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Archive for October, 2010

October 17th, 2010

Dream Language

The free association in dreams can be a really fascinating thing to examine when you get a hook on it.  This morning I woke up from a dream where I was trying with no success to photograph a gay pride parade.  In the typical way of dreams that want to frustrate you, the digital SLR I was carrying absolutely refused to take the shots I was trying to take.   But what stuck in my mind after I woke up, was the enchanting use of two commonplace words.

I was standing at one end of the main street of some small city: a mashup as these dream locals usually are of several city neighborhoods I’ve lived in over the course of my life.  The parade was coming toward me in the distance and I was facing down a street with a grade that casually dipped down and then rose back up again in the distance to a point slightly higher then where I was standing.  Both sides of the street were packed with old brick buildings, like oversized row houses.  Most were shops with large glass display windows.  Narrow sidewalks lined both sides of the street, which was empty of cars for the parade.   People lined the street, watching the parade in the distance as it came toward us.

I had a good digital SLR around my neck and a camera bag with various items hanging from one shoulder.  As I tried to snap off a few shots of the people watching, and also of the parade in the distance, the camera kept failing to take the shot.  Interestingly, the camera gave me tactile feedback that the shot had failed, by way of the shutter release.  Instead of a short sharp throw and clean release, the button became heavy and mushy and then would not move.  As soon as I felt it I knew something had gone wrong.  I glanced at the digital display on the back of the camera, only to see a shot I’d taken some weeks before, still on the memory card.

Ah…thinks I…the memory card is full.  I tried erasing what was on it, not caring at that point if I’d saved the images off somewhere because I had a job to do, which was cover the pride parade.  But the card would not erase.  It was that kind of dream.  I tried reformatting it and that didn’t work.  So I ejected that one and rummaged around in my camera bag for another. But all I could find were old, low capacity cards.  I knew I couldn’t get many shots on those, but now I was getting desperate, the parade was coming closer, so I popped one in.  When I tried to take a shot with it, the camera ejected it.

I was on a main street, full of little shops.  I wondered if one of those sold memory cards.  Here’s where it got interesting.   I walked over to one of the bystanders and asked them if there was a place nearby that sold glass.  “Glass” in this dream world, apparently being the word people used for memory cards.  The guy I asked knew right away what I meant, and pointed me to a shop just a couple doors down.  I thanked my good fortune and ran over to it and ducked inside.

Inside was like an old candy store, except instead of chocolate bars there were dozens and dozens of different kinds of memory cards, all laid out in rows of trays.  There was no packaging, just the cards, by type and brand.  Most were of types I’d never seen before.  It was almost like looking a trays of loose nuts and bolts except the cards were all laid out neatly in rows.  As I looked over a particular row of cards, the proprietor of the shop, a friendly looking older guy who was standing behind the counter, told me that the glass in that particular section were all product fancy.  It was a term I immediately understood to mean second hand.

It’s interesting how the mind works.  “Product fancy” in that dream world, was when someone buys something and they take it home and it turns out it wasn’t the right size or something after all, so they bring it back and exchange it for something else that is right.  So it was merchandise returned almost immediately either without having been used or only used once.  A higher grade of second hand merchandise in other words.  “Like new”.  The term “product fancy” probably came from some dream state free conflation in my mind of two senses of the word “fancy”: something you desire, and something illusory.   I thought that was the right size but it wasn’t…

The use of “glass” for “memory card” probably came from that dream state free association of memory chips and silicon, which is what chips are made from, and silica which is the oxide of silicon glass is made from.

The dream ended as I was looking through the trays for a memory card so I don’t know if I ever found one and got the parade shots I wanted, but when it ended I was confidant they were there, that shop seemed to sell nothing but memory cards and they had hundreds of different types all laid out like candy bars in a candy store, so I probably did eventually get my shots.  That was a kinda neat world though.  Some mornings I wake up wishing I lived in the world I was just dreaming about.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Dream Language

October 11th, 2010

I’m Totally Sensitive To Your Brainwashed Homosexual Agenda Which I Oppose…

Le Dance Pathetique…as choreographed by Carl Paladino…

Un…

Now, in addition, I have a nephew…I have people working for me who are gay.

Deux…

Never had a problem with any of them…

Trois…

…never had a problem in any sense with their lifestyle…

Quatre…

…and we’ve talked about it often.

Cinq…

I talk to them about the discrimination that they suffer and I’m sensitive to it.

Six…

The discrimination that they suffer is very, very difficult and I’m totally sensitive to it.

Sept…

I want to clearly define myself. I have of no reservations about gay people at all…

Huit…

…none.

Neuf…

I feel that marriage is only between a man and a woman.

Dix…

That’s not how God created us and that’s not the example that we should be showing our children.

Onze…

I don’t want them to be brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option.

Douze…

I oppose the homosexual agenda, whether they call it marriage, civil unions or domestic partnership. Marriage is between a man and a woman – period.

  

Le Curtian…Applaus a vous…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on I’m Totally Sensitive To Your Brainwashed Homosexual Agenda Which I Oppose…

October 10th, 2010

But We Must Consider The Feelings Of The Bullies Too…

The problem with directly confronting and dealing with anti-gay bullying is apparently we have to do it in a way that doesn’t make the bullies feel like they’re doing anything wrong…

Suicide surge: Schools confront anti-gay bullying

A spate of teen suicides linked to anti-gay harassment is prompting school officials nationwide to rethink their efforts against bullying – and in the process, risk entanglement in a bitter ideological debate.The conflict: Gay-rights supporters insist that any effective anti-bullying program must include specific components addressing harassment of gay youth. But religious conservatives condemn that approach as an unnecessary and manipulative tactic to sway young people’s views of homosexuality.

It’s a highly emotional topic. Witness the hate mail – from the left and right – directed at Minnesota’s Anoka-Hennepin School District while it reviews its anti-bullying strategies in the aftermath of a gay student’s suicide…

What leaps out at you first here is the rote equivocation on the part of this mainstream reporter.  Instead of stating what is simply a fact here that religious conservatives insist young people’s views of homosexuals must remain negative, its religious conservatives condemn that approach as an unnecessary and manipulative tactic to sway young people’s views of homosexuality.  Never mind that.  Note that its hate mail when it comes both from the homophobes and people outraged at what homophobes are doing to helpless children.

Reporters can’t be taking sides after all.  Just imagine the national outrage and loathing if the news media was as carefully neutral toward Al Qaeda.  We can’t call them terrorists after all, that would be taking sides…

This in a nutshell, is why gay kids are dying.  The religious right has successfully convinced everyone that brutalizing gays is an essential part of their religious freedom. Hating Jews might raise a few eyebrows. Hating people of color might get them some frowns of disapproval. But to even question that they are and have been for decades now engaged in a systematic campaign of hate mongering, let alone question their need to hate their gay neighbor is apparently a step too far. And the consequence is that gay kids feel as though they have no friends in the adult world.  Their need for love and acceptance in this world is of no more importance then the need of bigots to spit in their faces and look the other way while their kids kick them in the stomach.  They are alone.

But if we act aggressively to protect gay kids from bullying we’re taking sides and that just wouldn’t be fair…

But at least four younger teens have killed themselves since July after being targeted by anti-gay bullying, including Justin Aaberg, 15, of Andover, Minn., who hanged himself in his room in July. His friends told his mother he’d been a frequent target of bullies mocking his sexual orientation.Five other students in his Anoka-Hennepin school district have killed themselves in the past year, and gay-rights advocates say bullying may have played a role in two of these cases as well.

Carlson, the district superintendent, lost a teenage daughter of his own in a car crash, and says he shares the anguish of the parents bereaved by suicide. He acknowledges that a controversial district policy calling for “neutrality” in classroom discussions of sexual orientation may have created an impression among some teachers, students and outsiders that school staff wouldn’t intervene aggressively to combat anti-gay bullying.

As we software engineers say, it’s not a bug, it’s a feature…

[Edited a tad…]

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)


Insomnia Random Ten…

Evan Hurst says he’s listening to Queensrÿche tonight because he’s a category-defiant gay.  When my first grade teacher called me defiant I should have insisted she prepend that term with “Category”…  Oh no Miss Kiefer…I am Category Defiant… A good way to make her hate me even more was to let her know I knew more words then the other kids…

A Random 10

(Open iTunes or your iPod app, go to your songs list, select Shuffle and list the first ten songs that pop up…)

  1. “Career March” – The Apartment, Adolph Deutsch
  2. “Sound of Thunder” – Duran Duran
  3. “Reflections of Earth – Epcot: Tapestry of Dreams, Gavin Greenaway
  4. “Hit The Ground Runnin'” – Lie To Me, Jonny Lang
  5. “Goliath” – David and Bathsheba, Alfred Newman
  6. “$100 Understanding” – Happy Ending, Michel Legrand
  7. “Jeux d’ enfants” – Bizet
  8. The Rite of Spring, Part II, The Exalted Sacrifice – Igor Stravinsky
  9. “Freedom” – The Best of Jimi Hendrix
  10. “Cutting Edge” – The Brave Little Toaster, David Newman

No kidding…one minute its Enter Sandman and the next its Wichita Lineman


[Edited a tad…]

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Insomnia Random Ten…

October 9th, 2010

There Are Some Things Google Just Can’t Give You An Answer To…

Scanning my server logs, I see someone hit my site today with the following Google search string…

why are democrats not defending themselves against republicans

I think the answer is Because they are democrats, but what do I know…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on There Are Some Things Google Just Can’t Give You An Answer To…

October 7th, 2010

It’s Your Fault We Made Your Life Suck…

Bullying, as it turns out, can literally make your brain change for the worse.  This is how bullies extract their toll on the bullied forever…

The Brain: The Switches That Can Turn Mental Illness On and Off

This month’s column is a tale of two rats. One rat got lots of attention from its mother when it was young; she licked its fur many times a day. The other rat had a different experience. Its mother hardly licked its fur at all. The two rats grew up and turned out to be very different. The neglected rat was easily startled by noises. It was reluctant to explore new places. When it experienced stress, it churned out lots of hormones. Meanwhile, the rat that had gotten more attention from its mother was not so easily startled, was more curious, and did not suffer surges of stress hormones.

The same basic tale has repeated itself hundreds of times in a number of labs. The experiences rats had when they were young altered their behavior as adults. We all intuit that this holds true for people, too, if you replace fur-licking with school, television, family troubles, and all the other experiences that children have. But there’s a major puzzle lurking underneath this seemingly obvious fact of life. Our brains develop according to a recipe encoded in our genes. Each of our brain cells contains the same set of genes we were born with and uses those genes to build proteins and other molecules throughout its life. The sequence of DNA in those genes is pretty much fixed. For experiences to produce long-term changes in how we behave, they must be somehow able to reach into our brains and alter how those genes work.

Neuroscientists are now mapping that mechanism…

This is interesting on a number of accounts.  Firstly, as a gay man, it concerns me how the question of nature verses nurture is dealt with, as it has been a trip point in the culture war for decades now.  And as it seems to be turning out more and more, it’s a combination of both.  The story here is that genes may say one thing, but the effects of the environment, the physical environment, you grow up in, can overrule them all the same…

Two families of molecules perform that kind of genetic regulation. One family consists of methyl groups, molecular caps made of carbon and hydrogen. A string of methyl groups attached to a gene can prevent a cell from reading its DNA sequence. As a result, the cell can’t produce proteins or other molecules from that particular gene. The other family is made up of coiling proteins, molecules that wrap DNA into spools. By tightening the spools, these proteins can hide certain genes; by relaxing the spools, they can allow genes to become active.

How this plays out in terms of one’s sexual orientation fascinated me less then this…

…the influence of environment doesn’t end with childhood. Recent work indicates that adult experiences can also rearrange epigenetic marks in the brain and thereby change our behavior. Depression, for example, may be in many ways an epigenetic disease. Several groups of scientists have mimicked human depression in mice by pitting the animals against each other. If a mouse loses a series of fights against dominant rivals, its personality shifts. It shies away from contact with other mice and moves around less. When the mice are given access to a machine that lets them administer cocaine to themselves, the defeated mice take more of it.

Something, probably my body’s low tolerance to intoxicants, has kept me thankfully clear of addiction.  But I know its temptations.  There are days when I think if I could only drug myself out my my misery, life would be so much better.  But my body simply won’t let me do that.  I have no escape.  Well…I have one.  But it’s one I’ve not reached for.  So far.

I have the job of my dreams.  A house of my own I never in my wildest dreams ever thought I’d have.  My dream come true car.  And I am miserable.  Single, lonely and miserable.  If you don’t have love, nothing else matters.  You can be rich.  You can be living in the lap of luxury, and if you have no one, you have nothing and you know it.  You will always know it.  And at some level I have always known my brain was stacked against me in that struggle.

I was brutalized in grade school.  It was only  by shear luck that I lived in a tiny neighborhood that was diverted to this little expansion high school in a well to do neighborhood and away from my tormentors that allowed me to have at least a good final three years of grade school.  Woodward was paradise compared to my Jr. High School years and my elementary school years were only slightly less brutal.  When I wasn’t getting beaten up by the other kids, I was getting emotionally battered by the teachers, nearly all of whom dumped me in the problem child category, simply because mom was a single divorced mother.  The few in those days who actually took an interest in me and gave me a chance to learn have always had my eternal gratitude.

Woodward, I have said time and again, was paradise…absolutely the best years of my school life.  But even paradise could not undo the damage.  It wasn’t until my senior year that I finally started peeking out of the shell my tormentors had locked me into.  And by then it was, really, too late to start figuring out that dating and mating thing.  And besides, I was a gay kid, and it was 1971.

And I’m 57 now, and still single, and if anything surprises me it’s that I’m still alive.  I really shouldn’t be.  I honestly don’t know why I am still alive.  It’s your own fault Bruce.  We had to do it to you.  You were so weird we had to.  It’s your own fault Bruce.  You need to get out more.  Friends don’t help friends find a lover, they rub it in that it’s their own fault.  People who look like that, want people who look like that.  The more things change, the more they stay the same.  Why am I still here?

[Edited a tad…]

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

October 6th, 2010

Killing The Future Of Humanity, One Child At A Time

Via Truth Wins Out

It was posted at Suicide.org, and it’s from a gay teen, aged 16, named Steven, who attempted suicide. He survived.

It’s brutal, and I would rather no gay kid reads it.  Seriously, if you’re a gay teen go look at some of the videos over at Dan Savage’s It Gets Better Project.  Because it Does get better.  You don’t need to be dealing with what I’m about to post here.  You have resources.  The Trevor Hotline is a 24-hour toll-free suicide prevention line for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, and questioning youth.  Call them at 1-866-4-U-Trevor (866-488-7386).   But seriously…go see It Gets Better.

And…I love you.  Hang in there.  There are adventures waiting for you live them.  There are people waiting in your future for you to come into their lives and make them smile and feel like they will always be loved and never be lonely again.  Your dreams are waiting for you.  Walk proudly into them.

My fellow adults should read on.  This will not be pleasant.

Read the rest of this entry »

by Bruce | Link | React! (2)


Sympathy Worth Its Weight In Gold…

After decades of demonizing gay people and blasting devotion of same-sex couples as fraudulent, Maggie Gallagher suddenly surprises everyone by announcing she thinks she has a heart

“The suicide of that teen was not only a tragedy it was a crime. The young people who violated laws out of mindless desire to bully or embarrass or whatever the heck kids do this stuff will be prosecuted and probably jailed, I hope. Nothing in the press accounts suggest the kids who did this were motivated by homophobia, and the cruelty of cyberbullying is causing teen suicides among those who are not gay, as well. I do not think the absence of gay marriage is the cause of these tragedies or its presence will resolve them. We can make this a symbol of all our other fights, or we can try to save all our kids, gay and straight, from this kind of ugly and mindless cruelty. My heart goes out to the family of the young man. God bless him and them.” – Maggie Gallagher, commenting on NOM’s blog.

Ugly mindless cruelty?  Like this…?

“A group of San Francisco first-graders took an unusual field trip to City Hall on Friday to toss rose petals on their just-married lesbian teacher – putting the public school children at the center of a fierce election battle over the fate of same-sex marriage,” the front page story by Jill Tucker begins.

In fact, the parents who decided to surprise the beloved schoolteacher didn’t put the children “at the center of a fierce election battle” – the Chronicle did for sensationalism.

According to blogger Paul Hogarth in his Oct. 24 dissection of the piece for Beyond Chron and Daily Kos (“SF Chronicle Jeopardizes Marriage Equality”), Tucker said that “the parents who organized the trip actively sought media coverage—and the paper decided on its own that it was ‘news’ enough to deserve front-page treatment.”

Since lesbian weddings were legal then, one can image that the parents might have expected any coverage to go in the back with the other wedding announcements. On Oct. 26 two aggrieved parents sent a letter to the Yes on 8 campaign and the Chronicle complaining about their children “being exploited and used as pawns” by the Yes campaign which downloaded the front page picture from the Chronicle’s website to use in their ads.

Sapphocrat, who blogs at LavenderLiberal, complained vociferously about the Chronicle’s failure to put the field trip into the larger context of the Creative Arts Charter School’s philosophy.

But the damage was done. In an in-depth interview with me after Prop 8 passed, campaign consultant Steve Smith said they were winning back the critical undecided women’s vote until the Yes ad featuring the Chronicle story on the lesbian teacher.

That post by Karen Ocamb centers on the roll of the San Francisco Chronicle in instigating the successful Yes On 8 attack ads which used that teacher’s wedding as a hook for their The Homos Are Invading Your Schools To Turn Your Kids Gay message.  But lurking in the background of her story is this simple, brutal fact: Maggie Gallagher and her fellow travelers in the Proposition 8 battle used the love those kids had for their teacher as a knife to cut their teacher’s ring finger off.

But she wants to save kids from mindless cruelty.  Right.  And Osama Bin Laden wants to save them from terrorist attacks.

More cartoons on The Cartoon Page…and many more in the archives I’ve been neglecting to update for so long…

by Bruce | Link | React! (2)

Visit The Woodward Class of '72 Reunion Website For Fun And Memories, WoodwardClassOf72.com


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