Meet Ouie Pierre!

Check out the Ouie Pierre Photo Gallery at the end of article.

Ouie Pierre is one hot dog. He’s been in ads around the world and lives in Minneapolis with his daddies. Always ready with a killer-cute look or witty BOL (Bark Out Loud) comment, you can follow him on Twitter at @OuiePierre or find him on Facebook. This fresh French Bulldog is worth keeping an eye on.

What is your name?  
My name is Ouie Pierre, I’m an AKC registered purebred French Bulldog.

How do you pronounce it?
It’s pronounced oooo-eeee peee air.

How did you get your name? 
L’ouie means “hearing” in French, which is apropos since I have such big ears!

Daddies sometimes tell people I’m a French poop-n-chew…or they call me MonkeyButt!

Where were you born? 
Inver Grove Heights Animal Clinic. I still go there for all my appointments and they still remember me!

How old are you?
I’m 4.5 years old in 2-legged years…31.5 if you wanna go that 7-year thing regarding dogs.  I’ve also heard people tease my daddy that I have the legs of a 2-year-old dog since I get carried around so much.

Where do you live? 
I live in a condo just across the river from Downtown Minneapolis. I love seeing the sunset over the buildings  (except during the fireworks–they’re too loud for me but it’s amazing to sit in the living room and have them fill our view).

Who do you live with? 
I live with my two daddies, Jason and John.  I get to socialize with all my fur-friends that live in my building and in the neighborhood.

I mostly spend my days sleeping, but often find myself doing photo shoots and hanging out on sets! I haven’t decided what I want to be when I grow up…but an only child is certainly one of them!

Most interesting thing you’ve done for your job?
I got to do an advertising campaign for the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas resort (it was a billboard in Vegas and was in W, Esquire, Vanity Fair, Sports Illustrated, Bon Appetit, The New Yorker, Wired, etc), and there were thousands of cakes and cookies in the penthouse…but Daddy wouldn’t let me try them.  I did get some of my kibble and some strawberries.  Afterward, Daddy brought me down to the slots–for luck–and he won a couple jackpots!

I just did a Minnesota Lottery Money Machine TV commercial. The money was blowing all over and Daddy held me tight as he jumped around trying to grab the money.  You might be seeing my face on some Davanni’s billboards soon, also!

Most exotic place you’ve traveled? 
We brachycephalic dogs (short muzzle and flat face) are no longer allowed to fly under the plane in cargo…so, luckily, I’m small enough to fit in a carrier under the seat of the plane and keep Daddy company on his journeys.  I’ve been to L.A. and Long Beach a handful of times; Las Vegas; Vero Beach, Florida; and up to Northern Wisconsin and Northern Minnesota.

Where do you stay when your daddies go out of town?
If they are both gone, I stay with Auntie Peggy.  She has a big fenced-in yard which is very different than my usual routine of sitting in the hallway, waiting for the elevator, and then going out!  If one daddy is home, then I get lunch-time snuggle breaks from Auntie Beth, Auntie Julie Ann, or Auntie Lisa!!

Front seat or back seat?
The second day Daddy brought me home, he had a death in the family and we jumped in the car and drove for four hours to Northern Wisconsin. We bonded as I slept curled up in his lap.  I like to think I helped him navigate in his time of need, also.  So now it’s usually the front seat, but he puts the back down in the Jeep so I have a bed and space to run around in the car if I want.  I also make friends with all the people at the drive-ups…sometimes I scare them at first, but then usually get a smile and a treat.

Where’s your favorite place to go for a walk in the Twin Cities?
I love walking just outside our front door, along the river by St. Anthony Main.  There are always other friends, runners, a horse-drawn carriage, festivals, and lots going on down there.

Best place to mark territory? 
There is a spot over at the U of M across from the Dairy Queen that has amazingly long soft grass…Daddies get their riDQulous treats and I leave one for the groundskeeper.

Best friends?
Well there is my G’ma’s dog, Sassy Cooper (though she is old and crabby and only likes people…what am I? Chopped liver?), and my friends Lee Roy the mini-dachshund, Ginger from Ollu, Atticus, Bogey, Coco, Peanut, Abbey, Ozzie and Lola. Those are just some of my fur-friends…for four-legged the list is toooooo long. I kinda like to put a smile on everyone’s face!!

What do you always say? Any phrases or quotes that are SO Ouie Pierre?
I coined the term “BOL” for “Bark Out Loud” for my Facebook posts.  And I usually sign everything “xx oop–because our time is shorter here on Earth–we are generally here to share our love.


I rode in the elevator with the wonderful Olivia Newton-John and Daddy recognized her by her voice…Daddy’s version of “I Honestly Love You” sounds nothing like hers.  She has a doggie, also!

I love to listen to old R &B with Daddy; Dee Dee Warwick, Loleatta Holloway, Esther Phillips, etc…I also have a lot of Laura Branigan, Lisa Stansfield, Tanita Tikaram, Wendy Matthews, and Ingrid Chavez on my iPod.

Television show?
Daddy says I love all the shows on the USA Network, but I think I generally sleep thru most of them.  That is, until a commercial with an animal in it comes on…then I am up and scratching and barking at the TV.  Gotta protect my home and my Daddies.

Minneapolis or St. Paul?
Oh, I love all the Twin Cities and surrounding ‘burbs.  But if I had to pick one, Minneapolis, of course; that is where I have my lifetime dog license.

Place to curl up and nap? 
If I cannot find some rays of sun in our house, then either of Daddies’ laps is a perfect alternative (it’s actually my first choice – but I gotta keep them in line).

Facebook or Twitter?

Both, actually!  I have been posting photos and giving birthday wishes on Facebook for a couple of years.  I’m just trying to get the hang of this Twitter thingy – good thing I have lots of free time during the day.

Sports Player? 
I met Christian Ponder in Uptown last summer–he is a handsome one!  I also met Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and he called me a little critter–a lion would be a little critter compared to him.  I also met some of the Vikings Cheerleaders and they were nice.

Ruth Lordan is a friend of Daddy’s and she comes over and we chat.  She re-iterates how much I love them.

TV personality?
Chris Shaffer from WCCO is a fun guy!! I got to be the “on the spot ” photo for Father’s Day one year.   His lovely wife Gloria brought their three daughters to hang out with me and now they have their very own cutie patootie puppy named Bailey.

I enjoy going to the Room & Board Outlet almost every weekend.  My pal Marilyn has a bag of my treats in her pouch (“treats” again…I’m starting to think it’s really just my regular food).  I get lots of kisses and pets from all the great people who work there.

I also make my daddies go to Estate Sales (NOT garage sales…one daddy says there is a BIG difference) and I help sniff out great deals.  The Estate Sales people are always so sweet and say they look forward to seeing me!

I like to sit in my mesh tent and watch daddies play tennis.  I think at first they thought I would be the perfect candidate for fetching their errant balls.  We had a talk and now they just promise to try to play better since that was not going to work out for me–all that running and sweating and fetching.

What’s your life aspiration?
Everyday that I make sure my daddies start and end the day with a kiss and a smile lets me know I’m in the right place.  I tried out to be a Therapy Dog but the mean lady said I couldn’t pass because I would not lay down flat on command. Hey, I just don’t wanna do that stupid trick…oh, well.  I have visited a few nursing homes and hospitals on my own.  Old people are good scratchers, too!!!!

I also want to do more helping rescue dogs find homes.  I have a line of blank greeting cards that I have donated for fundraisers and raffles. There are so many wonderful four-leggers out there that need someone to love them–they just might end up rescuing you!

What’s on your bucket list?
I was friends on Facebook with a dog named Bingo in Canada who had a lick-it list…we sent him some local treats for him to enjoy.  I have had such fun adventures, I am grateful for all my time here, and just want to love love love!!  I just thought of one thing and that would be to find a cure for my allergies! Boy, that would be nice!  I guess retiring to Florida sounds fun, too!

Oh…and I am working to end black dog discrimination!!!!  Two of the local animal agencies always say black dogs can’t model–they don’t want a black dog…if only you were cream or blonde…too hard to light…well, my daddy says to rent a few more lights or hire any of these awesome photographers who were quite capable of taking my picture!!  I have been photographed by Nadav Kander, arguably one of the top shooters in the world–he has also photographed the President of the United States!! BOL and a SNAP.

What’s for supper?
Blue Buffalo Wild Salmon, I LOVE it!!  Yet, somehow, all the treats I get look and taste exactly like my dinner kibble. Hmmm. I smell something fishy here!

Life & Love with Chastity Brown

Thank you for talking to Lavender, Chastity. In listening to you and your music, it’s clear that Chastity Brown and love go together.  One of the quotes on your website that made me smile was, “Get ready to love Chastity Brown.” I’d say that much of our community already does, but I’d like to introduce to to more of it.

AL: You’re from Tennessee and live in Minnesota. Where is it that you call home?

CB: I call both Tennessee and Minnesota home.

Is your family in Tennessee?

Yes. My mom, brother, and one of my sisters live in the town that I grew up in, Union City, Tennessee.

How did your family shape you? How did Tennessee shape you?

I was born in New Hampshire and the majority of kinfolk, including my two oldest sisters, live there. But I was raised in a small town in Tennessee just north of Memphis (Union City). The location had just as much an influence on me as my family, possibly more.  Union City is a rural town close to both Nashville’s country, story-telling heritage, and Memphis’ blues and gospel roots.

When did you move to Minnesota?

I moved to Minnesota about seven years ago when I was 23. Kind of on a whim. I didn’t know anyone, except my one friend, who was coming here to go to grad school at U of M, and her parents, who invited me to tag along.

When did music enter your life?  Legends like Roberta Flack and Nina Simone have been mentioned in terms of your musical inheritance.  Who was in your ear as you matured?

Music has always been in my life. My father was a jazz/blues musician. He passed away when I was young but the potent memories I have of him are of him playing. In addition, my sister played classical piano and my brother, tenor sax. So, naturally, I had to talk my mother into letting me play an instrument or a number of instruments. During those formative years I also went to a full gospel church, one in which the music could “take over” the service and last up to two hours–a type of emotive improvisation. This is where I learned to sing out of myself.

If we’re watching the local music scene, we’re seeing the name Chastity Brown.  If we attended Prides and fundraisers for the VOTE NO campaign last year, we saw Chastity Brown.  How is this recognition feeling to you?  Is being known something you’re comfortable with?  How do you approach celebrity and being a public figure?

My first goal in playing music was to feel like I was a part of something. The style of music that I play has the tradition of being integrated with the surrounding community. When I first started playing music in Knoxville, Tennessee, one of my mentors told me that before I took off to “tour the world” I would have to first give the music to my neighborhood which, for him, meant everything from funerals to weddings to front porch jam sessions to fundraisers. He said that doing this would teach me the value of what I was doing; it would make me be honest with myself as to whether or not I thought I could really do it.

When I started playing in Minnesota I made myself available for every opportunity to play. I am grateful that folks have embraced my music. To me, being a public figure means you have to stand behind the values that got you to where you’re at.

How do you identify and how does that affect your presence in the public spotlight?  

I stand under the umbrella of queer. I like this term because its meaning has broadness and breadth.  Queer is in my power to define; it is a term that is subject to change depending on the individual, and I find freedom in that.  I’ve had the privilege to play some really great festivals and colleges that take pride in queer communities.

When did your identity become apparent to you?

I guess it has always been apparent to me.  I questioned it as most young people question anything about themselves, but it just felt natural to be attracted to women.

Did you have a “coming out” or was it more of a “becoming?”  How would you talk about your path?

As I said, it has always been apparent to me…but when it became apparent to the faculty of the seminary school I was attending, let’s just say they didn’t really think it was as good of an idea to date women as I did. Subsequently, I was kicked out my freshman year of college.

How does being a person of color, as well as queer, affect your life and how you approach or are approached by others?

How much time do you have?

My main concern with this delicate subject is that I’ll be wedged into a stereotype and therefore creatively pigeon-holed. I try to let the music speak for itself in the sense that it does not always correlate to my personal life, although sometimes it is influenced by it.  My identity is a part of the fabric of it all, but it is not the centerpiece.  I believe it has to be broader than myself in order to connect with people. That being said, there is never a moment when I am not cognizant of color and identity.

Do you have any advice for young women of color who are exploring their sexual identities?

The community is vast and beautiful and, although people of color are underrepresented in the media and other outlets, you can find strong community here in the Twin Cities if you’re open to exploring your own truth.

Would you say your identity is apparent in your songwriting?

I think it depends on the listener.

What are your thoughts on love these days? Where would you say love falls in your list of influences in your songwriting?

Love is definitely a thematic element in my songwriting.  It’s not something I seek out intentionally. When I’m writing new material, it often finds its way into a song in surprising ways…it might be a story about a man who just lost his job, a woman in love, insight from a friend; it takes on various forms.

And…Valentine’s Day: Overrated or undercelebrated?


Do you have a valentine this year?  Are you seeking one?

I’ve had a sweetheart for the last seven years, so no, I’m not seeking one.

What’s your favorite or least favorite Valentine’s Day memory?

To be honest, I’ve never really celebrated Valentine’s Day.  Is that bad?

Although, I do remember in 3rd grade this kid, Perry Carr, who was tall and lanky with a voice similar to Eeyore, gave me this homemade valentine. After being severely teased about it in the hallway, his response was, “I don’t care, I think she’s pretty.” I thought that was nice.

The rub for the singles on Valentine’s Day can be fairly chafing.  Do you have any advice for the singles?

There are so many different kinds of relationships in our lives that have value…relationships beyond couple-dom.

If you were to write a valentine on a construction paper heart, what would it say?

Hey Darlin’

Chastity Brown has a calendar full of appearances on her website at; particularly, you should be sure to get her show on April 5th at the Cedar Cultural Center on your schedule. 


Chris Kluwe: Word Warrior, Freedom Fighter

Chris Kluwe. Photo by Mike Hnida

Chris Kluwe is a 30-year old punter for the Minnesota Vikings.  He’s a husband to Isabel, a father to two little girls, a bassist in Tripping Icarus, a gaming enthusiast, a Twitter phenom (@ChrisWarcraft), and a freedom fighter.  Using his words to point out inequalities and inconsistencies in the public sphere, Kluwe skyrocketed to our attention as his retorts went viral on the internet.  First, he took on a Maryland delegate, Emmett Burns, who criticized Ravens player Brendon Ayanbedejo for supporting same-sex marriage; recently, his response earned him a citation from Maryland delegate Sheila Hixon for “standing up for equality for all.”  Then, among other pieces he’s written lately, Kluwe logically argued down the stance of former Viking Matt Birk, who publicly claimed that same-sex marriage would be detrimental to children. Most recently (as of press time…but I’m guessing there will have been more epic letters since), he fired off a letter to the Pope and Archbishop Nienstedt for various reasons, not the least of which were for mixing their role as a church with taking a political stance as well as writing a letter to a mother indicating that her eternal salvation may be at risk if she doesn’t reconsider her request for acceptance of her gay son.

Taking all of these points into consideration, you can see why I politely declined all offers to help me prepare for this interview with Chris Kluwe by giving me a few football pointers.  No, we weren’t going to be talking about football.

Read on.

Andy Lien: Prepping for this piece, I had to do some homework.  Turns out, there’s a whole lot about you out there.  You do a lot.  What have you been doing in the media lately?  How do we find you?

Chris Kluwe: Mainly on Twitter at my @ChrisWarcraft is where I do the bulk of my rabble-rousing, I guess.  I have a blog at the Pioneer Press, Out of Bounds, and various radio interviews.  If you want to get in contact with me, Twitter is usually the best way to go.  I read all of my replies–I may not respond to all of them–but I do read all of them.

AL: Are you a regular on the radio?

CK: Yeah, the 93X Half-Ass Morning Show…I’m a pretty regular guest on there; this year I’m on every Tuesday around 7:30am.  People can listen to me not talk about football.

AL: Your appearance on “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me” this past weekend was hilarious.  “Punters are the bassists of football…” that was great.  You’re a punter and you’re the bassist for Tripping Icarus. How did you come out wailing like you did against this Marriage Amendment?

CK: I was involved with Minnesotans for Marriage Equality.  They had contacted me through Twitter and said, “Hey, would you be interested in helping us out?”  I looked at the amendment and said, “Yeah, this seems like the right thing to do, to help defeat this amendment.”  Because it’s taking away people’s freedoms, it’s taking away people’s right to live their life free of oppression.  So, I’d been involved with them…recorded a couple of radio ads…and then I saw the story of the Maryland delegate who sent the letter to the Ravens.  I read the letter and I was like, “Wow…that’s messed up.”  Can I swear?  I said, “Wow, that’s fucked up.”  I went to bed because it was around 11:30 at night and I had to wake up for practice the next morning.  I was lying in bed and I can’t get to sleep because I’m just thinking about this letter. I had to write something down or else I wouldn’t be able to sleep.  So I went to my computer, typed out the essay to Mr. Burns in about an hour, and sent it off to a couple of guys at Dead Spin because they’ve published some of my other stuff and I’ve been involved in some of their round table/slate discussion for football this year.  They posted it at 2:00 the next day.  All the sudden I checked my Twitter and there were 400 mentions. 800 mentions. 1600 mentions.  I was like, “Whoa…someone’s reading it.”

AL: As I saw people intro-ing the link on Facebook, I kept seeing, “Now I’ll have to start watching the Vikings” or “Now I have a new favorite Viking.”  Did you expect that the Vikings would see an increase in popularity out of saying this?

CK: [Laughs] No.  I really didn’t.

AL: I know people are saying you shouldn’t because you’re with the Vikings.

CW: Yeah, that was one of the things that people would say, “Hey, the language…could you have not used quite the colorful words?”  So, that’s why I also released the censored version of it.  The “sparklepony” version of it.  But, I never thought they would get people interested in the Vikings. That’s great–it’s more people to cheer on the team.

AL: As far as role models go, there are just a handful of out pro athletes. None in the NFL.  Do you predict more might be coming out? Or aren’t there as many?

CK: I think so.  I’d say there’s probably two to three guys in the NFL that are playing right now–I don’t know who they would be but simple statistics state that there are people in the NFL.  My hope is that one day, guys’ll feel comfortable enough to be who they are…not to have to worry about “Does my sexuality matter?” “Does my religion matter?” or “Does my race matter?”  What matters is, “Can you play on Sunday?”  “Can you help us win?”  That’s what sports should be about.  Hopefully, what I’m doing, what Brendon’s [Ayanbadejo] doing, what Connor Barwin and Scott Fujita are doing is helping change that culture to make other guys realize that who you choose to marry–who you choose to sleep with–doesn’t matter when it comes to football.

AL: Not coming out can actually be detrimental.  After people come out, they can actually perform better in sports.  The psychological weight is lifted.

CK: There’s not as much stress.  I think it was Mark Cuban who said, “Whoever comes out first is going to have the greatest marketing opportunity ever.”  Because there are so many companies involved, especially in the NFL and Major League Baseball–do you think Nike and Gatorade wouldn’t want to be involved in the greatest civil rights moment of this era?  That’d be like getting Jackie Robinson to represent your product.  It’s not just the right thing to do from a human rights standpoint, but from a commercial standpoint you could make millions.  It’s unbelievable.

AL: Okay, so Matt Birk.  We all have Matt Birks in our lives.  The ones about whom we think, “You’re very thoughtful…you’re very conscientious…you’re very intelligent.”  When he came out against marriage equality, there were many of us who were surprised.  I saw time and time again, “I thought he was smarter than that.”  What do we do about the Matt Birks in our lives?

CK: You have to give them factual, statistical arguments that you can back up and ask them to argue the same way.  Don’t be satisfied with an appeal to emotion or an appeal to fear.  Those aren’t valid arguing techniques.  Give me something concrete that I can look at and reason or argue with.  The thing is, when you say that it’s about the children and then you don’t give any facts why it’s about children, where’s your argument? You’re basically saying, “This makes me feel uncomfortable so we should get rid of it.”  But that’s not a good enough reason to deny a segment of American citizens federal benefits and rights under the law.  It’s discrimination.

AL: When you made the point to Matt Birk that “it does affect your kids in case one of them is gay,” that’s where I thought we might see that they could come around. They should probably come around to this–the intelligent, conscientious folks–and that might be where. Do you think they will? Is it generational?

CK: I think it will be.  If you look at it historically, societies tend to move toward more freedom, not less, as long as things stay reasonably stable in the society.  You look at segregation today and then back to 50 years ago and wonder, “What were they thinking? Why was this ever an issue?”  50 years from now–30 years from now–our kids are going to grow up and wonder, “What were they thinking?  Why was this an issue?”

AL: This is an emotionally charged issue.  This past year in the campaign against this amendment, people have been asked to have conversations and share their stories. What advice would you give people as they have these very difficult discussions?

CK: I’d say that when you talk to someone make sure they’re aware that you do respect that they have the right to believe what they want to believe but, at the same time, that this is an issue that strikes at the very core of what it means to be an American citizen.  In America, everyone pays taxes, everyone has the opportunity to serve in the military, and everyone can defend the freedoms and rights of the country.  And, you are entitled the same rights and privileges under the law as everyone else.  If you look at any sort of legal argument from the past for segregation, Plessy v. Ferguson, separate but equal doesn’t work.  American citizens should all be treated as American citizens.  When you deny someone their rights, you are effectively saying, “You are not as good of a human being as I am.  You are less than I am.  You don’t deserve the same protections that I do.”  And that’s just wrong. That’s not what America stands for.

AL: Part of that is coming out for some people–letting others know that you are who you are and that it affects you.

CK: Exactly.  We all live together in this nation. America’s inclusive–it’s not exclusive. We’re all in this together.

AL: I’ve been noticing an overwhelming sense of gratitude in the community–relief–when people share what you’ve written.  You’ve become a spokesman for them.  I’ve also noticed this rallying behind you, that you’ve struck such a chord and done so consistently.  My question is, what’s next for you?  Is there a Chris Kluwe for public office in our future?

CK: [Laughs] I don’t know if you saw my tweets last night [during the first presidential debate] but I’m not a real big fan of our political system. To me, there are some very fundamental instabilities in our political system right now that really need to be overhauled.  If you look at historical trends from various empires, it doesn’t end well.  The barbarians are always at the gates…and they’ll get in, eventually.  So, politics-wise, I have no plans for running for political office.  I’d like to keep writing–you know, pointing out stuff that doesn’t make sense. I’ve always felt that you should treat others the way you want to be treated.  A lot of life would be a lot easier for a lot of people if they just followed the Golden Rule. If you’re going to do something, ask yourself, “What would it feel like if someone else did that to me?” Then, if you look at it like, “I wouldn’t want someone else to do that to me,” don’t do it to anyone else.

AL: Right.  Easy. You’d think.

CK: You’d think.

AL: This is the final question.  You’ve been here since 2005, what do you think is going to happen in this election?

CK: If I could predict the future, I’d buy a Powerball ticket. What I hope will happen is that Minnesota will defeat this amendment because 31 other states haven’t been able to and it really is a disturbing sign that other states have felt that they need to oppress a certain segment of their population, of American citizens, and deny them equal benefits under the law.  Eventually, at some point, the Supreme Court is going to look at it and say that these are frankly unconstitutional–you’re using religious arguments to try and influence secular matters.  That is a violation of the First Amendment.  So, I hope that Minnesota will be the first state that says, “Look, we are not going to oppress our citizens. We’re going to realize that every citizen in this state is here for the betterment of the state. And we’re not going to say that just because you want to get married to someone of the same sex or just because you have a different religion or just because you have a certain skin color that we’re going to deprive you of your rights.”  Hopefully, we’ll defeat this.

Politics: An Interview with Governor Mark Dayton

Gov. Mark Dayton. Photo by Sophia Hantzes

Q&A with Governor Mark Dayton:

1.)   You were quite the crowd-pleaser at the Pride Parade in 2011 as the first governor of Minnesota to participate.  What were your thoughts last year and can we expect to see you again at the end of this month?

Everyone at the Pride Parade is so welcoming and encouraging that it is one of my favorite parades in Minnesota!  I have walked in Pride Parades since 1981, and I am looking forward to participating again this year.

2.)   We’ve got Marriage Equality on the ballot this year.  Can you give your impressions as to how we got to this point, what your position is, and what you predict might happen in November?

I predict that this November, Minnesota will become the first state to defeat this divisive and destructive anti-marriage amendment.  I believe Minnesotans are better than this, and they will rise above the mean-spirited politics, which put the amendment on the ballot.  It would deny certain Minnesotans the right others have to marry the persons they love.  That unequal treatment should be unconstitutional, and it is certainly unMinnesotan.

3.)   We certainly didn’t think we had a fight to keep discrimination out of the Constitution when we elected this last- set of politicians.  Do you have any words of advice to give our readers as we approach the next election day?

Elections have enormous consequences.  Look at the 55 bills I have vetoed during the past two years; you will see what would have happened to Minnesota, if I had not been fortunate to be elected Governor.  However, many of my initiatives were stymied by a Republican-controlled legislature.  This November will be a pivotal election in Minnesota, in which voters will decide upon our state’s direction for years to come.  And we must defeat two very bad Constitutional amendments.  Ask your readers to please get involved and please vote!

4.)   Considering the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is on the books, do you think we’ll see nationwide Marriage Equality in the near future?

I believe that all couples should have the same right to marry.   Equal rights and protections under the law are essential Constitutional guarantees.  I am encouraged that the First Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down part of DOMA, and I hope that the US Supreme Court will uphold this decision.  I believe that the campaign for Marriage Equality has made remarkable progress in our country during the past decade.  Not enough progress, but nevertheless remarkable.  Polls show that the next generations of Americans strongly support this essential Equal Right.  We’ll get there; the only question is when.

Living with Pride: Pets with Disabilities

Photo by Kris Getzie of Dog is Art Photography

Every day that I don’t wreck my dog is a gift. When I think of how much responsibility is in my hands, it’s overwhelming.  Grendel, my dog, is my dependent and his care is solely up to me.  It’s a wonder both of us continue to thrive as we do.

At least six times a day, we face certain peril in the concrete and steel stairwells that we’re required to use in my loft building.  No dogs are allowed in the elevator. Three times down and three times up is our minimum.  If we meet a dog we don’t like (Grendel hates black dogs and pugs…I don’t know why), it’s a cage-match.  If he plummets down the stairs too quickly, I fear for his toes or his legs or his belly and how they might get caught or scraped on the unforgiving steps, being he’s a low-riding dog.  I try to mitigate the risks.  I make sure to take us through as many doors with windows as possible, so nobody unknowingly opens a fire door into his wee face.  I strive to make sure that there are no other dogs in the stairwell when I take him up or down so that no tempers flare wildly out of control. And, I try to slow down the little juggernaut as he excitedly makes his way out to sunshine and freedom as our building exits onto a very busy St. Paul thoroughfare.

He loves being outside.  The outdoors is a cornucopia of things for him to sniff.  The world is his oyster, and he wants to mark it as his territory.  Slowly.  He goes in hyperspeed to get outside and then everything slows to a sputtering stop.

Contrary to Grendel’s enthusiasm, I get outside and see all the branches that can poke his ice-blue eyes out.  I fear the guy who always drives too fast while talking on his phone in the parking lot.  I stiffen up as I see the dog owners who break the rules and let their dogs off-leash, worried that they’ll approach us and all hell will break loose.

You know that book the Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook?  I’m all over that, except without the Survival Handbook part.  I pretty much just see the worst-case scenarios.  Why?  Because he’s my guy.  I don’t want harm to come to him.  Injury and illness might be inevitable to some extent, but I want to do all in my power to avoid them, for Grendel’s sake.  I can’t watch the end of Marley & Me, let alone imagine a time without this guy.  To think of him in pain is simply unacceptable.

Though, it’s entirely possible.

Photo by Kris Getzie of Dog is Art Photography

As I started researching the topic of pets with disabilities for this issue, I had catastrophes in mind.  A dog that loses a leg because of a car accident, a cat that was attacked by a dog, a pug that has a bad eye.  Surely, the gauntlet we run every day and emerge from unscathed has claimed many victims…just not us.

I asked some of the veterinarians around the Metro Area what some of the common disabilities are for pets; one response was that of surprise: We don’t see many pets with disabilities as, often, they’re put down. That was a chilling—but somewhat understandable—reaction.  When our pets’ health is at risk, we feel helpless and don’t know our own capacity for handling the challenges of aging or ailing animals.

As the answers started coming in from veterinarians, it became clear that more common disabilities are not from running the gauntlet of worst-case scenarios, but from just plain aging.  Arthritis is common as can be intervertebral disk disease and other musculoskeletal problems.  There are meds and supplements to be taken per the veterinarian’s orders, but there are also other holistic and adaptive techniques to handle health problems.

As far as advice is concerned, the vets were very helpful:


“Appropriate diagnostic tests to fully understand the cause and extent of the disability is important. Once we have a clear understanding of what is going on with the pet, we can offer the best advice for management.  Pain control is key.  We have so many great medications available for pets now, that pets don’t have to suffer.  We also offer acupuncture and rehabilitation therapy for pets.”  –Dr. Teresa Hershey, CCRT, CVMA


“Having a geriatric or otherwise-challenged companion animal adjusted by a properly qualified animal chiropractor can do wonders for them.  Most often, owners report they see a little spark return to their friend’s eye and a restoration of some level of function after the initial visit.  Supporting greater comfort with chiropractic care may assist healing, decrease anxiety and help the animal deal with whatever physical challenges they may be facing.”  –Annie Seefeldt, DC, CVSMT


“When a pet becomes disabled, it is important to educate the pet’s guardian as to what to expect and how to best manage discomfort and life quality. There are also support groups online, including, and”  –Heather Douglas, DVM, MBA, CVA


“The main goal is to keep your pet comfortable and content.  This usually involves medical treatment as well as practical, common-sense changes that can make things easier for your pet.  One of the most important things owners can do to help with arthritis is to keep their pet at a healthy weight.  Extra weight puts unnecessary strain on already painful joints. Exercise is beneficial to pets with arthritis.  It helps to keep the joints mobile, and also helps to keep the weight in check. Some other hints for around the house:  Ramps or stairs can be used to curtail jumping, but still allow pets to access beds, couches and vehicles.  Dishes should be elevated to reduce neck strain.  Harnesses can also help reduce neck strain during walks. Non-slip runners are helpful on hardwood or tile floors.  Cats will appreciate litter boxes placed in areas that are easy to access, not in the far corner of the basement.”  –Dan Anderson, DVM


“Trauma is always a concern. Trauma can lead to injuries that may result in limb amputation or paralysis of the legs. There are ways to get pets back up and walking again if they become paralyzed. is one company that specializes in wheels for dogs. One good thing about dogs and cats is that they can get around pretty well on just 3 legs.  Other disabilities that pets may develop are things such as blindness or deafness. Most pets can get along pretty well after becoming blind or deaf. Some of them actually develop pretty close relationships with other dogs or cats to help notify them or help them get around.  I also like to remind people that as pets age it is a good idea to get them a little more padding in their bedding. Their muscles atrophy as they age and provide less ‘padding’ on their joints.” — Dr. Mary Philippson, B.S., DVM


I joke with Grendel, sometimes, that he’s only 42 to my 35…we should both be a little more chipper and active.  But, I’m not that far off.  Even when he’s 77 to my 40, it’s my job to keep him as comfortable and active as he’ll allow.  The weight needs to be managed as much as catastrophes need to be avoided.  As short as he is, I can imagine a loft full of ramps and steps as he ages.  Hopefully, that’ll be the extent of any adaptation that will be required.

Now, as we turn in for a good night’s sleep, I hope I won’t roll over and smother him in the night, just like why new parents aren’t supposed to co-sleep with their babies.  Then again, he’s 48 pounds and carries it all in his torso, keeping his short legs curled in front of him like a beetle.  I’d have to roll over really hard to accomplish anything damaging…but I won’t rule it out.  Vigilance is key.


For products recommended by these veterinary professionals, see the Pet Product Guide.

Sexy Liberals Hit the City: The Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour

Stephanie Miller’s Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour is coming to the State Theatre today, May 12, much to Minnesota’s delight.  We’ve had a roller-coaster week with the Veep endorsing same-sex marriage, North Carolina’s Amendment One banning same-sex marriage, and the POTUS endorsing same-sex marriage, while hearing of more bullying and girding our loins for more campaigning against our own anti-Marriage Equality Amendment.  God, grant us some levity.

An answer to this prayer?  The Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour.

Do you need a safe space where you can gather with people who will laugh in the face of preposterous political stories and opinions?  Do you want to crack a smile and guffaw while throwing political-correctness out the window for simple, brazen opinion?  Even better, do you want to sit self-righteously in the knowledge that what you’re hearing is morally defensible, historically accurate, and intelligently constructed?  Yes?  We hear a bit too much about “reparative therapy” here in our fine state, so make sure you come out for some group therapy tomorrow night brought to you by laughter, the best medicine.  Homophobes will be called homophobes.  You’ll come out of this comedy show better able to argue in a political or religious debate than when you went in.*  Do yourself and your cause a favor and come hang out with the Sexy Liberals.

I had the opportunity to talk to John Fugelsang, one of the sexy outspoken members of the tour, yesterday morning.  John is known not only for his acting and comedy, but also his sharp commentaries regarding religion and politics.  Lavender will run a longer feature about John, his parents (a former nun and former Franciscan brother), and his thoughts on all-things-sociopolitical at a later date, but here are some serious snippets to woo you into joining the Sexy Liberals for some of your own reparative therapy…the kind that will hopefully undo some of the stress caused by the fight at the fore.  Imagine comedy…fueled by these philosophies.

Andy: The Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour has been touring the country for a year–how has it been received?

John: The audiences have been wonderful.  I really wanted to do this tour because I really believed there was an audience for it.  A progressive political comedy tour.  There are so many people in America who identify as progressive or liberal or Democrat or SANE or ANTI-EVIL and these folks are afraid to put an OBAMA bumper sticker on their cars when they go to their jobs or their church.  And Obama’s not even all that liberal in the big picture. We really wanted to bring this as a way of telling people ‘You’re not alone’ and in the most entertaining way possible.  What I really love about Stephanie is that I think she’s  a real radio innovator.  She’s the first person to take that zany, wacky morning zoo format and do something smart, moral, and political with it. We wanted to try to get that on the stage.  We wanted it to be the smartest, the funniest–the most morally defensible comedy show you’ll ever see.  There are lots of dirty jokes but they’re for a pristine cause.

Andy: I saw on The Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour’s Facebook page that you’re going to be bringing a big GAY Super-Sexy Liberal Party to us Saturday night.

John: Oh, yeah?  I didn’t see that, but it is certainly in the news this week and very relevant.  I was going to be talking about a bunch of other political issues but suddenly gay marriage is back on the front burner and I’m really excited about it.  There are few things I like talking about more than homophobia in a Christian context.  With my background especially, I get pretty angry when people try to use Christianity as a cover for bigotry.  I don’t know if you know about my parents, but the backbone of what I do is take what the Bible says versus what Jesus’s unauthorized fan clubs claim to believe.

Andy: North Carolina made the news this week with Amendment One.  Minnesota has its own anti-marriage amendment on the ballot this fall and we’re very serious about it.  Will the Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour hit the issue from a more fun perspective?  Be a little group therapy by way of humor?

John Fugelsang: Yes. From a fun perspective, but also from a moral and intellectual and Biblically correct perspective. Billy Wilder said that if you’re going to tell people the truth, make it funny or they’ll kill you…and that has been my guiding principle behind doing any kind of political stand-up and with the Stephanie Miller Show.  The good news for people who aren’t homophobes or haters is that when it comes to the issue of marriage equality, the Constitution, morality, Jesus, and intelligence, history are on our side.

Andy: About opening our minds, the topic of nature v. nurture has been coming up lately.  Do you have anything to say on the topic? 

John: I sure do, yeah. First off, in the big picture, nature v. nurture doesn’t matter if you’re serious about words like liberty and freedom for our society.  Whether you’re born that way or not born that way, if you believe in liberty and freedom, it’s irrelevant.  You can’t claim to care about liberty and freedom and then deny happiness and equality to taxpaying gay American citizens.  Now, my mom is a 78-year old former nun.  She said to me the other night after the announcement, “Who would choose to be gay in this culture? Who would sign up for a life of being scorned by their peers and […] being despised by your own culture?  Who would sign up for that?”  And that was what a 78-year old ex-nun who was born in the segregated south said to me the other night.  I couldn’t phrase it any better than that.  We’ve all known gay children.  We all have.  And, you know, I don’t believe that “gay” and “straight” are fixed identities. I believe in the Kinsey Scale and that you can be more one than the other. Quite frankly, I’ve known gay men who occasionally have been with women and I’ve known lesbians who enjoy the occasional hook-up with a man and GOD BLESS THEM. Lesbians who enjoy the occasional romp with a man have helped me go on living.  I believe in sexual fluidity.  I don’t get hung-up on this black-and-white mentality.  I believe in self-identification and that people get to decide what they are.  We have the freedom, this is what liberty is about.

Andy:  Where do you think this whole GLBT rights movement is going?

John:  When I was a teenager, I moved to Greenwich Village.  I still live there.  It was in the ’80s right when ACT UP was beginning to flourish.  I live right across from Stonewall in Sheridan Square.  To this day, I am astonished by how much progress we have seen in 25 years.  No other minority group has achieved so much equality in such a short period of time as the LGBT population. It makes me believe in America, it makes me believe in the human race.  The great irony of all of this is that it might never have happened were it not for a plague. AIDS and the devastating indifference to AIDS by the Reagan and Bush Administrations made the LGBT people mobilize and get together and get active in a way they probably never would have without it.

You know, irony is the one religion that will never let you down.  I think that we can look at this and say that beauty can come from the most horrible of tragedies and I think that the progress that LGBT citizens have made in the past 25 years is a direct credit to the human spirit.  That a devastating plague and societal indifference to it led to the greatest, most rapid advancement of civil rights for any minority group in human history. And I give credit to all the heterosexual folks who helped it all happen, too.

Andy: Speaking of administrations, what do you think of our right-wing Minnesotans?  Any words of support you can offer us?

John: It is the cruelest bitter irony ever that the state that gave us Bob Dylan also gave us Michele Bachmann, isn’t it? You know, look.  You can’t stop progress.  The status quo is always more organized–that’s why they’re the status quo, because evolution takes a long time and social progress takes a long time.  Michele Bachmann and Tim Pawlenty will live long enough to be ashamed of where they stood on marriage equality in the eyes of their own grandchildren.

Andy: Do you think it’ll just happen one day that we’ll wake up and everything will have changed for the better?

John:  No, it’s gradual. Our grandchildren will be shocked that gays were despised in our culture just as I’m shocked when my mother tells me about the segregated South that she grew up in. It’s a sign that we’re improving as a species. It’s generational.

Andy:  I was reading the other day about how tired we are of culture wars–how they’ve just got to stop.  We’re tired.  We’re done with them.

John: It’s never going to happen. It’s human nature to be fearful.  All this liberal/conservative crap, it’s really just a struggle between love and fear.  Are we going to to open our hearts and open our minds and grow and evolve or are we going to hide in our caves with our rocks and keep everyone else out?  Loving involves risk. Anytime you choose to love a person or a child or a group or a cause, you’re gonna get your heart broken. You’re gonna get disappointed. You’re gonna look silly because you chose to love. And it’s still the right way to conduct yourself.

Indeed.  Many thanks to John Fugelsang for taking time out of his busy day in Madison yesterday to talk to me about the show tonight at the State Theatre here in Minneapolis.  This was a generally serious conversation, but now you know what will be fueling the funny tonight.

Stephanie Miller’s Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour (with John Fugelsang and Aisha Tyler)
Saturday, May 12, 8pm
State Theatre, Minneapolis
Tickets: HERE 


Follow John Fugelsang on Facebook and Twitter.

The Stephanie Miller Show can be heard on AM950 from 8-11 weekday mornings.

*In the spirit of objectivity, please be sure to inform us when the Sexy Conservatives come to town to talk about Marriage Equality and fighting homophobia and we will promote the hell out of that event.  We’re serious.  Take us up on it.


Good Friday with Guster & Garlin

I got to spend Good Friday with my favorite Jewish guys from Tufts.  Ryan Miller, Adam Gardner, and Brian Rosenworcel have been in my CD player, on my iPods and in my heart ever since we were all around the same age in college when they hit it big with “Amsterdam” and “Careful.”  Little did I know that those two songs were just the tip of the iceberg.  With the addition of Joe Pisapia–and then the swap out for Luke Reynolds who’s with them now–Guster has only gotten more rounded-out and awesome.  And, in a venue such as the Pantages Theatre, we were in for a real treat.

As it turned out, we were in for an odd one.  I’m going to call it a “one-off.”  When they were in Minneapolis last year, the euphoria from the show carried me through until this one.  This year, there was more of an “aggresso-vibe” in the crowd, at least I think that’s what Ryan called in when I talked to the guys afterward.  Jeff Garlin was to be on stage with Guster and, for those of us who know him, we might’ve gotten a little tip-off that this wasn’t going to be your mama’s music show.  But, billed as it was as an acoustic show, I had hope that it’d be nicely segmented into comedy followed by music.  Jeff Garlin does a great roast.  Offensive, yell-back humor is his forté. Taken separately, Jeff Garlin is stinking hilarious just as Guster (with the addition of acoustic cello and violin) is harmonious.  Thrown together, it was more of a cacophony.

The crowd.  Oh, the crowd.  Talking to folks as the evening progressed, it was just plain confusing. From the start when the comic opening for Jeff Garlin got booed (it’s GUSTER…who boos at Guster?) to the end of the show when they sang us “Jesus on the Radio” without amplification, it was a wild ride. The comics did their thing, but the crowd reacted to the brash comedy by becoming a bit boorish and belligerent. The beer and booze went in, the din raised to a roar, and the control was never really regained from the stage.  Tweets and social networking posts seemed a bit low for the amazing music we were hearing–Guster was playing some of their early stuff that we rarely get to hear live any more, let alone with cello and violin…but we couldn’t hear it very well.  The jackass behind us who was “only there to spend time with his ‘mate’ and didn’t care about the music” had gotten himself a little too tipsy and his from-across-the-pond charm was wearing thin on everyone around him, but he would simply not shut up.  The whole quadrant of the main floor behind my right shoulder couldn’t have heard much of the show as the people who were yelling back at Garlin during his stand-up were still being obnoxious throughout the music set.  What could’ve been a great mix of hilarity and harmony just didn’t happen.

Frankly, the chemistry experiment went haywire.

I kept trying to get the pulse of the situation.  Tweets were saying stuff like it was the best show ever, but I don’t think everyone left with the same elated feeling as when we saw the Guster guys last.  It probably was the best show, but we just couldn’t hear it.  It was distracting to have Garlin on one side of the stage doing something while the musicians were on the other, playing music.  I get it that it was a new format and one that isn’t going to be permanent, but that was our one shot to get our fix.

After the show, I was nervous to meet the members of my favorite band.  Natch.  But, I was more nervous because I hadn’t shaken the ooky feeling of unease.  A Friday night with Guster should’ve been a sit-back, close-my-eyes, and let-my-toes-curl evening of just enjoying.  Instead, it just wasn’t.  As a member of the media, I got to ask the questions that were bugging me: How did they think it went?  What happened?  Why?

I got what I needed to hear: Validation.  I’m not going to over-process this and have some chai tea and ponder it for too long, but I just needed to hear that the night went sideways and it was not expected.  Ryan explained that since they didn’t have a new album to promote, they thought they’d mix it up with some comedy.  But that “aggresso-vibe” happened and, as he said, even the folks who could normally be calmed by the music weren’t coming back.

Believe me, Guster, from what we could hear of the amazing string additions to the old and newish songs we love, you didn’t need to mix it up any more than that.

Please come back soon.  Perhaps an Acoustic Redux?

See photo gallery:

Church Camp: The Naming Project

Summer camp. Youthful memories of a time of life when things were figured out between trips to the ballpark or mall. Life was sort of complicated in the way that only teenagers can complicate things. Camp was when those complications were concentrated and compacted into a time and place away from home; away from the usual rhythm of life. It was a brief stint of heaven or hell, depending upon who ended up in the lower bunk. Was reality suspended or was it a microcosm of the larger world? Homesickness. Puppy love. Learning to kayak. Swimming past the buoy. Generic peanut butter. Outhouses. Woven potholders in wacky colors. Capture the Flag. Campfires. Bugspray. Permanently damp swimsuits. Tie-dyed t-shirts.


Shame. Condemnation. Fear. Confusion.

How would camp have been different had it been geared toward GLBT and Allied youth? Some might say that it couldn’t have existed. Summer camp was church camp…and no such topic of sexual orientation would be allowed or addressed. If not church-based, summer camp was just summer camp and nobody talked about such things. Or, they did. But, they did so in secret.

That was then. 15 years ago or 50 years ago, the time of silencing the identity and discovery of young people is over. The long, painful history of denying sexual orientation and identity as part of the discourse in faith communities has passed.

Now, there is The Naming Project. One of a handful of camps in North America for gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans-identified, allied, and questioning youth, The Naming Project organization started its formation in 2002 as an answer to the question, was there a place where a gay youth could go to discuss sexuality as well as spirituality?

It was a simple—but revolutionary—question. No, there was not.

Since then, the founders of The Naming Project—Jay Wiesner, Ross Murray, and Brad Froslee—have built a multi-faceted organization with programming to help GLBTA youth learn, grow, and share their experiences. It includes outings to worship and fellowship experiences; resources for youth and parents; workshops and conversations for youth in schools, communities, and churches; workshops for youth workers, parents, and congregations; and, as seen here, a five-day summer camp for youth at Bay Lake Camp near Garrison, Minnesota.

The camp is on an island. Metaphorical or literal, the shift in reality is palpable.

What is found on the island is unconditional acceptance. There is enlightenment. Something is known there that has yet to be fully articulated elsewhere:

Whether gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans-identifying, an ally, or questioning, you have been created and named as “a beloved child of God.”

Again, revolutionary. To come from a society where GLBT individuals are called names throughout their lives, it was an imperative of The Naming Project that the youth know that in being created, baptized, and called they are given another name, “Child of God.”

Though on an island, the work of The Naming Project is not relegated to its boundaries. The youth leave Bay Lake with a charge to see how they fit into society and figure out what they can do to make it better which, by simply existing, they already do.

The Naming Project has been featured on Our America with Lisa Ling and in the documentary Camp Out.


A Beginner's Guide to a Lynx Game*

I went to my first Minnesota Lynx game on August 30 when they smacked the Washington Mystics at the Target Center, 73-56. I was worried; I’ve gone to one professional basketball game in my life…about eight years ago. I didn’t know how to go to a basketball game. “Smacked?” Is that the right word for trouncing the opponent in such a fashion? At one time, they were up by 20 points…the first half was a little iffy, but by the end it was clear: Our WNBA team is on their way to the playoffs and I fully expect a smackdown the whole way to the Championship. Big talk from someone who just went to her first Lynx game, but if there’s one thing I know about beginners and sports, we don’t take chances. This sounds like a sure thing.

What’s also a sure thing is that you should be at the games.

Never been to a game, either? Don’t psych yourself out about it. Let me be of assistance.

Don’t sweat the venue. The Target Center is just like any other big building in downtown Minneapolis that people go to for an event. If you’re accustomed to going to Orchestra Hall or the Walker Art Center for concerts or exhibits, it’s the same thing to be going to the Target Center for basketball. You find a place to park, you go to the box office, you find your seat, and you settle in to give yourself up to the Lynx for couple of hours. The space may appear surprisingly small and intimate to a first-timer. I was impressed that the seats are so close to the floor–like going to a show at First Avenue over the Xcel Center. The action is right there in front of us–smackdown central.

Look around and catch the energy.
Be prepared to know people. Minnesota is lucky to have one of only 12 Women’s National Basketball Association teams in the United States and, of course, it’s no surprise that a large percentage of the Lynx fan base is from the GLBT community. If not in the community, itself, the seats are full of enlightened people who have caught on to the fact that we’ve got a stellar women’s basketball team. The fans are loyal and growing in number, as well they should be. And, chances are good that you know some of the other enlightened individuals in the seats. It’s an energetic, feel-good group of people.

Mastery of the game of basketball is not required. I was worried that I wouldn’t know what was happening on the boards, that someone would out me and I’d be asked to leave. Not at all. People are extremely willing to give the rookie some pointers and though I may not have understood why the whistle blew at particular times, I got the gist of it. Turns out, the back-to-back years that I watched Duke win the NCAA Championship with my older brother 20 years ago came in very handy for understanding which players were in what roles for the Lynx (as players, not as attitudes).

Get to know our players and coaches. There are 11 players. It’s catchy when the crowd croons “MAYAHHH” whenever Maya Moore makes a basket. Former Gopher Lindsay Whalen was the top scorer against the Mystics and Candice Wiggins gave an inspirational speech after the game about HIV/AIDS Awareness. The players are real and they’re worth getting to know. All of the players got time against the Mystics and each one of them scored. Cheryl Reeves is the Head Coach; Shelley Patterson and Jim Peterson are the Assistant Coaches. Watch the coaches–they can be as fascinating as the players and the game. Like any other organized sport, they use a body language and signals. And, they use them to win.

Appreciation is easy. You’re there to be involved so get caught up in the excitement of the game. These women are phenomenal athletes. Not to be conflated with the euphemistic “physical fitness” aspect of a beauty pageant, any athletic event is a time to appreciate the abilities of the human body. The strategies of the human mind. The chemistry of a team. And, the crisp air of a victory. Okay…and if that’s a bit too flowery for you, they’re wiping the boards with their opponents. That’s stinking awesome.

*To those of you who are die-hard fans, thank you for indulging me and reading this Beginner’s Guide to your Lynx games. Be prepared to see more of us newbies in the seats in this next month and your patience and assistance is appreciated. I promise, though, that a real sports writer will be covering the playoff games in our upcoming issues. I know when it’s my place to just watch and learn.