Friday, December 31, 2004

Like we need more of these - some "Best and Worst of 2004" lists!

Best Albums:
  1. Clutch - Blast Tyrant
  2. Sam Roberts - We Were Born in a Flame (actually released late 2003)
  3. Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand
  4. Modest Mouse - Good News for those who Love Bad News
  5. Tomohawk - Mit Gas (another late 2003 release)

Best TV Shows (only 3 even worth mentioning):

  1. Now with Bill Moyers
  2. Lost
  3. PBS Newshour

Worst Political Fuck-ups:

  1. Kerry somehow losing to Bush (and especially not opposing the Swift Boat attacks more effectively)
  2. Bush admin oks torture for "detainees" (the long-term negative effects of this here and around the country will be felt for decades)
  3. Bush post-war Iraq planning and execution - this fiasco will now probably last decades and costs hundreds of thousands of lives because of the Bush admin's poor or lack of reconstruction planning
  4. Bush in the first debate (would have been #1 but since he got re-elected I moved it down)
  5. 60 Minutes airing of falsified Bush National Guard records (this tacitly gave the ok for all conservative and even centrist citizens to completely disregard all future scandals involving Bush as nothing more than liberal propaganda

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

America, Inc.

Lets start with basic facts - the top 10 donors to each presidential campaign:
Kerry: 1. University of California (education) 2. Harvard University (education) 3. Time Warner (media & entertainment) 4. Goldman Sachs (business/finance) 5. Citigroup (business/finance)

Bush: 1. Morgan Stanley (business/finance) 2. Merril Lynch (business/finance) 3. PricewaterhouseCooper (business/finance) 4. UBS Americas (business/finance) 5. Goldman Sachs (business/finance)

Notice the dominance of business, especially on the Republican side. Another point of comparison:
-Bush Top 20 Donors: ALL corporations or law firms
-Kerry Top 20 Donors: 16 out of 20 were corporations or law firms (the rest were universities)
It should also be noted that all of the top donors that gave money to both candidates (7 total), with exception of Microsoft, gave substantially more money to Bush than to Kerry but were obviously covering their influence bases in giving generously to both campaigns. If that alone isn't a clear indication that money contributions directly equate to influence and deferential treatment, I don't know what does. Why else would these companies give so much money to both campaigns? Because they know that the pure quantity of their contributions will buy them a seat at the policy table of whichever candidate wins. They obviously also think that Bush is more in tune with their desires and so contributed more to him.

Still think corporate money doesn't rule or at least unduly influence the policy decisions of this country? Go here for far more analysis and data:

And then there is the tidy little story still being uncovered (and covered up) of Tom Delay (one of the leaders of the Republican party) taking what could basically be considered bribes (donations) in exchange for corporate-favorable policy decisions. To make it even worse (and that much more obvious that the Republicans are addicted to corporate lobbying and donations), the Republicans subsequently weakened US House of Representatives ethics rules solely for the purpose of covering Delay's corrupt ass! Go here for a full accounting of this mess:

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Joy is in the (freezing) Air!

For those of you like me in the frigid northeast, the only thing I can say is find yourself a nice warm fireplace and a couple of good books!!! Warmer weather will be here soon...

Well, I told my brother and his wife about my dressing. They were ok with it, but like my parents, did not want to or were uncertain how to talk about it. That's fine anyways. Now all my immediate family, except my grandmother, knows about Dana! Some of my friends know as well and no one has had a bad reaction to it which is awesome. Goes to show how far things have come in the last few decades. Most people are a lot more open-minded about sexuality and gender than they used to be...

Joy to all and may your fishnet stockings be full of fun and stress-free holiday times.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Are we the bad guys now?

Let's start by looking at a laundry list of recent US gov't actions (and in some cases, inaction):
  • We've killed more than 20,000 innocent civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years
  • We continue to support an under-the-table conscript military force that is poorly paid and under equipped.
  • We officially abandon or ignore the mental and physical ailments of our returning soldiers.
  • We offer up privates and other low-level military personnel as scapegoats for the violent excesses and policies generated by our top military and civilian leaders, who never seem to suffer any consequences for the policies, whether written or not, being carried out by the grunts who in most cases are just following orders.
  • We continue to use, despite a growing body of scientific research about the health risks, uranium-depleted munitions across the world. This poses health risks to our own troops and especially the citizens of those countries where we use those munitions.
  • We justify, legally and ethically condone, and carry out the perpetual confinement without access to a legal system, and in some cases torture (or at least allow other less democratic gov'ts to torture) these so called foreign "detainees."
  • We have unofficially declared ourselves "gods" of international policy; ignoring those that might inconvenience us a little economically or politically in the short-term (Kyoto, Int'l Criminal Court) and declare that we are the only ones capable of judging if premptive military action is justified or not.
  • We allow our own citizens to be detained and held without access to the legal system, lawyers or even a list of charges against them, solely on the orders of a single individual (the Prez).
  • We have given up the beginnings of some crucial civil liberties that once defined this great country (privacy, right to a jury trial, innocent until proven innocent, "thou shall not kill"!), all in the name of the nebulous idea of "national security". And mostly in the name of fear - does anyone really think we can prevent all terrorist attacks, crime or drug use without becoming a completely isolationist, fascist state or dictatorship?
  • We supported the unsuccessful coup of a democratically elected gov't in Venezuela, and have obviously meddled in the democratic elections in Ukraine.
  • We continue to support the Putin, Saudi and Pakistani gov'ts despite the fact that Putin is rolling back liberties and democratic freedoms faster than the media can report it and the Sauds and Pakistanis have been brutal dictators and major supporters of terrorism for decades.
  • We have ignored all international arguments in the pressing issues of global warming and the destruction of the planet's intricately interlocked ecosystems, despite the fact that we are by far the largest generator of pollutants and the largest destroyers of natural lands (via our corporate web).
  • We continue to support and think we can actually win this ridiculously termed "war on terror" (like suddently we think that prior to 9/11 we didn't fight terrorists?). Such a war will NEVER end. The more people we kill, the more join the causes against our perceived capitalist "empire." And we fail to look objectively at our own policies that are a root cause of much of the terrorism to begin with.

Now even if only half of the charges above can be proved (and given more time I'm sure I could quadruple the list above easily), can you understand how a growing percentage of the world outside (and inside) our borders view us as egotistical bullies and materialistic bad guys?

Don't shove your genitalia in my face!

My philosophy is "to each their own" but this I just don't get: some peoples blinding obsession with close ups of the male genetalia. I'm not talking about erotic stuff that includes those parts into a cohesive and artistic whole. I'm talking about the in-your-face amatuer close ups of penises and ass cracks that contain no reference to who they belong to. Those seem to dominate some circles of the internet, and it seems especially the t-girl admirer crowd.

I get PM'd from so many pervs out there that are obsessed with showing me their little packages up close via cam - why? I don't fucking get it. I mean, I like to show off, tease, be sexual as much as anyone else, but that's showing my whole look - the whole package, you know? Maybe I'm just being a prude here, but I find close up images of genitalia in most cases just boring (and that includes most hard core porn) and in some cases, especially when they keep [metaphorically] shoving it in my face, downright revolting and annoying. That especially goes for those obviously lonely souls out there who simply squeeze into a cheap and ill-fitted thong, thrust it into the camera and consider themselves crossdressers and assume just because I'm a crossdresser I should be all ga-ga over them.

Don't get me wrong - there's nothing wrong with that if it floats your boat - but don't call yourself a crossdresser when you put so little effort into it! And especially don't insist that I have to or even remotely want to see it! I know, I'm deep into bitchy/elitist mode here, but I just had to get that off my chest...

Please comment if you have a different opinion because I'd really like to get some different perspectives on this.

ps: the reason I went off on this rant is that it just came to my attention that some idiot out there had been passing some of my pics, mixed in with obviously different, faceless pics off as herself. Maybe that's the reason so many panting guys still e-mail me despite the fact that I clearly state on most of my sites that I have zero interest in men. Damn imposters!!!

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Endless war for the US?

We need to wake the fuck up and realize what war is doing to us and to the people we're supposed to be "liberating". Here are some places to get some eye opening visuals about the pure evil of this damn Iraq war:
Ali Ismail Abbas, 12, wounded during a U.S. airstrike according to hospital sources, lies in a hospital bed in Baghdad, April 6, 2003. More than a year later the Bush administration refuses to discuss Iraq civilian casualties. (Photo: AFP)

And here are some pure numbers that may shock some of you:

Number of civilians killed by military intervention in Iraq:
a minimum of 14,591 Iraqi civilians dead, to a max of 16,771 civilians!!!
Think about that - besides the terrible fact that we are approaching 1500 of our soldiers dead, we are responsible for killing about 15,000 Iraqi civilians!!! The only thing we seem to be doing is liberating a lot of them from life...

And if you care about how much we taxpayers are spending of our hard-earned money on this fiasco, go here:

Friday, November 19, 2004

Americans are hypocritical prudes (dawn of the neo-Victorian age?)

Indeed we are, or at least a majority of us are and they are the ones in charge right now!!! Let's look at the laundry list of issues where America in general is far to the right of most of the rest of the world (and indeed, some of our polices or at least the beliefs held by the right-wingers, is in step with radical Islamist beliefs!):

  • Alcohol (you can legally go to war and kill people but you still can't have a beer?)
  • Drugs (i.e., pot - we are by far the number one consumer of this stuff)
  • Sex (yes sex - look at the ridiculous uproars over recent mini-second risque bits on Monday Night football, Howard Stern and the Super Bowl)
  • Prostitution (outlawed almost everywhere but in parts of that fun place Nevada...)
  • Abortion (we even refuse to fund any international relief or family planning efforts that have any connection to any service that even talks about abortion as an option!!!)
  • Birth Control (the morning after pill has been available and used safely by millions in Europe for decades and now the right-wing wackos in some states want to remove reference to use of condoms from sex eduaction classes)
  • Homosexuality (we are contemplating writing the bigoted idea of homosexuals and transgendered as second-class citizens into our Constitution for chissakes!)

What do all these have in common? Sex sex sex!!! I guess some of these born-again types were born again virgins - they don't remember that sex is fun, sex is freeing, sex is fucking a biological instinct as well!

We need to lighten up, enjoy life, laugh at ourselves every once in a while...

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

right-wing myths about marriage and gays

The right-wingers won massive victories in the states in their continued efforts to relegate gays, bi-sexuals, lesbians and the transgendered (hereafter referred to as GBLT) to second-class citizen status. How? As usual through outright lies, distortion, false claims and a reliance on the basic ignorance and fear of the unknown of the majority of rural, middle-class Americans.

Their basic "mythic" arguments:
1. Marriage has been a sacred institution between a man and a woman for the last 5000 years.
2. Allowing GBLTs to marry will ruin or corrupt the institution of marriage.
3. GBLT individuals are evil and against God's will.
4. The GBLT cultures are somehow corrupting our youth and resulting in the decline of "values" in America.

Now, to my mind, any intelligent individual will look at the statements above and say: how could anyone in their right mind hold such bigoted and exclusionary views? Unfortunately, as the last election so soundly reminded us, a lot more people in this country are willing to buy into this vision that we sometimes might care to admit. Now let's debunk all these right-wing myths:

1. Marriage has been a sacred institution between a man and a woman for the last 5000 years:
This is pure drivel. Marriage has evolved and changed over time the same as any other social institution. Some of you may even be old enough to remember when inter-racial marriages were outlawed or when inter-cultural couples were discriminated against openly. Prior to that women in a marriage were merely regarded as chattel that the husband owned. And who can forget that still legal in some cultures practice of polygamy (75% of the worl'd societies allow this form of marriage)! If a tradition is wrong (some more examples: sacrificing virgins to the gods, slavery), it gets changed. An exerpt from the Congressional Quarterly Researcher, 2003:

Present-day advocates of gay marriage — notably, Yale law Professor William Eskridge in his book The Case for Same-Sex Marriage — find historical analogues dating back to the Biblical accounts of David and Jonathan and Ruth and Naomi. Eskridge notes that same-sex relationships between men were common in ancient Greece — witness Plato's discourse on love in the dialogue Symposium — and that the Roman Emperor Nero had a formal wedding ceremony with his male lover Sporus.
“Same-sex marriages are a commonplace in human history,” Eskridge writes, and have been “tolerated in most societies” except in the West.

2. Allowing GBLTs to marry will ruin or corrupt the institution of marriage:
This has yet to be explained to me? How? How does letting other adults marry of their own volition and using their own ceremony corrupt yours? Besides the fact that, as mentioned above, the idea of a singular "institution of marriage" is simply not true, how does gay marriage in any way affect heterosexual marriage? There is absolutely zero evidence that gay relationships are any less lasting, loving and viable than hetero ones and research about child rearing shows that there is also no difference in the short or long-term outcomes of those children (besides perhaps, and I'm just guessing here, that these children would be more open-minded and tolerant of others).

3. GBLT individuals are evil and against God's will:
And guess what? Right-wingers often believe anyone who doesn't believe exactly what they believe is evil. Here's another similar example: the Al Qaida wackos think that America is evil and against God's will too...

4. The GBLT cultures are somehow corrupting our youth and resulting in the decline of "values" in America.

Wait, I thought they had been crying that TV and those evil hollywood people were responsible for that...Anyways. whose values are we talking about here? There is absolutely no credible evidence of any relationship between a rise in GBLT culture and a decline in values. Besides, gays have existed since mankind arose. It was certainly widespread (and this is well-documented) in the first democracies in history: ancient Greece and Rome (not to mention rampant within the cloistered medieval monasteries).

By the way, here is an excerpt from CRUZ, DAVID B. "Same-Sex Marriage, I." Encyclopedia of the American Constitution. Ed. Leonard W. Levy and Kenneth L. Karst. Vol. 5. 2nd ed. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2000. 2307-2308. 6 vols.

The refusal to allow same-sex couples to marry violates the DUE PROCESS clauses of the Fifth Amendment and the FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT, under which the Supreme Court has recognized that the right to marry may not be significantly burdened absent extraordinary justification. In LOVING V. VIRGINIA (1967) the Court held that the right to marry is a FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT, and ZABLOCKI V. REDHAIL (1978) made clear that it embraces both negative rights to freedom from government prosecution for cohabiting as married and affirmative rights to enter government-sanctioned civil marriage. The prohibition on two men or two women marrying thus should trigger STRICT SCRUTINY, provided the right is defined at a sufficiently high level of generality.
Defenders of the heterosexual status quo argue that civil marriage has always involved the union of one man with one woman, and thus that there is no SUBSTANTIVE DUE PROCESS right to same-sex marriage "deeply rooted" in American history or "essential" to our scheme of ordered liberty. Yet it is inappropriate to take enduring characteristics of a person claiming a right into account in defining the contours of that right. The Court rejected such an effort in Loving, where Virginia argued that its MISCEGENATION law prohibiting marriages between white and black persons violated no fundamental right because mixed-race marriages had long been prohibited by law. Despite the long history of monoracial statutory marriage definitions, the Court held that Virginia's law infringed the fundamental right to marry.
Similarly, the right to marry should not by fiat and history be deemed to exclude same-sex marriages a priori. Rather, the two-sex requirement should have to survive strict scrutiny to be consistent with the due process clauses. However, in the RIGHT TO DIE case Washington v. Glucksberg (1997), a majority of the Court took a restrictive view of the proper formulation of substantive rights claimed to be protected under the due process clause, and it is conceivable that the Court would do so in this context and find no fundamental right to same-sex marriage.
Nonetheless, excluding same-sex couples from civil marriage also violates the constitutional guarantee of EQUAL PROTECTION OF THE LAWS, which demands that governmental classifications must withstand the appropriate level of scrutiny. Under cases such as UNITED STATES V. VIRGINIA (1996), governmental SEX DISCRIMINATION must survive at least intermediate scrutiny.

There is no reliable social science evidence that most or all mixed-sex marriages provide a healthier child-rearing environment than same-sex marriages.

At base, the nationwide refusal to recognize same-sex marriages, the federal Defense of Marriage Act, its state-level copycat statutes, and arguments that recognizing same-sex marriages would somehow "undermine" the institution of marriage all reflect both a profound anxiety that heterosexual privilege may be eroding and an attempt to use the law to perpetuate the subordinate status of lesbian, gay, and bisexual persons. The Constitution, however, prohibits majorities from using the power of government to shore up such status hierarchies. As the first Justice JOHN MARSHALL HARLAN argued in his DISSENTING OPINION in PLESSY V. FERGUSON (1896), and as reaffirmed in the sexual orientation context in ROMER V. EVANS (1996), the Constitution "neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens."

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Fear and exclusion have won the day (but only for now!)

Somehow, the majority of well-meaning Americans have bought Bush's "strong and moral" image. Bottom line: the republicans used the extensive and close-knit religious institutions in this country to win and they did it well. They sold those vast populations on lies and innuendo and false claims about Kerry and the Democrats.

Oh well! Whining time is over. Now its time to figure out how to stop Bush from wrecking our country even further; to minimizing the damage the Republicans can do; and to getting someone sensible elected in 2008.

We need to start organizing NOW! If you care at all about the long-term health of the environment we live in, about the rights of all citizens, about the long-term problems of terrorism, crime and nuclear proliferation - then we all have common cause. I obviously don't have all the answers, but the bottom line is we need to do a much better job of dispelling the awful image of liberals, progressives and Democrats held by vast swaths of this country, and we need to do a better job of selling our vision for the future of our nation - one based, in my view, on inclusion, respect and love.

For my part, I definately need to do more - to get more involved, to make an effort to get out there and protest and fight for what I believe in. In that respect I failed miserably these past 4 years and hope I can do more to reverse that failure in the coming years...

We will have to fight tooth and nail for all this because with control of all branches of the government and soon probably also the supreme court, the conservatives will be deeply entrenched in power and by nature unwilling to give it up. My simple advice: start local, find a local cause and get involved - make the critical arguments to your friends and colleagues and get them involved! Stand up to the politics of hatred, aggression and fear!

Enough soapbox ranting for ya? ok, ok....

Monday, November 01, 2004

Halloween adventure

I hope everyone (especially you t-girls out there) got to get out and be a little wild this past weekend. I know I did...

It started out innocently enough at a friends party - with lots of kids, candy and innocent drinking and conversation. Oh by the way, I was wearing a slutty looking goth minidress, garters and high heels (see images at the bottom of my web site here:

Next was Club 22. It was fairly packed. I entered the drag costume contest and ended up winning! I got a $50 bar tab as winnings and spent most of it within 15 minutes! Thanks to all who cheered for me during the competition - it was the first time ever winning anything as Dana.

Next was some dancing and then some pool. Unfortunately, there was this drunk asshole there and he was taking things a little too seriously. I don't know how he didn't get kicked out before the incident, but he lost at pool to a couple gay guys and evidently took it personally. As he was leaving the table (I was waiting to play the next game) one of the gay guys said something like "nice game" and the guy just went beserk! He lunged at the guy, who was standing right next to me, and started throttling him. Well, I was pretty drunk by this time and I must have had some pent up anger. I reacted instantly and grabbed the drunk asshole by the neck and shoved him back away from the guy. A general melee ensued and as the drunk was being talked to by the owners I shouted out that he started it and was being a total asshole. He went even more beserk, threatened to kill me (at which, in my somewhat also drunked state, I stuck my tongue out at him) and he lunged at me. Luckily there were a group of people between us, although I was fired up and fully ready to stick my 6 inch stilleto platform heel right into his neck. Luckily, he was kicked out and I didn't have to mess up my outfit, and we went on playing pool.

Getting more drunk as the evening progressed, I felt some attraction to my runner-up in the drag contest. We had talked earlier and she seemed very nice. To make a long story short - we ended up making out a little, feeling each other up a bit and generally flirting with each other shamelessly. Unfortunately, the girl had her boyfriend there (they both wanted to take me home and make a Dana sandwhich :-), but I had no interest in that, so things ended there (and probably thankfully). The girl was very cute though! That's it - I know - boring, but for me exciting! I feel myself getrting more and more adventurous in my outings - who knows where it will lead me! I can't say for sure how far things might have progressed if that girl's boyfriend hadn't been there...

Friday, October 22, 2004

Vanity: a t-girl's best or worst friend?

Why do we t-girls (and many non-t's as well) like looking at ourselves and paying so much attention to how we look, so much? For myself, I think it is a love of the female form in general, and also a symptom of my elevated self-confidence when dressed. And also, from the t-girl perspective, I have lived my whole life with one set of looks and so when I dress and take on a completely different set of looks, its like a taste of freedom - I keep wanting more.

Do I probably pay too much attention to such an ephemeral thing as outward appearance? No doubt. Oh well, we have to pay attention to something, don't we? So why not look good doing it?!

I also get this general sense from some boys who I chat with that they view anyone like me that dresses so completely and sexily as a woman as primarily driven by a need to attract men. While perhaps that does play a part (it is a basic sense of validation as a woman afterall), it is not the driving factor. They seem shocked (and actually not convinced) that I am only attracted to women sexually. Why is that? Is a lesbian who dresses sexy really trying to attract a man? I would argue they are just being who they want to be, regardless of sexual orientation. Just because the social norm says that sexy female appearance (a) = panting men (b), that does not mean that the root of a is caused by b. I want a woman who is attracted to my male and female sides - one who herslef looks good, but who can also look past appearance and get to know me as a person. Is that asking too much?

But then again, I do have a bit of sexual confusion/ambiguity at this juncture in my life, as I consider going further into womanhood. Am I attracted to men?: Not as a rule. Might that change as I delve further into womanhood and meet the right person? I don't know, it's certainly not out of the question. I tend to look more at character, personality, rather than gender. While I certainly like good-lloking people more, I try not to dismiss people based on their looks.

My basic argument is that we shouldn't be bogged down by sexual labels. I will base any relationship, whether sexual or not, on my rapport with the individual. Looks will always play a part, but will not direct all actions. In some ways my t-girl vanity, my heightened sense of self, is a part of who I am, but it does not define me in any source way. I would prefer to be known as that great looking babe who has a sense of humbleness and humor... :-)

Thursday, October 14, 2004

our tax dollars at work (suppressing dissent)

Here is the link to the full story:

From what I can tell, the US Secret Service spent dozens or more man-hours and probably thousands of dollars investigating a 17 year old kid who put an amusing bumper sticker on his car because some close-minded republican neighbor felt like being vindictive.

And the worst part is how they go about it - even after they met the kid and it was obvious that he was no threat to anyone anywhere, they continued to intimidate him, ask personal, unrelated probing questions, and deny him his right to free speech.

This is how those in power stay in power folks. This type of authoritative behavior is how Saddam, Stalin, Pinochet and Castro stayed in power for so long...

Saturday, October 09, 2004

truth addendum (war drum beat)

truth is a tricky, slippery thing isn't it? I froth at the mouth about truth sometimes but avoid its penetrating gaze myself too often. These are pages of self-medication only.

granularity grasped too tightly the loosest anger grip
and strings of pearls of perfect angularity surround him
a grain with a brain and a planet to practice on infinitem
at some point every crooked deal feels straighter
than the ring around the equator that holds it in

useless mines (Ares oil bubbles)
I obsess about possible explosions
the feeling of stepping on all these mines past lain
I worry about little limbs and original thought slaughtered
and strewn about about another man's war.
I have no real vision of such a realm
but through pixel-pixie magic and instinctual fear
of what depths we will delve in search of the next vein injection
the burning bush intones in dietic diplomacy
no power but for that the blind believing masses bestow upon him.
Hope and a prayer and mass communication
the weapons of mass destruction too slow-acting to notice.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

secrecy is only fear in another guise

It's simple really:
secrecy = fear
Whether it's an individual keeping a secret from another individual or a government keeping secrets from its citizens, secrecy always seems to be based in fear, in the negative. Even when a secret is kept in the name of security or to keep someone from being hurt - what is the underlying reason for that decision to withhold that information?

I would argue that it is fear; fear of how others might react to knowing the same information you know. In other words - not trusting those you are keeping the secret from. When a government keeps so many secrets from its citizens - what does that say about how the government views its citizens - it doesn't trust them. And in my view - that is the first step towards the death of democracy - which absolutely requires all citizens to be fully informed about what the government is doing in its name.

End result: sad to say - and I will probably get flamed for this statement: the US is no longer a true representative democracy (and not just because of the way-too-secretive actions of the Bush administration - although that doesn't help). In many ways today, we seem to instead have some kind of military-corporate-imperialist oligarchy that has mastered the art of appearing as a democracy. Political power, media manipulation and bullying, the ability to carve up constituencies to suit those in power, and the near blatent control of the two-party system by corporate and other large financial interests has rendered the notion of democracy "of and for the people" rather meaningless at this point.

The solution? I don't have any easy solution - but I think if more people took more time and effort to get real facts, get as much un-biased information as is possible in the information jungle of bias that exists out there, and only support and vote for those who speak the truth, we would be a lot better off. I know - I'm speaking of some utopian dream here, but realty often begins with a dream, doesn't it...

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Bush infers infallibility for his Iraq, economic policies

Great article in Slate about the f**ked-up circular illogic used by Bush and co. to justify their policies on Iraq and the economy (and it seems pretty much every other policy they support), no matter what the results:

"In 1999, George W. Bush said we needed to cut taxes because the economy was doing so well that the U.S. Treasury was taking in too much money, and we could afford to give some back to the people who earned it. In 2001, Bush said we needed the same tax cuts because the economy was doing poorly, and we had to return the money so that people would spend and invest it.
Bush's arguments made the wisdom of cutting taxes unfalsifiable. In good times, tax cuts were affordable. In bad times, they were necessary. Whatever happened proved that tax cuts were good policy. When Congress approved the tax cuts, Bush said they would revive the economy. You'd know that the tax cuts had worked, because more people would be working. Three years later, more people aren't working. But in Bush's view, that, too, proves he was right. If more people aren't working, we just need more tax cuts.
Now Bush is playing the same game in postwar Iraq. When violence there was subsiding, he said it proved he was on the right track. Now violence is increasing, and Bush says this, too, proves he's on the right track."

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

more on democracy and those evil Repubs...

Hi April,

Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments, no matter how much I disagree with them - you know I love ya!

But I have to take a moment to disect your arguments if you don't mind:

1. "This started months ago with the press, which in the last week has shown its true colors on the parts of CBS, to be dirty."
--to be honest, 60 Minutes in all likelyhood was duped by the fake documents - they were not mean-spirited (as Fox news is everyday). In addition, the actual person who did write the real memos says that the content in then is correct - that Bush did get preferential treatment. Even beyond that, it was Bush, Rove and co. that started the vietname era bashing by supporting the swift boat vets dirty attack machine. And the press played that angle up much more than they did the national guard thing (which in my mind is still a real issue since he makes such a big deal out of being a "war-time president").

2. "Universal care for everyone is wrong"
-- just because Canada doesn't have a perfect system and their rich people can afford to come down here and pay the thousands of dollars to get the best treatment does not make the idea of universal health care "wrong". Even if they didn't have universal health care, those people would still come here for top notch treatment. But surely you agree that giving the MILLIONS of American children and other citizens that have no health care whatsoever at least some basic free health care isn't wrong? The real problem is paying for it - and that would mean taxing the rich and so they fight back and paint the whole idea as wrong-headed.

3. "As far as the war, I supported it based on histories past, we let dictators do what they wanted in the 30's in Germany, he killed people, grew a army, took over land, and all this against the League of Nations and the treaty ending WWI."
--You have a point here. The problem is that NO ONE, not even those crazy liberals are disputing the fact that Saddam was a bad guy and the world is better off without him. However, let's be consistent. Doesn't also China, North Korea, Saudia Arabia, Pakistan, and many other countries also have brutal dictatorial leaders? Why aren't we invading them? Because they don't have lots of oil and a depleted military ripe for conquering. And now Bush and Co. are once again beating the drums of war saying that ANY criticism of how the post-war Iraq and or Afghanistan situation is being handled is hurting our troops! I'm sorry, but sending them over there and declaring to the wackos with AK-47s to "Bring 'em on" has done far more harm to them than that!

4. "yes Arnold is starting to turn around a bankrupt California, who all seem to share the ideas that I do, less goverement on business that create jobs.."
--Ok - The Terminator has not really done a damn thing to turn around his state's finances. He has put off all the crucial decisions and is still pushing for more tax cuts for a state that has a budget deficit larger than most countries in the world! He is doing the same as Bush: the next generation of Californians will be paying a heavy price for his so called economic "leadership."

Finally, Bush and the modern Republicans are not really about less government - the government (and it's deficit) has grown exponentially since Bush took office, the same as it did under Reagan. They just want less regulation of business so that they and their good ol' boy network buddies can make more money themselves as CEOs, shareholders and boardmembers! They don't give a damn about the average american citizen and their welfare. In the meantime, businesses are not hiring more, but they are certainly polluting our environment more, concocting more and more tax havens and financial shenanigans, and moving more and more jobs overseas.

As always, these are just my opinions (backed by hours of intense research and objective data of course!-) - I could be wrong...

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

how is Kerry doing? (diatribe on modern democracy)

I'm torn on this one. On one hand, I appreciate that Kerry is an old-school democrat who likes to talk idea and ideals and prefers to take the high road in arguments. On the other hand, he seems to be getting his ass handed to him by the dirty, say-anything-to-get elected campaign strategy of his GOP opponent.

I have been on the Kerry bandwagon from the beginning. And while I admit I wavered in my actionable support when he was so far down during the primary, I stuck with him and always thought he was the best choice, primarily because of what he believes in: protecting the environment, universal healthcare, tax relief for the poor and middle-class, but cutting off the giant tax-loopholes for the very rich and giant corporations, etc. Unfortunately, however, these issues are not ones that decide elections - they are not ones to swing swing voters to his side.

Instead, for some reason I can only guess at, people and the media are fixated on tax cuts, terrorism and Iraq. Certainly those are important issues and Kerry, I believe has decent, thoughtful, but nuanced stances on them all - and people today seem to me to be generally too lazy to look into anything that can't be understood via a catch phrase or simple turn of words.

To me, the reason Bush is ahead in the polls and why so many normally peaceful and normal people seem to unwaveringly support him and his politics of exclusion, bigotry and financial elitism is that he has a simple, instinctual message: we are good, everyone against us is evil and we must remain steady and strong in order to win. That simple mantra gives some cover to everything else his administration has done to the detriment of its citizens since he took office.

The problem that people don't realize is that by talking (and accepting such talk) in such black and white, good vs. evil terms, by painting all Islamic countries as potential harborers of terrorists, and all muslims themselves as potential terrorists, we are not only doing the wrong thing morally, but we are making far more enemies than we are picking off with our inept actions in the "war on terror."

How many of these "wars" on ideas have we won by the way? Drugs? - worse than ever before. AIDS? - still spreading like wildfire around the world. Poverty? - undoubtedly worse than ever before in the modern era, even here in the US. Nuclear proliferation? - our government's actions have spurred more countries to seek them because they see that if you have even just one, we won't dare invade you and can't so easily threaten and bully you into what we think democracy (read: capitalism) and freedom is about.

I fear it may take another 4 years of political-corporate cronyism and gutting of civil liberties to wake us up enough to realize that our country and its cherished ideals are dissappearing before our very eyes...

let's hear some chatter

Ok - a few kind people have now told me they do actually read this blog. Fantastic! But I want more! Let's see some comments in here on what I wrote - some constructive criticism - a story of yourself relating to the topic or even something completely different - I don't care. Come on you shy bastards! I know you have your own thoughts. And bsides, I need some validation for all this hard work (ok, ok - it's not really hard work, but still, it's getting lonely in here! :-)

Peace and hugs for all,


Tuesday, September 21, 2004

breathe people!

Breathing is such a basic function of life that I think alot of people (including myself until just recently) tend to overlook it. It is a major factor, for example, in doing any sort of physical activity or sport. For example, when I jog, I have a specific breathing technique that I use that helps me go longer distances at a steady pace. It is vitally important in yoga and almost all meditation and relaxation techniques as well. I can also tell you from experience: if you ever wear a tight corset, learning to breathe properly is essential! :-)

In a way, since we all breathe involuntarily and without thinking about it, people just assume that how they breathe is normal. But perhaps that isn't so. I know virtually nothing technical about this topic, mind you, but I believe that if we paid far more attention to how we breathe, especially in stressful or chaotic situations, we would be much better at dealing with those situations (and perhaps there could even be less anger, less violence). Breathing properly can be used as an effective and basic tool for dealing with and relieving stress. Often when I feel my anger start to rise, when I feel my blood begin to boil, if I just consciousy take a couple deep breaths and then slow down my pace of breathing I am able to control things and think about things much more clearly. And more important I feel better.

Anyways, here are a couple links to some cool sites on the topic:

Friday, September 17, 2004

decisions, decisions, decisions...

It seems to me that one of my major character flaws is an inability to make decisions. To a certain extent, this disease affects everyone, sometimes you just don't know what option or choice to make. Should I go out this weekend to the club or not? Should I wear my blue cami top and white mini or my black corset top and leather mini? What beer do I feel like tonight? Do I want to eat this chocolate candy or not? Should I pose nude for money or not? Do I want to do what it takes to make more money? Should I tell my casual friends about my dressing or not? Do I really want to transition to become a woman in mind and body?

I am fully behind the philosophy of being a "warrior" - living in the now, appreciating each moment, taking action to get what I want. My downfall is often that I don't know what I want. But perhaps, especially when it comes to the tougher decisions, it is that I do know what I want on some level, but my fears and socially-inculcated thought-patterns are clouding that understanding from me?

I guess the question I have then is, how can I come to know what I truly desire? How can i overcome dozens of years of drilled-in social thought patterns. How can I escape the clutches of society's will to shape me in its own image, instead of my own?

Honestly, I don't know. My guess is that it really takes patience and a will to get in tune with your own emotions and thought-patterns and to analyze why you make the decisions you make, both good and bad. More on this later...

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

admitting your fear or shortcoming is the first step to overcoming it

Everyone has their own personal demons, myself as much as anyone. These demons always grow out of unresolved, unfaced fears. It is only by first acknowledging the fear and then recognizing its source that we can truly be free of its always negative impact on our self, on our happiness, on our freedom to act.

My primary demon used to be the typical one for a crossdresser: having people know about it! People would think I was a freak, they would reject me, blah, blah, blah. It was only when I realized that these fears were based on what others might think of me and had nothing to do with what I wanted that I was able to overcome them. My fear had driven most relationships away anyways, so all that was left to face was myself. I first had to accept myself as a crossdresser and then that confidence in myself would be felt by those who I met and they would accept me for what i was.

Well I am here to tell you it worked! My parent and close friends fully accepted it when I told them and have been supportive. I am also now free of the fear of sharing too much of myself so that the secret would be let out. I am far more happier and confident than I have ever been.

My new fear is that of sexuality and money (there is always the fear of not having money, isn't there?) I guess. I am seriously contemplating (more and more everyday) going on hormones, getting breast augmentation, plastic surgery and transitioning to a full-time woman. The physical changes don't bother me at all - I really don't think I'll miss my little one-eyed monster at all. And even the mental changes - the mood swings that come with radical changes in hormonal chemistry, etc. don't faze me. What scares me is sexuality. Right now I am not attracted to men at all. However, what would these hormones do to that - would I inevitably become attracted to men? Would so radically changing my body chemistry, not to mention my physical appearance, change who I fundamentally am? I've seen an ex-girlfriend go onto anti-depressives and as a result she turned into what I perceived as a very changed person. And finally, how the hell will I pay for all these hormones, electrolysis, therapy sessions, surgery, etc.?

The main point is that I am beginning to tackle these fears by examining what the underlying fears are behind them: money and self. I am actively talking to other girls who have gone or are going though the transition process and most of my fears are unfounded - most i talk to say the emotional/mental process, while certainly a roller-coater of moods is in a way wonderful - a full-on introduction to being a woman. As for the money, as my friend likes to say - the key is to truly know/see yourself as a woman, as successful with the money to pay for what you want, and the rest will work itself out - it will be attracted to your life when you are in harmony with your desires. In past years I used to scoff at such metaphysical, self-help advice, but I am coming to more and more believe it: the power of the self is unending...

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

I'm back!

Whew! Last couple of weeks have been super-busy and I just haven't had the time to devote to this thing. I hope to change that going forward...

Anyone out there heard of a couple upcoming reality shows dealing with drag/crossdressing. I think one is called "He's a Lady." Somehow I doubt these will ever see the light of day in today's socially conservative climate and even if they do I'm sure they will only be dressing up macho guys in lazy drag and making them do embarrasing things and basically just promoting ignorant stereotypes about the transgendered.

But who knows, maybe we'll be pleasantly surprised...

Peace out,


Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Usurping the Throne

I am coming across more and more articles these days documenting in detail how local and state (mostly Republican, although that may simply reflect my reading habits) election officials are constantly coming up with new ways to rig elections, deny voters their rights and otherwise swing elections towards their side. Things are getting even nastier than in 2000 out there and I fear that unless the American public wakes up and starts protesting these actions vigorously, they will only get worse. And that inevitably means 4 more years of radical right-wing consolidation of power, increased snooping on American citizens and the stripping of their civil rights, and increased influence for the corporate powers-that-be behind Bush's initial rise in politics (re: oil and other fossil fuel energy giants).

Good article on the election issue:

Anyone out there going to go to NYC and protest the GOP convention?
On a personal note: things here have been hectic to say the least, so I apologize to you ones of my faithful readers out there for not posting more often.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

consulting idea using my background in library and instructional tech

My professional background is primarily in library science (MLS from the University of Pittsburgh) and in basic information and instructional technology support. I have extensive experience in the design and management of small, web-based help desk processes and documentation, technical writing and editing, library research, etc.

Having said that, is anyone out there looking for any help managing the customer service and correspondence side of a web-based business? I'm looking to move into consulting in this type of thing and I would like to get my feet wet on a couple projects as a almost-free volunteer (i.e., provide a cheap, valuable, money and time-saving service to the right business). What I have in mind is a consulting business that shows small web businesses (especially ones with a transgender connection) how to efficiently and effectively manage and quickly respond to incoming e-mail and other correspondence in a way that is cheap, scalable, non-technical, maintains a high level of professionalism with a personal touch, and promotes brand loyalty.

Have you ever tried contacting Yahoo about something? In my opinion that is the best way NOT to do customer service. Not only is their Help documentation all over the place (non-centralized), superficial and useless, but they also are totally unresponsive to individual user questions and only send out generic, automated responses.

In other words if you have a growing web site that has a growing number of incoming messages and questions that you are having a hard time managing and responding to properly, I may be able to help you! Let me know and maybe I can offer some advice. I'd be especially interested in helping any TG-related/owned businesses out there.

Monday, August 09, 2004

the death-knell of dissent in America?

Think we still live in the land of the free? Think again. Dissent and peaceful protest is becoming an exinct art these days. See the following articles for harrowing tales of repression, bullying and spying by our friendly neighborhood gov't on the common citizen who happens to hold any view that might be construed as opposed or different than that held by the current administation or authorities:

Now you can't even get into some sporting events (the freaking Olypics!) if you are sporting a piece of clothing that shows a non-sponsor company:

The ONLY way to fix this at present is to vote the Republicans out of power. That means each and every one of us needs to contact everyone we know and make sure they are getting out there and making the argument for reason and voting and that they are contacting everyone THEY know to get out the vote. This is a crucial time in the history not only of our country, but for the world and the future of the meaning of human rights.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Ron Reagan disses the Bush administration eloquently

Check out this very eloquently written critique of the Bush administration and a call for change from the son of Ronald Reagan - it's worth your time:

Also check out this from "Civil Liberties Watch" about the new and increasing powers of the authorities for search and seizure, written by an ex-Baltimore cop:

Friday, July 30, 2004

the fluidity of sexuality and gender

I've been thinking a lot lately about sexuality and gender and how what these are can be very fluid and environment-dependent, especially for t-girls such as myself. Is someone who is bi just unable to make up their mind or are they simply taking advantage of the variety available in life? The same could be said on the gender side about us t-girls. Myself, I am basically only interested in women, but I do have this latent attraction to beautiful t-girls. I know I have no interest in men, but the idea of a transsexual seems to interest me sometimes. What I haven't straightened out in my mind yet is if this attraction is more that I want to be with a transsexual or actually "become" a transsexual, or even just a reaction to my recent failures to find a real woman who can accept me...

The idea of transitioning towards more full femininity intrigues and excites me. I definately have leanings that way. But I also do enjoy my male side. I guess I have to figure out if I can/want to continue to have 2 separate selves (male/female) or if it would be possible to merge the 2 into a viable, happy female self. I have to say at this moment that I am strongly leaning towards the transition path. Not sure if that is simply a withdrawal symptom because I haven't dressed in a couple months or if those feelings run deeper... to be continued...

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Bush campaign plays on instinctual fear of death

Go read this article about a study of the fear of death and peoples subsequent leadership preferences. Here is a snippet:
"The volunteers were aged from 18 into their 50s and described themselves as ranging from liberal to deeply conservative. No matter what a person's political conviction, thinking about death made them tend to favor Bush, Solomon said. Otherwise, they preferred Kerry.
"I think this should concern anybody," Solomon said. "If I was speaking lightly, I would say that people in their, quote, right minds, unquote, don't care much for President Bush and his policies in Iraq."
He wants voters to be aware of psychological pressures and how they are used."

Now think about the, I admit possibly paranoid possibility, that Bush and Co. might stage an aborted terror threat (they would just have to stage a threat) during their own convention to drum up support for their war mongering policies and sway viewers to perceive their own speeches in a better light.

Buit even barring that possibility look back at how many times the Bush campaign and administration uses the fear of terrorism to jam through any corporate or conservative-friendly legislation or regulation they can. They conveniently announce arrests and threat warnings at crucial times. They constantly hammer the point that their endless "war on terrorism" needs Bush at its head.  How else would the civil-liberties-suppressing Patriot Act have ever come into reality?

On a side note, the weird thing about this Reuters article is that the scientist qouted in it works in a college in my own hometown!

Friday, July 23, 2004

the freedom of the great outdoors

My new digs rock! Nothing but fields and farm lands behind me and the Hudson river across the street (behind an empty house being renovated). The ability to walk out my door and wander barefoot into these beautiful fields so full of insect and avian life just blows me away every time I do it.  Almost no trace of mankind and their ugly concrete constructs out there! Should be even more breathtaking come fall.

My doggie loves it - tons of room to sniff and wander and lots of tall grass to snooze amongst. Gotta get a hammock...

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

first-hand accounts of modern day McCarthyism

Check out this site, part the The Progressive - the often first-hand accounts of run ins with overzealous or just outright vindictive authorities there shine a light on just how fucked up and closer to the point of destroying civil liberties and the freedom of expression we are getting as a nation these days:


Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Dana is moving!

I am just now starting the process of packing up all my stuff and moving to my first home! Lots more closet space and room for my sweetie dog Emmitt to wander in (and lots more yard to mow!) so I may only post sporadically for the next week or so if anyone out there is even reading this.

Some articles of interest to the politically minded:
Bush and Co. headed to defeat on exclusionary amendment:;jsessionid=QNI2UHOG2CE0WCRBAEZSFFA?type=topNews&storyID=5660789

Fox News bias:

Run-in with the Man at 9-11 screening:

Liberal Media compares the candidates:

Monday, July 12, 2004

Fear and Loathing in the Land of Plenty

Fear is the anticipation, perception or sensation of danger, known or unknown. It is a survival instinct rooted in the prehistoric genetic code of all biological life in one form or another, back not so long ago really, when survival was all our brains were programmed for or even had to think about. The problem is that the kinds of dangers that most humans face these days are not physical in nature, but instead based on perceived dangers to cultural, social and or psychological states of being. As a result, the instinct to sense fear and hence to act based on this sense of danger is removed from its initial, instinctual purpose.

Combine this with the current American culture of over dependence on and attachment to physical possessions, abundance and mass media technologies, and you end up with a citizenry ripe to be ruled by fear. In turn, fear comes to be expressed as a shared group emotion rather than an individual one. It is in these times that civil liberties, individual expression and peace become endangered. A sort of "group-think" based on fear (and often then morphing into a perception of "us versus them" hatred) then arises.

Similar events occurred with the fall of the ancient Greek and Roman democratic institutions. Corruption, decadence, fear of losing those possessions and comforts, and political manipulation of these fears by individual monied interests resulted in a voluntary, systematic dismantling of the very democratic institutions their societies were built on. These first, great democratic institutions then evolved into autocratic and or dictatorial systems and which are embodied in the still popular histories of the Roman Emperors (after all, which would you rather read about – the exploits of mythic heroism and sacrifice in war or a recounting of the dry debates of a representative legislature).

And I guess that last bit feeds into another reasoning for our current situation: peace, democracy and the resulting slow pace of societal change are at root boring. We all have some residual violent instincts within us that must be fed every once in a while, like a dog that has to chew a bone to quell the instinctual desire to hunt and kill, whether through individual or collective action. And today here in the US, this collective hatred and intolerance is more and more of a social/cultural bent – i.e., the right-wing exclusionary drives to ban gay marriage, evolution and abortion (and anything else that isn't mentioned in the bible or the NRA handbook), the seemingly endless wars on terrorism and drugs, and the left-wing's outright hatred for Bush and co. (and I am solidly in on this latter one although I hope not as vehemently and as based in pure hatred as others!).

In this respect, I have some hope. History is cyclical and so this intense period of hatred and intolerance is due to go away eventually (and more quickly if everyone lends a hand to change our leadership!). It takes a collective effort to change things on such a grand scale and collective action begins with individual action, whether that takes the form of peaceful protests, volunteering, writing a letter to the editor, or just talking calmly and intelligently with those around you about these issues.

On a personal note: I see fear as such a massively pervasive factor in the transgender world. There are thousands and thousands of people out there living in such pure terror of expressing their true selves that in a sense they are really no longer living. I know, because until last year I was one of those people! I can't tell you how utterly freeing and exhilarating it is to walk out of such a deeply fear-inhibited closet and for once be able to breathe fresh air and be who I really am (for me some of the time that's a miniskirt and heels wearing vixen who likes to go out dancing, drinking, showing off, and teasing the occasional admirer!).

It's never too late to begin removing the fear from your life and start living as your true self! It is only then that we as a society can do the same...

Friday, July 09, 2004

Elections in Vegas?

What do you think would happen in this country if the 2004 election turned out just like 2000? There would most certainly be some kind of major major demonstrations - probably the largest this country has ever seen bar none - if not outright revolution. Think about it - the presidency won by a judicial decision/hijacked twice in a row! Perhaps I'm wrong - I hope I am. But you would certainly see me at the first peaceful protest - hopefully in a location and on a day or two warm enough to justify a tank top and mini!

Most certainly there will be a state contested as was Florida in 2000. I wouldn't be surprised if there weren't already Vegas odds on it, taken into account the same sorry state our voting technology, as well as collective attention spans, remain in.

I have to admit at this point, in the spirit of truth and openess, that I do have a bit of an Apocalyse fetish for some reason, and that may be clouding my vision. A background in ancient history with its epic stories of the rise and fall of civilizations, a bit of self-loathing and a desire for a blank slate perhaps, and my aforementioned distaste for authority (which, just by saying so here, according to a minor conspriracy side of myself, might land me on some watchlist), puts me of a general mind towards a taste of chaos.

Nevertheless, I fear/relish the thought that this coming election will be a pivotal historic moment whatever the outcome.

ya, so I like to converse in something comfortable, so what? Posted by Hello

Intolerence and the religious right: a match made in heaven?

Well, thought I'd start right out with some heavy political/social commentary! Has anyone ever noticed the intolerant mob mentality of the religious right? I mean, i know plenty of these sorts of individuals, and as such they always seem open-minded and somewhat tolerant when in conversation to me. However, these same people seem to have no misgivings about supporting the vitriolic froth coming out of the mouths of such intolerant luminaries as Jerry Falwell, Rick Santorum, Tom Delay, Dick Cheney and the rest. I just don't understand it!

My own theory is that many of these people just don't like to think for themselves. It gives them a headache or something, so they just latch onto the loudest messages out there and take them as their own without understanding the impact. Or perhaps many truly believe that allowing gays to marry or join the military will bring the end of civilization and that allowing legal immigrants into this country or giving money to any organization that even mentions abortion is somehow diminishing the values of this country (whatever they are!) - who knows?

I guess this argument goes right to the root of my own personal prejudices against authority and power in general and those of a specific religious belief especially, who think they are fundamentally better or more worthy of happiness and liberty than those who don't hold those same beliefs or have the same power...

Just getting started!

Ok. My first Blog! - not even sure if I know what I'm doing but this seems like an easy way to do some stream-of-consciousness ranting whenever I want and perhaps put down some actual coherent thoughts ocassionally as well. I hope to populate this thing with a mix of transgender, political and just plain fun issues as time progresses. Feel free to contribute/comment/rant about anything you like (as long as it isn't vulgar, commercial, or explicitly sexual!) if you've somehow stumbled across this little realm of insanity! Thanks.

Your humble host,