If you haven’t seen this story, or the viral images of the wrong number text message that led to a Thanksgiving meeting of former strangers: a woman send Thanksgiving dinner details to the wrong number. The guy who gets it replies, “Who is this.” The woman says, “Your Grandma.” The guy sends a selfie, “I don’t think you’re my Grandma.” She sends back a selfie and apologizes for the wrong number. He jokes, “Can I still have a plate?” and she says, “Of course! That’s what grandma’s do, feed everyone!”
And they kept texting and she said she was serious he should come to Thanksgiving dinner, and he didn’t have local family, and then, well, this happened:
In other news, after the phenomenal crowdsourcing campaign, the Green Party in Wisconsin has filed for a re-count and a paper ballot reconciliation:
I admit, I was one of the people saying I didn’t trust the Green Party’s effort. After asking the world to donate 2.5 million so they could demand recounts in three states, they changed the small print on the fundraising page several times, and changed the goal they were asking for several times. The fine print was the sorts of disclaimers you would expect, in one sense: they couldn’t guarantee the recounts would happen; if excess money was raised the part would keep the money to promote “voter integrity options” that sort of thing. But the wording kept adding more loopholes.
But the thing was, the first filing deadline (Wisconsin) was Friday. They had exceeded the original ask significantly, and the clock was literally ticking down, and they had not filed a petition for a recount. It was at a point where the Wisconsin Elections Commission was making snarky comments on it’s website and twitter account, because the Greens kept blasting out more money beg messages but hadn’t filed: Wisconsin Elections Commission Basically Calling Jill Stein Out for Not Filing Recount Petition Yet.
So I don’t think I was being unreasonable (or mean) when I retweeted another editorial that made the observation that the Green Party money beg was starting to seem as if it might be a scam. The word “seem” was in the title, so even if you didn’t click through and read the piece, (which was nuanced and balanced) it should have been obvious that I was only claiming suspicion.
As I exchanged words with some others on twitter afterward, I repeatedly said that if the Green Party actually filed all three petitions before the deadlines in each state, that I would agree that they weren’t merely fundraising for themselves off the issue.
The party did file a petition in Wisconsin before the deadline (as the above headlines show), so that’s one down. I understand that the rules in each state about the petitions vary. And that sometimes an incorrectly worded form can cause a filing to be rejected. I don’t know if any of the remaining states have a process by which the initial filing can be amended or corrected after it is filed.
And heck, even the states don’t always know. The Wisconsin Elections Commission said they had their own lawyers double-checking the procedure while they were awaiting the petition. Turns out there’s a contradiction in the state law: one part says that the petitioner has to deposit money to pay for the recount when they file, another part says that the Commission has to give the petitioner an estimate of the cost of the recount after receiving the petition and the petitioner has to pony up the money within a very short timeline after getting the estimate. So, I understand that trying to make certain all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed means they can’t just slap down a petition right away.
Completely unrelated to all of this: while there are reasons to be skeptical about the vote count in some places, I’m not holding out a lot of hope that any of these recounts will change any results. Part of that is based on past experience. And the lack of clear evidence of wrong doing is the reason that organizations such as the Clinton campaign is loathe to expend the millions of dollars required for a recount. I’ve blogged more than once about the Republican gubernatorial candidate in my state several years ago who paid over a million dollars for a recount and audit, and succeeded only in discovering that there had been a total of four fraudulent ballots filed in the race–and all four had voted for him, not his opponent. So he and the party spent a lot of money to actually reduce their own vote count, and thus lose slightly worse…But I have to agree with Dan Pfeiffer, if the Green Party had done what so-called third-parties used to do: endorse the major party candidate who supported most of their agenda (earlier in the campaign the eventual Green nominee had claimed she would endorse Bernie Sanders if Bernie got the nomination, and since Hillary’s voting record when they were both in the Senate matched Bernie 90+ percent of the time you’d think that would be close enough). I get it, when I was younger I used to think that what we needed was more active third parties. That was before I understood a couple of very important things: while the Constitution says nothing explicitly about parties, the way the electoral college is set up to elect presidents means that we have a Constitutionally-mandated two party system; and for most of history both major parties are coalitions of unofficial smaller parties already.
Anyway, I don’t think that recounts and audits are ever a bad idea. So even if these efforts don’t change anything, I’m glad that we’re going forward with at least one, and hope at least two more.
Which isn’t to say that the dinners haven’t been good and enjoyable. And as crowded as everything gets when we’re all crammed in at Mom’s small place, if we had more (shall we say) elaborate food, it would be even more difficult. It’s just that there is a part of me—primed by memories of epic childhood holiday dinners, plus a boatload of pop culture expectations, and memories of elaborate holiday dinners I’ve cooked as an adult—that keeps wanting it to be more. It’s emotional baggage, rather than any actual shortcoming of the event, right?
Which means that I have to spend a certain amount of time before the holiday psyching myself out to not be disappointed, and (perhaps more importantly) to not act as if I’m disappointed.
This year I’m responsible for the relish tray, a salad (specifically Mom wants me to make the salad my hubby dubbed Foofy Salad), and pies. All are things that are easy to transport and don’t need to be cooked or heated when we arrive. And it has the upside of leaving me certain that there will be pie. Later this weekend, we’ll be cooking a dinner with some of the traditional holiday dishes that we don’t get on the actual day.
Before I queue this up and finish packing, I want list some of the things I’m thankful for; if for no other reason to remind myself that there is still a lot of good in the world:
- my wonderful, handsome, sweet, smart, talented, and sexy husband
- people who love
- people who make art, stories, music, and other creative things
- radio and other wireless technology
- people who help other people
- my friends—wonderful, talented, nerdy, loving, and some of them nearly as crazy as me
- people who make things work
- my wonderful, talented, hard-working, handsome husband who inexplicably puts up with me (who absolutely deserves to be on this list more than once!)
- people who sweat the details
- people who don’t sweat the details
- my job
- satellites and space craft and telescopes
- my extended chosen family, which yes overlaps with several other times on this list (not just the third)
- technology that lets me carry my entire music library in my pocket, access the world’s libraries from the palm of my hand, read silly things people say halfway around the world, all while standing in the checkout line at the grocery store
- my family, yes even the most exasperating, because they’re part of what made me who I am, and I’m sure that I drive them just as crazy as they drive me
- people who clean up after disasters
- good food, drink, and opportunities to be merry
- my sexy husband who keeps me sane, fixes things I break, finds things I lose, and perhaps most importantly, inspires me to ignore my worst impulses and go high when others or the world goes low
Thank you, everyone who reads this. Whether you are celebrating Thanksgiving, I hope that you are surrounded by love. I hope your life contains more blessings than troubles. May you find joy, and may you know that you give others reason to be thankful.
This year we came very close to canceling the Thanksgiving trip, because the anti-Hillary/pro-Trump talk in general seems to have encouraged the most bigoted relatives to go all in on the anti-gay talk on social media. Since the big extended family get-together no longer happens, we don’t usually have to deal with any of the actually toxic family members. Instead we’re left with the odd thoughtless/unintentional comments that slowly make your blood boil. We were invited to spend Thanksgiving with wonderful, supportive friends in Seattle, and the invitations were very tempting, but we’ve decided to give the trip to my Mom’s place another go.
We’ve just arranged the trip so we don’t need to stay all day.
Anyway, I hope that you can have a toxin-free holiday. And we may throw a spontaneous Second Thanksgiving later this weekend if we think we need a brain-rinse!
“The holidays are here — which for most people means lots of food and lots of family. But for many queer and trans people of color, the word “family” means something entirely different.”
(If embedding doesn’t work, click here.)
But there are good things in my life. Specifically, good people. My husband. Our many wonderful friends. People near and far who have reached out to say we’re not alone in this. For most of my life family hasn’t referred to people who happen to be related to me by blood. Yes, a couple of my actual relatives have always been supportive and accepting even while others were most actively letting me know that my queer self was not welcome, but they are the minority. I’ve felt much more welcome and accepted by many of my in-laws. Not only that, my ex-wife and several of her family members have been more accepting of me than most of my blood relatives.
But blood or DNA isn’t what makes someone family. I will fight anyone who tries to say the my mom’s adoptive father wasn’t my real Grandpa, for instance. Family are the people who love you not in spite of your flaws, but including the flaws. It’s known that they have your back, and that you have theirs. The old joke is that a friend might help you move, but a real friend will help you move a body; and I am lucky enough to have some friends of the latter category (and I hope they know that I’m in that category for them, too).
The larger world seems to be out of control right now. What’s getting me through the craziness is knowing that I have these people I love, and who love me as well.
Anyway, I saw some blog posts a couple of weeks ago claiming that this year’s Starbucks holiday cup was, once again, an assault on traditional american values because it didn’t say Christmas on it. The blog posts were in reference to a green cup that Starbucks unveiled a week or so before election day. They called it a Unity cup, and the featured artwork was many different people drawn with one continuous line, to symbolize how everyone is connected, humanity is one big family, et cetera. And the usual War on Christmas nuts started making angry posts about it.There are a couple of problems with this outrage. First, the cups weren’t the Starbucks holiday cups: No, Those Green Cups Aren’t The Starbucks Holiday Cup. Second, in what way can any Christian be legitimately offended by a message of community and connectedness of all mankind? Especially at Christmas?
I mean, in Luke 2:14 after the angel tells the shepherds that the savior has been born, a multitude of the heavenly host appears in the sky beside the first angel and sings, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Right?
Well, that’s one of the problems. The King James Version, which was the English language translation of the Bible preferred by most protestants for a couple hundred years (and was the one I first read cover-to-cover, the one read and quoted from the pulpit at all the churches I attended, and the one from which I memorized the Christmas story as told in Luke chapter 2 and Matthew chapter 1 as a child), states the angels’ song the way I quote it. God’s message is good will toward all mankind in that translation.
But evangelical and fundamentalist Christians have spurned the King James Version and a couple of similar translations, in part because they weren’t homophobic enough. Seriously, in 1946 the Revised Standard Version added the words homosexual or homosexuality to several passages. The fact that it was unclear in the original languages what some of those were passages talking about, and in other cases were references to particular types of prostitution (and a weird legalistic argument some people were apparently making that if they hired a male prostitute pretending to be a woman they weren’t really cheating on their wife) was completely glossed over with these changes. (You can read a lot more about it here: Homophobia and the Politics of Biblical Translation.)
The god of the King James Version was pretty judgmental, but not judgmental and condemning enough, apparently. And the new translations many of the evangelicals and fundamentalists favor render that verse a bit differently: “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” Clearly implying that God does not offer universal love and forgiveness to everyone.
Make no mistake, the King James Version’s translation has all sorts problems. And the original texts from which the modern Bible is derived have other problematic issues. There are so many passages that praise slavery, for instance. There’s the bit in the old testament where men are instructed, if they suspect their wife might have been unfaithful, to take said wife to the temple for an involuntary abortion. There are also twenty-five separate and unequivocal passages stating that left-handed people are abominations and will not get into heaven. These are just some of the reasons that I no longer consider myself a member of the religion in which I was raised.
But I still keep, rather foolishly, expecting that more people who call themselves Christian will actually conduct themselves according to the actual teachings of the man who said: “I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”
Do good to those that hate you. He didn’t say to make laws that punish those who disagree with you. He didn’t say to deny marriage licenses to those who believe differently than you. He didn’t say deport those who worship differently than you. He didn’t say to build walls to keep out people who look and speak differently than you. He didn’t say to tell all those people you are persecuting that you love them even while you’re doing all these hurtful and hateful things to them.
He said to do good to everyone, including those who hurt you. That’s how you love your neighbor. But it’s apparently a lot easier to change the words of their sacred book than it is to change their own hearts.
A red coffee cup with snowflakes on it, or Christmas ornaments, or snow covered evergreen trees, or a fanciful reindeer do not constitute a “War on Christmas.” It’s manufactured outrage, not an actual war. But people who call themselves Christian and support the persecution and demonization of people based on race, sexual orientation, immigration status, or religion? That is an actual war on the teachings of Christ.
My friend, Jared, took issue with the headline for being overly clickbaity. The foam mass wasn’t mysterious by the time the reporter got there: it was leaking fire retardant foam from a nearly airport (Chemical foam spills from hangar at airport). It’s non-toxic, and will eventually fade away, but for a little while part of the city of Santa Clara, California was buried under a blob of foam.
And you thought 2016 couldn’t get any weirder!
In much less funny news (though there is some gallows humor to be found), Trumpkins are all het up because Vice President-elect Pence was booed on Broadway last night after a cast member addressed him during the curtain call. Given Pence’s virulent anti-gay actions in past political office, and his emphatic assertions since the election that he and Trump are going to undo as much gay civil rights as they can, and the lead actor of the play Pence went to is an openly-gay man, being booed is the kindest thing that could have happened, IMHO. Then, when a Trump surrogate complained about the disrespect and asserted that Pence loves gay people, CNN host Don Lemon wasn’t having it: WATCH: Don Lemon shoots down Kayleigh McEnany’s whining about ‘elites’ booing Pence at ‘Hamilton’.
Oh, and the statement from the cast member which has Trump and his followers rage-tweeting? Not disrespectful by any means:
Thank you for joining us at Hamilton: An American Musical. We are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights. We hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values, and work on behalf of ALL of us. Thank you.
Some Trumpkins are calling for a boycott of the musical Hamilton, which is going to be quite a trick, given that the show (with some tickets as high as $1000) is currently sold out through next January…
But then, Trump supporters don’t seem to understand how boycotts work at all: Trump Fans “Punish” Starbucks For Anti-White Discrimination By Buying More Coffee. Because of Starbucks’ corporate policies supporting various civil rights issues, the company has long been a target of anger and vitriol form the rightwing. However, this week after avideo of a really angry white customer losing his sh*t (attacking and threatening the baristas and the other customers because his coffee took too long—which he blamed anti-white “discrimination”) went viral, Trump supports have been going into Starbucks, ordering and paying for expensive drinks, and telling the baristas that their name is Trump, so that Trump’s name will be written on the cup. They then take pictures of the cups and post them to social media.
Wow, that’ll teach ’em… something?
I’m still very worried about the future of the country, and yes more than a bit about my future and that of a lot of people I know and love. Brooding, worrying, researching, and chatting online last week didn’t help. Meeting some of our friends Saturday night and getting to vent and worry a bit together, but more importantly to commiserate and other wonderful things that friends do for each other helped me incredibly. Seeing more friends Sunday helped even more.
I’m also not going to discount how much help the unexpected crying while walking home from work on Monday provided. Keep in mind my walk takes a bit over an hour, and for more than half of that I couldn’t stop crying. Exercise and crying, I wholeheartedly endorse it!Seeing this message from President Obama helped, a lot. I had already privately given myself a deadline of getting over the moping by the end of this week. With the help of wonderful friends, I’m getting there.
Now, I have these books to finish, so I better shut up and write!
I had a plan last night to attempt to try to deal a bit with my current doldrums. I’m sure that it’s a combination of my usual sort-of seasonal depression (starts most years around the time I realize it’s nearly Ray’s birthday and running until about the anniversary of his death), the shock-dismay-disappointment of the election, the other unrelated uncertainties (our landlady has sold the building and we may have to move when our lease is up), and my frustration with the projects I’m trying to finish during NaNoWriMo.
The plan was an old standby that has helped many a time before: pick one of the movies in our collection that I know will make me cry a few times, snuggle up under a blanket and watch it. It’s amazing how having a really good cry helps getting me back on something approaching an even keel.
So that was the plan. I left the office and began the walk home. I drilled down in the vast collection of playlists on my phone to find one I hadn’t listened to in a while. It started with Beyoncé’s “Halo” and jumps around in genres after that. I picked it primarily because I hadn’t listened to it in long enough that I didn’t remember what all was in it, to be honest. I didn’t expect that when the Al Green version of “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?” came up that I’d start crying while I was trying to walk home.
So there I was, walking along, bawling my eyes out at least half of the walk home. It didn’t feel as cathartic as the good cry over a movie by any means. So I was still planning to do the movie thing when I got home.
But I got there and my husband was pulling beef ribs out of the oven that he had cooked until they were falling apart. And while I ate I was scrolling through the database of our movies we’ve got ready for streaming, and chatting a little bit online with a couple of my NaNoWriMo buddies and I just couldn’t pick a movie. And I was feeling exhausted.
So I curled up on the recliner and took a nap. I was afraid it was going to be one of those depression naps: where I sleep until the wee hours of the morning and wake up, not feeling any less depressed, but too awake to sleep and knowing that I wouldn’t feel rested when it was time to get up for work because I would stay up the rest of the night unable to sleep.
What actually happened is I slept for just over an hour. I felt like writing when I woke up, so I did. And by the time midnight rolled around, I’d written a bit over 1800 more words on my novels, and had some confidence that maybe I had sorted out the plot things. My husband was in bed asleep by then, so I put things away, turned out lights, and went to bed.
I don’t feel much better this morning but I feel less worn out and unmotivated. I thought I had about a half hour I could spend writing a blog post about where I was at, maybe talk about the plotting issues or something, but first I did a quick check of social media, where someone was sharing this from Schreibblockade offiziell, a blog by Lenia Roth:Which says the writing stuff I was mulling over more succinctly. Plus I haven’t recommended another blog in a while, so I can take three or four birds with one stone which is even better than the usually proverbial rock tossing, right?
So, go check out the cool cartoons, commentary, and other stuff on Schreibblockade offiziell, and let’s all try to have a better day.
(And I still may pull out one of the tear-jerker movie some night this week.)