Friday, August 31, 2007
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Author: Gita M. Smith
In Alabama, guns are sold everywhere, but sex toys are banned. Now the state law banning the sale of vibrators may go before the U.S. Supreme Court. The case will garner a lot of attention.
In Alabama, you can sell guns on any street corner but you can't sell sex toys. That's right. Alabama is a vibrator-free state!
Well, technically you can go across state lines and buy sex toys in Georgia and Tennessee and carry them home. But the Alabama Legislature, in its infinite wisdom and in the spirit of protecting citizens from moral turpitude, a while back banned the sale of sex toys (or "marital aids" as some lawmakers coyly call them).
Today, the U.S. Supreme Court has shown a gleam of interest in this controversial state law, which has been challenged in Alabama courts by adult toy retailer Sherri Williams. She has been fighting the law for nearly 10 years.
Williams has been in district court three times on this issue and has won twice. But both times her victories were struck down by the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. She filed a petition to the Supremes and has hired well-known First Amendment rights attorney Paul Cambria. Also joining in the appeal petition with Williams are the Free Speech Coalition and the First Amendment Lawyers Association.
(At the very least, this case seems to be a restraint-of-trade case as much as anything else, since the devices are sold in all the neighboring states. You'd think she would win on that, alone.)
Anyway, the Supremes have informed the state of Alabama that it must file an answering brief with the High Court, which is an indication that the case might be taken up in the next session. If so, I would like to be a fly on the wall when oral arguments are heard.
SCALLIA: You say that the sale of the Twizzler-Twister should be banned?
ALABAMA GUY: Yes,Your Honor.
ALITO: And the Buzzer-Master?
ALABAMA GUY: Yes, that too.
THOMAS: What about the coke can with the fake pubic hair?
ALABAMA GUY: That one doesn't vibrate, so that one's okay.
THOMAS: Whew! Thank goodness.
But seriously folks, I am hoping that y'all have stopped snickering at the Victorian attitudes of our fine Alabama lawmakers because I want to talk for a minute about sexual attitudes in the Land O' Cotton.
There is, and always has been, a strong strain of paternalism among lawmakers down here. And that paternalistic attitude makes them believe that they are the keepers of the Moral Keys. Us wee folk need protecting from sexual pleasures derived from plastic thingies made in China.
The same lawmakers also have protected Alabamians from the glittering vice dens called casinos, the dangerous Mega-Ball lotteries and betting parlors. All for our own good.
They do, however, let us have SOME fun. We have fireworks stores at every interstate exit. We can buy all manner of guns easily and openly as long as we are of legal age. And we can shoot off the aforementioned fireworks and guns pretty much wherever and whenever we want.
In other words we are free to blow ourselves up at will. We just can't blow up a dolly with big red lips and openings in her lifelike vinyl self.
Drag Queen name of the day: Patty Sausage
At Macy's I got a stainless steel cocktail shaker that has multiple recipes on the side. Simply slide the shaker sleeve around to reveal the ingredients for several popular cocktails. Ingenious! Of course this isn't my only cocktail shaker. I love my vintage glass one, but decided that a 2nd one would be helpful for those times when I need to make several different drinks. Also at Macy's we got a set of cocoa colored bath towels, to go with our shower curtain. And from Crate & Barrel we got a pretty green ceramic baking/serving dish. We didn't see anything in Williams-Sonoma we couldn't live without so we decided to hold onto that gift card for another day.
Gotta love those gift cards! Get exactly what you want, shop when its convenient, and take advantage of sale prices - what could be better?
Drag Queen name of the day: Regina Upright
The left front row was taken by several of Coco's relatives who'd come from NY to see the show. The right front row was taken by the 5 or 6 guys who came in before me. I could have sat on the far right of the front row, but I preferred to sit near the center so I chose the center isle seat on the 2nd row. The 'theatre' was small enough that it really didn't matter if I sat in the 1st or 2nd row, really. Every seat was a good one.
Every seat was taken and I believe they even let some folks in for 'standing room only'. Then the music came on and Coco entered the stage from behind a black curtain. She looked GORGEOUS!
The show lasted about 75 minutes and included some of her most hilarious content from the "Wisecrack" comedy special on Logo, plus lots of new content I'd not heard before. And who knew that Miss Coco Peru could sing??? I didn't, until last night. She cooed and crooned to the transfixed audience with several songs in which some of the lyrics had been 'customized' for comic affect. The audience responded appreciatively with thunderous applause, whistling, and hollering! It was a truly entertaining show.
Drag Queen name of the day: Sue Nora Later
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
About a month ago when I had another one of those 'vertigo-like' spells I decided to find a new doctor here in DE and get a physical (its been nearly 2 years) and talk about these spells.
A friend recommended his doctor to me and I found the doctor participates in my insurance, so it seemed like a win/win situation. I liked the doctor a lot. Although straight he has a lot of gay male patients so he totally understands. The medical history form I filled out even had selections like single, married, divorced, partnered. I felt comfortable talking with him.
My blood pressure and vital signs were all normal and he commended me for my general healthful lifestyle (no smoking, no recreational drug use, occasional social drinking, etc.). I described to him the symptoms of the spells and, unlike the other 2 doctors I'd seen before, he knew what it was right away! He said my vagus nerve had been over-stimulated. Unfortunately its hard to tell what causes this to occur, but one of the more common reasons is dehydration. There's no cure or treatment for it, and its not life-threatening. Since the occurrences are quite infrequent, his best recommendation was to drink lots of water to remain well-hydrated at all times. At least I know I don't have a brain tumor or anything else serious.
I'm super excited because tonight I'm going to see Coco Peru, who is visiting the Blue Moon in Rehoboth Beach! My first exposure to Coco Peru was in the movie "Trick". She plays a drag queen who locks a young man in the restroom at a night club in order to warn him about the 'trick' he's just picked up. She was also in the wonderfully campy "Girls Will Be Girls". Then Coco appeared in the Bravo reality show "Boy Meets Boy" where a handsome man named James had to pick a date from a group of hotties... only some of the hotties were straight. Coco was the entertainment at one of the group's outings. But my absolute favorite Coco performance is her 30-minute stand-up routine on comedy show "Wisecrack" on the Logo network. She's brilliant! She really cracks me up, so I am really looking forward to seeing her tonight. Check in tomorrow for an update.
Drag Queen name of the day: Ally Gator
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Men's room arrest reopens questions about Sen. Larry Craig
Idaho senator pleads guilty to disorderly conduct after incident at Minnesota airport that echoes previous allegation of homosexual conduct.
By Dan Popkey - firstname.lastname@example.org
Edition Date: 08/28/07
Sen. Larry Craig, who in May told the Idaho Statesman he had never engaged in homosexual acts, was arrested less than a month later by an undercover police officer who said Craig made a sexual advance toward him in an airport men's room.
The arrest at a Minnesota airport prompted Craig to plead guilty to disorderly conduct earlier this month. His June 11 encounter with the officer was similar to an incident in a men's room in a Washington, D.C., rail station described by a Washington-area man to the Idaho Statesman. In that case, the man said he and Craig had sexual contact.
The Minnesota arrest was first reported Monday by Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper.
In an interview on May 14, Craig told the Idaho Statesman he'd never engaged in sex with a man or solicited sex with a man. The Craig interview was the culmination of a Statesman investigation that began after a blogger accused Craig of homosexual sex in October. Over five months, the Statesman examined rumors about Craig dating to his college days and his 1982 pre-emptive denial that he had sex with underage congressional pages.
The most serious finding by the Statesman was the report by a professional man with close ties to Republican officials. The 40-year-old man reported having oral sex with Craig at Washington's Union Station, probably in 2004. The Statesman also spoke with a man who said Craig made a sexual advance toward him at the University of Idaho in 1967 and a man who said Craig "cruised" him for sex in 1994 at the REI store in Boise. The Statesman also explored dozens of allegations that proved untrue, unclear or unverifiable.
Craig, 62, was elected to Congress in 1980. Should he win re-election in 2008 and complete his term, he would be the longest-serving Idahoan ever in Congress. His record includes a series of votes against gay rights and his support of a 2006 amendment to the Idaho Constitution that bars gay marriage and civil unions.
News about the June 11 arrest at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport was reported on Roll Call's Web site Monday. According to police and court records obtained by Roll Call, Craig pleaded guilty Aug. 8 to misdemeanor disorderly conduct in Hennepin County District Court. He paid $575 in fines and fees. A 10-day jail sentence was suspended and Craig received one year's unsupervised probation.
Craig on Monday denied any misconduct. "At the time of this incident, I complained to the police that they were misconstruing my actions," he said in a written statement. "I was not involved in any inappropriate conduct. I should have had the advice of counsel in resolving this matter. In hindsight, I should not have pled guilty. I was trying to handle this matter myself quickly and expeditiously."
Craig, through his staff, declined to answer questions.
Craig resigns Romney post
On Monday afternoon, Craig resigned from his role as the U.S. Senate co-chair of the Mitt Romney for president campaign. Monday night, the Romney campaign canceled a visit to Boise scheduled for today by Romney's son, Josh.
Until Monday, the Statesman had declined to run a story about Craig's sex life, because the paper didn't have enough corroborating evidence and because of the senator's steadfast denial.
In the hourlong May 14 interview, Craig was accompanied by his wife, Suzanne. He specifically and generally denied ever engaging in any homosexual conduct.
During that interview, the Statesman played Craig an audiotape of the man claiming that he and Craig had sex in the Union Station restroom. Like the Minnesota airport restroom, the Union Station restroom is known as a place where men can find anonymous sex.
Craig denied the man's account and said, "I am not gay and I have never been in a restroom in Union Station having sex with anybody.
"There's a very clear bottom line here," Craig said. "I don't do that kind of thing. I am not gay, and I never have been."
Craig's accuser spoke to the Statesman on the condition he not be named. The man said he was sure it was Craig he had oral sex with but said he had no evidence other than his word.
Craig also denied the claims of the two other men that he made sexual advances to them.
One man, who was considering pledging with Craig's fraternity at the U of I in 1967, said Craig took him to his room and made what the man said he took to be an invitation to sex. Responding to that allegation in May, Craig said, "I don't hit on any men."
Another man said that in November 1994 Craig "cruised" him at the REI store in Boise. The man, who is gay, told the Statesman that Craig stared at him in a sexually inviting way and followed him around REI for a half-hour. Said Craig: "Once again, I'm not gay, and I don't cruise, and I don't hit on men. I have no idea how he drew that conclusion. A smile? Here is one thing I do out in public: I make eye contact, I smile at people, they recognize me, they say, ‘Oh, hi, Senator.' Or, ‘Do I know you?'
"I've been in this business 27 years in the public eye here. I don't go around anywhere hitting on men, and by God, if I did, I wouldn't do it in Boise, Idaho! Jiminy!"
Undecided about re-election
On Aug. 9, the day after his guilty plea in Minnesota, Craig told the Statesman he had yet to decide whether he would seek re-election in 2008. He served five terms in the House before he was elected to the Senate. His third Senate term expires in January 2009. Lt. Gov. Jim Risch has said he will likely run should Craig retire. Former Democratic Rep. Larry LaRocco announced in April that he will run for the Senate.
Craig said that he would announce his re-election plans by mid-September. He said personal factors, including spending time with his nine grandchildren, were weighing on the side of retirement. But he also said he enjoyed his job and the benefits of seniority.
During the interview in May, Craig said his re-election or retirement would not be influenced by accusations that he was gay. "If I'm going to run from these kinds of stupid, false allegations after 27 years in public life, having done a credible job, then I shouldn't have been there in the first place."
Blogger makes claims
The Statesman began its inquiry last October, after a gay activist blogger, Mike Rogers, published a claim that Craig had sex with men. Rogers cited anonymous sources. Rogers believed he had the evidence to nail a hypocritical Republican foe of gay rights, raise the din in the Rep. Mark Foley scandal, and help the Democrats win the Congress.
Millions heard or read of Rogers' claims. Amid anticipatory buzz from Web sites like the liberal Wonkette, Rogers published his report at blogactive.com Oct. 17. He also appeared on a liberal talk show in 100 radio markets. Mainstream media — including four Idaho newspapers, the Washington Post, USA Today, MSNBC and Bill Maher on HBO — spread the story widely.
But Statesman editor Vicki Gowler would not rely on Rogers' anonymous sources. Instead, she decided to investigate the widespread rumors that date to 1982, when Craig pre-emptively denied involvement in a gay sex scandal involving congressmen and underage pages.
During its investigation, the Statesman interviewed 300 people, visited the ranch where Craig grew up, and made two trips to Washington, D.C.
On May 12, two days before its interview with Craig, the Statesman finally interviewed Rogers' "best source," the man who says he is certain he had a brief sexual encounter with Craig at Union Station, which is two blocks from Craig's office. The man said the sex occurred in two restrooms on a weekday afternoon. He estimated the encounter lasted three or four minutes.
The man's motive was twofold. A lifelong Republican, he recently had re-registered as a Democrat because he's angry with what he sees as the GOP's gay-bashing. Second, he was tired of Rogers picking on congressional staffers and offered him the chance to "out" a senator.
The Washington-area man's story has remained consistent, beginning with his Aug. 9, 2004, e-mail to Mike Rogers: "I've hooked up with Craig ... why not out some actual members and not their staffers?"
That suggestion came shortly after Rogers launched his outing campaign, prompted by his anger over the GOP election-year push for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Craig voted for the failed measure July 14, 2004. He also has opposed allowing gays or lesbians in the military and voted against extending civil rights protections to homosexuals in the workplace.
Craig told the Statesman in May that he doesn't care about a person's sexual orientation. He said he had a homosexual staffer. "I hire people based on their talent and their ability to produce," he said.
Marriage should be between and man and a woman, Craig said. But he said he supports unions between same-sex couples. "You can have a civil union, but you can't commandeer the institution of marriage. That's very special, religious, culturally, and you can't go there."
Last fall, however, after Rogers' report, Craig issued a statement saying he would vote for an amendment to the Idaho Constitution on the November ballot that bans both gay marriage and civil unions.
In the May 14 interview, Craig and his wife listened to a four-minute excerpt of the Statesman's interview with the 40-year-old man who first spoke to Rogers. At first, Craig objected to the man's anonymity, but agreed to listen. The man's voice was disguised.
Craig said the man is an activist. "The gay movement, we know it for what it is. It's now aggressive and it's liberal and it's naming people to try to put them in compromising, difficult situations."
Suzanne Craig's eyes reddened and filled with tears as she listened. After her husband's denial, she said, "I'm incensed that you would even consider such a piece of trash as a credible source."
To which Craig added, "Jiminy God!"
Before moving on to the next question, Craig turned to his wife and said, "Sorry, Hon."
Until Monday's report, Craig was facing a lone credible accuser. Rogers told the Statesman he had lost track of his other two sources, who he said described encounters with the senator, one in Idaho and one in Seattle. Rogers concedes he doesn't know those two sources' last names. "I was an amateur," he told the Statesman.
The Statesman followed dozens of leads about alleged sexual partners. Two prevalent rumors swirl around two men who are dead. The Statesman has found no written record of sexual intimacy between those men and Craig. Relatives of those men are dead, unaware of proof to substantiate the rumors, or unreachable.
Two other alleged partners unequivocally denied having been intimate with Craig. Other accounts are simply unfounded. Some were inconclusive.
There are, however, the two men who told the Statesman Craig made passes at them. Craig denied those accounts in his May 14 interview.
The Page Scandal
Until the Mike Rogers report in October and the Roll Call story on Monday, rumors about Craig were grounded in the 1982 congressional page scandal. Craig denied involvement in 1982, but the timing of his statement fueled rumors that lasted decades. Among them were that Craig married shortly after the scandal to cover up his alleged homosexuality.
Craig and the then-Suzanne Scott had their first date on Valentine's Day 1980, when Craig was making his first run for Congress. Craig proposed six months after the scandal, on Suzanne's birthday, Dec. 28, 1982. They married in July 1983.
About a year before the marriage, on June 30, 1982, 13.3 million viewers of CBS News heard page Leroy Williams allege he had sex with three House members when he was 17.
The following day, Craig issued a statement saying he'd received calls from reporters saying they were going to publish his name in connection with the scandal. His statement called the allegations "part of a concerted effort at character assassination."
"I have done nothing that I need to be either publicly or privately ashamed of. I am guilty of no crime or impropriety, and I am convinced that this is an effort to damage my personal character and destroy my political career."
Craig alone — among 535 members of Congress — issued such a statement. In the news vacuum of the July 4 recess, the freshman Republican was thrust into the national spotlight. A network helicopter followed him to Jordan Valley, Ore., where he attended a potluck for Southwest Idaho ranchers.
He told a national audience: "Persons who are unmarried as I am, by choice or by circumstance, have always been the subject of innuendos, gossip and false accusations. I think this is despicable."
Before he hit the airwaves, Craig hosted a breakfast for his campaign staff at the Owyhee Hotel to tell them what was about to happen. Brad Hoaglun remembers the moment: "He was very matter-of-fact and forthright. He said, ‘I want to tell you nothing in the story is accurate.'"
"I was finishing up college. This was my first paid campaign, and I can remember sitting there thinking, my gosh, what have I got myself into? And, OK, do I believe Larry Craig? And I came quickly to the conclusion that, yes, I do."
Hoaglun went on to be an important GOP hand and was former Gov. Jim Risch's spokesman.
After the staff breakfast in 1982, Cheryl Miller, a top Craig campaign aide, drove Craig to Jordan Valley in her silver Pontiac. She said Craig liked to sing along to her 8-track tapes of country western and gospel. It relaxed him. Despite the pressure, Craig's gift for campaigning was unaffected, Miller said. All who knew him believed he'd been wrongly accused, she said.
Staffer John Keenan was on the next leg, from Boise to North Idaho. "It really rattled our cages," said Keenan, a Craig staffer from 1981-85. At a stop in Council, a crew from a second network helicopter "stuck a microphone in his face. I was standing there, just kind of amazed. I was so impressed, he handled it so well."
During the drive, Craig told tales of his youth on the family ranch 24 long miles from Midvale, where he attended the one-room South Crane School, became a champion orator and tussled with a cow that stuck its head in his tent and took off running.
"He took comfort in telling us stories," said Keenan. "He has a sense of humor that he doesn't reveal easily. Gosh, I was laughing my head off."
At the time, a top Craig staffer, Karmen Larson, said reporters from CBS and The New York Post said they were going to name Craig, prompting his denial. The CBS reporter on the story, John Ferrugia, declined comment to the Statesman.
Craig says he ‘panicked'
But Peter Fearon, then with the New York Post, said he never said his paper was preparing to name Craig. "No, no — it wasn't ‘are you under investigation?' It was simply an inquiry: ‘Have you heard anything? Who have you heard about? Have you heard any names mentioned? What's your reaction to this news?'
"The next thing I know, Larry Craig has issued a press release: ‘This isn't me.' Which I just thought was a bizarre and ultimately very foolish thing to do.
"He was the only person going on the record anywhere," Fearon said. "And of course, when you
do that, it's like raw meat. He's saying, ‘Nobody's actually accusing, but it wasn't me!' It's no wonder it's dogged him. He denied something that no one had accused him of."
Four weeks later, page Williams recanted, saying he'd made up the whole thing. A second page who had appeared on CBS, Jeffrey Opp, said he'd exaggerated or misunderstood what he took to be sexual advances from congressmen.
A six-month probe into sex charges was launched by the House ethics committee. In December 1982, they exonerated those accused by Williams and Opp.
The committee chastised CBS's Ferrugia for planting "lurid tales of sexual misconduct and homosexual prostitution in the Congress" in Opp's mind. Opp declined to speak to the Statesman for this story; Williams did not reply to repeated inquiries.
Though his staff credits Craig for a cool head in 1982, he told the Statesman on May 14 that he panicked.
"I was scared, plain and simple scared," he said. "When you have somebody walk into your office and make that kind of allegation and tells me he's gonna go to print — and I'm a freshman congressman and go, ‘Oh my God!'"
Craig talks to FBI
Craig allowed the Statesman to review, but not copy, what he said were an FBI report and a privately administered polygraph from 1982 regarding the page scandal.
Craig did not respond to requests to have the FBI verify the authenticity of the FBI document. Craig also declined to sign a waiver allowing the Statesman to review anything in his FBI file regarding homosexuality.
The FBI document supplied by Craig describes a July 20, 1982, FBI interview with Craig at the offices of his Washington law firm. Craig requested the interview with the FBI and said reporters had threatened to disclose allegations of homosexuality.
"Craig stated that he had never engaged in a homosexual relationship" with Williams or Opp, the FBI report said. "Craig further indicated that he has never engaged in a homosexual relationship with any person."
The document says Craig told the FBI that he suspected that then-Rep. Patricia Schroeder, D-Colo., might be behind the allegations against him. Opp was appointed by Schroeder. "Craig said that recent polls indicate strong support for his re-election this fall, and he perceives this as a slanderous campaign by the opposition party to have him defeated," said the report.
An attached document from a polygraph examiner hired by Craig said it was the examiner's opinion "that Congressman Craig is not a homosexual and has since adulthood not engaged in homosexual acts of any type."
Craig also provided the Statesman military records to respond to a rumor he left the Idaho National Guard because he was homosexual. Craig was honorably discharged in 1972, after 20 months of a six-year enlistment.
Had he been discharged for homosexual conduct, a different section of the military code would have been cited, and he wouldn't have received an honorable discharge. Records show he was let go because of a "physical disqualification," although they do not specify the reason. There is no physician's report available, according to the Pentagon and the Idaho Guard. Craig says his ailment was flat feet.
U of I days
Craig told the Statesman he was unaware of rumors about him being gay going back to his college days. Craig had about 150 fraternity brothers at Delta Chi during his U of I years.
The Statesman interviewed 41 of them. Of those 41, three said there were jokes about him being effeminate and possibly gay. Most said that had Craig been thought to be gay, he would have never become a leader in the fraternity and the student body.
As president of Delta Chi, Craig secured a $100,000 loan to remodel the fraternity house, instituted study hours, and blackballed members for drug use. They called him "Mother Craig" for his officiousness.
After shedding 50 pounds the summer before college, he was elected state president of the Future Farmers of America on his second try. He also was student body president at U of I. Graduating in 1969, he won the Donald R. Theophilus Outstanding Senior Award. Five years later, at 28, he was elected to the state Senate. He's been in public office ever since.
Most of Craig's college friends say he was disciplined, studious and serious, even if he was awkward with women.
One woman who dated him off and on for a year asked not to be named, but said, "I don't imagine that he ever held my hand. He was into the gotta-hold-the-door-for-the-woman sort of thing. But I always felt like I was an accessory. I might as well have been his briefcase."
Craig said he did sometimes invite women because a date was expected. But he said he had a serious girlfriend in college; they split over religious differences. He declined to name her.
Men Craig served with or under in Congress — Republicans Jim McClure, Orval Hansen, George Hansen and Steve Symms and Democrats Richard Stallings and Larry LaRocco — all said they have no credible evidence of Craig being gay. The same goes for scores of former staffers. They spoke to the Statesman before Monday's news of Craig's guilty plea.
McClure, whom Craig succeeded in the Senate, said Craig's formal manner of speaking has fueled rumors. Craig was taught by an old-school orator — the late D.L. Carter of Weiser. The lessons served Craig well, as he won state championships, attended two national contests and filled his bedroom at the ranch with trophies.
Said McClure: "He was of the old oratorical school where you went in and took each word and broke it into syllables and enunciated and all of that. And that's how that style came about, to project across a full hall."
Craig also took piano lessons in high school and was in the high school choir.
"Larry's speech patterns are very precise," said McClure. "They're not what you expect from a rancher from Midvale. His speech patterns say, ‘Hey, here's a guy who's a little different.' And he is, he's a little different. But that doesn't mean he's homosexual for heaven's sakes! You have to jump from prejudice to suspicion to I don't know what to give the rumors any credibility."
Neighbors weigh in
Last fall, Craig's neighbors at a Washington marina expressed disbelief at Rogers' attempt to out him. Ed Johnson is an openly gay man, former local elected official and has been an acquaintance and neighbor of Craig's off and on for 15 years. He is president of the Gangplank Slipholders Association, a neighbor to the smaller Capital Yacht Club, where Craig lives.
Democrat, Johnson works for the American Humanists Association, which he describes as "the godless, liberal, left-wing atheists."
"If I thought there was truth to the rumor, I'd be first in line to out him," said Johnson, who agrees hypocritical public officials should be exposed.
"But after 15 years in a close-knit community where everybody knows everybody's business, to be that clandestine and never have anything said — it's just hard to imagine. I mean, if somebody has a fight and breaks up with their boyfriend or girlfriend, you know it the next day."
Drag Queen name of the day: Frieda Hostages
Senator, Arrested at Airport, Pleads Guilty
The New York Times
Posted: 2007-08-28 09:37:37
WASHINGTON (Aug. 27) — Senator Larry E. Craig, Republican of Idaho, was arrested in June by an undercover police officer in a men’s bathroom at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, and pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in the case three weeks ago.
Mr. Craig, 62, was fined more than $500 and placed on unsupervised probation for a year. A 10-day jail sentence was suspended, according to a copy of a court document in the case. A second charge, interference with privacy, was dismissed.
According to a police report obtained by the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call, which disclosed the episode and the guilty plea Monday, a plainclothes police officer investigating complaints of sexual activity in the bathroom arrested the senator on June 11 after what the officer described as sexual advances made by Mr. Craig from an adjoining stall.
By Roll Call’s account, the officer said Mr. Craig had tapped his foot, in what the officer called a known signal to engage in lewd conduct, and had also brushed his foot against the investigator’s and waved his hand under the stall divider several times before the officer showed him his badge. After the arrest the senator denied any sexual intent, and in a statement issued Monday afternoon he attributed the matter to a misunderstanding.
“At the time of this incident, I complained to the police that they were misconstruing my actions,” Mr. Craig said in the statement. “I was not involved in any inappropriate conduct.
“I should have had the advice of counsel in resolving this matter. In hindsight, I should not have pled guilty. I was trying to handle this matter myself quickly and expeditiously.”
Mr. Craig also severed ties Monday with the Republican presidential campaign of Mitt Romney , in which he had been serving as a co-liaison to the Senate with Senator Robert F. Bennett of Utah. The Romney campaign issued a statement that said: “Senator Craig has stepped down from his role with the campaign. He did not want to be a distraction, and we accept his decision.”
Mr. Craig, whose seat is up for election next year, is the second senator in recent weeks to find his personal behavior under scrutiny. Senator David Vitter, Republican of Louisiana, was implicated in a separate case in the Washington area when his phone number turned up in the records of an escort service that the authorities have described as a prostitution ring. Mr. Vitter made a public apology for what he called “a very serious sin in my past,” but he has not been charged with any crime.
Mr. Craig, who is married and has three children, publicly rejected accusations by a gay rights activist last year that he had engaged in homosexual conduct. He called the accusations “completely ridiculous.”
Drag Queen name of the day: Isabelle Ringing
Monday, August 27, 2007
It seems like something happens with Jordan every month when we stay at Spouse's mother's house. One time she spit up on the mat in front of the patio door. Another time she went #2 on the carpet while the 3 of us were out. Another time Spouse fed her and when he wasn't looking his mother fed her again and she got sick from too much food. Another time Jordan got into the cat's litter box and ate several 'delicacies', which made her sick. It just seems like no matter what we do to avoid it, every time we go there we have to put up with some doggy drama. And this past weekend was no exception.
Jordan doesn't tolerate the dog food that Spouse's mother feeds her dog so we always bring Jordan's regular food. So when Jordan ate 3 packages of the off-limits food we didn't know what to expect. I left Jordan, Spouse & his mom at home while I went to sing karaoke with friends. I got home at 12:30.
All had gone to bed, but Spouse & Jordan were still awake when I got in. Jordan wouldn't settle down, so I let her out in the yard to go to the bathroom. But about 2 hours later she woke us up with her pacing around the bedroom and panting, so Spouse got up and took her outside again. An hour or so later, the same thing. Basically the entire night she kept waking us up, needing to go outside and go to the bathroom because of having eaten all that food.
It was very frustrating. It seemed every time I got to sleep, Jordan would wake us up with her pacing and panting. One time I tried to just ignore her, hoping she'd lay down for a little while longer. This often works under normal conditions. But then she started scratching on the bedroom door with her paw so I woke Spouse and told him she needed to go out again.
Then Spouse's mother and her dog got up at 7am (on a Sat), completely oblivious to what we'd been through all night, and made enough noise to wake us up again. I looked at the clock and growled. Spouse & Jordan got up but I rolled over and eventually fell back asleep for another 2 hours.
Drag Queen name of the day: Winnie Baygo
Friday, August 24, 2007
Quite unusual for mid-Aug in the Mid-Atlantic! But you don't hear me complaining, because the longer the a/c stays off, the lower our electric bill will be.
I'm always amused at how quickly gay men seem to react to weather changes. Tues evening as we walked down Rehoboth Ave we saw gay men in their trendy sweatshirts and sweaters! I mean, come on! It was probably still 72 degrees. I heard someone suggest that "it was a short summer this year". I just shook my head.
I also remember years ago being in DuPont Circle on one of the first warm days in March or April, seeing gay men walk by in their cargo shorts and flip flops. Is it because gay men always want to be on the cusp of something different/new? I just find it amusing, whatever the reason.
Today the weather has returned to closer to typical Aug. The humidity is evident and the expected high temperature today is supposed to be 88 degrees, and 90 tomorrow. Oh no, summer isn't over yet, and I thank god for that. I haven't had enough days on the beach just yet.
I love a good Indian Summer when the temperature stretches up into the 60s or even 70 in Oct. That guy in the yellow fleece jacket in the convertible with the top down? Yep, that's me.
Heading back to DC for the weekend.
Drag Queen name of the day: Ida Foundout
Thursday, August 23, 2007
And I don't discriminate either. McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, Taco Bell, Arby's, Hardee's, Popeye's, KFC, Chipotle - it doesn't matter, I have found something to love on every menu board.
When I worked in a traditional office in VA (as opposed to my home office in DE) I used to go to McDonald's a lot for lunch. It was the closest fast food restaurant to my office, so when I had limited time for a lunch break, I would dart to McDonald's. I love the Big Mac. And as if the yummy food weren't enough, this particular McDonald's was absolutely the best run fast food restaurant I've ever frequented. The management and employees really had the routine perfected. Even at the busiest times on the busiest days I never waited for my food. By the time I'd finished ordering and swiping my debit card (what a lovely addition), my tray of delicacies was placed before me and I was wished a good afternoon. I also enjoyed the self-serve beverage center, where I could select the amount of ice and soda to match my particular needs. Don't you hate it when you're really thirsty and you order a soda, only to find the cup full of ice with only 3 1/2 ounces of soda???
So when I was short on time I would always slip over to the very close, very well run McDonald's, but when time was not an issue I would often venture slightly further to some of the other tasty places. Loved the Whopper with cheese at Burger King. Loved the barbecoa burrito at Chipotle. Loved the chicken nuggets at Wendy's. Loved everything at Taco Bell. However, it seemed all that fast food was not loving me.
Sure, I'd seen the "Super-size Me" documentary, which gave me a momentary cause for concern, but I reasoned that eating ANY kind of fast food (and nothing else) 3 meals a day for 30 days would make a person sick. No need to single out McDonald's. I'd just need to make sure I varied my selection of fast food joints in order to stay 'healthy'. But the pounds kept coming.
When I moved to DE in Jan things were different. I no longer 'went out to lunch' because I could very easily walk down the stairs to the kitchen and make myself a sandwich or heat up left overs from last night's dinner. Since Spouse had begun working out with a personal trainer and going to the gym several days a week, he made a conscious effort to eat more healthfully, and swore off fast food. So without any effort or forethought on my part, I stopped eating fast food; cold turkey.
After a few weeks I began to realize how much money we were saving by not eating lunch out every day. (Spouse takes his lunch to work.) Then I began to notice that my belt was too loose on its usual notch. Could it be true? Could I really lose a noticeable amount of weight simply from not eating fast food? I weighed myself and found that I'd lost over 20 lbs since I'd moved, having started no new diet or exercise plan.
It has now been 7 months since I've eaten fast food and I've lost a total of 26 lbs. But I still get a jonesin' for a Big Mac now and then. Just this week I almost fell of the wagon and had a Mexican food orgy at Taco Bell, but I resisted. Not to say that I will never eat fast food ever again. I may occasionally partake if the circumstances are right, but I will be much more conscious of it than ever before. After all, "you are what you eat", right?
Drag Queen name of the day: Amanda Kissenhug
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Although I felt like I wanted to be alone so I could sulk over Monday's family drama, it wasn't to be. Our friends Stephan & Wayne called and invited us to join them for dinner so we went and had a great time. I really laughed and laughed. It felt good to be with people and to release my emotions in a more positive way. Spouse says my family's treatment of me is horrible and that it will always be painful for me. No amount of time or years will "fix" it, and I believe he's right. Thanks to those of you who left such kind comments.
The ground has been so dry that I returned to watering the grass a few days. We had a few thunderstorms last week, but the heavy rain in a short period of time did not quench the earth, it just ran off into the storm drains. But finally the drought is over. Sun, Mon, Tues, and today we've had periods of manageable, useful rain. I feel badly for those families who chose this week for their beach vacations.
Work has been very slow the last few weeks; so slow that I have been really bored. Part of the slowness is just because its Aug, a time when lots of people take vacations. Another part of the slowness is because I am not managing as many clients as I used to. About 1 1/2 months ago our group was reorganized into supporting clients within verticals, so I had to give up many of my long-time clients who did not fall into my new vertical. I hope my salesperson signs up some brand new clients so I have steady work to do.
Spouse & I went to see 'Hairspray' on Sun with Rick & Nick and our visiting friends Greg & Gerry. I liked it overall. I thought newcomer Nicki Blonsky did a great job as Tracy Turnblad; she has a very nice singing voice and showed well on screen. I was surprised at how well Michelle Pfieffer was as Velma Von Tussle. All 6 of us agreed that the weakest performance in the movie was John Travolta as Edna Turnblad. He just looked like a man in a woman's fat suit. And although I'd give him an A+ for effort in mastering that distinctive and charming Baltimore accent, I wondered why the director allowed him to put on the accent so heavily when NONE of the other characters were doing the Baltimore accent. It felt disjointed. But overall I liked the film and found it entertaining.
Drag Queen names
I'm starting to run low on my list of drag queen names. If you'd care to share with me your favorites, or more importantly, your favorites that do not already appear on my blog, that would be much appreciated.
Drag Queen name of the day: Sheena D. Crime
Monday, August 20, 2007
- I was raised in the Jehovah's Witness (JW) religion, but left 14 years ago when I came out because that religion does not tolerate gays.
- JWs are told they must discontinue all association with anyone who leaves or is kicked out of the JW religion. This includes immediate family members.
- I went to therapy and eventually made peace with the loss of my family.
- My mother has only had a few, rare communications with me to communicate medical emergencies. Zilch for my father and siblings.
- 2 1/2 years ago my mother scolded me in an email for not visiting my father in the hospital or later inquiring about his health.
- I replied to her email and told her what was what. For details see my post "Not exactly Mother's Day" on 4/24/05.
- My non-JW cousin contacted me and last summer we visited for the first time in many years. He lives in CA and only comes to the east coast once a year. For details on this see my post "" on 8/20/06.
This past weekend we tried to set up another visit at his JW mother's house where he is staying. He thought he may be able to get her to agree to the visit, but it did not go well. Here is the email I received from him:
It’s late Sunday evening. Yesterday afternoon I talked with my mom about my wish to have you come for a visit. I knew there was a good chance she’d object, considering the source of anything she might think she knows about you, but I thought she just might be able to rise above that and honor my request, if nothing else.
I was wrong--she flatly refused, saying something to the effect that you don’t consider “us” your family; that you have “other family now,” citing your supposed absence at Nelson’s purported near-death hospital experience as an example. I suggested she might have it backwards—that you’d already been essentially disowned by your entire immediate family well before that.
I was kind of stunned, and more than a little bewildered that she could have things so turned around. I asked who she’d talked to about it. She said it wasn’t Nelson, but she couldn’t remember who told her this (?!).
I hope to talk with her more about the subject, as it bothers me that she is carrying around such a twisted interpretation of the situation. But for the time being, she’s clearly not ready to have me invite you over. Maybe next year.
I’d still like to get together if possible. I hear Tim and Pam have made plans to come here tomorrow evening, and I think we’re hooking up with Stephanie Tuesday, so all I’ve got left is Monday (tomorrow) afternoon. Given the logistics, that’s pretty limiting, unless you could meet us somewhere halfway. And on such short notice, maybe that’s not even realistic.
This is a perennial frustration for me--it seems every time I’m here there are many more things I’d really like to do than I can realistically pull off. (Better planning on my part would help, I know.)
Got any ideas?
Honestly, I was not surprised at his mother's reaction, having suspected that my mother had likely told relatives that I never visited my father in the hospital or called to inquire about his condition. It still amazes me that they think they should completely ignore me as long as they are healthy, but then expect to me rush to their sides when one of them has a medical crisis! So I was disappointed but not surprised at my aunt's reaction.
But I was completely blindsided by the emotions that came flooding back to me as I composed a response to my cousin. I really wanted him to understand the context from which my words had been taken, and to assure him that I still considered him and other non-JW relatives as family. As I organized my thoughts and typed them out, I couldn't believe how much this could still hurt me. Its been 14 years. I don't understand how this could still make me cry.
I tell myself I've healed - and thought I had - that its all behind me now. But then something like this happens and it feels like the wound has been ripped wide open again. How can this still have such power over me?
I want to take that power away. I want to feel confident that it won't hurt me anymore. I want to say 'I'm a good and decent person. If you really knew me you'd know that its certainly YOUR loss' and be able to believe it. But then something like this has the power to make me question my own validity and right to happiness. Why? How?
Drag queen name of the day: Tara Cotta
Telecommuters work naked
Posted Aug 13th 2007 3:55PM by Jonathon Morgan
Sure, it's easy to pick out an outfit for the office. Even if you're only marginally interested in fashion, chances are that you'll outshine the lackluster efforts of your mostly drab co-workers. But what should you wear when your office ... is your couch?
For those of us who telecommute, or work from home, our standard getup for the daily grind is our favorite pair of pajamas. However, the latest trend amongst home-office types is nothing of the sort -- it's nothing at all, actually.
Naked. Nude. In the buff. That's how 1 in 8 men and 1 in 14 women like to work from home. The desire to bare all while bringing home the bacon is becoming so popular that one California-based clothing-optional resort reports that 80% of their guests aren't on vacation -- they just like to work without covering their bits and pieces.
So the next time you're chatting with your accountant, graphic designer, publicist -- or anyone else who might be free to work out of their house -- picture them naked. It's quite possible that they already are.
Drag queen name of the day: Jane Reaction
Thursday, August 16, 2007
- Dinner with Paul & Steve at a Chinese buffet on Fri evening
- Dessert with Rick & Nick (and likely others) at the Miltonian on Fri night
- Breakfast with visiting friends from VA Alice & Alta at the Blue Plate Diner on Sat morning
- Corvette and classic Car show with Rick & Nick in Georgetown on Sat afternoon
- Arrival of house guests/friends from Greg & Gerry followed by dinner on Sat night
Greg & Gerry are staying through Tues and I'm afraid the weather forecast is not going to make for a good time at the beach. It is supposed to rain or be overcast the entire time they're here. I'll have to remind them of the saying I recently saw: A cloudy day at the beach is better than a sunny day anywhere else.Drag Queen name of the day: Rachel Tensions
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
I thought I'd share my favorite summer dessert: berry parfait. I like this a lot because even though its mostly fruit, it still looks and tastes like dessert. And, of course, in the summer when you can get good, ripe berries at the local farmers markets and even the grocery stores, the fresh taste in heavenly. I also like this dessert because it takes very little time to prepare but it looks really fancy when served. So here goes:
- De-core and slice a bunch of strawberries. Put them in a mixing bowl along with a bunch of blueberries, sprinkle with 1 or 2 teaspoons sugar, and toss gently. Let them sit and macerate for at least 10 minutes so the berries and sugar produce their glaze.
- Place a spoonful of the berry mixture in the bottom of several Margarita glasses.
- Add a layer of whipped cream (either fresh or from a squirt can) or a dollop of Cool Whip.
- Add a layer of crumbled shortbread cookies.
- Add a larger spoonful (or two) of the berry mixture, to reach the rim of the glass. Optional: add a splash or two of Triple Sec.
- Top the berry mixture with more whipped cream, and garnish with a mint sprig.
Isn't that simple? You can even cut and macerate the berries ahead of time and keep in the fridge if you want, then assemble when guests arrive and you're ready to serve.
Of course you can substitute the shortbread cookies for something else if you can't find them or don't like them. Once I used crumbled blueberry scones and another time I used regular drop biscuits. Be sure to use something crisp or hard so you can crumble them. Do NOT use pound cake because then you're on the verge of turning your parfait into a trifle.
I really like serving this parfait in Margarita glasses because they have a nice, wide top. If you don't have Margarita glasses (oh, come now!) you can also use martini glasses. But I would NOT recommend using a narrow glass such as a pilsner because your ingredients may tend to slide down the inside of the glass on their way to the bottom, resulting in a messy look.
Enjoy your ripe summer fruits and look elegant while doing so, all without spending hours in the kitchen. Just my little gift to you.
Drag Queen name of the day: Greta Clue
Monday, August 13, 2007
Another Gay Republican Sex Scandal!
Posted Aug 12th 2007 5:00AM by Cenk Uygur
They did it again. These Republicans are unbelievable. This time it's the head of Young Republicans nationwide. It's another gay sex scandal. This one is even more serious because it involves non-consensual sex.
Glenn Murphy Jr. is chairman of the Clark County Republican Party and was just elected president of the Young Republican National Federation. But now he has to give up his spot because of yet another gay Republican sex scandal. He claims it's because he mysteriously and suddenly got a business offer he couldn't turn down. Yes, I'm sure it had nothing to do with the investigation the police just started against you.
Get a load of what this guy did......he lowered the pants of a young man while he was sleeping and tried to give him oral. Come on! Are there no bounds? The other man was not interested, was not gay and was not even awake. But when he did wake up he pursued charges against Murphy.
This isn't even the first time for Murphy. He did almost the same exact thing back in 1998 to another young man. Back then the boy he accosted in his sleep was 21. This time around, the boy as 22. Murphy is 33. By the way, why is a creepy 33 year old guy the head of the Young Republicans? Especially one who already has a track record of trying to give guys oral while they're sleeping.
Are there any Republicans left in the country who are not gay or involved in a sex scandal? It doesn't seem like it anymore. I think I left the Republican Party just in the nick of time, while I still have my pants on.
Watch The Young Turks Here
PS -- We do a segment called Republican Sexcapades every Thursday on our show. And in over a year that we have been doing the segment, we have never run out of material. I honestly can't believe how many sex scandals there have been involving Republicans lately. It makes our job too easy, and too much fun.
- I AM SO SICK OF HEARING ABOUT GAYS. KEEP IT IN THE DAMNED CLOSET. NO ONE WANTS TO HEAR THIS SICK SHIT. I HOPE ALL GAYS BURN IN HELL...IT IS NOT HOW GOD WANTED PEOPLE TO BEHAVE.
Carla at 9:04PM on Aug 10th 2007
- I beg to differ, Carla #1...I believe your hatred for gays is far more reprehensible than what this guy did...and what he did was bad. What this guy did was beyond sleazy...the guy was right to pursue charges. It would be the same if he did it to a woman in her sleep. What is wrong with people? Wonder why the GOP left this guy in charge if they know it happened in 1998? What? The GOP burying a sex scandal? Can you say Mark Foley?
David S. at 9:22PM on Aug 10th 2007
- What difference does it make if he's gay? I'm more disturbed about the fact that he's a sex offender who has positioned himself so that he has access to his victims. Are heterosexual rapists more appealing to you, Carla?
wtf at 9:23PM on Aug 10th 2007
- WOW Carla, your one angry bitch. You might want to get some help
george at 9:24PM on Aug 10th 2007
- Hey Carla! You must be a Republican/Christian,for when you sin , only you are forgiven. Listen here Mary Poppins, It is you "straight" people that are getting busted having gay sex, yet continue to call yourselves straight. Wanna call yourselves straight, Hell, go for it, it's your lable, just dont get caught. Opps! too late! Damn idiot. why don't you open your mouth a little wider so that your other foot will fit in it.WOOF!
Leo V. at 10:29PM on Aug 10th 2007
- Carla, If God didn't want gay people there wouldn't be any. (and please don't speak for God)
David at 10:40PM on Aug 10th 2007
- Gays are people too. God loves them too. They deserve respect. Onto the republicans---this is what i expect. more and more scandals. this is what they do. the GOP is supposed to be the clean, moral party. The exact opposite is becoming true. The democrats now stand for truth and running a clean government. Hopefully one takes over the White House. Patrick at 11:00PM on Aug 10th 2007
- Carla, your an ignorant idiot.
thebodysculptor at 11:12PM on Aug 10th 2007
- Gays need to take a lot more responsibility for reducing this behavior. When these incidents happen, we never hear the Gay Leadership denouncing these predators, and stressing that these criminals don't represent the character of gays. Instead, the Gays are more likely to defend the alleged predators.It's up to the Gay Leadership to define what their movement is all about and to distinguish themselves from the perverts who want to prey on uninterested/straight dudes.
Fred at 11:17PM on Aug 10th 2007
- While I think this man's actions are reprehensible, this man's political affiliation had nothing to do with his deviant behavior.
Steve at 11:24PM on Aug 10th 2007
- What does bbeing gay or straight have to do with a pervert that would molest him while he was sleeping. I have to wonder how many times he has done this and the young men are afraid or ashamed to report it. Get the perv out of that position and ARREST him.
Kat at 11:53PM on Aug 10th 2007
- There's no surprise that this happens to Republicans over and over and over again. They are the party of anti-gay bigotry -- and yet like every other segment of the population, their ranks include those who were born gay. Such men try to hide it this from others, even from themselves to the extent possible. But for some, the struggle is more than they canm bear, and they thus express their sexuality in these furtive ways.We have an excellent example of this right here on Newsbloggers -- right-wing loon Dinesh D'Souza regular posts comments about gay men (rarely lesbians) with an obsessive fascination that suggests something quite different from disapproval...
Richter at 12:20AM on Aug 11th 2007
- Who invented the aids drugs that saved the lives of tens of thousands of gays?Probably some rich republicanemployees of drug companies.It really does not matter to most people if someone is gay or not,unless the person who is gay is a member of their family.If someone wants to bring joy to their parents tell them you are gay that willreally make them happy.Ha-Ha
Edward katz at 12:28AM on Aug 11th 2007
- THE MAIN QUESTION BEING,,,WAS HE GAY BY CHOICE, OR WAS HE A REPUBLICAN BY CHOICE? MY GUESS IS BOTH. IF HE WERE ALSO A MORMON AND BLACK, THAT MAY ALSO ADD TO THE PROBLEM. POLITICAL CORRECTNESS COUNTS SO MUCH TO THE YOUNG TERKS.
Plinkoman at 12:53AM on Aug 11th 2007
- david i am sorry but god never created homsexual he create male/female there is no 3 sex homsexual is prevert sexual act between two people of the same sex end of story you are either male or female
eunice at 1:04AM on Aug 11th 2007
Drag Queen name of the day: Ima Starr
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Church Cancels Memorial for Gay Vet
By ANGELA K. BROWN, AP
Posted: 2007-08-11 18:24:38
Filed Under: Nation News
ARLINGTON, Texas (Aug. 10) - A megachurch canceled a memorial service for a Navy veteran 24 hours before it was to start because the deceased was gay.
Officials at the nondenominational High Point Church knew that Cecil Howard Sinclair was gay when they offered to host his service, said his sister, Kathleen Wright. But after his obituary listed his life partner as one of his survivors, she said, it was called off.
"It's a slap in the face. It's like, 'Oh, we're sorry he died, but he's gay so we can't help you,"' she said Friday.
Wright said High Point offered to hold the service for Sinclair because their brother is a janitor there. Sinclair, who served in the first Gulf War, died Monday at age 46 from an infection after surgery to prepare him for a heart transplant.
The church's pastor, the Rev. Gary Simons, said no one knew Sinclair, who was not a church member, was gay until the day before the Thursday service, when staff members putting together his video tribute saw pictures of men "engaging in clear affection, kissing and embracing."
Simons said the church believes homosexuality is a sin, and it would have appeared to endorse that lifestyle if the service had been held there. "We did decline to host the service - not based on hatred, not based on discrimination, but based on principle," Simons told The Associated Press. "Had we known it on the day they first spoke about it - yes, we would have declined then. It's not that we didn't love the family."
Simons said the decision had nothing to do with the obituary. He said the church offered to pay for another site for the service, made the video and provided food for more than 100 relatives and friends. "Even though we could not condone that lifestyle, we went above and beyond for the family through many acts of love and kindness," Simons said.
Wright called the church's claim about the pictures "a bold-faced lie." She said she provided numerous family pictures of Sinclair, including some with his partner, but said none showed men kissing or hugging.
The 5,000-member High Point Church was founded in 2000 by Simons and his wife, April, whose brother is Joel Osteen, well-known pastor of the 38,000-member Lakewood Church in Houston. Now High Point meets in a 432,000-square-foot facility in Arlington, near Dallas.
Wright said relatives declined the church's offer to hold the service at a community center because they felt it was an inappropriate venue. It ultimately was held at a funeral home, but the cancellation still lingered in some minds, she said.
Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
Drag Queen name of the day: Anita Bath
Friday, August 10, 2007
Spouse is a very good cook. His grandparents immigrated from Italy and his parents were both born in America. They learned both Italian and American cooking. Spouse's father worked in a bakery as a teenager and Spouse learned how to make wonderful bread, pizza dough, and focaccia from his father.
Spouse learned how to make the best meatballs in the world from his aunt Rosie in Philadelphia. While the rest of the extended family was at church on Sun morning, Spouse would watch aunt Rosie make meatballs in her kitchen, smoking Camel straights, and listening to opera. He swears you can't duplicate the taste of aunt Rosie's meatballs without the cigarette smoke and opera music. Fortunately, everyone loves his meatballs just as much, even if they aren't an exact duplicate of aunt Rosie's.
It is unnecessary for us to discuss who will do what when we prepare to have people over for dinner. I know it is my job to clean the house and set the table, while Spouse knows he is responsible for cooking the meal.
But over the years as we've accumulated more and more kitchen gadgets and utensils, I've noticed Spouse seems to use more and more of them. Why does it take 3 pots, a skillet, 6 large spoons, 4 spatulas, a pair of tongs, 2 dinner plates, and a saucer to make spaghetti and meatballs? I'm sure I've made a 4-course meal with only half the paraphernalia.
And lord help him to use a spoon rest! He'd rather rest a stirring spoon on a folded paper towel or a saucer, for some odd reason. I'd suggested he use the spoon rest, which sits conveniently on the counter next to the stove. But he resists and says that a paper towel or saucer is fine.
Thank god for the dishwasher. I put everything except the pots and pans in the dishwasher, since they tend to come out spotty. Plus, they take up a lot of space, so I wash them by hand.
Drag Queen name of the day: Corey Ann Counters
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
The ferry system is pretty cool. You drive your vehicle right onto the ferry, and then you can sit in the lounge or on the upper decks as the ferry crosses the Delaware Bay. It takes about 75 minutes and is a beautiful trip. We saw schools of dolphins jumping out of the water.
The ferry docks in Cape May, a beautiful seaside village full of gorgeous Victorian homes, hotels, and bed & breakfasts. We drove around for a while, gawking at the stunning architecture and wondering how much money people have to make to be able to afford these places. Then we parked and strolled down a pedestrian mall of little art shops, boutiques, and the like.
Ironically, Wildwood is the closest seaside town to Cape May, but is the polar opposite of Cape May. All the original structures in Wildwood appear to have been built around the same time, in the late 50s or early 60s. There are fabulous Jetsons-looking motels and stunning examples of mid-century modern ranch homes. Nothing Victorian about that. But sadly, many of the cool motels are being torn down and replaced with tacky, fake-Mediterranean condos. What a shame! Wildwood has a very long boardwalk with the typical boardwalk offerings: t-shirt shops, souvenir shops, games, arcades, soft pretzels, ice cream, funnel cake, water ice, and amusement rides.
It was easily close to 100 degrees and extremely humid. It seemed we'd walk 20 feet, then duck into a t-shirt shop just for the air conditioning, then walk another 20 feet and duck into a funnel cake shop just for the air conditioning. We got ice cream cones at one of our duck-ins, and it was so hot outside that the ice cream immediately began to run down the side of the cone. I kept licking the cone so as not to drip. I think that's the fastest I've ever eaten an ice cream cone! Fortunately it was too hot outside to result in a brain freeze.
We took the ferry back to Lewes and were really happy that the air conditioning was working. The morning ferry's a/c was either not turned on or was broken. It was a really enjoyable day, but it would have been even better if it wasn't so stinkin' hot and humid.
After returning home, all 4 of us showered and then had dinner at Striper Bites in Lewes. Our food was deliciously served in the air conditioned restaurant - the perfect end to our day.
Drag Queen name of the day: Maya Buttreaks
Monday, August 06, 2007
On Sun afternoon Spouse's brother Louis and his wife Karen arrived. They'll be staying with us through Fri. Kerry & Hugh, Louis & Karen, and Spouse & I all enjoyed a delicious dinner together Sun night at La Rosa Negra before Kerry & Hugh headed back to VA.
Louis & Karen have lots of things planned for their vacation this week, including shopping at the outlet stores, time at the beach (of course), taking the ferry to Cape May and Wildwood NJ, exploring Lewes and Rehoboth, going to the movies, and hopefully relaxing.
Spouse & I were supposed to go with Rick & Nick to the Milton 200th anniversary parade on Sat afternoon, but it was so hot and humid I told Spouse I didn't want to go. I just couldn't see myself standing on that black asphalt in the 90-something degree heat with the 90-something percent humidity, sweating profusely and feeling disgusting. I mean, I like parades and all, but not enough to go through all that.
I wish the weather forecast for the week was better. Today it was hot, humid, and cloudy all day. It looked as if it was going to rain at any minute, but so far it hasn't. Tues & Wed its going to be in the mid-to-upper 90s and very humid. I hope Louis & Karen still have a good time.
On Fri after Louis & Karen leave, our friend Michael will arrive and stay with us for the weekend.
Drag Queen name of the day: Eula Gree
Friday, August 03, 2007
No, this is not the result of a bad LSD trip.
About 2 weeks ago we had some fairly strong storms and one of the trees in the vacant lot adjacent to our house lost a pretty big limb. The limb appeared to be dead so it was no great surprise that the wind pulled it off. As the limb fell to the ground it snapped off a smaller but live limb, and both laid on the ground for a about 2 weeks.
A few days ago our neighbor who owns the vacant lot met with a guy from a tree service and I could see them talking and pointing up at some of the trees. I imagined they were discussing which ones had dead limbs that needed to be removed, and I privately applauded my neighbor for taking this action.
Although the vacant lot is rather small (30' wide by 100' deep) it had 14 tall, old trees. I estimate some of the trees were 60' feet tall. I enjoyed having the trees on the lot as it provided a natural visual buffer between our house and the neighbors. The tall trees also provided welcome shade to our house and back/side yard. But I knew that at least some of the limbs needed to be removed since they were dead. We certainly didn't want any limbs crashing down onto or into our house.
This morning the tree service returned with a 'cherry picker', a dump truck, a front-end loader, a tree mulcher, and a crew of about 6 men. This did not look like the crew you'd send to remove a few dead limbs. I started to get a little nervous and the machinery roared to life.
A guy with a chain saw hopped into the bucket of the 'cherry picker' and navigated around the tops of the trees, cutting off limbs one by one, which fell to the ground with a sound like a giant fly swatter hitting a wall. As each limb dropped, the other men hauled them over to the tree mulcher and shoved them inside. In just seconds each heavy limb was shredded and blown into the dump truck. I hoped they were going to stop after removing the tops of the trees and any dead limbs, but they didn't.
The loud noises of the chain saw, tree mulcher, and front-end loader continued the entire day. There was so much sawdust in the air that when I looked out the window on the opposite side of the house from where they were working, it looked as if it were snowing. Our yard, sidewalk, driveway, cars, porch, and roof were all coated in sawdust. When they quit working around 4:00 all that remained were 14 stumps. It made me sad.
Our neighbor who owns the lot stopped by to tell me that the tree service would be back on Mon to remove the stumps and clean up. He assured me that our yard would be cleaned of all that sawdust, and I thanked him for being so considerate, though I bet they'll just take a leaf blower and blow the sawdust from the yard into the street.
So, they cut down all the shade and made it snow in Aug.
Drag Queen name of the day: Mary Land