Sunday, October 31, 2010

odd traces

I went out with someone several years ago who wrote "maudlin" in an email. I had to look it up and fell in love because I was intellectually intimidated. Now it's one of my favorite words.

Friday, October 29, 2010

9...9 is enough

I have always been enamored with Sandra Day O'Connor's intellect and held her up as the model for whom I'd like to be someday. Sometimes, however, it's a little too easy to forget that our role models are people as well. They are angry, humorous, cantankerous and otherwise, just like "us".

You can see in this clip her slight...not anger, but the stupid question that Dianne Sawyer asks. But, Ginsberg, always the funny Justice, comes back with "9." Perfect., Nicki Minaj - Check It Out

I haven't been this excited for an album to "drop" in a long time. It's so rare a female rapper has this much hype before her album, and it's been a while since we've had a new female voice in rap, so I'm pretty stokecited for this one!

Conservative Sanity

From The American Conservative:
A Republican House majority starting next year most likely makes Boehner and Cantor “our” spokesmen and the ones responsible for advancing “our” agenda. This is the political equivalent of getting out of a car that had just been driven into a telephone pole by a drunkard, finding a new car, and then handing the keys to the drunkard for another spin around the block in the hope that something different will happen.
The entire article is worth a read and gives a good explanation of where "Conservatives" need to go to be both relevant and beneficial again. NOV 2 will put the House back in Republican's hands, and the next two years will then show us JUST how dysfunctional a government can become. Let's just hope they don't do SO much damage that the Democrats can fix it (again) two years later. This could be the biggest thing for the D's come 2014.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

My old blog...

So, I just copy/pasted my entire blog from when I was on myspace into a document so you can read it if you'd like. It includes when my dad died, when I was trying to decide to stay at West Point or not, meeting some of my best friends and goes through most of my years at West Point. It's a time killer if you're THAT interested in knowing what I was thinking when I was a college kid. Also, don't judge my grammar and writing please. I'm not perfect now, but damned if I didn't even have spell check back then.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Vampire Weekend - Oxford Comma

How was this not higher on my radar?? Gay, Grammarian, Hipster-ish, semi-indie rock!

Sharon Angle?

I am asking the following question in all seriousness--

For those of you who read this, either here or on Facebook, who support Sharon Angle, do you honestly believe she will be a good, informed Senator, or do you simply believe that ANYONE is better than Harry Reid?

If it is the first, please explain to me WHY you believe she will be a good, informed Senator. If it is the second, please explain to me how it is possible to overlook her obvious ignorance and racism when voting her to a six year position as one of 100 lawmakers.

I ask this because I feel like America is in a bad case of low EQ right now, where we do not seem to understand that immediate satisfaction ("throw the bastards out") has lasting impacts (a Senate with members like Angle, O'Donnell, Miller, Paul etc.).

These people have shown either woeful ignorance about basic governing fundamentals, or worse, purposeful hypocrisy in explaining what they might do. Moreover, while they each claim they will somehow magically balance the budget and lower the deficit without doing anything but lowering taxes (minus Paul who actually has outlined a plan), most of them have simultaneously shown a desire to make American Foreign Policy entirely MORE hawkish than it is while demonstrating they know little to nothing about the world outside their own state borders, let alone international relations.

My point? I use Sharon Angle as an example because O'Donnell is entirely too easy a target (and I promised not to write about her again)--if you are voting for Angle, you are saying, in essence, that a rhetorical vote for "lowering the deficit" is worth putting someone in office who is anti-gay rights, anti-women's rights, ignorant of international relations and ignorant of American Political Fundamentals.

Even if I granted that Angle has some magical idea to lower the deficit (which I do not...but for the sake of argument, I will), is that REALLY enough reason to vote for her? It seems, to me at least, to take "single issue voter" to an entirely new, and ridiculous, level.

So the question of my friends who will vote her--am I missing something that makes a vote for Angle less ridiculously outlandish than I've made it out above? Please let me know. And no, this is not a rhetorical question, I would like SOMEONE to please explain the madness to me.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

el coyote community meeting

What a strange, and sad story, on so many levels.

A brief re-cap: El Coyote is a restaurant that has been in Los Angeles for years (decades really), and has, over the years, become a favorite of gay and lesbian clientele. The staff is predominately gay, although the ownership is not, nor was it intended to be. But, over the years, the ownership and the clientele have grown to have a good relationship.

Enter Proposition 8, when the owners niece, who works at El Coyote, donated $100 to the Yes on 8 campaign (effectively subsidizing the campaign to strip the clientele of their rights).

A boycott of the restaurant was in the works when the waitress decided to address the clientele. That is where this video is from--her address to them.

So where does this leave us? Can someone say simultaneously that she "loves" you and "cares" for you, but is willing not only to strip you of your rights, but to PAY to strip you of your rights? Where does one's culpability for ones votes or donations end? Is it at your own home, or at your place of work? There is nothing illegal about a boycott. There is nothing illegal about donating to a political cause. It is sad that, in this case, the two converge on the life of this one woman--but at the same time, the question must be asked if her pain in losing her job (or, at least, possibly losing her job,) is even equal to the pain caused to the LGBT community by the Prop 8 vote she is responsible for.

Her logic that she's been a member of her Church (Mormon) for a lifetime as reasoning for simultaneously "loving" gays and lesbians but voting to strip the of their rights rings hollow, however, when we look across the pond. In Finland, the Evangelical Lutheran Church has seen upwards of 20,000 members resign out of protest when a Church Spokeswoman said the following:
But, marriage and the right to adopt children are things between a man and a women, and that is the way it is
Imagine, if you would, if the Mormon Church, after hearing the NUMEROUS (and continuous) denunciations of gays in far worse terms than this, saw a similar exodus from its ranks by those who "love" and "support" gays and lesbians. Imagine how different the atmosphere at El Coyote restaurant would have been in that case--no sadness on behalf of a woman who threw her support behind those she loves and supports followed by mutual admiration for the restaurant and staff which supported them.

Instead, we see this woman, at the unfortunate intersection of a personal faith that she will not allow to be overridden by love of her fellow men, becoming a lightning rod for a community that is assailed as evil, unworthy of basic rights and persecuted. And there, at that restaurant, these forces converge to destroy what was a safe place for the community and turning it into a symbol of something destructive.

O'Donnell Can't Name A Single Democratic Senator

OK, barring anything REALLY stupid (ie. worse than what she's already said), then this will be the last Christine O'Donnell clip I will post. Why? Because it's clear she's a ridiculous candidate for Senate. Here, not only can she NOT name a single Senator in the Democratic Party she'll work with, but she answers the question with a lame attempt at garnering support for being a woman by attaching her name to Hillary Clinton's.

After that, you can barely hear it, but she suddenly remembers the name of a "Democrat" she'd work with eeking in "Lieberman" while Chris Coons is talking. He isn't a Democrat! He's an Independent who caucuses with the Democrats. Her knowledge of the legislative body she hopes to join is so shallow as to be non-existent and it is, quite frankly, offensive to the voters of her state that the Republican Party supports her as viable.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Don't Vote

Wow. OK, I apologize for writing so much about politics, but honestly, I thought things would get better before they got worse and I was wrong.

This ad is by a Conservative group in Nevada. As the Latino vote there is huge, this ad takes direct aim at that demographic...but how is not just shocking, but disgusting. Watch it for'll think it's a joke. It has now surpassed the anti-Ron Paul ad as the WORST of the election season.

Monday, October 18, 2010

concept of self

I've run into a lot of gays in Tucson who say things like, "There's nothing hotter than a gay guy who you think is straight." I've tried explaining to the kids who say these things that it's very self-loathing to say that straight people are better or sexier to no avail. I've tried to come up with a simile, and only today, watching the news, did I figure it out.

Meagan McCain was on Rachel Maddow's show today and said the following (paraphrase): I'm the only one with the balls to say [O'Donnell]'s crazy.

After that, there was another news show, and this time, it was Sarah Palin calling out the Republican leadership for not supporting Tea Party candidates strongly enough. She said, over and over again, "Man up."

It's not exactly analogous, but I imagine the unnecessary masculinization of the self for women in order to gain respect is similar to gays needing to "straighten up" to be taken seriously. Hopefully a time will come sooner rather than later when being who one is, standing on one's record, and otherwise simply being the best will be enough without having to deny inherent aspects of "self" to be deemed respectable.

art and nostalgia

My little sister was just visiting NYC and her visit made me nostalgic for times gone by. There is so much to say about NYC, but one of the things that will always stick in my memory are the museum trips with friends.

When you made Cadet pay, something cheap in the city was always nice, and the NYC museums often gave discounted, or free, admission to Soldiers. We'd arrive at museums with names we barely knew and just see what was there.

There was History, Physics, Astronomy--Modern Art, Ancient Art, Greek Art--we found the Cloisters and the MoMA and various theaters (I know...not museums, but still ART!) large and small. I saw a really cool production of The Manchurian Candidate as well as some other pretty amazing things.

The Tate Modern is in London and not NYC, but it reminded me of the experiences I had. Stumbling upon amazing exhibits and eye-opening things is something that happens very often in big cities, and not as often elsewhere. Currently at the Tate, there is an exhibition titled, "The Unilever Series: Ai WeiWei" I do not know the full extent of the exhibition, but part of it is 100 million porcelain sunflower seeds painted by the artist, I believe, by hand.

I'm not sure why the images moved me, but they did. The idea of paining them all seemed very cathartic and repetitive, in a good way. It reminded me of Christos Running Fence wherein a repetitive element in art can become for the viewer and the artist, a mantra that draws one closer to the art, closer to nature, and closer to himself.

I don't know if that was the artists intent, nor does it matter to some degree, but what's important is--well, I don't know what's important to you, but what's important to me is--go to a Museum! Go to one now, if you can, and if not, plan to go to one soon! And, if you don't live near a museum, find your beauty elsewhere. Such as Tucson, which is a veritable treasure trove of small beauty.

OK, that post was random and rambling, but I was thinking about it, so I typed it. Such is life.


This is one of the most despicable political ads I've ever seen. A person's religious beliefs should rarely factor in when considering him or her for office, and the fact this ad is run by a Democrat makes it all the more shocking. I say rarely because if someone's religious beliefs have a deleterious effect on his/her voting, or otherwise keep that person from performing the necessary governmental functions, then they are worth considering, but that argument isn't even made here.

The Tea Party, if nothing else, has helped to somewhat libertarianise the Republican Party. I know that if Rand Paul is elected, he will not willfully support some of the more ridiculous social issues that the current Republican Party stands for, and that's a good thing. It's unfortunate his competitor in this race thinks Rand Paul's perceived religious beliefs are even worth mentioning--and a low point in this years election.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


A possible future US Senator who says we should eliminate the minimum wage to make it easier for youth to get jobs is quoted as saying,
I made my money the old-fashioned way, I inherited it...I think that's a great thing to do. I hope more people in this country have that opportunity as soon as we abolish inheritance tax in this country, which is a key part of my program."

You know just another "real American", "Average Joe" running for office on a platform of improving the lives of ordinary Americans by repealing minimum wage laws, lowering taxes on dead rich people, and otherwise improving the lives of all of us by disuading people from attaining a "liberal education".

Seriously...when did we take this turn for bizarro America, and where was I when it happened??

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Christine O'Donnell: What I'm made of

Growing up, I remember my parents yelling at me, often, because they said I was "Not living up to my potential." My dad had a rule that, so long as I was going to school, I could live at home for free and not pay rent, but that once I stopped going to school, I had to pay rent. It forced me to go to Junior College, and, when I'd decided I no longer wanted to go, I joined the Army.

My dad was, to say the least, disappointed in my decision. Sure, he was proud of me for going into the military, but it's not what he wanted for me. He wanted me to go to college. He had spent so long, almost decades really, achieving his degree through correspondence from Central Illinois University (I believe, I can't be sure which college it was). He just didn't want me to do the same, and instead wanted me to earn my degree from as good an institution as possible.

As the son of an immigrant from the Philippines and the Grandson of two illegal immigrants from Mexico, the idea that we--my sisters, cousins and I--might go to College was the "American Dream". Not all of us did, some of us chose to raise families, go into the military or do other things. But, for the first generation born and raised as full American citizens by birth, we have done well with Doctors, Lawyers and other Professionals as well. The University of Arizona, University of San Diego, San Francisco State University and, yes, The United States Military Academy, have all contributed to my family's educational pedigree. And you know what? Each of us, I am sure, hopes our children will do the same or better--because that's the American Dream.

Beginning not with Palin, but achieving its (thus far) most manifest form in her, is a current anti-intellectual, anti-anything-but-monetary-success streak within American Politics. Within this streak, being successful in education, in non-profit or other non-CEO jobs is not just failure, it's un-American. See Palin's speech at the Republican National Convention in which she claims being a Mayor is "like being a community organizer but with real responsibility." Here, Christine O'Donnell, a Palin knock-off, starts off a political ad with, "I didn't go to Yale." Because, apparently, NOT being as successful as someone else...NOT going to as prestigious a college...NOT putting in that work, that effort, that sweat and tears...NOT doing those things is qualification. It makes someone "real."

I'm done with that. I want her opponent to release an ad saying, "Yes. I inherited money because my father was incredibly successful. After that, I spent my high school years trying very hard, and then went on to study my ass off to get into, and be successful, at one of the most difficult and prestigious schools in America. This is the American Dream. My family achieved it, and I want your family to as well."

Or maybe wait several years and I'll do that ad myself.

Dare to Dream

My Senior Year Homecoming theme (Fallbrook Union High School class of 1998) was "Dare to Dream". I remember picking it at the "leadership retreat" the summer previous based solely upon an awesome float-making idea we had ("we" being Sara Buffamanti and I, really). I can't remember which teacher, or which student, came up with the idea, but all Seniors were given the following prompt on gold paper during Homecoming week, with a single page worth of blank space to write on:
As Seniors, we are facing the future beyond high school. This is a time for us to look forward to the many possibilities that are ours to achieve. The Senior Class Officers are asking you to take part in the Senior homecoming float and to "dare to dream." On the lines provided below, please write down some of your dreams for the future. Please be serious and reflective in your response as these dreams will be saved and returned to you at our ten year reunion. When you are finished, fold the part twice so it is a quarter of the original size, staple it closed, and sign the outside with your name. This letter will be kept confidential. The Senior Class Officers thank you.

I missed my reunion as I was in Iraq, but Joanne Rogers Shreve got my letter. After a decade, it was sent to me and I read it today at lunch. I thought I would share it. So, what were my dreams when I was 17 yrs old? Spelling and Grammar have not been changed. Read on...
My dreams? Oh, so many, well for one thing I dream to go to Rome. In ten yrs. I guess that is possible. I hope to have a very in depth family tree. I dream about my job--What am I going to do? I know what I am thinking of doing right now. If I do do it, I hope I am good @ it, I hope to be more skilled, I hope to be a better person, I hope to be more faithful, more trustworthy, less vindictive. I hope to keep in contact with everyone I am friends with & become friends with people I normally push away. I hope to learn to be much less judgmental. I hope to go to the Philipines. Maybe me & my dad can go to see his Saint? I hope to have done something with my life-for money isn't what I need-I hope to be happy. November 7, 1997.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Dodge Challenger Freedom Commercial

This has got to be one of the best commercials EVER. Someone give the guy who came up with the idea a ribbon.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Day of Silence/Truth

I know I've been writing a lot about gay and lesbian issues lately, but it seems a pertinent issue. Moreover, I feel like the country is at a tipping point. This means I don't think we've necessarily won equal rights for all yet, but that the future hangs in the balance--things can go either way.

But, there are signs things are moving in the right direction. Exodus International, an ex-gay therapy group, has finally stopped supporting the "day of truth" to counter the "day of silence". For those of you who don't know, the "day of silence" is an annual day of no talking to silently support gay and lesbian youth, sponsored by many small high school groups across the country. For years, Exodus has supported a counter protest, where kids wore shirts that read things like, "Be Ashamed. Our school supports what God has condemned" and the like.

It only took the suicides of five gay youth for Exodus to release the following statement:
All the recent attention to bullying helped us realize that we need to equip kids to live out biblical tolerance and grace while treating their neighbors as they'd like to be treated, whether they agree with them or not
While it's sad that it literally took five kids to die before the "WWJD" mantra became an ACTUAL question and answer, I'm glad to see Exodus has finally moved past telling people to be ashamed of themselves.

legislating morality vs. having morals

There is a current frame of mind wherein people who attempt to legislate morality (generally, these laws have the most immediate impact upon gays, lesbians, women and people who don't want kids) say they are being "attacked" for their beliefs. As an example, Sen. Jim DeMint recently said that gays and lesbians, as well as pregnant single women, shouldn't teach elementary school. He then backtracked and apologized--not for what you think though. He apologized for making a statement about what should be a local issue (Reagan anyone? Remember, the last time you heard about "states rights" was when he was implicitly stoking racial fires in the south.)

Through a spokesman, the good Sen. then said that "He was making a point about how the media attacks people for holding a moral opinion."

You see, this is where the good Sen. and people like him go off course. No one is attacking him for holding a moral opinion. People are attacking him for trying to IMPOSE THAT MORAL OPINION THROUGH LEGISLATION.

(I apologize for e-yelling)

He can hold all the moral opinions he wants, in fact, I'm sure he has moral opinions about a lot of things--cussing in public, sex before marriage, divorce, eating meat on fridays during lent, etc. The problem is, no one tries to enforce THOSE morals. Coincidentally the only morals people want to impose are those aforementioned ones that, generally speaking, only impact gays, lesbians, women and people who don't want kids.

So, stop hiding behind this imagined persecution for beliefs while simultaneously ACTUALLY persecuting people. When young, straight Christian boys are killing themselves because all the gays at school, the pastor from the pulpit, the teacher from the classroom, and his parents are telling him not only does God not love him, but he's unworthy of basic rights, THEN we'll talk about you being "persecuted". Until then, you're just wrapping yourself in the mantle of righteous, but genuinely, persecuted people who have come before you and it's quite disgusting to see.

Catholic Reason

While it is always incorrect to speak of Catholicism as a monolithic voice, it is rare that a Priest makes a pronounced and public statement AGAINST his own Archbishop. This particular Priest demonstrates, or more precisely states, what else is often mistaken: the divide between the religious and the political. Recent (as in, since I was born at least) politicians have striven to erase that line (see the Moral Majority or Values Voters), but this Priest re-draws it.

Stated far more eloquently than I generally write, he outlines how gay marriage is NOT a threat to the Sacrament of Marriage, how the Church should see its place in the debate, and most damningly (no pun intended) how the Archbishop over-stepped his bounds AND politicized the Church.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

passively dissapointed

I came to Tucson to watch the Red River Rivalry today and as I was moving from the bar to a table, the first Oklahoma fan showed up. She seemed a very nice lady and sat at the table next to us. It was clear she was a REAL football fan, not someone who only liked the colors or something else. She was with about ten other women, who were uninterested in football, and ignored them. She ordered a bottle of wine for herself and sat at a table by herself so she could watch the game.

I, however, am a UT fan. We joked, between the two of us, and ribbed one another. She told me her son was here, at the University of Arizona, to audition for school. I asked, "Audition for what?"

This is where things go south. She says to me, with an eye roll, "Dancing." Before I can react, she adds, "He's straight. Not like the other dancers." There's a pause. "I put him in dance as a kid, with his sister, so he'd be a good athlete. But he's a good dancer. He DID play football." She stressed this "football" angle hard, as though it somehow nullified his though I cared.

The other women with her, sometime around two, all suddenly up and left. I didn't know why. I asked her as kindly as I could, where all the other women went? She said, "Oh, the audition is over. They're all going to the q and a with the school now." Again, an eye roll, followed by, "My son doesn't even care about football."

She says this, and some time passes. The game ends and her phone rings. She picks it up and rolls her eyes and says something I don't remember. She hangs up the phone and says, "He said he knew the score and that he's done and wants to eat."

The thing was clear, at the last call, that her son was NOT interested in football. He said the score to keep her from telling him the score. He told her, to try to get her to forget about football for a think about him for a support him in his dancing. But, she couldn't. She couldn't support his dancing without an eye roll. She couldn't support his dancing without making it clear that dancing was NOT football...was NOT (in her mind) athletic....was NOT manly.

This woman, who I do not know, is very clearly telling her son through her actions, through her words and through her presence, that she does NOT support him. She is so passively disappointed it hurt me. She is, through her actions, telling her son that she does not support him and that he's a disappointment.

I wanted to find him. I wanted to meet him tonight and tell's OK. Who cares if your mom is disappointed? You are a talented person who loves to dance! Pursue it! Be successful, show her what it means to be a dancer. But I can't, and somewhere out there right now is someone who's mom doesn't...didn't...hasn't...won't...give him the support that I got growing up. That a parent's love is unconditional. I wish I could find him...but I can't.

How Ink Is Made

It's sometimes easy to forget that EVERYTHING we use, from clocks to newspapers to cell phones, came from somewhere. At it's most basic, everything you have was touched by someone--made by someone. This video is not only a reminder of that, but it's also just quite beautiful to watch. The ink flowing, the pigments blowing and colors mixing. Watch it, then look around.

Imagine the process that made your sheets, your picture frame, dishes and television. Somewhere, someone DID that. Someone took raw materials and made them into your THINGS. Kind of amazing isn't it?