I was pretty surprised to see a Washington Post article with this title. Seems provocative, but really it's not such a big deal. From the article:
Traditional notions of family, especially the extended family network, endure. But working mothers, unmarried couples living together, out-of-wedlock births, birth control, divorce and remarriage have transformed the social landscape. And no one seems to feel this more than African American women. One told me that with today's changing mores, it's hard to know "what normal looks like" when it comes to courtship, marriage and parenthood. Sex, love and childbearing have become a la carte choices rather than a package deal that comes with marriage. Moreover, in an era of brothers on the "down low," the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and the decline of the stable blue-collar jobs that black men used to hold, linking one's fate to a man makes marriage a risky business for a black woman.
It's interesting to think about this just for black society, but it's also interesting because I think this is a larger trend in society. As all the religeons of the world begin to intermingle (a process that clearly sometimes involves deadly struggle), it becomes harder and harder for a culture to remain in the kind of isolation that makes one way of living seem like the uncontestable "right way".
People are experimenting with new ways of being a functioning society. Fundamentalists of all flavors would have you believe that this is somehow both the cause and result of a profound moral decline. In my mind, the world is just changing, finally mixing up, people bumping up against each other, and this is the process of people trying to work it out as a world community, for better or worse.
To me, the consolidation of world power and the incredible impoverishment and poisoning of the third world is of far more concern than the "defense of marraige". To me that's the least of our troubles. Who can stand up and say, "My way of life is the best because it causes the least suffering and is clearly God's way"? I don't think anyone has the corner on that market.
Granted, if you get married you have a lot of models for lifetime behavior. But some of them are like, the fucking lockhorns . Is that really so great?
Okay, this is a damned cool idea: Flapart, slightly disturbing dustjackets that you put over books you're reading. My suggestions:
The new Neko Case is out. I didn't like it at first, but now it's starting to grow on me. That chick is pretty damn cool. My favorite songs are John Saw That Number (I love it when she gets biblical) and That Teenage Feeling. That teenage feeling has been kinda inspirational for me lately. I've been holding out for that teenage feeling. The illustration in the liner notes is killer, too. It depicts a huge cartoonish semi that says "I Love You" on it. It's all distorted and the drive train is conspicuously snapped. Sounds familiar. As usual the Pitchfork review has something good to say.
The real surprise, however, is a new release from a new friend Brenda Belcher. I met her at Zan's birthday party but couldn't really hear her songs. She called me a few days later and said, "Hey computer guy, can you help me twiddle some pixels for my album cover?" I told her to sure, come over.
We got those pixels whipped into shape, and I earned myself one of her CD's when she got them printed. Preparing to be polite, I popped it into the CD player a few days later and was surprised to hear some really wonderful songwriting. It's sort of like a more personal, less political and bombastic Joni Mitchell.
In my favorite song so far on the album she says, "Bring over that smile of yours and let me drink it in, gotta find a tupperware or something to save it in." For some reason this has been just what I've been in the mood for and it has been heavy on the ol' playlist, along with rap songs I'm memorizing for my upcoming birthday party (details to follow).
There's no public way to get Brenda's CD right now (we need to make you a website, honey!) but when I asked her if I could distribute her music she said, amazingly:
as for my distribution policy, i was afraid i would have to start thinking about that! knowing that i cannot, nor do i care to, enforce a strict no-copy policy, I will just encourage people who want to support my work to give me a modest donation to offset the cost of production. If they are satisfied with a burned disk, a few dollars is fine. Or I will take orders for new cd's at $5 a piece.
So, I feel quite comfortable offering an mp3 of her song here on the tinyblog. If you're interested in hearing more, you can contact Brenda via me for the time being. Here is:
Girls in General
Interesting. Mettlesome. Seem to have a completely different set of cultural values amongst themselves than men, that has a completely orthogonal communication scheme with men. Amazing equipment and movement that keeps ya' coming back for more. Juiciness. Review ranges from 1 to 5 out of 5 stars DOG (depending on girl).
Andy and Alissa's Wedding Spread
The smoked gouda was a little weak but otherwise outstanding. Chicken, pork ribs, shrimp, crab legs, and an excellent smoked salmon served with cream cheese and capers. Wonderful pineapple slices. All ably served by the Kent Embassy Suite's staff.
I love you Andy and Alissa...check the photos! How the hell did I end up without any wedding cake?
Who knew? The Oxford English Dictionary of course:
Is there a name for the dot above the letters i and j?
What is the origin of 'love' meaning 'nil' in tennis scoring?
What are the correct terms for the forward and backslash as used in computing languages, Web addresses etc.?
How do you describe a person who does not eat meat, but eats fish?
What is the feminine equivalent of a misogynist (a person who hates or dislikes women)?
How should the term 'website' be written in official documents and on the web?
But maybe not. Here is the aforementioned cool picture of Roseanne "Love-In" Edson:
(© 2006 Nathaniel Ward)
The reason it's so cool is that Zan shows this kind of exuberance a lot, but just not in front of the camera usually. So, it's a bit of a minor miracle that photographer Nate Ward managed to capture her in such a mood to mug at her recent, amazing birthday party. Yay.
I modified it using The Lomo Effect and Photoshop.
Some other pictures of Zan can be found here, and you can see she is quite a bit more reticent usually.
Her lovely blog, Breaking Sod, is also worth reading.
Well yes, there's one more early March birthday (on this very day) that I feel I need to extol the good qualities of:
Tiffany "I can't believe I don't know her middle name" Russey
Tiffany, or Phinney as I call her, is one of my best friends, and I have been in her company probably less than 10 total hours, if that.
I met her in Seattle for the first time (which I do not remember) when I first moved to Seattle about a dozen years ago. I knew some friends on Campus, and was hanging out with them, probably smoking weed and listening to Pink Floyd. Phinney came in with a friend named Jessica (who I most certainly do remember) probably in order to buy some weed and get the hell out of my friend's dorm before they were subjected to much Pink Floyd.
Then, I met her again many years later, when I lived with my amazing friend Lorelei. Phinney was a good friend of hers, and we met then. I gave her a massage once and for some reason it got us both kind of flustered and uncomfortable, which is rare.
I didn't get to know her very well, however, since she decided to move across the globe and become deeply involved with some Waldorf Teacher Training. Once, while hanging out with my sister, I ran into her during a short visit to Seattle. We were happy to see each other and exchanged information.
A few months later, one of the lushest letters I have ever received arrived in my inbox. It was accompanied by photos, and was a loving and detailed chronicle of her recent travels. It was one of the most striking letters I ever received, and it floored me that she had taken the time to write such a beautiful travelogue.
I of course had been in Seattle the whole time, but wrote a thankful letter back about my own life.
Years later, and I have been a participant in one of the richest and loveliest correspondances in my life. Phinney has always been there for me with amazing stories of her world travels, philosophical talks about the differences and similarities of mystical Christianity and Vajrayana Buddhism, photos of beautiful places, and an otherwise very multi-faceted portrait of her beautiful mind. (And face! When I find that picture I will post it.)
Now she lives in Ireland, and we are a little bit more technically connected. We even IM now. But, the quality of her communication is still something I will always treasure. Thank you for the richness of your words, your openness and friendship. You are really a treasure to me, Phinney!
Phinney, I'm glad you were born!
I had wanted to get up some pictures of the birsday fiends, but didn't get them together soon enough to go with my post. Here are some photos of the aforementioned Thomas Thys Becker and Lauren Beth "suki 'sexbomb' tsunami" Yockey. I will leave it to you to guess who is whom.
Miss Roseanne "Love-in" Edson has a killer picture from her birthday party that I am still trying to get my hands on and will most assuredly post when I do.
I'd like to take a moment to honor some people who are celebrating their birthdays this week and say some sweet things about them.
There's not a person on this earth that doesn't have a womb-related connection to me who has ever shown me such a strong and steadfast love. This girl's love comes on like a wrecking ball and it refuses to be dampened. Few people on this planet have come to know me so well, on so many levels and still have loved me so doggedly, so persistantly.
Roseanne is one of the skinniest girls I have ever met, and also one of the strongest. She is a genuine challenge to wrestle, and is one of the few people in my wieght class I've ever wrestled where I have to take such care not to let her wild knees get between us. She kicks like a horse! She is determined in all ways!
Roseanne is someone who will fucking mobilize, if you're sick and bring over the yogurt, garlic, tea and chicken soup and no joke about that.
She is someone who likes to teach lessons gently instead of my natural bulldozer style. She has a wild, dorky imagination and is a voracious reader. She is incredibly smart, and a quick study at computer-related topics. When I met her she didn't know anything about computers, and now does professional illustration work with one, as well as being a very prolific blogger and photo-blogger.
Roseanne, I'm glad you were born!
Beth (as she is most commonly called, for she is a woman of many names) is one of those people who's karmic paths I was clearly destined to intersect, and now the hold of that karmic link of learning will have me in its grip for a long time to come.
Oh christ, where do I even start. Take a deep breath, Daniel.
Okay, Beth is someone who, as a friend, demands that you live up to your own potential. She loves, but she does not coddle. She provides opportunities, but she does not give guided tours to them.
She is brilliant. She likes challenging fiction, challenging movies, and challenging music. I suspect she came out of the womb with a certain level of social sophistication. Her life is an artistic endeavor and she creates art in a way that is uncommonly fearless. When she buys new things, she immediately customizes them with stickers and weird adornments, because she cannot stand to have her things look like everyone else. She is a hyper-pump of creativity and destruction.
Like me, she is a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to relating to the socio-commercial world, and has skills in design, typography, business communication, writing, negotiating, and whole-systems design.
She offers freedom to her intimates and asks for freedom in return. If she gives advice it is rare, blunt, pithy, and without unnessesary pontification. She just says, "I think you could do better at that," or "that shirt is not going to work," or "you don't need to ever do that again," or "what you're doing is not commercially viable."
She is funny. She knows how to rock a running joke and develop and evolve it over time, so there are jokes we have that are so funny that I wish more people could know about them, but there's no way I could explain the history of them. So I just have to laugh my ass off until I cry and let it be between us. She brings out my wickedest sense of humor, and nothing is taboo for humor with her. She is not uptight.
Beth, I'm glad you were born!
Thomas Rhys Becker
Thomas's wife has a heart disorder, and he was so concerned with her worsening condition that he did research into her diet until he discovered some modifications to the kinds of fats that she consumed that made the worst of her symptoms go into remission. He is fascinated by artificial intelligence and lighter than air craft.
I can't wait until we're old so I can know him as a wealthy, eccentric wonk who has a million bizarre science experiments in his huge laboratory in his basement. I vote him most likely to be part of a think tank for the betterment of the world.
He has a wicked British accent, and it only emphasizes his indomitable spirit and pluck. He is both modern and archaic. He is young and happily married. He says things like, "What's as important as the knife is to have a good knife sharpening system." He appreciates straightforwardness, even when it's not pleasant for him.
He's such a good sport that he's one of the rare people I've been able to work closely with professionally and also be good friends with. He rolls a very servicable joint. He is whip smart and not afraid to step up to the plate and take the absolute maximum amount of work and responsibility he can handle. One suspects an almost MacGuyver level of problem solving and ingenuity. I swear to god he'd be a great person to be stranded in the middle of the ocean in a rowboat with no food or water.
He designs and wears custom garments and has a way with textiles. He's good at raising an eyebrow. He's nearly unflappable.
Tom, I'm glad you were born!
SJ is gonna be so pissed that I scooped her on the MC Hammer Blog. I haven't listened to the audio blog segments yet, but it's mostly some name-dropping and pictures of his son. There is a perfectly surreal post where Hammer writes about a dream he had where he joins the police force in 1968, and then uses it as an opportunity to plug his upcoming album.