I strained my brain a couple of weeks ago. The doctor said, "No heavy lifting for you!" So I'm avoiding quantum physics and programming my VCR.
I suppose you've all heard that the British invaded Spain this week <snort>, it's true. They claim that it wasn't intentional...
Am I out of step with public opinion or was the news from Noble, Georgia kinda freakish this week?
There was a town near where I grew up and when bodies were reported discovered in unconventional settings (like backyards or basements) or en masse, people would ask if it'd happened in that town. And when the answer was affirmative (which was, given the laws of probablility, more often than it should have been) people would exchange knowing looks. There was something inherently wrong about that place (like maybe the poverty and the industrial waste... dunno).
I first heard about the remiss crematorium worker from Noble, Georgia on the BBC. They're totally fascinated by the story (so much so, I didn't hear them report a thing about them invading Spain...), they keep on about reporting from "The Deep South" or the "Appalachian Lands". Clever little key words to invoke images of southern gothic gone terribly, terribly wrong...
And it is awful in this horribly fascinating way. How can a mind get so very warped and no one notice it for such a very long time?
Check this visual whatnot out (click here). I've exerpted this from a photo that showed up in the NYT magazine. Now, if I was the photographer, I wouldn't want that woman to release that kid, would you?
She's mine! Mine, mine, mine all mine. Mine, I tell ya!
Good thing too, walkin' around in my underpants the way she does.
More than you wanted to know? Probably.
I thought I ought to express some romantic notion as it's the week of Valentine's Day. That oh so Hallmark of holidays celebrating the concept of romantic love.
I'm at a loss. For me, romance is in the daily details. She wakes me up each morning. I cringe at the light - I whine, she laughs. I stagger from the bed about a half hour later. She laughs again, having already risen, eaten, showered - she laughs while fully dressed. Me, I grumble and wander around aimlessly, an apparently delightful entertainment (and don't think I don't know it).
The tables turn at night. I sit typing or some such - and she reads or some such. She grows sleepy and begins to grumble - it's around 9:00. I laugh. She loses focus (can no longer follow the details of whatever book related to whatever creature she's absorbed in at the moment) and prepares for bed. Occasionally, we will ablute à deux - for some reason, we consider this quality time... She goes to bed, reads a bit more, usually something lighter, less entymological and whatnot, and I go back to whatever I was doing. She grumbles about the light, I laugh - but I turn it off and use one that won't bug her. She falls to sleep.
This is not most people's idea of romantic.
This is not Ume's idea of romantic. This is Ume's idea of the daily process. Ume's idea of romantic is a hot date on a Friday night. "That's more like it!" you say. Maybe you'll change your mind when I tell you that Ume's idea of a hot date is us going to the library on a Friday night.
I kid you not.
We've known people who go to great lengths and spend lots of money to be romantic. Ume and I are baffled by such extravagant planning and expenditures of wealth (even if we had it to expend, we'd probably do it otherwise). "What's wrong with the library?" we wonder. Okay, maybe she wonders it more than I do, but we still don't get it.
We enjoy and are continually surprised by each other's company. The fact that Ume finds a Friday night trip to the library romantic, kills me. I love it. I go, because she gets such a kick out of it. And if she gets amorous in the stacks, who am I to complain?
For those of you who are unpartnered and bummin' - just remember there are lots of plusses on your side of the coin too. No one's sniggering at you before your brain functions have warmed up passed not quite comatose. No one's stealin' your underpants (unless you have one of those odd roommates or a cat that's into that kind of thing). Your idea of a hot date is probably actually sexy. "Ouch! Ume quit it! I was just jokin' and whatnot."
Life's full of surprises, in any case - and romance isn't a notion that can be neatly described on a card, packaged by a company and sold at a dear price. It's all over the place. Just depends how you look at it.
And besides, they made Maya Angelou the head of the sentiments division at Hallmark, Inc. You tell me if the world isn't damned odd.
"Life: what a strange arrangement." - Ume.
We live in a liberal and tolerant area. It's not perfect, and still, we know that we're remarkably lucky. I'm never able to fully comprehend the extent and depths of some people's fear and hatred of homosexuals. But it's there.
We had news this last week of people whose lives were threatened by that hatred and managed to escape. It's the kind of persecution we fear and some of us face. I feel lucky to live in a more accepting environment - I wish you safety, peace and all of that good stuff.
If you'd like to read about it - click here.
Some background - click here.
When your mind reaches the consistency of partially dried paste - it's time to admit that there is a possibility, however slight... that you may be tired.
The kind of consistency I hope for in a mind is the logical kind. Ya know, ideas coalescing in a more or less regular fashion. But hey, if dried paste is your thing, I'm your gal this week.
Speaking of work... I remember the day that I went to get my social security number. I was an industrious young Brulee and signed up at the first opportunity afforded to me (by the state and it's child labor laws) as a teenager. Had I realized then, that I would spend the next 50 or 60 years toiling away, I may not have been quite so gung-ho. But at that time, it represented a smidgen of freedom and independence, so I leapt at it.
This week, I look back at the moment when I got my social security card in the mail and wonder if I'd waited a week or a month - if I would have needed a nap so badly today.
On Wednesday, over a million people gathered in downtown Boston to cheer the Patriots football team for having beaten the Rams in the Super Bowl. That's a lot of people. That's a lot of cheer. We needed it. Los Angeles has plenty of cheer - they're always smiling and whatnot in L.A. We New Englanders are always grumpy. You would be too if you had to live with the lack of signage we do. My personal theory as to why Boston has few to no street signs: We're still afraid of the British. It's true! We're afraid they're gonna come back and try to invade - but there will be no street signs so they won't be able to find anything and will give up out of sheer frustration.
And "The Big Dig" people are always talking about? The largest highway project in history being perpetrated, I mean, taking place in Boston? That's no tunnel they're digging. It's a big hole (for Federal dollars...) - for when the British give up. We'll lead 'em in there and close it. It's the master plan for the defense of Boston. Yup. They say that generals are always fighting the last war...
No offense meant to any present day British folk who happen to read this bit of absurdia. We have no real intention of trapping you in our mammoth highway project. I make no promises for not trapping you in the traffic it's created... nor for getting you unlost once you lose your way due to the giant game of musical exits they're playing downtown (constructing and deconstructing whole on and off ramps - to the highway that cuts through downtown - seemingly overnight... at random...). Like I told you before, once you're downtown, there's no signage to navigate yourself out - so prepare to be grumpy like the rest of us.
Okay, this is one of those things that's too cool for me to describe so I won't try. Only, I'm telling you that this is a powerful piece of work. If you have a problem with Real Player stuff I'd say that this is beyond worth the effort of getting over them. This is extraordinary. I think this woman deserves whatever award there is going for this kind of work. I got tingles up my spine listening to it. You might say that my opinion is somewhat colored by my orientation, but I'd have to argue with you. Hey! Barbra Gittings is mentioned in it too!
Click on the link below and scroll down on the page a touch, look in the table for the show called "81 Words" - sit back and listen:
I managed to keep the darting hummingbird that is my mind focused enough to finish reading, "Sexing the Body" by Anne Fausto-Sterling. It was certainly interesting. Lots of cool information in there about sex and gender and the history of ideas about sexuality over the last couple of hundred years. Totally fascinating stuff.
It's a monumental task that the author undertook in writing this book. And I'm kind of sorry to say that I found the information that she provided around her point to be more interesting than what the book is actually important for - but that's me all over, isn't it? It's worth a read. Even if I didn't understand bits and pieces of it or feel comfortable with her arguments in places, I'd recommend it. How could anyone undertake such a huge task and please everybody?
Another good interview with Ahmed Rashid on Teri Gross' show Fresh Air. He talks about militant Islamic groups in Central Asia:
I see where Jeanette Winterson took a high moral tone in one of her recent site entries, but I'm gonna give it a break because I did that last week. Remember last week? I was highly toned all over the place. No need this week - the press is feeding on the Enron scandal and turning up all manner of unsavory whatnot - like Ralph Reed (hiss, hiss, hiss).
Here's Ms. Winterson's address - it's well worth the time:
Ms. Winterson has said that she's unapologetically high art. She's unapologetically a lot of stuff which is a pretty feisty stance to take with the world and so I appreciate it. I like that she's so highbrow too - someone should be.
What does it mean then, that such a highbrow kind of gal as this posts a link to a major Slash site on her links page? Does it mean that we slashers are highbrow all of a sudden? They do say that there's a certain amount of guilt by association... I don't see why it shouldn't go both ways.
Thanks to the little bird who dropped me this link.
Number of personal injuries involving toilets in the US 1996: 43,687
Number involving sharks: 18
Number of cases of Polygamy Porter sold by a Utah brewery since October : 1,000
Number of Pop-Tarts dropped on Afghanistan as part of U.S. airborne food aid in the first month of bombing : 2,400,000
Number of knee bends that a 59-year-old Ukrainian woman performed last fall to protest U.S. attacks on Afghanistan : 1,101
You've gotta love the Harper's Index! I find the ones at the bottom to be more fun - it's like they stayed up late to find all of these wacky facts and by the end of it they were punch drunk and threw in a few wackier ones.
Don't run with scissors.
Very bad, that.