Awe

Tuesday night we went about our evening with determined normalcy: futz around the house, play with the dog, order in dinner, clean up a bit, stay up too late watching the ball game. (For the record, the Yankees lost to the Orioles in 11 rain-delayed innings.)
The difference, of course, was in the thoughtfully packed suitcase at the foot of the bed. Oh, and the car seat in the front hall, and the huge belly full of baby situated firmly between my wife and me. Between my wife and everything, really.
Wednesday was quite an Einsteinean relativity test for me: slow-motion until 10:56 a.m., hyperspeed after. Beforehand, we were weighted down by process, delay, impatience, and anticipation. Then, the better part of an hour in scrubs, plied with anesthetics (her) and splattered with placental fluid (me). And after, a brief moment of quiet excitement, then:
Fatherhood.
Followed very rapidly by recovery and transfer and shivering and ice chips and IV drips; several dozen phone calls, spanning the next 11 hours and including friends, relatives, mohels, and the like; many hours of abundant warmth with parents, siblings, niece and nephew; hugs, kisses, tears of joy, the shared revelry among three generations of two harmonious families; and lots and lots of holding, staring, and marveling. And eye contact. With him. Nathan, that is.
We are proud, elated, excited, overwhelmed, exhausted.
Parents.
Amazing.

Finally

So it has come to this: in our UX-obsessed moment, the new rock radio station in New York is WRXP, “The Rock Experience.” That can’t last.
Neither, I bet, can RXP’s playlist, because it’s so damn good.
For the first time in years, if not decades, New York’s overly segmented, overly conservative FM dial has a station that’s willing to mix it up. WRXP is the only commercial station I know that says, “Yeah, that rocks,” and puts on an artist regardless of subgenre or popularity.
It’s more or less a modern rock station, but to RXP, that doesn’t mean Nirvana and the Pixies, full stop. To quote the launch press release, the playlist is “not determined by era, but rather by the acoustic quality of each song, as determined directly by on-air personalities and staff.”
The results are nothing short of astounding (again, in New York radio terms). The artist roster I’ve heard this weekend ranged from Dave Matthews to the Jam (the Jam!) to ancient Aerosmith cuts to Death Cab for Cutie to the Alarm (the motherfucking Alarm!) to Sheryl Crow. All on one station.
Few radio stations exist that would play Sheryl Crow’s new single and the Velvet Underground in the same sequence, but somehow, miraculously, this station landed in New York.
In short: phenomenal.
This broad-minded rock fan hopes and prays that incoming morning man Matt Pinfield–who, I’m guessing, has also been hired as music director–keeps it interesting. Scott Muni would be proud.

links for 2008-05-20

The uphill battle

America: land of the free, home of the myopic.
California Supreme Court Overturns Gay Marriage Ban. This is tremendous, forward-thinking, constitutionally appropriate news. The United States is where people are supposed to be free from oppression, and this kind of decision is a thoughtful interpretation of that.
So what do gay marriage opponents want to do? Change the Constitution. I won’t go deeply into the pro argument and my views on the subject (now apparent); I am here instead to pass along this quote:

“The court was wrong from top to bottom on this one,” said Maggie Gallagher, president of the National Organization for Marriage. “The court brushed aside the entire history and meaning of marriage in our tradition.”

In our tradition. Whose tradition? Religious Christians? Fundamentalist California residents? Maggie Gallagher’s family?
That statement lays bare all that is wrong with the anti-gay-marriage argument. American law is not just about tradition; proper interpretations are not a this-is-how-we’ve-always-done-it discussion. No, the law is about, or should be about, what is fair and just and sensible and appropriate, as thoughtful, wise people would approach society, had they a clean slate to properly adjust society’s ways.
The gay marriage law isn’t about doing things “traditionally,” nor is it about making Maggie Gallagher and her peers comfortable with homosexuality, which is their own problem. No, the law is about doing right by individuals who have done no wrong. And someday, at least theoretically, a majority of Americans will view this subject as they do issues of race and religion, as a differentiator that by and large defines our society in a positive light.
Perhaps it is too much to ask, but one can hope.