04 April 2009

iowa hearts civil liberties

iowa went where no man, woman, or child ever thought a middle-america state would go. yesterday, its supreme court unanimously overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriage. in the words of justice mark s. cady, "we are firmly convinced the exclusion of gay and lesbian people from the institution of marriage does not substantially further any important government objective... we have a constitutional duty to ensure equal protection of the law". yeah...

the more shocking news is that many iowans are outraged at this abomination. according to the ny times, one woman even exclaimed 'angrily' that she's "almost ready to up and leave iowa and move back to minnesota". whyzat, exactly? is minnesota more sympathetic to bigotry? i realize i'm a left-coast-big-city-latte-drinking (though i prefer a grande iced coffee in a venti cup with about a quarter cup of half and half)-liberal, and i can't really speak on behalf of iowans, but lady, i bet iowa won't miss you if you pack your intolerance and move up and over a state or two.

iowa chose yesterday against amending its constitution to discriminate against a group of its citizens. i hope my own state's supreme court thinks long and hard about following iowa's lead (as well as those of connecticut and massachusetts), because as hopeful as i am that it would only be a temporary set back for those of us fighting for equal rights for all californians, it would be a slap in the face from a state i know and love for its progressive march in the direction of better.


03 April 2009

at sea in search of whales

i took this picture, about five and a half minutes after i picked my jaw up off the deck of the boat...

when a friend plans a "whale watching" outing, it sounds really cool. (i mean, there's a comment box below. go ahead and try to name a cooler outing). and when you get on the boat, you don't know if you'll see a whale or a dolphin or really anything. but you go anyway. you go because the chance of seeing a whale in the wild, on its turf and its terms, is more than worth an equal chance no whale comes alone (and they sell booze on board which would more than make up for spending three to four fruitless hours rocking away at sea). i mean, if it wasn't, i'd just jump on the freeway, head on down to sea world, and look shamu right in the eye. but it's not so much the whale as the whale in its home.

and lemme just tell you how much it took the wind out of my lungs the first time i saw the above humpback arch its back high, dive below the surface, and flip up its tail. i never even reached for the camera, nary a thought to capturing the sight of it on film, because it didn't matter. seeing that whale out in the middle of the ocean was nothing short of extraordinary. it was only then i discovered that whales are a bit on the showy side (i mean, how could they not be? this is southern california, after all), and they return to the surface to take a breath and satisfy their curiosity of us, in intervals that run anywhere from five to 20 minutes, and i'd get another shot at that perfect shot.

the best part is that i've been high on nature all week, and i don't even like nature. i mean, i love nature in theory, i love preserving nature and sharing the world with nature, and i really love seeing animals in their natural habitat (except for bugs, snakes, and any creepy hairy thing that might have rabies), but i don't like being dirty, or sleeping on the ground, or being cold, or eating from a dirty pan over an open fire, or spending the night with only a thin layer of nylon separating me from lions and tigers and bears.

so i guess what i'm trying to say is that while it'll likely be snowing in hades before you'd find me camping or recommending any such excursions in nature (unless we're talking about a cabin with hot water and appropriate amenities), i'm pretty sure there isn't a soul on earth who shouldn't spend an afternoon at sea in search of whales.


30 March 2009

being a sponge

i'm absorbing information. and i'm thinking (some of you have asked why i'm writing about panty lines instead of politics. it's because i can't not write (and it would seem i can't not write to an audience (all 15 of you, bless you!)), and right now, i can't really write about politics). because i don't know that i've made up my mind about things. i mean, totally uncharted waters for me, politically. i'm trying to understand before speaking (much, anyway).

lotsa scary stuff happening out there, lotsa scary people with scary weapons, economies plunging, tensions rising. and we're out of the business of telling the rest of the world how to live, because we're too busy fighting over spending with the guys who bankrupted us. it's kind of a lot to get my arms around. but i'm working on it. i hope you'll stick through the panty line and itinerary diaries (probably one about whales to follow) till i can get back to my political ranting.

i'm sure it will be any day now ;)