Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend

Mark, the boys, and I spent the long weekend in Minnesota visiting my mother.  We had lots of plans for the weekend, but mostly hung around her farmhouse.

One of the best things about going to the farm for the boys is that they get a lot of space and they get to do things that they'd never get to do at home.  Case in point: the Yamaha.  Leslie and the other cousins have been driving the Yamaha for years, but D's always been too young to drive the thing.  Until now.  We started out with me in the passenger seat and him starting and stopping in very halting manners.  Fortunately, his driving has improved and he eventually improved enough that I agreed to let him drive with Leslie for a little while.  The holiday traffic was pretty fierce and the dirt roads were very dusty, so we successfully convinced the boys to limit their travels to loops around the property.  I managed to get myself my first (mild) summer tan while endlessly circling the orchard and house, singing rounds of "The Song that Never Ends".  Leslie managed to entertain himself cutting grass around trees and fence lines using Grandma's electric trimmer and doing tricks with the scooter.


We spent Saturday evening in Decorah, IA, eating at McCaffrey's.  It's an interesting traditional Italian pizza restaurant.  They make these wood-fired pizzas with mostly homemade ingredients that taste wonderfully.  It's a very good family-owned restaurant that you should check out if you're ever traveling through southeast Iowa.

We spent much of Sunday traveling with Grandma and the boys to different cemeteries.  We left flowers for my dad, for my brother-in-law Roger, for my grandfather Don, for my other grandfather Lyle and grandmother Lucille, for my great-grandmother Zora (who died about a week after I was born), and for my great-aunt Inez and great-uncle Leonard.  I expected push back from the boys, but didn't suffer from any of that.  They were very cool and asked lots of questions about their deceased relatives.  It was interesting to hear new family stories from my mom and to learn more about our history.

Beyond that, the weekend was pretty relaxed.  Lots of resting, visiting, and eating.  We took off this morning and have been settling in back at home ever since. 

I'm hoping that everyone else had a restful and reflective Memorial Day!

Gay Malawi Couple Pardoned

I've been away from the computer for several days due to Memorial Day-related travel.  I'll post more later, but thought I would post a quick update on the unfortunate 14 year conviction of Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza, a gay couple from Malawi.  The two were to hold a traditional engagement ceremony, when they were arrested and put on trial for gross indecency and unnatural acts.  Many in Africa were elated.  Many outside of Africa were pissed.

Fortunately, the outrage expressed by those in the latter category seems to have paid off.  Malawi's President, Bingu wa Mutharika, ended up issuing a pardon for the two men, with the strict reminder that we could see a repeat of this trial if they try anything like this again.

I will comment more on this later, but right now I gotta run to the store.  Mainly, I just wanted to make sure that I offered up an update on this important story.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

May 27th: Anniversary Blog

Tomorrow will mark the 16th anniversary of the night that Mark and I met and began dating.  It's also the 12th anniversary of our wedding ceremony, over at Faith UCC.  That's right, Iowa.  Gay couples actually had religious wedding ceremony without the recognition of the law and many of Iowa's churches were and are quite comfortable officiating at such ceremonies.  But, that's another story.  Tonight, I'm interested in Jon & Mark, Day 1.

Earlier that week, I had graduated from Luther College, moved to Iowa City with my roommate Erin, and began my first professional job as an overnight group home worker/on-call emergency contact person.  That Friday night, I wanted to hang out with my friend Randy and begin meeting other guys at Iowa City's now defunct gay bar, the 620.  Randy and I decided to start the evening off watching Four Weddings and a Funeral starring Hugh Grant.  We were just loading into the car when this mid-twentysomething blond wandered by and stopped by to chat with Randy.  He introduced himself at Mark.  He was a young grad student and lived a building over from me.  We told him about our movie plans and about heading over to the 620 later in the night.  He said that he'd probably meet us over at the club later on.

So, Randy and I eventually showed up at the 620.  It was pretty dark and loud.  Lots of guys and gals mingling, drinking, and dancing.  It seemed like everyone was staring at the fresh meat (though that was probably just wishful thinking on my part).  I chatted up a couple guys, but was quickly intercepted by Mark from earlier in the evening.  He freely admits now that he swooped in on me as quickly as possible and scared off a couple other possible suitors.

We began chatting about school and politics and comic books and the future.  It was nice.  It was also very loud.  I could barely hear him and my voice was growing hoarse.  So, Mark and I and Randy decided to skip out of the club and head over to Country Kitchen for a late night snack. 

I don't remember what we talked about, though Mark says that Randy and I talked (a lot) about Star Trek and we all discussed comic books.  Mark asked about my college experiences.  I asked about his college experiences.  Also about his group home work.  There was a little bit of third wheel action going on there between Randy and Mark, which was probably a good thing for helping this relationship to start off at a slow pace.  Randy eventually drove us all home after we'd geeked out enough about the TNG and the DS9.

The next couple days consisted of me running into Mark everywhere.  I walked downtown to the Ped Mall and Mark was there.  I walked over to the video rental place and Mark was there.  I walked out to my car and Mark was nearby.

Two days after we officially met (that's another story for another time), he invited me to his place where we eventually began playing this X-Men board game of his.  I will spare you the details, but I won the game and we began dating officially.

I look back at that first picture of us and cannot believe how young we both were and how quickly the time raced by.  Over the years, we've both grown professionally, we've taken in and raised the boys, we've loved and lost our various pups, we've married (and re-married).  I can't imagine where the two of us will be in another 16 years or what we'll be doing.  But, we've committed ourselves to completing that journey together so I know that it will be a fun ride.

Undead Plot Points

A few years back, Marvel Comics began starting off most of its comics with an introductory page.  These pages are nice for new readers who might not be totally familiar with the cast or the storyline.  They're also nice for longer-term readers who need to quick reminder about where we left off (or in of ambiguous endings, what exactly happened last issue).  For comparison, let's start out with the summary page for this week's issue of X-Force #27 (which, by the way, was an excellent action book -- especially compared to the last two chapters of the X-books' "Second Coming" storyline that kind of dragged along at a snail's pace):
Nice job of describing a fairly involved plot filled with lots of key players and teams.  Now check out Marvel Zombies 5 #3, which does the most wonderfully hilarious job of condencing a five-issue mini-series about Machine Man, Howard the Duck, and super-quick cowgirl Jackie Kane journeying across dimensions to find a cure for a zombie plague.  But, this issue's summary page tells you everything you need and want to know about Marvel Zombies 5:
 'Cuz really, what more do you need to know in a book about super-powered zombie hunters?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Schadenfreude Comes to Fulton, MS

Imagine that you are a high school senior who happens to be a lesbian.

Imagine that you want to attend your high school peers with the date of your choice and in the clothing of your choosing, just like your peers, but the school says that you can't come with your female date nor can you come unless you are wearing a dress.

Imagine that you consult an attorney and your attorney contacts the school and reminds them that they cannot legally bar you from attending your senior prom or prevent you from attending in a tuxedo.

Imagine that the school then cancels the prom and encourages your peers' parents to plan their own private party where they are free to exclude you and your date.

Imagine that your attorney sues the school district and the courts ultimately find that your rights have been violated.  After some consultation, the private prom is canceled and a new official prom is planned at the local country club.

Imagine that you go to your senior prom and find out that it was all a big ruse.  Only you, your date, and the special education kids are there.  The rest of the school planned another "private prom".  However, they said that it wasn't really a prom, just a party that they all decided to go to.  Except that many of your peers posted Facebook status updates about this "prom", including pics from that party and derogatory statements about how they pulled one over on you.

Two months later, imagine that Fred Phelps and his clan of Christian chums invade your community and protest your school's graduation ceremony for not being anti-gay enough.
Six members of the Kansas-based Westboro Church, mostly members of the Phelps clan, protested the Saturday graduation of IHS with their typical homophobic sturm and drang.
Now imagine that your classmates had tormented you so much over the past few months that you transferred to a new school and didn't graduate with your hostile heterosexist peers or their unfriendly family members:
The lesbian who sued her rural school district over its ban of same-sex prom dates has transferred to a school in Mississippi's capital.

Constance McMillen told The Associated Press on Thursday that she now attends a high school in Jackson, about 180 miles from Itawamba Agricultural High School in Fulton
.
I find the irony of this situation to be wonderfully delicious.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Gay Family News in Iowa

Here are a couple different articles of interest from One Iowa that caught my attention today.

1. GOP Candidates Debate Adoption Restrictions.  Pulled from One Iowa's blog:
Republican gubernatorial candidates Bob Vander Plaats and Rod Roberts are against same-sex couples adopting children, while Terry Branstad says there are times when gay couples could be the best choice for a child.

"Children benefit from parents, loving parents, stable homes," says One Iowa Executive Director Carolyn Jenison. "And I think they forget they are talking about families out there who are listening, and it's harmful to them."


This has shades of 2002 when the Iowa GOP introduced a bill that would have banned gay individuals and couples from foster parenting or adopting. Fortunately, lots of people rose up against that bill, including those in the DHS and in the broader adoption industry -- who realized that they would lose way too many existing and potential foster and adoptive parents -- and those directly impacted by this bill -- including Leslie's birth grandparents and great-grandmother, who were worried about having their grandson arbitrarily shifted out of a good home and into an unknown situation.

Unfortunately, 2010 is a much more partisan time. I can't rely on the good will of any Republican Senator or Representative to look out for our family. The ideologues would rather cut out parents who've stepped up to the plate instead of recruiting more people who reflect their values.

2. Iowa a Popular Location for Same-Sex Marriages.  One Iowa linked to the original article from the Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier, but unfortunately the link was bad and I couldn't find that article on their website.  Basically, this has a positive spin to balance out last week's negative moanings about the number of gay couples who are coming to Iowa from other states to get legally married. 

My biggest interest in this article had to do with Amalia Vagts and her website WelcomeInDecorah.com.  I went to college with Amalia and ran in similar circles with her.  She was one of numerous straight allies who traveled with me to the 1993 March of Washington for GLBT Rights.  More recently, the boys and I ran into her, her husband, and her kids in a Howard County-based maze in the middle of a rural cornfield.  Amalia's always been a jewel and I'm glad to see that she's involved with the "Welcome in Decorah" effort.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

My Thoughts on "Shrek Forever After"

D'Angelo and I decided to head over to the movie theater this weekend to watch "Shrek Forever After".  I was hesitant to see it after Shrek the Third.  Frankly, that third chapter in the Shrek movies should have killed the franchise.  It was flat and unimaginative and the only thing I truly remember from it was that Shrek and Fiona had some babies.  I almost didn't go, and that resistance was apparently felt by other movie-watchers this weekend.  That's truly a shame, as Shrek Forever After does a wonderful job of polishing up Shrek's tarnished image.

The movie begins with the before-mentioned babies' first birthday.  Fed up with the monotony of family life and missing the excitement of his bachelor days, Shrek makes a foolish bargain with a devilish foe.  He gives away a day of his life and receives one day of ogrish freedom.  Unfortunately, that missing day was the day of his birth.  Shrek gets his freedom, but alters the world around him into a dystopian vision where Fiona's a freedom fighter, Rumpelstiltskin rules the land with an iron fist, witches hunt ogres, and Puss 'n Boots is a tubby house cat.  Shades of It's a Wonderful Life, I know, but it works.  Shrek has one day to get kissed by his true love or else he will fade away into oblivion.  Will he make it?  I'm not telling, though this is supposedly the last of the Shrek movies, so nothing's guaranteed.

Speaking of Rumpelstiltskin, he was an excellent choice as this film's antagonist.  The original fairy tale version of this dwarf-like villain had him spinning straw into gold in exchange for the future queen's firstborn child.  Shrek's version of Rumpelstiltskin has a magic contract for every occasion, each one filled with enough fine print to twist even the most benign request with malignant results.

I asked D' what he thought of the film.  He really enjoyed the movie and highly recommends it for kids and parents alike.  His favorite part was when the creepy little kid continually harassed Shrek with his endless request: "Do the roar!"  I enjoyed the alternative version of the Gingerbread Man, whose lives an impoverish existence on the streets of Far, Far Away battling animal crackers to the death.  I also laughed at Donkey's Nero-like attempts at enjoying a forbidden plate of waffles.

Do yourself a favor and check out Shrek Forever After.  It boasts an engaging plot, maintains a comfortable pace, and does an excellent job of redeeming this originally inventive concept.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Meeting my Son's Dad

Today was an interesting day.  D'Angelo and I hopped in the car and traveled to the correctional institute in Newton, IA, to meet his birth dad.  They hadn't seen each other since D' was 2-years-old and frankly most of D's memories of his father were fabrications rebuilt from others' stories and a couple different pictures.

Mark and I were contacted a little bit before Christmas by D's dad, who asked us to consider re-introducing him to D'.  We did a couple backs-and-forths by mail, I spoke with his dad's correctional worker, and we eventually scheduled a failed prison visit between me and Joe.  After the failed visit, Mark and I decided it was time to go ahead and just agree to tell D' about all of this and to make arrangements to meet Joe.  Joe told us that he had planned a three-hour visit this weekend with his own birth parents and one of his cousins.  He really wanted me to come with D'Angelo so that they could all meet.  D'Angelo was given the option to turn down this offer.  He very quickly decided that he wanted to meet his dad.  So we went to Newton today.

The visit went well.  D' and Joe scoured the vending machines for burritos, (vile) Mt. Dew, and candy bars while I made small talk with D's grandparents and adult cousin.  They sat next to each other throughout the visit trading jokes and sharing memories.  We learned where D' was born and heard the story of his birth night.  We played a game of Sorry (I totally dominated) and then a game of Phase 10 (I didn't do so good with that one).  It was amazing to see how similar D' and Joe are.  Their skin tone, their eyes, their mannerisms.  It was uncanny.

I learned that Joe will have to do some sort of work release program and live in an approved halfway house following his eventual release from prison and most likely will be based out of the halfway house in Coralville (which is right next door to Iowa City).  He will continue to be part of D's life and our's.  I was thinking that we might just do letters.  But after seeing them today together, I cannot imagine allowing them to continue with each other without some sort of visitation arrangement.  Hopefully it will work out and we are prepared to put things on hold if they don't.  But for now, I am really curious to see how this new family relationship will evolve.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Should Iowa Require Residency to Marry Here?

That's being suggested in various Republican circles.  They are concerned about Iowa becoming the Midwest's gay marriage Mecca.  It was originally suggested by Hull Rep. Dwayne Alons back in 2008.  He wanted to make it so that at least one person in each couple was a resident of Iowa in order for them to successfully apply for a marriage license in our state.  It never went anywhere, but now the GOPers are crowing about it following news that roughly 60% of the gay couples who married in our state last year were non-residents.

I met a young guy at the dog park about a month ago.  He was pretty nice and a fellow Luther grad, to boot.  He was pretty excited because he and his (female) fiancee were traveling to Lanesboro, MN, fairly soon to get married.  Neither one's a Minnesota resident, though they have family in the area.  Should Minnesota restrict them from filing for a marriage license in that state?

I met another young guy a few weeks back on Facebook.  He's also pretty nice even though he's not a fellow Luther grad.  I'm sure he would've gone to Luther if he knew about the place.  Anway, he's pretty excited because he and his (male) fiance are getting married in Des Moines, IA, this weekend.  They live in Kansas City and have no plans (that I know of) to move here.  But, it's important for them to create a legal bond in their relationship.  This weekend's wedding will be a small ceremony with just them, their two best friends, and an officiant.  Later this summer, they'll have a larger religious wedding ceremony and a fun reception in their home state.  Why is it such a big deal to Alons, King, and the others if this couple chooses to honor our state with their wedding plans?

Isn't it nuts the lengths that some people want to go to prevent gay couples from legally marrying?  And for what?  Gay couples have been legally marrying in Iowa for over a year.  I'm not aware of a single church that has been forced to host a wedding against its will for any couple, gay or straight.  I'm not aware of any pastor who has been jailed in Iowa for speaking out against homosexuality, marriage equality, or gay people in general.  In fact, the biggest "gay marriage"-related trauma inflicted on the citizens of Iowa relates to the number of tents that gay families can pitch in our state parks.

The GOP needs a culture war.  Instead of celebrating the fact that people are coming to our state to create new families and instead of being pleased that our state is reaping some financial gain from this effort, they are doing their best to turn people and money away.  It's ridiculous and it really needs to stop.  Enough!

Malawi Gay Couple Sentenced to 14 Years Following Engagement Party

I haven't written anything about this case, but it's a sad one.  Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza are a gay couple in Malawi.  They decided to get married and hosted an engagement party late last year.  They were subsequently arrested for gross indecency and unnatural acts.  They were convicted yesterday and sentenced to 14 years with hard labor.

"Maximum sentences are intended for use for worst cases," Magistrate Nyakwawa Usiwa Usiwa said as he delivered his sentence. "We are sitting here to represent the Malawi society which I do not believe is ready at this point in time to see its sons getting married to other sons or conducting engagement ceremonies."...

Hundreds of onlookers inside and outside the court house showed little sympathy. There were shouts of "You got what you deserve!" and "Fourteen years is not enough, they should get 50!"

Michelle Kagari, deputy Africa director of Amnesty International called the sentence "an outrage."

Her rights watchdog has adopted Chimbalanga and Monjeza as prisoners of conscience, and would "continue to campaign on this matter and to work tirelessly to see that they are released unconditionally as soon as possible," Kagari told The Associated Press by telephone from her office in Kampala, Uganda.

Mark Heywood, director of the South Africa-based AIDS Law Project called the sentence "outrageous and a violation of human rights." He said activists should hold protests around the world against Malawi.

Malawi's government has been defiant in the face of international criticism over the couple's prosecution.

Betsy Chirambo, an adviser to President Bingu wa Mutharika, expressed concern over calls by some activists for the West to withdraw aid to Malawi because of the case. Up to 40 percent of Malawi's development budget comes from foreign donors.

"It is not our culture for a man to marry a man," Chirambo said this week. "That is not even in our constitution. Some of these rights are not good for our culture..."

Gift Trapence, executive director of the Centre for the Development of People, was at the court house Thursday and told reporters: "How can they get 14 years simply for loving one another? Even if they are jailed for 20 years you can't change their sexuality."

What kind of culture considers a gay couple (regardless of any engagement or marriage) representative of the worst type of crime?  Is my family worse than murder?  Worse than terrorism?  Worse than slavery?  Worse than child abuse?

And what kind of country relies on other countries for 40% of its budget?  I remember listening to pre-election debates on Politics UK and the Conservative commentator questioned why a nation like the United Kingdom, which is struggling with debt, is sending hundreds of millions of pounds to other countries in the form of foreign aid?  The same question could be asked of the United States of America.  How much is the USA spending on Malawi?  And how dare Malawi ask for foreign dollars to meet its needs and then assert its independence when any of those donors object to unjust arrests and convictions?

Please keep Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza in your prayers as they continue to endure this unjust situation.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

60% of Gay Marriages in Iowa from Other States

That's the word from various news sources like the Des Moines Register, Iowa Independent, and the Cedar Rapids Gazette.

A report shows most of the gay marriages performed in Iowa since the state began allowing same-sex unions in April 2009 involved couples from out of state.

The report from the Iowa Department of Public Health shows 2,020 same-sex marriages were recorded since April 27, 2009 through March 31. Of those couples, 815 were from Iowa.

The rest were from elsewhere, including 199 couples from Illinois, 158 from Missouri and 111 from Nebraska.

There were nearly 10,000 couples married in Iowa during the time period.

Justin Uebelhor of the gay-rights group One Iowa says he wasn’t surprised to see that so many of the gay couples were from other states. He says many have Iowa ties and wanted to get married at home, while others live in nearby states.
The complaint is that we're attracting gay couples from other states who want to legalize their marriages and even import their own marriage equality court challenges.  There are also concerns that not enough gay couples are actually legally marrying, so what's the point?

As to the first point, I don't blame those from surrounding states who come to this state to seek some sort of legal recognition for their marriages.  Instead of seeing this as proof that marriage equality in Iowa is bad, maybe we should see it as evidence that gay couples in the Midwest are anxious to seek the legal protections and responsibilities of marriage.  Why is that bad?  They are not seeking to destroy an institution.  They are seeking to join that institution.

As to the second point, I think we need to give long-term gay couples a break.  I know gay couples who didn't have time to arrange weddings last summer when they'd had this option to marry suddenly thrust into their realm of options.  Some couples did rush jobs.  Others, like Mark and I, waited a few months.  Others wants summer weddings.  They have kids or relatives with kids or relatives who prefer to travel during the summer months and summer makes more sense.  Summer 2009 was too soon.  Summer 2010 gives them a little over a year to plan.  I've watched enough episodes of Bridezilla to know that most wedding planners usually give themselves at least a year to plan their weddings.  Give it time.

Speaking of time, remember that there are young couples who likely will marry at some point when they're a bit older and there are new couples that will likely marry at some point when their relationships are matured.  I would rather have gay couples wait and make sure that they are truly compatible with each other than rush into bad marriages.  So, once again, give it time.

Spidey Can't Catch a Break

It's Wednesday, which means it's comic book shipment day, which means it's time for me to share my favorite comic book moment of the week.  As is typical, it's not my usual stash that catches my interest.  This week's favorite story took all of one page to tell and it all happened in Marvel's Age of Heroes #1.

Last week's final issue of The Siege heralded in Marvel's new Heroic Age.  Norman Osborn has been revealed as the closet psycho that everyone should have remembered, the Sentry was defeated, and the Avengers are back on top.  Age of Heroes shines the newly-shined spotlight on Marvel's newly re-christened super-heroes as they adjust to the Heroic Age.  Things seem to be looking up for Doctor Voodoo, Captain Britain, and MI-13.  Even Spider-Man seems to be enjoying life in this new age.  He just saved America from Osborn's threat.  Surely the grateful citizens of New York City will welcome him back with open arms, right?


No can do.  He's too creepy and spidery for the folks to trust.  Makes you wonder why he bothers.  But, that's what makes him one of Marvel's greatest heroes.

My High School's On Fire

I was putzing around at work this afternoon when the following message popped up on my e-mail account:  Fillmore Central High School in Harmony (MN) has been evacuated, as firefighters battle a blaze at the school... There's smoke in the air in Harmony, and fire crews are fighting the fire now.  School officials say all students in the district are being bussed home at 1:30 this afternoon.

Needless to say, my curiosity was aroused!

A quick hop over to Rochester television station KTTC offered up an immediate source for the fire: A viewer reports that they are hearing that the fire started in the room across from the boiler room at the school.  Officials will only say that the fire was contained to one roomThe Post-Bulletin later confirmed the boiler room origin story and confirmed that everyone got out of the school safely and that high school classes are canceled tomorrow.

I'm interested to hear how things will turn out for Fillmore County's consolodated school district.  I'm not sure how badly damaged the building is.  Will it be repaired?  Knocked down and rebuilt?  Will the high school be relocated to another site and/or building?  My 20th reunion will occur this July.  This should make for interesting small talk.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Illustrated Shootings: Only Threatening when Done by Students?

Here's a case for comparison.  An autistic student in Georgia draws a picture of his teacher getting shot and is now facing felony charges of terroristic threats.  A geography teacher in Alabama uses illustrations of President Obama being shot at as a teaching tool for his high school students.  No criminal charges were pressed against him, but he was eventually placed on leave following publicity by the press.

Regarding the student: "Atlanta's Ridgeview Charter School immediately suspended the teenager and said they wanted him charged with a felony offence of making a terroristic threat...  A spokesman for the school refuse to comment about the incident but said they had a zero tolerance policy on violence directed towards teachers."

Regarding the teacher: "Superintendent Phil Hammonds said the teacher remains at work, and there are no plans for termination... 'It was extremely poor judgment on his part, and a poor choice of words.'"

I guess zero tolerance policies against school violence only apply when addressing student behavior.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Numerical Progression

2 - Openly gay bishops that now function within the Episcopal Church.  The number of closeted gay bishops that function within the Episcopal Church, as well as the larger Anglican community, far exceeds that number.

4 - The number of seasons Heroes lasted before getting canceled by NBC.

376 - The number of marriage license applications processed in Washington DC between January 1 and March 3, 2010.  On a related note...

2,082 - The number of marriage license application processed in Washington DC since March 3, 2010, when gay couples gained the right to become legally married there.

463,000 - The number of foster children in America who need permanent, adoptive placements.  Please strongly consider whether you could open your home and your heart.  Contact your local DHS office or click through the link at the front end of this paragraph to learn more about becoming a foster parent.

90 Million - The number of dollars Arizona expects to lose in tourist dollars because of consumer boycotts following the passage of Senate Bill 1070.  Personally, I'm not inclined to boycott because of this law.  But, I'm terrified to step within the state's borders following the ongoing assertions of drug wars, murders, and kidnappings, which were used to justify 1070's passage.

My Thoughts on "Iron Man 2"

D'Angelo and I finally went to see "Iron Man 2" today at the theater, starring Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Mickey Rourke, etc.  Downey did an excellent job, like in the original Iron Man movie, of fleshing out the complicated character of Tony Stark.  In one minute, he's out of control with his life, loves, and booze and the in other minute, he's struggling with his mortality and the understanding that the technology that he uses to save the world is slowly and painfully killing him.

Iron Man 2 reunites Stark with Pepper Potts, Happy Hogan, and Jim Rhodes (albeit with a new face), but also introduces Marvel's movie audience to War Machine, Justin Hammer, Nick Fury, Black Widow, Whiplash, and Thor's hammer.  I'm curious why Iron Man 2 chose Whiplash as its main villain (at least, it's main costumed villain).  Whiplash never struck me as particularly brilliant, technological, or inspired.  My guess is that they just wanted a villain with flashy whips.  Marvel Comics must have liked the movie's take on Whiplash because, according to wikipedia, they ended up created their own revised comic book version of that character.

The movie runs at about 2 1/2 hours.  It has a good balance action, interesting characters, and personal angst.  D'Angelo really liked the movie.  He recommends it to any of his friends or other kids his age.  He particularly enjoyed the scene where Tony got drunk in his Iron Man suit and began shooting watermelons and plates.

By the by, I had been told to hang around through the credits for a little surprise at the very end.  Marvel's movies often have these little extras.  X-Men 3 had Professor X resurrecting himself in the body of a comatose boy.  The original Iron Man movie introduced Tony Stark to Nick Fury.  I'd been told to expect Thor.  What we got instead was a hint of Thor, specifically his above-referenced hammer, in anticipation of next year's Thor movie and the subsequent Avengers movie.  Given that they just showed the hammer, it's possible that we could see any number of the various Thors in this upcoming movie (original Thor, Thunderstrike, Red Norvell, Thrr the Dog of Thunder, Thor Girl, Future Thor, Beta Ray Bill, Thor Frog...).  I'm pretty sure that we're talking about the original Thor in next year's movie, but I think a froggy sidekick could be a really good crowd pleaser.  IMHO.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Another Elderly Iowan Attacked in Road Rage Incident

What's up with Iowa these days?  A couple weeks ago, a 22-year-old Solon resident got arrested for repeatedly punching a 70-year-old motorist for driving too slowly, even after the victim pulled over to allow the younger man to pass him by.  Now the Cedar Rapids Gazette has reported another suspected road rage attack, this time against a 90-year-old motorist.

Here are the details so far:
Police responded to a hit-and-run accident near the Hy-Vee at 1556 First Ave. NE (in Cedar Rapids) just before 3 p.m. Tuesday. According to the police report, Richard Mackey, 90, was pulling out of the store parking lot onto 16th Street NE when he struck a northbound car.

Witnesses said the male driver of the other car got out and began to pull Mackey out of his vehicle. When the witnesses approached, the man began to “square off” with them, as if to fight them, police said.

When the witnesses mentioned that the police had been called, the man got back into his car and drove away, police said. Mackey was not injured.

The man is described as a white male with a thin build, about 5-foot-11, with a small beard and a mustache. He was driving a 1995 Ford Contour. Anyone with additional information is asked to call police at (319) 286-5491.

For crying out loud. I've been hit by other cars in my life, too. It's annoying, disruptive, and it's interrupts the dozen and one things going on in your life. But they're accidents. You weren't hit on purpose. Attacking the other driver doesn't solve the problem. It transforms your from an innocent victim to a big jerk with pending assault charges, not to mention charges based off leaving the scene of an accident.

Next time your car gets hit or your find yourself stuck behind a slow driver, take a deep breath. Chill out. Don't become an ass and don't become a bully.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Another Kid of Gay Moms Booted by Catholic School

Here's a familiar story.  Lesbians fall in love.  Lesbians have kids.  Lesbians enrolls said kids in Catholic school.  Local Catholic Diocese kicks kid to the curb.  Lesbians act shocked that Catholic leaders disrespect their families and their children.

This scenario happens a lot.  And I really don't get it.  Why are gay parents subjecting their kids to rejection by religious organizations that explicitly condemn our families and describe our parenting skills as intrinsically evil?

Here's the deal.  You might've had terrific experiences at Catholic school when you were a kid.  You might've learned some wonderful values from your teachers.  Or maybe you just feel like you went through Catholic school, so should your kids.  Don't do it.  They don't want you.  The Catholic church is not becoming more accepting of our families.  Just the opposite.  They are digging their heels in and they are not afraid to expel your kids and compare your relationship to bloody, aborted baby parts.  Some of the parishioners and teachers might object, but the majority won't, or they won't care enough to stand up to the increasing shift rightward socially by the Catholic leadership.

Find a good public school or charter school.  Maybe there's a crunchy Montessori school for your youngsters.  Or maybe you can just home school.  But don't punish yourself or your kids by enrolling in Catholic school.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Dead, Dead, Dead, Lots of Dead on Wednesday

Today's comic book stash was plentiful, but repetitive.  Lots of characters getting shot up, blown up, and burnt up.  Might as well start on the one with the least impact:
X-Men Forever #23 is a concept book.  The concept follows the question, what if Chris Claremont hadn't left his X-Men writing chores back in the early 1990s?  (Seriously, that's the concept.)  The end result is an X-Men comic book where Wolverine is dead, Storm is a psycho-traitor, Gambit's wearing a suit, Nightcrawler and Rogue have switched powers, and Jean's smooching the Beast.  At least she was, 'cuz the Beast bought the farm (along with puppy-kicker Tony Stark AKA Iron Man and a bunch of baddies) in a giant spacey explosion.  An evil group called the Consortium was trying to expose the planet to a mutant-killing plague and Beast sacrificed himself to prevent that from happening.  Main problem?  This book is just a concept book.  Eventually Claremont will move on.  The storylines aren't connected to anything else that Marvel's doing, so Beast ain't really dead.  In fact, he'll be co-starring in Marvel's new Secret Avengers book next month.

Which brings us to:

... New Mutants #7.  Marvel's mutant-hating forces are going for gun.  There are probably 150 surviving mutants in the Marvel Universe today and most of them live on a floating island named Utopia off the coast of San Francisco.  Bastion's hordes are slowing isolating the X-Men.  Magik was somehow shot into hell last month.  Ariel was blown up.  Nightcrawler has a robotic arm in his chest.  Now X-Force transporter Vanisher has been taken out by Bastion's bunch.  The teleporters are being taken out and the X-Men's jets have been destroyed.  Let me just say, I would not want to be in Cloak's non-existent shoes right now!  The X-Men are stuck on Utopia and Bastion's gunning for them. 

The X-Men have been taking it on the chin a lot these days.  Today, they got a bit of payback...
Cyborg Donald Pierce was the one responsible for letting Bastion's hunters know where to find Vanisher and he was also responsible for destroying the X-Men's jets.  Cyclops made sure that Pierce won't be troubling the team anytime soon (though don't think for a moment that Pierce won't be back eventually).
Which brings up to Siege #4.  I offered up a pretty good summary of this mini-series here.  This is the story that flips things back to normal.  After today, Marvel's heroes are once again treated like heroes and the villains are no longer working for the Obama administration.  Last issue, Norman Osborn (AKA Iron Patriot FKA Green Goblin) was revealed to be the nut-job that he really is (go figure), but not before the Sentry (imagine Superman if he was schizophrenic) lost it and transformed into the evil Void.  This issue started out with Loki, Norse God of Mischief, getting blown up.  Now, Loki's died before.  A lot.  Do you really think he'll stay dead?  I'll leave that for you to ponder.

That leaves the death that was needed for Marvel's heroes to take back control from the baddies:

It took a lot of lightning, but Thor took out Sentry.  He then flew off into space and tossed Sentry's burnt out corpse into the sun.  Seriously.

Anyway, that's a lot of deadness going on tonight.  My guess is that we'll see a couple more corpses cropping up in the x-books next week.  But hopefully, things will work themselves out without this level of rough justice.

What's with the Push for Chickens in Iowa's Cities?

Over the past year, there has been a push to allow people to raise chickens within the city limits of Iowa City.  After a lot of squawking, it seemed like the issue had died.  Now the news came out that both Palo and Cedar Rapids are on the verge of approving backyard chickens.  I learned from the Palo article that Des Moines already allows its residents to keep up to two birds.  My guess is that we'll eventually see Iowa City's city council approve sooner than later.

I'm still left wondering why people want chickens in their backyards?  Especially when you live in the city!  I worry about neglectful chicken owners, smelly chicken feces, drunken students playing games with random chickens, loose dogs killing neighbors' birds, etc...

So what's the appeal?  I did a search and learned that Iowa City has its own urban chicken PAC: IC Friends of Urban Chickens.  According to their website, their goal is to put "the Iowa back in Iowa City".

The website includes a brochure that explains why they think our city will benefit from backyard chicken farmers, such as providing our community with a local source of protein, as well as a superior source of protein when compared to store-bought eggs.  They claim that the feces that I worry about will provide an adequate source of natural fertilizer for our garden.  They also say that chickens are good for eliminating grubs and bugs from our yard.  And they claim that it's fun to raise chickens.  I grew up on a farm and believe that it's a lot more work than fun.  But that's me.

The big draw for many is the establishment of a local food movement.  I've already seen this in our city with the growth of community gardens.  My church has a couple large gardens and somehow distributes plots to different folks in the community.  I would hope that we wouldn't try setting up chicken coops behind the church, but who knows what others might want to do?

I'm still not sold on the whole urban chicken thing.  Maybe I just got a bad case of NIMBY, but I really don't want to have a bunch of chickens loose in my neighborhood feeding the cats and owls and tempting my poodle.  But I'm also not as opposed to the movement as I was when I started writing this entry.  I'll sit back and see what happens in Cedar Rapids and Palo, and even Iowa City if that happens.  Hopefully it works out.  If not, hopefully the leadership in those communities will be wise enough to say "no more" and send the chicken back to the county.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Jaded Social Worker

Today had me running ragged.  In addition to work, I found myself running to the eye clinic to get a pair of replacement glasses for D' (9-year-olds were never designed to wear eye-glasses!), to get prescriptions filled for others in the household, and to get Nero out of the vet's office.  I stopped by the bank to withdraw twenty-five bucks from the ATM and pulled out to complete those noontime errands when I got flagged down by some unknown woman.

Her: "Please give me money.  I have two little kids and no money."

Now, let me give you a little history.  I don't know this woman, but I know of her.  One of my friends lives in this area of town.  She recently told me of a woman who went door-to-door asking for cash hand-outs for her and her two hungry kids.  Last weekend, husband Mark told me about running into this woman outside the bank with the same story.  Now I was getting it.  I'm thinking that she's either got a long-term problem that's not going to be adequately solved by me handing her five bucks today or she's attempting to scam me.  So I played the jerk, at bit.

My response: "You really need to go to the DHS and apply for food stamps."

Her response: "I did.  The EBT card won't arrive for 7-10 days."

Now my jaded nature really rears its head.  She really just happened to have a DHS intake this morning before running into me at the bank?

My response: "Then you should check out the Crisis Center or take your kids for a meal at the Wesley Center or Salvation Army.  They have meals there."

Her response: "But they're hungry now."

I feel like a jerk, but I can't help feeling that conflicted knot in my stomach that there's more to the story.

My response, before rolling my window back up: "I'm sorry, but you really need to look into those places.  I don't have anything to give."

People usually get into the social work profession for one of two reasons, and it's not to get rich.  You either have some issue in your past that you have overcome (or think you've overcome) and you believe that empathy will help you relate to others wearing those same proverbial shoes or you want to help make the world into something better.  You quickly learn that you can't help everyone and you can't do everything.  Either that, or you burn out and crash really badly.  It's not that you become jaded.  It's that you need to become jaded or else you'll be taken advantage of by every huckster in your community.  You need to find that balance of connecting enough with people to help them get what they need and learning how to say "sorry, can't do that" without being too much of an ass.

My interaction with the woman on the corner left me feeling like an ass.  Ultimately, I felt like I still made the right decision by not giving her the cash and by urging her toward public resources that I'm sure she's already heard of, but I wish I could have had the time to actually sit down and tell her why I won't give her my cash and explain that she needs to come up with a more consistent source of income than begging at the corner.

Ass or not, things worked out okay for the woman on the corner after I pulled away.  I saw the guy in the truck behind me hand her a couple bucks out his window as I pulled away.

My thoughts on "Furry Vengeance"

This Mother's Day weekend, D'Angelo and I decided to see "Furry Vengeance", starring Brandon Fraser and Brooke Shields.  From its earliest trailer appearances, Furry Vengeance has been pretty upfront with what it is: an eco-green kids movie featuring evil land developers versus fanatical forest animals.  It's not subtle and it's not apologetic.  Once you accept that, it makes it easier to sit back and enjoy its slapstick, ball-into-crotch antics.

The big draw for me was Brandon Fraser (totally so homo).  I've been a huge fan of Fraser since his Encino Man days.  I've enjoyed his more serious roles, but I've always respected his more kid-friendly films like The Mummy (and its subsequent sequels), George of the Jungle, Dudley Do-Right, and Journey to the Center of the Earth.  He's always exuded a rugged, athletic, yet personable air.  His appearance in Furry Vengeance was definitely more "real".  His hair's a little thinner, his neck's a little thicker, and his stomach's a little doughier.  Then again, the guy's now in his early forties.  You gotta respect a man who can show off his age (and his gut) in a major motion picture these days.

I asked D'Angelo if he'd recommend Furry Vengeance to his friends.  He definitely thinks others should see it.  He found it really funny.  His favorite part was when the birds got angry with the main antagonist at the end and dive bombed him and his security guards with little fecal attacks.  He also liked when the bear trapped Fraser's character in the porta-potty in the tree and he ended up getting messed up with the porta-potty's payload -- check out the trailer at the above-link if you need a clue about what he's talking about.  He thinks the message is that people need to watch out and not abuse nature or else nature will seek vengeance against you.

Check out Furry Vengeance if you're looking for a movie that the kids will enjoy, that doesn't run too long, and that doesn't take itself too seriously even though it does tend to hit you over the head a bit too hard with his "go-green" message.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

I'm a Winner!

Pretty exciting news this evening!  I found myself with a spare half-hour before catching the latest episode of "Foyle's War" on PBS and decided to check out my e-mail.  Turns out I was one of the three winners of Anglotopia's "Win a Copy of the Merlin DVD Box Set!" contest!

People entering the contest were asked to share their favorite version of Merlin, from the latest BBC series going back to the original source material.  I chose the cartoon version from Walt Disney's "The Sword and the Stone".  Basically, I enjoyed watching everyone shape-change into different goofy animals and the image kind of stuck in my head.

Anyway, I look forward to watching my new DVDs when they come and I'll even post a review here.  Thanks Warner Brothers and triple thanks to my friends at Anglotopia!  :)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mother's Day When You Have No Mother

Mark and I exercised a lapse in judgement three years ago this weekend when we decided to go to church with the boy.  The parental rights had recently been terminated between D'Angelo and his birth parents.  He was still our foster child and we were gradually working towards adopting him.  It didn't occur to either of us that we should avoid church on Mother's Day weekend.  In retrospect, that should have been a big "Duh".

The kids were all called to the front of the sanctuary for the weekly "time with the children" moment.  The children messager started out by reading a sappy Mother's Day story for kids and relaying fond memories of her life with her mother.  She then asked each of the kids to share their Mother's Day plans for that day.  It wasn't until she asked a shell shocked D'Angelo to start off the discussion that she remembered what was going on in his life.  To be honest, if I were in her shoes, I don't know how I would've reacted if I'd realized that I'd asked a freshly TPR'ed kid about what special things he was going to do with his mom.  What happened was the woman panicked a bit.  She began to babble and awkwardly tried shifting the discussion to past Mother's Day experiences, which didn't help.  D' just shut down.  She could tell.  We could tell.  Everyone in the room could tell.  It was very sad and uncomfortable.  Mark ended up leaving in the middle of church service with D' so that he could more privately grieve.

Later in the day, Mark and I decided that we would stay away from church every Mother's Day weekend from that day forward.  It is unrealistic to ask our church family to refrain from acknowledging the role that motherhood has played in their lives, but it's also not fair to D'Angelo to force him to celebrate something that still reminds him of loss and grief.

Adoption can be a marvelous thing.  It creates families for those who have none.  But most adoptive parents intuitively realize that our gain comes from others' loss.  We couldn't adopt our boys without them first losing their birth parents.  We can never erase their past, nor should we want to, of their birth family.  D' will always wonder about his birth parents.  Are they safe?  Are they alive?  Do they think about him?  What would life be like if he had stayed with them?

Mark and I have often told D' that we cannot (and will not) ever replace his birth parents.  They will always be with him, in one form or another.  We are his parents, but so are they.  He want him to be able to talk about them, to remember them, and to keep them alive in his memories.  We will not force him to make them into his dirty secret.

Anyway, we decided three years ago that we will create our own Mother's Day ritual.  We sleep in.  We call the grandmothers.  We go to IHOP for brunch.  We see a movie.  And we invite D' to share stories of his mom if and when the moment strikes him.  And those moments will come at his beckoning and on his terms.  And that's a good thing.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Hellhounds from Hades

I started something on this blog a few weeks ago where I highlight some moment or storyline from my weekly stash of comic books that really shocked, excited, or grabbed my attention.  I was afraid that I wouldn't have anything to share this week.  Not because everything sucked, but mainly because I didn't come across any "gotcha moment".  I found my "gotcha moment" tonight at the grocery store.

I purchased Iron Man Magazine #1.  It's a magazine-style digest of various Iron Man-themed story lines that have come out in the past couple years.  Most of the stories are geared towards younger readers.  The intent of the digest is to hook in newer, younger readers with stories that won't instantly turn off their primary purchasing source: their parents.

My "gotcha moment" came in the form of a story called "Best of Show".  Iron Man, Spider-Man, and the Hulk are chilling over some take-out pizza when their party is busted by fellow Avenger, Hercules.  Hercules takes advantage of his friends' collective good nature and talks them into watching his two dogs: none other than Cerberus and Orthus!

  
Our three heroes quickly realize that Herc's not the most diligent of dog-trainers.  Cerberus and Orthus are aggressive and ill-mannered.  It quickly becomes apparent that they need to do impose some doggy discipline!

Their good work is quickly noticed.  Spidey & friends soon find themselves on the receiving end of an exciting proposal.

Our heroes quickly agree.  The biggest hitch comes when the doggy's daddy shows up at the wrong moment with an agenda that threatens the ruin the whole dog show.  It's up to our amazing friends to beat some sense into Herc's thick skull!

Fortunately, the heroes and hellhounds are eventually able to convince Hercules to back off.  Fortunately, Herc's bruised ego is quickly healed by news of Cerberus' victory!

Thus, today's journey ends on a triumphant note.  But, what's this I see?  Looks like love blooms at the dog show.  We may be seeing a sequel in a few months...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Iowa GOP Senator Wants Gay Families Excluded from DNR Policies

This is the stuff that pisses me off.  It makes Mark laugh, which pisses me off even more.  GOP Senator Merlin Bartz of Grafton, IA, is objecting new wording by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) that more explicitly implies that all legally married couples be treated equally:

Senator Merlin Bartz, a Republican from Grafton, says it appears to him that the Department of Natural Resources wants to make gay couples eligible for family camping at state parks. “They’re citing the Supreme Court case and changing, you know, ‘husband and wife’ language to ’spouse,’” Bartz says.

The rates or fees for camp sites are the same, whether you’re a family or a non-family, but the state allows families to put up more than one tent on a camp site. “They’re changing their language even though the state legislature has not had a debate on this particular issue,” Bartz says.

Bartz is a member of the Legislature’s Administrative Rules Review Committee which meets on Monday. He’s asked D.N.R. officials to explain their proposal at that meeting. Bartz says he wants to be “vigilant” and keep state agencies from writing rules that extend new benefits to gay couples. “A lot of the advocates of gay marriage in Iowa have said, ‘It doesn’t affect anything. Nothing has changed,’” Bartz says. “The reality of it is that everything is changing.”
So "equal treatment" to all legally married couples equates to "new benefits" for gay couples?  Is this what the GOP is all about these days: objecting that gay Iowan families are treating like every other family?  Does the Republican Party have nothing more to offer Iowa than objections to the number of tents pitched by gay families?

And what's that whining rant that "everything is changing"?  Why is it a huge surprise to anyone that equal treatment under the law is equal treatment.  If my marriage license doesn't provide us with equal rights, protections, and responsibilities under the law, then what the hell is the point of having a marriage license?

This is what marriage equality hasn't changed.  Churches are not required to perform wedding ceremonies for any couple, gay or straight, that they don't want to.  I know this is true because my church gets referrals to officiate wedding ceremonies for gay couples all the time from other churches who refuse to officiate those weddings.  That's their right.

What has changed is that our legal marriages are the same as others' legal marriages.  If state law offers a benefit (such as a certain number of pitched tents in Iowa's state parks) or a responsibility (such as counting the financial resources for both spouses when applying for public benefits or tuition assistance) to legally married couples, then that applies to all legally married couples.

Prof Moriarty's Been Arrested

The Iowa City Police Department finally accomplished what Scotland Yard couldn't after over a century of trying.  Professor James Moriarty, the Napolean of Crime, was arrested last night here in Iowa City.  Apparently, he was carrying fake ID to make himself appear much younger as his arrest record says that he was born in 1990.  He was arrested at Brothers Bar & Grill in Iowa City and charged with Public Intoxication and Possession of Alcohol Under the Legal Age (PAULA).

Name/Address: MORIARITY, JOSEPH JAMES; 505 E BURLINGTON ST APT 17B
Offense Date/Date of Birth: 5/6/2010 00:45 DOB: 6/25/1990
Arresting Officer/Location of Arrest: PRESTEGARD, KELLY; BROTHERS 22553
Charges: A 1) Public Intoxication; 2) Possess alcohol under legal age (PAULA)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

D's Orange Belt

One last thing before I log off for the night.  D'Angelo tested last week and now it's official: he earned his orange belt in Tae Kwon Do this evening!

I've said this before and I'll say it a thousand more times before I die.  D's motivation and discipline in Tae Kwon Do have exceeded my expectations this entire year.  He is quickly and correctly learning his forms and his moves.  He enjoys sparring.  He is respectful towards both his instructions and towards the program.  And his progression from a white belt in September to a orange belt eight months later totally shows.

Next step: earning his green belt!

When Tipping a Luggage Porter Just Won't Do

By now, most everyone know about Family Research Council co-founder/NARTH research Dr. George Rekers' recent 10-day-vacation to Europe with a rentboy.  The rentboy, who was hired off an Internet prostitution website called rentboy.com, was paid $10,000 to accompany Dr. Rekers, reportedly to lift his heavy luggage.  Check out Box Turtle Bulletin to follow the progression of events, though JoeMyGod has some really good material right now, too.  Dr. Rekers has changed his explanation so many times about what happened here.  First, he was ministering to his young companion and specifically sought him out as a sinner in need of God's forgiveness.  This time tonight, according to BTB, he's now claiming that Geo (the rentboy in question) was one of several applicants who was hired and his profession as a rentboy was not learned of until midway through the trip and nothing happened anyway.

Normally, I wouldn't give a toss if Dr. Rekers was hiring some kid young enough to be his grandson to travel with him to Europe for some expensive nookie.  But this is a guy who helped found the AFA, an organization that goes out of its way to advocate against gay people in all areas of society.  He is an agendized researcher for NARTH, which repeatedly re-packages biased, anti-gay "research" with the specific purpose of disenfranchising gay people.  Heck, this guy was recently paid $87,000 by the state of Florida to testify against gay people adopting kids, no matter how appropriate that placement might be.  (Incidentally, he also testified in the same trial that Native Americans should likewise be prevented from adopting or raising children due to mental health and substance abuse statistics.)

I was told earlier today that I need to forgive Dr. Rekers and reach out to him.  I was told that he could be me.  I pointed out that I haven't been responsible for creating a quasi-religious PAC designed to denigrate a population of people.  I pointed out that I'm not a researcher that mis-interprets data to come out with a predetermined result.  And I don't make hundreds of thousands of dollars peddling the results of my bad research.  I also pointed out that Dr. Rekers isn't seeking forgiveness from me or any other person, gay or otherwise.  He's offering half-assed explanations for his inappropriate actions and then spinning and re-spinning as friends and foes alike call him on his buffoonery.

I have no clue if Dr. Rekers is gay or not.  However, I seriously doubt that his luggage handler was just handling his luggage.  I was wondering this morning what makes so many of these anti-gay figures fall into these types of rentboy-hiring, toe-tapping, gay bar-hopping, intern-seducers.  I'm sure some of them are truly gay, closeted or not.  But I half-wonder if some of them spend some much time obsessing on gay porn, sex, and fetishes that it just kind of attaches to them like a little burr.  Like a burr, that obsession with gay sex stays there like a little irritant and is hard to get off without really picking at it.  Maybe Rekers thought he could get away with hiring a male prostitute just this once.  One of those "what happens here, stays here" opportunities.  Then again, you have to wonder what prompted the original newspaper that broke this story to follow him in the first place.  I mean, nobody has the time, money, or manpower to follow around every anti-gay personality just waiting for a sex scandal to break.

I am really curious how this story will end.  The FRC has already disavowed Dr. Rekers.  How will the State of Florida react now that one of its two primary witnesses in this gay adoption case finds himself in the midst of a sex scandal?  What's NARTH gonna do?  Only time will tell...