Paula Ettelbrick

October 9th, 2011 | Other Projects

Another sad loss of someone who died much too young, at 56. I didn’t know Paula personally, but always admired the radical legal vision of her work at the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, NGLTF, and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission.

There’s a very good obituary in the Times that cites an article she wrote back in 1989.

“When analyzed from the standpoint of civil rights, certainly lesbians and gay men should have the right to marry,” she wrote in the fall 1989 issue of Out/Look magazine as part of a debate with Thomas B. Stoddard, a colleague at Lambda who strongly favored same-sex marriage. “But obtaining a right does not always result in justice.”

Ms. Ettelbrick continued, “Justice for gay men and lesbians will be achieved only when we are accepted and supported in this society despite our differences from the dominant culture and the choices we make regarding our relationships.”

I remember that debate in Out/Look very well—it helped to shape my own thinking about what is gained and lost as a liberation movement begins to achieve success. I don’t want to be accepted because I’m like everyone else. I want to be accepted despite the fact that I’m not.

It’s very sad that her work was cut so short.

75 Responses to “Paula Ettelbrick”

  1. Ellen Orleans says:

    Thanks for posting this message and for the quote. It’s this kind of complex thought, on Paula’s part and your part, that I miss in the clamor of the freedom to marry and freedom to join the army movements that have so dominated GLBT politics in the last 20 years.

    I know other valuable work continues, including supporting adoption rights, queer teens, and older gay men and women, but the DADT and marriage feels so pervasive. It’s weird to feel shut out of your own movement.

  2. freyakat says:

    Well said, Alison and ELlen.

  3. Kate L says:

    Sad news, indeed. And, speaking from Kansas, there are still plenty of places where the LGBT community does not have the freedom to marry, and does not have the a right not to be discriminated against for being LGBT. The work goes on.

  4. brooke says:

    “Ms. Goldberg said Ms. Ettelbrick remained concerned that “those celebrations not preclude recognition of families that fall outside marriage’s scope.” That is brilliant as well.

    Cancer takes too many of the good ones. *sigh*

  5. hairball_of_hope says:

    @AB, et alia

    To call Tom Stoddard “a colleague at Lambda” is understating the situation and Paula’s courage (and perhaps her chutzpah). Tom was the executive director of Lambda, and Paula was Lambda’s first staff attorney, and later, Lambda’s first legal director. Tom was her boss. It’s rare that folks confront their bosses with dissenting views, and far rarer still to air those dissents in a public forum.

    But that’s who Paula was, principled and true to her convictions, right down to her core. Urvashi Vaid has a very good tribute to Paula on her blog, http://urvashivaid.net/wp/?p=874. Vaid writes of Ettelbrick, “…a ferociously principled woman, a stubborn and determined campaigner for the perspectives she believed in, a beautiful and sexy dyke, and a loving, good natured woman who loved her kids, her partners (current and ex) and enjoyed good food, nature, love and pleasure.”

    Of course, Paula had many minefields to navigate at Lambda beyond the legal ones and the public debate with Tom. Her then-partner Suzanne was a staff attorney, so she had to supervise her partner at work. Must have made for some interesting discussions at home.

    At Yom Kippur services, Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum spoke of Paula’s life and work. “Fighter” seems to be the word most often used to describe Paula, whether in the context of legal issues, or in her battle against the ovarian cancer which took her life.

    Paula was a force to be reckoned with, and her critical thinking and unwavering dedication to the civil rights of LGBT persons everywhere will be missed.

  6. Elisabeth says:

    I am so sad to hear of Paula Ettelbrick’s death. I will be using her milestone paper on gay marriage in my seminar this semester, as many semesters before. Her work is so inspired, inspiring and continues to shine in its complexity.

  7. I wish I had heard of her before learning about her from here, but she raised some important questions. It’s always sad to lose someone who was able to fight for us so well.

  8. Suzanne Goldberg says:

    I don’t think we’ve met but am sure we have many mutual friends. Just a quick note to say that Paula loved your work (as do I). thanks for your post. warmly, Suzanne

  9. Mentor says:

    [Just a reminder that AB will speaking tomorrow (15Oct) in Boston (2:30 PM, Trinity Sanctuary) as part of the Boston Literary Festival.

    (From the Boston Pheonix:
    "If the discussion between ALISON BECHDEL, DANIEL CLOWES and SETH gets boring, entertain yourself with thoughts of who would win in a fight.")

    ... and Monday (17Oct) AB will be giving the annual Eleanor Roosevelt Lecture at Brandeis.

    ... and Tues (18Oct) AB will be doing an event for Best American Comics at Barnes and Noble Union Square, NYC, 7pm.

    (Additional information on the "Events" page.)

    --Mentor]

  10. Ellen Orleans says:

    Suzanne,

    I am so sorry for your loss. Reading Paula’s obituary, I was proud to hear how you two continued to build and celebrate your blended families. Very inspirational.

  11. Kate L says:

    [Mentor #9] As my mother from Texas would have said, A.B.’s steppin’ in tall cotton, now! :)

  12. Mentor says:

    [An impressive list: occupywriters.com --Mentor]

  13. hairball_of_hope says:

    More sad news… Frank Kameny, co-founder of the Mattachine Society, died on October 11 at age 86.

    Kameny was fired from his civil service job as astronomer for the US Army Map Service, and brought the first civil rights case based on sexual orientation to the US Supreme Court (which denied his petition).

    There’s a famous photo of Kameny picketing the White House in 1965; the picket signs are now in the Smithsonian, along with Kameny’s papers.

    He was one of the leading forces to remove homosexuality as a mental disorder classification from the DSM-III.

    John Berry, the openly gay head of the US Office of Personnel Management, officially apologized to Kameny on behalf of the US government and awarded him the department’s highest award, the Theodore Roosevelt Award.

    http://www.opm.gov/news/statement-by-opm-director-john-berry-mourning-the-loss-of-frank-kameny-lgbt-rights-pioneer,1734.aspx

    If you’re not familiar with Kameny’s role in the modern LGBT movement, I suggest starting with the Wikipedia article, it is well-written and has good references for further reading. I’d include the link here, but that would send this post into >1 URL purgatory.

    (… goes back to pondering the Book of Life, written and sealed …)

  14. Happy birthday, Holly Rae.

  15. hairball_of_hope says:

    From the “Hypocrite, Thou Art Me” Department comes word that everyone’s favorite religious crazies, the Westboro clan, will be picketing at Steve Jobs’ memorial service today.

    What makes this rather amusing (as if anything these folks do has some levity) is the manner in which they announced their plans.

    They Tweeted the info *using their iPhones*.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/under-god/post/westboro-baptist-church-uses-iphone-to-announce-steve-jobs-funeral-protest/2011/10/06/gIQAJqBjPL_blog.html

    Quoting from the article:


    “Westboro will picket his funeral. He had a huge platform; gave God no glory & taught sin,” Margie tweeted Wednesday night on her iPhone.

    [...snip...]

    The iPhone-wielding Westboro members seemed unable to find any irony in their embrace of the technology of a man they condemn. One church member even suggested that God was using Jobs to help advance the message of Westboro Baptist Church: “God used Steve Jobs to create amazing STUFF for WBC to preach,” wrote Shirley Phelps-Roper.

    Pardon me while I go write the Shehecheyanu in bacon grease.

    (N.B. The Shehecheyanu is the Jewish prayer traditionally recited on the first day of holidays, special occasions, etc., thanking the Deity for sustaining our lives so we could reach this season/event/whatever.)

    (… goes back to a glorious autumnal day in the Big Apple, checking out the hoopla in Zuccotti Park …)

  16. Andrew B says:

    For those who are too young or (like me) were not paying attention in 1989: the Ettelbrick paper cited in Alison’s post is called “Since When Is Marriage A Path To Liberation?”. It’s short, easy to read, and provocative.

    I found a copy in Robert M. Baird & Stuart E. Rosenbaum, eds, Same-Sex Marriage : the Moral and Legal Debate. A Google Books search turns up at least three other anthologies (the top four hits, including Baird and Rosenbaum). I bet there are more. A halfway decent local library will probably have one of them. (A really good library might have an archive of Out/Look.)

  17. Kate L says:

    Tomorrow, I begin lecturing in a newly-remolded lecture hall, the most up-to-date on the Moo U campus (!) Up ’till now, I had been lecturing in All Faiths Chapel. By coincidence, I will be talking about shoreline processes, and I plan to end with the 2011 Hurricane Irene evacuation map for NYC, as a counterpoint to a quotation from a city official just a few years ago that no hurricane evacuation would be attempted. I do have one question… Mayor Bloomberg delivered most of his evacuation announcement to the City in English, but what was that other language he used? I’m guessing… esperanto? klingon?

  18. @hairball!
    Thanks for coming to the Bunns and Noodle event tonight! It was great to meet you in person!

  19. hairball_of_hope says:

    @AB (#18)

    Thanks. It was fun to meet you and Hol in the flesh last night. I loved that you signed and drew with a fountain pen.

    If you’re still in the city today and in the neighborhood, check out the Dead Laptop art exhibit at the Tekserve store, W.23rd St. between 5th and 6th Ave. (where of course you can also indulge your jones for all things Apple). It’s a cute little diversion.

    Also, check out OccupyWallStreet at Zuccotti Park (aka Liberty Plaza), Broadway & Liberty St, across from the WTC. Not sure how many hardy souls are camping out in the rain today. Hit the Fountain Pen Hospital a few blocks away on Warren St. between Church St. and Broadway for the REAL jones in your life.

    (… goes back to a soggy day in the Big Apple, counting down her sentence in the padded cube …)

  20. I did go down to Zuccotti Park/Liberty Plaza this afternoon. I felt like I was having a flashback to the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival in 1987, or whatever year it was that it rained the whole time and everyone was just all drenched and covered with tarps and useless ponchos. It was pretty much the same scene today–radical alternative socialist utopian experiment–except this time with men and wifi. It was all extremely heartening.

  21. Kate L says:

    This may no tbe Zuccotti Park, but I thought my day was starting out pretty nicely. As I was driving through the pre-dawn streets of Smallville, I saw a car with a Vermont license plate! “Cool!”, I thought. I thought my day was off to a great start, until I got to the Smallville locally-owned organic coffee and scone shop. And, saw that they have started making a maple syrup-and-bacon-encrusted scone! Aughhhhhh!!! :(

  22. Ginjoint says:

    My friend is getting married today (she’s the one I brought with me to your book signing last week in Chicago, Alison). She and her boyfriend of ten years both come from truly crappy families, and they’re doing this for the legal protections (and tax advantages) that marriage will immediately give them. I feel that until we do away with marriage as a whole (which probably won’t happen for a long, long time), this is a battle worth fighting for gay and lesbian people. We’ll still be different. We’ll always be different. And I like it like that.

    I wish I could be more heartened by the Occupy movement, but I’m leery for the same reasons Twisty is leery. (Gotta read the comments there.) Sexual assault has already reportedly happened. Plus, I don’t wanna hang around with yet more liberal doods Just. Not. Getting. It. But hey, maybe this time will be different, right? Right?

  23. Nina says:

    I think that America is the only G8 country that doesn’t allow gay marriage or at least civil unions.

    It’s sad to me that a nation that once raised the bar to make individuals the social unit of consequence rather than families/tribes/clans and which was founded on the idea of choice and self determination has fallen so far behind the rest of the western world.

    But I guess that the godbots beleive that other countries don’t matter and it’s only what America does that their god is concerned with.

    Half as much concern for people instead of deities, would radically change the world.

  24. Kate L says:

    Would the U.S. even be allowed to join the European Economic Community as long as it does not have universal LGBT marriage?

  25. Acilius says:

    @Kate L 24: There are several countries in the EU that are no further along than the US in any area of LGBTQI* rights than is the USA, unfortunately.

    @H_o_H 13: Something Frank Kameny said on TV in thew 80s made a big impression on me. He was on Crossfire, a terrible show where, as you undoubtedly recall, Pat Buchanan was the co-host who sat (as the announcer always declared) “On the right!” while “On the left!” was co-host Tom Braden, who unlike most people on the left had been a career CIA man and was quick to defend that agency whenever a guest criticized it.

    I saw that show one night when Mr Kameny was one of two guests. The other guest was a priest or something, and made a statement to the effect that while being gay might not in itself be a sin, it was a misfortune. Mr Buchanan seized on this, and asked Mr Kameny if he agreed that being gay was a misfortune. Mr Kameny’s reply was that he considered himself lucky to have been born gay. The other three all stared at him silently for a moment, without the faintest glimmer of comprehension on any of their well-meaning faces. I wish I could find that moment on YouTube or something, I’m sure it would be hilarious now. At the time, it was quite important to me. I knew quite a few same-sexers who seemed comfortable with their sexuality, and I was sure that they were right to be comfortable with it. But that was the first time I’d heard anyone, even just a talking head on television, say that being gay was a positive good. So I’m very much indebted to Frank Kameny, and I mourn for him.

    *An acronym which always makes the Big Band fan in me want to sing “LGBTQI, I, I, I’ve got a gal, or is it a dude, dude, dude, dude, dude…” (explanation for people unfamiliar with the hit records of 1942: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFv_PoZ2iP0)

  26. Ginjoint says:

    Canada makes me sad.

  27. Eva says:

    Alison! Your evocation of the 1987 Michigan Women’s Music Festival was spot-on, as is the comparison with the OWS energy I’ve observed (albeit in Vermont, but still…). I remember you at your table at the craft tent (or whatever it was called) on one of the less soggy days…I wish I could say I bought a DTWOF from you there, but I think it was at the Women’s Bookstore in Cambridge, MA earlier that year or the year before. Anyway, the memory brought a smile to my face, thank you.

  28. Glenn in Basel says:

    Ettelbrick and the incredible Kameny both gone in a week – Heaven got a little smarter and braver.

    Ms Bechdel I still read and miss DTWOF strips every day – you will never know….

  29. hairball_of_hope says:

    Off-topic (so what else is new?)… From the “Does Anal-Retentive Have A Hyphen?” Dept. hails this article on the future of punctuation:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204618704576641182784805212.html?mod=WSJ_hp_LEFTTopStories

    It’s interesting stuff for those of us who fuss over punctuation and typefaces.

    Alas, the author describes me to a T:


    Punctuation arouses strong feelings. You have probably come across the pen-wielding vigilantes who skulk around defacing movie posters and amending handwritten signs that advertise “Rest Room’s” or “Puppy’s For Sale.”

    People fuss about punctuation not only because it clarifies meaning but also because its neglect appears to reflect wider social decline. And while the big social battles seem intractable, smaller
    battles over the use of the apostrophe feel like they can be won.

    So I’m an apostrophe vigilante. Ouch. I can see the movie scene… “Go ahead, make my day,” she said to the apostrophe-wielding language murderer. My inner Hothead Paisan merged with my inner Mo, as I wrestled the Sharpie from the language murderer’s hand and placed the apostrophe where it properly belonged.

    Then I’m dissed on my use of the semicolon:


    Although colons were common as early as the 14th century, the semicolon was rare in English books before the 17th century. It has always been regarded as a useful hybrid—a separator that’s also a connector—but it’s a trinket beloved of people who want to show that they went to the right school.

    The right school? Trinket? Double ouch. I learned proper use of semicolons by the third grade. Since when are NYC public elementary schools considered lycée?

    The crowning touch is relegating hyphens to emoticons (one place where I rarely use a hyphen):


    More surprising is the eclipse of the hyphen. Traditionally, it has been used to link two halves of a compound noun and has suggested that a new coinage is on probation. But now the noun is split (fig leaf, hobby horse) or rendered without a hyphen (crybaby, bumblebee). It may be that the hyphen’s last outpost will be in emoticons, where it plays a leading role.

    Anal-retentive. Anal retentive. C’est moi. Guilty as charged.

    I learned that the paragraph mark is properly called a pilcrow, which started its life as an upper-case C with vertical slash(es), for the Latin capitulum (chapter). The brief life of the chimerical interrobang seems sad, my days are filled with interrobangs, usually after WTF?!.

    I did note the author’s silence on the use of the ellipsis (…), with which I populate my posts like lily pads in a pond.

    (… goes back to tiptoeing on the lily pads among the words …)

  30. Vicious says:

    A bit off topic but……….
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=929djU2kyb4&feature=related

    AB in Boston :)

  31. Kate L says:

    (hairball, #29). I’ve always felt that commas should be used any time of the day or night that feels right, to paraphrase Hunter Thompson, he of sacred memory.

    A personal note: It was a year ago that I was flat on my back on my sofa with a severe respiratory infection, feeling the weight drop from me. My weight dropped to a 38-year low; scary. The infection was vanquished by cipro antibiotic, but that had its own bad effects. I’m still taking anti-histimine for that. When I saw my doctor about the cipro, she said that it had “changed” my blood chemistry. Doesn’t that sound like the curse of the undead?

  32. Kate L says:

    A biography of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, he of sacred memory, is being released through the good offices of Rolling Stone, his old haunt. My late father was a really, really big fan of Hunter Thompson.

  33. Acilius says:

    Glad you’re doing better, Kate! I was sick for a long time last year too, fortunately I also recovered.

    I admire Hunter S. Thompson’s funeral arrangements. I too want to be cremated and have my ashes shot out of a cannon. More precisely, I want my ashes packed into a pyrotechnic shell, and have that shell detonated as high in the air as possible. That was against Colorado law when Thompson died, it was only through the personal intervention of Senator John Kerry that something like it was permitted. I don’t know any senators, but then I don’t plan to have my funeral in Colorado, either. And there isn’t likely to be any press coverage, so who’s to know?

  34. K says:

    http://susiebright.blogs.com/

    Bechdel movie test reference….again!

  35. Kate L says:

    Acilius (#33) Glad to hear that you’re better, too! Have you considered having your ashes hoisted aloft to 90,000 feet (27,000 m), and having a small pyrotechnic charge scatter your ashes from that height? Sending cell phones with cameras into the upper atmosphere is all the rage, now ( here’s a photo of the last space shuttle launch this past summer, taken from 90,000 feet over Florida), so why not this!

  36. Kate L says:

    … hoisting cell phones aloft with weather ballons, I should have said! High-altitude cannon would be gonzo, indeed! Here’s an image from another amateur cell phone launch over California via ballon… taken at the instant that the ballon had expanded to bursting at altitude…

  37. Acilius says:

    Fascinating idea, Kate, but I’m holding out for a surface-to-air cannon blast.

  38. Alex K says:

    The OBSERVER today includes a ten-best of graphic novels. Yep, she’s in there pitchin’.

    Click Here!

  39. Kate L says:

    A lesbian couple were just named to be homecoming king and queen at their California high school, as this posted ABC News article describes. I don’t think we’re in Kansas, anymore :). Well, I still am in Kansas, but you know what I mean…

  40. Vicious says:

    well it’s about time they had a lesbian couple as homecoming king and queen!

  41. shadocat says:

    Happy Halloween, y’all!

  42. Kate L says:

    Right back atcha, shadocat! :) And, it’s such a joy to see someone who also keeps the true spirit of Halloween in her heart! It’s such a shame that the War on Halloween always tries to turn All Saints Eve into a commercial event, when it’s really a time to communicate with departed spirits, and summon up zombie armies…

  43. Kate L says:

    (Kate L, #42) Yea, I jest… :)

  44. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    I went to the Greenwich Village Halloween parade dressed as an autopsy. Had a great time! Came home to lack of power, caused by Halloween snowstorm in New Hampshire. There were a lot of V for Vendetta masks at the Parade, in solidarity with the OWS protesters.

  45. shadocat says:

    Wow, Therry-I’ve always wanted to go to the Greenwich Village parade, but to be IN IT too-what fun! Just sorry you had to come home to a powerless house- we had an “October Surprise ” here a few years ago, so I know what a pain that can be,,,you have my sympathies, my friend.

  46. Anna in Albuquerque says:

    AB must be very hard at work.

  47. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    Thank you, Shadocat, but the power came on at 2 a.m., so our suffering was minimal compared to those who are still without power or heat or water.

  48. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Therry (#44)

    Glad you enjoyed the parade. Alas, I was stuck at work on Halloween. What does an autopsy look like? Opened body with organs splayed about? Ewwww… (but very cool and creative).

    Now for the important question… did you get your smoked fish fix at Russ and Daughters or Zabar’s?

  49. Anna in Albuquerque says:

    It was not possible to imagine 50 years ago when I was in high school that two young women would ever, ever be named homecoming king and queen. http://news.yahoo.com/high-school-students-crowned-americas-first-lesbian-homecoming-140805984.html

  50. Mentor says:

    [Sorry, this is radically off-topic, but this has to be shared:

    1] Go to Google
    2] Type “do a barrel roll”

    — Mentor]

  51. Ginjoint says:

    I’m on lousy old Internet Explorer, so no barrel roll. Sucks to be me. Should go back to Firefox, I guess. Or Chrome? Anybody have any advice one way or the other?

    Anna, re: your post at #46: when I saw Alison and Holly at the book signing in Chicago, both talked about how hard Alison is working on drawing the book right now. Dawn t’ dusk – or later. “Balls to the wall” is how Holly put it! ;) I expressed concern for Alison, worried that she was all stressed out with regard to deadlines and such, but Holly said she’s quite happy drawing. So that’s all I’ve heard.

    Hairball, I’m right behind you re: the semicolon. It’s my favorite. (And I just went to public schools too! Ha!) It’s like an elegant little pause to let a reader absorb first one idea, then its connecting idea. Which is a very inelegant way of describing it.

  52. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    Hairball, I got my fix on the Upper West Side at Barney Greengrass, the sturgeon King, and it was sable, my personal melt-in-your -mouth all-time favorite! To which I was introduced by my darling niece who lived on the lower East Side and took us to Russ and Daughters.

  53. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    But that’s not what I logged on to talk about! YOu all know Maggie Jochild of Austin fame. Well, on that other social networking site, she met and fell in love with a darling dyke from Birmingham England, who is even now winging her way to Maggie’s house in Austin for their first in person meeting. It is very romantic and all her social networking friends have been egging them on for months and months. Margot Williams, the inamorata herself, often logs in here, too.

    Knew I had to bring the Blog and that other place together somehow!

  54. Oh, Therry, honey, you are so good to us. I actually met Margot HERE, where she goes by Marj. Noticed how she wrote and what she had to say, and began looking for her name on the long DTWOF threads. We had already progressed to private emails when I migrated over to FB, and she was one of the first to ask to friend me — where I didn’t recognize her real name right away. The conversation deepened and extended, and I finally realized I was living for her letters and posts, with my schedule rearranged to fit England time. She was going through the same awakening — we had both given up on love for over a decade, wounded lesbian-feminists with tender hearts and keen hunger for honest communication — and we are argue still about who made the first “move”. At any rate, on April 12 she sent me a link to a song with a revelatory first line, I dared to write her (at her deeply firewalled British civil service job) with a ridiculously qualified question, and she rushed out to her car so she could write me back on her Android “Yes yes yes yes yes!” with the addendum that she could talk more after work.

    We have had such a torrential correspondence. This is the stomping, dragon-breathed love of my life. And in less than four house, we will at last kiss.

    Cyber-love: It’s real.

  55. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    I knew I could taunt you to post here about it!

  56. Yes, you know me well. We’re almost related now, with our cats having an online relationship.

  57. judybusy says:

    Maggie, I want a “like” button for that last comment!

  58. Ginjoint says:

    “Deeply firewalled” – me likey. Have missed your writing.

    Don’t let Texas scare the poor Brit, Maggie. Now have fun, you crazy kids!

  59. Thx, Ginjoint. We absolutely will.

  60. Renee S. says:

    Hee!

  61. hairball_of_hope says:

    Mazel Tov Maggie and Marj! I’ll bet you will introduce her to some grade B maple syrup. Fun indeed, and sweet on oh so many levels. Wonderful.

    “… we had both given up on love for over a decade, wounded lesbian-feminists with tender hearts and keen hunger for honest communication…”

    Then there is hope for the rest of us who have hung up our spurs. What a life-affirming thought.

    (… goes back to thinking about the wonder and joy of new love …)

  62. Kate L says:

    Anna in Albuquerque (#49) Yes, it truly is amazing – a lesbian homecoming king and queen! Those wonderful kids! And, I’ll include Maggie and her beloved when I say again, those wonderful kids! :)

    In a very different turn, her is an msnbc posting about the use of lasers to zap brown eyes blue by burning away (!) the upper layer of pigment in all brown eyes. Don’t do it!!! Speaking as someone from a family with only blue eyes as far back as I’ve been able to determine, blue eyes are not the superhuman feature that a casual reading of history might lead you to conclude, if you were, say, a martian who saw in ultra-violet wavelengths. I do hope that this same technique might be useful for burning away cataracts without conventional surgery.

  63. hairball_of_hope says:

    Hmmm… Marj lands in Texas, and there’s an earthquake in next-door Oklahoma shortly thereafter.

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/nationnow/2011/11/oklahoma-quake-damage-assess.html

    Connection?

    Quoting from the article:


    Aftershocks continue to rattle Oklahoma on Sunday morning after a swarm of weekend quakes, including the largest in state history, buckled a highway, damaged several homes and gave residents the jitters.

    Emergency officials and seismologists are surveying the damage following the record magnitude-5.6 earthquake Saturday night. The largest aftershock of 4.0 was reported at 3:40 a.m. CST Sunday, according to Paul Caruso, a seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Golden, Colo.

    The USGS is installing more sensors in the region to better analyze the quake series.

    The largest quake, which occurred at 10:53 p.m. CDT, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, caused major damage to at least five homes, mostly when chimneys caved in, according to Aaron Bennett, a dispatcher with the Lincoln County emergency management. His office covers the area surrounding the epicenter near Sparks, Okla., about 55 miles northeast of Oklahoma City.

    [... snip ...]

    The temblor was felt as far as Chicago, Austin, Texas, and Omaha.

    Yes dears, you really did feel the Earth move. But I think you two were the cause, not the tectonic plate action.

    (… goes back to watching the NYC Marathon on a gorgeous autumn day …)

  64. Kate L says:

    Golly, last night I was laying down on my couch in Smallville, Kansas, when the couch started shaking backing and forth, and I heard something else in the house rattling. I had never felt anything like that before, so I checked the clock. It was showing 11 pm, Saturday, November 5th. Smallville is just over 300 miles (about 490 km) due north of the last night’s Oklahoma earthquake main shock epicenter at Sparks, Oklahoma. And, I’m not alone! The quake was felt in Topeka, Kansas, about 50 miles (80 km) east of Smallville. Way to go, Maggie!!! :)

  65. Ginjoint says:

    Sure. Go ahead. Blame the gays. That’s all anyone ever does.

    As to Topeka: I can only hope that Fred Phelps a) was thrown out of bed and sustained at least a moderate concussion; b) lost some precious, irreplaceable trinkets off his shelves; and c) is made aware of the cause of this tremblor and develops a deep-seated fear of lesbians. Oh, wait…

  66. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    Hey, not everybody blames the gays! A fair number blame the Jews, don’t forget.

  67. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Therry (#66)

    Oy, so what’s a Jewish lesbian to do?

    I know… DUCK!

    (… goes back to wondering how “duck and cover” morphed into “duck and kvetch” …)

  68. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    BIG double LIKE on that one, H-o-H!

  69. I just learned about the earthquake here — Marj and I reading this together, in conjoined bodies. But I think maybe we SHOULD take credit. The timing is eerily accurate.

    We are having the time of our lives. You cannot imagine how good it is. Thank you all for giving us the format to find one another. Okay, back to — other things.

  70. Fi says:

    Love blooms across the sea and then what happens? The earth moves. A cheer squad assembles right here. And we’re all grinning like big ole sillies. Adorable!

  71. Alex K says:

    http://www.truth-out.org/sites/default/files/ladydrawers101111.jpg — an AB interview from 2008, published now, with illustrations not from AB’s pen. I don’t know what’s going on. First of two parts to appear so far. Looks as if there may eventually be three.

  72. Alex K says:

    **red face of shame** Yes, the link immediately above is for Part Two and not for Part One. Here is the link for Part One. http://www.truth-out.org/interview-alison-bechdel/1318339696

    I said I was sorry. Stop judging me.

  73. Alex K says:

    Oh, Mary Mother of God, I’m more stupid than even my enemies hope. http://www.truth-out.org/ladydrawers-alison-bechdel-interview-part-2/1320762325 Click all the links in these three posts. I don’t know which is which. Good luck. And about not judging me? I take that back. Go on, knock yourselves out.

  74. Andrew B says:

    Alex K, don’t let me stop you from kicking yourself if that’s what you want to do, but Truthout appears to be an unholy mess. (I guess they’re trying to be unholy, but you know what I meant.) People who want to view Alison’s interview need to try clicking on Alex K’s links until you find what you’re looking for. There are two parts to the interview, and it’s distinct from the three-part series on why there are no great women comics creators.