Friday, September 30, 2005


Friday semen blogging

Man, I thought I had a good one for this week, and then I came across this:

She lays semen trap for executives
Taiwan triad extorts about $500,000 using seedy scam
October 01, 2005

SHE introduced herself as the owner of a joint-venture company with the authorities from China and said she knew the Taiwanese authorities as well as the triads.

She would turn up at date-club functions, claiming she was the secretary-general of one such club.

High-profile bankers, CEOs, lawyers and even teachers were captivated by this swinging single who wore Chanel outfits and was decked with glittering gems and dazzling diamonds, reported Apple Daily Taiwan.

They were attracted to her even though she is 53 years old.

But Xu Guifang is a fraud.

Her tactics were simple: Befriend the men, seduce them, collect their semen on sanitary pads and extort large sums of money. If they refused to pay, she would put up posters denouncing her victims as sex maniacs and harass them.

She would threaten them with violence as she was backed up by the Niu Pu triad.

Wow. You know, actually, it only works really well with the accompanying photo.

Some would say Xu Guifang has moxie. I'd say she's got spunk.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


Rant time! (Desecrated corpse edition)

Digby has yet another provocative post about the deep meaning of, the Web site that involves, among other things, soldiers trading pictures of mutilated Iraqis for home-grown porn. Rude Pundit discusses it too, and for Billmon it seemed to cause a significant change of heart in how he views the desirablility of us staying in Iraq.

Part of what's so interesting about our horror, or assumed horror, at the photos in question, is that it is palatable -- the fact is that we can handle the images, as grotesque as they are, even if they do serve to warp us a little bit more each time we seek them out. Sure, it's fine to point out the blatant hypocrisy of our culture which feigns horror at Janet Jackson's nipple ornament in direct proportion to the number of times we demand to watch it again; the same culture that pretends to give a shit about Laci Peterson when all we really want is a good psychocourtroom drama.

But it's not like it's a real secret that the reason Bush won in November 2004, the reason that Abu Ghraib didn't lead to impeachment, is because a significant portion of this country wants us to be in the shit, wants to see plenty of blood spilled (both ours and theirs) in our neverending quest for sanctification and revenge and meaning. We want to see Faces of Death, we want to see hardcore porn, we want to see Grand Theft Auto and Saving Private Ryan and John Waters' early films and NASCAR crashes and worst of all competitive eating contests. We try desperately to keep these impulses in check, through censorship and self-censorship and cries about our children. Because we are ashamed of these impulses, and know if they are left unchecked they will lead to complete hedonism (of the selfish variety, natch) which will distract us from our larger goals of building empire and working hard (to buy more stuff) and keeping the hordes (who usually are far better at depriving themselves of that which they inevitably too crave) away from our soil. But let us not kid ourselves. We likes the naughty and inevitably we will gets the naughty.

The point of this pointless musing is that we can go round & round talking about the moral implications of the all-American heroes who are posting fucked up photos with fucked up captions in exchange for fucked up porn, but it should not be a stand-in for what are, in my opinion, the two real moral issues of our time:

1) George W. Bush should not be president of this great nation. While he is president, we need to make it as difficult as possible for him to implement his wrong-headed agenda. In 2006 we need to see a sea change in our politics, hopefully manifested by the election of a Democratic Congress that is both serious about the business of government and that is able to fully investigate the many, many, many indiscretions and failures of this administration.

2) It is absolutely imperative that someone build a god damn flux capacitor and create a time machine so that someone can go back in time and stop the Iraq war before it started, and instead ensure the creation of a comprehensive, rational War On Terror or Worldwide Struggle Against Violent Extremism, or whatever. Failing that, we need to put together a Manhattan Project or somesuch ASAP to figure out how to get the hell out of there while ensuring the descent into civil war is halted.

It's exhausting for me to type on these themes constantly, and exhausting for you, I'm sure, dear reader, to continue to read them, but we can't wait until 2008 and hope we act rationally and that we finally get a decent -- presidential -- president in place. It's now, everyday, that we need to ACT and always to fully explain the why's and wherefore's of the woeful tale that has been the past 5 years, and not rely on random tangents to do the talking for us. The president should not be president because he is a liar, a hypocrite, a cheater, and a bad judge of character. The war is bad because it is based on partisan politics, lies, manipulations, bloodlust, and cannot effectively meet its only real significant goal (a safer America, I think). Eyes on prize, forest/trees, nose/grindstone, I say. And will continue to say until the ink from this blog-well runs dry.

Monday, September 26, 2005


Happy anniversary, happy anniversary, happy anniversary, HAAAAAPY anniversary!

Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand
Six Hundred Minutes
Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand
Moments So Dear

Oh wait, I hate Rent. Well, I haven't actually seen it, and I will see the movie seeing has how Rosario the Great is starring in it. But I have a feeling I'll hate it.

And the lyrics of that song, meant to say something about how long a year is, or how short it is, or how we should appreciate what we have or some damn thing, are especially eye-rolling. But! We here at Selfish Hedonist needed something to celebrate the twelve months of political rants, vital action alerts, and semen musings that have comprised the blog you know and adore. So we picked that.

Yes, much has changed in the world since that first posting back in the day. (Actually, I'm pretty sure we had at least a few before that, but they seem to have been lost in the ether.) Unlike those halcyon days, we are today living in an Orwellian world in which George W. Bush is president YES PRESIDENT!, a senseless war is raging unchecked in Iraq, and Halliburton is getting no-bid contracts all over the place. Sigh. I miss the olden days.

It's been a rough few weeks for the SelfishHedonists but we're back in force now with three YES THREE! important links. I highly recommend you check out:

ARMY NATIONAL GUARD SWEEPS where you can give the Army National Guard your contact information plus your friends' information and in return you get three YES THREE! free music downloads from iTunes®. That's the equivalent of $2.97! Such a deal. And look how happy the young kids are there, rockin' out to their Trisha Yearwood, not a care in the world. I'm sure those three songs will provide much comfort in the place of a limb, or on their way to the funeral of a new friend. I was listening to NPR this morning (yes I hate them but it's better than those damn morning shows) and they had a story about an Army recruiter in the Chicago suburbs who was doing okay getting people to sign up, because, he said, he didn't lie. He was frustrated at the media's reporting of lies that some recruiters were said to be telling, as that became everyone's opinion of all recruiters, which wasn't fair. He was then overheard telling some high school kids that Iraq was a good place to be, because the traffic in Chicago was really bad and you were taking your life in your hands every time you drove on the Dan Ryan, and they just don't have that problem in Iraq.

Earlier in the segment, they recorded a (latina) high school girl who gave her brother's cell number to the recruiter. She herself wasn't interested. "What you guys do is so brave," she said. "Dying for your country and stuff?"

Number two. I'm kind of hooked on Kanye West's new single, "Gold Digger," feat. Jamie Foxx. If you know the song, or even if you don't, check out this title-says-it-all remix, "George Bush Doesn't Care About Black People."

And then there's this.

Friday, September 23, 2005


Friday semen blogging

I just thought this was kind of funny (note: subscription needed):

Kenya's test-tube baby still on course

Publication Date: 9/22/2005

Kenya will in the next few weeks know whether it can celebrate her first test-tube baby.

Ten months since the first test-tube baby clinic was opened in Nairobi the gynaecologist in charge, Dr Joshua Noreh, says the first success case will be confirmed by next month. So far, Dr Noreh says he has treated about 20 women, "but there have been complications, in any case 10 months is too short to determine the efficacy of this technology."


One obstacle in IVF treatment in Kenya, says Dr Noreh, is the limitation of facilities. "There is no reliable sperm bank in the country which is a prerequisite for the success of an IVF programme. I only treat couples but not single women and they must produce their own semen for insemination. This is a costly affair since we import all the machinery and even sometimes we have to send the semen abroad for tests before insemination."

Don't ask me why. It's Banned Books Week starting tomorrow and we're all a little crazy.

Friday, September 16, 2005


Friday semen blogging

From the Department of Jobs that Make It Difficult to Hook Up at Bars:

From Milk Pail to Supper Table

The semen is selected by using an artificial vagina (a rigid tube with an inner rubber sleeve that's been warmed with water and lubricated). The bull is tricked into mounting a "teaser" animal-usually a steer-and an attendant directs the bull's penis into the tube and traps the ejaculate. Sperm is gathered once or twice a week, depending on the weather and the bull's disposition.

Here's what the artificial cow vagina looks like, by the way:

"And what is it that you do?"

"I direct bull penises into artifical cow vaginas in order to trap the ejaculate."

"I see."

"And you?"

"Administrative Assistant."

"I see."

"Yes, well."


"Well, have a good evening."

"Yes, thank you. You too."

Thursday, September 15, 2005


The strange but true tale of the Funky Butt

During my first trip to New Orleans in the sizzling summer of 1999, my friends & I decided to check out a live-music spot called the Funky Butt. Even if I were a decent writer, I doubt I would be able to give you a sense of how perfect the place was from the perspective of a young outsider looking for an "authentic" New Orleans experience. The place was dark, tattered, dank, next door to a couple of trashy gay bars on the "rough" side of the Quarter, and to top it off, Wynton's youngest brother Jason Marsalis was playing drums with his quartet (or was it a quintet?). It felt just right.

Well, I did a search on the place tonight, to see what it's status was post-Big K, and I came upon this haunting antediluvian article from the Times-Picayune:
Friday, August 19, 2005
Keith Spera
Music writer

Last Friday, the Funky Butt hosted a de facto jazz funeral for itself -- minus the jazz -- as the night's scheduled act, bassist Jim Markway and his band, gathered outside on North Rampart Street to bemoan the once-popular modern jazz venue's decline.

Richard Rochester opened the Funky Butt in 1996, then sold the business to trombonist Sam "Big Sam" Williams and Williams' fiancee, Shanekah Peterson, in the spring of 2004. The club closed for two weeks that June, but the summer of 2005 has been far tougher. Beset by a broken air-conditioning system, a dwindling staff, little advertising and consequently few patrons, the club has frequently been dark.

Sizing up their prospects last weekend -- working in a sweltering, empty room for no money -- Markway and company opted not to perform.

The Funky Butt's future remains uncertain. Williams did not return messages left on his cell phone this week, and the club's phone has been disconnected.

Such timing!

Well, I searched further, and it turns out that Big Sam Williams is not just any trombonist, but is an alum of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, a favorite of the hipster crowd (that's them performing a short intro on Modest Mouse's most recent album).

And where is he now? Of all places, San Antonio, location of my next conference in January (to be followed, naturally, by New Orleans in June, or maybe not...)

So here's the latest:
Eighteen months after Williams formed the Funky Nation, he left the Dirty Dozen. Peterson ("She's the head boss in charge," Williams said.) and he bought the Funky Butt when the owner opted to sell out and move out of New Orleans.

"I had to follow my dream," he said. "And I appreciate everything the Dozen did for me. Without the Dozen I never would have had the opportunity to do all the things I've done."

Williams and Peterson had been working on plans to move the Funky Butt to Frenchmen Street, a burgeoning entertainment district just outside of the French Quarter. All of the bar fixtures are in storage. The lease on the new building has yet to be signed.

"Right now we're strongly leaning toward having the Funky Butt in San Francisco," he said. "We're saying we're going to stay in San Antonio at least a month, maybe longer. I just don't know. I may get to know so many people that I have a desire to stay here."

Regardless of what path Williams chooses, here's hoping some incarnation of the Butt comes back stronger than ever in New New Orleans.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


Vote for Cegelis NOW! And pass it on...

Please pass this message on to anyone you think might be interested...

Democracy for America is hosting an online vote to determine
which congressional candidate will receive their first national
endorsement of 2006. The vote is open to all challengers and
open seat candidates. The candidate with the most votes at the
end of balloting will receive a DFA-List endorsement and a
national e-mail from DFA's Chair Jim Dean.

Vote for Christine Cegelis at the DFA site.

The first round of voting closes on Saturday at 5:00 pm Eastern
Time. We need to finish in the top 10 to make the final round
next week.

Anyone can vote -- you don't have to be a DFA member or live in
her district or even in Illinois. Taking control of the U.S.
House from the Republicans in 2006 must be a NATIONAL priority,
and IL-06 is one of our few open seats!

I MEAN IT! PASS IT ON!!! This is the sort of thing that could vault Cegelis' candidacy, among activists, donors, voters, and the media significantly higher. Earlier today I saw she sat at #3 in the "standings" but she's already moved up in the few hours since I last checked! So we have to keep the votes coming - this is winnable...

YFI, DFA did great work in helping Paul Hackett almost pull off a miracle in Ohio. This is an easy way to help Cegelis take that next step! (Oh, and leave a comment after you do vote...)

[On a related note, Christine Cegelis was the only political candidate I'm aware of who joined Cindy Sheehan in any of her vigils in Illinois. Christine is a person of conscience and conviction, and I'm proud to help her in whatever way I can. Here's the story.]

Monday, September 12, 2005


Culture of life

The bf & I were watching the classic -- no, sorry, megaclassic -- groundbreaking, high-larious epic The Poseidon Adventure last night & got to talking about why that film, and it's (possibly superior) legacy, The Towering Inferno, are so successful.

The gay in me was pretty sure it was the irrefutable fact that any film with both Shelley Winters and Stella Stevens (or both Jennifer Jones & Faye Dunaway, as the case may be) is destined to be a classic, period.

The current-events-ite in me appreciates the morality aspect of it: that the vain, the greedy, the incompetent will lead us to ruin if we don't stand up to them (which we, being good & hopeful souls, inevitably don't do obnoxiously enough), and certainly don't know when to listen to a key warning. And then after disaster falls, not only is it in bad taste, but it's seemingly beside the point to say "I told you so!" And yet, the protagonists are the ones who have to save the day, since the venality of the bad guys won't allow them to do something as decent as help figure out IMMEDIATELY how to assist the survivors.

But really, it's more metaphysical than all that. The great disaster films, at best, wallow in our fear of death, and firmly establish the arbitrariness of life. That's what makes them thrilling. They say:

Your great monuments will not protect you. Your illusion of being apart from the natural world cannot shield you. Your civilization is not what you thought it was.

And most importantly: I don't care if you are Pamela Sue Martin herself! All your big-star glory won't save you (or Karen Black, or Geneviève Bujold, or Sofia Loren) when the shit hits the fan. Your face WILL get sweaty and smudged. Your eyeliner may stay in place but you've been marked -- by the gods of Hollywood and by your audience -- as just another person who has been brought down a million pegs, right before my eyes. And to prove how arbitrary our lives are, even if you survive, some major stars will not.

I think it's the disaster film ethic that informs so much of our understanding 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and the Iraq War, three instances in which George Bush has overseen an unnecssary loss of life. We know that large-scale deaths are part of the saga we've been cast as extras in. And they happen to the good guys as well as the bad. They take out our Wonders of the World. We may seek out or create heroes in our dramas, but in the end, the heroes don't make any real difference after the fact. A few lives are saved here, a few there, but in the end, they are a pittance, and the enormity of the disaster only can be comprehended through the lens of the disaster film. The movies are prophetic, and have mediated the images we see even before said images have been captured. Whether this softens the blow of the disaster once it's done with, or makes such disasters that much more disturbing because we don't see no Ava Gardner walking around, smudged face and tattered outfit, giving us the piece of mind that none of this is reality, I'm just not sure.

I do wonder if, without these myths, we as a people would be more willing to demand and receive real accountability for the failure to prevent or mitigate the deaths.

I also wonder whether Bush will ever deign to use the phrase "Culture of Life" now that it's been resolutely shown that his presidency will forever be associated with death, death, and more death. What am I talking about, of course he will.

Friday, September 09, 2005


Friday semen blogging

The great thing about this goat semen site... that you get to SEE the hot studs whose buck-juice you're buying before you invest your dough. It's like an escort site for caprinosexuals.


Let's point fingers!

Who's up for playing the blame game? (Remember, demanding accountability is a game! Like tiddlywinks or beer pong! Fun fun, a major city is devastated, it's time for charades!!!!!)

Okay, so who to blame for the two snafus (preparedness & response) in Louisiana? FEMA head Michael Brown? Nah, he's an unqualified chump, it would be like appointing me starting point guard for the Nuggets and then blaming me because we didn't make the playoffs (except, you know, with far, far, far more death, destruction, and misery). Obviously he needs to be fired, but it doesn't make what happened his fault. He was set up to fail, and lying about shit afterwards is just par for the course for this administration. No fingers.

Michael Chertoff? Well, yeah, a finger or two. But hell, it's not even clear that the Dept. of Homeland Security has been given enough resources to properly handle it's main anti-terror job, let alone natural disasters that don't occur in swing states in an election year.

State & local officials? No fingers. I am over-the-top-SICK of people saying "well, look what a great job Giuliani did in New York." The situations are completely not analogous. He was pleasing on the teevee to many, but (and please correct me if I'm wrong) by the time Rudy started being calm, the actual crisis phase of September 11 was over.

I'm not even going to point fingers at Condi, for whom shoe shopping, Spamalot, and hitting with Monica Seles were more important that coordinating offers of help from around the globe because ... hello! Monica Seles!

No, it's the three-headed dragon of Bush, Cheney, and Rove for whom almost all fingers, toes, and other appendages are reserved. Those three have been in charge from the beginning. Those three made the decision -- the affirmative decision -- to lollygag as long as possible before responding to Katrina. Those three are currently in charge of the propaganda campaign posing as disaster management (and of course, attempting to evade any sense of responsibility by planting lies all over the place about how Gov. Blanco didn't ask for a state of emergency declaration).

And whatever shameful behavior they have engaged in since the disaster struck, it's nothing compared to this article (which Atrios pointed me to but gives short shrift, in my opinion) about the inexplicable gutting of FEMA.

Disaster in the Making

In case Congress hasn't gotten the message, former FEMA director James Lee Witt recently restated it in strong terms. "I am extremely concerned that the ability of our nation to prepare for and respond to disasters has been sharply eroded," he testified at a March 24, 2004, hearing on Capitol Hill. "I hear from emergency managers, local and state leaders, and first responders nearly every day that the FEMA they knew and worked well with has now disappeared. In fact one state emergency manager told me, 'It is like a stake has been driven into the heart of emergency management.'"

And then read the followup.

It's all you need to know about this mother loving administration. Read the first article, especially. Your digits will be pointing, too.

Any fingers that remain go to the voters & Congress for enabling the miserable, miserable failures "in charge."

UPDATE: Looks like I'm not the only one who is in favor of the pointing of the fingers...

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


The weather started getting rough

It's among my top 5 favorite show of all time. Gilligan's Island had the bright colors (after the first season) to appeal to kids, the sexual undertones to appeal to adolescents, and the sense of whimsy and a nod to the audience to appeal to in-on-the-joke adults. And the anchor of the show, if you will, was the inimitable Bob Denver, whom as you likely know died today at 70.

I loved everything about the show, from the pitch-perfect opening number (it sounded like an old sailor's song, but with enough pep to let us know that nothing bad was really going to happen), to the four - count 'em, FOUR - different episodes that featured doppelgangers of the various castaways, to the games you could play trying to match characters up with the Seven Deadly Sins (Mary Ann = envy, the Professor = Pride?). It had the iconic number of characters, the lucky number seven, the number of dwarves, the number of samurai ... the number of Real World Strangers (I'm pretty damn sure that MTV's show is just a differently edited version of Gilligan's Island ... and Survivor is an ugly stepchild).

One of the more intriguing things to me was that from the reruns, the first episode seemed more like a second episode. Now I know why:
The original pilot was filmed in November on 1963 but never aired until October of 1992. In the original pilot, the characters of the Professor and Ginger were player by a different actor and actress. There was no character of Mary Ann. In the pilot, there was a character called Bunny. Bunny was the buxom blonde and Ginger was a practical brunette. In the pilot, Ginger and Bunny were both secretaries. The music for the original pilot's theme song was written by (a young) John Williams. This music had a Latin sound and the lyrics were sung with a Spanish accent. In the pilot, it was a six-hour trip, not a three-hour tour.

Thank God cooler heads prevailed.

And best of all, of course, was their musical tribute to both opera and Shakespeare, their musical version of Hamlet.

Bob Denver, of course, held it all together. His sense of comic timing was fantastic, and we know it was not a fluke -- Maynard G. Krebs proves that. He was a wonderful actor, a great icon, and the world is a worser place without him.

Thanks, Bob.

Friday, September 02, 2005


Friday semen blogging

I honestly did not know this:

The band formed in 1990 from the ashes of Mother Love Bone, whose singer Andrew Wood died of a heroin overdose. Guitarist Stone Gossard and bassist Jeff Ament were impressed by the work of a young singer named Eddie Vedder. Long story short: They hit it off, formed a band, scored a deal with Epic Records and changed their name from Mookie Blaylock - to avoid confusion with a basketball player who also happened to be named Mookie Blaylock - to Pearl Jam. Depending on who you believe, the name comes from a hallucinogenic condiment made by Eddie's grandmother; either that or it's a term for semen.

Confirmed here.

Perhaps I should invite Eddie Vedder to guest-blog here one week?

Off-topic: this hurricane is extremely horrific. There is no excuse for the lagtime between recognition of the extent of the tragedy and a coordinated response. It's not too late to minimize some of the damage, and I'm relieved to see that it seems to have started. But the past 48 hours has been a disgrace. There has to be some political fallout from this. More likely, we will all go on with our lives, and let someone else (hopefully) bear the brunt of the failures of this administration. All of us, that is, except the good people of the great city of New Orleans.


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