The funniest business in Jamaica Plain has a shiny new sign:

No, that's something different

I was pleasantly surprised to see that someone beat me to correcting this sign near North Station:

Geez, and people continue to ask me why I have Sharpies in my bag at all times. Durr.

The Goodridges have my everlasting gratitude; and now let's leave them alone

BayWindows reports that the Goodridges have separated. It sounds like BayWindows and the family's spokesperson are handling this really respectfully, and I wish the family peace in sorting out whatever it is that they're going through.

But I'm bothered that it made the news at all. No, I don't mean I'm bothered that BayWindows did a tasteful pieces on the personal lives of a couple of people who put themselves in the public eye.

I'm bothered that I even know who the Goodridges are in the first place. I'm bothered that they even had to make the choice to risk having their personal lives in the spotlight. I'm bothered that this wholesome family and their beautiful child have had to become tokens in order to have the right to live a very ordinary life. I'm bothered that any couple has ever had to do anything beyond paying the $50 and filling out the form in order to be married and have financial and legal security for their families. I'm bothered by the idea of there being even one person out there for whom it isn't just common sense to allow any consenting couple to have equal rights to marriage.

This reminds me of Permission, a winner from the Media That Matters Film Festival, which you can watch here on Google video. It's a little over a minute long and shouldn't require any plugins or anything to view.

Bay Area Reporter misquotes eeka

This article about the pros and cons of continuing to have domestic partner systems quotes me throughout. The direct quotes are all things I said, and the article is pretty nicely done overall.

Just to clarify, I definitely didn't say I think it's fair for the Boston Globe to stop providing domestic partnernship benefits. I said quite the opposite regarding entire companies taking away domestic partner benefits.

I did say something during the interview about how I don't think it's particularly fair for couples who can marry to do things like get domestic partner health insurance at work but then use "single" status in order to get low-income status. Couples in different-sex marriages don't have that right to have it both ways.

I absolutely think the Globe (and every other company) needs to continue providing domestic partner coverage until all people are allowed to marry. I did point out that marriage isn't an option for everyone, since a person in the military can be discharged and require to pay back their education costs for marrying a person of the same sex. Same thing with someone who works for an organization such as the Boy Scouts, where they can legally be fired if they marry. I do think that domestic partner benefits aren't necessary for different-sex couples, because they have the option of legally marrying.

UncommonGoods means well; doesn't get it

I wrote an e-mail to UncommonGoods, telling them that I love their store -- particularly the recycled and artisan items from around the world, but that I wish their "weddings" section also reflected diversity by offering items meant for same-sex couples.

I received a very nice, prompt e-mail from Meya Affotey, explaining that many of their wedding items are, in fact, appropriate for same-sex couples. She gave example of how the Bride/Groom pillowcases can be ordered in sets of two men or two women.

Wait, what? The description of these pillowcases reads: "Claim your side of the bed with this matching pillowcase set. The stick figures of a bouquet-holding bride and a bow-tied groom will keep him from dozing – or drooling – on your pillow..."

Clearly, this doesn't work when one receives a gift of two identical "bride" pillowcases. This doesn't exactly indicate whose side of the bed is whose, now does it? While the pillowcases can in fact be purchased in this manner, it's pretty pointless to do so. If they offered personalization options in terms of hair style, body type, skin tone, accessories, etc. (like cake toppers and other figurines tend to) this could potentially be an appropriate gift for a same-sex couple, but the way they're selling it, it would be an ironic gift at best. She suggested a similar gift, a set of "Mr." and "Mrs." towels with similar images and a similar description regarding how the towels show whose is whose. Again, doesn't work. Also, "Mr." and "Mrs." are rarely used by same-sex couples, and are even offensive to many.

She also gave the example of the man/woman keyrings, which can be ordered in sets of two men or two women: "the ever-recognizable man and woman silhouettes keep key confusion from becoming a battle of the sexes." Not in our household, they wouldn't. Again, pointless.

In addition to the man/woman "sets," they also sell a few wedding gifts that absolutely only work for different-sex couples, such as prints of male/female imagery. There are also a few neutral wedding gifts such as candlesticks and wine glasses without wedding-specific imagery.

I sent back another e-mail, quoting from the descriptions of the items and pointing out how the descriptions clearly show that the items are meant for different-sex couples and really don't work for same-sex couples. I gave suggestions of items available elsewhere, such as candelabras with man/man and woman/woman imagery (together on one candelabra) and various rainbow-themed wedding items, and suggested they might want to add items such as these. I also suggested that they could ask the artists who make the prints of man/woman pairings to make same-sex versions. I explained that a true commitment to diversity would involve items that were specifically chosen with same-sex couples in mind, not different-sex items that a customer was "allowed" to construe to sort-of work for their family. I explained that this would most likely require that there were items in the catalog that would not be applicable to most different-sex couples, just like how there are plenty of items in there that really only apply to one religious or ethnic group.

The next reply I received didn't have any new text in it; just the quoted text of my e-mails and the one reply from them. I wrote back and asked if they had intended to add anything, and got yet another reply without any new text.

Hmm, did I break the place?

The following people need last names:

  • Elton John
  • Cary Grant
  • Bill Murray
  • Marlo Thomas
  • Danny Kaye
  • Bea Arthur
  • Neiman Marcus
  • Ulysses Grant
  • Meriwether Lewis
  • William Clark
  • Nancy Drew
  • Loretta Lynn
  • Jimmy Stewart
  • Craig David
  • Mark Loretta
  • Jason Alexander
  • Gloria Stewart
  • George Michael
  • Tom Arnold

Proving that truth is stranger than fiction

BENNINGTON, Vt. --A former teacher at the Career Development Center has been charged with viewing child pornography on a school computer.

Alan Baker, 48, of Shaftsbury denied the charges on Monday.

JetBlue is awesome, provided you're flying during the day

Dear JetBlue Customer Service,

Your redeye flights absolutely SUCK. While I was very happy with my (daytime) flight over, I was extremely displeased with the redeye flight. I've flown overnight many times on various airlines, and redeye flights are usually handled much differently than daytime flights. On JetBlue, the overnight flight seemed basically the same as the daytime flight, except for the part where I really needed to sleep so I could function at work in the morning.

On my flight, families with infants and small children were scattered all over the plane -- I've noticed that other redeye flights tend to seat all of the children in one section of the plane, usually near the restroom. One particular family seated behind me had a child who kicked my seat and screeched questions and complaints at her caretaker, who ignored her and read a book all night. Not once did a crewmember approach them to offer the child anything or otherwise hint that this oblivious caretaker was allowing the child to keep people awake.

Other passengers kept me awake by watching TV with their low-quality free headsets, which allow the person's TV to be clearly heard in adjacent rows.

I was awakened several times by flight attendants cheerfully listing the entire drink menu and snack menu, then again by rustling chip packages and pop-top soda cans. Most redeye flights I've flown have only had water available upon request, for a reason.

There also were no announcements asking people to limit their conversation -- or loud TV viewing, or ignoring of shrieking children -- as I've heard on other overnight flights.

I might suggest that if JetBlue plans to run redeye flights just like daytime flights, there could perhaps be a section of the plane reserved for people who wish to sleep and not be disturbed by other passengers or by food and beverage service. This section could be designated a "quiet section" free from TV viewing, loud conversation, and ignoring of one's children. JetBlue allows people to choose sections of the plane based on legroom and other aircraft features -- why not also do this for quiet travel? This could also be useful on daytime flights for people who wish to work or relax undisturbed and still allow others to socialize or entertain busy children.

The real reason why the Green Party is dwindling

There's been commentary on the Green-Rainbow website and elsewhere discussing how the party might not get enough signatures to get on the state ballot this year. I've also heard plenty of talk about an overall dwindling interest in the party. Most folks have chalked this up to people's belief in the old "problem with third parties," meaning the thinking that progressive voters need to stick to voting for the lesser of two evils rather than third parties, to prevent electing people like Mitt and Dubya. Others have blamed it on a lack of strong candidates and a lack of publicity.

Personally, I blame the party's recent lack of success on The Insane Guy. Most people who were at the Boston Dyke March this year know who I'm talking about, as he was particularly irritating on that day. He was hanging out at the Food Not Bombs table at the Dyke March this year (not sure whether he was officially part of their table or just lurking). White guy, about 45, usually wears a t-shirt and baggy pants. Almost always wears a cap covered in political buttons. Kind of scruffy with long graying hair and a beard. He shows up at most every event and, well, bugs the crap out of people. He's also frequently seen on the green line trying to talk to strangers.

He'll approach someone with a greeting such as "do you support the war in Iraq?" or "how would you like to see a lesbian governor?" He takes extreme offense at responses such as "uh, I gotta go meet a friend" or "I'm trying to read here" or ignoring him. He then preaches at people about how their reluctance to talk with him equates with not caring about the community.

Much of his yammering centers around discrediting other progressive candidates, usually not very skillfully. "You know Deval Patrick made $3.8 million last year." And? He also grew up on welfare. Mister Insane Mans doesn't like that angle though, and keeps yammering about how the guy's income makes him bad. He just doesn't let up. Or say anything very logical. At the Dyke March, he actually followed Molly and me around the grounds, yapping about how we could have a lesbian governor. He didn't say anything else about her platform or experience in the 10 minutes he preached at us. Just "lesbian governor blah blah lesbian blah blah." Hi, tokenism much? Yeah, you're real progressive. Does Grace Ross know about this guy? Because he's not doing much for her campaign. If I weren't already knowledgeable about the party, I'd think they were a bunch of lunatics based on this dude.

Override Key Disability Vetoes

Romney has vetoed some key funding for folks with disabilities, including $1 million in Early Intervention, $2 million from the Turning 22 program, and $14 from the salaries of folks who care for adults with disabilties -- the caregivers of this population make $10.84 an hour.

This website will let you send a letter to your legislators easily and quickly. There are also other related issues that you can voice your opinions about with a few clicks.

Isn't it ironic...

A number of athletes traveling to Canada for Outgames are having trouble getting into the country. The reason? They have criminal charges in their home countries for being gay.

Take 60 seconds to help protect marriage equality

On July 12th, the Constitutional Convention is scheduled to vote on the latest amendment. It is important that our legislators secure marriage equality and move on to other issues critical to our Commonwealth. Please tell your legislators to move on and secure marriage equality.

Go here to e-mail your state senators and representatives.


The World Cup is over, which means I no longer have to deal with conversations like this, at least not for a while:


eeka: You're talking about soccer, right?


eeka: Um, no. See, because I don't give a rat's ass about soccer.

Other person: *ducks nervously behind the nearest piece of furniture*

So, in honor of goddamned soccer being over for now, I'd like to invite you all to submit captions for this photo, ganked off of Yahoo! News. The person who submits the caption that I find to be the funniest will win, uh, the caption contest. Yeah.

There should be a longass German word for...

...when you're in public and hear a phone ring, you turn around as a reflex, see the guy with the phone, and can tell just by looking at him that he's going to answer it "YEL-lo."

And then he totally does.

Looking for musicians in Boston or elsewhere?

A former Newton Symphony musician just sent me a link to his new site, The site is still very much in beta but seems to be working great. It allows musicians to create a profile listing geographical area, instruments/voice, union membership, and proficiency level. Other members can then create an event and choose what kind of musicians they're looking for. The site has sections for San Francisco, Phoenix and Boston so far, but Jeff says he can add any other areas by request. He can also add instruments that aren't listed. Registration is simple and only takes a few minutes. The site is suitable for beginners through professionals and accomodates informal jam sessions, community events, professional positions and anything in between. Gigs can union or non-union (or nonpaying).

So, if you're looking for musicians for anything (assuming of course that you've already asked me and I can't do it...), check it out. If you're a musician, go register and help Jeff build his member base.