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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mash Up Monday - Belated Tuesday Posting Edition ***MUST SEE***

I wasn't able to get around to posting this last night.  Under normal circumstances, I would have just waited until next week to post again.  These aren't normal circumstances.

Last week, I did a "Mashup Monday" post from a new artist named SpareElbowSkin.  He has only been on the scene for a few weeks, but his first mashup, a mix of Goldfrapp's 'A&E' and Snow Patrol's 'Chasing Cars', was quite impressive.  Last week, he released another mashup.

I have been chomping at the bit to post it.  It is easily...EASILY, one of the best mashups I have ever heard.  In my opinion, it is the best mashup since Norwegian Recycling's September track, 'Miracles'.  In many ways, though, it's better.

Mashups today have become a conglomeration of tracks that come together to a point that you almost have to pick them apart with a microscope and a pair of tweezers.  "I think I hear such and such's beat."  Or, "Wait.  Did you just hear Jay-Z?  I think I heard Jay-Z just then.  Rewind it."  When a DJ is mixing as many as 16 tracks together in a matter of three and a half minutes, it shows both the apex of talent and lunacy.

S.E.S. is different.  He sticks to two tracks.  He doesn't try to make his mashup "dance-able".  In fact, he sticks to tracks that you normally wouldn't think of mixing together.  This week's mix is a mashup of Adele's 'Rolling In The Deep' with Snow Patrol's 'Set The Fire To The Third Bar'.

Since Adele released her latest album, '21', about a month ago, I have heard literally dozens of mashups involving 'Rolling In The Deep'.  Some good., no.  Some of the better ones have been mixed with The Rolling Stones, Britney Spears, and even Gnarls Barkley.  When I saw the song that S.E.S. had selected to pair up with Adele on this mix, my first thought was, "You've got to be kidding me.  There's no way in a million years that this will work.  For the beats to even match up he's going to have to slow her voice down considerably.  It's going to sound horrible."

Boy, was I wrong.  When Adele's voice comes in, it gave me goosebumps.  The mix is one of the most haunting songs I have ever heard.  And that is what I quickly learned about SpareElbowSkin.  He has an appreciation for the music that other DJs don't.  That's what sets him apart from other artists.  He creates his mashups while still keeping the emotion, the heart, of the music in tact.  That is something that has been lost over the years with everyone else.  Their goal is to make something that sounds cool, or to make something with a cool beat.  SpareElbowSkin does it for the love of the song.  He's a fan.  He's not putting these two songs together simply because he thinks they would sound good together, but because he's a fan of Snow Patrol and of Adele.  He's showing his respect for the artists and their music.

If you need further proof, he even re-edited the video so that it was in 2.39:1 format, just so it would look nicer on screen.  Enjoy 'Rolling In The Third Bar'.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Happy Birthday, Lady Gaga

How could I not let the day go by without wishing Gaga a Happy 25th?  Having such a prolific career in such a short amount of time, she'll be remembered as one of the most poignant and controversial artists of all time.  In just three years, Gaga has not only become an identity, but a brand.

Having accomplished much more by the age of 25 than Madonna could have ever imagined, (Madonna had only released her first album a month before her 25th birthday) Lady Gaga has already gone on to win 5 Grammys, 18 MTV Awards, and countless Billboard awards.  Not to mention, as of August 2010, selling 51 million singles, and over 15 million albums.

She is also one of the most unselfish people in the music industry, becoming one very creative philanthropist.  Just within the last 18 months, she has had a hand in raising over $160 million for AIDS research, raising money for PETA, and raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for the earthquakes in Haiti and Japan.  She's a vocal, very vocal, advocate for LGBT rights, and, some may say, has done more for the cause than many politicians in Washington.

'Born This Way' has really grown on me over the last couple of weeks, but the video has this 3 minute intro that is just to strange, even for my tastes.  Instead, I'm going to play my favorite Gaga video to date, 'Bad Romance'.  In my opinion, it's the perfect dance song.  You can't get any better.  Enjoy, and Happy Birthday, Gaga.

When Did The World Become Such Crybaby Pussies?

Americans have long had a tradition of being spineless jellyfish, when it comes to ridiculous laws that have been placed on the books in the name of "safety".  Officials tend to have the best of intentions and take things a bit too far.  Last week, it seems, the city council in Whitehorse, Australia, has taken a page out of the "How To Make Ludicrous Laws That Make Toddlers Cry" handbook from the Americans.

The local city council has deemed these children as "vandals".  That's right, "vandals".  They draw little fishes and stick figures out of chalk in front of the local Nunawading Cafe in the mornings.  It's not like Banksy is doing stencil work on the walls outside, or anything.

Sally White, the owner of the Cafe, said that an inspector had visited them, saying that they had received a complaint, and that the artwork had to stop.  The issue centers on a council law that deems it an offense to "destroy, damage, foul, interfere or deface anything located in or on the municipal place or road".  They said it also breached local anti-graffiti laws.

The mayor visited the Cafe last week after mounting pressure, saying that he would like to reverse the council's decision, but in the end, it was a safety issue.  WHA?  A safety issue?  According to White, 
"The mayor said they would like to issue us a permit but can't because it raises health and safety issues, in case somebody fell over a child on the footpath or into the street," she said.
The mayor is legitimately afraid that an adult, an adult, will not see a three or four year old on the sidewalk, trip over them, fall into the street, and get hit by an oncoming vehicle.  Then again, the city council of Whitehorse, Australia, is not aware that sidewalk chalk can be removed by simply applying a water hose to the offending fishies.

What have we come to as a world?  Have we really become such pussies that we're afraid of sidewalk chalk and toddlers?  Are those kids threatening to you?  Do you see in any way how they could pose a danger to the community?

I don't fucking get it.  I really don't.

Friday, March 25, 2011

'Captain America: The First Avenger' - Official Trailer

When I was a kid, Captain America was my least favorite super hero.  I thought he was lame.  After all, all he had was a shield.  He didn't have any real super powers.  At least Batman had some pretty cool toys.

Based upon the following trailer, I was off by a long shot.  Captain America kicked Nazi ass.  The special effects in the preview alone are pretty impressive.  From what I've read, the movie's animators used the same creative process to show the before and after "transformation" into America the same way that the stages of Benjamin Button's life was animated.

The movie, starring Chris Evans, Tommy Lee Jones, and Hugo Weaving, opens July 22.  It looks very promising.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Jacob Lusk: The One To Beat On 'American Idol'

As someone who gave up on 'American Idol' a few seasons ago, I had little faith in this season as a whole.  I must say though, I am impressed.  I have become an avid viewer for the first time since, perhaps, season two.  Not only has the switcharoo at the judges panel been a refreshing change, but I can actually count 5 or 6 singers out of the top 10 that have a legitimate chance of walking away with the whole thing.  And, believe it or not, if those 5 or 6 singers released a CD today, I would go out and buy it.

That being said, tonight, in my humble opinion, I saw the best 'Idol' performance by far of the season, and possibly the most memorable since Adam Lambert's Season 8 performance of 'Mad World'.  This week was "Motown Week", and Jacob Lusk sang Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell's 'You're All I Need To Get By'.  I must admit, when the season started, I didn't like Jacob that much.  I think it's because he didn't show his full potential until "Hollywood Week".  He was really holding himself back.

When Lusk comes out of his shell, watch out.  He's like a freight train with a microphone.  Nothing can stop this man.  He has a glorious voice....yes, I said glorious, and he isn't afraid to release it.  He reminds me of a young Luther Vandross, but not as reserved.  His voice has much more power behind it, with more vibrato.  And Jacob isn't afraid to be a diva.  Just look at how he gets into this song.  He's one part Luther, one part Diana Ross, and one part all Jacob Lusk.  I love this guy.  Just watch:

Whether he ends up being an "American Idol" or not, he has a long and successful music career ahead of him.  How could he not?  I think we're finally seeing the end of this program as a "karaoke contest", and having it come back to it's roots as a talent competition, like it was intended to be.  The first season had Kelly Clarkson, who ended up being a mildly successful artist outside of the show.  Then year after year they churned out crap after crap, to the point where 'Idol' stopped giving the winner of the season an original song to sing.  Last year's winner recorded a cover of a U2 song as their single.  I'm not kidding.

Maybe this year we're seeing 'Idol's Renaissance period.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Walmart Makes Things Right

The title of the post was originally going to be " "Gay" Is A Four Letter Word".  Before I had the chance to write about it though, Walmart did the right thing.  Let me explain.

Last night, blogger and "It Gets Better" contributor, Mark S. King went on to write a review for the new "It Gets Better" book, which became available yesterday.  The book contains transcripts of some of the most inspirational videos that have been uploaded onto Youtube to date.  It also contains transcripts of the videos from celebrities and politicians that have contributed to the cause, including Barack Obama, Al Franken, and Ellen Degeneres.

When King clicked on the "submit" button to submit his review of the book, which incidentally, he is in, he received the following message:
We're sorry but we encountered the following issue(s):
  • We have detected profanity in the Write Your Product Review field. Please remove the profanity and submit it again.

I received the same message when I tried to write a review last night.  Neither review had any curse words in them.  Here is a copy of the review I posted:
"A must have for any young gay or lesbian youth. It's a very inspiring book, that does let you know that things do eventually get better. Based off of Dan Savage's "It Gets Better" video project, this book continues the motivational dialog where the Youtube videos left off."
Notice any profanity?  I didn't.  So out of curiosity, I tried to write a review of the DVD of  'Glee Season 2, Volume 1' .  I mentioned that, without giving too much of the plot away, this season Kurt has to transfer to a new school due to being bullied for being gay.  Again, it wouldn't let me submit the review due to "profanity".  I substituted the word "gay" with "lesbian".  No go.  Then "queer".  Still considered profanity.  Then I tried "homosexual", thinking that maybe Walmart was actually being proactively sensitive toward the LGBT community to prevent people from leaving words like gay or queer as a slur in regards to a product (ie. "That's so gay.").  Guess again.  "Homosexual" was considered "profanity".

Eventually, when I put in the review that Kurt Hummel was being bullied because he was "transgendered", it let me submit the review (I did not submit it, in case you were wondering.).  I was furious.  Walmart already caters to middle America, "family oriented" consumers as is.  Did they need to make things worse?  I mean, take a look at the book selection in their stores.  Outside of 'Twilight' and 'The Da Vinci Code', the only books you'll see on the shelf are either religious in nature, or written by people on Fox News' payroll.  The vast majority of the LGBT community are already boycotting Target, and they really do not like Walmart to begin with.  Do we really need to have a reason to boycott another big box store?

Surprisingly though, within a matter of hours, Walmart stepped up and came through.  They issued a personal apology to Mark King.  It was given personally by spokesman Ravi Jariwala, saying:
"I apologize that this situation has been created. It was a systemic oversight, in which ‘gay’ was on a list of filtered words. Certainly it makes absolute sense for you to include this word in your review. This is a no-brainer for us."
They also issued the following "official" statement regarding the issue:

"Recently it was brought to our attention that Mark King was unable to complete a review of the book “It Gets Better” on We regret that a filter did not allow his review of the book to post and we quickly worked to resolve this technical issue.

We reached out to Mark directly to discuss the issue and, as an extra measure, we have reviewed the system to ensure that it will allow the use of all appropriate words related to sexual orientation and gender identity."
Oh, and they published his review of the book, as it was originally written:

5 out of 5
An incredibly important book.

Like many people who grew up gay and afraid, my soul may have survived those years but I have a few scars left behind. It Gets Better gently strokes these wounds — the toughened and the still-tender ones — so that young people today might take heart and make the journey to adulthood a little more safely.
There's no denying the power of this project, and what could easily be the most important book of the year.
You can read my full review at
Product Attributes:
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations
5 out of 5

10 of 10 found this review helpful. 

I suggest buying a copy of  'It Gets Better' when you get a chance, and when you do, a suggest buying it from Walmart.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Happy 80th Birthday, William Shatner

The Shat is 80 years old today.  80 years old!  Can you believe it?

My 500th Post: A Look Back

When I look back, 500 posts don't seem like that much.  Then again, looking at the length of some of these posts, I have more content on this page than many blogs with 10,000 entries.  I started this page on September 11, 2009, with an entry about how 9/11 changed my views on the National Anthem, based upon the way I was brought up as a Jehovah's Witness.

Reading that post, it's obvious that my writing abilities have improved in the last 18 months.  I have, without a doubt, taken up a more professional writing style.  It's almost as if I've become a professional blogger.  Now, if only I can start making money at this.  LOL.  This has, in a way, become my profession.  In the months since starting the site, I have realized that I will likely never work another "traditional" day of work again in my life.  This has, in fact, become my "job", and I'm starting to treat it as such.

There was a post that I wrote about two weeks in to the site, that I wanted to share again.  It brought back a lot of positive memories.  Memories that personally I need right now.  The post is from September 30, 2009.  It's called, "I Am A Rockstar Dad or How Bohemian Rhapsody Makes My Daughter Vomit":
"The last few days, every time our daughter says "Mama", my wife and I both say, "Oh oh oh oh". We're hoping to have her know all the words to 'Bohemian Rhapsody' by the time she is two. We're sick like that.
Anyway, my wife was indisposed, and the baby had a poopy diaper. It was my turn to change the nasty diaper, so I picked up the baby and laid her down on her changing table to be changed. As I am changing her, I start singing 'Bohemian Rhapsody'. I'm doing the voices and everything. She's loving it.
I get to the "Galileo" part, and I'm zooming in and out in front of her face. She's cracking up. Her eyes are bigger than I have ever seen them. Her mouth is open wide and going back and forth between a smile and a big "O" shape.
By the time I'm singing "Let him go!", I've forgotten about putting the new diaper back on. She's hysterical. She has the hiccups and is clapping. I feel like I'm opening up for Robin Williams at the Improv.
Then comes the greatest line of one of the most legendary rock songs ever written: "Beelzebub has a devil put a side for me...for meeee.....FOR MEEEEEEEEEE!!!!" Just as I hit the high note, my daughter's face goes from a look of pure joy to "I'm not so sure about this".
Suddenly, thick chunky dark green sludge launched about eight inches out of my daughter's mouth. It covers my arms, my hands, her stomach, shirt, face and hair. My first thought: "HOLY FUCK!". Second thought: "Jimi Hendrix, Jimi Hendrix". My daughter was still on her back and she was choking on her own vomit. I turned her over on her stomach, gave her a couple of good thwacks on the back until she started breathing OK, and stood her up.
I was as cool and as calm as could be, like I had done this a hundred times. Any other time, I would have been blowing chunks all over the bedroom, but I grabbed a handful of baby wipes, and started cleaning the little squirt down. This was the first time she had puked and was old enough to be aware of what was going on. I was cleaning her off. She looked at me, slowly looked down at herself, and yelled "Mama". And into the shower she went.
I was so proud of myself. I handled it like a pro. Almost more like a roadie than a dad. Let's put it this way...if I would have been on Janis Joplin's detail, she'd probably still be alive."
18 months later, she knows all of the words to the verses of 'Bohemian Rhapsody'.  She calls it "The Mama Oooh Song".  If that isn't cool enough, she does the hand claps during ' We Will Rock You', and we have our  own little gestures orchestrated for 'We Are the Champions'.  She doesn't know who the band Queen is.  But when you ask her, "Who sings 'Mama Oooh'?", she'll tell you that it's "Freddie" (She says, giggling, "He's got a funny mustache.").  I fucking love my little girl.  The video below is her favorite Youtube video to watch.  Well, that and that 'Whip My Hair' video.  LOL.

It makes me realize that I need to continue to talk about my daughter.  I focus so much on world events, politics, religion, gay rights, etc., that I sometimes forget the most important things in the world.

What To Expect Over The Next Week Or Two

Other than an update from my hospital room, I didn't have a single post on this blog in 16 days.  It's amazing how much can happen in 16 days.

I watched tens of thousands get washed out to sea from my bed.  I nervously  flipped back and forth between MSNBC and CNN in my hospital room as temperatures rose in reactor after reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.  It was frustrating enough that I felt helpless laying in a bed 10,000 miles away.  It was even worse that I couldn't write about the situation.

I have some catching up to do.  Over the last two weeks, I have accumulated a number of rare and exclusive videos on the earthquake and tsunami that I feel that I have to share.  You cannot understand the magnitude of what happened there until you see some of this video.

There are also some other news stories that have occurred in the last couple of weeks that I want to put my two cents in on.  You may care.  You may not.

In the last week, I have also seen a number of things regarding some recent Watchtower articles that I cannot stay silent on.  Expect a slew of ex-JW posts all of a sudden.  Maybe it's all of those blood transfusions I had in the hospital.  LOL.  Kidding.

So, over the next few days, some of this stuff may be old news to some of you.  Some of it may be eye opening.  Hopefully, regardless if you've heard the subject matter before, you'll see it from a new perspective. That's my goal at least.

An Update On My Health aka "It's A Long Story"

There is a longstanding tradition on Tumblr, in which bloggers participate in "TMI (Too Much Information) Tuesdays".  It looks as though I'm going to carry that tradition over to Blogspot with this post.

You may have noticed that I have been relatively absent over the last two to three weeks.  I would like to say that I have been on Spring Break in Ft. Lauderdale.  Sadly, that hasn't been the case.  Instead, I have spent most of the last two weeks in two different hospitals.  Connected to machines, being poked and prodded every fifteen minutes, and being served food I wouldn't even give my dog.

The problems started two weeks ago.  I was walking in Petsmart around noon with my little girl and my legs gave out.  My knees buckled.  If it wasn't for the fact that I was pushing a shopping cart, I would have hit the ground.  Fifteen minutes later, it happened again.  Then again a half hour later.  I didn't have any pain in my legs.  They weren't weak at all.  It was like someone flipped off a switch in my brain and quickly switched it back on again.  Someone pressed a reset button for my legs.

At about four o'clock that afternoon, I was chasing after my daughter at the mall, and it happened a fourth time.  That was when I started to freak out.  I called my primary physician, and explained to him the situation. I asked him whether I should come into urgent care or go to the hospital.  He said that considering my symptoms, he wouldn't have any of the equipment necessary to test for potential conditions.  He referred me to the hospital.

I got to the hospital on Monday night at around 8PM.  After explaining what had happened over the course of the day, they took me back to triage to get some blood samples taken.  Meanwhile, they called my neurologist.

Let me tell you how much of a rock star my neurologist is.  I am sitting in the waiting room, and the nurse comes out, a little dumbfounded, and says, "I don't know who your doctor is, but you need to stay with him." "Our MRI team went home four hours ago, and your doctor is forcing our doctors to call them at home and make them come back in." (Yeah, he's a BAMF.)  He informed the ER doctors that they must admit me, and not to release me until a certain list of tests were done and results were in.

When I was admitted to my room, I was informed that my blood sugar that night was 346.  I had had a Coke and a cocoa from Starbucks over the course of the day, but, besides that, I didn't have anything to eat since 11AM.  My blood sugar should have been around 100 or less.  I also found out that my A1C, the 3 month average of my glucose levels, was at 9.7.  They should be below a 6.  I had them checked roughly 6 weeks prior, and there were no red flags from my doctor.  A 9.7 A1C is a level that makes you insulin dependent.  So, in a matter of six weeks, my pancreas had effectively stopped working.  It's not as if I am a Type 2 Diabetic now.  I didn't get this way from being a fat bastard that couldn't control his diet.  We're talking six weeks.  Going from healthy, to daily insulin shots.

My primary physician calls it "Type 3 Diabetes".  It's obviously not Type 2.  It has the same features as Type 1.  It appears to be an autoimmune response.  But, Type 1 initially appears in juvenile patients only.  That being said, I don't have Type 1.  So, I have "Type 3", or maybe "Type 1B".

Oh, and get this:  I found out, when I checked into the hospital two weeks ago, that since December of last year, I've lost 50 lbs. (I've lost 10 more since then.)  I haven't changed my diet at all.  I haven't exercised.  I'm still taking in just as many calories as I did four months ago.  I haven't weighed this much since I was a junior in high school.  Don't get me wrong.  I needed to lose the weight anyway, but to lose it so quickly, without trying, is a little scary.

So while I'm in the hospital (the first time), I have an EEG (brain scan), a CAT scan, and 6 hours inside an MRI.  They get a full workup of my brain and head, my neck, and my complete spine.  They find absolutely nothing to explain what would make me collapse.  What they did find out was pretty remarkable, though.  The normal brain on an MRI looks like this:

I found out that I have what is called a Chiari Malformation.  That means that the way my brain grew in my skull, the tonsils, or the little nubs on the bottom of my cerebellum hang down below my skull.  Mine actually rest on my spine.  It may explain why I have migraines as often as I do, as well as constant pain in the base of my skull.  Here is a picture of an MRI of someone with a Chiari Malformation.  THIS IS NOT MY MRI.

My brain is a little abnormal.  It doesn't sit straight in my skull.  It's slanted back.  It's the creepiest thing.  If I can figure out how to break the copyright encryption on the imaging DVD, I'll post some pics of my images.  I also found out that I have either 6 or 7 herniated discs in my back.  Some aren't so bad.  Some are.  The doctor at the hospital said that he's surprised that I'm not complaining of back pain.  There are a couple of herniations that are pressing on my spine.  My spine doesn't curve like it's supposed to.  It's pretty much dead straight.  I have follow up appointments now to determine the seriousness of the herniations, to see if spinal surgery may be needed.  If so, they will have to enter through my breastbone.  From what I have been told, it's pretty gruesome.  Estimated downtime is six months after the procedure.

And now, for something completely different....

(For you 'Big Love' fans out there.  That was Julia Nunes, singing the Beach Boys' 'God Only Knows')

OK.  Moving on.  I was released on Thursday, the 10th, and saw my neurologist the following Monday, the 15th.  He pretty much ruled out Multiple Sclerosis, but wanted to do a couple more tests, just to make sure.  During the neurological exam, he very quietly mentioned ALS to his assistant a couple of times.  ALS is commonly known as Lou Gehrig Disease.  It's fatal.  Usually, from the time you're diagnosed with it, you're dead within 3-6 years.  ALS doesn't show up on an MRI.  It really doesn't show up anywhere.  The only way to diagnose it is to test for everything else, and if everything else comes back negative, ALS is the likely culprit.

Tuesday the 16th, I was OK.  My legs were weak, but I was able to walk fine with the walker that the hospital provided me the week before.  Then at about 2PM, my legs just stopped working.  It was like someone cut the strings off of a marionette.  An hour later, I lost control of my bowels and my bladder.  About two hours after that, the bones in my upper arms became so sore, it felt like someone was trying to dislocate my shoulders.  I had no strength in my upper extremities.  I called my neurologist.  He called me back and said to get admitted immediately at the Mayo Clinic hospital here in Phoenix.

Within a half hour of getting in to the ER at Mayo, they had already drawn 16 vials of blood.  At 2AM, I had a neurologist at my bedside doing an exam and asking me questions.  It was impressive to see a staff like that operating in the middle of the night.  At 8AM every morning, I had a team of 6 neurologists standing at the foot of my bed, discussing their plan for me for the day.

I had more MRIs completed, and an EMG.  Let me tell you, an EMG sucks.  They put little pads on different spots on your arm, hand, leg and foot, then they stick what amounts to a miniature cattle prod up to various points on your body where nerves are supposed to be.  Then they test the speed of that electrical signal.  It hurts like a motherfucker, and your leg is just bouncing across the bed, like you're keeping time to a song in your head.  If that isn't enough, then they stick a two inch long wire into certain muscle groups to check for an electrical signal.  Once the wire is in, you have to relax or flex a specific muscle.  Then they move the wire around until they find the signal they're looking for, like it's an AM radio station that's broadcasting from your thigh.

Last Friday morning was exceptionally noteworthy.  I had two gentlemen from physical therapy come in to work with me.  They brought a pair of three pound dumbbells with them for me to exercise with.  My upper body was so weak, and still is, that they had to exchange them for two pound weights because I couldn't lift the three pound weights over my head.  Then they had me do leg raises while sitting on my bed.  Once I lifted my leg to a particular height with either leg, I would get a jolt of electricity through my leg, and twitch.

They had me stand up and try to march in place.  I started with my left.  First left.  Then right.  Then left again.  As I started to lift my right leg up for the second time, I started to shake.  My whole body went into what I can only describe as a full body stutter.  I couldn't talk.  I couldn't move, other than to keep shaking.  It lasted for more than 45 seconds.  I have had tens of thousands of Tourette's tics over the last five years, and let me tell you, this was not a Tourette's tic.  This was a seizure.

I told the neurologist 20 minutes later when he came in to see me.  He said that it was impossible for me to have a seizure, simply because I did not pass out.  I was conscious during the event.  It was then that I started to get the feeling that Mayo wasn't going to be of much help to me.

A couple of hours later, a neurologist came in and told me that I was going to be released.  They told me that I had no nerve damage, and, that I was being diagnosed with a "movement disorder".  NO SHIT.  They couldn't tell me what brought on said "movement disorder", but suggested that it may be attributed to recent stress.  Keep in mind, I still can't walk.  My upper body is still so weak, that I have to lay back and rest after reading the newspaper for five minutes or so.  And the whole bladder/bowel thing?  It's still a little sketchy.  The neurologist, a condescending, mid twenty-something, holier than thou bitch, actually had the balls to suggest that I see my therapist (my psychologist) once a week to try to get my legs working again.  She also is scheduling me for physical therapy three times a week, which I can't afford.  What I don't understand is this:  If this is a movement disorder, in the same spectrum as my Tourette's Syndrome, of what benefit would physical therapy be?  Physical therapy can't fix my Tourette's.  How can it fix this?  It's not a problem with my muscles.

In the course of our conversation, the neurologist said, "You're fine as far as we can tell".  I replied, "I can't fucking walk".  She said, "Well, you can with a walker".

They gave up on me.  I wasn't bleeding.  I wasn't dieing.  They did a series of blood work, an hour of MRIs, and an EMG.  From the moment I walked in, they had originally thought I had a condition called Guillain-Barre Syndrome.  When tests turned out that I didn't, they let me go.  This is one of the most respected hospitals in the nation.  People come here from all around the world specifically just to be treated at this facility because of their reputation.  I would have rather gone back to the hospital I was originally at.

So,  I'm home now.  I still can't walk.  I started having convulsions yesterday.  I called MY neurologist yesterday for further instructions.  He is on vacation until April 4th.  His business partner may see me, or I may be sent to another hospital this week.  He is really good about getting back to me, even when he is out of his office.  He once returned my call from his cell phone when he was in the airport in Lubbock, Texas.  I told you, he's a BAMF.

I would like to thank everyone for their kind words, both on the blog, and on Facebook.  It's nice to know that so many of you are concerned, and you are all strangers.  Thank you so much.  You keep me going some days.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Mash Up Monday

After a brief hiatus, we're back with a mashup from a new DJ that I, for one, am unfamiliar with.  This week's mix comes from SpareElbowSkin.  This guy, or girl,  from what I can tell, is relatively new to the scene.  Their Youtube channel has only been up and going for about 7 weeks.  And, at the time of this posting, has only had about 350 views.

This weeks mashup is so subtle, it can almost be classified as a remix.  It's a mix of Goldfrapp's 'A&E' with Snow Patrol's 'Chasing Cars'.  I really enjoyed it.  Not only did I appreciate the song selection, but I liked the way in which the lyrics are shuffled around on the track.  It's refreshing.

I also appreciate the fact that they included the "missing" line in 'Chasing Cars'.  It's my favorite line of the song.  In the U.S. version of the single, the bridge goes,
"Let's waste time/Chasing cars/Around our heads"
Then you hear the *bing*, and the chorus starts.  But in the U.K. and International versions, the bridge goes,
"Let's waste time/Chasing cars/Around our heads...
I need your grace/To remind me/To find my own"
Then the chorus.  In my opinion, they cut out the most touching moment of the song. But I digress.

Without further adieu, here is 'Chasing A&E Cars' (I didn't name it folks.  I'm just playing it.)

Only In Texas. Only. In. Texas.

Last Wednesday night, a 23 year old woman was killed in the parking lot of a Dallas area strip club, when she was run over by "monster truck" backing out of a parking spot.

The driver of the truck had no idea that he had hit the woman, and did not stop until he was flagged down by another individual further down the lot.  Kacey McKenzie, an employee of the Spearmint Rhino, died at the scene.  27 year old Eric Crutchfield was arrested for intoxicated manslaughter and driving on a suspended licence.  He has two priors for possession of a controlled substance.

I was somewhat confused on the intoxicated manslaughter charge.  I've never heard of it before.  It turns out that Texas is one of the few states in the country that specifically has a law in place in the event of manslaughter by DUI.  It obviously occurs that often.  It's a second degree felony. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Slow Week From The Daily Twitch

Have you ever had one of those weeks where you have so many things that you want to write about, but life comes along and fucks it all up for you?  Well folks, welcome to my life.

I am currently posting from room number 1215 of a hospital in the greater Phoenix area.  Earlier Monday afternoon, I collapsed a total of 4 times while out with my family.  I didn't pass out, but rather, it was if my legs forgot how to walk.  At the advice of two of my doctors, I came to the ER.  Within two hours, I was admitted.

So far, I have had an EKG, an EEG, and 2 out of a series of 6, hour long planned MRIs on my head, neck, and spine.  Nothing interesting to note.  A couple of strange things to share, though.  My potassium levels were so low, that not only did they have to give me two potassium drips, but they had to follow that up with two separate potassium supplements.

Also, for some reason, when I walked in, my blood sugar was at almost 325.  They have kept me on a diabetic and salt free diet since coming in here.  I've had over a half dozen shots of insulin.  My lowest blood sugar level was just about 15 minutes ago at 195, and that was without so much a glass of water for 6 hours.  My A1C, which tests my average blood sugar for the last three months was 9.7.  9.7 from what I'm hearing is "insulin dependent".  I'm just trying to figure out how the hell things could have changed so fucking fast.

I will try to keep you all posted.   Please keep checking back with The Daily Twitch.  Thanks.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Asshole Of The Week

So, I've decided to write another weekly post.  Earlier yesterday, I wrote the first of a new weekly post titled "BAMF of the Week".  I figured, if I'm going to feature a bad ass once a week, it's only fair for me to feature an asshole.

Sadly, as much as I would have personally wanted the first ever "Asshole of the Week" to be Sarah Palin, this week was "Ignore Sarah Palin Week".  Over 118,000 people pledged on Facebook to turn the TV when Palin comes on, or click to another website when they see a news article about her.  Hundreds of websites and bloggers, including myself, agreed to not so much as mention her this week.  I have no idea if she's even still in the country.  Will someone please email me and tell me she isn't?

No, this week's asshole is Fox News host and potential 2012 Republican Presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee.

Mr. Huckabee was on New York's WOR radio Monday morning, speaking on the nationally syndicated 'Steve Malzberg Show'.  For some unknown reason, the topic of the supposed secrecy of Barack Obama's birth certificate came up.  Then, the following conversation followed:

Yeah, I can't believe it either.  Just to make sure I'm covering all the bases here, I'm going to show a transcript of the above conversation:
MALZBERG: Don't you think it's fair also to ask him, I know your stance on this. How come we don't have a health record, we don't have a college record, we don't have a birth cer - why Mr. Obama did you spend millions of dollars in courts all over this country to defend against having to present a birth certificate. It's one thing to say, I've -- you've seen it, goodbye. But why go to court and send lawyers to defend against having to show it? Don't you think we deserve to know more about this man?
HUCKABEE: I would love to know more. What I know is troubling enough. And one thing that I do know is his having grown up in Kenya, his view of the Brits, for example, very different than the average American. When he gave the bust back to the Brits --
MALZBERG: Of Winston Churchill.
HUCKABEE: The bust of Winston Churchill, a great insult to the British. But then if you think about it, his perspective as growing up in Kenya with a Kenyan father and grandfather, their view of the Mau Mau Revolution in Kenya is very different than ours because he probably grew up hearing that the British were a bunch of imperialists who persecuted his grandfather.
For those of you that are confused in regards to the reference of the but of Winston Churchill:  Shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11, the British government loaned a bronze bust of Winston Churchill to then President George W. Bush, to be displayed in the Oval Office.  The bust, worth hundreds of thousands of pounds, has been sitting in the office since.  Approximately three weeks after being sworn into office, President Obama, requested that the bust be sent back to the British government art collection, and replaced with a bust of Abraham Lincoln.

Journalists eagerly awaited an explanation or clarification to the comments Huckabee made on the radio show.  If you notice, he didn't specifically say that Obama was born in Kenya, just that he grew up in Kenya.  He would have been able to deny spreading any "birther" rumors, while still fueling the controversy.  Keep in mind, he is speaking to his base.  72% of potential Republican primary voters think Obama may have been born in another country.

So how did Huckabee respond?  He "misspoke".  According to a statement released by a spokesman on Tuesday:
"Governor Huckabee simply misspoke when he alluded to President Obama growing up in 'Kenya.'  The Governor meant to say the President grew up in Indonesia. When the Governor mentioned he wanted to know more about the President, he wasn't talking about the President's place of birth - the Governor believes the President was born in Hawaii.  The Governor would however like to know more about where President Obama's liberal policies come from and what else the President plans to do to this country - as do most Americans." 
He didn't "misspeak".  If he did, he wouldn't have said that he "grew up in Kenya" twice.  And, probably most importantly, Obama didn't grow up "with" his Kenyan at all.  In fact, he only saw him once, when Obama was ten years old, according to his autobiography.  So his father had no influence in his life whatsoever.

If Obama grew up in Indonesia, and without the influence of his Kenyan father, it's hard to believe that he would have developed this "very different" view of the Mau Mau Revolution in Kenya, with some brewing hatred pointed toward the British people.

The Mau Mau Revolution was a conflict in Kenya that took place between 1952 and 1960, between an anti-colonial group called the Mau Mau and the British Army.  It eventually became what amounted to a civil war and killed more than 50,000 citizens in the process.  Keep in mind, this happened in Kenya in the 8 years prior to the President's birth.  As a child, Obama lived Indonesia, primarily in the Jakarta area.  Indonesia is separated from Kenya by 3,000 miles of the Indian Ocean.  To think that he would have any view of the Mau Mau Revolution would be a stretch of the imagination.  It would be like saying a 9 year old boy in Portugal is deeply affected by what happened before his birth in Ohio.  It's a ludicrous notion, at best.  The only reason he said these things is just to rile up the "birthers" that are tuning in and remind them that "there's a crazy African Muslim in the White House, and he must be stopped at all costs".

You would think after that debacle, Huckabee would have kept his mouth shut for the rest of the week and  try to avoid any further negative press.  Not quite.

As many of you know, Natalie Portman won the Oscar last Sunday night for Best Actress, for her role in 'Black Swan'.  She is engaged to Benjamin Millepied, the choreographer of the film, and they are expecting their first child this summer.  Look at her.  Isn't she just beautiful?

Doesn't she look stunning?  Sexy even.  During her acceptance speech she thanked her fiancée, saying, "...and my beautiful love Benjamin Millepied, who choreographed the film and has now given me my most important role of my life.(referring to motherhood)"

What a simple, well written, and touching nod to her partner, right?  Not if you ask Mike Huckabee.

During the SAME radio interview Monday, he said the following about the media darling:

In case you missed it, here's a snippet of the bile that you just heard:
"You know Michael, one of the things that's troubling is that people see a Natalie Portman or some other Hollywood starlet who boasts of, 'Hey look, you know, we're having children, we're not married, but we're having these children, and they're doing just fine.' But there aren't really a lot of single moms out there who are making millions of dollars every year for being in a movie. And I think it gives a distorted image that yes, not everybody hires nannies, and caretakers, and nurses. Most single moms are very poor, uneducated, can't get a job, and if it weren't for government assistance, their kids would be starving to death and never have health care. And that's the story that we're not seeing, and it's unfortunate that we glorify and glamorize the idea of out of children wedlock.

You know, right now, 75 percent of black kids in this country are born out of wedlock. 61 percent of Hispanic kids -- across the board, 41 percent of all live births in America are out of wedlock births. And the cost of that is simply staggering."
You know, for an "informal" interview, for two guys that were supposedly just "riffing", Huckabee had a shitload of statistics handy, didn't he?  

Where do I start on this one?  Natalie Portman is not going to be a single mother, first of all.  She's engaged, which, to me, means she's planning on marrying the father of her child.  And secondly, she thanked her fiancée and the father of her baby.  How is that "boasting"?  I don't see that.  She's not encouraging young girls to go out and get pregnant.  She's not "glamorizing" anything.

The reason why, in Huckabee's words, so many single mothers are "very poor, uneducated, and can't get a job", is because Republicans like him have eliminated funding for women's services and family services programs that single mothers around the country depend on.  If single parents still had state funded Head Start programs, government assisted day care programs, and funding for women's reproductive resources, there would be an opportunity for single mothers today to have the time to find a better job, have time to get an education, and have the ability to have access to health services for proper birth control and contraceptives.  It would also help if fathers today acted like fathers and not "baby daddies", but I digress.  This is a post for another time.

Back to Huckabee.  Do you know how many successful people were the result of a single parent household?  A single mother household?  George Washington was raised by his mom.  So was Bill Clinton.  As was Barack Obama for a large portion of his life...and those are just U.S. Presidents.  The notion that if you are not married to your children's "sperm donor", your life, and theirs, are automatically fucked, is ridiculous.  I can tell you from experience.  My father was present my entire life.  He is still with my mom.  They're celebrating their 39th wedding anniversary this month.  It would have been much easier for all of us if we were raised in a single parent house.  

Where was Mike Huckabee when Bristol Palin was on 'Dancing With The Stars'.  She never married Levi Johnston, her child's father.  She's raising her son as a single parent.  The only reason she was considered a "star" was because she got pregnant.  She's not an actress.  She doesn't sing.  We all saw that she couldn't dance.  She got knocked up.  That's it.  And now she's a celebrity.  Why isn't Huckabee ripping her a new one on the radio?  Hypothetical question.  We all know why.

Interesting fact I found.  Did you know that Ronald and Nancy Reagan got married on March 4, 1952.  Their first child, Patti, was born on October 21, 1952.  Do the math.  That's right, folks.  The lord and savior of the Republican party and his significant other had a bun in the oven when they got married, 50 years ago.  We're only talking a matter of weeks, so Nancy may or may not have known that she was pregnant at the time.  But it definitely shows that they weren't the holy/righteous figures that everyone on the right would like to paint them to be.  They're all hypocrites.

So Mike Huckabee, congratulations.  You're a fucking asshole, and the first ever Daily Twitch "Asshole of the Week".  It's well deserved.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

BAMF Of The Week

I have decided to try out a couple of new regular weekly posts and see how they go.  I originally had no intention of posting one entitled "BAMF of the Week" until I saw a two and a half minute video of an 8 year old boy from upstate New York.

For those of you unfamiliar with the term BAMF, it was coined by comedian Dane Cook a few years back.  The word BAMF is an acronym for Bad Ass Mother Fucker.  Believe me when I say that this kid fits the bill.

His name is Stevo Poulin, and there are two things about him that are for certain:  1.)  He knows how to sport a righteous mohawk, and 2.) he is a nightmare on the wrestling mat.  I have never, and I mean never, seen talent of this caliber from someone even twice his age.  It is staggering to see how easily this 8 year old boy gets himself out of holds, does reversals, and just tosses his opponents around like their nothing.  His confidence is uncanny.  It is remarkable.

Here is a montage of some of his matches in the last few months.  It's nothing short of amazing.  My two favorite segments are at the 1:35 mark where he playfully stalks his's funny.  Then, at the 2:10 mark where he throws the other kid down like a ragdoll, and slams him, as if he's saying, "Stay down".  The other kid doesn't come back up.

Stevo has 5 or 6 compilation videos on Youtube, all listed under his name.  You may want to watch all of them on mute or low volume.  They all have very bad soundtracks.  The one below has the best music of the bunch (and it's not very good).  Consider yourself warned.

Remember the name Stevo Poulin.  I have a feeling we'll be seeing him in the 2020 or 2024 Olympics.  His parents must be proud.

600 Pound Restaurant Spokesman Dies...As A Result Of Being Restaurant's Customer

Everyone, meet Blair River.  1999 Arizona state high school heavyweight wrestling champion and financial advisor for the University of Phoenix.  He was also part time model and spokesman for Chandler, Arizona's Heart Attack Grill.  For his time on the camera, he received $100 an hour and all he cared to eat, anytime he wanted for free at the restaurant.  

That's actually a misnomer.  Blair had been receiving all of his meals at the Heart Attack Grill for quite some time prior to working as a spokesman for the company.  In fact, hundreds of Phoenix area men and women eat there for free on a monthly basis.  You see, the H.A.G. has an interesting gimmick to attract customers.  If you weigh 350 pounds or more, you can eat as much as you want, as often as you want, at no charge.  It's gluttony at it's best.

Since opening in 2005, they've gone with a tongue in cheek doctor shtick.  The owner calls himself a "doctor".  The waitresses are dressed up as sexy nurses.  There's an ambulance parked outside in the parking lot.  All of the menu items are "heart attack" or "bypass surgery" themed.

I live minutes from the restaurant, and have been tempted a time or two to try it.  At one time, I even "qualified" to eat there for free, but the menu is just too much to handle....even for me.  Their "bypass" burgers come in single, all the way to quadruple versions.  Each patty weighs a half pound.  The buns are soaked in pure lard.  Not butter....but lard.  If you order the "quadruple bypass", expect 2 pounds of fatty, not lean, hamburger, eight slices of American cheese, a whole sliced tomato, and a half of an onion sliced, all on a lard soaked bun.  The burger comes in at 8,000 calories.  And that's just the burger.

Their "flatliner" fries (I'm not making this up) are fried in lard, too.  Oh, and don't expect a Dr. Pepper or a Mountain Dew at the Heart Attack Grill.  Those are considered "diet drinks".  They only serve Jolt Cola and Mexican Coke.

For those of you that aren't familiar with Mexican Coke, corn syrup exports from the U.S. are taxed so highly that Mexican soda companies cannot afford to put corn syrup in their product.  Instead, they stick to pure sugar.  It's much sweeter than their American counterparts and higher in calories.

That not all, folks.  They also advertise that they sell milkshakes with "the world's highest butterfat content".  If that's not enough, they sell cigarettes directly off the menu (unfiltered only, of course), and candy cigarettes for the kids.

The Travel Channel profiled the restaurant in 2009 in the aptly titled 'Extreme Pig Outs'.  Here is a clip for those of you that aren't familiar with this bastion of human decency.

So, what does this have to do with Blair River?  He died last Tuesday.  He was only 29 years old.  He was 6'8" tall, and depending on the news source, weighed anywhere from 570 to 600 lbs at the time of his death.  He had the flu the previous week and it developed into pneumonia.  He died from complications a couple of days later.

"OK, Adam", you're saying.  "He didn't die of a heart attack, or complications from type 2 diabetes.  What's the problem here?"

Well, a study was released last April that determined that men with a BMI of 30 - 34.9 were 40% more likely to catch pneumonia when ill.  Those with a BMI over 35 were twice as likely (200%) to catch pneumonia.  Regardless of height, I would say that 600 lbs is higher than a 35 BMI. 

 I am no one to talk.  I am 6'4" and some change, and, depending on my stress levels and diet, I'm anywhere from 300-320 lbs.  If you have been reading my blog, you know that I am fat positive.  But there is a clear difference between being fat positive and being exploitative and promoting an unhealthy lifestyle.  Just take a look at the last commercial that Blair recorded for the Heart Attack Grill.  The "warning" at the end of the ad advises that "mild death may occur".  Four months after recording this ad, Blair River is dead.

I understand that ultimately, every individual is in control of his or her physical health.  It makes it difficult to make smart and healthy decisions when someone is offering you something for free.  Eating healthy is expensive.  It's much cheaper and takes less energy to go through the drive thru sometimes, than to stand over a stove and cook something nutritious.  When you're offering an obese individual the option to come in, eat a single meal with the equivalent of your recommended daily caloric intake for four days, at no charge, as often as the want, you're an accessory to murder.   You are slowly killing that individual.

The restaurant may have thought they were starting a funny gimmick, but a husband and father is dead now.  They are partially liable for his death.  The gimmick needs to stop.  It's not cute anymore.

Phil Collins Announces His Retirement

It really saddens me to write this post.  It's quite depressing actually.  Not because of the announcement itself, but how he came across in announcing it.

Early Friday morning, Phil Collins officially called it quits in an interview with FHM Magazine.  Over the last couple of years, Collins has been dealing with a number of medical problems, including "hearing problems, a dislocated vertebrae, and nerve damage in his hand", brought on by 40+ years as a drummer.  He once disclosed that the only way he was able to continue playing the drums was by taping drumsticks to his hands.

The musician, who has sold over 150 million albums, thinks now is "a good time to stop", adding "I don't think anyone's going to miss me."  He continued in the interview,
"I look at the MTV Music Awards and I think: 'I can't be in the same business as this'.  I don't really belong to that world and I don't think anyone's going to miss me. I'm much happier just to write myself out of the script entirely.  I'll go on a mysterious biking holiday and never return. That would be a great way to end the story, wouldn't it?"
Later, he added,
“It’s hardly surprising that people grew to hate me. I’m sorry that it was all so successful. I honestly didn't mean it to happen like that.”
Keep in mind, this is a man that had nine #1 singles, seven Grammy Awards, and an Academy Award as a solo artist.  That does not include any of the work that he did as a member of Genesis.   He also had more Billboard Top 40 hits than any other artist during the 1980s.

If these quotes were attributed to Tone Loc, or that guy that sang that 'Hot Hot Hot' song, I would understand that.  This is Phil Fucking Collins.  This is a man that would routinely sell out stadiums within minutes.  Hell, a character was created for him simply so NBC could get him on 'Miami Vice'.

It has been speculated that he has been battling depression for some time.  In the November 2010, Rolling Stone, Collins was quoted as saying,
"I sometimes think I’m going to write this Phil Collins character out of the story. Phil Collins will just disappear or be murdered in some hotel bedroom, and people will say, ‘What happened to Phil?’ And the answer will be, ‘He got murdered, but, yeah, anyway, let’s carry on.’ That kind of thing"
The rest of this post is going to be video heavy, but for an important reason.  First, I want to pay respect to a portion of Phil Collins' body of work.  Secondly, it seems that Collins himself feels as if he has nothing to offer the world.  To think that his music has become irrelevant or trivial is beyond absurd.  It's tragic when someone that is as influential as Mr. Collins looks at the music industry, and doesn't see the mark that he has made in it today.

For example, take a look at this brilliant live performance of 'Against All Odds' at Live Aid in 1985.  It's just Phil and a grand piano.  He has a little flub in the first verse, but otherwise spectacular.

Nineteen years later, The Postal Service covered the song for the 'Wicker Park' soundtrack.  They obviously put their spin on it, but it's clear that they're heavily influenced by, and are fans of Phil Collins.  It's one of the better covers I've heard in recent years, simply because of their take on the classic.

Here is, hands down, my favorite Phil Collins song ever.  In fact, it's my favorite duet of all time.  I have probably sung it myself on stage dozens of times.  'Separate Lives' was recorded with Marilyn Martin for the 'White Nights' soundtrack and reached number one in the U.S. in November of 1985.  It was later nominated for an Academy Award.  It was not written by Collins, but, looking back, would not have had the emotional impact it had if sung by anyone else.

Now this, is from Maroon 5's 2007 song 'Won't Go Home Without You'.  In my opinion, it's the perfect pop song...

The melody.  The chord progression.  That single piano note leading up to the chorus.  Perfection.  Notice any similarities?  I absolutely hear a Phil Collins influence.  I do in almost every one of their songs.  So to say, "I don't think anyone's going to miss me", is bullshit, in my opinion.

I'd miss you, Phil.  We all would.  Your music has always been an influence to me, whether I've tried to sing like you, or play the drums like you.  I'm sure I'm speaking for millions in the world in saying, "Thank you".  Thank you for giving us a lifetime of music to laugh to.  To cry to.  And to beat on our steering wheel to during the drum solo (you know the one).  You have impacted our lives much more than you'll ever know.  

Friday, March 4, 2011

Mazda Recalls 65,000 Vehicles Due To Spider Infestation

Yeah, you heard me, FUCKING SPIDERS!!!  Mazda has confirmed 20 cases so far, in which a particular type of arachnid, the Yellow Sac spider, has been found forming webs in the car's evaporative canister vent line. For some reason, it's only this species of spider that are attracted to the Mazda's fuel lines.  The webs gradually get thick enough to where they block the line, causing pressure problems in the fuel tank as it tries to purge vapors.  Eventually, the tank may crack and cause gasoline to leak from the vehicle.
These are the little bastards responsible for a 65,000 vehicle recall.
The recall involves a simple fix.  The service centers at local Mazda dealerships will open up the evaporative canisters.  Hopefully, their won't be any spiders inside.  If there are, the canisters will be cleared of spiders and any webs.  The dealership will then install a small spring which will prevent the spiders from crawling into the canisters and spinning their webs.

Until today, the issue had not led to any injuries or deaths as a result of an accident.  As of the time of the writing, however, 23 people had died in various accidents related to the recall.  When hearing of the recall on the morning news during morning commutes, drivers of Mazdas nationwide simultaneously did this:

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Lady Gaga Premieres 'Government Hooker' At Mugler Show

Lady Gaga has padded her resume' quite a bit over the last couple of years.  Grammy Award winning singer, activist, philanthropist.  As of yesterday, you can add runway model to the list.  The "mother monster" herself walked the catwalk at Thierry Mugler's Paris women's collection.

The catwalk layout was impressive, to say the least, featuring an immense network of gothic wooden archways.  The models criss crossed each other, back and forth, as they made their way toward those in attendance.  The soundtrack was provided by Gaga, featuring a new track entitled 'Government Hooker', reportedly recorded specifically for the event.  It was then followed by a remix of 'Born This Way'.  Toward the end of the show, even "Zombie Boy", Rick Genest made an appearance on the catwalk.

In the last few weeks, one thing has become abundantly clear in the fashion industry:  Thierry Mugler and designer Nicola Formichetti know how to put on one hell of a show.

Charlie Sheen Sets New Guinness World Record

...And, believe it or not, it's not for "Fastest Career Suicide By A Celebrity".  That record is still proudly held by Mel Gibson.

No, Sheen officially set the record for reaching 1 million followers on Twitter in the shortest amount of time.  He received his 1 millionth follower yesterday, 25 hours and 17 minutes after setting up his personal Twitter account, @charliesheen.

I'm sure that you've heard some of Charlie Sheen's manic, wholly WTF, 'Beastmaster'/'Highlander' inspired ramblings within the last week.  How could you have avoided them?  They're everywhere.  For some reason, 
he's now ending all of his tweets with the hashtag #tigerblood (don't ask me folks.  I just report this shit.).  It's now the top trending hashtag.

Oh.  Dear.  God.

I'm Not Hiding Anymore

When I stopped communicating with my mother a few years ago, I practically went into hiding.  When it came to my personal beliefs, I had stopped considering myself a Jehovah's Witness by the latter part of 1996.

In August of that year, I took the last $600 I had in my bank account and purchased a one-way airline ticket from Phoenix, Arizona, to Las Vegas.  It was my intention to indulge myself in all of the vices that I was forbidden to do as a Witness in the previous 21 years of my life, and when my money had run out, commit suicide.  Within three hours of touching down at the airport, I had smoked, drank, and gambled for the first time in my life.  An hour later, I lost my virginity.

August 24, 1996  Room 1614 of the Las Vegas Hilton - Don't ask me how I remember the date and the room number of the hotel I lost my virginity in.  I guess when you're looking forward to an event for so many years, you tend to remember some of the details.
Sufficed to say, I didn't commit suicide.  The "wicked world" that I had suddenly found myself in wasn't so wicked after all.  I encountered one stranger after another that offered their generosity to me.  Four months later, I returned to live in my parents' home, but I never stepped foot into a Kingdom Hall again.

For the better part of the next ten years, I did the same thing I had done for the previous ten.  I led a double life.  Being out of the church gave me the freedom to live the life that I wanted, to some degree.  But, in order to keep an ongoing relationship with my immediate family, my personal life was an unspoken agreement of "Don't Ask Don't Tell".  I was never disfellowshipped from the congregation, and I did not submit a formal letter of disassociation.  I just stopped showing up.  As far as my mother's conscience was concerned, as long as she didn't know any details of my personal life, or of any of the "gross sins" I was committing, she wasn't obligated to cut off communication with me.

It's one thing to have to keep your private life a secret from the people that you work with.  It's another to have to keep it from the people that are closest to you.  What made it exceptionally hard for me was the fact that, for a number of years, my family were my coworkers.  I was forced to act like I was still a "good Christian boy" practically 24/7.  It finally became too much to handle.

I quit the family business, and speaking to my family, in January of 2006.  When that happened, as I said, I pretty much went "off the grid".  I changed all of my email addresses.  I changed my phone number.  I wanted to make sure that if I posted something online, it couldn't be traced back to me if my mom or my brother or sister was snooping around.  For those of you that are reading this that are ex-JWs, I'm sure you can understand where I'm coming from.  Especially if you were raised in the organization, and grew up in the same  area for a number of years, it seems like you're constantly looking over your shoulder for the first couple of years that you're out.  Many times, you don't even realize that you're doing it.  I've been out now for 15 years.  I don't even think I would be recognizable to the people I grew up around, and I still catch myself scanning restaurants on the West side of Phoenix when I walk in.

When I had my little girl in 2008, I reached out to my mom.  I wanted to give her a chance.  We started communicating by email.  Then by phone.  She even came out to Phoenix to see my daughter when she was around 8 or 9 months old.  Then her "conscience" kicked in.  Keep in mind, nothing had changed between the time that we had stopped talking in '06 and when she came out in early '09.  She started saying that she wasn't sure that she could trust me because of "what I've done".  She also started to refer to me as an "apostate".  She admitted that she had no knowledge of any derogatory things I was saying of the organization, and I told her that I had not spoken negatively about JWs or their doctrines.  She said she believed me, but due to the fact that I was baptized as a Witness, and no longer believed in the church's teachings, that made me an "apostate".

She had a solution to her dilemma.  She said that she no longer felt comfortable talking or associating with me, but she wanted to continue communication with my wife and my daughter.  In fact, she asked if it was possible for me to send her some pictures of my little girl, she would appreciate it.  Um...yeah, no.  I tried to explain to her, and to this day she doesn't understand, that when it comes to my family, we don't come "a la carte".  You either have to take us all, or you get none of us.  You can't pick and choose how you can and can't keep.  That's not the way my family works.

So, we stopped talking.  I started this blog in September of 2009...anonymously.  I didn't reveal any names or locations.  I didn't give any specifics about myself or my family.  I went into hiding again.  This time, I hid behind my moniker.  For the next year and a half, I was Twitch.  It wasn't my name, it was one of my conditions.  My picture across the internet became a stuffed Domo, with all of my daily medications spilled out in front of it.  In fact, if you Google my name, you'll find my Domo before you find my actual picture.  My mother thought I was an apostate before?  Just imagine what she would have thought of The Daily Twitch.

In time, I found my confidence.  I found my voice.  I found the support of all of you out there on the net.  I realize now that I don't have to hide anymore.  Odds are, my mom has been reading my blog for months.  If not, she knows who I am by now anyway.  About six months ago, I sent her an email telling her about my PTSD diagnosis due to the child abuse I received from her and my dad.  I also came out as bisexual.  It felt like coming up for air after being underwater for years.  I have no secrets anymore.  I have no reason to hide. So here I am.

My name is Adam Hall.  I live in Mesa, Arizona, with my wonderful wife, Jessi, and my daughter Lennon.  It's nice to finally meet you all.  I still plan on writing under the name of Twitch.  The name of the blog is The Daily Twitch, after all.  I have made the decision, however, to not publish any photos of my daughter.  Not only do I want to protect her from my mother and that crazy religion, but I also know how desperate my mother is to see her.  I'm not blackmailing her by any means.  I just believe that you cannot conveniently select which family members are worthy of your affection.  It may be tough for her to swallow, but some lessons in life are.