i said WHAT?!

did i just earlier today post something about rarely posting about politics? um. never mind…

no big thoughts or insights to offer tonight. just a humble observation, having just finished watching obama’s half-hour primetime spot:

what a relief it will be should we indeed collectively decide that now is the time to let the adults step up and take charge for a spell.

Post Script–Why I Love the Rude Pundit, Part 11: Description of last night’s John McCain interview:

In his interview with Larry King yesterday, which was a little like watching the Cryptkeeper have a conversation with the grandpa from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on some kind of 24-hour zombie station broadcast from Hell …

That’s almost too devastatingly funny for me to safely deal with my coffee.


no on h8



Dan made me do it.


Well, he didn’t make me as such, but he did put forth a pretty compelling argument that found its way into my inbox. He can be pretty persuasive.


To be honest, if a little sheepish, I hadn’t planned on writing here about marriage and California Proposition 8.


In spite of how much thought and attention I dedicate to political matters—and this happened to dawn on me unexpectedly just last night—I haven’t really written much about politics here. Just a few bits and pieces along the way. And all I can say for myself is that going forward, I will at least give thought to the mismatch between what I think about and what I write about. I’ll explore altering my writing, or my attention, accordingly.


But I have no excuse, nor any reason to resist the request. Prop 8 is political and it’s personal. In light of the express request to speak up—and also in light of events of this past weekend—I’m here to toss my two cents in.


Proposition 8 would seek to add discriminatory language into law, aiming to undo the May 2008 California Supreme Court decision overturning the ban on same-sex marriage as inherently unconstitutional. Proponents, funded largely by stinking-rich, out-of-state organized religious organizations, are blanketing the airwaves with fear and falsehoods.


The folks that have fought tooth and nail every single earned gain in civil rights protection for LGBT individuals and couples now, remarkably, astonishingly, hold up the domestic partnership option as a shining beacon of fairness and equal treatment, a worthy and fair and equivalent alternative to marriage. As something that we should deem good enough.


To them, I say: spare me the disingenuousness—you resisted that one as well, you tried to block those gains from being made, and you’d undo all trace of that legal construct and any others that cover us gay folk in a flash if you thought that you could get away with it.


It’s all about fear. And in a nifty though totally transparent bit of projection, MARRIAGE, they decry, must now be SAVED. SAVED!! Saved, from homo hordes who’d strongarm or shutter churches, and who would recruit and indoctrinate school kids, and yadda yadda.


Oooga booga booga.


The reality is that the institution of marriage has been tarnished exclusively from within its ranks, and they know it. See: divorce rates, infidelity, quickie Vegas weddings (by people who barely know each other, but, well lookie there, they’ve got the correct opposing junk, so that’s all they need to go to the altar, etc., etc.)


I actually think they’re fearful that—seeing the divorce rate for what it is: high, and knowing that to be ENTIRELY the fault of married (and formerly married) straight people—it just might be the case that, yet again, the gay folk move into new territory and actually manage to gussy things up a bit once they get moved in and settled.


I do not expect to sway anyone here. I’m merely expressing my sorrow at the prospect of everyone being forced to adhere to the religious dogma of some, and also my hope that what will undoubtedly be a very close vote will weigh on the side of fairness and justice and inclusion.


Against same-sex marriage? That’s cool. So don’t have one then. Problem solved.


This past Saturday, in the company of a couple dozen friends and some really, really big trees, my partner and I were wed. It was at the culmination of a five-hour annual extreme croquet camping ritual. We exchanged vows and rings in a circle of trees, we wore yellow calla lily boutonnieres pinned to our sweatshirts, and wreaths a friend wove on our heads, and it was solemn and sentimental and just silly enough to work for the two of us and for those who know and love us and who were able to attend.


I am hopeful that others—couples who haven’t even met each other yet—will continue to have the legal protection, full rights, benefits, responsibilities of marriage that we are able to enjoy.


The world didn’t end when Vermont became the first state to enact civil unions.


Ditto when Massachusetts became the first state to permit full-legal-protection same-sex marriage.


California has not tumbled into the sea.


What has happened is that legal protection and recognition have been granted to couples and to families—yes, families—that don’t necessarily look exactly like everyone else’s; and that more and more people are seeing it as something to celebrate and support; or—perhaps to some most frightening of all—they have come to see it correctly as a total non-issue, as something to not even think or fret about at all.   


goat sucker

and once again—this would be the third go ’round, i believe—my efforts at homebrew label illustration are lifted into new reaches of effectiveness with the benefit of friend flannery’s formidable photoshop and layout mojo.

just received, below: the final layout for the label to go on our latest batch, el chupacabra, and, yes, it is indeed a terrible visual pun. that’s how i roll.

anyhow, it’s a mexican chocolate stout (about 12 oz. of chocolate, with stick cinnamon and red pepper flakes infused in vodka were what we used to take a 5-gallon batch of stout and send it south of the border). we’ve had a pretty good run with our last few batches, and we are feeling optimistic about this one.

latest offering to tonic news

it’s kind of a ponderous piece, but that’s just where i find myself this time of year as i carve another notch.

i actually feel a little bit of satisfaction and relief with the opening sentence, i think it’s one of the livelier ones i’ve hammered out.

I’ve been flailing for the past couple of days, waving my arms erratically, shoeing away article topic ideas as if they were just so many noisome chiggers I’m loathe to let land and be still.

ok, i’ll keep that one.

and it really, seriously was a complete mind-spank to just go fishing online aimlessly for thought fodder and within a couple minutes, stumble across this major finding that came out of the tufts freaking university department of oh-hell-no-you did-not geology.

Best Nickname Ever. Also Least Imaginative.

Pie Traynor.

I’m a fan of the game of baseball, although I came to it really in early adulthood, and my grasp of the game’s historical and statistical finer details is pretty thin. I’d honestly never heard of the guy (and he’s apparently a Hall of Famer), having learned of him in an article recapping down-three-games-to-one comebacks in the history of postseason baseball.

It’s a germane topic this morning, what with the Boston Red Sox—having made the list three times: 1986, 2004, and 2007—perhaps threatening to turn in another turn around. Going into last night’s ALCS Game 4 against the Rays, down 3-1, having dropped three straight by way of too many exploitable pitches, and too much silence among their most reliable regular season big bats, Boston scored eight unanswered in the late innings to take the game, and to delay their tee time for at least another couple days, by a score of 8-7.

Amazing. But back to Pie. And to pie.

I like pie. I like the smell of pie. I like the very thought of pie. I just like to *say* pie. I may even like to say pie and think about pie more than I like eating pie, although that there could just be crazy talk.

Pie. Pie, pie, pie, pie, pie. Pie.

When pie calls, who doesn’t answer?

And it pleased me immensely to have learned of one of the baseball greats of the 20’s and 30s who, literally, answered to “Pie.”

And why?

Harold Joseph “Pie” Traynor (November 11, 1898 – March 16, 1972) was a professional baseball third baseman who played his entire career with the Pittsburgh Pirates (1920-37).

Traynor was born in Framingham, Massachusetts. He received his nickname for a fondness for eating pie.

Mystery solved!

couple of fresh ink dumps






1) still limited to super uber crappy b&w scans.

2) lost some content along top and right on the second one via bad alignment of the original on the glass. need to redo this one, and hopefully on a color scanner, as i really want to preserve the red stripes on the undies. mostly pencil, with black sharpie, and ultra thin red sharpie.

3) top one’s all black sharpie (fine and ultra fine) over pencil sketch.

4) once again, and for both of the above, i really don’t know what the hell i was thinking.

his contributions to music were Hefti

Ah, crap.

I saw the headline link ” ‘Batman,’ ‘Odd Couple’ theme writer dies,” was unable to immediately match the themes to the composer name, but was able to recall with certainty that it was someone whose work outside of TV theme composition was vast and significant. 

Vast and significant, indeed. R.I.P., Neal Hefti.

As wonderful and iconic and enduring as those particular series themes are, my soft spot for Neal Hefti is a result of his body of work as a composer and arranger in collaboration with the Count Basie Orchestra.

To this day, it’s a bit of a mystery to me as to how, as a kid in rural Maine, I came by a taste for Big Band jazz. The Count and crew became and have to this day remained my favorite from the genre. That I got to see Count Basie perform with orchestra about six months before he died continues to feel like the biggest, fattest, warmest of blessings.

Anyhow, this one–Atomic Basie, featuring Hefti arrangements–is all kinds of badass.


Such a wonderful album; years ago, I procured a quite-possibly original pressing copy of this LP, in terrific condition, and it became one of the most prized of my collection. Big thick heavy vinyl. I’ve since purchased the CD.

I’ve long thought that L’il Darlin’ was among the loveliest, most elegant pieces in CBO’s vast book. And though I display an instrument bias here, I still think that Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis’s tenor solo on Splanky by itself is worth the purchase price.

At any rate, a brief bow of the head feels due to a true musical craftsman whose work hit all the right notes with me.