Archive for August, 2020

Little brown birds

August 26, 2020

It starts with a wonderful photo by Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky (on Facebook on the 23rd) of a local bird, pretty much the apotheosis of the Little Brown Bird, all brown and nondescript as it flutters around. Until you catch it in (very momentary) repose and get to examine the remarkable details of its plumage:

(#1) The California Towhee (Melozine crissalis)


Creature log in the smoke times

August 25, 2020

On the temperature front, we’re into a period of highs in the 80-85F range, which is merely hot, not drastically hot. The air quality index is down to 127, merely Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (like me); it was noticeably worse in the morning. The lightning strikes that lit up the night sky seem to have stopped for the moment, at least here. There haven’t been power outages here, and no ash is falling from the sky. So all of this counts as locally, and possibly temporarily, improved, and I judge that to be a blessing, even though it still hurts for me to breathe.

Meanwhile, my creatures — the birds and squirrels — are back to merely feeding, instead of eating ravenously as if the world were coming to an end. I now have two transparent bird feeders attached to the big windows by my work table; the birds that eat from feeders quickly became familiar with the new one, and they now come to the two of them about equally.

Thanks to Kim Darnell and to Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky, I’m now stocked up on a large assortment of foods for wild creatures (details to come), and I’m increasingly intrigued by the complexities of squirrel behavior — also challenged by the task of keeping the squirrels happy (they provide me with a giant circus of activity to watch) but out of the way of the birds.


A desirable body

August 24, 2020

(About men’s bodies and mansex, in very plain language. Not for kids or the sexually modest.)

The trigger is an e-mail ad from the gay porn company Falcon Studio for their recent video I Spy — shown here in a cropped version, though Devin Franco’s penis is a significant part of the story. The posting is about body types and “having a type” in sexual attraction, and Devin Franco is here because he’s very much one of my types, since his body so much resembles my man Jacques’s:

(#1) Devin Franco displaying his body: a nicely muscled swimmer’s body, with a long torso, just my style; plus extravagantly erect nipples, for extra hotness


New Yorker 8/24/20

August 21, 2020

Two cartoons from the latest issue of the magazine. One has the winning caption for an absurdist Lonnie Millsap drawing, from the New Yorker‘s captioning contest; the other is a Karl Stevens bit of gender comedy. Both artists appear with some regularity in the magazine, but haven’t been featured on this blog before; their styles are strikingly different, in both form and content. But they gave me pleasure on a very difficult morning (after the afflictions reported in my last posting, breathing became terribly painful for me; eventually I slept it off and now at 11am it’s just an ache, one among a great many.)


Moments of charm

August 21, 2020

I awoke exceptionally early today, sneezing, eyes and nose running from the smoke still in the air in these parts — this inside my house with the doors and windows closed, and with both an air filter and an air conditioner running. (Fortunately, my neighborhood has not yet suffered one of the power outages occasioned by the high temperatures and fires.)

But I woke to the music of Mozart at his most charming, in his variation pieces for the piano, played by Daniel Barenboim (with great warmth and delicacy). Sweet.

I then went to my computer, to find a tweet yesterday from marine biologist Gina Zwicky (in New Orleans) at her most charming:


Hard-cruisin’ Daddy

August 20, 2020

(Totally steeped in queerness, with some really steamy male photography, but it’s mostly about culture and art, and only incidentally about men’s genitals or mansex — so caution advised for kids and the sexually modest.)

It started with a blow-in card that fell out of the most recent issue of Out magazine:

(#1) Hard-cruisin’ Daddy: an abstastic  Daddy type, displaying a Cruise of Death face, with narrowed eyes and intense gaze — Boys faint on the street from the sheer intensity of his combined sexual desire (for them) and sexual desirability (by them) — while modeling a remarkable suit from a high-fashion designer

It then turns out that there is even more here than meets the eye, because the model is in fact presented as knowing — not actually just  a very hot guy (if this is your taste) caught cruising for (gay) sex on the street, but a model engaged in a performance for his viewers, deliberately projecting a specific sexual persona. (Male photography is full of photos of men presented as captured in fleeting moments of inadvertently displaying their bodies or engaging in various kinds of intimacy with one another, but there’s also a huge genre of self-conscious posing, and #1 is solidly in the latter genre.)


The horse on Seventh Avenue

August 18, 2020

A cartoon posted on Facebook by Stephen Zunes, who might or might not be its artist (hat tip to David Kathman):

Ah, a mishearing, leading to this excellent phonologically minimal mondegreen.



August 17, 2020

A commentator on the Imperator Grabpussy at the State of the Union speech on 2/4/20:

he pumps his fist in the air, he peacocks

(Hard to believe that the man believes he is a resplendent, gorgeous creature, an object of aesthetic admiration and desirability to the females of his species — but then the power of self-deception would appear to be boundless.)


The three Ds: debased, degraded, and decadent

August 16, 2020

(Well, it’s about lexical semantics and the conventions of social life, but there will be, right at the outset, dips into references to mansex in very plain language, so not suitable for kids or the sexually modest.)

It started with my 12/29/19 posting “The time of mildly debasing oneself”, about one of Nathan W. Pyle’s weirdly quirky Strange Planet cartoons looking forward to New Year’s Day:

(#1)  “Until then I will mildly debase myself” — “To maximize contrast”


Name that tune

August 16, 2020

I awoke unusually early today, I think because of what was playng on my iTunes: a set of keyboard variations, some wonderfully showy, that I recognized as familiar, but couldn’t immediately place. It sounded like Beethoven during his early “classical” period (influenced by Haydn and Mozart), through roughy 1802, but it wasn’t any Beethoven I recognized. So: probably Haydn. (Haydn produced the most astonishing amount of music, much of it remarkable, during his lifetime, so it would be easy to lose track of some of it; I mean, compare Haydn’s 102 symphonies with Beethoven’s 9). (It could easily have been Clementi instead, but I know the Clementi catalogue pretty well, having once had a sort of musical love affair with it, roughy 60 years ago.)

And so it turned out to be. My iTunes identified the piece as Haydn’s Arietta No. 2 mit 12 Variationen (in A major), as performed by Christine Schornsheim. Well, that turned out to be a remarkable tangle of music history. Haydn, yes (well, at least mostly), as performed by Schornsheim, unquestionably, but all the rest of it is full of puzzles.