A very happy birthday to my pops, who turns 80 today! 80! & Do you know, at his last checkup, the doctor informed him that 50% of men are dead by their 79th birthday? What kind of nutty thing is that to tell a person?

The secret to his longevity: he doesn’t stress much. & Hot dogs.

PA Writing

I recently read two books that took place in PA, one fiction, the other non-fiction. Baker Towers is the story of a Polish-Italian PA family, which was intriguing since I’m from a Polish-Italian family (except in my family the husband was the Italian, not the wife, & they met in Brooklyn, not PA). I found it lacking because there were historical inaccuracies – there were no Magic Markers during WWII, women used eyeliner to draw their stockings’ seams, – and because the writing was competent, but not interesting, and the characters were so arm’s-distanced that it was hard to feel for them.

The other, called The Day the Earth Caved In, was about the Centralia mine fire, & while it was good, it was – also kind of dully told.

You’d think a mine fire – and a mine disaster – would be easy to make interesting. Maybe there’s something about writing about PA that people feel they can’t be a little flash when they write.

& I say all that because I’ve written two novels (as yet unpublished) that deal, to a large or small degree, with PA, and with coal towns, and even with WWII. Jennifer Finney Boylan tells me there is a whole literature surrounding the Centralia mine fire these days, and that Harper’s Magazine even did an article about it. (Ms. Boylan has also written two books, The Planets, and The Constellations, that take place in PA, & involve mine fires).

I feel sometimes like a reverse snob; I don’t care for literary writers much, except when they’re very very good (like Tolstoy, like Calvino). I’d like to be a writer who sells books. Honestly, trying to be literary probably set my writing back quite a few years. I look back at some of the stories I wrote before college & they have clearer voices than some later stories (but, like most juvenilia, they have almost no authority to them.)

Anyway. I think Twain said once, never let literature get in the way of your writing. Or something similar.

holy crap.

Her lawsuit against Day is now on appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court, in part because of the victim-blaming actions of the trial court judge. Judge Phillip Brown, despite a Georgia rape shield law, compelled Ross to disclose every person she had ever dated, or engaged in any sexual activity with, including their names, dates of interaction, and contact information. This evidence was supposedly to show “consent;” the actual purpose was to humiliate the victim and discourage her and other victims from pursuing these cases. Under Georgia state law, and federal law, a victim’s sexual history with third parties is supposed to be irrelevant. The result of this case is that any victim who brings a civil claim for sexual battery in Georgia must be prepared to discuss all of her previous sexual partners. The judge ultimately found Ross was not raped in part because, as all that testimony showed, she was not a virgin.

and it gets worse.

Five More

There is a “10 Things About Yourself” Thing going around, like the spring flu, and while I previously answered “Five Things You Don’t Know About Me,” I feel like I owe everyone another five now. So here goes:

6. I played flute from age 10 – 20. I probably still can, though I haven’t tried in a long time.

7. I am very very very fond of elephants. I think perhaps I was one in a previous life (if you believe in that sort of thing, which i don’t, except that it’s a handy explanation for why I have such a thing for elephants).

8. I have lived in only 4 apts in the entire 20 years I have lived in NYC, & three of them were in upper Manhattan. (The fourth is the apt I live in now, in Brooklyn.)

9. I have 20/15 vision.

and finally

10. the first short story I wrote, aged 9, was a bad knockoff of A Wrinkle in Time.

Interview Question

I am sick of being asked the interview question, “So why are you looking for part-time work? Why not full-time?” and answering, “I’m a writer. I work part-time so I have time to write” and having the interviewer look at me like a dog that’s been shown a card trick.

Prince Caspian Arrives Today

& I am going today, because I have to, because I did for The Lion, The Witch & the Wardrobe, and because I’m really really hoping that the water god looks as cool in the movie as he does in the trailer.

But Eddie Izzard as Reepicheep (well, his voice) should be entertaining, even if the Trufflehunter the Badger isn’t (though if he’s anything close to the Beavers, he’ll be fantastic).

They’re shooting Dawn Treader next, which is my favorite.

Two Bits

Two bits of good news: Khadijah Farmer won the suit against Caliente Cab Company, & not just that:

Among the workplace practices that Caliente Cab agreed to adopt in the settlement was to add gender identity and expression to its corporate nondiscrimination policy; to adopt a gender-neutral dress code for its employees; and to amend its employee handbook to state “persons patronizing or employed at Caliente have the right to use the bathroom facilities consistent with their gender identity and expression.”

The second piece of good news – well we’re hoping it will end up being good news – is that California’s Supreme Court just lifted the Same Sex Marriage Ban. There are a few potential downsides – like gay marriage becoming a presidential election issue again – but for now I’ll leave you with Shannon Minter:

Shannon Minter of the National Center for Lesbian Rights said same-sex marriage advocates could not have hoped for a more favorable ruling by the Republican-dominated court. “It’s a total victory,” Minter said.

I just love that a trans person was the one who argued the case, and won.

Utah Mine Update

The deaths were avoidable, the 150-page report said, because five months before the August disaster in the north section of the mine, a similar collapse had occurred in a southern section, offering clear “red flags” indicating that the mine was unstable. Rather than informing federal mining officials about the March collapse, the report said, the mine operator cleaned up the site and went on with work in a nearby section.

The whole report is at TruthOut. Thanks to Miss Carolyn for sending it on.


Thank you so much, everyone, for the lovely birthday wishes and the lovely (de facto) birthday party. We had a wonderful time seeing a lot of old friends, new friends — fantastic people all.

It’s still hard to believe we’re 39. I really don’t think I ever expected to live this long. But now that I have, I suppose I should have a plan.

& For those who are wondering, no, we didn’t win the lottery. ha.

39 The First (& Only) Time

39. Shock & horror. It’s not possible I’m this old.

My mother was 39 when she gave birth to me, 39 years ago today. (Thanks mom.) I was her 6th child, and here I can barely manage three cats & a trans husband.

But at least Betty’s as old as me!

Sign the Petition

On the Task Force, named as Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders Chair, we find Dr. Kenneth Zucker, from Toronto infamous Centre for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH, formerly the Clarke Institute). Dr. Zucker is infamous for utilizing reparative therapy to Ccure gender-variant children. Named to his work group, we find Zuckers mentor, Dr. Ray Blanchard, Head of Clinical Sexology Services at CAMH and creator of the theory of autogynephilia, categorized as a paraphilia and defined as man paraphilic tendency to be sexually aroused by the thought or image of himself as a woman.
Also Dr Ann Lawrence, a supporter of his JUNK SCIENCE.. is understood to be in consideration as an alternate member.

We, the undersigned hereby object to their inclusion on this committee, and object to the hurtful theories they promote.
In order to have any credibility in the field of gender identity, the DSM must not include discounted theories or junk science. We ask that they be removed at once as members.

Sign the Petition.

(Thanks to the 1000+ of you who have already signed.)

Painting with a Broad Brush

Have you all seen the recent Shur-Line commercial? With a woman from Shur-Line and a wife (I assume) who are trying to coax the husband out of hiding so that he’ll paint? It’s so condescending toward men; like they need to be told what to do and reassured that there won’t be any chores.

On the other side, it makes women responsible for making sure “all’s safe” for the guy to come out.

Idiotic & condescending to both genders: well-done.

Happy Moms

A very very happy mother’s day to all the moms out there – including our own.

(& Please don’t wish me a happy mother’s day. I’m very proud of not being a mother.)

Not Marrying Money

I was so happy to find this article on being a woman who is planning to marry a man who is deep in debt and who actually called off the wedding – at least temporarily – until he got this finances in order. It’s an issue no one ever talks about – debt in general, & money in relationships too. I’ve seen money listed as one of the top five things a couple should make sure they agree about (the other four are having children, dealing with family, sex, and religion) before they get married. Historically women end up with a lower standard of living after divorce, for instance, than men do, despite all the jokes about how women “get rich” via divorce. Those with children, even moreso.

I’m waiting for her to outline how exactly he managed this 53% reduction in so short a time. It’s encouraging.