Friday, February 17, 2006

Straight From The Headlines

And now, my favorite: the WTF News. Stolen from Yahoo's Oddly Enough News, you really can't make this stuff up.

Give Up The Leg and No One Will Get Hurt
Yeah, that was in poor taste, but this story is just nutty. A California teen has had her prosthetic legs stolen. AGAIN. Thieves had previously broken in and stole an older prosthesis, which was later found in the backyard. Not sure why she didn't have either one on (she has one for daily use and one for playing softball). The girl's mom went to the daughter's bedroom, which she shares with her sister,found it a mess, and discovered the legs gone. Just how did that conversation go?
"Honey, you two are little pigs. By the way, where are your legs?"
"Gee, Mom, I don't know. They were in my room this morning." Say what you want about me, but there's something wrong on multiple levels here, especially after reading that after the first theft, the family got a donation of $16,000 for a new leg.

Krazy Karaoke
Vietnam recently banned alcohol in all karaoke bars and discos, and will require them to shut down at midnight. A nine-month period of inspections of these joints turned up about 600 patrons using ecstasy and 60 women offering stripteases (but no sex in the champagne room). Nine months and only 600 people did E? They need to go to one circuit party in New York to catch that kind of show. I've always said karaoke requires a little courage and a lot of alcohol, so I'm sure the next piece of news will be the death of the karaoke trend in Vietnam.

Cherries or Cherry-Flavored Paper?
In sad-but-true-but-not-that-sad news, the state of Washington has harvested enough marijuana to make it the state's 8th highest agricultural commodity -- higher than the state's famed cherries. Whenever I've watched a Cops-like program where the narcs burn a big pot harvest, I've never seen one of them wear a mask. Pass the dutchie 'pon de left-hand side!

A Tiger Turd A Day Keeps Most things Away
Australian researchers have discovered that tiger crap repels most wild animals that destroy valuable crops, including wild goats and pigs. Is it the chemicals in the poo or is it the poo-inducing fear that a tiger may be in the area that keeps them away?

Kiss Yo' Ass and Yo' Freedom Away
And back to the Pacific Northwest we go, for the craziest piece of news. Under Oregon's three strikes law, a man will spend the rest of his life in prison for delivering an unwanted kiss. Now, this isn't even funny; it's just sick. A former sex offender, with nine cases, he went to appeals court to overturn the life sentence, arguing that the neck isn't an intimate area. What the hell was he thinking?

Whoo. I'm telling you, truth is stranger than fiction. Y'all have a good weekend.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Love Actually

Love Actually is one of my favorite romantic comedies. It's a mess. Seriously. The movie looks at several couples, each with their own mess. And the couples are all different; one couple is actually not a couple in the traditional sense, but a washed-up hack of a rock star, aged by time and weathered by hard living, and his manager, a soft-in-the-middle guy who'd probably be a blue collar worker if he didn't become a rock manager. Neither of them ever married, but spent the majority of their adult lives together. SPOILER ALERT! At the end of the movie, the rocker admits to his "fat, ugly" manager that he really is the love of his life, never having allowed himself real intimacy past the occasional "blonde bouncing on his balls."

Then, there's the office workers, an American living in London, taking cell phone calls from her mental hospital-resident brother at any moment of the day or night, who is desperately in love with the hot art director, who is desperately in love with her. Her devotion is to her schizophrenic brother alone, leaving her painful-to-watch lonely, but you get it anyway.

I decided that I would indeed do what so many do on Valentine's Day, and write about love. But, I plan to not to write about red roses and schlocky cards (which I admit to buying), but rather about messy love, imperfect love, untraditional love. I plan to keep screaming about America's current obsession with love (and sex, really) until America lets go of its obsession with love (and sex).

Bill Frist recently announced his plans to reintroduce a Constitutional amendment called the "Protection of Marriage" Act, which is supposed to be the final nail in the coffin on same-sex marriage. It's supposed to do what the GOP thinks DOMA doesn't do. Today, in New York City, and other cities across the nation, rallies are being held in support of marriage equality, which goes beyond same-sex marriage. The rhetoric to counter marriage equality is the same foolishness tossed around forever: "gays don't marry, they only hook up for sex," "if gays marry, then what's next, marrying your pet?" "the institution of marrige will crumble if we allow gays to marry." Bollocks.

The message of Love Actually is that what we think makes a relationship, or who we think we should be involved with, or who others think we should be involved with, how others view us and our "love-worthiness" is bollocks (nonsense, for the non-Anglophiles). Love isn't like the movies. Love doesn't always work out. Love sometimes makes sacrifices. People who love you will betray you. Love is sometimes horse manure; when it first hits the scene, it stinks. Leave it alone, put it on your lawn, and watch how thick and green your grass will grow.

So, on this day set aside for spending more than necessary on flowers and candy, for corny cards and sappy sentiments, I wish you love. I wish you the kind of love that occasionally, but only occasionally, sucks. I wish you love that makes people nervous because they don't get it. I wish you love that you'd take or give a bullet for. I wish you love that pulls the rug out from under you, but makes you want to hurry and stand up, and be strong in it. I wish you Love, actually.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

With Death, There is Life

As many around the country and around the world mourn the loss of Coretta Scott King, I am thankful that her homegoing did not ignore her support of rights for all people, including lesbians and gays. I'm trying REALLY hard to avoid yet another of my rants about the crap we take.

Instead, I want to see the glass as half-full. I want to believe my own words that in death there is life. Life and death really are cyclical, after all. Dead and decaying plants and animals become part of the soil and water from which plants and animals come that sustain life. I once heard someone share their enjoyment, for lack of a better word, of obituaries because they are the only source of a person's story, from birth to death. Out of their death, we learn about their life.

I want to believe that even in the senseless brutality that steals the life from our babies, we who remain here are reminded of our responsibility, from social service workers, to relatives, to community members, to politicians, to make sure our children have a chance to live and live well.

I want to believe that the violence, physical and spiritual, committed by those in the name of their deity, no matter what the deity's name is, forces us to question what we believe, even makes us muster up the courage to accept that what we believe is wrong, and that the violence committed in the name of what we believe, be it in the form of physical attacks, discriminatory policies, denial of housing, the right to raise children who would otherwise go unwanted and unloved, employment, and healthcare, cease and desist.

I want to believe that 100% of our culture, whether it's hip hop, lifestyles of the rich and infamous, the Christocrats or the lunatic fringe, can not be defined or engraved upon us by 5% of the populace.

I want to believe that my being Black, or being an out lesbian doesn't make me Public Enemy #1. I'm not interested in shakin' what my mama gave me, stealing your purse, sex with my partner for your benefit, or recruiting your child.

I want to believe that I don't have to be a millionaire to be able to buy a home in an area of the country that not only provides me access to the advantages of urban life, but also insulates me from potential harm as an out lesbian. Conversely, I want to believe that should I choose to move to an area where I can afford to live comfortably because it has a lower cost of living that I won't have to worry about a cross-burning on my lawn because I'm Black, or harassment because I'm gay.

I want to believe that I'm not the only one who believes that God, in the person of Jesus Christ, said whosever includes the poor, the person of color, the woman, and the gay or lesbian person. And, I want to believe that I have the courage to say that out loud even if I don't have the permission to.

I want desperately to believe that CHANGE IS COMING!

Friday, February 03, 2006

I Wish a @#$%^&*@#% Would!

I know it sounds funny, and it is, on one hand, but not really. Read this for what has got to be the saddest thing I've heard in a long time.

But, my title is what it is because, in urbanspeak, I wish a blankety-blank would try some foolishness at a dignitary's funeral. Lord, save me from your people.

It's Friday!

And I have a buncha things to talk about, so let's get crack-a-lackin'.

Free Speech or Discreet Speech?
By now, you've probably heard about the cartoon that appeared in several European papers, with the original appearing about four months ago, according to accounts, that has set the Muslim world on edge. The Prophet Muhammad is shown wearing a bomb-shaped turban (and I've seen it; it really is a bomb, complete with smoking fuse). A response cartoon was recently printed, and deities representing Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam were shown, sittin' on clouds up in heaven, with the Muslim deity looking pouty. The caption above what is supposed to be the Christian deity (I couldn't tell because all the characters were White men) says "Relax, Mohammed, we were all caricatured" and this cartoon appears under the headline "Yes, we have the right to make fun of God." I agree with the headline, and to an extent, I agree with the caption. What I find offensive is that many of us are crying foul over what seems to be a question of free speech; i.e. is is censorship to choose not to print something potentially offensive, versus what actually is offensive, and that is the portrayal of a common stereotype of Muslims, that of a bomb-toting terrorist. I can't speak to the violation of Sharia, which prohibits the depiction of Muhammad in any way, good or bad, because it may lead to idolatry, because I'm not Muslim, nor am I particularly familiar with Sharia. I can say that if in America, we find buck-eyed, big-lipped cartoons of Blacks offensive, or even the supposed coincidence that the crooks in video games such as Grand Theft Auto all happen to be Black (and one version of the game had Hatians as the crooks) offensive, or if the only gay men we find comfortable watching are the scheming, mincing, effeminate ones like Jack from "Will & Grace" versus man's man Ennis Del Mar from "Brokeback Mountain," then why shouldn't Muslims be offended by the most important figure in their religion being portrayed as a terrorist? I don't believe in censorship, but maybe a little discretion.

Sour Grapes or Sweet Touch?
New York high school basketball player Epiphanny Prince scored 113 points in a game that was a colossal blowout (final score was 137-32). Okay, so I'd be a little mad if I came to see my kid play and her team (yeah, EP is a girl) was trounced, but more is being made of why she wasn't taken out of the game than I think should be. Hello, has anyone ever watched a pro game? Yeah, we bellyache about "player selfishness" later, but every coach wants to win, and every play leader, be it the quarterback in football, or the point guard in basketball, has to find the point maker in the game. You always make sure the ball goes to the person with the hot hand. Get over it. Even the losing team marveled at the kid's luck that night. Move on. Concentrate on something more important like how your kid will pay for college.

Resting in Peace?
Coretta Scott King's funeral (or homegoing service, as we in the church like to call it) will be held not at Atlanta's famed Ebenezer Baptist Church, the church home of her late husband and his father, but at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, where youngest daughter, Bernice King, is one of the pastors. Not a big deal, on its face, but New Birth is one of the largest megachurches in the state, and sponsored a march from the King Center to denounce same-sex marriage, in contrast to Mrs. King's public support of LGBT rights. I respect the choice of location for whatever reasons, including the size of the church (at least 10,000, but don't get me started on the megachurch phenom), but am disappointed that it will inevitably spark the kind of controversy that casts an even greater pall over her loss.

We're Screwed!
Hmm, where do I begin? The Supreme Court has officially swung right, although it seems that Alito's first case put him a little left-of-right. Bush, Mr. Former Oilman from Texas, simultaneously pisses off the oil barons of Alaska and Texas for wagging a scolding finger at Americans for their addiction to oil, and the greenies who've long criticized our over-dependence on fossil fuels (nah nah nah nah NAH nah), and says days later that consumers shouldn't expect any price breaks on the same fuel we're hooked on. He'd make a helluva crack slinger; keep 'em hooked on the product and raise the price anyway. Bravo. Bend over, kids.

Special Place in Hell
Two more kids in New York City are dead courtesy of their parents. Puppies are being used to smuggle drugs into the country, as if human mules weren't bad enough. Wow. There really is a special place in hell for these perpetrators.

And on a lighter note...
It seems that tickets for the Winter Olympics in Turin (or Torino; I can't keep it straight) are still available. Guess not too many folks are rushing to travel across the globe to freeze their asses off watching people carry on in the same snow and ice they've left at home (although, in fairness, the Northeast has been blessedly snow-free, which my still weak ankle appreciates). Gotta say though, I might be inclined to sit in the audience watching BROTHA MAN speedskate. Boy, I know some whitefolks is mad as hell right now -- tennis, hockey, what in the hell will the coloreds do next, synchronized swimming?

Well, that's plenty fo this episode. Tune in next time, when we ask the immortal question, what is this thing called, love?

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Are You Serious?

Straight from the "You've Lost Your Complete Mind" files, comes this gem. A Colorado pastor, opposing same-sex marriage, said this:

"We can have it (love). We are all called to have that love even when it hurts us, even when it hurts others..."

So I'm not accused of completely taking his quote out of context, unlike your average Bible-quoter, he starts out by saying that his group, Coloradans for Marriage, opposes same-sex marriage and claims its motivation is "the love of a mother, the gentle guidance of a caring father" to preserve marriage and protect children.

Whoa. I don't need love that hurts, thank you. Love that hurts is what kills.