Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Reconciliation - ur doin it wrong

AP Newsbreak:

"This was a whole lot more than a simple affair, this was a love story," Sanford said."A forbidden one, a tragic one, but a love story at the end of the day."

During an emotional interview at his Statehouse office with The Associated Press on Tuesday, Sanford said Chapur is his soul mate but he's trying to fall back in love with his wife.

Do you suppose Jenny Sanford can even pick her head up and crawl out of bed in the morning anymore? What an asshole.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


I just heard from a friend I met through the blog ... a fellow duck lover ... that one of his Cayuga ducks was killed this morning on his pond. It brought me right back to the day we lost our first Cayuga, and it struck me that, as jaded as the world seems sometimes, I'm proud to know other people who have the kind of heart that can be broken by a duck.

There's something about taking care of these funny, helpless creatures that runs the gamut from entertaining to exasperating to emotionally draining. As our original flock dwindled slowly from ten to six, and then suddenly from six to three ... and as we discovered that 15 ducklings is, in practical terms, at least three times as much work and worry as our original eight ... I sometimes question why we ever took on the care and feeding of ducks. They can be hard work, and you worry about them. Then you forget to worry and something goes terribly wrong. Every time we've lost a duck I've felt sad and angry, and guilty that I hadn't done things differently or taken better care of them somehow.

Ev always reminds me that the ducks are happy and that the smartest of them have survived over a year despite living in a place where there are all kinds of predators ... Darwin and all that ... and that they wouldn't be happy if we kept them safely penned up all the time. I know she's right, but it's still hard to see one less duck coming to the house for feed in the morning. My heart goes out to my friend, Fritz.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Mark Sanford is Sorry

Mark Sanford, the recently misplace Governor of South Carolina, is sorry. He would like us all to know how sorry he is to have been caught violating his marriage vows. And how very sorry he is to have torpedoed his hope for a Presidential bid in 2012. Very, very sorry.

Once again, we're in the position of gleefully laughing about the schadenfreudosity of another "family values" politician who's built a career on tut-tutting the immorality of Teh Gays, getting nailed (heh) with his pants around his ankles.

Potential GOP presidential hopefuls are dropping like flies these days because of their pants problems: they can't seem to keep them on. Nevada Senator John Ensign is also sorry. So are Larry Craig, David Vitter, Newt Gingrich and a whole host of other former political hopefuls with pants problems.

And from the Dem side, Eliot Spitzer and Jim McGreevy are also sorry. Bill Clinton was very sorry (but not so sorry he didn't think DOMA was a good idea to protect the sanctity of hetero marriage from potential gay interlopers).

And once again, I'm brought to this point. Guys, whatever is going on or not going on in your primary relationship is your business as long as we can agree that the same is true for me. However, when you pontificate about the sanctity of your hetero marriage while condemning me for wanting the same right, I admit...I get an enormous amount of enjoyment from your marital pratfalls.

Whoops! Another member of the Morality Policy trips over his freshly lubed nightstick. And it's our obligation as Americans to pass judgment on your sexual habits, right? Or...did you just mean for that to be for the rest of us?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Because We're Lesbians...

...we've acquired yet another cat. This one is a stray that was waiting for us in the yard when we got back from vacation yesterday. A vacation, by the way, that truly rocked out loud. A vacation which has left us fantasizing about quitting our jobs and living on the beach with our ducks.

So anyway, about the cat...

I'm pretty sure it's the offspring of the feral cat that had a litter of kittens under our landlord's abandoned truck last year. This one, as Bob is my witless, will stay an outdoor cat. Not like Mrs. Foot, who merely pretended to be an outdoor cat to lull us into complacency and then moved indoor with a vengeance, taking over our bed and the sofa, and intimidating the dogs into snivelling cowards.

This new cat has an appointment to get spayed next week (Hey guys! I'm going to the vet to get tutored!) to prevent the inevitable litter of kittens to follow, which would cause us to have twenty feral cats living on our porch and put us in the position of trying to give them away to our friends and neighbors, leave them anonymously in baskets on stranger's doorsteps, and maybe put a few in the drop boxes of the library and post office.

Oh...and Pickle got bit on her head by a spider last night and has a vet appointment too, since her head is all bloated and she looks pathetic and even weirder than normal...which is saying a lot for Pickle.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Good Honest Sweat

More along the lines of the kind of thing you really come here to read, here's a little poultry update for you:

Despite my existential funk, the poultry must still be tended to, and I tended to them mightily today. The big duck girls are running around the house quacking for their food and they keep running over to check out the cool new yard I built for the babies this afternoon. All by myself!

I dropped Ev off at work and then went to Rural King for straw, feed and fencing. Pounded a dozen wooden fence posts into the ground and strung 50 feet of shiny new poultry fencing to it, installed a small pool for them, gave them clean straw bedding, filled their feeder and waterer and put them out in the fenced exercise yard to entice them out of the dome. They ain't havin' it. They're all lying just inside the door looking longingly out, but not a one of them is brave enough to step one webbed foot over the threshold and come out under the big wide open sky.

I dragged a few of them out by hand and put them in the pool, but they jumped out and ran screaming back to the rest of the flock huddled inside. The big girls, however, are looking like they'd like to use the pool, so I'll go out and invite them in. They've already met the babies once and no one seemed to mind eating together, so we'll give it a go. Maybe they can teach them to be ducks.

The turkeys are growing and happy in their own little coop and enclosed yard, but I attached the big yard to their pen so they can come out and enjoy it, too.

I wish I were poultry.

Fuck It

I haven't blogged because, frankly, I'm just too damn tired. Not tired as in "fatigued" or in need of a good night's sleep. Not even the kind of tired that can be relieved by the well-deserved vacation we're taking next week. I'm existentially exhausted. It's the kind of tired that even the antics of baby poultry and a great visit with out-of-town guests who bring a big fluffy puppy to play with Pickle for a week can't relieve.

Tired probably isn't the right word for it. I'm demoralized, discouraged, disheartened and downcast. I'm shot down, cast-down, bummed out and blue. My spirits are low, man. I'm forlorn.

I don't see the point in blogging about it, because a) it's not what you folks want to read, and b) there are other bloggers out there doing a much better journalistic and fact-based job of it, but really, I don't see the point in blogging about anything else, either, because the reality is that I'm not feeling funny and that's a fact.

Life in Nowhere continues as it always does, with the usual round of poultry stories, truck stories, landlord stories, work-related stories and upcoming vacation news, but in the five months since Inauguration Day it's been overshadowed by a creeping, cancerous angst.

Whatever else we are here in Nowhere, we're a middle-class gay couple who can't get married. We're in the same middle class that's drowning and disappearing in these economic times, but our little gay slice of the middle class is doubly invisible to the Obama administration we helped elect. Now it appears, according to the DoJ, that keeping People Like Us away from our civil rights and federal marriage recognition and benefits is good for the economy ... although it's not that great for our personal economy. So we hear a lot about ourselves on the news and read about ourselves in our RSS feeds and find ourselves being debated by politicians and pastors and pundits ... and it feels a bit like being a helpless bug pinned to a piece of crap encrusted cardboard. I keep telling Ev that I don't recognize this country anymore. I don't recognize the hate-filled rhetoric being broadcast on TV news shows. And I sure as hell don't recognize the man I held out so much hope for and for whom I wept tears of joy on election night.

Ev says this is the same country I've always lived in, but I was living in the other half of it ... the white heterosexual middle-class half ... for the first 40 years of my life. Now I'm living in the half that actually feels the stick the other half has always been poking someone with.

I had held out a hope during the presidential race last year that We the People could do something positive to turn this country around before it imploded. I thought we were electing someone who meant what he said about equality and civil rights and healthcare reform and transparency in Washington and fierce advocacy, but what really happened is that I got seriously schooled in the realities of politics. Everyone makes campaign promises they have no intention of keeping to get elected. Everyone curries favor and takes campaign contributions from the folks who can least afford to make them and then throws someone under the bus. Everyone lies. Next go-round I'm finding out who the fucking Anarchist Party candidate is and sending them every dime I've got. At least I'll know where they really stand.

I don't know what the country feels like right now to everyone else, but inside my head it feels like we're taking so many hits from both our gay and our middle-class sides and being so completely sold out to corporate bailouts, political pandering, religious extremism and outright bullshit that the only possible outcome is for this nation to collapse under the weight of it's own greed and ugliness, and I'm not so sure that's a bad thing anymore. Sometimes the only way to fix something is to completely dismantle it and start the fuck over.

And would someone please tell me why we spent bazillions of dollars and wasted tens of thousands of lives to go halfway around the world and fight some nebulous religious terrorist regime when we've got our own Christian Taliban right here in the good old USA?

Anyone who'd like to give me the "America, Love it or Leave it" speech is welcome to hand me a one way ticket to Canada along with it. I'll be on the next goddamn bus.

Barring that, we'll be going to Asheville, Charlotte and the Outer Banks next week to play on the beach for our birthdays. Harrah's will be giving us free accommodations, because queer money spends just like straight money and, although they aren't very generous with the jackpots, at least they have no qualms about treating us like a couple and letting us bunk together in their lovely hotels. The rest of America should buy a hint.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Duck,Duck, Poult

We're three weeks old tomorrow! Time flies when you're eating 50 pounds of poultry kibble and growing like weeds. The ducklings moved out to the Duck Dome a couple of days ago and are still industriously making duck schmuck, but they're making it in a larger area with better drainage. They're much happier. Kwach and Ev are also much happier. It's a win-win. Here's a sort of low-tech time lapse to demonstrate the progress of the babies from arrival day to yesterday.

This is the ducklings on Day One next to a three gallon waterer in a dog crate, and on Day 18 next to a five gallon waterer in the duck dome.

Next up, the turkey poults. They don't grow nearly as fast as the ducklings, because they seem to be working more on leg length, wingspan and flying ability. They're getting very tall and leggy, their wings are huge, and they fly pretty damn well for three week old flightless birds!
Here are the turkeys on Day One in their plastic bin, and on Day 18 on their first trip outside to see what grass is all about.

Cute, huh?

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

He Likes Us! He Really Likes Us!

See? President Obama does remember we exist! It's Pride Month, and to celebrate he'll be forming a commission to check into whether we need another commission to discuss whether we deserve to be treated like American citizens. The commission will be meeting every Feb 29th, barring any scheduling conflicts.

From The Advocate:

Presidential Proclamation for Pride
Click the byline to view more stories by this author.By Kerry Eleveld
THE WHITE HOUSEOffice of the Press SecretaryFor Immediate Release June 1, 2009
- - - - - - -
Forty years ago, patrons and supporters of the Stonewall Inn in New York City resisted police harassment that had become all too common for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Out of this resistance, the LGBT rights movement in America was born. During LGBT Pride Month, we commemorate the events of June 1969 and commit to achieving equal justice under law for LGBT Americans.
LGBT Americans have made, and continue to make, great and lasting contributions that continue to strengthen the fabric of American society. There are many well-respected LGBT leaders in all professional fields, including the arts and business communities. LGBT Americans also mobilized the Nation to respond to the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic and have played a vital role in broadening this country's response to the HIV pandemic.

Due in no small part to the determination and dedication of the LGBT rights movement, more LGBT Americans are living their lives openly today than ever before. I am proud to be the first President to appoint openly LGBT candidates to Senate-confirmed positions in the first 100 days of an Administration. These individuals embody the best qualities we seek in public servants, and across my Administration -- in both the White House and the Federal agencies -- openly LGBT employees are doing their jobs with distinction and professionalism.

The LGBT rights movement has achieved great progress, but there is more work to be done. LGBT youth should feel safe to learn without the fear of harassment, and LGBT families and seniors should be allowed to live their lives with dignity and respect.

My Administration has partnered with the LGBT community to advance a wide range of initiatives. At the international level, I have joined efforts at the United Nations to decriminalize homosexuality around the world. Here at home, I continue to support measures to bring the full spectrum of equal rights to LGBT Americans. These measures include enhancing hate crimes laws, supporting civil unions and Federal rights for LGBT couples, outlawing discrimination in the workplace, ensuring adoption rights, and ending the existing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in a way that strengthens our Armed Forces and our national security. We must also commit ourselves to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic by both reducing the number of HIV infections and providing care and support services to people living with HIV/AIDS across the United States.

These issues affect not only the LGBT community, but also our entire Nation. As long as the promise of equality for all remains unfulfilled, all Americans are affected. If we can work together to advance the principles upon which our Nation was founded, every American will benefit. During LGBT Pride Month, I call upon the LGBT community, the Congress, and the American people to work together to promote equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2009 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to turn back discrimination and prejudice everywhere it exists.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.


There's No I in "Can't," But There's an I in "I Can't"

A little more work-related ranting?

This weekend we had staffing problems. Night shift is always tough to keep staffed. It's a crappy shift with too much work and not enough love from management. The bosses only drop by once in a while to remind the night shifters that they're losers and fuck-ups who aren't smart enough to be on day shift.

Saturday night's call-in du jour was a tech with one week left before our modest hospital disappears in her taillights. She's got a bad case of Idon'tgiveadamn. Sunday it was a phlebotomist who called in...the only one on staff on Sunday nights.

So Saturday I did the usual call-in ritual. Calling the phone list and trying to find someone: a) who would pick up the phone when they saw the hospital's number in the caller I.D., and b) was sober on Saturday night.

As it turned out, there was no one able to meet both criteria. So I stayed until 3:30 a.m. when a day-shifter would be in, drove a half hour home, fell into bed, crawled out of bed, and went back for another round.

St. Evie...that's me. Patron saint of suckers.

Sunday night, however was a different story. Sunday, Angela, my shiftmate (who is so steady she makes rocks look flighty), took the call and spent her evening trying to find someone to cover. Finally she called the phlebotomy supervisor, who helpfully informed her that he was too drunk to deal with it, and then she called our boss. Boss abdicated. Figure it out, says Boss. Call the phlebotomy supervisor. Maybe he can handle it.

I don't know how much anyone else knows about hospital guidelines, but we have minimum staffing guidelines monitored by a variety of organizations like JCAHO and the FDA. Being short isn't just inconvenient, it's illegal.

But Sunday night, we were screwed. So I called the E.R. and told them they'd have to do their own blood draws. Then I called the floors and said we'd be up for the stats, but not the routines. If they want it, they'd have to collect it themselves. Then I called the house charge and told him we'd be below minimum staffing.

He said, "Did you call Boss?" I said "Yep. He said 'figure it out'."

Yesterday I went to work and confronted Boss. We need a better solution. We need someone on call. We need a sober phlebotomy supervisor, or at least a backup person. We need someone to care that we're out of compliance. I told him we didn't have time to do his job plus our own, which involved actual patients in need of medical care.

He explained that he'd been useless, not due to a lack of responsibility on his part, but as a form of empowerment for us.

Empowerment?? I told him he'd confused empowerment with exploitation, and I don't make enough money to do both our jobs.

Kids, I'm already empowerful. I know how to ask, beg, wheedle, cajole, manipulate, coerce, and outright threaten any poor employee dumb enough to pick up the phone. But once they're on to me, I'm not empowerful enough to go to their houses and drag them out of bed, slap lab coats on them, and make them fulfill our staffing requirements.

Boss asked me what to do. Ah! This happens to be what I do best! I suck at empathy, but I rock out loud at "what to do."

What to do, of course, is to stop whining about how hard it is to be the boss and start making specific requests of specific people. I told him that if it were me, instead of sending out a big generic e-mail threatening to someday create an imaginary call schedule, send three e-mails.

- One to day shift, telling them that they'll be rotating a four hour call for the second half of night shift for one week per tech.

- One to evening shift saying the same thing. They'll be rotating a four hour call for the first half of night shift, one week per tech.

- One to night shift saying they'll be the back up, rotating coverage for an entire shift, at one week per tech.

Easy? Not if you're afraid of confrontation. He said some people won't like it and they'll get mad at him. I said no one will like it, but if we all have to do it, we can all not like it together.

The meeting ended the way all meetings with Boss end. In a conversation about how no one understands how stressful it is to be the boss.

I wonder if the ditch diggers and rag pickers are hiring.

Aw, Shucks! Schmucky Duck Muck. Yuck!

Once again the volume of our things threaten to overwhelm us. We have too many trucks (3) too many dogs (3), too many cats (5), and too many ducks (18!). We have exactly the right number of turkeys, though. One per lap.

And much, much too much working. I've saved every freakin' life in Southern Illinois. Twice. Screw 'em. Next time one of you crybabies shows up in my E.R., it better be with your arm amputated and in a plastic baggie. I don't want to hear about your flu-like symptom or your vaginal itch. That's why they invented primary care doctors.

Since we're not going to winnow the pets or the poultry, the only thing that can give is the trucks. And the work. But the work, unfortunately, is firmly tied to the eating and the indoor living.

So I'm planning to round up a couple of the trucks and trade them in for one shiny truck made in this millennium. This will require a couple of things; it means that I'll have to make a Sophie's Choice about which ones to part with (Which do you love more...Cow or Chicken?). It also means that Lori and I will have to march down to Cape Girardeau and pretend we don't notice we're being swindled by a dealership that we now own, thanks to whichever round of bailout caused us to own Chrysler and G.M.

Oh...and we need to not scare the salesguy with Teh Gay, so that he doesn't screw us on our trade-in or spit in the soup or do whatever it is that Missourians do to show their disgust for the marriage sanctity-ruinin' Homosexual Agenda. Maybe the really risque Missourians make their bold statement about the sanctity of hetero marriage by plowing their fields in uneven rows.

Get it? Not straight? The rows? (sigh)

So...less trucks. Next, the ducks will have to move outside. They've spent the last couple of weeks growing to adolescence in our spare bedroom/weight room, and now we've pretty much had it. They're slobs. They mix their food, bedding and drinking water into a paste that they use to paper mache the wire of the pen every day while we're at work. Even Lori's had her fill of it.. They'll have to move out to the dome like big ducks or they'll be the duck version of veal by the weekend.

So...less trucks and less indoor ducks. And less other things that end in -uck.

By the end of this week, we plan to regain some control of our lives so that we can have out-of-town company and not look like Zsa-Zsa's lesbian neighbors on Green Acres. So consider yourself forewarned: if your name ends in "uck"...you can expect a change of venue soon. I'm just sayin'.