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December 15, 2009

Washington D.C. legalizes gay marriage

Queers United: Washington D.C. Legalizes Gay Marriage!
The Washington D.C. city council has finalized a bill legalizing same-sex marriage by a vote of 11-2. The two councilmembers who opposed the measure were Marion Barry, and Yvette Alexander. The bill now goes to Mayor Adrian Fenty who has promised to sign the bill into law. Following that congress has 30 days to veto the bill, but the Democratic majority is likely not to interfere with the districts ruling. Washington D.C. joins Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Vermont in affirming their LGBT residents right to marriage.

Your kids are bumming Santa out

For America's Santas, It's Hard to Be Jolly With the Tales They're Hearing - WSJ.com
A wintry measure of hard times can be found this holiday season on the knee of white-bearded, red-suited men around the country. A couple of years ago, children were shooting for the moon, asking St. Nick for Xboxes, iPods and laptops. But with the economy still fragile, many children are requesting basics such as shoes, library cards and even eyeglasses, say dozens of Santas who work at malls or on the party circuit. "Kids will hear the E-word, but it's not Elmo," says Tim Connaghan, who runs a Los Angeles Santa-training school. "It's the economy." The extent to which money woes are weighing on children is clear from the letters flooding into North Pole, Alaska. That's the home of the Santa Claus House, a Christmas-themed shop where parents can order letters from Santa with a North Pole postmark. It gets tens of thousands of letters to Santa every year. Operations manager Paul Brown says the messages not only predict the holiday's hottest toys months in advance but also gauge the mood of the nation. "When we had the housing crunch, we saw, 'Please help us stay in our house,' " Mr. Brown says of the letters, which are forwarded to a nonprofit that works with charities in the children's hometowns. "This year, it's more job-related."
Read the whole thing. And then have a good cry.

December 13, 2009

Stephen King to pay to fly troops home to Maine for the holidays

Stephen King to pay for troops' holiday trip home - Yahoo! News
BANGOR, Maine – Author Stephen King and his wife are donating money so 150 soldiers from the Maine Army National Guard can come home for the holidays. King and his wife, Tabitha, who live in Bangor, are paying $13,000 toward the cost of two bus trips so that members of the 3rd Battalion, 172nd Infantry Unit can travel from Camp Atterbury in Indiana to Maine for Christmas. The soldiers left Maine last week for training at Camp Atterbury. They are scheduled to depart for Afghanistan in January. Julie Eugley, one of King's personal assistants, told the Bangor Daily News that the Kings were approached about giving $13,000.

December 11, 2009

Attention Israelites: A Very Special Chanukah Gift from LDSer Orin Hatch

The True Story of Orrin Hatch's Hanukkah Song - Jeffrey...

Continue reading "Attention Israelites: A Very Special Chanukah Gift from LDSer Orin Hatch" »

George Orwell's Christmas pudding recipe

George Orwell's Christmas pudding recipe recipe | Recipes - Times Online Page one and two.
Gordon Ramsay and George Orwell will meet at our Christmas lunch. Not in person (I don't think they'd have got on), but through their recipes. Ramsay will be tested by his five spice and lemon-roasted goose, as expounded in these pages last week. Orwell's job is the Christmas pudding. I found the great writer's take on plum pudding through deep research (this is what we hacks call Googling idly around when we should be working). It lay, unpublished, in the archive of the Orwell Prize, which keeps many of his diaries and papers. The recipe was written in 1945 but it doesn't show much concern for the severe food rationing British cooks had to deal with at the end of the Second World War. Orwell had been asked by the British Council to write on British cookery, for the edification of foreigners. Orwell went at it with gusto: “Cheap restaurants in Britain are almost invariably bad, while in expensive restaurants the cookery is almost always French, or imitation French.”