Saturday, April 08, 2006

Says who?

Two of my favorite series, both now over, are Queer as Folk and Sex and the City. Both series have something in common even though the shows comes from different perspectives: sex.

Sex is used to sell everything from Viagra to car parts . . . and sex indeed sells. In QAF and SATC the characters talk about, agonize over and indulge in sex. Each character portrays a different sensibility and perspective, but my favorite characters from both shows, Brian Kinney and Samantha Jones, are straight forward, honest and uncompromising. They make no apologies for who and what they are. Sometimes they seem cruel but they remind me of the old saying "cruel to be kind".

Many people complain that Samantha and Brian are promiscuous whores, but those are the subjective kinds of labels that are meant to be negative, a moral judgment. That is the kind of limited perspective that has brought Americans to this pass in history where the righteous moral majority are systematically destroying our civil liberties and freedoms. You don't think honest and open sexual expression is a civil liberty or a freedom? Think again.

Every time we label people we move closer to the kind of narrow-minded thinking that gave the world Russian pogroms, Germany's final solution and Balkan and African wholesale genocide. But it doesn't stop there. During the Korean Conflict bi-racial children left behind by their soldier fathers were murdered unless left anonymously at Buddhist monasteries. Some Islamic countries (Iran and Iraq come to mind) murder and torture the unbelieving population in the name of Allah. Palestinians ring Israel with fire power and suicide bombers taught from their first breaths of life that taking out Israel one school bus or one neighborhood at a time will earn them a favored place in Paradise where their desires will be served by beautiful houris for eternity. Everywhere you look someone is labeling someone else and being different is not all right; being different is a target on your back and there are too many people ready to step up for their opportunity to blast away.

Labels help us identify things as good or bad, but labels are a dangerous way of looking at the world. Labels keep our minds closed and our lives empty.

I am just as guilty as the next person of labeling. I am a professional book reviewer and anyone reading my journal has been treated to my opinion of movies, books and music. However, I still keep my mind open.

For instance, Poppy Z. Brite hasn't impressed me much.

Until now.

I have read some of Brite's horror and short stories. Some have been interesting and some incomprehensible. Since joining LJ I have become a constant reader of docbrite's journal. Talk about opinionated? She is. But then everyone who has an opinion is opinionated.

It is through Brite's journal that I first found out about Liquor and Prime, her departure from vampires and the dark underside of horror. Brite has been blasted for turning away from horror and toward food and restaurants and the real life world of Rickey and G-man, a world she writes with sensitivity, humor and passion.

I read Liquor a few weeks ago after reading about it in Brite's journal for more than a year. It took a bit of time and finagling to find Prime through an interlibrary loan and I'm nearly finished -- and a bit sad. I don't want the story to end. I want to remain a fly on the wall in Rickey and G-man's corner of New Orleans.

I am not a foodie and have not eaten in the better restaurants of the world -- or at Hannibal Lecter's table either -- but Brite's taste sensations made my mouth water and wonder if I should save up to take a culinary tour to indulge my senses instead of buying furniture, paint and curtains to indulge my nesting instinct. But there is so much more to the boys. It is an intimate glimpse of a rich world of subtle romance, charcoal shadowed agendas and uncompromising honesty that neither needs nor offers apologies told with simple truth and humor.

You can't tell the players without a score card.

Gay. Straight. Rich. Poor. Pagan. Heathen. Religious. Liar. Martyr. Old. Young. Sick. Healthy. Whore. Virgin. Married. Single. Optimist. Pessimist. Fat. Skinny. Smart. Stupid.

Labels tell you what is what. But labels should be neutral. They should be sign posts telling us how to go and not what to think. It's like believing you can tell what's between the covers of a book by looking at the title. The only way you're going to know for certain what it's about is to open the cover and read -- with an open mind.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Power to the blog

It had to happen sooner or later -- and it did -- in Canada.

What was once confined the pages of diaries and paper journals is now out and proud on the Internet 24/7. One senior citizen living on a fixed income chronicled her dealings with her landlord, one of the biggest property owners in Ontario, and the landlord sent her an eviction notice after they were unable to keep her from blogging even when they had her original blog taken down. She copied it onto a U.S. blog site through Google and refused to be silenced. She fought back in cyberspace and finally at a tribunal -- and she won. The landlord claimed libel and lost.

I have to wonder whether such specious claims and law suits based on stronger libel definitions, like those they have in Canada, will also migrate to the U.S.

As if we didn't have enough people looking to play victim and get over on the system.

As for me, give me blog or give me cyber death.


While reading The Weekly Shriek (one of my guilty pleasures) something caught my eye. Who ever thought of calling a pair of panties Spanx? But what else would you call a pair of form fitting panties to cover your backside?

They look too sheer to be the heavy laced, boned and often sadist garments my mother used to shimmy, slide and wiggle her way into when she and Dad were going out to the NCO club on Friday nights to play Bingo, and the name was a lot less BDSM -- they were called girdles -- but they amounted to the same, a way to strangle, sculpt, squeeze and otherwise force flab and fat into a less objectionable and, hopefully, more appealing shape. Of course, back in those days, no one thought about sex or having to extricate themselves from the torture garment and let their wobbly bits droop free just to watch their would-be sex partner's eyes go from lust-glazed eagerness to terrified right before they made the sign of the cross with their index fingers and frantically searched for the nearest exit. However, the need for something to trick someone into believing you work out, diet and/or have kept your figure is obviously still strong -- and still worth making money on. I will never understand how showing how smooth and slim and trim the panties/girdle make a lovely, fit and sexy young figure look has anything to do with what it actually looks like on a calorically challenged body, but advertising is all about sex -- or so says Brian Kinney.

I wonder if make-up, Spanx panties, Wonderbras, contacts to make your eyes more appealing (or alien) and all the rest of the special effects, tricks and camouflage that passes for fashion for those interested in attracting a mate, date or sex partner is actually worth it when you have to take most of it off to achieve your goals.

Okay. I'll shut up now.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

No surprises here

I started my morning early today before the sun was even a glimmer on the horizon. I watched the mountains outside my windows bleeding in the coming dawn and then covered in golden light as the light brightened. The sky is a clear Colorado blue with a few wispy mare's tails and cotton puffs drift lazily overhead. It is chilly in the sunroom and the streets are finally quiet since the cars whizzed by on their way to work. A few scattered neighbors saunter to their cars and back out of their drives into the street before slipping away. Crows and blue jays chase each other around the trees where the branches are pregnant with green buds. Squirrels quarrel and wrestle, tumbling over and over in the crooks of a couple venerable old trees twisted and curved by the winds. Across the street one of the long time resident trees has grown up and around the black spindles of a Victorian black iron wicket fence, encompassing the cross bars and hinged wickets in its climb towards light and sky. It's a typical day.

That is, it was a typical day until I read this. I am not surprised, which is a crime in and of itself. I should wonder why government agencies exist, outside of their drain on taxpayer dollars and a place for some people to work, but I can only shake my head and remind the naive soul who passed along the information that we no longer have a government of, by and for the people, but a government steeped in collusion, graft and greed that has become of, by and for whoever has the most money to keep the officials in the style to which they have become accustomed.

What I wonder is what this will do to those people who live by milking the system with the kind of law suits that brought us warning labels on McDonald's coffee reminding us that hot means hot, child proof caps that people with arthritis cannot open but children can, and a field of endeavor looking for ways to blame obesity, heart disease and every modern day ill on someone else's products.

Yes, it's just another day in the neighborhood and I thank my lucky stars that I can stay here in my quiet room and make enough money to keep the roof over my head and the car in the parking lot instead of facing corporate America every day of the working week.

That is all. Disperse.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Purple and violet and the heart of a fiery furnace low down on the horizon, the clouds and sky a pink haze. Across the road my mountains hunch beneath a slate blue sky, charcoal drifting across like the suggestion of clouds. The birds are singing and a woodpecker rat-t-t-t-t-t-t-tats somewhere nearby, stuttering against its perch looking for breakfast and some sleeping grub or bug huddled inside his bark bed. A few cars whisper by and another crow arcs across the rooftops. Morning crept up on me while I was reading and researching, sent into the cyberworld by a notice that Tor Books is looking for paranormal romance manuscripts. They are also looking for sf/f but the paranormal romance angle piqued my interest. Names and books were mentioned, hence the desire to research and read and check things out, increasing my list of holds at the library, which should keep me busy walking back and forth and getting some much needed exercise after three days of doing absolutely nothing but reading, eating, sleeping and catching up on my movie watching. (I was supposed to be painting this weekend but decided I needed a vacation, albeit a short one -- I'll take what I can get)

Outside of responding to Beanie's emails and phone calls, I have kept away from the computer and all things responsible for three days. I needed, as one friend calls it, a mental health break before my mental health breaks. If I have neglected you, I'm not sorry. I would understand if you needed to and did the same. That's just how I am.

Anyway, here I am up at dawn for the first time in three days and utterly in love with everything I see. Color, light, sound, life just as I left it before I shut the windows of my mind to anything outside these walls. Nice to know there are some things I can count on. Doesn't mean I will not continue with my current plans to hide away for one more day, but I am surfacing for air before I dive back between the covers and run back into the world of Lucifer, Leto, Rickey and G-man without a backward glance. Or maybe I'll take them on a walk to the park or some quiet restaurant where they don't mind if I sit and read and nosh very slowly for a couple hours.