Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Look Again

Or maybe something more predictably Nordic and royal, perhaps ... ?




The man I'm writing about isn't someone I'd find physically attractive, personally. Until fairly recently, I had not thought about his looks to speak of since very early in my writing; and I realize, where at that time I saw mostly the youth taking his throne, now I see more the large and older man who's well established in it. Mind you, "older" in this context is all of about thirty or so; yet by the age of thirty, my king had spent half his life under a crown ... and age was a different matter in an unrecognizeably different time.

So not long ago, when two friends of mine were having fun casting him in the movie which of COURSE will be made of my RUNAWAY bestseller (*very much a piece of sarcasm, this*), their suggestions really intrigued me. Colin Farrell, said the husband, who's perhaps more onto something than the wife, who said it should be Gerard Butler. Now, I've actually seen Butler in both Attila the Hun's shoes (oh my that was ... not good) and Beowulf's as well (which was actually the best I've ever liked him), and I get the reasoning there, but I just hate that guy. Plus: brunette. No. Which also sort of ruins Farrell for me, too, because the last time he went blond the roots on Alexander the Great's head were just to nineties-emo for me to manage.

On top of which, they're both too old.

And yet, young as my man C needs to be, he can't look youthful, in the way actors so often do. If I could animate the best body type of an actor, over time, of all the people in the world, Leonardo DiCaprio comes closest to capturing the man I see in C. He was smaller in his youth, but even as "pretty" as he was packaged, he could actually have been marketed another way back then, and been a respectable budding man's-man in a sort of fifties heroic actor mould. He's certainly become a much larger creature than he once was. I haven't studied his bones much, but he seems beefier in a way I could ascribe to C. And he seems distinctly, distinctively, *older*, in a way VERY few actors allow themselves to become - see also, Farrell doesn't exude manliness and age to me, nor for that matter does Butler.

Be it said, the idea of DiCaprio playing my mysterious and, yes, very definitely unnamed protagonist (I'll stay off "hero" on this guy) CRACKS ME UP. Apart from the exactly-right physical evolution of his body over the past twelve or whatever years, let's face it, he's DiCaprio. But he HAS (to my ignorant perception; I really haven't actually seen him perform in a long time) divorced himself successfully from the Teen Beat crowd he seemed doomed to play to in his thinner, daintier-looking youth. Maybe he's not widely beloved, but he's *just* off-the-path enough I wonder if the guy couldn't really make something interesting of himself over a pretty long career.

I definitely cast Shaun White's face, though. He's a cousin of C's, a great supporting player, a raw-boned, taut-featured, earnest and ruddy thing who just fits one of C's commanders right to my taste. Sure, the snowboarder SMILES to excess, for my purposes, but steal that face in calm, and it's just right for cousin P. Love his face. And finding it is a great help to me - because P has been one of my hardest characters to form, and just giving him a physical description will help me to polish him.

Cousin R, another commander, is easily, unquestionably, and hands-down Stellan SkarsgÄrd, fuhgeddaboudit. He was Cerdic, he's R. Sure, in the early chapters, we'd have to de-age the guy, but get me to page 350 or so, and this is my man. I can't hate Stellan, and I can't even hate cousin R, b*st*rd that he really is, but this bit of casting is just two great tastes who taste great together. Or. Um, something grammatically tenable.

Yeah, anyway ...

And on we move, to C's wife, to the queen. I can't even imagine. Some of her physical presence is based on my best friend, TEO. Her movements, her shape. Her coloring is her own, much lighter than TEO. Her face I have never imagined. I think female characters are hard for me to "cast" because, for *this* novel in any case, as important as they are, they are very much more supporting roles.

Though the first queen, C's mother, has got to be a Nordic goddess. She's Brunhilda, she's so wuv-wey, she is "strong", she's all butter-blond and braids and very blue eyes. Glenn Close's cheap personality imitation by way of Charlize Theron's looks and coloring. Kristin Lavransdatter with a pair. Freya. More Aryan than Aryan; more square, more tall, a cartoon of ancient, northern-European woman. Her role won't be a long one, but it will be unforgettable.

C's concubine, his friedlehe, E. E is the single character I can describe to the last detail, and I refuse to. Once she's published, any moron will be able to guess in any case. So mum on that.

C's eldest son, T.

I haven't told anyone this. T is my own E, probably. Contained, dark, tall, but not as bulky a man as his father. In some ways I've reversed a generational reality in this, heh. But yeah. T looks like E. T is important, but you won't know much about his deepest reserves from the view of his father. This seems right to me.

Anyway, I started off saying C is "not my cuppa" as it were. I never have dug blondes much - so there's some humor in the fact I married a Nordic god. But C is a more butter-blond model than my Beloved Ex, who told me this year they actually took "blond" off his driver's license when he renewed it (the earth shook; it was pretty major). C will be blond through every driver's license; only his skin, his face will grow much darker.

I don't know what color his eyes are - blue, or grey - but I have a feeling they are not actually exceptionally striking. His power lies in something other than his looks, my C. His features must be regular, inoffensive; but not really beautiful, not charisma-by-attractiveness, this one. He might have a Brian Keith face. A face one can build onto, but not have to build *from*. I happen to find Brian Keith marvelously magnetic - he's warmly, wonderfully easy to watch - but the need to follow him on a screen doesn't come from the perfect, virile curve of his nose or even his rather nice mouth or eyes: it is the vitaility he animates his features with, it's the expression as deployed ON that face, rather than the face itself, which makes you look.

Yeah, okay, and the voice is a good one, too.

But voices can be cultivated (ask k. d. lang about fruit trees ...). I have built my own voice somewhat; I'm sure my father did, even if not consciously with intent. We all do - again, what comes behind it. One of the most attractive men I've ever seen has a voice unfortunately reminiscent of Charlie Sheen, but the character he brings utterly wipes out such an unfortunate association, and his timbre is his own. My brother's voice is capable of a lightness which is almost unbearable in its emotional impact. He's a devastating guy, my brother; and his voice is wonderful and musical.

C, I have to believe, owns power and appeal not born of drawing people's eyes, but of drawing their *attention*, which is a very different thing. His looks fall beside the point. I've seen countless men (most particularly men; the standard of beauty applied to women doesn't allow this much mobility) with weak mouths, short foreheads, lumpy noses, or indifferent faces generally, who are elevated as magnificently handsome completely aside from the real merits of their bodies.

Most of what is considered physically attractive, when I for one look at men strictly for the physical, is absolutely lost on me - I don't see any special symmetry or form in the faces (or bodies, why let them off that hook) of men like Costner or even Clooney. Some are "pretty" - Cruise, Pitt - but lack much indication of masculinity (or character, but of course there we're getting subjective again). Some, though, are actively UNattractive, and yet are treated as heartthrobs. Gerard Butler falls in this category for me. He has what I have long referred to as a 'meat face' - too much face, nowhere near enough of it actually well constructed. His mouth makes me actively squeamish, and the idea he is "hot" is beyond baffling to me. It's antithetical to the evidence. I can't even imagine finding him beautiful by way of acquaintance with the wonders of his person; some faces can become magnificent by the reflected light of the personality animating them (ask me how many women I have known who have had crushes on Ryan Stiles, and Steve Buscemi). Butler is just a little bit wrecked.

Seriously. That mouth. The slovenliness. I cannot get it.


So, yeah, C is a blond, which for me - usually mostly *meh*. He's a big man, perhaps tending toward a little rotundity in what passed for "age" at his period (anything past thirty). Inoffensive, but not even the sort I could get to via liking the man he is (oy gevault). Not my flavor, as a former friend once said.

I'm definitely not sure Farrel's the way to go for C. I'll have to think about that. Heh. You know, because (a) movie rights are so entirely likely ... and (b) I'll have total creative control, after all.

Eh, it's just fun musing. And, in P's case at least, it's been a useful enhancer, as I polish the manuscript.

Wow, so amazing. I'm writing a book.
Cheers, dad. We did it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Day Off

I'm home from work today, both due to the storm and to a sore throat. Though the ice seems to be melting now some, it's late enough in the day, and I'm still reluctant enough to irritate the throat with SHOVELING, that home I stay.

I've gotten some good stuff done, including another good death scene. Death on horseback.

Or under the horse, as it were.

Mmm yummy. Must be time for a late lunch.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Whether or Weather

I'd like to officially go on record as voting AGAINST having yet a fourth snow-and-or-ice storm coming this way tomorrow.

Get that filed, willya?


Okay, Now?

Now I'm a happy little girl all blushy.

Zuba's decided to "follow" me.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


If I tried to talk about this weekend coherently, beginning to end, it would take six months to tell, and I would still miss stuff.

The start of things was when the heating oil delivery made at 10:30 the morning, just as the blizzard was getting started, turned into the heating system boiler reboot (okay, actually the technical term is bleeder valve priming, but reboot is easier) took until about nine p.m. I actually got a great referral to a how-to website from my friend the service guy at my delivery company (thanks W!). Unfortunately, my stupid arthritic hands, and stupid tools which will not fit in tiny little four-inch apertures, were not up to (nor down to, actually, in terms of scale) the job. Geezit.

A visit from mom and stepdad was no help either. So I remained one screwed nut (har) away from heating satisfaction. And the house was down to forty-nine degrees, even with three space heaters.

Three space heaters, plugged in the most creative possible configuration, throughout my office, the living room, and separate circuit breakers in the kitchen, and all fed back into the living room via extension cords, so as to heat a single room.

In order to block off the other rooms, I'd brought up the solid oak doors for many of these spaces, from the basement. And propped them into place.

Which unfortunately meant I damaged the phone line to the office, where my laptop usually lives. But which itelf, now, was plugged for its own power somewhere in the kitchen, while the DSL box was plugged into the outlet above the fireplace. And the phone line was on the amusingly improvised-looking hookup in the LR.

My house looked like something out of Brazil, man. Terry Gilliam's nightmares. And still no heat. Well, unless you count the pretty amazing *ZZT* mom got out of one of the vintage heater's vintage plugs, when her foot moved the connection a little. And, um, singed the floor. Leading her to, I have to say prudently - but did it have to be so depressingly-comically? - bring down one of the pots I had been using all week to heat BATH WATER, to contain the connection. So I'd have a nice pot sitting in the middle of the floor, holding one of my myriad electronic riggings, so it wouldn't EXPLODE and burn the house down. Oh, seriously, could my living situation possibly be any more ridiculous by now ... ? With the leaning doors and the webbing of circuit breakers and the NO HEAT and a dog literally shivering, and glowering at me because she knows this was my fault for not having a job via which paying $560 oil bills comes easily before Christmas ... ?


When mom and stepdad left, they gave me the number for, and I think I actually have this progression correct: my stepfather's niece's brother-in-law (who is a heating and air tech). It seems like I've missed a relationship in those steps ... but, in any case. I called the HOME telephone provided to me, left the most apologetically stalker-ish voicemail I could possibly muster, and sat down to microwaved dinner.

When the guy actually CALLED ME BACK (!!!!), he turned out to be a super nice guy, the sort of good old boy we have around here and there, not least in my own family, and he was actually incredibly helpful. He got me as far as getting the bleeder valve open for the priming, but the part that should have been easy - pressing a button - turned out to be stumping us both. When he found out this weekend is my birthday, he said, "Aw darlin', if I'da known it was your birthday, I'da been there already!" He did come over, around eight p.m., and the first thing that happened was my big old Volvo-headed dog SLAMMED into the kitchen, from the dining room, KNOCKING A SOLID OAK DOOR ONTO HIS HEAD.


Fortunately for me and my homeowner's policy: the guy laughed about it. We joked it was the sort of thing a woman does when she's alone and a man is coming over at night.

Anyway. Down to the basement. And dangitall if we didn't both sit there pretty stumped. He did manage the actual priming, but yet again the reset itself remained on lockout mode. In the end, having each tried the intricate task of pressing the button a couple times, he sat and held it while we talked for a bit about how stupid it was that this wasn't working.

Naturally: it worked.

Note to all: "Lockout timing: 15 seconds" apparently actuall should be read at a factor of ten or so. Good grief.

So we worked the system, the guy got $125 and a near-concussion, and we stood in the kitchen for a bit talking about high school, as his wife was apparently in my brother's class, and blar-di-blah. He eyed the dog and laughed, said, "She looks old and worn out" and I said, "She d*mn near knocked YOU out" and she sat there amused that she was the topic of discussion, and expecting the usual praise she receives no doubt. He left by nine, and ... I had heat. First time in five days - not a bad start to the weekend, after an initial series of painful dramas which just about licked me.

The rest of the evening? Why redeploying plugs, naturally. The *ZZT*'ed one of which, in fact, was disturbingly warm. And melted. Mmmm - the joy of non-electric heat.

Yesterday, I cleaned house. I spoke, too, with my friend Z, who is probably the most amazing, ridiculous, impressive, and impressed-upon people in the world. This is a woman I love from the bottom of my puling little guts, and who's had about ENOUGH doodoo piled onto her life's plate. I was no help to her, but as my phone was about to run out of juice and her house was being dealt with by those minions of G-d's little acre of hell known as Building Management, we got off and she said she'd call in an hour. I told her to use the cell, hooked it over my pants, and got to cleaning.

I understand that, when mom told stepdad I had dropped the phone IN THE TOILET he laughed uncontrollably.


I cannot say this reaction was shared. My own brain just sort of went "bloop". As did the telephone.

It actually continued working for a while there. I couldn't believe it - and I almost couldn't stomach it. How do you reconcile yourself to the prospect of using a TOILET PHONE, seriously? There's no amout of cleaning ...


And of course, yesterday was the eighteen-basquillion feet of snow too. What a lovely thing. I gave up on shoveling altogether (not least as I have no shovel in the first place). Heck with it. After all, where was I going? I'd gone out on Friday. Enough for me, surely.

Except of course, this year was the first year in forever that I've actually felt like having some fun - which is a pretty big deal, as my father died on my birthday as luck would have it.

But no. Homebound.

So I turn on the TV, and how much of a smartypants does Martin Bashir have to be, that in the snow the night before my father died, there was a huge and gross documentary airing for approximately nineteen hours through the whole dystopian evening - and here it was, the seventh anniversary of dad's death almost, and d*mn my eyes if that man wasn't right back front and center with THAT MAN again, now he's dead too, with ANOTHER documentary, and, oh yeah, it's snowing again. Thanks, life.

Not creepy at ALL.

I mean, good grief.

So snowed in, heated by the grace of god and a near-concussion, phone dropped in a toilet, life OH SO SUBTLE with the post-shadowing there about the night my father died, and - not for nothing - one half of the people I know nearly suicidally depressed, and the other entirely wrapped up in their navels. And I'm no good to any one of them.


Sunday finally dawns, and I've got writing stuff on my mind, one very important piece of which I get done (the death scene, actually, of the closest thing to an avatar for the author, in the entire piece; huh, didn't think of the irony there, actually - great). I sit down with one of my bibles to do some reading in prep for another scene, and somehow get distracted.

I end up agreeing to birthday lunch at Maggiano's with mom and stepdad. It was awfully good. We laughed a lot about the phone.

We also replaced it, with an old one mom still had. So the total cost was actually one battery ($41.99). Shew.

After all this, mom and I ditched SD and ran off on our own for some shopping. You might not think it from the brief recap of today's events to that point, but it was about 4:00 p.m.

While shopping, I told my mom about the eBaying I've been doing to help make ends (still not) meet. How I've gained about the best customer one could ask for. And I'm pretty positive I've become the personal shopper for a baby drag queen somewhere in New England.

Mom thought the story of The Drag Queen Who Saved Christmas was pretty hilarious, of course, and wasn't judgmental at all: even HELPING ME SHOP FOR THINGS TO POSSIBLY SELL HER.


There are times I love the dickens out of my mom.

I did end up with some shoes, and just emailed her; we'll see if she likes them. I also got a neat little dress for seven bucks, and I want to keep it. So there.

The part where she egged me on to tell my exceedingly bashful SD about it was a little odd. But she was all into the joke. Naturally, he about died.

Then my cousin V called, and mom told her about it too. By midnight, my entire family should be scandalized that Diane is selling skanky shoes to transvestite Yankees to make a living. What the Baby Jesus will make of my own spin on the commercialization of His nativity hasn't yet been reported.

I won't try to call Him on a toilet phone for a quote for publication, though. That much is for sure.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Neck. Fetus.

It must have been about 1981 or so that my dad took sabbatical and worked a stint out of state for several months. My mom drove me and my brother through hill and dale, her old hometown (briefly), and a few more hills and dales, to go visit him.

She and dad went off on their own for a night, and Bro and I sat at dad's apartment, and watched The Manitou. Being a skittish kid, a horror movie was intensity itself, for me to contemplate and allow myself to experience, but it was a misty time when televised entertainment tended to be limited to three channels. One took what one could get. The Manitou it was.

Reading the link here, I remember this night as one I enjoyed a lot with my brother. Chicken as I was, and likely as I have always been to give myself over to the experience of even the worst, most ridiculous movies, I think we may have joked about this movie even as it was on. I do know we've joked about it a few times in the intervening decades. You can forget a lot of the finer points of a movie (such as, for Maud's sake, TONY CURTIS starred ... ?!??), but a neck fetus does sort of stick with you.

I have to admit. I want to see if they have this on Netflix for instant viewing. I think it might make a good diversion during a blizzard.

If I do find it, once some nice, juicy Hitchcock TV and housecleaning are on the way, I'll try to remember to come back with thirty-years-later comments on this old gem.

Or not-gem, as luck will have it.

Seriously. Tony Curtis!?

Thursday, February 4, 2010


During the past week and a half, I have ploughed through the current draft of my manuscript, and actually turned it into something I feel can be *called* a manuscript, reasonably. Of what now is a 448-page work, 308 have been entirely cleaned up. That this particular task has taken such a very little while (and let it be admitted; today I did nothing, and yesterday very little) tells me how much I've actually done, in just under four and a half years.

There hasn't been much "missing", nor as much left to do as I had thought.

Earlier in the month, and in the holidays, I was working on the closing chapters of the work. So, going from both ends, I have squeezed down the area of "real work" left to do to the space of something like sixty to eighty pages, perhaps. I'm killing this beast, advancing in my battle. It's kind of amazing.

It's definitely great.

Out (in another manner)

I ran out of heating oil on Monday.

My current employment was something of a demotion, and a pay cut for me two years ago, and during December, the choice was mortgage or $560 for oil. The mortgage won.

I was conservative with habits, including setting back the highest demand on the programmable thermostat to 67, from Jimmy Carter's 68, and taking smaller baths. The tank lasted all the way until this Monday. But it's been chilly-ish in here ever since.

Lolly's furious with me, but I've been doing what I can for her. As for me - space heaters are good, and they certainly enrich my employer, and two big pots of boiled water work fine for a bath. Temps haven't dropped below 54 so far, regardless of the ever-more-creative operas from the dog. She's a good singer, I can't complain at her. And I know she is healthy and sound, so complaints *from* her are a tolerable sideline to the problem.

This hasn't happened to me in five or more years. The last time was right at the time I was getting ready to take a new job, possibly the best I've ever had. I figure, with the good comes the ... interesting.

I'm about to finish a novel and send that off.

I've got things going on.

I want to find out what comes next, now, for me. The scriptwriting's a bit overwrought, maybe, with the Dickensian heating/timing. But it's definitely ... interesting, times-wise, right now. Yes indeed.

Fortuna In A Cookie

Hah. Tonight's special, with order-in:

Devotion is worth the effort at this time.

Now, there are those who are aware: I know devotion. I know it better than most people alive.

And I can say - anything less worth the effort ... and any time less suited to it, I can hardly imagine.


Don't Ask Me

Did you know the "don't ask, don't tell" policy of the United States Armed Services is actually the "don't ask, don't tell, don't pursue, don't harass" policy? Yeah! I didn't either. By any other name, it smells as stale.

Here is the thing about repealing da/dt: it's a little like waiting to have kids until one can afford it - if you do that, you'll never become a parent. And the question, regarding repeal, isn't "do we want kids", but "when". The Brass themselves have made this clear (for a while). So.

How long are we supposed to worry about disapproval/discomfort regarding the honest humanity of men (and women, but we'll get to this point too) who choose to serve? Why should THIS discomfort outrank - har har - the discomfort of people who are asked to deny their humanity? I hear the predicament stated often enough, but it's impossible to accept the objectivity of the people who're most concerned vocal about it. I also think the people complaining aren't those in the actual position they're so eager to preserve.

Why should presumptions favor bigotry? When senior leadership in the Armed Services now clearly states that repeal is *possible* and *necessary* ... why on earth do people *outside* the context argue? Why do they think it's their voices which should be heard, even?

The presumed value or superiority of coddling the fears of the bigoted over the trusting of people to behave in a certain way, when we trust them with such overpowering responsibility, is baffling. To rate the ... qualms ... of one set of people over the *humanity* of others cannot be justified morally. Especially morally.

Questions regarding "The Gays" ability to contribute as soldiers tend to be framed by a certain segment of the population who (a) do not currently, and perhaps never have nor will, participate in the armed services, and who (b) have ulterior motives which have little to do with the real practicalities at hand, though they like that cloak an awful lot to justify repression.

Human beings continue to exist in all walks of life - certain types (regardless of closets) aren't handily boxed up between bouts with your personal political, or otherwise freighted, outlook upon them - but if you walk in any locker room, there sure isn't a third (or fourth, for that matter) option for segregating us beyond by two commonly accepted genders. Life inside the military isn't a separate universe: but da/dt operates somewhat as if it were, or would be if honesty were sanctioned.

Additionally, it's interesting (and telling) that the only protest here really seems to be related to male personnel - what the straight men will have to "deal with", as if it's some sort of terrifying imposition to accept other human beings on their terms. Though this is often paired with trumped-up concern for those who are so threating to them, we all know where the weight sits on that particular scale. I haven't heard word one about the danger these two groups of WOMEN pose to one another, nor any squeamishness on that analagous front. This damns the whole outrage as gay panic, pure and simple. It's hysterical, to choose an intentionally gender-implications-loaded word for it. Ahem.

Most cultures around the world have long since given up the perception that women who are not subjected to the strictest controls are necessarily a gang of rapacious, innocent-man-luring sexual traps. Likewise, there's no reason to imagine a gay man, who by the time he hits military service, will have had to deal with high school gyms and chauvinists and generally existing in the world, is any more of a hazard to the men around him.

For that matter, gay men (and women too!) don't spring up fully formed at the age of eighteen. They go to sleepovers and shower in gyms just like the rest of us, and I'd venture so far as to say they occasionally develop several clues about "behavior" well before that age, too.

The issue here is less "dearie me, dreary old sex" than it is the denial of a person's very being. It isn't "what if a gay man comes to be interested in a soldier who isn't (or, for that matter, who is)". It's what the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said this week: there is no valid reason to expect anyone in the military to deny who they are. Morally, repression of identity is at the heart of da/dt, not the supposed-ramifications of acknowledging that identity.

To presume that soldiers who are willing to die for their countries re less willing to avoid taking their lives in their own hands acting inappropriately with the "wrong" comrade (or to avoid just being jerkweeds to their comrades in arms) is an irrelevant game of pearl-clutchery more centered on fear than it is on practicalities.

Another way to frame it is to pose the question of who generally make better solders - homosexuals or bigots. The territorial aspect of who gets precedence, who has more right to concession, whose rights or comfort outrank the others? The liberal in me says "no way it's the narrowminded idiot", of course. But even the more conservative thinking I am capable of has to wonder, why should there be any presumption that the guy who's insecure and scared gets the consideration *in the armed services* of all ironic contexts? "They were there first" doesn't compel me as an answer and conclusion.

Just because making this change would be HARD doesn't mean it shouldn't be done. And the guys who're going to do it don't deny it's difficult. But they're in the doing-difficult-things business. They do what most of us never will.

The services are not the same entities they were even just twenty years ago. Military figures of the stature of Colin Powell and two Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (one past - four-star General John Shalikashvili, and one present - Admiral Mike Mullen) are behind this issue now. Two Secretaries of Defense, William Cohen AND Robert Gates, are pro-repeal. Retired and current military personnel alike, from all branches, have demonstrated continued support, always increasing in the years since da/dt. A 2006 poll stated that SEVENTY-THREE percent of military respondents indicated they were comfortable in the presence of gay or lesbian personnel, and in the intervening several years that number may well have gone even higher. This stat represents *military* respondents, those people to whom this question is actually perhaps relevant, insofar as the sexual orientation of ANY person must be judged as "relevant" to total strangers.

Today, as then (1993), the real question is not whether sexual minorities can be successfully integrated into the military. The social science data answered this question in the affirmative then, and do so even more clearly now. Rather, the issue is whether the United States is willing to repudiate its current practice of antigay discrimination and address the challenges associated with a new policy."
Gregory M. Herek, PhD, research psychologist

It's this man's job to find problems, and his consistent finding for these seventeen years has been that "there is no evidence of disruption or loss of mission effectiveness", a phrase the clarity of which is irreproachable, and which he repeats in context after context regarding the policy. Research touching this subject goes back fifty-six years at least. And research informs our senior military personnel: Would it be hard? Maybe. But can it be *done*? YES. Even public opinion polling never indicates a majority determined against repeal.

At the end of the day, we give these people massive weaponry and entrust to them the very wellbeing of our country. That we can't trust them not to behave in other ways seems, if not outright ugly, at least a little quaint at this point.