What’s the matter with Kansas?

You think you’ve seen it all when it comes to anti-gay b.s., but I have to agree with the obvious click bait of the headline here: Kansas’ Anti-Gay Segregation Bill Is an Abomination. (But why oh why, Slate, are you using up-style headlines? It’s So Old-Fashioned, And Not In a Good Way.)


When passed, the new law will allow any individual, group, or private business to refuse to serve gay couples if “it would be contrary to their sincerely held religious beliefs.” Private employers can continue to fire gay employees on account of their sexuality. Stores may deny gay couples goods and services because they are gay. Hotels can eject gay couples or deny them entry in the first place. Businesses that provide public accommodations—movie theaters, restaurants—can turn away gay couples at the door. And if a gay couple sues for discrimination, they won’t just lose; they’ll be forced to pay their opponent’s attorney’s fees. As I’ve noted before, anti-gay businesses might as well put out signs alerting gay people that their business isn’t welcome.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to barring all anti-discrimination lawsuits against private employers, the new law permits government employees to deny service to gays in the name of “religious liberty.” This is nothing new, but the sweep of Kansas’ statute is breathtaking. Any government employee is given explicit permission to discriminate against gay couples—not just county clerks and DMV employees, but literally anyone who works for the state of Kansas. If a gay couple calls the police, an officer may refuse to help them if interacting with a gay couple violates his religious principles. State hospitals can turn away gay couples at the door and deny them treatment with impunity. Gay couples can be banned from public parks, public pools, anything that operates under the aegis of the Kansas state government.

Does anyone in the Kansas legislature have any shame about being featured on “Ken Burns’ Gay Revolution,” premiering in 2020? I guess not. Who are these people, who can simultaneously feel like the most oppressed, put-upon souls in human history — besides Jesus, of course — and pass legislation like this?

Of course, most of these things won’t happen; homophobia isn’t as widespread as the Kansas legislature perhaps thinks. But it will happen. If I were gay in Kansas, I’d leave. Let the Fuller Brush Co. hire some heterosexuals to do their advertising.

And what, exactly, is being protected here? This, the single most excruciating thing I’ve watched in a good long while. Thanks, Velvet Goldmine, for bringing it to my attention.

And with that, the last day before vacation dawns, a pretty busy one. I leave you with a recording of a weird sound that swept across St. Paul early Thursday morning — it’s oddly musical. Explanation at the link.

And finally, it turns out Michelle Obama wore a formal dress to a formal event. THE NERVE.

Happy valentine’s day! As for me, Laissez les bons temps rouler. At least it’ll be warmer.

Posted at 12:30 am in Current events |

94 responses to “What’s the matter with Kansas?”

  1. candlepick said on February 14, 2014 at 1:45 am

    A weird first post, but a splendid article by an amazing film critic. http://selfstyledsiren.blogspot.com/2014/02/in-memoriam-shirley-temple-1928-2014.html

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  2. David C. said on February 14, 2014 at 7:27 am

    It a last desperate gasp from a species about to go on the endangered list. Homo eew-a-homocus dies when an aunt, uncle, sibling, cousin, parent comes out and they realize they are no different from anyone else. They’ll have their fun for a little while passing dumb-assed laws that courts will strike down, but their days are surely numbered.

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  3. Deborah said on February 14, 2014 at 7:34 am

    Have a great vacation Nancy. I’ll be freezing my tukus off in Chicago, meanwhile it will be in the low 60s in Santa Fe.

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  4. coozledad said on February 14, 2014 at 8:11 am

    Virginia’s gay marriage has been ruled unconstitutional, ruling stayed pending appeal.
    That’s one red state chipped off. To quote Sandy Underpants, who’s pretty astute about this stuff:
    I can remember when the 2013 Virginia elections were touted as being the springboard to the 2014 flood of Republican victories. but wait, in the purple state, formerly red, former jewel of The Confederacy, Republicans lost every statewide office. ..in the middle of a nationwide trough of Democratic love, in the middle of the disastrous Obamacare rollout, Republicans lost across the board. and they lost the governorship to a Democratic candidate that most Dems were none too crazy about. they lost and they lost and they lost some more, under favorable conditions. ..I like our chances in 2014.

    And given that Pat McCrory used to be a sex baby or some other kind of office furniture for Duke Power, and that he’s, uh, Pat McCrory, we’ll get this state back, too. Especially once the feds overturn the poll tax again.

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  5. coozledad said on February 14, 2014 at 8:30 am

    I like the photo of that orange Twitchy druid Alison Nicholas. Wonder how many holes she’s punched in her mobile home with that sniper rifle?

    They’re just pissed off that Michelle can actually wear a dress. Laura Bush always looked like a floral print settee from the depression.

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  6. Jolene said on February 14, 2014 at 8:33 am

    The discussion of what Michelle Obama wore to the state dinner is more of the same anti-Obama crap that is spewed in relation to more or less whatever either of the Obamas do.

    Michelle Malkin, who launched the set of attacks noted in the linked article really is the meanest person in America. I don’t read her regularly, but whenever I bump into anything she has said or written I always wonder what it is she is so chronically angry about. There is just no end to her outrage.

    The dress, by the way, was gorgeous–elegant and dramatic.

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  7. coozledad said on February 14, 2014 at 8:39 am

    Found this little number in the dumpster at the Costco. REFUSE to buy ANYTHING there!
    Aunt Shirl bowdownwednesday

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  8. Jolene said on February 14, 2014 at 8:40 am

    That wedding video was, indeed, excruciating, but I learned from following some of the links at that site that it was just one of the excruciating things people are doing at weddings these days. I think there are too many video cameras in this culture. People have the mistaken idea that, because they can record themselves singing and dancing, they should. This idea is clearly wrong.

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  9. Minnie said on February 14, 2014 at 8:48 am

    It’s nothing new. Way back in the late 50s, a friend’s mother told us about the wedding of one of her contemporaries. The bride had walked down the aisle singing “Indian Love Call”.

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  10. Deborah said on February 14, 2014 at 9:17 am

    The venue for that wedding was depressing too, not just the people. What a horrible space, bad lighting, sorta like a discount clothing warehouse. Why in the world would you choose a place like that for your wedding? But it’s probably one of those big box churches that they belong to. Utterly devoid of charm or elegance. Evaluative oblivion.

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  11. Julie Robinson said on February 14, 2014 at 9:48 am

    As I spluttered over Kansas and cringed at the caterwauling bride, laughed at Coozledad’s latest ripost, I went back to re-read David C: “realize they are no different from anyone else”. Well said, sir.

    Last night we had a lengthy discussion with our history-prof nephew about civil rights and voter suppression of the African-American community, and I was struck all over again at how similar the two situations are. It won’t be long now.

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  12. Jeff Borden said on February 14, 2014 at 9:51 am

    The Obamas are the ultimate case of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t.” Had the lovely and elegant Mrs. Obama worn something cheaper, I’ll wager the flying monkeys would be shrieking about her being classless ghetto trash unable to dress appropriately for a state dinner. The hatred directed at them is music to my ears. . .the squeals and moans of people who are being pushed to the edge of our increasingly diverse and polyglot nation.

    Meanwhile, with apologies to the nice people in the state, Fuck Kansas.

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  13. Bitter Scribe said on February 14, 2014 at 10:10 am

    If the Twitchies had attacked Michelle on the grounds that that dress is silly or ugly, they might have had a point. (A highly debatable one, but a point.) But instead they were carrying on because it was too fancy. Since when have they been class warfare proponents?

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  14. Kath said on February 14, 2014 at 10:27 am

    Oh Kansas, Kansas, Kansas. I see what you did there. Never mind that there currently is no state or federal law allowing gay people to sue for discrimination in public accommodations or in employment by private companies. Some people might have been confused and thought that they were required to accept gay couples as guests in their hotels. It’s great news for those people, but what about your constituents who don’t own businesses or work for hotels, restaurants, or other public accommodations? They won’t have the opportunity to freely exercise their god-given religious liberty by discriminating against gay people. Perhaps something more Briggsian? Everyone loves a witch hunt!

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  15. brian stouder said on February 14, 2014 at 10:35 am

    As depressing as it is to see responsible people and elected public officials abdicate the duty to do the right thing – for example, supporting tolerance, and/or letting people alone, ferChrissakes! –

    it was another sort of troubling to see people like Senator Paul of Kentucky forthrightly advocate racial discrimination on the Rachel Maddow show, just before that state elected him!

    I am well and truly sick of the smug idea that these “conservatives” and authoritarian/”libertarians” get to pick and choose which civil rights the rest of us get to keep – and which ones we have no business even imagining that we have – while they yammer and yammer about our sainted ‘Founding Fathers’ and their divinely inspired pretty words (which they think mean nothing at all, if you were born into the wrong group!)

    I recently read that the proportion (if not the raw number) of people who self-identify as “Republican” is tumbling to a 50-year low.

    I fell off that wagon myself, ten years ago, and – while I’m not averse to giving their candidates a serious look – I cannot imagine identifying with the party of Prebus, Paul, Cruz and the saliva-flecked AM radio lip-flappers

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  16. beb said on February 14, 2014 at 10:40 am

    I can”t see that Kansas law allowing discrimination against gays to last long in federal court. One has to only swap black for gay to see that.

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  17. Joe K said on February 14, 2014 at 10:50 am

    Enjoy the vacation,
    Maybe you could run for Mayor down in the big easy
    Understand the last one ran in to a bit of trouble.
    Pilot Joe

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  18. brian stouder said on February 14, 2014 at 10:56 am

    yes he did!

    Sorta like the ongoing Christie implosion

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  19. brian stouder said on February 14, 2014 at 11:03 am

    btw (and then I’ll stop posting) –

    what I learned from today’s NN.c:


    If I had 10 guesses, I still would have missed what the meaning of “up-style” is, and (consequently) Nancy’s pun within that same sentence

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  20. coozledad said on February 14, 2014 at 11:07 am

    brian stouder: yeah but Christie is WHITE haw haw.

    Speaking of deep deep legal shit, Pat McCrory’s rats are jumping ship:
    Tony Almeida, 58, leaves his post Friday as the governor’s senior adviser for jobs and the economy, just as the administration looks to advance its so-called “jobs plan” and keep alive a stalled effort to partially privatize the state’s commerce department.

    Almeida played a key role in both initiatives, but the former Duke Energy executive from Salisbury said the timing was right for his departure. In an interview Thursday, he said he is retiring to spend more time with his family, including his ill mother.

    All those coal ash ponds are leaking into a region full of white trash that votes the racist Republican slate.

    What it comes down to is Vote Republican= Eat shit and die.

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  21. brian stouder said on February 14, 2014 at 11:15 am

    Thread win!

    (Although a pedant would say that it’s more rightly “Drink shit and die”, dammit!)

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  22. brian stouder said on February 14, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    Speaking of which – is this the beginning of the end of Duke McCrory?


    The lead:

    RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Federal authorities have launched a criminal investigation into a massive coal ash spill into a North Carolina river, demanding that Duke Energy and state regulators hand over reams of documents related to the accident that left a waterway polluted with tons of toxic sludge.

    The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Raleigh issued grand jury subpoenas seeking records from Duke and the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The subpoenas seek emails, memos and reports related to the Feb. 2 spill into the Dan River and the state’s oversight of the company’s 30 other coal ash dumps in North Carolina.

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  23. Jeff Borden said on February 14, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    Regarding the great state of Kansas, I can think of no one better to describe it than Ernst Stavro Blofeld, who in “Diamonds Are Forever” explains to James Bond that the satellite of destruction he has constructed is operational and currently in orbit above the United States:

    Blofeld: The satellite is at present over… Kansas. Well, if we destroy Kansas the world may not hear about it for years. Perhaps New York, with all that smut and traffic… might give them a chance for a fresh start. Washington, DC. Perfect. Since we have not heard from them, *they* will hear from us.

    Well said, Mr. Blofeld, well said.

    And Mr. Stouder? From your lips to god’s ear.

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  24. paddyo' said on February 14, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    Hear, hear, JeffB @12, on both counts. That’s a much more sanguine strategy for dealing with the anti-everything-Obama harpies. Simply sit back and enjoy their feckless, pointless and ineffective invective for what it is: the fevered death throes of self-marginalized bigots who are going to be (already are being) creamed by the tsunami of cultural and racial change in our land.
    But yeah, fuck Kansas just the same.

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  25. Sherri said on February 14, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    And then there’s Tennessee, where the Republicans are eager to hand out tax money to companies to come build plants in Tennessee, ’cause they’re all about the low-tax, low-regulation thing, wait, what? You’re fine with letting your employees unionize? Well, Mr. VW, we’re not sure we want your kind around here!

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  26. coozledad said on February 14, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    Sarah Palin reads Victor Davis Tertullius Apicus Strabismus Hanson reading Orwell and sticks her thumb up her arse, in her eye, up her arse, in her eye….
    which makes me think of this:

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  27. Deborah said on February 14, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    Lots of time to read comments today because my fucking flight has been delayed 3 hours. Not because of the weather here or in Chicago or anywhere in between but because of what’s happening on the East coast and the Southeast. It is bollixing up air travel everywhere today. Nancy, I hope this doesn’t mess up your travel tomorrow.

    So keep those comments coming!

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  28. nancy said on February 14, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    I intentionally paid a premium for a non-stop flight for this very reason, Deborah — I’ve heard too many horror stories this winter from friends stuck in airports or flight-cancellation limbo, sometimes for days at a time.

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  29. Joe K said on February 14, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    You should be fine Saturday unless your airline doesn’t have planes or crew in position. Usually the airline will call you if they cancel your flight.
    Then again you can always call me.
    Pilot Joe

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  30. Deborah said on February 14, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    I have a non-stop flight from ABQ to MDW but that didn’t help it from being delayed. It’s a mess out there.

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  31. brian stouder said on February 14, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    This has been the winter of ILF, for sure.

    Our street has been well-plowed and salted, thanks to the fire house at the other end. So now our street looks like a trench, lined with what looks like a shades-of-grey coral reef made of ILF.

    Other than that, I’m reminded of George Carlin’s quip about non-stop flights: “I insist that my flight come to a stop!”

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  32. LAMary said on February 14, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    It’s 82 here. We’re going to grill a boneless leg of lamb outside tonight.
    End of gloating.

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  33. brian stouder said on February 14, 2014 at 4:38 pm


    Gloat-milk to go with the grilled leg of lamb, eh?

    (we’re thinking of picking up a Valentine’s day pizza from the neighborhood pizza place)

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  34. Judybusy said on February 14, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    Mary, go ahead and enjoy that! Just a couple more days of single-digit lows, then we’re headed for the high 30s, baby!

    Deborah, so sorry you’re stuck in the airport. I do all right in those situations because I’m an intense reader, and now with the Kindle, have limitless options. In 2008, it took us over 30 hours to get from Rio to Mpls., beginning with a six-hour delay right at the Rio airport. Throw in two medical emergencies on connecting flights and a massive thunderstorm in Dallas. And that was prior to Kindle, so it was very, very long. (And the selection of books in most airport stores is execreble.) But, I still believe I’m really lucky to be able to travel, so it’s just a funny story when it’s over.

    Miss Nancy, you have a great time in New Orleans! Good food! Good booze! Good company!

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  35. Scout said on February 14, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    The thing that most stood out to me on that wedding video was the way the bridesmaids were dressed. They were wearing dresses from off the rack at WalMart, while the guys had on tuxes. And Deborah, I totally agree about the venue. It was ghastly.

    Kansas is heading in the complete wrong direction, like the drunken uncle at your party who staggers into the bedroom instead of the bathroom and pisses in your shoes. Kansas is that guy.

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  36. Scout said on February 14, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    It’s 84 here today and we’re headed for a high of 88 tomorrow. This is 15 degrees above normal for February, but I like it. If it keeps on like this into the summer I will not so much.

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  37. velvet goldmine said on February 14, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    Looking at that video again, I’m convinced the groom isn’t looking dreamily at her, but rather at the Exit signs above her head.

    I’ve always loved musicals, but the moments when the lovers are standing about a hand’s width apart and bellowing at each other makes me extremely uncomfortable. So while the aisle walk is excruciating, finale at the alter is exponentially worse.

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  38. Jolene said on February 14, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    Here’s a broader analysis of what’s the matter with Kansas–a NYT article re its governor and the right-leaning policies he has put in place. Am so, so glad I don’t live there.


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  39. Jolene said on February 14, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    What I wondered when I saw that groom was whether he was old enough to go to the prom, let alone get married.

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  40. Sherri said on February 14, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    Jolene, I thought the same thing! I also ventured into the comments, and discovered that the young couple had also posted the video on something called Godtube. That makes me wish the evangelicals would adopt the Jewish and Islam custom of regarding the name of the Creator as too holy to use.

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  41. Scout said on February 14, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    Apparently there is at least one semi-sane legislator in KS. Although she is careful to insist she is against marriage equality, Susan Wagle, Kansas Senate President, says the discrimination bill goes too far. I sincerely hope the whole lot of them are being bombarded by Kansans screaming bloody murder about this stupidity.


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  42. coozledad said on February 14, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    Happy Birthday, LA Mary.

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  43. Deborah said on February 14, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    Judy Busy, I do have a good book, Runaway by Alice Munro.

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  44. LAMary said on February 14, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    Hope this link works. Here’s my dog Max with his mardi gras beads on, ready to party.


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  45. Jolene said on February 14, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    Didn’t work for me, Mary.

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  46. LAMary said on February 14, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    Sorry. If you friend me in facebook you can probably see it. My real world name is in the link.

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  47. Jolene said on February 14, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    As some of you know, Andrew Sullivan invites his readers to send pictures taken from their windows. Today’s picture was taken in Georgia. Pretty remarkable to see Georgia looking like Michigan. Check it out.


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  48. MichaelG said on February 14, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    It’s 66 here in Sactown.

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  49. coozledad said on February 14, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    Jolene: It’s about three tenths of a mile to get out of our driveway. This morning with an inch thick layer of ice atop seven inches of snow, there was no way to get out if we’d wanted to. The only good thing about snowfall here is it goes away pretty quickly.

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  50. Sherri said on February 14, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    Whoops! http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Big-runaway-snowball-slams-into-college-dorm-5236045.php

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  51. Deborah said on February 14, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    It got up to 63 in Santa Fe, but I’m at the airport still in Albuquerque waiting to go to Chicago where it will get down to 5. Jeez.

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  52. Bill said on February 14, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    LA Mary: Happy Birthday from another Valentine baby.

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  53. Deborah said on February 14, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    Happy birthday LA Mary and Bill.

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  54. Deborah said on February 14, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    The good news is that my flight is very light. Hardly any other passengers. Maybe everyone else opted put.

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  55. LAMary said on February 14, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    My birthday was on January 6, but I appreciate the good wishes.

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  56. coozledad said on February 14, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    Sorry Mary, for some reason I was thinking we shared a birthday. But that’s what they’re for- to remind your ass why you’re forgetting everything.

    I posted this out at alicublog for the Valentine’s day thread, along with some Walker Brothers. Works for me:

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  57. Dexter said on February 15, 2014 at 2:26 am

    Deborah at #54, that reminds me of the redeyes I used to catch from SFO to ORD when I was in the army. The airlines had to get those planes back east to make money with them and they’d fly them back empty if they had to. Several times I’d be offered first class upgrades and have both luxury seats to lie down in and sleep under a complimentary blanket with a pillow, after a few free mixed drinks and a snack, of course. I’d zonk out and wake up with the Chicago sun up. I did not mind that kind of flying at all. Once I woke up and a beautiful flight attendant was tucking my askew blanket in all nice around me. This was in a land quite unlike today, long, long ago.

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  58. Dorothy said on February 15, 2014 at 3:54 am

    Hi friends. I have a photo album of our son’s welcome home today and changed the privacy settings so you can see it even if we’re not friends on Facebook. Enjoy!


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  59. Julie Robinson said on February 15, 2014 at 9:09 am

    Joy personified! Thanks for sharing it with us Dorothy. How hard it must have been to wait your turn for hugs.

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  60. Deborah said on February 15, 2014 at 9:49 am

    Dorothy, sitting here bawling like a baby. Wonderful.

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  61. Watson said on February 15, 2014 at 10:11 am

    Nancy, someone on a Chicago food message board I read just posted an epic NOLA trip report, in case you’re looking for some recommendations for eating and drinking. Makes me want to book my next trip there, like, NOW.


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  62. Minnie said on February 15, 2014 at 11:05 am

    Dorothy, living in a military town we see newspaper photographs of many a homecoming, and empathize with arriving service people and those who have waited for them. But your pictures of your son’s arrival and the family reactions are so personal and touching that I’m sitting here crying, too. Wishing all of you many good days to come.

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  63. Dexter said on February 15, 2014 at 11:21 am

    Dorothy, that was quite a homecoming for your son, and we are all glad for you he is back home. I have welcomed home a vet from Iraq before; the whole company returned home together to their NG local unit and the area was a madhouse of crazy-happy people. From Vietnam, we returned home alone, so the celebrations were much smaller, but just as unforgettable. Seeing my dad at the airport there to pick me up was really special. I cannot imagine what was going on with your family in all the joy—it must have been insanely happy.

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  64. Connie said on February 15, 2014 at 11:23 am

    I just wrote a long comment about New Orleans and disappeared it.

    Two key points: Cream of Garlic soup at Bayona, and of course, beignet and people watching at Cafe Dumond.

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  65. Dexter said on February 15, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    Connie: It’s been over a year and a half since Hubig’s Pies burned down. I don’t know how the re-opening process is proceeding…internet postings have dried up. I trust that beignets are plentiful, however, and chicory coffee and all the cool things to do and places to visit in New Orleans would make this city a great place to visit.

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  66. Deborah said on February 15, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    I was in NO over 35 years ago, loved it. I would like to go back some day. I think it was the first place I ever saw a street person, literally passed out in the gutter. I was shocked.

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  67. Heather said on February 15, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    Late to this, but Nancy is still looking for restaurant options, I highly recommend Cochon. Lilette is great for French food in case you get sick of Cajun/Creole. I’m not really a fan of Creole cuisine, I’m sorry to say, which is odd, since I like almost every kind of ethnic offerings. I would probably be happy just eating oysters the whole time down there.

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  68. MichaelG said on February 15, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    I’m not sure whose birthday it is (Bill, Cooz?) but happy to all.

    I had experiences similar to Dexter’s on red eyes. Mainly SFO – ATL. Once I was the only passenger on a flight from RDU to ATL.

    I was in first class on a Friday flight from MIA to SFO. We taxied out and waited in the 5:00 PM rush hour traffic until we were like number 2 for take off and somebody got sick and freaked out and so we taxied back to the terminal and let the person off and got back in line for take off and were over an hour late out of MIA. Then there was fog at SFO and the plane was running low on fuel so we landed at Vegas buy gas. Nicely bombed by this time, I ordered another brandy from the flight attendant when we were airborne again. “Sorry,” she said, “there’s only one left and I’m drinking it.” It had been a tough flight so I ordered something else and it was like 2:00 AM when we got to SFO. And yes, I took a taxi home.

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  69. Judybusy said on February 15, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    Dorothy, wonderful pictures–I’m so happy for you and your family. Michael, funny bit about the flight attendant taking the last whiskey!

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  70. Sherri said on February 15, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    I was once on a red-eye from SFO to Pittsburgh (alas, not first class, and far from the only passenger on the plane.) Someone fell ill on the plane, and we had to make an unscheduled landing in Denver. The paramedics came and took the person off the plane, but still we sat. Eventually they tell us that because we had so much fuel onboard when we landed, we had made an overweight landing, and the plane had to be inspected before we could take off again. Problem was, it was the middle of the night, and there was nobody around to inspect the plane, so it was going to take a while to call someone out. They did finally taxi to a gate and let us off the plane so we could make phone calls (this was in the days before cell phones). Not exactly a restful red eye.

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  71. Deborah said on February 15, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    Southwest gave everyone on my flight from Albuquerque yesterday a $100 voucher to use toward a future flight because we had to wait so long. When I arrived at Midway at 11pm, the place was packed with people waiting for flights to get wherever. Usually if I land that late the place is a ghost town.

    I’m trying to setup my new fitbit to connect with my new iPhone and am having problems. What a pain. Why can’t it be easy?

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  72. Dexter said on February 15, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    Sherri, one time I was on my last connector, a little Boeing 737 on a hop from Chicago to Fort Wayne. Of course we had to fly through horrible lightning and somehow the hydraulics indicators got fried, and we had to make a late-night emergency landing in South Bend, where we spent the night. So close to home, but I couldn’t reach anyone to drive ninety miles to come get me, so I waited all night in a goddam hard plastic chair.
    Now, I know I should have been ecstatic I was still alive after a lightning strike that damaged the aircraft, but I was stewing mad, just like a kid, which I was.

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  73. Dorothy said on February 15, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    Julie – truly it wasn’t hard at all. I knew he’d get over to me eventually! He hugged me so long and squeezed me, and then he said “how you doing, Mama?” And I said “Oh so much better now honey!” Then I sent him to his dad. Megan is such a sweet, lovely girl. We are very lucky he found her.

    Several of my friends said they cried looking at the pictures. I thought only we would react that way! I am touched that it struck a nerve with lots of people. He and Meg are coming to see our new house next weekend and the dogs will be slobbering all over him. It’s been a year since he saw them.

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  74. Jolene said on February 15, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    Is this the end of his service, Dorothy, or will he be going somewhere else?

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  75. Deborah said on February 15, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    Dorothy, “how you doing, Mama”, made be start bawling all over again.

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  76. brian stouder said on February 15, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    Dorothy – congratulations on (what must be) among the greatest Valentine’s Day weekends possible!

    And Sherri – I wonder if those math students will turn the runaway snowball thing into a geometry/calculus story problem. Surely, there are some pretty good lessons to be gleaned from that bizarre event.

    Aside from that, today Pam and Chloe (the nine year old) and I went to the movies and saw The Leggo Movie (Everything is Awesome! Everything is Cool When You’re Part of the Team!* etc etc). I had zero expectations for this movie, and the first ten minutes of it were confirming to me that the thing was going to be shallow-water dreck.

    Then, I noted that the main bad guy in the thing, President Business, looked just like Mitt Romney, complete with the sidewall hair coloring, and the reflexive elitist/entitled attitude. And his main bad-guy commander (Bad Cop) looked just like Dick Cheney, complete with the talking-out-of-the-side-of-his-mouth thing, and the relentless assault on other people’s rights and liberties. The movie began to appear to me to be genuinely subversive, in the best sense of the word. Plus, the irrepressible humor in the thing, all throughout, won me over.

    I think this movie captures much, and lives up to the promise that so many other movies make (and then usually fall short of) – it will genuinely entertain movie goers of all ages.

    *That song is a genuine ear-worm

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  77. Kirk said on February 15, 2014 at 9:52 pm

    Brian, sounds like the commyunist/Keenyan/homasexshal axis has made another poisonous cartoon to mislead Our Youth.

    I love it.

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  78. Dorothy said on February 15, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    I don’t think you can ever be certain with the Army, about future deployments. We know of nothing specific right now. He’s National Guard so he’ll be returning to his civilian job in about a month. He’s also working for his Master’s with Penn State’s online program as well. He started it over there while he was deployed, which thrilled us no end! I think he’s hoping to have lots of new options within the next year or two.

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  79. brian stouder said on February 15, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    Dorothy – definitely awesome!


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  80. coozledad said on February 16, 2014 at 8:25 am

    The Feds need to occupy Florida, stack its gun trash in shipping containers with enough spam for an Atlantic voyage, and ship that mountain of white shit to Russia:

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  81. Julie Robinson said on February 16, 2014 at 10:36 am

    Our experience taking our nephews to the Lego movie was exactly the same, extreme reluctance followed by unexpected respect followed by admiration for the sly humor and political observations.

    I tear up at soldier homecomings because I can easily imagine my son as that young man, and indeed many of his friends are in the service when I still see their sweet young boy faces. And when I have more time I want to tell y’all about seeing the play War Horse.

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  82. coozledad said on February 16, 2014 at 11:15 am

    Another victory for religious freedom.

    Go Snakes!

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  83. beb said on February 16, 2014 at 11:23 am

    “Everything is awesome” really is an earworm. I could listen to it all day!

    I never noticed any resemblance between Lord Business and Mitt Romney, but Lord Business being the estranged dad of the child imagining all this naturally has that smug superiority and indifference that so often characterized Romney. Our whole loved the movie as well. The action scenes were excellent, the wit and cleverness of the story was … (erm) awesome.

    I am amazed that the “Loud Music” jury could not decided whether the man committed murderer. (Though it sounds like they were asked only to find on a case of premeditated murder which is a lot less certain. The case sounded like a matter of escalation so Second Degree Murder at best. But it gives a bad odor to the law that a kid is dead and his killer walks. (Firing ten times into their car apparently will get him a long time in jail.)

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  84. brian stouder said on February 16, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    I never heard of a “twitter war” before (now THAT term sounds like something from a Lego movie, eh?)

    I’d say that the fact that this doofus is an elected official is proof that Indiana IS crazier than North Carolina, afterall


    some of his “war tweets”:

    But the liberal view of rights to clean water, air, a decent job, a house, car, health benefits is a modern perversion. 12:44 PM – 15 Feb 2014

    (in fairness, this was clearly well past his bedtime)

    I guess only liberal whacko have free speech. How very tolerant of you!
    7:39 AM – 14 Feb 2014


    And that folks is our self absorbed Godless culture that is fast tracking our nation to ruin. Point made. Night!
    1:06 AM – 14 Feb 2014

    (Delph is all worked up because the Indiana legislature shunted the pro-discimination anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment for another 2 years)

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  85. MichaelG said on February 16, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    So happy for you Dorothy. Let’s hope he doesn’t have to deploy again!

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  86. Dexter said on February 16, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    MichaelG, it’s such a different world than Vietnam war time. We did a year and only re-deployed if we wanted to…didn’t you do three tours, MichaelG? It’s a different mind-set for these soldiers and airmen and sailors now, getting sent back, some for 8 rotations. Satellite phones, Skype, air conditioned tents and barracks make it easier, and there are no malcontent draftees bitching all the time, and the food HAS to be a lot better, but the separation and the advent of IEDs make things tense of course. One thing will never change, never stop bringing grief and depression to the soldiers, and that’s the scourge of Dear John letters. Young military wives get lonely and act on it, and if soldiers are in easy-going places around the globe, many will stray from marriages as well. Not a week goes by that young soldiers and recently discharged soldiers do not call the satellite radio shows I listen to and tell sad stories of returning home to bad news on the home front, some have kids that are now living with the new boyfriend and the soon-to-be ex-wife, all kinds of twists and combinations of this theme. This is just part of the reason so many young vets and active duty personnel are killing themselves and turning to alcohol and losing their minds. This is just part of the cost of defending freedom, the sad end people just can’t ignore anymore. Then you have people who love each other and nothing will break them up, nobody can insert the thin edge of the wedge and break them up. Is this luck? Is it something else? It’s what we live with in post-Valentine’s Day 2014.

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  87. MichaelG said on February 16, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    I went twice, Dexter. And the second time was most assuredly not voluntary. At the time of the 1968 Tet offensive Westmoreland asked for an additional 10,000 men. Men who were experienced and men who could deploy immediately. That’s what I got caught up in and that’s how I found my ass back in the Nam a mere six and a half months after leaving. Too many guys ended up getting killed in what we all regarded as a humbug and I knew too many of them.

    It certainly is a different world today. My son in law will be leaving in a month or so for his fourth trip to A-stan on top of all his trips to Iraq. So I’ve had some small experience in how this current war works for us stay at homes. In the immortal words of my son in law, “All the Stans are shitholes.”

    It may not be apparent to a lot of folks but the Vietnamese are a very cultured and civilized people. A-stan, not so much. Iraq is an ancient and civilized country but they live under the curse of their tribalism and Islamic sectarianism. I believe that in many ways things were not as bad in Vietnam as they have been in the last two venues. I’ve been back to Vietnam in recent years and it’s a lovely place. I could live there.

    Dear John letters. Yes they certainly are/were a scourge. Most of the people in the army when I was there were kids and so were their wives and girlfriends. None of them were really ready to cope with such a prolonged and stressful separation. Things have to be worse now with the repeated deployments. But even back in the Nam casualty rates among guys who had been the recipient of Dear John letters soared. They just didn’t give a shit anymore. I can’t tell you how thankful I was that I didn’t have a wife or girlfriend at home to worry about. It really made a difference.

    My daughter has been married 1Sgt C. for eleven or twelve years. Shit, I had trouble with my own anniversary, don’t expect me to keep up with hers. They have two lovely children – my sweet grandchildren. After several deployments to Iraq (a half dozen six to eight week affairs) and a few yearlong ones to A-stan she found that the man she was with was simply not the man she had married. The many huge changes in him and his character were all for the worse and she is in the process of divorcing him. No, it wasn’t a ‘Jody’ thing. She had been totally faithful and didn’t go out on a date until after she filed for the divorce. Their marriage is clearly a casualty of the everlasting war that morphed her husband from the loving man she married into a new, alien, bitter and ugly person with whom she simply could no longer live nor even recognize. I don’t know that there was any thin edge to the circumstances that broke them up. I think it was more like blunt force.

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  88. Dexter said on February 16, 2014 at 10:37 pm

    Very heavy stuff , MichaelG. My wife’s sister’s daughter married a guy who joined the NG and was deployed to Iraq soon after training. Jody made his pitch…everything fell apart. Her husband returned to his civilian job and just became a hardcore alcoholic, and disappeared from our lives as soon as the divorce was finalized. Our niece ended up marrying a really great guy who works hard and provides well for their kids. Yeah, sometimes things work out…on one end of the story. Sometimes I wonder what became of the guy who did nothing but what he thought was the right thing and ended up in the gutter, broken.

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  89. Deborah said on February 17, 2014 at 8:45 am

    What’s a “Jody” thing?

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  90. brian stouder said on February 17, 2014 at 9:06 am

    (I wondered that, too…as I turn my head attentively)

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  91. Jill said on February 17, 2014 at 9:12 am

    Thanks for the link to your photos, Dorothy. Pictures of reunions like that always make me cry and this was no exception. Having followed your son’s year away by lurking here it was even more touching to see him get home.
    You said he’ll see your dogs soon. Have you seen some of the montages of dogs greeting returning service people? I really fall apart when I see those.

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  92. Crabby said on February 17, 2014 at 9:35 am

    In the military “Jody” is the name given to the civilian that moves in on the soldier’s girlfriend/wife/SO while the soldier is away training or deployed.

    Congrats Dorothy!

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  93. Deborah said on February 17, 2014 at 10:00 am

    How did “Jody” come to mean that? What’s the story behind it?

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  94. Bob (not Greene) said on February 17, 2014 at 11:29 am

    Deborah, not sure the origin, but I believe it goes back at least as far as World War II.

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