Sunday, November 30, 2008

If a Man Walks in the Woods...

...for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen. ~Henry David Thoreau

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Also check out this article on the disappearance of acorns.

Beau and Somewhat Strange

Get ur French on!

David Vance et Levi Poulter pour Sensitif

Dix Manches

Ignacio Lozano, un artiste qui n'oublie pas ses racines

Saturday, November 29, 2008

2,700-year-old marijuana found in Chinese tomb

Stash seems to have been intended for buried shaman to use in the afterlife

OTTAWA – Researchers say they have located the world's oldest stash of marijuana, in a tomb in a remote part of China.

The cache of cannabis is about 2,700 years old and was clearly "cultivated for psychoactive purposes," rather than as fibre for clothing or as food, says a research paper in the Journal of Experimental Botany.

The 789 grams of dried cannabis was buried alongside a light-haired, blue-eyed Caucasian man, likely a shaman of the Gushi culture, near Turpan in northwestern China.

The extremely dry conditions and alkaline soil acted as preservatives, allowing a team of scientists to carefully analyze the stash, which still looked green though it had lost its distinctive odour.

"To our knowledge, these investigations provide the oldest documentation of cannabis as a pharmacologically active agent," says the newly published paper, whose lead author was American neurologist Dr. Ethan B. Russo.

Remnants of cannabis have been found in ancient Egypt and other sites, and the substance has been referred to by authors such as the Greek historian Herodotus. But the tomb stash is the oldest so far that could be thoroughly tested for its properties.

The 18 researchers, most of them based in China, subjected the cannabis to a battery of tests, including carbon dating and genetic analysis. Scientists also tried to germinate 100 of the seeds found in the cache, without success.

The marijuana was found to have a relatively high content of THC, the main active ingredient in cannabis, but the sample was too old to determine a precise percentage.

Researchers also could not determine whether the cannabis was smoked or ingested, as there were no pipes or other clues in the tomb of the shaman, who was about 45 years old.

The large cache was contained in a leather basket and in a wooden bowl, and was likely meant to be used by the shaman in the afterlife.

"This materially is unequivocally cannabis, and no material has previously had this degree of analysis possible," Russo said in an interview from Missoula, Mont.

"It was common practice in burials to provide materials needed for the afterlife. No hemp or seeds were provided for fabric or food. Rather, cannabis as medicine or for visionary purposes was supplied."

The tomb also contained bridles, archery equipment and a harp, confirming the man's high social standing.

Russo is a full-time consultant with GW Pharmaceuticals, which makes Sativex, a cannabis-based medicine approved in Canada for pain linked to multiple sclerosis and cancer.

The company operates a cannabis-testing laboratory at a secret location in southern England to monitor crop quality for producing Sativex, and allowed Russo use of the facility for tests on 11 grams of the tomb cannabis.

Researchers needed about 10 months to cut red tape barring the transfer of the cannabis to England from China, Russo said.

The inter-disciplinary study was published this week by the British-based botany journal, which uses independent reviewers to ensure the accuracy and objectivity of all submitted papers.

The substance has been found in two of the 500 Gushi tombs excavated so far in northwestern China, indicating that cannabis was either restricted for use by a few individuals or was administered as a medicine to others through shamans, Russo said.

"It certainly does indicate that cannabis has been used by man for a variety of purposes for thousands of years."

Russo, who had a neurology practice for 20 years, has previously published studies examining the history of cannabis.

"I hope we can avoid some of the political liabilities of the issue," he said, referring to his latest paper.

The region of China where the tomb is located, Xinjiang, is considered an original source of many cannabis strains worldwide.

November 27, 2008
Dean Beeby

Beau: Return to Key West

I post so many photographs as means of expressing another life that I wished I had.

I work two jobs. I have money. I have looks. I have drive.

But still my fantasy life is only that - a fantasy.

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What Was That About Godless Countries Again?

On the heels of this article from Huffington Post:
If God punishes societies that violate his commandments and rewards those that do, this just isn't apparent by looking at the state of the world today. The sociological fact is that the most irreligious nations right now are among the most successful, humane, moral, and free, while the most religious nations tend to be among the most destitute, chaotic, crime-ridden, and undemocratic. A similar pattern also holds true within the United States: those states and counties that boast the greatest numbers of strong believers and regular church attenders tend to have higher poverty rates, child abuse rates, violent crime rates, and lower educational attainment rates than those states and counties characterized by more secular populations.

We get the following here in Kentucky:
Posted on Fri, Nov. 28, 2008
Ky. law requires Homeland Security to credit God

The Associated Press

A lawmaker says the state's Homeland Security office should be crediting God with keeping the state safe.

State Rep. Tom Riner, a Southern Baptist minister who was instrumental in establishing that requirement in 2006, disapproves of the fact that Homeland Security doesn't currently mention God in its mission statement or on its Web site.

The law passed under former Gov. Ernie Fletcher, who prominently credited God in annual reports to state leaders. But Gov. Steve Beshear's administration didn't credit God in its 2008 Homeland Security report issued last month.

"We certainly expect it to be there, of course," Riner, D-Louisville, told the Lexington Herald-Leader.

The law that organized the Homeland Security office first lists Homeland Security's duty to recognize that government itself can't secure the state without God, even before mentioning other duties, which include distributing millions of dollars in federal grants and analyzing possible threats.

The religious language was tucked into a floor amendment by Riner and passed the General Assembly overwhelmingly. It lists the office's initial duty as "stressing the dependence on Almighty God as being vital to the security of the Commonwealth."

Included in the law is a requirement that the office must post a plaque at the entrance to the state Emergency Operations Center with an 88-word statement that begins, "The safety and security of the Commonwealth cannot be achieved apart from reliance upon Almighty God."

Thomas Preston, Gov. Beshear's Homeland Security chief, said he is not interested in stepping into a religious debate.

"I will not try to supplant almighty God," Preston said. "All I do is try to obey the dictates of the Kentucky General Assembly. I really don't know what their motivation was for this. They obviously felt strongly about it."

Riner said crediting God with helping ensure the state's safety is appropriate.

"This is recognition that government alone cannot guarantee the perfect safety of the people of Kentucky," Riner said. "Government itself, apart from God, cannot close the security gap. The job is too big for government."

But state Sen. Kathy Stein, D-Lexington, a frequent critic of mixing religion and government, said requiring the department to credit God takes away from Homeland Security's mission.

"It's very sad to me that we do this sort of thing," Stein said. "It takes away from the seriousness of the public discussion over security, and it clearly hurts the credibility of this office if it's supposed to be depending on God, first and foremost."

You go, Kathy Stein! Thank God I live in Lexington!

Beau: Kris Van Assche-Jeff Burton Campaign

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Kris Van Assche

Review: Fun Home

When I came out to my family, it was hell. I've always been a regret-loving kind of boy, meaning, if there was something (anything!) I could fantasize and feel bad about and go back and change, I would. The coming out period of my life is one of those. Oh, if only I could go back, I would be stronger or do this differently or tell those fuckers to fuck off!

Around the same time, my Mom and Dad were getting divorced. My Dad remarried very quickly to someone who had been one of my adult friends, and though I had never been all that close to my Dad, I would go to his place to bitch about how victimized I felt by my Mom, my Sister, him, school and a heterosexist world that seemed to have no place for me - this after all being rural-with-pretentions-of-being-suburban Kentucky.

At some point, I flung the much used "You don't know how it feels to be gay!" at my Dad and his wife, at which point, she peeped up with, "How do you know that? How do you know what your father's been through?" Can we say "Dropping a Bomb"?

My exploration of my father's sexuality (and somewhat his humanity) went no further that day, and unlike Alison Bechdel in her 2006 graphic memoir, probably will not go any further.

In Fun Home, we follow Bechdel's exploration of her family, her father, her father's suicide, and her father's sexuality as these experiences run parallel to her exploration of herself. As she deals with questions of her own sexuality, she also deals with her father's sexuality. As she grows up in her family, she is able, from the safe distance of an observer looking at the past, to delineate the character not simply of her experiences as a part of that family but also the character of the man whom she only began to know as something other than a controlling, moody head of the family shortly before his death.

So that sounds all intellectual, like I'm writing a college paper. And I don't want to leave it at "Oh, I like this."

I admire Alison's ability to not only be a true observer of herself (which I have a hard time doing to myself) but of other people, and not on a simply emotional level. This book is really intelligent and doesn't pull any punches about its intelligence. Some books would grab you on a purely emotional level, and keep you there without going into the why's and wherefore's. It takes a very visceral, emotional act - coming out, suicide - and gives you the reasons for it, around it, and the resulting consequences.

While reading Fun Home, a customer came into the library. It was a cold day and he was wearing shorts bordering on daisy-dukes, but he was an older gentleman. I could tell that he was lonely: first of all, his outfit was eccentric, and Lexington no longer adores its eccentrics like it once did. Secondly, he started a conversation with me in a harried manner suggesting that if he didn't get to say everything he needed to say to cement some kind of connection between us, he may never get the change. Thirdly, he started asking me questions that begged a level of intimacy between us that he had no right to assume: "Did I like adventure?" Did I like this, that, or the other? I know this is minor, but this was a complete stranger, whom I felt to some degree was trying to wheedle out in a rushed manner who I was.

That is what Alison Bechdel does in her book Fun Home. She discovers this person, her Father, who is not simply a parent but also human. Not simply the man who obsessively restores the family home (a Victorian painted lady), but has a life, has loves, has gay loves. And maybe it is also a matter of denial - not just coming out or suicide - that draws you into the book. But she has to discover him in a way that is rushed because the process of discovery comes to soon before and after his death.

I "discovered" this book because we just got Bechdel's collection of Dykes to Watch Out For, which is a very good strip that I was introduced to because I had the opportunity to work in Lexington's only out bookstore Sqecial Media. In the mid-90s, I guess, briefly I thought I was somewhat of a lesbian, because I watched and read only "lesbian" feminist books. Women seem to have things a lot better together, than I do - I typically am still a hot mess. This has been a man theme in a lot of books, movies, and music that I enjoy - that men are ultimately more fragile than women.

I don't really know where to go with this. As with my other reviews, I seem to simply kvetch about things slightly related to what I'm reading. I want to express that this book touched me on lots of levels, and that I highly recommend it. And that I'm a reading jag, so look for more reviews coming.

In honor of Fun Home, I present to you:

New York Times: The Things They Buried

Beau: Mormon Boys

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Review: Twilight

I think in an earlier post, I said I liked Twilight. Let me just say, that I also like(d) The Pirate Movie starring Kristy McNichol and Christopher Atkins. I also really like Spice World. So, simply because I say I like something doesn't necessarily mean it's any good. If I believe something is good, I will make some effort to tell you why.

On Thanksgiving Night, at The Bar I was telling my friend Saul that he should go see Twilight if for nothing else but Robert Pattinson. His friend (and my friend as soon as I find her on Facebook) said that she had Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, what else did she need? My response: Twilight is PORN compared to that!

But that's about it. A lot of the acting is VERY bad. Though I can't really say if R-Patz's acting is bad because love (lust) is blind to all imperfections. But that girl!

There's a scene at the beginning of the movie when the two characters first start talking to each other that is supposed to be painfully awkward, but instead of appearing awkward, she appears to simply to have forgotten her lines. At no point does she feel like she IS the character. You can tell she is an actress acting. She is never Bella. There are a couple of places where she overcomes this, but usually it has more to do with R-Patz than her. It's ultimately up to R-Patz to sweep you (whether you are a tween or a thirty-three year old fag) up into the movie. And he does it quite well.

The rest of the badness? Stephanie Meyer is a devout Mormon. (Twilight is a retelling, apparently, of the Mormon version of the Adam, Eve, apple story. Hence, the apple on the cover of the original publication.) Though how devout has yet to be discerned: if you do a Google search for Stephanie Meyer and Proposition 8 you find lots of questions but no answers.

Maybe I'm being a little more reactionary than usual (like Mo in Dykes To Watch Out For): I feel guilt about seeing Twilight at Cinemark. I feel guilt in bad-mouthing the homeless people who hang out at the library and typically act bat-shit crazy. I feel guilt about eating M&Ms. And I feel guilty that Twilight is already such a success that there's nothing I can do - except bitch - to stop so much money going to this woman who potentially donated money to insure that I remain a second-class citizen. You'd think with the Mormon church being the freaks of the Christian religion, they'd butt the fuck out!

Also, briefly, I was reading the book. Don't worry: I did NOT buy a copy but had one from the library. I didn't get very far. It was boring me. When faced with the option of reading Twilight before bed or taking a sleeping pill, I chose Twilight. Thank, Goddess, they got R-Patz to be in this movie, otherwise, there'd be no reason to see this movie to begin with.

Beau: Alan Ritchson

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New Picture

Thanksgiving Night, all the bars open up so people sick of their families can find a place to relax and unwind. I went to The Bar to drink and dance. Thankfully, I ran into Saul and some of his friends. I hate going out alone but as I have no gay friends that I can readily call and say "Hey, let's go out!" - I tend to have to go alone.

I took this pic and a few others just before going out.

I'm like my grandma: I either take really good photos or really horrible ones, and I really liked this one.

Thanksgiving Day was Hell!

On Thanksgiving, there were only 666 days left till the World Equestrian Games descend on Lexington. Hail, Satan!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Beau: Happy Thanksgiving!

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Have a Happy Turkey Day!

My Cousin's Art

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Beau: Edilson Nascimento

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Also the New York Times has released it's 100 Notable Books of 2008

Beau: Just Beautiful Men

Have you checked this blog lately?

Beau: Light Up, Light Up

I never thought I'd see the day when I wasn't annoyed by Sean Penn. People change.

Milk Inspires

Milk is a Marvel

Beau: Robert Pattinson, Marlon Brando

Not trying to step on the toes of anyone who loves Film (as opposed to film), Robert Pattinson kept making Marlon Brando faces at me while I was watching Twilight.

Just putting it out there.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Two Songs I Want Stuck in My Head

Spotlight (Twilight Mix) - MuteMath

Run - Leona Lewis (Cover of Snow Patrol)

Obama Babies?

Did You Make Love in the Name of Obama?

I'm also currently reading the review (and the book) of Alison Bechdel's Essential Dykes to Watch Out For


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Let the Lists Begin

Here is Blender's Top 33 of 2008:

1. Lil' Wayne, Tha Carter III
2. Girl Talk, Feed The Animals
3. TV On The Radio, Dear Science
4. Metallica, Death Magnetic
5. Hot Chip, Made In The Dark
6. Robyn, Robyn
7. Of Montreal, Skeletal Lamping
8. Randy Newman, Harps & Angels
9. Vampire Weekend, Vampire Weekend
10. Fall Out Boy, Folie A Deux
11. Death Cab For Cutie, Narrow Stairs
12. My Morning Jacket, Evil Urges
13. Al Green, Lay It Down
14. Jenny Lewis, Acid Tongue
15. Bon Iver, For Emma, Forever Ago
16. Be Your Own Pet, Get Awkward
17. Conor Oberst, Conor Oberst
18. Ponytail, Ice Cream Spiritual
19. Katy Perry, One Of The Boys
20. Wale, Mixtape About Nothing
21. Erykah Badu, New Amerykah Part I: Fourth World War
22. Coldplay, Viva La Vida
23. The Cool Kids, Bake Sale
24. The Roots, Rising Down
25. Santogold, Santogold
26. Usher, Here I Stand
27. Mariah Carey, E=MC2
28. Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, Real Emotional Trash
29. Raphael Saadiq, The Way I See It
30. Young Jeezy, The Recession
31. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!
32. Taylor Swift, Fearless
33. Hayes Carll, Trouble In Mind

And here's World Cafe's Top 10 from NPR:

1. Kings of Leon, Only By the Night
2. Vampire Weekend, Vampire Weekend
3. TV on the Radio, Dear Science
4. The Hold Steady, Stay Positive
5. Death Cab for Cutie, Narrow Stairs
6. Fleet Foxes, Fleet Foxes
7. The Felice Brothers, Felice Brothers
8. Thievery Corporation, Radio Retaliation
9. The Walkmen, You & Me
10. Raphael Saadiq, Way I See It

Drunk Beau: Robert Pattinson

Thank you, Perez Hilton

So I went and saw Twilight last night. I had to turn my brain off to the fact that I hated the actress, but once I could get into "Bella is Me" mode, Edward swept me off my feet and I had a wonderful time.

It's nice to see that Robert Pattison looks like a "love-drunk."

Beau: Matthew Mitcham

The most beautiful man on the planet interviewed here

Beau: Tommy Tank

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WBC: Ha-Ha Fuckers!

Members of the Westboro Fuckhead Church were attacked by a counterprotest of HIGH SCHOOL students in Omaha on Friday!

Read about it here.

This seems to be the video from the protest:

It's sad that the police have to protect those fuckers! But, yes, I know: if any of those WBC fuckers get hurt or killed it'll be "Daniel in the Lion's Den!" whine whine whine!

Cool Nature

Monday, November 24, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

Election Results By IQ

Well, I was at least happy to see that Kentucky wasn't at the very bottom!

Naked Beau

There's more

Also Boys Making Out - YAY!

The Glue Society

Yes, that is a rainbow of plastic chairs on tundra. See more here