August 2005 Archives
August 30, 2005
The media is abuzz with news, analysis and coverage of Hurricane Katrina.
I view part of the coverage as essential (especially to folks who are most impacted by the storm and need information on what to do, where to go, etc.) -- but I can't help but feel like a vulture...a horrible, ineffective voyeur watching and listening to the coverage from the safety and comfort of my apartment.
Hundreds of people are dead.
Thousands more are without homes, food, power, water and information.
Millions are in the dark tonight – scared and afraid.
Fear must be palpable.
A quick search for the meaning of the name Katrina yielded a response that is frightening and fitting. Katrina means purity.
Nature, in-and-of-itself, is pure. It simply exists. It is motiveless even at its most destructive.
We cannot say the same thing for people.
I'm dismayed by the coverage of the looting occurring through parts of the South – I keep seeing images of folks walking out of a tore-up Walgreen’s with some Similac, water and Pampers in hand. The images make me angry. For a variety of reasons.
Looting, as Webster's defines it, means to rob especially on a large scale and usually by violence or corruption.
So -- if the theft of goods from a tore-up Walgreen’s is looting, what do we call the actions of the individuals on Wall Street who financially benefited from the surge in oil prices today after news of Katrina's impact?
Wasn't that looting, in a way? It seems a bit corrupt to financially benefit from a violent, natural disaster. And motives – more than meteorology – impacted those decisions.
Living and breathing people – just like the New Orleans' looters -- made the decision to increase their profit margins today by selling oil at higher prices. I imagine those folks have a lot of loot in their pocketbooks right now, seeing that oil soared above $70/barrel.
I imagine some folks are going home tonight a helluva lot richer than they did when they went into work this morning. But I bet it's not the folks living in New Orleans.
Now, I dunno about you -- but my ass is broke.
I just ate my last piece of frozen chicken and all I have in my refrigerator is some Kool-Aid and half-a-bottle of Plum Sauce. My pantry has some Ovaltine, some Kraut Juice and some flour in it. If a storm swept through the South Side of St. Louis with the intensity of Miss Katrina, I wonder what I would do?
If I were stuck in a devastated urban area with no electricity, no food, no water and a can of Kraut Juice, I might stroll on out to a busted-up Walgreens, too.
Naw...I'd hit Starbucks and the cigarette store...
I don't know what I would do, honestly.
And today I’m having a very hard time understanding the difference between looting a Walgreen's for Similac and leveraging a portfolio of oil futures. I am having a hard time understanding the difference between hardcore theft and compassionless profit.
I doubt I’d steal if I were in the situation so many folks are living in right now…but I have to concede that adversity and destruction will bring out the worst in people.
But so will indifference and greed.
Well...I'm about to bike home and just wanted to share this little tid-bit of information for folks out there who may be considering some alternative means of transportation or joining like-minded folks for a social outing:
On Friday, another 48 cyclists were arrested in New York City for participating in a group bicycle ride known as "Critical Mass," bringing the total arrests of cyclists in the city in one year to 566. Meanwhile, community groups, environmental organizations and cycling clubs around the world are organizing film screenings and letter-writing campaigns to protest the arrests.More details here...
At one point today, an Angry Black Bitch and I were chatting about what's wrong the world.
That's nothing new. But as the day wore on, things kept blip-blopping up on the screen...and an eerie pattern started to materialize.
I read this article from the Associated Press: Chinese Researcher Warns of Nude Web Chats and once again, I found myself scratching my head at the no-shit-Sherlock obviousness of it all...
It would be like me putting up this headline right now:
Watch Out, New Orleans! Hurricane Katrina Packs A Punch!
The most telling quote, however was this:
Communist authorities have struggled to limit free discussion and other online content considered subversive while encouraging the Net's commercial applications.Feel free to learn more about China here!
The Chinese government not only wants to keep folks from beating off, but also forbids political discussion. That kind of talk is especially dangerous and forbidden! There's no pussy power or politics in China, no sir! There's just jail time for speaking your mind or selling some smut. Sooner or later, I guess you'll go to jail for jacking off online. Gay.com will clearly never develop much of a Chinese audience.
But there's no reason to pout or give-a-shit about the enforced morality, the enforced political silence and China's newly-found, unwavering commitment to materialism and capitalism.
"You can see evidence of that so easily in China and India, where people are far more prosperous than before the forces of capitalism arrived. Globalisation has given them jobs. They might not be jobs that you and I would line up for, but they are better jobs than they had before.Yes!
"Some of them, like those that make flat-screen TVs, as one example, are very hi-tech, very clean, and the workers are well dressed, and well trained and their wages are rising."
The pitiful people of China (about 22% of the world's population) - are so nicely dressed - are loving making our flat-screen TVs - having no political voice of their own - not even allowed to beat off in the comfort of their own homes - building our luxury goods - doing jobs you and I wouldn't line up for....
That sounds swell, don't ya think?
That really sounds like progress, don't you think?
It sounds - to me - like slavery...
The news just keeps getting better!
The U.S. has more poor people!
The only good news is that the increase in poor people took place mostly with white population.
And as we all know, it's not a problem in America, unless white people are affected.
So-called alternative newspaper publishers New Times and Village Voice Media are talking about a merger!
Hip, hip hooray -- that will just give New Times more power to leverage more deals with Clear Channel -- which we all know means more Ashley Simpson concerts for everyone!
It's like the San Francisco Bay Guardian put it:
In effect, one of the nation's largest media oligopolies has joined forces with the nation's largest alternative weekly chain to squeeze out an independently owned competitor.But guess what!
Things are looking worse for television, thanks to FCC Commissioner Kevin J. Martin:
During the long hot summer in Washington, he has been quietly meeting with religious activists and industry leaders to organize a push for new standards for broadcast, cable and satellite television. At the same time, Martin's allies in the Senate have been considering new laws that could increase broadcast indecency fines, break up cable TV offerings to allow parents to cut off racy channels, and -- most controversially -- give the FCC the power to fine basic cable programs, like MTV's "Real World" and Comedy Central's "Daily Show," for crude and lewd content.I'm thinking I need to review my definition of alternative, lewd and crude.
It seems to me the alternative press is becoming a conglomerate monster and the crudest thing about television are the people who are in charge of it.
I, for one, would think the FCC would be better off investigating Pat Robertson's call to assassinate Venezuela President Chavez rather than fining Jon Stewart for being funny.....but I'm crazy like that....
And just for shits and grins, the Village Voice wrote an article about Rupert Murdoch's purchase of MySpace -- with the headline:
TheirSpace? A rumor that a community-built Web behemoth has become a corporate trap
Seems to me -- this talk of merger with New Times has corporate trap written all over it!
August 26, 2005
Bjork's signature cygnet gown from the 2001 Oscars can be yours next month!
She has donated it to the fine folks at Oxfam for a charity auction that will be held on e-Bay, starting Sept. 18.
If you're not interested in this fabulous swan-y mess, you can always purchase a goat (among other things), knowing that all proceeds will benefit the folks at Oxfam, which provides emergency relief services, education, food and....um...goats all around the world!
August 24, 2005
This morning, I awoke to read this startling headline from the Associated Press:
That's fascinating news!
I can't tell you how much my life was changed and informed by reading that Mr. and Mrs. Smith were checking out a T-Rex in Canada, while avoiding pesky fans and autograph seekers.
Talk about the perils of paleontology!
With that subject in mind, I decided to do a little research this evening about dinosaurs.
And guess what I found?
Those two are so un-American! There are folks who have built and are building exciting and new Dinosaur Museums right here in the U.S. of A.
Now, now, I know that's not nearly as interesting as whether or not Brad and Angelina got it on in the gift shop...but I admit that, sometimes, I try to keep up with what's new in the world of science and learning and stuff.
Much like Brad and Angelina, I like learning about dinosaurs, too.
With those two in mind, I'm planning a trip to the Museum of Earth History, one of the newest dinosaur museums in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
I expect I'll learn a lot on my trip! According to the museum, most of the dinosaurs featured in Jurassic Park died after they escaped the Great Flood on Noah's Ark.
It's a really sad story that I somehow missed the first time I read the book of Genesis in the Bible.
There are some indications that dinosaurs lived after the flood. For example, in the Book of Job, the author discusses the behemoth in chapter 40. The animal described clearly matches the description of a Sauropod (commonly known as a Brontosaurus). However, the Book of Job was written about 300 years after the flood; the present-tense description of the beast indicates that the animal alive at the time had to have descended from the survivors on Noah’s ark.You can also read more here in case you need more information. It's real cute!
The way I look at it, information is the foundation of understanding.
This article from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's website explains why places like the Museum of Earth History are being built in the first place: to promote dissident thinking! Yay!
Proponents of intelligent design challenge Darwin's theory of natural selection by arguing that some organisms are too complex to be explained by evolution alone, pointing to the possibility of supernatural influences...Wow! That's a lot to think about, huh? Especially all that overthrowing stuff.
From its nondescript office suites here, the [Discovery] Institute has provided a home for the dissident thinkers, pumping $3.6 million in fellowships of $5,000 to $60,000 a year to 50 researchers since the science center's founding in 1996. Among the fruits are 50 books on intelligent design, many published by religious presses, and two documentaries that were broadcast briefly on public television. But the institute has staked out safer turf in the public policy sphere, urging states and school boards to include criticism in evolution lessons rather than actually teach intelligent design.
Since the presidential election last fall, the movement has made inroads, and evolution has emerged as one of the country's fiercest cultural battlefronts.
Discovery leaders have been at the heart of the highest-profile developments: helping a Roman Catholic cardinal place an opinion article in The New York Times in which he sought to distance the church from evolution; showing its film promoting design and purpose in the universe at the Smithsonian; and lobbying the Kansas Board of Education in May to require criticism of evolution.
These successes follow a path laid in a 1999 Discovery manifesto known as the Wedge Document, which sought "nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies" in favor of a "broadly theistic understanding of nature."
I'm guess, after all that, I'm just left wondering how broadly this theistic understanding truly is?
Are we talking progressive, Unitarian, every-religion is good theistic understanding?
Or something quite, quite different?
There's an overthrown religion-based government that publicly executes teenagers just for being gay for example....
Oh...I'm just being a silly gay looking out for my own hedonistic interests.
We're Christians, here....And there's that whole separation amendment thingie between the Church and State in the Magna Carta, or whatever it's called....
And Christians don't advocate killing people just for having different opinions!
And c'mon, seriously....why worry about what goes on in the Middle East? Isn't having an opinion about what goes on over there kinda unpatriotic?
There's no need for me to worry about any of this science, religion or government debate. I'm sure that my President is looking out for my best interests, anyway.
Those crazy religious-fundamentalist folks are just a bunch of pea-brains, anyway...What kind of influence can they really have over America?
I have nothing to worry about in the least....
Except what Brad and Angelina are going to be doing tomorrow.
August 23, 2005
My heart goes out to the family of Dr. Robert Moog, who died Sunday.
In honor of Dr. Moog, here's one of my favorite tracks from one of my favorite bands:
Kelly Watch the Stars -- from the Moog Cookbook Remix, performed by AIR (French Band).
August 22, 2005
After an extraordinarily fun evening at Black Pride, I find myself today thinking about how affection can result in affectation.
As a Southerner, I often find myself enjoying the company of Black folks. Maybe it’s that soul food has its earliest roots in the South, maybe it’s that Black culture has a decidedly Southern component to it…I’m not sure. All I know is that even though my skin is closer in color to Wednesday Addams, sometimes my soul feels more closely drawn to Oleta Adams.
An Angry Black Bitch is understandably concerned today by somebody operating under the name LuluLogCabina posting some trifling comments riddled with affected phonetic ebonics. I would be equally dismayed if some fool started talking Granny Clampett style on this blog.
I, myself, love ebonics – because there’s a great similarity between ebonics and the hillbilly holler accent that I grew up with speaking in my childhood. When I turned 13, I joined the speech and debate team and had my accent removed by some very deliberate vocal and speech training. As a result, I don’t have a voice that is truly my own. In fact, I tend to be a mimic and pick up accents and turns of speech depending on the company I keep.
Considering that my first few years here in St. Louis were spent in the company of Black drag queens, there are a few turns of phrase that roll easily off my tongue and a few of my friends have commented on my “talking Black.”
Well if talking Black means keeping it real, then I’m guilty as charged – but I will endeavor to be more conscious of my language. There’s a very fine line between racist mimicry and affectionate affectation. And while I will continue to do my best to honor the work of Angry Black Bitches, the minute I stroll into Black-faced blogging, I expect a good slap and some correction…
With that in mind, I have a few stories and photos I’d like to share from Black Pride yesterday.
I’ve heard it said by many folks, “Why does there need to be a Black Pride? We already have one Pride in June...”
Well, as someone who has been to both events, consistently, for YEARS -- I can tell you this – Black Pride is more fun, the folks are more relaxed, the crowd is better dressed and the music is enjoyable.
I suppose I have a great deal of empathy for the folks who organize Black Pride because I’ve seen rampant racism in this city. I’ve especially seen it in the gay community here in St. Louis. I understand what it’s like to walk into a party or a club and feel judged and unwelcome. Gay men, especially some white gay men, can be evil, judgmental and unwelcoming bitches. I’ve experienced it myself numerous times – and I imagine that I will continue to do so as long as I refuse to defer to the pack mentality that seems to rule white, gay culture. I do not blame the organizers of Black Pride for wanting to have their own party, on their own terms.
The day was warm, but we had a breeze, some Gatorade and some inexpensive, tasty treats to nibble on. And I will say this for the folks who come to Black Pride – there were outfits to enjoy and admire! The folks who stroll into Black Pride put some work and some pride into stepping out for a day at the park. While most outdoor gay events usually wind up with a bunch of gay fellas ripping off their shirts, the only shirtless folks I saw at Black Pride were some gay, fat, hairy white men who biked through.
Now, don’t get me wrong – there were some men and women who could have taken off their shirts and been a pleasant sight to look at, but there’s something decidedly different about Black Pride that’s very hard to explain. It seems like a gathering of friends and family rather than a commercial venture riddled with shirtless circuit boys and lesbian folk singers.
Maybe that’s judgmental on my part…but give me some house music, some fine dressed men and some ladies with cute shoes any day...
There was of course, some drama….mix too many gay folks up and there’s bound to be a scandal. Somebody got into a fight and the police showed up. With dogs. I salute the organizers for keeping their cool when the police demanded a permit for the event to occur on the main stage, which meant that somebody had to go find it. Whether it was harassment or the police doing their job – or a combination of both…I dunno. But the party didn’t stop. It just moved locations and returned to the main stage once the police were satisfied – and went well into the evening. I would like to point out one thing, though. There was no fire marshal, no First Aid tent or much of a police presence at Moonlight Ramble staging area the night before.
Three things stand out for me about my day and evening at Black Pride.
1. The Memphis Elite.
These guys rocked the house! Physically fit and dressed in orange spangled jumpsuits with white fringe, they performed an extraordinary dance routine that was simply mesmerizing. Their routine combined feminine and masculine energies in a way that I am still trying to understand and explain. I’ll have to get back to you on that some day in the future.
2. Camille Simpson.
My clumsy ass fell off a four foot tall stone wall trying to get a picture of her. My knee and elbow are a mess - swollen, bruised and cut-up -- but there’s nothing that I won’t do to show some love to glitter, sparkle, makeup and magic. I know I was a sight, though – sitting down afterwards, with my Dixie Cup filled with ice, trying to control the swelling and bruising.
3. Having A Ball.
I didn’t care if my knee was sore – when I saw that my favorite DJ, Kevin Brock, was playing the music for the after-party and Ball. Paris is still burning, honey...and I knew I would be sticking around to see trophies handed out in various categories. The fierce competition, outfits and dance moves that the participants displayed were a joy for me to behold. The athleticism and skill displayed last night reminded me that I just need to kick harder, dance better and be more confident the next time I go out and about in the world to do my thing.
Perhaps that’s what I love most about Black Pride. There is no pretense that everything is alright and okay with this world. There is no sense that there’s only one acceptable way to be gay. The one word I kept hearing over and over yesterday was respect. Respect yourself. And respect others.
And respect is quite different from pride.
August 21, 2005
Today's sermon will be delayed, because I am about to leave my house and ride my bike back to Forest Park to volunteer at another event -- but this time, I know I will not be yelled at or treated with rudeness or disrespected.
I will not have to endure rudeness.
I will not have to endure drunken assholes thumping my bike, saying hateful shit or screaming slurs at the top of their lungs. I will not have to endure ignorant ladies hollering at me for four hours.
But there certainly will be some ladies hollering -- it's just more likely their words will be accompanied to the beat of house music and will be coming from a DJ.
Without a doubt, I will hear one or two old-school Bitch House remixes of songs like these:
My Education' by Uncanny Alliance
'Hateful Head Helen' by Sweet Pussy Pauline
'Bitch You Look Fierce' by Jade Elektra
'Y?' by Kiwi Dreams
'If M-------a Calls' by Junior Vasquez feat Franklin Fuentes
'Frank Sinatra' by Miss Kitten
'Get Huh' by Ride Committtee feat. Roxy
'Miss Honey' by Moi Renee
'Jenny Lopez' by Miss Fernando
'Fuck Me Good' by Sweet Pussy Pauline
'Drop A House' by Urban Discharge
'Octopussy' by Miss Fernando
'Queenie' by Ethyl Meatplow
'Drag Queen' by Snafu featuring Franklin Fuentes
'Tyler Moore Mary' by Rageous projecting Franklin Fuentes
'It's My Pussy' by Jamie Principle feat. Raven
'Serial Buff' by The Saliva Commandos
'Why Are You Gagging?' by Jade Elektra
'This Is My Party (Bitch Get Out)' by George Morel
'Officer, Where's Your Brother?' by George Morel
'I'm Talking to You, Bitch' by Shampale Cartier
'Whatevah' by Jade Elektra
'C.U.N.T.' by Robbie Tronco
'I Got My Education (bootleg response)' by Uncanny Alliance
'Drama' by Club 69
'Get Your Hands Off My Man' by Junior Vasquez
I'm a Bitch' by A Bitch Named Johanna
These songs are from this site: The House of Diabolique. Please feel free to visit this site to gain greater understanding of some of my earliest musical influences and to learn more about butch queens, up in pumps, first time...at a ball.
To hear all of these songs in succession play the Bitch Jukebox -- also from The House of Diabolique.
Because I know I will have a ball today.
See y'all up at Black Pride.
I have been known, from time to time to engage in a mean-spirited rant, laced with vitriolic barbs and acidic observations.
I have been known, from time to time, to fashion my words into a blunt object and thrash about - doing my best to be wicked, unforgiving and above all else, accurate.
But I am trying, these days, to temper my temper and just let some things be...
So it with this sentiment in mind that I say this of the Moonlight Ramble:
In 14 years living in this city, with over a decade of that time being spent working and/or volunteering at hundreds-upon-hundreds of special events and parties -- I have never -- EVER -- been so poorly treated as a volunteer or had as miserable a time as I did this evening at this event.
If I had to choose between letting the Hounds of Hades rend my flesh or spending one more second of my life involved with the Moonlight Ramble...I would, myself, personally, tear off my own limbs and feed them lovingly to Lucifer's lapdogs. I would hack the limbs off, one-by-one, with a dull rusty cleaver and have a more enjoyable experience than I had tonight.
But I am trying to be nicer about things....
So let's just leave it with this:
I would sooner give a leper with a one-inch penis (riddled with puss-oozing pustules) a blowjob rather than spend one minute more thinking about this sham of an event.
And I'm being kind...far too kind…
August 20, 2005
I just spent three days fretting, fuming and fussing while working out problems with my Windows based laptop (I also use a Mac - like right now - so just refrain from silently judging me with your Apple arrogance). An update from Microsoft rendered my laptop's monitor useless, which is kind of a problem -- not being able to see the screen and all...
I had to go into Restore+Recovery mode 18 times, start up in safe mode no less than 65 times, delete registry files, remove updates here and there, clean out drivers, reinstall shit left and right and just when I think I have it all working, there's this news today:
Great! More crap to worry about!
It seems there's yet another flaw in Internet Exploder that renders computers susceptible to attack and invasion. I read the article and here's some pearls of wisdom for ya:
"If the user doesn't browse a malicious Web site, then the user isn't even under attack," said Gerhard Eschelbeck, chief technology officer at Qualys Inc., a security company based in Redwood Shores, Calif.Ummm...isn't that a little bit like saying, "If a person doesn't leave the house, then the person isn't going to get mugged...."
Speaking of homes and malicious websites, here's one for ya: Redwood Shores. Mr. Security Expert works in an area described as
a convenient, prestigious and enjoyable environment, natural, accessible and active. This master-planned community blends contemporary single-family housing, town homes, condominiums and apartments with a modern, open corporate business park.I dunno about you, but I'll skip any master plan that involves animated balloons and fun times in the corporate business park. That's not my kind of park. Give me some trees, some crazy lady hollering at the street corner, some kids flying kites, some teens flying sky high, some sistahs gossiping on their daily walk, some shirtless fellas playing rugby and some activity that doesn't involve Bill Gates!
I'll deal with fixing Windows on Monday...I got a bike to tune up for tonight's Moonlight Ramble. And I want a computer to give me a workout -- I'll just strap my old reliable G4 on my back.
August 19, 2005
Whatcha doing Saturday night?
I have a suggestion:
The annual Moonlight Ramble is the World's Original Nighttime Bicycle Ride held in Saint Louis, Missouri at midnight during the full moon in August for over 40 years!
Attracting approximately 15,000 riders each year, the event includes a leisurely bike ride through Saint Louis streets (10 or 20 mile options), a vendor area, entertainment, a glow-in-the-dark commemorative T-shirt, and an after-ride snack.
Registration is $25 for adults, $10 for kids 5-12, and free for kids 4 and under. Proceeds benefit the Gateway Council, which promotes cultural understanding through low-cost travel, outdoor activities and youth education.
I'm volunteering at the registration desk. Stop by, say hey, gimme your money and keep biking!
Basic event info:
August 20, 2005
9:00pm - Group area opens.
10:00pm - Live radio broadcast begins.
11:30pm - Group announcements.
August 21, 2005
12:01am - RAMBLE!
1:00am - Breakfast and After Party.
3:00am - Final sweep/route closes.
More info here: www.moonlightramble.com
August 18, 2005
I'd like to thank the 80+ folks who showed up last night for the vigil that Angry Black Bitch and I hosted at AMP in honor of Cindy Sheehan and her son Casey.
I'd like to thank ABB for scoring some candles, telling my ass to calm down when I got all squirrelly and taking my ass out later for a sandwich. I'd also like to thank my pal Brian for some inspiration and his encouraging words before we started the vigil at 7:30-ish.
I'm not sure if we hosted the kind of vigil that MoveOn.org wanted us to host -- we got an e-mail yesterday instructing us to observe 45 minutes of silence in honor of Cindy.
Well, that seemed a bit...um...unrealistic, considering we were hosting our event in a bar. As a side note, some folks asked us why we chose a bar to host our vigil.
This is why:
The fellas who own the bar play kick-ass music, they're supporters of the labor strike against Anheuser Busch and they're a locally-owned gay business that gives a shit about our community and our country. I, for one, would have not attended a vigil at a Catholic Church – where another local vigil was hosted last night. I said it earlier about Baptists, and I sure as shit will say it about Pope Benedict. His Christ is not my Jesus.
Anyway...I haggled with ABB over the amount of time we could realistically expect folks to be quiet and we agreed that we'd have 5 minutes of silence and then light candles in the window that face Manchester (a pretty busy street here in St. Louis). Those candles burned until 10 PM or so.
MoveOn.org sent us a questionnaire today asking what we'll remember most about the event.
Two things come to mind.
The first is that one of my art history teachers from college and her two children were at AMP last night. When Dubya's father took us to war in Iraq in 1991, I was 20 years old - and in her class when news broke about the war.* I remember her eloquence. I remember how pissed and terrified I was. I remember feeling powerless. I felt a different pang of piss-offedness and terror last night meeting her kids.
Fortunately, I don't feel so powerless anymore.
I was also struck by a very lovely couple that were there with three boys. I assumed the boys were their children. They showed up, lit candles, mingled and talked with folks.
I caught sight of them again as they were leaving. Before walking out of earshot, the mom turned to the boys and asked them if they wanted to go get some ice cream.
I was, at first, a little surprised hearing the question.
I got a little riled up and thought, “Is that what you’re teaching your kids? If you guys behave at the vigil -- you’ll get an ice cream cone?”
And then it occurred to me that Cindy Sheehan would much rather be taking her son out to ice cream than standing in a field in Crawford, Texas.
It also occurred to me that most mothers would rather be treating their sons to a banana split than taking them to a smoky gay bar to observe a moment of silence for a grieving mother and her dead son.
And as I was thinking about this last night before I went to bed, crying and smiling at the same time.
I awoke this morning to this quote in my in-box -- it's one of those daily inspiration messages that usually some hokey-smoke love is a dolphin new-agey crap. But not so much today:
The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. -- Patrick Henry
I'm going to keep doing my part to be all of the above. And maybe buy a new hat every now and then. Even Patrick Henry had a fancy wig, kids....
* NOTE: In my first posting of this entry, I made in error concerning Casey Sheehan's age -- and removed the inaccurate sentence.
August 16, 2005
So...an Angry Black Bitch and I went to the store today.
We picked up some Wings and some Texas Potato Wedges (we needed to add some sauce to our sass and some soul to our starch) for tomorrow's vigil honoring Cindy Sheehan.
On the way back, I felt the oh-so-not-pleasant feeling of metal hitting metal when I applied my brakes and something that sounded like this:
krrrrrrcchhhhh kwarckkkkkkkk churrkkkkkk
coming from the front on my car.
So...this is an appeal to the blogosphere.
Does anyone know a good mechanic?
Does anyone know how to change brakes on a Kia?
Can somebody set me up with some bionic feet?
*** begin dramatic music playing in background*****
I hate being poor, barely able to make it in this world...
I hate being hundreds of miles away from home... and a handy, brake-changing brother...
I hate being a non-cyborg....
it sucks feeling this alone....
***dramatic music playing in background ends*****
Thanks for putting up with that bit of melodrama!
It helped me a lot to feel pitiful for a moment!
Seriously, though....if you can score me some bionic feet or if you know of a good mechanic in South City St. Louis - gimme a holler!
August 15, 2005
I read this headline:
Thousands Blacked Out Across Northeast
and my first thought was....and how is that different from any other weekend?
An Angry Black Bitch and I invite you to join us this Wednesday night for a candle light vigil to honor the work of Cindy Sheehan.
AMP - Alternative Music Pub
Wednesday, August 17 at 7:30 PM
We have all been shaken and stirred by the story of Cindy Sheehan, the loss of her son and our President's silence on the matter.
On Wednesday, the windows facing Manchester will honor those that have fallen during this war, that will continue to fall during this war and will recognize the efforts of a grieving mother whose lone voice is making a difference.
Please join with us at 7:30 pm to light a candle and you're welcome to stay afterwards for some different shaking and stirring. Fellowship will be found in solemn observance and friendly conversation.
We hope you will join us for the first and stay for the latter.
Let us know you're coming by signing up at our event page at MoveOn.org today!
August 14, 2005
The men who are in charge of my state and my country remind me daily that their duty to my state and my country is served in Christ’s name. They go on to say that Christ’s teachings serve as the foundation of this great country.
I will repeat now, a statement I once heard proclaimed by a very proud woman: Your Christ is not my Jesus.
You see, I was raised in the Southern Baptist Church and I loved going to Church. I loved to sing, to pray, to think, to have a community of like-minded folks in which to rejoice and worship.
Until one day, some fool started spouting hatred from the pulpit. Hatred that was inaccurately, hypocritically, unauthentic-ally based on the words of Jesus.
I left the Church and my Jesus in defiance, in disgust and in disdain. I must confess that my soul and my spirit were weakened in the process.
I have decided today that I want my soul, my spirit, my Church, my country and my Jesus back.
You see, my Jesus took to the synagogues and shook some shit up – telling the money lenders to get out of his religion. Can someone say faith based initiative?
When he delivered his Sermon On The Mount, my Jesus denounced divorce as the most serious threat to marriage and made no mention of gay folks. Ever. I repeat – Jesus did not renounce me, or anyone, for being gay.
My Jesus offered healthcare to the sick. Would you like to know how Christ-espousing, Missouri Governor Matt Blunt treats the sick? Ask the 90,000 people whose healthcare he cut from my state’s budget.
Additionally, my Jesus offered compassion to the dying and the grieving. Where is our fearless leader, George Bush, when children are dying in Iraq? Oh, that’s right -- he’s spending some time in the desert – in air conditioning, in Texas. And our President will not speak to the grieving mother whose child died fighting a war for our President and our country.
My Jesus befriended hookers, fed the hungry, prayed for criminals and died for the sins I’ve committed in my past, my present and my future.
But – and this is where I differ from the folks in charge -- my Jesus does not have to be your Jesus – my Jesus does not have to be the God in which you trust, whether you trust in one or not. You do not have to trust in God to know that you are protected by your Constitution.
And that, my brothers and sisters is the foundation of America.
And that’s what the folks in charge, and the uninformed who put them there, have forgotten. They have forgotten the true words of Jesus and the true spirit in which we found our freedom.
But I know my Jesus, I know my history and I know my rights.
And I encourage each and every one of you today to look deep within yourself and find some resolve to begin doing your part to live your life by your principles and your standards.
I, myself, will pray on such matters.
For you see, in my Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, there is a passage that is not often repeated by our leadership or by our preachers in our churches. My Jesus did not command me to be present at one particular place at one particular time on one particular day to know His love and to do His work.
Jesus’ love is anywhere and everywhere where you can take a moment – spend some time alone and contemplate.
And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.My Jesus did not condemn those whose values were different from his – and that is, indeed, a struggle. Especially when you see the folks in charge taking His name in vain. And so today, I will pray for the men in charge and pray that they will welcome and not fear my Jesus.
It is confounding, how My Jesus somehow managed to love folks, in spite of their faults, weaknesses and failings.
It is a struggle not to hate and not to despise those that speak the words of Christ yet abandon the teachings of my Jesus.
But I will not judge them. That, too, is a teaching of my Jesus. Any judgment that occurs will occur at the ballot box when I vote -- which is, thankfully, the promise of my Constitution.
I will not act with bigotry, prejudice or hatred in my heart.
That’s not the teaching of my Jesus or the promise of my Constitution.
I said it before: I want my soul, my spirit, my Church, my country and my Jesus back.
My question today, for you, dear reader, is what do you want?
August 12, 2005
One of the things that I’m very grateful for in this life is that I have documentation of my existence. It helps, especially when I’m feeling discombobulated, to have something tangible to revisit, reexamine and occasionally, reinterpret.
I remember quite vividly the day in 4th grade when I wore my C-3P0 tee shirt and Star Wars wrist-watch for picture day at Magnolia Elementary. Much to my teacher’s distress, I'll confess. It all starts in childhood, or so they say.
I look at that picture and remember that I was a contrary little shit-pot-stirrer, even back then. The other kids were dressed in ironed and starched button downs or crisp-looking polos, no doubt chosen by some overly zealous Southern Baptist mothers. I deliberately did not tell my mom it was picture day and picked out my own outfit, without any concern if others would deem it inappropriate. Once again, foreshadowing…
For the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about robots on tee-shirts, boys and Star Wars, flipped up collars on pink polos, living up to other people’s expectations and being comfortable with my own choices.
When I first stumbled across that picture, I felt an immediate pang of nostalgia. Awww...look at me…loving the gay robot…and the Star Wars. But tonight -- I look at that picture of that seemingly fat, happy kid – and I must confess that there’s a lot more to the story than a cheesy backdrop and some misty, movie-making memories...
There’s a quarter of my life when I spent every day in school being called a fat faggot. I remember wanting so desperately to be something other than who I was – and spent years scheming and achieving, hoping like hell that my efforts would get me out of Kentucky and off that farm.
And now that I’ve been away from that life for almost half my life, I’m suddenly struck with this feeling that what I wanted to leave behind me is still with me. It’s this persistent contrariness that inhabits my thoughts constantly. Sometimes it’s affable and goofy and sometimes it’s serious and contemplative. Sometimes I wonder if it’s a characteristic that is truly me, or an affection created by growing up loving Dee on What’s Happening and too closely identifying with the kids on Square Pegs?
I looked at that picture today and l wonder how much money did my mother spend outfitting me in movie-related merchandise? How much money did George Lucas and/or Twentieth Century Fox pay for that shirt in the first place? How much money did the seamstress make sewing it?
And since I’m in a mood to think this shit through some more -- was I ever, really being a revolutionary? Or was I just a pop culture drone by 4th grade?
Sadly...no Google search that will yield the answers I seek tonight. I cannot answer any of those questions readily.
So, I’m gonna return to my childhood again and just go jump on my bike. The stars and the wars will be there tomorrow. But a night like tonight should never be wasted.
August 11, 2005
I have been out of sorts for weeks now.
It seems like every day I wake up clearheaded and begin my day with a coffee, a cigarette (or eight) and a bike ride. Once again, let me remind readers that I didn’t give up the sauce and carbs for health reasons.
I did that for vanity.
The only good thing about biking as frequently as I do (which some days even happens twice a day) -- is that it’s really improved my ability to smoke. The night before last, I rode downtown and back -- smoking all the way – at night, even.
If anything sucks about my riding my bike is that it gives me time to think. That, as you may know, generally ends in disaster. For instance, the past few weeks, every bike ride has ended in my thinking about politics, culture, religion, money, work, life, sex, relationships and annoying ass stuff like that!
And it’s simply been overwhelming me.
At this moment, I’m sitting on 6 partially composed short stories and about 4 unfinished blog entries. All this thinking is leaving me unable to finish anything effectively – because every damn day, I find myself thinking about new and exciting things!
I will readily admit that I’m guilty of a taking a sassy photo and stringing together a few sentences of regurgitated hyperlinks – but do you know what? I’m thinking that I’d rather turn out a quality essay once a week instead...so it’s leaving me to think about what I really want to do with this blog.
What a God damned bother that line of thinking is, too!
Oh! And since I’ve quit watching television, I’ve discovered that I am, at moments, having serious identity issues when separated from Access Hollywood. Leaving Katie Couric behind has forced me to reconsider the role of media. And don't even get me started on politics, anymore!
Add to the confusion: there's a musical I'm helping a friend write and there's oboe lessons I want to take. Now that I have all this time to kill since I'm no longer hung-over, I'm considering joining a gay boxing league.
And then I'm trying to give a shit about people, too! It's rough trying to be a better friend, son, brother and uncle!
Every now and then I wonder about the direction of my professional life and I've been trying to make things right where I’ve screwed up in my personal life.
I am, in other words, a complete and utter mess.
Did I really give up drinking and drugs and start eating better and biking more only to have my thoughts, beliefs, assumptions and predilections challenged?
Did I, essentially, stop numbing myself with depressants and sedatives only to be bothered by feelings and emotions?
Did I just screw myself up even more?
And I never claimed to be well in the first place!!!!
I’m hoping that this bizarre swoop into consciousness ends soon – or that, at the very worst, I figure out a way to manage it.
The tether either tightens or it snaps – and one way or the other – you’ll be the first to know.
If anything will settle the my-family-is-more-fucked-up-than-your-family debate, it'll be a trip down memory lane courtesy of some overzealous parents, a camcorder and/or a Super 8...
Hours of embarrassing mullets (worn without irony) and hours of never-ending teenage angst await you from coast to coast this Saturday, August 13 at Home Movie Day.
Click here to see if there's a location near you!
You bring the popcorn -- I'll bring the 8mm. We both should bring some Xanax!
August 9, 2005
Well...two out of three ain't bad.
Last night, my pal Brian and I headed out to spend a few hours with Pee Wee Herman in the air-conditioned smokiness of Frederick's Music Lounge.
The pop-corn was non-stop, the Diet Coke was only a dollar and the bar patrons were totally-straight, slightly-edgy, alterna-boys wearing vintage graphic tees and sporting gigantor muttonchops. In other words, heaven! Well...almost heaven. It's hard flirting with straight boys -- they kinda get all nervous and such.
I'm jammin' on their movie nights, especially now that they're running a Nick, Nora + Asta Charles night on Fridays through September. That's where this post's headline comes from - from their Xeroxed flyer promoting a Thin Man series they've started. Xeroxed flyers make me feel all giddy and old-school.
So, I tip my soda to William Powell and Myrna Loy and that little dog, too! I might just fashion myself a boutonniere or buy a new hat just for one of these nights, just for the hell of it.....
August 8, 2005
Don't forget that TONIGHT you can catch 7 hours of Pee Wee's Playhouse over at Frederick's Music Lounge
St. Louis, MO 63116
5:00 p.m. until you just can't take it any longer!!!!!
I was looking for an image for this post and came across this artwork by Isabel Samaras. Check her out if ya get a moment.....
August 7, 2005
A fire at the home of entertainer Marie Osmond destroyed a garage and her office above it, her husband said. There were no injuries.The not-so interesting details are here.
Today I salute Ms. Bunny Greenhouse for doing what it right.
She is for standing up for what she believes and in the process -- has exposed what she feels is fraud and corruption at the highest levels of the U.S. government.
I've not heard a lot about her up until today and I hope and pray that some folks, namely the DNC, come to her defense.
It takes courage to take on the man -- and Bunny sounds like a fearless champion.
She's today's inspirational message.
WASHINGTON (AP) - In the world as Bunnatine Greenhouse sees it, people do the right thing. They stand up for the greater good and they speak up when things go wrong. She believes God has a purpose for each life and she prays every day for that purpose to be made evident. These days she is praying her heart out, because she is in a great deal of trouble.
Bunnatine "Bunny" Greenhouse is the Principal Assistant Responsible for Contracting ("PARC" in the alphabet soup of military acronyms) in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Lest the title fool, she is responsible for awarding billions upon billions in taxpayers' money to private companies hired to resurrect war-torn Iraq and to feed, clothe, shelter and do the laundry of American troops stationed there.
She has rained a mighty storm upon herself for standing up, before members of Congress and live on C-SPAN to proclaim things are just not right in this staggeringly profitable business.
She has asked many questions:
Why is Halliburton - a giant Texas firm that holds more than 50 percent of all rebuilding efforts in Iraq - getting billions in contracts without competitive bidding?
Do the durations of those contracts make sense?
Have there been violations of federal laws regulating how the government can spend its money?
Read more about Bunny, how she is about to lose her job for exposing fraud and the whole sordid mess by clicking here.
August 5, 2005
They took her kitty!
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - Kris Bryan couldn't believe it when she came home and realized strangers were taking away her stuff - including her 7-week-old kitten. A legal notice in the Lawrence Journal-World for unclaimed property mistakenly listed Bryan's address. The notice said the items would be thrown out if they weren't picked up from the apartment.The whole sordid mess...
"I was freaking out," said Bryan, 22. "I told them, 'That's my apartment - there's been some mistake.'"
Sgt. Dan Ward, a spokesman for the Lawrence Police Department, said Bryan confronted the people at her home, who showed her the Journal-World ad. They returned the items they had taken, but others had already made off with an estimated $3,300 worth of possessions - everything from a TV and a DVD player to video games and Bryan's kitten.
August 4, 2005
Methamphetamine use has been creeping its way across the country for more than a decade. It seems to me that no one really seemed to give a shit about it up until this past year or so....
This week's Newsweek cover story, featured here makes me wonder why it took white ladies from rural Iowa and tony Chicago suburbs getting all strung out on Miss Tina, for mainstream media to pay attention?
Party and Play with the devil, indeed.
Consider this part public service message, part bitch-slap and a good ole dose of vanity-protection.
Here's what three-and-a-half years of using meth will do to a person:
Pink Pistols take note:
Five acres of guns, hunting equipment and outdoor gear are expected to draw more than 60,000 gun enthusiasts to St. Louis during the National Rifle Association's 136th annual convention. The event will take place in America's Center, April 13-17, 2007, the organization announced today.The whole story -- lock, stock and double barreled is here.
It's not often that I'll cite U.S.A. Today up on this blog, but this commentary made me smile.
Take your kids' bikes, ride off down the street and disappear for a day. Believe me, they won't miss you.
Ride all the way into town. Ride to the edge of the earth if you want, look over, ride back. You have all the time in the world.
Ride as if you have someplace to go. You don't, of course. Doesn't matter. It's summer.
Ride into the sunset. Get tanned. Get lost.
Do children really need cell phones? Disney thinks so.
Ralph Nader's Commercial Alert points out:
Companies are starting to market mobile phones to children as young as six years of age. Even the Disney Co. has jumped on the bandwagon. On July 6th, they announced their intention -- in a partnership with Sprint -- to offer wireless telephone service to children 8-12 years of age.There's some additional information to consider:
...about 55 percent of those 13 to 17 [have cell phones]. Studying even younger consumers, the NPD Group of Port Washington, N.Y., finds that 22 percent of those 9 to 11 have phones, while New York-based NOP World Technology estimates 14 percent of 10- and 11-year-olds do.You can read more here. Leave a comment if ya want, but don't think about sending me a text message. I got rid of my cell a year ago.
I decided I could spend my money on better things, namely coffee and cigarettes.
August 3, 2005
Every now and then I stumble into (and not out of) a special treat in the city! I honestly have no idea if this is a fun place, but it looks...well...judge for yourself.
Step back into 16th century England for an evening of Medieval Madness with King Henry VIII and his bevy of wenches! It's a riotous night of bawdy merry making and song as you are transformed back to the days of yore!Renaissance dining at it's best - The Royal Dumpe Dinner Theater!
August 1, 2005
Just enjoying a few days of radio silence.
I'll be back in a couple of days.