eeka to fall victim to fake bombing

Well, since it's now being publicized, I figure it's kosher to post about Operation Poseidon, the mock disaster being staged on September 17 by the Department of Homeland Security.

I don't actually know if the papers got unintentionally got a copy of the actual disaster plans or what, but it does seem odd to me that they're publicizing exactly what bombs are going to go off where and when. I understand that they're publicizing the general gist of the mock disaster in order to minimize public alarm. But the Globe article specifies exactly what kind of situation the personnel are going to find where, including number of deaths, number of injuries, and the location of the explosive devices. Isn't the whole point of running a mock disaster to test out how the emergency services personnel respond in an actual emergency, where they wouldn't have advance notice of exactly what they're going to find when they respond to calls?

Either way, I'm scheduled to report to the CambridgeSide Galleria ass early on September 17 so I can be a bombing victim. I don't know yet if I'll be dead, injured, or just potentially contaminated by radioactivity. I'll keep everyone posted.


The Boston Women’s Rainbow Chorus Announces 2006 Auditions

Love to sing? The Boston Women’s Rainbow Chorus, Boston’s premiere chorus for lesbians, bisexual women, and allies, will hold auditions for singers on and September 5, 12 and 17.
Email info@boswrc.org or call 617-522-7270 for more information or to schedule an audition!

The Boston Women’s Rainbow Chorus seeks to give voice to the diverse experience of women throughout history and across cultures worldwide. As lesbians and bisexual women, together with our female allies, we seek to represent the unrecorded legacy of today’s women for the women of tomorrow. We sing a broad spectrum of repertoire (world, classical, folk and more), particularly music by women, non-western European, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender composers.


The ultimate way to mess with Focus on the Family

This fabulous article comes from last week's edition of The Stranger: How to Get Free Books, CDs, and Movies from Focus on the Family—Thereby Taking Money out of the Pockets of Anti-Gay Bigots—in 12 Easy Steps.

To provide a little background, Focus on the Family is a huge organization that spends billions of dollars each year publishing hateful propaganda and presenting bigoted conferences across the country under the guise of saving (straight, evangelical) families from "corruption." To their credit, they do seem to also disseminiate decent parenting literature on fairly benign topics such as eating disorders and study habits, but this part of their work seems to be minimal; most of their money and energy goes toward bigotry rather than any sort of actual Christian work. I wouldn't in any way advocate similarly defrauding a small, local church that does in fact provide community to folks alongside what may be distasteful beliefs. But taking money from Focus on the Family isn't about to jeopardize funding for your local soup kitchen or soccer team.

In case the article comes down after a few weeks, I'm reprinting the essentials here:

Go to www.family.org and you will see their home page.

Once you're at the home page, look for the "Resources" link in the blue bar on the left-hand side, right above the "Search" box, and click it.

Under the "Resource Category" menu on the left-hand side, you'll notice categories such as "Homosexuality." Go ahead and click that for shits and giggles.

Please note: Focus on the Family won't send you more than $100 worth of materials for free in any given shopping trip, so be sure to keep it reasonable and return often.

Select "Add New Shipping Address" and click "Proceed to Checkout." Or, hell, continue to shop and pick up a box set of The Chronicles of Narnia on CD.

The next screen will ask you to sign up for an account and give your information. Don't worry, they don't ask for your credit-card number. Enter whatever name and address you like, because you won't be paying. You might want to make up a phone number, too.

Keep going until you get to the "How Much Would You Like to Donate?" page.

Zero dollars, obviously. Don't be fooled by the field in the lower-right-hand corner that shows you the suggested donation amounts. Simply select "Enter other total amount" and enter 0.00 as the amount you would like to pay. (Don't put in a dollar sign or it will ask you for credit-card information!) Proceed to checkout.

Within 7-10 business days I should be receiving a "Jesus Rocks" t-shirt and several books on how to prevent myself from being gay.

[Original article courtesy of the PostQueer forum]


Teens With Bipolar Disorder Misinterpret Facial Expressions

OK, so this came out in May and I'm just coming across it now, but I think it makes a lot of sense and is useful to pass on.

A new study may explain why children with bipolar disorder tend to be more aggressive and irritable and have poorer social skills than healthy children.

The study, conducted at the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health, shows that bipolar youths misinterpret facial expressions to be hostile more often than their healthy counterparts. This misinterpretation could explain the mania and depression that plague many children with bipolar disorder, and cause problems with friendships, school and family.


Red light...yellow light?

Tonight Molly and I were driving to the Target at South Bay Center to get some much-needed items. I mean, dude, they have Red Bull four-packs for $5.99 there. But I digress. OK, so, at about 8:00 pm, the light at the intersection of Warren Street, Dudley Street, Harrison Avenue and Roxbury Street (gotta love Boston street layouts) was solid yellow coming off of Roxbury Street and Harrison Avenue. It looked like there may have been conflicting green lights (directing the flow of vehicles, uh, into one another) in the other two directions, though it was hard to be certain of this. OK, so, this happens sometimes, and with a little horn-tapping and gesturing with the other drivers, we all figured out how to get through the intersection without killing anyone.

So far so good. We get to Target, spend entirely too much money there, and head back home.

At 9:30 pm, we go back through the intersection. This time, the light is still solid yellow coming off of Roxbury Street and Harrison Avenue, and is solid red coming off of Dudley Street (where we were) and Warren Street. I don't mean solid as in a normal red light. I mean, as in, has-been-red-for-the-last-ten-minutes-and-ain't-about-to-change. It took even more horn-tapping and gesturing to get people to realize the light had in fact been red for a really long time and to convince them to cautiously pull through the light despite it being red.

A screwy traffic light is one thing -- this happens. But it disturbed me a little that the light was presumably messed up for over an hour and no police officer happened to cruise through there and notice a solid yellow light -- especially given that it's a few feet from the ward B-2 station and a few blocks from police headquarters. When we called the mayor's hotline to report the malfunctioning light, they were unaware of it.


FDA approves over-the-counter sales of Plan B

By the end of the year, the emergency contraceptive called "Plan B" will be sold as an over-the-counter drug to people 18 and over.


I'm back!

I apologize for the lack of posts in the past few weeks. I've been a little busy:



We now return you back to One Smoot Short on its normal schedule.


Silly rabbit, disabilities are for kids

So I'm thinking that I want to do Yoga for the Special Child training. The training program that appeals to me currently only has a schedule up for a session this September, which I wouldn't be able to do in terms of money and vacation time, but it looks like they do it a couple times a year.

Yoga for the Special Child does kind of make me wonder something I've been wondering a lot lately: why are so many theories and articles and organizations relating to people with special needs geared mostly toward children? The children with more significant disabilties eventually become adults with disabilities, but a lot of people would have you think these people just disappear.

Yesterday I made some edits to the Down syndrome article on Wikipedia, changing "child with Down syndrome" to "individual with Down syndrome" in the instances when the reference wasn't specific to children, such as discussion of characteristic facial features or typical IQ ranges. I also noticed when poking around on the links that most of the Down syndrome websites feature pictures and stories mainly of children with Down's, as do most of the disability association websites.

Why is this? Is it that we only value people with Down's or other disabilities while they still have the "cute" poster-child thing going for them? Is it that we're more comfortable with these folks when they're at the age that their "correct" role in society is one of being dependent, but then become less comfortable with them when they don't "fit" because they're older and are still dependent to an extent?

I've looked through the information for the Yoga for the Special Child program, and I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be just as useful with adults with special needs. I would want to use it with my current clients with severe/profound multiple disabilities as well as offer it to more "typical" adults who need physically adapted yoga. A couple friends (one who's blind and one who has physical disabilities) have asked me if I know anywhere in the area that offers yoga, and short of working one-on-one with a physical therapist, I don't. I know of plenty of places with extensive movement and exercise classes for kids with disabilities.

It's the same with every other activity. I can find sports and social groups and just about everything else for my clients who are under about 20, but not a whole lot for anyone older. The programs for kids are usually well done and really normalizing, while the programs for adults can be downright patronizing and offensive.

So why the focus on kids? Is it some sort of heroism thing? That we might have some hope of "fixing" kids through these offerings, but we've given up on folks once they become adults? And/or do people have less interest working with people who aren't cute kids anymore?