Saturday, January 31, 2009
I just met someone from Ohio.
She just met her first homosexual.
In our discussions, she said she'd never known any gay people; I told her that, of course, she did, she probably just didn't know it.
She was very interested when she met Carlos; How does the relationship work, she wanted to know.
Just like you and your husband. I was waiting for the inevitable, Who's the woman? question. But it didn't come. We just talked, her about her husband, me about mine. And she began to realize we aren't all that different.
So, imagine my surprise, and hers, when I told her, that I read about the Reverend John Tamilio--that's him up there--the senior minister at Pilgrim Congregational United Church of Christ.
He and his congregation have decided that Tamilio will no longer sign Ohio marriage licenses until the state recognizes gay marriage.
That's right. His congregation, and those at six other Ohio churches, decided that their reverends pastors, those guys in the robes, would protest the state's inequality in marriage. That means that heterosexual couples will need to have an additional civil service in order to have their marriages recognized.
Way to go Ohio....and Reverend Tamilio!
Check it out at: Cleveland.com
Friday, January 30, 2009
Who knew the Iraqis were so funny?
Instead of building a shrine to W, who likens himself to a liberator of some sort, the people of Iraq have erected another shrine to W in Tikrit.
That's right. A shoe. With a shrub in it. A plastic shrub.
Dear baby Jeebus, I do loves me some symbolism.
You cannot make this stuff up, I tell you.
The ShoeBush is to honor Muntazer al-Zaidi, the journalist who hurled the Hushpuppy at W. The inscription on his monument reads: "Muntazer: fasting until the sword breaks its fast with blood; silent until our mouths speak the truth."
So he was impeached, kicked out by a fully unanimous Senate vote on his lying cheating corrupt behind. But, hey, he showed up, you know; to resign with dignity? Silly people, of course not. That's not what we do these days. We don't say, Oops, my bad. I made a mistake. I did something wrong. I'll go now.
And we don't fight, either. If we think we're being railroaded, accused of a crime we did not commit, we don't stand up in front of our accusers and say, Here's what happened. Here's my proof. I am not a crook.
Nah, these days when you've done something wrong, you go on a publicity junket. You stop in to see Matt and Meredith; you talk to a TV image of Barbara Walters; you talk to Father Time, er, Larry King. Yet, still, you don't answer questions. Straight questions.
Did you say that Governor?
I haven't heard the full tape.
But did you say that?
And my favorite answer.
It was taken out of context.
So, Blago is gone, and he's taken his hair with him. Illinois is thrilled. I'd be thrilled, too, down here in Smallville, if he's just shut up and go away completely.
But I have a feeling a book is coming, or a documentary, and another round of TV tours.
Ted Haggard and his "wife" were on Oprah this week, and I, for one, was happy she stopped talking about her large behind or how she elected Barack Obama for a day.
Ted and the missus were on to discuss his being a big flaming, lying, crack head, closeted homo.....or, I mean, a heterosexual with issues.
Issues, Ted? Really. Honey, you have whole subscriptions.
As he talked my gaydar was pinging so loudly I could scarcely hear the television. He isn't gay, he says; he isn't bi, he says. He has tendencies.
Tendencies to have sex with men.
Which makes you a big lying queer, Ted. Because the last time I checked, truly straight men don't have tendencies to have sex with other men. Maybe once, in college, on a dare, after a few beers, but over and over again? Sorry, Teddy, that dog won't hunt. And don't blame it on your crackheadedness; lots of crackheads out there, lots of 'em men; but they ain't doing the bend over, grab your ankles and sing an aria for me, baby.
Now, the "wife" comes out. She says she knew of his "tendencies" when she married him; she knew he'd done things in his past. Then she says my favorite line, how we all have inclinations, but we don't all choose to act on them.
Excuse me. sister, but it isn't a choice: you chose, dear. You chose. To be a heterosexual woman married to a queer crackhead hate-spewing ex-pastor. And you chose to deny your husband's "inclinations" because you were living high on the homo-hog with all your minions donating to your church.
Seriously, Teddy and Gayle.
Shut the fuck up already.
Just a few words on this one.
Rush Limbaugh is a big fat drug addled ass.
He hopes Obama fails. He said that. "I hope he fails."
Can you imagine how much he would rant and rage if anyone said that about W, who did fail?
Rush would be so mad he'd scream, all of his chins wriggling, his drug dealers scampering to refill his prescriptions.
You're an idiot Limbaugh.
An unpatriotic racist fat-assed drug-addicted idiot.
And last but not least.
Exxon made 7.82 billion dollars in the last quarter of '08.
SEVEN.POINT.EIGHT-TWO BILLION DOLLARS.
Does that sound right to anyone except Exxon?
Home Depot is closing stores and laying people off.
Starbucks is closing stores and laying people off.
Linens'n'Things is just plain closing all it's stores.
Circuit City is bankrupt.
BestBuy is cutting jobs.
Even over at Disney/ABC they're cutting jobs.
But Exxon is raking in billions. In this economy, with the government bailing out banks; with people losing their homes.
Smells fishy to me.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Seriously, what a moron.
So a guy is building a house next to him. So what.
People aren't allowed to build a house near Ashton Kutcher? Is that a new zoning ordinance in LA?
And you'd think he'd be used to the hammering, sawing and welding; I mean, isn't that what his house sounds like when Demi is having work done on her face?
Star-Studded Defying Inequality Gala to Feature Prop 8: The Musical
Tony Award winner Marc Shaiman’s Prop 8: The Musical will make its debut as part of Defying Inequality: The Broadway Concert—A Celebrity Benefit for Equal Rights, a one-night only benefit set for February 23 at Wicked's Gershwin Theatre.
Defying Inequality will also feature special performances from Wicked composer Stephen Schwartz, Douglas Carter Beane, P.J. Benjamin, Stephanie J. Block, Tamara Braun, Kerry Butler, Lynda Carter, Gavin Creel, Harvey Fierstein, John Gallagher Jr., Jonathan Groff, Mark Indelicato, Cheyenne Jackson, Capathia Jenkins, Carson Kressley, Laughing Pizza, Adriane Lenox, Cameron Mathison, Rue McClanahan, Nicole Parker, Billy Porter, Rosie’s Broadway Kids, Seth Rudesky, Michael Urie, The Broadway Boys, Don’t Quit Your Night Job, the closing cast of Gypsy, the cast of Jersey Boys, the cast of The Lion King, the cast of The Little Mermaid, the cast of Mary Poppins, cast members from Saturday Night Live, the cast of Sesame Street, original cast members from Spring Awakening, the cast of Wicked and more.
The concert will be directed by Schele Williams and Anthony Galde, with musical direction by James Sampliner. All profits from the event will be donated to Family Equality Council, Empire State Pride Agenda, Equality California, Garden State Equality and The Vermont Freedom to Marry Task Force, five charitable organizations working to promote equality and protect civil rights for the gay and lesbian community.
Defying Inequality: The Broadway Concert, A Celebrity Benefit for Equal Rights, is produced by 4Good Productions, the same presenters of the 2005 event Broadway’s Celebrity Benefit for Hurricane Relief at the Gershwin Theatre. Featuring over 200 Broadway performers, the 2005 event raised more than $200,000 in just one night.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
We have a sicky cat in the house today.
Our little girl Tallulah Belle has herpes. Not that kind people! She's not that kind'a cat! She's a bitch, not a whore! She has the cold sore herpes, only this affects her sinuses and gets her all clogged up and phlegmy.
So she has some medication she takes, and she needs to be vaporized, not in the Star Trek kind of vaporized where she turns orange and vanishes, gut the humidifier kind of vaporized.
And the weird thing is, she likes it. She gets into a carrier and sits right by the door and inhales all the steam; she gets about twenty minutes a pop, three or four times a day, and she's good to go. For all her bitchiness, she's a good patient.
As for that cat down there; he's Tuxedo, and I'm posting his picture to annoy Carlos. See, Tuxedo is the most beautiful cat ever; the smartest cat ever; the greatest cat ever. Oh yeah, he's kind'a my cat. I picked him out, and I helped him adapt to our house and our pets, and he is a lovely boy.
The fun thing about Tuxedo is that I'll be watching TV or reading and it'll get to be time for bed. I'll stand up and call him, Tucky, bed time! and he tears down the hallway and jumps on the bed.
If I can come up with 100 things, So, let's roll:
1. I am a dichotomy. Petrifyingly shy in new groups of people, but vocally opinionated on almost any topic.
2. I have never smoked a cigarette in my life.
3. I am a not a fan of cell phones and I do not text.
4. I'm not quite sure I believe in god (lower case g) but then I see trees and birds and clouds, and I wonder if something isn't doing this.
5. I think a lot about dying. Not that I'm afraid of it, or want to do it, but just wondering what it will be like.
6. I am a generally happy person....which begs the question: What about #5 up there?
7. I consider myself married to Carlos, no matter what anyone says.
8. The sound of a cat purring in my ear instantly puts me at ease.
9. I don't like to talk on the phone, so I love Caller ID.
10. I will do almost anything to make Carlos laugh.
11. I feel a need to be in a room with books.
12. I am a believer in the expression: Want the things you have, don't have the things you want.
13. I smoked pot once--hated it--and that's the extent of my drug use.
14. I don't look like it, but I have several tattoos, and could get more at any given time.
15. I can count my friends on both hands, but they are all good friends who would do anything for me, and for whom I would return the favor.
16. I stand up for the little guy.
17. I have the uncanny, or annoying, ability to literally see both sides to any situation.
18. I am ferociously anti-death penalty.
19. I love to cook, and am pretty good at making up my own recipes.
20. I am not scared of much, but embarrassing myself in public ranks up toward the top.
21. I've known I was gay since I was about eight years old, although I didn't have a name for it then.
22. I have a knack for remembering street addresses to TV families. For example: 148 Bonnymeadow Rd, New Rochelle, NY is where Rob and Laura Petrie live.
23. I believe firmly in reincarnation, and that's a faith you cannot shake.
24. I have never seen a UFO.
25. I cry quite easily, and I don't see it as a sign of weakness.
26. I don't like hurricanes.
27. I am the middle child of three.
28. I am fairly easygoing, but I want to bitch-slap people who are late.
29. I've been scuba diving in Hawaii and it is the most peaceful place I've ever found.
30. I love scary movies, not slasher flicks.
31. I must have music playing when I drive.
32. I was a Cub Scout.
33. I love a good glass of red wine.
34. I am equally at home in Smallville as I am in New York City, Miami, or San Francisco.
35. I have no tonsils, but I do have my appendix.
36. I don't like any group telling me what I can watch, listen to, or read.
37. I don't 'get' this obsession people have with golf.
38. I am moved to tears by Billie Holiday singing anything
39. I like all kinds of music (Aida to the Dixie Chicks with stops at Sting, The Supremes, and Betty Buckley along the way) but I don't like rap.
40. I don't play a musical instrument, but I love music.
41. I look younger than I actually am, which freaks people out.
42. I was a Broadway geek before I ever went to New York the first time.
43. I've written two unpublished novels. One has been lost to me, and one is awaiting it's audience.
44. I like things neat and tidy.
45. I am quite lazy, which works against #44.
46. I always wake up singing a song in my head. This morning was the theme from Cheers, don't ask me why.
47. I have no fear of being alone.
48. I am quick with a quip, smart with a comeback, and sarcasm drips off me like sweat off Whitney Houston.
49. I love corn, but not on the cob.
50. I don't really like chocolate, unless it's in a Peanut Butter Cup.
51. I am Aquarius, or as i like to say. Aqueerius.
52. I love Nicole Kidman, but I didn't like her when she was married to Tom Cruise.
53. I hate any form of prejudice; my least favorite word is 'they' or 'them.'
54. I don't mind naive, I hate ignorant.
55. I can be quite naive about some things.
56. I have never done drag--don't think I'd want to--but one Halloween I did dress up as a large Italian woman.
57. I have more hope for the future of this country than I ever have before.
58. I learned to drive stick-shift in a 1969 VW Beetle.
59. I now drive an automatic Saturn Vue.
60. I can be quite dictatorial when doing household projects with Carlos.
61. I do not like guns, and I think we are a gun-crazy nation.
62. I once followed Sting around California and saw him in seven concerts in eight days.
63. I love Bette Davis movies; I don't like Joan Crawford movies--except for the one she did with, you guessed it, Bette Davis.
64. I moved out of my parents house when I was eighteen.
65. I was born in Mississippi, grew up in California, moved to Florida, and now live in South Carolina.
66. I have been in half the states in this country.
67. I met Carlos on the Internet.
68. I love spicy food, be it Mexican, or Thai, or Chinese or Indian.
69. I love gossip, even if I don't know the person being gossiped about.
70. I once staked out the lobby of the Hyatt Regency on Maui because rumor had it Julia Roberts was staying there.
71. I am politically liberal--if you can't tell by some of my posts.
72. I know sometimes it's necessary, but I am anti-war.
73. I believe in real punishment for committing a crime, not this 'slap on the wrist' mentality.
74. I feel that the United States has fucked over the Native American population since we first stepped foot on their country.
75. I get annoyed at people who don't recycle.
76. I have a temper and don't fear using it. But I get over being mad pretty easily.
77. I think that greed is responsible for this mess we're in right now. Do we really need a Starbucks or a Home Depot on every corner.
78. I don't like Catherine Zeta-Jones and I have no good reason for it.
79. I believe George Bush will go down in history as the worst president this country has ever known
80. I am Pro-choice; if men were the ones who got pregnant, this would not be an issue. it's all about men wanting to control women.
81. I miss the actual 'writing' of letters; email has depersonalized correspondence. That said, I email all the time.
82. I love history, and the history of things; I love hearing old people tell stories.
83. One of my favorite vacation memories is playing chess with my Dad on the deck of a rented cabin at Lake Tahoe.
84. I have been to Disneyland and DisneyWorld.
85. I love soap operas, well, soap opera: One Life To Live.
86. My favorite expression is Pigfucker.
87. I have a foul mouth but control it quite easily in mixed company.
88. I don't understand gay men who don't like lesbians.
89. I don't like having my picture taken.
90. I love to drive, anywhere.
91. I have never been arrested, but I have had three speeding tickets and a few parking tickets.
92. I make Iced Tea at home with sugar in it, but I don't like Sweet Tea in restaurants.
93. My remedy for a hangover is a big messy turkey burger and as much Coke as I can drink--three days after the drinking.
94. I don't eat red meat, but not for health reasons or vegetarian reasons. I just don't like it.
95. I have eyes that can change color; they look green when I wear green, but are normally pale blue.
96. I love coffee, but I have only one cafe con leche a day.
97. I read on the toilet. TMI?
98. I find women who burp a little disgusting.
99. I think I need to live within an hour or two of the ocean, just so I can go see it every so often and make sure it's still there.
100. I laugh out loud at Karen Walker on Will & Grace. Oh honey.......no...........no.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
I loves me some Oscar.
I call it the Gay Superbowl, although what a Superbowl is I don't know; sounds like a big serving of noodles down at the Smallville Noodle Shack on Route One.
But the Oscars are a Gay Superbowl. The 'mos have the parties; we all cheer and boo and hiss; offer snarky commentary on who wore what, who wore whom; who's together; who's apart...and that's just at the party! The show itself offers much more drama.
So, in an effort to kick off Oscar season, I give you.......Lions roar.....drums rumble....trumpets sound......queens shriek...a History Of The Oscars!
1929: The first Academy Awards ceremony is held at the Roosevelt Hotel on May 16th; 270 guests attend.
1934: Katherine Hepburn wins her first Best Actress award, for 'Morning Glory;' she goes on to win the award three more times, making her the most honored actress in Academy history. But more importantly, if she were a tree what kind of tree would she be?
1935: 'It Happened One Night' wins all five major awards
1937: For the first time, awards are give to supporting actors; for the first eight years they really didn't matter. Gale Sondergaard and Walter Brennan win the first two.
1939: The Academy starts using the nickname Oscar; it's unclear where the name came from, although my favorite story is that Bette Davis took one look at the statute and said it looked like her husband Oscar....so I'm going with that one. I'm Team Bette all the way.
1940: 'Gone With The Wind' is the first all-color film to win Best Picture. Hattie McDaniel is the first woman of color to win an Oscar.
1941: The sealed envelope system is used for the first time because the year before the LA Times printed a list of the winners before the show! Horrors!
1943: Because of a metal shortage during the war, the Oscar is made of painted plaster--a practice that would go on until 1946.
1953: The Oscars--thanks Bette--are televised for the first time. Bob Hope hots from Hollywood; Fredric March, from New York. John Ford wins his fourth Oscar for directing 'The Quiet Man;' to this day, no other director has won more than three Oscars.
1955: 'On The Waterfront' star Marlon Brando--pre-FatActor days, I always get him and Kirstie Alley confused--wins the first of his two Best Actor awards; eight actors have won two: Brando, Gary Cooper, Daniel Day-Lewis, Tom Hanks, Dustin Hoffman, Fredric March, Jack Nicholson and Spencer Tracy. Nobody has ever won three. But I think Day-Lewis or Hanks could break that record one day.
1957: Foreign language films get their own category; in previous years they won under the heading of 'Say what?'
1960: 'Ben Hur' wins 11 Oscars--thanks Bette; only two other films, 'Titanic' and 'Lord of the Rings: Return of the King' have won the same number. Although LOTR: TROTK did win a special Oscar for the longest-ass title.
1962: 'West Side Story' wins 10 Oscars--sorry WSS you're no 'Ben Hur;' Sophia Loren--va-va-voom--wins Best Actress for a Foreign Language film. Say what? See? That's how that works. Roberto Benigni would do the same for 'Life is beautiful' in 1999 and Marion Cotillard in 2008 for 'La Vie En Rose.'
1964: Sidney Poitier becomes the first black man to win a Best Actor Oscar for 'Lilies for the Field.'
1969: Katherine Hepburn, 'The Lion In Winter,' and Barbra Streisand, 'Funny Girl,' tie for Best Actress--King Solomon decides to cut the award in half.
1973: Sasheen Little Feather accepts the award fro Marlon Brando, 'The Godfather,' then declines it because of the treatment of Native Americans by the film industry. A Future Homosexual of America, Bob in Sacramento, loved that moment.
1974: A streaker runs across the stage, showing off all his goods; David Niven quipped: "Just think, the only laugh that man will probably ever get is for stripping off and showing off his shortcomings;" Future Homosexual of America, Bob in Sacramento, wishes there were a machine that could capture that video and show it around the world over and over again--he would call it BobTube.
1981: The awards show is postpones one day because of the assassination attempt on President Reagan; it is the third delay in academy history. The first was in 1938, when flooding forced a one-week delay; in 1968 there was a two-day delay when Martin Luther King was assassinated.
1982: Henry Fonda and Katherine Hepburn win Oscars for 'On Golden Pond;' it was Fonda's first, and Hepburn's fourth and final, coming 48 years after her first.
1986: 'The Color Purple' is shut out of the awards despite it's 11 nomination; Out Homosexual, Bob in Sacramento, is thrilled because even back then he was tired of Oprah.
1989: Dustin Hoffman wins his second Best Actor Oscar for 'Rain Man;' non-nominated Tom Cruise, stomps his feet and storms from the auditorium, His first wife, Mimi Rogers straps him in his car seat and takes him home.
1992: 'Silence of the Lambs' becomes only one of three films to win the Top Five--Best Picture, Actor Actress, Director, Screenplay; the others are 'It Happened One Night' and 'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.'
1994: Steven Spielberg wins his first Best Director award for 'Schindler's List.'
1995: For the second year in a row, Tom Hanks is honored as Best Actor; he won for 'Philadelphia' and 'Forest Gump;' oddly enough the Emmy's overlooked his landmark performance in 'Bosom Buddies.'
1998: 'Titanic' wins 11 Oscars; Out Homosexual, Bob in Sacramento, proudly declares he has never seen the film and never will--after all, the ship sinks, end of story. This is yet another chapter in his lifelong feud with Celine Dion. Side note; Jack Nicholson wins his third Oscar for 'As Good As It Gets.'
1999: The Oscars moves to Sunday, because that's how God intended it.
2002: Halle Berry, 'Monster's Ball' becomes the first African-American woman to win Best Actress; she goers on to star in the critically acclaimed, 'Catwoman, seen around the world by literally tens of people. Denzel Washington wins Best Actor for 'Training Day'--Out Homosexual, Bob in Miami, shrieks....e loves him some Denzel.
2004: LOTR: TROTK--I am NOT typing all that out again--wins all 11 Oscars for which it was nominated; that has happened only three times in Oscar--thanks Bette--history: 'It Happened One Night,' 'Gigi,' and 'The Last Emperor,' all of which had shorter titles.
2006: Ang Lee wins Best Director for Brokeback Mountain'--Out Homosexual, Bob in Miami, cheers; it marks the first time the award goes to someone who isn't white.
There was this book, The Last Templar by Raymond Khoury, that I bought for Carlos a Christmas or two ago. It's along the lines of The DaVinci Code--DaVinci Code Light--but it moved along at a good speed, and told a rather interesting story about whether or not Jesus was a mortal man or the Son of God. I won't spoil it here for you.
Imagine our surprise then, when we saw a promo for a TV movie based on the book. The clip showed the horses busting into the museum; the treks across the desert; the shipwrecks; the decoder. Looked good, right?
We decided to watch it Sunday night.
They cast Mira Sorvino as the lead character; a very studious archaeologist, pretty but plain. Mira Sorvino? Really, NBC? Really? Sorvino couldn't act her way out of a soap bubble. She played the archaeologist like she was a blow-up doll, more concerned about her Monolo Blahniks than anything else. It was like Archeology Barbie. Boobs; legs; winks; smirks.
She could give Kate Winslet a run for her money. If Kate Winslet were to stop acting this very minute and become a vacuous nonentity.
And the lead actor, the love interest, the gruff FBI agent on the trail of the stolen icons? Scott Foley. Who? Exactly. His claim to fame is that he was the first Mister Jennifer Garner. Now, don't get me wrong, he's cute. Nice dimples. But as a gruff, Catholic, faith-obsessed FBI man? Um.....no.
Still, it started off right. Four men, dressed as the Knights Templar, ride up Fifth Avenue and into the Metropolitan, where they wreak havoc by destroying glass cases filled with treasures of the Vatican, trying to get their hands on the decoder, so they could find out where the Knights buried the treasure they snuck out of Jerusalem oh so many years ago. The scene played out just like the book, until.....and seriously....this happened.
Miro Sorvino, in some flowy, chiffony-looking micro-mini and the afore-mentioned Manolo's--because that's how archaeologists dress--chased the Knights out of the museum with something that looked like a jousting sword. By herself, She's running through the museum in her Red Carpet finery shouting 'Come back!' and 'Hey!' and 'That's not yours!'
Then.....seriously.....she runs out of the museum and steals a policeman's horse, and leaps onto it and chases one of the Knights into Central Park where they joust and she captures him.
And that was the first ten minutes.
I could not look away.
I could not turn the channel.
I showed up last night to watch part two.
My name is Bob.
And I'm a Train-Wreck-o-holic.
Monday, January 26, 2009
The Vatican's decision to lift the excommunication comes on the heels of a Swedish television interview, where one Bishop Richard Williamson claimed the Nazis did not use gas chambers.
"I believe that the historical evidence is strongly against -- is hugely against -- 6 million Jews having been deliberately gassed in gas chambers as a deliberate policy of Adolf Hitler....I believe there were no gas chambers."
Even the Vatican's own spokesman Father Federico Lombardi called Williamson's remarks "absolutely indefensible." But then he made his point. Accepting Williamson back into the fold would 'normalize' relations with the ultra-conservative group.
Even Pope Benny has said that, and I quote so as to get the real word out, so there is no misunderstanding, dialogue between Christians, Jews and Muslims "in the strict sense of the word" was "not possible."
Yesterday was a day off. And with no rain, although it was chilly, and no possibility of snow again until next year, Carlos and I decided to take a drive to Aiken.
South Carolina. Horse country. Old money. Old houses. Old. But it's a cute town, more Mediumville than Smallville, and lots of cute shops and restaurants, many of which are closed because it was Sunday.
Oh yeah, nothing is open in South Carolina on Sunday, and the things that are open don't open until after church. It's one of the passages in the Bible: Thou shalt not shop until after 1:30 PM. Or something like that. My knowledge of the Bible is rather limited.
Anyhooo, when we first moved here, we were going to rent a house until we toured the area and decided where we wanted to buy. That first night, a Sunday wouldn't you know it, the heat in the rental house wasn't working and it was about 40-degrees inside. Plus, the movers, who had promised to be there, couldn't make it until the next day. So, we took our cars, loaded with some suitcases and last-minute packed items, four cats and a dog, and found a motel. Then Carlos and I drove to a Chili's for a bite to eat. I am not a fan of Chili's; I've had horrible service at Chili's. I hate Chili's. But it seemed to be the only thing open. So we went.
The place wasn't crowded, and we got a table right away. the hostess gave us a menu and a special plasticky-looking cocktail menu. I needed a margarita like I'd never needed a margarita before. We'd spent two days driving from the tip of Florida to Smallville, in two cars, with the aforementioned four cats and a dog, stopping for potty breaks, food breaks, walk breaks, etc.
I needed a margarita.
The server came by and I said, "I'll have a Cuervo Gold margarita, on the rocks no salt." I may have been drooling as I said it. Then it happened.
"Oooooh, we don't serve alcohol own Sundy." Yes, it sounded like that.
"Y'all cain't order dranks own Sundy."
As David Dust says, Dear Baby Jeebus, what have we gotten ourselves into?
I believed, for a moment, that we had landed on another planet; that we'd taken a wrong turn on I-26 and ended up in......The Twilight Zone. Or, at the very least, the No Dranks Own Sundy Zone. But we survived. I had a Coke. And I didn't die, although i wanted to bitch-slap South Carolina for such a stupid rule. Blue Laws? Pfftffffffft.
And we learned that 'own Sundy' nothing opens until after church, because that's how God wants it. You know, She's up there, in Heaven, seein' dead people, performing miracles, helping actors win Oscars, telling preachers that gay folks ought to burn in Hell, and stopping people in South Carolina from shopping. Busy Busy Busy.
After we found 'our' house, we were having people over for dinner. Carlos wanted to get some candles for the outside tables. He drove down to The WalMart--I don't know why it's K-Mart and Target, but it's THE WalMart--to get a few things. It was a hair past noon. He took a basket, got a couple of candles, a few little knick-knacks for the deck, and headed up to the cashier.
"You cain't buy those yet."
I believe he may have wept and tossed his candles to the ground before being escorted from the building by the Heathen Police. I do know that he came home all pissy, muttering something about country-town and hillbillies. But we learned. You 'cain't' buy anything but food or medication 'own Sundy.'
And alcohol? Not in this county, kids. No. No. No. You have to drive to the next county to buy it, in a restaurant or bar; you couldn't even buy it in stores 'own Sundy' until a month or so ago. So, Smallville, and Mediumville, have their issues. But you learn to get around them. You need candles for a dinner party on the deck? Buy them 'own Saturdy.' You need alcohol? Same rule applies, unless you cross the county line.
But man, I'll tell you, as soon as the Church-Is-Over-One-Thirty-Bell strikes, The WalMart is jammed; K-Mart, too. And the Dollar General and the Dollar Tree, and the Blockbusters.
Still, and this is my point: you make do. You learn to live life the way it's done in these here parts. And you go to visit a town called Aiken, or Mediumville, and you walk down the streets looking in all the closed shop windows, and you come upon a sign that makes you smile about life in a Red State tiny town:
Closed at 3pm today. (sat) Went home Sick. See you Monday.
Smallville ain't so bad. And neither is Mediumville.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Homosexual not-wannabe, evangelical leader Ted Haggard's former church, New Life Church in Colorado Springs, disclosed Friday that the gay sex scandal that caused his downfall extends to a young male church volunteer who reported having a sexual relationship with Haggard.
Apparently, this young man spoke to church leaders in 2006, after Haggard's first sex scandal broke. You know, the one about Mike Jones, the male prostitute, and the crack?
Well, this young man, who was in his early 20s, said his, um, relationship with Pastor Ted went on for a "long period of time...it wasn't a one-time act." And he classified the relationship as a "consensual sexual" one. Church officials say they are certain the man was of legal age when he and the pastor started boinking.
Of course, Pastor Ted, looking to capitalize on his lies and deceit, drug use and propensity for prostitutes of the male persuasion, isn't speaking. He wants you to talk to his publicist, because there is a documentary about him airing on HBO this month.
The timing couldn't be more perfect.
And perhaps even more disturbing than Pastor Ted's agents and documentaries, and ever evolving sex scandal, is how his church handled the young man who came to them about his affair with Haggard.
The church reached a legal settlement to pay the man for counseling and college tuition, with one condition; that being that none of the parties involved discuss the matter publicly. So, let's get this straight, if I can do that. Pastor Ted preaches anti-homosexual hatred from the pulpit of the New Life Church, all the while he's hiring prostitutes, using drugs and having an affair with a young male member of his flock. Then Teddy runs to rehab to cure himself, not of his crack-headedness, but of his gayness. And the church sends the boy to college.
Now there's a scholarship I wish they'd had when I was in school. Boink the preacher, go to college. Where do I sign up?
Now, word comes that a Colorado Springs TV station is interviewing the young man, who is said to be coughing up a detailed report of his, um, relationship with Haggard. Obviously, the church wanted the boy to hesh up, but he has decided to go public.
Of course, not be outdone, in the "Do As I Say, Not As I Do" life lessons, Haggard will be speaking to Larry King and Oprah, to promote his documentary.
Fearing criticism, (really?) the church will not release the name of the young man who boffed the pastor, or release the amount of tuition, er, settlement. In fact, the church is saying it was not a settlement to keep the boy quiet, although he was told not to discuss the matter publicly, it was, and I quote, "Our desire was to help him. Here was a young man who wanted to get on with his life. We considered it more compassionate assistance — certainly not hush money. I know that's what everyone will want to say because that's the most salacious thing to say, but that's not at all what it was."
Compassionate assistance? You gotta love the spin doctor who came up with that one.
Brady Boyd, who succeeded Haggard as senior pastor of the 10,000-member New Life Church said, "This decision was made not as an attempt to conceal wrongdoings, but to protect him from those who would seek to exploit him. His actions now suggest that he has changed his mind."
Yes, Boyd, protect the young man by giving him hush money and sending him off to college. I think it was more about protecting your homophobic church. Boyd also says the church won't sue the young man for speaking out now, even though the young man took the cash and said he'd keep his yap shut. "We have legal standing to do that, but not the desire to," he said. Right, Boyd, no desire? Or no desire to have your 'church' publicly shamed again?
Obama's Nonbeliever Nod Unsettles Some
By MELINDA HENNENBERGER
(Jan. 23) - Not everyone was happy with President Barack Obama's nod to nonbelievers and non-Christians in his inaugural address. And some of the stiff criticism about Obama’s religious inclusiveness is coming from African-American Christians who maintain that no, all faiths were actually not created equal.
"For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness," the new president said. "We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this earth," he also said. Nothing too controversial, proclaiming that America's strength lies in its diversity.
But between those two statements, the new president got specific:
"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and nonbelievers."
By mentioning, for the first time in an inaugural address, the 16.1 percent of Americans who check "no"’ when asked about religion, Obama turned it into the most controversial line in his speech -- praised by The New York Times editorial board and cited by some Christians as evidence that he is a heretic, and in his well-spoken way, a serious threat.
With that one line, the president "seems to be trying to redefine American culture, which is distinctively Christian," said’ Bishop E.W. Jackson of the Exodus Faith Ministries in Chesapeake, Va. "The overwhelming majority of Americans identify as Christians, and what disturbs me is that he seems to be trying to redefine who we are.’"
Earlier this week, Jackson was a guest on the popular conservative Christian radio show 'Janet Parshall's America,' where a succession of callers, many of whom identified themselves as African-American, said they shared the concern, and were perplexed and put off by the president’s shout-out to nonbelievers.
Parshall noted that atheists were celebrating the unexpected mention, and indeed they were: "In his inaugural address … President Barack Obama did what many before him should have done, rightly citing the great diversity of America as part of the nation's great strength, and including 'nonbelievers'’ in that mix,’" said Ed Buckner of American Atheists.
"His mother would have been proud,"’ Buckner said, referring to the fact that Obama’s mother was not a church-goer. "And so are we."
Jackson said he and others have no problem acknowledging that "this country is one in which everybody has the freedom to think what they want.’" Yet Obama crossed the line, in his view, in suggesting that all faiths (and none) were different roads to the same destination: "He made similar remarks in the campaign, and said, 'We are no longer a Christian nation, if we ever were. We are a Jewish, Hindu and non-believing nation.'"
Not so, Jackson says: "Obviously, Jewish heritage is very much a part of Christianity; the Jewish Bible is part of our Bible. But Hindu, Muslim, and nonbelievers? I don't think so. We are not a Muslim nation or a nonbelieving nation."’
With all the focus on Obama as the first African-American president, the succession of black callers to Janet Parshall's show was a reminder that the "community"’ is not a monolith, and that many socially conservative black Americans are at odds with Obama's views, particularly on abortion and gay rights. Nor do they all define civil rights in the same way.
The Rev. Cecil Blye, pastor of More Grace Ministries Church in Louisville, Ky., said the president's reference to nonbelievers also set off major alarm bells for him. "It's important to understand the heritage of our country, and it's a Judeo-Christian tradition,"’ period.
But his even bigger beef with the president, he said, is that a disproportionate number of "black kids are dying each day through abortion. President Obama is supportive of abortion, and that's a genocide on black folks. Nobody wants to talk about that as a civil rights issue."
And now, back to me.
Since when is inclusiveness a bad thing? This was the first time that I, as what I call a Free-Thinker--which is a Carlos word--felt included. In the past when I heard politicians talk about Christianity, I thought, Hmmmmm, not me. Or Catholicism, or Judaism....it wasn't me they are talking about.
Now we have Obama, mentioning all faiths, including the faith of non-believing, as well as mentioning the LGBT community. Well, I thought how happy I was that I checked off the box next to his name last November. I was included. Finally. I was being mentioned. Finally. That felt great.
And now we have these ministers criticizing the President for including anything other than Christianity. For including 'them.' Those people who don't believe the exact same thing as these 'ministers.' Those people who believe in a different god, or no god at all.
I'm confused. So, religion is divisive? Religion is meant to keep us separate and apart? Unless you believe in this one thing, you don't belong? God, or I ought to say, gosh, I love organized religion. They're so welcoming. Unless you're one of 'them.'
Bishop E.W. Jackson of the Exodus Faith Ministries in Chesapeake, Virginia, says the majority of Americans identify as Christian, so we should only include Christians. Well, Bishop, the majority of Americans also identify as white, so should we exclude everyone else? The majority of Americans are aged between 20 and 64; why don't we stop talking about those who fall outside that range. The slight majority of Americans are women; let's give men the boot. I love flawed logic.
Most of us think this way so everyone should think this way.
'Jackson said he and others have no problem acknowledging that "this country is one in which everybody has the freedom to think what they want.’" ' Go ahead, acknowledge those people over there, yeah, 'them,' but for the love of God, er, gosh, don't include them.
He says we are a Christian nation, and maybe a Jewish nation, but not a nation of Muslims or Hindus. I got news for you, Bishop, we are a nation of all kinds of people, all colors, all languages, all faiths, all orientations, genders, ages, all everything. And Barack Obama is including all of us in this country's dialogue. You need to shake off the old rhetoric and look to the future, man, because it's here.
In addition to Obama's inclusiveness, the Rev. Cecil Blye, pastor of More Grace Ministries Church in Louisville, Ky, has an issue with the President's stand on abortion, and a woman's right to choose. He says '"black kids are dying each day through abortion. President Obama is supportive of abortion, and that's a genocide on black folks. Nobody wants to talk about that as a civil rights issue." '
But Rev, why don't you use your ministry, your church, your pulpit, to tell women to protect themselves during sex so they don't become pregnant; then the abortion rates will drop. Why don't you tell the men in your congregation to put a glove on it before having sex, so they aren't creating more children. Get to the source of the problem, Rev; and that isn't abortions. It's men and women having unprotected sex.
I find it funny that these men of the cloth are so narrow in their thinking. So closed off to the possibility of hope; the possibility of One Nation Under Gosh, or God, or Buddha, or Mohamed or whomever you believe. I think we'd be a much better nation if we showed the world that all people are welcome here, all faiths, ages, genders, sexual orientations, colors, languages, heights, weights, shoe size......the list goes on and on.
But that's just me.
Friday, January 23, 2009
• Obama inaugural stuffed with baloney
The Obama inaugural became such a spectacle that it left me feeling ashamed.
I am ashamed of the entire country for creating a facade of racial harmony and a false uplifting of how far we have come, pertaining to equality.
There has been nothing equal about the amount of exposure that the president received as opposed to all who came before him. That seems to be the norm when equality is an issue. I see it as special treatment to make up for a perceived wrongdoing. There has never been such hoopla over the office of the presidency changing hands.
I know that President Bush was never completely right in many of the decisions that were made during his administration, but President Obama is not a savior. He is another politician who is going to have a go at what at times has to be the most stressful job in this country. He is being portrayed as a demigod. I have had my fill of the media’s coverage of the Obamas’ quest for the White House.
As a Native American, I will be so happy to see the day when all the milestones of immigrants being the first to do something have been reached.
I have been a lifelong Democrat who is leaning toward independent, and I am not a racist; I am just seeing this circus act from another perspective.
GERALD B. LOCKLEAR
Hi there Gerry,
I was a bit taken back by your letter. Especially in regards to the comment about the 'facade of racial harmony.'
I don't think anyone with half a brain believes that the election of Barack Obama is an end to racism. Gosh no, Gerry. Racism will always be here. There will always be an 'us' and a 'them.' Always be fear and ignorance and intolerance and hate for somebody. Sad to say, but that's the way it's always been and I don't see that change a'coming soon.
But we can make a change bit by bit, by looking past the facades and at the substance, by listening to what is said. By saying what we want and then doing it. Sticking to our word.
Obama didn't get equal exposure, he got more. Because he was different in so many ways than what we'd seen before. He wasn't white; he had something to say; he told us that this would be hard to do, this change. He was different from what came before, so the media exposure to him was different.
As for the hoopla involving this president taking over, we have spent eight years being fed lies, being told we were doing one thing and then doing another, torturing people, spying on people. The change that Obama has offered is an end to all that. And for that alone, he deserves the hoopla. We, the people, deserve the hoopla.
George Bush may not have been 'completely right' in some of his decisions, but he was 'completely wrong' in a great many. Once again, let me say, I don't see Obama as a savior. I see him as a man who is as fed up with the Bush/Cheney regime as I am, and he's ready to do all he can to fix it. Can he fix? I hope so, but we won't know for sure for quite some time.
I understand that as a Native American you have your issues with racism, but don't you see, Gerry, that a step for any minority is a step for all minorities. If we see a black man elected to office, then what about a gay man, or a woman or a Native American. It's a step for all of us, Gerry
All of us.
I saw this first over at Tales of the Sissy. Mark had this to say: 'Marriage vs. Civil Unions. I've even heard GLBT folks say they don't care about 'marriage' as long as a civil union would bring them the same benefits as marriage. But I always ask myself "Why would I settle for something less than equal?"'
I couldn't have said it better myself. Thanks Mark.
And now, on to business. In 2004, the Government Accounting Office identified 1,138 federal laws in which marital status is a factor in determining or receiving benefits, rights, and privileges. And these are just some of the benefits denied to gay and lesbian couples:
We cannot file taxes jointly, which results in higher taxes for us. Being gay is expensive. Maybe I should rethink it, and save a couple of bucks.
We have no legal right to visit a spouse in the hospital and can actually be barred from entering the room by medical personnel. Oh well, I hate hospital;s anyway.
We are not allowed to pass on our estate to a spouse tax-free, which creates a huge tax burden that can result in the loss of a spouse's home or business. Seriously, it's worth going straight if I can keep the house.
We can be fired just for being gay. I guess that's okay, because I can't afford it anyway, without the tax breaks and such. Gay and homeless, that's a double-threat. Or would that be homo-less?
We are denied special consideration for the immigration of a spouse, often resulting in a painful separation when a loved one is from a foreign country. God forbid we fall in love with a foreigner. Did you hear that Carlos?
We are ineligible to receive a spouse's Social Security pension or many other government benefits. But I guess that's okay, given the higher taxes, losing the house and being fired.
We do not have legal authority to make critical treatment decisions for their loved one. But why should we? We're less than. We're them. we don't matter.
We cannot ask for or receive domestic violence protection orders. Again, it costs more, we lose more, we can't make 'couple' decisions, and now we can't ask for or receive protection from violence.
Seriously, I should rethink this whole gay thing. This whole being less than, unequal, non-deserving, second-class-you-don't-matter-so-go-0sit-over-there-and-keep-your-queer-mouth-shut thing.
Or maybe not. Maybe, just maybe, I, and we, all of us, gay and the enlightened equality loving open-minded straight people--and you're out there I can hear you breathing--should rethink what's right, what's fair, what's equal. Maybe, just maybe, we should tell everyone we know, everyone we come in contact with, that we're gay, or that we know a gay couple, a gay person, and that we're tired of it. Tired of hatred and bigotry; tired of treating anyone.....anyone....like a second-class citizen, for any reason.
So, open your mouths and tell the world you're gay. Tell the world you're okay with gay people. It's okay. Really. It'll be okay. Carlos and I do it all the time; we shop as a couple and the checkers at Kroger's know us; we go out to dinner together and have celebratory champagne toasts on special occasions as a couple. I tell anyone who asks that my partner, my spouse, my better half, my significant other, is a man.
And so far, even here in Smallville, no one really cares.
from Lifetime....television for women....and gay men. I've always loved that joke.
But now Lifetime has stepped it up from the usual woman-in-peril-cheating-murdering-husband movies, to Prayers for Bobby, airing Saturday, January 24 at 9 pm, with encores on Sunday, January 25 at 8 pm and Tuesday, January 27 at 9 pm et/pt.
It's the story of a young man who killed himself because his parents would not accept him as gay.
Sure, it's TV; it's Lifetime. But this story is all too frequent, even in these days when we're all supposed to be so enlightened. Many gay men and women, young like Bobby Griffith, or even older, are pushed into so much shame about who they are, that they believe the only way out is suicide.
This story wounds me. Think of all that Bobby Griffith could have been if he'd lived; all he might have done. But we'll never know the last chapter to that story because the book was cut short. think of all the lives of gay men and women that were cut short through murder or suicide, and all that those lives might have meant to the rest of us.
You can say being gay is a choice. It's not.
You can say being gay is a lifestyle. It isn't.
You can say being gay is a persuasion. I wasn't 'persuaded.'
You can say it's a preference. It isn't.
But no matter what you think of being gay, no one....no one...should have to die because of it.
No one should have to die simply because they're gay.
Here is an excerpt from the book, Prayers for Bobby:
Bobby was choking on his secret. He needed desperately to confide in someone. The diary was not enough. It helped, but he longed to unburden himself to another human, someone who could help him sort out the powder keg of feelings imploding within. But who? He couldn't tell his parents, certainly not his mother. He had no friends he trusted enough. Joy? Ed?
He turned to Ed, setting off a chain of events that might have made him wish he had kept his secret to himself and his diary.
Ed Griffith turned seventeen on a rainy day in late April 1979. He was a junior in high school, an accomplished athlete with dreams of being a professional baseball player. Ed was a strapping, muscular young man, with sandy hair and a square, chiseled chin. He was a straight shooter free of guile or subterfuge. He believed deeply in the Gospel and the teachings of his church. For the longest time as a child he related being a Christian to being a soldier. He loved war movies, toy soldiers, playing army. Yet behind his macho aspect there was a caring, nonjudgmental person.
Perhaps it was those traits that led Bobby to choose his brother as the person to whom he would unburden himself one warm spring afternoon in May. The two lounged near the blooming apricot tree in the family's backyard. Bobby, a month away from turning sixteen, seemed very nervous. Finally, he said, "There is something awful I have to tell you. You are going to really hate me and never want to talk to me again."
Ed's heart fluttered with a rush of worry. He imagined everything from criminal activity to drugs. He responded, "Bobby, it doesn't matter what it is. I'm never going to stop loving you.
It was true. They had grown up together, sharing the same small bedroom. They had had many a long heart-to-heart through the years. They were different, true, and there were times they had been jerks to each other. But their love for one another was solid. What's more, Bobby trusted Ed.
Bobby said in a choked voice, "I'm gay."
Ed breathed a momentary sigh of relief. It could have been worse. He said, "Bobby, how do you know this?"
"I've known for a long time," Bobby answered.
"But how can you be sure?"
"I'm sure, Ed. Believe me, I'm sure." Bobby hung his head as if in pain. They talked some more, and Ed could see that Bobby considered his gayness to be a terrible defect.
Ed asked, "Are you going to tell Mom and Dad, or see a counselor?"
Bobby flared, "No! I want you to promise you won't tell anyone, especially Mom and Dad!"
Reluctantly, he said, "Okay, okay, I promise."
Nothing in life had prepared Ed for such a burden. Homosexuality. It was like something from another planet. He had seen it on television. And he'd heard different religious people say it was a choice and a sinful one at that. He preoccupied himself with other things and tried to convince himself that this crisis would work itself out. He had a new girlfriend, and it was baseball season. There was lots to distract him from such an unpleasant disclosure. Ed collaborated with nervous silence in keeping Bobby's secret.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Opponents of ending pregnancies gird for expected pro-choice actions
By JAMES ROSEN - McClatchy Newspapers
WASHINGTON — Republican lawmakers Wednesday urged President Obama to reconsider his support of legal abortions as anti-abortion activists arrived in Washington for a protest on the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade ruling.
As many as 200,000 people were expected to join the “March for Life” to the Supreme Court building today on the 36th anniversary of the 1974 decision legalizing abortion.
Holly Gatling, executive director of South Carolina Citizens for Life, said she was among 60 members of the Catholic Diocese of Charleston who planned to participate in today’s march along Constitution Avenue.
“The first order of business is to reverse some of the policies of George W. Bush that have harmed women not only in this country, but women around the world,” Keenan said in an interview.
Democratic sources close to Obama said the new president likely would take early action on several abortion-related matters, starting with reinstating U.S. funding for international groups providing or promoting abortions.
President Ronald Reagan first banned such funding in the 1980s. President Bill Clinton issued an executive order reversing the ban on his first day in office in January 1993, and Bush restored the prohibition early in his first term eight years later.
Obama added: “On this fundamental issue (of abortion rights), I will not yield.”
The Freedom of Choice Act was crafted in the Senate by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and in the House by Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-New York.
The measure would prohibit federal, state or local governments from denying or interfering with a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion. It would allow women to file retroactive lawsuits claiming harm from past denials.
The South Carolina measures:
• Require a woman to see an ultrasound image of her fetus before obtaining an abortion
• Decree that the killing of a pregnant woman must yield two murders counts
• Authorize the state to produce car license plates with the slogan, “Choose Life.”
I saw this on Shakesville.
So, I am a huge Lost fan....huge....from episode one on...polar bears...smoke monsters....Mr Echo...traveling back in time and forward in time and across time...two islands...the hatch.....Boone's baby blues...the Dharma Initiative...Sawyer....I see dead people. It's all good.
So, Carlos comes home from work and we have dinner--a delicious ground turkey and black bean soup with mole sauce and store-bought roasted garlic bread--and then I tell him.
Lost is on tonight and all I ask is that, if you're going to watch it, do not speak.
I can speak if I want.
No, seriously, you can't. You'll start asking me who that is, or aren't they dead, or that doesn't make sense, or, ooooh that's a pretty lamp, and I'll stop to explain and then miss something important.
Just catch me up.
You can't 'catch up.' You either watch or you don't. If I explained the show to you we'd be here all night and I'd miss the 3-hour premiere.
Three hours? For what?
Leave the room.
But it's back. It's back. And I'm still hooked.
Then about an hour-and-a-half into the show, Carlos comes back into the room, sees Desmond and Penny in bed, and says, Ooooh, papi, who's that?
Just tell me who that is.
And what's he doing.
He's going to Oxford and you're leaving the room.
I may have to get a lock for the office door and lock Carlos in next week.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
1. Where is your cell phone? Car
3. Your hair? Brown
4. Your mother? Loved
5. Your father? Loving
6. Your favorite thing? Life
7. Your dream last night? Forgotten
8. Your favorite drink? Tea
9. Your dream/goal? Happiness
10. The room you're in? Office
11. Your fear? Loss
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Here
13. Where were you last night? Home
14. What you're not? Hopeless
15. Muffins? Oatmeal
16. One of your wish list items? NYC
17. Where you grew up? California
18. The last thing you did? Shower
9. What are you wearing? T-shirt
20. Your TV? Failing
21. Your pet? Many
22. Your computer? Gateway
23. Your life? Lovely
24. Your mood? Happy
25. Missing someone? Yes
26. Your car? Saturn
27. Something you're not wearing? Drawers
28. Favorite store? World Market
29. Summer? Hot
30. Favorite color? Green
31. Why did you laugh last? Carlos
32. Why did you cry last? Obama
33. Who will repost this? Guess
34. A place I go over and over: work
35. Someone who emails me: Laura
36. Place I would rather be right now: Hawaii
It got me thinking about a former friend of mine--aaah, there, I gave away the ending! Bad writer. Bad. Bad. Writer. This friend I met many moons ago when I was a deeply closeted young man; she became a good friend. We hung out together; movies, wine tasting, clubs, etc. She was a good friend. A good friend, who I think, knew The Truth About Bob; but since I wasn't saying anything, neither was she.
She was Catholic, or is Catholic, but was non-practicing back then, and is drunk with practicing now. See, she was raised Catholic, schools, churches and all that. But she had boyfriends and they had sex....a no no. They had protected sex...another no no. She even dated a man who was still technically married, and had sex with him....No. No.
Then she met a fellow Catholic and they got married and had the obligatory six, seven, nine-hundred children, and she became a Catholic again. Right about the time I was coming out. It wasn't an easy decision for me, but I didn't like the lie, didn't like the closet, didn't like me, so I told....everyone. My parents were wonderful, accepting, open, loving. Most friends were okay; some were not and they were never to be seen or heard from again. This friend, since she'd met her Catholic boy, was one who didn't seem to mind, but inch-by-inch she disappeared. And soon it was like, Who?
And then I met Carlos and moved. First to Miami, then to Smallville. And we lost touch--I remained friends with some of her family but not her. Until the day last year when I got an email from her. It goes something like this.....actually, it goes exactly like this because these are her exact words, as well as mine. Just to show that, sometimes you can't tell what someone means by their words, and other times the hate just drips off them like a puss.
She sent me an email, and a photo, about how Barack Obama didn't place his hand over his heart during the Pledge of Allegiance; and how he must, then, be a Muslim terrorist ready to destroy America. well, a few clicks of a mouse and I found the video the photo was taken from. It wasn't the Pledge of Allegiance, it was the National Anthem; and his hand wasn't over his heart, and neither was John Edwards--the event was at a party, birthday I think, for Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico. So I sent back the correct video with a note about how one should check the facts before sending these, what I considered, dangerous emails. I also sent her a YouTube video called I'm Voting Republican.
She sent this: Cute. But....had that been the other way around with Democrat in place of Republican, you would have blasted me from this shore to the next.
I replied with this: Not if it was funny, but Republicans don't have a sense of humor!
She said: Sure we do, we think the gay community is hilarious.
He said: Oh Republicans don't think we're hilarious, they're too afraid of us to think that.
But we are fabulously hilarious!
We're getting married in California.
Get used to it.
She said: Afraid? No, I don't think so. More like we pity you.
He said: Pity me? Why is that? I think you call it pity, but it is fear and ignorance of things you know nothing about. Gay people have been around since the beginning of time and yet you're still afraid.
She said: If you need to think we are afraid of the gay community to make yourself feel better then that's fine. If you need our fear to feel empowered then you go right ahead and think that way. Enjoy your power and happy wedding day to you. I'm sure you'll live happily ever after like all fictional fairytales.
He said: First off, I don't need your opinion of me to make me feel better, anymore than you need my opinion of you to validate your life. And for you to suggest that my life and love with Carlos is fictional just shows how narrow-minded and bigoted you are, for you know NOTHING about us. And let's be clear, you ARE narrow-minded and bigoted and that's what feeds fear, feeds hatred, feeds ignorance.
I remember being there on your wedding day and being happy for you. Nice to know the sentiments aren't reciprocal.
I hope you have a good life, and I hope one day you'll learn to accept people who don't fall into your limited world view. Until then I doubt you'll ever know true happiness.
She said: Whatever.
And so that rang the curtain down entirely on what once was a friendship. I hadn't changed, except for coming out, but I hadn't pretended to be straight before, so it was not an issue. She had changed; she'd become very closed off, less fun than I remember, sad, angry. I don't think I was upset that I'd lost this friend, again, I think I was just sad because, once she married, she'd chosen to ignore everything her life was before, and become the very things she railed against when she was younger.
This isn't like Charlie's friend, whose words were misunderstood. This was much worse.
What a wonderful day, yesterday; what feelings the whole day evoked in me. We awoke to a yard covered in snow, flakes gently falling down, everything crisp and clean and new and hopeful.
And then we watched the inauguration....crisp and clean and new and hopeful.
People in Smallville, which I think is a Blue Town in a Red County in a Red State, were genuinely pleased about President Obama. Even my boss at work, a staunch Republican-misogynist-money-grubber--is that redundant?--if there ever was one, was timidly hopeful. He said he loved the speech, loved the crowds, loved to feeling in the air. Of course, he said it looked more like a coronation than an inauguration, but.......pfffft.
So I am feeling hopeful. Especially upon seeing the changes to the White House website regarding the LGBT community. I somehow feel included in a way that I never have before; like I matter; like I'm a little bit 'less than' to the new administration, even if some in this country still seek to keep people down. The tide is changing I think.
Carlos and I watched all of it; songs, speeches, poems, the little thumbs up Sasha gave her Dad as he prepared to take the oath. It was all so inspiring, in a way I have never felt watching an inauguration....and I have seen several, many, some I liked, some that made me cringe, but none like this one.
I lay my head on my pillow last night, reliving those words I heard and loved:
On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.
Hope now; no fear, unity over conflict. I slept so peacefully.
This morning I checked my email, and there was on from a member of my family who shall remain anonymous....oh hell no......it was from my Uncle Johnny, a devout Republican, who never ever ever saw the atrocities of government committed by.....by....what is his name, that last guy who was president. Oh well. My uncle sends out an email in which he says:
well we're off to a good start.. Wall street suffered the worst inaugural day loss ever. good go
President Obama has been in office about nineteen hours when my uncle sent out his little angry missive. Nineteen hours. He has his work cut out for him if there are people like my uncle out there; people who don't believe in hope, who didn't pay attention to these last eight years, except for the capital letter R behind W's name. That R was all important, and now that there's a D up there, he won't be happy.
Some people just don't get it. And they never will.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
In an instant things can change. Right after the swearing in of President Obama, the official White House website had this to say about the LGBT community. Read it all here
Support for the LGBT Community
-- Barack Obama, June 1, 2007
Expand Hate Crimes Statutes: In 2004, crimes against LGBT Americans constituted the third-highest category of hate crime reported and made up more than 15 percent of such crimes. President Obama cosponsored legislation that would expand federal jurisdiction to include violent hate crimes perpetrated because of race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or physical disability. As a state senator, President Obama passed tough legislation that made hate crimes and conspiracy to commit them against the law.
Fight Workplace Discrimination: President Obama supports the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and believes that our anti-discrimination employment laws should be expanded to include sexual orientation and gender identity. While an increasing number of employers have extended benefits to their employees' domestic partners, discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace occurs with no federal legal remedy. The President also sponsored legislation in the Illinois State Senate that would ban employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
Support Full Civil Unions and Federal Rights for LGBT Couples: President Obama supports full civil unions that give same-sex couples legal rights and privileges equal to those of married couples. Obama also believes we need to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and enact legislation that would ensure that the 1,100+ federal legal rights and benefits currently provided on the basis of marital status are extended to same-sex couples in civil unions and other legally-recognized unions. These rights and benefits include the right to assist a loved one in times of emergency, the right to equal health insurance and other employment benefits, and property rights.
Oppose a Constitutional Ban on Same-Sex Marriage: President Obama voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment in 2006 which would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman and prevented judicial extension of marriage-like rights to same-sex or other unmarried couples.
Repeal Don't Ask-Don't Tell: President Obama agrees with former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John Shalikashvili and other military experts that we need to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. The key test for military service should be patriotism, a sense of duty, and a willingness to serve. Discrimination should be prohibited. The U.S. government has spent millions of dollars replacing troops kicked out of the military because of their sexual orientation. Additionally, more than 300 language experts have been fired under this policy, including more than 50 who are fluent in Arabic. The President will work with military leaders to repeal the current policy and ensure it helps accomplish our national defense goals.
Expand Adoption Rights: President Obama believes that we must ensure adoption rights for all couples and individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation. He thinks that a child will benefit from a healthy and loving home, whether the parents are gay or not.
Promote AIDS Prevention: In the first year of his presidency, President Obama will develop and begin to implement a comprehensive national HIV/AIDS strategy that includes all federal agencies. The strategy will be designed to reduce HIV infections, increase access to care and reduce HIV-related health disparities. The President will support common sense approaches including age-appropriate sex education that includes information about contraception, combating infection within our prison population through education and contraception, and distributing contraceptives through our public health system. The President also supports lifting the federal ban on needle exchange, which could dramatically reduce rates of infection among drug users. President Obama has also been willing to confront the stigma -- too often tied to homophobia -- that continues to surround HIV/AIDS.
Empower Women to Prevent HIV/AIDS: In the United States, the percentage of women diagnosed with AIDS has quadrupled over the last 20 years. Today, women account for more than one quarter of all new HIV/AIDS diagnoses. President Obama introduced the Microbicide Development Act, which will accelerate the development of products that empower women in the battle against AIDS. Microbicides are a class of products currently under development that women apply topically to prevent transmission of HIV and other infections.
It's a beautiful day.
And here is some of President Obama's--how nice it is to say that and mean it--inaugural speech; the parts that affected me, the parts I remember. For a full transcript go to abcnews.go.com:
Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.
Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many.
They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America - they will be met. On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.
On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.
Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted - for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things - some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.
For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.
For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.
For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn. Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.
We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.
Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions - who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.
What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them - that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply.
As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.
Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.
We are the keepers of this legacy.
We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.
For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.
To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West - know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.
For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.
This is the price and the promise of citizenship.
This is the source of our confidence - the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.
This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed - why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.
So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:
"Let it be told to the future world...that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive...that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it]."
America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.
I loved his speech. Loved it. For the first time in years I felt that the President was speaking to me, not at me; he was offering hope for a change, not fear to keep me in line; he was talking of a struggle to rebuild America, not to go around the world nation-building; he made me believe that we can those storm clouds and, now, see clearly what needs to be done for America; and he once again assured me that we have a leader who can fulfill that promise
For me, after 9/11, I backed the President. I didn't vote for Bush either time he ran, but after the attacks, I supported him fully. But then our views shifted, our focus, shifted, from bin Laden to elsewhere. And Bush began to lead based on fear; how many times did I hear him talk about Threat Levels....orange and red....and how many times did he use fear as a method to explain what he thought needed to be done. Now we have a president who will use hope to inspire us into following him, not fear to scare us into it.
Say it loud, President Obama. An end to the George W. Bush method of leading this country. It ends now!
Still, we must look to the past and recognize how America came to be in this place, and use those memories to rebuild this country both at home and around the world. Only in recognizing what was done right, and what was done wrong, can we move forward into a new dawn, a new time, a better America in a better world.
It's all about hope. It's all about will.
Yes we will. We will make a change; we will make things better, for all, not just the select few. We will do what's right for ourselves and for the world; we will set an example; we will provide the leadership.
We can do all of those things and become the America that I learned about in school. I miss that America, but now, for the first time, really, I feel the tide changing, I feel America coming home.