Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween, everyone!

You may recall I mentioned that last weekend when Mike & Clark and Bugs & Roger visited us we went to a Halloween costume party at our neighbor's house. The guys and Spouse weren't too thrilled about the idea when I first brought it up, but fortunately they were all 'good sports' and played along.

Just before we were about to walk the 2 blocks to our neighbor's house, it began to pour down raining! We decided to take a few pictures while we waited for the monsoon to pass. Here's me and Spouse as Barney Rubble and Fred Flintstone. (All photos on this page may be clicked to enlarge.)
The Barney and Fred costume idea was Spouse's. I could have thought of at least 100 other (read: better) costume ideas, but acquiesced since I knew Spouse would be more apt to actually participate if he were happy and comfortable in his costume. We used fleece throws from Wal-Mart, sewn with the help of Bugs, and I used iron-on patches for the spots on Fred's tunic.

At the party people only seemed to 'get' my costume if I was standing with Spouse. Alone my costume appeared ambiguous, and I was asked if I was a monk (?) and John the Baptist. So I did my best to stand and sit near Spouse.

Mike & Clark and Bugs & Roger are pictured below. It took me a minute to 'get' their costume. How about you?
If you said "They're Black-eyed Peas!" then you'd be right. Bugs sewed the Ps onto their sweatshirts, and they used theatre make-up to give themselves black eyes. Clever!

Tonight Spouse & I are driving back to DC for the weekend. Our 1st stop is at our friends Justine & Liz's house in Silver Spring, MD. A few weeks ago they slipped up to MA and got married, and tonight they are having a Halloween costume party/wedding reception at their house. The theme is "couples", due to their recent wedding. So Fred & Barney will be reappearing there tonight.

On Sat and Sun we'll be meeting up with some friends and family. We decided to board Jordan since we'll be running around the entire weekend. We like to think of it as Jordan having a "spa weekend", complete with a bath, nail trim, and massage. Nothing but the best for our pooch.

Here's a photo of my Halloween 2006 costume, sandwiched between Richard Simmons and the Bride of Frankenstein.
The scary part of it is that I put together the Boy George costume completely from clothing Spouse & I already owned! The only thing I bought was the wig and the stick-on numbers. I won 1st runner up in a costume contest at Freddie's Beach Bar.

Back in 1996 I talked 5 of my female co-workers into dressing up with me as The Village People. I'm the Cowboy on the right. The other 5 are females! Check out the Leatherman with the huge mustache.
In this photo we're lip-syncing the song "Y.M.C.A." and doing simple choreography in the breakroom at work. I'm not sure I've ever laughed as hard or as long as I did that day. Good times!

In 1994 I dressed as a patient in a hospital bed.
I'm actually standing up in this picture. The 'bed' is made of cardboard, with a whole in the middle in which I'm standing. I have rope suspenders over my shoulders, holding the 'bed' up. The 'legs' are panty hose stuffed with plastic bags. I won 1st place in a costume contest with this.

I hope everyone has a fun and safe Halloween. Don't forget to take pictures and post them on your blogs!

Crush du Jour: Ted Colunga

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Making the case for gay marriage


This is an excellent article that I believe will help all of us better explain why same sex marriage is good for society, rather than detrimental. The logic presented here is flawless. The bolded parts were my addition. Please feel free to repost.

Making the case for gay marriage
By John Corvino, columnist, 365gay.com

I’ve been doing a lot of same-sex marriage debates lately, and thus interacting with opponents—not just my debate partner, but also audience members, some of whom will soon be voting on marriage amendments.

Recently one of them asked, “Where does your standard of marriage come from?”

From her tone, I could tell she meant it more as a challenge—a purely rhetorical question—than as a genuine query. Still, I wanted to give her a good answer.

But what is the answer? My own “standard” of marriage, if you can call it that, comes from my parents and grandparents, whose loving, lifelong commitments I strive to emulate. That doesn’t mean mine would resemble theirs in every detail—certainly not the male/female part—but I can’t help but learn from their example.

That wasn’t the answer she was looking for, so she asked again. This time I tried challenging the question: talking about “THE” standard of marriage suggests that marriage is a static entity, rather than an institution that has evolved over time. Historically, marriage has been more commonly polygamous than monogamous; more commonly hierarchical than egalitarian. It changes.

I pointed these facts out, adding that our standard for marriage—or any other social institution—ought to be human well-being. Since same-sex marriage promotes security for gay and lesbian persons and, consequently, social stability, it meets that standard.

She wasn’t satisfied. “But if we don’t have a single fixed standard,” she continued, “then anything goes.”

There’s something rhetorically satisfying when an opponent’s fallacies can be identified with neat names: in this case, “false dilemma.” Either marriage remains solely heterosexual, she was saying, or else society embraces a sexual free-for-all—as former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum put it, “man on man, man on dog, or whatever the case may be.”

No, no, no. The fact that boundaries change and evolve does not entail that we should have no boundaries at all, or that where they’re drawn is entirely arbitrary. Again, the standard is societal well-being, and everyone agrees that “man on dog” marriage fails to meet that standard. Let’s not change the subject.

Her challenge reminded me of those who cite the dictionary and then object that same-sex marriage is “impossible by definition,” since marriage by definition requires a husband and wife. Dictionaries reflect usage, and as usage evolves, so do dictionaries. (Ever try to read Beowulf in the original Old English?)

More important, the dictionary objection founders on the simple fact that if something were truly “impossible by definition,” there would be no reason to worry about it, since it can’t ever happen. No one bothers amending constitutions to prohibit square circles or married bachelors.

But my rhetorical satisfaction in explaining “false dilemma” and the evolution of language was tempered by the reality I was confronting. My questioner wasn’t simply grandstanding. She was expressing a genuine—and widely shared—fear: if we embrace same-sex marriage, than life as we know it will change dramatically for the worse. Standards will deteriorate. Our children will inherit a confused and morally impoverished world.


Such fear is what’s driving many of the voters who support amendments in California, Florida, and Arizona to prohibit same-sex marriage, and we ignore or belittle it at our peril.

And so I explained again—gently but firmly—how same-sex marriage is good for gay people and good for society. When there’s someone whose job it is to take care of you a vice-versa, everyone benefits—not just you, but those around you as well. That’s true whether you’re gay or straight.
I also explained how giving marriage to gay people doesn’t mean taking it away from straight people, any more than giving the vote to women meant taking it away from men. No one is suggesting that we make same-sex marriage mandatory. Our opponents’ talk of “redefining” marriage—rather than, say, “expanding” it—tends to obscure this fact.

Not all fears bend to rational persuasion, but some do. In any case, I don’t generally answer questions in these forums for the sole benefit of the questioner. Typically, I answer them for benefit of everyone in the room, including the genuine fence-sitters who are unsure about what position to take on marriage equality for gays and lesbians.

To them, we need to make the case that same-sex marriage won’t cause the sky to fall.

Crush du Jour: Sean Faris

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cadillac style

OMG - I bought a car on ebay that I've never seen in person!

I mentioned yesterday that I've been shopping for quite a while for a 1959 Cadillac. I've been to several in-person car shows and vintage auto auctions, and I've been scanning the classifieds on the Hemmings website, all without finding the right car in the right condition at the right price. Very recently I began looking on ebay.

Initially I was concerned about vehicle misrepresentation on ebay and sellers who'd try and take my money without giving me the car. But with some investigating I came to find that ebay sellers establish a reputation for themselves in the form of positive feedback from past buyers. Also, using PayPal gives one an ally in case there is an discrepancy, in addition to securely transferring funds without revealing credit card or bank account numbers.

I was also concerned about purchasing something I'd never seen in person. I'm a person who rarely shops online because I want to see, touch, and feel the items I'm considering buying. But since all of the cars I liked in the Hemmings classifieds were too far away to see in person, I accepted the fact that I would be buying a car without having seen it in person regardless of whether it was on Hemmings or ebay. And the selection on ebay was very, very good.

Last Sat I bid on a 1959 Cadillac Coupe de Ville (2-door), in powder pink, located in FL. The current bid was a good price, but the auction reserve had not been met. I bid and became the high bidder, but the reserve was still not met. With about 10 minutes remaining in the auction, I upped my bid 2 more times, hoping to meet the reserve, but it didn't happen. Hence my comment yesterday about sellers with high reserves.

I'd also been watching another car for several days, and its auction was to end yesterday afternoon. Its a 1959 Cadillac Sedan de Ville (4-door), in 'Vegas Turquoise', located in MI. With about 20 minutes left in the auction I entered my bid, making me the high bidder, but the reserve had not yet been met. I knew the approximate value of the car, as well as my self-imposed spending limit, and decided to up my bid once in hopes of meeting the reserve, and it worked!

The reserve was met and I was the high bidder, with about 10 minutes left in the auction. I refreshed my page every other minute to make sure I was still on top until the auction ended. This is what I bought:


Isn't it gorgeous? I'm VERY excited!

I sent the seller a message through ebay, providing him with my email address and phone number. He called me later that evening. Then I went through the annoying task of trying to figure out my old PayPal info, which I hadn't used in several years. After getting that all straightened out I sent the seller my deposit and asked him for an auto shipping recommendation.

I also got auto shipping info from The Newlyweds who recently shipped one of their cars to Portland, OR. However, the price and terms of this shipper were not as favorable to my particular situation as they were to The Newlyweds, so I wound up going with the seller's auto shipping recommendation.

So my new beauty should be arriving Thur or Fri of next week!

Obviously a car like this is not purchased to be practical, its purchased because its so darned stylish. Really, its drivable art! It practically begs for personalized license plates.

So now comes a favor I will ask of you: What should the personalized license plates read??? I appreciate any and all recommendations.


Crush du Jour: Carmine Giovanazzo

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Shopping

Last Fri when Mike & Clark and Bugs & Roger were here they decided to take advantage of the tax-free shopping at the outlets. They bought clothes for work and play, shoes, music, and socks and undies. They joked that they might not have enough room in the car to bring home their luggage and their bargain finds, since the 4 of them traveled together in Bugs & Roger's Prius. But by consolidating their bags and ditching the shoe boxes they made it all fit. We had fun shopping, and have a fabulous weekend together!

I've been shopping on eBay for 1959 Cadillacs. I bid on one Sun evening, but the auction reserve price was apparently too high, as the vehicle did not sell by the time the auction ended. I was a bit disappointed, but found several others to watch and possibly bid on. I have some advice for vintage car sellers: No one needs a vintage car. People buy them because they like them and have some money. But when the national economy appears to be on the brink of collapse, people aren't nearly as willing to buy unnecessary items like vintage cars, so you should consider lowering your reserve prices. I'm just sayin'.

Everyone's heard that the Republican party spent $150,000. on designer clothes for VP candidate Sarah Palin and her family. But did you hear where she used to shop? A consignment store called "Out of the Closet"! If that's not irony, I don't know what is!!! There's nothing wrong or shameful about shopping at a consignment store. But considering her position that gays and lesbians shouldn't have equal rights, I find it hilarious that she's been a regular shopper for 3 years at a store called "Out of the Closet". In other words, she supports the concept of "Out of the Closet"!

Crush du Jour: Marios Lekkas

Monday, October 27, 2008

Auction Angel

Have you heard the story about the woman who bought a foreclosed house in TX so that the home's former owner - a complete stranger - could move back in with her children? Its true, and the generous home buyer is being referred to as the 'Auction Angel'.

Woman buys back foreclosed home for stranger
By MONIKA DIAZ / WFAA-TV

DALLAS - Two strangers were brought together by a leap of faith and one piece of property that was among 200 North Texas homes up for auction at the Dallas Convention Center.

While the misfortune of others lured hundreds of bargain hunters to the foreclosure auction, Tracy said she came to find closure. The mother took her seat among a sea of investors and strangers to say goodbye to her Pottsboro home, which is located just west of Denison.

"It means so much to all of us," she said of her home that she lost to foreclosure. "It's not just a house."

At the fast-paced and energetic event, Tracy's tears did not go unnoticed.

"She was crying and I asked her what she was upset about," said Marilyn Mock, of Rockwall.
When Tracy's home, "Number 73," came up for auction, Mock raised her hand and bid. With no picture of the property in the auction book, Mock had only Tracy's word on the home's worth.
"I just kept asking her is it worth it? She said yes, and then it went again," Mock said.


Bid after bid, Mock kept raising her hand.

"The next thing you know, she tells me she is doing this for me and then she had it," Tracy said.
It was a second chance given to Tracy by a stranger.


Mock paid less than $30,000 for the property and said she plans to meet with Tracy in the next few weeks to work out the details.

"I have to look it up on the map," Mock said of Pottsboro.

Despite the risk, Mock said it was a simple decision.

"People need to help each other and that's all there is to it," Mock said humbly of her choice.
"She knows how much she has blessed my life," Tracy said. "Nobody's ever done anything like that for me before, and I hope that I can repay the favor."

*****

This is a heartwarming story that might almost renew your faith in humankind. Would you have done the same thing? I like to think of myself as caring and generous, but I'm not sure I would have done it.

The story doesn't detail what kind of arrangement was struck between the buyer and the former owner. Maybe the buyer will rent the home to the single-parent family. If that is the case, the buyer may be both generous and savvy.

If the buyer went to the auction to buy a foreclosed home and realized she could buy one with a built-in tenant, she may have figured she could purchase an investment property, automatically have a tenant for it, and save the former owner from being homeless all at the same time. That's the scenario I'm gonna go with.

Crush du Jour: Nate Berkus

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Advertising

I'm sure that you've seen pharmaceutical advertising in doctor's offices on everything from tissue boxes to note pads to pens to exam table cover paper.

Well, in my book, this one should win the prize. Very clever!

Crush du Jour: Geoff Begnaud

Friday, October 24, 2008

Ellen

I've gotta hand it to Ellen. She has really been workin' the whole "No on Prop 8" campaign. She dontated $100,000. toward the campaign against Prop 8, and has been talking about it every chance she gets, with guests on her show, and when she is a guest on other shows.

Check out all the videos! I really admire a person who puts their money where their mouth is, and Ellen is continuing to do that. Go, Ellen!

I guess its no surprise who Ellen will be voting for on Nov 4th. Check out Ellen's visits from Barack and Michelle Obama.

Crush du Jour: Barry Watson

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Visitors

Tonight our friends Bugsy & Roger and Mike & Clark are coming! They'll be visiting through Sun, and we've been looking forward to their visit for several months, since we scheduled it.

Of course that means we're doing a major housecleaning. We did some on Sun, a a little Tues evening, and a little last night. Today will be my big 'vacuum and dust the entire house, yes, all 3 floors'.

We met Mike & Clark in Oct of 1997 at a financial seminar for gay couples. We happened to sit at the same table and found that we lived in adjacent neighborhoods. They are great guys and we've been friends ever since.

We met Bugs & Roger in Aug of 2003 through Mike & Clark. After meeting in Aug, we became fast friends and the 6 of us spent a great week's vacation at the beach together at the Outer Banks of NC in Sept. Good times!

Mike & Clark have visited us several times with another couple, Ron & James, and Bugsy & Roger have visited us several times, but this will be the 1st visit with Mike & Clark and Bugsy & Roger. We're sure to have a ball!

We don't have any specific plans for their visit, which is fine by me. I've taken tomorrow off work so I will hang with the guys, doing whatever they want, be it outlet shopping, antiquing, walking, or just sitting around talking and laughing. The talking and laughing part is a given!

After Spouse comes home from work on Fri the 6 of us will go out someplace nice for dinner. Sat night we're going to a Halloween costume party at our neighbor's, which should be fun. I've heard rumors that their Halloween costume parties are legendary, with prizes! Mike & Clark and Bugsy & Roger have not revealed their costumes to me, rather preserving the full affect for when we're together in person. Spouse & I have not yet settled on our costumes, since we have a few ideas that can easily be pulled together.

I hope I remember to take pictures.

Crush du Jour: Fadi Cherry

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Undecided

Yesterday I was reading this article over at my buddy Clark's blog and had to chuckle. David Sedaris humorously characterizes undecided voters:
"I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. “Can I interest you in the chicken?” she asks. “Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?”

Funny, right? The choice between McCain/Palin and Obama/Biden seems just that simple, doesn't it?

But then I was reading this article today and had to re-read sections to fully understand. Its confusing! This made me a bit more sympathetic to undecided voters if they are voting on specific issues rather than on the candidate's overall message.

In the article on the candidates' and VP candidates' view on gay marriage, we find:
  • McCain opposes gay marriage but would oppose a federal constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, but supports state level amendments to ban gay marriage
  • Palin opposes gay marriage, would support a federal constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, and supports state level amendments to ban gay marriage, but vetoed a bill that would deny benefits to partners of gay state employees in Alaska
  • Obama opposes gay marriage, but would oppose a federal constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, but supports civil unions that provide all the same benefits as marriage
  • Biden opposes gay marriage, but would appose a federal constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, but openly opposes Prop 8 in CA, and supports civil unions that provide all the same benefits as marriage

I don't feel embarrassed to say that most of this doesn't make sense to me.

Why would Palin want to ban gay marriage yet veto a bill to deny benefits to partners of gay state employees? Doesn't banning gay marriage effectively deny gay people these benefits?

Why would Biden be against gay marriage, but oppose Prop 8 which would invalidate the gay marriages that have already taken place in CA?

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Equal rights are most often fought for, not given freely. If you are a GLBT person and are not involved in the fight for equal rights yet, its not too late. Call, write, or email your representatives and tell them you want equal protection under the law. Tell them it is unfair to pay the same taxes as married people but not receive the same protections and benefits as married people. Tell them it is unfair to be unable to marry the person you love. Tell them it is unfair that you are vulnerable to discrimination (loss of employment, housing, etc.) based on your sexual orientation.

Remember the old adage: The squeaky wheel gets the grease. If you don't tell them, they won't know. Don't let your silence speak louder than your words.

Crush du Jour: Adam Baldwin

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Scared in CA

I know its fun to read blogs with clever stories and photos of hot, sexy men. Trust me, I do it too.
But today I implore you to click on the following 2 links and take a minute or 2 to read these important articles. They're about civil rights, not special rights. They're about YOUR rights and MY rights. We can't afford NOT to take action.

http://www.365gay.com/opinion/corvino-scared-in-california/
"If the election (on Prop 8 in CA) were held tomorrow, it’s quite likely that gays would lose marriage in California. California, our most populous state, home of San Francisco and Nancy Pelosi and the liberal Hollywood elite. What progressive California giveth, progressive California may taketh away."

http://www.365gay.com/opinion/neff-stop-putting-gay-rights-to-a-vote/
"Initiatives had once been the tool of progressives seeking to counter the money-influence in legislative chambers — the idea was to defeat the special interest groups by the power of the people. Initiatives increasingly seem the tool of conservatives seeking to roll-back, deny or withhold rights."

This is why the issue of RIGHTS should never be put to a populace vote. The majority will usually vote to keep the minority without equal rights. If the issue of civil rights for African Americans were put to a populace vote, its likely many states would still not provide civil rights for African Americans. That's why the COURTS are there: to keep the majority from victimizing the minority. And that's why equal protection under the law for GLBT people must be a federal mandate that covers citizens in all states and supersedes state constitutions that ban equal rights for GLBT people.

These are MY rights and YOUR rights that are being fought over. Please join the fight. Please contact your representatives and express yourself.

Crush du Jour: Brett Van Zant

Monday, October 20, 2008

Be careful what you wish for

I guess I shouldn't have sounded so smug last Thurs while talking about our temperatures in the 80s and it not feeling or looking like fall. Thurs high temp was 87.

Fri the temperature dropped about 30 degrees overnight and it became windy. Sat & Sun were more of the same. I put on jeans (long pants) for the 1st time in many months.

We still had our block party, but everyone had on coats. When the sun went down everyone huddled around the fire cages to keep warm. The block party ended much earlier this year than last, due to the cold and wind.

I made sweet potato shuffle and everyone loved it. I'll have to email the recipe to most of the neighbors. Many of them made tasty dishes too. It was fun to eat and socialize with our great neighbors.

This morning at 10am ET it was only 44 degrees. The forecast for this week shows high temps of only 55-60 degrees. It certainly feels like fall now! I'm resisting turning on the heat in the house, hoping that today's bright sunshine will help warm it up a bit. The thermostat on the main floor indicates its 65 degrees inside. I'm occasionally rubbing my hands together to warm them up.

Maybe this sudden cold snap will cause the leaves to finally change color. Pretty much everything is still green here, although I'm noticing that a certain type of tree (don't know which ones) are loosing their small, petal-shaped leaves all over our yard. But these appear to be the only trees that have lost their leaves so far.

So I guess the adage "Be careful what you wish for" still holds true.

Crush du Jour: Michael Fitt

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Ronald Reagan

I know I put a presidential politics moratorium on my blog until after the election, but a friend shared this video with me and I think its just too fabulous not to share with you.

I think it was created by an Obama supporter, as opposed to the Obama campaign itself.

If there's any way possible that someone could still be undecided on who they're going to vote for, this video should clear it up quickly.

Enjoy, and feel free to post on your blog.

Crush du Jour: Kyle Bornheimer

Friday, October 17, 2008

Motivational posters

Remember those motivational posters that were so popular in the workplace back in the 90s? I believe people have 'evolved' beyond motivational posters. I mean, has anyone seen a motivational poster in their workplace in the last 5 years? I believe employers now understand how offensive they were.

There was one in the kitchenette of my office that read something like "Dreams are the difference between good people and great people". I'm sure that's not the exact wording, but you get the picture. I would counter that "Dreams are the difference between sleeping people who never get caught because the boss is their sister-in-law, and hard-working, productive people like me", but I've never seen a poster like that.

Below are some motivational posters you are welcome to print and hang in YOUR workplace. Some of these made me laugh out loud, so I hope you enjoy them. All can be clicked to enlarge.



















Tomorrow is the date of our rescheduled block party with the neighbors. It was rescheduled from Sept 27th due to rain. It hasn't rained in 3 weeks, but the forecast for tomorrow is for rain! It appears out block party is doomed.
Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Crush du Jour: John Brotherton

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fall

I keep reading on other blogs about the subtle or not-so-subtle arrival of fall.

Many have talked about the crispness of the air, the changing colors of the leaves, and the cool temperatures. Some have posted gorgeous photos of the colorful spectacle of fall.

But here in southern DE, it does not look or feel like fall at all. The leaves are still green. Yesterday's high temperature was 80 degrees. There's only the slightest hint of fall's imminent arrival in the air at night. Everyone's still wearing shorts and open footwear. Photos taken today could easily be confused for May.

But I'm not complaining. This is what is referred to as Indian Summer, and I absolutely love it. It sort of feels like one is 'cheating' fall. Technically its fall, but it still feels like summer.

What's with this obsession with summer? Really, its the freedom I feel in summer, more than the actual weather. In summer I feel free to throw on a pair of shorts and a T-shirt and run out the door. I feel free to leave my convertible top down. I feel free to go places after work in the evening because daylight remains so much longer. The actual arrival of fall changes these things and temporarily steals my feeling of freedom.

But there's lots to enjoy in fall, so that makes up for having to wear long pants and socks in the house, and a jacket or coat and shoes when we walk the dog. Plus, I know summer weather and my summer freedom will return again next year.

Oh - our new bed arrived yesterday. Wow, its big. Upon Spouse's strong recommendation we upgraded from queen to king size, so its quite a bit wider than our old queen.

Spouse has gotten it into his head that the king is not as long as a queen. I suggested it just seems that way because of the king's width. Its almost square, as opposed to the queen's rectangular shape. But he's convinced they make kings shorter than queens to save money. After a very long pause I simply said "Okay. You're free to think that if you'd like." I looked online and confirmed that the queen and king are both 80" long. But as my favorite former boss used to say, "Sometimes the juice just isn't worth the squeeze".

Crush du Jour: Lucas Kerr

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Class surprises teacher on wedding day

My comments follow this story.

Class surprises lesbian teacher on wedding day
by Jill Tucker

A group of San Francisco first-graders took an unusual field trip to City Hall on Friday to toss rose petals on their just-married lesbian teacher - putting the public school children at the center of a fierce election battle over the fate of same-sex marriage.

The 18 Creative Arts Charter School students took a Muni bus and walked a block at noon to toss rose petals and blow bubbles on their just-married teacher Erin Carder and her wife Kerri McCoy, giggling and squealing as they mobbed their teacher with hugs.

Mayor Gavin Newsom, a friend of a friend, officiated.
A parent came up with the idea for the field trip - a surprise for the teacher on her wedding day.

"She's such a dedicated teacher," said the school's interim director Liz Jaroslow.

But there was a question of justifying the field trip academically. Jaroflow decided she could.

"It really is what we call a teachable moment," Jaroflow said, noting the historic significance of same-sex marriage and related civil rights issues. "I think I'm well within the parameters."

Nonetheless, the excursion offers Proposition 8 proponents fresh ammunition for their efforts to outlaw gay marriage in California, offering a real-life incident that echoes their recent television and radio ads.

"It's just utterly unreasonable that a public school field trip would be to a same-sex wedding," said Chip White, press secretary for the Yes on 8 campaign. "This is overt indoctrination of children who are too young to have an understanding of its purpose."

The trip illustrates the message promoted by the campaign in recent days, namely that unless Prop. 8 passes on Nov. 4, children will learn about same-sex marriage in school.

"It shows that not only can it happen, but it has already happened," White said.

California Education Code permits school districts to offer comprehensive sex education, but if they do, they have to "teach respect for marriage and committed relationships." Parents can excuse their child from all or part of the instruction.

On Friday, McCoy and Carder, both in white, held hands on Newsom's office balcony overlooking the rotunda and recited their vows.

"With this ring, I thee wed!" Carder said, shouting the last word for emphasis.

After traditional photos, the two walked out City Hall's main doors where the students were lined up down the steps with bags of pink rose petals and bottles of bubbles hanging from their necks. McCoy, a conferences services coordinator, was in on the surprise and beamed as the children swarmed around Carder.

The two said they have participated in the campaign against Proposition 8 and planned to travel around San Francisco on Friday afternoon in a motorized trolley car with "Just Married" and "Vote No on 8" banners.

The two met on a dance floor two years ago.

"This is one girl I can honestly say deserves happiness, and it came in the form of Kerri," said Carder's friend Dani Starelli.

Creative Arts administrators and parents acknowledged that the field trip might be controversial, but they didn't see the big deal. Same-sex marriage is legal, they noted.

"How many days in school are they going to remember?" asked parent Marc Lipsett. "This is a day they'll definitely remember."

Carder's students said they were happy to see their new teacher married.

"She's a really nice teacher. She's the best," said 6-year-old Chava Novogrodsky-Godt, wearing a "No on 8" button on her shirt. "I want her to have a good wedding."

Chava's mothers said they are getting married in two weeks.

The students' parents are planning to make a video with the children describing what marriage is to them.

Marriage, 6-year-old Nolan Alexander said Friday, is "people falling in love."

It means, he added, "You stay with someone the rest of your life."

As is the case with all field trips, parents had to give their permission and could choose to opt out of the trip. Two families did. Those children spent the duration of the 90-minute field trip back at school with another first-grade class, the interim director said.

"As far as I'm concerned, it's not controversial for me," Jaroflow said. "It's certainly an issue I would be willing to put my job on the line for."

--------------

I found this story to be sweet, and quite timely considering the battle over Prop 8 in CA.

I feel the field trip is completely justifiable, considering the kids learned about riding a bus, got to see City Hall, and witnessed a slice of legislative history. It was definitely a "learning moment" for them.

And I love that the kids were so excited to share the special moment with their favorite teacher. This was not an 'indoctrination to same sex marriage', as if that could somehow harm them. It was a learning opportunity as well as a way to congratulate their teacher.

Crush du Jour: Zachary Quinto

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Hurray for CT!!!

CT has joined MA and CA by implementing marriage equality for ALL its residents!!! (Bolding in the article below was added by me, not the writer.)

Connecticut Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage
By The Associated Press

(Hartford, Connecticut) Connecticut’s Supreme Court ruled Friday that gay couples have the right to marry, making the state the third behind Massachusetts and California to legalize such unions through the courts. The ruling comes just weeks before Californians go to the polls on a historic gay-marriage ballot question, the first time the issue will be put before voters in a state where same-sex couples are legally wed.

The 4-3 ruling is the first time that a state that had willingly offered an alternative to marriage was told by a court that civil unions aren’t enough to protect the rights of gay couples.

Connecticut was the first state to voluntarily pass laws to affirm civil unions.

"I can’t believe it. We’re thrilled, we’re absolutely overjoyed. We’re finally going to be able, after 33 years, to get married," said Janet Peck of Colchester, who was a plaintiff with her partner, Carole Conklin.

"I’m just ecstatic. It’s such a relief, the joy of it," said another plaintiff, Jody Mock of West Hartford, who sued with partner Elizabeth Kerrigan.

In the majority opinion, Justice Richard N. Palmer wrote that denying marriage to same-sex couples would create separate standards.

"Interpreting our state constitutional provisions in accordance with firmly established equal protection principles leads inevitably to the conclusion that gay persons are entitled to marry the otherwise qualified same sex partner of their choice," Palmer wrote.

The Family Institute of Connecticut, a political action group that opposes gay marriage, called the ruling outrageous.

"Even the legislature, as liberal as ours, decided that marriage is between a man and a woman," said executive director Peter Wolfgang. "This is about our right to govern ourselves. It is bigger than gay marriage."

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said the ruling goes into effect Oct. 28 when it is implemented by action of the of the Superior Court. There will be no appeal, he said.

Gov. M. Jodi Rell said she disagreed with the ruling.

"The Supreme Court has spoken," she said. "I do not believe their voice reflects the majority of the people of Connecticut. However, I am also firmly convinced that attempts to reverse this decision - either legislatively or by amending the state Constitution - will not meet with success."
State Sen. Michael Lawlor, chairman of the legislature’s Judiciary Committee, said he expects the General Assembly will pass a gay marriage law next year codifying the Supreme Court ruling.

"It’s important that both the legislature and the court weigh in," he said. "The court is saying that it’s a constitutional requirement that marriage should be equally available to gays and straights and the legislature should weigh in saying whether or not it’s constitutionally required, it’s the right thing to do."

The court was sharply divided in the decision, with three justices issuing separate dissenting opinions.

Justice Peter T. Zarella wrote that he believes there is no fundamental right to same-sex marriage, and the court’s majority failed to discuss the purpose of marriage laws, which he said is
to "privilege and regulate procreative conduct."

Zarella added, "The ancient definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman has its basis in biology, not bigotry. If the state no longer has an interest in the regulation of procreation, then that is a decision for the legislature or the people of the state and not this court."

The lawsuit was brought in 2004 after eight same-sex couples were denied marriage licenses and sued, saying their constitutional rights to equal protection and due process were violated. They said the state’s marriage law, if applied only to heterosexual couples, denied them of the financial, social and emotional benefits of marriage.

Supreme courts in Massachusetts and California also have ruled in favor of gay and lesbian couples, concluding the domestic partnerships were unequal to the rights given in heterosexual marriage.

Civil unions and a similar arrangement, known as domestic partnerships, are offered to same-sex couples in Vermont, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Oregon, Hawaii, Maine, Washington and the District of Columbia.

Peck said that as soon as the decision was announced, the couple started crying and hugging while juggling excited phone calls from her brother and other friends and family.

"We’ve always dreamed of being married," she said. "Even though we were lesbians and didn’t know if that would ever come true, we always dreamed of it."

Crush du Jour: Denis Sergovskiy

Monday, October 13, 2008

Where did the time go?

Oh my god, where did the time go? We had a fabulous time in NYC.

The BoltBus was terrific. It was clean, modern, roomy, and on time. I definitely recommend it. We arrived 1 block from my friend Lisa's office at 3:00 so she took our luggage up to her office while we explored. Our 1st stop was at the Barnes & Noble to buy a laminated 'pop-up' map of Manhattan. It was great because it folded/unfolded easily, didn't tear, and slipped into my front pants pocket. It is a NYC essential, and a bargain at $6.95. Armed with our nifty new map we walked down 7th Ave, turned onto W 23rd, stopped in at Ricky's Drag (and Halloween) Store, then headed up 8th Ave, and back to meet Lisa at 4:00. We took the 1 train to the 7, and the 7 across the river into Queens where Lisa lives. Spouse took a late afternoon nap while Lisa and I talked.

Around 7 or so we changed clothes and took the train back into Manhattan for dinner at 1 of Lisa's favorite restaurants Basilica at 9th Ave and W 47th St. Its a narrow, dimly lit place with exposed brick walls on both sides; quite cozy and attractive. Lisa and I both had a glass of Pinot Grigio, then I had the tortellini in cream sauce. Oh... my... god. It was absolutely delicious! Lisa and Spouse both had gnocchi which they enjoyed a lot. We talked politics, gay marriage, living in NY, and the 2 hours seemed to fly by. Then we caught a cab up to McAnn's at E 58th St and 1st Ave. where some new friends of Lisa's were performing. Sarah Hayes sang jazz standards accompanied by 3 excellent musicians on piano, drums, and string bass. As I raised my Cosmo to drink I saw it was back lit by the candle on the table, creating the most beautiful glow of blush in my martini glass. I imaged my cheeks were nearly the same shade. We sipped cocktails and enjoyed the jazz. Could anything be more quintessentially New York?

Fri morning Lisa went to work and we took the train into Times Square where we purchased tickets for a Grayline bus tour that took us past Macy's, Greenwich Village, the Empire State Building, the Flatiron building, Soho, Chinatown, Little Italy, Lower East Side, East Village, Tribeca, Rockefeller Center, the United Nations, the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum and Katharine Hepburn's apartment. The double-decker bus allows you to hop on and hop off at any stop, and the tour guides offered lots of interesting facts about NYC. We hopped off in Greenwich Village to meet DavidDust at Garage restaurant where we ate lunch. We had lobster sandwiches! If you can imagine it, David was even nicer, sweeter, and more handsome in person than he is in his blog! We had a great time and looked forward to getting together with him again the next day.

We picked up 1/2 price tickets at tkts to see "Gypsy" Fri night (word to the wise: bring cash because tkts does not take credit or debit cards), then headed back to Queens for a little snack and to change clothes. Back in Manhattan we found the theatre at W 44th St and 8th Ave, stopped at Starbucks for a mocha frappacino, then went to the theatre. We really enjoyed the show, but I must admit that I am not the biggest fan of Patti Lupone's singing in this show. Nobody can sing "Don't Cry For Me, Argentina" like Patti, but somehow I didn't think her singing translated in "Gypsy". There seemed to me to be too much variation between her straight-tone and vibrato singing. It was almost like a switch she turned off and on. But I was blown away by Laura Benanti who plays Louise/Gypsy. After the theatre we walked 24 blocks to Mare on 8th Ave and W 21st St in Chelsea where we ate dinner shortly before midnight. We walked all that way because it was an absolutely beautiful night. We opted to eat at a tiny table on the sidewalk so we could get fully intoxicated with NYC. I had seafood risotto. We took the 1 train to the 7 train back to Queens and crawled in bed at 2:00.

Sat morning we sat in Lisa's kitchen drinking coffee and talking until 1:00. We had such a good time that the time got away from us. We took the train into Manhattan and met our friend Michael at 7th Ave and W 28th St, near his office. The three of us walked to New Venus Diner at 8th Ave and W 23rd St and had a terrific late lunch. We hadn't seen Michael since our last trip to NYC 4 years ago so we had a great time catching up on all the goings-on in our lives. I had a Greek frittata. Afterward we strolled down 8th Ave into the heart of Chelsea and ducked into Rainbows and Triangles at 8th Ave and W 20th St. While inside I saw a man who looked very familiar, but since he didn't seem to notice me, I didn't say anything. As we were leaving I accidentally bumped him with my backpack, and as I turned to apologize I realized how I knew him. "You look very familiar" I said. "Do live on Capital Hill in DC?" I asked. His eyes opened widely and he replied "I used to." Then I said "Your name is Rhett, right? You're friends with Michael S. We met you at his house, and then came to your house with him for dinner several years ago." He smiled and we re-introduced ourselves and chatted for 15 minutes or so. What a funny coincidence to meet an old friend from DC in NYC. But it gets better.

Back out on 8th Ave we said goodbye to our friend Michael, then headed toward the Village for our little NYC blogger meet-n-greet. Jesse, Bam Bam, and YOU met us at The Monster at 7th Ave and Grove St, followed by DavidDust. It was great to meet them! Jesse was even sweeter, funnier, and cuter in person than in his films! Bam Bam was great too. I must be honest and say I was very excited to meet YOU, as I have admired and been inspired by his writing. We talked, we laughed, we drank. Where did the time go? I couldn't believe it when 2 hours had gone by and our group decided to go across the street to Marie's Crisis, a showtunes sing-along bar! We sang our big gay hearts out in the dark, dank basement until Jesse, Bam Bam, and YOU had to leave for a birthday party. DavidDust and Spouse & I stayed a little while longer and talked. On the way back to the train we ducked into Rawhide at 8th Ave and W 23rd St in Chelsea because we'd heard they had Go-go Men (not boys). It was so dark we couldn't see a thing, and were out of there in 3 minutes. Then it was back on the train to Queens.

Sun morning we sat and talked and drank coffee with Lisa in her kitchen again until nearly 11:00. As I was telling her the story of meeting Michael S's friend Rhett, she asked me if Michael S had a twin brother named Mark. My eyes nearly popped out of my head as I answered yes. As it turns out, Lisa met Mark S through a mutual friend! So let me spell it out for you: Lisa and I lived in the same neighborhood and went all the way through school together. Spouse & I met Michael S when he moved into the same neighborhood we'd just moved to, then met Michael's twin brother Mark shortly thereafter. Mark went to college with Debbie, who introduced Mark to Lisa, who Spouse & I were staying with in NYC. Is that not completely insane? Lisa, Spouse & I had brunch at Aubergine Cafe in Queens. I had a delicious sandwich of smoked turkey, granny smith apple, and cheddar cheese. Then we returned to Lisa's, packed up our stuff, and took the 7 train into the city for the last time. We caught the BoltBus and enjoyed an uneventful ride back to DE. We stopped for a delicious and filling dinner at Meding & Son Seafood. Spouse & I both had seafood platters, then returned home.

It was a fantastic trip! Although the forecast had originally called for a chance of showers, it didn't rain and wasn't even cloudy. It was perfect weather for being outdoors on foot, which we were. A lot. What absolutely killed me was everyone with the scarves. Granted, I understand that a scarf looped around the neck is a fashion accessory, but not when its 75 degrees outside! I honestly saw one guy wearing shorts, a t-shirt, old suit vest, and a scarf looped around his neck. Where else but NYC?

Crush du Jour: Dane Cook

Friday, October 10, 2008

Religion and gays

Hi. Its Fri and Spouse & I are cavorting all over NYC right now. But not wanting to disappoint you, I created this post in advance for your edification and pleasure.

Whether or not you are 'religious', check out these articles to see where religion and gays are/are not mixing.


Mormon Says Church threatens excommunication for supporting gay marriage

Presbyterian pastor who performed gay wedding cleared of charges

Church removes lector after gay memoir

Pa. Episcopal diocese OKs split over gays

And speaking of religion, doesn't today's Crush make you want to exclaim "Oh God!"

Crush du Jour: Leighton Stultz

Thursday, October 09, 2008

And the study says...

Hi. Its Thurs and Spouse & I are on our way to NYC! But I prepared this post ahead of time for you. I hope you enjoy it.

I thought this article was interesting! Let's hope this study finds its way to receptive legislative ears.

Study: Gays important resource in reducing children in state care

A study released Thursday by a non-partisan adoption group says that states need to tap into the gay and lesbian community to reduce the number of children up for adoption.

There are about 129,000 children waiting to be adopted, the New York-based Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute said in the report.

Many of these children are older and have special physical, mental health, and developmental challenges.

“[They] face gloomy prospects of succeeding in life without adoptive parents who can provide them with affection, nurture, support, and guidance,” the report said, noting that research shows that the 25,000 youths who “age out” of foster care each year are at high risk for a host of negative outcomes, including poverty, homelessness, incarceration and early parenthood.

The Institute study said that the pool of prospective adoptive parents must be increased and recommends that state laws and agency practices must be revised to become more welcoming of gay and lesbian applicants.

A number of states have banned same-sex marriage and several are moving to bar gay couples from adopting. Florida denies the right to adopt to all gays, whether in a relationship or not.

“State laws should serve children’s best interests by permitting joint and second-parent adoptions, and all states should give “full faith and credit” to adoptions legally completed in other states, without regard to the marital status or sexual orientation of the adoptive parents,” the report said.

It also recommends that qualifications, not sexual orientation, should be the guiding principle in finding homes for adoptive children.

“Agencies should assess their policies and practices to ensure that they are welcoming - in recruitment, training and post-placement services - for all qualified family resources who want to provide homes for children in foster care, including gay/lesbian individuals and couples,” the report said.

It cited a number of studies that found gay and lesbian adults are “very willing to adopt children with special needs and, as a demographic group, may be more willing to do so than heterosexual adults.”

The study further notes that data show that gay and lesbian adults provide a significant number of families for children who need foster or adoptive homes.

“Researchers estimate over 14,000 children live in lesbian- or gay-led foster families today, while at least 4 percent of all adopted children in the U.S. - about 65,000 - are being raised by gay and lesbian parents.” the institute said, citing earlier studies by the Urban Institute and the Williams Institute.

The institute said that although there is currently little research on the long-term outcomes for children adopted by gays or lesbians studies on children dating back 25 years conclude that children raised by gay and lesbian non-adoptive parents fare as well as those reared by heterosexual parents.

Crush du Jour: Johnny Hazzard

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Perfect timing

Last week I ordered Jesse's book "You Can Run: Gay, Glam, and Gritty Travels in South America", hoping it would arrive before our NYC trip so that:
  1. I would have something fun/interesting to read on the bus
  2. I could tell Jesse how much I loved it when I see him

However, when I checked the mailbox today, it still hadn't arrived. Bummer. So I was thinking that I should probably make a quick stop for a magazine or two this evening when I go to the ATM for cash for the trip.

But then as I was rifling through the mail, almost like magic I found:

1. the latest issue of Advocate
2. the catalog for the Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival

both of which made me very happy. Perfect timing! Spouse & I can both catch up on the latest and greatest of the gay, and I can read through descriptions of the films being shown at this year's festival.

What constitutes and independent film you ask?

While Hollywood films are created to make money, indie films are created to tell stories. While Hollywood films typically have big budgets and must fit into the MPAA's rating system (G, PG, PG-13, R, NC-17, X), indie films usually have little-to-no budget and are unrated. While Hollywood films usually fit into comedy, drama, or action categories, indie films are typically difficult to fit into a specific genre because their stories often tackle unusual and taboo subjects.

I have been a lover of indie films for years. I get lots of indie films from Netflix, and have made a point to take off days from work to see and review the films at the RB Indie Film Festival. You can read my reviews from 2005, 2006, and 2007 here, here, here, here, and here if you're interested. Add the films you like to YOUR Netflix queue.

Crush du Jour: Stephen Dorff