Wednesday, December 31, 2008

It's Fun To Picture Blog In Your Pajamas

What a whirlwind winding up the last 3 months of 2008 for me.

I started a new job in September, and after a quick "figure out where everything is" phase of the job, traveled most of November. Which was crazy. It put me in the position of early voting, which I've never done before as I have always LOVED pulling the lever on actual voting day. I was way out of my normal element, out of town, in St. Louis watching the whole election develop.

Before I knew it, it was frikking THANKSGIVING, which means December is immediately around the corner. And from then til now (and probably most of January,) I've been a little VBA code warrior, which was not my original understanding of the new job, but there is so much goodness coming out of it, I really don't mind that extra dimension. It's just really been a fight for time to blog, as you, dear reader, can tell from my shameful lack of posting in these very politically interesting times.

December then posed it's own time crunch issues: Visitors We Love Were Coming To Party During The Holidays. That means really paying attention to serious menu planning and food shopping, but that's really a cheap excuse.

My partner Mr. B (also known as "belch") is my co-blogger for this post. And what we really do, is what we know: Food & Partying. It's our hobby and form of entertainment. We do it for ourselves, our neighbors, and our loved ones. It's not only economical, it's a form of creativity and we both have always thought that hospitality is a form of love. But it eats a lot of damned time.

But! Since we just had a leap second added at 12:00 UCT today, VOILA! There became enough time available to picture blog a little. We're sitting here, either ridiculously or humorously (for fabulous gay men who are NOT venturing out for New Year's Eve) in our pajamas, champagne in hand, looking toward the New Year, by looking at the photos from last weekend.

[If you click on the photos you'll get an enlarged version.]

We decided to try making chocolate candies this year. We made all the candies in this shot except the famous "Mozart Kugeln" which I just adore. There are chocolate dipped cherries (rolled in fondant), white chocolate molded candy with a peanut and chocolate ganache in the middle, and chocolate dipped pretzels. They all came out pretty good.

Belch: After painting the detail in those "christmas present" candy molds? Fuck that. Sticking with simpler shapes from now on. What a pain in the ass."

Cake. Cake is good. We are no stranger to cake, but started a new twist with this chocolate madness. What we do is split up the work. I'm good at machining out product, but belch is FABULOUS at making it look nice. So I made the sponge and the ganache for this cake. Belch did all the "eye candy" on it, including drawing out that that crazy topper.
Belch: Icing is fine, but you gotta go vertical for an eye-popping topper. I call this design "Thought Catcher" (lol)

Belch: My sister, her camera, and boobs. A giant bowl of shrimp cocktail. Why does UC wear that Santa hat?

Belch: My other sister is evidently the "Ghost Of Christmas Pictures." She and boob-sister cover their faces and I always wonder why? I think it's because They Are Wanted By Law Enforcement Officials.

40+ years aged people making zoom zoom noises. Yes, it happens. Judge not.

Belch dresses a table like nobody else. But I have to say that little bungalow era houses like the one we live in lend themselves to holiday decorations really nicely.

Lobster pot pie!
Belch: That shit was GOOD!

The neighbors are in on the whole decoration biz too.

Hope that 2009 find you all well, happy, and wise.

UC and Belch

The Standard Response

Hah! I learn via Digby / Taylor Marsh that the Standard Response to Wingnuts should be:

"You know, you have such a stunningly superficial knowledge of what went on that it's almost embarrassing to listen to you." - Former U.S. National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski

It's simply delicious that it's delivered to Morning Schmoe. Check it out at about 7:00 into the piece:

Good bye 2008!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Time to straighten some things out about the Warren outrage

[note from UC] Please welcome my dear friend, Margaret DFH (Dirty Fucking Hippy.) This is her first contribution to this blog, and won't be her last. She'll have her own byline here in the very near future. Please welcome Margaret, and here is what she has to say:

I've never written a diary here before but I am just so sick of the reaction by some in the hetero community who seem to feel that we in the LGBT community are somehow "whining" about Obama's selection of Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at Obama's inauguration. John Cole for example thinks that we are "an idiot chorus" and that we are guilty of "crazy outrage" and "whining". Lynda Resnick calls our hurt and anger "unwarranted" and she goes on to say:

"Rev. Rick Warren is a cuddly bear of a fellow, full of good cheer and a great sense of humor, even about himself."

There are many others who seem to feel the same way about Warren and about the issue but these two represent on the one hand, the anger at the LGBT commubity for daring to speak up and on the other hand, the patronizing bullshit from those who truly don't get the cause of our upset. Let me attempt to explain to the clueless, (the Resnicks) and to the STFU crowd, (the Coles) where my own anger comes from.

I have been transgendered my whole life and it's always been reasonably apparent that I was not born female. I mean, I can look drop dead gorgeous if I wanted to spend several hours getting ready to go outside every day but the reality of my existence is that I get up an hour before I have to be at work, take a shower, slap on some rudimentary make-up and go. The result being that the attentive can always tell that I used to be male.

There lies the problem. I used to be much, much worse at being able to "pass" as a woman, having not had the benefit of being taught to use cosmetics properly. This had caused me to be threatened and a couple of times, attacked and beaten. On one infamous occasion, I suffered several broken ribs and the Houston police arrested me on the grounds that I "should have taken a different route" having been threatened by those people before. No charges were ever filed but I was forced to walk home from the downtown police station. Lacking a job and health coverage, (and being young), I never had those ribs treated. In fact, I only found out that they had been broken years later. On a different occasion. I had the orbit of my right eye shattered and my skull fractured. On still another occasion, I was raped, (something I've never told anybody until this very second), and repeatedly kicked in the groin.

What all of these people who find or outrage "tiresome" or "crazy" have in common is that it's likely that none of them have ever been beaten for their orientation or for their appearance. Oh I know most males at one time or another get the shit knocked out of them, usually by a drunk friend but I seriously doubt that any of them have been literally beaten to within an inch of their lives. How easy it must be to be so sanctimonious and to call people names for trying to speak up for the wrongs committed against and upon us.

Personally, I would like to see John Cole take any one of the beatings that I have endured. I'd like Lynda Resnick to be taunted and have objects hurled at her head for walking down the wrong street. I'd like to see both of them denied employment, unemployment benefits and shelter because their sex doesn't match their gender. I'd like them to have to walk a mile in my shoes before they tell me to shut the fuck up about the Warren selection.

Remarkably, there are some in the LGBT community who feel the same way as the heteros which I totally don't get at all. Melissa Etheridge seems to think that Warren is a nice guy and has "open arms and an open heart". I think that she may be conflating personality with ideology. I once had a roomate who worked for John Cornyn when he was Attorney General in Texas. I've met the man and in person he is a super nice guy. Soft spoken, respectful and even warm but that doesn't stop him from being a narrow minded, bigoted asshole ideologically, He voted with Bush nearly 100 percent of the time and he pushed for that abominable Constitutional amendment in my state. Melissa, I hate to say this but you are dead wrong. Of course Rick Warren seems like a nice guy! He's a preacher and he wouldn't be a very succesful one if everybody thought of him as a pompous, self rightgeous, bigoted jerk!

So, for me, every time it gets cold and the left side of my rib cage hurts, every time I try to use the peripheral vision in my right eye and see flashes of gold, every time I can't sleep because my urinary tract is burning and I'm popping Urelle and Pyridium like m&m's, I'll think about Obama selecting Pastor Rick Warren. A man who, despite not having been personally involved in the injuries I've suffered, is just as guilty as the perpetrators of the violence because by encouraging his flock that we, the LGBT aren't really human after all, he may as well have been there, holding me down and egging them on. And that's just the way it is, regardless of what Cole or Resnick or even Etheridge think about it.

Maybe when one or more of them have the shit beaten out of them for the "crime" of wanting to pursue happiness like everybody else gets to do, maybe then they'll change their opinions. Either way, right now, they have no standing to even address the issue.

I'm not going to say that I will no longer support Obama but I will no longer trust him. I'd be an idiot to do so.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Little Night Music

There are a lot of things about Christmas that bug me, but there are some great features which I just LOVE! This would include Vince Guaraldi and his input of jazz into Christmas songs. Begone, Hymm! Behold the Jazz Trio!

Wish I had a trio, dang it.

Anyhow, here's "Christmas Time Is Here." With some house shots. The other thing that's quite fun to me about this time of year as that one needs no excuse to make the house frikking GAUDY. Which we do. With glee.

Party, bitches! Cheers to you and yours.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

So What?

A look at the outgoing chump:

Catch that?

BUSH: One of the major theaters against al Qaeda turns out to have been Iraq. This is where al Qaeda said they were going to take their stand. This is where al Qaeda was hoping to take–

RADDATZ: But not until after the U.S. invaded.

BUSH: Yeah, that’s right. So what?

Bush's "Marie Antionette" moment, exposed!
"Let them SUCK THIS!"
Read on dear blogger, from HuffPo's Erica Heller:
"So what?' said the man in charge of the free world, when asked about whether or not Al-Qaeda was in Iraq before we were. So what? Huh? Were chillier, crueler, more cavalier words ever spoken? Somehow, this seems to be lost in the news today but my brain refuses to flush it. Perhaps because my blood is still boiling. It seems to me that with those two extraordinary, positively barbaric words, we finally got to see the true Bush, without artifice, without the smug, sneering frozen mask of pre-prepared, freeze-dried answers to questions, which he always seemed so infuriated at having to answer. Indeed, he is the very epitome of a So What President. So what if the Katrina victims rot? So what if the world hates us? So what if our actions resonate everywhere with dire, catastrophic consequences? So what if people are starving and have no health care in one of the richest nations in the world? And so what if we leaped into an unnecessary war with manipulated "evidence", in which thousands have perished, utterly pointlessly? [Emphasis added]
As the late night teevee ads say: "WAIT! There's More!" From frikking TWEETY via HuffPo:
(Watch the whole damn 14:50 of this. Entirely illuminating.)

"Where do you get this from?" Matthews screamed. "We can't find the weapons, we can't find the rationale, what kind of mortal threat? Where do you get these words from? Mortal means you die.

"You guys sold the war as a nuclear threat to the United sold every trick you could to get us into this war," he continued. "And now you're backpedaling. And I do find it astounding....Four thousand people are dead because of the way you feel. And Frank Gaffney, you're wrong about this."

"It is regrettable that they had to die," Gaffney said, "but I believe they did have to die," citing Hussein's chemical, biological, and nuclear capabilities. "The danger was inaction could have resulted in the death of a great many more Americans than 4,000. And that's the reason I'm still delighted that we did what we did."

"The American people don't buy it, Frank," Matthews said. [Emphasis added]

No, We Don't Buy It.
Actually, So What Frank, I give a shit if you're delighted.

So President-elect Obama, take note. To date, you're not giving progressives any nod or weight whatsoever in your appointments. You should. Keeep those troops in Iraq; keep fighting the alleged "good war" in Afghanistan"; keep appointing 'more of the same' folks in your cabinet.

Cause guess what? You're not going to get any slack from the media like Bush is about your previously made promises. Wake up, Obama. This particular Bush story has no legs because of the partisan take of the media.

Right now, you're basically saying "So what?" to a big chunk of the folks that elected you for the sake of "post-partisanship" and "pragmatism." It might all be cool now for you, but you're looking at one term as far as I can see.

To which I say:

No diff. So What?

Atrios' Wanker of the day, today Wednesday December 17th is Obama!

I don't care about his color, except for the fact that Obama ain't blue enough for me. I knew that going into the voting booth, but it still rankles me.

Friday, December 5, 2008

How Can We Miss You

When You Won't Go Away?

This is just sick. Mary Beth Buchanan, whom I've previously dubbed the Queen Bee-Yotch of the Loyal Bushies, has stated that she intends to stay on as US Attorney in the Obama administration, despite being the worst partisan in the most partisan DoJ of all time.

The story, from Steve Benen at the Washington Monthly,
When the U.S. Attorney purge scandal was at its height, some federal prosecutors became famous for getting fired for purely political reasons. Other U.S. Attorneys became notorious for being loyal Bushies who seemingly used their offices to advance the Republicans' agenda.

Take Mary Beth Buchanan, for example, the U.S. Attorney in Pittsburgh since 2001. Buchanan has been accused, repeatedly, of being one of the more blatantly partisan prosecutors in the country, and using her post to launch politically-motivated investigations. With Bush's second term nearly over, many have been looking forward to Buchanan stepping down, as all U.S. Attorneys do when the White House changes hands.

But therein lies the twist. As Faiz noted this morning, Buchanan wants to stay right where she is.

Despite a new administration coming into power, U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan said she plans to stick around.

"It doesn't serve justice for all the U.S. attorneys to submit their resignations all at one time," she said yesterday. [....]

More than that, she said she would consider working in the Obama administration. She would not discuss what her future might hold beyond the U.S. attorney's office.

"I am open to considering further service to the United States," Ms. Buchanan said.

Well, that's certainly generous of her to offer, but I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that the Obama administration will replace her very quickly if she refuses to step down.
And there's more, from the 11 O'clock News:

She’s been described by colleagues as the quintessential loyal Bushie. “She is very focused to the department first of all,” said one assistant U.S. attorney, who asked not to be named. “She’s not independent, and I don’t think she wants to be.”

During her tenure, Buchanan has been criticized for bringing politically-motivated investigations and charges against politicians in Western Pennsylvania, none more famous than the public corruption case against a local high-profile Democrat Dr. Cyril H. Wecht. Former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh told Congress that the Wecht prosecution is “not the type of case normally constituting a federal ‘corruption’ case brought against a local official.” (and let US not mention the Collar bomb "investigation")

Buchanan hired Monica Goodling, and she hand-picked a Pittsburgh attorney to serve as the U.S. prosecutor in Alaska, going over the heads of Sens. Ted Stevens and Lisa Murkowski. She also had a peripheral role in the U.S. attorney scandal:

She did talk with [Gonzales chief of staff Kyle] Sampson about some of the prosecutors who were ultimately fired, including Carol Lam, U.S. attorney in the Southern District of California…

But the most involvement Ms. Buchanan seemed to have in the firings, according to the report, was in meeting with former U.S. Attorney Kevin V. Ryan of the Northern District of California.

Buchanan “has been criticized because her office has brought a number of high-profile cases against Democrats during her tenure, but rarely targeted members of her own party.” And now Buchanan wants to volunteer her services to President-elect Obama.

Here's a suggestion: Mary Beth, offer your services to defend Bush. He'll need all the help he can get.
Here's a stronger suggestion, for Barack Obama: Keep this woman on as US Attorney for more than 48 hours after your inauguration and you might as well announce your intention to become the electorate's nightmare - George Dubya Bush's third term. Keep her on longer than a week and she'll probably try to prosecute you.


Dan Hicks Performs "I Scare Myself"

(Because I couldn't find How Can I Miss You When You Won't Go Away?)