Monday, July 31, 2006

We Open Our Eyes

In another blatant attempt to demonstrate my age MTV just celebrated its 25th anniversary. I can remember how excited I was when I would visit my father who lived in the big city and had cable. I’d sit down in front of the tv and watch videos for hours and hours. This was in the days before Real World and the ridiculous game shows that later filled the hours. Rap music hadn’t yet kudzu’d its way over the entire day either. Later the show MTV Raps would be introduced which gave you a helpful means to avoid the genre entirely.

Gather round children and I’ll tell you of seeing my first Madonna video. She was writhing around in the middle of a road (I was quite concerned for her safety) as she sang “Burning Up.” I thought the boys of Duran Duran were quite glamorous on their yacht as they searched for Rio. A Michael Jackson video was still an event and he was still black. This was in the days before the boy band too. I picked up my crushes where I could, Haircut 100’s Nick Heyward in his loincloth, Billy Idol sleazing around.

The big one though was Peter Cox from Go West. I’d race into the room whenever I’d hear We Close Our Eyes on the television. Peter Cox (hee hee) dancing around in his tank top was an electric jolt to a country boy.

Later, The Real World Norman Korpi would show me my first glimpse of a happy, healthy homosexual. I can understand why the crazy religious right are so afraid of gay portrayals on tv because it might just help some isolated gay kid realize why he’s different. For me Norman was a hero for just being himself and showing me possibility. Nowadays I see the Real World boys cavorting around shirtless and showing off for the cameras and marvel at how far we’ve come.

So thank you MTV! I’m long out of your demographic but a long time ago you gave me hope and you gave me joy... and more importantly thank you Peter Cox you gave me something a little more interesting.

Friday, July 28, 2006

The temperature of guilt

E was up coughing a few times last night. He had a slight fever but there was no temperature this morning. He was grouchy but seemed to perk up as he woke up and the morning progressed.

So we faced that horrible sick child dilemma weighing how sick was he versus using sick leave. I’m going to pick up at lunch I think. Oh the guilt.

In other news we finally have an offer on our old house. Pray for me that nothing falls through before settlement.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Songs I love

Suzanna Vega’s World Before Columbus from her album Nine Objects of Desire is heart-rending in its vulnerability. At first listen I thought she was talking about her partner but I then realized and it was confirmed in an interview that it’s a ballad for her daughter, Ruby. (Sidenote Ruby’s father is noted producer Mitchell Froom. The band Soul Coughing homaged Ruby in their album titled Ruby Vroom, but I digress)

Sometimes you can hear a song and know that it was written for someone. There’s an emotional integrity to it. Before I had E it moved me, now I’m really weepy goofy when I hear it. Thanks Suzanne!

World Before Columbus
Suzanne Vega

If your love were taken from me
Every color would be black and white
It would be as flat as the world before Columbus
That's the day that I lose half my sight

If your life were taken from me
All the trees would freeze in this cold ground
It would be as cruel as the world before Columbus
Sail to the edge and I'd be there looking down

Those men who lust for land
And for riches strange and new
Who love those trinkets of desire
Oh they never will have you

And they'll never know the gold
Or the copper in your hair
How could they weigh the worth
Of you so rare

If your love were taken from me
Every light that's bright would soon go dim
It would be as dark as the world before Columbus
Down the waterfall and I'd swim over the brim

Those men who lust for land
And for riches strange and new
Who love those trinkets of desire
Oh they will never have you

And they'll never know the gold
Or the copper in your hair
How could they weigh the worth
Of you so rare

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


I decided on the perfect gift for my brother. I made a donation to the American Civil Liberties Union in his name. I just finished sending him the email to let him know about his generous gift.

hee hee hee

Bass fishin

This just in:

Lance Bass, the former 'N Sync heartthrob, reveals that he is gay, in an exclusive interview with PEOPLE.

"I knew that I was in this popular band and I had four other guys' careers in my hand, and I knew that if I ever acted on it or even said (that I was gay), it would overpower everything," says Bass, referring to bandmates Joey Fatone, Chris Kirkpatrick, JC Chasez and Justin Timberlake.

"I didn’t know: Could that be the end of ’N Sync? So I had that weight on me of like, ‘Wow, if I ever let anyone know, it's bad.' So I just never did," he says speaking about his sexual orientation for the first time with PEOPLE.

Now, after years of keeping his personal life private, the Mississippi-bred, Southern Baptist-reared Bass, 27, is publicly revealing what he first shared with his friends, then his shocked family.

"He took years to really think about how he was going to tell everyone," says his close buddy Fatone, 29, who was the first 'N Sync bandmate to find out Bass is gay. "I back him up 100 percent." Adds Bass’s longtime pal, actress Christina Applegate: "I've always accepted him as who he is. It's about his own serenity at this point."

Wow, I had no idea my July 20 post would be so powerful.

We were the world

With anti-American sentiment at unprecedented levels around the world, Americans worried about their country's low standing are pushing a grassroots campaign to change foreign perceptions of the United States "one handshake at a time."

“Distaste for America runs so deep that, for example, at the recent World Cup in Germany the American team was the only one asked not to display its national flag on the team bus. In South Korea, traditionally a U.S. ally, two-thirds of people under 30 said in a recent poll that if there were war between North Korea and the United States, they would side with North Korea.”
(Reuters story)

Today is my older, very redneck, very conservative brother’s birthday. He sent me an email on my birthday a few weeks ago and I wanted to do the same for him.

The problem is that my happy little missive keeps devolving into a political tirade.

How’s my family? Well we spend entirely too much money on lawyers to patch together protections for each other and to protect our son should something happen to one of us. Also our relationship is used to frighten red-staters like yourself and to distract from the economic and foreign policy disasters of the current administration.

When I see the national debt climbing and the current administration bullying our allies and threatening others I just get furious. I have no patience for republicans any more. The national divide has never been so great in our country. There’s not even a gesture of conciliation any more. Our only hope is for moderate republicans to retake their party or for democrats to regain control of the presidency, congress, or the supreme court.

So yes, my brother I do blame you. I don’t like being angry but I don’t see any other choice. We can’t afford to be silent any more. The stakes are too high.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Bamboo is the Devil's Weed

I spent the a good hour trying to thin the bamboo in our yard to depressing little effect. My first goal is containment, stopping the encroachment upon the yard. Next will be destruction and finally elimination. The larger stalks are going to require a saw to remove. I tried a machete but felt my injury potential was too ginormous.

It does provide a nice screen but at what price. Searching the internet reveals Herculean efforts to eradicate it. Sample comment:
“The running bamboo, is nearly impossible to get rid of after many, many yrs. I have a neighbor that has near a quarter acre "thicket" of the stuff in the backyard of her 200 yr old home. It's so thick that you can't see the ground and you can't walk through it. Much of it is a good 3" thick at the base. It's also growing on a hillside and it's now encroaching on a wonderful old barn. It kind of reminds me of kudzu in a strange sort of way. “

Now my shoulders are aching, my hands are cut and I think I’ve developed carpel tunnel from the clippers. I’m used to planting flower boxes or maybe decorating a tree box. This adventure gardening is going to be a challenge. I wonder if the zoo would let me borrow Tai Shan for a while.

Gratuitous panda shot here

Monday, July 24, 2006


I don't know much about rugby but I do know fabulous and the New Zealand All Blacks Haka dance is incredible. I love how it mixes their cultural heritage with a great big warrior challenge to the opposing team. I think you have to half crazy to play rugby (the injury potential is pretty astronomical) but the rugby athelete's body is a thing of beauty. See for yourself just make sure you have the audio turned down or you may be in for a surprise.

Friday, July 21, 2006

The Rice is done. Ding!

(Reuters) U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will leave for the Middle East on Sunday and begin a round of visits there on Monday to seek to reduce fighting between Israel and Hizbollah guerrillas in Lebanon, diplomats said.

Well I'm glad she was able to clear her schedule for this little distraction. It's not like it's her job or anything. Madeline Albright would have been there within 48 hours. Rice apparently has the highest approval rating of his cabinet but I guess the job performance bar is set pretty low with this group.

So You Think You Can... What?

Let us take a moment to say goodbye to the Russian fantasy er dancer known as Dmitry Chaplin. I will miss you my little babooshka.

No Musa, no Dmitry, sigh what is the point any more?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Let's go outside in the sunshine

I’m largely against the practice of outing and I’ll you why. In my view an enthusiastic self-realized person is a much better representative than the one who is forced out via SCANDAL.

Stories like this:

“ Darren Hayes of the defunct Australian pop duo Savage Garden says he is finally "secure and content" -- and married.
Hayes broke the news this week in an entry on his Web site that began, "I very rarely make comments about my private life."
He then announced that he had married his boyfriend of two years, Richard Cullen, in a civil partnership ceremony June 19 in London.
The 34-year-old singer-songwriter said it was the most significant event of his life.” (AP)

are the perfect grand entrance into shiny happy culture.

Meanwhile Lance Bass is spotted skulking about Provincetown with Amazing Race pin-up Reichen Lehmkuhl. Lance, what are you waiting for? Your Boy Band days are over, your acting career is but a distant dream, come out and enjoy yourself. Your only shot at public notoriety is as one of Kathy Griffin’s gays.

My big exception to the outing rule is politicians . If you work to legislate or advocate against my family and myself while you are manhunting then your name should be right there in the Washington Post, Blade and Daily Shopper. Being a politician is more than a job and you are held to a higher standard of hypocrisy.

The fuzzy area comes to journalists. If you want to remain detached from your coverage and hide under a professional personal ethical code than I’m pretty much ok with that. However when you begin to freely talk about all other aspects of your life it becomes a bit suspicious when you become mum about something terribly important to many of us. So pick a stance young journalist. Either you are in the closet or you are simply journalist and media personality doing your job and doing it well.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Life is a Banquet! Eat all you can!

15 tips on how to live longer especially for you my possums. Some may say I stole this directly from I prefer to call it a tribute.

1. Don’t Oversleep. People who sleep between six and seven hours per night were shown to live the longest.

2. Be Optimistic. People who sleep between six and seven hours per night were shown to live the longest.

3. Have more sex. There's decent evidence that sex helps keep us healthy, and thus increases longevity.

4. Get a pet. People who own pets, especially dogs, have been shown to be less stressed and require fewer visits to their physicians than non-owners.

5. Get a VAP. VAP measures important metrics that traditional tests miss. Regular tests only detect half of the people with heart disease, while the VAP has been shown to detect 90% of heart disease patients. That's important because lipid abnormalities can most often be rectified with medication and dietary changes.

6. Be rich. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 24% of Americans whose family income is less than $20,000 are "limited" by chronic disease, whereas only 6% of people with an income of $75,000 or more have this problem.

7. Stop smoking.

8. Chill out. Try as much as you can to let unavoidable, everyday stresses roll off your shoulders.

9. Eat your antioxidants. Antioxidants, substances that are found in foods ranging from cinnamon to blueberries, can scavenge free radicals, compounds whose unstable chemical nature accelerates the effect of aging on our cells. Research shows that certain types of beans (kidney, pinto, black) are among the best sources of antioxidants, while blueberries and other berries follow close behind.

10. Marry Well. A bit of a cop-out this one because it’s talking about your children: Apparently, longevity genes can be inherited. According to a February 2005 study in Mechanisms of Aging and Development, exceptional longevity and healthy aging is an inherited phenotype across three generations.

11. Exercise. Not only does exercise help us maintain our weight, it improves our cardiovascular health, strengthens the bones and increases endorphins in the body--hormones that give us energy, make us happier and help ward off stress and disease.

12. Laugh. Laughter reduces levels of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. It also releases endorphins that work as pain killers and gives your blood circulation a boost. Not to mention it relaxes blood vessels and keeps a person from being angry--a significant predictor of heart disease.

13. Lose weight. For people who are overweight or obese, life is a ticking time bomb. They have increased risk of heart disease and several types of cancer, along with higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes--a condition that is becoming an epidemic in the U.S.

14. Manage Stress. Constant stress produces high levels of cortisol, which has been shown to impair cognitive functioning and weaken the immune system.

15. Meditate. It clears the mind of thought and lets a person concentrate on tranquility. Fifteen minutes of meditation has been shown to produce a much more relaxed state of mind than one hour of the deepest sleep.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Let's take a ride and run with the dog tonight

I’m still adjusting to the quiet and darkness of Suburbia. It’s strange after living in Dupont Circle and then a few blocks from the Capitol building how you get used to the regular hum of activity, lights, and noise. In the evenings after the lights are turned off it is truly dark. It’s strange too how the noise doesn’t carry, absorbed by the trees.

Lawn care is big in the burbs. The suburbizens leave for the city and a small Hispanic army descends on the yards to mow and trim and neaten up. Every yard seems to be cared for by proxy. I’ve never owned a lawnmower so I admit we used a lawn care service too. I feel guilty whenever I’ve used this type of help…. it seems wildly decadent. I didn’t know it at the time but growing up my family was extremely poor. After my parents’ divorce, we even lived in public housing with food stamps and assistance programs to help. So if it’s something I can do myself I feel obligated not to spend the money. When I look at the budget I know we’re doing well but I have this back-of-mind feeling that it could all go away.

Aaaaanyway, I did make an important purchase after looking at the lawn mowers. You gotta have an Elmo sprinkler. Enjoy, little boo:

Sunday, July 16, 2006


Forecast for Jul 17 Tomorrow
Sunny skies. Hot. High 99F. Winds W at 5 to 10 mph.

Dear God,

For the first time in my life I own a beautiful grand shaded front porch and an attractive screened in back porch. At some point I would very much like to use either one of them without suffering heat exhaustion.

Your biggest fan,


PS: the Pussycat Dolls are a sad copy of the Spice Girls. I miss Ginger Spice.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Moving on up! We're moving on out!

Well that was painful.

I'm sitting in my new office overlooking a beautiful tree-lined street. There's a little bird's nest in the window and I can hear the birds cheeping away whenever the momma bird comes back to the nest.

E and Nemo are both doing well adjusting. We're going out this weekend to buy a kiddie pool so E can take advantage of the yard right away.

An unforeseen advantage to this place is we get to see the joggers heading to the nearby park. Score!

Meanwhile, we're still trying to sell the old house and we've been greeted by this story:

D.C. crime emergency prompts more patrols

WASHINGTON - Police beefed up patrols around national landmarks Wednesday, a day after the District of Columbia's police chief declared a crime emergency in response to a string of violence that included the killing of a British activist.

At least 14 people have been killed in Washington already this month, and in the last 30 days robberies have risen 14 percent and armed assaults have jumped 18 percent. Last year, homicides in the city fell to a 20-year low of 195.

In reality the crime wave is notable because the British activist was killed in Georgetown, the posh neighborhood of DC. If it has occurred across the river in Anacostia there'd be no mention of it. The uptick in robberies is probably caused by the same individual(s).

What a kerfuffle.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Boxed in

We're in the final packing stages, boxes, boxes everywhere. Move date is Tuesday!

going offline for a bit until we're settled in the new place. Wish us luck.


Friday, July 07, 2006

The concrete jungle gym

The playground is an interesting mix of social dynamics and relationships. You have the burgeoning manners of the children; you have the adult-child parenting styles; and the parents above it all supervising, chatting and daydreaming. We wander into this new land as an observer and reluctant participant.

I popped E out of his stroller to wander about on his own. He’s still at the wonder what this rock tastes like stage so I have to follow close behind. Pieces of paper and plastic are especially enticing…. E spotted a plastic cheese stick wrapper and went right for it. Seconds after picking it up, a little blonde kid named Dylan probably around 2 comes over to tell E “That’s mine.” Hmmm. OK I tell him if you really want that wrapper take it. It saves me the trouble. The kid takes it from E and then I feel bad. He took that from my son but then I was going to take it anyway. Still, it somehow seems wrong. If anyone is going to take trash from my son it’s me.

So I head over to the stroller to offer E some cheerios. “Here you go. You want some cheerios? You want a snack?” and there’s Dylan again. “Snack! Snack!” I give E his cheerios and then look around for the mooch’s father. I don’t know what all the rules are but I’m pretty sure I’m not supposed to hand out food to other people’s kids. Finally I spot Dylans’ Dad (DD) talking on his cel phone.

“Dylan come here.”
“Snack! Snack!”
“Can he have cheerios?” I ask, trying for bemusement with a trace of kids are so darn cute and a whisper of get him away from me.
“He can have one.”

I start to open the container for him and think hmm, I don’t know where his grubby little hands have been so I hand him one. I note that neither DD nor the child say thank you and E runs off, probably spotting a piece of trash on the other side of the playground. No, not trash as it turns but some weird fruit that has fallen across the hedge and E is trying to take a bite. Arrrgh, I don’t know what that is but it’s filthy and covered in dirt and I’m guessing a dietary explosion.

I look back and there’s Dylan rummaging through our diaper bag. He’s found E’s sippy cup and is merrily drinking away. Now, I’m pretty sure I can take my own cup away from another child. There is the crying potential though. Should I cause another’s child to wail? DD is still chattering away on his cel. Given his larcenous, demanding ways, Dylan looks to be the type to throw down a fit…. probably not worth the drama.

So I wait until he finishes and I pack the cup away. I wonder how many other cups Dylan has glommed onto. How many germs are lurking on that tiny mouth. I don’t see any other kids crying but still better to be safe. DD wanders by and I contemplate remarking, you’ve got a little Republican here, demanding things that don’t belong to him, stealing from others and never apologizing. You must be so proud.

Hmm that may cross the line. A quick check of our belongings and Dylan’s hands and we’re off.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Pace runs homophobic hairdressing NYC cowby ad:

Yeesh I'm sick of this wink wink nudge homophobia. Let Pace know how you feel about these ads here:

There's a lot of salsa brands out there. Think I'll be choosing another.

(hat tip to Queerty)

Let sleeping dogs aaaargh!

Your home is a dangerous place.

Proof: I woke up around 2:30am to use the gentleman’s room or potty depending on your age and temperament. Stumbling around the bed I hit this large furry wall (also known as our dog Nemo). I pitch forward as he yelps and goes to stand up. This action sends me further off-balance, increasing my acceleration towards the nightstand. The corner hits me in the chest between my pectoral muscle and shoulder and my chin hits the top.

Nemo is ok but I’ve got a gash and a big bruise on my chest. My jaw feels like I was clocked in a bar fight. The dog is a rottweiler / Shepard mix weighing about 120 lbs. to give a visual on how he was able to flip me off my feet. I didn’t sleep much last night either because every time I rolled over I’d get a jab of pain.

I was attacked by a sleeping dog! I wonder if there are any government assistance programs.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

While packing last night I came across a box of old photos. I had to scan a few in before I went to bed.

This is a photo of me and my older brother and sister. I'm the one sitting on Santa's lap.

I swear they must have drugged me. I'm a bit surprised by this picture actually because for most of my childhood we were raised as Jehovah's Witnesses (more on that later). This must have been an early time before my mother's family got the church back on us.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Independence Day!

I know exactly how you feel:

(AFP) People in Britain view the United States as a vulgar, crime-ridden society obsessed with money and led by an incompetent president whose Iraq policy is failing, according to a newspaper poll.

The United States is no longer a symbol of hope to Britain and the British no longer have confidence in their transatlantic cousins to lead global affairs, according to the poll published in The Daily Telegraph.

The YouGov poll found that 77 percent of respondents disagreed with the statement that the US is "a beacon of hope for the world".

As Americans prepared to celebrate the 230th anniversary of their independence on Tuesday, the poll found that only 12 percent of Britons trust them to act wisely on the global stage. This is half the number who had faith in the Vietnam-scarred White House of 1975.

A massive 83 percent of those questioned said that the United States doesn't care what the rest of the world thinks.

With much of the worst criticism aimed at the US adminstration, the poll showed that 70 percent of Britons like Americans a lot or a little.

US President George W. Bush fared significantly worse, with just one percent rating him a "great leader" against 77 percent who deemed him a "pretty poor" or "terrible" leader.

More than two-thirds who offered an opinion said America is essentially an imperial power seeking world domination. And 81 per cent of those who took a view said President George W Bush hypocritically championed democracy as a cover for the pursuit of American self-interests.

US policy in Iraq was similarly derided, with only 24 percent saying they felt that the US military action there was helping to bring democracy to the country.

A spokesman for the American embassy said that the poll's findings were contradicted by its own surveys.

"We question the judgment of anyone who asserts the world would be a better place with Saddam still terrorizing his own nation and threatening people well beyond Iraq's borders," the paper quoted the unnamed spokesman as saying.

"With respect to the poll's assertions about American society, we bear some of the blame for not successfully communicating America's extraordinary dynamism.

"But frankly, so do you (the British press)."

In answer to other questions, a majority of the Britons questions described Americans as uncaring, divided by class, awash in violent crime, vulgar, preoccupied with money, ignorant of the outside world, racially divided, uncultured and in the most overwhelming result (90 percent of respondents) dominated by big business.