Snow Balls

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What Will You Be?

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Holiday Party Memo

Company Memo

FROM: Patty Lewis, Human Resources Director

TO: All Employees

DATE: November 18, 2009

RE: Gala Christmas Party

I’m happy to inform you that the company Christmas Party will take place on December 23rd, starting at noon in the private function room at Calhoun’s. There will be a cash bar and plenty of drinks! We’ll have a small band playing traditional carols… feel free to sing along. And don’t be surprised if our CEO shows up dressed as Santa Claus! A Christmas tree will be lit at 1:00 PM. Exchanges of gifts among employees can be done at that time; however, no gift should be over $10.00 to make the giving of gifts easy for everyone’s pockets. This gathering is only for employees!

Our CEO will make a special announcement at that time!

Merry Christmas to you and your family,

Patty

________________________________________
Company Memo

FROM: Patty Lewis, Human Resources Director

TO: All Employees

DATE: November 18, 2009

RE: Gala Holiday Party

In no way was yesterday’s memo intended to exclude our Jewish employees. We recognize that Hanukkah is an important holiday, which often coincides with Christmas, though unfortunately not this year. However, from now on, we’re calling it our “Holiday Party.” The same policy applies to any other employees who are not Christians and to those still celebrating Reconciliation Day. There will be no Christmas tree and no Christmas carols will be sung. We will have other types of music for your enjoyment.

Happy now?

Happy Holidays to you and your family,

Patty

________________________________________
Company Memo

FROM: Patty Lewis, Human Resources Director

TO: All Employees

DATE: November 18, 2009

RE: Holiday Party

Regarding the note I received from a member of Alcoholics Anonymous requesting a non-drinking table, you didn’t sign your name.. I’m happy to accommodate this request, but if I put a sign on a table that reads, “AA Only”, you wouldn’t be anonymous anymore. How am I supposed to handle this?

Somebody?

And sorry, but forget about the gift exchange, no gifts are allowed since the union members feel that $10.00 is too much money and the executives believe $10.00 is a little chintzy.

REMEMBER: NO GIFTS EXCHANGE WILL BE ALLOWED.

________________________________________
Company Memo

FROM: Patty Lewis, Human Resources Director

To: All Employees

DATE: November 18, 2009

RE: Generic Holiday Party

What a diverse group we are! I had no idea that December 20th begins the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which forbids eating and drinking during daylight hours. There goes the party! Seriously, we can appreciate how a luncheon at this time of year does not accommodate our Muslim employees’ beliefs. Perhaps the Grill House can hold off on serving your meal until the end of the party or else package everything for you to take it home in a little foil doggy baggy. Will that work?

Meanwhile, I’ve arranged for members of Weight Watchers to sit farthest from the dessert buffet, and pregnant women will get the table closest to the restrooms.

Gays are allowed to sit with each other. Lesbians do not have to sit with Gay men, each group will have their own table.

Yes, there will be flower arrangement for the Gay men’s table.

To the person asking permission to cross dress, the Grill House asks that no cross-dressing be allowed, apparently because of concerns about confusion in the restrooms. Sorry.

We will have booster seats for short people.

Low-fat food will be available for those on a diet.

I am sorry to report that we cannot control the amount of salt used in the food . The Grill House suggests that people with high blood pressure taste a bite first.

There will be fresh “low sugar” fruits as dessert for diabetics, but the restaurant cannot supply”no sugar” desserts. Sorry!

Did I miss anything?!?!?

Patty

________________________________________
Company Memo

FROM: Patty Lewis, Human Resources Director

TO: All F*%^ing Employees

DATE: November 18, 2009

RE: The F*%^ing Holiday Party

I’ve had it with you vegetarian pricks!!! We’re going to keep this party at the Grill House whether you like it or not, so you can sit quietly at the table furthest from the “grill of death,” as you so quaintly put it, and you’ll get your f*%^ing salad bar, including organic tomatoes. But you know, tomatoes have feelings, too. They scream when you slice them. I’ve heard them scream. I’m hearing them scream right NOW!

The rest of you f*%^ing weirdos can kiss my *ss. I hope you all have a rotten holiday!

Drive drunk and die,

The B*tch from H*ll!!!

________________________________________
Company Memo

FROM: Joan Bishop, Acting Human Resources Director

DATE: November 18, 2009

RE: Patty Lewis and Holiday Party

I’m sure I speak for all of us in wishing Patty Lewis a speedy recovery and I’ll continue to forward your cards to her.

In the meantime, management has decided to cancel our Holiday Party and give everyone the afternoon of the 23rd off with full pay.

Happy Holidays!

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Gay Characters in Star Wars

Q: Is it true that some of the Mandalorians in your LEGACY OF THE FORCE books are gay?

A: Yes. Goran Beviin and Medrit Vasur are a gay couple. Homosexual men. Call it what you like, they’re in a same-sex marriage.

Mandalorians are different colours, too. Black Mandos, brown Mandos, all kinds of Mandos. Some are from other species, not just humans. They’re all ages, all types, and some of them are disabled. Because so many of them are soldiers, Mandos know all about dealing with disability.

The gay Mandos – like the rest of the Mandalorian cast – are in the series because I think the Star Wars galaxy, with millions of worlds and species, is probably more diverse than just a regular vanilla diet of straight, good-looking, able-bodied white folk with red hair and emerald eyes or whatever. So I decided it was time SW had its first gay characters, because it was dumb for such a rich universe like that to be so narrow and unreal.

And I say that as a straight white able-bodied woman.

Because whatever your personal prejudices, we live in a diverse world, and people you don’t happen to like because of colour or orientation or age or gender are not going to vanish because you don’t accept them. I don’t like slave-owners and people who think decapitating another being is casual work, but I still write about them, because they’re there in the SW universe.

If you didn’t spot that Goran and Medrit are queer – well, maybe you were only looking for pink armour, limp wrists, and mincing walks, not hard-as-nails mercenaries and armoursmiths. But none of the gay men I know are mincing pink-clad queens, so…I wrote what I saw around me. Real people who just happen to prefer their own gender.

And I wrote it as a detail rather than a major issue on which a plot hung. Kids won’t spot it and ask awkward questions that their parents might not be ready to answer. But for the mature reader, it’s there, and Goran and Medrit aren’t just close friends. They’re an old married couple with adopted kids and grandchildren, just a regular and unremarkable part of the Mandalorian community.

Because Mandalorians don’t give a toss what you do in your private life as long as you follow the basic rules about clan and looking after your kids properly. So…no big deal.

©Karen Traviss 2008

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The Lambda

Every movement has its music and its emblems, and the Gay Rights movement is no exception. Some of the more well-known symbols of the Gay Rights movement include the Lambda, the Pink Triangle and the Rainbow flag.

Greek_lambda

The Encyclopedia of Homosexuality has the following entry on lambda: “In the early 1970s, in the wake of the Stonewall Rebellion, New York City’s Gay Activist Alliance selected the Greek letter lambda, which member Tom Doerr suggested from its scientific use to designate Kinetic Potential, as its emblem (Curiously, in some ancient Greek graffiti the capital lambda appear, with the meaning “fellate,” representing the first letter of either ‘lambazein’ or ‘laikazein.’). Because of its militant associations the lambda symbol has spread throughout the world. It sometime appears in the form of an amulet hung round the neck as a subtle sign of recognition which can ‘pass’ among unknowing heterosexuals as a mere ornament.

Such emblems may reflect a tendency among homosexuals toward ‘tribalization’ as a distinct segment of society, one conceived as a quasi-ethnic group.” In More Man Than You’ll Ever Be, (Indiana University Press: Bloomington, 1989) author Joseph P. Goodwin writes: “The lowercase Greek letter lambda carries several meanings. First of all, it represents scales, and thus balance. The Greeks considered balance to be the constant adjustment necessary to keep opposing forces from overcoming each other. The hook at the bottom of the right leg of the lambda represents the action required to reach and maintain a balance. To the Spartans, the lambda meant unity. They felt that society should never infringe on anyone’s individuality and freedom. The Romans adopted the letter to represent ‘the light of knowledge shed into the darkness of ignorance.’ Finally, in physics the symbol designates anenergy change. Thus the lambda, with all its meanings, is an especially apt symbol for the gay liberation movement, which energetically seeks a balance in society and which strives through enlightenment to secure equal rights for homosexual people.

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Same-sex relationships may play an important role in evolution

The Guardian Reports:
Almost a third of Laysan albatross couples are female-female pairs that build nests and rear young together. They are more reproductively successful than unpaired females. Photograph: Eric VanderWerf/Trends in Ecology & Evolution

Birds do it. Bees probably do it. No one’s sure whether educated fleas do it. What they do is have same-sex relationships and, in a new review of published research on the subject, biologists have started to consider what it might mean for the evolution of the animals in question.

Nathan Bailey and Marlene Zuk, biologists at the University of California, Riverside, found that same-sex relationships were a universal phenomenon in the animal kingdom, seen in everything from worms to frogs to birds. “It’s clear that same-sex sexual behavior extends far beyond the well-known examples that dominate both the scientific and popular literature: for example bonobos, dolphins, penguins and fruit flies,” said Bailey.

Penguins have been known to form long-term same-sex bonds where males will engage in sexual activity. Toads generally don’t discriminate between sexes while marine snails all start out male and, when they mate with another male, one of them helpfully changes sex. Dolphins will often touch their genitals together or one male might even mount another and penetrate its blowhole. Bonobos go the furthest in same-sex bonding with regular copulation among males.

But not all relationships should be considered the same. A male fruit fly, for example, may court other males because it lacks a gene that allows it to tell the difference between the sexes. “But that is very different from male bottlenose dolphins, who engage in same-sex interactions to facilitate group bonding, or female Laysan albatross that can remain pair-bonded for life and cooperatively rear young,” said Bailey.

Writing in the journal Trends in Ecology & Evolution, the authors said that lots of previous studies had considered how same-sex relationships might have come about but very few studies had considered whether the relationships shape the course of evolution.

“Same-sex behaviors – courtship, mounting or parenting – are traits that may have been shaped by natural selection, a basic mechanism of evolution that occurs over successive generations,” Bailey said. “But our review of studies also suggests that these same-sex behaviors might act as selective forces in and of themselves.”

In other words same-sex relationships might shape evolution in subtle and important ways for many animals. When bilogists think about selective pressure in evolution, they tend to focus on environmental concerns such as weather, temperature, or geographic features in a particular locality. Social circumstances can also have an impact and Bailey argues that same-sex relationships could “radically change those social circumstances, for example by removing some individuals from the pool of animals available for mating.”

In addition, the behaviour can lead to the evolution of defence mechanisms. “For example, male-male copulations in locusts can be costly for the mounted male, and this cost may in turn increase selection pressure for males’ tendency to release a chemical called panacetylnitrile, which dissuades other males from mounting them,” said Bailey.

Bailey and Zuk are also researching the Laysan albatross, a species in which females form same-sex pairs and rear young together. “Same-sex behavior in this species may not be aberrant, but instead can arise as an alternative reproductive strategy,” they said.

Almost a third of Laysan albatross couples are female-female pairs and they are more successful than unpaired females when it comes to rearing chicks.

“Same-sex sexual behaviors are flexibly deployed in a variety of circumstances, for example as alternative reproductive tactics, as cooperative breeding strategies, as facilitators of social bonding or as mediators of intrasexual conflict. Once this flexibility is established, it becomes in and of itself a selective force that can drive selection on other aspects of physiology, life history, social behaviour and even morphology,” said Bailey.

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Men’s Studies Degree Online

Would you believe that there is now a graduate-level program for men’s studies?  Through Akamai University one may receive a Master of Science degree in Men’s Studies and Fatherhood. The degree is online, and the university isn’t accredited – the latter a major down side. Nevertheless, my interest was piqued by the class titles, which demonstrate overt Jungian themes and sound substantial in content. The core curriculum is listed below.

Required: The following nine credits:

MSP 531: Rites of Passage: Ancient and Modern (3 credits)
MSP 532: Developmental Male Psychology (3 credits)
MSP 533: Issues in Male Sexuality (3 credits)

Plus nine additional credits selected from the following courses:

MSP 534: Men in Literature (3 credits)
MSP 535: Issues Facing Men (3 credits)
MSP 536: Models of Masculinity (3 credits)
MSP 537: Marriage and Fatherhood (3 credits)
MSP 538: Male Victimization (3 credits)
MPS 539: Male Archetypes (3 credits)
MSP 540: Men’s/Fathers’ Rights (3 credits)
MSP 541: Patriarchy (3 credits)
MSP 542: Male Spirituality (3 credits)

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Why can’t Muslims be gay and proud?

July 12, 2009

Why can’t Muslims be gay and proud?

Theologian Amanullah De Sondy wants Islam to tolerate homosexuality again, just as it did generations ago

You don’t expect to start an interview with a leading Muslim academic by discussing the state of Rafael Nadal’s knees. But Dr Amanullah De Sondy, from Glasgow University’s School of Divinity, is a bit different from your average theologian. He has just returned to Scotland from Wimbledon, where he worked as an umpire for the second year running. Our dinner-time meeting has to be rescheduled because of the late finish of the men’s final between Roger Federer and Andy Roddick.

De Sondy was living in All England Lawn Tennis Club accommodation overlooking Federer’s garden until the day before we meet. But it is where he chose to watch the Centre Court action last Sunday that is most interesting. He could have stayed in London, but had promised to attend church in Dumbarton with a Christian friend; “as I do now and then”. They joined the minister for lunch, and spent an enjoyable afternoon watching the tennis from the comfort of the manse.

When we finally meet he is charming and informal. He wears jeans and a loose, embroidered tunic in the traditional South Asian style. It makes him look rather like a Bollywood heart-throb. Recently poached by a leading New York college, it is easy to imagine him making quite an impact on the American academic circuit.

De Sondy is militantly ecumenical; he counts priests and rabbis among his friends. However, his commitment to good interfaith relations is the least controversial thing about him.

Several leading publishers are vying to buy his recently completed PhD thesis as a book. At the moment it is called “Constructions of masculinities in Islamic traditions, societies and cultures, with a specific focus on India and Pakistan between the 18th and the 21st century”. With a racier title (How about “Men, Sex and Islam”?) it is easy to see its commercial potential.

It challenges assumptions about what it means to be a Muslim man. The Koran does not, says De Sondy, demand a bearded

patriarch with several wives and dozens of children. There are dysfunctional families in Islamic tradition, he says, prophets without father figures and revered holy men who led “effeminate” lifestyles. Most controversially, he challenges homophobia in Islam. “Homosexuality is not incompatible with Islam. The two can and have co-existed. The important thing is to link it with living a good life and creating a good society.”

He disagrees with those who claim the Koran condemns homosexual practices. Gay men are regularly put to death in countries such as Iran and Saudi Arabia, so this is explosive stuff.

“If you ask them privately, the vast majority of my generation of Muslims are deeply homophobic,” he says. “I think it is particularly entrenched because so many Muslim societies are rooted in traditional ideas of the family and patriarchy. It’s time to challenge all of that.”

De Sondy knows his conservative opponents will use one particular story, which appears in both the Koran and the Bible, to justify oppression. This is when God sends angels to destroy the sinful inhabitants of Sodom.

“It is often said to illustrate God’s disappproval of homosexuality. But on closer inspection it is really about his disapproval of the rape of young boys that was happening in the place. There is a big difference.”

Intolerance is not necessarily part of Muslim tradition, De Sondy argues. Islamic cultures are diverse and, historically, there are examples of people living openly in same-sex relationships. He blames conservative political Islam, spread by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and the Saudi Wahhabi sect, for creating a puritanism which limits sexual freedom and demands the subjugation of women.

Read the rest here.

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Men’s Studies Links

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