Tuesday, March 26, 2013

It's Argument Day!

Finally after all the blood, sweat and the tears since  Stonewall the SCOTUS is hearing arguments on Hollingsworth vs Perry today and in United States vs Windsor tomorrow. Let justice be done. "We the People" means all of us.
As for me and for what it's worth I dedicate today and tomorrow to the gay people I have loved who have not lived to see this day.

Monday, March 25, 2013

AIDS/Lifecycle Ride to End AIDS

Dear Friends,
I want to introduce you to two things: AIDS/Lifecycle’s “Ride to End AIDS” sponsored by among others, the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. Both organizations have been involved with stopping and combating the spread of HIV from the very beginning in the very early 1980’s and helping to stem the loss of more of our citizens, family members, our friends and our lovers to this disease. Jointly they sponsor a 545 mile 7 day bicycle ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles each spring. The ride this year is from June 2nd through June 8th
My friend Victor “Jesse” Samora has signed up again this year to make that week long ride to end AIDS. Jesse entered the ride last year but was forced to withdraw after an accident last spring before the ride which left him with a broken collar bone, an embarrassed look on his face and unable to participate. He spent months training for this ride and raising money necessary to guarantee him a place in the ride. He was laid up for close to four months.

Jesse, being the tiger he is, has determined that he will make the ride this year. As the price of making this ride he has to raise $3,000 for the AIDS/Lifecycle “Ride to End AIDS.” Jesse is a hardworking stiff but he cannot fund his entry alone. He is asking and I am asking each one of you to make some sort of pledge anywhere from ten thousand dollars to ten dollars on Jesse’s behalf. That’s all you have to do. That’s it. The link below takes you directly to a pledge page for Jesse. Follow the link and give, Jesse’s giving of himself for this and we ought to support him in this event.
The amount of your gift does not matter. It can be ten dollars or it can be ten thousand dollars or anywhere in between. You decide. Join me in giving Jesse the opportunity to rid in this campaign to end this scourge that has ended so many wonderful lives and taken so many wonderful people from us. Please give and give generously.
You can read more about this wonderful charity at: http://www.aidslifecycle.org
To donate to this and to sponsor Jesse with your donation visit http://www.tofighthiv.org/goto/jessealc
It's simple, it's easy and makes you feel good. As an added incentive each of you who donate to Jesse's (and our cause) on Jesse's behalf  will get an invitation to a Leg of Lamb Barbece on Saturday May 11th  at the world famous Silverado Men's Club in lovely Silverado California. This repast will be prepared for your pleasure by none other than yours truly Eamon O'Connor. It will be a great opportunity to meet Jesse and to cheer him on in this really great endeavor. You will have an opportunity to autograph his spandex riding shorts and participate in the Secret Raffle. You can't get a better deal anywhere: a free meal, a tax deductible donation along with a grateful smile and a great hug from a truly great friend. Let's do this!!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Distractions Abound

I have been silent for most of this year. The reasons why are many but suffice it to say that the stuff out there to write about is almost overwhelming and I have been unable to decide what I wanted to write about because there is just so much really distressing and distracting stuff that has happened since the beginning of the year. Much of what is going on is a distraction from the really important stuff.
I am interested in the news surrounding the change of heart on 'the marriage issue' that is dominating CPAC's annual circle jerk. Sen Rob Portman (R-OH) has announced that he is switching his position on marriage equality from being an opponent to being a supporter. He says that he changed his position because his son Will came out to him. I wonder if his position change extends to voting for repeal of DOMA and of course, preliminarily to such a vote into a vote for cloture of the always launched “GOP filibuster” machine. The conversion of Rob Portman makes me wish he had been the veep nominee of the GOP in the last election. Could it be that Paul Ryan was second choice to Rob Portman and that Portman was disqualified because he has a gay son at Yale and because the wingnuts in the GOP figured the potential nominee was struggling with something that might be an October Surprise for them?

Last weekend was also the weekend of the annual CPAC conference. There was a lot of the old in and out at CPAC this time around. This year Trump was in and Christie was out. Both Ted Cruz and Rand Paul competed for favorite son status at the conference. GoProud is also out apparently. Sarah Palin was obviously in. Sarah was in good form but sounded like her next gig is going to be in a back alley comedy house somewhere. Rand sounded like Rand, someone who would create his own ophthalmology association in order to call himself an eye doctor. Oh and in case you were worried Barack Obama is still on the outs, and according to some of our fellow citizens at CPAC, the worst thing to happen to the US of A since the enactment of the Thirteenth Amendment. Speaking of the Thirteenth Amendment Mississippi just got around to ratifying it a few weeks ago. Repeal of ongoing injustices should never be entered into abruptly and only after careful thought apparently. It only took one hundred forty-three years.

One of the afternoon presiders at the conference on the afternoon before the straw poll was taken urged the attendees to vote 'early and often' as the saying goes. He suggested they just make up names and vote ignoring the log-in system that been established to provide security for the CPAC members' right to vote. These are the same people who are by and large arguing for and legislating to protect the sacred and fundamental right to vote by making sure exercise of the right by people of color, poor people and old people is as onerous as possible.

There was probably more fun stuff going on at CPAC but news of that circus was completely overtaken and pushed off the front page by the drama going on in Rome over the conclave of cardinals charged with selecting a new pontiff. Wonder, speculation and whimsy seemed to dominate that offering. The result of course was the guy no one expected, the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, the fellow who rides to work on the bus, cooks and eats his own meals. The man called Francis. He has apparently not yet moved into his apartment in the apostolic palace because he has complained of its size. It is being remodeled to reduce its size. That's an ominous sign for things to come at least as far as the curia goes. Talking heads are saying that the man's biggest task is going to be to rein in the curia and to diversify it. It is interesting to note that many of the papal electors were and are curia members. Perhaps that's why after five ballots they chose Jorge for the simple reason he has no curia experience and probably has no idea where the skeletons are buried in Vatican City and has no clue where to start. Or perhaps after two pontificates stretching thirty-five years headed by non-Italians the choice of an Italian-descended Argentine pope was a nudge back to selecting Italians as popes. Who knows? Doctrinally this Francis is pretty much by the book and I don't expect any large changes to come in doctrine. Although it is of some interest to note that when the Argentine national legislature was considering marriage equality he argued to the conference of bishops that they should not struggle against civil unions but should instead support them as the lesser of two evils. So he appears to be somewhat of a pragmatist. He is seventy-six years old and if he rubs too many medieval lords the wrong way they will most likely be rid of him soon, one way or another.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Original Tunes and Friendships

I suppose that it is no great secret at least to me that I will soon have my seventieth birthday. That's about as breathtaking realization as any I can imagine. How on earth did I get this old? Aren't I supposed to feel some great increase in the wisdom that is supposed to come with age that I have been told we are going to experience. The coming event has caused me to think about that getting older and of course not getting older. I have focused for some reason on the 'birthday presents' that I as a septuagenarian might want to receive. It isn't that I need anything or really 'want' for anything. But it sure looks like someone quite by accident and without thinking about it gave me one great gift.
Today I went to the post office and found a package in my box. It was from a friend of mine whom I knew when he lived in Huntington Beach with another friend of mine and I lived in the Big Mormon House in Garden Grove more than forty years ago when we were both under 30. This package contained a short note from Joe and three CDs of music, one of which was simply titled Original Tunes. Joe if you haven't already guessed is a very fine musician, a guitarist, a banjo player, a pianist and lord only knows (and I can't remember) what else he plays and it turns out he's also a fine lyricist. I love the way his voice has matured.
Listening to Original Tunes has taken me back over the more of forty years of his and his wife Kay's friendship with me. Joe when I first met him just sort of bounced around. He worked construction and played guitar and did what we all did back then enjoyed life, enjoyed music and enjoyed a fair bit of pot. We discovered things and many of them we discovered together. I remember one our discoveries back then: finding out for the very first time that french fries should come to the table hot. One night I noticed they didn't and Joe did too. He pitched a bitch and we sent our orders of fries back to the kitchen twice complaining that they were ice cold. French fried potatoes really are better when they are hot! Since then I have always insisted on hot fries. I hope the server got over what was probably a pretty bad shift that night.
Then he met this breathtakingly beautiful blonde woman named Kay. The both of them quickly became an item and wandered through life together raising two kids and heading everywhere and landing everywhere in places like California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington sucking up free air, being each others' best friends and the parents to two amazing kids. All the while Joe is making more and more music, living his life all wrapped up in his marriage, his family and his music. We should all be so involved and happy.
They had moved away from California when I began the awesome task (in all senses of the word) of coming out to myself and to the rest of the world. I decided that the people I had to tell first were Joe and Kay so I sat down and wrote them a letter. It took me a couple days before I put it in the mail. Then I held my breath and waited. After what seemed like an eternity but was only really a few days I got a response. I was overjoyed with their response. They thanked me for telling them and praised me for removing “the one great impediment to our friendship” and expressed their great love for me. I have never forgotten that and in fact I still have the letter.
Something else I have never forgotten is that when Kay was pregnant with their first child, they lived a few doors east of me and used to go over there at night and Kay would make these phenomenal buttermilk pancakes and Joe and I would drink Wild Turkey and enjoy watching Kate build Jesse. I still use that recipe and everyone I ever make buttermilk pancakes for praises them. I am still shallow enough to accept the buttermilk pancake praise as my due rather than Kay's.
I am really enamored of Original Tunes and I am going to sit right down and listen to it again. It's marvelous and thank you Joe for sending it to me. You and Kay have never ceased to impress me with your love and the depth of your friendship.