Gay couples from anywhere in Iowa could apply for a marriage license from Polk County. The process takes three days, however.
Polk County is expected to appeal the ruling to the Iowa Supreme Court.
County Attorney John Sarcone said the county would immediately seek a stay from Hanson, which if granted would prevent anyone from seeking a marriage license until an appeal could be heard.
The case will be appealed to the Iowa Supreme Court, which could refer it to the Iowa Court of Appeals, consider the case itself or decide not to hear the case.
Des Moines lawyer Dennis Johnson represented the six gay couples who filed suit after they were denied marriage licenses. He called the ruling "a moral victory for equal rights."
Johnson argued that Iowa has a long history of aggressively protecting civil rights in cases of race and gender. He said the Defense of Marriage Act, which the Legislature passed in 1998, contradicts previous court rulings regarding civil rights and should be struck down.
Johnson called the Defense of Marriage law "mean spirited" and said it was designed only to prohibit gays from marrying. He said it violates t he state constitution's equal protection and due-process clauses.
Lambda Legal, which spearheaded a same-sex marriage drive across the country, filed the lawsuit on behalf of the gay and lesbian couples in Polk County District Court on Dec. 13, 2005.
A personal blog by a Black, Gay, Caribbean, Liberal, Progressive, Moderate, Fit, Geeky, Married, College-Educated, NPR-Listening, Tennis-Playing, Feminist, Atheist, Math Professor in Los Angeles, California
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Iowa Trial Court Rules In Favor Of Freedom To Marry
CA Legislature Passes Migden's Bill To Expand Reproductive Technology to HIV+ Men
Currently only California and Delaware prohibit fertility treatments when one member of the partner is HIV positive. Migden's bill would allow for a process called "sperm washing" recognized by the the American Society for Reproductive Medicine that minimizes the chance of donation fro an HIV-posiive sperm donation and includes a requirement for informed mutual consent. Unfortunately, Migden's bill was not amended to allow HIV-positive women access to assistive reproductive technology so technically it is against the law for an HIV-positive woman to donate her eggs to herself or anyone else. Perhaps next session Senator Migden or some other legislattor would be interested in carrying legislation to eliminate this oversight in this well-intended legislation. Current research is showing that the risk of transmission from HIV-positive mother to new born child is as low as 4% and dropping.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
REVIEW: Octavia Butler's FLEDGLING
fledgling is a brilliant re-imagination of the vampire myth by one of the most creative writers in the genre of "speculative fiction."
The story begins with a young woman who wakes up, bruised and burned in a cave. The woman leaves a cave and discovers a razed village nearby and meets a young man who she bites, feeds on and then has sex with. One of the many unusual aspects of this tale are the details that the young woman appears physically as a pre-pubescent, dark-skinned female while the man is white and in his 20s.
Eventually we learn that the name of the young vampire is Shori Mathews and although she looks like a 10 or 11 year old she is actually 50-60 years old, which is young (but equivalent to an adolescent or teenager) for her kind, the long-lived symbiotic, vampiric species known as The Ina.
Butler weaves a suspenseful plot around these basic story ideas, as we learn more about the unusual nature of Ina culture and society while the book progresses to a pleasing conclusion.
Some of the idea this "genre fiction" novel grapples with are miscegenation, gender-stratified societies, the nature of addiction and racism. As always, in creative and enthralling ways Butler excites and intrigues the reader with her vision and insight of her final book. It's one of the sadnesses in life that we will not have the opportunity to experience any new works by this gifted author, one of the few African American females writing speculative fiction.
My Assembly Person The Next Speaker?
A look at the fundraising totals provides a pretty good clue as to who is
in the top tier of contenders to replace Núñez and Perata. Leading the way is
Freshman Kevin De Leon, D-Los Angeles, a close ally of Núñez and organized
labor. The caucus' second-leading fundraiser, Culver City Democrat Karen Bass,
also has close labor ties. And, like De Leon, Bass is frequently mentioned as a
possible successor to Núñez.
Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) Denies He Is Gay
An excerpt from MSNBC's coverage:
He had “overreacted and made a poor decision” when he was apprehended by an undercover police officer in a men’s room at the Minneapolis airport and later pleaded guilty.
“While I was not involved in any inappropriate conduct in the Minneapolis Airport or anywhere else, I chose to plead guilty to a lesser charge in hopes of making it go away.” He said he kept the information from his friends, family and staff, adding, “I wasn’t eager to share this failure but I should have anyway because I am not gay.”
Nor did he hire a lawyer, Craig said, although he now has retained counsel “to review the matter and advise me on how to proceed.”
“I have brought a cloud over Idaho and for that I seek and ask the people of Idaho to forgive me,” he said.
People in Idaho seem doubtful.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
US OPEN 2007 Day 1: Celebration of Blackness
After that the two must successful African American female tennis players since Althea Gibson, Venus Williams and Serena Williams came out and won their first round matches easily, in an awesome display of power and glamour that honored the great champion who paved the way for their success: Althea Gibson. Amazingly, African Americans Donald Young and Asha Rolle managed to win their first Grand Slam matches ever on the same day USTA decided to (finally) honor the tennis accomplishments of this fellow African American by inducting her into the celebrated Court of Champions.
Video of Robot Solving Rubik's Cube
Monday, August 27, 2007
Homophobic U.S. Senator From Idaho Pleads Guilty To Lewd Conduct
It should be noted that U.S. Senator Larry Craig had a 0% rating with the Human Rights Campaign and was a spokesperson for the Romney for President campaign (which he has since asked to resign from).
“At 1216 hours, Craig tapped his right foot. I recognized this as a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct. Craig tapped his toes several times and moves his foot closer to my foot. I moved my foot up and down slowly. While this was occurring, the male in the stall to my right was still present. I could hear several unknown persons in the restroom that appeared to use the restroom for its intended use. The presence of others did not seem to deter Craig as he moved his right foot so that it touched the side of my left foot which was within my stall area,” the report states.
Craig then proceeded to swipe his hand under the stall divider several times, and Karsnia noted in his report that “I could ... see Craig had a gold ring on his ring finger as his hand was on my side of the stall divider.”
Karsnia then held his police identification down by the floor so that Craig could see it.
“With my left hand near the floor, I pointed towards the exit. Craig responded, ‘No!’ I again pointed towards the exit. Craig exited the stall with his roller bags without flushing the toilet. ... Craig said he would not go. I told Craig that he was under arrest, he had to go, and that I didn’t want to make a scene. Craig then left the restroom.”
In a recorded interview after his arrest, Craig “either disagreed with me or ‘didn’t recall’ the events as they happened,” the report states.
Craig stated “that he has a wide stance when going to the bathroom and that his foot may have touched mine,” the report states. Craig also told the arresting officer that he reached down with his right hand to pick up a piece of paper that was on the floor.
“It should be noted that there was not a piece of paper on the bathroom floor, nor did Craig pick up a piece of paper,” the arresting officer said in the report.
In October 2006, Craig’s office publicly denied allegations that he was a homosexual made on a gay activist Web site — blogactive.com. Craig’s office told the Spokane Spokesman-Review that the charge was “completely ridiculous,” saying that the allegations had “no basis in fact."
US OPEN 2007: Men's Top 10 Preview
2 Nadal, Rafael (ESP). The Spanish wunderkind plays so much tennis during the early clay court section of the tennis season that towards the end of the year even the young, supple body of the longtime #2 best player in the World starts to break down. He has shown that he can play well on hardcourts by winning the Pacific Life Open earlier in the year, however he has been humbled by players on this surface recently (Djokovic, Youzhny, Berdych). Semifinalist or earlier.
3 Djokovic, Novak (SRB). The New Kid On The Block anounced himself earlier in the year by making two consecitive Masters Series on hard courts and has won two of them this year (Miami and Montreal) beating higher ranked players both times, no mean feat when you are currently #3 in the World. When Djokovic beat #3 Roddick, #2 Nadal and #1 Federer two weeks ago in Montreal the world took notice. And he looks pretty good with his shirt off. The Kid has made two consecutive major championship semi-finals, I predict he'll go even further in New York. Finalist.
4 Davydenko, Nikolay (RUS). The perennial Top 5 player never makes much of a splash at the Slams and now has a controversy over betting on his matches over his head. The draw predicts a quarterfinal match with James Blake, who I predict will go further in this tournament than the Russian. Quarter-finalist or earlier.
5 Roddick, Andy (USA). Ahh, the hard court season when American tennis comes alive. Roddick had a decent US Open Series season this year, placing third behind Federer and Blake and just ahead of Djokovic by winning Washington's Legg Mason classic. However, since the rest of his season has not gone as well he finds his ranking down to 5 and in the unenviable position of having to play a quarterfinal against Federer, who he has not defeated in over 10 tries. Although his loss to Richard Gasquet in the Wimbledon quarterfinals was one of the best matches of that tournament (and probably the year) I'm sure it was a mentally devastating loss for Roddick, who was looking forward to his 4th meeting at Wimbledon against Federer. His take-away from that loss should be to play his potential quarterfinal match against Federer as if it were a final, and maybe, just maybe this time he'll come out victorious. Yeah, I don't believe it either. Quarter-finalist or earlier.
6 Blake, James (USA). Interestingly, the other Great American Hope for U.S. Tennis has had an even better US Open Series season, winning Pilot Pen again and getting to the finals of both the Los Angeles' Countrywide Classic and Cincinnati ATP Masters Series final. If it weren't for just a few breakpoints saved by Radek Stepanek, Blake would be in the running for the $1 million bonus in New York as the US Open Series winner. Blake actually has a pretty challenging draw (fellow American journeyman Michael Russell followed by the always wily Fabrice Santoro with dangerous Sam Querrey and Tommy Haas lurking) on his way to meet Nikolay Davydenko in the quarterfinals whom he is 6-0 against head-to-head. So, this really is a moment where Blake has to live up to his book sales and decide whether he will make a breakthrough or a whimper in New York. I'm suspecting it will be the former. Semifinalist or early round loss.
7 Gonzalez, Fernando (CHI). Oh, where oh where has Mr. 2007 Australian Open finalist been all year long? He's in Nadal's quarter of the draw and it's doubtful he'll even make it that far. Quarter-finalist or earlier.
8 Robredo, Tommy (ESP). The best-looking member of the Top 10 is in Djokovic's section of tyhe draw and it's doubtful he'll make it that far. Early Round Loss.
9 Berdych, Tomas (CZE). When Berdych is on, he can defeat anyone in the Top 10, but his curiously flat performance against Nadal in the Wimbledon quarterfinals this year have led me to question whether the Czech player will really ever live up to his potential, despite his hard-hitting ground strokes and go-for-broke style he shares with his girlfriend Lucie Safarova. He does have the possibility of complicating Andy Roddick's move through the draw to meet Federer in the quarters but somehow neither I nor Tomas really believe that will happen. Fourth Round.
10 Haas, Tommy (GER). Ahh, one of the few players in the draw who really believes he is a better tennis player than Roger Federer. Unfortunately for him, he has a possible 4th Round showdown with the new and improved James Blake. If the German player gets through that match (which is unlikely) then he could complicate life for Federer in the semi-finals. At least 4th Round.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
US OPEN 2007: Women's Top 10 PREVIEW
2 M. SHARAPOVA. The "Golden Girl" of the WTA has a gift-wrapped draw in which in her half is lacking almost all of the hard-hitting seeds. In Sharapova's half she has coming-back-from-injury Nicole Vaidisova, solid but streaky Anna Chakvetadze and always sneaky Martina Hingis in addition to 2004 U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova. None of these players should really prevent her from getting to her second consecutive U.S. Open final. Finalist.
3 J. JANKOVIC. The hard-hitting Serb is starting to get eclipsed by her younger countrywoman, particularly at the Slams. Jankovic lost the WTA Tier 1 Rogers Cup final to Justine Henin, the seventh time she has lost to the Belgian in seven times. Quarterfinalist or Champion.
4 S. KUZNETSOVA. The mentally fragile Russian is one of the few hard-hitting players in the current defending champion's half who can outhit Sharapova and she has won this title before. However, her focus seems to have slipped recently as her fitness level has noticeably decreased. Semi-finalist.
5 A. IVANOVIC. Last year's winner of the US Open Series wasn't able to defend her title this summer but she did win a title and has already proven that she is worthy of her Top 5 status. Mad Professah is a big fan of the Serbian sisters but I'm hoping that it's the older sister that makes her big breakthrough in New York, although I wouldn't be surprised if the pretty younger sister slips through instead to take the whole enchilada.
Quarterfinalist or Semifinalist.
6 A. CHAKVETADZE. Anna started the hard court season as the hottest player on the tour by winning two tournaments in a row (Cincinnati and Stanford). Quarterfinalist.
7 A. MAURESMO. The former World #1 pulled out of the last Grand Slam of the year a few weeks ago with an injury.
8 N. PETROVA. Set to tussle with Daniela Hantuchova in the Round of 16. Has the game to do well on hard courts but not the mental fortitude to do well among all the glitz and attention of New York. Fourth Round of Quarterfinalist.
9 S. WILLIAMS. Serena shouldn't even be playing in this tournament. She hasn't played a tour match since losing to Henin at Wimbledon. A Melbourne Miracle will not be repeated. Early Round Loss.
10 D. HANTUCHOVA. The svelt Slovak is in the Golden Girl's lower half but is likely to meet another -ova in the fourh round, Nadia Petrova in the Round of 16. I believe she will get past that round, but not the next round against another Russian in the quarters. Quarterfinalist.
REVIEW: The Bourne Ultimatum
After having seen the first two Bourne movies, The Bourne Identity and The Bourne Supremacy, on DVD I was interested in seeing the latest "threequel" in the theaters, particularly since I had seen Shrek The Third, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End and Spider-Man 3.
The Bourne Ultimatum is a nearly perfect action movie. It is well-directed by Paul Greengrass (Oscar nominated for United 93) and cleverly written by Tony Gilroy and starring Matt Damon, the same team who also made The Bourne Supremacy together.
The third installment in the Bourne franchise has received nearly uniformly positive reviews (94% users, 94% critics at rottentomatoes.com) and is doing exceedingly well at the box-office, on track to well outperform the previous two films.
And its clear to see why. The filmmakers have retained the voyeuristic travelogue aspect to the film (we get to see Jason Bourne in London, Madrid, Moscow, Turin, Paris, Tangier and finally New York City) while increasing the action level to a near fever pitch. Any attempt at love interest has been jettisoned, making the film essentially an all-boy's affair. Julia Stiles and Joan Allen return to forward the plot slightly, and even the small parts are peopled by very good actors: David Strathairn, Albert Finney and Scott Glenn.
Ultimatum is the last of the three Bourne books written by best-selling spy novelist Robert Ludlum, and the movies diverged greatly from the books when they were adapted to increase their entertainment value. The filmmakers have done an excellent job of making an adult, intelligent spy thriller and I'm sure the lack of an actual source novel to adapt will not prevent them from making more.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
REVIEW: Gateway Restaurant (Three Rivers, CA)
Mad Professah ordered the Top Sirloin Champignon Royale (A Truly Thick Cut of Chairman's Reserve Top Sirloin, Broiled to Perfection and then Topped with Sautéed Mushrooms and Onions in a Brown Sauce with Red Wine and Garlic) from the Entrées From the Broiler section of the sizeable menu. The Other Half ordered the Trout Almondine (Idaho Rainbow Trout Pan Fried to Perfection. Topped with Toasted Almonds) from the Entrées From the Sauté Pan menu.
|Trout Almondine||Top Sirloin Champignon Royale|
I quite enjoyed my Champignon Royale. The sauce with mushrooms, onions and wine was scrumptious and went perfectly well with medium-rare sirloin. I detest squash so I let The Other Half eat my portion as well as his. He was not as pleased with his trout, which he thought was slightly overcooked. He'd a master at pan-grilling salmon so he's often disappointed when he orders fish in restaurants (though, to my surprise, he does so quite often, since he does like to eat the stuff).
After our entrees we were pretty stuffed and didn't order any dessert. Mad Professah doesn't drink alcohol, but The Other Half ordered a Lambrusco, which was surprisingly served over ice and was pretty sweet and frizzy. Unimpressed, he finished the sangria-like potable and ordered a Pinot Grigio which he quite enjoyed. I took sips of both but grimaced both times.
Overall I rated Gateway a B+ while he rated it a solid B.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Summer 2007 Road Trip: Day 5
|Buttermilk pancakes with soft-scrambled eggs and bacon for Ron||Chicken enchiladas with choice of eggs (over-easy) for Dean|
During breakfast we ordered a club sandwich with homemade potato salad and tuna salad with fresh fruit to go, got in the car and drove non-stop for 5 1/2 hours, taking the scenic route along California State Highway 56 around Bakersfield to Mojave onto California State highway 14 to Interstate 210 to the Pasadena area and home.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Competing Statewide Ballot Initiatives For California's Electoral Votes
This week, Democratic operatives struck back with a competing ballot initiative of their own that would also re-assign the manner in which California apportions it's electoral votes for President; this time to the winner of the popular vote. However, the Democratic measure would have the impact of eliminating the effect of the electoral college altogether by asserting that after states with 270 (a majority of the 538 electoral votes up for grabs) have also agreed to do the same thing, California would assign it's electoral votes to the winner of the popular vote, regardless of which candidate won a plurality in the state. This would guarantee that the winner of the popular vote would always win the electoral vote and be elected President, which did NOT happen in 2000 (Gore won the popular vote, and Bush
Current polling on the Republican measure has it ahead 47% to 35%, which although sounds scary, is actually pretty good news, because it's rare for any ballot measure to pass which does not BEGIN with initial poll numbers in the 55-60% range. The Democrats' measure is the second effort to get the Nationa's largest state to join the "popular vote" movement. Last year, the Legislature passed a bill to do this but the measure was vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger.
Summer 2007 Road Trip: Day 4
Today was mostly a travel day, as we drove from San Francisco, CA to Three Rivers, CA just outside Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park. We left San Francisco at 1pm and arrived in Three Rivers by 630pm, checking in to the Lazy J Ranch Motel, an Americas Best Value Inn.
The motel was surprisingly pleasant, with a king-size bed, a microwave, refrigerator and TV with DVD/VCRplayer. It also had a pool.
Here is a view from the car of the Kaweah River Valley on the way to Three Rivers.After checking in we drove immediately into the park and although the Visitors' Center was closed we paid our park fee ($20 for a week's multiple entry into both Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks). We took the picture below at Hospital Rock.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
CA-37: Laura Richardson Elected To Congress
Although the film did not get very good reviews on its initial release or perform very well at the box-office The Other Half and I still went to see Fracture (albeit at our favorite cheapskate second-run theater Regency Academy Cinema in Pasadena) earlier in the summer because he thinks Ryan Gosling is cute and I like to see Hopkins in just about anything.
Since the movie was released on DVD yesterday (with two alternate endings!) I thought I would put down my thoughts about this film.
It's definitely not a painfully bad movie, and for someone who lives in Los Angeles there's always a certain frisson as one recognizes the locations in the film the characters are going to as places that you have been to yourself. That being said, this is clearly a two-man show, with some very fun scenes between Hopkins' character, Ted Crawford, the older, rich, successful engineer who shoots his philandering young wife in the head and Gosling's character, a young, ambitious, handsome but somewhat stuck-up district attorney who gets the case dumped in his lapas his last case before he can jump to a high-power, lucrative private firm. The smaller parts are well-cast, with actors like Cliff Curtis, David Strathairn and Rosamund Pike.
It's definitely not a perfect movie. The plot relies unfairly on information that the audience couldn't reasonably know in order to "solve" the mystery. It's really unsurprising that the DVD contains at least two alternate endings, since really the story could have gone in multiple directions without much more suspension of belief fom the audience. In addition, the chemistry between Gosling and Pike is weak, at best. What's interesting is that Gosling must have been paired with the legendary Anthony Hopkins before his Oscar-nominated performance as a crack-smoking elementary school teacher in Half Nelson became widely known. His next appearance will be in Peter "Lord of the Rings" Jackson's film adaptation of Alice Sebold's celebrated first novel The Lovely Bones, as the father of the murdered child who is the center of the story.
Overall, if you go in with lowered expectations and appreciate the interactions between two actors firing on all cylinders, Fracture is a pleasantly diverting two hours.
Summer 2007 Road Trip: Day 3
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
More Reports and Research On Uncircumsized Men and HIV
For the study, Fredrick Makumbi of the Makerere University Institute of Public Health and colleagues examined 2,552 uncircumcised, HIV-negative men ages 15 to 29 in the Rakai district of Uganda. Eighty-three percent of the participants said they washed their penises with all sex partners, the Times reports. The researchers asked the men when and how they washed their penises -- including if they washed with or without cloths -- after sex at the beginning of the study and at six, 12 and 24 months after the study began. According to Ronald Gray, a study co-author and professor of population and family planning at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the researchers did not ask details about how the washing was conducted or if soap was used because of an oversight. Some soaps used in Africa are more irritating than soaps used in other places, according to the Times.
The researchers found that men who washed within three minutes after sex had a 2.3% risk of HIV infection, compared with a 0.4% risk among men who delayed washing for 10 minutes or more. Makumbi and other AIDS experts said they do not know why washing might increase vulnerability to HIV, but they offered some explanations. One is that delaying washing and prolonging exposure to vaginal secretions might reduce viral infectivity. Another explanation is that the acidity of vaginal secretions might impair the ability of HIV to survive on the penis, the Times reports. In addition, the use of water, which has a neutral pH, might prolong viral survival and possible infectivity, according to the Times. HIV likely needs to be in a fluid to cross the mucosa and infect cells, Gray said, adding that if HIV-infected fluid dries, its infectivity could decrease. Adding water, therefore, could resuspend HIV and increase its infectivity, the Times reports.
This follows news reports that Bush Administration is going to start allocating some of the funds in PEPFAR (President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) to provide adult male circumcision in African countries such as South Africa, Kenya and Uganda where studies have shown tha male circumcision can reduce HIV transmission rates by as much as 60 per cent among heterosexuals. The Black AIDS Institute sent out a rare statement praising an initiative by the Bush administration.
Meanwhile, public health must begin to make people aware of the dramatic difference circumcision appears to make in HIV risk. In doing so, however, the Bush administration must respect the justified concerns both communities and individuals may present. Too many years of abuse at the hands of pseudoscience have left communities of color around the world distrustful of health officials. Any outsider- driven, top-down campaign urging men to have skin removed from their penises will no doubt deepen that skepticism.
So as the Bush administration gears up its response to the compelling data on circumcision, it will be well advised to help local leaders do the leading, which is something its AIDS program has proven reluctant to do in the past. That includes investing in raising the HIV-science literacy among local leaders and supporting culturally appropriate venues where communities can develop the tools needed to interpret the science.
At the same time, people of color around the world no longer have the luxury of allowing other folks' mistakes to hold us captive. If we're going to survive this epidemic, we must begin taking responsibility for our own lives. That means, no matter what the Bush administration does, and no matter what any local health department does here in the U.S., we must learn the facts about circumcision and HIV.
It is an entirely appropriate choice for any individual to opt against circumcision as a method of HIV prevention. But he must make that choice based on the facts, not as a self-defeating reaction to fears about government abuse.
Mad Professah has been following the ongoing debate(s) about HIV and circumcision quite closely and will continue to do so.
CA-37: Special Election Today
Mad Professah has been following this race for months and looks forward to seeing who will replace soon-to-be Congresswoman Laura Richardson in the State Assembly, as well as seeing whether she will agree to co-sponsor important federal legislation like H.R. 3326 (Early Treatment for HIV Act), H.R. 2221 (Uniting American Families Act), H.R. 2015 (Employment Non-Discrimination Act), H.R. 1592 (Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act) and H.R. 1246 (Military Readiness Act).
Summer 2007 Road Trip: Day 2
The second day of the Summer 2007 Road Trip was spent mostly in Big Basin Redwoods State Park, home of the tallest trees on planet Earth, the California Redwood.
After arriving in beautiful Sunnyvale, CA on Day 1 after a five hour drive from Santa Barbara, CA and checking in at The Maple Tree Inn (one of the few places that was in the right location that was pet-friendly) we woke up at the crack of noon and drove up into the hills above Santa Cruz for about 90 minutes on a very winding road to reach Big Basin Redwoods State Park, home of some of the tallest and oldest living organisms in the planet: the California Redwood. As one enters the park, here is the very first tree one sees.
Right next to the office where one pays ones park fees is a cross-section of a redwood showing the numerous growth rings of a very old sempervirens (literally "long living") tree.
Here's a close-up showing the details of the metal plaques showing dates that the tree had lived through to put its amazing longevity into human perspective.
And here's the close-up of the plaque next to the growth rings.
Unfortunately almost all of the trails in Big Basin Redwoods state Park (and other parks) do not allow dogs, so after we had a lovely picnic (severely attacked by vicious yellowjacket/hornets) we set off for a walk on one of the paths we could take the dog.
On the way back we stopped at a "turn out" to get a view of the forest from one of the high points in the Santa Cruz mountains.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Federer wins 50th title and clinches US Open Series
Summer 2007 Road Trip: Day 1
Day 1 was mostly spent picking up a rental car from Fox Rent-a-car near LAX. The other half took public transportation all the way. He walked to the Pasadena Gold Line Southwest Museum station, then took the train to Union Station, and from there the Fly-A-Way Bus to LAX and finally a shuttle bus from LAX to Fox Rent-a-Car. Then it took about an hour to get a grey Honda Civic Hybrid (pictured above) rented. The entire ordeal (from leaving home to arriving back home again in the rental car) took nearly four hours.
I was up in Santa Barbara at a tennis camp the whole time and got picked up around 7:30 pm and we drove up the 101 freeway from Goleta (where University of California, Santa Barbara is) all the way to Sunnyvale, CA.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
The movie looks absolutely breathtaking, with incredibly brilliant views of the sun, showing it to be a dangerous, powerful and beautiful symbol of nature. There is Boyle's signature use of music to enhance emotionally powerful scenes. (The main musical theme from 28 Days Later is so evocative that versions of it are currently running in trailers for Robert Zemeckis' Beowulf and the Kevin Bacon vehicle Death Sentence.) Additionally, the appearance of circles and close-ups of eyes as well as the power of extreme heat and extreme cold are narrative themes in Sunshine. While Boyle used a shaky, hand-held almost guerilla filmmaking style to with great impact in 28 Days Later... in keeping with that film's minimalist budget, in Sunshine the art direction, set design and overall production values are minimalist and modern in a manner which oozes money and reflects the much larger budget and expectations for this film. Unfortunately, these heightened box-office expectations have not been met and Sunshine has only grossed about $4 million dollars, less than one tenth of the production budget. Most reviews fault the movie with falling apart in the third act, and while it's true the film slightly changes genres (from very hard sci-fi cum suspense drama to sci-fi cum suspense thriller) Mad Professah really only had issues with the the last 5-10 minutes of the film where Boyle's directorial flashiness actually impedes the storytelling and was completely on the edge of my seat for more than half of the film. It's the kind of movie you want to go back to catch metaphors and foreshadowings you may have missed during the first viewing.
Kitchen Remodel: Pictures After Staining
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Friday, August 10, 2007
On Vacation Until August 17
Report Cards from the Logo/HRC Forum
2. Barack Obama. Impressive, but not as polished as Hillary. Got visibly annoyed when repeatedly asked to defend his position on same-sex marriage. Grade A-.
3. Dennis Kucinich. The biggest surprise of the debate. Clearly the most progressive of the candidates, unabashedly so. Unfortunately has no chance of winning the nomination. Grade B+.
4. John Edwards.I thought he had the best answer to the inevitable same-sex marriage question when he described his intellectual and emotional understanding of how LGBT folk feel like when they are denied the freedom to marry, but he also reiterated that his position had not changed: he is still opposed to same-sex marriage. Grade B.
5. Mike Gravel. Has raised almost no money. I disagree with other bloggers who advocated for his inclusion in this event. Grade C.
6. Bill Richardson. When asked by Melissa Etheridge "Is homosexuality a choice?" the Governor responded "Yes, it is a choice." 'Nough said. When asked whether he would sign a marriage equality bill into law if provided one by the New Mexico state legislature he refused to answer the question! Grade F.
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Barack Obama Announces LGBT Leadership Council
Stampp Corbin, National LGBT Liaison, Obama for America; Former Human Rights Campaign Board Member;
Terje Anderson, VT, Former Executive Director for the National Association of People with AIDS
Tom Barbera, NH, Board Member, Bay State Stonewall Democrats and Vice Chair, SEIU National Lavender Caucus
Paris Barclay, CA, Emmy Award Winning Producer and Director
Michael Bauer, IL, Community Activist
Tommy Bennett, IL, Radio Personality, Tom Joyner Show
Rosalyn Bugg, CA, Community Organizer
Phil Burgess, IL, National Director, Pharmacy Affairs, Walgreens
Ed Butler, NH, State Representative
Beth Bye, CT, Connecticut State Assemblywoman
Thomas Chaderjian, IL, Stonewall Democrats
Gary Cloutier, CA, Councilmember and Vice Mayor, Vallejo
Jon Cooper, NY, Suffolk County Legislature Majority Leader
Craig Covery, MI, Councilman, Ferndale City
Terry Crow, MO, Attorney
Chris Diebel, IA, Business Leader
Karla Drenner, GA, State Representative
Bevan Dufty, CA, San Francisco Board of Supervisors
Rick Garcia, IL, Director, Equality Illinois
Carlos Garza, IA, Chair, Des Moines Pride
Richard Gordon, Supervisor, San Mateo County Board of Supervisors
Nancy Greaney, NH, PFLAG New Hampshire
Greg Harris, IL, State Representative
Wendy Howell, VT,
Chris Hughes, IL, Founder, Facebook;
Harold Janeway, NH, State Senator, PFLAG Member
Vincent Jones, CA, Executive Director, Center for Health Justice
Nicole LeFavour, ID, State Representative
Ed Lehman, CA, Union Organizer
Robert Lilligren, MN, VP, Minneapolis Council
Gordene Mackenzie, MA, MA Transgender Political Coalition
Sharon Malhero, IA, Activist
Timothy Patrick McCarthy, MA, Harvard
Darryl Moore, CA, Berkeley City Council Member
Ed Murray, WA, State Senator
Nancy Nangeroni, MA,
Michael Noll, CA, Vice Mayor, Signal Hill
Renae Ogletree, IL, Community Organizer
Paul Provost, MN, Business Manager
Rebecca Prozan, CA, Chair, Alice B. Toklas Club
Nicole M. Ramirez, CA, City Commissioner, San Diego
Tonyia M. Rawles, CA, Bishop-Elect, Unity Fellowship Church Movement
Donna Red Wing, CO, Activist
Dr. Penny Robbins, IL, Reverend
Gene Robinson, NH, Bishop
Robert Ryken, IL, Attorney
Deborah Shore, IL, Commissioner, Chicago Metropolitan Water Reclamation District
Stephen Smith, CA, Former DNC Member
Eric Tabor, IA, Chief of Staff, Attorney General Tom Miller
Maxim Thorne, NJ, Former Executive Director, Head Start New Jersey
Dr. Leanne Tigert, MA, Minister
Lew Todd, NY, Founding Member, Stonewall Democratic Club, Gay Activists Alliance, National Gay Task Force
Tom Tunney, IL, Chicago Alderman
David Upthegrove, WA, State Representative
Tawnee Walling, NH,
Gene Webb, IL, U Chicago
Richard A. Wilson, IL, Chair, National Lesbian and Gay Law Association
Tobias Barrington Wolff, PA, Pennsylvania Law School
Mad Professah recognizes more than a few acquaintances and friends on this list. As Rod points out, it's a very different kind of list ("more grassroots") than either Hillary Clinton's list of LGBT supporters or the list of LGBT individuals who have endorsed John Edwards; both lists which were released months ago.
Gays and Lesbians More Likely To Vote
The survey results are included in the Gay Consumer Index™ and Lesbian Consumer Index™, precedent-setting national surveys of more than 12,000 gay Americans and 10,000 lesbian Americans conducted by Community Marketing Inc. in spring 2007 and set to be released later this month.
More than 92% of gay male respondents (92.5%) reported that they voted in the 2004 presidential election with nearly 84% (83.8%) reporting that they voted in the mid-term election in 2006. Results for lesbians were similar with nearly 91% (90.7%) of lesbian respondents reporting that they voted in the 2004 presidential election and 78% reporting that they voted in the mid-term election in 2006. In comparison, media reports estimate that 64% of the general population voted in the 2004 presidential election and just 40% of the general population voted in the 2006 mid-term election.
Slightly more than 31 percent of lesbian respondents (31.1%) reported that they made a financial contribution to a political party in the past twelve months. Forty percent (40.1%) of gay male respondents reported that they made a financial contribution to a political party in the past twelve months.
The Gay Consumer Index and Lesbian Consumer Index are groundbreaking national studies of gay and lesbian consumer preferences and behaviors. The median age of lesbian respondents in the survey was 44, which matches the median age of the general female population. The median age of gay male respondents in the survey was 44, which is slightly lower than the median age of 47 among the general male population.
Survey participants were solicited through over 75 widely distributed internet and print publications. These media partners contributed their survey participants into Community Marketing’s own proprietary survey panel developed since 1994, which includes respondents from many other leading event and media companies such as Advocate Magazine, OUT Magazine, Instinct Magazine, Curve Magazine, Gay.com, PlanetOut.com, and GayWired.com.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Kitchen Remodel: Pictures of Before and During
And this is what it looked like last night, Tuesday August 7th.
Hopefully I can post "After" pictures by the weekend!
A Cacophony of Candidates In Town Tomorrow
With all these presidential candidates in town, I have been trying to think of the correct collective noun to describe a collection of presidential candidates. There are some lovely examples of peculiar collective nouns in the English language, like "an exultation of larks, a pride of lions, a cete of badgers and a convocation of eagles. I like the word "cacophony" but this was after I rejected "cluster" (influenced by The Daily Show's Clusterf@#ck to the Whitehouse) and "bevy." What word would you pick for the collective noun to describe a group of politicians?
At least three of the leading Democratic presidential candidates are having much-discussed fundraising events associated with the first ever LGBT-specific presidential forum in
LGBT Blogging bigwigs Rod McCollum (Rod 2.0) and Pam Spaulding will be in town for the event. Pam will be live-blogging the debate for Pam's House Blend.
LA TIMES Top 25 Delicious Dining Deals
Of these 25, Mad Professah previously sampled 3 of them: #2 (there's also one in Eagle Rock), #13 (less than 5 minutes from my house) and #23 (see my review).
1. Jamón serrano sandwich at La Española Meats, $4.95. La Española Meats, 25020 Doble Ave., Harbor City; (310) 539-0455.
2. Roasted chicken with beans and rice or fries, tortillas and garlic sauce at Pollo a la Brasa, $5. Pollo a la Brasa, 764 S. Western Ave., Los Angeles; (213) 382-4090; 16527 S. Vermont Ave., Gardena; (310) 715-2494; and 2100 W. Whittier Blvd., Montebello; (323) 727-1965.
3. Nostalgia breakfast at Chips, $4.50. Chips, 11908 Hawthorne Blvd., Hawthorne; (310) 679-2947.
4. Frites deals at Fraîche, $13 and $22. Fraîche, 9411 Culver Blvd., Culver City; (310) 839-6800; http://www.fraicherestaurantla.com/.
5. Platter of nem nuong at Nem Nuong Ninh Hoa, $13.99. Nem Nuong Ninh Hoa, 9016 Mission Drive, Rosemead; (626) 286-3370.
6. Sunday supper at Dominick's, $15. Dominick's, 8715 Beverly Blvd., West Hollywood; (310) 652-2335; http://www.dominicksrestaurant.com/.
7. Daily special ice cream bar at Milk, $3. Milk, 7290 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 939-6455.
8. Red velvet cupcake at Jongewaard's Bake 'n' Broil, $1.95. Jongewaard's Bake 'n' Broil, 3697 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach; (562) 595-0396.
9. Happy hour martini at Wilshire Restaurant, $7; bar snacks, $5.50 to $9. Wilshire Restaurant, 2454 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica; (310) 586-1707; http://www.wilshirerestaurant.com/.
10. Indian lunch buffet at Woodlands, $7.95. Woodlands Indian Cuisine, 11833 Artesia Blvd, Artesia; (562) 860-6500.
11. Wednesday bagels, 18 for the price of 12, at Schwartz Bakery, $5.50. Schwartz Bakery, 443 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles; (323)653-1683.
12. Fresh boiled Gulf Coast crustaceans at New Orleans Fish Market, $4.99 per pound. New Orleans Fish Market, 2212 W. Vernon Ave., Los Angeles; (323) 296-3817.
13. Fourteen-inch "calzone from the Caucasus" at Dream Bakery, $2.50. . Dream Bakery, 12908 Sherman Way, North Hollywood; (818) 765-3844.
14. Large cheese pizza at Folliero's, $10. Pasta dinners are only $5.25. Folliero's, 5566 N. Figueroa St., Los Angeles (Highland Park); (323) 254-0505.
15. Seven-course chef's tasting menu at Tagine, $42. Tagine, 132 Robertson Blvd., Beverly Hills; (310) 360-7535; www.taginecuisine.com
16. Sansai soba at Yashima, $8.99. Yashima, 11301 Olympic Blvd., Suite 210, West Los Angeles; (310) 473-5297.
17. Taylor's prime cheeseburger at lunchtime in La Cañada Flintridge, $7.95. Taylor's Steakhouse, 3361 W. 8th St., L.A.; (213) 382-8449; and 901 Foothill Blvd., La Cañada Flintridge; (818) 790-7668; www.taylorssteakhouse.com.
18. Pozole at Taquería El Granjenal, $4.39. Taquería El Granjenal, 899 W. 19th St., Costa Mesa; (949) 645-4964.
19. 1 Barrel Rum. $11.95. Beverage Warehouse in Los Angeles, (310) 306-2822, beveragewarehouse.com; and Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, (949) 650-8463.
20. Whole crab lunch special at Seafood Village, $17. Seafood Village, 684 W. Garvey Ave., Monterey Park; (626) 289-0088; 9669 Las Tunas Drive, Temple City; (626) 286-2299.
21. Bacon, lettuce, tomato and avocado sandwich at Rustic Canyon, $10. Rustic Canyon Wine Bar and Seasonal Kitchen, 1119 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica; (310) 393-7050; www.rusticcanyonrestaurant.com.
22. Pan-fried dumplings at Mandarin Noodle Deli, $5.75. Mandarin Noodle Deli, 9537 Las Tunas Drive, Temple City; (626) 309-4318.
23. Jerk chicken Sunday special at Ackee Bamboo, $6.95. Ackee Bamboo, 4305 Degnan Blvd., Los Angeles; (323) 295-7275.
24. Khua kling from Jitlada, $8.95. Jitlada, 5233 1/2 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles; (323) 667-9809.
25. Cabeza taco at Taquería Chihuahua, $1.29. Taquería Chihuahua, 12034 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles; (310) 313-2350; www.taqueriachihuahua.com.
Stay tuned as I intend to sample several of these on the list: #17, #15, #7 and #21 look especially promising.
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Bill Introduced To Lift U.S. Entry Ban on HIV+ People
99 Cent iPhones In Los Angeles
Monday, August 06, 2007
Light Blogging Due To Re-Decorating
Sunday, August 05, 2007
WTA Acura Classic: Sharapova Wins 1st Title in 10 Months
Saturday, August 04, 2007
WTA ACURA CLASSIC: Semifinals Preview
Patty SCHNYDER (SUI) vs Elena DEMENTIEVA (RUS). Schnyder did well to beat hard-hitting (but mentally suspect) Nadia Petrova in straight sets yesterday. I suspect she will have more difficulty with the hard-hitting, weak-serving, mentally tough Dementieva. However, whoever wins this match will have their hands full with the winner of the Sharapova/Chakvetadze match. PREDICTION: Dementieva in 2 sets.
Friday, August 03, 2007
Celebrity Friday: Zac Efron Shirtless At The Beach
WTA ACURA CLASSIC: Quarterfinals Preview
Patty SCHNYDER (SUI) vs Nadia PETROVA (RUS). The crafty lefty finally beat her more famous Swiss compatriot Martina Hingis for the first time in nearly nine years despite losing the second set in a tie-break to reach this quarterfinal against one of five Russians in the Final Eight at this important Tier 1 warm-up to the U.S. Open, the last Grand Slam tournament of the year. Petrova is the "most mentally challenged" of the top Russian players (well, except for Dinara Safina!) and Schnyder is one of the most skillful players onthe tour at getting into someone's head. Despite the fact Schnyder leads their head-to-head 5-4 they haven't played each other in more than a year and the Russian's power game should be enough to blow Schnyder off the court. Prediction: Petrova in 2 sets.
Elena DEMENTIEVA (RUS) vs Maria KIRILENKO (RUS). After she serves, Elena Dementieva has some of the prettiest strokes in the women's game, but they often are not enough to make up for her laughably atrocious serve. Kirilenko has just had the biggest win of her young but not so distinguished career, defeating the
Maria SHARAPOVA (RUS) vs Sania MIRZA (IND). It looks like the Muslim Miracle a.k.a. the Invincible Indian has finally started to live up to her hype and started to win matches. She made the final of Stanford last weekend and easily dispatched former Top 10 player Dinara Safina pretty easily to get to this quarterfinal match-up with the reigning U.S. Open champion. Mirza is a big match player, but the jury is still out on whether she has the weapons to match her will. Sharapova has been looking sharp this week, and her serve seems to be returning to it's former strength and consistency. Prediction: Sharapova in 2 sets.
Anna CHAKVETADZE (RUS) vs Venus WILLIAMS (USA). Chakvetadze is the hottest player on the tour right now, having won the last two tournaments she played in, at Cincinatti and Stanford. However, she hasn't really played anyone of the caliber of the reigning Wimbledon champion in her recent victories. Venus is clearly swinging freely and dispatched hard-hitting Daniela Hantuchova in the previous round in straight sets (including a bagel!), limiting the Slovak to a mere 3 games. (Venus has never lost to Hantuchova in 9 matches.) Happily, the organizers decided to schedule this quarterfinal as the evening match so MadProfessah will be able to watch it live in the stands. I suspect Anna will not go down as quietly as Daniela did, but Venus would love to set up another grudge match with Sharapova in the semis Saturday night. Whoever wins that match should easily defeat the winner of the early semifinal on the other half of the draw. Prediction: Williams in 3 sets.