Wednesday, December 31, 2008
If you are going out this evening, have fun and be careful.
If you are working tonight, have fun and be patient.
If you're staying in and going to bed early, sleep well.
I'll be working on New Year's Day, so I will be one of those in the latter category and hope I sleep well.
No matter what you do - or not do - tonight, remember there are only 20 days until the Bush/Cheney reign of error ends, so be at peace.
Blessings to you all.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
As 2008 draws to a close and we anticipate the possible joys and pains of 2009, let us not forget those who have tried to make life hell for lgbts.Posted with permission. Please go over to Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters to read the whole thing. I'd bookmark him, if I were you.
This year, they were in rare form. Sometimes, they drove us a little north of where we were supposed to be.
But at other times, it was pleasureable to watch them leap through all sorts of ethical hoops in their ongoing struggle against the evil of the so-called Godless homosexuality, which everyone knows is the best kind of homosexuality.
So with that in mind, I present . . .
The Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters Misinformers of the Year Awards
“Who are you gonna believe? Me or your own eyes” Award Part 1
Peter LaBarbera - You just know that our friend Peter was going to snag at least one award. Of all of Porno Petey's exploits in 2008, one stands out.
Earlier this year, there was a small break out of staph infections amongst a group of gay men in San Francisco. Rather than waiting for the entire story to come out, members of the religious right (especially LaBarbera) claimed that this infection (MRSA) proved that homosexuality is a so-called “dangerous lifestyle.” LaBarbera in general tried to link MRSA to the early days of the AIDS crisis.
The Centers for Disease Control quickly said that based on the information, the MRSA infection had nothing to do with the lgbt orientation. In an attempt to backtrack from earlier statements, LaBarbera claimed that “gay activists” were falsely accusing him of calling MRSA a “new gay plague.”
But no one accused him of this. LaBarbera was playing a game of semantics to cover up his jumping the gun. However, judge for yourself after reading LaBarbera’s original claim:
Is this not an eerie reminder of the initial stories 25 years ago about AIDS -- then called GRID (Gay-Related Immunodeficiency Disease)? It is unfathomable that after that plague, disease specialists and the media are now surprised at the correlation of new infections with homosexual behavior;Wake up, medical and political establishment: homosexual behavior is unhealthy -- no matter how many secular sermons you preach against "homophobia." Due to liberal political correctness, which treats aberrant -- even deadly -- behaviors as a "civil right," we as a society don't seem to have learned much from the AIDS pandemic.
Who are you going to believe? Me or your own eyes " Award Part 2
Rick Warren - Warren is a classic example of giving some people enough rope to hang themselves. In the furor caused by President-Elect Obama’s selection of him to give the inaugural invocation, Warren tried to blame lgbts for the controversy. In a video message on his church’s webpage, Warren said he never equated same sex relationships to incest or pedophilia. Unfortunately for him, an online interview with Beliefnet.com proved otherwise.
So the question remains were we the ones who gave Warren the rope or was it Obama?
“Now that I’ve got it on my shoe, how do I get it off” Award
The Mormon church - Come on guys, while it is true that you were well within your First Amendment rights, there are consequences for every action done and every word said. In your victory regarding the Proposition 8 vote in California, you did the following:
Jumped into a situation that had absolutely nothing to do with the survival of the Mormon church.
Put up a wad of cash to fund lies about gays forcing children to be “indoctrinated” about homosexuality.
Aligned yourselves with people and groups who think that you are a cult and basically despise you.
Beat up on a group of people who, to my knowledge, have never done you any harm.
And all in the name of God.
The "Height of Hypocrisy" Award
The American Family Association, various religious right groups - After weeks of railing against lgbts for our Proposition 8 protests, after espousing the beliefs about a free nation and people's right to make choices unafraid, after wrapping themselves up in the flag of democracy, the AFA and various religious right groups made a 360 degree turn and called for a boycott against Campbell Soup for ads placed in the Advocate magazine. And the main bone of contention - the ads dared to show a same-sex couple and their child enjoying a bowl of soup.
Now see, I thought we were going to do the soup indoctrination thing after the inauguration.
"If Edward R. Murrow was alive, he would beat the hell out of you" Award
American Family Association's One News Now - This phony news services makes any of the yellow journalism committed by William Randolph Hearst look like Pulitzer Prize-winning material.
From writing articles telling only one side of the story, to its citing of Paul Cameron and legitimate studies taken out of context, to the hilarious comments section (where the so-called Christian readers of the site repeatedly reveal their abject ignorance and bigotry), if One News Now tells the true "Christian" side of today's cultural issues, then I think Jesus needs to sit some of his followers down for a looooong talk on truth.
And so it goes.
WASHINGTON — Hurricane Katrina not only pulverized the Gulf Coast in 2005, it knocked the bully pulpit out from under President George W. Bush, according to two former advisers who spoke candidly about the political impact of the government's poor handling of the natural disaster.The truth finally wins out. This is little satisfaction to my friends and family members who lost everything, were called lazy, stupid to live in such a place, and/or virtually ignored for the past three years.
"Katrina to me was the tipping point," said Matthew Dowd, Bush's pollster and chief strategist for the 2004 presidential campaign. "The president broke his bond with the public. Once that bond was broken, he no longer had the capacity to talk to the American public. State of the Union addresses? It didn't matter. Legislative initiatives? It didn't matter. P.R.? It didn't matter. Travel? It didn't matter."
Dan Bartlett, former White House communications director and later counselor to the president, said: "Politically, it was the final nail in the coffin."Their comments are a part of an oral history of the Bush White House that Vanity Fair magazine compiled for its February issue, which hits newsstands in New York and Los Angeles on Wednesday, and nationally on Jan. 6.
Read the whole thing HERE.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
The gourmet cooking and the other trappings once enjoyed have been discarded, or the property of the Ex and the new person in his life. ‘Things’ matter very much to them; more toys, bigger houses, dinner parties, lots of friends and acquaintances to impress.
The key to regaining some sort of sanity for me was reducing stress (never easy for me), and working to get healthy again. This apartment has been the perfect place to heal following two years of turmoil, surgeries, and copious amounts of medications. None of the drugs were fun, and did little to relieve stress, so I plodded on putting one foot in front of the other. The fact that I no longer have health insurance (another stress inducer) gave me the determination to watch my health carefully. Having the support of a few friends who stuck around, and my boss and coworkers has been a godsend.
Kidney stones and the back fractures aside, I have not been sick in a whole year. No cold or flu in two years, which is very telling and probably related to the fact that I am no longer around large groups of people coughing, sniffling and spreading their cold germs and viruses around.
Limited kitchen appliances – and cabinet space – forced me to cook more creatively; the addition of the Cuisinart Convection Oven resulted in some amazing meals and was well worth the expense.
Looking ahead to 2009 and the new President, I look forward to the healing of the country and our place in the world. Flushing the past eight years may cause some serious sewer backups, but that must be done too. Personally looking forward to the possibility of full time employment that I enjoy with people I like. Preferably, a job with regular hours freeing up my time to get back to the volunteer work I enjoyed in the past.
I am not a New Year’s Eve Party type, so it’s likely I’ll be at the apartment, perhaps cooking something extra festive for supper and in bed fast asleep by 9 pm. I’ll be working New Year’s day, so I should be well rested.
I’ve never considered New Year’s Eve a proper holiday; more as an excuse to get blind drunk and make an ass of oneself, which, when you think about it, one can accomplish at any time of the year.
Anyway, it’s an absolutely beautiful day here at the shore with the temperature a balmy 72’F, and bright sun. The winds have picked up so the windows have been opened to allow fresh air into the place. Hard to believe that it was in the single digits only three days ago.
I’ll be meeting a couple of friends after work tomorrow evening at the Purple Parrot. Monday is Burger Night and it will be my first taste of beef in about 2 weeks. Haven’t been to the Parrot in 5 weeks, so it ought to be a fun time. I am so looking forward to it.
And so it goes.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Friday, December 26, 2008
OK, a customer's cell phone rang (?) to the ring tone of the Hallelujah Chorus and in my twisted mind I remembered a wonderful disco version of this piece that - though it wasn't credited as such - was likely performed by the Sal Soul Orchestra. As soon as I got back to the apartment I did a youtube search and, here it is. This recording is much faster than I remember, but that' probably because there used to be variable speed turntables back in the day. I had this 12" single, but it was lost in the settlement.
NOTE: It's recorded flat, so you may want to crank up the treble and bass to enjoy.
Oh, the memories; 12 West, Flamingo, TruckStop, and Chameleon. (Sigh)A great time.
And so it goes.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
What this crisis is going to do is bring us into financial alignment. Families may have to live together again! What a concept. Grandparents will live with their grown children and help raise their grandchildren -- even at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Neighbors are going to meal share and carpool and child care for each other and maybe even rent out parts of homes to other families. Less meat, more beans. Might be better for you anyway. Less indoor gym workouts and more walking, more park time, more family outdoor time.
Obama promised change. Change comes from truth, Jung said, "only that which changes, remains true." but as Jack Nicholson said in A Few Good Men, "you can't handle the truth!" Can you? Can you handle the change? You can if you understand that you are not alone, but that we can handle anything together.
In John Steinbeck's masterwork, The Grapes of Wrath, required reading for all this holiday season, during another time of great difficulty, like now, of the Powerful vs. the Powerless, where Big Business and the land companies and natural disasters created the perfect dust storm of the 1930's, people were thrown together. In the story, the Joad's, a multi-generational farming family from Oklahoma are forced, like so many others, off their land, mortgaged and foreclosed on and they head West to the promised land of California. On their first night camping by the side of the highway they meet another family.
One man, one family driven from the land; this rusty car creaking along the highway to the west. I lost my land, a single tractor took my land. I am alone and I am bewildered. And in the night one family camps in a ditch and another family pull in and the tents come out. The two men squat on their hams and the women and children listen. Here is the node, you who hate change and fear revolution. Keep these two squatting men apart; make them hate, fear, suspect each other. Here is the anlage of the thing you fear. This is the zygote. Fore here "I lost my land" is changed; a cell is split and from its splitting grows the thing you hate -- " We lost our land." The danger is here, for two men are not as lonely and perplexed as one. And from this first " we" there grows a still more dangerous thing: " I have a little food " plus " I have none." If from this problem the sum is "We have a little food," the thing is on its way, the movement has direction. Only a little multiplication now, and this land, this tractor are ours. The two men squatting in a ditch, the little fire, the side-meat stewing in a single pot, the silent, stone-eyed women; behind the children listening with their souls to words they do not understand. The night draws down. The baby has a cold. Here, take this blanket. It's wool. It was my mother's blanket-take it for the baby. This is the thing to bomb. This is the beginning-from "I" to "we."
If you who own the things people must have could understand this, you might preserve yourself. If you could separate causes from results, if you could know that Paine, Marx, Jefferson, Lenin, were results, not causes, you might survive. But that you cannot know. For the quality of owning freezes you forever into "I," and cuts you off forever from the "we."
That is it, my fellow Americans.
I wonder what gay folks did during the Great Depression to survive. Life was totally different for us back then. Could we band together today into make-shift family units? Share what we have with others? Open our homes and hearts to those in real need? I suppose we'll find out.
Read it all HERE.
And so it goes.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
I have never seen people with such visible despair written, not only on their faces, but deep in their eyes. We’re all scared, some terrified of what the New Year will bring.
A few observations of this holiday season here on the Delmarva Peninsula:
Families are coming together more often.Born after WWll, I listened to stories from my grandparents about how folks survived the depression in Louisiana and how many of those habits continued as life got better for everyone. Bottom line was - - take nothing for granted - - everything can be gone in minutes, and it was. That message has stayed with me all these years.
There is more sharing among friends and neighbors.
Almost everyone I’ve spoken with is attending church services regularly and plan to attend Christmas services tonight, or Christmas day
All the flotsam and jetsam items in the ‘seasonal’ aisle are selling for up to 80% off, and the shelves remain full and virtually untouched.
Sales of Holiday cakes, pies, and cookies are way down. There is an end cap devoted to these baked goods at drastically reduced prices.
Single now after the demise of a 30-year relationship I have found how easy it has been to slip back into the simple life. Granted it was initially difficult to adjust; especially while dealing with the trauma and loss, but ultimately I found my way back to the bottom line.
I suppose I am as safe as anyone else right now. So, cheers! Let’s get through the holidays and New Years Eve, to see what we’re up against.
No matter what the future holds for us all, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and let’s all lift a glass to 2009. God knows we need and deserve it.
And so it goes.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
My grandmother’s Pumpkin Bread recipe has been in demand by my coworkers for years and as I no longer have a stove/oven, if they were going to taste it again there had to be some preplanning, manipulating, appliance borrowing, and a free day to do the deed. It worked out same as last year, only in a different home with a different oven, and the Kitchen Aid almost didn’t make it – until the last minute. The homeowner entertained (humored) me making mean Whiskey Sours, telling funny Christmas jokes, so that by the time the breads were cooled and wrapped I was ready for a nap. I made 6 loaves this year; three for the coworkers, one for my landlady, and two for the post office employees. The logistics of finding a place to make the pumpkin bread becomes more of a challenge with each passing year.
Then last night, having a sudden brain cramp of creativity, I had a craving for hummus. Don’t ask. I get cravings – always have. So I brought out the small Cuisinart, tossed in garbanzos, garlic, black and white pepper, a little olive oil and…roasted red peppers. I made a batch large enough to give it as an additional gift to the coworkers. I hope they like it as much as I do.
Shoppers were buzzing in and out of the store, but choosing their purchases carefully. Everyone seemed to be in high spirits. My every encounter was a good one, some funny, others almost giddy. Regular customers already suffering because of the economy, stopped by to offer holiday wishes; some sharing their take on what is happening and wondering how they will get through this difficult time.
As I said, high spirits, but there is an undercurrent of anxiety – more questions than answers – clueless as to whether there will be a job for them come January 2, 2009.
I share their concerns.
We are all vulnerable. Yes, some more than others.
And thanks to Madoff, it will be a long time before many that were rich, are rich again.
I have never been a ‘Let’s Celebrate New-Years-Eve’ kind of guy and over the past 2 years I find that sleeping through the ‘celebrations’ and waking on the morning of the New Year gives me hope without the hangover. Can I get an Amen?
I am bracing for the final onslaught tomorrow and plan to keep my sensahumah no matter what happens. I see a deep purple feather boa in my future. Heh,heh.
And so it goes.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Despite high winds kicking up overnight plunging temperatures to single digits this morning, I made it to the laundromat (teeth chattering all the way!) early enough to get the deed done in time for my doctor appointment (a follow up to my adventures in the ER last month) whose office happens to be less than a mile down the same road.
The Dr. discussed the recent blood work, the new (lower cost) high blood pressure medication and the fractured vertebrae. Organs are OK and overall cholesterol is down a notch.
Not much good news to make my day, but the new BP med is doing the trick, and my numbers are back in the normal range again, but only just.
I was told to lay off using salt, which is no big whoop for me anyway, and he prescribed a physical therapy program to strengthen the back. That luxury isn’t going to happen any time soon; it’s not in the budget.
Peaceful weekend came to an interesting finale when I attended a Hanukkah Latke party last evening. Being in the company of people I haven’t seen in a long time was a joy and bona fide spirits booster. To document the event there may be a photo-post in the near future.
I’m ready to get back to work for the next two days – then off Christmas – and work again through the weekend.
Things could be worse, but they could be better, too. I’ll not complain and go with the former.
And so it goes.
Just laugh and shake your head; it's almost over...
Their deployment as a makeshift missile robbed President George Bush of his dignity and landed their owner in jail. But the world's most notorious pair of shoes have yielded an unexpected bonanza for a Turkish shoemaker.
Ramazan Baydan, owner of the Istanbul-based Baydan Shoe Company, has been swamped with orders from across the world, after insisting that his company produced the black leather shoes which the Iraqi journalist Muntazar al-Zaidi threw at Bush during a press conference in Baghdad last Sunday.
Baydan has recruited an extra 100 staff to meet orders for 300,000 pairs of Model 271 - more than four times the shoe's normal annual sale - following an outpouring of support for Zaidi's act, which was intended as a protest, but led to his arrest by Iraqi security forces.
Orders have come mainly from the US and Britain, and from neighbouring Muslim countries, he said.
Around 120,000 pairs have been ordered from Iraq, while a US company has placed a request for 18,000. A British firm is understood to have offered to serve as European distributor for the shoes, which have been on the market since 1999 and sell at around £28 in Turkey. A sharp rise in orders has been recorded in Syria, Egypt and Iran, where the main shoemaker's federation has offered to provide Zaidi and his family with a lifetime's supply of shoes.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
As gay activists protest the selection of evangelical megapastor Rick Warren to give the inaugural invocation, they could have reason to cheer a future Obama announcement. Sources tell NEWSWEEK that the president-elect is considering the appointment of the first openly gay chief of a military branch.
Bill White, president of the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York, is being backed by congressional and former military leaders to be the next secretary of the Navy. Among White's vocal supporters are retired Gen. Hugh Shelton, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat whose district includes the newly renovated Intrepid museum which sits on an aircraft carrier in the Hudson River. Nadler says members of Obama's transition team have reached out to him about White. "They're clearly vetting him," he tells NEWSWEEK.
Though he's never served in the military, backers say White has extensive contacts in the armed forces through his role with the Intrepid Museum and the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, a $100 million nonprofit set up to help military families and wounded vets. White also serves as a trustee of the Fisher House Foundation, which provides free housing at military and veterans hospitals for families who want to be near the recovery process. Reached by telephone, a spokeswoman for White said he would not be commenting, but has considered his work with the armed forces "truly the highest privilege."
As I've said before, let's give Obama a break, shall we? After all, the man isn't even President yet. I wish all the pundits would just STFU and allow the new administration to get through the first one hundred days after he is sworn in, fercrissakes.
As for Warren's role in the proceedings, sure I'm disappointed too, but look at the bigger picture for a moment; if so many people are upset there may be a protest during his routine where folks in the audience will get up and turn their backs on him.
And no, I wouldn't want to be there - historical or not - because it's got the potential of spiraling into another nightmare thanks to the incompetent assholes at FEMA. I'll be watching on TV and if it's all it's touted to be, I'll probably buy the DVD.
I turned on the TV this morning to be confronted with a 'Punch & Judy' show featuring various levels of screeching among 4 or 5 talking heads. Changing channels I saw another old white guy refer to Obama as a Muslim!!! Why, pray tell, was this man given air time? I turned the TV off and listened to music instead.
There are 29 days left (but who's counting) before the Chimp is gone and the real work begins. And that means all of us have work to do here, not just Barak Obama.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
I've been surprised by all the outrage and righteous indignation coming from my LGBT sisters and brothers and straight allies about Obama's invitation to have Rick Warren deliver the invocation at his inauguration as president of the United States.It's not that I don't get it. Duh! I've been a religious activist for longer than I care to admit.
I'm disappointed, of course. And, my annoyance can sometimes roll into anger.
But surprised? Not in the least.
I have long ago ceased being surprised by anything a politician says or does.
Perhaps that's why I don't get that everyone is surprised by this - or has enough energy to mount an angry protest.
Not that I don't think it's important to protest. It's just that I'm surprised that everyone is surprised by Obama's choice.
I remember pinning Big Expectations on Bill Clinton's presidency. I remember thinking, "This guy gets it. He gets the 'Big Tent' idea that is central to the Spirit of Anglicanism. In fact, we should make him an honorary Anglican."
The 1992 presidential election was a case in point. Then nominee Bill Clinton promised to lift the ban on gays in the military. When Clinton renewed his promise after winning the election, he was met by a storm of protest from both Congress and the military, especially the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Clinton reportedly turned to (I believe it was) Mel White, head of Soulforce and said, "I had no idea how much they hate you people."
Right. Translation: "Holy Crap! If I pursue this, this is going to cost me not only my re-election, but my entire political career."
In the end the president settled for a compromise that pleased virtually no one.
On July 19, 1993, President Clinton announced what he called an "honorable compromise," a "don't ask, don't tell" policy, under which potential recruits would not be asked their sexual orientation, would have to keep that orientation private and not engage in any homosexual conduct and would require the military to curtail its investigation of suspected homosexuals and lesbians.
Gay men or lesbians who let their identity be known or who act on their sexuality would still be discharged from the Armed Forces. Similarly, President Clinton's support for Congress' enactment of the Defense of Marriage Act ("DOMA"), which enables states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, also drew fire from civil rights advocates.
On the other hand, the Clinton Administration made several important regulatory changes, including issuing an executive order banning discrimination based on sexual orientation in all civilian federal workplaces, as well as an executive order prohibiting sexual orientation and other forms of discrimination by federally conducted education programs; and granting asylum for gay men and lesbians facing persecution in other countries.
I have come to understand that this is the way the politics of social progress works: Two steps forward, three steps back - and if it's going to scare the horses and cost votes, the promises made to LGBT people are the first to go out the window.
Read it all HERE.
And so it goes.
"It is what most people haven't achieved in their lives that makes them better people than those who boast most about their achievements."
I love MadPriest. Pay him a visit OCICBW.
Spike Lee touched on this incident in his four-part HBO film “When the Levees Broke” but this goes into the real heart of what happened in Algiers Point. If Donnell Herrington looks familiar it’s because he tells part of his story in the Lee film.
I have a sister who calls the Point home. It’s no wonder we haven’t spoken in 30 years.
This from A. C. Thompson in The Nation:
Facing an influx of refugees, the residents of Algiers Point could have pulled together food, water and medical supplies for the flood victims. Instead, a group of white residents, convinced that crime would arrive with the human exodus, sought to seal off the area, blocking the roads in and out of the neighborhood by dragging lumber and downed trees into the streets. They stockpiled handguns, assault rifles, shotguns and at least one Uzi and began patrolling the streets in pickup trucks and SUVs. The newly formed militia, a loose band of about fifteen to thirty residents, most of them men, all of them white, was looking for thieves, outlaws or, as one member put it, anyone who simply "didn't belong."This is video from the film "Katrina’s Hidden War":
The Nation story is long and may make your blood boil at times, but it’s important to get to the bottom of what really happened and how the white residents react to this day.
And so it goes.
That's fine with me. Although the pain has pretty much disappeared, there is soreness and stiffness to cope with until I see the doctor on Monday. I hope he will suggest a few safe back exercises to strengthen the area and limber me up. I don't want to try anything on my own for fear that I'll make matters worse and not better.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Now I will be humming this all night.
And so it goes.
Earlier this week a cryptic comment arrived that required moderation. At first I thought it was some kind of joke because I had never heard from this commenter before.
The comment read “you have a package at the post office” that’s all. I didn’t know if it was a joke, but I posted the comment anyway, and went about my business as I had just checked the PO that day and there was nothing other than bills and junk mail.
I filed this mystery in the back of my mind and got on with the busy week. When I checked the PO yesterday morning before work there was indeed that yellow card notifying me that something was being held for me. WTF?
Another comment was left yesterday that read “please check with your post office as there is a package for you” – now I knew the comment was real…but what was it? Who was it?
After work today I retrieved the package to end the mystery. Surprise!!!
There was a surprise gift waiting and right now I am feeling about as blessed as an ailing old guy like me can possibly feel.
Thank You ktbee1 I am amazed by your kindness and blessing.
I've Got Joy Round My Brain!
Maybe it's time to post that song.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Yes, there was nostalgia for the Charlie Brown Christmas – Mr. Magoo’s Christmas, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, The Walton’s, Muppets, Mickey Mouse, Frosty the Snowman, yes, and even the infamous Star Wars Christmas Special (which is not to be believed) and on and on…And in spite of all this, the baby Jesus was born anyway.
However, there was not one mention of the fabled “Pee Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special.” Perhaps there’s a clue in this opening number. Just look at the lineup of guests for this thing. And no, these are not singing marines, you silly person. Enjoy
Um, Merry Christmas?
And so it goes.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Thanks to my friends Bonnie and Will for sending this. I can only imagine the wild carrying on that occurred during, and following this rare event. After all, we're just like children this time of year.
Monday, December 15, 2008
I've been more like Bah-Hum-F**k than Merry-Ho-Ho, if you get my drift. But then, a surprise gift arrived that warmed my heart followed by lower back pain relief of these past few days. No pain killers for two days now.
On Friday an email arrived announcing performances of an original musical ‘Scrooge’ by a local theatre company. I saw the original at the premiere four years ago, but this revival boasted new songs and a friend in the role of Ebenezer Scrooge. I like to support local artists and the arts in general, so I called about availability – there were seats only for the Sunday matinée. I made reservations for two.
I called the woman I work with (who has mixed feelings about local theatre) and invited her to join me, saying ‘you won’t be sorry.’ To my great surprise and delight she accepted.
OT: Did I mention that I live in a small resort town? Turns out I knew 4 other cast members, two musicians, and the woman in the box office is a customer of mine.
Anyhoo: It was a minimalist production, just enough set to accent the performances allowing use of imagination. The new music was a joy. The role of Tiny Tim was played by an Asian boy with a voice and smile that could stop time. The ensemble cast was terrific and my friend was an amazingly believable as Ebenezer.
In order to keep up momentum there was no intermission. A good call, too. The almost 90 minutes seemed to fly by and suddenly it was curtain calls and house lights.
My guest was suitably impressed, wondering how she could have missed this group for so long. We shared a holiday hug, returned to our vehicles and went our separate ways.
I caught myself humming Christmas carols on the drive back to the apartment. That made me laugh out loud. I don't know how long this feeling will last, but for now I am enjoying the memories of Christmas Past. That alone is worth the price of admission.
And so it goes.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Hmm...This is about right.What can I say?
You Are Dancer
Carefree and fun, you always find reasons to do a happy dance.
Why You're Naughty: That dark stint you had as Santa's private dancer.
Why You're Nice: You're friendly. Very friendly.
Oh, yes, more later.
Imagine if President Bush, on his last day in office, invited his friends to lift the Lincoln portrait from the White House Dining Room, take the 18th- century furniture from the Map Room and — for good measure — poison the Rose Garden on the way out.Read the rest HERE.
In essence, he is doing the same thing this month with land that belongs to every American — the magical redrock country of the Southwest.
Well before it was a bumper sticker and a chant at Sarah Palin rallies, “drill, baby, drill” became the overriding mission of the political hacks who oversee more than 200 million acres of public land for Bush. At a frantic pace, they have opened up to oil and gas leasing canyons of golden slickrock, mesas once known only to hunters and pronghorn antelope, and little hideaways near the open-aired art galleries of the Anasazi.
Take what you want, they said — and get while the getting is good. It was a plunderfest that produced a gangster culture, with dozens of high-level Interior Department employees exchanging sex, cocaine and gifts with the industry they were supposed to be doing arms-length business with, according to a scathing and quickly forgotten report this year by the agency’s inspector general.
At the time of the report, with gas reaching $4 a gallon, many people shrugged and said we need the oil — drill, baby, drill. Now gas is selling for a pittance, but that hasn’t stopped the fire sale. Everything must go!
(BTW, Mr. Egan is very easy on the eyes.)
None of this has been covered at any length by the media. Well, what with following Sarah Palin everywhere and printing her every word on anything, and making valiant attempts to link Obama to the Illinois governor's scandal, I mean, who has the time???
Apropos of nothing I am attending a performance of an original musical of ‘Scrooge’ this afternoon. Perhaps it will give my holiday spirits a jump start.
And so it goes.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
From Raising Kaine: "Robert F. Kennedy Jr gives perhaps the most compelling testimony on mountaintop removal mining I have ever seen, and I hope you will take 10 minutes to watch him describe in his own words - and the words of his late father - exactly what is happening to the Appalachian Mountains."
I can't help but wonder why Kennedy didn't bring back photos that would cause people to wake up and rise up to see Bush as he really is. A fake cowboy and a fake president.
The gall. Just unbelievable. The shrub ought to be forced to live on his goddamn pig farm forever, not in his new swanky digs in a formerly 'Whites Only' neighborhood.
And so it goes.
MSNBC: Countdown has obtained a memo entitled "Action Alert - Auto Bailout," and sent Wednesday at 9:12am, to Senate Republicans. The names of the sender(s) and recipient(s) have been redacted in the copy Countdown obtained. The Los Angeles Times reported that it was circulated among Senate Republicans. The brief memo outlines internal political strategy on the bailout, including the view that defeating the bailout represents a "first shot against organized labor." Senate Republicans blocked passage of the bailout late Thursday night, over its insistence on an immediate union pay cut.
Sent: Wednesday, December 10, 2008 9:12 AM
Subject: Action Alert -- Auto Bailout
Today at noon, Senators Ensign, Shelby, Coburn and DeMint will hold a press conference in the Senate Radio/TV Gallery. They would appreciate our support through messaging and attending the press conference, if possible. The message they want us to deliver is:
1. This is the democrats first opportunity to payoff organized labor after the election. This is a precursor to card check and other items. Republicans should stand firm and take their first shot against organized labor, instead of taking their first blow from it.
2. This rush to judgment is the same thing that happened with the TARP. Members did not have an opportunity to read or digest the legislation and therefore could not understand the consequences of it. We should not rush to pass this because Detroit says the sky is falling.
The sooner you can have press releases and documents like this in the hands of members and the press, the better. Please contact me if you need additional information. Again, the hardest thing for the democrats to do is get 60 votes. If we can hold the Republicans, we can beat this.
So much for bipartisanship. So, when is Joe-six-pack going to realize that they are not beloved by the Republican party. They're either cannon fodder, or background figures at rallies. Nothing more.
And so it goes.
Friday, December 12, 2008
As I began to stir beneath the covers this morning; delighting the luxury of that pain free moment, this song started playing in my head. And it’s stayed there all day.
It’s the finale from Candide (one of my favourite show scores) and although I can hum or sing it alone without emotion, as soon as I hear it performed chills run through my body, goose bumps rise on my arms, and tears fill my eyes. I like that very much.
Sadly Uncle Lenny is no longer with us; the same for Jerry Hadley, but what they left us with – oh boy.
This is from the December 1989 concert version with Jerry Hadley and June Anderson singing, Lenny conducting the orchestra and chorus. Bernstein would be dead by October 1990, so this has to be his last word on a most beloved musical score, which he picked at and tweaked for about 3 decades. 'Make Our Garden Grow' Enjoy.
The rain finally stopped and the sun is out. All in all, a pretty good day. Haven't taken any pain meds today, and that's a very good sign. Looks to be a beautiful weekend.
And so it goes.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Snow is a rare event in NOLA and with the forecast calling for more than a dusting (in some areas a few inches) I am certain that most folks will not be on the roads, but will enjoy the quiet and peace of the Winter snowfall. Or, maybe they're all out enjoying a snowball fight. Hey, I put nothing past my sister. I found this from the AP:
NEW ORLEANS - A rare snowfall blanketed south Louisiana and parts of Mississippi Thursday, closing schools, government offices and bridges, triggering crashes on major highways and leaving thousands of people without power.
Parts of Louisiana were expected to get up to four inches of snow. Snow also covered a broad swath of Mississippi, including the Jackson area, and closed schools in more than a dozen districts. The National Weather Service in Jackson said up to 8 inches was possible in the southern and eastern parts of the state.
A heavy band of snow coated windshields and grassy areas in New Orleans, where the National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning.
Office workers stepped out of high-rises to catch a snowflake, snap pictures with cell-phone cameras and swap snow stories.
At a park in New Orleans' Uptown neighborhood, Sara Echaniz, 41, snapped photos and dodged snowballs thrown by her son, 3-year-old Sam. "He didn't believe it was snow until it started sticking to the ground," said Ecahniz, a native of Rochester, N.Y., who was pregnant with the child the last time it snowed in New Orleans, in December 2004.
We have had over 2 inches of rain here in the last 36 hours and just the thought that if it had been snow instead, it would measure about 2 feet. I prefer the rain - unless I didn't have to drive anywhere.
Glad that old NOLA got a bit of white for the season.
And so it goes.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I received this from a friend via email, so if you haven't seen it yet -Newsweek:
Let's try for a minute to take the religious conservatives at their word and define marriage as the Bible does. Shall we look to Abraham, the great patriarch, who slept with his servant when he discovered his beloved wife Sarah was infertile? Or to Jacob, who fathered children with four different women (two sisters and their servants)? Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon and the kings of Judah and Israel—all these fathers and heroes were polygamists. The New Testament model of marriage is hardly better. Jesus himself was single and preached an indifference to earthly attachments—especially family. The apostle Paul (also single) regarded marriage as an act of last resort for those unable to contain their animal lust. "It is better to marry than to burn with passion," says the apostle, in one of the most lukewarm endorsements of a treasured institution ever uttered. Would any contemporary heterosexual married couple—who likely woke up on their wedding day harboring some optimistic and newfangled ideas about gender equality and romantic love—turn to the Bible as a how-to script?
Of course not, yet the religious opponents of gay marriage would have it be so.
The battle over gay marriage has been waged for more than a decade, but within the last six months—since California legalized gay marriage and then, with a ballot initiative in November, amended its Constitution to prohibit it—the debate has grown into a full-scale war, with religious-rhetoric slinging to match. Not since 1860, when the country's pulpits were full of preachers pronouncing on slavery, pro and con, has one of our basic social (and economic) institutions been so subject to biblical scrutiny. But whereas in the Civil War the traditionalists had their James Henley Thornwell—and the advocates for change, their Henry Ward Beecher—this time the sides are unevenly matched. All the religious rhetoric, it seems, has been on the side of the gay-marriage opponents, who use Scripture as the foundation for their objections.
Go and read the whole thing HERE. It's well worth it.
And so it goes.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Let me backtrack.
Returning to the apartment in the morning following one short errand, I heard the beep of the answering machine letting me know that I missed a call. “ONE new message” the automated male voice said.
However, when I hit play there was one message from a few minutes earlier - - then, to my astonishment - - one from the day before Thanksgiving from my friend Elizabeth telling me that two email messages she sent were returned undeliverable and she was calling to invite me to break bread with her wonderful brood the next day, and to give her a call.
First, I don’t understand why she’s had such trouble getting email to me, but second (and more important) why her message didn’t show up on that Wednesday.
OK, I live in a low-lying area prone to flooding during heavy rains and this means we occasionally lose electric power. When the area loses power the answering machine ‘forgets’ that a new message is in queue, which short circuits the warning beep, though retains the message in memory. I wracked my brain in order to remember the weather of that week.
Who am I kidding? I was on painkillers and muscle relaxants big time back then, but can’t imagine any other reason to explain how this happened.
Not that I would have been in any condition to be out and about – let alone drive under doped up conditions – but it would have been nice to say thanks and have a short chat. Elizabeth and her beloved are very dear to me. She helped me through the turmoil and disintegration of my 30-year relationship that was happening at a time when I was the sickest I have ever been. I am still digging out from under all the drama and ugliness from 2006 to the present. Mind you, aside from the damned kidney stones, all was going along well until that damned fall 2 weeks ago. No drugs, nothing.
The Photo: I found this shot in my camera taken after a delightful evening together at Dos Locos, a favourite restaurant in town. By the time stamp this was taken the night before my visit to the ER. It’s amazing how quickly things can change.
And so it goes.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Sunday, December 7, 2008
1. Started my own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than I can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched lightning at sea
14. Taught myself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown my own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked – many years ago.
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset – many times.
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise – (not yet)
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors (not yet.)
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught myself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied - didn't last long
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had my portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma – not allowed, I’m gay.
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job – more than once, the gay thing again.
76. Seen the Changing of the Guard in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person - saw it from the air once
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury - Twice
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby – um no, it’s the gay thing again.
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a lawsuit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Ridden an elephant
Well that’s that. I didn't realize there were so many things I haven't done, or have no desire to do. I best get on with at least two of these: visit the birthplace of my ancestors, and take an Alaskan Cruise.
If you’re visiting and would like to play with this, too, feel free to copy and paste and add your own answers.
And so it goes.
The man is a treasure trove of historical facts, especially about the Netherlands. You can read his in-depth post about Sint-Nicolaas here. “He Has Arrived.”
Even as I received yet another hospital bill this afternoon, as the song goes, "I've got joy round my brain" tonight.
Off to sleep now - I hope.
and so it goes.
Update: Oops! I forgot to post this before retiring last evening. Must have been the muscle relaxant.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Friday, December 5, 2008
Update: the three ladybugs that were flying around the place yesterday were dead this morning. (sigh) Thanks for all your comments, guys. Maybe the ladybugs granted my wish for a restful sleep.
Depressed and dreading having to carry the heavy laundry bag to the car I figured there was nothing else but to get it over with. Carrying anything heavy causes more back pain with shooting stars filling my eyes. Just in case, I took a painkiller with me.
Not a soul at the Laundromat means there is no tale to tell this time, and while I was out anyway, I made a short list of other errands I could get out of the way so I could hunker down at the apartment and rest.
The last stop was to check the PO box, as I hadn’t done so in about a week. As I shuffled through bills and junk mail, I discovered a notice from the PO informing me that something was being held for me – either a package too big for the box, an item with postage due, or one requiring my signature. I was puzzled and apprehensive; praying that it wasn’t from the hospital demanding payment in full.
I presented the notice to my buddy Rick who returned with a box, so I knew it wasn’t bad news.
I said, “but I didn’t order anything.” He smiled and said, “Well someone did, so enjoy.” It was obvious that he was dying for me to open it right then and there, but being a bit stunned by this unusual situation, in significant discomfort, and trying to get back to the apartment ASAP, I simply took the package and headed for the apartment.
To say that the box contained an elixir to boost my spirits would be an understatement. It contained things that are in short supply in the world these days; kindness, generosity, and amity. Things from my wish list. I’ll be enjoying a coffee as I listen to some new (old) music.
Thank you Peter, as if sharing your delicious recipes were not enough, you will never know how much I appreciate your kindness, and dare I say, friendship.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Oh, and the Ladybug is Delaware’s state bug. How’s that for TMI?
I haven’t been posting much about daily happenings because there ain’t much been going on – aside from hyperventilating over the hospital bills and the oh-so-slow decrease in lower back pain. I barely made it through working three consecutive days, and am now off for three, so that is a blessing.
The good sales of last week have dwindled this week and I couldn’t help but notice that even Wal*Mart’s parking lot was only about half full. Unheard of this time of year, but there it is.
Only one chore is absolutely critical - the laundry - which I’ll get done tomorrow morning so as to rest the back for what time is left before returning to work.
I’m setting up the crock pot with ingredients for a chicken and veggie soup and when that’s done, containerized, and in the freezer, there’s a pork loin roast recipe I am dying to try, so this place should smell heavenly for the next few days.
There is no place like home…if only I had one.
And so it goes.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die
I don't know what to say. It's been so long, it's like I am gay only in theory. (OK, I stole that line from a New Yorker cartoon.)
Your Kiss is Black
Your kisses are amazing. You put a lot of effort into your kissing technique.
You are a perfectionist, and you never leave any kissing detail to chance.
When you're kissing, you like to be in charge. You don't enjoy someone else taking the lead.
You know you're the best kisser. In fact, you're often disappointed by how other people kiss.
Kissing Type: Thoughtful
People See Your Kisses as: Amazingly unreal
You Kiss Best With: A Pink Kisser
Stay away from: A Green Kisser
And so it goes.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Why can they not give the man a chance to bring the country back to the Constitutional democracy that is was 8 years ago?
I never understand hate.
And so it goes.
MODESTO, Calif. - The Rev. Joseph Illo, pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Modesto, Calif., has told parishioners in a homily and in a follow-up letter that if they voted for Barack Obama, they should consider going to confession because of the president-elect's position on abortion.
"If you are one of the 54 percent of Catholics who voted for a pro-abortion candidate, you were clear on his position and you knew the gravity of the question, I urge you to go to confession before receiving communion. Don't risk losing your state of grace by receiving sacrilegiously," Illo wrote in a letter dated Nov. 21.
The letter was sent to more than 15,000 members of the St. Joseph's parish. It is one of 34 parishes in the Stockton Diocese, which has more than 200,000 members in Stanislaus, San Joaquin and four other counties in California.
Though Obama's support of abortion rights angered many Catholics nationally during the campaign, Illo's letter is believed to be the first in Central California from a priest to his parishioners on the topic.
The Most Rev. Stephen Blaire, bishop of the Stockton Diocese, disagrees with Illo. He said Catholics should not feel compelled to disclose how they voted to their priest.
Blaire said Catholics who carefully weighed many issues and settled on a candidate, such as Obama, who favored abortion rights, were not in need of confession. He said confession would be necessary "only if someone voted for a pro-abortion or pro-choice candidate - if that's the reason you voted for them."
My state of grace is not at risk and has nothing to do with how I vote.
When will ‘progressive Catholics’ (is that an oxymoron?) make the distinction between pro-abortion and pro-choice? There is a difference.
Read the whole disturbing article HERE.
And so it goes.
Monday, December 1, 2008
President elect Barak Obama:
Hello everyone. Thank you for allowing me to send my greetings and to share a few words with you on this special day. It's my privilege to thank Pastor Rick, Kay and all of you for your leadership in the struggle against HIV/AIDS, and your steadfast commitment to eradicating this disease.
On this twentieth anniversary of World AIDS Day, I think it's appropriate to look back for a moment to when this day was first observed. In 1988, when ministers of health from around the world first had the notion to set aside a day to highlight the threat of HIV/AIDS, they faced widespread ignorance and fear. Back then, many refused to even acknowledge the existence of this disease, let alone the devastating impact it was having on families and communities around the world.
Today, because of the work of people like you, women in Kenya who were widowed by the disease, and once shunned by society, have banded together to support and empower each other. Scientists around the world are discovering and engineering new medicines to give people with HIV/AIDS another chance at life. NGOs and faith-based institutions are marshaling the best of the human spirit to help those affected. And world governments are coming together to address the humanitarian crisis the pandemic has left in its wake. I salute President Bush for his leadership in crafting a plan for AIDS relief in Africa and backing it up with funding dedicated to saving lives and preventing the spread of the disease. And my administration will continue this critical work to address the crisis around the world.
But we must also recommit ourselves to addressing the AIDS crisis here in the United States with a strong national strategy of education, prevention and treatment, focusing on those communities at greatest risk. This strategy must be based on the best available science and built on the foundation of a strong health care system.
But in the end this epidemic can't be stopped by government alone, and money alone is not the answer either. All of us must do our part.
This year's slogan, "Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise" is a timely one. In the Apostle Paul's letter to the Corinthians, he asked "if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle?" We as leaders must continue to sound that call and encourage others to see themselves as leaders in this fight. And we must reaffirm our own commitment to confront and defeat this disease once and for all.
Thank you for your extraordinary work that you do each and every day. I am humbled by your devotion to this cause and look forward to working with you and new partners in this effort in the years ahead. God bless you all.
Some much promise and hope.
It gives me something to believe in again.
And so it goes.
Having worked three very long days this weekend I was looking forward to dining out with friends last evening, but there was a surprise waiting back at the apartment. An envelope arrived from the hospital containing a bill with itemized charges due as a result of my Emergency Room visit two weeks ago.
Though the ER doctor reprimanded me for not dialing 911, I am glad I didn’t because it would have added another $900.00 to the already over a thousand dollars total on the bill I held in my shaking hands.
Epic crash ensued that made me realize that I couldn’t bring myself to spend money on a glass of wine and dinner after receiving this shocker. So, I made dinner and spent the evening reading and listening to the rain lashing against the big windows. It was relaxing and as the rain intensified I was grateful not to be out in it, though I did miss the time with my friends.
I am off today resting the back as much as possible because I’ll be working long hours the next three days in a row. I put in a call to the hospital to set up a payment plan that I can deal with and awaiting a return call.
It’s been two weeks and as the pain has subsided somewhat, I am only pain-free when I wake up in the morning. As I begin moving and preparing for work the pain is back. And all the bending and stooping I do throughout the day doesn’t help matters.
I applied for a part time holiday job with five companies I know and respect, just one or two days weekly would be helpful. Local businesses are not hiring holiday help. The economy here is that bad.
It’s the usual – blather, rinse and repeat.
And so it goes.