Thursday, April 20, 2006

some staggering statistics

  • $8.3 TRILLION: current U.S. national debt. That's an average of $2.19 billion per day since September 30, 2005. Or it works out to about $28,000 for every woman, man and child in this country or about $68,000 per U.S. household.
  • $352 billion: amount our government spent in 2005 just repaying interest on the national debt.
  • $10 billion/month: our government currently spends 10 billion dollars ($10,000,000,000) a month on the occupation and anti-insurgency campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. That works out to approx. $333 million a day!
  • $94 billion: estimated 2006 costs for our operations in Iraq only ($81 billion in 2005), which are easily outpacing the $61 billion a year that the United States spent in Vietnam between 1964 and 1972, in today's dollars.
  • $805 billion: current U.S. trade deficit (measures the flow of all goods, services and investments in and out of the country): by contrast, China has a massive trade surplus.
  • $441 billion: 2006 budget outlay to our military, which does not include discretionary funding or money for Iraq and Afghanistan fiascoes. Our military spent 7x more than the Chinese, the second largest spender. Our spending on the military represents about 43% of the total for all military spending in the world (China represented about 7% of total)
  • $56 billion: amount Bush admin is requesting for all federal education spending for 2007.
  • $7.6 billion: amount Bush budgeted for the Environmental Protection Agency for 2007.

For more budget and debt numbers, see this informative Washington Post page:

or here:

I kiss her painted beard

My girlfriend in drag - she's damn hot no matter what she's wearing...

Two drunk-as-a-skunk babes (and me with zero make-up and thoroughly fucked-up hair) under the unforgiving subway lights at 3 am:

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

40 ounces to freedom

On my visit down to NYC last weekend I got to experience a few firsts:
  1. Finally met my long-time online friend Jenny. Aelis and I met up with her and her friend Mike and we got some dinner and went to a comedy club. We were walking the streets a few blocks from Times Square looking for a place to eat and were not having any luck (we wanted to avoid the chain stores and crowds) until we spotted this little mexican place nestled into a small, dark side street. So I walked in to see a small room full of Latino men stare up at me. The place was tiny and looked a bit suspect but I was hungry and forced the rest of my reticent group to enter. I grabbed the one open 4-top table (the place only had about 8 tables), which was situated right next to a circular 1-top table where an older guy was sitting sipping a Heineken. The rest of my gang was looking around at the gaggle of haggard-looking, mostly leathery-faced mexicali men with that scared look in their eyes. Slowly the conversations in spanish resumed and they relaxed a bit. The only woman in the place besides us was a waitress sporting glittery make-up. The dinner was actually not bad and during it I struck up a conversation with the guy sitting alone next to me. He spoke very broken english, so I asked him what was good on the menu. He replied that he had never eaten there! Oh well. Then I asked him where all the women were, and he pointed down the street with a smile. A sweet old guy really. In the middle of our dinner however, they started up the karaoke! The guy singing was standing about 3 feet behind us, right next to an amp that was pumping out the salsa music at an ungodly volume right in my ear. But actually, the singer was a good singer. He knew all the lyrics and had a good voice and I liked the music.
  2. I went to my first comedy club. After our harrowing mexican dinner, we hit a low-brow, low-cost comedy club called Ha. We were in the upstairs room, which was tiny - the comedians were about 15 feet away from us! The show was quite good, consisting of about 6 acts and an emcee. A couple were stinkers, but the rest were very funny. A couple of them talked to Jenny a little during their routines, I think because she has a bit of that strikingly beautiful blonde bombsjell look and was sitting right in front of them.
  3. Guzzling 40 ounce beers in Union Square. It was Aelis' idea, although I think at the time she was joking. But I took her up on it and we grabbed two 40 oz bottles of the High Life. You can see my effortless grace caught on camera during this foray into the life of an alcoholic street urchin below. The second pic is how Union Square looked to me after polishing off that beer...
  4. I finally saw Hedwig and the Angry Inch, as well as my girlfriend performing a shadowcast of it as the sexily bearded Yitshak. I had purposefully been holding off on seeing that movie because I wanted my first time to be watching Jenn and her troupe of shadowcasters do it (if you don't know what shadowcasting is - think the midnight showings of Rocky Horror - they act out the scenes in the movie in full costume while its playing behind them). Each of their screenings, btw, starts with a Q&A with the creator and star of the play and movie - John Cameron Mitchell. He is a very personable guy, very funny (and ribald) and well spoken. He shows scenes from his upcoming movie (he directed and I think produced it) and then takes questions (his only stipulation being that he only answers questions he has never been asked

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

coughing up my left lung

I've been a little reticent to talk about myself and what has been going on in my life recently for several reasons: 1) I lead a very ho-hum existence filled to the brim with staring at computer screens, strumming the guitar, reading books and playing tug o'war with my canine roomie and 2) I simply have a hard time talking about myself. I think there is a sort of mental block in my noodle that grows in direct proportion to how happy and content I am at the time. Perhaps a part of me thinks that if I start talking about how happy and content I am, that I will somehow be punished for pride and vanity, and that happiness will go away. Well, today I say fuck that. I'm happy for the most part and I need to express it, gosh darn it!

Why am I so annoyingly happy you ask? That's hard to explain in words, but here are a couple of reasons off the top of my head:

  • Warmer weather is here!!! Nothing is more effective at removing the slimy sheen of cold winter slothiness than some sixty degree temps, sunshine, chirping birds, singing grasshoppers and flowering krokus and lilies.
  • I have a girlfriend, Jenn, who I am smitten with. We are still very early along in our relationship, but things are going fantastigorically and just saying her name brings a fuzzy warm feeling to my tummy and a smile to my face :-). Just before I met her, I had actually concretely come to the conclusion via lots of self-introspection and therapy that I am only attracted to women. Men, while some are very cute and (even more rarely) sincere and interesting, hold no interest romantically (or sexually) for me. For the first time in my life I am confident about my sexuality and ready to proclaim it to the world if need be. Long live Dana the les librarian! lol...
  • I have made several friends recently, especially my bestest sista Aelis, who I trust and love fully and who I would give my left lung to if she needed it (and I think they would do the same for me). After losing my former best friend and often thinking that that situation was entirely my fault, I've come to the conclusion that the falling out was in fact an event that freed me from many of the bonds of my past self. It allowed me to look forward instead of back and allow others who see me for who I am now rather than who I was, into my heart.
  • I am really enjoying my job for the most part, even though my recent request for a raise was declined for various bureaucratic reasons. This is a first for me this deep into gainful employment. In the past, I had always gotten fully sick with my job after 2 or 3 years, but this one seems like a keeper. The pay sucks, but the job itself is pretty cool. I get to basically make my own hours (as long as I put in 40 a week), I get to work on many of my own projects that even allow me a modicum of technical/artistic freedom, and I continue to expand my skills set to the point where I am confident in my ability to find a new job should anything happen (like the state going bankrupt or something).

So that's where I am these days. I just got back from a fun and adventurous weekend in NYC and I will post some pics and description from it hopefully in the next day or two. Harmony out,


Saturday, April 08, 2006

this age of the pecuniary pandemic

Want to read an inciteful and to-the-point essay on the virulent and increasingly reform-resistant roots of just about every short-coming and corrupt act infecting our current system of two party representative capitalist democracy?

Check out the illuminating and I think always brilliant words of the emminently sage muckraker-philosophe Bill Moyers:

More from Moyers on this topic:

Friday, April 07, 2006

the bizarre table manners of my elderly canine housemate

Over the last several months my constant and faithful companion Emmitt has developed a few rather strange habits. Here is the sequence of actions that currently make up his dinner table etiquette
  1. plop self down in front of bowl with a bear-like moan
  2. place nose against bowl's side
  3. commence with low volume, slow tempo whining (lasting up to several minutes).
  4. carefully nose into the food; extract single nugget
  5. amble over to little area behind kitchen table
  6. whine some more
  7. repeat steps 4-6 several more times
  8. return to bowl and wolf down remaining nuggets in frenzy of hunger
  9. lap up several gallons of dog-hair-dirtied water bowl water
  10. nose up to front door
  11. repeat whining until housemate opens door

He is part Rottweiler (I think) so he has always had the whining thing in his arsenal of, I mean communication forms, but I had never seen this behavior before. I fear he has developed some sort of doggie version of obsessive-compulsive disorder. But that's okay - I love him more than anything in the world just the same :-)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

for open-minded upstate NY people...

There is a TG-oriented Yahoo group where we discuss related issues - we need a diverse group of people to participate in civil, open-minded discussions: