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View Article  Pittsburgh Pundits - Sexism, Ageism, Racism, Politics & Comedy

Knowing this group, homophobia will be part of the conversation.  Right, John?

Pittsburgh Pundits presents...Sexism, Ageism, Racism, Politics & Comedy! Pittsburgh Comedian and TV/Radio Political Pundit John McIntire leads a Pittsburgh cast of political and socially conscious comics and pundits in a combination comedy/political analysis show. Some would suggest there's a thin line between what's happening politically in the country these days and straight-up comedy. This show will perhaps prove that. We'll be examining the roles the "isms" played in this year's race so far, and which, if any, has been the dominant "ism." It will be interactive, which means we'll be taking questions. Among the pundits joining John for an at least semi-serious analysis of this year's crazy Presidential race and local political hot potatoes...Chris Potter of The City Paper and Tony Norman of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Among the comics joining John for the comedy portion fo the program Disgruntled Hillary Supporter Gab Bonesso. She was completely gruntled until Hillary lost. Additional comics and pundits will appear.

Presented by: The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust
Venue: Late Night ? Cabaret Theater
Next performance: Saturday, September 20, 2008 10:30 PM
Tickets: $5.00 at the door / Free for District Patrons (see details)

$5.00 to see Tony Norman?  I'd pay twice that! 

View Article  Voter Registration: October 6 is the deadline

Have you registered anyone to vote in this election?  A friend, a comrade, a work buddy, your godmother, the neighbor, the dog walker, the fence sitter, the guy on the corner, etc? 

Here's the link to the PA Voter Information page.   http://www.votespa.com/   All you need to know. 

Now, if you are looking for some guidance as to who deserves you vote, check out the Steel City Stonewall endorsements and recommendations .... http://www.steel-city.org/

View Article  Pittsburgh Lesbian & Gay Film Society prepares for festival

I love that we have this cool film festival every year and always feel bad for missing most of the films.  I think we managed to get to two last year.  We did not like the after-party at the Cheesecake Factory so I think we'll skip that this year.  It must be very hard to find the right mix of films, location and events to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse LGBT community.  I spoke with some committee members last year who said how hard it is to find quality lesbian movies. 

Right now, the film society is seeking volunteers.  You can help make it another huge success. 

The 23rd Annual Pittsburgh International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival (Oct. 17-26th) is rapidly approaching and we need your help to make it a success!
 
As an all-volunteer organization, the Pittsburgh Lesbian and Gay Film Society relies on the support and hard work of its volunteer members. Please consider volunteering in one (or more!) of the following ways:
 
(1) helping to distribute posters/flyers around town in LGBT-friendly venues;
(2) usher/ticket ripper at one of the 26 films being shown at the festival (volunteers get in for free at any movie at which they help in these roles); and
(3) helping to serve food/drinks at our Opening Night party and VIP party.
 
Interested? Please attend our Film Festival Volunteer Meeting on Tuesday, September 23, 2008 at 6:30 p.m. at the Gay and Lesbian Community Center on Forward Avenue in Squirrel Hill. At the meeting, we will explain the logistics of helping at the festival and also work on getting out our festival mailing. We hope you can attend!
 
If you have any questions or if you would like to volunteer at the Film Festival but are unable to attend the meeting, please contact our volunteer coordinator, Tara Pfeifer, at volunteers@plgfs.org.

I'll publish the schedule when it becomes available.  This is a great way to get involved. 

View Article  i hate bronchitis, but 311 is sorta okay

thank goodness my doctor told me to go home and stay in bed AFTER the electricity came back on.  we may only get four channels, but if i had to lay here in the dark without being able to see what Jack, Carly, Holden and Lily are doing ...

i hate bronchitis. i hate the sticky feeling inside your chest that brings to mind those hideous mucinex commercials.  i hate those deep rumbly coughs that catch you off guard.  i hate not being able to converse for more than 5 minutes without choking.  but i hate pneumonia and being in the hospital worse, so i'll deal with it.  thank god for steroids.

Rich Lord wrote about 311 in today's Post-Gazette.  my own experience with 311 has been mixed.  the service is pretty so-so.  you call and this booming male voice brands the service as Luke Raventstahl territory before you know anything else.  then you enter a land of waiting and incredibly awful music that is distorted and far too loud.  a pleasant female voice tells you 1 caller is ahead of you, more bad music and then somehow 3 callers are ahead of you.  if and when you finally get through, the workers are very, very grumpy.  i'm sure their jobs really suck.  they've been assuring me for months that someone was working on the loud music/caller line jumping issue.  ha.  most of the time, they don't even ask for my name or offer me a service ticket number. it is just on to the next disgruntled yinzer. poor blokes.

so the service needs some plucking.  the follow through has been so-so.  much better during election years and until Kevin Quigley figured out that i wasn't a Ravenstahl fan and didn't return any of my email messages about his fishing derby.  the tree in front of my house was cut down, eventually, after i emailed pictures of the dangling limbs to every email address i could find.  being sent a card telling me you can't do the work i requested is almost as annoyin as the card telling me you did the work.  stop spending money on cards and hire more workers. 

i think the system has some merits, but the fact that people get bumped ahead of me in line on the telephone end is just weirdly symbolic about the actual work getting done.  sometimes you have 1 campaign contributor ahead of you and sometimes there's 3.  you never know.

my favorite moment in all of my 311 dealings.  well, there are two.  one is when the lady told me that BBI doesn't fine dumpers so don't bother reporting it.  ha.  the second is when the BBI dude was shaking hands with the twice-convicted gun and drug thug instead of citing his mother for having a crappy ass drainpipe that is damaging at least three other roofs.  if i only had a camera phone that day. 

ah.  i am never satisfied.  or maybe i still have a fever.  i can't find any soup.  there is no soup for dinner on the northside.  well, except soup i don't like. 

i know there is gay stuff happening in the world.  being sick has drastically shrunk mine.  losing a good friend who was so young.  well, that shinks it some more. 

sigh. 

View Article  Still Lesbians. Still in the dark.

Arrggg.  We'll cross the 48 hour mark tonight and word on the street is that we may have to wait until FRIDAY.  It is all rumor b/c distributing information seems to be a big weak spot in the world of Duquesne Light.  All of this -- all of this -- would be much better if we just had some information as to what is going on here in Manchester (as I'm sure others feel, too). 

Today, we discovered that while the frozen food may last 48 hours, the auto ice machine doesn't so we had small river on our floor along with sopping wet frozen food.  Bye-bye popsicles and organic turkey.  We have one cooler with a half gallon milk and half an Italian sub to tide us over.  I hate Italian subs. 

Plus, I seem to have bronchitis.  It began as a little tickle in my chest and now I'm in agony.  We'll see what the good doctor says tomorrow, but I'm suspecting I'm going to have to spend my vacation (next week) recovering and probably not walking in the Great Race the following weekend.  Which completely sucks.

So I was miserable when I got to work today ... phlegmy, wet, grumpy and so forth.

Then it got worse.  My college roomie and friend of 20 years told me that her 34 year old brother, Father Michael, had died unexpectedly.  As if there is anything to expect about the death of a 34 year old man.  I've known Michael since he was just a nice kid who enjoyed when we came to visit him from college.  I last saw him in June 07 when he presided at the wedding of his sister.  He bought me a cross as a gift and we spent the weekend calling each other goofy names.  I had nicknamed him Duke back in college (reason unknown) and went around adding "Duke Kenny" to the mailing list of any Catholic site that I visited.  His mother still gets that mail. 

Father Mike was the best of men.  He never judged me or changed the way he treated me a single bit when he learned I was a lesbian.  He lived what he preached and that's rare enough in this world.  I cannot imagine this world without him.  I'm not one for sentimental visions of heaven, but I must admit that it makes me feel better to imagine him reunited with his father and looking down to comfort the family here on earth. 

The world really is a bit darker this evening.  God rest his soul. 

View Article  Lesbians After Dark

So, Sunday was great.  The air was cool, we get a ton of house stuff done and even snuck away for ice cream in the middle of the afternoon.  Game time rolls around and we make good on a mutual promise to attack the giant pile of laundry that seems to have mutated in our bedroom.  I wrestle away the last sock from the dogs and that's done.  Change the sheets.  Lay down to read my book and watch the game. Then ... the power goes out.  We stumble around looking for flashlights and extra batteries.  Wait, its back!  And there it goes again.  We go through this seduction a few more times.  Then we curl up with a flashlight each and a book. 

Fast forward 18 hours ... still no electricity.  What's up with that?  This is Manchester.  We are like 1 mile from the giant electric sucking wonder called Heinz Field.  How can our part of the grid not be working?  The police HQ is here. Do they have a backup generator?  What about the poor critterss at the Humane Society? 

Our food is toast.  Not literally b/c while the bread survives the fridge, the toaster is electric.Thank god we were too lazy to go shopping yesterday.  The fancy new stove is great. Not so much the oven.  Or any other useful appliance.  I can shower and read by flashlight.   I've never gone this long without power.  Thankfully, it is cool and we have big windows that let in lots of light. 

But it is creepy to sit here with no electricity sounds.  No humms, no whirrs, no occasional clicks.  I'm watching my neighbors bring in enough ice to make me wonder if they have a body they are preserving.  Someone else is cutting up tree limbs.  It isn't that exciting. 

The PG is reporting that it might take up to Wednesday or Thursday to fix things in some areas.  Yikes.  I guess I'll be hauling all of my rechargeable gadgets into work tomorrow.

View Article  Tina Fey as Sarah Palin

I waited all day for this, enduring a meal at TGI Fridays (blaa) and a movie at the Waterfront (why must there be so many non-movie related distractions in one giant place?).  Then we rushed home, jumped into our jammies and saw this.  It is hilarious:

 

View Article  Books, Dinner on the Southside and Other Queer Stuff

Leading off tonight, a thoughtful post from The Bilerico Project about the 12 most significant books for the lesbian and gay community (his term).  I've read one - the Bible.  And I have to stay that I am absolutely stunned that Middlesex did not make the cut.  It is a phenomenal novel.  I'm adding the other books to my Goodreads.com account tonight.  If you are a booklover, Goodreads is the place for you (plus, there's a Goodreads application on Facebook).   Anyway, check out the list and let me know what you've read.

Surprise, surprise.  Sarah Palin has a connection to the ex-gay movement.  Sigh.  Well, to be precise, her church has ties to "Love Won Out", the ex-gay movement.  Obama himself was tied to Donnie McClurkin, an avid ex-gay pastor.  Nothing new under the son.  Religion wins out. 

Pennsylvania's own John Murtha and Tim Murphy have been named among the 20 most corrupt members of Congress.

Murphy: Misuse of Congressional Staff

Rep. Murphy has misused taxpayer-funded congressional staff and resources for political campaign activities.  Specifically, Rep. Murphy used his Mt. Lebanon congressional office for campaign strategy sessions and to store campaign-related materials.  In addition, his congressional staff was expected to assist his re-election campaign.

In October 2006, former and current staff members alleged that congressional staff dropping off official literature throughout the district in the summer before the election were instructed to make drops only at the homes of registered voters; and that in December 2005, district office staff were instructed to assemble and send greeting cards to Rep. Murphy?s campaign contributors during the government workday.  According to Rep. Murphy?s aides, while they were not explicitly threatened with dismissal if they did not participate in these activities, they felt pressured to do so.

By using congressional staff to engage in campaign activity on official time and with the use of official resources, Rep. Murphy may have violated the prohibition on soliciting political contributions from employees, the prohibition on using appropriated funds for campaign activity, House ethics rules and the regulations of the Committee on House Administration.

Murtha:

Rep. John P. Murtha (D-PA) is an 18th-term member of Congress, representing Pennsylvania?s 12th congressional district.  Rep. Murtha chairs the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee.  Rep. Murtha?s ethics violations stem from abuse of his position on the subcommittee to benefit the lobbying firm of a former long-term staffer and from threatening to block earmarks of other members for political purposes.  Rep. Murtha was included as a member to watch in CREW?s 2006 and 2007 reports on congressional corruption.
PMA Group

Paul Magliocchetti worked with Rep. Murtha as a senior staffer on the Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Defense for 10 years.  After leaving the committee, Mr. Magliocchetti founded the PMA Group, which has become one of the most prominent Washington, D.C. defense lobbying firms.  Since the second quarter of 2007 campaign cycle, the PMA Group and ten of the firm?s clients ranked in the top 20 contributors to Rep. Murtha, having made campaign contributions totaling $190,880.  In the 2006, 2004 and 2002 cycles, PMA and its clients have given $274,649, $236,799, $279,074 in contributions respectively.  In turn, many of PMA?s clients have benefitted significantly from Rep. Murtha?s earmarks.  In the Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Appropriations bill, Rep. Murtha helped steer at least $100.5 million to PMA clients?up from $95.1 million in the 2006 Defense Appropriations bill.

The City Paper ran a recent story on efforts to wipe out sidewalk food service on the Southside.  I've been following this for several years as we are regular patrons Cambodican Kitchen, home of cat on a stick.  Our buddy Dan has been lobbying tirelessly for the freedom to sell from a grill on his property, but outside of the door -- like the stoop.  While I understand that the locals want the drunks gone, it makes little sense to target food vendors who are sobering them up (before they get behind the wheel).  Why not shut down some of the bars?  From a logistical standpoint, that's probably insane.  But al fresco dining adds a nice touch to an evening on the Southside.  We purposefully go to the Southside to eat at Cambodican versus the bar restaurants.  Then we wander down the streets and spend other monies at the small businesses (or do so before we eat).  This is Councilman Bruce Kraus' baby and while I understand his desire to protect the interests of the business community who have to deal with the post-debauchery trash and debris, it seems like there could be some middle-ground on this issue.  I'd urge the proposal architects to remember that not everyone who patronizes the Southside independent restaurants is a drunken college student.  Bruce Kraus is a bright man and I hope he doesn't see this in black and white terms.  Or has a Plan B if everyone can get to the table together.

I'm not a planner so I don't know what a good solution would be, but there are a lot of codes that could be enforced to address this problem.  The student code of conduct at Duquesne, Pitt and CMU for one.  It would be great if the Provosts would spend some time holding their students acccountable for commiting crimes. On the other hand, I would love if someone started to enforce codes when it comes to the Steeler Nation.  Any code that happens to be violated on the Northside as opposed to the Northshore.  I can dream.  Ah well, we would be very sad if Cambodican and similar businesses closed.  It would be another loss along the line of Tuscany. 

Let me leave you on a positive note.  A Florida Circuit Court said the ban on gay adoption is unconstitutional <Pam's House Blend>.

View Article  Update from Steel City Stonewall

Some news from our friends at Steel City.  Two ways for you to get involved. A movie night at Cattivo and a Bonfire.  How fun is that!  I haven't done a bonfire in years and years.  Ironically, I was moaning to Lance about the events all being in smoking venues.  Lo and behold, an actual fire turns out to be just what I was looking to attend. 

Movie Night in Lawrenceville

 

Sept.14th Movie Night at

Cativo?s, 146 44th Street

 

5:30 Free Pizza, Cash Bar and conversation!

6:00 ? 7:45 Movie ? ?Stonewall?  

      Dramatic presentation of the events

      leading up to the Stonewall riots.

      Movie area will be non-smoking. 

8:15 ? Steelers vs. Browns 

FOOD, FUN!

 

BIG BON FIRE in Shaler

 

Sun. Oct. 12th 4:00

ENTERTAINMENT ? Tracy Drach

MEET THE CANDIDATES

OL?FASHIONED  HOT DOG ROAST ! (with Smores)

 

Map Quest:  1343 Sharps Hill Road, Pgh. 15215 

 

412-781-8322 Please R.S.V.P.

View Article  Smoking in the Girls Room?

September 11 marks the date when local business must comply with the anti-smoking ordinance. 

I CAN'T WAIT!  Here's the link to the rules and regs.

I went to the bathroom at my lunch stop today and passed people smoking where the food is prepared.  That is so beyond disgusting.  It was like 80 degrees -- they couldn't go out on the porch, for crying out loud?  I was assured that would stop on Thursday so I'm not naming names.  <shudder>

I am keeping my fingers crossed that this will mean at least one gay-owned non-smoking bar.  The bar issue is tricky.  It appears from the regulations that some of the larger nightclubby places are not going to qualify for an exemption. 

The term ?drinking establishment? does not include a nightclub, which is defined as a public hall or hall for which admission is generally charged and which is primarily or predominately devoted to dancing or to shows or cabarets as opposed to a facility that is primarily a bar, tavern, or dining facility.  The CIAA defines a nightclub as a public place and as a place of employment that must be smoke free.

This could be a win-win.  Those who want to smoke and drink can continue to patronize the bars.  Those who want to smoke and dance and drink can go outside.  Those LIKE ME who might want to dance and drink without inhaling the fumes of a thousand cancer sticks can go to the nightclubs.  So any business lost from the smokers who start haunting the bars will be offset by the non-smokers who flock through the doors.  Right?

This has long range implications.  People in the know have told me that Pittsburgh is in a new era of bar/club resurgence.  They define it by PrideFest ... first it was for the political/activist people (some of who went to bars), then it was for families (think Northshore park) and now it has turned to the bar crowd.  A lot of LGBT organizations hold events in bars. 

The win for everyone is that they can simply alternate between smoking and non-smoking bars, thus eliminating the illusion of the non-smoking section which everyone with asthma knows is ridiculous.

I'll be able to go to Ritter's Diner again.  I'll be able to talk to a bartender without choking.  I won't have to go to Cattivo at 5 PM and hurry home before the grown up lesbians arrive. 

Officially speaking, the exemptions are a bunch of capitulating crap. 

Still, what a great day for Pennsylvania!

 

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