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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Trollin' Hatin' and Bad Formattin'

I could not find a picture of Mr. Luke Richardson on line, but I suppose it looks something like this. 


My recent post on the Huffington Post  regarding Gay Marriage was widely shared and read within my circle of friends and fellow bloggers. To this date, there were no comments on the blog entry and it seemed that I made my point. As we all know, the internet is a crazy place, and people who are off their meds or have let their tin foil hat slip often are the ones running the show. I woke up today to a letter in my work mailbox from a teacher in New York City regarding my piece on gay marriage. To make it interesting, he sent it to every goddamned person at the college. I am not sure how he got everyone’s email, but he did. My colleagues have been responding back to his rant (see below) and have asked him to not contact them again. I appreciate their support.

The offer from the writer to “feel free to respond to my email…” is a tempting offer. However, as we all know, if you feed the trolls, they will not go away. So instead, I’ll just share with you his SIX PAGE rant, as it was sent, formatting and all. People wonder why I put myself out there, and they wonder why I share so much. It’s because of people like this that I continue to share about the inequities in our lives. I will not be bullied, I will not be silenced, nor will I stand rhetoric such as this “It is simply to tell you that you are a moral failure, a coward, and a fraud.” I am far from all three. It takes courage to put your life out there for people to read about. It takes conviction and an inner compass of morality to stand up for not only my family, but for those in our state going through the same trials due to our state’s draconian laws regarding LGBT families. And, if you know me, I am the real deal. I can’t stand frauds or fakes and I do my best to live a life that is open and transparent. When you are in the public eye, you can’t afford to be anything but.

After reading his letter, I was reminded of the time when former rock star and racist nut job Ted Nugent had a community forum on his webpage. It was a fantasy land of conspiracy, terrible formatting and copious amounts of bloviating on any number of subjects. A colleague of mine pointed out that I was not the only one to receive this letter. 

As mentioned, I will not personally engage him, but if you would like, feel free to contact him: lrichardsonluke@aol.com.

Behold, the ramblings of Luke Richardson:

Dear Professor McMillen-Oakley: 

     I have read your article in The Huffington Post entitled “A Holiday Letter to the Supreme Court” that was posted on December 8th, 2014.  I noticed that your article appeared in the “Gay Marriage” section of the website.  In your article you acknowledged that you are openly gay and living with another man. 

     As a high school history teacher from New York City, I have a different perspective on morality than many people.  I personally do not agree with same-sex marriage and I do not endorse homosexual conduct.  Nor do I agree with the so-called “progressive” and “enlightened” views you are advocating.  I would like to say why.  Feel free to respond to my email if you like.       

     As you may or may not know, in the United States of America, at least 636, 000 Americans have already died of AIDS from 1981 to 2010 inclusive.  The body count numbers for 2011, 2012, 2013, and thus far in 2014, have not been included.  At the start of 2010, at least 1.1 million Americans were living with HIV.  All of these casualties occurred within just one generation, a generation being 30 years (1981 – 2011).  What does it mean to lose at least 636, 000 Americans from AIDS within one generation?  Consider the following evidence:
   

  Ø  This is more than 10 times American fatalities in the Vietnam War (1959 – 1975).  America had 58, 000 servicemen killed in this conflict.

  Ø  More than five times American fatalities in World War I (1917 – 1918).  America had 116, 000 servicemen killed in this conflict.

  Ø  More than American fatalities in World War II (1941 – 1945).  America had 407, 000 servicemen killed in this conflict.

  Ø  More than American fatalities in World IWorld War II, and Vietnam—all added up together.

  Ø  More people than are presently buried in Arlington National Cemetery

  Ø  More than American fatalities in the American Revolution (1775 – 1783).

  Ø  More than the fatalities incurred in the American Civil War (1861 – 1865) where 620, 000 people died in the worst war in American history. 

  Ø  More than Napoleon Bonaparte lost in his disastrous retreat from Moscow in 1812.  Napoleon lost over 500, 000 men due to the severe Russian winter. 

  Ø  More than the Axis powers lost in North Africa in World War II.

  Ø  More than the Allied forces lost in the battle of Passchendaele in World War I.

  Ø  More than the French Army lost in the battle of Verdun in World War I.

  Ø  More than the losses incurred by the British Empire forces and her allies in the Somme Offensive of 1916.  The allies incurred 623, 000 casualties at the Somme for a gain of less than
     12 kilometers of land. 

  Ø  More than were killed by all the defoliant Agent Orange sprayed on the jungles of Vietnam.


     Of the 636, 000 Americans that have died of AIDS, at least 53% of this figure is made up of homosexuals.  Therefore, at least 337, 080 homosexuals in the United States have died of AIDS.  From 1981 to 2010 inclusive (within a generation), over 555, 000 homosexuals in America were diagnosed with full-blown AIDSaccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

     Even though they are a tiny minority of the population in America, men who have sex with men (MSM) in America make up the majority of the new HIV infections, the majority of AIDS cases, and the majority of the AIDS fatalities.  The tiny minority tail has lost more people than the big majority dog.  This reality has to do with the fact that they (MSM) engage in conduct that is self-destructive, goes against nature, and is considered high risk.  What does it mean to lose at least 337, 080 homosexuals from AIDS in America within just one generation?  Consider the following evidence:


  Ø  This is more than five times American fatalities in the Vietnam War (1959 – 1975).

  Ø  More than double, nearly triple, American fatalities in World War I.

  Ø  More than the German Army lost on the Russian Front in their catastrophic defeat in the battle of Stalingrad in 1943.  The German Army incurred 330, 000 casualties in this one
     battle.

  Ø  More than were lost by the Italian Fascist armies of Benito Mussolini on the Russian Front in World War II. 

  Ø  More than were killed by the two atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki—put together.

  Ø  More than the fatalities incurred by the slave states of the Confederacy in the American Civil War (1861 – 1865).  The eleven slave states of the Confederacy experienced 258, 000
     fatalities, fighting for a cause that was morally wrong.

  Ø  More than six times the carnage at the battle of Gettysburg (July 1-3, 1863), where the combined casualties for both armies exceeded 53, 000 in just three days.


     In case you didn’t know, a man cannot become pregnant.  Only a woman’s body can become impregnated, carry a child to term for nine months and breastfeed a baby.  A woman’s body was anatomically designed for bearing children.  Only a man’s sperm can impregnate a woman.  Without heterosexual sex, no human beings could exist—that includes you.  Heterosexual sex is natural, necessary and meant to be.  Have you ever studied human anatomy?  The human rectum was anatomically designed for the elimination of human waste, not to be turned into a vagina.  Nobody can deny these facts.  It appears you are ignorant of the most obvious realities of nature.
      
     When you participate in behaviour that goes against nature and is self-destructive, then the results will reflect that.  In other words, the norms become reversed. Why is it that in just one generation (1981 – 2011) a large number of parents have had to bury their own children?  Normally, children should be burying their parents, but not for many of these AIDS victims.  Why is it that a record number of people are dying in peacetime rather than in wartime?  Why is it that a tiny minority of the population ends up incurring more casualties than the majority?  Why is it that many racists and warmongers have outlived countless of these so-called peaceful and tolerant AIDS victims?  Why do so many grown men have to wear diapers like infants?  Why the silence?  If one is truly proud to have HIV/AIDS, then why try to hide it?  Why hide the casualties?

     The number of HIV infections keeps going up with no end in sight.  Every year, more and more people are becoming infected with HIV and AIDS.  At present, 1 in every 300 Americans is infected with HIV and climbing.  In total, 1.7 million Americans have become infected with HIV since 1981.   Approximately 50, 000 Americans become infected with HIV each year, which means that almost 1, 000 Americans become infected with HIV each week.  More Americans die from AIDS every year than are killed in gun homicides.     

     During the Vietnam War (1959 – 1975), the American forces were incurring an average of 19 fatalities per day over the entire duration of the conflict.  At present, the number of Americans that die from AIDS every day is more than double that.  In other words, it would be like fighting two Vietnam conflicts at the exact same time, and at the end of every single day there is a body count which cannot be stopped and there is no telling for how long the conflict will last.  In New York Cityalone, from 1981 to 2012, over 75, 000 AIDs deaths were reported—more than American fatalities in the entire Vietnam War.

     The coffin factories will never go out of business as they continue to manufacture more coffins for these AIDS victims.  Do you know someone with HIV?  A cousin?  A business partner?  A brother?  A sister?  A friend?  A parent?  A celebrity?  A co-worker?  A religious leader?   A son?  A daughter?  Chances are you do. The trends do not appear to be going in your favour.  When you get to the point where you can easily name someone who has contracted HIV, then you know that the disease is more widespread than you realize.        
    
     What did these AIDS victims die for? What great noble cause could justify the loss of so many people in peacetime?  How can one justify the conduct that led to these losses?  What is it all for?  The body count numbers have provided a telling rebuke.  Their decadent conduct has resulted in a big waste of human life.  It truly is a vast and indefensible waste of human life.  It is amusing to watch these posers put on an act and pretend that there’s nothing wrong.  When you lose hundreds of thousands of people for nothing, people will criticize you because they do not respect you.  When people don’t respect you, they won’t listen to you, and they won’t care what you think.  Yes, there will be a loss of respect, a loss of credibility, and a loss of legitimacy.

     Take a good look at these people with HIV/AIDS.  They have tried awfully hard to find a cure.  They have bake sales for the cause, fashion shows for the cause, concerts for the cause, battle of the bands for the cause, celebrity dinners for the cause, celebrity endorsements for the cause, barbeques for the cause, ecotourism for the cause, walk-a-thons for the cause, bike-a-thons for the cause, and every other possible activity known to mankind to support their cause.  All the while they have completely ignored the morality of their conduct and the body count that is attached to it.        

     Do you not realize that in the eyes of God up above, virtually all of the decadent conduct that caused these people to get AIDS would be considered morally wrong? Do you honestly believe that an all-mighty, all-knowing, all-powerful God would endorse the conduct that these people engage in?  Where are the divine letters of recommendation to support the cause?  Where is the divine seal of approval?  Where is the divine endorsement?    

     People like you seem to operate on the assumption that there is no God, that there is no such thing as divine intervention, that divine justice does not exist, that there are no absolute truths of any kind, and that there is no afterlife.  If that describes you, you are entitled to believe what you want, but that does not necessarily mean that you are correct or that others must be forced to subscribe to your views.  If you wish to worship the golden calf, then that is your business, but do not demand and expect others to follow your example.        

     For these people living with HIV/AIDS, there is no war, no draft, and no arms race.   No weapons of mass destruction were used to cause this devastation.  The Cold War between America and the Soviet Union is over.  There is no declaration of war, and a single shot hasn’t even been fired in anger at anyone.  Yet, despite all of these factors that are stacked in their favour in a time of peace, their fatalities from AIDS are even higher. 
     
     The prime architect of the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara, who was the U.S. Secretary of Defense from 1961 to 1968, admitted in his memoirs that he was wrong to have gotten America involved in Vietnam to the extent that it was.  As a result, 58, 000 American servicemen died from 1959 to 1975.  At present however, the number of Americans that have already died from AIDS is more than 10 times that.  Nonetheless, it would appear that most of the victims living with HIV/AIDS and most of the activists who support them, will never admit that their conduct is wrong.  They remain unapologetic right to the grave.  They never want to admit that they have erred, no matter how high the body count goes.  Why is that relevant?  It is relevant, since finding common ground with these people will be virtually impossible.    

     Globally, the body count from AIDS is very revealing.  Every 12 seconds, someone on the planet contracts HIV, and every 16 seconds someone dies from AIDS. That translates into 12, 600 casualties a day, every day, without end in sight.  Since 1981, at least 78 million people on the planet have been diagnosed with HIV and at least 39 million people have died of AIDS.   Nobody knows with 100% accuracy what the real global body count number is, since many nations do not keep accurate numbers and other nations do not even report the number of fatalities at all.  What does it mean to experience at least 39 million fatalities from AIDS? Consider the following evidence:


   Ø  This is more than quadruple the number of fatalities incurred by the Third Reich of Germany.

   Ø  More than triple the combined fatalities of the big three of the Axis Powers in World War II (Germany, Italy, and Japan).

   Ø  More than were killed on the Russian Front in World War II.

   Ø  More than were killed in all of Adolf Hitler’s concentration camps put together.

   Ø  More than the fatalities incurred by the Soviet Union in World War II. 

   Ø  More than were killed in the all the gulags of Joseph Stalin put together.

   Ø  More than were slaughtered in the killing fields of Cambodia by the Khmer Rouge.

   Ø  More than were killed in the Iran-Iraq War (1980 – 1988).

   Ø  More than were killed in the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars—put together.

   Ø  More than were killed by the Mongol hoards of Genghis Khan

   Ø  More than were killed by the Roman legions of the Caesars

   Ø  More than double the fatalities of World War I (1914 – 1918), where 14 million people were killed.

   Ø  More than were killed in every single military conflict in the history of the world, with the only possible exception of World War II, where 55 million fatalities resulted.


     What is the point of this email?  It is simply to tell you that you are a moral failure, a coward, and a fraud.  More people have died from AIDS than were lost by all the warmongers, lunatics, racist bigots and totalitarian regimes I have mentioned.  These body count numbers have mocked you for eternity.  Why is it that the media seldom mentions anything about the AIDS fatalities in North America?   If you feel that you need to censor the body count, then you’re the one who has the problem.  You are fooling nobody.   

     All of the defense contractors that make up the military industrial complex in America and all of their weapons put together, do not kill off anything comparable to the global body count numbers produced from AIDS.   I find it hard to believe that God up above agrees with you.  If you find these body count numbers disturbing, then maybe you had better re-evaluate what you believe in.  Are you really on the right side of history?  Sexually transmitted diseases have been infecting and killing people for centuries.  You cannot blame politicians, lawmakers and religious leaders for the existence and spread of AIDS.  The historical evidence does not support you.             

     You would have to realize that the casualties from AIDS are rather high.  Yet, you pretend that there is nothing wrong.  You try to bulldoze your way through circumstances and impose your will on others without considering the morality of your actions, and then you play stupid, wondering why there are those who do not agree with you.  Is it really that hard to figure out why there are people who don’t agree with you?  Professor McMillen-Oakley, would you ever share these AIDS statistics with your students, fellow educators, friends and family members?  If not, why not?  Do you want people to see the big waste of human life that has resulted?  Why should people respect your views?  Are you really making progress?       

     There are so many different strains of HIV that scientists have given up trying to count all of them.  What about the new strains of HIV that cannot be stopped? You cannot legislate your way out of this problem.  You cannot interpret your way out.  You cannot vote your way out. You cannot protest your way out.  You cannotscream your way out.  You cannot bully your way out.  You cannot demand your way out.  You cannot manipulate your way out.  Public opinion polls cannot get you out.   Celebrity endorsements cannot get you out.  Hiding the casualties won’t stop the spread of HIV.  The genie is out of the bottle and cannot be put back in.        
    
     You would like to portray yourself as a moderate, a centrist, a person of reason, a forward- looking person, a person who is sophisticated, or some other kind of enlightened intellectual.  If you think that everybody sees it your way, you are seriously deluded.  You don’t occupy any moral high ground.  You are not a superior alternative.  You are not the lesser of the evils.  You do not stand for common sense, reason, or logic.  If you think that you are making progress, I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes when you start claiming you are having a setback.  You are living in your own Fuhrerbunker, the victim of your own perverted groupthink mentality—blind to the reality around you.         

     History has shown us that people who ignore the morality of their conduct, who ignore their conscience, whose ideology is bankrupt, and who ignore the consequences of their choices—are destined to fail.  Why are there people who oppose same-sex marriage?  Why are there people who do not respect your views? Why do people disagree with your so-called “progressive” morality?  Why are there people who do not see things your way?  I suggest you look at the AIDS-related casualties.  Then you’ll find the answer.    

Sincerely,
Luke Richardson
New York City


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Misfits of the World UNITE!

Our Fearless Leader: Yukon Cornelius

This is a re-post from December 2010. From the Island of Misfit Toys
Author’s note: Each year, living in the state of Michigan gets more and more difficult. Laws that have been enacted are purposely hurting my family, and perhaps even my own well-being. Recently, the Michigan Legislature approved a law that would allow medical workers serving in the public sector the ability to deny care to someone they perceive to be gay.  A rabid anti-gay pastor (and total closet-case) in Arizona recently called for the end of the AIDS crisis by Christmas, his solution, execute all the gays. Yes, you read that right, a CHRISTIAN minister said that we could end the AIDS epidemic by rounding up and executing all the gays. My little family remains strong, as we have a strong support system of friends and family in the state and around the globe. However, it’s stuff like this that make me die a little inside when I read about them. So raise your fist, your paw, your hoof (or whatever) in solidarity for misfits all over the world this holiday season. Together we can survive. TAM-O

Ever since I can remember, I have loved the Christmas special Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. We both premiered in 1964 and the show features two of my favorite things: burly redheads and St. Bernard dogs.  The show is a classic on many levels. I have noticed that a lot of my LGBT friends love the show as well, and I think it’s because of its endearing story and great characters. But there is more than that. It tells the tale of a group of outsiders, or misfits, as they are known in the show. For many of us; it paralleled our own lives as LGBT men and women, especially our childhood. I remember hating gym in school, and the coach reindeer at the beginning of the show mirrored exactly what I endured with all my misguided gym teachers through elementary school.
Hermey, the fey and dentally fixated elf, pines for a better life as a dentist somewhere other than the North Pole while Yukon (the inspiration for our dog’s name) lives as an outsider in the great, white north. And then there is the Island of Misfit Toys. So much of that concept connects with me, because when AIDS first came out in the 80s, the ultra-conservatives talked about rounding up and isolating the gays, so that the disease wouldn’t spread. For a long time, as a young man, I worried that I might end up on my own little island due to who I loved and my misconceived status as a misfit because I was gay.
But, like in the show, the misfits band together and make their own family, one born out of rejection and hatred but ultimately joined in love. Our friend Michelle once sent us a Christmas card that read “friends are the family you chose.”
I agree! With all the current talk of bullying and harassment, this holiday show has a great message of acceptance and unconditional love. I may be a misfit in some people’s eyes, but I am a happy misfit.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Goodbye to a Christmas Tradition


The very year that Anna dropped, another mischievous creature came into our lives as well. Thankfully, this creature, Krewfie, is was only with us for about four weeks a year. Yes, in 2005, the “Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition” was thrust upon the public and the merchants rejoiced. I have nothing against traditions, I have nothing against books as we have many Christmas/winter themed books and I have nothing against elves. Hermey the elf in “Rudolph” remains one of my favorites. However, with this book come great responsibilities, responsibilities that are often just too much to take over the holiday season. The gleeful day your progeny receive said elf, the must name it, and vow never to touch it. EVER! If the elf is touched in any manner by the children, his (I have yet to see a girl elf) powers will be zapped and once again, Christmas will be ruined, but not by a drunk family member.

As the story of the elf unfolds, your children will go from being pie-eyed and enthralled with its magic to realizing that Jimmy the Snitch has just moved in for the season. Yes, the elf is Santa’s top informant. The elf returns to the North Pole each night to talk to the Big Guy about the kids’ behavior, so you better be good for goodness sake! Not only are the kids now worried about Santa seeing them when they are sleeping they have to worry about this little troll too. It’s the NSA of the North Pole. I think many parents secretly hope that their elf will make the kids Santa’s bitch and they will do whatever it takes to please the big guy. At least that’s what they hope. Our elf, “Krewfie” (rhymes with roofie) worked for a bit, but as faithful readers will recall, the whole plan backfired and we ended up scrapping the elf for the sake of sanity.

And in the time since that first post about the elf, Pinterest came around which begat the posts on Facebook and other social media showcasing how you could create an entire month  of magic (!) a sense of Christmas wonder (!) special family memories (!) and deplete your time, wallet, and energy (!) with these precious/precocious elf set ups. Yes, questionably sane parents will create an entire month’s worth of scenarios to set up after their kids go to bed each night and even post pics of their elaborately decorated calendars to prove it. These ideas range in complexity from super simple: put the elf on the tree to what-the-fuck-were-you-thinking: stage snowball fights between your kids’ toys and the elf using powdered sugar and marshmallows on the table for a funny holiday surprise! The surprise will be that you’ll be late for work that day because the cat will get on the table at night and roll in the powdered sugar like David Lee Roth at a hotel room party circa 1983 and you’ll be stuck chasing it and your sugar-fueled children around the house while you attempt to clean up the mess and head out the door to be on time for school and work. 

To quote Sweet Brown, “ain’t nobody got time for that!”

Seriously, the holiday season is stressful enough without one more goddamned thing to worry about. I remember waking up in a panic one night as I couldn’t remember Tod moving the elf to show that he had gone to see Santa that night. Each night before we secured our CPAPS, we’d ask, “did you move the elf?” No wonder my blood pressure is high. So we are going to have “the talk” with the kids this year and tell them that due to layoffs in the North Pole, Krewfie is going to sit this year out and just hang out in Jackson this season (thanks Obama!). We’ll bring him out and place him with the myriad of other holiday decorations and just let him be. Anna is very close to the age where disbelief sets in, and I am okay with that. Eli is still infatuated with Ho Ho so we may have a few more years with him that is if Anna keeps quiet. It will be interesting to see how this holiday season goes.  We’ll continue with our other holiday traditions such as visiting Marshall, MI for their annual Holiday event, going to the D for carriage rides around the city, Nite Lights at the fairgrounds, visiting our families, and staying close to home on Christmas Eve and day.

Sanity is a gift, a gift which is often overlooked at Christmas.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Holiday Gift Ideas


The holidays are approaching and it’s time to buy gifts for all those special people in your life. Are you looking to expedite the death of a cranky, elderly, ultra-conservative family member? Why not consider buying my book to help speed up the process? The totally true story of a girl raised by two women who chose two gay guys to raise her kid is enough to send that Fox News watching Reaganite into cardiac arrest. Hell, the title alone, Jesus Has 2 Daddies is enough to push that aging papist in your life to an eternity with Pope John Paul and Ronnie himself. 

You can also watch your virulent homophobic family member choke on our love as the book tells the tale of our LEGAL gay/homo/sodomite marriage that took place in SAN FRAN-FUCKING-CISCO the very year that that Muslim fellow took office. The closeted bible-thumper at your holiday table will clutch their pearls (and possibly strangle themselves) when they read that we were allowed to adopt not one, but TWO precious little angels of Jesus and lead them into our seedy lifestyle.
Why not make the holidays brighter and do your family a favor?

You can find the book here: https://www.createspace.com/4404757

The Kindle version is here: http://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Has-Daddies-Thomas-McMillen-Oakley/dp/1938110048, but we all know how much they hate that internet stuff. Thanks Al Gore!

If you really want to piss them off, you can also buy the book at the Ella Sharp Museum’s Friends Gift Store. They’ll choke on the fact that this venerable institution is supporting our sodomite “lifestyle” and is selling the book out IN THE OPEN!

You can also stop by Common Language Bookstore in Ann Arbor and support the Westboro Baptist fighting homos Keith and Martin and their alleged commie bookstore. Not sure what the inventory is like, but hey, you can also stock up on lube and porn if needed while you’re there.

From our family to yours, all the best this holiday season.

Tom, Tod, Anna, and Eli.



Thursday, July 31, 2014

Beards, Beers, and Queers: Pitching our reality show


 Apparently beards and beer are the new thing for reality TV.

We've all heard of Duck Dynasty, and sadly, when Tod and I go out in public with our bearded brethren, we are often accused of being extras or wannabes for the next season. Pogonophiles will hover around and try to steal touches of our facial hair. Or, those channeling our mothers will offer their two cents on how we SHOULD be maintaining our facial hair and suggest places to get it trimmed. In light of all the homophobic crap the Duck assholes have said, I politely decline and move on when questioned by unknown passersby. Recently, Dark Horse Brewing in Marshall, MI (25 miles to the west of us) launched a reality show of their own called Dark Horse Nation on the History Channel. (http://goo.gl/qlErtY). We were a bit confused when we went there this spring with some friends and saw warning signs all over the property alerting us to the fact that we might end up on TV should we venture into the specified areas. I diligently checked my fly after each bathroom trip and made sure to behave even though the beers were flowing.  After all, who wants to see a sloppy drunk professor with their fly down? We love the brewery, and as you can tell, it’s a regular stop on our beer quests throughout the Mitten. Their space is awesome, the food is great, and their beer never fails to delight. We will pay top dollar for a DD to go and visit the brewery on date night or just to hang out. It’s that kind of space.

Our newspaper has been pimping the show constantly since the premier date was released, and the beard comments have once again started flying. “Dude, you should totallllly check out that show on the History Channel about the beer guys. BEARDS AND BEEER MAN!” We scored a sitter for the kids this past weekend and we went to the Michigan Brewer’s Guild Beer Fest in Ypsilanti, MI. The event is usually a cluster fuck of excruciating hipsters wearing Bill Murray tees and top knots, and this year was no exception. However, the Dark Horse booth was the E Ticket of the night and many of the hipsters were giving up their indie cred to bow at the temple of fame. Their lines stretched well into the crowd of revelers and they continually flung tees from the top of their set up to the eager crowds. This was great for all of us who weren’t sucked in by their new found celebrity as the lines for the other area breweries were much shorter, Chelsea Ale House, we’re looking at you!

Anyway, with the current trend of bearded anything making a splash on TV, we are going to push our own reality series called “Here comes Dark Duck Boo Boo: Michigan.” It’s the story of two gay dads, one who loves IPAs and pale ales and his husband who is always on the hunt for the perfect stout or porter in the Murder Mitten. Yes, it’s true opposites do attract, especially when it comes to two dads and two different kinds of beer. You don’t have to worry about the other one stealing your brews from the beer fridge. Throw in our two precocious children and this will be ratings gold. Anna will be there for the glam factor and, seeing as she is such an ingénue any songs or musical interludes will be choreographed and sung by her. Eli will bring the drama and the humor at the same time each week. Soon, the whole world will have their own “Moments of Eli” to talk about at the water cooler.


So, if there are any agents out there, this is our pitch. Two dads, two kids, on the hunt for the perfect stout. We promise we’ll make it interesting. Just buy us the beer. 

Let's do the math:

Two Dads
Plus rockin' facial hair
Minus the homophobia and bible thumping
Add Two Kids
Add Beer
Here's your Emmy

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

An update on the book



Back in December of 2012, my book, “Jesus has two Daddies” was published by 2 Moon Press in Marshall, MI. The process was fraught with delays and issues with the formatting of the digital version. Little did I know that the business was sold and is now no longer publishing or distributing. The dealings were rather shady and there is currently a lawsuit being brought forth by a group of us angry authors. While I was able to secure a good supply of my printed book, the Kindle version was never in my control. The formatting issues were never fixed, nor did I ever see a profit/royalty check from the publisher, even though many digital copies were sold.
You can find the new and improved, (and under my control) book here:
You can also find it on Kindle here:
If you’d like a signed copy, please email me at taoakley@gmail.com  and we can talk details.

Thanks!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Preach it Tod!


My man posted this on his Facebook page and it has been shared all over the place.
I thought I would post it here for all those that are not on Facebook or didn't see it. It’s worth sharing.

Okay, I get that some of you believe homosexuality is wrong because the Bible tells you so.
What I don't understand is why you feel the need to legislate your religious beliefs on this issue?
Do you honestly in your heart, mind, and soul believe that by legislating your religious beliefs that homosexuals will suddenly say, "Oh, gee, I guess I shouldn't be homosexual any more"?
Why is this your key issue? Jesus and Paul both made it really clear in the Bible that if you get a divorce and then marry someone else you are an adulterer, why don't you legislate only one marriage certificate per lifetime?
Why do your religious laws have to apply to someone that doesn't practice your religion?
One final question, why are you one of my contacts, if you honestly believe that your belief in the Bible gives you the right to ban my marriage or Tom McMillen-Oakley from adopting our children, PLEASE DELETE ME NOW!"

There’s a reason I married this guy, he’s not afraid to speak his mind.
Preach Tod, preach!



Saturday, March 22, 2014

Wedding bells, ringing in the past and today


Us in California in 2008
Tod and I took a chance back in 2008 when we got married in California. To many of our friends and family, our commitment ceremony done in our backyard in 2001 was the best we could hope for in this backwards state of Michigan. In 2004, the “will of the people” prevailed and gay marriage was banned in MI. There have been several cases brought forward regarding this, but the most recent case DeBoer vs. Snyder was the one that ultimately toppled this unfair, unjust, and unconstitutional law.
When we flew to California in August of 2008, we told very few people, because we knew that once we returned home it would mean nothing. We didn't want the naysayers to try and talk us out of this rather expensive, and what appeared at the time to be futile undertaking.  But we wanted to be married, and California was one of the first states to allow residents from other states to marry without a residency requirement. Plus, we had rock-star DJ (and great friend) Jeb Edwards marry us. Flash forward to fall and Prop 8 put a temporary hold on our marriage for over a year, once again, the will of the people. The will of some heavily funded outsiders and religious groups (Catholics and Mormons… lookin’ at you) who really had no business meddling in my personal life and the personal lives of so many others.

But once again, we prevailed. Prop 8 was struck down; it went through many challenges, but in the end our vows, spoken in San Francisco’s City Hall near the bust of Harvey Milk remained intact.
Today, gay couples are lining up on this grey and cold Michigan morning to get married all over the state. Tod and I already are, and we can stay home and celebrate what took place six years ago in San Fran knowing that it is finally legal here in Michigan. Yes, this is about us dammit. It’s about us as a couple, it’s about us as a family, and it’s about us and our kids and what we can offer them as parents. Call us Groomzillas, but yeah, it’s all about us. While we won’t be donning our crazy pink vests today, we will look at our rings and marriage certificate and know that we made the right choice back in 2008. Our thanks to everyone involved and finally made this happen.

Us with the plaintiffs last night in Ann Arbor. 

You can read Judge Friedman’s scathing ruling, and judicial bitch slap to Snyder and Schuette over their defense of this archaic law here: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/1094703-friedman-ruling.html


Thursday, March 20, 2014

A note on the death of Fred Phelps


This was originally written over 10 years ago. I found it in my hard drive and thought it would be worth sharing with the recent news of Phelp’s death. I don’t really remember what the genesis was for this, or who it was written for… but I do know that at the time, my thoughts on him and his work were quite different than they were today. As an artist, I support free speech, even if it’s hateful. This doesn't sit well with some of my friends and colleagues but I support it. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t agree with it, but I support his right to share his thoughts, even if they are hateful and ill-timed. And my views on religion have changed as well. Back then, we were going to church and I had an active prayer life. Now, we focus on our family and instead of sitting around talking to God in our heads. I am just happy I was able to outlive him and his hatred. Our rainbow flag is flying a little brighter today. 
Here is the letter:

Dear Reverend Phelps,

I was praying to God the other night, and asked Him to help me understand all the evils that are currently plaguing our world.  I couldn’t understand why such a benevolent creator would put such hateful and ungodly folks on this planet, and have them do work in His good name. Then it dawned on me…

I immediately thanked God for this revelation, and ended my prayer to write this letter to you. I did some searching on the Internet, and found that in all the places that you and your congregation gather to protest, there is a great deal of love and outpouring of support for LGBT people and issues.  Often times, there had been no support before, but with the advent of your protests, people rally and come together, united in their intolerance for hatred and narrow minds. 

You are doing God’s work, bringing people together to support LGBT concerns.  Look at all the money the folks in Ann Arbor raised when you were there!(see link) They couldn’t have done that without your help.  Other communities are beginning to use this method as well… making your protest pay off for other causes.  It’s a win/win situation for all the groups.  You get your protest, and they get the money.  The longer you protest, the more they make.  What a great plan!

And look at Ferndale, MI where you recently did your thing. The city really didn’t have a focus or any kind of support for LGBT supporters.  But once you announced you were coming, groups formed, support networks cropped up, and the whole city united against you and your message of hatred. And just in time for the holidays.  Without you in Ferndale, this new community wouldn’t have happened.  You really should have worn a bow that day, as this was a great present to this community!

Thank you Reverend Phelps and thanks you to your congregation as well.  You are doing God’s work, spreading His love and understanding, whether you realize it or not.  I now understand why you were put on this planet.  You are the galvanizer of communities and causes.  Where you wish to disband and protest, you instead create support and understanding.  Your little message of hatred spawns a greater message of love and Christian understanding.

Now when I pray, I thank my God each night for you and your congregation, and ask that He support you in your unintentional cause. You have much work to do Fred, you aren’t getting any younger.  Go out there and spread God’s word!

God Bless you Fred!



Tuesday, March 4, 2014

It's us! ON THE NEWS!



Meant to post this link last week, but in the rush up to Spring Break, I forgot.
We were interviewed Monday night and the segment aired that evening and Tuesday morning.
The trial continues, and should be wrapped up by Friday. It appears that the judge will NOT rule on Friday, so who knows how much longer this will take.
Here is the link to our story on WILX

http://www.wilx.com/home/headlines/Michigans-Gay-Marriage-Ban-Heads-to-Trial-Tuesday-246993881.html

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Stuck in Jackson: where the photo came from


Stuck in Jackson.

I am always with my camera when we are out and about. With my adoption of a smart phone, having a camera at my bidding is even more convenient. I tell my design students to do the same, as you never know what you might encounter when you are out doing mundane things.
We live about a mile from the Cascades, a park in town that has a great walking trail, cool play structures and the actual Cascades: a giant wedding cake of a waterfall built years ago. The falls are illuminated each night during the summer and sappy music is pumped in synced to the changing lights hidden beneath the water.  If you've seen Soylent Green, you may remember the room where the folks are brought in before they are dispatched. It featured comfortable seating, soothing music, and pretty things to look at. 

This is the Cascades. It’s God’s waiting room.

But I digress…

We were at the Cascades one evening with the kids, camera in pocket. We began the climb to the top of the structure, we frolicked in the mist blowing around at the top and then began the slippery descent on the other side. When we came to one of the side pools, we heard crying and yelling coming from the other side of the balustraud. It was then we noticed the kid with his head stuck between the balusters. Tod immediately sprang into action and went to calm the kid down and dislodge him; I immediately grabbed my camera and leaned in to get the shot.
The kid was pretty upset, so it took a minute for Tod to actually free him allowing me the chance to focus and get the shot with my cheap pocket camera.

Cruel?

Perhaps.

Funny?

Hells yea.

I ended up calling the pic “Stuck in Jackson” and it’s a perfect visual metaphor for my life in this town.
We’re stuck here, and we’re doing our best to get the hell out, but things beyond our power are keeping us here. We can yell, cry, and struggle, but that only makes it worse.

  • We live in a state where our legal marriage is not recognized and we do not (at great expense to us) share the same benefits as heterosexual couples.
  • We live in a state where people like Dave Agema can make horrible comments about the LGBT community and no one seems to care.
  • We live in a city where our director of HR (Crystal Dixon) believes that we chose to be gay and it’s not a civil right.
  • We live in a triangle where there are several abandoned or soon to be abandoned homes, as well as several vacant lots where homes used to be.
  • We live in one of the worst states to live in if you are in education, as the laws enacted by the Republicans in power are decidedly anti-teacher.


So what do we do? We begin to remedy the situation. Once Tod got the kid calmed down, he was able to move the kid up to the area where he originally put his head and in back him out. There are changes coming in Michigan, slowly… and soon we may be living in a state where we recognized as a couple. It’s a slow process, and there are things that make me want to scream and cry, but I need to keep calm and ride this out.

Until then, I am stuck in Jackson.


Friday, January 24, 2014

High School Memories: A look back from 2002


Two Decades of Decadence:

Note: There has been some robust discussions taking place on the Facebook page from my high school graduating class and it has brought back some rather unpleasant memories. One of my classmates recounted the bullying he endured in high school and many thoughts I believed gone came back to the forefront. I was a writer for the Midwest Ursine, a now defunct online journal for the Great Lakes area which focused on Bear and Leather culture. I wrote the article in the spring of 2002, several months prior to the reunion and three years before we had kids. This is the edited version of the article from 2002.

The letter came in the mail, and my hands nervously opened the envelope.  I could not believe what I was holding. Was the awful reality of what I was about to read true?  Could it be that it had finally come to pass?  Was I really ready to read this horrible news enclosed?  The answers came back as a resounding yes... I was being invited to my 20th class reunion.  Was I really that old?
Could it be that 20 years have slipped by since I glided across the stage in the field house of Whitmer High School (home of the Panthers), eagerly accepting my diploma, and condemning my school’s choice of maize and blue?  Really now, we were in Ohio... shouldn’t we be scarlet and gray? Yes, the reality that I was now two decades out of high school came at me full force.  I brought up this fact to one of my classes at the college where I teach, and one of my students asked what year I graduated (obviously not a math major) and I replied “1982”, and she perkily responded, “Wow... that was the year I was born!” 
I plan on flunking her.
Many memories came flooding back; including the image of my smiling face in the 1982 Oracle yearbook (we will not discuss the hair or the glasses please).  I was full of optimism and eager to get the hell out of high school.  I went to a rather large urban school in Toledo, Ohio, so the horror stories that some of my friends who went to small rural schools shared with me were news to me.  We didn’t have a Gay/Straight Group at our high school, we had a Thespians Club, does that count?  We mockingly called it the F.F.A. of Whitmer, “Future Faggots of America” as the membership had quite a few gay members. My friends and I ran a small collective of homos and their supporters. We hung out together and shared our lives with each other. 
AIDS was still out of the picture at this time, and our future seemed bright.  If you were eighteen, you could get in to the bars in Toledo, and we did with gusto, diving into gay culture and all that it offered with abandon.  Whenever I hear Blondie’s “Rapture” I am taken back to the Scaramouche Bar and all the glitz and pseudo-eighties glamour it offered.  “Rapture” was the first song I ever heard in a gay bar, and it changed my life. I realized that there was a world of music out there that didn’t involve guitars and long hair, but rather whipped the listener into an orgasmic frenzy of movement and sound. Our parents didn’t understand, nor did we really.  We were fledgling homos, testing the waters of what was ahead. We shared stories of new boyfriends, crushes, and the latest music in the clubs.  12” singles were all the rage at the time, and we snatched them up at Boogie Records or the Shed whenever we could.  While our friends were jamming to the J. Giles Band and whatever else was playing on FM 104, we were bopping about the house to the sounds of YAZ and ABC.  Sylvester was our hero, and Donna Summers was our unofficial Diva. 
Madonna...?  Who?
In 1996, my partner and I traveled to Washington to view the Names Project AIDS Quilt, and the awful reality of AIDS hit home. I passed a block of names, and realized that this was my unofficial high school reunion.  Six of the eight names were guys I grew up with or went to school with.  It was all I could do to stand up right.  I had moved out of Toledo several years prior to the visit to the quilt, and had lost touch with many of my friends.  Through the tears, I choked out, “so, this is what you have been doing since high school.” We didn’t know about AIDS when we graduated, herpes was our biggest worry, so we played, and played without a care.  It became obvious that our ignorance had a price.
But on to the reunion...
A high school friend contacted me via email once I registered at the reunion’s website, and we began an email discussion, talking about all that we had been through.  She had been friends with many of my friends, some of whom were closeted in high school, but were now out and gay.  She shared this fact with her mom, and her mom quipped “well, that’s probably how you remained a virgin through high school!” 
Yep, us homos are good for something!

I began searching the website for who was coming and what they were up to now that we were adults and out in the “real world”.  I was glad to see that my high school crush from the football team would be there, as well as his best friend in high school.  Many adolescent fantasies were played out in my head, as I imagined what they did with each other when they weren’t practicing football, practicing misogyny, or beating up freshmen in the halls. Alas, my dreams of them being gay were dashed once again, as their bios mentioned that they were happily married (no, not to each other...) and planned on bringing their wives to the reunion.  My biggest question was how would they look?   
Would they have the lean, athletic bodies that so entranced me in high school?  How would they look now that they were officially middle aged?  I remember going in to an appliance shop with my folks on a visit back to Toledo... and found that one of the clerks was one of the football players from my class.  He had always caught my eye, as he had a sexy mustache and appeared to be rather hairy, even in high school.  But as we waited for our order to come down the chute at the store, I realized that the guy of my high school fantasies was now an overweight sales clerk who was balding and eagerly munching his power lunch: a bag of chips and a Big Gulp. 
Reality hit once again.  
I have gone through many changes in the past two decades myself, and I have many painful pictures that document every bad hair style and wacky eyewear choice.  Now my workouts have a new meaning... I want to look good come the reunion, and I want to show the class that I have made it. I have risen above all the crap that was high school... the names, the taunts, and the harassment.  I have become someone; someone many thought would never materialize.  I remember my mom asking me a question shortly after I came out to her and my father, “what do you have to live for if you are gay?  There is nothing out there but pain and disappointment.”  It seems that these are universal problems, and ones that are not exclusive to the gay community.  Yes, there has been pain, and yes, there have been disappointments... but I have survived, and I have become a better person because of that, and I can’t wait to share that with my classmates.