Until next time then,
In numbers too big to ignore…
I just celebrated my own mini-protest. I saw this comment in a campus bulletin, discussing reactions to a recent protest of Prop 8 at city hall. I was so struck by it’s smug, self assured tone of compassionate superiority that I couldn’t let it stand without challenge. Here’s the comment, and my response below.
Protecting marriage as the holy bond between a man and a woman is not a hate crime. There is nothing hateful about it. Marriage is not a right, it is a priviledge. Parenthood is not a right, it is a priviledge(sic).As a Gonzaga alum I am hopeful that students who are told that to be anti-anything is hateful will pray about this issue and understand that the Church does not believe in the hateful oppression of anyone but only for the preservation of the sanctity of the human family. I will pray that an open dialogue will help both sides come together in the pursuit of the truth.
And here’s my response…
“Marriage is a privilege”???????
I don’t think I’ve ever read so blatantly expressed the notion that one group should be privileged over another.
When I was younger, we were always told that “the use of public roads is not a right but a privilege”, when stopped by traffic police, because only farmers had constitutionally protected rights to the roads. Since the constitution does not specifically grant marriage rights to anyone, does this mean that all marriages in America should be annulled, until the proper legislation can be passed? Or does it mean that marriage is a privilege only to be handed out by the church, which the state is then supposed to rubber stamp, because, as we all know, we live in a society characterized by the separation of church and state (That’s called irony, kids).
Oh, speaking of rights, homosexual people have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, along with everyone else in our free and equal society, which from the beginning has been granting freedom and equality to different groups as we went along. Historically, we have tended to add protections and rights to people formerly excluded, not take them away, as prop 8 has done. This is why people are outraged.
Gay people simply want no longer to be excluded from the rights that are common to all in our society. Marriage is not just about one groups definition of who is privileged and who isn’t, it’s about being able to take care of a loved one after ones death, by the proper handling of ones estate. It’s about being allowed to visit him or her in the emergency room. It’s about over 1,000 legal protections and benefits guaranteed to heterosexuals that are denied to gay couples.
I too, believe in the sanctity of the family. It’s too bad that the previous commenter doesn’t believe that any family I might have can be sanctified.
It’s time to remove the privileged status and let gay people live in equality.
This is the toned down version. My first draft included incendiary statements like “What twaddle!”, and things like that. At any rate, I hope it stirs something up. With my luck, I’ll discover the writer was the Academic Dean. That flushing sound you hear is my career disappearing down the toilet.
Until next time then,
Having grown up in the deep south, while wandering the rest of the country I soon became very weary of the charges of racism that were often leveled against me, solely on the basis of my southern accent.
It was a form of stereotyping that angered and frustrated me. Simply because I was white and from the southern part of the country, people often assumed I was a closet racist.
The only thing that angers me more is finding that the stereotype is sometimes accurate.
Kids in school sometimes fight, it’s simply a fact of life. I remember the time my step sister came home looking like a tractor had backed over her. She had been called on to present the National Honors Society speech for her school, so naturally she had a new dress for the occasion. Some boy thought it was a good idea to make fun of her, so after she put up with it for a while, she sat on him and pounded him into the dirt for a few minutes, until a teacher arrived to save his skinny ass from certain death. Nothing came of it, except perhaps that the boy learned to think twice before making fun of girls who wore glasses.
Well, in the tiny town of Jena, Louisiana, school yard scuffles are taken very seriously indeed, depending on who’s doing the fighting.
The Story Unfolds
At the local high school, a couple of students were tired of standing around in the sun and asked the Principal if they could sit under the Oak tree at the side of the school yard. The Principal naturally told them they could sit where ever they wished.
Bright and early the next morning, there were three nooses hanging from a limb of the tree, an unmistakable warning. You see, the kids were black, and the tree had always been reserved for whites only.
Everyone knew who had strung up the nooses, but they weren’t disciplined. Things got to be a little tense around the small town, and there were a couple of scuffles , but most people just hoped things would smooth over.
Then one day at school, several students confronted one of the boys who had hung the nooses and pushed him down to the ground. He bumped his head a little, but needed no medical attention. In fact, he still showed up at the church social that evening.
The local D.A. decided it was time to step in and has charged the students with attempted murder, for pushing a white boy down. They could face up to fifty years in prison.
The D.A., Reed Walters, is a regular “Boss Hawg”. He’s fond of saying things like, “I can make your lives disappear with a stroke of my pen,” which is exactly what he did say to a group of students protesting peacefully under the Oak tree.
Mr. Walters, AKA Boss Hawg, never found it necessary to threaten any of the white students who got into fights over the issue, but when the “niggrahs got uppity”, he was ready with a firm hand.
Some people call it shadow lynching, where poor people and minorities get different treatment under the law, receiving longer and harsher sentences compared to others.
It recalls that great movie from the ’60’s, In the Heat of the Night, with Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger. I hope those lads down in Jena have a sharp, big city lawyer to save their bacon, because otherwise their bacon will rot in jail.
It isn’t just that racism is bad, it’s that some people are automatically winners, and can do whatever they want to the losers. It’s almost a fill in the blanks type of thing; They can be black, gay, arab, or even the wrong religion. In Mr. Walter’s world, there’s a long list of people who must be put in their place, and he uses a jail cell to do it.
Matthew Shepard died in a town like Jena.
In 2005 there were over 7,000 incidents of hate crime in this country, but President Bush still doesn’t think we need a hate crimes bill. I think he’s wrong.
You can find out more, or make a donation at
Friends of Justice.
Warning: The Following is a Rant.
POLICE TARGETING GAYS
Kate and Gerry McCann were vacationing at a swank hotel in Algarve, Portugal, with their 3 children. Dinner time rolled around, so Kate and Gerry left their children, all under the age of three, unattended in the hotel room while they went to eat. The hotel had a free child care service, but K and G didn’t want to bother with that. They spent a few carefree hours at a Tapas bar, checking on the kids every half hour or so. When they got back to their room, the oldest, the three year old Madeleine was gone.
Now we’re all supposed to get into an uproar over the fact that something happened. These people left three tiny children alone in hotel room while they went to a snack bar for dinner.
And the child’s disappearance is being hotly promoted as a news item.
Yes, it’s terrible when a child goes missing, but it really irks me that whenever a pretty white girl that’s missing, the newsmedia get’s all weepy for months on end. A man could be lying in a ditch with his head cut off, and it wouldn’t make the evening news.
And if a black child is missing, don’t even bother to call 911, because no one’s on the way.
When was the last time a missing black child got that much attention? I’ll tell you, never. It usually doesn’t even make the evening news.
In the year 2000, over 1,159 black kids went missing in the U.S. Not one made the national news.
In 2005, a Teen aged Dutch girl went missing in Aruba. Authorities are still conducting searches for her. Does anyone have the figures as to how many Aruban girls of color have gone missing since that time? No one has those figures, because no one cares enough to post that information.
But when a white child is missing, all the stops are pulled out in the search. It is now darkly assumed, on no evidence whatsoever, that pedophiles or Portugese grabbed her. After all, Portugese aren’t really white, just mostly white. One of the sources even goes so far as to say, “Blonde-haired and blue-eyed children are apparently desirable on the illegal child adoption market, and it will presumably be examined as a line of inquiry by police.” If this had taken place a century earlier, he would have said it more plainly, ” The darkies all hunger for our white women.”
The media is bending over backward to spare the feelings of parents who left three very small children in a hotel room unattended, so they could go out for dinner.
The parents should be booked for criminal child neglect.
And now, because the police have to arrest somebody quickly, they’re going to single out gays. Anyone who ever got picked up for getting a blow job in the park is fair game. If they were within a hundred miles of that hotel room, they’ll be picked up and given the third degree.
It’s SOP when the police can’t think of anything constructive to do,”Round up the usual suspects”. Find someone vulnerable and pin it on them.
We can do better than that.
Christopher Smart (1722-1771)
Written while he was imprisoned in an insane asylum, being beaten daily. Today he would probably be considered mildly eccentric, and handed some Xanax. I’ve written of him before, but it fits with the feline theme.
For I will consider my Cat Jeoffry.
For he is the servant of the Living God duly and daily serving him.
For at the first glance of the glory of God in the East he worships in his way.
For this is done by wreathing his body seven times round with elegant quickness.
For then he leaps up to catch the musk, which is the blessing of God upon his prayer.
For he rolls upon prank to work it in.
For having done duty and received blessing he begins to consider himself.
For this he performs in ten degrees.
For first he looks upon his forepaws to see if they are clean.
For secondly he kicks up behind to clear away there.
For thirdly he works it upon stretch with the forepaws extended.
For fourthly he sharpens his paws by wood.
For fifthly he washes himself.
For sixthly he rolls upon wash.
For seventhly he fleas himself, that he may not be interrupted upon the beat.
For eighthly he rubs himself against a post.
For ninthly he looks up for his instructions.
For tenthly he goes in quest of food.
For having consider’d God and himself he will consider his neighbour.
For if he meets another cat he will kiss her in kindness.
For when he takes his prey he plays with it to give it a chance.
For one mouse in seven escapes by his dallying.
For when his day’s work is done his business more properly begins.
For he keeps the Lord’s watch in the night against the adversary.
For he counteracts the powers of darkness by his electrical skin and glaring eyes.
For he counteracts the Devil, who is death, by brisking about the life.
For in his morning orisons he loves the sun and the sun loves him.
For he is of the tribe of Tiger.
For the Cherub Cat is a term of the Angel Tiger.
For he has the subtlety and hissing of a serpent, which in goodness he suppresses.
For he will not do destruction, if he is well-fed, neither will he spit without provocation.
For he purrs in thankfulness, when God tells him he’s a good Cat.
For he is an instrument for the children to learn benevolence upon.
For every house is incomplete without him and a blessing is lacking in the spirit.
For the Lord commanded Moses concerning the cats at the departure of the Children of Israel from Egypt.
For every family had one cat at least in the bag.
For the English Cats are the best in Europe.
For he is the cleanest in the use of his forepaws of any quadruped.
For the dexterity of his defence is an instance of the love of God to him exceedingly.
For he is the quickest to his mark of any creature.
For he is tenacious of his point.
For he is a mixture of gravity and waggery.
For he knows that God is his Saviour.
For there is nothing sweeter than his peace when at rest.
For there is nothing brisker than his life when in motion.
For he is of the Lord’s poor and so indeed is he called by benevolence perpetually–Poor Jeoffry! poor Jeoffry! the rat has bit thy throat.
For I bless the name of the Lord Jesus that Jeoffry is better.
For the divine spirit comes about his body to sustain it in complete cat.
For his tongue is exceeding pure so that it has in purity what it wants in music.
For he is docile and can learn certain things.
For he can set up with gravity which is patience upon approbation.
For he can fetch and carry, which is patience in employment.
For he can jump over a stick which is patience upon proof positive.
For he can spraggle upon waggle at the word of command.
For he can jump from an eminence into his master’s bosom.
For he can catch the cork and toss it again.
For he is hated by the hypocrite and miser.
For the former is afraid of detection.
For the latter refuses the charge.
For he camels his back to bear the first notion of business.
For he is good to think on, if a man would express himself neatly.
For he made a great figure in Egypt for his signal services.
For he killed the Ichneumon-rat very pernicious by land.
For his ears are so acute that they sting again.
For from this proceeds the passing quickness of his attention.
For by stroking of him I have found out electricity.
For I perceived God’s light about him both wax and fire.
For the Electrical fire is the spiritual substance, which God sends from heaven to sustain the bodies both of man and beast.
For God has blessed him in the variety of his movements.
For, tho he cannot fly, he is an excellent clamberer.
For his motions upon the face of the earth are more than any other quadruped.
For he can tread to all the measures upon the music.
For he can swim for life.
For he can creep.
A couple of little guys at play…
Love among the Felines.
All right, I’ll admit right up front that I have no idea what proper etiquette is when it comes to sniffing a friends shorts, other than:
1- It’s best if he’s in them at the time.
2- Next best is sneaking them out of his laundry hamper, after you’ve asked to go to the restroom and everyone else is at the table. The thrill of the petty larceny makes it all the more fun.
3- Don’t tell me you never did this. I just flat don’t believe you.
I walked into my room the other evening and found my cat sniffing my freshly discarded briefs. And she wasn’t merely politely sniffing either, she was vigorously rubbing her face in them.
There’s one of two possibilities that apply here.
The first is that perhaps she had a terrible, sudden itch on her face that could only be eased by rubbing it energetically on a cotton product. The other option is that she wanted to carry my smell around with her.
I think it’s the latter. My cat thinks I’m hot.
The fabulous cats of the Venice Carnivale…
Two other things I like about cats:
1-A cordial greeting always involves a friendly sniff, and they always go right for the money.
2-Hanging out means cuddling, with no exceptions.
Pictures of humans exhibiting laudably catlike qualities…
There now, don’t they look friendly and relaxed?
As Holly and Jim haven’t demanded their car back, I got to keep their car another day. It’s Sunday, so I went to church this morning.
I quit going to the Episcopalian church when they started harassing me to perform for them. I wouldn’t mind, but I know perfectly well that someone will make an issue of You Know What, and then all hell will break loose in the House. It’s part of the drama of small town life.
But I found an MCC Church in town, where You Know What isn’t an issue, because everyone there is a You Know What, so I saddled up Rocinante and made the journey.
I was a little apprehensive, so I showed up about a half hour into the service, to make sure I missed the pre-church banter. I suck at small talk anyway, so I planned on just slipping in quietly.
It turned out pretty nice. I didn’t mind the cruising at all, which was pretty intense. And it was nice having a clear view of the people who were doing the cruising.
I noticed any number of May-September couples, of which pairing I completely approve. I also noticed several younger men sitting around looking unattached, trying to hide their forlorn state. The poor things could have been wearing signs.
I’ve already formulated a program to remedy this situation. I think I’m going to select one of them and attach him to myself, simply as a public service.
It’s an ecological issue. It just upsets me to think of all that perfectly good testosterone going to waste. And as a bonus, I probably won’t have to make bail.
Aaron will be furious. I can’t wait to tell him.
A present for all you good boys and girls…
This Air Force cadet cammed his roommate dancing when he thought no one was watching. You should see his M C Hammer imitation.
It’s so sweet it’ll make your teeth hurt.
Click to see White Boy Dancing here.
These are some photographs of an Israeli dancer named Avram. That’s all the information I have, other than the fact that he’s the hungriest man I’ve ever seen.
It’s been said that thoughts have shapes, and can sometimes be seen.
They’re supposed to resemble the shape of a photographed pendulum.
An Egyptian man named Ibn Yunus discovered the action of the pendulum a thousand years ago, and also it’s use in measuring the passage of time.
Edgar Allan Poe wrote the story of The Pit and the Pendulum, in which a man was tied down and a huge razor sharp pendulum set swinging over him. Our character in the story escapes. When I read this as a child, it bothered me. Something in the story never quite rang true dramatically.
I realized just today that the reason the story disturbed me is that he shouldn’t have escaped. No one escapes the pendulum of life.
Gerald Ford’s memorial service was held on television today, with lots of wealthy white politicos standing around looking nervous, with a token black preacher offering up the prayer, in a superbly modulated preachers voice.
The thing that stood out in all the eulogistic euphemisms was the constancy with which it was said, “He was an honest man”, always spoken in somewhat awestruck tones. They seemed nervous that perhaps the Last Honest Man among them had died.
One of the speakers was a lifelong bitter enemy of President Ford. He was the most effusive and flowery in his eulogy.
Gerald Ford was ninety three, and his life was done. The pendulum had swung.
Gerald Ford was the last Republican President to unequivocally support equal rights for gays. In March of 2002, at 89 years of age, he joined the advisory board of a gay-straight alliance advocating support for gay issues within the Republican Party.
It was a closeted gay man who saved Ford’s life in 1975, when “Billy” Sipple pushed away the gun that Sara Jane Moore had pointed squarely at his chest. It worked out much better for Ford than for Sipple, who was outed by Harvey Milk, who possibly saw a chance to garner publicity from the episode.
Perhaps President Ford realized that if a gay man was capable of saving his life, maybe he deserved the right to live fully and freely as well.
In America’s hysterical social and political life, the pendulum has swung to the opposite side of the spectrum. Great hue and cry is raised about “saving” marriage for the heterosexuals, while Foley delays the vote to text message his boyfriend, saying, “I miss you”. Full civil rights are reserved for the favored few.
But there’s one important thing about a pendulum: To the degree it swings in one direction, it rebounds equally in the other direction. The signs are that the swing to the right is losing its popular support, and that the mind of the public is returning to the center.
Hopefully one day we’ll have dealt with this issue, and can forego the endless swings of the pendulum.
THE CHARACTER AND PURSUITS OF THE MAN OF THE MINING VILLAGE
Among other things, at Christmas I received one of those HP printer/scanners that were advertised for twenty eight dollars. I was ecstatic, because my old printer died a miserable death several months ago. I’d been hinting loudly to my long suffering friends, all three or four of them, that a new printer would enable me to resume production of my revolutionary pamphlets. Sure enough, they came through for me and this morning I was sitting on my living room floor with a shiny box full of printer parts.
Almost immediately, I discovered the reason these printers were sold for such a ridiculously low price was that they come with almost none of the detachable parts that a printer requires in order to function.
Undeterred, I went to my Big Box of Computer Junk and found all the parts I needed except one: a USB cable. In my program of painfully dragging myself into the twenty-first century, I had neglected to supply myself with modern cordage.
So I found myself facing the fact that a shopping trip to the big city was in order. I buckled myself into the borrowed, ancient Ford LX which I’ve dubbed Rocinante, and set off for the big city.
I’m not a big city person. I love the pace of life in my little semi-deserted mining town. I love being near open country, and the spectacular view of the mountains. I love being able to disappear into rough country and go camping on the back side of the mountain.
The single drawback, and it’s a big one, is that the dating life here is abysmal. I’m tired of the occasional one night stands which is all my town seems to afford, and I’m desirous of something more permanent. I’m slowly wrapping my mind around the fact that to get a partner worth having, I’ll have to look for him where there are greater quantities of men.
You’d think that alone would be enough to start me packing my bags. In fact, I don’t think a phrase exists that’s more calculated to perk up my ears than, “greater quantities of men”. It just has a ring to it. But back to the real story.
In my research I had heard wild rumors of a place called the 99 Cents Store, which supposedly had USB cables for 99 cents. My cupidity was aroused(and my cupidity is considerable), and I discovered that of the twenty or so outlets in town, there was one on the side near me.
After driving for forty-five minutes, I arrived to be told, “Why yes, we do carry them! Unfortunately we’re out right now.” However there was another store, all the way on the other side of town that almost certainly did have them.
Rocinante bravely sprang into action, heaving and wheezing, and we made the arduous hour long trek across town, only to discover that the last cable had been sold just yesterday. “But we’re getting a new shipment in next week. Come back then!”
I stopped at Comp USA, which had the same identical cable for $21. This was simply not to be considered.
I finally stopped at the Store Which Must Never Be Named. You know, the one whose owners are worth more than twenty-five per cent of the world’s poorest nations. That one. I’m not proud, but they had my cable at a reasonable price.
We’re home now, and Rocinante has been bedded down for the night. I’m sitting in my living room watching my new printer make friends with my hard drive. I’m confident they’ll learn to work and play together well.
When a lonely Hard Drive meets a willing Printer…