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01 March 2009 @ 01:38 pm
 And yes, I know, Carl Sagan was a committed athiest.  In my daydream, he says something like, "Yeah.  I didn't expect this either."  And then he shrugs, and he smiles.
01 March 2009 @ 01:36 pm
 During meditation at the end of yoga today, I had this vivid daydream about St. Carl Sagan showing up to escort Stephen Hawkings into the afterlife.  Professor Hawkings stands up and walks aboard Professor Sagan's gleaming white star ship, and Carl says, "So.  What do you want to know first?"

The yoga instructor interrupted this revery by talking about the importance of love and being surrounded and enveloped by love, which is very fine and all, but it derailed my train of thought.  "Dude, can you give it a rest?"  I thought, "I was hanging with my peeps!"
21 January 2009 @ 11:56 am
19 January 2009 @ 01:27 pm
Oh god yes, thank you Pete Seeger.

"There was a big high wall, tried to stop me /
sign was painted ... "private property" /
but on the other side, it didn't say nothing! /
That side was made for you and me."


Pete Seeger, once again keeping the real America alive for all us sinners. (All that was missing for me was Mojo Nixon doing "Wide Open."   But hey, I'm weird that way.)
19 January 2009 @ 12:28 pm
Dear Red America,

Our President-elect seems genuinely committed to opening a new era of bipartisanship. He's a lot more forgiving than I am. I still remember those times.

I remember when you told me to shut up and sit down because I was uncomfortable with electoral irregularities in 2000. I said that democracy was precious and fragile, you responded that I should quite my fucking whining.

I remember when you slandered my patriotism when I questioned the rationale for invading Iraq. I remember when you accused me of failing our troops when I questioned the competence of their civilian leadership. Because I objected to indefinite detention without trial. Warrantless wiretaps.  "Extraordinary rendition." "Enemy combatants."  "Enhanced interrogation techniques."  I sat there and took it when you took our great national tragedy on 9/11, refashioned it into a partisan cudgel, and beat me about the ears with it. You fucking asshole.

But, I get it. Obama is right: we stand together or fall.  America has too many problems to solve to persist in our petty squabbling. We are letting you off the hook, and forgiving your past transgressions so that we can rebuild America, together.  You're welcome.

However, if I ever -- ever -- sense that you are exploiting the bipartisan openness of our new President, that you are failing to collaborate in good faith, I will personally rip you a new asshole.

I look forward to working with you to fix the damage done by the Bush administration. But consider yourself, also, on notice.
17 January 2009 @ 11:52 pm
We'll always remember how you weren't there for us when we needed you.

And then it went downhill from there, didn't it?

Don't let the door hit you on the ass on the way out.
20 December 2008 @ 06:01 pm

Dogeared Books, originally uploaded by jmayer.

Used Canon DSLR + 16GB compact flash card = shooting everything I see in RAW mode. Walking around the Mission taking photographs = self-taught photography class. I is learning shit.

12 December 2008 @ 05:27 pm
A friend claims: "The arpeggio section about a minute and a half into Bach's third cello suite."

I've listened to a handful of recordings of Bach's 3rd, and it still doesn't move me quite the way the most beautiful thing in the world would.  Limiting myself to the domain of music, what is my substitute?

  • the soaring, fanciful guitar solo at the end of Yo La Tengo's "Pablo and Andrea"?
  • the simple-as-pie guitar melody from Radiohead's "Weird Fishes"?
  • the cracked-out sunrise-through-a-dirty-windshield vibe of New Order's "Ceremony"?
  • the bassline from The Raveonette's "Beauty Dies"?
  • Jimi going off the flanger deep-end in the second half of "Bold As Love"?
Hmm.  I'm sure I can do better if I spent more time thinking about this.  Suggestions?
05 December 2008 @ 01:46 pm
A conversation outside Boogaloos:

"Hi!  I was just sitting inside, and I wanted to say I really dig the ink on your arm."
"Thanks!" *Smile*
"Listen, I don't want to bother you, but just in case there's some mysterious cosmic connection between us, here's my number.  You could call me."

Except that last sentence got replaced with:

"Well ... bye!"

One more chance, lost forever.  Wah!  I want to be an extrovert but my brain isn't wired that way!
20 November 2008 @ 10:30 am
I'm sure you're all really sick of hearing about Prop 8 by now.  Apologies.

First, a little recrimination and finger-pointing.  We should have won this fight, and here is how I think we blew it:
  • Progressives were so focused on getting Obama elected that we suffered from target-fixation and did not give Prop 8 the attention it needed.  Mea culpa.
  • We were disorganized.  We had at least three separate organizations separately lobbying to defeat Prop 8.  We should have had one banner to rally under, one ad campaign, one message.
  • Our base did not come through.  This took to form of progressives who bypassed the voting booth on the way to the street party after they found out that Obama had won in Ohio and had, effectively, won the election.  But this also took the form of friends of mine in the LGBT community who were "over" hearing about gay marriage all the time.  Compare the $5M donated by the Mormons to the amount that would have been raised if the 1.4 million lesbians, gays, and bisexuals in California had each donated $20 apiece.
  • The Yes-On-8 campaign shows us how to do this job right.  They reached out to everyone and left no stone unturned.  Latino neighborhoods received spanish-language phone calls from the Yes-On-8 campaign. There was massive outreach into black communities.  As far as I can tell, No-On-8 didn't do anything like this and essentially conceded whole demographics they considered to be "unlikely" to support gay rights.  That's a guaranteed losing strategy.
  • Similarly, No-On-8 didn't do sufficient rally-the-base and GOTV efforts.  Instead, it seemed that the various No-on-8 agencies spent all their time attempting to correct the lies spread by the Yes-on-8 campaign, thereby allowing Yes-on-8 to successfully define the political playing field.  No-On-8 spent all it's time lobbying a mythical "rational, moderate, and undecided" demographic in California whose aggregate population is probably around 30 people.  Only 11M people voted on Prop 8 in California.  There are 1.4M LBG individuals in California.  Um, hello?
  • The No-on-8 campaign acted as if it was afraid to publicly talk about homosexuality.  Listen, people: if you're running a campaign based on fighting for equality of gays, lesbians, and bisexuals, and your own ad campaign balks at using the word "gay", you've already surrendered.
I think we're continuing to make these mistakes.  Listen, it is a good thing that we're mounting legal challenges against proposition 8, but if we stop Prop 8 in the courts, it will be a Pyrrhic victory for us.  The bulk of the California population will not have changed their attitudes towards gays or towards gay marriage, and we will have succeeded in added fuel to the fire of the Religious Right's obscene victimization complex.  We'll lose again when Prop 8 2.0 rolls around.  And 3.0.  And 4.0.  All the while fanning the flames of the culture wars and giving the loony right a wedge issue to seize political power with.

The right way to fix Prop 8 is to fix California first, and then fix the law second.  Anything less is defeat.

Here are two changes that will help us do it:

Change number one is the word WE.  Fighting for equality in California can not be an issue where the LGBT community is left to defend itself, or else we have weak-tea defenders who say things like "I'm not actually homosexual myself, but I strongly support blah blah blah."  No more.  Over.  From now on, the word is WE.  WE oppose discrimination.  WE are harmed by injustice against members of OUR community.  WE demand that WE be given equal rights by law as guaranteed to US by the Constitution.

This is not about marriage, and never was.  It was about a legal basis to discriminate against a segment of our community, and so to despoil the California constitution with injustice.  This fight isn't about the nice lesbian couple in Noe Valley.  This fight is about the teenager in S.L.O. who is just discovering that his particular hormones have turned him into a second class citizen.  Prop 8 is the new Jim Crow law.  Just like the Jim Crow laws, the stain of injustice that Prop 8 exudes etches all of us.  We are not free until Prop 8 is overturned.

Change number two is that our false sense of security in isolation is over forever.  We've built small, protected conclaves of equality in urban centers and then turned our back on the rest of the state.   Dear History: what happens to the people who barricade themselves into the ghetto?  Answer: they are exterminated.  We have to re-integrate back into the California population.  We have to show Californians everywhere that we are caring, loving human beings who care about their community.  We are their brothers and sisters and business partners and school chums.  We are them, they are us.  Many LGBT individuals have had the experience of coming out.  Now we need to come out as a society.  We can live as a harmoniously integrated community: you can, too.

This means that overturning Prop 8 is going to be a long fight.  It means that we're going to make no bones about the fact that overturning Prop 8 is about supporting homosexuals.  This means we're going to lose in 2010.  It means we're going to lose again in 2012.  But in 2014, we will win, and we will win because we have transformed society.

That, and the campaign we run in 2010 (and 2012, and 2014) to eradicate Prop 8 from the books is going to have to kick all kinds of ass.  Let the LDS church and the radical right spend all the money they want: we will bleed them dry.  We will be the rock on which the Virtuecratic ship is wrecked.  I'm spoiling for the fight already.

 - jmjm.