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Saturday, May 12, 2001

Surfers Choice Top 10 Web Sites      In May 2000, the Surfers Choice Internet Awards was recognized among the Top Five International Web Awards by Wired Magazine. So imagine my surprise when I got home from work to learn that Internet Brothers has been selected a Top 10 Finalist for the 2000 Site of the Year by Surfers Choice. Obviously I was stunned. It's a great honor for Dave and me — as well as all the other contributors who have helped make IB what it is — especially when that recognition comes from a true friend of the Internet like Wally Gross. It's okay to brag just a bit, innit?

     You've probably heard a lot lately about those programs that block ads from Web sites. NewMedia takes a look at one program that may be a bit too difficult for typical consumers to use, but to a tech-savvy audience, ads may be in trouble. One Internet publisher already calls the popular WebWasher "the most dangerous piece of software in the world."

     12 Things no one tells you about having a weblog.

     Three popular prescription allergy medications are safe enough to be sold over the counter, a federal advisory panel ruled, in an unprecedented case that could save the health insurance industry billions of dollars but will transfer costs to consumers. I've been hit with this before, and it sucks. Making the pills available over the counter does not benefit insured patients.

     Studies show people who eat peanuts live longer than people who don't eat.

     Life's little instructions: Never refuse homemade brownies.

     Add some lucid confusion.  Your comments appreciated.

Friday, May 11, 2001

     When I was in my mid-twenties, I had a great drinking buddy who happened to be a gay man. He was probably six to eight years older, had mostly lived in large cities like Houston and Chicago, so the culture shock of West Virginia was a tad much for him. I can't speak to whether stereotypes play in general, but this particular fellow was a poster boy. He was a fabulous interior decorator, excellent cook, and definitely the best dressed among us. We got drunk together at least three nights a week for about three years.

     My attitude toward gays up to that point (keep in mind this was more than twenty years ago) had been one of simple ignorance. He was the first admittedly homosexual person I ever knew first hand. Didn't bother me, he was a great guy to my way of thinking; but I made clear my preferences. After a few years in W.V., the culture began to take its toll. He hadn't a regular partner in all the time he lived here. He wasn't the flamer type, so he went about his business with quiet modesty. He became quite lonely, undoubtedly the alcoholic drinking didn't help.

     One evening he invited me for dinner, it was his usual gourmet spread. We had french wine, coq au vin with fresh asparagus, bagettes, and some kind of chocolate souffle for dessert. After nearly three years of friendship he hit on me, repeatedly, for the first time that night. I wasn't offended, nor was I interested. I didn't get mad, he cried because he feared the loss of our friendship, so I slept on his couch. But I felt icky about the whole evening. I really can't describe it any other way. It was not a feeling I enjoyed. Not very long after that, he was transferred back to Chicago and I've only seen him once since, about ten years ago. We had dinner on Michigan Ave.

     Why am I telling this story? When I read Lance's Last Life Serial last week, it made me re-examine the attitude I've taken toward gays since that incident more than two decades ago. I had always been of the mind that what people do in their own homes is their business, but then I became bait. It made me a homophobe, not full of hatred, but homophobic nonetheless. I've carried that icky feeling with me for a long time. Lance's writing touch enabled me to see the other perspective. Here's hoping I can become more tolerant.

:::::

     As a member of a professional organization, you'll make business contacts, get the latest news on industry developments, and receive discounts on services, products, and training. If you're a Web professional in search of contacts, you might have trouble networking, especially as more dot-coms fold and competition for Web jobs grows. There are many professional organizations and special-interest groups out there for people in Web design and development. I'm in three, how about you?

     Been having trouble for the past week with my cable connection dropping out for a couple minutes at a time between 5-7PM. Doesn't happen any other time during the day, but for that two hours, consistently, it's up, it's down, it's up, it's down. Strange.

     Life's little instructions: Watch a sunrise at least once a year.

     Add some lucid confusion.  Your comments appreciated.

Thursday, May 10, 2001

     "As the combination of Alan Greenspan, clueless stock analysts, and even the environmental lobby extracts a pound of flesh from the economy, the question now is what can we do to help care for the casualties — our friends who have been laid off. We can start by mustering up our humanity, and telling our former co-workers that we like them." Matt Carolan has a few more suggestions.

     Yes, there was life after the Beatles broke up, both personally and professionally, for Paul McCartney. This site is his own and it looks at Wings, the band he and his late wife Linda formed in the 1970s. You can tour seven areas, each with a subsection of Hits and History to enjoy media clips. There's a free Wings medley to download and information about Wingspan, the CD and movie.

     Can you match the webhead?

     The roses under my window make no reference to former roses or better ones; they are what they are; they exist with God today. There is no time to them. There is simply the rose; it is perfect in every moment of its existence. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

     Life's little instructions: Leave everything a little better than you found it. [more to come]

     Add some lucid confusion.  Your comments appreciated.

Wednesday, May 9, 2001

     I was going to write a bunch of hifalutin' hogwash about philosophy, but I bored myself. Then I moved on to The Semantic Web, Tim Berners-Lee's theory on structured collections of information and sets of inference rules that can be used to conduct automated reasoning. Put myself to sleep. As I was dreaming, it hit me. Breasts! That's what makes me happy. Face it — men of all ages have this udder fascination with boobs. It doesn't matter if they have a girlfriend or wife or significant fling of the month, any sign of breasts and every male eye in the room will suddenly be focused on the suckers. Like death and taxes.

     More cleavage, I say. It's coy and sweet and distracting and mind-numbingly sexy and confident. Itís like thereís a big-ass flashing neon sign right in my tunnel vision. Apparently Robert Cowley thought so too when he claimed to have lost an Australian state chess championship on a technical distraction. Now the science geeks have come on board with some mind boggling technological innovations. Cleavage has come a long way since the "bra wars" broke out. There's Ultra Airotic, Superboost, and my favorite, the Vacuum Bra. Alas, methinks I am carried away. It was but a dream, after all. Lest I forget, mammariontology is about function over form.

:::::

     Oh Patti. God isn't going to be very happy with you. That is, as soon as he quits laughing.

     Bastard.

     Add some lucid confusion.  Your comments appreciated.

Tuesday, May 8, 2001

     "I see the power of a woman and not only do I accept it, I need it." Then there's the flip side, What Women Want In a Man. I'm going to take a nap now.

     Noticed that Terry Estep's February 11th journal entry, The Unnatural Progression of Bizarre Behavior is a finalist for the quarterly Diarist awards as Best Comedic Entry. I could have told 'em that when I picked Terry's post for Bluzz of the Week back then. Terry is a fellow West Virginian, so go vote. Us'n hillbillies need all the support we can get.

     It was a book that changed my life too Diz. Reading it every night while lying in a hospital bed for a month in 1993 renewed my spirituality and hope. A discovery that I was not terminally unique enabled me to accept help from above, from within, and from those who shared my common prayer. To this day, the book sits on my night stand, ready with a solution to any curves life throws my way. The book always has the answers, sometimes I just don't pay attention.

     Someone ended up here searching for "free PAP test in Phoenix Arizona." They no doubt hit this site because I've mentioned friends in Phoenix, but unfortunately, I'm sure they didn't find what was needed. Thanks to Jann, I can now offer the following info in case it ever happens again:

     Any woman can go in to a Planned Parenthood facility, anywhere, indicate she may have a gynecological medical problem or be pregnant, and Planned Parenthood will do the pelvic exam and PAP smear at no charge. They will not however, do "routine" pelvic exams/PAP smears. Planned Parenthood can be phoned from anywhere in the USA by calling 1-800-230-PLAN. Otherwise, federal law states that women with Medicare (under Section 4102 of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 as found in the Medicare Carriers Manual at Section 4603) are fully covered for a pelvic exam and a PAP smear every 3 years if normal and every one year if cancer is detected. This includes lab fees.

     Add some lucid confusion.  Your comments appreciated.

Monday, May 7, 2001

     Does anybody really know what time it is?

     Dave and I (mostly Dave) have been into digital photography for quite some time, so I've been interested in following Jimfo's progression in recent weeks. No matter what anyone says, keep makin' more man.

     Many of the world's religions believe in reincarnation, including the Buddhists. The process of reincarnation — continual rebirths in human bodies — allegedly continues until the soul has reached a state of perfection and merges back with its source (God or the "Universal Soul"). One's lot in life, according to those who believe in reincarnation, is based on the law of karma. "Karma" refers to the "debt" a soul accumulates because of good or bad actions committed during one's past lives. If one accumulates good karma by performing good actions, he or she will be reincarnated in a desirable state. If one accumulates bad karma, they will be reincarnated in a less desirable condition.

     The reincarnation debate thrives in the Christian religion too; nearly one in four who describe themselves as Christians also believe in reincarnation. The Reasoning from the Scriptures Ministries tackles the issue in their essay, Is Reincarnation Biblical?, concluding with cynical questions like, "If the purpose of karma is to rid humanity of its selfish desires, then why has there not been a noticeable improvement in human nature after all the millennia of reincarnations on Earth?"

     My personal faith, not based on any organized religion but with an abiding belief in God, leads me to an attitude of, "What, me worry?" If it happens, it happens, I'll never know anyway. If not, c'est la vie. I was talking with an online friend today about this, and we wondered how we would choose to come back into the lives of those with whom we've had an interconnection. For example, this friend suggested it might be cool to come back as Boris, imagining the hugs and attention from Faith. Oooh baby! But it probably wouldn't be a very good idea to come back as Patti's tree/truck guy.

     After careful consideration, I've decided I'd like to be part of the cat ranch at the Tomek household in Kansas City. That way I could yak in Elise's shoe or play on Pat's shelves. They'd still love me too. So, what about you? Whose online world would you like to terrorize?

     Add some lucid confusion.  Your comments appreciated.

Sunday, May 6, 2001

     We have a winner in The Anger Management Game. The lovely and talented Jann of Aspirations to Sweetness correctly guessed The Head Lemur was our mystery psychologist. In order to claim your great prizes Jann, please send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Pop Psychology Now, P.O. Box 42, Rio Linda, Ca. 95673. Please be sure to include your date of birth, address and telephone, Visa card number and expiration, your measurements, as well as an 8x10 glossy to use in any publicity promos. For those who played, but failed miserably, we have some wonderful parting gifts — more lucid confusion.

     New essay from Alexis Parker in the IB Community, On Perfectionism.

     I am humbled to be included in the company of such wonderfully fine men. Thank you K. If you should lose your faith, you can have mine; and if you're ever lost I'm right behind, because we walk the same line. To know yourself is to let yourself be loved. You do, my warrior friend.

     Bathing and grooming five dogs on the same day — especially one feisty, arthritic poodle — is like Pamplona in a thunderstorm, with nowhere to hide.

Bluzz of the Week      Sunday means Bluzz of the Week. Through this feature, I'm searching for the brightest, funniest, most controversial or otherwise intriguing comments from the previous week's forums, journals and blogs. Ending a chapter, closing old doors, casting away the past. It can be cathartic, or controversial, especially on the web with thousands of eyes watching. If you find a true treasure you'd like to nominate for future Bluzz of the Week, even if you wrote it yourself, please let me know.

     Lance Arthur of the web famous Glassdog ended his long-standing Life Serial last week with quite a revelation. Lance has been celebrated in online circles for his fabulous writing and design skills, and I'm A Fag is certainly no exception. In fact, it made me take an entirely other look at some preconceived notions, misunderstandings, and perhaps even closeted prejudices. Fortunately, Lance isn't hanging up his keyboard entirely, just moving on to new projects. Here are a few excerpts from an extremely powerful The Very Last Life Serial:

     "Writing about oneself obsessively (as if there is any other kind) becomes boring and trivial after a while. You begin searching for things to write about. You begin trying to make uninteresting things interesting to varying degrees of success and you take everything you write and look at it more critically and decide, more and more often, that it's crap..."

     "But by way of taking my leave of this venue of the telling of lies made to look like truths, I've decided to give up my final secrets to you now, most of which are no longer secrets anyway. Which is only another reason to stop talking about myself like this because there is, frankly, nothing left to say (for now)..."

     "Being gay, you know, is nothing like you think it is when you're not gay. I pretended not to be gay for a long time, which came after denying I was gay, which came after wishing hoping and praying and trying not, not, not to be gay, so I guess I can say that I know what it's like not to be gay which is exactly the same thing as making other people believe you're straight which you can do quite easily, actually, because "gay" is seen, most often, as a put down and an epithet and, in extreme cases (Arkansas, Wyoming, certain parts of Northern California) a threat to life itself..."

     "I wasn't afraid that my best friend would hate me, but I was ashamed that I made her feel that way, so I was staring through the windshield, not at her, and my hands were gripping the steering wheel so tight that I thought my knuckles would spring through my skin, and I was sweating so much that I was drenched and the entire driver side of the car was fogging up, and I opened my mouth and said inside the tightly sealed vehicle, "I'm gay." The world, such as it was, did not end..."

     "There's nothing wrong with me. Well, besides the weight thing and I'd like to get that laser surgery for my eyes if it weren't so expensive and I look horrible in red even though I love the color. But there's nothing wrong with me. I'm trying hard not to hate you the way you hate me, because it would also be for no reason. You are what you are — an ignorant, small-minded, backwards-thinking nobody with nothing better to do with your life than rail against something that no one can control. Go yell at the trains when they pass, maybe they'll stop for you. Me? I'm a faggot. How are you?" — Lance Arthur

     Do yourself a favor and read the entire essay. It might just change the way you think.

     Add some lucid confusion.  Your comments appreciated.


 

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