Thursday, December 18, 2008

What DId You Think "Reaching Across The Aisle" Meant?

So I wake up today to the sounds of internet teeth gnashing and icons of the left standing up to tear at their shirts and adorn their head with ashes...

Because Obama chose Rick Warren to give an invocation at the inauguration.

Oh, please. Tell me gang, what prominent U.S. pastor could he have chosen that would have been a recognizable proponent of gay rights? Basically, the Christian community is united in the stance that Warren has taken about homosexuality, the one that is causing all these wails of dismay.

Barack Obama ran for office on the platform that he would work to find common ground with both his opponents and his allies. I think that this choice is consistent with that stance.

Obama said in the election what his official stance on the issue of gay marriage was. The man is a mainstream politician. He is not on the far left, but a moderate. Prior to all this dismay over Warren the only ones that had ever characterized him as being that far liberal were people like Rush Limbaugh.

No President or presidential candidate is going to take a stance that will satisfy the people doing all the shouting this morning. Nor should we realistically expect one to do so.

Calm down. All this end-of-the-world rhetoric over a ceremonial post that will have zero impact on anything the man does to actually govern this nation?

Jeez. You all sound like Republicans.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Do We Need To Say "Thank You" For Prop. 8?

In the wake of Jon Stewart's forceful conversation with Mike Huckabee and with continuing discussion ongoing in the month since California voters barely approved the changing of the constitution of that state to ban gay marriage, I am reminded of a thought I have had consistently since Nov. 5th.

Nothing has ever had the effect on the national conversation about sexual orientation equality that this rejection of basic rights has.

Do we need to scream our thanks to the voters that approved this horrendous piece of legislation? Putting aside for the moment the absolute silliness of a 2% margin being enough to change a constitution and disenfranchise 10% of the population. Putting aside the unprecedented ventures into politics by multiple churches who should forfeit their non-profit status due to their political activism...

There has never been a greater rallying cry for this cause. And let's face it, California is an easy mark. 48% of Arkansas, or Mississippi or Tennessee or Kentucky... you won't get 48% of the vote in Alabama. So winning California is not the long term goal.

Gay marriage needs to be addressed nationally. And the passing of Prop. 8 is making that possible in a way it would not have been otherwise.

This discrimination needs to be addressed legally, not legislatively. It needs to go to the Supreme Court. We aren't looking for the election of Harvey Milk here, people. We are looking for Brown vs. The Board of Education.

It doesn't need to be a state law. It needs to be a national directive.

We are a nation formed with the statement that all men are created equal. We need to live up to that statement. And if certain members of our society don't want to change their prejudices, that doesn't mean they should be able to impose their thinking on others. Regardless of location. This is a discussion about rights, not real estate.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


It feels like years since I wasn't having to adapt to a "new" set of circumstances. Nor am I finished with that just yet... yes, I am finally in a place where I have more than a couple drawers or half a closet, with a woman who isn't constantly checking my collars for lipstick and I spend my days seeking contact with my "spouse" instead of avoiding it.

But even that takes adjusting to... I have lived for so long under the microscope. Had to have an explanation for what I was doing, who I was talking to, why I cared. To be trusted takes adaptation as well. I start to explain my actions and I get that quizzical look, the one that says I am just sooooo silly.

One easy adjustment has been not having the bluetooth in my ear all the time. I've avoided it so much I don't even know where my bluetooth is. I mean, it isn't lost. It's here somewhere. I just don't have to pull it off the charger in the morning and then recharge it again in the early afternoon. I'm glad to know it isn't really a part of me.

I have not managed to adapt in a work sense yet. I will. I'm gonna have to do so in a hurry. But I have an office space set up now and I will soon begin to develop new work habits. I'm so used to waiting until the family goes to bed... and now that I actually want to be there when she goes to bed, that throws me off. Our time together is so precious to me that to squander it by voluntarily withdrawing seems the height of wastefulness. But I also know I work best in solitude.

The hardest thing is the distance from my kids. I never thought I would be without them. I fought so hard to save my marriage not because I truly wanted to be with my ex, but because I didn't want to be away from my kids. Now that they are so many miles away, I recall every moment I could have spent with them and didn't and beat myself up about it.

In seventeen days, I will be picking them up to fly back across the country with me for a week. That week is going too be a seven-bite slice of heaven.

So, my only constant is change. It is still gonna be that way for quite some time. But at least I feel the forward momentum. I don't feel like I am spinning my wheels anymore. I am out of the ditch and back on the road.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

At First

At First

Before Mandy Long and Bruce Winfield began their globetrotting stewardship of the most unique retail establishment in Philadelphia, there was a woman who built the foundation for Erotique. Built it with her will and her sense of adventure. A woman who was ahead of her time in many ways.

Vivian Long's life was full of triumphs and tragedies. As we celebrate the beginning of a new era in America, come back with us and experience the beginning of the Erotique era for the Long family.

On a historic day in Washington D.C., Vivian Long and Eduardo Rojas Aguliar make some history of their own. And like this country, their lives will never be the same.

Walking along 17th Street with his mind firmly in the past and oblivious to the historic present, Eduardo Rojas collided with his future. Not metaphorically, but quite literally.

Both his stack of books and the woman in the yellow dress tumbled to the ground.

“¡Madre de Dios! My apologies, señorita. I did not see…”

His breath caught, his words drifted into a stammer as the woman turned and he saw her eyes for the first time. Though he considered himself a romantic, Eduardo had never believed in the concept of love at first sight until that moment.

She settled on her elbows, smiling at the slightly open-mouthed stare of her unwitting attacker. Though he had seemed quite determined to keep moving before their impact, he was currently motionless. Torn between wanting to see how long he would stay that way and a desire to get back on her feet, she decided to flip the switch on his internal circuit breaker.

“Usually, it would be considered polite to help a lady up—especially when you’re the one who just sent her sprawling.” The harsh content of the words was belied by their light-hearted delivery. Vivian Long was far less upset about being knocked down than she was interested in the man who had done so. He wore a brown suit that was the height of fashion…decades ago. The collection of books he had been carrying was now split between the pavement and a precarious perch in his crooked elbow, save the one in her lap. She lifted it and glanced at the spine while her handsome assailant stammered another apology, letting the rest of his armload fall in his haste to offer her a hand.

“I am very sorry, señorita. I was trying to make my way through this crowd as quickly and as gently as possible, and I somehow did not notice you, though how that was possible, I truly do not know.” Eduardo blushed as he realized what he had just said. It was, however, exactly what he was thinking. Her creamy skin stood out in a sea of predominantly darker tones. Brown hair in braids, deep eyes of hazel that had trapped him momentarily, and a figure that filled out her summery dress in ways that he had best not consider if he wanted to avoid further embarrassment.

“Perhaps your mind was in the Andes of the 1500s instead of Washington in August of 1963.” Vivian took the proffered hand, pulled herself up, then placed the book, Marriage and Courting Rituals among Classes in Incan Society and Their Effect on Warfare and Politics, in the hand she released after gaining her feet. She retrieved her sign and helped him gather the other scattered volumes, which carried similarly scholarly titles in both English and Spanish. “Do you work at the Smithsonian?”

“No, I am merely a student. I did several years in the field after obtaining my master’s degree in Chile and am now working on my doctorate through an exchange program at Georgetown College. I apologize again for my carelessness and would…”

His words were drowned out as the surrounding crowd cheered the comments from the current speaker. The noise quickly died down as the people once again began to concentrate on the speech.

Vivian smiled again as she pieced together what she thought he had said. “I’m sorry, are you asking me on a date? I don’t even know your name!” She struggled to keep a straight face as the man’s handsome features contorted in shame, and he immediately began a new apology.

“No, no. I simply meant that I felt I should make amends and would like to….”

“Hush.” Vivian placed a finger on his lips. A visible shiver passed through him at her touch, but he did not withdraw. “Have you a specific meeting that you were hurrying to reach?” She lifted her finger slightly to allow his reply, and his tongue darted, subconsciously sampling the site of her touch. Vivian felt the imaginary rasp of it against a distant part of her body.

“Well, no. I simply had not anticipated the immensity of this event and…”

With the heat of his breath brushing her fingertip, she realized he was not the only one stunned by an inexplicably powerful connection. In that moment, it became more necessity than amusement to maintain contact.

Once again, Vivian placed the finger on his lips. “Then you can make amends by standing with me and listening to the next speaker. Witness some history as it happens instead of reading about it hundreds of years later. Then you can take me for that cup of coffee, señor…” Her voice trailed off in an interrogatory tone.

“Rojas. Eduardo Rojas Aguilar.”

“What a mouthful! Eddie, it is. Please, call me Vivian. Now, stand here and listen with me. Then you can buy me that drink, and I’ll consider your debt repaid. Deal?”

Eduardo started to correct her undignified shortening of his name, but thought better of it. There would be time for that later, he realized, still shocked both at his own forwardness and that he had put himself in a situation where it could come into play. He decided that it would be a more interesting evening than he had expected, although he still had reading to do. Hearing the name of the next speaker and realizing it was familiar from the newspaper, he decided that he would indeed listen. Afterward, the companionship promised to be, at the very least, intellectually stimulating.

Vivian watched the conflict play across Eddie’s face before he quieted. She thought she recognized it, both from her own experiences and those of acquaintances. She also noticed the quiet intensity that took over as he glanced down at her sign, then turned his attention toward the stage erected on the monument steps. He might not be up to speed on current events, but he knew something of the struggle, she realized. While his clothes were out of date, there was a fierce intelligence in those eyes. She was very interested to hear his reaction to the speech, which, by all accounts, would be similar to one she’d heard the speaker deliver months ago.

“Very well, miss…Vivian,” he finished, looking at her and stammering over her given name as if it was an inappropriately glimpsed undergarment. Since she’d not supplied her surname, he had no choice but to use the more personal form of address. There was something titillating about the man’s discomfiture, she realized. He made her feel like a forbidden fruit, ripe and juicy and begging to be…

“I take it this is a cause about which you are passionate?”

Vivian cocked an eyebrow, causing him to blush at his use of a word with such sexual overtones.

“I mean,” Eduardo continued, “with which you are intimate?”

She smiled.

For those of you who have been craving more Bruce and Mandy...

Well, you'll have to keep re-reading Artifactual. We will return to those two beloved characters, but their next adventure is still in the plotting phaze. *wink*