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Weekend Reading: The Not-Quite-Olympic Edition

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Well, sports is pretty much all that’s been on my mind this past week.  Surprisingly, though, most of these links involve non-Olympic sports matters.  Next weekend, I’ll surely be able to pull together an all-Olympics list of links.

  • Outsports is keeping a list of openly gay and lesbian Olympians in Beijing, but the list is only up to 10 so far.  Nine of those are women (including a partnered couple on Norway’s team handball team).  We can do better, guys!
  • Amazingly enough, I’ve never linked to Popular Woodworking before, but I bet you know why I am now: All those broken bats in major-league baseball.  Nearly every game I’ve attended this season, a bat has broken, shattering way into the infield.  Everyone’s saying the problem is the quality of the maple being used in the bats.  But not so fast, says the publisher of Popular Woodworking.  He’s blaming current player preferences for longer, lighter bats that are big on the business end.  He does think ash might be safer, as it’s less likely to break so dramatically into pieces.  (Link via Kottke)
  • What nickname will Oklahoma City’s NBA franchise use?  Some reports have said it’ll be the Oklahoma City Thunder—a reference, I guess, to Plains-y weather.  But now there’s news that the NBA has sought trademark rights to six nicknames: Barons, Bison, Energy, Marshals, Thunder, and Wind.  That’s a pretty unimpressive group.  Energy sounds silly, and Wind would invite jokes about passing wind.  I just don’t get Barons.  (Oil Barons, maybe? But that would make more sense in eastern Oklahoma.) And aren’t Bison too big and unwieldy to be good point guards?  Still, I like the idea of some cute buffalo-oriented merch.
  • Sherman Alexie, who fought so hard to keep the NBA in Seattle and out of Oklahoma City, lists 61 things he learned during the federal trial that preceded the move.  Some of the 61 will make sense only to somebody who closely followed the litigation; others probably only make sense to Alexie.  It’s still pretty entertaining.  I used to be a big fan of Alexie’s writing, but he has looked nutty at times during all this.  Also, someone should tell him that a non-Oklahoman does not use the term “Okie.”  It’s offensive.  (Link via Bookslut)
  • I’m not a particular fan of American-rules football, but I followed the media frenzy over quarterback Brett Favre’s un-retirement—his second or his third?—from (or it that to?) the game.  I can be indecisive, too, so part of me always understood Favre’s annual vacillations about retiring.  But the decision seemed to have been made after last season, and a good one it was: Favre left the game when he was respected and still playing well.  Of course, that’s all gone now, as Favre first tried to force himself back on his unwilling team and then accepted a trade to the New York Jets, putting an odd, unappealing coda on what would otherwise have been a spectacular career as a Green Bay Packer.  Nevertheless, I would’ve just attributed this to understandable indecisiveness and, perhaps, to an unwillingness to accept aging.  That is, I would’ve read all this fairly charitably, until I read this startling quote in the New York Times, right after the trade:

    When Favre was told that more than 3,000 of his No. 4 Jets jerseys had been sold online, he said, ‘That’s all?’ Still, it was the busiest day ever at the N.F.L.’s online shop, and the Jets sold more Favre jerseys in one day than the total number of their jerseys sold since January.

    That’s all?  Ok, that does it.  This is all about ego—an ego that, somehow or other, can’t get enough attention even in the most glorious of retirements.  I’m taking Favre off my list of the Good Guys™.

    This is going to end badly, I’m afraid, like a Greek Tragedy.  I don’t want to be watching when it happens.

Written by Jimmy

August 9th, 2008 at 3:10 pm

Posted in Gay,Links,Sports

Weekend Reading, Volume 10

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  • Post-Katrina New Orleans still struggles, of course.  And now there’s an oil spill in the Mississippi River!  But there was good news on Friday.  The Times-Picayune is again awarding beans (here in Philly, the Inky awards Liberty Bells) in its restaurant reviews.  According to the T-P‘s food critic, both he and the local restaurant scene are finally ready.
  • In news that’s not, a study finds that many NYC men don’t tell their doctors they have sex with other men.  Despite what the headline on the NYT blog-post says (“many gays don’t tell their doctors”), though, you’ll see that the vast majority of gay men are out to their doctors.  It’s the bisexual and “straight” men who aren’t being candid.  That’s not all that surprising: Some portion of these men simply haven’t come to terms with themselves.  And for some of these men, too, they’d be in the awkward position of having to admit adultery.  Still, doctors could make this easier.  I’m certainly out to my doctor, and, for an uptight, middle-aged straight man, he’s remarkably dispassionate about my sexuality.  But when I was freshly out, one of my doctors—a formidable woman with a thick Russian accent—didn’t make it very easy to talk.  “Are you still practicing homosexuality?” she’d ask, in a tone that struck me as, well, more inquisitorial than inquisitive.  “I wish,” I’d say, and then we’d move on to how my sore back was probably the result of my unfulfilled sexual desires.  Ugh.
  • One of my Twitter buddies is mentioned—by, of all things, his screenname—in this NYT piece on Comcast’s online attempts to reach out to customers.
  • Another NYT piece mentions Absaroka, which would have been a state—carved out of Wyoming, Montana, and South Dakota—if a few early-20th-century romantics had been in charge.  Absaroka makes a certain geographic sense, as you can see in this Strange Maps post, in the way it gathers up square miles dominated by tall grass.  (If Absaroka appeals to you, check out the somewhat similar movement in northern California and southern Oregon for a State of Jefferson, too.)
  • In some respects, anyway, rock drummers may be fitter than professional soccer players, BBC News reports.  I’m obviously missing out, since I don’t seem to be crushing on any drummers right now.  Who are the fittest, sexiest drummers?

Written by Jimmy

July 26th, 2008 at 6:12 pm

Holiday-Weekend Reading

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Since I’m on a long holiday weekend, you’re getting the week’s reading a little early.

  • In my opinion, Mary Carillo is the best tennis announcer on television.  This weekend, of course, she’s covering the Wimbledon finals for NBC.  She’s too artful to say anything negative about grass-court tennis during this fortnight, and all that serve-and-volley tennis is definitely fun.  But grass-court tennis can be a little too much about power and quick points for me.  And apparently for Carillo, too.  A few years ago, she explained—in a piece called “Living Life on Clay”—why she wanted her children to live like clay-courters.  Here’s a taste:

    [M]y wish for them is to dream in different languages, to build a character that translates well everywhere in the world. I want them to live their lives as though they were playing them out on clay.

    . . . .

    There is great comfort in consistency-always having someone, or something you can trust.

    Life demands great discipline and deep daring.

    And a fatigued mind makes bad decisions.

    Don’t get easily depressed. It’s amazing what a stout heart and a nimble mind can do if you’re resilient enough to stay the course.

    The reward is the journey.

    Read the whole thing. It’s one of the most literate, moving pieces I’ve seen a TV sports journalist produce.

  • ChaliceChick of The Chaliceblog has actually printed up an FAQ sheet to hand people who ask about her new SmartCar.  Really.  As I said in CC’s comments, it’s brilliant.
  • Would you like to see how the Humpdome was transformed over a few hours from a baseball to a football stadium?  Of course you would.  And when you’re impressed with photographer John Loomis’s work, you’ll want to check out his portfolio.  Loomis blogs, too.
  • Everywhere, I suppose, men can’t be trusted on the internet to give their correct ages, heights, and—euphemism alert—”intimate details.”  We now have confirmation from Pakistan, anyway.  (NSFW?)
  • Tell me I don’t need this wallet, or this one, or this one.  But, er, if I was going to buy one of these wallets I don’t need, which one should it be?  Advice, please.  Oh, wait.  What about this one?  (Link via Josh Spear)

Written by Jimmy

July 5th, 2008 at 12:06 am