Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Latest Italian hit: "To become gay"

The French site Têtu made the first mention I'd seen of the latest Italian hit "Per diventare gay" or "To become gay." In reality it's more a threat than a promise. The character portrayed in the song is rather whiny to my ear, and I believe it would've been all the same if he had been singing "I think I just may go off and eat worms."

Anyway, the tune was written by Maurizio Minestroni ("Mines") and sung by Fiorello, an Italian radio personality. It's quite catchy, so I decided to write out a translation, which was no mean feat considering that my fluency in Italian consists of saying "Ciao, bello" and "Arrividerci" with aplomb. But my readers deserve to know what's happening on the continent. So with some help on the more idiomatic lines, we've arrived at another first—a Simply Appalling translation from Italian.

[Musicultura has the original lyrics and an audio excerpt here.]


I looked for a flexible girl and the type
to have a little sex with.

I'm not so rich and and I only meet holy virgin-to-the-max snobbish babes.

You know I'm studying to become gay
in order to stop looking for another one who won't give in.

[Refrain] You know I'm studying to become gay
and to say gladly "Goodbye, my babies, Bye."

I looked for the great love and found only sex
With the liars from the Grand Bar.

I looked for a good screw and found my great love,
which settled me down for a little while.

You know I'm studying to become gay
and to be happy too if you're not here.


I've been searching for my muse but I see only the muzzles
of little sheep in shock.

I used to watch her curves until her gyrations
would turn me into a spoiled child.

You know I'm studying to become gay
so what happened to my friends won't happen to me.


You seemed like an introvert -- and instead you were only confused
You seemed like an innocent girl but you were doing the continent!

But every night I go out -- because I've never stopped
looking for a lady who would make a fool of me.

You know I'm studying to become gay
and to say gladly "Goodbye, my babies, Bye"

You know I'm studying to become gay ...

Singer Fiorello hastens to explain that it was all in good fun—

It was a joke, a way of exorcising my amorous torments. That's all past. I've had a girlfriend for six years. But women remain a mystery.

Yeah, sure.



Jibe of the Day

You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq. —John Kerry, speaking to a group of students

Though Kerry was clearly slamming the Bush administration for not doing its homework on Iraq—and behaving stupidly, by the way—the right-wing spin machine is trying to portray the remark as a slur on the troops. It wasn't. But students might give it some thought nonetheless.

Related post
Ground Force of the Day (9/15/06)



Definition of the Day

What fascism was historically was a kind of consensual dictatorship—a dictatorship with enthusiastic popular support in democracies where people had grown to feel that the democratic way wasn't strong enough to get the country out of a crisis. —Robert Paxton, author of Anatomy of Fascism, in an interview on NPR's "All Things Considered"


Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Baptism of the Innocents

Religion News Service reports that the Roman Catholic Church, American branch, is proposing that children adopted by gay men and lesbians be baptized.

Only last week everyone was saying that the new Pope is about to abolish the notion of Limbo, home for unbaptized children who die but can't get into Heaven because they're blotched with Original Sin. With that decision in the offing I suppose there was nothing left to do with gay-adopted children but to baptize them. Otherwise they would be left in limbo here on earth and in a nonexistent Limbo hereafter.

It's all in a new guide—still in draft—called "Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care." It's this sort of thing that inclines me to get on my knees.

Related posts
Just when you thought it was safe to go back to church... (8/18/04)
Jesus' Body made of wheat, not rice (8/21/04)
Just when you thought it was safe to have sex ... (1/19/05)
The cost of sexual hypocrisy (7/1/05)



Save Congress from the Addled!

Remember "Vinton" in the 80s sitcom "Mama's Family"—the addled, good-for-nothing son who tried the patience of Mama Thelma Harper every week? Well, he has a look-alike—Republican Congressman Geoff Davis, currently representing Kentucky. He wants to do it again. Don't let him—he'll only mess it up.

Representative Geoff Davis

(Apologies to actor Ken Berry.)


Monday, October 30, 2006


"Fox and Friends" worries about electronic voting

Imagine my surprise to see Bev Harris of in an interview on "Fox and Friends"! (Fox seems to have posted every other segment of the show online, but the only mention on their website is the text "Plus, just how secure is electronic voting?") The occasion was the upcoming airing on HBO of "Hacking Democracy," in which Harris is featured. The film premiers Thursday night at 9 eastern time (full schedule).

The interview revealed that the documentary contains the only known footage of voting machines "flipping" the vote from one candidate to another. It shows a Republican candidate from Louisiana having her vote switched to her Democratic rival.1

As I watched I wondered, "Is it the propaganda value of the Louisiana incident that has attracted Fox's interest in the electronic voting problem?" I'm sure that didn't hurt, but a bit of current news seems more likely—that President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela might be part owner in Sequoia Voting Systems and parent company Smartmatic, which is owned by three Venezuelans.

A federal "investigation" is underway, undertaken by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). This is the same obscure agency that let the Dubai acquisition of American port operations go through. Suddenly those unhackable voting machines look mighty vulnerable from a right-wing perspective.

The friends at "Fox and Friends" picked up the AP story on the Venezuelans and wondered why foreigners were owning our voting equipment—

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., said Sunday she welcomed the formal review after she asked the government in May to examine the Sequoia takeover.

"It's a national security issue," she said in a telephone interview. "Having a foreign government investing or owning a company in this country that makes voting machines could raise a question about the integrity of the elections."

Actually, forget foreign governments. The question is why any private company, domestic or foreign, should own the voting software and keep it secret from the rest of us. If we are to have electronic voting (and we already have it), the software must be available for public scrutiny.

In any case, it's good to see Bev Harris getting a bit of media in the media. She's the person who first exposed the problems of electronic voting and is still doing work that we can trust. Other organizations have come along—some creditable, some not—to piggyback on what she did. But even the best of them wear a patina of business interests and cooptation.

Harris has an excellent citizen's tool kit for people who want to work on the issue.

Related posts
Blackbox voting update (8/27/04)
"Watchdogs demand vote accountability" (11/15/04)
Bev Harris vs. Keith Olbermann (12/3/04)
Voters' rights organizations questioned (12/21/04)
Bev Harris: The Carrie Nation of Blackbox Voting (1/21/05)



1Unfortunately, many people will see this as an instance of "hacking" and conclude that the Democrats did it. Instead, it is almost certainly an instance of bad programming. You don't hack a vote by displaying the result on screen unless you are unutterably stupid. Well ... nevermind. [back]

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