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Those of us in SoCal are in dire need of a little humor, so I’ll leave my update to the end of this blog posting and instead start off with a picture that is hilarious, yet dead-on with its portrayal of FEMA. Leave it to Pinky to find it!

(I always try to give credit to anything I use on this site, but couldn’t find a direct link to the picture on the icanhascheezburger.com site. If you’re the creator of this funny picture, just let me know so I can give you due credit.)

In case you’ve been living under a rock and have no clue what this “fake FEMA press conference stuff” is all regarding, here are a few links for you.

And here is Keith Olbermann’s take on it all.

As for the latest on the fires locally, we’ve still got the Poomacha fire south of us going on (60-70% contained), and the Santiago fire (80% contained per OCFA report 11/29/07) northwest of us. Unfortunately the Santa Ana winds are due to kick in again in a few days, but fortunately they aren’t anticipated to be as strong as the 90mph gusts we got last week.

Have to say it’s a tad disconcerting to read some articles that lead one to believe that those affected by the fires are all made of money; not the case folks! Please don’t jump to the conclusion that just because a lot of the homes shown are in pricier areas of SoCal (Malibu, Rancho Bernardo, etc.), there aren’t many folks in other fire-ravaged areas in need of our positive thoughts, our financial assistance, and help from our government; many who do NOT have the money to easily start over again. And as for all this talk about not rebuilding in “high risk” areas, where in the heck SHOULD folks be living? Most areas of our country have their “seasonal” issues, and also keep in mind that more than one of these fires was due to arson. Sorry, but I’m just a tad annoyed by some of the talk I’m hearing and reading.

For those of you who can see past all the BS and see the pain and suffering so many people and animals (here’s a Humane Society of the United States slideshow of rescue efforts) have gone through, and will be going through regardless of their socioeconomic standing, I thank you and ask that you continue to keep them in your thoughts. If you’d like to help, or are in need of help, here is a listing from the North County Times which might assist you. Best of luck!

“Sometimes when you cheer, you’re able to let some steam off, just to yell,” Tomlinson said. “So hopefully we give them a lot to cheer about on Sunday.”

(LaDainian Tomlinson on Chargers returning to Qualcomm.)

Are you ready for some football? I am! And I’m pretty darn sure that Chargers fans everywhere are welcoming the opportunity to escape the reality of the heart-wrenching scenes we have all experienced over the past week, most especially those directly affected by the California fires of October 2007. (***Update: Chargers 35-Texans 10!!!***)

There has been debate as to whether the San Diego Chargers should be playing today at home (Qualcomm Stadium, although it will ALWAYS be “The Murph” to old school San Diegans like me! :)), but I find it very hard to believe that not only the City of San Diego, but the San Diego Chargers organization AND the NFL would go forward with the game without regard to the health and welfare of San Diegans, all in the name of the almighty dollar. That’s just not the case. There was a lot of thought put into whether the air quality would be safe enough, whether public safety officers would be able to help with the much more urgent need of San Diegans regaining and rebuilding their lives while still able to cover the game, whether the stadium would still be needed as an evacuation center, and whether moving so quickly forward with the football game (which to some may appear to be quite trivial) is a slap in the face to those facing the life-changing events caused by the fires. San Diego Chargers president, Dean Spanos, covered such issues in this story.

The few folks who were still at Qualcomm as evacuees (less than 100 Thursday night) either returned home, were moved to evacuation centers closer to where they lived, or transfered to the Del Mar Fairgrounds which has said it will NOT close until each and every evacuee there (animals included!) is able to go where they need/want to. San Diego air quality as of 7AM this morning was “moderate” in only four scattered areas of San Diego County, with the “unhealthy” category being tagged onto Poway and Escondido, ground zero for two of the worst fires. And the mental health benefits of returning to something so “normal” for many of San Diego’s citizens can’t be denied. Of course it’s just a mere break, and the ramifications of the seriousness of what has occurred and how it is affecting the psyche of so many, is nothing anyone seriously thinks will magically disappear just because of a football game, but it CAN help, even if only a little, and only for a few hours. There is no denying the community-building that a good Chargers game can have, as is brought up by many Chargers players in this article.

One of my dear buddies, Pinky (pseudonym for her internet life ;)), did a FABULOUS blog today; so good that I just HAD to post it here. Pinky has an incredible sense of humor, so I would highly advise checking out her blog for that reason, but in this case her devotion to, and love of, San Diego shines through, despite the fact the poor gal is now living in Texas. (Sorry, Pinky, just HAD to get in that jab!) She and I both adore San Diego County and spent many of our best years (not that we don’t have many more “best years” ahead! ;)) in various areas of the county, but most especially North San Diego County. To say we are Chargers fans would be a total understatement!

From the incredibly talented Pinky:

san diego chargers…it’s more than football
Current mood: rejuvenated
Category: Sports

the bolts………the san diego chargers are playing this weekend. in their home stadium. as it should be. and just like when the new orleans saints took the field for the very first time after hurricane katrina, this game is about a lot more than football. it’s about showing pride. it’s about showing that we can get on with our life. it’s about showing that we can succeed, despite tragedy. so many homes were lost. so many lives were lost. and everybody’s lives were changed. forever. sure, as a native san diegan, fire is part of life. people say that california doesn’t have four seasons. we always joked that we did, fire, flood, mud and earthquake. and this year, we took our hardest hit. ever. and when the chargers take the field this weekend, they’re not just playing for themselves. they’re showing san diego and all the world, that we will get on with life. why do we rebuild? because it’s our home. and that’s what we do. san diego is about so much. the navy, the beaches, the zoo & wild animal park, balboa park, the padres, the chargers, trips to tijuana, the apple festival in julian, the mt carmel high school marching band (ok, just some props for my high school!), fish tacos, etc. but first and foremost, it’s about the people. and when things turn bad, that’s when people show their true colors. and today, our colors are flying……..blue and gold. go chargers! let’s go bolts! we love you.

So, for all our fellow Chargers fan across the globe, and for our dear San Diegans affected by the fires, here’s hoping our Chargers can give us all a brief break from the sadness, pain, and heartache, and give us a few hours of slipping away from reality and into the time warp of high energy, fun, and community our Chargers give each Sunday.

GO CHARGERS!

Hard to believe that pockets of SoCal are continuing to deal with possible threats from still raging fires. Here in Murrieta (part of the Temecula Valley/Riverside County) we’ve got the San Diego County Poomacha fire about 15 miles to the south, and the arson-set Orange County Santiago fire northwest of us about 20 miles or so. Granted, we are not in any immediate danger, and for that we are eternally grateful, but continuing to see the enormous clouds of smoke from both fires is something that reminds you daily that even if they are that far away, it’s still too close for comfort.

View of the Poomacha fire from a hilltop in north Murrieta on 10/27/07 morning.

I’ve continued to trek up to a nearby north Murrieta hilltop to videotape the view west (where the now-contained Rosa/De Luz fire was), then down south (where the currently raging Poomacha fire is), and seeing the differences each day has been interesting. Click here for videos from three different days from the same area hilltop.

On Thursday, Rudy (that dog LOVES to go for car rides! :)) and I headed north on I-15 to see what the area was like with the Santiago fire about 20 miles northwest of us, still in Orange County, not yet dropping over the Santa Ana mountains into Riverside County. Just getting on the 15 and heading north from the Clinton Keith on-ramp (in Wildomar, just north of Murrieta), allowed you to see that the normally clear Santa Ana mountains were obscured by smoke, which quite honestly would normally lead one to believe that there was a heavy marine layer hanging over them. I snapped a few photos of the increasingly pink/orange color on the western horizon atop the mountains on the way north, then opted to only go as far as the exit (pictured below), where local favorite, Tom’s Farms, is located. The colors in the photos are quite accurate: very pink/orange/brown.

As I headed toward a dirt lot across from Tom’s Farms to let Rudy relieve that constantly full bladder of his, I could see a few fire trucks parked nearby, which always gives a jolt of reality to the entire situation.


After Rudy gave the area his “expert sniffer on the job” okay, and marked his new territory alongside a small dirt hill (to the right in the photo below, and also in the video), I popped him back in the auto and took out the camera. As had been the case a few days prior in Murrieta (although not the case on Wednesday and Thursday), the air so close to the fire was not smelling much like a fire at all, nor were ashes flying about. Again, those erratic winds, which were much calmer that day, quite often kept the polluted air at bay.

The video I took isn’t the best, but quite honestly it was hard to see what the camera viewfinder was focusing on, once it was immersed in the orange/pink smoke over the mountains. You can even hear the camera itself trying to adjust and focus in on what it was taping.

The yellow spot you can see in it is the very eerie smoke-covered sun doing it’s best to break through.

 

As we headed back onto the I-15 south we passed a small convoy of fire trucks headed in the same direction, and after I passed them I snapped this shot of them in my rear view mirror. Those fire fighters deserve more respect, love, and thanks than we could EVER possibly give them; truly amazing, dedicated individuals.

As of today, Saturday (10/27/07), the latest news is that the Santiago fire is continuing its trek, albeit a much slower one, through the Cleveland National Forest. As Rudy and I took another jaunt north to Tom’s Farms today, we saw the Martin Mars flying boat Canada sent to help us fight the fires (here’s a video someone else posted of it yesterday as it loaded up with water at Lake Elsinore), as it was heading south toward the Poomacha fire–thanks my Canuck friends! And more good news is that we did get a slight misting of rain this morning in Murrieta, as did other areas along the Santa Ana Mountain region, and one can only assume this HAS to help the fire fighting efforts. (THANKFULLY we just now (5PM PST) are getting some SERIOUS rainfall and I couldn’t be happier!)

This is a short video of what you can see of the Santiago fire from the Lake Elsinore Outlet mall, along with a photo below of the same.

Here are some interesting articles. Was extremely sad to read that two animals at the San Diego Wild Animal Park did perish, but happy to read others were born!

And last, here is an incredible video montage I found on YouTube yesterday. Take care, everyone, and please continue to keep the victims of the SoCal fires in your thoughts. I’m off to go revel in the rain!!!

The Southern California fires are striking closer to home (I took these pictures today), and sadly it seems that arsonists are now playing a part in some of the newer ones. It also appears that the Southwest Riverside County area (speaking of Temecula/Murrieta), along with the the northeastern most section of North San Diego County (speaking of Fallbrook/De Luz) are getting short shrift in the local media. As some are saying, it’s too far north to usually garner attention in the San Diego media, and too far south to do the same with the Los Angeles area media…sigh.

This is due west of Temecula/Murrieta and probably the De Luz/Rosa fire. The plateau to the right is part of the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve.

THANKFULLY the North County Times/Californian has bucked the trend of San Diego/Los Angeles media disregarding our area, and instead has done a FABULOUS job, with their reporters: Lauri Lockwood, Brian Eckhouse, Pete Zanko, John Hunneman (hope I’m not missing anyone!) taking turns staying up throughout Tuesday night(10/22/07) to post fire and evacuation information in the comments section of the North County Times story “Fire breaks out west of Temecula.” This truly was the ONLY “real time” and practical information (other than the Riverside County Fire Department site whose info was fairly static after the initial report) worried residents could get on the new “Rosa” fire, which broke out at Via Santa Rosa and Rancho California Road, west of Temecula, at approximately 11PM on Monday, 10/22/07. Readers could post information from their various locations, which helped others getting a better grasp of the constantly-changing situation. The reporters gave updates from the California Department of Forestry and also posted scanner information. The story and comments are continuing as of this posting, nearly 24 hours later! Thank you SO MUCH, North County Times/Californian!!

Poomacha/Palomar fire going south on I-15, just before the Winchester exit.

Poomacha/Palomar fire from the Winchester/15 intersection.

So I ventured out today after having spent the majority of yesterday indoors, and I have to say that seeing three different fires from a vantage point high atop a nearby hill in northern Murrieta (where I took most of these pictures) was a major dose of reality. As we all know, seeing something like the SoCal fires on TV NEVER comes close to capturing the intensity and shocking reality of seeing it in person. While I was many miles from any of the fires it was truly bizarre and jarring to see the actual smoke and crazy skies in person that I’d only been hearing about and seeing on television. I could see the immense cloud of smoke from what I believe to be the Poomacha/Palomar fire (Hwy 76/Pauma Valley in San Diego County) south of Temecula/Murrieta, along with seeing the smaller but equally frightening plume of smoke coming from what I believe to be the De Luz/Rosa fire (west of Temecula), and further north smoke from what I believe is the Running Springs fire in San Bernardino County. Three fires within view; disturbing and sad to see.

I believe this is the Poomacha/Palomar fire on the Hwy 76 corridor in Pauma Valley (San Diego County), south of Temecula/Murrieta (Southwest Riverside County).

Around 9PM this evening my poochie, Rudy, and I took a drive down the 15 (which was now open, but had been closed for a good chunk of yesterday and today), something, by the way I wouldn’t have done if there was ANY chance it would hinder any type of rescue efforts, but the fires had moved away and the I-15 was open and pretty deserted. I could see the red glow of the Poomacha/Palomar fire as I was heading south on the 15 from Murrieta, and as I got closer to Hwy 79 I could actually see the flames, but as I ventured south on the 15 closer to the Border Patrol check-point (for non-locals, there is a Border Patrol check point NOT at the US border…confusing, yes? ;)) you couldn’t see the fire at all. Moving a bit further south you could suddenly smell the smoke; something which had surprisingly been missing from the Murrieta/Temecula area over the past days since the high winds had been keeping it from us. I have to say I suddenly questioned what the heck I was doing driving down the freeway which had had the fire jump across it earlier, but realized it wouldn’t have been reopened if it wasn’t safe, and there was just something gnawing at me to see and experience the reality of what had been happening to my neighboring areas (without interfering with any rescue efforts or evacuations). I especially questioned not only my sudden trip down the freeway, but why the freeway was open when I came across a bright red glow which turned out to be a pretty decent sized fire flare-up about 100 feet from the freeway, just south of the Mission exit. No fire trucks were around, but there was some sort of police/sheriff/CHP car standing guard. Unfortunately there were also folks who for some reason felt the need to pull off the side of the freeway to gawk. Driving down the freeway and checking things out is one thing, but to risk the safety of anyone in your car or those in passing cars by pulling off the freeway is just nuts. Hopefully no one will be injured, and the flare-up will be knocked down soon.

Have to say it was great to see Nessy Burgers (locals know what I’m talking about ;)) still standing just off the 15 at the 76, since there were reports about nearby Pala Resort having suffered damage. In a way I’m glad I was around the area at night because I’m sure it would have been much more gut-wrenching to have seen places that are part of my history in this area, charred and damaged in the bright light of day. Although considering the heavy smoke that was still hanging around I wonder when the area will actually have a clear day again.

Short video I took from a Murrieta hilltop the afternoon of 10/23/07 of the Poomacha/Palomar and De Luz/Rosa fires. (The plateau to the right is part of the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve.)

View from a similar Murrieta hilltop the morning of 10/24/07 showing the overwhelming smoke filling the skies from the Poomacha/Palomar and De Luz/Rosa fires.

10/27/07 view of Poomacha fire from same area hilltop.

I would ask that those of you reading this blog entry, whether you’re a local just trying to keep up on the latest happenings in our area or former local concerned about your past stomping grounds, please continue to keep everyone involved in these horrific fires in your thoughts (1 in 6 San Diegans are currently evacuated!), and know that this is not something that will be “done” once the fires are finally out, but something that we will all be in for the long haul, helping our neighbors rebuild, renew, and recapture their lives. Be safe everyone!

Previous related blog entry: Southern California fires/resources (updated links/info)/Larry Himmel videos

Witch Creek Fire-nctimes.comWhat a difference a day makes; a huge chunk of my dear SoCal landscape has erupted in fire, most heartbreakingly the area where I’ve spent most of my life, San Diego County, with 250,000 500,000 (as of 10/23/07) people being evacuated so far! It’s jarring to hear about fires forcing the evacuations of friends, fires lapping at my alma mater, CSUSM, and especially fires endangering already endangered animals at the San Diego Wild Animal Park; a place which holds countless fond memories for me from the past two decades.

I’m currently living in Southwest Riverside County, pretty much in between all the chaos, and can hear the winds whipping at my wind chimes as I look out my window and see the smoke-filled hazy skies, but oddly enough I don’t smell the fires like I have in the past. At times like this, when you wonder if somewhere down the road you might have to evacuate at a moment’s notice, it makes you think hard about what in life is really important. I can tell you right now it’s not the material things, the things you can easily replace, but instead it’s the friends, family, and pets, that are what bring true joy to your life and could never be replaced.

I’ve been getting phone calls/emails from friends today wondering how I’m doing, how close the fires are (closest one to me right now is about 15 miles south in Fallbrook), etc., so I thought I’d post a few resources below which I’ve come across today while trying to access information. CNN seems to be doing the best job on a national level in covering the fires, by actually showing ALL the areas affected (live feed), and not just the Malibu fire which most networks seemed to be focusing on for obvious high rating reasons (star homes, etc.). I hope the resources I’ve assembled below will help those of you out there trying to find out information. I’ll update it if I find more.

I would ask all of you to let those you love know that you do, and please, please, PLEASE keep my fellow Southern Californians (and domesticated and wild animals!) in your thoughts, most especially those in the path of danger and those heroic firefighters putting their lives on the line.

***10/23/07: I’m updating and adding links as information changes, and also added this new post:California fires: Murrieta/Temecula perspective (pictures/video) AND Kudos to the North County Times/Californian for being a local lifeline for information***

Riverside County/Inland Area

Camp Pendleton

San Diego County

Los Angeles Area

Government

American Red Cross

__________________________________________________

Added on 10/23/07

  • Fire breaks out west of Temecula“-nctimes.com (The Californian) This was the ONLY way for local residents to get information throughout the night on the “Rosa” fire which was reported at 11PM 10/22/07. An incredible job was done by the reporters who kept a real-time update constantly flowing in the comments section, along with allowing readers to add their personal experiences and information. Kudos to the North County Times/Californian!!
  • Fires force more than 500,000 from California homes“CNN.com
  • Videos of KFMB Channel 8 reporter Larry Himmel as his home burns in one of the San Diego fires, and a follow up later. This was especially heartbreaking to view since I’ve been watching Larry over the past couple of decades in San Diego. For those from the area you are well-versed on Larry’s humor, his touching and heartwarming “about town” stories, and probably also memories of his “Biff and Skippy” episodes from WAY back in the day. While anyone losing their home is a terribly sad situation, there’s something which tugs at the heartstrings more when it’s someone you feel you have a connection with, even if it is just via the television. The thoughts and good wishes of many fans are with you and your family, Larry.

Larry Himmel in front of his burning home.

Larry Himmel walk-through of burned out home.

Anyone who has spent much time on this blog knows that music of all sorts is vital to my everyday existence, and that live concerts with all of their energy, talent, electricity and excitement, are what gives my life that jolt we all need. So when the following video by Sarah Connor and Naturally 7 (extremely talented performers I’m afraid I had never heard of before) was sent to me today it was almost as if they had tapped into my brain and put into words and music a huge portion of what music means to me and how it affects my life.

The timing of being introduced to these performers, this beautiful song, and the great images in the video, is also a bit of kismet since the past few days have been an emotional roller coaster due to one of my best friends suddenly losing his best friend. It goes without saying that putting any energy into writing a blog has been the furthest thing from my mind, but this video just touched something in me and made me want to share it with everyone. While nothing short of love, support, and time, can even begin to chip away at the incredible pain and emptiness from such a tragic and heartbreaking loss, I really do feel that music can play an important role in the healing process, and this video seems to speak directly to that notion. And to my dear friend Jackson, if you happen to read this, babe, let me say again that I am ALWAYS here for you and that I love you. (((J)))

“Music is the Key” Sarah Connor and Naturally 7

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketFriday night I was lucky enough to catch the story of 86-year-old stick-to-her-guns Edith Macefield during a Steve Hartman segment on the CBS Evening news, and what a character (what we got to see/hear of her) she is! This gutsy lady has steadfastly refused to sell the tiny Ballard (neighborhood of Seattle) home she has lived in for over fifty years, despite a lucrative deal from area developers, and is now surrounded by intense construction which will ultimately result in her home being enveloped by five-story high office buildings. For those who have seen the movie Stuart Little, the small Little home, sandwiched between enormous buildings, is to me the fictional version of Edith and her real life abode. Talk about your David and Goliath!

I certainly hope that when I have lived as many years as Ms. Macefield has, I will have at least a fraction of the tenaciousness and gumption that she has exhibited. Perhaps it’s that independent spirit Pacific Northwesterners are known for, and something I hope is in my genes since I was born in Seattle. Regardless of what it is, or how one gets it, I think we all could use a healthy dose of the fortitude Edith Macefield possesses. Kudos to you, Ms. Macefield–you go girl!

I am SO excited that today former Vice President (and in my humble opinion the rightful winner of the 2000 election!) Al Gore has received, along with the United Nation’s panel on climate change, the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007! For those who have yet to see An Inconvenient Truth, PLEASE take the time to watch it, and for those who have seen it please go forth and spread the information presented so well in the movie.

I will post a list of resources later, but did want to post this email I just received. Again, congratulations Mr. Gore! (Now will you consider tossing your hat into the ring? ;))

Al Gore

Dear *****,

I am deeply honored to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. This award is even more meaningful because I have the honor of sharing it with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change–the world’s pre-eminent scientific body devoted to improving our understanding of the climate crisis–a group whose members have worked tirelessly and selflessly for many years. We face a true planetary emergency. The climate crisis is not a political issue, it is a moral and spiritual challenge to all of humanity. It is also our greatest opportunity to lift global consciousness to a higher level.

My wife, Tipper, and I will donate 100 percent of the proceeds of the award to the Alliance for Climate Protection, a bipartisan non-profit organization that is devoted to changing public opinion in the U.S. and around the world about the urgency of solving the climate crisis.

Thank you,

Al Gore

Press release from the Norwegian Nobel Committee:

Nobel Prize® medal - registered trademark of the Nobel Foundation The Nobel Peace Prize 2007

The Norwegian Nobel Committee logotype

The Nobel Peace Prize for 2007

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007 is to be shared, in two equal parts, between the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Albert Arnold (Al) Gore Jr. for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change.

Indications of changes in the earth’s future climate must be treated with the utmost seriousness, and with the precautionary principle uppermost in our minds. Extensive climate changes may alter and threaten the living conditions of much of mankind. They may induce large-scale migration and lead to greater competition for the earth’s resources. Such changes will place particularly heavy burdens on the world’s most vulnerable countries. There may be increased danger of violent conflicts and wars, within and between states.

Through the scientific reports it has issued over the past two decades, the IPCC has created an ever-broader informed consensus about the connection between human activities and global warming. Thousands of scientists and officials from over one hundred countries have collaborated to achieve greater certainty as to the scale of the warming. Whereas in the 1980s global warming seemed to be merely an interesting hypothesis, the 1990s produced firmer evidence in its support. In the last few years, the connections have become even clearer and the consequences still more apparent.

Al Gore has for a long time been one of the world’s leading environmentalist politicians. He became aware at an early stage of the climatic challenges the world is facing. His strong commitment, reflected in political activity, lectures, films and books, has strengthened the struggle against climate change. He is probably the single individual who has done most to create greater worldwide understanding of the measures that need to be adopted.

By awarding the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007 to the IPCC and Al Gore, the Norwegian Nobel Committee is seeking to contribute to a sharper focus on the processes and decisions that appear to be necessary to protect the world’s future climate, and thereby to reduce the threat to the security of mankind. Action is necessary now, before climate change moves beyond man’s control.

Oslo, 12 October 2007

Trailer for An Inconvenient Truth

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketToday, October 11th, is National Coming Out Day, so I thought I’d post a little information from the Human Rights Campaign web site. For those who have yet to come out, know that there is support out there, sometimes where you’d least expect it. And for those of you like myself, who have “come out” as straight supporters of GLBT rights, keep your voices strong. This is an issue of common sense, common decency, compassion, and most of all love.

T.R. Knight PSA for GLAAD

From the Human Rights Campaign web site:

About Coming Out as a Straight Supporter (from the HRC web site)

A straight ally is someone who is not gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender (GLBT) but personally advocates for GLBT equal rights and fair treatment. Straight allies are some of the most effective and powerful advocates for the GLBT movement. These allies have proven invaluable personally and politically, and are increasingly important in the fight for GLBT equality. Indeed, their voices often have been heard while those of GLBT people have been ignored.

Coming out as a straight ally may be an extremely challenging experience, but many find that it is unexpectedly rewarding. Some may think that advocating on behalf of GLBT equality is solely the responsibility of those who are affected by the inequality.

But as straight ally Caleb Baker has put it: “U.S. Representative John Lewis once said that the next great movement in America would be the gay rights movement. His words make me remember there are white people fighting for black people’s rights in the civil rights movement. There are men fighting for women’s rights in the feminist movement. I would be greatly ashamed if there were no straight people fighting for gay rights in our movement.” (GLSEN’s Students and GSA’s Yearbook)

Like GLBT people, straight allies will find that coming out is not a one-time event, but rather a lifelong journey.

Opinion polls show that people who know someone who is gay or lesbian are more likely to support equal rights for all gay and lesbian people. Anecdotal evidence also suggests that the same is true for people who know someone who is bisexual or transgender.

—————————————————————————————-

A couple of reminders…

Cyndi Lauper on The View discussing True Colors Tour 2007

Cyndi Lauper on The View singing “True Colors”

Today would have been John Lennon’s 67th birthday, and has been chosen to be the day of the Imagine Peace Tower unveiling in Reykjavik, Iceland (LIVE unveiling times and links listed below). I remember the night John was killed and one of my friends at work being so utterly devastated by the news. What an impression this man had on so many lives, and continues to have. In celebration of the work and efforts John put forth for peace, I’m including the video and lyrics of my most favorite of songs; John’s Imagine. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone could put aside their hate, their religious differences, their bigotry, their cynicism, and truly attempt to live in peace for at least today–just one day? Perhaps it’s an unrealistic expectation, but couldn’t each of you reading this make a vow to be peaceful and invoke peace around you for just 24 hours? You have to start somewhere, so why not in your own tiny universe?

Happy Birthday, John, and thank you for all you did!

Imagine

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today…

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

Yoko Ono: About the IMAGINE PEACE TOWER

Watch the IMAGINE PEACE TOWER Unveiling LIVE at
20:45pm GMT, 3.45pm Eastern, 12.45pm Western (times right)
Also viewable on Icelandic TV: RUV (here) and Channel 2 (here).
After the broadcast, click here to view our specially made tribute video.

Check back later – we will post highlights soon after the event.

OCTOBER 9TH – UNVEILING DAY
Please join us at http://www.IMAGINEPEACE.com at

Oct 9th 11.45pm Anchorage
Oct 9th 12.45pm Los Angeles
Oct 9th 01.45pm Guatemala
Oct 9th 02.45pm Chicago
Oct 9th 03.45pm New York
Oct 9th 03.45pm Montreal
Oct 9th 04.45pm Rio de Janeiro
Oct 9th 07.45pm Reykjavik
Oct 9th 08.45pm Liverpool
Oct 9th 09.45pm Europe
Oct 9th 10.45pm Baghdad
Oct 9th 11.45pm Moscow
Oct 10th 12.45am Karachi
Oct 10th 01.45am Dhaka
Oct 10th 02.45am Bangkok
Oct 10th 03.45am Shanghai
Oct 10th 04.45am Tokyo
Oct 10th 05.45am Sydney
Oct 10th 06.45am Vladivostok
Oct 10th 07.45am Suva
Oct 10th 08.45am Auckland
Oct 10th 09.45am Kiritimati

Information from the Imagine Peace website:

 

Dear Friends

Make sure you visit www.IMAGINEPEACE.com on October 9th, John Lennon’s birthday, for the unveiling of the incredible IMAGINE PEACE TOWER on the isle of Videy,Reykjavik, Iceland.

Please visit the site, have a look around, IMAGINE PEACE and send your wishes to join over 495,000 others buried in capsules around the IMAGINE PEACE TOWER, dedicated to my late husband: musician, poet, artist and peace activist, John Lennon.

Please join us on October 9th at www.IMAGINEPEACE.com
Wherever you are, we will all be together that day.

With the deepest love,

yoko ono

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Visit www.IMAGINEPEACE.com to send your wishes to the IMAGINE PEACE TOWER and join the biggest online peace demonstration on October 9th.

The website contains over 160 pages, loads of easter eggs, and is being augmented every day. Explore, have fun, participate, IMAGINE PEACE and join Yoko Ono and thousands of others at www.IMAGINEPEACE.com on October 9th for the unveiling of the IMAGINE PEACE TOWER, when we will be uploading photos and videos of the days events as they happen.

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The IMAGINE PEACE TOWER is an artwork conceived by Yoko Ono in memory of John Lennon.

It is dedicated to peace and bears the inscription IMAGINE PEACE in 24 languages.

Its construction and installation is a collaboration between Yoko Ono, the City of Reykjavik, Reykjavik Art Museum and Reykjavik Energy.

The work is in the form of a wishing well from which a very strong and tall tower of light emerges. The strength, intensity and brilliance of the light tower continually changes as the particles in the air fluctuate with the prevailing weather and atmospheric conditions unique to Iceland.

Every year it will light up between October 9th (Lennon’s birthday) and December 8th (the day of his death).

In addition the IMAGINE PEACE TOWER will be lit on New Year’s Eve, during the first week of spring and on some rare special occasions agreed between the City and Yoko Ono.

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A dream you dream alone is only a dream
A dream you dream together is reality
Yoko Ono

Imagine all the people living life in peace
John Lennon

For your consideration on the topic of Columbus Day.

Videos:

Web site:

Transform Columbus Day Alliance

Book:

Ronald Takaki’s 1993 excellent read on the history of multiculturalism in America, beginning with the colonization of “The New World” and continuing through the Los Angeles riots in 1992. Thankfully I was required to read this book for a teaching credential course on the role of cultural diversity in schooling, but wish that everyone would take the time to read it of their own volition.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket(***Pictures/commments from our rally below***)

I know this is a rhetorical question, but just how stupid DOES George Bush think the American people are?!?! This man just deprived 4 million children the health care they would have received had he NOT VETOED the bipartisan bill to expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), since he claimed it was “too expensive” with the $35 billion being spread out over 7 years. Yet he has NO CONCERNS about expenses when he continues to ask Congress to give more and more money to HIS no-end-in-sight war in Iraq, to the tune of $189 billion for GWB’s latest emergency war-funding bill. Somebody explain to me why it’s okay to continue spending money on a losing war in Iraq, yet not on our country’s own children? (If all requests for spending are allowed, that would total nearly $611 BILLION spent on the war in Iraq!)

If you are as frustrated by this whole scenario as I am and want to let George Bush know that we are NOT as stupid as he apparently thinks we are, you have the opportunity to voice your opinion during rallies being held tonight throughout our nation. Yesterday afternoon MoveOn.org sent out emails to its members and the response has been incredible with over 250 rallies organized in a matter of hours. To find a rally near you, or to form one, just click here to enter your zip code. PLEASE take an hour tonight to make sure your voice is heard by not only the rest of our country and our government, but especially by the 15 or so Republicans needed to help override Bush’s veto. We can do this folks, we really can!

From MoveOn.org:

Rally for Our Children’s Health Care

President Bush just vetoed health care for children. In only his fourth veto ever, he blocked health care coverage for millions of uninsured—and mostly poor—kids. We need just 15 more Republicans in Congress to break with Bush to override the veto.

MoveOn members are hosting emergency rallies around the country to urge Republicans in Congress to override Bush’s veto.

Check here to find the gathering near you—and create one if there’s not one already.

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Thoughts and Pictures from Our Rally Tonight

I drove about 6 miles to get to the area where about 15-20 of us gathered for our emergency rally to make our voices heard regarding George W. Bush’s veto of the expansion of State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). I can’t EVEN tell you how wonderful it was to be around so many like-minded individuals since it’s quite easy to feel alone in the bastion of right-wing, conservative folks where we live. Our host, Judy, brought signs for us to hold, but our lesson learned from the evening was to bring a long stick next time to put the signs on; let’s just say there will be many sore arms tomorrow! 😉

The intersection we were at is one of the busiest in the area, so we definitely got hundreds (if not more!) folks to read our variety of signs, with many honking their horns in support. We had at least 5 different cars of folks hollering out “We hate/can’t stand Bush, either!” which was delightful to hear. Out of the hundreds of cars that passed by us we only had one, yes ONE, person holler “If you want socialized medicine, go to Canada!” I thought we’d get more folks giving us grief, but I’ll take the pleasant surprise of not seeing that occur. (Oops, just remembered that there was one woman who shouted out  “Be an American and support the President.”  Biting my tongue, biting my tongue, biting my tongue…)  In all honesty, I question how many folks driving by actually were aware of Bush’s veto. Sad to say, but I’m just not sure people are paying as much attention to such matters as they should, since they are pretty burned out on government, this war, the lies, and the nonsense.

All in all, I am so happy I took part in this event and will definitely plan on doing it again. I really do feel it made a difference, if for no other reason than at least exposing citizens to what Bush is doing. Whether the rallies across the country will actually help sway the votes of the 15 Republicans needed to override the veto, I don’t know, but I do now know that there is at least a small group of determined activists in my area who are willing to stand at a busy intersection for nearly an hour, endure some windy and cold weather, along with sore arms, all to make SURE that their fellow citizens know we are not going to sit idly by and let George and his regime do whatever they want without hearing about it from us. Thank you to all who joined me tonight at our location, and the thousands of you who took part across the country.

Sniffin’ out the info

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