Frisky Business in Wal-Mart

The Human Rights Coalition recently published their Buying for Equality Guide 2009. Not surprisingly, Wal-Mart received a pitiful score, and HRC recommends that we shop elsewhere.

Not a problem for me.

I’ve avoided Wal-Mart since my partner passed away a couple years ago. I don’t know if straight folks can relate, but I’m sure most of you have your own “Wal-Marts”. You know those intoxicatingly energized weeks, months — years, if you’re lucky — right after getting into a new relationship? When you can’t stand to not be touching, but you’re out in public where that’s frowned on? So, you … improvise?

We lived in rural areas for the first few years, so we spent a lot of time in Wal-Mart. A lot of highly charged, playful, nobody-in-the-world-but-us time. I can remember being in the towel aisle of Wal-Mart, in nowhere Louisiana, and knowing that I wouldn’t trade places with anyone, anywhere. Talk about being in the now!

I hope everyone has those moments. But I still can’t go back to Wal-Mart.

From the looks of their score in the HRC buying guide, it may never be an issue.


With egg in hand….

I stood in my kitchen this morning holding an egg and really missing my mom. I was thinking about the time, years and years ago, when I called to ask her how long to boil eggs to get them to come out as good as hers. I hit the jackpot that day because two of my aunts were there. They proceeded to launch into a discussion that they revisited for years about the best technique.

Each of them had a totally different method. One dropped the eggs into a rolling boil (“What’s a ‘rolling boil’, mom?” “You know, a rolling boil, when the bubbles get just right.”) and left them for so long. Another started them in cold water and turned them off as soon as the mysterious “roll” was achieved. And, I can’t remember what the other one said — but it was completely different.

As I was holding that little egg in my hand, I realized that I hadn’t attempted to hard boil one in years. My partner was a great cook and loved doing it. Who was I to deny her of that pleasure? In fact, everything in the kitchen is so much “her” that it’s been hard for me to even be in there for the past two years. But, this morning, I really wanted a hard boiled egg, and I could not think of one drive-through facility that would produce one for me.

So, I thought, how hard can it be?

Which brings us right back to why I was really missing my mom! Gooey centers, green around the yolk, shells that wouldn’t come off with a chainsaw — none of my attempts even came close to that perfect egg. And, to tell the truth, even though they all produced great results, it wasn’t even my mom’s method that was the best. I’d have to call her and steer the conversation around to all those second-rate suggestions to get her to tell me again what my Aunt Ann had said. Hers was the best, but there was no way I was going to tell my mom that — I may not be the best cook, but I’m not stupid!

So, are you all thinking that I’m going to come up with some parallel about different routes to the same goal? Tie in this trip down culinary memory lane with my mom and my aunts to gays and straights, Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives all wanting the same thing but coming at it from different places?

Well, you would be wrong.

I just want to know how long to boil this egg!

I’m thinking that I may go over to my favorite blog and ask Margaret and Helen. They’re the same age my mom would be — I bet one of them probably uses the exact method that I’m looking for.

Or, maybe one of you? All suggestions welcome!

(Good thing my brother doesn’t read this blog — he thinks we are going to give my sister-in-law the day off and he and I cook Thanksgiving dinner together. This egg business might make him nervous. But, I actually can cook a turkey — I just can’t boil an egg…)

A Day Without Sunshine

It’s funny how things work out sometimes. In the aftermath of stunning losses for the gay community in California, Arizona, Florida and Arkansas, I find myself thinking of one of my favorite stories….

There was once a young man who came from a very poor family in China. When he was out for the day, his horse ran away. On his return, the villagers ran to his father to express their sadness for this financial loss.

“Isn’t this terrible?” they wailed. The aged father shook his head from side to side and calmly stated, “Maybe good. Maybe bad.”

On the following day, the son went out to hunt for the missing steed and, to his great joy, he found a herd of wild horses and was able to bring them back to the village. The elated crowd ran to his father and exclaimed, “Isn’t this wonderful news? What great fortune!” The elder again merely stated, “Maybe good. Maybe bad.”

The next morning, the boy went out into the corral to try to break in a horse for himself. In the process, he was trampled and made lame. When the townspeople saw his ruined leg, they ran to his father to convey their grief. The reply was again the same, “Maybe good. Maybe bad.”

A day or so later, the Chinese army came to the village to take all the able-bodied young men away to war.

Sometimes what appears to be a tragedy turns into a blessing. I’ve always believed that Anita Bryant was the best thing that ever happened to gay rights. California’s Proposition 8 and the other blatantly discriminatory ballot initiatives may end up having the same effect.

Just today, I followed a link posted in Margaret and Helen‘s blog to Atticus Circle, which is an organization of straight folks working for gay rights. Who knew?

And, also today, I watched the Keith Olbermann video on gay marriage. I’m not much of a fan of his stuff but I saw so many references to it that I finally watched. If you haven’t seen it, you should.  

Once in awhile, at the end of “a day without sunshine” the clouds part….

Good Bye, Sarah

There has been a lot of scary speculation about Sarah Palin running for president in four years. Even in a world as screwy as this one, I simply can not take that seriously. I don’t even think the folks in Alaska are going to be cutting her a paycheck for that long.

So, as we bid farewell to the former First Lady of Wasilla, we thought you might like one more look at a few of those special moments.

Are some just a wee bit tacky? You betcha!


Margaret and Helen  (maybe my favorite blog)

Palin and the President of France

Hockey Mom for Obama

Palin’s Greatest Campaign Moments

Sarah Palin vs. Tina Fey

The Governor Had No Clothes?

There’s been lots of media coverage about the $150,000 clothing spending spree that the GOP sent Sarah Palin and her family on — a big chunk of it being at that favorite of working class Americans, Neiman Marcus. I, for one, think they probably got their money’s worth. She looks pretty good in that red leather jacket and those boots. But, hey, I’m way past making up my mind about her qualifications for office, so I can focus on details like that.


If there truly are still folks out there that are undecided, I would hope that they would look past the leather and those glasses everyone has made such a big deal about.  For instance, recently, when asked about her role as VP, she said that the Vice President is in charge of the Senate and that she was looking — excuse me, “lookin’” — forward to when she “can really get in there with the senators and make a lot of good policy changes”.


I’m betting there were 100 senators, both sides of the aisle, whose ears perked up over that one!


But, I want to be fair. It’s been on my to-do list to try and get around to reading those hundreds and hundreds of signing statements that Bush has issued in the past eight years — you know, those waivers he uses to do whatever he wants. Not to mention the various precedents that Cheney has tried to put in place by ignoring subpoenas and disregarding requests and summons by the other two branches of our government.


So, who knows?


Maybe Sarah is right — maybe the Vice President is in charge of the Senate at this point….



I was driving along the other day and I noticed this sign —

Grief Support Group – Mondays 6 – 7 pm“.

Anyone familiar with the On the Gay Horizon website or newsletter knows that I lost my partner almost two years ago and it has been the most difficult thing I have ever had to deal with. So, that sign caught my eye.

My first thought, accompanied by the tiniest jolt of hopeful anticipation, was “maybe that could help”. But it was immediately followed by — well, you know what came next. “They don’t mean me.”

Oh sure, they might let me join the group. Or, I could make a big deal out of it and push my way in. Like we do a lot of places. But do I really want to do that with a support group? And, even if I got in, what are the odds that anyone there would “get it” that my grief is no different from theirs?

So, I just kept on driving.

But, from long ago, came the words to a song I didn’t even know I remembered…

…and the sign said, “You’ve got to have a membership card to get inside.”

…signs, signs, everywhere a sign, blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind, do this, don’t do that. Can’t you read the signs?

…and the sign said, “Everybody welcome. Come in, kneel down and pray” .  And when they passed around the plate at the end of it all, I didn’t have a penny to pay. So I got me a pen and paper and I made up my own little sign. I said, “Thank you Lord for thinkin’ bout me. I’m alive and doin’ fine”.

Flip Side of the Race Card

There’s a question starting to make the rounds. It’s rearing its little head in blogs and forums, letters to editors in print publications — maybe even on the air. I wouldn’t know about the latter because I never listen to talk radio, and if it doesn’t make it into a plot line on The Ghost Whisperer or Bones, I’m unlikely to see it on TV.

It’s the flip side of the race card.

What is the difference, they ask, between not voting for someone because he is black or voting for him because he is black?

Actually, it’s a very good question. African Americans, in every state, are being registered by the thousands. Yes, as a demographic, they historically vote as Democrats. But no one doubts why an overwhelming percentage is expected to vote for Barack Obama.

Would it not be the same for our community? If we had a gay candidate in the race for the presidency, would we really care about their foreign policy experience? Or whether they could pronounce the names of all the generals running the various wars we have going? Of course not. We would vote for one of our own.

So, why is that okay but it not be okay for someone to vote against someone that they don’t feel is one of their own? Why is one condemned as racist if not the other?

I’m just asking. Somehow, I don’t think the answer to this one can be found on this particular playing field. Besides, I was ruined for these kinds of questions years ago. Back in my first year of college when I had to read a book titled Situation Ethics by Joseph Fletcher. I’ve not been able to think in terms of absolutes since.

But, maybe an answer is something most of us believe but oftentimes lose sight of — focusing on those things that we are for rather than those we are against. Voting for a candidate instead of against one. Looking for the common ground where we can agree and work to build a future that benefits us all — not, as will happen the day after this election, mobilize to undermine whatever the “other side” supports.

In my dreams? Yeah, I know.

I do try not to be cynical but with the state of politics and government….it’s hard. But Barack Obama makes me almost believe that he can make a difference. This time it’s more than simply the choice of the lesser of evils. Something about him makes me believe almost enough that, even if he was running against one of “us”, I just might still vote for him….

Unless, of course, it was Ellen. Or Lily. Or Nathan! Nathan Lane, President of the United States of America — what a world that would be!