Who I am

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I was “born as” a baby – 5 lbs, 16 inches. The clothes my parents gave me then don’t fit me anymore than the arbitrary labels they gave me as identity markers, so I changed them to real ones. In 48 years I’ve outgrown onesies and other people’s expectations and grown into the person I actually am, which may not fit into your demands of me, but that’s too bad. I’m going to wear what I want to wear, call myself my real name and go to the bathroom where I need to. You have nothing to fear from me in a restroom, I promise you. But you already know that, really.

Death of blogger Gary Welsh officially ruled suicide

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Goodness knows I did not love prolific local blogger and attorney Gary Welsh. Over the many years he wrote about local and national politics, he penned things that were complete libelous falsehoods, and he should have been sued many times over. Fortunately for himself, he was shrewd enough to aim his worst defamatory lies at the two groups of people who were unlikely to take him to court – national public figures who didn’t care about a puny midwest blogger, and local folks who didn’t have two dimes to rub together and could never afford to drag him into a courtroom. When it came to people who could actually take him on legally, he tended to pull his punches and say things that were sly implications rather than forthright. For the local folks upon whom he unleashed the dogs of war, god help them. He destroyed several people’s livelihoods and at least one person took his life after being subjected to an endless tirade of vicious, unfounded Welsh penmanship.

There are lots of folks who are saying nice things about Welsh now that he’s passed on; I’ve read lots of laudatory words with raised eyebrows. Some people will apparently say nice things about anyone, which gives me great pause. I think that’s part of of the banality of evil; people’s willingness to look past truly terrible behavior “to always find the good” in someone is ultimately a sort of applause.

The nicest thing I could say about him is that he was prolific. The man wrote a lot. The nature of what Welsh wrote, well… I gave up reading his work years ago, about the same time I gave up writing about anything political. Reading his work seemed like smoking; you got a nice hit off it for a bit because of the level of vitriol involved, but you could tell it was a cancer that was tearing your soul to pieces. In a larger sense, focusing on the minutia of politics seems the same way and I began to avoid doing that as well. Sometimes I think that was a good idea and sometimes I worry that I’m not doing more to make my city a better place to live. But the price of trying to do that in the face of the kind of tactics that people like Gary Welsh employed is too high.

In balance, the damage that Welsh did as a political blogger far outweighed the good. The hit jobs he did on Bart Peterson did indeed help Greg Ballard into 8 years in office, and that was a catastrophe it will take the city decades to fix. That alone is a massive weight on the cosmic scale, and add in the small and large ways he set off bombs in individual people’s lives… I do hope there’s not a hell, because Gary would be in it, probably in charge of something horrible.

I was very surprised that Welsh would commit suicide. I sort of figured he was an unstoppable juggernaut constructed from a swirling storm of conspiracy theories and wild speculation; a perpetual motion machine fueled endlessly by malevolent cookies fed him by nihilist low-level civil employees.

And even reading the details of his death – something does seem pretty off there. If you are going to kill yourself, would you do it in a stairwell? Would you shoot yourself in the chest? Well, you or I wouldn’t; we’d do our best to have the least horror and impact on the people around us. But I would not put it past Welsh to stage-craft his suicide for maximum conspiracy theory gossip. The coroner has ruled his death a suicide. Who am I to argue, if no one else is doing so?

Source: Indiana Business Journal – “Death of blogger Welsh officially ruled suicide

The death of prominent Indianapolis political blogger Gary Welsh three weeks ago has officially been ruled a suicide, the Marion County Coroner’s Office said.

Welsh, who wrote the popular conservative blog Advance Indiana, died May 1 of a gunshot wound. He was 53. Indianapolis police said they investigated his death as a “tragic suicide.”

The coroner’s office said it issued a death certificate Thursday that listed suicide as the official cause of Welsh’s death. The official manner of death was listed as a single gunshot wound to the chest. The coroner’s office said the final rulings confirmed preliminary findings.

Welsh’s body was found in a stairwell at the Lockerbie Glove Factory Lofts, 430 N. Park Ave. Witnesses who called 911 to report the death said a gun was found next to the body.

Welsh was a practicing attorney who launched Advance Indiana more than a decade ago. He was known for hard-hitting blog posts that were critical of both Democrats and Republicans.

Paul Ogden, in his blog Ogden on Politics, said a gathering is planned “to remember and celebrate the life” of Welsh. The event is scheduled for 6:30-8 p.m. June 2 at the Northside Knights of Columbus, 2100 E. 71st St.

More on the event can be found here.

I wonder how many folks will attend that celebration? And what will they be celebrating?

I’m legally changing my first and middle names

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I’m changing my first and middle names.

I am getting rid of Stephanie Ann. My first name is going to be Hawthorn. (no e- like the tree, not the author.) My middle name is chosen, but I’m keeping to myself for now.

This is something I’ve been actively planning for over two years, but I’ve been thinking about it for more than 20, because I’ve always disliked my name and did not feel like it fit me. I have always been more gender-neutral than my name is, and I am in a place where I can’t tolerate a name I don’t connect with anymore.

My wife Stephanie has known about this for several years and is supportive of me changing names. We have talked through all of my ideas together. I’ve let my immediate family know about this. Most of them are onboard with it. Some of them are going to have to get onboard.

I’ll be starting the legal name change process soon, and it will take a month or so before that is all in place, and I’ll start changing things like credit cards and bank accounts and then my online presence.

I realize this is a big change for someone who has had the same name for 47 years, and that remembering it and calling me that name and thinking about me differently is a pretty big challenge.

That weird feeling you may have about my new name feeling strange to you – that’s the feeling I’ve always had about my old name – it doesn’t feel right. It’s a period of adjustment, but I have confidence you all are smart and capable people and can rise to the occasion.

I know people will have ideas, opinions or commentary about this. Please share your thoughts with me directly in a phone call or face-to-face conversation, rather than gossiping or commenting on social media.

The decision tree of names I’ve thought through and discarded is 786 lines long. I’ve gone through literally hundreds of names in the past few years trying them on and seeing how they fit. Naming yourself is hard. But I’ve found a name I actually love – it’s unique, gender neutral, has an outdoors/natural quality to it. Hawthorn is unusual as a first name, so there aren’t hundreds of little kids running around with the same name, nor do I have cousins or family members with that name, which are also bonuses.

2015 List of “Best of” Lists

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Source: The Year in Fungi – The New Yorker

Five mycological highlights from 2015, including banana killers, rainmakers, and the zombie cure.

Source: Top 25 News Photos of 2015 – The Atlantic

The past year has been a series of tumultuous news stories, from the massive migration crisis and the war and terror those migrants are fleeing, to historic images of faraway Pluto, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling supporting same-sex marriage, and widespread protests about continued inequality.

Source: The Year in Drone Video: Real Estate, Architecture, and Cities – In the Air – Curbed

Source: Ten LGBTQ News Stories the Mainstream Media Ignored in 2015

Truthout recaps some of the LGBTQ stories the mainstream media missed, ignored or just plain got wrong in 2015.

Source: The Most Intriguing LGBT Characters of 2015 | GLAAD

A handful of characters caught the eye of viewers and critics alike this year by telling unique and exciting stories, here are some of the (mostly) new LGBT characters in 2015 that stood out from the crowd.

Source: The Lives They Lived – The New York Times

Remembering some of the artists, innovators and thinkers we lost in the past year.

Source: The 10 Best Feminist Quotes of 2015

Source: The best book cover designs for 2015

Check out more great covers at the NY Times, Buzzfeed, and The Casual Optimist. Compare with last year’s picks.

Source: The Year That Was and Wasn’t – The Morning News

We asked writers and thinkers to tell us: What were the most important events of 2015—and what were the least?

Source: Highlights from 2015 | Gender Spectrum

Source: The best (or worst) news media corrections of 2015

A compilation of the best, or worse, or most convoluted, or contrived, or outrageous, or downright silly media corrections.

Source: Best Pure CSS Pens of 2015

Best Pure CSS Pens of 2015

Source: The 10 Best TV Shows of 2015 | Village Voice

Source: Top 15 classes of 2015 | Northern Illinois University

‘This Goes All the Way to the Queen’: The Puzzle Book that Drove England to Madness | Hazlitt

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An amulet, a treasure hunt, and a legion of readers mobilized by the false patterns our brains create to make sense of the world around us. 

[…]

When you look at a rock formation or a car grille or the moon and see a face, that’s a form of apophenia—pareidolia, the construction of coherent visual or auditory stimuli from noise. The Rorschach test: apophenia. Horoscope adherents who see correlations between their star charts and their lives or personalities are engaging in apophenia too. When several unrelated things go wrong in a single morning, it’s apophenia that tells you that you must be dogged by a curse. Most attempts to anticipate what will make newborns stop crying are tinged by apophenia. And if you know anyone who’s convinced herself she has food sensitivities she doesn’t have, based on a supposed pattern in how she feels after eating, feel free to tell her she suffers from apophenia (though you shouldn’t expect it to go over too well).

Source: ‘This Goes All the Way to the Queen’: The Puzzle Book that Drove England to Madness | Hazlitt

“Arabian Street Artists” Bomb Homeland: Why We Hacked an Award-Winning Series | Heba Amin

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The series has garnered the reputation of being the most bigoted show on television for its inaccurate, undifferentiated and highly biased depiction of Arabs, Pakistanis, and Afghans, as well as its gross misrepresentations of the cities of Beirut, Islamabad- and the so-called Muslim world in general. For four seasons, and entering its fifth, “Homeland” has maintained the dichotomy of the photogenic, mainly white, mostly American protector versus the evil and backwards Muslim threat. The Washington Post reacts to the racist horror of their season four promotional poster by describing it as “white Red Riding Hood lost in a forest of faceless Muslim wolves”. In this forest, Red Riding Hood is permitted to display many shades of grey – bribery, drone strikes, torture, and covert assassination- to achieve her targets. She points her weapon of choice at the monochrome bad guys, who do all the things that the good guys do, but with nefarious intent.

[…]

At the beginning of June 2015, we received a phone call from a friend who has been active in the Graffiti and Street art scene in Germany for the past 30 years and has researched graffiti in the Middle East extensively. He had been contacted by “Homeland’s” set production company who were looking for “Arabian street artists” to lend graffiti authenticity to a film set of a Syrian refugee camp on the Lebanese/Syrian border for their new season. Given the series’ reputation we were not easily convinced, until we considered what a moment of intervention could relay about our own and many others’ political discontent with the series. It was our moment to make our point by subverting the message using the show itself.

Source: “Arabian Street Artists” Bomb Homeland: Why We Hacked an Award-Winning Series | Heba Amin

2015-10-13 Recently Read

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Down the Rabbit Hole
The rise, and rise, of literary annotation

Press Rewind
by Brendan Fitzgerald
What one journalist learned by vicariously sitting in on David Carr’s master class—with only his teacher’s reputation, extant syllabus, and students’ recollections to guide the way.

Press Play
David Carr’s journalism syllabus – “Making and distributing content in the present future we are living through.”

Margaret Atwood: we are double-plus unfree

How the Tiny Graywolf Press Became a Big Player in Book Publishing

The Trick to Acting Heroically

Why We Say ‘Car Accident,’ and Why We Need to Stop

More Titillated Than Thou: How the Amish conquered the evangelical romance market

Why you should never make your bed

YouTube ‘Dancing Baby’ Copyright Ruling Sets Fair Use Guideline

The Duke, The Landscape Architect And The World’s Most Ambitious Attempt To Bring The Cosmos To Earth

The Best Google Web Font Combinations

Dream Journal Illustrated: Astronaut at Japanese Mall, with Bear

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I’m starting a new service where I illustrate people’s dreams from last night.

From my friend:

Last night’s dream: I was an astronaut and was in Japan (which looked like a futuristic Glendale Mall). I bought a training manual and a sandwich, but hadn’t learned yen-to-dollars yet, so I paid $60 USD for the two. I still had my big poof of hair and had concerns about fitting it under my helmet. There was also something about a bear, and, towards the end, a conversation with a friend in New Orleans about his newborn. I can’t even begin to analyze that mess.

Japanese Mall, Astronaut, Bear

This is why I no longer read anything from DC Comics

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This is a scene from the brand-new video game Batman Arkham Knight, in which Batgirl (Barbara Gordon), after she has been injured and is in a wheelchair, is held captive under the control of the Joker, and is made to kill herself in front of Batman. The scene is “Fake” in that she’s “not really dead” but the scenario is played out to torment Batman in the game so he will become enraged.

And Batman’s reaction – “Scarecrow was punishing me.”

Because this is all about Batman, of course. Never mind that they just used an iconic character from my childhood as grief bait for Batman to get his revenge.

If you are not aware of what “the Killing Joke” is – it’s a controversial, sadistic storyline written for DC Comics by Alan Moore in 1988 where the Joker tortures and rapes Barbara Gordon (Batgirl), then leaves her paralyzed in order to give Batman and Commissioner Gordon anguish. This story entered her “canon,” and Barbara became the wheelchair-bound computer geek Oracle for years and years after, and other women took over the character of Batgirl. Only recently have they “retconned” the storyline to make Barbara Gordon into Batgirl again – except that they left “The Killing Joke” in her storyline and just fixed her paralysis.

Batgirl in Arkham Knight

Women have been angry (with good reason) with the KJ storyline ever since because it takes one of the strongest female superheroes and turns her into a damsel in distress for Batman to rescue. And it’s still part of her storyline today, complete with all the torture scenes intact (although they tone down the rape scene pretty drastically so it’s not as clear anymore that it happened.)

This and the Amazons being killed off in Wonder Woman are two of the worst ideas that DC Comics has ever had, and they continue to double down on those stories instead of recognizing how offensive they are.

So as much as I still love Wonder Woman and Batgirl, to me the idea of them is removed from anything happening at DC Comics today, and I read Marvel Comics instead.

2015-05-27 Recently Read

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Wikipedia: Mudra
A mudra is a symbolic or ritual gesture in Hinduism and Buddhism. While some mudras involve the entire body, most are performed with the hands and fingers. A mudrā is a spiritual gesture and an energetic seal of authenticity employed in the iconography and spiritual practice of Indian religions. The classical sources for the mudras in yoga are the Gheranda Samhita and the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. The Hatha Yoga Pradipika states the importance of mudras in yoga practice.

The New Republic: The Ghost of Cornel West
By Michael Eric Dyson
President Obama betrayed him. He’s stopped publishing new work. He’s alienated his closest friends and allies. What happened to America’s most exciting black scholar?

Hazlitt: The Girls on Shit Duty
By Anna Maxymiw
A weeklong trip filled with deep-fried shore meals does funny things to a man’s insides. When you have to clean up the grisly aftermath, all you can do is laugh.

Elle: ‘Yoga Pants Are Ruining Women’ And Other Style Advice From Fran Lebowitz
“Sartorial tirades from one of the most tailored and opinionated dressers in all of New York City.” – In other news, I want to be Fran Lebowitz someday.

Wall Street Journal: The Cult of Fornasetti: 5 Designers Choose Their Favorite Pieces
For the opening of a massive exhibition devoted to the work of Piero Fornasetti, the Italian artist known for emblazoning design objects with imagery, we asked fans like Kelly Wearstler to pick stand-out pieces

New York Times: Pulitzer-Winning Author Tells Gloversville Library Thanks for the Memories
Mr. Russo grew up going to the Gloversville library, one of the nearly 1,700 built with Carnegie money. “I have such fond memories of the place, going there Saturday mornings with my grandfather or mother, who would wait forever for me to pick books,” he said in a telephone interview. “I just have this feeling that if it weren’t for the Gloversville Free Library that I probably would not be a writer.”

Feminist Frequency: ‘What I Couldn’t Say’ Panel at All About Women
Anita Sarkesian – ‘I was invited to speak on several panels about feminism and the impacts of online harassment at the 2015 All About Women conference taking place annually at the Sydney Opera House. Here is a video of my speech for the panel entitled, “What I Couldn’t Say.”’

2015-03-15 Recently Read

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Cool stuff I’ve read recently.

Andrew Keir: Split ink Fountain Printing
ypically when printing, a single colour only is used in each ink fountain (pictures to follow), and while gradients can be printed using modern process colour printing – the standard mix of cyan, magenta, yellow and black found in your average home/office printer – printing methods like letterpress are typically limited to solid colours as a wooden or metal block stamps a colour into the paper stock, a method which doesn’t allow blending of multiple densities and layers of ink. By blending inks directly in the fountain, split fountain printing allows for some wonderful effects in letterpress and screen printing which otherwise wouldn’t be achievable, combining blends of colour with the more exotic stocks and debossing effects that aren’t available with standard offset printing.

Susan O'Malley Poster

The Morning News: Cities Don’t ♥ Us
Our urban future is upon us, city planners tell us, but residents’ on-again, off-again relationship with their surroundings makes them want to say goodbye to all that.

London Review of Books: Why didn’t you just do what you were told?
Jenny Diski
A few years ago, someone asked how it came about that I ended up living with Doris Lessing in my teens. I was in the middle of the story of the to-ing and fro-ing between my parents and was finally reaching the psychiatric hospital bit when the man said something extraordinary, something that had never occurred to me or to anyone else to whom I’d told the story.

‘Why didn’t you just do what you were told?’ he asked.

Priceonomics: The Time Everyone “Corrected” the World’s Smartest Woman
When Marilyn vos Savant politely responded to a reader’s inquiry on the Monty Hall Problem, a then-relatively-unknown probability puzzle, she never could’ve imagined what would unfold: though her answer was correct, she received over 10,000 letters, many from noted scholars and Ph.Ds, informing her that she was a hare-brained idiot.

Washington Post: Why digital natives prefer reading in print. Yes, you read that right.
Textbook makers, bookstore owners and college student surveys all say millennials still strongly prefer print for pleasure and learning, a bias that surprises reading experts given the same group’s proclivity to consume most other content digitally. A University of Washington pilot study of digital textbooks found that a quarter of students still bought print versions of e-textbooks that they were given for free.

2015-02-19 Recently Read

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The New Yorker: R U There?
“A new counseling service harnesses the power of the text message.”

David Carr, New York Times: “Calling Out Bill Cosby’s Media Enablers, Including Myself
“What took so long is that those in the know kept it mostly to themselves. No one wanted to disturb the Natural Order of Things, which was that Mr. Cosby was beloved; that he was as generous and paternal as his public image; and that his approach to life and work represented a bracing corrective to the coarse, self-defeating urban black ethos.”

hyperallergic.com: A Portal to Unite the Smithsonian Libraries Artists’ Books Collection
The project to get the Artists’ Books Collection site up was years in the making, with cross-institution collaboration from the Smithsonian American Art Museum/ National Portrait Gallery Library, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Library, Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Library, and the Warren M. Robbins Library at the National Museum of African Art.

Typespec: Raised from the dead: Doves Type in digital form
“The Doves Type legend is one of the most enduring in typographic history and probably the most infamous. It’s the story of a typeface and a bitter feud between the two partners of Hammersmith’s celebrated Doves Press, Thomas James Cobden-Sanderson and Emery Walker, leading to the protracted disposal of their unique metal type into London’s River Thames. Starting in 1913 with the initial dumping of the punches and matrices, by the end of January 1917 an increasingly frail Cobden-Sanderson had made hundreds of clandestine trips under cover of darkness to Hammersmith Bridge and systematically thrown 12lb parcels of metal type into the murky depths below. As one person so aptly commented on Twitter recently, this notorious tale bears all the hallmarks of a story by Edgar Allan Poe.”

NY Magazine: Why Oklahoma Lawmakers Voted to Ban AP U.S. History
“The conservative lawmakers’ issues with the course, which was taken by 344,938 students in 2013, can be traced back to retired high-school history teacher Larry S. Krieger. Two years ago, the College Board released a revised framework for the exam, which took effect this fall. Krieger was incensed by the changes. “As I read through the document, I saw a consistently negative view of American history that highlights oppressors and exploiters,” he said during a conference call in August, according to Newsweek.”

2015-02-09 Recently Read

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Subtraction: Color Grading Movies
How digital color manipulation of a movie can drastically change the tone and meaning of the subject.

The Morning News: The Books
A long and fun essay on the subject of a couple combining their library after having lived together for sometime. One of the things Stephanie and I have never done is combine our books. Mine are in the library and hers are in the dining room, although both of us have books that spill out to other rooms of the house. My organizational automaton has toyed with the idea of combining our books and getting them all in order, but it’s a daunting task, and one filled with emotional pitfalls.

The New York Times: The Fire on the 57 Bus in Oakland
The emotional fallout of a teen boy who set a trans teen on fire on a bus in Oakland, California.

the head in: Chet Baker Sings
Baker first sang “My Funny Valentine” in 1954, and the rendition – a stark, melancholy one – was released on Dick Bock’s Pacific label two years later on the record Chet Baker Sings.

The Economist: Inside the box – How workers ended up in cubes—and how they could break free
Other cubicle-related health problems have taken longer to emerge. Because cubicles provide only the illusion of privacy, not the real thing, they do nothing to stop infectious diseases. Sharing an office raises the chances of getting more than two colds a year. In 2011 Danish scientists found that workers whose offices held at least six people took 62% more sick leave than those in private offices. And last year Swedish researchers studying the link between office layouts and illness found that people who worked in open-plan offices had the highest risk of becoming ill. The reason, they concluded, was more than just the easier spread of infections. Stress caused by lack of privacy and workers’ inability to control their surroundings played a part, too.

2015-01-29 Recently Read

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Grantland: How ‘Selma’ Got Smeared
As a member of more than one marginalized group of people, I can attest that these sorts of conversations with allies happen all the time wherein the needs of the marginalized group end up being subservient to the plans of their allies, who have more power and are able to set agendas and timelines that are at odds with those of the people they purport to aid. So the fact that Selma found a way to depict that sort of interaction is important to our understanding of the civil rights movement, and if minute historical detail was bent slightly in order to show that sort of interaction onscreen, I’m okay with that.

The Atlantic: Why I Am Not a Maker
When tech culture only celebrates creation, it risks ignoring those who teach, criticize, and take care of others.

Wikipedia: Searles Chinese Room
The Chinese room is a thought experiment presented by John Searle (b1932) to challenge the claim that it is possible for a computer running a program to have a “mind” and “consciousness” in the same sense that people do, simply by virtue of running the right program.

Good.Is: How Knitting Behind Bars Transformed Maryland Convicts
In late 2009, Lynn Zwerling stood in front of 600 male prisoners at the Pre-Release Unit in Jessup, Maryland. “Who wants to knit?” she asked the burly crowd. They looked at her like she was crazy.

Pacific Standard: The Greatest Rock Show I’d Ever Seen
How one guy’s beloved memory of a long-ago rock show turns out, when he rediscovers a record of it, to be quite different than the show as he remembered it.

Stairs upward

Laws of Public Accommodation and the LDS Church Statement about “respect”

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Lesbian Wedding Cake Topper

Laws of Public Accommodation state that you are not allow to discriminate in providing services to the public if you run a business that is open to serve the public. So if you bake cakes, or do wedding photography, or open a restaurant, you have to accommodate members of the public who come to you to pay for your services. If you are a pharmacist, or an emergency medical technician, or a doctor, or a police officer, you cannot turn people away from your service if they are in a wheelchair, or if they are a person of color, or if they are female, or if they fit into a number of other categories. There are no religious exemptions to public accommodations laws, so what you believe or where you worship is not a legally an excuse for turning people away from your public-facing business, according to current law.

The current U.S. law on the books regarding public accommodation is a part of a back of a larger block of civil rights laws that are grouped under this title – U.S. Code Title 42, Chapter 21 — Civil Rights.

Title 42, Chapter 21 of the U.S. Code prohibits discrimination against persons based on age, disability, gender, race, national origin, and religion (among other things) in a number of settings — including education, employment, access to businesses and buildings, federal services, and more. Chapter 21 is where a number of federal acts related to civil rights have been codified — including the Civil Rights Act of 1866, Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act.

Here is what the “public accommodation” section of that larger group of laws states – 42 U.S.C. § 2000a : US Code – Section 2000A: Prohibition against discrimination or segregation in places of public accommodation

(a) Equal access All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this section, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin. (b) Establishments affecting interstate commerce or supported in their activities by State action as places of public accommodation; lodgings; facilities principally engaged in selling food for consumption on the premises; gasoline stations; places of exhibition or entertainment; other covered establishments Each of the following establishments which serves the public is a place of public accommodation within the meaning of this subchapter if its operations affect commerce, or if discrimination or segregation by it is supported by State action: (1) any inn, hotel, motel, or other establishment which provides lodging to transient guests, other than an establishment located within a building which contains not more than five rooms for rent or hire and which is actually occupied by the proprietor of such establishment as his residence; (2) any restaurant, cafeteria, lunchroom, lunch counter, soda fountain, or other facility principally engaged in selling food for consumption on the premises, including, but not limited to, any such facility located on the premises of any retail establishment; or any gasoline station; (3) any motion picture house, theater, concert hall, sports arena, stadium or other place of exhibition or entertainment; and (4) any establishment (A)(i) which is physically located within the premises of any establishment otherwise covered by this subsection, or (ii) within the premises of which is physically located any such covered establishment, and (B) which holds itself out as serving patrons of such covered establishment. (c) Operations affecting commerce; criteria; “commerce” defined The operations of an establishment affect commerce within the meaning of this subchapter if (1) it is one of the establishments described in paragraph (1) of subsection (b) of this section; (2) in the case of an establishment described in paragraph (2) of subsection (b) of this section, it serves or offers to serve interstate travelers of a substantial portion of the food which it serves, or gasoline or other products which it sells, has moved in commerce; (3) in the case of an establishment described in paragraph (3) of subsection (b) of this section, it customarily presents films, performances, athletic teams, exhibitions, or other sources of entertainment which move in commerce; and (4) in the case of an establishment described in paragraph (4) of subsection (b) of this section, it is physically located within the premises of, or there is physically located within its premises, an establishment the operations of which affect commerce within the meaning of this subsection. For purposes of this section, “commerce” means travel, trade, traffic, commerce, transportation, or communication among the several States, or between the District of Columbia and any State, or between any foreign country or any territory or possession and any State or the District of Columbia, or between points in the same State but through any other State or the District of Columbia or a foreign country. (d) Support by State action Discrimination or segregation by an establishment is supported by State action within the meaning of this subchapter if such discrimination or segregation (1) is carried on under color of any law, statute, ordinance, or regulation; or (2) is carried on under color of any custom or usage required or enforced by officials of the State or political subdivision thereof; or (3) is required by action of the State or political subdivision thereof. (e) Private establishments The provisions of this subchapter shall not apply to a private club or other establishment not in fact open to the public, except to the extent that the facilities of such establishment are made available to the customers or patrons of an establishment within the scope of subsection (b) of this section.

This morning, the Mormon Church held a press conference saying that they supported LGBT rights – up to a point. They believe that LGBT people should not be denied housing or employment or basic civil rights. BUT – they asserted that they felt that LGBT people should not be added to U.S. Code Title 42, Chapter 21. They didn’t say it in so many terms; they talked about “respect” and how LGBT “activists” had done terrible things to “disrespect” the religious beliefs of LDS Church members.

Apparently pouring millions of dollars into Prop-8 and trying to deny LGBT people basic civil rights, causing LGBT people emotional & financial hardship and pain, is perfectly “respectable” but fighting back for your basic civil rights after being a marginalized group of people for centuries is not.

But their meaning is pretty clear based on the language they were using. This public press conference is a dogwhistle to their members urging them to pour money into a number of lawsuits that are currently moving through the courts where gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender individuals are seeing redress after being denied public accommodations by business owners citing “religious freedom” as their reason for discriminating against people seeking their services.

If we were just talking about wedding cakes and photographers, this might be an easy issue to dismiss – you can just get a different florist or cake baker, right? But we are not. There have been cases of LGBT people denied emergency medical care, medication that they needed for their health, and police protection because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. LGBT people have been denied access to hotels and vacation spots, homeless shelters and domestic violence shelters based on the claims of “religious belief” of the owners or employees of those businesses or services. Some of the cases of denial of public accommodation are in serious, life-or-death situations. People have been irreparably harmed or killed because of this discrimination.

The LDS Church is attempting to frame the civil rights debate over public accommodation for LGBT people as one of “respect” – that LBGT people are being “disrespectful” of the church’s religious beliefs if they are seeking legal redress for being discriminated against. That legal and civil actions, including direct action that LGBT people might take in asserting their rights, are “disrespectful” and “attacks” and that the church is a victim if people challenge the discrimination against them on the basis of their religious beliefs.

It’s an interesting framing, and one that LDS members are anxious to push – I’ve already run across two sets of LDS church members anxious to cast themselves in the role of victim in the debate following this morning’s press conference. Unfortunately it’s also a framing that the average American is primed to accept as legitimate, given the complete lack of understanding of basic civil rights laws in the United States. Hopefully as these lawsuits move through the courts, the legal system won’t be as fooled by the manipulation of language as the average member of the public.

Werner Herzog: Develop your own voice

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Clouds

Via Jason Kottke: 24 pieces of life advice from Werner Herzog

Paul Cronin’s book of conversations with filmmaker Werner Herzog is called Werner Herzog – A Guide for the Perplexed. On the back cover of the book, Herzog offers a list of advice for filmmakers that doubles as general purpose life advice.

1. Always take the initiative.
2. There is nothing wrong with spending a night in jail if it means getting the shot you need.
3. Send out all your dogs and one might return with prey.
4. Never wallow in your troubles; despair must be kept private and brief.
5. Learn to live with your mistakes.
6. Expand your knowledge and understanding of music and literature, old and modern.
7. That roll of unexposed celluloid you have in your hand might be the last in existence, so do something impressive with it.
8. There is never an excuse not to finish a film.
9. Carry bolt cutters everywhere.
10. Thwart institutional cowardice.
11. Ask for forgiveness, not permission.
12. Take your fate into your own hands.
13. Learn to read the inner essence of a landscape.
14. Ignite the fire within and explore unknown territory.
15. Walk straight ahead, never detour.
16. Manoeuvre and mislead, but always deliver.
17. Don’t be fearful of rejection.
18. Develop your own voice.
19. Day one is the point of no return.
20. A badge of honor is to fail a film theory class.
21. Chance is the lifeblood of cinema.
22. Guerrilla tactics are best.
23. Take revenge if need be.
24. Get used to the bear behind you.

Good stuff. (There’s a photo of Herzog with a bear behind him on the book cover jacket, which explains #24)

Recently Read: Preserving Artist Mary Nohl’s Home

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Mary Nohl House

Via Hyperallergic: A Single Woman Is a Witch: Battling to Save the Art Environment of Mary Nohl

Over a period of 50 years, the artist Mary Nohl transformed her yard as well as the interior and exterior of her cottage into an environment that stands in conversation with the surrounding land, lake, and her childhood memories. Almost immediately after the first cement sculptures materialized in the 1960s, she became known as “The Witch.” Elaborate myths grew from her industrious acreage. Stories of murder, mayhem, and longing were broadly considered fact by a cross-section of the local populous. Nohl worked alone, from her home. Lacking a husband and prescribed social role, she was a very suspicious character, indeed.

….

Over four decades, Mary Nohl kept making and building. Stories took hold, about how she’d murdered her family and buried them under the sculptures, or how her husband had been lost in the lake and the sculptures were to beckon him home. All the stories inserted the “missing” husband and children. The cottage became a frequent late-night stop for teens drawn to the counterculture strangeness of the place. Others came and left notes of gratitude in her mailbox.

Nohl died in 2001. She left nearly $10 million dollars (her attorney father had invested well) to a foundation to award yearly fellowships to individual artists in Milwaukee and nearby counties. She donated her house and all of its contents to the Kohler Foundation, which preserves art environments. Thirteen years later, however, little has been done to secure the site. The Kohler ran into opposition from Nohl’s wealthy neighbors — they objected to even the most restricted use of the house as a museum or study center. The building fell into disrepair and with each new winter has become increasingly fragile, weathered, marooned in uncertainty. Then, in March of this year, the property’s current owner, the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, issued a press release stating that it had given up preservation efforts and will move the house and yard sculptures to Sheboygan County, where it is located. The center will sell the land to fund the move.

Sad that the foundation charged with preserving the house has just given up.

Mary Nohl House Fireplace

Myers-Briggs Personality Test Result

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Myers-Briggs Test Result

INFP

I don’t remember getting this test result in the past, but I’d have to search my Facebook timeline for the last time I took it to see.

Who knows how long that test page will be around, so I’m copying the whole INFP results here:

INFP PERSONALITY

INFP personalities are true idealists, always looking for the hint of good in even the worst of people and events, searching for ways to make things better. While they may be perceived as calm, reserved, or even shy, INFPs have an inner flame and passion that can truly shine. Comprising just 4% of the population, the risk of feeling misunderstood is unfortunately high for the INFP personality type – but when they find like-minded people to spend their time with, the harmony they feel will be a fountain of joy and inspiration.

INFP personalityBeing a part of the Diplomat (NF) personality group, INFPs are guided by their principles, rather than by logic (Analysts), excitement (Explorers), or practicality (Sentinels). When deciding how to move forward, they will look to honor, beauty, morality and virtue – INFPs are led by the purity of their intent, not rewards and punishments. People who share the INFP personality type are proud of this quality, and rightly so, but not everyone understands the drive behind these feelings, and it can lead to isolation.

All that is gold does not glitter; not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither; deep roots are not reached by the frost.
J. R. R. Tolkien

WE KNOW WHAT WE ARE, BUT KNOW NOT WHAT WE MAY BE

At their best, these qualities enable INFPs to communicate deeply with others, easily speaking in metaphors and parables, and understanding and creating symbols to share their ideas. The strength of this intuitive communication style lends itself well to creative works, and it comes as no surprise that many famous INFPs are poets, writers and actors. Understanding themselves and their place in the world is important to INFPs, and they explore these ideas by projecting themselves into their work.

INFPs have a talent for self-expression, revealing their beauty and their secrets through metaphors and fictional characters.
INFPs’ ability with language doesn’t stop with their native tongue, either – as with most people who share the Diplomat personality types, they are considered gifted when it comes to learning a second (or third!) language. Their gift for communication also lends itself well to INFPs’ desire for harmony, a recurring theme with Diplomats, and helps them to move forward as they find their calling.

LISTEN TO MANY PEOPLE, BUT TALK TO FEW

Unlike their Extraverted cousins though, INFPs will focus their attention on just a few people, a single worthy cause – spread too thinly, they’ll run out of energy, and even become dejected and overwhelmed by all the bad in the world that they can’t fix. This is a sad sight for INFPs’ friends, who will come to depend on their rosy outlook.

If they are not careful, INFPs can lose themselves in their quest for good and neglect the day-to-day upkeep that life demands. INFPs often drift into deep thought, enjoying contemplating the hypothetical and the philosophical more than any other personality type. Left unchecked, INFPs may start to lose touch, withdrawing into “hermit mode”, and it can take a great deal of energy from their friends or partner to bring them back to the real world.

Luckily, like the flowers in spring, INFP’s affection, creativity, altruism and idealism will always come back, rewarding them and those they love perhaps not with logic and utility, but with a world view that inspires compassion, kindness and beauty wherever they go.

Famous INFPs:

William Shakespeare, J.R.R. Tolkien, Björk, Johnny Depp, Julia Roberts, Lisa Kudrow, Tom Hiddleston, Homer, Virgil

Fictional INFPs:

“Frodo Baggins” from The Lord of the Rings “Anne of Green Gables” “Fox Mulder” from X-Files “Deanna Troi” from Star Trek “Wesley Crusher” from Star Trek

Smithsonian’s museums of Asian art available for download

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The Ramayana (Tales of Rama; The Freer Ramayana), Volume 2

The Smithsonian’s Freer|Sackler art galleries put more than 40,000 works of art online that are downloadable for non-commercial artistic purposes.

With a new year, the Freer|Sackler launches a new initiative: Open F|S. We’ve digitized our entire collection and today, we’re making it available to the public. That’s thousands of works now ready for you to download, modify, and share for noncommercial purposes. As Freer|Sackler Director Julian Raby said, “We strive to promote the love and study of Asian art, and the best way we can do so is to free our unmatched resources for inspiration, appreciation, academic study, and artistic creation.” More facts and figures about the project can be found in the infographic below.

Woody Guthrie’s New Year’s Rulins

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Song writer Woody Guthrie’s new years resolutions as written in his journal for the year 1942. #19 is my particular favorite.

Woody Guthrie's New Year's Rulins

Transcript
NEW YEAR’S RULIN’S

  1. WORK MORE AND BETTER
  2. WORK BY A SCHEDULE
  3. WASH TEETH IF ANY
  4. SHAVE
  5. TAKE BATH
  6. EAT GOOD – FRUIT – VEGETABLES – MILK
  7. DRINK VERY SCANT IF ANY
  8. WRITE A SONG A DAY
  9. WEAR CLEAN CLOTHES – LOOK GOOD
  10. SHINE SHOES
  11. CHANGE SOCKS
  12. CHANGE BED CLOTHES OFTEN
  13. READ LOTS GOOD BOOKS
  14. LISTEN TO RADIO A LOT
  15. LEARN PEOPLE BETTER
  16. KEEP RANCHO CLEAN
  17. DON’T GET LONESOME
  18. STAY GLAD
  19. KEEP HOPING MACHINE RUNNING
  20. DREAM GOOD
  21. BANK ALL EXTRA MONEY
  22. SAVE DOUGH
  23. HAVE COMPANY BUT DON’T WASTE TIME
  24. SEND MARY AND KIDS MONEY
  25. PLAY AND SING GOOD
  26. DANCE BETTER
  27. HELP WIN WAR – BEAT FASCISM
  28. LOVE MAMA
  29. LOVE PAPA
  30. LOVE PETE
  31. LOVE EVERYBODY
  32. MAKE UP YOUR MIND
  33. WAKE UP AND FIGHT

New Year’s Resolutions – 2015

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New Year's Cats

My theme for 2015 will be “Simplicity.” My goal to shed clutter in all areas – streamlining, simplifying, focusing on the important and finding a state of zen. Some things I hope I can accomplish:

  • Be more active – painting, cleaning, organizing and discarding are activities that will help.
  • Finish writing and figure out how to market my novel
  • Do a lot of reading
  • Get siding repaired & house painted
  • Get the guest room organized
  • Rip ALL the CDs!
  • See my sister and her kids

2014 Year in Review

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For our household, the year 2014 was overshadowed by Stephanie’s mother passing away in mid-May from cancer. She didn’t want an obituary, funeral or memorial service, but I’m unable to let go of the year without acknowledging the kind of person she was. This song makes me think of her.

Stephanie’s mom was well-read and very connected to literature and political issues, had a strong sense of empathy, justice and equality and cared passionately about making the world better. We lost a guiding light for how to observe and attend to the moral arc of the universe.

Cecily

2014 did have some wonderful and bright moments during the year. My younger brother got married in June in Jamaica and we traveled with the family to attend, which was much needed vacation and happy event with family.

We spent some time riding on the cultural trail and enjoying Indianapolis, which is really coming into it’s own as a creative cultural space. We saw several local theater productions that I really enjoyed. I stumbled across The Art Assignment and fiddled around with doing some creative works for that, although I never had much time to get it done.

Our own marriage because officially legal this year in our home state as same-sex marriages were legalized in Indiana and many other states as well. To celebrate we went downtown to hand out flowers to couples who were able to get married for the first time.

Stephanie delivering flowers for same-sex couples getting married

My nieces and nephew are getting a bit older and more entertaining (that’s what they’re supposed to do, right? entertain us?). In the fall my dad and step-mom Carol came to visit Indiana and we all stayed at the West Baden Springs Hotel in southern Indiana, which was a real treat, and visited Holiday World Theme park. Stephanie’s niece Raven came down to see us with her BF Chris and we took them to the Zoo and Dave and Busters.

Stephanie got a mostly full-time editing job at the end of the year that will go through March and hopefully beyond that if things work out well. She seems a lot happier and more fulfilled, which is awesome. Stephanie also knitted a bunch of hats this year to sell and a friend’s clothing shop, which kicks all kinds of butt, and she’s been working in a retail position for a friend of hers that does makes and sells homemade goods, which means Stephanie has continued to be introduced to cool people who are doing creative and entrepreneurial things in Indianapolis.

Stephanie at Pride

I finished NaNoWriMo again, for the fourth straight year, thus proving I can write a lot of stuff down. I took some writing classes at the Indiana Writer’s Center, went to the GenCon Writer’s Symposium, and a took a one day writing workshop put on by Writer’s Digest. I feel like my writing is vastly improved, and I hope what I’m working on now will actually turn into a real thing.

The end of the year started looking up, and we were able to spend time with friends and enjoy ourselves.

We had a funny happy problem in October and November – we had a mama kitty and four kittens living under our deck. This is the second time we’ve had this issue (the first we never caught them and they moved away.) This time we succeeded in catching all the kittens and mama kitty, and we found homes for the kittens with our friends. Mama kitty got fixed and is in a swanky heated kitty shelter on our front porch, complete with heated water dish and regular food.

I really enjoy what I’m working on at work these days, and I think it will have some impact on how our company does, which I hope is a good thing. I traveled to Denver and Chicago for work this year, and Stephanie went with me to Chicago to enjoy the town.

On the personal designing stuff front – I sold an absolute TON of stuff in my Redbubble online store – and I pledged to donate everything I made from the LGBT collection to the Indiana Youth Group (I’ve done this the past two years). This year my LGBT store exploded and I made almost $200 bucks that will be passed along to that very cool organization.

Looking over last year’s resolutions or “goals” – I did much better than I expected. Aside from these:

  • Get siding repaired & house painted
  • Get the guest room organized
  • Rip all the CDs – we’ve had our music library in a state of limbo for years. It’s time to get this done.

I did very well at most of the goals I set last year. And there were household things that came up that we accomplished that we didn’t expect – we had the deck rebuilt when part of it collapsed, and I rebuilt the grill because it needed new innards. And we did lots of other fun stuff around the house, including gardening, knitting and caring for the pets – Spike, Huckleberry, Dru, Annabelle and the fish.

Annual “Best of” Lists for 2014

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A small selection of “best of” lists from 2014.

The Man Booker Prize – 2014 Finalists
— awarded to The Narrow Road to the Deep North: A novel by Richard Flanagan

Pulitzer Prize – The 2014 Winners Fiction Finalists
— Awarded to The Goldfinch: A Novel by Donna Tartt

Newbery Medal Award 2014 Finalists
— Awarded to Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo

PEN – Literary Awards Winners 2014

New York Times – 100 Notable Books of 2014

New York Times – The 10 Best Books of 2014

The Washington Post – The ten best books of 2014

Publisher’s Weekly – The Best Books of 2014

Amazon – The Best Books of 2014

Good Reads – Best Books of 2014

Autostraddle – Top 10 Queer and Feminist Books of 2014

Mother Jones – The 19 Best Photobooks of 2014

MotherJones_2014-Dec-23

New York Times Sunday Book Review – The Best Book Covers of 2014

All Our Names

Buzzfeed – 24 Movies You Probably Missed This Year, But Should Totally See

Buzzfeed – The 39 Most WTF Moments Of 2014

Reuters – Best photos of the year 2014

Wall Street Journal – Year in Photos 2014

Photo of Year 2014

Nasa on Instagram

NASA on Instagram 2014

IO9 – The Most Amazing Science Images Of 2014

Science Photos 2014

Mubi: Best Movie Posters of 2014

Frank Movie Poster

Rolling Stone – Rob Sheffield’s Top 25 Songs of 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014 Winner

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NaNoWriMo Winner 2014

This is my fourth consecutive win. It sort of feels a little less-satisfying that the others. For one thing, I’m writing something that’s intensely personal, so I kind of felt pretty drained by it. Also, there was a lot of research involved because it’s historical fiction, so even when I wasn’t writing, the topic was all-consuming of my time. I have a bibliography with 20+ titles on it, and links to hundreds of websites. I have a web folder full of images, maps, and two different pinterest pages, one for the novel and one for one of the main characters.

Another reason I feel drained is because it isn’t done – and I have two other unfinished novels that I haven’t been able to get past the 75% mark. This novel I plotted out far more than the others, and I feel like it has a better chance of having some resonance, but the last two days of writing were excruciating and involved me basically throwing junk on the page. I’m so far off my outline it isn’t even funny, and I definitely need to regroup.

NaNoWriMo is great for getting a ton written in a short amount of time and staying motivated. It’s terrible for causing burnout. And all my efforts to pick up the threads and try to finish at a less punishing pace in the months that follow NaNoWriMo have fallen into failure in the past.

I’m committed to changing that scenario this year and getting the book to something readable to others. But I also need to take the month to do some reading as well.

So basically, I’m optimistic, but dazed. Which is probably normal for me, right?

The running tally of my word count this year. Compared to last year, I was far behind most of the time, rather than ahead. I didn’t plan my resources properly and I let a lot of distractions in the door this year, which didn’t help.


1. 1,667 - 4218 (4218, +2551)
2. 3,334 - 1691 (5909, +2575)
3. 5,001 - 1060 (6969, +1968)
4. 6,668 - 1701 (8670, +2002)
5. 8,335 - 1051 (9721, +1386)
6. 10,002 - 126 (9847, -155)
7. 11,669 - 1031 (10878, -791)
8. 13,336 - 3922 (14800, +1464)
9. 15,003 - 1817 (16617, +1614)
10. 16,670 - 1762 (18358, +1688)
11. 18,337 - 0 (18358, +21)
12. 20,004 - 0 (18358, -1646)
13. 21,672 - 0 (18358, -3313)
14. 23,338 - 0 (18358, -4980)
15. 25,005 - 4720 (23078, -1927)
16. 26,672 - 3747 (26825, +153)
17. 28,339 - 1837 (28662, +323)
18. 30,006 - 638 (29300, -706)
19. 31,673 - 0 (29300, -2373)
20. 33,340 - 161 (29461, -3879)
21. 35,007 - 366 (29827, -5180)
22. 36,674 - 4782 (34586, -2088)
23. 38,341 - 2268 (36854, -1487)
24. 40,008 - 440 (37294, -2714)
25. 41,675 - 4656 (41950, +275)
26. 43,342 - 1734 (43684, +342)
27. 45,009 - 813 (44497, -512)
28. 46,676 - 23 (44520, -2156)
29. 48,343 - 2733 (47253, -1090)
30. 50,010 - 2747 (50179, +179)

The Naming of Cats

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by T. S. Eliot

The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn’t just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I’m as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there’s the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey–
All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter–
But all of them sensible everyday names.
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that’s particular,
A name that’s peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum-
Names that never belong to more than one cat.
But above and beyond there’s still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover–
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Effanineffable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.

from Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats Smudge Kitten Noro, Truesdale, and Purl

Transgender Day of Remembrance 2014

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Transgender Day of Remembrance

Transgender Day of Remembrance is observed to memorialize people killed by prejudice against transgender and gender-variant people. It also raises public awareness of hate crimes committed against transgender people – an action the media doesn’t do well, as we saw during the reporting of Indianapolis resident Ashley Sherman’s death. Day of Remembrance publicly identifies (where possible) and honors victims of violence, especially those that might be forgotten due to living in marginalized circumstances or due to deliberate or unaware misgendering of the victim after their death. We recognize that transgender people are sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, parents and friends.

81 transgender people were murdered around the world in 2014, the vast majority of them women of color, including one woman, Ashley Sherman, who was murdered here in Indianapolis, Indiana last month. Her killer is still unknown. In 2003, Indianapolis resident Nireah Johnson was murdered as well; fortunately her killers were brought to justice and incarcerated for her death and the death of her friend Brandie Coleman.

Ashley Sherman

Another black trans woman murdered, mis-gendered & mis-named in Indianapolis

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ashley-tajshon-sherman

The body of Ashley (nee Tajshon) Sherman was discovered on the east side of Indianapolis on Sunday evening by a police officer who was making a traffic stop in the area. Ashley was a black trans woman who identified as female according to family members, and called herself Ashley according to co-workers. She had been the victim of numerous cases of harassment and abuse, and was a runaway at age 12. Police later updated their reports with the information that Ashley had been shot in the head. Neighbors in the Tudor Park Condominiums report hearing a shot around midnight that evening.

Initial coverage of Ashley Sherman’s death was complicated by the police and local media mis-gendering her as male after initially identifying her as female, and mis-naming her as her birth name instead of her chosen name. Misreporting trans women’s murders by mis-gendering has been linked to problems with tracking murders of trans women nationwide and hampered police investigations of those murders. Mis-naming murder victims contributes to lack of police evidence as they attempt to speak to friends who might have known the victim by their chosen name but not their birth name.

GLAAD’s guidelines on trans people call for media to correctly identify and name trans people in news stories by their chosen names and gender markers.

GLAAD Media Reference Guide –Transgender Issues

GLAAD Media Reference Guide – In Focus: Covering the Transgender Community

Fox 59’s coverage currently mis-genders Ashley and mis-names her – Homicide investigation underway after officer finds body near road on east side (originally: Woman’s Body Found Near Road on City’s East Side)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (October 27, 2014) – A man’s body was found near the road on the city’s east side early Monday morning.

An Indianapolis Metropolitan police officer was driving near the Tudor Park Condominiums near the intersection of East 38th Street and North Mitthoeffer Road around midnight when he looked out his car window and saw the deceased person. The officer had just finished a traffic stop nearby.

Officers collected evidence from the scene and removed the body. Detectives say the man, identified as 25-year-old Tajshon Sherman, had been shot in the head.

Sherman was listed as a runaway at the age of 12 and has been mentioned in dozens of Marion County police reports since then. Several of those cases list Sherman as the victim of harassment or abuse. Others list Sherman as the suspect in prostitution and commercial sex arrests.

The exact cause of death will be determined following an autopsy. However, police said they are investigating this as a homicide.

If you know anything, call Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS.

Initially Fox gave Ashley correct pronouns in the video report, but “corrected” their written story after police identified Ashley and “updated” their report. Evidence of the initial story remains in the link to the news item: http://fox59.com/2014/10/27/womans-body-found-near-road-on-citys-east-side/. In addition, the sensationalism of noting Ashley’s arrests for sex work contributes to discrimination against her, as evidenced by the comments on some of the news reports about her.

The IndyStar similarly reported and then misreported Ashley’s discovery, as can be seen in their news story – Body found on Far Eastside ruled homicide

Police have identified the person whose body was found late Sunday night on the Far Eastside as 25-year-old Tajshon Sherman of Indianapolis.

Sherman’s body was found in the 3600 block of Tudor Park Drive about 11:40 p.m. Sunday, said a dispatcher with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.

That is the area of Tudor Park Condominiums, which are east of Post Road and south of 38th Street.

Police have ruled the death a homicide.

The body was found outdoors in a grassy area along a road by an IMPD officer who spotted it as he drove past the area after making a traffic stop, IMPD Sgt. Kendale Adams said. Police originally identified the body as a woman’s but later said it was a man’s.

The body appeared to have sustained severe head injuries, Adams said. Police are unsure where or how the man was killed.

Anyone with information that could prove helpful to investigators may call Crime Stoppers at (317) 262-TIPS (8477).

WISH-TV’s coverage is mixed on identifying Ashley as she identified. They mention that she identified as female but neglect to mention Ashley’s chosen name and use her birth name instead – Mother calling for justice in Tajshon’s murder

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – An Indianapolis mother calls for justice after learning her child was found shot to death near the side of a road.

Deshea Sherman is pleading for whoever is responsible to come forward. Late Monday afternoon the Marion County corner identified the victim 25-year old Tajshon Sherman.

“That was my son. He had a life like everybody else did. He didn’t deserve to have to die like this,” Sherman said.

You could hear the pain and heartache in Sherman’s voice. She’s grieving about the tragic death of her son Tajshon. Police found the 25 year-old’s body lying under a light pole outside Tudor Park Condominiums. Investigators said Tajshon was shot to death.

“He didn’t deserve to die like that; no body deserves to be shot and killed,” said a family friend.

Family and friends gathered at the crime scene to console one another. They said Tajshon lived as a woman. The lead detective on the case was also on the scene looking for more clues into Tajshon’s death. He said right now they are not investigating Tajshon’s death as a hate crime.

“Everybody knew what he was and what he was about. That was still my child,” said Sherman.

“Shon was like a brother to me; he called me brother. He stayed at my house,” said family friend Kenneth Hearn.

Marleeta Wilcox lives in the east side neighborhood. She didn’t know Tajshon, but brought this small brown teddy bear to the scene.

“It’s just sad that (it) took someone’s child, somebody’s relative. Somebody loved that person and now they are gone,” Wilcox said.

“Not only did you hurt our family, but you hurt your own family for the crime that you have done,” said a family friend.

“You was wrong for what you did, you could have just let him go,” said Sherman.

Sherman said she will always be proud of Tajshon.

“Still proud to be his mother to this day and I love him no matter what and I just want justice done for him,” she said.

Police are not sure if Tajshon was killed where the body was found or if the body was dumped there.

It was after midnight when an officer on patrol doing a traffic stop found the body.

Anyone with information that could help police should call Crime Stoppers at 262-TIPS.

Tuesday at 5 p.m., the family will hold a candlelight vigil in the same spot where Tajshon’s body was found.

WRTV-6 has done better about telling Ashley’s story, although identifying her as trans might help police investigate her murder and they aren’t using her chosen name – Woman’s body found in east-side yard

INDIANAPOLIS – Indianapolis police are investigating the death of a 25-year-old woman whose body was found Sunday night.

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department said the woman’s body was found in the yard at 3752 Tudor Park Drive, which is near the intersection of 38th Street and Mitthoeffer Road on the city’s east side.

The body was later identified as Tajshon Sherman, 25, of Indianapolis. Her death has been ruled a homicide.

Police spotted the body during a routine patrol of the area.

In 2003, 17-year-old Nireah Johnson, a black trans woman was murdered after a man she was interested in found out she was trans. Nireah was killed along with her friend Brandie Coleman. News coverage of the two young women’s deaths was complicated and sensationalized by the mis-gendering and mis-naming of Nireah, which continued long after her death. She is currently buried at Crown Hill Cemetery under her birth name, Gregory Johnson.

Publisher’s Weekly: The Top 10 Essays Since 1950

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From Publisher’s Weekly: The Top 10 Essays Since 1950.

Robert Atwan, the founder of The Best American Essays series, picks the 10 best essays of the postwar period. Links to the essays are provided when available.

Fortunately, when I worked with Joyce Carol Oates on The Best American Essays of the Century (that’s the last century, by the way), we weren’t restricted to ten selections. So to make my list of the top ten essays since 1950 less impossible, I decided to exclude all the great examples of New Journalism–Tom Wolfe, Gay Talese, Michael Herr, and many others can be reserved for another list. I also decided to include only American writers, so such outstanding English-language essayists as Chris Arthur and Tim Robinson are missing, though they have appeared in The Best American Essays series. And I selected essays, not essayists. A list of the top ten essayists since 1950 would feature some different writers.

To my mind, the best essays are deeply personal (that doesn’t necessarily mean autobiographical) and deeply engaged with issues and ideas. And the best essays show that the name of the genre is also a verb, so they demonstrate a mind in process–reflecting, trying-out, essaying.

James Baldwin, “Notes of a Native Son” (originally appeared in Harper’s, 1955)

Norman Mailer, “The White Negro” (originally appeared in Dissent, 1957)

Susan Sontag, “Notes on ‘Camp’” (originally appeared in Partisan Review, 1964)

John McPhee, “The Search for Marvin Gardens” (originally appeared in The New Yorker, 1972) (subscription required).

Joan Didion, “The White Album” (originally appeared in New West, 1979)

Annie Dillard, “Total Eclipse” (originally appeared in Antaeus, 1982)

Phillip Lopate, “Against Joie de Vivre” (originally appeared in Ploughshares, 1986)

Edward Hoagland, “Heaven and Nature” (originally appeared in Harper’s, 1988)

Jo Ann Beard, “The Fourth State of Matter” (originally appeared in The New Yorker, 1996)

David Foster Wallace, “Consider the Lobster” (originally appeared in Gourmet, 2004) (Note: the electronic version from Gourmet magazine’s archives differs from the essay that appears in The Best American Essays and in his book, Consider the Lobster.)

100 novels everyone should read – Telegraph

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Another “books you should read” list, this time from the telegraph. The one’s I’ve read are crossed off. This is actually a pretty good list – mostly classics, and not a single Ayn Rand title on it.

Source: Telegraph “100 novels everyone should read
The best novels of all time from Tolkien to Proust and Middlemarch

100 The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkein
WH Auden thought this tale of fantastic creatures looking for lost jewellery was a “masterpiece”.

99 To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
A child’s-eye view of racial prejudice and freaky neighbours in Thirties Alabama.

98 The Home and the World by Rabindranath Tagore
A rich Bengali noble lives happily until a radical revolutionary appears.

97 The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Earth is demolished to make way for a Hyperspatial Express Route. Don’t panic.

96 One Thousand and One Nights Anon
A Persian king’s new bride tells tales to stall post-coital execution.

95 The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Werther loves Charlotte, but she’s already engaged. Woe is he!

94 Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
The children of poor Hindus and wealthy Muslims are switched at birth.

93 Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré
Nursery rhyme provides the code names for British spies suspected of treason.

92 Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
Hilarious satire on doom-laden rural romances. “Something nasty” has been observed in the woodshed.

91 The Tale of Genji by Lady Murasaki
The life and loves of an emperor’s son. And the world’s first novel?

90 Under the Net by Iris Murdoch
A feckless writer has dealings with a canine movie star. Comedy and philosophy combined.

89 The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing
Lessing considers communism and women’s liberation in what Margaret Drabble calls “inner space fiction”.

88 Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin
Passion, poetry and pistols in this verse novel of thwarted love.

87 On the Road by Jack Kerouac
Beat generation boys aim to “burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles”.

86 Old Goriot by Honoré de Balzac
A disillusioning dose of Bourbon Restoration realism. The anti-hero “Rastingnac” became a byword for ruthless social climbing.

85 The Red and the Black by Stendhal
Plebian hero struggles against the materialism and hypocrisy of French society with his “force d’ame”.

84 The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
“One for all and all for one”: the eponymous swashbucklers battle the mysterious Milady.

83 Germinal by Emile Zola
Written to “germinate” social change, Germinal unflinchingly documents the starvation of French miners.

82 The Stranger by Albert Camus
Frenchman kills an Arab friend in Algiers and accepts “the gentle indifference of the world”.

81The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
Illuminating historical whodunnit set in a 14th-century Italian monastry.

80 Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey
An Australian heiress bets an Anglican priest he can’t move a glass church 400km.

79 Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
Prequel to Jane Eyre giving moving, human voice to the mad woman in the attic.

78 Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Carroll’s ludic logic makes it possible to believe six impossible things before breakfast.

77 Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Yossarian feels a homicidal impulse to machine gun total strangers. Isn’t that crazy?

76 The Trial by Franz Kafka
K proclaims he’s innocent when unexpectedly arrested. But “innocent of what”?

75 Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee
Protagonist’s “first long secret drink of golden fire” is under a hay wagon.

74 Waiting for the Mahatma by RK Narayan
Gentle comedy in which a Gandhi-inspired Indian youth becomes an anti-British extremist.

73 All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Remarque
The horror of the Great War as seen by a teenage soldier.

72 Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler
Three siblings are differently affected by their parents’ unexplained separation.

71 The Dream of the Red Chamber by Cao Xueqin
Profound and panoramic insight into 18th-century Chinese society.

70 The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
Garibaldi’s Redshirts sweep through Sicily, the “jackals” ousting the nobility, or “leopards”.

69 If On a Winter’s Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino
International book fraud is exposed in this playful postmodernist puzzle.

68 Crash by JG Ballard
Former TV scientist preaches “a new sexuality, born from a perverse technology”.

67 A Bend in the River by VS Naipaul
East African Indian Salim travels to the heart of Africa and finds “The world is what it is.”

66 Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Boy meets pawnbroker. Boy kills pawnbroker with an axe. Guilt, breakdown, Siberia, redemption.

65 Dr Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
Romantic young doctor’s idealism is trampled by the atrocities of the Russian Revolution.

64 The Cairo Trilogy by Naguib Mahfouz
Follows three generations of Cairenes from the First World War to the coup of 1952.

63 The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Stevenson’s “bogey tale” came to him in a dream.

62 Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
Swift’s scribulous satire on travellers’ tall tales (the Lilliputian Court is really George I’s).

61 My Name Is Red by Orhan Pamuk
A painter is murdered in Istanbul in 1591. Unusually, we hear from the corpse.

60 One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
Myth and reality melt magically together in this Colombian family saga.

59 London Fields by Martin Amis
A failed novelist steals a woman’s trashed diaries which reveal she’s plotting her own murder.

58 The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño
Gang of South American poets travel the world, sleep around, challenge critics to duels.

57 The Glass Bead Game by Herman Hesse
Intellectuals withdraw from life to play a game of musical and mathematical rules.

56 The Tin Drum by Günter Grass
Madhouse memories of the Second World War. Key text of European magic realism.

55 Austerlitz by WG Sebald
Paragraph-less novel in which a Czech-born historian traces his own history back to the Holocaust.

54 Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Scholar’s sexual obsession with a prepubescent “nymphet” is complicated by her mother’s passion for him.

53 The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
After nuclear war has rendered most sterile, fertile women are enslaved for breeding.

52 The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
Expelled from a “phony” prep school, adolescent anti-hero goes through a difficult phase.

51 Underworld by Don DeLillo
From baseball to nuclear waste, all late-20th-century American life is here.
READ: The best books of 2014

class=”checked”50 Beloved by Toni Morrison
Brutal, haunting, jazz-inflected journey down the darkest narrative rivers of American slavery.

49 The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
“Okies” set out from the Depression dustbowl seeking decent wages and dignity.

48 Go Tell It On the Mountain by James Baldwin
Explores the role of the Christian Church in Harlem’s African-American community.

47The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
A doctor’s infidelities distress his wife. But if life means nothing, it can’t matter.

46 The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
A meddling teacher is betrayed by a favourite pupil who becomes a nun.

45 The Voyeur by Alain Robbe-Grillet
Did the watch salesman kill the girl on the beach. If so, who heard?

44 Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre
A historian becomes increasingly sickened by his existence, but decides to muddle on.

43 The Rabbit books by John Updike
A former high school basketball star is unsatisfied by marriage, fatherhood and sales jobs.

42 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
A boy and a runaway slave set sail on the Mississippi, away from Antebellum “sivilisation”.

41 The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
A drug addict chases a ghostly dog across the midnight moors.

40 The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
Lily Bart craves luxury too much to marry for love. Scandal and sleeping pills ensue.

39 Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
A Nigerian yam farmer’s local leadership is shaken by accidental death and a missionary’s arrival.

38The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
A mysterious millionaire’s love for a woman with “a voice full of money” gets him in trouble.

37 The Warden by Anthony Trollope
“Of all novelists in any country, Trollope best understands the role of money,” said W.H. Auden.

36 Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
An ex-convict struggles to become a force for good, but it ends badly.

35 Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis
An uncommitted history lecturer clashes with his pompous boss, gets drunk and gets the girl.

34 The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
“Dead men are heavier than broken hearts” in this hardboiled crime noir.

33 Clarissa by Samuel Richardson
Epistolary adventure whose heroine’s bodice is savagely unlaced by the brothel-keeping Robert Lovelace.

32 A Dance to the Music of Time by Anthony Powell
Twelve-book saga whose most celebrated character wears “the wrong kind of overcoat”.

31 Suite Francaise by Irène Némirovsky
Published 60 years after their author was gassed, these two novellas portray city and village life in Nazi-occupied France.

30 Atonement by Ian McEwan
Puts the “c” word in the classic English country house novel.

29 Life: a User’s Manual by Georges Perec
The jigsaw puzzle of lives in a Parisian apartment block. Plus empty rooms.

28 Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
Thigh-thwacking yarn of a foundling boy sewing his wild oats before marrying the girl next door.

27 Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Human endeavours “to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the world” have tragic consequences.

26 Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell
Northern villagers turn their bonnets against the social changes accompanying the industrial revolution.

25 The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
Hailed by TS Eliot as “the first, the longest, and the best of modern English detective novels”.

24 Ulysses by James Joyce
Modernist masterpiece reworking of Homer with humour. Contains one of the longest “sentences” in English literature: 4,391 words.

23 Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
Buying the lies of romance novels leads a provincial doctor’s wife to an agonising end.

22 A Passage to India by EM Forster
A false accusation exposes the racist oppression of British rule in India.

21 1984 by George Orwell
In which Big Brother is even more sinister than the TV series it inspired.

20 Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne
Samuel Johnson thought Sterne’s bawdy, experimental novel was too odd to last. Pah!

class=”checked”19 The War of the Worlds by HG Wells
Bloodsucking Martian invaders are wiped out by a dose of the sniffles.

18 Scoop by Evelyn Waugh
Waugh based the hapless junior reporter in this journalistic farce on former Telegraph editor Bill Deedes.

17 Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
Sexual double standards are held up to the cold, Wessex light in this rural tragedy.

16 Brighton Rock by Graham Greene
A seaside sociopath mucks up murder and marriage in Greene’s literary Punch and Judy show.

15 The Code of the Woosters by PG Wodehouse
A scrape-prone toff and pals are suavely manipulated by his gentleman’s personal gentleman.

14 Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Out on the winding, windy moors Cathy and Heathcliff become each other’s “souls”. Then he storms off.

13 David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
Debt and deception in Dickens’s semi-autobiographical Bildungsroman crammed with cads, creeps and capital fellows.

12 Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
A slave trader is shipwrecked but finds God, and a native to convert, on a desert island.

11 Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Every proud posh boy deserves a prejudiced girl. And a stately pile.

10 Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
Picaresque tale about quinquagenarian gent on a skinny horse tilting at windmills.

9 Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
Septimus’s suicide doesn’t spoil our heroine’s stream-of-consciousness party.

8 Disgrace by JM Coetzee
An English professor in post-apartheid South Africa loses everything after seducing a student.

7 Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Poor and obscure and plain as she is, Mr Rochester wants to marry her. Illegally.

6 In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust
Seven-volume meditation on memory, featuring literature’s most celebrated lemony cake.

5 Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
“The conquest of the earth,” said Conrad, “is not a pretty thing.”

4 The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
An American heiress in Europe “affronts her destiny” by marrying an adulterous egoist.

3 Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Tolstoy’s doomed adulteress grew from a daydream of “a bare exquisite aristocratic elbow”.

2 Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
Monomaniacal Captain Ahab seeks vengeance on the white whale which ate his leg.

1 Middlemarch by George Eliot
“One of the few English novels written for grown-up people,” said Virginia Woolf.

Boxed In: Employment Of Behind-The-Scenes And On-Screen Women In 2013-14 Prime-Time Television

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As Long As Women Are Not Free

From the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film: San Diego State University, the annual report on women in television

The report is available in a downloadable PDF file: Boxed In: Employment Of Behind-The-Scenes And On-Screen Women In 2013-14 Prime-Time Television

In 2013-14, women comprised 27% of creators, executive producers, producers, writers, directors, editors, and directors of photography working on prime-time programs airing on the broadcast networks. This represents a decrease of 1 percentage point from 2012-13. On screen, women accounted for 42% of all speaking characters, a decrease of 1 percentage point from 2012-13. This year’s study also reports the findings of an expanded sample including programs airing on the broadcast networks, on basic and paid cable channels, and available through Netflix.

East of the Sun and West of the Moon

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Wikipedia: “East of the Sun and West of the Moon” is a Norwegian folk tale.

1024px-TheodorKittelsen-KvitebjørnKongValemon(1912)

The White Bear approaches a poor peasant and asks if he will give him his youngest daughter; in return, he will make the man rich. The girl is reluctant, so the peasant asks the bear to return, and persuades her in the meantime. The White Bear takes her off to a rich and enchanted castle. At night, he takes off his bear form in order to come to her bed as a man, although the lack of light means that she never sees him.

When she grows homesick, the bear agrees that she might go home as long as she agrees that she will never speak with her mother alone, but only when other people are about. At home, they welcome her, and her mother makes persistent attempts to speak with her alone, finally succeeding and persuading her to tell the whole tale. Hearing it, her mother insists that the White Bear must really be a troll, gives her some candles, and tells her to light them at night, to see what is sharing her bed.

The youngest daughter obeys, and finds he is a highly attractive prince, but she spills three drops of the melted tallow on him, waking him. He tells her that if she held out a year, he would have been free, but now he must go to his wicked stepmother, who enchanted him into this shape and lives in a castle east of the sun and west of the moon, and marry her hideous daughter, a troll princess.

In the morning, the youngest daughter finds that the palace has vanished. She sets out in search of him. Coming to a great mountain, she finds an old woman playing with a golden apple. The youngest daughter asks if she knows the way to the castle east of the sun and west of the moon. The old woman cannot tell her, but lends the youngest daughter a horse to reach a neighbor who might know, and gives her the apple. The neighbor is sitting outside another mountain, with a golden carding comb. She, also, does not know the way to the castle east of the sun and west of the moon, but lends the youngest daughter a horse to reach a neighbor who might know, and gives her the carding-comb. The third neighbor has a golden spinning wheel. She, also, does not know the way to the castle east of the sun and west of the moon, but lends the youngest daughter a horse to reach the East Wind and gives her the spinning wheel.

The East Wind has never been to the castle east of the sun and west of the moon, but his brother the West Wind might have, being stronger. He takes her to the West Wind. The West Wind does the same, bringing her to the South Wind; the South Wind does the same, bringing her to the North Wind. The North Wind reports that he once blew an aspen leaf there, and was exhausted after, but he will take her if she really wants to go. The youngest daughter does wish to go, and so he takes her there.

The next morning, the youngest daughter takes out the golden apple. The troll princess who was to marry the prince sees it and wants to buy it. The girl agrees, if she can spend the night with the prince. The troll princess agrees but gives the prince a sleeping drink, so that the youngest daughter cannot wake him. The same thing happens the next night, after the youngest daughter pays the troll princess with the gold carding-combs. During the girl’s attempts to wake the prince, her weeping and calling to him is overheard by some imprisoned townspeople in the castle, who tell the prince of it. On the third night, in return for the golden spinning wheel, the troll princess brings the drink, but the prince does not drink it, and so is awake for the youngest daughter’s visit.

The prince tells her how she can save him: He will declare that he will not marry anyone who cannot wash the tallow drops from his shirt since trolls, such as his stepmother and her daughter, the troll princess, cannot do it. So instead, he will call in the youngest daughter, and she will be able to do it, so she will marry him. The plan works, and the trolls, in a rage, burst. The prince and his bride free the prisoners captive in the castle, take the gold and silver within, and leave the castle east of the sun and west of the moon.

Same-sex marriage is legal in Indiana

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Craig Bowman and Jake Miller - first same-sex married couple in Marion County

Craig Bowman and Jake Miller – first same-sex married couple in Marion County

Yesterday, a federal court judge threw out Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage, ruling that the Gay marriage ban violates Equal Protection Clause and Due Process Clause. See the the summary judgement here [pdf]. Because there was no stay on the ruling, Indiana couples could begin marrying immediately, and the Marion County Clerk’s office was prepared for the lines of same-sex couples who showed up to apply for a license.

Lines of same-sex couples waiting to get married in Marion County Clerk's office

Lines of same-sex couples waiting to get married in Marion County Clerk’s office

Lines of same-sex couples waiting to get married in Marion County Clerk's office

Lines of same-sex couples waiting to get married in Marion County Clerk’s office

219 marriage license were issue to same-sex couples in Marion County yesterday, and 150 ceremonies were performed in the Marion County Clerk’s Office. And the Clerk’s office is anticipating hundreds more marriages today.

Because Stephanie and I were married in 2008 and our marriage suddenly was valid in Indiana, we thought it would be fun to take flowers to all the folks waiting to get married yesterday. We handed out over 125 flowers to individuals inline – we ran out of the first 9 bouquets and then went to the florist to get more.

Flowers for same-sex couples getting married in Marion County Flowers for same-sex couples getting married in Marion County

We saw tons of friends getting married yesterday – it was amazing. I’m still giddy.

County Clerks all over the state were issuing licenses and marriages, although there was some confusion and refusals by some counties to issue licenses. This map was accurate as of sometime yesterday evening. Late in the evening Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller issued a notice to all county clerks advising them to follow the ruling of the court.

Indiana Counties issuing same-sex marriage licenses

Of course Zoeller waited to make that statement until well after he had filed an appeal for a stay on the federal court ruling.

Read 26 Indy Reading Challenge for 2014

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Early in January of 2014, Indy Star Reporter Michael Anthony Adams issued a challenge to Indiana residents for the new year:

New Year’s resolutions are rarely acted on. I’m guilty of it, and you’re guilty of it. The trick is to have support, which is exactly what #Read26Indy is. But instead of having a few friends hold you accountable for your vows, you have an entire city.

The pledge: I’m calling on every Hoosier to read 26 books in 2014. Think of it as your informal education, a collective challenge. One book every two weeks. That’s 20 pages a day (if you figure that the average novel is 280-300 pages long). When you start a book, let everyone know about it on Twitter by using the hashtag #Read26Indy. Feel like telling us what you’re drinking while you’re reading? Have at it, but use #Read26Indy. Can’t stand a character? Want to rant about it? #Read26Indy is your pedestal. The point is to read. Like Faulkner said, “Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad.”

Can’t decide what to read? Tweet it out. #Read26Indy has already gathered a large following, and people are eager to tell you about their favorite books. I’ll also be keeping this page up-to-date with what I’m reading and I urge you to join our Goodreads group, #Read26Indy, to discuss your picks with other readers.

Part way through January, they mentioned that comic books count! I could finish in a couple weeks if I include them. For my personal challenge, I’ll note comic books but not count them against my official total. I’m going to pin this post to my main page and update as I add titles throughout the year.

So far my finished titles are:

This Is How You Lose Her
Author: Junot Diaz
Rated: 4 stars. Very well written with strong characters. I just had a hard time identifying with the protagonist, because all of his problems came through his own self-absorption.
The Goldfinch
Author: Donna Tartt
Rated: 5 stars. Everything I love about reading – being so caught up that I forget the rest of the world exists, wanting to highlight whole passages and re-read whole sections, frantically looking up quotes and references to get at additional layers of meaning – all come together here. The book I set down after the I finished the last page is a completely different one than I thought I was reading after the first chapter, and winding up in a different place than I expected and yet feeling like it all made sense and could be true is, I think, a hallmark of a truly skilled author.
Hawkeye: Little Hits, Vol. 2
Author: Matt Fraction
Rated: 4 stars. Smart and sardonic, the story of a hapless hero who seems to swing and miss an awful lot. Beautifully drawn work.
The Social Justice Advocate’s Handbook: A Guide to Gender
Author: Sam Killermann
Rated: 4 stars. Available as a free ebook, so no reason not to pick up a copy. Worth reading for the discussion of the fallacies of The Golden Rule alone – Killermann suggest replacing “Do unto others as you would have them do to you” with the more thoughtful “do unto others as they would have you do to them” and his logic is impeccable; he challenged (and improved!) one of the basic principles I’ve always followed.

But the book really shines when it leads you through understanding of gender and especially how people who don’t conform to the male/female gender binary see themselves in the world. It’s eye-opening and will change your perspective in a healthy way for yourself and the people around you.

Veronica Mars: An Original Mystery by Rob Thomas: The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line (Vintage)
Author: Rob Thomas
Rated: 3 stars. Iffy. It didn’t advance the story threads left open in the movie at all.
Transition: The Story of How I Became a Man
Author: Chaz Bono.
Rated: 3 stars. I understood Chaz’ story a lot better, and had a lot of sympathy for what he dealt with in coming to terms with his gender identity. I had trouble relating to some of the ways he spoke about transitioning, because he rejected completely and didn’t identify with any female experience from his life. I think in contemplating my own gender identity I feel an ownership of both feminine and masculine experiences and identities, so the way Chaz wrote about things seemed foreign to me. After reading this I watched the documentary “Becoming Chaz” and related a lot more to what Chaz was saying as he transitioned on screen. In some cases that seems hard to put into words, but when Chaz speaks with his own voice it’s easier to understand.
The Actor’s Guide To Murder
Author: Rick Copp
Rated: 1 star. This is a terrible book and I hate that I’m even linking to it. It’s incredibly transphobic – in fact it’s worth spoiling the “mystery” – the killer is a trans woman who commits murder to pay for her transitions. Because of course those crazy trans folks will go nuts and murder people in order to transition. Just a piece of crap writing all around.
The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel (P.S.)
Author: Helene Wecker
Rated: 5 stars. A delightful read by a first-time author. Very impressive.
The Woman Upstairs
Author: Claire Messud
Rated: 4 stars. I have a friend who disliked the ending, but I loved it. I was afraid it was going to be a tragic book throughout, but was happy to find that was not the case.
Tony’s Treasure Hunt
Author: Holly Peterson
Cute children’s book that I happened to buy a single framed page of several years ago. Tony finds a series of clues and follows them to find a treasure.
Seating Arrangements
Author: Maggie Shipstead
Rated: 4 stars.
Funny, exasperating, self-absorbed white people who behave outrageously while convinced they’re proper and upstanding. It seemed very realistic to me. Not sure why there are so many angry reviews about this book on goodreads. Certainly the characters were idiots, but they were engaging idiots.
Mrs Queen Takes the Train: A Novel
Author: William Kuhn
Rated: 3 stars.
An upcoming book club selection, so I’m bound by the first and second rules of book club – “Don’t discuss the book before book club” I’ll circle back and write a review after.
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel
Author: Robin Sloan
Rated: 3 stars
Another fun light read. It prioritizes using technology and computers over doing the work yourself, and seems to promote the idea that reading is done strictly for data gathering purposes. A very google-like approach to books that entirely misses the point. As does Google, in general.
The Secret History

Author: Donna Tart
Rated: 4 stars. I enjoyed the storyline but didn’t really care for any of the characters, even the protagonist. A bunch of jackasses, all of them. It’s well-written and smart but I feel some impatience at stories where there are literally no sympathetic characters in sight. I supposed there are groups of utter jerks out there, but why bother with them? Do we need to hear their stories?

Miss Buncle’s Book
Author: D.E. Smith
Rated: 4 stars.
When I picked up this funny little book to read the back cover, I was dismayed to find that it was very like a story I was writing myself about a woman who writes about her neighbors in a smash hit book and then has to weather the storm of their consternation. I was a bit put out, actually, until I realized the story was originally published in 1936 and reprinted recently with a very charming cover. I suppose I can’t be too upset that someone had the same funny idea I did 32 years before I was born. And my story only starts there and then gets pretty racy, where this book remains charming and sweet throughout. The characters are sharply drawn and the controversies are small, the conceit of a book within a book is nicely recursed with yet another book being written by the characters of the book inside the book inside this one, and there is a rather outrageous denouement with a kidnapping that it’s fairly easy to forgive given that they satirize it themselves. They only think the didn’t tie up was whether the Mrs. Goldsmith’s dilemma with the bakery buns solved itself; they leave you to return to the beginning and work it out yourself.

2014-06-06 Jamaica Playlist

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Beach, Negril, Jamaica

Feeling Good / Nina Simone / 2:53 / Soundtrack
One Love / Bob Marley / 2:48 / Reggae
Soolaimon / Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show (Live) / Neil Diamond / 9:34 / Pop
Love Is The Seventh Wave / Sting / 3:32 / Alternative
I Choose You / Sara Bareilles / 3:39 / Pop
I Can See Clearly Now / Johnny Nash / 2:45 / Reggae
Sweat (A La La La La Long) / Inner Circle / 3:46 / Reggae
Buzz-Buzz-Buzz / The Hollywood Flames / 2:20 / Doo-wop
I Ain’t Leavin’ Without Your Love / Nashville Cast / 2:46 / Country
Rhythm of Love / Plain White T’s / 3:20 / Pop
What I Like About You / The Romantics / 2:56 / Rock
I Wanna Get Better / Bleachers / 3:24 / Rock
Tightrope (Solo Version) / Janelle Monáe / 4:25 / R&B/Soul
Don’t Fence Me In / David Byrne / 3:13 / Jazz
Water Fountain / Tune-Yards / 3:03 / Alternative
It’s My Birthday (feat. Cody Wise) / will.i.am / 4:12 / Pop
Emily / MIKA / 3:33 / Pop
We Are One (Ole Ola) [The Official 2014 FIFA World Cup™ Song] / Pitbull / 3:44 / Pop
Wavin’ Flag / K’naan, will.i.am & David Guetta / 3:30 / Hip-Hop/Rap
Fancy (feat. Charli XCX) / Iggy Azalea / 3:20 / Hip-Hop/Rap
Sweet Jane / Cowboy Junkies / 3:34 / Adult Alternative Pop/Rock
On a Bicycle Built for Two / Nat “King” Cole / 1:46 / Pop
Do I Move You? / Nina Simone / 2:45 / Jazz

Jamaican Sun

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We are headed to Jamaica tomorrow for my youngest brother Gary’s wedding. This is incredibly exciting because we’ve had a lot of traumatic stuff going on lately, including Stephanie’s mom’s long illness and death from liver cancer on May 19th of this year. We really need a vacation, we need relaxation and fun and frivolity and time away from home and work.

2015-06-02 Recently Read

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NY Times: Storme DeLarverie, Early Leader in the Gay Rights Movement, Dies at 93

“Nobody knows who threw the first punch, but it’s rumored that she did, and she said she did,” said Ms. Cannistraci, an owner of the Village lesbian bar Henrietta Hudson. “She told me she did.”

Ms. DeLarverie was a member of the Stonewall Veterans Association and a regular at the pride parade, but she rarely dwelled on her actions that night. Her role in the movement lasted long after 1969. For decades she was a self-appointed guardian of lesbians in the Village.

Tall, androgynous and armed — she held a state gun permit — Ms. DeLarverie roamed lower Seventh and Eighth Avenues and points between into her 80s, patrolling the sidewalks and checking in at lesbian bars. She was on the lookout for what she called “ugliness”: any form of intolerance, bullying or abuse of her “baby girls.”

Mother Jones: Fearing Rising Backlash, NRA Urges Gun Activists to Stand Down

It may be that a broader cultural shift—or at least a strategic one—is stirring within the gun lobby. In its statement on Friday, the NRA also cracked open the door to so-called “smart guns,” which aim to improve safety through innovative technological features. Historically the NRA has vigorously opposed them as yet another catalyst for dubious government overreach, but now says: “In principle, the idea would seem to have merit, at least in some circumstances.” That pivot comes not long after a businesswoman in California and a gun dealer in Maryland spoke out about harassment and death threats for trying to sell the cutting-edge weapons.

The NRA has also backtracked recently from its long-held stance against laws meant to disarm domestic abusers—a major factor in gun violence against women—by quietly supporting recent such legislation in states including Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Talking Points Memo: Why Is Capital So Much Stronger Than Labor?

Surely part of solving the inequality problem will require reducing the outsized political power of those with the most resources (and to be clear, I’m arguing that their usual dominance is highly amplified and uniquely unopposed in our current politics). If I’m right about the role of economics today in supporting capital and opposing labor, then part of winning that fight requires a new economics that encompasses a much broader scope of human and societal well-being, that more readily sees market failures, more accurately gauges and fairly judges reactions to policy changes, and places a much heavier weight on shared prosperity, and not solely through redistribution, but through market outcomes.

As another Thomas—Pynchon—said: “If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.” Progressives have all kinds of ideas to shape a more equitable primary distribution. But those ideas will never get much oxygen if we remain voluntary trapped in the cramped debate of a short-sighted economics.

A Brave and Startling Truth – Maya Angelou

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NY Times: Maya Angelou, Lyrical Witness of the Jim Crow South, Dies at 86

We, this people, on a small and lonely planet
Traveling through casual space
Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns
To a destination where all signs tell us
It is possible and imperative that we learn
A brave and startling truth

And when we come to it
To the day of peacemaking
When we release our fingers
From fists of hostility
And allow the pure air to cool our palms

When we come to it
When the curtain falls on the minstrel show of hate
And faces sooted with scorn are scrubbed clean
When battlefields and coliseum
No longer rake our unique and particular sons and daughters
Up with the bruised and bloody grass
To lie in identical plots in foreign soil

When the rapacious storming of the churches
The screaming racket in the temples have ceased
When the pennants are waving gaily
When the banners of the world tremble
Stoutly in the good, clean breeze

When we come to it
When we let the rifles fall from our shoulders
And children dress their dolls in flags of truce
When land mines of death have been removed
And the aged can walk into evenings of peace
When religious ritual is not perfumed
By the incense of burning flesh
And childhood dreams are not kicked awake
By nightmares of abuse

When we come to it
Then we will confess that not the Pyramids
With their stones set in mysterious perfection
Nor the Gardens of Babylon
Hanging as eternal beauty
In our collective memory
Not the Grand Canyon
Kindled into delicious color
By Western sunsets

Nor the Danube, flowing its blue soul into Europe
Not the sacred peak of Mount Fuji
Stretching to the Rising Sun
Neither Father Amazon nor Mother Mississippi who, without favor,
Nurture all creatures in the depths and on the shores
These are not the only wonders of the world

When we come to it
We, this people, on this minuscule and kithless globe
Who reach daily for the bomb, the blade and the dagger
Yet who petition in the dark for tokens of peace
We, this people on this mote of matter
In whose mouths abide cankerous words
Which challenge our very existence
Yet out of those same mouths
Come songs of such exquisite sweetness
That the heart falters in its labor
And the body is quieted into awe

We, this people, on this small and drifting planet
Whose hands can strike with such abandon
That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living
Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness
That the haughty neck is happy to bow
And the proud back is glad to bend
Out of such chaos, of such contradiction
We learn that we are neither devils nor divines

When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
Without crippling fear

When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
That is when, and only when

We come to it.

Powerful Essay on the World Trade Center Attacks

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By Steve Kandell on Buzzfeed [The Worst Day Of My Life Is Now New York’s Hottest Tourist Attraction]:

The fact that everyone else here has VIP status grimly similar to mine is the lone saving grace; the prospect of experiencing this stroll down waking nightmare lane with tuned-out schoolkids or spectacle-seekers would be too much. There are FDNY T-shirts and search-and-rescue sweatshirts and no one quite makes eye contact with anyone else, and that’s just fine. I think now of every war memorial I ever yawned through on a class trip, how someone else’s past horror was my vacant diversion and maybe I learned something but I didn’t feel anything. Everyone should have a museum dedicated to the worst day of their life and be forced to attend it with a bunch of tourists from Denmark. Annotated divorce papers blown up and mounted, interactive exhibits detailing how your mom’s last round of chemo didn’t take, souvenir T-shirts emblazoned with your best friend’s last words before the car crash. And you should have to see for yourself how little your pain matters to a family of five who need to get some food before the kids melt down. Or maybe worse, watch it be co-opted by people who want, for whatever reason, to feel that connection so acutely.

What Girls Wear in Summer Time

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From Role Reboot: A Message To Teenage Girls About Summer Dress Codes By Chelsea Cristene

The other day while driving home from work, I saw a shirtless man who looked about my age—mid 20′s—mowing his lawn. I did not roll down my window and cat call, or yell to him that I’d like a piece of that. I did not scoff in disgust, thinking that his lack of shirt was an invitation for me to comment on his appearance in a derogatory way or to view him as someone with no self-respect. He was a man mowing his lawn, sweating under the high afternoon sun, and dressed for the weather.

That is the difference.

We live in a culture that produces girls’ tops with narrower shoulder straps than boys’ tops, girls’ shorts that expose more leg than boys’ shorts, and then shames girls for wearing the clothes that are sold to them. We live in a culture that tells boys it’s OK to shed clothing in the heat in order to be more comfortable, but tells girls that their comfort is secondary to how others perceive them.

When people tell you these things, they are part of a larger system that often operates without their full knowledge. It is the same system that excuses assault if the victim was drinking or was not a virgin, and that tells women not to get raped instead of telling men not to rape. You are not a piece of uncovered meat, and you are not to blame when your fellow autonomous human beings choose not to exercise self-control. Your body and the clothes you put on it are not “things” “given” to others.

The difficulty is that this message is being sent to young women. It also needs to be sent to young men. The script needs to change. Tell young men it’s their responsibility to keep their hands to themselves, and that understanding the importance of clear verbal consent from young women is their responsibility and anything else is illegal and immoral.

Women have been spreading this message for years. When men finally get with the program and join them in spreading it, then young men’s behavior will change.

Things I’ve been doing lately (instead of blogging)

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Things I’ve been doing instead of blogging:

  • Taking a scene writing class from the Indiana Writer’s Center (I also took a world building class at IWC taught by Maurice Broaddus). I don’t know yet if this is helping me write better, but it is helping me procrastinate.
  • Taking a sewing class from Crimson Tate our local fabric store. This is because I need to brush up on my sewing skills so I can hem my own pants and such. My rudimentary junior-high home-ec skills need some refreshment.
  • Getting a head-start on gardening. The winter was so harsh that I couldn’t wait to plan what the gardens were going to look like. So we got a load of mulch early in March and put it down on the front flowerbeds before the spring bulbs came up. Also, I started flower seeds in a mini green house, and I’m getting the kitchen window ready to use as a cold-frame to start herbs and veggies. I’m growing some lavender, two kinds of butterfly flower, indigo and a climbing passion flower.
  • Reading more fiction. My sleep doctor told me to stay away from computer screens in the evening so I can sleep better, and it really works. So I’ve been reading more print books and less iPad. Now I wake up at 5:30 am instead of 2:30 am, and I feel more refreshed. Also, I’ve finished more books. We’re reading Pynchon’s Bleeding Edge, which in retrospect was a bad choice on my part. It’s a bit of a slog.
  • Therapy. No worries. Just dealing with stress from things that are beyond our control to fix.
IndianHeadTestPattern16x9

The Art Assignment #3: Intimate, Indispensable GIF

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In which The Art Assignment visits New York-based artist Toyin Odutola and receives the challenge to create a GIF! But not just any GIF–it must articulate something intimate that is indispensable to you.

My Entry: My (current) favorite words

Words: Intimate & Indenspensible

EPISODE 03 INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Think of something intimate that is indispensable to you. (It doesn’t have to be a body part. It can be an object, place, memory, anything.)

2. Depict it in the form of a GIF. You don’t have to make drawings—you can use photographs, make a sculpture, or whatever you like.

3. Upload and share it online using whatever social media platforms you prefer, being sure to tag it with #theartassignment so we can find it.

4. Fame and glory. (Your response might be included in a future episode.)

Essential Follow-up Reading on HJR-3

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Indy StarThe intrigue behind the curtain cloaking the HJR-3 debate
“When the Indiana Senate cast its vote Monday on the proposed same-sex marriage ban, it all seemed pretty straightforward, even predictable. The vast majority of Republicans voted for the measure and it passed 32-17.

But outside public view, another story was playing out. In the days and hours leading up to the vote, a group of socially conservative senators was plotting in private to kill the marriage amendment.”

Commentary from inside the organization fighting HJR3 on this article: “I read it twice. A lot of it has an element of reality, some is off base. But we’ve got to be ready for 2015. No question.”

Digital Media News — Reporters Notebook: Indiana Senator’s Twitter War A Fascinating Read
“First, some disclosure. In Indiana State Senator Mike Delph’s world, I am a “liberal”. I am not a moderate, independent…nope…I am a “liberal” because I do not agree with his position regarding gay marriage. Second, Delph was punished, in part, for contents of a Twitter war that topped 250 tweets over two or three days best described as a melt-down over the demise of HJR-3 which was a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in Indiana. Senate President Pro Tempore David Long has disciplined Delph — taking away leadership roles and even moving his seat — for violating Senate protocol when he tweeted about the same-sex marriage amendment. According to Long’s office, Delph used Twitter to report information, garnered from a GOP private caucus, on the fate of Senate action on House Joint Resolution 3.”

Excerpt: Untitled Short Story

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I would not mind your thoughts on this, the beginning of a short story I’m working on (that is due Sunday! but we’ll just gloss over that for now). I’m hoping this will be a series of related short stories. It is in a particular genre, but I’d rather get further before I disclose that. It is unedited, because my trusty personal editor is up north visiting family. So all grammar errors and poor constructions are on me. I looked it over, but not carefully. Feel free to give me your ideas. I know that some of my sentences are long and rambling; that is intentional for now.

Every yard sale seem to have a personality of its own. It’s not just the objects out for sale that are important, but how they are arranged on display that catches a purchaser’s eye. What kind of table they are displayed on, and how objects are positioned with one another can change the way the buyer feels about a potential purchase. Chaotic jumbles can be either intriguing if they are filled with items that evoke times or loves long past, or confusing and mind-numbing if they are filled with items better left in a dust bin. But sometimes re-arranging those dust bin candidates in just the right fashion can transform them. A collection of translucent turquoise colored jelly glasses, purchased at the grocery end cap in 1985 for $1 a piece are probably better off sent to the glass recycle than left on this plastic folding table that should have been wiped down before objects were heaped upon it. But spirited across the church yard to the highly polished sturdy oak dining table and aligned neatly next to the turquoise milk glass vases, with a pretty green-blue flowered tablecloth folded neatly next to them, a dark wicker basket, crystal candle-holders and the off-white tapers plucked from a dingy box of candle ends complete the scene. As a last minute thought add in some solid teal cloth napkins rescued from a box of old handkerchiefs and neatly folded alongside, and you’ve evoked an early summer picnic on the front porch at your grandmother’s – matching colors and textures to delight the eye and set a scene. Helen Lake freely moved items around the sale without really thinking about it, suiting her own sense of style, because no one was paying enough attention to tell her not to do so.

The yard sale was held by the church every year and run by a phalanx of church and neighborhood volunteers. Helen wasn’t one of them; just a shopper and neighborhood resident, but at this sale it didn’t matter to anyone how the items were organized. There were not lots or booths or separate pay stations, just boxes of discarded items carted to the church yard for the annual sale because it was easier than taking them to the donation, and because no one in the neighborhood wanted to throw something away if they thought it might have some use to someone, even if it was clearly beyond any practical interest to anyone else. “Someone might want them” is one of those the silly sentimental things we tell ourselves about the objects that pass on to others. It’s much easier to allow others to throw things out for us at the end of a busy day; separated from the sentiment of uneasy memory, it’s painless for a garage sale volunteer to toss the worthless walkman cassette player with a broken rewind into the trash. Or for Helen Lake to do so as she moved quietly past the table, reorganizing the less-interesting trash items to a back table unnoticed as she picked out a handful of useful things to purchase for herself, and arranged things she didn’t need but she could see had value in a way that displayed them to their advantage.

The lack of attention to what Helen was doing on the part of her neighbors was as much careful as careless. True that volunteers were in a flurry of activity selling yard sale items and refreshments, bagging purchases and counting change, moving heavy items to the back of people’s cars and directing traffic. But none of the residents of Olden Green was unaware of Helen Lake’s presence in the church yard, as much as they might like to be. Helen Lake might be one of the neighborhood’s (and the cities’) most famous residents, but she was not popular in the downtown Indianapolis historic district where she lived. Helen Lake had opinions about the neighborhood and its residents, and while they might be easily dismissed by her neighbors on the neighborhood mailing list, they were less so when they were fictionalized and examined at great length in a hit novel beloved by millions of Americans from all walks of life, published in hardback and soft cover and then reprinted as a book club edition with a question and answer dissection about gentrification, urban development and provincial attitudes printed in the appendix.

The thing that truly infuriated her neighbors was not that Helen Lake was right. She was, of course, as everyone could tell when they secretly checked the book out from the library and read it. Taken out of the context of email exchanges and personal wrangling, placed in a fictional setting and thoroughly knocked to pieces in a leisurely and entertaining way, the bitter squabbling engaged in by the residents of the 20 square blocks of the midwestern city — arguments over new construction, parking issues, low-income housing and petty theft — could be seen for the misguidedness and prejudice that it was.

What really made her neighbors mad, though, was that Helen pulled her punches with a graciousness they didn’t deserve. She was content with popping the over-inflated beliefs and logical fallacies of her neighbors. She didn’t name names or take pot-shots. She didn’t expect that her neighbors solve problems that were beyond the scope of what individuals could do. She merely called upon them to think, and empathize, and take the lives of people other than themselves into account. She was careful to change the names of the innocent and guilty alike. She moved the locale to a less identifiable place in the city. No one who read the book outside of the neighborhood itself would ever think to associate the fictionalized version of their myopic little ward with the real version where Helen lived, and they were reminded of that fact every time someone asked them whether they were friends with their famous neighbor, and if they could get a signed copy of the book for them. But her neighbors recognized the nicer, less mean version of themselves that came from Helen Lake’s pen, and while the tone of the association meetings and email exchanges had changed radically to studious politeness and a grudging willingness to take into account all there residents of Olden Green of varieties larger and smaller, no one had gone out of their way to befriend Helen Lake.

Which is how she liked it.

olden-green

Zombie HJR-3: Out-of-state groups want to force HJR-3 onto 2014 ballot

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According to RTV-6 News – Group may force HJR-3 on 2014 ballot:

Posted: 02/19/2014 Rafael Sanchez
INDIANAPOLIS – A national pro-marriage group is considering whether to take legal action to force HJR-3 on the Indiana ballot in November 2014.

The measure came to a halt on Monday, when the Senate did not return the bill its original status, in which it would impact civil unions.

The National Organization for Marriage tells RTV6 that they met with the House Speaker Brian Bosma on Friday.

“We are building a coalition of the willing and looking for legislators who are willing to join in this task,” said Chris Plante, regional director of NOM.

“We understand it will be heavy lifting, but if we all work together, we believe we have the law on our side. And we believe HJR-3 should go to the people in November 2014 as was promised by legislature on multiple occasions,” said Plante.

Nevermind what Hoosiers want; out-of-state interests are weighing in on what should happen in Indiana, which is at odds with their “states should decide marriage” stance. But anti-gay groups have never been big on consistency.

The End of HJR-3 for 2014 (with some thoughts on HB-1153)

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Because in the past, I’ve been terrible about writing down the follow-up of the Indiana Marriage Discrimination Amendment, here’s a wrap-up post in case this comes up again in two years – HJR-3 passed through the state legislature, but we essentially “won” because we succeeded in keeping it off the ballot in 2014.

After my January 24th post, the amendment moved to the floor of the House of Representatives on January 27th. Stephanie and I attended the hearing at the Statehouse for that event, where they opted to remove the second sentence of the bill:

“A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized.”

The amendment now reads only “Only a marriage between one (1) man and one (1) woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Indiana.”

This is significant because the second sentence had significant problems of interpretation that made it possible to discriminate against anything that resembled a domestic partnership, and threatened things like powers of attorney, living wills and directives, the ability to visit a same-sex partner in the hospital and other ramifications. Similar language in other states’s bills (Ohio, Kentucky) created problems for same-sex couples.

The companion bill – HB 1153, which was intended to “explain the legislative intent” of the second sentence died quietly in the House of Reps because it was no longer relevant. Did I ever post the content of HB-1153? I don’t recall. But here it is, and it reads as a roster of why the second sentence was a problem:

House Bill 1153
House Bill (H)
Authored by: Rep. P Eric Turner

Introduced Version
HOUSE BILL No. 1153
_____
DIGEST OF INTRODUCED BILL
Citations Affected: IC 1-1-5.6.
Synopsis: Marriage amendment ballot language. Requires that the question of approval of the constitutional amendment concerning marriage proposed by the 117th general assembly be placed on the 2014 general election ballot if the amendment is agreed to by the 118th general assembly. Prescribes the ballot language for the question. Describes the legislative intent of offering the constitutional amendment.
Effective: Upon passage.

Turner, Thompson
January 9, 2014, read first time and referred to Committee on Judiciary.

HOUSE BILL No. 1153
A BILL FOR AN ACT to amend the Indiana Code concerning marriage.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Indiana:

SECTION 1. IC 1-1-5.6 IS ADDED TO THE INDIANA CODE AS A NEW CHAPTER TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE UPON PASSAGE]:

Chapter 5.6. Marriage Amendment to the State Constitution
Sec. 1. As used in this chapter, “marriage amendment” refers to any amendment to Article 1 of the Constitution of the State of Indiana concerning marriage that was proposed by the one hundred seventeenth general assembly (P.L.231-2011) and agreed to by the one hundred eighteenth general assembly.

Sec. 2. The general assembly intends and establishes that the purpose of the marriage amendment is to restrict the state, through legislative, executive, or judicial action, from creating or recognizing a legal status between unmarried individuals equivalent or substantially similar to marriage between one (1) man and one (1) woman. The first sentence of the marriage amendment prohibits the recognition of marriage between persons other than one (1) man and one (1) woman. The second sentence of the marriage amendment prohibits the state from circumventing the mandate of the first sentence by creating or recognizing a legal status equivalent or substantially similar to marriage by a different name.

Sec. 3. The general assembly intends and establishes that the marriage amendment does not prohibit or restrict in any way:

(1) the extension of employment benefits by private sector employers, political subdivisions of the state, or state educational institutions to any beneficiary designated by an employed individual;

(2) the adoption and enforcement of local ordinances granting to any category or class of persons equal opportunities for education, employment, access to public conveniences, access to accommodations, or acquisition of property or to rent property;

(3) an individual from entering into or enforcing terms of a power of attorney, a will, a trust, or another similar lawful agreement or instrument (regardless of name) established for the benefit of another person;

(4) an individual from giving or enforcing a lawful consent or other instrument (regardless of name) that grants powers, rights, or privileges to, imposes obligations on, or provides for the use by or transfer of property to another person;

(5) the protections provided under Indiana’s domestic violence laws or who may qualify for protection from domestic violence; or

(6) action by the general assembly to protect or provide for the property, health, or safety of unmarried persons by appropriate legislation.

SECTION 2. [EFFECTIVE UPON PASSAGE] (a) If the amendment to Article 1 of the Constitution of the State of Indiana concerning marriage proposed by the one hundred seventeenth general assembly (P.L.231-2011) is agreed to by the one hundred eighteenth general assembly, the amendment shall be submitted to the electors of the state at the 2014 general election in the manner provided for the submission of constitutional amendments under

IC 3.
(b) Under Article 16, Section 1 of the Constitution of the State of Indiana, which requires the general assembly to submit constitutional amendments to the electors at the next general election after the general assembly agrees to the amendment referred to it by the last previously elected general assembly, and in accordance with IC 3-10-3, the general assembly prescribes the form in which the public question concerning the ratification of this state constitutional amendment must appear on the 2014 general election ballot as follows:

“PUBLIC QUESTION #1
Shall the Constitution of the State of Indiana be amended by adding the following language to Article 1:

“Section 38. Only a marriage between one (1) man and one (1) woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Indiana. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized.”?”.

(c) This SECTION expires July 1, 2017.

SECTION 3. An emergency is declared for this act.

HB-1153 came about to assuage the objections of many legal scholars who had studied the HJR-3 second sentence and its potential effects and pointed out unintended consequences that had already played out in other states with similar language, or that could be raised in Indiana.

The difficulty is that this bill had no teeth at all – it was a piece of legislation, but HJR-3 was an amendment to the Indiana constitution, where it held sway over this bill and potentially trumped it. HB-1153 could be repealed at any time, leaving the full force of the second sentence un-“interpreted” intact to be carried out.

I wonder how much of an impact reading this bill had, actually, on our state legislators. It surely indicated in plain language the many ways that HJR-3 could be interpreted negatively in ways that were punitive toward same-sex couples by our legal system, and spelling out potential discrimination based on HJR-3 that starkly is pretty damning. It may have been intended to remove the sting of HJR-3’s “second sentence” but I think it probably had the opposite effect in that it highlighted all that could go wrong.

After the second sentence of HJR-3 was removed from that bill in the House, HB-1153 was no longer relevant and passed into oblivion a few days later.

The removal of the second sentence in the House was very exciting because it meant that it would be much harder to to get the Indiana Marriage Discrimination Amendment onto the ballot this fall in time for 2014 elections. It would have to be put back into the bill by the Indiana Senate and then voted on by both the Senate and the House before voters could see it.

So the bill passed to the Indiana Senate Rules Committee on February 13th, where they declined to hear any amendments to add the second sentence back in.

Senate Hearing Rules Committee

There was great drama surrounding the Rules Committee hearing because the GOP caucus met ahead of the hearing, and Senator Mike Delph from Carmel tweeted the results of the caucus meeting – that there were not enough votes to put the second sentence back in – before the hearing happened, alerting the crowd to what was going to happen.

That didn’t sit well with Senator President Pro Tem David Long, the caucus head. It’s bad form for caucus members to reveal caucus business.

Then as the committee began to meet, they opened with an anti-gay prayer by William Hunt, New Life Church, invited by Senate chaplain.

The bill sailed through the committee as is, first sentence only, very quickly, although it was noted by many people that this was considered impossible even six months ago:

Senator Mike Delph went on to spend the weekend tweeting his anger about the GOP caucus electing not to add the second sentence back into the bill, and delivering rather passionate lectures on god, same-sex marriage and the responsibilities of Indiana churches to back legislative efforts.

It was a very entertaining weekend, and I make sure to screen-cap all of it for posterity.

After that great drama, on Monday, January 17th, the Senate passing the amended version of HJR-3, still without the second sentence, through the full Senate.

This was the vote count:

yea nay vote sheet hjr3

The passage almost seemed anti-climatic, except for some really great speeches delivered by Senators on the floor – Jean Breaux, Karen Tallian, Jim Arnold, Tim Lanane, and Greg Taylor all spoke passionately against HJR-3. It was cathartic to hear them. At the end…

Ultimately, HJR-3 isn’t dead. It still could be passed through another state legislature in 2015 or 2016 and be on the ballot in 2016. I’m not sure which version could or would be considered, so it’s worth keeping the text of HB-1153 around in order to remind people about that second sentence and what it could do.

It does seem a lot less likely that the amendment will pass in 2016 with several federal legal battles on the horizon, though.

Washington Post – Race on same-sex marriage cases runs through Virginia:

The Supreme Court’s ruling in United States v. Windsor is confronting judges with a paradox. On the one hand, the opinion written by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy and joined by the court’s four liberals noted that defining marriage is traditionally a power reserved for the states.

On the other, the opinion dismissed Congress’s arguments as to why the federal government should recognize only traditional definitions of marriage. It said the arguments were mostly window dressing for unlawful prejudice based on sexual orientation.

State courts and federal judges have embraced that latter reasoning to trump the rights of states, and bans on same-sex marriage have been found unconstitutional since June in New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Utah. The Utah and Oklahoma decisions are being appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, based in Denver.

In effect, said William Baude, a law professor at the University of Chicago who follows the issue, the majority’s language in Windsor has been viewed as “permission” for judges “who might already have been inclined” to believe there is a constitutional right to marry.

Given this, 2015 and 2016 are going to be really interesting years, politically.

Volkswagen Microbus 2014 and Concepts of the Past

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Volkswagen has a long history of threatening to bring back the classic Volkswagen Microbus, with lots of concept cars produced, but no versions that are actually available in the United States. I’ve gotten excited about every potential version and blogged about it repeatedly, but we never actually see anything interesting come out of it.

I got excited this morning about an article claiming that a version would come out this year, with photos of round headlights that I had never seen before. For a bit I actually bought it, although I shouldn’t have. When you compare the photos in the article to the 2001 model, it becomes clear that this is a photoshop job where they altered the front of the 2001 and put in rounded headlights. And also, Car Talk announced last August that the long-planned 2014 version was killed off.

2014 Microbus Front 2014 Microbus Side 2014 Microbus Rear

The text from the faked article is cribbed from 2011 articles on VW’s concept. Sadly, this is what could have been:

Volkswagen Microbus 2014 is ready to show its new model of microbus until the last 10 years ago VW shows off microbus segment. This car will be built in Europe and would become the competitor of Honda Adyddey, Nissan Quest, and also Toyota Sienna. The final motivation for this New VW Microbus is to maximize the investment in the group MQB “matrix” platform. Volkswagen Microbus 2014 price will start from $30,000, but we expect it to be closer to $40,000. Volkswagen Microbus 2014 Release Date is held in the fall of 2013 with sales beginning in 2014. Interior, it is design in minimalist concept on 2014 Volkswagen Microbus. There are gauges and control group around the steering wheel and also pair of slim-section 3-passenger bench seats which can be folded to create a makeshift bed.

Volkswagen Microbus styled under VW Geoup design, Walter deSilva and also VW brand deputy, Klaus Bischoff. New VW design will show its characteristic, such as, a basic box with rounded lines, a bulldog nose with oversize VW logo, a gently curved windshield, a space-efficient wheels-at-the-corners stance, and 4 conventionally hinged side doors instead of rear sliders or the original T1 s dual French rear doors. Volkswagen Microbus 2014 would be available with turbocharged, four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines; a hybrid is a strong possibility. VW said that the 2014 Volkswagen Microbus will be 3,200 pound curb weight would be running from 0 to 62 mph in 11.5 seconds with the power of 199 pound feet of torque. Further, 170 h 2.5 liter in five-cylinder, 2000 hp 2.0 liter turbo-four and 140 hp 2.0 liter TDI turbodiesel-four will equipped by Front wheel Drive. The six-speed manual and six-speed automatic function are both available.

Previous VW Microbus Concept Cart teases came in 2001:

2001 VW Concept Car 2001 VW Concept Car

This concept was widely critiqued for having square headlights and looking too much like a minivan. I would have bought one, though. I have several toy cars of this 2001 concept. This version was scheduled for 2004, but never came to fruition.

In 2007, Volkswagen came out with the spaceup! blue concept car that was supposed to resemble the classic bus. I wrote about it enthusiastically at the time, even though it’s kinda hideous.

space up! blue VW bus space up! blue VW bus space up! blue VW bus

This one never came out here – dunno if it was released in Europe. I was enamored of the solar panel roof, though.

2008 brought the VW Routan, which is nothing like a Microbus, and I had some strong words for it:

VW Routan

Fucking Routan. I was especially pissed about the Routan because to advertise the damned thing, they mocked up a working version of something closer to the classic – the 1964 Microbus Chameleon concept in which they updated an original 1964 bus with new interiors and fancy gadgetry:

Volkswagen Deluxe Microbus Chameleon Volkswagen Deluxe Microbus Chameleon interior

Rude to tease us with something so cool in a commercial for a vehicle that was basically a Dodge minivan with a VW badge

In 2009, Canadian designer Alexandre Verdier came out with a Microbus design that was the closest thing to perfect that I’ve ever seen. It was not an official VW concept carl, but there were some cool features. But it did make me drool.

Verdier Microbus Concept Car Verdier Microbus Concept Car Verdier Microbus Concept Car Verdier Microbus Concept Car

In 2011, Volkswagen introduced this Bulli concept that was supposed to go into production in 2014:

Volkswagen Concept Bulli Front Volkswagen Concept Bulli Interior Volkswagen Concept Bulli rear Volkswagen Concept Bulli Top

This was the version that died in August. It doesn’t grab me, but I would have test-driven it. I still like the idea of a hybrid bus with solar panels. But something closer to the design of the original, ideally. Dunno if it will ever happen now.

Goodness, gender roles and how to fix a broken gender system

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Stemming from a facebook conversation with a friend, about this sentence:

“To be a good man, one must surround himself with good women.” – Steve Lund

I want to capture here on my blog what I wrote in response to this on Facebook, because there are themes in what I wrote that run through the fiction that I’m writing. I’m going to paraphrase some of the comments because it was rather lengthy. If I do so in a way that doesn’t honor their meaning, I apologize. I challenged the idea of that Lund quote with this:

Here’s why that’s problematic – it’s not the responsibility of women to make men good. It’s the responsibility of men to make themselves good, whether they’re surrounded by good women or not.

To be fair, I didn’t stop to look up Steve Lund or what the context of this statement is. Perhaps I should, and I will at the end of this post, but for the most part, we were parsing this one sentence in our discussion.

David countered my challenge with some thoughtful discussion about male and female role models and what we are taught:

Steph and Sherry, I believe the intent of this statement is that as boys grow into men, they should seek out female role models as well as male role models.

Girls are encouraged to have male heroes and role models from infancy. To the contrary, boys are told never to model behavior after anything female, ever – that female heroes are notable exceptions and are only role models for girls, not boys. Boys are encouraged to surround themselves with men of qualities they would like to emulate. I believe Mr. Lund is saying that amid this pressure, males need to actively seek out and surround themselves with good female influences, too.

That’s an interesting thought, but I still think it’s focusing on the wrong thing. Tracy added this…

Well, lets see if the opposite makes sense or insulting, “To be a good woman, one must surround herself with good men.” Hummm…

I think she was on the right track there, because it started to try to flip the perspective. It didn’t quite help David out of his focus on the current state of affairs between men and women. He wrote a whole series of thoughtful comments about our how children are taught male primacy and how that can damage both boys and girls as they learn how to live in our society:

But, acknowledging that the world is broken, I see no harm in reminding guys that women matter and even though we boys were told otherwise while growing up – men should include women and women’s opinions as equal – and men should include those equal women among the folks they choose as friends, role models .. and heroes.

Am I wrong in thinking this damage to the American male worldview is something that needs corrected, that men need to be challenged and reminded to think differently in regard to women?

So, to more thoughtfully answer Tracey’s query, I think reminding girls and women to include men in their worldview is deeply offensive; reminding boys and men to include women in their worldview is a necessary course correction until the world is no longer broken in regard to gender disparity.

I was really thinking out loud during most of this – trying to mull things over and acknowledge my own limitations as a man who has no idea what women experience while simultaneously noting the bizarre anti-women gender-based indoctrination I experienced as a child growing up in Northern Indiana.

I think in asking those questions he’s going far beyond where Lund was going, but also not quite far enough to get us where we need to go. I can actually see some harm in reminding guys that women matter in the way that Lund is doing, because it still reinforces gendered thinking, and doesn’t demand people step outside their role. So I tried a different way to jar perspective, coupled with stepping back several large steps to contemplate what we’re even talking about:

I appreciate you thinking the whole thing through this thoroughly, because I knew you would. Definitely the damage to the male’s world view needs to be corrected, but I don’t know that Lund’s solution is the proper one, or enough to fix things, or specific enough for it to be clear what he actually means.

Let’s take out the genders altogether, as a game. “To be a good person, one must surround oneself with good people.” That makes a lot more sense, except that – must one? Practically, yes – anyone that doesn’t grow up being taught to behave well will probably not spontaneously grow a conscience without examples.

We make systems in society to move people that way. Outside of parental teaching, education and the school system are in place to provide that. And socially this is what we use religion for, because it’s easy and lazy and it’s a “do what I say because I said so and I’m bigger than you are” way of controlling people.

But in theory, should we expect people to be “good” without something propping that up? Are the “role models” in Lund’s example just crutches the way that religion is? Ideally, we do have some expectation as a society that people find their own way to a moral compass, somehow. Education and religion are guardrails to get us there, (although I think we’d agree that religion guardrail is pretty damned rickety) but Lund’s own sentence seems to suggest that the responsibility is on the individual to school themselves: “one must surround oneself.”

So if ideally we expect people to school themselves on good behavior, but practically we have social systems to get them there… what happens when we add gender back in?

“To be a good man” – doesn’t that suddenly sound jarring? We were talking earlier about “goodness” as a concept, but suddenly it seems we may not be talking about goodness at all, but about what being a man means. Are we talking about morality, or about gender performance? Do those two things have anything to do with one another? What does gender add to this conversation?

I don’t know enough about Lund to know whether the problem he was fixating on was actually about creating a better society, or about fixing the broken world view about gender, or about performing a male gender role properly. Obviously fixing the second would make better the first, but was his sentence actually concentrating on the first or the second or the third?

For the sake of kindness I’m going to throw out the third – that he was talking about whether he was performing “man” properly – and posit that he was talking about being a better human being.

I do agree that we have a broken societal system when it comes to gender. But the is way to fix that to double-down on gender roles and expectations, or is it to remove gender from the equation and ask that we observe and have empathy with people as human beings first and gendered individuals second?

Could a good man, surrounded by other good men, fix the male world view without good women being in the mix? If we are relying on the individual to take some responsibility as Lund is, then yes, we should expect that.

What is the responsibility of good women here? Well obviously to school ourselves, but is being available to good men as role models our only task? And is there a difference between being a good man and a good woman? What is that difference? Is there some expectation of women here that we don’t have of men?

It should be apparent now, that Tracy’s gender flip is really important, and actually does work to call Lund’s thought into question “To be a good woman, one must surround herself with good men.”

Regardless of our immersion in a broken world view about gender, we still need to think of ourselves as humans first and gendered creatures second if we are going to break free of that broken world view at all.

I’m sure that there will be more to this conversation, but I wanted to capture at least what I wrote here, because these are themes that run throughout my fiction and I want to return to them again as I’m writing.

Lund’s quote seems to come from this interview: The Man Sphere – Men We Admire: Steve Lund.

Do I wear blue because I'm a boy, or am I a boy because I wear blue?

A Brief History of Indiana’s Marriage Discrimination Amendment

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I try to follow and post about the Indiana’s Marriage Discrimination Amendment every time it’s come up in the Indiana State Legislature, and here is a short history that I’ve been able to cobble together from past posts. This is mainly a testimony to my sketchy blogging more than anything else, as I seem to have often failed to follow up on posting about the outcomes of various bills. I’ll attempt to update this page with more research on bilerico.com and the Indiana legislative archives when I we are not in the middle of a legislative fight and when my internet is a lot more reliable than it is today.

In January of 2014, HJR-6 was re-named HJR-3 and introduced to the House Judiciary Committee. It got stuck in committee because it didn’t have the votes to move, so Brian Bosma moved it to the Elections Committee where it passed.

In January of 2013, HJR-6 (which is now the current bill HJR-3) was filed but never made it out of the House Judiciary Committee. Lawmakers indicated that they preferred to wait until the Supreme Court rulings on the Defense of Marriage Act were announced.

In March 2011, HJR-6 (which is now the current bill HJR-3) was being pushed through the state legislature for the first time. The LGBT Community held a rally to protest it.

In February of 2008, SJR-7 died after Rep. Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City refused to hear the legislation in the House.

In January of 2008, Representative Eric Turner, ranking Republican on the House Rules and Legislative Policy Committee, tried to amend a property tax bill to add SJR-7 after it looked like it would never make it out of committee to be heard.

On April 3rd, 2007, SJR-7 died in committee, unable to make it out of the Indiana House of Representative’s Rules and Legislative Procedures Committee.

On March 29th, SJR-7 testimony to the House Committee for SJR-7 revealed that the language in it had been rejected for the federal version of this amendment by Robert Bork because it was too ambiguous.

In the spring of 2007, SJR-7 became was being pushed through a house committee.

On February 8th of 2007, SJR-7 passed the Indiana Senate and was sent to a House committee to be heard.

On January of 2007, SJR-7, an Indiana Marriage Discrimination Amendment was re-introduced to the State Lesgislature.

On March 8th of 2005, we held a rally to oppose SJR-7, the first wave of an attempt to pass the Indiana Marriage Discrimination Amendment. This was the language of SJR-7:

DIGEST OF INTRODUCED BILL
Definition of marriage. Provides that marriage in Indiana consists only of the union of one man and one woman. Provides that Indiana law may not be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents of marriage be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.

Notice the second sentence of that bill – at time, we noted how flawed the language of the second sentence (different language than today’s HJR3, but still really flawed and problematic) was.

Prior to SJR-7 in 2005: There was a great deal of awareness in Indiana that a Marriage Discrimination Amendment was probably coming. There was an attempt to pass one on a federal level in 2003-2004 before the plan was blocked in Senate and the failure of Massachusetts ban on same-sex marriage and subsequent marriages triggered a flurry of activity in red states like our when opponents of same-sex marriage rights realized their days were numbered.

I really think there was a prior attempt at an amendment in the late 1990s or early 2000s, because I recall when I was more politically active in LGBT Fairness that we covered the issue and when we were fighting the state statute. I don’t have specific bill numbers or information about those attempts yet.

How Marriage Equality Opponents’ Three National Strategies All Contradict Each Other

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From Think Progress: How Marriage Equality Opponents’ Three National Strategies All Contradict Each Other.

At the federal level, opponents currently have three proposed strategies for rolling back some of the recognition that same-sex couples now have. Particularly in the wake of the Utah and Oklahoma decisions, groups like the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and Family Research Council (FRC) have been emphasizing two talking points: that states should have the right to establish their own definition of marriage and that the religious views of people who oppose marriage equality should be protected. Each of the three proposed strategies would limit same-sex marriage to a certain extent according to these talking points, but the principles that inform each strategy are in conflict with each other.

Good read for understanding the strategy. Or lack thereof.

HJR-3 to be heard in the Indiana House Monday at 1:30 p.m.

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After some committee shenanigans, (in which Brian Bosma moved the bill from House Judiciary committee to the Elections and Apportionment committee when it became clear that it wouldn’t pass the first one) HJR-3 passed out of committee on Wednesday, and will be heard on the floor of the Indiana House on Monday at 1:30 p.m.

If you want to hear a recording of the very moving testimony in the committee, there is a recording of the 4+ hour proceeding here.

Please contact your state representative, and ask them to reject HJR-3.

Here is some information on packing the State House. Stephanie and I will be there to join other Indiana citizens asking legislators to vote no on the bill, and we would love it if you came with us.

If you’d like to contact all of the state legislators in the house and not just your own, here is a cut and paste list of house email addresses. TIP: put addresses in the bcc box – that way, each recipient sees only their email address, not all 100.
h1@iga.in.gov, h2@iga.in.gov, h3@iga.in.gov, h4@iga.in.gov, h5@iga.in.gov, h6@iga.in.gov, h7@iga.in.gov, h8@iga.in.gov, h9@iga.in.gov, h10@iga.in.gov, h11@iga.in.gov, h12@iga.in.gov, h13@iga.in.gov, h14@iga.in.gov, h15@iga.in.gov, h16@iga.in.gov, h17@iga.in.gov, h18@iga.in.gov, h19@iga.in.gov, h20@iga.in.gov, h21@iga.in.gov, h22@iga.in.gov, h23@iga.in.gov, h24@iga.in.gov, h25@iga.in.gov, h26@iga.in.gov, h27@iga.in.gov, h28@iga.in.gov, h29@iga.in.gov, h30@iga.in.gov, h31@iga.in.gov, h32@iga.in.gov, h33@iga.in.gov, h34@iga.in.gov, h35@iga.in.gov, h36@iga.in.gov, h37@iga.in.gov, h38@iga.in.gov, h39@iga.in.gov, h40@iga.in.gov, h41@iga.in.gov, h42@iga.in.gov, h43@iga.in.gov, h44@iga.in.gov, h45@iga.in.gov, h46@iga.in.gov, h47@iga.in.gov, h48@iga.in.gov, h49@iga.in.gov, h50@iga.in.gov, h51@iga.in.gov, h52@iga.in.gov, h53@iga.in.gov, h54@iga.in.gov, h55@iga.in.gov, h56@iga.in.gov, h57@iga.in.gov, h58@iga.in.gov, h59@iga.in.gov, h60@iga.in.gov, h61@iga.in.gov, h62@iga.in.gov, h63@iga.in.gov, h64@iga.in.gov, h65@iga.in.gov, h66@iga.in.gov, h67@iga.in.gov, h68@iga.in.gov, h69@iga.in.gov, h70@iga.in.gov, h71@iga.in.gov, h72@iga.in.gov, h73@iga.in.gov, h74@iga.in.gov, h75@iga.in.gov, h76@iga.in.gov, h77@iga.in.gov, h78@iga.in.gov, h79@iga.in.gov, h80@iga.in.gov, h81@iga.in.gov, h82@iga.in.gov, h83@iga.in.gov, h84@iga.in.gov, h85@iga.in.gov, h86@iga.in.gov, h87@iga.in.gov, h88@iga.in.gov, h89@iga.in.gov, h90@iga.in.gov, h91@iga.in.gov, h92@iga.in.gov, h93@iga.in.gov, h94@iga.in.gov, h95@iga.in.gov, h96@iga.in.gov, h97@iga.in.gov, h98@iga.in.gov, h99@iga.in.gov, h100@iga.in.gov

Carol Trexler testifying

Carol is undergoing chemo for cancer and came to the Statehouse after going through chemo that morning. She testified about having to have her healthcare paperwork with her at all times because hospital workers don’t recognize her wife as a health care representative.

Staff Sgt. Scott Spychala Removed from Hearing

Staff Sgt. Scott Spychala, a 20-year veteran of the US armed forces, was removed from the hearing for giving a silent “thumbs down” signal at the lies being told during testimony from the proponents of HJR-3

A fine way to thank someone for serving his country
More info on Staff Sgt. Scott Spychala and his silent protest.

HPI Analysis: Bosma defends 2d sentence, McNamara opposes
NASHVILLE, Ind. – The second sentence of the constitutional marriage amendment has been endorsed by House Speaker Brian Bosma, while State Rep. Wendy McNamara is saying she won’t vote for the resolution if it remains. “If an amendment were to be brought up to remove the second sentence I will fully support this resolution,” said McNamara, R-Mount Vernon, in a prepared statement. “If the second sentence remains, I will not support the resolution.”

How Indiana’s Proposed Marriage Referendum Would Devastate The Gay Community
Psychologists have studied the emotional impact of marriage referendums like our on same-sex couples and their families and determined that the level of stress in inflicts is terrible.

To celebrate the hate, Governor Mike Pence threw a special luncheon for the supporters of HJR-3 to congratulate them.

Brian Bosma and the Marriage Amendment

How a Bill Shouldn’t Become a Law – Sheila Kennedy
Regarding HJR3 – “Even more incredibly, the Speaker has scheduled the new committee’s vote for tomorrow. The vote will be taken without the benefit of evidence or testimony–but then, as we’ve seen, the Speaker considers evidence and testimony irrelevant. The only thing committee members need to to know is what the Speaker wants them to do. Usually, the power plays and the wheeling/dealing is done behind the scenes. This time, that wasn’t possible. This time, everyone got to see what is seldom on public display: the House leadership’s absolute contempt for democracy and the rules of fair play.”

Writing off Jennifer Weiner

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I don’t know how it’s possible, but after reading this New Yorker profile “Written Off” by Rebecca Mead, I love Jennifer Weiner more than I did before reading it, although it’s widely being described as “a take-down” piece. The profile starts out fine, but about half-way through, the paragraph that starts “Weiner has also taken literary inspiration from her mother…” is the point where the whole thing just skates off the rails (Mead’s suggestion that Weiner’s lesbian characters are somehow anti-gay is bogus, small and unworthy of that publication) and Mead begins just coloring on the walls rather than finishing her work. I’m not sure whether I respect Mead’s audacity more for just saying “aw fuck it, I’m writing myself into a corner” in the middle of an article for The New Yorker, or The New Yorker’s for publishing it without fixing it, or apparently, even realizing it needs to be fixed.

This paragraph is so funny I had to get up and go to the bathroom and pee before I could finish:

A novel that tells of the coming of age of a young woman can command as much respect from the literary establishment as any other story. In 2013, Rachel Kushner was nominated for a National Book Award for her hard-edged exploration of this theme, “The Flamethrowers,” and the previous year Sheila Heti won accolades for her book “How Should a Person Be?,” even though it included both shopping and fucking. The novel, and the critical consensus around what is valued in a novel, has never excluded the emotional lives of women as proper subject matter. It could be argued that the exploration of the emotional lives of women has been the novel’s prime subject. Some of the most admired novels in the canon center on a plain, marginalized girl who achieves happiness through the discovery of romantic love and a realization of her worth. “My bride is here,” Mr. Rochester tells Jane Eyre, “because my equal is here, and my likeness.”

Emphasis very much mine. I can’t even with the Jane Eyre in a discussion of women in contemporary literature.

The thing that is almost entirely missing from this article is any detailed analysis of Jennifer Weiner’s case for re-thinking what is and what should be considered “literary merit.” Her critique is a serious (and valid) one, and not to be dismissed, but Mead attempts to ignore it almost completely, falling back on George Eliot’s 1856 essay to bolster the blinders she keeps, while ignoring the very points she lightly quotes about Weiner’s thoughts early on in the piece.

A loose paraphrasing of Weiner’s ideas:

  • that the two great contemporary literary themes “white men doing great things or failing in the attempt” and “oppressed peoples struggling against a harsh society” leave some serious gaps of examination of human experience
  • that white middle-class modern women’s life experiences (one of those missing pieces) are not just fluff (shopping and fucking? really?), and to dismiss them as such is fundamentally sexist
  • that regular, ordinary people really do, actually, often achieve happy endings, and this is valid literary subject matter
  • that literature doesn’t have to be painful to have great affect on us
  • and that taking comfort in things that are uplifting can actually lift us up, and that has value

If you change the lens on the microscope by which you analyze writing, both commercial and literary, with many of these ideas in mind, you realize quickly that contemporary literary criticism leaves a lot of worthy writing behind, especially the writing of women.

Mead dissects and dismisses several of Weiner’s books in this piece by refusing to think of them in this proposed new context, instead shoving them under the traditional lens of “The Old-Tymey Rules of What is Good Literature” while willfully ignoring that more and more women are successfully challenging the notion that these long accepted “Rules” have some serious bias in the way of both sexism and snobbishness. That Mead has to reach as far back as George Eliot and Charlotte Brontë to make her case in discussing a contemporary author and her place in contemporary literature says a great deal about how weak her case is.

I can’t imagine how Mead interviewed Weiner, read large sections of the woman’s twitter account, and listened to her speak about women, commercial fiction and the place of both in contemporary literature and yet got Weiner’s voice so very wrong. The woman is not exactly smoke and mirrors; there isn’t a facade there. Weiner’s pretty straight-forward, and it’s impossible to follow her on twitter for any length of time and not come to think of her as self-reflective and open. I can’t imagine how Mead spoke to her and didn’t come away seeing her as genuine, but she didn’t.

Mead also bolsters a wide-spread belief that “Jennifer Weiner has two audiences. One consists of the devoted consumers of her books, which have sold more than four and a half million copies…. Her other audience is made up of writers, editors, and critics.” Even Weiner apparently believes that to be true, and I guess she would know her own audience(s), but I find it hard to believe those two audiences are entirely separate. I definitely bridge that gap.

In the end, Mead decides that Weiner is just whining; that her work doesn’t deserve critical recognition, not because it’s viewed through a sexist and snobbish literary lens, but because of:

the perfunctory quality of some descriptive passages, or of the brittle mean-spiritedness that colors some character sketches. (Readers looking for fairness and kindness will not always find those attributes displayed by Weiner’s fictional creations.)

That was a jaw-dropping statement for me; that same statement could be could be made about sections of work from many contemporary male “literary giants” including Roth, Franzen, Eugenides, Chabon, David Foster Wallace, men who clearly receive great critical recognition, some of it deserved and sometimes not so much.

Mead goes out of her way at the end of the piece to tie Weiner back into her place as “chick lit” by describing in detail the women who come to have their books signed, and how they measure her books against what Mead clearly considers the irrelevant minutia of their own lives, an ending I found as lazy as most of the article.

Hoppin’ John

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There are many versions of Hoppin’ John, but this is mine.

4 cups of chicken broth
1/2 cups of brown rice

4 pork chops thawed & uncooked, cut in square chunks
1 can of black-eyed peas
1 can of seasoned black beans
1/2 of a large onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons of brown sugar
1/3 cup chipotle lime marinade or cajun seasoning to taste

Put brown rice and 2 cups of chicken broth in the slow cooker, cook on low for 1 hour.

Put all the rest of the ingredients into the crockpot, turn on high for 2 hours, then low for five.

20140101-121651.jpg

New Year’s Resolutions – 2014

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As I’ve done with years past, I’m going to put down some goals instead of resolutions. If I don’t make them because life intervenes, oh well. But

Work: those goals I’ll share with my boss. But I have high hopes and am working on a project I really like.

Health:
Eat healthier and be more active.
2012 was a great year for me activity-wise, but not on the food front. 2013 was not so much in either category. But I’m going to bring it back around in 2014.

Creative:
Create as much as I consume.
I’m counting work with this because that makes it an easy win, but also writing, knitting, blogging, photography, website design and t-shirt design fall into this category. As long as I’m doing something productive and satisfying, I’ll be happy.

Loved Ones:
Spend time with people I care about & go somewhere warm
This one should be easy; we’re going to a destination resort for my brother’s wedding. I’m excited; Stephanie and I have never done a beach vacation before.

Household:
Get siding repaired & house painted
Get the guest room organized
Rip all the CDs – we’ve had our music library in a state of limbo for years. It’s time to get this done.
Sell the scooter – we don’t use it and need the space in our garage
Simplify

Financial:
Put away money for a new vehicle
Save $6,000 above and beyond retirement savings
Set up a Roth IRA

Reading:
I’m participating in the Read 26 Indy challenge this year, where I pledge to read 26 books in 2014. So far, there are 17 books on my “2014 must read list” on goodreads. I want to leave the list open-ended, because there are bound to be some great books in the new year.

Rather pedestrian goals. Nothing about taking over the universe or moving mountains or curing cancer. Those are all on the secret, alternative list.

stop-acting-so-small

2013 Year in Review

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So, what all did I get accomplished in 2013? Let’s start by looking at my goals for last year.

These are really more goals than resolutions; they are things I’d like to make priorities to focus my energy and money on. If I don’t get them done, it’s cool; this is a big pile of ambitious. But these are all areas I want to make progress in for the coming year.

750 words a day – more days of the week than not – not even close, but I did do a reasonable amount of writing.
Finish novel – nope. Although now I think this is a good thing. I have a renewed sense of ideas for it.
Start new novelI’m close to finishing this new novel, and I’m actually pretty thrilled with how it’s going. I need to finish up here in January and start showing it to people to get feedback and ideas.

[various work-related goals; not shared here] – I’m really happy with work, suffice it to say.

Get insulation done – We were cautious about major house expenditures due to Stephanie’s job, but this will happen in 2014, for sure.
Get siding fixed – ditto.
Get house painted – ditto.
Get guest room organized – this one I’m disappointed in. It really needs to be done.
Get bed frame for our bed – we did. It’s nice.

Save 10,000 dollarsAbove and beyond what we put away for retirement. We’ve done pretty well at this one, even with Stephanie not working for part of the year. I don’t know that we did $10,000 but we were close.
Get a new computer Really? I did that this year? Seems like I’ve had it forever. I love it.

Get split down to 2:00:00 – that was really unlikely.
Get an ergDone. Very nice to have at home, too.
learn sculling – yeah, I don’t know. I was very frustrated with rowing this year for several reasons.

Read more books I own – I read 36 books last year, so I think I did pretty well. Many of them were graphic novels, but some of them were some heavy-hitters.
Buy new books on e-reader – eh. Changed my mind on this one. I’d rather read a book than an ebook.
Read first Proust book – Nope. Definitely this year.

Knit pillows – I did a large amount of knitting this year, but didn’t get around to pillows. We helped with two different cool yarn-bombing projects that were very fun.
Knit hats – follow design – did lots of hats this year.
Learn color work – also a non-starter in 2013, although I hope to do a small project in 2014.

Photo scanning & organizing – This is a rather herculean task that I don’t know if I’ll ever get to.
Design 20 new shirts – I definitely accomplished this one.

Overall, my goal was to create as much or more than I consume, and I did a good job of advancing my agenda there through a variety of different outlets, both personal and at work. I don’t know that the create/consume balance was equal but each year I’ve gotten closer, so I’m happy to have at least advanced that agenda.

We’ve had an up-and-down year emotionally. Stephanie’s job hunt was hard on her, as you might expect. She did ultimately find a job that she’s quite happy with. It comes with a lengthy commute that isn’t ideal, but we’ve managed to adjust our schedule to make that easier, and I’ve taken on more of the food preparation to make it easier on her. I haven’t quite hit my stride in the cooking department, but we’re managing.

Our cat Lucy died this year. We don’t know what was wrong. She had just had a vet visit and while they thought something in her blood work was off, they didn’t indicate it was life-threatening. It’s strange not seeing her and we miss her all the time.

Lucy
Lucy

Spike continues to hold on, despite his heart problems. At the beginning of the year he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure, and we began giving him medication. We didn’t expect him to make it through the year, but he has, and he seems to be doing pretty well. Unfortunately, it’s a looming issue that we know it won’t last, and my best little man will not be here at this time next year.

We also found out that Stephanie’s mom has cancer, and is very ill. That has been very difficult. For privacy’s sake I don’t want to say more, but this fall has been rather hard and I don’t expect the coming year to be easier.

On the bright side, we have a new niece this year. My older brother and his wife had a baby girl named Corbyn. That brings the tally of nieces and nephews up to eight, which is awesome. I think babies are intended to give us hope that the world doesn’t become more terrible and frightening as we get older. That sort of works. Mostly.

We also took a road trip for a family wedding in New Jersey, which was nice because we got to spend time with some of Stephanie’s family that we haven’t seen since we got married. At the end of the year I tend to think about people and connections more than accomplishments so those are the activities that I cherish.

Annual “Best of” Lists for 2013

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I’ve put together much more comprehensive lists like this in the past, but time and priorities have interfered this year. Here are the end-of-year retrospectives that I was able to review and enjoy this December.

100 Notable Books of 2013 – New York Times

50 Book Covers for 2013 – The Casual Optimist

The Best Book Covers of 2013 – New York Times

Notable Children’s Books of 2013 – New York Times

Most Talked About in 2013 – Facebook Stories

Best photos of the year 2013 from Reuters.

The Top 10 Photos of 2013 from Time.

The 45 Most Powerful Photos Of 2013 from BuzzFeed.

If Only…

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There’s a reason why every teen lesbian in the country watched The Facts of Life religiously in the 1980s. I would have bought that Jo Polniaczek and Blair Warner hated each other a little bit more if it hadn’t looked like they wanted to make out in ever scene they were in together.

Jo & Blair Jo & Blair Jo & Blair Jo & Blair Jo & Blair Jo & Blair Jo & Blair Jo & Blair Jo & Blair Jo & Blair Jo & Blair Jo & Blair Jo & Blair

Disturbing Things I’ve Read Today

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In the discussion forums on Bleeding Cool, covering an article on sexism in the comics industry, was this little commentary by a fellow who calls himself comics2read:

After this thread (regarding a restraining order against a comic book artist for violence directed at a female comic book artist) and the various Brian Wood threads, the realization has set in that when it comes to my business why should I EVER hire a woman to work for me, all things being even remotely close to equal?

Given that I have less than 15 employees and therefore am free of any and all EEOC concerns, I know I am effectively immune to EEOC lawsuits regardless of what I do. Hiring a woman for a position rather than a man greatly increases the likelihood of various problems not faced if I hire a man. A woman would have to be VASTLY more qualified than every man for a position in order to overcome the increased potential for distraction and disruption to my business.

I 100% agree with you that misconduct, especially violence, toward women should not be tolerated and needs to stop. The only way I can guarantee that never happens at my business is by never having a female employee.

Reading on further through the thread, this guy doubles down on his misogyny by discussing how all women have the tendency to have greater healthcare issues and are likely to become pregnant and leave employment, so it’s their own fault they’re “worth less” as employees than men are.

A couple things spring readily to my mind here…

  1. Lets be clear here: the “misconduct” he’s discussing is a crime, and the men who engage in it are criminals. This guy is saying that he’d rather keep criminals in his employ than women.
  2. Women who are potential victims of “misconduct” are penalized no matter what they do; by being victims of criminal behavior, or by being the potential targets of criminal behavior. So we’re fucked either way.
  3. I don’t know what kind of business this guy runs, but surely there are women who interact with his employees somewhere along the line. What care does this employer take to protect women who are his consumers from the criminals he likes to employ?
  4. Why is it not just as effective to eliminate the men who harass as the women? Wouldn’t it be just as cost effective to fire men who harass, not to mention “the right thing to do” to side with the victims and not the criminals?
  5. If I can discover who this guy is, I can never patronize his business and lead other women to never patronize his business by widely publicizing his point of view. The disruption to his profit that would cause would far outweigh any advantage he gains from never hiring women in the first place.
  6. Nothing prevents women from doing the equal but opposite thing; hiring only other women and no men. If I were running a business that had less than 15 employees, this would be a temptation, just to balance the playing field.
Seriously, WTF?

Shopping-Related Madness?

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So Just How Dangerous Did Black Friday Get Around The Country? – Jezebel.com

If you picked any date – say, April 13, 2011 – and counted up the number of shopping-related nonsenses that people get up to in stores, I’m convinced it wouldn’t be much different, per capita, than any “Black Friday.” Has anyone ever done statistical analysis on holiday shopping in comparison to regular-any-old-day shopping? Certainly there are more incidents of people acting crazy, but there are lots more people out shopping, too.

Holiday Shopping 1950s

Everyone I interacted with yesterday out shopping was nice, friendly and speedy, with a “we’re all in this together” mentality, and that includes both shoppers and retail staff. Sure, that’s anecdotal, but I like to believe in the better angels of our nature. There is always going to be some nuttiness related to interacting in public with strangers – lots of people have stress and social anxiety. But acting like it’s doomsday because people want to do something nice for the people they care about is hyperbolic, I think. We can be consumers and also celebrate the best in humanity at the same time.

Hobby Shop 1950s

Winner Winner, Turkey Dinner – 2013 NaNoWriMo Finish

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50,119 Words, validated, means that I “win” National Novel Writing Month. I’m very grateful to Stephanie, who has been really supportive of me doing this, even though she’s had a lot of difficulties going on right now. We’re adjusting to her lengthy commute to her new job and a family illness, so it’s been a hard month, but she has been my cheerleader the whole time.

2013-winner

I still have a couple chapters to write, but I’m definitely closer to a finished product than I was in my last two winning attempts. And there is lots of editing to be done, in addition to finishing chapters. But I think this is the most satisfying win I’ve had of the three. This is one I think I might have a shot at getting published some day soon. It’s got some topical stuff in it, so if I want it to actually mean something, I have to get it done and try to get it out there.

2013-Winner-Twitter-Header 2013 Final Word Count Victory

Good gravy do I have a lot of television piled up on the DVR to watch.

Conceit via. Wikipedia

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via Wikipedia, Conceit:

In literature, a conceit is an extended metaphor with a complex logic that governs a poetic passage or entire poem. By juxtaposing, usurping and manipulating images and ideas in surprising ways, a conceit invites the reader into a more sophisticated understanding of an object of comparison. Extended conceits in English are part of the poetic idiom of Mannerism, during the later sixteenth and early seventeenth century.

Metaphysical conceit

In English literature the term is generally associated with the 17th century metaphysical poets, an extension of contemporary usage. In the metaphysical conceit, metaphors have a much more purely conceptual, and thus tenuous, relationship between the things being compared. Helen Gardner observed that “a conceit is a comparison whose ingenuity is more striking than its justness” and that “a comparison becomes a conceit when we are made to concede likeness while being strongly conscious of unlikeness.” An example of the latter would be George Herbert’s “Praise,” in which the generosity of God is compared to a bottle which (“As we have boxes for the poor”) will take in an infinite amount of the speaker’s tears.

An often-cited example of the metaphysical conceit is the metaphor from John Donne’s “The Flea”, in which a flea that bites both the speaker and his lover becomes a conceit arguing that his lover has no reason to deny him sexually, although they are not married:

Oh stay! three lives in one flea spare
Where we almost, yea more than married are.
This flea is you and I, and this
Our marriage-bed and marriage-temple is.

When Sir Philip Sidney begins a sonnet with the conventional idiomatic expression “My true-love hath my heart and I have his”, but then takes the metaphor literally and teases out a number of literal possibilities and extravagantly playful conceptions in the exchange of hearts, the result is a fully formed conceit.

Estoppel – Wikipedia

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From Wikipedia: Estoppel.

Estoppel in its broadest sense is a legal term referring to a series of legal and equitable doctrines that preclude “a person from denying or asserting anything to the contrary of that which has, in contemplation of law, been established as the truth, either by the acts of judicial or legislative officers, or by his own deed, acts, or representations, either express or implied.”

Because estoppel is so factually dependent, it is perhaps best understood by considering specific examples such as the following:

Example 1: A city entered into a contract with another party. The contract stated that it had been reviewed by the city’s counsel and that the contract was proper. Estoppel applied to estop the city from claiming the contract was invalid.

Example 2: A creditor unofficially informs a debtor that the creditor forgives the debt between them. Even if such forgiveness is not formally documented, the creditor may be estopped from changing its mind and seeking to collect the debt, because that change would be unfair.

Example 3: A landlord informs a tenant that rent has been reduced, for example, because there was construction or a lapse in utility services. If the tenant relies on this statement in choosing to remain in the premises, the landlord could be estopped from collecting the full rent.

‘Azimuth’ via Wikipedia

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via: Azimuth – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

An azimuth i/ˈæzɪməθ/; from Arabic السمت as‑samt, meaning “a way, a part, or quarter” is an angular measurement in a spherical coordinate system. The vector from an observer origin to a point of interest is projected perpendicularly onto a reference plane; the angle between the projected vector and a reference vector on the reference plane is called the azimuth.An example is the position of a star in the sky. The star is the point of interest, the reference plane is the horizon or the surface of the sea, and the reference vector points north. The azimuth is the angle between the north vector and the perpendicular projection of the star down onto the horizon. Azimuth is usually measured in degrees °. The concept is used in navigation, astronomy, engineering, mapping, mining and artillery.

NaNoWriMo 2013 Wordcount, day 19

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2013 NaNoWriMo Word Count, Day 18

I’m three fifths of the way through National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and still on track for word count. I wouldn’t say the last few days are works of genius or anything. Or even spelled correctly. But they are word strung together on a page in some sort of semi-coherent fashion. So there’s that. Week 2 sucked. I don’t have high hopes for week three. I think I can make word count, I just don’t know if it will be anything anyone will want to read.

It’s also quite possible that I’m just responding to the weather like a pavlovian pooch, so never mind the doldrums.

I’m at 30,175 words. 120 some pages. So, there you go.

NaNoWriMo 2013

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I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month again this year. I’ve undertaken this challenge in 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2012, and I “won” twice – in 2011 and 2012 by writing 50,000 words each year. That novel is pretty close to being complete, but needs some major revisions and finishing work, and I’m pretty burned out on it. I’m hoping that if I work on something else, eventually the epiphany I need to wrap up this first book with a creative and satisfactory ending will present itself. When I re-read it, I really enjoy it and think it’s interesting and good, so I don’t want to give up on it. But I need to move to something else.

(I’ve also participated in Camp NaNo in the summer months several times but never really made any progress).

So, this year, I’m starting on a fresh new story idea. I’m not saying a whole lot about it, other than it fits in the urban fantasy/supernatural genre and is set in Indianapolis, because I’m too lazy to research other cities. My working title is The Leyden Jar although that might be silly; I haven’t decided. I mocked up a cover, although I think it needs some tweaking.

The Leyden Jar - Book Cover

I’ve got a bit of it plotted out, but I haven’t had a lot of time to focus. It will be interesting going this year, given that I have a lot more chores around the house this year. I’m going to need to cut out a lot (or all) television viewing if I want to get this done.

2013-Participant-Facebook-Cover

Jamaican Jerk Pork Slow Cook

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Borrowed from Complete Slow Cooker Cookbook, Carol Heding Munson

I’m trying this out today; first time I’ve made this.I’m going to serve this with brown rice and some steamed veggies.

20131028-102950.jpg

Medium Crockery Pot
Makes 4 Servings

2 cups (480 mL) fat-free beef broth
2 teaspoons dried minced onions
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon garlic powder
l teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/4 teaspoon allspice
Pinch of ground cloves
1 pound (455 g) pork tenderloin
3 tablespoons cold water
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Pour the broth into the Crockery pot.

In a small bowl, combine the onions, thyme, garlic, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and cloves. Rub the spice mixture into all sides of the pork. Place the pork in the Crockery pot.

Cover and cook on LOW until the pork is cooked through and a meat thermometer registers 160 degrees F or 7l degress C, 6 to 8 hours. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Remove to a platter, reserving the broth; keep the pork warm. Pour the broth into a saucepan.

In a small cup whisk together the cold water and cornstarch.

Stir into the broth, and cook, stirring, over medium heat until slightly thickened. Slice the pork and serve topped with the thickened broth.

Skipping Ender’s Game

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Geeks OUT wants you to Skip Ender’s Game, and they have some compelling reasons why. As I’ve noted here back in 2005, Orson Scott Card is a homophobic nut who has said some terrible and dangerous things about gay people. Geeks OUT compiles a larger, more complete list of how he had harmed gay people:

Ender’s Game author Orson Scott Card is more than an ‘opponent’ of marriage equality. As a writer, he has spread degrading lies about LGBT people, calling us sexual deviants and criminals. As an activist, he sat on the board of the National Organization for Marriage and campaigned against our civil rights. Now he’s a producer on the Ender’s Game movie. Do not let your box-office dollars fuel his anti-gay agenda. SKIP ENDER’S GAME.

Orson Scott Card, author of the 1985 novel Ender’s Game and a credited producer on Lionsgate’s upcoming film adaptation, has a long, ugly history as an anti-gay extremist. From 2009 to 2013 he was a board member of the National Organization for Marriage, lending his support to a group tied directly to Prop 8 in California and other anti-equality activism across the country and around the world. In 2008 he swore, “[r]egardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down.”

The LGBT community cannot afford to support bigotry and extremism like Orson Scott Card’s. We are calling upon queer geeks and our allies to skip Ender’s Game. As producer, Card enjoys profit participation on every movie ticket, every toy and tie-in, every DVD or VOD purchased. Do not let your money finance his anti-gay agenda.

In 1990, he advocated the criminalization of homosexuality, arguing, “those who flagrantly violate society’s regulation of sexual behavior cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens within that society.” He then demanded tolerance when public outcry over his lies and insults threatened his would-be blockbuster.

Orson Scott Card has every right to express his opinions, but absolutely no right to our money. If you do not share his views and his extreme agenda, do not support them by buying a ticket to Ender’s Game. It matters that we and our allies stand up as a community against a homophobe looking to profit from our geekiness while attacking our rights and degrading our humanity.

See also A collection of the most egregious quotes from homophobic author, Orson Scott Card. Compiled by GLAAD.

Geeks OUT is urging people to attend other events on the movies opening night, November 1, and in some cities, there are formal alternate events planned.

And another reason you should skip Ender’s Game – because I’ll keep track if I hear you went, and I won’t forget it.

Skip Ender's Game

Potential Web Hosting Replacements for Media Temple

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After yesterday’s announcement of GoDaddy buying Media Temple, (more about this on TechCrunch) I’ll need to move. But it’s going to be a couple months before I can do that, so these are some notes about hosts to research when I get some free time to make the switch. These were all recommended to me by friends or picked up from the TechCrunch comments as possible replacements.

Green Geeks

Rackspace Hosting

Digital Ocean

A2 Hosting

LiquidWeb

pair Networks

Solar VPS

SoftLayer

BlueHost

Datarealm Internet Services

I hope that some of these share screens of their control panels. Media Temple’s control panel interface was far more usable than any other host I’ve worked with, so I hate to take a step backwards.

table flip princess bubblegum 1

Sigh.

GoDaddy buys Media Temple and I lose my mind

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I was checking my email this afternoon, all unsuspecting, and suddenly this crap bomb appeared in my inbox from my web hosting provider Media Temple:

I am proud to share some momentous news with you today. GoDaddy, the Internet’s largest platform for small businesses, has acquired (mt) Media Temple. We will continue operating as an independent and autonomous company and our mission will remain unchanged. However, new investments from GoDaddy will provide us the necessary resources to strengthen our focus on web professionals and will help accelerate our plans to expand internationally.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you surely have seen GoDaddy’s incredibly sexist ad campaigns. But here’s a nice refresher course for you, just the same:

Ms. Magazine: Top Five Sexist Super Bowl Ads, 2013

The Moderate Voice: GoDaddy: Poster Child For Silicon Valley Sexism

Geek Feminism Wiki: Go Daddy’s advertising

Miss Representation: #NotBuyingIt: Go Daddy Disappoints, Again

GoDaddy has also been critiqued for really terrible user interfaces and “dark patterns” – a user interface designed to trick you into doing something or buying something that you didn’t want or intend. Read more about some GoDaddy’s dark patterns tricks.

I actually had 12 domains registered with GoDaddy from really early on. I never hosted files on their servers, but when their domains were $3 and $5 a year, I registered quite a few of them. This was before all the horrible sexist advertising and before the dark patterns took over their interfaces. Once they started their terrible ad campaigns, I began moving my domain registrations, but unfortunately it wasn’t as easy to do as I had hoped. I had purchased some of my domain names under an email address I no longer had. When I changed emails, I updated all of my contact addresses for each individual URL. But unbeknownst to me – this is an example of one of their dark patterns – those changes didn’t also apply to the privacy settings on those URLs. So when that address when away, I couldn’t turn off the privacy settings in order to move the domains to a new domain provider. I finally found the log in numbers to the privacy accounts by searching on an ancient backup drive I put in the closet 6 years ago, and was able to update my privacy information in order to move, but it took me months to get it sorted out. So I was GoDaddy-free, finally!

I hate you fucking people.

Annnnnd now I’m back. I host 12 sites on Media Temple architecture. I’m going to be moving them sometime this spring, unfortunately. So far, Dreamhost, Digital Ocean and Pair.com are front-runners for new hosting providers. We shall see.

Grilled Flank Steak with Onions

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From Weight Watchers

Prep time: 10min
Cook time: 25min
Serves: 6
Value: 5 PointsPlus® Value

Ingredients

3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
1 1/2 pound(s) uncooked lean flank steak
3/4 tsp table salt, divided
1 large uncooked red onion(s), cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
2 spray(s) cooking spray

Instructions

In a shallow glass dish (or sealable food storage bag), mix vinegar, oil, oregano, garlic and pepper. Add steak; turn to coat, making sure steak is coated with vinegar mixture. Cover dish (or seal bag); marinate in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Heat outdoor grill.

Remove steak from marinade; discard marinade. Sprinkle steak with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Coat onions with cooking spray; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Grill steak, turning once, until medium rare, about 15 minutes, or longer for desired degree of doneness. Let steak rest for 10 minutes.

While steak is resting, grill onions, turning occasionally, until lightly charred and tender, about 7 to 9 minutes.

To serve, thinly slice steak against the grain and place on a serving platter; scatter onions over top. Yields about 3 1/2 ounces steak and 1/3 cup onions per serving.

Homemade Italian Breadcrumbs

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From Alton Brown on the Food Network.

Ingredients
4 ounces stale bread, cut or torn into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Place all of the ingredients into a blender carafe, cover and pulse until coarse crumbs form, about 2 minutes. Spread the crumbs evenly on 2 half sheet pans and bake until the crumbs just begin to brown and are crisp, about 5 minutes. Cool the crumbs on the pans for 15 to 20 minutes, and then transfer to an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Total Time: 35 min
Prep: 15 min
Inactive: 15 min
Cook: 5 min
Yield: 3 to 4 cups
Level: Easy

Stephanie’s Apple Crisp

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Stephanie makes this from a recipe she picked up online in 2004. I can’t find the original online anymore, so I guess this one now officially belongs to Stephanie.

Fruit Mixture

  • 4 cups sliced, peeled cooking apples (about 1 1/3rd pounds or 3 to 4 medium)
  • 3 tablespoons apple juice

Crumb Mixture

  • 2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup quick oats (not instant or old fashioned)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

For fruit, toss apples with apple juice. Spoon into 8-inch square glass baking dish. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

For crumb mixture, combine brown sugar, flour, oats, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Cut in butter until coarse crumbs form. Combine milk and vanilla. Drizzle over crumbs while tossing with a fork. Sprinkle over apples.

Bake at 375 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until fruit is tender, center is bubbly and crumbs are browned. Serve warm with cream, whipped cream or ice cream if desired.

Peach or Pear Crisp: Follow above recipe using peaches or pears and substituting 1 tablespoon of lemon juice for the apple juice.

Blueberry Crisp: Follow above recipe using 3 cups blueberries and substituting 1 tablespoon lemon juice for the apple juice.

Classic Baked Acorn Squash

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Stephanie has made this recipe several times in the past, so I know it’s good. I’m going to try it out with the acorn squash I bought yesterday.

From Simply Recipes

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Yield: Serves 2 to 4, depending on how much squash you like to eat.

Ingredients
1 Acorn squash
1 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
2 teaspoons Maple Syrup
Dash of Salt

Directions
1 Preheat oven to 400°F.

2 Using a strong chef’s knife, and perhaps a rubber mallet to help, cut the acorn squash in half, lengthwise, from stem to end. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff in the center of each half. Score the insides of each half several times with a sharp knife. Place each half in a baking pan, cut side up. Add about a 1/4 inch of water to the bottom of the baking pan so that the skins don’t burn and the squash doesn’t get dried out.

3 Coat the inside of each half with 1/2 a Tbsp of butter. Add a dash of salt if you are using unsalted butter. Add a Tbsp of brown sugar to the cavity of each half. Dribble on a teaspoon of maple syrup to each half.

4 Bake in the oven for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, until the squash is very soft and the tops are browned. Do not undercook. When finished, remove from oven and let cool a little before serving. Spoon any buttery sugar sauce that has not already been absorbed by the squash over the exposed areas.

20131011-125405.jpg

Spaghetti Squash with Lemon and Capers

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We have one of these, so I’m going to give this recipe a shot.

From The Food Network.

Ingredients
2 large spaghetti squash
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
8 tablespoons sweet butter
2 tablespoons capers, drained
1/4 cup diced zucchini (rind only)
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
1/4 cup julienne tomato concasse (peeled and seeded)

Total Time: 55 min
Prep: 10 min
Cook: 45 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut both squash in 1/2 lengthwise and scoop out all seeds. Rub them inside and out with the oil and season with salt and pepper.

Place the squash cut side down on a sheet pan or cookie sheet and cover with foil. Place in the oven and cook until the rind is slightly soft or gives with a little pressure, about 20 minutes. When they are done, scrape the meat out with a fork and reserve, keeping warm.

In a hot skillet, melt the butter and continue to cook until dark brown. Add the capers, zucchini, and bell pepper to stop the butter from cooking any further, and cook, stirring, until tender. Stir in the lemon juice and parsley and season with salt and pepper.

In a large mixing bowl mix the squash, butter sauce, and tomatoes and serve.

Beer Slow-Cooker Chicken

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4-6 Chicken Breasts or 1 Whole or cut up Chicken
1 Can of any kind of Beer
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Basil
1/2 tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt

*You can use whatever spices you like

Put all ingredients into crockpot

If frozen cook on high 4-5 hours or low 8-10
If fresh cook on high 3-4 hrs or low 7-8 hours if fresh

Serve with rice and black beans

Crockpot Chicken And Noodle Soup

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Borrowed from Creatively Domestic via Pinterest.

5 cups of chicken broth (boxed or can is fine)
One 10.75 oz can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup onions, chopped fine
1/2 cup celery, chopped fine
1/2 cup carrots, chopped fine
1/2 cup green onions, sliced
One 15 oz can of whole kernel corn, drained
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 1/2 cup Egg noodles
2 cups cooked chicken chopped or 2 cans canned cooked chicken

Add everything but the noodles and cooked chicken to the crock pot on Low for 5-6 hours, the last hour turn on High, and add noodles and chicken.

Here is another version of the recipe:
Boil 4 chicken thighs in about 8 cups of water, make sure they are cooked through. Cool, remove skin and bone and shred with forks. Cool, cover and refrigerate. If you need, add water to the broth to make 5 cups. Add cream of chicken soup. Chop the vegetables, I like everything about the same size, celery, carrots, onions, green onions. Add everything to the pot and forget it for the afternoon, do not add the chicken and noodles -will add them the last hour or so.

Commonly Prepared Meals

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Originally published on: Apr 11, 2005. I’m updating this list because Stephanie is going back to work next week, and I’m going to take over many of the cooking responsibilities because she has a long commute. I’ve been looking at various recipe and grocery shopping apps, but I haven’t discovered quite the right combination that will work for me yet, so I’m trying to clean up many of the recipes I have already on my website. I’m updating links, going through recipes I’ve not yet made and adding them to the “to make or delete” list, and I plan on adding many of Stephanie’s “go to” meals. I’m hoping to put together a grid of “next week” meal planning, so can shop on weekends and have everything I need during the week, instead of throwing things together.

Entrees

Pasta Dishes

Baked Ziti (variation: vodka sauce)
Lasagna
Spaghetti
Baked shells
Spinach Mastachioli Bake
Chicken Saltimboca

Baked or Roasted Dishes

Elizabeth’s Cheap Drunk Chicken
Home Made Pizza
Pot Roast
Southwestern Pork Tenderloin
Baked Chicken Breasts with marinade
Baked tilapia with marinade
Baked salmon with marinade
Meatloaf
Spaghetti Squash with Lemon and Capers
Classic Baked Acorn Squash

crock pot / slow cooker

Crock-Pot BBQ Ribs Recipe
Beer Slow-Cooker Chicken
Baked Lemon Chicken
Lemon Rosemary Chicken
Low Carb Texas Chili
Crockpot Chicken And Noodle Soup

Soups & Stews & Chili

Pea soup
Bean soup
Stephanie’s Dad’s chicken soup

Southwestern

Mom’s Taco Salad
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Todd Rokita embarrasses Indiana twice (at least)

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Indiana State Representative Todd Rokita (R) has been making the news cycles recently to discuss his ignominious role in the government shutdown. He’s blissfully unaware of how ridiculous he sounds in this soundbite that gets prominent discussion on The Daily Show yesterday evening:

But what takes the cake is Rokita’s sexist remarks to a CNN anchor during a discussion of the government shutdown. At one point, Rokita dismisses Carol Costello’s questions with the remark “You’re beautiful, but you need to be honest.”

Lovely. If we’re remarking on people’s appearances, Todd, I have a thing or two to say about how you look.

Not to be outdone by Rokita, Indiana Representative Marlin Stutzman had this to say:

“We’re not going to be disrespected,” conservative Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind., added. “We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.”

Some government shutdown reading

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First – let’s be clear on who’s responsible for this debacle:

The truth of what happened Monday night, as almost all political reporters know full well, is that “Republicans staged a series of last-ditch efforts to use a once-routine budget procedure to force Democrats to abandon their efforts to extend U.S. health insurance.” (Thank you, Guardian.)

And holding the entire government hostage while demanding the de facto repeal of a president’s signature legislation and not even bothering to negotiate is by any reasonable standard an extreme political act. It is an attempt to make an end run around the normal legislative process. There is no historical precedent for it. The last shutdowns, in 1995 and 1996, were not the product of unilateral demands to scrap existing law; they took place during a period of give-and-take budget negotiations.

Shutdown coverage fails Americans

As the rest of the world laughs at the United States:

“The world looked on with a little anxiety and a lot of dismay, and some people had trouble suppressing smirks,” wrote Kevin Sullivan in a piece for Malaysian outlet Awani entitled, “US shutdown leaves the world scratching its head.”

While Russia Today devoted an entire article to U.S. shutdown comedy, featuring noteworthy images and tweets carrying the #govtshutdown hashtag, photojournalist Lynsey Addario tweeted from India that the shutdown was not being taken too seriously.

“I’m in India, and my driver and translator are laughing at U.S. govt shutdown. So much for world’s great superpower. It’s closed,” she said in a Tuesday tweet.

As US shuts down, rest of the world looks on with bemusement, laughter

And of course Indiana has to show up as a national embarrassment, courtesy Todd Rokita being a dumbass on television: