Thursday, August 31, 2006

I miss Ricky...

...where he at?

Donde estas, corazon?

Apparently he's taping an
MTV Unplugged in Miami. Can't wait for that to come out...his last album and concert were not stellar. Just bring it back to your gente, Ricky. Give us the heat en espanol and it'll be OK.

Oh, and
call me!

Don't Always Pay it Forward

Much like Christmas and Arbor Day, the anniverary of the 9-11 attacks is fast becoming yet another opportunity for the useless people you've deleted from your cell phone and tossed out of your Rolodex to interrupt your life with an uplifting, holiday-appropriate e-mail forward.

Case in point: the two e-mails above. I was assailed twice today with a cyber-call-to-action.

The first e-mail (l) is asking me to stick a flag in every orifice of my body and every nook-and-cranny of my home on Sunday, September 11th, in honor of the people who died in the attacks.

I think I'll just observe a private moment of silence on Monday, as that's actually when 9-11 is this year.

The second e-mail I got is a letter from some interior decorator in Georgia who repeats the mantra "I Don't Care" when the issue of human rights violations against muslims comes up in the war on terror. "Slicing throats...forward this...I don't care...Heil Reagan...I don't care...blood...Koran...I don't care..." and so goes the message for another 40 paragraphs.


The "I don't care" e-mail is pretty dead-on, though. That is the same attitude the Bush administration has taken regarding the safety of Americans. In the face of terror, in the face of natural disasters, this administration has stayed the course of sipphoning public money to make its rich friends richer. The biggest supporters of this war are the people cashing in on the hundreds of billions of dollars that it costs to keep the shells flying in Iraq in preparation for Halliburton's eminent domination of the Middle East.

In the meantime, troops don't have the body armor they need, small businesses in New Orleans haven't received support, and across the country 45 million people go without health insurance.

Stick a flag in THAT gaping hole in our country's conscience.

More Americans have died in the war on terror, in the fight against an enemy trained by the Reagan administration during the Cold War, than on 9-11 itself. Add to that death toll the nearly 1,800 people who died in Katrina last year and you've got yet another tragedy to turn into an e-mail free for all. Still proud to be an American?

What bothers me most about these tired forwards is that the very people who feign concern for our country's well being are the same ones who let this administration rob America of everything it once was: progressive, compassionate, human. The Bush administration has waged an unjust war on the world and to distract us from it they have pit Americans against each other with nonsense debates over gay marriage, stem cell research and illegal immigration.

Wake up, America!!

If we're going to honor 9-11 let's do something serious: Let's take our country back. This year's election could win us back Congress and the Senate -- a victory that could give us back the White House in 2008.

We can keep complaining about the abysmal course our country is on or we can rewrite our history. It starts now.

Forward this and get moving.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

What Israel Needs Now... porn, gay porn.

If you ax Michael Lucas, anyway.

The gay porn entrepreneur is planning a visit to the Holy Land to film a skin flick and to perform a live sex show for Israeli troops.

Unfortunately Ehud Olmert is too tied up with that Hezbollah mess and a UN-brokered ceasefire to the attacks on Lebanon to welcome Mr. Lucas with open, um, arms. In the meantime, other Israelis are pissed that Lucas has his eye on their country.

The porn "star" is crying homophobia.

Check it from
Something Jewish in the UK: "The hateful comments from Jews were profoundly depressing," said Lucas on his blog. "We Jews were persecuted, killed and hated for thousands of years. All of our rights were always taken away and we were always considered second class citizens. I can't believe that some of us can be so intolerant, especially to gay people."

Oh lord.

I hate to quibble with my fellow gays but I must say that in this case, Mr. Lucas is wrong. Once again, this is where my conservative streak kicks in. Unfortunately Mr. Lucas' trip is going to do little to help the plight of the gay community in the Middle East. A live sex show and shooting porn in Israel is just a petty, self-aggrandizing move on the part of this "concerned" citizen.

Oy, this community of mine.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Eff the Hamptons

Reason number 5,436,876 that I hate the Hamtpons. Courtesy of one of my fav mags, New York:

Just in time for Labor Day, some residents of Sagaponack (the wealthiest Zip in the world, according to Forbes) are smoldering over plans for a new BBQ joint by Mark Smith and Toni Ross (owners of Nick & Toni’s), opening later this year. Reportedly called Town Line Barbeque, the 80-seater will serve meats slow-cooked in a smoker that will protrude out of the building and that neighbors like Jean Sinenberg are convinced will stink up the area.

“There’s nothing around it to buffer the odor. There’s a golf course directly across the street. Do you like to play golf first thing in the morning smelling barbecue?”

She continues: “They’re talking about running [the smoker] 24/7. They’re a big corporation with six facilities. Are they turning this into a meat-processing plant?” Smith says, “It’s not like I’m reinventing a type of cooking. No one has died from barbecue smoke. These people are reacting to some irrational fear.” Sinenberg counters, “It’s not that I’m against barbecue. I love barbecue.”


If this showdown were taking place in Manhattan -- ok, the street I grew up in back in Brooklyn -- Ms. Sinenberg would have gotten her Botoxed face sliced for mouthing off at someone trying to handle they bidness.

But a perverse sense of entitlement is layered thicker than cappuccino foam over the residents of the Hamptons. Bottling up every last racist, classist and criminal feeling that would get them killed in the city, Manhattan's ilk oozes into the Hamptons every summer to bask in the glow of bleached teeth, chemical-peeled skin and Prada patent-leather visors.

In the Hamptons, everyone's good time is dictated by how much they can control others' good time. From "light contamination" to "noise pollution," the people of the Hamptons have nothing to do between fundraising and social climbing than to remind everyone, and themselves, that they are in fact in God's promised land.

Case in point: When James' car alarm went off outside a restaurant in Sag Harbor last summer we were confronted by its hostess who huffed: "Sweetie, this is the Hamptons, we don't need car alarms."

With that, I couldn't wait to barrel down Route 27 and back to Manhattan where I scrubbed the white off with me until the wee hours of the morning.

I just hope Ms. Sinenberg has the same luck washing the smell of BBQ away.

Blogger Sucks...

...can someone out there please help me restore my template? For some reason the About Me column has been pushed to the bottom of the page. It's zapping my will to blog.

Friday, August 25, 2006

On the Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina

What I like most about Celine's heartfelt reaction to the hurricane is her point about focusing our money and resources on helping people. Because it is a good point: if we have money and power to kill people thousands of miles away from us we should have the money and power to feed, shelter and educate our own people, too.

Can't Wait for the Backlash

From AdAge: " In an unprecedented push, Wal-Mart Stores has hired a gay-marketing shop, joined the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and begun discussions with activist groups about extending domestic-partnership benefits to its employees."

Well isn't that lovely?

I don't know many gays who shop at Walmart, but having re-discovered Macy's last night (lured in by the INC partnership with Project Runway I decided to check out their men's line...Love it.) I guess anything is possible; and hey, it's nice to be appreciated.

So now that Walmart is going all radical, they should have Drag Queens pushing the now-approved
morning after pill -- "Ladies, don't let your partying catch up with you! Eye cream on Aisle 7, morning after pill on Aisle 8."

What WILL the triumvirate (O'Reilly, Coulter and Malkin) say?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Blogging for Fifth Anniversary of 9-11

I signed up to honor one of the 2,996 victims of 9-11 here.

Bloggers are still wanted to write a tribute to one of the 2,996 victims of the September 11th attacks.

I have been assigned to write about Mark L. Charette, age 38, who died at the World Trade Center on that terrible day.

If you're a blogger and want to join in this special project, visit the 2,996 Project site now.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Something to think about

Set your DVRs (what's TiVo?) tonight for 1:15am on the Sundance Channel. If you've never seen "The Gift" (I haven't) then do so now. In fact, do a little prep work and read this article from this month's issue of the letter to the editor of the New York Times. For whatever reason, my last two visits to the Pines have coincided with some news story about reckless sexual behavior.

As sorry as I may feel for the countless people who are contracting HIV at this very moment, I am also impossibly fed up with a culture that continues to fuel self destructive behavior. In this month's Advocate the topic of bareback sex parties is addressed and the promoters of these parties are "exposed" in a half-assed attempt at muckracking. Long story short, the party promoters are not holding a gun to anyone's head. They're not pedaling death, they're making money off sex the same way Michael Lucas, a hero of sorts in Chelsea, is. No one attacks Falcon Studios or the other porn houses for promoting a culture of loose sexual conduct. So why should the average Joe, with a room or two to spare in his home, not make a buck off the losers who are going to drop their pants either in a parking lot, the dunes in the Pines or a bathroom at a club?

The lack of accountability in our community for our actions is killing us. To call sex party promoters peddalers of death is a call for the endictment of all gay media outlets -- all of whom are complicit in promoting a sex-obsessed culture that accepts drug use and other self-destructive behavior as par for the course of being gay.

People, no one can be responsible for your actions but you. The same way I blasted a 29 year old crack-addicted mother of five in a previous post I am blasting stupid gay men who think its their right to screw every other man under the sun while "praying for a cure for AIDS." I'm praying for a cold shower to fall over these hypocrites -- you're free to do whatever you want but the AIDS crisis now is a moral dilemma. We know how to prevent the disease and once we find a cure we're only going to create another illness to wipe us off the face of the earth. What's the point then?

Friday, August 18, 2006

Off to the Pines

...where I am told I will have no internet connection. That kinda sucks as I'm sure I'll want to write tons about the mayhem I'll be seeing out there. Nonetheless, do be sure to come back on Wednesday when I will resume my blogging.

Have a good weekend everyone!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Follow the Trail of Incompetence

Somebody call Oprah, I've just had an "aha" moment.

Looking back on yesterday's post, and the timeline of terror that I put together, I realize that Reagan, Bush Sr. and Jr., and Clinton have failed miserably at safeguarding the American people.

For embracing the regime of Sadaam Hussein in the 80s, for buddying up with Osama during the war in Afghanistan against Russia, for waging an unnecessary war against Panama while trying to overthrow Sadaam in 1990, for looking at the first World Trade Center attack as an isolated incident and doing the same with the bombings in Kenya and Tanzania and later the USS Cole, all four of these Presidents must be held accountable for their incompetence when it comes to fighting the war on terror.

I don't expect much from Republican presidents, so I will save today's dose of vitriol for Bill Clinton. That so many attacks happened on his watch, and that his administration failed to connect the dots and get serious with the Taliban and Al Qaeda is unforgivable. A President who enjoyed phenomenal approval ratings from both his countrymen and the world community had every opportunity to pre-empt the war we're fighting now.

How can we railroad Bush, whom I think is all sorts of criminally self-righteous, for ignoring Darfur when Bill Clinton looked the other way while Rwandans hacked each other to bits? Bill Clinton had eight years to squash Al Qaeda, to redefine our relationship with Israel, but instead he waged war on Serbia. And yes, Milosovik needed to be done away with, but how can an administration with money up the wazoo and the most sophisticated army in the world not be able to prioritize its military prowess? Was it really impossible to do both?

For Bill Clinton to travel the world now trying to raise money for AIDS in Africa is beyond hypocritical. For him to be BFF with Bush Sr. just goes to show that partisanship is a game for plebes. There is no such thing as party lines at the very top of our nation's power food chain. The megalomania and dirty-dealings of truly despicable people have meant death for millions and will continue to do so.

The next candidate who proposes the following three-point agenda gets my vote in 2008:

1) A clean break from Israel. The U.S. is (for better or worse) a Christian state. Zionism is Israel's problem, not ours. If their little patch of land on the Red Sea is worth dying for then let Israel continue to sacrifice its own young. Enough is enough. The U.S. has gained nothing from its ties with Israel and it's time to bow out of this reckless relationship.

2) Exploration and development of alternative energy sources. No Texas cowboy who has made his fortune in the oil industry should be allowed within 200 miles of the White House. It's time to declare our energy independence and show the Arabs that the dollar trumps Allah anyday.

3) An overhaul of our education system. We are digging our economic grave if we don't prepare our children to compete with China and India.

Does the buck stop here?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

So, what IF 9-11 Never Happened?

I love Andrew Sullivan's cover story in this week's New York magazine.

His account of a world still in the throes of a ghastly war is remarkable because it doesn't take a giant leap of the imagination to envision a world at the mercy of terrorists.

Of course, the usual suspects like Michelle Malkin are poo-pooing this issue of the magazine for touting the ideas of "left wing thinking thinkers." Among other things, Malkin says that it's not time to just move on and dismiss the events of 9-11, that the wounds are still too deep and too real to ignore.


If Mrs. Malkin were to put her political agenda aside for a moment she would agree that whether 9-11 happened or not our country was still careening toward a near Apocalyptic encounter with the forces of jihad.


Because not everybody loves America.

Because in 1979 52 Americans were taken hostage in Beirut and were not released until 444 days later.

Because in 1985 Hezbollah terrorists hijacked a TWA airliner out of Athens and killed a member of the Navy in a 17 day standoff with international authorities.

Because in 1988 Libyan terrorists killed 258 people on board Pan Am flight 103 headed from London to New York.

Because in 1993 Osama bin Laden killed five people in the first attack on the World Trade Center.

Becuase in 1998 Al Qaeda killed 149 people in bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and wounded over 1,600 others.

Because in 2000 Al Qaeda killed 17 servicemen and women aboard the USS Cole in Yemen.

To speculate on an America that would still be the victim of terrorism, crippled by in-fighting among parties and dumbstruck by the magnamity of a global terror campaign is not unpatriotic or dismissive of the tragedies of five years past. It's just realistic.

With the anniversary of 9-11 upon us, with fear and violence still the currency with which nations deal with each other, we should remember that the events of that day don't exist in a vacuum. We were already at war and we brushed off each attack on us with tears and hope. We've tried everything from diplomatic sanctions to war and we are no safer today than we were five years ago.

So here's my two cents: let's not turn 9-11 into a box office escapade just yet. Let's focus time and resources on the establishment of an administration that is going to handle the crisis before us swiftly, honestly and with determination. I don't want a President who is on an air-kiss level with a terrorist nation. I don't want an off-the-cuff leader who thinks God speaks solely to him. I want a leader, and an administration, that will ask what IF 9-11 never happened and how can we make sure it never happens again?

Monday, August 14, 2006

JWs Star in Best Movie of the Year

Quinceanera is hands down the best movie I've seen in 2006. The story of a young girl who gets pregnant just before her big coming out party for her 15th birthday and who winds up creating her own family with her hot as **** gay gangster cousin and 84 year old great uncle is an honest look at issues of race, class, faith and sexuality in today's America.

So funny that I should see this after my own weeklong experience with the family.

I can't believe the two leads, Emily Rios and hot as **** Jesse Garcia were raised as JWs. I should, like, have lunch with them or something. I'm sure we wouldn't run out of things to talk about.

But go see the movie NOW. Or when it comes to a theatre near you.

The Islamophobia Awards

Check this out: The Islamic Human Rights Commission is looking to honor the next round of "Islamophobes" in December of this year.

"The Islamophobia Awards is an annual event to acknowledge - through satire, revue and comedy - the worst Islamophobes of that year. Centred around a gala dinner, the 'awards' themsleves are both entertaining and raise awarness of a serious and growing prejudice. Real awards are given to those who have battled against Islamophobia - often against enormous odds."

I can't imagine why the world would harbor any prejudice against Muslims, but I am very glad that the same organization that has defended Sharia Law in Nigeria is out to chastise the world community about the proper treatment of things Islam.

Here's what this "progressive" organization had to say in 2003 about the case of Amina Lawal, the Nigerian woman who was sentenced to death by stoning because she bored a child out of wedlock:

Islamic law in the dock
By Roshan Muhammed Salih
Thursday 25 September 2003

Amina Lawal withdrew her confession of adultery. Let's face it, no one really cares about Amina Lawal.

The Nigerian woman who was acquitted of adultery and escaped death by stoning on Thursday has been cynically exploited by those who oppose Islamic law, and those who would exploit it. Christian groups and human rights organisations have used the Lawal case to peddle their anti-Islamic, or Sharia law agenda. And ambitious Nigerian Muslim politicians have vigorously defended the death verdict in order to bolster their own standing.

Worse still, the case’s notoriety has succeeded in demonising Islam in the eyes of the world. Meanwhile, Amina Lawal has been forced to bring up her tiny baby with a death sentence hanging over her head. Burning controversyLawal's death sentence was handed down amid burning controversy over the implementation of Sharia law in 12 northern Nigerian states. Following the moves, thousands of people have been killed in fighting between Christians and Muslims in Nigeria.

First introduced in Zamfara state three years ago, Sharia is now practised, to a greater or a lesser degree, across Nigeria's north, and has exacerbated differences between the predominately Christian south.The world's media has put the spotlight on Sharia punishments such as amputations and death by stoning for transgressions, such as adultery.

But under Sharia law, Kano has also banned prostitution, gambling and the consumption of alcohol. And in Zamfara, single-sex schools and taxis have been introduced.


First of all, the Islamic community has NOTHING to laugh about right now. If they're so concerned with growing prejudice against Muslims then STOP BLOWING UP PLANES, BUILDINGS AND BUSES and STOP CUTTING PEOPLE'S HEADS OFF. As the Danish cartoon debacle showed us, Muslims have no sense of humor, so for the Islamic Human Rights Commission (this moniker makes as much sense as Jews for Jesus, hell, Nazis for Jews) to seek understanding and awareness through satire is in itself laughable.

Second, George Bush is not an Islamophobe. He is so bent over and taking it from the Saudi Royal Family that he might as well pray to Allah, he's already on his knees 5x a day accomodating that terrorist state.

Finally, I want to see a call for entries for 2006 and who these morons are going to nominate. I hope this group is being monitored by Scotland Yard.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Week in Review

I want to get back to some of the points made in response to my post on the London air-terror plot that was uncovered on Tursday, but I'm trying to decompress from a 10-hour drive back from P-town. In the meantime, I wanted to pull together a recap of someother interesting news items that unfolded this week:

-- World Trade Center makes it debut this weekend. I won't see it, in spite of the fact that I'm a fan of Oliver Stone. We're still living this war and I have no intention of reliving the worst day of our nation's history. I don't see the need for this film (yet).

-- Hottie hot-speedo-wearin' David Beckham has been dropped from the England soccer team. Says the AP: "[Coach] McClaren didn't name him in the squad to play Greece in Wednesday's friendly -- his first match in charge. While his accuracy from dead balls is still sharp, Beckham has started to lose pace, highlighted when 19-year-old Aaron Lennon twice replaced him at the World Cup. It also marks a break from the reign of former coach Sven-Goran Eriksson, who developed a close relationship with Beckham during his five years."

-- El Comandante is still MIA. Cuban officials say that both Fidel and Raul are out of sight as there are threats from the U.S. against Raul Castro. Take this news with a grain of salt as it comes from the official newspaper of the Cuban government.

-- And speaking of Cuba, Granma also reports that Benicio Del Toro has "added his voice to the 3,780-plus intellectuals and artists from more than 50 countries who are condemning the aggressive and interventionist tone of the George W. Bush government toward Cuba."

I don't think Benicio wants to reprise his place on our radar by backing Fidel's Cuba. Tsk tsk. Also, kudos to the Cuban government for coming up with the most odd-ball figure -- 3,780-plus intellecutals, eh? Well then, let's call the last 47 years of missile threats and botched-invasions a bad first date and start all over again. I mean, 3,780-plus intellectuals CAN'T be wrong. Though I envision this being a somewhat unlikely group; Castro's biggest fans are Harry Belafonte and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But I digress...

-- Heads up on a new film some of you might want to check out: Jesus Camp.

"JESUS CAMP, directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (The Boys of Baraka), follows Levi, Rachael, Tory and a number of other young children to Pastor Becky Fischer's Kids on Fire summer camp in Devil's Lake, North Dakota, where kids as young as 6 years-old are taught to become dedicated Christian soldiers in God's army. The film follows these children at camp as they hone their prophetic gifts and are schooled in how to take back America for Christ. The film is a first-ever look into an intense training ground that recruits born-again Christian children to become an active part of America's political future."

Blogger David Byrne offers some more insight on the film:

Saw a screening of a documentary called "Jesus Camp." It focuses on a woman preacher (Becky Fischer) who indoctrinates children in a summer camp in North Dakota. Right wing political agendas and slogans are mixed with born again rituals that end with most of the kids in tears. Tears of release and joy, they would claim — the children are not physically abused. The kids are around 9 or 10 years old, recruited from various churches, and are pliant willing receptacles. They are instructed that evolution is being forced upon us by evil Godless secular humanists, that abortion must be stopped at all costs, that we must form an “army” to defeat the Godless influences, that we must band together to insure that the right judges and politicians get into the courts and office and that global warming is a lie. (This last one is a puzzle — how did accepting the evidence for climate change and global warming become anti-Jesus? Did someone simply conflate all corporate agendas with Jesus and God and these folks accept that? Would Jesus drive an SUV? Is every conclusion responsible scientists make now suspect?)

** Hat tip: Alejandra.

-- Did I miss anything? Let me know.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

New Terror Plot Thwarted

...and over 20 suspects have been arrested by British authorities today.

From the AP: "British authorities said Thursday they thwarted a terrorist plot to simultaneously blow up several aircraft heading to the United States using explosives smuggled in carry-on luggage. U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said the terrorists planned to use liquid explosives disguised as beverages and other common products and detonators disguised as electronic devices."

WTF! I want to see how the European community is going to react to the investigation and prosecution of all those involved in this demonic plot. As the war on terror escalates it's time that West engage in its form of Shariah -- I call for speedy the investigation, trial and execution of suspected terrorists. We have no time to afford rights and lengthy legal procedures to anyone with the slightest level of complicity in killing mass numbers of innocent people.

To process this latest development in the WOT, I decided to scroll through the comments on the Huffington Post. Here are a few take-aways:

-- The continuous string of failures, incompetence and questions as to credibility has turned this useless and redundant part of the Cabinet, the "boy that cried wolf" of our Executive Branch. What about the Miami Terrorists and other "plots" against America? What about GITMO? What about the waste and corruption in DHS? What about the truth about 9/11?

-- Thank GOD for President Bush and PM Tony Blair. Get back to sucking your thumb under your covers chicken shit.

-- Take a good look at yourselves.. its not even 5 hours before you blame this on why dont you say that we should stop arresting thieves because arresting them only emboldens more to become theives, right?go Ned Lamont. (until real election day, that is)

-- These people wouldn't try to blow themselves up if Bush and Blair weren't such Nazis. It's all Bush and Blair. Let's exhume Chamberlain and we'll finally have some peace.

Oh boy.

I agree that our government has become comically breathless with its color-coded terror alerts and flag waving every time they unfoil another terrorist plot. How the most well-funded, sophisticated intelligence organization in the world had no idea that terrorists were planning to level NY and Washington is beyond me. So for Chertoff to chime in now, with the anniversary of his deplorable handling of Hurricane Katrina just around the corner, is just convenient for him and unncessary for everyone else.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are sitting ducks. If you think for one second that the terror alerts and the press conferences out of Washington and London mean we are safe the next time we board a plane then you're out of your mind. I am thankful that we haven't seen another airliner attacked since 9-11 but I do not credit our current administration with this -- I call it luck. And until we find Osama and get out of Iraq and stop funding the war machine that is Israel, we will testing our luck everytime we choose to leave our homes.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Propaganda Land

With enlistment rates plummeting, the U.S. Army is looking to avail itself of a new tactic to create the next generation of super-dirty-war fighters: ARMY LAND!

Says the AP: The Army is considering a proposal to allow a private developer to build a military-themed park that would include Cobra Gunship rides and bars including a "1st Division Lounge."

This reminds me of an experience I had in the eighth grade. I was fortunate enough to have attended a very progressive middle school in Park Slope -- in fact, I think of the three years I spent at William Alexander Middle School 51 as one of the most life-changing experiences I ever went through.

Anyway, a lot of us in the graduating class of 1994 were very fond of the school's photography teacher, Mr. Joe Zarba. He taught us how to make pin-hole cameras out of Quaker Oats containers and he talked about our own photographs in the same breath as Ansel Adams. Needless to say, we thought of him as a "cool" adult. So when he was asked to take us on a trip to the Intrepid Air & Space Museum in Hell's Kitchen, we were surprised that our go-with-the-flow teacher refused. "I refuse to take children to that place," he told us, and then proceeded to explain proper rinsing procedures for fresh prints.

Looking back on that otherwise unmemorable moment with this latest news story in mind, I realize that as a nation we really should be concerned with grooming our youth to be conscientious, compassionate, aware citizens of the world. War is not an amusement park, we shouldn't marvel at stealth bombers and warships. If there's money to spend on glamourizing military life, there should be money to spend on teaching kids foreign languages, art and music, and on challenging math and global studies curriculae.

Real American heroes will be the most astute and globally conscious leaders the world has ever seen -- can we produce those by the millions?

Monday, August 07, 2006

Not to rub it in...

...but now that relations have been mended with the kinfolk (a-hole little brother is taking the bus from NYC tomorrow to Ptown) I thought I'd share the following pics.

Ptown Dispatch: Day 3

Mom and dad left. Yours truly launched into all sorts of teary-eyed, panting theatrics to get his parents to turn around on Route 6 and back to Ptown. All is well and everyone is outside talking about cruise ships and Fidel. Thank God.

In other news, I'm very saddened by news of the death of several immigrants trying to sneak into the U.S. In spite of the vitriol surrounding the immigration debate in this country, it's easy to forget the fact that people are willing to risk their lives to not only protect this country but to live in it as well.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Post from Ptown: Don't Eff with Mom

A funny thing happened at the Lobster Pot on Commercial Street in Provincetown tonight: My mom stormed out of the restaurant after I made an innocent enough remark about the moochers one is apt to find in Colombia -- the country she just left after a month long vacation.

Well, eff mom right now. And eff the punk little brother I referenced in my last post -- he didn't even bother to come out for this week-long vacation. I spent the day at the beach, was snubbed by mom, and James is trying to talk everyone off the ledge.

Politics, family and sexuality: is this the trifecta from which this young upwardly mobile twenty-something is to hang himself?

Friday, August 04, 2006

Family Affair

Heading out to Ptown this weekend for a week-long vacation with both sets of parents and siblings. Read about last year's shenanigans here.

As I procrastinate on my packing and listen to Nina Simone, trying to convince myself that I will be able to just sleep in and eat whatever I want for eight days, I got to thinking about the little dramas in one's life that can consume the task of living. A stubborn parent, a brat child, a reckless sibling -- conflict is endless when everyone is hell bent on being "right."

So when I read that Condi Rice has just broadcast a message to the Cuban people tonight, offering them our country's support should they choose to embrace democracy while Castro plays footsie with death, I got to thinking that our relationship with Cuba is nothing more than just one messy family argument.

See, I have a teenaged brother that has a rather bohemian outlook on life (if only he knew what bohemian meant, but oh well). As I watch him hopscotch through one bad decision after another I can honestly understand our country's fifty year obsession with Cuba. Communism doesn't work and we've waged war upon war to save the world from a very bad decision.

Now we're back at it, this time hoping that our brothers in Cuba will come to us on bended knee, asking, finally, to drink from the fountain of our wisdom and democracy. Oh for the day when my little brother just says "you were right."

In the meantime, the back and forth on this blog over my recent post about the conflict between Lebanon and Israel has shown me that many of my readers are just hard-asses.

Dare I say that inside every blogger there's an angry big brother?

Back to Cuba, though.

When I was in college I read Ariel, one of the most beautifully written essays on the Latin American experience by the Uruguyan philosoper Jose Enrique Rodo. To illustrate the dynamic between a burgeoning superpower like the U.S. and a slower, more aloof entity like Latin America, Rodo references the story of Caliban and Ariel, characters immortalized by Shakespeare. Long story short, Caliban is the tough guy, Ariel is the dreamer. While Caliban wants to subjugate Ariel, Ariel's spirit is annoyingly resilient, stubborn, everlasting.

As Cuba's future teases the hopes of so many here in the U.S., it might be worth contemplating that perhaps things on the island won't change much after all. Perhaps we should just relent and let the Cubans live their best life while we live ours. Can we just let our annoying little brother be?

I'll let you know next week.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

You know PEOPLE are dying, right?

I am sick of myself and this blog today.

What's happening in the world is so frightening and disturbing that it seems trite for me to chime in with my own two cents about the bloodshed over faith, money and power.

Regardless of what your own views may be regarding Israel and Lebanon, or whether you're for or against the war in Iraq, we are all casualties of these escalating conflicts. I understand the concept of loyalty and the idea that we have to honor the sacrifice of the young men and women who are fighting our country's battles for us. At the same time, nationalism perverts loyalty and instead of us mourning human pain and loss, we're quick to mitigate the pain of our "enemies" we celebrate burning cities and talk about daily death tolls with less vigor than we would the day's winning lotto numbers.

Case in point, Ann Coulter's take on the war in Lebanon: "Some have argued that Israel's response is disproportionate, which is actually correct: It wasn't nearly strong enough. I know this because there are parts of South Lebanon still standing." This from a "Christian" -- guess the Christian population of Lebanon won't be affected at all once their country is finally leveled.

Then there are recent reports that the massacre at Qana, where women and children were said to be killed during an Israeli air strike are fabricated. Michelle Malkin and other conservative bloggers are calling the Qana deaths a hoax and say that it's just a stunt for the world press mounted by Hezbollah. The argument goes that unfortunately, women and children die in war and Israel has known death forever. True and true. Coulter, Malkin and Schlussel can all clink martinis (or Pabst, most likely) over their glib assessment of world events while real women, do-or-die women on both our armed forces and on the enemy's side do the dirty work of killing each other.

It's so easy, criminally easy, for us bloggers to just rant and opine on issues that mean life and death for so many defenseless people. Yes, the West is under attack, but at the same time war has been a way of life for so many people for far too long -- why do we need a flag to guide our emotions? Why can't we fight for understanding and reasoning? Where are all these deaths going to take us?

A very good friend sent me the following message from his Kaballah group. Now, I'm not endorsing any religion, I'm just saying that this particular message makes sense and is worth considering (hat tip Steve for this):

"Until we learn to cry tears for others only, nothing will change.The teachings and tools of Kabbalah help us eradicate and destroy the self-centered aspect of our being that only allows us to cry for ourselves, both individually and as a particular people of specific faith. When we remove that destructive selfish part, we will have the ability to cry over the pain of our individual neighbors and other nations. With everyone concerned for one another, the hatred and conflict will cease. Paradise will be ours forever. But no one gets it. The result? Wars and bloodshed for 2000 years."

Hard to argue with that, isn't it?

I'm not my usual combative self today. Instead, I'm going to wish for peace. Peace for you, peace for your families and mine, and peace for the men and women and children who are fighting the battles that so many of us talk about from the comfort of our homes and offices and favorite restaurants.

I wish for you, and for myself, love and light.

-- GCL

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

He ain't dead yet, y'all!

The 305 loves a good party -- but may I remind my Cuban brothers and sisters that Fidel hasn't died yet and it looks like there's a pretty concrete succession procedure in place to ensure that his legacy of dictatorship lives on. Hate to rain on the parade, but put your clothes back on, the battle isn't even halfway over.