Good Week/Bad Week

This was an especially telling week, Dec. 13 through Dec. 20th, 2013.  It was both a good week for some, bad for others, but all in all one that will stand out in an otherwise drab year, as far as I’m concerned.

Let me list some of the highlights of this week and then discuss:

1. The judge ruling in Utah (Utah!?) that the ban against same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

2. Sarah Palin spouting more of her ignorance to “feed” the hungry Tea Party so she can keep her gravy train going.

3. Phil Robertson (and whoever even heard of this jerk before this past week) highlighting more of the hatred that divides this country.

4. Ed Henry over at that fictitious news network Fox attempting to inflict another jab at our President.

5. The Affordable Care Act is actually working; is actually successful.

There were other highlights to this week but these were the ones that stood out most to me, and since this is my blog those are the ones that I chose to discuss, much to the consternation of those Republicans in both my and my husband’s family.  (I just can’t wait to be around my one brother-in-law during this holiday season………I think I’d rather have needles put into my eyes).

First up, Utah.  That bastion of conservatism and non-intellectual thought.  Did you ever think that this would be the next state to allow same-sex marriage?  I thought I had heard that wrong when it was first announced.  But it is a reality.  Bad week for the conservatives (does anyone else consider that noun to be a dirty word these days?) when it comes to us “pesky” gays.  Yep, we got that ball rolling and it’s gaining speed.  We will still have those backward states, the ones that want everything to still be like it was during the Eisenhower Administration, that try to pass laws to keep such left-leaning policies from ever happening.  But they will be on the wrong side of history, as they cling to their ignorance, their guns and their religion.

Second, Sarah Palin.  This woman is one of the most despicable people on the planet.  An ignorant, arrogant, vain-glorious, self-involved, sociopath that constantly stirs up hatred and loves to inflict pain.  Oh, but don’t try to give her a dose of her own medicine.  She doesn’t like it at all.  How could anyone with any intellect or sense of what is right and wrong buy into anything this hag has to say?  She would sell her own defecation if it meant further promotion of Sarah Palin and lots of money.  If you are joining forces with the Westboro Church, and scum like Phil Robertson (see # 3) you are truly evil.  She has no intellect or understanding of how our country works or what our Constitution actually says.  But she doesn’t let silly facts or truths get in the way of her vitriol.  It’s all about her and money.  She can be explained away simply as that.  Thanks John McCain and Stephen Smith for introducing our country to her.  Good week and Bad week for Sarah, depending on what side of the fence you’re on.

Third, Phil Robertson.  How many of us knew or even cared about something called “Duck Dynasty” before this week?  I didn’t, thankfully.  Good lord!  Where do these sort of people come from?  I didn’t get caught up in some time warp, did I?  This is the 21st Century, isn’t it?  And I won’t belabor the whole “freedom of speech” baloney that he, Palin and their ilk are hiding behind.  Again, no intelligent understanding of our Constitution, or it’s Amendments. But if I am going to take their interpretation of our “freedom of speech” then both Robertson and Palin should not have any issue with what I have written here about both of them.  You can’t have it both ways.  And those who live in glass houses should not throw stones, etc. and so forth.  He is another bully.  And bullies don’t like being bullied.  Another Christian who is anything but Christ-like.  I think a bad week for him, but he’s made a name of for himself so let’s start another gravy train built on hatred.  I’m sure the Tea Partiers love him.

Fourth, the man that poses as a journalist over at Fox (Faux) news, Ed Henry.  He couldn’t cut it over at CNN and besides, CNN just wasn’t giving him the kind of spotlight his ego needed.  He doesn’t ask questions to enlighten the public.  No not Ed.  His questions are to poster himself (“Look at me…… I’m really going after the President and making him uncomfortable”), and to act as another shill for the Republican party. That is what Fox news is correct?  He/they don’t report real facts or real news.  It’s a variety show with scripts and facts that are simply made up each day, just like any other variety show.  But poor Ed just came across looking like the hack that he is.  President Obama put him in his place with gentlemanly reserve.  Here’s a news flash for you, Ed:  You didn’t come across very well at all.  But I’m sure everyone at Fox has been slapping you on the back.  I’m going to say, bad week for Ed.

Fifth, The Affordable Health Care Act.  It is a success.  It is working.  And that’s driving the Republican party, and Fox and Hannity and Rush and Michelle Bachmann and Beck and the other wing-nut cases that live on that other planet that they all inhabit, just crazy.  Posture themselves all they want.  The ACA (aka, Obamacare) is not going anywhere.  You’re not going to repeal it.  The Supreme Court has ruled.  It’s the “law.”  And you can thank our President.  I’d say, good week for the ACA.

Happy holidays to everyone.  Agree or disagree with what I have written here, it’s up to you.  It’s my opinion, but I do think I speak for a lot of Americans.  At least that’s the way I see it.  -JAB

Looking back, looking forward

After nearly a 3 year hiatus I am back to writing my blog.  I hope that all of my FaceBook friends will stop by each time I write something, even if it is just to tell me to shut up.  I do tend to get rather political ( I am a died-in-the-wool liberal) as you can see from my past drafts.

My last piece was my very personal eulogy to Elizabeth Taylor.  I received a lot of feedback from that one.   I suppose because it came from my heart.  She was simply a true beauty and a great woman.

Over the past 3 years, during this hiatus, I have had some rewarding, and not-so-rewarding experiences that have helped shape my perspective on many issues.  I suppose we are all works in progress, and I would never be so smug as to think that I have all the answers.  I will be turning 60 in 2014 and a friend of mine from the gym recently asked me to impart some words of wisdom to him.  I thought about the road I have traveled, and told him honestly, “The only thing I know for certain is that I don’t know anything.”  The second one thinks they have it all straightened out is the exact moment when life bites you on the ass.  And over these 3 years I have grown to learn who my real friends are and those who are really just my acquaintances.  I am not drawing a line between good and bad here, it is simply a reality  that I have learned to accept.

So with that I will end my “coming out of retirement” blog and do hope that I will have something to say in my future writings that will catch someone’s attention and maybe move one to comment.  Thank you.  -JB

A Class Act

A CLASS ACT
SUNDAY, APRIL 10, 2011

ELIZABETH TAYLOR.  Actress, star, beauty, humanitarian, broad.  The compliments were, are and forever will be given to her.  She was all that, and a bag of chips.  A great lady that did more for this world than I think she even knew.  I’ve hesitated writing anything here with regards to her death, not because so much is already being written, rather it is simply a case of mourning.  I truly feel as though I have lost someone close to me.  Only now can I sit down and write about her.

ELIZABETH TAYLOR.  That name up on a marquee at one time used to indicate big box-office receipts; lines of people waiting to get into a theater to see her latest film.  Every magazine editor from every famous weekly, be it Life, Look, Time, Newsweek, People, Vogue all have said the same thing: when Elizabeth Taylor was on the cover, that particular magazine issue always sold out.

One great reporter/writer who was following Taylor over the course of several months to do a story on her had this to say: “She is like this little boat that just is cruising along not even aware of the huge wake that she is leaving behind her.”  She was myopic with regards to her celebrity, she had to be.  She became aware of her power as an actress and one who could negotiate like a “man” while married to the short and tough and sexy Mike Todd.  He informed her that, “audacity makes the star.”  Other actresses of her day went seeking her advice when it came time to negotiate lucrative film contracts for themselves.  In the ’50’s and ’60’s every Elizabeth Taylor movie earned what in today’s dollars would be the equivalent of around $250 million, at the box office alone.  There were no DVD sales, or other money making outlets at the time.  She also negotiated for 10% of all box office gross receipts up front.  For those who don’t know accounting jargon, that means that for every dollar that came in at the box office she received 10 cents right off the bat.  In 1967 the National Review Magazine called her, “the only true, gilt-edged investment” and referred to her as every man’s dream wife: “beautiful, talented and working…. and since she makes a minimum of $1 million per picture, she is the kind of wife that every man can afford.”

ELIZABETH TAYLOR personified what most people think of when they think of a movie star: unparalleled beauty, talent, drama, tragedy, husbands, villas, minks, diamonds, yachts, private planes, an entourage, at the top of all invite lists for all A-list parties.  Truman Capote had the “Burtons” on  his list when he was constructing his famous Black and White Ball at the Plaza in New York in 1966.  When Elizabeth arrived at the “Ball of the Century” party in Venice in 1967 she completely eclipsed guest of honor, Princess Grace of Monaco when she arrived wearing an elaborate head-dress that Alexander of Paris had made for her film “Boom.”  At the Lido opening in Paris in 1964 the invitation called for “pants only.”  When Elizabeth arrived, emerging from her green Rolls Royce as her chauffeur Gaston opened the door, she was wearing a gold lame ball gown with gold lame ribbons falling from her hair, and a million dollars worth of rare yellow diamonds on her fingers, wrists and ears.  The paparazzi went nuts, and of course, they still let her into the party, where she was immediately sat next to Aristotle Onassis.  Explaining her attire she simply said: “I wear pants to work.”  She could have just as easily said nothing but, “I’m Elizabeth Taylor.”

But this woman, this star was something much more to me.  Any of you who have followed my blog know that I come from a quite dysfunctional Italian-American family.  This woman was in a strange way a savior for me.  I’m sure that there are many other gay men who have a similar feeling or experience when it comes to this great lady.  I think I really became aware of her in the Spring of 1962, at the start of what would become known as “la scandale.”  She was in all her Cleopatra glory, make-up, sensationalism when her Life Magazine covers arrived.  Who was she, I thought?  Why were my parents and others talking about her in such vehement tones?  Grabbing a copy of Life and retreating to my bedroom, I read about her and was intrigued.  She was so fascinating, and beautiful, and doing whatever she wanted to do, and doing it all on such a grand scale.  Her life, her pictures took me away from all the screaming that was going on outside that bedroom door.  My little gay boy soul could be whisked away to a place of glamour, and other-worldliness.  Whatever torment I had to face outside of my bedroom simply melted away when I could just sit and read about Elizabeth Taylor.

To this day, if I am feeling blue, or things just are not going right, or I need some escapism, I can put in an Elizabeth Taylor DVD, and for those two hours or so I am pleasantly comforted and everything is ok.  I always wanted to meet her to tell her that she helped yet another gay boy/man cope.  I will always treasure the autographed picture she sent to me, accompanied by a private note, on stationary the color of her eyes, saying “thanks for thinking of me.”  I have the picture and note framed and they sit on the wall right above my computer.  I look at them every day.

So, goodbye Dame Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor.  My gay brothers and I will always consider you a Saint.  You Dame Elizabeth personified the true definition of a Saint.  I am glad that your physical suffering is over, but you will forever be missed.  There is a pain in my heart over your passing.

I could not agree more with the words of her son, Michael Wilding, Jr., who said at his mother’s funeral, “the world is a better place for having had Elizabeth Taylor in it.”  Amen.  -JAB

A’int We Got Fun

A’INT WE GOT FUN
TUESDAY, JANUARY 11, 2011

In the 1920’s during the “ragtime” era of music there was a song whose lyrics went like this:

…… THE RICH GET RICHER, AND THE POOR GET POORER, BUT IN THE MEAN TIME, IN BETWEEN TIME, A’INT WE GOT FUN.

Does this lyric resonate with a certain irony to anyone else out there?  I for one am so happy that we got this “bail-out” for the wealthiest US citizens just in the nick of time.  Wow, that was close.  Can you imagine what would have happened if they had not received this “bail-out.”  I mean, gosh, they’ve only had these tax-breaks for only about 8 years.  I mean, for Christ sake, that’s not enough time to build enormous wealth… and certainly not enough time to not only build that wealth but then create jobs for, you know, the lower “masses.”  And what with the hit that many of them had to take two years ago, leaving many of them with only several millions.  Forget putting food on the table or a roof over your children’s head.  These wealthy had “real” problems after that financial debacle.
Can you even imagine having to cancel the order on your new Bentley, or cancel the usual holiday ski trip to Gstaad?  The horror.  The shame.  Don’t even get me started on those poor wealthy people who could no longer afford the summer rental in the Hamptons, or worse yet, having to just forgo that third home.

I am so glad the Republicans got into office just in time.  Now, we are going to see these wealthy individuals and corporations being allowed to have some breathing room.  Not have to deal with the threat of those “pesky” under
privileged who are always such a nuisance.  The wealthiest in the country and those corporations who are making billions now, even in this lousy economy, will get around to creating jobs and getting our country back on track when they have time to think.  Not with all these less fortunate people screaming at them constantly.  Give them a break.  Let them come up with a strategy for job-creation while they are relaxing in the south of France.

Also, something that simply must be mentioned at this juncture: Yes, many of these same individuals and corporations had a hand in the loss of wealth for many hard-working citizens of the US, through the ending of their pensions and melt-down of their 401(K)’s.  But hey, listen, they were doing what they were doing.  Ronald Reagan took away all their regulations and they were able to act freely.  They technically didn’t do anything wrong.  They could do whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted.  How indignant that they should have to answer for their responsibility in all of this.  They have been cosseted all along.  It isn’t fair.  Just leave them alone.  Obama and his “change we can believe in” rhetoric was just so in-their-self-righteous face.

One more thing: If they had not had little George-y W. Bush on their side, giving them these tax-breaks all along, while financing his wars through borrowing from China, and taking away more and more from those, once again, “pesky” regular hard working US citizens… well, can you imagine the predicament they would be in?  Remember, George-y himself would have been a n’er-do-well if it wasn’t for his Daddy, big George-y, using his money and influence to get little George-y W. into Yale.  He would not have been our President if it wasn’t for catering to the wealthiest in the country (his “base” as he has always referred to them).  He’s not to blame.  He was only taking care of himself and his legacy.  Like those wealthy friends of his that he helped to become even wealthier, he’ll get around to taking care of those “less fortunate” in the country eventually.  Eight years in office is not a whole lot of time to be able to get things done.

Those jobs are going to be created.  That wealth is going to “trickle-down.”  We will all benefit from the “bail-out” for the wealthiest in this country, but damn it, we have to be patient.  Republicans know best.  This high-energy Obama, with all his “do-good” intentions and desire to get things done quickly is just not the way the ones who are pulling the puppet strings like to see things done.

Now, this is my segue-way into our electorate in this US of America, and their “funny” way of thinking.  Even though our President Obama told everyone, over and over again, that it would take time to get us back on track, that it would take time, and we would need the sacrifice of everyone, well… that was some nice talk, but really.  We need things quickly.  We can’t save for them.  That’s the reason us US citizens have to run up so much on our credit cards.  We need things right away; we can’t wait for time!  Jesus!  “HE” (meaning Obama) isn’t doing enough.  We’re petulant, and if we don’t get what we want in a cyber-second then we must just have a snit-fit, melt-down, temper-tantrum, vote-’em-out-of-office, hysterical hissy-fit.  That’s what we do.  Just as the wealthy should never have to suffer the indignities of tax-cuts or helping those less fortunate, so our electorate in the country should never be told that they need to stop behaving like a bunch of emotional 13 year-olds.

Everything was working out fine under George-y W. Bush.  Yes, nothing constructive got done, and our deficit went spiraling out of control, but everything “appeared” to be ok and like the Eisenhower years all over again.  We could all deal with that.  Well, if you were white, straight, upper middle-class to wealthy, and all your ducks were in a row… I mean, then all was fine.  Then this Obama starts stirring up the pot.  Honestly.

I’m sorry, have I come across as a tad sarcastic in this latest installment to my blog?  What the hell is going on?  Jobs are not going to be created with this latest tax-break to the wealthy.  They will keep more of it themselves and make the ones who have jobs just work harder for less.  Just so long as it looks as if Obama is not successful, and his programs for change are squashed beyond recognition.

The Tea Partiers in the country, the electorate who voted out the Democrats, the US citizens who did not even vote, none of them have any answers, no solutions.  But they can throw a fit like no others.  I see our general US society becoming more and more like the Mary Tyler Moore character in the movie “Ordinary People.”  We like things neat and easy.  We can’t handle mess.  We can’t handle the truth.  We’d rather be lied to like during the George-y W. Bush years (while more and more of our rights are being undermined or out-and-out taken away from us), as long as things “appear” to be ok.  We don’t like not hearing what we want to hear.  We get pissed and petulant and mean when we don’t hear what we want to hear.

I know those of you who read my blogs regularly see this as me preaching to the choir again, but I do hope that you take my thoughts to others out there that have a different way of thinking.

It is the beginning of 2011.  This vehicle called our society, our country, our way of life is clearly out of control and more and more being steered by ignorant, selfish, lunatics.

Buy hey, a’int we got fun!? -JAB

 

I’m All Over The Place

I’M ALL OVER THE PLACE
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2010

The title says it all for this, my November 2010 blah, blah, blah.  I felt the need to touch on a variety of things and the non-sequitur throughout is intentional.  Thought I’d put out that warning before someone decides to correct me.  It is amazing how many of us were raised Catholic, and feel the need to point out supposed errors.  I will never fully escape the clutches of Sister Mary Katherine.

So the mid-term elections are over and the results are just about what everyone was expecting.  Those liberals amongst us in California are pleased with the results, which was not expected.  Meg Whitman managed to spend $142 million of her own money to “get out her message” as she said, and yet she still lost.  We still don’t know what “her message” was, besides planning to put a lot of people out of work, and the fact that she managed to insult Hispanics, despite hiring an illegal alien as her housekeeper; gays, since she had planned to appeal the denounced Prop 8; her own sex by saying that she didn’t have time to vote when she was a stay-at-home mom.  Yeah Meg, that’s the way to get votes out here in California.  “I’m gonna fuck you over and/or insult you, but I’d still like you to vote for me” always is the winning sort of talk that gets my vote.

Barbara Boxer is still in, and Fiorina didn’t cut it.  I’ve spoken with both of them on airplanes by-the-way, and while Ms. Boxer is a great woman, with intelligent provoking ideas for our country and a desire to produce what is good for all Americans, my conversation with Ms. Fiorina was, well, to avoid any lawsuits, let’s just say the dialogue was less than stellar and left a bad taste in my mouth.  There’s a lot of people with a lot of money in California, but in our great state you still apparently can’t buy elections, and intelligence still trumps arrogance and ignorance out here. However, I can’t speak for the rest of the country, God help us.  Quick statistic: Meg spent somewhere around $42 to $47 dollars for every vote.  Just imagine what productive things she could have done with that money.  How many jobs could she have created?  How many needy, homeless children could she have fed?  Instead she thought that by not voting for years and running businesses that put people out of work somehow qualified her for running California.  No, it doesn’t work that way in California, Meg.  Try former states that I’ve lived in like Colorado or Missouri.

The results for the rest of the country is just sad.  I don’t know where our country is headed with some of the people now in powerful positions in our government.  Will we just stagnate further?  They say that the Republicans will hurt themselves with in-fighting.  I’m not so sure.  The “Tea Party” is calling the shots for most of them and getting more powerful.  I predicted nearly two years ago that no one should take Sarah Palin lightly.  I’ve said before on this blog that she is a scary woman who will be more dangerous and more detrimental in the long run than Joseph McCarthy ever was.  She, as well as Michelle Bachmann, is the latest guru that narcissistic, ignorant, racist, refuse-to-believe-
any-fact-or-rational-thought people just want to follow and worship.  Did you see Michelle Bachmann being interviewed on MSNBC by Chris Matthews on election night?  For a truly spooky experience YouTube it.  Matthews asks her several times if she has been “hypnotized.”  She just says the same thing over and over again no matter what the question asked of her, and then follows it up with a demonic, Stepford wife smile and deer-in-the-headlights stare into the camera.  Rachel Maddow’s (who was there while Matthews was asking the questions) reaction to the Twilight Zone experience is wonderful.  Yet there are Americans who actually keep this woman in office.  There are a lot of Americans who buy Sarah Palin’s non-sensical diatribe as gospel.

Why don’t reporters force women like Palin, Bachmann, Whitman, and men like Boehner and McConnell to actually give them concrete answers to how they would fix things?  These people can demolish everything and everyone they don’t like, but I’ve yet to hear anything from any of them that has an iota, or even an iota of an iota, of what or how they would then construct anew after the demolition.  And I want something of real rational thought and reason.  Not just old chestnuts, rhetoric that has been spewed out before and has shown not to work.  Of course, that would take intelligence and a desire to help those less fortunate than them.  We’re walking on thin ice folks.   The inmates are running the asylum.  We should be very scared of this “Tea Party.”

My husband tells me, as he notices my blood pressure rising, that we should just look away and see where our position is and how well we have it.  He has a point to all of this.  After all, we do live in California where our marriage is still recognized by the state.  We live in San Francisco where very few have a problem with us being a gay couple.  We have jobs, we have a home, we have our ducks in a row.  But I’m still concerned about my fellow Americans who don’t have much.  I am still concerned about gay men and women who don’t live in such progressive cities and states and are killing themselves.  I still want to fight the bullies (there are bullies in my family but they run scared of ME
now).  My hat goes off to Dan Savage and his husband for coming up with the “It Gets Better” campaign to reach out to gay and lesbian youth who are being bullied at school and at home.  But I am also of the resolve, finally, that we will not see full and equal rights for gays and lesbians in my lifetime.  I don’t think I’m being a fatalist, moreover a realist.  But hey, I’ll be the first one to eat my own words should things change that drastically in the next 10 to 20 years.

So, to segue way out of this and to a more beautiful landscape and one which is truly a passion for me:  FOOD.  I love the “cooking”/Food channel.  I love Rachel Ray.  I love Ghiada Di Laurentis.  I could almost go “straight” for her.  She cooks up such delicious meals and in such a delicious setting (her home and kitchen are to die for) and she does it while looking so beautiful.  I want to meet her.  I want her to hang out with all of my gay friends.  I’ve cooked several of her dishes that I’ve learned from her while working out on the elliptical machine at our home.  And she cooks up everything with such Italian zest and flair.  My husband loves her for no other reason than that she gets me away from the political arena, MSNBC, and also he gets a fabulous meal presented to him compliments of Ghiada.  If you have not seen her show you simply must.

Finally, our San Francisco Giants won the World Series, November 1st, 2010 in the year of our Lord.  Do you realize how monumental this is?  My husband, born and raised in San Francisco, has been a fan since he was a little boy.  We are season ticket holders and we could have made a fortune selling our seats to the series (anywhere from $500 to $1000 per ticket), but there was no way we were going to give them up.  Out team is as studly and talented as you can get.  Brian Wilson (“Fear the Beard”) and Tim Lincecum and Madison Baumgarner are our unbelievable pitchers.  Then there is Brian Posey and Matt Cain and Cody Ross, all hot, sexy and the absolute best at what they do.  Fiercely dedicated and focused.  Such professionals.  And so young!  It is a delight to watch my husband at one of our games at AT&T Park.  He is like a child in a man’s body.  It makes me fall in love with him all over again.  We deserved to win after 52 years and the city is aglow.

My late father used to say that the United States was tilted slightly to the west and because of that everything that was loose rolled to California.  Well Dad, I guess that includes your oldest son, and in light of all the aforementioned in this blog, I’m glad to have rolled here.  -JAB
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Choices

There is a television show that I have developed a passion for over the last several years.  It is on AMC and it is a superb confection entitled “Mad Men.”  The show’s creator, Matthew Weiner, is a man who is after my own heart.  A perfectionist and a stickler for detail, he supervises every single nuance of the show, from the written script, to set design, casting, clothes, etc.  No subtlety is missed.  And since the show takes place in the early 1960’s, a time that I well remember, I have yet to be disappointed.  Everything is absolutely on target.  It is no wonder that it is being hailed as the best drama that has ever graced the small screen, and winning countless awards.  The writers, spearheaded by Mr. Weiner, speak to us of a time that is both sexy and sad, progressive and yet frustratingly backwards.  The morality lessons presented in almost every episode at times appear like something almost medieval, yet on the other hand the arguments presented reminds me that we haven’t come very far at all.

However, I feel as though I always learn something or have brought to my attention a point of relevance that is as true now as it would have been in what is now termed the”mid-century.”  In one of the last episodes the title character, played by the astoundingly handsome and astoundingly talented actor, Jon Hamm, presented to another character the main reason for “advertising” (for those of you not familiar with the show it centers around a fictional advertising agency on Madison Avenue).  Said Mr. Hamm’s character, Don Draper,”…. what is behind any advertisement is simple: doing or having what you want, as opposed to doing or having what is expected of you.”  Amen.

That notion, that thought, that idea hit me like a ton of bricks.  I hadn’t consciously thought about it, it wasn’t exactly a course that I deliberately made for myself, but nevertheless it is a path that I have been on for about ten years now.  Ten years ago there were a series of events in my life that shook me to my core, and made me grow up.  Ever since then I realize that I have been making choices for myself that have everything to do with what I want, not what has been expected of me.  Those choices have not exactly put me in the good graces of several members of my family.  But those very same people in my family are in fact the ones who have constantly done what is expected of them, not what they want.  Part of the reason they don’t like it is that I do what I want, not what they think I should want.  They hate that.  One in particular, a certain brother-in-law, chafes at the fact that I have never done what he thinks I should do, or how he thinks I should do it.  The only place I now do what is expected of me is while on my main job.  Otherwise, it’s an open road ahead of me and I grab for all that is out there.  I’ve indulged my passions.  I don’t do what is expected of me.  I don’t deliberately hurt anyone, but fuck expectations.  I realize I have been healthier physically, mentally certainly, and emotionally definitely, since charting this particular path.

This past week, a close acquaintance of mine that I have known for 24 years, committed suicide.  I’d known this man was dealing with much: divorce, children, coming out of the closet, finances, burning the candle at both ends.  On one hand the news didn’t surprise me, but nevertheless it was an awful thing to hear.  I thought about his life and what came to the forefront, for me at least, was what I have been writing about here.  It appears to me that for much of his life he made choices based on what others always expected of him.  And when that became too much for him he went a little crazy.  He cracked.  The roller-coaster ride became too much for him.  I believe too many of my gay brothers and sisters have tried to do what is expected of them only for that path to lead them to drugs, alcohol or a life gone mad.

So what am I getting at here?  We all have choices.  Life is a series of them.  Daily.  My parents had five children.  Not because they wanted five children, but because that’s what was expected of them since they were Catholic.  My Mother often said, in her typical tactless, ignorant manner, that she never would have had us “last three” if the Catholic Church had let she and Dad practice birth control.  Great.  Thanks.  That was always a nice thing to hear.  Perhaps though that is one reason that, after I finally figured things out, I was determined not to do what was expected of me.  I would make the choices that were right for me, however wrong those choices seemed to others.

Make your choices…. the choices you want.  If they happen to coincide with what is expected of you then cheers.  Everyone will be happy.  But if they don’t, don’t fret over it.  If someone starts preaching to you that you’re not doing what is expected of you (based on what they think you should do and how you should do it) look them straight in their eye, and then spit in it.  Tell them you are following another voice, the voice of a certain “mad man.”  Then throw your chest out and walk the path you want.  It’s not worth it living a life of expectations that make you miserable, or send you to destruction.  It’s an old cliche, but it’s so on the money-Be true to yourself.  You will be happier.  That’s the way I see it.  -JAB
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There is a television show that I have developed a passion for over the last several years.  It is on AMC and it is a superb confection entitled “Mad Men.”  The show’s creator, Matthew Weiner, is a man who is after my own heart.  A perfectionist and a stickler for detail, he supervises every single nuance of the show, from the written script, to set design, casting, clothes, etc.  No subtlety is missed.  And since the show takes place in the early 1960’s, a time that I well remember, I have yet to be disappointed.  Everything is absolutely on target.  It is no wonder that it is being hailed as the best drama that has ever graced the small screen, and winning countless awards.  The writers, spearheaded by Mr. Weiner, speak to us of a time that is both sexy and sad, progressive and yet frustratingly backwards.  The morality lessons presented in almost every episode at times appear like something almost medieval, yet on the other hand the arguments presented reminds me that we haven’t come very far at all.

However, I feel as though I always learn something or have brought to my attention a point of relevance that is as true now as it would have been in what is now termed the”mid-century.”  In one of the last episodes the title character, played by the astoundingly handsome and astoundingly talented actor, Jon Hamm, presented to another character the main reason for “advertising” (for those of you not familiar with the show it centers around a fictional advertising agency on Madison Avenue).  Said Mr. Hamm’s character, Don Draper,”…. what is behind any advertisement is simple: doing or having what you want, as opposed to doing or having what is expected of you.”  Amen.

That notion, that thought, that idea hit me like a ton of bricks.  I hadn’t consciously thought about it, it wasn’t exactly a course that I deliberately made for myself, but nevertheless it is a path that I have been on for about ten years now.  Ten years ago there were a series of events in my life that shook me to my core, and made me grow up.  Ever since then I realize that I have been making choices for myself that have everything to do with what I want, not what has been expected of me.  Those choices have not exactly put me in the good graces of several members of my family.  But those very same people in my family are in fact the ones who have constantly done what is expected of them, not what they want.  Part of the reason they don’t like it is that I do what I want, not what they think I should want.  They hate that.  One in particular, a certain brother-in-law, chafes at the fact that I have never done what he thinks I should do, or how he thinks I should do it.  The only place I now do what is expected of me is while on my main job.  Otherwise, it’s an open road ahead of me and I grab for all that is out there.  I’ve indulged my passions.  I don’t do what is expected of me.  I don’t deliberately hurt anyone, but fuck expectations.  I realize I have been healthier physically, mentally certainly, and emotionally definitely, since charting this particular path.

This past week, a close acquaintance of mine that I have known for 24 years, committed suicide.  I’d known this man was dealing with much: divorce, children, coming out of the closet, finances, burning the candle at both ends.  On one hand the news didn’t surprise me, but nevertheless it was an awful thing to hear.  I thought about his life and what came to the forefront, for me at least, was what I have been writing about here.  It appears to me that for much of his life he made choices based on what others always expected of him.  And when that became too much for him he went a little crazy.  He cracked.  The roller-coaster ride became too much for him.  I believe too many of my gay brothers and sisters have tried to do what is expected of them only for that path to lead them to drugs, alcohol or a life gone mad.

So what am I getting at here?  We all have choices.  Life is a series of them.  Daily.  My parents had five children.  Not because they wanted five children, but because that’s what was expected of them since they were Catholic.  My Mother often said, in her typical tactless, ignorant manner, that she never would have had us “last three” if the Catholic Church had let she and Dad practice birth control.  Great.  Thanks.  That was always a nice thing to hear.  Perhaps though that is one reason that, after I finally figured things out, I was determined not to do what was expected of me.  I would make the choices that were right for me, however wrong those choices seemed to others.

Make your choices…. the choices you want.  If they happen to coincide with what is expected of you then cheers.  Everyone will be happy.  But if they don’t, don’t fret over it.  If someone starts preaching to you that you’re not doing what is expected of you (based on what they think you should do and how you should do it) look them straight in their eye, and then spit in it.  Tell them you are following another voice, the voice of a certain “mad man.”  Then throw your chest out and walk the path you want.  It’s not worth it living a life of expectations that make you miserable, or send you to destruction.  It’s an old cliche, but it’s so on the money-Be true to yourself.  You will be happier.  That’s the way I see it.  -JAB
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In The Now, If You Can

Lately, and for numerous reasons or circumstances, I’ve been reminded how wasteful and counter-productive it is for one to live in the past.  We all know that it serves no purpose, that it limits our growth as human beings, and that for the most part we never learn from history anyway.  I’ve had some time off from work and freed from the confines of the work situation been able to reflect on many things.  During this period of freedom I have had encounters or thrust into situations with friends, my husband or complete strangers that have driven home that age-old, or new-age, belief of living in the now.  “Live for the moment,” we’re told.  “Too many of us are constantly rehashing the past, and rehearsing the future.  Live for what is right here, right now.”

Is that a concept that is easier said than done?  Does anyone else out there find that a difficult thing to embrace, and I mean really embrace with your whole being, mind and soul?  We are creatures of habit and I think I can venture to say that most of us don’t like change.  We stay in jobs, marriages, living arrangements, cities because the effort to change, or the scary prospect that change may bring about, is too intimidating.  We prefer what is familiar.  Hindsight is always 20/20, and the future is too often blurred.  So why do so many dwell in one or the other, and not the now?

Twenty-two years ago I enrolled in what at the time was considered the “Gay EST.”  Remember EST?  Werner Erhardt I believe started these introspective weekends where one was forced to go deep into yourself, to find yourself.  You were meant to discover what was holding you back in life.  Throw off the old, go bravely into the new, the future.  At the time it was a shattering weekend for me, both good and bad.  I saw just how bad the relationship was that I was in at the time.  I painfully revisited psychological scars in order, I was told, to finally free myself of them.  I was shown that the future had limitless potential, and that I could live my life as an openly gay man.  All the while new-age music was playing in the background where our “experience” was being guided by the very charismatic founder of the program.  At the end of it I felt liberated, and the considerable cost of the weekend no longer bothered me.  My “high” lasted for awhile.  It didn’t set me out onto the course that I thought it would at the time, but I grew from it.  I just grew a little faster than I normally would have.  I would have done the same things eventually that I did after the program, I just did them at a quicker pace.  The aforementioned charismatic leader was lucratively cashing in on that “80’s” thinking.  I’ll hand it to him, he knew the iron was hot for a guru like himself to sound the call for people like myself who were lost at the time.  No regrets, but I did feel slightly taken once I realized (speaking only for myself) that it was a little like a scam around the edges.  Also, in the aftermath of my weekend I got to know the founder/guru on a more personal level.  A brilliant man, highly educated and worldly, who helped a lot of people but who himself was a bit of a mess, and who could never tolerate any mirror being put up to his own face.  I beat a retreat back into that old, comfy notion called cynicism.  On the one hand the past came back to constantly talk in my ear “blah, blah, blah.”  On the other hand the future looked fearful.  I have no idea what was happening in the now, the most important thing that mattered.  The most important thing that matters still.

So now we fast forward all these many years and I am trying to live in the moment.  I will have an encounter, a situation, a meeting, an event and I will say to myself, “Ok, observe and listen, what is happening right here and right now, be it good or bad,” and it is difficult.  I find myself having to scream at that voice from the past to shut up.  I want to live in the now, but that other voice, the “future” voice is saying, “watch out, be careful, don’t misstep, gather all the information first, talk to the experts, think out that decision, and what might be the repercussions.”  The now gets lost.  I try to focus to talk myself through it but the words get in the way.

Is it a struggle to stay in the now because of the world we live in?  The news everyday, everywhere is so unsettling, so anxiety provoking.  Is it any wonder that the future seems muddied and scary.  Are we driving that car into our future while constantly looking in the rear-view mirror? Is that why many of us can’t stay focused on the now, and the importance of it?  I got this “rear-view” mirror idea during a coffee house meeting with a stranger.  I wanted to be in the now, to listen to what he had to say, not to revert to my cynical side, and I liked the concept he was presenting.  He had a valid point that I felt was something to embrace, but his argument quickly caused me to inwardly sneer (my Mother’s voice telling me to be polite kept a soft smile on my face) when I realized he was another guru, a gay man who oddly enough has loathing for homosexuality, an out-sized ego, and an over-inflated sense of self importance.  “Yeah,” I wanted to shout at him, “why don’t you take an honest look at yourself in the mirror before you go about proselytizing in that my-shit-don’t-stink attitude and body language on what is wrong with everyone else in this world.”  And this guy aspires to be a motivational speaker.  Oh brother.  But I digress.

Big Ego man had an interesting take on the matter.  We spin our wheels and we can’t move in a good direction if we are constantly looking at the past, placing blame on one another, vigorously arguing our perception of things, without seeing, focusing, listening to what is important for us right here, now.  We won’t ever get what we want, we will always be in a state of useless frustration.

So I will continue to work at it again, to work on myself visualizing what I need to do, what I need to focus on to be in the now, this very moment.  To learn from those moments, to grow from them.  If anyone else has any ideas on how any of us can better do this I encourage you to tell us all.  I want everyone to be better, less cynical, to be nicer to one another, to help each other.  Our world is on a slippery-slope.  Keeping our sights on what is right and good, right now, and teaching each other how to do this could be the means to a better life.  It’s worth a thought.  -JAB

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Lately, and for numerous reasons or circumstances, I’ve been reminded how wasteful and counter-productive it is for one to live in the past.  We all know that it serves no purpose, that it limits our growth as human beings, and that for the most part we never learn from history anyway.  I’ve had some time off from work and freed from the confines of the work situation been able to reflect on many things.  During this period of freedom I have had encounters or thrust into situations with friends, my husband or complete strangers that have driven home that age-old, or new-age, belief of living in the now.  “Live for the moment,” we’re told.  “Too many of us are constantly rehashing the past, and rehearsing the future.  Live for what is right here, right now.”

Is that a concept that is easier said than done?  Does anyone else out there find that a difficult thing to embrace, and I mean really embrace with your whole being, mind and soul?  We are creatures of habit and I think I can venture to say that most of us don’t like change.  We stay in jobs, marriages, living arrangements, cities because the effort to change, or the scary prospect that change may bring about, is too intimidating.  We prefer what is familiar.  Hindsight is always 20/20, and the future is too often blurred.  So why do so many dwell in one or the other, and not the now?

Twenty-two years ago I enrolled in what at the time was considered the “Gay EST.”  Remember EST?  Werner Erhardt I believe started these introspective weekends where one was forced to go deep into yourself, to find yourself.  You were meant to discover what was holding you back in life.  Throw off the old, go bravely into the new, the future.  At the time it was a shattering weekend for me, both good and bad.  I saw just how bad the relationship was that I was in at the time.  I painfully revisited psychological scars in order, I was told, to finally free myself of them.  I was shown that the future had limitless potential, and that I could live my life as an openly gay man.  All the while new-age music was playing in the background where our “experience” was being guided by the very charismatic founder of the program.  At the end of it I felt liberated, and the considerable cost of the weekend no longer bothered me.  My “high” lasted for awhile.  It didn’t set me out onto the course that I thought it would at the time, but I grew from it.  I just grew a little faster than I normally would have.  I would have done the same things eventually that I did after the program, I just did them at a quicker pace.  The aforementioned charismatic leader was lucratively cashing in on that “80’s” thinking.  I’ll hand it to him, he knew the iron was hot for a guru like himself to sound the call for people like myself who were lost at the time.  No regrets, but I did feel slightly taken once I realized (speaking only for myself) that it was a little like a scam around the edges.  Also, in the aftermath of my weekend I got to know the founder/guru on a more personal level.  A brilliant man, highly educated and worldly, who helped a lot of people but who himself was a bit of a mess, and who could never tolerate any mirror being put up to his own face.  I beat a retreat back into that old, comfy notion called cynicism.  On the one hand the past came back to constantly talk in my ear “blah, blah, blah.”  On the other hand the future looked fearful.  I have no idea what was happening in the now, the most important thing that mattered.  The most important thing that matters still.

So now we fast forward all these many years and I am trying to live in the moment.  I will have an encounter, a situation, a meeting, an event and I will say to myself, “Ok, observe and listen, what is happening right here and right now, be it good or bad,” and it is difficult.  I find myself having to scream at that voice from the past to shut up.  I want to live in the now, but that other voice, the “future” voice is saying, “watch out, be careful, don’t misstep, gather all the information first, talk to the experts, think out that decision, and what might be the repercussions.”  The now gets lost.  I try to focus to talk myself through it but the words get in the way.

Is it a struggle to stay in the now because of the world we live in?  The news everyday, everywhere is so unsettling, so anxiety provoking.  Is it any wonder that the future seems muddied and scary.  Are we driving that car into our future while constantly looking in the rear-view mirror? Is that why many of us can’t stay focused on the now, and the importance of it?  I got this “rear-view” mirror idea during a coffee house meeting with a stranger.  I wanted to be in the now, to listen to what he had to say, not to revert to my cynical side, and I liked the concept he was presenting.  He had a valid point that I felt was something to embrace, but his argument quickly caused me to inwardly sneer (my Mother’s voice telling me to be polite kept a soft smile on my face) when I realized he was another guru, a gay man who oddly enough has loathing for homosexuality, an out-sized ego, and an over-inflated sense of self importance.  “Yeah,” I wanted to shout at him, “why don’t you take an honest look at yourself in the mirror before you go about proselytizing in that my-shit-don’t-stink attitude and body language on what is wrong with everyone else in this world.”  And this guy aspires to be a motivational speaker.  Oh brother.  But I digress.

Big Ego man had an interesting take on the matter.  We spin our wheels and we can’t move in a good direction if we are constantly looking at the past, placing blame on one another, vigorously arguing our perception of things, without seeing, focusing, listening to what is important for us right here, now.  We won’t ever get what we want, we will always be in a state of useless frustration.

So I will continue to work at it again, to work on myself visualizing what I need to do, what I need to focus on to be in the now, this very moment.  To learn from those moments, to grow from them.  If anyone else has any ideas on how any of us can better do this I encourage you to tell us all.  I want everyone to be better, less cynical, to be nicer to one another, to help each other.  Our world is on a slippery-slope.  Keeping our sights on what is right and good, right now, and teaching each other how to do this could be the means to a better life.  It’s worth a thought.  -JAB

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3/14/2010

It is a beautiful spring Sunday in my wonderful city of San Francisco.  I am drinking my coffee and enjoying the view from my living room.  I am grateful, truly grateful for all I have in my life.  But I am especially grateful for my husband and old friends like James and David, Ken and Brad, Tom and Joe, Alan, Mark, Joe and Bill, Kathy and Jeanette.  And new friends like Peter and Patrick, Mike and Jim, Gary and Jim.  At a fun and festive restaurant last week, amongst the giggles and tales of days gone by, I was confronted with myself and perhaps the way I have come across to the world at times this past year.  While enjoying the wine before dinner my new friend Mike leaned toward me and said, “I really liked your latest blog, although I am sure you have offended a few people.  But it was well written, and I especially liked the part about the strap-on.”  Well, ok.  But golly, everyone seems to be telling me how offensive I am these days.  When I began this blog it was meant as an expression for me, to tell my truth, the way I see it.  The blog is entitled, “The Way I See It” after all.  But Mike’s comment (and James’ comment and my husband’s comment) has made me look back at some of my entries and I suppose I have come across as angry, or negative or trying to settle some score.  I haven’t thought of myself as a particularly angry, negative or settling-a-score kind of guy.  I am Italian, and maybe that is written into my DNA.  However, I think for people of my generation, my background, ethnicity and sexual orientation one’s passion tends to morph into something that looks like anger or “bossy-ness” at times.  Mea maxima culpa.

Now, I will always have that passion.  I will always write what I think.  I will always write my truth.  But once and awhile I will actually listen to what my husband and friends say and try, really try, to see the world a little rosier.  To look at that glass half-full.  To give the others the benefit of the doubt.  I don’t mean to be a nasty husband, friend, brother.  To paraphrase Margo Channing (or actually screen-writer/director Joseph Mankiewicz) in “All About Eve,”:  “It’s just me and my big mouth.”

Slap me across the face.  Call me an asshole.  Give me something to think about that is contrary to what I wrote.  I’m all ears.  But I say this with this caveat:  Don’t tell me what to write, I’ve simply got to, if someone takes a spill it’s me and not you, don’t bring around a cloud to rain on my parade.

That said, I now want to write and tell everyone about the joyous Sunday I had in San Francisco, 3/14/10:  I was walking to the gym (Gold’s in the Castro) from our home in Noe Valley.  The glass was definitely more than half-full.  I was witness to three lovely sites that stopped me and put me in that aforementioned grateful state.

The first was while I was walking past the “doggie play-park” near 19th St. in the Castro.  I love dogs, I absolutely love dogs.  There is no bullshit with dogs, they are loving, honest, open, wonderful creatures.  A dog will always put a smile on my face, and I could easily kill anyone that I witnessed hurting a dog.  They just want to be out there, in the open air, with everyone, and they just want to love and be loved.  Now, my favorite dogs are first and foremost the Bichon Frise.  I had one for 14 beautiful years.  Perry was his name and he brought such joy to my life.  And there, at the dog park was a Bichon playing with the other dogs.  He had the countenance and confirmation of Perry, and the personality too.  It was a pleasure just to observe him from afar and think about the times I used to play in such a park with my boy.  As I continued to walk past the park he stopped playing with the other dogs and he turned his head and stared at me.  He kept his gaze on me the whole time as I walked past the fence.  I just smiled.  I wasn’t going to call to him, to interrupt his playtime or his master.  But he put an extra step in my walk and I felt that much better about the world.  Gosh, I miss my baby.

The next lovely site was in the persona of a young, hot thing that stopped me cold in my tracks and caused me to just observe, smile (again) and feel good about the world.  She, yes boys I said “she,” was a young 20-something.  Porcelain skin, luscious red lips, long eye-lashes, a tight, cotton, long-sleeve white shirt (that Brittney Spears would wear), and shorter-than-short hot pants, all anchored by long legs, blond hair and Espadrilles.  She was just walking across the street at Market in front of “Squat and Gobble,” with her friends, male, female, gay/straight.  She gave off no indication that she “knew” she was hot, she just was what she was. And I thought to myself, “I don’t know who is taking her to bed but what a lucky guy or gal.”

The third site was from my birds’ eye view while on the elliptical machine at Gold’s.  A hot convertible BMW, was stopped at the light at Market and Noe streets.  The top was down and in the driver’s seat was truly one of the most beautiful men I have ever seen in my life.  He was sitting in his car, shirt off and texting someone while waiting for the light to change.  Suddenly he stopped texting, looked up and into his rear-view mirror and I almost rode that elliptical right through the gym window and into his lap.  Oh my God.  Chiseled face, dark five-o’clock shadow, thick flowing hair, and a well-developed, hairy chest with a pattern that looked as though it had been designed.  He had the total man/boy thing going.  There I was riding that machine for all it’s worth, and trying to cover the fact that I had major blood-flow pouring through my cargo shorts.  The light changed, he stretched back, put his sunglasses back on, and smiled to no one in particular and moved down Market Street and out of my life.

It was a good day and I knew right off what my next blog would be. Three beautiful sites that could not have been directed any better.  I knew I wouldn’t rant, I would just write a story, just a story about how grateful I was for my life.  I hope I can remember such days as I get older, and lose site of what I had in my life and what I experienced.  And if I can’t remember I hope that I will have the presence of mind to pull out of my files this blog, about this day, about this lovely journey of mine.  -JAB

It is a beautiful spring Sunday in my wonderful city of San Francisco.  I am drinking my coffee and enjoying the view from my living room.  I am grateful, truly grateful for all I have in my life.  But I am especially grateful for my husband and old friends like James and David, Ken and Brad, Tom and Joe, Alan, Mark, Joe and Bill, Kathy and Jeanette.  And new friends like Peter and Patrick, Mike and Jim, Gary and Jim.  At a fun and festive restaurant last week, amongst the giggles and tales of days gone by, I was confronted with myself and perhaps the way I have come across to the world at times this past year.  While enjoying the wine before dinner my new friend Mike leaned toward me and said, “I really liked your latest blog, although I am sure you have offended a few people.  But it was well written, and I especially liked the part about the strap-on.”  Well, ok.  But golly, everyone seems to be telling me how offensive I am these days.  When I began this blog it was meant as an expression for me, to tell my truth, the way I see it.  The blog is entitled, “The Way I See It” after all.  But Mike’s comment (and James’ comment and my husband’s comment) has made me look back at some of my entries and I suppose I have come across as angry, or negative or trying to settle some score.  I haven’t thought of myself as a particularly angry, negative or settling-a-score kind of guy.  I am Italian, and maybe that is written into my DNA.  However, I think for people of my generation, my background, ethnicity and sexual orientation one’s passion tends to morph into something that looks like anger or “bossy-ness” at times.  Mea maxima culpa.

Now, I will always have that passion.  I will always write what I think.  I will always write my truth.  But once and awhile I will actually listen to what my husband and friends say and try, really try, to see the world a little rosier.  To look at that glass half-full.  To give the others the benefit of the doubt.  I don’t mean to be a nasty husband, friend, brother.  To paraphrase Margo Channing (or actually screen-writer/director Joseph Mankiewicz) in “All About Eve,”:  “It’s just me and my big mouth.”

Slap me across the face.  Call me an asshole.  Give me something to think about that is contrary to what I wrote.  I’m all ears.  But I say this with this caveat:  Don’t tell me what to write, I’ve simply got to, if someone takes a spill it’s me and not you, don’t bring around a cloud to rain on my parade.

That said, I now want to write and tell everyone about the joyous Sunday I had in San Francisco, 3/14/10:  I was walking to the gym (Gold’s in the Castro) from our home in Noe Valley.  The glass was definitely more than half-full.  I was witness to three lovely sites that stopped me and put me in that aforementioned grateful state.

The first was while I was walking past the “doggie play-park” near 19th St. in the Castro.  I love dogs, I absolutely love dogs.  There is no bullshit with dogs, they are loving, honest, open, wonderful creatures.  A dog will always put a smile on my face, and I could easily kill anyone that I witnessed hurting a dog.  They just want to be out there, in the open air, with everyone, and they just want to love and be loved.  Now, my favorite dogs are first and foremost the Bichon Frise.  I had one for 14 beautiful years.  Perry was his name and he brought such joy to my life.  And there, at the dog park was a Bichon playing with the other dogs.  He had the countenance and confirmation of Perry, and the personality too.  It was a pleasure just to observe him from afar and think about the times I used to play in such a park with my boy.  As I continued to walk past the park he stopped playing with the other dogs and he turned his head and stared at me.  He kept his gaze on me the whole time as I walked past the fence.  I just smiled.  I wasn’t going to call to him, to interrupt his playtime or his master.  But he put an extra step in my walk and I felt that much better about the world.  Gosh, I miss my baby.

The next lovely site was in the persona of a young, hot thing that stopped me cold in my tracks and caused me to just observe, smile (again) and feel good about the world.  She, yes boys I said “she,” was a young 20-something.  Porcelain skin, luscious red lips, long eye-lashes, a tight, cotton, long-sleeve white shirt (that Brittney Spears would wear), and shorter-than-short hot pants, all anchored by long legs, blond hair and Espadrilles.  She was just walking across the street at Market in front of “Squat and Gobble,” with her friends, male, female, gay/straight.  She gave off no indication that she “knew” she was hot, she just was what she was. And I thought to myself, “I don’t know who is taking her to bed but what a lucky guy or gal.”

The third site was from my birds’ eye view while on the elliptical machine at Gold’s.  A hot convertible BMW, was stopped at the light at Market and Noe streets.  The top was down and in the driver’s seat was truly one of the most beautiful men I have ever seen in my life.  He was sitting in his car, shirt off and texting someone while waiting for the light to change.  Suddenly he stopped texting, looked up and into his rear-view mirror and I almost rode that elliptical right through the gym window and into his lap.  Oh my God.  Chiseled face, dark five-o’clock shadow, thick flowing hair, and a well-developed, hairy chest with a pattern that looked as though it had been designed.  He had the total man/boy thing going.  There I was riding that machine for all it’s worth, and trying to cover the fact that I had major blood-flow pouring through my cargo shorts.  The light changed, he stretched back, put his sunglasses back on, and smiled to no one in particular and moved down Market Street and out of my life.

It was a good day and I knew right off what my next blog would be. Three beautiful sites that could not have been directed any better.  I knew I wouldn’t rant, I would just write a story, just a story about how grateful I was for my life.  I hope I can remember such days as I get older, and lose site of what I had in my life and what I experienced.  And if I can’t remember I hope that I will have the presence of mind to pull out of my files this blog, about this day, about this lovely journey of mine.  -JAB

It’s A Man’s World

It was at a business dinner/meeting in a great Korean restaurant in Seoul, Korea.  I was talking about all sorts of things with a female colleague.  We got on the subject of what our insurance carrier at our company did, or did not, cover.  When I told her that it paid for my Viagra, she stopped cold, looked me straight in the eye, and said, “YOU are fucking kidding me?”  Then proceeded to give me a lecture ending thus: “That is just so fucking great.  They won’t pay for a pap smear for me, something that could tell me if I am on the road to cancer, but they’ll pay for your boner pills.  Unbelievable.”  I looked her back in the eye, leaned forward into her, got close to her ear and said, “Darling, it’s a man’s world.  Gay or straight, it’s a man’s world.  No man, and most men run insurance companies, is going to deny another man his hard-on.  The world revolves around dick.  Straight men love their dicks, gay men love their dicks, straight women love dick, and lesbians tie on dicks.  Women really don’t have a chance in this world.”  I’m not especially smug.  I just know of what I speak.  I know men, and women better than they think.

Now, yes I firmly believe it is better to be born with a penis, rather than a vagina, but “ladies” let me give you some advice, if you are willing to listen: YOU are your own worse enemy.  YES, you are.  And you never want to really take the advice of men, or to adopt their ways, and you ladies just shoot yourselves in the collective foot over and over again because of that.

If you’re willing to listen I’ve got a few points I want to make.  YOU “Ladies” should be appalled at someone like Sarah Palin.  Do you have any idea how much she sets her sex, your sex, back?  She assails people with bitchy shit, but then pounces on anyone who attacks her back, going under cover with those feminine wiles, and basically saying, “You can’t do a thing back to me without looking like a cad, because I’m a woman.”  She just shoves you people further down from that “glass ceiling.”

Why do you women let anyone see you cry?  NEVER let them see you cry.  You simply put yourself in a so much less bargaining position.  It’s a man’s world, we don’t really respond to your tears and cries.  We’re men, and we’re pretty much going to do what we want.  YOU’LL do what we want.  Adopt an “Elizabeth Taylor” way of thinking.  That woman, in her hay-days as big-movie-star and then as a perfume tycoon, has a man’s way of thinking when it comes to negotiations on any of her contracts.  She learned from her third husband, the short and sexy producer Mike Todd, that “audacity makes the star.”  And she used it to her advantage.  She didn’t care if they, the power men, saw her as a raving bitch.  She got what she wanted.  Period.  She knew her worth and negotiated like a man.  Nothing passive aggressive with her.  While filming “The Taming of The Shrew” in Rome for director Franco Zefferelli, she had Bulgari’s of Rome come to the set with an array of baubles (this was S.O.P. for her at the time).  She picked one out and told Franco to purchase it for her.  He said in his peasant broken-English, “I must buy this for YOU!!?”  She laughed, then educated Mr. Zefferelli.  The “Star” told him, “Of course Franco.  I’m Elizabeth Taylor.”  She allowed the enormity of that statement to settle into his head before continuing. “See this broach, another director bought that for me and it was his first film too.  You’ll find a way of buying it for me.  The studios do what I want.  YOU do what I want.”

Find your worth ladies then negotiate from a male point of view.  Observe men.  Men know when to hold them, and when to fold them.  Catch my drift?  You can get whatever you want, but you have to act more like a man.  It is as simple as that.  Pick your battles.  Which ones will gain you more.  Put pettiness to the side.  Treat yourselves better.  See yourselves as warriors, one has more strength in one area, another in another.  Don’t fight yourselves over those assets.  Align with one another.

And ladies, listen up: LEARN TO APOLOGIZE, and know when to accept an apology.  When a man apologizes to another man the matter is put behind and you go on in a way to help, not sabotage, one another.  You take the an-apology-is-not-good-enough attitude and you just push yourselves further and further back.  You have to allow a mirror put to your faces, and then not be incensed or angered by it, but try to see what you can learn from that reflection.

Do you really want to go back to the life your mother’s had?  Do you see that, except for the few really gifted ones who will move beyond, that you are pushing more and more your younger daughters and grand daughters into a life straight out of the repressive ’50’s?

Ladies, we all are in the same boat, all of us minorities.  The reason gay men have made more advances is in part because we are men, but we know how to deal in a straight man’s world to get what we want.  If you can’t be ballsy, then move to the Japanese approach: learn what works in that product (men’s world), and then improve on it for yourselves.  DO NOT go the passive/aggressive approach.

Now, it might seem, with what I am about to write, that I am contradicting my self.  And to a degree I suppose I am, so forthwith is my full take is on passive/aggressiveness.  A while back I referred to my oldest sister as being passive/aggressive, in part as a compliment.  You know, for gentle women like her who have mostly been housewives, being passive/aggressive is the tool they use to get along in this society.  It’s how they get their husbands to do what they want; it’s how they get their children to do what they want.  It is how they periodically tell the world, “Fuck you….. you’re gonna do what I want.”  This is how they get things done.  This passive/aggressiveness is a tool to be used under certain settings and only at certain stakes.  But as an all-encompassing theory of behavior it’s a terrible plan of action.  Learn.

I’m not putting the female side down, I’m trying to make a wake up call.  Don’t make the world, your life more stressful then it is.  Don’t make battles or problems where no battles or problems exist.  And yes, I know what many women would say to this, that men have been the ones to do war and cause problems in this world.  I’m not saying we are exempt from not learning and for being alarmingly inept.  We all need to work at being better to one another and negotiating to and from a win/win situation.  Life is a compromise.  The better you learn to compromise at the right things, the easier you will make your life.

Anyway, that’s my take on it.  I’ve still got a lot to learn myself, and I hope that I will always be open to feedback, and never so ignorant as to close off my mind to the input of others, no matter what their P.O.V.  One thing I realize as I get older is that I know one thing for sure, and that is, that I don’t know anything.
-JAB

ADD A COMMENTIt was at a business dinner/meeting in a great Korean restaurant in Seoul, Korea.  I was talking about all sorts of things with a female colleague.  We got on the subject of what our insurance carrier at our company did, or did not, cover.  When I told her that it paid for my Viagra, she stopped cold, looked me straight in the eye, and said, “YOU are fucking kidding me?”  Then proceeded to give me a lecture ending thus: “That is just so fucking great.  They won’t pay for a pap smear for me, something that could tell me if I am on the road to cancer, but they’ll pay for your boner pills.  Unbelievable.”  I looked her back in the eye, leaned forward into her, got close to her ear and said, “Darling, it’s a man’s world.  Gay or straight, it’s a man’s world.  No man, and most men run insurance companies, is going to deny another man his hard-on.  The world revolves around dick.  Straight men love their dicks, gay men love their dicks, straight women love dick, and lesbians tie on dicks.  Women really don’t have a chance in this world.”  I’m not especially smug.  I just know of what I speak.  I know men, and women better than they think.

Now, yes I firmly believe it is better to be born with a penis, rather than a vagina, but “ladies” let me give you some advice, if you are willing to listen: YOU are your own worse enemy.  YES, you are.  And you never want to really take the advice of men, or to adopt their ways, and you ladies just shoot yourselves in the collective foot over and over again because of that.

If you’re willing to listen I’ve got a few points I want to make.  YOU “Ladies” should be appalled at someone like Sarah Palin.  Do you have any idea how much she sets her sex, your sex, back?  She assails people with bitchy shit, but then pounces on anyone who attacks her back, going under cover with those feminine wiles, and basically saying, “You can’t do a thing back to me without looking like a cad, because I’m a woman.”  She just shoves you people further down from that “glass ceiling.”

Why do you women let anyone see you cry?  NEVER let them see you cry.  You simply put yourself in a so much less bargaining position.  It’s a man’s world, we don’t really respond to your tears and cries.  We’re men, and we’re pretty much going to do what we want.  YOU’LL do what we want.  Adopt an “Elizabeth Taylor” way of thinking.  That woman, in her hay-days as big-movie-star and then as a perfume tycoon, has a man’s way of thinking when it comes to negotiations on any of her contracts.  She learned from her third husband, the short and sexy producer Mike Todd, that “audacity makes the star.”  And she used it to her advantage.  She didn’t care if they, the power men, saw her as a raving bitch.  She got what she wanted.  Period.  She knew her worth and negotiated like a man.  Nothing passive aggressive with her.  While filming “The Taming of The Shrew” in Rome for director Franco Zefferelli, she had Bulgari’s of Rome come to the set with an array of baubles (this was S.O.P. for her at the time).  She picked one out and told Franco to purchase it for her.  He said in his peasant broken-English, “I must buy this for YOU!!?”  She laughed, then educated Mr. Zefferelli.  The “Star” told him, “Of course Franco.  I’m Elizabeth Taylor.”  She allowed the enormity of that statement to settle into his head before continuing. “See this broach, another director bought that for me and it was his first film too.  You’ll find a way of buying it for me.  The studios do what I want.  YOU do what I want.”

Find your worth ladies then negotiate from a male point of view.  Observe men.  Men know when to hold them, and when to fold them.  Catch my drift?  You can get whatever you want, but you have to act more like a man.  It is as simple as that.  Pick your battles.  Which ones will gain you more.  Put pettiness to the side.  Treat yourselves better.  See yourselves as warriors, one has more strength in one area, another in another.  Don’t fight yourselves over those assets.  Align with one another.

And ladies, listen up: LEARN TO APOLOGIZE, and know when to accept an apology.  When a man apologizes to another man the matter is put behind and you go on in a way to help, not sabotage, one another.  You take the an-apology-is-not-good-enough attitude and you just push yourselves further and further back.  You have to allow a mirror put to your faces, and then not be incensed or angered by it, but try to see what you can learn from that reflection.

Do you really want to go back to the life your mother’s had?  Do you see that, except for the few really gifted ones who will move beyond, that you are pushing more and more your younger daughters and grand daughters into a life straight out of the repressive ’50’s?

Ladies, we all are in the same boat, all of us minorities.  The reason gay men have made more advances is in part because we are men, but we know how to deal in a straight man’s world to get what we want.  If you can’t be ballsy, then move to the Japanese approach: learn what works in that product (men’s world), and then improve on it for yourselves.  DO NOT go the passive/aggressive approach.

Now, it might seem, with what I am about to write, that I am contradicting my self.  And to a degree I suppose I am, so forthwith is my full take is on passive/aggressiveness.  A while back I referred to my oldest sister as being passive/aggressive, in part as a compliment.  You know, for gentle women like her who have mostly been housewives, being passive/aggressive is the tool they use to get along in this society.  It’s how they get their husbands to do what they want; it’s how they get their children to do what they want.  It is how they periodically tell the world, “Fuck you….. you’re gonna do what I want.”  This is how they get things done.  This passive/aggressiveness is a tool to be used under certain settings and only at certain stakes.  But as an all-encompassing theory of behavior it’s a terrible plan of action.  Learn.

I’m not putting the female side down, I’m trying to make a wake up call.  Don’t make the world, your life more stressful then it is.  Don’t make battles or problems where no battles or problems exist.  And yes, I know what many women would say to this, that men have been the ones to do war and cause problems in this world.  I’m not saying we are exempt from not learning and for being alarmingly inept.  We all need to work at being better to one another and negotiating to and from a win/win situation.  Life is a compromise.  The better you learn to compromise at the right things, the easier you will make your life.

Anyway, that’s my take on it.  I’ve still got a lot to learn myself, and I hope that I will always be open to feedback, and never so ignorant as to close off my mind to the input of others, no matter what their P.O.V.  One thing I realize as I get older is that I know one thing for sure, and that is, that I don’t know anything.
-JAB

ADD A COMMENT

Where Are We Going?

With this latest election in the great state of Massachusetts, which will have more repercussions beyond the state.  With the latest ruling by our conservative Supreme Court, giving our U.S. corporations basically carte blanche to infuse their big bucks to get the people elected who will serve only their needs.  With this uphill battle in California which will decide if those of us born gay (it’s not a choice) are or are not allowed simply to marry the adult, non-blood relative, that they love.  With the middle class quickly eroding, and the zealots with money telling everyone what they’re going to do, and how they are going to do it.  With these ball-less Democrats in Congress.  With Republicans pundits taking those Karl Rove tactics to new heights of duplicity and absurdity, I ponder the question:  Where are we going?

Why do we never learn from history?  We are going down the road of the Roman Empire.  As a nation we are recreating that parable of the frog: If you throw a frog into a pan of boiling water he will jump out, but if you put him in a pan of cold water, then turn on the flame and slowly increase the heat, he will boil himself to death.  Trust me, we’re in that pan of water right now.

As with the Roman Empire, the wealthier people got everything done their way, to the detriment of everyone else, simply because they could pay off more people.  Money ruled everything.  If you had it you got your needs taken care of and if you didn’t, you lost and died.  Eventually everything fell apart and as a nation we are headed down that path.

Why have we become a lazy, sloppy nation?  That pan of slowly boiling water is this nation not standing up to their elected legislators.  We’d all just rather sit back on the couch, getting fatter from all the bad foods we eat, watching a sports program, or old re-run, or worst yet some reality show that takes us away from everything, even though it may be a reflection of our own lives.

Why are we a nation of entitled babies?  Why have we become a people that can’t handle reality?  Why can’t we handle the truth?  These are not rhetorical questions.  What has become of us?

It is becoming more and more frustrating for us gay people to watch what is happening in our country.  We have been an oppressed group for so long, since we were children, and therefore have a better sense of “fighting for what is right” than most. We haven’t had the luxury of sitting back and just “getting” whatever we’ve wanted.  We’ve had to fight for everything.  We continue to fight for every “right.”  We take nothing for granted.  As a group we are more in tune to what is really going on.  That is why people like Sarah Palin, Dick Cheney, Fox News pundits, and others of their ilk don’t fool us for one moment.  That is why we we shake our heads in total bewilderment when we see what is really happening in our country, and how it is that these aforementioned folks could ever, ever actually be taken seriously.

So what, that the Democrats have lost the Massachusetts Senate seat.  Wake up and smell the coffee Democratic Congress, you still have the majority when you look at the way the pie is divided up.  Just push through whatever you want through the legal tactic you have called “reconciliation.”  The Republicans did it on several occasions to push through several major decisions for George W.
Don’t worry that the Republicans will scream and holler at you.  Just ignore them like you would a child throwing a tantrum.  Why is this Democratic Congress afraid of what the Republicans might do or say?  Grow a pair.

Wake up and smell the coffee, citizens of the United States of America.  That pot of boiling water…….. hello!!  I said it already, but I’ll say it again, just so I can hammer the point across to the narrow minded ones: You’re sitting in it right now, and it is getting hotter.  React.  Do something.  Speak up.  Have a brain.  Stop letting a few people with some very loud voices, who don’t have a pulse on reality, sway you.  We do need to health care reform in this country.  We do need to take care of all of our citizens.  We have to stop taking the selfish tactic of so many in this country.  We have to stop “hating” and disparaging those who are different from those in our own “clique.”

Where are we going?  My God, this world is becoming more and more bizarre and delusional.  When everything is out of control, as it is everywhere and on every level, the worst thing we as a society can do is to become more selfish.  It becomes counterproductive to getting back on an upward, positive course.  We have to, we must, see the other’s point of view.  We must step outside of ourselves and look back at ourselves.  Put a mirror up to our faces, and face that reality, warts and wrinkles and imperfections all.  See how we come across to everyone else.  And then act in a truly Christ-like manner.  We must become a village.  We can’t just take care of ourselves and our own and think things will all be rosy and good in the future.  There will be no future.

Perhaps this is just another rant on my part.  I don’t have any more solutions to our problems than what I have just stated.  But we have got to start somewhere, and we’ve got to start now.  Don’t waste your time on those who are already in the choir with you, but work on the ones that need to hear the truth.  Even if they don’t like it.  Yes, they will try to shut you up, but the alternative, to just sit and wait and see what happens is no alternative at all.  It is a recipe for disaster.  -JAB
1 COMMENT With this latest election in the great state of Massachusetts, which will have more repercussions beyond the state.  With the latest ruling by our conservative Supreme Court, giving our U.S. corporations basically carte blanche to infuse their big bucks to get the people elected who will serve only their needs.  With this uphill battle in California which will decide if those of us born gay (it’s not a choice) are or are not allowed simply to marry the adult, non-blood relative, that they love.  With the middle class quickly eroding, and the zealots with money telling everyone what they’re going to do, and how they are going to do it.  With these ball-less Democrats in Congress.  With Republicans pundits taking those Karl Rove tactics to new heights of duplicity and absurdity, I ponder the question:  Where are we going?

Why do we never learn from history?  We are going down the road of the Roman Empire.  As a nation we are recreating that parable of the frog: If you throw a frog into a pan of boiling water he will jump out, but if you put him in a pan of cold water, then turn on the flame and slowly increase the heat, he will boil himself to death.  Trust me, we’re in that pan of water right now.

As with the Roman Empire, the wealthier people got everything done their way, to the detriment of everyone else, simply because they could pay off more people.  Money ruled everything.  If you had it you got your needs taken care of and if you didn’t, you lost and died.  Eventually everything fell apart and as a nation we are headed down that path.

Why have we become a lazy, sloppy nation?  That pan of slowly boiling water is this nation not standing up to their elected legislators.  We’d all just rather sit back on the couch, getting fatter from all the bad foods we eat, watching a sports program, or old re-run, or worst yet some reality show that takes us away from everything, even though it may be a reflection of our own lives.

Why are we a nation of entitled babies?  Why have we become a people that can’t handle reality?  Why can’t we handle the truth?  These are not rhetorical questions.  What has become of us?

It is becoming more and more frustrating for us gay people to watch what is happening in our country.  We have been an oppressed group for so long, since we were children, and therefore have a better sense of “fighting for what is right” than most. We haven’t had the luxury of sitting back and just “getting” whatever we’ve wanted.  We’ve had to fight for everything.  We continue to fight for every “right.”  We take nothing for granted.  As a group we are more in tune to what is really going on.  That is why people like Sarah Palin, Dick Cheney, Fox News pundits, and others of their ilk don’t fool us for one moment.  That is why we we shake our heads in total bewilderment when we see what is really happening in our country, and how it is that these aforementioned folks could ever, ever actually be taken seriously.

So what, that the Democrats have lost the Massachusetts Senate seat.  Wake up and smell the coffee Democratic Congress, you still have the majority when you look at the way the pie is divided up.  Just push through whatever you want through the legal tactic you have called “reconciliation.”  The Republicans did it on several occasions to push through several major decisions for George W.
Don’t worry that the Republicans will scream and holler at you.  Just ignore them like you would a child throwing a tantrum.  Why is this Democratic Congress afraid of what the Republicans might do or say?  Grow a pair.

Wake up and smell the coffee, citizens of the United States of America.  That pot of boiling water…….. hello!!  I said it already, but I’ll say it again, just so I can hammer the point across to the narrow minded ones: You’re sitting in it right now, and it is getting hotter.  React.  Do something.  Speak up.  Have a brain.  Stop letting a few people with some very loud voices, who don’t have a pulse on reality, sway you.  We do need to health care reform in this country.  We do need to take care of all of our citizens.  We have to stop taking the selfish tactic of so many in this country.  We have to stop “hating” and disparaging those who are different from those in our own “clique.”

Where are we going?  My God, this world is becoming more and more bizarre and delusional.  When everything is out of control, as it is everywhere and on every level, the worst thing we as a society can do is to become more selfish.  It becomes counterproductive to getting back on an upward, positive course.  We have to, we must, see the other’s point of view.  We must step outside of ourselves and look back at ourselves.  Put a mirror up to our faces, and face that reality, warts and wrinkles and imperfections all.  See how we come across to everyone else.  And then act in a truly Christ-like manner.  We must become a village.  We can’t just take care of ourselves and our own and think things will all be rosy and good in the future.  There will be no future.

Perhaps this is just another rant on my part.  I don’t have any more solutions to our problems than what I have just stated.  But we have got to start somewhere, and we’ve got to start now.  Don’t waste your time on those who are already in the choir with you, but work on the ones that need to hear the truth.  Even if they don’t like it.  Yes, they will try to shut you up, but the alternative, to just sit and wait and see what happens is no alternative at all.  It is a recipe for disaster.  -JAB
1 COMMENT With this latest election in the great state of Massachusetts, which will have more repercussions beyond the state.  With the latest ruling by our conservative Supreme Court, giving our U.S. corporations basically carte blanche to infuse their big bucks to get the people elected who will serve only their needs.  With this uphill battle in California which will decide if those of us born gay (it’s not a choice) are or are not allowed simply to marry the adult, non-blood relative, that they love.  With the middle class quickly eroding, and the zealots with money telling everyone what they’re going to do, and how they are going to do it.  With these ball-less Democrats in Congress.  With Republicans pundits taking those Karl Rove tactics to new heights of duplicity and absurdity, I ponder the question:  Where are we going?

Why do we never learn from history?  We are going down the road of the Roman Empire.  As a nation we are recreating that parable of the frog: If you throw a frog into a pan of boiling water he will jump out, but if you put him in a pan of cold water, then turn on the flame and slowly increase the heat, he will boil himself to death.  Trust me, we’re in that pan of water right now.

As with the Roman Empire, the wealthier people got everything done their way, to the detriment of everyone else, simply because they could pay off more people.  Money ruled everything.  If you had it you got your needs taken care of and if you didn’t, you lost and died.  Eventually everything fell apart and as a nation we are headed down that path.

Why have we become a lazy, sloppy nation?  That pan of slowly boiling water is this nation not standing up to their elected legislators.  We’d all just rather sit back on the couch, getting fatter from all the bad foods we eat, watching a sports program, or old re-run, or worst yet some reality show that takes us away from everything, even though it may be a reflection of our own lives.

Why are we a nation of entitled babies?  Why have we become a people that can’t handle reality?  Why can’t we handle the truth?  These are not rhetorical questions.  What has become of us?

It is becoming more and more frustrating for us gay people to watch what is happening in our country.  We have been an oppressed group for so long, since we were children, and therefore have a better sense of “fighting for what is right” than most. We haven’t had the luxury of sitting back and just “getting” whatever we’ve wanted.  We’ve had to fight for everything.  We continue to fight for every “right.”  We take nothing for granted.  As a group we are more in tune to what is really going on.  That is why people like Sarah Palin, Dick Cheney, Fox News pundits, and others of their ilk don’t fool us for one moment.  That is why we we shake our heads in total bewilderment when we see what is really happening in our country, and how it is that these aforementioned folks could ever, ever actually be taken seriously.

So what, that the Democrats have lost the Massachusetts Senate seat.  Wake up and smell the coffee Democratic Congress, you still have the majority when you look at the way the pie is divided up.  Just push through whatever you want through the legal tactic you have called “reconciliation.”  The Republicans did it on several occasions to push through several major decisions for George W.
Don’t worry that the Republicans will scream and holler at you.  Just ignore them like you would a child throwing a tantrum.  Why is this Democratic Congress afraid of what the Republicans might do or say?  Grow a pair.

Wake up and smell the coffee, citizens of the United States of America.  That pot of boiling water…….. hello!!  I said it already, but I’ll say it again, just so I can hammer the point across to the narrow minded ones: You’re sitting in it right now, and it is getting hotter.  React.  Do something.  Speak up.  Have a brain.  Stop letting a few people with some very loud voices, who don’t have a pulse on reality, sway you.  We do need to health care reform in this country.  We do need to take care of all of our citizens.  We have to stop taking the selfish tactic of so many in this country.  We have to stop “hating” and disparaging those who are different from those in our own “clique.”

Where are we going?  My God, this world is becoming more and more bizarre and delusional.  When everything is out of control, as it is everywhere and on every level, the worst thing we as a society can do is to become more selfish.  It becomes counterproductive to getting back on an upward, positive course.  We have to, we must, see the other’s point of view.  We must step outside of ourselves and look back at ourselves.  Put a mirror up to our faces, and face that reality, warts and wrinkles and imperfections all.  See how we come across to everyone else.  And then act in a truly Christ-like manner.  We must become a village.  We can’t just take care of ourselves and our own and think things will all be rosy and good in the future.  There will be no future.

Perhaps this is just another rant on my part.  I don’t have any more solutions to our problems than what I have just stated.  But we have got to start somewhere, and we’ve got to start now.  Don’t waste your time on those who are already in the choir with you, but work on the ones that need to hear the truth.  Even if they don’t like it.  Yes, they will try to shut you up, but the alternative, to just sit and wait and see what happens is no alternative at all.  It is a recipe for disaster.  -JAB