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It's a fine line between living for the moment and being a sociopath.

Patricia B McConnell: For The Love Of A Dog.

Pema Chodron: The Places That Scare You

Daniel Wallace: Mr Sebastian & the Negro Magician

All paths lead to the same goal: to convey to others what we are. --Pablo Neruda

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Location: Oxfordshire, United Kingdom

100 things about me

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Sunday, June 25, 2006

Geek heaven

Jean-Luc vs Anakin! You know you're squealing with delight.

Or, alternately, are embarrassed to know those of us who are.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

I know! Let's not tell customers about it!

Here's the most useful scream-saver I've ever seen: How to do a non-destructive re-install of XP.

Or, you could just buy a Mac.

(In the new Mac ads, note the casting of PostCardsFromHome favorite, John Hodgman.)

Thursday, June 22, 2006

On His Coolness

We spend a lot of time in our lives wondering if we’re cool, trying to be cool, convincing ourselves we’re cool, or feeling sorry for our uncool selves.

For some, it probably never goes away, but for the lucky among those of us who’ve occasionally struggled to be cool, it gets less and less pressing as we age. We get encroachingly comfortable with the people we are, and the journey of becoming whatever’s next. And, speaking for guys, we reach an age at which coolness and frequency of getting laid don’t seem so directly correlated, anymore, and the person you’re having sex with long ago convinced herself you were at least cool enough.

Finally, you get to the point of embracing that if you pour yourself into really loving the people you love, you end up having a fabulous life, even if you’re all a total bunch of dags. (Sorry, there’s not really a good non-Aussie translation of “dag”. but it’s kind of terminally un-cool, in a goofy, lovable way.) And if your life is fabulous, well, whatever daggy-ness got you there becomes pretty damn cool. Indeed, I’ve started to convince myself that my increasing daggy-ness is a mark of just how uniquely cool I am.

But this is only the most recent era in a long history of dramatic swings and ebbs of coolness. A year younger than everyone else, I was the daggiest of the dags in high-school, then I rocketed into the cool stakes by playing in rock bands with guys way older than me. (God bless the permanent shortage of decent drummers.) I plummeted again, in my senior/final year, moving to a new school with a graduating class of 63, in which there were 62 kids who had known each other for years, plus the daggy new kid. By the end of my first year at college, though, I was back climbing the rungs of the cool, DJ-ing at one of the hippest radio stations in the US. Frosty cool.

And on and on from there, with hip highs and lame lows. Through to now, when my tattoos are simply something I share with a quarter of Americans 18-50. And the older I get, my daggy-ness seems commensurate with the amount of grey in my hair. Saltier and saltier; daggier and daggier.

This trend seems to be going in exactly the opposite direction for some of my friends. I get daggier; they get cooler. And hot damn! Some of them are muy cool. I woke up one day, and rather than celebrating with all my daggy friends, I was at a party with the cool kids. Middle-aged cool kids, perhaps, but really, really cool.

Flame-Haired Angel’s folks occasionally send us a nice fat envelope of clippings from Sydney newspapers. The article at right dropped from one recent arrival. It’s a survey of cool-ness opinion-makers commenting on Paul McCartney’s 64th birthday, and the man’s influence on cool.

Haaaaaang on! Zoom in there. Didn’t two of those people give speeches at my wedding???

Their speeches were uncomfortably similar in front of friends and family. Julia broke the news that she’d slept with Flame-Haired Angel before I did, and Bernard bragged that his first date with her preceded mine. Now, years after beating me to the sublime discovery of my Angel, they’re two of Australia’s famous taste-makers.

Straight from this immersion in coolness by association, I went and checked my e-mail. A note popped up from one of the other wedding speakers. She was just checking in from nine time zones away to bond over blow-jobs and toothbrushes.

And, all of a sudden, surrounded by the enduring love in these friendships, I felt as cool as I’d ever wanted to be.


* * *

And for no other reason than that it’s fabulous, here’s ZeFrank, riffing on the whole concept of cool.

Duckies = cool.

* * *

Anyone who could do a decent revision of the Milton piece under the title “On His Coolness”, would earn a place in my personal pantheon of coolness.


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Snitchens Snucks

Christopher Hitchens gets up my nose. He's a blow-hard in a way that so few good writers are and, apparently believing his publicists' hype, he makes himself more and more ridiculous, treating each new by-line as a chance to extend himself further out on the decreasingly credible limbs of his opinions. And the pain in my personal rear is that he's published in so many vehicles I otherwise enjoy reading: Slate, Vanity Fair...

So, I got a little guilty pleasure from this take-down of a more-objectionable-than-usual Hitchens piece in the most recent Vanity Fair. Feminists do indignant rant better than most -- especially when they are, coincidentally, right -- and this is some primo ranting slathered with In Dig Nation. (Trademark. See new blog title coming soon!)

The light-hearted ranters are, as usual, even better than those genuinely pissed off. Anger, but, you know, with jokes. The best response is probably not to respond, or to send Vanity Fair a quick note saying that you respect them less in the morning because they're sleeping with Hitch. (Or, in this case, as you'll read, apparently blowing him.) But the analysis buried within the invective/slings/arrows/used tampons hurled at Hitch is really quite wonderful. Not fine rhetoric finely wrought, mind you, but still a ripping good read.

I post all this, of course, only to prove that my reading is broader than the reading list at left. I'm trying to broaden myself. You know, blowjobs, Nabokov interpretations, and alcoholic ranters. Not that Flame-Haired Angel doesn't already have all those bases covered, mind you.


Sunday, June 18, 2006

Coffins in Ghana

I like cultures that make death an opportunity to celebrate life. Story here.

250 white futons in a warehouse

I'm not a connoiseur of Japanese pornography. In fact, I don't even snack. Nonetheless, the impression has, at some point, passed to me that the land of the rising sun is also the land of way-out-there niche kink.

Enter this report sent to me by a friend who shall remain nameless. [NOT work-safe, and not for the easily offended.]

As the 'journalist' on that site says: "...now I’ve Officially Seen Everything."

Exposure to a phenomenon such as this can lead the reasonable man to ask only one question: Where in Tokyo did they find a room that big that wasn't a sumo ring?

(And, in the picture above, don't you just love the shoes? In the context of what all those women are about to do, the culturally uniform compulsiveness with which they have ordered their shoes is, ironically, just heart-wrenchingly humanizing.)



Flame-Haired Angel and I almost always dodge questions about whether or not we're planning on having children. Of course it's not anyone's business, and of course friends and family are curious, and of course parents of young children are soooo anxious to either (a) share their joy with you, or (b) tell you how incomplete your life is if you don't make the decision they have.

Maybe we will, maybe we won't. We love kids. We also love our life the way it is. So, jury's out, but both of us swing with mood and hormones.

Today, for whatever whatever reason, I've been feeling clucky. When Flame-Haired Angel and I went out for a walk, it seemed that, for once, I was noticing the cute little kids dressed for summer more than I was noticing the lithe Parisian hotties in slinky sundresses.

So, it's only fitting that in my web travels, this afternoon, I would come upon this site.

A little freaky, but a lot awwww-inspiring.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

I hadn't adequately plumbed the depths of Stevie's lameness

I stand seriously corrected by several e-mail comments on my previous post.

It is true: both "Ebony and Ivory" and "I Just Called To Say I Love You" were, indeed, waaay lamer than Part-time Lover.

(But what is it with you people and preferring e-mail to leaving stuff in the comments right here on the blog? I'm offering you fame, here, among at least dozens!)

Monday, June 12, 2006

Valencia rocking the kid

I'm sitting in a hotel in Valencia, Spain, that was purpose-built for the influx of tourists anticipated for the upcoming America's Cup. Sitting here in my room, up late, I just caught my head bobbing to Stevie Wonder's lamest hit ever (Part-time Lover) after an overly enthusiastic Spanish DJ segued into it. Man, those guys talk fast.

I've spent the whole evening in my room on my laptop, so no tapas bars for me. Fortunately, I had the freshly translated room service -- ahem, I mean "in-room dining" -- menu at my disposal, from which I ordered the succulent (...wait for it...)

"Sirloin of Kid Attacked with Tender Garlics".

Ahhh, as though I were back in China.

Except for Stevie Wonder.


Waaaaay too much time on their hands.

Nice goggles.

This has got to be one of the best things I've yet seen on the web.

More and more of my daily grins come from Lawrence Wilkinson. Big tip of a big hat.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Extraordinary just how hard it rocks

I don't know which is the most amazing thing about this clip:

A. Just how hard it rocks, especially toward the end.

B. How rankly idiotic the lyrics sound when made intelligible.

C. How much the lead singer at first looks like actor Chris Noth: Mr Big from Sex and the City.

Magic Spam

Over the weekend, I started getting spam of a kind I haven’t seen much, before. Normally, I get a box full of stock tips, erectile chemistry and gynecological self-study. But I’ve just started getting told, quite frequently, that I shouldn’t miss out on that next promotion, and that my lack of qualifications shouldn’t hold me back from earning the salary I deserve.

Well, from spam’s mouth to God’s ears. As of today, it turns out that I have the same job title as Dick Cheney. And I don’t mean “Unrepentant Asshole”. I’m quite repentant. I mean the bit that comes before “…of the United States”.

So, if I read the tea leaves of my company’s recently announced merger correctly, I am now Vice President of an enterprise that won’t exist in six months.

Is that what they meant by "the promotion I deserve"?


Saturday, June 03, 2006

John Hodgman

And another one of my favourite humourists -- and another gift from The Daily Show: John Hodgman.

Click on the pic to go to the video.

Lewis Black

A couple of links here to one of the guys who makes me laugh out loud every time I hear him: Lewis Black. He's one of The Daily Show's many gifts to the world. I've heard funnier material, but never funnier delivery.

Click on the pics to go to the video.

Bending the rules

This article, from Slate, suggests some conservatives are bending the rules in order to receive federal funding to develop chastity-oriented sex-ed curricula for medical schools. Because doctors' education is definitely something that should be bent by ideology.

It immediately reminded me of another set of conservatives bending the rules around chastity: kids who “take the pledge” to remain virgins until marriage. As reported more than a year ago, kids who make virginity pledges wait barely longer than non-pledgers to pop their cherries but, in the meantime, they’re more likely to engage in oral and anal sex. And when they do lose it – almost always before marriage – they’re less likely to use condoms. Result: pledgers suffer exactly the same rate of STDs as their less repressed peers who are, in any case, only slightly quicker to unzipper.

So, yeah, teaching med students about chastity is a good idea, so long as what we’re teaching them is that chastity-only programs suck ...and also, apparently, take it in the ass.

But what I really want to know, the study didn’t cover: Which set of teens ends up being more fun in bed?

And, since we’re on the subject of bent rules and chastity, here’s a picture of Chastity Bono, who’s bent.

And here's a link to my favorite commentary on the chastity that isn't.


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Rejecting Miss Daisy

Overheard, tonight, at PostcardsFromHome HQ, upon receipt of the news that Anna Nicole Smith is pregnant:

Flame-Haired Angel: Oh my god! Who would fuck that?

White Boy: [instantly, inexplicably, silently fascinated with a toothbrush]

FHA: You wouldn't fuck her, would you?

White Boy: Um, she's not really my type, but what are my options?

FHA: None.

White Boy: Uh, either Anna Nicole Smith or no sex at all?

FHA: Yeah. Would you?

White Boy: Honey, in your years on planet earth, what have you learned about men?

FHA: Okay, what if your alternative was Daisy the Cow?

White Boy: It's either her or opt out of my species? Um...