Thursday, December 11, 2008

SERIOUSLY???

Apparently frustrated, disenfranchised gays who exercise their constitutional right to free speech are jihadists. Thanks, Pat Boone.

Mr. Boone, here's a more striking resemblance: You religious zealots who demonize a segment of the population, tax them disproportionately, deny them basic civil familial rights, and codify your beliefs into state-sanctioned religion are for all intents and purposes fascists. It's baffling to me how Christ's basic teachings about the way we should treat one another have disappeared from your so-called "Christianity." Perhaps we're only supposed to love our neighbors if they go to the same church as we do.

I was going to draw parallels between the current "righteous indignation" of the religious right in this country and the Crusades and Spanish Inquisition, but that would be every bit as unfair as Mr. Boone's analogy. Instead, here is his article from WorldNetDaily:

Hate is hate, in India or America


Posted: December 06, 2008
1:00 am Eastern

© 2008

Pretty rotten thing that happened in Mumbai, huh?

Grand old hotel, in an increasingly progressive and prosperous India: Suddenly, hundreds of innocent, unsuspecting people are hostages, some of them being systematically murdered. Bombs are exploding, people are screaming, military are descending into the chaos, TV crews are coming from everywhere to broadcast the carnage worldwide.

When the dust begins to settle after many horrifying hours, the body count has reached nearly 200, and many more are injured and emotionally scarred for the rest of their lives. The perpetrators? Though no demands were made, and no group immediately took credit for the insane attack, all evidence points to Islamic terrorists, likely from Pakistan.

And why? Well, if current theories and intel are correct, this slaughter was planned and executed by one of many Islamic groups that feel directed by their religion to subjugate – or exterminate – "infidels" like Hindus, Jews, Christians and even other Muslims who don't hew to their extremist views. To them, there is only one acceptable worldview – a theology they intend to enforce on all humankind – and anyone who might disagree or obstruct their goals should be removed, violently if need be.

Thank God, it couldn't happen here. Could it?

Look around. Watch your evening news. Read your newspaper.

Are you unaware of the raging demonstrations in our streets, in front of our churches and synagogues, even spilling into these places of worship, and many of these riots turning defamatory and violent? Have you not seen the angry distorted faces of the rioters, seen their derogatory and threatening placards and signs, heard their vows to overturn the democratically expressed views of voters, no matter what it costs, no matter what was expressed at the polls? Twice?

I refer to California's Proposition 8. You haven't heard about the well-oiled campaign to find out the names of every voter and business that contributed as much as $1,000, or even much less, in support of Prop 8? You haven't heard about the announced plans to boycott, demonstrate, intimidate and threaten each one – because they dared to vote to retain marriage as between one man and one woman? You haven't seen, on the evening news, prominent entertainers and even California Gov. Schwarzenegger, urging the demonstrators on, telling them they should "never give up" until they get their way?

Assuming you have become aware of all this, let me ask you: Have you not seen the awful similarity between what happened in Mumbai and what's happening right now in our cities?

Oh, I know the homosexual "rights" demonstrations haven't reached the same level of violence, but I'm referring to the anger, the vehemence, the total disregard for law and order and the supposed rights of their fellow citizens. I'm referring to the intolerance, the hate seething in the words, faces and actions of those who didn't get their way in a democratic election, and who proclaim loudly that they will get their way, no matter what the electorate wants!

Hate is hate, no matter where it erupts. And hate, unbridled, will eventually and inevitably boil into violence. How crazily ironic that the homosexual activists and sympathizers cry for "tolerance" and "equal rights" and understanding –while they spew vitriol and threats and hate at those who disagree with them on moral and societal grounds.

I was saddened to hear that the estimable Brad Pitt, who has done a lot for the displaced people in New Orleans, pledged $100,000 to his friend Ellen DeGeneris for some campaign to overturn Prop 8, saying something about constitutionally guaranteed "equal rights." I'd like to know – on just what constitutional writ does Brad base this statement?

Every homosexual citizen has the same, identical rights as any other American. The Constitution says nothing about marriage, and shouldn't. Marriage is not a governmental creation; it is a time honored and biblically ordained institution that is subject not to the government but to the will of the people. And the people, down through the centuries, have spoken. Not just the Bible, but Webster's Dictionary, defines this covenantal relationship called "marriage" as a commitment between one man and one woman.

Because this elemental building block of society has been so defined and respected throughout history, elected representatives in our self-government have granted certain supports and tax relief and privileges to marriages and families. Again, these privileges did not originate with some benevolent higher authority – they originated with the people, through the democratic process.

That's how a free republic works. Our people consecrated our Constitution and determined to live within its provisions, voluntarily. It was determined that the will of the voting majority would rule, though it was subject to change if the majority will changed.

There never were any "rights" granted or designated to those who dissented with the will of the majority, other than the same rights all citizens have to work through the democratic process to accomplish their purposes. No "rights" were ever granted to citizens on the basis of their sexual habits or lifestyle. There simply are no such "rights."

Slavery was abolished, blacks and women obtained the rights to vote, and these true rights were not obtained by threats and violent demonstrations and civil disruption (though these things did occur, of course), but by due process, congressional deliberations and appropriate ratification. This was democracy in action, not mob rule. As noted journalist Thomas Sowell has said, there never was "a right to win." In America, at least the America we've known till now, rights are earned and won in a deliberative, legal way – at the polls.

What troubles me so deeply, and should trouble all thinking Americans, is that there is a real, unbroken line between the jihadist savagery in Mumbai and the hedonistic, irresponsible, blindly selfish goals and tactics of our homegrown sexual jihadists. Hate is hate, no matter where it erupts. And by its very nature, if it's not held in check, it will escalate into acts vile, violent and destructive.


Mr. Boone's analogies are every bit as inappropriate and offensive as the argument that compare homosexuality to pedophilia and bestiality. It occurs to me that just like pedophile population is disproportionately heterosexual, the violent acts of intolerance are disproportionately perpetrated by deeply religious people.

Having stripped same-sex couples of marriage rights in California and barred them from any legal recognition in most states, prohibiting adoption and tax benefits, denying guarantees of spousal insurance benefits from employers, and a host of other legal rights automatically bestowed by the government (not a religious institution) upon straight couples who marry (regardless of whether they do it in a church or before a judge), are you honestly suggesting that the first amendment should not apply to gays either?

How dare you? As offensive as your statements are, I would never curtail your first amendment right to make a public asshole of yourself. So keep talking. Twenty years from now, same sex marriage will be legal, the debate will be moot in the minds of rational Americans, and you'll be dead. And when I think back about Pat Boone's legacy, I won't be thinking about those fantastic songs you sang in State Fair. I'll be thinking about this. My grandmother used to tell me how much she liked Bob Hope until he started telling raunchy jokes later in life. And when I'm seventy, sitting in my rocking chair, reminiscing with my grandchildren...I'll probably tell them how talented Pat Boone was until he started making offensive comments about gays. And then we'll all watch State Fair and shake our heads disapprovingly.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A letter to President Monson

This is a letter I sent the day I wrote my letter removing my name from LDS Church records. No apologies...no edits...it is what it is.

November 12, 2008

President Thomas S. Monson
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
50 E. North Temple
Salt Lake City, Utah 84150

Dear President Monson,

I hope this letter finds you well. My name is Brandon Suisse. You might remember my family name from a small branch of the church in Sarnia, Canada during your service there as a mission president. Growing up, I used to love to hear my grandmother speak of the special place you occupy in her heart, both for your service as a mission president and as a general authority. Time and time again, my grandmother spoke of you with deepest reverence and love: cherished traits I learned in large part from her. It is in that spirit of reverence that I write to you today about a matter that I am certain has weighed heavily in the minds and hearts of the brethren – a conflict which, after much heartache and anguish, led me to withdraw from the fellowship of the saints.

In light of recent events, I formally withdrew my name from the records of the Church today, offering up my sincere hope that the Church will find a solution that heals the rift between the children of God suffering on both sides of this conflict. Please know that I bear no animosity or ill will toward the Church or its members. On the contrary, I owe a debt of gratitude for the influence of the Church's teachings and programs in my early development and my relationship with my family.

It will come as no surprise that my decision to withdraw from the Church is based primarily in the church's strained relationship with our gay brothers and sisters. Understanding the position of the Church on the importance family relationships, it breaks my heart that an organization which is responsible for so much good in the world would actively seek to destabilize the family units that our gay brothers and sisters and their children so desperately crave. With all the challenges families of all kinds face, the stabilizing effects of marriage, complete with its legal and social implications as well as its solemn responsibilities, are vital to every family’s well-being. While I am not naïve enough to expect the church to change its stance on homosexuality, I would hope that in the future, for the sake of gay families everywhere, the Church will temper its zeal with compassion and restraint, confining its opposition within the walls of the meetinghouse and keeping it out of the legislative process. That said, I respect your rights to believe and teach as you will regarding homosexuality, and if you truly believe homosexual unions are contrary to God's plan for his children, I will always defend your right to limit the marriages you perform accordingly. It is my sincere hope that one day you will extend the same privilege to the gay community, letting them enter into the institution of civil marriage according to the dictates of their own conscience.

Marriage is a sacred institution, sanctified not only in the churches, but also in the daily lives of its participants. By excluding our gay brothers and sisters from its benefits and responsibilities, I believe that we are and teaching our children that this segment of the population is comprised of souls of lesser worth in the sight of God—His children who are somehow undeserving of His fullest blessings because of how He created them. This does nothing to strengthen the institution of marriage. On the contrary, I fear it will cheapen marriage in the eyes of our children and their children. It does not serve the Church or society to devalue marriage by making it an exclusionist institution. Rather, extending the responsibilities of the marriage vows to the gay community will not only help to stabilize the gay community's familial relationships, but it will also shore up the institution of marriage for future generations who will likely be reluctant to participate in an institution tainted with bias against their gay brothers and sisters.

Please forgive me if anything I have said has carried any tone of disrespect. I am convinced that even perceived disrespect on either side of an issue blocks the avenues of communication, and nothing could be further from the sincerest desires of my heart, especially in this delicate and important matter. If anything I have said has caused offense, please forgive my shortcomings in writing today. Moreover, please accept my deepest gratitude for taking the time to hear me out.

May God bless you for the immeasurable good you have done, and the good you surely will continue to do, in the world. And may God grant us all the patience and respect and insight to deal positively with our differences on this important issue in a way that protects and strengthens all families, gay and straight.


Respectfully

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Three Reasonable Guesses

No, this isn't where I post three reasonable guesses why someone is ignoring me. I'm gonna attempt to discuss the "If you really cared, you would know why I'm mad at you" mentality. Before I begin I need to say that this post is not intended to belittle anyone's pain. Pain exists. And despite our best efforts, every one of us causes pain. Both in ourselves and in others. The important thing is to avoid causing pain if possible and, when we inevitably do hurt someone or get hurt ourselves, to find the best way to heal.

Yesterday I was asked to make three reasonable guesses what I did to make a close friend ignore my calls. I responded with "Is it because I didn't tell you about the third nipple?" This elicited a laugh, but did nothing to start an open discussion about whatever is bothering my friend.

I hate it when I hurt people. Anybody who knows me knows that I would never intentionally hurt anyone...which it all the more unbearable when someone holds onto unintentional hurt I've caused. My feeling is that when I've hurt someone, regardless of whether it was intentional, it's my responsibility to do what I can to make it better. On the other hand when I'm hurting, if I truly want to resolve the hurt, it's my responsibility to be open and face the cause of the pain. If two people can't discuss the hurt between them openly, they have little hope of resolving it.

I guess the point is, I'm a little frustrated that instead of acknowledging a specific thing I've done that caused pain and dealing with it, this friend expects me to "search my soul" for every possible slight and list the top three. This exercise isn't designed to address and fix the individual's pain, it seems designed simply to humiliates me. Rather than resolving a problem, we're just causing more pain and spreading it around.

When you go to a doctor, he or she always asks you what's wrong. "Tell me where it hurts." If we respond with "If you were any kind of a doctor, you'd know already" or "I won't tell you until you've made three reasonable guesses" most ailments would never be adequately addressed. Of course, this analogy comes up short because doctors usually aren't the ones who caused the ailment. Still, if we expect to have any productive discourse about the problem, it is the patient's responsibility to be forthright. And in the case of two people who care about each other, expecting the other person to make a list of all the ways they could have possibly hurt you is nothing short of vindictive. The ONLY outcome of such a list is more hurt.

Emotional pain is deeply personal. It's also inevitable. Bouncing around this crowded little planet, it's impossible to avoid stepping on each other's toes. What makes coexistence possible is that we try not to do it intentionally, and when we inevitably do hurt each other, we should do everything possible to resolve it. As far as I can tell, the path to healing is as personal as the pain. If we're lucky, we have good friends (surprisingly often the ones who hurt us in the first place) who love us and want to help us heal. But the choice to begin the healing process (and the choice to allow those who caused the hurt to participate in the healing) belongs solely to the person who is hurting.

Sadly, to protect ourselves from additional hurt, it's easier to shut people out. And seeing those who have hurt us pay for their crime is supremely gratifying. But in every-day interactions between people who have an interest in each other's well-being, both courses are ultimately counterproductive. Neither addresses the hurt, and both exclude the "guilty" party from participation in the healing.

So, I hope it makes sense that I choose not to make three reasonable guesses. In my mind there is no such thing. When I choose to respond with a smartass remark instead a "reasonable guess", it's because that is the only response that makes sense to me. So if you want more smartass remarks, I've got a whole bag of 'em. But if you want to work through the pain...tell me where it hurts.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

These are very popular in Italy...

PTC's production of The Light in the Piazza may well be the first PTC show with onstage nudity. Never mind that they decapitated and de-limbed said nudist. Oh well...



For the "uncensored" version, click here.

Monday, November 24, 2008

RIP 13


It's closing. According to playbill.com:

13, the new middle school-set musical with songs by Tony Award winner Jason Robert Brown, will play its final performance at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre Jan. 4, 2009.

Directed by Jeremy Sams, the new musical that features a cast and orchestra composed of teenagers began previews on Broadway Sept. 16 and officially opened Oct. 5. When it closes, 13 will have played a total of 22 previews and 105 regular performances.

I sincerely hope my enthusiasm didn't curse the show. Sigh...

I'm disappointed...

From the Salt Lake Tribune:

More than mischief: Are recent acts of church vandalism tied to bigotry?
By Steve Gehrke
The Salt Lake Tribune
11/24/2008

They've come in the form of a burning Book of Mormon, shattered glass doors, mysterious white powder, graffiti and even a flaming plastic plant. A recent rash of crimes has swept churches along the Wasatch Front and peppered areas of California since Proposition 8, backed by the LDS Church, banned gay marriage there.

While Utah police have not officially connected the vandalism here to Prop 8, it's clear incidents once viewed by many as neighborhood mischief have taken on a new significance and political overtone. Overall, incidents of vandalism at churches, synagogues, temples and other religious buildings in Utah have been rising steadily since 2003.

"We've been watching [churches] a lot closer," said Wayne Hansen, chief
of police in Farmington, where a wall outside an LDS church was tagged Wednesday with the message, "Nobody is born a biggot," [sic] and accompanied by a smiley face and a heart.

While vandals target hundreds of religious buildings each year in Utah, some police officers say the recent incidents are particularly strange because perpetrators are leaving businesses, neighborhoods and car windows untouched.

"This is a little different," said Ogden Police Lt. Scott Sangberg, adding that he has seen nothing like this church-focused crime wave in the 26 years he has lived in Ogden. "Does it look a little suspicious that all these things are happening since Proposition 8? It sure does, but we don't have any witnesses to help pinpoint, accuse or even make an arrest."

Juan Becerra, local spokesman with the Federal Bureau of Investigations, said the FBI is trying to determine whether the crimes qualify as civil-rights violations. "There's been too much that has happened in a short period of time," he said. Recent crimes include mysterious packages of white powder being mailed to LDS temples in Salt Lake City and Los Angeles, as well as a Catholic Knights of Columbus printing press in Connecticut; a burning Book of Mormon left on the steps of an LDS chapel in Colorado; a plant set afire inside Weber State University's LDS Institute building; a junior high seminary evacuated after a mysterious letter arrived; and vandals shooting BBs through the glass doors of at least six LDS meeting houses through Weber and Davis counties as well as one in Sandy City.

Some local Mormon leaders downplay the events.

"We don't have a lot of vandalism out there, so it was a bit of a surprise," said Bishop Lance Garner of the vandalized Oak Forest Young Adults Ward in Layton. "But it wasn't a big deal in my ward.

"Proposition 8 passed through our minds, and we wondered about the connection, but quite honestly, I don't think anybody knows that for sure."

Others are more inclined to blame politics.

Bishop Richard Lambert, who meets at the vandalized South Ogden Highlands Ward, said some members of his congregation assume a Proposition 8 tie.

"The timing is just suspicious," he said. "We, as members of the church, just exercised our political will, and it's unfortunate that they're blaming one organization."

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints declined to comment on the recent crimes in Utah, but recently released a statement calling directly on its political opponents to calm the attacks.

"Attacks on churches and intimidation of people of faith have no place in civil discourse over controversial issues."

Many members of the gay community likewise are urging calm until the authorities can find those responsible. Directors of the Utah Pride Center and Equality Utah -- which work with gay, lesbian and transgender causes -- said they are "deeply troubled" by the crime wave.

"Our hearts go out to the church members that are afraid to go to church as a result of those attacks," said Utah Pride Center Executive Director Valerie Larabee. "It would be natural to draw a conclusion that it is the gay community that's doing this, but that's a very dangerous conclusion."

Larabee said there has been a rise in energy among people who support equality since Proposition 8 passed, but she regrets that many are using their emotions in what she called negative ways.

Equality Utah Executive Director Mike Thompson said his organization is working to find commonalities with the LDS church and push for incremental advances.

Although there has been an abundance of vandalism at Mormon wardhouses in recent weeks, it's just a part of the picture. Statistics from the state Bureau of Criminal Identification show hundreds of crimes are reported on religious properties around the state from year to year -- from kidnappings and aggravated assaults to intimidation and burglary.

In 2006, police agencies statewide reported more than 300 incidents of vandalism at churches, Synagogues, temples and other religious buildings.

The FBI reported 15 religion-related hate crimes in Utah in 2007 and nine related to sexual orientation, up from an equal six and six in 2006. The FBI investigated more hate crimes involving sexual orientation than religion in the vast majority of U.S. states.

If criminals are caught for church vandalism, they could be prosecuted under Utah's new hate crime law, which legislators crafted in 2007 to harden punishments for criminals who intend to "terrorize or intimidate."

Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings said the law's application would simply depend on the facts and circumstances of the case. Prosecutors would have to show the criminals' intent was to intimidate members of the church congregations.

"It would be based upon both what they say in interviews, what they tell others about what they did, and what message was communicated," Rawlings said.

A hate crime conviction would stiffen misdemeanor charges. It would add an aggravating factor to a felony crime, sending a signal to judges and pardons and parole boards.

While Utah has been the focus of the recent rash of LDS-church vandalism, California saw heated protests and sporadic crimes sweep across that state.

But for the most part, California police said Prop-8 related crime there subsided after the election.

"Anytime you have a huge group of people who feel very strongly about an issue, a few will cross the line, unfortunately," said Sacramento Sgt. Matt Young. "It's unfortunate that it occurs on either side because they're not representative of the majority."

As far as Utah's crime spree goes, some LDS church members are more closely monitoring their ward houses for the time being.

Said Sangberg: "This is one of those political hot potatoes that can either stay hot for a long time, or it can begin to go away shortly. It all depends on the atmosphere or climate of the country."

Recent Prop 8-related charges
  • Assault » A Torrance, Calif., man is charged with a felony hate-crime assault for allegedly using an anti-gay marriage lawn sign to attack a gay man wearing a "No on 8" button.
  • Vandalism » San Jose, Calif., police were called to a house in the southern part of town after homeowners reported their garage had been spray-painted with "No on 8" messages. The homeowners had signs on their lawn supporting the measure.
  • Theft » Police in a Sacramento suburb arrested three teens after finding 53 stolen "Yes on 8" signs in their car.
  • Vandalism » A Utah man reported his lawn sign, opposing the LDS church's role in politics, was set on fire outside his home near 900 East and 900 South.


This just makes me sick. Seriously, where the hell is the tolerance? Where's the compassion? Do I need to start another rant about gays learning to practice tolerance and Mormons learning to practice compassion? We're all a bunch of friggin' hypocrites and I'm embarrassed to be associated with either group.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

So. Very. Cute.


Sigh...I want a puppy...

(and no, there isn't a point to it...you're just watching a live feed of a whole bunch of cute, cute puppies)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Call me a nerd, but...

I was just listening to the Broadway cast recording of Jason Robert Brown's new musical 13. The gimmick behind the musical is that it's a show about 13-year olds. Thirteen 13-year-olds, to be exact. But the score is fun and fresh, the kids are talented, and it's been in permanent rotation on my iPod since the day it was released on iTunes.

So today as I was commuting to work, I was listening to the show's peppy, yet rhythmically quirky title song. Actually the quirkiness is only in the chorus. Anyway, as I was listening I made a delightful discovery about those quirky rhythms. Care to guess? Here's the song...pay special attention to the time signature during the chorus:

CLICK HERE TO LEGALLY DOWNLOAD THE TITLE SONG FROM www.13themusical.com! Or for kicks, go explore the website. They've got five songs from the show streaming at http://www.13themusical.com/music/.

Before you keep reading, make sure you've listened to the song. Do it! I'll listen with you.

la la la dum de dum dum la la deedle deedle doooo dum ditty la la la la woah woah ba dee ba dah...

Wasn't that fun? Anyway, did you get it? Those oddly structured measures are grouped into a group of six beats, followed by a group of seven. Six plus seven equals...you got it, thirteen! To make matters even more exciting, start counting when the pattern begins and when you get to the number 13, the kids all sing "Thirteen!" Yeah, it's gimmicky and only the die-hard theatre nerds are gonna pick up on it, but I think it's brilliant. Very few people out there are gonna be as giddy about this as me, and that's fine. But I'm certain that Jason Robert Brown wrote that passage with the nerds in mind. So now I've got the song stuck in my head...and that's not necessarily a bad thing for now.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

And now a word from Keith Olbermann

Please watch this:




Or read a transcript at The Huffington Post.

Play nice, dammit!

Yesterday, in a press conference, Equality Utah took the first truly productive step in the Post-Prop 8 debate. They asked the LDS Church to stand behind its statements about fundamental rights of same-sex couples and support proposed measures to extend those rights to same-sex couples in Utah. Bravo, Equality Utah! (For specifics, go to www.equalityutah.org or click here for a full transcript of the press conference.)

Since the passage of Prop 8 I have been incredibly disheartened by the anger and the name-calling and the calls for retaliation (as in "Let's have the LDS Church's tax exempt status revoked!"). I see nothing productive in such behavior. Quite the contrary, being argumentative and vindictive only solidifies the opposition, and it tends to drive away those who haven't "taken a side" yet.

Yes, we're hurt. Yes, we want someone to blame. Yes, the LDS Church's financial support of the measure was hugely disproportionate to it's actual presence in California. Yes, it's completely unfair. And yes, the LDS Church is a really easy target. But we're not kindergarteners, squabbling over who gets to play in a sandbox. Kicking dirt in each other's eyes accomplishes nothing.

So after a heartfelt conversation on the subject, a friend pointed me to this article in The Huffington Post, which really sums things up well. It was nice to know someone else shares my views.

And then Equality Utah had it's press conference. At last, I thought, something productive from the gay community. Move past the protests and find a way to work with "the opposition" to make much-needed changes. Then, in the reader responses to the Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News articles, Equality Utah is being accused of trying to "draw them in to a politically charged environment that they have no interest in and would only serve to hype the gay agenda further." The detractors are implying that the church leaders' words are being twisted to further causes that hurt the church.

Seriously?

I mean SERIOUSLY?

Everybody automatically jumps to the conclusion that Equality Utah is trying to twist the words of the LDS Church for some agenda that undermines the blah blah yadda yadda blah…

To BOTH sides of the argument: Why does it always have to be “Us versus Them” in EVERYTHING. How the hell are we supposed to accomplish anything without working together. Otherwise rational people sit on either side of the aisle, basking in their own self-important righteous indignation, thumbing their noses at the opposition, and then they honestly expect the opposition to simply cave in. WTF??? Let’s force our venom and our disdain for the opposition’s heart-felt beliefs down each other’s throats and see where it gets us.

I'm so sick of all this bullshit. (Pardon the expression, but you did click the "I understand and wish to continue" button on my content warning page.)

To the LDS community: You claim to be Christians? Start behaving like real Christians. Not the televangelists, I mean the people who genuinely try to act like Jesus. The statement "we love our gay brothers and sisters" sounds so hollow when everything you do is in an attempt to deny them basic human dignity. Regardless of the genuine concern you feel in your heart for all mankind...when you say "I love you, even if I disagree with you" and then you actively work time and time again to strip gays of over 1,300 federal and state rights that the marriage fairy magically bestows on any straight couple who haphazardly says "I do"...do you really think anybody can hear the "I love you" over your actions?*

And to the gay community: You claim to be open-minded and accepting? How about actively practicing that by accepting the Mormons. If you honestly believe you're entitled to free exercise of your values, you have to give that right to everyone else...even those who disagree with you. ESPECIALLY those who agree with you. Your rights to free speech and freedom of religion aren't worth a thing if you can't give those rights to someone whose beliefs are in direct opposition to yours. And until you grow up and stop behaving like a children, throwing temper tantrums every time somebody does something you don't like, you'll never get out of "equal marriage rights time-out."*

Like it or not, we have to live together, with all our diversity of opinion. Personally, I think that's actually a good thing. It's been said that our diversity makes our nation strong, and I believe that's because of our ability to bring our differences to the table and work together for the common good. It breaks my heart that so many people are angrily storming away from the church over this issue. But that's their right. What truly saddens me is that the form letter that's been written to facilitate withdrawal from the church ends with this sentence: "After today, the only contact I want from the church is a single letter of confirmation to let me know that I am no longer listed as a member of the church," effectively cutting off communication.

Whatever people choose to do with their lives, nothing is served by completely severing the ties of communication. Without communication there will be no understanding--a fact that I'm learning with my family the hard way. But for the first time in a long time, I'm truly hopeful.

One last thought from Fiddler on the Roof:
Villager: An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.
Tevye: Very good. That way the whole world will be blind and toothless.


*If you're pissed because you took either of these paragraphs to mean either that I don't value the LDS Church's rights to free exercise of their religious beliefs or that I don't wholeheartedly support equal rights for gays, maybe you need to find a new blog to read. Seriously, what I'm saying may not be easy to hear, but it's important that BOTH sides get over their knee-jerk reactions, spend a little time examining their own biases, and come to the table in a spirit of mutual respect. So there. Suck on that, bizatches!

Kirby on gay marriage: It's official - I don't care

From the Salt Lake Tribune:
A couple of years ago, I wrote a column in which I announced my official position on gay marriage. Basically, I don't care.
Not only do I not care if gays get married, it is none of my business. As a flaming heterosexual, it's a full-time job for me just to keep my thoughts clean in church. I don't have the energy to fret about somebody else's libido.
The column must have resurfaced on the Internet. I'm getting mail again telling me what a failure I am as a Mormon because I'm not solidly behind Proposition 8. As I understand it, the California ballot item would prevent the domestication of homosexuals. Or something like that.
Here are just a few of the attempts to get me to see reason.
"Are you a member or not? Do you want gays to get married in the temple? Please follow the brotheren's [sic] council [sic] on Proposition 8. This is a important gospel principal [sic]." G., e-mail.
"No unclean thing can enter the house of the Lord. Gays are unclean because of the Scriptures. You have to be hot or cold about it or the Lord will spat you out." T., e-mail.
"Were you listening in church when the letter was read from the First Presidency about supporting proposition eight?" R.Y., e-mail.
"Get with Prop 8 or your [sic] a homo." Anonymous, letter.
Hard as it is to counter such brilliant logic, my position hasn't changed. The only serious concern I have about gays getting married is that they'll register someplace pricey.
The church is serious about the sanctity of marriage. I get that. But aren't more potentially "dangerous" marriages already being performed out there?
For example, I hear in church all the time about marriage being ordained of God. But I also hear about how the glory of God is intelligence.
Shouldn't it be against the law for stupid people to get married? What's more harmful to society - two well-dressed men getting married and settling down, or two idiots tying the knot and cranking out any number of additional idiots?
You should have to pass a harder test to get married than the one we currently have. Essentially, there are but two questions: "How old are you?" and "Is that your sister?" Hell, you could pass this test just by guessing.
There are drawbacks. Most people get married when hormones and youth make them about as dumb as they'll ever be. So, even a relatively easy test would by default raise the age limit to about 40.
With an increased marriage age limit, there would be fewer births. Genealogy would become easier to do. With fewer births, there would be fewer children born gay. Hey, isn't that what Heavenly Father would want?
OK, I was just kidding about that. But if you're really serious about putting a stop to gay sex, let them get married.
rkirby@sltrib.com

Read the original article at www.sltrib.com...

Friday, November 7, 2008

I'm French...ish. Be nice.


Okay, here's a thought: Let's stop pissing on the French.  I'm tired of hearing about "those sissy French people".  Really.  And the "Freedom Fries" movement post 9/11 was patently offensive.  At least one of my ancestors is French.  Here's how Bill Maher put it:  (be warned, it's a little risque)

And finally, New Rule: Conservatives have to stop rolling their eyes every time they hear the word, "France." Like just calling something "French" is the ultimate argument winner. As if to say, "What can you say about a country that was too stupid to get on board with our wonderfully-conceived and brilliantly-executed war in Iraq?" 

And, yet, an American politician could not survive if he uttered the simple, true statement, "France has a better health care system than we do, and we should steal it." Because here, simply dismissing an idea as French passes for an argument. "John Kerry? Couldn't vote for him; he looked French." Yeah, as opposed to the other guy who just looked stupid. 

Now, last week, France had an election, and people over there approach an election differently. They vote. Eighty-five percent of them turned out. You couldn't get 85% of Americans to get off the couch if there was an election between "Tits" and "Bigger Tits," and they were handing out free samples! 

Now, maybe the high turnout has something to do with the fact that the French candidates are never asked where they stand on evolution, prayer in school, abortion, stem cell research or gay marriage. And if the candidate knows about a character in a book other than Jesus, it's not a drawback. 

The electorate doesn't vote for the guy they want to have a croissant with; nor do they care about private lives. In the current race, Ségolène Royal has four kids, but she never got married. And she's a Socialist. In America, if a Democrat even thinks you're calling him "liberal," he grabs an orange vest and a rifle and heads into the woods to kill something! 

Madame Royal's opponent is married, but they live apart and lead separate lives. And the people are okay with that for the same reason they're okay with nude beaches; because they're not a nation of six-year-olds who scream and giggle if they see pee-pee parts! 

They have weird ideas about privacy. They think it should be private. In France, even the mistresses have mistresses. To not have a lady on the side says to the voters, "I'm no good at multi-tasking." 

Now, like any country, France has its faults, like all that ridiculous accordion music. But, their health care is the best in the industrialized world. As is their poverty rate. And they're completely independent of Mid East oil. And they're the greenest country. And they're not fat. And they have public intellectuals in France. We have Dr. Phil! 

They invented sex during the day, lingerie and the tongue. Can't we admit we could learn something from them? 

So, from now on, all you high-ranking Bush Administration officials, because the French are righter than you on most things, when France comes up in conversation, you are not allowed to roll your eyes. The only time you get to do that is when your hooker from Ms. Julia is blowing you.
And a link to the video here.

There's something brewing in SLC...

I've received the following e-mail in various forms from several people:
Not since the Stonewall Riots of 1969 in San Francisco have we as a community really stood up for our rights in a determined way. Our Pride Parades are an event, not a protest. Our court battles are fought by few while we watch from the comfort of our living rooms. Our petitions we sign while shopping online.

Society as a whole underestimates us. They underestimate our size. They underestimate our determination. They underestimate our conviction. They underestimate our power. Now is the time that we need to remind them.

This week the religious activists in California decided to take our civil rights, which they take for granted, and they put it up for a majority vote. Even more despicable than voting to take away rights of a minority is the fact that major religions, especially the Mormon Church, dedicated, and in some instances mandated, that their members dedicate time and money to passing this discriminatory cause.

I move that we rally at the heart of their operations. Let's march around Temple Square and the Church Office Building. Let's show them that we are many, that we are powerful, and that we will not sit idle as they force their religion into our lives and into national politics.

I've contacted the City and the SLPD and have organized a protest rally on Friday, November 7th at 6pm. Please show up with your posters, flags and banners (and dress warmly and fabulously!) . We will meet on State Street at Temple Square. Bring your friends and your relatives. Pass this message along to EVERYONE you know who has any respect for the rights of other people. Let's show the Church
that we've had enough of their political influence in our lifes!

Jacob W.


Intending no disrespect to either side of the argument, I feel I need to respond. This is an abridged e-mail I sent back to a dear friend who forwarded the original:
Thanks for the e-mail. I read this, and I must admit when I heard the news that Prop 8 had officially passed, I felt like taking to the streets. But after much consideration I've decided that picketing a religious organization is pointless. Yes, there's injustice in the world. And yes, the LDS Church strongly supported the codification of that injustice into law. What they did was wrong, and I firmly believe it overstepped the bounds of a religious society, enforcing faith-based legislation on a population that is already marginalized.

But picketing the church office building? It seems like all the righteous indignation we're feeling could be directed better at something more productive. I don't anticipate the church will ever change their beliefs on gays in society. And a formal protest directing anger at the LDS Church seems akin to banging ones head against the granite wall of the Salt Lake Temple.

Perhaps there's a way to channel the indignation into something productive. Many of my close friends have requested their names be removed from church records. I'll be getting more actively involved in organizations that promote equality. I am writing letters to people in power on both sides of the issue, pleading for understanding. And most importantly, I'm living my life openly and honestly. I think above all it's absolutely vital for gay people everywhere to be VISIBLE in their contributions to society. The younger generation voted overwhelmingly against Prop 8 in California. Change IS coming. If not in this generation, in the next. And for us to create lasting change, the fight for equality cannot be a fight at all. Fighting closes minds. But a gay person, couple, family...living openly and honestly, contributing to society...THAT challenges misconceptions. If I have a bias and my neighbors are a visible contradiction to my bias, then even if I doggedly hold onto my prejudice out of fear, my kids will see the truth and most likely choose accordingly. When enough people live the contradiction, the prejudices inevitably crumble.

The gay community's hurt and anger are justified. I share in those feelings. And I respect the rights of anyone to express their indignation in the form of protest. But I believe there is a better way. Ultimately, this protest will accomplish little beyond a news blip, unless (as in the case of the Stonewall Riots) things get ugly. If belligerence or disrespectful language or violence ensues, the divide between the LDS community and the Gay community will widen, setting back the movement for equality. I firmly believe love, understanding, patience, and above all, visible honest living will be the means of forever securing equal rights for our children.

Thanks for passing the message to me. I wish you nothing but the best. And tonight, if you do choose to protest, please be respectful...and safe.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Say something funny

In light of the intensely passionate debate spawned by my last blog post, I think it's important to look at something a little lighter. From www.theonion.com:

Black Man Given Nation's Worst Job


WASHINGTON—African-American man Barack Obama, 47, was given the least-desirable job in the entire country Tuesday when he was elected president of the United States of America. In his new high-stress, low-reward position, Obama will be charged with such tasks as completely overhauling the nation's broken-down economy, repairing the crumbling infrastructure, and generally having to please more than 300 million Americans and cater to their every whim on a daily basis. As part of his duties, the black man will have to spend four to eight years cleaning up the messes other people left behind. The job comes with such intense scrutiny and so certain a guarantee of failure that only one other person even bothered applying for it. Said scholar and activist Mark L. Denton, "It just goes to show you that, in this country, a black man still can't catch a break."

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

In the wake of Prop 8

Last night I was thrilled to see the country elect Barack Obama as the next President of the United States. On this same historic night, California voters passed a proposed amendment to the California state constitution that bans same-sex marriage. At the request of LDS leaders, the proposition was largely supported by members of the LDS church, both financially and otherwise.

I recalled a Sunday School lesson from my childhood (way back in the late 70's) where the teacher mentioned that the church discouraged interracial marriage, though her explanation was that people of different backgrounds have a hard time making it work. While it seemed a little odd at the time that skin color constituted a "different background," I didn't think much of it.

Now, with nearly 18,000 marriages about to be arbitrarily dissolved by public referendum and the unmarried gay population barred from the institution, it seems appropriate to examine the church's changing position on interracial marriage. I dug around, found a whole bunch of quotes (including a single website that listed some pretty offensive stuff), and decided that publishing them here would be nothing short of "sour grapes." Suffice it to say, on civil rights matters, the LDS church as an organization tends to be consistently 20 years behind the nation. Anyway instead of sour grapes, here is a quote on civil rights by Elder Hugh B. Brown:
"During recent months, both in Salt Lake City and across the nation, considerable interest has been expressed in the position of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the matter of civil rights. We would like it to be known that there is in this Church no doctrine, belief, or practice that is intended to deny the enjoyment of full civil rights by any person regardless of race, color, or creed.

We say again, as we have said many times before, that we believe that all men are the children of the same God and that it is a moral evil for any person or group of persons to deny any human being the rights to gainful employment, to full educational opportunity, and to every privilege of citizenship, just as it is a moral evil to deny him the right to worship according to the dictates of his own conscience.

We have consistently and persistently upheld the Constitution of the United States, and as far as we are concerned this means upholding the constitutional rights of every citizen of the United States.

We call upon all men everywhere, both within and outside the Church, to commit themselves to the establishment of full civil equality for all of God's children. Anything less than this defeats our high ideal of the brotherhood of man." —General Conference, October 6, 1963

My heart breaks for our gay brothers and sisters in California whose families have been the victims of the recent capricious actions of the so-called "Christian" community. The gospel of Jesus Christ, in my understanding, is based on love. The LDS church advocates that everyone should be allowed "to worship how, where, or what they may." And Joseph Smith, when asked how he led the church said that he taught the members correct principles and let them govern themselves. For a group of churches to legislate their beliefs on other people is nothing short of a violation of the principles of agency for which LDS people believe "the war in heaven" was waged.

How's this for a better approach? Perhaps we should
teach our children "correct principles" and let them govern themselves rather than legislate our religious views on each other.

Or better still, let's simply love one another.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Four Liters...

I got a free t-shirt today for buying three 20 oz diet cokes. I bought three diet cokes because this morning on my way to work, right after buying two diet cokes at the University Bookstore, I noticed that if you buy three you get a free t-shirt. So after lunch (which consisted of a burrito and a 32 oz diet coke) I dropped by the bookstore to get my t-shirt...and three diet cokes.

Lets do some math:
2 x 20 oz = 40 oz
+ 32 oz = 72 oz
+ 60 oz (3 x 20 oz) = 132 oz

According to sciencemadesimple.net, 132 fl oz is 3.9 liters...

NEARLY FOUR LITERS???? I'm drinking too much diet coke.



P.S. They didn't have the t-shirt in my size. Not to worry, with all the diet coke I'm drinking I'll fit in my new t-shirt in no time! Ironically, the slogan on the t-shirt: "Not wasted"

I voted today

For Obama, of course. And while I kinda feel like my vote for Obama was just flushed down the Utah toilet, I feel like I made the right choice. And so does Opie:

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die


Seriously, who could argue with that?

In other news, I just ran across mormonsformarriage.com. What a refreshing look at the Prop 8 debate in California...and from an LDS perspective too!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Dirty Laundry

I brought my dirty laundry to work. No, I won't be asking the costume department to wash it for me...though that would be cool. It's just easier to swing by the laundromat on the way home. Besides, in a duffel bag, it looks like I'm going to work out when I'm off.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Actual Transcript of Sarah Palin interview

(lovingly borrowed from K.M. Breay at open.salon.com)

OCTOBER 2, 2008 3:51PM

Transcript Of Palin - Couric Interview

Katie Couric - Thank you for being here, Governor Palin.

Sarah Palin - I'm all about being here.

Katie Couric - Are you and John McCain in favor of this $700 billion bailout?

Sarah Palin - I'm totally in favor of supporting the troops. My son is a troop.

Katie Couric - Right. But I'm asking about the bailout proposal for Wall Street.

Sarah Palin - You sure are. You betcha.

Katie Couric - So are you in favor of it?

Sarah Palin - Reform needs to be in the Wall Street. Not just sittin' on the curb of Wall Street. We need it in the middle of the street. Like a dead squirrel.

Katie Couric - Can we afford to give tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans right now?

Sarah Palin - Well, what do you mean by tax breaks? Like on a car? Those kinds of breaks?

Katie Couric - Less taxes.

Sarah Palin - You know, I'm really into the Bush doctrine. I'm like, supporting it.

Katie Couric - In the event that something were to happen to John McCain, are you ready to step in and be president?

Sarah Palin - I have the steadiness to be steady. I'm getting in there and really doing it. Not just not doing it. I'm not going to be like 'hey, presidency, talk to the hand.'

Katie Couric - But are you ready to become the leader of the free world?

Sarah Palin - Totally. I will totally lead the world. Any world. I will lead Mars or whatever too if those guys need a world president. Or just a Mars president. I took on the ole' boys club in Alaska and I can take it on in Mars.

Katie Couric - But I'm not asking about being president of Mars.

Sarah Palin - But I am answering about being president of Mars because a president person needs to be prepared for anything. I like to reform.

Katie Couric - I understand you only just got a passport last year.

Sarah Palin - You know, I was in Idaho for my friend Amber's wedding a ways back. Lemme tell you, Katie. We American taxpayers have a lot more in common with other countries than we think. There were Budweiser beers cans at that Idaho wedding. And Hot Pockets too. Those pizza flavored ones. Yummy.

Katie Couric - Wait, are you saying that Idaho is another country?

Sarah Palin - I'm saying they have Hot Pockets just like us. Pizza ones even. It's called 'the globalization.'

Katie Couric - But let me get this straight because I think it's important. Is Idaho another country?

Sarah Palin - You know, I'm not going to get into that right now. I think American men and women and men are focused on solutions. Not what's a country or what's not a country. Some places aren't countries. They're just things. And that's ok. Do you know the difference between a country and a thing?

Katie Couric - I'm not sure I do.

Sarah Palin - Hot Pockets.

Katie Couric - And finally, where will you and John McCain take this country?

Sarah Palin - We are going to take it somewhere really nice. A nice place where all American taxpayer people will totally be like 'hey, hello, this is really nice.'" And then we'll take it from that really nice place and over to a nicer place, a super duper nice one. More super duper nice than my cousin Marge even. And the American taxpayer people will be like 'hey, this is a super duper nice place. More than Marge even.'" Reform.

Katie Couric - Thank you, Governor.

Monday, October 13, 2008

I will follow me....wherever I may blog....la la la...

I just noticed that while I'm following a number of blogs, and have shown my utter support by subscribing to each and every one of them, NOBODY's following me. That's right! Nobody! Mind you, "following" a blog is different than reading to it or linking to it. You have to set it up under "Blogs I'm Following" or just click on the "Follow this blog" link in the blog (mine appears under "Who reads this crap".)

But don't worry, I don't feel unloved...even though my thousands of adoring readers are obviously too embarrassed to attach their names to my blog. To salve my fragile ego, I've decided to follow my own blog. Now whenever I post something new, I see it pop up in my list of new posts in the blogs I'm following and I know there's something worth reading. And whenever I look at the empty space on the right side of my blog, my picture is there.

Me: Sigh...it's good to know I'm loved.
Me: Why, thank me!
Me: I'm welcome.
(big emotional solo hug)

P.S. To entice more diligent blog readership, I've included a little hangman game up at the top. Play the game...read the blog...purge...play again... It's a little like the blog version of bulimia!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Thoughts on friendship

Today is the tenth anniversary of the death of Matthew Shepard. It seems odd that the name of someone most of us never met could evoke so much emotion. So today I was going to write about hate crimes.

In trying to find the right words, I recalled an e-mail conversation (or twelve) I had with Lisa a couple years ago during a unit on hate crimes in a theatre literature class I was taking. I didn't find the e-mails I was looking for. But I did find a plethora of thoughtful, entertaining, deeply moving, and goofy exchanges between me and my best friend. All I can say is thank God for the blessing of friendship. In all the randomness of our daily interaction with the other people bouncing around the world, who could guess that a couple lunatics who irritated each other in a cinder block bank drive-thru would, eight years later, be best friends. I think the despair.com demotivator says it best:



Thanks Lisa.

As for hate crimes...I'll have to blog about that tomorrow.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Top 10 Reasons Brandon is Ignoring/Avoiding Lisa

10. He gave Lisa up for Lent.
9. Friends with benefits isn't health insurance. Who knew?
8. There once was a man from Nantucket...and how distracting is THAT!
7. Got in a poo flinging fight with Shatzee. Had to shower. A lot.
6. Ever notice how "six" sounds like "sex" if the person who's saying it is lazy? (giggle...lazy sex.)
5. Franks and Beans! No kidding. Don't get it? Go watch "There's Something About Mary". Long story short (no pun intended), it's something that'll take you out of commission for at least a week.
4. The 80's called. They wanted their over-the-top slapstick humor back. Brandon had to return it.
3. Got caught up in the trial of the century. You know. OJ Simpson. It's big!
2. Donated my heart to a dying school teacher. It killed her. Hiding from the police. "You'll never take me alive, coppers! Mnyah!"

And the number one reason Brandon is Ignoring/Avoiding Lisa is...

1. I'm not friggin' ignoring you OR avoiding you. I love you and wouldn't dream of it. (Also I fear you and wouldn't dare.)

What kind of friend...


...does THIS to her best friend? I am aghast.


(shakes head in despair)


Perhaps she's related to Sarah Palin's daughter?

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Best blog ever...

I've found one of the most insightful blogs ever written. I followed it for, well, years. So sad that the brilliant author has decided to retire it.

http://bdsuisse.blogspot.com/


Oh, what memories.

(Click here for the second best blog ever.)

Traditional family values...



'nuff said.

Friday, October 3, 2008

I nearly died today

No, this isn't an exaggeration. The route back from my lunch break today took me across University Street. Being the long-time pedestrian I am, I usually stand at the crosswalk and wait for traffic to stop before crossing. Bus drivers are incredible at seeing pedestrians and stopping (go bus drivers!) and today was no exception. The driver of the bus approaching the crosswalk saw me, stopped, and motioned for me to cross.

As I passed the bus into the second lane of traffic I heard a deafening honk and froze. It took a moment after the chaos had passed to realize what happened. An inattentive driver in a blue minivan had swerved from behind the bus into the inner lane and punched the gas. Seeing the catastrophe about to happen, the bus driver honked, stopping me in my tracks. Too late to stop, the driver of the minivan saw what was about to happen and swerved into the oncoming lane of traffic, barely squeezing between an oncoming car and the pedestrian in the walkway--me. The minivan sped off and quickly darted down a side street and out of sight. Shaken, but unscathed, I finished crossing the street. And then the realization dawned on me: Had a vigilant bus driver not honked, I would have been hit and possibly killed this afternoon by an impatient, inattentive driver who was speeding through a crosswalk.

My point is twofold.

First, to the UTA bus driver: Thank you for saving my life today. It probably sounds melodramatic, but I'm truly overwhelmed as I write these words.

Now, to the impatient drivers out there: is the fifteen seconds you're hoping to shave off your commute worth the life of another human being? Seriously, you could have ended my life today.

As I sat down at my desk, still rattled from the experience, I imagined a young mother pulling her minivan full of kids to the side of a residential road a few blocks from the university. In my mind I saw her rest her head in her shaking hands as she tried to control her emotions, and soundlessly mouthing a small prayer of thanks for sparing the lives of her kids and the guy in the crosswalk today. And I choked back a tear.

Maybe we both learned something today.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

It has come to my attention...

...that I'm not posting enough "original material" on my blog. No, the Originality Police aren't stalking me. And no, I'm not being given a failing grade from my College Blogging 1010 professor for violating some code of academic conduct. Nothing so extreme. I was just informed by a friend (or a little voice in my head...I find it so hard to tell the difference these days) that maybe my loyal reader(s) would enjoy something original. Something fresh.

And to you, loyal reader(s), who wants something original and fresh, I say:

WTF? Kristin Chenoweth leading a musical intervention isn't original? Tina Fey hemming and hawing as Sarah Palin isn't fresh? Just because it isn't MY originality, doesn't mean it's not entertaining! Besides, if I share what I like, isn't that a window into my soul, gentle reader(s)?

Well fine! For those of you who don't like your blogs pickled and stored in granny's canning cellar, in honor of Daniel Radcliffe's opening in Equus on Broadway, I won't post a link to The Onion's review of the Franklin Elementary School's brilliant 2006 production of the same play. Nor will I, in honor of the CD release of Jason Robert Brown's new musical 13, post a link to a very cool song which JRB put up on HIS blog.

No, consider this an original post. I shall discuss current events, while refraining from political banter. Here goes:






























Whew, that was exhausting. I hope you've learned your lesson.

In other news, the economy is in the toilet. Had you heard? Maybe you haven't heard, but it is. So, in a show of solidarity, I scampered off to Wall Street and bought 600 shares of the cheapest stock I could find. Well, not the cheapest. I'm not gonna buy "penny shares". No, I played the nickel slots. And what did my $30 buy me? Washington Mutual! Lucky me! Kidding. No, I bought shares in a media conglomorate...and then for good measure, I bought 10 shares of AIG, which promptly ate everything in my portfolio. So while Stephen Colbert is drying his eyes on Lehman Brothers stock, I'm wiping my butt on AIG!

That is all.

Let the unoriginality resume.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Poster-Children for Planned Parenthood

I just sold candy to about 4,000 indecisive lunatic gradeschoolers. During regular performances, the theatre's concessions counter has a staff paid specifically to sell concessions. During student matinees, the theatre staff takes the job. Granted we're all still on the clock, but the candy bar we're given as incentive hardly compensates for the post-traumatic stress disorder therapy I'm gonna need. The moment intermission begins, the lobby floods with screaming children who push their way to the counter, demand your attention then start asking inane questions:
Rude Snot-Nosed Brat: "Do you have Reese's?"
Brandon: "Sorry, no. Everything we sell is in this display case."
RSNB: "What about Peanut Butter cups?"
Brandon: "Those are also Reese's. Would you like to pick something from the display case?"
RSNB: "Do you sell Reese's Pieces?"
Brandon: "You've got to be kidding me! Do you see anything you've asked for so far in the display case you're leaning on?"
RSNB: "No."
Brandon: "Good. We have what you see. What would you like."
RSNB: "Um...um...um...Do you have Snicker's with Almonds?"
Brandon: "DO YOU SEE ANY FRIGGIN' SNICKERS WITH ALMONDS?"
RSNB: "Um...no?"
Brandon: "Then what do you think? I'm done with you. Go to the back of the line of 3,999 kids that you pushed in front of and think about what you've seen in the case. If you picked something that we sell by the time you get back up here, I'll think about helping you then. Now go! Alright, who's next? You, miss...what can I get you?"
Oblivious Pre-jailbait Trailer Trash: "Do you have Reese's?"
Seriously, I think I've just cured any desire I have to ever be a parent. Maybe in-school sex education should consist of manning a concessions stand during intermission at a student matinee. "You see these crazy people? Have sex and you'll make another one of them!" Suddenly saving ones self for marriage won't be enough. "No thanks, I'm saving myself for menopause."

Friday, September 19, 2008

13 the musical

If this had been out in 1987, I'm sure it would've been my favorite musical ever.

Flash Content: Get Adobe Flash player

Monday, September 15, 2008

Beware Brother Willy's Spores...

I know I'm gonna run out and buy a rubber suit and gas mask...

From City Weekly:

Deep End | Affirmed and Denied: LDS leaders track sexual orientation to busy gay spores

By D.P. Sorensen
Posted 08/21/2008

The Mormon church moved swiftly to quell suspicions that anti-gay bias was behind its cancellation of a scheduled meeting with Affirmation, a group of Mormon gay activists. Church spokesman Elder Scott Trotter (not to be confused with Scott Rotter, the legendary gay porn star), in a hastily called news conference in the lobby of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, assured reporters that church authorities have nothing against gay people personally, nor were they afraid that meeting with Affirmation would undermine their efforts to stop gay marriages in California.

“Gay people are good people, as long as they don’t do gay things,” said Elder Trotter. “We are not, in principle, opposed to meeting with gay people, and at some point in the future, when sufficient safeguards have been established—such as Plexiglas dividers, latex gloves and surgical masks—we will be happy to address their concerns with love in our hearts and protective gear on our bodies.”

Elder Trotter then distributed copies of a monograph written by a team of BYU professors recently published in the Journal of Innovative Etiology. Titled “Spores and Sexual Orientation,” the extensively footnoted scholarly article lays out recent research on the genesis of same-gender attraction.

“I ask you all to read the article with an open mind and an open heart. But whatever you do, don’t read the article within several kilometers of any known gay person, or even someone you suspect of having homoite tendencies. For as you will see, the evidence is overwhelming that homonian attraction is caused by a haploid spore with high motility. How these spores get airborne is not exactly known at this time, but we do know that they are exceedingly contagious.

“Our scientists speculate that spores, which we have now identified as ballistospores, not zygospores as previously hypothesized, are discharged from what we technically call the fruiting body, and somehow travel to bodily apertures of unsuspecting normal folks who innocently happen to be in the vicinity.

“These ballistospores could be expelled from the fruiting body by sneezes, coughs, singing, burps or flatulations. We think spores coming to rest on external surfaces, though still motile, are not as contagious as those spores that have become aerosolized by bodily functions of an expulsive character.

“Based on our research, we prefer at this time not to have any physical contact with any gay-type persons, as even your basic handshake, or even your grip patriarchal, might prove deleterious to persons exposed to gay spores. We are open to some form of teleconferencing, but we want to rule out completely the possibility that the gay spore might be digitized, inadvertently or otherwise, and thus present a danger to innocent teleconferencers.”

Elder Trotter was interrupted at this point by a reporter whose rudeness marked him as someone not conversant with our genteel culture. He asked about the efficacy of Mormon undergarments—which have been proven to repel stinging insects, bullets, knives, arrows and Tasers—in repelling aerosolized ballistospores. Elder Trotter replied that the Lord didn’t know about ballistospores back when he invented sacred undergarments. The persistent reporter then posed a question about the omniscience of the Lord, at which point Elder Trotter replied that the Lord moves in mysterious ways, etc, etc., and then brought the news conference to a conclusion.

In a related development, Deseret Book has just announced the fall publication of Turnaround, (not to be confused with Mitt Romney’s book of the same title), a meticulous account of examples of successful reparative therapy in Mormon history. Written by Parmel J. Pratt, an archivist in the church history department, who is better known as a gifted scrapbooker, Turnaround is an inspiring tale of gay Mormons who stopped doing gay things.

There are numerous stories of gay Mormons who straightened themselves out, but the tale that will surely delight Mormons, homo and hetero alike, is the saga of LeGrand P. Willy, who cut a wide swath through the unmarried male population of Zion in the 1850s. “Because of polygamy, there are all these dreamy bachelors around town,” Brother Willy once told a friend. “It’s like a perpetual picnic!”

Succumbing to the powerful spell of Brigham Young, the flamboyant Willy went on to become the Lion of the Lord’s personal barber and masseuse. In an interesting historical sidelight, Mr. Willy is credited with originating the “Mormon shoulder massage,” the now universal greeting between members of the Melchizedek priesthood. It is unknown whether or not Mr. Willy’s spores are still floating around town.

D.P. Sorensen writes satire for City Weekly.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Speaking of inappropriate...

So last night, against my better judgment, I went to Taco Bell with my cousin Paul. He ordered and went to dispense his drink, and I stepped up to the counter, glanced down at the LED screen on the cash register, and nearly lost it. Where it normally says something like:

“Would you like to
Try a spam Chalupa
With your order
Only $2.99”

someone had reprogrammed the 4-line LED display to read:

“Would you like to
Suck my balls
With your order
Only $2.99.”

I’m afraid the poor Latina running the register thought I was laughing at her, so I tried to direct my laughter at Paul, who came over to see what was wrong and practically wet his pants.

I don't know who was responsible, but I hope they get a raise.

Friday, September 5, 2008

I watched the Republican National Convention

...mostly out of duty, but also because I feel it's important to hear both sides. Wednesday made me sick. The discussion was short on substance and overflowing with ridicule aimed at the Democrats. I'm embarrassed for the speakers Wednesday night. It is a weak person, bereft of strength in his or her convictions, that runs a campaign solely on attacking the opposition. On the other hand, Mr. McCain gave a very powerful speech last night. I wish he would step up and be the leader he claims to be. Stand up to your stooges, Senator, and demand that they play nice. A campaign platform of bitterness and infantile name-calling is reprehensible. Play nice, kids!

Here's an editorial that Sheri found in the NY Times:


By the time John McCain took the stage on Thursday night, we wondered if there would be any sign of the senator we long respected — the conservative who fought fair and sometimes bucked party orthodoxy.

Certainly, the convention that nominated him bore no resemblance to that John McCain. Rather than remaking George W. Bush’s Republican Party in his own image, Mr. McCain allowed the practitioners of the politics of fear and division to run the show.

Thursday night, Americans mainly saw the old John McCain. He spoke in a moving way about the horrors he endured in Vietnam. He talked with quiet civility about fighting corruption. He said the Republicans “had lost the trust” of the American people and promised to regain it. He decried “the constant partisan rancor that stops us from solving” problems.

But there were also chilling glimpses of the new John McCain, who questioned the patriotism of his opponents as the “me first, country second” crowd and threw out a list of false claims about Barack Obama’s record, saying, for example, that Mr. Obama opposed nuclear power. There was no mention of immigration reform or global warming, Mr. McCain’s signature issues before he decided to veer right to win the nomination.

In the end, we couldn’t explain the huge difference between the John McCain of Thursday night and the one who ran such an angry and derisive campaign and convention — other than to conclude that he has decided he can have it both ways. He can talk loftily of bipartisanship and allow his team to savage his opponent.

What makes that so vexing — and so cynical — is that this is precisely how Mr. Bush destroyed Mr. McCain’s candidacy in the 2000 primaries, with the help of the Karl Rovian team that now runs Mr. McCain’s campaign.

There could not have been a starker contrast between Mr. McCain’s night on the stage and the earlier days of the convention, a carnival of partisan rancor. It was not a forum for explaining policies or defining ideals, certainly none ever associated with Mr. McCain.

On Wednesday, the nastiest night of the week, Mr. McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin, and other speakers offered punch lines, rather than solutions for this country’s many problems — ridiculing the Washington elite (of which most were solid members) and Barack Obama.

“Al Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America, and he’s worried that someone won’t read them their rights,” Ms. Palin said.

Mr. Obama, in reality, wants to give basic human rights to prisoners in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, only a handful of whom are Qaeda members, and shield them from torture. So, once upon a time, did Mr. McCain, but there was no mention of that in St. Paul, or of the bill he wrote protecting those prisoners.

Mike Huckabee dismissed Mr. Obama, the first black candidate of any major party, as a mere “symbolic” choice for president.

At the same time, the Republicans tried to co-opt Mr. Obama’s talk of change and paint themselves as the real Americans. It is an ill-fitting suit for the least diverse, most conservative and richest Republican delegates since The Times started tracking such data in 1996.

It was, in short, a gathering devoted almost entirely to the culture war refined by Mr. Rove in Mr. Bush’s two campaigns.

On Thursday, Mr. McCain said he would reach out to “any willing patriot, make this government start working for you again.” Mr. Bush, too, promised the same bipartisanship in his campaigns, and then governed in the most divisive, partisan way.

Americans have a right to ask which John McCain would be president. We hope Mr. McCain starts to answer that by halting the attacks on Mr. Obama’s patriotism and beginning a serious, civil debate.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Did you know...

...that despair.com lets you make your own demotivators? For any of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, you're missing the wonderful world of despair.com. (shakes head with a sigh) For everyone else, suck on this:



Sunday, August 24, 2008

More Dirty Politics...

Who really cares how many houses John McCain owns? I don't. I think what's important is what John McCain DOES in those houses. Eat babies? Well, we've already established that.

For a couple days the big headline was "how many houses does John McCain own?" John McCain's answer: "Me not know." Okay, I paraphrased there. The Obama camp would have you believe that this is an indication that McCain is "out of touch" with the average American. Maybe it is. Maybe he is. But does Obama really need to stoop to McCain's petty brand of politicking? Maybe he does. I really hate that in this country the person who wins is the person who successfully smears his opponent the worst. We're a country of bullies pushing each other into mud puddles.

But back to the subject of John McCain's memory. I'm not concerned that John McCain can't remember how many houses he has. I'm more worried that he might not be able to remember where they are. One night, you're just drifting off to sleep when you hear a knock at the front door. It's John McCain.

You: Senator McCain, what are you doing out so late...and in your pajamas?
John McCain (a la Cookie Monster): Me not know.
You: Senator McCain, are you lost again? Do you need me to help you find your house?
John McCain (with a blank look): Me like cookies.

Cut him a little slack, America. John McCain isn't out of touch with the American voting public. He's just senile. Still, despite eight years of evidence to the contrary, the White House is not an assisted living facility.

Okay, I'm kidding. John McCain's old. Ha ha ha...there now, that's out of our system. (mirthfully wipes a tear) This blog entry was supposed to be another rant about dirty politics and how the Obama camp seems to be easing into the pool. But then Obama announced his running mate and McCain's Out-Of-Touchiness slipped out of the picture. Barack Obama, in what can only be called an attempt to broaden his appeal among young voters, announced that his articulate, bright, clean, and nice looking running mate would be Senator Joe Biden (age 65.) I for one, think it's a great idea. Obama, not being a senior citizen himself, needs a test dummy for his medicare/social security policies. A lab rat, if you will. Okay, I'm not really sure where this is going. I was envisioning Obama's lab rat cabinet, with their cute little hamster wheels and rat mazes...

So Obama announced Biden as would be his running mate and a shrewd John McCain delt a decisive blow to the Obama campaign. From www.johnmccain.com:

In 2005, Biden Even Said He'd Be Honored To Run On The Same Ticket As John McCain. Comedy Central's Jon Stewart: "You may end up going against a Senate colleague, perhaps McCain, perhaps Frist?" Biden: "John McCain is a personal friend, a great friend, and I would be honored to run with or against John McCain, because I think the country would be better off -- be well off no matter who..." Stewart: "Did I hear, Did I hear with?" Biden: "You know, John McCain and I think..." Stewart: "Don't become cottage cheese my friend. Say it." Biden: "The answer is yes." (Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" 8/2/05)

Wow. John McCain watches the Daily Show??? Wait...no...that wasn't my point. Barack Obama totally poached John McCain's prom date!!! I'd be pissed. Reading the list of Obamaphobic Bidenisms on www.johnmccain.com, I'm convinced that the McCain camp is either desperate for dirt or (as I've previously asserted) JOHN MCCAIN IS SENILE. Seriously, what a juvenile attack.

"Pssst...hey Becky...did you hear that Joe called Barack articulate? Yeah, and now they're going to the prom TOGETHER! I'd be sooo embarrassed. Besides, Joe Biden's prom dress is strapless. Does he honestly think he can pull off strapless? With his figure? O.M.G."

I think most pressing concern about an Obama/Biden ticket is that this is another obvious (to any redneck) clue that the Barack has terrorist ties. Definitely. I mean, we've already established that Obama is PRACTICALLY Osama. Now he's running with Biden? Well throw in an apostrophe and Bi'den is just a contraction of BIn laDEN. See?

Damn, I hope the country is smarter than that. But mark my words, some anti-Obama right-wingnut with too much time on his hands is going to photoshop a nice OBAMA BInlaDEN campaign button and soon everybody with half a brain (and no more) will be wearing them. The good news is that way we'll be able to recognize the morons from a distance.

Now, on to the REALLY important matter: State-sanctioned torture.

I think that if we're still in the business of torturing suspected terrorists, Pierce Brosnan's vocal tracks in the new Mama Mia film could very well be the most effective means of information extraction. I know if I was shut up in a dark room and forced to hear him sing, I'd spill the beans on ANYTHING.