Thursday, May 31, 2007

Kirk Cameron Revisited

Remember the Growing Pains star, Kirk Cameron? You may have seen this item about his conversion to Christianity. On one level, regardless of your feeling of religion, it's refreshing to see a successful young TV star find something deeper (ostensibly) than fame and fortune.

But then you see this clip (that's Cameron on the right) and it all just seems pretty kooky. And shallow.

Am I the only one who didn't think of another similarly shaped object "perfect" for the human mouth...

A Mouthful of Heath

A deleted scene from the movie Knocked Up, where a straight guy discourses on his disappointment with Brokeback mountain. WARNING: Profanity, sexual content (but image work safe).

It's Important to Stretch

The LTR hasn't mentioned it in his fitness column yet so I thought I'd remind everyone to stretch before and after working out. It seems to work for this guy.

Sad Marriages

Commenting on straight opposition to a legalization of gay marriage in Norway, Bjorn nails it:

The most interesting part of the debate on this proposal is straight people saying that such a law will decrease the value and significance of their own marriages. It must be sad to have a marriage that is so vulnerable - that the value of the marriage is prone to decrease just by a small change in the law. I pity those straights that are in this situation.


My comment: When you think about how fearful many straights are of anything gay, it's striking what a fragile thing heterosexuality must be.

The existence of heterosexuality doesn't threaten my sexuality nor does straight marriage weaken my 20 year relationship. Straight people really need to get a grip.

Birthday Wrap-up

One last birthday post to bore you with then I'll go back to boring you with the usual stuff.

It was a very nice day with lots of wishes from friends and ended in an evening with the "Three Geminis" -- me and two friends whose bdays are adjacent to mine.

This is us, Chad, MattyDale, and me and my extra chin (hey, but I'll have you know I'm wearing a smaller waist size than I did when I was 24, mister!)

I was a little apprehensive that, in true Witches of Eastwick style, when the three of us got together and made a birthday toast that there would be a flash of lightening and a demonic Charles Nelson Reilly would appear and make us do evil things to the DC Gay Community. Fortunately all that happened was the clink of wine glasses and the happy talk that accompanies much wine drinking on a happy occasion.

The day also included a massage from my favorite therapist Nasko (see, my son and I have much in common -- he likes Nascar and I like Nasco) and a fun lunch with another good friend.

But the highlight of the day was a call from my two year old son, who sang, "Happy Birthday to Daddy" to me over the phone. And the LTR kept up a steady stream of sweet nothing text messages all day.

Thanks to everyone who helped make my forty-&*$%-third birthday a special one.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Wednesday Workout -- Throw Yourself A Curveball

Weekly excersize tips from the LTR:

Rule Number 1: When it comes to strength, the only question you’ll ever be asked is how big is your bench.

Rule Number 2: Like the size or scope of other things, most people also lie about the size of their bench.

But for those guys (and gals) who are interested in building a real bench that they can really brag about, you need to think about how to break through the inevitable plateau you hit as you build yourself towards that impressive one and a half times, or double body weight (or even bigger) bench.

The easy answer is to throw your body a curve ball. Conventional wisdom says that you do your biggest exercises (i.e. bench, squat, deadlift) at the beginning of the workout, and then your lighter exercises later. But to push your bench past its current peak, try pre-exhausting yourself with dumbbells.

That’s right. To break through that plateau, your first exercise on bench day should doing five sets of five with the heaviest set of dumbbell bench presses you can manage. That will pre-exhaust those stabilizer muscles in your shoulders, and your chest to some degree. After the last set of five, the next exercise should be the regular, flat barbell bench, for 3 sets of 3 using the most you can lift.

This will force growth in your shoulders, which will push your bench up, up, up. And for those of you who are really looking to grow, I think you might want to refer to a previous post on devoting a whole day to shoulders.

Try this pre-exhaustion route for a month, and then go back to flat benching first.

Pharma for Living

So this is what it means to get older -- more pills!

Pills to keep my joints lubed.

To relax my muscles.

To keep my happy and calm.

To keep me from sneezing.

To help me sleep.

Every year it seems we just add another bottle just to keep me going.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

May 30

On this date, in 1964, yours truly was born.

That makes me 43, way past expiration in gay years. But dammit, I feel and look good. Why, just tonight, I ran into someone I haven't seen for a while and he said (God's honest truth he said exactly this), "Your face looks really good now!"

Anyway, these things also happened in '64:

  • Plans to build the twin World Trade Center Towers in NYC were announced
  • Barry Goldwater announces he will seek GOP nomination
  • The first Beatles album is released in the U.S.; they make their first U.S. tour and appear on the Ed Sullivan show
  • Malcolm X forms a black nationalist party
  • The Warren Commission reports that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone; Jack Ruby is convicted of killing Oswald.
  • The Jeopardy game show debuts on TV
  • The first computer program written in BASIC debuts
  • Nelson Mandela is imprisoned in South Africa
  • Three civil rights workers are killed in Mississippi
  • Martin Luther King Jr. wins the Nobel Peace Prize
  • Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Christmas special premieres on TV
Frankly, on my birthdays, I tend to feel a little down. I'm trying hard not to feel that way this year.

The Remains...

Of our third floor in our backyard. This is pretty much what our backyard looked like seven years ago when we moved into this 100 year old rowhouse. We've come full circle...

I wonder if i could get this in Andrew's "view from your window" series?

Jaws V: Fire Island

Mystery at Fletcher's Cove

While cycling yesterday on the C&O Canal towpath, we came across a mystery at the parking lot for Fletcher's Cove Boathouse.

A parked car, rainbow sticker and lambda sign. The driver's seat was apparently empty. Reclined in the passenger seat was a good-looking 20-something young man leaning back with his hands behind his head. The tinted windows were all rolled up and the engine was off. It was muggy and 90 degrees.

What was going on here? Was the young man:

a) enjoying a sauna in a car?
b) waiting for the driver who stepped briefly out to go to the restroom nearby?
c) getting a blow job from the driver who was below the sightline?

The LTR and I debated this a bit. At first we thought "C" (I mean, who hasn't?) but it was pretty public and if you were going to do that I would think you'd park at the end of the parking lot, not near the main entrance to the parking lot. Besides, the young man, although in the right position, didn't have the glassy, droopy-eyed "wow, I'm getting blown" look on his face.

We finally agreed the answer was "b" and maybe the car was one of those hybrid thingys and the air was running off a battery.

But who knows. Only the young man.

Snapshot of Memorial Day

We cycled on the C&O Canal towpath. Here's where we ate lunch, on a cliff overlooking Mather's Gorge. That's the Potomac River. This is just 14 miles (approx) from my house in the heart of DC. This is one reason why I love it here.

Congressman Chases, Catches Mugger

If only Congress would be as hawkish on protecting my wallet.

Absurd Homophobia

Has survived Jerry Falwell's demise.

Poor Tinky Winky just can't be left alone.

We ought to beam episodes of "Lidsville" (see below) into Poland.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Charles Nelson Reilly

Everyone's remembering the work of Charles Nelson Reilly on Match Game. And rightly so. I was a fan, and I used to watch that show every afternoon right after school. But he had an earlier (gay camp) impression on the lives of kids of my generation: The Evil Magician Hoodoo, on the psychedelic show "Lidsville."

God...he makes Tinky Winky look butch. I can't imagine the left not howling in protest if such a stereotypical character were to emerge today, or the right to have such an obviously gay persona on children's Saturday morning TV. But for three years he minced around Lidsville in full color and I was entranced. He had great fun and it was great fun watching him.

Click here to see the opening title of that show. Reilly appears at the end.

Bonus Points: Mark is played by the same actor who played Eddie Munster in the Munsters. And I think as I look back on it he was my first celebrity crush on Lidsville. Although I was only seven at the time...

Memorial Day

Faces of the Fallen

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Revisiting Edwards

I took Edwards to task for reportedly saying he is uncomfortable around "those people" (we homos) but a reader reminded me to consider the source:

on the other hand, Bob Shrum is hardly unbiased OR known for being a good source of (how to say this without getting sued?) uhmmm, "verifiable" information.

and he and Edwards did have a bit of an ugly falling out.


Good points. And, just as in my own family in having to ignore what my family says and instead focus on what they do, it's important to note that Edwards, in responding to an HRC questionnaire, had the most pro-gay marriage stance of the top Dem tier (via Pam):

Edwards was the only candidate among the three to address marriage equality in his document.

"Gay marriage is an issue I feel internal conflict about and I continue to struggle with it," he said in his questionnaire. "However, I believe the right president could lead the country toward consensus around equal rights and benefits for all couples in committed, long-term relationships."

Edwards also noted he supports "the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act provision that prevents the federal government from recognizing same-sex relationships.

In their documents, neither Clinton nor Obama addressed the federal Defense of Marriage Act.


You know, even we gays go through a time when we're uncomfortable about our sexuality (Hmmm, do you think....no, probably don't want to go there...) so we shouldn't be too harsh that allies struggle a bit with it.

I frankly don't like Edwards for a number of reasons but have to say he seems more pro-gay marriage than Hillary or Obama, and that's more than the gay establishment will admit.



Why We Get Weak Leadership on Gay Issues from Dems

At the first LGBT fundraiser for Hillary, prominent gay activisty and recording mogul Hilary Rosen says:

"There's obviously some disappointment about marriage," Rosen said, referring to gay marriage, which Clinton does not support. "But they're all consistent on that issue, so that's kind of taken off the table here."

And with that, Hilary gives Hillary a gigantic pass one of the key civil rights issues of our time. Rosen might have asked Hillary where she stands on repealing DOMA, a necessary action to ensure that gay Americans in committed relationships get "equal benefits" which is what candidate Clinton says she believes. That can't happen with DOMA on the books.

Also, what about throwing your support behind the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), which would allow citizens and legal residents in same-sex relationships to sponsor their partners for immigration purposes?

These are two key legislative initiatives that Hillary, as Senator, could undertake now.

She won't. She doesn't have to. She can get tons of LGBT dollars for the asking, thanks to enablers like Rosen.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

It's Also about the Beach

Since I linked to an older 007 below, thought I'd add the photo of the most recent one, since it is return to the beach weekend and who wouldn't want to see this plopping down on the beach blanket next to you?

England Forever....

and Scotland a wee bit longer!

I don't profess to understand British politics, but as someone whose blood runs hot at the sound of bagpipes and who has ancestors from Ayr, Scotland, I am excited by the possibility of Scottish independence.

Think Forward on Iraq, Not Back

A headline in today's Post shouts:

Analysts' Warnings of Iraq Chaos Detailed

Senate Panel Releases Assessments From 2003

Okay, except for the 20% who still like Bush, we get it. The Bushies fucked up the whole Iraq war. But let's spend at least as much time figuring out what to do now as we are digging up all of Bush's fuckups.

I agree with much of Robbie's Drunken Rant about Iraq, especially this point:

So, after several rum and cokes, I'll tell you what's going on in Iraq. Al Qaeda is doing most of the slaughtering. They may not have been there at the beginning of the conflict, but they're there now. They've made it their business to make sure that country devolved into civil war. If your attitude is "The U.S. must leave now, because civil war will happen no matter what," you're conceding a victory to America's greatest enemy and surrending a genocide. You will no longer have the moral authority to lecture anyone on Darfur. However, if you're a Republican and you think any battle plan that orginates from this administration will work, you're conceding that your partisan interest is greater than your desire to win a war. (emphasis added)

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Cheneys

I know I'm supposed to revile the Cheney's for not pushing for gay rights because Mary is gay. The whole issue resurfaced of course when Mary delivered her baby.

Some in the gay blogopshere are upset that the photo doesn't include the two moms. Yet the howls of outrage from the wingnuts show what a potent image this is, a picture of two beaming grandparents with their newborn grandson. It's a photo of acceptance and love. Sure, it would be great if Heather and Mary were in the photo too. But don't let the perfect defeat the good. I'm a gay dad, and I know how powerful acceptance of a "gay-produced" grandchild can be.

And I also think I have an inkling what it's like in the Cheney family, because it's similar to my own (except for the vice president and millionaire thing).

My parents were raised in the 1940s and 50s. Born and reared in rural America. When I came out to them, in 1993, I was coming out to 1950s values. Those values taught my parents to abhor queers as freaks. Those values also taught my parents to do everything for their children and to love them. My coming out set those two values at war.

I suspect much the same is true in the Cheney household. I suspect that the elder Cheney's reacted as my parents did...accepting me and my partner with open arms while not thinking too deeply about how that conflicted with their beliefs.

I recently asked my Mom, who told me when I informed her I was going to be a Dad that she still regarded homosexuality as a sin, if she regarded the love that my partner and I share "a sin." She said no. I think she was sincere. I didn't press her on how that conflicted with her blanket view of gayness. Perhaps I should have. But -- we're from the Midwest, and we don't "press" issues.

My parents, despite their values, accept the LTR and treat him just as they treated my sister's husband. They accept my son and treat him just as they do their other grandchildren. They love him.

My parents will never join Pflag or march in a gay parade or publicly support any gay issue. But they accept and love their gay family member, me, my partner, and our son. Much as I suspect is the case in the Cheney family.

Dick Cheney, unlike my Dad, is an elected official and he should be taken to task for his views on gay issues. Expecting him to be pro-gay in policy just because he has a gay daughter is unrealistic. That he publicly expresses his love for his legitimate grandson given him by his gay daughter is something.

It will transform. I've seen it.

My parents and their grandson:

Come Out

Where ever you are. It's important.

This Sunday

Andrew Sullivan gives us a heads up. He blogs:

I'll be on the Chris Matthews' show this Sunday, talking about the Clinton marriage and the JFK assassination.


Gee. I hadn't realized the two were related.

A Long Time Ago...

It can't be 30 years. I was just 12. But this changed my life.

Remember

What this weekend is really about.

For my Uncle, Don Barker, a Purple Heart recipient and Vietnam vet, who died from cancer earlier this year.

They Take Our Money, Take Our Votes

But don't wanna be in the same room with us.

"Temporary Set-Back"

Do you think the Move-Oners are buying it?

Email Bankruptcy

Wimps.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Size Matters?

C'mon ladies, you know it does.




The Mayor Responds

The Mayor's office responded to my question about releasing the Spagnoletti memo (written by a former DC city attorney on whether DC can legally recognize same sex unions performed elsewhere. The memo is rumored to say that DC can. The previous mayor kept it private. The current mayor during his campaign vowed to immediately release it, then appeared to back off that promise after the election. I asked the Mayor's gay outreach liaison to clarify. Here's his response:

Scott,

Thanks for your question about whether or not the Mayor plans on releasing the Spagnoletti memo. The administration is currently reviewing the memo and still plans on releasing it. I just don’t know when.

Christopher J. Dyer
Interim Director, Office of LGBT Affairs

Translation: The memo says DC can legally recognize SS couples married where it's legal and we don't have a clue yet on how to handle it.

Kudos, though, for Dyer reaffirming the Mayor's promise. That's further than his spokesperson went in responding to the Washington Blade.

The last Administration kowtowed to the DC Gay and Lesbian Activist Alliance's (GLAA) advice to roll over and not provoke the Republican-controlled Congress over same sex marriage in DC. Now that the Congress is in the hands of the Dems, and the current DC Mayor and a majority of the DC City Council seems to be for equal marriage rights, let's hope the Fenty Admin won't take a similar posture.

At the very least, let's hope the Fenty Administration is listening to a broader array of voices within the DC community as it grapples with the issue of marriage rights. The GLAA doesn't speak for all of us.

It's Jordin

The LTR is dissapointed. He was one of the teenage girls rooting for Blake.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Wednesday Workout: You: Tarzan; Who Cares Where Jane Is…

The LTR's weekly fitness column. I just did this workout with him this weekend. I'm still sore. And regarding the LTR's last line...it sounds like he speaks from experience...

When you think about the great Tarzan movies of the 60s and 70s (oh God, I’m dating myself) what is often most striking about the hunk in the jungle – despite who they have playing him – is that impressive “V” shape. The V shape is that broad, hard shoulder and tight little waist combo you might find yourself lusting after but have never quite figured out how to achieve.

Ok, so here is where the good news, and the bad news comes in. The bad news – for people like me and millions of others out there – is that much of a V look is genetic. The bone structure is either there, or it isn’t. The good news is that weight lifting can help create that V look despite your narrow frame.

So for someone like me - who is basically built like a fire hydrant – that spell shoulders, pure and simple. Punch up the shoulders, pinch down the waist, and you’ll find yourself as close to having that fabled V as you’re ever going to get.

Hit the shoulders, once a week, with the following routine:

  1. Seated, overhead barbell press. (The bar should come down in front of your face, not behind your head.) 5x5
  2. Standing dumbbell shoulder press. 5x5
  3. Seated dumbbell lateral raises 5x5
  4. Seated forward dumbbell raises 5x5

To keep your body confused, switch the order of these routines around from week to week. When five sets of five gets easy, move up 10 lbs.

Nothing tops off a nice fitting shirt like some nobly chiseled shoulders. And nothing makes those shoulders look wider than a narrow waist. Hey, I didn’t say it was easy, but at least this routine doesn’t ask you to swing through the jungle, beating your chest and sleeping with chimps.

Jack and Lem

Here's a book worth getting:

John F. Kennedy�s best friend for three decades was a gay man, according to a new book published in May 2007, by Avalon, the month that would have been the president�s 90th birthday. Titled, Jack and Lem: �John F. Kennedy and Lem Billings. The Untold Story of an Extraordinary Friendship; the book documents the relationship between the two men from its beginnings at a New England prep school in 1933 until the gunfire in Dallas in 1963. The evidence presented indicates that Jack found out that Lem was gay early in the friendship. Despite his own heterosexuality, however, Jack didn�t reject Lem. On the contrary, the friendship grew and survived against the odds.

I wonder if most every gay man has at one point a deep personal relationship with a straight friend. I did. Some survive the coming out. Mine didn't (distance contributed as well).

But while it lasted, it was a beautiful thing. I still keep his picture in my study.

(Hat tip: Andrew)

Idle Prediction

I was busy in my office banging away on a deadline last night so I didn't watch American Idol...but the LTR was and I could hear both Jordin and Blake.

Based on what I heard, I would give the title to Jordin. Blake sounded croaky to me. But if the teenage girl vote is still holding sway, as it was with Sanjaya, Blake will probably get it.

And I think a FOX marketing exec pushed Paula over her poodle.

BTW, the title of this post is not a typo. I took a pretty idle interest in Idol this go around.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Post Weighs in

On Sen. Mary Buttinsky Landrieu:

It's curious that she kept city officials in the dark. If she had questions, why not get in touch with Mr. Fenty? In any event, why is it Ms. Landrieu's business how Washington chooses to govern its public schools? Her interference may result in school repairs going undone and positions going unfilled -- or, as Ms. Norton put it, children being caught in the middle.

BTW, since Mary is sooooo concerned about the people of DC, if you live here and have concerns about potholes, trash pickup, local crime, etc., her number is (202)224-5824.

So How are Louisiana Public Schools Performing?

Since Sen. Mary Landrieu has appointed herself as Lord Protector of DC's school system and has the time to stick her nose in our business, I thought I'd see how things were in Louisiana's school system. I mean, if the good Sen. feels she has the right to meddle here, it must be because she has good schools at home that don't need her attention. Right?

Wrong.

LA schools perform below the national average on reading and math proficiency, according to School Matters (Standard and Poors).















Hey Mary: two words, that even someone with a Louisiana public education could understand: Butt out.

It Came from the Swamp

It's long arm reached from the swamps of Louisiana and quashed the will of DC voters. "It" is Sen. Mary Landrieu and she used a Senate maneuver to block a school reform measure approved by DC's duly elected city officials.

I guess all of LA's post-Katrina problems have been solved so Landrieu was bored and figured it'd be fun to interfere in a city she wasn't elected to represent.

With one flick of her swamp moss draped finger Landrieu, whom no one in DC voted for, becomes a distant ruler without check over the citizens of DC. Didn't we fight a war over something like that once?

Monday, May 21, 2007

Dan the Man

Dan Abrams has been scarce on the tube since he took the job in the mangement office of MSNBC. But the former legal correspondent looked hot tonight in a little scruff filling in for Joe Scarborough. I've thought Dan was hot since I first saw him covering the Bush v. Gore Supreme Court Case.

So this is how nerdy I am...My friend Zac at Euphonic Gumshoe focuses his hot or hotter feature on hunky actors on hip TV shows and movies...and I focus on legal correspondents and network news execs.

Still...I would've paid the full price, Dan.

What is This?

Any guesses?

School Vouchers

DC has a school voucher program and it appears to be working:

Here's how one mother expressed it to researchers from Georgetown University and the University of Arkansas: "Before . . . his grades were below average, and for the first time he made the honor roll . ..

Will the Democrat controlled Congress renew it? Only four voted for it when it passed in 2003.

It's Just Sex

A funny scene from the movie Jeffrey for a Monday morning. Patrick Stewart has snarky queen down pat. Favorite line: "To see the apartment."

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Road to Hell -- Tales from Home Remodelling

The road to Hell isn't paved with good intentions. It's paved with far too many bathroom tile choices.

The LTR and I have been to Home Depot ("Casa del Depot" in honor of our Hispanic remodelling crew) and Lowes this weekend, agonizing over tile choices. It's like being at a "300" cast party and getting to pick only one.

I thought I found the perfect tile for the floor and the LTR was for once in agreement. We picked an accent tile for the wall. Only to get home and find it totally doesn't work.

Meanwhile, the entire house interior is coated with a white plaster residue from the demolition.I've been breathing it in for seven days. I woke up coughing this morning. I told the LTR I was getting White Lung.

Immigration Reform for Gays

Chris Crain provides a concrete way for Democratic presidential candidates to show they mean it when they call for full equality for gays. Support the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), which would allow citizens and legal residents in same-sex relationships to sponsor their partners for immigration purposes.

Crain reports only Dodd and Kucinich have signalled support for the bill. Hillary and Barak do not support it. As Crain says:

In her speeches on gay issues, Clinton talks about "equal rights" for gay couples, but support for UAFA would be a concrete way to put some leadership where her rhetoric is.

Ditto Obama.

But of course I don't expect much. Democrats will take our money and take our votes but they won't take a stand on our behalf. Not on things that really count. Not on legislation that treat gay relationships as equal to straight ones.

DC gay activist Rick Rosendall wrote in a recent Metroweekly column that we shouldn't expect leadership from politicians on controversial issues. Hmm...the Voting Rights Act of 1965 notwithstanding? I'm not quite so ready to throw in the towel...and if a politician tells me they support full gay equality, I expect them to mean it. I can accept a candidate who I may disagree with, but I won't tolerate hypocrisy.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Did Jesus Do a Miracle for a Gay?

That's the postulation of Daniel Helminiak, Ph.D, in his book, "What the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality."

As with the rest of the book, Helminiak examines the meanings behind the original Greek words and finds that the passages in Matthew 8:5-13 and Luke 7:1-10 recounting how Jesus healed the sick slave of a Centurion suggest that the slave was likely the Centurion's male lover.

Helminiak's analysis of the Greek is too lengthy to recount here (buy the book), but he also adds some historical perspective:

It was common that Roman householders would use their slaves for sex. It was also common for Roman soldiers far from home to have a male sexual companion with them. The centurion and the slave boy were probably sexual partners....the centurion probably fell in love with the young man....

Undoubtedly, Jesus was a ware of such things...So it seems to be a case where Jesus actually accounted for a loving homosexual relationship. Jesus' reaction is instructive. He commended the faith of the centurion and returned the young man to the centurion in good health.


I admit I find some aspects of Helminiak's analysis troubling. You could use the same logic to imply that Jesus had no problems with slavery. But, it is notable that Jesus was silent about homosexuality, especially if God really thinks it's an abomination and if Jesus encountered it in this story. Recall that Jesus had no problem describing the problems of a rich man entering the Kingdom (eye of a needle, anyone?).

And recall who Jesus' wrath was reserved for (Mark 11:15-19). It wasn't gay folk.

Who Does God Listen To?

Matt, at Malcontent, apparently:

By the way, I’ve finally become convinced, despite my earlier misgivings, that God does indeed answer prayers. Just a week before he died, in that same Amanpour interview, Falwell prayed for another 20 years on Earth to finish the work of Liberty University.

At least now we know who God was listening to.


They taught me in Sunday School that God always answers prayers, he just doesn't always give the answer you want. Sorry, Jerry.

And Matt, how do I stay on your good side?

Because We're a Christian Nation

That...and emotional fear...are the reasons the opposition gives to same sex marriage.

Check it out. (via Pam).

A Bit of an Archaeological Find

Check it out, dawg (okay, I'm channeling Randy Jackson).

My house is a row house built in 1909. I've been told that when the houses were built they would construct them like one big warehouse then wall them off into separate houses, leaving passageways through the walls for the workers to walk though from house to house.

We uncovered evidence of this during demolition for our third floor remod in this photo...notice the wooden horizontal beam and how the bricks below it appear to be added after the rest of the wall. An identical pattern is found on the opposite wall.

Imagine -- 100 years ago workers walked through here as they built these houses. I think it's pretty cool. But that's just me.

That'll be a Big Rocket

Scientists are testing a space probe for Jupiter's moon, Europa, in Mexico:

Though the space mission is probably 30 years off, the trek was scheduled to begin Monday outside the city of Tampico. A 60-ton crane was to lower a giant orange robot dubbed "Clementine" into what is believed to be the deepest flooded sinkhole in the world.

How are they going to get the 60 ton crane to Europa?

Beard Porn

Andrew is indulging his beard fetish again.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Friday Fashionista -- Summer Wear

The weekly fashion advice column by MattyDale.

Summer is just around the corner, and you know what that means! Back yard BBQ’s and summer parties! There is no reason you should not look your best when attending summer gatherings. But what should you wear that will help keep you cool in the summer heat while looking HOT to trot?

A word of advice before even pondering your selections or making a party purchase… Find out what is appropriate attire for the gathering. If the invitation does not make it crystal clear, ask your host. Now we can tackle the business of what to wear.

For casual events, nice cotton or linen trousers are comfortable, as are a nice pair of cotton or linen shorts. Please note – linen wrinkles so easily (Taffeta Darling). So if you are not keen on being wrinkled before you even leave the house, stick to cotton. You may ponder white pants. Yes, white pants. Or a daring plaid pant is nice when paired with the right shirt – just be certain it is a solid color in a complimentary shade from your plaid pants. Fabric - Make certain it is nice and soft – certain fabrics beg to be touched. Plus they obviously feel better on YOUR skin.


Shirts… Ditch the sleeveless tank. Leave something to the imagination – and leave the sleeveless look for the beach. Try a nice polo (again, linen breathes nicely so try it out) or a nice soft cotton tee shirt. Graphic images and logos can be fun, but I tend to shy away with items screaming where they came from. Nobody needs to be a blatant label queen and no one cares that you paid way too much for that Prada. Keep it simple so that your timeless good taste allows you to be the star.


Shoes – Leave the flip flops for washing the car. Get a nice pair of loafers or comfortable sandals (but not those over-sized Sketcher things – leave those for the kids. Get a nice pair of Keens, or try some driving shoes by Cole Haan. There are also some fun shoes out there that are a little more playful by Puma or Diesel.


Going to a more formal summer gathering? Again, find out from your host what is appropriate. A nice lightweight cotton pinstriped pant is nice with a matching blazer (two or three button) and a solid tailored shirt. Think Southern Gentleman charm. It’s classic. Shoes – A nice leather sandal will work or even a loafer or slip on.

Above all – check the dress code so you are not over or under dressed. Be comfortable and be yourself!

Mayor Fenty's Unfulfilled Promise to DC Gays


During his Mayoral campaign, Adrian Fenty promised to release a memo prepared for the city that was said to state that DC could legally recognize gay marriages performed in other jurisdictions where they are legal. Fenty was elected and so far he has not fulfilled this promise. I fear he is an example of yet another Democrat who will take gay dollars and votes but won't take a stand for gays.

This morning I sent a note to the Mayor's gay liasion, Christopher Dyer. Here's the note:


Hi -- In a Washington Blade article dated November, 25, 2005 Lou Chibbarro writes, "Brown and Fenty said they would release the Spagnoletti memo immediately after becoming mayor."

The Spagnoletti memo, as I'm sure you know, is the opinion of former DC Attorney General Robert Spagnoletti on whether District law would permit the city to recognize gay marriages performed in Massachusetts and other jurisdictions.

I hadn't heard that the memo has been released, and Mr. Fenty has been Mayor now for five months. When is he going to release the memo, or has he gone back on his word to the gay community? Or did the Blade get it wrong?

Thanks for clarifying this issue for me.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Rat-aTat Boom-Boom

No, not a porn soundtrack, it's the sound of street construction in front of my house and the home renovation on my third floor (above my home office) that started this week.

Here's a few before and after shots. It's gonna be so cool when it's done -- but the noise and the mess now...oy!















Divorce Rates Down

Three years since a state began granting civil marriages to same sex couples, the associated press reports that American divorce rates are at their lowest point since 1970. (read more)

Although there's no evidence of a link between the two, it also means the religious right's Chicken Little-ing of the issue -- saying that gay marriage will undermine "traditional" marriage is as bogus as saying, well, "the sky is falling."

Wednesday Workout: Spot Reduction?

The weekly column by the LTR offering diet and fitness tips. Read today's before you attack that jelly donut thinking you'll work it off at the gym!

A typical fallacy I see play out at the gym incessantly is the cute guy whose love handles, or belly, have grown to an unacceptable level and they’ve decided to do something about it. Now there’s nothing wrong with striving for self improvement, and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to turn your “keg” into a six pack. But these guys are most often setting themselves up for failure.

The problem is the notion - and it seems almost universally practiced - that you can remove fat from a specific body part by doing exercises that concentrate on that body party. For example, I can’t count the number of times I’ve talked to guys at they gym who “have had it” with their guts and are dedicating their entire workout to every type of contorted stomach crunch imaginable. Backwards, forwards, sideways, upside down. Yoy!

In their minds, they’re working the fat off their stomachs. Unfortunately for most, they lose little if any measurable fat around their waists and soon give up altogether out of discouragement. They likely have much stronger abs, but those abs are still covered by inches of unsexy, unwanted, furry fat.

Fat is largely deposited universally across the body: in the face, in the arms, in the legs, and of course, around the waist. Now some people tend to deposit it in one place rather than another (for me it’s the love handles), and none of us are capable of depositing fat in that vital area that we wish we could enlarge….and that mandates a different way of thinking. So when you ride a bicycle, for example, you’re not just losing the fat on your legs, because that’s primarily what you’re working, you’re losing fat everywhere.

Bottom line: If you have fat to lose, you need to attack it in two ways. First, increase the amount of aerobic activity you do (read: cardio) and increase the amount of muscle mass you have (read: lift weights) and then – and this is where everyone drops the ball – figure out how many calories you burn in a day (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15321646) and start managing that end of the equation. Like it or not, in my opinion, diet is at least 75 percent of the battle. Sorry.

The other option – and I personally don’t consider it viable – is plastic surgery (sorry MD). Make sure you watch one being performed on the Discovery Channel before you select this option.

Who Gouges on Gasoline?

According to George Will, it's Uncle Sam and his nieces and nephews (local and state governments):

While oil companies make about 13 cents on a gallon of gasoline, the federal government makes 18.4 cents (the federal tax) and California's various governments make 40.2 cents (the nation's third-highest gasoline tax). [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi's San Francisco collects a local sales tax of 8.5 percent -- higher than the state's average for local sales taxes.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Exit Falwell

The voice of, as John McCain said when he had a spine, "an agent of intolerance" is silenced.

Some in the gay blogosphere are piling on, dredging up many of Falwell's eggregious qoutes marginalizing gays and using scripture to condemn whole groups of Americans.

Enough. Let his hate be buried with him. If we return hatred for hate, gleefully dancing on his grave, how are we any better?

There are still enough living bigots to confront, and confront them we should. We should just let Falwell go...the worms have him now.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Old Girlfriend Part II

the former GF and I met today.

We met. It was nice. Talked about what we were doing career wise. Walked down memory lane some. Met her husband, talked about camping trips.

Here's the cool thing...she is clearly happy. Happy with her career, her husband, her home. That was nice to see. And she was appreciative of the things I have, including the LTR. One thing I didn't tell you about her earlier was she was (and is) very religious. I didn't know how she'd handle the whole "My high school boyfriend loves another man" thing. But she said to me, "I'm so happy you found someone who cares about you." And she said it without irony, too.

I made a good choice when I dated her those many years ago, but a romantic relationship was not in the cards between us. Here's hoping our friendship resumes.

The White House Using the Gay Smear

This happened several years ago, apparently, but I saw it in an article that Andrew Sullivan linked to about openly gay newscasters:

In 2003, [openly gay reporter Jeffrey] Kofman's honesty created something of a minor national incident in the U.S. After his World News Tonight report from Iraq on troop morale — which included one soldier calling for the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld — Matt Drudge briefly printed the headline, "ABC News Reporter Who Filed Troops Complaint Story — Openly Gay Canadian," linked to an interview Kofman did with national gay magazine The Advocate. Drudge later claimed the story was slipped to him by an overeager White House staffer, presumably in a misguided attempt to discredit Kofman.


Misguided? Not by White House standards as we've seen the WH use smear tactics to discredit their detractors. What kills me about it is the cynicism...we know the Bushes themselves know gay people and treat them well - think Mary Cheney. We know the Republican Party elite don't have a problem working shoulder to shoulder with gays - the Foley scandal revealed several openly gay staffers at the highest levels. Hell, even Rick Santorum employed an openly gay communications director. And we saw GOP operative Rich Galen -- despite his personal, moderate views on homosexuality -- urging the GOP to play the gay card in the 06 election.

Maybe I'm just naive. But the hypocrisy and cynicism of this just leaves me appalled.

Former Girlfriend

Try to leave the past in the past and it still finds a way to circle around to your present.

My high school girlfriend, Debbie, has found me. I'm having coffee with her and her husband today. I haven't seen or talked with her in 20 years.

I came close to marrying her...but for a little voice in my head that said "NOOOO!" That and the secret fantasies I was harboring for washing the high school quarterback's furry pecs with my tongue.

So, what do you say to someone you were close to a long time ago but haven't seen for two decades? "Whattya been up to?"

Friday, May 11, 2007

No Day But Today

An important lesson to remember, from the musical Rent (everything I learned about life I learned from Broadway). Sorry it's a dark clip and the singing starts about 2 minutes in.

Friday Fashionista: Know They self, Know Thy Style

Scott's Take weekly feature on fashion, from Scott pal MattyDale

What is the image you convey in your appearance?

What is the image you have of yourself?

What do you want your image to be?

How you dress has a great deal to do with how people perceive you. A politician for instance is forever donning the black suit with a pin stripe shirt and red or blue tie. I don’t think I need to tell you how you view politicians. And on the converse, a male escort typically is wearing something tight-fitting, yet easy to get out of when duty calls. Please note, I did not reference politicians and male escorts to be witty – it was just a coincidence.

Certain careers can be limiting to one’s wardrobe, and DC is not exactly a hot bed of fashion like New York or Paris. However, we can still pursue and convey our own sense of self through our style. First, if your career truly dictates your appearance at all times either go no further or get a new life! Second, what defines who you are and what makes you tick? It’s okay to let that come through in the way you dress for work AND especially in play.

If conservative business casual is the way, then trade the pleated pants for flat front trousers. If you have to wear a suit, go with a good old trusty three button jacket (leaving the bottom button undone). Mix it up with a shirt that – god forbid – is not blue with a white collar. As Richard Gere said in Chicago, “give’em the old razzle dazzle!” In DC, so many guys get caught in the conservative rut. Cut loose a little. Show that you have something else in the closet!
For those of us with more flexibility, let’s not lose our heads, but it is good to experiment and try new things. A few tips.

  • Find a store you like and trust that will help you with some interesting pieces that convey the “you within.”
  • Be reasonable. This is not an excuse to run out of the house wearing clam diggers and a rainbow feather boa! Accent accordingly with an interesting jacket, a nice belt or a wrist cuff. No need to be the next Liberace!
  • Check out the men’s mags – some tend to show off things that are too trendy that will be yesterday’s news in 60 seconds. But there are always good tips on good basics and some nice pieces and where to find them.
  • Talk to your friends – “Where did you get that?”

The most important thing to remember - don’t lose sight of you. The pieces you chose should be an extension of yourself –they should not define you.

Get Religion Out of the Presidential Race

Mike Wallace has no business asking Mitt Romney if he has broken his church's rules on premarital sex.

Candidates shouldn't use their religion in their campaigns and we shouldn't delve into it. Yes, the beliefs of Mormons are strange to many, but so is mainstream Christianity's practice of ritual cannibalism. Do we really need to go there?

The Un-Safe Cutlure of DC Metro

It's no surprise that the Metro train driver was on her cellphone before she hit and killed two Metro workers who were inspecting the tracks. My own experience with Metro demonstrates a complete and careless regard for safety of others:

  • Last week, while biking down Pennsylvania Ave. (known as the "Kill Zone" by DC Metro bus drivers) a Metro bus pulled past me then cut me off, braking sharply, which sent me over the curb. The bus driver actually laughed at me (yes, I should have gotten the bus number and reported it, but I was too shaken up).

  • Last fall, while biking down 14th street, a uniformed Metro security officer brushed against me with his car as we both navigated through a construction zone where the bike lane was blocked. He stopped his car, cursed me, checked his car and sped off. Never once did he inquire if I were hurt.

You tell me -- do Metro employees really take safety seriously?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Shirtless Jack -- for Zac

Zac and I have been having an email conversation about, among other things, a furry-chested singer Jack Johnson. I'm going to send him this magazine. Just another example of Scott's Take taking care of our loyal readers (all four of you).

BTW, I concur with Zac's take on Johnson's song Banana Pancakes.

Rudy in Leather and Lace

Go here to see a slide show of Rudy Guiliani's penchant for donning leather and lace drag.

Gay Love and Sex

Here's a funny and touching look at gay romance (okay and sex) in a safe sex spot. We've all been there, haven't we?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Wednesday Workout -- Sometimes You Just Gotta Shoot for Volume

A weekly feature authored by the LTR to help you get in better shape. And it's late today because of me -- the LTR gave this to me last week. I had other things distracting me today, so I apologize to everyone dying to go to the gym and to try today's fitness tip. Here's the LTR:


I can hear the wheels in your heads spinning frantically as you try to predict what this column is going to be about. Sorry, it’s not about sex, and it’s not about dating. It’s about enhancing your current routine, and improving your pump, by introducing the concept of volume into your workout.

Volume in the weightlifting world is using the concept of dropping the weight you’re currently using – by fifty percent of more – and doubling, or tripling the amount of reps you are accustomed to doing. This has immediate and longer term benefits.

The immediate benefit is that the high volume work gorges the targeted muscle with lots of blood, causing an impressive, albeit short-lived pump. The longer term benefit is that the sudden change from what you are used to doing (you know, the same, tired, routine, week after week) to a high volume approach will both shock – and stimulate – your muscles, and force new growth.

The volume approach is epitomized by a routine called 100’s. 100’s can be applied to any muscle group, but for the sake of simplicity, let’s say that you’ve been doing the bicep/triceps routine posted last week, and are ready to shake things up a bit with some volume work. (Particularly if you’re looking to catch some glances later that day.)

At the end of your bicep/triceps workout, grab some very light dumbbells (about ½ the weight you are used to working with) and begin doing standing (or seated) bicep curls. The goal is to do as many simultaneous curls – keeping the nice round figure of 100 in mind – as possible when you have reached the point of exhaustion, how ever many reps you are short of 100 reps is the number of seconds’ rest you get before finishing off the set.

For example, if you get 65 reps, you get a 35 second break, and then you pump out 35 more reps. When you are done, rest a bit and then pick your favorite triceps exercise and do the same routine to them. Each muscle just gets the “100s treatment” once, and then you are finished.

And don’t forget to wear a short sleeve shirt so you can display your impressive pipes!

10 Things I love about the LTR

Today is the LTR's birthday. He was happy he set a personal best at the gym this morning; sad that the DC water and sewer department, as part of their project to replace the lead pipes in the city, is going to have to dig up one of his prize palms likely killing it.


I won't get to spend tonight with him as I have dress rehearsal. So, in his honor, here are 10 things I love about the LTR (that I can share):

  1. He loves me. I'm very lucky
  2. His intelligence -- we've always had great conversations
  3. His passion for plants. It has surrounded us with lush beauty over the years
  4. His devotion to fitness has kept us both active and healthy and hopefully will for a long time.
  5. His interest in the Civil War -- it's a passion we both share. The first day we spent together was touring the Gettysburg battlefield.
  6. He's a great papa to Eli. He's a wonderful father and it's a joy to watch Eli and him together.
  7. His commitment to his family. He's an exemplary son, brother and uncle.
  8. His sense of humor. He's always had the ability to make me laugh, no easy feat with a moody bitch like me.
  9. His energy. He's the quintessential energizer bunny.
  10. He cooks for me. That there is enough, don't you think?

Sign of the Day

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Humility LTR

Conversation with the LTR just now:

LTR: Can you believe I'm going to be 44 tomorrow?

Me: You are getting old.

LTR: I know, but shit, I look so damn good.


He's gotten more humble with age. After we sing happy birthday, he can put out the candles with his ego.

Rethinking Iraq

Andrew Sullivan writes today assessing Ira q and looking at the cost to America. Money Quote:

In reassessing the war, in other words, the moral cost to America must come into the equation. The Iraq war has removed for a generation the concept of the U.S. military being an unimpeachable source of national honor. It has infringed civil liberties. It has legalized and institutionalized torture as a government tool - and helped abuse and brutality metastasize throughout the field of conflict. To be sure, abuse of captives always happens in wartime. What's different now is that the commander-in-chief has authorized and legitimized it, and so the contagion has spread like wildfire. The tragedy is that none of this will help us actually win this war. By alienating so many Iraqis, the occupation has badly damaged American soft-power in the world. It has alienated many allies. It has exhausted the military itself. It has failed to quell an insurgency. History also teaches us that success against such an insurgency in such a country would require over a decade of a brutal war of attrition.

The question we have to ask is: if this is the way we achieve victory, what kind of country would America be at the end of it? To paraphrase Robert Bolt, it profit a man nothing if he gain the whole world and lose his soul. But for Iraq?


The question I'd like to see presidential candidates address is how we move back from this precipice that Bush has led us to? Is it possible to go back?


King Herod's Tomb Found?

archaeologists think maybe.

I think they may have a bit more cred than James Cameron.

We seem to be on a royal kick here today.

Queens

Tidbits from the Queens visit here yesterday:

At the British Embassy garden party yesterday, Branden Wallace, the partner of Ken Cen president Michael Kaiser, wore a kilt, and got royal notice.

Michael Kaiser waited with his partner, Branden Wallace, who wore a kilt.

"Well done" the queen told him.

Meanwhile the queen of House Democrats, in full royal swoon refused to divulge to reporters what she and the queen talked about. That would be "presumptuous" she sniffed to reporters.

Really? Hey Nancy, you're one of the most powerful elected women in the world, and no British subject...why kowtow? Did you courtesy too?

And as for this Queen...I happened to be by the British Embassy yesterday on my way home from my cousin's graduation and, unlike 16 years ago when she was last here I didn't get to see her but I did get to enjoy the traffic caused by her.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Be: Gutsy

The LTR and I took walkabout yesterday, leaving our abode north of U Street to wonder down to the 17th street corridor for lunch al fresco, over to Georgetown for some shopping (though the only thing purchased was at Barnes and Noble, how lame) and then back through Dupont Circle. Wanting to walk a bit more, we ended up on 9th street in Shaw and at the city's newest gay bar, Be Bar.

For the DC uninitiated, Shaw is not a gayborhood (yet -- it is being gentrified and gays are in the vanguard). It is what is known as "marginal."

And the other thing you should know about Be Bar is that a local church fought tooth and nail to prevent it from opening.

But open it did, and it's a cool and inviting space, a true lounge with comfortable couches, odd assortment of chairs and soothing blue lighting with videos on flat plasma TV screens. The bartender was both extremely hot, cute and friendly -- usually in a bartender you can't have all three. We met one of the co-owners, the hunky Mike Watson (whose pic is here with a Blade Q&A piece that seems a one-off from MW's coverboy series(yummy choice, this week)). Watson was also friendly and clearly an entrepreneur.

I found the Be Bar Web site a bit difficult to digest. I would suggest they post their martini menu, which is creative and festive and seems to be a selling point. MattyDale, why haven't you discovered this place yet.

The LTR gathered a posse of about 20 people to Halo last Friday. The next outing has already been promised to Titan or whatever name it goes by now. After that Be Bar.

It's Chilly Out There

Too chilly. I'm going to have to wear gloves and ear muffs (my ears tend to ache in cold air) to ride my bike to my meeting on the Hill. I'd like it a little warmer, please?

Not much blogging today, have meetings.

Stay warm.

(photo via Casual in Istanbul)

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Chris Shays and Incremental Gay Marriage

I've been a little fanatical about gay marriage, believing it should be all or nothing, viewing civil unions as a second-class unacceptable alternative. My views on that haven't changed, but I now see the tactical value of CUs as a stepping stone for full civil marriage rights. Witness CT Republican Rep. Chris Shays, whose views on same sex unions have evolved from is pro-DOMA vote from seeing all the queers get hitched where it is legal. The WashBlade has the story:

But in an interview with the Blade this week, Shays said he has reconsidered his stance on gay rights.

“Gays and lesbians don’t want special rights,” he said. “They want the same as other Americans: equal protection under the law. They deserve no less.”


Amen.

“My views on gay marriage have evolved since I voted for the Defense of Marriage Act,” he said. “At the time I thought I would not support gay marriages. But after watching the coverage of marriages being performed in states like California and New York, I have started to feel differently.”


“I look at these marriages and wonder how they impact in any way the marriage I have with my wife."


They don't.

"I don’t think people need to fear this type of union. I recognize two people of the same sex can be involved in a loving, long-term relationship and feel no less love for one another than partners in a heterosexual relationship. Our challenge is to find a way to recognize a legally binding contractual relationship between two consenting adults of the same sex.”


No challenge -- it's called civil marriage. Hopefully Shays and more like him will evolve to that point.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Our Country and the American Dream

While in Indy I was tasked with managing a business luncheon. Ariving early at the luncheon room at the hotel, I met our wait staff person, a middle-aged Chinese woman who has worked at the Hyatt for 30 some years. While waiting for lunch to begin, she told me with obvious pride of her eldest son who serves in the Army Corps of Engineers and who has been stationed around the world, including Afghanistan, and who is now stationed here in DC. She told me how while driving to work she sometimes worries about him, asking God to keep him safe and how three times w/in 15 minutes her cell phone would ring and it would be him calling to let her know he was okay.

When the luncheon was over I was saying my thank yous and said to her, "please convey my thanks to your son for his service to our country."

"Our country." I thought about those words later. Me, this midwestern white gay boy and this woman from another land and culture, whose family is in harms way for this idea called "America."

Our country really is an idea, not a place, a dream worth emigrating to and defending.

No terrorist can destroy that dream. We can only do that ourselves.

Friday, May 04, 2007

An example

Of clothes fitting the man, as MattyDale says.

Yes, yes, this is the same International Model whose picture I've posted here and here.

Yes, I'm somewhat obsessed with him. So is International Male, apparently, as he's in the catalogue on almost every page. Instead of International Male it should be called International Him. Whoever he is.

Maybe the LTR would let me keep him. I'll feed him and walk him and bathe him and see to his every need.

At least until the next catalogue comes out.

Friday Fashionista


Scott has requested that I write a weekly fashion column for Scott's Take - something for the gay or metrosexual male who is no longer a twenty something. I take fashion very seriously. I am not sure I would classify myself as a slave of fashion. But when it comes to clothes, accessories and my appearance, my motto tends to be, "If you don't look good, you don't look good!"

When Scott asked me to write this column, I thought very seriously about the contribution and the possible ramifications of my advice, not to mention the practical information I would be providing to his readers. And then after about 2 seconds I said, "Yes, I'd love to do it!"

As I made my way about the city this week, I felt a little like Carrie Bradshaw searching for her next muse. There were quite a few "Fashion Dont's" I encountered throughout the past week. I also saw some really good examples of good taste that were very well executed. It got me to thinking... instead of isolating a few bad points and lecturing on the latest trend, why not provide several good pointers on the basics. Consider this my fashion primer for the adult male who needs a few pointers on some simple rules.

1. Wear clothing that fits YOUR body. If you are not sure what fits, go to a men's store (Men's Warehouse, Nordstrom, Banana Republic, etc.) and they will give you measurements. There are far too many men hiding behind baggy clothes and far too many wearing overly tight clothes. I cannot tell you how annoyed I get when friends tell me how they chose comfort over style when they buy their clothes. I don't want to hear it! You CAN be comfortable and stylish at the same time without looking like you are trying to be 20 again. Do your body some justice and wear things that fit you properly. You will be surprised how good it feels!

2. Just because you have a favorite color does not mean it looks best on you or that you should wrap yourself in it everyday. Let's face it, some colors do not look good on certain people. And we tend to get stuck because "Pink is my favorite color!" What are your skin tones? What color is your hair? Your eyes? My man used to have a love affair with the color brown. And if he was not wearing brown, it was some variation of the color. NOW that we have expanded his color palate, he occasionally accents with a neutral color, but he looks great in warmer colors like red and muted yellow and pinks. Go to a men's shop or boutique (not Universal Gear because those bitches don't care what they send you out in) and get to know the staff. Ask for their advice. That's part of their job!

3. Buy good basics - We all like trendy new things, but let's be honest... if you don't have the basics, you look like you just arrived from South Beach or worse, Newark. These honestly depend on your lifestyle, because a construction worker does not need a three piece suit. However, every man should have at least one nice black suit (for weddings and the occasional funeral). But more than that, I am talking about nice jeans with a cut that flatters your bod. Nice trousers (flat front PLEASE because pleats on men look ridiculous). Nice cotton shirts in an array of colors - simple black or white or blue. Decide which looks best on you, but these are things you can dress up or down. And don't forget a nice blazer and a belt that is only 1 or two sizes larger than your waist. Before I end on this one, another good resource is TLC's What Not To Wear. Stacy and Clinton know what they are talking about.

4. Shoes - I have to say, women are not the only people on this world with a right to shoes. Men need more than one or two pair. Why? Because your shoes need a break. They get smelly and worn out faster if you wear nothing but the same pair day after day. And at the end of the day, they need time to recuperate. If you do not already have them, get yourself a set or two of shoe trees. They help your shoes maintain their shape and they extract the moisture from your shoes created by your feet. As for buying, we all seem to be fascinated with DSW and any other place we can run in and right back out simply by helping ourselves. Try the shoe department at (you guessed it) Nordstrom. First, they will size you to make certain you are wearing the proper shoe size. Second, when you pick out a shoe, they bring a few similar to that style - they are good salesmen and they understand their clientele. Buy two pair while you are at it! A good pair of shoes will set you back about $200.00. No, you don't NEED Ferragamos, but you need to treat your feet better since you are on them all day long!

5. NO MORE WIRE HANGERS! EVER! Joan Crawford was not off the mark here men. Treat your clothes better and they will last a lot longer. Go to the Container Store and buy some proper wooden hangers. They have an incredible closet organization section! Throw the old wire and plastic hangers away or better yet, return them to your dry cleaner every time you make a visit. You will thank me.

6. If you are not wearing it, get rid of it! So many guys keep things for YEARS that should be donated or thrown away. Here's a trick I learned on TLC's show Clean Sweep. Take all of your clothes in the closet and turn the hanger backwards (hang from the back side of the rod instead of placing on the rod from the front side). When you wear something, place the hanger back on from the front side. After a season ends, if you have not worn a garment at all that is meant for that season, donate it or launch it.

7. Check yourself before your wreck yourself! Look in the mirror! And make certain you have a full-length mirror. If not, go to Bed Bath and Beyond and buy one! You need to see the whole package from hair to shoes before you walk out the door.

8. Dress age appropriate. Getting older is a fact of life, and while we don't want to wear Habband forever fit pants, we also don't want to look like teenage boys. The occasional fun item is good, but use it as an accent. Don't be shopping in the "young men's" department guys. It does not mean we are old. It means we can afford nicer things! There are plenty of nice things out there if you go to the right store. Be a grown up and buy grown up clothes. AND ask the associates for help! Again, it's why they are there!

These basics are a good start. Now that I have laid out some ground rules, some final words of advice. Have fun with what you wear. Dress appropriately when you head out, no matter where you are going. And if you need some help, call a friend you trust. It's not rocket science folks, but you should make an effort. Go ahead and start dressing better! You WILL feel better.

The Commander Guy's Rug

Gene Robinson has the skinny in a it-would-be-funny-if-it-weren't-so-tragic column.