Three Items

February 20th, 2007 | Uncategorized

Katie here. 

I’ll start with the items most pertinent to this blog, followed by the digression

The appearances page is updated with a few more details about Alison’s upcoming appearances…hopefully, we’ll hear more soon about other locales where she will appear.

Today, the spamfilter deleted the 20,000th piece of spam. I guess this is momentous to me because I play with it so often, but it seems to be picking up fewer and fewer of your comments, so that’s good news.

And finally,

The most phenomenal thing happened to the two-foot-wide, four-foot-high snowbanks on my street this evening! I have never seen anything like this.

Amazing Truck!

This vehicle went up and down the street, removing the HUGE snowbanks on both sides without even so much as a snowbank across the driveway!

Here’s the huge pile at the end of the street.

the snowbank at the end of the road

It’s not award-winning photography, but you get the idea that there is a twenty-five foot high snowbank in the middle of a five-way intersection in a city.

24 Responses to “Three Items”

  1. Aeolus says:

    Yeah, those mega-snow-scoopers are incredible.

    However, you might want to check with your neighbors to make sure no one’s missing their Prius…

  2. Kat says:

    or their VW Bug!!!

  3. Danyell says:

    We only got a few inches here (Long Island) and everyone made it seem like it was the blizzard of the century! We usually get it so much worse in NY. It was mostly ice this time though. Nothing like you guys.

  4. leighisflying says:

    Ever hear the term “bumper shine”?

    From the Urban Dictionary: the winter art of hanging onto the bumper of a vehicle and sliding along behind it, unbeknownst to the driver. City buses work well.

    One year in Winnipeg I watched a very drunk young guy leave the bar I was in after he had been refused further drink service. It had been snowing in the typical Winnipeg winter way and the street plows were out in full force. This guy decided to “bumper shine” on the FRONT of the same vehicle pictured above.

    Yeah, he didn’t make it. Whenever I see one of those things I think of that guy. Cruel to say Darwin awards considering he was drunk, but still…

    Please, don’t drink and shine!

  5. cybercita says:

    we used to call that “skitching” when i was a kid. i was never brave {or stupid}
    enough to try it.

  6. leighisflying says:

    I love urban slang. For instance, when you step in a deep puddle and your shoe fills with water we called that a “booter”. I’ve heard other folks call it a “soaker” but it was pretty regional.

    Another weird one is the hooded sweatshirt. I grew up calling it “hoodie”. I’ve been told in Saskatchewan they call it a “bunny hug”. Can anyone back me up on this?

    The term “skitching” sounds great, although it reminds me of what dogs do when they drag their back ends along the carpet…LOL.
    What area of the country is that from?

  7. little gator says:

    What dogs do is called “scooting” by most dog owners and vets.

    Which reminds me, Dixie’s been pooping duct tape and cardboard and we think she’l be fine.

  8. sunicarus says:

    This is off topic but thought it worth mentioning here.

    Taken from the “Philadelphia Inquirer”….

    Barbara Gittings, 75, leader in the fight for gay rights
    By Sally A. Downey
    Inquirer Staff Writer
    Barbara Gittings, 75, formerly of Philadelphia and Wilmington, a gay-rights pioneer, died Sunday at Kendal at Longwood, a retirement community in Kennett Square, after a seven-year struggle with breast cancer.

    On July 4, 1965, Ms. Gittings helped organize a march at Independence Hall to support homosexual civil rights. “It was both scary and exhilarating,” she said later. “We knew we were doing something that hadn’t been done before. It was our first in-your-face street picketing.”

    The demonstrators dressed conservatively. “We were fighting for federal employment,” said Ms. Gittings’ partner, Kay Tobin Lahusen. “We wanted to look employable.”

    Ms. Gittings continued to march on July Fourth at Independence Hall for three more years, and in 1972 she helped organize the city’s first major gay pride parade. In 1990, she was grand marshal of a parade that included 10,000 participants in a crosstown march from Rittenhouse Square to Penn’s Landing. “Barbara was a real pioneer who fought tirelessly in the name of human decency and human dignity,” Gov. Rendell said.

    “She is our Rosa Parks,” said Malcolm Lazin, executive director of the Equality Forum in Philadelphia.
    “Barbara gave a face to the gay community when it was deeply in the closet,” said Mark Segal, publisher of the Philadelphia Gay News.

    “She had a sense of humor,” Lahusen said. “She had fun winning over hostile audiences.”
    Ms. Gittings said in an interview in 2001 that as a young woman, she tried to resolve her sexual orientation through books and literature, and could only find homosexuality listed under “sexual perversion.” “This was not about me,” she said. “There is nothing here about love or happiness.” Eventually, she said, “I simply found my own people.”

    In the 1950s, she became involved in gay rights, and was a founder of the New York chapter of the lesbian-rights group Daughters of Bilitis and edited its magazine, the Ladder. She was active in the campaign that led the American Psychiatric Association to drop its categorization of homosexuality as a mental illness in 1973, and received an award from the association last fall.

    Ms. Gittings headed the American Library Association Gay Task Force and edited its gay bibliography. The Free Library of Philadelphia’s Gay and Lesbian Collection is named in her honor.

    Ms. Gittings was born in Vienna, Austria, where her father was serving in the U.S. diplomatic corps. She graduated from Wilmington High School and spent a year at Northwestern University. She worked at office jobs and in a music store in Philadelphia while pursuing her activism. She and Lahusen met in 1961 at a picnic in Rhode Island. They lived in Center City and in University City, and moved to Wilmington in the 1990s to care for Ms. Gittings’ mother and aunt.

    She enjoyed classical music concerts, especially baroque and renaissance music, and sang with the Philadelphia Chamber Chorus for 50 years.

    In addition to her partner of 46 years, Ms. Gittings is survived by a sister, Eleanor G. Taylor.
    A wreath-laying ceremony in honor of Ms. Gittings will be held at noon today at the northwest corner of Sixth and Chestnut Streets, in front of the historical marker commemorating the Independence Hall demonstrations.

    A memorial service will be held a future date.
    Memorial donations may be made to Lambda Legal Defense Fund, 120 Wall St., Suite 1500, New York, N.Y. 10005-3905.

  9. Ann says:

    Rest in peace Barbara Gittings, and thank you!

  10. Duncan says:

    Wow. I met Barbara Gittings 30 or so years ago, when she was a speaker at a gay/les conference here in Bloomington, Indiana. I was always impressed by her attitudes and opinions: she was always positive and matter-of-fact about homosexuality at a time when few gay/les people were ready to agree with her. A brave and sensible person has passed. (She was not, however, “the Rosa Parks” of the gay movement; I suspect the people who say things like this don’t know much about Rosa Parks, or the Civil Rights Movement, either.)

  11. southern girl says:

    As someone who has only lived in warm climates, what’s “bumper shining?” The name alone makes it sound like a categoricaly bad idea.

  12. Deena in OR says:


    Twenty thousand pieces of spam? Yikes! Truly, you are a goddess. Thank you for all the work you do.

  13. Ellen Orleans says:


    Can you say more about your Rosa Parks comment? It sounds interesting. I understand that Rosa Parks isn’t the Rosa Parks of the Civil Rights movement either.


  14. Maggie Jochild says:

    Yes, Duncan, I’d like to hear your assessment of Rosa Parks as well. And anyone else’s.

    A couple of years ago, a wonderful book came out that was extensively discussed on “In Black America” on NPR, about the history of Pullman porters in this country and their profound link to the Civil Rights movement. I was at that time doing the genealogy for Sharon Bridgforth, so was immersed in primary documents regarding African-American family history in the South. From Sharon and from this book, I learned that “working for the railroad”, despite the despicably low wages and working conditions, was a serious step up for Southern blacks — a way to escape share-cropping, a way to travel and learn about the rest fo the country, a way to eavesdrop on the conversations and power brokerings of rich white men and learn insider details which were then carried directly back to black communities. The Pullman porters union became extremely powerful and effective, and prior to the Civil Rights movement, was second only to the church as a means of access to power, information and organizational training in the black community. Hence, when Rosa Parks decided to fight her arrest, the man she went to was a former president of the Pullman porters union. He is the mind behind the subsequent action, including the choice of a relatively unknown young minister named Martin Luther King, Jr. to champion her cause.

    Sharon told me, if I wanted to find members of her family (or any Southern black family) who had left behind Southern farms for a city after Reconstruction was sold out, to follow the railroad lines — they’d be in a city along a railroad line that ran directly to their county of origin. She was right in every instance.

    To make a parallel, Allen Berube has documented how World War II freed lesbians and gays from small communities (during that war, one out of every five Americans moved to a different state). Lesbian and gay communities sprang up in cities that had a military connection. Some of those placed remained gay convergence zones. But, interestingly, the lesbian hot-spots of the 1970s tended not to be as big-city as the locales for gay men — lesbian political zones flourished in smaller cities with a local university, or which were the seat of state government, or both. These kinds of cities drew lesbians from small towns and rural areas, who turned out to be gifted organizers and born revolutionaries. Much like the Civil Rights organizers of a decade earlier.

  15. Chris (in Massachusetts) says:

    History turns on the slightest pivot.

    Mrs. Parks once said that, on that day, she was tired, her feet hurt and the bus driver was rude.

    Had any of those three things been different…

    And what of the passenger that got on the bus, the trigger for her arrest.

    What if he had missed the bus?

    In any event, there would have been a trigger event. If not Rosa Parks, someone else. The bus boycott was inevitable and was essentially the beginning of the modern civil rights movement.

  16. Andrew B says:

    Maggie Jochild, I thnk you’re referring to A. Philip Randolph. See also the Wikipedia article. I don’t know that much about the early civil rights movement, but I believe there were several grass roots organizations involved, including some that were woman-led. So you’re right to say that King was not as crucial to the early movement as he’s sometimes made out to be, but giving all the credit to Randolph (or whoever you were referring to) slights other leaders and omits the organizational work of women. I wish I could be more specific about this.

    Duncan, I too would be interested in hearing more about what you had in mind.

    Changing the subject, it bothers me a little that Alison is talking at a panel titled “Mothers and Daughters” this Friday. Her book is about a father and daughter! Unless there’s some subtlety that I’m missing, it appears to me that the organizers of the panel are working with very simplistic stereotypes about the influence of the same-sex parent on the child. I’m sure Alison noticed this immediately and doesn’t need me to point it out. I do hope she’ll say something about it during the panel. Wish I could be there.

    I think Helen Bechdel is a crucial and on balance strongly sympathetic character in _Fun Home_. But the central figures are Bruce and Alison.

  17. Andrew B says:

    Ok, I screwed up my first attempt to post html in the comments. Let me try again. Here (I hope) is the A. Philip Randolph Museum. And here’s the Widipedia article.

  18. bean says:

    my understanding is that rosa parks was not “a tired old lady who’s feet hurt” but a young organizer who, as part of a movement, had decided, in advance, not to relinquish her seat. i’ll look for a citation.

    i am also curious what duncan was refering to.

    however, i think it is sufficient to say that barbara gittings was a pioneer, and not feel the need to compare her to someone else who was part of some other movement. seems like the media always do that, and i find it kind of offensive, as well as lacking imagination.

  19. Andrew B says:

    Sorry to post three times in a row. I know that the links in my original comment are screwed up. I tried to post a correction but I’m getting a message saying that that comment is “awaiting moderation”, I assume because the external links tripped the spam filter. Just do a google search on “Philip Randolph porters”, and you’ll find what I found. I’m posting this in hopes that there won’t be a bunch of people saying, “Andrew B, you screwed up your links”. I know. Sorry about that.

  20. Doctor E says:

    Andrew B: I suspoect that the title “Mothers and Daughters” is a deliberate reference to the Dave Sim graphic novel of that title. The panel description states that the focus of the panel will be on family life, not just on mother/daughter relationships.

    Besides, I’ve never attended on of these panels that came close to sticking to the stated agenda.

  21. Kendall says:

    My favorite work on Rosa Parks is Rita Dove’s book of poetry called ON THE BUS WITH ROSA PARKS. The bus sit-in was carefully planned political action; Parks was carefully chosen, trained for the action which was strategically timed, and executed her mission to perfection. It was a dangerous action, but she didn’t act alone or on impulse. This short poem is powerful:

    How she sat there,
    the time right inside a place
    so wrong it was ready.

    That trim name with
    its dream of a bench
    to rest on. Her sensible coat.

    Doing nothing was the doing:
    the clean flame of her gaze
    carved by a camera flash.

    How she stood up
    when they bent down to retrieve
    her purse. That courtesy.

  22. Chris (in Massachusetts) says:

    bean, I’m recalling an interview with the local NPR station here in Boston.

    Indeed, she was an activist, and, that day, when all the elements came together, that was the day she decided to keep her seat.

  23. toscana says:

    E grande io ha trovato il vostro luogo! Le info importanti ottenute! ))

  24. Lauren says:

    There is a full page ad in last Fridays Philadelphia Gay News about a public memorial service for Barbara Gittings. The ad has two photos of Barbara and eight photos of men who will be speaking at the memorial. There are no photos of any lesbian other than Barbara, not even Kay, her lover. At the bottom of the page a lesbian, Debra D’Allesandro, is listed as co-emcee with Mark Segal. I don’t know how such a clueless event could have been put together.