Monday, July 09, 2007

Almost painful to see

I start with a Rumination, which is something like a Deep Thought from Jack Handey, from Anthony Myers:

"The whole gay marriage thing is pretty stupid. Why would anyone ever want to get married to someone who isn't even pregnant?"

Now that's family values! :-D

(Picture from the always-amazing Somesai, who brings out the best in Tai Shan and his parents with her camera.)

Washington DC's most popular little boy turned 2 years old today. Actually, he's not so little anymore--he weighs about 150 pounds! It's hard to believe it's been so long since Tai Shan was born and my childhood love for pandas was reborn--the time has gone so fast! At the same time, it seems like he's given his many fans ten years' worth of smiles and laughter so far. From cuddling his mommy to attempting escape, from getting a mouthful of his keeper's sweatshirt to staying out *all* night, from playing in the snow to holding court for his fans, Tai Shan has been a constant source of delight. L'Ailee described him as an "Oreo cookie teddy bear," but it's his personality, mischievous and curious in the most innocent way, that makes him fun to watch.

This was going to be a bittersweet birthday, because the original plan was to send him to a Chinese reserve for breeding when he turned two. But panda males don't reach full sexual maturity until their fifth year, and the Chinese reserves already have lots of two-year-old boys, so China let the National Zoo keep Tai Shan for two more years. So we get twice the time to enjoy him at the zoo and on the Panda Cams! This is especially wonderful because his mother Mei Xiang was artificially inseminated *and* mated naturally this year, but didn't get a cub out of it. The two adult pandas are certainly cute enough, especially when they play together in autumn and winter, but young'uns just add that certain je ne sais quoi to any zoo habitat. :-)

Now to go from something so adorable it's almost painful to something that was just plain painful to see.

That is Tony Stewart crashing into his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin at the Pepsi 400 Saturday night. On the 16th lap out of 160. Hamlin's car was slowing down and Stewart's was speeding up. Stewart wanted to lead, and Hamlin didn't want to let him. Now, whose fault it was exactly is an issue; of course I'm taking Stewart's side. Hamlin could have let his teammate lead a couple early laps, gotten whatever was going wrong with the car fixed, and gone on to have a top five finish, maybe even another win. Instead, he finished dead last. One of the things I love about Smoke is that he never bothers to hide his feelings. His tongue-lashing of Denny Hamlin threatened to overshadow a truly amazing finish, in which Jamie McMurray (who'd had a long, long, long winless streak dating back to 2002) beat Kyle Busch by a freakin' *inch*. I use Trackpass to listen to Stewart's in-car radio (and sometimes Harvick's or Montoya's), and that's a pretty good thing because Stewart's often hilarious, but I'd much rather have audio access to the Gibbs racing team meeting this week!

It seemed to go with our weekend. Overall, it wasn't bad for us, but we saw bad things. We learned that on gay pride week in NYC, a butch lesbian was kicked out of a restaurant for using the "wrong" bathroom. We watched an indie movie called Over the GW, about "tough love" live-in psychiatric programs for teens, the kind that are all tough and no love. It was harrowing, especially knowing that many people in our generation (early twenties to early forties) have been through programs like that and worse. Our smallest cat, Hello Kitty, wedged herself between the refrigerator and the wall, and man, she picked up all the grossness there before she rescued her. She's white and fluffy, too. We wanted to use our microwave for once--we hadn't in over a month, because it's too domestic for L'Ailee and not domestic enough for me--and discovered that it had died of neglect or something. And then there was Natasha Gregson Wagner's performance as April on the 4400. Ewwwwwwww....

I felt a little guilty because I was watching a race instead of the Live Earth concert. But a TV would use as much electricity to show Live Earth as a race, after all. Besides, I think Al Gore III actually did more for the environment than Al Gore Jr. last week. He proved that a Prius could go over 100 MPH! That's right--he didn't shame his daddy by driving under the influence, he helped his cause! I know I for one was really amazed to read that, and so were a whole bunch of other people in Blogland. Now imagine the possibilities for NASCAR, if the technology gets tweaked a bit. Not only healthier for the environment, but healthier for pit crews and fans in the stands. Fewer races won by fuel/tire maneuvering--after all, the fuel would last and last! Besides, those rolling deodorant cans can't be any uglier than the Car of Tomorrow.

I posted lots of links. Would you like more anyway?

You can get some insight into how panda breeding pairs are selected with Some fun activities for kids, too!

Sinead O'Connor was interviewed by Christianity Today--can you credit?!?! I remember when my youth pastor was warning me against her. Extremely interesting interview here, and a review of her theology and "Theology" here. A quote that particularly struck me: "People often say, 'If there's a God, why does he let bad things happen?' We expect God to be perfect, but if we're made in God's image, then perhaps God isn't perfect. And that's OK." I so often say "It/s/he/they aren't perfect and that's okay," but it never occurred to me to say that about Gods....

Slate asked readers to come up with action movie one-liners. Hilarity ensued.

When we're looking for life on other planets, why not remember that perhaps life doesn't necessarily have to be carbon-based? This is going to blow some minds.

What can brown do for you? Well, at UPS, it can prove that civil unions really aren't as good as marriage...

Ending with some inspiration...Mildred Loving, one of the plaintiffs in the landmark Loving v. Virginia case, supports same-sex marriage!


BostonPobble said...

Damn Denny Hamlin!!!! (okay, so you know I have no idea who Denny Hamlin is and am just supporting you blindly but...Damn Denny Hamlin!)

You were part of an interesting negotiation last night. Check out Don and then come over to mine. ;)

puhpaul said...

That race had one of the most exciting finishes I can remember seeing. The only other really memorable one was the 1979 Daytona 500 where Cale Yarborough and Donnie Allison crashed and got into a fist fight on the infield. I think Bobby got involved in the fight too.


Dr. Deb said...

I so love panda bears. I don't like the racing scene all that much though.

Inanna said...

I missed the exciting finish! And, I have to say I agree with the originator of that quote at the beginning of your post. I think everyone should have an equal opportunity to be legally miserable with whomever they choose for life. This is why I am happily single and support other people getting married, regardless of sexual orientation.

ConnieJane said...

I don't care who caused the wreck... but I had Denny Hamlin in our race pool last week. The whole thing was a bummer all around as far as I'm concerned.

Opening ceremonies have begun at Chicago... gotta go.

A 24 fan.

alan said...

"Seperate but equal" didn't work in dealing with racism, how could these imbeciles expect it to be any different in this case!

Yet another bill of goods being foisted on the people...


cats said...

i love when you write about pandas. they were my paternal grandmother's favorite too.

and i'm beginning to believe that unisex bathrooms are the way to go. (well, it didn't sound like a pun when i was writing that... but now...)

ConnieJane said...

PS... Tony got his turn at Chicagoland. Nice driving.