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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Mars at last, but not for me

Several days ago, the Orion space capsule made its unmanned test flight and performed perfectly. This was the first baby step towards landing people on Mars.

I have waited 46 years for this. The first moon landing occurred when I was 15 years old. I would not be dragged away from the TV - I'm glad it was in the summer! I put my mattress there, ate my meals there, and only left to go to the bathroom. When I fell asleep I left the TV on and woke to more.

I truly believed that we'd be colonizing Mars when I was still young enough to go. The original Star Trek had just ended its run (breaking my heart) and its message that humans will pull through all their hatreds and prejudices (making the last episode truly ironic) to work together and create a real civilization still resonated through me. I honestly believed it was possible. Hey, I was 15. Now I'll admit that Star Trek looks a bit campy today, and suffered the common affliction of 1960s TV shows called the "Girl of the Week Syndrome," but at the time it was very edgy and controversial.

Anyway, the Mars program has officially begun, but here I am 61 years old. By the time they actually get people there, I'll probably be in my 70s. Well, if they decide to land a bunch of old people as expendable test subjects, I just might volunteer.

Seriously. Take me. Can I bring a cat?

Monday, December 8, 2014

So how come no one gets bent out of shape over 'Season's Greetings?'

It's December, and the "It's not Happy Holidays, it's Merry Christmas" memes are swamping Facebook, posted by (I hope, since they're my friends and family) well-meaning Christians who see this as a legitimate way to keep Christ in Christmas.

It isn't. Sorry. Arguing about semantics once a year does nothing for anyone.

Here's why it bothers me so much. First off, no one is telling you (except perhaps your boss if you work retail) to say Happy Holidays. Nobody. I have always said Merry Christmas, and no one has ever been offended by it. The rudest return I ever got was "Thanks! I don't celebrate Christmas, but you have a good one." Oh, those heathens. What rude barbarians.

I worked as a sales clerk for some years between college and graduate school, and we were told that it was store policy to say Happy Holidays. So, at work, I did. At least once a day, a customer would get in my face and snarl, "It's not Happy Holidays, it's Merry Christmas!" Or they'd sneer, "I'm a CHRISTIAN. It's Merry Christmas." My, how the Christians spread love and joy during the season of the Savior's birth.

Around once a week, one of those doing God's work on Earth would treat me to a lecture on how I was destroying Christmas and Christianity itself with those two simple words. It was plain from their body language and voice that they considered me about one step away from worshiping Satan.

It's been around 30 years since I last worked retail, but that blasted snarky "it's not Happy Holidays" meme brings back every single snarl.

Enjoy your American freedom of speech by using the Christmas greeting of your choice. And if you don't like someone else's choice, why not try practicing Christian forgiveness and just say "Thank you, you too."

Monday, December 1, 2014

Oh, those whiskey/amber eyes...

I'll admit it. I read romance novels. I am choosy, though, and do have my favorite authors. The books must be well-written with interesting characters, and I must be able to get through the first chapter without wanting to slap sense into the heroine. I enjoy them for the fantasy they are. Shoot, I've even written a couple (Blood and Moonlight and Home Again) and fully expect to write more.

Sometimes, even in the otherwise well-written ones, stuff will bug me. For instance, a lot of authors lately give the hero or heroine whiskey-colored or amber eyes. Folks, that's dark yellow. Ew. I knew a guy once who actually had that color and the effect was anything but attractive. Sorry, just doesn't work. Sounds good in print, but I visualize everything, and yellow eyes are not sexy.

Just now, I'm in the midst of reading Smoke and Mirrors, by Jayne Ann Krentz (2002). I know I can count on her for a great read with no smackable characters. One character (not, thank God, the hero or heroine) is described as having 'striking amber eyes' that the heroine finds difficult to look into. When the hero comments on them, she smiles and says, "Tinted contact lenses." They proceed to call him 'yellow-eyes' through the rest of the book.

Thank you, Ms. Krentz, for skewering that particular annoying trope.