Wednesday, July 26, 2006
The bill's proponents argue the law would prevent girls from being exploited by older boyfriends coercing them into abortions they really don't want. They argue the absence of such a law actually helps child molestors and incestuous fathers because it somehow "destroys the evidence" of a crime, as if compelling a young girl to carry her father's baby to term and then deliver it so it can become Exhibit A in family court isn't a crime itself.
The rest of us in the Reality Based Community worry about girls being disowned, physically abused, emotionally abused, or perhaps killed by angry parents learning that their prized virgin is no longer pure, the sad story of Spring Adams the worst case in point. We wonder why a non-parental relative, say a grandmother or aunt or big sister, should face jail time for making the courageous decision to help a loved one in an impossible position.
But we also understand that it's not just the "at-risk" girls who are threatened by this legislation. Even those of us who were and are fortunate enough to have an open, trusting relationship with our parents may not have felt at liberty to tell our parents about an unplanned pregnancy. I sure as hell couldn't have. Not out of any fear of violence at my father's hands, but at the worse fate--in my teenaged perception--of his disappointment, the shame of knowing I'd let him down, the shame of my parents knowing exactly what I'd done to end up in that state.
Again, a situation that existed for me, luckily, only in my nightmares. I didn't get pregnant in high school. Hell, I didn't even kiss a guy more than twice, if memory serves. College was a slightly different story, with more than a handful of late periods, dread-filled walks to the Osco farther from campus where I'd be less likely to run into a dorm-mate while carrying my EPT to the checkout stand.
Some of my friends got pregnant at one point or another down the line, before they wanted to. One was impregnated by a 22-year-old when she was 14. Her mother took her for the abortion and then dropped her off at the boyfriend's house because she (the mother) couldn't stand to look at my friend any more. Another got knocked up around 16, by a guy roughly the same age. Her mother paid for the abortion but allowed her to come back home.
My own mother got her little surprise midway through her freshman year in college, and, since it was 1967, ended up married to my dad (hi, folks!) a month later. Abortion wasn't an option then, although they stayed married long enough, I learned later, to create another unwanted pregancy. This one came post-Roe v. Wade, though, and was quickly terminated.
Perhaps oddly, I don't have any sense of relief that I was conceived in the dark ages when the only recourse to a missed period in small-town southern Illinois was a hasty wedding. Her parents were furious. They were rather conservative Methodists who never liked my dad, a rowdy Catholic boy with a reputation for getting into fights, stealing beer, and other mayhem. They had planned to send my mother to France to study piano. Instead, my parents got married (in the Catholic church, at my dad's parents' insistence), and stuck it out 8 years before discovering they'd grown up into vastly different people who had no business being married to each other.
Had it happened five years later, I most likely wouldn't be typing this. They most likely would have marched in straightaway for the abortion, considering that they were both in their first year of college, they most likely wouldn't have married, saving them both a world of grief, and they sure as hell wouldn't have told either of their parental units, saving them both years of approbation. Of course, I wouldn't exist, but I also wouldn't have known the difference, so it's a fair cop. I don't breathe a sigh of relief over that any more than I mourn the loss of the embryo-sibling I never had. Quite simply, I understanf that they were faced with difficult situations and made the best choices available to them at the time.
All girls should be able to make that best choice for themselves, with the counsel of their choosing. Ideally it's a trusted adult, but you gotta work with what you have. Involve your parents if you feel that is the safest choice for you, or involve your aunt or your best friend's mom or buy a Greyhound ticket on your own if that is your only safe option. No one can dictate from a distance what that option will be.
Attorneys for the state and King County [...] said lawmakers had a rational reason for limiting marriage to people of the opposite sex: Only those couples are biologically capable of having children, and keeping them together is generally best for those children.
"The basic decision came down to the fact that the Supreme Court felt that by limiting marriage to opposite sex, they sustained the ability to procreate," said Gary Randall, president of the Faith & Freedom Network in Bellevue. "We consider this a decisive victory that upholds the values of the faith community."
Well, thank god for that. If anyone but straight people are allowed to marry, the human race's ability to procreate will surely disappear in a wisp of smoke. Because not only will straight married couples suddenly become sterile, but unmarried straight people will stop impregnating each other as well.
I now eagerly await the logical extension of the court's reasoning, which should be to limit marriage in the state of Washington to fertile straight people, and to compel divorce for post-menopausal newlyweds and otherwise sterile, childless couples.
Oh, yeah, the "faith community" can shove its mean-spirited values up its ass, just before kissing mine.
Monday, July 24, 2006
Otter Pops are helpful. Here is some useful Spanish for Otters.
|Nice to meet you.||Mucho Gusto.|
|What is your name?||¿Como te llamas?|
|My name is...||Me llamo...|
|I am a saltwater otter.||Soy una nutria de la agua salada.|
|I am a freshwater otter.||Soy una nutria de agua dulce.|
|Which way to the water?||¿Dónde está el agua?|
|Is the water cold today?||¿Es el agua fría hoy?|
|Those rocks are slippery.||Esas rocas son deslizadizas.|
|Your musk smells lovely.||Su almizcle huele encantador.|
|How old is your pup?||¿Cómo vieja es su nutria infantil?|
|That tickles my whiskers.||Ese cosquillas mis barbas.|
|This kelp is delicious.||Este quelpo es delicioso.|
Mi almizcle no huele encantador, porque yo tango demasiado calor. Pobrecita!
Friday, July 21, 2006
So of course the Congress wants to give moral authority to Israel. It fits quite nicely with the rationalizations for Abu Ghraib, Haditha, Mahmoudiya. You know, the "everyone else is doing it" defense. Why the Democrats jumped on board is beyond me, but I'm near the point of giving up trying to understand.
Note the second! Did anyone else notice the little blip that wasn't? The breathless announcement that
One or more Iranians witnessed North Korea's recent missile tests, deepening U.S. concerns about growing ties between two countries with troubling nuclear capabilities, a top U.S. official said on Thursday.My own reaction was something along the lines of... how do you say... "Yeah, right, whatever." Funny how lying your way into a war makes people wary of each subsequent attempt to fire up a new war.
What else... ah, yes, note the third! The stem-cell veto. The Snowflake kids. The fetishizing of the fetus marches on relentlessly, with W making it crystal clear that the potential life represented by 400,000 microscopic clumps of cells languishing in liquid nitrogen outweighs the actualized lives of hundreds of thousands of functioning, thinking, feeling children and adults who are suffering from any number of syndromes and ailments that might one day be alleviated through stem-cell therapy.
So many dots to connect. The primacy of the fetus. The increasing power of ideologue pharmacists to deny not only emergency contraception but routine birth control as well. The increasing influence of religious fundamentalists who wish to outlaw birth control even for married couples. The federal guidelines encouraging all post-pubescent women to consider themselves pre-pregnant and frame their personal healthcare in terms of preparing for gestation. The fashion pages gushing that pregnancy is the new chic. And now the official White House policy of encouraging adoption of throwaway extra 5-day-old embryos (142 Snowflake kids so far! 399,858 to go!) and forbidding the use of any to develop treatments for diseases that are guaranteed to cause profound suffering, degradation, and ultimately early loss of life for thousands of existing people every year.
W doesn't want "innocent life" destroyed for stem-cell research. You know, this adherence to the concept of Original Sin jumping onto babies as soon as they flop out of the birth canal and automatically disqualifying them for consideration by the GOP is getting old. Is my co-worker's 11-year-old daughter, freshly diagnosed with diabetes, not an innocent life? She's been out for 11 years, going on 12, and dreams about boys, but methinks she hasn't gotten around nearly enough to have lost the "innocent" tag. She got whacked hard with the diabetes stick thanks to genes that shut down her pancreas, not through any fault of her own. My ex-sister-in-law's mother is struggling with early onset Alzheimer's. She's a church-going, God-fearing Baptist farmer's wife who with her husband raised up four friendly, polite, caring kids in rural North Carolina, the sweetest and most generous soul I've ever met. Am I to believe that her life is outweighed on the cosmic scales by a handful of blastocytes that have never seen the light of day, much less had a single coherent thought or faced hard choices and moral dilemmas and still come down on the side of goodness?
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
While talking to Tony Blair, he said "shit" around his mouthful of buttered roll into an open mike. That one's not so bad in my book, really. It speaks volumes about the man that it's about the level of decorum we've come to expect. At least he didn't get Blair with the old "see food!" thing. That would have been worse.
The gaffe that sealed it for me, though, was his fly-by shoulder massage on Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany. This has been a peeve of mine forever. You're sitting at the table, or at a desk in the library, whatever, and a friend comes up behind you and squeezes the life out of your trapezius muscles. After peeling you (all right, me) off the ceiling, the friend huffily says, "I was just giving you a neck massage." Okay, here's the deal: all the cumulative stress of the past almost-39 years marches straight to the traps and establishes residency. They are rock hard, and as much as I'd like to credit all those reps of upright rows for that, it's a pathology and it fucking hurts when somebody digs their thumbs into them ("digs" here meaning "touches").
Given that, I think W is lucky that Merkel only flung her hands shoulder-high in a startle reflex, rather than burying her butter knife between his eyes.
It is, however, still pretty damn funny reading about it on the Bild.de website. "Bush: Liebes-Attacke auf Merkel!" If you read German, take a look. The fotogalerie captions are priceless.
Later today at G8: W calls the hotel staff to ask if the mini-bar is running.
Sunday, July 16, 2006
Thank you for your most recent generous contribution toward the creation of a Planned Parenthood style center on the Pine Ridge Reservation. A group of women have since then applied for non-profit corporation along with establishing a bank account. These women are from the same community as the President and each day receive more calls from women across the reservation who want to be part of this endeavor.
The Pine Ridge Reservation is 150 x 50 miles covering 2.7 million acres of land. There are nine district governments across our land and the community of Medicine Root has been selected to be the site for this project. The women all agree that along with reproductive services, the wellness model of mind, heart, body and spirit will be provided. This includes therapeutic services both western and Lakota methods for women who have been raped, sexually traumatized or abused at anytime in their life cycle.
Due to the high rates of chronic illness and diseases, the Indian Health Service budget is spent on treatment and overhead for staff and facilities with little left over for education, awareness and prevention.
We are returning the check/money order that you sent and are respectfully asking you to send another check/money order written to Sacred Choices P.O. Box 23, Kyle, South Dakota 57752. In the self addressed stamped envelope enclosed. We can then send you a receipt for your records and ours.
We appreciate your support. Please visit our website at http://sacredchoiceswomensclinic.org or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Again, thank you very much for your support.
Wopila Tanka (a big thank you),
Emily Bull Bear
This is encouraging for a few reasons. It's gratifying to see a group of women come together to actualize the vision initiated by President Fire Thunder, after the apparently successful attempt by the tribal council to not only silence her but remove her from power. I am also pleased to see the holistic approach and wide spectrum of services the clinic is planning on offering. Rather than being "just" an abortion clinic, Sacred Choices will be a full health care facility intended to address sexual assault, overall women's health, and education and prevention.
Hopefully Sacred Choices will succeed in its mission. Hopefully it can become a model for other groups of oppressed or under-represented women to grab the initiative and exercise self-determination in procuring health care that will otherwise be denied or watered down by political pressure. May this be a fresh start and successful endeavor for the women of the Oglala Nation.
note: a PayPal link is up and running on the Sacred Choices website now
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Happy birthday, sweet pup. Here's hoping to at least a couple more.
Having had the time, now, to come up for air, I'm seeing a conspicuous and--to me, at least--baffling lack of indictments and, now, the news from Novak that Rove indeed was one of the leakers. I do seem to remember W vowing to fire anyone who was involved in that sorry mess and many of as salivating at the thoughts of Rove heading up a cascade of indictments leading all the way up to Cheney.
Funny how fantasy manages to outstrip reality almost every damn time.
On the Chicago Tribune website, the link to the story was buried well below the fold, below the story about the lady in Lake Forest whose neighbors are trying to get her pet pigs evicted. It's apparently simply not news. Is this because everyone pretty much knew the whole time that Rove was behind it? That Cheney had a heavy hand in it? That it ultimately doesn't matter who did what, who knew what when, because these guys are so far above the law they can do whatever they want, and most of America will yawn and go back to talking about why the AL has been so dominant in the All-Star game for the past decade?
Can someone explain this to me? Does the majority of the population really not hear about this sort of thing, do they hear about it and not understand it enough to form an opinion, do they understand it and think it's right and good that the unitary executive branch behave like an old-school dictator, or do they understand it and simply sigh and resign themselves to yet another session bent over with no Astroglide?
Monday, July 10, 2006
If it's 50 years before I again see a furry Italian player sliding around in old-man whitie-tighties, it will be too soon.
And American announcers seriously need to come up with something different to say on EVERY FREAKING HEADBALL besides "nods it down." I found it quite bothersome after, oh, I don't know, maybe the 90th time it was said, which was about the 30th minute of the very first game. Put Foudy in the booth as color commentator next time. Hell, just let her do all the talking. Marcelo Balboa's pretty to look at, but is beyond grating.
Anyway. Italy are still a bunch of diving bastards. Up Australia!
Back to politics and the cognitive dissonance of being a liberal dyke in George Bush's America tomorrow.
Saturday, July 08, 2006
Yesterday was the first major daytime soaker of the season, at least in my neighborhood. More than an inch of rain fell in less than an hour, leaving flood marks far enough off the curb to make it look like Country Club Blvd. was under a couple feet of water at some point. My wretched, hateful acacia trees seem happy; their little wells stayed full for quite a while. Unfortunately, the butyl rubber caulking around the front door has completely surrendered, meaning that our ill-designed inward-sloping entryway helpfully directed the rainwater through the wall and into the front hall.
The rug smells... just... lovely.
In bird news, the doves continue to be pigs with wings, hogging all the seed and the peanut butter suet as well. Here is a white-winged dove (Zenaida porcini) chowing down on the fancy birdseed bell while a female house finch waits patiently in the background before toppling into the thorns of the hateful acacia tree in hypoglycemic shock.
No, not really. The dove eventually gave up on trying to peck millet out of the rock-hard bell and left it to the finches.
Friday, July 07, 2006
More specifically, it stung me within the perimeter of where the bikini line would have been, had I been wearing bikini underwear. Another inch inboard and there would have been a major problem. It's a very difficult spot to grab in public while hopping up and down, trying to dig the bee out, while saying aaaaauuuuuuggggghhhhh fuck fuckfuckFUCK very loudly. The boy was no help whatsoever.
Then I got to walk home from the park with a burning sensation shooting down my leg and laterally into other areas. No chance of digging the stinger out, as I needed both a mirror and unfamiliar contortions to even see the friggin' welt. Which was huge. The burning was eventually replaced with numbing that was troubling but, fortunately, transient. Everything seems to be in working order, with only a residual sensation of a small nail having been driven into the left side of my, uh, area.
Sitting down is interesting today!
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Not sure if she bought that line of reasoning, but she smiled and nodded vigorously--a smile 'n' nod NOT, I would point out, accompanied by any furtive glances at or slow backing toward the door.
I pushed for a Honda Element. Not holding my breath on that happening.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Since I had no plans for company, I walked over to Casa earlier in the evening to pick up some movies. No, I still hadn't gotten around to watching Brokeback Mountain yet, so I grabbed it. Then I picked up Imagine Me & You for some gender and lightness balance. Brokeback. Wow. I forgot whatever shortcomings I'd heard people complain about and was mesmerized. Falling for someone, wanting more than they can give, both people forfeiting their lives as a result... damn. I shed a tear or three. A few parts of the film resonated so deeply with me that I had to hit the pause button, grab an old photo album, and lose myself for a while in pictures and the nearly forgotten emotions they dredged up to the surface. Damn. Just damn. The final scene did me in.
Imagine Me & You. Well, what can I say? The reviews said it was predictable, but shee-it, after the Brokeback meatgrinder I was ready for light and a predictable happy ending. It is not a great film by any means, but the matter-of-fact treatment of two women in the romantic leads and the portrayal of lesbians in a decidedly non-stereotypical way that focused on the emotions and individuals involved was so novel as to be near-jaw dropping for me. Nobody fooled around and decided she was straight after all, nobody died, nobody was disowned by their parents. I might buy it just for that. It doesn't hurt that they were easy on the eyes. I mean, Piper Perabo is cute enough, but Lena Headey, ohhhhh my. My oh my.
Thank god I decided to watch them in that order. The second one prompted a few memories of a different nature, to be sure, but the sheer airiness and certainty of the ending soothed the catharsis of the first movie. The Brokeback music is stuck in my head; I'm picking it out on the guitar tonight bit by bit. Powerful experience.
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Emboldened, I approached my mom. She was fine with it, not very surprised, pleased I'd figured it out, hopeful it would give me some peace.
Batting a thousand, I figured Dad would be a piece of cake. We'd become quite close during my college years and after, happily transitioning from father-child to a more mature partners-in-crime sort of relationship spiked with random moments of him harrumphingly reasserting his position of fatherly authority. I figured coming out to him would be not much different from him, years before, mustering the courage to tell me that his second marriage had failed. I had clinked my bottle of Moosehead against his and said, "'Here's to ya." (note: that's how he proudly remembers it, so I let the fuzzy reinterpretation of history stand; it makes a better story anyway) I expected a blink or two, a toast to my happiness, and then moving on to whatever the next thing was we wanted to talk about. We were sitting in front of his fireplace. He had just finished telling me that I had been the perfect child for him. I seized the carp and asked if he'd still think that if I came home with a woman next time instead of with a man.
Mmmmmm, major miscalculation there.
Dad wasn't happy. Are you sure? Why are you sure? Are you sure it's not just [the girl]? Don't you think if you found the right man, say someone like me or your uncle, you'd go back to men?
And, of course, the biggest question: How will you decide who mows the lawn?
It was bad.
That was February 2000. I moved on at something of a distance from him, beginning the inexorable separation that continues to this day. Spring came and went; I planted flowers and tomatoes in the yard, played with my son, hung with friends, dallied very long-distance with a woman, endured the occasional phoned-in admonition from Dad that my body was sacred and moving from relationship to relationship was unhealthy. I'm still not sure where that came from, since I hadn't actually had sex with anyone, let alone an actual girlfriend, since my divorce. Maybe it was the Straight Man's Imagination run wild about an unattached lesbian in a city full of women; somehow I don't think my single brothers got the same kinds of calls. Meanwhile, the boy frolicked around on the cusp of eight, getting used to his parents living in houses a few doors down the street from each other.
July 4, 2000, I took him down to Barrio Libre so we could get an up-close view of the fireworks shot from A Mountain (A as in Arizona, for the non-natives). The James Dale Boy Scout thing had just hit the Supreme Court, and the local council had just sent out a particularly nasty mailer to all the Scout families decrying the Homosexual Attack On Scouting... we talked about that a little, and I told him the Scouts didn't think gay people could be leaders or good role models. I asked what he thought about it, and he said he didn't think it was fair just because a guy loved another guy. I took a deep breath and asked what he'd think if he found out I was one of those gay people. He looked at me and asked, "Are you?" Sigh. Yes, I said, I am. He thought about it for a splittest of seconds and then said, "But you're still a good person, right?" Yeah, I said, I try to be. "That's all that matters," he said.
Then he sat back on my knee and we went back to watching the stars explode overhead.
Today we're watching the World Cup game with his dad before the boy heads off to hang with his friends. He'll watch the fireworks with them tonight, a confident kid on the cusp of 14 who still tells me "I love you" every night when I tuck him in.
Maybe I'll climb up on the roof tonight to watch a few stars explode, remembering the night six years ago when I had the one coming out that mattered.
Sunday, July 02, 2006
Thursday night at Sonic (cranberry limeade! highly! recommended!). A little girl maybe 8 or 9 years old is zipping around the patio area with a ball, kinda bouncing it, kicking it, back and forth. "KANSAS!" Apparently her mother, in a minivan. "GET OVER HERE NOW!" "I MEAN IT! I GUESS YOU DON'T WANT ANY DESSERT TONIGHT!"... "KANSAS!" This goes on for a good five minutes solid, the girl completely tuning it out. Round about the fourth time the mom threatens withholding dessert, the girl--apparently having counted to the magic number of empty threats in her head and finding herself hard against the threshold--returns to the minivan. The ensuing screaming match is bloodcurdling enough for me to lean over and squint through the tinted windows to make sure no one's hair is being ripped out by the roots. They eventually leave. I don't notice if dessert is actually delivered before they do.
Saturday morning. A friend comes over for breakfast and World Cup, cooks eggs while I singe the bacon, talks about her ex and potential new guy. It makes me think of the days when I used to stop by a different friend's house for breakfast every morning. Sometimes we'd say screw the eggs and have ice cream instead. That seems like a lifetime ago. The GF doesn't like the former breakfast-mate very much and anyway she married some Baptist guy and moved up to Nuevo Phoenix so it doesn't much matter. Well, actually, she lives somewhere in the vicinity of Oro Valley, but it's all the same to me once you get north of River Road.
Saturday evening, Fourth Avenue. I'm there for a leisurely stroll. Tucson seems to be much more of a Friday night than a Saturday night kind of place. It's fairly deserted at 8:00. I walk from Antigone up to Epic and back, think about stopping in both places but ultimately keep walking. I wanted to walk to clear my head but keep tripping over the voice that asks where the hell everybody is.
Sunday afternoon. The boy was home long enough on Saturday to grab his things and truck over to a friend's house to spend the night. I pick him up and we hit Xoom Juice (Velvet Amazon! Highly! Recommended!) before going home. We play a game and then it's back in the truck for the drive up to his dad's house in, coincidentally, a different part of Nuevo Phoenix. I guess I'm okay with it.
Sunday night, my back yard. The girl dog finds her first palo verde beetle of the season. She is delirious with joy. I retreat to the garden to water the tomatoes and gulp my beer and try to not think about the hideously oversized, extra-crunchy exoskeleton being torn open and consumed one lip-smacking bite at a time. For the briefest second I almost understand George Bush. Better she should eat the fucking things in the yard than find them inside the house.
Now the house is quiet. Maktub, Dave Matthews, and Delbert McClinton on the CD changer, softly, the little floor fan providing a steady background drone. Dogs asleep on the floor. Chores done. I'm waiting. For exactly what, I'm not sure.
Saturday, July 01, 2006
Oh, Brazil. The only thing missing from Ronaldo's performance was the 3-meter board. He pulled off a couple of beautiful dives, including a late one just outside the area that inexplicably resulted in the hapless bystanding French defender getting booked instead. Brazil showed some flashes, but France put on the best display of Jogo Bonito today. Ronaldo is a diving little git. Zidane and Henry, on the other hand, were pure class and grace. So fluid, so creative, such a joy to watch.
Oh, look. Osama's still around. Oh, look, 66 more dead in Baghdad.
Merci, Zizou, for the couple hours' distraction.