Archives - March 2004

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March 31, 2004

Predictions and PRAVDA

I've got a prediction on the outcome of a late-breaking news story. I won't post it now for the sake of decorum (translation: in case I'm wrong, I don't want to look like a dumbass) but if my prediction is right, I'll post it. If it is wrong, I won't do anything because it's my blog and I can do what I want!

About PRAVDA...

Remember the old Soviet Union newspaper? I thought they had gone the way of the wooley mammoth but they are alive and well. In many ways, it is still an organ of the machine, grinding out anti-American and anti-"Zionist" garbage. But it also seems to be a weird mix of normal news and our Enquirer, with headlines like "Russia To Launch First Space Elevator" and "Jesus Christ Born In Ukraine." The English translations are hilarious. I ran across this little article today, apparently written by their equivalent of Dr. Phil:

25 rules for ideal marriage

03/31/2004 16:27

A man is a robot and his brain is controlled by various programs. He is born to fulfill certain obligations: to be a husband, a father, a driver, a bread-winner. A woman is created to manipulate him.

1. Be unique. Riches, beauty, intellect are not necessary. You just simply have to develop your feminine confidence, optimism and charm. You will have to convince yourself that you really need to get married, that is it incredibly important to you and try to achieve the goal with confidence. You are the only one, you are unique! A smart and worthy man will definitely value this quality in you!

2. Do not start a conversation with a man; do not invite a man for a dance. There is nothing wrong with being traditional.

3. Do not stare at men and do not be extremely talkative. You should not appear desperate when trying to spark up a conversation with the opposite sex. Do not try to catch his look. Listen carefully to whatever he says.

4. Never pay for yourself. In fact, never even take out your wallet. Men like to be in control. Equality is good for professional relations. When it comes to love however, men has to be first.

5. Never call him first. If you do, he would think he"d already conquered your heart. If you are dying to hear his voice, call his work phone and listen to his answering machine.

6. Let him be hungry for you. Do not talk to him for more than 10 min on the phone.

7. Do not make weekend plans later than Wednesday. No last minute phone calls!

8. Do not get too anxious before the date.

9. Pay close attention to the first three dates. Try not to fantasize about the upcoming date. Do not invite him over for "a cup of tea" after the first date.

10. Kiss him on the cheek! When saying "good-bye" to him after one of those first three dates, do not allow him more than a kiss on the cheek.

11. Make him believe as he is the man!

12. Then comes the time for gifts. In case he does not give you a present for either one of the upcoming holidays, leave him! Anyone could buy you a drink. However, when it comes to gifts, only the one who is really caring will spend his precious time choosing a gift for a woman of his dreams.

13. You should be dating no more than twice a week. Afterwards, you will be able to see each other daily after you get married.

14. Control your emotions. Do not try to get him in bed right away.

15. Do not create additional problems and refrain from ordering him around. Men assume that they are free beings. Do not deprive them of this illusion. If he has not introduced you his family after several months of your friendship, do not be alarmed. There comes a time for everything.

16. Man is a leader. At least officially. He is supposed to choose which restaurant, coffee shop, theater to attend. He should also be the first one to say the most sacred phrase "I love you!"

17. Do not expect him to change; do not hold him captive. Men are not typically inclined to change. You should simply list all of his character flaws and ask yourself whether you could disregard them.

18. Do not be in a hurry to open up your soul. Men do not wish to be burdened by additional problems. You should not lie. Simply wait for a proper timing.

19. Be sincere, yet mysterious. Men love mystery.

20. Try to avoid cohabitation before marriage and do not leave your things at his place.

21. Getting involved with a married man is a risky affair.

22. Keep it cool after marriage! After you finally reach your goal and get married, remain slightly cold. Do not call him to work too often. Let him be the leader. You still have to intrigue him.

23. Accept things as they are. Do not hope that he will look at the world with your eyes. Be patient towards his weaknesses.

24. There is plenty of guys out there! In case your affair was a fiasco, do not get upset. Life goes on, and plenty of new relationships await you!

25. Love yourself! No matter what problems you run into, always remember that you were created to live and enjoy this life! Therefore, always try to look at the bright side!

Those Ruskies are a hopeless bunch of romantics, aren't they?

*****

March 29, 2004

Good Moms and Bad Writers

Just got back from a trip to visit my mother in Missouri. As usual, a good time was had by all. Great food and great company, and helped my mom and her husband have a very successful garage sale ($1800+). It was great talking to my mom into the wee hours every night.

My mom is a true animal lover. She feeds the local wildlife (on 10 country acres, there's quite a bit of fauna) as well as a husband and three cats. I enjoyed watching the squirrels on the deck, the woodpeckers on the railings, the lone turkey as big as a freaking ostrich, and a wandering beagle named Scamp as they all made a point to sample my mother's hospitality. Though I'm not a cat fan, I even enjoyed her three neurotic felines, especially the very sweet Serena.

Still no word from Gollywood.

Found out via an email from a fellow writer that my publisher has changed its name: 1stBooks is now AuthorHouse. Read the full story. Personally, I'm glad they changed the name. I recommended they do this a long time ago. The old named reeked of amateurism: "Gee, this is my FIRST book." In reality, many established authors and experts have published through them. The new name is much more neutral and professonal-sounding. Their new web site is also much more user-friendly, especially for (from what I've seen so far) shoppers who want to buy books from the site. The old site was HORRIBLE for actually buying a book online. The 1-800 number worked much better, but many people just went to Amazon to order instead. The only thing I don't like about the name change is that they didn't bother telling any of their authors it was happening. The old book links still work, and I'll get the logos changed as soon as I can.

Listened to a couple of audio books on the road trip. I usually don't bad mouth other authors by name, but I'll make an exception. The guy is so popular, I was stupidly expecting the writing to be good. It wasn't.

I listened to Violets Are Blue by James Patterson. It truly sucked. Maybe I'm just the kind of reader who has to have a LITTLE PLAUSIBILITY in their fiction. There was nothing remotely realistic about this story. I know, I know; it's fiction. But if one is writing a story about police work, one should at least approach it with a tad bit of reality. This story was one goofy serial-killer cliché after another. To jump on the Anne Rice bandwagon (who is ten times the writer that Patterson ever dreamed of being), he even tossed-in a dopey vampire slant. I haven't seen such a contrived and impossible story line since Silence of the Lambs. (oops, David trashes another cherished American literary and cinematic icon)

Okay, so Patterson and Harris are best-selling authors and I'm not. Maybe I'm jealous. Maybe I'm small-minded. Maybe I'm a picky bastard. Maybe I'm all of this. But what I am definitely is a guy who has realized that the "filter" of the mainstream publishing machine is no guarantee that quality writing will find its way to the book store shelves.

*****

March 23, 2004

Gorilla Mayhem

I'm sure most of you have heard the news about the 350 pound gorilla named Jabari that escaped from his pod at the Dallas zoo. A tragic tale indeed. He got out, went berserk, injured some people, including a couple of little kids, and then was shot by a police SWAT team when he rushed them. One can say much about zoos and animals and nature and such, but what I want to report is a little-reported (hell, I think I'm the only one reporting it) phenomenon that is being seen with the remaining zoo animals. Seems they are banding together to protest their captivity and the death of their friend. They are becoming increasingly hostile and anti-social. I was at the Dallas Zoo yesterday when I snapped this pic. It says it all:

gorillakillaz

This elephant is in the Purple Mountain Posse.

Thanks to Joanie for use of the pic! Be sure and check out her gallery for more of her great photography; she's very good in addition to being very funny... The politically-incorrect tattoo was my creation, not hers, so send your hate mail my way.

*****

March 17, 2004

Darkness and Irishmen

I found this site by accident while looking up something else. I was trying to find the original chart from the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, circa 1930's? from which I stole the criminal brain pic for my "Powered By David's Brain" spoof in the left-side column.

The photographer's name is Shaun O'Boyle. He has many photo essays on modern ruins such as abandoned factories. My favorites are his shots of the many abandoned insane asylums and mental hospitals that dot the landscape. Another site catalogs these and reports on them in an historical perspective, but I think Shaun captures the spirit of the places. I can only describe his photos as HAUNTING. I love old places like these. Places that seem as if they were abandoned in a hurry, with stuff left all around as if the occupants had been there yesterday, even though the building has stood empty for fifty years. Some even have coffee cups sitting on tables where the employees left them. To wander such buildings without interference is something that I would rather do than just about anything. No tourists, no guidebooks, no souvenir store, no snack bar. I know it would be boring for most people, even creepy, but I find that places like these reach deep into my soul and touch something there.

Those of you who have read L.A. Stalker have seen how Jerry is effected by antiques and old objects. He feels something from them, not in some sort of spiritual or supernatural sense; they just spark his imagination. The people who touched these objects, who owned them, who raised families with them...they all come alive in his mind as if he were there. Every object tells a story, the story of a life. Someone else's life. In this regard, Jerry is me. A little piece of myself woven into a character.

Shaun's photos do the same thing to me. I really love this work, and I hope you check him out.

Screenplay update: Received an email from the agent in Hollywood a little over a week ago. Said the script developer liked my rewrite "so far." Haven't heard a word from them since. I guess it is sort of like a jury; the longer they are out, the worse it is for the defendant. But not always. So again that dark cloud of hopelessness falls over me. Has the script gone up to the next level? Is it being considered by the corporate types now as they hear a rundown from the script editor? Or has it been thrown into the slush pile with a hundred more rejects? Will anyone even bother to tell me one way or the other? Again, no light at the end of this tunnel.

*****

March 15, 2004

Rock and Roll and my misspent youth, Part II

Heard a song today on the radio that brought back a memory. It was Steppenwolf's Magic Carpet Ride. I saw this band live when I was 15 or 16 in about 1976 or so; but much of this concert (and that entire year as a matter of fact) I don't remember. However, I do remember enough of it to relay a funny story.

I'm sort of reluctant to tell the story, because Steppenwolf, I've learned on the 'net, is still together. I was kind of hoping most of them had OD'd or something so there wouldn't be any complaints about my story from them. Especially the lead singer. But, hey, this is America (it better be; I have a big American flag on my Suburban) and this story is true, so &(*@$ them. If I get a cease-and-desist order from their lawyers, I may consider removing it.

So my best friend Chuck and I go to the Steppenwolf concert. We take along a few buddies (I can't remember who they were) and meet up with some more. The concert was at Beaumont's (my home town, population 100,000 - yeehaa!) rodeo arena. An indoor-outdoor venue where concert goers were afforded the luxury of sitting in cow shit on the rodeo arena floor in order to enjoy the show close-up. We tanked up on Schlitz Malt Liquor and other unmentionables before the show started. One of our party was a cheerleader, I'll call her Betsy (not her real name because I can't remember it) who had gotten kicked off the squad for a morals violation. I didn't have the heart to tell her it was probably from hanging around with US. Nice company. But she was just a friend, no hanky panky moves from any of us. She was beautiful and blonde and bubbly as cheerleaders often are. And except for smoking a little weed, she was quite naive as well.

So Steppenwolf comes out and does their set. They were quite passe by this time, an old 60's hippie band that none of us really liked, but we paid homage to them because we did respect them as musicians who led the way of heavy metal, but mostly we went because there just wasn't a damn thing else to do in Beaumont, Texas that night. They were pretty good, and the show ended too soon as they always did. The lights came on and we began gathering our group together for the ride hom. We had promised Betsy a ride and started looking around for her. We were near the stage when someone pointed toward the rear of the stage (which was outside) and uttered, "Oh, there she is over there."

We looked over the wall and saw Betsy climbing into a limousine. With the band.

"Holy shit!" someone said.

Betsy was about to be a midnight snack for five doped-up rock musicians.

We knew that she was a little stoned (well, she was VERY stoned) and that she was very naive and could not know of the band's evil intentions. The limo pulled away. We stood in silence for a moment, looking at each other. So in a weird manifestation of 1970's dopehead chivalry, we decided right there and then to rescue our friend.

One of the group went up to a roadie and flimflammed him into telling us where the band was staying. In a stoned forced run/march, we headed for the car. I can't remember if I was driving or not, or if I even had a driver's license then. But anyway, we piled into the car like Keystone cops and sped toward the luxurious digs of the Motel 6 on Interstate 10.

By the time we got there, the limo was gone. We didn't know which rooms the band was staying in, and the hotel manager wouldn't tell us. So being the direct man-of-action type that he was, and is, Chuck decided to knock on every *)^%ing door in the motel until we found Betsy. We fanned out and started knocking. In a few minutes, and many pissed-off and scared guests later, someone yelled, "She's here!" I ran for the room, to find John Kay standing in the doorway, still in his leather outfit, a switchblade knife hanging from a chain around his neck. Chuck was smalltalking him. I peered underneath him and saw Betsy teetering on the edge of his bed, looking a little frightened. By this point, the rest of our long-haired, Black-Sabbath-T-shirt-wearing crew had gathered at the door. Kay was telling us to get the !%$& out; this was a private party.

"Party?" someone said. "Don't mind if we do!" We all barged in.

Kay was trying to talk us all out of the room while the group mobbed him.

"Dude, you were awesome."

"Dude, you rock!"

"Dude, is that a real switchblade?"

Some of us sidled over to Betsy to see if she had been gang-raped yet. She was fine. The fear left her face; a party was about to commence.

Meanwhile, Kay was getting really pissed off. We had left the door open, and a few more trolls came in.

"Come on in, dude!" we shouted at anyone outside. "Party!"

Then one of the band members came in, some spaced-out Woodstock reject. He brought some friends with him. I looked at Kay. He stood against the wall, arms crossed, his dream of defiling a teenage cheerleader crushed.

The room was filling up by then. The weed was burning, beers were opening. We still felt uneasy there; it was obviously a world in which we didn't belong. I wondered when Kay was going to rally his forces to eject us proper, leaving Betsy in the hands of the devil. So we slowly made our way outside, dragging a now-recalcitrant Betsy with us; the party was just beginning for her and she didn't want to go. But we knew that to let her stay, even with all the others around, would be far too dangerous. So we conned her out to the car and sped away.

I don't remember anything after that point. How we got her home, how any of us got home. But I did know, and I still know, that our little band of heathens did a good deed that night. Betsy may still not even realize what we did for her, but that's okay. The important thing is that we did it, and that's all that matters.

*****

March 13, 2004

Beaten down by da Man

My outlaw lifestyle is over. Three years on the lam from the authorities has come to an ignominious end. Not in a blaze of glory, a shootout L.A bank-robber style. Not even in an arrest and seedy trial. No, my return to being a proper citizen ended with the ding ding of a cash register.

I got a new inspection sticker for my truck.

Yes, I sold out to the EPA, the State of Texas, and Greenpeace. The offending catalytic converter is gone. Nice clean toxic exhaust flows from my 1988 4x4 Suburban with a lift kit and chrome cattle guard.

I guess things aren't too bad...even though I miss the low rumble my hole-ridden muffler gave me. But my new Hi-Flo converter and muffler do give me a little more horsepower. Enough to tackle the tough terrain I encounter daily, like speed bumps and parking lot stops. And the new galvanized steel exhaust pipe sticking from the side of the big machine looks downright purty.

I'll miss my old outlaw ways. There was a certain thrill to dodging the law. But I guess I could let my license sticker expire...

*****

March 11, 2004

Why I Hate Spring and Summer

Among many reasons, tornado season is one. A picture is worth a thousand words, they say. Here are some pics of the twister that hit my town in 2000.

.

This is the only photo I've seen of the tornado itself. A measly F2 with 120+ mph winds. This photo was taken about one minute before it slammed into downtown proper. This is about 500 yards from my office. I had left work 15 minutes before it hit. If it would have hit 20 minutes sooner, or had it been an F3 or F4, it would have killed many, many people. Only two died. Note the white building in the center; this is the Merrick building; it survived. Photo stolen from USAToday.

This is the CashAmerica building the next day. Hit full force by the twister. The FBI was renting offices in there. They found FBI memos and furniture over 12 miles away. Photo courtesy of Rana Williamson.

This is a church steeple next to the CashAmerica building. Two women were praying in the top of the structure and escaped with no injuries as the walls were peeled away. The entire church had to be demolished. (Photo courtesy of Rana).

A classic physics lesson: What happens when an irresistable force meets an immovable object. The BankOne Tower absorbed a full blast and dissipated the tornado. Pieces of this building were scattered for a mile. Downtown was closed for two days as the glass from it and the buildings behind it rained down. Some pieces weighed over 300 pounds. In the foreground are the Merrick Building and the church (Photo by Rana).

Look closely to see the shards of glass driven into solid concrete (Photo by FEMA).

Where was I during the maelstrom? In my closet, hearing the air raid sirens wail outside, not knowing from which direction the twister was coming. I only live two miles from downtown. Like I said, spring is not a good time for all of us...

Thanks to Rana Williamson for letting me use her pics. Be sure and visit her blog.

*****

March 8, 2004

The law, Martha Stewart, and common sense

Okay, the big news o' the day is Martha and her convictions. Some see this case as a big victory as one story called it, "for the little guy." Others are saying it's a case of targeted prosecution of a celebrity for political gain. Comics and cartoonists are having a field day.

So Martha is in the U.S. probation office beginning her pre-sentence investigation process. Since these PSI's are what I do, then I know what will appear in such a report when they finish it in a couple of months. The elements facing the sentencing judge are as simple as they are complicated: 1) What did Martha do? and 2) Who is Martha? The information provided in the PSI report will give the judge these answers. Putting the two facets together will create the dilemma discussed by everyone: Do her actions warrant a sentence to a federal penitentiary?

Sure, Martha did some insider trading. She and her broker dumped some stock early and saved over $52,000. Their actions were those of two people who did such things routinely. In Martha's great international-corporate fortune ($335 million), $52,000 is chump change. Like you or I passing off a 50-cent coupon for Tide to the WalMart cashier even though we know it has expired. Does the amount of money involved and its relativity to the person's net worth matter? Some think so, some think not. Then came the more serious crimes; lying to investigators and covering-up and destroying evidence. If either of them go down for time, it will be for these offenses more than anything else.

Then there's Martha the person. As far as I know, the 63-year-old has no criminal record. She's obviously not a career criminal. She's built a corporation with a lot of hard work and business savvy. She probably employs hundreds of people directly, thousands ultimately, all over the world. Most here in the states. She pays her taxes and contributes to the community, and has done so her entire life.

A prison bed costs about $55,000 per year (that's state of Texas costs; the federal rate may be higher). That's your money. Martha and her cohort may wind up doing 14 to 16 months in prison, followed by a probation. That's $65,000+ you are going to fork over to house Martha in a medium security prison bed (contrary to popular belief, the "Club Fed" minimum-security "country club" prisons no longer exist).

The federal prison system has been overcrowded for years. If someone is going in, you can bet that someone is coming out. So here's the question we must ask ourselves: who would we rather have occupying this bed, Martha Stewart or a sex offender, drug dealer, Mafiosi, fill-in-the-blank.

In Texas, there are over 3,000 sex offenders on probation, most of whom never stayed a NIGHT in jail. These are people who raped kids. Add other violent and repeat offenders to these numbers. They walk the streets with no real "pen time" justice.

That's why I'm not jumping up and down with glee at the prospect of Martha doing time in prison. We all need to step back and take a reality pill. In a perfect world, sure, Martha needs to do some time. But we don't live in a perfect world. We live in a world with limitations, unequal justice, and tight budgets. Putting the Diva of Domestication in the pokey is a total waste of time and money.

*****

March 4, 2004

Rock & Roll

Was listening to the two classic rock stations on my way home today. Heard a few tunes that reminded me of my old way of life, way back when I was another person. First I heard Rush, The Temples of Syrinx, from their best album, 2112. Wore the grooves off that one (if you don't know what I mean by "grooves" you're probably too young to be reading this blog). Next was Rock Candy by Montrose. A great band that as far as I know, only put out one album. Every track was a great song. Ronnie Montrose on guitar, with a young Sammy Hagar on vocals. Next was Cum On Feel The Noize by Quiet Riot. Now, that one was a little later in my yoot, around 1983, but there's a funny story to go with it that I'll tell you later.

It all came together with an email I got the other day from my friend Chuck. We were Fric and Frac in our early high school daze, living more in two years than many people live in a lifetime. Chuck just invested in a new drum kit for himself. Now that he's an information systems suburban dad, he's gonna take a chance and take up one of the great loves of his life: playing drums. I am happy for him. At 16, Chuck could outplay anyone. A trained percussionist, he was a light year ahead of the rest of us dweebs who barely managed to plunk out Smoke on the Water. He could do it all: Jazz, Rock, Funk (our rendition of an original song Disco Dancin' Boogie - a spoof of the HATED disco movement, would have been a classic). He could read music and had what I would call perfect pitch; he even tuned my guitar for me, because I am stone cold tone deaf). Chuck could play these drums. Like a pro. I don't know if he recognized his talent, or just didn't have a strong desire to pursue a career in music, but he could have. By the time he could vote, he would have been doing serious studio work or maybe even playing in a full time, professional band. I'm glad to see he's picked up the sticks again. I'm sure his yuppie neighbors won't be, but hey, that's rock and roll.

About Quiet Riot. When I was a college junior, I got asked to go on a double date with another couple. Fix up with a cute friend of the other chick. Okay. Destination? The Quiet Riot concert. Sure; I've been to a hundred concerts. So this fix up of mine was a "nice girl" unlike my usual "not nice girl." So, I decided to pass on my usual punk garb of the day (black jeans, ripped black tuxedo shirt, cross in ear, combat boots) and go preppie. Didn't want to scare the girl. Preppie was in at the time. My brain must have been out.

We show up at the venue, The Bronco Bowl, in Dallas. I learn then that the Bronco Bowl is a freaking bowling alley. At the rear was a nice hall for live shows. So the four of us truck through the bowling alley with the throngs heading to the concert. It was then that I noticed: leather and steel seemed to be the uniform of the day. Not a Ralph Loren Polo and Topsiders. I was getting a few looks from the tattooed bikers. The "I'm gonna cave your head in, college boy" looks. The girl took my arm; she was scared, too. I said to myself that if I could survive long enough to reach my seat, I would be okay. I'd hide in the darkness, then wait well past the time when the show ended, then hide amongst some bowling patrons and sneak back to my car. Made it to my seat unscathed. The lights go down; we made it just in time to see Axxe open up the concert. Whew. I made it. As soon as Axxe started playing, some kid pulled the bottom of his seat off and threw it at them, frisbee style. The lead singer through it back. All Hell broke loose.

Chair bottoms were flying all over the place. It took security a half-hour to round up the chair bottoms. I'm sure there were a hundred broken noses in the joint. The band played on. A guy came up the stairs and sat right in front of me. He was a speed-freak looking guy with no shirt. In the darkness I could see a horrible scar on his shirtless back. Whatever; I sat back and enjoyed the show. Axxe quit playing and they started changing the stage for Quiet Riot's set. All of a sudden, a single spotlight was turned on. I watched as it turned around and panned the audience. It kept on panning, all the way to...me.

So much for anonymity. Everyone in the place looked at me. The girl sank out of sight. Then a bunch of roadies on stage began pointing at the 500,000 lumen spot that surrounded me. My white Polo glistened. My life flashed before me. Then Axxe, the whole freaking band, stepped off the stage and started walking up the stairs. Toward me. I looked around for an exit. Cute or not, the girl was gonna get her ass left behind.

The band comes up and, to my relief, introduces themselves to the shirtless guy in front of me. He stands up. In the glare of the spotlight, it was then that I saw that the scar on his back was no scar at all; it was a tattoo. Not just any tattoo. It was a back-covering rendering of Eddie, the ghoulish corpse mascot of the metal band Iron Maiden, in fourteen different colors. The band checked out the tattoo, shook hands, said a lot of "cool, mans" to the guy, signed his back, and went back to the stage.

I looked for a restroom to clean my pants.

*****

March 2, 2004

Another legal milestone in the making...

Texas has been known for some precedent-setting legal battles in the past. Roe vs. Wade, The Flag Burning case, Affirmative Action for college admissions, the Sodomy Law, not to mention the Great Dildo Defiance and a host of death penalty cases have all garnered headlines around the world. They've also set legal doctrine that has been both controversial and nation-changing. It looks like we're about to do it again (my politically-incorrect comments in blue):

Judge orders genetic testing in divorce case

PAM EASTON Associated Press HOUSTON

A person born as a man but now legally a woman was ordered Tuesday to undergo genetic testing before moving forward with an attempt to void a marriage with another woman.

Huh?

Linda Gail Carter, born James Howard Murphy, wants a union with Constance D. Gonzales voided after the pair were married by a minister in Las Vegas in October 1998 (Las Vegas...that figures; I guess "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" is not true after all). Carter had her gender legally declared female more than four months before the wedding, and has a Texas driver's license that identifies her as female. (Can you imagine the poor state trooper who had to do this at the DMV?) Gonzales, who says she lived in Houston with Carter until March 2003, filed for divorce, which if granted would recognize the marriage. Carter, who pulled her hair back at the nape of her neck and wore a suit coat to court Tuesday, claims the marriage should not be recognized because both are female and Texas does not recognize same-sex unions (Kinda late now to be so moralistic, sweetie).

A Texas appeals panel ruled in 1999 that a person's sex is determined by chromosomes (Wow! A common-sense ruling by a Texas appeals court!). State District Judge Lisa Ann Millard gave Carter until March 22 to undergo chromosomal testing first ordered last year. Carter failed to appear for that testing in November, according to court documents (She was getting her back waxed).

"Although claiming to be female as the result of a judicial proceeding, (Linda Gail Carter) is 6-foot-4, weighs 275 pounds and purportedly has male genitalia," Gonzales' attorney, S.C. Childress, argued in a motion (So what's the point of marrying another woman if she has a PENIS? ). "It is the contention of Constance D. Gonzales Carter that Linda Gail Carter, also known as James Howard Murphy, is male and that their marriage is therefore valid."

Carter's attorney, Elsie Martin-Simon (Who would hire a lawyer named "Elsie?"), argued there is no need for the chromosomal testing because a 1998 judgment legally changed Carter's name and gender designation (So Carter must be guilty of obtaining a driver's license using false information, which is a Class B misdemeanor). She said the testing violates her client's privacy and height has nothing to do with a person's gender, pointing to a number of female professional basketball players. "Surely, it cannot be contended that these famous 'female athletes' are not 'female,'" she wrote (Good retort to Childress' lame argument about Carter's size).

Jerry Simoneaux, president of the Stonewall Law Association of Greater Houston, said getting a divorce, as opposed to having the union voided, would likely entitle Gonzales to more of the property the couple is disputing over (She needs to get in touch with Joanne Webb and have herself a Passion Party to replace all that disputed property). The association focuses on legal issues affecting gay and transgendered people.

"Constance Gonzales and I never lived together as spouses, never held ourselves out as spouses in the state of Texas and never agreed to be 'purportedly married' prior to the purported marriage ceremony in Las Vegas, Nevada on Oct. 31, 1998," (Okay, now let me get this straight: They got married in Vegas. A woman marrying another woman. Legal there evidentally. Then they moved to Texas, where they lived as a couple. So...how could they not hold themselves out as married? And "purportedly married?" Is that like "purportedly pregnant?") Carter said in a sworn affidavit.

Martin-Simon declined to comment about the case to The Associated Press after Tuesday's hearing, citing a gag order in the case (pun comment withheld) . Childress did not return a phone message left by The AP. Richard Carlson, a law professor at South Texas College of Law, said the law is unsettled in Texas about whether a person can change gender (as long as they don't burn a flag). Carlson said if chromosomal testing determines Carter is a male, the appropriate remedy would be to grant a divorce. Meanwhile, Simoneaux said the chromosomal test could show Carter is an intersexed person (Is this a word?) with both male and female characteristics and possibly force the court to determine whether an intersex person can marry people of both sexes or no one at all (In Texas, we call it "Love the One You're With").

"We really don't know how to treat people where two people are married and one person is transgendered," he said. "To most people it is going to be a same-sex marriage, but to the state of Texas they are only concerned with chromosomes and therefore it is an opposite sex marriage." (So what happens if TWO transgendered people get married? What the hell do we do then? I think the entire fabric of society would come unravelled.)

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If anyone can explain any of this to me, please drop me an email and give me the rundown. Perhaps the Court should issue a program along with their ruling; you know, like the kind you get at a baseball game to explain who everyone is. Or in this case, WHAT everyone is.

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