Monday, July 30, 2012

Governor Haley's husband deployed

Developing story, just breaking statewide and nationally.

The cynic in me wonders if this is all a deliberate PR effort to make Nikki look good, as her political support drops dramatically in the polls.

Ya think?

(CNN) - South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley's husband received orders from the South Carolina National Guard on Monday and is expected to deploy to Afghanistan in January, a spokesman in her office said.

1st Lieutenant Michael Haley will deploy to Afghanistan, spokesman Rob Godfrey said.

Michael Haley said in a Monday statement that "this deployment is the reason I joined the National Guard."

"It is important to me to be able to give back. So, in that regard, I am looking forward to the opportunity to serve with a great team from South Carolina," he continued.

Gov. Haley said it is an "an honor to watch him serve our country" and said it is natural to worry about her husband's well-being.

"There's not a military spouse that doesn't worry," she said. "But there's not a military spouse that doesn't have an amazing amount of pride for the fact that these men and women, it's what they do. It's what they love. It's just an amazing willingness to put country over self. And so It's hard to feel anything but pride and, you know, do you worry? Yes, of course you worry.

"But I also know that we've got a very strong military force," she continued. "I know that our training is second to none, and it's like I tell all my military spouses when I speak to other deployments: all needs to be well on the homefront. And so we will be fine here and he just needs to take care of himself when he's there."

She was elected in 2010 with tea party support and has been suggested by some as a possible vice presidential pick for presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. In an April interview, however, she said that she enjoys her job and "would not accept" the spot.

Michael Haley added that "the only thing that gives me pause is the year long deployment away from family.

"But in the end, I can't help but to think giving one year along with my fellow soldiers, as many have done before me, to secure a life of freedom for my family is well worth all that comes with it," he continued.
I guess this is just the beginning of the local media torrent about Nikki and Michael Haley. Ugh.

Look out honey, cause I'm using technology

Got some great music for this Music Monday, starting with hizzoner, Iggy Pop.

And it's where we get today's blog post title. Too wonderful for words!

Search and Destroy - The Stooges


Yes, I confess, whenever somebody goes postal and shoots up a place, this song runs through my mind.

Best line: "Say something once, why say it again?"

Psycho Killer - Talking Heads

Second-best line: "I hate people when they're not polite."


Transmission - Joy Division

If you still haven't seen the terrific biopic about Ian Curtis, CONTROL, heartily recommended!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The War over Sally Ride

I was considering writing an obituary for astronaut Sally Ride, when the war over the facts of her personal life broke out.

Was she gay? Apparently so. Interestingly, one of my old friends told me his gaydar went off when he saw her interviewed on TV back in the 80s, when she first went up in space (and was still married to astronaut Steve Hawley). I have heard this "gaydar" comment several times since. I had no idea if this was true or not, so I went to Wikipedia, like I always do.

And wouldn't you know? That's where the war is.

Wikipedia does not see fit to mention that Ride had a 27-year relationship with a woman, Tam O'Shaughnessy, whom she called her partner. Glenn Greenwald tweeted his disapproval of Wikipedia's omission, and got goofy (and thoroughly bigoted) replies, such as "not sure why it matters?"

Not sure why it matters? Does the marriage of a heterosexual person matter, if one is seeking factual biographical information? I think we all agree that it does. In fact, even heterosexual AFFAIRS (not sanctified by legal marriage) are covered in Wikipedia biographies. But since being gay is considered BAD, it is widely regarded as an INSULT if you include this fact about her. Even if its accurate.

So, we have the (possibly) first gay astronaut, and most people do not know this about her. The official accounts are leaving out her grieving widow, Tam. Imagine if this was a heterosexual astronaut 'hero'--and they refused to acknowledge their widow?

Impossible to contemplate. It would simply never happen.

The GAWKER's article about this homophobic fiasco includes a series of comments left on the Wikipedia 'history' page, which would be hilarious if they didn't seek to erase 27 years of two women's lives. For example:

There's another logical gap: according to this bio, Tam O'Shaughnessy was Sally Ride's partner of 27 years, i.e. since 1985. But the article says that "in 1983 [Ride] became the first American woman, the first lesbian [...] to enter space", and it doesn't logically follow that she was a lesbian in 1983.
Do you believe this stuff? ANYTHING to avoid the facts, that the first US woman in space was a lesbian.

Last Autumn, I wrote about this phenomenon (the emphatic denial of gay sexuality in obituaries) after the death of film producer Ismail Merchant. The same hysterical, ridiculous denials surfaced at that time.

Why can't the homophobes at least ACCEPT PEOPLE IN DEATH? It's like they can't let their hatred go, even for a second. They refuse to grant any gay person respect. And if they should by chance actually admire the individual in question (as so many admired both Merchant and Ride), then they MUST deny that they were gay. Because they simply CANNOT ADMIRE a self-professed gay person.

There really is no other explanation for this behavior.

And with that, I will end with my concluding comment in my post about Ismail Merchant:
Again, we see how gay people are disappeared by the culture at large, as heterosexuality, even openly illicit heterosexuality, is heralded.
Unfortunately, it's still an accurate observation.


EDIT--Wikipedia has added the following paragraph to Ride's obit, due to popular demand: After death, her obituary revealed that Ride's partner was Tam E. O'Shaughnessy, a female professor emerita of school psychology at San Diego State University and a childhood friend who met Ride when both were aspiring tennis players. O'Shaughnessy became a science teacher and writer and, later, the chief operating officer and executive vice president of Ride's company, Sally Ride Science. She co-authored several books with Ride. The 27-year relationship was revealed by the company and confirmed by Ride's sister who also stated that Ride chose to keep her personal life private including her sickness and treatments.

More than I expected.

Boycott Chick-fil-A: "Guilty as charged"

As a vegetarian, I have no trouble avoiding Chick-fil-A. Around here, they get a lot of respect as a company that hires "nice Christian youths" to work in their restaurants. These kids are well-known for their uber-politeness and lack of tattoos. Chick-fil-A is also one of the only companies that actually refuses money and closes on the Sabbath. In addition, they help with school fund-raising and appear to be civic-minded.

These factors cause the local religious folks to respect them and consider them "serious" Christians, well worth patronizing.

I have just read Monica's blog, about Dan Cathy, Chick-fil-A president (photo at left), and his proud anti-gay crap. What particularly gripes me is the specific wording of his crap.

From the Baptist Press (and where did you expect it to come from?):

CARY, N.C. (BP) -- Dan Cathy oversees one of the country's most successful businesses. As president and chief operating officer of Chick-fil-A, Cathy leads a business with 1,608 restaurants that had sales of more than $4 billion dollars last year. They sell chicken and train employees to focus on values rooted in the Bible.

His father, S. Truett Cathy started the business in 1946, when he and his brother, Ben, opened an Atlanta diner known as The Dwarf Grill (later renamed The Dwarf House). In 1967, his father opened the first Chick-fil-A restaurant in Atlanta. Today, Chick-fil-A is the second largest quick-service chicken restaurant chain in the United States based on annual system-wide sales.

Dan Cathy's success has not erased the biblical values he learned as a child in a Baptist church. He is a warm, common man who is deeply committed to being a faithful Christian witness. And he is fully involved in New Hope Baptist Church in Fayetteville, Ga. He drives Chick-fil-A's efforts to provide genuine hospitality, ensuring that customers have an exceptional dining experience in a Chick-fil-A restaurant. Based on Matthew 5:41, Cathy is on a mission to provide customers with "second-mile" service -- exceeding even the highest expectations of a typical fast-food restaurant.
Some have opposed the company's support of the traditional family. "Well, guilty as charged," said Cathy when asked about the company's position.

"We are very much supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.

"We operate as a family business ... our restaurants are typically led by families; some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that," Cathy emphasized.
These comments have sparked a national controversy, of course, which has now spilled over into the Huffington Post and elsewhere.

Here is what pisses me off: Do they think gay people sprang from the forehead of Zeus or what?

GLBT people came from, you know, FAMILIES, like everyone else. The major implications of his bigoted remarks: gays are not part of their families-of-origin (I guess it's understood that their nice Christian parents all decided to throw them out?)... as well as denying the existence of families of GLBT people who are now grown and themselves parents. POOF, erased, in one fell swoop.

To Dan Cathy, these families simply DO NOT EXIST. In fact, GLBT people in traditional families, apparently do not exist either. Where does Cathy think they all came from, in that case?

The ignorance, it burns.

Boycott Chick-fil-A! I know, easy for me to say... however, I do like those fries as much as the next person. But I think I can do without. Fries are easy to come by. I hope the rest of you will consider the fact that a chicken sandwich is easy to obtain in a thousand other venues.

Go there instead.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Tumblr sucks

I got a number of hits from Tumblr this week. One link was for the sake of "discussion"--which I find patently peculiar since Tumblr does not allow discussion.

So, you can discuss, but just don't share it with US. Keep your discussion to yourselves, bitches! (Now, I ask you, WHAT kind of discussion is that?)

I find Tumblr strange and do not understand how it works. This is by design; I was not at all surprised to learn that the founder/CEO of Tumblr is younger than my daughter. It is obviously and proudly age-segregated. Wikipedia informs us, "The service is most popular with the teen and college-aged user segments with half of Tumblr's visitor base being under the age of 25." I didn't need anyone to tell me that. This is one of the big attractions, keeping out the nasty old people. Ageism is highly marketable, you know.

FINALLY, a place where your awful mom can't follow you.

I have had a lot of mixed feelings as my various (young) blogger-friends have deserted Wordpress, Blogger and Livejournal, joining the trendy stampede to Tumblr. This is terribly disappointing, since I know this means I can no longer participate on their blogs. Tumblr allows "likes" (as Facebook does) but no comments. No brawling. You like it, or you hit the bricks. They have rejected the possibility of any dissent. NO uppity types daring to pipe up! It is deliberately not permitted--it has actually been planned that way. (Another big attraction: you can pretend everyone agrees with you, since nobody is permitted to say otherwise.)

I find this fascinating, that Tumblr has the necessary razzle-dazzle craved by the young, yet pointedly doesn't allow disagreement or comments. Is this the new culture of the young: like it or shut up? (Dissent? What's THAT?) Rather disturbing.

I have been blogging for five years, doing html code, and I still can't decipher the Tumblr layout. I can only imagine how difficult this must be for people even more unfamiliar with the internet than I am (and I have been online since 1998.) The odd page-layout and nested re-postings (difficult to follow or read, especially if you have any vision issues) effectively exacerbates the existing division between the trendy-youthful Tumblr crowd and everyone else on the net. I have some online friends who don't even know how to FOLLOW Tumblr, and I admit, I find it very confusing and (personally) hard to read. And that's how they like it, since it keeps out the riff-raff. After all, only us old-fogies try to make ourselves understood and/or worry about accessibility. Tumblr does not allow questions (no comments, remember?), so if you don't understand something or seek clarification, well, you must be an idiot. The trendy Tumblrites DON'T WANT the kind of person who needs any sort of clarification.

In short, fuck you.

Thus, we see the ongoing class/age/education divide online (also known as the Digital Divide) growing by leaps and bounds, nicely aided by Tumblr. (As a lefty, I find it bleakly hilarious to read social-justice fulminating on a blogging-platform that is so deliberately inaccessible to so many.)

And the Tumblr kids like it that way, or they would use an interactive forum that is user-friendly to everyone. But why should they do that? They prefer to interact with the people who already agree with them.

However, if they don't, they can correct me. They can argue with me. They can tell me I am full of shit. Because Blogger allows comments.

Unfortunately, even when they link me, I can't tell THEM a damn thing.

And they like it that way.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

On the Radio

This Saturday's radio show was taped today, and it's a BANG UP SHOW which you should all listen to. Very proud!

We are finally getting into the groove of the pre-recorded thing, and it's actually a lot of fun. As I have written here before, I don't get that horrible insomnia and awful case of nerves when I know my mistakes can be edited... and there is also the matter of the rather formal radio station environment vs Gregg's inviting home amidst lovely trees, full of nice people and dogs. I hope we can continue to do it there. I just love the overall vibe.

We have special guests on the show and I'm sure it will sound more like a cozy progressive conversation rather than a typical talk-radio show. We have a Green Party candidate (Joseph Martin) and a Green Party columnist (Liz Smith Anderson) and we have Mitt Romney for lunch... yum yum! A bit of a nasty aftertaste.

THIS is the kind of thing I am going for! YEAH! Finally hitting my stride, 10 months after starting! Hey, better late than never, okay?


One ongoing problem I have had is finding my radio voice vs my blogging voice.

The two are the same voice, yet very different. My radio voice is "the real me"--whereas my blogging self is my writerly voice, the one that provides narrative and extended observation.

I have often believed that I should cover things on the blog that I have covered on the radio and vice versa, only to discover that the issue(s) under discussion are better suited to the "other" voice. Some things are "radio material" (great showbiz), and some things are better-suited for the blog, where various qualifications and endless delineations can be made. It will take time for me to sort that out; most talk-radio people started on the radio first, and then branched out to blogging, whereas I started the other way around.

But I am starting to get it, and I think I can keep both voices strong. For awhile, I worried I was compromising or short-changing one or the other. If we can keep up the "conversation" format, that will be very good for my blogging. The conversation we taped for the show today was just like a conversation I would have in real life (since that's what it was!) and shared the wisdom borne of a group-process. This is a nice departure from regular talk-radio formats. Since we are lefties, we SHOULD have a group/collective approach, instead of a top-down approach, to the show.

Stay tuned, sports fans!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tuesday Tunes: Walking in Rhythm

Donald Byrd & The Blackbyrds - Walking in Rhythm

Monday, July 16, 2012

Political Animals

I was really disappointed in Political Animals on the USA network. I had been looking forward to it, and then... pfffft. Awful. Did someone fall asleep while writing the script or what? (How do you get hired to write that stuff, anyway? Maybe I should send them a resume; apparently, they are hiring entry-level screenwriters at USA.) Sigourney Weaver, usually very good at sarcasm and power-tripping games, was a tremendous letdown. She seems to have phoned in her lines. I could do as well, and so could you.

The story is a juicy one. It's all about an ambitious, take-no-prisoners, ex-president's wife named Elaine Barrish, who is now the Secretary of State.

Gee, wonder who that's about?

And maybe that was the problem. They didn't know whether to "evoke" Hillary (see above link, wherein Weaver equivocates on the subject matter) or just "recreate" a Hillaryesque character. Is she a good witch or a bad witch? They don't seem to be able to make up their minds, and the screenplay veers indecisively back and forth. As a result, they can't really take any meaningful stand. It therefore turns into just another soap opera, this one set in Washington, D.C.

At one point, Weaver/Hillary/Elaine delivered what I think was supposed to be a heartfelt monologue about her convictions, and it just rang false. This savvy, cutthroat politician who craves power, suddenly cares all about the little people? Well, maybe so--that is the very definition of "complex"--isn't it? But Weaver failed to deliver on this emotional complexity and seemed to be reciting hackneyed lines that had just been given to her five minutes previously. Awful. Avoid, avoid. Do not be taken in by the commercials, which are pretty good. (In fact, whoever made the bang-up commercials should be assigned the overhaul of the whole series, but I doubt that will happen.)

Besides Weaver phoning it in, they have Ciarán Hinds, an Irish actor, playing the character based on Bill Clinton (here named Bud Hammond). They couldn't find a SINGLE SOUTHERN ACTOR? Because Hinds' southern accent is one of the worst I have heard since Jane Fonda in Otto Preminger's feverish Hurry Sundown. Are they kidding with that? It was atrocious, insulting and utterly cringe-inducing. Where exactly in the south is he supposed to be from? (Answer: North Carolina) More like Nowhere-in-the-Real-South, USA.

And it's also notable they turned Bud into Elaine's EX husband. Why? So she could make sardonic little jokes about his legendary "other women" without any moral discomfort from the audience. And then Bud and Elaine can meet each other in a motel room, post-divorce (as Secret Service agents wink knowingly at each other and at us) and it really isn't considered wrong. Or something. The fact is, the Clintons are NOT divorced, and showing reality the way it really is, would have been far more honest (and less like hedging your bets).

Further, the "scandal" of one of Elaine's sons being a suicidal druggie (borrowing from the Kennedys now) would be regarded as a scandal for a good feminist reason: one explosive, nasty charge often leveled against ambitious women (across the political and occupational spectrum) is that they are lousy/absent mothers. THIS is why such a story might be covered up by Hillary's people, as well as the stigma surrounding addicts and addiction in general. And yet, neither of these reasons was seriously addressed by the show--that would get too (haha) POLITICAL, and soap opera is obviously where they are going with this.

Too bad. They missed a great opportunity. I will stay with the series, just to see what happens (I like soaps as much as the next person), but I hope Weaver is given the script a whole week in advance next time and/or stops reading cue cards. And please, better scripts? Please? Witty banter and snappy comebacks doesn't seem like a lot to ask from writers accustomed to making six figures.

Or maybe its always risky to try to dramatize politics. SOMEBODY might get offended and networks seek as many viewers as possible. Again, that's too bad. Offending people means you have made an impact and actually matter.

Nobody can be too offended by a soap opera.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Happy Friday the 13th!

So who caught the All-Star game, wherein country singer Luke Bryan was caught sneaking a peak at the lyrics of the Star Spangled Banner, helpfully written on his hand?

Let he who has never forgotten the dumb lyrics, cast the first stone.

It's at (approx) the 36-second mark:

I say, leave Luke alone!


I have just returned from North Carolina, where the Romney vs Obama ads were running fast and furious (you should pardon expression) every few minutes; sometimes back-to-back. This is in major contrast to South Carolina, which the Democrats have apparently already conceded to Romney. But here in the upstate, we also get two different TV-stations from NC, and I guess we will be seeing the Asheville-area based commercials all the way to the finish line. And it's still July! They haven't even had a convention yet!

We are going to be inundated with it, folks... so gird your loins.

Last week, I taped my radio show for the first time, and today, will be doing it for the second time. I confess, knowing you can mess up and have it corrected (as handy as white-out!) is GREAT. I do not have the case of nerves I used to have beforehand.

Please tune in tomorrow at 9am, and thanks so much for listening.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tuesday Tunes: Blue Collar

Blue Collar - Bachman-Turner Overdrive

I finally got a job, people! And thought I would post this nearly-forgotten gem to celebrate. Enjoy!