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View Article  Crushin' on Kristy McNichol

This week a long time dream finally came true.  When I was a wee lass, I caught an occasional glimpse of a cool television show called "Family" featuring this tight-knit family that seemed incredibly wonderful.  My own family didn't watch the show so its always sort of been this nagging memory, scraps of scenes most of which featured the oh-so-delicious Kristy McNichol.  I sort of remembered the mother and the older brother, Willie, but that was about it.

Wait for it ....this past weekend, I bought seasons 1 and 2 of Family on DVD.  It is my first DVD purchase, financed in part with a gift card my excellent friends Brenda and Michelle gave me for my birthday.  But enough of that ...

So I have watched the first three episodes.  Its magical!  Kristy is 12 in the show so its a crush of her being the girl I wish I could have been at that age -- she's so cool. Yes, at the ripe old age of 36 I can still say that with total aplomb. Plus, she grows up to be Kristy McNichol.  Rumored to be a lesbian and manic-depressive.  I have been unable to confirm either since she dropped out of public life to become a hairdresser, teach acting and run a tennis camp.

I have found countless websites listing Kristy encounters.  The closest I came to a Kristy encounter was singer-songwriter Autumn Ayers. If Kristy is half as delightful as Autumn, that would be an encounter worth having.

So what's the big deal about a 1970's television show?  Everything.  It is the best way to revisit your childhood, especially since I have a lingering fear of 1970's teenagers especially those wearing multi-striped shirts and fringed pants.  Don't ask me why. 

Watching Family reminds me of my fantasy childhood the one where I had a really cool older brother (his name was John in my head) and my  mother prepared gourmet meals and cookies (my actual mother rotated 10 recipes most involving some sort of gray item - who eats gray food?).  Plus, there was a soundrack and I had my own bathroom.  Who wouldn't want to revisit that?

So Kristy McNichol skyrockets back to the top of my list. 

View Article  From the PG: Woman Asks Why the Fuss About Michael Richards? and a Liberal Arts Professor

Jo Ellen Hovis of Harrisville asks a good question. 

Hearing the uproar about actor Michael Richards' angry outburst at a comedy club really upset me. I have to ask, though, what's the big deal?

Jo Ellen points out that its hard to muster up sympathy for two reverse-heckling victims when men, black and white, make huge profits publicly disrespecting women through their "art." 

All this talk about people hiding their hatreds and prejudices is noteworthy, but why don't men have to hide their hatred of women? They make money off of it. They get laughs with it. They let kids sing it.

I presume Jo Ellen is asking for the dialogue about hatespeech be expanded beyond using the "N" word and she's certainly right.  Disrespect is a cornerstone of contemporary pop culture.  From Justin Timberlake playing the choir-boy "I was duped" card to the horrific lyrics in woman-hating music, it pervades our lives 24/7.  When thinking people (especially women) strip these individual artists/performers of responsibility for achieving fame (or infamy) on the backs of our sisters, they are part of the problem.  Michael Richards behaved like an ass and deserves the public scorn and shame. 

But my own take on Michael Richards is that we are focusing far too much on the individual when we should be talking about why white people with power and privilege (such as Seinfeld residuals will get ya) feel free to cross these boundaries.  They know all the backstory on the word, but use it anyway b/c they feel untouchable.  I hear that word far too often in my own little circle of white people. Richards is getting some backlash just like Mel Gibson.  Both will survive the incidents.  Richards appears to have some deeper issues that prevent him from smoothly handling heckling.  Gibson appears to have a problem holding his booze.  Those things might fell them, but in a land of mighty white men they will both endure their racism, anti-Semitism and misogyny.  Fear not, intrepid upward looking, middle-class white boys -- your heroes won't let you down. 

On another note .... take a look at an article from Sunday's PG exploring the liberal classroom leanings of Penn State Professor Michael Berube.  Good stuff about academic freedom and the organized attempt of the far right to take control of liberal arts classrooms. 

View Article  Escaping Thanksgiving Unscathed But With A Lot of Dirty Dishes

That's right ... I served Stove Top stuffing for our Thanksgiving dinner and I make no apologies.  :-)   I bought an organic free-range turkey, mashed potatoes like there was no tomorrow, and baked the ancient-family recipe Date Nut Pudding from scratch.  So I took a few shortcuts in other areas.  I think all the organic goodness cancels out the stuffing slur.  I should have bought organic stuffing, but I didn't think that quickly on my feet.  I'll put my early morning slicing of dates against your onion and celery dicing any day of the week....

Gay turkey celebrations are always interesting.  At best, you have the usual two family balance to master.  We spent actual Turkey Day with Ledcat's family which was vastly entertaining due to the adorable antics of the 11 month old niece.  Especially when she was staring entranced at 97 year old great-grandpa as he napped in his chair.  Plus, there was homemade pecan pie.  Now that's Thanksgiving.   Friday my family came to our abode for dinner.  No baby, but I did get to watch my 110 lb dogs act like total fools over my 100 lb grandma -- she's like the Pied Piper of dogs. Today, I want a cheeseburger ....

No matter how crazy and hectic and stuffing-challenged the holiday, I am thankful that between Ledcast and I we have three 90something grandparents still celebrating with us. 






View Article  Shop for Equality

I'm too tired to be very verbose tonight.  Here's a good resource from the Human Rights Campaign ....

Buying a cup of coffee? Filling up your gas tank?

Booking a flight for that dream vacation?

Every day, you make decisions about whom to support in corporate America. The Human Rights Campaign Foundation?s Buying for Equality can help you easily support companies that support equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans.

Ratings in Buying for Equality are based on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation?s annual report card, the Corporate Equality Index. A record 138 companies scored 100 percent on this year?s report, which is a significant increase from the 101 companies that earned a perfect score last year. Every day, from enhanced domestic partner benefits to transgender inclusion in non-discrimination policies, we are seeing a revolution in the American workplace.

Last year, more than 250,000 people used Buying for Equality to make informed choices about their purchases. This year, you can do your part to support fair-minded businesses by requesting or downloading Buying for Equality 2007.

View Article  I'll be Joining Johnny Mac for Turkey Day Chat

Tune in Thursday evening to KDKA AM 1020 when I join Flip Side host John McIntire for a holiday chat.  We'll be talking about opportunities for you to help less fortunate people during the holidays.  I've got heartbreaking stories.  If anyone can see the glimmer of good humor in foster care, its MacYapper. 

View Article  Trib's Mike Seats Opens the Closet Door

Long-time gay admirer (nothing wrong with that) and Tribune-Review columnist Mike Seate outed his Aunt Mary in his newspaper column.  And her "housemate" Ms. Lillian.  They along with long-suffering Uncle Bernie live in Harlem which presumably is not part of the Trib's distribution area.  Hopefully, Ms. Lillian doesn't suft the net on her Blackberry.

Like Florida's disgraced Republican congressman Mark Foley and evangelical Christian leader Ted Haggard, Aunt Mary and Ms. Lillian were sharing space in society's largest walk-in closet.

Lately, it seems, they have an awful lot of company.

Let's see a show of hands from folks who spent Election Night wondering how bans against gay marriage could succeed as a ballot issue in seven states when so many of our public figures and elected officials seem to be in the life themselves.

Paging Robert Traynham!  Mike, the homos have been screaming about the hypocricy for years.  Check out Mike Roger's blog www.blogactive.com for a long list of "openly gay" Republicans who want to have their cake and eat it too (there is something wrong with that.).  I'm glad the heteros are waking up to this. 

Without naming names, I can think of a half-dozen local politicians who are well-known in gay and lesbian circles, though the lifestyle they present to voters is more hetero than the crowd at a Ted Nugent bow-hunting seminar.

And for each of those closeted gay power-brokers, I can think of twice that many local notables I've unexpectedly run into at local gay bars and parties. Yeah, I know -- you're wondering what I was doing there myself, but I swear I favor gay bars for the ambience.

Yep, they get forced out of the closet by scandal and intrigue.  No one political is walking out voluntarily or proudly.  And yet there's subtle pressure in the LGBT community to support our "family" who still cling to the love that dares not speak its name mentality.  Maybe we should spend a little less time speculating about Melissa Hart's sexual orientation and a little more time talking honestly with our known gay comrades about their reluctance to come out.  However, this being Western Pennsylvania where you can't swing a duck without hitting a "pro-life" Democrat, I suspect our good friends will keep their beards firmly in place.

I'd like to nominate Pennsylvania as the first state in the union to honor a Coming Out Day. We could lead the country with an observance when all closeted gay, lesbian and transgender Pennsylvanians can openly, freely admit who they are without fear of recriminations, judgments or any more of those sideways glances that say, "Isn't it about time you stopped with the 'my special friend and roommate' business?"

It's a simple concept. Straight people could mind their own business. Gay people wouldn't have to hide, lie or resign their political posts.

I was going to laugh uproariously at this suggestion from a Trib writer until I realized that Mike's columns are plucking away at the homo-contempt so rampant in this part of the state.  Most people have an Aunt Mary and Ms. Lillian in their family.  I just happen to be the Aunt Mary with my own Ms. Ledcat.  Minus the oblivious husband and Tanqueray gin. 

Pennsylvania recognizing National Coming Out Day would be a welcome event.  I'm sure the AFA of PA would have a field day with that one and issue at least 13 poorly worded press releases asking people for money and to pray (in that order).  That I would enjoy.  But it would be more a celebration of being out for those of us who are rather than an opportunity for real dialogue with those in the closet.  The perceived risk is too great.

So they'll continue to take advantage of the private parties and social events AND campaign contributions while we continue to take the risks of living out and proud in a less than fully tolerant society.  Sounds fair, right?

FYI, National Coming Out Day is October 11.

View Article  School Board Official Refers to GSA members as fags

Put Ambridge on the list of places you don't want to raise your children. 

School Board member William Scherfel described the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) at Ambridge Area High School as a "sex club" and then refused to apologize, referring ot the members as fags.

The Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) has been involved in the dispute, noting concern about the disturbing shift in attitudes toward GSA's across the state.

Good grief ... he called GSA members fags.  What the hell is wrong with him?  He's elected to a position of trust and authority over students and he blatantly violates every iota of both. 

As of Wednesday night, Scherfel allegedly apologized.  Here's an excerpt from WPXI's report

Channel 11 News reporter Gordon Loesch spoke with Scherfel. Scherfel said he's not even sure he said the word.

Loesch asked, ?You're not even admitting that you said it? You don't know if you said it??
William Scherfel said, ?No, no. It would not be beyond me to use that word. It?s a word I heard growing up. I might have used the word."

Student Adam Smith said, ?It wasn't heartfelt at all.?
Loesch asked, ?So you don't believe he's really sorry for saying it??
Smith said, ?No, and I'm sure if he had the chance he'd say it again."

Scherfel said he will take full responsibility for his comments.

So he admits he has the capacity to refer to students as fags, but isn't sure that he actually did it.  Oh it gets better.  Scherfel claims the furor is politically motivated by those who don't appreciate his outspokenness.  The school superintendent has opted not to get involved b/c he has no jurisdiction --- apparently he has been robbed of his ability to critique the school board.  And the school board itself?  Here's their position:

Board president Bernard Logan defended Scherfel, saying no one is perfect, and at least one board member, Kevin Blanarik admitted he heard the remark but didn't think it should have become an issue.

"I didn't appreciate the comment because I don't speak like that, but he didn't say it as if he was trying to be mean," Blanarik said.

Mean? Is Logan out of his friggin' mind?  These are students, kids we are talking about and Scherfel is a grown man.  Would he be excused for using a racial slur and have it written off as not meant to be mean?  How about referring to female students as cunts?  Or disabled students as crippleds or gimps?  Would that be okay? 

It is a great day for Pennsylvania when local politicians sexualize students, use a slur to describe those students, claim they don't remember using it, and get off scott free b/c they weren't trying to be mean. 

I'm sure Darryl Metcale is very proud.

View Article  Pittsburgh Transgender Day of Remembrance

Sunday, November 19, 2006

7 PM

St. Andrew Lutheran Church

304 Morewood Street  Shadyside

From the organizers:  

The Transgender Day of Remembrance began in San Francisco in 1999 and has grown to be an event held in many locations around the world. The Transgender Day of Remembrance was set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. Its purpose is to educate others about trans people and to provide support and to the trans people living and working in the area. The ceremony will allow those to come together to remember those who have died, to provide support to each other, and to state that trans related violence and discrimination is unacceptable and must stop. 

View Article  Toys for Tots Accepts Donation of Talking Jesus Dolls

Yes, you read that correctly.  A dollmaker donated 4,000 scripture quoting Jesus dolls to the national Toys for Tots program.  Originally, T4T declined the donation out of deference the religious diversity among the families who utilize this program each year.

Bill Grein, vice president of Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, in Quantico, Va., said Toys for Tots doesn't know anything about the religious affiliations of the children who receive its gifts.

"We can't take a chance on sending a talking Jesus doll to a Jewish family or a Muslim family," Grein said Tuesday. "Kids want a gift for the holiday season that is fun."

But the fundies screamed bloody murder or whatever the quasi-Christian equivalent would be and now those dolls are destined for 4,000 Toys for Tots children everywhere. 

According to the company's Web site, the button-activated, bearded Jesus doll recites Scripture such as "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again" and "Love your neighbor as yourself."

Take a look at what the dolls says in 63 second increments:

John 3:16 - For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but
have eternal life.
Mark 12:30 - Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your
Mark 12:31 - Love your neighbor as yourself.
John 15:5 - I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me
you can do nothing.
John 20:29 - Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.
John 3:3 - I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.

Check out the company's website (with pictures).   In what realm is this something most children would even WANT to play with?  Is the fact that he has "realistic" eyes supposed to be a selling point for people who are of other faith traditions than Christianity?  I think he's a creepy little doll and I *like* Jesus. 

I'm working with Toys for Tots in my daytime guise of social worker so I cannot WAIT to see if we get a Jesus doll come in ...

h/t House Blend


View Article  Dan Savage on the defeat of Rick Santorum, Me on Borat and What the Hell is Up With Carol Channing?

Check out Dan Savage's post-electoral column about the defeat of Frothy.

The man clearly doesn?t get?never got?what this country is all about. America is a better place now that Rick Santorum has been turned out of the U.S. Senate. It?s something to celebrate?so why not whip up a little santorum with someone you love?

That?s how I celebrated.

He actually makes a few nice points about the role of satire in politics, especially timely given the success of Borat the box office.  

We caught Borat Friday night and it was hysterical.  I laughed, I gasped and I laughed some more.  It was not funny (to me) when the ancient rodeo dude commented that "we" are trying to be able to lynch homosexuals as they allegedly do in Kazahstan. Not funny b/c its frightening that people think that way.  But I'm glad it was in the film. Homophobia was well-skewered in the film -- the New Yorker running madly into the street to escape Borat's manly cheek kisses was precious. 

Finally, Carol Channing is a homophobe. 

KK: You seem to have a very large gay following. Have you ever thought about why?

CC: I don?t think about them. I?m grateful that they seem to like me. They?re terribly loyal to me. But I?m knee-deep in the Bible and you know what it says about that.

KK: Alright.

CC: Oh, dear. Is this for a gay publication? Have I offended you?

KK: Yes. For the Gay People?s Chronicle. Right now, it?s really not my job to be offended or not be offended. I am just asking questions and reporting answers. I read that you have fought for gay rights. Do you think that the things gay people are fighting for are important?

CC: I don?t think about it. If they can?t take care of their own problems, why should I bother. It?s not my problem.

KK: I see.

CC: At one time there were seven men doing me in Las Vegas. I began to wonder if I had a glandular problem. But you know that the Bible says that that?s not the way it?s supposed to be.

Her religious views.  How about this?

KK: So have you always been religious?

CC: Always. I was born into a Christian Science family.

KK: Do you go to church every Sunday?

CC: No. I am too busy creating.

KK: Thank you for your time.

Now Carol Channing is 117 years old so there's only so much you can hold against her.  But Jesus, Mary and Joseph ... its a sad day when a non-church going woman disregards the welfare of hundreds of thousands of fans who loyally support and emulate her.  Because the Bible says so. 

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