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The Privilege of Guilt

During the 1980's, I became conscious of my place in the scheme of the world because of a concert called, "Live Aid." I was 9 1/2 in the summer of 1985 -- all big teeth and hair that never quite curled into the wispy tendrils of the dainty Ogilvy home perm box model.

Faithfully, I squatted close to my parents behemoth Magnavox and took in the blissfully sublime sight of David Bowie's floppy Stray Cats mop dripping with sweat as he sang "Heroes." I cheered and squealed as a pre-Bodhisattva Madonna shimmied back and forth across a plain stage singing, "Love Makes the World Go Round." Her hair defiantly cartwheeled in dark red curls on her head and she easily slithered in her painted-on paisley pants.

Between the intoxicatingly wide-ranging performances, I was bombarded with images that slowly put me into a numb stupor. Video images of Ethiopian children squatting in sandy coves and plainly touching their distended black bellies. Babies sleeping in swaddled rags while their mothers fruitlessly wiped magnetic flies from their half-closed lids. How could this be?

It was the first time I remember feeling impotent and terrified about something so far from me -- ruthlessly demanding justice for these unknown sufferers. I respond to imagery -- I thrive off of words that can invoke sensory meaning. If a humanitarian organization sends me some form letter, but includes just the right human interest story or photo, I donate. I'm an easy mark. Rationalize as you may.

Recently, I read an article that has left an indelible image lingering in my brain. A reporter from Reuters posted a story on Thursday, May 26, 2005 about Sudanese women feeding their children leaves to avoid starvation. Young mothers tear foliage from trees and crush it into a paste, then boil the torn leaves and feed the mush to their children. It is all they can do to survive.

As you may already know, I work in a restaurant. For a living, I serve reasonably priced French and American food from midnight to 8:00 a.m. at a small eatery in New York's trendy far West Village. Most of the people I see in a night are anxiously gorging themselves on some comfortable food before they stumble off to bed. Because of the nature of when and where I work, I see a side of people that would be embarrassing to them if reflected back in a sober state.

I have seen a man drunkenly scoop poached eggs into his mouth with his fingers before falling asleep in his plate. I have witnessed an adult in a suit and tie pour white sugar out of a glass sugar shaker directly into his gaping mouth. Waifish celebrities order 5 or 6 entrees "for the table," finger a few thin-cut frites and then leave the overflowing plates untouched on the table.

Groups of recent college grads extol the spoils of their newfound corporate wealth by binging on Red Bull and Vodka all night. Then, they eat thick, bloody skirt steaks and immediately proceed to vomit in a dark corner.

Friday night, at about 4 in the morning, I stopped for a moment and took it all in. I scanned the small, dim dining room and actually watched the people around me. Normally, I keep my head down and just move through the motions of work. I know the ballet of service in the sinewy fibers of every muscle in my being. I don't have to look at people directly. Yet, I see it all, from the kitchen window to the front door.

But, that night, for a moment, I chose to look. I watched dozens of mouths chew. I saw lips and teeth fluttering in cadence with the intrepid mastication of buttery mussel bellies and elegant baguettes. Conversations conjoined into an unimpressive bungle of slurred words as people's jaws maintained motion on their food. Open, close, open, close. Like goldfish aimlessly gliding through murky tank water in search of nourishing microbes.

Dennis once explained something to me. He said, "Eating out is not an inalienable right; it is a privilege. People abuse that privilege by acting self-righteous and demanding to people who serve because they believe they should have everything they want whenever they want it."

I would take this even further. The act of eating is a right that should not be denied to any human. I know you will all agree, but I feel like it must be said. People should not be dying of hunger when other countries have restaurants that award free meals to patrons who can eat half a cow's meat in one sitting. Mothers should not have to feed their children the paste of boiled leaves because they lack access to food.

Perhaps there is little we can actively do to affect change of the Sudanese food crisis, but I propose we at least enter the thought into the collective unconscious and hope with our eyes open.

link * Miss Marisol posted at 3:13 PM * posted by Miss Marisol @ 3:13 PM   |

Open Advice to The General Public

Anyone who has ever worked in the service industry or who has known someone employed at a restaurant has heard the horror stories of a bitter waiter. It always amazes me to see people antagonizing their servers. It's really just not smart.

And so, I just want to put out a little bit of common sense advice to the world. . .

Don't ever piss off the person who touches your food before it gets to your table.

Trust me.

link * Miss Marisol posted at 8:59 AM * posted by Miss Marisol @ 8:59 AM   |


Flat Stanley

Miss USA with Flat Stanley
Originally uploaded by Miss Hag.

A couple of weeks ago, my nephew (and godson), Derek, sent me a letter.

It read, "I just read a book in class about a boy named Stanley Lambchop. He got mashed by a bulletin board and now he is flat. He told his parents he wanted to travel so they folded him up and sent him to California.
I am sending my Flat Stanley to you. Could you please take pictures of him where you are and send the photos back to me? I will tell my class about his adventures."

It turns out, this Flat Stanley thing is quite a well known phenomenon.

I took him all over the city -- Central Park, Times Square, Lincoln Center. Then, I gave Stanley to my best girlfriend, Betsey.

She took him on her trip to Thailand. On the flight there, she sat next to Miss USA who was on her way to the Miss Universe pageant. She posed with Flat Stanley for the photo above. I have never looked that good on a 17 hour flight, but I guess that why she's Miss USA and not me.

Betsey took photos of Stanley at different temples in Bangkok and the beach in Pattaya. She got a shot of him with Buddha statues and also with a woman she met from Uganda wearing full African dress.

Then Betsey handed Stanley off to a doctor from Sudan. He's going to take photos of Stanley in Chad and the United Arab Emirates.

I wasn't expecting so much to happen from this project, but it's been loads of fun for me to imagine how Derek will react.

In my extended family, I am known as the traveler because I have moved around a lot and been to different countries. I have been fortunate to fall into a circle of friends who pursue travel as a way of living. My sister said she's pleased that Derek chose the right relative to send his Stanley to.

I hope I can bestow my wanderlust upon my niece and nephews. I am hoping Derek will be inspired by the result of the project. That he'll see the little cut-out drawing that he did in all these different places in the world and realize that it's not so difficult to imagine himself in those places. And, I hope he'll see how lucky he is, growing up in a world that is wonderfully accessible and exciting to explore.

link * Miss Marisol posted at 2:48 PM * posted by Miss Marisol @ 2:48 PM   |


Lecture Upon a Shadow

Originally uploaded by Miss Hag.

I have my mother's diary from 1963. She was 19 and had just graduated from Maryknoll College in the Philippines with a degree in English.

In it, she details her gentlemen callers, her first job and her desire to get a Master's Degree in the States. There is even an entry on November 22. In simple block letters she printed, "The world has never been so sad. John F. Kennedy is dead . . ."

Interspersed throughout are short poems, mostly about love - or rather, her desire to fight love. She writes;

"My heart is heavy and confused.
I do not want to fall in love.
I simply, absolutely refuse.
I must keep close watch over my heart.
I must control my voice, my eyes,
My arms, my lips . . .
I must stifle this need to love."

There are moments in my life when I feel I am particularly ensconced in the elemental material of the universe. In those moments, I am faced with the same choices my mother had to make in life. Sometimes, I think I am given the choice to repeat her mistakes or to not.

Mistake is a loaded word. I am not implying that she has made bad choices, but perhaps not the choices I would have made.

Despite our differences, we have made a lot of the same choices. We both studied English and we both write. We both worked in advertising directly out of college and we both love fragrant flowers. We both came to New York to find fruition from our dreams.

We also both ended up with partners who are dissimilarly guided by their respective grief. We have relationships with our partners that could be described as turbulent.

However, we made one startlingly different choice in life. She kept her first baby and I did not. It really was not a choice for her. She is a devout Catholic. And, although she became pregnant while living in New York City in the late 1960's, the first wave of feminism would not encourage her to make revolutionary choices yet.

That one choice resulted in a course of choices that would eventually lead to my being born. So, I am obviously grateful for her decision to start a family long before she had planned.

I am often ashamed that I do not consider that life that I walked away from. It is something I do not think about, and only a handful of people know I was ever pregnant. I do not regret making the choice -- I certainly cherish the fact that we still have a right to choose. But, I cannot contemplate on it for long.

I kept a journal from the day I took a pregnancy test to the days just following the abortion. In it, I write long letters to the unborn baby apologizing for my choice. I explained that it simply could not be and the intricate reasons why.

I described the last moments before the procedure, as the anesthesia took over and turned my veins cold. The doctor wore a pin that read "Trust Women." The music on the radio was some sappy adult contemporary ballad drowning out the vaccuum sounds at the end of life. The last thing I said was, "Please forgive me."

My dear friend, Anjalee, gave birth last night. g8s, being the amazing man that he is, jumped in a car and drove through the night to be there with her. He wrote me an e-mail message apologizing for leaving me with the duties of managing our late night shift at the restaurant. He said it may be the closest he'll ever get to having a child of his own. He had no choice. He just had to be there. Of course, I totally understand.

Me and my mom. 1978.

link * Miss Marisol posted at 6:42 PM * posted by Miss Marisol @ 6:42 PM   |

To My Lovelies . . .

An evil adware/spyware issue on my laptop turned into an evil blue screen issue which has turned into my being incommunicado. I have been thinking about you, my lovely blogging friends . . . I just haven't been able to reach out and touch ya.

Alas, the Geek Squad (1-800-GEEKSQUAD. No Joke!) is coming to my assistance, so keep checking in!

link * Miss Marisol posted at 11:44 AM * posted by Miss Marisol @ 11:44 AM   |


H-E-Double Hockey Sticks

Originally uploaded by Miss Hag.
Patrick developed a roll of film from two Halloweens ago and this is one of the photos.

In it, Dennis, Betsey, Patrick and I are posing with our pumpkin that we decorated at a pub on the Upper West Side called, The Abbey.

The owner, a sweet guy whose name I can never remember, hosted a Halloween pumpkin carving contest that year. We stumbled in already tipsy and took to the challenge with certain gusto.

I ran down the street to Duane Reade for supplies -- glitter, glue, two bunches of fresh flowers and cinnamon-scented votives. This is the result. The gayest pumpkin ever! Everyone else in the bar took a far more traditional approach to the contest, carving scary faces and ghoulish eyes in their pumpkins. But we certainly had the best time with our creation.

I am using this photo as my inspiration for the next few weeks, which may be difficult for me. My dear partner, g8s, is leaving me for a month. He is going upstate to be with our friend, Anjalee, who is full with child and preparing to pop.

In the meantime, I will be attending his post at the restaurant as the late night Mistress of Ceremonies. Herding the crowds of Memorial Day, the clamoring throng of Gay Pride weekend. I am not a managerial type, mind you. I don't like to be the one to make the big decisions and be responsible. g8s is far better at being a grown up than I. I take my cues from him. If he remembers people's names, I know to air kiss them and treat them nicely. People listen to him because he exudes a calm authority that forces the drunkards into submission. My approach involves losing my temper and yelling childish insults like, "You must have a small penis!"

However, there is not another soul up for the task. So, it's left to me. There will be a lot of deep breathing and "escaping to a happy place in my mind" that I can foresee. I'm just hoping to attack the job like we attacked this pumpkin -- full out glitter and daisies.

link * Miss Marisol posted at 2:35 PM * posted by Miss Marisol @ 2:35 PM   |


"Safe upon the solid rock the ugly houses stand . . ."

Once, a man asked me to marry him.

The sun was setting on a necklace of longtail fishing boats docked in the shallow surf of a beach in Ko Phangnan, Thailand. We were sitting on some boulders and watching the water recede over the ash white rocks. Almost anyone would have been moved by the moment.

What I remember about the proposal was which word of the sentence he chose to stress. I almost said, "Yes," because of his syntax.

In movies. In fictional proposals, a man bends down on one knee and asks, "Would you marry me?" The emphasis is on the action -- the thrust of the question is a proposal for action. You could insert any verb and the intent would be the same -- Would you swordfight me? Would you undress me? Would you do this thing with me?

Sometimes, as a point of sincerity, the man will accent his personal pronoun. Perhaps this is a way of admitting to the woman that she could marry any man. But, "Would you marry me?"

One hopes, the asker does not choose to highlight the second word of the proposal. The inference here denotes exasperation as though the person proposing has already asked many before and hopes beyond hope that this one will finally say yes. "Would you marry me?!?!"

The scenario I am remembering today was different in a way I never expected. The man who asked me said, "Would you marry me?" Usually, it seems, a person will not ask another person this question unless they are almost certain the answer will be in the affirmative.

However, that day, on those rocks, under that setting sun, the man in question truly seemed to be in question. "Would you. . . ?" The structure begs for a tentative delivery. It seemed as though he were asking me if he could ask me the question. Even though I have known him since we were small children. Even though we dated as teenagers, separated for five years and chose each other again later on down the line. Despite the fact that we have lived together in different cities in different apartments for over five years and still choose to do so.

The question seemed to remain in his question.

And for a moment, this unexpectedly courageous act of true wonder gave me certain pause. I questioned the one thing I have known with more certainty than almost any other thing -- I do not wish to marry.

". . .Come and see my shining palace built upon the sand."
--edna st. vincent millay

I am not the first person to wonder about love.
I am not the first to wonder
If, when passions subside to memories of passions,
And the warm settling of time,
Comfortably suffocates the lovers with days and days,
If, the heart will cease to long
For unknowable longing.
--"Untitled," C. Marisol de la Rosa

link * Miss Marisol posted at 2:56 AM * posted by Miss Marisol @ 2:56 AM   |


Space Bar

My straight boyfriend and I have this thing we do.

We live in Midtown Manhattan -- inches from Times Square and all the big Broadway shows. Some days, I stumble out of the house to get the paper and coffee and find myself dodging a line of people waiting to see Hairspray or the David Letterman show.

Often, J. and I will find ourselves swept up in a crowd of people, suffocating under a million conversations. Whenever we walk down the street and either of us feels particularly claustrophobic, one of us will say, "I have to tie my shoe." This is our code for, "I have to stop and wait for these people behind us to pass or else I may turn around and punch someone in the teeth." If we really want to amuse ourselves, we may wait for the person behind us to get a step ahead and then announce loudly, "Oh, wait . . .I'm not even wearing shoelaces!"
It's really only funny to us because no one ever notices we are insulting them.

My thoughts lately have been about space, or lack thereof. It occurred to me that one source of the infamous New Yorker neuroses may be that we are tremendously selfish about personal space in a city whose population is greater than some whole states. I claim to love the fact that there is such a diverse number of people in this city, but then I long to walk the avenues and not have to share the vast stretches of concrete with my fellow man.

In the opening sequence of Breakfast at Tiffany's, Miss Golightly wanders the stretch of Fifth Avenue in front of Tiffany's in her long black gown completely alone. There is not a soul on the street to encumber her morning reverie of diamonds and jewels. I long for moments like that. Yet, when I pass the same stretch of avenue, I am pinned in by shoppers and businessmen at every hour of the day and night. It seems, amidst the endless chatter signifying nothing, there is never enough room for melancholy to stretch it's languid arms. At least, not without bumping into another breaking heart.

link * Miss Marisol posted at 8:20 AM * posted by Miss Marisol @ 8:20 AM   |


If You See Something, Say Something Part 2

Listen up, y'all . . .

This is bizarre.

You would think that, in a city as advanced and worldly as New York proper, we would be technologically advanced in our means of obtaining information and crimefighting.

Three days ago, the weather became warm and pleasant. The sun shines and there is a light breeze. I have had my windows open to allow fresh air to pass through the narrow 600 square feet of property I call home. With this clean air comes all the elements of the life four stories down: whining cab horns, people chasing happy hours at the pub, the bray and clop of horse-drawn carriages. It seems so cosmopolitan and lovely.

But then, the sound of a voice over megaphone bleating a grim message interrupts the din.

"If you have any information about the explosives that were detonated outside the British Consulate on May 5, 2005, please contact authorities immediately. You can remain anonymous."

That has continued periodically over the past three days. Someone, I can never seem to see the vehicle from my window, drives around the Midtown Manhattan area and repeats this message over a megaphone out onto the streets.

The last time I had this experience was September 11. That September 11th. I lived in a predominantly Dominican and Puerto Rican neighborhood in Brooklyn. Someone drove around in a van and announced the news en espanol about what was happening in our skline. I was standing on my roof watching two lines of grey smoulder.

Aside from it seeming impossibly elementary to try and get information by yelling a message randomly out to the streets, there is something unsettling about anything announced over a crackly megaphone. Something ethereally troubling about a disconnected voice desperately seeking answers.

link * Miss Marisol posted at 6:19 PM * posted by Miss Marisol @ 6:19 PM   |

MJ Part 2

As Michael Jackson's trial continues, I feel I should follow up on a blog entry I started waaay back on April 6, 2005 called, "MJ Part 1."

To recap:

Posted by Hello

Here's my take on the Michael Jackson case.

Whatever Michael is, whatever he has become, whatever he has done or did not do -- It is because of us. We are all guilty of Michael Jackson.

Michael Jackson was not meant for this earth. If you ever listen to old Jackson 5 recordings, you'll hear it in his voice. There is something transcendent and pure about MJ's voice. Something irreplicable and perfect.

From what seems like his birth, he has been the world's performing monkey. Get up and dance, Michael. Sing us a song, Michael. Entertain us. Be everything we want. Be what we need, what we want, what we desire.

He's never known reality as we do. He has never existed in the realm of "normalcy" that most of us purportedly know. If he has done anything inappropriate or illegal, it is because we have always put him above the laws of reality and society. And suddenly, we have all turned on him. He stopped producing hits years ago. We have found other monkeys that we love more than him. And now, we want him to suffer.

Yesterday, the Associated Press released an article about the day's events in the State vs. Michael Jackson. Looking beyond the fascinating testimony of one Macaulay Culkin flatly denying any inappropriate behavior, there was also a very telling video that the prosecution fought to exclude as admissible to the jury. In it, Martin Bashir, the interviewer who released the controversial documentary sparking this case is shown saying to MJ, "Your relationship to your children is spectacular. It almost makes me weep."

However, what fascinated me most about this tape is that Michael is seen speaking in such candid and lucid manner. He is quoted as saying:

* Regarding his children's surrogate mother, he said he only wanted to know that "she's healthy and her vision is good and her intellect. I wanted to make sure her intellect was good."

* When Bashir praised his relationship with his children, Jackson said, "I'm crazy about them. I look in their eyes and I say I love you every day."

* He also said it was difficult for a celebrity to maintain a marriage. "One day I'll be married again. I'm married to my fans, to God, to my children. I'm married to life," he said.

* Finally, Michael is shown saying, "I haven't been betrayed or deceived by children. Adults have let me down."

* "I'm not a nut," Jackson continued "I'm very smart. You can't come this far and be a nut."

This, I think, is very important to note. Consider the possibility -- the man is a genius in the manner of our most successful creatives. And, while it's true that Michael Jackson is a unique individual, evidenced by his singularly sublime singing voice and ability to connect with so many fans worldwide; it is also a fact that most people find it impossible to imagine him as remotely sane.

We "know" all these tidbits about him buying the elephant man's bones and sleeping in sealed glass chambers. We see his grossly altered appearance and amusement park digs and think, "He must be crazy and that's just a blink away from child molester." We can't imagine that a normal adult would sleep with children not his own -- but perhaps it would make sense if they are, in fact, the only ones on this planet who do not judge him or demand that he fit a mold which he was born to break.

link * Miss Marisol posted at 2:17 PM * posted by Miss Marisol @ 2:17 PM   |


Welcome Miss Hag. Virgins!

For those of you familiar with Self-Portrait Day, you may be at this site for the first time because my portrait is up this week (along with a skydiving gal from Guam and a Brooklyn legal administrator purportedly having sex during his self-portrait).

I agonized . . .no, that's not true . . .I gleefully fretted over which photo to choose for SPD. In the end, I chose the same photo as my Blogger profile. Here's why . . .

Two distinct trends have formed since I purchased a digital camera for my household:

1.) The BF takes supermacro close-up photographs of random objects: the surface of a pineapple, flower petals in a glass of water, the corner of the room where the ceiling meets the wall. If you were to hijack my hard drive, you would find hundreds of photos of a bottlecap.
2.) I take pictures of myself.

Everyone has a few minor talents that they do not put on their resume. Skills that are not immortalized on a trophy somewhere or celebrated at a formal gathering. Mine include: being able to balance spoons on my nose and cheeks, carrying 6 water glasses at once and taking a nice photograph. Though, perhaps not all at the same time.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

And I'm not ashamed to say it. "My name is Marisol and I am photogenic." Call it vanity if you will, but I worked hard at learning how to make a face for the camera that seems at once relaxed, candid, natural and artsy. Years of my childhood were spent wistfully practicing in a mirror. See backstory.

And, it should be noted, there is a difference between being gorgeous and being photogenic. I am not Angelina Jolie. I am not deluded into believing I am something I am not. I am me and I can make myself into a nice version of myself on film.

So, why choose the mouth shot? Why not choose a full-on Glamour shot?

I took this portrait of my mouth because I discovered a lip gloss that I like and I wanted to see what it looked like on my face. Sure, I could have just looked in a mirror, but I wanted to really see it. So, one evening while I was home alone, I set up a light on a stand and took a series of pictures of my mouth. It took quite a few takes to get it just right. I had to adjust the light and reapply the lip gloss, change the F-stop and flash settings. It was a big ol' project. While I was doing this, a friend called to chat and asked me what I was up to.

It suddenly occurred to me that I had just spent the better part of an hour taking a picture of lip gloss. This fact horrified and amused me all at once. And that is a true picture of me.

link * Miss Marisol posted at 11:11 AM * posted by Miss Marisol @ 11:11 AM   |


Open Letter To You Who Should Have Known Better

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Every once in a while (less frequently than before, but more than I wish), I have a day like yesterday. Unexplained explosions of emotion -- a trembling anger that slowly subsides to a dark sadness. A private anguish too painful to explain, too existentially dreadful not to ponder.

I have few secrets -- he has one. You.

I refuse to allow the obvious reasons to excuse the past -- specifically: fractured family structure, ignorance of youth, corporal weakness. Everyone has a cross to bear -- even 7 year olds. I grew up in the same town, saw the same wasteland of options for life. I smelled the same toil of burning mills producing nothing but toxic fumes, felt the same weight of puritanical New England homogeneity. I grew up under an impenetrable cloud of despair. But, I never resorted to the horrible, degrading actions that you incited on an innocent.

Fast forward to the present. It is a burden he can't shake, a sadness he can't abate. He has surpassed that perverse moment, but he will never fully recover. He will never be completely free. And, it's your fault.
You were a horrible girl. You are a horrible woman -- you've damaged the soul of someone I love and I will always hate you for it. That is a cross I willingly bear.

link * Miss Marisol posted at 3:13 PM * posted by Miss Marisol @ 3:13 PM   |


Sex at the Gym . . .

Some call it lewd. Some call it cardio.

Although I will not purchase Rupert Murdoch's New York Daily Post, I will certainly read it if it's left on the subway or at my breakfast diner. Today, I stumbled upon an article buried in the back of the Post about the city's crackdown on sex at the gym -- specifically gay sex at David Barton's gym in Chelsea. A $25,000 lawsuit has been slapped against Barton for claims that, "Gay sex is rampant in the locker room and that the club's staff has been unable to stop the steamy hijinks."

Gay men having sex at the gym, although not in my immediate reality, has always been a fact of life in my general consciousness -- like Paris Hilton. I have heard stories from different friends about their own gym exploits, but obviously never witnessed it. Even Little Miss Carrie Bradshaw joked about it in an episode of Sex and the City answering a query regarding why gay men have such great bodies, "If straight men had the chance to have sex at the gym, they'd be working out all the time, too."

Carlos Sosa, 34, the man seeking the civil suit for emotional distress stated, "The gym misrepresented what they are all about. They represented themselves as a serious place where you actually work out — but it became a saucy steam room that reminds me of the ancient Roman baths." However, it appears clear to Miss Hag. that the clues pointing to the possibility of shower sex are clearly represented:

1.) The gym is in Chelsea.
2.) It is housed in a building which used to be the Village People song subject, the Y.M.C.A.
3.) There are six inches of space left open, floor to ceiling, between each shower stall. Sosa claims that he was first alerted to the randy gym behavior when a gym employee called out to two men taking advantage of this partition between the stalls. Sosa stated, "These guys were doing something to each other," he said. "You could see it in silhouette."
4.) According to Mr. Sosa, "They needed a security guard to monitor the showers, the locker room and the steam room. If that's not peculiar, I don't know what is."
5.) The floors of the gym are made from Italian shoe leather.
6.) The motto of David Barton Gym is, "Look Better Naked."

To my knowledge, it is not necessarily a free-for-all orgy in Chelsea's health clubs. From what I know, it is mostly jerking off in the shower while watching each other. Harmless, clean fun if both parties are willing. I asked my boyfriend, my source of all knowledge on straight men, if this is something that would bother him. He said he wouldn't really care if someone checked him out in the locker room, but that he would prefer not to be someone's live shower porno.

"Wouldn't it bother you if some girl started rubbing herself while watching you shower?"

"Um. No."

I am certainly not advocating inappropriate behavior at the gym or anywhere else. What I know of this trend of gym cruising is that it is consensual and mutually satisfying. What bothers me about this frivolous lawsuit is that Mr. Carlos Sosa is using society's latent homophobia to rattle a wasp's nest of inconclusive judgments on the gay community. It broadens a stereotype of behavior to justify why homosexuality would be viewed as immoral.

It does not appear to me that David Barton gym misrepresents what goes on there. And certainly, if Mr. Sosa's eyes were opened to behavior that he is morally opposed to, he has the right to exercise one thing -- better judgment in choosing a gym.

link * Miss Marisol posted at 2:37 PM * posted by Miss Marisol @ 2:37 PM   |


Dems Voted Out of Church Weigh Options

Question: How successful is an organized religion when a large portion of the people raised under its tenets eventually describe themselves as "recovering" from the aforementioned religion?

Many former Catholics and Christians choose to be the sheep that stray based on the reasoning that they can no longer adhere to a religion whose leaders cannot separate their profane agendas from sacred beliefs. Sadly, overzealous "spiritual leaders" often use their position to impose their secular agenda.
And, it is not exclusive to any one religion, as congregants of a tiny Baptist outpost in Waynesville, North Carolina recently learned . . .

Submitted for your perusal from The Associated Press:

A pastor who led a charge to kick out nine church members who refused to support President Bush was the talk of the town Saturday in the mountain hamlet, Waynesville, North Carolina. The ousted congregants are considering hiring a lawyer.

Pastor Chan Chandler greeted people at the door of tiny East Waynesville Baptist Church on Saturday evening as the church choir practiced and even welcomed them to attend services Sunday morning — if there's room inside. But he was not prepared to talk about his mixing of religion and politics.

"On the advice of counsel, I've been advised not to have any comment at this time," Chandler told The Associated Press. "We will have a statement later."

Members of the congregation said Chandler told them during last year's presidential campaign that anyone who planned to vote for Democratic nominee John Kerry needed to leave the church.

Longtime member Selma Morris, who was treasurer at the church, said Chandler's sermons remained political after Bush won re-election. This past week, his comments turned to politics again at a church gathering that ended with nine members voted out.

"This is very disturbing," said Pastor Robert Prince III, who leads the congregation at the nearby First Baptist Church. "I've been a pastor for more than 25 years, and I have never seen church members voted out for something like this."

The 100-member East Waynesville Baptist Church sits on a bluff a short distance from downtown Waynesville, a mountain town about 125 miles northwest of Charlotte. A white steeple and stain glass windows adorn the simple brick structure, built in 1965, with a view of the mountains from the front steps.

Across the street sits the church's parsonage, a small brick ranch home with children's toys scattered in the front lawn. A small wooden sign out front reads simply "The Chandlers." No one answered the phone there on Saturday.

In the days since the nine members were ousted, many more members have reportedly left the church in protest.

"He went on and on about how he's going to bring politics up, and if we didn't agree with him, we should leave," Isaac Sutton told The News and Observer of Raleigh. "I think I deserve the right to vote for who I want to."

Sutton, a deacon who worshipped at East Waynesville Baptist Church for the past 12 years, said he and his wife were among the nine voted out.

Prince said he noticed during the presidential campaign that more pastors made endorsements — although not from the pulpit — than in past years.

"It used to be that pastors would speak about the issues and not specific candidates," he said. "I think that line is being crossed."

link * Miss Marisol posted at 10:53 PM * posted by Miss Marisol @ 10:53 PM   |


Girl of 100 Lists

Ghetto blasters, phony jewels,
Cathedrals, castles, making up rules
Trashy novels and leather gloves
This is a list of things that I love

-- The Go-Go's

In 1982, The Go-Go's put out an album called, "Vacation." I'm sure you've heard the title song at some point in your life. In the middle of side A (on the record...you know, what people listened to before CDs), there is a gem of a song called "Girl of 100 Lists."

A dear old friend once made me a mixtape (on a cassette, another early form of listening device for music) and included this song. In the same vein as "Vacation," the song, "100 Lists" has that early 80's beach pop vibe that smells like Tropicana spirit. I believe my friend included this song on that mixtape because she knew about my love of making lists. Things I Love and Hate. People I have kissed. Places I Hope to See Before I Die. It's amusing to look back at old lists and see how I have changed and how I have not.

For example, this is a list I made in 1994, at the tender age of 19.

skinny belts
poofy hair
sweet pickles
grape candy
salt on pretzels
the smell of hamsters
Christian Fundamentalists
ugly feet
"Balloons" sneakers
acid washed jeans
clothes from The Limited
people who wear baby's breath in their hair
cold toilets seats
split ends

This was a point in my life when I was rebelling against anything that reminded me of high school and people from my hometown. I was defining myself outside of my old life without any real idea of what I wanted for the future. On the next page in my journal was . . .

amusement parks
X-Men cartoons
latin music
black platform shoes
cottage cheese
fluorescent toys
pink flamingoes
the words "pseduostratified columnar epithelium"
black pens

And, really...who doesn't love marijuana and pistachios?

"ricky and danny and terry and jim
dean lasted six months - don't forget him
perhaps someday this list will end
till then i tally my gentlemen friends"
-- The Go-Go's

link * Miss Marisol posted at 1:50 PM * posted by Miss Marisol @ 1:50 PM   |



My apologies to readers of Miss Hag.

Yesterday was a day long service interruption. Today is hangover central here in Midtown Manhattan.

Pardon me while I try to negotiate with my liver not to secede from my body.

More later. . .

link * Miss Marisol posted at 11:24 AM * posted by Miss Marisol @ 11:24 AM   |