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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Ode to my Corpulent Cat

Each morning as I slumber
A cat begins her day
Stretching, scratching, starving beast
Wanders to where I lay
Her howls could wake the dead
Her stomach must be fed
Blindly staggering down the hall
Reaching for the bag
I can almost hear her little voice
"Feed me now you hag!"
As she approaches the waterhole
A lioness on the prowl
I notice that in her hunger
She's eaten a kitchen towel

Many have gazed upon her form
Struggling to be kind
The expression on their face is fun
Especially when they see her from behind
My cat is fat
She's huge, she's massive, she's large
At this time next year
She should be the size of a barge
No matter what we try
Her weight will not reduce
We thought about a diet
Consisting of meaty juice
She eats the rugs, the towels, the chairs
Shit off the floor and her own hair

But I love her because she loves me
She chirps and purrs consistently
We rescued her from the pound, you see
So, yes, I say she's very fluff-y
Spoiled rotten to the core
Another cat I will not adore
Until she's on the Rainbow Bridge
And even then
Only a smidge
Yes, she could be thinner
I could limit her breakfast, lunch and dinner
But if I do that, the price to pay
Will be losing a piece of furniture every day

My cat is fat, I understand
Her MO is food on demand
She's sleeping now, on my mom's silk chair
Well, on a sheet because of the hair
I accept the shedding, the howling, the fur
Because I couldn't live without her
She fills my days with joy and purring
And vomit, headaches, a lot of furring
She tolerates the teenage hugs
Every once in awhile she eats a bug
Then pukes it up in a mysterious place
Like my shoe, under the bed, some hidden space

My cat is fat 
She's also warm and loving, kind and funny
Her personality is downright sunny
I love her dearly, with all my heart
It would be nice if my day could start
A wee bit later, say not when it's dark
But I accept the begging for food
Because there's nothing like a mighty purr to lighten your mood
This is an ode to my corpulent cat
It's finished now
And she's still fat

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Foreword by George Takei!

Image from the Snyder-Hill family

"Guess who's writing the foreword for Steve's book?" This was the question posed to me last Thursday evening by Joshua Snyder-Hill, Major Steve Snyder-Hill's husband. The first name that popped into my head was Leon Panetta, but I shoved that out of the way. Who could it be, I wondered. And since I didn't have a clue, I chose the one name, the one person I truly believed was completely out of reach.

"George Takei."

Absolute silence. 

"Yeah, George Takei."

George Takei is writing the foreword to Soldier of Change, Steve's book being released next spring. On Tuesday evening, Steve and Josh were gracious enough to chat with me by phone about this amazing development and the path they have taken to get to this point.

On September 22nd, 2011, Republican presidential candidates stood on a stage in Florida and answered questions submitted via You Tube. One of those questions was asked by Steve Snyder-Hill, serving in Iraq. Steve wanted to know the candidates' positions on the recent repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell and if they would allow the repeal to stand. A few members of the audience booed at the end of the video and Rick Santorum answered with his usual bigotry while every single candidate stood in silence. Not one of them thanked Steve for his service, not one of them chastised the people who dared boo an Army officer in Iraq.

Steve had recently come out as a gay man to the Army and to their credit, his superiors supported his decision to submit the question about DADT. But he was still afraid of what could happen to his Army career when he shared his true self with the world. Much like George Takei was afraid of what coming out would do to his acting career. 

George Takei is one of the most powerful forces in social media. He has over 5 million fans on Facebook, his "Just Say Takei!" campaign against Stacey Campfield's "Don't Say Gay" bill garnered attention from all over the world and his activism is legendary. If George Takei endorses a product, a film, a book or a petition, odds are, it's deserving of his praise.

But how did this happen? How did Steve and Josh convince George Takei to write the foreword for Soldier of Change? It turns out that wasn't nearly as difficult as you might think. 

Josh was in California, attending a Learning 2013 conference. George and his husband Brad were there for a book signing of Oh Myyy! (There Goes The Internet), accompanied by Jay Kou. Jay is the composer, lyricist and playwright of "Allegiance-A New American Musical." Jay and Josh met thanks to Josh forgetting his conference pass and having to eat dinner at the hotel bar.

Steve and Josh had contacted George Takei some time ago, asking if he would write the foreword to Soldier of Change. When Josh mentioned this to Jay, Jay asked if they had found anyone yet or if the offer was still open. George and Brad knew Steve and Josh's story, and George sent Josh the following message on Facebook:

"It is a great honor to be connected with this heroic American and an extraordinary privilege to able to write a foreword to his book. I remember the incident during the presidential campaign."

Soldier of Change is a remarkable story of a man who just wanted to live life as himself. It is a love story, a story of extraordinary strength and resilience. It is the story of two men who chose to take the boos of a few and the ignorance of many and affect change the likes of which we haven't seen for decades. DOMA overturned. State after state voting to legalize marriage equality. The C-Bus of Love. President Obama taking the political risk of coming out in favor of gay marriage.

Both Steve and Josh compared their life to the Frank Capra film, "It's A Wonderful Life." What if Steve had never submitted that question? What if none of this ever happened? Would a sitting U.S. president have publicly stated his support of marriage equality? Would DOMA have been overturned? Would the majority of Americans have joined President Obama in supporting the right for two adults who love each to get married?

And what if George Takei had never come out? What if in 2005, instead of finding the incredible courage to say "I'm a gay man," George had chosen to stay silent? Would we see DOMA in shambles, would Hawaii have just voted for marriage equality, would a new generation of LGBT teens and young adults have found their own strength?

This is the perfect partnership: Three heroes who between them have changed the way millions of people view the LGBT community. Three heroes who have stood up to bullies and bigots. It is with great pride and love that I thank Steve and Josh for sharing their amazing news with me, and with great respect that I thank George Takei and Jay Kou for what I am certain will be a wonderful foreword to an equally wonderful book.

To find out more about Soldier of Change and Major Steve Snyder-Hill, please visit his public Facebook page.