Monthly Archives: April 2008

golden arches

4/30/08

For those of you reading this blog sixteen years from now, these are the two stories currently swamping our culture:

1) Reverend Jeremiah Wright is causing all sorts of problems for the Obama campaign due to his media blitz, where, among other stupid things, he made disturbing eugenic-related comments about how blacks are different from whites.

2) Miley Cyrus, who tours as the TV character Hannah Montana, appeared “topless” in Vanity Fair magazine, causing a nation of tut-tutters to wring their hands in agony.

Yep, this is pretty much where America is right now. But the fascinating thing, to me, is how similar both stories are. Jeremiah Wright would be horrified to share an elevator with Miley Cyrus, let alone be compared to her, but their situations are exactly the same: BOTH of them forgot who they really are.

Or, better put, who they really aren’t: real people. Wright and Cyrus are brands, trademarked™ confections invented by vicious news cycles and their own aspirations, and they’re both trying to sell you something. Wright is trying to sell his skewed version of race, and Cyrus is trying to sell music downloads, toys, and advertising dollars. By incorporating the mainstream media to sell their goods, both have given up being real people, which is fine: when properly curated, they give their customers exactly what they want.

Ah, but on the same week, these two incredibly disparate Americans forgot they were merely brands. Jeremiah Wright fancied himself much more than an old inspiration to a current presidential candidate: he thought it was time to make his mark. Miley Cyrus believed she was going to “grow up” from her bubbly, sanitary TV creation, and strike a pose in VF that suggests statutory rape. How unbelievably stupid can you get?

Jeremiah Wright has turned himself from a mentor to a dangerous punchline, and if he’d possessed any self-awareness, he would see there’s a time and place for his divisive bullshit, and NOW WAS NOT IT. His brand was “crazy old uncle” who, many would have figured, would know his lifelong struggles would be immeasurably served by the election of an African American president, a man he is now sabotaging.

Miley Cyrus is a 15-year-old concoction, sprung from the achy-breaky loins of someone who seems too stupid to draw breath; a few phone calls, and she waltzed into the perfect tweener kids show. Her brand is to provide edge-free entertainment for kids with parents struggling to keep them off the hip-hop. She’s the place you turn when you need to be fourteen miles from the nearest swear word, and now? She got nekkid-ish in a big boy’s magazine.

Where is the scene in the back of the limo, where our protagonists Jeremiah and Miley are sat down, and told to cut this shit out, or it’s curtains? Where is the man with no eyes, mirror shades reflecting their faces, telling them they have to play ball? Culture loves a story about a person who bucks the system, but capitalism and the court of public opinion really reward those who truly know who they are not.

d’oh!

4/29/08

Oh, I had something trenchant to add, but then Tessa sent me a picture. Lucy thought Homer should watch how she takes a bath, so she gave him a spot on our toilet magazine rack, and…

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How can something be so sweet and so profane?

And can someone do a CODE WORD like “when was the last time you felt utterly objectified”?

spake like a child

4/27/08

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On Saturday near sunset, our infinitely beloved Salem and his stunning girlfriend Sturdivant got married in Gulf Stream, Florida in front of their adoring fans. Odd as it may seem, they asked me to officiate the wedding, so I promptly went to the Universal Life Church, got ordained (as the Right Reverend, thank you) and months later, brought the whole family to Florida to be of service to a couple of my favorite people in the world.

I think we pulled it off pretty well, judging from the emotion surrounding the ceremony – and also from Tessa, who said she loved my sermon. She never says something like that unless she means it, so I was quite proud to make the cut. I wish we had more pictures, but both our cameras died, leaving us with only a few right now.

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Salem’s little sister Katie, awesome as always

Sturdivant’s friends are a bevy of wonderfully intense women we would have all fallen for in college, and many of the wedding events felt like kickin’ it old school at Molly’s or Linda’s, back when that meant something. They provided more anecdotal (yet powerful) evidence that modern, single men in their mid-20s to mid-40s are unbelievable buffoons, but that’s for another entry.

Lucy had an incredible time, especially getting to hang with Salem’s six-yar-old daughter Lillie-Anne, although her crush on his son McColl was so pervasive that it made her non-functional at most events. I was proud of her at the rehearsal dinner – she got into the swimming pool with her dress on, which is PURE ROCK.

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I’ve been asked to post the benediction/service I gave Salem and Sturdivant, and I hope it doesn’t seem too self-indulgent, because I can’t tell you how honored I was to be in that position. So here you go, short and sweet, as best as I can remember it…

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… I find myself up here today in a completely bizarre, completely unexpected position. I’m standing next to Salem and Sturdivant, and neither of them are allowed to talk. If you know either of them, you’d realize how rare that is.

When they asked me to be the minister of their wedding, at first I was surprised, then extremely psyched, and then I wondered why nobody else had asked me to do it before. But it raised a question: what gives anyone the right to marry anybody? Certainly a man of the cloth has his faith, a justice of the peace has his title, but what does someone like me bring to the table?

And then I realized. I can do this because I’m in love. And fortunately, the person I’m in love with is also the person I married, which is a nice coincidence. So my benediction for you both is to offer two rules we use for what we all hope is going to be your fantastic marriage.

The first is self-evident: don’t go to bed mad. Stay up until 4am to fix the problem, no matter how tired you are.

The second is what we call the ripcord rule. It simply states that at any time in your relationship, if one of you is sinking, if one of you gets in an untenable position, or if one of you sinks so low in depression that you don’t know how you’re going to continue, you can always pull the ripcord on your parachute.

And when you ask for the ripcord, your partner agrees to shake the world up, no questions asked. To move across the country, to change jobs, to support you in a seismic shift of your circumstances. It’s the emergency valve to our souls.

Here’s the best thing: we have never had to use the ripcord, and the reason we haven’t, is because we both know that it exists.

As an agnostic, I can’t preach “faith and certainty” – my specialty is “doubt and ambivalence”. But the word ambivalence gets a bad rap. Ambivalence doesn’t mean “uh, I could take it or leave it” – it can mean feeling two diametrically opposite passions at the same time.

I urge you to embrace your ambivalence, and celebrate your doubt. To know that in marriage, deep love and unbelievable annoyance walk hand in hand. It’s okay to have fifteen different emotions about the same issue. That’s not called “being inconsistent,” that’s called “being alive.”

Every marriage is like a skyscraper built on a fault line. And in Los Angeles and Tokyo, where there are massive earthquakes, they’re able to build the tallest skyscrapers, and how? By making them infinitely flexible. With each huge quake, they simply sway in time to the undulating earth.

Be flexible with one another, appreciate each other’s fault lines, embrace your doubts, appreciate your ambivalence, and something odd might happen: you’ll probably stay together until you’re 104 years old.

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knowledge is good

4/23/08

This is Sean, Ian’s brother, writing.

This reminds me of the court scene in “Animal House” when Hoover has had it with the screaming idiocy behind him, he turns to the guys and says, “Can someone tell those assholes to shut up?” and Boon jumps up and, full voice, yells “HEY, SHUT UP YOU ASSHOLES…”

Yes, Animal House was required viewing in our home growing up.

Ian asked me to write the blog today because he thought he was liable to say something nasty. Which is kind of hilarious, if you think about it, since he’s managed to piss off a big group of people no matter what he writes. I can’t imagine him turning to me, the most impolitic person he knows, unless he’s just at the end of his rope.

Here’s the thing. Lindsay invokes the “Ian Rule” or whatever, but the fact is, the internet works like this. There’s a snapshot of a moment that gets relayed to someone’s blog, and that blog then gets pored over by hundreds of totally random people who pick over the thing like it’s the goddam Code of Hammurabi. They stumble on an inconsistency, they become sexually aroused and then they type in some horrible comment with their suddenly bespunked hands.

Ian, I’m guessing, has a hard time ignoring you blowhards. It’s easy for me, as soon as you start saying “you democrats” or “you liberals” and then use Ian’s words, (Ian, who is in no way a spokesman for ANYBODY, and this blog, whose words have the equivalent endurance of the hair you leave in your brush) you’re really easy to ignore. Also, it’s easy to ignore you if you’re a dick.

I’m guessing that most of the “code word” entries, and the reason that we never learn anything about his career or personal life, is because the constant screeching gotcha-birds are always hovering, ready to shit into Ian’s mouth the second his smile gets a little too wide. I don’t know, I could be wrong. I barely talk to him, we’re both raising children and writing shows and trying to sneak away from our wives to golf.

anywhoodle

A brief thought on the election.

I have a strict constructionalist view of the Constitution, I believe in the living document, and I also have a deep passion for the Declaration of Independence. So, it should be obvious that it would be hard to find a worse President for someone like me than President Bush. I understand that any new President would be better for America.

John McCain spoke out against torture, and he supports a smart immigration plan. I understand that his call for endless war is a real turn off to some of the people I know, but I see it slightly differently. I think he broadcasts strength and old-man crazy, but I don’t believe he would be irresponsible. His sabre-rattling is like Reagan’s. I like the crazy old fart, and I believe that his heart is in the right place. Sure, he hugged President Bush like a child clinging to his father, but, as the Obama decriers can’t seem to figure out, a man can’t be judged by some of his unfortunate friends.

Barack Obama is intelligent, liberal and honest. He has been a supporter of the second amendment, he has been unyielding in his support of a woman’s right to choose, and the level of respect he has for the simple American dream, the patience he has for opposing viewpoints, and the balance between policy nuance and inspired leadership is a paradigmatic shift in the way the political world works.

Hillary makes me so unhappy. She has a wicked handle on a series of facts, but she’s willing to bend interpretations to make anything say what she wants it to. She disregards caucus states, because they don’t represent the “real voters”, she disregards the Obama primary wins because there are either a lot of black voters, or are states that will be won by Republicans anyway… Today she’s claiming to have more votes total, although to get to that math you have to count a state where OBAMA WASN’T ON THE BALLOT… She claims that if Obama loses Indiana, it’s a sure sign that he can’t win the general election because it borders his home state, regardless of the fact that she’s lost two of the states that border hers.

We have had two presidencies filled with a man who ignores facts or comes to a conclusion that makes no sense given the facts. Do I think we’ll have another attack like we did on September 11? I don’t know, I don’t think so. But we will have another Katrina, another economic blowout, another four, five, six… a dozen horrible things we can’t imagine.

I just can’t feel okay voting for someone that doesn’t see information as fact. I don’t want someone using phrases like “bad intelligence” to explain horrible mistakes, and I don’t want someone reading what they want into the facts they are given. If Obama was this far behind, he would have dropped out.

If I can’t vote for Obama, I will vote for McCain. I at least trust that the un-forseen will be dealt with as it is with him as President. I don’t believe that Hillary will respond to what *is*, I believe she will try to tell us why the things that are happening are actually great for her and for us.

And, in case you’re wondering how I write so much content, I just write and don’t edit. And that’s because I have my opinions, they’re well informed and I’m super-smart.

wilkes is barren

4/22/08

Pennsylvania, you SUCK. You could have ended this thing last night, and instead, you proved yourself to be the goddamn rednecks you swore you weren’t. What tipped the balance for you – the Bin Laden scare ads, the shrill repetition of your bitter gun-clinging, or could you just not pull the lever for the black dude?

At this stage of the game, what could POSSIBLY draw you to Hillary Clinton, with the way she’s behaved?

I know this will get me kicked out of the Obama Love Circle, and it goes against everything his campaign is about, but CAN WE PLEASE PUT OLD PEOPLE AND RACISTS ON AN ICE FLOE AND KICK IT OUT TO SEA? This country isn’t theirs anymore, and they have nothing left to offer except offensive jokes and car farts. It’s time to move the fuck on. A more enlightened future is waiting, and they’re not invited.

keepin’ perspective

4/21/08

I’m dedicating today’s entry to one of my favorite Spazmoid All-Time Dork-Outs: namely, a lifetime odyssey of stitching pictures together badly. I’ve been working for the ultimate panorama shot since I was ten years old and living in London, scaling St. Paul’s Cathedral and trying to get a snapshot of the entire city at once. If I can find those pictures, I’ll post them, but they were taken with an Instamatic camera with 110 film, so it all looks a little like Niépce’s first photo ever taken.

As the years passed, I figured out how to hold the camera correctly, and then Photoshop created “photomerge”, quite possibly the most magical use of computer processing power since Zaxxon. While I did the massive autumn panorama of the farm by hand, now I’m able to create vistas like this one over the farm a few Decembers ago:

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click any of these pictures for bigger versions

It’s not always perfect – last night, during the full moon, I snapped some pictures of our porch from inside our darkened house, and it looks like something from a carnival ride:

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Either way, it’s a damn sight better than my panoramas of yore. Below, for your endless amusement and unfathomable boredom, I have an old bulletin board of photos that have yet to be Photoshop Photomerged™. Clockwise from top… the Carrboro farmhouse Annie, Greg and I lived in (1994); my bedroom at the Pink House (1997); my dorm room, 407 Grimes, which I inhabited with Jon and Chip (1987); the Carrboro farmhouse again in winter (1995); the Purple House in winter (1992); and the same spot in Audubon Park in New Orleans with different people from 1987 to 1997.

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blowing through the jasmine of my mind

4/20/08

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all right, all right, all right

I just watched “Dazed and Confused” again for the tenth time, and was struck again at how well Richard Linklater painted the tiny dots that created a portrait of American adolescent life in 1976. That movie was targeted for a particular swath of people roughly my age, and once you get past all the awesome dialogue (and the pants), you’re left with one of the few historical documents from that largely forgotten era.

I was nine years old in 1976 and my brothers Kent and Steve were graduating high school – making them the exact age as the main characters. When I watch this movie, I imagine Kent tooling around Cedar Rapids, IA in his orange VW Beetle playing Dr. John and Foghat, though I’m sure he’ll puncture my romanticism. Linklater’s Texas was a good bit more languid than Iowa anyway, given that Iowa winters last eight months, and the drug usage was probably more lonely.

Either way, I count myself among the last people that will ever know what the 1970s felt like – the barefoot, uncaring summers, the grisly images from Vietnam courtesy of Walter Cronkite, being stuck in enormous cars with no air conditioning, and most of all, the immeasurable freedom of being young and benignly forgotten. I remember my parents’ parties filled with red wine spilled on yellow shag carpet, and then seeing the depression set in the next day, a sadness that cried out for pills that were still ten years away (but in the meantime, a valium would do).

These are not things I experienced directly. But the overall sense, the timbre, the smell of the era? Absolutely. I’ll be among the last ones standing, to tell of this decade called “the seventies”, when so much seemed to happen, but then again, not really anything. We could point to how ugly the fashions were, but even those have been recycled and spit out again. When I was at Carolina, you could evoke laughter by parting your hair down the middle; now that look has come and gone twice. Do they even throw 1970s parties anymore?

“Dazed and Confused” also does an incredible job of showing the carefree happenstance of teenagers with nowhere to go, and all night to get there – something we carried with us all through college. Can any of you remember when you’d be late at a party, having a fascinating conversation on a porch, and you’d catch the pink and purple light of the sun rising? Sure, you’d have “things to do that day”, but not really. Do you remember what it was truly like to have absolutely no schedule, when you’d find yourself in Wrightsville Beach or New Orleans, with about fifteen bucks? Or just on a strange girl’s couch?

These are the things we gave up in order to have a real job, or to actually chase our passions, or to have kids. Perhaps we stopped for other reasons: fatigue, the inability to sleep on floors anymore, sobriety, or the epiphany that your fate was somehow slipping through your fingers. I was waxing romantic about it tonight when Tessa abruptly said “Oh honey. We stopped doing it because it was SO BORING.”

And she’s right. 49 times out of 50, those nights would be dreadful wastes of time, not meeting anyone, spending money on crap, getting more self-involved, not kissing the Jenny you liked, and running out of fucking gas. But that 50th night? I’ve had five or six of them, many of them with people reading this right now, and it almost made it all worth it.

The 1970s were a different era, and like our endless college nights of the 1990s, there’s no going back. There are too many helmet laws, drinking age requirements, cell phones and lawsuits to recreate anything similar. But one thing we have to remember: somehow, in a way that doesn’t erode our stomach lining, our kids will have to know the infinite horizon of nights where we don’t know where they are, where they don’t know where they are, and the only touchstone is a faint violet sunrise to remind them the world still spins.

camel city singin’

4/17/08

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Lucy’s godmother, the one and only Annie, has today’s entry!

I’m truly honored to be invited to blog on my favorite blog, xtcian! Though I’m powerfully tempted to spend the whole time waxing rhapsodic about hooping, something tells me this might not be the ideal time or place, and anyway I have my own blog on tribe.net through which to exercise that peculiar inclination. If your curiosity about hooping simply CANNOT be contained, feel free to pop over to our brand-new website, which has turned out rather nicely, I must say.

Baxter and I are here in LA on a whirlwind California tour teaching hooping workshops (yes, it’s true), and witnessing Ian’s bond with Lucy reminds me of the bond I shared with my own dear dad, who died when I was 19. His death was unexpected and swift—he was an exceptionally healthy 50-year-old when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor that took his life within six months. I had absolutely no way of coping with the enormity of this loss, so in large part I just didn’t, and consequently many years of my youth were vacuumed up in what was really an obsession with this loss.

Now that so many years have passed and I have been able to release my focus from being solely on my own pain, I find myself wishing so much that people just knew him, understood in some real way who he was. I’ve realized that the story of his disappearance from this earth was only a tiny fraction of his life, and that there is so much more about him that’s worth sharing with you, my friends in the xtcianosphere. So what I thought I would do today is to do my best to introduce you, as best I can, to one of the greatest people I have ever known—my dad, Jim Humphreys.

For sounds and visuals, the best way to envision him is to imagine John Edwards. Their resemblance, noted by our whole family, is uncanny–particularly their similarity of speech. When he died, my dad was only a couple of years younger than Edwards is now, and looked every bit as youthful and exuberant as the unfortunately doomed presidential candidate. Daddy was also a lawyer with political aspirations, albeit considerably more modest. He was active in the local Democratic Party and talked occasionally of running for mayor of Winston-Salem. Like Edwards, he grew up in small-town Southeastern North Carolina, and like Edwards he felt inordinate ambition from early in life to move beyond the parameters his hometown.

He spoke quickly, often in staccato flurries that suggested his thoughts nearly outrunning his ability to lasso them into words and sentences. In what I now recognize as an innate delight in language itself, he always took care to find just the right word, to say exactly what he meant. Having spent 3 years in Germany (he had compulsory military service after college because he had been a cadet at West Point, where he was teased mercilessly for his hillbilly accent), he was also fluent in German and spoke some French (but zero Spanish, to my great amusement). He read only histories and biographies, lacking the patience to follow the often winding paths of fiction, and would often read a thick hardback with one eye while watching TV (news, old movies, and “Rockford Files” being his programs of choice) with the other.

My parents had divorced, with admirable maturity and absence of drama, when I was 7, and we spent two nights a week at my dad’s house less than a mile away. He was an absolutely terrible cook but did his damnedest to make meals for me and my brother, despite our relentless heckling, eye-rolling, and jokes about his prowess in the kitchen and ridiculous yellow apron. His weekend Birkenstocks, coupled with khakis and a bright polo shirts, were also the object of affectionate derision (“Wow, Pop–what a combo!”) My dad bore our bad preteen jokes and even insulting comic drawings with an endless well of good cheer. He saved my brother’s superhero rendition of him in a cape and tights with a discernible potbelly and a huge, orating mouth, along with every artistic foray we made while at his place, the Land that Art Supplies Forgot. Magic marker menus on notebook paper and pencil tracings of Ziggy were carefully collated in Daddy’s photo album.

At home, his 1977 Gibson Hummingbird was always out of its case, ready to be played. He played and sang at least one song every day, and my brother (who, as you all know, eventually became a professional musician) and I (who still play & sing when I get the chance) learned hundreds of songs that way–traditional, bluegrass, folk, and “gonzo country”–the Texas style pioneered in the 70s by legends Jerry Jeff Walker, Waylon Jennings, and Willie Nelson. I know if he had believed in his own musical talent, which was real but limited, he would have loved to spend a few years knocking around coffeeshops as a gypsy songman, like his idol Jerry Jeff. But his small-town sense of convention and responsibility, as well as the strong desire for a family, took him down another path.

Even though it is so easy to exaggerate the attributes of the dead, so easy to render them as they appear in our memory–larger than life, rinsed of flaws and limitations, amplified to proportions that would be unrecognizable in life–I know that when I say my father was an extraordinary parent, I am not exaggerating. Nothing in life brought him more joy than my brother and me. He delighted in us whether we won or lost, whether we were behaving ourselves or being little whining pains in the ass. He both loved us unconditionally and genuinely *liked* us, as people. He believed in us and consistently demonstrated that, which gave us the gift of real confidence in ourselves. He listened to us, he was fair, he was interested in who we were and who we would become. He often mentioned how excited he was to become our friend when we were grown, to get to know us as adults. He would tease me, saying, “Maybe someday you’ll start calling me ‘Jim’–” to which I would scream “NO!!! I’m NEVER calling you anything but Daddy!!!”

Among my dad’s papers I found one of those local magazines (like “Triad, On Point” or “Winston-Salem Magazine”–mostly advertisements for local businesses) who they had interviewed my dad as one of “The Top 10 Eligible Bachelors of the Triad.” They printed the answers to a semi-personal questionnaire which all the “eligible bachelors” had filled out (my dad was never one to refuse good publicity) and I was struck by one question in particular: “What is your life’s greatest achievement?” All the other bachelors (many of them, like my dad, divorced with children) had cited business or professional achievements. One of them even talked about buying his first boat. My dad’s answer was: “Being father to two nice children.”

It goes without saying that my dad’s funeral was surreal. I had been largely oblivious to the symptoms (forgetfulness, exhaustion) preceding his diagnosis with an advanced and inoperable brain tumor, which happened two weeks before I left home for my first year of college. One day my dad was up and about, his normal self; the next day he sat me down and told me that no matter what was wrong with his brain or what happened to him, I was to continue my life as planned, no interruptions; the next day he was disoriented, flat on his back in the hospital, head shaved from the biopsy, voice weak, unable to find words. We never again had a real conversation. As he had directed, I left for college two weeks later, as planned. I returned for 3 visits before he died in February–two weekends and the winter holiday. Nothing about it was in any way real to me when I received the phone call that he was gone.

My dad had several close friendships and knew thousands of people, and thousands showed up at his funeral. In my shock I experienced this outpouring of love and respect as through a convex lens–large faces waving in front of me, one after the other, moving, distorted, speaking words. Thankfully, some words made it through my glassed-in state and offered me another chapter of what my dad had to teach me in this world. Face after face that I did not recognize came up to me after the funeral, saying, “Your dad really helped me once…” “I wanted to go back to school and your dad lent me some money…” “I can’t tell you how much your dad helped me when I was having a hard time a few years ago…” I was astonished that none of these people was familiar to me. I didn’t know any of their names or how my dad knew them. Most of them I would never see again–my mom moved away from Winston-Salem before I graduated from college, so I hardly spent any time there again. But they gave me the gift of letting me know who my father had been, in at least one respect, outside the world of my perception. They realized that I might never have known something important about who he had been. I am so grateful for that.

This was one easy example of a way my father has been able to guide my life toward Light, toward being a better person than I might have been, even though now he has been absent from my life as long as he was in it. It’s an amazing thing, to realize that I can still learn from his example, or at least try to. But I’ve had to turn away from the temptation to wallow in this loss, to refuse to grow out of anger that things did not turn out the way they should have.

Of course, my father should have lived, should have been able to delight in witnessing the growth and change in our lives as well as take more time for himself, for answering his own unanswered questions as he got older. I often wish that he could have gotten to know the many wonderful friends in my life–there are so few left who really remember him. But I thought I’d take some time today and let you get to know him a little, not just because he was my dad, but because he really was a great guy, and you would have liked him.

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stop draggin’ my, stop draggin’ my

4/15/08

I guess I’m sexist, sure, in the way that we’re all racist, we’re all shape-ist, and we all make certain assumptions about people who go to Duke. There are a few things that are inescapable, just from having grown up in the ’70s and ’80s and being laden with knee-jerk assumptions left over from other decades. When any of you heard that Eve Carson had been murdered in Chapel Hill, what was your immediate image of her attacker? These ugly habits die very, very hard.

And so we fight against these feelings, right? Some might even veer into overcorrection, and that’s fine too, as it’s failure in the right direction. As for me, I grew up with an incredible respect for women (from my grandmother to my mother, and so on) yet was afflicted with the gene that made me a Chaser of Skirt. And the time came when I had to rectify the two things, and though I’m now married to one of the more powerfully awesome women on the planet, it’s still a work in progress.

But here’s where I draw the line. I am sick and fucking tired of being told my antipathy for Hillary Clinton is sexist. I have read it from magazines I usually love and from writers I usually respect. I’ve heard it in conversations involving the few people left who still support her. It all comes down to the same flogged horse: men like me who can’t stand Hillary just don’t realize just how sexist we really are – we’re so subconsciously chauvinist that we need to be told, again and again, until we lose that “faraway” and “scary” look in our eyes when we think of Obama.

I admit it, having actually done the moral inventory required for true self-knowledge, fully 3% of my contempt for Clinton is based in a buried desire, deep in my amygdala, to bash uppity women with a wooly mammoth femur. But the other 97%? IT’S BECAUSE SHE’S ACTING LIKE A TOTAL FRICKIN’ TOOL!

I’m not going to post links, because this shit’s so easy to find, but this is a person who has cozied up with right-wing media moguls, hemmed and hawed when asked if Obama was Muslim, told half the electorate their states don’t matter, announced that the Republican candidate was better on national defense than the guy in her own party, had the audacity to say Obama was en elitist when she and her husband earned $109 million over the last decade, and is admittedly staying in a race she’s already lost to subvert the will of the people.

In the meantime, McCain’s positives are (temporarily) going up, any meaningful dialogue about the future of this country is being shredded by shenanigans and gossip, and yes, PEOPLE LIKE ME ARE GETTING PISSED OFF ABOUT IT. So anyone out there calling us on our purported sexism: grow the fuck up, and take responsibility for the way your candidate is behaving. Sure, this will all seem like Much Ado when Obama wraps up the nomination, but in the meantime we’ve got Oscar Wilde’s nightmare: the tension is unbearable, and I hope it ends.

scottland yard

4/14/08

And now, our co-champion from the pool, Scott Burkett, has his blog forthwith!

***

First of all, congratulations to Emma who cleaned my (and everyone else’s) clock for most of the tournament. She excelled throughout the whole bracket and I was saved by a lucky (or unlucky) last pick. But here goes anyway . . .

So, here I am trying to be a guest blogger on a site that I truly enjoy while dealing with a case of guilt like I’m going to Mass on the way home from buying birth control at the local pharmacy. I truly hate the fact that I’m writing this at all – I’d have much preferred reading the guest blog of a jubilant Tar Heel that picked us to win and was now reliving their rapturous weekend in San Antonio.

Unfortunately, my father was all but a professional poker player (and not averse to placing a few sports bets either) and he always – always! – stressed that you love with your heart and you bet with your head. Sadly, I’ve thought that Kansas was the best team in the country all year. Good guards, a great 3 in Rush and 4 bigs that all play hard and have skills. Sure, we could have won if we played really well, but we didn’t and that’s that. I won’t forget, however, how many games we gutted out this year or how many times I told everyone that I knew that I loved this team and how hard they played.

So, enough of that. I thought that I’d like to take just a minute of everyone’s time to explain why I got hooked on reading Ian’s blog in the first place. I remember those days in ’89 and ’90 when you had to get up early or know someone who did to get a DTH on Wednesday mornings. Between the crossword, Calvin and Hobbes and Wednesday’s Child, if you didn’t have a DTH by 9:30 you didn’t have a shot of seeing one.

As much as I liked those columns, though, the main reason that I read the blog and kept on reading was that I happened to catch one of Ian’s letters to Lucy within the first few days of visiting. I remember reading it and sitting stock still in my chair for a couple of minutes and then going back and reading it again. It felt like I wrote that piece about my own child, though I doubt I could have done it with half the skill that Ian did.

I’ve felt that way a million times about my own children. I’m stunned and humbled seeing the pure goodness that radiates from these small things that sprang from my wife’s body and introduced me to the person that I’m supposed to be. It’s like someone pressure washed all of the dreck from a few pieces of my personality, put them together with many more pieces of my wife’s personality and then repackaged it into a living reminder of that there are good things in the world – even if my daughter did spend the better part of a month trying to convince me that Daddies really should wear panties since girls don’t like underwear (I think I’m going to need about a year of therapy to fully parse that one long conversation with a 4 year old).

Ian – Thanks for reminding me that the written word is a powerful thing and the written words of people that love you are gems beyond price. My children will have a few simple words from their father every few months to remind them that they have been loved and treasured their entire lives.

I hope I can join in some of the conversations that happen around here now that I’ve gotten over my temporary case of lurking and I hope that I can participate in next year’s pool. I promise I’ll pick the Heels if I think that they are the best team and if I don’t pick them I promise that I’ll be pulling for them and hoping to read a guest blog from one of you guys on the Tuesday after a great weekend in Detroit.

Cheers,

–Big Scott

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in June, Caroline will turn six, and Wyatt will be two