my brother is participating in his first real fencing tournament today! everyone wish him luck!
if he wins it's because of all the training we did fighting with those little cocktail cherry swords from our shirley temples.
on friday, about an hour before i left the office, i got an IM suggesting that maryland had legalized gay marriage. my first instinct was complete disbelief, of course. but when i google-newsed it, i found that it was kinda sorta right.
a maryland judge did in fact find, rightly, that a 33-year-old law defining marriage to be "between an man and a woman" was discriminatory beyond any legitimate state interest, and therefore unconstitutional.
halfway through the first report, i was ready to call r. and have her come with me to wherever we would need to go to get a marriage license - time is of the essence! a reversal could come any minute! but this judge - apparently believing her finding to be correct but not quite having the guts to stand by it fully - stayed the decision until a higher court could rule on the inevitable appeal.
so we can't get the champagne bottles out yet. nothing but a quick reversal is going to stop this from becoming an election-year issue, and a contitutional amendment has been on the table since well before this decision. we had been hoping it would die a quiet death in committee, but it seems that will not be the case. i hope that we could defeat an amendment, but my hope is faint. people are horrible about this issue. my pessimistic view is that all this decision will do is mobilize the forces of idiocy in this state to a) put a righteous beatin' on moderate democrats this election year and b) pass a mean-spirited, intolerant constitutional amendment codifying the state's admiration for the magickal magickalness of the penis-vagina pairing.
during the googling of this development, i saw a news release from the christian newswire. curious as to how they were going to attack this,i followed the link and found a statement from one Rev. Schenck calling the ruling absurd and saying that she had overstepped the bounds of her office (what, by issuing a decision on the constitutionality of a law that had been challenged? i'm confused...) and calling for her impeachment.
included in this news release, to my extreme surprise, was Rev. Bob's phone number. there was contact information for two people - some other person, and the actual guy who was quoted... not just an office number, but his *cell phone number*.
um. so. i called him. i saw the phone number and i stared at it for a bit and then i put it into my phone and then i thought about for a few more minutes and then i hit send and i called him.
he didn't anwer, but i did get his voicemail. i hung up without saying anything, my hands shaking and my cheeks flushed with the ballsy-ness of what i had almost done. then i was like, oh i have to at least leave him a message. so i called back.
and he answered.
he said, "hello, this is Rob Schenck" and i said "hello, Rev. Schenck?" and he said "yes?" and i said "my name is karen and i just wanted to tell you that it's your statement that's absurd, not the judge's ruling."
it all came out very fast because i was certain that he was going to yell at me or hang up or both. but to my further astonishment, he said "Oh really? Well thank you! Thank you for calling!" and then he laughed and then i laughed.
he then launched into an explanation of why he said what he'd said in that release. despite the strong wording of the news release, he was quite civil and actually pretty nice. i countered his arguments with my own, my debating skills on this issue sharpened by years of pratice on conservative blogs' comment boards. we ended up talking for about 45 minutes, and we found a lot of common ground, with only a few key points where we disagreed.
i emphasized my unitarian universalism, and that my church will bless our union, and that i didn't want his church to bless it. i explained that we already have a marriage (glossing over the point that we technically don't yet, since we are conflicted about what to do about a ceremony for many reasons, an issue which has only been complicated by the possibility of legalized marriage in maryland) but that the government was simply not recognizing it. he said, "i'm sorry to be vulgar, but does your partner have a penis?" marriage, to him, hinges on the union of male-female. i told him that my parents' marriage was a wonderful model for me not because of their naughty bits, but because of the love and support and the model of a healthy relationship and healthy discussions and arguments that they provided. he disagrees, saying that men and women are fundamentally different, so the joining of masculine-feminine is a fundamental part of marriage (i'll give you the first part, but I don't think the second really follows). he takes a sort of mystical view of gender, explaining that even in the marriage of a friend of his, in which the husband played the "mr. mom" role, there was something that still made him the husband and her the wife. i told him that i understood where he was coming from, and that certainly his views were valid (and perhaps part of being a heterosexual) but that it did not justify discriminatory laws such as the one that was just overturned. he disagrees, of course, not able to see beyond his personal definition of marriage - he can't think of the union of two women as a marriage, so it's not discriminatory, in his view, to prevent them from getting married.
we discussed the moral issues. for one, he says that it's not a matter of religious intolerance. he says that while we would never put "jesus is the messiah" into the constitution, it's ok to codify the religious mores against homosexuality because our law and society is built on a basic judeo-christian foundation. i argued that while indeed it is, i would hardly consider an obscure old-testament law and paul's letters to specific groups of his contemporaries to be part of the fundamental judeo-christian ethic. for another thing, he says that if we allow gay marriage, then what makes a father-son marriage wrong? if it's not the bible that tells us what sex is ok, then how do we keep the laws on the books that outlaw consanguineous unions? unions of more than two people?
i grudgingly admitted that in fact, despite my own aversion to the thought, if issues of abuse or of genetic issues are not a factor, it is in fact not any of my damn business. i then said, "this is why government needs to get out of marriage altogether", and i told him about the french system that laura explained here. and i said that however, i don't think that can, will, or should happen here, but that it is the obvious solution. having a conservative soul, though, i don't really want to revolutionize marriage, just to participate. i also said i'm not sure why the question of intra-familial marriages is a factor here. with heterosexual marriage legal, what keeps mothers from marrying their sons? that same mechanism should keep fathers from marrying sons, too, if marriage rights were extended to gays. same with marriages of more than two parties. bigamy laws will be the same. why is this a factor?
in the end, of course, we agreed to disagree. he thanked me for calling, and said that he was glad to have the opportunity to discuss the issues without the rancor that is normally present when the two sides of this issue face each other. he also said a little prayer at the end of the phone call thanking god for our coversation. i was just shocked that i'd actually called the dude. this man is the president of the the national clergy council, and apparently does a lot of anti-choice work, and i talked to him for 45 minutes and maybe, just maybe, affected his views on gay marriage just a little bit.
ALMOST FREE CRUISE
you know how one of the perks of travelling constantly for work is supposed to be the points and miles you get? the free vacations? except you don't actually feel like going anywhere, ever?
i finally feel like going somewhere! and somewhere is a 7-day cruise. r. and i will be going on a cruise in march, to the southern carribean. we'll be flying to san juan, puerto rico, and then going to st. thomas, barbados, dominica, and aruba. the idea behind the cruise was "oh, we won't have to pay for food and stuff, so it will be cheaper" - we're rich in [hotel chain] points, not actual money. but then i realized all the port fees and such we still have to pay for. so, whatever, we're still going on a cruise.
ACTUALLY FREE PANDA CUB TICKETS
the panda cub e-tickets are available again, and i've got two for r. and i on a friday that she has off! hooray! it's only for ten minutes and it's not guaranteed we'll actually get to see him, but i'm very excited. he's one cute litte panda.
i'm not in seattle anymore, i'm in ft. lauderdale. they're all like, "wah, it's cold" because it got down to 40. but now they're relieved because it's back up to lows-in-the-60's. my coat hasn't been worn in days!
1. red food coloring spills look very much like big bloody knife accidents. it is not a good idea to yell "shit!" loudly after spilling a 1 ounce bottle all over the kitchen, because your significant other might come running and think you've cut off your thumb, which would be impressive, since you are baking and not actually using any knives. (this did not happen, but it could have. it did not happen because r. is used to such exclamations from the kitchen, such as when my quiche was exploding.)
2. red food coloring stains linoleum. and counter tops. and sports bras. and skin.
2. when at a happy hour with your significant other's coworkers, it is not a good idea to say "i could make that" in reference to a somewhat original cake described on the dessert menu. they will then say, "ok, make it! and send it in to work with R.!" and then proceed to devour it and demand more cake, preferably on a monthly basis.
3. when crushing starlight mints, a hammer works better than a rolling pin. do this outside. put a shirt on first.
4. if you think you need to, say, double the icing recipe since your cake is three layers instead of two, think again. there is such a thing as too much icing.
5. when leveling the tops of cake layers, save the crumbs. you can then taste your cake without cutting into it by taking the different cake flavors and a dollop of icing and putting them all in your mouth at the same time. yummm.
the cake in question, by the way: one layer of white cake between two layers of red velvet cake, with peppermint flavored buttercream/cream cheese icing (it was supposed to be just buttercream, but i only had enough butter for the recipe as written, and i thought i needed to double it. ha!) and topped with a sprinkling of crushed starlight mints.
stolen from inspired by clydes in georgetown.
ok, not really tragedy. but it seemed like it at the time. this is kind of a stupid story, but i haven't been able to produce any blog posts that are worth anything lately, and i always end up deleting half-written pieces of crap. i just haven't been feeling it lately. so here you go: a stupid story.
so sunday night was the start of the 2-night, 4-hour premiere of 24. i am addicted to that show and had been looking forward to it very much. when it started, however, i was too busy
flinging red food coloring and peppermint extract around the kitchen baking to pay attention to the clock. at 8:10, r. came into the kitchen and said, "isn't your show on now?" i was very upset that i had missed the first 10 minutes. i ran and turned on the tv, only to see that the football game had run over and 24 was starting in 10 seconds (there was even a little countdown on the screen!)
much relieved, i hit 'record'. i still had two layers of the cake in the oven, and i also had to make enough icing to cover
the polar ice caps a three-layer peppermint cake. so i was using this new-fangled "dvr" contraption i have to save it for when i finished baking.
about an hour later i finally came out to watch the show. i rewound to the beginning and started watching, fast-forwarding through all the commercials. meanwhile the rest of the show was still recording. halfway through, the recording finished and it started showing my present location in time in terms of the total length of the show instead of the actual time. as the end of the show approached i noticed that the length of time remaining in the recording didn't really match the length of time remaining in the show, which is constantly reminding you what time it is. then i realized - it hadn't recorded the last 10 minutes of the show!
the sad thing is, if i'd hit "pause" instead, i might have been ok. (not sure, because i don't know if it would stay paused and recording for 2 whole hours.)
THINGS THAT ARE NOT FUN
1. fighting off food poisoning in a hotel room all by yourself
IN OTHER NEWS
pat robertson is an idiot. sharon's stroke, apparently, is the work of an angry god. just like anything that might happen to dover, pa. no mention of what texas did to piss the old guy off, though. i mean, what, you think those grass fires just happened for no reason? and those miners... i wonder what nefarious deeds they were up to in there, to invoke god's wrath like that. apparently anything that happens to people who are in line with his agenda is tragic, but natural. anything that happens to people who aren't, is divine retribution. gee, isn't that convenient.
I KNOW, I KNOW
this is a totally lame post to break that silence. i promise something better later, when my eyes aren't surrounded by burst blood vessels because of the violence with which my stomach has been rejecting any attempts at nourishment or hydration.