It Was 50 Years Ago Today


On 1 February 1960, four men sat down at the lunch counter of a Woolworth store in Greensboro, North Carolina, and changed history.

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More photos after the jump.

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That Whole Winter Thing


I’ll admit that I’m enjoying the fact that winter seems to have finally remembered where North Carolina lives this year. The lack of snow over the past few years was starting to bother me a bit. Of course, winter’s triumphant return also coincides with the very winter when I first began my daily commute to Greensboro, but that hasn’t been a big problem either since the new chancellor at UNCG has been much more liberal than her predecessor about closing the campus during inclement weather. I’m actually getting paid to sit at home and watch the snow pile up.

But if today’s round of snow and ice keeps Mark from getting home tonight for our only weekend together until the end of February, I’m going to be really pissed.

He Stole My Idea

Rent-a-Crowd Entrepreneurs Find People Fast to Cheer or Jeer for $4 an Hour:

“We’ll do business with any political party. Ideology doesn’t matter to us,” says the 21-year-old Web-design major at Kiev Polytechnic Institute. “It matters even less to most students,” he adds, grinning. “They have become tired of politicians. They will rally only for money.”

That blasted Ukranian entrepreneur has stolen a key component of my proposed business plan, dammit.

Randomly Thursday

Thoughts and links for a Thursday morning in February:

  • It’s nice to read good news about a mid-century building once in a while, although it’s sad that the good news in LA is not universal. Too many preservationists believe that all history ended about 1920 and that any urban context from any subsequent era is useless (and probably just plain evil) and thus not worthy of our attention. Fortunately, more people are now coming to the realization that we pretty much said the same thing about turn of the century buildings in the 1950s that we’re saying about mid-century buildings now, and that mid-century buildings (particularly those constructed as infill) are an important part of urban texture.
  • No major commentary on this one. It’s just cool.
  • I really hope there’s still a roof there when we get back to Pittsburgh.
  • Just what the world needs: a “My Harris Teeter” ringtone.
  • I haven’t digested all of this article on the decline of the Washington Post (too depressing for work), but as Rebuilding Place notes, it’s impossible not to notice. In fact, it’s probably even more pronounced for me since I have irregular access to the print edition, so it’s seemed even less gradual to me. Of course, the same could be said for the LA Times, the SF Chronicle, and the Chicago Tribune, which I was horrified last year to realize is now a tabloid.
  • I’ve come to the recent realization that I like Echo & the Bunnymen more now than I did twenty years ago.

16 February 2004

Six years ago today, at about this time of night (9:00 PST), Mark and I were in the back of a very long line outside San Francisco’s City Hall in order to spend the night outside in the rain. Why? So that we could be married the next morning, along with several thousand other couples who did so that weekend in San Francisco.

We suspected even then that our “guerrilla wedding” would be overturned (and it was) but it was important for us to participate anyway. First and foremost, it was a way of demonstrating our commitment to each other. We also wanted to express the fact that we were no longer willing to be denied ANY basic human and civil right, including the right to the same level of legal protection afforded without question to any opposite-sex pair who could produce twenty bucks for a marriage license.

This assertion may make some of you uncomfortable for religious or other reasons. Frankly, I don’t much care. Your temporary discomfort pales in comparison to the very real financial and social issues we face on a regular basis. In fact, I suggest that if you are unable to see me as a fellow human being and as your equal, you are not my “friend” by any definition of the term, and that it is hypocritical of you to pretend otherwise. This is not some minor political issue on which we can agree to disagree.

I love my husband more than anything or anyone in the world, and I will forever remember that cold, rainy night in San Francisco. I’d marry him again without a thought. And unfortunately, I will probably have to do it again. Maybe several more times. It’s OK, though. We have the rest of our lives…

Twentysomething (a/k/a Delayed Queer Puberty Syndrome)

Inspired by a project at work, I’ve been re-reading some of my old journals for the past couple of nights. It’s the first time I’ve really dragged them out in ten or twelve years, and so far I’ve gone through 1980 and 1985. Strangely enough, I like 1980 a little better. Of course, I was a sixteen-year-old idiot in 1980, and I said and did incredibly stupid things (that was the single year of my “drug phase”), but at least it reads as relatively genuine in retrospect.

The 1985 stuff, though, is excruciating. It reads like the ramblings of a boy-crazed teenage girl, but with an alcohol kicker to make it ten times as annoying. What a miserable, self-absorbed little wanker of a barfly I must have seemed to anyone who got near me. It’s really quite painful stuff to read; I go for months and months without writing a single sentence about anything of lasting significance (not that this site is much better lately). And now, I can’t even dredge up the faintest memory of many of those boys and places and events that seemed so incredibly fucking important at the time–although I imagine I remember more of them than many of my peers do, maybe because of the journals.

That said, I don’t think my experience was all that unusual among homos. Since many of us don’t get to experience a proper puberty at the appropriate time, much of my generation, at least, had a tendency to make up for lost time as soon as we hit that whole bar-infested social scene: the “fashion” thing, the “can you find out if he likes me?” thing, etc. Maybe it’s a necessary stage for some of us. But it’s annoying as hell to watch (or to read about and remember).

I sometimes think that a lot of my later life, from my misanthropy to my still occasionally raging homophobia was in many ways a big reaction to this period in my life. Either way, I’m more glad than ever that I’m no longer twenty-one.


As much as I dislike sparkling new subdivisions built on cleared land denuded of trees or any other natural vegetation, this then and now set is a reminder that even many of the older, tree-lined neighborhoods we love so much today didn’t always look that way. So maybe there’s hope for those far-flung McMansion districts too, assuming their tight-assed HOAs ever allow anything to be planted. Or maybe not…

Sunday Afternoon in Winston-Salem

Just thinking aloud. If you’d suggested to me five years ago that terms like “search committee” and “tenure track” would loom so large for me right now, I’d have laughed you out of the room. I’m sometimes a little freaked out at the way the past couple of years have played out for me.

Completely unrelated: If this had been introduced by Apple in the past decade or so, would it have been called “iPod” or “iPad”? Think about it; either one is somewhat appropriate. Whatever you call it, I want one.