Tuesday, November 27, 2007

You have GOT to be Kidding?!

A post from Think Progress reveals the depths of depravity our government has stooped. The military is demanding from injured military veterans, that their signing bonuses be returned because they were injured in the war in Iraq!

Read the comments to this brief story for a better worded response to such a demand.

25 Skills Everyone Should Know

A couple of nights ago I was commenting to a childhood friend who now lives in Idaho that I would love to have someone I knew who was particularly handy at fixing things. Well, actually...I didn't say it exactly like that. I said, "I'd sure love to find me a rent-a-lesbian because I have so many things around the parsonage that I'd like to fix and look nice.

Honestly I didn't mean this to be an insult--truth be told, most of the lesbians I know are better-than-me fix-it persons. So you can imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon this great post about the 25 Skills Everyone Should Know. Okay, so that isn't exactly the title of that post. The title is more sexist: 25 Skills Every Man Should Know. It could very well also read: 25 Skills Every Gay Man Should Know.

Truthfully, this is a good starting point for me. If I can master these tasks, then I'll better understand exactly what said-fix-it person will be telling me as I am directed to fix things, lay a patio, or take the stains out of my rug.

What, Me Greedy?!

Greed is so NOT the term for the new adsense advertising I have now installed on this blog. It is more like, if you'll give me free money for my posts, then "Heck yeah!!" I have been reading a few stories about folks making money by simply including Google's Adsense advertisements on one's blog. This morning, the Today Show featured stories of retirees making a decent subsidized income from Google. Google's ad rep even explained that in the last year, they gave away what sounded like $2 trillion dollars--but that can't be, right? My ears hear crazy things before my morning coffee washes away the last visages from my dreams.

Still, if they had said, $2 billion or $2 million, both would be fine with me.

So yeah, now I have Google ads on this site. One stream of ads runs at the top of the posts. Another ad box is at the bottom of my left pane that allows you to search Google. I'll let you know if I receive a whopping paycheck from Google.

Monday, November 26, 2007

A Whole Lott of Loving Goin' On

Trent Lott's sudden resignation has everyone all in a fluster. Why is he leaving his office with so much time left? One report has him leaving early before Congress votes to rewrite lobbying laws that mandates how long a politician has to wait, upon leaving any political office, to become a lobbyist. Leaving now would allow him to become a high paid lobbyist as soon as he resigns. Otherwise, he'll need to wait several years.

Another report.. ahem.. has him leaving for another reason. A Washington DC magazine is about to release proof that Lott has been engaging in extra-curricular activities with a particular Washington DC gay rent boy. Rumor has it that this is the big secret Larry Flynt has been talking about for the last couple of months--a secret so big that it'll shake the Republican party to it's core.

If the second scenario is true, and I have no idea one way or the other, then Mr. Lott is in for a real hailstorm given his staunch stand against any lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender issue. Go here to read his horrendous voting record on such issues.

Go here to read one post about Lott's possible rent boy connection. Go here to read another one. This story is like a brush fire in the hills of California. Within a couple of hours, it'll consume the Internet I'm sure.

h/t to 365gay.com, towleroad, queerty, and big head dc.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Challenge of Original Content

You know, blogging is an interesting experience. As I think about what to post, I realize I have two choices: blog what others are blogging about or, writing something original (or as commentary to relevant news happenings).

For a time, I was posting cool things from other bloggers (with appropriate citations). But then, as I read my daily blogs (using Google's Blog Reader), I found that a lot of the posts I was reading were being told over and again by other bloggers. Sometimes its maddening to read the exact same story, or see the same photos, or reveal the same news (e.g., some GOP lawmaker was caught yet again doing something pervy).

Some of the best bloggers I've noticed are the ones who post original content and yet, so many other folks 'copy and paste' their stuff into their own blogs. A few of my favorite bloggers are Pam's House Blend, Joe.My.God, Lifehacker, Towleroad, and The Daily Dish. If you read these blogs, you'll find so many others in this particular blogging genre copying one another's blogs (yes, I know that Lifehacker isn't of the same genre, but they are just as copied as everyone else). And, yes, I've done my share of that too.

To be fair, these bloggers are different than the average blogger. They blog full-time, every day, every week. And, they profit from their blogging (some including Towleroad) do this full time and make full time pay. Go here for a great interview of Andy Towleroad. Some bloggers are even earning 6 and 7 figure incomes. Talk about a great home business, right?

So what is the average blogger to do? I am thinking the average blogger mixes things up: posts comments about news events, links to other blogs the interesting stories (and yet, does this infrequently as they can), posts things they like, and tries to have some fun with it.

I guess this post is more about 'dude, lighten up, it's just a blog,' sort of post. Rather than lamenting the lack of many original postings (like my own), blogging is supposed to be fun AND, its something everyone and anyone can do. It's that last part that I like so much: we don't need to plop down a lot of money to get into the blogging craze (as say you would if you wanted to get into say, yaughting or golf.)

And who knows, maybe you'll get fired from your job and have some extra time of your hands--and then whalahh! You have a blog, you post every day of every week, build a readership, and then advertisers advertise on your blog, and you become filthy rich. You'll become the new J.K. Rowling of the blog world.

To use a line in the New York Daily News' Gossip Column, "Only in America, kids. Only in America."

Monday Morning Game

Q. What do all these men have in common?

A. They are all Men who look like old lesbians!

You can see more pics and submit your own at the appropriately titled blog called Men Who Look Like Old Lesbians.*

* Disclaimer. If you're a queer activist or lesbian who can kick my butt, please don't do it. I really am a nice guy. Or, to help me not get into trouble, let me remind you that imitation is the highest compliment.

Friday, November 09, 2007

LOL! Video

This video is from a Chinese television show. What an incredibly funny practical joke!

Asperger's Syndrome

Autism and Asperger's Syndrome affects a lot more people than you think esp if you live anywhere East of the Mississippi, for some reason. To help us understand this psychological condition, there is a book written by John Elder Robison titled, Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's.

As an aside, Robison happens to be Augusten Burrough's brother. Mentioned briefly in Burrough's Running with Scissors, this book goes into greater detail about Asperger's as well as his insanely dysfunctional upbringing and those who completely misunderstood his condition for so long.

For an introduction to the book from Burrough's, check out this video. It's actually very funny, as you might expect.

Here are some written reviews of the book:

From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Robison's thoughtful and thoroughly memorable account of living with Asperger's syndrome is assured of media attention (and sales) due in part to his brother Augusten Burroughs's brief but fascinating description of Robison in Running with Scissors. But Robison's story is much more fully detailed in this moving memoir, beginning with his painful childhood, his abusive alcoholic father and his mentally disturbed mother. Robison describes how from nursery school on he could not communicate effectively with others, something his brain is not wired to do, since kids with Asperger's don't recognize common social cues and body language or facial expressions. Failing in junior high, Robison was encouraged by some audiovisual teachers to fix their broken equipment, and he discovered a more comfortable world of machines and circuits, of muted colors, soft light, and mechanical perfection. This led to jobs (and many hilarious events) in worlds where strange behavior is seen as normal: developing intricate rocket-shooting guitars for the rock band Kiss and computerized toys for the Milton Bradley company. Finally, at age 40, while Robison was running a successful business repairing high-end cars, a therapist correctly diagnosed him as having Asperger's. In the end, Robison succeeds in his goal of helping those who are struggling to grow up or live with Asperger's to see how it is not a disease but a way of being that needs no cure except understanding and encouragement from others. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist
*Starred Review* If one looked at only Robison's impish sense of humor (he once ordered a blow-up sex doll to be delivered to his junior-high-school teacher—at school), or his success as a classic-car restorer, it might be impossible to believe he has the high-functioning form of autism spectrum disorder called Asperger's syndrome. Clues abound, however, in his account of a youth encompassing serious inability to make and keep friends; early genius at pyrotechnics, electronics, and math; and pet names such as Poodle for his dog and Snort and Varmint for his baby brother. Much later, he calls his wife Unit Two. It is easy to recognize these telltale traits today, but Robison went undiagnosed until he was 40. In the 1960s, he was variously labeled lazy, weird, and, worse, sociopathic. Consequently, his childhood memories too often read like a kid's worst nightmares. Not only did his parents fail to understand the root of his socialization problems but they were also virtually as dysfunctional as the pair Augusten Burroughs portrays in Running with Scissors (2002). 'Nough said? Not nearly. Robison's memoir is must reading for its unblinking (as only an Aspergian can) glimpse into the life of a person who had to wait decades for the medical community to catch up with him.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Word Gay is Just Too Narrow Sometimes

You've read of a few of my other postings about my discomfort with the way in which the general public tends to lump anyone who has sex with someone of the same sex as gay. We read of folks like Larry Craig that his toe-tapping in the men's room means that he's really gay and the love he has for his wife and adopted children have all been a sham.

But as most of us also know, sexuality is a spectrum and has always been so. It includes totally gay, totally straight, and a whole lot of 'in th middle'. When someone like George Michael explains, "Being gay isn't about who you can 'get it up for'", to Richard Curtis' declaration that, "I am not gay!", one can easily see that the conversation is much broader than 'this or that'.

Dan Savage wrote an interesting article (you can read it, but it's kinda 'earthy', if by earthy I mean he doesn't mince his words) about a new term to describe folks like Curtis, who might not actually be gay at all but according to sexologists, he may very well be "autogynephilia" (I had to copy and paste the word, I just couldn't spell the dang thing). If this is so, there may be a closer connection to being transgender than gay.

And so the conversation continues--what does it mean to be gay? I know several guys who "experimented as youths" but ended up realizing that they weren't really gay; they are married now, with kids, and living fulfilling lives. To be honest, I think many youths are not homosexual or heterosexual, they are 'try-sexual', they'll try anything. Wouldn't it be great if all our hormones ravaged us like they did when we were kids--then again, we'd prolly never get anything done. ;)

Here is another example of what I mean: The handsome fella I am dating now is from India. In his youth, "experimentation" was encouraged by adults as boys played with boys. As the boys turn to teenagers, and teenagers turn to adults, it is expected that the young adults will stop playing with each other and marry a woman (a pre-arranged woman, but a woman nonetheless). Many do and go on to live fulfilling lives never again "playing as they did as children". But a few do not. My fella is one of them. For his childhood friends, he has had to remove himself completely from them and his family--for even the sexually relaxed expectations of children give way to strict mores of sexuality that are often not as easily defined.

You see, the spectrum of sexuality isn't as clear cut as many would like to imagine. And for folks like Curtis and Craig, the disgust of their actions have more to do with their hypocrisy than their particular actions (although Craig really should find a better venue, in my opinion, than an airport toilet). Hypocrisy is when said politicians condemn gay, lesbian, and transgender folk in matters of law and proclamation while secretly engaging in that very same activity. You can't have it both ways--or rather, you shouldn't have it both ways. In reality, many folks do have it both ways and that isn't fair to those of us who don't have secret lives but choose instead to live openly (and courageously, depending upon where you live). We shouldn't be condemned by the very men and women who could be helping us--who instead become our biggest oppressors.

What we all need to realize is this: sexuality isn't a clear cut thing for some. For others, it is. And we shouldn't be condemned by the very people who are too busy hiding their own acts of sexuality at the expense of everyone else's. Instead, we should realize that the human condition is vast and broad and that society should be a big enough tent to welcome everyone, regardless of their differences or a threat to the existence of one over the other. As long as what we do respects and values the other, then I say, "Come on in, we've got plenty of room for you."

15 Days and Counting!!

I think I may be one of those few folks who just loves the Christmas holiday season. Mind you, when I lived in Manhattan, I quickly grew tired of the season, what with all the pre-Christmas shopping, ads, and commercialization. Now that I live in an actual house though, my opinions about Christmas have changed entirely.

I can't wait for Friday, November 23 for two reasons: 1. Black Friday sales. 2. I get to decorate the house for Christmas. I'll post my joys about Black Friday in another post. This post is about the No. 2--boy, do I love to decorate for Christmas.

Last year, I gathered myself for a trip to the dollar store (you'd be amazed at the deals you can find there that don't cost an arm and a leg). Actually practically everything I bought for the Christmas decorations came from the Dollar Store, the sales rack at K-mart, and a trip to Kirkland's (a discount home store).

If you are smart and careful, you can decorate your entire house for Christmas (assuming you already have a tree) for under $25. See, while I do remain against the commercialization of Christmas, I am in favor of decorating to the hilt!!

Last year, I did up the house and front porch. I had fake garland ($5.00) on my fireplace mantel surrounded by candles (given as gifts from various dinners I've thrown). I put up a fake Christmas tree in my living room (I am allergic to real/live Christmas trees). I put up red ribbons (3 at $1.00 ea) on my porch railing. I had individual artificial candles in my windows (3 at $1.00 ea). My place screamed Christmas every day and I listened to Christmas music on my stereo and piped through my computer on Pandora (free).

This year, I may do all the above again with a few changes. I want to repaint my fireplace a deep velvet red, (it's pink right now because of a mixed up understanding with the paint store and my originally intended salmon color). The pink actually accents my mahogany furniture nicely however, I am thinking it's time for a change and what better time to do that than during the Christmas season. I am also going to put red swaths of fabric on my curtain rods.

And, I want to put up more things on my mantle to include: a wooden Merry Christmas decoration, the old garland, a Christmasy picture, I'll try and have something nice and cheap from The Christmas Shoppe (right now I have a modern interpretation of the Lord's Supper, a gift from my last congregation), and two lanterns I saw at Target the other day.

Besides the Christmas tree indoors, I am going to put a fake silver tree that I purchased from UrbanOutfitters on the front porch decorated with small and cute ornaments. I'll put back up the red ribbons on the porch railing and might also string lights on the railing--I have found anything that I like just yet. Ideally I want these Christmas lights I saw somewhere (I can't remember where) that are solar-powered thus not having to run a power cord through my window on the porch.

I'll also put Chrismasy decorations throughout the house. And, to help make the Christmas spirit ring even truer, I'll have an open-house Christmas party for the church.

I just love this kind of decorating. My Thanksgiving decorations were fun too and the place looks and feels very fall-like. Although I think it's past time to discard the pumpkins. They are starting to turn. Yuck.

This is a Cool Video

Sure, I may look as if I have little to do today, but I am working smarter, not harder. Take this video for example, I am giving my mind a rest while looking at something stimulating. Have a look and see if you're not stimulated. (Wait--what?)

Don't you just love Sarcasm?

Here is a top-10 list of reasons that being gay is un-American.

(1) Being gay is not natural. Real Americans always reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning.

(2) Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.

(3) Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.

(4) Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn’t changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can’t marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.

(5) Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn’t be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren’t full yet, and the world needs more children.

(6) Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.

(7) Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That’s why we have only one religion in America.

(8) Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That’s why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.

(9) Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven’t adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.

(10) Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed; the sanctity of Britney Spears’ 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.

Hat tip to QueerTwoCents.

New Poster

This poster is part of England's educational way to stop the bullying of gay kids in school. What a dramatically honest and simple message.

Hat tip to QueerTwoCents.

Cool Site

I found this great website today that saves, recommends, and posts various images found on the Internet. It allows you to download them and lets you also rate what others have found. The website URL is a bit weird- but it's still a great site.

Hat tip to Jockohomo Datapanik.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Shift Happens Updated

Several months ago I posted a video called Shift Happens. It has been updated slightly and I invite you to watch it. It is about 8 minutes long and worth watching. It's one of those videos that begins conversations.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Pat Boone?!

According to Towleroad, Pat Boone is involved in a political campaign in his native Kentucky. He recorded a message for a political friend against his rival that will be a part of a robotic telemarketing campaign. In the message, Boone tells the person who answers the phone, "His opponent is so ultra-liberal he’s just been enthusiastically endorsed by C-FAIR, a prominent gay rights advocacy group. They’re convinced Beshear is their guy. Now you have to ask, 'Do you really want Kentucky to become another San Francisco?' Please re-elect Ernie Fletcher."

He has another message too. You can follow the link to read or listen to it.

My question isn't the homophobia or fear based tactics being employed (although that does irk me). What catches my attention is the photo of Pat Boone clad in leather. First, I was shocked that he's that buff--secondly, I was curious to wonder, "Umm... he sure looks awfully gay." Given the recent track record of anti-gay Christians later being discovered in various men's rooms across America, could Boone be the next toe-tapper to make the nightly news?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Prof. Dumbledore

Okay, so yeah, this is something I should've posted about last week (or the week before that). I spoke with my mom last night about ol' Dumbledore being outed by J.K. Rowling and we had a difference of opinion. Mom thinks Rowling did it to keep "book sales alive", which probably may have been an interest. I think Rowling may have originally wanted to have gay characters in her book but her publishers realized that to have that in the books would have limited the appeal and range of her books. So she didn't include any in her books.

It wasn't until a book reading at Carnegie Hall in New York City that she outed the famous headmaster. And wowsers, what a firestorm erupted.

This week I watched a video from a news station that aired a report with a Christian fundamentalist organization led by Robert Knight, naming the "evil" of all Potter books based upon this new revelation. And if that weren't enough, he cannot help but add that sexual diseases are rampant within the gay community. What is up with that!? It isn't as if most Christian fundamentalists weren't already boycotting the book due to the 'witcraft and wizardry' that they felt opened the door for occultic experimentation. No, that may have been bad but having a gay headmaster is the final straw! To Knight, this is one more example of the "evil gay empire" taking over America.

You know, I have mixed feelings about the Dumbledore revelation. I would have enjoyed it if Rowling had alluded to it better in her books or just flat out said it. I understand why she didn't but a few better placed allusions would certainly have made for a more fun reread. So, she waits until after she's made millions to announce that even though you'd never know, Dumbledore is gay. I wonder if there are other characters in the book that are?

And, I wonder how everyone would respond if it was another character--good or bad--that was outed instead of Dumbledore? What if Voldemort were gay? Wouldn't it have been an interesting storyline if... no wait, I'll stop there. But how would everyone respond if one of the fictional character's sexual orientation had been someone else? How would that conversation change?

On some level you have to admit the brilliance that from now on, everyone will know about Dumbledore. And having that kind of role model for young kids is inspiring for sure--even if that inspiration comes secondhand.

As for the Christian fundies, now they simply have another reason to hate the Potter books. Although their voices may seem to matter less to some, there are still many people, regardless of their intelligence, who listen to and agree with them. As a result, it becomes important to hear them and discover what really makes them angry. There are a lot of issues and problems in American culture, to single out Dumbledore and Harry Potter up and against our challenging economy, lack of health insurance (and therefore the ability to pay healthcare costs), and the war in Iraq and its bloody requirement is ludicrous. And it's telling. Popular culture seems to challenge the sensibilities of religious fundamentalists in a way that real-life issues of poverty, war, and crime seem to escape. What kind of faith do we have when Dumbledore's sexuality is more important than poverty? Why aren't the fundies boycotting something in the government, or protesting healthcare facilities, or rallying against mortgage brokers and schools who don't educate nearly as often as they police?

An outsider needs only to examine popular culture to see the real issues that concern Americans. Is it any wonder that our priorities are so f*cked up and that the mess we're in is only getting worse?

Royal Navy Singer

I am thinking of adding a new category to my blogposts called LipSyncs, or something like that. Here is a great example of a handsome young man lip-syncing (am I spelling that right?). Anyways, I think its funny how he rolls his eyes when he sings. And, it sure pings the ol' gaydar. ;) Thanks to Average Gay Joe for the post.

Funny Post

Mmmmm.. cake. What's that say on it? Click here and see it for yourself.