Gay Marriage

17 06 2008

As of today, gays are finally afforded equal marriage rights. While most of the population supports equal rights for gays in terms of housing, job opportunities, accommodation, protection under the law and the right to choose matching China at Nordstrom’s, the country is bisected on the concept of gay marriage. Why?

It was amazing to see the first (lesbian) couple to be wedded by HH Mayor Newsom. They’ve been together for more years than I have been alive: how can one doubt their commitment to each other? Smarties, they were legally protected in advance of dodgy legal proceedings as well. Would the legacy of gay marriage help or hinder such a couple? Probably not. Being married discourages (does not preclude) from promiscuous sex (and thus disease vectors), regardless of the gender. In Scandinavian countries, where gays have been wedding for years, the divorce rate has not changed significantly either.

Popular items of argument against gay marriage:

  • US Federal law codifies marriage as between two (2) persons of opposite gender: US Federal law struck down a ban on interracial marriages on June 12, 1967. Pause for reaction. The law is dynamic. To love and to be loved back in return is purely chemical.
  • Same gender couples are not the optimal environment to raise children: No published evidence. Known felons, convicts and child molesters have the right to procreate but gays should not be allowed to rear children. Studies from failed straight marriages and single parent families show poorer outcomes than those same sex parents who go to great effort to raise children who may or may not be biologically their own.
  • Gay relationships are immoral. Not for Buddhists. In any case, the treaty of Tripoli (1791) indicates the Bible has no standing in American Law. Church, meet State. Wave.
  • Marriages are for procreation and ensuring the continuation of the species. Impotent fathers and postmenopausal mothers should immediately divorce themselves. Marriage is about sharing and compromise. Procreation is simply biology.
  • Same gender marriage threatens the institution of marriage: Have you met Britney Spears and read her the Defense of Marriage Act? I am not going to piss in the batter of your wedding cake so why this rabid interest in what others will do that really won’t affect you? If you are invited and do not support it, don’t go. You’ll probably miss the most fabulous wedding you never saw. Florists. Cake makers. Gucci. Waterford place settings. Enough said.
  • Marriage is traditionally for straight people: Lame. Slavery was also a tradition.
  • Same gender marriage is untried and experimental: Denmark since 1989.
  • What’s next – bestiality? I love this one. How do you make the sudden jump to man fucks dog? The radical right  jumps all over this. One can only wonder what fuels their nightmares or fantasies.
  • Granting gays the “right” to marry is a “special right”: If undenying basic civil rights makes it special, then so be it. However, everyone should have the right to (or not to) disconnect a loved one from the ventilator. Who better than your partner to execute your own deepest visceral wishes?
  • Gay marriage is bad for the economy: are you kidding me?

Why people actually oppose it:

  • I am just not comfortable with the idea: I am opposed to your wearing that belt with those shoes. But seriously, some people were uncomfortable sharing a water fountain or sending children to school by the same yellow bus. Comfort is not exclusionist and can never be.
  • It offends my religion: if you’re a Mormon, then yes it does. And multiply marrying women offends my sensibility but I stand by your right to practise your religion
  • Marriage is sacred: divorce is always an option, to both gay and straight couples. Additionally, freedom of religion also implies freedom from religion. Freedom is a founding principle
  • Gay sex is unnatural and making love to another man betrays everything masculine: you really need to stop watching gays on telly and in the cinema. This harbours from a fear of rape and loss of control as a masculine entity. Fear not, most gays are probably not instinctively attracted to the curious cowerers.
  • Thinking of gay sex is repulsive: why are you thinking of it? Believe it or not, most gays have so much more on their mind. Currently, the price of petrol is approximately $4.69 per gallon. And not even premium.
  • The gays might recruit: would that it were that easy. Believe it or not, most gays were borne of straight marriage 🙂

Week in Wine

11 01 2006

California Petit Syrah
2003 Chiarello Family Vineyards Roux Napa Valley Petite Sirah ($50)
2003 Concannon Central Coast Limited Release Petite Sirah ($15)
2003 Foppiano Vineyards Estate Russian River Valley Petite Sirah ($23)
2004 Michael-David Earthquake Lodi Petite Sirah ($28)
2003 Mitchell Katz Ruby Hill Vineyard Livermore Valley Petite Sirah ($16)
2002 Quixote Panza Stags’ Leap Ranch Napa Valley Petite Syrah ($40)
2003 Quivira Wine Creek Ranch Dry Creek Valley Petite Sirah ($24)
2003 Rosenblum Pickett Road Napa Valley Petite Sirah ($28)
2003 Rosenblum Rockpile Road Vineyard Rockpile Petite Sirah ($36)
2002 Vina Robles Jardine Vineyard Paso Robles Petite Sirah ($26)
2004 Vinum Cellars Pets Clarksburg Petite Sirah ($14)

2004 Campanile Delle Venezie Pinot Grigio ($9)
2004 Columbia Winery Yakima Valley Pinot Gris ($10)
2004 Ecco Domani Delle Venezie Pinot Grigio ($9)
2004 Fisheye California Pinot Grigio ($9)
2004 HRM Rex Goliath California Pinot Grigio ($9)
2004 Meridian Vineyards California Pinot Grigio ($10)

2003 Castle Rock Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($10)
2004 Castle Rock Lodi Petite Sirah ($10)
2003 Grizzly Flat Lodi Petite Sirah ($10)
2004 McManis Family Vineyards California Petite Sirah ($10)

Alsatian Anderson

10 01 2006

2004 Handley Cellars Anderson Valley Gewurztraminer ($16)
2004 Husch Vineyards Anderson Valley Estate Gewurztraminer ($14)
2004 Lazy Creek Anderson Valley Estate Dry Gewurztraminer ($22)
2004 Londer Vineyards Anderson Valley Dry Gewurztraminer ($21)
2004 Navarro Anderson Valley Estate Bottled Dry Gewurztraminer ($18)

Muscat Blanc
2004 Navarro Anderson Valley Estate Bottled Dry Muscat Blanc ($16)

Pinot Blanc
2004 Raye’s Hill Hein Family Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Blanc ($18)
2004 Lazy Creek Hein Vineyards Anderson Valley Pinot Blanc ($22)

Pinot Gris
2004 Claudia Springs Klindt Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Gris ($17)

2004 Esterlina Cole Ranch Riesling ($16)
2004 Handley Cellars Cole Ranch, Mendocino County White Riesling ($16)
2004 Lazy Creek Toulouse Vineyards Anderson Valley Riesling ($22)

Meme While

9 01 2006

Meme (pron. meem) is a contagious information pattern that replicates by parasitically infecting human minds and altering their behavior, causing them to propagate the pattern. Individual slogans, catch-phrases, melodies, icons, inventions, and fashions are typical memes. An idea or information pattern is not a meme until it causes someone to replicate it, to repeat it to someone else. All transmitted knowledge is memetic. Richard Dawkins, who coined the word in his book The Selfish Gene (as analogy of gene) defines the meme as simply a unit of intellectual or cultural information that survives long enough to be recognized as such, and which can pass from mind to mind. There’s not much of a sense of describing thought processes, but nor is it just a model. God indeed exists, if only as a pattern in brain structures replicated across the minds of billions of people throughout the world. Of course the patterns aren’t physically identical, but they represent the same thing. Just as genes propagate themselves in the gene pool by leading from body to body via sperm or eggs, so memes propagate themselves in the meme pool by leaping from brain to brain via a process which, in the broad sense, can be called imitation. If a scientist hears, or reads about, a good idea, he passes it on to his colleagues and students. He mentions it in his articles and his lectures. If the idea catches on, it can be said to propagate itself, spreading from brain to brain. Memes should be regarded as living structures, not just metaphorically but technically. When you plant a fertile meme in my mind, you literally parasitize my brain, turning it into a vehicle for the meme’s propagation in just the way that a virus may parasitize the genetic mechanism of a host cell. And this isn’t just a way of talking — the meme for, say, ‘belief in life after death’ is actually realized physically, millions of times over, as a structure in the nervous systems of people all over the world. A meme survives in the world because people pass it on to other people, either vertically to the next generation, or horizontally to our fellows. This process is analogous to the way willow genes cause willow trees to spread them, or perhaps closer to the way cold viruses make us sneeze and spread them. It is important to note here that, in contrast to genes, memes are not encoded in any universal code within our brains or in human culture. The meme for vanishing point perspective in two-dimensional art, for example, which first appeared in the sixteenth century, can be encoded and transmitted in German, English or Chinese; it can be described in words, or in algebraic equations, or in line drawings. Nonetheless, in any of these forms, the meme can be transmitted, resulting in a certain recognizable element of realism which appears only in art works executed by artists infected with this meme.

A crucial meme would be “fire” or more importantly, “how to make a fire.” This is a behavioral meme, mind you, one which didn’t necessarily need a word attached to it to spring up and spread, merely a demonstration for another to follow. Once the meme was out there, it would have spread like wildfire, for obvious reasons… But when you start to think of memes like that — behavioral memes — then you can begin to see how language itself, the idea of language, was a meme. Writing was a meme. And within those areas, more specific memes emerged.

Memes, like genes, vary in their fitness to survive in the environment of human intellect. Some reproduce like bunnies, but are very short-lived (fashions), while others are slow to reproduce, but hang around for eons (religions, perhaps?). The fitness of the meme is not necessarily related to the fitness that it confers upon the human being who holds it. The most obvious example of this is the “Smoking is Cool” meme, which does very well for itself while killing off its hosts at a great rate.

Kid Borrowing

8 01 2006

So we are borrowing a kid today. No really. It is San Francisco Family Appreciation Day. You can hit as many attractions as you like between 1100 and 1600, and if you have a kid under 18, you get free admission to 23 different zoos, museums and events. All you need is a kid and proof either of you lives in the city. Sweet.

Day in Wine

7 01 2006

1015 Big Tree Road, St. Helena, CA 94574
1998 Cab Sauv
Tractor Shed Red (table)

Napa Cellars
7481 St. Helena Highway, Oakville, CA 94562

1000 Main Street, St. Helena, CA 94574
(707) 963-2225
Antigua Dessert wine

Cakebread Cellars
8300 St. Helena Highway, Oakville, CA
2002 Merlot

1829 St. Helena Hwy, Rutherford, CA 94573

Pinot Blanc
641 Main Street, St Helena, CA

6480 Washington St, Yountville, CA 94599

Round Up

31 12 2005

Good – Just Friends
Bad – Fantastic Four
Fugly – The Safety of Objects

Red – Ross Estate 2002 Estate Shiraz, Barossa Valley, Australia
White – HAwley Wines 1999 Viognier, Dry Creek Valley, CA
Sparkling – Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame Brut 1995

Cinnamon Apple Martini
2 oz apple vodka
1 oz apple juice
0.5 oz apple barrel schnapps
0.5 oz pomegranate juice


  • Vermont Shepard:
    • sheep, Putney, VT
    • 4-6 months old, raw milk
  • Great Hill Blue
    • cow, Marion, MA
    • 10 months, raw, nonhomogenized, creamy blue
  • Maroilles
    • cow, 4 months, raw milk
    • rind cheese, Calais, northen France (Maroilles)
  • Montgomery Cheddar
    • 1-2 yrs, raw
    • clothbound so crumbly, nutty, rich flavor
  • Humboldt fog
    • perennial favorite I know! McKinleyville, CA
    • goat, pasteruized, 1-2 months, snowy white, ash in center
  • Roaring 40s
    • cow, blue cheese, pasteruized
    • Tasmania
  • Pecorino Sardo
    • sheep, raw milk, sweet
    • Sardinia, hard cheese
  • Brillat-Savarin
    • cow, pasteurized, ice cream cheese (hot cream added to curd) to raise fat content to 78% (75% is limit for triple creme)
    • Normandy
  • Durrus
    • cow, washed rind, raw milk, sweet and salty, pairs well with red wine
    • West Cork, Ireland
  • Affidelice du Chablis

    • cow, washed rind, raw milk, sweet
    • Burgundy
  • Morbier
    • cow, raw milk, 1-2 months
    • ash in center
  • Herbiette
    • goat, raw, juniper and fennel flavor, semisoft
    • Nantes, Frances
  • Garrotxa
    • 6 months, goat, pasteurized, semihard, dry
    • Catalonia, Spain
  • Mimolette
    • cow, raw, 2 years, hard waxy and smoky
  • Pleasant Ridge Gruyere
    • cow, raw milk, 1 yaear
    • super creamy

Bay Area Food

  • Adagia
    • 2700 Bancroft (@College), Berkeley
    • 510.647-2300 URL pending
    • Mediterranean
  • Olivia
    • 1453 Dwight Way (@Sacramento), Berkeley
    • 510.548-2322
    • French
  • Sea Salt
    • 2512 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley
    • 510.883-1720
    • Seafood. Disclaimer: nothing for me to eat but the others enjoyed it
  • Pizzaiolo
    • 5008 Telegraph (@51st)
    • 510.642-4888
    • Wood burning pizza

San Francisco:

  • Zuppa
    • 564 Fourth Street (@Brannan, off Freelon Alley)
    • 415.777-5900
    • Southern Italian
  • Myth
    • 470 Pacific (@ Montgomery)
    • 415.677-8986
    • small plates
  • Canteen
    • 817 Sutter Street (@ James)
    • 415.928-8870
    • American
  • Citizen Thai and the Monkey
    • 1268 Grant (@ Vallejo)
    • Thai
    • 415.364-000
  • Coco500
    • 500 Brannan (@ Fourth)
    • French
    • 415.543-2222
  • Range
    • 842 Valencia (@20th street)
    • 415.282-8283
    • California

North Bay

  • Picco
    • 320 Magnolia (@King street), Larkspur
    • 415.924-0300 (945-8900 for the pizzeria)
    • Eclectic
  • Cyrus
    • 29 North Street (@ Healdsburg Ave), Healdsburg
    • 707.433-3311
    • Prix fixe
  • Budo
    • 1650 Suscol Ave (@ Randeen Way), Napa
    • 707.224-2330
    • Japanese


  • Chowki
    • 2-3 Denman Street (@ Shaftesbury; tube: Piccadilly)
    • 020.7439 1330
    • Indian


  • Popi Popi
    • Via delle Fratte di Trastevere 45
    • 06-58-95-167
    • Pizza


  • Green Zebra
    • 1460 West Chicago Ave
    • 312.243-7100
    • Vegetarian
  • Osteria Via Stato
    • 620 N State (Red LIne: Grand stop)
    • 312.642-8450
    • Italian
  • Alinea
    • 1723 Northalstead (between North and Willow)
    • 312-867-0100
    • Fusion

New York:

  • Gobo
    • 401 Ave of the Americas (between Waverly place and 8th)
    • 212.255-3902
    • vegan