Call or e-mail your state representative ASAP

The Mass. House of Representatives will vote on critical disability-related amendments in the coming days. Many legislators have already signed on to co-sponsor these amendments, but we need them now to make it a priority as the full House debates them. Ask your Rep. to give them his/her full support.
Family Supports, Day/Employment, Transportation, Turning 22 Annualization and Salary Reserve all remain in jeopardy. If these cuts are not restored, thousands of individuals with disabilities and their families may lose services.
Please email your Rep. and follow-up with a phone call asking her or him for their full support. (If your Rep. is one of the sponsors listed below, thank them for their leadership and ask them to support the others.)
Amendments:
  • Employment/Day (5920-2025): needs $7.45 Million to be restored -- Rep. Scibak
  • Transportation (5911-2000): needs 2009 increase annualized, $3.6 Million -- Rep. Peisch
  • Turning 22 (5920-5000): funded at $7.7 Million, but language needs to be inserted for 2011 annualization of $18.6 Million - Rep. Harkins
  • Salary Reserve (1599-6901): needs $23 Million to be restored, Reps. Khan, Coakley-Rivera & St. Fleur
  • Community First (4000-0650): needs $3 Million, Rep. Keenan
  • DPPC (1107-2501): needs $71,500 to maintain current level of services -- Rep. Calter
  • Early Intervention (4513-1020): needs $9.2 Million - Rep. Kafka
Find out who your elected officials are by entering your address on this site. Their e-mails and phone numbers are listed on this page (also handy if you want to call more representatives in addition to yours).


Google sure is giving me some weirdass ads

Gee, complain about a bank once, and apparently Google Ads gives you such intriguing ads as "find an ATM near you" and "the facts about credit and debit cards." Damn you Google, my readers are much too smart and cool to click on crap like that. Couldn't you at least give them ads for, like, toilet hooks or something?

(You know, so if not just to show their undying support for One Smoot, at least they'd click to see what the hell a toilet hook is.)


Best drink ever just got better



Available in lemonade and cranberry (at least; others may exist). If you really care, go to the Mike's website. It's pretty awesome in and of itself.


You know someone's really a bigot when the article reads like it came from the Onion

AUSTIN — A North Texas legislator during House testimony on voter identification legislation said Asian-descent voters should adopt names that are “easier for Americans to deal with.”

Why are elected officials continually allowed to say this kind of crap? Employers or educators would be charged with creating a hostile environment for making such asinine statements, but apparently it's acceptable if you're a leader of a much larger segment of people.


Kosher hot cross buns!



Yeah Vermont! Belated yeah to Iowa too. Also, I want a book

Two awesome equality wins so close together. Also, I just heard on NPR about a book ("The Parents We Mean to Be") and totally want it.


Go to the state house tomorrow to support transgender equality

Tomorrow 10am to 1pm. Details here.

If you haven't already, take a moment tonight to write to senators and representatives and tell them why it is so important that we pass this.

Remember, it isn't only transpeople this bill helps. As an ally, I feel that the most important reason to support this bill is to make it illegal to deny housing, employment, and other basic rights to people just because they're transgender, but for those who need to be convinced further, remember that this bill really helps everyone. This bill will make it clear that it's discriminatory to require an female employee to dress "more femininely," for instance. Not to mention just the sheer fact that the world becomes a better place any time we eliminate yet another aspect of us/them-ing. Go write e-mails!


Wakefield Repertory Theatre production of Oklahoma! was wonderful, but it totally sucked

Last night I saw Oklahoma!, put on by Wakefield Repertory Theatre.

The acting and singing were great. Ashley Yarnell ("Laurey") is an amazing dancer and portrayed the character quite convincingly. James Shanda Hutchison ("Jud Fry") took some really creative liberties with the character that he pulled off nicely; instead of the more classic "stupid hick" caricature, he made him a more dynamic and realistic character whose social difficulties seemed to stem from maybe autism or schizophrenia.

Despite this, I came close to leaving several times during the show. For whatever reason, a large portion of the audience thought it was appropriate to talk throughout the entire show. The announcer did the usual bit about being respectful of fellow patrons and turning off cell phones and pagers, but I wonder if this crowd needed more specific explanation of how to act at a play. During the overture and entr'acte, most of the house was talking and laughing at full volume. It was pretty obviously live music, and the programs clearly listed that there was an orchestra. The audience quieted down a bit once dialogue started, but there was still audible chatter throughout the play. Some choice bits of conversation I was unable to tune out:

"Didn't they make a movie outta this?"

"My Chrissy has much better intonation than she do."

"Lynelle said that she's only been taking dance for two years."

"Yeah, so two of the people we egged on April fools got us back but the other ones haven't. How many'd you do?" (I should add that this conversation took place between adults.)

Along with other totally unrelated and totally audible conversations that I couldn't figure out why exactly they needed to take place during a play.

And yes, cell phones and pagers were going off frequently, and many people were answering them. Also, people near me were eating pretzels and Starburst. Someone was cracking gum every couple of seconds. There were large signs saying that no food or drink was allowed in the auditorium, but the production company was also selling snacks right outside, so I think they share the blame for this particular annoyance.

I really haven't been to many live performances lately that weren't professional or semi-professional (i.e., super expensive tickets, people will jump all over anyone who breathes too loudly), and I've usually ended up there because I'm onstage or backstage, so I couldn't hear much of the audience noise anyway. So I'm curious -- is this a normal occurence, or was this an anomaly? I'm wondering if this is a function of entitlement, or live productions becoming so scarce that most people don't go to them often, or just a weird quirk of the crowd this particular company attracts.

Whatever it is, it's really too bad, because the show was much better than many expensive productions in fully staffed theatres. These folks really deserve to have more appreciative audiences. Maybe someone could put together a community ushering program!


I just made a really awesome mistake on my tax return

As is the case every year, Molly and I get a sizeable tax refund from the feds and end up owing Massachusetts a few hundred dollars. Being the sensible people that we are, we file the federal returns (yes, returns, plural, because the stupid federal government doesn't recognize our marriage, so we have to file separate federal returns and a joint state one) in January, then wait until the last minute to file the state one.

This year, we got back a good chunk of money from the feds, and I had calculated that we'd owe the state about $1300, which I was saving until April.

I use taxslayer.com to file our federal returns electronically and get our refunds quickly, then in April I add up the figures from taxslayer.com and write them on a mail-in copy of the Massachusetts form (again, since we end up owing, I like to do it the slow way involving a paper copy and a check, which usually takes them about a month to enter and cash). I usually tell taxslayer.com to calculate the Massachusetts returns, so I don't have to think about what to put on which line, but then I leave off some of the state-specific information on the state return so it will come back with an error message and only send off the federal ones.

This year, I left off the health insurance policy number, along with the rest of the Massachusetts-specific questions. I had checked the box that, yes, we had health insurance all year and weren't subject to the penalty for not having it.

Just now, when I went to transfer the figures off of the .pdf from taxslayer.com, I got down to the last few lines of the return and realized it had been penalizing both of us for not having health insurance. So we actually don't owe $1300; we owe $30. Even better is that the $1300 is sitting in the bank waiting to go to the tax people. Now it's going to go to IKEA.

I should make stupid mistakes on my taxes more often.