iPhoning It In

I’m sitting here in Sam’s hospital room. After 30 minutes of trying to jury-rig an Internet connection through my MacBook Pro’s Bluetooth radio to Sam’s powerbook which is able to connect to the Internet (as my MacBook Pro obviously is not) to no avail (my Mac can see the Bluetooth PAN, get a vended IP address and DNS info, but nothing further), I’m typing a blog entry with my iPhone.

Even though I’ve clocked in at over 35 wpm with one-finger typing on a virtual keyboard, it is a lot easier to use 9 digits on a full-sized keyboard at 100 wpm or so.

But I just canceled my EV-DO service with Verizon, and so at least I’m able to post something.

Hospitals are a comforting place for me. I’m not a hypochondriac, I just mean that I feel at ease in them, but yesterday when I was here, I experienced a very strange and somewhat scary set of symptoms—my hearing dropped to about a quarter of normal and there was a very loud ringing, there were strange artifacts in my vision, and every time I stood up, I had to sit right back down for fear of fainting.

Eventually I could stand and them felt confident enough to get down to the cafeteria. It was closed, so my only recourse was the vending machines. I loaded up with coffees and candy bars, and eventually everything was back to normal.

I still don’t know what the hell was going on, and I’m only mostly certain it was dehydration and/or low blood sugar. But again, not 100% sure, and that’s the most frightening bit.

It’s been a fairly consistent thing, having no appetite because of the chronic pain, but it appears I’ve reached the point where I have to force myself to remember to eat.

What a ridiculous thing to add to iCal on this phone.

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Fake Steve Jobs, Not So Fake Agenda

When Fake Steve Jobs (FSJ) first hit the scene just over a year ago, most people found “him” outrageous. That is, in the sense that FSJ was funny and entertaining and how-the-hell-does-he-get-away-with-it? While playing at “being” Steve Jobs, he used time-honored schtick to lampoon the public character of Steve Jobs.

As recently as three or four years ago, you couldn’t read about Apple, Inc. (née Apple Computer, Inc.) without “beleaguered” prepended to each and every mention, but since its fortunes have changed (the iPod introduced many people to the real talent of Apple) the world has gone almost overnight to calling it a monopoly. It’s not just people who’ve lost the knack of moderation, just as it’s not just gay men who can be huge drama queens. Story for another day, though.

There was a hunt going on for a while to discover who exactly FSJ was. Reminding the world that the cheekily-named (the clever stops there) “Valleywag” is a one-trick pony, they searched for weeks and weeks and came up empty. It took Brad Stone, a New York Times reporter, about a second and a half to find out it was Daniel Lyons, a Senior Editor at Forbes Magazine. Gooooo, Valleywag.

Forbes is well-known for championing static inertia and the almighty dollar, but for a while it seemed that Dan Lyons—also well-known as anti-Open-Source, anti-blogger and overall a pro-Microsoft kinda guy—would keep playing at his parody without agenda: FSJ was a particular point of view, albeit one synthesized doubly-indirectly as a sort of WWSJD? kind of thing. Still, FSJ was funny, and biting and like all good parody, an entertaining—if often conflicting-with-reality—voice.

But more and more, FSJ is emerging as Dan Lyons. For real. The first smack of something going wrong was when Lyons started to trash OLPC (one laptop per child), Nicholas Negroponte’s initiative to get computers into the hands of kids in third-world countries, something I consider admirable and admirably-long-term in its thinking. Yet Dan Lyons takes every effort to trash the whole thing. It’s not funny stuff, it’s just plain mean. Mean in the sense that he appears to make every effort not only to poo-poo it, but to bring it down.

Who the hell would attack a charitable effort? Who the hell wouldn’t want to promote egalitarian ideals, to say nothing of the material benefits of third-world countries helping themselves? Oh yeah, a pro-money, pro-Microsoft guy who works for Forbes. All those countries are just “new markets” to a guy like Lyons, and OLPC is a threat.

Even with all that, it’s still occasionally fun to read FSJ when he’s going after other public figures—including Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Jonathan Schwartz and “himself”—but as time goes on, it gets harder and harder to read as it gets more and more strident and ugly.

And that’s not funny, that’s just sad.

My Hero, A Republican

Sometimes a thing happens that is so surprising and so meaningful and so genuine that it sends sarcasm, irony, cleverness and conceit scurrying under furniture and into dark corners. Dark places are where such belong when good will and honest candor rule the day.

It’s the fault of everyone and no one that these wonderful and joyous qualities do not rise each morning with the sun.

Jerry Sanders, the Republican Mayor of San Diego, is my hero. Not because I have some personal stake in what he talked about; not because he’s sticking it to the standard Republican party line; not because of anything other than the willingness to side with what is right instead of what the right says or what anyone says. For being a compassionate man, for being a good father. For being a fine human being at the end of the day.

My own writing here is in the way of something and someone eminently more….well, just more, so here he is. Click on the image to watch.

Picture 7

Camille Paglia: Stud Finder

I have long found Camille Paglia utterly detestable. There’s nothing charming about her, nothing convivial or even in vivo about her writing. She’s a pedant. She’s a hypocrite. She mainly uses the height of her pulpit to cast long shadows or to direct her self-appointed-cognoscenti (oh yes, I went there) lackeys on where to shove ponderous push-pins into her own map of the world. She could squeeze the final dribbles of moisture from a desert with her prose alone: there’s a museum quality to any subject when she writes about it.

Why am I taking time here and now to talk about this? Well, Ms. Camille, growing ever more glacially comfortable with being an out Lesbian, decided to spew a little dust onto the Larry Craig story. She finds the whole idea of two men hooking in up a restroom to be “a bit de trop”. Can you imagine? De trop, people! (that means, in her context, “icky”).

This from the woman who thinks male urination is some kind of sexually transcendent act, but for women pissing is just “[watering] the ground she stands on”. Or squats over, in this case, a position that suits quite well her relationship with her subject most times. She blames the “PC Squad” back in the day for being pissed off that she observed “the modern male homosexual has sought ecstasy in the squalor of public toilets, for women perhaps the least erotic place on earth.” It’s all bananas and orchids, is it?

Ms. Paglia, it’s a frickin’ room that men happen congregate in for pissing (sorry, micturition), some of whom enjoy the attentions of another man or at least another hand or mouth. There’s some privacy afforded, and it happens. Men aren’t cruising toilets in search of “ecstasy”, they just want to get off. Men have no problem with sexual expediency, usually. Is that really so difficult to accept prima facie (rolling my eyes) instead of spinning a whole web of stuffy academic bullshit around it?

Later (two paragraphs later) in the Salon.com piece I linked to above, she insults the very over-intellectualized bullshit that she employs when she’s trying to show you how much better she is than you are:

Too often defamed these days as racist, imperialist piracy, archaeology has more scholarly soul than, well, most of the Ivy League’s humanities departments ensconced in their plush, airless tombs. [Ow! My sides from hypoxia!]

First, let’s just gloss over the fact that she took exactly three sentences to segue from Larry Craig to Bronze Age Crete: she skewers the Ivory Tower while standing atop it.

It gets…..ummm, better? Her next stop: Absolutely Fabulous! But you’ve been punished enough so far. Moving on…

After a brief mention of a minor early 50s film, Never Wave at a WAC, she moves on to the movie Auntie Mame also starring Rosalind Russell. (Land, ho! A segue!). Now, after dropping trou and dribbling territorial pissings on Larry Craig, the Ivory Tower, the state of field archaeology, British satire and 50s American comedies, Ms. Paglia finally delivers the punch line:

Alert, all “Auntie Mame” fans! (That sparkling 1958 movie, starring Russell and based on Patrick Dennis’ witty book, was one of the central, formative experiences of my youth — a taste inexplicably shared with battalions of gay men worldwide.)

The emphasis is mine, because I’m just overwhelmed. Because I’m so underwhelmed.

The woman who believes she totally clinched the totality of bathroom cruising with…

It’s not just furtive, closeted gay men who frequent toilets: Flamboyant pop star George Michael, who eats up stranger sex like a pastry cart of eclairs [cream-filled phalluses! bonk, bonk on the head! -Eds.] got nailed [double entendre alert, Ibid.] for soliciting a cop in a public john right across from his posh Los Angeles hotel. The sleaziness is a turn-on, probably inflamed by the hyper-distillation of testosterone smells.

…finds it “inexplicable” that gay men love the movie Auntie Mame????

She’s an idiot. Plain and simple. Why do they still give her a pulpit?

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Story Rhyme01

Extra credit: which one is cartoonier?

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Speaking of unworthy pulpiteers, Andrew Sullivan got married. For realz.

I read it from my friend Rex first, but then scooted over to Joe.My.God. (say it sassy and it feels like praying, or something like that) because Joe and I have this weird, unpredictable overlap when it comes to Andrew Sullivan and I still haven’t found a good predictor for it yet.

After reading through a bazillion comments, after sort of agreeing with the people who hate him and sort of agreeing with the people who thought a high-profile same-sex marriage was a good thing, and after taking Rilke’s (the poet) advice about use of irony, I just decided to lay my cards on the table and comment from the heart:

I’m absolutely the last person on earth who goes in for schadenfreude.

That said, I get a kind of icky feeling that someone so hypocritical and disingenuous in public is making a “commitment” to another human being who could get hurt.

Of course I wish them well and I hope I’m wrong. In the meantime, pass the pepto.

Where does this come from for me? Well, the one experience that I goes back to when I saw that Sullivan was getting married was a few years ago when I “dated” this guy Dave for about five and a half minutes, just long enough to meet a couple of his friends and realize how amazing they were. Dave, not so much, because he had strong “types” for men in his black and white and shallow world. Great looking man, but oy. A couple of years later, after Dave had been presented with a restraining order (nothing to do with me!) and moved to the South Bay and moved somewhere else and then to Southern California then somewhere else (itinerancy takes many forms), he was up here visiting with his “fiancé” (scare-quotes only because same-sex marriage was not legal then, nor is it at the moment). I walked into the bar where he was and he comes charging over to me and says, “I’m getting married. And he’s white!” See, aside from me, Dave went in for the Latino types. Seriously. I could list the details (which he’d listed for me) of separate features of Latino men that were so important to him in a life-partner, but you can’t cross a chasm in a hundred little steps, can you? So I’ll spare you.

Anyway, Dave is who I thought of when I was figuring out my feelings towards Sullivan’s nuptials. I don’t know Andrew at all; I’ve never had direct contact with Andrew except for the reply I got after I Fedexed him a copy of Baby Be-Bop, the then-current installment of the Weetzie Bat series by Francesca Lia Block. It was three months after Allen had died and I thought the author of a book such as Virtually Normal needed some Weetzie Bat far more than I did.

I jokingly told Ronald that had I had only Sullivan and Paglia as “luminaries” guiding my path out of the Closet, I might have stayed in.

Seriously, people, how’d we end up with these two as front-runners when there are so many other, better voices out there?

Hello from iPhone!

Sp A0118-1The complaints about the keyboard are greatly exaggerated. I have long approached Apple’s technology offerings with a kind of short-throw faith: if Apple offers guidance for “the right way” of approaching a feature, I try it that way for a while. With the iPhone’s text input, it didn’t even take even that long. Assume that the smart keyboard will more than likely get it right and just keep on typing.

Of course I cannot type as fast and typing with two thumbs instead of single index finger drops the accuracy by about half. Still, I’m entering text plenty fast for blogging from literally anywhere.

Next up, how to get long documents to display at readable sizes and widths on iPhone.

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