Tuesday, March 31, 2009

First The Gay Gene, And Now The Gay Test


Going, ahem, down under is given a whole new meaning, now that the Melbourne Catholic Church has confirmed that it will be following Vatican recommendations to test would-be priests who are suspected of “deeply seated” homosexuality.

Deeply seated? Is that some sort of butt joke?
Does the test involve butt-less chaps and feather boas?
Does it require hands-on instruction?

The head of the Vatican committee which released the guidelines has also stated that celibate gays must also be banned because homosexuality is ‘‘a type of deviation’’.

A type of deviation? Well, at least they aren't mincing words while they're mincing around.

The "Guidelines for the Use of Psychology in the Admission and Formation of Candidates for the Priesthood" were drawn up by the Congregation for Catholic Education in the Vatican. The prefect of the Congregation, Cardinal Grocholewski, explained that any seminarian should be excluded from the priesthood, even if he is celibate, if it appeared that he was homosexual.

"The candidate does not necessarily have to practise homosexuality. He can even be without sin, [b]ut if he has this deep-seated tendency, he cannot be admitted to priestly ministry precisely because of the nature of the priesthood, in which a spiritual paternity is carried out. Here we are not talking about whether he commits sins, but whether this deeply rooted tendency remains."

A "tendency" to be gay? Well, I for one don't tend to be gay; I am gay. I do, however, tend to be annoyed by homophobia.

The tests will show, so they say, that if seminary students show signs of grave immaturity, then "the path of formation will have to be interrupted". The listed 'Symptoms of Immaturity' include unclear sexual identity, difficulty with the celibate life, excessive rigidity of character and lack of freedom in relations.

So, the Pope doesn't believe condoms work in the spread of HIV, and the Vatican believes it can test for homosexuality.

Gotta love them Catholics, there are a fun bunch to watch.

And Now, For A Musical Interlude

I saw this over at Joe.My.God and, well, I'm just doing my part.

Ladies and Ladies, Jay Brannan

Stewart v Vermont


I often wonder about the struggle for gay rights. Actually, I hate the term gay rights; howsabout calling it gay equality, because that's really what it's about. Equality. We have all these folks, including myself, blustering and filibustering on both sides of the issue. It's right. It's immoral. It's fair. It's a perversion. Sometimes it takes a clown, or in this instance, a comedian, to take the whole idea of equality and turn it into a punchline. Albeit a punchline filled with common sense and understanding.

Jon Stewart performed at the University of Vermont last weekend. That's right, Vermont, in the midst of its own war for and against gay equality. Still, with a sharp tongue and a punchline, Jon Stewart was able to make sense of it all, and maybe that's a good thing. Get the people to laugh, and maybe, just maybe, they'll start to think....and rethink.

"I can understand being against gay marriage — if they decided to make it mandatory. This isn’t a cultural divide: They’re wrong.”

Stewart even tackled the so-called gay agenda, a term that most anti-gay groups like to use as nauseum.

"Here’s the gay agenda: [t]hey’d like to get married ... and fight in the military and march in the St. Patrick’s Day parade.”

And, of course, he could not let those who use the Bible to vote against equality off the hook so easily. To those folks who use the Book of Leviticus in their arguments, Stewart suggests that we should begin to adhere to the book’s taboo on eating shellfish.

“Why aren’t we shutting down the Red Lobsters?”

But seriously folks, in his standup routine, in which he took aim at a variety of topics, not just gay equality, Stewart was able to get people thinking. Make them laugh at the joke, and then they might think about the joke, and how, really, it isn't so funny after all, because, in the end, all we really want to do is get married, serve in the military and march in a St Patrick's Day parade.

Is that too much to ask?

Normal


We sat last night, as we usually do, finishing dinner and going over the minutiae of our day. Was it a productive day? Not so much. Did you learn something new? Always. Of course, it helped to be sipping a very nice Pinot Noir; red wine always makes a conversation flow.

Carlos was telling me about preparing a presentation on HIV for one of the local churches. No, not the Baptists, because Baptists don't do anything that might lead to HIV. The church in question was an Islamic church in Columbia. Carlos had given a presentation there once before and it was very well-received, so his group was asked back, with one caveat.

They needed to have a woman available to talk to the women in the church.

Carlos didn't quite understand this. He knew that men and women worshipped separately, and that woman were considered subservient to men, but he couldn't grasp how this is possible in the world today. He said it was abnormal for women to be treated, and to let themselves be treated, that way.

I said he was looking at Islam from a different perspective; from growing up in Mexico City to living the last twenty-odd years here in the US, and that his view was not the view of Islam, so he couldn't judge them based on his own experiences.

But it isn't normal, he said.

That lead us to a conversation about what is normal. An interesting chat considering we're a gay couple and, depending on whom you believe, and who yells the loudest. most people think we're abnormal.

So, what is normal?

My parents were married almost fifty-two years before my mother passed away. That isn't normal, when you consider the divorce rate these days. They had three children, so is that normal? Couldn't be because the Morrison's from across the street only had two children, so was that normal? But then what about the couple that lived next door? They had no children, but they did have a Great Dane who had his own room and a twin bed to sleep in. How's that for normal?

I'm gay. Is that normal? There are theories that suggest 10% of the population is gay, but 30% of my parents children are homosexual, Extrapolate that out to include the children of my aunts and uncles, and 14% of my population is gay; and the number gets smaller if you factor in the aunts and uncles and nieces and nephews that have been added over the years.

So, what is normal, and why do we base normality on our own experiences rather than celebrating what is different about each of us? My normal isn't even Carlos' normal; he is an only child. So, do I think of him as abnormal, or is that me?

Are the women who worship separately at an Islamic church abnormal, or is that simply the way of life for them?

See, normal isn't normal. It shifts and varies with each of us, based on socio-economic issues, issues of geography and education and faith and sexual orientation and gender and age. There really is no normal.

Which is normal.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Newt Newt Newt


Way back in January 2005, Newt Gingrich was set to deliver a speech at Catholic University, and a group of students rose up in protest, accusing the twice-divorced, admitted philanderer of violating the Catholic values upon which their school was founded.

Fast forward to March 24, 2009. Newt Gingrich blasts Notre Dame for inviting President Obama to give the commencement address, saying, “It is sad to see Notre Dame invite President Obama to give the commencement address since his policies are so anti-Catholic values.”

What gives, Newt?

Oh wait, here's what gives: on March 26, 2009, Newt Gingrich, the three-times-married adulterer, converted to Catholicism because wife three is Catholic. The ceremony wasn't given a lot of press because, well, how would it look, really? The man who tried to impeach President Clinton over a blow job, all the while cheating on his own wife? A man whom students protested against at a Catholic school, now doing the same thing against the president?

Let he who is without sin, Newt....yada yada yada.

Oh, but the new Newt is without sin, now.

Apparently, leading Catholic conservatives like Deal Hudson are thrilled to welcome Newt into the flock. Hudson, the most important Catholic political adviser to President Bush and Karl Rove, feels Gingrich’s conversion represents more than an effort to please the latest Mrs. Gingrich.

“From a Catholic point of view,” Hudson says, “Newt’s sins no longer exist—they’ve been absolved. He’s made a fresh start in life. So Newt will continue to sin and confess but there aren’t going to be a lot of Catholics who will hold that against him. They understand why being a Catholic makes a difference.”

Of course, Hudson knows whereof he speaks.

Although raised Southern Baptist, Hudson converted to Catholicism at age 34; he received his first communion and promptly had his first marriage annulled. He divorced wife # 2 four years later. After his conversion, Hudson began teaching philosophy at Fordham University. And like Newt, with marriages and divorces and infidelities, Hudson had his own issues.

In 1994, after a night of drinking at a West Village pub, during which he allegedly made out with two female students and took “body shots” with them, Hudson brought a drunk 18-year-old student named Cara Poppas back to his office and compelled her to perform oral sex on him. Poppas informed school authorities about the incident and Hudson resigned. Two years later he settled a sexual-harassment lawsuit out of court with Poppas for $30,000.

So, Hudson thinks Newt worthy of being cleansed of sin, worthy of being president, because his sins are erased? Well, Deal Hudson, those sins are not erased from the minds of people who don't vote hypocrisy; those sins aren't erased by the very people you castigate on a daily basis for doing the same things you've done, and do..

I have three words for Deal Hudson and Newt Gingrich: Pot. Kettle. Black.

Remember 'em; because I will.

Remember The Palin


story at Pam's House Blend
Alaska Governor, and possible future presidential candidate, Sarah Palin named Anchorage lawyer Wayne Anthony Ross as her new attorney general last week. Now, anyone who knows of Sarah Palin knows she is most decidedly not gay friendly, and is definitely a far right wingnut, but Wayne Anthony Ross makes her look almost....almost....inclusive.

From Wayne Anthony Ross never a quiet force,'' in the Anchorage Daily News: "During a fight several years ago over gay rights, [Allison] Mendel helped organize Anchorage lawyers in support of an anti-discrimination ordinance. Ross wrote a nasty letter to the Bar Association newsletter, using words like "immoral", "perversion" and "degenerates." The language went way beyond reasonable disagreement, Mendel and others said."

Besides being a homophobe, there are several more interesting facts about Ross, who uses his initials...WAR...on his vanity plates:
  • He was a founder of Alaska Right to Life and represented, without fee, anti-abortion protesters charged with trespassing, telling reporters: "I feel I have a good relationship with the good Lord (but) if I could overturn Roe vs. Wade, I figure I got my ticket."

  • He was the defense lawyer for former Representative Vic Kohring, who is serving a 3 1/2 year sentence on corruption charges.

  • He opposes Native subsistence rights and was the lead lawyer in the case that got Alaska's subsistence law declared unconstitutional. In 2002, as a gubernatorial candidate, he vowed to hire a band of "junkyard dog" assistant AG's to challenge the federal law that requires subsistence preference, or seek changes through Congress.

  • He represented Sarah Palin in her ethics case against state GOP chair Randy Ruedrich when both were on the Oil and Gas Commission

  • He co-chaired Palin's 2006 gubernatorial campaign.

  • He was hoping for an appointment to head the Department of Health and Social Services so he could "stop the department from interfering with families when they should not be interfering and get them interfering with families when they should be interfering" but he was passed over.

  • He defended a man who twice poured buckets of water from a passing pickup onto anti-war demonstrators in the rain and snow. His client was convicted of harassment and violating constitutional rights.

  • He was the co-chair of Alaskans for Phil Gramm--one of the people responsible for the current economic crisis, and, as co-chair of John McCain's presidential campaign, Gramm he called us "a nation of whiners."

  • He is a former vice president of the National Rifle Association and was in line to become president but was voted out of office. He is still a director of the NRA.

  • He ran for governor in 1998 and 2002.
So, all this gives me pause, and makes me wonder, if Ms. Palin isn't trying to pick her successor as governor for when she makes her mad dash at the White House in 2012? If she is, remember the kinds of people she filled Alaska state government with, like Ross: pro-gun, anti-choice, anti-Native-American, anti-gay.
Is that really what we want for America?
Send Sarah Into a Snowbank.

Listen


I had to take an obligatory speech class in college, and there was nothing I feared more than speaking in front of people. I am a somewhat shy person, more shy then, than I am today, and only liked speaking to people in situations in which I am in control.

I don't like public speaking. At all.

But I discovered that I could take a course called Interpersonal Communication to satisfy that whole speaking business, so I signed up. The first day of class was fantastic; we were told that we would learn the rules of communication, of active listening, of conversational participation; we were told of papers we would write and the tests we would take. We were required, however, to take part in a Dyad experiment, which would be a conversation between two classmates using the techniques we learned in class. We would then prepare a lecture to be presented to the class regarding out dyad experience.

What? Lecture? Huh?

I began to perspire, and Day One Class still had an hour left. But I stayed, and told myself it was one lecture, at the end of the semester, and that I could do it.

The class itself was quite interesting; learning how people really don't listen....they really don't. And how we can learn to listen; learn to communicate. I thoroughly enjoyed the class and the professor. And then came more talk of the Dyad.

The class was divided in two, and the professor picked one person on the left side and asked them to pick a person on the right side as their dyad partner. I began scouring the other side of the room, so that when it was my turn to pick I wouldn't blow it. I saw this woman, Olga, a bit older than myself, and different enough that maybe the conversation would be easy. I would pick Olga! I could breathe and I sat back awaiting my turn to choose.

Then the professor called Olga's name and I froze. Olga was mine! I wanted Olga! Now, I began looking again at the other side of the room and could see no one I would choose as a partner. Then I caught Olga's eyes, and she chose me. Really? Me? Okay. Breathing again.

The assignment was that we would meet outside of class at least five times, and use the interpersonal communication skills we learned in class to carry on a conversation. We would write an update after each meeting and turn these in; we were simply instructed to 'get to know one another.'

Olga and I met the next day, and the conversation started off slow but okay. I learned she was from Russia and had recently left her homeland to come to the United States because she was a devout Christian and could not worship openly in her country.

A devout Christian? What had I done?

So, our conversation quickly shifted away from the minutiae of our existence and we began discussing religion. This was a definite no-no, as our instructor had warned us, because it was a divisive topic, and didn't lend itself to Active Listening.

Still, we continued. Olga was quite close-minded about anything that didn't coincide with her beliefs, while I was quite open-mined about the possibility of different thought. Olga actually talked into seeing a Billy Graham lecture/sermon when he came to Sacramento.

Me? Billy Graham? Hellfire and damnation?

But I went, and it was, well, interesting. What i got out of his lecture/sermon was that it was best to be nice to people, treat them as you'd want to be treated. Sorry, Billy, but my parents beat you to that lesson.

Still, it was nice to be in that room and feel the peacefulness surrounding everyone. Until we got in to the parking lot. I never heard so many horns honking or saw so many middle fingers raised as I did watching those Billy Graham followers try to get out of the parking lot first. Hadn't they been to the same lecture/sermon as I had heard? Did they only believe in that room?

Olga and I had an interesting talk about that the next day, and strangely enough she hadn't witnessed a single finger or heard any profanities. perhaps she hadn't chosen the Heathen Lot as the place to leave her car.

And so our talk then switched to Heaven and who would get there and who would not. Her strong convictions led Olga to believe that only those who accept Jesus Christ into their lives would get to Heaven, and those who did not would go to Hell. But, I argued, say I am a rapist and murderer, a pedophile and thief, a homosexual, all of my life, and then the instant before I die, I ask Jesus for forgiveness and he allows me into Heaven.

Yes, he would, she said.

But what if I life my life the "right" way, never harming anyone, always doing the good and noble deed, never breaking any of man's or God's laws, but I don't believe in Jesus?

Then you go to Hell.

Well, I wanted no part of a faith like that, so I shifted the conversation to other religions, and she said there were no other religions, that all of those "faiths' were wrong and those people would not get to Heaven.

I explained my belief that all faiths and no faiths were paths on a mountainside, and we make choices on which path to choose, and we follow our chosen path up the mountain. The paths intersect every so often and you can change paths, if you think it's a wise choice, or you can stay on one path. But all paths lead to the same place, whether it be Heaven or Nirvana or Pittsburgh.

No, she said, it was Christianity or Hell.

Well, I think it's quite clear what I chose.

But the interesting thing about the dyad was that neither of us gave up on the other. We were able to use what we learned in class to continue the discussion, and listen, really, listen, to what was being said.

Olga didn't change my mind about religion, and I didn't change hers. And the day that lecture came, where I was to speak in front of that class, there was no sweat, or nerves. It started off quite simply:

Olga is a very religious woman, and I'm very...not...............

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Cup





Yesterday was the Carolina Cup, the premiere steeplechase event, held here in Smallville every March.

'The Cup,' as it is called, though we also host the Colonial Cup in November, attracts folks from all over. Horse people. People who look like horses. College kids, the girls in spring dresses and heels, the boys in pastels, bow-ties, khakis and flip-flops.Socialites and big wigs, hicks and hillbillys.

It's a melee out there; people come to see the races; to see the horses; to schmooze; to see and be seen; to drink til they drop. It's a Southern thang, baby.

Carlos and I went the first year we lived in Smallville. And it was fun; we were with a large group of people, tailgating and BBQing and drinking and generally enjoying the day. We were very close to the paddock where they brought the horses out before each race so it was nice to see these gorgeous animals up close. Not so nice was seeing them after the race, when they are dripping with sweat and gasping for air.

Carlos used to ride dressage--a way of riding a horse through a series of standardized movements to show a horse's natural athleticism--when he was a wee lad in Mexico. So he knows horses; and he is not at all fond of steeplechase events or even standard horse racing, because of the strain it puts on these magnificent creatures. They can maim themselves in a fall; they bleed from their lungs because of the length, speed, and jumps they make. All for the enjoyment of men...and women, and drunk college students.

So, we haven't gone in the last couple of years.

But this year, before the races even started, the rains came, and turned the event into a mud circus; people cowering under tents to stay dry, and walking through the mud to get back to their cars and go home. Riders loved the mud because if they fell it was a softer landing; horses hate the mud because it is difficult to gain traction and jump in soggy grass.

Carlos wore a smug grin, knowing that there wouldn't be many races, and not so many horses put through the ringer.

Still, it's a big deal here in Smallvile, and quite a spectacle. The pictures are from our first--and only--Cup.

Anne As Judy?


Rumors are a'swirlin' that Anne Hathaway is set to portray the legendary Miss Judy Garland on both the silver screen and the Broadway stage. Both productions are said to be adapted from Gerald Clarke's 2000 biography, Get Happy: The Life of Judy Garland.

Now, I love me some Anne Hathaway. Princess Diaries to Brokeback Mountain to Devil Wears Prada to Rachel Getting Married, I love her; and we all know she can sing after her high-larious stint with one Mister Huge Ackman at the Oscars.

But she'll have her hands full trying to do Judy some justice.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Beam and Emma


Her back to Beam, Emma stood in the kitchen in her, now deceased, mother-in-law’s house at the end of Skeleton Road. Planting herself at the sink, her hipbones pressed to the counter—cold green tile against skin and bone—she stared at the sea. It would be better, she thought, if I don’t look at him. It was better to face the immense sprawling blue canvas of the Pacific Ocean because it never changed. Of course, there were variations in color as the seasons changed, from December’s rough dead grays to the azure rebirth in spring. From the pale blue mirror of the summer sky to the purplish plain of the sea come fall. The color changed, but other than that, at any given time, on any day of the year, it seemed monotonous. Running off in every direction at once, but never getting anywhere, it was, like Emma, quite lonely. A sense of isolation that seemed to calm her.

Emma watched the sea because she couldn’t stomach what was happening, the sights and the sounds, mostly the sounds, in the house around her. Beam, propped up at the table, was crying non-stop, though slobbering was the way Emma chose to think of it. Sniveling and weeping and wiping his runny nose along his sleeve, he carved a footpath of slime from cuff to shoulder. His arms folded, his head resting on his wrist, when he wasn’t running his nose back and forth on his arm, Beam sat in what had always been his chair when he was a boy, muttering. Babbling Emma considered most useless; the ‘what ifs.’ What if he’d come up on Friday as she asked…what if he called over the weekend…what if he had been a better son…what if?

Emma closed her eyes and ears to Beam’s rambling, but she couldn’t ignore the sounds coming from the second floor, in Missus Seaton’s room at the back of the house. The footsteps falling across the ceiling, the patent leather thuds of the doctor and coroner moving around the bed. The heavy boots of the paramedics clomping up and down the stairs. Voices, hushed and solemn, giving instructions to other, quieter, voices.

The whispering had already begun, Emma realized; upstairs, in that room at the far end of the hall, where a body was being lifted from the bed and placed on a stretcher. Murmurings that would sweep out of the Seaton house and across Skeleton Road, rippling over the fields of wild grass, up and down the coast. There had been a suicide in Beal’s Landing; an old woman, who lived all alone in a crumbling house at the end of what the locals called Skeleton Road, had taken handful after handful of sleeping pills and pain killers. Offed herself right in her own home.

Unmoving, Emma was waiting for the phone to ring, yet it remained silent. She was the one who called Irene, Beam’s sister, because he could do no more than sit at the table and ‘what if’ himself into a stupor. Therefore, it was up to Emma to make the call, but she had only gotten the answering machine. It was, however, the first time she’d ever heard Irene’s voice. The first time Irene would hear of her.

Hello?…Yes, um, your mother’s dead.

But Irene wasn’t home, and she hadn’t called back. Well, Emma decided, I won’t call again. Beam could goddamn do it himself. She was worn-out from calling everyone with the news. There was the call to a doctor in town, who suggested she first try the Fort Bragg Police; they advised she call a paramedic. She called the paramedics, who gave her the number to the coroner. When she phoned her boss to say she wouldn’t be in that day, instead of condolences, he offered a list of people who might cover for her; before he had uttered the second name Emma hung up.

The voices, all so full of false sympathy and pity; Emma hated them. Bessie Daggett agreed to sit with Lyle, but not before she could get in a dig: “I thought Beam had gone up on Friday. Jerry is always at his mother’s place…Oh, Emma, that poor woman.”

The sympathy was neither for Beam, whose mother had taken her own life, nor for Emma, who, no doubt, would clean up this mess for her husband. The sorrow was only for Missus…for Barbara, Emma scowled. Insinuations masquerading as condolences; that ‘poor woman living alone out there…nobody caring enough to help her;’ Where were you, Emma, when she was swallowing those pills? Why weren’t you helping?

I wasn’t helping because this isn’t my mess; because I do everything. I work while he merely looks for work. I cook and clean and feed the baby while he hangs around on Charlie Bloom’s boat. I make dinner; he grabs a burger at Creighton’s Diner. He drinks in town; I wash and fold the laundry he pushes off the bed so he can take a nap. I do and do and do while he naps and drinks and fishes. Here I am again, doing everything because he won’t; because he can’t.
_____________________________

Emma practically had to carry him inside the house after Beam ran home from Skeleton Road. She had watched him labor up the hill, sweating and moaning, saw him latch onto the gate like a drunken movie scarecrow, a straw man with too much hay at the midsection. Beam, wheezing and crying, rambling absurdly as Emma dragged him inside before the neighbors caught sight of his latest spectacle and assumed he was drunk again. Emma was certain he had wrecked the car; sure he’d done something stupid to screw up their lives yet again.

“She’s dead…Em! I shoulda gone up…Oh God!” He stammered and stuttered after she dragged him inside and settled him into a secondhand chair beside the buck stove. “My mother…she was…. Oh fuck! I shoulda gone…Oh fuck!”

“What are you talking about? Beam?” Emma looked at him in fear. This wasn’t drunk Beam; drunk Beam was stupid and sometimes mean. This Beam was terrified; and that scared her. Emma shook him by the shoulders. “Goddamn you, Beam! What have you done now?”

Holding him down, Emma remembered an old movie she’d seen on the late show one night when she couldn’t sleep, a black-and-white something-or-other, where a man had to slap an hysterical woman to calm her down. Emma, without taking even a second to think, raised her arm and backhanded her husband. Her knuckles grazed his cheek and her chewed and brittle fingernails ripped a piece of skin from his lip, but that slap didn’t quiet him. He merely sank further into the corduroy cushions, stained with beer and riddled with cigarette burns, blubbering on and on, his face in his hands. He ranted about dead bodies and clean houses full of flowers.

“What the fuck is going on, Beam?” Emma struck him once more; and felt good about it. Open palm, flat against the side of his head, right above the ear. “Damn you!”

His eyes, full of red, as bloodshot as if he had spent the evening at the Bait Shack—Missus Seaton called it a ‘fast house’—met her own eyes, feeling red, full of anger. His shoulders lurched as he wept, then collapsed as he fought for air. Breathing roughly, he spit saliva and snot all over the front of Emma’s blue jeans. With his left hand, he rubbed his face, turning crimson now with a bloody handprint in scarlet. The thumb of his right hand went to his lip, pushing the blood into his mouth. He licked it clean and stared up at Emma.

“My mother killed herself.”
________________________

Her arms crossed, her right hand babying a cigarette, Emma stayed near the sink, unable to look at, or even think about, Beam. Plunging the cigarette butt into her mouth, she inhaled a lung full of nicotine and tar, then jerked it from her lips and spat out the fumes. She tapped the Salem 100 over the sink, adding more ash to the pile on the porcelain washbasin. Her eyes went back to the sea as she spoke, finally.

“I checked the machine at home. Your sister hasn’t returned my message.”

Behind her, sitting, rocking quietly, Beam grunted something like ‘who cares.’ An admission of defeat as he sat there, fingers entwined as he had done as a boy and been waiting for his mother to retrieve him from the Principal’s office. Beam rocked and rocked to shut out the sounds coming from his mother’s room. That incessant creaking, as men paced the floorboards; the wheels of the stretcher as it made its way down the long hall, dead silent on the rugs, then clattering on bare wood loud enough to wake the dead.

“Beam? Did you hear what I said? I want you to call your sister.”

“I, uh…” He held his eyes shut, but it didn’t help. Emma was still shouting at him and his mother was still dead upstairs. God, he thought, when am I gonna wake up? Yet, eyes opened or closed, this was no dream. He could still see his mother, lying on her bed, one eye open, staring at him, accusing. Her nightgown pulled up, exposing white flaccid legs frozen in a death crawl toward the phone; all the life drained out of them. He had seen the short dark hairs on her calves, the thin blue veins. The smell of puke.

It covered everything in that room, that smell, and now it was all over him. Beam gagged, remembering the vomit crusting on the side of her face, and how it stiffened the once-soft fabric of Grandmother Pierce’s quilt; the vomit from bourbon. Beam knew that odor well, and realized that no matter what happened to the house he would always think of it in the same breath as the Bait Shack bathroom. You could never scrub that scent off, no matter how hard you tried, or what you used; bleach didn’t work; Lysol, ammonia and Bon Ami were no good. The smell wormed its way into the walls and underneath the baseboards and then, like termites feasting on rotten timbers, it multiplied.

“Call your goddamned sister!” Emma howled and Beam, forgetting termites, for the moment, twisted his head like a mindless dog that couldn’t comprehend the command. He looked at his wife, wondering exactly when it was that Emma had begun to sound like his mother; the same tone, reedy thin but razor sharp, accusing him.

“I will, Em, just gimme—.”

“No! Do it now!” Emma shot a cold stare out the kitchen window and Beam caught a flash of the blackness in her eyes. “You need to call Harry, too. I didn’t see his number in the book by the phone so you’ll have to check upstairs.”

“I can’t go…up…” Beam wouldn’t go back into that room while his mother was in there. He could not climb those stairs without seeing that one open eye of hers, without smelling the puke and the lilies; the booze. Grabbing the seat cushions, he shook his head, no…no…no…until, without warning, Emma turned and flew at him. Her hand lashed out and clipped the back of his head. She’s getting too good at this, Beam thought. There was a flash of fingernail, red and chipped, bitten to the quick, when she wrapped her fingers around his arm. He moaned, “I can’t Em, not yet,” but she jerked him from the chair and dragged him through the dining room like one of Lyle’s stuffed bears. He crashed into the sideboard and knocked over a vase of roses before careening into the hallway just as the men were coming downstairs with the body.

Annoyed, as though caught waiting at a traffic light while an old man crossed the street, Emma tapped her foot and stood off to one side, making way for the men and the bulky stretcher. Beam, on the other hand, was horrified and mashed himself into the wall; a wall covered in forty-year-old paper that now reeked of 409 and vomit. The smell had begun its march down the stairs like an army of foot soldiers, stomping on every step and touching every surface. Soon, the whole house would stink; the entire town, too.

Unable to look at the men, much less the stretcher, Beam fixed his gaze across the foyer, into the parlor. But it was so clean, and filled with flowers—huge arrangements of stark white roses—that his eyes couldn’t stay in there. He glanced toward the ceiling; the afternoon sun was breaking through the rear windows and casting shadows along the hall. Sinewy silhouettes of two men struggling with a monstrous burden. These shadows crept down the wall closer to him, and Beam could hold back no longer. There was nowhere else to look and his eyes dropped onto the stretcher. And his mother.

The body was inside a sturdy plastic sack textured like a Ziploc freezer bag; only this one was black, and so coarsely grained it resembled snakeskin. His mind conjured up an enormous anaconda slithering into the house and swallowing his mother whole. He thought of the two men as rangers from some wildlife park who had come to wrestle the beast from the house. Actually, he also knew, that wasn’t far from the truth.

The black bag passed by and he saw her face pressed against the stiff vinyl; a death mask in plastic. The hollows of her eyes; the point where the fabric flexed along her nose; the slight bump—the Seaton bump—still evident. Another indentation—her mouth; an unsmiling grimace ready to snap. Encased in oily snakeskin, her face appeared eternally petrified in a scream.

“GET HER OUT OF HERE!” Beam shrieked. “GET HER THE FUCK OUT OF THIS HOUSE!”

This time Emma was the horrified one.
____________________________

A beer in one hand, a bottle of Mother’s favorite—Jack Daniels—in the other, Beam was back at the table the moment the corner’s van pulled away from the house. His mother had been taken…somewhere…far away where her voice couldn’t reach him and, with two bottles, bourbon and beer, he sat at the table exactly as she’d done over the years.

Gulping from one, then the other….left, right, left, right…Beam listened to Emma move around upstairs, in his mother’s old room. Bureau drawers opened, fingers rifled through them, and then she slammed them shut, unable to find what she needed. He heard her pace around the room, stopping beside the bed, papers rustling and paperback books dropped to the floor. His mother had boxes of two-dollar novels all over the house.

Emma’s curses plunged downstairs as the armoire door crashed closed. Windows were raised and lowered….bam, bam, bam…and the he heard water running in the sink. He imagined she was trying to scrub the stench from her hands. Too late, Em. Once it’s in the skin, it’ll never come off.

The copper pipes wheezing behind the plaster, Beam watched the pictures on the wall tremble and shake as Emma drained the bathroom sink. He heard one more slam, and then Emma was on the stairs, her footfalls weary, yet still angry. There was a rush of cold air, obviously brought down from Mother’s room, as she thrust open the kitchen door, and then, without a sound from her, something flat crisscrossed the room and knocked over his beer. The golden liquid pooled into a puddle on the green-and-white-checkered tablecloth, and his attacker, a small leatherette address book with three gold letters embossed on the cover, lay near his elbow.

“It’s under ‘H’ for Harry.” Emma said as she marched away from him. “I’m going to get Lyle. I can only handle one child at a time.”

Nightfall dulled the room as the liquor did his senses, and before long Beam couldn’t remember what color the kitchen had been; twilight faded the jade green cabinets and walls to a dim gray while the white checks on the tablecloth were a dingy cream. Bad milk, he thought, drinking bourbon straight from the bottle—all the beer either drunk or spilled—his fingers drew wide arcs in the pool of Budweiser on the table and every so often he would absentmindedly lick them clean; flat beer tastes like death.

With nothing left to do, and nowhere he needed to be, Beam started thumbing through his mother’s address book. Emma was right; Harry’s phone number was under ‘H’ though it was a name and number only; someone had scribbled out the street address leaving a dark blue scab of ink on the page. He must’ve moved, Beam thought, noticing it was a San Francisco number. It suddenly dawned on him that he hadn’t ever known where Harry ended up after leaving The Landing…what? Fifteen years ago? At least.

His own brother, his big brother, and Beam knew nothing about his life…fourteen years? Maybe. It had been longer for Renny; she disappeared the night she graduated from high school. Still, he knew something of her life; when Mother had a bit of the Jack in her, she would tell stories of Renny, marrying a teacher, or trucker, or somebody, in Eureka the summer she left home; Barbara smiled easily, a bit too easily, as she told him the marriage hadn’t lasted but a few months. Beam had vague recollections of Christmas cards sent from up near Seattle—and something about a second marriage that didn’t last—with Renny’s named scrawled across the bottom. Although Mother used to hang Christmas cards along the mantel, she left Renny’s in the silverware drawer.

These days, his mother had told him, Renny lived down in Sacramento. In a large house in what was called the Fabulous Forties; ritzy neighborhood from the sounds of it. Renny had married once again—third time’s the charm, Mother’d said with a wicked gin grin—to an executive at Apple or IBM. There were a couple of children, a boy and girl, he thought; Beam had seen pictures of them in their school uniforms, all smiles. He was an uncle and didn’t even know their names.

That was all Beam knew of Renny, and most of that came from his mother when she was drunk, so he didn’t know what to believe. He had no idea whether Renny knew about Lyle, though he realized that she knew now, from that phone call, about Emma. How had this happened to them? Why was Renny able to run off to some place called The Fabulous Forties while he could only manage to get seven miles away from their mother?

And what about Harry? Beam must’ve been eleven or so when Harry had taken their father’s duffel bag from the attic and left town. There were memories of listening through a door while Harry and Mother argued; he remembered Mother slapped him several times, and then Harry appeared in the hallway. Beam stood at the head of the stairs, baseball glove in hand; he wanted Harry to throw the ball around the yard, but Harry never played catch. That day, Harry looked especially sad, as he slung the green canvas bag over his shoulder and vanished down the stairs. He got on a bus in Fort Bragg and never came home again.

Beam never knew what happened to Harry because one day, surprisingly, his mother quit talking about him. She still received his letters—Beam had seen them on the table—and Harry sent birthday and Christmas cards, Mother’s Day flowers. But Barbara never opened Harry’s letters and whenever he sent flowers, she threw them into the sea.

About five years ago, she called Beam in the middle of the night and begged him to come to The Landing. Groggy-eyed and barely sober, Barbara asked him to remove Harry’s things, though she didn’t want them boxed and packaged and stored in the attic like dad and Renny’s. Barbara wanted Harry’s belongings taken outside and burned; his clothes, books and sketchpads, records. Photographs of Harry vanished from the house, and Beam realized his mother wasn’t some pitiful movie drunk who scissored her son from the family pictures. More simply, she threw every snapshot of Harry, black-and-white and color, into the fire, letting the edges curl and blacken in the heat.

Well, Beam thought, sneering lazily, Harry was probably married with a few kids of his own and living in some lavish neighborhood in San Francisco. Nursing his bourbon in his mother’s cold gray kitchen, Beam wondered what Harry had done to deserve Barbara’s wrath. Had he left his wife and family, too? Was that why she scratched out the address? Perhaps that was why Mother never told stories of Harry and his life, and why there were no pictures of Harry’s children. Simply enough, Barbara never mentioned Harry again.

On those rare occasions when she did reminisce about family, Barbara would only say, ‘you kids’ or ‘you and Renny.’ She never uttered a word about Harry. His number wasn’t even in the book by the phone; she tucked it away in a drawer somewhere as if she had no use for it. Until today.

With no stars out that night, and the moon barely a sliver, the kitchen grew darker by the minute. Still Beam sat in his chair. He wondered if maybe Harry had died, but that couldn’t be; his telephone number was in Barbara’ address book; her new address book. Emma had given it to Barbara just this past Christmas, with her initials—B.J.S.—embossed in gold on the front. Renny’s number was inside, so Harry’s number had to be good. It was in Mother’s new book.
Beam pushed himself from the table and stood up…too fast, tumbling backwards. “Whoa!” He muttered, “Easy on the sauce there Beamer.” He remained against the wall until the kitchen settled down and the walls stood straight again, until the floor stopped swelling beneath his feet like the ocean tide. Closing his eyes, he rested his head against the cool plaster and let out a huge rush of fowl smelling air. He slowly stood upright, unsteady, using one hand on the wall to guide himself to the phone.

Reaching for the receiver, however, he stopped cold; there was another surprise for him. He stared at the phone, resting in the nook as always. Even in the murkiness of the kitchen, he could see it gleaming like a funhouse mirror; with not one speck of gook; no smudges on the numbers, no fingerprints anywhere. His face showed in every angle and plane; elongated on the receiver and squashed flat in the center of the dial. She had really cleaned the house before going…before…Make the call, he thought. Stop thinking.

Settling in against the wall, Beam picked up the phone, nestling it between his neck and ear as he double-checked the number. Under ‘H’ for Harry. He spun the dial eleven times; one…the area code…then the number. When he heard a faint ringing in his ear, he tossed the book on the table.
______________________________

“How come you don’t play baseball, Harry?”

“I dunno. I guess I don’t like it much.”

Jimmy nodded to himself even though he didn’t understand how any boy could not like baseball. Throwing the ball high into the air, he forgot Harry for the moment and raced across the yard just as the ball came down; he caught it smoothly, the supple leather glove folded around the battered baseball like a second skin.

Harry sat on the porch, reading like he always did when he watched Jimmy after school. He would sit outside, reading, until Mother woke up and then he would disappear upstairs, lock his bedroom door and be alone. Free from the looks his mother gave him; far away from questions like ‘Why don’t you play ball?’

“They have a team at your school.” Jimmy was saying. He had no idea how annoying it was talking to someone who was reading. Jimmy thought books were dumb; why read when you could be outside playing ball or down at the beach throwing rocks at the seagulls. “My friend Danny’s brother is on it. Why dontcha play on that team?”

“I said I don’t know, Jimmy!” Harry snapped. “Why don’t you leave me alone until Mother gets up.”

“Danny’s brother says it’s cuz you’re a sissy.”

Harry’s face reddened, though he kept his eyes in his book.

“Are you Harry? Are you a sissy?”

“Shut your mouth Jimmy….”

“Or what?” He said snidely, knowing he’d struck a nerve; even at six-years-old, he could tell. His lower lip shot out in an artificial pout. “What’re you gonna do Harry? Slap me? Ooh, I’m so scared of the sissy.”

Harry slammed the book shut and dropped it off the porch. Trying so hard not to let Jimmy get the best of him, he ran his hands down his thighs, grabbing the thick denim of his jeans and bunching the fabric between his fingers. It was bad enough that school was torture, a dirty look or a shove when he least expected it, but now his own brother was calling him names. Sissy.

Why can’t I be like everyone else? Harry thought. Why can’t I play baseball or climb the rope in gym? Another torture. ‘What’s the matter, Seaton? Too hard for you, faggot?’ Why can’t everyone just leave me alone?

“Come on sissy,” Jimmy taunted. “Play ball, sissy.”

That was enough. Harry scooped up a handful of pebbles from alongside the porch and threw them at his little brother. His aim was off and the stones scattered all over the front yard, landing everywhere but near Jimmy. Perfect fag throw. He heard the kids from school in his head, although he tried convincing himself that he deliberately missed Jimmy, that he didn’t want to hurt his brother; but that wasn’t the truth. He wanted to hurt Jimmy; he wanted them all to hurt like he hurt. Every last one.

“Aw, man!” Jimmy laughed viciously and ran around the yard like a rabid dog, howling. “You even throw like a girl. Danny was right! You are a sissy! SISSY!”

Squirming, Harry wanted to tell Jimmy to fuck off. Shove it up your ass, you little fucker! But Jimmy would tell Mother as soon as she awoke and Harry felt his skin burn from the slap she would give him for cursing. So, rather than call Jimmy names—which might make him feel better, for a moment—Harry grabbed his book and stood up; he raced through the front door, pushing it so hard it crashed into the oak coat tree. Even from the front yard, Jimmy heard Harry’s bedroom door slam; it was so loud it might have disturbed the neighbors, had there been any neighbors that far down Skeleton Road. Jimmy stayed outside, throwing the ball and shouting,

“Sissy. Sissy. Sissy. Sissy….”

At the window, the big one facing the sea, Harry pressed his forehead to the cool glass and listened to his brother’s hissing. He felt like a foreigner in that house.
_____________________________

“Hello?”

“Yeah, um…” Beam began, the words somewhat garbled and thick. “Yeah…um. Harry?”

“He isn’t home right now.”

A man’s voice. Beam assumed it would be Harry on the other end of the line, but this wasn’t his brother; this was another man’s voice. Did he have the right number? Beam wished he hadn’t thrown the book back on the table; he needed to recheck the number.

“Is there something I can do for you?”

“Yeah…um. I’m looking for Harry Seaton.”

“You said that already.” The man said. “I told you he isn’t home yet. Do you want to leave a message?”

“Yeah.” Beam mumbled. He expected Harry to answer; he had an entire story all worked out, he practiced and everything. Harry? Mom’s dead, but it isn’t my fault. I had to take the baby to the hosp—

“Are you still there?” The man asked.

“Yeah…I’m here. Look, this is Harry’s brother—“

“Jimmy? Jimmy Seaton?”

How did this man know his name? And what was he doing answering Harry’s phone?

“Our mother’s dead.”

“Oh God.” The voice sounded truly sorry. “Jimmy. I’m…I’m waiting for Harry now. He has a late class on Monday and we were…supposed to have dinner with…never mind. Is there…does he have your number?”

He was sorry. This stranger with the pleasant voice who knew his name. He sounded as if he might cry. And yet, his mother hadn’t died; Harry’s mother had swallowed those pills. Why was he so sorry and why was he answering Harry’s phone? He’d said Harry had a late class and they were having…. All at once Beam knew this man.

He understood why his mother stopped mentioning Harry’s name. Why it was suddenly only Beam and Renny. He had all the answers; why there were no pictures of wives and kids; or houses in the Fabulous Forties. Harry was living with a man. A man who was waiting for him because he had a—

“Hello?” Harry’s ‘friend’ said.

“He can call my mother’s house. If I’m not here he can try…” Beam rattled off the phone number as he pictured Harry coming home, flouncing in from his late class. He imagined his friend telling Harry about his mother. All those years ago Beam was right, though he had never wanted to be. He never wanted those stories to be true.

Sissy. My brother says your brother is a sissy because he skips gym, because he won’t dress down. He’s afraid to change clothes in the locker room. He can’t climb the rope. He can’t throw a football. He runs like a girl. He reads and eats lunch alone. Sissy. Beam had called Harry that for years, never knowing. Harry was a sissy with a man waiting for him; never knowing that was why Harry ran away.

“I’m really sorry, Jimmy,” the man said again, but Beam had already set the phone down in its bright shiny cradle.

Friday, March 27, 2009

RascalRant


Rascal Flatts, or Gary LeVox, Jay DeMarcus, and Joe Don Rooney, the trio who make up the group, have released a new single called "Love Who You Love."
Some of their fans, of which I am not--not because I don't like them, because I don't know them.....I don't really follow country music much, except for my Dixie Chicks--are interpreting the song as an anthem of acceptance and love for their gay fans because of its non-gender-specific lyrics.

The band is welcoming that interpretation.

Are they welcoming it because they like the idea, or they like the idea of a hit record?

Gary LeVox: "We actually have some gay people that work with us, and we have a lot of friends that are gay, too, and I know that this song has inspired them. I know that coming out was tough on their parents and on them and the whole entire family. For a long time, some of them didn’t get to hear ‘I love you’ from their dads or be accepted in that way. It’s helped a lot of our friends."

Nice sentiment, but please, can we all make a pledge to stop using that old chestnut "Some of my best friends are gay?"

Don Rooney: “That’s what’s cool about our music. You can interpret (it like) that. If you get that — it’s perfect. If you are someone who’s gay or someone who’s straight, you still feel something from the song, and that’s what we want.”

Or, do you want another gold record, so you'll do and say anything to sell it?

Jay DeMarcus: “We don’t judge anybody’s lives."

How noble of you.

Maybe I'm just a bit cynical today.
Maybe not.

Good Thing We Prefer Abstinence In SC


Carlos works as an HIV counselor/educator, and he constantly runs into that brick wall of Abstinence Only programs, whether it be from the churches or the schools. These people do not believe that teaching responsibility, along with sex education, is the way to go.

Case in point:

Two 8th graders at Aynor Middle School have been suspended after they were caught having sex in the boy's bathroom. A worker walked into the bathroom to refill a hand sanitizer dispenser when he saw a male and female, both 14 years old, involved in "inappropriate sexual contact."

The two students have been suspended, and are subjected to a hearing to determine if they should be sent to an alternative school, or be allowed to return to their school on probation.

I have a suggestion.

How about telling these kids to spend more time in math class and less time strokin' in the boy's room? Why not sit these kids down and give them an education about sex and the repercussions of sex without protection...teen pregnancy...HIV...STD...AIDS?

Those aren't exactly the kinds of letters Mom and Dad want you to bring home from school.

But we preach abstinence here in South Carolina because that's the way the Bible Thumpers want it.

So I guess they don't mind their children having children.

Two For One Special


Full story HERE
____________

Gay rights advocates gained two victories in Delaware this week: the senate defeated a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, and the House passed a bill prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Two for one special, as Carlos would say.

The Senate bill would have made an existing state law that already defines marriage as between one man and one woman more difficult to overturn.

So, they already have the 'Sanctity of Marriage' law on the books, but the haters want to make it stronger?

Craziness.

Many Senators felt that amending the constitution was unnecessary and even inappropriate.
"I believe that the constitution ... should be not a place where rights are restricted but where there is a positive affirmation of the rights of all of the people of Delaware," Democratic Senator Brian Bushweller said.

Positive affirmation of the rights of all people. Novel concept, apparently.

Another Democrat, however, Robert Venables, sponsored the bill to make the already illegal same-sex marriage part of the Delaware state Constitution so the courts could not overturn the law. Venables said other states have seen their legal bans overturned when courts ruled the laws were a violation of civil rights.

Uh, yeah! Laws discriminating against a group of people are a violation of civil rights.

And then Venable brought out that often used message of fear when he said he believes legalizing gay marriage could lead to removal of restrictions on pedophiles or relatives marrying.

Yup. Gay. Pedophile. Po-tay-toe. Po-tah-toe.

Nicole Theis, executive director of the Christian group the Delaware Family Policy Council, believes the overturning of gay marriage bans in other states has forced churches to comply with the laws and schools to teach that homosexuality is acceptable.

"Whatever you put into public policy reflects what happens in the classroom," Theis said, holding up copies of children's books that depict gay characters. "I think most people would agree, how you want to live is up to you, but don't teach it in the classroom."

Um, Nicole? Honey? Let's think about this: you cannot teach people to be gay. Isn't possible. But one thing you can teach is hate, and you appear to have been a model student. So Theis, and her cute group of homophobes, will press on.

Democratic Senator Margaret Rose Henry said the amendment reminded her of discriminatory legislation that previously barred people of different races from marrying. "You couldn't marry who you wanted because you happened to be black and this is just like that....This is a bigoted effort in an attempt to hurt gay people who want to make a commitment to one another."
_________________________

And now, onto the House.

The vote was 26-14 in favor of prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing, employment, public works contracting, public accommodations and insurance.

That's the good news. The bad news is that similar legislation has passed the House three times before, but died each time in the Senate without a vote.

And it triggered the old "equal rights versus special rights" arguments.

House Majority Leader Pete Schwartzkopf, chief sponsor of the bill, said, "This legislation is based on the very foundation on which our country stands -- that we treat all of our citizens with dignity and respect, and that includes respecting the human rights of all people."

Amen Pete; because it really is that simple.

The aforementioned hater Nicole Theis also used her time at the microphone to talk about the discrimination bill, lying through her perfectly white fangs, when she said, "We're not here because we support discrimination."

Yes, you do, Nicole. But in your warped mind, you think discrimination of gays is perfectly acceptable. Right?

Theis had an ally in Regnant Representative Daniel B. Short, who questioned the need for the bill, and worried about its impact on small businesses. He was joined by by fellow Repugnant Gerald W. Hocker, a small-businessman himself.

"I see no discrimination in the work force today," Hocker said. "We don't need this legislation."

But don't you see, fellas, discrimination doesn't show itself; it's insidious; it hides behind lies and deceit. And just because you don't always see it, doesn't mean it isn't there.

It's just like hate.

Happy Birthday Diva!



I saw THIS this morning over at David Dust and my first thought was, I'm a bad gay man because I forgot my diva's birthday!

So I will make do, by givin' up one of my favorite Diana Ross songs, The Boss, and telling you my story of A-Run-In-With-Diana, er, Miss Ross.

As a younger gay boy living in California, I waited for Miss Ross to come to Lake Tahoe, or even Reno, although Reno is tacky and dirty and Lake Tahoe is gaw-geous. And when I saw the announcement that she would be appearing somewhere, I instantly got on the phone to my homies, er, homos, and homo-friendlies, and we made plans to see her.

One time we invited our friends Ann and Steve. They liked the idea of a show, but a Diana Ross show? They weren't fans; but then we enticed them with the idea of cocktails and gambling and Lake Tahoe and cocktails and cocktails, and they relented, so we went. Now, back in the day at the casino showrooms, if you wanted a good seat, you tipped the ushers at the door to get closer. So I did. And we were seated next to the stage!

Well, I was two seats away from next to the stage because a couple of queens of mine, stepped in front of me. Ann and Steve sat behind me. The show starts and she appears; sings, dances, works the crowd. Reach Out And Touch! Ain't No Mountain High Enough! Baby Love! She appeared at the head of our table, and, well, Steve, Mister I-Don't-Like-Diana-Ross leaped up, sprawled across my head and the two queens in front of me so he could, as he says, just touch her.

I think I created a monster.

A few years later, Miss Ross was back at Caesars and once again there were phone calls and the invitations to the performance. We invited a straight couple--probably because Ann and Steve couldn't make it and we like to keep a nice gay-straight ratio. I went with my best fag hag Lisette. Well, this straight couple, Shawn and Lori, wanted to sit up front, so they tipped this time, and we were once again next to the stage. Lisette sat right at the edge and I was behind her.

Show starts. Lights dim. Orchestra plays. Miss Ross sequins out and divas all over the place. She tells the crowd she has a bit of a cold, and they bring out a small table with hot tea for her. But she soldiers on. Come See About Me! Love Child! My Man! Stop! In The Name Of Love! I'm Coming Out! And she keeps coming over to our table and talking to us. She tells us that we are sending her all the good energy; and she looks down at Lori, who was about 26 months pregnant at the time. She asks Lori about the baby, wishes Lori and Shawn all good things, and. They. Just. Sit. There.

Needless to say they were never part of the Caravan To Caesars To See Miss Ross again.

Anyway, Miss Ross starts to sing It's My Turn, and she comes up to our table again and holds a hand out to me. I rise, like any good gay boy in the presence of diva-liciousness and clasp her hand. No, she says, up here. I believe I used Lisette's head as a stepping stone and I rose to the stage. Miss Ross wanted to slow dance with me; and we did, and she sang It's My Turn. And at the end, she kissed my cheek and told me that I was a gentleman.

Somehow I returned to my seat, until, The Boss. We were up in the aisles dancing and Miss Ross came to us once again and called us all on the stage to dance. I believe I was trampled on by the homo's behind me, and this time, I actually let Lisette go up first...after all, Miss Ross had said I was a gentleman, so I was not about to disappoint!

Needless to say it was a fabulous concert and one of those memories that will never fade. At the end of the show, Miss Ross once again appeared at our table to thank us for being so nice to her.

Today is the Diva's Birthday!

Happy Birthday Miss Ross.






Thursday, March 26, 2009

Dates



I've told this story on other blogs, but I thought, well, since it's my story, why not put it here.

Shortly before I met Carlos I met this other guy; nice funny cute, educated, all the things I like. We began dating and almost from the outset I knew this wasn't the right guy, and I wasn't looking for Mr. Right or even Mr. Right Now. I was single and I kinda liked it like that. I had a good circle of friends, a job I liked, a nice place to live; all was good for me.

So, this guy....and I'm not not saying his name to protect his identity, I just for the life of me cannot remember it, and you'll soon know why....calls me up for our first official date, you know, not just coffee or a trip to a bookstore. A real date. He suggests we drive into San Francisco for the day; go into Golden Gate Park and maybe the Museum of Modern Art, and then dinner at Trattoria Contadina--corner of Union and Mason, reservations required.

Sounds like a lovely day.

We leave early and get to the park just as the fog is burning off, so it's gorgeous. Blue skies, cool breezes, tall trees and peaceful strolling through the Japanese Tea Garden. We have a quick lunch at the Chestnut Street Bar and Grill and then head off to the museum. All is going well on the date, although I'm already seeing this guy as a friend, really, and nothing more. And there isn't anything wrong with that. Friends are good.

After lunch we drive across the city to the Museum of Art. That's a favorite space of mine and I always make it a point to check out the latest exhibition when I'm in San Francisco.

Anyway, we're wandering through the galleries, and I'm stopping to check out several things that catch my eye. My....what is his name....date has disappeared down another hallway, so I am alone and really enjoying myself. It hits me again, that although he's cute and funny and nice and smart, he really would be a better friend than anything else, and I resolve to tell him this when he comes back.

And come back he does.

He waltzes up behind me. I don't see him. He gets real close to me and slips his hands inside my pants. I pause, thinking Who is this? I jest. I know who it is; and I say, What are you trying to do?

I'm trying to get into your pants, he says.

I say, You'd have better luck getting into Harvard.

And that's what I remember him as: Harvard.

Thursday Cats


Send A Message


Well, that was one shortlived celebration.

After the Vermont Senate approved a bill allowing same-sex marriage, Vermont Governor Jim Douglas has announced he'll veto the bill when it hits his desk. Although he told reporters he doesn't typically announce his intentions so far ahead of time, he thinks it's the only way to stop speculation about what his move may be, to refocus lawmakers' attention on the state budget.

Of course, then he trots out that old one-man/one-woman bull$%&# and says same-sex marriage is a deeply personal issue--uh, isn't all marriage a deeply personal issue, Gov?

"I believe marriage has always been and ought to remain the union of a man and a woman," Douglas said. "I believe the civil unions law has offered equal rights and benefits under state law to same-sex couples and that should suffice."

Equal rights? Civil union is not equal. It's less than; it's discriminatory. It's a sliver of pie when we're really hungry, Governor.

Don't get me wrong, I think civil unions have paved the way for same-sex marriage, but it isn't enough. Nowhere near enough.

Democratic leaders have called the governor's announcement an insult to the political process since they haven't even passed the bill yet. Douglas' move now puts pressure on the House, which can override the veto with a two-thirds majority.

And Governor Douglas is also saying that he thinks Democratic leaders would not have advanced the bill if they did not have enough votes to override a veto, and has acknowledged he will have no choice but to accept same-sex marriages if the house can get the numbers.

Sure, you just don't want to come out, no pun intended, as a supporter of gay marriage.

Douglas reiterates that he would like legislators to focus on just one thing right now: the economy; but lawmakers, and even children, can do more than one thing at a time, Governor, and still get things done.

Multitask, people!

That's what I'm doing right now. Blogging. Playing with the dog. Sipping a little cafe con leche. And doing a web search to get Governor Douglas' email address.

There. It. Is.

Write to Jim Douglas and ask him why he wants to veto equality. Why he wants to deny rights to a particular group of people. Why he thinks that is fair, or American, or right.

Write to him HERE

Seriously....Just Call The Show Now....It's Over

So, I have been following American Idol the last couple of weeks. I stay away when they do their nationwide search, which I think airs only so they can create The American Idol Freak Show; I don't like to watch people make fools of themselves just to get on TV.
I think that's sad.
But now that they are full-on into competition, I have decided the show is over for me; at least as it exists now. I think it needs to be retitled The Adam Lambert Show.
I think they should declare him the winner now, and then spend the next however many weeks, just letting him sing every show.
I mean, who else can take Michael Jackson, Johnny Cash and Smokey Robinson, and sing each one, make each one their own, and do so effortlessly?
I mean, who?





Now, as an aside, Carlos missed The Adam Lambert Show last night, so I was telling him how much I enjoyed his rendition of Tracks Of My Tears, and how much Smokey enjoyed it, because as soon as it was done Smokey Robinson lead the standing ovation.
Carlos said, Who's Smokey Robinson?
Smokey Robinson! The Motown Sound! The Sound of young America! The Dee-troit sound! I say, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Man! Shop Around! The best things in life are free....but you can give 'em to the birds and the bees, I need mo-ney....that's what I want!
He actually shrugged, and then muttered something about Chopin. I try to educate him and I get Chopin!
Sheesh!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

So Smart......So.......So.......Smart

The whole bunch, and by bunch I mean mob, and by mob I mean gang, and by gang, I mean Repugnants, needs to think before they speak.

Seriously. Stop. Think. Speak.

Musical Interlude

Before I continue on with my rants and tirades and diatribes and speechifying and soapboxing, let's have a little music from Sting, featuring Marty J. Blige:

Pants On Fire


Remember when she said this:

"I was shocked to learn of the comment made by President Obama about Special Olympics. This was a degrading remark about our world's most precious and unique people, coming from the most powerful position in the world. These athletes overcome more challenges, discrimination and adversity than most of us ever will. By the way, these athletes can outperform many of us and we should be proud of them. I hope President Obama's comments do not reflect how he truly feels about the special-needs community."

But now there's this:

It seems that Not-Vice-President Sarah Palin is refusing to accept over 30 percent of the federal economic stimulus money being offered to Alaska, including dollars for schools, energy assistance and social services.

Palin is not taking about $288 million of the $930.7 million that Alaska is due in the federal stimulus, and says she is accepting only the stimulus money that would go for construction projects.

Well, sounds interesting. But then.........

Palin first said she was turning down roughly half....fifty percent.....of the money, but then later backtracked because she was caught lying again. She didn't mention the stimulus money she is accepting for Medicaid; that brings down the total of what she does not want to around thirty percent.

So, instead of saying Thanks But No Thanks to $460 million, she is only saying No to $288 million. I know, I'm like that too; I always forget about that extra $172 million. I really should check under the couch cushions, and on top of my dresser. It's there, somewhere.

Most shocking of all, is that the majority of the money she is turning down, some $170 million, is for education, including money for programs to help economically disadvantaged and special needs students.

Wait. She blasted Obama for an inappropriate joke about the Special Olympic, but she won't take any federal money for those same people?

Sarah? Pot. Kettle. Black.

Lotsa folks up there in c-c-c-c-old Alaska think Sarah Palin, much like idiotic South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, are not taking stimulus money so they can pander to the Repugnant Party in hopes of running against Obama in 2012.

Well, Sarah and Mark, you basically screwing your state for your own political agenda and...oh wait, you're Repugnants, that's what you do. Never mind.
But before I go, let me say this to Sarah Palin:

It may not be 2012 yet, but I'm going to remember what you say and do, and what you say and don't do, and what you don't say and do, and I'm going to keep it in mind come 2012 and bust my ass to see that you are, once again, sent packing.

The United States of America neither needs you nor wants you.

That goes for you, too, Mark Sanford.

What Would You Do?

from Towleroad:

There's a segment on ABC's 20/20 called What Would You Do?

They create situations in public places and then watch what happens. This time they chose a sports bar in New Jersey and hired a gay couple, Dusty St. Amand and Dominic Benevento, to, well, just be themselves, on a night out for a drink. They also hired an actor to stir the pot, with comments and insults,

I must say. the reactions of most of the people in the bar made me feel good.

Now, what made me feel strange, happened to Carlos and I when we went to see I Love You, Man on Sunday. The story is about a man, Peter Klaven, who has no real male friends and is sort of looking for a male friend to be his best man for his upcoming wedding. He goes on several man dates that end horribly. On one such date he hits it off with a guy, and as they leave the restaurant and make plans to meet again, the guy leans in and kisses Peter full on the mouth, 'tongues and all,' as he describes it.

The audience in the theater had been laughing at all the right parts, but the minute man lips touched another set of man lips, and a tongue came out, there was a few quiet laughs, mostly some gasps and groans, and a couple of Oh god's.

As Carlos and I laughed at the scene, I felt slightly uncomfortable in that room.

And it shouldn't be like that.

No Hate In Gainesville


Voters in Florida stomped down Amendment 1--a ballot initiative that would have repealed an LGBT anti-discrimination law. Yes indeedy, they were voting in Florida yesterday to allow discrimination.

How American, Mom and apple pie!

But then 58% of the voters said No to that; No to allowing discrimination and hate be made acceptable. No. And more good news: voter turnout was 27%. While not a huge number, the usual turnout is around 15%.
Still, there were some 8,000+ folks who voted Yes to hate. So the work is far from over.

"I love this town!" Commissioner Craig Lowe shouted, announcing the defeat Amendment 1. "Today we showed what we are really made of. This has been an experience that none of us has asked for, but we have established that in Gainesville every person matters."

It was Lowe who, in January of 2008, paved the way for the city to enact anti-discrimination protections for transgender individuals.
Instantly a conservative political action committee, Citizens for Good Public Policy--gosh I love their names....they're all so good and lovely and hateful--began campaigning to put an amendment on the ballot that would repeal the newly passed city rights legislation for transgendered people, but also, as an extra bonus, it would repeal anti-discrimination laws designed to protect the gay, lesbian and bisexual communities!

Equal Opportunity Hatred. One Vote To Hate The Most!

Those gosh darned good folks at Citizens For Good Public Policy gathered more than 6,000 signatures to put hate on the ballot; and let's just call it hate. Anytime you want to legislate against a particular group of people, you are legislating hate, so don't cover it up with cute names and pictures of kittens, and flags and crosses.

We ain't buying that crap no more.

Mark Minck, chair-hater for those Citizens for Good Public Policy, said he was happy with the outcome. Uh, Mark? Honey? You lost. You're not happy. Don't play baby. Don't. But then this fool goes on to say that the goal of the ordinance was not to allow discrimination but rather to keep men out of women's restrooms.

That's right. it was all about bathrooms. Minck and his hatemongers believed that by allowing, say, a male transgendering to female, to use the women's restroom was akin to allowing predators and child molesting men access to those same bathrooms.

Yep. The old 'compare 'em to molesters' chestnut reared it's ugly head.

When will they learn?

Simply Said

I saw this first over at Joe.My.God:

I don't want to use that old phrase, 'out of the mouths of babes,' because this young man is no child; he is articulate, educated, passionate young man who simply asks for what is fair, right, and equal.

This is 17-year-old James Neiley of Charlotte, Vermont, speaking before the Vermont Senate last week before the same-sex marriage vote.

This young man in the future, people, and it doesn't look terribly bleak after all.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

RantGate: I Don't Get It


Is everyone out for their fifteen minutes of fame? Is it us seeking the attention. or is it the media focusing the attention on us. For every news story out there, we suffer through countless more tales of those people on the fringe, who knew somebody, worked with somebody, had once been in the same situation, saw it, heard it, smelled it, felt it. It's a need for attention that I don't understand.

I don't get it.
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Beau Breedlove had an affair with out Portland Mayor Sam Adams back in 2005. It was a big scandal, with everyone, or almost everyone, calling for Adams to resign. He didn't; and he's still the mayor.

But Breedlove took his, ahem, media exposure to a new level. It wasn't enough that his personal live, personal love, personal affair, personal fling, whatever it was, was splashed all over the papers and the web. No, Breedlove took himself to Unzipped magazine and posed for the cover, using the story to further his career, or whatever.

Inside the May issue of Unzipped, Breedlove will tell all about his relationship with Adams and how the story broke, he'll reveal all about his own sex life and the kind of men he finds most attractive, and, of course, he'll do it buck naked.

I don't get it.

Is that what Breedlove wanted? To be a cover model for a male magazine? To be a nude model? No big deal there. But why exploit yourself and the relationship you had in the past. Is it only to be famous?

Because there's fame, and then there's infamy.

And they are not the same.
________________________________

I don't like to talk about the OctoMom because it makes me cringe thinking about those poor children who will be trotted out at every birthday and Christmas, Halloween and whatever day their Mama needs mo' money.

They are being used. She's the user.

It isn't a miracle she had eight babies. it was science.

So please, Entertainment Tonight and Today, quit using that word.

And the part I don't get is that when this miserable excuse for a parent was bringing home two of her eight babies, the car was surrounded by the media; the shoved at the car, they tried to keep Octo from closing the garage door; they tried to crawl under the garage door.

It was so terrifying that, inside the car, Octo was dialing 911.....AGAIN!....to ask for police help.

And how do we know all this?

Because she had Entertainment Tonight inside the car with her! She called the police to say that the media was dangerously close to her and her babies while she had the media in the car with her!

This is the worst case of media whore-ness I've ever seen.

I think we could all do ourselves a favor by not watching this tragedy unfold any further. Don't read about it online, or watch on TV. Don't talk about it.

Seriously.

I'm done as of right no.....
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That plane crash in Montana in which fourteen people lost their lives.

The media keeps mentioning that seven of them were children.

As if that's worse that the children were killed and not the adults.

But then they take it a step further and talk about the children, and the ones that were under ten years of age.

I guess if you're a child over ten, or an adult, dying in a fiery plane crash doesn't warrant any sympathy.
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I saw some video of the church service and funeral for Natasha Richardson.

Liam Neeson, his sons, Vanessa Redgrave, her sister Lynne, and the rest of Natasha's family stood outside the church posing for photographers, apparently in the hopes that the press might leave them alone.

They were burying a wife, mother, niece, daughter, sister, friend, and they have to pose for pictures to guarantee some sense of privacy.

it's outrageous.

But what makes it worse, is that just after seeing the images of the family posing, the next story was Did Natasha Have To Die? The media has grabbed onto this story and dug it's heels in deep. The woman is barely dead, the family is still mourning, and yet all the conversation turns to any mistakes that may, or may not, have been made, and who made them.

Can't we just let her rest in peace and let her family grieve?
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Fifteen minutes.
I don't want mine, so they're up for grabs.