I am a mid-30's something gay white male, third-generation native Washingtonian, living in NW DC. I work in local politics and can be found hanging with friends at the DC Eagle, Titan, and various happy hour spots around town including Zengo, and sometimes Cafe Nema. More often than not, though, I can be found dallying in billiards and addictive bar video games. Bud light is my drink of choice. Buy me one, ok?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Finally I speak regarding the elections

I kind of surprised myself when I didn't rush here to write about my reaction to the November 7 elections. While I wouldn't change the results, I really wish we'd picked up more seats in both the Senate and the House. And I wish we had a better qualified person as Speaker than Nancy Pelosi. I'm sure, ok, not so sure, that she's an okay person. My fears about her were realized very early on when she openly campaigned for John Murtha to be House Majority Leader over Steny Hoyer.

For right now, I'm going to leave her be, and hope she doesn't turn out to be the nightmare I'm worried she'll become.

Lest you all view me as a party pooper about the whole thing, let me get one thing very clear -- and that is I'm freakin' ecstatic the W, Cheney and Rummy no longer have those right-wing conservative nutjobs in control of Congress to back them up. And, Rummy, bless is "I'm staying the course" heart, well, he's just gone.

I've revelled in what the downfalls of Mark Foley and Ted Haggard meant to the elections, yet do have a certain amount of pity for each of them, more so for Haggard though. Whether or not Foley had sex with a minor, he wanted to, and talked about doing so in writing. He clearly has problems, I just wish he wouldn't attempt to mask them by seeking treatment for alcohol. Maybe he's an alcoholic. I'll give him that, but this in no way excuses his actions or desires. I read an interview online somewhere, forgive me, I don't recall where, with Mike Jones during which he was asked if Haggard were a power bottom, or just a bottom. He replied basically that he didn't wish to get into specifics, but said he was a bottom and that he was probably attracted to Jones because he was well endowed. Come on. How could a personality like Haggard be anything other than a power anything?

And how fucking entertaining is this Sheila Sekula-Gibbs robo-Congresswoman anyway? Wonkette said it so very appropriately when she wrote, "Bitch crazy!" It almost makes you hope that she and Cynthia McKinney will get together and write a joint memoir of their time serving the nation and their constituents.

I think back now to when Ronald Reagan was president. My great-Uncle Bob would always, always, refer to Reagan as "the knucklehead." In this time of lame-duckedness for W, I think it only fitting to salute Uncle Bob, now age 89, and Ronald Reagan, by christening W as Nukkelhed.

Now, Speaker-Elect Pelosi, please, please, please, don't make me have to give you a nickname. I'll be watching. My friend John thinks you'll pick out fabulous drapes for your new office. If you need help, and in the spirit of my being willing to put aside my differences, I'd be glad to go over swatches with you.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

I didn't like seesaws when I was a kid and I sure don't like them now

Mark Foley. Thank you.
John Kerry. Fuck you.
Ted Haggard and Mike Jones. Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou.

Seesaws, merry-go-rounds. These things always made me nauseas as a kid. The past month, with all this political back and forth, has been just as dizzying. I only hope that dear Ted and his indescretions are enough to carry the dems to victory Tuesday.

First the guy says he doesn't know the accuser. Then he bought drugs from him and got a massage from him. By tomorrow night he'll be in drug rehab and saying he got it up the ass from Mr. Jones.

And then there's Cheney. Jesus. It still boggles the mind that W & Cheney got elected in 2004 after their disastrous appointed term, but that's all water under the brdge, I guess. Cheney told ABC news basically that what the voters want doesn't matter and will not have any influence on the administration's policy with respect to Iraq and said, "It may not be popular with the public — it doesn't matter in the sense that we have to continue the mission and do what we think is right. And that's exactly what we're doing. We're not running for office. We're doing what we think is right." It may not be popular with the public? He's damn fucking right it isn't. The gaul of this guy and his ilk.

Please don't let the seesaw teeter the other way before Tuesday night. GOD!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Thank you John Kerry

I swear, if he has fucked things up, I will go apeshit.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Ten Scary Things about DC

Halloween is here again and I am thinking of scary things, related to DC.

  1. W (speaks for itself, doesn't it?).
  2. Cheney (ibid).
  3. Rumsfeld (again).
  4. Loads and loads of luxury condos. The developers have curious ideas of what makes something luxury anymore, don't they?
  5. Lack of representation in Congress. Sure, they might be tossing us a bone soon by letting Mrs. Norton have a vote in the House, but it's just not enough. We must demand the same representation every other American has and is entitled to.
  6. Scratch and Dent at the Eagle at 3am on a Sunday morning.
  7. Colored stockings. Why don't women stick to hues that match their skin tone? The colored ones belong on children.
  8. S&M Bars.
  9. Dennis Hastert.
  10. Nightfall before I get out of work. YIKES!

Friday, October 27, 2006

I'm back at blogspot

When I first decided to dabble in the world of blogging, blogspot is where I landed. And then a friend tempted me over to Yahoo.com's 360, which from all appearances is a myspace kind of site. And it's ok, but it's much more than a blog, and really all I want is a blog, so I'm back here at blogspot.

And, while this could be unethical in blogger terms, I have copied my blogs from there, to here, by date.

So I'm back, and now I want people to read my stuff, dammit. LOL

White House denies Cheney OK'd torture


ARGH! Make it stop, make it stop. Bush had the gaul to say this:

"This country doesn't torture. We're not going to torture."

God I hope we vote them all off the island on November 7th. PLEASE!

October 21, 2006 -- Emmylou Harris at Strathmore

Finally, I have seen Emmylou live in concert. Asked my friend John, another devotee of Ms. Harris, to join me, and he enthusiastically did. We had dinner at Annie's in DC, then headed to Bethesda to the Strathmore for the show.

Absolutely awesome performance. If it's possible for me to be in even further awe of her voice and her talent, I am. Her voice has been described as otherworldly and heavenly, and those who claim this are right to do so. Whether singing "Didn't Leave Nobody But the Baby," from "O Brother, Where Art Thou?," the Beatles' "For No One," or countless of her own songs, Emmylou wowed everyone in the concert hall. And when she stepped over to the acoustic microphone to engage Pam Rose and Mary Ann Kennedy in gorgeous, heartstopping three-way harmony on "Bright Morning Stars," I very literally swooned.

I remain to be puzzled by people who go to concerts and feel the need to talk during the performance as if they were in their living room or on their front porch. We had one such talker at the end of our row, on the aisle. He was shooshed from all angles, but this did not dissuade him. But then he did the unforgiveable. As Emmylou began into Neil Young's "After the Goldrush," this boob, decided it would be a good idea to add his voice to the harmony. Emmylou had to have heard the chorus of SHHHHHHHHHHHHH all the way down on the stage. What a moron. At the end of the show, he refused to stand up so anyone could pass by, so I squeezed my enormous ass right on through.

This annoyance, in comparison to the show, while bothersome, bearly registered. John asked me going into the concert what one song I wanted to hear, and I said, "Boulder to Birmingham." And his was "Evangeline," by The Band. John sort of got his wish, as she sang "O Evangeline" from her Stumble Into Grace album, and I scored during the encore when she did mine. The most pleasant surprises for me were her inclusion of "Going Back to Harlan," a McGarrigle Sisters tune off of "Wrecking Ball," and what Emmylou called one of Neil Young's many apocolyptic little ditties, "After the Goldrush." LOL

Billboard Magazine, in 1999 made Emmylou the eighth recipient of its Century Award, given previously to George Harrison, Buddy Guy, Billy Joel, Joni Mitchell, Carlos Santana, Chet Atkins and James Taylor (it has since been given to Randy Newman, John Mellancamp, Annie Lennox, Sting and Stevie Wonder, and Tom Petty is due to receive it this year). Writing about her selection for the honor, Billboard said, "As both a truly venturesome, genre-transcending visionary and a provocative guardian of counry music's living heritage, Emmylou Harris has uncompromisingly advanced the cause of roots music in our nation and its artistic and cultural resonance around the world."

And now here I am at home, listening to random Emmylou tracks from my iPod. I'm reminded just how damned good her voice is suited to Willie Nelson's by hearing "My Own Peculiar Way," from his "Teatro" album, which she provided backing vocals on.

If anyone reads this, other than Ethan, LOL, and you don't know of Emmylou, check her out. Her first album, "Pieces of the Sky," is a great starting point. And "One Big Love" from her "Red Dirt Girl" album is another one. And let me know what you think. Oh yeah, also check out "Light of the Stable," the title track from her late 1970s Christmas album. This song features harmony from Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt and Neil Young, and is nothing short of amazing.

October 19, 2006 -- 25 Most Played Songs on my iPod

I bought my iPod in April and love it. I got the 30 gig w/video. It's awesome. I currently have 8 days worth of music should I click play and let it run, or 10.54 gig's used. My taste is quite eclectic, which you get a peak at by my posting of my 25 Most Played Songs.

1. This Is Us -- Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris
2. Crazy -- Gnarls Barkley
3. High Powered Love -- Emmylou Harris
4. Stars Are Blind -- Paris Hilton
5. A Love That Will Never Grow Old -- Emmylou Harris
6. Solsbury Hill -- Erasure
7. SOS -- Rihanna
8. The Scarlett Tide -- Elvis Costello
9. Crescent City -- Emmylou Harris (are you sensing a pattern? LOL)
10. Feel Good Inc. -- Gorillaz
11. Rental Car -- Beck
12. The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide is Press Coverage -- Panic! At the Disco
13. SST -- Prince
14. Neighborhood #4 (7 Kettles) -- The Arcade Fire
15. Love and Happiness -- Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris
16. Sin City -- Beck and Emmylou Harris
17. Mrs. Robinson -- Indigo Girls
18. Hung Up -- Madonna
19. Hell Yes -- Beck
20. Swollen Summer -- The Bravery
21. Roly Poly -- The Little Willies
22. Virginia Moon -- Foo Fighters with Norah Jones
23. Dirty Harry -- Gorillaz
24. Demon Days -- Gorillaz
25. A Public Affair -- Jessica Simpson

Yes, I love Emmylou Harris. Going to see her for the first time in concert Friday night and can hardly contain my excitement.

While I'm at it.... I did a shuffle just now, and here are the 25 songs that popped up randomly:

1. Lift Me Up – Moby
2. Scream If You Wanna Go Faster – Geri Halliwell
3. Like the 309 – Johnny Cash
4. Live With Jesus – Wynonna Judd
5. The River of Dreams – Billy Joel
6. Keep Your Eyes on Jesus – Pam Tillis with Johnny Cash and the Jordanaires
7. Little Bird – Emmylou Harris
8. Out of Line – The Bravery
9. Pullin’ Back the Reins – k.d. lang
10. Goldfinger – Shirley Bassey
11. J’Ai Fait Tout – Emmylou Harris
12. Wheels of Boredom – The Soundtrack of Our Lives
13. Crazy For You – Madonna
14. Ain’t It Funny – J-Lo
15. Cruelty – Kosheen
16. Smile – Tony Bennett and Barbra Streisand
17. Alone – Mary J. Blige
18. Blow, Gabriel, Blow – Kevin Kline, Jonathan Pryce, Cast and Chorus
19. The Entertainer – Billy Joel
20. Behind These Hazel Eyes (D.J. Damien Edward Matthews Mix) – Kelly Clarkson
21. Demon Days – Gorillaz
22. You – Bonnie Raitt
23. Wildwood Flower – The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band with Mother Maybelle Carter
24. Detective – No Doubt
25. Lost Unto This World – Emmylou Harris

What's on your 25 Most Played list?

October 18, 2006 -- Rumsfeld OKs plan to recall battalions


Just when in the fuck are we going to rise up and recall Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld. It's just terrifying what they are being allowed to do. Jesus fucking Christ!

September 19, 2006 -- Stop the world, I want to get off!

My grandmother says this frequently, and unfortunately, says it more and more these days. I'm tending to agree with her. Ok, so the US deports this guy based on information given to it by Canada. Fine. Then why refuse to cooperate with the investigation? To hell with George W. Bush, since that's where's he's leading the rest of us!

Panel: Canadian falsely accusedUpdated 9/19/2006 8:14 AM ET

TORONTO (AP) — A government commission said Monday that Canadian police informed U.S. authorities an Ottawa man was an Islamic extremist suspected of links to al-Qaeda — inaccurate information that likely led the Americans to deport him to Syria where he was imprisoned and tortured.

The commission of inquiry into the case of Syrian-born Maher Arar exonerated him of all suspicion of terrorist activity and urged the federal government to offer financial compensation. Arar claims he was a victim of extraordinary rendition — or the U.S. transfer of foreign terror suspects to third countries without court approval.

"I am able to say categorically that there is no evidence to indicate that Mr. Arar has committed any offense or that his activities constitute a threat to the security of Canada," Commissioner Dennis O'Connor said in a three-volume report on the findings of the inquiry, only part of which was made public.

Arar, a software engineer, was traveling on a Canadian passport when he was detained at New York's Kennedy Airport on Sept. 26, 2002, during a stopover on his way home to Canada from vacation in Tunisia.

Arar said U.S. authorities sent him to Syria for interrogation as a suspected al-Qaeda member, an allegation he denied.

He spent nearly a year in prison in Syria. After his release in 2003, Arar made detailed allegations about extensive interrogation, beatings and whippings with electrical cable in Syrian prison cells.

Justice O'Connor also criticized the U.S. and recommended that Ottawa file formal protests with both Washington and the Syrian government over Arar's treatment.

The U.S. is already under intense criticism from human rights groups over the practice of rendition of suspects to countries where they could be tortured.

President Bush acknowledged earlier this month that a small number of high-value terrorism suspects had been held in secret CIA-run prisons in other countries. They included the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, Khalid Sheik Mohammed.

U.S. and Syrian officials refused to cooperate in the Canadian inquiry.

The commission found the Royal Canadian Mounted Police shared information about Arar with American anti-terrorist agencies both before and after he was detained. Among other things, the RCMP wrongly described Arar to the Americans as "an Islamic extremist suspected of being linked to the al-Qaeda terrorist network."

The force also described him as the "target" of a domestic anti-terrorist investigation in Canada when in fact he was a peripheral figure who had come under suspicion only because he had been seen in the company of another man who was under surveillance.

O'Connor concluded the inaccurate information passed by Canadian police to U.S. authorities "very likely" led to their decision to send Arar to Syria.

"It's quite clear that the RCMP sent inaccurate information to U.S. officials," Arar said. "I would have not have even been sent to Syria had this information not been given to them."

"I have waited a long time to have my name cleared. I was tortured and lost a year of my life. I will never be the same," Arar said. "The United States must take responsibility for what it did to me and must stop destroying more innocent lives with its unlawful actions."

The commission concluded there was no evidence Canadian officials participated in or agreed to the decision to send Arar to Syria. But O'Connor recommends that in the future, information should never be provided to a foreign country where there is a credible risk that it will cause or contribute to the use of torture.

Most of the judge's 23 policy recommendations centered on the RCMP and emphasized the need to improve the force's internal policies for national security investigations and the sharing of information with other countries.

Arar's case has regularly been featured on the front pages of Canadian newspapers and public outcry led to the government calling an inquiry. Canada's federal government established the inquiry in 2004 to determine the role Canadian officials played.

O'Connor also found "troubling questions" about the role played by Canadian officials in the cases of three other Arab-Canadians, Ahmad El Maati, Abdullah Almalki and Muayyed Nureddin. All claim they were tortured in Syria after traveling there on personal business, and all suspect that the RCMP and/or Canada's spy agency collaborated with their captors.

O'Connor said he could not get to the bottom of those cases because of the limited nature of his mandate. But he urged the government to appoint an independent investigator — something short of a full-fledged public inquiry — to look into those cases.

O'Connor sifted through thousands of pages of documents and sat through testimony from more than 40 witnesses. He delivered two versions of his report to the government: one classified, the other public. But portions of even the public edition of the long-awaited document will be withheld due to security concerns.

September 17, 2006 -- The life of the nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful, and virtuous

I'm increasingly wondering why the United States remains as big a player in the United Nations as it has, since it doesn't seem to have more than just a small handfull of allies anymore. Look what backing W has done for Tony Blair. But, he deserves it, really. How anyone so seemingly intelligent could remain steadfastly in support of W defies all logic. I read yesterday that the upcoming election for the General Secretary of the UN features mostly candidates from Asia, with one new entry from Latvia. Seems that while unofficially the post of General Secretary rotates among the continents, with the next to be Asian, the US wants to buck tradition and have a European selected.

I am about sick of the roles my country attempts to play or to force down other countries throats. Who fucking made the United States God? Why aren't there more Cindy Sheehans? Why aren't more and more parents, spouses, friends, children demanding to speak with "their" president, and demanding an immediate end to this charade of a war in Iraq. They ought to be suing W, Rummy and Cheney for war crimes inflicted upon them for the loss or injury of a loved one, or in some cases, loved onces. Trouble is, too many of these people remain blinded, or are so completely brainwashed by the christian right, that they continue to wave the god damn American flag. I have nothing against our troops other than the fact that they have been sent into what they've been sent into under the guise that they are fighting for America. Bull fucking crap.

A friend's sister recently told me on weekends she was going to be traveling to certain political hotspots to help ensure democrats gain, or at least retain existing seats in the House and the Senate. Sounds like a great idea to me. We need a Congress with the courage and the resolve to stand up to W, Rummy and Cheney and tell them that our troops are coming home.

Abraham Lincoln, speaking on slavery in 1865 to Union Troops, said, "Whenever I hear any one arguing for slavery I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally." This statement, as simple, yet as crystal clear as it is, can be applied to so many of our modern battles, including W's, Rummy's and Cheney's war. Frederick Douglass said, "Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them, " and "The life of the nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful, and virtuous." These were both good men who got it. "Honest, truthful and virtuous."

If I were the praying sort, I would be praying my ass off that we soon find more such people who get it, to help us out of this mess.

September 15, 2006 -- Kinda Sorta Follow-up to Guilty Pleasures Blog from 7/17/06

So in my Guilty Pleasures blog from a couple months ago, I listed Paris Hilton's song "Stars are Blind," as one of my guiltiest. Last night I'm sitting, chilling, at my favorite haunt, the DC Eagle and on the digital juke box comes guess what? You got it, "Stars are Blind." And there are maybe 9 customers, 3 employees and very nearly everyone is bobbing their head to the reggae beat. Then there's this very butch black guy just lip sycnhing his heart out.

Just about one of the funniest things I've ever seen. Two of the customers went over to the juke box to see who was singing and I thought they'd about die.

I like weird shit like this. Satisfies me to no end.

September 10, 2006 -- Coming Out

In my blog on July 11, I said, "now I just need to do it." So I finally did.

On August 29, 2006, I came out of the closet to just about everyone I know. The response has been very positive and in some cases surprisingly supportive. The hellfire and brimstone I was anticipating from the bible thumping branch of my family just did not happen.

Here is a link to an Op-Ed piece I submitted to, and which was published in, the Washington Blade (DC's gay newspaper). Upon it's publication, I made sure all in my family who I had not told and some friends I had not told, saw it.

It can be found here:

August 11, 2006 -- POEm

One of my favorite poems (I'm still heading down the Valley of the Shadow, I haven't given up yet. Darn those cheese workers in Wisconsin!):

Edgar Allen Poe

Gaily bedight,
A gallant knight,
In sunshine and in shadow,
Had journeyed long,
Singing a song,
In search of Eldorado.

But he grew old—
This knight so bold—
And o'er his heart a shadow
Fell as he found
No spot of ground
That looked like Eldorado.

And, as his strength
Failed him at length,
He met a pilgrim shadow—
"Shadow," said he,
"Where can it be—
This land of Eldorado?"

"Over the Mountains Of the Moon,
Down the Valley of the Shadow,
Ride, boldly ride,"
The shade replied—
"If you seek for Eldorado!"

August 10, 2006 -- People, Their Cell Phones and Unrecognized Numbers

One of my major frustrations is unwanted phone calls on my cell phone from some moron who says, "this number just called my phone?"

First of all, most numbers don't have the ability to dial someone else's digits. Second, if I see a number pop up I don't recognize, I usually let it go unanswered. Sure curiosity is natural and you wonder who it is. But if there is no voicemail, then obviously it was a wrong number or something like that. I just had one of these calls.

"Yeah, this number just called my phone?" To which I replied, "No, I'm sorry, but it didn't," and hung up. The guy calls back, "Yo slim, why you gonna just hang up on a brother like that for, this number for sure called my phone." *Sigh* "I'm really sorry, but it did not. My phone is sitting here peacefully on my dresser and doesn't have the ability to flip open and dial by itself, and I was watching tv so did not dial either." His reply, "fuck you asshole and stop calling me." LOL

Another phenomena for me is calling someone, getting their voicemail, leaving a specific message. They call you later, "you called?" "Yes, I did, did you get my message?" "No, I didn't check, what did you want?" ARGH!

Would it be evil of me to call the "fuckyou asshole" guy later? >;-)

August 10, 2006 -- Come fly away.... ummm... maybe not

So the Brits have foiled an air-terror plot. And we're in Code Red. Now more than ever, I just don't like flying. The only thing I like about flying, as probably most people do, is that it's the fastest way. Well, to heck with that. A flight from Baltimore to Buffalo takes like 50 minutes. The drive time is 9 hours. So a couple months ago we had a 9:30 a.m. flight. Had to be there by like 8, which entailed leaving at 7. Flight arrived at 10:30 and by the time we got the rental car and got to our destination, it was 11:30. Is it really more convenient? If I can't drive there, I don't think I'm going to go anymore.

Am I just a curmudgeon?

Now they are going to ban all liquids, for god knows how long. Anything to make flying more cumbersome. Pretty soon they won't allow any carry-ons. We'll have to check our shoes. My last flight, to and from Nashville, was tolerable primarily due to my newish iPod. Now they too are banned. COME ON! I know full well why this is going on, safety, and I can appreciate that, but why is everything so kneejerk anymore?

I think I'll settle for driving to the beach for my getaways. Yeah.

August 8, 2006 -- If I were stuck on a TV show for 24 hours...

The Simpsons, of course. So I could meet Groundskeeper Willie. He's kinda hot and a weirdo. I like both of those traits in a guy.

August 7, 2006 -- The one song that underscores the defining moment in my life is...

"I Can't Dance," by Genesis.

Why? On April 19, 1992 I turned 21 and finally--finally--got my driver's license. After my mother and I got back to the apartment, she let me take the car (brave soul that she is) out for a spin. I drove down Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring to Viers Mill Road and back to Connecticut Avenue. Just before the Northgate shopping center, I realized I'd gone all that way without music, so I turned the radio on to Q-107 and I forgot what song was just ending, but the song that kicked on next was....what? That's right... "I Can't Dance," and boy did I dance and jam and drive that Geo Prism to that song until it ended. Afterward I went home and turned over the car to my relieved mother.

To this day, that song takes me back to the beginning of my driving experience.

August 4, 2006 -- Gimme, Gimme, Gimme (A Surcharge After Midnight)

More and more I'm seeing news reports and articles on the woes of Taxicab drivers related to higher gasoline prices. Well hello? Yeah they can raise rates, add gas surcharges, but guess what? Their customers aren't getting high gasoline raises at work, or bonuses because it costs them more to drive to and from work.

Sure, complain like the rest of us, but don't expect handouts.

August 1, 2006 -- All in the name of a god?

I submitted the following letter to the editor to the Washington Post on Sunday. They did not opt to print it.

Dear Editors:

Of course Israel is on a violent rampage through Lebanon. After all, the United States is its chief sponsor and contributor, and is in the midst of its second war in the Middle East. Both wars were started by Presidents named Bush. Why doesn’t Israel care that its air strikes killed 34 children today? Look who it has as a role model. The Associated Press reported today that “[Condoleezza] Rice, in Jerusalem for talks with Israeli officials, said she was ‘deeply saddened by the terrible loss of innocent life’ but stopped short of calling for an immediate end to the hostilities.” Just when you think the world cannot get any worse, more bombs fly. And for what? To defend someone’s god?

Jihads, ethnic cleansing, homophobia, racism, lack of women’s rights in many countries and the overall disregard for human life displayed each and every day around the world are chief among the reasons I do not and can not believe in any god. In my eyes, a god who would wish these nightmares on anyone in the name of worshiping him/her/it is not fit to be revered or prayed to. Look at the Catholic Church which is so ingrained in the stone ages that it refuses to endorse condom use as a means of preventing sexually transmittable, and in many countries deadly, diseases as a prime example.

This doesn’t mean there are not, and have not been, many good people working in a god’s name. Abraham Lincoln, Mother Theresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Jimmy Carter, the Dalai Lama, and Dr. and Mrs. Martin Luther King Jr., are but a few examples of individual people living their lives with true selflessness. I fear though that simply living my life and treating all people with dignity and respect won’t be enough when “our” warmongering President feels that he has free reign to run amok and encourages others to as well.

July 17, 2006 -- Guilty Pleasures

Who among most adults do not have guilty pleasures? I'll admit to a few and then write more about the topic.

Debbie (now Deborah... PLEASE) Gibson
Paris Hilton's song "Stars Are Blind"
Lionel Richie
Marla Gibbs' post-Jefferson's show, "227"

Ok. So Debbie is roughly my age. When she hit big back in the 80's I thought it was the coolest thing ever. She was like the youngest person ever to have a #1 single as an artist, producer and songwriter, for "Lost in Your Eyes," and I could not get enough of listening to her first two albums. But then as all phenomina will, she faded from sight and then was on Broadway years later as Belle in Beauty and the Beast and now pretty much releases albums under her own label and sells them online and at concerts. I have not listened to the adult Deborah. I'm purely a Debbie-phile.

Paris Hilton. This damn song, "Stars Are Blind," is so freakin' catchy and is nothing but pure pop froth. But so what, it's fun, and it's even more fun because of the ditzoid singing it. Sure she may not have the greatest voice ever, and sure, it's amazing what can be done in with the write studio technicians, but screw that. It's summer time, and it's got that reggae beat, and I'm not ashamed to admit I love it, and may end up buying her album.

I have been a major Lionel Richie fan for as long as I can remember. I followed his career up until the "Dancing on the Ceiling," album and tour. Until that album, Lionel had written a #1 song every year for 9 years running: 1977 - Three Times a Lady; 1978 - Still; 1979 - Lady (for Kenny Rogers); 1980 - Endless Love; 1981 - Truly; 1982 - All Night Long; 1983 - Hello; 1984 - We Are the World (co-written with Michael Jackson); and, 1985 - Say You, Say Me (which he won an Oscar for). This 9-year track record was unmatched by anyone in history except for the great Irving Berlin. Dancing on the Ceiling was a fun album. Lionel was the first person I ever saw in concert, but after that, when he cheated on his wife and she beat the crap out of him, he's basically been out of the public eye, except for a couple minor hits and some greatest hits compilations. Right now he's most famous for his adopted daughter Nicole.

How could anyone NOT love 227? It has Marla "Florence" Gibbs and even the fabulously zany Jackee Harry. It's one of the best sitcoms EVER!

Now back to "about guilty pleasures." Why are they guilty? Because people make fun of us for liking them, people I suspect secretly like them too. For instance, my friend Ethan. He'd kill me if I alleged he was a Lionel Richie fan. But, I happen to know he owns at LEAST one CD that features Mr. Richie quite prominently. And then there's my friend Marcy who was really diggin and jammin to Paris' song until I told her who it was. Marcy's reply? "That hooker!" LOL I don't know what all I said here, or what it means, but isn't that the point?

July 11, 2006 -- It's Time

Life and death often make you wonder, to ponder what's really important. A friend died last month, and from the viewpoint of his friends, he wasn't all that close to his family. Since his death though, we have all met his family and they are really wonderful people and they speak of him with great affection. Did he not seek to spend more time with them because he was not officially "out" to them, and didn't want to be someone he wasn't? If that's the case, then it is very sad.

I'm not "officially out" either. Not to everyone. To a select small group of family I am. To all of my friends I am. Why is there always this fear of being who we are? Being gay is not all that I am. I am Jim and I happen to be gay. I don't want people to feel sorry for me for that, or take pity on me.

I have always been of the belief that my sexual orientation is no one's business but my own and that there is no need for my stating as such, unless directly asked. However, I am beginning to feel that I am being dishonest to myself by not being me in all circumstances.

I have great family on both sides. Some are so unbelievably right-wing Christian, some holier than thou Catholic, some are very happy go lucky, and still more I cannot read for their reaction. Interestingly enough too, are those family members who are among the most bigoted and racist people I've known, yet boast about their closeness to God and Jesus.

I want my friends to know my family and vice versa. In the past I have attempted to choose friends to introduce to my family who wouldn't make it obvious they, and I, were gay. Enough of this crap though. So if certain relatives have a problem, or take issue with me, so be it. Too bad for them.

Now I just need to do it.

June 28, 2006 -- MJB One U2

Right now, I cannot get out of my head Mary J. Blige and U2's version of "One." It's been a very long time since someone has just taken control of another artist's song and almost made you forget the original. Mary is a force to be reckoned with.

June 27, 2006 -- Cape Hatteras

I'm thinking today of my trip last summer to the Outer Banks OBX, and namely to the Cape Hatteras Light House. This was such a fun trip, spent with family. This is in contrast to my friend Pete who went this summer, less than two weeks ago, for a week in the OBX with his family. He died while there.

I wonder if he knew something was amis. He insisted on climbing to the top of the Hatteras Light. He insisted on climbing the big dunes (whose name escapes me right now). My mind is full of questions, and unfortunately the only answer is that Pete is no longer with us.

It seems that had he had his black-out on the beach, or in the house, instead of while in the ocean, he would still be with us. And that's damned fucked up.

The whole thing is fucked up.

But he had almost a whole week with his family, who he saw every couple years. By their accounts, everyone was having a great week.

It's weird being in his condo, sorting his things, and as his sister said yesterday, "seems kinda cold."

I'm sure he's wondering what all the fuss is about--so am I.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Thank You Pete

When someone isn't outwardly ill, the news that this person--someone who is important in your life has died--you descend into shock. Disbelief. Unimaginable sadness.

I got a phone call last night from a mutual friend Matt passing on such news. My friend Pete Deakin died yesterday. He had gone last Friday on a week long trip with his entire family to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. He was was swimming in the ocean and collapsed from a heart attack. Paramedics were called and were unable to revive him. I'm thankful it happened with his family around him and that he wasn't at home alone.

I had Sid and Max duty, going into Pete's condo nightly to feed his cats while he was away. Our last communication was via text message on Wednesday morning for me to report that I wasn't entirely sure Max was eating, as he hadn't ate in my presence, still, and Pete had asked me to watch as he didn't think max was eating as well.

I met Pete as so many of us do--online, in 1997 sometime, on a now defunct website called Firefly. It was a chat site, and he had contacted me because I lived in DC as did he, and we both visited the gay chat room there. He had recently recovered, as much as one does, from a heart malady and subsequent stroke and we chatted for sometime before finally meeting in person to see a movie at Union Station. This was the official start of an important friendship--Pete was my first also gay friend, something important in so many ways when you're on the verge of exploring coming out.

It was Pete who had to practically strong arm me into going to Gay Pride in 1998. I was sure that when the media had it's 5 second report on the 11 o'clock news that they'd show a swarm of drag queens and then me. And that also in the sea of people shown in the paper in a photo that I would be very visible. I met Pete and Matt and we went to the parade and to the street festival which followed, and it was a seminal day for me. I saw that these were people just like me, just like everyone else. Pride was instilled that day in me, and for that, I thank Pete. I will be forever grateful.

Looking back on that day at Pride, I also associate it with leading me to my current job, so I suppose I have Pete to thank for that too, although sometimes I'd like to damn him for it, but we all have those kinda days, weeks, months at work, haven't we?

And Pete had said that if I hadn't urged him to come out from time to time, he never would have met the good folks included in our circle of friends. So I suppose we helped each other, as should be the case with friends.

Back to last night. Matt and Greg and I descended on Pete's condo to remove items he wouldn't want his family to have to deal with: Porn, Toys, etc, if you know what I mean. Being Pete wasn't the world's best housekeeper/organizer, this task was daunting to say the least, the cats I'm sure are aware something is up and by 1am when we left, Sid had started swiping a paw at me and hissing--he'd had enough. I hope we got it all, or at least most of it, the worst of it. LOL

When you're on a mission like this it's hard to let emotion take over, as you have to work on the task at hand. So I'm looking through stuff on top of his dresser and stumble on this ring he bought in Chicago and which inexplicably had gone from the typical ring shape of round, to the weird ring shape of square. This dumb square ring almost sent me over the edge. I was this close to just falling apart, but at the same time someone said something funny and that saved me. I'm sure many similar moments will occur in the days to come.

I returned today from an overnight pre-planned trip to Rehoboth Beach with Ethan--another place Pete liked to go to. I was hesitant to keep the plans, but ultimately decided it would be therapeutic and it was. I probably got 4 hours sleep Thursday night, if that. By 4pm, I was sitting on the beach, and then standing in the surf. My thoughts raced to what had to be a similar beach in North Carolina the day before. I stood there and cried and hoped he didn't suffer.

There have been some memorable times at the beach. President's Day weekend one very cold February, where we were introduced to Ethan's rhythmic snore. The following summer when a whole gaggle of us descended on one two-double bed room. I think we told the front office we had 4 people, when in fact we had 7. and obviously, we were too cheap to be honest. We asked for a cot, which got wedged between the two doubles. Pete, and I in one bed. Jake and Rick in the cot. Greg and Smokey in the other bed. And Ethan, well, he took the floor. It was this trip I learned Pete was a bed hog and a covers hog. I froze. And the hotel charged us for 2 extra people.

The last time I remember Pete being at the beach was last summer, I think. Marcy, Ethan, Matt and Pete and I stayed at a new hotel (new to us). It was a big room with 4 double beds, and Pete accused Marcy and I of freezing him out with the air conditioning and of giving him a cold. This from the covers hog???

More soon.....

Thursday, February 23, 2006

I know you are but what am I?

So Donald Trump has called Martha Steward a moron.


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Any ole' port in the storm?

W is at it again. And completely flip and unapologetic as usual. This whole episode with contracting out the operation of our ports in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Miami and New Orleans to a state-owned company in the United Arab Emirates--to use a term exceedingly overused--boggles the mind.

Bush said, "If there was any chance that this transaction would jeopardize the security of the United States, it would not go forward." This from a man who has brought untold death to our service men and women in the middle east, let alone those killed as a result of his ill-advised war. This from a Commander-in-Chief who does not supply adequate body armor to our troops, leaving them vulnerable to death or severe, life-changing injuries.

He also said, "I can understand why some in Congress have raised questions about whether or not our country will be less secure as a result of this transaction, but they need to know that our government has looked at this issue and looked at it carefully." How can anyone have even the slightest bit of confidence in this man?

Rightly, members of Congress from both sides of the aisle have promised to pass legislation to put this issue on hold if the White House did not move to delay the action. And, Republican governors of New York and Maryland are virently opposed. With so many in his own party leadership voicing serious concern to this proposal, how can Mr. Bush state emphatically that by his approving of the deal, that it was final? Why then does our government exist on a system of checks and balances? He promises to veto "if they pass a law."

My 86-year old Great-Aunt told me yesterday while I was visiting her that she believes Bush to be the most Dangerous president the country has ever had. Now while this comes from a woman who has always been a tried and true liberal, I do know her to be a fair thinker. On this issue, she is not off base. While we can hope that control of one or both houses of Congress returns to the Democrats, anymore, I don't know if that is the solution either. With the advent of 24-hour news channels, I don't know if anyone is truly in this game for anyone but themselves, and that is scary as hell. Can we really, though, handle 3 more years of W?

What's next?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Thanks, O.J.!

"Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot a man during a quail hunt ... making 78-year-old Harry Whittington the first person shot by a sitting veep since Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton, of course, [was] shot in a duel with Aaron Burr over issues of honor, integrity and political maneuvering. Whittington? Mistaken for a bird." -- Jon Stewart, The Daily Show

Ever since the O.J. Simpson trial, we have all had to deal with news "stories," run into the ground whether the topic was major or minor. I do not watch any of the news channels, and I rarely watch televised local or national news. I rely on the www to get my news, mostly from the Associated Press which for the most part tells things like they are, and in a simplistic manner.

Are there ever instances with round-the-clock in-your-face news reporting is necessary? Yes. September 11, the Tsunami, and Hurricane Katrina come to mind. Does anyone need to be subjected to James Frey and Oprah stories on all cable news networks, all night long, and into the next day, after she publicly bashes him on her show for lying? HELL NO! Was the Terri Schiavo melodrama overplayed? HELL FUCKING YES!

Yes, Vice President Dick Cheney shot a man while hunting. Quail hunting. What is it with VP's and quayle... er... quail, anyway? As Sophia Petrillo would say, "but I digress." Is this a major story? Maybe. Is it worthy of the monologues of our late night talk show hosts? Hell yes. For god's sake, media, let the poor man who was shot, and his family, be. Let him recuperatete. Leave them to deal with him. Don't camp out at the hospital waiting for news of the poor man's condition. ENOUGH!

I suppose, we as a society are to blame for the monster media which now exists. Nancy Grace. Good god. Don't get me started. Whoever thought it would be a good idea to put a microphone on that bitch and put her on TV is/was insane. Same for Bill O'Reilly, and Tucker Carlson, and James Carville, and even though he started out eons ago in what I call the legit media, Geraldo Fucking Rivera too. What a bunch of pompous assholes.

Did you ever stop to ask yourself why such a fuss was made over the death of Peter Jennings? It's quite simple actually. He was a class act. He did his job well. He was not controversial. He told things as they were, and did not speculate. To think that people believe Nancy Grace is a journalist is enough to make you toss your lunch. Guilty until proven guilty is her mantra. And why is Bob Schiffer of CBS Evening News doing so well in the ratings? He is old school, he's a true journalist, with the utmost of integrity.

The www isn't without fault either. It's a wonderful tool. I love it. But, it's turned many of us into robots who search for the most ridiculous news. Do I need to know on Yahoo's homepage under it's "In the news" section that the actor who played Tom Willis on the Jefferson's died? NO! Yeah I'm rambling on and on now, but so what, this is my blog. And I can if I want to.

Now back to why I began this. While it is certainly newsworthy that the vice president shot a man, what does this really have to do with any of us? Regardless of how we feel about the man from a political standpoint, it has no bearing on his politics or on how the Country is or is not run. It does not deserve the insane amount of media attention it is receiving.

Getting back to an earlier blog, when non-stories such as this get airtime and print space, and major items such as the United States siding with Iran on anything does not, it is a sad, pathetic commentary on the state of the media in this country.

So, again, Thanks O.J.!

Monday, February 13, 2006

A Love That Will Never Grow Old

A Love That Will Never Grow Old
Music by Gustavo Santaolalla; Lyrics by Bernie Taupin

Go to sleep, may your sweet dreams come true
Just lay back in my arms for one more night
I've this crazy old notion that calls me sometimes
Saying this one's the love of your life.

Cause I know a love that will never grow old
And I know a love that will never grow old.

When you wake up the world may have changed

But trust in me, I'll never falter or fail
Just the smile in your eyes, it can light up the night
And your laughter's like wind in my sails.


Lean on me, let our hearts beat in time
Feel strength from the hands that have held you so long.
Who cares where we go on this rutted old road
In a world that may say that we're wrong.


_ _ _ _

It's rare that a seemingly minimalistic song, as outlined in the above lyrics from the song, "A Love That Will Never Grow Old," from Brokeback Mountain, can hit someone so hard and so precise right between the chambers of one's heart. Written by the scorer of the movie's soundtrack, Gustavo Santaolalla, with lyrics by frequent Elton John lyricist Bernie Taupin, such a song could have been turned into syrupy schmaltz. But by turning to one of this country's, or any country's, premier lyrical interpreters, Emmylou Harris, it has become at once both a haunting ode to what could have been and an undying love for the ages.

Can you really tell, upon listening, if the lyrics are true to the story and that the love cannot grown old, or if it can't grow old because it is forever young? Or are we even supposed to know? I asked a friend this question tonight and his response was that it's undetermined and we should make up our own minds.

I suppose for me, it depends on my mood at the particular time I hear it. I have balled my eyes out, when feeling especially lonely, and I have sung along with gusto when things don't seem so gloom. But then when you revisit your thoughts on the movie, you pretty much come to that conclusion as well.

I have seen Brokeback once, and plan on seeing it again this week. My memories of the film, and my fascination with its soundtrack, have engulfed me in the experience that is Brokeback. Oddly enough, as much as the lyric in this song speaks to me, it is the only song among those on the soundtrack that I can't place in a particular spot in the movie. I need to know that.


So I saw Brokeback again. And I saw the spot where the song is played, and it's quite fitting. To stray from the song for a bit, I need to vent about where I saw the movie -- Reston, Virginia. While no one got up and walked out of the movie, based on the very audible reactions from many in the theater, folks were not pleased. Gasps, giggles, EWWWs, and even a "oh no, man don't touch another man like that!" What were they expecting? That after all it was not a movie about a romance between two men? Good lord. (The experience of reminded me of the second time I saw "Titanic" during its initial run. I saw it at the Union Station theater in DC, and during the sinking scenes, there was more laughter, serious guffaws, as each person fell to their deaths. Such experiences tend to ruin moviegoing.) I must say though, by the end of the movie, when Ennis finds the two shirts, you could hear a pin drop. That scene is one of the most emotionally wrenching I've ever seen, and beautifully acted.