side," I answered the call of spousal duty, put on a jacket and tie, and went with my wife to the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) Members' Holiday Fête. It was held at the French Consulate on Fifth Avenue--a just slightly fancier address than the Girlsroom's. Of course these days the Lower East Side is not exactly the hellhole slum it used to be.

Actually, the FIAF party wasn't bad, once you got past the perfunctory security check at the front door. (The guy asked me if I had anything in my pockets!) Also, once you navigated the horribly laid-out buffet table. (I really think culinary schools should include some lessons on elementary systems analysis: sequential vs. random access, entry and exit points, bottlenecks, etc.) The food was very good, if you could get to it. The champagne was quite nice, and they had enough for most of the evening. When they did run out though, there was still plenty of regular wine. It was served in large glasses which they filled completely. I was feeling the effects of the alcohol by the end.

There was a traditionally-costumed woman strolling around playing a French accordian, which was almost inaudible in the din. I'm not sure the costume was totally authentic, though--did Frenchwomen traditionally wear leopard-print tights?

I did experience a rather interesting bit of gender dynamics at one point. We arrived a bit late. A friend had already been there a short while, and she told us there was this guy following her around bothering her, paying her ridiculous, exaggerated compliments. She had tried to get him to stop, but he wouldn't listen. Sure enough, as we were standing and talking, he comes up and asks me, "Isn't she the most attractive woman here?" I said, "No, she is," pointing to my wife. He dismissed my response and started going at our friend again directly. She asked him if he knew the French phrase, "Laissez moi seule?" (I think that was it)--this was the FIAF party, an organization dedicated to French learning, after all. It was pretty obvious he didn't understand it, so I said, slowly and forcefully, "It means 'leave her alone.'" He took one look at me, and disappeared. I didn't see him again all evening. It's really sad that he wouldn't leave her alone until a man told him to. And it was really weird having to "act like a man"--something I really haven't concerned myself with for the last few years.

The truth was, our friend did look very attractive, wearing a great scarf that was just perfectly arranged on her shoulders. There were a good number of women with great outfits there--and a few gorgeously dressed little girls, also. But the hands- down winner was this tiny woman "of a certain age," as the French say, wearing this stunning gold, bubbly top that continued up to become a head-dress. I'd be willing to bet this piece graced a model on some Parisian designer's runway some number of decades ago.

At one point there were a few remarks from the French Consul Général. He pointed out the ambassador was in attendance--I assume this was the French ambassador to the U.N., not the one to the U.S., who is normally in Washington. The head of FIAF also spoke, and eventually the door prizes were awarded. The grand prize was a pair of round-trip tickets to Paris, courtesy of American Airlines (not Air France--hmmm). But we didn't win it, or anything else for that matter--the basket of goodies from Fauchon would have been very nice, also.

After a couple hours it was over, and we joined the long line to reclaim our coats. The checkroom operation was close to chaos. Several people were working there. They tried to get ahead by going up the line and collecting tickets. The problem was, we were still a distance from the actual checkroom when one took the ticket, so when the coats were retrieved we weren't yet at the checkroom to get them. When we did get to the front of the line, our guy was working on someone else. Presumably he just put the coats down when he couldn't find us. My wife lost her patience, went into the checkroom, found our coats and took them herself.

I wonder if they'd consider subleasing the coatcheck operation to the German consulate.


We went home, had a little dinner, and watched the final episode of the costume epic/soap opera Rome on HBO on Demand. It's the Ides of March, so you may have some idea of what happens. They have announced there will be another season of the series. I wonder how they will explain Mark Antony and Cleopatra, since they never showed her coming to Rome where she met him--at least that's how Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor did it.

Sunday, December 18, 2005


I see this blog is number one on MSN search for "caprice naked." Dream on, guys.