my weblog

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Someone asked me recently why I don't have more TG "specific" bloggings here...I'm not sure exactly what he meant...I mean, is there a specifically TG way of, I dunno, working, working out, books to read, music to listen to, views to hold, sports to follow, interests to have, etc...? The best way I can address this is how I did (do) on my To Whom It May Concern page on my website:
I would hope that, if you spent enough time here, checking out various pages (besides my pics :) you'd see that most of my attitudes, thoughts, and interests are pretty much the same as those of the person you've known for however many years, even if "this" is probably the last thing you would have expected of me. The person you know, or knew, wasn't, and isn't, a lie, but rather a part of the totality of who I am.
Admittedly, I'm not an "activist" sort of person. Some are, and if they do so out of conviction, and with dignity and with respect for others, I applaud them, whether their issues are the same as mine or not. In short, I am who I am; having become more comfortable with my transgenderism over the years doesn't change that (as it was/is always a part of who I am as well.) Or perhaps he simply meant as to my personal experiences, etc... well, of late, other than the day-to-day drudgery, I haven't had a whole lot to relate of note! Not complaining, it's my own fault, or choice, or whatever, I'm the one who has chosen which commitments, which obligations, etc... to put first, and second, and social life has suffered severely of late as such, but one must do what one believes one must do, life isn't all about only what we want.

Having said that, a little commentary on- surprise!- a couple of TG-related stories in the local news (and wondering if my comments will get me kicked out of "the Sisterhood!")...The first involves a convicted murderer here in Massachusetts who is also, apparently, gender dysphoric:
Con: Fund my sex change
Convicted killer seeks sex change operation
So that it's clear- this individual was convicted of murder for strangling his wife in 1990 and sentenced to life without parole. Apparently this individual does have gender identity disorder, but you know what? Too bad. In 2002, a U.S. District Court judge ruled that this lifer was entitled- at taxpayers' expense, natch!- to hormone therapy and to laser hair removal treatments! And now this individual is seeking- again, of course, at taxpayers' expense- reassignment surgery! My views on government funding for health care an issue for another day, but why should that individual be eligible to receive these goodies at state expense, when there are, within Massachusetts alone, literally hundreds, perhaps a few thousand, transgender individuals who would luv to have the Commonwealth pick up the tab for their 'mones and their laser treatments (I can't budget either at this time, dammit!) but suffer from the misfortune of not being guests of the Commonwealth- for life!- because they did not murder one of their loved ones! (Not to mention, of course, that there are also thousands of GGs, and even some men, who might wish to have laser removal done, but for the $$$.) One might have a- slight- bit more sympathy for the spending of taxpayers' dollars on this individual if the crime was one of a less severe nature, one where there was the chance of one day rejoining society. But for hormone therapy and laser hair removal, let alone reassignment surgery, for a convicted murderer?! Methinks denying these are not what our Founders would have considered cruel and unusual punishment.

State trooper accused of transgender bias
One that doesn't necessarily reflect all that well upon either the transgender or the local law enforcement communities, but...briefly, a transwoman was pulled over by a Mass. State Police trooper for speeding, proceeded to flip off the trooper, subsequently stepped into traffic on an Interstate, and was arrested. She is filing suit with the Mass. Commission Against Discrimination because, during this event, the trooper is alleged to have repeatedly referred to her as "guy" and "buddy." Whether the trooper was having a bad day, or whether the offender was disrespectful and obnoxious, or whether the trooper has issues with transgenderism, he is a professional, and he should have handled himself, including his comments, in a better manner. But when one acts with disrespect (and flipping off a law enforcement officer is disrespectful) one should not be surprised when one is treated with disrespect. I can relate to this episode to a degree- I was arrested once (by local, not state, police, and for a more serious driving offense than speeding...and I was clearly at fault; fortunately no one was injured nor property damaged, but a lesson learned) and when the appearance says "f" but the license says "m" usually it is wise to say "Yes, officer" and "No, officer" and to be as cooperative and respectful as possible. They are just doing their job. In my circumstance (and again, for a more serious driving offense than simply speeding) I was treated with respect and courtesy throughout the entire arrest, booking, and release procedures I believe in significant part because I acted and treated them with respect and courtesy...What will come of this case? Who knows...perhaps the trooper in question has a history of incidents with transgender and/or other people, and if so, probably should be subject to disciplinary measures. And if there is a pattern of this kind of behavior within the Mass. State Police (and I don't know that there is) perhaps a workshop and/or training in sensitivity to transgender issues would be wise. I would only also suggest that, if the facts as presented in the above story are true, the traffic offender, given her own behavior, best not receive taxpayer-funded "damages" for any alleged distress incurred as a result of this incident.

"In the end I was the mean girl/Or somebody's in-between girl/Now it's the devil I love/And that's as funny as real love..."

Monday, May 29, 2006

The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead or on the next. It was the deep knowledge--and pray God we have not lost it--that there is a profound, moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest. You were here to liberate, not to conquer, and so you and those others did not doubt your cause. And you were right not to doubt.

You all knew that some things are worth dying for. One's country is worth dying for, and democracy is worth dying for, because it's the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man. All of you loved liberty. All of you were willing to fight tyranny, and you knew the people of your countries were behind you.
President Ronald Reagan
Remarks at the U.S. Ranger Monument
Pointe du Hoc, France June 6, 1984

On this Memorial Day, it is certainly worth taking a moment to remember and honor the brave and selfless men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice while answering our nation's call to duty.

I'm probably regressing to a Dazed and Confused youth, but right now there is NO better recording to get me pumped for- and through- any and all of my workouts, be it my morning run or my cardio sessions at the gym, than Led Zeppelin's How The West Was Won. From Immigrant Song to The Ocean, with a powerful Stairway in the middle (which always reminds me of long-ago junior high school dances!) I'm not a huge metal head, but there is something about The Mighty Led Zeppelin- and this rocks! Crank it as loud as it goes and just go...if this can't get you going, you're dead!

I've addressed this before, but in light of his passing 714, I felt the need to reiterate my thoughts on Barry Bonds, drugs in sports, etc...As to the latter, I often think I'm one of the very few sports fans not especially troubled by- ahem- performance enhancement. It's been around a lot longer than many folks want to admit. The "Golden Era" of sports was fueled by amphetamines, folks! You don't believe speed had an impact upon perfomances? Do we now put an * next to every record set between, say, the mid-50's and the mid-70's, be it baseball, football, whatever? And does anyone really believe that, had athletes from way back when had access to the performance-enhancing substances available today that at lest some might not have sought better baseball (or football, or whatever) thru chemistry?! Bottomline, professional sports are part of the larger entertainment industry, no less, no more. Further, many professional athletes only have a limited window of opportunity to ply their trade, to earn their living. If, knowing the health risks inherent in taking certain substances, they wish to make that trade-off, at best hoping their health doesn't suffer too badly, at worst dying at 45 or 50 or whatever a wealthy individual, that should be their business. (Certainly it was/is an issue that our Congress never should have wasted a moment considering, much less holding hearings and the like upon.) And in sports such as baseball, while steroids and the like may well make a player more powerful, he still needs the hand/eye coordination, the reps at bat (and in the weight room) , etc... to maximize his potential, his talent. I'm truly not troubled by it, nor do I believe it "taints" any records...Having said that, as to Mr. Bonds- I truly hope that someway, somehow, he does not pass Hank Aaron! Bonds is such a loathsome individual, compared even with many of his spoiled peers in professional sports, truly unlikeable on just about any level! He doesn't have the "solid citizen" thing going on, he doesn't even have the "gangsta" thing going on, he's just a jerk; I don't believe he'd be any more likeable "clean" as opposed to juiced.

In other sporting news, congrats to my UMass Minutemen men's lacrosse team on an outstanding season, albeit coming up just a bit short in today's national championship game, losing to the undefeated and #1-ranked Virginia Cavaliers. For those who haven't seen it, lacrosse is a fantastic sport, combining the best elements of football, hockey, and basketball, and it's a sport that is growing tremendously throughout the country (even my old high school has a program now), including at the professional level.

(Yes, I'm playing w/ the "links" feature bigtime tonite!)

Happy Memorial Day.

"If there's a bustle in your hedgerow, don't be alarmed now/It's just a spring clean for the May queen..."

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Odds and sods...

A couple of Culture War observations...The hullabaloo over The Da Vinci Code film (Full disclosure 1- I have neither seen the film nor read the novel. No particular reason, except they hold no great interest for me, not my thing. Full disclosure 2- I am Catholic.) Dan Brown and Ron Howard are both well within their rights to write and produce this work. Similarly, Catholic (and other) groups, religious and lay, are well within their rights to criticize it. Not having read nor seen it, I cannot comment on if it is unduly and unnecessarily provocative toward the Catholic Church. I do know that- too often- artists seem to conflate artistic freedom with a need to not merely provoke thought but to intentionally denigrate, ridicule, and at times offend groups, ideas, etc... with which they disagree (more below.) Having said that, I also believe that some of these groups opposed to The Da Vinci Code are taking it much too seriously. Folks- it's a movie, it's fiction! If those opposed to the book and/or film believe our faith is so fragile that a pop book or film can cause it damage, what does that say about their confidence in the strength of our faith and beliefs? Oh ye of little faith! You wanna go on the record as stating that it is anathema to Catholic belief and doctrine and the like, and that the Church, and/or orgs within it, oppose the film, and prefer that Catholics (and others) boycott it? Fine, great, that's freedom. But really, doesn't the Church have more pressing issues, doesn't it have a larger, more important mission to fulfill than expending considerable time and energy on a work of fiction?

Somewhat similarly, the early reviews of/for Madonna's latest tour. I admit, I like much of the Material Girl's stuff, and I'd kill for her body! But as I mentioned above sometimes artists need to understand and appreciate- and respect- the difference between being thought-provoking and simply being provocative for provocation's sake. Apparently her stage show makes much use of Christian imagery in a, um, less-than-holy context. We get it, Madonna- you have issues with the Catholic Church, now can you just move on already?! Can you sing and dance and entertain without the heavy-handedness? Please? Too often, and it seems more prevalent of late in the music world, too many entertainers are more interested in using their forums to browbeat their audiences with their politics and their views. Don't they realize that- sometimes- people simply want to be entertained, to escape the cares and worries and issues and divisions of the world for a few hours and just have some fun, some diversion, not to be lectured to, by word or by image? Let them write an op-ed or produce a PSA or contribute to and/or join an advocacy group...but ease up on your audiences, OK? You don't see, I dunno, Shaquille O'Neal pontificating upon the issues of the day while running up court...please, leave the heavy-handed "lessons" for another time.

Of late I've been in mind a bit of this line from The Godfather: Don Corleone: Well.. there just wasn't enough time, Michael. Wasn't enough time. At times lately I've been feeling as if many of the things I had hoped to achieve by now seem to be slipping out of grasp, out of reach, as if there just hasn't been and won't be enuf time left to reach them, to get there...

Toward that end...consistency. More and more I'm reminded and convinced that the key to achieving and maintaining any success is consistency. Doing the right things, applying the things that brought initial success, in a steady, constant, consistent manner. Too often I've let myself get off-track of late, particularly in my fitness/diet regimen, and in my balancing and organization of time. In short, I've slacked off and have not applied with consistency the things that, when I do apply them, bring more structure, more accomplishment, more results, and ultimately more fulfillment, to my life. (I bring this up here only to have my feet held to the fire as it were.) It's not about being rigid and unwilling to change, but about applying and maintaining things that I know to work for me.

"Twenty years now, where'd they go?/Twenty years, I don't know/I sit and I wonder sometimes/Where they've gone..."

Monday, May 08, 2006

In mind of a relationship ended too soon...

(from The Baron, Johnny Cash)
Wish I had a known ya
When you were a little younger
Around me you might have learned a thing or two.
If I had known you longer
You might be a little stronger
And maybe you’d shoot straighter
Than you do.
Maybe you’d shoot straighter
Than you do.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Just a quickie to congratulate a certain someone and his wife on the birth of their first child! Despite being a bit more involved than anticipated, mom, son- and dad!- apparently are doing well, albeit very tired! Congrats, you ;)