Saturday, April 27

Where I Wish I Was

Somewhere within cuddling reach of this:

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That's Reno For You

I have to stop saying that I don't find this place so bad when in actuality I can't stand the place. This town has the cultural sophistication of a Mitch Miller sing-a-long. If casinos are high art, then Reno is the Louvre. I believe it was Gertrude Stein who commented there was "no there" to Oakland. I shudder to think of what she could have conjured to describe this place.

Reno just is. It exists. It endures. What it doesn't seem to ever do is aspire. And when it does, it appears to fail. The situation has come from what happens when you mix old political families with big money and a populace seemingly consumed with their entrenched views. In short: nothing.

There are two major metropolitan areas in Nevada: Reno and Las Vegas. Each has prospered off gambling money. Makes sense. The casinos, however, pay (or do they) large sums in property and gaming taxes every year. Room tax alone in Reno is 12 percent. I don't know where the money goes, but it isn't for infrastructure. The roads are poorly planned, paved, and never seem to be maintained.

Approximately 10 years ago someone realized that families were coming to Las Vegas. They cleaned up the place, created incentives for growth (the price of which was Steve Winn), and made the place an inviting community. I'm sorry. I just can't say the same thing about Reno. It's not inviting, unless of course you want to drop a lot of cash.

Or you want to waste away. No thank you.

Friday, April 26

Getting Clear

The current controversy over acceptable punishment of Catholic priests who abuse children under their authority has brought up some interesting side conversations. The one I find most repugnant is the curiosity of how many gay men enter the priesthood.

Somehow, and not really all that suprising, the American public has confused a sexual orientation with a sexual dysfunction. Once again gay men are having to defend themselves from the long-held public opinion of them as sexual predators, especially of underage boys.

As most gay men and their close friends know, nothing could be farther from the truth. Sexual dysfunction (and just that term alone begins a whole new debate) goes across all orientations.

Maybe what we should all be looking at here are some basic trusts these priests have breached. First, children are taught to respect and follow the word of their preists or religous leaders (this is how this happens). Second, parents don't always support the tales of abuse their children report to them (how it occurs again and again). Finally, the child's trust in any adult is compromised (why they don't say anything in the future because they've already been discounted).

Zero tolerance seems like a good idea, but how would you enforce it? Such a rule depends upon a policing of some sort, hard to do in the sanctity of a confessional or preist's office, not to forget such a rule goes against Catholic tradition of confession, repentance and absolution. Let priests marry? Again, confusion abound on what the real situation is. It's not a matter of priests needing a source of sexual release as it is a need for some priests to find a release for their dysfunction.

If only there were easy answers.