“Actually, gingervitus is the medical term.”

This story requires the obligatory link to “Ginger Kids“, the greatest episode of South Park:

A shaken family told how they have been hounded out of three homes — for having ginger hair.

Kevin and Barbara Chapman and their four children have been targeted by thugs for three terrifying years.

The youngsters have been verbally abused and beaten up, while vandals have regularly smashed the family’s windows and sprayed hate-filled graffiti on the walls of their council homes.

Only this week, the slogan “Gingers are gay” was daubed across one wall.

I find it hard to believe something like this could happen, so my crap detector is going off. It just seems too ridiculous. But small-minded people will find anything to taunt someone different. That’s not going away.

Wondering whether there’s a disconnect to the typical sort of nonsense directed at redheads in America and a taunt that includes “gingers are gay”, I researched the ramifications of the British slang for ginger. I found this dictionary:

  1. Homosexual. Rhyming slang, from Ginger beer – ‘queer’.
  2. A ginger or red haired person. Pronounced with hard g’s as in goggles.
  3. Carbonated drink, such as cola. [Scottish use]

Who knew? And I didn’t realize that it’s pronounced with a hard “g”. Overall a banged-up mental process to arrive at such a derogatory term, but still fascinating.

For an example, consider this story from December in the UK:

The BBC has upheld a complaint against Jeremy Clarkson, the Top Gear presenter, after he described a car as a “bit gay”.

He provoked the ire of the gay community when he asked a member of the show’s audience if he would buy a two-seater Daihatsu Copen, retailing at £13,495. The man said, “No, it’s a bit gay”, to which Clarkson added: “A bit gay, yes, very ginger beer.”

Story link via Fark. “Ginger beer” link via Citizen Crain, where you’ll find good commentary on the free speech implications of this example. Daihatsu Copen here. A better image here.

Memorial Day

There’s a lot going on with the contract search and home renovations/repairs, so I’ve been a bit busy. I have a bunch of stuff to catch up with here, which I’ll do tomorrow. For today, I just want to post a quick Memorial Day thought.

As I’ve mentioned here before, two of my brothers are in the military. One brother is in the Navy, serving as part of an aircrew flying in Iraq. He’s been out for almost six months, in Japan, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Thankfully, he’ll be home from this tour one week from today. Today, it’s important to me to remember that too many families are dealing with loss instead of homecoming. I do not want to forget that.

My other brother is finishing up training in the Marines. He’ll be home in a couple of weeks for a short leave between training and shipping out to his new base in Japan. I don’t know much right now, but I hope Japan means Japan and not Iraq. I’m not optimistic, unfortunately. Unlike my brother in the Navy who lost any misguided illusions about war he may have had before he shipped out, I don’t think my brother the Marine has an understanding of the horrific nature of any way, noble or not. Breaking that must occur, but I hope it comes easy and soon. For now, I appreciate his desire to serve.

May they both continue to stay out of harm’s way.

Behold the Annual Hall of Fame Post

Should I write something new about Dale Murphy being bypassed by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America for the ninth time? Probably not, since it would be the same entry I wrote in 2004 and 2006. I’d lament how stupid it is to discount players from the 1980s because their statistics do not match the statistics of players from the 1990s. Following on that, I’d also question how voters can keep Mark McGwire out of the Hall of Fame because his greater statistics are allegedly steroid-enhanced, yet continue to dismiss the lower statistics from players like Dale Murphy, who we know was clean. Then I’d quote the only sane writer, ESPN’s Jayson Stark. I might use this quote:

Murphy’s stats may not look so dazzling stacked up against the numbers of today. But in his heyday — the decade of the ’80s — Murphy got more hits and scored more runs than anyone in the National League, tied Mike Schmidt for most RBI and was second to Schmidt in homers. He was also a back-to-back MVP, a five-time Gold Glove winner, a proud member of the 30-Homer, 30-Steal Club and a big enough star to lead the entire sport in All-Star votes in 1985. So he sure deserves to be getting more than 56 stinking votes.

This year, 50 voters marked Murph on their ballot, which is fewer than 10%. Shame on the writers, but I shouldn’t be surprised given that two writers didn’t even deem Tony Gwynn or Call Ripken worthy, casting blank ballots. The process needs to change, or at least waive Murph’s remaining eligibility and send his candidacy to the Veterans Committee. That’s his only chance to claim his rightful spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

But, no, I’m not going to bother with a post this year to express my outrage. That would be redundant.

Video games are not reality.

I don’t talk too much about my personal life on Rolling Doughnut. Part of that is to preserve some anonymity, and part of it is because, despite being a blogger, I understand that my life is only interesting to me and those close to me. You probably don’t care to hear that I’ll punish a few members of the Locust Horde in Gears of War tonight. Sometimes, though, reality interferes to push my life into something more universal and relevant.

On Monday, my brother joined the Marines. He should be finishing his first semester at college, but for reasons I don’t care to share here, he’s now in boot camp. He wants to fight in Iraq, for all the wrong reasons. He’s 18 and thinks he has the world figured out, as most people do at that age. Nothing will stop him. Where he is fearless in thinking that battlefield death is noble, I’m scared to death thinking that the next time I see him will be at his funeral. He seems strangely content, even anticipatory, of the idea. I am not.

I turned against the war in Iraq a long time ago. As I said, I was very naive in believing that we could build a nation. For that I carry my share of the blame. But I do not believe I was out of line to trust the Bush administration to run the war competently once it decided to engage. It has failed to do so at every step. This is unforgivable, yet, President Bush appears prepared to send more men and women to fight a war that he is not serious about winning. He is a shameful, little man.

I’ve accepted that my brother will be sent to Iraq. Despite his high entrance exam score, he chose to join the infantry. He does not understand that he is a number to the military, a troop level increase. A body. To me, he is a human being, with flaws, strengths, misconceptions, and honor. I respect his right to make this decision, but I also want to meet his children one day. I wonder if President Bush cares more about that or his political legacy.

I don’t like the conclusion I’ve reached.