Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Video for Marriage Equality

Marriage equality should be a given. Two consenting adults of sound mind should be able to enter in to a legally binding life partnership and to keep things simple we should just call it marriage, none of this civil union or domestic partnership mumbo jumbo. Let’s forget that fact that almost half of the people who get married will get divorced because that has nothing to do with the right to get married. This video is in support of marriage equality in the U.K. , but it could just as well be a video for America.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Gift of Air has Been Reviewed

I just checked my Author Central page. I discovered that I have a new review of one of my stories. Someone wrote a truly amazing review for the Gift of Air. I was pleasantly surprised. I loved the review! The reviewer really understood the story.

Status: Very happy.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Channing Tatum was a Stripper

I already knew that Channing Tatum was a stripper when he was younger. I have had many pleasant thoughts about that fact, but an article today reminded me of it, so I had to talk about it again. I have a thing for Channing Tatum. I’m sorry, but he just does it for me. He has an interesting look. I wouldn’t say that his face is attractive in the traditional definition because there is something slightly off about his features, but that makes him cuter to me.
Channing plays a stripper in Magic Mike. Here’s a trailer for the movie:

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Donating Behind Closed Doors

Apparently in 2008, Mitt Romney’s political action committee gave $10,000 to the National Organization for Marriage, you know, that group that fought against Proposition 8 in California. I’m not one to misquote, so I went directly to their website. According to the website “The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is a nonprofit organization with a mission to protect marriage and the faith communities that sustain it. Founded in 2007 in response to the growing need for an organized opposition to same-sex marriage in state legislatures, NOM serves as a national resource for marriage-related initiatives at the state and local level. “

In a nutshell, NOM’s main purpose is to protect marriage by stopping same-sex couples from getting married, because we all know that same-sex marriage will ruin our country. My favorite line is “to protect marriage and the faith communities that sustain it.” Clearly these folks haven’t looked at the marriage statistics in America recently because if they had then they would know that the faith communities have failed to sustain marriage. Lots of people get divorced now, even Catholics. It’s horrible really and I’m actually not being facetious. Marriage doesn’t have the meaning that it should. Short of abuse or some other extenuating circumstances, I truly believe that marriage should be forever. The key word there is should. I know that marriage no longer means forever. Nowadays people say “I do,” but they might as well have their fingers crossed behind their backs, because some leave at the first sign of trouble without exhausting all other possibilities.

But enough about marriage, I want to focus on NOM. I understand NOM’s outrage because the names of donors were illegally revealed, but I don’t like the idea that the donors had the right to have their identity protected in the first place. You shouldn’t donate money to an organization that you don’t believe in and by that, I mean, you shouldn’t donate money to an organization that you aren’t willing to claim in public. Part of NOM’s problem with the leaked information is that some of the donors may endure intimidation because people know their names. If that is truly part of NOM’s concern then their donors need to grow a pair. If they don’t support gay marriage, that’s fine, that’s their right, but don’t be ashamed of it or afraid of what I might think. I am in favor of gay marriage and I don’t care who knows that. I have lots of family members who are anti-gay marriage, but that doesn’t mean that I have to play along. Bottom line if you’re donating $5000 or more to an organization like NOM then you shouldn’t be able to do that behind closed doors. Stand up and be counted along with your money. I’m not saying that there has to be an announcement or anything, but there shouldn’t be outrage if your name appears on something associated with the organization. And yes I extend that to donors of organizations on both sides of the debate.

Status: Still trying to figure out why gay marriage isn’t legal in all 50 states.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Dear Fortune: I Could Have Told You That Years Ago

People are spamming books now? Well duh! Fortune may have just realized it, but I knew it a while ago. When I was sending lots of stories to Nifty, I remembered being notified to check Amazon because some idiot was stealing stories off of Nifty and publishing them on Amazon and making money off of other people’s work. Unfortunately, that’s what people do! Have you ever typed twitter wrong in your browser? I know I have. I accidentally put three t’s one time and that led me to another site. Fortunately, I didn’t think it was actually twitter related so I closed the window and signed in to the real twitter. People do things like this all the time. I’m a nobody, so no one wanted to buy but me, but if I had even a hint of fame, some person could have bought my name and made me pay them for it or come up with a new name. It sucks, but it’s possible and I vaguely remember hearing a story about that happening to a radio talk show host.

Fortune is only taking notice of the “copycat” books on Amazon because the copycats are of big name, bestsellers. I hate to be an ass, but I blame the consumer way more than I blame Amazon. If I’m looking for Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James, then I’m not going to buy Thirty-Five Shades of Grey by J.D. Lyte. I learned this lesson way back in middle school and the incident didn’t involve copycats, but rather two books that had similar names. I was supposed to read Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon, but I ended up reading This Boy’s Life by Tobias Wolff. I was happy when I returned to school in the fall and discovered that about half of us had done the wrong summer reading. Needless to say, I learned my lesson and I learned it well. I check the title, author, and publisher if necessary, hell in college, I even checked editions. I’m not willing to make that mistake again.

I know that I should have some compassion, but I’m not feeling very compassionate this evening. I don’t have sympathy for people who make mistakes like these.

Status: Not sure how I feel about the people who publish the copycat books.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Most Ridiculous Thing I Have Heard All Day

Some things are so ridiculous that they simply must be shared. There is a new diet in town called the K-E Diet. Click here to learn more about it. The diet helps you lose up to 20 pounds in 10 days.

The article says:

The K-E diet, which boasts promises of shedding 20 pounds in 10 days, is an increasingly popular alternative to ordinary calorie-counting programs. The program has dieters inserting a feeding tube into their nose that runs to the stomach. They're fed a constant slow drip of protein and fat, mixed with water, which contains zero carbohydrates and totals 800 calories a day. Body fat is burned off through a process called ketosis, which leaves muscle intact, Dr. Oliver Di Pietro of Bay Harbor Islands, Fla., said.

The patients are under a doctor’s supervision, but the patients do not stay in the hospital for the 10 days. Patients are able to continue their regular lives, just with a feeding tube up their nose.

The diet is for men and women, but the segment spotlighted brides so I’m going to talk about them. Here’s something every bride should hear: Buy a damn dress that fits and compliments your body type as is! If you need to lose weight in order to fit the dress then don’t buy it. There are enough wedding details to worry about without buying a dress that is two sizes too small and trying to squeeze your butt in it. Buy a dress that is good to go. If you lose weight then have the dress adjusted for your new body, if you don’t lose weight then all is still well with the world.

Status: Not understanding why people do such stupid things.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Sweden Plans to Experiment on Its Young

I read an article titled, Can Kids Be Raised in a Gender-neutral Society? Sweden Thinks So . Sweden is preparing to do a social experiment on its kids. Sweden is attempting to create a gender-neutral society. Sweden’s National Encyclopedia now contains the gender-neutral pronoun, “hen.” “Instead of calling children ‘boys and girls,’ teachers are referring to students as ‘buddies.’ One school even stopped allowing free playtime during the day because ‘stereotypical gender patterns are born and cemented. In free play there is hierarchy, exclusion, and the seed to bullying.’”

I can kind of understand the idea of calling the students “buddies,” but I don’t support stopping free playtime. Free playtime is good for most young students because it teaches them more about socialization than anything they could learn in the classroom. If the teachers are afraid of stereotypical gender patterns then the teachers should have more active roles during playtime. The teachers can structure activities that force the kids to interact with each other while still allowing the students to play. It’s okay for the kids to identify more with a certain gender. I don’t think it is fair to make it a bad thing that young boys tend to gravitate to other boys and young girls seem to gravitate to other girls. The schools should neither encourage it, nor try to prevent it. Allow the children to make friends the way most children make friends.

In the article, one columnist expressed concern over the term “hen” because she thought that it “could confuse children because it introduces an ‘in between-gender.’” I don’t see the term hen as confusing children if it is explained to them that hen is just another word for a person. We are all hens, just as we are all humans…hopefully.

I read a few comments on the article. One person expressed concern about shared bathrooms, but a person claiming to be from Sweden quickly explained that bathrooms in Sweden are much more private than American bathrooms.

The other major recurring theme was the idea of sports. Males and females are built differently. No one can dispute that. I’m wondering how Sweden will deal with this issue once theses group of children reach an age where the differences are too apparent to be ignored.

What Sweden is attempting to do is free these children from the constraints of gender roles that are arbitrarily assigned based on genitalia and allow these children to express themselves however they choose. Your physical body determines your sex, but your brain tells you your gender. The idea reminds me of a very heated discussion in my Gender Roles class in college. The class discussion revolved around the idea of how society dictates gender when in fact it should be the individual person who dictates their gender. A boy is a boy because he has a penis. He is expected to like “boy” things and when he doesn’t, there is an automatic concern. The same is true for girls. A girl is a girl because she has a vagina (and breasts in some cases) and she is expected to like “girl” things. We have these rigid ideas of what it means to be a boy and what it means to be a girl and we tend to forget that everything occurs along a spectrum. There are some boys who naturally gravitate to “boy” things, but there are also some girls who naturally gravitate to “boy” things and vice versa. Having a penis no more makes you a boy than having a vagina makes you a girl and yet societies always default to these physical attributes as a way of assigning traits.

Sweden’s idea is noble because it accommodates the children who don’t fit the mold for their gender and it helps all of the children realize that a body part does not determine who they are. Unfortunately, I don’t know how plausible it’s going to be. Especially after the children reach puberty. In my opinion this is one of those ideas that is great on paper but unable to work well in real life because there are too many factors that need to be considered and too many issues that will undoubtedly need to be addressed.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Brent Corrigan

For some reason I was thinking about Brent Corrigan this morning. I woke up and I thought, “Hmm, I wonder what happened to that kid who said he was underage when his abusive older boyfriend got him in to adult films?” I thought he was done acting. It took me over an hour just to remember his name. I thought it was Brandon or Brendon or something like that, but I couldn’t quite get it. Then I visited a porn site and watched a sex scene to see if that would jog my memory. It worked! His name popped in to my head so I Googled Brent Corrigan and sure enough, that was the kid I was thinking about. I was surprised to find that I’m actually only three years older than him. I guess technically I shouldn’t call him a kid, but I can’t help it. I feel much older than him.

Anyway, I was surprised to find that he is still doing porn but he is trying to move away from the industry. His real name is Sean Paul Lockhart and he now has two official websites. One for porn and other adult industry type things: Brent Corrigan and one for mainstream ventures: Sean Paul Lockhart . I was also surprised to find out that he was Stan the Merman in Another Gay Sequel: Gays Gone Wild! (Yes I saw that movie, please don’t judge me.)

I wish Sean nothing but the best. I remembered being saddened when I read his bio. I always felt like the porn industry wasn’t the place for him so I’m hoping that he has a lot of luck with his transition to mainstream.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

My Reaction to the Bearable Whiteness of Being Gay

I know I’m late on this article: The bearable whiteness of being gay, but I had to comment on it anyway. Gay men are as diverse as straight men, yet even I sometimes find myself with images of white males as the first idea that comes to my mind when I think of gay men. I read through some of the comments on the article and realized that even my image of white men is tainted. I don’t think of homeless or poor white men, I think in terms of middle class or above. This is not to say that I don’t think of homeless gay teens or black gay men or Hispanic gay men (hola Ricky Martin), but rather that my first thought is generally not in color. My first thought is white. The fact that I am black probably makes that admission a bit troubling to some people. It doesn’t bother me though because I know that my mind has been inundated with images of white gay males. In terms of representatives, white gay males represent the gay community. That is not to say that they are the only representatives, because everyone knows that gay men come in every shape, size and color.

There were two things in the article that stood out to me. The first was the idea of being overwhelmed with images of white males in the ads and only seeing black males in ads about HIV. I had to smile at that part because I have seen tons of HIV ads featuring black males and wondered why black males seem to be the faces of HIV. I dismissed it as information based on statistics. Black males are getting and giving HIV at an alarming rate. If that’s not true, then blame the media because that’s what it told me. It would be nice to see a black gay male advertising something other than HIV. Truth be told, they do, but you often have to go looking for those ads because they’re usually not the first ones that you see. There are gay black men in plenty of reality shows and there will be another show like Noah’s Arc one day. Hell, (shameless plug) I just wrote a book about a gay male growing up in Harlem (Bump This).

The other thing that struck me was the mention of the gay couple who stopped holding hands when they saw a black male approaching. Rob’s description of his uncertainty about how to react made me think of several similar situations that I have been in with interracial couples. I’m an equal opportunity dater. My pool is limited enough without me adding race to the mix so I’m open to my options. When I’m out and I see an interracial couple, I feel weird if the couple looks at me like I have a problem with them. Like, Rob, I’m tempted to smile, but something holds me back. Something whispers in my ear that they might misinterpret my smile and so I look away and try to avoid looking at them again. The couple saw a regular looking black male approaching and that triggered images of a homophobic group of people so the couple stopped holding hands as a way to make themselves look less “gay” to this stranger. I’m willing to bet that if Rob had been walking around with a rainbow on his t-shirt or in a tight shirt and wearing a nice pair of pumps or a purse, the men would have continued holding hands. Perception is everything and black males are perceived as threats until either their actions or clothes show otherwise. It’s a sad reality of our society.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Lazarus Syndrome or Miracle?

I could write about the Trayvon Martin case, but I’m all Trayvoned out today. Charges have been filed so I’m just going to sit back and watch things as they unfold.

I’m going to write about a baby in Argentina. The baby was declared dead. Her body was taken to the morgue and refrigerated. Hours later, her mother wanted to see the baby at the morgue. The baby cried. Everyone wants to call it a miracle. One person called it the Lazarus Effect in the comments. I looked it up. It could have been a thing called the Lazarus Syndrome.

I accept the possibility that it could have been a miracle or the Lazarus Syndrome, but I offer a different alternative. My first reaction was “hmm, I wonder if someone made a deal with the devil.” I know that’s a horrible thing to say, but after so many sci-fi stories, I can’t help but acknowledge the possibility.

Status: Buying in to the idea that it was a miracle because we all need to believe in miracles.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Say What? No Sodomy-Based Marriage….Um

I’d like to send a shout out to Jason Linkins on an article that he clearly used his imagination in order to make, because there is no way that a Maine Anti-Gay PAC would distribute a pledge against sodomy-based marriage. Nope, wouldn’t happen.

And if such a pledge did exist, the group certainly wouldn’t try to substitute “sodomy-based marriage” as the phrase that should be used instead of “same sex marriage.” The group would understand that sodomy can be committed by homosexual and heterosexual couples and thus “sodomy-based marriage” is a horrible substitute for same sex marriage. The group would also understand that if people are to use the group’s definition of sodomy, which I’m assuming is solely in reference to anal sex between two men, then what becomes of the majority of lesbians who do not engage in sodomy? Does that mean that lesbians are okay? No group against same sex marriage would limit their objections to just male same sex marriages, thus again proving my point that it just can’t be true.

Here is a copy of the truth pledge:

All jokes aside, I read over the truth pledge and I found one thing that I do agree with. I’m going to take a page from politicians and paraphrase. The Truth Pledge contends that “Marriage is a Covenant that is entered into between two people…” A person signing the pledge agrees to help their “Friends and neighbors understand that special rights are wrong.” I agree with these ideas. It’s horrible that special rights are extended to straight couples. All adults should have the right to marry whomever they choose, regardless of gender.

Click here to read the actual article: Maine Anti-Gay PAC Distributes Pledge Against ‘Sodomy-Based Marriage’

Status: Enjoying twisting other people’s words to meet my not so secret gay agenda.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Nothing is All Good

Some people are upset about the casinos that are coming to Ohio. Really? Ohio is surrounded by casinos so what’s so bad about having a few in state? I read an article that discussed how the casino in Cleveland is going to hurt the city. The article explained how people with gambling addictions would now have easy access to casinos. I guess whoever wrote the article has missed the rise of “sweepstakes” businesses throughout Northeastern Ohio. People with gambling addictions now have easy access to unregulated establishments and stopping the casino won’t do anything about that. Police have tried and failed to shut down “sweepstakes” businesses.

The article also pointed to the church as a big opponent of Ohio casinos. Everyone knows that it isn’t because the church wants people to stay away from gambling, but rather, because the church only wants people to gamble with them. Church sponsored bingo tournaments are all over the city of Cleveland. An organization that sponsors gambling and then stands up and speaks out against other people gambling is the equivalent of the pot calling the kettle black. If gambling is bad, then stop raising money through gambling. Stick to bake sales and other non-gambling related fundraisers.

Another argument against the casinos was that the proponents of casinos lied and overemphasized the “positive” things that a casino could do for this region, such as jobs and more money for the city while downplaying all of the “negatives” such as gambling addiction and increased crime. To that I say: Well duh! What successful campaign succeeds by highlighting its shortcomings? The Mega Millions was added to Ohio under the argument that it would bring even more money to education. Well, um, the pennies that are actually contributed to education aren’t worth it in the big picture, but that doesn’t mean that having the Mega Millions is a bad thing.

There are pros and cons for any and every thing, and that includes casinos. I know casinos aren’t all good or all bad. I hate casinos when they take my money, but I love casinos when they give me some of theirs. The risk is mine and I choose to take it. I don’t plan on going to the local casinos too much because I don’t want to see people I know. I will check out the casinos when they open and then I will return to taking my money out of state because I prefer casinos where no one knows my name. That way, I can hit a jackpot without worrying about outstretched hands from extended family, friends or random people who know me from somewhere.

Status: Wondering why some articles are written.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Man Laws

A friend shared this on Facebook and I thought this video was funny. People come up with such silly “rules” and I think the video did a good job of capturing the way people look at you when you don’t fit in the box. The three guys lived together and had become more like brothers. “Man Law” doesn’t apply to brothers. They treated the other guy like they treated each other but he wasn’t close enough to them to understand that they didn’t mean anything by it. I can’t explain the Brokeback lotion though, so I’m going to leave that one alone.

This video made me think about a recent experience that I had. I went to a store around 10 at night. Two guys pulled up in a car about the same time I pulled up. We all went in the store. I grabbed my items then headed to the register. When I reached the register, I watched one guy go to the car. The other guy was in line in front of me. He asked for two condoms, the clerk took his money then handed him the condoms. The guy walked outside. I went out about a minute later and the two guys were still there. They were sitting in the car. It looked like one was on the phone. I immediately assumed that they were trying to arrange a late night hookup with some girls. I got in my car and drove away. I was almost home when it occurred to me that they could have been together. I associate a young guy buying condoms at night with a booty call, but in reality he could have just as easily been buying them to use with his girlfriend or boyfriend, it didn’t have to be a hookup. I made an assumption based on the fact that he didn’t buy a lot of condoms, which would imply a relationship. He asked for two condoms. In my mind, that said, “I need condoms for tonight and that’s it.” My point is that I have certain preconceived notions in my head. Just like in the video, the main character judges the other guys based on his preconceived notions of what men should and shouldn’t do. I have actually heard a couple of those rules before, so it was even more amusing to see them demonstrated.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

People are Idiots!

I came across an article on Yahoo! that only confirmed my contention that people are idiots. I’m not big on name calling, but if the shoe fits in this situation. A photographer took a picture of an elementary class. Later, the photographer was informed that two of the students did not have parental consent forms signed and thus those students needed to be removed from the image. One of the students was easy to edit out. The second student, a young black boy, was not easy to edit out because he was smack dab in the middle of the picture. The photographer offered to come back and take a new picture, but the school did not want him to do that. Instead, they wanted to cover the boy’s face with a star or a smiley face. The photographer did just that. The photographer covered the boy’s face with a black smiley face. Some people were upset and found the use of a black smiley face offensive. There is this thing called being overly sensitive and I think this is a good example of that. Since they get to be easily offended then I’m offended too. I’m offended that the teacher didn’t check the consent forms and keep those two children out of the picture. I’m offended that the school didn’t just let the photographer take a new picture. I’m offended that they created a problem, rejected the best solution then had the audacity to complain about a smiley face. Really people? If your residents are that easily offended then I’m wondering what’s going on in your town.

Here is the offending picture:

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Possible Solutions for Santa Monica College's Problem

Santa Monica College has a plan to let students who do not get into a needed, high-demand course take the class anyway, but only if they pay hundreds of dollars more. Um, I thought tuition was meant to cover the cost of classes?

Student protestors tried to get in to a meeting of the school trustees. The students were pepper-sprayed by police and the footage is all over the news.

I’d like to offer the school a few alternatives.

Alternative # 1

Set up a camera in the classroom and allow the students to view the lecture online and schedule times to come in for exams and various hands on activities as needed.

Alternative # 2

Only students who need the course to graduate that semester should be allowed to take the course. If there are still too many students then there should be a lottery. The winning students are put in the class and the other students are put on the wait list. If a student is on the wait list for two semesters, they are automatically enrolled in the course the next semester and any remaining seats are filled with new lottery winners.

Alternative # 3

Offer most of the high need courses at the same time and force the students to pick the one they want the most.

Alternative # 4

Offer a few of the high demand courses at crazy times, maybe 4am to 5am or something like that. The students will weed themselves out.

Status: Glad I’m done with college, because some of these schools are taking things too far.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Have you heard about the fight brewing in Maryland over the winning Mega Millions ticket? A group of MacDonald’s workers got together and played the Mega Millions. They put the first batch of tickets in the safe at the restaurant. The night of the drawing, the manager allegedly gave more money for the pool. A worker went out and bought more tickets then took the tickets home. One of the tickets was the winning ticket. The woman who purchased the tickets, Mirlande Wilson, claimed that she did not buy the winning ticket with her coworkers’ money. She claims that she purchased the ticket with someone else. To add insult to injury, Wilson called the MacDonald’s and allegedly told her coworkers, “I won!” Wow! Talk about tactless. Let’s say for the sake of argument that Wilson is telling the truth. Why would she call her coworkers and tell them that she won? Maryland doesn’t require Mega Millions winners to come forward. Wilson should have kept her mouth shut and quietly slipped out of town. She could have claimed her prize without any of her coworkers knowing.

This whole situation could have been avoided if they would have done the pool in a more organized way. All of the tickets should have gone in to the safe. If Wilson wasn’t able to bring the tickets back to the restaurant then she should have emailed or texted copies of the tickets. That way, the other contributors would have a copy of the tickets purchased with their money and Wilson would easily be able to prove that her winning ticket was not included in the group’s tickets.

Now for the million dollar question: Does she really have the winning ticket?

Status: Wondering why money makes people so crazy.

Monday, April 2, 2012

What is it like to have a Transgender Child?

I hadn’t heard of In the Life until today. I stumbled on this video. The video was very informative. I appreciate how the parents were honest about their feelings.