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Sunday, December 30, 2007

16-0! (But dammit, they didn't cover last night!) Quite an accomplishment for the Patriots this season; still, it won't mean much if they don't now go 19-0 and win it all (which would be fantastic if for no other reason than it- might- finally shut Mercury Morris up! What a bitter old man he's come off as!) A great regular season for the Patriots, the greatest in league history; now it's on to the playoffs. Go Pats!

An adult beverage I recommend: Santa's Little Helper Imperial Stout. It'll warm you up, put a little extra ho-ho-ho in your step!

Not a whole lot to say about the ending of 2007 for me; a very average year, in truth, a year in too many ways I largely let get away from me, another one I spent too often just going thru the motions with, existing rather than truly living. It's odd; seldom are things really, truly "bad" for me. Obviously there are about 6 billion people in this world who would consider it a blessing to have only my problems, on that score I understand- and appreciate- how, on balance, blessed my life is. And more to the point of this blog (and why many of you are here!) I also realize there are many transgender individuals whose lives and livelihoods are far more precarious than mine; again, on balance I understand and appreciate how relatively blessed my life is. Where I frequently get frustrated is in the knowing that there is significantly more out there, more to achieve, experience, and do than I, well, do. It's something I recognize as a deficiency in my life, and it's something I've addressed countless times previously, in this blog, with good and trusted friends, etc... I believe there is significantly more out there- in all of my walks of life- for me, yet too often I don't go after it. Fear? Too much comfort in my zone? Laziness? I wish I knew... and more, I need to gin up- and consistently sustain- the motivation and the effort to do so.

Someone commented on how sad a song All My Love was; here's one that's a lil more upbeat!

Best wishes for a happy and prosperous 2008!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

You ever find yourself slipping on the ice only to regain your footing and think to yourself: "Damn, I'm pretty good! The average person would have fallen down!" Ok, maybe it's just me...

As anyone whose read this for awhile may know, I'm not a fan of wintry weather. Never have been. (I know, I know: "So why do you live in New England, Kellie?" Shaddup, you!) And the cold, the snow, and- worse- the icy conditions we've had here the last week or so have been a lil much; difficult for just getting around, as well as making my runs dicey (I've slacked off too much this month- hafta get more consistent, again.) But it does make things look Christmas-y, pretty; the snow cover adds to the festive look of the lights and decorations and all. Ideally it will last until New Years Day, then melt and a mild winter (and early spring!)... I have just about all of my Christmas shopping done; only a few little odds and ends to pick up... and my lil Charlie Brown Christmas tree is up, too! And maybe it's the diva in me but, as cheesy as it is, my fav holiday disc might be this

In case anyone missed it, my Patriots are 14-0... and the Celtics are- yikes!- 20-2! Even my UMass Minutemen are 8-2 on the early hoops season (and I'm ahead with the NFL and college hoops... but college football killed me this season.)

A wise man once said "Christmas is for cops and kids." (OK, so it was a wiseguy, mobster Whitey Bulger.) I suppose there's some truth in it; I mean, if you're an adult, and you don't have kids (either one's own, or nearby nieces, nephews, etc...) the excitement and all of the holidays does seem less pronounced. Even if you're religious, unless you belong to a faith where the entire day is spent in church, eventually the day seems to become just another holiday, a day off. And there are more than a few folks for whom it isn't even a day off (think: police, fire, EMTs, certainly our servicemen and women) or a day much worth celebrating (the homeless, the shut-in, the lonely, the sick.) I'm not sure where exactly I'm going with this, except to suggest that, for those who have somewhere to go and/or someone to share the holidays with, be thankful. And grateful. For those who do not, for those who find the holidays to be among the most miserable times of the year, hang in there; they'll be over before you know it.

"Come on it's lovely weather/For a sleigh ride together with you..."

Sunday, December 09, 2007

All My Love- Led Zeppelin

Should I fall out of love, my fire in the light
To chase a feather in the wind
Within the glow that weaves a cloak of delight
There moves a thread that has no end.

For many hours and days that pass ever soon
The tides have caused the flame to dim
At last the arm is straight, the hand to the loom
Is this to end or just begin?

All of my love, all of my love
All of my love to you.

The cup is raised, the toast is made yet again
One voice is clear above the din
Proud Aryan one word, my will to sustain
For me, the cloth once more to spin.

All of my love, all of my love
All of my love to you.

Yours is the cloth, mine is the hand that sews time
His is the force that lies within
Ours is the fire, all the warmth we can find
He is a feather in the wind.

All of my love, all of my love
All of my love to you.

I get a little bit lonely...

Saturday, December 08, 2007

With- some- exceptions, I'm usually pretty uncritical toward others (unless they do/say something completely over-the-top and offensive) saving my harshest criticisms and judgments for myself; when it comes to others, more often than not I believe I'm pretty upbeat and friendly, interested in and supportive of their lives, goals, endeavors, achievements, interests, and such. I'm quite good at recognizing my- many- faults and failings; I'm usually far less successful in improving upon and overcoming them. Few things tear me up more inside than knowing that I've disappointed others; it's seldom been done intentionally, I've never set out to hurt or disappoint anyone, but- mostly due to the schedule I keep (in turn due mainly to the finances I also- try- to keep, as well as- trying- to balance my personal priorities as I see them: family first, then long-time friends, then others, then myself, part of my whole "loyalty" thing) apparently I've disappointed more than a few people, simply by not being able to be there for them as they- and I- would wish. I won't apologize for trying to be responsible work/finances-wise, nor for at least trying to honor priorities and commitments; I do apologize to any and all I've- serially- disappointed as result of same.

I hafta change things.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Religion and politics...

An issue which seems to have raised it's head again of late; witness GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney's recent speech. I'll mention more on that in a moment, but I think it is worth contrasting that with the following, by fellow GOP Presidential candidate Fred Thompson:
Asked about his religious beliefs during an appearance before about 500 Republicans in South Carolina yesterday, Fred Thompson said he attends church when he visits his mother in Tennessee but does not belong to a church or attend regularly at his home in McLean, Va., just outside Washington. The actor and former senator, who was baptized in the Church of Christ, said he gained his values from "sitting around the kitchen table" and said he did not plan to speak about his religious beliefs on the stump. "I know that I'm right with God and the people I love," he said, according to Bloomberg News Service. It's "just the way I am not to talk about some of these things." . . . And he did not seem particularly concerned that his admission would hurt him with voters. "Me getting up and talking about what a wonderful person I am and that sort of thing, I'm not comfortable with that, and I don't think it does me any good," he said. "People will make up their own mind about that, and that's the way I like it." Personally, I like that attitude; much of it is probably cultural (having lived my entire life in New England, an area where evangelicalism is not common, and Catholicism is the most common faith, public expressions most often limited to occassionally crossing oneself) but, while I have no problem with people who have a profound and sincere religious faith, I'm also a lil uncomfortable around folks who wear it on their sleeve. That's just me.

As for Romney; first, I supported and voted for him twice, for Senate in '94, and for governor in '02. I do not support and will not vote for him again. Very short story; on far too many issues he seems to have had conversions of convenience in order to better position himself for his Presidential run (nevermind that I agree with his- currently stated- views on right to life and gun right issues; I disagree with his- currently stated- views regarding same-sex marriage and other LGBT issues, it was and is his utter cravenness in flip-flopping on these and other issues to pander to a part of the GOP electorate that is most off-putting... who does he think he is, John Kerry?!) His Mormonism was never an issue with me, and, except for a brief- and shameful- attempt by the Kennedy campaign in '94 to make it an issue, it hasn't been one here in Massachusetts; he lost to an Irish Catholic in '94, he defeated an Irish Catholic in '02. For those concerned that somehow he might take orders from Salt Lake City as President, one need only look at his tenure as Governor to have those fears allayed. As for his speech yesterday... mezza-mezza. It was eloquent, and as heart-felt, as Romney can be. It was also a speech that any candidate, Republican or Democratic, could have given. Bluntly, the only reason he gave this speech was to attempt to placate a few thousand evangelical Republican caucus-goers in Iowa, to attempt to shore up eroding support due to their theological concerns re. Mormonism. On that score, I'd say he failed. These are folks who appear to be far more concerned with the theology of his church than with his proposals and policies on countless political issues, to their disgrace, and to their party's loss. In this day and age it is shameful that there are significant numbers of people who would disqualify a candidate, not because of his proposals, policies, and past achievements (or lack thereof) but due to his or her private faith (or lack thereof as well.) From what- little- I understand of it, Mormonism differs in very significant ways with conventional Christianity, be it Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, as well as with Judaism, Islam, what have you. I also understand that there is no "Mormon" view on tax policy, deficit spending, the war with terrorism, and that their views on social issues would be no more binding than those of the Catholic Church, Southern Baptists, Episcopalians, whomever. Democratic Senate Mjaority Leader Harry Reid is a Mormon; has anyone questioned his fitness to serve based upon his faith? Neither Romney's, nor Reid's, nor anyone else's expression of faith should be seen as a bar to public office.

One part of Romney's speech where I felt he came up short as well was his- intentional?- neglect of people of no faith. Even those secularists who despise President Bush have to concede that, time and again, in his remarks our President has gone out of his way to reference "good people of no faith," religious faith not being mandatory for good citizenship. Romney seemed to reference that only people of faith were capable of good citizenship; a mistake, and wrong, IMO.

Which brings me to a few final thoughts on religion and politics. First, for religious conservatives: It is worth noting that the most successful President of my lifetime (Ronald Reagan) was a man who, while he was comfortable in acknowledging his faith in and reliance upon God, was not a regular church-goer, nor especially preachy. The least successful President of my lifetime (Jimmy Carter) was quite possibly the most devout President of the modern era, wearing his religion on his sleeve. I've seen a Quaker who would be considered amoral (Nixon) and a Southern Baptist determined to believe that the Bible did not consider oral sex adultery (Clinton.) I've seen a father who was a mainline Protestant (Bush 41) whose son was a born-again evangelical (Bush 43.) And somewhere in here falls Jerry Ford! All of which should show that the expression of personal faith is of little importance to effectiveness of service. Second, to secularists, to those who would disdain and completely disavow the commingling of religion with politics: the most successful social movement of the last century, the civil rights movement, had its (forgive the pun!) genesis in the pulpits of southern black churches. It's most forceful and eloquent leader was a minister, guy named King I believe? Similarly, today the struggle to protect and defend the most innocent of human life is being waged foremost in the pulpits and parishes of our nation. There are churches on the liberal spectrum waging the battle for respect and rights for LGBT folks. Should they be silent?

Faith should inform, but not dicate, public policy. Better to use the power of the pulpits for moral suasion, using their influence to impact the hearts and minds of individuals and society, to call society to act more righteously, rather than to seek to impose their views via legislation, or demanding that political leaders accede to their calls.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

In a previous entry I said I would outline my plans for a college football championship. Basically it would be pretty similar to the format used in 1-AA, or what is now referred to as the Football Championship Subdivision. It would be a 16 team tournament, with the champions of the ACC, Big East, Big 10, Big 12, Mountain West, Pac 10, SEC, and WAC receiving automatic bids. This would leave 8 at-large bids which, using a ratings system, would place the top 8 non-champion teams in the tournament as well (this would enable schools from lesser conferences, such as C-USA, the MAC, and others, as well as worthy independents, to be included should their records, including strength of schedules, deserve it, as well as teams from the "major" conferences who, while not champions, also had a high ranking.) Teams would then also be seeded according to their ranking, with #1 playing #16, #2 vs. #15, etc... going from a round of 16, to 8, to 4, to a championship game between the two remaining teams.

As for the game sites themselves (and to placate those traditionalists who care for the bowl structure) much like the college basketball tournament, venues would place bids to host a game, and the tournament committee would award the bids accordingly. Existing bowls would be more than welcome to bid; perhaps they could be given preferential treatment if it would bring a real playoff system about. Ideally, the championship game would be played on/around New Years Day, with the earlier-round games being played successive Saturdays throughout December (again, very similar to the current FCS format.) Some might question whether fans would be willing to travel to follow their team, week after week. Few teams would actually end up playing the entire tournament, but also- fans frequently travel to various sites around the country in March to watch their college hoops teams, why wouldn't they do likewise for their favorite football team?

For those who complain that this would add too many games to the schedule and be too much of an added burden upon the student-athletes involved, most bowl-eligible schools currently end up playing 13-14 games anyway; this plan would extend that at most to 16 (and only for the two teams meeting in the championship game.) Would it be a tremendous hardship upon the student-athletes involved? No moreso than the FCS tournament is; it's OK for student-athletes at schools such as UMass and Delaware to play football tournament games throughout December, but not their peers at, say, Ohio State or LSU?

Big time college football is the only college sport where the champion is not definitively decided on the field. The interest (and money) such a tournament and championship would bring, as well as simply putting an end to the questionable rankings, the inevitable teams left out of the current system (why shouldn't undefeated Hawaii have had a shot at the national title game this year?) disputed champions and more, make this a winner!

Now, if only UMass would make the jump to 1A football...
(Update 12/7- another proposal.)

Monday, December 03, 2007

Ignorance and intolerance.

I came across the following on someone's profile on a popular TG site recently:
Remember Being a Gay / TG Rebubplican is like being a Jew for Hitler
(I'm assuming this person meant Republican, as I have no idea what a "Rebubplican" is.)

While I'm an independent, I've frequently voted (and in the past have been registered as) Republican, simply because, on more issues, their POV and policies have been closer to mine than those of their opponents. I make no apologies for that, anymore than someone who votes Democrat need apologize for their votes. But think about the above "wisdom" this person imparted; first, she is equating supporters of a mainstream American political party with a political ideology that advocated- and accomplished- the destruction of 12 million people. Can anyone point out where that policy is located in the GOP platform? Anyone? Please? Second, what great support has the opposing party, the Democrats, made for LGB, and especially T, folks? Yes, their rhetoric has been better, and yes, there have been individuals within the Democratic Party who have been supporters of LGBT-specific issues (there have also been some within the GOP, if Miss Informed above was paying attention, including three of the last four Republican Governors in her home state, a home state in which three of the four SJC justices who advocated same-sex marriage were Republican appointees. And the- current- leading GOP candidate for President has stated views on LGBT issues virtually indistinguishable from his peers in the Democratic Party.) But as an institution, how have they been so great, and the GOP is equated with Hitler by Miss Informed? Need I remind Miss Informed that it was a Democratic President (with Democratic Congressional majorities) who instituted the inane "Don't Ask/Don't Tell" policy? And need I remind Miss Informed that it was a Democratic President who signed into law the '96 Defense of Marriage Act? Perhaps I should also point out to Miss Informed that it was the allegedly hard line conservative Supreme Court that overturned Texas' sodomy law? And perhaps Miss Informed needs a refresher on how the major party candidates for President in '04 stood on same-sex marriage; Republican President George W. Bush opposed it... as did Democratic Senator John Kerry (you can, as they say, look it up.) It was the Republican Governor of Connecticut who signed into law her state's civil union legislation. And in state after state after state where- wrongly, IMO- amendments to prohibit same-sex marriage passed, they were passed by numbers FAR in excess of registered Republicans- apparently more than a few independents, and Democrats, would meet Miss Informed's Hitler analogy, huh? And need I remind Miss Informed of how many of the- alleged- champions of T folks threw the T over the side during the recent ENDA issue?

I'm not here to defend the GOP's institutional views on LGBT issues; they spend too much time and effort catering to a relatively small segment of their perceived base that is obsessed over LGBT issues. And I have no problem with folks who are passionate, engaged- and hopefully informed and articulate- about politics, no matter their POV. Folks like that you can engage, debate, and respect. But it never ceases to sadden me that so many people, the same folks who often bleat of their "inclusiveness," their "tolerance," their "commitment to diversity" do not practice what they preach, and engage in the most scurrilous and broad accusations and slurs upon those they disagree with. These folks might do well to ponder the words from Matthew 7:1-5; "Stop judging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you. Why do you notice the splinter in your brother's eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove that splinter from your eye,' while the wooden beam is in your eye? You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother's eye. "

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Thoughts while pondering if anyone wants to win the college BCS this year (simple solution: have a tournament, just like the- former 1AA, now FCS- does... and yes, UMass lost yesterday, you... I'll expand on this idea soon!)

We've had some nippy air this weekend! And with- perhaps- our first snowstorm of the season on the way, folks might be singing "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas..." soon.

One thing I find especially maddening is tying to figure out other peoples' personal agendas. I don't even know why they have 'em. But be it at work, or with friends, acquaintences, or other people you come into contact with on a regular basis, and they're personable, professional, friendly, engaged, then all of a sudden- boom- they're distant, cold as ice. And you don't know why. You wrack your brain trying to figure out if you screwed something up, neglected something, did or said something wrong, etc... and you come up with nothing. And you hate to ask "Are you angry at me about something?"cuz that makes you sound insecure. But obviously there is something wrong, and because the relationship is important, it's bothersome. I'm almost always good about being upfront with others if there is a problem. Not arrogantly or abrasively (or abusively) but if I have a problem with someone that is important to a part of my life I try to bring it to that persons' attention; what the problem is as I see it, whether or not it is simply a misunderstanding or honest mistake, what their response is, and- hopefully- a resolution. Seems pretty simple and straight-forward; much better than playing power and/or mind games, yes?

I'm not a huge fan of the whole "celebrity" thing; I've never understood why people are so interested in every coming and going of a celebrity, and similarly I don't understand folks who seek fame and then get angry over their status; hey, if you don't mind all of the- many- perks of celebrity, sorry, but you hafta deal with some of the inconveniences. But the most loathsome of creatures may be the paparazzi; it's one thing to snap pics or video of a celeb attending an event, but these people who follow (stalk) celebs from the moment they leave their house, who follow them any and everywhere they go and worse, who try to provoke these celebs into an incident... If I were a celeb (and had their money!) I would identify a couple of the most persistently egregious and annoying 'razzi and hire someone to follow them everywhere, to stick a camera in their faces all day, every day, record every one of their less-than-great moments, just to give them an idea of how it feels. It's one thing to be doing "your job," it's another thing to be an intrusive, annoying pest.

Wash. School Calendar Forgets Christmas With the widespread attention and excitement surrounding such events as Human Rights Day and Eid al-Adha, it's easy to understand how their list of "important dates" in December overlooked as obscure an event in our culture as Christmas...

The wiseguys have the Pats as a 20 pt. favorite this week? Hmmm...

RIP, Evel Knievel.

"Take it slow/Take it easy on me/And shed some light/Shed some light on me please..."

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Mystery Achievement- The Pretenders

Mystery achievement
Don't breathe down my neck, no
I got no trophies on display
I sign them away
I mean what the heck.
All of your promises
Don't fill me with pride no
I just wanna get out on the floor
And do the Cuban slide, slide, slide, slide.

But every day, every nighttime I find
Mystery achievement
You're on my mind.
And every day, every nighttime I feel
Mystery achievement you're so unreal.

Mystery achievement
Where's my sandy beach? yeah
I had my dreams like everybody else
But they're out of reach
I said right out of reach.
I could ignore you
Your demands are unending
I got no tears on my ice cream but you know me
I love pretending.

(Another @#$%ing Saturday nite, stuck here.)