Marriage Over The Rainbow

White House lit in rainbow colors Well, I guess I should say something about what happened last Friday. I’m speaking–of course–of the Obergefell v Hodges Supreme Court ruling that states could not prevent same-sex couples from marrying.

It’s hard to overstate how significant this was. Many people correctly point out that marriage equality is not the end-all of LGBT equality, that there is still much to be done. There is, it’s true. But to many of us, until recently this was unthinkable. Most of us grew up, came of age and started dating without any hope of being able to marry some day. I didn’t think I’d see it in my lifetime! And yet, thanks to 5 Justices, it’s here today.

The announcement came around 10am Friday, and I was totally useless at work for the rest of the day. I tried to concentrate on my tasks, but couldn’t. I followed the love and joy on Twitter, and I found myself tearing up at various times throughout the day. While I normally spend a fair amount of my Twitter time keeping an eye on the opponents of equality–and refuting their lies and distortions–I decided to take the weekend off, and to just be happy. So I hid those lists, and surrounded myself in love and happiness, and it was great!

Now it’s Monday, the weekend is over and it’s time to get back to the real world. There are still a few battles to be fought for marriage, and much more work to do for true, full equality. But those fights all look a bit more winnable in the multicolored afterglow of such a momentous victory. I’m invigorated to keep fighting the good fight, and not just on LGBT issues. Cops, guns, racism… as long as people are mistreated, oppressed or getting killed for no reason, there is more work to be done.

P.S. Seeing the White House lit up in rainbow colors, not to mention all the other shows of support from the executive branch of our government would have been hard to imagine a decade ago.

Sure, it’s just symbolic and to some it may seem small, but it’s not. It means the world.

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Happy New Year 2015

times-square-ballThere’s been a lot going on the last month or two, and I’ve been remiss in my blogging. There has been a lot on my mind, certainly. I just haven’t made myself sit down and write it all out. And I’m not going to for a bit longer!

The new year is upon us. I am shortly leaving on a much-needed vacation, where I will have minimal Internet access. Hopefully I will return rested, relaxed and ready to start the year out right.

In the mean time, I wish a safe and happy new year to all. We don’t know what 2015 holds for us, but let’s all do what we can to make it the best it can be, for ourselves and for each other.

Cheers!

#SFBATKID

I post a lot of rants, because there’s a lot of negative crap to rant about.

But hey, it’s not all bad. There are still a lot of great people out there. And once in awhile they do something really incredible that warms the cockles of my cynical heart.

This is one of those times!

#SFBATKID to the resuce!

Crooks beware! Batkid is fighting crime Friday in the mean streets of San Francisco.

With the help of the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the city, 5-year-old Miles Scott, aka #SFBatKid, will rescue a woman from cable car tracks and capture the evil Riddler as he robs a downtown bank.

A flash mob will then summon the leukemia patient for another caper — the diabolical kidnapping of the San Francisco Giants mascot — Lou Seal — by the Penguin.

#SFBATKID to the rescue

Follow the antics here: #SFBATKID

Vokhtah, a review

Vokhtah (Suns of Vokhtah,#1)Vokhtah by A.C. Flory
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Vokhtah may be hard to spell, but it’s both easy and a pleasure to read. I found this book to be a refreshing change of pace from a lot of scifi I’ve read.

The author’s impressive imagination has created a very alien world populated by very alien species. The Vokh, despite being the dominant species on this planet, are almost animalistic. The iVokh are a lesser, subservient species that does most of the work on Vokhtah. The Vokh seem to be divided by numeric levels (almost like video game characters), while the iVokh are separated into societies and roles within those societies that are very secretive and distrustful of one another.

As the book progresses, these secrets start to come out. One of the things I like about this book is how the author mostly reveals information to us organically as the story progresses, with minimal expository “information dumps” that distract from the story. Other readers may be bothered by this, as you can be left feeling confused and in the dark at times. But I prefer this style.

One particular strength is how the author makes you care about the characters, despite the fact that they don’t look, talk or even think much like humans. They still experience emotions we can identify with.

Given how different this world and its denizens are from our own, I would have liked some more physical descriptions. I still don’t have a very good idea of what either the Vokh or iVokh look like, for example.

Overall the story is compelling and well-told. At times it was even a real page-turner. It left me wanting to know what happens next, so I look forward to the next installment in this promising series.

View all my reviews

Their Honors

I want to take a break from ranting about politics, and post something a bit more cheerful. It’s a quick, true story.

Last night I went to a reception for alumni of the university where I went to undergrad. The event was in Manhattan, though the college is in Chicago.

At this event I met two older ladies (I’m guessing low 60s) and got to talking to them. This is their story. (Cue the Law & Order sound).

They were from New York City, and they were friends in high school. Based on their law school graduation date, they would have likely started college in the late 60s. They didn’t want to be secretaries. They told me they didn’t want to type things or get coffee for men. These smart, ambitious ladies wanted to be executives, they said. One of them wanted to go to law school. The other didn’t at first, but her friend convinced her. So they went off to Chicago together, to go to law school (the one affiliated with my university). They got their J.D. and returned to New York.

They worked for a number of years as public defenders. And now they are criminal court judges in Manhattan! (“Like on Law & Order!” I exclaimed.) In fact, they have their chambers right next to each other.

It was fun talking to them about what their jobs are like. One of them worked for mayors Koch and Dinkins and had some  funny stories about Mayor Koch. I learned that NYC criminal court is in session 7 days a week, and there really is night court. In fact, they told me how people used to make a date night out of it: go to dinner in Chinatown and then go watch night court! They said that was before most of the prostitution cases were moved to a different courthouse.

There are a couple things I like about their story. One, it’s a success story. They were ahead of their time and managed to break through the glass ceiling. Remember when they started college, things were like you see in “Mad Men” and sexism was rampant. And two, it’s a great story of friendship. These two have stuck together for more than 40 years, and that’s a pretty rare and amazing thing.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this story. I’m sure I’ll be back to complaining again soon. There’s always so much to complain about!

Bruiser Blogs on Burgers

Five Guys burgerOne of the items I’m retrieving from my defunct previous blog is my Burger List. In a nutshell, the BL is a list of places I created based on several “best burger in Chicago(land)” lists from Grub Street, Chicago Magazine and Metromix. These are places I want to try a burger. It is my mission to try them all! The list is as follows, including my current progress toward my goal (*’d places are on the two original lists; the Metromix list was of new places, which I added in 2010): Continue reading