30 August 2010

My history reading so far this year:

A Gambling Man: Charles II's Restoration Game, Jenny Uglow
A great and grisly read.

The Industrial Revolutionaries, Gavin Weightman

Citizens, Simon Schama.
Beautiful narrative history: but it may give you nightmares considering the similarities between late Ancien Regime France and the modern United States.

I just recently began The Age of Wonder, by Richard Holmes.

27 August 2010

To paraphrase William F. Buckley, I would rather be governed by the top 100 YouTube users than the current 100 U.S. Senators.

It would mean that Taylor Swift or Shane Dawson (the latter would actually have two votes) could be chairperson of the Armed Services Committee. However, with JamesNintendoNerd as chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet, I would sleep very soundly indeed.

26 August 2010

Bush Campaign Manager Ken Mehlman Comes Out.

I am not going to praise your courage, Mr. Mehlman. You came out after there were no political consequences left in doing so. In fact, I believe you owe PFLAG an apology.

You are a professional 'message man,' so forgive me for putting words in your mouth:

I, Ken Mehlman, apologize for the hateful campaign rhetoric of the Republican Party in the years 2001-2009. I know that the president I worked for gave his approval to demonizing gay people in order to turn out more voters. I admit that President Bush did not once speak out concerning the civil rights of gay Americans.

It is relatively easy to be an openly gay man where I live now, in Manhattan, but I know the same cannot be said for gay people in rural Arkansas, West Virginia, and other places that my campaigns targeted with their homophobic appeals. To all the people whose lives were deluged with shit-buckets of hatred in the years 2001-2009: I am sorry.

23 August 2010

I've been reading State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America. My home state's contribution, by Daphne Beal, mentions the author learning "eighth-grade paleontology, dating from some 500 million years ago, when Wisconsin was still under a shallow inland sea."

I would like to point out that Wisconsin was under a shallow inland sea for several days this summer, as some crazy monsoons hit us.

Other thoughts: Illinois by Dave Eggers is riotously good. California by William T Vollmann is depressing and a trifle sanctimonious. Massachusetts by John Hodgman is funny, of course, but punctures forever the illusion of the 'most liberal state in the country.' Speaking of the most liberal state in the country, Washington by Carrie Brownstein is also a very good read.

22 August 2010

A poem in response to the endemic misspelling of a favorite novelist's name

I can't get China Melville out of my head
Whales, warlocks, and insect-babes give me wet dreams
The Scots have always been good at steampunk
My son thinks so too--he's reimagining J.M. Barrie
With Peter Pan as a leather-clad airship captain
Of reptilian fairies. Robert Halflein would be proud
Don't you think?

19 August 2010

If the Cordoba community center is forced out of its current planned location, don't think for one second that Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, and their hysterical followers will be satisfied. This is just the beginning of a fell tide of nativism that will attack every Muslim place of worship in this country. This is not about 9/11 and the feelings of victims' families. This is about the bullying of minorities.

I write as an Episcopalian, belonging to a minority American religion. I urge my co-believers, as well as Jews, Mormons, atheists, to stand in support of the Cordoba initiative. This tide will not stop if we suspend the First Amendment and make 'compromises' for the sake of civility.

18 August 2010

Today will be forever remembered for the invention of a new music genre: Biebient.

06 August 2010

Ten weeks, and still no action from the Senate on Don't Ask Don't Tell. Instead, we had this tantrum from John Mccain.