Thursday, March 29, 2007

Hunk Du Jour

I am taking this opportunity to post a tribute to Chris Evans while Scott still allows me the privilege of driving his blog. I think Scott would have wanted there to be a hot manly spread here while he is away.


Flowers for the Dead

When ordering flowers for a funeral (in this case my Uncle) and you are asked for the name of the recipient, they mean the deceased. That stumped me online so I ended up calling the toll free number.

Although I expected to need to enter the name of the deceased, labelling it "recipient" strikes me as a bit, well odd.

If you're morbidly curious, here is my Uncle's online obit. For some reason it does not mention he was a Vietnam vet. He operated a dozer in 'Nam for the Army Corps of Engineers and I remember him telling stories about running the Dozer and seeing paint fly off the blade as snipers shot at him. He also once told of being trapped with others in an underground storage bin while the Viet Cong took over their encampment. They were trapped for several days there with no water, no food, no toilets, no ventilation while the enemy tramped overhead. My Uncle said they all got sick and the smell and heat were awful.

I can dimly remember the family getting reel-to-reel tapes from my Uncle while he was serving and listening to them on the tape player my grandparents had. I wonder if those tapes still exist.

It's gonna be a rough weekend.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Former AFA Staffer Sees the Light

Pam at Pam's House Blend has an outstanding Q&A exchange with former (anti-gay) American Family Association lawyer and columnist Joe Murray. Murry, who is no longer with the AFA, and who wrote some anti-gay screeds while there, has had a road to Damascus conversion. He no longer sees homosexuals as the grave threat to society and morals and has taken the AFA to task publicly for demonizing an entire class of people. Recently, he wrote an article condemning the AFA for supporting Gen. Pace's comments that homosexuals were "immoral:"

The American Family Association, a pro-family organization and former employer of this writer, sprung into action sending out this "action alert": "Homosexuals working to get Marine general punished for comments calling homosexual act immoral."

AFA then warned that the homosexual lobby "already forced [Pace] to back down a step," and urged supporters to defend Pace and "take a stand for our troops who cannot get involved in this political situation." AFA, like others, had pulled out its red herring.

This is not a political situation, but instead it is a situation where a high ranking official made comments that judged individuals, not ideas. Pace singled out gay soldiers during a time of war and told these men and women that they were immoral. His comments, as a military official, were over the line and not defensible.

AFA, like other "Christian" groups, chose to run to Pace's aid and such an act suggests borderline bigoted behavior from an organization claiming the mantle of Christianity. This is disturbing.

Pam Spaulding emailed Murray, who agreed to an email Q&A with her. An excerpt from Murray:

How could preachers preach such vehement messages towards gays when it was clear that the Bible was unclear at best, and silent at worse, on the issue? Why recklessly condemn a group of individuals? Why fixate on them when your congregation is knee deep in divorce (Jesus had some pretty clear words on that issue)? And as for gluttony, how could preachers lecture gays on restraint when churches host pot luck dinner after pot luck dinner and not be deemed hypocritical?

It was this hypocrisy that caused me to open my eyes. Those on the Christian right, for whatever reasons, have become fixated on homosexuality. They are obsessed by it and perverse form of vengeance appears to be fueling their inquisition. I may be wrong, but I think actions are speaking much louder than words here.

Read the whole exchange here.

The Bad -- and the Good

Yesterday was a decided mixed bag. Public and private events mixed in a curious way. Last week of course brought about the news of Elizabeth Edwards' cancer return. Yesterday, it was Tony Snow's turn. Then, a little before 12 yesterday I was on the phone with my mother when we got word that my Uncle Don had succumbed to the cancer he has been fighting for the past two years. He was my dad's younger brother.

I'm sad over the loss of my Uncle, but feel worse for my dad. You expect to deal with the grief of losing a parent, I don't think you expect to deal with the loss of a younger brother. And my dad and my Uncle Don were particularly close out of the five Barker boys.

Then the LTR got word that a family friend had committed suicide, even as a former college friend he hasn't heard from in years called him brought him up to speed on the hard times he has fallen in. Yesterday was a black cloud day.

But, on the positive side of the ledger, Eli, our son is here! He came running up to us at the airport and jumped into my arms. He has changed so much since he was here last November. Talking much more. At 2.5 he's becoming more of a little boy than a baby.

He loves matchbox cars, and we have plenty of them. He would hand one to me and say, "drive, Daddy, drive." So we played cars last night.

He is sleeping still. I expect him to wake any minute.

The photo is my Uncle Don and Eli, taken last November during Eli's visit. My Uncle lived nearby in Delaware, and my parents will arrive here tomorrow and we expect the funeral to be this weekend. Blogging may be light.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Public Urination -- in the Air and in London

I posted last week about the man who urinated into a barf bag during a flight in which the flight attendant wouldn't let him use the lavatory. Today at the WashPo "Travel Log" they're asking for reader comments. They are going overwhelmingly in favor of the pisser. Typical comment:

What did they want the poor guy to do? Was he supposed to pee in his pants while sitting there. Seems to me he did them a favor by not ruining their seat if they weren't going to let him use the lavatory.

Airlines suck.


It's bad enough when you have to navigate super crowded seating and crowded aisles just to get to the lav...and wait. That's not the problem. The problem seems to be a greater preponderance of airline personnel with authoritarian attitudes meant to control 'the herd'. They call us "pax". Jet Blue 'imprisoned' hundreds recently. Airliners 'forced down' by idiotic exchanges between passengers and their jailers... Let's grow up, people.

I'm also with the pisser. It seems to me he had little choice.

But if you're bothered by discrete public urination, you should probably avoid London, where they've installed open-air urinals in popular nightspots (and I've availed myself of one of them, avoiding an even more embarrassing incident).

According to this story:

"Since the trial began in July, usage has increased from approximately 500 men on the first weekend, rising to more than 1,400 men who are now using the urinals," she said on Monday.

The men, she said, are "producing a staggering 95 gallons of urine every weekend".

I wonder who they got to do the count and measure the output. If I do the math right, that's a little more than a half a gallon per user.

A bit more than would fit into an airline barf bag, dontcha think?

Eli Returns

The LTR and I are excited as our son returns for a three week visit, starting tomorrow. This pic is from last year's spring visit.

We're going to attempt potty training, so expect some posts about progress or lack thereof. Who knew that so much of being a parent was all about waste management?

And while we're both looking forward to his visit to Daddy and Pappa's house, it's also a bit intimidating to suddenly be responsible of a two-and-a-half year old. We've managed fine on his previous visits, so all should be well. We've missed him very much.

The Case for DC Statehood

Bring up the idea of DC statehood and most people have a visceral reaction. DC Statehood? No way! Perhaps it has something to do the condescension many Americans have towards the inhabitants of the Federal City and the foibles of past elected officials (Marion Barry, anyone?). Although basic inability to elect competent leaders doesn't seem to an impediment for other states (Louisiana, anyone?).

John over at Average Gay Joe at least provides a substantive argument against making DC a state:

D.C. is the Federal City and the U.S. Government is entitled to hold more sway in its seat lest the State wherein it resided could have more influence in national politics than the others (see The Federalist No. 43).

My response is that this argument made sense 219 years ago when Madison wrote it but it no longer applies. In 1788 when Federalist No. 43 was written the states were sovereign and joined in a loose confederation with a weak central government. To win support for the new constitution meant soothing rival jealousies of the states. Creating an independent federal district not beholden to any single state made pragmatic political sense to gain support for the new national government. That no longer applies.

Nor does any danger that a state could gain supremacy over the federal government. Our national government and its dominance over the states is firmly established, by blood shed in the 1860s and by 150 years of precedent. Moreover, in the 18th century, given the lack of rapid communication or travel, geographic proximity could have provided an unfair advantage to those closest to the capitol. Modern communication and transportation remove those benefits.

Washington, DC has existed as a separate entity -- not part of a state -- since 1790. As a distinct geographical and political entity, it should be afford the right to apply for statehood if its inhabitants desire it, just as Puerto Rico should it wish to do so. Why should the people of Puerto Rico be given the opportunity to become a state and the people of DC not?

Another option is to pass a constitutional amendment that would give DC residents voting rights in Congress -- but that would create a special case, an exemption from existing constitutional law. It would give DC residents representation without the requirement for statehood. Why carve out that special right -- giving us the chance to become a state would seem to be the more conservative position.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


"Spring has sprung, the grass has ris,' I wonder where the flowers is?"

My grandpa used to say that every year about this time. With sunshine, and temps in the mid-60s, and me no longer feeling sick, it seems like spring at last.

A nice bike ride along the Potomac is in the cards for the LTR and me this afternoon.

Happy spring, everyone!

Housewife Kills, Fries Husband

Would you like rice and beans with that?

From the Associated Press:

A Brazilian housewife was convicted and sentenced to 19 years in prison Friday for killing her husband, chopping his body into small pieces and frying it. Rosanita Nery dos Santos, 52, drugged her husband in his sleep, then stabbed him to death two years ago in Salvador, about 900 miles northeast of Sao Paulo, said police spokesman Idmar Bonfim.

She then hacked Jose Raimundo Soares dos Santos' body into more than 100 pieces, which she boiled and fried before hiding in plastic bags beneath a staircase in her house, Bonfim said.

Friday, March 23, 2007

The Vacuum Created by HRC

A lot in the gay blogosphere lately critical of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest and most well-funded gay lobby.

Chris Crain has a good round up here. Michael Petrelis has also been on the case.

In general, I think the criticism is justified. But I also think HRC just doesn't want to be the kind of organization that is really needed today -- a powerful organization that marshalls national resources to battle locally. It may be sexy to defeat the Federal Marriage Amendment -- an outcome that was pre-ordained with or without HRC -- but the real work is happening in places like Wyoming and New Hampshire. Yet flip to HRC's homepage and you'll see nothing about those struggles.

There's a vacuum, a need, and it isn't being filled by HRC. Perhaps it's time to stop wasting energy trying to make HRC into something it doesn't want to be and figure out how to create the national gay civil rights organization that is so clearly needed.

Friday Hottie of the Week

Actor Sebastian Rulli

Ryan and the Bodybuilder

"Go ahead and flex..." Indeed.

Hillary's Lost the Hollywood Primary

First David Geffan dissed her. Then Al Gore gets the Oscar. And now the Material Girl, Madonna herself has endorsed Al Gore over Hillary.

All Gore needs now is the support of Oprah.

A Journalistic Cat Fight

A bit of a slug-fest has emerged between former Washington Blade editor Chris Crain and the editor of Metro Weekly, Sean Bugg.

First Crain, then Bugg.

It would be interesting if this bitch fight would evolve into a more constructive discussion of gay media, its quality and direction. The role of gay media seems to have evolved from cheerleading coverage to more critical analysis -- and that's a good thing. But it also seems to be dominated -- like everything else in our culture, by the entertainment industry. Not so good -- as who's really more important...Lance Bass? Or Michael Shackleford?

At any rate, it would be fascinating to see Bugg and Crain debate the direction of gay journalism, balancing local community coverage vs. national, the role of gay newspapers in promoting the community vs. holding it accountable, the trend toward national chains, etc, and get past the personalities. How about it, boys?

Quote of the Day

"Man is certainly crazy. He could not make a mite, and yet he makes gods by the dozen."

-- Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

Taxation without Representation (continued)

DC voting rights suffered a setback yesterday after Republicans threatened to gut DC's gun control laws by attaching an amendment to the bill that would have given us a vote in Congress.

The House was poised to pass a bill that would have given us a vote (and also adding a Congressional District in Republican Utah to balanced the addition of DC's Democratic vote).

The bill seemed likely to pass.

Then Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) proposed adding an amendment that would gut DC's gun control laws.

Now, I tend to be a strong 2nd amendment rights supporter and am generally pro-gun. But what business is it of this guy from Texas, to legislate gun laws in the District of Columbia?

This is precisely why DC needs statehood (or to recede back to Maryland). Any member of Congress can undo legislation duly enacted by DC's elected city government. We are a city with 535 Princes. It's undemocratic and unjust, especially at a time when DC residents are fighting -- and dying -- in Iraq to bring democracy there. We could use a little at home.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

On the Road with MattyDale

Fellow blogger, DCite, friend and colleague MattyDale and I are taking a business trip together tomorrow, to Louisville and back. Travelling with MattyDale is interesting, if only because he mirrors my fear of flying. The last time we travelled together he helped pass the time by playing Sex and the City DVDs.

Of course, it's shameful to watch him flirt with the male flight attendants.

Revisiting the Gay Morality Flap

When Gen. Pace labeled homosexuality as "immoral" he set off a flap that soon ensnared Hillary and Obama who were criticized by the gay community for not defending same sex love fast enough.

Chris Crain is now pondering the double standard where we condemn one public official (Pace) for speaking his personal views in a public arena, while denouncing other public officials (Hill and O) for not doing the same thing:

Perhaps we all fell too easily into the trap set by Pace's remarks, expecting politicians to defend our morality instead of our equal treatment under the law. If we truly believe in the separation of church and state, and that personal moral views have no place in politics, then we shouldn't demand that gay-friendly politicians pronounce us "moral" any more than we accept it when conservatives like Pace call us immoral.

The issue I have over the whole debate is this: it's premised on a silly question. Is homosexuality moral or immoral?

Ask yourself this: Is it moral to be white? How about black?

Just as we should reel from the staggering absurdity of that question, so too should we see the absurdity of the "is gay moral?" postulation.

I don't know about you, but I had just as much a choice in being white as I did in being gay. And just as I should be (to borrow a phrase) judged by the content of my character not by the color of my skin, so too should I be judged in regards to other aspects of my makeup, including my sexuality.

We should reject absurd questions like "is homosexuality moral" for it has no meaning. No matter which side of gay street you walk, their are champs and chumps. It's not about who we're attracted to, it's how we treat them that matters, the promises we keep (or break) and the respect and dignity we afford each other in our relationships that really counts. The plumbing is immaterial.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Reparative Therapy on the Daily Show

In case you missed it. Via John.

Shirtless Tuesday

Happy Spring. Not 100% work safe.

Hell Yes

via Naked Boy Chronicles

Washington, DC

Things I Like about Living in Washington, D.C.

  1. The abundant bike paths
  2. Springtime
  3. Monuments, the National Mall
  4. The history of the city, especially as linked to the Civil War
  5. Being able to walk or bike pretty much anywhere I want to go
  6. The diversity of neighborhoods like Adams Morgan and the U Street corridor
  7. City Lights of China -- best Chinese restaurant in the city
  8. Proximity to the beach and the mountains
  9. Everyone talks about politics -- even the homeless
  10. The visibility of the gay community
And things I don't like so much:

  1. People in my neighborhood who litter
  2. Dangerous metro bus drivers (Metrobus drivers have killed three people so far this year)
  3. Clueless tourists
  4. The transient nature of the city -- too many people come and go
  5. The DC Public school system
  6. Emergence of Starbucks culture in once unique areas like Adams Morgan and the U Street Corridor
  7. The winter
  8. the homeless and panhandling
That's it - and I had to work harder at my don't like list than my like list - a good sign I think. I like it here.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Homosexuality Still A Sin

It was naivete, I suppose, that led me to believe that radical religious intolerance to homosexuality would wane in the face of mounting scientific evidence that it's biological and not chosen.

Au contraire, mon frer. It appears they will embrace their homophobia all the more tightly despite science and even logic. But, perhaps there's hope -- centuries later, the church did apologize to Galileo.

I'm referring to a blog post by the Rev. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. and leader if the Southern Baptist Convention titled, "Is Your Baby Gay?"

Mohler provides a thought experiment -- if gayness is biologically based and you could apply a hormone patch or some such to reverse your baby's latent fabulousness, is it moral to do so.

Yes, he argues:

If a biological basis is found, and if a prenatal test is then developed, and if a successful treatment to reverse the sexual orientation to heterosexual is ever developed, we would support its use as we should unapologetically support the use of any appropriate means to avoid sexual temptation and the inevitable effects of sin.

To his viewpoint, a biological cause to homosexuality is linked to the fall or man and homosexuality is but a temptation -- a temptation even if biologically ordered that must be resisted.:

The biblical condemnation of all homosexual behaviors would not be compromised or mitigated in the least by such a discovery. The discovery of a biological factor would not change the Bible's moral verdict on homosexual behavior.
Let's summarize: Science seems to suggest that a person's sexuality is biologically based, one of many gene and chromosome pairings that comes with height and whether a person will have blue eyes. But while eye color is not a sin, sexual orientation is.

Why the distinction?

To be sure, sexuality is more complex and fundamental than eye color. Though both may derive from the gene pool, one is trivial and one is not. Testimony: Since adolescence, I knew that my personal, physical emotional and spiritual well being was centered on a pairing with another male, just as for most of my counterparts it was centered on the opposite sex.

At the time, I accepted society's judgement that my feelings were "unnatural" and this led to much unhappiness and inner turmoil -- not because of my feelings for men, but because of society's reaction to them.

Now we know that such "feelings" are genetic and a religious leader like Mohler is conceding the case. But it's still a sin.

I don't understand how a just God could allow a person to be created to then be condemned by his or her maker for being who they are naturally. "I create you to condemn you." What kind of God is that?

Homosexuality is not by nature destructive. It is neither moral or immoral. It is a simple fact of nature. It merely is. How people treat each other, what sort of lives they lead are the true measures of character and morality. I have been truly blessed by love and happiness because of my long-term homosexual relationship. It has been a source for good in my life. The negative baggage I've had to deal with has come from without, not from within.

The radical, homophobic right will not see this no matter what the science because they refuse to see gay people as leading rich, productive, good lives. All they see is a sex act they can't understand.

Their myopia's tragically sad.

NASA Image of the Day

The Colors of Saturn

From NASA:

This delightfully detailed false color image of Saturn is a combination of three images taken in January 1998 by the Hubble Space Telescope and shows the ringed planet in reflected infrared light. Different colors indicated varying heights and compositions of cloud layers generally thought to consist of ammonia ice crystals. The eye-catching rings cast a shadow on Saturn's upper hemisphere, while the bright stripe seen within the left portion of the shadow is infrared sunlight streaming through the large gap in the rings known as the Cassini Division.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Man Pees in Air Sickness Bag on Flight

The flight attendant wouldn't let him use the lavatory since the fasten seat belt sign was on.

Hey - I've thought about it, especially after knocking back a few during layover and then taxing and take off last forever and pilot waits until the flight attendants have the aisle blocked with the drink cart before turning off the seat belt sign.

But I've only thought about it.

Making Lewinsky Matter

Monica's back but it's not the vast right wing conspiracy that pulling bad memories of the pizza-bearing thong-wearing presidential-cum stained intern. It's the Hillary Clinton campaign.

That's the focus of a WashPo piece this morning. Speaking about Sen. Clinton's not-so-veiled references to the "bad men" in her life, this analyst says:

"Her strategy now is to cast her image and issues in a way that gets the most support from women," McLaughlin said. "A lot of women, especially married women, can understand how she felt during that time."

And, he added, "In a Democratic primary, a majority of voters will be liberals. If you're the one the conservatives dislike, it'll drive ideological liberals to you."

Okay - vote for Hillary because Bill was a cad. Got that? Could there be anything more cynical than using your husband's tawdry indiscretions to get votes?

Also, I don't get this paragraph by story author Beth Fouhy:

At the same time, she's ventured into the darker shadows of the Clinton White House years, a move that allows her to define it on her own terms for a new generation of voters.

"New generation of voters..." What? It will have been nearly eight years since the Clinton's left the White House when voters go to the polls next year. The cohort of voters who came of age in those seven years will hardly define the outcome of the election.

That's just sloppy reporting.

Friday, March 16, 2007

I Live. I Think. Or Is It the Other Way Around?

I am recovering from a case of pneumonia.


My doctor said, "Scott, you have pneumonia, gurl" last Monday. I was not surprised. I spent Sunday night alternatively burning hot, then freezing cold, feeling like a gian fist was inside my chest contricting my lungs and heart. I thought sure I'd end up in the hospital. Thanks to my Dr. and the pharmaceutical industry, the caring administrations of the LTR and lots of sleep, that did not happen.

Fortuantely, I am well on the road to recovery.

In the spirit of Star Trek: TNG, which I caught on cable several times this week, a level three diagnostic would show:

temperature: operating w/in normal parameters
breathing: 70% online
congestion: minimal
appetitie: 65% online but improving
mental accuity: aside from the drug induced voices I hear inside my head every night after taking the codene-laced cough medicine, 95% online
coughing: 90% abated, except right before bed when the voices make me start coughing so I'll take some more codene-laced cough medicine
libido: offline
voice: Damage reparied from a butch Harvey Fierstein to a slightly nasal tenor

Unfortunately I haven't been much for blogging -- what time I've been able to spend in front of the computer I've used for work. What I've mostly been good at this week is coughing up voluminious amounts of thick rust-brown stained phlegm, which floats like giant splats of santorum in the toilet.

Anyway, I'm back...and as any illness is wont to do, it's caused me to reflect on what I'm doing with this blog and the answer is I'm not sure. I'm still trying to figure that out. In the meantime, I'll try to get caught up with some of the stuff that happened this past week w/out me.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The LTR Did Me In

It's official...I have the LTR's dreaded cold. Horrible sore throat. Head congestion. I sound like a butch Harvey Fierstein (as hard as that is to imagine).

Still, I managed to get in a band meeting this morning and a meeting with the National Park Service at Ford's Theatre (where Lincoln was shot) this afternoon (more about that's very exciting to me) but I am ready to drop. I've cancelled my evening plans to take in a concert.

So now, I'll go draw a hot bath, soak, hopefully get some rest.

Curse the LTR and his evil germs.

Dune. Desert Planet. Desert Dud

God, I hate the movie Dune. The LTR loves it. He's sick with a cold (a gift he has passed on to me) so I indulged him last night as we watched this clunker. Bad acting, bad script, bad photography, cheesier than a jar of Cheese Whiz poured into a can of Nacho Cheese Dip.

Remember scenes like these: the doctor gives Duke Leto Atredies a fake poison tooth to bite when in the presence of the evil Baron, to kill them both. He tells the Duke, as the camera zooms on his lips: "Remember...the tooth [his lips fill the screen]...the tooth...the tooth..."

He might as well have continued on "and the tooth shall set you fwee."

Not even Kyle MacLachlan's faint happy trail or a homo-sexed up Sting could save this one:

Friday, March 09, 2007

Why We Need Anne Coulter

The gay community needs Anne Coulter. Bigotry is both silly and ugly. And Coulter's actions and words -- referring to John Edwards as a "faggot," shines a spotlight on schoolyard homophobia's silliness and ugliness. As this article shows, Coulter's name-calling from the public stage has generated a rebuke that suggests open homophobia is losing its acceptability. We need the Anne Coulters of the world to parade their ugliness so it continues to become less acceptable.

I'm not ignoring the destructiveness of such homophobia. Locker room taunts and playground teasing like Coulter's leaves emotional scars and even forces powerful adults -- like NBA player John Amaeche -- to cower in the confines of the closet. But those taunts are done in relative privacy and what schoolboy -- especially if he suspects he might be different -- wants to run home and tell daddy the other boys are calling him a fag (I sure didnt)?

But when Anne Coulter hurls it in the public square, everyone can see the ugliness of it. Like the picture above, Coulter presents an ugly image no matter how you look at it. People who might have casually and thoughtlessly uttered "that's so gay" and "faggot" may see a reflection of themselves in those moments and recoil. It is -- to a lesser degree -- akin to seeing the hoses turned onto civil rights marchers in the 60s. It says, so this is where prejudice and hatred leads. And seeing the destination, hopefully a few will turn back.

And although I agree that Coulter should be repudiated, I don't think she should be forcibly silenced. First, I think a society that "values" free speech should not seek shut speech off that it finds undesirable. I advocate for gay rights and marriage equality, something that most people in the U.S. find undesirable and disgusting. Disagree with me, denounce me or ignore me, but don't deny me the right to say what I think.

Secondly, I agree with Dan Savage:

"When we start acting like the thought police, it plays into the right-wing paranoia that we are going to force them all to say only nice things about us in public," Savage said. "I think we would gain ground faster in the gay and lesbian civil rights movement if we drop the Sally Field act of, 'You like me! You really like me!' "

Gay Unions Advancing in NH

According to this article:

Efforts to extend the legal rights of marriage to same-sex couples are gaining momentum in the State House, Democratic and Republican lawmakers say.

Today, lawmakers are scheduled to hold a public hearing on a bill that would create same-sex "spousal unions," which would afford same-sex couples the same legal benefits as marriage. The proposal is the first of several bills this year designed to create some form of union or gay marriage. Although lawmakers don't know the extent of support for the measures, several said that an effort to extend rights to same-sex couples might win considerable backing.

Good for NH. While I think that nothing less than full marriage equality -- not just the "separate is equal" status of civil unions -- is required in a just society, I've come to accept the fact that in an Anne Coulter world CUs may be the best we can hope for and may possibly become a stepping stone to the fully marriage monty.

Meanwhile, in DC, the fight for full marriage rights is so controversial within the gay community that a guest editorialist in the WashBlade feels compelled to make the case not for gay marriage, per se, but the need to talk about it civilly.

I make the case for moving forward for marriage equality in the district here.

Friday Hottie of the Week -- Justin Cubed

First two shots of actor Justin Hartley (the only actor to ever play the Green Arrow on screen):

Plus another Justin (below) just for good measure.

Objectionable Content

I tried to access this blog yesterday from one of those pay internet access terminals at Chicago O'Hare airport, and I got this message:

"The Web site you are trying to access is blocked from this terminal because of objectionable content."

Wow. Pure, lil ol inoffensive me being censored? I wonder what for? Is it the shirtless pics? The "gay" word? Or offensive language like "George W. Bush?" My ugly mugshot?

Presidential Quotes

Dana Milbank has a column today on Hillary's over use of pious platitudes on the campaign trail. Example:

"If you serve your country, your country should serve you."

A few years ago, right after 9/11, she stood at the WTC site and said, "This is not Ground Zero, it's Ground Hero." Ugh.

Which got me thinking what are the quotes from Presidents in my lifetime that pop out and define their stay in office? Here's what I can recall, top of mind:

"I will resign the presidency, at noon tomorrow." --Nixon

"Our long national nightmare is over" and "whip inflation now" -- Ford

"_" For some reason I can't think of single thing uttered by Mr. Carter. The term "misery index" comes from his era but I can't remember if he coined it or his opponents did. Any ideas?

"Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" -- Reagan

"Read my lips, no new taxes" -- George H.W. Bush. Of course, he said this during the campaign during his nomination speech (and this is the only presidential quote in this series I actually was on hand to see uttered in person). It defines his term because he did go on to, um, raise taxes.

"I did not have sex with that woman..." -- Clinton

"Heckuva job, Brownie." -- W.

Thanks, MattyDale

Thank you good friend MattyDale for guest-blogging in this space whilst I was in Austin. You can stay caught up with the midaventures of our boy in the city at

Death by Asteroid

Scientists say that one's chances of dying by being hit by an asteroid are the same as dying in an airplane crash if you fly only once a year.

For some reason that statistic is not very reassuring. Not that I walk around fearing being hit by a bit of spacial detritus.

Reminds me of a story: My grandfather was an avid golfer and he spent many afternoons in his backyard with his irons hitting balls across the field. One afternoon my grandmother noticed that her prized birdhouse had mysteriously been demolished. "What happened?" she asked grandpa.

With golf club in hand, my grandad said, "a piece of the Skylab fell on it."

Only those of you roughly my astronomical age will get that reference.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Postcards from Austin

The state capitol, Lone Star flag flying in the breeze:

Texas' take on the Civil War War of Northern Aggression on the grounds of the state capitol:

Random scenes along the Colorado River:

The Colorado River, in Austin:

Sunset over the Colorad0 River:

Coffee with AMD

I just had a nice chat over coffee at Starbucks with a mutual friend - I will call her "AMD." She recently moved to DC and is loving her new urban lifestyle. In fact, "T" and I are taking her and her man to a wine tasting this weekend. Hold on to your livers! It's gonna be a bumpy night!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

From Scott, From Austin

My conference is over and I spent the late afternoon (in 70 degree temps) walking along the Colorado River enjoying the shirtless joggers scenery. Now it's off to dinner and then a (brief) night on the town (I'm tired!).

Thanks to MattyDale for keeping content going in my absence. One comment -- but why are homeless men buying coffee at Starbucks?

I stopped for a drink in the piano bar at the hotel. Billy Joel captured the pathos of the piano man perfectly...and I had one of those moments you can only experience miles from home, alone, surrounded by strangers. Then he played "Rainbow Connection" from the Muppet Movie. I know it's corny, but I love that song's wistful optimism. It's kind of how I'm starting to feel these days.

Tomorrow is a travel day, back blogging like normal on Friday. Enjoy your visit with MD.

Good Manner Tip for the Day

Eat with your mouth closed, don't smack your lips and DEFINITELY don't be a heavy breather while you eat. Your co-worker in the cubical next door may be plotting his/her revenge upon you OR suffering major hearing loss from cranking the I-Pod to avoid hearing the nasty sounds coming from your mouth while you enjoy lunch a little too much.

Snow Alert In DC

According to the WPO, we can expect a whopping 1 to 3 inches of snow from flurries! Knowing how things work around here, the city will be completely paralyzed. Schools have already been closed. The roads are supposedly a mess.

Not to sound like my grandparents, but when I was in college at PSU, we had a blizzard that dumped over 36 inches of snow on State College back in March of 1993. Now THAT was a storm! We were trapped inside playing UNO for three days, turning it into a college drinking game. Ahhh, those were the days.

Clothes Pins

I am a people watcher, and I have been known to eve-drop on conversations in public places. I will lay blame on a former significant other who was an expert at eves-dropping.

So, this morning while waiting in line, at the local Starbucks, I could not help overhearing a conversation between two male patrons. One was perhaps in his early to mid 50's. The other appeared to be much older.

As I stand in line, the younger says to the older, "So where did you sleep last night?" The older gentleman replied with a location that prompted the other to say, "It's awfully cold outside. You need a warmer coat."

The older of the two told his coffee and scone companion that his zipper is broken. The other man recommended clothes pins to clip the coat shut. At this point the line had moved past and I was no longer in eves-dropping range.

In our everyday lives, we stress over things that, in the grand scheme of things don't really matter. The stress that these men suffer is the difference between an empty or full belly. It is the difference between freezing to death (literally) while you sleep vs. staying in a shelter where everything you have may be stolen by the man in the next cot.

It certainly makes my worries seem rather insignificant.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Libby Found Guilty

Get it while it's hot folks. This just in...

Update on Wyoming

From the Washington Blade, this update on legislator Dan Zwonitzer (R - WY) who stood up against a proposed bill that 'would have allowed Wyoming to deny recognition of gay marriages granted by other states or countries.'

Worth noting here - Representative Zwonitzer, who is a republican, stood up against the measure knowing it may cost him his seat - something that Dems have yet to do while the continue to take our money and run (to quote a line from Scott).

Zwonitzer has reported receiving numerous emails from all over the country and other countries as well, thanking him for his support of gay rights. If you would like to send Representative Zwonitzer a thank you message of your own, please feel free - you can email him at:

Off to a Great Start

Today began better than most days...

1. I actually woke up on time.
2. I was greeted warmly by the A.A.D. who slept over in the guest room since she has business in town early this evening.
3. I shared friendly morning exchanges with two neighbors.


A driver in his F-150 almost mowed me down, not paying attention to his light which was VERY red. As I made my way to the opposite side walk, shocked by his total disregard for my life or the traffic signal, he waved cheerily and said "good morning." I responded with, "It would be better if you'd pay attention and not nearly run me over!" It could have been worse... he could have had better aim.

Score so far today:
F-150 - 0
ME - 1

Thank goodness it wasn't a Metro Bus!

Monday, March 05, 2007

I'm Off

Gotta go for biz travel until Friday. Until then, MattyDale will be posting here. I've always said he makes the rainbow shine a little brighter wherever he is, and he will here as well. Enjoy. Talk to you Friday.


Guest Staring Matty Dale at Amanda Woodward

Scott asked me to be his guest blogger while he is getting some work done, I mean traveling for business. I think this is how Heather Locklear must have felt when she was on Melrose Place.

I think we need to bump up the rainbow quotient in here, just a little.

Stay tuned...

Inside the Conservative Political Action Committee Conference

Max Blumenthal gives a brief and disturbing look at the CPAC Conf. See Michelle Malkin lose it. Tancredo supporters become unhinged. Confederate-flag-wearing conservatives. And Blumenthal taking on Anne Coulter. (via: Pam).

Southern Fried Hillary

Hil discovers her inner southern drawl speaking before an African-American church in Ken-tuck.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

I Wish I could Go Back to College

Life is strange. In college, I had a wonderful friendship with a guy named Chuck. He had devout -- but unorthodox -- Christian views and I was agnostic. We would spend hours debating religion. I came out to him -- the first person I told. He accepted it, and although he said he was straight as an arrow, slept in my bed with our bodies entwined. We never did more than that, though I wanted to, I was in love with him. He was older than I and his leaving school was devastating to me.

A few years ago, we got back in touch. Turns out he's gay after all and living in LA (super ironic, as he is so NOT LA) with his boyfriend and writing screenplays. I told him I had a crush on him and he was surprised. God, how could he be surprised?! He told me that when he thought of me he thought of the song from Avenue Q: I Wish I Could Go Back to College.

Since then, we've lost touch again. But I haven't forgotten my friend.

Random Male Call

Red Shorts.

Civil War Treking

Since my mother and the LTR and I are all Civil War buffs we toured some sites yesterday. Notable for the LTR was the house where Confederate General Stonewall Jackson died. The LTR's ancestors fought under Jackson and were serving with him when he died. One of his ancestors referred to Jackson's death in letters home that are still extant.

This is the room where Gen. Jackson died. The bed and the blanket at the foot are original, they were present when Jackson gave up the ghost.

Spookier still is this clock on the mantle:

This clock was there when Jackson was...and it still works. It's tick-tock broke the silence of the room. So my mom, the LTR and I stood in silence in that room and heard the last sounds heard by Gen. Jackson as he died.

And, since the anniversary of Lincoln's assassination is approaching, the white house below was, in 1865 a boarding house owned by Mary Surrat. There, the conspirators in Lincoln's assassination were meeting in March 142 years ago. It look much now as it did then (except for the blue awning and the "Wok and Roll Restaurant" name, of course). I have personal news about me and a connection to some Lincoln sites in town that I'm saving...but I'm quite excited.

Monks Behaving (and Dancing) Badly

The video the Catholic Church does not want you to see.

Yes, they are real monks, from Poland. Via Reality Cubed.

Socket: Gay SF Thriller

Via A Boy and His Briefs, what looks like could be a cool gay SF flick. Trailer below.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Anna Nicole Smith

is buried.

Our long national nightmare is over.

Gawd I hope!

Ann Coulter and "Faggot"

You've probably heard that at the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) Conference Ann Coulter called John Edwards a faggot.

Video here.

Pam at Pam's House Blend has an excellent commentary on the reaction to the comment from the left. Reacting to a blast fundraising email sent out by the Edwards campaign in response to Coulter's comments, Pam asks what the Edwards response does to condemn blatant homophobia, and answers:

Nothing. It doesn't even mention "gay," "lesbian," or "homophobia." It doesn't point out that Coulter's use of "faggot" as a slur on Edwards is also what spills from the lips of the kind of people who beat up a gay man for wearing pink pants, or murder a 72-year-old gay man by slamming him with a metal pipe.

She goes on to address the larger Democratic outlook:

If you're a homo, the message from Dems is that we're still invisible (see Dean's statement), the crazy granny in the attic, and only the granny's nearly feeble caretaker is allowed to say anything -- and even HRC never mentions gays or lesbians at all in its release (outside of its irrelevant boilerplate at the end). Even our advocacy organization couldn't find a paragraph to place Coulter's comments into context of the larger issue of homophobia. [Emphasis is Pam's]

And here's my perspective -- while in college, I was one of several faggots who attended the CPAC conference. Hey -- it's not impossible to be a "faggot" and conservative -- especially if you define conservative in the classical sense of limited government, which means government not concerned with the gender of the person I love.

President Reagan spoke at the main banquet that year. Reagan's conservatives were a more genteel brand than today's crass neanderthals. To be sure, Falwell and Robertson were around and powerful in those days and the party gave them their due. But there was a spark of libertarianism that counterbalanced to some extent those extreme voices. Social issues were never on the front burner then and the fundraising whipping boy was communism, not gays. I cannot imagine anyone uttering the word "faggot" from the podium at the CPAC conference I attended back in 1984.

Today, the spark of freedom in the conservative movement has been squashed. It's one reason I left the Republican Party (or to borrow from Reagan, the Republican Party left me).

The Log Cabiners should be denouncing Coulter's comments. Where are they?

Friday, March 02, 2007

Random Male Call

It's a close shave

Another Promise Broken to the Gay Community

With these words, Traci Hughes, spokesperson for DC's attorney general, breaks a man's promise:

"Mayor Fenty does not intend to release the opinion at this time."
That, accroding to WashBlade.

"The opinion" is a memo written by former DC Attorney General Robert Spagnoletti which alledgedly opines that DC can legally recognize the same sex marriage of couples married legally in Massachusetts.

When the memo was written, DC gay activists asked then mayor Tony Williams to keep its contents secret.

Candidate Adrian Fenty promised gays he would release the memo if elected. Not quite two months in office, he breaks that promise.

The state attorney general of Rhode Island just released a memo saying his state will recognize Massacusetts same sex marriages. Dick Cheney's Wyoming will recognize MA SSMs or Canadian SSMs, thanks to the courage of a few straight Republican lawmakers.

I restate Chris Crain's and make my own arguments for moving forward with civil SSM rights in DC here.

But this move by the mayor leaves me repeating my mantra: Democrats will take our money, take our votes, but they won't take a risk on our behalf.

I had hoped for something different from Adrian Fenty. But I see he's just another pandering Democrat.

Friday Hottie of the Week

A random boy and his horse.

I chose this one because it's a masculine guy (on a horse) and he looks like a real person. Hot. There's more of this here, but they all tend to look more overdone. Still hot, though, expecially for the levi-cowboy set.

Farewell, Blog

No, not mine. You can't get rid of me that easily.

Christopher Scott Sarno ends his blog, called "Blog," today.

I will miss his blog. It was a right clever blend of thoughtful social commentary and witty snarkiness with a small window on his personal life.

It's weird...I've never met the man and the only interaction has been reading each other's blogs and occasionally exchanging comments. But it still feels like a close friend has just moved away.

I will keep his blog in my blog roll unless he deletes his blog.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Christopher. Good luck on the new job and the new book.

Farewell, Blog. The blogosphere just got a little less interesting.

Eli Naken!

Following the trend set by his father, who likes nude beaches, and actor Daniel Radcliffe, my two-and-a-half year old has discovered the joy of being naked. As related by his mother, whom he lives with in Hawaii:

It started the other night when he had finished his bath and we were
looking for Bear. I remembered that Bear was in the car, so I grabbed Eli who
had not yet put on his diaper and jammies and we went out to the car to get
Bear. He was pretty excited to be outside naked (he pronounces it

This morning, we were hanging around the house before school and he
took off all his clothes and diaper. "Eli naken!" He grabbed his suitcase and
said he wanted to go bye-bye. I asked him where he was going, and he
responded,"Eli go Daddy Pappa house naken!" Too cute. I just had to grab the camera.

I debated whether or not to post this picture. Then I remembered my parents have 16 mm film of me at his age cavorting naked in a bathtub including a full frontal shot which has been seen by family, neighbors and friends. So I'm just passing on the humiliation to the next generation. Besides. It's just damn cute.

BTW, I'm "Daddy" and the LTR is "Pappa."

Destination Moon

Charles Krauthammer has a beautiful column (don't choke on your Wheaties at that rather unexpected phrase) today in support of the Bush Administration's plan to return to the moon and establish a base there.

I wholeheartedly agree. Our 30 year hiatus in travel to the moon has been tragic time lost for humankind.

Krauthammer takes on those who say "we shouldn't be spending so much money on 'moon shots' when we have so many problems here on Earth." Quote of note:

I find this objection incomprehensible. When will we stop having problems here on Earth? In a fallen world of endless troubles, that does not stop us from allocating resources to endeavors we find beautiful, exciting and elevating -- opera, alpine skiing, feature films -- yet solve no social problems.

And the practical reasons for going to the moon?

Nor is it true that there is nothing of use or even of interest on the moon. There are all kinds of materials to be exploited, observations of the cosmos to be made and knowledge to be gained on how best to live off the land away from Earth.

A century ago there seemed to be nothing in Antarctica, either. We went there first for adventure, then for discovery. The concrete scientific advances Antarctica has yielded (regarding climate change and the ozone layer, for example) have been as important as they were unexpected.

Exploration is humanity's birthright. It defines us as a species. We alone of life on this planet discover new habitats and adapt. Yes we have made tragic mistakes, been destructive, exploitative -- but hopefully (and current Administration foreign policy fiascos aside) we have learned. A baby learning to walk suffers many spills and accidents. We are just now poised to stand and take our first steps into the cosmos. We can be no more sure of what we will find then was Columbus setting sail but just as certain to find wonders we could not imagine.

As Krauthammer poetically sums up:

And then there's the glory. If you find any value, any lift of the spirit in a beautiful mathematical proof, in an elegant balletic turn, in any of the myriad human endeavors that have no utility but only breathtaking beauty, then you should feel something when our little species succeeds in establishing new life in a void that for all eternity had been the province of the gods. If you don't feel that, you are -- don't take this personally -- deaf to the music of our time.


For more info about the moon base, check this site out.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Ask Not for Whom the Bell Trolls

Zachary was kind enough to comment in my post, where I lamented the fact that people are mistaking me for my mother's husband or brother, that I did not fall at the troll end of the jail bait - yummy - troll scale. He said:

You're definitely not in the troll area of the age continuum. No where near. And I have sway in such matters, I'm just past the jail bait marker! :)

Well, I'm 42.

Does age a troll make?

According to some it does. The WashBlade "Bitch Session" column, where readers can phone in anonymous snarky remarks to be published are full of comments deriding men over 35-40 hanging out in gay bars. The LTR (who is a year older than me) and I don't go out often. I do occasionally like to stop at JR's for a couple of beers. I must admit there is one bartender there who I find attractive and I go to his end of the bar. He's in his 20s. Does this make me a troll?

It also occurred to me the other day that the pics of hot men I spend all my free time scouring the Internet to find I happen to come across and post on this blog are also half my age. Does this make me a troll?

The answer is, probably yes. 42 I am in better physical shape than I was at 22. My pants are a size smaller than they were when I was in college. I could still lose a little around the middle, but I'm not doing bad. True, my eyesight is degrading and my joints complain a bit more than they used to, but overall I am in great shape and health. Does that deduct any "troll" points?

I think it's sad that so many younger guys are so dismissive of older gay men. I don't mean dismissive sexually, I mean dismissive as they automatically exclude gay men over (pick your age) from their world. One of my closest friends is a near-60ish straight woman. She has enriched my life, lucky for me because I didn't automatically exclude older straight women from my universe.

When I was in my 20s, many men in their 30s or 40s weren't going out and weren't that visible. They were sick or dying. So I think a growing aging gay male population is a new thing the modern gay community has to learn to deal with.

I also think that (and it's true for me) that we "trolls" want to think of ourselves as appealing as long as we can. And some perhaps want to prove that they are appealing by seeking out the physical attention of men younger than themselves (not true for me).

But it recently occurred to me that I can eat right, go to the gym every day, moisturize, floss, etc, but my body is still going to get old and whatever attractiveness I may posses will slowly fade over time and there is nothing I can do about it. Nothing.

But if I can't control that, I can control whether or not I'm attractive on the inside. And it also occurred to me lately that I spend way more time biking or working out than I do trying to improve my inner world. I have to change that. Although I will keep trying to improve the outer me, I've got to attend more to the inner me, for that's the one thing that won't decay until either Alzheimer's or death takes me.

So, if troll I am, I'm at least going to endeavor to be a sweet one.

A Gay Amercian Hero

The story of Staff Sgt. Eric Alva, a gay marine, seen here with the homophobe-in-chief, is below. You can learn more about him in this Web site provided by HRC.

(via Pam).

Decorated Fromer Marine Speaks Out Against Don't Ask Don't Tell

Staff Sgt. Eric Alva -- the first Marine wounded in the Iraq war and who was visited by Pres. Bush, Rumsfeld, etc., was clearly a war hero. What they didn't know at the time was that he was gay.

Now he is speaking out in support of Rep. Marty Meehan's (D-MA) efforts to repeal the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy.

Supporters of DADT argue that allowing out gay and lesbian Americans to serve openly would disrupt unit cohesion. Staff Sgt. Alva puts the lie to that -- unlike recent pro-sport athletes who only come out after leaving their jobs -- Alva came out to "tons" of people. Quote of note, from what Alva told ABC News:

"I told tons of people," he said, with a laugh. "A lot of my friends, my buddies, my closest Marines, people I had served in combat with. Straight guys, married, with children and everything, three of them which I have become their sons' godfather now. Everybody was just respectful and was just like ordinary. 'That's it? That's your big news?'

So much for the unit cohesion theory. And -- backers of DADT never explain how forcing gay men and women to hide, lie and worry and constantly look over their shoulders to protect their forced secret gay life promotes unit cohesion. It takes an amazing amount of energy to stay hidden in the closet. Ask anyone who has done it. And look at some recent examples of men who have stayed in the closet for a prolonged period of time and the havoc it causes. Ted Haggard, Jim McGreevey...

The other argument for ending DADT is the military can hardly afford to lose these men and women, who are disproportionately serving in specialty positions in the military. For example:

Of 742 such dismissals in fiscal year 2005, the highest number than in any category — 49 — were medical personnel. An additional 40 were law enforcement officers, along with 14 intelligence officers, 35 infantrymen, and seven nuclear, biological and chemical warfare specialists.

This generally squares with the Government Accountability Office's 2004 study, which found that of the 9,488 service members who at that point had been discharged from the military for gay and lesbian conduct since 1993, approximately 757 — or 8 percent — "held critical occupations," meaning the kinds of jobs for which the Pentagon offers selective reenlistment bonuses.

That number included 322 with "skills in an important language such as Arabic, Farsi or Korean."

How much intelligence has been lost because we didn't have the translators necessary to make use of it? How many soldiers ended up needlessly in harms way because the military yanked a Farsi translator out of service because he or she loves someone of the same gender?

My final comment: If we're going to risk blood and treasure to promote freedom and democracy in distant lands, we better end un-democratic practices on our shores and extend fairness to the men and women who sacrifice to bring freedom to foreign lands and protect all of us here at home.

The final word goes to Staff Sgt. Alva. (via John)

I'm Her Son!!

My mom is here.

Yesterday, we were in Starbucks. I slipped into the bathroom while she waited for me. When I emerged, I heard one clerk ask her for her order...and the other one said, "she's waiting for her husband (meaning me.)"

Quick -- what's the number for my therapist again?

Last summer, when visiting my parents in Illinois, before she could introduce me as her son to a neighbor, the neighbor said, "oh, is this your brother?"

This is not helping my mid-life crisis. Mom's in her sixties. I'm in my early forties. True, in gay years, that makes me past my expiration date and on the age continuum of jail bait -- yummy -- troll -- I'm at the troll end. But I don't think I look like a contemporary of my mother who was born during World War II.

Maybe it's not an insult to me but rather a compliment to my youthful looking mom? Yeah...that's it.