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Agenda Bender
 
Saturday, May 15, 2004  

My Team


Searching through the roommate's pile of thrift store baseball caps for one to wear in today's sun, I found a denim cap with the word Onan stitched in red across the front. How odd, I thought. Then I noticed a smaller word stitched in sky blue right above it, Cummins, it read. How completely fucking odd, I thought.

It turns out that:
Onan provides the power that keeps you going —
on the water, on the road, in your work, and at home.


Tell me something I didn't know. Like this:

Onan is a registered trademark of Cummins Inc.

My trademark application for Sodom is now pending.

And no, I didn't wear the cap. I figured the Presbyterians might not be as clueless as Cummins Inc. Or as witty. Or whatever it is that Cummins inc is.

5:05 PM

 

I, Engine of Economic Recovery


I write this on my new Winnie the Pooh keyboard. Winnie, Tigger and Piglet lay across the top. The alpha keys are orange, the numbs are purple, the funcs and all the rest are yellow. The cord leading to the computer is red. The undergirding form is comprised of overlapping, high-gloss, roundish color shapes (light blue, dark blue, yellow and green), which I take to be balloons. Winnie and crew are riding on top of them.

One dollar at the Presbyterian flea market.

Five books and a small color TV were purchased as well.

The books:
Ezra Pound and Music, The Complete Criticism
Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder
The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy by Jacob Burkhardt
Vipers' Tangle by Francois Mauriac
A Machine Called Indomitable by Sonny Kleinfield

This last book looks especially promising. It is a 1985 account of Raymond Damadian's invention of the magnetic image res machine. Damadian, you'll recall, was left off the honor roll when the Nobel committee gave out last year's Nobel in Medicine for the development of...magnetic image res!

Total cost $1.25

The TV:
A Scott 12 inch manufactured in June 1986. So it will be celebrating its 18th birthday soon. Excellent color. Iffy push-button on/off. I have named it Indomitable.

$3.00

4:59 PM

Friday, May 14, 2004
 

India Outsources Prime Minister


I eat Indian food at least once a week, so I have a keen interest in developments there. Any country that shares my craving for raw onions deserves to prosper. Sonia Gandhi's election really was stunning. I wasn't thrilled, I dislike name-brand dynasties even more than Hindu nationalist political parties. Especially when the BJP has calmed down considerably. And especially when they are called the BJP. I do like Sonia's story, however. I wish India had gotten its fill of the quality-uncontrolled Gandhi line, but if it really wants more of them, I'm pleased that it's Sonia's branch they're picking from.

This recent Wired cover story on U.S. tech outsourcing to India is very much worth your time. Little India (a magazine I always pick up at whichever Indian buffet restaurant I honor with my loss-leading, profit destroying presence--they call me Vishnu behind my back, but I hear them) just reprinted the Wired piece, and they included a sidebar that mentions American and European priests are outsourcing mass card obligations to priests in India for $6 each. (I am trying to underbid the business back to the States for $5 a mass.)

But sacred outsourcing works both ways. See The New Republic's profile of an Indian born and raised Christian evangelist named K.A. Paul, who now lives and mostly fundraises in the U.S. He is famous in much of the world, though he's hardly known at all in his adopted home. I read the piece online last week, but when I went to link it just now, it came up as for subscribers only. God must have wanted me to see it, but not you. Take it up with shim.


12:48 AM

Thursday, May 13, 2004
 

Win Win


Drunken Priest Shoots Mayor Dead

But then he went too far:

Local newspapers said the priest, whom they identified as Lorenzo Cuellar, was arrested after he also shot the mayor's son, injuring him.

Priest, mayor, mayor's son. Count the shots and connect the dots.

8:37 PM

 

Why The NYT's Must Hire Me (#715)



I hate when William Safire beats me to one of these insights, but since I hardly ever read him, how would I even know? So I'll just play my hunch that he has not gotten there first this time.

The incursion of text and chat spelling and grammar into the larger English idiom has been much noted but the particular case of the word cum has not gotten the attention it deserves. It is my conclusion that only a small minority of today's youth understand that cum is a variant of come. The history of come/cum is worthy of more thorough investigation than I want to do here, but my brief sketch is that come transmuted into cum over the period of the last thirty years.

I'm thinking that you would find few instances of the cum spelling before that time. It has pretty nearly supplanted come in the last five years. I don't think cum was the invention of chatters and texters. I think its introduction predates the advent of either. I speculate that cum first gained popularity not as an abbreviation (every letter counts in chat and text), but as a euphemism, a minced oath, one that is now every bit as dirty as the euphemized original. Probably dirtier. Progress, in other words.

Alternately (or better yet, concurrently) it might be a mishearing (since its a word that you were more likely, for many years, to hear rather than see written ) that got garbled into cum when the misherarers took to writing it down. Aesthetically and practically it's the winner, too. Synaesthesiasts all agree, cum looks, feels and tastes more like cum than come does. And all pragmatists aver that cum deserves its own vernacular term, its own unigue jargon data point, it shouldn't have to impersonate such a popular and essential English verb.

But that's where the problem arises, too. Since the kids have mostly only seen the word cum they conjugate that word instead of switching back to the come verbal form. Consequently a whole generation writes and speaks like drunken hillbillies. They are all cumming and they all just cummed.

It's cute.

1:24 PM

Wednesday, May 12, 2004
 

This Boy's Life


I've recommended John Colapinto's book, As Nature Made Him, here before. If you didn't take the hint and persisted in not reading it, then at least you're spared feeling as sad as anyone who has read it will be upon reading the news that book's hero (no other word fits), David Reimer, killed himself last week.

I should have given him this award sooner, but David is the Agenda Bender dude of the year for 2000, the year the went public with his story.

RIP, man.


1:01 AM

Tuesday, May 11, 2004
 

Getting Over My Rules


Mark O'Donnell's novel Getting Over Homer is good (the highest compliment). If you read only one gay novel today, it should be this one. It could also serve as your only Irish-American-Catholic novel of the day and your big-city-modern-comic-romance novel. This one book could knock out 3 of the ten fiction genres you should read every day.

I know Getting Over Homer is good because I liked it in spite of the manifest failings (and I mean staring-at-you-right-on-the-cover manifest) that almost made me put it right down again. An ing title, a namecheck-an-historical-great-title, and a Tony Kushner blurb.

I don't usually even pick up books with ing titles, especially when the one getting inged is a great personage or someone in a great personage's retinue or something in a great personage's attic. You know the template, Trimming Shakespeare's Mustache, Walking Freud's Dog, Reupholstering Einstein's Easy Chair, Getting Out of Borges' Way.

O'Donnell's Homer is that blind warblogger of antiquity, but he is also just a guy named Homer, one of the book's modern day Manhattan characters. I don't know if that lessens the crime or doubles it, but it doesn't stop the book from being very smart and funny. It starts out too fast, the jokes fighting each other for attention. And air. But then O'Donnell settles down to a more manageable pace for the laughs. There are many. I must now read his other novel, his plays and his two humor collections.

I am in no hurry at all to see Hairspray (O'Donnell's won a Tony for its book), having heard the music already. Fortunately, the edition of Getting Over Homer I read pre-dated O'Donnell's work on Hairspray. If his Hairspray connection had been bannered on the cover, the deal would definitely have been broken. I would have quickly placed the book back down and then looked around to make sure no one saw me picking it up in the first place.

I've decided my no-Tony-Kushner-blurb rule will be limited only to works of non-fiction, where it remains an infallible indicator of worth.

1:21 PM

Sunday, May 09, 2004
 

Closet Earth


More proof that this is really World Homo War II. I still haven't figured my way into that 1914 conflagration, so the possibility remains that this is really World Homo War III, but for now let it be resolved that this follows the pattern of the 1939 contretemps. The forces of liberalish democracy (with homos and Jews calling the shots) stand arrayed against the forces of homo-hating tyranny, which tyranny has a homo cabal at its secret core. You see, Hitler was really gay (and really a Jew, too). The actual, hidden Reich dream was a thousand year homo mountain hike. A male physical culture marathon 24/7 and 365/1000.

Of course, the new dealers were mostly fags, too. The British, well, I repeat myself.

And the Ba'athists and Islamists? Two Iraqi doctors explain:

- Can you tell me anything about those "political" prisoners? Are they Islamists, Ba'athists or what?

- Islamists?? I don't care what they call themselves, but they are thugs, they swear all the time, and most of them are addicts or homosexuals or both. Still very few of them looked educated.

- Ah, that makes them close to Ba'athists.


And to the guards.

So these world wars just recapitulate, re-reify and massify the smaller strategic disputes and cultural battles of the early gay liberation movements. The middle and later gay rights movements, too. The radical individualists versus the moderate assimilationists versus the reactionary homo oligarchy which is really running the whole show, anyway.

Yes, it gets complicated, a veritable hall of makeup mirrors, an infinite bathhouse labyrinth with a naked and hot minotaur behind every door. A backstreet, basement gaybar called Escher's. You enter it at midnight only to exit at noon of the day before, taking the elevator down from its penthouse corridors of power.

I am, as usual, only half-kidding about all of this. Also as usual, I myself am confused about which half is which.

(Link via Roger Simon, though he left the part quoted above out of his extensive snip from the exchange.)

1:24 PM