Sunday, November 30, 2008
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
Thanksgiving of 1978 came and went like most of the other Thanksgivings of my childhood in the 1970s. My mother, brother and I had spent the holiday with a group of my mother's friends either at our house or somewhere in the Bay Area. Other than my mother's pies, the holiday had not been particularly memorable, but it was about the only thing that had occurred that month in the city where I grew up that might have been described as normal.
In November of 1978, I was a child, albeit a progressive child of 1970s San Francisco, so on Thanksgiving that year my mind was on baseball, my friends, school, my upcoming birthday and other preoccupations of childhood. I was not focused on the recent mass suicide by members of the People's Temple, who had relocated to Guyana from San Francisco, that had been a blow to my city and had dominated Thanksgiving table conversations throughout San Francisco that year. San Franciscans of all ages had no way of knowing that those events would not even be the most traumatic thing to happen to our city that month or that the Jonestown Massacre was only the beginning of a tough decade for our town, one where the we were severely impacted by the AIDS epidemic, spending cuts in health and other social services during the Reagan years, increased costs of living and, just when the city was beginning to turn things around, the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989.
It was the Monday after Thanksgiving, thirty years ago today, however, that San Francisco again changed forever. That afternoon when I returned from lunch to my sixth grade science class, the nun who was our teacher was visibly distraught about something. She began class that day by somberly announcing that Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk had been assassinated. Some of us were as upset and shaken by the news as our teacher was. However, more than a few of my classmates greeted this news with cheers of celebration and even exuberant shouts of "they killed that f*g."
While he was alive, Harvey Milk had not been a major presence in my life. I was too young to be involved in city politics and was not deeply aware of all of the political struggles going on around me. Nonethelesss, I was horrified and more than a little frightened by this reaction from the other boys in my class. At home I had learned that Harvey Milk was one of the good guys-and one of us. Now Milk, who like my family was Jewish and from New York, had been killed; and my classmates were cheering at his death.
San Francisco was a different town thirty years ago. It still had not become the city that Harvey Milk helped build, but never saw. San Francisco in 1978 was a city in transition; and Dan White, the man who had assassinated the Mayor and Harvey Milk was fighting against that transition and that progress. Dan White represented the reactionary and hateful elements that feared Harvey Milk who, in turn, feared nobody. Thirty years later, it is hard to imagine that San Francisco of the late 1970s was a city that was in some real ways was still divided. While the City Hall demonstrations against Dan White remain important images from that period, it is occasionally forgotten that strong reservoirs of support remained in several parts of San Francisco for the policeman turned city supervisor turned cold-blooded killer.
The controversy or spin, a word we didn't use back then, surrounding the assassinations of Moscone and Milk and the subsequent trial of Dan White, who had been angry that Mayor Moscone had decided not to reappoint him to the Board of Supervisors, began almost right away. Over the next few months at school it was common to hear students, particularly in my older brother's class, saying that Dan White had led an exemplary life and should not be punished too much for making just one mistake. At home the one time when my brother or I made the mistake of repeating this line of reasoning, to use that term very loosely, out on my mother, we didn't get very far.
The famous and strange trial that followed the assassination, the now famous Twinkie defense, the slap on the wrist given to Dan White and his subsequent suicide after being released from prison are well known. While the justice system failed the memories of Harvey Milk and George Moscone, the City of San Francisco, and gay and lesbian people everywhere, ultimately Harvey Milk's San Francisco defeated Dan White's San Francisco. Within only a few years of Harvey Milk's death, gay and lesbian elected officials were no longer unusual in San Francisco as the political power that Milk had sought to create in the gay and lesbian community became institutionalized. The city has become responsive to gays and lesbians and has been at the cutting edge of most civil and human rights issues.
Harvey Milk's impact, of course, goes far beyond his adopted hometown. In his famous "Hope Speech", Milk spoke about the "young gay person who all the sudden realizes that he or she is gay; knows that if their parents find out they will be tossed out of the house, their classmates will taunt the child...and that child has several options: staying in the closet, and suicide..." Because of the work of Milk and other like him that child now had "two new options: the option is to go to California (read San Francisco), or stay in San Antonio and fight." Milk's greatest legacy is that all across America people chose to do both. While the forces of hate are still out there, and still winning some battles, such as the discriminatory Proposition 8 in California, because of the work of Harvey Milk and millions of other lesser known heroes, those same forces of hate will lose their war. Harvey Milk's America will defeat Dan White's America.
As we sit down to our Thanksgiving dinners tonight, progressives have a lot to be thankful for this year, but lets take a minute to remember that great San Franciscan and great American Harvey Milk and the work we all still have to do.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
I am having a rough few days, so I am going to take the easy route for posts the next couple of days and just share some quick photos or videos that make me laugh, or are worth sharing.
I struggle with this time of year, and just honestly wait for New Year's to come, and then breathe a sigh of relief. Holidays are tough for me for a number of reasons. I am hoping next year will be better at this time.
I hope you all have very special turkey days tomorrow!
For now, enjoy Roomba kitty. This is one calm cat, I can't imagine one of mine doing this. This has been a huge hit on You Tube evidently, with almost 2 million hits.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
A police officer examines an oddly placed piano in the woods of Harwich, Massachusetts.
Discovered by a woman who was walking a trail, the Baldwin Acrosonic piano, model number 987, is intact -- and, apparently, in tune.
Sgt. Adam Hutton of the Harwich Police Department said information has been broadcast to all the other police departments in the Cape Cod area in hopes of drumming up a clue, however minor it may be.
But so far, the investigation is flat.
Also of note: Near the mystery piano -- serial number 733746 -- was a bench, positioned as though someone was about to play.
The piano was at the end of a dirt road, near a walking path to a footbridge in the middle of conservation land near the Cape.
It took a handful of police to move the piano into a vehicle to transport it to storage, so it would appear that putting it into the woods took more than one person.
WCVB: No claim on found piano
Asked whether Harwich police will be holding a holiday party in the storage bay -- tickling the ivories, pouring eggnog -- while they await word of the piano's origin and fate, Hutton laughed. No such plans.
Harwich police have had some fun, though. Among the photos they sent to the news media is one of Officer Derek Dutra examining the piano in the woods. The police entitled the photo "Liberace."
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Someone sent me this ad last year, and it has never left my memory. This is so powerful and SO true. Especially when they are young, children watch their parents, and LEARN. I have seen this in action when I have worked with kids as a camp counselor, with Guardian ad Litem, and when teaching drama to kids of all ages. Children do indeed learn what they live.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
It's hard to believe I have reached 100 posts, but this November, I made a commitment to post every day, so that really has put me over the top. Most days what I have to say may not be terribly relevant or important to anyone but me, but the main reason I started blogging was to keep myself writing...to get myself doing that every day (or close to it). As I said in an earlier post, my dream is to publish a novel, one I am writing now. And I have to admit, that writing for this blog has sharpened my skills, made me think, and gotten me to write more. So, it has been worth it.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Lori and some of her daughter's friends then went on to communicate with Megan as Josh, "flirting" with her, supposedly gathering information, although I have never seen evidence of any of that. What I have seen evidence of is a grown woman toying with the emotions of a child. Lori was aware of Megan's battle with depression and that she was on medication for it. The group continued to communicate with her, posing as Josh, pretty much having an online relationship with her as him--Lori wrote many of the messages directly to Megan--and then abruptly turned on her, saying viscous things, ending with "Josh" saying to her in a final message: "the world would be a better place without you".
Megan hung herself in her closet shortly after this message, and died not long after.
The hate in my heart for Lori Drew has not lessened one bit since this happened, and has only seethed because she has never seemed to show any remorse. If other kids Megan's age had been the only ones involved, it would have been tragic, but not quite as heinous. When adults get too involved in their children's affairs and become children themselves, and then TEACH this vindictive behavior to their children, then, I am sorry, I think we all have to stop and make these people pay, make an example out of them, so no other idiots do this ever again.
At first, there seemed no law that could prosecute Lori Drew, mainly because our laws have not caught up with the technology. But, she has been taken to court. It is a shaky case based on the written law, but I am just glad this has dragged on, even if she is not sent to jail, just so this case is not forgotten, and everyone is reminded of what happened to Megan. I feel for Megan's parents, and I hope this trial gives them some sense of closure, or at least some feeling that some fight has been fought in Megan's name.
Here is a piece on yesterday's court proceedings:
MySpace Trial, Day 2: Lori Drew Says, "It's Not Like I Pulled The Trigger"
By Jessica, 9:30 AM on Fri Nov 21 2008
Yesterday was Day 2 of Lori Drew's federal trial for cyberfraud in the tormenting of 13-year-old suicide victim Megan Meier. Day 1 focused on the emotional testimony of Megan's mom, Tina, who described her daughter's depression and last words. Day 2 involved Tina's cross examination by defense lawyer H. Dean Steward and the initial testimony of Drew's accomplice in Megan's tormenting, Ashley Grills, who testified with government immunity. Lori Drew's hairdresser also took the stand, and her testimony about Drew's glee while mocking Megan was perhaps the most damning of all.
When Lori Drew helped set up the fake MySpace account because Megan had allegedly been mean to her daughter Sarah, she bragged to her hairdresser Christina Chu about it. Chu was so upset over Drew's callousness she had to retreat to the back of the salon.
"After Meier's death, on the day of her wake, Drew showed up again to have her hair done. Chu asked Drew why she was going to the wake, given her role in the cyberbullying. Drew's response, Chu said, was, 'It's not like I pulled the trigger,'" Wired reports.
In his cross-examination of Tina Meier, Drew's lawyer pummeled her on Megan's past internet behavior. According to Wired, before the Meiers' started monitoring Megan's internet usage closely, "Megan created a MySpace profile as an 18-year-old woman, and swapped sexually-charged banter with other users, he said, citing notes he'd obtained from Megan's psychologist." The lawyer pointed out that Megan had also violated MySpace's terms of service at one point by lying about her age.
Drew's lawyer also pointed out that Megan was taking a trio of antidepressants when she died. "One of them, the antidepressant citalopram, has a reported side affect of contributing to suicidal behavior in children and adolescents suffering from depression, he noted."
Ashley Grills, the then-18-year-old who was Lori Drew's assistant, said that the creation of the MySpace account was initially her idea, but that Lori Drew agreed and "thought it was funny," the L.A. Times notes.
Grills said that Lori Drew was present when they agreed to the terms of service, but neither woman read them.
From the L.A. Times:
Grills testified that she, Drew and Drew's daughter were trying to figure out a way "to expose Megan" for rumors she'd allegedly been spreading about Sarah…She said Drew also helped formulate messages that were sent to Megan and at one point suggested that they have 'Josh' arrange a meeting with Megan at a local mall at which Sarah and her friends would 'pop out' and tease Megan.
This part also hurts the case of MySpace fraud against Drew: the final contact between Megan and "Josh" took place on AOL Instant Messenger, according to testimony by Grills.
Grills also testified that she had no idea that Megan had had emotional problems in the past, until Drew told her shortly after Megan's death, "We could have pushed her overboard because she was suicidal and depressed.'"
When the Drew family and Grills got word that Megan had killed herself, they got off the internet and turned on the TV. Shortly thereafter, Wired reports, "Curt Drew started yelling at them to get rid of the MySpace account. When asked what Lori Drew did at that moment, Grills said at first she sat quietly and was consoling her daughter, then she, too, started yelling at them to delete the account and told them not to say anything to anyone."
article courtesy of Jezebel.com
Thursday, November 20, 2008
I'LL SELL YOU AN AUCTION BUNNY'S "MY SHADOW" ULTRA RARE
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Office Max has done this little promotional bit every year for the past few years, but now Jib Jab has picked it up in partnership with them. I always have to do it, and usually grab pictures of my friends and send it to them, copying everyone I can think of on the email. It's fun to do for your kids with their pictures too. Click on the link below mine to make your own!
Monday, November 17, 2008
Sunday, November 16, 2008
I needed a good laugh this morning, and went searching for my all-time favorite commercials. These three clips never fail to make me smile. The Citibank one, OMG, when he repeats that password on the train, I laugh so hard EVERY time. The EDS commercial is just brilliant as far as I am concerned. The whole concept, the seriousness of the cowboys-- it just kills me. And this aired years ago, and I remember it still.
The Mastercard one is airing now, and I will stop whatever I am doing to watch these little guys. Love it!
Saturday, November 15, 2008
A ten year old sent me this message in an email. It was a forwarded email, and one of those messages that asked me to forward it to five people and I would receive good luck. Boy, could I use some luck!
Friday, November 14, 2008
I am definitely a southern girl-- I love my sweet tea. But what I love even more, yes even more, is Snapple Peach Tea. When I lived in California and then in Maryland, it was all I drank, and I scoured the grocery stores for it, so disappointed when I couldn't find it.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
There are several blogs I *must* check every day and Cake Wrecks is one of them. This is a blog that features professional cakes that are anything but. Cakes that have gone-as the blog author puts it- horribly, hilariously wrong. The best thing about the site are her descriptions and commentary. I get a laugh almost every day. You are in for a treat if you don't know about this blog. Go back through the history and read them all. Below are a few of my favorites (with her commentary):
When Brides have No Budget (or Taste)
I Believe the Children are Our Future...
Monday, November 10, 2008
Customers starting coming in and some asking if the place was no longer for sale. It was surreal to introduce myself to these customers whom I later found out were almost daily regulars. They checked me out. One peeking over her glasses the other with a half smile on her face, “Ah, c’est vous l’Americaine?!” That made me smile. They immediately started requesting that their favorite teas be reinstated as soon as possible. Much of the stock had been exhausted because the sale of the tea house took longer than anticipated. I reassured them. Gave them my word and they bid me goodbye but with the promise that they would be back to check very, very soon. I got butterflies in my stomach.
There was a moment when the tea house was empty and only radio Nova keeping me company. I stood behind the kitchen/bar looking out into the room and it hit me in a huge wave. Tears welled in my eyes. I quickly sat down on the stool and caught my breath. I peeked over the bar once more and looked around. And again, the wave hit me like a Kansas gale and I quickly ducked down in case someone came in. My dream. It’s real.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
I have been saying for months now that I would go to Asheville, and every weekend, I would change my mind or something would happen. Finally today, I got up early and headed to one of my favorite spots. The drive was even shorter than I remembered- just under two hours.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
by Real Simple, on Fri Oct 24, 2008 9:00am PDT
How happy are you -- really? If there’s room for improvement, then Gretchen Rubin has some suggestions.
A few years ago, on a morning like any other, I had a sudden realization: I was in danger of wasting my life. As I stared out the rain-spattered window of a New York City bus, I saw that the years were slipping by.“What do I want from life?” I asked myself. “Well…I want to be happy.” I had many reasons to be happy: My husband was the tall, dark, handsome love of my life; we had two delightful girls, ages 1 and 7; I was a writer, living in my favorite city. I had friends; I had my health; I didn’t have to color my hair. But too often I sniped at my husband or the drugstore clerk. I felt dejected after even a minor professional setback. I lost my temper easily. Is that how a happy person would act?I decided on the spot to begin a systematic study of happiness. (A little intense, I know. But that’s the kind of thing that appeals to me.) In the end, I spent a year test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific studies, and tips from popular culture. If I followed all the advice, I wanted to know, would it work?Well, the year is over, and I can say: It did. I made myself happier. And along the way I learned a lot about how to be happier. Here are those lessons.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
Even as I have made my political views perfectly clear, I want us all to remember what a privilege we have in being able to elect our leaders and cast our votes. Whatever your political beliefs, it is important to get out, wait in line (no matter how long) and make your voice count. So, if your state didn't have early voting and tomorrow is the big day, or if you didn't make it to early voting, make the time, take the time, do what it takes to VOTE.
I found this piece* from Daily Kos truly informative and powerful, showing people from all over the world waiting in line to vote and highlighting their struggles.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
If you aren't reading Margaret and Helen, the political blog I mentioned in an earlier post, you should be. I am completely addicted, and love Helen's writing.
As I think most everyone has been, I was appalled by Elizabeth Dole's most recent political ad. I have to say--and this is a huge statement--this ad is the worst, most horrible attack ad I have ever seen produced in any race on the county, state or national level. I post it here, along with Campbell Brown's pointed (and excellent) commentary. This is a new low in politics--and that is a low place, my friends. If you are using Bill O'Reilly in your ads in a supposed effort to HELP you, I think that alone is a sad place to be. We need separation of church and state in the first place, but since that seems unlikely, hitting below the belt here in the very religious south is just dirty. Frankly, I don't want to hear ANYTHING about religion (or lack of) in ANY ads. I know that makes me a minority, but, oh well.
It looks like this is going to backfire on Dole, and I hope so. I will let Helen do the (rest of the) talking for me. This is her post about it:
Elizabeth Dole Just Started a Jihad
(Seven Posts in Seven Days - Day 6)
Now folks of all the things that have scared me this year in politics, one of the worst was learning that Sarah Palin declared the war in Iraq to be a task from God. Just do a little research on the history of religious wars and see how you feel about that. They tend to be long, bloody, and in every case, the biggest loser is God.
So I have spent more than a few hours writing about my less than warm feelings about Ms. Palin. But as of today the worst person in politcs is not Sarah Palin. It is Elizabeth Dole who ran an ad suggesting that her opponent is godless. Nevermind that her opponent, Kay Haggan, is a Sunday school teacher and an elder in her church. Nevermind that calling someone “Godless” leads to jets flying into skyscrapers. Nevermind any of that. Just follow this argument to its logical conclusion. Quick somebody, throw Haggan into a lake and see if she floats!
There is a reason that separation of church and state exists in the founding documents of our great nation. Our founding fathers were all too familiar with living in a world of religious prosecution just as much as they understood the ramifications of a government without religion. The solution is a government that allows both freedom for religion and freedom from religion. Smart bunch of guys those founding fathers.
A bit of history (I wasn’t there despite how old I seem to you): On September 17, 1787 the Constitutional Convention came to a close in the Assembly Room of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Although seventy individuals were chosen to attend the meetings, ultimately only thirty-nine actually signed the Constitution. George Mason of Virginia, Edmund Randolph of Virginia, and Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts refused to sign the final document primarily because they were fearful of an all-powerful government and wanted a bill of rights added to protect the rights of the people. We owe a great deal to these men.
But today, Elizabeth Dole has spit on all of their graves.
It’s not pretty, but it’s almost over. Go vote. Thanks for stopping by. I mean it. Really.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Even with everything going on, I did make it to vote this week. We have early voting in NC, and this also made me smile: