Thursday, July 02, 2015

Random Musings

I hate cancer. I lost my Mom to cancer, and lost my sister to cancer. Then a few months ago my Dad called to tell me he’s been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Yay! Cancer again!

My Dad had told me that during a routine exam, his PSA [prostate-specific antigen] levels were at ten; most healthy men have levels under 4 nanograms per milliliter. Now, my Dad is not one to take things sitting down, so with his doctor’s advice, they decided to watch the levels and recheck them in a few months.

That time they were up to 16; not good. So, again, on doctor’s advice, Dad started a regimen of therapies and a scheduled retest in six months.

Six months is this month.

Dad called me on Monday to tell me his PSA levels were at … one.

One! If only "one" was a multisyllabic word so I could put a ‘f**k’ in the middle of it.

But at least I could breathe, and my Dad could breathe, too. He’ll continue with his therapies and they’ll monitor him again in four months, and then, if the levels are still down, go from there.

I do love good news.
Speaking of which … following in the footsteps of NBC, Macy’s corporation has also fired Donald [t]Rump over those derogatory remarks he made about immigrants.

Univision. NBC. Macy’s. Now, if the GOP voters can fire him, too, this would be really great.
Over the last week, more than 35 million people have super imposed rainbows over their Facebook profile pictures using a free tool provided by the company.

A lot of famous folk, including Russell Simmons, California Attorney General Kamala Harris, and Leonardo DiCaprio, changed their profiles, but one person was not having it.

Vitaliy Milonov, the Russian politician responsible for the country’s “gay propaganda” laws, has said Facebook should be banned for allowing members to add a rainbow flag to their profile pictures.

Facebook. Banned. That little self-loathing closeted queer is on a tear, isn’t he?
Philadelphia diner recently changed the names of some items on their brunch menu and, well, could not keep up with the demand.

After the Supreme Court ruled that marriage is a legal right for all Americans, regardless of the couple’s gender composition, Justice Antonin Scalia was just as pissy and bitchy as he could be. So, Sam’s Morning Glory Diner in Philly opted to change the names of some of their breakfast entrées:

“Antonin Scalia is a Douche,” an egg dish with vegetables, cheese, and andouille sausage sold out before 10 AM on Sunday, while “The Supreme Court Finally Got It Right” quiches, available with or without prosciutto, were gone in less time than that.

Carol Mickey, who owns the restaurant, says:

“Not one single person complained. The atmosphere in [the diner] was really wonderful. People were just loving saying it! ‘I’ll have the Scalia is a Douche, please.’”

Loving it here, too.
This is Josh McAree, a model whose picture I stumbled across. There aren’t many men who could pull of a bun, much less a top knot, but, we’ll, he’s really rocking it.

Hair up or down, in a suit, or some jeans. Hot. Steamy, Sultry.
Carlos plays in our local community band, and tomorrow night he’ll be performing at a Fourth of July function in town, so he’s been rehearsing and rehearsing all those patriotic tunes.

I, however, don’t help much, because every time he play “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” I come marching into the office singing:

♪ ♫ You’re a grand old fag
You’re a high-flying fag
And forever in peace may you wave♪♫

I’m trying to get Ozzo, Tuxedo, MaxGoldberg and Consuelo to march through the room with me, but so far I’m having no luck.
A South Dakota county clerk has decided to oppose same-sex marriage, not by setting herself ablaze, but in an equally stupid way: she wants to marry her dog.

Seriously, how do we get from the idea of a same-couple to the idea that people will marry animals?

Are religious wingnut republican conservative asshats really that stupid?

Rhetorical question.

Rick Jones, that Utah gay man who reported being gay-bashed, forced to drink bleach, and having the words “Die fag” carved into his skin has been revealed to be a sick and twisted liar.

He did it to himself.

Attorneys for Jones made the admission last week to the sheriff’s office in Millard County:

“Our client is responsible for all of the incidents and that would include the cutting of his own skin as well as his reports of burglary and vandalism at his home and his family business.”

The lawyers also said this was not a hoax, but a cry for help Jones says some family member don’t like him being a ‘mo.

Boo-effing-hoo. Grow a pair, Ricky. Man up, be gay and deal with it, because with your giant lie, you now make every other person who was truly gay bashed seem a little less reliable. i know how hard it is to come out, but to do this to yourself, and then ask for sympathy and money?

Get help, Ricky. And then just STFU.

Oh, and the Jones’ family announced they will not accept the nearly $12,000 raised through a GoFundMe campaign to pay his medical expenses.

Ya think?

Minute Rave: Jeff Amyx Hangs "No Gays Allowed" Sign At His Hardware Store

I know many of you think this post should be a Minute Rant, but, for me, it’s a Rave:

Jeff Amyx, who owns Amyx Hardware & Roofing Supplies in Grainger County, Tennessee, has posted a new sign on his door in the wake of that lovely Supreme Court ruling last Friday; it says:
'No Gays Allowed.’
Amyx, who is also a Baptist minister, put the sign up gay and lesbian couples are against his religion. huh; I guess I missed that part of the Bible — not that I am fully familiar with the text — where it says 'Thou Shalt Not Sell Hardware To Fags or Dykes.'

Anyway, Amyx says that since homosexual people aren’t afraid to stand for what they believe in, Christians should be brave enough to stand for what they believe in.
"They gladly stand for what they believe in, why can't I? They believe their way is right, I believe it's wrong. But yet I'm going to take more persecution than them because I'm standing for what I believe in."
He said he has no plans to take the sign down.

Here’s the rave part: now everyone in Grainger County, in Tennessee, hell, everywhere in the Marriage Equality United States of America, knows where not to buy their hardware.
If you’re gay, stay away; if you’re straight and you hate any form of bigotry or intolerance or hatred, even the kind people mask with a Bible, stay away.

And here’s the queer deal: if I walk past a store that says ‘No Jews Allowed’, I won’t go in, even though I’m not Jewish. If the sign says ‘No Mexicans Allowed’, I’ll stay away even though I’m not a Mexican. No Women Allowed? No Bob going inside; ‘No Blacks,’ ‘No Fats’, ‘No Freckles, No … whatever, I’m staying away, and being thankful that now I know exactly where the bigots and the haters are and where they do business so I can go elsewhere.

Now, the Minute Rave. I see your hate and raise you less business, less money, less profits, and the idea that one day soon your little hardware store will go under and you’ll sit at home in your lonely little house blaming The Gays when all along it was you.

Clinton Brentwood Lee's Brazilliant Response To Client Who Fired Him Over His Support For Marriage Equality

Ready for another story about what’s happened in the aftermath of that Supreme Court Ruling? Okay, here goes …

After the ruling, Clinton Brentwood Lee of Brentwood Photography in Saint Petersburg, Florida took to Facebook to show his support for the decision, changing his profile picture and cover photo, but his support for that sliver of equality to The Gays — we can still be fired or denied housing in many places in this country just for being gay — cost him a client.

Lee says that client contacted him to say that they would no longer be “using [his] services” for their upcoming wedding:
“My fiancé and I support traditional marriage between a man and a woman and don’t want to our money going to places that supports otherwise [sic].”
Lee shared a screenshot of the exchange on Facebook, along with the caption:
“Lost a client for supporting gay marriage. But that's ok! We love everyone, even this now former client who may not have liked our reply. Lol.”

But here’s his full response to that client:
Wow, I’m not really sure what to say here. I would say this disappoints me, but I actually find this to be a good thing because our company now would now not like to work with you as well.
It’s not that because you have a different view from us, but it’s because, since you don’t like and support gay marriage, no one else should be able to have it. That’s like me not liking broccoli, and demanding that everyone else in the world should not have broccoli either! If you’re not in favor of gay marriage that’s fine, don’t marry a woman.
Personally, I was taught not to judge others and to love everyone else. So I will try not to judge you here and say anything more as to my opinion of you.
At Brentwood Photography we see love in all forms. Now as far as your retainer goes, I hope you’ll read the first article in the contract you signed stating that this retainer is nonrefundable.
But don’t you worry, I’m not going to keep it!
Because of this conversation, I have decided to donate your $1500 to GLAAD [the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation], a group created to help and support gay rights.
So let me be the first to say [the client’s name was redacted], thank you very much for your donation and support for this great cause!
I couldn’t have done it without your money.
Sincerely and with Love,
Brentwood Photography
See, that’s what I mean about the bigots and the haters. Let me know your true feelings and I will avoid your business and be thankful that you avoid mine.

PS Lee's Facebook post now has over 58K likes, and he says that 90% of the responses have been positive, although he has gotten some hate mail as well. Here’s his page: Brentwood Photography.
Facebook Photos

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Architecture Wednesday: Sausalito Hillside

What started out as a two-unit ranch style dwelling back in the 1940s, has been updated into a serene, single-family home with sweeping views of San Francisco Bay.

The home sits on a steeply sloping hillside above Sausalito — one of those places where I would love to own a home — but the house, while open to bay is nearly hidden from the street, with a cascading series of garden terraces that create an inviting entry sequence along the north side, and allowing the original front-yard to be developed as a private garden.

Inside, floor to ceiling windows and generous ceiling heights allow the living spaces to flow uninterrupted from the lush backdrop of the hillside gardens, to the broad panorama of the bay.

It’s so peaceful, and that view, that view, is ever-changing, gorgeous and sunny, chilly and foggy, or lit up like fireworks at night.

I’d never leave …

Today In Stoopid: Man Fumes Over NBC 'Pride' Peacock

We’re still hearing from people who are upset about last week’s ruling by the Supremes—apparently the Supremes after Diana left, since there was no “Diana Ross and”?—with pastors deciding not to set themselves afire, and politicians calling on God to, I don’t know, rain damnation down on us all, but this guy really went off the deep end into the Stoopid Pond.

Don Stair was apparently so incensed by all the rainbows shooting out across the country and on social media — with people and groups and organizations using a new app to "Rainbow up" their profile pictures — that he went a little nuts.

Okay, he went a lot nuts because Don took his local Arkansas NBC station, KARK4, to task over flying the Rainbow flag in the shape of a peacock:

Yes, he actually thought NBC changed the color of their logo for marriage equality.  Of course, the station replied, trying to set the record, um, for lack of a better word, straight:

And then came the Tweet showing that NBC has been flying the Gay peacock Banner since the 1950s! Egads!

What’s next? Oh, maybe this:

Luckily, someone out there wanted to make Don feel a part of things and, well, they Gay Colored Don Stairs:

Seriously. What an idiot! Of all the hissy fits in all the towns and all the social media sites, he had to Gay Color everything.

Just when you think it cannot happen, something stoopid this way comes.

South Carolina Legislators Say The Flag Could Come Down As Early As Next Week

You know, before the shooting in Charleston, I wasn’t holding my breath on this whole #TakeDownThatFlag movement. Since we moved to South Carolina, there have been petitions and request and newspaper articles about removing the Confederate battle flag from the state capitol grounds, but that was it; the requests came, and then nothing happened.

Now, however, I am cautiously optimistic. And our state lawmakers are saying they are actually confident that a bill to remove that flag could be on Governor Nikki Haley’s desk by the end of next week. My fingers are crossed.

Vincent Sheheen, a Democratic state Senator who represents the part of South Carolina where we live — you just know I couldn’t live in a ‘Red’ county — sponsored the bill, which is expected to pass the Senate by next Tuesday, and then go to Haley by Thursday.

But … and ain’t there always a but? … House Speaker Jay Lucas, and he’s a Republican of course, says he will refer flag bills to the House Judiciary Committee “where they will go through the appropriate process” that might take weeks. Jay Lucas has not shared his opinion on removing the flag, so yeah. Hmmmmm.

And holding off any kind of vote, much less a resolution, could be dangerous. This past Monday night, after pro-flag and anti-flag protestors clashed at the capitol, one man was arrested after shots were fired. And someone threw a red-paint filled balloon at the statue of Ben Tillman, a white supremacist who was a governor and U.S. senator.
“It’s July and hot, and the world is watching. “It will only get worse. If we don’t act, we are encouraging problems.” — House Minority Leader, and Democrat, Todd Rutherford
And we still have some loon, and bigots, and out-and-out anti-LGBT asshats in the legislature, most notably state Senator, and Republican, of course, Lee Bright, who has started an online petition to keep the flag on the State House grounds because, he says:
“I hate how these creeps have misused these emblems.”
Creeps. South Carolinians who want a divisive symbol of racism and hate removed from state property are “creeps.” And if that doesn’t tell the people who voted for Bright — and there’s a misnomer if I ever heard one — that it’s time to vote him out, I don’t know what does.

Still, the 123-member House voted 103-10 and the 45-member Senate voted 42-3 to debate the flag, and those numbers indicate there is the two-thirds support required in the House and Senate to take down the flag.

But, it’s quite clear, by the number of South Carolinians who support removal, by the number of our legislators who support removal, by our Republican governor, who supports removal that the time has come to take down that flag.

Put it in a museum, where artifacts and relics from the past belong. It does not deserve a place on honor on state grounds.

Plus, and this would just be delicious, the Ku Klux Klan has scheduled a pro-flag rally for July 18. Wouldn’t it be rich to have the flag down before they ever showed up?

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Daily Hypocrite: The Pastor Lied

Texas Pastor Rick Scarborough may have some ‘splaining to do when he goes before God the next time, because I don’t think She’s fond of liars and hypocrites.

In the days before equality … the Dark Ages? … Scarborough had said that he would be willing to set himself on fire in the fight against marriage equality.

Now? Not so much.

The antigay clergyman said, just last week:
“We are not going to bow, we are not going to bend, and if necessary we will burn.”
Now, he’s walking that back:
“I made that comment to paraphrase a spiritual song, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in which the three were given a choice—to bow to the image of Nebuchadnezzar or burn in a furnace. We will burn’ means that we will accept any sanction from the government for resisting [the] Supreme Court decision. We do not support any violence or physical harm.” 
This is the same Pastor Scarborough who has also said — in a full-page newspaper ad, no less — that he had tens of thousands of followers, including future failed presidential hopefuls Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, who vowed to go to jail to defend so-called traditional marriage.

Yeah, that hasn’t happened either.

Bitch, Please: Josh Robinson Compares Being Gay To Incest and Pedophilia

Some arguments never die … even in the wake of a Supreme court ruling that gay and lesbian Americans are a little bit … a little bit … more equal.

Last Friday, Josh Robinson, a cornerback for the Minnesota Vikings, trotted out some old arguments about same-sex marriage being just like incest and pedophilia in a Twitter meltdown week:
"Love is love? So what will we say when the 30yr old loves YOUR 10 year old. When the dad loves HIS 6 year old” It’s different?? Yea okay!”
Um, Josh? Incest has been around as long as people have been around and has never had anything to do with anyone’s orientation; it’s about power, it’s about sexual abuse. The same goes for pedophilia.

Bitch, please! Robinson then defended his stance:
“EVERYONE has a right to believe what they want to believe. You shared yours, I shared mine.”
Yes, Josh, you have as right to your opinion; you can be against same-sex marriage all you want, and, dare I say, if you don’t like same-sex marriage then don’t get same-sex married, but stay out of the fight, m’kay … cuz it’s over, and your arguments are lame and old.

So please, refrain from spewing ignorance, Josh. The Gays are no more likely to be guilty of incest or pedophilia than straight folks, straight men, Josh, like yourself who represent the greatest risk of being pedophiles if we go by the numbers, Josh. So, please, be careful where you cast that first stone.

And also, Josh, tread a history book before you speak out; read what people who were against interracial marriage said back in the day; they said if whites and blacks could marry, then why not allow people to marry animals, or children, or family members.

It’s the same old argument Josh, only now you’re using it against The Gays when once upon a time it would have been used against you, had you wanted to marry a white woman.

Were they right? No … and neither are you.

Welcome To The South, Where It's Once Again Hot and Humid and 1963

There’s an old saying that those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it and, in the wake of the recent church shooting down in Charleston, we are seeing a repeat of a very ugly and hateful time in our collective history.

Church burnings. Now, these aren’t new; in fact, they go as far back as the Civil War years, though the most famous case was the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama by a group of white supremacists.

The burning of Black churches is especially heinous because the churches were, and are, are targeted for their role in the Black community, as a gathering place, a safe place, a place of worship.

In the week after those nine people were murdered at Emanuel AME Church six churches, with predominately black congregations, all across the South have been burned, and three of those fires are being investigated as suspicious.

And for anyone who doesn’t think that these burnings are racially motivated, what was the big discussion after the shootings in Charleston? The Confederate flag; the removal of that flag. That flag that has for the last one-hundred-fifty years signified hate and racism in the South, and once it became clear that most Southerners want those flags removed — though not forgotten because it is a part of history — Black churches began to burn again in the South.

The first fire was June 21, when someone set bales of hay on fire outside the College Hill Seventh Day Adventist in Knoxville, Tennessee; the church sustained minor damage.

Then on June 23, God’s Power Church of Christ in Macon, Georgia caught fire, and when firefighters arrived on scene they found the front doors wired shut. That fire was ruled arson, but was not classified as a hate crime, perhaps because it was just the second such church burning.

The very next day, June 24, Charlotte, North Carolina’s Briar Creek Road Baptist Church was burned; the building sustained $250,000 worth of damage with the main building demolished by the blaze. It has also been ruled as arson.

On June 26, the Glover Grove Baptist Church in Warrenville, South Carolina burned down and there is no reason, or cause, for the blaze.

There were two other church fires — Fruitland Presbyterian in Tennessee and Greater Miracle Temple Apostolic Holiness Church in Florida — but authorities believe those fires were caused by lightning or electrical wires, though they are still investigating.

We have come so far in this country — just last week gay and lesbian Americans gained a huge foothold in being equal in this country — and yet we have also taken a huge step back with these church burnings and the pro-Confederate flag rallies, as under-attended as they may be.

There is one way, and, for me, one way only to fight racism in this country: knock it off. Stop it when you hear it. When someone makes an idiotic joke, remind them that a lunatic in Charleston might have also laughed at the joke before he killed nine people; when people say ‘they’ or ‘them,’ or even worse, ‘those people,’ remind them that we are all Americans and we don’t have the time or the need or the desire, to take a step back.

The best way to stop racism, and stop church burnings, and hopefully, stop lunatics with guns, is to say something, with your voice, your actions and your vote.

Say something. Do something.
Photo credit: Todd BennettAugusta Chronicle via WaPo

Monday, June 29, 2015

Bitch Please: Donald [t]Rump Explains His Opposition To Same-Sex Marriage And It's So Presidential

In the wake of last Friday’s Supreme Court ruling that gay and lesbian Americans have the right to marry because, well, land of the free, home of the brave, and equality, all of the Presidential candidates have been discussing the issue.

Of course, the Democrats are pleased as punch with the ruling while some in the GOP were not; Mike Huckabee has said he will call on the wrath of God, or something, and Ted Cruz stomped his feet. But, it’s Donald [t]Rump who gave the most WTF answer, I think.

In an interview with CNN, host Jake Tapper asked the several-times-bankrupt, both morally and financially, presidential candidate how his three … three …  marriages were morally justified if he believed only in so-called “traditional marriage” values.

Trump wavered a bit and said that while his views are “evolving” — Look! He’s trying to 'Obama' the conversation — his campaign position is that only “traditional marriage” between “a man and a woman” should be legal.

So, Tapper wanted to know how that’s possible since [t]Rump has  had three “one-man-one-woman” marriages himself:
“What do you say to a lesbian who’s married or a gay man who’s married who says, ‘Donald Trump, what’s traditional about being married three times?'”
"Well, they have a very good point, but I’ve been a very hardworking person …”
And we’ll stop because what the f**k does that mean? Traditional marriage is only for hardworking people and The Gays are not hardworking? But let’s allow [t]Rump to continue …
“And actually, I have a great marriage, I have a great wife now. My [first] two wives were very good.”
“But what do you say to a lesbian or a gay man?”
“I really don’t say anything. I’m just, Jake, I’m for traditional marriage.”
And, there you have it. The reason Donald [t]Rump is not for same-sex marriage is … because.

That’s so presidential.

Can I Get An Amen: Roselyn Sanchez and Cristián De La Fuente To Donald [t]Rump: "We quit!"

So, when announcing his run to be president, Donald [t]Rump had a full racist rant about Mexicans coming to, ahem “our” country, and how they were all thieves and rapists and drug dealers, though “some of them” were good.

Yeah, that’s so presidential. Anyway, on the heels of those remarks, Univision, the biggest Spanish-language broadcaster in the United States, has canceled its telecast of the Miss USA pageant because of [t]Rump’s part-ownership in the organization.

[t]Rump then fired back, in another display of pettiness, childishness, and bad toupee management, when he said that no Univision employees would be welcome at any of his hotels. Yeah, he’s that spoiled little brat.

Now, though, he’s gotten another smack, this time from Puerto Rican singer-actress Roselyn Sanchez and Chilean actor Cristián de la Fuente who had been scheduled to co-host the Spanish simulcast of the pageant, but have now opted out.

Roselyn Sanchez, star of Lifetime’s Devious Maids, posted a statement on Facebook explain her decision:
"As a Latina, proud of my roots, culture and all that we have contributed to this nation, I decided to cancel my participation as co-host the Miss USA pageant [and] not tolerate the so disrespectful and hurtful words out of the mouth of Mr. Trump.
It seems incredible that in his speech to announce his candidacy, he has had that lapse of intelligence and decency. Mexicans, like all Latinos, contribute positively to this great nation. We are the force that keeps the country afloat. 
I was very excited and proud to have been invited to participate in Miss USA, but as a Latina, that is now inconceivable. Although I am not Mexican, I am Puerto Rican and a proud Latina, and his comments were an insult to our culture. I won't sponsor anything produced by Donald Trump."
Cristián de la Fuente, also appearing on Devious Maids, also used social media to explain his decision for pulling out of the pageant:
"It is unacceptable to launch a presidential candidacy created on a rhetoric of hatred and discrimination in calling Mexicans drug dealers and rapists. It is a shame that such an important institution as Miss USA is in the hands of a clown."
Meanwhile, NBC, set to broadcast next month, distanced themselves from [t]Rump’s racism, saying that his opinions do not represent those of NBC.

Here’s the queer deal: if you watch beauty pageants, maybe skip this one, huh? Why line the pockets of a racist presidential candidate? Send a message to [t]Rump that he does not represent America or Americans and that we are tired of his divisive brand of rhetoric.

Look … just don’t watch. It’s that simple.
Roselyn Sanchez
Cristián de la Fuente

For About An Hour Bree Newsome Relieved South Carolina Of That Flag

It was bound to happen … last week, at the state capitol in Columbia, South Carolina, Bree Newsome defied the state laws that … for now … protect the Confederate flag and climbed the flag pole at the state house  to remove the Confederate flag.

When Bree was about halfway up the poll, State Capitol Police arrived on the scene and ordered her down; she refused, and continued climbing until she reached the top and took the flag down. Then, with the aid of a helper — James Tyson Black — she was lowered to the ground and arrested.

And, I say, "Good." 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad she did it; I’m all for non-violent civil disobedience, but Bree Newsome and James Black did break the law of the state and so they had to be arrested. And that’s what I told people on Facebook who railed against the idea, even when asked if they would be all right with someone scaling the state capitol dome and placing a Confederate flag up there — where one used to fly from 1962 to 2000. 

When people said that was different, I explained it wasn’t; it was taking your own action and ignoring law. And, sadly for them, someone said, "Rosa Parks broke the law and wasn’t arrested."

When I finished laughing, I replied, “Get a history book.”

For her part Bree Newsome said:
"We removed the flag today because we can't wait any longer. We can’t continue like this another day. It's time for a new chapter where we are sincere about dismantling white supremacy and building toward true racial justice and equality.”
I applaud her act, though I understand why she was arrested. And I love that, for at least about an hour, the state capitol building of South Carolina was Confederate flag free. It gave all of us a chance to feel that sense of accomplishment, if only for a moment.

The flag was raised again, though, just in time for a statehouse rally for those who seek to keep the flag right where it is; that rally numbered in the tens of people … 

That was quite a bit different than the number of people who showed up demanding that the flag be removed ...

... so I think Bree Newsome will get her wish, and I’ll get mine, and one day, in the not too distant future, the South Carolina General Assembly will vote to take down that flag. 

PS: Bree Newsome has been released from jail, though both she and James Tyson were charged with "defacing monuments on state capitol grounds" and could face up to 3 years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine. 

You can sign a petition to drop the charges against Bree HERE. 

Michael Moore has offered to pay any legal fees resulting from this incident. 
photos via ABC 7 New York