I mentioned awhile back that I will be writing and posting chapters of my someday-publishable and I hope someday-published sf novel GATES on a new LJ account,mirimsgate
, under my pen name. But I realize that it takes a lot of work to look at other journals for the possibility of something worth reading, unless you're already a good friend -- and it seems my fanfriends from years ago aren't around anymore much.
So I am going to crosspost for awhile both here and its new site, which will have fewer personal posts, all of which will be about writing. I crossposted my essay today about writing there, just to try -- it's about the "grammar nazi" title and why I think caring about words does not mean one is unreasonable about grammar.
Just to be mildly helpful, since I've posted both prologue and first chapter over at Mirimsgate, I posted the 1st chapter and will now post the prologue here, so you can read them in order (a rare LJ luxury!). I would truly appreciate any comments, not on the SPAG (it's getting messed up just by posting, and I haven't proofread it in a very long time; I wrote these chapters awhile ago) but on whether it holds your interest and if you like the characters who are the main characters. The summary is over at Mirimsgate, but will be a spoiler for the first couple of chapters, so I'm holding off on posting it. The whole thing has been written, but I'm turning it into two books now, since it's unfortunately about twice the length publishers like to publish. I'm looking for advice particularly in the middle, which is requiring some revising as a result.
I have a minor bias concerning this rec, because I've become one of the two betas for it. However, I used my elbows to shove aside other volunteers once I read the first two chapters, so I'd say beta bias is secondary.Heart in a Headlock
is at first glance another story in the Alpha/Beta/Omega universe, normally a 'verse I avoid unless a slash partner-in-crime forces me to read it. In this case, I doubly would have avoided it because it's also a work in progress. However, I obeyed a rec and am now in love.
I personally don't care for ABO fics because they tend too much to follow a hyper-stereotypical male/female relationship where one or the other of my favorite slash pairings is basically a girl with a dick -- and a 50s stereotype of a girl at that, only with more explicit sex. These fics generally make me EXTREMELY crabby and unable to relate -- if I wanted to read het slash, I'd read it, and if I wanted to read ridiculous het slash, I'd read 60s Harlequin romances.
(For those who haven't encountered the verse before, Alphas stand in for males and are dominant, Omegas stand in for women and are submissive, Omegas go into heat at which time they can't resist mating with an Alpha, Alphas smelling an omega in heat can't resist mating which looks awfully like rape. and then there are Betas, not subject to the Alpha/Omega dynamic, who stand in for normal people. Oh, and somehow along the way, Alphas have acquired hormones to dominate Omegas and the penile characteristics of dogs and wolves. If you want more info, google.)Heart in a Headlock
is different. Sweetandsharp, the writer, starts with the premise of the ABO universe and asks , "How would it feel to live in such a world?" So we get Merlin, a college professor who keeps his Omega status secret and is doing research on chemical blockers -- various medications designed to give the sexual denizens of this universe characteristics of other genders, or to disguise their own. He is a closet user himself, so is believed to be a beta.
Unfortunately, he has a very rare condition which means that he can only mate with a particular alpha who has the same condition. This, inevitably, is Arthur, an arrogant alpha who doesn't recognize his own condition and has been looking for a mate since puberty, which has improved neither his disposition nor his social skills. The two meet at a "run" designed for omegas and alphas to find each other, though Merlin is going ostensibly purely for research reasons and remains beta-disguised. Arthur does not recognize him as an omega, let alone Arthur's mate, and trouble ensues.
A romantic comedy which includes some serious research and lecturing concerning the endocrine system and cultural analysis of male/female stereotypes may not be to everyone's taste, but it certainly is to mine. In fact, I can well imagine sweetandsharp's story someday being turned into a Tony-winning musical, were it not that those who write fanfic are doomed to our own closets. There's a solid plot concerning the meds and their effects, but that's almost as much in spoiler territory as the writer's mischievous list of participants in Merlin's study of blockers, all of whom come from a wide range of fan canon.
At any rate, do check it out -- even those of you generally committed to H/D forevah. It'ss well worth reading, and a thoughtful introduction to the ABO verse.
GATES Prologue: Tunnel to the Deep
12/7/955 New Common Era
People have been coming back to the ocean since whatever time in the Paleozoic our ancestors slithered out of it. Usually they return for practical reasons – to harvest the sea, spawn, kill invaders, throw rocks.
I studied the stone which I’d found half-buried in the sludge of the beach. It had caught my eye – dark gray, with some other stratum in it shaped like an infinity sign. In the dull daylight the mark looked like real silver. It was smooth, and flattish – an ideal skipping rock. I tried to make it skip, throwing it laterally over the incoming tide. It landed a handful of meters from me and sank.
I glared at the landing spot, until I had to back off from an incoming wave. I watched the wave pull out again, leaving greasy brown traces like a ring on a bathtub. More than 50 years had gone by since anyone wanted to swim in the Atlantic—or any other ocean. I didn’t need my oceanography degree to tell me that although I wouldn’t exactly dissolve, the effects of repeated exposure would not be pretty. You wouldn’t want your genes within miles of that chemical soup.
I was stalling. I had not taken the raptrans and the local and walked a mile from the marina just to throw rocks at the ocean. In October, even the Virginia coast isn’t exactly tourist territory. We’d picked this stretch for the sealab because it was generally deserted – no view, no fastfood, no marina -- just a vast stretch of cold Atlantic brownish gray, with the debris of the last century’s careless littering bobbing all over, and nothing else. Not that there would be anything else, animal or vegetable, around here. Even tourists weren’t anywhere near as plentiful as they’d been a hundred years ago.
I picked my way over the greasy boulders as far as I dared and peered out to sea. If I squinted, I could see the marker which led to my undersea shelter. Less than a kilometer, for certain, and then half a kilometer down. I should be able to make that easily. I kept telling myself that.
I would have given anything to simply hop in my boat and cruise out there. By now, the trip was routine. I’d check my instruments and take random samples of cubic meters of water. The instruments went back into the water. The samples came back with me to the underwater lab. I tested them and uploaded the results into the ocean project’s network puter. Then I was done for the month.
I had only spent 2.6 per cent of my grant time with the ocean, but that time was precious. Now, things had changed. Anything I was researching, I had to do in the lab. Stare at a puter screen and pretend the sound waves were ocean waves. Worse, pretend I was alone, trying to ignore the sound of 10 people keying their own research, chatting about their Friday nights, their lovers and friends. I couldn’t stand the thought. Rakel had tried to soften the blow. She came up to me as I stared at my screen thinking how dull my research was.
“Mirim, we’ve made some adjustments in the line items,” she began.
It was bad news. I knew Rakel’s tone of voice very well. I turned around just for the pleasure of seeing her, trendy short red curls, augmented curves, corrected lenses bluer than my own. Despite knowing how much was cosmetic, I couldn’t resist the view.
“Don’t sugarcoat it. Spill.”
She sighed, that little breathy sigh she saved just for me, combined of impatience and pity. “You’re not going to like it.”
“I didn’t think I was.”
“They’ve decided you don’t need to go to the field any more. It costs too much, and produces too little data.”
I froze. “Rakel, I have to check instruments and acquire samples!”
“We’re going to outsource the maintenance and collection.”
“Who the hel—who could maintain them cheaper than me?”
“There’s a tourist and rescue diving company. . .”
I won’t reproduce the rest of that argument. It was the kind of idiotic decision that is made by governments and large corporations – the numbers look good on screen, and that’s all that matters. As far as bureaucrats are concerned, there is only screen.
So people who knew nothing about research or research instruments would haul up MY sensors, pry them open, write down what they thought they saw, and possibly make corrections on the instruments’ mechanical and electronic boards. Then they’d close them again and return them to the proper place, according to written directions. They’d take samples of the ocean where the computer told them to each month. They’d send me the data.
All this without advanced training, scientific curiosity, or decent pay. Presumably, their on-the-cheap contract would ensure that they would never be tempted to knock off early on Friday night by getting their samples somewhat closer to shore than where the computer said. They’d always spend the extra time to make sure the instruments were re-sealed and watertight, and that every correction was precise. Right.
They certainly wouldn’t go to the underwater lab with the micro-sub – which I also used to collect the appropriate range and depth of samples. I kept the sub in a shelter near the buoy, and the lab was below. There was no real reason to go to the lab, admittedly – it was an old lab that I’d had to argue to get into the newer grant, explaining that I liked to be able to run in and connect to a semi-hard-wired network occasionally without having to return to the Terran Tech. The real reason, of course, was that no one ever used it but me.
“Any corrections they can’t do, you can allow for in the home lab. The subcontractors will do what you do, Mirim.” Rakel frowned. She was not used to my disagreeing with her. “Senior Faculty decided. There’s no point in arguing.”
My boat was an old wooden tug. Over time, as the acid ocean ate through it, most of the outer hull had been replaced with more contemporary materials. When the waves hit its hull, way offshore, I heard nothing but splashing and slapping sounds. I watched the crowded city slowly slide away and disappear. At night, when it was dark, I squinted for stars, wondering what kind of people might be looking at them from other worlds, never imagining that each little point of fire was a sun. I never saw stars anywhere else but out to sea.
Subcontractors would never do what I did. They wouldn’t listen for the sound of being alone. The silence and the stars – those, and zipping around in the sub looking for the last remnants of ocean life, had been the only perks of my job. Rakel was looking at me. “You’ve got that stubborn expression, Mirim. You’re not going to do something stupid, are you?”
“I’m not stupid.”
Not being stupid herself, Rakel wasn’t satisfied with this, but she didn’t argue. Instead, she made me type my grant id number and password on her puter to confirm she’d told me, sent me a copy, and left.
She had the sub returned to the rental company. I started thinking about a way to get to the instruments. If they were your instruments, would you trust the kind of guys who rent boats to tourists? I didn’t even trust my colleagues, who thought I was crazy not to use hardwired instruments in the labs, instead of ones I left lying on the ocean bed. They also couldn’t see why I’d do hands-on samples when satellite-based testing was much faster and less messy.
In some ways, I’m my mother’s son. I could think of too many places for error—misreading, miswriting, pretending to go down and faking the numbers entirely—Hell, when I worked with the forestry crew, those folks knew their job and did it well, and even they occasionally screwed up. My main job from my thirteenth to 16th birthdays was adjusting their report screens so the numbers came out right – even though officially all I was in charge of was dispatch and making tea.
After about a month, a solution had come to me. It would be absolutely free, which was good, because grant-funded researchers don’t exactly get rich at their jobs. No one could imagine that I would try it. And if it worked, I could go to the ocean lab any time I wanted.
I could move.
I called it moving, including the italics, because I felt completely idiotic saying “teleport.” Teleportation was science fiction at best. Ultimately, it was magic. Moving was just moving: I could decide to be someplace, so long as it wasn’t too far, and I would be there.
That was a secret only I knew. I’d seen the “magicians” on the nets. There were a few who could do things which appeared to be magic – the real kind. No one had ever figured out how they did it. But rational people, like my mother and colleagues, knew it had to be faked, and made fun of them and their credulous fans. I needed rational people to approve of me. Even though there were times it was a blasted nuisance not to move, not even my mother ever found out.
I could also make things burn. I’d kept the moving secret, but my talent as an accidental arsonist was on record. owing to an unfortunate incident involving a fire at school. It had taken years of working with Terran Tech scientists to figure out how not to start fires by accident, but by now, I could control that energy.
Once, before I could control even moving, and when there were mysterious little fires appearing occasionally in my vicinity, something even odder happened. I felt that energy flash which warned me I was starting a fire just as I was moving to the stableyard. Instead of going there, I ended up with a strange . . . thing. It looked like heavy mist surrounding a tunnel. The mist was solid to my hand, though, and when I walked through the tunnel I found myself actually in the stableyard – fortunately, by the manure pile in back, which was seldom occupied and kept invisible to visitors.
With hindsight, I realized that I had created mass by combining energy with whatever moving was. At the time, I only knew I’d created a problem for myself, if anyone spotted it. I burned the odd tunnel up quickly, so no one else would stumble across it.
But if I could reproduce doing that again, on purpose, I could actually expand my research. I might even be able to make other tunnels to other points. Although the distance I could move was limited to a few kilometers at best, maybe combining it with the fire power had a different set of physical laws? Then we could build one to … oh, say, the Florida Keys, or at least, where they used to be. I might get a grant of my own. That in turn could eventually mean an office of my own. My fantasy chained out pleasantly, adding a window, regular ocean trips, research assistants, even renting a sitting room in the dorm, as well as my bedroom. To fulfill the fantasy, I would have to rescind the laws of thermodynamics, but after all, moving did that on its own.
Before the fantasy was the problem. This time I was aiming for about half a kilometer under water. Being a few meters off wouldn’t be exactly the same as ending up in the horse barn when I’d tried for the stableyard, which had happened a couple of times when I moved. It would be wetter. Much, much wetter.
And since I’d never told anyone about moving, no one would know how I’d managed to drown myself. They might think I’d done it on purpose. And I couldn’t see leaving a non-suicide note as anything helpful.
I looked at the greasy water again, and then up at the sky. It was too light here at the edge, but there were stars out there. I wanted to survive to see the stars again.
“Get some guts, Mirim,” I told myself grimly.
I’d gone to college to save the world, after all. I’d gotten tired trying to save the last 40 horses on earth, having a bunch of cloned ducklings follow me around the cage as I scattered duck feed at 4 p.m. every afternoon, cautiously pruning each one-of-a-kind tree in the arb and trying to picture how its species looked when flourishing in a whole woods of wild mixed growth. Save the world, yes. I had not signed up for numbercrunching in a windowless lab, just to get my name halfway down a list of authors on an academic publication.
I shoved my hands in my jeans pocket, which stopped their shaking. Still thinking about the stars, I envisioned the lab. As I began to shake again, I reminded myself, It’s different because there are stars overhead. I made myself focus on the stars as I moved, eyes squinched shut, bracing for the heavy pressure of ocean water against my skin.
Instead, I felt the slightly stale conditioned air of a lab, the familiar 15 pounds per square inch of pressure, no more, and smelled the homey smells of toner and carpet cleaner. Safe.
I opened my eyes, expecting to see the familiar orange-toned sea lab, and instead saw light, flowing in all directions, opening outward. I walked forward into it.
The light flew out from around me like fireworks, and a wide ribbon of darkness shredded in front of me. From where I stood, there was an empty corridor, perhaps a hundred meters long or a bit more. It was gray all the way down, floors and walls, a little misty. I couldn’t see a ceiling, just a rainy gray deepening into almost black, like storm clouds. The floor looked like the walls. I took a step forward onto it, and it felt solid. The walls, floor, and ceiling all glowed with a light which did look natural, in an eerie, deep-sea-fluorescence way.
The other end was definitely not a stableyard. Or a lab. I backed away. This end really was my lab – but home lab, not sea lab. That was a shock. I took a hanger from the coats closet and went back to the tunnel.
I could hear faraway sirens and buzzers. They seemed to be coming from the other end of the corridor. I had no idea what was attached to the other end – it could have been the room next door. On the other hand, the alarms didn’t sound like any I’d ever heard before at Tech.
I stretched the hanger out as though I were extending a sword. The very end of it disappeared in the tunnel. When I pulled it back, the piece was still gone. That did not augur well for someone walking through.
It was cold in the tunnel. I crossed my arms to my chest, shivering. The chill made it hard to think – that, and the unfamiliar alarms, and the tunnel’s utter strangeness. So I just stood there, trying to get my brain to start processing rationally and decide what to do next.
After a couple of minutes, three people came trotting into the far end of the tunnel. Each was carrying something like a cross between a rifle and a stainless steel blunderbuss. They saw me staring at them, and stopped, and aimed the weapon-like objects at me.
Stalking after them was a man wearing clothes like none I’d ever seen before – silvery clothes which reflected light. They looked metallic and rather uncomfortable: form-fitted to his rounded body, they seemed to make him walk stiffly, though possibly his disproportionately large feet had something to do with that. His hands were as outsize as his feet. To balance that, he had small eyes and a snoutish sort of nose.
He was certainly within the range for normal human beings, but for some reason, he made my skin crawl. Looking at the other three, whom I guessed might be military of some kind, I saw they had similar features. They were tall, and their clothes were of the same shiny material as the other’s, but colored blue. They wore metallic boots, and what might be ammunition belts and sidearms.
After looking me over quickly, the silvery one said something to the three blue-clothed ones, sharply, and they lowered their weapons. He walked past them, just a meter or so down the corridor, and looked at me.
“Well,” he said, and his voice reverberated oddly, as if it were passing through something metal. “You don’t look at all what we expected.”
Or at least, a small step for writerkind.
I have posted the first chapter (Prologue) of my in-process novel GATES at its home, Mirimsgate. (http://mirimsgate.livejournal.com/1295.html
If you are interested in writing and in sf/fantasy, please do feel free to wander over and read -- if you are willing to keep details confidential if/when it becomes a formally published novel, in whatever form. I would appreciate feedback -- I've been writing this bloody thing nine years now, and no longer have the perspective to tell if it's truly awful, somewhat awful, or brilliant -- I know there are other choices, but those are the only three I fixate on.
I will be posting the "appendices" for it as well; I've already posted a brainstorm I did concerning the world building of one world, before it dawned on me there might be spoilers and I better start posting the story itself. Please do friend me if you want to help out (yes, reading it counts as helping out! I need encouragement at this point, as well of course philologists, etymologists, world building questions, and opinions of my characters.)
I have also posted a summary which may be a spoiler for the first two chapters, but will not reveal anything after that.
Oh yes, one more thing: I have been informed that I am logging the ip of posters. Apparently this is a thing techies at least do not look kindly on. I will change that option as soon as Stray tells me how to.
And yet one more thing: GATES is almost completely written, from my point of view; I have a chapter left in the middle and a chapter on how Mirim's world became such a disaster. So unless I've made a horrible mistake, I will be tweaking (ie improving the writing, or trying to) but not doing anything else from scratch if I can avoid it. Suggestions for restructuring, sequels, prequels, etc. will all be entertained in the spirit such things are given, but major rethinking will be greeted with tears.
Admittedly, I'm not following all the nostalgia on the March on Washington for Jobs and Justice in 63. I used to teach "I Have a Dream" in speech, so if anyone really wants a 50-minute lecture on its rhetorical considerations, I will be glad to reproduce it, also out of nostalgia (though would probably gladly pare it down quite a bit without the part teasing comments out of first year students). Kinneavy, Aristotle, and the syllabus would figure in quite prominently, since it was usually the first day lecture...
However, I have yet to hear one point, at least on visual media. It makes me keep shouting back at the tv. In fact, had I not just googled to see how uncommon the information was, and got back tons for the key wors "Bayard Rustin, gay" I would have convinced I might have imagined the whole thing.
There are definitely bits of information floating around. The Washington Post today had a headline, "Meet Bayard Rustin, the gay socialist pacifist who planned the 1963 March on Washington." While that sounds a bit more in-your-face than the man himself was, it's a fair description. Rustin, in fact, was once a member of the Communist Party, finding none of the socialist-identified groups of the 30s seemed to care much about civil rights issues related to race, while the CP could be relied on. (I had much the same experience in the 70s, except by that time the CP was bigtime fail as well. As for female and gay rights, I vividly remember reading that the SWP announced there was "no revolutionary potential in women's rights," and several years later reading they changed their mind, but then insisted there was "no revolutionary potential in gay rights." And then, of course... well, co-optation's a different story, and I was way too young to understand. Stephanie Coontz is another of my heroes, anyway.)
The religious right is trying to rewrite the March into something they would have supported, They elide many facts about the event, but to me, this is one of the most significant: Martin Luther King Jr.'s niece now slithers around the country using her relationship with King to speak against abortion and gay rights. But King knew Bayard was gay; in fact, had been threatened by Adam Clayton Powell to be revealed as in a relationship with him; and nonetheless, kept working with him. (No evidence King actually was, btw; pure smear tactic, repeated several years later by Jesse Helms, I believe, at which point it backfired, because the civil rights leaders hated white Southern bigots more than they disapproved of homosexuality, so they kept supporting him. Something today's Black leaders might well learn from their forebears.)
But here's to a fine organizer and heroic Quaker who put together one of the biggest nonviolent demonstrations of the 20th century, and who was also one of the first famous men I ever heard of who was gay. Happy 50th anniversary, and thank you for passing through.
In re the Fed, where Obama claims he's considering two people, but the female is not even being having her references checked (or the Washington equivalent:) when someone lies and lies over and over again, to the point where pressure has to go somewhere, and his nose remains the same length... let's hope at least his wife is profiting.
I have been looking for all-cotton ragg socks, which as with any shopping search I make, goes everywhere and leads to nothing desirable. However, I happened across this lovely site, advertising Fake Hugo Boss All-cotton Socks, and naturally paused to get a feel for the popular culture which lost me years ago.
There are some very attractive messenger and handbags indeed -- rather out of my price range, even if fake ($400 for a fake Prada purse, even if a rather pretty one, really? It would be like buying a fake Mercedes Benz and leaving it in the Public Housing parking lot -- just asking for trouble.)
But here's the thing. I really must be an eccentric curmudgeon, because while there was a certain Prada bag I would have really loved to carry, there was one thing wrong with it -- and all the other bags I looked at. It had the label of the maker writ large on its side.
Even the most expensive stuff puts its label on the bag? Where everyone can see it? How tacky. I admit I don't notice much -- and don't run in the circles which care about designers, except the truly one-of-a-kind designs of art fairs) but surely, if you plan to spend thousands on a bag, you don't want to then give free advertising to the company everywhere you go? How in fact extraordinarily tacky. I believe that Yves St. Laurent was the first to deliberately start marketing to the masses, and put his logo on everything he sold with the high end market, though I remember my mother fulminating that she would never, ever buy anything with such an obvious appeal to mass marketing. (For a liberal, My mom could truly be a snob. hell, for a conservative, she could be a snob.
Those of you from other countries who run into high end people who dress "well", please tell me that taste exists somewhere. I mean, if I have to have a revolution, I'd prefer one for materialist reasons, but a revolution against bad taste also tempts me. Blame my mother's family. I'd send them all to re-education camps and make them learn that tradesmen's labels do not add cachet to people above trade. (And then I suppose I'd start arranging marriages for my nieces. Dear heaven, don't tell my friends I think like this!)
Or is it just that knockoffs put a big fancy label somewhere as a way of trying to pretend they're the original -- or to emphasize they're not?
Though the degree of lack of knowledge in this is pretty awesome; she may beat out my local rep, Michelle Bachmann.
A couple quotes:
"I don't oppose Islam as a country," she said. "But I do feel that their laws should not be welcome here in Australia. Less than two percent of Australians follow Haram." (local news theorizes that by this she means "Islam".
and my personal favorite: "Jews aren't under haram. They have their own religion, which follows Jesus Christ."
I am fully aware that there are indubitably left wing ignoramuses equally quotable, but leave them to my rightwing brethren to enlighten me. (And make me laugh, particularly if they're not US. As I said, home-grown illiteracy doesn't surprise me quite as much. Since I don't know what "six boats" is, can't even figure out why not having a plan for it is a howler. anyway, liberal isn't left wing in my universe.)http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/federal-election-2013/when-stephanie-got-her-facts-wrong-one-nation-candidate-makes-gaffe-after-gaffe-in-tv-interview-20130808-2rive.html
I'm an American by birth. Maybe. *scratches head.*
I was born very long ago in a territory far, far away. Sort of like being born in Panama when it belonged to the United States. Sort of.
Like a former Republican presidential candidate, my parents were both American citizens by birth. Like a former Democratic candidate, my mother was born in the United States and the daughter of an American woman born in the United States as well.
My father was born in the United States, but his parents weren't. They came to this country and (so far as I know) became citizens. If they weren't, my Dad would still count because he was born in the USA.
This is math of a sort, though I can't do expressions beyond "A-B+X = C. Find X." (Good luck with that.)
No one has ever questioned McCain's citizenship, though he was born in the Canal Zone. No one's ever questioned mine, even though I was born somewhere questionable and my father came from immigrants.
But Obama, whose mother's credentials as a citizen have never, ever been threatened, has a large minority who absolutely believe he is Kenyan. Despite every reason to the contrary compared to other citizens. (Oh, yes, and evidence he was born with his birth announcement in my Dad's paper. But my Dad, who could have been prescient at the time, since he was a Democrat, might have faked that announcement, so a 1-day-old child could someday pretend to be president of the United States. But let's pretend my Dad, or some other city reporter, had the time and imagination to make that fake announcement, and the State of Hawaii had the system by which it could easily fake famous people's birth certificates, for the sake of this math.)
It appears having one parent who's an American citizen doesn't count -- even if it's the mother, out of whose body the kid comes, so that before DNA tests you couldn't prove the father beyond a shadow of a doubt anyway. Either you have to have two, or the assumption is that you're the same citizenship as your father if you're born where he's from.
I'd advise pregnant American women with political ambitions to stay away from furrin parts. The far Right will make your kid French or something.
Is there any way to interpret the irrational faith of millions of people that Obama is not eligible for the Presidency while McCain IS other than racism? Or, more interestingly, the assumption that a woman's place of national origin does not count in reckoning a child's citizenship?