Monthly Archives: August 2007

grrr

https://i0.wp.com/www.generationv.org/media/cat_vomit_warning_sign.jpgSomeone please remind me why I love my animals so much. This morning my assorted pets have been expensive (Myra) and disgusting (Archie — but I’m sure the dogs have been doing disgusting things, too, and I just haven’t seen them), and they have caused me worry to a greater (Myra) or lesser (Bob) extent.

Granted that I think people who don’t have pets lead boring lives, I could do with less-interesting animal companionship today.

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another closet door forced open

https://i0.wp.com/cuboidal.org/photos/2004/08/08/IMG_6207-medium.jpgAnother Republican politician has been caught trying to entertain his natural impulses. Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) was arrested in June after making signals to an undercover police officer in the adjoining stall of the Minneapolis airport restroom. The police had received complaints about sexual activity in said restroom and were investigating. The following is from the breaking report filed yesterday by Roll Call:

Airport police previously had made numerous arrests in the men’s restroom of the Northstar Crossing in the Lindbergh Terminal in connection with sexual activity.

[Officer] Karsnia entered the bathroom at noon that day and about 13 minutes after taking a seat in a stall, he stated he could see “an older white male with grey hair standing outside my stall.”

… Craig then entered the stall next to Karsnia’s and placed his roller bag against the front of the stall door.“My experience has shown that individuals engaging in lewd conduct use their bags to block the view from the front of their stall,” Karsnia stated in his report. “From my seated position, I could observe the shoes and ankles of Craig seated to the left of me.”

… “At 1216 hours, Craig tapped his right foot. I recognized this as a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct. Craig tapped his toes several times and moved his foot closer to my foot. I moved my foot up and down slowly. While this was occurring, the male in the stall to my right was still present. I could hear several unknown persons in the restroom that appeared to use the restroom for its intended use. The presence of others did not seem to deter Craig as he moved his right foot so that it touched the side of my left foot which was within my stall area,” the report states.

Craig then proceeded to swipe his hand under the stall divider several times …

Despite his claims that it was all a misunderstanding (perhaps he was just asking the guy in the next stall to hand him some toilet paper?), Craig has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct.

He has also resigned as co-chairman of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign; he has yet to determine whether he’ll run for relection.

There have been past investigations into and questions about Sen. Craig’s sexual orientation, and he has denied participating in homosexual activity. According to this long article, “In an interview on May 14, Craig told the Idaho Statesman he’d never engaged in sex with a man or solicited sex with a man.” Given that he’s apparently well-versed in the nonverbal restroom behavior that will hook you up with something quick and dirty, I’d say he was lying.

But who can blame him? He’s a Republican in an extremely conservative state. He’s married and has three children and nine grandchildren. He’s held public office since 1974 and has been in the Senate since 1990. He was born in a time and a place where homosexuality would have been utterly condemned by friends and family. Despite the fact that he’s almost certainly recognized his homosexuality since childhood, he would have rigorously denied it and made every effort to live the “normal,” heterosexual, God-fearing, Republican life expected of a member of his family and his community.

Craig’s family owns a ranch, which his grandfather originally homesteaded in 1899. I wonder whether he saw Brokeback Mountain. I wonder what he thought, deep in his heart, of those men and the inestimably sad and frustrating course they were forced to take to avoid the condemnation of society. All too probably, he thought something along the lines of “That’s exactly why I got married and made myself have sex with a woman I didn’t desire and have kept this dark and terrible part of myself hidden from sight.” I’m sure he hates his sexuality, which he cannot change, no matter what all those preachers say; it’s part of him, an indestructable part of who he is, and yet it defies everything he was taught growing up and all the sexual mores of the people with whom he identifies most strongly.

But despite that element of self hatred, despite his marriage and his undoubted love for his family, despite his knowledge of the myriad risks, when his sexuality screamed in his head and his desire for release overwhelmed his thoughts, he went looking for a man to make it all better, at least for a little while. Once the fire was damped he could hide again in his closet of denial until the next time desire came calling too loudly to resist.

How unspeakably sad that this man could not be, from the beginning of his life, the person he really is. He’s worked tirelessly on adoption issues in the Senate; if only he had been able to make a loving home life with a male partner, adopting children to form a family. If only his sexuality hadn’t stood in the way of family acceptance and a political career.

I hear stories like this one, over and over again, and I remain amazed that so many people in our country continue to deny the legitimacy of homosexuality as a state of being. How many thousands — millions — of Americans remain in their self-imposed closets, fearful of admitting their truth and losing everything in a wave of revulsion and hatred? How many are risking their health, their families, and their careers each day as they find shadowed ways to meet the physical and emotional needs that overwhelm them?

Why can’t we let these people live honest, happy lives?

Why do we care who they love?

we’ve been Simpsonized!

Tiffany simpsonizedOK, this was just too much fun: We Simpsonized our family!

Doug simpsonizedYou, too, can Simpsonize yourself thanks to a clever marketing site set up by the Simpsons movie in concert with Burger King.

Note that we had a pecular technical issue: The Simpsonize Me site works on our old laptop, but it won’t work on our new PC. Every time we try it on the PC, we get a message that the site is too busy, and we should try later — the same thing happens in Firefox and IE. But on the laptop, we get inChloe simpsonizedstant access every time.

Also note that you need to pay attention to the site’s photo guidelines: head shot, high

Will simpsonized

contrast, color, high resolution. Try anything else, and it won’t work.

Once you get rolling, you’ll want to Simpsonize everyone you know. You can save the images, save them as buddy icons, and (of course) buy stuff with your image on it (along with the movie and Burger King logos). Very clever, and very cool.

warped!

https://i2.wp.com/farm2.static.flickr.com/1120/986796536_dc503480e3.jpgOn Wednesday, I took my daughter (C), her boyfriend (T), her best friend (L), and the friend’s boyfriend (A), to Cincinnati for the Warped Tour. It’s an all-day concert event with six stages featuring simultaneous rock, punk, and hard-core music; the tour visits cities all over the U.S. and runs for two months. A rotating list of about 60 bands travels with the tour, and numerous smaller/local bands appear in each city. On Wednesday, I’d estimate that 50 different bands played.https://i0.wp.com/farm2.static.flickr.com/1305/985947665_b589a907c4.jpg

The event was at Riverbend Music Center, a lovely place on the banks of the Ohio River, with a huge covered amphitheatre stage. I’ve been there before to hear Bonnie Raitt. The audience this time was rather remarkably different. 🙂

If you’re interested, you can view all my photos of the day on Flickr.

We reached Cincy about noon (the event’s starting time). The walk from the car to Riverbend followed a pathway through a sweet little amusement park called Coney Island (they share parking). As we passed the merry-go-round, I wondered what the parents of the park’s small visitors thought of the massively pierced, tattooed, spike-haired stream of young people passing by — and the distant drone of bass and drums that had begun and that wouldn’t fall silent until almost 9 p.m.

As we walked, we were enveloped by a cloud of pot smoke. It caused me to worry that I’d be surrounded by drugs the whole time; but to my surprise, I didn’t smell pot again all day, I didn’t see anyone using any sort of drug, and I didn’t see anyone who was obviously stoned or drunk. I also didn’t witness any fights or other sorts of bad behavior. Many people, put into these surroundings, might have been frightened by the general appearance of many of the concert-goers; but they were friendly, peaceful, and there to hear lots of music.https://i1.wp.com/farm2.static.flickr.com/1155/985948075_68c656d6fd.jpg

Speaking of appearance, I decided early in the day that it would be easier to count the people who did not have tattoos. It was extremely hot, so everyone was wearing as little clothing as possible, and many guys were shirtless. Thus all the tattoos were on full display. It was a fascinating parade of artwork, good, bad, and vulgar. Of particular note was a young man with two full-size pistols tattooed on his torso, the barrels pointing downward, their ends hidden in his low-riding pants, pointing at an area where I wouldn’t think you’d want two guns aimed; we also saw a young women with large, beautifully drawn angel wings tattooed on her back.

https://i0.wp.com/farm2.static.flickr.com/1074/986805408_125222d30a.jpgWhen we arrived I walked around with the kids for a while, to get a feel for the layout, locate the various stages, and examine the goods being sold at the hundreds of booths set up by bands, record labels, and other vendors. Then I found a seat in what I called the “parents’ section” in the back row of the main amphitheatre; that stage was, unfortunately, hosting mostly loud, screaming punk music, but the seats were in the shade with a view of the river, and a cool breeze blew all day. Quite a few other people my age and older sat in this area reading our books and magazines; the kids we’d brought came and visited us occasionally, and except for the volume of the screaming onstage, it was pleasant. (Side note: I’d like to know how the lead vocalists of these groups are able to talk after screaming for such an extended period. But maybe they don’t talk — maybe they save up all their vocal energy for their time onstage.)

Over the course of the day we kept in touch via cel phone text messages, which worked very well. I always knew where the kids were, and they knew where I was, and I never had any cause for concern. A definite benefit of the event being spread out over a fairly large area was that the crowd, although a sell-out, was dispersed and not oppressive. Unless you were up near one of the stages, there was plenty of room to walk, and Riverbend offers lots of shady places to sit.https://i1.wp.com/farm2.static.flickr.com/1099/986802362_c27f0d85d5.jpg

If you were up close to a stage, it was a different story. The kids wanted to hear several of the bands in particular and in those cases made their way to the front, over to the side of the stage. C said it was the hottest she’s ever been — and keep in mind that we just came back from Disney World in July! People were packed in tightly, with more always coming. And there was also the danger of being accidentally kicked or hit by someone being passed overhead while crowd surfing. (The front of each stage was lined with security people whose job was to help the crowd surfers reach the ground safely. However, the kids saw several badly injured people who evidently fell and had to be taken away for medical help. Despite the risk, C told me that T would have happily gone surfing if she hadn’t been with him.) However, they managed to see their bands, get great close-up photos, and avoid injury.

At one point I was watching one of the punk bands and saw that a group of shirtless guys in the crowd up front were having fist fight. But — no, they weren’t, they were bouncing off each other, and then spinning through the crowd with their arms extended in fists. L explained to me that it’s called hardcore dancing, which is closely related to moshing. As far as I can see, the idea is to get hurt, or to hurt people around you; but it was contained to a small area in front of the stage, so obviously the people who chose to stand in that area knew what to expect.https://i0.wp.com/farm2.static.flickr.com/1005/985953373_9346a57c9f.jpg

One of my favorite moments came early in the day when we were walking around and finding the various stages. A new group was just beginning to perform on one of the smaller stages. The huge, bald, shirtless, sweaty, tattooed lead singer bellowed, “I just want you to remember that everything we do, we do for Jesus! So now we’re going to get emo for Jesus!” after which they launched into an indecipherable riot of noise. After finishing the number, he launched into a crowd-enlivening recitation of the word fuck in all its various forms, such as “You Cincinnati motherfuckers are a great fuckin’ crowd, and we’re gonna fuckin’ rock!” (What would Jesus think?)https://i2.wp.com/farm2.static.flickr.com/1405/986801336_6fe43d17da.jpg

Speaking of that particular word, I heard it more times on Wednesday than I have in a long time — it boomed out over audiences more frequently than it leaves Joe Pesci’s mouth in Goodfellas or is spoken by the cast of Bull Durham (and that’s saying something).

I bought myself a black Vans tank top as a souvenir. C came home with multiple shirts from her favorite bands. We all got sunburned to some degree, but it shows we were there. The kids had a great time. When we reached the car at the end of the day, all the kids thanked me for driving them, and T said in a heartfelt tone, “I’d take a bullet for you right now.” What possible better compliment from one’s daughter’s boyfriend?

When we got home, my husband asked me if I had a good time. The thing is, I did not have a good time in the usual sense of “oh, boy that was great fun and I want to do it again soon!” The day was hot, loud, and long. But I did have a good time helping my daughter and her friends have a good time, and talking and laughing with them in the car, and just having that time together. If they want to go again next year, I’ll be there.

https://i1.wp.com/farm2.static.flickr.com/1318/985960781_cb6514400e.jpg