Platform Politics

Posted in Americana, Rants on October 1st, 2004 by Дмитрий

I’ve become especially sensitive lately with the way every public medium and social institution today seems to be less concerned with its own specialized role and more dedicated to a sort of “catalogue” response to the world. This spans everything from social clubs to political candidates, public issues to editorial stances. I’ve written about it before: the “all or nothing” response to the world at large, expecially in reference to political values.

The most obvious sign is the political landscape of the past decade. As gerrymandering came back with full force in 2000, politicians have had less and less to worry about in terms of competing against candidates of the other party within their districts, and instead have to cater to the extremes of their own party in order to defeat so-called “wishy-washy” bi- or non-partisan candidates. As a result, the republicans get scarrier and more right-wing religious and the democrats get more slimy and authoritarian-fascist.

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Posted in Family on October 1st, 2004 by Дмитрий

How come when I do an internet search for “Adult children having problems with their parents” I don’t get anything even remotely applicable? Am I the only one whose relationship with my parents failed to normalize after adolescence?


Posted in Family on October 1st, 2004 by Дмитрий

So… I’m 27 years old and I have two children. One is 54 years old and one is 59. They are very nice children, and they love me. Sometimes they are good children and offer to help with chores. They are always very thoughtful on birthdays and holidays, and they try hard to demonstrate maturity for their age. But they often behave badly. They throw temper tantrums whenever I don’t let them have their way. When they want something from papa Mark, or need me to do something for them, all they understand are their own needs or wants. They never quite come to grips with what us grown-ups need to do, or the kinds of responsibilities we have - all they understand is their little sheltered “kid’s world”. They have a lot of trouble making up their minds about what they want to do when they grow up. They never quite seem to understand that someday they’ll have to make up their minds and strike out on their own, without papa Mark to hold their hands and guide them through every little bit of adversity.

It’s times like this that I am absolutely certain that I never want children that are any younger than I…

Pumpkin Spice

Posted in Holidays on October 7th, 2004 by Дмитрий

Fall is the best time of year. Not only is the California fall mildly cool and predictable (an important factor when you live in the Bay Area, where “climate control” is considered insulting to the environment), but Starbucks starts rolling out seasonal latte flavors. It starts slow with such things as the Pumpkin Spice latte and culminates with the best coffee drink ever invented: the Gingerbread latte. Alas, we all know that the holidays are over when the cups turn white and the smell of ginger and cinnimon no longer fills the coffeehouse…


Posted in Americana on October 11th, 2004 by Дмитрий

Am I the only one who doesn’t see what the big deal is about Christopher Reeve dying? He wasn’t that great of an actor, I don’t think he was ever hunky (even before he became a cripple), and I don’t see why he was such a “heroic” person.

Granted, it takes a substantial degree of heroism to go from action hero to total cripple without dying of despair, but normal Americans do this every day, and without the world having a moment of silence.

Ultimately, history tends to show that any celebrity who falls victim to certain adversities is likely to use their preexisting public exposure and fame to further awareness and activism for their particular causes. But that doesn’t make them any more important or heroic than the next guy.

Post-Mortem Heros

Posted in Americana on October 12th, 2004 by Дмитрий

Some qualifications on yesterday’s entry, as the comments come in…

I wasn’t trying to attack Christopher Reeve. I just get a little tired these days of the fact that celebrities get so much credit just because they support a given cause. Ultimately, they are exploiting their preexisting fame, and there are lots of other activists out there who commit just as much energy or more to the same cause, but just aren’t as exposed.

To take a benign example: I don’t think Rosie O’Donnel’s marriage was any more important than mine in the fight for equal marriage rights. I think she did the right thing, and am glad she did, but I don’t think she was any braver than David & I - less so, even: she did it on an uncrowded day, didn’t wait in line, got an appointment and the red carpet, tons of fanfare and a warm jet home in the afternoon.

Though I would say that using one’s fame to promote a noble cause is a good thing, I don’t think famous people deserve more credit for promoting a cause justbecause they are famous. In fact, I’d almost place it on their shoulders that their fame carries some obligations in that regard, and that they have to work harder to prove their dedication to certain causes in order for me to see it as something other than catwalking (eg, If I see Iman or Naomi patting starving African babies one more time, I’m gonna riot).

So many people at work yesterday just wouldn’t stop talking about Christopher Reeve, and I thought it was totally excessive. Sure, he’s a noble individual, and I totally commend him for his activism and his ability to survive such a devastating amount of adversity. But I think, like so many other world events, his death is being overplayed by the media. Some similar examples: JFK Jr, Princess Di, Mother Theresa, Ronald Fucking Regan

Granted, Reeve was way more commendable an individual than any of the above, but I think, ultimately, celebrity deaths are just another media circius, and I’m tired of hearing about all the good someone did post-mortem…

Queer Current Events

Posted in Sods on October 13th, 2004 by Дмитрий

To show how “up” I am on Queer Current EventsTM, I had no idea it was the anniversary of Matthew Shepherd’s death. But I’m glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t find it all that dreadfully important a date to contemplate…


Posted in Americana on October 15th, 2004 by Дмитрий

An interesting external perspective on the divisiveness of Decision 2004TM. I would say I agree with much of it, based upon my own rants about the “values gap” in America today.

True, the most ubiquitous moral conflict in the American democratic process today seems to be the requirement that we all decide whether to vote for a party/politician that most closely embodies our ideals, versus voting for the party/politician who embodies the more of our ideals among the top two candidates in the race.

The latter, is even harder for those who are also voting in congressional races where the seat is uncontested or the Gerrymandering so severe that it might as well be uncontested. The Economist actually had a very good feature a few weeks ago indicating just how un-representative our House of Representatives is today…

The future of American democracy: keep your congressman employed, and always back the winner.

North of the 49th

Posted in Americana, Canadophilia on October 15th, 2004 by Дмитрий

About 25 years ago, Leonard Peikoff wrote a book called “The Ominous Parallels”. Those of us who read it and love and value our lives, have always concentrated our efforts and nerves into ensuring that that work was not destined to be prophetic. Are our efforts in vain?

From Chisparoja:

“As with Germany in the 1930s it has a burgeoning, strong and united right-wing with a jingoistic unifying ideology, a defined international enemy and a coherent platform in power; in opposition, insofar as they are allowed to be — which is scarcely much — is a splintered, disunited left-wing, mired in petty internnecine bickering; this rag-tag left-wing is furthermore discredited and seen as weak and ineffective by a chauvinist population, thirsty for revenge, as they are still smarting from what they view as a humilliating and costly defeat.”


“…there has clearly been a significant growth in people leaving the USA for political reasons, and the trickle is steadily widening. It is no longer even limited to left-wingers. A few economically right-wing social libertarians who feel they have lost the struggle for authority with the Christian fundamentalists are beginning to murmur discontentedly as well. It’s not inconceivable that after four more years of Bushism, they will also begin trickling out.”

Ah… Now Mark’s secret shame is revealed: that whilst watching Michael Moore interview Canadians in “Bowling for Columbine,” Mark seriously started to contemplate the possibilities of a life north of the 49th parallel…


Posted in A Life More Boring, About Me on October 18th, 2004 by Дмитрий

Sometime in the midst of another insomniac night, I realized what was wrong with me: I want to be boring.

I am perfectly comfortable using this life to create a safe bubble in which to function. My shame is that it took me so long to realize such a thing was possible.

I want to ignore my critics and selectively schmooze with only the friendly faces. I want to be able to put down the book which asks tough questions and only read the ones with which I agree.

Make no mistake: this is not sarcasm. What I’m saying is that I’m tired of the spice of life. I need it bland for a while now. I’ve decided that the only way to truly be “me” is to take the ultimate jaded and misanthropic path: boredom.

I’m sick of being ridiculed for reactionism, mediocrity and being boring. These are the insults hurled from the camp who would have me sacrifice my time in the service of their greater enlightenment. In fact, the purpose of all my intellect, discourse and achievement are my own boring goals: a home with a garden, a few rooms worth of consumer goods, a commute to a job I don’t hate and a world view which is not at odds with any of the forestated.

I will not be ashamed if I achive boringness. I will be happy.


Posted in San Francisco on October 19th, 2004 by Дмитрий

Mmmm… Rain. Rain makes a MurderingMouth happy.

I’ve lived in California all my life, and yet each year I’m taken totally by surprise at the drama surrounding Californians’ reactions to the arrival of Rain. California tends to get rain from roughly November to April only, and only about one major storm per month. Californians don’t even know what rain is until they visit the South, the Midwest or Hawai’i.

Which might explain the strong reactions. At the same time, the morning news had two fucking hours of team coverage of the season’s first storm this morning. I’m glad that nothing else is going on in the world.

By the way, showing an airport flight status screen with three delayed flights isnot illustrative of “severe flight delays expected at Bay Area airports”. I don’t care how you spin it, some water coming outta the sky ain’t that big o’ deal.

Potty Mouth Park

Posted in Geekdom, Media on October 19th, 2004 by Дмитрий


Some thoughts surfacing from the current joust I’m having with a fellow cartoon fan:

I find South Park funny. I like poking fun at easy targets (as well as socially taboo targets). But I don’t really hold any high intellectual or social esteem for the show’s creators. They’re a cute queer couple, even if they’re totally closeted. I will defend my habit of watching South Park, too. I don’t even consider it a guilty pleasure. I have, however, been given some very good stimulation lately which has led me to make my first real objective analysis of South Park and its creators.

Offensive humour which is well-thought and properly directed (even if the source or direction is at odds with ones’ personal views) can be appreciated. In fact, it’s my favorite. My own brand of social commentary is, in most cases, confrontational and deconstructionist. The word for Parker-Stones’ methodology here, however, is “reactive” (which I would say is different from “reactionary”).

South Park/Parker-Stone don’t obviously portray any identifiable set of agendas. Even I, who remain a rather big fan of South Park and their other projects, would never be able to capsulize what “Point of View” these pieces necessarily offer. It seems that the main agenda, if one can possibly be assigned, is what I’ll call “deconstruction”. Maybe even just “destruction”.

These pieces seem set on annihilating anything which seems to portray principle, without necessarily offering any principles to fill the consequent vaccuum. I think that the majority of the masses, when demonstrating their principles, are totally wrong-headed and embarrassing about it (such as Sean Penn in Baghdad, idiots shutting down downtown SF to protest the War, etc.), and deserve to have a piss taken on them.

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Campaign Finance Reform

Posted in Americana, Economics on October 21st, 2004 by Дмитрий

So I have this suggestion for campaign finance reform that I believe would end the corruption, pork-barrel and maybe even the 2-party system as we know it in America. It would even work well in any other country with a good legal democratic system. It involves three specific rules for all campaign contributions:


  1. Outlaw direct campaign contributions and spending
  2. Eliminate all quantity restrictions on contributions
  3. Allow only anonymous donations

Now don’t get too skeptical until I explain some things. First, most special interest lobbying and corruption are based upon a quid pro quo system of democracy: we donate to your campaign, get you a job, you do favors for us to help us unfairy beat out the competition. Whether it is done by corporations or just general lobbying groups (eg, AARP, Unions, etc.) or even by regions or segments of the population, that is the way it goes.

Now, let’s say we make a central clearing house bureaucracy for all contributions, call it the Elections Donations Administration. The EDA would be the only source that any political campaigning organization or candidate could get their campaign financing from. Candidates would not even be allowed to pay for ads out of their own pocket (this would prevent donors from handing cash directly to candidates). This EDA would receive donations anonymously from all interested donors, and they would be overseen by lifetime-term bureaucrats (similar to judges) who are nominated by local independent elections and confirmed by Congress.

All donations would be anonymized using something like an alpha-numeric code for checks received. A financial/billing database is created where any candidate, party or cause can open a recipient account, and basically donations are anonymously deposited as payables into the designated account(s). Candidates can then withdraw cash funds from these accounts to use in their campaigns.

By removing caps in individual donations, we will partially compensate for the major drop in total financing which will occur with the end of the tit-for-tat system. Also, people who donate will actually have to believe in the issues or candidates they are supporting, since the candidate will have no idea who they are, nor whether the 5 million dollars they are using came form 50,000 people or from one corporation. Politicians would have to appeal to principles and be honest with their positions in order to appeal to peoples’ passions, rather than just trying to win votes by lip service while having an agenda only benefitting the “in crowd” of their contributors.

The reasons this will never happen, I bet:


  1. It will require politicians to be honest
  2. Pork Barrel is too major a part of our economy
  3. It would destroy the nebulous 2-party system
  4. It would annihilate the advertizing industry
  5. Total contributions would probably fizzle to a tiny fraction of their current levels
  6. It would be fair

I still think it’s one of the best ideas for reforming our country’s political system, along with other ideas I’ve spouted before. Anyway, if McCain really wanted to work on campaign finance reform, this is what he should work on implementing.


Posted in About Me, Americana, San Francisco on October 26th, 2004 by Дмитрий

I would like to take this opportunity to publicly apologize to the 6-billion-odd people I fucked over 4 years ago by voting for George W. Bush. It will not be happening again. However, I would also like to announce that I will not be voting for John Kerry either. Nor anyone else. Full explanation follows.

I am going to be visiting my polling place on 2 November. And I will be voting as follows. I have listed items hierarchically, so you’ll have to scroll all the way to the bottom to find my excuse for not voting for Kerry. Warning: this entry is visciously self-indulgent and vapid, and not for the faint of heart. Read more »

The Third

Posted in Family on October 27th, 2004 by Дмитрий

Three years ago tonight, I turned around at the bar in Club Fred. And my life was never the same.

Happy Anniversary, baby.


Posted in Uncategorized on October 28th, 2004 by Дмитрий

One can be a resourceful person. One can have lots of abilities. One can miraculously make everything work out benevolently at every turn. But that doesn’t make it any easier to know that one’s choices are the best…