June 2007 Archives

I've been planning since, oh, October or so, to get a laptop. I never really thought about getting one until my mother asked me if I'd accept as a Christmas help in buying one, and then I said, "Uh, sure!"

And after Christmas I went to buy one, but I didn't know what to get, and the IT guy at school came very close to talking me into buying a Mac, which I was willing to do because I hate Microsoft. But the problem is, I still use Word Perfect as my word processing program (believe me, it's SO much better than Microsoft Word), and I was going to have to run Windows on the Mac (which you can do) to use Word Perfect. And there were going to be Mac innovations and I was busy and the semester was hectic etc etc and there was always a reason to delay actually making the order, but then the semester ended, I was less busy, and it was time to buy.

So I consulted my friend and blog host Jim, asking him for specific advice about what to get. He's also a university IT guy, and he said, "Given what you want to do, you don't want a Mac. You want a highly rated PC laptop." He suggested a few makes and models.

About two weeks ago, I ordered a highly rated PC laptop, and a bunch of peripheral stuff, including a really great backpack to carry the damn thing in, and a printer, and so forth.

A week ago, everything arrived.

Something Else I Found in My Closet

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A few months ago, as I was browsing the shoe department of some corporate department in my corporate mall, I came across several pair of high-heeled pumps with open work through the body of the shoe. "Those are pretty," I thought. "I would like to own shoes like that."

Then I thought, "Wait a minute. I used to own shoes like that."

And then I thought, "Actually, I am pretty sure I still own shoes like that."

So I went home and checked my closet and sure enough, up on the top shelf, housed in the box they came in, was a pair of blue open-worked high-heeled pumps that I was entirely smitten with when I first bought them--after all, just look at their graceful proportions! Just look at that cool color!

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I know that the most common colors for shoes are black and some shade of brown, largely because those are the most practical colors. (I wonder if they're also the easiest to achieve? If black cattle are used to make black shoes, or if leather is always dyed and treated, no matter what the hide of the animal who gave up its skin looked like when the animal was alive?) But given how much I enjoy colorful shoes, like this pretty red pair or this unusual green pair, I wonder why I don't buy them more often.

I'm Not Lost

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Since I don't have cable and my reception via antenna is so lousy I can't stand to watch my television unless the picture on it comes from a vcr or dvd player, I generally watch the tv shows I'm interested in a season behind. Lately I've been reading about the season 3 finale of Lost, and apparently there's still all this concern about the "others."

But why? Seriously, why? I'm currently about two-thirds finished with season 2 thanks to Netflix, and it's bleedin' obvious who the "others" are. I mean, you've got Gavin Park pretending to be some Korean doorman who doesn't speak English, and Holland Manners pretending to be the devoted husband of a saintly middle-aged black woman. So what if Holland was killed by Darla and Drusilla while locked in his own wine cellar? So what if Gavin was turned into a zombie by The Beast and eventually decapitated by Gunn? We all know how cunning those lawyers and conjurers at Wolfram and Hart are at bringing people back from the dead. I'm telling you, if the secret cabal of the Wolf, the Ram and the Hart is powerful enough to have offices even on savage planets like Pylea in some alternate dimension, they're powerful enough to take over some savage island depicted on an alternate network.

I'm just waiting for the twist in season 4 where we find out all this to-doing about "the children" is a way to secure playmates for the preternaturally strong and wicked sextuplets Cordelia Chase (because she was the most fertile character in the entire Buffy-verse) conceived with Logan Echolls during Cordy's stint on Veronica Mars.

Mark my words.

Someone Who Was Really Good to Me

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My mission, as anyone who has read my blog for very long knows, sucked for the most part.

But one part that didn't suck was my first mission president, who was as good a man as I ever knew. He was extremely kind to me, and I loved him and his family very much.

I found out last night that he died Sunday. I hadn't spoken to him in at least a decade (though he did stay in touch with me fof a good while after I left the church, just call me up every so often to see how I was doing, which tells you something about why I loved him), and I'm really bummed.

Look into My Irises

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A couple of years ago a friend gave me some irises that just weren't thriving at her house. I planted them in my front yard and they've done pretty well if I do say so myself. I don't generally like to cut my flowers--I like to leave them on the stem where they can do their flower thing and everyone who walks by my yard can enjoy them. But this year the stalks were so heavy with blooms that they fell over into the mud, which meant pretty much no one but some insects enjoyed them. So I cut them and stuck them in a vase, and here they are.
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His Big Gay Belgian Wedding

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By the way, remember that wedding in Belgium I mentioned attending? I never said who got married, because I wanted to write all about it. And I did write all about it--I wrote a great little piece which I sent off to the NY Times Modern Love column, because it's edited by a friend of mine who asked me several times to write something he could use. So I finally did, and wouldn't you know, it never even got a response.

I'm not going to post here the essay I wrote, but I will post something I didn't send the NY Times: a photo, of me with my dear friend Matthew, one of the grooms. That's right: the wedding I attended was a gay wedding--and not just a commitment ceremony either, but an actual, valid, legal ceremony performed by a government official and recognized by the state, without any nasty judicial challenges or threat of constitutional amendment to render it invalid.

And not only did I attend the ceremony, but I took part in it: I was one of the legal witnesses--in other words, I was one of the "best people."

I'm including a photo of me and Matthew instead of Matthew and his husband because Matthew has already appeared on my blog, so I figure he's fair game. As for the partner, well, I don't want to invade his privacy. But they looked fabulous together and I was very, very happy and proud to be part of their wedding.

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As Opposed to a Pleasant One

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The first Medici pope was Giovanni de' Medici, who, as I mentioned last time, is reported to have written to his brother, "God has given us the Papacy--let us enjoy it," when in 1513 he learned he'd be able to change his name from Giovanni to Leo X. (Leo X just doesn't sound as good as Malcolm X, does it.)

But Leo had to help God a little along the way in getting Him to give him the papacy. The pope before Leo was Julius II, a particularly bellicose and belligerent man who shocked absolutely everyone by riding out before the armies of the Vatican and who, in the words of Tuchman,

is ranked among the great popes because of his temporal accomplishments, not least his fertile partnership with Michelangelo--for art, next to war, is the great immortalizer of reputations.... He achieved important results in both these endeavors, which, being visible, have received ample notice as the visibles of history usually do, while the significant aspect of his reign, its failure of concern for the religious crisis, has been overlooked as the invisibles of history usually are.

After Julius II's very martial papacy, many were glad to have a lazy hedonist on the papal throne, particularly one who might die early and so give all the other cardinals a chance to be pope before too long. According, once again, to Tuchman, Leo's

health was a major concern because, although only 37 when elected, he suffered from an unpleasant anal ulcer which gave hm trouble in processions, although it aided his election because he allowed his doctors to spread word that he would not live long--always a persuasive factor to fellow cardinals.

Now, the fact that letting everyone think you'll die soon could aid your chances of being elected pope is interesting, but what really caught my attention in that passage is the phrase "unpleasant anal ulcer." Maybe it's just my lack of experience with anal ulcers, but I have trouble imagining a pleasant anal ulcer. The "unpleasant" there seems superfluous, about like mentioning a "tall giant" or a "short dwarf."

But in 1517 the story of Leo's ass gets every weirder, and here it is:

Last weekend I watched a thoroughly inadequate documentary on The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance. A major problem was the acting, which was simultaneously too restrained and excessive, in that the actors never spoke, so they had to resort to over-emoting to convey any sort of inner state. I like cheese as a general proposition but that was just too much.

But an even bigger problem was that the whole thing was carefully sanitized to avoid offending Catholics. The discussion of Savonarola, the Dominican ascetic who persuaded people to renounce materialism and riches by casting their paintings, statues, books, jewels and fine clothes onto raging "bonfires of the vanities," makes it sound like his gripe was all about the fact that Lorenzo de' Medici paid Sandro Bottecelli to paint naked depictions of pagan goddesses instead of clothed depictions of Christian saints. In other words, there was absolutely no mention of the fact that at the time Savonarola began railing against the established church, the dude wearing the papal tiara was Alexander VI, a.k.a. Rodrigo Borgia, a licentious, scheming son of a bitch who became pope by buying the papacy outright at age 62 after fathering at least seven acknowledged illegitimate children. (I say at least seven because he acknowledged seven of them very clearly; then there was an eighth, who was legitimized first as Rodrigo's grandson and then as his son, by two successive papal bulls; one of the elders son, Cesare, whose paternity was never in doubt, was supported and protected by his father in his very successful career as a murderer and general extremely nasty bad guy.) You'd think that given that the documentary was about a family of Italian merchants who eventually became some of the most important art patrons in the history of the world before becoming very bad ecclesiastical leaders, there would be room to point out the failings of a family of Spanish scofflaws.

But no, because more important than an accurate account of much of anything is the requirement not to say anything negative about a church, which is one more reason organized religion sucks and people who follow it are so often unable and unwilling to have a clear grasp of the truth. Thus, the Borgias are not even mentioned. Nor was there any reference to mistresses kept by Medici popes (there were two popes, and god only knows how many mistresses). The famous (and perhaps apocryphal) comment by Giovanni de' Medici (a.k.a. Pope Leo X) to his brother Giuliano upon Giovanni's accession, "God has given us the Papacy--let us enjoy it," was treated as a remark that was irreverent and indecorous rather than greedy and rapacious, although Leo managed to empty the papal coffers in record time.

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This page is an archive of entries from June 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

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