Re: the contributions. Wow. What can I say, except:
Thanks, suckas! Im outta here!
Just kidding. More on that later.
Im not a accent snob, although I like some more than others. I enjoy those long laconic Texas accents; they have the sound of someone talking slow so he can size you up, decide what to do with you. Some East Coast accents grate on my eats - the quicker and cruder ones sound like someone trying to say everything as quickly as possible because you might stab him in the eye before hes finished. Midwestern accents are fun for everyone to mock, but they have a reassuring simplicity. The sound of goodhearted decent people. They may be sour-hearted bastards, but they sound nice. Then theres the Non-Accent, which you find in most broadcasters.
Anyway - I was listening to the radio this afternoon, and they ran a clip of the jury foreman pronouncing sentence on the woman who drove home with a pedestrian in her windshield. She was guilty, and what was she guilty of? MARDER. Man, was that beautiful. Maam, you killed a miyn, and thats farst degray MARDER. The word rattled around my head afternoon, and made me grin. Next up, Angela Lansbury in Marder, She Done Wrote.
About the Supreme Court decision on the Texas sodomy laws, I can say nothing that hasnt been said elsewhere, with more insight; when it comes to this subject I get very tired, because I know Im going to hear a great deal about States Rights and Constitutional Principle, and yes, those are valid issues. But. If the Texas policemen were knocking down the doors of heterosexual couples and putting them in the pokey for, well, putting it in the pokey, or doing anything besides the state-sanctioned positions for connubial friction, this law would have been off the books a long time ago. Peoples tolerance for this sort of Comstockery is greatly diminished when the state bans consensual monicas and enforces the law at gunpoint.
I mean, Jeez.
Just once Id love to see a SCOTUS brief that said, in its entirety:
Come on, people.
If you want to tell me that this will inevitably lead to bigamist incest with animals, fine, we can have that argument, but this is about something else. This is about a law that some people like because its the legal equivalent of a head on a pike - a warning, a sign. A cautionary example. Some want statutory condemnation as a symbol of societys values - fine. I understand. Dont agree in this instance, but I understand the argument. Nevertheless, if you want something to be against the law, then surely you want that law enforced. And if you want the law enforced, then it follows that allegations of unlawful behavior should be investigated. Do we want a flying squad created to follow up on tips? A team that conducts stings for COPS, complete with bright lights and shaky camera footage? Theres no shortage of open sodomites out there; ought not they be investigated and prosecuted? After all, if someone gives seminars about the illegality of the income tax, and never files his 1040, the IRS takes notice. If someone rents a room at the Marriott to tell you how to pirate satellite signals, someones going to investigate. If someone's behavior, writings or speeches suggest they are practicing sodomy, isnt the state obligated to investigate and prosecute?
Few would go that far. It seems to me that many who like the anti-sodomy laws want them intact, defended, displayed, and ignored. If some cop gets all het up and charges someone on a tip, well, thats a dang shame, but society in general is better off with these laws on the books - because the implication of taking them off the books is unsettling.
Sorry, but I dont agree. I dont want to give that power to the state. I dont want laws that arent enforced but serve a symbolic function - except when theyre capriciously enforced. Sodomy laws are like a 30 MPH speed limit on the freeway - everyone would flout them, but the Smokies could use them to pull you over if he didnt like your looks. At the end of the day, I am profoundly disinterested in what consenting adults do for fun in a Texas bedroom as long as they dont frighten the horses. End of topic.
I have been watching old sci-fi. And I mean old - black-and-white stuff with saucers on strings, rocketships whose passage through space is measured on a dial that says AIR SPEED. Rocketship X-M is one such movie, and it has all the basics: the brilliant scientist with the pencil-thin mustache; the icy bitch-goddess scientist who will eventually scream and run like a girl into the heros arms; ethnic comic relief (in this case, a Texan) and two, count em two competing male leads: the cocky ever-grinning Lloyd Bridges, and the gee-whiz chess-club president Hugh OBrien. They all go to Mars, which bears a striking resemblance to the California desert.
Also watching the regrettably named Earth Vs. the Flying Saucers - a better movie with better FX, but the same conventions of the time: the entire US government appears to consist of five skeptical generals in a conference room. Our hero, Hugh Marlowe (he plays a scientist!) and his lovely wife (Joan Taylor, playing a "scientist"!) have been abducted by the aliens, who tell them that they wish to address all the leaders of earth in Washington, DC. I love this exchange:
Skeptical general #1: If they want to parlay with the entire world, why did they choose Washington DC?
Scientist: They appear to be realists.
Heh. Sure, we could all meet in Brussels, but everyone would be looking over at the US delegation with those please-tell-us-you-have-secret-bombs-that-can-kill-these-guys expressions. Of course, the movie promptly goes downhill.
Skeptical general #2: What about hydrogen bombs? Can we use them against the saucers?
At this point a lower-ranking officer whos been silent steps forward and says I believe I can answer that, general. Atomic weapons may indeed be effect against the saucers, but to use them while they are on the ground would devastate our cities.
And youre expecting Skeptical Generals 1 - 6 to all stare at the guy, until someone says well, no shit. But everyone just nods. Good point. Set off a nuke in Washington, and you run the risk of, you know, nuking Washington. Okay, next point.
One more thing: I love 50s women. Especially the scientists.
Went to Target after work. Went alone. It was a sad and empty trip, and I have no stories. We did not stop at the Playstation aisle so Gnat could pretend to play a game. (Yes, she wants to play console games too.) We did not stop at the music aisle, where you can hear tinny excerpts of 70s power ballads by pressing a button. We did not pause at the dishwashing soap department and smell all the colors, nor did we choose this weeks bubble bath bottle. It was a quick trip. On the way home I got to hear what I wanted to hear on the radio, instead of playing songs requested by the backseat passenger. When I stopped at the grocery store I didnt have to worry about Gnat banging the little cart into the shins of strangers, and when I went next door to the video store I did not have to keep an eye on her, nor wonder what people thought when she shouted HELLO! HELLO! in the hallway to hear her echo. I was a free man, on my own. Hated it.
But. I went to work today, and I had free time. I answered email. My email karma is so wrecked I will spend fifty years in the next life as an advertising circular, but today I shaved a day or two off that retributory incarnation. Felt good, and Ill do more of it. So theres an upside. But trust me when I say that every day now feels like Friday, and I hate it. I miss being dad all day.
Gnat, however, is in Mommy Heaven, and that trumps all. And Mommy is in Mommy Heaven, too.
The Cloy-O-Meter just hit 110%, so Ill throttle back now.
Okay, heres the latest. The Prof over at Instapundit did the damnedest thing: he suggested folks wander over and drop a buck or two in the tipjar. The results were astonishing. It was like the end of Its a Wonderful Life - why, folks heard Jimmy Lileks was in trouble, and they just said how much? I almost expected a telegram from Sam Wainwright promising a blank check for whatever I needed, hee haw. But of course there was no such telegram. As the morning wore on I grew more and more resentful of Sam, who always seemed to have everything so easy. Nice cars. Pretty girls. Life is always smooth and sweet for Sam. Here I am counting pennies, and that son of a bi-
Sorry. Off topic. Point is, I cannot thank everyone enough. You have paid the mortgage on Jasperwood for the rest of the summer. I have no idea what I did to deserve this, but I will do my best to deserve in the future. More updates! Reams of scanned thrift-store cast-off detritus! TWICE the number of matchbooks! And Bleats every day.
One last note: Amazon.com is staffed entirely by robots. Around eleven today the tip jar crashed - spectacular timing, old chap! Nicely played! - and I had no recourse. None. The entire Amazon help section is designed to drive you away from the very concept of phone support. They dont even acknowledge the existence of telephones. Go the the Help section, type a question like tech support phone number help bleeding from eyes and youre referred to a page about how you can get on an email list to be notified when the 93rd Harry Potter book is published. Amazon is apparently run by one of those Star Trek computers that replies Your Question is Imperfect when you pose a true philosophical stumper, and Im hesitant to press the issue lest I crash the entire thing. I can imagine the news story: AMAZON COMPUTERS CATCH FIRE, EXPLODE. It was horrible, said one employee. All the lights on the front of the mainframe started blinking real fast, then the computers voice got high-pitched and it sped up and smoke and sparks were everywhere, and then it blew up. So Im out of a job. On the other hand, my thoughts and voluntary muscle functions are no longer dictated by a whirring bank of machinery my people have regarded as a god, so I got that going for me.
Is the tip jar fixed now? Ive no idea. Dont bother finding out. Im fine. Were fine. Life isnt just good - thanks to you all, its even better.