Monthly Archives: September 2007

September 21, 2007

By now you’ve almost certainly heard the news about Jerry Sanders, the Republican mayor of San Diego who reversed his position against same-sex marriage.

What you probably haven’t heard the news about is the fact that the press conference at which he made the announcement is deeply, deeply moving.

This probably won’t affect Arnold Schwarzenegger’s probable veto of the gay-marriage bill the California Assembly just passed, but when a politician actually wrestles with his conscience to figure out the right thing to do I figure we should let him know we appreciate it. Write him a letter of support at

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 7 Comments

September 20, 2007

Folks who live in or around the New York metropolitan area, I will be reading part of Swish at the following event.

It’s comedy just like your mom used to make. If your mom was really really gay.

Saturday, September 22nd, at 8:30 PM
only seven bucks admission
at the LGBT Community Center 208 W 13th Street New York NY 10011

With Special Guests

Betty Pages: Pregnant evangelical with a ukulele. Of course.
Joel Derfner: Gayest Person Ever
Leigh Thompson: Heartland escapee/furious trans activist/raging queer

And, as always,

Your host, Glitter Queen Bevin Branlandingham
Kelli Dunham, The Raging Koala Bear Comic
Petunia the Trivia Goddess with fabulous prizes

The last time I read from Swish I ended up taking all my clothes off onstage, so who knows what might be on offer this time?

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 10 Comments

September 14, 2007

How did Stephan Pastis gain access to my innermost thoughts?


(From a friend who knows me well.)

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 3 Comments

September 12, 2007

I’ve written a number of times about my father in this blog. I’ve written about his impressive record litigating cases before the Supreme Court. I’ve written about his sometimes odd views on fairness. I’ve written about the extraordinary letter he sent me one Yom Kippur. I’ve even written about the power of his imagination.

I haven’t mentioned that he gets awards all the time. From the NAACP, from the ACLU (on whose national board he served for several years), from the AFL-CIO. In 2002 he was named Trial Lawyer of the Year by the Trial Lawyers for Public Justice.

Several weeks ago, however, he and his firm won an award that is apparently one of the most sought-after in the country, the American Bar Association’s Pro Bono Publico Award, given in recognition of “outstanding commitment to volunteer legal services for the poor and disadvantaged.”

The ABA made a very short video about the firm’s pro bono work; that is, work they do for free. (The other firms that won the award were all bragging at the awards banquet about how an impressive 3% of their work was pro bono. Then they showed my father’s video with its casual mention that a quarter of their work is pro bono and I was like, YES! We WIN!)

The video is about three minutes long, and it’s worth watching at least a little bit of just to see my father in a seersucker suit and a Panama hat. I mean, that’s what he wears all the time, but it’s not something one sees online very often.

While I’m feeling particularly proud, I’ll also direct you to a description of some of the pro bono work the firm has done, as well as a short profile of my father.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 9 Comments

September 7, 2007

So three days ago my computer died a terrible, agonizing death. It was so dead I couldn’t even turn it on. No Mac frowny face, no question mark. Just a little message saying I should reboot. It would have been very, very easy to get caught in an endless loop, especially as I enjoy following orders. I kept on doing as I was told, rebooting time and time again, but eventually I had to leave for a meeting.

So now I have a fancy new computer, and I face once again the dilemma that confronts us all in such times: what do I name my hard drive?

My past several hard drives have been named, in chronological order, Beelzebub, Elizabeth Bennett, and Becky Sharp.

At the moment I’m considering Florence Foster Jenkins but I suspect I’ll be over that by the time I wake up tomorrow.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 24 Comments