Success Story

(yeah, I know, my posting has dropped off; wish I could have done a cheerier re-entry, but here goes)

A bit of a story here in New England as Patriots Offensive Coordinator and new Norte Dame Head Coach Charlie Weis is suing the doctors and hospital who performed his weight loss surgery from a couple years ago. In stark contrast to the constant bleeting of celebs like Al Roker and Carney Wilson, Weis's horror story has gotten very muted coverage. He was profiled on 60 Minutes a while back, but even then they hardly dwelled on the significant complications he had. Just pesky, insignificant things like a 2-week coma, severe and persistant leg problems that make it difficult for him to walk, and a condition that was so dire a priest had performed his last rights. You never hear about this side of weight loss surgery.

For a clue as to why you don't, check out the defiant response from the attorny for his surgeon. Inspite of the grave problems Weis continues to face, they regard the opperation as a success. Want to guess why?

"It appears that Mr. Weis has been successful in keeping his weight down after the surgery,''

Because who cares if you can barely walk, so long as you are slightly thinner.

Looking back, I was able to find some articles on the subject from sports reporters who DID report on his complications in a substantive manner. You can see more about the complications his surgeons so flippantly dismissed from this artcile by Chris Mortensen. It also is reveling in giving away some to revisionist history WLS patients engage in, apparently even when the surgery is a monumental failure (except for the slightly less fat part). In the Boston Herald article above, Weis is quoted explaining his motives...

"It has nothing to do with getting jobs. That's what everyone else says because they want to put words in your mouth," he said. "The bottom line is when you're unhealthy, you do something about it."

2 years ago only shortly after the surgery (and ensuing coma), Weis had this to say...

"I'm not going to deny what my motive was, even though there are obvious long-term health benefits," said Weis. "My thoughts were that if I wanted to be a head coach, I had to lose weight. If that was the obstacle that was going to keep me from being a head coach, then why not do something about it?"

Same reversed motives seen with Wilson and Roker. Guess someone reminded him that fat is supposed to be acknowledged as a cosmetic issue. Its much more marketable if you pretend there is a different justification.



Can't say I'm not disappointed, saddened, disillusioned, upset, etc. But I'm licking my wounds and trying to hurry through all the stages of grief as quickly as possible. I think Bush is profoundly damaging our country's security and economic health, and I deeply worry what will happen with another 4 years of his leadership. No, I don't think he's stupid, but I don't think he is an incredibly poor and careless leader. Simply put, because he never bothers to lead. He just does.

If the last two elections tell us anything, its that this country is deeply divided on what direction to take. The results from last night are a mirror of 2000. That year, Gore edged out slightly. This year, Bush edged out slightly. But really, its enlightening how little has really changed. The problem is, Bush and the Republicans who control Congress refuse to acknowledge this. They have acted like they had a massive mandate to fundamentally alter society for 4 years after losing an election. I can hope that their misplaced confidence simply cannot get any worse, but that remains to be seen. Nevertheless, you can count on them governing as if they enjoyed massive support from the country when that simply isn't remotely so.

Look at the results, and really it looks very bad from the GOP. Everyone is crowing about how well they did in the Senate, but looking at the numbers betrays the truth. They picked up seats by winning a lot of close races in states that shouldn't have been close. States where even Bush dominated. North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Oklaholma, South Dakota, Alaska. These are states the Democrats shouldn't have had a prayer, but the GOP candidates largely only eeked out victories. That is no mandate. Indeed, it only shows how deeply partisan and divided our country is. But the GOP agenda won't reflect any of that. They will rush out with a radical and harmful agenda. I only hope that these results embolden the Democrats in the legislature to use their strong minority to their advantage and agressively confront the Republican designs for what they are.

Josh Marshall posts an excellant post mortem on all this which shows us all why those who believe in progressive causes must not be weakened by the elections results. Not simply because they just weren't bad at all, but moreover because we need to build on our strength and build for the future. Conservatives have been doing it for 40 years to get where they are now, but we are starting from a much stronger position. Don't get me wrong. I'll be licking my wounds for a little while longer, but we must keep fighting because we will win.


I am the smrt!

Gotta love those jokes that make you feel smart for getting them. A recent headline gag in The Onion read as follows...

Jacques Derrida "dies"

I litterally left out loud upon reading that. And sure, it made me feel slightly dorky to get that, but also pretty damn smart. Glad to see that $120,000 was worth something. Mystery Science Theater 3000 always offered gags that made you feel special. Some little thing you thought no one else would get because it was so obscure. But this is different. I don't feel special for getting a Derrida joke, but I feel pretty darn educated for getting it.

Thanks Professor Martin! Guess your hard work paid off. I got a joke.


Yeah, I know. You didn't need me to tell you that. But seriously, vote.

The election is actually a prime reason for my significant drop off in posting. Its just so overwhelming. On the one hand, I'm trying not think about it, but on the other hand, I can't think about anything but. And honestly, I just don't feel as if there is anything I can offer to the discussion about it. I respect the hell out of the bloggers who can keep reporting about the election, but I just feel so useless in the face of it. Story after story of voter suppression, deadly incompetance, blatent lies. I wanted to report them all here, but it just felt like, well, what's the point? GOP paid opperatives destroyed unknown numbers of Democratic voter registrations. Others committed fraud in registering people in South Dakota and got fired and indicted. But then they were all given jobs doing the same thing in Ohio. A GOP leader who helped plan an illegal attack on Democratic phone banks in 2002 was named a regional director of Bush's campaign. Until word got out of his role in the 2002 crimes and only then did he resign. Across the country, the GOP is sending people out the polls not to encourage participation, but the stymie it. To slow the process down and discouage voters. A judge in South Dakota actually had to order the GOP to not write down the liscence plates and follow home voters on an Indian Reservation. Its just all too much. The Onion did a story months ago about "outrage fatigue" and its becoming frighteningly true. Today, I'm an optimist, though. I just hope I'm not wrong.

So yeah, with today past, I'll probably be posting more. Actually, I'll probably post a couple toss-away posts later today. Thanks for anyone who still bothers to check in. I appreciate your patience.


Fat Television

A lot of fat issues on television right now. A puzzling little convergance considering how shut out fat people normally are.

The worst is the disgusting new reality show NBC is debuting next Tuesday, The Biggest Loser. A far more apt title than they realize. Alas, the US is finally getting hit with the diet competition reality show. A concept which spiked then flopped in Europe and I can only hope hurries up and dies here. Its getting to where I can hardly watch NBC. I tried recording or downloading the NBC shows I watch to avoid the insulting promos for Loser, but now they are doing these in-episode promots that are beyond obnoxious. Used to be they'd put a little text and maybe a little graphic in the corner of the screen. For Loser they are putting a full cast photo that fills up about a quarter of the screen. It should stop when it premieres, but it can't happen soon enough for me. Here is to hoping it is an enormous failure so we don't have to deal with this nonsense. It reminds me of my favorite diet analogy. Losing weight is as easy as holding your breath. Maintaining the weight loss is as as easy as continuing to hold your breath.

In a slightly less insulting development, the FX show Rescue Me has been doing a storyline involving a moderately fat character. Moderately fat is quite a big deal for TV considering what passes for fat. (and for more on that, see my last item) The show focuses on a group of New York City Firefighters, one of whom ends up in a relationship with a fat woman. In the first episode of the story arc, he's hesitant towards her initially but she eventually tempts his curiosity and they have sex. Suffice to say, he is entirely pleased with the experience and describes it as the best he's ever had. But he also still seems to be generally concerned with what other people will say, although by the end of the show it seems clear that he is developing genuine feelings for her. We also see the first hints of what will define her character in the second episode when she mentions that she was so hungry during their date because she hadn't eat all day. This would get a pay off in the second episode when its revealed that the woman is bulimic. A somewhat annoying development, I'd say. Why is it so hard to simply have a young, cute, fat woman who is sexual and confident without giving her a flaw. All of that is a unique enough character, something wildly unexplored in popular media. But no. She has to be bulimic. Indeed, a very successful bulimic as its suggested she used to weigh 400lbs or so. Which is not exactly realistic since the actress weighs around 250 at the most. Bulimia doesn't really work like that. Still, I'm holding out hope that they could do something with this. They aren't establishing her bulimia as a good thing and indeed she is visably upset when her firefighter boyfriend is supportive and doesn't challenge her about her eating disorder. And fat people do have eating disorders and it would be interesting to explore the way they are permited to act in such an unhealthy manner so long as it is in service of a thinner body and the way it doesn't change their life. The other firefighters see the couple together and make a series of rather vicious jokes. The only counterpoint was someone saying that its nice that he says past her body. Normally, that is the best a fat woman can hope for on a TV show, but not here. He is absolutely thrilled with her body, so I think there is an interesting dynamic here. He also clearly is not supportive of her bulimia despite his actions, but doesn't seem to know what to do with it. Like I said, I'm holding out hope, but stories like this almost always end badly for the fat positive perspective, so I'm not getting my hopes up.

Amazingly, though, Rescue Me is not the only show with a conventionally attractive young male expressing a preference for a larger woman. Sure, the other show is more a matter of TV fat as opposed to actually fat, but its something. On ABC's new Life As We Know It, we see another guy who desires a larger woman but is concerned with what his friends will think of him. So he spends most of the episode being a real dick about it before finally getting over himself. Alas, the fat girl is Kelly Osbourne, which is by no realistic definition fat. Not emaciated, sure, but I'd still liked to have seen something a bit more challenging. Still, even TV fat tends to be slimmer than Kelly and they didn't run for her fat. For most of the second act she was wearing a snug fitting blue t-shirt that rather clearly displayed her belly. Downright shocking most weeks, but with Rescue Me setting the bar a bit high this week, its pleasantly normal. That is how girls in high school dress. Even the moderately chubby ones. And here, we get a resolution all in the pilot episode as he quickly learns that despite his friends less than cheriable remarks about Kelly Osbourne's character, they ultimately don't really give a damn who he dates. Though those less than cheritable remarks were annoyingly cruel considering how not fat she was and how these friends are the co-stars of the show and supposed to be likeable. Also, Kelly's character was established as little more than a fat girl, but she is a regular cast member so presumably more will come. She's also not a bad actor.

Interestingly enough, this wasn't even all Life As We Know It did last week. In a seperate story we see a dance troupe rehearsing at school. Very contemporary hip hop stuff. I happened to notice that at least one of the dancers was conspiciously not thin. But she was up there dancing with everyone else, purely background. And while the outline of Kelly's belly was shown, the chubby dancer was baring it as she wore a revealing outfit perfectly in-line with the other dancers. Now that was shocking. I'm usually happy if a fat girl is even allowed to be a background extra in a high school show. Here, one is a lead and another is an extra in a role normally fat girls aren't allowed to be seen in. A welcome dose of reality, I must say.


Oh, that's right. I have a blog.

Yeah, long draught, I know. I really don't have a good excuse. I haven't been busy. I haven't been stuck at work. I haven't been kidnapped by aliens. Just felt like I didn't have much to say.

I'll have something shortly, hopefully. But I didn't want it to get to October before I posted again, so here is my pity post.

To make it worth your while, go check out Fame Tracker. Its one of the most intelligent and witty pop cult sites around. Be sure to enjoy their archive. Much funny to be had.


Big Tent

So, the GOP is in New York pretending they are a party of inclusion this week. Given the speakers, you'd almost think they were a moderate party what with pro-choice Republicans like Pataki and Guiliani and pro-gay rights Republicans like Governor Terminator, John McCain (well, he opposed the FMA, anyway), and Dick Cheney apparently. But they are making sure their far right base knows that they'll be taken care of when it matters. Sure, McCain will get trotted out to make W. seem moderate, but behind his back, you'll see reassurances made to the hyper-conservatives that their needs will be met. The GOP knows that to be elected, you have to play to the middle, assuring America that will seek coalitions and cooperation instead of simply imposing an ideology on the country. Democrats do that, too, except we mean. We are about building coalitions and working together with people of different ideologies. Doesn't mean we've abandoned our left-wing base, as some leftists often complain. Its just a nod to the fiercely divided political climate we live with. We need to compramise to get anything done. The only other solution is to just outright lie.

That, it would seem, is the GOP solution.

For all the talk of a "Big Tent" and all the moderate voices that will be seen in prime time this week, its all just a big lie. The GOP makes little plays for the far right knowing that they can count on them to be understanding. There is some concern that they might express discontent at some speakers, but those people will be prodded into speeches that don't offend right-wing sensibilities. Play moderate, but don't mean it. Because the GOP knows that it would look very bad if a prime time speaker, say, compared gay marriage to the Nazi's slaughter of the Jews. But that doesn't mean they really have a problem with it. Why, they'll just have them lead the opening prayer.

Think I'm exaggerating? I wish. Alas, the woman who led the opening prayer for the Republican National Convention DID suggest that gay marriage was an equivilant to Hitler's Final Solution. Not decades ago. Not even privately. It was in March at a high profile meeting of a Conservative group. Specifically, she said that those who do not oppose gay marriage are akin to those who did nothing to stop Hitler's rise to power. Atrios has a more extended text for you to read if you think can stomach it.

The true face of the GOP. What happens this week in NYC is just a bit of theater.

Although this was clearly the most offensive thing I read from a Republican today, it was not the stupidist. That honor goes to none other than the Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert. Showing that clearly there are no depths the GOP won't sink to smear people who disagree with them, he suggested on FoxNews Sunday that financier George Soros ( who supports liberal causes like MoveOn.org) was a drug dealer. His proof? Um, he doesn't have any. But of course, he was really just saying that we "don't know" if Soros is a drug dealer. Much how I don't know that Dennis Hastert isn't really an alien sent to enslave the Earth. I mean, we don't know, right?


Swift Boat Liars get Debunked

Daily Kos links to a great article in the NY Times which carefully reviews the claims made by the ironically titled group "Swift Boat Vets for Truth" and discovers (drumroll) its all a lie. This condenses all of the truth behind why these people don't merit any consideration all in one helpful source. Even with diagrams! Check it out.


See, this is why I'm not a Catholic

The folks over at Jesus' General (a wickedly funny satire blog I should read more often) have shined a spotlight on an unforgivably stupid offense by the Catholic Church. Sure, we all know about the whole rabid anti-gay thing and the institutional discrimination of women. We're used to such annoyances. Heck, most Catholics I know have just gotten used to tuning the church out on such things. I can respect that position. Although such issues prevented me from joining the Church at a time I felt some pull to do so, I can understand why others who agree that these positions are wrong would still be a member of the church and even do little to influence the church.

Lately, though, the Church has started attempting to enforce Republican voting on its members, with bishops suggesting the denial of communion to a Catholic who takes the public position of being pro-choice. Well, if they are a Democrat, anyway. For all the denoucements of Kerry, there seems to be little said of Pro-Choice Catholic Republicans (and there are more than a few of them). The blatent political bias even led to an employee of the national Bishop's Conference getting fired for organizing a Catholics for Kerry discussion group. The singular focus on Democrats is all the more questionable when you see the chart Senator Durbin put together examining voting patterns in the Senate and their relation to Catholic teachings. Guess which party's Catholics consistantly vote more "Catholic".

It upsets me and reinforces my disagreement with the Church. I know lots of good Catholics, even went to a Catholic university, but the Church shouldn't be threatening people of faith with a denial of their faith simply because those people acting on their conscience. It just seems wrong to me, but such is the way of the things.

This, however, I cannot even remotely begin to understand. Denying someone religious rites because they don't vote how you want them to vote is wrong, but denying them religious rites because having them exactly as you require would KILL them is just outrageous. I cannot see how that is defensible. Why should an 8 year old girl be damned to Hell because she has a rare diagestive disorder. This girl has faith, is practicing her faith, and that's a good thing. For the Church to slam the door in her face over something some minor strikes me as absurdly inflexible and cruel. Jesus' General writes to the Bishop responsible in his appropriately sarcastic manner. I think I might right, too. I have a profound respect for those who practice faith, even as it is something I cannot do myself. So to deny this girl's chance to practice faith just seems terribly wrong to me. Its just not right, and I felt compelled to say so.


Important Things

So, to kick off my second year of blogging, I thought I would tackle a very important issue. Sports jerseys! (for visual aids, might I suggest this site)

Actually, this has been on my mind a bit for a couple weeks. Living and working in a diverse community like Boston, I very frequently see men on the subway wearing Soccer Jerseys. Now, while Soccer is gaining in popularity in these United States, its not there yet. Mostly, I'm seeing these on men who are presumably immigrants who proudly show the colors of their native country's soccer teams. And the occassional poser who wears British jerseys. Well, and the occassional super-Irish guy who wears their Jersey. Its a sharp relief from all the folks sporting football, basketball, hockey, and of course, baseball jerseys.

One thing I've noticed is how much nicer the Soccer jerseys are. I mean, they all look so designer. Many have the sharp collar, the empowered stripe, colors balanced so delicately as to create a smooth appearance. Sure, they are the early adopter for sports uniform advertising, but its almost balanced by the inconspicuous nature of the team logos. They are always small, usually either center top of the chest or top left. Very different from the bombastic logos often seen on Hockey and baseball Jerseys. Soccer jerseys are always so contemporary without feeling forced.

America sports teams haven't quite grasped that concept.

Baseball I think had the best overall record. Baseball Jersey's have their own simplicity. Sure, the team logo will be broadcast across the chest, but the designs are usually quite fetching and iconic. The current trend is for a retro look that harkens back to the 50's and 60's. Simple lines, understated stripes, attractive use of pinstripes. Sure, there are too many alternate uniforms (inevitably black) and some of the newer uniforms are too self-consciously contemporary (I'm looking at you Arizona Diamondbacks), but the overall record is quite good.

Even the goofy uniforms of the 70's and 80's that are the rage among the throwback set are still very cool. They were VERY 70's and are just so individualistic. Can't beat the powder blue of the 1980 Phillies or the Astros rainbow with matching orange hat. Sure, there were miscues. Like the all burgandy get up the Phillies briefly wore of the awful shorts and wide collar offered by the Chicago White Sox. But even some of the bad uniforms have an endeering quality to them, like the all yellow and all green variations on the 1973 Oakland A's uniform.

Football isn't awful, but the jerseys themselves tend to be quite plain. Probably for the best. The teams that have tried to do something creative tend to make it look just stupid. The best football jerseys are the simple ones.

Basketball is a total mixed bag. Some are cool and iconic, others are disgustingly modern and "futuristic". Even the iconic ones get mixed up in black alternate uniforms now a days. It looked cool the first couple of times I saw it, now it just looks dumb.

And then we have hockey. I just hate Hockey sweaters. The old-school ones are cool, but the newer ones all look too busy. They took the idea of Soccer jerseys and just screwed it up. And don't even get me started on all the "modern" team logos and uniform design. They all have the designed by committee look to them. I swear, its like no one can design good sports logos, anymore.

Anyway, that's all I have to say about that.


obligatory happy birthday

Well, today is the 1 year anniversary/birthday of my blog. It all started with my first posts on August 10, 2003 as I sat around my apartment on a lazy Sunday afternoon and was ceremonously interrupted by a parade marching down my little side-street. Of course back then the name of my blog was obligatory title, which still exists out in cyber space for any of my old-school fans. All of the posts have been transferred over here, though, so don't feel like you are missing out. Ah, those young and innocent days when all of my titles were uncapitalized for self-conscious effect and when I wasn't getting troll attacks on a semi-daily basis.

I've been reading back through my archives in advance of my Blog Birthday. I've been struck by a few things. First off, I'm a really awful speller. I mean, I knew that, but even I'm blown away by how bad I get. Blogger really needs to add a spell check to save the world from my pitiful attempts and spelling. I always was surprised how frequently I used to post and how well I did concentrating on the pop culture commentary and poliblogging. I've kind of let both things flounder as I've allowed myself to wallow and seethe here on occassion. My apologies. I'll try to be better.

Overall, I meant my blogging to reinvigorate my writing sensibilities. I think it did that at times, but its also exposed a lot of my flaws as a writer. It has kept me more actively thinking about writing and I have been scribbling notes for a script to a few graphic novels I intend to write one of these days. But I never seem to have the time to get as much work done on them as I'd like.

Its also drawn me into the political blogging community, and I obviously have become quite taken with it. Also just a little bit jealous that these folks have the time and talent I lack to post so aggressively about progressive causes. I've gone back and forth on my favorites. I always love Atrios and Pandagon. I don't read Talking Points Memo and Daily Kos in the last month and have occassionally contributed diary entries there.

Over all, I don't think its been as good as I want it to be, but its had some good moments. I'm a harsh critic of myself, but a fair one, I think. I hope in the next year, I can manage to be at least a little bit better for both of my readers.


Oh, the OTHER evil dictator with WMDs!

North Korea has gotten a hold of weapons systems that would allow them to stage a nuclear attack on the United States. How the hell did that happen?

Because the publisher of the hyper-Conservative Washington Times GAVE IT TO THEM.

I could on about the faults of Unification "Church" founder Rev. Moon's faults. There are so many. The man George H.W. Bush has called a "Man of Vision" has called for Genocide against gays. He has been repeatedly recognized by the Bush administration and even got $450,000 from the government to teach faith-based sex education. Because I know I want my kids taught sex-ed from someone who wants all gays killed and who suggests people being raped should commit suicide. Regretably, Democrats and Republicans both have given the rub to Rev. Moon, such as the bipartisan Coronation (yes, Coronation) at the Senate office building earlier this year. Lets just say, there is a LOT wrong about Rev. Moon.

But I'm guessing supplying a sworn enemy of the United States with the technology to stage a nuclear attack on the US is going to push to front of the line of his faults. And still, we have no interest in confronting North Korea, a dictatorship we KNOW has WMDs, the technology to use them against us, and the desire to do so. Gotta love that Bush doctrine.


Riding Through the DNC- Day 4

Ugh. Can't Boston give me anything to write about? I was all expecting to offer a local's perspectives on the horrific clashes between protesters and police, massive traffic back-ups, and the break-down of the mass transit system. But, oh no! None of that even happened. Didn't they know some two-bit blogger wanted material?

Okay, kidding aside, I'm thrilled Boston went so smoothly. Especially since it completely shows up the Boston Herald for all their fear mongering. Not that they'll notice, but still.

So, in this final installment, read the story of secret trains that were found underneath the FleetCenter! Read the story of the one sorta violent clash between protesters and police! Marvel at how the Boston Herald *again* ignores the actual Convention in order to bash Democrats. And, oh yeah, the Convention.

So, those Secret Trains. Word got out today that the subway authorities ran a special express train from the closed North Station underneath the FleetCenter on all days of the Convention. The trains packed up and went directly to the BackBay station. The idea was to get delegates and press out of the FleetCenter area as quickly and smoothly as possible. Okay, fair enough. But much like the Rider's rep quoted in the story, I have to wonder why the MBTA goes above and beyond for non-paying passangers and continues to provide subpar service to the Million-plus who ride their trains and buses every day. At least I won't need to hear them scape-goating the DNC for their delays anymore.

Also, it looks like the Boston cops finally had a chance to do a little bit of arresting on Thursday. Seems a bunch of anarchists got into a shoving match with the police. It was amusing to read one anarchists protests that they couldn't possibly have started it because why would they go after police in body armor. Unfortunetly, I've met anarachists, so I know that's not really going to bother them. These Bl(A)ck Tea folks set themselves up just to protest the convention. It doesn't surprise me in the least that they'd try to provoke something. It also doesn't surprise me that it wasn't much of anything. 3 people were arrested out of the clash, bringing the total of Convention related arrests to a whopping 4. The other was some drunk guy ranting about Bush.

The front page of the Boston Herald proclaims that "Its Safe to Come Home". An ironic title since the Herald's distribution is virtually exclusively Boston-based. Basically, its continuing their theme of how awful the Convention has been for Boston. See, after they scared everyone out of town, it seems people didn't come into town. But that's the Democrats fault. They also put the minor protester clash mentioned above right on the front page. They sorta mentioned John Kerry, but I suspect just to justify shilling for an article by the detestable Howie Carr where he ignores everything Kerry said and just re-writes it all to his liking. Naturally, he gets in his gigalo line. I feel dirty even linking to that, but I figured I had to.

But moving in, I was happy to see all of Max Cleland's introduction and John Kerry's acceptance speech. Great, great, great stuff. I saw someone say that Cleland isn't a good speaker who veres between shyness and bombast. Well, he had me fooled. I think he went on a touch too long and tying in Boston's history seemed unnecessary, but really a great, great speech. People are already faulting Kerry for not mentioning his anti-war work following Vietnam, but why did he need to? Cleland already framed it so much better than Kerry could possibly do himself.

As for Kerry, he kept to his strengths and didn't try to be something he's not. That's also been one of his greatest skills as a politician. He knows who he is. He knows what kind of a speaker he is. He doesn't push himself to do what he's told will play well, but has faith in his ability to do what he does best. No, its not the personable charm of a Bill Clinton or the easy persausiveness of John Edwards. Rather, he speaks with conviction and strength of character, demonstrating insight over slogans. I think he did an excellant job on all counts. I loved that he brought up "Compassion in Action." I loved his response to complaints about his nuanced views. I love that they basically lowered expectations enough that him doing what he does well gets an even bigger response. Its how Bush "won" the debates, after all. I'm looking forward to the Democratic Party winning its 4th consecutive Presidential Election this Novemeber. Kerry definetly has me excited about his prospects.


Riding Through the DNC- Day 3

"We are experiencing delays due to the Democratic National Convention."

I heard that about 5 times this morning as my train kept getting held up while we waited for trains in front of us to get searched. It really annoyed me, though, because its completely untrue. We're experiencing delays because the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority couldn't figure out that spacing out the trains by 5 more minutes would accomodate for the security checks and keep everything running smoothly. Don't pass the buck, MBTA. This is all your fault.

In other Boston life news outside of the Fleet Center... um, well, see here is the thing. Nothing is happening. No mass arrests of protests, no terrorists attacks, no extreme break-downs in the transportation grid. Everything has been positively ordinary.

I'm sure things are helped because so many were scared off by doom and gloom projections by folks like the Boston Herald that they all stayed out of Dodge. Which, naturally, gave the Herald more ammo to use against the DNC. See, without all the business from the people who would be in Boston anyone but were scared off, it seems business is a little down around town. Naturally, this was front page news.

Not the only news, though. It had to share the front page with this other shocking story: John Kerry's daughter is nsidered attractive and may or may not have been hit on by Ben Affleck. Because, you know, its not like anything IMPORTANT is going on in Boston right now that a local paper might want to mention on the front page. But, this is in keeping with their reporting all week. Yesturday's big news was Obama. It was Jesse Jackson bashing the city's race relations. Well, actually, he had some soft criticism which he's since softened, but you could tell that from the big front page story.

The day before? Theresa said some mean things about Ted Kennedy 30 years ago. And Monday? Theresa said some mean things to a reporter. You know, they could at least try to be decent paper. But no pretense here. Its a Dem-bashing rag and wants no mistaking that. They've fallen behind the city's free daily, the Metro, in journalistic respectibility. Which is saying a lot since the Metro is basically a severely dumbed down version of the Weekly Reader for adults, USA Today.

I was happy to have a chance to see John Edwards speak live last night. Great, great speech. I always loved his Two Americas message and I was one of his voters in the Massachusetts Primary, and he really brought it all together, now focusing on building One America. So perfect. He hit all his points dead on. All that trial lawyering clearly paid off. He knows how to convince a crowd and to inspire compassion. I felt his national security message was strong. Loved that he not only worked in Kerry's Vietnam service but also his work on Senate Intelligence Committee. He's hardly a foreign policy newbie, and that needs to be recognized. I thought his message on Civil Rights was spot on, and it was great to see the crowd break into an "everywhere" chant, even if the lead-in was Straw-men-esque. Strong close, of course, and he just looks like such a natural up there, especially with his family.

So, it all comes down to today. Police are expecting trouble. Seems like most of Boston is, too. The streets were eeriely quiet this morning and I'm by no means near the Fleet Center, but still in a part of Boston that's very high traffic. Lets just hope none of that trouble materializes. I'm looking forward to another boring an uneventful day riding through the DNC.


Riding Through the DNC- Day 2

Well, it looks the Convention has finally found a way to be an annoyance on Boston commuters. Actually, it is more a case of the Transit Authority finally finding a way to fufill the promise of Convention related annoyances.

After a day and a half of smooth commuting for the folks in Boston, the transit authority finally got the hang of turning it into a head-ache that frustrates riders. The bag searches, admitedly a bit "Theater of Security" but I'll allow it, continue to be no big deal. They take less time than it ordinarily takes to stop at the now closed North Station. So how is this getting screwed up?

Naturally, by not adjusting the train schedule to accomidate for the slight delay that will happen at the station where the checks are being done. Trying to run a normal schedule is just creating a vicious back-log of trains. My train got stopped 6 times this morning for a total of 30 minutes waiting. Had similiar problems last night, but they weren't quite as bad. This all concerns me, because its making Boston residents resent the DNC, when really its just the ordinary incompetance of the public transportation authorities. Yeah, I know the Blue Commonwealth is a safe as it gets, but it could also be home to a lot of energized Democrats working for the party and if those people get turned off, that could be lost. And lets not forget that should Kerry win, the Blue Commonwealth will need to send a replacement to the Senate. Good chance that it will be someone with a (D) next to their name, but I'd rather nothing happen to frustrate people with the DNC.

So, what else is going on around Boston. I'm reading reports that the city's famed "Duck Tours" are getting escorted by armed officers on Jet Ski's. I have to admit, that sounds almost amusing to see. I have to say, living in Boston, I'm not that bothered an of the security precautions. Yeah, I've seen the roof-top cops. Yeah, I've had my bag searched. Yeah, there were a few too many motorcycle cops out at the anarchist march. Yeah, a fence is apparently the greatest threat to free speech. Color me unmoved. I know its a lot of theater, but sometimes a show can be a deterrant. I'm very pleased that things have gone so smoothly so far, and am cautiously optimistic that they will continue to go well. So far, only one protest has been actually blocked, and that was an effort by anti-abortion groups to picket Kerry's private residence. Frankly, a person's home shouldn't be a protest ground, so I don't mind that decision.

In other news, I had my first celebrity sighting. No, not a celeb blogger like Kos or the unmasked Atrios. Rather, I saw Alan Cumming walking his dog near my office. Now, when I tell this to people, I keep getting blank stares until I explain he was Nightcrawler in X-Men 2, at which point everyone gets very excited. One co-worker was practically swooning when she realized who he was and chastized me for not bringing him back to her. Because I have such powers. It was pretty cool, though. I like seeing famous people up close like that. They always seem so ordinary and yet not. Cumming was extraordinarily well dressed, very non-chalant. I actually didn't see anyone stop him to pester him, which is good to see. Not quite as cool as the time I nearly walked into Ted Kennedy, but I'll take it for my big sighting of the week.

Oh, and yeah, some Convention was going on, too. Obama was freaking amazing. But you already know that. A future President, I've know doubt. The only question is will it be Edwards/Obama in 2012, or Obama leading the ticket.


Riding through the DNC- Day 1

This will begin my week-long saga of being in Boston and having nothing to do with the Convention. Yes, some of us are here every day. The closest I will get to the Fleet Center is riding underneath it twice a day.

So, the big story today is how little a story the commute was.  The dire predictions (fueled in no small part to the "sky is falling" reporting from the Boston Herald) had everyone expecting a horrific commute.  What we got was remarkably normal.  Clearly, a lot of people are staying the heck out of dodge, but not a massive ammount.  I'd say my train had somewhere between holiday commuting traffic and every day traffic.  About what you'd expect for the period of the summer when many people are off on their vacations.

The Boston Globe seems to back up my impression.  Drivers found the experience rather underwhelming given the doom and gloom that was predicted.  Again, light traffic helped a lot, and they hope to get it even better by convincing people to take mass transit since traffic is so light there.  But, of course, that won't happen because the roads weren't a problem and people are still scared about what will happen with the much threatened bag searches.

This was my big worry going into the week.  The transit authority originally planned on bottlenecking the entrances to all stations that would eventually pass under the Fleet Center and searching random bags.  This seemed like a nuisance, but an understandable one.  When the ACLU and the like complained, the transit cops stepped up the threat to searching ALL bags just to be fair.  Now this, I dreaded.  The thought of waiting in a long line just to get into the station seemed dreadful.  Especially since they seem to want to do this from now on, even after the DNC.  Thankfully, the seriously modified the search all bags plan and came up with something entirely sensible.  Instead of searching everyone at the stations entrances throughout the system, they are stopping the train one stop before it rides underneath the Fleet Center.  Transit cops (who are looking quite scary, by the way) then board the train and walk through the cars checking all of bags.  Its smooth, sensible, and not at all a problem.  They also only did this while the Convention was in progress, also sensible.  A huge hassle became a point of good planning.  Horray.

In other news, there is much complaining going about the "Free Speech Zone".  Okay, yes, it is unfortunetly named, but it isn't near the oppressive, Orwellian structure some suggest.  It seems to have become fashionable to label the demonstration zone at the Fleet Center a "cage", such as these anti-abortion activists.  I'm normally sympathetic to complaints about "free speech zones", but that's usually because they are designed to move free speech as far away as possible.  That's just not the case here in Boston.  I've been out to the Fleet Center.  The protest zone is right out in front of the Fleet Center.  You can't get any closer.  Its also right next to the delegate parking lot, as evidenced here.  And the fence is quite necessary given the busy traffic in the area and the fact that to ensure the protesters a spot next to the FleetCenter, the set up an area on a Construction site underneath a soon-to-be-dismantled elevated rail.  (Boston's last, I believe).  I know its trite, but someone could get hurt.  Last I checked, a small bit of fence has never silenced our civil liberties.  And just look at these creatively dressed protesters. And just look at that blue sky above them.  Yeah, that's quite the picture of a cage.  And, of course, protests continue throughout Boston.  Gotta love the marching anarchists.

As to the Convention itself, it seems that inspite of the fretting that Kerry was going soft, we learned his real plan.  Lay out the attack on Bush from the big guns, getting it out of the way, and then turn around and present your positive message from everyone else.  It makes perfect sense.  Jimmy Carter critizing Bush carries much more gravitas than Howard Dean doing so.  It doesn't look as much like politics when its the elder statesment of the party laying out the case against Bush.  And this frees Kerry to lay out the case for himself in the next 3 days.  The spin is key, though.  The speeches made the case against Bush, but seemed largely about making the case for Kerry.  That's clearly not the early spin, though, but it may be just as well to get that out of the way now.  What's more, this gets all the Clinton talk out of the way in one day.  Gosh knows the press loves to speculate about the Clintons.  Now its out of their system, and we can be on to bigger and better things.  Count me as impressed with the plan.


Boston gets all gussied up

When I was in college, I always got to stick around for the week after final exams leading up to the Graduation Ceremonies and their Alumni Reunion Weekend. I always loved this because I got to see the changes the school underwent for the benefit of the parents and alumni. All of a sudden the ordinary campus became bedazzled with flowers jammed into every possible nook. One lawn even sprouted flowers in the form of our school's sports logo. The grass became greener, either by rolling our new grass or using some seeding process that looked like they were spray painting the ground green. It always reminded me of those RonCo "Hair in Can" bald spot cures. Everything got a fresh coat of paint and an extra scrub to benefit the folks who didn't spend any time here and while all the people who do spend time there were gone.

And so it goes in Boston for the DNC.

Its really a marvel what is being done to the city. It all seems like little things at first, but it adds up. My train station will be handling overflow from the displaced Commuter Rail lines, so I guess it qualified for a fresh coat of paint. For a week, the station has been plastered with "Wet Paint" signs as everything gets a nice glossy finish.

I've started noticing little directional signs all around Boston proper, too. Nothing Convention specific, all feeling like it could have always been here. Well, maybe the flowers stand out. Man, are there flowers. I walked down by Newbury Street and Mass Ave and was stunned by all of the flowers that have shown up down by the Hynes Convention Center. The road divider is not this massive flower laden trough. Every lamp post has been adorned with pots exploding with flowers. My office has had the pleasure of jackhammers just outside our walls as they actually are replacing a significant bit of a road in the Back Bay. I almost think they painted the remaining Central Artery that they weren't able to pull down in time, but I think I may have imagined that. It all feels like the municipal equivalent of getting gussied up for a big date but going a bit far.

And, of course, the last people to appreciate any of this are the people who live and work here. Oh, I'll be coming into town, but it does seem like I will be in the minority. Of course, even I will be making sacrifices. I'll be buying lunch for a week to avoid the transit bag checks that promise to make life even harder for Bostonians. But I still think they are making a mountain out of a molehill. Well, maybe making Mt. Everest out of a more modest sized mountain with some nice ski slopes. But I do hope our visitors appreciate the lengths we've gone to in order to look pretty. Enjoy the flowers


Things VH1 has taught me

After a week spent loving the 90's, I want to make a couple observations...

Someone at VH1 LOVES R.E.M. I think they showed up in the soundtrack to I Love the 90's over once an episode. Being a big R.E.M. fan, I noticed each time it happened, so trust me, it happened way more than would have been understandable. Especially since they didn't even mention R.E.M. at all in the series. (I suspect "Everybody Hurts" will be featured in the sequel series, I Love the 90's: Part Deux)

Susan Powter is freaking insane. You may recall her as the diet guru behind "Stop the Insanity". An ironic self-slogan if ever there was one. She was not a frequent commentator, but when she showed up with her George Clinton hair-do screaming at the camera, its tough to appreciate her supposed sanity.

I really miss Stewart Scott and Rich Eisen on Sportscenter. I know purists will insist Olberman and Patrick are the definitive ESPN pair, but give me Eisen and Scott any day. I hardly watch at all now that Eisen is gone.

Hal Sparks is money waiting to happen. His comic timing and sensibilities are just so dead-on. He is so wasted on Queer as Folk just because he should be staring in his own sitcom already.

As expected, nostaliga about 5 years ago rang a bit hallow. But at least they addressed that in the show and made fun of the fact that they were doing this at all. VH1 has perfected the art of instant nostalgia, though, so they made even 1999 enjoyable and yet so far away.

I did like the early computer graphics motif as the visual look of the series. I was wondering what would be the signature 90's look, and that pretty much sums it up. Good call. Oh, and I was loving the orange.

I don't think Michael Bolton gets that he's a joke. Not nearly as cool as Lionel Ritchie was doing the little out of commercials bits in prior "I Love the..." series.

I also don't think MC Hammer quite knows how to deal with being a joke, but man was he high-energy. I'm not sure how much "caffine" he pumped into his system to get up for doing his little bits, but someone needs to give that man some sleeping pills or something to try to slow him down. I guess the energy videos were just him being normal. Who knew?

And finally props to The Daily Show alumni who all did excellant work, as always. Its amazing what a little pop-cultrue commentary factory TDS has become, but kudos to them all.


Old Navy Plus Size! Yay!

Old Navy, also known as the company responsible for 99% of my wardrobe, has debuted their new plus-size line at their web store.  Some Boutiques are already open in their brick & morter stores and they have a helpful zip code finder to locate the nearest such outlet.  Given that 2 of the 50 are near me, though, I'm guessing its still a bit limited.
But still, the online store is a start.  They seem to be putting a lot of care into, too.  Reading their sizing information, it seems that the "home base" for their plus-size clothes is a size 20.  That means that they adjust down from a 20 to get a 16 and up from a 20 to get a 26.  Ordinary women's clothing uses a size 8 as "home base" and can expand right out to a size 20.  This means an Old Navy Women's Plus size 20 is a much better fit than an Old Navy Women's size 20.  No reference on how this compares to other plus-size clothing lines, though.  But it does mean that their plus-size clothes will be a lot roomier and more carefully fitted than they have been.  Not to mention that they are now available for women right up to a size 26.
The attitude is what is really selling me, though.  Here is a quote from an interview with one of the "fit models" from the line:
"I don't want to hide my curves. I like my curves!"
Damn good to hear!  Also, the models used (which aren't that many, admitedly) are actually fat.  I mean, they aren't pushing the envelope, just yet, and using size 26's, but the women are visably fat.  They have bellies, they have chubby upper-arms, they have double chins.  They aren't running from being identified with fat the way the big modeling agencies do when they hire the thinnest fat women possible with very tall women who barely fit into a size 12 and have nothing on their body that could be seen as fat.  I know its a small step, and a lot of people are still excluded, but its a lot bigger step then I was expecting and the backing of Old Navy could seriously change the Plus-Size clothing market for the better.  Simply put, Lane Bryant is going to have to deal with competition.
Maybe soon, we can get someone to expand their sizing past 32.  (which is the upper limit at The Avenue, and I think the high-water mark for specialty retail stores)  This is a step in that direction, that is certain.
Oh, and while looking for info on this topic, I discovered Girly Blog a great resource for plus-size clothing and related issues.  Worth a look.


Huzzah and Kudos!

I wanted to post a link to video from an amazing segment from Jon Stewart on yesturday's The Daily Show where he illustrated the ways Republicans use "talking points" to defame John Kerry and John Edwards.  A very brilliant segment yet so simple.  He just showed repeated clips of GOP spokespeople using the same exact language to attack Kerry and Edwards without ever backing it up.
But, alas, they don't have it on their site yet.  So, instead, I will link to his reporting on the gay marriage issue, which was also top notch and touched on one of the funniest stories to come out of that.  Namely, the analogy one Republican made between gay marriage and marriages between men and box turtles.
Yes, box turtles.  Jon has the story so I won't repeat it, but suffice to say the "Universal Symbol" he uses to represent man/box turtle relations is hilarious and needs to be a T-Shirt.  The Box Turtle, by the way, has very quickly been adopted as the mascot of the Gay Marriage movement.  Because its just such a hilarious analogy.  Way funnier than Senator Rick Santorum's obsession with man on dog sex.


I'm a Hippie

I don't think I've told my hippie story here, yet.

Back in late May, I was walking down the street in front of my apartment when a pack of little punk suburban kids start coming down the other way. Now, growing up in an inner city environment, I am accutely aware that groups of black teenagers are nothing to worry about. Its the white ones that scare me. So I tried to casually keep my distance, not my eye contact, etc. Seems I caught there eye, however. While trying to ignore them, it eventually occured to me that they were making fun of me.

Because I'm fat? Nope.

Because I wear glasses? Nope.

Because I was there? Nope.

Because I was a hippie.

Suffice to say, I found this confusing. The mocking eventually escaleted to one of the girls in the pack throwing coins at me. (they missed by a mile) As they went on, I tried to process what happened.

For one, I was suprised anyone bothers to hate hippies anymore. I mean, are they even a relevent enough subculture to hate anymore? Why on earth are a bunch of poser teens obsessed with hippies enough to mock someone they consider to be one and throw things at him.

Next thing I wondered was, since when am I hippie? I always thought my look was half-way between Hipster and Hippie, never really pulling off either. Too well-maintained to be hippie, but too casual to make hipster. At the time I was wearing boot-cut jeans, my orange Chuck Taylor's, an off-white linen shirt, and a tan courderoy jacket. When I describe this, people always blame the jacket. I can understand this, except its a very slight courderoy. I mean, its from Old Navy, not a vintage store. Now, sure, I have one button on the jacket, which can be a hippie thing, but its only one. Its not like its lined with buttons. And gosh its just an "I (heart) NY" button. I've worn it since 9/11. I bought it at the WTC when I visited it in 1989. Hardly hippie cred. I had a goatee at the time, too. More of a wanna-be Van Dyke actually. Hippie is more outright unshaven though. Clean facial hair is more on the hipster side of things. Except mine never looks very slick, so again it falls in between. Suffice to say, I didn't get the knee-jerk declaration that I was a hippie. Not that I have a problem with hippies. I've known quite a lot in my time, and I don't think any of them would have really thought of me as a fellow hippie.

My last thought was that the only other time I'd heard of someone having money thrown at them out of spite was a Jewish friend who was harrassed in high school with anti-semetic slurs by some jackass at our school. And then the whole incident seemed a lot more meaningless.

Just wanted to share.


Kerry/Edwards baby!

I have today off, but I actually got myself up early just so I could see John Kerry's annoucement of his running mate, which as soon as I got up was already known to be John Edwards. Got to say, I'm very pleased. As some of my readers know, I backed Edwards in the primaries partly because I thought he'd be a good VP candidate.

More recently, there has been such a groundswell of support for John Edwards, its been overwhelming. Kerry listened to the people on this one, and that is a great issue to raise. This also allows him to approrpiate Edwards' Two Americas message pretty much directly, which is a great way of condensing the Democratic message. There are a lot of complaints that no one knows what Kerry stands for, but he's well on his way towards communicating his message and vision and I'm looking forward to it.

Only problem is that Will Forte has been doing Bush and Edwards on SNL. Well, I'm sure they can balance that easily enough. And frankly, the more they give Will Forte to do, the better.


I suck

Man, I really feel like a whiney bitch lately. Doesn't help that I've felt like I've been getting sick for a week now. Never actually sick, just like I'm coming down with something that never seems to come but keeps me feeling pretty awful. So, in the spirit of this mood, I'll not be talking about politics or pop culture or anything of significance or interest. I'm just going to be whining about how much I suck. Just warning you now.

I'm just feeling really freaking lonely lately. I've been single for over 5 months now, which is pretty long for me. I've been largely okay with it, unmotivated to really look for someone, but that's all crashing down now. I'm really missing being with someone. Its not about sex. Its the closeness, the intimacy. Sharing my bed with someone. Holding them close to me. The feeling you get when the person you're with just looks at you. Its about providing someone with emotional support and being supported by them. I'm missing it all right now and its really bumming me out.

The way I see it, there are three things that go into a relationship. Intellectual stimulation, emotional stimulation, and physical stimulation. I'm not sure its fair to say any of the three is the most important, and I'm also young enough to still feel that I can look for and find all three, but its hard not to be pessimistic sometimes. It seems like it should be easier, but I guess it never is. With my last girlfriend, I was very physically stimulated and very intellectuall stimulated, but there was never an emotional stimulation. Never that spark of something more. I liked her. I liked spending time with her, but that's not love. I think part of that is because I held back something important to me because I was afraid of being rejected for it. What I was holding back was my passionate belief in fat acceptance. I knew it was something I needed to be able to share with someone to really feel a connection, but I was coming out of a relationship where I was rejected for it and it scared me.

I think I'm only know getting over that rejection. It wasn't even like I was dumped for believing in fat acceptance. No, my girlfriend decided she didn't believe in it anymore, but knowing how important it was to me, she lied to me about what she was doing. She went on a radical, starvation-style diet, ramped up her excercise dangerously, and was never honest about any of it. She knew I couldn't support it, she knew it went against what I believed. She knew because I told her. Not as a warning, but out of appreciation. I had never knew what it was like to be with some who felt the same way as I did about these things, and it made so amazingly happy. I wanted her to know how happy it made me feel. I wanted her to know how much appreciated her and being with her. It wasn't to try to order her around. It was to thank her.

The common complaint when someone objects to dieting in a partner is that its their life and their body and I can't make their decisions. But, isn't this my life? Can't I make decisions about my life? I cannot support dieting. I know that is built on a foundation of lies and misinformation. I know that it won't work. Maybe for some FAs, its just about the fat body, but thats not it at all for me. If it was, I'd just sit back and wait for the diet to fail. Odds are 19 to 20 that the diet will fail, if even that. Odds are also 9 out of 10 that the diet will result in her being fatter than she started. If it was just about the body, I'd just sit back and wait it out. That's not what it is about. Its about sharing my life with someone and knowing that on the things that are really important to me, we feel the same way. Its about not being asked to support something I know is a mistake. I regret not getting the chance to talk my exgirlfriend out of what she was doing to herself, but I'm also upset that I wasn't able to make a decision for my own life. I'm upset at how depressed I was over it and how self-doubting I became. I'm upset at how I hid this from my last girlfriend, not letting her in and something I feel so passionate about. Not being able to share that. I'm upset that some of the fear remains. Maybe if not in the form of being afraid to be honest, but being afraid that I'll never find someone to share this with. Or being afraid that even if I do, I may not be able to trust it. Or that I will be able to trust it, but I'll be lied to again. And there just aren't any easy answers about this.

Its not like I need to be with a gung-ho activist. I'll be happy with someone who has decided that dieting is wrong and who is trying to learn to accept herself as a fat woman. Acceptance is always a journey. I know that in my own life. Its never easy, its never perfect, but you keep working towards the goal and that's what is important. When I broke up with my last girlfriend, I started putting up personals ads and I kinda mentioned fat acceptance but always in very coy ways. It was clear people didn't get what I meant. Now, I'm very upfront. I mention fat acceptance directly, even discuss it a bit and how important it it is to me. It should be clear what I mean, but I still get responses from people who just don't care. I got one yesturday from someone who was pre-op WLS. Not she came out and said this, I just recognized her screen-name as someone who had agressively backed WLS at a BBW forum in the "how dare you disagree with me" vein. It just makes me sad. I know its wrong and I can't just make it go away by saying that I'm sure this girl will beat the odds and it will all be wonderful. A few "success" stories can't make me ignore the truth of it and the truth of the pain that the weight loss culture causes. It just makes me sad. And yesturday, it made me annoyed that they didn't come out and say this. They acknowledge that I mentioned fat acceptance and responded using language that I wouldn't disagree with unless I knew what they really meant by it. I just felt like I was being lied to again and it made me angry. I fired off a brief email chastizing them for not being upfront in their response since I was upfront in my ad. I probably should have just ignored it, but I felt like I needed to do something to reclaim my right to feel this way. My right to my beliefs.

But, I don't know if I can hope to find someone who will agree with me about this. Its tough and its discouraging. It seems like the only people I ever find who seem to have the "total package" live far away are are otherwise involved. Putting up personals at a local site is an iffy proposition. Even the good responses might not really get what I was saying. The BBW dances in this area just depress me most of the time. They seem like a great big diet support groups sometimes. A WLS support group at its worst times. Thats not an environment where I feel accepted as an FA. I don't even get why these women want to be with an FA. I know a lot of FAs are very wishy-washy in their commitment to being an FA and utterly ignorant about fat acceptance, so I guess that makes it easy to assume that being FA just means being attracted to a woman during the time she's losing weight and after that it doesn't matter. Why do you want someone to think fat women are sexy when you are getting WLS? Just in case it fails? Because you don't respect our feelings at all? Because you assume we must not really mean it?

Years ago, the BBW dance scene seemed to go hand-in hand with the activism side of things, but that's been lost. I know a lot of activists knock the dances as trivial, but I think it could really be a useful way to reach out and educate people about the movement. I think this used to happen with no effort. The environment alone did it. That's changed, though, and I don't think any real education is going on. I don't think any outreach is happening. I think now it'd be tough to introduce any since there is such institutionalized hostility towards fat acceptance at the dances. Its a real missed opportunity, I think.

How do I find someone to be myself with? To share myself with? To just hold close to me and enjoy doing absolutely nothing? Is it really too much to ask for? And that's a rhetorical question. I once asked that at a fat positive forum and got the utterly depressing response from many people that "Yes, it is too much to ask for. Just give up." I don't want to give up, though. I know how happy it can make me feel to be with someone I could share this with. I know how wonderful all that quiet intimacy can be. I know its what I want and what I need. I just wish it was what I had, because I right know I just feel mopey and alone.


Ralph Nader, class act

Just wanted to update my little Political Round-up post the other day. Governator backed off on the whole killing puppies things. Guess it finally occured to him what he was suggesting. The Vice Presidential Dick apologized for telling Senator Leahy to go fuck himself and expressed his shame at using such langugage in the halls of the Senate to attack an elected representative of the people. Oh, wait, no that didn't happen. He expressed a deep sense of satisfaction, no regret, said he felt better having cursed out a Senator, and that it was something that "badly needed to be said" and was "long overdue". Majority Leader Bill Frist thinks there is no problem with this because it is an election year and people are just being passionate. And then he proceeded to slam Democrats for their lack of civility. Not really. Well, not quite, anyway. Civility, of course, is Republispeak for staying quiet while you bend over and get fucked up the ass. Big time.

So remember, feel free to tell Republicans to go fuck themselves. Their party leadership considers this just the kind of discourse that is long overdue, so feel free to give them what they want.

And speaking of civility, Ralph Nader is in the news again. He's calling Michael Moore a "giant beach ball" Nader's bitchy because Moore is distancing himself from Nader because he doesn't support his Presidential campaign. So Nader responded in the adult way by releasing an open letter mocking the director's weight and bragging about how he and his friends are "trim and take care of themselves". Democrats and Republicans are like? Seems more like Dick and Ralph have a lot in common. But remember, the progressive war hero is completely unacceptibly liberal. We need someone like Nader who hates fat people, mocks gays and women, ignores blacks, busts unions, abuses employees, and invests in corporations that engage in genocide, war profiteering, sexual discrimination, exploitation of the oil market, weapons production, and price gouging on medications. Because nothing says progressive better then, well, all that. Real class act that Nader. Just remember his "giant beach ball" remark the next time some self-righteous Naderite whines about how put upon Ralph is.


Sexual Aesthetic

I’ve been pondering my fat admiration lately. On the off-chance an uninitiated has stumbled in here (by the way, welcome), this is basically referring to the fact that I’m attracted to fat women. The preferred term for this is usually “fat admirer” although some hallow objections are occasionally raised about how it should something like bbw admirer (Big Beautiful Woman: read Fat Woman) or Fat Woman Admirer. I think that’s redundant myself. All heterosexual men should be women admirers. If they aren’t, that’s a problem. It has nothing to do with FA’s in particular. Essential, Fat Admirer is just a simple and quite concise explanation of the point of difference. I admire fat. I find it aesthetically pleasing in all of its forms. Now, I want to be with a woman who intellectually stimulates in addition to physically stimulating me, but that’s beside the point. FA is just a little label meant to define one simple thing. Calling myself a fat creative funny intelligent progressive maybe with glasses probably with a small chest a bit short who is accepting of her body and rejects intentional weight loss woman admirer gets pretty damn unwieldy, don’t you think? And who could really use FCFIPMWGPWASCABSWIAOHBARIWLWA as an abbreviation, anyway?

So, like I was saying, I’ve been pondering my fat admiration lately. I’ve put up a personal ad at a general use site that’s notoriously fat unfriendly but has a wide readership. I’ve gotten some interesting response, which is nice for a change, but it occurs to me that I’ve never really considered how specific my physical type might be. Its not really been an issue for me in a long time. I sorta fell into my last two relationships and both women were relatively similar physically. I definitely liked it, so I wonder if that’s really my type now.

I used to always point out that I was attracted to women 200lbs and over to demonstrate how non-limiting being an FA was in comparison to being, well, a thin admirer. Some like to act as if being attracted to fat women is some kind of ultra-specific fetish. Why? Because I have a range of 400lbs that I find attractive where most guys are lucky if they have a range of 40lbs? Anyway, I guess I’m wondering if I might be a bit more specific than I realize.

I find smallish fat women aesthetically pleasing, don’t get me wrong, but I’m not sure there is a real sexual attraction there. I think it just sort of stops at the aesthetic point, though. Like, “that’s cute” but not progressing to “that’s hot.” But I’m not sure I really have a more specific point. I mean, I definitely know I’m a belly man, but I’d never really thought about a specific point where sexual attraction really begins. I guess I’m more, “I’ll know when I see it”. I’d guess around 300, but I can too easily think of exceptions below that point. And when it comes to physical attraction, I think being a belly man is more important to me than any specific weight. But both are easily trumped in importance by a woman who is accepting of herself. But, I don’t feel like I can just give up on the “total package” yet.

Which reminds me, I was supposed to write a post detailing what I’m looking for in a woman. Maybe that’s what I should have done instead of fussing over the difference between being aesthetically pleased with a fat woman, and being sexually attracted to a fat woman. But, for another day, now.


Politcal Round-up

In the words of Ben Folds, "Yeah, well fuck you, too!" In case you haven't heard, Dick Cheney told Senator Leahy of Vermont to "go fuck himself" on the floor of the Senate the other day. And what did Leahy say to get Dick all worked up. "Hello". This launched Cheney into attacking Leahy for criticising his dealings with Halliburton. In response, Leahy expressed his displeasure with the Bush administration calling him a bad Catholic for opposing Bush's judicial nominees. To which, Dick responded as only a Dick can with "go fuck yourself." The Administration has taken to euphamisitically calling Cheney's blow-up a "frank exchange of ideas". Yeah, way to go on that whole restoring dignity to the White House thing.

And good ol' Ralph Nader continues to destroy what remains of his reputation. Aside from his self-serving and absurd endorsement of John Edwards as John Kerry's running mate (Edwards is unquestionably more of a moderate than Kerry), he clearly knows who really supports his campaign. Republicans. Out in Oregon, reports are coming in that the Bush/Cheney campaign is actively soliciting people to attend a Nader signature drive. A script has also gotten out from Citizens for a Sound Economy where they explicitly urge people to try to get Nader on the ballot in order to jointly defeat John Kerry. Nader's spokespeople have said they don't see anything wrong with this. In case you're curious, CSE is Republic special interestes group financed by corporate money and run by Dick Armey. You may remember him as the Republican attack dog/Majority Leader who called gay Massachusettes Congressment Barney Frank, Barney Fag. Remember, this is all *after* Nader failed to generate support on his own to get a place on the Oregon ballot. They have a rule where you can bypass the law require thousands of signatures if you get 1,000 at one event. Nader went for the easy way and failed. Now he's going for the easy way with explicit support from far-right-wing corporate interests. And lets also not forget that down in Arizona Nader is likely to get knocked off the ballot as over 32% of signatures gathered appear to be invalid. And how was he gathering signatures? By piggy-backing on petitions for an anti-immigrant law and the repeal of clean elections in Arizona. Yeah, Ralph is really trying to build a progressive movement. You can tell by the alliances with the corprorate funded, gay-bashing, anti-immigrant, opponants of clean elections. Because what progressive doesn't agree with those values?

And finally, Governor Arnold wants to kill kittens and puppies. No, really. That isn't a joke. He wants to repeal the law that says the top priority for animal shelters is to find homes to adopt stray pets. Arnold wants the top priority to be the swift murder of all the pretty kitties and puppies. Did he miss a class in Politics 101? Honestly, when does a politician come out on the pro- side of killing kittens. Don't you learn that right after the whole kissing babies thing?


The "I-don't-give-a-fuck-kids"

I've occassionally shilled for [adult swim] on Cartoon Network here, so I wanted to link to an article from Washington Monthly that is a great study of the programming block's history and significance. Very good analysis about how good things happen when no one cares what you're doing. Check it out.

Christian Idolotry

So, there is going to be a Christian version of American Idol. The latest of many Idol impersonators, the Christ Pop folks are predictably behind the curve on this one and jumping on a fad as its already outliving its usefullness. But such is the way of contemporary Christian co-opting of pop culture.

Co-opting of cultures, of course, has a long history in Chrstianity. The Catholic scholars I went to college with termed it "Putting New Wine in Old Bottles". Basically, it was a way of winning converts by shortening the trip from pagan to believer. So, it really shouldn't be a surprise that Christian's continue to immitate the work of the pagans in service of their faith.

Except, the motivation seems to have changed dramatically, and the result ain't as nice as Christmas. I mean, who is getting converted by the awful pop music that's put out by the Christ Pop industry? Come on, you've all heard the damn informercials late at night. The music sucks, plain and simple. A couple artists have found ways to incorporate faith into their music, but not the complete-lack-of-subtlety artists that are all the rage of full-blown Christ Pop. I don't know a single Christian who enjoys "Christian" music, because frankly its just plain awful.

Clearly, a lot of people do enjoy it, though. I have to suspect, however, that they do so not on the merits of the music (one hopes, anyway), but rather purely on the subject matter. They consider all non-Christian music to be sinful or whatever. They only want worshipful music. Fine, whatever. A lot of good worshipful music has been made over the years, though. Gospel, hymnsongs, spirituals, the great masses, all really fantastic and enjoyable music. Why not listen to that?

Because I suspect the real purpose of Christ Pop is retention, not conversion. They fear pop-culture's pull, but instead of presenting a fundamentally different alternative, they just want to remake pop culture in Christ's image. The think the young folks won't stick around unless they can play Pagan like all their friends. The thing is, the folks who seem to like Christ Pop are pretty much the sort of people who would loathe anything not completely Christian. So, why bother with the pseudo pagan Idolotry?

Its funny, because I actually really want to see the new movie Saved, which at first glance looked like a Christ Pop kinda movie, but a second glance is clearly a more mature look at Christian youth culture, neither cheerleading or condemning them. I'm especially encouraged to see Mandy Moore playing the stock character of the overt Christian who is more concerned with everyone knowing how Christian she is than actually being a good Christian. Moore is very committed to her faith, but its good to see that she's not a blind bible-thumper, but that she can have a sense of humor about the subject, too. I love her line-reading on the commercial quote "I am FILLED with Christ's love!" Its clearly an over-the-top portrayal, but I can't say I don't know people just like that.

But, I suspect, more thin skinned Christian's will take issue with the film, just as they take issue with all things pop-culture until they figure out how to imitate it.


Great Expectations?

"I never thought I'd be sitting next to an Iraqi president of a free country a year and a half ago." -George W. Bush

Really? So as we were preparing to invade Iraq and overthrow its dictator, W. didn't think we'd actually win? Really, what is that quote supposed to mean? Yeah, I know its just self-congratularoty pap, but its also just plain stupid. What did he think was going to happen when he invaded Iraq? Had he thought about that? Its not like he's sitting next to a democratically elected Iraqi president, where maybe he just meant he was unsure if we'd have a democratic government set up by now. (not that being a democratically elected president is a big deal to W.) This guy is just appointed. What was Bush thinking about 18 months ago if not about the defeat of Sadaam Hussain?



So, I saw some of those Girl Love Handles that got Dan Savage all bent out of shape a couple weeks back. Or, at least, an example of the kind of "extreme" I'm sure Savage and other haters would use to illustrate a point when they are really talking about damn near any young woman in low-rise pants. This girl was not so much wearing low rise shorts as she was wearing shorts that were noticably too small and had to be worn under her belly. No doubt inspiring a new spiteful initialing like GPB (Girl pot belly). But along with the belly were a pair of unmistakable love handles. The girl was hardly fat. A size 12 at most, but the outfit certainly emphasized what fat was there to the extreme.

A couple of thoughts. First off, is that seriously what Savage and his ilk are so damned concerned about? Honestly, how would this site so negatively effect your life just to have seen it? It was so amazingly not worth caring about.

The other thought is that this girl's outfit is the kind of thing FA's get overly worked up about. And no, not in the simple "ooooh, fat girl belly showing!" way. I think its too easy to read too much into seeing one woman who is allowing her fat to be seen. I know I've done it. You can see why. Tight shorts or not, this woman was reasonably well dressed. It may not have been "high society", but it also wasn't anything explicitly "slutty" nor unkept. Its also clear that she must have known the ramifications of the outfit and the display of her flesh when she put it on. You see some women who are constantly tugging down on short shirts, but this wasn't a close call. There was no way those shorts could have been worn anywhere but below her belly. Surely this must be a sign of a greater acceptance of fat. Surely this must foretell of a future where fat women feel the same freedom to choose their clothing as thin women. Surely this conspicious display of fat is a good sign of something.

Except, it really probably isn't. I want to think seeing a woman dressed like this means we are making some kind of progress (dubious, though it may be, I'm firmly in the camp that thinks fat women should feel free to wear whatever they damn well please and not be concerned with the kinds of negativism expressed by Dan Savage should any fat flesh be allowed into daylight) But, the fact is, it doesn't really mean anything. This isn't some great political statement. Its probably not even a great personal statement of self-acceptance. She probably just wants to dress like her thin friends and that desire is overriding any shame over her fat.

And just like I, as an FA, can read too much into such a sight, so do the critics of fat people. They, oddly enough, jump to the same conclusions I find myself wanting to adopt, although with a very different spin. To them, this is proof of the fall of civilization and all that. Proof of a permissive attitude towards fat they are so certain must exist if there are so many of us fat people around. While the FA may see this woman with unwarrented optimism, the fat basher sees this as justifying their own absurd fears. Kind of a weird situation, really.

The sad fact is, I don't think we're making progress. I saw the same sort of thing 10 years ago and had the same optimistic hope that this was proof of a growing acceptance of fat bodies. But in the 10 years, I just haven't seen anything but an increasing backlash against fat people.


Guilt before innocence

I've been wanting to post for a few days on the Scott Peterson trial going on California. No, not to revel in the horrible specticle. But rather, to question why everyone assumes this man is guilty. The way this story has gotten reported on, I'll admit I fell into that trap, too. He had to be guilty, after all. Everyone said so. So it came as quite a shock when I saw reports about the trial discussing how tough it was for the Prosecution.

Really? Because I hadn't heard anything about that before.

So I looked into it, and I was shocked at just how weak a case there is against Scott Peterson. It rests entirely on the assumpsion that he acted kind guilty afterwards. It'd be an insult to even call this a circumstantial case! Yet this trial is going to last 6 months? I realize that the less direct evidence you have, the longer a case will run, but just what is the evidence? Suspicious coincidences are not enough to convict someone. The concern is, are they enough to inflame a jury when a defendant can't completely prove their innocence. After all, Scott Peterson may have killed his wife. I certainly see reason to suspect him, but I'm kinda stunned the case has gotten this far and that the media coverage has been so one-sided.

I can't even get past the motive. Supposedly, Scott wanted to carry on an affair so he killed his wife. Except, Scott's a bit of a dick and he's had affairs before. And this time its with a woman who already has a family, so why would he be so eager to kill his wife and unborn child just to be with a woman who has a kid already and who he has only known for a month. It doesn't make sense.

What's more, the police have been lying about their case. They had long claimed that Peterson lied about a tv show that his wife was watching when he left her, insisting the show he described aired a day earlier. I read this claim myself just a couple days ago. Turns out, its completely untrue. The show was on exactly when Peterson said it was on. They've lied at other times, too, to try to turn Laci's family against him.

It all really upsets me because an uncle of mine was sent to prison in a high-profile case because the police, prosecutors, and judge all railroaded him. I've seen these abuses up close. I was maybe 5 when he was put on trial and it'd be a few years before his conviction got overturned and his case subsequently tossed out for lack of evidence. (in brief, a confession from another man was suppressed by the police) He may have been released, but it ruined his life. It doesn't matter if the evidence isn't there or even if someone else confesses. When you get brought up on horrible charges (in my uncle's case it was rape/kidnapping/murder of a young girl), it stays with you. People assume you must be guilty. He got himself killed while driving drunk a couple years latter.

I'm ashamed at myself for jumping to a conclusion about Scott Peterson's guilty, but I'm more ashamed at the Prosecution's haste to bring so weak a case.


Catching Up

So, I'm kinda pent-up with posts, so I'm going to throw a bunch out all at once. I moved to a new apartment on Saturday and am still settling in. Just got my computer up, but I still need to install something to get it online again. I have less space then I'd probably like, but I think I can deal with it. The fact is, my room is about the same size as my old room, and everything fit there. Just a matter of getting everything out into its own space again, which just takes time.

Which, alas, I don't have. I've been really busy with my part-time job at Target. I've just got too many hours. I don't think I'll be able to stay past early July. Its just too rough on me. I could do 15-20 hours a week, but not the 26-28 they have me working. Especially not when I'm closing most of those days. I'm closing three nights in a row this weekend. I hate to leave it, but I have to make my full-time job my top priority. If they can't adjust my hours, I'll probably be gone soon enough.

Anyway, I did have one story I wanted to relay in this post. A friend of mine was helping me move into my new place and at one calm moment in all that, she remarked that I looked like I had lost weight in that cheery, congratulatory tone people use to say that. I was pretty happy with my non "You're Welcome" response, basically just saying that I found it very unlikely that I had lost weight and not adding any value judgement to the concept of weight loss.

Funny thing is, she was right. My new roommates own a scale, so I figured I'd check just to see, and I have lost like 15 pounds since December. Which explains why my clothes have been fitting loosely. Naive as I am, I was just annoyed that the clothes seem to have gotten stretched out and didn't fit the way I wanted anymore. Frankly, annoynace is my greatest feeling with regards to losing weight. I like my clothes. I'm getting generally happy with my body. I don't really want that getting messed up. But, its not like I'm trying to manipulate it, so I should just take it in stride.

Dieting Nonsense

Caught this from the AP, today: Dieting Can Weaken Immunity

Short form: Dieting is very, very bad for you, but do it anyway.

How difficult is this for "obesity" researchers to understand? If a treatment fails upwards of 95% of the time and the treatment has been shown to be dangerous and harmful all on its own, then you stop advocating that treatment. You don't even need to get to the point of questioning whether being fat is so bad in the first place. Dieting is harmful and ineffective. Why is it still being pushed? You'd never see this elsewhere in medicine. Especially not over a disease as dubious as fatness.



In Cars

There are some weird cars out there. Not like I have any right to an opinion on automotive aestethics since I don't even have a liscence, but some cars just seem wrong.

It all started with the New Beetle. But, while at the time, it seemed like it might run the risk of being a very "in the moment" design, I think its held up well. The design is very classic in its own way, while also anticipating design trends. Now, it seems everything is designed like that, but the New Bug still feels individual. It also ushered in an age of inventive car design. Odd that something that started with the beautifully round Beetle has yieled so many annoying boxy cars.

I've kinda warmed up the Honda Element. I hated it at first. Those plastic side panels just put me off. But, its grown on me. The new Scion cars from Toyota, however, are just dreadful. I wanted to like the Element right away, I just didn't. The Scion cars are just obnoxious. They are litterally boxes on wheels. It hurts me to look at those things. Someone in my neighborhood drives one, and he looks very intetionally trendy, which seems to be the target demo. I don't get it, though. Its just an ugly looking car.

Also ugly are the new PT Cruiser convertables. That's just a car which shouldn't be. I was never a huge fan of the PT, but I didn't really hate it, either. But the idea of an SUV-ish, station-wagon-is convertable? Who the hell thought of that? Its not like they made the unlikely work, either. It is just disturbing. It looks like some weird West Coast chopped car with its top up, and just generally seems out of place. Its just not a car meant for the convertable treatment. I'm amazed that wasn't obvious.

But its not just car makers coming up with ugly cars. Drivers get in on the act, too. I saw the most amusingly absurd car accessory today. A boxy, older, grey Honda Civic with a full-fledged racing spoiled tacked onto the hood in defiance of all logic and purpose. Not even one of those understated spoilers often seen on newer sedans of a more pedestrian design. (hehe, get it) No, this thing was jacked up a good foot, flaring out for all the world to see. Honestly, how does that make sense when you own an old, grey Honday Civic? Bizarre.


there must be a word for this.

My life has been oddly sychronized the last few days. I'm sure there must be a word for this phenomenon that I'm just not clever enough to know, but 3 times in just the last two days I had a weird moment where something came up that I had been talking about earlier. Not ordinary things, either. Let me explain...

So, I'm chatting with a nice young woman the other day and she expresses her love for Karaoke. A unique passion, for the most part. It was probably the only time that karaoke came up on conversation for me in over a year. And then last night, I was talking with my ex-girlfriend and she mentioned being at a BBW dance and some guy kept bugging her about whether she liked Karaoke. Seemed funny at the time, but probably just coincidence.

Then last night, I was talking about my Orange Coverse Chuck Taylor All-Star sneakers and was asked by a friend if they made plaid ones anymore. So, I checked out their website. Failing to find plaid ones, one pair did catch my eye. A really cool pair of black Chuck Taylors with a cool flame design. A very unique design that I've seen before online I liked, but have nevery actually seen. I liked them enough to send the specific address for those sneakers to my friend. So what do I see this morning on my way to work? Yep, a guy wearing those very sneakers.

Also when talking to my ex last night, she recommended the moving company she used and I figured I'd finally look into it just in case my friend flaked out on helping me move. So I contact them for a quote. She'd mentioned them before, but I never really paid attention. They are a biggish moving company, but I don't think I'd ever heard of them or seen them. So they got back to me pretty quickly to let me know that they were booked for this weekend. And what should I see parked across the street from my office? A truck from this moving company.

None of these were too bizarre and probably all just coincidences, but still odd in their repetition. Is coincidence the right word for this? Doesn't seem quite right to me. Just thought I'd share.


Now I know. Now I don't wanna know.

Okay, I'm the last person to participate in self-pitying for fat admirers, but one little stat in Paul Campos' book stuck out at me. I've always been told how easy it is for FA's because there are so many fat women and so few FA's. Its funny, because this is about the only thing I don't think works out in the FA's favor. Everything else FA's complain about just strike me at non-issues. But, the breakdown of FAs and BBWs just didn't feel quite right to me. Why was I having such problems finding the right woman if this were so? Was I some kind of a loser or something?

But, a ha! The stats didn't tell the whole story. Because most fat women are chronic dieters and not likely to be interested in someone like me. And besides, I'm not interested in dating a chronic dieter. I believe in fat acceptance, even if not in the movement, and thats something I want to share with whoever I'm with. At least on some level. According to statistics Campos cites, as many as 93% of fat women are dieting at any given time. That leaves 7% remaining that I could be a match for. 7% out of 31% of women who are fat. By my math, that means just over 2% of women are potential matches for me. That's not even getting into more general compatibility issues. (I said I was going to write a post about what I'm looking for in a woman, didn't I? Might still get around to that). Now, I've seen it quoted that 10% of men are attracted to fat women. I suspect this number to be less than perfect, especially since it probably comes from Dimensions Magazine. Let's be generous and say its closer to 7%. So, that's 7% of guys interested in 2% of women. Self-accepting women enjoy a 3 to 1 advantage in finding a mate! Quite a different story then the annecdotal observations of male/female rations at BBW dances.

I kinda prefered not realizing that. Oh well.