A Gay Old Time

The Poobah family took a little day trip today. We braved the low fog and wind-driven San Francisco chill to follow a route called the 49 Mile Scenic Drive. Supposedly designed to take you to some of the more scenic spots in the city, we discovered there is literally no way to follow the map provided. Streets go one way – the wrong way, there are few signs, and in some cases the signs actually point in the wrong direction.

After a fair amount of backtracking trial and error, I decided to just freelance it and go on without a map. Mrs. Poobah, a stickler for structure and rules, valiantly kept trying to lead us back on track, but I finally persuaded her to let it go before the map drove her crazy. I’m convinced that if she’d been with Lewis and Clark, they’d still be trying to get out of St. Louis for lack of a proper map.

Relying on a little automotive orienteering, we wound our way cross town, through Haight Ashbury, around Lake Merced, and to the ocean where it was bitterly cold and foggy. As usual, the wet-suited surfers were out turning blue and a few hearty souls were laying out in bikinis and swim trunks working on their “fog tans”. The more sensible folk wore heavy coats and a few even sported balaclavas to ward off the chill. All in all, a typical summer beach day for San Francisco.

From the beach, we tracked back across town. We zigged here and zagged there and generally saw quite a few things we’d never seen before, even if we had taken part of the same route before.

When we arrived in the central part of the city, we became entangled in the Gay Pride Day festivities. This was the 37th year for a mammoth parade – always led by a lesbian motorcycle group called Dykes on Bikes. A few years ago, they were joined by Mikes on Bikes, a male motorcycle group.

Lots of chanting and some speechifying here and there. Most streets were either closed for the Rainbow flag bedecked folk or choked with everyone from hetero families out for the day, like us, to a bizillion others of every orientation letting their freak flags fly. It was a very San Francisco kind of day.

I like the fact that I live in a place where congregations like this are normal and natural. There was no violence. Everyone, gay and straight alike, mingled and talked. The participants ran the gamut from the serious AIDS quilters to the more lighthearted men wearing nun’s habits and full beards. It was a day to throw beads or flowers instead of bombs or epithets.

Other than taking forever to find an unblocked way out of the city, it was an excellent day. The sun finally came out, no pun intended, and everyone had a good time. In the back of my mind I kept remembering the asshats who want to muck all this up – literally rain on this parade – but I tried to return to the moment and enjoy what was going on while I could. I wanted to just concentrate on the goodness and forget, for a day anyway, the badness that all too often seems to attach itself to events like this. And for the most part, I was successful.

I guess you could say the family and I just had a gay old time.

Go Ahead and Visit, Just be Klassy About It

If you look down to the right…a little lower…lower…there – you’ll see a banner for the Anti-PC League. The League is comprised mostly of those whose political stances are slightly to the right of Atilla the Hun. Sure, there is a smattering of moderates and those more leftish, but it’s primarily a list of the Right.

A survey would show that on any given day, there are a lots of unhappy people in this group. Just like those on the left, they carp about what’s happening, except in a mirror image of the left-leaning view. Bank record snooping vs powerful weapon of antiterrorism. The quagmire that is Iraq or Iraq as a shining beacon of democracy in the Middle East. Lefties love the Downing Street memo while Righties think the ACLU is part of the Axis of Evil.

The list is long, but I do like to sample the offerings so I can what others think. For the most part, I can’t speak highly for their logic or eloquence, but I can see real passion there and that’s not an altogether bad thing. Besides, that badge drives a good amount of traffic my way, although there may be some Righties having heart attacks when they arrive at a blog that openly calls them asshats. If they do, they don’t comment first. They visit, but they never seem to comment.

While I may disagree with the politics of most of my fellow listers, I do agree that our society is way too politically correct. That’s why I rarely edit what I write to keep from offending someone. If I did, this would be a very quiet place indeed.

So, if you want a dose of the other side, go ahead and visit a few of these places. But when you do, show them a least more respect than they’d be apt to show you.

Be classy…er, klassy when you visit. Okay?

Another Fine Mess George Has Gotten Us Into

There’s been a lot of bold talk by the dems about the need to set a deadline for troop withdrawal in Iraq. This idea has floated around the halls of Congress since the weak-bladdered pols went along with this ill-fated misadventure to begin with.

At the time, our Commandant-of-Ineptitude resisted the idea on the grounds that it would send a signal to the “terrists” that they only need hold out until the deadline and we’d leave the fetid stinkhole to them to fight over – sort of a walk and run instead of a cut and run. Lord Bush and the cabal argued that by publicizing a deadline, the attacks wouldn’t stop, they’d only get worse. I shudder to say this, but I actually think that was correct at the time. Of course, their follow-on statements about victory being in our grasp and the rest of the happy-talk claptrap was as nonsensical then as it is today.

Now the dems are reviving the idea with a new justification – we need to send a signal to the Iraqis to stand up and take care of their own country. While this may sound like a brave position that’s full of wisdom it’s – what’s the word? – er, stupid. It’s the stupid talk of stupid people who did something stupid and now want political cover so they can convince more stupid people to continue voting their stupid asses back in.

Does anyone actually think the Iraqis need to be told that? After all, they’re the ones who go to the local market dodging bullets, IEDs, and kidnappers at every corner. They’re the ones experiencing the wonderful results of Rummy’s great nation-building prowess. Heck, they’re up to almost six hours a day of electricity and they have semi-flushing toilets. They’re probably kicking back and relaxing now they’re on easy street. Why, I can see the flowers being assembled to be thrown at our feet in gratitude as I write this.

The Iraqis may be killers and religious zealots, but they aren’t stupid. They know they need to pull together, but it isn’t as easy as let’s all hug and be one big happy republic.

With ethnic and religious scores to settle, there are only a handful of Iraqis willing to play nice and make democracy. They haven’t gotten along for eons and there’s no reason to suspect they’ll get along now that Bushrod has given them the keys to a brand new, shiny democracy to test drive. The proof of this problem is in Saddam Hussein himself. He was a ruthless dictator who killed and tortured for fun and profit and he couldn’t keep the Kurds from slitting a few Sunni throats or Sunnis from kicking a little Shiite ass. What hope does Bush have? He can’t even pacify his own party.

First, we signal the terrorists, then we signal the Iraqis. That’s a whole lot of signaling. It reminds me of smoke signals from the Hikowi camp on F-Troop. Puff…puff…”Calamity Jane go on heap big date with Capt. Parmenter! Agarn, come quick.”

Signals aren’t going to work and here’s why. When the Great Decider decided to invade the place, and the dems decided to abandon their duty to try to stop the nitwit, we began painting the international floor. Since then, we’ve steadfastly refused to stop painting. In fact, we’ve been painting furiously ever since. It’s been a veritable orgy of painting. And now, we find ourselves painted into a corner surrounded by a perpetually wet-painted floor.

As Colin Powell pointed out at the beginning of this tale of woe, “If you break it, you bought it.” Well, we broke it, stomped on the pieces, set them afire, and finally pissed off all the firefighters so they wouldn’t come bail our sorry asses out. Common decency and the prestige of the nation would suggest that if we broke it, we should fix it. The problem is, how do we put Iraqi Dumpty back together again without breaking ourselves into pieces in the process?

We could leave, but a kill-fest will surely ensue and that famously unstable region will spin out of control. If we leave, the place will become the nest of terrorists that the Big Dick always falsely claimed it was. If we gradually withdraw, the result will be the same – only prolonged.

If we stay, Iraqis and Americans both will continue dying and you, your kids, and your grandkids will be paying to keep a leaky boat afloat on the Tigris River. Meanwhile, George will go back to a job he’s more qualified for – manual labor back on the ranch in Crawford.

There is no real debate about Iraq, because there are no real workable alternatives. No matter how much lipstick both parties put on it, Iraq is a pig. A big, grunting, shitting, aggressive boar that’s going to chew on our collective legs for a long time to come, no matter what we do or don’t do. We’re living in the middle of an awesomely scary movie that is equal parts Laurel and Hardy and every scary thought to haunt the mind of Stephen King. And, there’s only one thing to say…

George, this is another fine mess you’ve gotten us into.