Having finally opened my show, finished teaching and submitted the first ten chapters of my next book, what I really wanted to do today was sleep in and watch old movies all day. But then my friend Fran from the Seattle Mystery Bookshop alerted me that representatives from hatemonger Fred Phelps's church in Kansas were coming to Oregon to protest, among other things, the queer resource center at Portland State, the Swedish and Finnish consulates (don't ask) and little Silverton, Oregon, which recently made history when it elected the first transgendered mayor in the United States, a cross-dresser with breast implants named Stu Rasmussen. The e-mail alert also requested that counter-protesters wear dresses in support of Stu.
I figured I could sleep when I'm dead.
I was sincerely hoping to see a whole town of people in skirts--an "I am Spartacus" moment--but most dressed for the cold, including Stu himself:
But the outfit did land me in the Oregonian for the sixth time in seven days, which is just one less than Garfield.
More importantly, over a hundred people came out--
--angry grandparents, high school students who cut class, and this pair who expressed their opinion of Phelps's views by eating green oatmeal, then swallowing Ipecac to induce vomiting.
Disgusting, I know, but not nearly as gross as the four protesters:
It was distressing that they were so young, but 60 out of Phelps's 70 followers are related to him. So I got to see for myself what happens when cousins marry.
And, yes, those are American flags they're standing on.