Category Archives: Science

Gays In The Military

Gay_soldier20040421Lemme see if I have this…you’ll pardon the expression….straight:

Gay people in the military: Bad for unit cohesion.

Convicted felons…you know, manslaughter, sex crimes, that sort of thing: No problem.

The military and the Bush administration, lecturing us on morality: Priceless.

And…could someone explain to me why we’re so damn eager to join up and kill and contribute to a war of aggression?

Are we that desperate? And what is it, precisely, we’re trying to prove? And to whom?

Hip-Hop Tuba Opera

Howzabout some hip-hop tuba?  Opera rap?  Well, you got that and a whole lot more unpleasantness in a 25 minutes of the "worst music of all time" in one piece.

This is truly boggling.  Apparently the result of polling data used to determine the most hated parts of music.  Then they squonched all of that alltogether and voila! you have this audio din that just has to be heard.

Here’s how the description of the finished product:

The most unwanted music is over 25 minutes long, veers wildly between loud and quiet sections, between fast and slow tempos, and features timbres of extremely high and low pitch, with each dichotomy presented in abrupt transition. The most unwanted orchestra was determined to be large, and features the accordion and bagpipe (which tie at 13% as the most unwanted instrument), banjo, flute, tuba, harp, organ, synthesizer (the only instrument that appears in both the most wanted and most unwanted ensembles). An operatic soprano raps and sings atonal music, advertising jingles, political slogans, and "elevator" music, and a children’s choir sings jingles and holiday songs. The most unwanted subjects for lyrics are cowboys and holidays, and the most unwanted listening circumstances are involuntary exposure to commercials and elevator music. Therefore, it can be shown that if there is no covariance–someone who dislikes bagpipes is as likely to hate elevator music as someone who despises the organ, for example–fewer than 200 individuals of the world’s total population would enjoy this piece.

You can give it a listen to here.  Pretty hysterical at points.

Gay Men’s Leadership Academy 2008 – West Coast edition

Academy_2008Not to brag or anything…but we were a busy Institute this weekend.

This weekend was also the fourth Gay Men’s Leadership Academy, a sponsored program of White Crane Institute.

We alternate the academies between the west coast and the east coast to make attendance and subsequent networking easier. And, you know…we get bored easily.

East coast academies are held at Easton Mountain and the west coast academies are held in Guerneville at the Wildwood Retreat Center. Both beautiful facilities. Add handsome men, cute young guys and a multitude of bright minds…and you’re talking AWE & WONDER!

We invite you to visit the GMHLA blog set up by the Academy alums. And even more importantly, consider attending. We’re moving Gay Men’s Health into the 21st Century.

Arthur C. Clarke: The Visionary I Knew

By Toby Johnson

ArthurcclarkeMarch 18, 2008, at the age of 90, renowned writer and futurologist Arthur C. Clarke passed away. His death made national news in America—of course. His name, arguably, has been one of the most Arthurcclarkequoterecognizable in the world, if only as creator (with Stanley Kubrick) of the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. He was a leader in consciousness evolution, an expert on space science, and author of over a hundred books.

What won’t be mentioned in most of the news stories, though, is that he was Gay. Of course, that’s using the term inaccurately. He wasn’t a Gay man like the post-Stonewall generation in the U.S., but he was certainly one of us.

Speaking personally, let me report that Clarke had a tremendous influence on me as a young man. I read all his books, emulated his writing style, and even to some extent adopted his post-religious “spiritual” vision of human consciousness. So in the late 1990s, when I learned my friend Kerry O’Quinn, a Gay Austinite and also a science fiction writer, told me he’d met Clarke and carried on a correspondence with him, I jumped at the opportunity to be introduced by mail. I corresponded with Clarke for several years. I wrote about his post-religious spirituality in a couple of my books and cleared my acknowledgement of his sexual identity with him. So I have no qualms Arthurcclarkestarbabyabout my including him in the pantheon of homosexual seers.

An ex-patriate Englishman, Clarke lived most of his adult life as what English society might call a “confirmed bachelor” in an intentional, extended family in the Theravada Buddhist land of Sri Lanka (in fable, the mystical island of Serendip where good fortune and lucky coincidence reign). Though married for a time as a young man, Clarke offered a marvelous example of the contributing, participating life, lived free of the conventions of marriage and childrearing.

He demurred about coming out publicly as Gay, he wrote, because he felt this fact would be used to discredit his ideas. He was 61 at the time of Stonewall, already past the sexual prime in which it’s meaningful to identify oneself as Gay. And, indeed, in 1997, a British tabloid, The Sunday Mirror, ran a story accusing him of having moved to Sri Lanka in order to buy sex from underaged boys, something he found offensive and the accusation distressing. He thought the accusation was really aimed at Prince Charles who was scheduled to knight him—as Sir Arthur—that same year. (At the same time as Sir Elton John, by the way.)

Arthurcclarkechildhoodsend_2He had a cute quip about not being Gay: "At my age now,” he said, “I’m just a little bit cheerful." He wrote that he was quite fascinated with the role homosexuals have played down through time as revolutionary thinkers. (In our correspondence, he expressed great interest in C.A. Tripp’s book about Abraham Lincoln as Gay.) He kept a private collection of writing which is not to be published until 50 years after his death. I’d wager the world is going to receive the open acknowledgement of his homosexuality and of his theory about gay consciousness as revolutionary come 2058.

Science fiction is one of the ways in which the mythmaking function of human  consciousness appears today. 2001, with its final psychedelic imagery and apotheosis of astronaut David Bowman into the Star Child, described human consciousness transcending individuality and merging into some sort of greater consciousness, all explained in scientific sounding terms.

In his renowned novel, Childhood’s End, as scientific prophet, Clarke described a planetary progression to a collective mind (in the novel called “the Overmind”) that is foreshadowed by “psychic powers”: telepathy, telekinesis, clairvoyance, and memory of collective, cosmic events. In that sense, one might say he hypothesized such paranormal powers, long elements of religion and mysticism, to be forerunners and hints at humankind’s future evolution.

Even in the 1950s, when Childhood’s End appeared, he called himself an “agnostic Buddhist,” so he probably didn’t believe in a personal afterlife. Still we might imagine that in his dying, Sir Arthur experienced rising into the Overmind.

In his modern/futuristic way, he has surely been a visionary and “Enlightened Being,” a scientifically-minded prophet who had foreseen, and helped bring about, the modern transformation of consciousness. He was surely an incarnation of the archetype of the homosexual seer.

Writer and multiple Lambda Literary Award-winner Toby Johnson was the second publisher of White Crane Journal.  He lives in San Antonio, Texas and reviews books for White Crane magazine.

Be Aware. Be Alert. Be Well.

Aesclepius_and_his_cadeusis A lot of people are sending us the Lawrence K. Altman article in the NY Times about a new MRSA-related bacterial infection. The S.F. Chronicle is doing its usual sensationalized coverage, as well.

This is why White Crane has a regular columnist, Nurse Daisy (aka Jeff Huyett) who writes the Owner’s Manual health column (it’s also why White Crane sponsors the Gay Men’s Health Leadership Academy.)

I’ve asked Daisy about this. Here’s the general sense of it from Daisy’s professional perspective:

I deal with one to two MRSA abscesses a week in my work as a nurse. Some ain’t so bad, some are so large a patient risks losing a limb or an ear.

The media almost always sensationalizes Gay health issues. Who’s suprised! But, there is an important kernel of worry that should be attended to. These infections can be really nasty and tend to grow really fast. Thus, "waiting to see how it looks tomorrow" can be the difference between a few minutes of inconvenience and losing a chunk of your nose to this serious bacteria. Gay press often isn’t much better in helping us sort health concerns presented in the press.

Too often, queers have shame and guilt connected to their health issues and may delay having something assessed. These articles further stigmatize our sex and our people. But you should be alarmed at this health issue. Treatment for MRSA should not be delayed. If you have a big pus ball larger than a grape, it
almost assuredly needs to be drained to slow the infection spread.

Here are my suggestions:

     1. Take good care of your skin inside and out. Drink plenty of water, moisturize your skin, consider humidity in your apartment if it’s dry.

     2. If you’ve been a greasy pig over the weekend and had lots of sex with lots of people, wash with soap and water, moisturize, monitor. Nurses aren’t too keen on frequent anti-bacterial soaps.

     3. MRSA’S start like a painful, small pimple and within 48 hours can grow into a huge pus ball. If you think you have a MRSA starting, use hot compresses to soak the area to improve circulation. Apply mupirocin (Bactroban) twice a day. I’ve seen some help with Tea Tree Oil

     4. Seek help if one of these blossoms and becomes large. There are antibiotics that typically work but one needs to be aware to cover for MRSA and not garden-variety skin infections.

     5. If you get an abscess, make sure your provider tests for MRSA if possible.

Take care of each other by mentioning health issues that someone may be letting slide. Sometimes our emotional health prevents us from activating or our drug use dulls our response time. MRSA is one thing that requires some quick thinking.

[The image is Asclepius with his rod, which not a "caduceus," but an ancient Greek symbol associated with astrology and with healing the sick through medicine. "Asclepius’ rod" consists of a single serpent entwined around a staff. Asclepius, the son of Apollo, was practitioner of medicine in ancient Greek medicine.]

The Second Total Lunar Eclipse of 2007

Total Lunar Eclipse of August 28

The second lunar eclipse of the year is another total eclipse.








All of North America will witness some portion of the eclipse, but western
observers are favored. The early penumbral or umbral phases will be in progress
at moonset for observers in Maritime Canada. From the eastern USA, the Great
Lakes region and Ontario, the Moon sets in total eclipse. Only observers to the
west of the Rockies (including Alaska) will be treated to the entire event. All
phases of the eclipse are also visible from islands of the Pacific Ocean, New
Zealand and eastern Australia. Various stages of the eclipse are in progress at
moonrise for eastern Asia. No eclipse is visible from Europe, Africa and western

Penumbral Eclipse Begins: 07:53:39 UT    

Partial Eclipse Begins: 08:51:16 UT

Total Eclipse Begins: 09:52:22 UT              

Greatest Eclipse: 10:37:22 UT         

Total Eclipse Ends:     11:22:24 UT             

Partial Eclipse Ends: 12:23:30 UT    

Penumbral Eclipse Ends: 13:21:01 UT 

ZEITGEIST, The Movie – Official Release – Full Film



We got this from a friend in Los Angeles. Someone has spent quite a bit of money putting together a pretty sweeping story, here. The first part is a very interesting anthropological review of religion and the basis and relationship of myths.

I don’t know what to think of the rest of it. There are some interesting ideas. There are some ideas I think are true. And there are some paranoid conspiracy "here-we-go-again" ideas in it, too. I think there’s the usual "just enough fact" to seem conspiratorially ominous. But there are also some good questions about the "War on Terror," …something, of which, I am more than wary. There are some good questions about the "military-industrial complex" and the profitability of war. Bread and circus…the control of the media…these are all things that we ought to be thinking about.

At the very least, there’s a grain of truth in every paranoid thought.

And just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean you’re not being watched.

Worth watching…if only to raise some questions. It’s long…almost two hours of film. There are some pretty nice graphics.

But Caution: there are some shocking images.

As usual, White Crane offers something as food for thought. Take what works for you…leave the rest behind.


ZEITGEIST, The Movie – Official Release – Full Production   

Visit for information and the full source list for this work.

Oh puhleeeze!

Flag I don’t know about the rest of you…but I find it, I don’t know…what’s the word? Unseemly? Yes…I find the parading of peoples private faith in front of large audiences for the purpose of getting votes unseemly. I think the term is "Cheap Grace."

The "debates" (and as someone who actually was a debater in high school and college, I use the term in relation to these media events advisedly and very very loosely!) in which the hot topics are whether or not the candidate "believes" in evolution [ask them about the theory of gravity, why don’t they?…see if they believe in that!] and goes on at length about their imaginary friend, er, I mean, their Lord and Savior (again…I’m sorry, but didn’t we fight a Revolutionary War precisely for the purpose of getting rid of "lords"?….just asking) as if it meant anything at all, while larger far more real issues of education, health care that will effect the future of this nation for generations to come and a foreign policy that has set back our position in the world community for a generation go blithely unanswered is so frightening to me it’s hard to compose a rational response! That the television networks focus on these non-issues, further riling up the excitable unwashed masses to a frenzy…the greedy collusion between our Ruling Classes and the Corporate Classes…Giuliani_2

The RepubliCrats and the Demublicans have pretty much sewn up any real debate and locked out any serious third (or fourth, or fifth) parties from speaking to issues about the emperor’s clothing situation we find ourselves in. Perhaps instead of "bringing Democracy to the world" we ought to start worrying about what’s happening to our own home-grown version of it? Why isn’t this administration being impeached wholesale? No reasonable person thinks that they’ve accomplished anything but to bring us one debacle after another.

I’m  tired of the bread and circus banalities that pass for serious conversation.

I’m tired of the dumbing down…the conflation of "faith" with reason, the confusion of religion and science.

Science is not a matter of opinion. It is not up for debate…it’s open to discovery. And reasonable proof.

I’m appalled that a "creationist museum"  could be opened in this country and no one seems to be even slightly embarrassed by it. This is a level of flat out IGNORANCE that is breathtaking and dangerous.

When the hell is America going to wake up?

Just asking.