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.

Don't Get Me Wrong

Oh, I'm totally voting Obama and hope you do too. There's a lot about him I like, respect, and honestly get very excited about. It's just that high-pitched screech of cognitive dissonance in the back of my head that gets annoying from time to time, similar to the one caused by loving my son's high school and its strong academics and social justice orientation despite the fact that it's Catholic (screeeeeeeech), or loving Notre Dame due to spending my adolescence in the shadow of the Golden Dome and the Basilica despite its very conservative campus culture and current bafflingly lousy quarterback (squaaaaaaaaaaaaaawk), or loving my maternal grandmother for taking me to school when I was a wee tad and picking me up and letting me sit on her lap with a Pop-Tart when the Popeye cartoons got too scary despite her stubbornly remaining an unflinching '50s-style racist (peeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeewwww bang!).

Obama! Good for reproductive rights (just as soon as he quits trying to pull my non-existent pastor into my personal healthcare decisions) and pay equality and healthcare and Iraq and Afghanistan and propping up America's image around the world! Oh, and most importantly, Not! John! McCain! There.

Well, Yes, but, Uh, *sputter*

Sigh. Election Morning looms fewer than 24 hours away. What a lousy time to remember why I've been keeping my yippee lobe on a tight rein rather than doing the handspings I so long to do every time the man speaks. I have been wanting to zip off in a tornado of enthusiasm. Then he drops a steamer like this and I grit my teeth and force myself to recite all the reasons he's better than McCain, just so I can feel a little better.
When an MTV viewer wanted to know what Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama thought of Proposition 8, a state constitutional amendment on the 2008 California general-election ballot that would eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry, MTV News brought the question straight to the man himself.

"I think it's unnecessary," Obama told Sway, in response to a question sent in by Gangstagigz from San Leandro, California. "I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not in favor of gay marriage. But when you start playing around with constitutions, just to prohibit somebody who cares about another person, it just seems to me that's not what America's about. Usually, our constitutions expand liberties, they don't contract them."

Wow. The tea dregs that have been sitting in the bottom of my cup for the past hour are less tepid than that. California Proposition 8 is going to come down the wire, and Arizona and Florida have their own rights-abridging amendments on the ballot, and Obama's statement that such things are... reprehensible? mean-spirited? un-American? Oh, "unnecessary," followed up by two disavowals of marriage equality in quick succession, packs all the wallop of a wet Twinkie. If anything, he just assuaged the consciences of people who will probably vote for him but can't quite overcome the ick factor and want to vote for constitutional discrimination at the same time.

He's not in favor of gay marriage. A hell of a lot of people in this country, even now, 41 years after Loving v. Virginia, are not in favor of the marriage his own parents however briefly entered. His own marriage would have been prohibited under the laws enacted by people who were "not in favor" of interracial unions. But the product and beneficiary of the last generation's fight for marriage equality, who grew up to be a fucking Constitutional scholar, sat there and unhesitatingly piled onto the very same line of thinking that technically kept his parents' marriage and his own marriage illegal in the state of Alabama until just eight years ago, and advocated separate-but-equal status for me.

Almost as maddening as having my entire existence reduced to a sex act is having my desire for equal legal standing for my relationship reduced to the issue of hospital visitation and property inheritance. Yes, those are two very nice things to have. However, that still leaves roughly 1,037 other rights that are federally extended to straight couples missing from my portfolio. Of course politicians who want to weasel out of fully supporting Teh Gay kowtow to ICU visitation. Because as long as they "fight" for our right to bring flowers to each other, they can pat themselves on the back and forget about all the rest.

After Inauguration Day we'll find out who he has actually been pandering to here--the "Christians" who can't stomach the thought of my relationship having the same legal standing as their own, or the gays who have grudgingly accepted hearing their relationships devalued time and again as a political tactic just to get their guy into the White House, because, you know, it works every time.

I would simply like to hear Barack Obama say that my marriage is equivalent to his own, and that all Americans are equally endowed with rights. I do not want to think about how long I will be waiting.