Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Updates, Updates, Updates...


I called one of my senators today - Scott Brown (R-MA). I called his Washington office (#202-224-4543) to urge him to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT). Brown has made overtures that he would vote in favor of the John Lieberman sponsored NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) which would end DADT. However, it isn't over until it's over. What's so frustrating for me at least are the obvious reasons why the current policy needs to be changed.
  1. 25 countries already have gays and lesbians openly serving in their military.
  2. Almost 8 in 10 Americans support gays and lesbians openly serving.
  3. 13,500 service men and women have been ejected out of the military because of this policy which includes important Arabic and Farsi translators. 
  4. Britain allowed gays and lesbians to serve openly back in 2000. There was the crying and gnashing of teeth by some in the military, but guess what? The reforms went smoothly.
  5. As conservative icon Barry Goldwater said, You don't need to be straight to fight and die for your country. You just need to shoot straight. 
There's more to list, but I hope I've made my point.

You know what? I'll call tomorrow too. I got some intern on the phone today. This is what I said, "Hello, my name is Andrew Hall and I live in Whitman, MA. I'm calling to urge Senator Brown to revoke Don't Ask Don't Tell."
If you want to call your senators here is a link to their office phone numbers.
Update #2 Stand-up
I did another bit of stand-up at the open mic last Monday and I discovered that I really need to work on my crowd management skills. I had a funny friend look (also a writer) over some of the material beforehand and she said it was funny. Very few laughs - even less than last week when I was drunk. After my bit, my associate (I always bring a friend to tell me how much I sucked) told me I needed to have more of a conversational style with the crowd, and make more eye contact. Also, I figured out that the first 20 seconds or so of my act needs to be building some kind of rapport with the crowd before launching into the shtick. Previously I just launched into shtick which is a cognitive relic from script writing and blogging (starting out "strong" to hold a readers attention).
Update #3 Plimoth Plantation
Around Thanksgiving I wrote about how the Pilgrims were a bunch of religious zealots who only came to America to attain religious freedom for themselves. The wife, kids, and I went to Plimoth Plantation (a re-creation of the 17th century site) last Sunday, which was the last day it was open for the season. I was planning to give the "Pilgrims" a hard time by asking difficult questions about their authoritarian ways. However, I didn't because once I saw them I realized that these were just poor schmucks who get paid $8.50 and hour to dress up like Pilgrims. I felt sorry for them. What was really interesting about the site was the Wampanoag (the Native People who assisted the Pilgrims) camp a small walk away. There was a young tribe member making a canoe by slowly burning out the middle of a large log. One of the reasons why they do this is that the fire causes the log's pitch (innate water proofing material) to flow to the outer surface of the wood. Will (my boy, 8) was particularly interested in learning about their way of life. 
I took a few pictures...
This was considered border control in early 17th century Massachusetts. Seriously, this isn't a wood pile, it is a re-creation of the Pilgrims' outer wall to their town.

Urban decay circa early 17th century. What was that quote? Oh yeah, life must have been Nasty brutish and short.

I thought the tree looked cool. OK, maybe I was wrong.

A bit of the area around the Plantation.

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