The (Gay!) Wedding

Bev + Jaime

I’m not a huge wedding ceremony fan, oh nay. I kind of find weddings long and boring and sometimes just heavy-handed. But the one Roan and I attended over the weekend had all the things I like – an intimate group, a supercool officiator, and a gorgeous setting, with my beloved city as the backdrop. My friends from Utah, Bev + Jaime came to NYC to get married because it’s still illegal for same-sex couples to get married in Utah. Still. Illegal. (Sidenote to readers of the future that are shocked I was alive when this type of discrimination was still happening: I know, right?!)

I connected my Utah girls with my Brooklyn people when they were looking for a place to stay. As many people know, finding lodging in NYC is usually the deal breaker for visiting here. Hotels are small and cramped, usually not especially clean, and always always always overpriced. But here’s a super duper secret hook-up: my friends, Loretta and Genarro have a unit they rent out here in the BKLYN that is dope. And cheap, considering it sleeps 6+ people. It is literally 1/2 block to the subway that gets you into Manhattan in 10 – 15 minutes. (I don’t even get a kick-back and look at me giving you the hard sell…what? I just really enjoy sharing insider info.)

This rental is part of Eco Brooklyn’s Show House, and to be rad, Genarro offered his rooftop patio as a setting for the wedding. I mean. You just cannot beat the views – Manhattan, Brooklyn, sky, and many neighbor’s backyards, including one neighbor with a pool whom I am interested in forming a friendship with.

Happy

The wedding ceremony was beautiful, and on the walk home Roan asked me, more than once, what exactly the problem was that people were trying to stop such marriages? That’s my boy. That’s a good question. He started doing funny-voiced impressions of people that oppose same-sex marriage offering, “Oh noooooo! What if they get married and are happy and use up all MY happiness?” I found that pretty ha ha ha LOL funny stuff but then reminded him that many people he knows and loves are in that group of opposers, so easy on the mockery. But then I took my admonition back and joined in the mockery because I just cannot for the life of me meet anyone in the middle on this one. Get over it already.

Not scary

I know I know I know that many people are put off by the flamboyance of Pride day, by the over-the-top behavior of some of the loudest and proudest people in the LGBT community, I get it. If it’s not what you’re into, it seems too fringe, it seems a little scary, it seems unnecessary. I understand the trepidation and difficulty of wrapping one’s mind around something that instinctively feels wrong. The hardest thing of this divisive issue is that there are people who are really and truly good, kind, loving people who cannot stop discriminating. It’s not discrimination from hate, but from a place of fear and sadly – ignorance. This ends up reading as hateful though, because honestly, there’s very little difference.

Even with these caveats, though, the discrimination is simply not ok. My friends and their family not having the same respect and rights paid to them as I have makes no sense to me, and happily, no sense to my son. I suppose little by little it is changing. State by state. Family by family. Blog by blog. I’m certain I have readers who do not agree with me on this issue – and that’s ok. But just for one moment, take a look at these pictures of my friends, see the kindness and love there. The happiness. And be ok with that.

Not scared

Hey Utah: I’m Talking to You.

Just as I was leaving Utah in 2006, there was a guy called Pete Ashdown who was doing his best to poke holes in the staunchly Right-Wing Republican bubble that has had their grip on Utah for the last…eh, forever. Pete Ashdown was a Democrat running against State Senator Orrin Hatch, who has the distinction of being the longest-serving Senator in Utah history which is ha ha ha laughable as he was first elected in 1976 (!) largely based on his criticism of his opponent for holding office for so long.

That’s some poetry right there, as Sentor Hatch is now a 36-year incumbent.

I watched the campaign from my high horse in NYC, because though I left her, I love her, the Utah. I was hoping there would be an upset, I was rooting for the underdog. I wanted with all my heart for Utah to stop being pop-culture popular for her polygamy and backwards laws, and just start being awesome because that’s where my first-born son was always going to have to say he was first-born. But alas, the writing was on the wall and Senator Hatch was reelected adding more years to his reign.

Now, here we are in 2012. Utah is still in the same place, nothing has changed. Her gorgeous landscape, skiing and Great Salt Lake are still overshadowed by her reputation for old politics, constrictive laws, and elections won by big business and corporations. She’s stuck. She needs a push. And I still care.

Undaunted by his defeat in 2006, Pete Ashdown is still swinging. He’s up for the fight again this year. I can’t help but think of my neighbor state New Jersey’s Mayor, Corey Booker, and how he learned a million things he needed to know in his initial defeat. He’s now a much-loved hero in his state. I find myself believing Ashdown is headed on this same trajectory. The major plank of his current platform is rooted here:

Many politicians start out with good, honest intentions, but the current system of campaign finance muddies the water by making elected officials indebted to wealthy donors and PACs. Right now, Senator Hatch has nearly eight million dollars, with only 1% of that figure raised by small dollar individual donors. I can run a winning race on much less, but since I have decided not to take PAC money or seek bundled corporate individual donations, I need 100% of my funds to come from individuals like you.

Pete Ashdown

In short, if this election were a movie, Pete Ashdown would be played by Ryan Gosling. And we all know what that means: honest and earnest, not bowing to the 1%, major intelligence balanced by charisma, and of course, some working out.

Obviously, that’s my candidate. If I still had my feet planted in Utah, if my kids were being raised there and I were hoping for the nation and world to stop focusing on the nonsensical reality-show type farces my state was becoming famous for, if I wanted my home to have a chance of being slightly more balanced, I’d make sure that my candidate was speaking with my voice, the one he said he’d represent. I’d make sure that my candidate was not beholden to the giant PAC machine. I’d make sure that the challenger who needed to put Orrin Hatch on the ropes was actually going to be different than Senator Hatch. Ashdown would absolutely be my candidate, because he’s savvy enough to play ball with the big dogs, but Ryan Gosling enough to beat them with his integrity intact.

[Check out Pete Ashdown's site to learn more about him: http://peteashdown.org]

Peace, Now. Because It’s Very Important.

[Extra-Special Note from Jodi:  I just found out that Pistols + Popcorn is a 2009 Bloggie Finalist.  Let me just be honest.  I'd love to win. I'd really really think that was super awesome.  Another thing that's cool?  Fat Cyclist is nominatated also (again). So please click here and vote for us in our respective categories.  Pistols + Popcorn: Best-Kept Secret Weblog, and Fat Cyclist: Best Sports Weblog.  I know, the sideways scroll.  Think of it as a new skill...]

                                 

I can’t help it; I have to talk about it.  It’s this historic thing that happened and I saw it and so did Anson and Roan even knows it happened.  For the first time as a family, we’re celebrating a day that will be written about forever.  As always, Roan has his own perception of the world.  His world is easily a much lovelier one than mine, so I’m happy when he shares it with me. 

 

Roan informed me after school that he wants to be President of the United States.  I immediately began pondering what improvements he’d make stylistically to the wardrobes of politicians in general when he outed his real motivation: “The White House has three-hundred-sixty-two-and-two-thousand-one bedrooms, and a bowling alley.”  Clearly if one loves to sleep in a different bed every night forever (I’m pretty sure that number means forever), and bowl, then being President is the correct occupation.  Later that evening when we were having dinner at our friend’s home, Roan again recounted his ambition, and his reasoning.  Sophia (yes, Sophia of the Slumber Party fame) immediately informed Roan, “Then, I’m going to be your wife”.  And that was that. 

 

On our walk home, I was able to get a more earnest look into Roan’s mind.  He stopped me on the sidewalk and pulled me down to him.  “I think Obama is going to get us back to the real country”, he said.  I asked him what the real country was.  Roan then told me that in all the movies he’s seen about presidents, in all the articles he’s had read to him, they never told Roan we were at war.  Earlier this afternoon it had come up that our country was at war, though I didn’t see it register on his face, this must have concerned Roan.   ="font-size: small;">On our walk home he let me know that Obama was going to get us back to what was our “real country”.  That meant a country that was not at war, a peaceful country.  I certainly don’t know if that is our “real country”.  But I agreed with Roan in his hope that President Obama could do that for us.  Then Roan added, “I think he’ll do it tonight, before he goes to bed.  It’s his first day, and it’s very important”.  I wish I was five.

 

And Roan, before he went to bed, told me one more thing you may want to know.  He said that while Anson and I are asleep, after midnight, he gets up and watches the news.  Roan let me know that the news has announced that we will have a girl president soon, and she’s in someone’s belly right this very minute.  He also said that she may be not black, and not white but a different color, “like pinkish purple”.  I totally don’t know what channel he’s watching but I think I’m getting Fox News blocked ASAP.

World, Meet President Obama


I spent this night watching every damn station on TV, blogging with my people from NY Magazine Daily Intel, and emailing everyone I know. Barack Obama was just handed the President-Elect title, when fatty texts me with, “Yay!  We win!”  No doubt.

 

What an amazing thing to see some unlikely states like Ohio and Virginia (!) handed to the right man.  What a relief that this country is trusting itself with someone who will not, as I explained it to Roan, be a World Bully anymore, and who will try to make things right.

 

I did hope.  I did believe.  I cannot wait to see what happens.

 

And in my neighborhood at least, people are screaming shouts of joy and triumph from their couches, fireworks (guns? naaaawww……) are being shot off and most notably, “Yaaa-hooooo’s!” echoing like crazy in the hallways of my apartment building.  I don’t mind.  This is one time I’d love for Roan to be woken up to find out what is happening in this world.  I don’t believe I have ever been able to say that.

 

Obama/Biden 2008.  Indeed.  Can we just skip forward to January?

Suggested Reading, Suggested Watching

                 

The kind people of Gowanus Lounge have allowed me to contribute to their site – check out my work here.  [Update: Curbed  linked to the story, and NY Magazine Daily Intel picked it up as well.  Check NY Magazines take on it here.]

                           
                                            
Also, if you’re living in the NY area and you want to watch the debates tonight in style, my recommendation is to check them out here (I’d be going if Roan had a fake I.D. but alas, he has not).  I’ve been inside The Galapagos Art Space and it is beautiful. Even if the debates end up being lackluster, you will still enjoy yourself.  

Building Political Bridges Mad Lib Style

I’ve found that politics can be divisive.  Shocking!  I am a part of a family whose members span the political spectrum from ultra-right-wing conservative to bleeding-heart-left-wing liberal.  Holiday get-togethers are awesome, and I mean that.  It is hard not to take the bait my father leaves for me in every sentence he mutters with a half-smile about any politician not of the (R) persuasion.  It is harder still not to bulldoze him with my own opinions just begging to be freed from the censors and filters of my better judgment.  As long as we all understand that none of us have the ability to actually listen to each other with anything resembling an open mind, we get along just fine.  It is when we try to actually influence each other that things go down in flames.  


So, in anticipation of the upcoming elections, I am devising a way to communicate with my family via email about politics which could be both enjoyable, educational and possibly build bridges between the right and the left.  I’m going to leave the blanks in, and let each family member mentally fill it out for themselves, creating a document that is not offensive to them. We may not all get the same message in the end, but it can’t be any worse than the many emails that begin with the letters “FWD”.  

Dear [family member's name],

How’s everything?  Can you believe this election?  It is really [adjective] to see what’s going on with it!  I really believe that this is the [superlative] [adjective] campaign of our lifetime.  With our country in the [adjective] state it’s in, it makes me wonder how we will be able to get our [plural noun] support.  It seems that the current regime has really [verb] the world-view of what our goals are as a [noun].  Still, [quantifier] people may agree with me.

You are a [party affiliation].  Normally, I associate [party affiliation] with [stereotypical automobile], [stereotypical behavior regarding the environment], and [diety/anti-diety].  Maybe you can help me.  If it were not [presidential candidate of choice] on the ticket, I get the sense that you would still vote with the [declared party].  I get the sense that you would vote with your party no matter who was on the ticket.  Tell me that is not the case, or tell me why, no matter who the [party affiliation] representative might be, you would vote for [candidate's name].  What is there in [proper noun]‘s fundamentals that makes you vote the way that you do?  And have you EVER voted outside of your declared party’s lines? 


With [emotion],


J-to-the-o-d-i



(Credit-Where-Credit-is-Due: Most of this form was lifted from an email I received from my well-spoken brother-in-law, Rocky.  When cornered, he actually becomes less adorable and more intelligent.  However, I have another brother-in-law, Dan, who just said “Something smells like ducks farting under water” in relationship to a business proposition.  Again, the spectrum in my family: every color.) 


"font-size: small;">Oh yeh – watch this.  But only if you don’t mind a few swears.  But it is worth watching.  

How My Morning Run Ended with a Sideways Glance at George Bush, Sr.

                                 

I love to run in the morning, after Roan goes to school and before everything else has my name written on it.  This morning, though, I was really interested in crashing the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) for no good reason other than I’m fascinated by it. So I combined these two tasks, put on my running shoes, and headed out the door.  My goal was to run from my home in Brooklyn to mid-town Manhattan at the Sheraton Hotel where all the big dogs were hanging.  I’ve never done that run, so it could be fun.  Plus my Fat Cyclist Jersey was begging to be represented.  So.

I passed destination after destination of the rich and famous, some iconic some idiotic but all of them so close to each other. It is bananas that so many famous things are so close to each other. Speaking of famous!!  Look at this guy who took the time to wish Susan well (read her story here(His message says “Win Susan!!). David Letterman has nothing on Rupert.      
                    
I made it to CGI when it occurred to me how awesome I looked in my running spandex, tennis shoes, Fat Cyclist Jersey and sweat. Everyone clearly put a little more thought into their outfits than I did. Still, the Secret Service men seemed to think it was kind of cute that I would run from Brooklyn to try and crash the party so they let me stay.  However, my stay was short-lived as the place was air-conditioned and I was coming off about an 8-mile run.  I got really cold really fast, and couldn’t tough it out for more than about 20 minutes. What in the name of Loretta Swit was I thinking not bringing a hoodie?  

I’m about to leave when one of my new Secret Service Homies tells me not to leave, and in fact to just stay right where I was. In. Walks. Former. President. George. Bush, Sr.  Dude looks just like my dad!!  He was quickly shuffled into what looked like a closet but who am I to judge?  So the man likes a closet?  This is America and I Love Freedom and Our Troops! So I’ll be defending his right to walk into a closet until I die. It’s just who I am.  Let’s face it.  I went to the CGI hoping to trainspot someone important and while my groupie-self was kinda hoping for Bono or Armstrong or *sigh* Clinton, I got the Big Bush. Serves me right for going without an invite.