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Date archive for: October 2010

Scouting for Some Sense

Pet Care. Kickball. Archery. Cub Scouts earn a colored belt loop for each cool new skill they master. Strangely, the organization doesn’t make a loop for the lesson that’s being taught to the little boys in Pack 70 of University Park, Texas: intolerance.

The pack’s leaders stripped a fellow dad of his uniform and troop leadership role earlier this month because he’s gay.

That’s all. Just gay.

For two years, Jon Langbert and his nine-year-old son, Carter, were active in the pack; Carter has more than 15 loops on his belt for fishing, woodworking, basketball, and chess.

Langbert was once a Cub Scout himself and treasures memories of building pinewood derby cars with his own dad. But he worried about joining with Carter.

“I was concerned about the gay issue,” he told me last week. “I called the Cubmaster and said, ‘Hey, I’m a gay guy and my son wants to sign up. Is there going to be any problem with that?'” The Cubmaster welcomed him, and the pack even nominated him to run its popcorn-sales fundraiser. A Harvard Business School grad, Langbert brought sales up from \$4,000 to \$13,000 in one year.

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In Honor of MJ

My husband doesn’t dance. Doesn’t know how, doesn’t try, and doesn’t even stop to watch dancers unless they are, say, female and nearly naked.

Which is why it was so weird when he ordered an instructional DVD last year and dragged the whole family into the living room one rainy Saturday to learn the five-minute dance made famous in the “Thriller” music video.

Um. We’re going to do what?

Like everyone our age, he’d been dazzled by Michael Jackson’s creepy, campy, and undeniably boogielicious 1983 mini-movie and its dancing undead. After seeing Jennifer Garner and Andy Serkis (Gollum moonwalks?!) bust the routine in 13 Going on 30 — and watching 1,500 inmates at a Philippines prison nail it on YouTube — he decided no Gen X-er should be without the skill.

Plus he figured if the whole family could whip it out at parties, maybe we’d get invited places. “We just have to have those spooky, kooky Roshells!”

It turns out the instinct isn’t so weird. Okay, it’s weird, but it’s weirdly common.

For four years, people around the world have gathered annually, and at the same exact time, to set world records for the Largest Simultaneous Dance — while doing the “Thriller” routine.

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Beauty Secrets Revealed

It’s the sort of news that’ll have Grandma pining for the good old days: More unwed couples are living together than ever before, according to a new Census study. The number of shacked-up couples jumped 13 percent in the last year to an all-time high of 7.5 million, and experts say it’s not a decline in morals that’s driving the trend — it’s a drop in income.

The economy, they claim, is spurring unmarried sweethearts to pool their resources in the form of shared rent and utilities.

Which makes sense. It is cheaper to live with your lover. And while I’m technically a love child and thus a terribly unreliable source for conventional relationship advice, I have to tell you that living in sin is also jolly good fun.

When my fella and I first moved in together, I was so utterly enchanted with having him constantly nearby that I followed him from room to room in our tiny apartment.

“Whatcha doin’?” I’d ask.

“Watching the game.”

“Whatcha doin’ now?”

“Untangling these extension cords.”

“How ’bout now?”

“I’m reading, babe, and on a completely unrelated topic, is it going to be like this forever?”

It wasn’t. Adorable quirks (and also mine) have a way of tempering with time. But there’s one aspect of living together that I still haven’t gotten used to, still haven’t learned to love.

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Ana Marie Cox Waxes Wonky

She’s informed. She’s omnipresent. And she once called Ann Coulter a “horse-faced tranny” on MSNBC.

“Now I kind of wish I’d said something worse,” jokes Ana Marie Cox, the Washington journalist who serves up politics with liberal seasoning and a side of snark.

The founding editor of political satire blog Wonkette, Cox now waxes wonky as a correspondent for GQ, a frequent guest on The Rachel Maddow Show, and a hardcore tweeter. A self-described nerd, Cox entertains her million-plus Twitter followers with confessions of bad ’80s hair, shout-outs to beloved indie rock bands, and links to cool politi-stuff — like her recent interview with Gov. Schwarzenegger (Ahnuld Sez Gerrymandering Is for Girly Men).

On October 15, Cox comes to town to speak at Politics, Sex & Cocktails, a benefit for the Planned Parenthood Action Fund of Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo Counties (tickets and information).

But first, she spoke to slightly starstruck me…

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