Archive for the 'Personal' Category

Wasted in the Great Unknown

Vacant crowded streets of stone
Recall a memory, unknown.
Beneath the neon, not outshone
By women tan and thin.

Displayed like sirens from inside
Where crystal walls the world divide
And by revealing, coyly hide
A golden mannequin.

Which lightly trying to beguile
Mind to thoughts more versatile
Removing clothing, thoughts, and smile
Opening to view

So much of skin, a golden lotus
Hoping for a moment’s notice.
Yet my thought, sad and remote is:
All I want is you.

Virginia is for Loving

This Friday will mark 42 years since everyone in the U.S. got the right to marry whomever they want.  Well.  Not quite everyone.  Not quite yet.  Still, it was a massive social change, brought about by a zealous court.  Talk about your judicial activism!  Overturning the clearly expressed and massively supported will of the people, without any such right being explicitly spelled out in the constitution.  If the constitution doesn’t grant the right, how can you overturn democratically enacted laws based on some nebulous concept of “civil rights”?  (Hint:  What part of the 9th amendment don’t you understand?)

Loving v. Virginia.  Was there ever a better-named court case?  This here’s a couple years old, but it still makes me smile:

Loving for All

By Mildred Loving

Prepared for Delivery on June 12, 2007, The 40th Anniversary of the Loving vs. Virginia Announcement

When my late husband, Richard, and I got married in Washington, DC in 1958, it wasn’t to make a political statement or start a fight. We were in love, and we wanted to be married.

We didn’t get married in Washington because we wanted to marry there. We did it there because the government wouldn’t allow us to marry back home in Virginia where we grew up, where we met, where we fell in love, and where we wanted to be together and build our family. You see, I am a woman of color and Richard was white, and at that time people believed it was okay to keep us from marrying because of their ideas of who should marry whom.

When Richard and I came back to our home in Virginia, happily married, we had no intention of battling over the law. We made a commitment to each other in our love and lives, and now had the legal commitment, called marriage, to match. Isn’t that what marriage is?

Not long after our wedding, we were awakened in the middle of the night in our own bedroom by deputy sheriffs and actually arrested for the “crime” of marrying the wrong kind of person. Our marriage certificate was hanging on the wall above the bed. The state prosecuted Richard and me, and after we were found guilty, the judge declared: “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.” He sentenced us to a year in prison, but offered to suspend the sentence if we left our home in Virginia for 25 years exile.

We left, and got a lawyer. Richard and I had to fight, but still were not fighting for a cause. We were fighting for our love.

Though it turned out we had to fight, happily Richard and I didn’t have to fight alone. Thanks to groups like the ACLU and the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, and so many good people around the country willing to speak up, we took our case for the freedom to marry all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. And on June 12, 1967, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that, “The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men,” a “basic civil right.”

My generation was bitterly divided over something that should have been so clear and right. The majority believed that what the judge said, that it was God’s plan to keep people apart, and that government should discriminate against people in love. But I have lived long enough now to see big changes. The older generation’s fears and prejudices have given way, and today’s young people realize that if someone loves someone they have a right to marry.

Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don’t think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the “wrong kind of person” for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people’s civil rights.

I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.

Yeah.  What she said.

Portable Fans

Can I just say nobody understands audience interaction like Carbon Leaf? You might think if you’ve only heard them recorded that the songs repeat too much and the lyrics while generally very good do sometimes choose cleverness over feeling.

So what you gotta do is see them live. Find out where they are, go see them. Drive from Greenbelt to Richmond the night before an international plane trip, if necessary. I did, and it was so worth it. How long does it take to get to Richmond? I donno, two and a half hours maybe? It’s just past King’s Dominion, right? (The town fathers hate it when Richmond is referred to that way.) Why do you ask? Carbon Leaf is playing there tonight. Hometown show, should be good. Um, okay, any tix left? Yup, and it’s GA too. What, Georgia? General Admission, numb-nuts. Oh.

What the hell, I like staying up wicked late the night before flying; helps me sleep on the plane. Then a wicked latte to wake me up and I’m good. Plus, Jubal Early (our new ride) has actual cruise control! We should be home by 3, no probs. And the National (a new (refurbished?) venue) is like 20 feet off I-95, so we can hardly get lost. (Though we did the cheap tour of one-way streets on the way to finding parking.)

Continue reading ‘Portable Fans’

Things I Hate, Part 5

Kids (yeah, kids.  With X marks on their hands and no-alcohol colored wristbands.  Now get the hell off my lawn) who don’t know the difference between a concert and a bar.  See, a bar is where you go to meet friends, talk, drink, and occasionally pay attention to the band.

Also, “Hang out with your wang out” is mildly amusing, if you are planning to drop trou.  Otherwise repeating it ad nauseum doesn’t even make sense.  C’mon kids, if you’re gonna rock out with your cock out, let’s see it.  Otherwise it’s just talk.

Anyway, what these tots need is a little lesson in paying attention and shutting the hell up.  But who would they listen to?

Chicks Love a Ride

Looka what happens when you leave your fresh set of wheels unattended in Kensington.  At least, if said wheels include a rack.   ‘Round midnight, and here’s this note on the windshield. Written on the back of a set of David Letterman timings.  What??  Only 7 and a half minutes of local avails?  Scandalous!

Interestingly, the rack is not currently set up to carry a bike.  Nor will it ever be, on account of this car is better suited for a spare-mount bike rack.  But maybe a ride of some sort is desired:  I hear it’s a big hill to get up to Kensington which, she would be tired.

Alas, ’twas a tease.  Next day I had to pedal my own self around the Mt. Airy test track, with super-biker squeaking about not being able to keep up.  Did I go too fast?  It’s always easier with a stiff frame, but oh the cost.  Maybe cheaper components.  Shifter?  I hardly know ‘er.

But it seems the days of beautiful exercise, fresh air, sunshine, helmet-head, pounding heart, burning quadriceps, raw throat, sweat-soaked clothing, near collapse from dehydration, and all that wonderful stuff draw nearer.  Huh.  Maybe I should just get a kayak.

Things I Hate, Part 4


But we showed them!  We walked out, drove to Carmax, and got almost the same car (one year older but half the mileage, and in a prettier color) for $1000 less, and were offered 50% more in trade, than we had after two hours of waiting at the dealer for “checking with my manager”, “calling another buyer”, “checking with my manager”, doing “anything we can to earn your business”, and my favorite, “Good news!!!  We reduced the price by an amount we hope your brain is too small to notice is about 1/3 of the amount we just said we could!!!11!!”

Also, having never traded a car in before, I was unaware of the trick where after they test drive your old vehicle, they fail to return the keys.  Nice.  Took 3 tries to get ’em back; once they appeared on the table I just grabbed them.

Carmax actually worked as advertised.  Car was as it appeared on the web, price was good (10% below Blue Book, and significantly better than the dealer), they were reasonably efficient at getting the paperwork done, and the only hard sell was for the extended warranty.  But even that was only two tries, and we moved on.  Plus the salesman sounded just like bounty hunter Jubal Early on episode 14 of Firefly! Carmax 1, Toyota of Glen Burnie 0.

Oh well, too bad for T of GB.  Of course they’re calling now, trying to get us back in with no doubt suddenly lower prices.  Do I take their call and tell them I bought one from someone else cause they suck, or do I let them keep trying for weeks?  Choices, choices.


Pansies are pansies, or so I’ve been told.
And yet on my porch, hanging out in the cold
Is a potful of purple pigmenting the air.
It’s 40 degrees and they don’t even care.
Petunias for sale at Home Depot and Lowe’s,
Like my tuckus when outside all seem to be froze.
But the pansies are hardy, har har, so that spring
Being later than Elvis, just don’t mean a thing.
As the color so bright spilling out of their pot shows,
They’re misnamed as pansies. They ought to be machos.

Things I Hate, Part 3

People who go “mmm” at the theatre every time anything remotely interesting or moving happens on stage. Especially when they take it to the next level and start answering questions one actor asks another. Yes, I’m talking to you, lady who was sitting next to me at columbinus last night. Do you sing along at musicals, too?

Temporality in Memoriality

At 6:48 this morning, a chilly sun rose over the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall.  Present were members of some local veterans groups, a group of cadets from the Civil Air Patrol, and one actor and two techies from One Red Flower.  First Saturday of the month, from April through November, the veterans and cadets grab hoses and buckets and wash the wall.  Local vet Bill Gray had invited us to join them when he saw ORF last month.

The most moving part of the Vietnam Wall is its unavoidable presentation of the personal reality of the war:  At any time during the day there are people taking rubbings of names, leaving memorials, and looking up friends in the index books.  These are not just 58,260 names, they are friends and family of people still living.  Most of the docents were there, serving alongside the people represented in marble.

Eventually that will no longer be true.  What will that mean for the meaning of the monument? Continue reading ‘Temporality in Memoriality’

Liver Lovers

It was in my mid-thirties that I started finding I had to finish a night of drinking with a glass of water unless I wanted a headache in the morning.  Then it was a couple glasses of water, eventually getting to the point where it’s pretty much a 1-for-1 proposition now.  Which is okay, I just have to remember. Still, I miss being young.

But that’s not what I’m on about here.  It’s what I noticed two weeks ago in Japan: I drank most every night (cause, y’know, Japan), and didn’t have to worry about it.  So why is that?  I think it’s because Japan is so heavily into heavy drinking, even among the middle-age set, that the country as a whole has adjusted its social and brewing fabric appropriately.  Every glass of Japanese beer comes with a built-in glass of water!