Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Storm Clouds

I Hope I'm Wrong...

...but I don't think it will turn out that way. In the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, I predicted a wave of triumphant persecution of people and institutions who choose to adhere to the traditional definition of marriage, despite the court's ruling. After all, the proponents of the ruling have been using #LoveWins as their mantra ever since the decision was handed down. That must mean "hate" lost, right? And what do we do with "haters" in this country? Why, we hate them, of course!

The legal persecution of such "haters" has been making headlines in states which had already legalized same-sex marriages. In case after case, dissenters were told that they were required to participate in such ceremonies or else risk ruinous fines and other legal punishments, as well as virulent public opprobrium. What reason do we have to think that this "sore winner" mindset will be mitigated by Obergefell? None that I can see.

It has already been suggested that Obergefell presents an opportunity to revoke tax-exempt status for religious institutions. How long do you suppose it will be before a parish priest, or pastor, or rabbi declines to perform a same-sex ceremony and winds up in court over the matter? And since losing their tax-exempt status would mean the end of most churches and synagogues, the folks celebrating Obergefell as a triumph of love over hatred will hardly be able to resist using that hammer to punish all who oppose same-sex unions.

As someone who advocated for years for same-sex civil marriages to be legalized, I am profoundly apprehensive about the attitudes being expressed by those who support the court's reasoning in Obergefell.

"You know that no matter what happens, no one of either sex wants to marry YOU, right?"
I am well aware of that fact, yes...

21 Months

At midnight tonight, I will have completed my 21st consecutive month without smoking a cigarette. I began smoking in 1977, just a few months after the death of my first wife. With just a couple of short episodes where I was able to quit,
I smoked for the the next 36 years. I'm convinced that I was actually self-medicating for depression, and possibly even trying to commit slow-motion suicide out of grief over her death.

I am forever grateful for the arrival of electronic cigarettes. I might not have been able to quit successfully without the help of my Blu...

One of the things that attracted me to this particular company was that it produced cartridges that contained no nicotine whatsoever. It still irritates me that a lot of opponents of these products aren't even aware that nicotine-free options are quite popular with smokers trying to quit.

In fact, the amount of nonsense being spouted in public about electronic cigarettes is staggering. Some people just can't resist the opportunity to display their ignorance, I suppose. I often fantasize about being able to humiliate these nitwits in a public debate on the matter, but of course they're not interested in debating the issue. They know what they know, and that's that. In rhetoric, it's known as the Invincible Ignorance Fallacy.

In any event, if anyone who matters to you is a smoker, please encourage them to give the electronic options a try. Highly recommended.

Smart-Aleck Hall of Fame

Bugs Bunny was by far my favorite cartoon character when I was a kid. It wasn't even close.

I loved Bugs's flippant attitude, especially toward bullies and bossy authority figures. I also admired his ability to extricate himself from the various jams his smart-alecky attitude got him into.

My favorites among the classic Bugs cartoons are the ones that show his sentimental side. Bugs was always a sucker for someone in need, and I always loved that about him. That might be as big a part of my personality as my penchant for drollery and wordplay, actually.

Here's an example of sentimental Bugs...

*sniff* "The little penguin's tears...*sniff*...turned into ice cubes..." *sniff*
I know, old friend, I know...it gets me, too...every time...

My First Car

By the time I started college in the fall of 1971, I had already had my first real job (more on that some other time) for a few months, and I had been saving up almost all of the money I earned to go toward buying a car. Once I had to juggle both the job and traveling to my classes every day, it was no longer practical to borrow one of my parents' vehicles, so my dad contributed some funds to combine with my savings, and I was able to afford my first car:

1965 Plymouth Sport Fury
My car was a couple of steps up from the boring base model Fury. It had bucket seats (vinyl, in those days) and a center console for the shifter, which was rather unusual back then. It also had a 383 four-barrel V8 engine, which meant it was really fast. I think that was my dad's favorite part (he always loved powerful cars, especially Chrysler products).

I was the envy of many of my friends for quite awhile, but in the spring of 1972 my car was stolen. The case was never solved, and I never saw my car again. There were whispers that a relative may have been involved in the theft, but no one ever came out and accused anybody.

I wouldn't own another car of my own until I got married, in the summer of 1974...

Until Next Time...

When the progressive rock band Yes released Fragile, its fourth studio album, just after the new year began in 1972, I was about to begin the second semester of my freshman year in college. Quite honestly, nothing on Yes's first three records had particularly interested me as a rock music fan. It wasn't that I didn't care for so-called "progressive rock" at all, of course. I was a big fan of Jethro Tull, and I also liked Pink Floyd, The Moody Blues, King Crimson, and Emerson, Lake, & Palmer. I just didn't dig Yes.

Fragile changed my perception of the band, and I wasn't alone. It became one of just a handful of legendary recordings from its time period. For awhile, there, it seemed like the "radio edit" of "Roundabout" was getting played three or four times every hour on the rock radio stations in Kansas City. Fragile is what made Yes a part of the soundtrack of my college years. The band lineup on Fragile (Anderson, Squire, Bruford, Howe, and Wakeman) came to be appreciated as one of the stellar collections of musicians in any band of the era.

I was put in mind of all of this when I learned early Sunday that founding member Chris Squire had died from leukemia the night before. He was 67, just five years my senior. As often happens when musicians, actors, and other public figures who were prominent during my high school and college years pass away, it is especially troublesome the closer their age is to my own. I don't really need any more reminders of my own mortality than my body gives me on a daily basis...

Today's send-off is arguably the band's best-known song, and it certainly showcases Squire's talent as a bass-player. Requiescat in pace, Chris...

No comments:

Post a Comment