Saturday, October 14th, 2006

Okay, I'll admit right up front that there are a billion more important issues in life and that I'm revealing my road rage tendencies by even writing about this. However, today no left turn some guy and I pissed each other off while driving, and there's a chance that he may be googling "left on red in Ohio" this very minute. My writing about this now will be too late for him to find this if he googles today, but someday he might see it, and then he'll know I was right. For all that's worth.

What the hell am I talking about?

Well, I'm not the world's most patient driver. I don't think I'm particularly reckless, and I don't have high risk insurance, nor have I had a speeding ticket in several years. However, I do not see the need to putz along, and I do think that most speed limits are set too low for normal conditions. In my defense a large plurality if not a majority of drivers agree with me about speed limits as evidenced by their behavior. If you don't believe that, drive 65MPH on an Interstate (or 55MPH where that's the limit) and count how many cars zip by you.

So today I was out doing some errands (I stopped at Fifth Third, Kroger and Trader Joe's), not really in any particular hurry. It's a Saturday, and I had no place I had to be.

Map of Patterson, Second and St Clair

On the way home I decided to stop by the main library to pick up some books and a CD that I'd reserved (reserving books online and picking them up through the drive through is ultra-convenient). I live downtown, a feature of which that some love and others hate is its grid of one-way streets. Dayton's main library is on a block bound on three sides by the one-way streets Patterson, Second and St. Clair, and coming north on Patterson, as I was, meant I had to make three left turns to get to the drive through. On a busy weekday that can mean waiting a bit, but on a Saturday afternoon with little traffic downtown, even if the lights are against you, you can turn left on red, so it's no big deal.

Except today, as I approached Second St., there was a guy in the left hand lane waiting patiently for the red light to change instead of going. The light changed to green just as I stopped behind him, we both turned left, and he putzed along slowly enough that by the time we got to St. Clair, the light there was red too. There was a bit of traffic there, but even after it cleared the intersection, he made no move to go. Now if the light had changed to green, and he'd still just sat there, probably most people would think I was justified in tapping my horn lightly to call his attention to the green light. Perhaps fewer would think I was justified in tapping my horn lightly to try to get him to turn left on red, but that's what I did. Yes, three or four times, lightly, pausing between taps (no, I did not hold the horn down so it blared, although I did just a few minutes later).

He flipped me off in the mirror, the light finally changed, we both turned left again, and wouldn't you know it, he turned into the library's drive through. He pulled up at the window, waited briefly, no one came to help him, and I'm sitting behind him, yes, this time patiently, no honks or anything, but cursing my luck at having to wait on him yet again.

 

He decides not to wait, pulls up but then stops as I pull up and stop at the window, gets out and comes to talk to me, starting off with, do you always turn left on red? I reply that yes, in fact, I do, that it's legal to turn left on red from one one-way street to another. He says, well if I wanted to get a ticket, that's fine, but he's not going to, and I repeat, that turning left on red on one-way streets is legal in Ohio and he can look it up online, and he says that I shouldn't tail gate him, and I say, if he'd just go, I wouldn't have to, and he says, I didn't need to honk my horn at him, and I say, all I did was tap it to get him to go, and he says, I honked it as loud as I could, at which point, I do hold the horn down and blare it to demonstrate that no, I'd just tapped it earlier.

Well that was kind of embarrassing because my blaring horn got the attention of the librarian who should have been at the drive through in the first place. She saw the other guy's and my little discussion and realized I hadn't blared the horn to get her attention. I quietly turned to her, handed her my card and said I was there to pick up some books, and he turned to get in his car and left.

On the rest of the way home I was able to make my left turns on red and couldn't help noticing signs that say, "No Turn on Red except left curb lane," signs which this guy apparently never noticed before in his life, else he'd have had to wonder why we'd need such signs if left turns on red were always illegal. And now I am at home and have done my own Google search and found that on page 33 of the Digest of Ohio Motor Vehicle Laws, published on the official Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles website, it says:

Under limited circumstances, it is legal to make a left turn after stopping at a red traffic signal. A left turn on red may be made only from the extreme left lane of a one-way street to the extreme left lane of another one-way street, providing there is no sign posted forbidding a left turn on red.

One-way street to one-way street

So yes, I was right, and he was wrong. He wouldn't have gotten a ticket if he'd turned left on red. Yes, I realize that if Jesus were driving, he wouldn't honk at people who decline to turn left on red, but then Jesus probably wouldn't even own a car, and even Jesus got angry sometimes, though admittedly at issues that are way more important than this. Yes, this is not a shining moment in my life of which I should be proud, but fuck it. If you're sitting at a red light in the extreme left lane of a one-way street with your left turn signal on and decline to turn left onto another one-way street, I'm still gonna be annoyed, and yes, I still might tap my damned horn to let you know it.

Monday, October 16th, 2006

Senator Mike DeWine
(soon to be retired, I hope)
I got an e-mail just now from Senator Mike DeWine. I'd e-mailed the senator on September 26 to urge him to vote against authorizing the use of torture and the suspension of habeas corpus rights. Senator DeWine's reply, dated today not only in the header but also in the body of the e-mail (so it's not like a timely e-mail message got delayed in transit), talks about the Terrorist Surveillance Act that DeWine introduced (Senate bill 2455), ending with DeWine's "hope that [his] colleagues will support this measure and give our nation an important tool that it needs to win the War on Terror."

Okay, I can understand that senators can be overwhelmed with correspondence, especially during periods when controversial legislation is being debated, so taking almost three weeks to reply to me isn't the issue. What I don't get is why Senator DeWine's staffer with the initials cak (the e-mailed was signed RMD/cak) would bother almost three weeks after my e-mail and over two weeks after the final vote to send a now-irrelevant e-mail with outdated information. Thank God I don't rely on DeWine's staff for information, or I'd think that the Senate was still considering this issue and might even vote to support DeWine's bill. I hadn't thought before today that DeWine (and his staff) might be not just conservative but also incompetent.

However, an article in today's New York Times, which says the Republicans have decided it's not worth spending any more money in the DeWine/Sherrod Brown race, means that perhaps the conservative DeWine and his incompetent staff won't be around next year.
Thursday, October 19th, 2006
Welcome, Legacy Ministries International visitors!

I suppose it had to happen sooner or later, given that I'd posted a couple times things that Mr. Pyle probably shouldn't see.

Well today I had my first visitor from Legacy Ministries International, at least the first visitor with an IP address belonging to them. LMI, in case you didn't know (and I didn't), is the corporate parent of, among other things, the Legacy Ministries Foundation, the Legacy Village Retirement Community, and Dayton Christian Schools, Inc., which, of course, is Mr. Pyle's employer.

So here's a shout out to Mr. Pyle and his friends from LMI! Welcome!
Thursday, October 19th, 2006 #2
Yes, it's rare for me to post twice to my blog on the same day, but I just got an e-mail that I want to comment on.


Not a good place
to have anonymous sex
A friend forwarded a report from today's Dayton Daily News about four men, including a Troy High School teacher, being arrested for having sex in a shelter (you can rent this shelter for $50 but not to have sex in it) in Triangle Park.

My friend is upset that the police do not "put hot undercover babes with their tits hanging out in parks [to] bust the straight guys," and he considers this arrest to be "entrapment and selective enforcement" and "cultural repression and isolation" to be "the crux of the problem."

Now entrapment is certainly a tool that the police and others use to try to weed out behavior they consider undesirable. However, the DDN article says that the men "were arrested Tuesday evening after undercover Dayton officers said they observed them engaging in sex acts in a park shelter." The men were not arrested because they approached an undercover police officer and asked for sex (there in fact used to be a law in Ohio against asking another man for sex, if the other man might find such a request offensive, but that was struck down as unconstitutional in 2002) — no, instead the men were arrested because they were fucking in a park shelter, clearly not entrapment.

I don't think it was selective enforcement either. The article also quotes Police Lt. Patrick Welsh as saying these "undercover operations" are common "in the park and other areas where public sex and prostitution are common." Prostitution stings against heterosexual men aren't exactly rare, are they? And last time I checked there haven't been tons of straight men and women heading to park shelters to have sex. Are the police aware of something I'm not and giving public breeders a pass?

I suppose you could argue that having sex in a park at night, when children aren't around, doesn't hurt anyone, and you could argue that police resources would be put to better use by focusing on other crimes. But I'd argue that working for the right to have sex in park shelters is not the best use of our resources either. Is having sex in park shelters more important than having the right to marry or to have health insurance or Social Security benefits?


A good place
to have
anonymous sex
No, of course, it's not, especially because there are plenty of alternatives when it comes to have consensual, recreational, man-on-man sex. In addition to gay.com there are tons of other websites devoted to helping gay men find sex partners. Find what you want online and invite him over for sex in the privacy of your own home (which, since Bowers v. Hardwick was struck down in 2003, is much safer from the police than a park shelter).

Married (to a woman) and still in the closet? Well if you don't want your wife catching you online at gay.com, then you don't have to resort to the park to find sex. You can drive up to Club Columbus or Flexx Baths, find yourself a man and have police-free sex in a private club.

My friend may in fact be right that "cultural repression and isolation" are the "crux of the problem," but that's not the fault of the police. Heterosexually-married, closeted gay men may think that sex in a park is their only option, but I cannot fault the majority of people who think sex in parks is inappropriate and should be stopped.

Note to Mr. Pyle: yes, sex in park shelters might be considered an example of destructive behavior, but I still think heterosexual johns cruising for hookers have gay guys outnumbered.
Friday, October 20th, 2006
This evening, courtesy of MVFHC, I went to the Dayton Branch of the NAACP's annual Freedom Fund Banquet, the 55th year the dinner was held but the first time I'd ever attended.
The event was held downtown at the Convention Center, and so I can't help comparing the NAACP banquet to the Pride Dinner, which was held several years at the Convention Center and was the last dinner-style event I'd attended there.
frowny face
The first comparison is that at Pride Dinners there were several cash bars set up around the periphery, but at the NAACP banquet there are none. Apparently the NAACP membership, made up of lots of African American pastors and their congregations, want attendees to be sober, although when it comes to fundraising, I'm not sure that's necessarily a wise tactic.
smiley face
The food was better than I remember from years past. The menu featured chicken, of course, but instead of being bland institutional chicken it was actually pretty good and was served in combination with pork in a sweet sauce.
frowny face
The NAACP entertainment in general paled in comparison to that of a typical Pride Dinner. Bless the little ACT-SO performers' hearts, but they weren't exactly enthralling. (And a lip-synching drag queen is? Point taken, but again, alcohol helps loosen an audience up).

Corrine Brown as seen from my distant seat
neutral face
People certainly have no qualms about leaving the NAACP dinner early. NAACP Dayton Branch president the Rev. Dr. Robert E. Baines Jr. bragged about there being two tables for members of his congregation, Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, but after his part in the program, a bunch of Macedonians got up and left, obviously not caring to wait to hear the keynote speaker.
smiley face
The NAACP pulls in higher powered politicians. You can count on local Democrats to attend Pride Dinners, but the NAACP banquet gets Republicans too, and not just local ones. Ohio's beloved Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell made a surprise appearance, I guess hoping to shore up what he considers a key constituency, but I was pleased to hear only lukewarm applause for him (Update 10/23: A friend who attended with me disagrees and thinks that most people in attendance probably will vote for Blackwell). And then there was the evening's keynote speaker, Congresswoman Corrine Brown of Florida.

Corrine Brown
in pink
Brown was fun, and though she was politic enough not to mention Blackwell by name, she didn't spare him any punches, exhorting the audience to vote for people not just cause they "bought a ticket to the NAACP barbeque" but instead because of their stand on the issues and their voting records and reminding us that we need to be vigilant to make sure this year's election is a fair one, unlike the 2000 election in Florida, in which 27,000 voters in her district had their ballots tossed out, and the 2004 election in Ohio, for whose handling Blackwell has been so widely praised (not).
I couldn't see Brown so well from my distant seat on the edge, but she stood out since she was pretty in pink, a color I guess she likes to wear other places too. Now Brown is prettier than a drag queen, but, bless her heart, I have to admit the comparison did cross my mind. I looked for a pic of Ms. Demure (of Harper's Bizzaroworld fame) in pink but couldn't find one.
Looking for websites tonight while writing this, I see that people are just plagued by expiring domain names. The Dayton Branch of the NAACP is one of only a few in Ohio listed on the NAACP website as having its own website (the big three, Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati don't have websites), but daytonnaacp.org expired in June this year and was snatched up by a domain name prospector. Ms. Demure used to have a domain name for her show at bazzaroworld.com, but that expired and has been taken over too. Google lists an article about Ms. Demure on queerohio.com, but that just expired this month, though its proprietors may yet reclaim it. How difficult is it to keep track of your domain names, people?
Stupid idea: NAACP is commonly pronounced as N double-A CP. I think it'd be cool if they updated their name to American Association for the Advancement of African Americans, cause then they'd be the quintuple-A.
Monday, October 23rd, 2006
Last Thursday, Andrew-Bryce Hudson of the Bolinga Black Cultural Resources Center at Wright State posted an announcement to Wright State’s announcement listserv about an appearance to be held Saturday the 21st by Jeff Johnson.

Jeff Johnson,
BET star,
Youth advocate,
Blackwell campaign
Shortly after Hudson’s announcement was posted, another person posted a reply pointing out that Johnson was employed by Ken Blackwell’s gubernatorial campaign as its “advocate to young and urban voters” and saying that perhaps Hudson should have mentioned that fact. Hudson quickly replied with a simple “His appearance to WSU is non-partisan. Thank you.”

That sparked my curiosity. If Johnson’s appearance had been scheduled for several months, as is common for busy speakers, it could well have nothing to do with his work for Blackwell. However, if it had been scheduled recently, after his appointment, then perhaps it was for partisan reasons. I sent Hudson an e-mail asking only “How long has Mr. Johnson’s appearance been scheduled?”. Friday I hadn’t heard anything so I sent another e-mail saying that my question hadn’t been meant facetiously and that I really did want to know. Friday afternoon I saw a post on another matter from Hudson on the listserv, so I knew he was in the office. Today I sent a third e-mail saying that my question wasn’t outrageous nor was it posed impolitely and that I deserved a response, if it was just to say he couldn’t answer my question.

Well imagine my surprise when I received a phone call this morning from Hudson. I hadn’t included my phone number in my e-mails, so he’d taken the trouble to look it up. He said he’d only just received my second and third e-mails today and that it sounded from my third e-mail as if I thought he was ignoring me. I said that yes, I had gotten that impression, and he said he’d been busy with Johnson’s arrival. I said that I understood that but I’d seen he’d been able to post something on the listserv on Friday. He asked why I wanted to know how long Johnson’s appearance had been scheduled and said that he wondered if I’d had any conversations he’d not been a part of. I said that no, I’d seen his original posting and the replies and was just curious, and he said he didn’t like the tone of my e-mails. I said my first e-mail had simply said “How long has Mr. Johnson’s appearance been scheduled,” how could that have a tone, and shouldn’t that be public information. He finally gave me the information I’d been looking for, that Johnson’s appearance had been arranged “for about three months.” I thanked him and thought that was that.

However, I get the feeling that Hudson must be feeling defensive because he also took the time to send a reply to my e-mail, explaining that “[p]er our phone conversation today, you[r] email was not answered until today because of Jeff Johnson’s arrival on Saturday” (which I agree is reasonable—even if he had time to do other announcements related to his job on Friday, he wouldn’t necessarily have time to reply to every e-mail he received) and that “[a]gain, Mr. Johnson’s speaking engagement was arranged this past summer.”

Okay, so Jeff Johnson’s October 21st appearance’s being scheduled three months or so beforehand would put the arrangements at July 21st, before the August 11th announcement of Johnson’s joining Blackwell’s team. Simple enough, especially if Hudson had simply sent me an e-mail saying that, instead of taking the time to find my phone number and call me to question my tone and motives. Actually I can understand why Hudson would question my motives, because my motives were based on what he feared, a suspicion that he wasn’t being entirely truthful or forthright in his original listserv post or his reply to it, a suspicion that he has not allayed. Perhaps Johnson didn’t know on July 21 that he was going to work for Blackwell. Perhaps Hudson didn’t either, and perhaps Hudson wasn’t being disingenuous in omitting the info about Johnson’s employment by Blackwell in the announcement of Johnson’s WSU appearance. Or perhaps not.
Wednesday, October 25th, 2006


Mr. Pyle and a gay Mr. Tumnus?
Don’t ask me how I found (it borders on, or even completely reaches, my being obsessive) this fun video, but find it I did, and color me surprised. Our Mr. Pyle does have some friends in the gay community, one of whom is none other than Mr. Tumnus, the faun from the Chronicles of Narnia. However, somehow I can’t remember James McAvoy saying, “But please, could we do another round of Dance Dance Revolution?”

Take the time to watch the video for yourself (Mr. Pyle’s hottie son Nathan also appears). It’s fun, but I’m afraid it’s also a bit gay.

 
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