Saturday, December 01, 2007

In memory of my father, 1933-2007

I've been catching up on several months of Ode Magazine and was particularly struck by this passage from a column in the September issue:

He comes to believe that all his choices are stamped on the destiny of the world, because of the infinite repercussions inherent in each one of them. Daniel becomes aware of the importance of his thoughts, his words and, most significantly, of making gestures of love toward others, or even toward the Earth itself. He comes to see everything as the seeds of an eternal harvest. For the first time, he has the feeling he is living in each moment. He blesses the sun that caresses his skin, the water that refreshes his throat, the wind in his face.

“How come I feel all this gratitude, when I’m going to die?” he asks me. “Soon I shall be the wind and the water and the sun. But most of all, I’ll be the sparkle in the eye of a man whose mother I took care of or whose child I healed. See, that’s my soul. What I’ve made of myself: I, who already exist everywhere and who will exist forever.”

One morning there’s a brief message on my desk: a printout from the hospital computer, bearing that most discreet of all euphemisms: “Daniel M., C.T.B.” Ceased to breathe. Yet I can’t help wondering whether in fact he has only just begun.

Monday, October 08, 2007

ProJo: Malice or Stupidity?

There's a famous quote with unknown origins that says something like "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." That quote has come to mind a few times recently when looking at the Providence Journal.

On 29 September, the ProJo ran an article about same-sex couples living in Rhode Island who got legally married in Massachusetts. The article reports that there are more than 200 such couples in legal same-sex marriages in the state. Okay. But the headline says R.I. home to 200 same-sex couples. As in, 200 same-sex couples, married or not. Big difference there, particularly since a study to which the article refers (PDF) notes that there are more than 2400 same-sex couples in Rhode Island. So the headline, which is all that many people will read, misstates the correct number by a factor of twelve. I know from dealings with reporters over the years that generally they do not write their headlines--the editors do. I am fairly certain that Scott MacKay would not make such a big mistake, so clearly the mistaken (or at least incorrect) headline comes from a careless (?) editor.

Then we come to 7 October. A letter to the editor from Tucker Lieberman (disclosure: I know him slightly) explains that, contrary to the overblown, nasty rhetoric in a recent op-ed, transgendered people have been protected by civil rights law in Rhode Island since 2001, and the sky has not come anywhere close to falling. A good letter, but what does our headline writer use to label it? Time for R.I. to protect the transgendered. So apparently the headline writer only barely skimmed the letter before writing the headline. Lieberman's clear point is that RI already protects transgendered people.

Yes, the most likely explanation is stupidity. But given that it is apparently the same set of editors who choose to publish such nasty, deceptive op-eds on LGBT issues in the first place, one does wonder if malice is also involved.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Who knew that.....

...the NY Post had a Uganda edition? Here we read that:

Red Pepper's Sunday edition ran its "expose" of prominent gay and lesbians, under the headline "HOMO TERROR! We Name and Shame Top Gays in the City."

You can see the actual Red Pepper article here and here. I guess there really is nothing new under the sun.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Another reason to love Nova Scotia

This story just made my day:

Two students at Central Kings Rural High School fought back against bullying recently, unleashing a sea of pink after a new student was harassed and threatened when he showed up wearing a pink shirt.

The Grade 9 student arrived for the first day of school last Wednesday and was set upon by a group of six to 10 older students who mocked him, called him a homosexual for wearing pink and threatened to beat him up.

The next day, Grade 12 students David Shepherd and Travis Price decided something had to be done about bullying.

"It’s my last year. I’ve stood around too long and I wanted to do something," said David.

They used the Internet to encourage people to wear pink and bought 75 pink tank tops for male students to wear. They handed out the shirts in the lobby before class last Friday — even the bullied student had one.

"I made sure there was a shirt for him," David said.

They also brought a pink basketball to school as well as pink material for headbands and arm bands. David and Travis figure about half the school’s 830 students wore pink.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Larry Craig meets Avenue Q

Omigodomigodomigod....this is just too brilliant for words. I give thanks that I am living in the age of YouTube so I can take joy in things like this:

If Larry Craig Were Gay

Curiously, I was thinking about Craig before I found this video and was thinking that I wish that I had the skills to make one about him to the tune of "Schadenfreude" (which, for those who don't know, is a song from the same musical.) I guess I should post a comment there and suggest that to the creators of this one.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Automated news search strikes again

Fresh on the heels of the last post, a website that I visit for gay news seems to be run at least partially on autopilot and linked to this funny fake news story without noting its nature (although the site which hosts the story itself makes it clear that it is fictional.) It made me laugh because I read it after going out for dinner and coffee at midnight after waking up for the day at around 9:00pm. The final graf:

The study confirmed that between 11pm and 3am, 60% of shoppers loved mutual cock or fanny play, 20% were stoned and the remaining 20% was a mix of drunks, bag ladies and miscreants.

On edit: and by the way, if this story were true, it would give new meaning to that random chant, "We're here. We're queer. We're not going shopping." Well, at least not until after 11:00pm, I guess.

Friday, June 29, 2007

A line from out of the blue

An automated Google News search that emails me occurrences of a certain string led me to an article I otherwise wouldn't have read, about a movie that I likely won't go to see. (Although I must admit that it is an interesting bit of synchronicity that one of the stars of said movie was on one of the very few television shows that I watch yesterday.)

Anyway, author Michael Cunningham, who did the screenplay adapted from a novel, talked about the issues that some artists have around that process. But the last line of the article no doubt speaks to much more than that:

"Our lives are being mostly made rotten," he lamented, "by people who don't know when to let go."

Friday, June 15, 2007

Marriage quotes

So, the Massachusetts legislature voted down the attempt to put marriage rights for same-sex couples to a referendum. Good. A few quotes from the news stuck with me:

In one of the early Associated Press stories:

Across the road, gay marriage advocates stood on the front steps of the capital waving signs that read, "Wrong to Vote on Rights" and "All Families Are Equal."

Jean Chandler, 62, of Cambridge, came with fellow members of her Baptist church in an effort to rebuff the image that strict followers of the Bible are opposed to gay marriage.

"I think being gay is like being left-handed," Chandler said. "If we decided left-handed people couldn't marry, what kind of society would we be?"

The Boston Globe published a statement from a senator who changed her mind and voted against the amendment:

I know from listening to my constituents, since I first became Senator this year that this vote, the vote I take today, is the right vote for the people I serve. I have been most impressed by the number of individuals who have called me and asked me to change my vote because they have changed their minds. One grandmother told me she had changed her mind and wanted me to change my vote in case one of her grandchildren grew up to be gay or lesbian. She did not want any of her grandchildren to be denied the right to marry the person they love. This is exactly the legacy we will leave to generations beyond us, and the example we can set for the nation and, I daresay the world, which is certainly paying attention to what we do and say here today.

The Attleboro Sun Chronicle has an article about a senator from that area who also changed his mind and voted against the amendment:

He finally decided to change his position and vote against the ban while talking about his father with a visitor Wednesday.

The visitor had asked Ross about his business as a funeral home director.

Ross, R-Wrentham, said he was recalling how his father was an undertaker before him.

His father told him that the business teaches you that everyone is entitled to respect and dignity.

"As I told that story, I started to cry and had to excuse myself. That story came from up above and was dropped on me," he said.

The memory of his father teaching him the importance of respect confirmed for him that he had to vote against the ban because it would have subjected gay couples to "hatred and bigotry," he said.

Ross said gay marriage has been allowed in Massachusetts for about three years now.

Couples have been united and families formed in that time.

Gay couples have never done anything to hurt him or his family, so why should he hurt them? he asked.

Note: the Sun Chronicle a few weeks ago also published an open letter to Sen. Ross, which is also worth reading.

Congratulations to our friends in Massachusetts. Here's hoping that it won't be long until Rhode Island's legislators also stand up for what is right.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

A Rescued Comment

Jon from Rhode Island Law Journal has turned off comments on his blog for the time being and has deleted or at least made invisible comments that were previously posted. That's his prerogative, of course, as it's his blog. But given this, I wanted to rescue (to the best of my memory) a comment that I recently made on one of his recent posts. Jon noted that the ProJo's Achorn claimed that Rhode Island has “many clueless voters, utterly ignorant of the candidates and the issues.” I responded something along the lines of, "If he really believes that RI voters are utterly ignorant of the candidates and the issues, he should blame his own newspaper for giving such short shrift to down-ticket races. Particularly impressive was the coverage of General Assembly races in Providence/North Providence: a single article covering nineteen races. Wow, that's helpful."

Wisdom from Vonnegut

I'm pretty sure I have read all of Vonnegut's published works now, after having checked out "God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian" from the library a couple of weeks ago. He wrote many times on the idea that people in our society are terribly lonely due to the breakdown of the extended family system. I was particularly struck by part of what he wrote on that topic in this book:

I met a man in Nigeria one time, an Ibo who had six hundred relatives he knew quite well. His wife had just had a baby, the best possible news in any extended family.

They were going to take it to meet all its relatives, Ibos of all ages and sizes and shapes. It would even meet other babies, cousins not much older than it was. Everybody who was big enough and steady enough was going to get to hold it, cuddle it, gurgle to it, and say how pretty it was, or handsome.

Wouldn't you have loved to be that baby?

Friday, April 13, 2007

For once, Cheney told the truth, but...

...but the "moderate" Senate Republicans didn't tell us--until now. This gem from an article in former senator Lincoln Chafee's hometown paper, the Warwick Beacon:
Chafee is troubled by Rice’s message “to do whatever it takes” to get what you want. And he said that is what turned him off from President George W. Bush. He recalled how shortly after Bush’s win in 2000, he and other liberal Republicans had been invited for lunch with Vice President Richard Cheney. Chafee had seen Bush as one who would unite, not divide, the country.

Cheney made it clear that wasn’t going to happen.

“We’re not going to do anything we said,” Chafee said, quoting Cheney.

“That kind of set the stage for my relationship with the president after that,” Chafee added.

Of course it is obvious to anyone with the least bit of awareness that BushCheneyCo did not do anything that they had promised in campaign 2000. But the fact that Cheney actually told this group of senators that they had no intention of doing anything they had promised....well, isn't that interesting? Might things have been different if any of them had told the press at the time that he had said that? We'll never know, thanks to Chafee's party loyalty. Thanks, Linc. Hope you never run for anything again.

So It Goes

Vonnegut has died. There is nothing I can say that hasn't been said better by others. I really liked this tribute video that someone put on YouTube. There's a lot about him on YouTube for those who are interested.

Some months back, I went to take my recycling up to the bins at the nearby public library. They had had a used book sale the previous few days, and the stuff that didn't sell was recycled. So there in the bin was a copy of my favorite book, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater (along with several other items that didn't sell.) Well, I couldn't let that happen, so I rescued Rosewater. I already had a copy of my own, but I figured I would pass this one along to someone. My original plan was to give it to the cool guy at the cafe next door because I figured he would know someone good to pass it along to. But I kept not remembering to do that. I recently did give it to a friend of mine and told her to give it back to me if she didn't want it. We'll see if it comes back to me or if she takes it to heart.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Some wonderful Freeway Blogging in Chicago. Thanks as always to Bartcop, whose link to it said, "Bet you a dollar you can't click and NOT laugh out loud at this truism." And he was right.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Get your soda with sugar, while supplies last

Props to ProJo blogger Sheila Lennon for her post alerting us that for Passover, Coke puts out a batch sweetened with real sugar, not high-fructose corn syrup. She links to a post with more information about it at Off the Broiler. In case you're not familiar with the problems with high-fructose corn syrup, you can read about it from this article at Sixwise, which also gives links to other information.

For those in Rhode Island who want to buy some of the Passover Coke, I found some at the Stop & Shop on Branch Avenue in Providence and the Shaw's off of North Main Street in Providence. I posted a couple of comments on Sheila's blog about my initial unsuccessful searches for it in stores in some of the suburbs. I didn't check any other stores once I found it tonight, but I would imagine that some of the other stores in that part of Providence might have some.

The irony for me is that I actually have almost entirely given up drinking sodas starting last summer, after having been addicted to them for many years. These days I will have one only very rarely. But I bought a couple of two-liter bottles of this special batch and will no doubt drink them. Still not good for me, but better than the regular stuff at least.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Wanna connect to the world?

Update: Never mind--no one joined the game from my link, so I'm out of the game now. Oh well.

A friend of mine invited me to this game, but I can't think of anyone else I know who might want to play. So I'm putting this invitation out there for the friends and strangers who happen upon this blog: Join the game and connect to the world. I followed my links back to the beginning and connected with several countries along the way. You can, too.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Dan Savage Tells It Like It Is

There is just nothing I can either add or excerpt from this wonderful post from Dan Savage in which he tells Mary Cheney exactly what we all want to tell her. Go read it now. Thank you, Dan!