Monday, October 30, 2006

Oh ha ha ha ... it's a sheep ... THAT'S SO FUNNY!!!

I wrote last week about the New Jersey Supreme Court's decision regarding same-sex marriage. Somehow this oh-so-clever cartoon by the undeniably talented Sean Delonas escaped my eye at the time. (I do not disguise sarcasm well - deal, kids). Thanks to Joe.My.God, I saw it today and am echoing his request that, if you do think this is offensive, you let the New York Post know your thoughts. My letter said:

"The recent Sean Delonas cartoon mocking the New Jersey Supreme Court's ruling regarding same-sex marriage is absolutely, horrifically repugnant. To equate homosexuality with bestiality is asinine, juvenile and ignorant. To think that someone would find humor in this, and to publish such bigotry with this belief, underscores the ethics of your publication.

Be assured that people with my beliefs on this - and you apparently underestimate the percentage of this population who have evolved past adolescent trash humor and bigotry - are quite united in our stand to confront hateful items such as this. In a pitiful attempt at comedy and a "Look at me! Aren't I clever?" wink, Mr. Delonas apparently revels in the idea of promoting the hatred, ignorance and divisiveness that are a hallmark of our supposedly evolved country.

Shame on you for supporting this. The assumption is that your publication thinks the same idiotic way. Congratulations on reverting our country's - and our world's - social views to such a backwards mentality. I wish that you would take your views in a more professional direction. I, however, will not be holding my breath."

Before anyone writes me some hate mail - I absolutely support the right to free speech. Mr. Delonas has every right to create his cartoons. My issue is with a well-read publication (and I by no means consider the New York Post to be newsworthy, only popular) supporting such a juvenile and degrading bit of "comedy". I think Mr. Delonas' cartoon (and many of them) are bigoted trash, and any publication that wants to capitalize on this to add to their reader base of adolescents (sorry I keep using the same adjectives - I'm a little pissy about this and am not thinking in a clear, English-major way) is showing their true ethical colors. Anyone in this country has (thankfully) the right to spew their venom. Including (thankfully) me. So that I can go off on what a moronic and hateful asshole one can be in this country and actually get paid for it. And I haven't even started on elected officials.

'Nuff said.

So ... who wants my next post to be happy fluff? :)

Please ... I need your help ...

Okay, I really AM computer literate ... but apparently that has huge limitations as a newbie blogger ...

Can anyone tell me how to post a video (say from YouTube) onto my blog? I've seen them on other people's blogs but wanted to add one and have found no help on how to do that.

Thanks ...

As I'm stumbling through this, I'll try to add some Halloween pictures as we decorate tomorrow!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Pre-Requiem for a Blogger: 100 Things About Me

1. I was born in Arlington Heights, Illinois.
2. I lived in the same house from the time I was 11 months old until … well, my brother still lives there.
3. My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving.
4. I taught myself to cook. And I'm damn good at it.
5. I have a Bachelor's and Master's degree (and 1 1/2 years toward my doctorate) in classical clarinet performance.
6. I started my music career with piano lessons in 4th grade. I never practiced any of my instruments much but was naturally inclined toward playing.
7. I never made much of a living as a musician but learned accounting without any education and supported myself pretty well with that.
8. My mom died just after I turned 15. I still talk to her.
9. My dad didn't want any of his sons named after him, but his first name is my middle name (James).
10. I hate movies with gore in them, even if they're critically acclaimed movies. I leave the room in disgust.
11. I love having "Matt Time" - time by myself to do whatever I want. I want to build a "Matt Room" for this.
12. I love libraries. My first job was in one, and I could spend hours looking through all the books.
13. I've always thought of myself as a skinny, ugly geek, even though once I grew up people have told me I'm quite handsome.
14. I could never ever get enough of eating bacon. There's nothing like the smell of bacon cooking.
15. If there's roasted garlic in it, I'm there.
16. I have a HUGE weakness for cheeseburgers.
17. Even just a quick hug and an "everything will be okay" gives me huge amounts of strength.
18. I love the desert. I went to Saguaro National Park near Tucson when I was 29 and was hooked.
19. I really miss thunderstorms. I can't remember the last time I heard a tornado siren, and oddly I miss that too.
20. I was in an earthquake in Seattle in 2001, and I NEVER EVER EVER want to go through that again.
21. I suck at sports. All of them. (Well, I was okay at racquetball … )
22. I love marching bands and drum and bugles corps.
23. I don't really like candy or desserts. Too sweet.
24. I would love to have Martha Stewart's life. Without the jail time.
25. My favorite season growing up was fall, in the Midwest. In the Pacific Northwest, it's spring … and summer.
26. I hate rain. Walking around getting wet makes me cranky. It's okay if I have the day off at home, though.
27. I miss being able to go sledding.
28. One of my favorite smells is lilacs.
29. I'm afraid that both of my parents died without knowing what they meant to me.
30. I wish I could tell my brothers, without fear, that I am gay (although I'm sure they have a good idea).
31. I'm always afraid that I don't have anything intelligent to say in meetings, so I don't talk.
32. I love getting dressed up to go somewhere nice (and look pretty darn good in a suit) but people just don't do that in Seattle.
33. The best vacations I have ever been on were renting a beach house in Long Beach, NC. There was nothing to do but relax.
34. I love to clean the house but hate it when I have to do it.
35. I am an NPR fanatic.
36. I think Garrison Keillor's voice is one of the most wonderful and soothing sounds I've ever heard.
37. Cars I've owned: 1977 Buick Century (gold), 1985 Buick Skyhawk (gold), 1977 Dodge Aspen (dark green), 1983 Chrysler New Yorker (dark red), 2006 VW Jetta (dark blue). FINALLY a new car.
38. I wish I had a king sized bed so my partner and I could have all three dogs on the bed and not have to hold on to the nightstands for balance.
39. I believe in some kind of god, but not what religions tell you to believe in.
40. I love poetry. e.e. cummings is my favorite.
41. My favorite movie is Cinema Paradiso.
42. I love to have people over for dinner, but it rarely happens.
43. I'm horrible at making friends. I really don't have any that I can just hang out with.
44. I think dogs are incredible.
45. I love to cook, but I hate baking. Too exact - and messy. I cook by the seat of my pants.
46. Vomiting, while a necessary function sometimes, is the most horrible thing in the world. (Well, at the time).
47. I hate having anyone touch my navel.
48. My favorite Christmas movie is "A Christmas Story". I love anything to do with the 1940's, probably because my parents were growing up then.
49. My favorite color is cobalt blue.
50. My favorite place anywhere in the world is my home.
51. My favorite alcoholic drinks are Tanqueray martinis (up, two olives), screwdrivers (or anything with vodka), and wine. Good wine.
52. I love going out to brunch on the weekends.
53. Favorite cities: Chicago, San Francisco, New York, Paris, Seattle.
54. I love to read when I get into bed before going to sleep.
55. I have lots of old family photos around the house. They remind me of where I came from and help me feel grounded.
56. I would love to have a bigger front porch so people can stop by for a drink as they walk by, even if it's cold or raining.
57. I miss having a job where I work with a lot of people and take care of people. I actually miss waiting tables for this reason. I've actually thought about becoming a flight attendant (even though I'm not big on flying).
58. I used to love flying, until my dad got sick and I flew alone to Chicago a bit. Then I was overwhelmed at the loss of control and had panic attacks. I'm fine if I'm flying with someone else, though.
59. I feel invisible most of the time.
60. I'm a liberal Democrat. I don't understand people who hate us.
61. I've always wanted to own an old Mustang or Thunderbird. Either sky blue or turquoise.
62. I would love to be a writer. I'm not sure what kind of writing I would do, though.
63. I'd love to be a kid again and jump into piles of dry, colorful leaves in the fall.
64. I really loved my Aunt Edith, my dad's sister. She and I used to go for walks together and she always had a pleasant smile on her face. When she died, my dad told me on the phone kinda matter-of-factly. "Oh, your Aunt Edith died yesterday".
65. I used to be able to speak Spanish, at least enough to get by. I think it's arrogant that American schoolchildren aren't required to learn a second language. I did learn enough German in college to be able to say "Oh yes, we know your ball-bearings".
66. My family had a yellow Labrador Retriever named Max when I was born. When I learned to stand up in my crib, I would sometimes drop my pacifier (binky) out onto the floor. Max would hear me crying, come into my room, pick up the pacifier and pop it back into my mouth. My mom said she cried for hours the day we gave him away (my oldest brother wasn't being responsible and taking care of Max like he had said he would).
67. We had a black and white cat named Felix when I was a couple years older. My middle brother always chased him under the couch in the family room. He went away too. (The cat. My brother is still there.)
68. I had braces on my teeth twice. Geek.
69. I cannot sleep on my stomach.
70. I have no piercings, and never will.
71. I have never broken a bone (frantically looking for wood to knock on).
72. I think "bling" is stupid.
73. I love Oprah Winfrey.
74. Out of vanity (although I rationalized it as due to the Midwest weather) I started wearing contact lenses when I went to college. Now I wear my spiffy glasses most days.
75. I look almost exactly like my father did at my age. Always have.
76. I will never move to another house that does not have a fireplace. Until we put one in our current house, I make do with lighting candles in every room.
77. I would love to visit Japan.
78. I've smoked marijuana four times, and it never affected me at all. Which is good, since I've never had any interest in trying anything else. Of course, this makes me REALLY laugh at Seattle's annual "HempFest".
79. I frequently have dreams involving plane crashes. I'm not on the plane, but I'm watching it go down.
80. I wear silver jewelry, not gold.
81. I have a birthmark on the back of my neck that looks like a scar from having stitches. I did not know this until I was in seventh grade, and have always been self-conscious since then. But I still keep my hair very short.
82. I know from personal experience that cuts to the back of the head bleed. A LOT. So no, I'll never shave my head.
83. My hair is starting to turn grey and I like it.
84. I would love to visit the countries my family comes from - Ireland, Scotland, Denmark, Sweden and Germany.
85. I love Paris and can seriously picture living on Ile St. Louis.
86. I love love love art museums. I used to go to the Art Institue in Chicago and sit and stare at paintings for hours. I was very dissappointed when I moved to Seattle and saw the Seattle Art Museum.
87. I hate to see anyone cry. Even if it's someone I don't like.
88. The few times I heard my parents swear I was horrified. I can swear like a sailor, though.
89. I've always been told I'd be a good dad, and a big sadness in my life is that I'm not one, but I don't think I'd have the right amount of patience - and that wouldn't be fair. And I have NO respect for people having children who shouldn't.
90. I worked as a daycamp couselor one summer in college for mentally, physically and emotionally handicapped youth. I have never forgotten a single moment of it.
91. I was once licensed in the state of Illinois as a pesticide and herbicide applicator.
92. I have never shoplifted. Ever.
93. I cannot grow sideburns. I've tried … there's a patch between my beard and my hairline that's bald. I guess I'll never be a hipster.
94. I'd love to live in a nicer neighborhood, but my neighbors are all incredible and that's infinitely more important to me.
95. I think having a nice bathroom with great towels is one of the best things you can do to start your days right. And a good toaster.
96. I can't drink coffee without getting violently ill. Even half a cup. Kind of ironic, living in Seattle.
97. My favorite ice cream is mint chocolate chip.
98. I don't believe the "don't eat spaghetti on your first date" way of thinking. My partner Scott looks damn cute with tomato sauce on his chin (and shirt, and hands …). Perfection is for magazine covers.
99. I sleep better if I'm touching Scott. Even if it's just my hand against his arm. My sure cure for insomnia (I don't even think he knows that).
100. No matter how old I get or where I live, I'll always think of Chicago as home. I'm always comfortable when I go back there.

Gay marriage ... or a can opener?

Okay, so apparently my first real post is both gay-themed AND political ...

My reaction yesterday upon hearing that the New Jersey Supreme Court had paved the way toward same-sex marriage was triumphant. Knowing that other states are looking at the same issue, having even one vote for gay civil rights is a huge success. I am, unequivocably, pro-same-sex marriage in whatever form we can get it. It was devastating when our own state of Washington rejected the idea of recognizing that homosexuals are one of the "everyone" supposedly protected under the U.S. Constitution. My partner and I registered two years ago as a domestic partnership with the City of Seattle, and have started putting together legal papers granting each other power of attorney wherever needed. For us to NOT be given basic civil rights, financially, legally etc., is blatant discrimination. The fact that we have to take extra steps and incur expenses beyond that of a heterosexual couple underscores that truth.

Nothing new here, I hear you say ... pretty much the same attitude as every other gay (or gay-friendly) blogger in the universe ...

Except that no sooner had word gotten out about New Jersey's ruling than the gay backlash came. The NJ Supreme Court stopped short of saying that marriage is a constitutional right for same-sex couples, only that "the unequal dispensation of rights and benefits to committed same-sex partners can no longer be tolerated under our state Constitution" (from the above-linked article). The state has been given 180 days to re-write state laws granting same-sex couples either "marriage" or a "civil union" which would give the exact same rights as heterosexual marriage. Here, then, is where the backlash begins. Many, if not most, of the responses I've read from gay-rights groups and supporters are dissappointed in this ruling, because it doesn't give us "marriage", and anything less - regardless of the fact that it would be legally equal - just isn't good enough. And there, I wholeheartedly DISagree.

For one thing, if the NJ Supreme Court HAD said that same-sex couples were entitled to "marriage", just imagine what the conservative backlash would be. The "God intended marriage to be between one man and one woman" arguers would have thrown themselves into quite the tizzy, raising their voices and bibles and fists and demonstrating their views vehemently, causing the Republican campaigns to (again) push this way up to the top of their emotionally charged agenda and hurting all of the work we've done and continuously fight for. This would be a perfectly-timed wedge for them to shove into the forum. It would work against us in this election year - not for us.

Secondly, "marriage" is not just a legally-binding union. It is based on religious beliefs and ceremony - which is one of if not the biggest single argument AGAINST same-sex unions. Many religiously-minded folk argue that if gays are legally able to get married, than it is imposing law against their religious beliefs. And, as much as I am anti-religion (notice I did not say anti-God), I agree that this would also be wrong. The law should not force any church to marry a couple that their beliefs tell them is wrong. So calling it "marriage" would also open that second can of fat wriggling worms - not just a legal one, but a religious one. If they don't agree with my beliefs, and I don't agree with theirs, I could care less if they want to "bless" it. With the marital backgrounds of my own family, my partner's family, and friends, I don't agree with their "sanctity of marriage" anyway. As my partner (let's start calling him Scott, shall we?) both humorously and eloquently put it, there seems to be little to no issue among most conservative folks that many heterosexual people go through spouses "like Pez from a Pez dispenser", but two members of the same sex who are monogamous, loving, and committed to their unions for the rest of their lives (yes, it DOES exist) should not be able to get "married".

It makes no difference to me if it's called marriage, or civil union, or whatever. Rita Rudner (one of my favorite comediennes) said her husband was so nervous about getting married that he only agreed to give her an engagement ring if she promised to NOT call it an engagement ring. She said "I'll call it a can opener, just give me the ring!" So ... call same-sex unions a can opener. Just make sure it has the EXACT same rights, benefits and responsibilities as a marriage.

(Where IS that darn can opener anyway??)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I'm coming out ...

I've been thinking about this for a long time. I've observed others who have done it. I've been encouraged by how others have handled their true identities. I've put it off, hemmed and hawed, but truth be told I think I've been deceiving myself. It's time to come clean. It's time to stop being ashamed and just do it, to say a big loud "fuck you" to anyone who doesn't like it.

I. Am. A Blogger.

There. Wow. Ya know ... I DO feel better. Empowered. Less burdened. Proud, even.

This, kids, is my first foray into the world of The Weblog. It's my first shot at any sort of public writing for ... many years. And honestly, I don't know if I have anything to say. My partner has encouraged me for months that I could and should write something worthwhile. But what? What, you ask in breathless anticipation, will this blog bring to the sometimes oversaturated world it now lives in?

Umm ... I don't know? Is that an okay answer?

Should it be a personal blog about me, my life, my family, with pictures and boring day-to-day stories of running to Safeway and feeding the kids and getting the car washed? About my love of cooking and home and my new exciting adventures into the bonsai experience? Eh, that would be boring. But yeah, of course, some of that will creep in here. I am human, you know.

Should it be a gay blog? About gay rights and convincing our more right-leaning neighbors throughout the world that we're good people too? Hmm. There are a lot of those blogs around too. But, being a gay man with a long-term partner in a liberal city, constantly nursing cuts and bruises from my jaw hitting the floor anytime some bit of conservative right-wing ignorance hits me in the face - yeah, that'll creep in here, too. Boy howdy.

Should it be a political blog? A soapbox to express my views and opinions and suggestions? Oh, wait ... see the previous paragraph ...

So, being a newly out blogger, I don't know what direction this will take me. Or you, if anyone ever stumbles upon this and actually reads it. It'll be an evolving bit of work. A life-altering experience, perhaps. And, if nothing else, it will give me a project to work on and get me to write again.

Oh - and I heard something about receiving a toaster oven? Can someone tell me where I can pick that up?