Wildfires continue in California

October 22, 2007


There are massive wildfires raging across much of southern California.  I was at a family party yesterday and we literally spend two hours watching the fire spread on CNN.  It was crazy.  Cross California off my list of places to live.  I hope they get it under control today, and that the residents are able to successfully evacuate.

RAMONA, California (CNN) — Residents of about 10,000 homes northeast of San Diego were ordered Monday to flee an out-of-control wildfire, “Witch”, one of several burning across Southern California.
The Witch fire was one of several major wildfires to ignite Sunday around Los Angeles and San Diego, fueled by hot, dry conditions and pushed by fierce Santa Ana winds. Thousands of homes were threatened.  Large fires bore down on Malibu, Santa Clarita and two rural communities east of San Diego on Monday morning as thousands of firefighters battled the blazes.

The Witch fire was moving much faster than expected, and there was “a very high potential” it would enter San Diego early Monday, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders said.

Sanders urged San Diegans in the fire’s potential path to “collect important belongings so they can evacuate immediately.” He said reverse 911 calls would be made by San Diego police to inform residents who should leave their homes.

A larger fire, fueled by wind gusts up to 80 mph, has spread more than 12,500 acres around Santa Clarita about 35 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

At least 400 firefighters were deployed to battle the fire, which officials estimate has destroyed 17 buildings and threatens 3,800 Santa Clarita Valley homes. Mandatory evacuations were ordered for several communities.

Thank you Mr. Sanders.

September 22, 2007

Gays on a Plane?

September 17, 2007

“Air New Zealand is delving into the gay and lesbian market with a special themed flight that will feature drag queens, pink cocktails and a cabaret performed by the flight crew.

The destination for the airline’s one-time “Pink Flight,” scheduled to depart San Francisco International Airport on Feb. 26, is the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in Sydney, Australia, one of the world’s most well-attended gay events, said Jodi Williams, an Air New Zealand marketing director.

“We are looking at tailoring the inseat entertainment and having gay-friendly movies and contests and different music and things like that,” Williams said. The airline also plans to throw a “Get-Onboard-Girlfriend” going away party for its passengers, who will pay an average of $1,000 roundtrip.

The flight will be modeled after an Auckland-to-Sydney trip Air New Zealand made this year for the gay Mardi Gras, according to Williams. Before that full flight, the crew put on pink feather boas and sang for its couple hundreds passengers, she said.

“Even the pilot was wearing fairy wings and got into it,” Williams said.

Michael Wilke, executive director of a New York-based advertising advocacy group called the Commercial Closet Association, said that while American, Air Canada and other airline companies have become visible sponsors of gay pride events, none had so far used campy programming to appeal to gay and lesbian travelers.

“They could probably do very well with it,” Wilke said. “It really sounds like someone put together the idea of what a gay cruise is and just applied that to the air. And even gay cruises don’t feature employees in particular outfits or gay-themed movies.”

Air New Zealand’s Williams said the airline still is working out some details of the flight plan, such as what will go inside the goodie bags passengers will get. Since it takes 14 hours to get from San Francisco to Sydney, the airline also plans to schedule in some down time during the overnight flight.

“We had to think about keeping people entertained while knowing they will want their beauty sleep,” she said.”


Gay Divorce?

September 14, 2007

I just thought this was interesting. University of California at San Francisco will be offering lectures/classes about domestic partnership legal complications. The promotional title was “Expert to Explain Legal Options of Same-Sex Relationships”. Somehow thousands of miles away I got an e-mail about this, I guess I go to too many gay sites. I’ll give you the information, and then of course my opinion. Warning: my view on this topic is somewhat ranty and highly opinionated

Here is the information:
fhertz_060911.jpg Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Intersex (LGBTI) Resources at UCSF will present longtime Bay Area attorney and UCSF legal consultant Frederick Hertz, who will share his insights into the legal rights and limits of domestic partnership. Hertz is the author of Legal Affairs: Essential Advice for Same Sex Couples and co-author of the Nolo Press reference text A Legal Guide for Lesbian & Gay Couples

Hertz speaks and writes often on legal issues facing same-sex couples, and has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Today Show and NPR’s Talk of the Nation. He is regularly quoted as an expert on same-sex dissolutions. He was recently described in The Advocate as “one of the nation’s leading experts on lesbian and gay divorce.”

Hertz’s three classes will focus on the three phases of a relationship: formation, duration and ending (upon death or dissolution), with a discussion about money, property and children in each class.

While thinking about when a relationship will end before it starts may not feel natural, the fact remains that legal decision making up front can possibly prevent legal troubles in the future, according to Hertz.

Hertz’s presentation addresses both the legal and emotional aspects involved in setting up a living-together agreement, which is analogous to a prenuptial agreement. He looks at how couples can address their financial inequities and aspiration differences.

Here is my opinion:

While I think it is admirable to educate people (or to want to be educated) about the legal complexities that come with domestic partnerships/civil unions/gay marriage, the dissolution portion is a problem for me. To me, it is always good to be proactive and assess risks, except in the case of love. I don’t understand how you can be thinking about divorce before you even get married. I do not believe in divorce, even gay divorce, in most situations. I believe you should take marriage as the most serious contract you can enter into and protect your integrity by honoring your vows. Now I think if the person you marry turns out to be someone else (a criminal, abusive, an addict, an adulter) then divorce is understandable because you entered under false pretenses. But if you think divorce is a totally legit option, my question is why get married? You get married because you are going to be with someone forever, you couldn’t exist without them, and you want the world to know. If divorce seems like an option, you are marrying the wrong person. I think marriage and divorce are mutually exclusive. The person you want to marry (as in be with forever) can’t be a person you could divorce (leave).