Sunday, November 30, 2008

An epiphany

Early last year, we took some friends to a Mardi Gras party/benefit for Long Island Gay & Lesbian Youth, a charity we support. The party was huge, and we all had a great time.

Two of the people we took were Jon and Michelle, a straight couple who are friends of ours. Of course, being friends of ours, they're comfortable with gay people, but their association with gay people was largely summed up with the two couples they knew, us and a lesbian couple. Beyond that, gay life was largely foreign to them, or so they thought. Jon, in particular, didn't come from a background that was robust in gay life. In his early days, he played for the Chicago Bears--not exactly a bastion of gayness!

Fast forward about 20 months to last night. We were at their house for drinks, and we got around to talking about Proposition 8, gay marriage and various related topics. They're very much in favor of gay rights and were appalled that Proposition 8 passed. Their feelings really weren't a surprise. What was more enlightening was Jon's comment that the night of the Mardi Gras party was when he had "an epiphany."

"We had just left and were sitting in the car when it struck me." He went on to explain that that's when he really felt it to his core, that gay people are just like anyone else. "We had spent a fun evening, sitting with several couples who were having fun, living their lives and dealing with all of the same things as anyone else." The other couples just happened to be gay.

That's what will win this battle. Yes, there's a fight to be fought, but what really will turn the tide in the long run--and it's already happening--is straight people getting to know more gay people and understand that we're just like them. We were made to be attracted to people of the same gender, but we're just people, just like anyone else.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

More Zay Harding

Yay! One of the cable channels is doing a Globe Trekker marathon. I first watched this series because I love travel and generally enjoy travel shows. What really grabbed my attention in one particular episode was a man named Zay Harding, as some of you with exceptional memories (because I mentioned it a long time ago) may recall. Happily, I see that at least one episode in this marathon includes Mr. Harding.

Zay, you gorgeous man, as far as I know, you're straight. Still, I hope you enjoy knowing that there's a gay man (gay couple, in fact, since Marc enjoyed your work when we last saw you) who is a fan. Now if we could just get you to bat for our team, the world would be a better place! *wink*

One last thing, Zay. Even if you're straight (and some of our best friends are--we are very accepting of their strange lifestyle; they can't help if it they were born that way), you need to come by so I can shoot a few decent photos of you! I don't know who has been doing your photos, but their is a dearth of decent photos of you online. That's just not right for such a handsome man!

For the rest of you reading this, here are a couple of photos (such as they are) of Zay Harding:

A tiny but sexy photo of Zay

Apparently in a jungle somewhere

Scruffy, windblown Zay (rafting, it appears)

Okay, we're now watching Zay in New Zealand. In this episode, his hair in long and blond. I guess I can adjust to that. For now, I'll just sit here and hope he takes his shirt off in this episode! :)

Alright everyone, now you know what to get me for a holiday gift (Zay, can we rent you?), and I'm sure you know where to tie the ribbon! ;)

Friday, November 28, 2008

More gay rugby

Okay, I can't make that last post the only thing I add today. It's just too sad. So let's have some more rugby photos.

Don't know who he is, but he's cute. Too bad the sun got in his eyes!

I have a handful of photos left, but I'll keep those for another post. Once I post them, I'm out of rugby matches to share until the spring. So let's stretch these out! :)

Disgusting humanity

When a crowd of starving people stampedes toward food, or a crowd of frightened people stampedes to try to get out a burning building, those things are sad but understandable. But when a crowd stampedes and kills a man, all in the name of getting a good deal on some Christmas gifts, that is just nauseating. Feel free to read the article I linked, but prepare to be completely disgusted.

The part of our county in which this happened is a relatively trashy area--and the mall is, arguably, the trashiest mall around--but I fear this kind of repulsive behavior could happen almost anywhere, if the circumstances were right.

What a sad day.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A fabulous meal!

As you know from the last post, Marc put lots of work into a recipe for Potato, Corn & Leek Chowder. He left the chowder in a big pot in the basement refrigerator and suggested that I have it for dinner tonight (he had a late meeting at work and is only now heading home).

He didn't have to twist my arm. After I got home, I put the dogs out, went and changed into comfortable clothes and then headed downstairs with bowl in hand to scoop out some of the chowder.

Unheated chowder in the bowl

Here's a closer look

I put the bowl in the microwave and soon was surrounded by the chowder's fabulous smell.

Here's the final product, all heated up and accompanied by a piece of potato bread

The recipe was pretty good to start with, and Marc, a wizard in the kitchen, tweaked it a bit to make it terrific. It made for a better dinner than most expensive restaurants could offer!

Monday, November 24, 2008

I meant well!

We just subscribed to Cooking Light magazine. We had picked up a copy in Penn Station, and we liked a lot of what was in there.

As part of the online subscription process, I was given the option of signing up for various e-mail lists, including one that's a recipe-a-day mailing. Today, I received this recipe for Potato, Corn, and Leek Chowder. I forwarded the recipe to my in-house chef (also known as my hubby Marc), and I was looking forward to his making it.

Little did I know that it would be so labor intensive! He's been working on it for hours! The poor man! It looked like a relatively easy recipe, but I clearly had no idea what I was looking at.

I shot a few photos of the chowder fixings, but Smugmug isn't cooperating tonight (they're having some kind of technical issues). If I can, I'll add them to this post another time.

The one bit of good news is that Marc says it tastes fabulous (I haven't sampled it yet, but I'm sure he's right). With that said, I still feel guilty for causing him all of this work! And I was at a dinner event again tonight, so I couldn't even help!

Smugmug (my photo site) seems to be working again, so here are a few photos from Marc's creation process last night:

Sauteed leeks, celery and bell pepper

Corn kernels, freshly removed from the ears

Carving up the potatoes

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I've got it good

What a nice life I have. Yes, work can be a burden (but that's why they pay me, I suppose), and life has its stresses. Still, things are good, and sometimes I snap a photo that seems to sum up my life nicely. I think this is one of those photos...

Mandy shares sunroom space with Daddy Marc

(BTW, I know I often suggest clicking on the photos for a better look, but this one really is worth it, so you can get a good look at that pretty face and her pretty brown eyes!)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The victory WE achieved

Yes, we! Apparently, I was instrumental in President-Elect Obama's victory. In fact, Barack and Michelle sent me a letter. It arrived in today's mail. It mentions the "victory we achieved," and it says to me personally, "Jess, this is your victory."

See how important I am? :)

Okay, seriously, this is pretty smooth. For once, a letter just to say thanks, instead of another solicitation. Smooth.

It goes a bit far, closing with, "For now, please accept our deepest thanks. We will never forget you."

Of course, it's a form letter, and I've never met the Obamas. They wouldn't know me if I got hit by their limo. With that said, it's smart of them to send out letters like this. They must have sent millions of these, but his campaign can afford it. It's a good investment to maintain that positive feeling among his supporters.

That was fun!

Last night, we went to see Blueprint: An Assignment. Our friend, Patrick*, was one of the writers and stars. When we hang out with him, we always enjoy his company, but I think we tend to forget how much creative talent is wrapped up in this man.

He danced, he sang (Summertime, in what I think was an improvised moment) and he acted. He really was terrific.

His troupe is performing in a small space on what, no doubt, is a shoestring budget. After the show, I told Patrick that I wasn't sure what to expect when we decided to see the show. He laughed, but it really was true. I didn't know what we would be seeing.

Happily, it was entertaining, eclectic and uplifting. For anyone in the area who has a little time to spare tomorrow night, along with a mere $15, get yourself over to (the Six Figures Theater Company at) The West End Theater, tomorrow (Sunday) night at 8pm. The address is 263 West 86th Street. The 1 train stops right on the corner, so it really couldn't be much easier to reach.


*I feel a little silly writing, "our friend Patrick." Yes, he's most definitely our friend. It's just that we have a number of friends named Patrick. I'm not sure how that happened, but all of our friends Patrick are wonderful. We love them all, and we're fortunate to have them in our lives!

Sunday, November 16, 2008


The bigots will lose. They'll lose, not just because they're wrong and I believe good will triumph over evil in the end, but because they're not constantly reminded of the current state of affairs by everyday things.

This morning, while watching CBS Sunday Morning, I saw a piece on Dennis Hopper. Among the things they talked about were his four marriages (Wikipedia says it's actually five), including his marriage to Michelle Phillips. That one lasted 8 days. He and the reporter had a nice chuckle over the 8 day marriage, as I sat here, resisting the urge to yell FUCK YOU! FUCK YOU! FUCK YOU! at the television.

Mr. Hopper's longest involvement in the sacred institution of marriage was just over half the time Marc and I have been together, but the bigots have the nerve to say we shouldn't have the right to marry? Fuck them! This isn't a religious issue--we're not asking any church to marry us, just our government (to which we pay more taxes than the vast majority of straight people)--and I'm fed up. Not that I just reached this point. I've been fed up with the bigots for a very long time. Rather, this morning's story was salt in the wound.

That's the point, really. Every day brings some fresh salt for the wound. In a way, that's good. It keeps reminding all of us that we're being subjected to discriminatory treatment. More importantly, we're not the only ones who see it. Most younger people, whether straight or gay, see the truth, and they will fix this eventually.

Remember Dr. King's words (eerily, delivered the night before he was killed)?

Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!

I'm not planning on going anywhere, but the point is the same. I may not be here when the fight for equality finally is won, but we will win. People can be misled, but, in the end, Americans are good at finding the right thing to do. It may take a while, but this country will find its way to fairness and equality, and the bigots will be remembered like the bigots who opposed equal rights for blacks, women and every other minority group.

Friday, November 14, 2008

On with the (rugby) show

Time to start sharing photos from the last match of the season...

No chicken legs on that man!

I don't have as many photos as usual from this last match, so I'll hold it there, just so I can get at least one more post out of these! :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The rest of the Gotham v. North Jersey rugby photos

Here are the rest of the ones from that match (the ones I continued a few posts ago)...

A view of the Triborough Bridge from the field

Another shot of the spectator from the end of the last post

Okay, that's it, but there's another match to share! I hope I'm not burning you out on rugby photos!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The bailout that really pisses me off

There's plenty to be pissed about. The Wall Street bailout is an obscenity, considering the extraordinary greed and high living of so many in that industry, but I understand why letting the whole system crash wasn't an option. The AIG bailout... Okay, so we don't want people to lack the security their insurance policies are supposed to provide. I get it. I don't like it, but I get it... and at least we get an ownership stake for our tax dollar investment.

The auto makers? Hmmm. Well, the complete collapse of the auto industry would be a heck of a blow to the economy, but perhaps it's time for American auto makers to shrink dramatically. They've been greedy, stupid and shortsighted for long enough. Management, along with the greedy labor unions, have this coming. So I'm not too thrilled with the bailout now being discussed, but maybe we can force modernization, real green cars (not GM's asinine "light hybrid" bullshit cars) and change things so assembly line workers aren't paid like highly skilled professionals (sorry, kids, but screwing on the headlights shouldn't pay like an architect, engineer, etc.).

But the one that really pisses me off? The effort to bail out people who bought more home than they could afford. Marc and I had opportunities through the years to buy bigger houses. We make enough that we could have qualified for much bigger mortgages, even without a bullshit no-money-down loan, but we were responsible (as wild a concept as that seems to be these days) and kept payments to what we could reasonably afford. If people bought McMansions with adjustable-rate mortgages they now can't afford, then foreclosure is a proper answer. If they have any equity built up (many don't, since reasonable down-payments apparently weren't a concern, either), then they'll get the excess money from the sale. For those who are "under water," because the house isn't worth as much, too bad. Our house isn't worth anywhere near what it was a few years ago. Oh well, that's the way things work. There are no guarantees.

Bailing out people who ignored common sense and bought a house they couldn't afford, using the tax money from responsible people like us, is just wrong. And people argue for this sham program with the position that it helps prevent further erosion of real estate values. Hey, has anybody thought that real estate values have become overvalued and should erode? I hear it around here, people moaning about house values. Well, tough shit! The ones I love are the seniors who bought their houses for $10,000 and are moaning that the value has "dropped" to $500,000. Well, boo fucking hoo. These usually are the same people who don't want to pay school taxes, because "I don't have kids in school anymore." Well, you know what, fuckhead? I've never had kids in the schools, and I never will. But I never complain about my school taxes. Paying them is my civic duty! To quote Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, "I like paying taxes. With them, I buy civilization."

But I doubt even the good Justice would have appreciated his taxes bailing out irresponsible people. People making $40,000 a year shouldn't be buying houses that cost $500,000. The math doesn't work, and we shouldn't have to pay for their stupidity. If you did something like that, you should lose your house and move to something you can afford.

Monday, November 10, 2008

How I feel, too

I found the text below on this man's blog. He saw it posted by another blogger who got it here (apparently, the original author). I read this and thought it pretty well summarizes how I feel...

To all you folks who voted Yes on Prop 8...

Fuck you. Yes, I'm talking to you. I'm done being polite about this, about pleading my case with civility and discourse.

Fuck your arguments about children, education, or "activist judges", because it's about none of those things, and you know it. You hide your bigotry behind lies and political rhetoric.

Fuck your argument that the only good family unit contains a mother and a father. I was raised by a single, awesome dad, and I turned out pretty fucking great. Fuck you for marginalizing my childhood.

Fuck your arguments about the sanctity of marriage, my partner and I have been together fourteen years, what makes your marriage more worthy of state recognition? Spare me the lecture. Or, make divorce and quickie weddings illegal, too.

Fuck your arguments about the history of marriage, learn its *real* history, which is hardly confined to the last few centuries of Christian belief. If the church didn't want this day to come, they should not have let the government take over marriage. But since they did, and since government should treat everyone equally, we are here now. We're not the concept of marriage as it stood three hundred years ago, we are here, right now. Act like it.

Fuck your argument that it's about freedom of religion, which only proves that it's a clear violation of the separation of church and state. How would you like it if I voted on your religious rights, too?

Fuck your arguments about the "slippery slope" it would create, in either marriage or democracy. Give society some fucking credit for having a modicum of common sense. A sudden wave of marrying dogs and widespread polygamy won't happen, and you know it.

Fuck you when you say that civil unions should be enough, because separate but equal isn't equal, and you know it.

Fuck your excuses about the will of the people, because sometimes all that amounts to is mob rule, especially when that mob is created through fear and lies, religious dogma, and massive out-of-state funding.

Fuck you for saying "oh, please understand that *my* personal decision isn't driven by religious beliefs or moral propriety," because underneath it all, it most certainly is... and if you're dancing around that issue to justify your vote some other way, you're in denial.

Fuck you for saying "some of my friends are gay" and still voting yes, because it doesn't hide your bigotry. Your actions are your words.

Fuck you for making me a second-class citizen.

Thankfully we have a President now who acknowledged my existence as a Gay American in the first few minutes of his acceptance speech. Maybe, in time, his efforts at unifying this country will be successful for all of us, gay and straight. I don't always agree with Andrew Sullivan, but he had a great post tonight that said "We must never let popular votes affect our own internal sense of our worth, our equality, our dignity as human beings. Our marriages are real; all that is at issue is whether a majority will recognize them in law. The next generation already does."

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Rugby photos

We never finished the rugby photos from this season, so I'll share more now. I last posted photos a few weeks ago and will continue with more from that same match...

A spectator at the match, getting a pet from Marc

Cuddling ruggers (I love being with a gay rugby team) :)

Love his eyes (click on the photo for a better view)

Another spectator

That's it for this post, but there are lots more photos to come!