Friday, July 31, 2009

The Buggy is Back...

...And lookin' fine.

The repair went smoother than anticipated, but I picked the car up a day later. Unfortunately, the shop left the "repair completed" message on the home phone and by the time I got in it was already closed. No matter. The rental company was kind enough to allow a credit for the extra day since I filled the tank before returning the car. Having only driven about 30 miles in those two days, it was a nice gesture on their part and appreciated on mine.

I will say that I was almost involved in THREE accidents (two rear-ends and one broadside) while driving the rental in those two days and I am ready for a total ban on hand held cellphone use and texting. Where do I sign?

As we all know there are people who can't walk and chew gum. There are also far too many people who cannot drive and talk or text on a cellphone. And, the last time I checked the DE operators license manual (you know, that book we have to read for the written drivers test!) still maintains that "drivers must concentrate on and be in total control of the vehicle at all times, and avoid any and ALL distractions." HA!

Blather, rinse and repeat.

It's time for a bit of Absinthe, thank you very much.

Happy to have my own wheels and ready for a super quiet day off tomorrow. Nothing to do and no place to go, just staying close to the apartment. G*d knows I can use the break.

And so it goes.
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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Smoking Rates Higher in the GLBT Community

This is not a good sign.

At Job #2, I work with many people (young and old - American and foreign - gay and straight) addicted to nicotine.

Granted, job #2 is a restaurant and bar and although smoking is banned in public venues statewide, they run outdoors to light up if only for a few quick puffs - which is expensive at nearly $5.00 a pack here. I received a link to this study from the University of North Carolina from a friend. This is scary.
37% of lesbians smoke 18% of straight women smoke.
33% of gay men smoke 24% of straight men smoke.
Here's a sample and link to the story:
Men and women who are gay or lesbian are more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to smoke, according to findings from a review study carried out by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The findings, published in the August issue of the journal, Tobacco Control, show that as many as 37 percent of homosexual women and 33 percent of homosexual men smoke. That compares to national smoking rates of 18 percent for women and 24 percent for men in the 2006 National Health Interview Survey.

The authors reviewed findings from 42 studies of the prevalence of tobacco use among sexual minorities in the U.S. published between 1987 and May 2007. The findings suggest smoking is a significant health inequality for sexual minorities.
The rest is HERE.

At job #2 I work with a veritable United Nations of cultures. Jordan, Mexico, Russia, Romania, Spain, Ukraine, and others, but it seems that the tobacco companies, while losing money in the US are raking in the bucks in Eastern Europe and Asia.

I work with two beautiful Jordanians and four beautiful Russians addicted to cigarettes. I was shocked when they first lit up in my presence and told them so. They are amazed by my story of quitting cigarettes 24 years ago, and ask questions repeatedly about how it happened, but convinced they could never pull it off.

Ah, addiction. If they want to quit they must do this on their own. I don't hound or chastise them as it's painfully clear that they are well aware of nicotine's hold on them. It's all how you look at it.

I have grown to love these people for so many reasons, not the least is having the balls to visit, work in, and experience an alien culture (sometimes alien even to me!) and thrive in it while learning more about us then we seem to know of ourselves. Very insightful people, and very observant.

In any event I will print out this study and keep it in my bag just in case anyone wants to know more than only my story.

I'll have more on these developing friendships in the future. Maybe even some photos, I hope.

And so it goes.
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Harvey Milk to Receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom

This just in:
Dear cajun:

The White House just announced that on August 12 President Obama will bestow America's highest civilian honor-the Presidential Medal of Freedom-on Harvey Milk, a true American hero and trailblazer. On behalf of the boards and staff of the Victory Fund, we are thrilled.

Harvey was one of the first openly LGBT elected officials in the country, and he was so much more than that. He was a leader who understood the incredible power of being out, speaking out and demanding the equality we all deserve. But Harvey also knew demands alone were not enough, so he stood for election time and again until he finally won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, where he worked to pass the city's first LGBT rights ordinance. He gained real power, and used it expand freedom and equality.

Harvey's election was a political awakening that inspires all of us at the Victory Fund each and every day. In fact, one of the first things our staff sees when we enter our office is an iconic photo of Harvey outside his camera shop on Castro Street. It reminds us what we can accomplish when we are guided by hope rather than fear.

We also learned the President will honor tennis legend Billy Jean King and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy with the Medal of Freedom. King, an open lesbian, has been a champion for women's and LGBT rights throughout her distinguished career, and Sen. Kennedy's tireless work on behalf of LGBT Americans has made him one of our most important allies. In fact, the Victory Fund honored Sen. Kennedy in 2004 with our Oates-Shrum Leadership Award.

This high honor, the Medal of Freedom, recognizes extraordinary lives, but it is also a signal that leadership, especially political leadership, is critical to completing the work begun by people like Milk, King, Kennedy, Bayard Rustin, Dr. Frank Kameny, The Mattachine Society, The Daughters of Bilitis and so many others whose sacrifice and courage helped deliver the progress we see today.

The Victory Fund's mission is to build on that hard work, and to elect more courageous people like Harvey Milk who continue to build a more equal and just America. Thank you for support of our work.

Yours in victory,



Chuck Wolfe
President & CEO
Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund

Let the screeching commence; let the heads explode. I just wanna pop some corn and watch.

More later.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My Car and the Old Bat in the Enclave...

The day finally arrived - it has been over a month since my car was rear-ended by a rich old bat with more money than brains - and I arrived the body shop early this morning where the rental car company was notified that I needed to be picked up.

The service manager greeted me with a wicked grin followed by a full blown out-loud laugh. I stood in the doorway stunned wondering what I had done to cause such an outburst. Assuring me that it was nothing I had done, the manager confirmed what I had already been told; that the old bat was "one of their best customers" meaning that she had used this shop FIVE times in less than a year. She had totaled her last car a few days before hitting me with her new one, which was why she told me that she didn't know how to drive the new one, yet.

The entire staff had a belly laugh and I finally joined in when the ramifications of her arrogance and stupidity finally sunk in. The car arrived from Enterprise and shuttled me to their office to finish the paperwork for the rental - paid for by the old bat's insurance company - and as the information was entered into their computer system, the small talk turned to the accident and reason for the rental. Then the associate handling my rental suddenly froze, and slowly put her hand up to her mouth in an effort to stifle a guffaw, which didn't work. She let out a squealing giggle and said something like, "oh my God, it's HER again" at which point all the other associates in the office swarmed her terminal as uncontrollable laughter broke out seemingly everywhere in the building.

You guessed it. The old bat required their rental services and evidently, wasn't the most charming of customers. Oh, the stories I heard. Hey, this is a very small town and things like this get around real fast. So, immediately I felt the love and sympathy from the whole staff.

The rental is a nice Suzuki sedan with a fab AC that cools almost instantly and almost blew me into the backseat. Great news, since the temperature today was in the mid 90s with high humidity and a duplicate is forecast for tomorrow. I drove to the park n' ride and get the bus into town for the day at job #2. We had a very busy lunch today, which was a good thing.

Oh, there was one reality check today. As I boarded the bus for the return trip there were no available seats and as I decided to stand near the front so as to chat with the driver, a pretty, young Russian summer worker offered me her seat. This was a first for me. I told her I was fine standing and actually enjoyed it. She didn't appear to be convinced, but let it go. It wasn't until I got off the bus that the incident fell into place. She was offering her seat to "an old man" - a very Russian thing to do - and I was suddenly quite embarrassed and feeling very old.

But as I started the car for the drive back to the apartment, I couldn't help laughing at the whole episode while hoping that there would be some kind young person willing to give up their seat if I truly need it in the future.

Damn that birthday last week!!! (sigh)

And so it goes.
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Palin's Final Speech - by William Shatner

In the best of the Beatnik style. I am not a fan of O'Brien or Shatner, but this is sheer genius.

I can get on with my day now.

More later.
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UPDATE 7/28: Looks like the network yanked the video today. Killjoys!

Blog Etiquette

Just a warning to anyone who comments here - use of a blogger's name (mine or any other blogger) who writes using a pseudonym will result in your comment being rejected.

One thing you don't do is "out" a blogger who uses a nom de plume. If you blog using your name, that's fine. There are reasons for not doing so. Please respect a blogger's privacy.

More later, maybe.
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Saturday, July 25, 2009

World's Biggest Landfill is in Pacific Ocean!

We are Slowly and Almost Unknowingly Killing the Planet and Ourselves.

Had to buy a new electric toothbrush** and while attempting to cut the damned thing loose from its huge plastic packaging, got cut by the sharp edge of that packaging. So, as I sat here bleeding I started to wonder why such a huge amount of hard plastic is used to encase so many smaller items. I know that retailers claim it's to prevent shoplifting, but come on, the toothbrush stands 7" tall (with the charger base) and the packaging is 18" high and 10" wide.

It made me think of how much plastic we consume every day without realizing it. Then I found this and it really brought it home for me.
In the broad expanse of the northern Pacific Ocean, there exists the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, a slowly moving, clockwise spiral of currents created by a high-pressure system of air currents. The area is an oceanic desert, filled with tiny phytoplankton but few big fish or mammals. Due to its lack of large fish and gentle breezes, fishermen and­ s­ailors rarely travel through the gyre. But the area is filled with something besides plankton: trash, millions of pounds of it, most of it plastic. It's the largest landfill in the world, and it floats in the middle of the ocean.

The gyre has actually given birth to two large masses of ever-accumulating trash, known as the Western and Eastern Pacific Garbage Patches, sometimes collectively called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The Eastern Garbage Patch floats between Hawaii and California; scientists estimate its size as two times bigger than Texas [source: LA Times]. The Western Garbage Patch forms east of Japan and west of Hawaii. Each swirling mass of refuse is massive and collects trash from all over the world. The patches are connected by a thin 6,000-mile long current called the Subtropical Convergence Zone.
Read the rest HERE.

At least where I shop the fruit and vegetables are loose, not pre-packaged in Styrofoam and sealed in plastic wrap. I'll wager that most everything else involves hard or soft plastics. My market also charges a 5 cent deposit on their brand of soda and mixers, such as tonic water. With no effort on my part I return 10 empties at a time and pocket the change.

I consider myself a pretty green kind of guy - 6 reusable grocery bags (for which 5 cents each is deducted from the final total; recycling cans, glass, and plastic weekly) - and now I am going to be more careful about packaging when I shop.

**Shopping for the best price on the model brush I wanted, I checked out two local pharmacies, my super market, and finally, Wal*Mart. Guess where the lowest price was found on that exact model? The Supermarket, and no, it wasn't on sale! Wal*Mart was a whopping $5.00 higher, that's 25% higher. So much for the "we're lowering prices everyday" hype.

And so it goes.

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Back to Wasilla

The mansion has been cleaned out and ready for the new Governor. (Click the image to embiggen.) But Saint Sarah isn't going away just yet - if at all. There's this weekend...from the Anchorage Daily News:
Alaskans can picnic with Sarah Palin over the next three days before she steps down as governor.

It's an annual tradition for Alaska governors and includes free food, live entertainment, games and activities for children and "much more," according to a press release from Palin's office.

The first is today at IditaPark in Palin's hometown of Wasilla from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.

The next one is Saturday at the Delaney Park Strip in Anchorage from noon to 3 p.m.

Finally, there is the Fairbanks picnic from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday at Pioneer Park (formerly Alaskaland.) That will be Palin's last event as Alaska's governor. After the picnic, Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell will be sworn in as her replacement.
I wonder if Sarah took only those items belonging to the Palin clan and nothing that belongs to the people of Alaska. Ya' know, a few keepsakes to remember her short time in office. I'm just sayin'.

buh-bye, Sarah. You will be missed. Though I am sure you will pop up occasionally like an outbreak of herpes, or something.

More later.
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Caturday

Click image to embiggen...Of course it's from HERE.

More later.

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Friday, July 24, 2009

I said, It's My Birthday!!!

And it was - though it almost turned into a train wreck - but I get ahead of myself.
It was yesterday and I worked very hard selling baubles, bangles and bright, shiny beads for 11 hours and was rewarded with a few very nice sales. Tanks be to Gott!

A couple of friends stopped by the store to offer birthday wishes and in conversation gushed over a new seafood restaurant recently opened close to my apartment. I decided then that would be the evening's adventure. One of the friends offered to join me. I was very pleased with this because I don't like to dine out alone. It was all set; we would meet at the Surfing Crab at 5 pm.

I had the evening all planned for a dinner after work, a festive martini or two, and a lovely meal - preferably consisting of crab or lobster and a friend would be joining me. Perfect!

Not so much...

The person who was to relieve me for the evening called practically in hysterics to inform me that her 87 year old mother (suffering from more than a few ailments, including Alzheimer's) had experienced a dangerous drop in blood pressure due to a new med and she was taking her to the doctor then hospital and didn't have any idea when, or if, she would get in.

Physically, I knew was unable to work 14 hours and emotionally I really needed to enjoy a rare dinner out with a friend, especially on my birthday. So, I began calling other employees who had the day off, or worked day jobs elsewhere.

I finally reached someone to cover so that my evening wouldn't be a total loss, but there was a catch. This person had three errands to run for his day job and couldn't possibly get to the store before 5:30 pm. Bless you, Michael. You will never know how much I appreciate what you did for me last evening.

OK, so the evening began later than expected, but it happened.

I had my usual martini while Ron had his occasional Appletini - don't ask - as we perused the limited menu. The place is very much the usual east coast seafood joint with vinyl covered tables upon which thick butcher paper is place if steamed crabs are ordered for your party. I ordered the crab cakes recommended by a friend who had been there recently and Ron chose their black Angus burger. Neither of us suffered disappointment. The cakes were the best I have had in a long time - being 90% lump crab and 10% binder. The Angus burger sent Ron into the zone. It actually tasted like beef, rather than a thawed pre-formed chunk of basic American chuck.

I enjoyed a second martini as I savoured those crab cakes then was pleasantly surprised when Ron decided to pay the check for my birthday dinner.

So:
A few regular customers and good sales at the store. Check!
Two delicious martinis. Check!
The best crab cakes in a very long time. Check!
Enjoying a Birthday dinner with a friend. Uh - huh!

The planets aligned for a great day.

I may be another year older, but I don't feel it.

And so it goes.
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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Obama's Waterloo?

This arrived this morning and it pretty much sums up what the other side is really out to accomplish. Sorry to say, this has nothing to do with health care reform, and everything to do with the fact that we have a black, smart, president.

The other side doesn't give a tinker's damn about the people, it's all about politics and a black man in the White House.

More later.
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Monday, July 20, 2009

It Was 40 Years Ago Today...

I was working in Stamford, Connecticut and living in Greenwich at the time. July 20th fell on a Sunday and I was entombed in my apartment due to the usual July thunder storms, but I had the TV on very early that the morning. The Sony reel-to-reel was set up to record audio (there was no video back then) of the live coverage by Walter Cronkite and others on CBS.

I remember cooking breakfast quickly so as not to introduce background noise during recording, and made a big pot of coffee. I remember making a couple of sandwiches for lunch in case the coverage ran long, or (G*d forbid) something horrible happened. But deep down I knew things would go well. I just knew it.

There was wine and a bottle of champagne chilling in the refrigerator.

I settled in and when the old CBS "eye" followed by the "Special Report - Man on the Moon" slide came up, I hit record and lost my self in tomorowland. The only fear was that we might lose power due to the storms as the heavy rains beat on the windows (which I had covered with blankets to muffle the sounds) but that didn't happen.

When "The Eagle has landed" was aired from Mission Control, the champagne was popped and I heaved a sigh of relief as I am sure everyone on the planet did at that time.

All in all, I think I recorded about 8 hours of coverage before I ran out of blank tapes. I still had those tapes up until the breakup 3 years ago. Don't know where they are now. Probably in some landfill. Still, the memories are vivid and intact.

And I miss Uncle Walter, too.

More later.
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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Mike (Milquetoast) Castle Attacked by Crazy Birther

I have no sympathy for my Congress critter. This is a prime example of his reaction to almost every issue. A Bush lap-dog for eight years with nothing to do but rubber stamp whatever BushCo wanted. Watch it if you can, but it's extremely embarrassing. His 'deer in the headlights' expression is classic Castle. The stoopid. It burns.
Old Mike's days are numbered...and it's about time.

More later.

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Torchwood: Children of Earth

Finally! A five part mini series that begins on Monday, July 20th on the BBC. I am so ready.

Guess where I will be Monday evening???

More later.
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Rainbow Lounge Update: from the TABC Chief

An apology, of sorts.
FORT WORTH — The administrator of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission said this week that two TABC agents involved in a raid of the Rainbow Lounge on June 28 committed multiple “clear violations” of agency policy.

In an exclusive phone interview with Dallas Voice on Wednesday, July 15, TABC Administrator Alan Steen also said the supervisor directly responsible for the two agents — a sergeant in TABC’s Fort Worth district office — announced his retirement last week in the wake of the raid and amid an ongoing internal investigation. Steen didn’t identify the sergeant or the agents by name.

“I don’t think you have to dig very deep to figure out that TABC has violated some of their policies,” Steen said. “We know that, and I apologize for that. Like I said in my original press release, we have in the past and we will in the future act very swiftly in making sure that those issues are corrected. It’s real clear that however it is that we were doing business that night is not the typical TABC. ... I have good policy in place, I have good training in place, and I have good supervision in place to ensure that things like this don’t happen.”
But, this thing DID happen. Read the rest and listen to an audio clip HERE.

And so it goes.
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Caturday!

Click image to embiggen.

More later.
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Friday, July 17, 2009

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A New Experience & Playing Catch Up

In an effort to understand more about the mechanics and science of restaurant operations and reservations (honest to G*d) I worked an extra 4 hours at job #2 last evening. And what an eye-opener that was. OK, I was naive to think there was more merit to taking a reservation than to suggest a walk-in.

The supper shift is an opposite experience to the lunch shift. Lunch is organized and the seating is rotated to be fair to all servers and assure they get equal number of seatings per shift. Supper is more hectic; large parties, special requirements (wheelchair, high chairs, etc.) of certain parties that must be taken into account. No need for rotation, because as tables are bused, they are turned over immediately, so all servers are kept busy.

For a Tuesday night, I found the controlled chaos amazing as I took the place of the assistant Host to the Maestro of the choreographed evening. The owner. He knows exactly how to juggle tables and servers; manipulate and manage time; and thanks to an incredibly precise software program knows how long a party of 6, 8, 10, or 18, will likely remain seated. So many variables that it boggles the mind. I was mesmerized even as I raced around the dining room following his orders as best I could (the lingo is foreign to me, so I was slow on the uptake) while groups large and small followed as I ushered them to their destination.

The lunch shift ends at 4 pm, so I had no idea what happens after, say, 4:30. To say that all hell breaks loose before 6 pm would be an understatement. By 6:30 there is not a seat to be had. Between the reservations and walk-ins the entire restaurant is FULL! Names are taken for those who don't mind waiting 25-45 minutes and beepers are offered to those serious enough to give up their ID or credit card.

I had no awareness of this alternate universe and it was stimulating to the point of overload, then exhausting (to say the least) attempting to digest this new information. If 25% made it into the gray matter, I will be happy, indeed. What a ride!

I was on the bus to the park-n-ride by 8 pm with brain in shutdown mode. Back at the apartment by 8:30 there was no way I was going to eat that late, and no energy to cook, anyway. So I made a G & T and watched the tail end of Olbermann and all of Rachel Maddow - when you're still in physical activity mode it takes time to come down - then showered, brushed teeth, and fell into bed. Next thing I knew the sun was rising in a clear, dark blue sky. Whew!

No chance to discuss events of last evening today; two servers called in sick and we were pressed for time all day. I am sure the owner and I will talk this out soon. I still have many questions, but glad to have had the experience. I hope that I learned something of value regarding the advantages and disadvantages of reservations during the tourist season.

It's now time for a G & T and supper. Yes, in that order. Cheers!

And so it goes.
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Monday, July 13, 2009

Stand With Rep. Patrick Murphy on DADT

This just arrived in my inbox from the Stonewall Democrats and thought I'd share. He was also on the Diane Rehm show on NPR this morning and made quite a case for the reversal of DADT.

Dear ********,

Many of us have been closely watching our Democratic administration and Congress to see if they intend to live up to the promises they made on the campaign trail to advance pro-equality legislation this year.

On July 8th, Democratic Congressman Patrick Murphy (PA-8) took a major step in the right direction when he became the official lead sponsor for H.R. 1283, the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, the Congressional effort to overturn the military’s discriminatory policy known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Will you sign our message thanking Congressman Murphy for taking the lead on this important issue?

As the first Iraq war veteran elected to Congress, Congressman Murphy has taken a leadership role on issues of national security. His decision to step up and carry forward the legislative repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” is encouraging. What’s more, his outspokenness and bold optimism is striking.

I signed the message of thanks. Do it if you feel so led.

More later.

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

IntegriTV at Episcopal General Convention in Annaheim

Featuring Bishop V. Gene Robinson, Bishop Barbara Harris, Louie Crew, Susan Russell and so many others including my dear friend the Rev. Elizabeth Kaeton. May the spirit move you.

It may be very slowly, but the world only moves forward.
The fight is far from won, but this is a powerful statement - we have our roots here and we're not going anywhere - and we hope you don't either. But, if you must...

And so it goes.
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Random Thoughts

Usually aggressive Pennsylvania drivers become meek when confronted by New York and DC "take no prisoners" professionals. Normally in the left lane, they demure and sputter along under the speed limit in the far right lane here at the beach.

Parents of unruly children in public often appear to be medicated. Shouldn't that be the other way round?

People who make scenes and outrageous demands in public are the most insecure asshats on the planet. (I'll probably hear from Spo on this one.)

Guys with more poorly designed ink on their bodies than in a Kodak printer have no right to make fun of others, for ANY reason.

Teens who smoke ought to do so in the presence of their parents. Then, at least the parents will know not to count on them in their dotage.

Watching bloated William Shatner in those obnoxious travel commercials, I keep waiting for him to explode. Is it just me?

Women over 300 lbs. in bikinis ought to think twice before boarding a bus to the beach. When this vision boarded the bus - rocked it mercilessly - I remembered that I needed to add cottage cheese to the grocery list. My bad.

Men of a similar weight with hair covering every square inch of their bodies daring to wear a thong, should be taken down by tazer, if necessary.

When the truth finally oozes to the surface, the best thing to do (contrary to GWB's example) is own the mistake, ask for forgiveness, and move on. Excuses only dig a deeper hole and undermine whatever credibility you may have had. Just like GWB. Any questions?

I am tired.

And so it goes.
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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Tomorrow is Unknown, but...

Yesterday at job #2 went well. Due to the fabulous non-July weather of the past few days we were not as busy for lunch because, obviously anyone in their left, or right mind would have been on the beach or near the ocean. Still, the lunch crowd was steady and the new server trainee was not overwhelmed. I try to watch out for these things. If the server is in trouble, the customer is, too.

Shot a bit of video using the FLIP as I enjoyed my after-shift cocktail with a server - and while the images are well lit this was only for fun and not ready for prime viewing. I shot the two bartenders I refer to as "The Bickersons" - look it up.

Having the day off, relaxing and listening to interesting (unknown to me) classical music making its way up to my open windows from the landlady's pool and deck below. She has friends visiting and they're offering a running commentary regarding this or that in the music, as they bob in the pool. Yes, she's a musician.

I was awake earlier than usual this morning, so chose to get some web updates - that simply would not upload last evening - out of the way early, so the rest of the day would be just that...rest. Enjoyed a real sit-down breakfast too. What a luxury that was. Sipped an iced coffee as I read a few of my fave blogs and news sites, and know exactly what will be on tonight's menu at this Cajun's place.

Unearthing a cache of old recipe files I found one for pork spare ribs that doesn't require a grill. It's by a dear old friend who is gone now, but I remember those ribs and the tangy sauce to this day. His name was Ted; we were roommates in college and remained friends until his death. Ted loved to cook, loved the 'busyness' of it all, tried new recipes but loved to play with flavours and spices on his own. This is one of those. Ted was always in command of the kitchen at least one weekend night. He would make this whenever he visited the place in NJ from NYC every summer and we all looked forward to these special eventful weekends.

So, following work on Thursday, I stopped by the market where the two most handsome and personable butchers I have ever met are hard at work. Ahem! Where was I?

Oh, yes. Turned out the ribs were on special this week. I asked if he would cut them for me and he did in less than two minutes and as he presented the package with a smile he said, "I'll let you know when the black angus filets go on sale again." That's because the sale is usually 'unadvertised' and since I am in that store twice weekly, at least, he's bound to catch up with me at some point. Yes, I know, wishful thinking...

The music has stopped and the pool is empty. They're probably taking showers and planning an evening either in town or maybe a quiet one at the house around the pool again.

Anyway, it's time to get the sauce/marinade out of the refrigerator and bring it to room temperature. Prep the ribs, make the salad, and the sweet potato fries. This will be the ultimate test for my little Cuisinart convection oven. Stay tuned.

Oh yes, and then it will be time for a festive cocktail. Hell, it'll be 5 o'clock somewhere.

Together, we all say...Amen.

And so it goes.
*

Caturday?

I know how kitteh feels. My only day off and the head continues to spin.

More later.
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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Tuesday at job #2 was busy and interesting. Many new customers were referred by regulars and they didn't leave disappointed. I am fortunate to work with a wonderful wait staff who constantly get compliments from customers. A rare thing, indeed, since most people are known to complain about service. Had a short but interesting conversation with the boss about staying on after the season and maybe putting in more hours, though how that will come to be is anybody's guess - unless more hours are added to the day.

Following an after-shift cocktail, I caught the bus and was immediately amazed by the driver and ambiance of the bus. A very handsome, well built black man with a cool mustache and goatee (reminding me of Isaac Hayes) with a ready smile - listening to jazz on the bus radio - not the usual Country/Western. A nice, refreshing change for the ride back to the car.

This morning, I ran a few errands and picked up a prescription refill before heading to the park-n-ride. The air was fresh and humidity was low. Add to this a light breeze and you've go a recipe for a perfect day. And it was. While the restaurant wasn't as busy as yesterday - well, with the great weather who would not want to be on the beach? - it was just busy enough for the training of new servers. So, that was a plus for the trainees and the servers tasked with their training.

Time passed quickly and as I enjoyed the after shift cocktail, listening to the two evening shift bartenders pick at each other like long time lovers, I mulled over the fact that next Tuesday, I will continue to work well into the dinner shift to learn first-hand what the dinner shift entails and what I need to learn about scheduling reservations. I look forward to it, since without real hands-on experience of what actually happens, it's all abstract. Due to my lack of this knowledge I came dangerously close to over booking for last evening.

Getting out of town and back to the apartment was uneventful. I am about to enjoy a G & T as I prep a pork and vegetable stir fry for supper.

Aside from having no social life, things are going relatively well, and each month the medical bills are being reduced by the double payments. At this rate (if all goes well) the balances could be reduced by half in 10 months. Tonight all is well, even considering the full moon.

Tomorrow will be a long one at job #1 - at least a 10 hour day. Oy! Back to job #2 on Friday, and then - if all goes according to plan - off on Saturday.

And so it goes.
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Monday, July 6, 2009

A Digital Surprise! FLIP?

OK, I have a wish list at Amazon of things I need and items it would be nice to have. Not being a collector and with no space if I were, I was surprised to find a "package waiting" card at the post office this morning.

This surprise was not on that list. It was shipped from Amazon, but I have no clue who sent it, had never heard of the FLIP before, but am learning about it tonight. In my previous life there was a Sony digital camcorder that went to a new home with the EX, along with most everything else.

Needless to say my new life hasn't offered an opportunity (nor the desire) to "capture life's exciting moments" forever.

So, why this? Not. A. Clue.

It is cute and compact, and easy to use...but why?

I'll have to wait and see if there is another shoe to drop about this.

More later.

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Sunday, July 5, 2009

Three Important Bills Pass Delaware Legislature

The news keeps getting better for us here in the First State. I found this in today's DE News Journal:

DOVER -- Even with a gaping $800 million ditch to fill and a toolbox that seemed to have more Tinkertoys than earthmovers, Delaware lawmakers managed to roll some big old boulders off the state's legislative landscape.

Three had seemed especially immobile over the years -- opening the Legislature' s meetings and records to greater public scrutiny, outlawing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and eliminating the much-despised Delaware Student Testing Program.

All three passed this year -- not without debate, not without some dragging feet, wringing hands and pointing fingers, but all three passed.

As a result:

• Any member of the public may attend critical budget negotiations and listen to the debates as they occur (instead of as they leak through a closed door), and review legislative documents that previously were not public. The new law removes a legislative exemption in place since 1985.

• Anyone who loses a job, a housing opportunity, an insurance policy, a public contract or a spot in a public facility because of sexual orientation now has legal remedy. For the first time, that kind of discrimination is no longer legal in Delaware.

• Kids and parents who have dreaded the annual ordeal of state testing in public schools can remove the 11-year-old Dela-ware State Testing Program from the list of things that keep them awake at night. Another test will replace it, but that one -- observers say -- will have more give, more nuance, a faster turnaround for results, and provide a more precise picture of where students are advancing and where they still don't get it.

"The one thing that's common to all three is a sustained push, mostly by constituents but also from advocates and others," said Doug Gramiak, who was chief of staff for former Lt. Gov. John C. Carney Jr. and now is a lobbyist and executive director of Education Voters of Delaware. "The discrimination language, for example -- the Legislature was never let off the hook on that issue. Some issues just go to die. That one wouldn't die. And that's a good example of the community and advocates continuing to work and work and work until they got what they wanted."

Damned right, we did!

Read the entire piece HERE. Yes, it is long, but well worth the read to understand how far we've come in DE.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Holiday, Schmoliday!!!

Getting to and from job #2 yesterday was arduous and stressful. Traffic was already heavy as I made my way to the park-n-ride taking 45 minutes to drive the 6 miles from the apartment. the restaurant was quite busy for lunch and even with 5 servers it was hard to keep up with the flow. Fortunately, probably due to the bright sun and low humidity the customers were in happy mode and that always makes the work day go well.

In a curious twist at job #2, I seem to have been accepted into the fold by the long time bartenders who pretty much run the show when the bosses are elsewhere. One of them can be a real overbearing asshat, so he may have gotten used to the fact that I ain't going nowhere. The others were standoff-ish until a week or two ago. But this past week they have actively engaged in conversation as I enjoyed my after-shift cocktail. I like them all, so this turn of events is most welcome. Also, the fact that I play fair and assure that all servers get tables in rotation may be another reason. Favourites are a no-no and because of that it is my belief that the servers appreciate what I try to do.

Getting back to the park-n-ride proved to be yet another challenge as I stood at the bus stop watching bus after bus pass without stopping because they were full. Forty minutes later - having added additional buses to the route - an empty bus showed up to pick up the nine others waiting along with me. The traffic heading north was fairly light and I made relatively good time back to the apartment where I shed my sweaty work drag, showered and had a G&T.

Turned on CNN for a news update and it continued to be non-stop coverage of Michael Jackson. Nothing about Palin, or Afghanistan. No news on the latest airliner crash. How many times must that "last rehearsal video" be shown? We get it, already. He's DEAD!!! Turned off the TV and turned on music. Best thing I could have done. Eva Cassidy was just right for my mood as I prepped supper.

It's the fourth of July and I have the day off...oh, blessed day! The sky is clear and the sun is bright. I'm told that traffic with those attempting to move about, attend parties and cook outs, hit the beach, or just play in the sun is backed up for miles. A friend who usually visits the Farmers Market on Saturday mornings called to say that the Coastal Highway was bumper to bumper and barely moving, stretching as far as the eye could see. There is no way she'd ever get across and enter the roadway heading south.

No invites on the calendar, anyway. My gay agenda this holiday is to get in some reading, listen to some music, watch a film, and do some heavy duty cooking for the freezer. Beef short ribs in a tangy orange/barbecue sauce is first up, followed by a dutch oven of chicken smothered in garlic, onions and peppers.

A very dry martini is likely to materialize at cocktail hour. Just one. There is work to be done at job #1 tomorrow morning, but no more about that...that's for tomorrow.

The only thing missing for a proper July 4th celebration is an outdoor grilled dinner of spare ribs, roasted red potatoes and corn on the cob, but I'll get by just fine.

And so it goes.
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Rainbow Lounge Eyewitness Accounts

Eyewitness accounts contradict statements from police on what happened at Rainbow Lounge Sunday morning
Todd Camp
A number of eyewitnesses have given their descriptions of what happened at the Rainbow Lounge around 1 a.m. Sunday morning, June 28.

Most of these accounts are very consistent, even though they come from different people who do not know each other.

Here are a few of the eyewitness reports of the incident, as reported to Dallas Voice.

Todd Camp

Todd Camp, founder of Fort Worth’s LGBT film festival Q Cinema, had gone to Rainbow Lounge Saturday night with friends to celebrate his birthday. He said he was standing in line at the bar when “seven or eight cops,” some wearing Fort Worth Police uniforms, others wearing clothing identifying them as “state police.”

Camp said an officer “shoved me out of the way to grab the guy in front of me” in line at the bar. The officer “told the man, ‘You’re drunk,’” and took him out of the bar, Camp said.

He said there were “about six police cars” and a “paddy wagon” waiting outside the bar, and that officers had several people in zip-tie handcuffs lined up on the sidewalk.

“No one I saw appeared to be highly intoxicated, and the way they were choosing people just appeared to be random harassment,” Camp said. “They were pretty violent in grabbing people, and one guy was shoved to the ground and handcuffed.

“I was absolutely stunned. They are saying this was a routine check by TABC. I have been in plenty of bars before when TABC checks happened, and this was not like anything I have ever seen before,” Camp added. “People were just grabbed randomly, told they were drunk, spun around, put in handcuffs and taken out.”

Camp said straight friends who were there with him were frightened to the point of tears by what they saw.
Read the rest at the Dallas Voice

Yep, it's a 1968 mentality, but the attitudes of the LGBT community are firmly planted in 2009. This abuse cannot, and will not stand.

More later.
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Celebration Caturday

The only rituals I have on the Fourth of July are watching the film 1776, then listening to "Stan Freeberg Presents The United States of America" as I enjoy a festive cocktail before supper. Hey, when you're not invited to a celebration shindig, you gotta create your own.

Happy 4th - if you celebrate such things.

More later.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Palin to Resign as Alaska Governor

Snoopy happy dance breaks out in Alaska and all around the country.


Click the image to embiggen.

But...will she go away? We should be so lucky.

More later.
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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

FW Police Chief: "Faggot Had it Coming!"

Lines like this one were common in the pre-Stonewall era. Yep! It's 1968.

This from Dan Savage at The Stranger:

Most residents of Fort Worth have never even seen the inside of a gay bar. Fort Worth's police chief Jeff Halstead is counting on that fact—counting on the average person's ignorance about gay bars and certain stereotypes about gay men—to get a half a dozen Forth Worth police officers off the hook for conducting a violent raid on a Forth Worth gay bar, the Rainbow Lounge, late last Saturday night. Seven men were arrested during the raid, which took place on the 40th anniversary of the raid on the Stonewall Inn that kick-started the modern gay rights movement, and one of those men—Chad Gibson—remains in intensive care with a brain injury. Gibson may not survive.

The officers who raided the Rainbow Lounge claim that the men in the bar made "advances" on them—and Forth Worth's police chief is backing them up:

Monday, police chief Jeff Halstead said the officers' actions are being investigated. However, he also said that officers that entered the bar during the scheduled inspection were touched inappropriately.

"You're touched and advanced in certain ways by people inside the bar, that's offensive," he said. "I'm happy with the restraint used when they were contacted like that."

Allow me to translate the chief's comments: "Them faggots in that thar bar touched mah officers and now they're complainin' about some rough stuff and one little ol' faggot with a brain injury? Those perverts should be grateful they're alive."

This is a classic example of the Gay Panic Defense. In the very recent past all a straight man who brutally murdered a gay man had to say was, "He made a pass at me!", and the jury would ignore the evidence and let the murderer off. The Gay Panic Defense doesn't fly in many courts of law these days but it still has currency in the court of public opinion. And the chief of police in Forth Worth, a major U.S. city, is attempting to use the Gay Panic Defense to convince the citizens of Fort Worth to ignore the evidence—to ignore photographic evidence and credible eyewitness accounts—and let his officers off.

And you'll never guess who the police are accusing of being the groper: Chad Gibson, the one man arrested at the Rainbow Lounge who can't defend himself and may never be able to give his side of the story. But another person at the bar witnessed Gibson's arrest:

"They were hyped up. They were loaded for bear," said Todd Camp, a veteran journalist who was there celebrating his birthday with friends. "They were just randomly grabbing people, telling them they were drunk."

Camp told me he has been in bars during TABC/police "checks" before, "and it was never anything like this." Usually, he said, officers discreetly walk through, looking for anybody who has had too much. This was different. "They were shoving patrons," Camp said, "asking, 'How much have you had to drink?'"

...

"[Gibson] was taken down hard," said Camp, with "four or five" officers wrestling him to the floor inside the club. Cellphone photos shot by patrons and posted to blogs show a person being held facedown by officers in a short hallway inside the club, then show a dent in the wall where his head was apparently banged.

The police claim that Gibson wasn't injured when those four or five cops slammed him to the floor of the bar, but after his arrest, when, drunk and handcuffed, Gibson somehow fell and hit his head on the pavement outside the bar.

All of this is bullshit.

Read the whole thing HERE.

I think I am going to be sick.

And so the present becomes the past. And so it goes...
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