Saturday, August 16, 2003

The Blackout of 2003

I was at work in North Olmsted when, at about 4:15pm, the lights dimmed for about 30 seconds. After checking the circuit breakers, which were fine, everything returned to normal for about a minute. Then the power flared and died completely. So, I stepped outside and saw that traffic signals were out as far as I could see.

I went inside to use the phone: dead. Since our phone system is tied to the electric, we couldn't make phone calls. So I tried my cell: nothing. I tried calling locally and even tried my father in California: nothing. We were pretty much cut off from the outside world. So, I went back outside and turned on my car radio - most of the stations were dead. Finally I was able to get an out of town station which reported that New York, Detroit, and Cleveland were without power. Naturally, I feared the worst.

I went back into the store and told the staff we were shutting down immediately. I slowly made my way home. Traffic was slow but there were no accidents--Cleveland drivers are generally very courteous (take THAT, Boston!). The radio had one of those "shock jocks" or whatever they call them railing about another terrorist attack. Then a news update came about the REAL cause of the power outage, and the DJ had to eat his words.

I got home about 5:30 and Mark got home around 7:00. For dinner, we cooked out on the grill, had some neighbors over, and generally had a very enjoyable evening. We did something a lot of neighbors (including us) don't usually have enough time to do: we talked for hours and had a few laughs. Since the street lights weren't on, we took advantage of the near total darkness to check out Mars and catch the tail end of the meteor shower.

Well, the power came on at 7:00 this morning. We had unplugged most appliances, so it was on for an hour & a half before we even noticed!

Sunday, August 10, 2003

A Constitutional Amendment to Define Marriage?

Here is the complete version of my response which was excerpted in the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Saturday:

Constitutional Amendments have historically extended human rights, not curtailed them. The last movement to restrict individual liberty--the 18th Amendment which brought on Prohibition--was a disaster. An Amendment limiting the definition of Marriage would do the same and brand the United States as a repressive society among the civilized world. The United States is not a theocracy and should not make laws based on religious principles, period.

Wednesday, August 6, 2003

They'll do Anything, Won't They?

With the election of openly gay Reverend Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire, the Episcopal Church has taken another step in the acceptance of gays and lesbians. Reverend Robinson's election was almost run off the rails at the last minute by unsubstantiated charges of sexual misconduct. The quick dismissal of these charges says something about the Episcopal church leadership refusing to be intimidated by their right-wing. But the fact they were raised in the first place is more proof of how the right wing will do or say anything to promote its agenda and defeat any other's. The same is true of the political right-wing in the United States, but that's a subject for another column.

While many denominations have now given themselves over to the most abject surrender to intolerance, and the Catholic church seems to be returning to medievalism (despite the heroic resistance by a few progressive congregations), the Episcopal Church, United Church of Christ, and Universalist-Unitarians have validated that gays and lesbians have something to contribute--aside from dollars--to world Christianity.