Tuesday, September 30, 2008

California Prop 8

I believe in hope and love and all sorts of inappropriate hippie emotions. Whatever. This is part of why I'm voting no on California proposition 8. Prop 8 adds an amendment to the California constitution that states "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." Essentially, it eliminates same-sex marriage. It eliminates love. It eliminates hope.

As an issue of equality, how could you vote for this amendment? This is another civil rights barrier, and one we should have hurdled a long time ago. While some of it does stem from certain (misguided) religious convictions, some does stem from a segment of society not wanting "the other" to be "like us." That's simply not a good excuse. Keep your bigotry to yourself. Keep it in the home. Publicly airing your hatred doesn't do anyone any good. It's selfish.

Does the ability of same-sex couples to marry hurt anyone? No. If anything, it contributes to our state's economy. What do married couples do? They honeymoon, they buy houses, they fill those houses. They do, guess what, just what everyone else do. They contribute to society. THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SAME-SEX COUPLE AND A HETEROSEXUAL COUPLE. We are all human beings, and we all deserve the right to happiness.

Now, how about some knee-jerk reaction? "Does everyone having the right to happiness mean that psychos can shoot whomever they want if it makes them happy?" "Does this mean people can marry goats?" "What if this tramples on my happiness at watching a socio-sexual group suffer?" Well, no. The world is not black-and-white. The world is made of shades of gray. We're talking about the happiness of mutual love between two people. How exactly does two men or two women getting married and making a commitment to each other equal murder or bestiality or torture or anything else that is patently wrong? Short answer: it doesn't.

That is why I'm voting no on prop 8. There's no research involved. There's no hidden agenda. It's simple: you're either for equal rights or you're not.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Me Versus The Kern County Fair, Part Two

I still hate the Kern County Fair. Maybe hate is too strong a word. I get "itchy" at the fair. It's hot, stinky, and weird. But I went again today so I could take Sebastian on some of the rides. He, of course, had a blast. He doesn't quite understand some of the safety issues yet, but he does know that the giant metal machines equal fun.

He really enjoyed the rides he got to go on, although I'm not sure if the rollercoaster was a favorite. He looked a little confused through that one. After a few hours of rides, he was pretty exhausted. I think the heat might have had something to do with that. I know it certainly drained my reserves.

One really sad moment, though. I was going to take him on the Ferris Wheel with me and the man at the ride refused to let him on, saying he was too small. I tried to tell him that I was going to ride with him, but he still refused, sending Sebastian away in tears. He was really upset and didn't understand why the man was being so mean. I didn't really understand either. It was a Ferris Wheel, not the Viper at Magic Mountain.

Also, my Dad almost got into a fight with some random guy while Sebastian and I were on the Merry-Go-Round. I have no clue what happened there. And in one of the exhibition halls, some giant guy elbowed me hard in the middle of the back because I was in his way (As if everyone isn't in everyone's way in those exhibition halls). Seriously, the guy probably had a good hundred pounds on me. That's saying a lot. Even funnier is that he was stuffing his face with a corn dog at the time.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Kern County Fair, Deep Fried And Covered With Gravy

I suppose I should have known what I was getting into agreeing to go to the Kern County Fair with Amberlee and her kids last night. It is, after all, the Kern County Fair. If you ever want a bead on what's wrong with Bakersfield, it's all right there: gangs, hicks, and creeps, all ingesting huge plates of fried food with a gusto reserved for a death row inmate eating his final meal.

The fun came from all sides. Just about everyone assumed I was Amberlee's husband and her kids were my kids, despite a noticeable lack of rings and hand-holding and general interest between the two of us. We were in one of the exhibition halls and Amberlee was buying toys for her kids. The man quickly started making cracks about "your kids keeping you up at night" with the noisy toys. I didn't have the heart to tell him otherwise.

Then again, there were a few folks who caught on in their own particular ways. Amberlee ran into an old co-worker of hers, whom it turns out, is a lesbian. She was there with her girlfriend, who noted that she wanted to steal my rainbow bracelets, because she has a friend "like me" who'd like them. I was not offended, of course, but I was a bit amused.

Having finished entertaining the kids and avoiding the awkward stares of about half the fair crowd, we headed out of the rear gates. A girl, probably in her early 20's, stopped me. She wanted the multicolored flashing heart I was wearing around my neck. She flirted with me a bit. I told her I was planning on getting high later and staring at it (Not really true, but more believable than, "Who the hell are you and why are you talking with me?"). She abandoned her tactics and took to being aggressive with me.

Amberlee had been lagging behind with her kids and finally saw that I was in some sort of odd confrontation with a Bakersfield crazy. She sidled alongside me and grabbed my arm to take me away. Just another night in our bizarre little town.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Fucker!... In Bed.

I’m sure you’ve heard this one before: Any fortune in any fortune cookie is immediately rendered hilarious when “in bed” is added to the end. For example, “The smart thing to do is to begin trusting your intuitions… in bed!” Yes, full of hilarity. I’ve decided that a change is in order. “In bed” has had its day in the sun, and we need a new way of looking at our bizarrely vague bits of wisdom wrapped up in bland, stale “cookies.” My vote? We change “in bed” to “fucker!”

Imagine the possibilities! Instead of turning every fortune into a slightly amusing sexual innuendo, we get to the heart of the matter! That is that you, the person reading the fortune, are either an asshole or an idiot. Consider:

“A new outlook brightens your image and brings new friends… fucker!”

“When the moment comes, take the top one… fucker!”

“Do not hesitate to look for help, an extra hand should always be welcomed… fucker!”

“Open up your heart - it can always be closed again…. fucker!”

“Try everything once, even the things you don't think you will like… fucker!”

Sure, these are all fairly funny when you add “in bed” to them. But “fucker!” is so much more now! So hip! So cool! The next time you open a fortune cookie in front of your Grandmother, remember the new rule. The tightly-packed Chinese buffet will thank you!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Sad Songs Are Nature’s Onions (Pt. 2)

(This is part of a long series about sad songs and how they are nature’s onions.)

Leonard Cohen-”Everybody Knows”

No one does sad songs quite like Leonard Cohen. He’s also one of those guys who, like Bob Dylan, gets covered more than the pancakes at IHOP. Some people say he can’t sing. I’m not one of those people. I appreciate the emotive notes in his voice, even if he can’t really hit any musical notes. “Everybody Knows” is a song about resignation. No matter how much you cry and complain, you won’t change anyone’s mind. Because “Everybody Knows” already. It’s a very pessimistic world view, but it’s also a brilliant song.

And, with one of the trillion cover versions, Concrete Blonde: