Sunday, July 31, 2005

The Merchant of Venice reviewed

I just returned from the Michigan Shakespeare Festival's production of The Merchant of Venice, and my god what a performance. There was a great deal of concern that they were presenting "an antisemetic play" and in doing so, condoning antisemetic attitudes and behavior. Having seen this show, I can vouch that nothing in or about this play in any way condones or applauds bigotry of any sort.

The actor who portrayed Shylock, Ed. Simone, is a gifted performer who created a Shylock who was not evil, but badly abused by his peers, betrayed by his daughter, and is justifiably grieved and pissed off. This Shylock does not love his money more than his daughter, but upon her disappearance is so distraught that he finds he has no vocabulary to express his pain. He tries to exclaim "my daughter!" but stumbles over the "d" and finally resorts to crying for his ducats. When he attempts to speak her name, he is overcome with sorrow and cannot get past the "j" in Jessica, and so bewails his jewels instead.

The sympathy the audience feels for the misused Jew is outweighed only by the revulsion felt for the "heros," the two-faced Christians whose hypocracy is brought into the spotlight by the director. John Neville-Andrews, a veteran of the Royal Shakespeare Company and a professor of theatre and drama at the University of Michigan, used hymns such as "Onward Christian Soldiers" to create an army of mindless, crusading protagonists.

Leads Janet Haley and Neil Necastro were electric as Portia and Bassanio. The lightening bolts that shot back and forth between their eyes were felt in the spines of every member of the audience. When Bassanio looked at Portia from across the stage after opening the lead coffin, all the hairs on my arms stood up.

The clowns fulfilled their destinies admirably. Mark Gmazel's Prince of Aragon must have been inspired by that cinematic triumph, Zorro the Gay Blade. Though the costumes were lavish and lovely, the staging and set were very simple, leaving the audience to focus on the actors rather than the scenery. The only annoyance was Lancelot Gobo, who shouted all his lines with such energy that one got an earache listening to him thunder and reverberate through the auditorium. If his character had any subtlety, I'll never know.

Overall, a stellar production. I was flabbergasted by the quality of the theatre produced on such a scant budget. I spoke with one young man in the audience who had never seen Shakespeare performed before, and when forced to read a Shakespeare play in high school was completely turned off to the whole thing. He confessed that he doesn't read a lot of books, but was surprised that he understood most of what was being said, and even more suprised that it was funny! I'm so glad that he chose to have his first taste of live Shakespeare from the Michigan Shakespeare Festival, and not some crap wannabe company like Waterworks, who suck ass.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Corrollary to the Theorem

I know that the grass is always greener blah blah blah. Human nature includes an insatiable desire for that which is beyond reach. We all do it. That whole fruit of the forbidden tree thing. It's been haunting us for eons. It's why twenty percent of the Ten Commandments are devoted to telling you that you are not allowed to want things you can't have, namely your neighbor's wife and house. And it's why we as a species are such great inventors. We are never satisfied with our lot, and we constantly seek to improve it through the acquisition of shit we think we'll never get, like cooked meat, indoor plumbing, and flight. We didn't invent aircraft to improve commerce and transportation. We invented aircraft because we thought it couldn't be done. (And of course to kill each other. Lots of inventions come down to neat and creative ways to kill each other, but lets leave that aside for the time being.)

For the sake of arguement, lets assume for one minute that we all accept the theorem that human nature is to want what it can't have. There's evidence enough. But here's my question: Is the converse true? Is it a corrollary to the theorem that we Don't want what we Can have, for the very reason that it is readily available? When we look into the pantry for a snack and experience the inevitable disappointment (because nothing in the pantry ever looks good), do we instantly undesire the items present simply because they are there? Here's another example: you're sitting in a pub. A not ugly person approaches you and says, quite plainly, "Hi. I think you're really attractive, and I'd like to know you better. Can I buy you a drink?" What's your first reaction? A) You think "score! a not ugly person is attracted to me and wishes to make my better acquaintance. This is my lucky night!" and accept the offer. B) You think "It's a free drink, why not?" and accept the offer. or C) You consciously think "Creep, stop talking to me" and decline the offer because you are subconsciously thinking "this is way too easy. where's the challenge? where's the conquest? the adventure? anyone who wants me that badly can't be worth having. there must be something wrong with him/her."

I'm taking a poll because I'm really interested in this phenomenon. It has recently occured to me to consider the possiblity that I've been going wrong with men all these years because I am straightforward and direct. When I am interested in a man, I just say so. I think this has either been scaring them off or turning them off. Regardless, the strategy has failed. The problem is, I don't see a viable alternative. The only other possiblity is to be coy and play hard to get, but this to me borders on the dark edge of the mindgames/headfucks realm. And I don't play mind games. Ever. So what's a forthright, asertive, not ugly gal like me to do? It seem I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't.

Cast your votes in the comments. The question is:

Do you think it is human nature to automatically not want/disregard that which you know you can easily have purely because it is available to you? Yes or No and Why, please.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Today I discovered...

1. how to scull elegantly, keeping both blades off the water for the entire recovery, thereby making me look like seriously hot shit, and

2. the joy of Meatloaf. The singer, not the entree. Picked up a CD at a garage sale, and I'm LOVIN' it! Quit laughing.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Meant to be shared...

Bryan Adams and Def Leppard are playing Oldsmobile Park together on August 10. I REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY want to go, as I happen to love both BA and DL and the chances of ever seeing both of them again for $45 bucks is about as likely as George W. writing a dissertation on Mongolian history. One teensey, weensey problem: I have no friends. Or more accurately, I have no friends within 100 miles of my current place of dwelling. And I don't want to go alone. This is definately one of those things that should be shared. (Like Simon and Garfunkel concerts, but though the person with whom I most wanted to share that experience failed to materialize himself, I lucked out and happend to have a seat next to a very nice, single guy who was also there alone, but I'm not counting on that EVER happening again.) So... brilliant suggestions and hangers-on welcome. If you are on the same continent and would like to join the fun (on your own dime, naturally), give me a jingle. I'm happy to hang out with anyone who wants to hang with me, Bryan, and Leppard.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


I finally got the BEST COMIC STRIP EVER posted. It took some doing, but what can I say? I'm good. Bear in mind that this strip was published in my local paper on the VERY day that I received my acceptance at Bristol, where I will be doing a Ph.D. in English literature. We're talking fortune cookie level scary, here.

ps. Sorry about the resolution. I hope you can read it. For those of you who can't the dialog goes like this...
Ant on left: Junior is getting a doctorate in English Literature.

Ant on right: You mean he'll be a "Doctor of Letters"?

Ant on left: Exactly!

Ant on right: What's he gonna do, read mail to the sick?

Monday, July 25, 2005

Found it!

Hello, Johnny!

I did some deeper digging in my archives, and I discovered that you were responding to a post entitled "You do it to yourselves," which I published on December 20, 2004 in response to the intolerably selfish behaviour of my aunt. Darling, are you bored? What are you doing wasting your time sifting through the 8-month old weblog of a pseudo-academic who uses the space pricipally to whine about everything that is wrong with the world and her life? While I'm slightly thrilled (and largely creeped out) that you've taken such an interest in my life, if you are looking for something to do I would be happy to recommend a whole mound of more entertaining reading material. After you've finished with Jonathan Swift, T.H. White, C.S. Lewis, Robert Lewis Stevenson, J.R.R. Tolkein, and Charles Dickens, you can start on Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and Geoffrey Chaucer and Harper Lee. Then come back and I'll suggest some good non-fiction. But Mental Excrement? Really, Johnny, you can do so much better.

C. Bitch

Mild confusion

Dear Johnny, whoever you are,

I received an email notification that you posted a comment somewhere on Menal Excrement. The comment was, "Push her under a bus - best thing all around." I cannot for the life of me figure out WHERE on ME you left this comment. To which post were you referring? And whom would you like to see put on the infamous Double-decker Diet?

C. Bitch

ps. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Silver lining

I'm writing this though a haze of exhaustion, brought on by a combination of lack of sleep, lack of nourishing food, extended periods throughout the day during which my brain was seriously deprived of oxygen, and listenting to the profoundly unjustified whines of a troupe of actors. After my first ever race in a single I have to tell you...

No, i'm not going to let you off that easily. I'm going to walk you through those 1000m stroke by fucking stroke. And it will take you longer to read this than it took me to reach the finish.

So there I was, nervous, nauseaus, waiting for my call (a very unpromising beginning, both for a race and a tale). My start was at 8:15, so I launched at 7:45, which seemed reasonable. (What the fuck do I know? My kingdom for a shortass with a napolean complex to tell me what to do and when!) When I arrived at the start, there were no officials and no boats. And I don't just mean competitors. The moored boats from which the starters were supposed to hold our sterns weren't even in place yet. I took advantage of the opportunity to paddle the course through and practice some starts.

Although I'm a big believer in the psychological advantage of an early lead, I decided to chuck my earlier strategy of "fly off the start with both barrels and take an early lead so you can see everyone behind you and therefore avoid crashing into them" in favor of "have a nice, controlled, clean start and build up speed slowly, otherwise you'll crab and flip and that will suck like a Clinton-era intern."

I was in the first heat of the day. My competitors were pleasant, and we didn't quibble over inches at the start line, because the course began right after a sharp bend in the river, which put the current almost perpendicular to our path, thereby making it impossible to line up perfectly. Come to half slide, blades squared, locked, and burried. Checked and double checked. Look straight ahead, chin up damnit don't slouch. A grey-haired woman with a Gilligan hat said "attention... go." We went. No fanfare or exclamation point or anything.

I started smoothly, keeping my course and gradually working my way up to full slide. After 10 strokes I looked around and was down, but not by much. At the 250 I took a bad stroke. I'm not sure what happened. First I think I washed out with my portside oar, then I caught a crab. I suddenly found myself pointing 60 degress away from my target bouy and not moving. "That's it," I thought. "I'm sunk. I'll never recover from this. Paddle home."

"NO!" screamed the rest of my brain. "Paddle? The FUCK you'll paddle. It ain't over 'til it's over. Correct your point and GO GO GO GO GO GO!!!!! See that dock? On that dock, right now, are standing the ghosts of everyone who has ever been proud of you, who has ever stood by you, expressed confidence in your potential, or cheered you from the side. It's Tom and Claus and Eva and Lizzy and Jamie and Steggars and Macadie. Honk on it! Honk on it for Tom! Honk on it RIGHT NOW! Justify their pride. Make them proud again! Make yourself proud! HONK ON IT!!!" After beating the defeatest portion of my brain into submission, I did. Honk on it, that is.

At the 500 I was completely outside the course. I can't steer for shit when I'm gunning for home, and I wasn't even bothering to look where I was going. I was going, and that's all that mattered. After 600 I dared to look behind me. By god if I wasn't closing the gap. Only a lenght of open water, the same distance I was down when I crabbed. I had recovered my earlier standing. "My god," thought I. "I just might pull this out yet." I forced myself to accept the rowers' paradox: the harder you try, the slower you go. If you get frantic, if you panic and work yourself into a frenzy, you'll wear yourself out by wasting energy, and you'll slow down because you're putting your energy into the wrong places. If you want to go faster, you must relax. I calmed down. I had been smacking about like a duck on acid, but I took a deep breath, I lengthened my stroke, I cleaned up my finishes, I sat way back on it like pumping a swing. A little higher each time, a little faster. Pump the swing, feel the drive, quick fingers, a little faster. 100 meters to go. I made contact. No longer open water, I had her stern (and I was finally back on the course. sort of.) I brought my rating up again. Up 2. Drive, drive. Up 2. I looked over. Only a cavas and I'll row right through her... Drive...



The horn at the finish. I didn't have enough time. A few more meters. I just needed a few more meters and I'd've had her. As it is, I only lost by 1 second. Not too shabby, considering she's been sculling for 3 years and I've been for 3 weeks. It's obvious my top speed significantly outpaced her top speed. After the line she leaned over and puked. She must've been working fucking hard to hold me off, and she barely succeeded. I don't quibble the silver medal, though. I may be faster, but I took a bad stroke and she didn't and she got there first, fair and square. And by the way, there was another heat in our division. I didn't just take second in my heat, I had the second fastest time overall. 1 lousy second. And third place was 8 seconds behind me, so I can live with it. As I say, not too shabby for the first time flying solo.

It would have been nice to have more than just the shades of coaches past peering over my shoulder, but the course doesn't lend itself well to spectators (being entirely surrounded by trees), and all my family were busy. Still, I missed having fans. I thought back to some of my better regatts from my Manchester days, and remembered that at BUSA they played "We are the Champions" during every medal ceremony. I regretted not having my Queen album in the car. After my stint as a finish line volunteer (I got to wave the red flag for an hour) I collected my medal from the tent amidst a total lack of pagentry and walked to my car. It took about 2 minutes to gain the highway, where the radio signal comes in clear. I turned on the stereo.

"I've paid my dues, time after time; I've done my sentence, but committed no crime; And I've made mistakes, but I've paid my dues; I've had my share of sand kicked in my face, But I'VE COME THROUGH.

At this point I turned the voume way the fuck up and sang my lungs out, flying down a sunny highway on a hazy summer day, smelling the sunblock on my skin, periodically hefting the silver medal around my neck, and generally feeling like I am the most butt-kicking badass bitch the sport has ever known. Zero to silver in just over 3 weeks, and only 2 hours coaching in that time. And this was an open category. These were not novices. I was the only novice, and I damn near won, even after crabbing. The next time you see a medal around my neck, I'll be holding a bunch of roses and standing on a podium, and there will be a very large torch behind me. You think I'm joking? I'm going all out, and anyone who thinks I don't have what it takes can fuck off. This race was a metaphor for the rest of my life. It was just the start, and it was smooth, strong, and I'm taking an early lead. You can wait for me at the finish line.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Losing my sculling cherry

First sculling regatta is tomorrow. 8:15 start time, 3 lanes, floating start, no coxwain, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck. Friend of mine asked, "What's your race plan?" Race plan? Are you fucking kidding me? The race plan is to not collide with any other boats and not flip over. If I manage that, I'll be really happy. There isn't even a novice category, so I'm competing in the women's open. OPEN. Fuck me. I've been sculling for a month. Count that: one. And I've spent exactly 2 hours in the presence of a coach in that time. This has been a complete experiment. They gave me a boat and two oars and said, "Knock yourself out, kid." Jesus H. Christ what the fuck am I doing. 8:15. That means launch by 7:30, which means arrive by 7, which means leave the house by 6, which means up at 5:30. And hopefully the prunes tonight do their job so I can start tomorrow with an empty system. By 8:30 tomorrow this will all be over, one way or another. That's less than 12 hours. My stomach can hold out for 12 hours. I think. Oh, god...

Friday, July 22, 2005

Happy Birthday, Herebe Monsters!!!

Happy Birthday to you,
You belong in a zoo-
With lions and tigers
And monkeys like you!

Happy Birthday to you,
You belong in a zoo-
'Cause you look like a monkey,
And you smell like one too!

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Harry Potter and the Disappearing Blog

Yesterday (Friday) evening I published a post under the title of "Harry Potter and the Cultural Phenomenon." The gist of it was that even though the HP books aren't the greatest of literature, I'm grateful to JK Rowling for writing something that compelled millions and millions of school kids the world over to leave behind their swimming and skateboarding for an afternoon and instead stand outside libraries and bookstores for hours, salivating with anticipation at the prospect of reading a book. That was yesterday. Today, there is no evidence whatsoever that I ever wrote this post. It's not on my page, it's not in my "edit posts" lists. I can't for the life of me figure out where it went. Now, it is a scientific fact that computers only do what people tell them to do. Sometimes it's someone at a PC who inadvertently deletes something, sometimes it's a distant programmer who wrote a program that runs amok, travelling through emails and devouring every third character of peoples' honors theses (i know someone to whom this happened), but ultimately it comes back to a person. Nothing happens on a computer that doesn't start with a living, breathing, geek. So here's my question: WHO THE FUCK GOT RID OF MY POST?!?!?!?!? It wasn't great literature, nor was it the culmination of a lifetime's work, but damnit it was my post and I want it back. I might have suspected HBM of somehow hacking into my dashboard and deleting it because it was a generally favorable article of the HP phenom, but A, I don't think he's got the technical know-how, B, though he disagrees with me on the whole HP thing, I'm fairly certain he's not the kind of slime weed that would attempt to stifle another person's right to freedom of expression, C, i did make a point of comparing Rowling unfavourably to Lewis, White, and Dahl, and D, he's a lazy twat. But that leaves me with a total vacuum of suspects. Could it be that crazed, HP fanatics are systematically scanning the internet and attmepting to eliminate anything that suggests that the HP books aren't, in fact, the new Holy Scriptures? Could I have fallen victim to even crazier people then me? (Scary.) Or did the big mother of all computers at where all this shit is stored experience some kind of cyberbrainfart which caused my post to simply evaporate is a puff of vapor and gamma radiation? Question have to be asked. Enquring minds need to know. This diatribe has now gone on longer than the original disapearing post.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Hurricanes, boats, and beer

No news yet as to the condition of grampaw. No power and no phones across half the southern US means no news. We're hopeful, though, because the eye of Dennis wound up making landfall about 50 miles east of grampy, so he got the wind on the west side of the eye, which is slower. I'll let you know when I know more.

Meanwhile life, such as it is, goes on.

Wednesday was the FSM big fund-raising gala. Thankfully the idiot board member who claims to have organized the whole event did very little organization, or it would have been a flop. As it was we had a really low turnout, but the silent auction did quite well. Some of the best-sellers were the (don't laugh, now) handpainted birdhouses I donated. They were really cute, and went for $20-35 each, and brought in a total of $165. Not bad for a $40 investment and a few hours of time. They were so popular that several people who wanted to buy one and got out-bid have commissioned more from me, so I know what I'll be doing this weekend.

Last night was hilarious. The rowing club I've hooked up with for the summer christened a boat. Now, I've been to a couple boat christenings before. They've always consisted of a bunch of hungry/stanky/sweaty rowers who just want to go eat being forced to stand around the boathouse while the club president and/or head coach makes a little speech in honor of the rich alumna who is standing nearby in a pastel pant suit and trying to remain upright in her matching pastel sling-back heels on the loose pebble floor. Then the president/coach pours a bottle of champaigne over the bow of the boat where the aforementioned rich alumna's name is now emblazoned in cheap decals and all the rowers say "great - where are the burgers?"

But not this time. This time there were no rich alumni being honored because the boat was not donated by rich alumni. It was purchased through the blood, sweat, tears, and bake sales of the club, so the club got to name it whatever they damn well pleased. What did they name it? Dominick. I asked who dominick was. Dominick is the name of the bar where the club gathers for a piss-up every thursday after practice. Yes, you heard that right: they named the boat after the BAR! Genius. Furthermore, they didn't just pour champaigne over the boat down at the boathouse. Oh no, my friends. We loaded that fat bastard (it's a men's heavyweight 8) on the trailer (after we rowed it backwards in the water to undo the old name since it was purchased second-hand) and drove it downtown to the bar, where we unloaded it, set it in slings right across the street, and dumped lots and lots of champaigne over it. We then reloaded it and promptly got drunck. At Dominick's, of course. The propietor of Dominick's was thrilled. He bought us a round of drinks. (We bring him lots of business.)

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Sand Castle

"Everyone who listens to these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. And it collapsed, and was completely ruined." Matthew 7:26-27

Christ wasn't talking about building your faith on a stone or sand foundation. Clearly, he was giving some sound architectural advice! The mad did live in a fucking desert, after all. So them how come all the Jesus crispies in Florida, who take the Bible literally, have completely missed the point of this parable? Stop building your houses on the fucking beach, people!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Dennis the Menace

Keep your fingers crossed for the Bitch's grampa. He lives in Foley, Alabama, and a category 4 hurricane is headed straight for his trailer. Grampa and his wife are old and not very mobile, and they were unable to evacuate. Dennis will make landfall in less than an hour.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Colander brain

Sometime during the night last night I had a brilliant thought. It was relevant, funny, and insightful. This morning I forgot what it was. Damn. On the bright side...

74 days to go!

Friday, July 08, 2005

More dumb Americans

While covering a story about a missing child, Fox News recently interviewed...

an actor who plays a psychic on television.

Not even someone who claims to be a psychic, but someone who plays the character of a psychic. In other words, a person pretending to be a fraud.

The hell? And this is supposed to be news? What could an actor possibly have to say about a police investigation? That's like interviewing George Clooney to learn more about recent breakthroughs in cancer treatments. The sad thing is, most Amercians wouldn't have a problem with that, either. And we wonder why the world hates us.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Just saw the news. No words...

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Countdown begins

I've got the plane ticket. I arrive in Manchester, England at 6:05 am (GDT) on the morning of Thursday, 22 September, 2005. Kick. Ass.

Question: I would like to put a counter on my blog that counts down the days to my arrival (80, as of this moment). Ideally, I would like it to actively count down seconds whenever my page is open so you can watch the numbers tick by. I will settle, however, for something which only counts days and only recalculates the time each time the page is loaded. Either way it should have pretty colors. (Colours. Sorry!)

I have searched the web for some code that I can paste into my template, but to no avail. The only things I found that looked like they might be what I want were so complicated I didn't know what to do with them. If you know where I can find that which I seek, do please tell me.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Patriotic blog

Today is the Fourth of July, Independence Day. A day when Americans from coast to coast eat hot dogs and watch Will Smith movies to proclaim their Americanism. A day when rednecks from red states wave tiny flags (which were made in China and purchased at Walmart) and shout, "For Democracy, for America, and ST. GEORGE!"

And of course it's all bullshit. The word "patriotic" has been bandied about a lot lately. It's been misused, abused, and altered, possibly irrevocably. Thanks largely to Carl Rove (he's evil, but credit where credit is due), patriotism has become synonymous with supporting the government. What the fuck? When did that happen? September 11, 2001, that's when.

W used 9/11 to justify an invasion of Iraq (75% of Americans still think Saddam was responsible for the attacks on the WTC, even though this is a complete fabrication on the part the current American regime). He convinced us that if you didn't support W, you didn't support the war, and if you didn't support the war, you didn't support the troops, and if you don't support the troops then you are an unpatiotic bastard who is liable to lynched by the nearest passing, flag-waving mob. We all know this principle. If A=B and B=C, then A=C. It's simple. So if you don't support the president, you're not patriotic. And being unpatriotic is as close as it gets to being the spawn of Satan in this parched and Chrisian land.

The reasoning sounds OK, but there's a flaw: B does not equal C. Americans, in their world renowned simple-mindedness, have become almost totally incapable of separating subtle issues. It is possible to denounce one thing and support another, even though the two are related. I support the troops, just not the assholes in DC commanding them. I support our men and women who's lives are in danger every day. I don't support the reason they've been put in harm's way. Does that make me unpatriotic? Fuck no.

Patriotism is not, and never has been, blind adherence to a corrupt government. It does not mean casually accepting abuses of civil rights by greedy men. It does not mean unquestioning belief in lies handed down by morally bankrupt oil moguls. Patriotism is the love of country, and in this case, of our country's democracy. But a complacent electorate makes for a weak deomocray at best. Democracy only works when citizens question, challenge, and demand high standards of their leaders. What's the point of having the right to vote if you don't use that right to get rid of corrupt politicans who abuse their power and your civil liberties? Shit, if we don't care who's in charge or what they do, we might as well go back to having a monarchy. The only way to exhibit true patriotism is to make America the strongest democracy it can be, the best country it can be, and the only way to do that is to actively participate in its governance, to question authority, to condem corruption, to investigate lies and hold the liars responsible. Waving little flags manufactured in South Korea doesn't make you patriotic. Questioning the actions of the government, particularly when thousands of lives are at stake, does.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

On marraige, part II

Ah, time for some serious thinking about thoughtful things. Careful, don't hurt yourself. Start slowly and work your way up. Here's a blog you can sink your fangs into.

I don't believe in marraige.

Say what?

I don't believe in marraige. Not in the sense that I refuse to recognize it's existence in an Arab we-don't-like-the-idea-of-an-Israeli-state-therefore-we-will-pretend-Isreal-isn't-there kind of way, but in the I think it's generally a bad idea kind of way. See if you can find a flaw in this reasoning... (and even though I'm bisexual I'm going to use all masculine nouns and pronouns here just for simplicity's sake, and don't come after me yelling about gender inclusive language blah blah blah. I'm lazy. Deal.)

Fact: When you marry someone, it is with the hope/expectation that your spouse will love you for the rest of his life and will always want you. (If you don't feel this way when you get married you should not get married, since that is the whole point after all.) We will start with this as the foundation for our argument. (Note the use of the Royal "we," as in "I." 12 weeks and counting!)

But what if that changes. What if your man wakes up one morning and informs you he would rather be with another woman? Would you rather..

A. Remind him of his vows and force him stay in bed/house/home/marraige with you, even though you knew he did not want to be there and was only sticking around out of a sense of obligation?

or B. Wish him well and kiss him goodbye (before kicking his sorry cheating ass out the door)?

Personally, I do not want a man who feels obligated to remain with me. I want a man who WANTS to remain with me. I want to wake up in the morning next to someone who is equally happy to wake up with me. But marraige vows don't ask "Will you continue to desire this woman the rest of your life?" They ask "Will you stay with this woman the rest of your life?" You can only promise what you will do for the next 50 years. You cannot promise how you will feel or what you will want in 50 years' time. It's not possible. People grow, they change, they sometimes change their minds and their hearts.

Given that, the whole point of the marriage vows is to ensure that people will do what they don't necessarily want, to make sure they stay put even if they change their minds, to guilt them into staying into a relationship they may no longer want. It's a contract, created for the very reason that people change their minds. If people never changed their minds, we would never have needed to invent a system of legally binding promises (a system that was invented when people had MUCH shorter life spans, and "Til death do us part" meant 20 years tops). That's not love. I want love, not guilt. I want affection, not obligation. I don't want to spend the rest of my life looking at my husband and wondering "is he here becasuse he wants to be, or is he here because he promised to be here whether he wants to or not?" True security in a relationship comes from trust, not obligation. It comes from knowing you are wanted, and the only way to know you are wanted is to give your mate the freedom to leave at any time.

Whadda ya think? Be sure to stick around for Part III: How kids change the picture.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Yet another prequel

I'll be the first to admit that the premise behind Batman Begins is not original. It's dark, it's psychological, it's how does the badass in the black suit become the badass in the black suit. (sound familiar?) If only Episode III had been directec by Chris Nolan... (and I really liked Episode III). BB, however, was both neater and more complete. It did a better job of explaining how Gotham City and Batman came to be, including offering explanations for things I had never bothered to wonder about, such as "why does Gotham have so many dellusionally psychotic criminals?" I had always chocked that one up to "we are writing a comic book and need visually interesting bad guys," but BB succeeds in presenting the audience with a reasonably plausible scenario for the creation of said visually interesting bad guys.

Moreover, this is one of the few films I've ever seen with equally hot eye candy on both sides of the moral devide. Liam Neeson finally gets to be the badass zen motherfucker he was cast to play in Episode I (but Qui Gon's character was so badly written that Neeson just walked through the movie and read a few lines and went home (and took way to fucking long to die)), and Christian Bale, while not handsome, has an intesity that is rather compelling. Plus he has very nice shoulders.

So Batman Begins: it's dark, it's creepy, it has an abundance of hot man eye candy, and it has Michael Kane, which quite frankly is really all you need anyway.

Did I mention something earlier about deep, thought-provoking blogs? Whatever...

Friday, July 01, 2005

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck Yay Spain

No, i'm not impersonating a chicken. I'm bemoaning the remnants of the United States Supreme Court. Sandra Day O'Connor just announced her retirement. That means W gets to appoint her replacement. I wan't worried when it became apparent that Rehnquist is dying, because he's so fucking conservative that when W appoints his replacement it won't shift the balance on the bench any. But O'Connor is the deciding vote in almost every 5/4 split. I wouldn't exactly call her the voice of reason, but she's done a fairly decent job of making sure the Scalia/Thomas/Rehnquist crowd don't completely dismatle the constitution. Now when Rehnquist dies Thomas will take over as Chief Justice, and O'Connor's replacement will let him do whatever he wants. Thank GOD I'm leaving this country in just 12 more weeks.

The good news is Spain. They just became the third country to legalize gay marraige (the Netherlands and Belgium being 1 and 2, respectively). The newspaper said that as the lawmakers left the legislative building where the vote took place, crowds of people who had been watching the proceedings on TVs in the Plaza waved and blew kisses at the lawmakers and cried with joy. I figure that's gotta be a serious First for most politicians. I hope that kind of positive feedback reinforces the values that compelled them to acknowledge all Spaniards as worthy of having their love legally recognized.

It would seem that in fact Paula Abdul is more prophetic than anyone would like to believe. As the rest of the world takes 2 steps forward, we take one back.