Technicolor Starbursts

Back at the end of the spring, I went to a Friday night Braves game, one of the first games in the season, versus the Diamondbacks. The seats were pretty close to the visitors’ dugout, along the third base line close to home plate. Usually, that is an excellent place to be when looking to catch foul balls, especially since there are lots of left-handed batters on the Arizona team. None of the fouls landed close to us, but thanks to Mark, I had another bonus in store. I suggested a short walk during the end of the 5th inning, and lead the three of them up the flights and flights of stairs to the top level, where there were tons of too-perfect photo opportunities. We went over to see the gigantic Coca-cola bottle constructed from Braves memorabilia, and I pointed out a secure area, “No one is allowed back in this area. Let’s go in!”
Mark greeted us, and showed us around the blast area for the fireworks show, Which is really impressive if you haven’t seen that kind of setup in person before. Several racks made of 2X4’s and large PVC piping were arranged in rows, each with a softball-sized charge wrapped in paper, and miles of wiring connecting each one to a series of control boards and fuses, and then to what used to be a laptop, but that night, they were run all the way to the room where the PA control system is located, so that the firing would be synced to the music. That night’s musical theme was entirely made up of AC/DC songs. From the blast area, you get a really nice vantage point to see the stadium, of course, but also a lot of downtown Atlanta, where we could see many of the buildings still undergoing repair work from the tornado that ripped through downtown the night before St Patrick’s Day.
After leaving the blast site, we headed back down to our seats, watching the game on the monitors on the way. The Braves had a good lead, and they called the game early. We got all the way back down to our seats with only a few minutes to spare before the fireworks show began. Singing along and watching the technicolor starbursts fill the sky with a mild breeze flowing in, I pointed out that one of the shells that had just made the intense green and purple flare had been in our hands only minutes before.
It was a really awesome and fun night for all of us. The Braves won, we got to see and do a bunch of out of the ordinary things, and we made some friends and got to just hang out, too. Sorry no pics this round, dear sweet internet, as they are classified by request. Some video of the show is available at Mark’s blog.

Freudian Wizardry?

Mark at Delusions of Grandeur mentioned some links hitting his radar about JK Rowling’s announcement that the character Albus Dumbledore is homosexual. Here are some related bits:

Dumbledore is gay, ‘Harry Potter’ author reveals. This outing sends Bill O’Reilly’s Homophobia Running Rampant and many other places go into full text discovery mode, like at Openbanter.

As I was reading the series, I saw these cues, but never took them that way. Judging from much of the reaction that I have seen after this announcement, most other readers didn’t read into it that way, either. My personal reaction when hearing the news was first a hesitation, where I mentally put together all the points of reference about Dumbledore I could remember offhand, wondering if I had missed something obvious. But at the same time, my feelings were indifferent. The cues were not obvious, and the case being that the character is a homosexual in no way alters who he was as a leader, headmaster, teacher, warrior, or father-figure. I would have had the exact same reaction if her announcement had been that Dumbledore is, say, Hispanic. I mean, the revelation is indeed interesting. There just isn’t a focus on it in the story, and the new information does not change what the books are.

I mean, If I had gone out and had a full-size tattoo done, I would probably get some ribbing about it, but really, this revelation doesn’t change the meaning or significance of the character or the books. Sure, it makes ultra-conservative types break out in hives, and start telling anyone who will listen that it’s horrible, that the sky is falling, and that the whole story is now tainted.

Yes, tainted. It’s all one big thinly-veiled Freudian tale of gay sexual innuendo…

Harold often wondered if it were true, that wizards and witches wore nothing underneath their robes. The cauldron’s bubbling ceased, and as it did, the surface of the glossy liquid cleared, and in the reflection, he could just make out the faint outline of a wand… eight and three quarters, thick, ebony with unicorn mane. He wondered momentarily if these details would end up in the penseive one day. Suddenly, a familiar chill filled the room. Knowing that the dementors would be closing in, he reached to his belt for his own wand, ready to cast that incanation that would release his raw energy, a stag at full gallop which they could not deny

Oh the fan fiction. Oh the humanity!

It’s not like we haven’t seen instances of other Wizards coming out of the closet, either famous or infamous, real or fictional.

It’s a good thing that
Gay Marriage is Unamerican
, otherwise, people would have absolutely nothing to be scandalized about…. right?

The news being that it is, though, there is a reminder that the whole series is seen through Harry’s eyes. As he is growing through his pre-teen and teen years, he’s learning more about the real world. If you will remember when he learned of the Tri-Wizard Tournament back in “The Cauldron of Fire,” he was first amazed to learn that there were other wizarding schools besides Hogwarts. Then he became amused at his ignorance. There were several other instances of this sort of revelation, where Harry pieces things together… The wizarding world is not really that different from that of the Muggles. Families think and act much the same way, the battle of the sexes, issues of hubris, these are universal.