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Today is Valentine’s Day, and while many may be happy to express their love, or shun the day, for most of my years Valentine’s Day meant one thing, my sister’s birthday.

Laura would have been turning 37 today and it breaks my heart today that she isn’t here to celebrate. There hasn’t been a day since she passed in July that I haven’t thought about her, wishing I could just tell her something or get an architecture question answered. While the strong emotions are fading a little, I know today will be a difficult day for me.

Laura was a beautiful, smart accomplished woman. We had gone from sibling rivals to good friends. She had a career that was successful, and growing. I think she left a good mark on hospitals around the country and I’m sad that there will not be more buildings that she’s designed.

I had the opportunity to speak at Laura’s memorial service. I tried to say a few words about our relationship as brother and sister and bring a little bit of life into the service as the pastor didn’t really know anything more than what was written about her. It was interesting to try to bring some levity to the service as well. It’s tough to try to sum up someone’s impact on you like that. Just a precious few moments, or a few sentences.

If you don’t mind I’d like to tell a few of those stories about my wonderful sister whom I miss very much.

Read More )

Sometimes, since she lived far away from me for the last few years it just feels like we haven’t been in touch for the last few months, but right now, when I’d love to call her to wish her a happy birthday, to tell her that she’ll love 37 as much as I did.

It’s been a lonelier world with out her, and make for a very blue valentine for me today. I love you my talented and smart sister, my Belgium Idiot, Laura.
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Not that I'm one to replay tweets here, but this morning I decided to post a little note about the 40th Anniversary of Stonewall. I did so not only to commemorate the brave men and women who stood up and decided to push back against being targeted by the police. It was a win for dignity. Sure, it wasn't anything to new to most but on Twitter I have some college friends and others who aren't as aware of gay-bear-world, so it was a good thing to mention there.

Now not more than an hour after I post that, I see a notice from the Dallas Voice that the Ft. Worth police along with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC - the states licensers of bars and has an enforcement wing) descended on the week-old Rainbow Lounge last night. They brought a paddy wagon, so they were definitely there expecting to arrest people and make a big splashy raid of the bar.

While I could say that it is possible that the Ft Worth police could be unaware of Stonewall and all that. It's not exactly taught in school. Still, here's a bar that's only been around a week, and you say that there's been enough complaints that it would warrant a raid. It seems awfully strange to me, and naturally my thoughts tend to go to the idea that the police wanted to make a statement, and not a very good one.

It's just one of those things on a day like today you want to say look how far we've come, and all the progress, even if there's still a lot more to be done. Then something comes along and takes it all back.

With Stonewall, there's always the theory that the patrons were mad that it was hot and Judy Garland had died just days before, but I really think that having to hide, and having to be afraid of the police and their raids were the real problem. The fact that getting caught could ruin your life was a factor for a big backlash. Raids were a normal thing then.

While it's an interesting thought that the people at the Rainbow lounge were getting out of the heat, and they were lamenting the deaths of Farrah Faucett and Michael Jackson, but frankly they didn't really make much of a fuss about the raid, and the police did cuff and take people out of the bar so they could charge them with being drunk in public.

Really, I don't think a riot was warranted. Today we should be able to go through the right channels to get answers and we are still waiting for the Ft. Worth police and the TBAC to give us a good reason why the bar was targeted, and why this particular weekend. We have a voice now, where as 40 years ago we didn't, and we need to get answers. If we don't get answers, then it's time to get angry.

Something's fishy here, but let's see what the full picture is, and if it's just the police trying to make a "point" they better be able to defend that point. I doubt that there's really much to stand on for them.

So 40 years from Stonewall we still have to fight and struggle for freedom from discrimination, for dignity, and for the equal rights that we are promised in the constitution. Things are much better, and I'm happy that I can live out and openly, but I know that openness can only go so far as there are not the full protections of the government for me, protections in the workplace, respect for my relationship, and the e ability to pursue happiness just like any other American.

I'm thankful for the people who threw shoes and talked back, I'm happy they got the ball rolling and made it so I could live a better life, but we need to honor them by continuing to push back and strive for true equality.
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I kind of feel like this guy today.

With all the rain we've been having, he safely moved from the pond behind the building at work to the front walkway.

Couple of notes today.

➠ I need to go find the Kwik-E-Mart in town. Given that 7-11 started in Dallas, it's no suprise that one of the Simpson Movie tie-in stores is here. I wish i was more excited about the Simpsons movie, though. All those years on TV, so much of it feels like a re-tread to me.

➠ Well, there's never a real surprise with the Bush administration - well, maybe that he let the fines stick for now, just taking away Scooter's prison sentence. Don't worry, when the heat dies down, Scooter will get the full pardon. It's nice to know the administration is consistent for making sure the loyalists will reap the rewards, even if you are just a fall guy.

What kind of world is it where a person convicted of perjury (correction, obstruction of justice - sorry) in the case of divulging state secrets serves no time, while a celebutard manages to at least serve time for driving without a license?

➠ I'm almost finished with a book on Benjamin Franklin. Over the last couple of years I've read a lot on Revolutionary war figures, Adams, Washington, Jefferson and now Franklin. I guess i wanted to understand more about the founding fathers, and see if I can come to my own conclusion as what they wanted this country to be. Here's one thing, Adams was the most devout, and he didn't go to church often. Let's just say these guys were very tolerant, and not very observant of religion, despite what's said about the forming of our nation.

Franklin though seems less put upon a pedestal, perhaps because he wasn't president, but more that he seemed like the kindly grandfather to the whole process. He was certainly more folksy and didn't try to show that he was a great thinker even though he was one of the most influential people in both science and letters of his day.

Still, he seems funny, more of a clown with clever witticisms than the others, mainly because he was very quotable, where the others were more long winded. Still, we owe a lot to the man, not only from his inventions and work on such things as ballooning and the foundations of modern electrical use, but his ability (and well-traveled-ness) to see the nation as a whole, and not just 13 separate colonies and later states. Outside of kings, he was pretty much the most famous man in the world at the time of his death, having spent time in both the new and old world.

I'm not sure there's another Revolutionary War figure I really want to read about now. i think i have my opinions down, and i know the major players. what i do know is the slow build up in executive branch power over the last six years would have alarmed the founding fathers as much as it should alarm us.

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