More answers to more questions! As usual, most questions end up coming from Roger, which is fine because he comes up with good questions. Here's another:
What do you think will happen with issues involving US gay rights in the next three to five years: gay marriage; Don't Ask, Don't tell; the Defense of Marriage Act?
I'm not sure I can predict so small a timeframe, but the long-range trend with respect to homosexuality is clear: acceptance is growing, and it's going to keep right on growing. There's very little doubt in my mind that gay marriage is going to come to pass, as will allowing gays to serve in the military without having to hide the fact that they're gay. It's coming; it can't be stopped.
And that's a good thing.
I remember when I was a kid I had the standard homophobia that I suppose you'll find in any young kid growing up in a small town; one of the harshest insults with which you could strike another kid in your class was to call him "gay", "faggot", or "fairy". (I have to admit here, though, that when I first heard "fairy" used as a synonym for "gay", I was dumb enough to think that the word was "ferry". I couldn't figure out for the life of me what a passenger boat for taking people across a body of water had to do with sexual orientation, but I went with it because I wanted to fit in. Sometimes I wasn't the sharpest crayon in the box.) I don't remember when I came to the realization that homosexuality isn't wrong at all, but I did. And thank heavens for that.
So, the specifics of how it all might unfold? I have no idea. There will likely be more setbacks, such as more crap like Prop 8 in California. It's going to be a struggle, but I'm convinced that it's a struggle the gays are going to win.
A couple of questions come from one of my Flickr contacts, Artist of Life, who posts wonderfully quirky and evocative photos (many self-portraits) that relate to various issues of life she grapples with. She can be serious and whimsical and is one of my favorite people on Teh Interweb. Her questions:
Has reading a book ever changed your life? Which one and why, if yes?
Oh, many! Most books, in fact, change my life in some way or other, I suspect. Each one alters the trajectory of what I plan to read in the future. If I find myself loving a book by an author who's new to me, there's that. Or if I'm reading a book that I'm finding I deeply love -- then I am likely to read something in a completely different genre next, because anything in the same genre might well pale in comparison.
But I think what my friend is asking is for those books that really shifted things in my head, the books that made real, permanent marks on my soul. Here, we're talking about some very special books indeed. A partial list:
The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien (Well, yeah!)
The Prydain Chronicles, Alexander (Before Tolkien, actually. My first foray into epic fantasy.)
2001: A Space Odyssey, Clarke (The first true SF book that I remember reading. I didn't get all of it, but it was endlessly fascinating to me.)
Cosmos, Sagan (I didn't really understand much of this book at all when I got it when I was nine, but I read it all the way through in college, at long last -- and it rocked my world. In fact, I'm due for a re-read.)
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Pirsig (Not sure how I feel about it now, but this book fueled a lot of my thought processes in college.)
Macbeth, Shakespeare (when I first realized that the Bard was not boring!)
On Writing, King. (Still the best book on writing I've read yet.)
What were you doing the last time you really had a good laugh?
I'm lucky in that I tend to laugh a lot! I laughed earlier tonight because I got to annoy The Daughter by working titles of songs from The Phantom of the Opera into conversation. (It's her favorite movie now, and she listens to the music constantly. So it bugs her when I say things like, "I'd like you to do the dishes and sweep the kitchen floor. That's all I ask of you!" Then she yells at me, so I say, "Oh, I'm sorry, didn't mean to offend. Did I cross the point of no return?" Torturing one's kid is one of life's finest pleasures. I understand so much of my own father's shenanigans nowadays!)
There's a video on YouTube right now that made me laugh a lot. It's about a young girl and her infatuation with SF writer Ray Bradbury. You can watch it here. Warning: it is not safe for work, and it includes a very dirty word right in its title! But yes, it made me laugh and laugh hard.
I also laugh when The Wife forwards me particularly interesting LOLCat photos, which are usually ones that look disturbingly like one of our own cats. Such as this one, which I'm almost convinced actually is Lester.
Finally: How many pairs of Over-Alls do you own? :) :) :) :) You did say ANYTHING :)
Yup, that I did! And I'm kind of surprised that in all the times I've done Ask Me Anything!, this question has never been asked. And the answer is...well, it'll sound weird, but then, I suppose that bridge is already crossed, innit? So, here's a rundown...oh boy....
Dickies, stonewashed blue: 4
Dickies, regular blue: 2
Dickies, Hickory stripe: 3
Dickies, black: 2
Vintage Lee, blue: 2
Vintage Lee, hickory stripe: 1
Gap, blue: 3
Gap, brown: 1
Old Navy, blue: 3
Key, blue: 1
Key, Hickory stripe: 1
And that's not all...there are a few more whose brand names I don't recall or which I don't count because they don't currently fit very well (yup, time to start losing weight again). Maybe it's a little less weird if I call it a "collection", though. Hey, you name it, somebody out there is collecting it, right?
In terms of expense, most of these I bought cheaply on eBay, which is mostly a matter of luck and timing. The blue vintage Lee ones (this pair, and one just like it only a little darker blue) was a very surprising find; by some miracle I was the only bidder in the single auction for both of them and ended up paying less than twenty bucks total for both. That was pretty shocking; believe it or not, vintage overalls can fetch surprisingly high prices. I've seen some auctions that set their starting bid at $349.99! That is crazy. As much as I love my overalls, there's no way I'd pay that much for a single pair!
OK, more answers to come. There aren't too many questions left!