Thursday, November 29, 2012

Rant Rant Rant: Fingernails!

Fingernails are lovely things. Most of the time. You can paint them, scratch itches with them, turn the page with them, and use them to get difficult crumbs out of your keyboard. Eventually, unless you are Howard Hughes, you will need to cut your nails. You may hire someone to take care of your feet, such as the lovely Bastien Gonzalez (we love him because he once took on the almighty challenge of the feet of the father of ravaj). Fingernails are much easier, though, and usually you cut them yourselves. Or clip them.

Here comes the rant:  since when has it become the custom to clip one's nails in public? It's not that the act itself is vile, but rather that the clippings are allowed to lie where they fall. For example, just this week I saw a woman across the aisle on the plane, this morning it was the woman next to me on the Tube, and  the other day there was a woman on the top deck of the bus; all of them tending to their nails with no concern for their debris. It was utterly disgusting.

When I was young, Rabbi Hugo Gryn z"l told me that he would collect his nail-clippings and burn them, because his grandmother had told him that all the rubbish undisposed during his life would be waiting for him after death. I don't know about that, but Google did give me a couple of suggestions for the reuse of fingernail clippings:

1. they are compostable (as long as you remove the polish), since they are rich in protein.
2. if you cannot afford a Brillo pad (steel wool), put them in the foot of an old pair of tights and tie off the end. Voila - an inexpensive pot scrubber.
3. send them to Tim Hawkinson, a man who makes sculptures out of them

Ultimately, whatever you do with them, for goodness sake please do it at home. Thank you.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Vatican Fights Back

Reuters news agency reports that in the wake of the U.S. states of Maryland, Maine and Washington extending the right of marriage to same-sex couples via a popular vote, the Vatican has responded by pledging never to stop fighting attempts to "erase" the privileged role of heterosexual marriage, which it called "an achievement of civilisation." The chief spokesman for the Vatican - Father Federico Lombardi - made the standard and expected arguments on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church. Unfortunately, he also decided to perpetuate a popular canard by suggesting that if same-sex marriage is acceptable, "... why not contemplate also freely chosen polygamy and, of course, not to discriminate, polyandry?" (as quoted by, among others, the Chicago Tribune newspaper).

I still don't get why it isn't as clear as a clear day that those of us who wish to get married are utterly supporting the institution of marriage, not undermining it. Otherwise, why would we fight for it?! Furthermore,  it's not as if we are trying to deny the heterosexuals their right to marry. If marriage is so threatened, surely the first people to target are those hets who are daring to live together as husband and wife without the sacrament of marriage? Sigh.

Thank [your Deity of choice. Or not] that everyday people are using democracy to create equality.  I'm so happy that those Americans voted for equality, and I'm delighted that the blinkered religious hegemony has been thwarted. Onward we go!

PS  For a look at how the LGBT situation has developed in the USA, there's an interesting article here by Michael Lindenberger in this week's Time magazine.