Archive for February, 2006

Gilbert and George

Sunday, February 26th, 2006

We went to two exhibitions yesterday. One was at the Serpentine, called The Welfare Show, with various exhibits including a hallway full of bored security “guards”, and a luggage carrousel behind a glass screen, with one bag revolving forlornly on it. Then we went to the White Cube, in Hoxton, to see Gilbert and George’s exhibition, Sonofagod Pictures, subtitled “Was Jesus Heterosexual?” As we walked in, who should be at the door but Gilbert and George themselves, signing copies of the exhibition program. I paid my 5 quid and queued up. They are really rather Pooterish-looking, but I think it’s a good assumption that they drive a lot of the currents in British art these days. George signed first: “and George”, and “With all our love from”; he then passed the book to Gilbert, who added his “Gilbert” in front of the “and George”.

The pictures are really thought-provoking; instead of making you wonder what Gilbert and George are really like (as many of their other works do), this one does make you think about Jesus and your relationship with him. The main work, “Was Jesus Heterosexual?”, has a surtitle and a subtitle. The surtitle is “Jesus says forgive yourself.”, and the subtitle is “God loves fucking! Enjoy!”

There is a lot of food for thought, and perhaps a sermon, in those words. Don’t know whether I could preach it in an Anglican church or not…

Oh dear…

Saturday, February 25th, 2006
You Are Austin

A little bit country, a little bit rock and roll.
You’re totally weird and very proud of it.
Artistic and freaky, you still seem to fit in… in your own strange way.

Famous Austin residents: Lance Armstrong, Sandra Bullock, Andy Roddick

What American City Are You?

Good grief! I’ve only been in Texas once…just goes to show you that almost all these tests are crap…

And they say that gay marriage will lead to bestiality!

Friday, February 24th, 2006

Well, I wasn’t aware that Sudan had gay marriage, then. Could the recent developments in Massachusetts and the United Kingdom have had such a long-distance effect?

How evil am I?

Friday, February 24th, 2006

This evil!

You Are 40% Evil

A bit of evil lurks in your heart, but you hide it well. In some ways, you are the most dangerous kind of evil.
How Evil Are You?

You’ve seen the brief with an iPod holder…

Friday, February 24th, 2006

…now, for those who still yearn for yuppiedom, there’s another item of clothing with an integrated iPod holder.

Archbishop Paul Marcinkus

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006

The man that everyone called “God’s Banker” has died age 84. The Times of London’s obituary notes that he had a son by a mistress. Didn’t know that. However, was wondering what had happened to him the other day–now I know.

An interesting theatre piece came to my attention about Marcinkus. I really enjoyed it, and I’ll bet that he sounded just like that.

Today’s music URL

Tuesday, February 21st, 2006

Animated music is here. Those of you old enough to remember “Dragnet” will love this one.

Today’s URL de avoirdupois

Tuesday, February 21st, 2006

William Howard Taft was America’s fattest president. How did he measure up? Look here.

Nominees for Episcopal Bishop of California

Monday, February 20th, 2006

The Rt. Rev. Mark Andrus
The Rev. Bonnie Perry
The Rev. Jane Gould
The Rev. Cn. Eugene Taylor Sutton
The Very Rev. Robert Taylor

You might want to go to the website for more information, but the slate includes a lesbian and a gay man. This will enrage the usual suspects in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.

I knew one of the candidates reasonably well. When I lived in Chicago, I worshipped at All Saints Ravenswood. It was, unfortunately, a dying parish. The then Rector was, sadly, not up to the job for a multitude of reasons with which I will not bore you. The parish lacked vitality; it held on to older members without doing any outreach to what was becoming a vibrant community at the heart of Uptown. The building was somewhat decrepit, although it was a historic landmark of Chicago, the oldest wooden-frame church building in the city. We had 35 people at Mass on a Sunday morning and heavy debts. In 1992 the parish became a mission, and at the end of the year, in November, Bonnie Perry arrived to take over from the previous incumbent. I only knew her as Vicar for about 2 months. However, I’ve followed the progress of the parish avidly ever since.

From 35 communicants it has grown to about 220 per week. The budget has grown from $25,000 to about $350,000. It is a vibrant, inclusive, lively church where all God’s children are welcomed and valued.

Bonnie has gone on to gain a doctorate from Seabury-Western in Congregational Development. She really should have gotten it just from her successful efforts at All Saints. It became a Parish again in 2000 and she became its Rector.

I think Bonnie would make a very good, effective, godly, and prophetic Bishop.

I have met Jane Gould (who is at St. Stephen’s, Lynn, Massachusetts) and attended a service there. The building was in difficulty but the people in the parish were absolutely wonderful. It’s another vibrant parish and I’m certain that Jane would also make a good Bishop.

I am plumping for Bonnie, however. But looking at the nominees, I believe that any of them would make an excellent Bishop of California.

Today’s Ovine Sex Offender Alert

Friday, February 17th, 2006

I gather that, although this man is not a danger to vulnerable people, they’re still putting him on the sex offenders register in Michigan. Perhaps they’ll have to alert all sheep within 2 miles of his home. Read all about it here.

Today’s Religious URL

Friday, February 17th, 2006

Why is it that, rather than reveal themselves in human form, God, the Virgin Mary, and the saints seem to be fixated on appearing in foodstuffs? The latest Mary-on-a-snackfood story is here.

Laughter is the best medicine…

Thursday, February 16th, 2006

…especially when talking about something you can’t do for another three weeks, at least.

San Francisco Zoo has an X-rated zoo tour each Valentine’s Day. Check it out here.

Note the sad sad story of Jack the tapir. I laughed so hard I cried…but I feel sorry for the poor little fella.

Report on the Civil Partnership

Wednesday, February 15th, 2006

We’ve been and gone and done it, yesterday, at Southwark Registry Office.

There are some photos and a little chronology of the day’s events behind the cut.

We began the day quietly, with a lot of reflection and getting ready for the effort. I booked the restaurant for dinner afterwards, HWMBO and I got the groceries (with me walking very slowly to and from the shopping centre), and Paul Sears, our US houseguest, giving us moral support. At 2 the people carrier turned up and we all boarded. The cast (besides us) was:

Paul, Ethel King (witness 1), Mark Cato (witness 2), and Rob (Mark’s partner).

We got there, and found that the waiting room was on the first floor (=second floor for USans). I had to very carefully get up the stairs, and wait.

The waiting room was pretty spare, but here we are:

and here’s a close-up of Ethel, who is a fellow parishioner of ours at St. Matthew’s, and a real live wire:

The registrar ushered us into her office and explained the procedure, while we sat there somewhat nervously. We had to sign a form, and then our witnesses signed the form and the certificate, and finally the registrar signed the form. We got to keep the form and the certificate. So, I signed:

and then HWMBO:

While we signed, we had to repeat a declaration on the form, and my voice broke during the signing. This was something I thought I would never get the opportunity of doing in my lifetime, and here I was, doing it.

Now the witnesses: first Ethel:

and then Mark:

and then the Registrar makes it official:

Our reaction?


Down two staircases, very carefully:


and then back home for a mini-party. At 6 we walked (again, very slowly, to the Pizzeria Castello, where we got the comic waiter (yet again) fishing for tips. No pics of him, but one of us:

and one of Paul, which I love, as it captures his essential sense of fun!

Home again for cake and bed. I woke up with slightly high blood sugar, from the stress and the sliver of cake I had. But it was all worth it. I can’t tell you how happy we both are now, and how thankful that our good friends could be here to share it with us. I’m even more thankful that the heart attack last week was not so debilitating that it prevented me from going ahead with this. The staff at St. Thomas’s were good enough to ensure that I was alive and kicking (if weakly) for the great event.

Now we have the task of living the rest of our lives together.

Thanks to everyone who sent us cards or good wishes yesterday (especially John Song and Caff, you know who you are! Also Jane Saw, who called this morning from Los Angeles.) We appreciate the love and support we’ve received.

Today’s saintly URL

Wednesday, February 15th, 2006

If you want to find out what very appropriate actress is being considered to play the central character in the upcoming biopic of Mother Teresa, click here. But be afraid, be very afraid.

I forgot to say…

Monday, February 13th, 2006

in my previous post, that HWMBO has been absolutely wonderful during this whole episode. I’m sure that everyone took that for granted, but in reading the previous post I came across as a self-centred twit in a way, only caring about what was happening to me. While it was dreadful, I’m sure it was just as dreadful for HWMBO, but he was there for me within minutes of Mark calling him from the emergency room. He visited every day, and unquestioningly carried out my requests (Feed me! Bring the newspaper! Bring books! Please kiss me!) and made it at least bearable to be in that dreadful place. He’s taken charge of my diet, now, and we will be eating fish twice a week whether I like it or not. We will be going to get Civil Partnershipped tomorrow, and he’s stood by me through the whole thing. No one could ask for a better partner.

I just wanted to make sure I said it.

This was the week that almost wasn’t

Sunday, February 12th, 2006

I had a heart attack last Tuesday. Here’s the story:

Last Sunday evening we were coming home from Heathrow and I was tugging my luggage out of the Underground. I felt a bit of discomfort but paid it no mind.

Tuesday morning I got up, made breakfast, and sent HWMBO off to work and sat down to do the email and Usenet. At 9:30 I felt a crushing pain in my chest, something like the discomfort one feels when one gulps water fast and it stays in your esophagus for a while. It didn’t go away. I called my friend Mark from across the street and he came over, called the ambulance, and that was basically the end of my week.

We went to St. Thomas’s Hospital, which is the primary cardiac care centre for most of southern England. This is a good thing, as normally one would have been taken to another hospital, from which one would have been transferred to St. Thomas’s. In A&E they evaluated me, and decided to perform an immediate angioplasty and put in a stent, all of which they did. The angioplasty flattens the plaque on the arterial wall against the artery so that the pathway is opened again. A stent looks like a tube made of chicken wire, very tiny. That is inserted to hold the plaque in place and medication is imbued in the stent to prevent clots from forming around the stent. All this was performed on Valium and then I got a shot of morphine, which helped me to understand why addicts like heroin so much. By 12:30 I was in the CCU (Cardiac Care Unit, for intensive care after heart surgery or heart attacks).

The rest of the week was one boring lot of minutes, hours, and days. Luckily the angioplasty (which starts from a tube inserted in your groin and threaded into your heart) left no bruises or scars, and most of the tubes and spigots they put in were taken out by Friday. They were taking blood sugar, blood pressure, and the like every hour in the CCU, and 5 times a day on the regular cardio ward, to which I was transferred on Friday morning.

Had visitors: the Area Dean, the Archdeacon of Southwark, several chaplains, my Rector, HWMBO, our houseguest, and a fellow parishioner. Lots of cards and stuff from friends (some from America!!) I did find out through my sister’s card that my brother and sister-in-law have separated (so some sad news too). Got cards from my Masonic brothers too, which was a very nice thing indeed.

So now I’m back home, with lots of email to look at, time to rest and relax before Tuesday’s Civil Partnership ceremony, time to think before I begin rehab, time to be grateful that this wasn’t the Big One that has done for so many people in the past.

Missed all my lj friends, too! Glad to be back!

Brokeback Mountain Weekly Grocery Lists for Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist, Summer, 1963

Sunday, February 12th, 2006

Beans, Bacon, Coffee, Whiskey

Beans, Ham, Coffee, Whiskey

Beans al fresca, Thin-sliced Bacon, Hazelnut Coffee, Sky vodka & Tanqueray gin, K-Y gel

Beans en salade, Pancetta, Coffee (espresso grind), 5-6 bottles best Chardonnay, 2 tubes K-Y gel

Fresh Fava beans, Jasmine rice, Prosciutto, approx. 8 ounces, thinly sliced, Medallions of veal, Porcini mushrooms, 1/2 pint of heavy whipping cream, 1 Cub Scout uniform, size 42 long, 5-6 bottles French Bordeaux (Estate Reserve), 1 extra large bottle Astro-glide

Yukon Gold potatoes, Heavy whipping cream, Asparagus (very thin), Organic Eggs, Spanish Lemons, Gruyere cheese (well aged), Crushed Walnuts, Arborio Rice for Risotto, Arugula, Clarified Butter, Extra Virgin Olive oil, Pure Balsamic vinegar, 6 yards white silk organdy, 6 yards pale ivory taffeta, 3 Cases of Dom Perignon Masters Reserve, Large tin Crisco

My first post back in London: a joke

Monday, February 6th, 2006

I was happy.

My girlfriend and I had been dating for over a year, and so we decided to get married. My parents helped us in every way. My friends encouraged me.

And my girlfriend? She was a dream!

There was only one thing bothering me, very much indeed. That one thing was her younger brother.

My prospective brother-in-law was twenty years of age and a very cute young man. One day little brother called and asked me to come over to check the wedding invitations.

He was alone when I arrived. He whispered to me that soon I was to be married, and he had feelings and desires for me that he couldn’t overcome and didn’t really want to overcome. He told me that he wanted to make love to me just once before I got married and committed my life to his sister.

I was in total shock and couldn’t say a word.

He said, “I’m going upstairs to my bedroom, and if you want to go ahead with it just come up and get me.”

I was stunned. I was frozen in shock as I watched him go up the stairs.

I stood there for a moment, then turned and went straight to the front door. I opened the door, stepped out of the house, and walked straight towards my car.

My future father-in-law was standing outside. With tears in his eyes he hugged me and said,

“We are very happy that you have passed our little test. We could not ask for better man for our daughter. Welcome to the family.”

The moral of this story is:

Always keep your condoms in the car.

Seen in <lj user=”urban-bohemian”>’s journal

Thursday, February 2nd, 2006

is this comment on the State of the Union speech.