Thursday, November 09, 2006

Winds of Change

The Democrats are in charge of most things, but I'm not sure we'll see a lot of change. The theocrat tends to cross party lines, and one newly-elected Dem who was once a pro-footballer, is anti-abortion, won't work on Sundays so he can go to church, and doesn't drink coffee or tea. Hmm. Once upon a time, Republicans were the liberal ones, and Democrats the conservatives. I'll just wait to see. We already have a fairly conservative Supreme Court in place, so it's not like we're in for radical change. Roe v. Wade is probably the next hot bed since gay marriage is starting to become a nonissue. And the war du jour has managed to piss people off just enough that they want to see something different happen. Like I said, I'll just wait and see.

And, the world, not just the journalism world, has lost a gem. Ed Bradley lost his battle with leukemia. I'll miss his cool, yet deeply involved approach to reporting, not to mention the beautiful gray hair and beard, and yes, the earring. He will be missed.

Saturday is my 6th wedding anniversary. I have no idea how Telios and I will celebrate, but we plan to hit the Chocolate Show. If you love chocolate and live near one of the cities featuring the show, check it out.

See y'all soon.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Friday, Just Friday

The Marriage Thing
Okay, I'm trying not to talk about it anymore, but I can't make any promises. It does smack of separate but equal (whassup Nuggster?), and I understand the awkwardness of saying "I'm unioned" and I suppose I was a little terse about it. I suppose I just felt some progress had been made, but we have a long way to go. Especially when...

It May Not Be a Duck, But It's Quacking
I love the Lord, for He heard my cry and pitied every groan. And I know that He did hear my cry and pitied every groan, even though each cry and groan came from my lesbian mouth. How, how, how, can you call yourself a child of God, a shepherd of God's flock, and live a lie day in and day out? I'm not casting judgement on prostitution, either from the buyer or seller side, but there are few prostitutes who are spiritually and emotionally evolved enough to feel okay about selling sex, and few consumers of sex for sale who are spiritually and emotionally evolved enough to feel okay about buying it. Most sellers are selling because they feel they don't have any other money-making skills (I said most) and most buyers are buying because they feel they don't have any sex-attracting skills, including self-esteem that says they're worthy of a sexual connection with another human being. And it is realy sad when someone who, as part of their calling (that thing you're driven to do whether or not money is involved), counsels people on self-esteem and self-worth, feels so poorly about themselves that they regularly pay for company and sex. Loneliness is an awful thing, and self-hate is worse.

I'm not saying that Ted Haggard, who stepped down from his position as pastor of a 14,000-member Colorado Springs church this week, is gay, or that allegations of regular meth-fueled sex trysts with a local man who said he advertised his services as an escort, are true, but I have a few could-it-be-a-duck questions:

1. If he bought crystal meth because he was curious, what was he curious about? Was he planning to ingest it and see what happens? Use it and go about his daily life? What had he heard about it to make him want to buy it? I've heard of it, even know people who've used it and know why they did, and can safely say I have no desire whatsoever to buy it or try it.

2. Why did he step down as pastor? Couldn't he have just confessed to a drug problem, take a temporary leave for rehab, and come back? He wouldn't be the first pastor to do so.

3. Why did he call (okay, allegedly, even though preliminary voice analysis is pretty sure it's his voice on voice messages left with his accuser) a gay man who advertises his services as an escort? He couldn't find some random meth dealer on the street?

Family Is as Family Does
I lost a friend this week in France. One of the best bass guitarists I ever met and had the pleasure of playing with, Laurent Coton Bonacchi, passed away from complications following a motorcycle accident. He leaves behind an infant son, his son's mother, and a host of friends in the jazz, rock, funk, and gospel music communities in Lyon, France, and elsewhere. LCB, as he was also known, was a great guy, a great musician, and he became my brother almost from our meeting. He was that kind of guy you immediately bonded with because his love for life and music was instantly evident. Lolo, you'll be missed and always loved.

Christmas in October?
Is it me, or is Christmas coming earlier and earlier each year? The first Christmas-related commercial I saw aired on Saturday, October 28, and it was for holiday decorations from a national home store chain. It's never too early to start freaking out about your decorating theme or how much money you have or don't have for Christmas presents.

Happy Friday, folks.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Frustrating Friday

Can't guarantee a lot of cohesiveness, so I'll apologize in advance for what may end up being a stream of consciousness. Here goes.

The Marriage or Whatever Thing
As you've probably already heard, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples are entitled to the same rights as opposite-sex couples and has directed the state legislature to come up with an appropriate course of action, whether it is Marriage or Civil Union (initial cap intended). Responses I've heard have ranged from "this isn't a victory, it's a loss" to "gotta stop those activist judges" to "gotta save marriage" to "the timing was bad because now the conservatives have ammunition" blah, blah, blah. My stand on marriage equality is well known to anyone who has ever read my blog. And, my feelings on what conservatives want to do, no matter what ammo they have or don't have is also know. The bottom line is that the extreme right is always working at some point or another on something to keep their White, male-dominated, heterosexist, Christocratic, classist view ruling this country as long as they can. Don't be fooled into thinking that they didn't plan to vote in November, so the timing of the New Jersey announcement is, quite frankly, irrelevant. The infighting is exactly what they hope for -- get us pissed off at each other either for wanting marriage equality laws passed at what appears to be the cost of other things like decent wages, accessible healthcare, safe streets and affordable healthcare, and while we're fighting, they slip nonsense in like "defense of life" or "defense of marriage." And, speaking of being quite frank, those of you pissed off because we didn't get the word "MARRIAGE" need to rub the dust out of your eyes. The ruling says that the RIGHTS (READ: THE KABILLION LEGAL PROTECTIONS) opposite-sex couples get automatically because they pay a fee and get a license from City Hall (that's technically what marriage is, kids) should be extended equally to same-sex couples. As with the infighting about timing and whatever else, this is yet another weapon of mass distraction that allows the Righties to slip in while our backs are turned and convinces the legislatures to do things that take away evering bleeping thing they can. Civil union, marriage, great joining, whatever. It's about a piece of paper and what that paper means, so wake up already. Geez!!!

The Music Business is Giving me The Business or Technology is NOT My Friend
So, Telios, God bless her, gave me a Korg Triton Workstation with a CDRW for composition, making tracks, etc. I've done some things with it. For the last few months, I've mainly used it as a big piano, but I'm trying to learn how to do other things with it, and I need to since it cost as much as a car downpayment and I feel just a little pressure to make it pay for itself since it was so expensive. It's driving me up the freakin' wall, so if you know any musicians who can help me and keep me from selling the damn thing (because that would hurt Telios' feelings), let me know.

"Reformed" Homos
When I was 19, I came out. My good girlfriend at the time, whom I call Coco, also came out. Coco went to a groovy liberal arts college in Massachusetts, hooked up with a lesbian art major who went to a neighboring school, and they had their tumultuous lesbian relationship through to graduation. Post-breakup, Coco moved to San Francisco, became a bona fide dyke into leather and rugby, pissed off her conservative Caribbean parents, and made me envy the entire sordid journey that was her early-to-mid twenties. Some time passed and we lost touch. I ran into a guy we both knew, who was/is the best friend of another guy who would eventually become her boyfriend. My response then was "WTF?!?" and whenever I hear about some newly "reformed" re-oriented former homosexual, my response is still "WTF?!?" I'm not naming names; giving them free publicity for their duplicitous journey won't come from me.

I can hear some dopey responses out there: Why is it duplicitous? Maybe she wasn't really gay, She believes that homosexuality is a sin and she was delievered, Maybe she went through counseling and was able to find her true self. Lies and more lies.

Some folk like to say that one can't change being Black, yet bleaching creams sell like hot cakes in Africa. If Black women want to change the texture of their hair to straight, they can buy Asian hair to blend with their own. Or, they can chemically straighten it. Numerous celebrities, who made it big with the classically African features they were born with suddenly disappear for a few weeks and reappear with narrowed noses. Why isn't the Eurocizing of beauty seen as going against their nature?

Some folk work on Sunday. Are they quitting their jobs so as not to be in violation of keeping the Sabbath day holy?

Some folk wear polyester-cotton blends, eat cheeseburgers, are regular visitors to Red Lobster, and are regular consumers of food produced via genetic modification or artificial insemination, which in olden days was known as animal husbandry. Where are the re-orientation programs?

What is it that makes some lesbian and gay people wake up one day, and decide they need to not be gay anymore? Where are the heterosexuals that seek to be "changed" into homosexuals? Every gay man won't die of AIDS. Every lesbian doesn't hate men. Every gay man isn't having lots of sex. Every lesbian doesn't "look" lesbian. We're not all well-educated or rich. Care to see my banking statement? I bounced a check earlier this month, and I didn't graduate from college. Life isn't easy, salvation isn't promised, and you're not a better person because you're suddenly heterosexual. Screw you. We don't need you to be with us if you don't have the courage to be who you are. I can't promise I'll be willing to listen to how your marriage split up when you tell your husband or wife you had an affair with another man or woman.

Okay, I'm done.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Blooming in The Garden State

Same-sex couples are entitled to the same rights as heterosexual married couples, according to the New Jersey Supreme Court. Guess the wife & I may have to shop for a home in New Jersey.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Yeah, I Know

It's been a long, long time, and there's always so much to say. Did ya miss me?

Keith Urban -- Who Knew?
Damn, how can you mark four months from your wedding day by checking yourself into rehab? I'm just sayin'. On the serious tip, hoping he gets the help he needs, and Nicole does too. It's tough on the partner and family as well, and I wish them all the best.

Hey Paul -- All You Need is Love and a Good Lawyer
Hate to be in your shoes, bruh. And, I don't know what you did to piss Miss Heather off, but hell is lookin' real comfy next to what the tabloids claim she wants to do to you. Yikes!

Flav's Savor Has Lost Its Savor for New York
Not once, but twice, was Tiffany, a.k.a. New York, dumped for another chick on Flavor of Love 2. No, I didn't watch it, but Telios did, so I know the results. She might be in the house, but not in his (and that wasn't his house anyway!).

Can Anyone in TV Land Write Anything Anymore?
Is it me or is it that more new tv dramas are cheap copies of "24"? You know what I mean; something happens in a day, the consequences fan out like a ripple on the water, the hero has to solve the crime/undo the damage in one day and that day stretches out to a 12-episode season? Or worse, another stupid, not-really-based-in-reality reality show? I should care about the siblings of Aaron and Nick Carter because why, especially if I don't really care about Aaron and Nick?

I've given you enough pop culture bites for now. See ya when I have something real to talk about.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Value

On the anniversary of The Hurricane (oddly enough, my best friend's first name is Katrina), it's important that we remember some things we may not want to. We have to remember that although 3000 lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks, more than 200,000 have still been unable to rebuild theirs. It's estimated that approximately half of New Orleans' population has yet to return to the city. Although the families of 3000 people, including 300 safety officers (firefighters, police officers) were instantly changed by circumstances out of their control, at least they've had more than a fighting chance at putting their lives back together. Millions of dollars given by individuals, corporations, and governments, has been distributed to the surviving families and anyone affected by the attacks, with some families becoming instant millionaires. In comparison, poor families displaced along the Gulf Coast, are barely surviving in FEMA-provided trailers. Their neighborhoods are still littered with debris. Dilapidated houses, with corpses still inside, still stand. It took months for debris from the World Trade Center to be removed.

I'll probably take some flack for what may be insensitivity. Please don't misunderstand me. A tragedy is a tragedy; loss is loss. I can't imagine what it's like to see a loved on in the beginning of the day, only to never see them again, never hear their voice, see their smile, feel the warmth of their hand, by day's end. I can't imagine what it's like to wonder where they are, walking the streets looking for them just as families of 9/11 victims did just hours after the towers fell and families of Katrina victims did, walking around the New Orleans Superdome. The posting of names and pictures, with cell phone numbers of seekers. The anguish of finding out someone has perished before help became available.

I remember my one visit to New Orleans to work a convention at the very Convention Center that became home for thousands. Obviously, it was a different place then, lit festively, decorated with products for sale and Christmas promotions. I walked the streets of the French Quarter imagining what it must have been like to hear jazz in dark rooms. I tasted gator for the first time, much to the amazement of the colleagues I was traveling with (it didn't taste like chicken, more like swordfish). It was hot, steamy. I can only imagine what the steamy heat was like with pressurized, stormy air filling a house while water is rising around you like a plugged sink. I remember taking the PATH train from the World Trade Center to New Jersey, taking what seemed like an endless escalator from the bowels of the earth to the street. I remember the first time I got lost in the World Trade Center complex, looking for my train in 2 WTC, only to end up at 7 WTC. And I remember loving the massive towers of steel and concrete. I remember walking across the Manhattan Bridge on September 11, 2001 to get to my Brooklyn home, turning my head to watch the billows of smoke shrouding lower Manhattan. I'll never forget the look on the face of my dear Telios when I turned the corner onto our street. I can only imagine what a mother separated from her child by rising flood waters, or a firefighter's wife must have felt when they were reunited after hours of uncertainty.

Every life has value and we have to treat every life as valuable. Is it more appropriate to spend money fighting a war abroad that's supposed to help people rebuild their lives or to send that money to help people rebuild their lives here? Is it more important to spend five years trying to create a memorial that makes every surviving family happy (which won't happen) or to get a neighborhood cleaned up after a year?

Let us not allow our local pride, wherever we may come from, blind us to the value that we all have, wherever we are.

Monday, August 28, 2006

From the Ridiculous to the Sublime

Ridiculous -- The Flavor of Love 2. It wasn't bad enough that Flavor Flav, the court jester of hip hop's Public Enemy, subjected us to his antics, first with Brigitte Nielsen in VHi's "The Surreal Life," or that we had to suffer, sometimes painfully, through the sharing of his desires in The Flavor of Love, but this dude's back for a second season, with a new bunch of fame-seeking freakazoids. Ugh. I don't like to speak ill of folks because I don't want folks to speak ill of me. However, I am one of the millions who are repulsed but fascinated by the insanity that is Flav and the women willing to do pretty much anything to "be" with him, all for a shot at stardom. I'm sure Flav is a nice guy; certainly someone who asks his mother to provide input on a potential woman for him can't be all bad, but my sexual orientation aside, Flav's not my cup of tea. And the women willing to resort to fisticuffs to resolve conflict on any kind -- in the first few minutes of FOL2, 2 women get to swingin' over sleeping quarters -- are definitely not take-home-to-mom-worthy either.

And then there's Spike Lee's incredible documentary, "When The Levees Broke," an intense look at New Orleans the week of and the days following Hurricane Katrina. The devil is truly is in the details, and details like a study revealing that 170,000 New Orleans residents didn't have access to a car, select levees were purposely dynamited in the 1920's to protect pricey real estate and improperly built in the 1960's (with another devastating storm in 1968), show how poor New Orleans, without regard to race, have always been treated like trash. Get HBO, or get to an HBO-having friend's house to watch, or look for the DVD when it's released.