18 posts categorized "Blog Hygiene"

Pour Homme, e pour Straight.

Chapitre Un. 

Screenwriter Neil Kramer is Citizen of the Month.

Neil chose the word "citizen" deliberately. He sees the blogosphere as a democratising force, where a regular Joe can fight the tyranny of mediated opinion. Blogs turn personal narrative into instant social history.  Original voices need not be silenced by the caprice of an editor, nor deadened by an academic. To Neil, a blog champions the common man, and his everyday life.

Perhaps that's why he bit on the Medicine Cabinet Meme.  It’s perfect material for the social historian; something so commonplace that it’s practically transparent, but which speaks tellingly about the owner’s life and time. 

As memes go, it seems no more invasive than usual. It doesn't demand that you reveal five secrets, six phobias, or three strangers on the bus you wish you'd asked for a blow job.

One simply lets the world peek behind one's bathroom mirror, and Preparation H does the talking.

Neil’s medicine chest is commonplace, indeed.  The only remarkable thing about it, is that it contains quite a bit of actual medicine.

Now, you need to know that Neil lives in the United States.  A primitive, Third-World country without universal health insurance. 

The presence of medicine doesn't mean that he's sick, just that he's well-to-do. An empty amoxycillin jar is as good as flashing a black Amex at Le Cirque.

L'expert

Since he earns enough to be medicated, I gave him shit for being a cheapskate. What, no aftershave? Soon, an email appeared in my inbox.

I have never worn aftershave, ever. Should I start? Neil.

It took a few seconds to sink in. This was a milestone in my gay life. A straight man asked me for a tip on personal grooming.

Honourable Husband, you've been QueerEyed!  It’s your fifteen minutes of fabulousness!

Some gay guys get this all the time. Their apartments are tasteful, their clothes stylish, and their comportment perfect. People flock to them for advice on paint colour, wine lists, or romantic poetry. Me? I drink beer and pick my nose.  I'm a slob.

But when it comes to after-shave, yours truly is an idiot savant. I love the stuff. For proof, you only need to look in my medicine cabinet; it groans with smells.

By chance, the Honourable-Right medicine cabinet also houses laundry stuff, since one corner of the bathroom hosts the Waschtrockner*. As you can see, we are so fragrant, even our laundry wears after-shave.


Front and centre, we see selections from the Lenor Mystery Series Fabric Softener Range. The purple bottle holds Sumatra, where scents of cinnamon and hibiscus take us on a magic journey of Silk Road romance. To the left we find Sahara, which gives us the cool embrace of the twilight as the sun settles behind the dunes, and the perfunes of Araby waft from the sultan's tent. Or something.

For daywear, we use Frottee.  It sounds like some sort of sexual practice. If you had to say what Frottee smells like, you'd have to say it smells like good value-for-money. That's a big step up from smelling like nothing at all, which is how our clothes used to smell before we moved to Europe and started to wear fancy-schmantzy couture, washed gingerly in appliances that cost a fortune and take three hours to complete a cycle.

(Off-topic: American readers will notice in the plastic container on the left. In Germany, Mr. Clean is Meister Proper. The label tells us that the bottle contains Bad-Spray. Good-Spray costs more, I guess.) 

Fragrance Japonaise

Master Right may love snuggling up in Frotteed sheets, but he eschews fragrance on the body.  It's a Japanese thing.  To the Japanese, prominent scent suggests that you're concealing another odour, and thus not clean.

Successful Japanese fashion designers can't quite crack fragrance. Experts describe Yohji Yamamoto's 2004 pour Femme as "Decent. Neutral. Too polite."  Others stick to easy-to-understand smells like wood or coffee. 
I wonder how Issey Miyake does it?

Odeur 53Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons, perhaps in frustration, reacted with an anti-perfume. According to reviews, her Odeur 53 shows hints of burnt rubber, ozone, photocopiers, static electricity, and cathode-ray TV sets.

L'humeur de l'amour

So Master Right turns up his nose at my after-shave habit, if you'll pardon the expression. But pour this homme, after-shave is grand.

Nothing affects your mood so powerfully, for good or ill, as a smell. It's aromatherapy you carry around all day.

Smells go straight to our lizard-brains; they cue masculine or feminine, clean or unclean, fancy or plain, rich or poor.

Believe me, Neil, you want to be on the right end of a smell.

But for that you'll have to wait for Chapitre Deux.  That's when The Honourable Husband gives you a tour of his personal after-shave shelf.

'Til then, adieu.  Or is it au revoir? I can never tell those apart.

_____

* a Waschtrockener is a high tech device which both washes and dries your clothes. We bought it because the name of the manufacturer, Siemens, reminds us of man-sex.  So does one of its cycles: Schnell. 

Photo credit: links to source.


A leadership readership

Covert intelligence sources (i.e. SiteMeter) confirm that Deutschland über Elvis has earned a couple of visits from the Pentagon. Welcome!

Our Pentagon visitor spent some time reading the post Waking up from the American Dream, including the comments. Until now, most of the comments have come from American expats and non-Americans. I would love to invite our Pentagon visitor to join the discussion.

Someone involved, in any way, with the defense of American values, may have a different view from this blog's coterie of regulars. I welcome your thoughts and feelings, via email or blogpost comments.

EDIT

Our Pentagon visitor has revealed himself. Or herself--the reader is still a little cagey.

If Pulver is a spy monitoring my subversive activities (as many of you suggest) then he or she is the politest spook on the planet. Pulver probably just surfs the net from work, like everyone else.

Does anyone find it sad, that so many of us leapt to the conclusion that because the visit came from the Pentagon, there was something sinister afoot?

(Maybe you meant it as a joke, but many a true word is said in jest.)

Mind you, the US government as whole has given its own citizens, and those of other countries, reason for pause. From the McCarthy era, to trashing habeas corpus, US government can sometimes act as the enemy of personal freedom, rather than it protector.

That's why I am so glad Pulver commented, and why I look forward to his or her further thoughts. Do people inside the US government share our disquiet? Is there another take on American values that we should hear?

Think about it.



Apologies to Oliver, Echo of Elvis


Pity poor Oliver Steinhoff, Germany's leading Elvis impersonator.  

According to all reports, he is the very Echo of Elvis.   He is also a customer of Google's AdSense.  Google searches for blogs whose contents match his business profile, and places a link.  They charge him a small sum for every click-through.  

Blogger, a Google subsidiary, encourages its users to place AdSense on their blogs.  I did so, thinking that Google may favour AdSensed sites in searches.  (They don't).  

First, AdSense worked out I was gay.  It loaded ads from a lot of pray-the-gay-away ministries.  As soon as the software discovered DüE wasn't a fertile recruiting ground for tortured closet cases (i.e. a porn site), it began to parse the content a little differently. 

That's where poor Oliver's bad luck began.  I imagine he thought it would be a good idea to specify content that included the words Deutschland and Elvis.  So where does his ad end up?  On a site that is not written in German, and has nothing to do with Elvis Presley.  

I clicked his link, out of curiosity.  Oops.  He now owes Google around five-twelfths of a cent, and it's all my fault!  Further, perhaps one-twelfth of a cent will make its way into my own undeserving pocket.  I'm ashamed to take the money. 

Please help me make it up to him.   Perhaps you'd like to attend his Elvis meets Jazz concerts in Bad Nauheim, where Presley was stationed in the late 50s.  

Or visit Oliver's online shop.  Let me commend the Elvis Gospel Christmas CD, perfect for the upcoming holiday season, or his exquisite Elvis Schmuck.  (Hint to English speakers: you'll need to use the Kategorie wählen drop-down menu.)

He also sells a selection of quality health, grooming and beauty products.  Hey, a guy's gotta eat. 


The links will linger a little longer

Seguin, Texas is a small town of about 25,000 people. It is known for its pecans. Seguin shares sister-city ties with Millicent, South Australia, a town I know rather well. By the looks of this entry on Seguin from Exquisitely Bored in Nacogdoches, the two sister cities have much in common. That is, nothing ever really happens.


No wonder the citizenry seek diversion on the internet. Seguin is home to a certain Mr. 66.69.65. He spends a lot of time at Deutschland über Elvis. What can I say? Welcome!

To keep himself amused, he is working his way through the link list to the right. Excellent idea, Mr. 66.69.65! That's what they're there for.

Oh, I have leapt to the conclusion that you're Mister 66.69.65, since the links you like seem to be mainly the gay ones. Not that there's anything wrong with that. In fact, bully for you.

It's just that I want to do a radical cull of the link list. That's the advice I got from the never-less-than-honest website Ask and Ye Shall Receive. Their URL reads iwillfuckingtearyouapart.blogspot.com. Can't say I wasn't warned.

So, Mr 66.69.65--or can I just call you 69, for short?--please let me know when you've made your way through the sidebar. I can wait 'til you're finished for the big chop.

And why don't you leave a comment with your faves? I'll be sure to spare them.

HB8

P.S. Congratulations to Seguin on lifting stage two water restrictions. Short showers suck, don't they?

EDIT

Our friend from Segiun appears to have been frightened away.  Probably, he feared detection.  SiteMeter said he was using Windows NT, so he was no doubt surfing from work.


Stereotype Amplifiers

Just look at all those kitchen gadgets (#54)!

 Sehr geehrte Ian in Hamburg!

 Some months ago, by way of a blog comment, you asked me what I thought of Stuff White People Like.

SWPL had appeared as #3 on the Wordpress Blogs of Note, just under the one with the pictures of cats, and the other one with the pictures of puppies. This offended you (#101).

It will incense you even more to learn that it is now a book. According to Amazon, people who bought Stuff White People Like also bought Hot Chicks with Douchebags. Is that not some comfort?

(Keholet 7:5: "It is better to listen to a wise man's reproof than to listen to the praise of fools.")

Part of the reason for your fury is that you, and your family, are white. In fact, you're all so white it hurts.

I imagine, to you, SWPL feels like a joke about Black People and sickle-cell anaemia. Tough to shrug it off as irony (#50)

Look at it this way.

Let's say that you, as a white journalist in a press conference, ask a black politician about affordable child care. Is he likely to diss the question because you people all hate your parents (#17)? Will IBM toss your application in the bin because you white guys hate corporations (#82)? Do your favourite black hip-hoppers not sell tracks on iTunes (#40)? If you try to order some Chinese take away, will the server tell you to get back to your damn dinner party (#90) where you belong? Probably not.

Yes, SWPL is racist, but rather like beer is alcohol. It's not the hard stuff. I mean, none of these stereotypes will keep a white guy from a high paying job, get him kicked out of a country club, or fire up a lynch mob. Right?

I'm white, too. But I'm not so white it hurts. I am, however, so white that it itches. People who point out how white I am make me squirm and feel uncomfortable.


I always apologise (#55), I have an arts degree (#47), and have lived in New York (#46). I am so addicted to public radio (#44) that I have purchased not one, but two of those internet radio devices for home. I tune them both to KQED, which covers San Francisco (#91) and Marin County.

(By the way, how come Marin County isn't a Stuff White People Like?)

Here is our drawer full of tea (#13). Furthermore, it's herbal tea, which, because I am not really all that white, I pronounce with an "h". My mother was so white, that she didn't even use an "h" in human, humour or huge.

 I am so white that I have paid a three figure sum to drag my (mostly Australian) wine (#24) from continent to continent. This grog has more frequent flyer points than I do.

 I am so white, I actually lived in Japan (#58) for five years. To prove it, here are the New Year sake cups from the Shinto shrine next door. The writing commemorates the name of the church (Atagojinja), the Chinese horoscope symbol for that year, the symbol of the Japanese horoscope element, and the year of the emperor's reign. I loved Japan so much, that I picked up a souvenir in the form of a spouse. Yes, I know. A snow globe would have been cheaper.

 
We are such sushi (#42) snobs that we don't actually eat it anymore. Master Right declares that one should never eat sushi more than 100km from the coast, so we don't. Munich's lacklustre choice of Japanese restaurants helps a lot. We own a whole lot of sushi kit, which gets no outing at all since we moved to Germany.

So, Ian, let me up the ante. The following stuff will keep a white guy from a high paying job, get him kicked out of a country club, or lynched. It's Stuff White Gay People Like. I look around the house and ask: Am I whiter than I am gay, or am I gayer than I am white? Stuff Gay White People Like

#1 Boyfriend on Couch

The mere sight of a man on a couch makes a woman's blood boil. Men should get off their asses and...oh, I dunno, slay a wildebeeste or take out the trash. But to me, a man on a couch looks regular-guy sexy.

 
#2. Being the one in the family who inherits your mother's dinner set.

Boy, does this piss off gay guy's sister!


#3. Fake Roy Lichtenstein.

Somewhere in the late eighties, the gay community got the idea that comic-book art was ironic. Most gays of a certain age have the odd poster which commemorates their activist years.


#4. Dorothy Parker

Alice Roosevelt Longworth once remarked, "If you can't say something nice about someone, then come and sit next to me." Rumour has it that the seat was occupied, in short order, by Dorothy Parker. Parker cornered the market on high-class bitchiness during that long, dry spell between Oscar Wilde and David Sedaris (#25).


If you know a witty remark but can't quite recall the source, then odds on it's Dorothy Parker. The one about girls who wear glasses. And the one about Tallulah Bankhead. And the one about the girls from the Yale prom being laid end to end. Every gay, English-speaking household has a Portable Dorothy Parker. Straight homes make do with The Reader's Digest Treasury of Humourous Quotations.

#5 Leaving little clues around the house that you are gay.



You can buy this stuff at gay shops (#6) in gay neighbourhoods (#7).

#8 Misogynist kitsch

Since we're gay males, you could never call these trinkets arousing, sexist, or exploitative. They're just--let me saviour that glorious word again!--ironic. So suck it up, bitches! (That's irony, too.)



#9 Neatly trimmed facial hair.

For many years, I have sported a goatee; Master Right has just opted for the close-cropped stubble look. Hoo, boy! More gadgets needed!

Facial hair is a cornerstone of gay grooming, since it shows you are too butch to do drag. At least, too butch to do it convincingly.

#10 Plain white sheets.

Now, I know that bringing up the subject of white sheets in a post that has also dealt with racism, is risky. There may be some unintended irony, which is like regular irony, only cooler. Thank heavens that our putzfrau does the irony once a week, and we needn't bother ourselves with the mens rea.

In any case, white sheets are a gay giveaway. The mandatory colour of bed-clothing in a straight, single, white, male bedroom is dark blue. Correct? But gay guys are actually neat enough that white becomes a valid lifestyle choice. And since we're not girls, there are no frilly bits.

There. Have I answered your question? I hope we haven't given SWPL any more attention than it deserves. This discussion is no doubt the sort of stuff Stuff White People Like likes to see.

Yours, waving a limp, pallid wrist northward,

The Honourable Husband


How did you get here from China?

Celebrating Year of the Rat, Shanghai, February 2008

Sitemeter and Feedjit have shown this blog getting hits from several different parts of China.  To these visitors, I offer a special welcome.

When travelling in China, I couldn't access blogs, or any other unmediated content.  So my question is, how did you get here?  Please leave a comment or drop me a line, if you can.


Ladies and Gentlemen of the Academy...

Working in advertising, one can get terribly cynical about awards. If you stand still long enough, someone will give you an award. I have more than my share.

On a famous Simpsons episode, local news anchor Kent Brockman takes viewers on a tour of his trophy room. "Twelve Newsies, seven Iron Mikes, four Golden Coifs. And this...this is the most prestigious award ever given by the Del Monte Fruit Company!" he exclaims.

Because I work in a creative profession, many years ago a friend asked me to help judge the Australian Swimming Pool of the Year Award. How should I do this? The administrator reeled off a number of criteria, "Innovation, aesthetic qualities, technical challenge, engineering excellence, novel use of materials. And, of course, expensive doesn't hurt."

So, it challenges me a little to respond to an award which I actually value. One which is a sincere compliment from a treasured and loyal friend. The marvellous Arizaphale at Where did I put that flaming sword? has dropped an E for Excellent Award on me. And said some very kind things, which I don't deserve at all.


I am touched. Thank you, Arizaphale, for the compliment. Love back atcha.

Meme hygiene

Now, the idea is to pass this award along to other blogs which are well-written, regularly posted, and rewarding to read. So it's really a meme. I'll take the opportunity to deal with a couple of other memes while I'm at it.

Memes are like awards. If you stand still long enough, someone will give you one.

I have two with which to dispense. Like a winter flu, most of us have caught them.

  • Nominate five posts that show the eveolution of your blogging style, and tag five people. From Godless on the Wasatch Front.

  • Tell the world seven random facts about you, and tag seven people. Also from Arizaphale.
Seven Random Facts.

Let's deal with the second, first. Hmmm... Difficult to find seven things that are interesting, personal and novel, that I am happy to put out to the universe. My Al-Anon training warns me off inappropriate intimacy. But if your blog is anonymous, it's not really intimate, is it? I guess that's where I'll start.

  1. English-Speaking Al-Anon and ACoA changed my life.
  2. There's alcoholism in my family. My father was a dry drunk, and both of my grandfathers died of cirrhosis.
  3. Both my grandmothers were 14 when they married.
  4. The new shelves in the kitchen are terribly nice
  5. I hate surprises.
  6. I love salami.
  7. I should call my mother. Or maybe I shouldn't.

The evolution of the blog.

Here's more than the required five. They come from my old blog, High Maintenance Hags. It still gets lots of hits. Master Right appears as George in these entries.

I will install these on the sidebar when I have a spare moment. Or maybe even re-post one or two.

Mutating the meme.

Now, these memes have been around the block a few times. So let me mutate it, before passing it on. That's how the 'flu survives, doesn't it?

Herewith: The High School Metaphor Meme.

Every year, high-school English teachers submit the funniest metaphors and similies collected from student essays.

A recent list included:

  • It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.

  • He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant and she was the East River.

  • Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

  • He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.

  • He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.
The list seems to have done the rounds of blogs and humour sites. But I have never found its orginal source. I suspect that somebody just made these up and they became an urban legend.

Now it's time for YOU to get in on the act. Make up three of these, post them, and pass the challenge on to three more people. They add to the list, pass it on, and yada yada yada.

Here are the people to kick it off:
  • Arizaphale and Godless. As payback.
  • Ian in Hamburg. He seems to be doing a lot of blogging about blogging itself, so he's ripe for a meme.
  • Dee in Lexington

The meme and the Excellent Award go to the following three women. They are talented writers who have slowed on their posts. Perhaps this will give them some small encouragement?

Remember, it's an honour, even just to be nominated!