On a roller coaster, I’m like the one in the middle with her eyes closed

I don’t actually look like that because I’m trying to seem less scared than I am. Roller coasters are like that for me.

I’m not really afraid of heights. I’m not afraid of speed.

However, I worked in an amusement park for two summers and know what most of maintenance guys are like. Not so much that they seem incompetent — I want a greasy blue collar guy into working with tools on that job — but that they seem to have hard lives that include a lot of drinking and carousing after dark.

Couple this with the fact that I saw Final Destination 3 and know what can really happen on these things, I tend to avoid them unless I’m with a group and am basically shamed into going on one.


One of those times when I really miss New England

I am having one of those moments when I am homesick for New England.

For all of its drawbacks — the insularity, the expense, the people who are easily the most insane, angry drivers in North America — there is something magnetic about the place and the people that will always remind me of why it will always be home to me.

I mean, where else in a country that has been overtaken by historically ignorant Tea Partiers, barely literate fundamentalist Christians, and corporate interests masquerading as just plain folks, can you find a place like Massachusetts where it is still acceptable to be a humanist?

This is the state where Governor Deval Patrick, a thoroughly decent human being and African-American whom right-wing folks hate almost as much as they hate the Kennedys, gave an impassioned speech bordering on tears last Friday where he defended the notion that migrant children do not deserve in a land of nearly all immigrants to be treated as criminals and outcasts. And he brought up the idea that perhaps — just perhaps — religion calls for all vulnerable kids to be treated with love and respect.

I know. What a crazy idea, huh?

In Massachusetts most people seem to agree with him. It’s a place where far more people than in many other parts of the nation would openly scoff and dismiss any Republican who tried to make them feel bad for being a progressive. This is true throughout New England and it is because of those people that this region before any other had approved same-sex marriage. Even the right-wingers there are more likely to respect the rule of law and say, “Well, OK then. I might disagree that the state supreme court has approved same-sex marriage, but that is the system we have and the system has spoken.”

In other parts of the country, the right-wingers teach children that the three-part system of shared government is only valid if those right-wingers agree with the outcomes at which one of those three branches have arrived at any given moment.

Which is the better patriot?

Finally, while I realize that Chicago is on a lake so massive it can be described as an inland ocean (and I am growing to love it here) it cannot compare to driving through an old New England coastal fishing village. You feel the weight of history in such places. Yet, for all of its small-town trappings, the small-town people there are far more humane, kind and open-minded than elsewhere outside big cities.

So I post here two New England videos: Deval Patrick and his wonderful speech about why he is having the state of Massachusetts move to give assistance and shelter to migrant children being harassed elsewhere by Tea Partiers.

And a video from a drone flying into amazing, historical Gloucester, Mass. What is not to love about a place that would use a fabulous old song by Dusty Springfield as background music? (Even though, in this context, many of the lyrics are nonsensical. Bright lights? Places that never close? C’mon! It’s Gloucester not Manhattan! Never mind that. Put the video on HD if you have the bandwidth and just enjoy the scenery and a great song.)

UPDATE: My friend Bruce just corrected me. It is NOT Dusty Springfield, it is Petula Clark who sang the song in this video. I feel such a sense of shame for not knowing this. I might has well have said that Loretta Lynn sang “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves.”