Tuesday, January 22, 2008


I celebrated MLK Day with a visit to the doctor & some fancy digital chest x-rays. The verdict: boring old bronchitis. No pneumonia, no tuberculosis, no scarlet fever, no Nile virus, and no bird flu. And I kind of knew all that already, but it was nice to have it confirmed.

That morning I felt good enough to brave the gym and beach, and stumbled upon my first Martin Luther King Day parade. It was sadder than I thought it would be - it almost rivaled Gay Pride Honolulu in triggering a why do we even bother? response. It wasn't tragic so much as pointless and disjointed.

The first contingent in the parade was a ragtag group of a dozen people carrying hand-printed signs saying Jesus Loves Justice. Next came two dozen Young Republicans all dressed in red. After them we got our first glimpse of an actual African-American: Major General Montague W. Winfield riding in an open convertible and waving at the crowd. He was as handsome as his name.

Now I know that MLK Day is not an African-American owned holiday, but still: it felt a little strange that we didn't see that many black folks until some Baptist church marched past, well in the back of the parade.

First, though, we had Obama 2008. The only group that was whiter than them was PFLAG. It must take some effort to get an all-haole crowd in a state where you can throw a net in any random direction and catch your own rainbow coalition. There were a couple small anti-war groups, a couple aged gay-pride groups, alien-abductees for Ron Paul (they didn't advertise themselves as alien-abductees, of course, but they had that look in their eyes that you can only get if you've been kidnapped by space-aliens and repeatedly anal-probed), a samba group for Kucinich, some unions (who at least seemed to have some cause, some reason to be there), lots of girls and women wearing tiaras and riding in convertibles, lots and lots of school kids singing "Happy Birthday", and some guys who looked like aged-panthers chanting marching songs. We get Dykes on Bikes. They got Buffalo Soldiers bike gang. We both got PFLAG, Lesbians Against the War, random groups riding on trolley cars (though their trolley riders were singing When the Saints Go Marching In and our trolley riders dance to canned Abba tunes), and the Unity Church.

And I know it was wrong, but I hid behind a tree when the queens marched by with their rainbow flag.

There were a few pockets of energy, outside of Kucinich's samba team. HGEA had a large anti-war turn out. The unions representing Times workers and the Pacific Garden Hotel were generally angry. And the Hare Krishnas had close to a hundred marchers bringing up the rear. I didn't even know we had that many Krishna's here. The women all wore sari's and looked happy happy happy. The men followed, and all looked like thugs.

I don't even know what the point of it all was.

My day ended early when I poured myself a negroni (equal parts campari, gin, and red vermouth, garnished with a burnt orange - a great, herbally, complex combination) before dinner. It didn't mix well with the codeine in my cough syrup. I skipped drunk and went straight to comatose. I managed to crawl into bed just before passing out for the night.

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