Pages

Saturday, February 18, 2012

In Which Chris Christie Steps In It

The New Jersey legislature passed a bill that allowed gay marriage. Chris Christie, a Republican, vetoed it immediately. That was totally expected. Chris Christie belongs to the Republican party. Republicans use the political process to marginalize gay people in any way they can. Chris Christie hopes for a long, happy career in the Republican party.

Which means there was no way he was going to sign the bill. Of course, in his statement, he couldn't just admit that. "Hey, I'm a Republican. I can't sign a gay marriage bill. It will end my political career. Why'd you guys do that to me? Don't you know I want to run for president someday?"

Nope, he has to resort to specious arguments:
I am adhering to what I've said since this bill was first introduced – an issue of this magnitude and importance, which requires a constitutional amendment, should be left to the people of New Jersey to decide.
An issue of this magnitude and importance? Now maybe my priorities are out of order, but tweaking the rules of legal coupling to include homosexual relationships doesn't strike me as being of large magnitude nor tremendous importance. Not to belittle Adam and Steve's big day...but really, who gives a shit?

Who are the voters of New Jersey to say no? And that's clearly what Christie is hoping will happen. After all, if he thought the bill accurately reflected the voters' views, why not just sign the damn thing and be done with it?

Much better for the ambitious Republican to kick it to voters, who love them some specious arguments, and hope they buy that "magnitude" bullshit.

For what it's worth, Christie doesn't seem intent on dogging on gays. His statement included this bit of niceness:
"I have been just as adamant that same-sex couples in a civil union deserve the very same rights and benefits enjoyed by married couples – as well as the strict enforcement of those rights and benefits," the statement continued. "Discrimination should not be tolerated and any complaint alleging a violation of a citizen's right should be investigated and, if appropriate, remedied. To that end, I include in my conditional veto the creation of a strong Ombudsman for Civil Unions to carry on New Jersey's strong tradition of tolerance and fairness."
You got that? "Same-sex couples...deserve the very same rights and benefits enjoyed by married couples," except.....the right to call their "civil union" a marriage.

Now that's some hair-splitting...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mission Accomplished

It used to be that we watched stupid shit like Attack of the Show or Mythbusters, not dreadful shows by any means, but shows that don't have a lot of meat on them. I don't think I'd watch them at home, sitting on my couch. Not when there's only 24 hours in a day. But if they're on in the background at work, okay.

But now...now, I've managed to make a convincing enough case that we ignore the time-wasters and now watch sports. If the Nuggets are playing, we're watching it. If they're not, we're watching the Avalanche. If neither are playing, we watch whatever NBA game they have on.

It's glorious. I think one guy I work with is a confirmed basketball fan from way back, but he's not the assertive type so he never protested the daily doses of Kevin Pereira. Now that's all changed.

Now I've seen more NBA games this season than I did last year. Now I don't have to wait for the "NBA on NBC" like my no cable-having ass does every year. It's wonderful.

Books

I read a pair of books recently, one I liked quite a bit and the other...not so much. The first, the one I liked, was Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell. I'd seen the film, but had never read anything by Woodrell before. Not only did I like the story --a teen girl looking for her father in the backwoods of Methville, Missouri-- but the writing style was excellent. A little too poetic in some places, but even then, I loved it. One memorable passage described a guy's face as being "smoked with beard." Smoked with beard? That's brilliant!

I also loved how the "mystery" is never really solved. You never know who exactly killed Jessup Dolly, but there's a payoff for the reader that's a hundred times better than revealing whodunit. As far as mystery novels go, it's one of the best I've read in years.

The other book, which I didn't like so much, was Michael Connelly's The Brass Verdict. Connelly's one of those guys I've figured out. There are certain ticks of his style that just bug me. So many "he knew" sentences. And the nodding...Jesus Christ, everyone's nodding all the time.

Page 45. "I nodded like I understood." Page 54. "I nodded, thinking about the scenario and how it had gone down." Page 69. "I nodded in agreement and waited." Page 76. "I nodded and left the chambers...." You get the idea.

Connelly's a very precise writer who spells things out for you. And this is why I don't think he should focus on courtroom dramas, or at least try and switch up the style a bit. The precision and reportorial detail that works in a murder mystery just gets boring and mundane when its stuck in the structural limitations of a courtroom drama. Nothing against courtroom dramas, but they're very formulaic: question and answer stuff, procedure, strategy. There's one setting. The roles are clearly delineated. You've got the judge, the jury, the lawyers, the witnesses. They do one thing: they talk. Sometimes it gets heated --the drama-- but there's always a "Your Honor" or a "Counselor" on the way. The rules, after all, must be observed.

So what I'm saying is that the formula is dry enough. I would have liked The Brass Verdict more if it had more faces "smoked with beard" and less people nodding.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Kansas

Made it back home from my weekend in Kansas, where me and my brother watched the Jayhawks beat the OSU Cowboys. It was a fairly lopsided game and we didn't have great seats, but it was still an interesting experience to say the least. Its a different energy than an NBA game with all the rituals and chants and devotion.

When the opposing players are introduced, the whole stadium waves newspapers in front of them, as if not even interested. When the home players are introduced, those newspapers are turned into confetti and a rain of it comes down for each name. When the opposing players have the ball, the crowd makes this droning noise to confound them.

And then there's the chant..."Rock chalk Jayhawk. Go KU!" This video (not mine) is a pretty good representation of it. It's strange, but a tradition over a hundred years old. (You would not believe how crazy they went when they showed the old coach from the 50s.)

On the trip, we also went to Kansas City one morning, had some not-so-great BBQ, checked out downtown. But goddamn...they can keep that midwest chill.

Here's some pics I took.