Monday, January 30, 2006

Racial Politics

Politics is a messy game. That's not exactly news, in my opinion. An article in today's Washington Post raises some important questions about just how messy things are: Essentially, the article discusses several studies that examine the relationship between political affiliation and implicit bias.

One study looked at self-reported information about beliefs and voting patterns from Republican and Democrats, along with psychological tests measuring implicit stereotypes. "That study found that supporters of President Bush and other conservatives had stronger self-admitted and implicit biases against blacks than liberals did."

While it would be easy to jump ahead and say that Republicans are all bigots, I don't think that's true, nor does the data suggest that. In fact, another study confirms that there's much more racial bias out there than we care to admit, and it goes across the political spectrum. Another study administered a psychological test that measured associations of positive and negative attributes to black and white faces to a group of 130,000 whites. The study found that regardless of whether they labeled themselves liberal of conservative, a substantial majority had a more difficult time associating black faces with positive concepts, evidence of implicit bias. That disturbing bit of bipartisanship aside, "districts that registered higher levels of bias systematically produced more votes for Bush."

As I mentioned, this isn't really news, in the sense that the reality of racial bias in politics has a long and ignoble history. Still, its nice to have research to back up what we've known for a while.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Vegans are terrorists?

Last month I wrote about how a kiss-in protest of a military recruiter was determined to be a threat to national security. This time instead of The Gays acting up, its the vegans who threaten the safety of our great nation... Reports out of Georgia explain that a vegan protest of a Honeybaked Ham store was being surveilled by a DeKalb County Homeland Security undercover agent, who was photographing the protest and the protesters. One of the protesters was had the unmitigated gall to approach the officer and write down the license plate number of the officer's unmarked car. She was arrested when she refused to surrender the paper with the license plate number.

Ok, I'm not a vegan and I loves me some Honeybaked Ham. Nonetheless, this should alarm everyone, regardless of their affinity for meat-products. While I understand that terrorism is a reality that we have to deal with, its incidents like this that make me think that the terrorists have already won... Our government's willingness to destroy the foundations of our country makes it more dangerous than any terrorist ever could be.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Abercrombie Means Mucho Traffic

I checked my stats this morning to find out that yesterday was my busiest day ever. Hmm. While I'd like to think that my Midweek Beef Haikus are finally getting the acclaim they deserve, I've gleaned a couple of things from the traffic log -- 1) there is some sort of e-mail involved and 2) it has something to do with the Abercrombie entry I did. Now, I'm not complaining -- I love new traffic and I hope some of you guys decide to come back. Still, I can't help but wonder what the deal is with that e-mail... Anyone care to enlighten me? What gives?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Marc's Mid-Week Lacrosse Beef Haiku

You've got a great stick...
Love guys who can handle balls!
Lacrosse guys are hot.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


I've mentioned it before, but I'll repeat that I'm quite aware of the mixed feelings that some in the gay community (and beyond that, the community at large) have toward Abercrombie & Fitch. On the one hand, I genuinely like some of their clothes and its hard to deny that they feature a heck of a lot of homoeroticism in their advertising. And when I dropped by one of their stores this Christmas season, I enjoyed seeing the hot, shirtless hunk they had modelling at the entrance.

On the downside, the A&F phenomenon has helped young men develop the type of distorted body images that women have struggled with for years. And in the gay community, at least, I know many have the sense that A&F has revived the whole "clone" phenomenon of the 70s, where many have abandoned their individuality in an attempt to fit into the A&F marketing image.

In any event, Slate has just published an article on Mike Jeffries, who essentially transformed A&F from its stodgy, boring roots into the powerhouse that it is today. After reading the article, I come away with the same mixed feelings about Jeffries that I do about A&F. On one hand, I respect the vision he had in turning A&F into a cultural icon. At the same time, he's unapologetic about the exclusionary aspects of the brand:

"In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids. Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don't belong [in our clothes], and they can't belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely. Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don't alienate anybody, but you don't excite anybody, either."

Realistically, he's right and you can't really blame the guy for knowing his market and excelling at what he does. Still, in the back of my head, it bothers me. Maybe its because when I was in high school, I probably wouldn't have been one of those "cool kids." Or maybe its because Jeffries is damn creepy looking.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Holy Shit!

Like many in America, I remember the childish prank of leaving a flaming bag of poo on the doorstep of the neighborhood grump. While I don't specifically remember ever trying out this prank (something tells me we did...), one would think that by adulthood that most have outgrown something like this. Au contraire! I recently discovered For only $24.95, you too can anonymously send an exquisitely wrapped box of human feces to just about anyone on your gift list. Nothing says love like a box of genuine human crap, right? Hey, you've got plenty of time to order before Valentine's Day!

Brokeback Update

I've tried to steer clear of gushing too much about Brokeback Mountain -- I saw the movie the week it was released here and it was beautiful and heartbreaking. That being said, there are plenty of bloggers who write plenty about it. (That's a whole lot of plenty!)

Still, I'm amused to look at some of the conservative pundits who tried to wish this movie into oblivion -- take, for example, Bill O' Reilly, who said: "But I don't care about the movie. I'm going to make the prediction. The movie will get a lot of Academy Awards, because again Hollywood is very sympathetic to the gay movement ... But I will submit to you this movie does not do big box office outside the big cities. It won't. They're not going to go see the gay cowboys in Montana. I'm sorry. They're not going to do it."

Of course, in the late part of January, the movie is #5 at the Box Office, having grossed $42 million, with a budget of only $14 million. That's a tidy profit, even if the movie stopped showing today.

Newsweek wrote an article about this phenomenon -- Essentially, Brokeback has been a big hit with women in the so-called Red States, to the conservative pundits' dismay. "From early on, Focus said the film was aiming for the same female fans with upscale tastes who loved Titanic." The article quotes a 63 year old woman in Scottsdale (down the road from me) who went to a lunch-time, midweek showing and discovered the theatre packed with other (straight) women as proof of this demographic.

So, what makes this so significant? Apparently, this demographic includes my mother, who made a point of telling me Thursday night she had gone to see Brokeback... While I came out to my family 6 years ago or so, I know it hasn't always been an easy process. So, that we both admitted to crying at the film was a quite a significant thing.

While the political battles the gay community faces right now are important, I can't shake the feeling that the most important moments are the ones like that one -- they're the ones that will make a difference.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Marc's Mid-week Winter Sports Beef Haiku

Falling flakes of snow,
Mountains, and a pair of skis
Can produce fine beef


One of the arguments that religious conservatives use in trying to ban gay marriage is that if you let people of the same-sex marry, it will ultimately cascade throughout all of creation, leading to our ultimate and violent doom at the hands of a vengeful God. Sure, letting Elton John and his partner marry seems harmless, but this is but the first step in a parade of horribles. Next thing you know, some guy will want to marry a goat and then all sorts of unnatural unions will occur, resulting in the end of life as we know it.

I had always assumed that this was absurd, but apparently, things have gotten worse than I have ever imagined -- as if the gay penguins weren't enough. Reports from a Tokyo zoo of a hamster and snake living together are nothing short of catastrophic. Rather than serving as a quick snack, the hamster now shares a cage with the snake, who now refuses to eat frozen mice. "I've never seen anything like it. Gohan [the hamster] sometimes even climbs onto Aochan [the snake] to take a nap on his back," explained zookeeper Kazuya Yamamoto. No word on whether a "commitment ceremony" has been planned.

The natural order has been upset. We're doomed.

From Warrior Princess to Dance Diva!

Apparently, Lucy Lawless made an appearance at the Factory in LA, one of West Hollywood's big gay dance clubs. She had put together a dance track (note to self: MUST FIND!) on a whim and apparently, it has gone over quite well. So, Lucy has hired a vocal coach and is ready to trade in her leather skirt and chakrum for a leather skirt and microphone. That's right, from Warrior Princess to Dance Diva! Of course, there are plenty of dance artists out there and the market is notoriously fickle. Still, her Xena past should give her a foot in the door -- in the same way that Colton Ford's porn career helped him to some extent. I'll be sure to update you guys if I manage to find that track.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Revenge of the Tiki God!

Back in November, I had written about the curious phenomenon of Fundamentalists attributing various natural disasters to God's displeasure with various political and social trends. The latest example was Pat Robertson declaring that God was punishing Israeli Prime Minister Arial Sharon with a stroke for ceding land to the Palestinians. To give a rare moment of credit where it is due, the White House rebuked Robertson, who later apologized. While I had jokingly suggested that those on the left could use natural events to further their political agenda, apparently the Mayor of New Orleans took me seriously.

Mayor Ray Nagin declared, "Surely God is mad at America. He sent us hurricane after hurricane after hurricane, and it’s destroyed and put stress on this country. Surely he doesn’t approve of us being in Iraq under false pretenses. But surely he is upset at black America also. We’re not taking care of ourselves."

Yes, the angry tiki god has returned! Woe be to all those who would dare to disagree with the high priests!

While I'm somewhat amused that someone on the left has finally adopted this tactic, I'm no less disgusted by it than if it had been spouted by Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh or Pat Robertson. God isn't red or blue, Republican or Democrat. God isn't even American (though that might surprise some).

Isn't it odd that some who talk about God the most seem to understand the least?

No Laughing Matter

Jay Wexler, a law professor at Boston University, has recently published a study analyzing the relative funniness of Supreme Court Justices using data from the Court's current term. Reportedly, Justice Antonin Scalia ranks first with 77 "laughing episodes." Justice Stephen Breyer came in second with 45 laughs.

I met Justice Breyer when I was in law school at Stanford -- Breyer and O'Connor are Stanford alumni, as was the late Chief Justice Rehnquist (the rumor was that Rehnquist and O'Connor had dated while in law school...) -- and I can see where his humor comes from. He struck me as an intelligent, quite likeable guy.

As for the front-runner, "Justice Scalia's numbers may similarly overstate his wit, if only because the courtroom expects quips from him and may laugh at the least provocation. Also, he tried hard," reported the New York Times.

At the other end of the spectrum is Justice Clarence Thomas, who produced nary a chuckle. I suppose one might make the leap to say that Justice Thomas is no laughing matter... then again, some jokes simply tell themselves.

Friday, January 13, 2006

If you hadn't noticed...

Ok, I know its been a while but I've finally gotten off my ass and updated my RadioBlog. That's right, there's finally 78 minutes or so of new music! Now Homer and his mummy can dance!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Celebrity Crush

Its time to play Celebrity Crush! List your Top-5 Celebrity Crushes and what it is you love about them. Here are mine:

1) Ben Browder (Farscape) - Ben has been at the top of my Celebrity Crush list for a long, long time. I loved John Crichton from Farscape - strong while retaining an emotional vulnerability that makes me melt. Plus, he looks incredible in leather pants.

2) Jamie Bamber (Battlestar Galactica) - Jamie's a recent addition to the Celebrity Crush list. I've talked about him before, though. He manages to balance being masculine while being stunningly good-looking. And his shoulders are huge. OMG!

3) Christian Bale (Batman Begins) - Ah Christian Bale. I remember him when he was just a young pup in Empire of the Sun. He's sure come a long way. Like Jamie Bamber, he's stunningly good looking, but as you might surmise from the roles he's chosen, there just appears to be a lot of grit and substance there. Good looks are great, but when you combine them with substance, you're on another level.

4) Sean Maher (Firefly/Serenity) - Ok, you should start seeing a pattern by now. A big part of this is character based. In Firefly & Serenity, Maher played Simon Tam, a doctor from a well-to-do family who gave up everything to save his sister. He was the whole package - looks, brains, dedication and a whole lot of heart. Despite it, however, he had a certain awkwardness and vulnerability that just got to me.

5) Jake Gyllenhaal (Brokeback Mountain) - I have to admit that there's a big dropoff between my top 4 and Jake. Don't get me wrong, Jake's great. Its just that it seems like he turned into this hunky stud overnight. He's attractive without being flat out gorgeous. And at the same time, he's got this magnetism that you just can't deny. To boot, beautiful blue eyes and great lips.

Honorable Mention: Chris Evans (Cellular, Fantastic Four)

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Marc's Midweek Celebrity Crush Beef Haiku

Much love to iTunes
Can download Galactica
Just 2 bucks an ep!

Baby on Board Pt. 2

A little while back, I had written about a woman who had been pulled over for driving in the carpool lane while pregnant, claiming that her unborn child was the second occupant. Yesterday was her trial in the Phoenix Municipal Court. Here's one instance where common sense actually won out, as the woman lost and was forced to pay a $360 fine. The startling thing is that the officer said that this is the second time someone has used that excuse.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Its been a busy week so far - with all the car stuff I had to take care of the past few days, though I did manage to sleep most of Sunday, I really haven't had a lot of time to spend on myself. On top of things, last night was the second dinner with a certain gentleman who I decline to name at this time.

Anyway, I wanted to go ahead and share this website with you that I think is WAY cool, especially if you're a music lover. There are other sites out there that function as sort of a web radio - you can tell them a band or song that you like and it will play similar music. Pandora basically does the same thing, but takes it a step further. Essentially, they have a team of Music Theory specialists analyze the songs and break them down into a range of characteristics. Apparently, there are hundreds of different facets they use to describe music. Anyway, they use these different attributes to help choose music to play for you. What I really like about Pandora is that they have a good deal of music that fits within my tastes but that I wouldn't hear otherwise. To boot, Pandora is completely free. So, if you're a big music whore like I am, check it out.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

What's in a name?

As I mentioned previously, my car died over the weekend. I had it since my last year in law school and I had been thinking about getting a new car for a while. That being said, I got home from LA and woke up the next day to the news that the engine had blown a rod and that it probably wasn't worth fixing. I had really gotten used to not having to make a car payment, but once I got over the anxiety, I finally realized that it was time to get the new car I had been waiting for.

And here it is! Woo hoo! A 2002 Mini Cooper.

I do, however, need some help. I had looked at another one which was silver, which I was going to name "Anderson." (Silver, Anderson COOPER, get it?) This one, however, is blue, which is my favorite color, so I'm glad I ended up with this one. I'm having trouble coming up with a cool nickname, so I need your help. Go ahead and leave your suggestions in the comments and I'll try to come up with a suitable reward for the one who comes up with the winning name. (In the event of a tie, I'll give the reward to whoever came first.) So, what do you think?


Its been quite a while since my high school science classes, but I still remember learning about man-made elements. Of course, we're all thinking, if they're man-made how can they be elements? Just bear with me. Anyway, scientists take one element and shoot another nucleus of protons into it to form a new element that just doesn't occur in nature - an unnatural union, if you will. The problem with this creation is that it is inherently unstable. You can hold it together for a little while, but inevitably, the combination is too unstable and it will start to break apart. You just hope that it just doesn't do too much damage in the process.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Marc's BCS Beef Haiku

Bend over, you stud,
My hands between your ass cheeks.
Football is so gay!

Jesus Saves?

I'm not the type that wishes ill on anyone. Still, I do believe that a lack of integrity will come and bite you in the ass at some point. Here's an amusing example:

Imagine for a second that you're a minister that's an executive board member for the Southern Baptist Convention. You've been vocally anti-gay and encouraged gays to "accept Jesus Christ as their savior and reject their 'sinful, destructive lifestyle." While I don't agree with that viewpoint, but I'd wager that in that sort of situation, one ought not go out and solicit male prostitutes. Why? Well, in addition to showing an incredible lack of integrity, that male prostitute may actually turn out to be an undercover police officer. No word yet on whether Jesus will be able to save you from going to jail on that one.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Holiday Retrospective

Now that New Year's Eve is in the rear view mirror, I figured I'd post a couple of pictures from the holidays before I return to January's normalcy. This is a picture of me and my cousin Diana, who currently lives in Germany and is moving to Singapore to be with her German boyfriend, who just got a job there. I also learned that she had originally moved to Germany to be with her boyfriend (who she met while she was working in Tokyo). Oddly, she hadn't told me that part before she had moved the last time. I've wondered whether I'd be willing to move for the sake of a boyfriend. Haven't been in that position yet.

Here's another cousin, Colleen. She's Diana's younger sister. Colleen is an attorney working at a large New York law firm. Actually, both of them followed me to Stanford for law school. I didn't have any sisters, so these two are the closest thing I have (sisters-in-law don't really count). It was great getting to spend a little time with them. Colleen and I discussed some of the creeps that Diana had dated in the past and I mentioned how while in law school I exercised my family duty to show my displeasure to a guy I felt wasn't treating her well. Diana wasn't happy about it, but Colleen agreed with me and told me that she has done the same thing. We're family; we look after each other. Despite the miles that separate us and that we don't get to talk much, its nice to know that those bonds are still strong.

Good Housewife Barbie

You've got to love the Christian Right, if only because they've gotten incredibly amusing. Just about everything in this world is the tool of the devil. Their target this time: Barbie.

"The bitch has everything," its often said. Apparently, therein lies the problem. According to the Concerned Women of America, Barbie is leading girls down the road to hell. "It's really steering girls away from the idea of womanhood as predominantly – in terms of Christians – serving the Lord, getting married, having kids, building a home. You don't see any of that with Barbie - it's all about things."

I'm surprised that they didn't attack Barbie's decision to break up with long-time boyfriend, Ken. Of course, we in the gay community knew that the relationship was fishy from the get-go. Ken was homo-riffic. A Barbie & Ken marriage would have lasted about as long as Renee Zellweger and Kenny Chesney. To boot, the CWA contends that Barbie also contributes to "gender confusion."

No word yet on whether Mattel is coming out with a Maternity Barbie or Battered Spouse Barbie in order to placate the CWA.

Check out the original article at the Christian Post.


Any questions?

Back in town

Its been a long few days. Thankfully, I planned ahead and am taking today off from work to recover. Had car trouble on Fri night on the way home and found out today that the engine is shot. Not good news. Anyway, I'll talk more about the weekend later.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year!

Goodbye 2005, hello 2006! I hope everyone had a great New Year's Eve and the new year is treating you well. Now its time to pack for LA.