Saturday, December 31, 2005

Must Be At Least This Tall...

Children. Kids. Munchkins. Rug Rats. Little Ones. Chips off the old blocks.

Whatever you want to call them, children seem to be in the news lately. Not really that kids themselves in the news I'm talking about, but the recent stories that have been done about people, specifically married couples, not having kids. There is a statistic out there that says the number of couples not breeding is at an all time high. CNN even got in on the action and did a segment about it. And then, of course, they had a post-segment argument between two people on each side of the issue. One was a woman who wrote a book called Baby Not on Board: A Celebration of Life Without Kids. The other was, as you might imagine, a nutjob from a "pro-family" right wing religious organization. He was probably from Focus On The Family, I don't remember for sure, but it was one of those blowhard groups. Now, first of all, I don't know why every news story has to become a debate between the right and left. I mean, if there is a story that people are eating less mushrooms than in the past we don't roll out Jerry Falwell and Ralph Nader to argue about it. So this right-wing guy is on CNN saying that people who don't have kids are being immature and avoiding adulthood and responsibility, etc. This prompts me to call him a dumbass to the TV screen. My wife then points out that screaming "dumbass" at a guy on TV accusing people like me of being immature is kind of proving his point. Then I got pissy with her and stomped to the bedroom and slammed the door.

I realized she was right, but I was trying to argue the wrong point with the TV anyway. I really shouldn't care if some Christian fanatic thinks I'm mature or not. In fact, I probably am somewhat immature, but I'm completely OK with that. Either way, do I really care if I'm that guy's definition of mature anyway? From what I gathered in his rantings at that poor woman who had to endure his idiocy, his definition of "mature" is having children, going to bed early, waking up early, going to some crappy office job I hate to support the children, voting Republican, and going to church every Sunday (or even more often). I don't like to do any of those things. If that makes me immature then so be it. I figure I'm about as mature as I need to be. I know how to set an alarm clock, I can dress myself, brush my own teeth, wash myself, count money and make change, operate a car, and wipe my own ass. I even know how to vote all by myself. What the hell more do I need?

These wacko conservative types say lots of stupid things about this too. The head of the Southern Baptist Convention says he's worried that this will cause an underpopulation problem. How does someone that clueless rise to be the head of anything other than Retards Incorporated? Others are trying to tell us that child rearing is what marriage is all about. Hey, if that's what your marriage is about, more power to you. But that's a million miles from the reason I married my wife. I dig my wife because she's fun, smart as hell, and actually likes hanging out with me. Not because she looked like she'd be a good incubator.

What boggles my mind though, is why people (especially people who don't even know me) care at all if we have kids. It really seems to bother these conservative types that there are adults in the world who like to sleep late on the weekends or go clubbing on a weeknight or never have to deal with parent/teacher conferences. I think they're just jealous and want everyone else to be as miserable as them. I think these people also think that when you have children you are automatically going to start thinking like them. They would change their attitude about me having children if they knew me at all. If I were to breed, I would be teaching my kid the opposite of everything they believe in. I would be teaching my children that there was no such person as Jesus, capitalism is destroying the world, Republicans are evil, patriotism and religion are why we have wars, and that a woman doesn't have to be a housewife. I would think that I'm exactly the type of person they would rather not have kids. I'm not going to become a God-fearing Republican just because I have a kid. That would require a lobotomy.

And geez, between my two siblings and their spouses my parents will have a total of six grandchildren by next May. I think my family has sufficiently added to the population without my wife and I joining in. You think that would be enough for them. But no, they still like to bring it up with me. Even though they know I don't want to. I'm always being told I would make a good father. Really? What the hell makes these people think this? The fact that I like to stay up until 3:00 in the morning or that my favorite place to be is a good bar? It seems to me that people think that once you've made it past your mid-twenties that you suddenly would be a good parent. Another thing they like to do is tell me that I'll change my mind about this. These are the same people who told me that I would become more politically conservative as I got older. I'm still waiting to see when that's going to happen. I would concede the fact that it's possible that I could change my mind. Like how I used to hate broccoli as a kid and now I love it. So sure it's possible. But I also used to hate mushrooms as a kid and I still do. So that's also possible.

But you know what? Going to see bands with my wife, taking trips to Africa and Europe, and sleeping until noon on Saturdays sounds a hell of a lot better than dirty diapers, carpools, little league, and saving money for college.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Holiday Greetings

It's that time of the year again. And it can't be over soon enough. Seriously, Christmas is my most hated part of the year. I know, I know, it's hard to believe that I could hate anything, right? I just can't stand this damn holiday. I can hear you already, "Such a scrooge you are Deni." But no no, you got that wrong. I have no employees to make work on Christmas, and even if I did, I'm all about days off from work. So I suppose the silver lining in the holiday is not working, I do love long weekends. But I really can't think of much else to like about this silly pagan ritual hijacked by the Christians. So as my holiday blog, here are some random reasons why I just want to lock myself in a room this time of the year:

First, there is the actual holiday itself. As a person who rejected all religion a long time ago, why is it that people still expect that I should celebrate this day? If I had actually picked a non-Christian religion for myself, say Judaism or Islam, no one would be buying me Christmas presents or expecting any from me. But since I don't believe in any of the world's cults, I'm still considered a Christmas celebrator by default. It's like how when I was absent on section-picking day in gym class and I got put in basketball because I'm tall, even if I hate basketball. "Well, he's white and American and doesn't wear a funny hat or long beard, so he celebrates Christmas."

Shopping. Holy shit, I hate shopping any time of the year. But in December it is just insane. Every place is crowded as hell, even record stores that I like to go into and browse are too insane for me to deal with during Christmas shopping season. Granted, this year my wife and I made our lives a lot easier by doing a huge chunk of our present buying on line. The internet is certainly going to make future Christmases a lot less stressful by keeping me out of the malls and out of the wrapping business.

Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree. Fuck! Who could possibly like this song? I don't understand how people like Christmas music at all, but this song is an especially painful piece of shit. Why is it that perfectly sane people with reasonably good taste lose their minds at Christmas time? Case in point: I was down in New York visiting two of my favorite people a weekend before the holiday. Now these are people that have generally great taste in music. You will find Neko Case, Bjork, They Might Be Giants, Southern Culture On The Skids, and tons of other good indie-rock and cool tunes in their CD collection. When I walked into their place, what were they listening to? Digital cable's Music Choice Christmas music channel!?!?!?! I mean, why would anyone do that on purpose? I thought I accidentally walked into Old Navy or Safeway. This is the stuff that makes me get the hell out of stores faster than usual and they've chosen it as their cleaning-up music. People lose their minds and think shitty things are good just because of some silly holiday. I will never understand it.

Bill O'Reilly, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and like-minded others love Christmas. So there has to be something wrong with it.

Green bean casserole.

I can fight with my family any time of the year. Do we really need a whole day set aside for it?

Christians raise their children to believe that lying is a sin, yet spend the first 7 or so years of the child's life telling them there's a Santa Claus. Talk about sending mixed messages.

The pressure is just too much for me to deal with. I can, on any random day, pick up some flowers on the way home from work for my wife and she is just so happy. And I know she will be. Doing something because I thought about doing something nice for her. A random act of love that I know will be completely appreciated. For the holiday there is just so much stress. Will she like it? Did I spend enough? Will she leave me if I don't beat last year's gift? Of course, my wife always loves everything I get her, so its not her fault I think that way. It Christmas' fault. And my mother's.

The Christmas In Washington TV special.

And something is wrong with any holiday that only Linus seems to get the true meaning of.

Season's Greetings everyone!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Dirty Mitt

It's a great day for Massachusetts and America everyone. The governor of the Commonwealth has announced he won't be running for a second term next year. Even if you're not from Massachusetts, you may have heard of our Republican head of state, Mitt Romney, because chances are he has been spending more time in your state than ours. Especially if you live in New Hampshire or Iowa. Here in the Bay State we're not even sure what he looks like anymore. See, he isn't going to try for a second term because he's planning on running for president. Now of course that's not why he says he's not running for Governor again. No, he claims that he accomplished everything he set out to do in his first term so there is no need for him to run again. Hope he didn't hurt his arm patting himself on the back. In case you were wondering, these are some of the things on his agenda during his term:

Enact a death penalty in Massachusetts.
Limit stem cell research.
Restrict gay marriage.
Lower income taxes.
Force the Mass Turnpike Authority (in charge of Mass Pike and Big Dig - anything with tolls) to combine with the highway department (in charge of all other highways/freeways) and get rid of the position of Turnpike Chairman.

Want to guess how many of these things he's accomplished? Zero. Zilch. Nada. Absolutely nothin'! Say it again! I said none, hunh! (Imagine the song War there, not really sure of the best way to spell the grunting sound)

Now of course I'm pretty darn happy that most of these things failed. Except for the Turnpike/highway proposal. I thought that was a good idea, would have saved a lot of money combining the two departments and eliminating the political patronage job of Turnpike Authority Chairman would have been great. Of course, that's why they couldn't make it happen, Massachusetts without political patronage jobs just wouldn't be Massachusetts.

Be prepared America, for his biggest boast about his time as governor. He will tell you over and over again about how when he took office there was a $3 billion budget gap and that he closed it without raising taxes. What he won't tell you is that the $3 billion figure was the projected shortfall the state was expecting and the actual amount turned out to be about half that. He also won't tell you that he raised the price of a driver's license in the state to $90, up from $75. My math, which could be wrong since I mostly suck at math, tells me that is a whopping 20% increase in the license fee, which was already the highest in the country. Yes that's right, you folks who live in states where a driver's license cost between $10 and $20 (almost all the rest of them), when I moved to this god-forsaken town I had to fork over 90 bucks for a license. That was not a typo. He also won't mention that how a lot of the money that closed the budget gap came from closing loopholes in corporate tax law. Not that I disagree with that one at all, but if a Democrat did that, and raised a fee that virtually everyone in the state has to pay every four years, it would be called raising taxes. Just remember that when he's visiting your town (and he will be visiting your town, that you can be sure of) sometime over the next year or three.

We in Massachusetts now unleash him on you, America.

Don't get me wrong, I come here not to bury Mitt but to praise him. I'm encouraging all of you to register as Republicans (wait, come back and hear me out) for the 2008 primaries and vote for Mitt. Why, you ask? Here's the deal. Mitt is tacking way to the right on everything - abortion, gay marriage, Iraq, death penalty - to establish himself as the religious right candidate, even though he ran as a moderate to be governor. He's thinking he'll just go for the conservative base while McCain and Giuliani duke it out for the sane, yet still Republican, people's votes. This would be perfect. See, the right wing wack jobs will love what he's saying when he's bashing gays a screaming along with them about the "liberal war on Christmas" (by the way, why the hell didn't anyone tell me we declared war on Christmas? I didn't buy my green and red camouflage fatigues), but there will be one little problem. Mitt's a Mormon. And as much as they'll love his fucked up agenda, they won't be able to bring themselves to vote for someone from a "false" religion. The nut-job Evangelical Christians don't believe that the nut-job Mormon Christians are "true" Christians. So he's the perfect choice for the Republican nomination. The right will want to vote for him really really bad but just won't be able to get over their religious bigotry to do it. They will either stay home on election day or vote for a third party Patrick Buchanan or Alan Keyes candidacy. I know it's hard to believe they would vote for a black guy over a white guy, but come on, this is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints we're talking about here. They don't want a bigamist running the country! A lot of them probably think that the Mormons practice sacrifice rituals and snake handling. It won't even matter who the Democratic nominee is, with Mitt as the GOP choice, he or she (and by "she", of course, I mean Hillary) will be a shoe-in. He'll sweep up in Utah, sure, but that's about it. You think this guy has a chance in Alabama? They might think Donny and Marie are cute kids and everything, but they're not ready for a Mormon in the White House. It's like how they have black "friends" (the janitor they say hi to at work) but don't exactly invite them over for dinner or let them date their daughters.

I know it will be hard for some of you to ask for a GOP ballot on primary day, but it's time for some of you Democrats to take one for the team. With Mitt (and yes, that's really his name, I know you're wondering, his middle name) as the nominee this Republican dictatorship can finally end.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Ahhhh, Democracy

There are reports out of Iraq that a tanker truck full of forged ballots was seized after crossing the border from Iran, putting the legitimacy of tomorrow's Iraqi election in doubt. Seems someone in Iraq is trying to steal the election.

So Bush really has brought his brand of democracy to the Iraqi people.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Open Letter To Pastor Rick Warren

Pastor Rick Warren
Saddleback Church
1 Saddleback Parkway
Lake Forest, CA 92630

Dear Mr. Warren:

I'm writing you today regarding your recent efforts concerning the AIDS crisis in America and around the world. You have certainly done a good job of getting publicity for your efforts. I saw you and your wife Kay on CNN explaining why you were jumping in to the AIDS cause, and something she said struck me. At one point during the interview she mentioned that for too long the evangelical community has been "absent from the debate" about HIV/AIDS. I believe you need to speak with your wife about her revisionist history. If you remember back to the beginnings of the AIDS epidemic, one thing that evangelicals were not was "absent" from the debate. Silence on the issue is what Ronald Reagan gave us. What the evangelical community gave us was so very much worse. Not only did many evangelical leaders state their happiness that gays were dying, but most claimed that it was God's punishment for being a homosexual. A few choice comments:

AIDS is the wrath of a just God against homosexuals. To oppose it would be like an Israelite jumping in the Red Sea to save one of Pharaoh's charioteers . . . AIDS is not just God's punishment for homosexuals; it is God's punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals. (Jerry Falwell)

[Homosexuals] want to come into churches and disrupt church services and throw blood all around and try to give people AIDS and spit in the face of ministers. (Pat Robertson)

There are many more like that, as I'm sure you know, but you see my point. The fact is, rather than being "absent" from the debate about AIDS, evangelical leaders have been very vocal over the years spreading their vile bigotry toward the homosexual community. Your wife's claim about absence from the issue is either ignorance of history, or worse, a conscious downplaying of past actions from the evangelicals in this country.

I point this out not to shame you or others in the evangelical community. You have your opinions and are entitled to them. No, I'm writing to you to ask you to please stop. If you wish to do some good for the AIDS community just give established organizations your money. It is too late for you to take on a leadership role in this issue. You made your decision years ago to ignore the pain and suffering of these victims of disease. There are wonderful organizations who have been fighting this fight from day one, they are the ones you should be supporting. What good do you possibly think you can do anyway? Will you teach scientifically proven safe sex to help stop the spread of HIV? Will there be condom distribution at Saddleback sponsored events? I would guess that abstinence education is the only kind you'll consider. Which works about as well as "just say no" did for drugs. What about needle exchange programs? They have shown to help stop the spread of the virus, but will you offer your church as a place for addicts to get clean needles? What about your teachings on homosexuality? I noticed that your conference had a program entitled "How to love homosexuals as Jesus would." I would hazard a guess that this program did not call for the support of the rights of homosexuals to marry and raise children. Like most evangelicals I'm sure you are teaching that homosexuality is a sin, but that we should,"love the sinner and hate the sin." And it is this reason, more than any other, that I request that you get out of the HIV/AIDS game. It is this kind of teaching that causes so much harm. It is exactly this bigotry that caused the epidemic to be ignored in the beginning, because it was only "fags", lesser people than us that were dying. Until you are ready to stop teaching that homosexuality is a sin and/or a disease, you are just teaching hate and intolerance. Smiling and wearing a colorful shirt while you call gay people sinners doesn't make you any better than Fred Phelps holding up signs with the message "God Hates Fags" at Matthew Shepard's funeral.

You want a cause to get involved in? Why don't you preach to the world the evils of the blood diamond industry that your fellow evangelical Pat Robertson makes millions on? Leave the AIDS work to the activists and health care workers who have been there from the beginning and can dispense real solutions (and condoms) in non-judgmental settings.

I know your natural reaction to this letter will be to write me off as an angry gay or something, so let me make sure we are clear. I am a happily married straight man. While I have spent much of my time around gay people in my adult life, I have never felt the inclination to turn gay, nor have any of my gay friends tried to recruit me. Despite what you evangelicals think, they don't actually try to do that. One friend has had a particularly profound impact on my life as a teacher and mentor. He has been there for me in ways my family never was. I can always count on him for advice or a shoulder to cry on. And guidance. And understanding. He has always encouraged me to be myself and have faith in myself. A college professor who gives most of his time to his students and always has a project underway, yet he somehow has found a way over the years to raise thousands of dollars for AIDS charities and work as a tireless volunteer for projects like The AIDS Memorial Quilt. When you call gay people sinners or claim that what they are is an abomination, I take it personally. That's my family you're attacking.

So please, go away. I realize that, 25 years in to the epidemic, enough straight, white people have died for this to become a safe cause for you to champion now. But people infected with HIV should not be pawns in the push to publicize your church or to sell more of your books. Even worse, you are using sick people to push your homophobic agenda. I don't need a bible to tell me that's just wrong.


Out Of Tune
Boston, MA

Thursday, December 01, 2005

So I'm Thinkin' About....

Bush got called for jury duty in Texas. Is being a retard an acceptable reason to be excused?

So the Christian Right is having a hissy fit over stores or towns calling their xmas trees "holiday trees" instead. Jerry Falwell and his ilk are claiming "religious censorship" and "prejudice" and that Christians in America are being disenfranchised. Yea, those Christians are soooooooo fucking oppressed in this country. They are also bitching about stores having signs up that say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" and are calling for a boycott of those businesses. Dear Jerry: Please get the fuck over yourself. You think Target is losing sleep over you, or the few morons who listen to your stupid shit, not shopping in their store? They are probably happy that this Christmas they won't have people asking them if they sell Kinkade paintings. In my own effort to get boycotted, this year I'm going to put up a tree and call it a Satan Worship Gay Anal Sex Abortion Tree. Does that mean you'll tell your kind to stay the fuck away from me now? Please?

Speaking of Evangelical ass holes, seems that after only about 25 years into epidemic, enough white, straight people have died of AIDS for them to start caring now. Remember these are the same people that said AIDS was punishment from god for being gay or having sex out of wedlock. Too late you wingnuts. Stay the hell out of AIDS activism and sex education and leave it to the people who have cared all along and didn't judge the victims. Telling people not to be gay or not have sex before marriage hasn't really helped anyway. In fact, if it hadn't been for you miserable fucks and your hate towards AIDS victims, the problem never would've gotten this bad from the beginning. The guy hosting the big evangelical AIDS conference is that dork who wrote The Purpose Driven Life. Well, I think your purpose should be to go fuck yourself you homophobic prick.

Front page, above the fold, of the Boston Globe today: Red Sox are suing their former player for ownership of the ball that was the last out of the World Series last year. More shit I can't believe people care about.

News out of South Africa: The Constitutional Court ruled that keeping homosexuals from marrying is unconstitutional, paving the way for gay marriage in South Africa. Unanimous decision. South Africa's post-apartheid constitution drafted in 1994 was the first in the world to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Thank you again Nelson Mandela. They should give you another Nobel Peace Prize just for that constitution.

It boggles my mind that it's not obvious to every other guy that author Sarah Vowell is so much more attractive, in every way, than the Britney Spears and Jessica Simpsons of the world.

Early prediction for next year's World Series: Cleveland over the Mets in six games.

My favorite thing in the world right now: Blinking Lights And Other Revelations, the newest album by Eels. A stunningly beautiful record.