A one-time school project gone terribly, terribly wrong.

31 March 2004

I am eternally fascinated

at the variety of stuff on the web. Each time I feel that the human race is headed for ruin I look at items like:

  • Yeti Sports. I'm personally very fond of the Seal Bounce

  • A site which is truly a pointless waste of time

  • Republicans with a sense of humour (well up until about round six)--who knew?

  • Just as an aside--the last item there makes reference to John Kerry "attacking the president during time of war". First off, is there anything particularly wrong with that? I mean, debates still happened on the floor of the House of Commons during WWII, Korea, and Gulf War I.

    But more importantly, the idea that "We're at war so it's no longer okay to engage in free debate" (no matter if you served on the ground while your opponent paid his way into the Air National Guard but forgot to show up [At least actual draft dodgers had some principle]) is dangerous.

    Especially it is so if the current oligarch of the nation has declared a war on terror which is unlikely to end in his lifetime. If this absurd idea is allowed to propagate, the current sovereign is untouchable even in his dumbest moments, no matter what he does.

    We desperately want an indication that what we would consider saner heads are out there somewhere. A "war on terror" has no fixed target and creates an artificial and complacent attitude towards ignoring established international laws to which it is signatory and toward the suppression of basic freedoms, even for its own citizens. Erosion of free speech by public pressure to "support the president until this thing is over" is both dull and frightening.

    Blind and jingoistic patriotism is one of the things that cause the rest of the world to sometimes glance askance at the US. The stereotypical "Hell-yeah!" cowboy-hat-with-aloha-shirt-wearing horror of a tourist, with his demands for cold beer ("I said cold, boy! You speak-a any English? What the hell do Bahamians speak anyway?) would be incomplete without an oversized plastic flag to wave.

    But we need to be very careful--especially those of us living in God's country.

    I spent four glorious months in God's other country, and was in many instances deeply ashamed at the conduct of my fellow tourists. The behaviour I saw on the part of the flag-wavin'-est of them was as bad as the worst sort of crap we blame American tourists for here.

    And yet those same people would have taken a great deal of time and energy to explain to you that Canada's somehow better than the US. Myself, I suspect we're usually not all that different. Perhaps as different as Australia is from Britain (and yes, i know some people have views on that), and at our worst and our best it's difficult to tell one from the other.

    I strongly feel that the way we do things up here is in fact vastly superior--but part of that is especially the part where we don't go around slagging other people just because we don't like the policies of their government. We wouldn't crap on someone from Zimbabwe for what that fat clown Mugabe is doing to a formerly pretty place--why generalize about Americans? (no matter that it's occasionaly fun to slander almost any nation).

    My point is that if we truly intend to be equitable, we must treat one another equitably.

    Although certain people don't get half the kicking around they deserve.

    And when the world shudders on its foundation at the thought of another four years, or of Mr. Kim's determination to continue his "civillian" nuclear plan, I visit sites like this.

    Oh, you just gotta see this!

    30 March 2004

    Fascinating Conversation

    Last night I had a chance to speak to the friend who made the accusations to which I referred in my last blog.

    She claimed that she had not intended any harm, that she regretted the loss of friendship with the person she pointed at, and that she'd shown the media by which she came out with her story to a number of people, who denied vociferously that they saw any trace of my other friend in it.

    She also stated that she regretted the loss of the friendship that had followed the alleged crime, and that the person accused merely "saw himself in it" [that is, in her version of events] due to a "guilty conscience, I guess". She also told me that she had been very careful to mention that she had expressed doubts as to the truth of what she'd said even now, even going so far as top mention them in the story she told.

    I have come to believe several things:

  • She is not convinced that what she has said is true. She said as much

  • The source of her hurt is a communications breakdown at least a year old.

  • Her recent actions were not malicious, but rather the result of a total inability to consider either whether this was a right action or what the effect on members of the group, including the accused, would be.

  • If she truly believes that she went out of her way to hide the identity of the person involved, then she suffered a serious disconnection somewhere.

  • For myself, I have come to realise that both versions of events are true for the person who lived that particular set of events. But the person who had the power to stop all of this did not take appropriate action at the appropriate time.

    How absurd and how sad. For both of them.

    I've had the odd complaint about how oblique I'm being here. It's because while I feel an urgent need to blog about my feelings on the issue, I feel no need to tell juicy details. This, to my mind, is a matter for the two people involved, the group administrative authorities, and possibly some lawyers.

    29 March 2004

    Whoa--long phone call

    So what's on your mind?
    Oh, right--you're still giving me the silent treatment.

    Okay then, here's what's on mine:

    A personal friend was lately publicly accused of a crime. While I believe that his accuser may be telling the truth , I find her approach not only mistaken, but almost suspicious. It doesn't help that she came forward with this fourteen months after the alleged crime took place.

    If I sent postcards to your peers and workmates accusing you of (let's suppose) being a paediophile, what action would you take? Yet the accuser seems not to have thought this through. Whether or not her version of events is true (as a personal friend to both parties may I be allowed to stipulate that both versions of events may be true for the individuals involved?), the place to discuss this is in not in an unmoderated public forum.

    Now my friend is damned if he responds, and libelled (and slandered) if he doesn't. Response will look like cover-up, and failure to respond leaves her version of events unchallenged. So he's done what she should have. He went to the authorities.

    By doing things the way she did, this person ensured that this guy can't clear his name unless she publicly recants, which is sure to breed hard feelings and more pain all around.

    But I really feel she's left him no choice. Were I in his shoes I'd probably sue her for libel and demand the public apology. I believe he's willing to settle for a written apology. It's too late for him. His reputation has been damaged, beyond repair in the minds of some of his peers. This will affect his working life, his time in college, and his psyche.

    I am not denying her her right to accuse someone she feels has done her wrong. But there's a place for serious accusations. There was also a time--roughly fourteen months ago.

    As I said earlier--both versions of what went down could be true. But there's no proof, and in my mind, by attempting to present unchallenged her version of the facts, this person has let herself down completely. What she's done to the person she accused is just mayonnaise in a $#!Ψ sandwich.

    And now justice demands she share it.

    It's a lousy deal for everyone all around. Why would she do things this way? Going to the cops would have made more sense. I can only assume it's because she isn't sufficiently convinced of the validity of her case to chance giving anyone else a say.

    And that really hurts, 'cos I'm quite fond of her--never thought she could be vindictive.

    I keep meaning to blog on advertising, but haven't managed to get round to it.

    28 March 2004

    Howdy Y'all

    Long time no blog. How you been?

    Well as usual, it looks as though it's up to me to carry this discourse. . .

    First, check out the Trunk Monkey, as forwarded to me by my S.O.

    Oops, phone call--catch you later.

    23 March 2004

    Can't stop bloggin'

    Just wanted, needed, absolutely had to add these links:
  • This has no right to be funny--and yet it seems to become more and more so. For God's sake why?

  • Also from that site

  • Have you seen those annoying little "Dead Rats" in the Quizno's commercials? This is where they came from. Check out the angry kittens!

  • One of my personal faves is Mr. Stabby.

  • More by the same artist--but in my 'umble, much better.

  • Some pages just get you saying "what the. . .?"

  • Then there's the Temple ov thee Lemur.

  • Yes, there are some "dirty words" here and there.
    While we're here-may I ask why it is that when a movie shows adults behaving childishly, but it's about sex, this is called "adult content"?

    But more on this later. Meanwhile, if you didn't get anything out of my last post, you've probably been looking for this.

    You must have a hole in your head! No? Would you like one? . That's an amazingly design-heavy page with lunatic content.

    Ooh, look Martha, it's one of those philosophical blogs!

    So it's five o'clock on a morning following not too far behind my (mumble-mumble)th birthday. Mum phoned from the other side of the globe at eleven two nights ago, accurately pointing out that as I was born in the southern hemisphere, I've been lying to my friends all my life--I'm one day older than I've been telling everyone.

    I am so very sorry to have deceived everyone like this. Although not like this. And certainly not like this.

    Did you ever wonder why anyone would name their kid "Oral"? Was it just that they didn't know how to spell "Earl", (I know, when you get to that page it says "Earl" not found) or is his brother Anal happily practising dentistry somewhere? Flowers by Anal?. . .nah--it's too easy.

    As you can see, it's causing me insomnia.

    But I also recently saw the film About Schmidt, with Jack Nicholson. It was a terrifically understated piece about the brevity of life and what meaning we, as ordinary mostly-mortals might do with it.

    "When I am dead, and everyone who has ever known me is dead, then it will be as though I had never lived."
    -Warren Schmidt

    This may be the most important film to hit the big screen in years. A recognition that we are not immortal. That there are more important things to strive for than say, the enormous acquisition of, if you will pardon the term, $#!Ψ.

    Although not all parties agree on what such things are. But that recognition's an important step that I feel people, especially North Americans need to take.

    How's about this: You really don't need any more stuff. Have you a roof over your head? Food in your belly? Useful work to do?

    Then why not stop wasting your money on $#!Ψ?

    Try this: I bet that with proper maintenance you can make your car, your TV, and your toaster last at least ten years. On a visit to Oz I stayed with a family whose kettle and toaster dated from 1971. Do you know anyone with a 30-year-old toaster?

    Why did you buy the last toaster you bought? Was it because
  • a) The old one burned up
  • b) Your ex got it in the settlement or
  • c) You bought new dishtowels and the old toaster didn't match them?

  • Maybe you just had a bad day and the toaster said the wrong thing?

    What's the benefit to living with thirty-year-old appliances? Well first off, you'll save a ton of money. Consider--you can buy a new $17 toaster every three years for the next 30. You'll spend $170. If you bought a reasonably good $85 dollar toaster right away and kept it for the same period, you'd spend half the money, right?

    Of course if you can make a $17 toaster last 30 years that's even better.

    Note: Some might argue that old appliances waste electricity. True, arguing that we all use our appliances for maximum efficiency at all times (how many items are you putting in the dryer with those new dishtowels?). But it wastes still more resources of far greater variety to continue printing cheap circuit boards so that you can get a high-tech toaster that looks like a sneaker.

    This all speaks to the need for us to look beyond ourselves. No, this isn't some sort of religious conversion on my part. Just a belief in a better destiny for the human race, provided we keep in mind that we are tiny.

    Our problems as individuals rarely have an impact beyond us, although occasionally we become problems for other folks as well. But for the most part we die forgotten by history.

    There are some immortals: Some are born to immortality (if that's not a contradiction), some aspire to immortality, and some have (albeit limited) immortality thrust upon them.

    You, and likely I, are not one of these people. Most unlikely.

    Therefore, by what should we be remembered--by the limited and fading memories of our few remaining friends? By our own petty efforts at biography? God help us--by our blogs?

    We can best be remembered only as a society. As the race of humanity which will one day inherit the stars. . .I know, I know--grandiose moment. Picture me framed against a backdrop of stars, one hand outflung, as the music rises.

    (I am forced to warn you that the link below connects to a Nazi organization's "kids" homepage.)

    But what's the alternative? That we as a species become little Kashmirs and West Banks? That the noblest thing we ever aspire to is squatting on the same piece of ground for a thousand years? That our children inherit our fondly-nurtured hatreds?


    We're bound for better things. Why not kick off your day with a visit to the Hunger Site?

    At best, we stand a chance of being remembered only in the aggregate. We will be remembered by the cumulative value of our deeds.

  • Wow--interesting site. Check out the galleries.
  • Hmm. Look at the little red toaster at this page's logo--remind you of anything?
  • Deep philosophy

  • Okay--that's all the philosophy for now. Next week--fnord!

    18 March 2004

    Today I am experimenting.

    Specifically, I'm trying to get the comment function to work the way it does for thirtysomehting's blog postings.

    I'm also cringing slightly about the last couple of posts.

    Let me be very clear on this. I'm not really adverse to PETA's stated goal. I just don't think that what they say they're after is what they actually want.

    And I deplore their tactics--playing on the fears of people who don't have a currently operating critical thinking mechanism in order to acheive their purile aims. . .Strange that they have so much in common with the Bush Jr administration.

    Still. I shouldn't have let them get under my skin enough to get me spewing. They too shall pass, and in thirty years no-one'll know what they were or what they wanted, and hopefully I'll still be eating rare steaks with my own teeth. Pamela Anderson will still have mountainous breasts, though: Silicone is forever.

    Today, it's all about teeth. People all over the world agree that teeth are a good thing. With the possible exception of hillbillies.

    People want good teeth, healthy teeth. Heck, some folks think even laws need better teeth.

    I tend to agree with that last article. Here's another interesting one.

    It's interesting that people who campaign for stronger laws with bigger teeth, or laws against things, never ever have the restriction of their own "God-given freedoms" in mind.

    --Apart from the whole business of being allowed to carry hidden on your person a device invented solely for killing other humans, I also tend to agree with that last writer.

    I have yet to find anywhere a case where a person went before a judge and said: "Judge, I'm terribly tempted to do something that I feel is wrong. Please make a law so that I'll be dissuaded. And give it some teeth!"

    Lately there's been talk of a constitutional amendment to "defend marriage". It's a complete load of $#!Ψ. It's just another attack on the American Constitution by those charged with defending it; the suspension of the rights of yet another group of citizens. Too bad--it used to be a nice document. Had all the right words and everything.

    If any part of the big C needs suspending or radical retooling, I think it's the Second Amendment--But that's sacrosanct.

    "If," says my reader "you're attempting to be free and fair on this blog, why do you seem so down on the Bush administration and the pro-gun lobby?"

    It's because I have yet to see convincing argument that proves that GWB isn't in fact an ingrained racist, corporate-minded, overpriveleged frat boy. Nor an argument that proves beyond doubt that private handgun ownership is a good thing.

    I welcome your comments. If you just came to flame, feel free to do that too. I am in full support of reasoned free expression and will give your post the attention it deserves.

    Hmmm. Can't get the comments to work here--you'll just have to do it the old fashioned way until I get 'round to fixing it.

    15 March 2004

    Welcome to International Eat-an-Animal-for-PETA Day

    The animal I have in mind is a defenseless (and delicious) young sheep, from which I will make a curry.

    Yes, I realise this is an obnoxious posting. Almost as obnoxious as mugging elementary school children and telling them how bad they are for eating meat, or comparing the raising and slaughtering of meat animals for food to say, the Holocaust.

    PETA would have a point if they were, in fact, calling for the "Ethical Treatment of Animals" they claim to be seeking.

    But they're not. Their objective is to force everyone in the world into vegetarianism by exerting pressure on children, and by forcing nations whose culture doesn't match their ideals into legislating national dietary and culinary traditions out of exisitence.

    Personally, I think vegetarianism isn't a bad idea, when indulged in for the right reasons, but it IS a luxury choice, and it's not a natural diet for an omnivorous species. Here are some other weird ideas.

    And most people I know inflict their vegetarianism on their freinds, family, and others for all the wrong reasons. They do it to feel righteous, or to draw attention.

    A close friend claims she's a vegetarian 'cos the Bible says "Thou Shalt Not Kill". Never mind that there are nine other commandments, most of which she's broken in the course of a long and generally happy life.

    Do it for your health. Do it (silently) as a political statement. Do it because you can raise X tonnes of grain on the same land as one cow. But don't expect me to cheer, or even care. Make sure you inform yourself fully, so that you'll be aware of the advantages and disadvantages your new lifestyle has--don't just say it--commit to it!

    And whatever you do, do not make the mistake of assuming that I'm going to make something special for you alone when I invite you over for Sunday dinner.

    Too often, while the rest of the family is waiting for the pasta to cook (and their roast dries out gently in the oven), the vegetarian sits smugly in his or her seat saying "Oh, don't trouble yourselves for moi. But by the way, did you know an adult male carries up to five pounds of undigested red meat in his colon at all times?"

    I also feel very strongly that vegetarianism shouldn't be forced on children by strangers (parents who condemn their children to veggie life are presumed to know what they're doing, for some reason). I mean, we don't even allow sex ed to supplant their parents' fondest prejudices, so why should PETA et al be allowed to subvert their families' eating habits?

    To sum up:
  • Vegetarianism is a choice, and a valid one.

  • If it's your choice, good for you.

  • Now shut up.

  • Pass the roast beef--I'll have your slice.

  • It's Eat-an-Animal-for-PETA day. Go out and get a burger.

    12 March 2004

    The Blog is Back

    I was recently on a bus, and saw a kind-of-cute sticker that read: "Pigs are friends, not food!"

    The Web address at the bottom was that of the PETA kids page. Now if I were a parent, I'd be anxious.

    PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is to animal rights what ACT UP! is to gay rights. Neither group is composed of the sort of person you want making major decisions for you--kind of like these guys, and each has a history of being shrill, and annoying the very group they most need to reach.

    PETA is fronted by prominent celebs such as Barb Wire--oops, I meant Pam Anderson. . .I mean, Barb Wire would chew this bunch up and spit out the bones, she wears leather and everything!

    Whoops--moral conflict there, I guess.

    For most of human history, the question has been "How do we get enough energy to find enough to eat tomorrow". The ability to kill and eat animals is one of the things that make us, humans, as a civilization, possible.

    While it's ridiculous to suggest that we should slaughter and eat all the animals, it's just as daft to say that we should stop eating them altogether. Everything in moderation, including moderation.

    Still, PETA have a right to their opinion, and I to mine. But the kiddie page disturbs me, among other things, with its insultingly lowbrow rhetoric: "Did you know that pigs are as smart as dogs? It’s true! And we know you wouldn’t eat your dog, so don’t eat pigs, either."

    Reeeally? I suppose then that Koreans are exempt from PETA? How about Cambodians? Germans?

    The PETA home page starts with a pop-up that reads "Let's face it America (one of the few nations they apparently know about)--eating meat makes you fat!"

    On the kids page, a movie entitled "The Meatrix" outlines a history of "greedy agriculture corporations" who corrupt "family farms".

    Apparently, it's also these corporations who have created the conditions for an antibiotic resistant epidemic, which is just waiting to happen. Remember--it's not caused by idiots who only take the pills for as long as it takes for the rash to go away.

    Likewise, massive meat farms also cause water quality issues. Surprisingly, I don't entirely disagree here. That would be because a) I don't have all the facts and b) There's actually some independant scientific evidence that this is the case.

    This moo-vie leads to a conclusion in which children are instructed to click on the pill or stay in the meatrix. The term used in the film is "alternatives" to eating meat. The page then navigates not to a page dealing with "alternatives", but to a "Vegetarian Starter Kit".

    It's all about eating righteous.

    The alternatives to "agricultural corporations" should surely include organically produced meats, no? What about those family farms? Free range animals--what about non-traditional food animals such as ostritches?

    But PETA isn't about being reasonable.

    As if this wasn't enough, PETA runs campaigns which endeavour to turn schoolchildren against not only meat, but milk. One of their claims is that dairy consumption has been linked to osteoperosis. Hmm. I'm thinking of a product more often associated with bulls than cows.

    Apparently, all the osteoporosis organizations have been sucked in by ruthless (and greedy! Don't forget greedy!) dairy corporations.

    Either that or PETA, as always, is trying to hijack your enlightened self-interest.

    Let's sum up: Into a school containing a bunch of girls and boys enduring far crueller conditions than animals experience on many farms (after all, when did pigs cows or chickens have to deal with zits, first dates, sexual issues and identity crises?) will come PETA.

    Their objective is to preach about the evils of eating meat and dairy products. Oh, and chicken. What have they to say about fish I wonder?--seems as though Koreans are exempt again.

    Hello? PETA? Yeah--uh, about that "don't eat anything"-fest you're inflicting on teenagers with self-esteem issues? Have you ever heard of this?

    Into high schools traipses PETA, whose main ambition is to convince us that we should eat no meat, fish, nor fowl, that we should drink no dairy, and that in fact all we should ever eat are salads.

    A pneumatic bimbette poses with a couple of lettuce leaves over her bikini and this is a big deal? Unfortunately, since we don't teach critical thinking in schools (lest our children come up with better superstitions than we have now), it is.

    "It was finally decided to cut through the whole tangled problem and breed an animal which wanted to be eaten and was capable of saying so clearly and succinctly. And here I am."
    --The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy

    I'm all for healthier cows--better steaks. PETA sometimes blames the rotund shape of (presumably North) Americans on "the high-protein diet"--this outfit might disagree.

    Note: This blog disparages all diets equally. If you're fat, make adjustments and exercise. We don't care about the number of carbs or calories you eat, the foods you're avoiding, or the consistency of your daily eliminations of any nature.

    (I wouldn't mention that last, but ever since several traumatic incidents I make sure to cover that particular base.)

    By the way, I ain't exactly sylph-like myself.

    My point is that PETA is wrong about any number of things: Seals, left unchecked, may become a pest. A certain amount of human predation is no bad thing.

    Most peoples worldwide eat meat. Innu people boiled the blood of elk inside the elk's former stomach with moss to make the nutrition in the moss acessible so that they wouldn't die of, among other things, scurvy. Of course vegetarian Innu existed, I'm certain. They lived on. . .well, uh. . .hang on there. . .

    For most of the world, vegetarianism is a luxury choice. The inability to eat meats for religious reasons holds entire nations in poverty. people starve not for the lack of adequate greens, but for the inability to slaughter an animal lying right in the road.

    In North America, vegetarianism, and the accompanying fervour for "organic" veg, means that you can become a vegetarian. Your food bill might quadruple, depending on whether you subsist on lentils or go for the $4.00/100g soy "meats", but it's possible.

    You'd have to radically rethink your diet, and you'll need to take supplements to give you the stuff you can't get from veg alone, but it can be done.

    But it shouldn't be done by misguided teenagers who have been used as pawns by even more misguided adults.

    Misguided? Yes. Check this out. "Misguided" is a nicer word than "₤µ€λed-up-like-a-football-bat".

    Again: Most of human history has been about finding more food--not deliberately restricting our diets. It's a sign of rampant self-preoccupation, and I just don't think these loudmouths are worth the attention they get.

    If you'd rather go naked than wear fur, I'm A-okay with that (am I ever!). Although I wouldn't try it in Canada.

    PETA hates wool, (and I'm so sorry that Chrissie Hynde used her beatiful voice for that), milk, and meat (while endorsing Burger King via its veggie burger), fur ("your mommy kills animals!"), and as far as I can see, every major improvement in the human condition since about 1780 or so.

    How come they don't seem willing to go naked rather than wear wool? And they seem so quiet about leather--perhaps 'cos it's easier to harass old ladies than motorcycle gangs.

    But this is supposed to be the fair and balanced blog. I just can't find any pro-meat sites radical enough to balance out this bunch of self-absorbed Americentric fruit-bats.

    Oh, but I like this idea! Too bad about the rest of that blog and the people she links to.

    Still, March 15th is on my calendar!

    Hey! This just popped up half-a-day ago!

    Clearly what we need is a new campaign. Stop PETA cruelty to kids!

  • I'm not particularly pro-hunting, but the site. makes some good points.

  • By the way, while we're talking fur:
  • Read this.

  • Good, now this.

  • Myself, I don't even understand why there are laws banning the eating of dogs or cats. Why? It's not a public health issue, really. In most nations where dog is eaten, the animals are raised specially for the purpose.

  • This is kind of interesting and meaningless.

  • 11 March 2004

    Thanks for all of your support

    My regular readers (all both of them) have offered a lot of support in the past few days.

    That and time seem to have taken care of the worst of the net effects of the accident. The insurance company adjuster was very helpful as well. She said: "It's not as though you left the house with "hit pedestrian" marked in your daytimer".

    Meantime, the level of school-related work (much of which I missed over the weekend by mooning about over the crash) has cranked up significantly, producing a distraction beneath which the hamster of guilt and worry can accelerate away on his squeaky little wheel without fracturing my outer equilibrium.

    Internally, things are levelling off. I've never considered myself the world's most fragile flower, emotionally. My mother essentially said "Things happen. Now get over it".

    And it's true. I think half of the reason we hear so much about the impact of "traumas" in daily life now has to do in equal parts with the cult of victimhood, the idea that horrid events must leave some psychic residue, and the modern preoccupation with the self.

    I've rarely been so preoccupied with my own feelings, at least not since an angst-ridden teenagerhood. For the couple of days it made sense, and it was worth it. We need time to feel rotten about rotten things.

    But I refuse to dwell on this any longer. I recognize that from time to time it will rise up in unexpected moments, and I accept that, and it's not necessarily bad.

    The car will be replaced, taking its starred windshield with it. Jennifer will recover with time and therapy, and the medical costs will probably be covered by a combination of her insurance and socialized medicine (thank whatever I believe in for democratic socialism). That's what insurance is for: For accidents. Which this is, and I think I've come to terms with that.

    Just the same--I find myself driving under the speed limit. I occasionally hesitate at lights, even with the right of way. Sometimes I get unpleasant momentary flashbacks when I glance away from the road. But this too shall pass. Eventually I will visit a driving school and get reassessed, to ensure that the few trailing effects have dissipated.

    Meantime the sky is blue and the air is warm and I celebrate the coming of another spring.

    Life goes on.

    For the most part pleasantly.

    I intend this to be the last post specifically dedicated to my accident. What next? Come back and find out.

    06 March 2004

    There are no resources for people in my situation.

    I phoned the hospital where the pedestrian (Jennifer--how reluctant I am to type her name, like naming her somehow makes. . .oh I don't know) was taken following the accident, for about the fifth time.

    I asked how she was and was told she was okay, basically. I suddenly found myself seized with a compulsion to visit her. But what would I say? And what about the legalities? I mean I can't exactly turn up at her bedside clutching a bouquet of flowers and say "I'm so sorry this happened, but it was your own fault. . ."

    Do people do this? After accidents do drivers visit the injured unless they know them? Is it reasonable to drop by with a stupid teddy bear and a get well card?

    And where the hell would I find this sort of information?

    That's easy--phone a lawyer.

    But I've refrained from calling one. It seems to me that since no-one has so far brandished a lawyer in my direction, and since the police found me sufficiently innocent not to charge me with anything, that producing an attorney would be either an insult or some indication of guilt. So I've decided to avoid the legal hacks unless and until they become necessary. Calling one now would be like calling in an army to issue a traffic ticket.
    The innocent have nothing to fear, right?

    Or maybe not. Sometimes right now I'm not entirely certain of the reliability of my own thoughts.

    Besides, a lawyer would almost certainly advise against visiting. The less contact the better, the less chance you'll say something that might be misinterpreted as admitting culpability.

    The point is that there just aren't any professional people besides psychiatrists and lawyers available to talk to about this. One is forced to lean on family and friends. And while I do have friends the emphasis has always been on quality rather than quantity. My family, on the other hand, has more-or-less rallied round. I spoke to both my sibs yesterday. My folks are overseas at the mo'.

    My significant other (SO) has been a great comfort to me, with all sorts of support.

    I suppose that you, O Avid Fan, are also a splinter of support at this time. You may or may not read this, but I can vent in your general direction as though you did.

    My train of thought is eroding deep trails across my mindscape. I think I'm depressed (it's somehting I've encountered before) but can't tell yet. I'll talk to someone soon; a professional. Headshrinkers may have it all wrong, but in this case it's probably a good move.

    The car sits outside my window.

    Not sure I'm ready to do this.

    So, you want to know what the "not-so-terrifc $#!Ψ" was that I alluded to in my last post.

    Well it's like this.
    Thursday night I had to be someplace at 7:00 PM. On my way there, I hit a pedestrian with my car.

    That's the essence of it. But it looks kind of dry just spewn out like that on the page. It doesn't capture the bowel-twisting horror of seeing someone in your headlights with their eyes wide and their hands up in a useless defensive gesture.

    It doesn't tell you how it feels to know that there's absolutely nothing that can stop what's about to happen. It can't express the sick feeling of watching somebody tossed onto your hood.

    And no matter what I write, there's no way I can tell you how it feels to watch that person's head meet your windshield and hear that dry, crisp "snap" sound as the Saf-T-Glass shatters in a star shape.

    I remember seeing wrecks in the auto yards that were in damn fine-looking shape. Now it occurs to me that many of them had those stars in the windshield.

    Perhaps I shouldn't be doing this. Maybe I shouldn't mention this to anyone. But let me tell you. if I don't get some of this out, I'm going to go ₤µ€λing crazy.

    For the past couple of days I've been sort of living my life from the inside. Like there was a transparent wall between me and the world. Outside I probably look okay. Inside, my mind is doing these crazy loops.

    Sometimes in the middle of doing something else I flash back to watching that poor woman hit my windshield. Other times I just stop what I'm doing while the thought "I hit a pedestrian" rings through my head like the chimes of doom.

    There are moments when I can't forget the sight of her green Harrods handbag stuck under the driver's side front tire of the car.

    Other times, I'm thankful. I could have been driving a rig. In which case she wouldn't be in the hospital right now; she'd be in the morgue. I could have run from the scene. I could have been going faster. I could have, I could have, I could have.

    I could have killed her.

    That's what it boils down to. She's in the hospital with a broken leg and possibly a concussion. This is called being lucky. I have to hold on to that. If I'd hit her with a car with a steel bumper instead of plastic, who knows what could have happened.

    It wasn't even my car.

    The owner of the car, who is somebody very special to me, has said that perhaps the car should be scrapped. It had mechanical problems already, and we'd been contemplating getting something else. It was a good car, and I'll miss it.

    But right now I find myself avoiding driving it. In the aftermath of the accident I moved it off the road and walked home. The next morning I parked it at my place. Its owner hasn't seen it since the accident--has actually avoided seeing it.

    There are so many things I'm thankful for.

    I didn't kill her. That's number one. I feel $#!ΨΨy enough as it is.
    I broke down on the side of the road and cried when the police and the firefighter told me she was going to be okay. It wasn't the first time, nor was it the last.

    I was going to have a beer shortly before coming down the hill. I'm glad I didn't.

    It wasn't my fault. That's a cringing, mean, small-souled-sounding thing to say, maybe, but it's the truth, and I'm oh-so-thankful for that.

    The light was yellow when I actually made that left turn. I was starting from nearly a dead stop at the middle of the intersection, so I wasn't moving very fast. Of course, if the light for me was yellow, then the "Don't Walk" sign was long up.

    "She appeared out of nowhere" It's a cliché, but when you think about it, if I'd seen where she was appearing from I'd never have hit her, right? Her left eye was full of blood. While we waited for the ambulance, she said "I'm sorry. I was running to beat the light."

    It's vindication of a sort, I guess.

    And you know something?

    It doesn't make me feel the slightest bit better.

    Yesterday I started cleaning out the car in preparation for its insurance examination and eventual last trip. When I came outside and approached the car, my eye fell on the star in the windshield, and on the single brown hair caught between the slivers of glass.

    I went back inside.

    This is the meaning of horror, ladies and gentlemen. Horror corrupts, taints what it touches. Horror turns the familiar happy landmarks of your life into land mines. Horror poisons everything you eat, blackens the shining moments . . .

    I'm sure this will fade. Hell, I know it will. But right now it's way too close. This is a zero-sum game. Nobody wins.

    I guess I'm done for now. I've narrowed into a spiral and I have nothing more to say at the moment.

    Thanks for listening.

    05 March 2004

    Some not-so-terrific $#!Ψ took place yesterday

    I'll blog on that later. Right now I just want to pretend it's going to go away.

    So go to this next link. A terrific example of the way the 'net has opened up new avenues of commerce.

    Or there's always this, for the person who loves cats, but doesn't want them moving around much.

    Were you outraged by those sites? Then click here, and here.

    While you're not busy (and surely if you had anything better to do you'd be off doing it, no?) why not look up a close friend or relative here.

    04 March 2004

    Like a Bump on a Blog

    By the way--I have noticed that many of the blog links at right aren't being updated. The project we were all participating in ended, and it seems as though thirtysomething and myself are the only people geeky enough to keep up with it. By the way, if you took the trouble to read this, go have a look at thirtysomething's blog. It's cogent, well-written, and a good and pleasurable read.

    Some of the feedback I've been getting:

    1) Spelling mistakes. Yeah, I know. They repulse me. I'm implementing a solution very soon, though. I premise.

    2) I got a lot of feedback about the comment that "the gay marriage issue is revolting". It is.

    Since the only valid reason for rejecting gay marriage is a function of religiosity, and since religion isn't supposed to be a factor in legislating human rights, why is there all this discussion going on?

    3) There have been one or two comments about my possible sexual orientation, apparently from folks who haven't read my blog thoroughly.

    But it doesn't matter if I'm a straight white male or a transsexual black woman who identifies as a lesbian. In the infinity of cyberspace, the tiny noises I make are as valid as anyone else's. Possibly more so, in fact, because I actually try to apply reason even-handedly.

    4) Other folks have suggested more radical ideas about either my orientation or my opinions, such as where I can put them and what kind of parents I must have had. Unlike these people, I try very hard not to allow my personal prejudices get in the way of my ideas, not to let my feelings overrule my thoughts, and never let a good story get in the way of the facts (except when said story is labelled as such).

    If your version of the facts differs from mine, feel free to bring it to my attention. But beware: personal prejudices masquerading as facts will be cruelly mocked, urban myths presented as truths will be debunked, and flames will be ignored. Actually, exceptionally good flames may be published at this space, but don't hold your breath.

    03 March 2004

    Denying Gays the Right to Divorce

    All right. I guess, since the rest of the world's going on and on about it, that it's time I faced up to my responsibility as a blogger and shot my mouth off meaninglessly about this issue too.

    (If you'd prefer, you can wade into Halliburton up to your armpits).

    The entire gay marriage issue is revolting, and has no place in a public debate arena. But since I have only a few regular readers, I reckon this is hardly public space.

    The Pro

  • 1) Gays, whatever may be said about them, are humans. Can we agree on this?

  • 2) Most governments accord certain basic freedoms to humans, such as "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" or some similar legal fictions.

  • 3) Most governments extend a certain legal sanctity to the relationship we call marriage, in which each partner commits to certain legal fictions having to do with responsibility in a lifetime relationship.

  • Okay, that's all the case for the "For" side.

    Oh--that and the fact that there are clearly significant numbers of people both gay and straight who support the idea. Of course, there are also many people both gay and straight who are opposed.

    "Democratic" governments may wish to take notice.

  • The first argument against is actually that homosexuality itself is somehow "wrong and unnatural"

  • Let's tackle "unnatural" first. The nosiest bastard in the history of humanity, Kinsey, established during his surveys that around 10% of those surveyed were homosexual.

    Leaving out the social conditions of the time, let's just mention that in his original research, Kinsey essentially counted a man who admitted to having a homoerotic dream as being gay.

    But nowhere did he find evidence that being gay is somehow a choice. Nor did he discover that weak parents, domineering mothers, bad diet, or any other factor "caused" homosexuality.

    Kinsey also considered a continuum model of sexuality. You could be a hetero or homosexual if you tested at the extereme ends. In the middle were bisexuals. This model is worth remembering if you're stuck on the idea of sex as digital quality.

    The point is that no matter how hairy or testosterone-laden you are, and no matter how smooth or "feminine", you probably aren't 100% grade-A-stamped male or female yourself. You sure? Never looked at someone in those unisex locker rooms and had a nasty thought before you looked away? (Have I? Well, I must confess: it's none of your business).

    I don't think that the number of committed homosexuals is that high, myself. Purely based on my own limited observations, it seems as though the number is about 5%, with bisexual people and transsexuals topping that number up to possibly 8%. But does it matter?

    Now blacks are about 15 to 20% in North America, and we don't forbid them to marry. We no longer ban marriages between mentally or physically handicapped people, who are surely a smaller percentage than gays. So why ban gay marriages? How is banning a minority from fair exercise of civil rights granted to the worst family man on earth and to death row inmates valid?

    "Oh, well" says my reader "That's different."

    How exactly?

    "Being gay is unnatural, and a choice," says this person "People can't help their skin colour, or being physically or mentally challenged."

    So let's see: You want me to believe that there are no natural gays; that some people are so perverse that they'd volunteer to be rejected by their friends, cut off by their family, shunned or actively persecuted by the law, and killed just for being themselves?


    Let's just say I disagree and that it's up to you to prove me wrong. Historically, of all attempts to moderate or control human sexual behaviour, none has failed as universally or thoroughly as the effort at "curbing" homosexuality.

    We'll get to the "gay is wrong" argument a bit further on.

    So if we're done trying to prove that gays shouldn't have rights in the first place, can we get to the marriage question?

    The Con

    1) "Marriage is about children". Mark Percel rants that "there's a biological reason that people get married" and decides that it's children.

    Sure. Let's marginalize every couple that doesn't want to raise rugrats. Percel says he supports that idea. Many childless couples presumably wouldn't.

    There are gay couples happily raising happy kids and producing no more gay kids than hetro couples (do the math: Most gays were born to and raised by straights), and hetero couples who aren't. So let's put this garbage idea to bed, shall we?

    Marriage is traditionally about property rights and mutual support in an economically taxing relationship.

    2) Allowing gays to marry damages the social fabric and undermines the institution of marriage. besides, people won't take marriage seriously anymore.

    You're so right. And while we're at it, let's ban divorce, the rate of which is making a mockery of marriage as well. Oh--and divorce is only legal between heteros.

    A related argument is the "Can't they just have civil unions?" idea. The short answer is why? The votes of immigrants count just as heavily as the votes of native sons and daughters. If I am wronged I appeal to the same court, in expectation of equal protection under the law (within the limits of local prejudice and my bank account) with the person who wronged me.

    Granting people "civil unions" but not marriage is as just as giving everyone seperate drinking fountains.

    3) Allowing gays to marry would take us down a "slippery slope" to matrimonial anarchy.

    A close friend whom I respect and love (and find achingly young and naive) once said to me "Well if gays can marry, then what's to stop me from changing the law so I can marry my dog? Or could a fifty-year-old man marry a fifteen-year-old boy?"

    I chose to believe this statement is due to the depths of her inexperience, since she's really one of my favourite people.

    What's to keep this from happening? Well for a long time, we've known that being gay is different from being a child molester (certainly Catholics have known), and there exist laws that prevent children from marrying. In my home province, where the legal fiction of "age of consent" is (or possibly was, the current government is both criminal and retentive) set at 14, there exists (or existed) a law forbidding relationships between people over nine years apart in age. That is, technically a man of 43 couldn't have sex with a woman of 34.

    As for marrying the dog: gay rights are human rights, and besides, the dog cannot legally consent to the marriage.

    The Only Real Reason

    The sole legitimate reason to oppose gay marriage is that your religion belives that marriage is somehow reserved or sacred. There's nothing wrong with this. It's called a "moral" argument.

    But in most democratic nations, religion is barely tolerated in the political arena. France and the United States are two current exceptions.

    France seeks to stamp out the muslim head scarf (thereby trampling both religious freedom and women in one go) from an excess of honest zeal. But the law that prevents the wearing of headscarves is a loser. For one thing, it also bans "symbols of excessive dimension". How big does a crucifix have to be to be "of excessive dimension"? What about a kipa?

    The point is that this is a discriminatory law introduced to maintain France's "irreligious" stance, enshrined in the articles of her creation at the time of the revolution.

    In the US, where it is forbidden by the constitution to prefer one religion over another, the president is pushing a constitutional amendment to enshrine his own religious beliefs. Even the man in his cabinet who should be barking is supporting him.

    Never mind the alteration of the document that gun nuts consider unalterable, never mind the violation of the separation of church and state. Cheney is violating the Preamble, which includes the desire to "secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity". Mary Cheney will not be blessed with liberty to marry.

    In short--If your only objection is religious, then please say so. There's no answer to religious argument alone. If a democratic majority is opposed to gay rights, then I suppose that's something we have to put up with, but if it's only for religious reasons, what gives you the right to pander to your own prejudices over mine at my expense?

    The religious objection requires that I accept that some soi-distant "god" who created everything, including gays, watches us all from afar (and punishes people eternally for violating his laws), and loves us all (except gays).

    It also asks that I accept that this God is anti-gay, based on the authority of a revolutionary text (Islam) or a 2,000-year-old collection of badly interpreted aramaic shepherd's tales (both Christianity and Judaism), or some other such document.

    If this is our model of omniscient, omnipotent justice and mercy, don't you find that worrying?

    I was raised Catholic. You never shake that. But I believe that current dogma is wrong. Homosexuality happens. And inasmuch as I believe in a just civil society I support the rights of all. That includes accused criminals, gays, and even left-handed people.

    But most importantly: Gay marriage is coming, no matter what you, or I, or almost anyone else thinks. Soner or later, gays will marry and raise kids, and no-one will remember why there was all this fuss.

    I wonder why there's such a fuss now.


    One of my guiltier (and who knows guilt better than an ex-Catholic?)pleasures: The politically incorrect world of Ed the Sock, who has Triumph beat!

  • Sorry--Nude Fishing? Yeah, I know the link doesn't work. I'm still debating whether to link to pornography.

  • (Dr. Laura's pics don't count. When someone like this sets themselves up as the doyenne of "family values" they deserve every brickbat they get).
  • A lucid perspective on the "I-wants" of the net.