Thursday, December 31, 2020

Last Day of the Year Bobservations

Although 2020 certainly wasn't the year I was expecting, it was the year I got, and looking back on this last day of 2020, I can say it has been a tremendous year for reflection and growth and understanding. I have some Bobservations …

After lockdown, and being out of work for a few months, I learned just how I much I love and adore, and sometimes, quite honestly, loathe Carlos. We have spent more time together in the last nine months, just the two of us, than probably in all our twenty years, and I still want for nothing, and no one, else. He makes me laugh and smile and love and get angry, and there isn’t a place I’d rather be.

And, sure, Tuxedo is my boy because we bonded, just the two of us, in the first couple of weeks after we rescued him, so he’s got a very special place in my heart. But I do so love MaxGoldberg on my lap, Ozzo at my feet, Consuelo chasing me through the house at feeding time, Tuxedo staring sat me while I sleep. It’s love, it’s real, and it’s unconditional.

After four years of a fake Christian in the White House, and the ones who crawled out of the slime to do his bidding, I have come to realize that Good Christians don’t tell you they’re good, they just are good. Anyone who feels the need to announce their deep faith is actually pretty shallow.

I love this blog, and all of your blogs, too, because we all have this chance to speak up. Speak all the way up. After four years of domestic terrorism, when someone says something crazy, or outright lies … COVID is just like the flu … read them for filth. Don’t let the lies stand or the liars win. If someone says, or worse does, something racist, call it out. Make sure they know you know.

In 2020, I saw a gay man run for president and win a primary, and I saw him kiss his husband on the campaign trail. Even better, I voted for a gay man for president, and hope to do it again.

SIDENOTE: this also gives me another reason to post Hot Pete Pic.

And this time we did it; we got up, got out, and voted. More of us than at any other time in history. And in doing so, we have rid this country of him. Sure, he fussed, fought, lied, sued, whined, and bitched, but we are a few weeks away from getting sanity in charge again. I know Joe Biden wasn’t everyone’s choice, he is the choice we made, and we will, stand behind him as America goes back to being a leader, to rejoining the Paris Accord, to being about all of us, and not just the 1%. And it doesn't hurt that we have our first ever female person of color as Vice President in Kamala Harris!

And while I have more opinions than hairs on my head—and to be clear, I have a ridiculously full head of hair—I listen to others; sometimes just listening can lead to understanding; sometimes the understanding is that the other person is a complete lunatic but listening confirms that. And while I may not have come for the lunacy, I have learned sometimes to forgive it; when it’s not hate-filled crazy. Forgiveness isn’t a sign of weakness and does not mean forgetting. I can forgive but I cannot forget, and I will come for you if the madness steps out again.

It has been a year but, while we may have bent a little under the stress of a pandemic, the horrors of a racist, incompetent leader, the stupidity of those who follow mad men, we did not break. Being out of work did not cost us much; we have a home, a car, our bills paid, our health, our pets, our family—those we come from and those we chose—and a circle of friends who are there for us, as we are for them. I’m ready for 2021, and hopefully the lessening of COVID, a leader who understands the pandemic and the country and our place in the world,  and how to work that. A president who has built a cabinet that represents us all, not just the rich, the white, the male.

And so, speaking of male … here are the Bobservations Hot Men of 2020


Matt Smith, Luke Evans, Sh’Rae Marshall, Mena Massoud

Taylor Phillips, Dan Zsolt, Alberto Garcia Cabrero, Eoin Macken


Andrea Casalino, Chino Darin, Joshua Lee Cummings, Emmanuel Macron

Denis Suraev, David Taylor, Ryan Barrett, Dustin Milligan


Gil Soares, Nicholas Pinnock, Mauro Lopes, Ben Miles

Henrique Hansmann, Charles Leclerc, Lakeith Stanfield, Karlwiz Gutierrez


Christian Cooke, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Tone Bell, Valter Passos Silva

Brian Loud, Eyal Berkover, Alexandros Kaltsidis, Michael Ferraro


Jay Gould, Jordan Calloway, Isaac Moreno, Will Higginson

Chris Folz, Justin Marcel McManus, Alexander Breck, Lovell Adams-Gray


Marc Buckner, Piotr Gruszewski, Tom Berklund, Gregg Avedon

Tom Zalac, Graysen Quinn, Giuseppe Giofrè, Gerardo Celasco

Eric Rutherford, Levi Bradley, Jules Horn


Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Architecture Wednesday: Boar Shoat House

While not the intent of the homeowner and architect, this is a home created for a pandemic, meant for social distancing and lockdown.

The owners of the Boar Shoat—a family term for youthful vivacity—wanted to get away, not from a virus, but from city life, and create a place to distance themselves from social stresses, literally unplug from social media, and commune with nature and one another. And so the owners looked to the places of their childhood, and found it along a gentle natural berm, beside a stand of aspens, in some sixty acres of grassy hills, beneath the Rocky Mountains of Southern Idaho.

The home was conceived as a kind of crash pad and a base camp; three small structures—main house, guest house, and storage—flanking a large outdoor living space under a canopy that protects it from the weather. Even better, with no utility connections for miles, Boar Shoat is a self-sustaining retreat that uses passive solar for electricity and heat; the windows are positioned to harness free energy from the sun during the winter, while roof overhangs cool the home in summer. In addition, the owner wanted low- to no- maintenance building materials: the exterior is clad in metal panels suited for the harsh winters of the open range. The interior is simple, and designed to bring views and vegetation inside through expansive floor to ceiling windows. Clean white walls act as a gallery for art, and natural wood ceilings warm and soften the space; untreated concrete floors offer a durable surface, perfect for the home in the middle of nowhere. Outside, the landscape is left ruggedly wild to add to the feeling of being among nature, yet far away from everything.

Socially distant, in a good way.


Click to emBIGGERate.


Imbue Design
Arch Daily

What To Wear On New Year's Eve ...

 I can't decide between caftan ... in case I eat too much Kale-and-Black-Eyed-Pea soup that I'm making as a traditional Southern New Year's Eve 'Good Luck' meal, or ... a simple leather jacket and hoop skirt, without the skirt.

Monday, December 28, 2020

No Heat!

 It's never a dull moment here at Casa Bob y Carlos, and this past Saturday was no exception. We awoke to find that it was 19-degrees outside, with a high of about 35 for the day. I took off to run some errands and while I was out, Carlos called to tell me the heat had stopped. He'd called our heating guy but he couldn't come until the next day.

Back home, with  space heater, knit caps, sweaters and sweats and thick socks we muttered through the day, and night, when the temperature again fell, though not as cold as 19-degrees; this time it was a practically balmy 21-degrees.

Sunday was space heaters, socks, sweats, sweaters, caps, slippers, blankets, cats and dogs, all wrapped up in and on us. The heating guy came around 11AM and within about ten minutes warm air was again flowing through the casa,

The best part was Carlos telling the repairman how ironic it was that the heat always goes out in winter, and the AC in summer, and the repairman, bless his heart a deeply Southern gentleman, replied:

"Well, I guess that only happens cuz cuz y'ain't using the heat in summer."

PS I saw this outfit online and have ordered a pair for Carlos and me, in case the heat ever goes out again ... even in summer.

Bright Spots In An Otherwise Dark Year

2020 has gotten a bad rap, with many calling it the “Worst Year Ever.” In fact, this is my opinion of 2020:


But a lot of good things happened this year, especially for the LGBTQ+ community, who saw our brothers and sisters elected to public office, who saw more of us getting married,  sw more of ourselves represented.

Here, courtesy of LGBTQ Nation, are 20 positive LGBTQ+ stories that took place in the year 2020:

Charmaine McGuffey is going to be the new sheriff for Hamilton County, Ohio, after defeating her GOP rival, Bruce Hoffbauer, getting some 52% of the vote.

Even better? Before besting Hoffbauer in the General Election, she defeated her former boss, Jim Neil, in the Democratic primary. By getting some 70% of the vote.

McGuffey alleged Neil fired her because she’s an out lesbian.

Now you can call her sheriff.

A new Starbucks ad follows a trans boy as he starts going by his new name.

In the ad, which is part of the “What’s your name?” campaign for Starbucks, a trans teen named James keeps on getting called by his deadname—at the doctor’s office, on his student ID card, by family.

But when he goes into a Starbucks, an employee asks his name:

“It’s James.”

The employee writes it on the cup.

As it should be.

Shortly before announcing that Senator. Kamala Harris would be his running mate in the 2020 general election, Joe Biden announced that senior campaign advisor Karine Jean-Pierre would be the vice-presidential candidate’s chief of staff.

Karine Jean-Pierre is the first out Black person to serve as chief of staff to a vice-presidential candidate. She confirmed the appointment on Twitter, calling herself “ambitious,” a reference to how the term is often negatively applied to women with careers in politics but not to men in the same way.

Lilly Wachowski, one of the creators of the 1999 film The Matrix has confirmed that the film is a transgender story “the corporate world… wasn’t ready for.”

Lilly and Lana Wachowski wrote and directed the film, and in the years since its release both of them transitioned. The movie has been seen as a transgender allegory, with fans pointing out that the main character experiences a dysphoria with his world, realizes his true identity, takes on a new name, changes his physical body…. and there’s also the famous “red pill,” long theorized to be a reference to some estrogen pills in the 90s, which were red. Twenty years after the film’s release, Lilly Wachowski said:

“I’m glad that it’s gotten out that [the transgender allegory] was the original intention.”

She said that The Matrix “was all about the desire for transformation, but it was all coming from a closeted point of view.”

In 2020 beloved cookie OREO announced its partnership with PFLAG [Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays], the largest LGBTQ+ organization in the country, and unveiled the Rainbow OREO cookies.

And I gotta say, that's one proud cookie.

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris updated her Twitter profile to include her pronouns:

“Vice President-Elect of the United States. Senator, Wife, Momala, Auntie. Fighting for the people. She/her.”

Brava.

The Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago publicly apologized for performing cosmetic genital surgeries on intersex infants and pledged to end the practice:

“We recognize the painful history and complex emotions associated with intersex surgery and how, for many years, the medical field has failed these children. We empathize with intersex individuals who were harmed by the treatment that they received according to the historic standard of care, and we apologize and are truly sorry.”

The apology, signed by the hospital’s CEO and three head physicians, comes after activists, over a years long campaign, called on the institution to ban cosmetic genital surgery on intersex infants, which is irreversible. The signatories also committed to “evolving” their policies going forward and stated that the hospital would not perform such surgeries unless medically necessary or with willful consent from fully informed patients.

In March, with Spain on COVID-19 lockdown,  out gay Spanish pianist Alberto Gestoso decided to bring his keyboard onto his balcony to play for the neighbors. He had no idea his performance would go viral after his neighbor, saxophonist Alexander Lebron Torrent stepped outside to join him in playing ‘My Heart Will Go On’ from Titanic.

Thankfully, Gestoso’s partner, Ramon Santana, was filming at the time, catching it all—including the moment Gestoso realizes he has accompaniment and acknowledges the sax. Together they finish the number to applause.

Last November, Nevada voters removed the state’s constitutional amendment that banned same-sex marriages and now requires the state to recognize and perform them.

Even though the ban was moot following the Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges the voters removed the ban and replaced it wit language that requires the state government to recognize all marriages, issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and treat same-sex couples equally under the law. It does, however, provide members of the clergy the right to refuse to perform a same-sex religious wedding, but that existed already and who wants a bigot to pronounce you married anyway?

Good job, Nevada.

Unlike that other political party, LGBTQ+ people had prominent roles in the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention.

Greencastle, Indiana, city council member Veronica Pejril, a transgender woman, started the Pledge of Allegiance before being joined by others.

Pennsylvania Representative Malcolm Kenyatta, Georgia Representative Sam Park, and Long Beach, California Mayor Robert Garcia—three LGBTQ+ Democratic rising stars—participated in the 17-person keynote address, making them the first LGBTQ people to deliver a keynote address at the Democratic National Convention.

Newly elected Congressman Mondaire Jones hasn’t even served a day yet, but he’s already landing plum positions in the House. Jones was selected to be the Freshman Representative to Leadership; he will also serve on the powerful House Steering and Policy Committee, which makes recommendations to the Speaker of the House regarding committee memberships and leadership, and assists the Democratic Caucus in policy development and implementation,.

Jones is one of the two first out Black men elected to Congress, sharing the honor with fellow Representative-elect Ritchie Torres, also from New York.

NBA player Dwyane Wade’s support for his transgender daughter Zaya made headlines when he said:

“Me and my wife Gabrielle, we are proud—and I say proud—parents of a child in the LGBTQ+ community … [She] came home [one day] and said, ‘Hey, I want to talk to you guys. Going forward, I want to live my truth. And I want to be referenced as ‘she’ and ‘her’ and I would love for you guys to call me ‘Zaya.'”

Wade and his wife immediately supported Zaya, and that’s how parenting is done.

Arizona Magistrate Judge Bruce Macdonald ruled that Michael Ely qualified for survivor benefits following the death of his husband James A. Taylor, even though they were only legally married for six months; Ely and Taylor had been together over 43 years, most while same-sex marriage was illegal. Michael Ely:

“It is gratifying to have the court today recognize the 43 years of love and commitment that my late husband and I shared, rather than looking only at the date on a marriage certificate that we were denied for most of our lives. My husband was the love of my life [and] like other committed couples, we built a life together and cared for each other in sickness and in health.”

Ely and Taylor were legally married a month after SCOTUS overturned Arizona’s ban on marriage equality, and six months later Taylor passed away. Ely applied for Social Security survivor benefits, but the Social Security Administration denied him because survivors must have been married to their deceased spouses for at least nine months. Despite Ely and Taylor’s 43-year relationship, they were not legally married long enough.

The Supreme Court issued a landmark decision penned by Neil Gorsuch—a conservative justice appointed by _____—deciding that an employer who fires an individual merely for being LGBTQ+ violates Title VII. Gorsuch wrote:

“Today, we must decide whether an employer can fire someone simply for being homosexual or transgender. The answer is clear. An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids. An employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender violates Title VII.”

Gorsuch was joined by Justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, and Chief Justice John Roberts.

Bri and Lindsey Leaverton, a  lesbian couple in Texas, married in a drive-in movie theater. The two met in 2018 and planned to get married in April 2020, but a global pandemic threw a monkey wrench in their wedding plans:

“We had this beautiful wedding planned at this historic mansion in Austin and as the virus started expanding more rapidly and we were having these orders put into place, we quickly realized we weren’t going to be able to have the wedding we planned.” 

Then a family member was diagnosed with COVID-19, and so the day after the original wedding date, they began preparing a pandemic wedding. After calling around and finding most venues shuttered due to COVID, they  found that Doc’s Drive-In in Buda, Texas was still open.

And they married in a pandemic.

The reboot of DuckTales has introduced a gay couple as recurring characters and fans couldn’t be happier. The two dads are the parents of Huey, Dewey, and Louie’s friend Violet. In their first episode, Violet’s dads adopt her friend Lena, whom Violet dubs “my sister from a couple of misters.”

And just in case they weren’t clear, the two characters each wear a t-shirt with “I’m with Dad” written on it.

Election Night, a night of transgender history, continued with Delaware’s Sarah McBride becoming the first out trans state senator in the country, and thus the highest ranking trans politician in the entire country. McBride, who is the National Press Secretary for the Human Rights Campaign, will be representing Delaware’s first district and is focused on criminal justice reform, equal access to education, affordable healthcare, and increased access to paid medical leave:

“Time and time again, I’ve had the opportunity to see there is space for people of all different backgrounds, including trans people, in our politics.”

Times do change.

Half a decade after the Supreme Court's Obergefell decision, same-sex couples all over the country have gotten legally married because we can, and we want to do so.

And yet not a single straight marriage was destroyed, God didn't send the locusts, and we proved that love wins.

Yet the march goes on.

When presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg dropped out of the Democratic primary, the election returned to that old question: which old white straight guy?

But LGBTQ+ people around the nation saluted Mayor Pete’s history-making campaign on social media with the hashtag #ThankYouPete.

And we do, and we’ll be ready when you’re ready to try again.

However … Joe Biden, the old white straight guy who won the election, will be the first president to enter the White House having supported marriage equality.

It’s a very specific distinction; while Obama is the first US president to support marriage equality while in the White House at all, there are some gay Republicans that say _____ was the first president to enter the White House supporting same-sex marriage.

The only problem was that it was never true for _____, it is actually true for Biden because _____ repeatedly said that he opposes marriage equality, telling journalists in interviews … “I think the institution of marriage should be between a man and a woman” …“I’m opposed to gay marriage.” … “I’m just for traditional marriage.” … and that he would “strongly consider” appointing Supreme Court justices who oppose marriage equality.

But he’s out and a real ally is in.

Maybe 2021 will be a much better year for LGBTQ+ rights.

Fingers crossed, the march goes on.