A nice moment today, as I was finishing a piece I’d promised to an editor by noon. Looked at the clock: 11:57 a.m. Looked at my buddy list; was he online, with his chat program open? He was. Was he at his desk? Sent him a shout-out. He was. Dragged my Word file over to his name on the buddy list, which sent him an automatic message saying a file was coming his way, and would he accept? He did. The file transferred in a few seconds. Glanced at the clock: 11:58. I beat deadline by two minutes. I rule.
All the world’s a newsroom when everybody has a Mac.
Magazine deadlines are more elastic than newspaper ones, but deadline is a drug, and freelancers don’t get enough of it. Oh, we have deadlines, but we don’t get the deadline energy that comes from a newsroom, when everyone’s clattering away, focused on beating the clock. It helps you work. When you’re alone in your home office trying to meet a deadline, it’s just you and your flop sweat.
Another deadline slain, and a little time to breathe. Detroit buried Proof today. (The other guy shot in this incident died earlier this week.) I recommend the photo gallery, which revealed the details of the $48,000, 24-karat gold-plated casket, the wide range of outfits and, of course, the funeral “family” credential. And what funeral would be complete without bomb-sniffing dogs? The world is a remarkable place sometimes.
If half the city was at Proof’s funeral yesterday, the other half was at the zoo, which is where we were. The crowd was so dense we were directed to park on the sidewalk. Since we are, I have been informed daily this week, the only family in the whole school that didn’t go out of town for spring break, I was surprised to find so much company; I figured we’d have the place to ourselves. (When pressed, Kate will acknowledge that one or two of her classmates are not vacationing in Florida this week, and surprise, we saw them both at the zoo.) My favorite feature this visit: The Japanese snow monkeys, who were sitting in the sunshine on this fine day, grooming one another. The body language is so close to that used by my hairdresser when she touches up my roots that I couldn’t help but smile.
And back to the bloggage: John Scalzi mentioned the “Purity Ball” earlier this week, the strange ritual in some evangelical cultures in which fathers escort their daughters to a dance and then publicly sign this pledge:
I, (daughter’s name)’s father, choose before God to cover my daughter as her authority and protection in the area of purity. I will be pure in my own life as a man, husband and father. I will be a man of integrity and accountability as I lead, guide and pray over my daughter and as the high priest in my home. This covering will be used by God to influence generations to come.
It’s all about virginity, obviously. (And just to ratchet up the creep factor for those fo you who haven’t spent much time in livestock breeding, “cover” is the verb that describes what the stallion does to the mare. What it means here? Up to you.) The very thought of any father taking this much interest in his daughter’s sexuality, and at such a young age — here’s a Focus on the Family story that says some of the girls escorted to this shindig were as young as 4 — would send me running for the hills, but then, I’m not of this world. Show me a culture where female virginity is prized to this extent and I’ll show you one that has a real problem with women.
Anyway, here are some Purity Ball photos from the 2005 affair Van Wert — presumably Ohio. Draw your own conclusions. Me, I’m grossed out.