Saturday, January 20, 2007

Early Morning Thoughts ~ One Incident Led To ~

Today was a first for something I would have preferred not to have happened at all. I was crossing the street, and the two people in a car, who wanted to make the right turn were not pleased with my speed (even though I had the right-of-way). As I reached the curb and they started their turn, one rolled down the window and yelled out the window "'F'ing' faggot." Not once, but twice. As there was nothing that could have identified me with the gay community, it was a slur, and verbal attack.

My minor incident follows on the heels of the incident with Isaiah Washington and his use of the word "faggot" on the set of the TV show Grey's Anatomy. While TV and the Internet has been roundly criticizing him (and his later attempts to cover his tracks), something seemed to be missing to me.

I will admit it, I no longer watch American Idol until toward the end. This year, there was an incident that caused me to watch the clip in question. I'm talking about Simon Cowell's very personal attack on one of the auditioners. He stepped beyond merely challenging this person's singing ability and attacked him personally, by going after his physical attributes. Of course, there has been some outcry about it, but still something seemed to be missing to me.

These incidents are not isolated nor unrelated. And finally, I realized each incident - all of them - involved hate speech. That was what as missing in all the discussions about what had occurred. No one really seemed to want to say that Isaiah or Simon had engaged in hate speech, but that's exactly what it was. To me, by attacking someone with something that is either a part of their life (i.e. being gay) or something they have absolutely have no control over (i.e. basic physiognomy) hate speech is being used.

Again, Isaiah attacked another person's sexuality and core of existence. Simon, rather than going after talent or lack of it, attacked someone about their physical characteristics, and in the process brought their core being into question. . And while there has been some outrage over both, (and possibly leading to Isaiah's loss of job) no one is talking about what this kind of tolerance does to us as people and as a nation. These two incidents are just symptomatic of something deeper and more insidious. Even though there might be some disgust or upset over what was said, the lack of immediate, decisive reaction and immediate decisive action, says a lot that those of us disgusted over what is happening really need to be concerned about.

In what really wasn't so long ago, Michael Richards followed in the footsteps of Mel Gibson, and carried a rant into front page headlines. A powerful writer/blogger at Proceed At Your Own Risk (which is currently closed for renovations) wrote a tremendous article about intolerance and language. I've posted this before and completely unapologetic, part of it is reprinted here:
"Politicians like Rick Santorum and religious leaders like James Dobson openly and proudly use words that are painfully insulting to gay Americans. Senator Allen laughingly calls a college student "Macaca." Rappers and Reggae singers celebrate rape, murder, racism and homophobia. We pretend that it's humor, Biblical or a political statement, when in fact it is hate language that pollutes our society and even worse the minds and hearts of our children.

Rather than uncompromisingly condemn this behavior and language as disgusting, we debate it. We look for ways to explain it away and allow it.

The collective outrage over Michael Richards' "nigger" tirade rings hollow in a society were politicians are applauded for comparing homosexuality to bestiality, where millions of voters are indifferent to Macaca, where hate-spewing rappers, black and white are given record contracts and Grammy Awards, where openly homophobic Reggae singers are booked for concerts and religious leaders who use words like fag and abomination to describe their fellow Americans are allowed tax exemptions.

Partly it's because as a nation we have perverted and trivialized the value of free speech. Neither the Bible nor the Constitution were intended to justify intolerance and bigotry. Michael Richards is symptomatic of a badly damaged society. Tolerance is not an absolute; we do not tolerate murder and rape, nor should we tolerate homophobia, racism or intolerance for that matter.

As a society we must take harsh action against hate language regardless of it's source: the Bible, politics, booze or rage. As adults we can rationalize, excuse and trivialize, but in the meantime less sophisticated minds, our children, are listening and learning very bad things.
"Bigot: A person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices esp: one who regards or treats the members of a group with hatred and intolerance."

When we tolerate any of this kind of behavior, we are saying - especially to our youth - that it is acceptable. That it will cause some "discomfort," or upset - but it is still tolerated. I no longer want to be any part of tolerating hate speech of any kind. Frankly, life is too short, and people are too valuable for that. I want to support that which builds up, not tear down.

I am not criticizing the comments about the singing talent on American Idol. After all the years I've spent in theater on both sides of the footlights, I'd be out of my mind to even suggest that. The auditioners know that they are going to be looked at for their singing. What, to me, is NOT acceptable is to "go after" something that is not connected to the talent. And before we condemn the lack of talent, remember William Hung make a fortune -- by really not being able to sing. But, then - that's nothing new. Anyone remember Ethel Merman's disco album? Or Kiss's disco I Was Made For Loving You? (I thought so)

Friday, January 19, 2007

Early Morning Thoughts ~ Amore (part 2)

Valentine's Day is right around the corner and being the terminal romantic that I am, (the symptom of terminal romanticism: we pat the sandwiches after we make them) I've been thinking about love. A number of years ago Art Linkletter had a section of his TV program called "Kids Say The Darndest Things." Of course, the joy of that program was his ability to get children to admit to things their parents were usually horrified to hear. One little girl I remember announced her Mother's pregnancy on national television - something her Mother had not told ANYONE, including the Father!

However, children have insights that we adults (who have lost our childlike enthusiasm for life) tend to miss.

A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, "What does love mean?"
The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined.
What do you think?

"When my grandmother got arthritis,
she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore.
So my grandfather does it for her all the time,
even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love."
--Rebecca- age 8

"When someone loves you, the way
they say your name is different.
You just know that your name is
safe in their mouth."
--Billy - age 4

"Love is when a girl puts on perfume
and a boy puts on shaving cologne
and they go out and smell each other."
--Karl - age 5

"Love is when you go out to eat
and give somebody most of your
French fries without making them
give you any of theirs."
--Chrissy - age 6

"Love is what makes you smile
when you're tired."
--Terri - age 4

"Love is when my mommy makes
coffee for my daddy and she takes
a sip before giving it to him, to
make sure the taste is OK."
--Danny - age 7

"Love is when you kiss all the time.
Then when you get tired of kissing,
you still want to be together and
you talk more.
My Mommy and Daddy are like that.
They look gross when they kiss"
--Emily - age 8

"Love is what's in the room
with you
at Christmas
if you stop opening
presents and listen."
--Bobby - age 7 (Wow!)

"If you want to learn to love better,
you should start with a friend
who you hate,"
--Nikka - age 6
(we need a few million more
Nikka's on this planet)

"Love is when you tell a guy you
like his shirt,
then he wears it everyday."
--Noelle - age 7

"Love is like a little old woman and
a little old man who are still friends
even after they know each other so well."
--Tommy - age 6

"During my piano recital, I was on
a stage and I was scared. I looked
at all the people watching me and
saw my daddy waving and smiling.
He was the only one doing that.
I wasn't scared anymore."
--Cindy - age 8

"My mommy loves me more
than anybody .
You don't see anyone else kissing
me to sleep at night."
--Clare - age 6

"Love is when Mommy gives Daddy
the best piece of chicken."
--Elaine-age 5

"Love is when Mommy sees Daddy
smelly and sweaty and still says
he is handsomer than Brad Pitt."
--Chris - age 7

"Love is when your puppy licks
your face even after you left him
alone all day."
--Mary Ann - age 4

"When you love somebody, your
eyelashes go up and down and
little stars come out of you."
(what an image)
--Karen - age 7

"You really shouldn't say 'I love you'
unless you mean it.
But if you mean it, you should say it a lot.
People forget."
--Jessica - age 8

And the final one --
Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia
supposedly talked about a contest
he was asked to judge -
The purpose of the contest was to
find the most caring child.

The winner was a four year old child
whose next door neighbor was
an elderly gentleman who had
recently lost his wife.
Upon seeing the man cry, the little
boy went into the old gentleman's yard,
climbed onto his lap, and just sat there.
When his Mother asked what he had
said to the neighbor, the little boy said,
"Nothing, I just helped him cry"

more on amore later

New And Different Views ~

There's such an immediacy to the internet, but it still takes a camera at just the right moment to capture some wild and wacky pictures!!!

Here are a few of the favorites I saw this week ~
Without comment ~

Early Morning Thoughts ~ Alone

What a loaded word ~ alone. I been wrestling with the word and the reality for quite a few days. Being a male (to say nothing of being a gay male) of a certain age, it is something that I either deal with, or it will deal with me. As I looked back over quite a few years, I came to the realization that it actually had been quite some time since I had been what I would call one around. Even when I taught school in India - I was blessed with a cook that was there and very talkative and students in and out all the time. I went from there, to working in a treatment center for emotionally disturbed children and lived on campus. I got married, was married for quite sometime, divorced. I then became room mates with ZZ (who I've written about before). And now, I am alone.


Lying, thinking
Last night
How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf is not stone
I came up with one thing
And I don't believe I'm wrong
That nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

There are some millionaires
With money they can't use
Their wives run round like banshees
Their children sing the blues
They've got expensive doctors
To cure their hearts of stone.
But nobody
No, nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Now if you listen closely
I'll tell you what I know
Storm clouds are gathering
The wind is gonna blow
The race of man is suffering
And I can hear the moan,
'Cause nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.
--Maya Angelou
And the key for any of us feeling this way is in the refrain in the poem: And I can hear the moan, 'Cause nobody, But nobody Can make it out here alone. So now,I realize I have choices I need to make. I can huddle in my apartment and feel as if there is nothing here, and nothing around - or I can realize what is missing is my reaching out and being a part of what is around me.

To share a few: There's C who reached out to me via email and asked admission to my life. I feel as if I can share almost anything with him. (and he never "shoulds" all over me!)
And EB who has even gently corrected a post I made...and made me laugh about it in the process
(and is determined that I get back into playing Everquest even though my heart misses my poor World of Warcraft undead horde warlock).
And SBG who on the phone always wants to know what's happening and makes me feel very sensual and worthwhile - even when I'm sitting unshaven in my worn tattered shorts and t-shirt. D&D who live here in Houston and share their ups and downs with me (and in some cases around me). And there are others - I would love to have the entire alphabet - recently I discovered K who drops me delightful emails and has even begun to call. And others who make my life enjoyable - either by presence, email or phone.

But it would be possible - I suppose - to simply decide that none of this mattered. I could go to the fact that there's no one here with me, that the side of the bed he would be occupying is slightly covered with books and magazines. But sometime ago I ran across a saying that when I look at the straight and gays I see and read about, and ones I see in bars, it becomes an even stronger truth in me: It is better to be alone for the right reasons, then to be with someone for the wrong ones.

Are all these connections physical? No, but they are connections that build up and encourage. I am choosing ALL kinds of connections. I learned a long time ago that there are two types of people: Those that want the best from you and encourage you to be that (even if it means you surpass them) and those that want you down where they are and to go no further. So, by reaching out I'm creating connections - connections that build me up and create something where there might have been only a vacuum before. Of course, all is not a bed of roses or (heaven forbid) posies. Life IS messy, and people will be people and their lives can be messy. But I've learned and am learning - if we share it together, we have a much better chance of making a success of it.

Does that mean that I have no use for someone in my life? Absolutely NOT! What a thought!!
As a matter of fact, I would be willing to send anyone an application if they are so interested. What it does mean? That I am not going to sit and worry about the why someone isn't falling into my life - but rather I'm going to continue to enjoy my life and living. And someday, someone will be there to share every sense of the word. In the meantime, to quote the song from Auntie Mame: "Open a new window - open a new door!!!"

Tree roots and dog in window by Juergen Kollrorgen
World of Warcraft warlock - Slayer

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Convergence ~ Gaia Speaking?

This is from a recent post by Andy at Towleroad titled: The Earth Calls Out ...As Andy puts it so well:

This is one of the more remarkable photos I've seen in some time.
What you're looking at are roads and cleared land caused by loggers and their trucks and machinery in southern Sweden.
The pattern they've caused in the destruction has come to illustrate the very thing they have destroyed.
It was an entry in a photo contest about "convergence" on Timothy McSweeney's Internet Tendency, an offshoot of the well-known literary quarterly.
According to McSweeney's: "It was taken by a Swede named Jocke Berglund, and it won him a Wildlife Photographer of the Year award from London's Natural History Museum."

Gaia was a Greek goddess personifying earth ...

An Elegant Timewaster ~ Distraction

Here is another timewaster momentary diversion from the tasks at hand. It's called very simply diversion, and not only is it fun to play, it's very humorous as well. And speaking from personal experience, it does get more difficult at you play on -- there's a double meaning to the word distraction..

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Early Morning Thoughts ~ A Childlike Poem

Today I went throught a lot of "stuff." No, not head "stuff" ... but as George Carlin would say "stuff-stuff." I got into some boxes, notes and scribblings. I'm glad I did it, and not someone else. There was quite a bit in the "what on earth?" category. But I found some teaching notes on a children's poem. I realized that I remembered bits and pieces of the poem, but not the beauty of the entire piece. So, I sat down a re-read it and realized that with all that's going on in the world (and in my life)there really is relevance. (and yes, there are times I do feel like an oyster!!)

The Walrus and the Carpenter
by Lewis Carroll

`The sun was shining on the sea,
Shining with all his might:
He did his very best to make
The billows smooth and bright--
And this was odd, because it was
The middle of the night.

The moon was shining sulkily,
Because she thought the sun
Had got no business to be there
After the day was done--
"It's very rude of him", she said,
"To come and spoil the fun!"

The sea was wet as wet could be,
The sands were dry as dry.
You could not see a cloud, because
No cloud was in the sky:
No birds were flying overhead--
There were no birds to fly.

The Walrus and the Carpenter
Were walking close at hand:
They wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand:
"If this were only cleared away,"
They said, "it would be grand!"

"If seven maids with seven mops
Swept it for half a year,
Do you suppose," the Walrus said,
"That they could get it clear?"
"I doubt it," said the Carpenter,
And shed a bitter tear.

"O Oysters, come and walk with us!"
The Walrus did beseech.
"A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,
Along the briny beach:
We cannot do with more than four,
To give a hand to each."

The eldest Oyster looked at him,
But never a word he said:
The eldest Oyster winked his eye,
And shook his heavy head--
Meaning to say he did not choose
To leave the oyster-bed.

But four young Oysters hurried up,
All eager for the treat:
Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,
Their shoes were clean and neat--
And this was odd, because, you know,
They hadn't any feet.

Four other Oysters followed them,
And yet another four;
And thick and fast they came at last,
And more, and more, and more--
All hopping through the frothy waves,
And scrambling to the shore.

The Walrus and the Carpenter
Walked on a mile or so,
And then they rested on a rock
Conveniently low:
And all the little Oysters stood
And waited in a row.

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."

"But wait a bit," the Oysters cried,
"Before we have our chat;
For some of us are out of breath,
And all of us are fat!"
"No hurry!" said the Carpenter.
They thanked him much for that.

"A loaf of bread," the Walrus said,
"Is what we chiefly need:
Pepper and vinegar besides
Are very good indeed--
Now, if you're ready, Oysters dear,
We can begin to feed."

"But not on us!" the Oysters cried,
Turning a little blue.
"After such kindness, that would be
A dismal thing to do!"
"The night is fine," the Walrus said.
"Do you admire the view?

"It was so kind of you to come!
And you are very nice!"
The Carpenter said nothing but
"Cut us another slice.
I wish you were not quite so deaf--
I've had to ask you twice!"

"It seems a shame," the Walrus said,
"To play them such a trick.
After we've brought them out so far,
And made them trot so quick!"
The Carpenter said nothing but
"The butter's spread too thick!"

"I weep for you," the Walrus said:
"I deeply sympathize."
With sobs and tears he sorted out
Those of the largest size,

Holding his pocket-handkerchief
Before his streaming eyes.

"O Oysters," said the Carpenter,
"You've had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?"
But answer came there none--
And this was scarcely odd, because
They'd eaten every one.'

third illustration by Kevin Finney

Fast Facts ~ Just In Case . . .

Some Facts You Probably Didn’t Know ~
And Probably Didn't Want To Know ~

A crocodile cannot stick its tongue out.
(nice to know I can't be french kissed by one!)

A snail can sleep for three years.
(It bought it’s bed from an infomercial, right?

All polar bears are left handed.

American Airlines saved $40,000 in 1987 by eliminating one olive from each salad served in first-class.
That must have been one hell of an olive!

Americans on average eat 18 acres of pizza every day.

An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.
(I’ve know people like that)

Babies are born without knee caps. They don't appear until the child reaches 2 to 6 years of age.

Butterflies taste with their feet.
(I tried that - it certainly added a cheesy flavor to things)

Cats have over one hundred vocal sounds, dogs only have about 10.

China has more English speakers than the United States.

Donald Duck comics at one time were banned in Finland because he doesn't wear any pants.

Dueling is legal in Paraguay as long as both parties are registered blood donors.

Elephants are the only animals that can't jump.

February 1865 is the only month in recorded history not to have a full moon.

Humans, Chimpanzees and dolphins are the only species that have sex for pleasure.

I am. is the shortest complete sentence in the English language.
(I received an email from D who knows about these things. Actually the shortest sentence would be GO. As the you would be understood...((and now I'm confused!))

If Barbie were life-size, her measurements would be 39-23-33. She would stand seven feet, two inches tall and have a neck twice the length of a normal humans neck.
((what would Ken's measurements be? Inquiring minds want to know!)

If you yelled for 8 years, 7 months and 6 days, you will have produced enough sound energy to heat one cup of coffee.
(I once had a boss I wish had read this!)

In ancient Egypt, priests plucked EVERY hair from their bodies,
including their eyebrows and eyelashes.
(The original metrosexuals!)

In the last 4000 years, no new animals have been domesticated.

Leonard Da Vinci invented the scissors.
(But he never used them on his own hair?)

No word in the English language rhymes with month or orange.

Nutmeg is extremely poisonous if injected intravenously.
(Now there’s a murder mystery novel waiting to be written)

On average, people fear spiders more than they do death.

Our eyes are always the same size from birth, but our nose and ears never stop growing.
(eyebrows - what about eyebrow hair?)

Right-handed people live, on average, nine years longer than left-handed people do.
(a right-hander must have done that survey)

Shakespeare invented the words 'assassination' and 'bump.'

Some lions mate over 50 times a day.
(I want to be that lion!)

Starfish have no brain.
(So do some people I know!)

Stewardesses is the longest word typed with only the left hand.

The ant always falls over on its right side when intoxicated.

The average human eats eight spiders in their lifetime at night.
(I knew that casserole tasted weird)

The catfish has over 27,000 taste buds.

The electric chair was invented by a dentist.
(I think he used to be my dentist)

The human heart creates enough pressure when it pumps out to the body to squirt blood 30 feet.
(and all this time I thought CSI was kidding!)

The male praying mantis cannot copulate while its head is attached to its body.
The female initiates sex by ripping the males head off.
(nice myth - but not true.
However, as far as some of my dates have been concerned ...

The name of all the continents end with the same letter that they start with.

The name Wendy was made up for the book 'Peter Pan.'

The Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, has twice as many bathrooms as necessary. When it was built in the 1940s, the state of Virginia still had segregation laws requiring separate toilet facilities.
(no wonder they can't find anything - everyone's in the bathroom)

The strongest muscle in the body is the tongue.
(In more ways than one!)
The word racecar and kayak are the same whether they are read left to right or right to left.

There are two credit cards for every person in the United States.
(mine must have gotten lost in the mail)

TYPEWRITER is the longest word that can be made using the letters only on one row of the keyboard.

Women blink nearly twice as much as men.
(does batting your eyelashes at someone count?)

In North America, you are more likely to be killed by a Champagne cork than by a poisonous spider.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Early Morning Thoughts ~ Poison to Medicine (finale)

The spiritual journey does not consist in arriving at a new destination
where a person gains what he did not have
or becomes what he is not.
It consists in the dissipation of one’s own ignorance concerning one’s self and life
and the gradual growth of that understanding which begins the spiritual awakening.
The finding of God is a coming to one’s self.
- Aldous Huxley

When I started the several threads leading to this one, I knew that I had no choice but to be honest, open and forth-coming. For some, perhaps, that honesty was a little TMI (too much information). Others might have felt they intruded on something that should have remained private. But in order to get here I had to go there. It was important to show what I'd learned in order to share with some kind of reality and truth.

That same dayn(several years ago) I called my boss and asked him to come see me at the apartment. When he arrived I told him basically everything that had happened and what had been going on. I fully expected to be fired. He thought for a moment, and then made a comment that has stayed with me. "To me, this as if you told me you had cancer - or some other disease. We need to work with you until you are back to who you are."

There was one of the major keys: I had to get hold of the Aldous Huxley quote that I've been posting over and over .. I wasn't going to have to gain what I didn't already have or become something I wasn't already. I had within me what I needed - as do you. What I needed to do was find it. It wasn't a case of "cleaning-up" and becoming something or someone else, it was a case of getting back to who I was - becoming who I was. I didn't have lose myself in the process - I was going to find myself.

In simple terms, I had been trying to change myself. I had become a chameleon - changing to match the background, foreground - or any ground that anyone wanted me to be. This, of course, was particularly true with ZZ as I wanted something that actually wasn't there and would never be there. (I know, never say never - but in this case ...) I used to tell people that were having problems at work that in effect, the company has "rented" your behavior for the time you are there. Perhaps you're a great opera singer with an excellent voice. The company you are working for is a library and you are the librarian. While you are at work, belting out major arias would not only be disruptive, but would probably get you fired. So, you adopt the librarian behavior at work. That does not mean you have changed - or become what you are not. You are being paid for that behavior. Where I went wrong, was I had changed my entire focus into changing what I was - rather than adapting to the situation as it really was, seeing it for what it was.

Now perhaps you think I'm advocating dishonesty. Not in the least. What I am
advocating is honesty in relationship, with self and with those around. Was there honesty in the relationship with ZZ? Basically no, it was based on an untruth on both sides. And I fell into the trap of trying to make something work that dishonesty had doomed from the beginning. And in the process had tried to doom me as well.

The hope that is within each of us needs to be based on who we ARE not what people think we need to be. And as I became more content with who I am, people saw me and can see the me I want them to see. Of course, as in the librarian example, there are times of adaptation. But it's an adaptation, not an attempt at a life style or fantasy.

So, the poison became the medicine and I'm on my life journey to where I want to be ... where I need to be.

Remember you've got a choice.
When you feel you can't handle something,
you can either choose to feel miserable and helpless,
or maybe put your life in someone else's hands to sort out - if they can be bothered.
Or you can decide to take charge ,
take full responsibility for whatever is happening,
even if none of it seems to be your fault,
and decide to turn poison into medicine.
- Geoff from the book, "The Buddha, Geoff and Me"

Honesty plant painting by Roger Beckwaith

Do Not Fold With Child Inside ~

Recently I made a fairly common purchase and decided to literally read ALL the instructions. I was amazed at what I didn't know that could harm me or those around me!!! I found some other labels that contained warnings too good to pass up!!

Here are some actual label instructions

1. On a blanket from Taiwan - NOT TO BE USED AS PROTECTION FROM A TORNADO.

2. On a helmet mounted mirror used by US cyclists - REMEMBER, OBJECTS IN THE MIRROR ARE ACTUALLY BEHIND YOU.

3. On a Taiwanese shampoo - USE REPEATEDLY FOR SEVERE DAMAGE.

4. On the bottle-top of a (UK) flavoured milk drink AFTER OPENING, KEEP UPRIGHT.

5. On a New Zealand insect spray - THIS PRODUCT NOT TESTED ON ANIMALS.

6. In a US guide to setting up a new computer - TO AVOID CONDENSATION FORMING, ALLOW THE BOXES TO WARM UP TO ROOM TEMPERATURE BEFORE OPENING. (Sensible, but the instruction was INSIDE the box.)

7. On a Japanese product used to relieve painful hemorrhoids LIE DOWN ON BED AND INSERT POSCOOL SLOWLY UP TO THE PROJECTED PORTION LIKE A SWORD-GUARD INTO ANAL DUCT.WHILE INSERTING POSCOOL FOR APPROXIMATELY 5 MINUTES, KEEP QUIET. (that sounds like a challenge for somepeople I know!!)

8. In some countries, on the bottom of Coke bottles OPEN OTHER END.


10. On a Sears hairdryer - DO NOT USE WHILE SLEEPING.


12. On a bar of Dial soap - DIRECTIONS - USE LIKE REGULAR SOAP.

13. On Tesco's Tiramisu dessert (printed on bottom of the box)- DO NOT TURN UPSIDE DOWN.

14. On Marks & Spencer Bread Pudding - PRODUCT WILL BE HOT AFTER HEATING.

15. On a Korean kitchen knife - WARNING KEEP OUT OF CHILDREN.

16. On a string of Chinese-made Christmas lights - FOR INDOOR OR OUTDOOR USE ONLY.

17. On a Japanese food processor - NOT TO BE USED FOR THE OTHER USE.

18. On Sainsbury's peanuts - WARNING - CONTAINS NUTS.

19. On an American Airlines packet of nuts INSTRUCTIONS - OPEN PACKET, EAT NUTS.


21. On a child's superman costume - WEARING OF THIS GARMENT DOES NOT ENABLE YOU TO FLY.

22. On some frozen dinners - SERVING SUGGESTION DEFROST.

23. On a hotel provided shower cap in a box - FITS ONE HEAD.

24. On packaging for a Rowenta iron - DO NOT IRON CLOTHES ON BODY.

25. On Boot's "Children's" cough medicine - DO NOT DRIVE CAR OR OPERATE MACHINERY.

26. On Nytol sleep aid - WARNING MAY CAUSE DROWSINESS.

Mid-Morning ~ A List You'll Never See ~

Top 20 books
NOT reccommended
by the National Library Association:

20. Clifford the Big Dog is Put to Sleep

19. Valuable Protein and Other Nutritional Benefits of Things From Your Nose

18. The Hardy Boys, the Bobsey Twins, and The Vice Squad

17. The Tickling Babysitter

16. A Pictorial History of Geek Nude Games

15. Charles Manson Bedtime Stories

14. Daddy Loses His Job and Finds the Bottle

13. Babar Becomes a Piano

12. Controlling The Playground: Respect through Fear

11. David Duke's World of Imagination Coloring Book (approved colors included)

10. Curious George and the High Voltage Fence

9. The Boy Who Died from Eating All His Vegetables

8. Legends of Scab Football

7. Barry Bond's How to play with chemicals

6. George Bush's How to Win Friends and Influence People Retold

5. Mitt Romney Retells Favorite Fairy Tales

4. Donald Trump's Start a Real Estate Empire with the Change from your Mom's Purse

3. Things Rich Kids Have, But You Never Will

2. Let's Draw Betty and Veronica Without their Clothes On

1. The Care Bears Maul Some Campers and Get Shot

Early Morning Thoughts ~ Poison to Medicine (part 3)

"take full responsibility for whatever is happening,
even if none of it seems to be your fault,
and decide to turn poison into medicine.
- Geoff from the book, "The Buddha, Geoff and Me"

When I began to write about ZZ and the "dark night of the soul" decision I made, the words did and have not come easily. There has always been concern about being misunderstood, or simply dismissed as being a "drama queen." As this is a personal account, it can be taken as such. Perhaps you have faced something similar. If you haven't, as I said last night, be very thankful.

When I made my final decision to end it all, for so long I felt as if I had been locked in a box. That there was no key to the lid, and I was literally quite finished ... as a older gay individual, an older human being and as something of worth. None of those were correct assumptions, but to me at the time, they were not only valid, but universal truths. I had chipped away at what I was for so long - there were serious cracks in the marble of my foundation. I knew in my heart of hearts that what I wanted from ZZ was never going to be - couldn't be. I knew that I had given away too much, that I had run dry of what to give for basically nothing in return. I only knew that my vision was faulty, but I hadn't come to the realization (yet) that I was not seeing him as he was - only as I wanted him to be.

So - the time had come. I was manager of a small apartment complex, and it was easy to decide upon the place. A downstairs, empty apartment. I actually did write a letter, being vague and careful. I chose the candles, the necessary piece of equipment, the pills to dull the pain, and the applesauce to sooth the stomach. I
made my way down the stairs of my apartment (I lived on-site) and into the empty one. I taped the letter to the inside of the door, and went into the bathroom. Lighting the candles, and laying out what I had brought. I arranged everything very attractively - again the gay in me.

I climbed into the tub, and stretched out and prepared. Well, as much as one can prepare for that. This is something I can't prove, but you can't disprove - I believe that most of us in those moments have a moment when the mind can "snap-to" and we can see something for what it is. It certainly happened to me. There was no earth shaking, no wind,no thunder or lightning. No booming voice spoke from the ceiling (which did need to be repainted), nor was there a knock at the door to interrupt. What came to me was the entire situation that I was planning and setting up. I realized that it was as empty and futile as I had been feeling. This was not going to solve anything or make anything better.

There was a realization that I was about to embark on the most selfish, thoughtless act I could have done. You may think that I had lost my mind (well, OK - maybe I did) at what happened next, but I began to chuckle. As I looked around at the seedy stage set I had put together, I saw it for what it was. Nothing that could help, nothing that would solve anything. I was actually heading to do nothing more than validate what I had been erroneously thinking. And then I began to cry. Three people came to my mind that I had not thought about during all the preparation and downward spiral. I realized that to these people I had some worth, and they had worth to me.

I climbed out of the tub (not the most comfortable place) and blew out the candle. I took the note off the door(which needed to be thoroughly cleaned), and went upstairs. ZZ (who was a bartender from 8pm - 3am) was surprisingly awake. I sat down and told him what I had almost done. His reaction neither surprised me nor helped.

The spiritual journey does not consist in arriving at a new destination

where a person gains what he did not have
or becomes what he is not.
It consists in the dissipation of one’s own ignorance concerning one’s self and life
and the gradual growth of that understanding which begins the spiritual awakening.
The finding of God is a coming to one’s self.
- Aldous Huxley

Tomorrow morning: how the poison has turned into medicine

the locker picture from
design:Agency Publicis Frankfurt

Monday, January 15, 2007

Martin Luther King ~

This is a holiday in the US to remember a great man and his great words:
We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.

Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
Strength to Love, 1963

Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must ever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

With those powerful words ringing - one would think that everyone would work together for the common good. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Here is Houston there has been a parade honoring the late Dr. King. for a number of years. Over the last several years it has been marked by hostility, anger and law suits by two competing organizations for the honor of having "THE" parade. These were organizations that worked together until an unfortunate split. There has been so much trouble over that last several years that this year the city council trying to play Solomon put together an ordinance limiting the city to one parade per day. This made sense considering all the city ends up paying to protect parades, re-locate traffic (this is downtown Houston remember) and police along the route. Rather than getting the organizers to work together (no surprise here), it caused the ACLU to get involved and the law suits began. To which I add, all this shows how far we still have to go to reach Martin Luther Kings dream.

From the Houston Chronicle is an article by Geroyal Jackson, a junior at Jack Yates High School, with his reaction to the entire parade situation.
Forty-four years ago, the great Martin Luther King Jr. sparked a huge change in the world when he delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. Today, it has been nearly 40 years since his 1968 assassination, and although the world is starkly different than it was in 1963, our world still has leaps and bounds to go before we can earnestly even attempt to say that we've achieved his "dream."

Case in point: Two Houston organizations that are both supposed to be devoted to King's message and legacy have made news and smeared the civil rights leader's image — and all in his name.

The controversy stems from Houston's MLK Parade, which for years was a single parade conducted by the Black Heritage Society, chaired by Ovide Dun- cantell and Charles Stamps. That is, until Stamps split from Duncantell in the mid-'90s to form the MLK Parade Foundation and through it, the MLK Grande Parade, bringing two MLK parades to the downtown area on the same day.

Ever since then, the parades and their backers have been feuding, resulting in the creation of a parade law that prevents two downtown parades on the same day. City lawyers say the ordinance allows police and traffic officials to protect mobility and public safety, and that allowing two parades downtown on the same day would strain resources — especially with an increasing residential population downtown.

So, with only one parade allowed, both organizations were forced to vie for a permit for the Big Day. When Duncantell and the Black Heritage Society were denied the permit in favor of his old foe, Stamps and the MLK Parade Foundation, Duncantell took the dispute to court and filed a civil rights lawsuit against Mayor Bill White and city Public Works Director Michael Marcotte, calling the parade law "unconstitutional."

For now, the dispute has been temporarily settled by U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal, who allowed both parades to take place downtown, but the Black Heritage Society's will take place in the afternoon while the MLK Parade Foundation's takes place in the morning.

The whole matter has been disgusting to view. Here we have two people and their organizations fighting over the right to have an event to honor a man who was all about peace. Honestly, is the feud about honoring King's legacy or besting an old rival?

These two men and their organizations are behaving like children and disgracing everything King stood for.

What would King say? Would he be proud of this trifling feud that's taking place in his name? Would he choose a side? Would he applaud them for embarrassing themselves, his legacy and our people for their own egos?

No, he would not, because King was about unity and brotherhood, especially among our own people. So, while these two are tying up the legal system and making fools of themselves, they should know that they aren't honoring the great man. They're desecrating his memory.

So, instead of attending any MLK parade this year, I will be doing (and encouraging everyone to, as well) something that I believe honors King more: joining in the silent march down MLK Boulevard on Saturday, because as this whole feud has clearly demonstrated, sometimes the best course of action is silent.

Manic Monday ~

Today was a good day for a good laugh ~ Fortunately, I didn't have to look very far ...

Then I decided to brush my teeth !

Read an interesting article on Montana's new boarder patrol that seems to be working very well ~

Had a quick bite to eat ~

Caught up on the latest news from Washington D.C.

And should I ever plan a wilderness trip ~ I know just what to avoid ~