As of today, Linette and I have been married for 19 years

On Saturday, October 2, 1999, Linette and I were married. Here, to mark the occasion, is a little something I wrote a while back, and shared every few years since, slightly updated to reflect that yet another year has passed.

Nineteen years ago today, after seven years of living with one another in sin, I married my friend and collaborator Linette Lao. Sadly, as it took place in an age before smartphones, little evidence of this wondrous and magical event exists today. We are fortunate, however, in that we do have this one image, which I believe was taken by my old high school friend Matt, who must have been following us in another car as we pulled in to get gas on our way from the ceremony, which had taken place in a small historic chapel in Northville, to a bar in Plymouth. That’s Linette pumping gas.

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If memory serves, I’d started pumping the gas, when one of our friends, who had been following us, suggested that I step aside and let Linette do it. So Linette got out and I handed the nozzle over to her… As for the truck, it’s no longer with us. According to my father, who helped me acquire it, it was assembled by members of a high school auto shop class in rural Kentucky from the parts of several totaled vehicles. And, if you were ever within earshot of it, you certainly got that sense. It was like it was at war with itself. There was always a chorus of grinding and clanking… Riding in it, I always thought, was like being inside the body of a patient rejecting multiple transplants simultaneously… But Linette, being the awesome and charitable human being she is, married me anyway.

There was no diamond ring. I’d just recently been laid off from my job at a startup company in California. And all I really had to my name was this truck built from scraps, a degree in American Studies, a pretty good work ethic, and a sense of humor that seemed to resonate reasonably well with zine readers… Things eventually fell into place for us though, as evidenced by the following two photos.

The first was taken by our friend Leisa Thompson about five years ago, when Arlo was just a baby. And the second was taken a few springs back, when our friend Doug Coombe, who had been hired to take my picture outside the local all-nude strip club for an article somewhere, decided to keep shooting as Linette and the kids just happened to come walking by.

AnonymousFamilyPhoto2013

For what it’s worth, I’m not covering their eyes here because I’m ashamed of what our kids look like. Their eyes aren’t incredibly ugly or anything. And I wouldn’t really care if they were. I just decided several years ago that, barring some kind of blogging emergency, I would’t post photos of them here. Too many bloggers, I think, cash in on the cuteness of their kids, and I didn’t want to be like that. I didn’t want to have either Clementine or Arlo look back in years to come and accuse me of exploiting them, like some kind of Mama June like character. And, more importantly, given how pervasive surveillance culture is in the world today, I thought they deserved to have at least a few years of something approaching privacy, before the floodgates opened for them. With all of that said, though, you’ll just have to trust me when I tell you that, if you were to see either of these photos without the grey bars obscuring the identities of Arlo and Clementine, you’d say, “Damn, that’s a really handsome family.”

maynardlaofamily2016coombe2

A lot of people that I meet, who claim to be familiar with this site, seem to think that I share a lot of personal information here. The truth in, however, I don’t. Sure, I may post the occasional photo of myself, or mention that I’d just gone somewhere or done something with my family, but, really, if you think about it, I don’t get into too much detail when it comes to things that really matter. I don’t, as a rule, talk about my relationship with Linette, my professional life, or, for the most part, the kids. Sure, I may pass along a funny quote from Arlo or Clementine here or there, along with an out-of-focus photograph, but that’s about it… Well, I’m going to make a little bit of an exception right now, seeing as how Linette and I are celebrating our 19th anniversary, and share a few thoughts.

I’m pretty damn lucky to have these three people, who you can kind of see in the photos above, in my life. I knew, when I married Linette, that we’d continue to do interesting things, and make a decent life together, but I had no idea just what was in store for us as I stood there at the front of that chapel in Northville nineteen years ago, watching her and her father walk down the aisle toward me. I guess I’d considered the possibility, in the abstract, that we might one day have kids, and what that might entail, but it’s not the kind of thing that you can really prepare for. Thankfully, it turned out that we were well suited for each other, and adequately equipped to work through whatever issues have arisen so far. It hasn’t always been easy, especially when the screaming kids were thrown into the mix, but, when it comes to the important stuff, we’ve always found a way to keep everything together and moving in the right direction.

Who would have thought that a relationship that started at Cross Street Station, the since condemned Ypsilanti dive bar across from the EMU campus, might still be going strong all these years later? The odds would have to be infinitesimal, right? Well, somehow we’ve not only made it work for over 25 years now, if you count the years before we became “husband and wife” before the eyes of god, but we’ve done it in such a way that we’ve been able to accomplish more than either one of us ever could have alone. We’ve not only started raising two bright, funny, inquisitive kids, but we’ve also been able to launch several ventures in the process, and still find the time to remain engaged in our community, which is what we’d hoped for when, living in California, we first started talking about the possibility of moving back and putting down roots in this community where we’d first met.

And, really, what else could you want from life? We’re happy, we’ve got healthy, smart kids, and we feel as though we’re where we’re supposed to be. Yeah, maybe it would have been nice if I’d gotten that Hollywood writing job when we were living in LA, but I doubt the outcome would have been any better in the long run. When it comes to the stuff that really matters, I don’t think either of us could have asked for a better outcome. We’ve managed to create a supportive, collaborative relationship that’s allowed us to bring a few pretty decent kids into the world, and create stuff in a community that we truly care about. Everyone should be so lucky.

update: Apparently my memory wasn’t as good as I thought that it was. My friend Matt wasn’t following in another car when he took the photo of Linette pumping gas. He was actually inside the car with us. Here, with his permission, is his recounting of what happened.

“As usual our memories differ. Dan and I were riding in the back seat, there was no car following you. And it was after the bar on the way to the reception (according to the chronology of my film roll). My memory is that Linette wanted to pump the gas, not that anyone suggested she do so, but maybe I missed you or Dan suggesting it. Anyway, I took the photo because she was pumping the gas, I didn’t request her to pump gas for the sake of a photo. Too bad it wasn’t video, so we could hear all the people waiting at the intersection honking their horns at the bride at the gas pump.”

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Jeff Flake says that, if Kavanaugh lied under oath, it would be disqualifying… Well, guess what?

I hate to belabor the point that Brett Kavanaugh is a liar, as I know we just spent a long time discussing it the other day, but, having just watched last night’s 60 Minutes segment with Republican Senator Jeff Flake, I feel as though I have no choice but to mention it again. In the segment, for those of you who might not have seen it, Scott Pelley asked Flake, “If Judge Kavanaugh is shown to have lied to the committee, nomination’s over?” And, in response, Flake said, “Oh, yes.”

Here’s the video.

Like I mentioned above, we’ve already talked about several instances in which Judge Kavanaugh, under oath, lied to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Since we last spoke about it, though, at least two new lies have been brought to the surface.

First, as you might recall, Kavanaugh said dramatically in his testimony last Thursday that he got into Yale by working incredibly hard. “I have no connections there,” he told the members of the committee. “I got there by busting my tail.” Well, as it turns out, that wasn’t exactly the case. Truth is, Kavanaugh was accepted into Yale at least in part because was considered a “legacy” applicant, as his grandfather had attended the school. So, when he said that he couldn’t possibly have drank his youth away, as he needed to focus on his athletics, and earning his spot at Yale, it wasn’t exactly true. [By the way, is there anything douchier than a rich, privileged white guy referring to himself as a self-made man?]

And, second, it’s looking as though Kavanaugh lied when Orrin Hatch asked him when he’d first heard about allegations of sexual misconduct made by his Yale classmate Deborah Ramirez. Hatch, as you can see in the excerpt of the transcript below, asked when Kavanaugh had first heard about the charges, and Kavanaugh responded that he’d heard about her claims only after the piece ran in the New Yorker. Well, it’s looking now as though that too was a lie. NBC News is reporting this evening that, before the allegations were published by the New Yorker, Kavanaugh was already “personally talking with former classmates about Ramirez’s story,” looking for information to help discredit her story of sexual abuse. And they apparently have copies of text messages from the Judge that prove this.

That’s two more lies under oath… in addition to all of those that we’ve already discussed.

So, given this, is it safe to assume that Flake will be voting against Kavanaugh?

And what about Lindsey Graham, who said back on January 23, 1999 that, even if a judge commits perjury “even once,” he must be immediately impeached? Can we count on him to stay true to his word? [Here’s Graham’s full quote: “I have argued to you that when you found that a judge was a perjurer, you couldn’t in good conscience send him back in a courtroom because everybody that came in that courtroom thereafter would have a real serious doubt.”]

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The White House ties the hands of the FBI, severely limiting the scope of the Kavanaugh investigation

Remember how we were talking yesterday about how, thanks in large part to Republican Senator Jeff “I Think I May Have Located My Vestigial Backbone” Flake, there was going to be an FBI investigation into the charges of sexual abuse against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh? Well, the more time that passes, the more it looks as though the investigation may in fact be a sham. NBC News is now reporting that White House counsel Don McGahn has intervened to severely limit the scope of the investigation. In fact, it’s looking now as though the FBI is only planning to interview four people, and Christine Blasey Ford isn’t even on the list.

This, for what it’s worth, directly contradicts what President Donald Trump said to reporters this morning on the South Lawn of the White House. “The FBI is all over,” Trump said, “talking to everybody.” He then added, “They have free rein, they’re going to do whatever they have to do.”

But, it would seem, that’s simply not the case. And this isn’t just Democratic fear-mongering intended to rile up the base. Sources inside the White House are saying that McGahn is “trying to make (the investigation) as narrow as possible.”

Here’s an excerpt from the NBC News report about what that means in practice.

…Investigators plan to meet with Mark Judge, a high school classmate and friend of Kavanaugh’s whom Ford named as a witness and participant to her alleged assault.

But as of now, the FBI cannot ask the supermarket that employed Judge for records verifying when he was employed there, one of the sources was told. Ford said in congressional testimony Thursday that those records would help her narrow the time frame of the alleged incident which she recalls happening some time in the summer of 1982 in Montgomery County, Maryland.

Two sources familiar with the investigation said the FBI will also not be able to examine why Kavanaugh’s account of his drinking at Yale University differs from those of some former classmates, who have said he was known as a heavy drinker. Those details may be pertinent to investigating claims from Ramirez who described an alleged incident of sexual misconduct she said occurred while Kavanaugh was inebriated. Ramirez’s lawyer said Saturday that she had been contacted by the FBI and would cooperate.

The conditions under which the FBI’s reopened background check are occurring appears to differ from the one envisioned by Flake, who used his leverage as a swing vote to pressure the Trump administration to order the FBI investigation…

As you might imagine, this isn’t exactly sitting well with Democrats, who were assured that this would be a real and thorough investigation. First, the White House stepped in, demanding that the investigation be limited to one week, and now they’re restricting the scope significantly, telling the FBI who they can speak with, and what they aren’t allowed to explore. Congressman Adam Schiff, demanding that the White House not dictate who the FBI can and can’t speak with, called the investigation a “whitewash.” Senator Mazie Hirono said earlier this morning that the investigation was shaping up to be a “farce.” And Senator Kamala Harris, as you can read below, called this latest development “outrageous.” The question I have, is what does Jeff Flake think? Is this what he had in mind when he demanded an FBI investigation? And, if not, can we expect him to speak up, vote “no” on Kavanaugh, etc.? Or was this part of his plan all along?

As for the four people to be interviewed, word is that they are Kavanaugh high school friends Mark Judge and PJ Smyth, Blasey Ford friend Leland Keyser, and Deborah Ramirez, the Yale classmate of the Kavanaugh’s who just recently came forward with new allegations of sexual assault. Here’s video from MSNBC.

If you’re as upset about this as I am, please call the offices of your Senators today, and, if they haven’t already, demand that they speak out in favor of an independent and thorough FBI investigation into the allegations against Brett Kavanaugh. And, while you’re on the phone, maybe also mention that, even putting aside these serious allegations of sexual assault, Kavanaugh has still proven himself to be unfit for the lifetime appointment. As the editorial board of Maine’s largest newspaper, the Press Herald, said today, “The man who testified Thursday can’t control his temper, he is overtly partisan and he doesn’t always tell the truth,” and he should not be on the bench. [Did you hear that, Senator Collins?]

update: An update from Maine.

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Could a rino with human hands lift that light fixture?

Linette and Clementine drove to Cleveland on Friday to see the Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors exhibition at the Cleveland Museum of Art, leaving Arlo and me home alone to eat banana splits while watching Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy. Before settling in the for the night, though, he and I headed out for pizza. And it was there, sitting at Bigalora, that he posed the following question, while looking up at the light fixture that hung above us. “If a rino had hands, could it lift that?,” he asked. After we spent a little time discussing what the light fixture was made of, I told him that I was pretty sure that a rino with human hands, assuming that it could stand up on its back legs and maneuver its arms in such a way to get its hands on the light, could probably lift it without too much trouble. I added, however, that I’d try to look into it a little further for him. So, if any of you happen to be scientists who study what different animals could do if they had human hands, I’d appreciate a little help.

I don’t know how much I should encourage this interest of Arlo’s in giving animals human body parts, but I’m thinking that, maybe, the next time Linette and Clementine are out, he and I should either watch Charles Laughton in The Island of Lost Souls or read The Island of Dr. Moreau. [Would that scare him away from vivisection, or draw him further in, I wonder.]

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Thursday, July 1, 1982

I’m not a huge fan of Republican Senator Jeff Flake, but it looks as though we have him to thank for today’s news that the FBI will be reopening the investigation into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, at least temporarily, and I wanted to publicly thank him. Flake, who released a statement earlier this morning stating that he would be voting to pass Kavanaugh’s nomination out of committee, apparently then had a change of heart, which some are attributing to an encounter on an elevator with two women who identified themselves as sexual assault survivors. Whatever the motivation, Flake, who will likely run for president in 2020, returned to the Senate chamber determined to at least explore whether or not an FBI investigation could be conducted in relatively short order. According to press accounts, his fellow Republicans on the judiciary Committee attempted to talk him out of the idea, but, eventually, he and Democratic Senator Chris Coons left the chamber and placed a call to the offices of the FBI. While FBI Director Christopher Wray wasn’t in, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was, and he assured them that an investigation could be conducted in one week’s time, although, according to the report in the New York Times, he told them that it was unlikely they’d discover anything new. But, with that, a deal with struck, and we now have at least a glimmer of hope that federal investigators might find more evidence to substantiate the claim of Dr. Christine Blassey Ford that, 36 years ago, a 17 year old Brett Kavanaugh attempted to rape her.

And, for what it’s worth, I don’t know that I agree with Rosenstein that investigators likely won’t find anything new. Just in the last 24 hours, there are already new leads… thanks, ironically, to those 1982 calendar pages that Kavanaugh submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee in his defense. As you may recall from yesterday’s hearing, the Judge said that the calendars proved he was otherwise engaged every weekend night during the time period in question. And that may well be true. But, according to the calendar, there was one week night when he got together with friends for “skis.” [“Skis” is short for “brewskis.”] Kavanaugh, as you might recall, said during his questioning that he couldn’t have gone out on a weeknight, as he worked cutting grass all summer, and needed to remain sharp for it, but there’s the proof that, at least on this one Thursday night, he went over to a friend’s house for beers. And what makes this even more interesting is the fact that three of the people mention as being there that night, in Kavanaugh’s calendar entry, are people that Dr. Blasey Ford said were present at the get-together the night she was attacked… Brett Kavanaugh, Mark Judge, and PJ Smyth… Here’s the entry in question.

Could this be the day the attack against Dr. Blasey Ford took place? Could it be that this small gathering at “Timmy’s house” on Thursday, July 1, 1982, was the event she talked about during her statement to the Judiciary Committee? Prior to this, all Dr. Blasey Ford could say for certain was that it happened that summer, before she turned 16, and at a time around when Mark Judge was working at the Potomac Village Safeway. [She said that she saw Judge working there approximately six to eight weeks after the attack.] Now, though, investigators have at least something a little more solid to go on. They have a possible date. They have a possible location. And they have the names, thanks to Kavanaugh, of other people who could have been there. In addition to the people noted above, Kavanaugh’s calendar entry fro that day notes that Tim Gaudette, Tom Kaine, Bernie McCarthy, and Chris “Squi” Garrett were to attend this event. And, I suspect, the FBI will want to talk with all of them. I also suspect they’ll look at floor plans for the house Tim Gaudette lived in at the time, to see if they line up with Dr. Blasey Ford’s memory of events. [She talked of a narrow staircase leading upstairs, a bedroom at the top of the staircase, and a bathroom right across the hallway from it.]

I could go further down this rabbit hole, but I think I’ll just hand things off to Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, who commented about this particular calendar entry of Kavanaugh’s earlier today.

Personally, I don’t think much will come of this, as I suspect most people, even if they were there that night, probably wouldn’t remember wether or not Blasey Ford was there. I do think, however, it’s possible that Mark Judge, who Blasey Ford says was in the room at the time of her assault, egging Kavanaugh on, and laughing, could tell them something. I know that Blasey Ford said he was extremely drunk at the time, but she also said that, when she saw him six to eight weeks after the attack, he was visibly uncomfortable, and avoided speaking with her. This would indicate to me that he knew what had happened, and knew that what he and Kavanaugh had done was wrong. And, if that’s the case, I suspect he still remembers.

[One last thing on Flake’s decision to change his mind. I don’t suppose we’ll ever know why he decided not to vote Kavanaugh out of committee, and instead pushed for the FBI to re-open the investigation, but it’s very possible that he did so either because those two protesters convinced him to do so, or, more likely, because he saw that the video of him attempting not to engage with them was going viral. And, if either of those things is true, it demonstrates just how much power we all have in this age of social media. This was just two women roaming the halls of a Senate office building, and it’s conceivable that they changed the course of history. Just think what might happen if thousands of people were stalking Senators, looking to have exchanges like this.]

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