Friday, September 30, 2005


Click on this link to see four guys in an hysterical dance routine. It's a video for their song "a million ways", and it's great. The song's catchy, too.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Last Weekend on this American Life

I am really hoping this will post, as I've been having issues with things actually showing up, but here goes....

Before getting back to our regularly scheduled criticky stuff, here is a link to This American Life on NPR. This weekend there was a harrowing account of how the Gretna, Louisiana sherriff's office stopped hundreds/perhaps thousands of New Orleans tourists and residents from crossing over a bridge to safety. They were shooting guns in the air, aiming at people as well, saying that Gretna wouldn't be "turned into another Superdome". They were ordered to shoot to kill. More fun from the history of race relations in Louisiana. Listen and be amazed. Not in a good way.

You can read more about it here, or visit

And now, back to our show....

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Call To Witness

The other night, I finally took the DVD of Call to Witness, Pam Walton’s documentary of three gay pastors struggling with ordination in the Lutheran Church. I am glad I did, but I had the same reaction I did to Trembling Before G-D; the action of the film is basically watching people hit their heads against a wall. What keeps me watching them is that the wall is built only of ideas, but ideas that are treated as immovable, unchangeable, and profoundly right. Based, of course, on text, ignorance, and discomfort.
This documentary centers on Steve Sabin, a pastor of a congregation in Ames, Iowa, who lives with his partner and his two daughters from a previous marriage to a woman; Anita C. Hill,, a woman hoping to be ordained as the first lesbian minister; and Jane Ralph another woman who was defrocked with no recourse. There are also interviews with three openly gay pastors from an independent congregation in San Francisco. In the larger congregation in San Francisco, the church knew it would be disciplined by appointing pastors who were unapproved by the Bishop, but did anyway, as it is located in the Castro, and felt its mission was to minister to gay men and lesbians. Smart move. The church was excommunicated from the whole, as expected, and has now formed a non-profit organization that helps other pastors who have come out, or congregations who wish to support their pastors and become independent from the larger church body.
We see Steve Sabin with his congregants, who are all supportive (at least the ones we are shown), and follow him on the time leading up to his hearing. He, of course, is defrocked. It is interesting to note, though, that his church refuses to fire him. At one point, a man on the board questioning him suggests that because he isn’t married to his partner, that he sets a bad example by living out of wedlock. As if that was an option. I love these people—I really do. Revered Sabin had the most emotional moment for me, speaking of discomfort, and that sometimes we are called to be uncomfortable and make uncomfortable choices. I also thought it was fun to see him with his partner, who is just a big gay nerd, in the best way—he plays piano at services. You can tell that Steve is not a huge fan of having so much publicity, but is truly invested in his work and his duty, which is inspiring in itself.
Anita C. Hill, as well, who has performed all the duties of pastor, including communion, is hoping in the film to be the first openly Lesbian minister. In my favorite example, she was shown wearing her sash sideways, like a beauty contestant. She was not allowed to wear it down, like a pastor approved by the Bishop. As predicted, she fails, but, having been the pastor at her church for twenty years, they decide to go independent rather than lose her.
These congregants are not revolutionaries. But what I came away with was the power of coming out. These people have deep relationships with their congregants. That was inspiring, to say the least. And it’s here where I can see how things can change. The more it’s everyday, the more people will change their attitudes. Of course it’s religion—it’s slow. And it’s scripture written about tribal hatreds and fears from 6 milleniums ago. But, the more people are willing to add their own stamp, the more religion has a chance to inspire and elevate.
I won’t get too deeply into my thoughts here, but I keep coming back to the idea of religions itself, and man’s impulse to praise, to wonder, to awe. A friend said there are theories now that awe is one of the basic human emotions, and the one that inspires religion. If that’s so, I hope that G & L people express their part of this when they need to. I try to look at this as positive, not as just a struggle of people beating their heads against an imaginary wall for someone else’s approval. Because as base I believe it’s not God making any of these decisions. And it never has been. If the divine lives anywhere, it lives in the congregants who are standing by the people who have supported them. That’s a brave, laudable, and divine act.
I have about six more documentaries on religion in my Netflix queue, so I’m sure there will be more. Yeeha.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The Post Office

Today I had to stand in line at the post office. Usually, I use the machines that sell stamps, or that new automated thingy where you can mail packages by yourself and drop them into a terrorist-proof bin (Stinky Lulu knows the formal name and acronym, but I have yet to incorporate that into my vocabulary). But while there, I had some time to think of some new slogans. So hey, USPS, try these on for size:

The Post Office: We're not going anywhere, and neither are you
We're in no hurry-- the Post Office
The Post Office: In this hurried world, helping you slow down
This is as fast as we go: The Post Office
Yeah, take a number--the Post Office

I figure it's signing up for the most Sisyphean task one can think of. The mail, it just keeps coming. In fact, that's a good slogan, too--it keeps coming.

So, I must thank them for making me slow down and contemplate life bit. In dim lighting.

Friday, September 02, 2005


I just spent a great deal of time writing about this storm and my anger at the President, and the whole thing was erased when it published. So--I am just going to do greatest hits here, I think

Read Leon Wynter's piece about race just on NPR. There is so much going on, and I think there will be much more made of this in the upcoming days. As it should be.

Read Michael Moore's letter to the President.

And most of what I wrote was anger at the stupidity of the President. He was on vacation until Wednesday. Where was he on Tuesday during the flooding and when people were dying? Why did he show up today and say this will require more than one day of his attention? He stood there today saying how great Trent Lott's house would look when it was rebuilt. What about the entire ninth ward? What about all those poor people with no jobs who now have lost there houses? But what really got me was when he said the storm looked worse than the "worst weapon you could imagine". That's the problem. He's been imagining weapons here and abroad. Pushing paranioa here and destroying a country there. Moving the amphibious vehicles that were needed to a desert (!) to fight the people there. This storm could have been imagined. It was, in fact. Before he cut FEMAs budget by 40% to fund the (#*&%#)(*$&ing "War on Terror". Before he appointed someone with no disaster experience to the head of FEMA in 2001. There were studies done, and then fudning pulled. Why? Well, there were imaginary terrorists to keep ourselves safe from. And now, he finally manages to make it to the city after four days of death and starvation to say he's handling it. What a (*&#$)(*&ing idiot. I really hope this makes Americans think about who we are electing. The data was there. No one seems to be talking about how the climate is changing, and global warming is causing water temps to rise and therefore, you guessed it, worse storms. But who cares when you're rich, landlocked in Texas, and making tons of money for your oil buddies, here and in Saudi. Ugh.

And the other thing--there is a group that sent an email that the storm looks like a fetus, and is God's retribution for allowing abortion. Add that to the voices of those saying that because Southern Decadence was starting on Wednesday, the whole thing was God's destruction of Sodom again. A friend emailed that it could be God's destruction of the South for its intolerance. Just as likely. Busy God, though-- I also read how people believe the US is being punished in Iraq for tolerating homosexuality. This makes complete sense. Iraq executes homosexuals, and you can see how they are having a most blessed time right now.

Well, I wrote more than just bullet points, and I hope I covered most of what I was thinking. Mostly that the Yahoo in charge needs to think a little less about weapons. We could have had people there, and people in place. Even if the whole thing could not have been prevented, the reaction to it could have been much faster. There has been much needless loss of life. This is awful and an embarrasment to our country. And I think we will be feeling it for a long time to come.