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View Article  Handmade Arcade -- Something Cool We Tried

This rainy afternoon we headed over to Point Breeze for the 3rd Annual Handmade Arcade hosted by Construction Junction.  A PG article about the event caught my eye and we decided it would be worth a look for some holiday shopping.   It bode well when we ran into some "queer chics we think are cool" on their way out the door and they showed us their bounty.

Disclaimer: I hate craft shows.  I hate visiting table after table of cutesy crap.  I hate that there are two candle vendors for every craft table.  And I really hate cutesy crap with a Xtian theme.  Or country goose crap.  Churning out 1900 identical toilet paper holders shaped like Jesus is not crafting.  Its stupid.

BUT this was a really fun event.  The crowd was huuggeee which made for lots of inconvenience, but it all seemed worthwhile as we wound our way through the tables.  We picked up a set of coasters made from old 45's with a disco theme as a gift.  We also found a very cool off-beat shirt for the brother-in-law.   We were unsuccessful, however, in our pursuit of something funky-but-not-too-out-there for the sister-in-law.  And we picked up another very cool gift for someone who reads this blog so I cannot elaborate -- its very gay in all senses of the word!

I was in awe at some of the really nifty junk that had been recycled into cool stuff.  I could have picked up at least 10 new bags for myself and fell in love with every notebook I saw.  But the budget held me down to earth.  

Here's a question I have.  The article in the PG ran the following quote from an event organizer and I must be on slow-mo because I just don't get it:

"Its genesis was in alternative culture, and wanting to produce something just for the act of producing it, and to bring an artistic sensibility to that act of producing it," said another Arcade organizer, Elizabeth Prince, 31.

If we produce for the sake of production, then aren't we contributing to a consumption culture?  Or is the assumption that things are produced NOT for consumption necessarily?  But how could you afford to do it? 

The crowd was pretty decent.  We only saw a few familiar faces which is a sign that we've stumbled into something truly new.  Lots of youngish, hippish people but also plenty of your more mainstream middle age folks who were laden with packages.  Everyone seemed to be in a good mood. Unlike the traditional craft shows where the suburban housewives will mow your ass down to get the last butterscotch flavored tea light candle set.  Mow your ass down.

My only complaints with this crowd are the fact that people should never bring strollers into large crowds.  Its never good.  Park the stroller and haul your kid around lest you run over my feet one too many times and I involuntarily kick your child's carriage.  I don't want to do that.  Its also hard to view the goods when I have to make sure my packages don't hit your kid in the face. And let's be honest -- its not fair for you to take up so much prime tablefront space with your gigunda diaper bag and stroller while the rest of us child-free adults crane our necks.  I get that you are exposing your kid to the crafting world and that's great.  But give us a break ...

Also, women should not bring giant purses, knapsacks, backpacks, tote bags, messenger bags, etc.  I cannot count how many times I was thwucked on the head by rogue bags when the owner made a sudden move to the left.  After awhile, I just started pushing back.  That's right -- I hit the freaking bags with all my might.  Except the ones with all the pins for fear of puncture wounds and telltale streaks of blood.  That's when I needed a stroller!  And a diaper bag.

Finally, the minglers.  Its a craft show, not homecome week at the local church.  Give your friend a high-five and promise to visit their MySpace page.  Don't catch up. I want to spend my money and suppor the alternative crafting economy.  I don't want to listen to you recite the last 16 vegan recipes you prepared.  Kudos for the vegan thing, but go find a corner and pull up a crate.  Don't stand in the middle of the aisle saying "Excuse me" to every other person who thwucks you with their oversized purse.  Its annoying and only makes me want to consumer an oversized latte with extra whole milk. Move for the cows, dude.  Move for the cows.

Caught a few homos on the scene.  Overall, a cool event.  We grabbed a lot of cards for some post-Arcade shopping.  Hope to see some of these crafters at future events (like PrideFest perhaps????)

View Article  Local Schools Talking Openly About Cyber Safety

I caught this from today's Post Gazette:

Alicia Kozakiewicz spent four horrifying days chained to the floor in the bedroom of a 38-year-old man. Now, five years later, she is sharing her experience to warn other children of the dangers of the Internet.

The story describes Alicia's bravery talking with children -- some as young as 9 -- about her experiences and warning them, often in very blunt terms, about the very real horrors she suffered.

During her program, Ms. Kozakiewicz, who is now majoring in forensic psychology at Point Park University, focused the attention primarily on Internet safety.

She asked the students if they knew what a pedophile was, and then she listed some inappropriate questions they could be asked while online.

She included: A/S/L, meaning age, sex and location, as well as "are you a virgin?"

She told the children to be careful of what they reveal about themselves online, either in chats or on profile pages, and to make sure that their screen names are both innocent and gender neutral.

As I read the article, I kept thinking "Good for her."  Its amazing that she's healed enough to go out and speak about her experiences.  But this is about more than the bravery of one tough young woman.

Good for the school, St. John of God in McKees Rocks, for allowing her to talk so openly with the children  -- I can't imagine a school sponsored conversation about revealing my virginity when I was 9 or 11 or even 16.

Months ago, we saw how other local school districts are burying their heads in the sand when it comes to cyber-safey issues, including schools in the Mon Valley and Word of God in Swissvale. 

Here we have a school and some pretty cool parents facing up to a horrifying truth because its the best way to protect their kids.  Along with active parental involvement in online activity.  After my own brief experience on MySpace.com, its hard to swallow what it must be like for a 9 year old. 

View Article  Houston Landscaping Company Refuses to Work for Gay Couple

A landscaping business owned by Christian conservatives is under fire (and some praise) for refusing to work for homosexuals.  Garden Guy owner Sabrina Farber sent an email to Michael Lord and Gary Lackey explaining her reasons for not submitting a bid.  Lord and Lackey forward to friends, urging them to avoid doing business with a company that practices homophobia. 

The world has responded.  The Garden Guy website was beseiged with idiots threatening the owner's family, but also with people praising their stance. One professional landscaping association has adopted a non-discrimination policy. 

"It was just our intent to uphold our rights as small-business owners to choose our clientele," she said. "All the hate, the threats of sodomizing my children, the threats of me being murdered, came out because of a very businesslike straightforward e-mail I sent. The crowd of tolerance and diversity is not so tolerant."

See I hate comments like that.  Since when is being tolerant the provence of any one particular crowd?  Conservative Christians are quick to throw down the T card when it comes to anyone even slightly restricting their rights to be a xtian as they want, so its bogus for Farber to hide behind that one.  And her "crowd" were the ones sending death threats to the Dixie Chicks' families.  No one in my circle of liberal friends (or conservative friends) would condone threatening a family or wishing harm on children. 

But Mrs. Farber said she and her husband also had gotten hundreds of calls and messages offering encouragement and had been touched by that. "We just cried. We have been through so much," Mr. Farber said. "We become accidental crusaders for Christ."

Yes, Mrs. Farber -- Jesus and the City of Houston are proud of your bigotry and give you free reign to be as discriminatory as you want.  You go girl!

View Article  Two Spokesfags for hire as Santorum and Hart Bid Washington Adieu

Two Republican apologist gay men will soon be on the job market.  Amen!  Santorum spokesnman Robert Traynham and Hart's Lee Cohen  -- good luck in the private sector where you can join the millions of other heartless bastards who sell their principles for a quick buck.  I'm sure your wealth and privilege will shield you from the any fallout from the homophobic cultures you helped foster. 

Statement from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Inc. 

?We are thrilled, ecstatic and overjoyed that Rick Santorum has been thrashed at the polls. His extreme and gratuitous homophobia will no longer pollute the Senate. Good riddance.? ?  Matt Foreman, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Inc.

While its a good day for us down here at Lesbian Central -- Casey, Altmire, Wagner, control of the House, Speaker Pelosi, etc ... there are some sobering facts to keep in mind for the LGBT community.

First, Altmire and Wagner are self-described "conversative" or "moderate" Democrats.  Anti-choice, traditional marriage, etc.  So things may be better on the healthcare front, but we have to watch our backs -- strengthening families *has* to include our families, too.  If health insurance coverage is contingent upon marriage, we are very much not included.  Both are anti-choice as well.  I'm not saying it isn't a step forward, but we have to remember that the social conservatives still have their say.

Second, it appears that 7 out of 8 states voted to amend their constitutions to define marriage as strictly heterosexual. (Advocate.com).  The good news on this front is that Arizona voters rejected this amendment.  Pam has an analysis.  Keep in mind that 80%Tennessee voters who turned out approved this amendment.  Less than 25% of Tennessee residents voted.  And Virigina .... they've pretty much outlawed anyone who isn't legally married. 

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force takes a look at the voter percentages, determining that the support for these amendments is not as widespread as it was two or four years ago. 

I have to go to work and celebrate ...

View Article  Local Man Pens Gay Positive Letter, Almost Gets It Right

Tony Lacenere, Managing Director of iNetworks, took the time to write in to the Post-Gazette and share his thoughts about the the value of inclusivity and diversity.  Its especially heartening on a day like today -- filled with political predictions and electoral scents -- to remember some of the core issues we are voting about after all. 

Additionally, like major growth regions such as the Silicon Valley and Boston, Pittsburgh and the commonwealth should accept the new reality that embracing those with diverse backgrounds is not only the right thing to do, but also stimulates economic growth and development.

National gratitude should be extended to New Jersey and its leaders for recognizing that gay and lesbian citizens, as well as all people, deserve to be embraced and given normal rights ("N.J. Allows Gay Marriage or Civil Unions," Oct. 26).

Pittsburgh could be a big winner if we continue to tackle the tough challenges diversity throws our way.  Is gay marriage on the Pennsylvania agenda?  Not anytime soon.  Remember this is the land where our Democratic State Senators voted *for* a watered down marriage discrimination amendment so they could vote *against* a tougher version of it.  Simply voting against discrimination period wasn't an option.  Except for those in the Pennsylvania House (like Dan Frankel and Mike Divin) who did.  But I'm supposed to shut up and be thankful we narrowly avoided a gay marriage amendment, not criticize our shadow allies.

And here I go again ...Mr. Lacerne uses the phrase "embracing people of color and ethnicity and those with alternative lifestyles."  The latter typically describes members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities.   It is our identity, Tony, not our lifestyle that is in question.  My lifestyle pretty much mirrors the heterosexual normative lifestyle -- two working adults, two cars, home, yard, laundry, nightly news with Katie Couric, trips to Giant Eagle, most often in bed by 11 PM ...it ain't that alternative. The only alternative to being gay is living a lie. 

I know you mean well, Tony.  But your letter sounds somewhat pompous and condescending.  People of ethnicity?  Like white people?  We have ethnicities.  It is not an exotic provence of people of color to have ethnicity. 

I have to wonder, Tony, if its not so much about the right thing to do and more about the economic prosperity.  Which is fine, because it gets you on the right side of the issue.  But don't slap me with the alternative lifestyle label and expect me to sit quietly on the sidelines at the company diversity picnic with a stupid thankful grin on my face. 

Thanks for writing, Tony.  More people like you should seize that opportunity and get all these ideas out on the table.  Kudos.

View Article  Ultra Orthodox Jews Riot Over Gay Pride Parade, Organizers Exhorted to be Reasonable

According to the AP, the Attorney General has ordered that the gay pride parade scheduled for Friday in Jerusalem go forward.  This in spite of a week's worth of rioting among the Ultra Orthodox Jews who perceive homosexuality as a sin and the parade as a violation of the holy city of Jerusalem.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews have rioted in Jerusalem nearly every night over the past week, burning garbage cans, blocking roads and assaulting police officers in an attempt to get the authorities to call off the march, approved months ago by the Supreme Court.

At last year's march, an ultra-Orthodox man stabbed and wounded three participants.

So a gay pride parade violates the sanctity of Jerusalem, but rioting and assault do not?  How is that even conceivable?  We saw this same situation throughout Eastern European countries all summer -- Orthodox Christians and Catholics and Muslims united in beating down the homosexuals who dared to attend a parade.  Apparently, as Time reports, hatred can unite enemies.

The AG has ordered parade organizers and police to work out a compromise route to minimize the likelihood of violence. Given this report, that's not very likely.  When religious leaders are promising to hurl apples with razor blades at a parade ...

View Article  Reverend Janet Edwards Invites You to Her Trial

I received this via email.   

Your presence is requested at an historic event..

On Wednesday, November 15, 2006, Rev. Janet Edwards, PhD.will finally be put on trial by the Pittsburgh Presbytery for conducting a wedding between two women in June 2003. Many of you know Janet and were also at the wedding as all are involved in our VOICES FOR A NEW TOMORROW group. This is the culmination of 18 months of intrigue and silence, pain and elation, during which Janet faithfully kept to her message: Love and commitment is a gift of God. 
 
You are invited to be present during the trial, and at its conclusion, celebrate God's Love and Commitment in worship and during lunch . The celebration will be in the style of the Cosmic Mass with visuals, sound, dancing, silence and ritual. Lunch is open to anyone. Janet "wants the world to come"...and bring their friends. 
 
Here is how we expect the day to unfold:
 
9:00 Trial --Great Hall at the Priory    614 Pressley St.  North Side of Pittsburgh
         Press Conference to follow
11:00 Cosmic Celebration of Love and Commitment (Pittsburgh Golf Club- 5280 Northumberland St.
                                                                                Schenley Park)
12:30 Lunch (Pittsburgh Golf Club)
 
For those of you unfamiliar with church procedures, a religious institution has the authority to hold "trials" and make decisions based on its own internal policies. When we say "trial" we of course aren't referring to civil law, but church law. Janet's stance of courage in putting her career on the line to speak out on equality and her view of God's affirmation of all families is to be commended. (and feared....she's a powerhouse!)   If you can't take the day for this, then at least come for  the lunch.
 
"Feel free to invite anyone."....and if you have someone important living outside of Pittsburgh, invite them, too. 
 
Completmentary travel to Pittsburgh is provided through All Directions Travel.  Ask for Jo at 412-566-1710, aldir@eartylink.netTravel . A block of rooms have been reserved at the Hampton Inn on the Boulevard of the Allies in the Oakland neighborhood.

 

The Post-Gazette has the story here.  

[Janet] said she is reminded of Mordecai's words to the biblical heroine Esther, who was chosen to be a queen of Persia at a time when Jews faced genocide.

"He said that perhaps it was for this very moment that you were brought to the position you are in. I very much feel that the circumstances of my life -- both my economic circumstances and the fact that my children are now grown -- have all configured to have me step forward at this moment," she said.

View Article  PG Letters Page - Gay Distraction Card Isn't Working

Peruse the Post-Gazettes Letters to the Editor page this morning, particularly the online edition which features more letters.  After I found the requisite gay bash amidst thousands of angry words, it dawned on me how that was a *good* thing --- deflecting attention from real issues with the homosexual threat ain't working.  People have written thoughtful letters about the war, Medicare, taxes, deficits, lobbyists, Social Security, safety nets and much more.  In Pittsburgh, at least this morning, it appears that what happens in my personal life is not high on the list of issues concerning my neighbors. 

Now for that gay bash. Our old friend Nancy Staible of Zelienople who had written in this past April (I have the link here) to defend marriage on the state level, takes a stab at it once again.  Nancy is not happy with the New Jersey Supreme Court's social experimentation.  She thinks Rick Santorum is the right man on this issue. 

But here's the interesting part.  Nancy makes repeated references to values.  As in multiple values.  But this is about one issue --- gay marriage.  Rick Santorum believes marriage should between a man and a woman and that's his value.  There's nothing more.  Nany doesn't go on to elocute on other related values that influence her vote for Rick Santorum.  So you have a traditional family -- then what?  What about that family's health insurance coverage and access to health care?  Or what about their safety net if Dad loses his job and Mom's been home with the kids?  How about ensuring the kids can afford to go to college one day?  Will programs be available to help them do well in elementary and high school - tutors, books, computers?  Is someone going to help them take care of Grandma as she ages so the kids can grow up knowing her?   And can we keep those kids in school and out of harm's way by avoiding unecessary wars? 

No, here's what Nancy thinks is important:

"I support same-sex unions that would give gay couples all the rights, privileges and protections of marriage," stated Bob Casey Jr. (October 2005, The Philadelphia Jewish Voice).

U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, who has supported a federal and state amendment to protect marriage, believes in the sanctity of marriage and the sacred vows between one man and one woman.

Which candidate's values will you vote for?

Zelienople and Nancy -- bashing homos one letter at a time.

View Article  Something Refreshing - Neil Patrick Harris Proudly Acknowledges He's Gay

This was nice to read.  Actor Neil Patrick Harris, currently starring in How I Met Your Mother on CBS confirmed to People magazine that he is gay. 

"I am happy to dispel any rumors or misconceptions and am quite proud to say that I am a very content gay man living my life to the fullest and feel most fortunate to be working with wonderful people in the business I love."

No furtive drugs deals.  No neglected spouse.  No loss of power or prestige.  No lies about hanging with Evangelical leaders.  Just a simple affirmation of who he is and who he has quietly been all along. 

Nice.

View Article  Pgh Episcopals vote themselves off the island

Bishop Duncan and his faithful bigots are taking their toys and going home.  To heck with the national province of the Episcopal Church and its female president and her homorespective ways.  To heck with them. 

The vote which was anticipated confirms the rift between the conservative Pittsburgh diocese (minus a few forward thinking souls) and the American Episcopal Church. Duncan claims he wants to be in greater communion with the worldwide Anglican Church.  Folks like Peter Akinola, Archbishop of Nigeria, who supports legislation making homosexuals illegal (not the activity, the person). 

Duncan did not act hastily.  First, he jerrymandered his own new province of which he is the big cahuna.  Nice, huh?  Rick Santorum has a nice career ahead of him in church politics if he plays his cards right. 

Yesterday's vote, which followed this summer's approval of the resolution by the diocese's standing committee, does, as Bishop Duncan said yesterday, give the Pittsburgh diocese a new temporary home: the Anglican Communion Network.

In fact, a line item in the budget approved yesterday will send the estimated $2,000 in dues formerly earmarked for Province III to the network, an organization of about 200,000 Episcopalians unhappy with what they consider "innovations" in the denomination, particularly the ordination of openly gay clergy and same-sex blessings.

Bishop Duncan is moderator of the network.

Innovations!  Say it isn't so.  This is really sad.  Duncan has no intentions of compromising on anything.  He doesn't want to report to a woman and he ain't gonna support the Episcoqueerians.  Now its going to become a custody battle. 

Here's a rundown on previous PghLesbian coverage of this issue. 

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