Burroughs Adding Machine

Social justice, arts and politics, life in New York City

Dan Savage on The Birds & The Bees

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Sex columnist (yes, it’s easy to forget his day job with all of his fierce advocacy) Dan Savage discusses when, why, and how parents talk to their kids about sex. Movies, the Internet, the kids at school are all talking about it: perhaps parents should, too.

Savage’s interview is a part of the Big Think project. The Big Think has some other pretty cool articles too, including a map of state movies.

What’s refreshing is to hear Savage speak so directly: in addition to procreation, adults have sex for many reasons (namely pleasure); sex is pleasurable whether you’re gay or straight; and that, with only a twinge of sarcasm (and more than a good dose of humor), “sex exists so that you can live with someone for decades and decades…without killing them.”

A handsome, charitable, and articulate man.

Filed under: family, , , , , , ,

My Kid’s Going as Robocop

It’s a relentless news cycle focused on all things Halloween. Longest lines ever at the costume shop! Horror movies with more guts and gore than ever before! And my favorite: best costumes for your dog. American excess and obliviousness at its best.

Still, it amuses me to run across one dad’s detailed account of making a robot costume for his son. And not just any robot, but a mini Robocop. Shot all over the city of Detroit with the assistance of cops, revolving doors, and futuristic locales.

Dad reports:

While we were talking, some Hollywood-type rushed over to take a picture of the kid with his camera phone. “I’m good friends with Peter Weller, the guy who played Robocop on the movie,” he said. “He’s gonna get a kick out of this.” The guy proceeded to e-mail the photo to Weller, so chances are the real Robocop has seen my little Robocop.

Who’s having more fun, father or son?

Filed under: consumerism, culture, family, humor, , , , , , ,

Kudos to the “It Gets Better” Project

I knew there was a reason I loved Dan Savage.

Besides being one of the most reasonable and fiercest advocates for gay and lesbian rights, Savage has charisma that stretches for miles. In this new video about being bullied in high school–and the acknowledgment, many years later, of a bright present–he and his partner talk frankly about how difficult life was.

And how satisfying family life (they have a teenager named TJ) is today.

More about the “It Gets Better” Project–aimed at an audience of young gay kids who may be considering suicide–is at the newly launched YouTube channel. Good, heartfelt, stuff.

Filed under: family, gay life, , , , ,

Have You Ever Lied to Me?

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Maybe it’s because I’m a little down and overworked these days, but this sweet video from the excellent non-profit StoryCorps moved me. Storycorps allows ordinary folks to record and archive the stories of their loved ones. More than 50,000 people have participated; their oral histories are archived in the Library of Congress, and some are heard on NPR or complimented with animation–like this one.

In the video, a twelve year-old boy named Joshua Littman, who happens to have Asperger’s syndrome, interviews his mom. Watch the video–and try your hand at retaining your cyncism.

Filed under: family, , , , , ,

Spike Lee Meets The Family Slaveowners

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The heart of Texas. A century after his ancestors were freed from slavery, Spike Lee meets his relatives. And not all of his family were slaves.

We know that our American slave history included the horrendous abuse and rape of slaves; the possibility of white and black Americans being related today is not a surprise. In Lee’s ancestry, we learn that his great-great-great grandmother, Mathilde, was a mulatto in the 1860’s. Mathilde worked in the plantation house of her slaveowners as a cook. As a mulatto, history indicates that Lee’s slave ancestor may have been the daughter of the white slaveowner.

Witnessing Spike Lee’s journey from his New York home to the deep South, I could not help but admire his life work: chronicling the African American experience in film. Do the Right Thing may be one of my favorite movies, and as a teenager growing up in the Midwest with little experience with non-Asian or non-White heritage, Lee’s groundbreaking film opened my eyes to the racism in the rest of America. I’ve always been impressed by Lee’s artistry, integrity, and commitment to fighting racism. His appearance last night on the television show, Who Do You Think You Are?, again shows his thoughtfulness and curiosity.

Filed under: ancestry, entertainment, family, , , , , , , , ,

Publications

BIOGRAPHY

RECENT PUBLICATIONS
» "Pinays," AGNI, Spring 2016
» "Dandy," Post Road, Spring 2015
» "Wrestlers," Fifth Wednesday, Spring 2014
» "Babies," Joyland, August 2011
» "Nicolette and Maribel," BostonNow, May 2007
» "The Rice Bowl," Memorious, March 2005
» "The Rules of the Game," Screaming Monkeys: Critiques of Asian American Images (Coffee House Press, June 2003)
» "Deaf Mute," Growing Up Filipino (Philippine American Literary House, April 2003)
» "Good Men ," Genre, April 2003
» "The Foley Artist," Drunken Boat, April 2002
» "Squatters," Take Out: Queer Writing from Asian Pacific America (Asian Am. Writers' Workshop, 2001)
» "Deaf Mute," The North American Review, Jan 2001
» "The First Lady of Our Filipino Nation," The Boston Phoenix, 1999
» "Paper Route," Flyway Literary Review, 1996
» "Brainy Smurf and the Council Bluffs Pride Parade," Generation Q (Alyson, 1996)
July 2020
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About Me

Ricco Villanueva Siasoco is a Manhattan-based writer and non-profit manager. More

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