Archive for the 'Other People's Stories' Category



27
Jan
09

No Vegetables After Midnight

At a diner in center city Philadelphia, the Midtown III Diner and Cocktail Lounge, a friend of mine was recently seated for an after-hours snack. As he picked up the menu, the waitress told him gruffly, “No vegetables after midnight.”

I wonder if that includes french fries and ketchup, or if he was forced to choke down a plate of bacon and liverwurst.

20
Jan
09

44th and 1st

The inauguration, as witnessed through my friends’ Facebook status updates:

is anticipating noon

is having an inaugural pizza party

is thrilled, less than an hour to go before we come out of the darkness.

is wishing she was in D.C. right now!

is all about the transfer of power.

presidential pizza!

is thinking that both of her parents would have loved to see this moment.

is excited for change in Washington D.C., but it’s beginning to resemble a circus.

is a little choked up already.

thinks Bush is loaded. did he have a few bloody mary’s this morning?

wonders what’ll happen when they haul George W. out there.

The millions of waving flags are gorgeous.

Don’t worry…they will call him “Barack Hussein Obama” when they swear him in. No more of this “H” crap.

People of Earth…Miss Aretha Franklin!

agrees that Cheney being wheeled in looked like Mr. Potter.

is soooooo glad Cheney is gone!!!

What must Sarah Palin be doing now??

thinks Rick Warren could at least have gotten a decent haircut for the occasion.

Ladies and gentlemen … the Racial Inclusion Chamber Orchestra!

is a giant goosebump.

is STANDING!!

aw… hes stuttering :).

Unflappable Obama is a little flummoxed. As are we all. God bless.

has a new President!!!!

YAY!

HURRAY!

AWESOME!

is pretty damn proud to be an American today.

sssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhh The Prez is talking.

liked the shoutout to “data and statistics”.

is thinking we all need a little HOPE right about now.

wonders if Clinton taught Obama that thumb thing.

is wondering where Oprah is….

is proud that Obama did not omit his middle name when he took his oath.

is in awe of America

is moved

is ready

is happy happy happy!

It must be a difficult day for Hillary, but here she is…chosen to be tentpole for the “big tent.”

thinks we’re going to kick some ass now. America is BACK!

says now THAT is a president!

thinks the US turned this one out. Work.

Welcome home, Mr. President.

09
Jan
09

Best. Product. Review. Ever.

Ari Brouillette is my hero. Bear with this and read through to the end:

The Secret saved my life!

25
Aug
08

Golden Boy

This is old news, but I’m just getting to it now. Cute-as-a-bug’s-ear Australian diver Matthew Mitcham won gold on Saturday. I don’t think he was favored to win, and any one of the top scorers might have gotten it. On his own merits as a diver, this is impressive. According to 365gay.com, Mitcham earned the highest-scoring dive in the history of the Olympics — big news for diving and for Australia. And a break in China’s winning streak. But one of the main reasons this is so important is that he was the only out gay male athlete in Beijing.

I was in a bubble all weekend, at a rugby tournament in New Jersey on Saturday, and on the Jersey Shore with some rugby buddies all day Sunday. When rugby is happening, the world stops, doesn’t it? And if I had access to TV at the time, you know I’d have been all over those yummy divers. So I think I can forgive myself for missing the historic moment.

Someone went to the trouble of capturing all of his dives, the medal ceremony, and the following celebrations in one long clip. His final medal-winning dive comes in at around 6:16, but don’t miss the other amazing work that comes before.

Following the dive, you can see him raise his arms and looks across the crowd and sees the scores coming in. I think you can see the moment when he realizes he’s won a medal, when he brings his hands to his face and begins to cry.

At the medal ceremony, it’s fun to see him so excited next to the stoic Russian. And it’s sort of thrilling to see him leap up into the stands and climb up to kiss his mom and his partner and greet his other supporters after, like a good boy, asking permission from his doll-like usher.

19
May
08

So Vein

I owe a big thanks to my friend Jon for pointing this out to me. It is a brilliant observation that requires really very little further explanation.

Separated at birth?

You’re So Vain
Carly Simon

Bleeding Love
Photobucket

03
Apr
08

Kids Are Dumb and Therefore Funny

Babies are dumb. Little kids aren’t much better. And what are adults at the end of the day but tall kids with bumps and more hair. But as we grow and learn and try to make sense of things, we can come up with some bloody funny things.

Intelligent Design, for example.

Or The Bush Doctrine.

I was reminded of this when someone told me a story about his introduction, at the age of about 10 or 11, to a woman named Naomi.

“Hi, I’m Naomi,” she said.

“Naom-you?” he responded. He thought that when she said her name to someone it was Nao-me, and when someone else said her name to her it was Naom-you.

I myself am guilty of such leaps in logic. In kindergarten, I loved to bring in record albums (those were the days) for Show-and-Tell. It made me popular for a day if I chose the right record. There was the Grease soundtrack on one hand, and a reading of “The Three Little Pigs” on the other. Guess which one won me respect and admiration among my peers. Lord knows I can’t remember.

I forget which one it was — probably Grease — but a substitute teacher once forced me to hand over my record. My favorite song at the time was “Greased Lightning,” which contained a sexual reference or two in its lyrics that my young ears were too green to comprehend. I imagine she was trying to save me from myself, or to have a word with my mom or some such thing.

She was on a relatively long assignment, filling in for our regular teacher. Those were the days of Miss Nelson is Missing!. We did not like teachers, but a sub was the Devil incarnate. So naturally, I thought she was using her bully powers of adulthood (Oh, I couldn’t wait to grow up!) to steal it from me forever.

As I recall, I got it back by pouting at the end of class. Whether she had intended to give it back then or not I can’t say. I hated her and feared her. But I had no idea what would soon happen to the poor woman.

One day she wasn’t in class and we had a different sub. I asked what happened to Miss What’s-her-name, and someone (a student? my memory!) told me breezily that she had been fired.

I’d never heard of such a thing, and naturally I was horrified. They burned her to death? Just for taking my Grease album? Word got around, I guess. Maybe she had been mean to other kids at other schools. I felt vaguely responsible. I didn’t hate her that much. But also I felt vindicated, like a reign of terror had ended.

09
Mar
08

Discouraging Discourse

Apparently Geraldo Rivera has written a book. His Panic: Why Americans Fear Hispanics in the U.S.

Let’s ignore the implied sexism of the title; it’s not the worst part.

“His panic.”

Get it? Get it?

He was on NPR the other day talking about it. The conversation shifted from his personal experience — my dad came over on a banana boat, no one calls me Gerry, my mustache is a part of my cultural identity, that kind of thing — to a more general discussion about U.S. immigration policy.

“The hostility by some anti-immigrant activists against Hispanics is no different from that directed against earlier generations of Irish, Italian and Jewish immigrants,” he said.

Many of the most fervent anti-immigrant activists are themselves the children or grandchildren of immigrants. The style changes, the accents change, the geographical antecedents change, but it’s the same. You can track headline for headline the response to the Irish wave of immigration in the mid-19th century to the reaction of the Minutemen and similar radical anti-immigration groups today.

I can track with him so far. I probably wouldn’t argue with much of what he says in the book. But he took a turn in the interview that really disappointed me.

The anchor asked him something like What would you say to the people who argue that their views about immigration are mostly colored by the legality of citizenship and border security?

Geraldo responded in a tone of confident superiority: “Are you really concerned about ‘border security,’ or are you concerned about the changing demographic face of the United States? For example, if it’s terrorism that you’re concerned about and you want this fence built between the United States and Mexico, why don’t you want the same fence built between the United States and Canada?”

For Geraldo to jump directly to the bugaboo of terrorism struck me as a total dodge, and it really bugged me. Especially considering that Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff himself has stated publicly that he’s more worried about the terrorist threat from the Canadian side than the Mexican side.

Besides that, given the context, I understood the question of “border security” to be more about illegal immigration than terrorism.

He continued: “It’s not crime. It’s not terror. It is demographics that is the true fear. If we wanted secure borders, what about the entire Atlantic and Pacific coasts?”

That’s fine. Xenophobia and the institutional bullying of immigrants is certainly a problem. But also, certainly, is the growing pool of undocumented workers in this country. His evasion of the illegal immigration question does his argument a disservice. This — not terrorism — is the entire reason his book is relevant, and I think Geraldo missed a golden opportunity to contribute something meaningful to the national discussion. But he passed it up in favor of an intellectually dishonest soapbox. Perhaps more disappointing is that the anchor did not press him to answer the question. Apparently, a strongly worded statement about terrorism gets you a free pass.

20
Feb
08

Not So Sporting

From the BBC: Northern Ireland’s only gay rugby team is promoting a form of sporting apartheid, Sports Minister Edwin Poots has claimed.

Mr Poots said he could not understand the motivation behind the founding of the Belfast-based Ulster Titans.

“I just cannot fathom why people see the necessity to develop an apartheid in sport,” he said.

However, one of the team’s founders, Declan Lavery, said everyone was welcome to join the club. “When the club was set up it welcomed members regardless of their age, creed, religion, sexual orientation or whatever, and that’s how it continues,” Mr Lavery said.

However, Mr Poots said: “It would be unacceptable to produce an all-black rugby team or an all-white team or an all-Chinese team.

“To me it’s equally unacceptable to produce an all-homosexual rugby team and I find it remarkable that people who talk so much about inclusivity and about having an equal role in society would then go down the route of exclusion.”

This is just willful idiocy.

The facts are plain:

  1. The team was founded by gay men.
  2. Everyone is welcome to join whether they’re gay or not.
  3. It is not a gays-only team. There is no exclusion.

Yet his response is to call this apartheid. Is he even listening? Maybe he’d rather have the pootfers just keep their traps shut.

To call this “apartheid” is not only an insult to all the gay men who joined that team because they felt unwelcome elsewhere, but also to all people who really do experience exclusion. It’s precisely this kind of hostility that leads to the formation of gay-friendly sports teams in the first place.

29
Jan
08

Feed Me. Now. OK… Now. (No, really. Now!)

The fat one is ruled by that weird little beeping box. It’s perfectly ridiculous. Any sensible cat knows when she is hungry from the emptiness inside. But this one waits until that box bleeps every morning before rising to feed me. Despite the plainly stated reminders I gently whisper from across the room in my softly melodious voice.

Sometimes he’ll get my hopes up when he stirs. But as I dash toward the door, fervently calling out my thanks over my shoulder, I am often met with a pillow he has sent sailing across the room instead of the reverberating thuds of his footsteps.

The thin one doesn’t even move, unless it’s to pack his pillow more tightly around his head.

It’s enough to drive a self-respecting housecat to hunt. Right. Hunt what, exactly? Dust bunnies? In this dismal prison I have been reduced to such desperate acts as shredding whole rolls of toilet paper, or climbing atop dressers and tables and nudging artfully selected items to the floor.

To add insult to injury, they are also giving me less food these days. If they are not careful, I could lose weight, and we can’t have that. I mean, would they dare? Is it possible? In this place they have removed all exercise from my otherwise active and vigorous lifestyle. Sometimes I need to gallop from one wall to another just to produce a heart beat, just to prove I still can. Now I need to take 20 naps a day instead of my customary 18. I am all but forced to sit at the window, looking out into open air — where is the grass, by the way? the trees? — at those pesky, those dirty, those delicious pigeons.

If they don’t begin to treat me better, I think I will kill a mouse or a large insect and leave it on their bed.

I could do it, too.

20
Nov
07

It’s 2 a.m. Do You Know Where Your Contribution to Global Mercury Poisoning Is?

It’s like … ten thousand sick Nigerians when all you need is a clear desktop.

The day after we dropped off a non-functioning printer and a bag of old cell phones and chargers at the recycling center, we found this from the AP:

America Ships Electronic Waste Overseas

An excerpt:

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Most Americans think they’re helping the earth when they recycle their old computers, televisions and cell phones. But chances are they’re contributing to a global trade in electronic trash that endangers workers and pollutes the environment overseas.

While there are no precise figures, activists estimate that 50 to 80 percent of the 300,000 to 400,000 tons of electronics collected for recycling in the U.S. each year ends up overseas. Workers in countries such as China, India and Nigeria then use hammers, gas burners and their bare hands to extract metals, glass and other recyclables, exposing themselves and the environment to a cocktail of toxic chemicals.

“It is being recycled, but it’s being recycled in the most horrific way you can imagine,” said Jim Puckett of the Basel Action Network, the Seattle-based environmental group that tipped off Hong Kong authorities. “We’re preserving our own environment, but contaminating the rest of the world.”

Beautiful. You think you’re saving the planet, but really you’re just killing Chinese babies. Uhm … It was emotionally wrenching enough to get rid of my old Power Mac G3 in the first place (not to mention my dear departed iPod). I was hoping not to add unwilling complicity to murder into the bargain.

You just can’t win … so it would seem.

Lucky for us, we live in the civilized borough of Queens, and we dropped off our junk at Build it Green NYC‘s collection site in Astoria. In association with the Lower East Side Ecology Center, Build It Green provides a drop-off center for disposing of electronic equipment — the right way.

From their Web site:

Is any of the recycled material sent overseas?
No. We share your concern about dumping electronic waste on developing countries. Therefore we require that our vendors recycle all collected materials in the US and provide us with documentation about their down stream vendors. We audit this information to confirm validity.

Yay! We win.

For more information:




the untallied hours