Burroughs Adding Machine

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

The Inherent Tension in Spelling Bees

In a little more than an hour, the new spelling bee champion will be crowned. The Scripps National Spelling Bee has been streaming live on ESPN since yesterday, and will commence on ABC tonight.

There’s something unbelievably compelling and tension-filled about spelling bees. Still unbelievable to me that something so arcane and academic in nature draws such a wide audience. Mainstream media outlets like Slate have shed light on the predominance of Indian American spellers, who often participate in a kind of minor-league spelling bee circuit. Gawker, on the other hand, contrasts this year’s crop of spellers with the sudden-death wackiness of last year’s batch of homeschooled spellers.

If you’re like me, you can’t wait to see these kids spelling for their lives (pardon the appropriation, RuPaul).

Filed under: culture, education, entertainment, , , , , , ,

Discharged Marine Walks for DADT

Walker Burttschell, a discharged Marine, is walking from Norfolk, Virginia, to Washington D.C. to raise awareness about the importance of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. I was moved to hear about this simple act–one person, walking 200 miles and talking to strangers about his cause–gaining traction. Burttschell is a great example of acting rather than ranting (one of my own faults).

What’s been the response from those who encounter the former Marine?

I’ve generally received three types of responses: “That’s insane!”, “They still do that?” and “How do I get ahold of Senator Webb?

Congress may vote on a compromise to repeal DADT by the end of the week. Stay tuned.

Filed under: gay rights, military, , , , , , , , , , ,

Surfing the Net through your contact lenses

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Crazy notion, huh?

Researchers at the University of Washington have developed contact lenses embedded with electronic circuits. Still in its early stages of development, these lenses signal possibilities such as surfing the Internet, reading blood pressure, and even playing video games within one’s range of vision.

Imagine when corporate America gets a hold of this technology. “Runnin’ on Dunkin'” flashing across the bottom of your vision while walking the dog?

Filed under: technology, , , , ,

Civil Disobedience: Good for the Gays?

1245186285-us-whitehouse-logoThe “National March on Washington” is planned for this coming October. Intended to be a grand show of gay and lesbian protest for equality–the nation’s largest–it will serve as a bookend to the famous gay rights march in the 80’s during the AIDS crisis. The National March on Washington is planned for Columbus Day weekend; activists such as Cleve Jones, a friend of Harvey Milk, are in support of the event. Others believe it will not be effective because congress is not in session, and that there is not sufficient planning time.

Dan Savage proposes an interesting alternative: civil disobedience. One gay or lesbian couple on the doorstep of the White House, refusing to move and then arrested. It would drum up a bunch of media attention, and be, as Savage puts it, “The couples would keep coming. Every day an arrest. Drip, drip, drip.”

What do you think? Want to help organize, volunteer to be arrested, or spread the word?

Filed under: gay rights, , , , ,

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)
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About Me

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

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