Category Archives: surprises

Did you know that…

this is where cashews come from? A cashew is the only fruit with the seed outside the fruit, and each fruit just has the one. Now you know.

While you read this I am likely either snorkeling or recovering from the raging sunburn I will have undoubtedly gotten. I haven’t gotten burned yet (it’s noon Friday as I write this) but am pretty clear there’s no way to avoid it with a full day in the sun. In Spanish, “I have a sunburn” is “Tengo una quemadura del sol”. I’m ready.

Living Your Pride

Last night I went to a celebration for Rhode Island Pride, and it reminded me of a great article I read last week. Have you read this article written by a mom about her 7 year old coming out? You should. It’s amazing. This paragraph absolutely made me tear up:

Since that day, any time the word “gay” has come into conversation, he has happily announced to those around him, “I’m gay!” He says this very naturally and happily, the same way he announces other things that he likes about himself. Mention that a person is tall and he’ll quickly add, “I’m tall!” If he hears the word “Legos,” barely a second passes before he says, “Legos. I love Legos.” Saying “I’m gay” is his way of telling people: this is something I like about myself.

Until I read this paragraph I didn’t realize that this was the reason that I’ve been doing queer acivism – so that queer and/or trans kids can stop knowing there is something weird and shameful about themselves that they must hide, and recognize that they have differences that are wonderful facets of themselves. Pride shouldn’t be something we have to come to in adulthood. It should be something that we feel from the moment we start coming out to ourselves. And for that to be true, we have to change the world so that young folks get the great and positive messages this little fellow has.

On one occasion after an “I’m gay” announcement, I watched my husband reach out to ruffle our son’s hair. “I know, buddy,” my husband said to him. “And you’re awesome, too.” That’s how we’re handling it. We want him to know we hear him, and that he’s wonderful. It feels like the right thing to do, and that’s all we have to go by. We don’t have any other examples.

Feeling Justified

Hacked Version of Komen Banner

I’ve never been one to buy all the pink breast cancer awareness stuff – you know, the ubiquitous pink beribboned housewares that ostensibly funded breast cancer research. It always seemed silly to pay an extra $10 when only $.50 was actually going to the specified charities. And in wake of the large, public kerfluffle over the Komen Foundation cutting off Planned Parenthood’s funding, I’m feeling somewhat more self-satisfied than I like to admit in mixed company. (And I’ve also made a small but unrestricted donation to my local Planned Parenthood chapter, and signed up as a potential cancer research subject, because I felt like I should be doing something.) I’m appalled at the ways that political opposition to organizations providing certain legal, constitutionally protected, but controversial medical services (abortion and contraception) to women who are SEEKING THEM OUT, are used to justify pulling funding that will preclude other women from accessing other health services. Shame on Komen.

I Think I’m Gonna Like It Here

Hello Darlings.

I apologize for my prolonged absence – I had some personal and professional business to attend to at the end of 2011, and was too busy and too boring to blog. But today is my first day of a new job, which I believe will provide lots of room for me to be healthy and happy and whole.

I’m expecting a return to twice weekly post schedule, and to my usual assortment of observations of the world around me. Knitting, gardening, and queer happenings are likely to be overrepresented, with a smattering of strange scientific facts, music and film reviews, and political thoughts. So bear with me and we’ll see how it goes!

Stuffy, Archaic, and Outdated

I got some very disappointing news yesterday. No, not that whole civil unions debacle. Worse. The Oxford Style Guide no long requires the Oxford, or serial, comma. As they say, “As a general rule, do not use the serial/Oxford comma: so write ‘a, b and c’ not ‘a, b, and c’. But when a comma would assist in the meaning of the sentence or helps to resolve ambiguity, it can be used – especially where one of the items in the list is already joined by ‘and’ [for example]: They had a choice between croissants, bacon and eggs, and muesli.”

Well, phooey, I say. I am a big fan of serial commas, and if that makes me a holdover, so be it. I also double space after a period. But since I’m running for post-apocalyptic class president, I think outdated and archaic style suits me.

In other happier news, I grew these:


The Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup yesterday (that’s hockey, darlings), and in a strange turn of events the Boston fans celebrated civilly and went to bed safely, while Vancouver exploded in flames. As my friend who drew my attention to this photo says, “Rioting’s bad, looting’s bad, and certain hockey fans should be ashamed. This is still pretty hot, though, right?”

Riot police walk in the street as a couple kiss on June 15, 2011 in Vancouver, Canada. Vancouver broke out in riots after their hockey team the Vancouver Canucks lost in Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Finals. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)

Happy Mothers’ Day

I love proper grammar.

From the New Yorker. Click image for the link.

Thanks for Nothin’, Mistah Speakah

In politics, sometimes those who should be your biggest advocates are the first to turn tail and run. Such is the case with Rhode Island’s House Speaker, who has been at best an ambivalent supporter of marriage equality since coming out as gay at a marriage rally in 2004. Rather than taking a position of leadership and encouraging his chamber to do the right thing in voting for equality, and getting folks on the record about their support or opposition, he went back on his promise for a vote on marriage this year, and instead is authoring a second-class civil union bill. Supporters of equality are understandably upset at this move. This colossal lack of leadership should be an embarrassment to every single member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives, regardless of their position on marriage equality.

Some prominent incrementalists applaud Fox’s move, citing Vermont’s pioneering move toward civil unions in 2000, and subsequent move to marriage equality in 2009. How quickly we forget that in 2000, when Vermont passed civil union legislation, there was absolutely no recognition for same sex couples anywhere in this country. I remember. Ellison and I started dating at the end of 2000, and those crazy Green Mountain Staters had just entered into an experiment of providing same-sex couples within their borders with access to the state protections provided by Vermont. These unions were not portable, with all rights and recognition dissolving at the state borders. They provided no access to any Federal recognition, or to the rights and responsibilities provided by other states. Within 7 years, Vermont recognized that civil unions were not sufficient to provide the protections they intended, and in 2009 they repealed their civil union law and passed full marriage equality.

Why should we have to make this mistake ourselves? Vermont, Connecticut, and New Hampshire have all recognized that civil unions don’t work, and have converted to full marriage equality. Rhode Island is surrounded on all sides by states that offer marriage equality. Neither Massachusetts nor Connecticut recognize civil unions, so Rhode Islanders will NOT be protected in their neighboring states. While I recognize that there may not be the votes to move marriage equality legislation into the law of the land this year, I am absolutely appalled that an openly gay House Speaker would be the one to cave, and to signal to the legislature that there is no need for courage, no need to stand for equality, and that second class status is good enough. It is one thing to acquiesce and accept what you can get; it is another thing entirely to be the author of inequality and its primary champion. I would love to know all the terms of the back room deal that led to this appalling move.

Making No Bones About Identity

Hey, did you hear the one about the skeleton buried with the jars? You know, this guy:

Well, it’s been identified as a male skeleton buried in a fashion reserved for women in its society. So, clearly, he’s gay. And a “gender bender”. Or, wait, maybe a transgender woman?

About a billion people have written eloquently on the difference between gender identity and sexual orienation, about the difference between behavior and identity, and about the ongoing question of whether or not we can impose modern understandings of gender and sexual orientation on other modern eras, let alone a 5,000 year old skeleton (it would behoove us all to remember that even modern gay icon Oscar Wilde was married to a woman and had two sons). But the reporting on this discovery underscores the conflation of gender and sexual orientation. Or maybe the conflation of gay identity with gender-non-normativity.

As far as I can tell, we don’t know a darn thing about who this skeleton, when alive, was attracted to. We don’t know who, if anyone, they partnered with. But we do have a clue that this person was considered to be female, or to fulfill a female social role, because of the way they were buried in an apparently rigidly gendered system. To me, this would point more to a non-normative gender than a sexual orientation. Even to say this, though, overlays a modern eye. There are several cultures that only allow “same-sex” partnering to occur in the open if one of the partners adopts a cross-gender presentation and role, essentially morphing a same-gender couple to a different gender couple. There are cultures that embrace the two-spirit, or a third gender, or bi-gendered, and those that reject individuals who don’t fit the binary. We don’t know a darn thing about how this particular person was integrated into their culture.

Bottom line: this archeological find asks a lot of questions about an ancient culture, but the reporting on it tells us an awful lot about ours.


I love this ad, from new queer design company Marimacho. Not just the clothes, but the styling – it’s consummate queer fashion for the “masculine of center” among us. And that’s just what Marimacho means: it’s Spanish for “tomboy”
Click the photo for more gawk-worthy fashion, and check out this interview with the minds behind the line.

H/t DapperQ. And H/t to DapperQ advertiser Stacy Adams: check out those hot shoes in small guy sizes!