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Wed, Sep. 5th, 2007, 12:43 pm
Into the Wild

Equipping the Larger Paddler by Wes Boyd

Until fairly recently, the opportunities for larger kayakers -- weighing, say, 250 pounds and up -- have been limited due to the lack of boats and gear adequately sized for them. While the "extra-large" kayakers still don't have the selection that's available to their smaller brethren, manufacturers and dealers have started to take notice that it's a growing market. Even so, adequately equipping and training the larger kayaker can have its challenges.

I'm one of those large sized guys. When I first got back into kayaking, after years away from it, I was nearly a hundred pounds larger than I'd been before. There wasn't much gear available for the big guy -- it seemed like all the neat boats and great gear were designed for people half my 300-pound weight, and I was left out in the cold.

Over a period of time, with lots of searching around and trying things out, I discovered that while the situation was bleak, it wasn't impossible. It's been a slow learning process, but I've found out, at least partly from other people that have the same problems, that kayaking is something perfectly reasonable for the bigger person.

Wes Boyd is a country newspaper editor from southern Michigan who's been paddling off and on for 40 years, mostly on inland lakes and the Great Lakes. His non-commercial hobby web site, kayakplace.com, has a lot of resources for the larger kayaker and much besides.

Sat, Apr. 21st, 2007, 10:39 pm
Greetings from Berlin

 
We've landed in Berlin.  Rented bikes and off to tour the Motherland.  Yesterday, we took in a bundeliger match between HERTHA BERLIN and BORUSSIA DORTMUND.  Dortnund won 1-0.  Today, it's off to Dussman to check out the books and the local scene. 
 
We will be gone for about 3 weeks and will be catching up with all of our Bären brethren.   At The Complete Bear, we believe in living life fully - which includes occasionally stopping to smell the roses. Or in this case, it's more like cruising Schoneberg, Prenzlauer Berg and Kreutzberg. Maybe we’ll run into Berlin’s gay mayor Klaus Wowereit. 

Auf Wiedersehen

 

Mon, Apr. 9th, 2007, 01:49 pm
Got Fur?

Keeping up with all the bear runs and events and deadlines can be a tall order. Visit Got Fur?, our blog designed to keep you connected and informed in one click of your mouse. You'll find information about national and local events, as well as important announcements . . .   

Fri, Apr. 6th, 2007, 09:33 am
Talk amongst yourselves . . .

 

You may have noticed things have been a little quiet as of late. That's because we are off to Berlin – German boys in leather, oh my!  So between all the last minute items and trying to plan for my absence, we've been a little verklempt.

 

We will be gone for about 3 weeks and will be catching up with all of our Bären brethren.   At The Complete Bear, we believe in living life fully - which includes occasionally stopping to smell the roses. Or in this case, it's more like cruising Schoneberg, Prenzlauer Berg and Kreutzberg.  Maybe we’ll run into Berlin’s gay mayor Klaus Wowereit.

 

We hope to return refreshed, inspired and ready to dish on the Motherland.  We promise we won't even make you sit through the slide show of our trip!!

 

Talk amongst yourselves. I'll give you a topic: Rhode Island is neither a road nor an island.

 

There, I feel better.

Thu, Apr. 5th, 2007, 12:14 pm
First the Castro, Now SOMA

I am forwarding this on because I know many of you enjoy Sunday beer busts at the Eagle, and I am sure many of you go to the Hole In The Wall.  I find it very relevant to the bear community, because who knows where this person will stop, if he is not stopped.  I would hate for us to lose other SOMA traditions.

Forwarded from Matt Consola:

Hello All:

For those not aware of what has been going on in the South of Market, Jim Meko, who holds a seat on the city’s Entertainment Commission and is chair of the SoMa Leadership Council, has been trying to rid SoMa of The Eagle & The Hole in The Wall (who is currently owned by the same two people), The Lone Star, as well as prevent newer events like The Hairrison Street Fair. He is currently winning his battle because this issue has been getting little press until yesterday’s article in The SF Bay Times. Below is a great article from The SF Bay Times' Don Baird. I urge you all to voice your opinions loudly and quickly, whether in person or in an e-mail. The hearing is Thursday May 10th. If we stay quite, a huge part of our community, our history and our legacy will be lost forever. Please post to your blogs, e-mail your friends and mobilize before it's too late.

If you would like to voice your opinion or concern on this matter letters can be sent to: President Dwight Alexander, San Francisco Planning Department, 1600 Mission St. Fifth Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103

Letters should be short and to the point, and I urge you to send them soon. The hearing on this matter is on May 10, beginning at 1:30 pm in Room 400 at City Hall.

Thanks
Matt Consola


Are We Losing The Eagle and The Hole in the Wall?

By Don Baird

I’m a former resident of South of Market, where I resided upstairs from a popular bar on Folsom Street for 10 years. Though I moved from the neighborhood about five years ago, I still work in SOMA. For over 12 years I’ve worked at two popular bars that I consider to be fine establishments run by exemplary employers who have enriched the vitality, community and fun of a neighborhood known for its vibrant active gay nightlife for decades. In the mid ‘90s, when the AIDS epidemic had taken its toll on numerous gay businesses and the nightlife was dwindling in the South of Market area, a new bar appeared and rapidly rose to popularity, bringing new life to the neighborhood with a simple festive attitude, and the re-introduction of rock and roll music as the featured style of music in a gay bar. That bar was The Hole in the Wall Saloon, and it unquestionably brought the whole South of Market bar scene back to life, achieving a world renowned reputation as the San Francisco gay bar to go to and a bar truly unlike any other anywhere. As an employee, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told this over the years.

When the owners of the Hole in the Wall Saloon later acquired The San Francisco Eagle, they brought new life to that historic meeting place for our extended gay and leather communities as well, maintaining its regular Sunday tradition of money-raising benefits for various community groups. And during a time when artists and musicians were being forced out of this city by high rents on both rehearsal spaces and homes, and as live music venues in San Francisco began to fold, the Eagle started presenting live music on Thursday nights, rapidly becoming a sanctuary for local and touring bands. This lent some hope and positive energy to a daunted scene, and Thursday nights continue to create a friendly space where many bands love to play. 

I feel like I’ve said all of this before about these bars, but I’m saying it now to lend a bit of background to a current situation faced by the Hole in the Wall. Owners John Gardiner and Joe Banks recently bought a property on Folsom street with plans of relocating the Hole in the Wall. The bar’s current location is a rented space in a structurally problematic building, so they want to move the business to a new space which they own and can design and plan from the floor up to suit the business they created. This process requires attaining construction permits, zoning approval, proper business and liquor licensing and specific permits for operation, all of which the owners have methodically and legally set about doing.

As soon as these processes were set into motion, a certain SoMa resident and business owner who holds a seat on the city’s Entertainment Commission and is chair of the SoMa Leadership Council, seems obsessively bent on squelching every effort of this relocation and anything having to do with the Eagle and the Hole in the Wall. His name is Jim Meko, and he has launched an all-out campaign against both establishments, nit-picking through the history of both bars for the slightest infractions in the past, inventing permit violations that had never appeared or occurred to the business owners or authorities, organizing other neighborhood residents to parrot his complaints and submit requests for discretionary reviews and motions to reject the transference of licenses for the relocation, not to mention personally berating John Gardiner and Joe Banks, characterizing them as “bad bar owners” and urging attendees at a neighborhood meeting, “Do not trust these guys!”

Speaking as one of 21 current employees of one or both bars, I would like to point out that these “untrustworthy and bad bar owners” have without fail provided a safe, sane and systematic place of employment for over a decade for many of us. They have also provided all of us employees as well as a few of their partners with full health insurance coverage, paid vacation time, and an annual employee retreat. This sense of allegiance has prevailed since the opening of the Hole in the Wall and has built a place of employment that goes well beyond just that. As far as bars go, you would be hard-pressed to find another one that treats its staff as well or a staff as committed and loyal. I think these simple facts speak volumes on the characters of Mr. Gardiner and Mr. Banks, and their integrity as bar owners and businessmen.

The statements made by Jim Meko resemble the reaction of someone throwing a temper tantrum in the face of things not quite going his way, like a child who isn’t going to let anyone else have fun unless it is done his way. These statements are also slanderous, untrue, and indicate that there are probably many more off-the-handle, uncalled-for falsehoods where that came from. It really makes one wonder just where all of this negativity and obsession are truly coming from.

But it doesn’t stop there. This man seems to want to stanch and harass any sense of fun, community, history or freedom to convene in the entire South of Market area, especially if it has anything to do with the Eagle or the Hole in the Wall. For someone who has resided in SoMa since 1977, when Folsom was known as “the miracle mile,” why has Jim Meko endeavored to continue the down-sizing of that miracle mile into less than a block of gay businesses, primarily the ones which people historically choose to go to have fun and enjoy themselves?

As a person who holds a seat on the entertainment commission, what portion of this city’s population is this man representing in his obvious and merciless attacks on these businesses? He certainly doesn’t have the people who work there in mind at all, the ones who would soon be without jobs. This clearly doesn’t concern him. Nor does he consider the numerous organizations that have relied on the Eagle as a meeting place to stage benefits for fundraising, and this is a very long list representing several facets of the community. Then there is the gay community who enjoy going out to bars, and you can’t deny their existence and history, but it seems one man is actively trying to do so.

His influence doesn’t simply stop with SoMa. He has tried to curtail similar businesses in several San Francisco neighborhoods from North Beach to the Castro, and has actively battled with the organizers of The Hairrison Street Fair, the newest annual SoMa-based event drawing a large international Bear subculture to the area, causing them to relocate a few blocks down when he wasn't able to get the event cancelled completely. [He has also currently battles with the owners of The Lone Star, Castro St Fair, My Place and other night life establishments and fairs that require gaining licenses on a yearly basis.] Is this the city that San Francisco shall become, void of any sense of nighttime revelry, drinking and the enjoyment of music? That’s clearly the intention of Jim Meko, that and perhaps some local political position that will ensure his power to more effectively continue destroying the nightlife culture, and dare I say the gay culture and community of this city. Who would have ever thought a gay man would want to do that to San Francisco? Are we our own worst enemy?

Though the battle at hand currently involves the relocation of the Hole in the Wall, you can tell by this individual’s selfish blind determination that he’s dead set on doing anything to interrupt and harass the operation of any endeavor involving Gardiner and Banks. In doing so he is attacking one of the qualities that has made San Francisco a desirable destination for gay people everywhere for decades, and definitely one that keeps many residents here and many visitors returning. The demise of the Hole in the Wall would indicate a change in San Francisco that I would have never anticipated, and the beginning of the end of a fine and spirited nightlife unlike any other. I don’t think our city is willing to say goodbye to this institution or this ideal.

If you would like to voice your opinion or concern on this matter letters can be sent to: President Dwight Alexander, San Francisco Planning Department, 1600 Mission St. Fifth Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103

Letters should be short and to the point, and I urge you to send them soon. The hearing on this matter is on May 10, beginning at 1:30 pm in Room 400 at City Hall.

Sun, Mar. 4th, 2007, 09:00 pm
Our Yahoo Groups and sites . . .

Please visit our sponsor 
The Complete Bear 
http://www.thecompletebear.com/
Gifts and more for the bear, his cub and their den!! WOOF!!
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Our newest group 
 
Ultimate Bear Pics
Screw the chat, give me big burly brutes!!
 
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Bear Bones –
Blogging about bear life. Whatever it takes to complete the bear.
 
Bear Campers
 
This group is for bears and cubs who want to camp in the bay area - Big Basin, American River, New Brighton Beach, China Camp, Tahoe, etc.
 
Looking for the best advice on camping, where to find gay bear friendly campgrounds? - This is the place!!
Bears of Leather 
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BearsofLeather/
Bears of Leather provide a safe space for all types of self-identified leather bears to gather, have fun, and work for the organizations and charities within the gay and leather communities. 
Inside you will find all kinds of great stuff for Leather Bears, Cubs, Chubs, Hairy Men more - including Leather & Bear Runs, Clubs, and play spaces. Remember, be nice to one another - these are your bear brothers.
Bears United 
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BearsUnited/
All bear, all the time . . . OK, maybe a few cubs, chubs, otters, wolves and whatever other furry woodland creature makes you go WOOF!!!
Looking to hook up with furry men? This is the place. Have fun, be safe and remember 
"Don't tease the bears . . ."
This site is for gay bears and their admirers who are 18+ . . .
Chewin’ the Fat
http://www.completebear.com/newsletter.php
Chewin’ the Fat is here to help. It is designed to supply you with informative, useful, and practical articles twice a month on a different aspect of bear life. Whether it is love, fashion, fitness, dating, travel, and yes even sex, our newsletter covers it all. We want to provide as many tools as possible to be your beary best. Whatever it takes to complete the bear. 
Chewin’ the Fat is for bears who want to be in the know.
Cigar Bears
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CigarBears/
Cigars, Bears, Smoke, Cubs, Ash, Otters - We welcome all smokin', furry, little (and not so little) gay woodland creatures!! WOOF!!
Inside you will find all kinds of great stuff for Bears, Cubs, Chubs, Hairy Men more - who love a good cigar, an aged scotch and a fine cub - Living the bear life in style!
Fuzzy Balls 
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Fuzzy_Balls/
Rugby, futbol, softball, wrestlin' - Looking for a little man on man action? It's all here. 

Inside you will find all kinds of great stuff for gay sportsmen - including clubs, tournaments, meetings, non-profits and more. Our goal is to create the ultimate gay sports resource - links to local Sports Associations & Groups, Calendar of Events, Socials, Parties, etc.
Got Fur? 
 
Our online blog with bear announcements, events, etc.
 
 Masters of Leather
 
Masters of Leather provide a safe space for all types of self-identified leather men to gather, have fun, and work for the organizations and charities within the gay and leather communities.

Inside you will find all kinds of great stuff for Leather Men, Bears, Tops, Subs, slaves, Masters Sirs, Boys and more - including Leather Runs, Clubs, and play spaces.
Rugger Bears 
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Rugger_Bears/
Don't know your ruck from your scrum? Join these Rugger Bears in all out sweaty, muddy, bone crunchin' fun.

Inside you will find all kinds of great stuff for Rugger Bears - including clubs, tournaments, meetings, non-profits and more. Our goal is to create the ultimate gay rugby resource - links to local Sports Associations & Groups, Calendar of Events, Socials, Parties, etc.
The Bear Wiki
http://ultimatebearlinks.pbwiki.com/
Our desire is to create The Ultimate Bear Resource. The content of this project is created by you. This site is written collaboratively by people from all around the world. This website is a wiki, which means that anyone with access to an Internet-connected computer can edit, correct, or improve information throughout the wiki.
The Pride Ranch 
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ThePrideRanch/
Cowboys, Rodeos, Chaps, Two Steppin, Boots and Spurs! 
Hey Cowboy! We're new! Look for more news and photos to come! 
Inside you will find all kinds of great stuff for gay cowboys - including Rodeo schedules, Two Steppin', GRA Associations and more. Our goal is to create the ultimate gay cowboy/rodeo resource - links to local Gay Rodeo Associations & Groups, Calendar of Events, Socials, Parties, etc. 
The Ultimate Bear Link Site 
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/UltimateBearLinks/
Bears, Cubs, Otters - Oh My! We welcome all furry, little (and not so little) gay woodland creatures!! WOOF!! 
Inside you will find all kinds of great stuff for Bears, Cubs, Chubs, Hairy Men more - including Bear Runs, Bear Clubs, and Bear Travel. Our goal is to create the ultimate bear resource - links to bear groups, clubs, socials, parties, etc. You'll also find links to bear business owners, professionals, and networking.
Top-Dawgs
 
If you can't run with the big dogs, stay on the porch!!
 
Welcome to Top Dawgs - Sniffin' for trouble? You're in the right place. Real Top Dawgs smokin', scratchin and growlin' and the naughty puppies who love em! Open to fun furry gay men. This site is for Dawgs and pups who are 18+ . . .

Tue, Feb. 13th, 2007, 11:50 am
Bitter Ball

Bitter Ball

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Ugh, with Valentine’s Day looming and all your coupled friends planning sweet nothings, are you feeling a little bitter? C’mon – admit it – just a tad?

Good, now relish it. I’m not suggesting wallow in it, but once a year (how about the Day before V-Day?) just let it all out. Think of all the things you can do that your “coupled” friends can’t. Eat cereal on the couch while watching Golden Girls? Let a variety of gases escape your body without apology. Stay up late chatting with TopStud69, again.

And, let’s not forget those potential mates. . . OMG – remember the trick that wouldn’t leave? Doesn’t he know Aramis died in the 80’s? Don’t forget - 500 feet – it’s in the restraining order! Does he really still live with his mother? And my all time favorite – Dialing Drunk. You know when your ex gets the urge to call you after a pitcher of Margarita’s to express his undying love (or at the very least desire for a booty call).

So gather a few friends tonight, go out heave a little fun, dish the dirt on all your “married” friends and just cut loose.

Now, don’t you feel better you got that out of your system?

Sat, Feb. 10th, 2007, 05:51 pm
The Ultimate Bear Resource

The Ultimate Bear Resource

 

Fri, Feb. 9th, 2007, 04:18 pm
The South of Market Bare Chest Calendar

The South of Market Bare Chest Calendar

 

 The South of Market Bare Chest Calendar is a San Francisco institution. Every year 12 hot men are chosen for the Calendar. These 12 men then spend the rest of the year raising money for The Positive Resource Center and The AIDS Emergency Fund. 

Support them and these great organizations by purchasing a calendar today.

Wed, Feb. 7th, 2007, 04:02 pm
Not without my baby

No, it's not another Sally Field made for TV movie, but I'm sure Lifetime has already bought the rights.  Poor Mary Cheney has been forced to defend her right to have a baby.  Let's see Meridith Baxter Birney - a bit too old.  Well it's only a matter of time before Lyndsey Lohan hits Lifetime, she'd be perfect.

OK, so I not in the habit of simply reposting another article. But every now and then, someone just nails it. In this case - it's Dan Savage's open letter to Mary Cheney.

________________________________

The Passion of Mary Cheney

Posted by DAN SAVAGE on February 1 at 9:02 AM

In today’s New York Times Mary Cheney defends her decision to get her lezbo self - knocked the fuck up. Like her father, Mary Cheney believes she shouldn't have to answer for her party’s attacks on same-sex parents. “When Heather and I decided to have a baby, I knew it wasn’t going to be the most popular decision,” Ms. Cheney said, referring to her partner of 15 years, Heather Poe. She then gestured to her middle—any bulge disguised by a boxy jacket—and asserted: “This is a baby. This is a blessing from God. It is not a political statement. It is not a prop to be used in a debate, on either side of a political issue. It is my child.”

Nice try, Mary.

Yes, it’s a baby, not a prop. My kid isn’t a prop either, but that never stopped right-wingers from attacking me and my boyfriend over our decision to become parents. The fitness of same-sex couples to parent is very much part of the political debate thanks to the GOP and the Christian bigots that make up its lunatic “base.”

Read On

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