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Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday Five-Labor Day

1. Tell us about the worst job you ever had.
Just for the sheer meanness of the boss, it would have to be the first job I had, and kept for 3+ years in NYC. It was for a store planning company-menswear stores-interior design and it really launched a career, but the owner was really a mean man. He paid me 100. per week to start, no benefits, no health insurance, no sick days, no nothing. And for all of those years he never got my first name right. Of course I had to call him Mr. Did I mention that he would spit on the indoor/outdoor carpeting of the drafting room of this elegant office?

2. Tell us about the best job you ever had.
That would be Jack Lenor Larsen Inc. The man and the company were icons in the design industry. Google him!

3. Tell us what you would do if you could do absolutely anything (employment related) with no financial or other restrictions.
I would set up a private therapy practice.

4. Did you get a break from labor this summer? If so, what was it and if not, what are you gonna do about it?
This summer was relatives, relatives, relatives. Now we need a break! No plans, yet.

5. What will change regarding your work as summer morphs into fall? Are you anticipating or dreading?
We're now in the midst of our our state end fiscal year which is important to demonstrate that we are actually getting people with disabilities jobs. So that we get more funding for the next year. Busy!

Bonus question: For the gals who are mothers, do you have an interesting story about labor and delivery (LOL)? If you are a guy pal, not a mom, or you choose not to answer the above, is there a song, a book, a play, that says "workplace" to you?
Dolly singing 9-5, or Working Girl-the movie. 

Sad News-Del Martin is gone

08-27) 14:57 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- Lesbian rights pioneer Del Martin, whose trailblazing activism spanned more than five decades, most recently in the battle for same-sex marriage, died Wednesday, just two months after she made history again by wedding her longtime partner in San Francisco City Hall.

Ms. Martin, an author and organizer, died at UCSF Hospice after a long period of declining health. She was 87 and was admitted to the hospital nearly two weeks ago with a broken arm.

Ms. Martin's crusading began in 1955, during an era in America known more for social conformity than for rebellion, when she co-founded a lesbian social-turned-political organization, Daughters of Bilitis, named after a 19th century book of lesbian love poetry.

This year, on June 16, she and her partner of 55 years, Phyllis Lyon, were legally wed. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom officiated. Theirs was among the first same-sex nuptials in California.

"Her last act of activism was her most personal - marrying the love of her life," said Kate Kendell, a longtime friend of the couple and executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights."

While I was still in college and living at home, I kept a post office box to receive the Daughters of Bilitis Newsletter. I am forever grateful to Del Martin and Phillis Lyons for helping a lost teenager in a small Ohio town to discover her true nature.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Maybe I'll Go Back in Time and Join the Newman Club

From the National Catholic Reporter: "Cardinal John Henry Newman The Catholic church’s attempt to exhume and quietly move the body of Cardinal John Henry Newman has run into controversy, with some saying Newman’s dying wishes are being ignored.

Church officials plan to move Newman’s remains from a grave in a small cemetery in the English town of Rednal to the Oratory church in the city of Birmingham where it will be transferred to a marble sarcophagus and can be venerated by pilgrims.

Newman wrote in his will that he wanted to be buried in the same grave as his longtime friend and spiritual companion, Fr. Ambrose St. John, whom Newman describes as the one great love of his life.

Newman was an Anglican priest who led the Oxford movement in the 1830s to draw Anglicans to their Catholic roots. He converted to Catholicism at the age of 44 after a succession of clashes with Anglican bishops made him a virtual outcast from the Church of England. He died in 1890.

Church officials say the Vatican Congregation for Saints’ Causes wants Newman’s body to be moved into a setting that befits his status as a potential saint. His beatification is expected to be announced later this year.

But British gay rights activist Peter Tatchell has described the removal “an act of religious desecration and moral vandalism.”

In an interview with Ecumenical News International, Tatchell said, “Newman repeatedly made it clear that he wanted to be buried next to his life-long partner, Ambrose St John. No one gave the pope permission to defy Newman’s wishes.

“The re-burial has only one aim in mind: to cover up Newman’s homosexuality and to disavow his love for another man. It is an act of shameless dishonesty and personal betrayal by the gay-hating Catholic Church,” Tatchell said.

Ambrose St. JohnWhether Newman and St. John’s relationship was an actively sexual one has never been clear, but it was indisputably intimate.

After St John’s death in 1875, Newman wrote: “I have ever thought no bereavement was equal to that of a husband’s or wife’s, but I feel it difficult to believe that any can be greater, or anyone’s sorrow greater than mine.”

St. John was also an Anglican priest who converted to Catholicism and joined Newman at the Oratory in Birmingham. (The Oratory of Saint Philip Neri is a congregation of Catholic priests and lay-brothers who live together in a community bound together by no formal vows but only with the bond of charity. Newman founded the Oratory in Birmingham in 1848.)

Their burial in the same grave was Newman’s emphatic wish, expressed in a note he wrote July 23, 1876, to Fr. William Neville, his literary executor. The note reads: “I wish, with all my heart, to be buried in Fr. Ambrose St. John’s grave – and I give this my last, my imperative will.”

It is the same note in which he dictates what would become his motto: Ex umbris et imaginibus in veritatem (from shadows and images into truth).

The depth of Newman’s and St. John’s relationship is detailed in scholarly work on “loving coupledom,” titled The Friend by Allen Bray (University of Chicago Press, 2003). The Friend was named book of the year in 2004 by History Today, and received an Award for Excellence from the American Academy of Religion.

One chapter of The Friend focuses on Newman and St. John. In it, Bray, a gay rights activist and respected British historian, explores the published works as well as memoirs, sermon notes and journals of Newman and his contemporaries. With this he reveals the intensity of Newman’s feelings for St. John.

Newman was overwhelmed with grief at St. John’s death. He wrote: “This is the greatest affliction I have had in my life” and later: “a day does not pass without my having violent bursts of crying and they weaken me, I dread them.”

Newman dedicated his Apologia to St. John:

Bray concludes of Newman and St. John: “Their bond was spiritual. … Their love was not the less intense for being spiritual. Perhaps it was the more so.”

Burial with St. John was not Newman’s only wish, according to Bray. He found in one of Newman’s manuscripts a sketch of a grave site that shows “a-s-j” buried below him and “e” and “jospeh” on either side. At the actual site in Rednal, Newman’s casket rests on St. John’s and between Edward Caswall and Joseph Gordon, two men who joined Newman’s Oratory in its earliest days. All preceded him in death.

Bray then tells this story:

“Newman’s room in the Oratory at Brimingham [is] exactly as Newman left it when he died in 1890. At the far side of the room is the altar where Newman (as a cardinal) said Mass, with the pictures of friends that he would remember at his Mass on the wall beside the altar. There one can see the pictures of Joseph Gordon, Ambrose St. John and Edward Caswall. These were as he put it, ‘The three who from the first threw in their lot with me, from the moment they could do so.’ “

Church Times, a London-based Anglican newspaper, is conducting an online poll, asking the question: “Should Cardinal Newman’s remains be moved?” As this story was being posted the Church Times‘ poll was running 22 percent in favor of moving the body and 78 percent against.

You can vote in the poll here: [1].