Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Catholic League Blowhard's Ad Points Fingers Away from Pope

This just makes no sense and Donahue knows it, but why not go ahead and at least attempt to confuse and refocus the issue. Even though it's a long shot, it's all he's got. Oh, and the "Radical Lawyer" phrase makes another appearance. As seen in the NYT:

Click to embiggen.
h/t J.M.G

Tell Sarah Palin to Stop "Winking" at Violence

For more than a year, dating back before the 2008 election, Sarah Palin and other Republican leaders have been "winking" at violent rhetoric from Tea Party extremists and other right-wing supporters.
They have pretended to be "shocked" when accused of helping stoke such fires, and yet, they have stood by, and even endorsed rallies featuring signs such as, "Obama's Plan: White Slavery," "The American Taxpayers are the Jews for Obama's Oven," and "Guns Tomorrow!" Some Republican House members actually applauded such protesters, even as they broke their way onto the floor of Congress.
And now, the chickens are coming home to roost, as these violent words metastasize into violent deeds. Multiple members of Congress have received death threats. Others have had windows of offices smashed. At least one received a package of white powder. 
Read the rest and sign the petition HERE.

More later. Sun's out!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

LOGO Channel Presents Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

That's right. If you have access to LOGO the series "BUMP" will highlight life in my beach town this Friday, April 2, 2010. Check your LOGO website for local broadcast time in your area.

It's airing at 7 pm EDT here and is all the talk this week. It's an hour program, and I'm interested to see what part of the "community" is covered.

Being known as the "Nation's Summer Capital" for many years meant that the GLBT community was low key for decades.  No more. Tune in if you feel the urge and let me know what you take away from the show. (Click the image to embiggen.)

Here is the website with links to all other broadcast times.  LOGO.

A Wiki history.

It's time for a festive cocktail - with olives - followed by a light supper and planning the errands for tomorrow.

And so it goes.

Judge Tells Dad of Slain Soldier to Pay Court Costs of Westboro Crazies

What was this judge thinking when handing down this decision?
Lawyers for the father of a Marine from Maryland who died in Iraq and whose funeral was picketed by anti-gay protesters say a court has ordered him to pay the protesters' appeal costs.

Lawyers for Albert Snyder of York, Pa., also say he is struggling to come up with fees associated with filing a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court.

The high court agreed earlier this month to consider whether the protesters' message is protected by the First Amendment or limited by the competing privacy and religious rights of the mourners.

On Friday, Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ordered that Snyder pay costs associated with the Fred Phelps' appeal. Phelps is the leader of the Westboro Baptist Church, which conducted protests at Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder's funeral in 2006 in Westminster.

The funeral for Marine Lance Cpl. Snyder in Westminster was among many that have been picketed by members of the fundamentalist Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas. Westboro pastor Fred Phelps and other members have used the funeral protests to spread their belief that U.S. deaths in the Iraq war are punishment for the nation's tolerance of homosexuality.One of the signs at Snyder's funeral combined the U.S. Marine Corps motto with a slur against gay men.
 CLICK HERE to learn more about The Al Snyder Fund. It's set up to help him out financially.

Read the rest of the AP article HERE

You just can't make this stuff up. 

More later.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Ain't No Son

Two of the Dixie Chicks have created the sub-group Court Yard Hounds for this song about a son coming out to his father. I am thinking of high school student Derrick Martin who was kicked out of the family home following publicity surrounding his wish to bring a male date to his prom.

I've seen this many times in my life and it makes one wonder if these parents should have been allowed to breed in the first place.
I've got something to say
I'm scared and so afraid
Can you take me as I am
Come what may our blood is all the same
I'm still your little man

He said you ain't no son to me
You ain't no son to me
Eight pound baby boy I bounced on my knee
No, you ain't no son of mine
You ain't no son of mine
Aw, forget it girls there ain't no use in trying
Don't expect to get my love for free
And don't blame me

Well this ain't no fun for me
This ain't no fun for me
Oh boys should be boys
That's how it should be
You ain't coming home
No you ain't coming home
Til you walk the straight line
You'll be out on your own
Don't expect to save your soul for free
When you're the one who turned your back on me

Aren't you a sight to see
Yeah, you're a sight to see
What you call freedom makes you look like a freak
You must get around
Cause it sure got around
Don't you know that I can't show my face in this town
Don't think I'm gonna get you up off of me
When you're the one who turned your back on me
Stranger, stranger on the wall
When the neighbors come to call
I just don't know what to say
So I'll put you away
This time I won't leave a trace
I'll fill up the empty space
When I put you, I put you away
I put you away

He said you ain't no son to me
You ain't no son to me
Eight pound baby boy I bounced on my knee
No, you ain't no son of mine
You ain't no son of mine
Aw, forget it girls there ain't no use in trying
Don't expect to get my love for free
When you're the one who turned your back on me
Don't blame me
Don't blame me
Don't blame me
Shame on you
Shame on you
Shame on you

Yes indeed, Shame on YOU parents for not loving your own child and thinking only of what neighbors may think, and of yourselves. Good luck with that. Derrick will do just fine, thank you very much. We take care of our own when the blood ties have restrictions.

And so it goes.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

About Things Out of Place

Last week a co-worker bought the living room furniture that's been in storage for almost 3 years and this evening after work he picked it up. A bit dusty but none the worse for being in total darkness all that time.  It was strange to see it go, although it was my "share" of the "settlement" from the breakup. Funny how we attach so much energy and emotion to "things"in life, isn't it.

Lots of memories attached to that stuff and now it's gone - another relic from the past out of my life - going on to make new memories for others, while I still have my own. I must say, there is a pulling at my heart this evening.  Well, that too, shall pass.

As I drove away from the storage lot I was both relieved and a little sad, but it's all for the best and I am half way closer to being free of the added expense of renting the unit. Only the bedroom set remains and I have a nibble of interest on that as well.

Now the boxes of books that were inaccessible before can be retrieved and delivered to the thrift store for sale with the money going to a good cause. People in need. What could be more appropriate right now?

As a dear old friend is fond of saying, "Joy, Anyway!"

It's turned colder and windy today, so following a festive martini Chicken and Pork Chili is the supper for tonight.

And so it goes.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Dancin' Through Life - I Wish!

I know, I know, I haven't shared personal stuff much this week, but honestly, so much has been happening in the country that what I've been up to (or not) pales by comparison. The Healthcare bill has been the main focus from both the left and right with little sanity being shown by the latter. If the rhetoric wasn't so frightening it would be an interesting debate. It's just frightening at this point, though I hope the crazy subsides as details are released.

Work has been a delightful diversion and the weather has, for the most part, brought the healing power of the sun to everyone and making for happier moods and less stressful attitudes. Feel like dancin'!

The restaurant today was a humming, well oiled machine with a great staff and delightful diners who made the lunch shift go quickly. Everyone was up for Margaritas and buckets of beers to follow their fajitas and stonegrill meals. Things couldn't have gone more smoothly. I'd like to think I made a bit of that happen so, yes, I am proud this evening.

The bar was packed following my shift and I debated about having a shift cocktail or just heading home. One of the bosses made that decision for me and had a golden margarita waiting for me when I logged out.  I guess I did do a pretty good job in handling the dining room today.

Back at the apartment now and I have no idea what to do about supper. There is food in the freezer, but not prepared food, so it's about starting from scratch tonight, and while I am tired I think I am up to the challenge. It's all about ingredients and being crazy enough to give anything a try.  And I really feel like dancin'!

Game on!

Super Caturday!

More later.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Katrina Seminar

 Wish I could be present for this one. (sigh.)
Jed Horne, distinguished visiting lecturer in the University of Southern Mississippi College of Arts and Letters, will offer The Katrina Seminar, a weeklong examination of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, during the May 17-21 mini-session.

Horne is the former metro editor of The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune, which garnered two Pulitzer Prizes for its coverage of Hurricane Katrina.

He is also the author of the critically acclaimed "Breach of Faith: Hurricane Katrina and the Near Death of a Great American City."

"We're approaching the fifth anniversary of the storm (Aug. 29), and I think the seminar will have a lot of interest for our students and for other members of the public," said Denise von Herrmann, dean of the College of Arts and Letters. "Mr. Horne certainly brings an informed perspective to the seminar."

Horne plans to feature a number of guest speakers in the class, which will meet from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 17 to 21.

Guests will include storm surge expert Ivor van Heerden, WLOX-TV news director Dave Vincent, filmmaker Lolis Elie, photojournalist Ted Jackson and Reilly Morse of the Mississippi Center for Justice along with several other experts and municipal leaders.
Read the rest at the link above.
h/t: Editilla

More later

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Patrick Kennedy Leaves Note for Dad, Teddy

This brought the tears. Simple and poignant. From the Washington Post:
The political odyssey of health care reform in many ways is the story of Ted Kennedy, and as President Obama signed the historic bill into law Tuesday, Kennedy's gravesite was a place of quiet celebration and poignant reflection.
The late senator's widow, Victoria Reggie Kennedy, spent hours Sunday at the simple white cross at Arlington National Cemetery marking where her husband was laid to rest only seven months ago. Ted Kennedy's youngest son, Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy (D-R.I.), visited on Monday morning and left a hand-written note that read: "Dad, the unfinished business is done."
 And on a dreary Tuesday morning, dozens of school children and health care advocates paused at Kennedy's tombstone to commemorate the man who for decades made overhauling the nation's health-care system his life's mission. 
Click the link above to read the rest of this short piece.

And so it goes.

Dan Choi, HRC, and the Direction of Our Movement

I've been thinking along the same lines lately.  Dan Choi:
Why now? Because you get tired of talking. [Over the past two years] I've done 50 live interviews, a hundred other interviews, how much more talk am I expected to produce? When I heard Kathy Griffin was going to be a spokeswoman for Don't Ask, Don't Tell, I wondered about that. I have great respect for her as an advocate. But if [the Human Rights Campaign] thinks that having a rally at Freedom Plaza with a comedienne is the right approach, I have to wonder. Don't Ask, Don't Tell is not a joking matter to me. To be at Freedom Plaza and not at the White House or Congress? Who are they trying to influence? I felt like they were just trying to speak to themselves. If that's the best the lobbying groups and HRC can do, then I don't know how these powerful groups are supposed to represent our community. Kathy Griffin and [HRC president] Jay Solmonese said they would march with me to the White House but didn’t. I feel so betrayed by them.

We all know the political reality now. The only way for the repeal to go through is for the president to take leadership and put it in the Defense Authorization Bill. There's a sunset on this, and it's happening quickly. Obama told us at the HRC dinner last year, you need to put pressure on me. I was there at that dinner, in uniform. So this is my mission; the president said to pressure him and I heard that as a warning order.

Now there is this to put any doubts I had about the direction of our movement into perspective. Pam nails it for the rest of us:
I really don't know how to react to this. To me it's a sign of what "activism" has come down to in the land of TEH GAY. Isn't it an interesting juxtaposition to see that HRC's Joe Solmonese has made Washington Life Magazine's 2010 Fashion Awards ("We salute 35 men and women who bring that je ne sais quoi to the ballrooms and boardrooms of Washington").

Well, plenty of us here in flyover country have very little je ne sais quoi about fashion and more working to do as much activism on a shoestring and the kindness of those who support the work on the Blend through PayPal or ads. Taking a look in my closet, I don't see a label of note on my togs, I gather many of you don't either. The closest I get to haute couture as an advocacy journalist/commentator is watching Project Runway in my jammies. I can clean up nicely for a gala, but honest to god, I have better use for my disposable income. Guess HRC must write off Joe's togs; who knows. 
Read the rest at Pam's House Blend.

I'm no fashionista; the only designer labels I have are Levi Strauss and Jockey.

I don't know about the rest of you, but HRC is off my list for future donations.
More later.

Discovery Interested in Palin Nature Series

 I think I'll be discovering another channel if this comes to pass. Is Discovery Network REALLY willing to pay her $1.2 Million an episode? I've already watched 8 or 10 documentaries about Alaska and can't imagine what more can be squeezed out that would be fresh and new.

Sources say Discovery Communications has edged out rival A&E Networks in the bidding for the project, titled "Sarah Palin's Alaska." An agreement could be announced in the next few days.
It's still undecided which network in the Discovery suite would air "Alaska," which is being produced by Mark Burnett Productions.
Although travelogues are on brand for the Discovery flagship, having Palin as a centerpiece also makes the show a fit for mom-friendly TLC. Clearly nature docs are still viable for the company -- Discovery's latest effort in genre, the miniseries "Life," just debuted to 11.8 million viewers on Sunday night. 
 The rest is HERE.

More later.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sign the Pledge!

If you are a serious teabagger, this is for you:
I do solemnly swear to uphold the principles of a socialism-free society and heretofore pledge my word that I shall strictly adhere to the following:
I will complain about the destruction of 1st Amendment Rights in this country, while I am duly being allowed to exercise my 1st Amendment Rights
I will complain about the destruction of my 2nd Amendment Rights in this country, while I am duly being allowed to exercise my 2nd Amendment rights by legally but brazenly brandishing unconcealed firearms in public.
I will foreswear the time-honored principles of fairness, decency, and respect by screaming unintelligible platitudes regarding tyranny, Nazi-ism, and socialism at public town halls. Also, I pledge to eliminate all government intervention in my life.
I will abstain from the use of and participation in any socialist goods and services including but not limited to the following:
  • Social Security
  • Medicare/Medicaid
  • State Children’s Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP)
  • Police, Fire, and Emergency Services
  • US Postal Service
  • Roads and Highways
  • Air Travel (regulated by the socialist FAA)
  • The US Railway System
  • Public Subways and Metro Systems
  • Public Bus and Lightrail Systems
  • Rest Areas on Highways
  • Sidewalks
  • All Government-Funded Local/State Projects
  • Public Water and Sewer Services (goodbye socialist toilet, shower, dishwasher, kitchen sink, outdoor hose!)
  • Public and State Universities and Colleges
  • Public Primary and Secondary Schools
  • Sesame Street
  • Publicly Funded Anti-Drug Use Education for Children
  • Public Museums
  • Libraries
  • Public Parks and Beaches
  • State and National Parks
  • Public Zoos
  • Unemployment Insurance
  • Municipal Garbage and Recycling Services
  • Treatment at Any Hospital or Clinic That Ever Received Funding From Local, State or Federal Government (pretty much all of them)
  • Medical Services and Medications That Were Created or Derived From Any Government Grant or Research Funding (again, pretty much all of them)
  • Socialist Byproducts of Government Investment Such as Duct Tape and Velcro (Nazi-NASA Inventions)
  • Use of the Internets, email, and networked computers, as the DoD’s ARPANET was the basis for subsequent computer networking
  • Foodstuffs, Meats, Produce and Crops That Were Grown With, Fed With, Raised With or That Contain Inputs From Crops Grown With Government Subsidies
  • Clothing Made from Crops (e.g. cotton) That Were Grown With or That Contain Inputs From Government Subsidies
If a veteran of the government-run socialist US military, I will forego my VA benefits and insist on paying for my own medical care
I will not tour socialist government buildings like the Capitol in Washington, D.C.
I pledge to never take myself, my family, or my children on a tour of the following types of socialist locations, including but not limited to:
  • Smithsonian Museums such as the Air and Space Museum or Museum of American History
  • The socialist Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson Monuments
  • The government-operated Statue of Liberty
  • The Grand Canyon
  • The socialist World War II and Vietnam Veterans Memorials
  • The government-run socialist-propaganda location known as Arlington National Cemetery
  • All other public-funded socialist sites, whether it be in my state or in Washington, DC
I will urge my Member of Congress and Senators to forego their government salary and government-provided healthcare.
I will oppose and condemn the government-funded and therefore socialist military of the United States of America.
I will boycott the products of socialist defense contractors such as GE, Lockheed-Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Humana, FedEx, General Motors, Honeywell, and hundreds of others that are paid by our socialist government to produce goods for our socialist army.
I will protest socialist security departments such as the Pentagon, FBI, CIA, Department of Homeland Security, TSA, Department of Justice and their socialist employees.
Upon reaching eligible retirement age, I will tear up my socialist Social Security checks.
Upon reaching age 65, I will forego Medicare and pay for my own private health insurance until I die.
_____________ _________________________
Signed Printed Name/Town and State
 Going viral - h/t LOKI

More later.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Ten Immediate Benefits of the Health Reform Bill.

It's far from perfect (and the Republicans are already vowing to repeal many of these benefits) and will have to be tweaked as time goes by, but it's a real beginning. From C & L:

Here are ten benefits which come online within six months of the President's signature on the health care bill:
  1. Adult children may remain as dependents on their parents’ policy until their 27th birthday
  2. Children under age 19 may not be excluded for pre-existing conditions
  3. No more lifetime or annual caps on coverage
  4. Free preventative care for all
  5. Adults with pre-existing conditions may buy into a national high-risk pool until the exchanges come online. While these will not be cheap, they’re still better than total exclusion and get some benefit from a wider pool of insureds.
  6. Small businesses will be entitled to a tax credit for 2009 and 2010, which could be as much as 50% of what they pay for employees’ health insurance.
  7. The “donut hole” closes for Medicare patients, making prescription medications more affordable for seniors.
  8. Requirement that all insurers must post their balance sheets on the Internet and fully disclose administrative costs, executive compensation packages, and benefit payments.
  9. Authorizes early funding of community health centers in all 50 states (Bernie Sanders’ amendment). Community health centers provide primary, dental and vision services to people in the community, based on a sliding scale for payment according to ability to pay.
  10. AND no more rescissions. Effective immediately, you can't lose your insurance because you get sick.
I'm sure the GOP (the party of NO!) will continue to make fools of themselves in their feeble attempts to scare people, but I hope we're smarter than they think we are.  I doubt I'll benefit from much of this, but so many millions of Americans will, and that's a good thing.

Finally, some much needed change has come to this country.

And so it goes.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Bad, Good and Ugly

Yes, in that order.

After a hectic day at the restaurant yesterday I arrived at the apartment/house to find a "FOR SALE" sign in place. WTF?
There was an email from the landlady explaining the situation - that her ex was putting the screws to her for a lump settlement and that she's discovered that the place is high maintenance, and it is -
reassuring me that she's not optimistic about getting her price so "please don't panic."

Haven't been able to have a face-to-face with her, but will sometime this week. Don't panic, indeed.

Work has been wonderful and busy, working with a terrific staff and learning new bits from the boss to make me run things more smoothly as the season approaches.  Due to the bright sun and warmer than normal temps the restaurant has been jumpin' and the town packed with folks celebrating what they hope is the end of a nightmarish winter. In fact, yesterday's numbers broke a record for the date - with over a thousand customers served between lunch and dinner.  No small feat, that.

Today was much the same for lunch, which helped take my mind off that damned SIGN on the street in front of the house.

I heard more ugly rumors being spread around town regarding my previous life; they make me angry and sad at the same time. It's frustrating to have the truth on your side, but no way to fight allegations by a person no one is willing to name. Four years ago I was given advice to just keep being me and do what I've always done, and sooner or later people would catch on and know the truth. So, why does this keep becoming an issue and why would anyone care about me anyway? Everything taken for granted for 30 years was lost in a flash. The worst damage has already been done, there is nothing more to squeeze out of me, so why bother? I mean, what is to be gained? My total destruction?  Maybe that's it.

That's what makes these rumors so insidious, there is no one to confront - although I have a good idea who is behind them, there's no proving my suspicions - so it becomes a classic case of "they said-I said".  And that just doesn't cut it. It drives me nuts, but I'll stick to "keep on keepin' on" and those who believe the rumours will believe what they want to believe and there's nothing to be done about it.  That's the hard part.

Time for a cocktail, a light dinner and settle in to watch the first two episodes of LIFE.

And so it goes.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Grease, The Musical - Only Gayer.

I have a few friends in this production presented by the Washington DC Gay Men's Chorus, and here's what the Washington Post has to say today:

The Gay Men's Chorus version of "Grease" could be called a classic retelling, what with its adherence to the original script by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey. But the Pink Ladies?
Well, they'll be played by men.
"Sandy is still Sandy, Rizzo is still Rizzo," insists Artistic Director Jeff Buhrman. And good-girl -- or in this case good boy -- Sandy and her bad-boy summer crush, Danny, still can't admit their feelings for fear of upsetting their high school's rigid social circles.But the chorus's all-male "Grease," which runs Friday through Sunday at George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium, offers an opportunity to imagine high school as a more accepting place than the one many of them experienced.
"For myself, and for many other gay men, high school was a very difficult time. It was a time of great loneliness and feeling unaccepted by peers," Buhrman says. This production of "Grease," he says, is "a version of high school where gays can be cool and confident, and where a gay crush is the norm."
The show is the third all-male retelling the chorus has staged, after "Bye Bye Birdie" and "The Wizard of Oz."

Read more HERE! And get tickets if you're in DC this weekend.

And so it goes.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

An Irish Cajun?

Oh Begorrah, no! But the holiday can be addictive, I tell you.

Mountains of Ham, Corned Beef, Cabbage, Potatoes, Carrots, and many kinds of bread will be offered up today just about everywhere in the western world. Most of it downed with copious amounts of green beer. And that goes for the wee place I work, as well.

Oh sure, it's a Mexican Restaurant, but the six-page menu is quite eclectic, offering many seafood options like lobster, crab, or shrimp fajitas; stonegrill faves such as lamb, ahi tuna, sea scallops etc. But, today calls for something completely different.

So the kitchen concocted a small menu for the holiday consisting of ham & cabbage burrito or fajita, plain ham & cabbage platters for the feint of heart, green beer, (of course) and shots of Jameson Whiskey. This will be served all day, along with the regular menu, of course.

While I had this lovely day off I am sure I'll hear all about the festivities when I get back to work tomorrow. And no, I don't think I'll stop by to sample the menu or green beer.

The two days off weren't as productive as they could have been, but the break was enjoyable and restful, and sometimes that's all one can hope for anymore.

Tonight for supper, I finally get to use up what is left of the stew I made prior to the first blizzard back on 5 February before the infamous power outage that lasted for a week. Ah, memories...

And so it goes.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Pet Shop Boys: Being Boring - LIVE!

I'm in a Pet Shop Boys frame of mind and this is one of my all-time favourites - the lead track from their Behavior recording. This isn't the original music video but a live telecast around the time of the release of their album titled, oddly enough, "Release" at least from the notes on YouTube. Enjoy.
This song brings back memories of friends lost to AIDS and how life for us all changed in the 1980s and 90s.

And so it goes.

Katrina Whistle-Blower Files Suit against LSU

And it's about time! 
It should be noted that no one from the Army Corps of Engineers has been demoted, reprimanded, or fired because of the flawed design of the levees that Professor van Heerden proved was the cause of the flooding of NOLA. He is the only person being punished for proving that it was the fault of the Corp, and telling the truth about what actually happened.
(New Orleans) On February 10, 2010, Dr. Ivor Van Heerden, a world-recognized disaster science specialist, hurricane researcher, author, and former deputy director of the LSU Hurricane Center filed a wrongful termination lawsuit in Louisiana state court alleging that LSU officials waged a campaign of retaliation against him that culminated with the termination of his position at the university. The whistle-blower suit alleges that Dr. van Heerden, an LSU Associate Professor and leader of the state team that conducted a comprehensive investigation into the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, was subjected to a multi-year campaign of retaliatory harassment after he made critical comments concerning the failure of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to safeguard the City of New Orleans. 
 I hope LSU gets nailed on this one and that our "press" such as it is, follows this story. Well, I can dream, can I?

View the video HERE. Again, it is too big and will likely be distorted if I embed it.

More later.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Polar Bears: 10 - Weather: 0

OK, one Polar Bear Plunge under the belt and, all in all, a moving event. To see so many people braving the cold, wind, rain, and frigid ocean water for the cause was almost overwhelming.

As I arrived at the restaurant at 9 am yesterday, there were already dozens of people of all ages, shapes, and sizes dressed in pajama bottoms, (most sporting a polar bear print or motif) which covered their swim suits, getting out of cars and retrieving extra towels and sandals out of trunks and milling around waiting for restaurants and coffee houses to open.

We opened at 10 am to a light crowd at first; by 11 we were doing brisk business, and the special menu was a hit.

By noon street traffic was virtually at a standstill as plungers and onlookers alike began to fill the town making their way to the beach. Onlookers hunting for the best vantage point to watch, plungers huddling together in families or sponsorship groups.  Our little group of 5 was in rare form wearing bright green feathered hats with their jammies, looking so cute and all.

Oh my, yes, there were many costumes involved. There was a "Let's Make a Deal" meets "St. Patrick's Day" atmosphere about the whole event. All creative, some truly outrageous; all great fun.

Of course, the emergency services from the state, county, and local towns were at the ready in case there were health issues, and the press was well represented - print and TV coverage would be given special access to areas otherwise off limits to the casual viewer.

All went off without a hitch - the plunge ended at 1:20pm and the participants changed in vehicles, or home for hot showers - many chose to come in for drinks, shots, and hot meals. The restaurant was toasty and was full of excited plungers all afternoon. There were several big parties of between 12 and 25 who make the restaurant their annual post-plunge venue. They have standing reservations for the event.

By the time I finished my shift ( an hour and a half late) the bar was packed and the restaurant was nearing that point. It was a long, exhausting day and I felt happy to have played a small part in a big event.  I slept well last night.

I learned this morning that the place was slammed all night - something unexpected because of the nasty weather - and the kitchen was put through its paces until closing time. The bar remained the place to be until it closed, as well.  As we say in the south, "a good time was had by all."

One sad note: I am no longer a Plunge virgin. (sniff!)

Feh! I'll live! Now, where are the olives?

And so it goes. (or, went?)

Dear Catholic Church - Read The Gospels

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Rachel Maddow: Daylight Savings Time Exposed!

Leave it to Rachel Maddow to air this funny, enlightening, and historic look at our almost century old obsession with turning our clocks forward and back.  The video is far too large to view here. Resizing tends to cut the image in half, so click the link below. Enjoy.

Daylight Savings Time Explained.

And that's - - - that!

And so it goes.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A Nor'easter, Chili, & a Polar Bear Plunge

Yet another Nor'easter blew in last night with heavy rains and wind gusts to 50 mph! Debri hit windows and the outer walls with disconcerting force and regularity and rattled the wine glasses in the cabinets. And because of that, I didn't get much sleep. Yes, I know, so what's new? This is the 7th such event in less than a year, but who's counting? 

But I digress...

This is the infamous "Polar Bear Plunge" weekend here supporting the Special Olympics - which was rescheduled from February due to a few feet of snow - and come hell or high water (and it felt like both) the weekend is going on as planned.

OK, so the run was ultimately cancelled over fear that skinny runners might be swept away along with small dogs and bad toupees, but the Restaurant-sponsored Chili Cook-Off went on as planned today. Ten restaurants participated in this annual event and with all in walking distance of one another it's a great 3 hours of "nomming" and meeting new people and old friends - or enemies.

It works like this, one purchases a card with the 10 participating restaurants listed and a check box next to each. The cost of the card is $5.00 - a donation to the Special Olympics - allowing one to have a cup of the entry by each restaurant. Pretty good deal and tasters travel in groups, herds, and troupes having a gay old time in the process. Our entry this year was a pork and white bean masterpiece with just enough kick to make your tastebuds want more. No "fire in the hole" stuff here.

The actual plunge into the Atlantic occurs tomorrow and a number of co-workers have signed up for the event. I think they're certifiable, but what do I know? The restaurant will open for a special pre-Plunge Brunch at 10 am offering a menu with all manner of warming protein rich delights to get everyone ready for the actual event set for 1 pm. God help us all!!!

It's a testiment to this community to see the lesbian and gay bears (some very hot, I might add.) signed up and ready to do their bit for this worthwhile charity. It alternately warms my heart and freezes my privates to think about what they're going to do. To be honest, one of the restaurant owners is on the administration board and will take the plunge, the other - well, he'll be taking pictures and holding a bathrobe for his partner when he rises from the waves in triumph and returns to the beach.

Sorry, I will not be present to photo-document the event. I'll be busy prepping staff for their ultimate trial - the polar bears descending on the restaurant to party-hearty well into the evening.  At least that is what I am told has been the itinerary in years past.  Hell, they deserve it.

Like I said, this is my first time, so I don't know what to expect. Nice to know I'm still a virgin at some things...

And so it goes.

R.I.P. Theodore C. Olbermann, 1929-2010

Keith's dad has died. If you watch Keith's show - Countdown - you will already know what a journey this has been, especially during the bitter biting and ass-kissing regarding the HCR bills.  From Keith's site:

My father died, in the city of his birth, New York, at 3:50 EST this afternoon.

Though the financial constraints of his youth made college infeasible, he accomplished the near-impossible, becoming an architect licensed in 40 states. Much of his work was commercial, for a series of shoe store chains and department stores. There was a time in the 1970's when nearly all of the Baskin-Robbins outlets in the country had been built to his design, and under his direction. Through much of my youth and my early adult life, it was almost impossible to be anywhere in this country and not be a short drive to one of "his" stores.

My Dad was predeceased last year by my mother, Marie, his wife of nearly 60 years. He died peacefully after a long fight against the complications that ensued after successful colon surgery last September at the New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center. My sister Jenna and I were at his side, and I was reading him his favorite James Thurber short stories, as he left us.
I especially love that Keith was reading his favorite James Thurber short stories as his dad left us. IMHO, there is no finer humor with which to leave this life.
The rest is HERE
More later.

Thoughtful Caturday

Friday, March 12, 2010

Katrina and the Fleecing of NOLA - 5 Years On...

 It's the never-ending story and few seem to even care anymore.

NEW ORLEANS — An engineering firm hired to oversee the reconstruction of city buildings and infrastructure damaged by Hurricane Katrina has been overcharging the city, including billing for theater tickets and a flight to Las Vegas, an internal investigation found.
The report by New Orleans Inspector General E.R. Quatrevaux said the flawed contract with MWH Americas Inc. has hurt the city's recovery, placing blame on both the company and city officials. The city's slow rebuilding process continues to anger residents, and the uneven recovery was a major issue in the campaign leading up to last month's mayoral election.
Quatrevaux advised scrapping the deal with the Broomfield, Colo.-based firm in the report, first made public Thursday by The Times-Picayune. The company's work previously had not garnered much criticism.
"The city has blindly paid MWH's expenses," the report said, including "a markup of approximately 23 percent" without knowing if that was appropriate.
The report also said city employees and elected officials may have violated ethics laws by accepting gifts or meals from MWH.
MWH was hired in December 2007 by Mayor Ray Nagin's administration to manage the massive rebuilding of city infrastructure after the 2005 storm flooded fire and police stations, parks, community centers and roads. As of February, MWH had been paid $29 million for its work and billed the city for $36 million, the report said.
The probe said the city was paying the firm too much considering the amount of progress made, and that the contract, and its escalating costs, "will have profound consequences for the recovery program."
Hours after Quatrevaux's criticism was made public, one neighborhood leader lamented the recovery.
"It's moving at a snail's pace," said Dennis Scott, the vice president of the Lakewood East Homeowners Association in eastern New Orleans.
"We have a temporary trailer as a library. We still have a police facility that is a temporary building, and a fire station that is still in a trailer. And there's definitely no hospital."

Yes, that's right.  STILL no hospital!

Read the rest HERE.

More later.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

It Always Comes as a Surprise

When the universe allows events to fall into a positive place: Auto Service, Walk, Discovery, and an Interested Party.

After my last experience with a dealership when I took the car in for the 15K mile service, where I paid $135.00 and they tried to charge me an additional $75.00 for new wiper blades, I took a friend's advice and brought the car to a local shop today for the 20K service. What a happy difference and what a find!

They were right on time for my appointment, the technicians went over the work that would be done and/or checked, the job was finished in an hour, and the bill was less than half that of the dealership.

I had the rest of the day to do whatever, so I took a short walk on the boardwalk where I noticed that the electronic games arcade was gone and about to be replaced by some other business, possibly a restaurant. (As you can see, the doors are sliders and all the neon and signage have vanished.)  At least Funland is still intact, so the traditional rides on the Boardwalk will reopen this spring. And that's a good thing.

 At this point I received a phone call from someone at the restaurant interested in the list of furniture in storage I posted at the server's station, saying they'd like to take a look at it today, if possible. I was happy to do it. Although the guy doesn't speak English well - the brother who does was stuck in traffic - I believe he understood well enough to talk with his brother about what he saw, liked or didn't like. In any case, the two will talk tonight at work and we'll talk tomorrow about what they want to do, or not.

A productive day all round.  I like when that happens.

Time for a festive something with olives.

And so it goes.

A Cosmic Reminder

Act accordingly.

That is all.

More later.

DADT Days are Numbered

This just arrived in my inbox:

Elections have consequences.
And you only have to look to Senator Mark Udall to see why. Yesterday, Senator Udall proved again that he is a champion for equality and national security. You just have to watch this video to see what I mean.
Watch the video and add your voice. It's time to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell.
Lesbians and gay men know how to be warriors. Just ask 9-time decorated Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach, an 18-year F-15 fighter pilot who is now no longer flying missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, but fighting to keep his job. Nobody asked, and he didn't tell. He was outed by a third party, and his career hangs in the balance.
At the same time as it has kicked out thousands of highly qualified individuals because of their sexual orientation, the military has repeatedly lowered its entrance qualifications in order to recruit new people. You can now become a member of the service if you're a felon, but not if you're gay or lesbian. We need to end this madness.
Three quarters of Americans support gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military. Vast majorities of Republicans, Democrats, and unaffiliated people. Not to mention Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Why? Senator Udall said it best.
On his blog, he said it's time "to repeal this misguided law, which requires gay service members to lie about their identity in order to serve in our armed forces. Not only does it go against the principles and the standards our military relies on, it puts our national security at risk."
Quoting Republican former Senator Barry Goldwater, Udall said, "you don't have to be straight to shoot straight." How true. Join me now and show Senator Udall and the other defenders of equality in the House and Senate--as well as President Obama--that we stand beside them.

Best regards,
Mike Ditto
ProgressNow Colorado

More later.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Finally, More Than a Dream

The spring-like weather tempted me out into the world early this morning to run errands and take a short walk on the beach. I am unable to take long walks at this point because I'm out of practice and the back acts up after about a half mile. I hope that will change as the weather improves. To be honest, I am grateful to be able to walk at all.

Ran into friend Ron, at the supermarket and though we attempted a conversation, today was "seniors day" and they were not amused by our being in their way. We moved three times and finally gave up promising to get together in the near future.

Eventually, the temperature hit 70' as I took this shot of the mounds of black snow still melting in a nearby parking lot. Mind you, the last blizzard event was two weeks ago. Some mounds are even higher in other places. (Click image to embiggen.)

Tomorrow, the car goes in for its 20K mile checkup - oil change, tire rotation, etc - at 8 am, then some folks interested in the furniture and other items in the storage unit will meet me there to take a look and decide if they're interested in anything.  After that, the rest of the day is free and if the weather cooperates, I'll probably hit the beach again.

Supper tonight is pork ribs in a hoisin/barbecue sauce and a sesame noodle salad with mandarin orange segments. No, I did not make the salad - not enough room here in this tiny space, but the ribs, they are mine!

The windows are open and the fresh air is delicious and a bit salty. I am about to have a festive martini sitting on the deck stairs watching the sunset in nothing more than jeans and shirt.  No jacket required.  I am loving it.

And so it goes.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Week Begins with Sun & Silk Stockings

Let me explain that title, OK? OK!

This morning the boss decided that I should learn the procedure to open the restaurant, probably since I always arrive earlier than anyone (including himself) and have to wait for whomever arrives with a key. It's not a difficult procedure; only lots of little details to be done in specific order to formally "open" the restaurant for employees. I wrote most of it down after the fact, but I am sure there were some missed details.

I am not sure how comfortable I am with the responsibility of having a key to a place I've work less than a year. I know it speaks volumes of their trust, but still...that's a lot of responsibility for the risk involved and what I am being paid. More later as this evolves.

Being Monday we had no expectations for lunchtime diners, but (as usual) we were surprised. Perhaps it was the bright sun and warm temps, but they came out and practically beat down the door as we opened. Great people and big smiles - I know I write that a lot, but so help me, it's all true - as they chose their seating for themselves. This is something I allow when we're not busy as it always makes diners feel more comfortable. Oddly enough, people seem to have a particular seating preference in the place and we love to make that happen for them whenever possible.

Then midway through lunch there was an explosion somewhere in town and we lost 2/3 of our electric power. The bosses jumped into action (telling me that this has happened before) and we remained open and functioning with a few minor disruptions. Since other establishments open for lunch (and there are few this time of year) were crippled by the power outage, we happened to benefit from the situation. With that 1/3 power source we were able to maintain output from the kitchen and bar. The only problem was that we couldn't use the soda dispenser. We worked around that problem and everything went smoothly until the power was restored about an hour and a half later.

Happy Hour talk was about the mysterious power outage - hey, it's a small beach town, and the regulars had a grand time sleuthing the source of the explosion - which will probably be in the weekly paper on Wednesday.

I enjoyed a Cosmo for my after-shift cocktail then headed home to prep dinner. Upon arrival I did something I NEVER do - switch on the DISH and TV - before changing out of my work drag; suddenly from the bedroom I hear familiar music from a fave MGM musical "Silk Stockings" with Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse. I grabbed some sweats and finished changing in front of the TV. I caught the last 40 minutes of the film and it made my day.

After the movie, feeling all warm inside, I enjoyed a martini as I prepped dinner. Isn't it amazing how such little things can take you to a whole 'nother place? A place, I might add, I am grateful to be at the moment.

And so it goes.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sunny Days, a Laurel...and Hardy Meal, and Olives

So much for celebrating the Blogiversary.  It's been too busy here with no time for a personal post until now.

We experienced the first all-sun weekend in two months and everyone came out to celebrate. Of course, it helped that there was also a massive book sale sponsored by the library (to which I have donated boxes and boxes over the years) as well as the annual Rehoboth Beach Chocolate Festival.

The town was hoppin' and the joint (restaurant) was jumpin' all day yesterday. It was tiring, but great fun for all concerned. I had a great staff and the customers were in no hurry; just happy to be out and about in a clear blue sky and bright sunshine. Who could blame them?

The boss threw in a few new enticements from the bar that will likely remain in effect for a month or so. They were appreciated and snapped up by regulars and newcomers alike.

Today's weather was even better and the restaurant was busy at opening and dropped off a bit after 3 probably due to the fact that many weekenders had to return to their home states for the work week ahead. Being Sunday, one special today was Absolut Vodka Bloody Mary's for $3.00 all day. Though we have no real brunch menu, a few items are of the breakfast variety and easily fill the bill.

We celebrated liberation from the isolation of our individual cabins and, aside from a few minor drama queen moments, (which I distance myself from, if possible) everything went pretty smoothly.

Following my after-shift cocktail I made my way back to the apartment and am in the process of making Italian sausage with green/red/yellow peppers, garlic, and tomatoes which I plan to put on Italian bread topped with cheese. I really need the "hardy" tonight, but it needs to be quick, as well.

I am tired, but it's a good kind that keeps my mind off of things beyond my control to change. At least while I'm busy at work. I am going to self-medicate with a few olives now (Cheers! Dr. Spo.) and enjoy the evening meal.

And so it goes.

It's My Blogiversary!

This little spot on the interwebs celebrates (if that's the correct word) three years of life today.

And this was the very first post:

Funny how some things never change...
More later.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Craig Ferguson on Sen. Roy Ashburn

Craig devoted the whole monologue to the anti-gay CA State Senator's recent run-in with the law after leaving a gay bar with another man. Really funny.

And so it goes.

Post Olympic Caturday

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Another (R) Anti-Gay Queer Bites the Dust

The video is only available at this LINK,  but this story just keeps on repeating itself over and over...will these guys ever catch on?  Just another self-hating, gay-bashing homo, or is there more to it? And why the passenger in the car is left unidentified is another mystery. Did he know who he was riding with? Did he give a damn? Was he just a dumb gay hooker? Clearly, the senator was trashed and careless beyond words. In any case, your bashing days are over, senator drinky-winky.
Sources tell CBS13 a state senator from Southern California was arrested for allegedly driving drunk after leaving Faces, a gay nightclub in midtown Sacramento, early Wednesday morning.
The California Highway Patrol pulled over Senator Roy Ashburn at 2:00 a.m. Wednesday after an officer noticed a black Chevy Tahoe swerving at 13th and L Streets.

Ashburn, a father of four, is a Republican Senator representing parts of Kern, Tulare and San Bernardino Counties with a history of opposing gay rights

When the officer stopped the state-issued vehicle, the driver identified himself as Senator Ashburn. He was arrested without incident and charged with two misdemeanors: driving under the influence and driving with a blood alcohol level higher than .08% or higher.

A male passenger, who was not identified as a lawmaker, was also in the car but was not detained.

Ashburn was booked into the Sacramento County Jail and released on $1,400 bond.

Ashburn issued a statement on the arrest Wednesday afternoon:

"I am deeply sorry for my actions and offer no excuse for my poor judgment. I accept complete responsibility for my conduct and am prepared to accept the consequences for what I did. I am also truly sorry for the impact this incident will have on those who support and trust me – my family, my constituents, my friends, and my colleagues in the Senate."

Ashburn served six years as a state Assemblyman before being elected to the State Senate.  According to Project Vote Smart, Ashburn's voting record shows he has voted against every gay rights measure in the State Senate since taking office including Recognizing Out-Of-State Same-Sex Marriages", Harvey Milk Day and Expanding Anti-Discrimination Laws.
You just know that this story, if it appears on FOX Noise, will contain a picture of Ashburn with a (D) beside his name, 'cause, you know, that's what they do over there.

And so it goes.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

No Slouching Toward Tomorrow

When I woke this morning, I psyched myself into high gear to make this a productive day until I heard the familiar sounds of high wind and torrential rain battering the house. I was already dressed and ready to go, but chose not to face the drenching downpour and whipping winds (gusting to 45 mph). Feeling defeated I made a mug of coffee and began checking out the daily papers online.

After a while I noticed that the deafening sounds had died down and looked out to see the rain had become a sprinkle and the winds had lost some of their punch. I kicked myself into action and hit the road to scratch errands off the list that has been ignored since last week. Everything on the list was completed within 2 hours and I decided that I needed a visit to the ocean - the weather be damned - and made my way to the beach at the south end of the state park known as Whiskey Beach, thanks to the pirate activities in the area a couple of hundred years ago - to take a short, but exhilarating walk to inhale the salt air and clear my aching head.

I felt much better and almost buoyant as I made two final stops before heading back to the apartment. I've retained most of the energy from that walk and hope to do it again when the weather clears more.

Still sorting out the events (and my meltdown) from last week but I am taking it slowly.  Knowing that there isn't anything I can do about any of the tragedies, or inevitable health issues doesn't sit well with me, but I have to find something positive about it and, as Monty Python sang - "always look on the bright side of life".

Looking forward to work tomorrow and giving input on items for a new lunch menu for the spring and summer. A few of us were questioned about what we think would work and we made our suggestions. We'll see how this develops in the coming days. It is hoped that the new menu will be ready in another week or two. Knowing as little as I do about the business of food service, I am anxious to follow this process as it evolves.

I know I need a break, however short, away from this place and I have to find a way to make that happen before the tourist season begins and can't go anywhere.

And so it goes.

Two Wolves

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
He said, "My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.

"One is Evil -  It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

"The other is Good -  It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, 
 "The one you feed."

From a friend.
More later.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Good News & Not-Good News #100

Not-Good News:
A three-punch Whammy to the heart - and what finally sent me over the edge!
Medical test results show no change or worsening of back and hand pain and a continuation of the neuropathy in the legs and arms. No health insurance means that without surgery, degeneration of the thumb joints and vertebrae will also continue.

Notification of 2 deaths - first was a recent suicide, the second the identified remains of a childhood friend - another Katrina flood victim. At least he can be laid to rest and accounted for which is comforting in a way.

Re-examination of tax returns and W2s reveal I owe significantly more to the IRS and state than originally calculated. The previous employer neglected (for their own selfish reasons) to report monies from the commissions I made.

Received notice that the rent for my storage unit will increase again next month.

Good News:
 Had a long talk with my boss who assured me of a few things that put my mind somewhat at rest. He reminded me that everyone in our little work family is suffering in ways we never thought possible - which I already knew.  He will not discuss issues related to my Ex and previous life, nor the consequences I've paid as a result of the break-up. He refuses to do so with either of us and I understand his point.

More on work related news in a more appropriate post.

I have permission to post a list of furniture and other items in that storage unit at both restaurants in an effort to eliminate that extra expense. Look, I don't see myself having my own place anytime in the near future, (if ever) so if someone else can make use of them I would be happy to see them giving comfort and rest to others in a good home.

My work has saved my sanity (such as it is) for a long time, but especially during this mini-crisis and I don't know what I would have been like without its diversions and demands.

No social life to speak of, (which you already know if you visit with any frequency) so work passes for what is otherwise lacking.

Two co-workers and two of their friends are trying to fix me up with one of their mutual friends; I noticed they didn't offer themselves as potential friends or dine-out buddies. Curious.

Many thanks to all who left supportive comments, sent emails, offered to call, and have kept me in prayer. You'll never know how much your generosity of spirit means to me. I have - or will - respond to you here or individually within a day or two.

I haven't had much of an appetite for days; eating to fend off headaches and only when prodded. I ate a small bit of salmon filet (blogger friend Peter's recipe) last evening; a bit of cheese and crackers today and, though I'm not excited about it, I'll be making a turkey burger & small salad tonight.

I believe I can handle a cocktail without negative repercussions. Besides, I need the rest. So, turkey + cocktail = ZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

And so it goes.
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