Trying to remain calm within chaos

Wtf Annie’s Mailbox?
January 20, 2007, 3:47 pm
Filed under: Advice Columns, GLBT

I was reading my columns today, and this horrifying story poped up in Annie’s Mailbox:

Dear Annie: A friend of mine, age 40, has experienced a horrible double tragedy. Her boyfriend, age 45, with whom she lived for almost five years, was killed by a drunk driver in a head-on accident.

Since they were not married, the oceanfront home they shared in California, which was in his name only, will be inherited by his mother and brothers.
My friend will receive nothing. She not only lost her love, but will soon lose her beautiful home. They never planned for such a terrible situation.

Please alert your readers that if they are living with their significant other and choose not to marry, they need to make plans in case of an unforeseen death. This situation has devastated my friend. — Be Prepared for the Unexpected

And my thought was “Well thats exactly what happens to gay couples all the time, but at least heteros *can* get married, even if they choose not to”. So imagine my suprise when Annie’s goes there (emphasis mine):

Dear Be Prepared: The legal institution of marriage, like it or not, can protect partners from just such financial tragedies. This is one of the reasons why gay couples lobby so hard for civil unions.

What the fuck?!?!?!  Excuse me???  That sentance should read “This is one of the reasons why gay couples lobby so hard for equal marriage“.

First, because it is factually incorrect and gay couples are not lobbying hard for civil unions, we are lobbying for marriage.  We accept civil unions because we’re so desperate for any scrap of protection and equality that we clammor for whatever we can get.  Don’t  demean us by playing down what we actually want.  It is insulting.

Second, a civil union would not necessarily protect a gay couple in this situation and it certainly wouldn’t be unassailable by nasty family members.   The lesson here is that this straight couple should have drawn up some kind (any kind) of legal documents, and taken their turn on the spinning wheel of litigation and drama like the gay community does on a regular basis.  A civil union wouldn’t prevent this couple from having to pay inheritance taxes on their own house, or consider them widowed.

I hate hate hate it when (usually well meaning) straight people assume and  then tell others that civil unions are the same as marriage or are what gay people want.  Get it right – no one wants to sit at the back of the bus.  Sometimes we just have to endure it rather then get left behind.


Oh Joss, I love you….
December 8, 2006, 2:54 am
Filed under: Buffy, Whedonism

TV Guide has a short interview with Joss Whedon up, and not only does it have me revved up and excited for the Buffy Season 8 Comic, it is also nice to see him discussing sexism in comics (abit briefly). Esecially after the slought of accurate but depressing blogposts about sexism in the comics industry in the latest Carnival of Feminists.

The most relevent quotes: Does she get comic-book superheroine breast implants?
Whedon: She really doesn’t. I’ve been fortunate that I’ve never worked with a T&A artist. I’m very specific about that. Isn’t that the raison d’etre of lots of comics?
Whedon: That’s part of why I stopped reading comics for a while. All the people I work with draw actual women.

And there are 4 pages of the upcoming comic up for your perusal. Minor but hilarious spoilers.

Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Page 4

I am the Grass
November 12, 2006, 11:35 am
Filed under: Poetry, War/Veterans

Andrew Sullivan had this awesome John McCrae poem up in honor of veterans day, which made me think of this poem by Carl Sandburg.



Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo.
Shovel them under and let me work
I am the grass; I cover all.

And pile them high at Gettysburg
And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun.
Shovel them under and let me work.
Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor:
What place is this?
Where are we now?

I am the grass.
Let me work.

No Sir, no dancin’ today
November 11, 2006, 1:06 am
Filed under: Fun, GLBT, Humor, Music, Uncategorized

This song is fuckin’ catchy. It starts out all goofy and weird with the lead singer and his crazy falsetto, next thing you know you are bouncing around your office in circles. Damn you Scisors Sisters and your catchy musical stylings.

How FreeCycle saved the world: A post for Lauren
November 10, 2006, 10:02 pm
Filed under: Feminism, Help Us Help Ourselves (HUHO)

Lauren has reecently stumbled upon this bloody brilliant idea. Alone we are all individuals who have had to struggle by hand and foot, deal with confusing buearucracy, and hope that luck will see us through. Together, we can share tips, resources, and ideas.

So this is my first contribution to the worthy cause. How FreeCycle saved the world or more specifically, how FreeCycle saved me money, time, and my social life.

Free Cycle works like this: Say I have some stuff I don’t need. I put up a notice on my local Free Cycle group. Someone answers my ad and takes the stuff from me FOR FREE. Yes free. Completely and 100% free.

I got hooked into Free Cycle from my friend JC. He moved to another state with a rumbly car full of clothes, a computer, and some video games. He had no furniture at all. He got an apartment and bought a sleeping bag and slept on the floor. Then a friend told him about Free Cycle. Within two months he had a double bed, a desk, a dresser, two end tables, a loveseat, a kitchen table, and two mismatched chairs. Over the next 6 months he got a recliner, a coffee table, and a papisan chair. And an antique coffee pot.

I’ve been on Free Cycle for about 4 months, and I’ve gotten flowerpots, two king size top sheets (my girlfriend and I share a double bed and we are both sheet hogs), knitting supplies including yarn, a side table, two sweaters, and a lamp. And some board games, but more on that later.

The stuff you get is thrift store quality, so sometimes it is ugly as sin, sometimes it is amazingly cool. But it is FREE. All you have to do is arrange to pick it up from someone.

So go to the Free Cycle main page, and find a Free Cycle group in your area. You’ll have to sign up for a Yahoo Group, and then you are in. Don’t sign up to get every email, because my group for example has about 30-50 per day. Sign up for digest or read it on the web.

And encourage your friends to sign up. Free Cycle works better the more people are on it. The more people, the more stuff. Put up some fliers at your local library or coffee shops or wherever people can post things. A couple bucks in paper and ink will really go along way if you can swing it. Put an ad for them on your blog or website.

So one of the categories that Lauren has as a part of HUHO is “things you can do with your kids that don’t cost anything”. I don’t have kids, but people are constantly giving away craft sets and books on Free Cycle, so putting out an add for art supplies and kid friendly crafts might yeild some really good results. And think outside the box. I saw someone ask for wood, a hammer, nails, and sand. You know what they did? Built their own backyard sand box. For free. Today someone is offering childrens books and puzzles another is giving away an older computer pinball game. I’ve seen people give away one earring or broken plates for crafts.

Lauren also wants to know ” how to entertain some friends without breaking the bank” and this is time for my special free cycle story. When my girlfriend and I moved in together we brought 7 decks of cards between us but no other games. We wanted to be able to have things to do with friends, so we put out a call for board games. We now have Clue, Scrabble, Boggle, Uno, and Taboo. Ok, so the scrabble is missing some tiles… we just use scraps of paper. Clue is missing the rope, but we just use a bit of string. If we asked again who knows what we might get. That was just off one post!

So the moral of the story is: Join Free Cycle. Get free things you need, free things you wish you could buy, and find free things being offered that suddenly inspire you. I made an old coffee table into a kick ass ottoman using some old pillows and fabric I had lying around and a glue gun. And spread the love and the word about Free Cycle.

Add Law and Order: SVU to the list of things conservatives hate…
October 31, 2006, 12:36 pm
Filed under: Feminism, Popular Culture, Violence Against Women

Confession upfront: I am a huge fan of Law and Order: SVU. It is one of the few crime shows on tv that actually has a victiem centric approach, and it’s characters and storylines often use feminist principals, language, and support systems to achieve the goals of assisting victiems and prosecuting criminals.

So maybe I’m not the most right person to think that The View’s toaken conservative Elizabeth Hassleback is completely off her gourd for going all nutty over a victiem named Elizabeth Hassenback. She is claiming that her name is so unique that the show obviously and blantently is ripping on her and wants her to be raped and killed. I think that she is completely nuts.

First, shows have rules about such things. What she is talking about cannot be done because there are a cadre of lawyers who approve EVERY name that ever ends up on screen or on tv. That is why all movies and most tv shows have the disclaimer about how names are conicidence. You can’t get away with digging at your enemies via movies and tv unless it is clear parody. Why would Dick Wolfe put his entire franchise in jeoparody over her?

Second, Elisabeth is a VERY common name. A quick tour on How Many of Me reveals that 34,496 people in America are named Elisabeth and 1,405,353 people are named Elizabeth. That means there are approximately 1,439,852 people in this country with her first name. And according to the Social Security Administration, Elizabeth has been the 9th-12th most popular name in America since 1979. In 1977, the year she was born, it was the 13th most popular baby name in America.

Her last name is less common, in fact, Hasselback doesn’t even appear in the How Many of Me database. But neither does Hassenback. But both have the same root, Hasse, and there are 2,190 people in the US with that last name. There are 10 Elizabeth Hasse’s in America. A quick search on reveals 2,209 Hasse’s in existing Family Trees, 8,542 Hasse’s in Census Records, and 3,771 Hasse’s in Birth, Marriage, Military & Death Records. Hasse is a pretty common root. In fact, Hasse means “hate” in German according to Babelfish. So what do Hassenback and Hasselbeck mean? Hassenback(the name of the character) translates to “hate-bake”. Hasselbeck doesn’t translate to anything specific. So let’s recap.

A woman with one of the most popular first names in the country and a somewhat unique lastname that has many common variations is complaining that a popular and sucessful TV show named a rape and murder victiem after her as a way to bother, intimidate, and/or threaten her.


Her next complaint is that the executive producer, presumably Neal Baer or David J. Burke, was rude to her. Well I would be rude too, if a strange and angry lady called me out of the blue to claim I was stealing her common and popular name in order to defame her. The way Elizabeth Hassleback tells the story, she was this perfect rational little angel and he was an ass. Given that Elizabeth Hassleback when angry is more like a raging psycho who has to be reminded of the rules of common behavior and respect… repeatedly… I’m not inclined to think that is how it went down.

I am not saying it is impossible that the name was a dig at her and the producers were rude. I’m saying it is far far more likely that a person with anger management issues and a need to dominate conversation by being right all the time attacked a show with clear liberal feminist leanings because she is nuts.

The Saints are coming
October 28, 2006, 5:19 pm
Filed under: Music, People of Color

Via Crooks and Liars, this Green Day and U2 video is amazing. I especially like the use of the first lines of “House of the Rising Sun”. Tragically awesome.