Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Bring Me the Head of the Director

Newspapers around the world are reporting that the Deutsche-Oper Berlin has canceled a scheduled production of Mozart's Idomeneo for fear of offending Muslims.

Idomeneo is the story of the King of Crete who, upon returning home from the Trojan War, is shipwrecked. He vows to Neptune that if he survives, he will sacrifice the first living thing he encounters in gratitude. When he washes up on the shore, the first creature he sees is his own son, Idamante. The plot concerns his attempts to wrangle out of the pledge and the catastrophes that ensue, along with a love triangle between Idamante and Ilia, a captured Trojan princess, and Electra, well-known refugee of the House of Atreus. As Crete lies under siege by a terrible sea monster, the king confesses that he himself is to blame for the disaster, and the only solution is to sacrifice the prince. Idamante bravely submits to his fate, but in the final moments Neptune grants a reprieve, on the condition that Idomeneo step down in favor of Idamante's succession and marriage to Ilia. All ends happily (except for Electra, who goes spectacularly insane).

The opera is a masterpiece; long neglected as boring old-fashioned opera seria, it entered the standard repertory after the Metropolitan Opera first performed it in the 1980s with Luciano Pavarotti in the title role. Composed when Mozart was in his early 20s, it contains some of his very best music for the stage, including a showy Handelian da capo aria for the tenor ("Fuor del mar"), brilliant and unusual ensembles (especially "Vedro, rammingo e solo"), spectacular choral writing, and the thrilling mad scene for Electra ("O smania...D'Oreste, d'Ajace").

You can see why this is so offensive to Muslims, right?

No? Well, the concern arose because this particular production had a scene involving the severed head of the Prophet Mohammed.

The director, Hans Neuenfels, ought to be ashamed of himself. Seriously. This is a Trojan War story, taking place somewhere around 1200 BC. Mohammed lived from 570 to 632 CE. What possible relevance could Mohammed have to an episode from Greek mythology? But it's not just Mohammed: the production also features the severed heads of Jesus Christ (4 BCE - 30 CE), the Buddha (563 BCE to 483 BCE), and a few other religious figures.

You know, it's okay for art to be provocative, but there should be a valid artistic reason for it. If you want to do a provocative opera, there's many out there. If you don't like the ones that exist, find yourself a composer and make a new one that says what you want it to say. But don't desecrate a great masterpiece by dragging in irrelevant, anachronistic sacrilege, especially of a variety that will serve only to further inflame current tensions while adding absolutely nothing at all to the performance experience.

The opera house has overreacted by canceling the production. How central to the concept could the severed heads have been, given that none of these people are ever mentioned in the text or stage directions? Revise the production. If it requires a severed head, I say start with Hans Neuenfels.

Monday, September 25, 2006

In Praise of Slick Willy

You know, I never considered myself a Bill Clinton "fan." We have him to thank for "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and DOMA. He did some things I definitely disagreed with, and then there was that whole distasteful cigar business.

But then I see him on TV every once in a while, and I think about our current Nincompoop in Chief, and I think, "Oh my God, I would kill to have a President who could think in complete sentences again."

Ask and You Might Receive

In my previous post, I did not mean to imply that we can’t petition God for things we want, or that we have no reasonable hope of obtaining better circumstances with God’s help.

The Bible is explicit that we can ask God for things: Paul told the Philippians, “Have no anxiety for anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

The catch is understanding that God can say no, and understanding why. Just as we would criticize parents who gave in to a child’s every whim, God knows what’s in our best interests, and often says no to our requests for our own good. Requests are never denied because He doesn’t like us or we didn’t ask in the right way or didn’t pray hard/often enough. His grace is unconditional.

The “Prosperity Gospel” of American Evangelicalism runs afoul of sound theology not because we aren’t allowed to ask God for what we want, but because of the tendency to treat God like a genie who’s there to grant wishes, with the corollary that if your wishes don’t come true, it’s because you didn’t ask in the right way, you didn’t believe hard enough, you didn’t pray often enough, you prayed at the wrong church, or you’re simply just a sinner.

This is dangerous thinking. It leads wealthy people to believe that they are in God’s favor, and causes them to look down on the poor because they think God is punishing them with poverty for their sins or lack of faith. It causes people to become bitter if they feel God is simply denying their requests, or sometimes they turn away from faith altogether because they conclude if prayers aren’t answered the way we would like, that no one is listening.

We have to ask for godly things: patience, wisdom, compassion, understanding. These requests are never denied.

Jesus taught, “Ask and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Yet on the night of His betrayal, He prayed, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.” We all know how that turned out. But where would our salvation be if the request had been granted? We have to trust that God’s wisdom far surpasses our own.

So Pastor Osteen isn’t wrong to invite people to the Christian faith with the promise of the chance to improve their lives, fix their marriages, find a better job, or whatever. He insists that “one of God’s top priorities is to shower blessings on Christians in this lifetime.” That’s true, but Christians must understand, being wealthy isn’t a blessing, it’s a cross to bear.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Do Unto Others?

From the Associated Press, filed 30 minutes ago:

PALU, Indonesia (AP) -- Christian mobs torched cars, blockaded roads and looted Muslim-owned shops in violence touched off by Friday's executions of three Roman Catholics convicted of instigating attacks on Muslims.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Yesterday I heard our company receptionist on the phone with a caller.

"We are a civil rights advocacy organization for the LGBT community....No, the B stands for bisexual."

What the...?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Happy Blogoversary to Me!

Today The Last Debate celebrates its second anniversary: your source for Bush-bashing, gay rights legal mumbo jumbo, Wagnerian symbolism, subway horror stories, culture war critiques, random whining, and of course, kitten pictures. Thanks for reading!


Twelve Steps to Heaven

Does God want you to be rich?

That was the provocative title of Time Magazine’s September 18 cover story, which examined a movement within American Evangelicalism known as the “Prosperity Gospel.”

The article is disappointing, principally because it fails to find any major Evangelical minister who will strongly answer in the affirmative that yes, God wants you to be wealthy. The authors try hard to nail mega-pastor Joel Osteen as a leading proponent of prosperity theology, though he tells them, “I preach that anybody can improve their lives,” adding, “but I don’t think I’d say God wants us to be rich.” They are left with pointing out “the room’s warm lamplight reflects softly off his crocodile shoes,” even as they concede that Osteen’s congregation raised over $1 million for Hurricane Katrina relief.

While the article doesn’t uncover scandal and hypocrisy – after all, stubbornly literal Evangelicals are not likely to have missed the New Testament’s many, many, many condemnations of and warnings about wealth – they unwittingly touch on a larger theology: Christianity as Self-Help program.

Your Best Life Now, Osteen’s best-selling book, opens by informing the reader that to obtain your “best life,” see your “marriage restored,” or “your dreams come to pass,” just “start looking at life through the eyes of faith.”

Certainly, all Christians believe that through faith we find guidance, and that among the gifts of the Holy Spirit are numbered patience and persistence. But mainstream Christianity has never promised that God will make your problems go away.

Indeed, historically Christians have believed that through suffering we have an opportunity to put our beliefs into practice and grow spiritually. If you’re looking for a trouble-free life, Jesus is not the answer.

Still, some Christians maintain that it just takes faith to achieve the impossible. Pray your way to weight loss, a better job, or heterosexuality! Would anyone question the faith of Matthew, Mark, Luke or John? Here are their fates, respectively: gored with a halberd, beaten to death, hanged, boiled in oil. Paul was beheaded and Peter, founder of the church, was crucified upside down.

The “better life” that Christianity promises follows this one; in the meantime, our faith offers us radical strategies for dealing with adversity. In this, some Evangelicals are perhaps profoundly mistaken about basic doctrine. Popular televangelist Joyce Meyer asked Time, “Who would want something where you’re miserable, broke and ugly and you have to muddle through until you get to heaven? I believe God wants to give us nice things.” But muddling through, quite frankly, is what God expects us to do.

Ben Phillips of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary cuts right to the heart of the heresy: “God becomes the means to an end, not the end in himself.” Publisher’s Weekly derided Osteen’s book, calling it “a treatise on how to get God to serve the demands of self-centered individuals.”

Ask not what God can do for you, but what you can do for God.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Holy Gay Jewish Weddings, Batman!

One of the time-honored slogans of the right-wing anti-marriage-equality camp is, "God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!"

Well, someone should tell that to the Berger-Franks.

I don't normally read the wedding section of The New York Times (the closest I come is watching that classic Sex and the City episode, "until recently, the bride had a life of her own!"), but The Times put a color photo link on the online homepage.

They story of how they met and fell in love is pretty cute, actually.

Adam Berger, an investment strategist, and Stephen Frank, a lawyer, are of course not actually legally married, thanks to the New York Court of Appeals. (They have been partners for 10 years.) Some might ask, "But if they can live together and go through a religious commitment ceremony, why does it matter that they're not 'legally' married?"

Well, since we've spent the last couple of weeks pondering September 11th and its lessons and meanings, we might want to take a look at what happened to some of the partners of gay victims of the attacks.

Equality matters.

* Do not, under any circumstances, view the recent movie Adam & Steve with Parker Posey. It immediately sprang into the top 5 Worst Movies I Have Ever Seen, knocking Waterworld down into #6.

Sunday Photo Blogging: Palm Springs

"What do you mean I'm not going with you to Palm Springs?!?!?!?" Posted by Picasa

I didn't take many pictures in Palm Springs, because -- aside from going to The Living Desert -- we really didn't "do" very much other than lay out beside this glorious pool below. Still, here's a couple of shots to give you an idea.

So, basically, here's where I spent Labor Day weekend. More specifically, on the second chaise from the right. This was taken around 6:30 a.m., when the sun was just creeping over the privacy hedge, leaving the backyard relatively cool. It was a perfect setting for some morning yoga. Actually, it was just the perfect setting, period. Posted by Picasa

The bedroom I used features an outdoor shower, which was pretty cool. I much prefer what's growing in their shower compared to mine. Posted by Picasa

They have a hot tub next to a gas-powered fire pit, useful for those frigid nights when the temperature dives into the lower 80s. I saw a shooting star from the hot tub on my first night there. My wish didn't come true, though. Posted by Picasa

I didn't end up on the Manhattan-side of the plane for the approach into LaGuardia -- which is spectacular at night -- but I did get a nice sunset! Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 15, 2006

I [heart] New York (not really)

So, somehow I got talked into going to the Lower East Side for happy hour tonight. (My dear sweet friend Duke, whom I've known for 14 years, was guest-bartending.) It's hard to imagine New York City as "remote," but let me tell you, the netherworld between the JMZ and FV trains is as isolated as a Saharan oasis.

Anyway, it was great to see Duke and many friends, a few of whom are bloggers.

Around 8:30 I took off to come home and feed my (very angry) kittens. I got on the F at Houston (that's HOW-stun, for you rubes) and only needed to go two stops to West 4th to get on my home-bound train. As soon as I sat down, I realized I was in for a show.

A tall, overweight man was yelling into the corner of the train at an empty set of seats.

"You think I'm fucking scared of you? Huh? You think I'm fucking scaaaared of you? Well, you're fucking right, you're a scary, scary dangerous person. Yeah you, asshole."

Did I mention he was yelling at an empty bench?

At Broadway/Lafayette he turned in my direction and headed toward the open doors. I could see that the front of his trousers were stained with urine. At least he was getting off...

...oh, hold that thought, the doors closed and he was still on the train.

"Yeah, I see you, motherfucker, I see you looking at me. You're a scary, dangerous man. I know you're armed, I see that fucking gun, asshole. If I were smart, I'd have gotten off this train, but I guess I'm not, eh? So go ahead. Fucking shoot me, dickwad. Shoot me, asshole, I guess I'm fucking begging for it. Do it. Waste me, asshole."

Then he threw up all over himself.

At this point we were at West 4th, so I got out. He stayed on.

The End.


I'm sorry my blog has *S-U-C-K-E-D* lately. I've been in kind of a slump. Life has been...shall we say, disappointing recently, and my brain just refuses to come up with any kind of interesting, coherent thought.

Case in point, last night I ended up watching about an hour of Punjabi TV.

You know those cable music channels on TV? Sometimes I check out the opera channel just to see what's on, if it's an interesting recording that I don't have. I don't know which channel it is, it's somewhere in the 600's, so I just flip to 600 and scroll down.

Last night I hit "page up" by accident instead of "page down" on the remote and landed on an Indian channel. There was a pretty, smiling woman in a red sari, singing and clapping. She had a voice kind of like Minnie Mouse. I gathered it was some kind of religious thing, because sometimes they would cut away from the singer and flash a picture of Lakshmi on the screen.

Next up was some kind of sports show. It looked like a cross between tag and Red Rover. Basically there were these hot, buff, young shirtless Indian guys (yeah, that's why I didn't change channels), and four of them would link arms and a single guy would try to touch one of the guys in the middle, or at least that's what it looked like. It seemed neither very difficult, complicated, interesting or fun, but hot shirtless guys trying to touch each other...well, color me intrigued!

After that was some kind of talk-show, with two rather rumpled old guys sitting across from each other. I didn't know what they were talking about and it didn't look like they were going to take their shirts off (which is a good thing) so I gave up and went to bed.

And that's kind of how my life has been.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Hillary Clinton won the New York Democratic primary with only 87% of the vote! I bet that showed her.


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

President Bush Gets it Right

“Whatever mistakes have been made in Iraq, the worst mistake would be to think that if we pulled out, the terrorists would leave us alone.”

Last night, on the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks against New York and Washington, D.C., President Bush addressed the nation. He used the occasion to emphatically defend the invasion of Iraq, even though, as he stated clearly, “Saddam Hussein was not responsible for the 9/11 attacks.”

The President is correct that withdrawal from Iraq, either phased or immediate, would not end the threat of terrorist attacks against American soil, though that is because Iraq is, or was, utterly tangential to the anti-terror struggle. He is right to pledge that America will see this project through. We may have done the Iraqi people the favor of removing a cruel dictator, but they have paid for this favor with tens of thousands of civilian lives and their entire national infrastructure. To leave now would be to leave promises unfulfilled and a full-scale civil war in our wake. Having attacked them on baseless allegations, we have a moral obligation to repair the damage and secure the country.

Unfortunately, this was the only sentence in the entire address that the President got right. Everything else points to the sad, terrifying truth that we have a deluded madman leading the country.

“The war against this enemy is more than a military conflict,” said the President, and he called it “a war unlike any we have fought before.” It was John Kerry in 2004 who argued that military power alone was the wrong strategy for the War on Terror, and then Vice President Cheney mocked him for wanting a more “sensitive” approach. Yet the President has waged an utterly conventional war, long on firepower and short on strategy, with sensitivity nowhere to be found. “It is the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century,” Bush elaborated, though apparently he thinks it can be won with bombs and missiles.

Bush described the ideological struggle as “driven by a perverted vision of Islam – a totalitarian ideology that hates freedom, rejects tolerance and despises dissent.” Sounds a lot like the Republican base, to me: their greatest enemy is the American Civil Liberties Union, they decry “tolerance” as oppressive liberal politically correct double-speak for gay marriage, and disagreeing with the President is tantamount to treason.

Bush said that the Iraq war is related to 9/11 because “the regime of Saddam Hussein was a clear threat.” Oh? He’d made no threats against the United States, had no weapons capability and no relationship to Al Qaeda. Hussein wasn’t attacked because he was a threat; he was attacked because he was the easiest target, a household name in America, an unstable despot with deluded ambitions, in charge of a government that would collapse in hours with a ragtag army of ill-trained, ill-equipped, underpaid troops who would dissolve into the dunes as soon as their paychecks stopped. He was attacked precisely because he was the least threatening of all.

The President assailed pre-9/11 foreign policy: “Years of pursuing stability to promote peace had left us with neither. So we changed policies.” Here is the heart of his insanity: if patience and diplomacy don’t get results fast enough, abandon them in favor of mass slaughter and chaos. To win hearts and minds in an ideological conflict, wage conventional warfare with invasion, occupation and cluster bombs. Torture, but call it something else.

“[The war] will not be over until either we or the extremists emerge victorious,” Bush declared. But until the American government chooses to recognize the actual causes for which the terrorists are fighting, instead of lamely asserting “dangerous enemies have declared their intention to destroy our way of life,” and until we recognize that even the best-intentioned American foreign policy has had unforeseen consequences for the middle east, until we begin to respect the wills and cultures of people outside the United States, until we begin to redress the wrongs that have been wrought, we won’t even have taken the first step along Bush’s much-touted path of moderation. It’s one group of extremists against another, and it will never end.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Why I Won't Vote for Hillary

I once heard a minister at a public event say, “It’s illegal for me to tell you who to vote for, but I can tell you who not to vote for: don’t vote for anyone who doesn’t vote for you.”

Next week is New York’s Democratic Primary, and I intend to vote against Hillary Clinton.

Senator Clinton is certain to win the primary, and faces no serious Republican challenger in November. There are advantages to having her as our state senator: certainly she comes with clout, connections and a public profile that could never be summoned by any of her rivals for the seat. She has been an important advocate for the people of New York on a variety of different issues, ranging from anti-terror funding to post-9/11 environmental quality.

However, on two issues of great importance to me, Senator Clinton has been an enormous disappointment.

In early July, the New York State Court of Appeals handed down an utterly idiotic decision, claiming the state constitution, despite all its guarantees of equal protection, does not “require” same-sex marriage. They handed the issue off to our do-nothing assembly in Albany, along with a series of recommendations about how a “rational legislature” might find that it was “reasonable” to restrict marriage to heterosexuals because only straight people have children by accident.

The ruling, a classic case of judicial activism, where judges ignore evidence and abandon established constitutional analysis in favor of “assumptions,” “intuition” and “experience” [those words lifted from the decision itself] in order to reach a pre-determined conclusion, was met with utter silence from Senator Clinton.

Sure, she’ll show up for the annual pride parade in Manhattan, inserting herself into the march several blocks past the starting point and remaining just long enough to wave at the New York Times photographers before disappearing, but when it really counts, she’s not there. Can’t let the fundamental civil rights of her constituents interfere with her national ambitions. On her website, if you look up her positions on Civil and Constitutional Rights, you will see not one mention anywhere of LGBT people or issues. Nor will you find a mention under Children & Families.

On the war against Iraq, I do not accept her explanation that she – along with the rest of the Democratic party – voted to give President Bush the authority to use military force against Iraq as “diplomatic leverage.” First, the act itself was unconstitutional, as only Congress has the power to declare war, and that power does not include delegation of its responsibility to the executive branch.

Second, I am disgusted that the woman who coined the phrase “vast right-wing conspiracy” could trust those same nefarious conspirators to competently execute an experimental war of choice while assisting them in its promotion as a war of necessity. If anyone should have known not to trust these guys, it was Hillary Clinton. Instead, during the crucial months before our invasion, she failed to ask the important questions that needed to be asked about the post-invasion occupation or to challenge the White House’s assertions about the imminence of the threat and its significance to the larger war on terror.

Today, as a major leader of congressional Democrats, she continues to fail to put forward a valid, alternative plan for the repair and reconstruction of Iraq. Withdrawal, phased or immediate, is not a solution to the problems of our own making. It’s a political trick: declare “victory” and bring the troops home (minus 2,600 and counting).

I'm going to vote for Jonathan Tasini for Senator in the Democratic Primary. While I do not agree with his call for immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, what Congress needs are representatives who don’t and won’t trust the Bush Administration. Furthermore, Mr. Tasini expressly supports marriage equality for all people.

I do not expect Mr. Tasini to win, but it would be nice if Senator Clinton at least got the message that some of us aren’t happy.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Palm Springs

Before I say anything else, a HUGE thank you to my friends Kevin and John, who invited me out to their weekend retreat in Palm Springs and were such amazingly generous hosts that I spent far less money on my vacation than I would have had I just stayed at home in New York.

Really, the trip couldn’t have been better. By nature I am an early riser, so with jet lag working in my favor, I arose about 6 each morning, still feeling like I had slept in. Each day began with a little yoga by the pool in the backyard under the palm trees, and then I would walk about 20 minutes (a mind-boggling distance, by southern California standards) to the nearby Albertson’s to get coffee.

Architecture and décor in Palm Springs is something the mo’s refer to as “Mid Century Modern,” a style whose most influential interior designer seems to have been Judy Jetson. I think my desert tastes are more in line with Santa Fe, where architecture tries to be in harmony with the natural surroundings while drawing heavily on native influences. Palm Springs doesn’t harmonize with the desert, it waters itself into atonal tropical lushness.

Every afternoon was spent reclining by the pool, sipping cocktails, and going for a quick swim when the 100º + heat became too intense. I really, really, really enjoyed being that lazy. During the entire trip, I never once checked email or read a newspaper or paid any attention to the world at large. The days would conclude with hot-tubbing under the stars, champagne or cocktail in hand, until my brain was gently boiled into mush and I slipped quickly into deep, relaxed sleep.

Highlights of the trip included visiting The Living Desert, a very chi-chi brunch at Spencer’s, and drinks at Toucan’s, the only bar in the country that accepts Medicare. Really, the best part was just soaking up the sun while getting better acquainted with my iPod.

Monday we drove back to K&J’s place in West Hollywood, and then had a couple of drinks at The Abbey and Fiesta’s, where I met up with my old pal Audrey, whom I’ve known since sixth grade. Audrey then took me off to a barbecue in Sherman Oaks, where I impressed the Angelenos by saying I live on Manhattan’s chic Upper North Side.

Even though I still think Southern California is a bit weird, I just feel so much more at home out west than I do in New York, despite living here almost 13 years. Neither area has the perky efficiency of customer service in the Northwest, but in LA it’s due to a relaxed, easy-going attitude, instead of hostile apathy generously mixed with incompetence. New York, in typical fashion, welcomed me back by losing my luggage.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


I used to really love flying.

I don’t enjoy airports as much anymore, thanks to the heightened security, my crowd anxiety, and the realization that airports attract fuckwits like some kind of idiot magnet.

Last Thursday, flying from New York’s La Guardia to Dallas-Fort Worth, I sat next to a normal-looking woman who, when I sat down, turned to me and in the most hideously irritating voice imaginable said, “You should know I’m not a very good flyer.”


I had just drifted off to sleep when The Voice, like a bucket full of ice water, splashed across my ears with a hideous screech, “Do you have Pepsi?” I wasn’t thirsty, but now that I was awake and irritated, a whiskey soda was in order. The flight attendant moved on with the cart, and then The Voice called out, “Excuse me! Excuse me! Hey! Excuse me! Do you have Diet Pepsi?”

She turned to me and said, “Do you think my luggage is okay? I always worry my luggage won’t show up or will get lost.” “I’m sure it’s fine, in all my years of flying, I’ve never had a problem,” I replied, as I put my headphones quickly back on.

Later, “What time to we get to Dallas?” I said, “About 4:30, I think.” “But it’s almost 5 now!” she squealed in despair. “Not in Dallas,” I responded. Then the beverage cart came around again. “Do you have Pepsi?”

As they handed her the can, she cackled, “Don’t you have Diet?” Then, after they had moved on to the next row, “Excuse me! Excuse me! Hey! What time do we arrive in Dallas?” “4:30,” the attendant said.

Returning yesterday, I found myself checking in at the Burbank airport behind a very angry woman. “I can’t believe you’re telling me I can’t get on an airplane that doesn’t leave for another 15 minutes.”

“Ma’am, I’m sorry,” the representative said in a tired, frustrated voice. “FAA regulations forbid us from checking in passengers with luggage less than 30 minutes prior to departure.”

“Look lady, I don’t think you understand. I am on my way to an interview that I cannot miss. I have GOT to be on this plane.

“I’m sorry, I wish I could help, but I have to follow the rules.”

“Fine, I hope you realize you’re ruining my career,” the woman snarled, as she stormed off, hauling out her cellphone. I could hear her seconds later shouting, “…and these assholes won’t let me on the plane!”

Remember when I said in all my years of traveling I’d never had a luggage problem?

After an unexplained one-hour delay on the trip back through Dallas, I found myself tired and eager to go home in La Guardia’s noisy, chaotic baggage claim. About 20 minutes later, the carousel stopped turning, all the bags were gone, and about 8 of us from the flight stood there looking dumbly at each other.

I cannot imagine what kind of person intentionally takes a job in a lost luggage office in a New York airport, where basically you stand for hours on end deflecting the abuse hurled at you by this city’s dazzling array of self-important assholes. Still, it wouldn’t have killed her to at least say “I’m sorry” or to have expressed any sympathy at all for people who find themselves in a strange city with no clothes.

What I also don’t understand is how, in this day and age of Orange Level security and barcodes on bag-checks, etc., an airline representative can tell you that they don’t know where your bag is. “It’s probably on the next flight,” she told me. “What if it’s not?” I asked. “It’s probably on the next flight,” she said again, as if she were a broken Talking Brooklyn Barbie.

I guess my bag liked Texas so much it just opted for the later flight. Fifty minutes after the second plane landed, it popped out on the carousel. I returned my “lost luggage receipt” and cabbed it home, back to the relative sanity of my vampire cats.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


I am home. Exhausted. Had a wonderful time, and will tell all about it. Well...not *all.* : )

* * * * * * * * *

So sad to hear about the untimely passing of Steve "The Crocodile Hunter" Irwin. As an Animal Planet fan, I've seen his show many, many times. He will be much missed, and his death is very sad, though I suspect both he and his family knew that given the dangerous situations he put himself into on a regular basis, there was always the possibility that some critter or other would get the better of him at some point.

Through his hard work, he brought fascinating and unfamiliar animals and spectacular settings into our homes on a regular basis. An important strategy for conservation is educating the public about the diversity and magnificence of wildlife on the planet. And we can rest assured that he died doing what he loved.