Thursday, July 31, 2008
According to WaPo, it went down this way: The Mayor of Berwyn Heights ' home was raided by a SWAT team who forcibly entered his house and shot his two labs. One of the dogs, if I read the account correctly, was running away from the SWAT team into another room. The Mayor's "alleged" crime? He had a 32 pound package of marijuana delivered to his house (that is a lot of pot).
But before you can say "excessive force," a spokesperson for the Sherriff's department offered these reassuring words:
"We're not in the habit of going to homes and shooting peoples' dogs," Ellis said. "If we were, there would be a lot more dead dogs around the county."
So, like, we could if we wanted to. But we don't so you all should be grateful for how restrained we are.
They handcuffed the Mayor and his mother-in-law and interrogated them for hours as their dogs' bodies lay bleeding on the floor.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
"Daddy?" "Yes?" "I love you."
Like a back yard, a hot day, and a garden hose.
This means gay couples from anywhere can be married legally in the Bay State. This was an expansion of marriage rights enacted not by court mandate (aka "activist judges") but by the people's duly elected representatives. If California voters reject their proposed constitutional amendment against same sex marriage this fall that will be another electoral victory and yet another sign that legalizing same sex marriage doesn't mean sudden death politically.
So, let's review the bidding. We have:
- A possible 60 seat majority for Democrats in the Senate - meaning Republicans couldn't filibuster without Democratic defections
- The electoral expansion of same sex marriage rights elsewhere in the country
- A possible Democratic president who has said states should decide the marriage issue for themselves
- A DC mayor and city council that is on record in favor of same sex marriage
Won't happen, though. Gay marriage will be legal in Mississippi before it is here in the capital of the free world.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
After I sat down I noticed the man sitting next to us looked familiar. And indeed he was. It was the former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich. Turns out he was friends with the departed and his surviving partner. Enough so, that he gave special remarks during the service. Enough so that he choked up delivering those remarks.
Before he stood up and walked to the front to speak, he said to his companion sitting next to him, "I didn't see anyone here who mattered?" And looked to her for confirmation.
Hmm. I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he meant someone he should acknowledge, like another Member of Congress. Uh, no. Clearly, in his grief, he wasn't forgetting to be political...although I don't know what he said in his remarks that could have possibly caused any more stir than the mere fact that he was at a gay friend's Memorial Service.
Yes, Right Wing Conservative Republicans have gay friends. They can shed tears for them but they just can't cast votes for them in Congress.
I've no doubt Newt was there because he valued his friendship with the two men. I just wish he would reconcile his personal life with his public life, and tell his friends on the right that their anti-gay policies are a house of cards built on a foundation of hypocrisy.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
I clicked on the Washington Blade this morning and a banner ad for an apartment screamed: An Apartment Carrie Bradshaw Would Love.
Clearly targeted at gay men. Because we love Carrie Bradshaw.
The recent (sad) death of Estelle Getty from the Golden Girls is another reminder. "Which Golden Girl are you?" used to be a question commonly heard, as "which Sex and the City character are you?" was recently.
As gay men we aspire to emulate snarky older women or swanky Manhattan dames?
Where are our male role models?
As I consider the question, I'm glad the gay men on TV aren't role models as they are all mostly gross caricatures. And now typical that the character most often emulated from Will and Grace aren't the men (thank God) but Karen. I can think of one gay character from TV worth admiring -- Keith, from Six Feet Under -- so it's not like there is a lot to choose from.
And it's not like I'm immune. I've played the which Golden Girl are you game (Dorothy, alas) and I like Sex in the City (Miranda -- at least I identify with the lesbian).
So what is it us gay men and our female role models? It's like we objectify women in our own way. While we don't view them as sex objects, we look at them as personality objects.
I don't get it.
In the meantime, I'm going to go watch some old Steve McQueen movies. And I'm skipping the cosmo.
Friday, July 25, 2008
(warning: this WashPo video is like a train wreck, you know you shouldn't watch but you can't help yourself. Video starts after a 13 second commercial).
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Then we had the following conversation.
He wants to ride a motor boat and I told him we used to have one. When? He asked. Before you were born, I said. When I was a glint in Mommy's eye? He asked Yes, I said.
Why? He said.
We had the boat before you were made, I said.
There was a pause, and he said, "Daddy, when will I die?"
I didn't see that one coming. First, so much love, hope, planning and effort went into his creation that his -- and I am pausing here to even write the word -- death is unthinkable. In fact, like all parents, I assume I will never have to face it, knowing the odds are great that I will meet death first. Second, I'm amazed that a three-and-half year old would be asking these questions. And while at 44 I've lost the hubris of youth that assumes indestructibility, I certainly don't comprehend death. I know it happens, I know it will happen to those I love and I know it will happen to me. Beyond that I'm clueless.
Daddy, when will I die?
I said not for a long, long, long time.
He asked, will I go to Heaven?
This was an even tougher one. It's hard for me to tell him sincerely he was going to a place I'm not sure I believe in. But it sure is a nice, convenient construct for moments like this and I took it, allowing myself one caveat.
I said, "lots of people believe in Heaven and you will go there and be very, very, happy."
The next day he asked a related question about life after death and I tried to BS my way out of it. And I could tell he knew I was BSing. Why couldn't we talk about the birds and the bees? At least I believe in that.
Fortunately, although three-and-a-half year olds have big questions they can also have short attention spans and I was able to change the subject.
The picture was taken by a friend at a dinner party we went to last week, an evening of laughter and fun with friends who are really family and a part of Eli's life. Hopefully, for years and years to come.
“I didn’t know I hit him. ... I feel terrible,” a shaken Novak told reporters from Politico and WJLA as he was returning to his car. "He's not dead, that's the main thing." Novak said he was a block away from 18th and K streets Northwest, where the accident occurred, when a bicyclist stopped him and said he had hit someone. He said he was cited for failing to yield the right of way.
The bicyclist was David Bono, a partner at Harkins Cunningham, who was on his usual bike commute to work at 1700 K St. N.W. when he witnessed the accident.As he traveled east on K Street, crossing 18th, Bono said "a black Corvette convertible with top closed plows into the guy. The guy is sort of splayed into the windshield.”
Well, from reading some of his columns it's always been clear he couldn't recognize a fact if it stared him in the face.
Monday, July 21, 2008
The latest in pedicures? Let tiny fish eat the dead skin away, instead of having it scraped off by Madge. According to this AP report filed from Alexandria, VA
Ready for the latest in spa pampering? Prepare to dunk your feet in a tank of water and let tiny carp nibble away.
To which a co-worker asked, "How do they know when to stop?"
Ironically, the Republicans now seem to be the foreign-policy idealists, labeling countries as either good or evil, refusing to deal with nasty regimes, fixating on spreading democracy throughout the world and refusing to think in more historical and complex ways. "I don't do nuance," George W. Bush told many visitors to the White House in the years after 9/11. John McCain has had his differences with Bush, but not on this broad thrust of policy. Indeed it is McCain, the Republican, who has put forward some fanciful plans, arguing that America should establish a "League of Democracies," expel Russia from the Group of Eight industrialized countries and exclude China from both groups as well.
Obama's response to McCain's proposals on Russia and China could have been drafted by Henry Kissinger or Brent Scowcroft. We need to cooperate with both countries in order to solve significant global problems, he told me last week, citing nuclear-proliferation issues with Russia and economic ones with China. The distinction between Obama and McCain on this point is important. The single largest strategic challenge facing the United States in the decades ahead is to draw in the world's new rising powers and make them stakeholders in the global economic and political order. Russia and China will be the hardest because they are large and have different political systems and ideological approaches to the world. Yet the benefits of having them inside the tent are obvious. Without some degree of great-power cooperation, global peace and stability becomes a far more fragile prospect.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
The government prefers the Confederate flag to the Rainbow one.
A government spokesperson said:
“In the future, we won’t be able to have those kinds of people acting with that kind of autonomy and latitude,” Edmonds said.
Ah yes, "those kind of people."
What kind of people would those be?
Is it too late to change our mind about that secession thing?
Friday, July 18, 2008
Obama was dressed casually as if going out to dinner, wearing slacks, a blue blazer and flip-flops.Flip Flops?
The Fashionista is going to be outraged. Wearing flip-flops with slacks and a blazer? During the primary Obama dressed so sensibly. The former Hawaiian seemed so Ivy League but now he's moving back toward the surfer.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
My disdain for McCain notwithstanding, he didn't get that from me. Moreover, I'm trying to turn the page on the past and move beyond the politics of demonization.
McCain is not helping me.
The recent adoption flap is an example. First he's against gay adoption, then he's for it as a last resort. Sean Bugg sums up the hapless Republican candidate's position quite well:
So, an adopted child with stable, employed and loving gay parents is better off than he would be in the gutter, but not as well off as he would be living in a trailer park with unemployed, unstable and disinterested heterosexual parents.
Now, I'm a gay dad but I didn't adopt. Like my hetero cohorts, I chose to bless the world with my genes. And Eli not only has two dads, he has two mommies (long story).
Lord knows what McCain would think about that (to the extent he's really thought about the whole gay thing at all, which I'm guessing given his incoherence on anything gay, he has not). But judging by the right's furor over Mary Cheney's baby, I'm guessing Eli's very existence and the love he feels for his parents would not meet the Republican's "being raised by two gays is better than an orphanage but just barely" standard.
I got a fresh look at it from Eli's perspective today.
We were eating lunch at MacDonalds (I know, I know, I swear the other two meals a day are healthy). It was crowded and we were jammed next to a table of what once would have been called "Meter Maids." One of them in particular took a shine to Eli, and said to him, "You be a good boy for your Mommy and your Daddy." Eli looked at her and said, "okay," then, "and I'll be good for Mama too!" The lady looked confused and said "okay." But Eli wasn't done. "And I'll be good for Pappa!"
I love when this happens. Eli's victims never know what to make of this. The three-year-old is speaking quite literally and simply but it's beyond the comprehension of the adults.
But my point is this: McCain stands for those who would do everything in their power to destroy or prevent the family that Eli loves.
If there is anything more monstrous to a three-year-old, I can't think of it.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
It's bad politically for Obama...but I don't guess the New Yorker is in business to elect him.
I don't have a problem philosophically with the magazine for publishing it.
What bothers me more is the speed at which we Obama supporters have to so quickly and ardently deny that he IS a Muslim. To me, Islam, like Christianity, is another religion I don't believe in. I know a great many Christians I admire and call friend. And I know a few Muslims with whom I'd rather break bread with than some Christians. We're often wrong to judge people by the labels we attach to them.
And that's partly what this cover is saying.
A kiss can be many things. It can be chaste, a quick sign of affection and familiarity between friends or partners of years. Or it can be steamy...a passionate act of love and lust. A kiss is intimate, eyes, mouth lips and face all coming together as one. A kiss is a tender moment between two people. It's an act of relationship.
Perhaps that's why it gets all the wingnuts so riled up. Consider:
Heinz just pulled an ad featuring a gay kiss between two men clearly in a committed relationship.
A few years ago SLDN held a protest with a kiss-in that was labeled a credible terrorist threat
And at a High School in New Jersey the principal had teachers blacking out a picture (manually, with markers) in the year book of two male students kissing even though there were photos of "straight" kisses.
The gay kiss is a potent symbol.
And as long as our straight friends can enjoy a peck, a bus or a passionate momentary lip-lock in public, we should too. As the song says:
To kiss in the sunlight, and say to the sky: Behold and believe what you see. Behold how my lover, loves me.
So, I'm starting my series "To Kiss in the Sunlight." I'm going to periodically post pictures of gays kissing. I'd prefer real couples as opposed to actors or models, so if you have a picture of you and your sig other you wouldn't mind me posting, send it: firstname.lastname@example.org.
While I have a steady readership it's not large enough to result in a lot of photos, so I will post what I find on the Internets. But I'd prefer the real thing, so send em in!
Monday, July 14, 2008
Last night we gave Eli the choice of a bath or shower and he chose shower.
What happened then was beautiful -- he danced with the water as it fell on him, moving slowly and gracefully. Eli gave an uninhibited display of human expression in concert with the sensations he was feeling, the soft lighting, the gentle warm and flowing water covering him.
What struck me was the freedom of expression in his movements -- no conscious thought of what he was doing, no judgment about whether what he was doing was masculine or feminine. This was beaten out of me a long time ago and it was a joyous experience watching my son just be.
I hope he never loses that sense of freedom.
At the Subway at 21 & K NW, around 12:15 p.m. on Wednesday:
Customer: "Do you have brats?" (as in bratwurst)
Subway sandwich artist: "Que?"
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Saturday, July 12, 2008
The bed was easy to put together. The stickers, not so much. And Lightening McQueen has a lot of stickers (remember, Sally in the movie calls him "Stickers." If you don't know this you haven't seen Cars a gazillion times. If you want to know what you're missing, come sit with Eli. You'll get more than a chance).
There are a few wrinkles in the stickers. My dad would have been able to put on the stickers wrinkle-free. I got the part of the genes that wants perfection, but not the part of the gene with the patience to achieve it.
I will say this about fatherhood: it makes you appreciate your own father all the more.
Admittedly, I haven't followed this that closely, but reading some analysis, it would appear that the compromise adds protections to existing law that weren't there before. Owen Kerr concurs:
As I see it, the new law takes the basic approach of the Protect America Act of 2007 and adds privacy protections and bolsters the scope of judicial review. On the whole, the new law strikes me as pretty good legislation: It nicely responds to the widely expressed fears last year about how the Protect America Act could be implemented. and it ensures that the FISA Court will play a major role in reviewing surveillance of individuals located outside the U.S. Indeed, it seems to me that the new rules create pretty much the regime that critics of the Protect America Act wanted back in 2007.
So is the hue and cry on the bloggy left simply over the fact that this is seen as a victory for Bush and Obama aided and abetted? Because on substance this seems like a tempest in a teapot. If you think the government shouldn't be wiretapping individuals at all, you won't be happy with this compromise, but it would seem it moved current law a little back towards the privacy end of the spectrum, which is better than nothing. Given a repeal of the Protect America Act is not going to pass it would seem supporting this compromise is a pragmatic position.
I've been arguing with my friends on the right that Obama comes at things from the left but that he is in the end a pragmatic politician. I don't think you can read Audacity of Hope and come to any other conclusion. His support of the compromise confirms this analysis.
Again, I don't understand the outrage. What am I missing?
Friday, July 11, 2008
Sullivan, the blogger who castigated the European press for not publishing cartoons with the prophet Mohammad because it offended Muslims, says this about Myers' plan:
Calling the Holy Eucharist a "goddamned cracker" isn't about free speech; it's really about some baseline civility.
Really? Free speech has to be about more than just protecting ridicule of the other guy's religion. I'll agree Myers is being crude and intentionally offensive...but would still argue it's his right.
It's not like he's burning people at the stake or anything.
And this tid bit is unearthed by Sean:
The Nationals owners have already been through a round of arbitration over ballpark costs, including over a demand that the city pay for the team's uniforms. The arbitrator ruled in the city's favor, but since then some city officials have privately expressed increasing frustration over the family's stands.
Folks, these are my tax dollars we're talking about here. Meanwhile there are dozens of city volunteer arts organizations longing for a public, affordable space to perform in the city, in vain.
Any desire I've had to go see a ball game (admittedly, not that great to begin with) has been squashed.
I hope the city tells the Nationals what they can do with their ball bats. And tell 'em to do it sideways.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
It's my position as a driver that until no individual on a bicycle ever breaks a traffic law, no driver should no driver should ever be held responsible for running down any cyclist at any time.
Cyclists should always me mindful of the fact that when I'm making a right-hand turn, or opening my door into traffic, checking my side view mirror is a somewhat difficult thing to remember to do. And if I end up killing you, well, you're engaging in extremely risky behavior.
You might think this is some crackpot but unfortunately this mentality comes through in the way a lot of people in DC drive around cyclists (and DC Metrobus drivers are not exempt!).
Personal Example: I was in the bike lane northbound on 14th Street. One block the bike lane was partially blocked by construction, forcing me to move left closer to traffic. Sure enough, my elbow was grazed by a passing car. The driver stopped (a uniformed Metro security officer) and while swearing at me checked his mirror, never once asking if I was injured (I was not). See, like the commenter above, this driver felt that it was my fault because I was on his road. I deserved to be hit, and woe unto me if I caused any damage to his precious car.
It's pretty obvious what happened to Ms. Swanson...she was in the bike lane heading west on R street, continuing straight across Connecticut. The garbage truck, also on R street heading west, made a right turn unto 20th, running into Swanson in the intersection. Cyclists call this a right hook. And, this morning, it nearly happened to me in the same intersection. I stopped at the stop sign there and the car next to turned in front of me, cutting me off. the driver never checked the bike lane...she was talking on her cell phone.
But damn me anyway for being there on my bike...
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
The cyclist killed by the garbage truck yesterday has been identified as 22 year old Alice Swanson.
I'm having a hard time getting this tragedy out of my mind. It happend on a street corner that has been a part of my DC life for years. Across the street from where it happened is where the LTR worked for nearly 15 years. A sandwich and coffee shop next to the intersection has been a gathering place for me and my friends on many sunny afternoons.
I rode by this morning. A small memorial was taking shape with some boquets of flowers set in a tree box at the intersection. I made a small contribution to that collection. In the median strip on Connecticut Ave someone has placed a ghost bike -- a bike painted all white to signify the death of a cyclist.
The bike lane closely parrelles the crosswalk at that intersection. Eyewitnesses say she was in the crosswalk, but she could have been in the bike lane and appeared to be in the crosswalk. Not that it matters either way, as regardless she would have been in the path of the turning truck.
My heart goes out to her family and friends. What a terrible loss.
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
It was a beautiful day in DC this morning, clear, not too humid yet, and a gentle breeze. A perfect morning for riding. I know exactly how that young woman must have felt as she started out on her ride, starting the day with that free, flying sensation that you can often get from cycling. A day full of promise ending with such tragic finality. As I bike almost everyday near where this happened I'm filled with a "there but for the grace of God go I" feeling. I've had my near-misses on the streets of DC and in fact had one in Dupont Circle yesterday when I misjudged the proximity of a following car and I swerved to avoid a pothole in my path. The driver was accelerating and nearly hit me.
Had he hit me you could argue that it was my fault for swerving out into the middle of the lane (a good reason many cyclists ride in the middle of the lane is to avoid having to swerve suddenly to avoid an opening car door or in my case a pothole). But had he hit me, many would argue he was justified.
The comments in the WaPo article about this morning's accident make it clear that many drivers see them selves as four-wheeled vigilantes set on bringing cyclists to justice under their SUVs. These commenters curse cyclists for breaking the laws when it's clear that many of them don't even know the law when it comes to bikes on the road. And as one commenter put it:
Yes, cyclists do run red lights and that's wrong - but that doesn't give you drivers the right to kill them. And we have the same rights -- and responsibilities -- that you gas guzzlers do.
Sunday, July 06, 2008
No where, whether on line or standing in line at an Obama rally did I check off "I'm an Obama supporter and I like other guys."
Yet today I get an email from the campaign entitled "Photos: LGBT Pride Events" that begins:
Thanks to supporters like you, we made a big impact during Pride month.
Okay, you all know how I feel about Pride and I was in the mountains playing Brokeback with the LTR during DC's Pride event. And yet the email exhorts me to host my own "Obama Pride" event.
So how does Obama know I'm gay?
As far as I know from my site meter, no one from the campaign has ever been here (nor would I expect them too, wee blogger that I am).
The only thing I can figure is that somewhere along the way I clicked on something gay related on his Web site or in an email his campaign sent. And so I've been segmented. Or Micro-Targeted, to use Mr. Penn's phrase.
So, yes, Mr. Obama, I'm gay, as you suspected. I'll think about hosting an Obama Pride event...but you need to think a bit more about this marriage between a man and a woman thing. You're moving in the right direction, and I think you're more sincere than your former opponent on this issue, but recent events have made me a bit wary.
You understand, right? Since others in the recent past have wanted to turn our gay pride into campaign donations and votes? Only to drop us at the first sign of political trouble?
We can overcome this obsolete view of marriage only between a man and a woman, can't we? We can win over enough votes in California and elsewhere to protect marriage equality if we just work together?
Yes, we can.
Then he says: "Nobody in the whole wide world likes John McCain. Only monsters."
Although 3 of his 4 parents are Obama-supporters, we swear we didn't put him up to that.
Did I miss the part where four poster beds were for hanging your wet towel?
Friday, July 04, 2008
While in Indy I was tasked with managing a business luncheon. arriving early at the luncheon room at the hotel, I met our wait staff person, a middle-aged Chinese woman who has worked at the Hyatt for 30 some years. While waiting for lunch to begin, she told me with obvious pride of her eldest son who serves in the Army Corps of Engineers and who has been stationed around the world, including Afghanistan, and who is now stationed here in DC. She told me how while driving to work she sometimes worries about him, asking God to keep him safe and how three times w/in 15 minutes her cell phone would ring and it would be him calling to let her know he was okay.
When the luncheon was over I was saying my thank yous and said to her, "please convey my thanks to your son for his service to our country."
"Our country." I thought about those words later. Me, this Midwestern white gay boy and this woman from another land and culture, whose family is in harms way for this idea called "America."
Our country really is an idea, not a place, a dream worth emigrating to and defending.
No terrorist can destroy that dream. We can only do that ourselves.
Thursday, July 03, 2008
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
But when it gets used on a story about runner Tyson Gay (whose last name is, indeed, Gay) it results in copy like this:
Tyson Homosexual was a blur in blue, sprinting 100 meters faster than anyone ever has.
His time of 9.68 seconds at the U.S. Olympic trials Sunday doesn't count as a world record, because it was run with the help of a too-strong tailwind. Here's what does matter: Homosexual qualified for his first Summer Games team and served notice he's certainly someone to watch in Beijing.
"It means a lot to me," the 25-year-old Homosexual said. "I'm glad my body could do it, because now I know I have it in me."
You may have seen this already, but this afternoon via the WaPo I read another AFA "gay" gaffe about NBA player Rudy Gay that made me laugh out loud:
Memphis Grizzlies backers hit the hay hoping that Kevin Love would open things up for Rudy Homosexual in the frontcourt.
Gee. And tonight when I'm practicing my homosexual lifestyle I'll be going to the cleaners, walking the dog, cleaning the guest bedroom and getting ready for work tomorrow, before sitting down to maybe watch more of the John Adams HBO mini-series. Nothing about getting opened up in the frontcourt.
This homosexual lifestyle is boring!