Fire Extinguisher or Grenade Launcher?

Fire Extinguisher or Grenade Launcher? — MUST HAVE!  Can I get one that shoots a mix of rounds, some to start fires and some to put them out?  I love the design–a thing of beauty except for the hospital white.  It should come in a nice gunmetal or jet black finish.  I love the range control too, but how about gyro-stabilizers and a laser rangefinder?


The 14th Philadelphia International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival ended on Tuesday.  Well, technically for me it ended Wednesday at 01:00 since K. and I closed the closing night party in the wee hours.  Here are some of the films worth checking out if you missed them:

  1. Affinity — British bodice-ripping Lesbian medium period piece is an early fest guilty pleasure. Fun for all!
  2. Clandestinos — Thanks, Spain, for a fun, quirky, slightly creepy guilty pleasure. Transcends a few really awkward moments.
  3. Ciao — Deliberate, well-told character study & rare case of well-directed slow pacing. Nuanced, old-fashioned indie.
  4. Fashion Victims — So-German fashion farce where Father knows worst. Consistently funny, quirky, and sweet–but in a good way.
  5. Mulligans — Nicely shot kinder-gentler gay indie love child of AmericanBeauty, OrdinaryPeople, and LittleMissSunshine.
  6. The Houseboy — Works it with a dark story, good lead, and racy scenes–high marks from me indeed for a film set at xmas time.
  7. The Lost Coast — A moody, deliberate nocturnal journey that snared me (but few others) with story, visuals, and atmosphere.

For more reviews and comments on the festival, visit my PIGLFF 14 page.  I’ve also added pages for previous years, PIGLFF 12 and PIGLFF 13, and hope to add more for both festivals.

My PIGLFF 14 Schedule

It’s here!

I’ve been a little behind schedule on picking my films up because my new client is in Rockville, MD.  I am home for the duration of the festival though and hope to see all of you at films and out-and-about the town.  You can find my schedule on the festival website:

The festival is no longer using B-Side, so you won’t be able to hit the URL to see reviews of films and such.  It’s now an in-house project and they’re working on reviews, social media, and much more for next year.  For my reviews, you can follow me on Twitter:

I will try to tweet after every film.  The 140-character limit does make for more concise reviews, so it’s not all bad.  I will also tweet about where I am around town and doing things, so if you’re also a twitter-head, feel free to drop by if you see I’m in the neighborhood.

Happy festing!

Same Sex Parenting on 30 Days

Morgan Spurlock’s 30 Days usually has a happy ending.  Not so with last week’s.

Episodes often take people with strong feelings about a topic and put them in the other side’s shoes for 30 days.  In this episode (available in full on Hulu) a woman opposed to gay adoption lives with a two-dads family for a month.

Usually the fish-out-of-water ends the 30 days changed.  This woman, the mother of two adopted children herself, still holds by the end of her 30 days that gays should not be allowed to adopt children in spite of all the positive things she admits to seeing.  She holds her ground in spite of facts and other perspectives because of her religious beliefs.  She still wants laws passed against gay adoption, laws that would break up the happy family she just visited.

The lesson here was for the gay parents; no amount of evidence will sway True Believers from trying to legislate their morality on others.  They thought that bringing a person into a happy home and caring community would change her mind, and they were wrong.  You can’t argue with these people, so don’t.  Don’t lose sleep over trying to see their points of view; they won’t return the courtesy.  Be prepared to fight fire with fire.

The Political Mind:  Why You Can’t Understand 21st-Century Politics with an 18th-Century Mind

A recent FLP Author Event podcast featuring George Lakoff ties into this perfectly.  He’s a cognitive science pioneer who describes in his latest book (and podcast) how social and political behavior is a product of how our brains work.  Lakoff identifies the same fundamental flaw in Progressive politics and those gay parents, this idea that presenting the facts can change anybody’s mind.

I hate to even bring Lakoff up on the eve of Independence Day since his central assertion is that American political thought as a product of the Age of Enlightenment is based on faulty premises like informed self interest, reason, and the common good.  He argues that emotion is more important than reason in politics, that it’s rooted in physiology, and that Progressives have to cast off the ideals of Reason to effectively compete with the Conservatives.

It’s a sad thing to spend the nation’s birthday in the Cradle of Liberty knowing how many will really be celebrating their independence from Reason.

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Wright Down The Drain

What happened to Jeremiah Wright between his interview with PBS and appearance before the NAACP?  In Essay on Jeremiah Wright, Bill Moyers has a few ideas worth considering.

During his performance last Monday, Wright elaborated on his government conspiracy theory regarding HIV: He said, “Based on the Tuskegee experiment and based on what has happened to Africans in this country, I believe our government is capable of doing anything.”  [emphasis and link added]

What people like Wright, Robertson, or Hagee will believe as literal truth doesn’t surprise me: An omnipotent father figure, a talking snake, a man living for days inside the belly of a whale, a zombie savior, Heaven and Hell, etc.  Wright’s conspiracy theory about a government with a real history of secretly experimenting on it citizens seems like a small leap compared to such fantastical things.

I might suspect something like that if I didn’t prefer sheer ignorance, indifference, and incompetence as better explanations a la Occam’s Razor.  Unfortunately we’re no longer a nation of thinkers ready to wield such tools.  This latest national elevation of Belief over Reason started with Reagan selling out the Republican Party by pandering to fundamentalist Christians, but the political swing of the pendulum isn’t pushing us back towards Reason.  The Democrats are adopting the same strategy, not refuting it.

The “Faith in Public Life” debate wasn’t more of the same Republican religious pandering; this was the Democrats trotting out their candidates in what feels like another chip out of the Establishment Clause, like a candidate’s Christian pedigree is a de facto requirement of holding the office.  How many will vote based more on who is a better Christian than who has better policy?  Consider that all-important code word in Obama’s campaign slogan:  “Change You Can Believe In”.  It raises my hackles every time I see it.

It’s safer as a candidate to say what you believe than what you think:  There aren’t as many inconvenient arguments or facts to trip you up in the age of always-on media, and your base is inoculated against those same inconveniences, especially on their favorite “values” issues.  How do you refute a more-plausible myth like trickle-down economics or McCain’s superiority on foreign policy issues to people who still believe in a 6,000 year old Earth?

Wright and Wrong

One certain outcome of Obama getting the Democratic nomination is seeing those clips of his former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, again and again–until November.  While I have my problems with Obama, this isn’t one of them.  Let’s just hope for equal air time regarding McCain’s pandering to John Hagee and his organization, Christians United for Israel (CUFI).

Wright was just on Bill Moyers Journal and got the chance to put his comments in perspective, both by words and by showing longer segments to give context to the snippets getting so much air play.  He successfully makes the “God damn America” and “Home to Roost” comments more of a non-issue for me.

The segment didn’t address his comments on HIV as a government conspiracy, an idea that also has traction with some in the HIV activism community.  I don’t buy it, but I do hold the Reagan Administration directly responsible for allowing the epidemic to grow unchecked during those critical early days.  If that’s what Wright means, then we’re once again closer on a larger truth glossed over in sound bites.

The punditry agrees that Wright’s public appearances can only hurt Obama, saying it’s an excuse for the media to trot out the sound bites.  If it’s not full coverage like the Moyers program, they might be right.   Let’s just hope that (the Democrats make sure that) McCain’s link to Hagee gets equal time.  These scandals are not created equal.

Hagee is the founder of CUFI, an organization that supports Israel for the sole purpose of fulfilling Biblical prophecy.  Israel is merely a means to an end, to be discarded when all of CUFI’s good little Christians ascend to heaven in the Rapture.  This is an Apocalyptic cult with some values in common with suicide bombers who throw away their lives for the promise of 72 virgins in paradise.  It’s just too easy to justify horrible acts in this life if you believe in a distorted view of the afterlife, a consequence of any kind of religious fundamentalism.

Hagee himself is virulently anti-gay and anti-Catholic.  He’s cut from the same cloth as Robertson and Falwell, claiming that Katrina was God’s punishment for gay Mardi Gras.  It mystifies me that we haven’t seen more clips of Hagee spewing his vitriol; maybe there’s just too much for the media to choose from.  Howard Dean should give them a hand and send around a top five.

McCain’s active pandering to fundamentalist Christians like Hagee and Robertson since his Jekyll-to-Hyde transformation two years ago is a continuation of the selling-out of the Republican Party.  It’s foolish to think he can shrug these people off once in office; promises are being made, and they will be kept.  These aren’t people who sound bad in out-of-context sound bites.  These are bad people, hateful xenophobes who pervert religion for their own gain.  By seeking their endorsement, McCain is assuring their continuing influence in American politics and culture.  

Obama isn’t pandering to Wright and there’s no expectation of influence once he’s in the White House.  IMHO, Obama’s failure was going “didn’t inhale” on the comments.  He should have stuck to his guns from the Philadelphia speech, talked more about the context of the statements, and hammered home that he supports Wright as family but rejects his comments.  Obama doesn’t do well with controversy when he has to improvise, and that worries me going into November.  The litmus test will be how his campaign handles the dust kicked up by Wright’s latest appearances.  Super-delegates, please pay attention!

On Bill Moyers Journal:  Rev. Jeremiah WrightChristians United for Israel (CUFI)