Sunday, August 1st, 2010

I just read a sad article bemoaning the end of the Kodachrome era.

Kodachrome, in case you’re too young to remember an era without digital cameras (and cell phones and DVRs and god I’m old), is slide film and used to be ubiquitous; instead of posting all one’s vacation photos to Facebook, one used to force family and friends to sit through slide shows. (My great-uncle Frank had tons and tons of slides, and I vaguely recall some of his slide shows.)

One commenter on the article says he won’t miss Kodachrome because he’s switched to Velvia. Having fully embraced the digital revolution, I’d never head of Velvia, which apparently is a newer color reversal film introduced in 1990 by Fujifilm and which is credited in the Wikipedia article about it with the demise of Kodachrome (along with, of course, the digital revolution).

And that brings us to the point of this blog post, which is that if you like the saturated colors that you used to be able to get with Kodachrome film and can still get with Velvia but don’t want to give up your digital age conveniences, you can approximate that retro look with a quick and easy Photoshop technique that I found on the Intertubes. It involves adding a channel mixer adjustment layer to punch up your red, green and blue color channels by 150% each.

I dug out an old vacation photo of mine (from Gera, Thüringen) to try it out on, and sure, it does make the colors pop, but even with the wonders of Photoshop actions and batch processing, I’m unlikely to Kodachrome-ize oodles of photos.

No, that time would probably be better spent scanning old slides.

A drab non-Kodachrome digital photo:

A color-saturated Velvia-esque digital photo:
Thursday, August 5th, 2010

What Mayor Leitzell should read in Judge Walker’s decision

Given that everyone and her sister is reporting and analyzing (an analysis I particularly like is “Analyzing the Prop 8 Win: A Few Large Points” by Brian Devine) and slicing and dissecting and giving her two cents’ worth on yesterday’s decision by U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker overturning Calfifornia’s Proposition 8, there’s really not much need for me to join the crowd.

However, given my own run-in with Dayton’s current mayor on this issue, I can’t restrain myself from pointing to a part of Judge Walker’s decision with which Mayor Leitzell should acquaint himself.

You may recall that shortly after Mr. Leitzell announced his candidacy for mayor of Dayton I e-mailed him to ask his position on Dayton’s non-discrimination ordinance, and, unbidden, he felt compelled to comment on same-sex marriage, saying:

I do have a problem with changing the legal definition of a traditional word like marriage to line the pockets of lawyers though. It would mean that we could legally change the meaning of any word to suit our purpose. That could lead us on a very dangerous course.

Here’s the thing, Mr. Leitzell: tradition isn’t reason enough to deny people their rights. As Judge Walker points out on page 124 of his decision:

Tradition alone, however, cannot form a rational basis for a law. Williams v Illinois, 399 US 235, 239 (1970). The “ancient lineage” of a classification does not make it rational. Heller, 509 US at 327. Rather, the state must have an interest apart from the fact of the tradition itself.

The people defending Proposition 8 were given every opportunity to explain why the state should deny queers the right to marry—in other words to explain, as Mr. Leitzell phrased it, the “very dangerous course” on which allowing queers to marry would put our society—and they failed to do so.

Indeed, as Judge Walker points out, they couldn’t even prove that “the legal definition of a traditional word like marriage” in our society hadn’t changed (also on page 124):

[T]he evidence shows that the tradition of gender restrictions arose when spouses were legally required to adhere to specific gender roles. See FF 26-27. California has eliminated all legally-mandated gender roles except the requirement that a marriage consist of one man and one woman. FF 32.

Of course a mayor’s views on same sex marriage are unimportant, given that marriage isn’t a city issue, which is why I never asked Mr. Leitzell for his thoughts on marriage. Nonetheless, given just what his views are, Mr. Leitzell should just be glad that he doesn’t hold an office (such as that of the President of the United States) in which his views on marriage would matter and he would have to be able to cogently defend them. (President Obama, who has expressed opposition both to Proposition 8 and to same sex marriage, is not so lucky.)

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

Bad parenting in North Carolina and beyond

Mark Creech

Yesterday in Raleigh, NC, the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina, said, “Two fathers can’t show a daughter how to be a good mother.

I guess Pastor Creech wouldn’t approve of the Christian film Pamela’s Prayer, a film given a “Christian Rating” of “5 (highest)” by the Young Ladies Christian Fellowship for its “skillful weaving of Biblical principles, righteous living, and love of family that produces a story that touches the heart and soul.” Why wouldn’t Pastor Creech approve of Pamela’s Prayer?
Bristol Palin, taught by her mother and father how to be a good mother to her son Tripp?
Because this allegedly Christian film teaches that “a widowed Christian father” could “lovingly raise his daughter following Biblical principles—preparing her for marriage and a Godly life.” How on earth could a man without a woman teach a girl anything?

I have to wonder if Pastor Creech approves of the job Sarah and Todd Palin have done teaching their daughters how to be mothers. Does Pastor Creech approve of the way Governor Palin runs about the country giving speeches instead of staying home to take care of her infant son Trig? Does Pastor Creech think that Bristol Palin’s rushing out to give interviews and pose for magazine covers about her unmarried state and her on-again/off-again relationship with her baby daddy, instead of staying home to take care of her son Tripp, is what a “good mother” should do?
Does Pastor Creech think homosexuals are responsible for all these unwanted and abused kids in his state?
Surely Pastor Creech can’t fault Briston Palin for how she acts as a mother, for she learned from her married mother and father, didn’t she?

And I wonder what Pastor Creech has to say about a 2007 article by the Jordan Institute for Families, “North Carolina Foster Care by the Numbers,” which reports that the number of children in foster care in Pastor Creech’s state continues to increase every year? Just who the fuck does Pastor Creech think has been doing all the fucking that produces these unwanted and abused kids? Just who the fuck does Pastor Creech think has been teaching the parents of all these unwanted and abused kids how to be mothers and fathers?

Don’t be an idiot, Pastor Creech. Gay men and lesbians are not responsible for the crisis in this country of poor parenting. Heterosexuals are. And if you want to play a game, Pastor Creech, why don’t you start collecting stories of gay parents who’ve abused their kids? I’d bet that for every one story you find about bad homosexual parents I could find ten about bad heterosexual parents. Don’t believe me? Take a look at Dan Savage’s collection of “Every Child Deserves a Mother and a Father” posts.

Thursday, August 12th, 2010


The other day I pulled up at a traffic light behind an SUV with license plates that said, “REPENT7,” and I burst out laughing, for two reasons.

The first reason is that I had just left a worship service at my church. I’m sure there are plenty of Christians (or Christianists) who would say that anyone who goes to my church really should repent, and I bet many of those people, if they ever hear of my seeing these particular license plates right after having left my church, will say God was trying to send me a sign. However, I don’t believe in an omniscient, omnipotent God who sends out signs.

I also laughed out loud, seeing this REPENT7 license plate, for another reason, really more important than the first. You see, just like the driver of this REPENTmobile, I too have vanity license plates, and there’ve been plenty of times when I’ve been stopped at a light, happened to glance in my rear view mirror and seen people laughing and pulling out their cellphones to take pictures of my car with its license plates. Until the REPENTmobile, I’d never myself encountered plates that made me laugh out loud and want to snap a bad cellphone photo.

Now I must admit that the driver of the REPENTmobile does have a point, and I probably should repent, although not for the sins for which this driver probably thinks I should repent. First, by laughing at this driver’s expression of faith, taking a photo of it and posting it with mocking commentary on the Intertubes, I’m probably not behaving as even the Jesus in whom I believe would want. Second, I should probably repent for what I did immediately after photographing the REPENTmobile, which was to get into the other lane, speed up and make sure I was in front of it at the next light so the REPENTmobile’s driver could have a good look at my plates. That was probably unChristian of me, although I suppose another way to look at it is that I was giving the REPENTmobile’s driver another opportunity to pray for someone’s soul.

But I just can’t repent. That would require my actually feeling contrition for my actions, trying to apologize to this unknown driver (a real apology, not the now standard “I’m sorry if you were offended by my actions” kind of apology), and trying to make amends. I’m not sorry, and I suspect that just as I’m strong enough to take whatever comments (mostly positive but some negative) I get because of my vanity plates, so too is this driver strong enough to bear the load of REPENT7 license plates, especially since I’m sure this driver believes he or she does so for Christ.

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Loving one’s neighbors (and caring for the children)

¿A ustedes les gustaria que los adopten maricones o lesbianas?” asks Juan Sandoval Íñiguez, Roman Catholic cardinal of Guadalajara. The cardinal of Guadalajara
The cardinal of Guadalajara seems to think it’s okay to call me a faggot
In case, like me, you don’t speak Spanish, what Sandoval said was, “Would you want to be adopted by faggots or lesbians?

Sorry, Cardinal Sandoval, but I’m afraid you’re a hypocrite.

Do you really think the Christ whom you profess to follow would think that calling people “faggots” is how to love your neighbors? Somehow I don’t think calling me a maricón is what Jesus meant by “Ama a tu prójimo como a ti mismo.”

But, Cardinal Sandoval, the answer to your question, is “yes.” As I pointed out earlier this month to Pastor Mark Creech, there are thousands of children who’ve been neglected or abused by their birth parents and who are in need of homes. So what’s the best way to care for all these children? By excluding people who want to give them homes? Really?

Go clean up the sins of breeders, first, Cardinal, and then, when you’ve stopped the mass production of unwanted children, you can turn back to us maricones.

And by the way, Cardinal Sandoval, I’m Señor Maricón to you, thank you very much.

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