Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Iris Maps are Coming Along...

This week's big project - and last week's and next week's - is mapping my gardens.  Using iDraw, I created bed outlines.  The next step was to create color and shape coded markers for various classes of irises.  Labels were added. Next I used Graphic Converter to create small versions of the ID photos I use for each cultivar in my database.

As I move through this process I have had to do some more research.  One of the most profuse cultivars in my garden I have labeled as Honky Tonk Blues, but I may have to rethink that.  Ocean Pacific turns out to be something I discovered the packaging for.  Although I had a light blue identified as OP, it seems it is darker.  These are more likely to be Monet's Blue.  All this means that my Honky Tonks may well be OP.  I cannot find any actual proof of having purchased Honky Tonk.  I hope the Greater Rochester Iris Society will help me sort this one out!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Marriage Equality... South of the Mason-Dixon Line!

From the Washington Post...
Posted at 06:24 PM ET, 02/23/2012
Same-sex marriage bill approved by Maryland SenateBy A bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in Maryland was approved by the state Senate, which advanced a measure that narrowly cleared the House of Delegates last week.The final vote by the state Senate ended a yearlong drama in Annapolis over the legislation, and marked the first time an East Coast state south of the Mason-Dixon line has supported gay nuptials.
With the vote, the measure moves to Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), who has said he will sign it.read more...

I Don't Appear to Reside In Oklahoma

As reported in the Huffington Post a congressman from Oklahoma has feels it appropriate for a member of the Congress of the United States of America to use this kind of language...

Rep. John Sullivan (R-Okla.) told a town hall audience on Wednesday that "maybe killing a couple of" senators would help Rep. Paul Ryan's budget pass. 
"I supported the Paul Ryan budget and sent it over to the Senate," Sullivan said. "Now I live with some Senators, I yell at them all the time, I grabbed one of them the other day and shook him and I’d love to get them to vote for it -- boy I’d love that. You know but other than me going over there with a gun and holding it to their head and maybe killing a couple of them, I don’t think they’re going to listen unless they get beat."
 read the rest... including the Congressman's apology
It is no wonder that public faith in congress has plummeted. The last approval rating I saw was 10%.  How does language like this possible lead to civil discourse?

I went to Congressman Sullivan's website to leave the following comment:

Dear Congressman Sullivan,
I read that you have said that you feel that Congressman Ryan's budget will not be passed in the Senate short of you "going over there with a gun and holding it to their head and maybe killing a couple of them." I respect your right to hold positions, however I might agree or disagree with them.  I do not however respect your use of such language publicly.
I pray that the congress of the United States of America might examine the reasons why it's popularity is currently so dismally low.  I pray that the civil discourse, so needed to be restored in this country, might be modeled by its elected officials.
Suspecting that you would identify yourself as a Christian and a patriot, I would ask how this type language, even if meant metaphorically, represents the values of either of these groups? 
Neil HoughtonMendon, NY

When I went to Congressman Sullivan's website  and entering my zip code I was told....

"Sorry, You do not appear to reside in Oklahoma."  I was aware of this but thought the communications with a members of The People's House should be welcomed from any American citizen.

If any of you happen to reside in Oklahoma, please pass on my thoughts.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Thanks Glee

Tonight's episode moved me, so.  Where were you Glee, when I was growing up gay 50 years ago?  No matter.  But thanks for being there for this generation. 

Mapping My Garden

Last year I decided to map my garden.  I have more than 150 irises (100+ named cultivars) and many hybridized daylilies, dahlias, hostas and many bulbs.

I started using an old version of Adobe Illustrator, but it was clear I needed to update and I was not willing to spend hundreds of dollars on a program that I would use rarely and certainly not professionally.  Along came ArtBoard.  For $25 I could do most of what I wanted.  Here's an example:

ArtBoard was fine, but one major drawback was the ability to import and export into other editable formats.  So I started looking for another affordable program. When I fond iDraw and saw that it had an iPad companion, I thought I'd give it a try.  So far so good.

Thanks to Google's ability to display satellite images I decided to use that to plot out a promotional view of my entire yard.  Last year the image was too low resolution and had distorting shadows.  I was also way to of date.  This year the resolution is much improved but still does not show all beds.  Despite my attempts to carefully measure and plot out each bed, the arial shot revealed my mistakes and now I am in the process of reworking it.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

With Visions of Irises

Think Spring! Think Irises!

It's about a month and a half from the possibility of working in the garden and another 2 or 3 months until the irises will start to bloom here.  It seems such a long time and though this winter has been very mild, it's toying with us now. Fifty one day, 20 the next, bare ground for a week and then the snow returns.

So this week was made oh so much more bearable by the arrival of 32 pages of hope and color in the Mid-America Garden Catalog.  Paul Black and Thomas Johnson who are the hybridizers at this Salem, Oregon garden have won many, many awards and it's always a treat to see their new introductions.

You can read about what I ordered last year here and what bonuses I received here.

I'll be featuring a few in upcoming posts but here are two that instantly caught my attention...

Thomas Johnson's Flamingo Frenzy and Paul Black's Princess Grace.

Flamingo Frenzy
(T.Johnson '12) Looking at a clump of these rich pink beauties, one could easily imagine a shoreline populated by a flock of brightly colored flamingos. Strong stalks and vigorous growth are distinguishing features of Flamingo Frenzy. You’ll notice the beards are solidly in the pink range rather than the more usual and often jarring tangerine to orange palette.
Midseason-Late 36” (91cm) Sdlg. TA40D: In Love Again X Secret Affair

Princess Grace
(Black '12) Princess Grace was very fond of beige to rosy beige colors. This lovely flower hopefully captures a bit of her beauty in a palette she would find attractive. Plant habit is top notch in every way, from strong vigorous growth to show stalks having 8-9 buds. Clumps transport one to a place of quiet, serene elegance. One of the last to finish blooming.
Midseason-Very Late 32” (81cm) Sdlg. N133A: Blushing Bashful sib X (Good Humor x Weekend Update)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Why Pat Buchanan was fired by MSNBC

After just hearing Chris Matthews apologize for Pat Buchanan saying he was just trying to return us to the values of the 50's.  REALLY?  You mean when Jim Crow and sodomy laws were in full force?  When mom stayed home and had dinner ready in high heels?  The "good old days" weren't necessarily all that good.  Beyond racism, sexism and homophobia check out the high school graduation rates and how many people got college degrees.

I wanted to find out what Buchanan actually said without investing the book. These quotes are from a list of 12 at TMP.  And Pat, despite what your personal beliefs, under our Constitution, Christianity is "just another religion."  Many of its believers are proving the framers thought that a state religion was not a good idea by trying to impose cherry-picked values on all Americans.

From the chapter, “The Death Of Christian America”:
Obama’s White House thus enlisted in the long and successful campaign to expel Christianity from the public square, diminish its presence in our public life, and reduce its role to that of just another religion.
Also from the chapter, “The End Of White America”:
Those who believe the rise to power of an Obama rainbow coalition of peoples of color means the whites who helped to engineer it will steer it are deluding themselves. The whites may discover what it is like to ride in the back of the bus.
From the chapter, “Equality or Freedom?”:
Not until the 1960s did courts begin to use the Fourteenth Amendment to impose a concept of equality that the authors of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, The Federalist Papers, and the Gettysburg Address never believed in. Before the 1960s, equality meant every citizen enjoyed the same constitutional rights and the equal protection of existing laws. Nothing in the Constitution or federal law mandated social, racial, or gender equality.

Starting my Barbie Collection

Must have!

Now even paupers will have the chance to play with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. That is, if they're willing to fork over $100. Mattel is marking the one-year anniversary of Prince William's marriage to Kate Middleton with a $100 Barbie doll set inspired by the royal couple.

The dolls will be part of a special Barbie Collector series, Reuters reported, and will be dressed in outfits that look like what the real couple wore on their wedding day at Westminster Abbey.

(read it all)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Good News from One News Now!

Well sort of ... they have decided to take on Ellen Degeneres, JC Penney and ... wait, wait... Bill O'Reilly.  In a moment of reason, Mr. O'Reilly defended JC Penney's decision to have Ellen Degeneres as a spokesperson.  He even suggested that Ms. Degeneres is a "better role model" than, on say... a KARDASHIAN!  No kidding.  But the insanely right wing crowd at One "News" Now don't agree.

Bill O'Reilly was really off point in his recent article, "A Gay Time at JCPenney," claiming that the conservative group called OneMillionMoms was guilty of "witch-hunting against certain people" when they opposed JC Penney's hiring of Ellen DeGeneres as their new spokesperson.
(Read the rest...)

Wow!  You go ONN.

What Pennsylvania Knows and how we DON'T need to tell the rest of America

Sandy Hingston writes the following in The Philly Post under the headline, "America? Pennsylvania Here. We Know Rick Santorum. You Don’t. Just ask us about him. Please."  Ms. Hingston's heart is in the right place and surely the quotes are accurate, but her messaging and framing skills are not what the LGBT community needs. 

Hey America! Here’s what we know that you might have missed:
Santorum hates the gays: “In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. … It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing.”

He hates the blacks, too: “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them other people’s money. I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn their money and provide for themselves and their families.”

He gets the two confused sometimes: “There are people who were gay and lived the gay lifestyle and aren’t anymore. I don’t know if that’s the similar situation or that’s the case for anyone that’s black.”
And again: “You are black by the color of your skin. You are not homosexual, necessarily, by the color of your skin.”

(read the rest)
I only wish this would not strengthen Santorum's support in any portion of the American electorate, but it will. And there is a portion of the electorate that will think it doesn't matter. We need to explain why it does matter to that second group. I don't think this article is very effective in doing that. It starts off with who he "hates." LGBT people already know how he feels and that he is simply repeating the official line of the Roman Catholic Church on that. It's also the official position of the LDS church and many evangelicals. (At least the Catholic leadership is not hypocritical when it comes to the death penalty.)

Our community and our supporters very often shut doors instead of opening them.  Calling people haters and accusing them of malicious intent may tell people how it feels to us in the LGBT community, but it puts us on the offensive.  It is substantially more effective to to tell our stories in a way that show why it is consistent with American values and the core beliefs of all Christians and all people of faith to treat us equally, rather than accusing them of evil intent.

For those of you who want to learn more about how to go about this I would commend to you the "Talking About..." series from the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) as well as the Believe Out Loud curriculum from IntegrityUSA.

Previously I reported about this from NEA Standing Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.  This is the example of a well framed message I used from Sean Lund at MAP:
This is about everyday Americans who want the same chance as anyone else to pursue health and happiness, earn a living, be safe in their communities, serve their country, and take care of the ones they love.
Some of us may wish to replace American with Episcopalian.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Washinton State is one Step Closer.

The Washington House of Representatives has passed marriage equality.  The Senate has already passed the bill. It now goes to the Governor who is expected to sign it.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Prop 8 Ruled Unconstitutional in CA

Prop 8 has been ruled unconstitutional in California.

You can read much about what that means in California, the 9th district and nationally.

I have maintained that the word "marriage" in and of itself is extremely important and the decision of the court supported that in more than legal terms.  Now, New York,  I can say this is my "husband," not my "legally registered domestic partner."

I urge you to read the entire decision but especially starting on  page 38...
"We are excited to to see someone ask, 'Will you marry me?', whether on bended knee in a restaurant or in a text splash across a stadium Jumbotron.  Certainly it would not have the same effect to see 'Will you enter into a registered domestic partnership with me?'.  Groucho Marx one-liner, "Marriage is a wonderful Institution, but who wants to live in an institution?" would lack its punch if the word marriage were replaced by the alternative phrase.  ... 'Had Marilyn Monroe's film been call How to Register a Domestic Partner with a Millionaire, it would not have conveyed the same meaning..."

 One source for the entire decision in PDF is here.