Cable Companies: Even Worse Than the Borg

I’ll say it again: cutting the cable cord was the best decision I’ve ever made. Not only do I save money, I watch less TV. And what I do watch is of superior quality – I’m halfway through Season 2 of Sherlock and it is excellent. Also really liking Prisoners of War, the Israeli show upon which Homeland is based.

Anyway, here’s Time-Warner Cable pissing off Patrick Stewart and William Shatner simultaneously. And trying to be “funny.” Seriously, TWC, if you’re going to crack wise, I recommend it not be to a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company who has also portrayed Jean-Luc Picard, Professor Charles Xavier, Gurney Halleck and the inner-voice for Susie Swanson. You will not come off well…

from FAIL blog

Why you gotta play me like that, Facebook?

Um, no, not so much…

And as for this? Oh for fuck’s sake! Just no. NO. N-O spells “no.” Absolutely not.

We Are All Sasha Fierce

Another reason I’m glad I’m a gay: we make the best signs.

Though I’d be remiss if I didn’t include this too. Because, for realz.


Yes, I get that blogging is a supremely self-centered activity. “Read me! Read me! Look at me! I’m interesting!” And I am the first to admit that I’m not especially interesting – I’d even venture to say I’m quite dull.

However, I am also hy-fucking-larious.  I constantly crack people up – not least of all myself. And I just stumbled across this long ago comment I made on some blog or another – and once again cracked myself the fuck up. I mean, COME ON. If you  don’t think this is the funniest thing you’ve seen today, well then, I feel sorry for you.


He ballin’! But not movin’…

So, there’s a Giants game letting out (a game I was at, in a luxury suite behind home plate… but I digress) AND there’s a 90,000 attendee Salesforce convention at Moscone involving street closures AND it’s after-work rush hour. Traffic is at a complete standstill for blocks in every direction.

And I’m on my bike, leisurely and steadily pedaling along per usual, a smirk of self-satisfaction on my face as I go on my way unimpeded, marveling at my superiority to automobile drivers. It is glorious.

But, lo – it get’s even better. I pass some d’bag (in a BMW… I know, redundant) who is a block away from a red light, traffic not moving an inch because there’s nowhere to go. His solution? HOOOOOONNNNNKKKKKK! Dude is full-on leaning on his horn. So I chime in as I pass…

Me: Jesus, shut up! What the fuck is wrong with you?
Him: You’re a liberal fag!

And then I just kept on my merry way, arriving at the next intersection fully ten minutes ahead of him and now already ensconced at home with a glass of wine writing about his douchebaggery while he still sits about 75 feet from where he was last leaning on that horn. Oh, bicyles – you are the best!

Oh, STFU, Ross.

Christ, what an asshole

In the ongoing competition to see which NYTimes columnist I can’t stand the most, the insufferable Ross Douthat once again grabs the lead from the always annoying David Brooks – though not by much.

In yesterday’s commentary, Douthat trotted out the Republican talking point, which compared Romney’s 47% comments to Obama’s “guns or religion” “gaffe” during the 2008 campaign. Frankly, the only thing the two commentaries have in common is that they were perceived as gaffes. But to portray them as similar in any way beyond that is intellectually dishonest. Douthat himself even seems to acknowledge this by linking to William Saletan’s excellent piece on Slate that points out the specific and glaring differences – namely, that Obama’s comments were part of a conversation in which he acknowledged not just the difficulty but also the necessity of appealing to blue collar, disaffected voters; Romney has simply written off half of the voting population as undeserving moochers – not to mention that his trope about them not paying taxes is a bald-faced lie, since he conveniently overlooks the payroll tax that all working people pay.

Even more enraging though is Douthat’s conclusion that “elite” Democrats AND Republicans hate the working classes, just for different reasons. According to him:

What does it say that rich Democrats can’t fathom why working class Americans might look askance at an elite that’s presided over a long slow social breakdown and often regards their fundamental religious convictions as obstacles to progress?

First of all, I don’t know what “long slow social breakdown” he’s referring to. If it includes things like higher divorce rates, increased infant mortality, teen pregnancies and the like, these are “red state” problems. That is, the states who claim to be most concerned about “social” issues and “family values” are the ones doing everything they can to prevent women from having access to family planning and birth control services; with the highest rates of divorce; who are willing to take to the streets in protest over the VERY IDEA that all people should have access to healthcare; who insist that “abstinence” is the only method of birth control that should be taught. So, it’s unclear to me how this “social breakdown” can be pinned on Democratic “elites.” (Also, nice use of the Republican-approved code-word “elite,” Ross…)

Or is he making a veiled comment about opposition to gay marriage? Or the teaching of creationism? Or climate change denial? Because these are but three of many, many examples I can point to where it’s a fact that the “fundamental religious convictions” are obstacles not only to progress, along with the practice of fact-based science, but to the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that are foundations of the American form of government. When there is a portion of the population that believes that their religious views trump the views of other religions or of the Constitution itself, then yes, they are demonstrably obstacles to progress in this country. Democrats don’t suggest that anyone shouldn’t follow the religion of their choice – all we ask is that the laws of this country remain secular. If you don’t support same-sex marriage, don’t get gay married! If you are opposed to abortion, don’t get one! But don’t use your religion to instruct the rest of us on how we can or cannot live our own lives within the boundaries of secular law in this country.

Of course, none of this is much of surprise from Douthat, given that his most recent book would steer us back to a Eisenhower-era of Christianity, when it was “a driver of assimilation and a guarantor of social peace, and its prophetic role, as a curb against our national excesses and a constant reminder of our national ideals.” To paraphrase my comments about that, “Oh brother.”

Oh, and just to be clear, I’m not giving David Brooks a pass either. I was actually somewhat impressed with his column, “Thurston Howell Romney”, if only for the title. And he goes on about how Romney’s remarks further drive home the fact that he is completely out of touch with the vast majority of the American population, portraying retirees, the poor, veterans and other members of the 47% as freeloading victims.

But Brooks can’t leave well enough alone and ends with this observation re. Romney: “Personally, I think he’s a kind, decent man who says stupid things because he is pretending to be something he is not — some sort of cartoonish government-hater.”

Really? A man who is willing to say anything, to adopt any position, to pretend to be something he is not, all in service to getting himself elected to the presidency? That is not only unkind and indecent, it is craven, disgusting and un-American.

Wow. Really?

You know, I’m generally quite impressed with the predictive abilities of my phone’s keyboard. But this? I mean, come on! Shouldn’t my phone be well aware of the fact that my social life is not exactly a hive of activity? And that the only way I could contract an STI would be via a toilet seat or doorknob? Jeez…

It’s Hard Out There for a Gay

I’ve always been a fan of Rich Juzwiak’s writing (not to mention the hilarious Pot Psychology and the genius Shit gay guys say to their cats). He’s been posting Pride & Shame pieces to Gawker, “a semi-regular series exploring sex and sexuality from the perspective of a newly single, 33-year-old, gay-sex enthusiast.” His recent piece in the series was about HIV. It’s definitely worth a read – as my friend Dan pointed out, Rich seems to be a lot more reflective than many gay men about his own status as HIV negative and how that affects (and, in fact, generally precludes) his sexual involvement with men who are open about being HIV positive.

As I was reading it, though, something bothered me and it took me a while to figure it out. At first glance, it seems quite servicey, recounting Rich’s discussions with HIV+ men and how they deal with the sexual negotiations that are part and parcel of life for those of us who are positive. And he discusses his own discomfort with the idea of engaging in sex with HIV+ men. He also provides some perspective on the risks of HIV transmission by getting some input from an HIV counselor.

But finally, it struck me – despite the PSA-ish tone, the underlying message that I got was pretty depressing – namely, that it’s kinda, maybe OK to be HIV+ and maybe guys might want to have sexy times with you – but obviously only if you’re objectively hot with a cut body and can easily score on Grindr; but, still, HIV is really more “ew gross!”

I’d already read some of the Rich’s other posts in this series – and had also felt the same vague sort of distaste for the underlying tone. I get that the writing is quite personal insofar as it’s about Rich’s own particular experiences – but it’s hard to overlook the “OMG, look at all these glamorous social events I attend, where I then meet other hot guys who want to sex me! HOT!” In another piece from the series, Rich is waxing philosophical about his long Pride weekend of socializing and sexing – but it’s hard to know what insights into gay life and culture he is providing when so much time is spent reminding us that he hooked up with a “thick slab of boy — 6-foot-4, 220 pounds” and also tricked with a 23-year-old  who gave him a hickey: “That hickey, as burgundy as Kaposi’s sarcoma, was mortifying.” Wow, really?

I suppose much of my discomfort with both the tone and the content of his post is my recognition of the underlying truth of it – namely, that if you meet the objective gay standard for attractiveness, have defined abs and pecs, are under the age of 40 (possibly older if you have lots of money) and are HIV-, well then, life with the A-gays can be pretty dandy. And as an HIV+, not-very-happily-single, not-hideous-but-certainly-not-porn-star-material, solidly middle-class 48-year-old, this is a pretty depressing, albeit accurate, portrayal of my “community.”

My long pharmacy nightmare is over.

As of January 1st of this year, I could no longer get my prescriptions filled at Walgreens. This was thanks to a dispute over reimbursement between Walgreens and Express Scripts, the third-party company that manages Blue Cross’ prescription program. (I’m not even going to rail about the ridiculousness inherent in three for-profit companies having to be involved in simply filling my prescriptions… Ugh.)

Now, I didn’t have any particular love for Walgreens prior to this switch. Here in  SF, they are certainly convenient with tons of locations. And for the most part, the service is OK – the one near my apartment (and thus ghetto-adjacent) was not  my favorite thanks to the high proportion of crazies filling prescriptions. But the one near my office always had my prescriptions ready on time and the staff there is universally friendly and efficient.

This, of course, was before I was forced to switch to CVS – which I believe stands for “Completely Vile Service.” I say without hyperbole that the pharmacy at their location on Market St. provided the most consistently terrible service I have ever experienced in a retail environment. To wit:

There were always long, slow moving lines. This is annoying and exasperating under any circumstances – but was made all the more frustrating by the fact that, during one stint in line, I counted eight (EIGHT!) staff members behind the counter, only one of whom was actually waiting on customers. One was taking phone calls rather than assisting customers who’d already been waiting 15 or more minutes in line. Three were having a long and involved discussion about a bottle of pills they were all staring slack-jawed at. The remainder were busily shuffling about and studiously avoiding eye contact with customers.

My solution to the long lines? Arrive at the pharmacy as soon as they opened. This seemed like the perfect plan, since the CVS opened at 7AM and the pharmacy at 8AM. I could get there at 7:55 and be first in line when the pharmacy opened. AU CONTRAIRE! In the minimum of eight visits I mad to the pharmacy over the course of six months, not once (NOT ONCE!) was the pharmacy open at the 8AM. There’d typically be one or two staff members waiting to start their shift, but the pharmacy could not be opened until the manager arrived – which would be at anywhere from 8:05AM to 8:15AM.

And the absolute worst part of all? I spoke to the pharmacy manager on multiple occasions about opening on time. Her responses included the following:

  • “I have a really long commute.”
  • “The train was late.”
  • “It’s only five minutes after 8.”
  • “Well, you’re late to work anyhow.” (This in response to my advice that I typically start my workday at 8:00AM)
  • “I come all the way from Fremont.”
  • “I have a really long commute.”
  • “I have a really long commute.”

I remember telling her about my own experiences working in retail sales for over a decade and that we typically began our workday anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes before store hours, ensuring that we were prepared to wait on customers as soon as the doors opened for business. Her response? “Well, I have a really long commute.”

I did speak with someone at the CVS’ headquarters and even got a call back from a local district manager, apologizing for the ongoing problems and assuring me that there was a new pharmacy manager who would straighten things out. Three days later, I showed up at 8:00AM and found the pharmacy closed, per usual, with no staff in sight.

I should also add that during one visit, the store manager herself offered me a $20 credit on my next purchase in an effort to ameliorate the shitty service I’d received. She assured me that she would enter it to my account and it would be deducted from my next purchase. Unsurprisingly, this did not happen.

Anyway, it sure has made me realize how delightful Walgreens is. Looking forward to going back to the Spear St. location, where the staff still know not only my name, but the name of my cat (they fill his prescriptions, too.)

And as for CVS? I shall joyously never patronize them again.

Mighty Real

The thing about nostalgia is that we forget about all the bad things that were going on in the good ol’ days. The ’70s and ’80s, for all their delights, also included the onset of AIDS, Reagan setting the table for the economic destruction this country is still trying to recover from and a decided lack of Netflix streaming.

But, man oh man – the music. I mean, Sylvester. SYLVESTER! Just so great – as much so today as then. Though a sad reminder of the entire generation of gay men who died – many of them just as talented and extraordinary as Sylvester.

Typically, I’m not a fan of remaking songs that were already perfect. But if anyone is going to do a Sylvester song, Jimmy Somerville is the only logical choice. I’d forgotten not only how much I love his singing but also how freakin’ adorable he is, shakin’ his little booty.

I Feel Doody-bound to Write About This…

So, this is a thing. Cottonelle is asking viewers of this commercial to come up with clever euphemisms for the combination of wiping your ass with both TP and “flushable wipes.” Gross.

Now, obviously, I could visit their site and add my own suggestions for this process. But I’m pretty sure that any entries with appropriate words like “shit,” “poop” and “excrement” will be filtered (heh) – not to mention, I don’t want Cottonelle showing up on my list of “Likes” on Facebook. So, here’s what I’ve come up with so far, presented without the stifling censorship of the Kimberly-Clark corporation. Feel free to drop (heh) your own suggestions in the comments section.

  • Crusty Crack Crap Crammer Combo
  • Dingleberr-E-radicator
  • Excrementary, Dear Watson a.k.a. No Shit, Sherlock
  • Bunghole Boogie-Woogie
  • Smears Johnny!
  • 50 Shades of Brown
  • The Origin of Feces
  • The Hole Shebang
  • Diarrhea-nother Day
  • Searching for Klingons on Uranus
  • Better Than a Corn Cob
  • The Number Two-Step
  • Rock, Paper, Shitters
  • From Shart Minds Come Shart Products
  • The Doody Free Shop
  • Shit’s About to Get Real
  • The Karl Rove

Also, just while on the subject of Cottonelle: their TP is the most dingleberry-inducing product I have ever used and it is banned from both my home and my bottom.