Sunday, December 28, 2008

Connect the Dots, Year-end Edition

Top!Secret G-woman's on top of things for me.

Happy Christmas, Papa Ratzi! Does the Vatican Daily Hat subscribe to the AP feed? If so, you may have noticed an interesting story this morning that probably qualifies as stunning, ground-breaking news to you despite falling squarely in the middle of No Shit, Sherlock-Land for most of the rest of us.

Young gay people whose parents or guardians responded negatively when they revealed their sexual orientation were more likely to attempt suicide, experience severe depression and use drugs than those whose families accepted the information, according to a new study.

The way in which parents or guardians respond to a youth's sexual orientation profoundly influences the child's mental health as an adult, say researchers at San Francisco State University, whose findings appear in today's journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Please note that the parents' response can only profoundly influence the child's adult mental health if said child survives into adulthood rather than taking an early exit in the face of impossible expectations from family and church.

Not the optimal outcome.

So please give it a rest, Joe (Benny? which do you prefer?), and give parents the space to follow their instincts and be parents rather than parrots of your favorite intrinsically-disordered cracker line. You do not have kids. You do not even have sex, except possibly with that hot Italian secretary of yours who has undoubtedly ground his perfect teeth to nubbins from all the clenching of that perfect jaw that would be required to get anywhere near your icy cold nethers. So stuff a sock in it, already, and muse a little about what the Jewish guy with a beard really thought about things.

In somewhat related Wow I Had No Idea news, yet another study has concluded that virginity pledges don't result in much more than pregnant teenagers, or at least a 90/10 split between pregnant teenage girls and teenage girls with really sore asses who think they're still virgins.

The new analysis of data from a large federal survey found that more than half of youths became sexually active before marriage regardless of whether they had taken a "virginity pledge," but that the percentage who took precautions against pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases was 10 points lower for pledgers than for non-pledgers.

The pope has yet to comment on this, and projecting his scorecard is not the easiest task. Major minus: sex before marriage, minor plus: no birth control, major plus: at least they're doin' it with the opposite gender. So while Ratzi may give a slight edge to the purity ringers, reality scores things very differently.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


The Aztecs knew the deal with the end of the year. Their calendar couldn't handle 365 days, so at the end of day 360 they hunkered down for a workweek's worth of days and laid low to keep the world from ending. Coinciding as nicely as it does with our own cultural dead time between Christmas and New Year's, I fully advocate doing the same, with my own personal hunkering involving a comfy chair, a blanket, many hot drinks, the 2009 NY Times crossword calendar, and random bowl games.

Probably not going to happen to the standards set by my rich fantasy life, but so far so good.

In other news, we're busy bribing Afghan tribal leaders to cooperate with us and rat out the Taliban. With something better than guns!
In their efforts to win over notoriously fickle warlords and chieftains, the officials say, the agency's operatives have used a variety of personal services. These include pocket knives and tools, medicine or surgeries for ailing family members, toys and school equipment, tooth extractions, travel visas and, occasionally, pharmaceutical enhancements for aging patriarchs with slumping libidos, the officials said.

Ew. Sorry, women/child brides of Kandahar province! Just when you thought the old geezer's willy had finally shriveled up and flopped over for the last time, here come the Special Forces and the magic blue pills! And a happy Eid al Adha to you too!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

In Solemn Stillness

Well, not exactly solemn or still, but waiting for Santa anyhow.

Christmas came for me over this past weekend when my parents showed up for our annual party and my dad, who seven years ago curtly instructed newly-out-to-him me not to bring my girlfriend to his house or mention anything about Teh Ghey to him, bounced into my house with Newsweek's pro-gay-marriage cover story, gleefully told me my Doc Marten knockoffs are so gay, hugged my partner, and generally played the role of father, grandfather, and father-in-law to perfection. He also cheerfully chatted up all 50+ party guests, including his favorite lesbian couple pals of ours. And he made us a birdfeeder for our gift.

We put a rainbow lightning bolt sticker in his stocking. He plans to proudly put it on his Harley and just hopes some punkass tries to give him a hard time.

And that, ladies and gents, is my hope for the future. The rest of it, including the 24-pound turkey and the ham cowering in the fridge until tomorrow and whatever's lurking under the tree are really just gravy. I got my Christmas wish. I hope you get the best of what your season of choice holds for you as well.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Well, That Didn't Take Long

What was I saying about being too distracted by Christmas stuff to be able to get riled about goings-on in the real world? Yeah, well, that's over. Obama has made his pick for inauguration invocation-giver. And he picked evangelical megachurch purpose-driven pastor Rick Warren. Rick Assassinate-Ahmedinejad-And-Abortion-Is-Equivalent-To-The-Holocaust-And-Oh-By-The-Way-Gay-Marriage-Means-Ministers-Will-Go-To-Jail Warren.
Pastor Warren, while enjoying a reputation as a moderate based on his affable personality and his church's engagement on issues like AIDS in Africa, has said that the real difference between James Dobson and himself is one of tone rather than substance. He has recently compared marriage by loving and committed same-sex couples to incest and pedophilia. He has repeated the Religious Right's big lie that supporters of equality for gay Americans are out to silence pastors. He has called Christians who advance a social gospel Marxists. He is adamantly opposed to women having a legal right to choose an abortion.

Neat! We voted for change and got an inauguration speaker that couldn't be much Bushier unless he grows the goatee out into a full neckbeard!

Fuck. We've been looking at the Cabinet, we've been looking at the Blagojevich connections or not, we've been looking at the goddamn puppy possibilities and feeling pretty good. Should we continue to focus on the Education pick and avert our eyes from Warren because he just doesn't matter, or does Pastor Prop 8 matter just a little more than that?

Maybe this is simply a craven ploy, a right-wing trump card played to finally negate the Rev. Wright card the Republicans led (and somehow slipped back into their hands to play again and again). After all, most of us who voted for Obama managed to roll our eyes and shrug Wright's histrionics away; shouldn't we do the same with Warren? I do not think so. I do not think so because this was a calculated move to create an association for some incomprehensible political end rather than failing to sever an existing long-term association. I do not think so because Rick Warren does a hell of a lot more to foment bigotry and operationalize it in law than Jeremiah Wright could ever dream of. Wright is annoying. Warren is fucking dangerous.

Or maybe it's not craven politics at all and Rick Warren is the guy Barack Obama really thinks is the best to speak to the nation's soul on the occasion of his inauguration. And that one I don't want to think about at all. I can handle him being an unapologetic politician. I can't handle him being the kind of douchebag who thinks Rick Warren should be pastor-in-chief for even ten minutes.

More howling may be found at FireDogLake, Atrios, Americablog, Washington Monthly, Shakesville, Digby, Bilerico, and Pam's House Blend.

Thanks, Top!Secret G-woman!

Non-politicking at Its Best

I let the Big 3 bailout come and go without comment, not that I didn't have any, and similarly allowed the Bush Revisionist History Tour and Shoe Toss pass without so much as a link to the video (although I did enjoy the mashup with the Three Stooges).

Bad blogger.

Why? Well, mostly because it finally feels like Christmas, or what passes for feeling like Christmas in these parts, with a slight chill in the air and mornings cold enough to warrant long pants and sweaters (and sometimes even a jacket!), and two or three gloomy gray overcast days in a row with clouds draped artfully over the mountains, sometimes spitting rain, sometimes snow way up top, and strings of lights springing up on roofs and trees. The nonstop holiday music finally has some relevance.

Chez Bolt is preparing for the annual holiday bash, this year falling conveniently on the first night of Chanukah/winter solstice (better luck next year, Eid al Adha and Kwanzaa). We are scurrying around cleaning, cooking, baking, and taking on minor construction projects, trying to keep the firewood dry and the flowers alive for just a few more days until the usual 50+ peeps converge on the house for an evening of genuine good cheer.

Until then, of course, I have the genuine flipout over everything that's left to be done to keep me company. Shopping! (even in a year of not buying much at all in the way of presents, I'm still way behind schedule) Christmas cards! (bought? yes. addressed? HA!) Remembering to take a breath or two! And a drink or three? I'm on it.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Trial Run

This is post number one with the new Latitude, not that there will be any difference from the reading end of things, but it makes me feel like I'm accomplishing something. The keyboard has a softer feel than the Inspiron, indeed going so far as to flex slightly on typing--a feature I dearly hope was designed rather than being a harbinger of cracking in half or some other godawful catastrophe--and makes a quiet skittering sound not unlike several cats zipping across the roof in the middle of the night. The part of the case where your hands rest while typing is slightly textured with an almost gritty feel, where the Inspiron was smooth, leading me to try to brush it off several times before figuring out it's supposed to feel that way. Color saturation is not great, but that's fixable... somehow.

And it's keeping me warm since it's pretty freaking cold in here. Full service machine.


Innumerable small tasks are keeping me down, most of them related to this thing called "job," some related to the upcoming "Christmas party" and super-related "visit by parents." Both of the latter happening this weekend, by the way, with a day shoehorned in there of "drive up to Phoenix for yet another youth volleyball tournament."

Christ. Now that I'm finally at the age where my lack of both energy and patience to deal with unwanted tasks might most justifiably be approached with liberal doses of therapeutic alcohol, I'm too fucking old to be able to drink more than one drink without either falling on the floor, falling asleep, or putting on roughly fifty pounds for every beer.

Anyway. The nice new computer guy at work is setting up my wicked cool new laptop, so I'm sure the blogging quality will shoot through the roof any moment now. Stay tuned.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Teh Chrismus spirit, I no haz it.

Meh. Feh. Wev.

Maybe it's a lack of decorations. The lights are up on the outside (eat it, Mario; we beat you again this year) but nothing's going on inside except a weird little manger scene art piece thing (as much as a cast-resin item from the "spiritual" section at Kohls can be said to be art) my grandmother handed me at Thanksgiving. Many many years ago it somehow came up in conversation that I had a few manger scenes knocking around the closet--apparently it was the gift for newlyweds in southern Illinois in the early '90s--and she was so delighted at the thought that I was finally collecting something that did not involve dirt, rocks, or dead things slowly pickling in specimen jars that I have been receiving a new mostly awful manger scene every year. This one's probably the best of the bunch so far, I gotta say, and I made a splendid save when she asked me if I keep them up all year or just put them out at Christmas and how do I display them. Oh, I clear out a few shelves for them, I said. This was the right answer. Of course, those shelves are mostly in my shed and occasionally at Goodwill, but whatever.

Maybe it's a lack of snow. Granted, I live in the desert in southern Arizona, so this excuse is wearing thin after almost 15 years. It's been cold enough in the mornings to be able to wear long pants to work and occasionally a sweater. You can't see your breath all day long, though.

Maybe it's a lack of enthusiasm for shopping. It is certainly exacerbated by the same economy that's shitty all all over the country, even where there's snow and crisp air. Not that I have made it a habit to incinerate cash on overkill presents in years past, but it is simply hard to get too revved up about spending anything, no matter how local I can pride myself on keeping my money.

Maybe it's something else entirely that I'd rather not explore.

Anybody want a drink?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Not That Much of a Stretch, Actually

As Much as It Pains Me to Say This...

Where Rachel bunted, Jon Stewart ignored the "take" sign and knocked Mike Huckabee outta the park and past the parking lot.

Stewart consistently gets it, and is the first big-distribution commentator I know of who has had the spine to tell a right-winger to his face that religious affiliation is the most blatant "lifestyle choice" there is. Nice jab also at proponents of a meritocracy dismissing an entire class of people out of hand while assuming that a status uniquely and exclusively qualifies another class of people (straights) for a particular job (parenting).

Thanks as always to Top!Secret G-woman, who consistently points me to interesting things I go to bed too early to notice.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Rod Blagojevich Misses Memo on 21st Century Happening, Acts Surprised to See Federal Agents

Jesus, Blago. You are an Illinois politician, but it's not the '50s or '60s anymore. Or the late '90s.
Federal authorities arrested Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich Tuesday on charges that he brazenly conspired to sell or trade the Senate seat left vacant by President-electBarack Obama to the highest bidder.

Blagojevich also was charged with illegally threatening to withhold state assistance to Tribune Co., the owner of the Chicago Tribune, in the sale of Wrigley Field, according to a federal criminal complaint. In return for state assistance, Blagojevich allegedly wanted members of the paper's editorial board who had been critical of him fired.

"I'm going to keep this Senate option for me a real possibility, you know, and therefore I can drive a hard bargain," Blagojevich allegedly said later that day, according to the affidavit, which also quoted him as saying in a remark punctuated by profanity that the seat was "a valuable thing — you just don't give it away for nothing."

Was Jim Edgar the last clean governor we had in Illinois? Lordy. Ethical behavior really needs to not be the sole property of Downstate Republicans.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Daily Star Tucson Love Stories Watch, Part IV

My suspicions that the whole thing is a setup for a moral-of-the-story that marriage is what we make it were further strengthened by Sunday's love story installment about a couple that (1) has three failed marriages between them and (2) is finished with procreation, with six grown children between them.

Plus! The guy is 100 percent disabled, and his wife has stuck by him 24/7 in the hospital and out. Insert obligatory visitation rights nod here.

When is the payoff coming? The big reveal? Move that bus, Daily Star, and show the normal-as-all-these-crazy-straight-people gay people who have been in the shadows.

In Which, Yet Again, We Got Nuthin'

Full weekend of whaaaaaaat the fuck am I doing followed by a similar day at work followed by a perfectly lovely evening watching the boy in a series of single scenes for drama class--he was the best of any of them, truly--leaves the blog woefully ignored.

Stuff went on in the world, I'm sure, including Notre Dame setting themselves for another chapter in the What the Flying Fuck Chronicles they've been compiling over the past ten years by accepting a bid to the *cough* Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve. This is fortuitous because it means I'll be too full of red wine and smoked ham to care.

And the downside to having dumped ~15 pounds is that I am now obsessive about keeping track of calories consumed and calories elliptical machined away and weight lifted and weight maintained on a daily basis, and it's driving me fucking insane. When I was tubbier I was unhappy about it but that was about the extent of my emotional investment. Now that I am slightly less so, damn. This is no way to live.

Back to the cutting political and cultural commentary tomorrow. For reals.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Connect-the-Dots Day on the Front Lines of the Big Gay Culture War

Front-page news in southern Arizona's burgeoning Bridal Expo Daily Star! Divorces are down, both nationally and locally! Could it be that all these marriage-defendin' constitutional amendments have finally started to make a difference? Was the passing of Prop 102 in Arizona and Prop 8 in California the bellwether the nation had been seeking for confirmation that marriage is sacred and cool and preservation-worthy again?

Well, no, actually. It's the economy.
In these scary economic times, couples seem to be sticking to the "for worse" part of their marriage vows and deciding their differences may not be so unreconcilable after all.

[Tucson family law attorney Steve Centuori] said people will stay in an unhappy marriage longer during tough economic times, and when the economy gets better, people will file for divorce again.

"It's really interesting," said Centuori, who has been practicing family law in Tucson for seven years. "The two main reasons for divorce are finances and personal differences; finances being the top reason."

Think back with me, for a moment, to any of the comment pages attached to gay marriage stories in the Star, or the Chicago Tribune, or pretty much any paper you may have been reading over the past several years. Specifically, think of all the comments tsk-tsking that our insistence on full marriage rights that include federal and social security benefits, instead of settling for piecemeal civil unions or individually-negotiated contracts, proves that we we're really only in it for the money, not for love. So now it seems that a lot of straight couples are only sticking with it for the money themselves, love having vacated the relationship some time ago, and intend to separate what God hath joined just as soon as they can scrape together enough cash to do so.

Item the next: Jonah Goldberg. Jonah's upset at the gay people who got so upset at upright Californians exercising their democratic right to vote to take away one specific minority group's existing civil rights. Specifically, his shorts are in a bunch over the Mormon home-invasion ad that aired on election day in California.

The argument is that Mormons used illegitimate power, in this case money, beyond their numerical standing in the population to secure victory for the measure. Golly, wealthy gay liberals would never do anything like that!

No, it's just that Mormons are the most vulnerable of the culturally conservative religious denominations and therefore the easiest targets for an organized campaign against religious freedom of conscience.

It's often lost on gay-rights groups that they and their allies are the aggressors in the culture war. Indeed, they admit to being the "forces of change" and the "agents of progress." They proudly want to rewrite tradition and overturn laws. But whenever they're challenged democratically and peaceably, they instantly complain of being victims of entrenched bigots, even as they adopt the very tactics they abhor.

No comment yet from Jonah on his outrage over the blatantly dishonest pro-Prop 8 ads that aired throughout the election season with claims that children would be "taught gay marriage" in school and churches would be shut down and pastors sued when they refuse to conduct ceremonies for same-sex couples, but I'm sure it must be coming. I mean, someone as righteous as Jonah Goldberg wouldn't overlook something like that, would he?


This is already getting very, very old. The Mormons have been intently planning for decades to fight in every state of the union to deny full civil rights to a group of citizens whose only offense against the Mormon church has been simply existing. Decades. They poured money, resources, and personnel into a neighboring state in which they constitute something like three percent of the voting population in a concerted effort to swing the vote their way, a vote that would have no direct impact on their lives in Utah one bit. But when we finally snap back on one day after thousands upon thousands of days of dishonest, deceptive, irrational fearmongering at our expense, somehow we're the aggressors in the culture war.

We're done being complacent and polite and oh so afraid of offending anyone who either intentionally works to deny us full personhood or casually discriminates against us. We're calling bigots bigots. And that bothers sanctimonious blowhards like Jonah Goldberg, and probably scares them more than a little bit. Quake away, Jonah, and save the breath you're wasting on telling me how to behave.

And, finally, our Daily Star Tucson Love Stories Watch: I'm starting to wonder if the whole thing is a brilliantly crafted setup that will culminate with the story of a same-sex couple that trucked over to California to wed apres Prop 8, since I don't think even the Daily Star is capable of this much unintentional irony. Two of the first three couples in the series had previously been divorced, and now this week we have long-lost high school sweethearts who finally got married... in their eighties. So the Star has promptly wiped out both the marriage is sacred and forever and marriage is for procreation arguments in fewer than 30 days. If the next couple weeks bring mixed-religion or, horror of horrors, atheistic couples, I'll only get more suspicious that they're fixing to shatter the hypocrisy of the big heteronormative bubble they've been shoving at us on a weekly basis. A girl can dream, no?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Jan, Janet, What's the Difference?

The difference, unfortunately, comes down to life in Arizona having been mostly tolerable due to Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano's heavy veto pen keeping a rabid Republican legislature at bay, and now having the prospects of being far less tolerable once uber-conservative Republican Secretary of State Jan Brewer sails into the seat Napolitano will vacate in January to become head of Homeland Security.
That could result in the state pulling back from Napolitano-backed efforts on climate change, emissions caps, increased health insurance and education spending. It also could push the state forward on immigration controls and penalties for businesses hiring illegal immigrants and abortion rights restrictions, according to officials familiar with Brewer and Napolitano.

“I think we can kiss goodbye to the climate change efforts and any leadership on that,” said Sandy Bahr, state coordinator for the Sierra Club environmental group. “I don’t think much of the environmental progress will stay. With this legislature and Jan Brewer, we are in a world of hurt when it comes to protecting the state’s resources.”

Napolitano vetoed anti-abortion bills coming out of the Legislature, including a partial-birth prohibition that would have piggybacked on a federal ban. Napolitano signed off on some get-tough immigration bills forwarded by the right-wing Republicans but vetoed others.

For a state that is rapidly churning through its few remaining pristine open spaces that are in proximity to urban areas and has local and county boards that roll over for real estate developers on a regular basis, a state that languishes at the bottom of the nation when it comes to primary and secondary education and teen pregnancy, well, this isn't great news. It's spectacular for land speculators and the Southern Arizona Home Builders Association. Saguaros and public school kids in South Tucson? Not so much.

Jan Brewer also vigorously opposed the inclusion of language in the gay marriage-banning ballot measure explaining that gay marriage was already illegal under Arizona statute. And she was happy to bring the lovely Diebold touchscreen voting machines to Arizona, and then called Arizonans who objected to their use--after they had been demonstrated to be unreliable and unverifiable--anarchists and conspiracy theorists.

So Brewer and the Republican legislature get two years to de-fund public education and slash environmental protection in Arizona and make 700,000 East Valley voters deliriously happy to the point that they vote her back in for an additional 4 years, and in return Arizona gets... what? The honor and prestige of having an Arizonan serve as the head of a cabinet-level but really poorly structured department? And what, really, does Napolitano get out of it? If she manages to streamline DHS and get it to do something actually useful, like, say, maybe checking shipping containers and airline cargo, maybe she gets a pat on the head. Will it springboard her into the Senate, if that's where she sees this ending? Not likely.

Impending senses of doom keep me from my rest.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


The boy, reading his history book: Is socialism bad?
Me: Not necessarily.
The boy: Oh, that's fascism.
Me: Yes, fascism is bad.
The boy: I like fascism better. Know why? It sounds like face-ism.
Me: ...
The boy: I get to vote soon.


Confession time. Twitter has me flummoxed. I am not getting my full potential out of it and am, I am certain, depriving the world of all the brilliant Tweets I would put out there if I only knew what the fuck it was really for. Am I really supposed to set it up to run off my phone so I can let all my followers know @Boltgirl: going to Safeway or @Boltgirl: wow it's cold this morning? Is there supposed to be more? Please enlighten me.


Top Chef: Thanksgiving sucked. I know more shows are going to go the product placement route once DVRs kill regular commercials forever, but I do not want to watch the Swanson's Broth Hour. Or the GE Microwave Extravaganza. Also, pop bands should not be confused with food critics, especially when they say things like "I don't like figs and stuff."



Cautiously Recommended: New Old Peking

Old Peking has been bravely dishing out Chinese food at Speedway and Tucson Boulevard since 1975, with a few blips here and there in the form of, oh, going out of business a few times and reopening and reinventing and closing again. They reopened with fanfare and plastic flags a couple of weeks ago, and on the basis of three dishes we can say, what the hell, give it a shot.

Unlike old Old Peking, nothing we ordered looked like it was dumped out of a freezer bag. The crab puffs (a very guilty pleasure which we do not actually feel guilty about one whit, thank you) were tiny and sparsely stuffed, but we got seven instead of the advertised six, and they appeared to have been quickly fried in nice hot oil, and so weren't greasy. The sauce served with them was an unfortunate amalgamation of ketchup and honey, we think, which was maybe not the best choice, but it wasn't half bad and didn't kill us. Sesame beef on the menu equates to a mountain of sesame beef and only sesame beef--not a vegetable to be seen--on the plate, which pleased my carnivorous son to no end. Simple, hot, savory, just a tad sweet, very very very tasty. My Szechuan tofu featured nine kinds of fresh vegetables cut into pleasingly large chunks and, shockingly, not cooked to a homogenous goo! Hooray for new Old Peking! The big triangles of tofu were pleasingly firm; the sauce had a nip to it and, stunningly, did not include worrisome pools of oil floating on top! Unlike old Old Peking!

We got out for under seventeen bucks and had leftovers for one boy meal and two me meals.

Note: if you are the only people in the restaurant, the very friendly waitress will strike up a conversation that will last through most of your meal. Given the economic climate and old Old Peking's last-resort reputation, she is understandably anxious about people (1) realizing they're open again and (2) liking the food enough to come back. She quizzed us on how long we'd lived in Tucson, how often we'd come to the previous incarnation of the restaurant, how we knew they had re-opened, whether three in the afternoon was an odd time for us to be eating, how we thought the food compared to the old version, can you be more specific please, and how we liked the flyers they had just had printed up and if we would make any changes on said flyers to make people more likely to come in. But somehow it wasn't nearly as annoying as it sounds.

10% off through the end of 2008, with killer lunch specials every day and the threat of live Clavinova music weekend nights. Go lonely and hungry, leave feeling full and loved.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Counting Down the Shopping Days

In case you didn't notice, the shopping season officially started a couple of days ago with the requisite tragic stomping to death of a Wal-Mart employee and gunfire in a Toys-R-Us. If the initial burst of excitement left you behind, it's not too late to get in the holiday spirit and buy gifts for your favorite blogger.

Need a suggestion? I thought you might.

Boltgirl needs this very badly for the Death Star kitchenette.

Want! It is apparently out of stock now--I mean, why wouldn't it be?--but I bet the elves are hard at work cranking out new ones at the Chinese North Pole as we speak.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving: The Final Word


Buh-Bye, Charlie

Will Notre Dame extend the customary five-year courtesy to Charlie Weis, show him the door a la Ty Willingham, or perchance will Fr. Jenkins trundle over and discreetly slip the big guy his pink slip before he makes it to the locker room in the Coliseum tonight?

They are beyond bad. They are uninspired, uninspiring, dull dull dull. But this is Notre Dame, and they already took a huge image gamble when they pulled the trigger on Willingham after only three years, got hoodwinked by George O'Leary, and then--once they thought they had a high-demand winner in Weis--locked up the new guy with an unheard of eight-year extension two years into his contract. Now they're looking at a $4.5M buyout and the unsavory prospect of (1) acting like every other football factory in the country, except for the part about perennially having a winning record, and (2) finding somebody who has a high profile and still wants to step into this mess and coach.

As I type this, it's the end of the third quarter and ND just made their first 1st down of the evening. They'd been outrushed in the first half a lot to -6. Negative. Six.

At least the basketball teams are representing, complete with Luke Harangody's throwback Kelly Tripucka haircut. Of course, now the big guy's come down with pneumonia (after a week in Maui? I am confused), so it might be a rough few weeks.

Go Irish?

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Bright Spot

So Thanksgiving dinner with aging right-wing relatives maybe wasn't the most affirming experience ever, but my contribution to the food side of things worked out very nicely, so you all should make it for your next dinner. Especially if it's cold outside, or at least what passes for cold in Tucson.

Butternut-Sweet Potato Mash

1 good-sized butternut squash, halved, seeds scooped out
1 large garnet yam or sweet potato

Oil the cut sides of the squash, place cut side down in a rimmed baking dish, wrap yam in foil and toss on top, bake all at 400 for about an hour or until nice and soft. Squash should be deep orange and squish at the slightest touch.

Scoop squash into a large bowl. Peel yam and dump in with squash. Add a small can (tuna-sized, 8 oz?) of crushed pineapple with juice. Add ~1/2 t minced fresh ginger, a splash of orange juice, a little glop of butter, and a touch of salt. Mash with a masher or fork to desired squishiness. Let it sit for a while to give the flavors a chance to hang out and develop a relationship, especially the ginger; overnight--as with many things--is best. Heat to piping hot before serving, sprinkle your favorite toasted nuts over the top, and nom nom nom.

Post-Turkey Deflation

That may have been the most full Thanksgiving I have had, and the least filling. I have discovered I do not like being on my own on the day I associate more with family/friend confabs even than Christmas, the magical technology of phone calls and the understandable need for the girlfriend to occasionally jet off to places that require, well, airplanes to reach notwithstanding. Given the lack of access to either the girlfriend or the side of the family I normally spend turkey day with, and a crisis of either imagination or shoddy enough ethics when the grandparents put me on the spot last month about my holiday plans, I ended up in Mesa with said grandparents and my 1st cousin once removed (grandmother's niece, genealogy courtesy of Homer) after a thrashing of a day that started in the gym and moved to the office until 2 in the afternoon, when it was time to head north.

Did I mention this was in Mesa? Yeah. Yee-fuckin'-hah. The once-removed cousin and her husband are pushing eighty and are perfectly pleasant until her husband opens the Thanksgiving table conversation with anecdotes from his job as a Wal-Mart greeter. Guns and ammo are flying off the shelves of the Mesa Wal-Mart because people are so worried about Barack Obama's million-man civilian security force which sounds just like the SS to him and after all that's how Hitler got his start and at this point the cousin shushes him. He shrugs. He's just worried, is all. In his gated (!) trailer park mobile home community situated off what passes for a quiet street in Mesa, I sit at my corner of the table and stare hard into my stuffing and potatoes and wonder what the odds are that through some miracle of mitochondrial biology I share zero DNA with these people.

Does that make me a snob? Do I give a rat's ass either way? Not really. The ongoing conundrum my grandmother and her relatives poses for me is how the sentence should be constructed, which side of the comma the relevant information lands on, how to decide what goes into the dependent clause. Do I say well, they're right-wing Evangelicals who repeat Limbaughisms like gospel, but they do care enough about my son to remember cute details of the last time they saw him nine years ago? Or do I say instead well, they might warmly welcome me into their home, but they also voted for the anti-gay-marriage amendment and their next-door neighbors have statues of little black kids with fishing poles in their yard? What cancels out what? Ah, they're uncritically, casually racist, nativist, and homophobic, but they're family. Ah, they're always nice to my face, but they don't hesitate to exhibit beliefs I find repulsive. A but B. B but A.

Homer says I'm far more civil than he is, since I didn't call cousin Harold a fucking cunt when he dropped his Obama-as-Fuhrer bullshit into my mashed potatoes. The mantra in my head is they're old, they're not going to live forever, so I usually choose to avoid confrontation one more time even as I glance at the clock. Don't offend your host (even when he doesn't hesitate to offend you), don't upset your grandmother whose niece and nephew the once-removed cousins are (even though Grandmother doesn't hesitate to upset you by asking for the five millionth time if you can tell a black person lives in the purple-trimmed pink trailer down the street from her own). Homer's through with being respectful to people who would just as soon shit on him and me as look at us. I tell myself I'm trying to find the balance when it's people who were good to me when I was a child and who I still need to see on a regular basis, but it's probably as much chickenshittery as anything else.

I did find a pamphlet from the cousins' church while digging through a basket in search of the DirectTV channel guide, a flyer that promised OUTRAGEOUS QUOTES FROM MORMONS on the cover. Hazarding a glance, I found what looks like a regular feature in the vein of "kids say the darndest things" except that it highlights things the Mormon leadership has said about stuff like parallels between Joseph Smith and Jesus Christ, which apparently don't go over too well with the Central Christian Church of the East Valley crowd. Of course this regular mockery and head-shaking didn't keep them from hopping on the LDS Whip Teh Gayz bandwagon. Talk about a sham marriage of convenience.

Anyway. The food was good, if salty salty salty--one plateful was plenty--but there was no wine or whiskey or Demerol or anything else that might have made the conversation more bearable. We left sorta hurriedly in order to beat a thunderstorm that erupted shortly after dinner was over, hustling out the door as the cousin flipped through her guestbook to confirm it really had been that long since she'd seen my son--who owes me hugely now for letting him blow this one off--and cousin Harold squeezed my hand, saying how good it was to visit again, so I left with a nice little dose of guilt for having such uncharitable feelings about such nice people... until I remembered exactly what had spurred the uncharitable feelings, which just left me unsuccessfully trying to suss out "nice" and "shitty" and the line between them and how much blurring family ties are allowed to cause, all while dodging really cold raindrops and trying to load the grandparents and the leftovers into the car, and explaining that yes, I really did need to take off for the two-hour drive back to Tucson that night. Which I did, arriving home exactly eight hours after I'd left to drive up for dinner, tired and conflicted.

This is usually my favorite holiday. This year, not so much.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Market Day!

In keeping with ongoing efforts by me and my intrepid colleague S to force Market Day into the public consciousness, let me be the very first person this morning to wish you a very happy Market Day!

This holiday is currently officially celebrated by only two people--the aforementioned me and S--but you've probably been unconsciously celebrating it for years, or at least as long as you've spent the workday before Thanksgiving scribbling out grocery lists and bemoaning the need to stay in the office when you really should be out getting a jumpstart on Thanksgiving fun. Because, let's face it: Thanksgiving is the best holiday ever, as it is based on food, drink, family, friends, and football, with the most pressing issue not being oh my god what am I supposed to buy Aunt Myrtle for a gift this year but the much delicious-er question hmmm, should I bother with the token scrap of turkey this year or just go for the plate full of stuffing and mashed potatoes? Not that it's ever really a question, of course. Sleep well, turkeys! I do not want your meat! I just want the delicious juices that come out of your legs, thighs, and breast for gravy, lots and lots of gravy! Can you arrange that?

The downside to Thanksgiving is that it's just one day surrounded on either side by work, which leaves you scrambling after work to go shopping and cook stuff if you're a pre-preparer kind of person and crams an awful lot of holiday anticipation, celebration, and letdown into one 24-hour period. So S and I decided last year that the day before Thanksgiving should be an official holiday--it's not like anyone's concentrating in here that day anyhow--on which you're expected to go grocery shopping for Thursday, drink, and generally knock off early. And so we shall call this holiday "Market Day," and there will be the requisite rejoicing.

The boss hasn't gone for it yet, so for a second straight year we're celebrating Market Day in the office--le sigh--with colored lights, coffee with "cream," if ye know what I mean, laddie, and I think ye do, and warm thoughts of the baked goods we would be enjoying if we'd gotten around to baking anything. The holiday season is off to a shotgun start! Happy yam shopping to you and yours!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tantrum Tuesday

This does not happen often--although I suppose the degree of frequency is entirely dependent on your perspective, vis-a-vis whether you're inside my head or a hapless bystander on the outside--but when it does it sucks. It's eerily reminiscent of the early '80s, specifically, nights on which I would get totally fucking stuck on my math homework, stuck to the point of swearing I could feel a physical barrier inside my brain that kept all the knowledge and capability that just had to be in there from spilling forward into an area where I could access it.

Today it is the same nice Hohokam site as yesterday, still sitting scattered in the database, resolutely flipping me off on every attempt I make to pull up a chair and be friendly, rebuffing my offers to buy it lunch or maybe just a drink, before it goes back to the Times crossword and its cup of decaf. I don't want a commitment or even a second date here. I just want to talk.

Specifically, I would like to know what people living there were doing round about the year 1000, why they made the tools they did, what all they had to give up to the people at West Branch in order to acquire some lousy brown and slightly radioactive chert the West Branchers were sitting on, and if there was any real reason behind the changes they made in their technological behaviors from generation to generation, or if they were just bored or all like fuck that shit, no way I'm doing this the way my old man did, and by the way, did you notice we have to make everything using these goddamn rocks? And you want how much, again, for that lousy-ass chert that makes me glow green at night? Because I can get it way cheaper in Nogales, you scamming bastard, and la migra can't do a goddamn thing about it because they don't fucking exist yet.

Uh, because I kinda need to know these things, and kinda need to write a report about them by... 5:00 today? In! Trouble!

Monday, November 24, 2008


I like my job. really. But! I do not like needing to revise a five-year-old chapter that suddenly has a hard deadline of the end of this week and discovering that (1) it sucks, largely because (2) I did all the analysis and draft-writing while recovering from a grade 2 concussion suffered at the outset of the Iraq war, which means (4) the artifact sampling is inexplicably fucked up and (5) the syntax is even more tortured than usual but (5) whatever, I don't remember doing a shred of any of it anyway.

It is amazingly difficult to plausibly explain prehistory when you, uh, don't have any data.

Professionalism: I haz it.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Sarah Palin Gobble Gobble Gobbles up More Airtime, Traumatizes Nation's Children

Um. *boggle*

The only possible way this could have been better is if it had been rendered in claymation by Nick Park, a la Chicken Run, with chubby turkey feet kicking in the hopper and the turkey worker giving Palin a giant toothy grin as the odd feather floats down into her hair and worried turkeys mill and mutter in the background. As it is, not bad. And here we were in the desert saying it hadn't felt much like the holidays yet! Who's hungry?

Also noted: yet again, Governor Palin makes specific individual references to her sons while blithely lumping her daughters as "the kids." Track's Stryker brigade is safe, or fairly safe, in Eye-rack, and Trig is happy and healthy. Oh, and school's going fine for the kids--perhaps her own girls, perhaps all of Alaska's children? Does she remember their names, or is she afraid of accidentally calling them Broomstick and Purple? Who knows.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Unrepentant Geekery, Goddammit

Boltgirl is having an absolute for the fuck of shit, why can nothing be simple or correct the first fucking time or even the twelfth, because hey, I'm not trying to be unreasonable here kind of day. If you are too, catch a couple of deep breaths along with Robot Chicken. You won't be sorry.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Object Lesson

On the same day that we find out about George Bush's on-the-way-out-the-door proposed rule preventing federally funded medical facilities from firing or otherwise disciplining employees who refuse to perform the parts of their jobs involving abortion, sterilization, or contraception as long as they play the conscience card--and making de facto reproductive choices for people unlucky enough to be depending on them in the process--a co-worker forwarded this picture taken in Uganda by her international public health worker sister:

This is the Bush reproductive healthcare legacy in action. Good luck with your adult lives, kids. And especially you, little girl.

Break It Up!

And if there are any more squabbles involving Holy Joe and the Dems, well, dammit, I shall have no choice but to call in the chickens. Joe, Rahm... you've been warned.

[Boing Boing]

Democrats Still Befuddled by Meaning of Phylum Chordata

Oh, for fuck's sake.
Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) easily won a vote to remain chairman of a key committee today and will stay in the Democratic caucus despite his high-profile criticism of President-elect Barack Obama and his support of Sen. John McCain during the presidential campaign.

Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said that "Joe Lieberman is a Democrat. He's part of this caucus."

Joe Lieberman is officially a ConnecticutForLiebermann-crat. If you've been busily blotting out your memories of the god-awful campaign season, like Harry Reid apparently has, Liebermann also stumped around the country for John McCain, whispered corrections into John McCain's ear, touted John McCain as the best hope for America, agreed that it really is a good question to ask if Barack Obama is a Marxist, and, oh, fretted out loud about the potential for America to be destroyed if Barack Obama, Democrat, were to be elected president. Joe Liebermann has also been a cheerleader for the Iraq war from Day One, and never hesitated to remind us that he believed John McCain has always been right on that account and Barack Obama has always been wrong.

In other words, Joe Liebermann has pretty much been functioning as a Republican in the Senate for a while now, so the Democratic leadership's worries about not having a 60-seat majority have been little more than insipid, poorly written theatre. Oh noes, they said, what if we offend Joe and he defects to the other side? News flash: he did that a while ago, propping up George Bush and talking shit about the Democratic presidential candidate to anyone who would listen. And your response to that is to say we need unity and all the Democrats we can find? Well, yeah, but this guy has not been interested in either unity or party discipline since Ned Lamont beat him in the CT Democratic primary way back when, so you need to aim a little higher when it comes to operationalizing your ideals and a little lower when it comes to giving somebody a much-needed kick in the ass out the door.

Obama seems to have wanted to keep that national security gavel in Joe's hands. Swell. Next!

Monday, November 17, 2008

The View from Second Class

I thought about titling this "The View from Steerage," but I don't want to be hyperbolic or anything. So I'll settle for full-on snarkiness. Mere days after being officially relegated to second-class citizenship in Arizona, it's so refreshing to open the Sunday paper and realize that you're going to be subjected to a weekly reminder of that fact.

This has been going on for two weeks now, and--amazingly--there has not been a single letter to the editor complaining about people shoving their bedroom behavior either in our faces or down our throats, whichever metaphor you prefer, in half-page stories in the Sunday paper that teh childrenz might get their hands on. Straight people do have the right to have relationships and draw up contracts (apparently even more than once if it doesn't work out the first or second or third time) but their constant need to parade their orientation to the rest of us is just so icky. Well, what else do you expect from the liberal Socialist media?

Good omens: Both Tiffani and Marc were married before

Because nothing is a better omen of future success than past failure. Go, straight people, go!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

One Step Forward, Two Million Steps Back

Meanwhile, in the What The Flying Fuck Department, we have this amazing and distressing story about prevalent, pernicious racism in America in the wake of Obama's victory.
Obama has received more threats than any other president-elect, authorities say.

● At Standish, Maine, a sign inside the Oak Hill General Store read: "Osama Obama Shotgun Pool." Customers could sign up to bet $1 on a date when Obama would be killed. "Stabbing, shooting, roadside bombs, they all count," the sign said. At the bottom of the marker board was written, "Let's hope someone wins."

● Racist graffiti was found in places including New York's Long Island, where two dozen cars were spray-painted; Kilgore, Texas, where the local high school and skate park were defaced; and the Los Angeles area, where swastikas, racial slurs and "Go Back To Africa" were spray-painted on sidewalks, houses and cars.

● Second- and third-grade students on a school bus in Rexburg, Idaho, chanted, "Assassinate Obama," a district official said.

● University of Alabama professor Marsha L. Houston said a poster of the Obama family was ripped off her office door. A replacement poster was defaced with a death threat and a racial slur. "It seems the election brought the racist rats out of the woodwork," Houston said.

● Black figures were hanged by nooses from trees on Mount Desert Island, Maine, the Bangor Daily News reported. The president of Baylor University in Waco, Texas, said a rope found hanging from a campus tree was apparently an abandoned swing and not a noose.

● Crosses were burned in yards of Obama supporters in Hardwick, N.J., and Apolacan Township, Pa.

● A black teenager in New York City said he was attacked with a bat on Election Night by four white men who shouted, "Obama!"

● In the Pittsburgh suburb of Forest Hills, a black man said he found a note with a racial slur on his car windshield, saying, "Now that you voted for Obama, just watch out for your house."

Seriously? Seriously, what the fuck? "Let's hope somebody wins" a fucking assassination pool? I am at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to dealing with drooling mouthbreathers like this, much as I am at a disadvantage in dealing with anti-gay bigots, because I don't understand them, and by don't understand I mean I don't have the first fucking clue of how people can actually think this way in 2008. I'm not blind to their existence--that's not the part I'm having trouble conceptualizing--but I can't begin to wrap my brain around what it means to think that way about fellow human beings. Like to the point that you think the world is ending and hope that a man, a husband and father, will be murdered just because he's black and happens to hold the highest office in the country. I freely admit to having biases of my own--Mormons are tops on that list these days--but I don't wish death and destruction on them, and still manage to evaluate individual people as people first, with my main criteria being do you treat other people well and are you honest and reliable? Utter vitriol and hatred are things I reserve for individuals I know personally and for whom I have indisputable evidence of being shithead blackguards.

Hanging effigies? Burning crosses? Leaving boxes of shit on somebody's doorstep? Encouraging little kids to chant for a murder? All because... the black guy won. And/or you suspect the person you're targeting voted for the black guy for president. All across the fucking country.

Way to go, America. At least I'm not just fixated on the gay thing when I get depressed about the state of the nation now.

Impact Weekend

Jim Burroway has a comprehensive rundown of the nationwide marriage equality protests that happened yesterday, and Jezebel has a photo gallery. I wonder if the Prop 8 voting would have turned out differently if the protests had happened in the weeks leading up to the election rather than the weeks following. I wonder if they'll make a difference now.

The protests made a difference for me on a very personal level. Saturday morning my phone rang while I was trudging through Costco, and it was my dad. Who had a huge problem when I came out, moreso than anyone else in my family, who behaved really shittily for a few years because of it, but who finally started coming around a couple of years ago.

Dad: Where are you?
Me: At Costco. Where are you?
Dad: What time's your march today?
Me, baffled: 11:30. Where the hell are you?
Dad: Still in California. If I was there I'd be marching right beside you. Raise hell, take names, and don't get hurt.
Me: Okay, will do. Uh, you still owe me a bail bond.
Dad: Ha! Kick ass!

I can't overstate the significance of this, and it made my day, despite an invisible protest that was pretty much over by the time I found it, tucked away in a secluded plaza behind the courthouse. Tucson, come on. If you want to be seen, you gotta wave your flags at Speedway and Campbell in front of the Taco Bell.

Dad finally gets it. I dearly hope the rest of the country isn't far behind.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Snagged off Chicagoist. I cannot decide if I want to cackle or weep, gleefully forward it or sit rocking in a corner, deeply disturbed. I think.... I think I like it. Then again, I am up past my bedtime.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Homer Says

This is one of Homer's best posts ever. Go read.

You're Not Paranoid if They're Really Out to Get You

By now you've probably heard about the Mormon memo, which starkly illustrates both the depth of the animosity toward gay people and the frighteningly patient long-term planning that has gone into the effort to relegate us to underclass status for ever and ever, world without end. If you haven't heard about it, the memo dates to 1997, when it was spurred by Hawaii's short-lived movement toward marriage equality, and outlines the Mormon strategy to prevent or rescind marriage equality--homosexual legal marriage, or "H.L.M." in LDS parlance; we have not seen such an affinity for acronyms in a grievously long time--wherever it might pop up, anywhere in the nation.

For at least eleven years the LDS has been plotting and planning, to borrow a phrase, the best way to eliminate civil rights from a group that had never done anything to the Mormons more offensive than simply existing. A couple things stand out here for me. First is the recognized need for the Mormon church to coattail with the much higher profile (at that time, at least) Catholic church on anti-gay activism. The second might seem like a throwaway bullet point, but it might be the most disheartening snippet in the entire memo for me.

That last bullet: " order to win this battle, there may have to be certain legal rights recognized for unmarried people such as hospital visitation so opponents in the legislature will come away with something." In other words, in order to take the big important rights away from the faggots and dykes we might need to cave and let them see each other in the hospital, but Xenu knows that if we could get away with it, we'd eliminate that right too. Hospital fucking visitation. It's been my own personal whipping boy, the reductio ad hospitalum bandied about by people who might not reduce our relationships to a sex act but most definitely are happy to reduce the huge sphere of marital rights and responsibilities to the single issue of ICU access. And now we learn that it's the fucking shriveled little carrot the Mormons grudglingly consent to dangle in front of us even as they prepare to whack us with the stick.

Kiss my giant lesbian ass, Mormon church. You forfeited any claim on my civility when you decided to launch a crusade to strip me and mine of full citizenship in this country.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

As Goes California, So Goes the Na.... Er, Scratch That!

UPDATED: with a link to an actual story rather than just a blurb. How very interesting that I didn't see anything about this on CNN. Anyway, the link is to a long WaPo story that examines Massachusetts and the California situation as well, and includes, as a bonus, this awesome little disconnect from a Connecticut anti-equality guy, emphases my own:
Connecticut voters could have opened the door to ending gay marriage last week by voting for a constitutional convention to amend the state's constitution, but the measure failed.

Peter Wolfgang, the executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut, a gay-marriage opponent, acknowledged that banning gay weddings in Connecticut will be difficult but vowed not to give up. He condemned the high court's decision as undemocratic.

Peter, sweet cheeks? Do we need a refresher course on what democracy means? See that bit about people voting not to amend the constitution to prevent gay marriage? The judge's decision reflects the contents of that constitution, which the voters didn't want to change. And that is... constitutional democracy in action.

ORIGINAL POST: Thank you, Connecticut, and now you should probably steel yourselves for the inevitable onslaught from the rabid religious right.

Gay marriage is legal in Connecticut now that a judge has cleared the way. New Haven Superior Court Judge Jonathan Silbert ruled at a brief hearing Wednesday morning that gay and lesbian couples now may pick up marriage license forms at town and city clerks' offices statewide.

Many gay and lesbian couples are planning ceremonies Wednesday.

The judge ruling followed a historic decision by the Connecticut Supreme Court.

The high court ruled 4-3 on Oct. 10 that same-sex couples have the right to wed rather than accept a civil union law designed to give them the same rights as married couples.

Yes. We. Can.

The Line Forms to the Right

It may be time to change the blog's tagline to Furious Dyke, since recent events have left me fairly angry and bitter. Like, more than usual. Reading the paper with the morning oatmeal has found me muttering yes, and __________ can blow me with a distressingly increasing frequency, and I do not much enjoy starting my morning that way, particularly when most of the news of the day that follows elicits the same reaction.

First in line this morning to kiss my giant gay liberal ass? The Holy Church.
The nation's Roman Catholic bishops vowed Tuesday to forcefully confront the Obama administration over its support for abortion rights, saying the church and religious freedom could be under attack in the new administration.

"Religious freedom"has apparently been adopted as the new super!secret password for the fun new Catholic-Mormon clubhouse. After a busy Prop 102/Prop 8 season in which well-wishers reminded each other that squashing gay rights = religious freedom, I do not have the patience for this. Let's just run with the short version of the religious freedom argument, shall we? It goes like this: religious freedom means having the ability to force everyone to do things my way and my way only. Better yet, as very nicely written by someone whose name I have very unfortunately forgotten on one of the million blogs or blog comments I have read since election night, the even shorter version goes your continuing existence threatens my right to demand that you not exist.

Neither is a compelling argument.

Yes, the more complex version of the argument references healthcare workers who don't want to be forced to do the parts of their jobs that conflict with their personal consciences, or hospitals that don't want to extend the full spectrum of healthcare as a condition of receiving federal funding. The answer to that goes exactly this far: kiss my ass. If you do not wish to participate in abortion, get a job at a Catholic or other private hospital that pays their own way, or stay out of obstetrics. If you want your hospital to be eligible for federal funding, or if you want your practice to be able to apply for federal grants, suck it up and deal. If you want everyone who walks through your door to adhere to the precepts of your religion, whether they share that religion or not, slap a St. ______ sign over the door and be prepared to not have the best profit margin around. Or relocate your facility to Ave Maria, Florida, and hope that Tom Monaghan might bail you out.

Other people who can blow me this morning include the Daily Star letter-writer who admonished Sarah Palin for crossing her legs at the knees rather than the ankles whilst speaking to Hahmid Karzai, because the letter-writer has done some traveling and "knows how to behave, especially while in the presence of Muslim men." Really. Uh, Molly? Yeah, you can kiss my ass too, and so can the Muslim men whose delicate sensibilities need that kind of protecting.

Whew, it's shaping up to be a busy morning.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thanks, Keith

No words from me, except that this should be on the big screen at every protest this weekend. Just watch.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Ah, So This Is what I Needed for that Pesky Headache

I can no longer reliably capitalize (or not) words in titles, but I do recognize sweet, sweet relief when I see it.

This Blogging Hiatus Sponsored by RelpaxTM

Our Lady of Relpax

Friday night, while visiting relatives up in Fweenix, I seriously entertained the notion that I might die from a migraine. The only things that kept me from going to the ER were a complete physical inability to get off the couch, for fears that my left eyeball might shoot clear across the room if I moved, and the nonconstructive notion that 41 is a little too old to go waking up your mom in the middle of the night because you don't feel good.

So here it is Monday morning and I'm still in my soccer-ball pajamas, waiting for the blood vessels to decide to re-open or close or knot themselves off or whatever the fuck they need to do so that my head will stop trying to explode. Carry on.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Feeling Better Already

Did I say freaking adorable? I may have.

Because Juxtaposition is Fun!

Screen grab from the Chicago Tribune this morning:

I think they put the quote marks around the wrong word in that headline. Yay sanctity!

Thank you very much to the commenters who've been talking me down since yesterday. Considering that this entire blog is pretty much one giant "Talk Me Down" segment, well, you've put in a yeoman's effort.

Rachel gets the last word, just because her hmmmm face is so freaking adorable and I need adorable just about now.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Blood is in the Water

Why was my reaction yesterday to the election framed in terms of yes, Obama won, but whatever, so did the amendments instead of well, the amendments passed, but whatever, Obama won? This is why (go to Pam's House Blend for additional discussion).
Thus far, 30 states have outlawed homosexual "marriages" by an average close to 70% approval by voters through amendments to the state constitutions. In addition, the voters in Arkansas yesterday approved a measure banning unmarried couples from serving as adoptive or foster parents. It will be the goal of Christian Coalition to ensure that the other 20 states adopt similar amendments banning homosexual "marriages" including the states of Massachusetts and Connecticut which also had two judicial decisions, by one vote margins, legalizing these abominations.

Because it's open season on people like me, and while others have patted our hands and said oh, your time will come or well, at least it only passed by five points this time instead of twenty like last time, the states are falling one by one. A coalition led by the Mormons and the Catholics poured over $74 million into supporting the California amendment. Now the self-titled "Christian" Coalition promises to throw itself not into feeding the hungry or sheltering the homeless but denying full civil rights to... well, I was going to say to people like me. But they don't really see me that way. They want to deny full civil rights to abominations like me, and as Arizona has demonstrated, they will not stop until they succeed. If an amendment fails, they will tweak the language and bring it back for the next election and the next and the next until they find the right combination of legislators to get it out of committee and onto the ballot and the precise words that give straight voters the opportunity to smack down the gays with a clear conscience.

Go to any newspaper you want and read the online comments that follow stories about California or Arizona or Florida. See how many people are proud to proclaim their support for discrimination because of their religion, or because they're grossed out by the sex they're imagining, or because of their misapprehensions of history. See how many people were so eager to pass judgment and sentence on couples they do not know, who have not impacted their own lives a whit. See how many gleefully await the inevitable lawsuits only because they're certain the suits will fail and then they get to laugh at the gays losing all over again.

It's open fucking season on us. They don't care that the margin of victory was narrower this time. They only care that they've won, that they've continued to win, and that the stain of bigotry and discrimination will continue to march inexorably across the map.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Snap Judgment


Quick, what are these people celebrating?

What glad tidings have provoked such joyous, fists-in-the-air cheering? Did their candidate win the presidency? Or a senate seat? Did they just learn of a tax repeal that's going to save them some precious grocery money? Are they celebrating anything that directly impacts their own lives?

Or are they celebrating the passage of an amendment that just took away marriage rights from people who are different from them?

If you guessed the latter, you are, unfortunately, correct. Hey, from left to right, Bob Knoke, Amanda Stanfield, Jim Domen, and J.D. Gaddis? Fuck. You.

The Tarnished Lining

Yeah, there was also some stuff that was not so good, stuff that's keeping me from wholeheartedly joining in my officemates' celebration despite our champagne and chocolate donuts.

Arizona passed Proposition 102 pretty resoundingly, 53.5% to 46.5%. Pima County (Tucson) was the sole county rejecting the measure, and that was by fewer than 4,000 votes. Even counties that went for Obama and rejected 2006's attempted constitutional amendment voted for this one. More than 152,000 people in my county and more than a million in my state decided they get to sit in judgment of me and mine. What a great feeling my partner and I woke up to this morning. Thanks, Arizona. The kicker? Prop 102 was pretty much single-handedly resurrected by Tim Bee (R-Tucson), State Senate President, in hopes of energizing conservative voters enough to support his attempt to win Gaby Giffords' US House seat. Bee got his ass handed to him by the popular Giffords, so I sure hope shitting all over gay folks was enough of a consolation prize for him.

Florida probably figured it filled its rationality quota by going to Obama, and so passed its own no-gay-marriage amendment without even breaking a sweat, 62% to 38%.

The news from California is even more disheartening. As of half an hour ago, Proposition 8 (eliminating the current right of same-sex couples to marry) was winning by slightly more than 4% with 96% of the vote counted. As shitty as I felt this morning, I cannot imagine what it would feel like to wake up to the news that your marriage is going to be summarily nullified by the state, courtesy of several million people who you've never met.

And then we have Arkansas, which voted to bar unmarried couples from adopting or serving as foster parents to children, a measure whose supporters freely admit was designed to target gay couples. Enjoy your stays in state homes and lousy foster care, kids! Even if it feels like you're the ones actually being punished, take solace in the knowledge it's really the gays being punished, and your own rewards will come in heaven. Well, unless you grow up to be gay.

So today I'm deeply relieved that John McCain and Sarah Palin have been kept far, far away from the White House and Supreme Court, and gratified by the gains in the House and Senate, but I can't feel the unbridled joy and completely renewed faith in America some of my friends are experiencing. I'm officially a second-class citizen in the state I pay taxes to. There's a lot to be happy about today. Equal protection under the Constitution is not one of those things.

We Are All Cavorting with Terriers Now

Election dribs 'n' drabs...

*Atheist-baitin' Liddy Dole lost in North Carolina, but Michelle "Investigate Unamerican Activities" Bachmann (MN) and Ted "I'm Not Really a Convicted Felon Until My Appeals Are Rejected" Stevens (AK) both won. Will Sarah Palin appoint herself to fill his seat after the Senate kicks him to the curb? A nation waits.

* Michelle (Obama). Honey. I think you are made of awesome with awesome sauce and awesome sprinkles on top, but can we talk about that dress? Are you sure black widow was the most appropriate theme for the evening?

* Hearing Gene Robinson's voice quaver while talking about being grateful his parents lived to see this day, set over footage of jubilant, tearful people at black churches and a historically black college, put tears in my own eyes.

* The massive rally in Grant Park gave me chills. I was so proud of Sweet Home Chicago and the great scene they painted for the nation and the world.

* Where the hell was Rachel? MSNBC has the hottest rising star in the punditry, so for their coverage they put her... at the off-camera end of the table? She chimed in occasionally, but it wasn't anywhere close to the frequency I had been hoping for. I guess the world simply hasn't had enough *headdesk* moments courtesy of Chris Matthews.

* I know the nets are probably under pressure to be the first to legitimately call the election as soon as the last poll closes in the last relevant state, but Keith? Those of us who can do the math in our heads have already gone ahead and done that, so show some respect for people in the west who haven't voted yet and knock off calling the election over based on likely outcomes. Not his classiest moment.

* Awesome turnout across the country. 90% in Virginia and Colorado! That's crazy and amazing.

* The world is happy.

President Obama.

Barack Obama speaks at a rally in Chicago, Illinois, after winning the presidency Tuesday night.

Wow. An electoral landslide and an electric rally in Chicago, and an acceptance speech that will be held as the gold standard for decades. The summing up of the speech via summing, through the eyes of 106-year-old Ann Nixon Cooper, the past century of America's responses to challenge, crisis, and injustice, was brilliant.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons -- because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that she's seen throughout her century in America -- the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can't, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.

At a time when women's voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs, a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that "We Shall Overcome." Yes we can.

A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination.

And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change.

Yes we can.

The speech was a fitting bookend to John McCain's gracious and classy concession speech, which was itself a necessary prologue to Obama's words. McCain quickly shushed the crowd that booed in response to Obama's name, quickly and repeatedly and with growing exasperation until it sunk in and they went silent. Had he conducted his campaign with that level of dignity and measured reason, the outcome might well have been different. Let us hope that, with defeat, the straight-talking John McCain will re-emerge from the evangelical, uber-conservative-pandering pod person he turned into while on his presidential job interview, and will deliver on his promise to work with the new administration to fix the bushels of problems the country faces.

Obama called America to once again rise to the challenge, pitch in, sacrifice, work, and come together for a common good. That's not socialism, by the way, but simply the social contract required by a civilized society. We have been drowned out and shouted down by power-hungry ideologues for far too long. It's time to get to work.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

While We're at It

Oh, like you were going to get any work done today. I uncovered one of the secrets of ceramic-era lithic technological organization along the Mogollon Rim before 11:00 this morning, so I don't feel so bad about bringing you the finest Election Day videos anywhere.

Watch this and then read about the LDS response here.

Did You Really Think Election Day Would Go by Without a Maddow Embed?

Is this your Firefox homepage yet? It should be.

Voting is Patriotic

These nice kick-ass ladies would like to remind you to vote today.

My voting saga is short and sweet. I like to think I'm too rational for superstition, but after rolling out of bed I threw on my favorite t-shirt (Dropkick Murphys Boxing Club) and favorite thrift-store hiking shorts and favorite long-sleeved henley just to make sure. The line was barely poking out the door at the polling place, the poll workers were pleasant and efficient, nobody was grumpy, and I was out the door in under half an hour.

If you're one of the intrepid souls who waited five, six, eight hours to vote early on your day off, or will be doing so today, I salute you. The rest of my day is now free to decide on snacks for watching the returns.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Was I Finished?

No, not quite.

Since we already have the theme going of objecting to reducing gay people to gay sex, and gay marriage to hospital visits, let's run with it. Just as neither of the formers is just about either of the latters, the anti-marriage-equality amendments aren't just about the definition of marriage, or even just about gays getting married. They are about creating a constitutionally sanctioned set of second-class citizens by public vote--when the vast majority of that public does not belong to the group whose full civil rights they're deciding to abrogate. They are about creating that underclass and stripping those rights in the name of one particular religious viewpoint, about requiring all citizens to adhere to the requirements of a religion they may not subscribe to, while conveniently exempting people who do not share the religious belief but, by default, coincide with the requirements the religion levies (one guy, one girl). They are, in short, about putting the civil rights of a minority at the mercy and whims of the majority and embuing civil law with a purely religious sensibility.

Oh, and they're also about eviscerating the 14th Amendment when gays are concerned. If your state--say, Louisiana--has a problem with 16-year-old cousins getting married, it still recognizes the happy couple from Alabama when they move west. But Louisiana and Alabama and Ohio and every other state can tell a gay couple married in Massachusetts to get bent. Special rights, my ass.

For every knucklehead on their side who howls what next? men marrying dogs? women marrying five-year-olds? we need to respond with our own, actually realistic slippery slope concerns. What's the next religious doctrine we can expect to see enshrined in state constitutions? How long before somebody decides to float an amendment or even just simple legislation barring marriage when at least one of the parties is divorced? How long before divorce is out the window? Or, since marriage is apparently a sanctified union with God or Jesus or somebody like that in there too, would it be simpler to start with a ban on atheist marriages, or mixed-faith marriages?

Oh. You mean you don't want quite that much religion in your civil law? Not to the point that it would affect... you?

Well, not you, since if you're reading this you're most likely in the choir and have heard this particular sermon before. But this is why I wish Barack had jumped on the question forcefully and decried the affront represented by amendments designed not only to restrict rights, but to restrict the rights of a specific subset of the population for religious reasons. Constitutions protect rights, not curtail them, and laws with purely religious underpinnings violate the big amendment in the federal Constitution, which trumps state constitutions and any bullshit therein.

It's not just about the gays. It's about fucking with constitutions on a whim. It's about unintended consequences. It's about establishing a precedent that should terrify anyone who isn't a straight particular sort of Christian who thinks a secular constitutional republic is an option rather than a requirement.

Vote. Now I'm finished.