Oahu Edition

I got a message on my voice mail from my sister E. today. Actually, she sent it last night but I didn’t see it until this morning when I had no time to check it, and then I completely forgot about it until just a few hours ago.

E. is a public school teacher in Hawaii. She’s beginning her second year there, and will shortly be moving to a new apartment with two new roomates, one of whom is our cousin M. who recently graduated college and accepted a position at a school very close — honestly, for all I know they’ll be working at the same school — to where my sister works.

When my sister first moved to Hawaii she bought a cheap Hyundai from a Marine who was being transfered to the mainland. She’d wanted to ship her Toyota over, but that was, uh, expensive. Plus she was renting an entire place by herself — right on the beach — and the cost of living on Hawaii is fairly … expensive. And that makes sense, considering just about everything has to be imported to the island. Unless you’re willing to subsist on a diet of pineapples and sugar, and live in a Volcano vent, I mean, let’s face it, you’re going to be shelling out major green just to get by.

Anyway, my sister hated the Hyundai. Hated it. So she started talking about buying a new car, and we had a short discussion when she was over here a few weeks ago. She wanted a small Toyota SUV, maybe. See, she’d tried to buy a Volkswagen Jetta, but the incompotent and possibly thieving salespeople at the dealership didn’t have the proper paperwork for the car (the papers were still on the mainland), and they kept telling her, “Come back tomorrow…” and then eventually “Come back next week…” (I’m not entirely certain how accurate this account is as I heard it several different ways from several different folks) So my sister went to an employee of the school system for help — I think he’s a teacher, but on the side he works to help new employees from the mainland adjust to life on the islands. Anyway, he went in to the dealership, kicked some ass, and the Hyundai was returned, the paperwork voided out, and many apologies handed down.

So, the message I got went something like this, “Hey, I’m at the dealership now … I’m looking at a 2001 Jeep Wrangler …” she then started listing the specifications of it, but I have to admit, I sort of went into shock and my brain screamed NOT FAIR!!!!!

Actually, I was kind of excited, because she was calling me for advice and I rarely get to act in my Big Brother role.

Talking to her on the phone I learned she passed on the Jeep. The payments would be too high, and although her rent would decrease when she moved, she wanted to pay down her credit cards. “We know how our family is with them,” she pointed out. Smacked down by my own sister! The little … She also mentioned something Dad had told her, “You can’t buy a Jeep! Jeff’ll kill you!”

No I wouldn’t.

On the other hand, it would probably motivate me to go out and visit her on the island.

(E. has long talked about moving off of Hawaii – she doesn’t really like it – and moving to another state. She’s mentioned Oregon and Colorado in the past. Tonight she told me she might move back to Maryland at the end of next year, which means she might be his new coworker).

souter, delay, and boxers

The story of a private developer looking to use the recent Supreme Court ruling to take Justice Souter’s land away from him has raced across the blogosphere. Quite correctly, there’s a lot of anger about this court ruling, and its well deserved.

Right Thinking’s Lee writes,

I’d love to see it happen, but I’m not going to count on it. Though I can’t think of anything more appropriate, except to have his land stolen so that a Wal-Mart Supercenter could be built in its place.

But as satisfying as it is to read about the proposed siezing of Souter’s land, the demolishment of his house, there is another aspect to consider. Remember when Tom Delay, following the Schiavo ruling, threatened judges? Although the judges followed the law, he threatened violent retaliation against them, and was soundly criticized for it … including by me. Boston’s Carpundit quotes Randy Barnett: “Retaliating against a judge for the good faith exercise of his duty is. . .a bad idea.” Carpundit also opinions,

…retaliating against a judge for construing a law is an especially odious kind of retaliation. Much worse than a mere retaliation for an official’s action, it is an attack on one of the key underpinnings of our society of laws: judicial review, the rule of law itself. Is it mugging Scalia? No. But it isn’t less wrong.

There is something the government could do, of course. They could pass a law saying something like, “Private land can only be seized for a neccessary public good.” I.E., a school or a highway. Of course, Congress would rather pass a law about how you shouldn’t wear boxers colored like the American flag.

the religious rights' anti-civil rights agenda dealt a powerful blow

Yet another country legalized civil rights for all of its citizens.

Parliament legalized gay marriage Thursday, defying conservatives and clergy who opposed making traditionally Roman Catholic Spain the third country to allow same-sex unions nationwide. Jubilant gay activists blew kisses to lawmakers after the vote.

The measure passed the 350-seat Congress of Deputies by a vote of 187-147. The bill, part of the ruling Socialists’ aggressive agenda for social reform, also lets gay couples adopt children and inherit each others’ property.

The bill is now law. The Senate, where conservatives hold the largest number of seats, rejected the bill last week. But it is an advisory body and final say on legislation rests with the Congress of Deputies.

Opposition conservatives said they will consider challenging the law before Spain’s highest tribunal, the Constitutional Court.

The Spanish Bishops Conference criticized the new law and urged resistance to it. The group said the bill, along with another passed Wednesday making it easier for Spaniards to divorce, mean that “marriage, understood as the union of a man and a woman, is no longer provided for in our laws.”

It is necessary to oppose these unfair laws through all legitimate means,” the bishops said, apparently alluding to a previous call for town hall officials who oppose gay marriage to refuse to preside at such ceremonies.

After the final tally was announced, gay and lesbian activists watching from the spectator section of the ornate chamber cried, cheered, hugged, waved to lawmakers and blew them kisses.

Several members of the conservative opposition Popular Party, which was vehemently opposed to the bill, shouted: “This is a disgrace.” Those in favor stood and clapped.

The Netherlands and Belgium are the only other two countries that allow gay marriage nationwide. Canada’s House of Commons passed legislation Tuesday that would legalize gay marriage; its Senate is expected to pass the bill into law by the end of July.

“We were not the first, but I am sure we will not be the last. After us will come many other countries, driven, ladies and gentlemen, by two unstoppable forces: freedom and equality,” he told the chamber.

I think the bishop who is quoted above — I bolded the line — needs to rexamine what “unfair” means. Isn’t it unfair to refuse to recognize a person’s basic human rights because of their sexual orientation? I think it is.

And in a day and age where the Texas governor says “to hell with non-straight citizens of my state!”, it’s refreshing to see an entire nation say, “Hey, this is your country, too.”

Andrew Sullivan has a related post — and is particularly damming of the Religious Rights’ anti-civil rights agenda,

In a while, many married Canadians or Spanish or Dutch or Brits may want to work or immigrate in the U.S. or have employers or universities over here eager for their skills and ability. But the immigration services won’t recognize their spouses. Are we soon to have a policy of family break-up in immigration policy? Or a de facto policy of refusing to let foreign gay couples immigrate? Or indeed married couples where one is, say, Spanish and one American, and only the American can live in the U.S.? The reputation of this country as a place of non-discrimination, already tarred by formal discrimination against foreigners with HIV, will inevitably suffer.

the heterosexual life partners

It never really seemed possible that it would happen. Yeah, there was talk — “No, really, we’re both moving”, but it was sort of like “Oh, someday Texas will fall into hell“, you just never expect it to actually happen, and when it does you’re left with this sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach that you wish you’d gotten to know them better before the split, before the death, because now there’s nothing you can do — nothing at all, it’s over, all over, and nothing will ever be the same again.

Que sera, sera?

So, with the same fondness that is extended to other more-than-heterosexual-but-less-than-homosexual life partners, like these folks;

batman+robin.jpgkirkspock.jpgjay-as-bob.jpg

… I would like to extend my best wishes to Baltimore’s own David Brent and Chris Finch, Anonymous Coworker and KMart. You two are, to my mind, as inseperable as Boh and Natty.

… in a more somber note,

And since today marks the departure of several folks from the blogging scene — some for a short while, some for much longer — farewell to DaBrettman, Latter Chronicles of the Early Years and Sweetney. I think I can understand some of the frustration bloggers are feeling, particularly as a community of Baltimore Bloggers begins to form and relationships develop between bloggers which force said bloggers to censor themselves for fear of hurting others. This can especially be problematic for those who turned to blogging as a way to vent without hurting their friends and family — as they make new friends (and possible new family) through blogging — aren’t they defeating their purpose for blogging? Fool has a nice post about some of the frustrations I think most of us have experienced at some point since becoming a part of this community. This bit, I think, sums it up:

When I started A Fool’s Fate it was my intention to remain anonymous… at least on the internet. I choose to attend my first Blogger Happy Hour because I did not feel as though it would effect my anonymity. I didn’t know the people and having a beer with them every now and then wasn’t going to influence what I wrote about. However, things aren’t always as simple as you hope. There are people I once described as “bloggers” that I now describe as “friends.” To add wood to the fire, I am currently rooming with one blogger and I am in love with another.

So…as you can imagine… there are eggshells to mind when creating posts. When I can’t express the little frustrations and doubts that pop up in the course of every day life and all its massive bullshit then I end up writing about the very few other things that consume me like… oh… say… work. Then I start repeating myself. Then I start babbling. Then it becomes bad for all of us.

I have no one to blame but myself. But why should I blame myself? Great things have come out of this blog and the fact that I forfeited my anonymity to meet other bloggers. If I had it to do all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.

At a happy hour a few months ago, Seadragon asked me why I started blogging, and I told her the truth – I wanted to make money, and had dreams of running a popular political blog that I could sell ad-space on and become rich and famous. Clearly, that didn’t pan out. Instead, my social life has recovered from its previous existence of “DOA” and I’ve made many new friends. In other words, I’ve gotten far more out of blogging than I ever could have imagined possible.

I’ve never been an out going person. I’m shy and reclusive by nature. I’d generally rather stay home and watch TBS then go out and try to meet people. I credit the now-deceased Crablogs with helping to meet people who helped pull me out of my shell and maybe it’s just odd – being a mostly positive experience for me – that for other people it becomes seemingly the opposite.

To those who are leaving this digital community, I hope you find what you’re looking for, and I don’t think I’d be alone in saying that you’ll be missed.

UPDATE:

Perhaps influenced by Debrettman’s departure and Sweetney’s break-taking, I apparently misinterpreted this post by Green Eyed Pagan. I feel this was an honest mistake to make — the post is quite clear that GEP feels that her real personality isn’t coming across, and lists her frustrations with the Baltimore blog “scene.” In particular, the sentence “if I continue beyond this…” really seemed to indicate that her blog was, for all intents and purposes, done, particularly when coupled with the rest of the post. I had no intention to start or spread a false rumor, I came to an erroneous conclusion and offer my apology.

Anjie and Babs

There are a few deliveries that I still remember, even years later, as if they happened yesterday. They are a small number compared to the total amount of deliveries I’ve been on. Tonight, I had one I think I’ll remember for awhile.

“Oh, it’s you again!” is how I was greeted at the front door of a what was probably not-quite a million dollar house in Baltimore County tonight. This was actually a little strange, because I don’t remember ever delivering to this place before, but the person saying it looked familiar (maybe I delivered to him at another address? This was a little spooky, because he clearly knew me).

I was up on his porch in between the big gushes of rain. It was just drizzling, I rapped on the door with the knocker, then looked through the window to see if anyone was coming. From what I could see, quite a bit of money had gone into the interior decoration of the house — lots of brass and antiques.

And what looked like a portait of Anjelica Huston.

After being paid – and tipped* – I inquired, “I’m sorry but … is that a portait of Anjelica Huston?”

(I mean, it struck me as odd – who would have a portrait of Anjelica Huston in their home, and why?)

He handed the pizza to his partner, and led me into the den adjoining the entryway. He explained that it was indeed a portrait of Anjelica Huston, then showed me a red hat that Barbara Streisand had worn in some movie I’d never heard of. There were also a couple of busts of Barbara Streisand from other films she’d worked in.

I won’t remember him because he tipped well. I won’t remember him because he is a homosexual. I won’t even remember him because of the Anjelica Huston portrait. I’ll remember him because of how willing he was to show a complete stranger part of his eclectic collection which clearly meant a great deal to him. He showed an incredible amount of openness and trust to a total stranger … and that was really cool.