Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Chicago Blackhawks Dropped the Flag

The City of Chicago is celebrating, but I'm not.  Our hockey team, the Blackhawks, have won the Stanley Cup.  Apparently that's the equivalent of baseball's World Series, which I will celebrate when the Cubs win.  Yeah, I know—I'm not holding my breath.  Back around the Turn of the Century (the last one, 1900 or so) Sam Sianis of Billy Goat's tavern tried to take his goat to a baseball game at Wrigley Field.  The Wrigley's refused to allow him to bring the goat into the ballpark and he cursed the Cubs.  They haven't won a World Series since.  I'm not sure if they've even played in one.  In my lifetime they've come close to winning the National League pennant twice, but lost to the New York Mets in 1969 and the San Diego Padres in 1984 (darned clay infield!).  Mr. Sianis' nephew brought a goat into Wrigley Field at the Millenium, but the Cubs still haven't made it.  Apparently his uncle had some pretty strong mojo.  After all, he was the inspiration for the Saturday Night Live "Cheesburger, Cheesburger" skits.

I was raised as a Cubs fan and my heroes were people like Ernie Banks who patiently played first base and hit balls into the bleachers and out onto Waveland and Sheffield Avenues without once ever playing in a World Series game.  Back then players were not free to leave a losing team in favor of a winning one or tell their agents to "show them the money."  Nor did they fight with the umpires (much) or hurl obscenities at the umps or the fans.  There was such a thing as sportsmanship, and that's why my family watched baseball and not hockey.  They didn't approve of people beating each other up with the implements of their sport.

But that's just a part of the game and always has been, apparently, and I wouldn't bother to blog about it.  I'd be glad our Chicago team won and go my own way as I usually do when any of our other teams win.  I am, however, angry at the Blackhawks.  A few years ago I was at the United Center for a performance of the circus and I was dismayed when I was caught in the concourse during the National Anthem and everyone out there but me ignored the song.  I wrote an essay called "The Flag Drooped," and submitted it to the National Veterans' Creative Arts Competition where it won a Bronze Medal.  Well, the flag practically lay on the floor during the hockey playoff that I witnessed on TV when I was caught at Buffalo Wild Wings playing trivia during a recent playoff game.

It was bad enough that very few of the fans bothered to salute properly during the performance of the Star Spangled Banner.  There was a murmur in the background that almost drowned the song out.  People weren't even keeping quiet.  I've grown to expect that.  If they teach respect for the flag, the Pledge of Allegiance, or the National Anthem in school, those lessons don't seem to last past the schoolyard gate.  But one would at least expect the athletes to stand still with their hands over their hearts during the performance, as my Cubs used to.  I realize these are not intelligent people and I'm not suggesting we idolize or deify them, but they're the guys on camera and the fans do idolize them.  Companies pay millions of dollars to advertise their wares during these games, and these men make millions of dollars to skate around and hit a piece of rubber with wooden sticks.  The least they can do is stand still with their hands over their hearts during the National Anthem.

I realize many of these guys are not from the United States.  I get a lot of e-mails from my very conservative sister about how people who drive around displaying the flags of other countries from their car windows should get with the program, get green cards, learn English, pay taxes, and display the US flag or go home.

Well, these guys have green cards, they speak enough English to do TV interviews, and they have accountants to evade taxes just like all the other millionaires in this country.  And there they were, on camera, every one of them holding their hockey sticks in their right hands and fidgeting throughout the Star Spangled Banner.  I was absolutely disgusted.

I do not congratulate them on their win.  I am ashamed that they play in my city.  As far as I'm concerned, the flag didn't just droop—the Chicago Blackhawks dropped it.  I forget how many demerits that would have cost a company when I was in Navy boot camp, but I think it would have meant at least an extra week of boot camp doing nothing but cleaning toilets with toothbrushes.  Maybe someone should make the Blackhawks do that.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Polyamory and True Love

Continuing from last week’s blog: Stranger in a Strange Land Buy Link

In the book Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein, Jubal Harshaw tells Ben Caxton, “Love is the condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.”  This is the kind of love Eric, the Phantom has for Christine Daaé in The Phantom of the Opera, and Eponine has for Marius in Les Miserables.


Do you think if push came to shove you would be willing to sacrifice your love and freely give him/her to another because him/her happiness is so important to you that you could not live knowing they are miserable without that person?

I think I can say yes to that question.  Fan of Heinlein that I am, I read Stranger in a Strange Land and Time Enough for Love long ago.  I grasped Heinlein’s ideas about being able to love more than one person at a time.  I didn’t stop loving Elizabeth when Christine came along.  Why should I stop loving my Dear Hubby or boyfriend if another man came along?  Or if another woman came along (provided she was a good woman who I knew would not take advantage of him or hurt him).

I didn’t know there was a name for such relationships until much later.  It’s called polyamory.  The difference between a poly relationship and cheating is honesty and communication.  If you have a relationship with someone behind my back, you’re cheating.  If you are honest and communicate with both the other lady and me and we have the right to see other men and we are honest and communicate openly with you and them, we are polyamorous.  I always thought military families should be poly so if one husband was deployed there would be someone around to fix the plumbing or the car or whatever when it broke.  Not to mention co-wives keep you company and to babysit when you need a break.  And there are the financial advantages of mingled incomes, having been a Navy wife who never had enough money and always had stuff break down when DH was out to sea.  But, I digress.

I ran into a group of poly people at a karaoke bar, and started dating a man.  We happened to be exclusive for about a year.  Didn’t exactly mean to be, but were.  I care a lot about this man and he is legally blind and unable to drive.  When we decided we wanted to be closer, we lived in the same apartment building.  (Neither of us wanted to live together, but that enabled us to see each other daily and still have our own space.)  I drove; he carried.  And, I drove him out to meet other women because I knew I could not fill all of his needs, and if I was going to have co-sweeties I wanted to be sure they were people with whom I was compatible as well.  Of course, we’re human.  We can’t all be like Jubal Harshaw and Ben Caxton or like Eric and Eponine, or Sidney Carton in A Tale of Two Cities.  Boy, that’ll make you cry, too!  Except for poor Sidney who had to be where he was in order for Lucie Manette to have her HEA, if Raoul and Eric had been able to share Christine and Cosette and Eponine had been able to share Marius, those movies would have had much happier endings.  But then, I guess they were meant to be gut-wrenching tear-jerkers.  Clearly Victor Hugo was not writing a romance, nor was Gaston Leroux.  I wonder what they’d think of the musical versions that have us women swooning over the likes of Alfie Bowe, Hugh Jackman and Gerard Butler and grabbing for the tissues?

I do not consider programs like Big Love to portray polyamory.  The polygamy of religious sects in which woman are treated as chattel and do not have the same right to add men to the family that their husbands do to add women is not my idea of true love.  And if I get onto that soapbox, I’ll have a third blog and it will be a rant.  I do believe Elizabeth is making a roast and may possibly even have finished staining the deck around the pool by the time I get there for supper.  Who knows?  We may even watch a movie musical this evening.  Seems that’s where I started this tome.  All though, I’ve cut it in half so by the time you read this, it will be next week.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

For Whom Do You Cry? True Love


My daughters and I love musical theatre.  I can’t afford live performances, but many of the good ones come out as movies and I can afford those.  The movie version of Les Miserables came out around my birthday this year and my eldest daughter, Elizabeth and I celebrated by going to see it.  Critics panned the singing, saying the movie cast wasn’t as good as the casts on Broadway or the West End of London.  I don’t care, Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe (who knew he was such a rich baritone?), Anne Hathaway, and Eddie Redmayne all made us cry.  And Samantha Barks sang the role of Eponine with Alfie Bowe in the West End cast as well as on the PBS 25th Anniversary special, so no one could possibly have faulted her singing in the movie.  Referring to the 25th Anniversary special, I personally think Nick Jonas is better looking than Eddie Redmayne, but that’s just me.

Another favorite of ours is The Phantom of the Opera.  I believe I watched that on disc with my younger daughter, Christine.  Gerard Butler singing the part of Eric, The Phantom [yeah, the hunky one who stars in all of those romantic comedies] and Emmy Rossum as Christine Daaé gave me chills—so much so that I had to look up the name of the young man who sang the part of Raoul (Patrick Wilson).  Elizabeth loves the music so much she had two of her cousins sing “All I Ask of You” at her wedding, which I found funny.  I would have expected Christine to use that song since her name is in it.  Elizabeth has an old copy of the original West End cast with Michael Crawford as Eric and Sarah Brightman as Christine Daaé.  What brought this up to me what riding to a family reunion yesterday with Elizabeth and listening to that recording twice on the way to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan from Chicago and once on the way home.

At the end of "The Phantom," I found myself crying not for Raoul and Christine who got their happily-ever-after, but for Eric.  I was trying to figure out who loved Christine the most—Raoul who was willing to give his life for her, or Eric who was willing to live the rest of his life alone so she could be happy with the man she truly loved?

In the book Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein, Jubal Harshaw tells Ben Caxton, “Love is the condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.”  This is the kind of love Eric has for Christine.  And it’s the kind of love Eponine has for Marius.  True, she puts herself into harm’s way and takes a bullet for him, but not before she leads him to Cosette’s house and prevents her father and his ruffians from hauling Jean Val Jean out of the house and taking him to Javert.  She puts Marius’ happiness with the woman he truly loves above her own.  And again, I cried more for Eponine’s sacrifice than I did for Cosette and Marius’ HEA.  I think “On My Own” is even more moving than “I Dreamed a Dream” for that reason.  While Fantine’s lover may have taken her childhood and left her with a daughter she could not support, at least she had a summer of happiness and a child to love.  Eponine never even had that much.

So—for whom do you cry?