Thursday, February 04, 2010

There was weird and very pretty weather yesterday morning. Full sun was pouring in from the east and its light backlit the snow that was falling from directly above, making it glitter like a shower of silver sequins. Fritz and I tossed around the idea of a snowbow in the sky, but knew that since the moisture was all locked up, frozen in the snow crystals, that it really couldn’t happen. Or could it?

The morning had gotten off to an interesting start. I got up and fed the cat, then settled in at the computer to get my overnight email, check the Facebook page, and see what the New York Times had posted as the day’s top Music and Theater stories. There was a flash of movement over in the outside section of the Christmas tree (yes, it was still up but the ornaments had been taken down from the inside section). The movement was too big to be from any of the birds that had come to love having the outside half of the tree right by the feeders. A squirrel had climbed about five feet up and was sitting in a branch among the ornaments. Cute, I thought, and turned back to the computer.

A minute or so later a noisy little fight broke out. I looked over to see Starr inside and the squirrel outside having a boxing match down at window sill level, whacking away at each other harmlessly because of the two layers of window glass that separated them. Then I thought that it might be harmless for them but might be bad for the glass, so I went out and chased the little guy away.

Later in the morning, we looked at each other and said it was finally time to take the tree down. I cut the wires holding the inside half securely against the window wall and it went out the side window of the great room. Then we took the ornaments off the outside section to discover most of them were filled with water and ice from the many storms we'd had since putting it up in mid-December. The outside section came down OK and both halves were pulled into the woods.

We turned around and the house looked achingly bare. When we went inside we discovered that the birds going into the feeder would automatically spin around and head for the now-removed tree. Some veered off suddenly to find another roost to eat their seeds, some just collided with the front windows and then reoriented themselves. By today they they'd figured out the new game plan. But we're still missing the tree that reached up to the top of the cathedral ceiling and was such great fun.


Thanks for this item to the invaluable Joe Jervis of

Excerpt from the speech by the Republican Senator from Georgia on why DADT shouldn't be repealed:

"In my opinion, the presence in the armed forces of persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts would very likely create an unacceptable risk to those high standards. It will lead to alcohol use, adultery, fraternization, and body art." -
Sen. Saxby Chambliss.

Oh NO - not . . . BODY ART. The horror! The senator is perhaps unaware that the American Navy has been heavily tattooed for about two hundred years, that my first exposure to tattoos was from seeing them on the former Army, Navy and Marine fathers of my friends on beaches, at back yard barbecues, etc. He hasn't a clue that tattooing spread into the general population FROM the armed forces, not the other way around. He also needs to brush up on his knowledge of the bonding rituals of the young adult male and, in many cases, female. He apparently thinks heterosexuals don't drink or have sex.

Senator and failed presidential candidate John McCain also warned against the repeal of DADT, although far more coherently than Senator Chambliss (less of an accomplishment than it might seem). What's interesting is that both Senators began their anti-gay rants by acknowledging that the armed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan are full of gays and lesbians; Chambliss said that they had served "valiantly", McCain that their service was "disinguished" and went on to say they had their nation's gratitude. In both cases these comments were followed by the dangers of repealing DADT because the presence of gay soldiers would lead sexual abuses, collapse of discipline and cohesion. ??!

Senators, listen to yourselves--you can't have it both ways. You shoot yourselves in the foot by saying that having gays will cause problems right after commenting that there are a lot of gays who have given valiant and distinguished service to the United States. And if McCain feels that they deserve the nation's gratitude, might they not also deserve the nation's respect, support, the kind of rights that straight America takes for granted, and not to be thrown out like trash if their homosexuality should become known? From distinguished to dumped, valiant to vile in the twinkling of an eye--that's teh DADT way.

Gays have been in the army and navy going back to the American Revolution. They were in the Civil War during which gay icon Walt Whitman knew them, nursed them and wrote of them in his poems. They were in World Wars I and II -- it is well documented that the foundation of San Francisco's gay population was soldiers and sailors coming back to the US from the war in the Pacific and deciding not to go back to the Corn/Bible/Evangelical Belts after they'd had a taste of male comradeship and sex while in the armed forces. Where was the loss of cohesion in these wars? Where were the massive cases of homosexual rape of straight soldiers? OK, Senator Chambliss, they fraternized like hell, because that's what happens in combat; you need your comrades and they need you. Oh, and the dread body art was everywhere, but we STILL prevailed against powerful enemies as we fought a massive war on two fronts.

I think it's more than "simply" DADT. I think the conservatives have begun to realize that allowing gays to serve openly in the military would be the thin edge of a very big wedge. Once openly gay and lesbian veterans re-enter society they are going to demand, and will thoroughly deserve, the full rights and protections of the law, and won't put up with being denied housing because they're gay or put out of a job because they're lesbian. The U.S. has always had a sacred bond with its veterans; when those veterans begin to be openly gay men and women embraced by the Congress and the armed forces, I could imagine the rest of the specious anti-gay initiatives falling by the wayside very quickly.

As a gay expat thankful to live in another country, I believe the rights of men and women who put their lives on the line for all of us should be the first to be recognized, rewarded, honored and loved.
How can these people get away with making these statements, and be allowed to live in the country these service men and women protect? Much less be allowed to govern the country? I believe they make their statements to simply pay their mortgages, there is no other explanation. THEY should be afraid to walk down the street.

It is a shame.
As a Brit I find it astonishing that all men being equal in the land of the Free, only applies if you are white, het and a christian. The UK armed forces have a better image now than any time in the last 30 years.
Nick UK
Things always looks so bare when the Christmas decorations come down.

Funny story of the Starr and the squirrel though. I can just imagine the ruckus.

On your other topic, why would open gays in the military lead to alcohol use, adultery and worst off body art. I don't follow the logic. Blatant prejudice beliefs.
Spot on. The bit about body art would have been laughed down in the Commons here. I hope the guy's been made a laughing stock?
David, I haven't seen any evidence, but I try not to watch TV too much. I assume that our leading liberal political satirists (John Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Rachel Maddow) might have said something. Some of these guys are so irrelevant that they're ignored--people roll their eyes to the ceiling and move on.

As to your Commons, I always love the glimpses we sometimes get of the goings on in your Parliament. Now that we can get BBC world News in the evening, we get even more. I remember several years when two female MPs got into a squabble over something and one shot back at the other, "Oh Edith, you really ARE an ass." The male members just ate it up. Great stuff.
These politicians are disingenuous whores (and yes, that is an insult to whores everywhere). They will say anything to get votes and keep their power, so they pander to the fears and ignorance of all too many voters. Rather than having the courage and integrity it would take to stand up for what's right, they spout nonsensical blather. They're worse than the true bigots. The bigots are swaddled in their ignorance, while many of these people know better but support discrimination anyhow.

And am I the only one getting tired of hearing what a hero McCain was? Hasn't he cashed in those chips by now? Yes, he served, and yes, he got shot down, imprisoned and tortured. It's terrible that that happened to him, but it happened to many people who haven't spent decades milking it for their personal gain.
I wish they would come out as simply say "We just don't like gays and we don't want them, period. " and be done with that.
I bet they would still win.
Politicians? What about the Pope? I hear interesting stories from those who knew him those who knew him in younger days; only stories, of course..
I meaned 'those who know those who knew him', sorry.
I am sorry, but I think Sen. Saxby Chambliss (what a gay name!) may be right. I know in my experience, as a skilled cocksucker, that loving men makes me wanna drink, commit adultry, it really makes me wanna fraternize & I always get an
undeniable yen for body art.

BTW, my husband served for 6 years in the US Army during the Viet Nam era...& he is quite the fraternizer!
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