Saturday, October 08, 2005

Diamonds are Forever

Man made diamonds! Whee!

I love stories like this one. Anything that knocks the DeBeers monopoly on its collective arse makes me smile. I've followed the
stories of Gemesis and Apollo for about three years now, and personally? I can't wait to buy my first cultured diamond-conflict-safe, blood-free, and flawless.

Synthetic diamonds... that sounds so awful. I prefer the "cultured diamond" term. After all, they ARE diamonds- chemically and physiologically. Only nobody died or was mutilated to get them to market, and their price will be market dictated, rather than the result of some monopolistic cartel.

The ornithophobe, she likes the sparkly; oh yes she does. I've got a nice collection of shiny diamonds and emeralds (as emeralds are my favourite stone) and I wear them daily. But years ago, I realised I was not so interested in where my stone came from- not nearly so much as I was in what it looked like. The result was my one carat man made emerald solitaire. I love this thing. I looked everywhere for a "natural" emerald ring with this level of colour and clarity. It did not exist for less than ten thousand dollars. Yet for about six hundred, I could have perfect dark green shimmer, surrounded by tiny diamonds, in fourteen karat gold - If I was willing to accept a manufactured emerald. Well- duh! Sign me up, baby! I embrace the wonders of the technological age!

For me, jewelry is not investment, it is ornament. I know my diamonds aren't worth much to a pawnbroker. I buy shinies because I LIKE shinies. I like colour, and glitter, and shimmer. And for years I've sated my guilt about the evils of the diamond trade and indulged my passion for the past at the same time, by buying used, buying vintage. And along the way? I discovered something. I don't LIKE modern diamonds. I don't like brilliant cuts, don't care for the spartan settings. I hate white gold, and platinum. I like the softer glow of old diamonds. But most of all, I love the ornate filigree and dainty delicacy of victorian, the interesting shapes and designs of deco. I positively LOVE antique jewelry. I love that when someone notices the rings on my fingers, and they inevitably go, "Wherever did you find that?"... that I can smugly say "It's vintage. It's antique." I love that I never run into anyone else wearing the same jewelry I have on.

You can walk into any jeweler in the country and find exactly the same styles of jewelry in each one. Open a bridal magazine and examine the ring ads: they're all basically the same thing. And if your friends show you their engagement ring, the first thing they'll talk about is the size of the stone. Bigger seems to be seen as better. But I'm not sure it always is. Beyond Cut, Colour, and Clarity, is something infitely less easy to calculate... character. I like a stone with history, I like a stone with a story.

When I don my late Mamau's engagement ring, it never fails to draw attention. The filigree setting, the soft white glow in burnished gold; it is unique. In all my life, I've yet to find another one like it. And whenever I look at it, I think of my mamau. I picture her gnarled little hands, washing dishes, peeling potatoes, sewing my dresses, bandaging my wounds. I see the glint and sparkle and it connects me at once to something so much more precious than any monetary quantity.

So yeah- diamonds ARE forever. But only if you're making memories with them. If you're not, they're just another rock.

And on the subject of memorial diamonds? How cool is this? I can think of a few people who'd make lovely tributes to wear on my hand. In particular? I think my ex-husband would make a fabulous fashion accessory. He'd be so much more useful in death than he has ever been in life!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Free Piglet!

Okay. I understand tolerance. I do. I'm a tolerant person. When some dumb wench gets in front of me with twenty cans of peas in the 12 items or less aisle? I smile graciously and say nothing. When people won't let me into traffic, I wait patiently for an opening and pray for the little buggers, who are obviously going somewhere very important in an awful hurry. When persons possessed of obvious incompetence, ignorance, or bad breeding cross my path, I reward their embarassing behaviours with patience and old-fashioned condescension. (Not the modern, "Looking down my nose at you" version of the word, but the classic, graciousness-and-compassion-dispensing version thereof.) Embracing the spirit of "judge not, lest ye be judged" and "Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you," I always try to give folks the benefit of the doubt. It's the manner in which I was brought up to behave.

But C'mon.... Piglet is somehow religiously offensive? Piglet??

I love the Relapsed Catholic's suggestion to go boldly forth and post our pigs. In the spirit of solidarity, allow me to spam this space.

Our Hero:

Another Great Pig of Literature:

Modern Pop Culture Pig:

And the most important pig of all...

And in case you need help cooking your pig, you can't go wrong with one of these:

Although my Mamau would surely recommend you buy one of these instead:

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Keeping the little people in their places

I shall begin this rant of mine with a caveat: I love New Orleans. Of all the cities I've visited in the US, New Orleans is the one place I've ever felt more at home in than my hometown. I love the place. If I could afford to, I'd brave the mosquitos and the humidity and relocate to the Garden District. The damage done to this city strikes at my heart like a bladed weapon. In the hours immediately before and after the storm, I was literally unable to turn away from the television. Unlike so many natural disasters I've witnessed (And I covered a fair few of them in my time working for a media monitoring agency) this one felt personal. This one felt much the same as the 97 flood that took my house. I was indignant. How dare God and Mother Nature strike out at my beloved city? Damn the lot of them for not doing something before the storm hit. What would become of the museums? The restaurants? The cemeteries? The rows of stately houses, the clusters of little shops? Would any of it survive intact?

And then it happened. And it was the stuff of nightmares.

In the days following the tragedy I've seen so many people bitching about the lack of preparedness. About the poor performance of the Mayor and the Governor. About how evil President George failed to fly in, with his cape and tights, and rescue everyone. Because George hates brown people, ya know. And babies. Babies don't vote. He only cares about rich white men who vote, after all.

I will say this: Mayor Nagin is in full CYA mode, throwing blame everywhere but where it rightly belongs- on the local government, on its mismanagement of the period immediately before and after Katrina. Governor Blanco shames me as a woman. She makes fodder for every mysogynist pig who ever said women were too wishy washy and indecisive to hold positions of power. This is at least one woman I wish to hell had stayed home and baked some cookies. They fucked up big time. Pardon my language- but it is true. This was a fubar of amazing proportions. When the local emergency management sends Red Cross buses away full of supplies, when the emergency evac plan buses are left sitting in the water while people drown in their houses- This is Fucked. Up.

But I'm through castigating the government. What else did we expect? An elephant is a mouse built to government specifications. (Thank you, Robert Heinlein.) If you want to make something incredibly expensive and extremely inefficient, you put it in the hands of government. There was something more sinister at work here. Racism. And no, not the racism of the republicans, or even the racism of Ole George (who hates teh brown people.)

No. I'm talking about the subtle, insidious racism endemic to the democratic old south: The plantation mentality.

The people who had means to do so, got the hell out of New Orleans ahead of the storm. The ones left behind, by and large, couldn't. They had no cars. They had no funds. They had noplace to go. What they did have? Was faith. Faith that someone would come. Someone would rescue them.

And so these folks, with the blind faith of children, didn't plan ahead. They didn't plan their routes of escape. They didn't lay in a supply of water and foodstuffs and diapers for their babies. And why would they? The government was going to take care of them, just like they are supposed to. In a few hours, they would come, with their rescue choppers and their boats and such, and take everyone away to safety in the shelters. And then money would be made available to fix everyone's homes, and get the world started up again. Because this is how the world works, right?

Wrong. This is only how the world works if you're a child and the government is your Mama. The grownups, we all know that God helps those who help themselves. Because government is comprised of people, and people make mistakes. People get tangled up in red tape and don't always do the sensible thing. When the fit hits the shan, sometimes they fuck up. Sometimes, they do so spectacularly. So if you're going to rely on anybody, it ought to be yourself. Nobody else has as vested an interest in your own well being, as you do.

But we've spent decades telling these folks that they CAN'T do for themselves. That they're oppressed, that they're disenfranchised, that they start life out from behind the eight ball. And only the democratic party can save them. Only their congresscritters and senators and judges and social workers can put things right, can give them a leg up. Keeping them dependant has kept the democratic party in power for decades down south.

This is the racism of which I speak. The concerned, condescending racism of compassion. "We know better than you, we'll look after you, we'll take care of you."

Maybe I shouldn't call it racism. Maybe it should instead be called classism. Because it's not really about teh brown people. It's about class. It's not skin colour; it's economic background, it's educational level and, above all else, it's about levels of personal responsibility. You spend decades telling people you'll take responsibility for them; you shouldn't be surprised when they expect you to do so. You keep them in subsidised housing, on subsidised incomes; you give them bread and circuses to distract them from their misery, and you make them DEPENDANT. Like children. You rob them of their god-given incentives to do and be better; you rob them of the ability to think and do for themselves...

You keep them in their place.

And I think an awful lot of rich, upper class people (Largely white people, but not solely) like this. They like that the little people are in their thrall. It makes them feel powerful. It makes them feel safer. It keeps the crime confined to certain "bad" neighborhoods and keeps the class strata defined. How many congresscritters' kids play with the children of their constituents, anyway? How many of them even go to the same schools? Of course, they can't. Because the rich send their kids to private schools, and the poor send their kids to the schools mandated by the rich. To learn what the rich want them to. So they can reach a limited economic potential. So they can think what their masters want them to, and do what their masters tell them to...

And thus repeat the cycle. Keeping the top dogs on top, and the little people on the bottom. Where they belong. So they can keep propping up the layers of corruption that feed upon them for their power base.

I'm wandering far afield, here. But my point is this. If every single person who'd stayed behind in New Orleans thought it was THEIR OWN job to look after themselves, and not the job of their government- we might have fewer dead people in the water right now. The dead in New Orleans, they died of inept compassion, they died of politics. And not the politics of the republican party- but the politics of liberalism, the politics of welfare and subsidy, the politics of the plantation state.

Master will take care of you. Big Brother is watching. You don't need to think for yourselves, or look after your own. That's what your government is here for.

When I think about how these people died, waiting for help, hoping for rescue, it makes my blood boil. There were 2 days before the storm hit. There was time enough to get everyone out. It was doable. And no effort was put forth to motivate them. In fact, every possible effort was put forth in NOT motivating the poorest and most desperate of the citizenry. They were trained to wait, trained to rely on big government, and not upon their own resourcefulness.

"What you do to the least of these, you do to me."

I'm thinking about a bumpersticker I saw recently. "Jesus is coming, and he is pissed." I thought it was funny at the time.

Right now? I think it's probably pretty true.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Pointless, useless urges

I went to New Orleans the first time, while I was pregnant with my second child. It was the dead of summer, I was huge and awkward, it was hot, humid, and miserable outside. The Ex-Husband made me walk for hours and hours at a brisk pace and was too cheap to buy water. We'd left our older child with my mother and I missed him terribly. The visit should have been completely unbearable. I should never have wanted to return.

But it wasn't, and I did. Want to return, that is. I can't explain any better than this: New Orleans felt homey. I liked where I was. I liked the people. I liked the surroundings. I liked the PLANTS, for heaven's sake. Everything just looked RIGHT. I felt completely content. I could wander the neighborhoods for hours, wondering about the places and the people. I think it was the history- I love history, and there is a palpable sense of it everywhere you look in New Orleans.

I badgered Joe for months afterward. I wanted to live there. I wanted to buy an old house in an older neighborhood and become a local. I've never felt that way about any other place I've visited. Anywhere.

I've been watching the news since before Hurricane Katrina rolled in. Watching with fear in my heart and a knot in my stomach. Then with Anger in my soul. This is a clusterfuck of impressive proportions. I knew LA govt was corrupt. I just didn't realise they were completely worthless as well. It's so damn useful to stand around pointing fingers at each other while the bodies are still floating in the water. Real practical, fellas.

I wish I had money to contribute. There is 200.00 in my bank account, and most of that is already earmarked for bills. I wish I was close enough by to do something. I'm in Kentucky; I could drive down. But what skills do I have to offer? I could do childcare, I suppose. Food preparation. But most likely I'd be another person in the way of the people who do the real work after something like this. I wish I had a guest room to house people.

I wish someone was taking donations of goods; I have seven boxes of outgrown kids' clothes and several bags of baby toys that I'd gladly offer up. I'd cheerfully pare down the house and share what I have, if I knew where to take things.

All I can offer are my prayers. They don't seem nearly enough.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

In which the Ornithophobe manages to piss off well nigh everybody...

It's good to have a secret space.

Sometimes there are thoughts in my head that I know have no place in polite company; thoughts that would shock and alienate everyone around me. I can only imagine the horror, the derision, should I loudly, proudly declare them to the world. "What kind of woman are you?"

But they reside there nonetheless, turning and fomenting, growing ever more rancid with each passing day. Like good wine turns to vinegar; these private thoughts get ugly and mean when I cannot give them voice.

I hate people. I hate society. And I hate the bizarre sexual inconsistencies and strange melange of new right and wrong that permeate our society today.

I don't belong here. I don't want to be "empowered," or "liberated" or My Own Woman.

I want to be protected. I want to belong to someone, and know that they are worthy and righteous and will take care of me, even as I take care of them right back. I want to know my place, and fill it completely; to have clearly defined responsibilities and even more clearly defined taboos.

The ornithophobe- 32, divorced, mother of two, full time employee on the career track- wants a husband, damnit. The old-fashioned variety thereof. I want someone who'll be the head of my household. Someone to tell me "No" occasionally. Or hold me when I feel small. Someone to help manage the decisions, plan the dreams, mow the lawn.

Nobody ever talks about this. My mother, God bless her, never needed a man. She did it all by herself- supported me. Fixed the roof, worked on the car, moved the furniture. Bought a house. Paid the bills. Put away a nest egg. Cared for her dying parents. Through it all, she said many, many times, "I'm more of a man than any man I know." The tone of derision in her voice as she said it was cutting. It told me plainly that she'd have welcomed a man- if she could have found one. A real one. But my father wouldn't keep a job, or buy a home. My stepfather wouldn't support a family, preferring to collect expensive sportscars. Neither marriage lasted a year.

Real men are in short supply these days. For thirty years or more, we've told men they're dispensable, disposable. We can "have it all", we can do it ourselves. Grrlpower, Wymyn's lib, etc, ad nauseum. It's our body, our choice. We're not subject to biological destiny, we have the pill. Every child a wanted child, so abortion is a basic civil right. Marriage is about being "in love", so when you're not in love anymore we have no fault divorce. Don't we want to have more, be more, than some housewife baking cookies and breeding baby after baby like a mindless animal?

I am a failure as a modern woman. Because I do need a man. I always have. I'm thirty two years old and I still want my father. I want a safe place to hide, someone to make me feel cherished and protected. The ex-husband couldn't do this for me. He wouldn't take care of me; instead, he needed me to take care of him. To mother him as his own never did. And I did so happily, but maybe I did not do it well enough. In the end, I just could not win his respect, and without respect there can be no love. He is a boy again now; a thirty five year old boy who enjoys his videogames and his freedom. All that nasty ugly responsibility that he could not adjust to is gone. Some day he will find a girl just like his Mama; she will be a career driven, upwardly mobile feminist who will make HIM feel safe and protected. She'll tell him what to do and when to do it.

I wish him well.

I don't want to make my own future. I want to embrace a joint destiny with someone else. To strengthen their ambitions, to promote their dreams. Mine are so small, so petty. To have a dining room, with kids and grandkids gathered round the table on holidays, warm and happy and FAMILIAL. To have someone beside me as I age, as the face and figure in my mirror comes to resemble that of my grandmother. To lie in eternity alongside a mate as our mortal remains return to dust.

These are my dreams. They are as empty and unattainable as any wish.

I am not designed for being alone. Everything about me is designed for the care and comfort of someone else. God, in his infinite wisdom, gave me warmth, wit, and a generous set of breasts to nurse babies with; he gave me a deep seated need to breed and care for a growing family. I grow good babies, you know. Smart, healthy, happy children, delivered with the ease bestowed on me by generations of peasant ancestors. I'm a decent cook and I'm not a bad housekeeper, when I have enough time to devote to my home. The boyfriend assures me my carnal abilities are not lacking.

I even own my own house, outright. It's paid for.

In short, I should have enough to offer in trade, to net myself the sort of husband I want. Yet the supply of old fashioned, marriagable, family-oriented men is nearly nonexistant. Nobody wants a wife, in the traditional sense of the word. They want someone to bring in an income and change her own oil, who will stay on the pill and not bring them any little unfortunates who eat up portions of their paycheck. Someone who will let them sleep in on Sunday morning and not interrupt them while they're involved in a twelve hour online gaming marathon. They want bedroom playmates and fiscal wizards with fast track careers and a stock portfolio.

They certainly don't want damaged 32 year old women with fatherless sons and daddy issues of their own. They don't want someone who will go, "Hey, you take care of this, and I'll take care of that. You have the career, and I'll throw dinner parties for your coworkers. You mow the lawn and I'll plant flowers in the rosebed. You move the furniture and I'll rub your back afterwards."

My future is assured. I will live alone, in my little three bedroom house. I will wear curlers and a bathrobe, and feed hundreds of cats.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

On calling things by their right names

My belief that life begins at conception isn't religious, it's scientific. If you try to tell me that an embryo isn't "alive" or that one possessing the requisite dna, growing inside its human mother, is not "Human", then I lose all respect for your argument. It's basic sixth grade biology.

As for whether abortion is right or wrong? It's not a religious issue for me, either. God is concerned with our immortal souls, not so much with our mortal bodies. And I'm a reincarnationist; I think those unborn souls go right on into their next incarnation.

So why am I virulently anti-abortion?

My problem is that I think we cheapen all human life by allowing the destruction of people based solely on their location, age, and convenience. I think the "slippery slope" is valid, and that Roe V. Wade is directly responsible for the number of infanticides and dumpster babies occuring in the modern age. I think legalised abortion is bad for our society, plain and simple.

If someone wants to debate me on the morality of it, argue that it's justifiable homicide in some cases- but don't tell me its a surgical procedure, a women's health issue, or some other bit of euphemism. Call things by their right names; know what you're speaking of. Dilation and curetage is forcible opening of a cervix to cut the baby to bits and scrape it out. Suction aspiration tears the baby to bits and sucks it out of the uterus with a vacuum hose. Dilation and evacuation rips a baby to pieces to pick it out with forceps. Saline injection bathes the baby in an acid bath, killing it slowly over an hour, so the mother may vaginally deliver a dead infant. (Or sometimes, a dying one.) The mass of tissue, products of conception... is a person. Just the same as you or me. A living being, snuffed out in the name of "choice."

If I could get past all this, maybe I too could be pro-choice. But I suck at lying to myself. And euphemism doesn't work for me. Some people hear "reproductive health" and think positive things like mammograms and pap smears. The Ornithophobe hears those tell tale words and sees baby bits on a metal tray. And no matter how much I want people to like me, I can't pretend like I don't.

In some ways? I think I AM liberal. Because the way the lefties get over microwaved mice in sunscreen, or bloody baby seals clubbed to death? That's how I get over dead babies. I get sick to my stomach, I get righteously angry. If you think I get uptight about dead baby seals, you should see me about dead baby humans.

What I want to know is, why would anyone NOT feel this way? What sort of mental and emotional gymnastics are necessary to be OKAY WITH THAT? How does one do it? How do you get there? Can you draw me a map? Because I just don't understand.

Thursday, June 23, 2005


Lets all take a moment to mourn for our country. Private property rights died today at the hands of supreme court justices John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, and Anthony Kennedy. Remember these names. It's entirely possible they'll be as infamous as King George the Third one day.

Speaking of King George, at least he was insane. What are the justices' excuses?

One of the saddest experiences of my life was watching the Louisville Airport Authority seize Highland park and its surrounding neighborhoods over a decade ago. It still smarts. Smaller middle and lower class homes were forcibly taken to "expand" Standiford Field, creating the "Louisville International Airport." (It's a fine example of creative advertising, as the only way you're leaving Standiford Field/LIA on an international flight is in a UPS box.) Except that the expansion never happened. Instead, a few tacky motels went up. The remainder of the area is derelict; the houses gone, the yards overgrown with weeds and the streets filled with dumpings of debris. (I saw a couple of couches there recently, if anyone needs a mid-seventies foldout in need of a little reupholstering.) Yet once this was an historic area of Louisville. Nearly every family has come through Highland Park at one time, or another. It was cheap real estate, and truly "ethnically diverse." In the early part of the century it housed the railroad workers, the immigrants; in the thirties it was home to families moving from farm life to factory work; in the forties it was full of young families saving for their first home. (My mamau grew up there, and went back with her young husband and a couple of babies while waiting for this very house to be built.) In the sixties and seventies it was one of the few places a single mother or a retiree on a fixed income could afford to buy a decent house. The eighties saw the influx of a new wave of immigrants; Korean, Laotian, Vietnamese; as well as refugees from the Soviet Union. Catholic Charities helped place these families in low income housing, and very often, that housing was in the heart of Highland Park.

It wasn't much to look at. Mostly shotgun houses; narrow streets and alleyways. But there was James Russell Lowell school, where both my grandparents had been students. There was the house where my Uncle was born. There was the house my great grandparents lived in. Most disturbing of all, there was the house inhabited by one of my Mamau's relatives. Losing her lifelong home in her final years almost certainly shortened her life.

It was bad enough when the government could take your home for a public work. (I'd suggest further reading on the "Land between the Lakes" and the "Land between the Rivers" for your edification. I get too angry when I talk about it, I tend to use bad language and villify John F. Kennedy. People get nasty when you speak ill of the dead. Suffice it to say, families who had owned their land since before the American Revolution, were tossed out. Their homes burned, their belongings stolen, sold to tourists, or destroyed. People died. And this happened in our lifetime, under the guise of creating 'public space' for hunting and fishing, as well as more tax revenue. Except the tax revenue never materialised, and the area still doesn't financially support itself. I guess people have better places to go fishing. )

But as horrible as the above examples are, things got worse today. Infinitely worse.

Imagine it. Your home brings in say, 800.00 a year in taxes. That same property, commercially zoned, could be worth three times that in tax revenue, to say nothing of the economic impact of additional job revenue. THERE IS NOW NOTHING TO PREVENT THEM FROM SEIZING YOUR HOME, AND GIVING IT TO A BUSINESS/DEVELOPER/CORPORATION. That's what this decision means. You no longer own your own home. You have it conditionally on the sufferance of your local government, and if they so choose, they can take it. For any reason, or no reason at all.

You know, even Mad King George limited his tax-seeking to import tariffs. He didn't come after the privately held houses, farms, and businesses of the American colonists. And the last time somebody got tax-happy and infringed upon our liberty, we had a little revolution. Maybe we need another one.

Some links for the curious:

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Something worth doing

If you haven't seen this already, check the link. If you can spare some money, please do. The family needs help keeping this woman on life support long enough to bring her baby to term.

And whether or not you can donate, please add this family to your prayers tonight.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Some people shouldn't breed

I pity the poor boy who had to be locked in a basement to protect him from a vicious animal. I wonder what prompted him to come out, and meet his death at the jaws of that animal.

But mostly I wonder how his mother can live with herself. And I'm angry. Very, Very, Terribly angry.

My former in-laws were big dog people. They raised, trained, and showed them for fun and profit. I once saw a picture of my ex husband as a toddler, with chew marks healing on his face. I asked my mother in law about it and she was casual. "Oh, Jody was playing with the dog and he got too rough." Imagine my surprise that she blamed the child. Imagine my shock to learn she'd kept the animal even after it chewed up her baby. But she was insistent; the dog was not at fault, her son was. He didn't know any better, but he was at fault. She even laughed about it; joked that it might be why her son never warmed up to the idea of dog ownership.

I must say I can't blame him.

A dog is a pet. It can be beloved, it can be a part of your family. But it is never, ever equal to your child. And if your dog eats your baby, maybe you ought not to have that dog anymore, hmm? Just a thought.

That mother in the article I linked up there? Is no mother at all. She isn't fit to bear the name. "Mother" is not some hereditary title, it is a job description. She wasn't doing her damned job. And her son died for it.

Sunday, June 05, 2005


You gotta go read this :

I just stumbled across this brilliant site purely by accident, following one link and then another, from page to page. And I'm entranced. It's long, it's wordy- and it's right on target. Why we're the good guys. What's wrong with people who can't recognise the good guys anymore. And everyday miracles we've grown too familiar with, to recognise as such.

My favourite section is below:

"As an exercise in perspective, let’s briefly compare our civilization to another. Let’s compare our supposedly soulless, banal, hum-drum society to the splendors of ancient Egypt.

And let’s tie both hands behind our backs while we do so. Let’s not compare the Great Pyramid to one of our skyscrapers, or airports, or hospitals, or even our shopping malls. Let’s take a moment to compare the Great Pyramid of Cheops with the most common and drab and ordinary structure on the block: The Great Pyramid vs. the 7-11.

Assume that we could transplant a corner 7-11 to the Egyptian desert, with all of the support systems that make it what it is. It is a tiny speck compared to the gleaming white marble sides of the pyramid. It looks small and poorly made. From afar.

Pharaoh comes by barge and litter to inspect the competition, laughing at the mismatch. He and his princes and a retinue of servants approach the plain, unadorned metal doors and step inside.
By the Gods! It is cool inside! As cool as the desert night, here, in the middle of the relentless day! Outside the servants sweat and minor officials fan themselves, but Pharaoh is, for the first time perhaps, comfortable in the middle of the desert sun. He turns to exclaim this wonder to his underlings, and -- By the Ghost of Osiris!! The walls! You can see right through them!

Ten seconds into the contest, and already Pharaoh has been rendered mute by miracles.

He commands endless lines of bucket-laden servants to throw water upon this transparent wall, flinching and then laughing endlessly with his children as the water stops in mid-air and slides to the ground. It is called, glass, Great King. It’s cost? No, hardly a years harvest. It is a trifle, the cost a nuisance should it need replacing.

After an hour or so of pressing hands and faces against the glass, of running inside and out, of feeling the smoothest surface they have ever experienced, Pharaoh reluctantly moves on to the magazine rack. Glancing at one, he recoils in horror, making a sign of protection against evil. There, like a tiny row of jail cells, sits face after face of imprisoned souls, bound into small rectangles. What else can they be? We have all seen Egyptian hieroglyphics: they are entrancing, but photorealistic they are not. How many monuments, how many man-years of backbreaking labor, how many deaths could be averted for a man obsessed with being remembered, if only Pharaoh had been able to be photographed? Immortalized! Captured with a precision and nuance greater than that of all of his artisans working together for a thousand years?

And there, on the rack beside the magazines: newspapers, pictures and text detailing the most significant events across the entire globe, covering an area that makes the Egyptian empire look puny and insignificant. How to explain to a king who must wait weeks or months or even years for critical information that each bundle of paper contains news no later than a day old from every remote corner of the Earth, and sells for about a tenth of what our most poorly paid laborer makes in a single hour? Now he begins to think we are mocking him. Yet there is much more to vex and amaze Cheops.

Toilet paper. Draw your own picture of what the highest-born Egyptian must do in those circumstances. Down the aisle to the back – wonders on either side. And then: Ice.

Likely Pharaoh has never seen ice, let alone touched it. At first he recoils, thinking he has been burned. You grab a handful, and gesture for him to put a cube in his mouth. Pharaoh grows enraged – you are trying to kill him! You do so first, sucking on an ice cube. Tentatively, he tries, for the first time in his life, something cold – a diamond that turns to perfectly pure water in his hand.
Think, for a moment, that you have drunk river water for your entire life. Think what a taste of cool, clear water would taste like. Just imagine that one, garden-variety wonder. Then beers and wines, refined and brewed and filtered, not the murky swill he will have known. And as Pharaoh hesitates with each can and bag and box of food he opens, you will have to reassure him, time and time again, that even though you have no idea where the food was made, or when, or by whom, you know it absolutely to be safe to eat. Corn flakes and potato chips – how many lives would a bag of Ruffles be worth to this man, he who has never seen, let alone tasted a potato? How many men would Pharaoh send to die to obtain another box of Oreo cookies for his sons? An army? An entire fleet? Cans of ravioli. Peanut butter. Eggs and milk, of course, but of a quality and size unheard of.

Grab a frozen lasagna and hand it to the Great King. Frozen, like a brick, and like a brick he gnaws on it. Delicious! Then across the room to a small black box, which opens with the same magic lantern that lights this palace of wonder day and night. A moment of conversation passes, and Ding! What was frozen is now steaming hot! Without fire, and in an instant!

The Princes have been exploring every nook and cranny, reporting back to their father: In back, water which flows endlessly, purer than any they have ever tasted, and some of it is hot! It flows from the walls, father! A stream unending! Behind the counter, scores of small, beautifully-colored cylinders which make fire! Made of – what? Not wood or metal – something smooth and hard and perfect! Soaps, of wondrous scents and soft as pillows! Father! Come and see this!

But Pharaoh hardly notices. He is staring up at a box mounted in the corner of the wall, and there, for the first time in his magnificent life, Pharaoh can see…Pharaoh!

Cheops raises his arm, and the small shwabti Cheops raises his! Pharaoh advances, makes a face! The imprisoned Pharaoh does the same! And there, in one of the four corners! The back of the slave Pharaoh’s head! And in another small square, the Crown Prince! He is not in the room, and yet Pharaoh sees him plainly! When he emerges from the storeroom Pharaoh hugs him as if he had returned from the dead.

Yes King, we can on such boxes see any event of significance around the entire world, as it happens. And we can see singers and minstrels and performers – not only those alive today, but those who may have died many years ago! Yes, as real as any other! Preserved forever in language and form!
What would that be worth to such a man?

Over there, in a corner, another magic tablet that communicates back to you, and upon following a set of instructions you give it, disperses money at your command, a seemingly bottomless pot of gold (although, it must be said, the only flash of disappointment Pharaoh has shown was for the quality of money – gold coins would have made a much better impression.)

The sun is setting, and yet the magic of the palace grows ever stronger. Light does not fade. Having read by candlelight his entire life, the idea of day during night is powerful magic indeed. The princes have fallen silent. They have discovered the Slurpee machine and mortgaged their birthrights, entire kingdoms to the clerk for another refill.

There, behind the counter: a machine that will do mathematical calculations to eight decimal places, flawlessly. Instantly. There sits a machine that can do in five seconds what it would take an entire court of astronomers and scribes five years to calculate. The eyes of the underlings, the Egyptian bureaucrats who must count and account for everything in the kingdom – by hand – begin to glaze over. What they could do in a single day with such a wonder! But Pharaoh now is transfixed by the metal of the countertop. Hard. Very hard. On impulse, he removes his short bronze sword and hacks at the steel. Impervious. Cheops’ prized sword is dented and useless. What a sword and shield such material would make – and it’s everywhere: in the doors, the cabinets…common as sand.
But Pharaoh is no longer happy. Like many of that era, he suffers from terrible toothaches. There is so much sand that even the grinding of flour produces bread that erodes the tooth enamel. Pain is a constant companion for him, and like many of his age – like many of every age, before our own – he suffers in silence. That is his life. This, the most powerful man on the planet, suffers just like the poorest. But here, in this bland, ubiquitous convenience store, there is mercy for rich and poor alike. Cold medicine. Medicines to reduce fever. Medicines for toothache, too. And medicine for pain.

In fifteen minutes, this Great Pharaoh will know a few moments free of pain. His children, whom he loves as we love our own – also free of pain.
What would the most powerful man in the world give for such a thing? How much gold? How much land? How many lives?

The pain subsides. And although perhaps not a good or a wise send off for a man with a toothache, the transcendental look of joy on Pharaoh’s face when he first encounters a Coke and a Snickers bar is a sight that his children will never forget. Even after he is long dead, they will always remember him thus, as they ride toward the river on the dark night of the new moon, the little palace glowing in the dark like a beacon visible for fifty miles and more.

Now, on the other hand, the Great Pyramid of Cheops is a massive, beautifully decorated and cunningly designed pile of stones.

We live in an age of miracles, and we just don’t see it. "

He's right. We're so blessed, and yet we don't even notice it, so commonplace are these modern wonders of the world.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Orson Scott Card on the War, Patriotism, and Intellectual Elitism

I have no commentary to impart here. I just want to hug this man and maybe bake him a cake. I want to invite him over to dinner and just sort of sit there and soak up the brilliance. This man, he gets it. Sure, he's a fine author. But even more importantly, he is a fine thinker. Pardon me while I dissolve into a puddle of fangirly squealing, now.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Neat little News link

This is fascinating.

Extrapolating the future of news media, it's a short film providing a history of how the old school media declined, under the weight of internet news media and Google. I found the whole thing vaguely sci-fi; but excellent food for thought. It did cause me to wonder when the monopoly on "news" will pass completely from the hands of print media into the realm of digital media, and how long before major players like the New York Times are completely out of the business.

Go. Now. Watch.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Can't Wrap My Head Around It

The article linked above is exactly why we needed a law to protect children who survive their mother's abortion. I just read that and I'm horrified, sickened. A baby was delivered live, moving, into a toilet, and allowed to die there. I can imagine no more repugnant, disrespectful death for any human being.

But the article raises even more questions for me. The mother is a conundrum. There is no doubt in my mind she loves this child. And apparently, loved him when she made the decision to end his life. She researched the least painful death possible for him. She chose to undergo delivery in order that his body be whole. But dear God, what the hell was she thinking? She planned the funeral in advance. She is not merely complicit in this death; she orchestrated it.

How is that possible? What sort of derangement must be present for a mother, who loves her child, to plan his funeral and arrange his death?

I like to imagine the girls who go into these murder factories as ignorant, deluded, or naive. I assume they've bought the lie that their child is nonhuman or not alive. They're frightened, perhaps gulled by an overbearing parent or an unsupportive husband or boyfriend. They have poor self images, low self esteem, can't imagine that they're fit to be anyone's mother. They know not what they do. In their own warped way, they are innocent.

This woman cracks my mental safety net to bits. She was none of these things. She knew exactly what she was doing. She was coherent enough to plan a funeral, and competent enough to make decisions as to how best to carry out her murder. She was even empathetic enough to not want her son to hurt physically as he died.

How does someone like that get within a hundred yards of such a place? How can she bring herself to set foot inside that building?

Where was her maternal instinct? Where was her basic, God-given sense of decency? Right and Wrong? For the love of Pete- she planned his funeral. While he moved inside her, living and growing, she plotted his death and how she would mourn him.

Sunday, May 01, 2005


I have a 'stuff' problem.

See, The Ornithophobe, she likes Stuff. Book stuff. Toy stuff. Dish stuff. Music stuff. She never met a sale she didn't like. She never said 'no' to freebies. She never passed up a yardsale in her life.

I sit here, in my 900 square foot home, surrounded by Stuff. The books won't stay on the shelves anymore; they've run off into boxes, teetering to be read piles, bags. They're in every room of the house. And if I like a book? I tend to want to read it again. And again. And again. Consequently, this has led to the keeping of every book I read. Not for me, the library. Oh, No! They make you give the books back! I prefer the eerie certainty that somewhere, deep in the recesses of the house, lies the perfect book I want to read. I only have to find it.

Which is becoming something of a problem. This week I bought a second copy of a beloved book, because I have no idea where the first one I bought went. I'm sure it's here; it's not as if I LOST it, certainly! But the logistics required to locate it are such that paying 4.00 on ABEbooks seemed a more practical arrangement.

Sometimes though, I wonder what it might be like to have no stuff. Imagine that. If everything I owned could be carted about in a backpack. If I didn't have to keep up with anything material. No wondering where the cake tip I want went, if I don't have any cake tips. No wondering what I did with the August 1997 issue of Archaeology magazine, and no digging through the two foot pile of periodicals in the garage to find it.

It might be liberating, the lack of stuff.

Sometimes I think about moving away. Packing up the rugrats and myself, and just - going. Just seeing where the road takes us. Like Winnie the Pooh, let's go on a Long Explore. See the country, from the backseat of my beleagured Toyota. Talk history standing in civil war battlefields, eat dinner in a host of roadside diners. What would it be like, to really experience this country, and not simply read about it in my living room?

But see, the stuff- it owns me, I do not own it. I am the wholly owned subsidiary of a massive library of stuff. Books and magazines. Movies. Action figures. Barbie dolls. I have service for twelve in Noritake and two sets of everyday china. Shaped cake pans have bred out of control and taken over my kitchen. I cannot stop them; I know that at one point, some day in the distant future, all my happiness will depend upon having at hand a copper mold in the shape of the state of Texas.

I only hope that, when the day comes? I can find the damn thing.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

A little bit of un-pc heresy...

When you're dead, do you think anyone is going to remember you for the work you did? Maybe if you're a brilliant artist, perhaps. But for most of us, the answer is no. But if you were a fabulous Mama, your grandkids will hear about you. Your great grandkids will hear about you. You will live on in stories for generations. You will create the kind of people that make a difference in the world, the kind of people who are a force for good, every day of their lives.

In second grade, my teacher told me I could do anything I wanted to with a mind such as I possessed. My grandfather told me I could grow up to be president. Indeed, he suggested the military as a good route by which to pursue this lofty goal. I received plenty of encouragement and a good self image in my home. I was raised to speak my mind, to reason my arguments, to consider myself the equal of every person I met. "You're a smart girl," I was told, over and over, by people who loved me well. "You can be anything you want to be."

Apparently I wanted to be a Mama.

Yep. After a childhood of careful indoctrination with the feminist having it all mindset, I went right out at nineteen and got myself a husband, and in short order, a pair of rugrats to complete the set. I nursed them, taught them to read and count, kept them at home with me until they were five years old. I took them back home with me when the public school system failed them. Homeschooling is my life, now. My kitchen is a science lab, my living room a library, my backyard a P.E. class.

And I don't feel bad about it, not one little bit.

People often ask me "How do you do it?" as if childrearing is the most incomprehensible idea on the planet. Don't I get bored? Don't I want something MORE for myself? What about ME?

I'll let you in on a little secret. I never wanted to be president. I don't even want to work. I have to, because that marriage I made at nineteen, it went belly up at twenty nine. But in a perfect world? I'd chase children and volunteer at church, and I could be completely happy with that. I'd make a couple more babies and be the bake sale, sunday school teaching kind of Mama. I have no innate drive to "work" anymore than is vitally necessary to put food onto the table. I don't feel a sense of accomplishment or pride in the work I do outside of my role as mother to my children. It's a job, a paycheck, and nothing more. But what I do at home? Is my sense of self worth, is the only job that feels fulfilling and RIGHT to me.

Here's the thing that I don't DARE admit in public. I don't think women ought to have to work. Ever. Period. Biologically we're designed for the care and nurturing of a family. And I think most women feel that calling, and try to answer it by having children. But we get such messages from the world at large that we try to be all things to all people; Mama to the kids, sex kitten to the husband, wage slave to the boss. And in the end, we do all these jobs rather badly.

There's something cruel and unnatural in ripping a new nursing mother away from her six week old infant for hours at a time every day. It undercuts the natural bond between mother and child. It short circuits the parenting process. Already the child is receiving the message that he doesn't come first. It's a message we'll reinforce over the years with daycare, babysitters, missed little league games and piano recitals, latchkey kids and unchaperoned highschoolers. It's a message inherent in every drive through McDinner when Mama hasn't the time to cook a meal.

You ever wonder about the people who send Jr. to daycare or preschool with a raging fever hidden by tylenol? I know I do. I look at a sick kid whining for his Mommy and I wonder where the hell it happened; when she made that disconnect that allowed her to remove her baby from the forefront of her thoughts. What about the folks who forget their baby in a carseat for eight hours? How the devil does it happen, that one's offspring becomes an afterthought?

And I've come to the conclusion it happens in increments. A little bit here, a little bit there. Each incident stealing a little bit of a mother's soul, killing her feminine instincts. It begins when she gets pregnant, and the option is out there; this is not yet a person, she can get rid of it if she wants. Already that life is cheapened. Then she gives birth. The bonding process begins. She has a choice then, will she nurse this infant or put it to a bottle? And there is no shame in either choice; but forgoing the breast for the bottle means a loss of those mothering hormones, losing that little bit of connection with the child. It's just another increment, and a small one, but they add up over time. Then comes daycare. When she hands her most precious creation over to someone else to nurture and love, and goes off to put her mind to something else. A career, a project, or even the mindlessness of mechanical factory work. For some hours a day, she'll be separate from this helpless little person to whom she is connected in the deepest way possible. Then come the school years; when she turns her baby over to the state, and entrusts his wonderful, amazing little mind to the school system. By this time, she's already lost much of that maternal bond, but by the time Jr. graduates from high school it'll exist almost entirely in name only. She won't know his friends, his thoughts, his secret dreams and wishes. His peers will become the dominant force in his life, and the main recipients of his loyalty. Then he'll be an adult. And she'll wonder why he doesn't see her very often. He may go months without calling his parents; he may choose to not turn up for Christmas or forget to send something for Mother's day or her birthday. She will wonder "Where did we go wrong? Where did we lose him?"

And my answer for her is that it didn't happen in one go. In fits and starts, from the time he was a baby, she made the decision to put him second, or third, or fourth, in her life. The job of Mama was not the priority. Every missed game, every "I'm too tired" when he wanted her attention; every day she lost just a little bit of her son. In slow, agonizing moments, she left him behind. And with him, pieces of herself. Pieces of her motherhood, that she can never reclaim.

There is no such thing as having it all. You can't be everything to all people. Quality time is a myth used to soothe consciences; to shut down the natural voice inside you screaming to be with your baby. Kids don't want Quality time, they want QUANTITY time. Jr. won't open up his heart on the rides at Disney World. He's going to open up to you over slicing potatoes in the kitchen, in the car on the way to the doctor's office, as you're pulling weeds side by side in the garden. Make those quiet, ordinary moments available to him in quantity, and he'll talk to you.

Don't just tell your kid you love him, show him, every day, in a thousand ways, that he comes first, that you take the job of parenting him seriously, and sacredly. Because it's the most sacred trust of all, it's the closest we fragile human beings ever come to godhood, when we create a life. And every single day of that child's existence, we have opportunities for true greatness; the kind of greatness that only comes from the positive interaction with another human being's immortal soul. No one has the influence a mother does. The hand that rocks the cradle truly does rule the world. It's something our culture has forgotten, to our eternal shame, and to the detriment of future generations of Americans.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Hee Hee Hee

This was so brilliant I just had to record it over here.


"I'm not sure what they expected. Jethro Tull blasting out of the Papal apartments? "Hey, yeah, everybody, I'm the new Pope, and I've been thinking, you know, maybe abortion's alright, and if you want to have lots of promiscuous anal sex outside of marriage, whatever. I'm thinking about ordering you all to live in teepees and drive hybrids, also ordain a few broads and dames. I'm gonna go smoke some pot, perform a couple gay marriages, give Last Rites to a couple old ladies who are being euthanized. Then I'm writing a letter demanding America adopt socialized health care. Hail Satan!"Not the most democratic organization in the world, hence why people who protest Church doctrine are called "protestants". It's the Roman Catholic Church. If you're shocked at their positions, you haven't been paying attention for the last, oh, two thousand years."

Do you think the whole bit up through "Hail Satan" is a bit long for an email signature? Because I gotta tell ya... I'm sorely tempted.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

No Honeymoon for Benedict XVI

I expect derision from the press at large, regarding the new Pope. I am fully unsurprised by it.

What I did not expect was the derision of my fellow Catholics, or the vitriol put forth by so many of my friends. Livejournal is unsafe right now; I've accidentally ventured into ugly photoshops, and into discussions of how he's going to "Destroy the Church" or set us back into the "dark ages." There's also a Wikipedia entry depicting him as Senator Palpatine, of Star Wars fame. Okay, I'll admit it, I did giggle at that one. Just for a second.

The man has been Pope for less than a week and the honeymoon is already over.

Let's see... the problems appear to be that he's opposed to abortion, gay marriage, contraception, and the ordination of women. My word- you don't mean to tell me they elected a CATHOLIC? No! I am shocked, I tell you.

Just because the laity has some extreme examples, this does not mean the Church must incorporate them. I'll let you in on a little secret: The Ornithophobe rather believes in Reincarnation. (I like to imagine that is what Purgatory is. God sends you back to repeat a grade.) However, did my Church suddenly appoint Cardinals or a Pope who endorsed this belief of mine, I would be quite uncomfortable. Why?

Because it's not Catholic Doctrine. And the Pope is the final arbiter on doctrine. This is not a democracy; his word is law.

It is exactly as I'd feel if we appointed Supreme Court justices who decided to invent new Constitutional Rights, that aren't in the document they are morally obligated to interpret accurately.

Oh. Wait a minute....

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Habemus Papam

We have a Pope. Cardinal John Ratzinger is Pope Benedict the XVI. I hadn't even realised the lack of a Pope bothered me, until the announcement came. Suddenly, a feeling of relief, a blanket of calm, fell upon me. Everything is right with the world, the Church is whole. Everything is proceeding according to God's plan, God's will. It is a very reassuring sensation.

The crowds look so joyful on the television. I would give anything to be in Rome right now. Their enthusiasm is contagious.

I wonder what sort of Pope he will be? He looks very vital, for all his advanced years. I've just read his homily from Sunday, and he impresses me mightily with his language. He's a very persuasive writer, and I imagine he must be eloquent in his speaking.

Today is a good day.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Why it's a bird free zone

I am afraid of birds. Stop laughing, I can hear you.

It is an irrational fear (thus the ornithoPHOBIA) that has plagued me all my life. My mother tells the story of how she kept a stuffed bird from a flower arrangement to use as a baby gate in my infancy. Place Fake!Bird at the entrance to the living room, and The Ornithophobe will let you vacuum in peace and quiet. I recall abject terror at those little singing bird ball ornaments in Christmas trees; get too close to a tree and they'd go off, sending me scurrying the other direction. I've been locked in my car by a bird on the hood of it. I've been stuck on the sidewalk unable to get home, with a bird a few feet down the pavement.

There is no place on the planet I can go to escape them, a fact made plain to me in elementary school. I was devastated to learn they literally are everywhere; there is no continent on the planet free from their menace.

And make no mistake; it is MENACE. That "They're more afraid of you than you are of them" is nonsense spouted by people who have no idea what they're talking about. The birds know I fear them, and they behave accordingly. They dive bomb my car when I'm driving. They sit motionless at my approach, daring me to run them off. The clapping of hands, making of noise, shouting of "shoo! Get! Damned bird" means nothing to them, they just sit there and look at me, as if to say, "My, how interesting. She is AFRAID of me. This has... possibilities."

They flutter. I hate fluttering. They flap. And I hate flapping. They have beady, evil little eyes and sharp, predatory faces. Even the simplest finch looks threatening to me.

They poo everywhere. The world is their toilet. Bright streaks of purple and white airborne crap left inevitably upon newly washed cars and laundry. I have surrendered this battle in the war; I haven't washed my car in a year. So far, it seems to be working. The enemy prefers a cleaner target.

They are filthy, disease-ridden, disgusting animals.

On top of that, they twitter annoyingly at ungodly hours of the morning, an infraction surely deserving of the most stringent forms of punishment. It should be illegal to trill birdsong in the wee hours of the morning, when it is still dark. Unfortunately, birds don't cotton to the laws of men, even when they are good and sound laws about noise pollution.

On the other hand, however, there is poultry.

Thursday, March 31, 2005


"I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink"
-- Matthew 25:42

My prayers are with the family of Terri Schiavo right now, as they mourn her loss. But they at least will have the comfort of knowing she is with her heavenly father and at peace.

But what of the husband? Does he feel loss right now? Does he mourn? Is any small part of his soul regretting what he set in motion?

Perhaps right now, the relief is too fresh. It's over. She's gone. He doesn't have to think about it or deal with it anymore. She's not there, drooling and making noises at him and repulsing him with how like and unlike his wife she is. He can edit his memory and only recall her young, vital, and whole. And he can go home to the arms of his other wife, his true wife, the woman who bore his children and shares his life. And perhaps he'll find comfort there.

But what about when he sleeps tonight? What about as he goes about his life tomorrow, and the next day, and the next? What of when he begins to age, and his health wanes? Will there, at some point in the future, be a moment when he questions his decision? When he wonders if it was worth it, if it was decent, if it was right?

I think I shall pray for him as well. And for his lawyer, Judge Greer, and the rest of the gang who were so zealous to kill her. Forgive them, for they know not what they do. I have to think that; because so many people I like and admire supported the killing, thought it was right and proper, ethical and humane. I have to think they didn't know any better, because what other choice do I have? Surely they cannot be so evil. I cannot love people like that, can I?

They must be misguided. They have to be.

Friday, March 25, 2005

S'cuse me, wrong planet.

I've had a presence on another site for some time. But this past year has driven me to create a nice, anonymous place for myself on the web. Why, you may ask?

Because I keep having this strange feeling I've somehow slipped dimensions, like an old episode of the Twilight Zone. I look around me, and so many people, so many upstanding, righteous, decent people, are all profoundly, horribly, wrong.

I suppose it all began during the presidential election, or the campaign period immediately before. I saw an increasing level of vitriol and anger amongst my circle. Perfectly polite, decent people, behaved abominably. Ladies were swearing like sailors, people threatened to leave the country or slit their wrists. All because they backed a losing horse. I found it baffling.

I should clarify; I am a conservative, Catholic, republican. I campaigned for Bush/Cheney, and I displayed my allegiances quite proudly. This is a crime for which I am still paying. I have committed the cardinal sin of not agreeing with my social circle.

My friends seem to be rather staunchly liberal. That's okay. I understand it fully. The Ornithophobe is by nature a bit elitist, a bit overintellectual. I rather LIKE philosophical and political debate. I was raised in a house where political argument was nightly dinnertable fare. I learned early to research a position and support it factually. (I was a kickass debater in high school, too.) And it seems that a large proportion of intellectual types tend to the liberal extreme of the political spectrum. I think there is a tendency towards idealism among intellectuals, a sort of gung-ho political optimism that insists over and over if we just try communism/socialism/fascism/environmentalism One. More. Time that, somehow, THIS TIME, it'll be different. THIS TIME, it'll make everything better. And who doesn't want to do that? Why, if you don't want to make the world a better place, surely you must be one of the bad guys, right? And if you don't agree with their METHOD for making the world a better place, then you don't really WANT to make a positive change. This seems to be their general outlook. I've found it doesn't do much good to try to persuade them with logic. Anymore, I just nod, smile, and back away.

Because I like having friends. The ornithophobe, she likes being LIKED, you see. I am a coward.

If I avoided all libs I'd have few friends at all. I'd have few chances to stretch my mind and improve my arguments. Challenge my politics, my beliefs, my faith. I dare you! I beg you! Because without such challenges, I may grow complacent, and my thinking may become lazy. I fear that perhaps most of all; I fear becoming one of those people for whom orthodoxy is unquestioned. The unexamined life is not worth living, and all that.

I keep another site. In the past week, I've filled it with useless nonsense and stupid livejournal quizzes. And I've done so while the Terri Schiavo issue fills my heart and my mind, and haunts my nightmares. Yet I've kept all that out of my entries, because I just can't bear to lose friends over my beliefs again.

So here I am, in the anonymity of cyberspace, spilling my heart's blood. I cannot believe that this is happening, in my country. I hear the arguments. I've seen the CT Scans and read the testimony. And while, on the one hand, I can't imagine I'd want to live as she has lived for the past fifteen years... on the other hand? Neither can I imagine being dehydrated to my death. We treat our dying pets better. And Terri Schiavo is not just dying, by any medical sense of the word. She is being murdered. A healthy body with a normal lifespan is being taken down by starvation and dehydration. I pray to God that she truly is in a persistent vegetative state. Because if she has the self awareness of a housefly, what is happening to her right now must be truly horrific.

And people I love and respect, people I admire and like, are saying that she isn't even fully human anymore. That she isn't alive in any real sense of the term. Or worse, that the decision is ultimately that of her husband and no one else. It is a "private, family matter." Where the Fuck are the feminists? Are women chattel again? Less than a century ago a man could freely beat his wife for infractions. In ancient societies a man had the legal right to kill his own children. THOSE were private, family matters too. Aren't we better than that yet? Haven't we improved at all, as a race, in 2000 years?

Perhaps in a country where OJ Simpson has custody of the children whose mother he murdered, we have not.

I think I woke up on the wrong damn planet. I woke up on a world where black is white, right is wrong, up is down. The guilty go unpunished and the innocent are slaughtered, sucked into sink drains, or starved slowly to their deaths.

This is not my America.

Welcome to the Bird-Free Zone

This is my little corner of the web to rail anonymously against the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. And other evils, such as liberal democrats, rabid atheists, public school officials, low tippers, bridezillas, commitment phobic boyfriends, evil ex-husbands, and my mother.

And birds.