October 20th, 2006


To give credit where credit is due

The GOP, or at least one arm of it, has done something I respect and applaud. The Orange County Republican Party has called for a GOP congressional candidate to step down in the wake of his efforts at voter suppression. This incident was something I didn't even bother to blog when I first read about it yesterday, as GOP voter suppression in urban, poor and immigrant precincts is so routine as to no longer be newsworthy for the most part (NH phone jamming, the Wednesday letters, etc). Yet someone in the OC found a conscience.

It doesn't make me want to vote for them, but if a few million other Republicans similarly engaged in ethical contemplation of the actions of their own party, we might yet return this country to a measure of decency and character. Good for the OC.

Filling the well

A couple of tangential well-filling items.

I've been enjoying the Beastie Boys as part of the Kleptones' excellent Queen mashup-remix A Night at the Hip-Hopera, so I've decided to listen to them in the original Klingon, as it were. Just bought Solid Gold Hits. I really admire the wordplay in hip-hop, even when the music doesn't do a lot for me and the content is sometimes alarming.

Also, been enjoying the comic strip 9 Chickweed Lane, by Brooke McEldowney. I first started looking at it thanks to some comments by the Comics Curmudgeon. At first glance, this strip looks like another four panel soap opera, which ain't my bag, but I've come to appreciate the subtle cockeyed surrealism that infuses it.

Just sayin'

The unbearable lightness of condoms

Rushed about on a very short lunch hour today, due to day job demands. Ran into Jack in the Box for a sirloin cibatta (pretty good for fast food, really, and it doesn't taste like Extruded Protein Product™). There was an empty condom wrapper on the ground just outside the Jack in the Box.

I sincerely hope it fell out of someone's pocket or purse, because having sex on the concrete in front of Jack in the Box would be so...so...um...

Poll #849720 Jack in the Box Sex Survey

What would it be like to have sex on the concrete in front of Jack in the Box?

2 million years of human evolution cannot be denied
Like pounding puppies in a cement mixer
Dude...can I have some when you're done?
A, B, C, D, D, doobie doobie doo...I'm sorry officer, what was the question?
When I was a young man we had to walk twelve miles, through the snow, up hill, to take a number for the chance to have sex. You kids have no idea how luck you are to have Jack in the Box.

Parenting (and, yes, a little politics)

Sometimes being a parent is hard for unexpected reasons.

Tonight the_child was storming around in the street with her friends Z. and C., and a friend of C.'s whom we shall call A. It's a short dead-end street, so they're allowed to fool around in what would normally be a lane of traffic. I happened to be popping out of my cavern in the bowels of Rancho Lake to discuss pizza when I heard an adult yelling. There was a very angry man in a big black Suburban dropping f-bombs at the kids.

Never one to step away from injustice (well, rarely, but those are stories for another time), I booked it out into the street, to realize this was A.'s dad, and he was ripping A. up one side and down the other, all from behind the wheel of his large SUV.

This pretty much stopped me cold.

If it had been anyone other than a parent of one of the children, I would have been on 911 and on them like stink on a stool sample. But I have a lot of trouble, socially, morally and legally, with interfering with another parent. I also didn't know the context -- had he been out combing the neighborhood for A., for example, frightened for his son's safety?

A. got in the back of the Suburban, Dad backed it up, fast, nearly hit another vehicle, began cursing at the top of his lungs out the window at the other driver, and shortly thereafter departed the scene. the_child, Z. and C. stood around staring at their feet for a minute, then got back to the serious business of skateboarding.

I have this near-absolute sense of parental privilege. But this wars with my sense that some parenting is abusive -- coercive behavior, many forms of physical punishment, religious extremism, social isolation. (Hence my strong feelings against home schooling, for example.) Any adult treating any child the way A.'s dad was treating him would have got a big fat piece of my large and burly self, along with a side order of police officer, except that he was the parent.

I still don't know what would have been the right thing to do.

To deepen my sense of queasiness, when the pizza was around, C. (who lives in a setting I am virtually certain is abusive, but have no conclusive way to prove) ate a couple of pieces, then said he wasn't sure he should eat more since he had to go home soon. I quote, "My dad might let me have some food tonight."

What the hell do I say to that? This child is always very hungry, and he is very lean. All I could say was, "have some more pizza."

In slightly better news, another financial gift is being delivered to the Neighbor today or tomorrow, when next I see her. (See http://jaylake.livejournal.com/tag/neighbor for an explanation of this, if you weren't reading this blog last August and September.) I've got $100/month pledged through next September from several sources -- all of them anonymous to her. It's not much, but in her world it makes a huge difference.

It's fun to fight Chinese submarines and mount giraffe calvary charges in my head, but back in the real world, some people have really sucky lives. There's not much I can do to fix that, sadly.

In more better news, the_child's party is tomorrow, and her actual birthday is Sunday. Hooray for 9!

On being apolitical

I know a lot of people who are apolitical. Some of them vote, but prefer not to engage in discussion. Some of them don't bother to vote. I've heard, "It's all the same," "It doesn't matter," and things like that over and over. Heck, there've been times in my life when I've said those things.

But that's stopped being true, a long time ago. The neocon wing of the GOP, the guys currently in charge, have been stripping away your civil rights and workplace rights. They'd like to strip away your personal rights. Justice Scalia is on the record as saying legalizing oral sex was a mistake. The Republican Party, which used to stand for personal freedoms, especially freedoms from government interference, has morphed into a massive, dysfunctional home invasion.

Are you prepared to be told you're not allowed to use contraception? Or enjoy certain sexual positions? Because whether you're voting Republican or just not bothering to vote at all, that's what you're supporting. I think this is a lot closer to home for most people than habeas corpus or exporting jobs or shifting the tax burden down the income scale, which are a bit abstract to discuss no matter how real and destructive they are.

Just sayin'. Even being apolitical is a meaningful, and these days, destructive, choice.