Archive for August, 2007

Time, ladies and gentlemen

Friday, August 31st, 2007

For around a century people could find out the time by calling a phone number. But in 48 states of the US, this has stopped. Now, it’s about to stop in California.

At the tone, it will be the end of an era.

Today’s Political Advertisement

Friday, August 31st, 2007

…is (allegedly) from Idaho’s Senior Senator, Mr. Foot Tapper.

Today’s Funny Encounter

Friday, August 31st, 2007

My work mobile phone just went off…I answered, and a gentleman asked for me, and started into a spiel for placing someone here at TCS. I stopped him in the middle and said, “Sorry, I’m not the person to whom you should be speaking.” He asked me whether I knew who the proper person for him to speak to was. I replied, “Haven’t a clue.”

His response: “Kevin Taclue? Could you spell that please?”

Of course, I should have let him call reception and ask for Kevin Taclue, but not being a total sadist, I repeated myself, “Haven’t a clue” and he finally got it. I hung up laughing.

Yesterday’s Job Interview

Friday, August 31st, 2007

I took a day off (indistinguishable from most workdays these days) and went to a job interview yesterday. The company is in Ealing, West London, and produces software that runs their customers’ online businesses–some large retailers that most of you UKans would recognise are their customers.

I got to the area around 10am for an 11am interview, so took the opportunity to walk around the area; it’s quite interesting with some malls, retail, and a large South Asian population. Transport is really good, with two Tube lines, a mainline trainline station, and lots of buses laid on.

Took a breath mint, and then went up to the office, which was, well, very spare. Obviously they put their money in their people rather than in plush surroundings.

The woman who interviewed me was very matter of fact, but let me do most of the talking (on the theory, perhaps, that people who are allowed to do most of the talking end up hanging themselves). The position is titled “QA Manager”, and it would involve, initially, supervising two Test Managers and a large number of testers both in Ealing and in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I’d be responsible for “quality”, whatever that is. We seemed to establish a rapport, especially when I talked about my Your Baby’s Ugly theory of bug reporting and how managers need to smooth the path for the people who work for them and make their jobs easier (something that few managers do, it seems). I also asked her two questions from the Chief Happiness Officer’s blog about happiness at work:

1) What

Today’s Credit Card URL

Friday, August 31st, 2007

Many of us have lots of credit cards, store loyalty cards, and the like, fattening our wallets. This product, about to be produced, claims to slim your wallet by allowing you to use one card to imitate all the other cards you have.

However, if we’re talking about risks here, you have to share the characteristics of your cards with an outside agency, and keep the information in a wallet-sized device, accessible through fingerprint recognition. Imagine being frogmarched to the local ATM and forced to imitate all your cards for cash by swiping your (still-living-but-barely) finger on the device.



Friday, August 31st, 2007

This iz mah kitteh.

Dreams with mandolins

Friday, August 31st, 2007

I was dreaming that someone else (I can’t remember who) and I were preparing a meal al fresco somewhere or other. I recall seeing cases of wine dug into the side of a hill, presumably to keep them cool. The other person was preparing salad, and asked me to find bowls. While I was looking for bowls, I saw a mandolin (the musical instrument) lying on the ground, and then I woke up.

I realised that yesterday, when reading thegrauniad Weekend magazine (I’m a bit late…) I read a recipe that required thinly sliced cucumbers; it said that “if you don’t have a mandoline, slicing very thinly with a knife will have to do”. (A mandoline, for the non-culinary, is a flat utensil with a blade that allows you to thinly slice things such as onions or cucumbers by sliding them down the surface over the blade.)

Amazing how your subconscious mind makes these connections, even if your conscious mind doesn’t.

Today’s Sancified Air Travel URL

Thursday, August 30th, 2007

I figured that the new “Vatican Airlines”, which is a charter air service to places like Lourdes run out of the Vatican, would have severe difficulties when they had their first air accident. But they’ve had some trouble due to international regulations that may scupper them even faster than a crash.

Vatican Air: An airline with invisible means of support.

More on Senator Foot-Tapper

Thursday, August 30th, 2007

One of my LJ friends has commented on Senator Foot Tapper’s troubles; I replied, and he has replied to me. I won’t identify him (although you could probably find out who it is) but the exchange is screened so what I would say is this:

Most gay Democrats do not nowadays have to resort to cottaging in order to have gay sex. There have been instances in the past (a black staff assistant to President Lyndon Johnson was outed many years ago, I believe) but none recently.

Entrapment is not a happy thing. However, all that being said, a goodly number of those who cottage are doing so because they are married heterosexually and think they have no other outlet. The solution to that is not to cottage, it’s to be honest with your spouse and come out of the closet. For a Democrat, that might not be too difficult. For a conservative Republican who has a record of voting for such things as the Defense of Marriage Act, coming out of the closet will be difficult if not impossible.

Schadenfreude is not a pleasant thing to have, or to have to have. I suppose that someday someone might have some on my behalf. But Republicans are nearly all vile and evil on the subject of sexual morality, something like John Major proclaiming his “Back to Basics” campaign while he, his Cabinet, and his MPs were busily shagging each other (in John Major’s case, for Americans reading this, he was shagging a former minister Edwina Currie) or other people. This kind of campaign invariably turns on its creator when the sexual antics going on behind the scenes become public knowledge, as they often do.

There are Democrats who voted for the Defense of Marriage Act. If any of them were entrapped in this way, I would expect them to do the right thing and resign.

Oh, and if this were the only time that Senator Foot Tapper had been identified as homosexual, I might be more lenient. He has consistently been identified with casual public sex, especially with an incident in Union Station in Washington DC a while back. You’d think that those stories might have given him pause; they didn’t. He could have gotten rent boys who would be professionally silent. My conclusion is that he’s continued this because he enjoys the frisson of danger and has no consideration for his family, his reputation, or his constituents.

Oh, and if Sen. Foot Tapper voted to convict Bill Clinton for lying about his sexual activities with Monica Lewinsky, he’s even a bigger hypocrite than I thought he was (I’m sure he did).

All in all, a very sad case indeed. Pressure is mounting on him to resign, and if he were a British MP or minister, he’d already have been told to consider his position.

And even more about Senator Foot Tapper

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

…can be found here. I’m loving this.

More about the Senior Senator from Idaho (R)

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

He has stated that he is not gay, and here’s a response to that.

Truer words were never spoken.

Today’s Responsible Drinker URL

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

Thanks to Across the Board, we have this commercial, which may unsettle you as much as it does me…

Today’s Papal URL

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007

One doesn’t normally want to make excessive fun of those who believe odd things, but the followers of Pope Pius XIII (yes, that’s XIII, not XII) are convinced that only he is the true Pontiff, bringing the Roman Catholic Church back to the true Catholic path.

I recently came across his site again, and His Holiness is now busily upgrading his residence in Washington State with a library.

Here is a picture of HH assisting in the work (don’t forget to read the caption), and you may, once you see this picture, wish to trawl through the rest of the site, starting with the home page.

Another interesting photo of a very versatile Pontiff is here.

HH seems to have gone through several cardinals (he only has six, and four of them are cardinals in petto), but they all know who they are so that when the next conclave happens (His Holiness is 89 years old, so it won’t be long delayed) they’ll be able to get together and vote.

I am presuming that it won’t be in the Sistine Chapel.

Today’s Dodgy Politician URL

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007

It seems that Senator Larry Craig, Idaho (R), has pleaded guilty to some dodgy conduct in a restroom Minneapolis St. Paul’s airport. You can guess what that conduct might be. Craig, who is 62 years old and married with children, is on holiday and not commenting. Who knew that the first gay senator would be a Republican?

Weekend so far…

Monday, August 27th, 2007

…has been quite placid.

On Saturday we decided to go to Tate Britain for the photography exhibition. As usual, for an exhibition that is about to close (our bad, as we always vow not to wait until the last minute to see something but somehow always do), it was mobbed. The fact that many of the items were small, with long captions that need to be read, meant that there was quite a mob at each photo/picture. A very cute man with cutoff jeans and flip flops and a great tan was ahead of us most of the time, and, frankly, I probably looked more at him than at most of the exhibits. As it was British photography from the mid-1800’s to today, much of it had cultural overtones and resonances that I could not entirely understand, not having been here as a youngster. There was a pictorial of the area around the Elephant in the mid-1940’s that was quite interesting, though. I suppose I should take some pictures before the whole thing goes up the spout, as it’s apt to do shortly.

We then walked to St. James’s Park, having thoughtfully brought a blanket to sit on, our iPods to listen to, and books and newspapers to read. We took some pictures along the way:

We went by the new Home Office building on Marsham Street, an energy-efficient building that looks like some sort of defensive wall with openings for gun emplacements (perhaps quite appropriate). The sign is nearly invisible, as it’s embossed letters on a shiny background. You need to get really close to discern the letters.

We then continued walking past the old “Public Baths”, given to a grateful populace by the local Church of England parish; it’s now some sort of religious centre, where now sins can be washed away by faith, if the sign in the window is to be believed.

and the dedication plaque as well:

Getting to the end of the street, we saw Westminster Abbey as tourists.

and HWMBO wanted a pictures in an alley with interesting shadows, just by the European Union representative office.

In 1995, my Christmas Letter was accompanied by a less artful picture of me standing under this street sign. Recreating the scene 12 years later, here’s a much better view.

When we got to the park, we sat in a spot just off the Mall, and I took a picture of the Eye. I discovered that my exposure setting was much too high to take pictures of such things well (the structure disappears in the sunlight) and, by lowering the exposure, I did a much better job:

A very pretty pair of young women perched next to us, applied makeup (perhaps they were going out on the town later), ate, read, and generally made merry until a park attendant came and demanded rent for the deck chairs they were sitting in.

They then moved away, exposing what they’d left behind. I do wish people wouldn’t litter like that, expecially since there are plentiful trash baskets around.

Some young men were walking by, and their backs seemed to present a challenge for photography.

As the afternoon progressed, people moved around to capture the last few rays of sun on their Vitamin-D-deprived skin.

We then walked up to Kingsway and ate at Belgo, a part of a Belgian restaurant chain. HWMBO had chicken and drank an apple beer of which he is fond, and I had a Swiss burger and a Hoegaarten. We walked home from there, and boy did my legs ache on Sunday.

On Sunday, after a reasonable Eucharist for a change, with Sheila, a priest at a neighbouring parish, presiding, I came home and realised that I was dog-tired. So we stayed home Sunday, fed the squirrels, and rested. In the afternoon HWMBO watched the 1979 remake of “A Lady Vanishes“, and didn’t like it very much. I made a meatloaf for dinner, and after dinner we watched the 1938 Hitchcock version, which HWMBO thought greatly superior to the remake. As I didn’t watch the remake, I must confess I did enjoy Hitchcock’s version quite a bit. At the very end Victoria Station appears, and except for the antique trains and the absence of the awful new concession stands, it’s the same now as it was then.

Just before retiring I made our usual perimeter check of the house, and turned on the outside light to look at the back garden. Lo and behold, someone’s cat was on our windowsill, meowing to be let in and fed (I think). HWMBO and I conferred, and I thought it would be better not to let the cat in, as it probably did belong to someone.

Today we’re off to East London this afternoon to see our friend Rosemary compete in a dressage competition, and have dinner with her. The wonder of this entire weekend is that it has been sunny and almost cloudless, although it is a Bank Holiday and, traditionally, English Bank Holidays are damp (if not actually bucketing down) and cloudy and cold.

Long may it continue!

Perhaps the most persuasive argument against same-sex marriage

Saturday, August 25th, 2007

Thanks to for this.

Just got an email from the Diocese of Southwark…

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007

…and it seems that there is a vacancy on the Church of England’s Audit Committee, as an appointee of the Archbishops’ Council.

As I am currently a member of the Southwark Diocesan Board of Finance, and its Audit Committee, I think I’m reasonably well-qualified to do that job nationally. But, I’m already over-meetinged.

I think, on balance, that I won’t apply, but, boy, is it tempting. In three or four years’ time, there will be elections to General Synod and I think I would rather aim for a seat in General Synod if I’m going to take on more committee work. In that instance I would probably resign from the DBF and Audit Committee, and perhaps as Lay Chair of the Deanery (if I still hold those offices in four years).

Decisions, decisions.

Deporting convicted criminals from the UK

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007

For the UK-challenged, about 10 years ago a head teacher (=US “principal”) Philip Lawrence was stabbed to death outside his school by a teenager who was in a fight that the teacher was trying to break up. Learco Chindano, who has dual Italian and Filipino citizenship, was sentenced to a minimum term of 10 years and will be eligible for parole next year.

Chindano came to the UK as a young boy, lived his whole life here, has no available relatives in Italy or the Philippines, and has gotten an education in prison. He has been praised by the prison system, is not seen as a risk to reoffend, and is likely to continue education or learn a trade when he is released.

According to EU law, Chindano, as an EU citizen who has lived in the UK for more than ten years, may not be deported when released. This is not under human rights legislation, it’s under EU citizenship legislation. However, the government recently came under criticism for not trying harder to deport foreign prisoners upon their release from prison, so in this very high profile case they sued to be allowed to deport Chindano next year when (and if) he is paroled.

The decision came down yesterday, and the government lost.

There has been quite a bit of criticism of the ruling, and the usual suspects (mostly Tories) have gotten up on their hind legs to denounce the European Union (which they are entitled to do in connection with this case, as it’s EU law that is cited), and the Human Rights Act (which they are not entitled to do as this act is not the basis for the decision). Mr. Lawrence’s widow describes herself as “unutterably depressed” but blames the Human Rights Act, wrongly. The government is about to appeal on the basis that Chindano only spent 9 years here before his conviction, however there is no provision in EU law that allows the time spent in prison to be discounted when calculating the ten years residence necessary to forbid deportation.

I realise that at least one reader of this blog will not agree with me (hi, K***h!) but I am depressed at the turn this has taken. I do not believe that prison is merely warehousing for punishment. This guy could not even write or read his own name when he went to prison; he has now taken GCSE’s in English, art, and something else, maybe math. He will have spent ten years of his life in prison (not a picnic, from all accounts) but is emerging as a person who can sustain a job or further education and contribute something to society. Had the person he stabbed been another gang member, there would be no question of his right to remain here and no public outcry. Are offenders to be sentenced according to the eminence or innocence of their victims? Every human life, not only yours and mine, but Mr. Lawrence’s and Chindano’s, has an equal worth and is equally a loss when it comes to or is brought to an end.

So, what to do?

First, the media has a responsibility to ensure that the facts of the case are widely disseminated, and to correct, firmly, anyone (including Mrs. Lawrence and the idiot politicians) who asserts that the Human Rights Act has anything to do with this decision.

Second, a debate has to occur on exactly what we intend prison to be: a punishment only, or also an opportunity for rehabilitation back into society. It can be both, or it can be punishment only. If it is punishment, then the punishment ends when the sentence is served. If both, then rehabilitation should also include an admission by society that the offender can emerge and have a decent chance at a job and a life.

I offer my sincerest condolences to Mrs. Lawrence: the loss of her husband is horrible, and no amount of apology, support, or time will make up for that loss. Neither will trying to break the law to wreak even more vengeance on Learco Chindano. To him I offer encouragement, admonition, and condolences, too. The pounding he’s getting and will continue to get from the media might break him yet again; he has been broken, and partially patched up. I hope that with the rest of his life he will try to make up for the loss and the pain that he caused. Go ye, and sin no more.


In a corollary to the Chindano/Lawrence case, another convicted felon has won a case against the government for keeping him incarcerated unfairly. As a condition for his eventual release, the trial court required that he go through a particular course aimed at assisting him to keep from offending. The institution in which he was incarcerated does not offer this course, and his efforts to get the course were not successful. When his sentence was served, the government refused to release him on the grounds that he had not taken the course. He sued, and the courts held that he was being unfairly incarcerated and ordered his release. It is only common sense that conditions for release of a prisoner must be offered to that prisoner and be achievable. Otherwise, we have indefinite imprisonment without parole, Catch-22, and tyranny.

Today’s Gourmet Recipe URL

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007

Whenever I go to my gmail account to look at and delete the spam that’s accumulated there (I only use the address occasionally), gmail throws up a link to a recipe that contains SPAM[TM] at the top of the window. I curiously followed the link one day, and saw many more recipes in the list. None of them are particularly appetising, but this one, which seems to have won a prize, may cause me to skip lunch today, as I feel very unwell after merely reading it.

Today do-it-yourself URL

Tuesday, August 21st, 2007

When using superglue, you should be careful not to get it on your skin, as this performer at the Edinburgh Fringe found out, to his cost. I wish they’d taken pictures.

Today’s Ursine Menu Item URL

Monday, August 20th, 2007

And yet another one ends up as bear scat. Darwin Awards all ’round!

Visit to Tate Modern

Saturday, August 18th, 2007

We went to Tate Modern this afternoon to see the Dali exhibit, and also the Cities exhibition. We found the Cities exhibition to be overcrowded (it was free, natch) and jam-packed with information. If you want to go, go at a time when the tourists are elsewhere (Friday Changing of the Guard, for example).

The Dali exhibition was fine–however, there were too many people and too many items to see. Dali’s paintings are very detailed, and to get all you can get out of them takes a long time. You don’t have that with the press of many hundreds of people who want to stare at the paintings too. The films were interesting (Destino, especially) but again, overcrowded.

This evening we went to a French restaurant with Alex and Bob; I enjoyed the steak et frites, and HWMBO had fish (natch!). He exclaimed over the quality and the portion size, and gave it 8 out of 10. We dined in Soho, where Alex and Bob live, and bemoaned the fact that it’s likely to be so wet tomorrow that no one will have a good time. Next weekend looks good, though–for a Bank Holiday weekend that is almost a first in Britain!

Oh, and I finished the sermon early this afternoon…it may not be my best sermon I’ve ever preached, but it still says something and I hope that people will respond to it.

But the next time I agree to preach a sermon on a Marian feast, please shoot me.

Oh, and I forgot to say…

Friday, August 17th, 2007

…that I’m slowly adding tags to all my posts. It’s quite painful, but interesting to read each post I’ve made in my journal in the last three years and decide what tags to put on it. LochJournal doesn’t have any mechanism to add tags to a post, so when making a new post I have to edit it in LiveJournal to add the tags. Bummer. However, I’ve decided that it would be a good thing if, for example, I could bring up all my sermon posts, or all the posts on Singapore, and the like.

It will take a while, and I will announce the joyous news here when it’s done.

I may be in deep trouble…

Friday, August 17th, 2007

…because I am nearly totally blocked on my sermon for Sunday. The major text is the account of the Visitation in Luke 1, including the Magnificat. I’m thinking in terms of difficult vs. impossible. I have about a page done, but I’m not happy about it and I would be OK with scrapping what I’ve got so far.

I went to Desperate Preacher, but only ended up looking at many pages of spam for Viagra and the like, as the discussions of the reading tapered off and the spam took over.

I shall sleep on it. Meanwhile, any thoughts welcome if they happen to hit you, and I trust that I shall awake tomorrow morning with the sermon written in my mind. Prayers for inspiration welcome.

Heck, inspiration welcome, if you have some to spare.

Yoga class at the gym

Wednesday, August 15th, 2007

Those of you who’ve met me know that I’m not in the best of health or shape. But every time I go to Singapore. our friend BK, bless his cotton socks, says that I ought to take up yoga. I’ve hesitated up to now, mainly because of the diabetes and the fact that I’m nearly 55. But my gym has just built a room where classes can be held, and they had a yoga “taster” class for free tonight. So I thought I’d take them up on it.

I got to the room, and about 5 other guys were there, plus the instructor. Suffice it to say, I stretched a lot of things that haven’t been stretched in a long time, I did manage most of the exercises, and I was sweating like a pig by the time we were finished. The instructor was most patient, and “allowed” us to reduce what we did if we weren’t able to do the entire thing. For example, there was one exercise where we were to balance on one foot; I couldn’t do that no matter how hard I tried. We had an hour of exercise, and I did get a lot out of it.

Afterwards, in the shower, I struck up a conversation with the instructor and when I mentioned that I had little feeling in my feet he said, “Aha! That’s why you couldn’t balance on one foot.” I’d never thought of that. I will really need to work on that somehow.

Anyway, I will try to go to the class at least once a week. The instructor was very patient, he worked with us, and those of us who were older or not as lithe were praised just as much as the others were. He is a really kind and good instructor and I hope I can keep up with him, at least just a little.

So I’ll look on the glass as half full (I’m still able to do most of the yoga exercises) rather than as half empty (I have been brought face to face with my limitations yet again).

Today’s Floral URL

Tuesday, August 14th, 2007

If you want to send someone not your spouse flowers, you might want to read this cautionary tale.

Today’s Patriotic URL

Tuesday, August 14th, 2007

Stolen shamelessly from soc.motss, we have Abe Lincoln’s notes for the Gettysburg Address, if it were given today.

So you think that in the UK you can get away with insults…

Monday, August 13th, 2007

…even if only on a T-shirt? This guy doesn’t think so any longer. What a travesty…don’t the police have anything better to do?

Karl Rove to quit at the end of August

Monday, August 13th, 2007

…to spend more time with his family.

I guess he’s done enough damage to lots of other families.

Today’s Religious Post, from <lj user=”shelbycub”>

Saturday, August 11th, 2007

And thanks to for coming up with this overheard in the supermarket religious moment.

Today’s Mildly Obscene URL

Friday, August 10th, 2007

Automated password suggestions can be, as the Register says, something of a crapshoot. In that vein, take a look at this.

For <lj user=”trawnapanda”>

Thursday, August 9th, 2007

This story tells of a female panda who just gave birth to twins. However, the notable quote at the beginning of paragraph seven might give paws to those wishing to be panda-identified…

To all my Singaporean friends!

Wednesday, August 8th, 2007

I know it’s been difficult lately, with all the IndigNation difficulties with permissions denied and events cancelled, but I wish you all a very happy National Day today (August 9). May you have a good day off from work, and may you all work for a happy, prosperous, and just Singapore.

The tat surrounding the Simpsons movie is compelling

Wednesday, August 8th, 2007

If you go here, you too can be Simpsonised (or Simpsonized, if you live in the US)

I was.

You can take the boi out of New York…

Wednesday, August 8th, 2007
You Are 96% NYC

Congratulations, you are truly a New Yorker. You’ve seen it all, and you’re more than a little cynical.
How NYC Are You?

Bears defecate in woods, and…

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

…this headline just about sums it up:

Pope Swims Tiber Again

This is about retired Bishop Clarence Pope, of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, Texas. He became a Roman Catholic several years ago, but returned to the Episcopal Church a few years later when Rome told him that, no, he couldn’t become a RC bishop (Mrs. Pope was a bit of an obstacle there, as well as the fact that the RCs didn’t need any more bishops in the area). Well, as the headline indicates, he’s done it again. Presumably the RCs haven’t changed their position (Mrs. Pope is still in the land of the living) but now-Mr. Pope has decided to swim anyway.

I do hope he remembers his way back. This wandering sheep strays regularly.

Mackerel-snapper news

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

I wasn’t aware that Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, emeritus RC Archbishop of Paris, had died, but of course Whispers in the Loggia is my source of breaking RC news.

What interested me is the Jerusalem Post headline on the story about the cardinal’s death. Pretty tart stuff.

Brighton Pride

Saturday, August 4th, 2007

We decided to go to Brighton Pride today; I only realised it was this weekend on Thursday, so we made quick arrangements to go with our friend Singapore Alex and his partner Bob, and their two friends.

The day did not start auspiciously; I woke up at 5:30 am and decided I’d better get up and take my diuretic so that I wouldn’t be caught short on the train. Did that, and we left for Waterloo around 9:15 am. Now those of you who know London may be aware that Waterloo is not one of the usual stations from which to catch a train to Brighton–those would be London Bridge and Victoria. But Alex’s friend had gotten a four for the price of two deal on railway tickets, but he had to start from Waterloo. So, we got on the 9:50 to Clapham Junction, then waited for his friends (who needed to catch up). We rushed to another platform at Clapham Junction when it was announced that the next arriving train for Victoria was so full no one would be able to get on. We got a train to East Croydon and rushed about there to two different platforms until we got the correct one to catch a non-full Brighton train. I had to stand all the way. I was pooped, and we hadn’t even gotten there.

So when we alighted, Alex et al. ran for the parade, but we started searching for a restaurant for a leisurely lunch. We found one, called “Ha Ha” (no jokes about the cuisine; my burger was OK, not a masterpiece, but edible, and his pasta was fine). We got a good vantage point from which to see the boyz walking by, which is always nice. However, we were outside, and the sun was strong and bright. I ended up with a bit of a burn (I was wearing a hat!) and am a bit lightheaded–could be the Manhattan I just finished, or heatstroke.

After lunch, we walked up to Preston Park, where the actual fair was held. It was absolutely mobbed! I overheard someone saying that the police had estimated 150,000 would be there. It took about 3/4 hour to get into the park from downtown, but we enjoyed ourselves. We found a shady spot and put down our sheet and sat around.

I did some shopping, and bought a denim kilt. Pics to come. It’s a proper kilt, not the rather woebegone thing I had 10 years ago. It feels good to wear and I suspect I’ll be wearing it around the house as well as out and about (or “oot and aboot” as the Scots say) for parties and Pride events in the future.

We walked around Preston Park a bit, but it was so crowded that we decided to walk back to the seafront. There were loads of straight couples there; while I wouldn’t say they shouldn’t come, the fact thqt gay men and lesbians know how to throw a good party means that the party does get crashed from time to time. There were tons of kids of straight couples around, young teens with their (opposite sex) girl- or boyfriends showing off their straight privilege by walking hand in hand or kissing with lots of tongue.

We went back downtown; I bought two pairs of flip-flops that looked comfortable and well-fitting. I’m wearing the kilt and the flip-flops now.

We walked back to the train station, got a seat on a Thameslink train, and came home. Lovely day.

Some other thoughts:

— People who wear old and tattered “Come out, come out, wherever you are”, or “No one knows I’m a lesbian” T-shirts should be warned that their 21st century membership card will be torn up and thrown over them like confetti. The fights we’re fighting now are not for the right to come out of the closet, they’re for the right to marry, the right to walk down the street hand-in-hand or to kiss our partner in a public place without harassment. We seem to have special license from the straights to do it on Pride day; we need to claim the authority to do it 365 days a year.

— Guys who never take their shirts off in the sun at any other time seem to do so with abandon on sunny Pride day. They will have their comeuppance when they try to sleep on their backs tonight.

— Brighton must be enormously tolerant. There was litter all over the place, men urinating wherever they saw fit, and traffic on one of the major North-South streets stopped and the rest of the city came to a virtual standstill. Everyone seemed happy to see us tho.

— The number of organic cooked food stalls has increased from none to multitudes this year. All to the good. Those hot dog/hamburger stands that cook in grease left over from their last oil change are there too, but healthy alternatives make is less likely that people will have to resort to eating the guck they sell.

— The type of stalls available has changed. It used to be mostly folk crafts, jewelry, piercing and piercing jewelry, and Terence Higgins Trust in the stalls. Now there are many other types of stalls selling things such as life insurance, other financial products, real estate, etc. etc. and so on and so forth. There will be retirement home sales in some of them very soon, I suspect.

I’m too tired to go on.

The link referred to in my previous post…

Friday, August 3rd, 2007

…may have been stopped by the Singapore proxy server. So, for my Singapore friends, here is the text:

SINGAPORE: Singapore’s censors have banned an exhibition of photographs depicting gay men and women kissing, a gay rights activist said Wednesday, calling the move “absurd.”

The city-state’s Media Development Authority denied the exhibition’s organizers a license on the grounds that the photographs “promote a homosexual lifestyle,” Alex Au, founder of a Singapore gay rights group, People Like Us, told The Associated Press.

The exhibition, entitled “Kissing,” is a selection of 80 posed shots of same-sex kissing between fully clothed models, said Au, who shot the photographs.

“Kissing” was canceled after organizers received a letter from the Media Development Authority on Monday saying it was rejecting their application for a license to hold the exhibition, Au said.

The media regulator confirmed in an e-mailed statement it rejected Au’s application for a license to hold the exhibition.

“Presently, homosexual content is allowed in the appropriate context but it should not be of a promotional or exploitative nature,” Amy Tsang, deputy director of media content, said in the statement.

“The proposed exhibition … which focuses mainly on homosexual kissing is deemed to promote a homosexual lifestyle, and cannot be allowed.”

Tsang said, however, that authorities have previously allowed “brief same-sex kissing” in stage plays and adult-rated films.

The exhibition was part of “Indignation,” a two-week gay pride series of forums, film screenings, lectures and other events that was scheduled to start later Wednesday.

“It’s absurd to think that gay people do not also kiss, and that representation of such a reality would be subversive,” Au said. “There is a very stereotypical representation of gays and lesbians as deviants and I think it is important to correct the stereotype.”

Au added that in place of the canceled exhibition, organizers have planned a talk to be accompanied by a slideshow of the photographs. Indoor gatherings do not require police permits.

Under Singapore law, gay sex is deemed “an act of gross indecency,” punishable by a maximum of two years in jail. Authorities have banned gay festivals and censored gay films, saying homosexuality should not be advocated as a lifestyle choice. Despite the official ban on gay sex, there have been few prosecutions.

“Kissing” banned in Singapore

Thursday, August 2nd, 2007

You may recall that while I was in Singapore, I participated in Alex Au’s “Kissing” project: I went to a photo shoot where I kissed and was kissed by two very handsome young men and was photographed by Alex for an exhibition he was planning.

Well, the Singapore government has banned it, and the news has been going around the world. So I’m famous vicariously.

I hope that I can see the pictures sometime. Maybe when I go back to Singapore.

It was a dark and stormy night…

Wednesday, August 1st, 2007

…and that means it’s time once again for the winners of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest.

They’re all worth a read, but the winner this year is particularly good:

Gerald began–but was interrupted by a piercing whistle which cost him ten percent of his hearing permanently, as it did everyone else in a ten-mile radius of the eruption, not that it mattered much because for them “permanently” meant the next ten minutes or so until buried by searing lava or suffocated by choking ash–to pee.

Jim Gleeson
Madison, WI