No more favouritism


[This is a stroppy blog-thing – but I’m feeling generally irked at the moment, so I’m making the most of it to motivate me to post here again, in the hope that I’ll acquire some momentum and keep on posting things, since it’s been a while… Share The Irk!!]

I know, I’ve banged on about this before. But as part of the process of trying to achieve “equal marriage” (or as close as we’re going to get) in the UK, Lord Dear has introduced a proposed amendment to the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill currently under discussion. His amendment ‘aims to protect the “belief in traditional marriage”, and separates straight couples’ marriages from those of gay couples.’ (Note that this is part of his concerted attempt to scupper the bill entirely.)

That’s enough, now.

I’m all for protecting people’s right to hold their personal beliefs, so if someone wants to believe that only marriages between one man and one woman are “real”, then let them go ahead and believe that, on their own time. But if you want to enshrine your personal beliefs in law, at the expense of anyone else’s personal beliefs, then forget it – your time is up, I’m afraid.

There’s been so much whinging lately about (in particular) Christian people here feeling persecuted. Nope, all that’s happening is that you’re finally losing the “right” for your beliefs to matter more than anyone else’s. You get the same deal as everybody else now, and that’s not called “persecution”.

I’m pretty tired of living in a country where much of the Christian community believe that their faith is the Default Setting, and deserves some kind of special treatment, just because they were lucky enough to have that enforced in the past.


While we’re on the subject of ridiculous bollocks, I’m very pleased to note that California has passed a law protecting the rights of trans students to use the bathrooms appropriate to their actual gender (as opposed to any apparent gender foisted on them by birth, or by people with rigid concepts of the relationship between gender and anatomy).

The bollocks-factor is in the comments of the Republican senators, who largely opposed the bill. Apparently, some suggested that “less capable male athletes might join girl teams to gain a competitive edge.” (This is when they weren’t blathering on about how sex offenders would suddenly crowd out bathrooms.)

If any of you senators had the first idea what you have to go through to declare yourself gender dysphoric, to be trans*, and to transition, you’d forget the ridiculous idea that anyone would do something as arduous and scary as this for any reason other than because… they wanted to transition and be their true selves. Of course, you don’t want to know anything about the reality of the situation, because your belief buckets are already full to the brim with absurd fantasies about why we’re trans* and transitioning.

That’s enough, now.

You don’t have the right to impose your beliefs and fears on others through law. Get used to it, equality is slowly inching towards you, willy-nilly.


[Seriously, I just wanted any excuse to repost this fab photo of Tilda Swinton outside the Kremlin, showing her support for beleaguered LGBT Russians. Tilda, we are not worthy…]


Daya, I know…

mayan-disc-thingAhem (and as the Doctor would say,
I’m really, really sorry…):

A wonderful folk were the Maya
My respect for them couldn’t be haya
But though it’s heretic
To shun the prophetic
Well, sometimes there’s smoke without faya


A very happy solstice, new year, and new Mayan cycle to everybody.

The right to find arms unbearable


In the light of what’s just happened in Connecticut (this is a photo taken at the scene of the shooting, which says it all), I have found myself in a weird online argument with gun apologists in the US.

I accept that not having grown up in a country where owning a gun is as normalised as owning a garden rake, I can’t get myself into the mindset of people for whom civilian ownership of a rapid-fire assault weapon is a “rights issue”.

And at this point, some people seem to want to get into hair-splitting in order to dodge the issue, so to make myself unambiguously clear: I define “rapid-fire assault weapon” as including any handheld gun capable of mowing down a bunch of people just by holding down the trigger and waving it around indiscriminately.

It really doesn’t matter to me that there are degrees of “rapid-fire” or “assault weapon”. Any weapon that falls under the above description is designed specifically to kill multiple people, and therefore doesn’t belong in the hands of anyone not currently fighting in an actual war (leaving aside my opinions about warfare itself).

Come on America, be selective.


It’s really bothering me that in the wake of this shooting, I’m seeing a lot online of people making unwarranted assumptions about “what kind of person would do something like this” and pointing the finger at people with mental health issues in general, rather than just accept that the problem is that sometimes “apparently normal” people just crack, and then if that happens when there are assault weapons around, well, you know the rest.

When you consider the number of gun deaths that occur simply because someone loses their temper (and has access to guns), it’s the idea of the average civilian having any access to assault weapons that seems insane to me.

If home owners have these weapons around in order to “protect their home”, the likelihood that they’re going to make them hard to get at and use quickly is, let’s face it, pretty low.

Don’t stigmatise the mentally ill – anyone capable of losing their temper in the presence of guns is capable of doing something like this.

Epithalamion (this time it’s personal)

epithalamionI just spent the weekend with my brother and his girlfriend, talking about (amongst other things) past relationships. When I got home (he lives 5 hours away from me), I found my Decree Absolute in my letter box. This means I’m officially divorced. I’m feeling a mixture of gratitude for the good things about my abortive marriage, and remorse for the things I did wrong that caused hurt. Sad and relieved. Reflective.

Meanwhile, I’m continuing my search for the answer to the following conundrum. In English divorce law, first we have the Decree Nisi, and then the Decree Absolute, and you have to apply for the former first. Once you get the Decree Nisi, this happens:

I am unable to let go of my fascination with whoever decided on this fairy-tale-logic time period. I love this six-weeks-and-a-day, but I have to know why six-weeks-and-a-day. If I solve this mystery, I’ll let you know.

Meanwhile (again), I have another mystery. My paternal grandfather was a strange blend of hero and villain in my mind, for all sorts of reasons. He survived the First World War with shell shock and deafness – and survived it partly due to anti-semitism. Everyone else except him at officer training got commissioned together (he wasn’t, because he was Jewish, and they had a “quota” system going). Then everyone except him got shipped off to France, and a week later they were all dead. What a weird tragedy. He had a couple of other near brushes with death while he was over in France, too.

He was later a drinker and a gambler, and an appalling and unthinkingly cruel father, from what I can make out. But what my brother told me this weekend is that when my grandfather was a solicitor, one of his great triumphs was foiling an obscenity case, defending a doctor who published a sex manual in the 1950s 1940s that told women how to have a good time, for once. I’m trying to find out more about this too. It’s hard to picture my grandfather as a women’s hero (though apparently he was). Everyone is such a mixture.

Three little words

What the hell, I’ve got the writing bug at the moment, so I’m (sort of) taking a break from going blah blah me me for a night to ask you a favour, if you’re reading this.

I want to play some creative writing games with myself – the idea is, you (if you feel like it) send me three random words as a comment to this, and I write something based around them, as spontaneously as possible.

Your rules are: English words please, or at least something I can look up successfully! Try to make it random and spontaneous at your end too, don’t overthink of three words that would “make a good story”, just let ’em leap out at you.

My rules are: I may use the words themselves or I may not, but I’ll be writing about them. And I’ll either be writing a short-short story, or a haiku (western-stylie, 5-7-5 syllables thing), or (because I’ve just started playing with this as a pattern, and it’s tough fun) a story in six words.

I’ll post here what I come up with, if it isn’t too cringeworthy, as light relief from my trans-maunderings. If you want to play too, let me know and I’ll three-word you back. In any case, give it a go, it’s good for the brain and heart and that.

Here’s one I made earlier (again):

Boats, Boots, Books

There have always been those who want to know how to walk on water – and always those who looked for the answer in books.

Even before there were books, people looked for the secret in the stories born of word, they sought the way: the way not to get drowned. When the Great Paranoid One whispered in Noah’s ear, it was to make a story that people would follow – that’s why the Ark always looks like its roof is an open book, so you had to be on board to read the secret story.

Then he gave it to his Boy, but that was all a Fish story – still, people followed that one like crazy, because the arc of the Ark was the one about not going under in the first place, but the Fish Boy story was about coming back up after, and that’s what people really wanted to know about. The far easterners knew a thing or two – there’s no name that keeps your feet dry, because the secret of the story is this: where the power is, is not walking on water, it’s being water.

[the gorgeous porous porcus is made by Woody Fox]

The Janka conundrum

Who, I wonder, finally got to decide on the optimal size of the ball? Were there boardroom arguments? Internet flame wars? Did Betamax lose (metaphorically speaking)?

“The Janka hardness test measures the resistance of a type of wood to withstand denting and wear. It measures the force required to embed an 11.28 mm (0.444 in) steel ball into wood to half the ball’s diameter.”

Oh, and who wrote this? I mean, either we’re measuring “the resistance of a type of wood to denting and wear” or “the ability of a type of wood to withstand denting and wear” – but “the resistance of a type of wood to withstand”? That’s gobbledygook (which my spell checker just corrected for me, mirabile visu…)