Postings are in chronological order, with the most recent entry at the top.
The world isn't getting any prettier this month, is it? Terrorism all over the place.
One recoils at the savagery humanity is capable of - on scales large and small.
Hope you're hanging in there, weathering circumstances and such.
Used to be, when your ears itched or burned, it meant someone was gossiping about you. These days, I'm thinking it means someone's Googling you.
In that half sleep that marks one's more restless nights, I turned in bed and tucked my pillow under my head, and heard a soft thump on the mattress beside me. Soon thereafter there came a much harrassed sounding lament into the darkness, "Why don't you just poke me with sticks?"
As sometimes happens, Ume's head had migrated to my pillow somewhere between our having tucked in and my pillow adjustment. I was not, by her sleepy estimate, being a gracious pillow host.
To add to her list of nocturnal grievences... earlier in the evening, I'd turned over and run into her in a manner she found objectionable. I'd seen it as more of an abrupt, "Oh hello. It's you again." type of encounter. In her half sleep, she'd swatted at me until I'd retreated to "my side of the bed".
Funny thing, nocturnal meanderings - the mind doing that periodic flossing of events... "Yes, I think we need to remember this cell phone conversation we overheard in the grocery store, yup. And the color of that woman's shoes on the bus, definitely need to remember that. Location of the single key to the bank vault with all earthly possessions... nah, don't need to remember that. Name of the boss' kid sister who's running the division for the next week... nah, no room left for that one if I'm going to remember the names of the cast of the latest Matrix film."
I've been itching to see some desert and since it's kinda far away, I found these super photos and am much pleased that I did: www.alanbauer.com/desert.htm
Avoid the manhole covers!
NStar spars with city on electric shocks by Mac Daniel (Boston Globe, 03.09.04):click here
Thanks to the reader who pointed this out:
BIBLICAL SENSE: Making marriage religious by Mary-Ann Greanier (Boston Pheonix): click here
One just doesn't know how to deal with this kind of information...
China May Have 40 Mln Frustrated Bachelors by 2020 by Juliana Liu (Reuters, 03.08.04): click here
You've got to read this kind of thing to believe it...
Tennessee County Reverses Ban on Gays by Bill Poovey (Associated Press, 03.19.04): click here
The liberal point of view...:
Creating a Genuine 'Opportunity Society'" by Senator Edward M. Kennedy: click here
I especially liked the summarizing bits:
...Republicans came to a new dominance for much of the last quarter century -- controlling the White House in the 1980s, and both houses of Congress for most of the 1990s, and both branches in recent years. They have tried hard as well to dominate the federal courts. Todays Republicans are very different from those who led their party in earlier years. The Republican Party is now controlled by ideological extremists who reject any meaningful role for government in expanding economic opportunity or preventing the abuses of private economic power. Some of them even openly proclaim that their goal is to starve the beast cut taxes so low that government will not have the resources to play a meaningful role in the economy. These latter day Social Darwinians clearly believe that those who assemble great concentrations of wealth should be unfettered and permitted to dominate the nations economic life, much as they did in the late 19th century.
Where are Iraq's Pentagon Papers? by Daniel Ellsberg (Boston Globe, 02.22.04): click here
Here they are...:
The New Pentagon Papers by by Karen Kwiatkowski (Salon.com, 03.10.04): click here
Certainly, the neoconservatives never bothered to sell the rest of the country on the real reasons for occupation of Iraq -- more bases from which to flex U.S. muscle with Syria and Iran, and better positioning for the inevitable fall of the regional ruling sheikdoms. Maintaining OPEC on a dollar track and not a euro and fulfilling a half-baked imperial vision also played a role. These more accurate reasons for invading and occupying could have been argued on their merits -- an angry and aggressive U.S. population might indeed have supported the war and occupation for those reasons. But Americans didn't get the chance for an honest debate.
Second round: Bigots - 1, Homosexuals - 0
They've gone and done it. They've passed an amendment that may write discrimination into our state constitution. Not a huge surprise, but still, one had hope...
So on March 29, the constitutional convention will meet again to discuss the amendment they passed that says that civil unions in MA would be equal in all ways to marriages in MA - except that they wouldn't be, because marriage in MA between a man and a woman also confers federal privileges as well and civil unions (no matter how "equal") wouldn't. And when the legislature meets, you can bet your ass they'll try to amend the amendment to change the wording and make civil unions less than the "equal" language they used as bait to pass the amendment in the first place. They'll probably try to get "one man, one woman" wording in there somewhere... Just watch.
And if that passes, then it would probably go before voters in 2006, or so I understand. And on May 17th, this year, the date the state has been directed to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, nothing will most likely happen, because Mitt Romney (our beloved governor) and Thomas Finneran (our beloved speaker of the house) will do everything they can to stop it ("to avoid causing confusion...").
So the moral of the story is... if the Supreme Court of Massachusetts says the constitution allows for gay marriage under the equal treatment type language (which it did, which was what started this whole thing off) - we need to change the language of the constitution, because we meant that only "regular", "normal" people deserved to be treated equally under the law. Queers should be shoved into a second class and treated unequally.
Wonder what side of history those people think they're standing on?
Happily, there were legislators who stuck with us and fought for us and we think they're fabulous! Too lovely for words. They're good, courageous folks and we're so very thankful for their hard work and efforts on our behalf. Three cheers for the guys from our district!!!
And to the Mitt Romney's and Thomas Finneran's of the world we say - you're mean-spirited, narrow minded and not sufficiently equipped to uphold the principles of "liberty and justice for all".
Verbiage from signs at the State House:
The largest signs held by the opposition <hiss> read:
Homosexuals are possessed by demons (4X5 foot sign printed in red and black)
Jesus is the Lord (20 foot long banner that hung on the gate of the State House - not sure why the state police didn't remove it...)
Homo sex is sin
AIDS - a judgment and a punishment
God hates sin -Psalm 5:5
Some of their smaller signs <hiss>:
Homosexuals are elitists
No To Gay Marriage - It's Not About Civil Rights. It's About Right and Wrong.
Marriage: One Man - One Woman
No To Gay Marraige - Yes to Jesus
As marriage goes, so goes the family, so goes the nation, so goes the world, Defend Marriage!
Boston and Massachusetts won't be a Sodom and Gomorrah
God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Paul
Remove the judges!
Yes to polygamy - Yes to incest - Yes to gay marriage - "Civil Rights" for all?
Signs held by the goodly and courageous anti-amendment folk <hurrah!>:
Homophobes are possessed by ignorance and fear
Adam and Steve, 'til death do us part
Hetero house-wives for same-sex marriage
No discrimination in the constitution
If civil unions are so great, YOU have one!
Don't take away my civil right to marry!
There is nothing love cannot conquer -CORR 1:13
We the people - NOT - We the people... and them. With liberty and justice for all. Amen.
It's about justice.
Keep religion out of government -Thomas Jefferson
Discrimination is NOT a family value
I agree with the SJC
Celebrate love, not hate - Equal Marriage under the state
Homo sex is (s - crossed out) in
Just say no - to hate and discrimination
Another straight couple FOR same-sex marriage
Separate the Church and State
Amending the constitution to revoke the civil rights of your constituents perverts democracy.
Brown, Roe, Goodrich
Share the love - support marriage equality
People of faith, led by the spirit, to support equal rights, for gay men and lesbians -Marriage for All
Another person of faith for gay marriage
This straight catholic supports equal rights. Do You? (loved the red white and blue motif and the flag on this one)
Hetero families for gay families
Every girl dreams of her wedding day - NOT her civil union day! Separate is NOT equal! (with a cute picture of a pickup truck with two women in it)
God made us queer
I'm a skinny little faggot. What are you afraid of?
Even though our signs were immeasurably more clever, the media reported that there were more of theirs...
Hanging from an adjacent building there was a billboard size sign that read:
Civil Marriage is a Civil Right
-Unitarian Universalist Association
Good old Unitarians! There were also rainbow flags all over that building - looked very festive!
For an excellent site on the issues at hand visit: MassEquality
It's much on the mind of late. Marriage. Gay marriage.
Recently, William Saffire opined:
"But when they use the word "marriage," that moves the debate from tolerance -- which is the whole idea of civil unions -- to approval and perhaps encouragement of homosexuality. And that use of that word, the gay community knows it, and so does the straight community. And that word is a passionate word." (click here for full transcript)
Sneaky, underhanded deviants that we are - we want to be accepted by society. Further proof, no doubt, that we're sick.
Many of us grew up with "straight" married parents; those "ideal", "sanctified by god" unions (or so they're being called by people of the social/religious conservative persuasion). Our parents, having spoken those sacred vows (that have been touted as too pure to be defiled by the likes of... well, me), and with great deliberation (and no license required), conceived us. Oh sure, heterosexual parents, being human and all, are not likely to attain anything like the "ideal" that these conservatives keep talking about, but they're a man and a woman and so they, despite their fighting, their abuse and neglect of their children (I'm simply talking from personal experience here, not implying that all straight people are like my parents) - are better suited to the divine sanction of marriage than any same-sex couple, no matter how loving and supportive that same-sex couple may be to one another and their children. Because it's NOT how the parents love and support the child that matters, no - it's that the parents have different genitals. Opposing genitals, much like opposing thumbs, are superior. The same genitals are not only inferior, but incorrect. This, they argue, should be easy enough to understand - God made Adam and Eve, not, they say, Adam and Steve.
I can feel the pressure vacuum of the Middle Ages sucking at my heels...
Okay, for argument's sake, let's say God, in all of his wisdom (I'm sure they're referring to that god) created Adam and Eve. And Adam and Eve had several children, and they all committed incest and had several more - and so on and so on. Somewhere along the way a homosexual is born... nut no, that's not right, not if we're making this argument on their terms - homosexuals can't be born ('cuz then it might possibly be considered "natural"), so a homosexual would have to be created. By Satan. Of course (and if we're in Mel Gibson's Christian fantasy, the satan is a woman... hmm...). A homosexual would be twisted out of a previously heterosexual individual, probably because they were weak, sneaky and evil to begin with and if they weren't, Satan made them so in addition to making them homosexual. Okay, here's this satan-made homosexual, and the only way this evil, tainted by Satan, creature can have what it wants is to prey on the goodly heterosexual folk (Satan, in her evil, only makes a small percentage of the population homosexual). Anyway, it sounds pretty awful to me.
And must be exactly like what happened to me too - in kindergarten. There I was, minding my own damn business on the jungle gym and this girl runs up to me and kisses me on the cheek. I hadn't given girls much thought before that, before that evil, tainted little child ran up and kissed me - me, a saintly, untainted child (remember, they say we can't be born gay only twisted into it) on the cheek. And I must have caught it from her, homosexuality I mean - just like a virus! It's that easy.
From there on in it was me preying on my unsuspecting classmates. Only I didn't know I'd been turned gay by my classmate in kindergarten, I just thought girls were more interesting. I knew they were actually, because most of my close friends were boys and they were kind of dull, like me.
So I was "other". Apart. Queer. Marked. Only, in my twisted innocence, I was not aware of it. But slowly, over the years, things began to add up... To this day I remember the acute disappointment I felt upon learning that my second grade teacher was married (much like Lilly Tomlin in that routine she does about her second grade teacher). I really couldn't understand it. What did she need a guy for? And in the years following, that sentiment would echo in my mind whenever a woman who seemed somewhat... interesting, mentioned a husband or boyfriend. That feeling took on a whole new dimension when I became an adolescent and began to sense the disapproval that would come with realizing such a sentiment out loud.
My parents, who I never told about the demon spawn on the playground, sensed trouble. And at the age of fourteen, my mother began to hint broadly that anything even remotely lesbian in nature was in poor taste (severe censure from Mom, to be sure). Doing his part to promote the heterosexual lifestyle as the only acceptable option, my father embarked on operation, "Let Her Know She's A Girl". This was an excruciatingly awkward exercise for all involved and would be humorous telling, if it weren't so sad.
My peers had no clue what to make of me. Until finally, in high school, because I had a crush on a girl (only I didn't totally know it), I accepted a date with a guy she asked me to go out with. My peer's perceptions of me changed overnight. I was no longer, "That odd girl with the A's who plays sports." I was, "That odd girl with the A's who plays sports, who's dating Ralph Nonesuch." I felt people relax around me in a way they hadn't before. I was a known quantity. Less confusing. I fit in... kinda sorta.
This farce went on until I realized that Ralph was taking the whole thing seriously - that, I knew, wasn't cricket. He was a nice guy, was Ralph.
It wasn't long after that, that bingo! - I figured out what was going on. In a very conscious, thinking the word "lesbian" kind of way. And considering how little the words lesbian and homosexual were used where I lived (and it was the early 1980's), it's a miracle that I knew what I was thinking about. One thing kids pick up on is words - and if the words that best describe a primary urge you're having are seldom mentioned and when they are it's with fear or disapproval - you get the feeling that maybe... just maybe... you ought to keep your mouth shut. And your hands to yourself. Even if your heart swells in a way that seems nothing but good toward a fellow female classmate... or two.
Spending your teenage years in hiding from yourself and the censure of your parents, peers and society at large is, oddly enough, debilitating on the human spirit. It can also, and often does, hamper one's social development. After all, when all of the other girls are talking about boys and how marvelous they are and you're nearly bored to tears and totally disappointed the entire time... and not very good at hiding it... but also unable to begin to explore sexual relationships in an open, non secretive way the way your peers are... well... One does get a lot of studying done. Or at least I did.
That and I developed an unhealthy interest in the ascetic lifestyle. Damn that little demon spawn who kissed me. It's all been her fault. Oh, and Satan's too. I'm sure none of this would have happened had it not been for that fateful impertinence visited upon me by that she devil on the jungle gym.
My parents never fully accepted my sexual orientation. Had my mother lived longer, I think she would have started nagging me about Ume as she nagged all of my siblings about their significant others. Over the years, my father made quantum leaps for a man raised in the Depression Era south. He managed a tolerance that bordered on acceptance and would pout if Ume and I couldn't make it for holidays or visits. However, when Ume and I showed up at his funeral services, hand in hand - most people in attendance were taken aback. Because somehow, my father had forgotten to mention that I was and had been for some long time, partnered. To a woman. Just slipped his mind... Made for an interesting experience, coming out to three hundred people as we walked down the aisle of a church...
A-n-y-w-a-y, the problem with religious social conservative arguments against homosexuals is that they just don't mesh with our experiences. And since there are more homosexuals have come out and talked about our experiences, it's harder and harder for them to paint us with the deviant/satan brush. Which isn't to say that homosexuals are all happy, well adjusted people. Actually, being forced to grow up in an atmosphere where you're loathed, despised and thought to be evil incarnate - that, as previously stated, can fuck you up.
But these folks aren't interested in subtle nuances, or my experiences, or anything else that threatens their narrow world view. Which brings us back to Adam and Steve. Procreation. Children. Satan. And right and wrong.
Homosexuality was created on this earth by Satan and is therefore bad - wrong. Heterosexuality was created by God and is therefore divine - right. I cannot argue with this. Not because it is correct, but because it is a closed circuit of logic. So narrow a point of view as to be divorced from reality.
In reality, where I live, I pay taxes to the state. A supposedly secular state with a constitution that says, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." (only "Happiness" is spelled "Happinefs" - I don't know why, it just is). The constitution doesn't say that if Satan pops up on the playground and makes you gay at the age of five, you lose access to those rights, or shall only be allowed partial Happinefs. I've read the whole thing and I didn't spot it in there. The religious social conservatives argue that by being homosexual, no matter how law abiding and conscientious, we are not allowed to aspire to their level of divinity. They're ipso facto better than we are and it is, they argue, as plain as the nose on their face. Because it's always been that way; as long as anyone can remember (which would have been a great argument against using soap to stop the spread of disease). And everybody, they say, knows that this country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles (heterosexuality, good; homosexuality, wrong - the whole thing boils down to just that, yep, it's that simple), so pointing to the Constitution when we know the framers of that article would have strung up a homosexual on sight (or more likely had one of their slaves do it), is a pernicious and in-genuine thing to do.
So I shouldn't. I should, in their view, just admit that I'm queer, and marked by the devil - accept my lowly status as a creepy-crawly thing, and skulk off to the shadows where, preferably, I should die.
But then I'd miss all the right wing histrionics that are the true inspirational fuel to my fire. And let's face it, without me to sneer at, they'd be lonely - so I just can't.
Reasonable people can, and will eventually, see that people like Ume and I do not pose them any more threat than does overcooked spaghetti. It may not be for you, but it's not going to do you an injury. And some people like it just fine - actually prefer it.
You see, because reasonable people understand that there's a possibility that there's something else that holds society and civilization together, not just their personal beliefs in a supernatural being (and the mess of rules and regulations, developed over three thousand years ago, that come along with it). That thing, that thing that doesn't always work, but is oft looked upon as the glue that holds a society together is the social contract. It's a pretty basic idea that more or less says that if I'm nice to you and you're nice to me, maybe we can coexist peacefully and benefit mutually. And in a secular society, if one group of individuals, say a minority of some unspecified sort, isn't doing anything that is perceived to be harmful to the larger group, they shouldn't be treated any differently by the larger group. A sense of fairness should carry the day.
Discrimination and hysterical demonization based on prejudice, that, oddly enough, is not considered fair.
But the children! They say. What about the children?! Everybody knows that homosexuals, when not busy corrupting goodly heterosexual adults, prey on children! Everybody who reads the creative statistical analysis over at the traditional values dot com brain dump might, but "The American Psychological Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Academy of Child Psychiatrists and the Child Welfare League of America all have policy statements stating there is no correlation between homosexuality and child abuse." (click here for reference)
Who's statistical analysis are you going to give more credence to?
I heard an Episcopal priest interviewed on the radio saying how a household run by a single mother was preferable to a household run by two mothers, because one couldn't risk the impact that two mothers would have on the children (read undercurrent: report about child sexual abuse released by the Catholic church last week citing 80% of abuse cases were of a "homosexual nature"). Hearing this kind of bile is unbelievable, especially when no one countered it. If he were talking about African Americans or Jews that way, there'd be a thoughtful and balanced opinion following it up - you can bet your ass. But no, he was talking about queers, a suspect underclass, so we can ignore the fact that it's known that homosexuals are not more likely to molest children than heterosexuals.
Anyway, this Episcopal priest, Mr. Donthatethesinner Hatethesin, said that marriage was a union sanctified by god; marriage between a man and a woman that is. That being the case, he said, heterosexual marriage is the ideal. Anything else threatens the foundation of civilization, and as stated earlier, the children. We've heard a lot about this lately - the heterosexual ideal of marriage... It's so, well, elusive as a concept... Not just for me, apparently, take a look at the divorce rate.
Ume and I, we've been together over a decade. We've been together and mutually supportive of one another as we've stumbled through a pretty steeply curved growth and healing process - recovering from those ideal heterosexually run households from whence we sprang (or ran, take your pick...). Am I saying that we're better than heterosexuals? No. I'm saying that we're people. We've got our good points and our bad points - like people do.
My hope is that one day kids will be able to grow up without having so much hoopla around the whole gay experience. And the young gay experience won't be so grueling and kids will be free to be warped by the usual things that warp human beings in the course of their development. And then, once grown, if they've found that they're sufficiently mature and interested, take a big step and get married. And then, if they're especially mature and prepared to take a huge leap, have children. And be equally protected under the law.
One can dream, no?