Friday, January 01, 2010

Toys I want next Christmas

OK it's he new year and time to start making those Christmas lists. Right at the top is this great Japanese toy robot that was made during the 1980's. I seem to remember seeing it at a great store here in Dallas called Modern Toys. Alas, Modern Toys is gone but just maybe the toy is still around on Ebay.

Naughy or nice? You decide.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Is the Cotton Bowl Still the Cotton Bowl?

Lured away by visions of luxury suites and big screen video, the Cotton Bowl is playing in a domed stadium in Arlington, TX instead of it's namesake venue. Kind of strange and to me, very sad.

Football has always been a rougher sport that it's more genteel brethren like Baseball. It is played in the winter and fall and that has always been part of the game. Inclement weather made games less predictable and made fan loyalty a real statement of fortitude. Yes games were often played in snow, rain or sometimes blazing heat (after all it is Texas here) but the Cotton Bowl has always been played in the Cotton Bowl.

The venerable old stadium has gotten yet another face lift, additional seating and amenities. It's still in Fair Park, the crown jewel of the Dallas Park system and it's got history. I wonder if the fans will feel the same way about Jerry Jones hi-tech glitterdome?

Most people know, I am not big fan of football, but college ball is a different story. The games have more heart and the fans go through hell and high water to cheer their teams to victory. This year they will watch most of the action on a humongous TV screen and dine on snacks served in luxury suites instead of popcorn and cotton candy.

It just won't be the same.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Portrait of Dorian Gray - Hot Gay Movie?

This film was released back in September and I never saw it. I am trying to track down whether it was released in the US or just the UK, but this scene is wonderfully hot.

Cheney Has A Big Mouth & The White House Says So!

From the "it's about time file", the White House has issued a response to the criticism lodged by Dick Cheney about President Obama's measured response to the attempted airline bombing.
"There has been a lot of discussion online and in the mainstream media about our response to various critics of the President, specifically former Vice President Cheney, who have been coming out of the woodwork since the incident on Christmas Day. I think we all agree that there should be honest debate about these issues, but it is telling that Vice President Cheney and others seem to be more focused on criticizing the Administration than condemning the attackers."
The post on the White House blog goes on to say:
"...for seven years after 9/11, while our national security was overwhelmingly focused on Iraq – a country that had no al Qaeda presence before our invasion – Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda's leadership was able to set up camp in the border region of Pakistan and Afghanistan, where they continued to plot attacks against the United States. Meanwhile, al Qaeda also regenerated in places like Yemen and Somalia, establishing new safe-havens that have grown over a period of years. It was President Obama who finally implemented a strategy of winding down the war in Iraq, and actually focusing our resources on the war against al Qaeda..."
An then the best line in the whole post:
"To put it simply: this President is not interested in bellicose rhetoric, he is focused on action. Seven years of bellicose rhetoric failed to reduce the threat from al Qaeda and succeeded in dividing this country. And it seems strangely off-key now, at a time when our country is under attack, for the architect of those policies to be attacking the President."
Read the whole thing and you will probably feel like I did... it's about fucking time!

More States Allow First Cousins to Marry than Gays

While researching same sex marriage I found this disturbing map. It was generated by the New York Times and published in Chicago Now. The map shows a comparison of states where same-sex marriage is legal vs. states where you can marry your first cousin. Go figure!

I will have to apologize to my friend from Mississippi, looks like Ole' Miss is not a Cousin Marryin' state!

The Graying of Gays

OK, I am no spring chicken anymore, in fact I doubt I ever was, so the prospect of growing older concerns me. I know it is inevitable, but it is what will happen to me and my friends as we age that bothers me.

Oh I am well aware of the physical problems, but it's the prospect of geriatric care that is my real concern. A recent article in an Australian publication details the problems facing gays as they age. Discrimination and unreasonable treatment by nursing home staffs is certainly a biggie. I know there are speical facilities for LGBT people, but they are few and far between. The general public needs to understand the challenges of the aging sexual minorities.

Once upon a time, I was involved in a project to create a retirement community for leatherman and leatherwomen. Unfortunately, that project stalled when the dot com boom busted. I sincerely believe it is still a very necessary project and hope it can be resurrected before I am old enough to need it.

I will continue to write about this as I find out more, but in the mean time, I urge you to seriously think about what you will do when you get too old to care for yourself.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Canada Bans Carry-on Luggage

Well, if anything good has come from the latest terrorist attempt is that Canada is banning carry-on luggage with the exception of purses, laptops, medical devices and camera bags. This will ease long backups at screening checkpoints and inspections.

The good thing for us travelers is we don't have to put up with people trying to cram full sized suitcases into the overhead bins. People travel like refugees carrying so much junk they take forever to board. We also won't have to wait in line inside the airplanes while people try to unjam their bags.

I check my luggage because I don't like lugging it around inside the airport and hoisting it in and out of the plane. Now the airlines will also get the benefit of extra luggage fees, which they surely won't reject.

Battlestar Galactica Rhapsody

OK, I admit it I am a scifi geek. That's why this video cracks me up. The whole plot of the series condensed into a single video set to Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. Great satire!

Full Body Scans and Other Fun Flying Events!

As I entered the passenger screening area of the Indianapolis Airport, I noticed devices I thought were the infamous "puffer" machines. Puffers or whiffers or whatever supposedly smell explosives on a person and wonder of wonder, they don't work very well. Still some airports spent millions to buy the fluky machines and now most sit idle because of problems.

Nope, these were not what I thought, instead these were the body scanner machines called "millimeter wave scanners" and essentially they are a virtual strip search. Images from these can see details including a person's gender and just about every detail of what is beneath your clothing.

I stepped into a booth and was told to spread my legs and hold my hands over my head. A device swung around me and then I was asked to do the same facing a different direction. It was painless, but mysterious in that no one told me what it was doing.

To my surprise not everyone was asked to go through this gadget and that is what bothers me. The TSA is playing an odds game. They figure a random screening will either deter or catch any suspected bad guys, but as has been shown over and over it doesn't work. The man with the bomb on the plane to Detroit when through screening both in Nigeria and the Netherlands and still managed to get explosives on the plane. Perhaps these body scanners would have seen the material he carried in his crotch, maybe not.

The whole point is, there is no such thing as absolute safety. If we are going to screen passengers, then screen them all, otherwise it's a coin toss. My partner and I wondered if a few good old-fashioned bomb sniffing dogs would have been more efficient. Probably so, but they don't make millions for technology companies and in the end I still think it's all about money.

Airports may end up looking like armed camps and passengers may be asked to submit to body cavity searches and still a clever terrorist will figure a way to disrupt things. They might simply switch to car bombs or something not related to transportation at all. The point is Terrorism is something we are going to have to live with unless someone figures a way to get at the root cause. That is not a simple solution and one that may have no answers.

Meanwhile, the Obama administrations statement that the system worked is silly, almost as silly as the Bush administration's assurances that we would defeat the terrorists by attacking Iraq.

This one is going to take real strategy and most likely its solution will not involve warfare and bluster, but negotiations and PR. The terrorists have already won, but we don't realize it. We are a nation that seems to be pretty much terrified, and unless we get over that and start dealing with our fears, you can count on more high tech gadgets that make our lives less enjoyable.