Friday, May 28, 2010

Um..okay

Logged in to Facebook today only to find out that I have apparently cohabitated the last 19+ years with the living dead.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Here comes DuPree....la, la-la-la...

I know it's been a little while since I've blogged.  The onset of Spring and sunshine and flowers has been quite a distraction.

But I return with triumphant news!

DuPree is officially engaged!

We decided this past weekend that there was no better way to celebrate our upcoming 20th anniversary than to tie the knot.

So - with a target date of June, 2011 - we'll be working on the details, setting aside the funds, and planning for a fabulous bash.

The great news is that we have a choice of states in which we can now get legally hitched.  And with a year's advance notice - we might even be able to get married in our own state of New York.  But the good news is that even if we don't have marriage equality in NY by then - New York state does recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

We're fortunate to have lots and lots of family in states where same-sex marriage is available - specifically Vermont and Connecticut - so we have lots of options available to us.

Anyway - that's the latest, kittens. 

But please don't start looking at Corelle patterns or linens - after 20 years, we may be wrapping up possessions we already have and handing them out to the guests as favors.  We have waaaay too much stuff.

Cheers!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The type of story you just have to share

With a little help from his friends, Tylar Zielinski was not about to let a thing like a disability keep him from going to prom.

Read the whole story here.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Best thing I've read today (so far)

I love when a great paragraph comes together.  

From the estimable pages of The Cracker Finishing School for Boys comes this morning's gem:

"The Stuttering Finn brought his 3 year old boy named Achilles to work on Friday.  And I was the only one who thought it was ironic that he was wearing Capri pants."

And to revisit another favorite from the world's most hilarious modern agitator - David Thorne, from the madness that is 27b/6:

"I appreciate Mr Cargan's preference for anonymity all too well. 

Each day before I leave the house, I dress as an elderly Jamaican woman and am well known in the community as Mrs Cocowan. That way, if I ever find myself involved in a major crime, and it is just a matter of time, they will be looking for a large old black lady that sings for money at the train station and can run suprisingly fast. "

I mean, damn. Who writes like that anymore?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

George Rekers is just the latest...

Here's a great look back at ten other anti-gay hypocrites who have been caught with their hands in the cookie jar.

Just one word: Hummel


The absolute highlight of last night's 'Glee' was Kurt's rendition of 'Rose's Turn' from 'Gypsy.'

Although Puck and Mercedes also get mad props for a jazzed up version of 'The Lady is a Tramp.'


This show just gets better and better.  With our baby gay leading the way!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

A message for the future

This was sent to me by a very dear, dear and beloved friend. And it resonates - please take the very short time to watch this 1 minute, 44 second video  - both forwards AND backwards

This is the work of a 20-year old  titled "u @ 50" by AARP.  This video won second place..

Friday, May 07, 2010

My lunch with Renee Richards

Very few times in a lifetime do you meet someone who literally blows you away.  People who leave an indelible impression on you based on their profound yet simple truths.

I had that experience today.  I had the very special opportunity to meet Dr. Renee Richards - tennis star, highly distinguished ophthalmologic surgeon, and one of the most high-profile transgender women in history.

At the very 'big and blue" IT and services company I work for, I often have the opportunity to listen to presentations by some of the premiere technologists and researchers in the world.  Hell, I work with many of them.  I pass by the guy who invented DRAM in the hall daily; I've staged events with the guy who invented the basis for laser eye surgery; and I was even once told my writing was utter crap by a Turing Award winner (okay, that one hurt a little - but it was an obituary -- not exactly my forte').

But today was a special treat.  In preparation for LGBT Pride Month, and as a personal favor (after some convincing) to the laser inventor mentioned above (who she's known for more than 50 years since he was a teenager at the Great Neck Long Island Country Club) we were honored today with a visit by Dr. Richards.

Thanks to our LGBT diversity organization - in conjunction with our local diversity council - about 20 of us had the privilege of dining with Dr. Richards before her presentation in the main auditorium.

Dr. Richards arrived in the private dining room and was introduced to each of us by name.  She shyly confessed that she would probably not remember any of our names, which elicited much tut-tutting from the assembled diners.

As we took our seats and began our lunch, our host introduced Dr. Richards and - since our host was a hotsy-totsy tennis player himself before he decided to go to Harvard and pursue a career as a world-renowned inventor - the conversation turned immediately to tennis and who was the next great tennis star (Justine Henin - you heard it here, folks.  At just 5'5" and pushing 130 lbs. who can hold her own against the beefier and stronger women players of today, Dr. Richards proclaims Justine as a 'genius' player.)

Stories were told about Martina Navratilova, whom Dr. Richards coached through two Wimbledon wins - Billie Jean King, Bobby Riggs (who I thought was a total jerk until Dr. Richards professed her admiration affection for him and his abilities - so I kept my mouth shut) and all the tennis greats from Bill Tilden forward.

Up until today, I could have given a rip about tennis.  But in the space of about 2 hours, we were treated to an insider's view of what makes a great tennis player - who had it - who didn't.  It even included a somewhat inglorious recounting of how Dr. Richards helped Bobby Riggs hustle two non-professional players at a Southern California tennis club to the tune of $4,000 - and escape quickly thereafter in Bobby's car.

But Dr. Richards has lived and breathed this game.  It was like God explaining over tea and cookies how the universe was built and why things worked the way they did.  It simply came that easy.

And throughout, I found Dr. Richards to be the most unassuming, non-egotistical and charming story-teller I've yet to meet.  She was very soft-spoken at first, like someone arriving at a party where she doesn't know anyone but the host - but as the luncheon progressed, she became more animated and laughed more easily as the stories unfolded.

Despite the notoriety at the time of Dr. Richard's very public 'outing" back in the 1970s, she is not the type who has ever sought the public eye.  Even in tennis, it was the love of the game, not the fame that went with it, that drove her to such greatness on the court.

In her larger presentation in the auditorium, she was almost apologetic in her opening remarks.  In direct contrast to her fame and occasional 'infamy' in the press, the tennis circuit and the medical world, she is a very private woman.

She confessed that she hadn't spoken before a large audience in many years - and her initial discomfort at being asked to do so was palpable.  She confessed that public speaking forced her to face some painful times in her life - even to this day.

But again, as she began to speak and the audience began to respond to her, she lifted her head, spoke more forcefully and absolutely held the audience's attention.

Let me interject here to say that this is one of the premiere corporate research facilities in the world - not exactly the kind of place where you expect to find the most glittering stars of the social graces, if you know what I mean.  If you were to look up from the stage at the audience with most speakers, you'd see a sea of blue-tinted heads bent over Wi-Fi-enabled laptops during the presentation.

But not this time. The audience was rapt.

In a brilliantly yet simple way, Dr. Richards wove the tale of her life as a father, a tennis player, a troubled soul looking for answers, her service in the navy, her ultimate transition, and her continuing embrace of the man she was before - like a well worn coat.  What she did not embrace were the attempts at the time and since to 'androgenize' her.

Photographs of herself as Renee, her life as Dick Raskin, her son, her grandfather, her championships, and her victories and defeats, were all projected on a screen on the stage as she spoke.  I felt transported out of the present - just like I was living her life with her all over again.

She tackled the problem with pronouns and what was okay and what was not when it came to he/she.  To the people who knew her 'before', she was forgiving.  Her sister has never come to terms with verbal changes required. With those who called her a 'he' when they knew her after, she described the hurt.  One of Martina's nutritional experts hated her - and vice versa - constantly referring to her as 'him'.

She even confessed how hard it was to reconcile the differences between then and now - she used the term 'transsexual' throughout, and inferred that she hadn't quite made the jump completely to 'transgender'.  On a number of occasions, she mentioned the fact that while she sought her own peace in a very private way, now transgender people were announcing theirs on television - something quite remarkable to her.

She told stories of speaking engagements past where younger people asked her about the life of LGBT people at Yale in her day - to which she replied "What?  Gay?  Lesbian?  Bisexual?  We didn't talk about that then!  Transgender?  That wasn't even a word!"

But most of all, what she presented was the story of a person who sought to be her true self - in privacy - while being repeatedly thrust into the limelight and, ultimately, became the standard bearer for generations to come.  And not just for transgender folks or for the larger LGBT community.  In the 1970s, she became a beacon of hope for just about every oppressed class of person there was.

What was most fascinating about watching this enchanting and self-effacing individual was that you discovered that she simply wanted to pursue what she was passionate about and to be the person she was meant to be.

I'll only interject at this point to say that I was so fascinated by her presentation that it did not occur to me to wonder if we had passed the designated one hour that her presentation was to take - from 2-3 pm.  No one was looking at their watches.  No one quietly left while she was speaking.  No one moved.  It didn't occur that time meant anything  - all that mattered was the unfolding story before you.

By the time it even dawned on me to wonder how long I had left before my 3-3:30 meeting with my manager and someone I was designing a major web resource on a tight time line for...well, when I glanced at the digital clock at the back of the auditorium, it was 3:24.

 I was torn, as Dr. Richards was just beginning her closing remarks, but damn it - I had to go.

Fortunately, my boss was amused by the incident and not much damage control was required.

But even though I didn't get a chance to thank Dr. Richards afterward for what she gave us today, I will always remember it.

This is a woman of personal grace, who was fortunate to have many people who loved her there to support her, and who never sought fame or fortune beyond being her best and most complete self.

She simply wanted to be the woman she was born to be.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Let's do it.

Of all the new trends that make me happy, perhaps nothing makes me smile more than a well-timed and unexpected flash mob.

I'm in, baby.





Monday, May 03, 2010

Three guesses...

...at which one would have been my father.


Bonus!  This would have been me.


Saturday, May 01, 2010

Where do I expatriate?

Just when you think living in the US of A can't get any sillier than our screaming evangelist crusaders or more demeaning than 500 pound people on mobility scooters at fast food drive thru windows - something like this comes along:



I mean, really.