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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Video: Sleepy Baby Is Sleepy

She's trying so hard to stay awake.  This is too cute.  Dammit, now my ovaries are hurting.

Quote Of The Day

"That is not fair to the American people.  To hold out and say, "We won't agree to raising the debt limit, until we pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution".  It's unfair.  It's bizarro.  And maybe, some people that have only been in this body for six or seven months or so really believe that."
- Arizona Senator John McCain, yesterday, on the Republican's negotiating efforts of late.  Here is video:

Ran Into An Ex-Girlfriend Yesterday...

Or, at least I thought she was my girlfriend when I was in high school.  Her name was Teresa.  We worked together at Bank of America during my senior year.  She was also a Jehovah's Witness.

I thought I was head over heels in love with this girl.  I would give her rides home, sometimes take her mom to run an errand.  I even would spend my weekends at her congregation's conventions throughout the year, just to bump into her.  Looking back, I was in the "friends zone" from the moment I met her.  Who could blame her, really.  I was socially awkward.  I weighed at least 40 lbs. more then than I do now.  I had horrific acne.  For Christ's sake, I had a perm.  I looked like Ryan Reynolds in 'Just Friends'...

This IS Ryan Reynolds.  This is not a picture of me at 17.
When I found out she was dating another guy, I was devastated.  I was too naive to realize in the months before that there was absolutely nothing going on between us.  The last time I communicated with her, I sent her two dozen roses, and cut the flowers off of the stems.  I know.  It was a dick move.  A little crazy at the time, too.  I may have also sent her a bunch of commemorative plates in the mail.  LOL.  I went to the library's magazine section and clipped out every commemorative plate and music club offer they had.  I then put her name and address on the forms and mailed them all.  Goddammit, I was an asshole.

My daughter and I were walking through the mall yesterday, and stopped by the Disney Store.  We're looking at Rapunzel dolls, and an employee walks up to me to offer me a bag.  It was Teresa.  I asked her, "I know this sounds weird, but is your name Teresa?"

I told her who I was, and she didn't recognize my name.  Must have made one hell of an impression, huh?  She asked me how I knew her, and I told her that we worked together as teenagers.  Asked her how her mom and sister were doing.  She realized by the fact that I asked about her family that I used to be a Witness.  She never introduced any of her "worldly" friends to her JW family.

I introduced her to my little girl and told her a little about what's been happening in my life lately.  She has three kids now.  They were sitting on the bench in the mall outside the store.  She had to step away to help another customer.

I have no idea whether she's still a Witness or not.  She asked me if I was still practicing.  I laughed.  Told her that I haven't been in since I was 21.  Also told her that I have an ex-JW blog and that my wife and I were activists for the LGBT community.  Needless to say, she didn't ask any more questions at that point.  Thankfully, I don't even "look" like a Witness anymore.  I've grown a beard.  I have numerous visable tattoos (one of which takes up my left forearm), and my ears are stretched.  I'm a little surprised that she asked.

I've thought a lot about Teresa in the last 24 hours.  I've been wondering "what if".  What if things worked out between us?  What if those were my kids sitting outside of that store?  What if I had tried harder to stay in the church?

Realistically, if any of those scenarios found some way to have worked themselves out, my life would have been miserable.  She wouldn't have understood, or accepted, my sexual orientation.  In fact, I have changed so much about myself in the last ten years, that she wouldn't have even been a remotely compatible match for me.  There is no doubt that we would have broken up.  I would have even suffered through the trauma of a divorce to get out of the Witness organization, if it was necessary to do so.  

It makes me realize how considerably lucky I am.  I have a beautiful, intelligent wife that accepts me for who I reservations.  She made me able to truly be myself for the first time in my life.  I'm a stronger person because of her.  I'm not cowering in the corner any longer.  I'm a better person because of her.  

I used to pray that I would do anything if God just made Teresa mine.  Thankfully, those prayers fell on deaf ears.

Video: Could This Be A Highlight Of Our Future Road Trips?

"Boogity Boogity Boogity"

A couple of days ago, I posted a video of the prayer at last Sunday's NASCAR event.  I personally have never thought of thanking God for Dodge and "GM Performance Technology", but hey, maybe it's just me.

In any event, the folks at Songify have remixed the clip.  Songify is the folks that went viral with the 'Autotune The News' videos on Youtube.  Let's just say that I would buy this song in a heartbeat if it were available on ITunes.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

NAACP Holds Town Hall On LGBT Issues, Forgets To Invite Anyone B Or T

As part of NAACP's 102nd convention on Monday, the organization held a town hall discussion on LGBT issues within the African American community.  The town hall was hosted by out CNN anchor Don Lemon.  The panel included lesbian comedienne Wanda Sykes, professor Beverly Guy-Sheftall of Spelman College, actor Darryl Stephens from 'Noah's Ark' and writer/activist Kenyon Farrow.  The panel also included former director of the NAACP, Julian Bond.

Look at the panel in the above picture.  This was supposedly a discussion on "LGBT issues", yet at the table there is a lesbian, two gay men, another lesbian, a straight guy and a third gay man.  Notice anything missing?  Not one bisexual or transgendered individual was on stage.  Let's just call this what it was then, shall we?  A town hall to discuss gay and lesbian issues.

'The Advocate' brought the subject to light on their website Sunday.  While, at first, I was going to praise the magazine for bringing this to people's attention, upon further reading, the article simply added insult to injury.  The article was titled 'Trans Activists Criticize NAACP'.  Immediately, by the title of the piece, it painted the picture that transgendered activists have found something new to whine about, not that the NAACP actually did anything wrong.  The article goes on to quote trans activist and blogger, Monica Roberts, as writing on her blog, TransGriot:
"Not sure how the bi portion of our community feels about it, but I can say with certainty that the trans part of the rainbow community is not happy about the erasure of African descended trans people from this historic panel.  NAACP, if your goal is to have a serious discussion of the issues that face African American LGBT people, then you can't erase the people who are taking the brunt of the casualties and discrimination."
The one problem with the quote, was that it was initially credited to Stephanie Stevens, another trans activist altogether.  After complaints came in to 'The Advocate' from both Roberts and Stevens, the article was eventually changed to reflect the correct blogger.  By then, the damage had already been done.

This is just the most recent incident in a long line of scenarios where the bisexual and transgendered population has been the victims of ignorance, or invisibility and erasure at the hands of the rest of the queer community.  In an environment where 70% of LGBT hate crime victims are minorities, and 44% of victims are transgender women, having someone on the panel that could actually speak of that issue, firsthand, should have been a given.

Speaking as a bisexual man, I see time after time when my sexuality is discredited and discounted by the most vocal members of the gay community.  For example, 'It Gets Better' creator and media darling, Dan Savage, has published numerous blog posts that, at the very least, could be considered bi-phobic.  What he preaches about bisexuals is demeaning, insulting and....well, let Dan explain his position on the topic.  ***LANGUAGE IS VERY NSFW AT AROUND THE 2:00 MARK***

So, just as a recap, bisexuality is a "phase" and a "choice".  I guess, according to Savage, gays and lesbians are "Born This Way", but bisexuals choose their sexual orientation.  As for myself, I'm 36 years old, and my "bi phase" has lasted 25 years now.  I didn't "choose" to be bisexual.  Believe me.  As an American male, it would have been so much easier growing up straight or gay, than growing up bi.  I have faced ridicule from both sides of the aisle.  For most of my ex-girlfriends, I was too gay for them.  For most men, I was too straight.  Yes, I am in an opposite sex relationship now.  I have been with my wife six years in September.  Though I have been faithful to her, men turn me on too.  They always have.  Just because I happen to be in a relationship with a woman, doesn't mean that I'm any less bisexual than what I was six years ago.  If nothing else, I probably find myself more attracted to men now than what I have been my entire life.

Does my attraction to men mean that I am not able to sustain a loving, healthy relationship with a woman?  Does my attraction to women mean that I am not a suitable candidate for a long term relationship with another man?  Does that mean that the bisexual citizens of New York that married their same sex partners this week have made a terrible mistake?  According to Dan Savage it does:
"Sorry, but avoiding bi guys is a good rule of thumb for gay men looking for long-term relationships. Outside of San Francisco's alternate-universe bisexual community, there aren't many bi guys who want or wind up in long-term, same-sex relationships -- monogamous or not. 
Judging from my mail, when a gay guy or a straight girl gets involved with a bi guy, someone always winds up getting hurt. And guess what? It's rarely the bi guy.  
There are definitely some people who should fool around with bisexual men: OTHER BISEXUAL MEN! Jesus Christ, bisexuals -- if straights and gays treat you unfairly, then why not turn to each other for love and comfort? Judging from my mail of late, there's an unlimited supply of easily offended, extremely verbose, highly ethical bisexuals out there looking for love. Fuck each other!"
Lovely, isn't it?

There were plenty of representatives of the bisexual and transgendered community that could have been invited to be part of the NAACP's panel.  Adrienne Williams, founder of Bi Social Network, has been a proven leader in the bi community, building bridges with not only the gay and lesbian community, but straight allies nationwide.  In June, she was honored at the White House's LGBT Pride reception.

Regina Wells is the founder of This Is H.O.W., a non profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of trans persons here in the Phoenix area.  Founded in 2006, TIH provides counseling, drug and alcohol rehabilitation services and shelter for trans individuals that are at risk or in danger.  She was Echo Magazine's Woman of the Year in 2007.

These women know first hand the struggles that minorities in the bisexual and transgendered community face.  Their years of experience make them experts in their field.  Why then, were they not invited?  What excuse can the NAACP give?

You know, last month, Dan Savage presented a challenge to those in the bi community.  In my mind, the words ring true for our trans brothers and sisters.  He said,
"I'm sorry, bisexual activists, but you're doing it all wrong. Instead of berating me for my alleged bi-phobia—and if I'm the enemy, you're in real trouble—berate your closeted compatriots. If they all came out tomorrow, you could put an end to bi-phobia, take over the LGBT movement, and kick my ass out of it."
I say we take him up on his offer.  The LGBT community should be just that:  a community.   We have all been through the same prejudices in life.  We have all been victims of discrimination.  We all want equal rights.    What many in the "community" fail to understand is that gay rights are bisexual rights, just as they are trans rights.  We are all connected, whether we want to admit it or not.  Together, as a community, we are stronger.  You would think that those in the LGBT community would want as many voices as they could get.  Maybe it's time that some of us became more vocal.

Video: The Funniest Thing You'll See All Day

Via Tosh.0, I'm proud to present "The Splendiferous Barfing Cup":

Quote Of The Day

“Amy Winehouse makes an awesome record, then uses drugs, then dies harming absolutely no one. People shake their head in disgust and berate her.  Ryan Dunn sticks a toy car in his asshole, drinks a copious amount of alcohol, then drives 150+ MPH with someone in his car, killing himself and murdering the passenger in the process. The internet mourns.”
- Courtesy of Motherswit 

Video: New Violent Trailer For 'Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes'

This latest teaser for 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes' take a decidedly violent and ominous tone.  It was released last weekend as part of this year's Comic Con festivities.  All I can say is..."Wow".

Michele Bachmann Has A Bondage Fetish

A number of bloggers have noticed a trend with Michele Bachmann.  She likes to talk about slavery...a lot.  In fact, she has likened practically everything in the news to either slavery or bondage.  Take a look...

Links courtesy of I'm With Kanye:

A couple of weeks ago, Bachmann signed a pledge from The Family Leader.  It was a "Marriage Vow", that was against homosexuality, pornography, Sharia Law and even putting female soldiers into combat scenarios. The first paragraph of the vow said the following:
"Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA's first African-American President."
Disgusting, right?  Well, when the media started ripping her apart for signing such a racist thing, Bachmann claimed that she didn't read that paragraph, depite the fact that it was at the top of the first page and bullet pointed.  Her camp said,
"She signed the 'candidate vow.' In no uncertain terms, Congresswoman Bachmann believes that slavery was horrible and economic enslavement is also horrible."
Could she have just apologized?  Did she have to liken our current economic condition to our nation's unforgivable history of rape, torture and brutality?  Really?

But that's not all.  As I have reported earlier, at a conference in November of 2004, Michelle Bachmann said the following in regards to homosexuality:
"If you're involved in the gay and lesbian lifestyle, it's bondage.  It is personal bondage, personal despair and personal enslavement.  And that's why this is so dangerous.  It's a very sad life.  It's part of Satan, I think, to say that it is gay.  It's anything but gay."
So, just to keep track, our economy and homosexuality are both slavery.  Let's not forget slavery slavery.  That's pretty bad, too.

When speaking to a crowd in Colorado in 2009, Bachmann said about the Health Care Reform bill:
"This is slavery…It’s nothing more than slavery.”
Again, with the slavery bit?  It didn't stop there.  In January of this year, in reference to the National Debt, she said:
“It is a slavery, it is a slavery that is a bondage to debt and a bondage to decline.”
 I'm starting to think that she has a bit of a bondage fetish.  Freudian slip, maybe?  Stephen Colbert provides some insight on the topic:

Chart Of The Day


This chart, released by the NY Times, is compiled from data gathered by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.  It shows which policies enacted during the last two presidencies have contributed the most toward the current budget deficit.  As you can see, the Bush era tax cuts are responsible for more than all Obama initiated policies, contributing over $1.8 trillion alone.

Video: 2 Brits Discover The Wonder That Is Walmart

Liam and Alex, members of the band Chameleon Circuit, check out the madness and majesty that is a Walmart supercenter.  Hilarity ensues.

Man Attacks Helicopter With Ax, 'Fulfilling Bible Prophecy'?

In "I couldn't make this up if I tried" news, an Australian man was arrested yesterday, after attacking an Army helicopter with an ax at a Queensland airport.  The helicopter, described as a Tiger helicopter, sustained damage after the barrage.

57 year old Bryan Law is currently in custody on charges of willful damage, trespassing and possession of a garden ax and bolt cutters.  He is reportedly part of a group that opposes a joint Australian-U.S. military exercise being conducted in the area.  

In regards to the attack, Law said, "In a new and symbolic way, I was fulfilling the ancient prophecy of Isaiah: 'They will beat their swords into ploughshares; their spears into pruning hooks."

I may be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy didn't involve beating the shit out of a helicopter with an ax.

Making Changes To 'The Twitch'

What's going on, everybody.

Just wanted to let all of you know that some changes are underway on the blog.  As you have probably noticed, I've added a couple of links on the top left side of the page, to make it easier to follow me.  By clicking the links you can either have 'The Twitch' delivered to your email inbox as articles are published, or you can subscribe to my feed and view it at your convenience from your reader of choice.

I have also changed the way the website appears when you access it from your mobile phone.  I have spent some time on my phone tonight testing it out, and I can happily say that it is much more user friendly.  The posts are much easier to read, and switching from post to post is as easy as swiping your finger on the screen.  No more endless scrolling and waiting for the page to load with your cell signal.

There is also some additional advertising on the site.  I know, it can be a bit of an annoyance, but I've tried to make the changes minimal.  When you're reading my blog from a feed, an ad should appear after every four or five posts.  Give it a day or so and you'll hardly notice it.

As I have said before, the changes taking place are to move 'The Twitch' more in the direction of a professional endeavor.  This is my 684th post.  It's long overdue to start looking at this less as a hobby, and more as a way to possibly make a living down the road.

I would like to thank you all for your patience while I fiddle with some things.  If you have any comments or  questions, please feel free to email me at

House Republicans Threatening To Impeach Obama

This whole "debt ceiling" issue is just starting to get childish, now.  GOP House Rep. Steve King, from Iowa, sent the above tweet this morning.  That's right.  Republicans are now threatening impeachment if a deal isn't reached, and the nation is forced to default on any debt after August 2nd.  

The tweet was in reference to the "Cut, Cap and Balance"(along with the Slice, Dice, Weigh, Measure, Julienne, Cover and Bake at 375 Degrees For 45 Minutes) plan, introduced by Republicans in the House, that includes a Balanced Budget Amendment.  The Democratic led Senate shot it down immediately.  The president now finds himself in a 'Damned if you do, damned if you don't' type of situation.

The 14th Amendment, Section 4, of the United States Constitution says in part:
"The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned."
One of Obama's options as a solution to this stalemate is to raise the debt ceiling without Congressional approval.  The idea, according to inside sources, has already been presented to the president.  He is constitutionally afforded that option.  Rep. Tim Scott of South Carolina, has already made it clear that if that were to happen, Obama would be facing impeachment as well.
“This president is looking to usurp congressional oversight to find a way to get it done without us,” Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) told a gathering in Summerville, S.C., “My position is that is an impeachable act from my perspective.”
Scott added: “There are a lot of things people say, ‘Are you going to impeach the president over that?’ — No. But this? This is catastrophic. This jeopardizes the credibility of our nation if one man can usurp the entire system set up by our founding fathers over something this significant.”
House Republicans are effectively holding this nation hostage until their demands are met.  They want Social Security, along with Medicare and Medicaid to lose funding, while keeping their Bush era tax breaks for their wealthy friends and oil lobbyists. 

I receive Social Security.  At the moment, it's our family's only income.  We can't pay our bills as is on the amount that is deposited into our checking account each month.  How on Earth are we expected to live if my benefits are cut?  My Medicare goes into effect in October.  Medicare Part A will only pay for one physical per year.  No other office visits.  It doesn't pay for any of the 13 medications I'm currently taking or my weekly therapy visits for my PTSD (which is what made me disabled to begin with).  My surgeon says that I will likely need at least one or two more spine surgeries before the end of the year.  Although I haven't completely healed from my last operation, I'm trying to fast track the next surgery and have it done as soon as possible.  That way, the bill will be Blue Cross Blue Shield's responsibility and not my own.

If the nation defaults on it's debt, I may not have money for rent and utilities next month.  I'm sure I'll eventually get paid, but the situation puts my future, along with millions of other Americans, up in the air.

I'm sure the threat to impeach Obama is just that:  a threat.  When you think about it, it is the worst thing Republicans can do.  If Obama is impeached, then Joe Biden becomes the president.  Biden is much more liberal in the eyes of the GOP.  He's also as loyal as a Golden Retriever to Barack Obama.  He's the last guy you want to be pissed off and in charge.  I honestly don't think it will happen.

President Obama spoke to the nation tonight, to reiterate the fact that he isn't backing down when it comes to the demands of House Republicans.  He has made it clear that cutting entitlement programs is not an option.  Speaking for myself, I would rather have my monthly check be a couple of days late, than being noticeably less down the road.  The president's address to the nation is below.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Mash Up Monday

I haven't posted a "Mashup Monday" piece in a while.  Frankly, I haven't seen anything that has really captured my attention.  There was something I caught on Vimeo that made me decide to resurrect the article.

Chris at Ithaca Audio uploaded a new mix.  I love it.  It blends together the theme from 'Shaft', Darth Vader's ominous theme from 'Star Wars', Daft Punk, Q-Tip and a number of other tracks.  It's mixed together seamlessly and is quite catchy.  I hope you enjoy it.

Don't hold back, just push things forward from Ithaca Audio on Vimeo.

Quote Of The Day

 "Should any political party attempt to abolish Social Security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things...Their number is negligible and they are stupid."
- Dwight D. Eisenhower 

Another Beautiful Remembrance Of Amy Winehouse

This one comes courtesy of Dorothy Surrenders.  I am posting it verbatim, because I wouldn't do Amy's legacy justice by editing it.
"For us she was a flame. Daughter of a cab driver. Voice of a soul siren. Heart of a lonesome poet. Amy Winehouse came into our collective consciousness a blaze of behemoth beehives and tawdry tattoos. But once we heard that voice we knew, we knew we’d been given a gift. That delicious ache, that raw nerve, that naked vulnerability. She was at once something so fresh yet so familiar. True talent always is.
Her troubles were no secret, those that kept her off the stage and in the tabloids. But we never really knew her demons, those that drove her to wring beauty out of pain. Or those deeper ones that took her away from us all too soon. So much written about her during her life was almost cautionary – my own words included. Still others mocked her mercilessly as the punchline to her own life. Those who make sport of others suffering found an easy target. Yet when it happened, somehow, it still felt like a shock to me. And, Jesus, was I gutted.
Gone at 27, that supposedly haunted age for our golden gods of music. Jimi. Janis. Jim. Kurt. And now Amy. Those who burned too hot and too fast and are now forever subject to the task-tsking of history. But this is no time for I told you so’s. Such talent. Such talent, gone.
I feel so much for the people who loved her and the people who tried to help. But I also feel a profound loss for all of us. It’s selfish, so selfish. But, my God, the music we're missing. The songs. The sass. The slur of unapologetic humanity. We won’t be able to see what would come next. What wonders awaited. What she would woo us with, all over again. Not too long ago, I told a friend I felt like I had been waiting for a new Amy Winehouse album my entire life. That it will never come seems incomprehensible. Cruel, even. Though I supposed we should be thankful that we had her at all. And, for her voice, there will be no final frame. It lives on forever. Find peace, darling bird. Thank you for the music."

Video: What Rednecks Are Thankful For

To quote Will Ferrell in 'Talladega Nights', "Does that blow your mind?  That just happened!"  I am so embarrassed this morning to be White.

I think this guy was influenced by the Ricky Bobby's prayers at the dinner table...

He knows that the movie was a comedy, right?

2009 Awake! Says 'No One Should Force You To Choose Between Religion And Family'

In what can only be described as the ultimate in hypocritical advice, the July 2009, 'Awake!' magazine tells their potential converts that no one should bully them into their beliefs.  Take a look at this paragraph.  Image courtesy of Saved From The Watchtower:

"No one should be forced to worship in a way that he finds unacceptable or be made to choose between his beliefs and his family."
Evidently, what's good for the goose is not good for the gander, in this case.  Of course, no one should force you to worship as any religion  other than Jehovah's Witnesses.  But as one of Jehovah's Witnesses it's perfectly acceptable for the organization to intimidate and threaten their followers to continue to worship as they believe.

If you are a Witness, and later decide that you no longer believe their doctrine, or that being a Jehovah's Witness just isn't for you anymore, your friends and family members have no choice but to shun you.  If they don't, they're threatened with the possibility of being kicked out of the church themselves.

Speaking for myself, I haven't seen most of my immediate family in almost six years.  My father has never seen his granddaughter.  My mother has only seen her once, when she was 8 months old.  My little girl turned three in May.  I have found out about relatives of mine that have died, only from reading obituaries online.  I probably won't even get a phone call when my parents die.

Oh, but don't make us choose between our religion and our family.  That's not fair.  What bullshit.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Quote Of The Day

 "Unfortunately, Congress consistently brings the government to the edge of default before facing its responsibility. This brinkmanship threatens the holders of government bonds and those who rely on Social Security and veterans benefits. Interest rates would skyrocket, instability would occur in financial markets, and the federal deficit would soar. The United States has a special responsibility to itself and the world to meet its obligations. It means we have a well-earned reputation for reliability and credibility — two things that set us apart from much of the world.
 - Ronald Reagan, during a radio address given on September 26, 1987, in explaining why he would not sign a Balanced Budget Amendment.  The idea of a Balanced Budget Amendment was later deemed unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.  If Reagan were still alive, odds are he'd be pushing to raise the debt ceiling.

Ronald Reagan.  Yesterday:  The Almighty God of the Republican party.  Today:  "Liberal Marxist".

Russell Brand Publishes Eulogy For Amy Winehouse

British comedian Russell Brand, known for his roles in such films as 'Get Him to the Greek' and 'Arthur', published a moving eulogy for Amy Winehouse on his website.  Winehouse was found dead in her London apartment yesterday afternoon.  A cause of death has not been determined, but most of the world is speculating that it was due to a drug overdose.  She has notoriously battled addiction for most of her adult life.

As a former addict himself, Brand is familiar with the lifestyle that may have led to Amy's untimely death.  He has been clean and sober for 9 years now, since the age of 27 (coincidentally, the same age Winehouse was).  He has also been a personal friend of Winehouse for a number of years, since before she started to sing professionally.

Today's piece is surprisingly eloquent and moving.  He doesn't hide the fact that he cared for her a great deal.  It is also a reminder of the horrible position you put yourself into when you love someone who is an addict.  As he says, "There will be a phone call".  Sadly, yesterday's call wasn't good news.

Here is his post, in it's entirety:
"When you love someone who suffers from the disease of addiction you await the phone call. There will be a phone call. The sincere hope is that the call will be from the addict themselves, telling you they’ve had enough, that they’re ready to stop, ready to try something new. Of course though, you fear the other call, the sad nocturnal chime from a friend or relative telling you it’s too late, she’s gone.
Frustratingly it’s not a call you can ever make it must be received. It is impossible to intervene.
I’ve known Amy Winehouse for years. When I first met her around Camden she was just some twit in a pink satin jacket shuffling round bars with mutual friends, most of whom were in cool Indie bands or peripheral Camden figures Withnail-ing their way through life on impotent charisma. Carl Barrat told me that “Winehouse” (which I usually called her and got a kick out of cos it’s kind of funny to call a girl by her surname) was a jazz singer, which struck me as a bizarrely anomalous in that crowd. To me with my limited musical knowledge this information placed Amy beyond an invisible boundary of relevance; “Jazz singer? She must be some kind of eccentric” I thought. I chatted to her anyway though, she was after all, a girl, and she was sweet and peculiar but most of all vulnerable.
I was myself at that time barely out of rehab and was thirstily seeking less complicated women so I barely reflected on the now glaringly obvious fact that Winehouse and I shared an affliction, the disease of addiction. All addicts, regardless of the substance or their social status share a consistent and obvious symptom; they’re not quite present when you talk to them. They communicate to you through a barely discernible but un-ignorable veil. Whether a homeless smack head troubling you for 50p for a cup of tea or a coked-up, pinstriped exec foaming off about his “speedboat” there is a toxic aura that prevents connection. They have about them the air of elsewhere, that they’re looking through you to somewhere else they’d rather be. And of course they are. The priority of any addict is to anaesthetise the pain of living to ease the passage of the day with some purchased relief.
From time to time I’d bump into Amy she had good banter so we could chat a bit and have a laugh, she was “a character” but that world was riddled with half cut, doped up chancers, I was one of them, even in early recovery I was kept afloat only by clinging to the bodies of strangers so Winehouse, but for her gentle quirks didn’t especially register.
Then she became massively famous and I was pleased to see her acknowledged but mostly baffled because I’d not experienced her work and this not being the 1950’s I wondered how a “jazz singer” had achieved such cultural prominence. I wasn’t curious enough to do anything so extreme as listen to her music or go to one of her gigs, I was becoming famous myself at the time and that was an all consuming experience. It was only by chance that I attended a Paul Weller gig at the Roundhouse that I ever saw her live.
I arrived late and as I made my way to the audience through the plastic smiles and plastic cups I heard the rolling, wondrous resonance of a female vocal. Entering the space I saw Amy on stage with Weller and his band; and then the awe. The awe that envelops when witnessing a genius. From her oddly dainty presence that voice, a voice that seemed not to come from her but from somewhere beyond even Billie and Ella, from the font of all greatness. A voice that was filled with such power and pain that it was at once entirely human yet laced with the divine. My ears, my mouth, my heart and mind all instantly opened. Winehouse. Winehouse? Winehouse! That twerp, all eyeliner and lager dithering up Chalk Farm Road under a back-combed barnet, the lips that I’d only seen clenching a fishwife fag and dribbling curses now a portal for this holy sound. So now I knew. She wasn’t just some hapless wannabe, yet another pissed up nit who was never gonna make it, nor was she even a ten-a-penny-chanteuse enjoying her fifteen minutes. She was a fucking genius.
Shallow fool that I am I now regarded her in a different light, the light that blazed down from heaven when she sang. That lit her up now and a new phase in our friendship began. She came on a few of my TV and radio shows, I still saw her about but now attended to her with a little more interest. Publicly though, Amy increasingly became defined by her addiction. Our media though is more interested in tragedy than talent, so the ink began to defect from praising her gift to chronicling her downfall. The destructive personal relationships, the blood soaked ballet slippers, the aborted shows, that youtube madness with the baby mice. In the public perception this ephemeral tittle-tattle replaced her timeless talent. This and her manner in our occasional meetings brought home to me the severity of her condition. Addiction is a serious disease; it will end with jail, mental institutions or death. I was 27 years old when through the friendship and help of Chip Somers of the treatment centre, Focus12 I found recovery, through Focus I was introduced to support fellowships for alcoholics and drug addicts which are very easy to find and open to anybody with a desire to stop drinking and without which I would not be alive.
Now Amy Winehouse is dead, like many others whose unnecessary deaths have been retrospectively romanticised, at 27 years old. Whether this tragedy was preventable or not is now irrelevant. It is not preventable today. We have lost a beautiful and talented woman to this disease. Not all addicts have Amy’s incredible talent. Or Kurt’s or Jimi’s or Janis’s, some people just get the affliction. All we can do is adapt the way we view this condition, not as a crime or a romantic affectation but as a disease that will kill. We need to review the way society treats addicts, not as criminals but as sick people in need of care. We need to look at the way our government funds rehabilitation. It is cheaper to rehabilitate an addict than to send them to prison, so criminalisation doesn’t even make economic sense. Not all of us know someone with the incredible talent that Amy had but we all know drunks and junkies and they all need help and the help is out there. All they have to do is pick up the phone and make the call. Or not. Either way, there will be a phone call."

Video: Very Early Adele Performance Released

Earlier this week, Billboard Magazine released a video of Adele singing 'Chasing Pavements' early on in her career.  The performance was recorded on June 16, 2008.  It shows a ragamuffin-esque Adele, as a natural curly haired brunette without make-up.  She's not even recognizable until her voice starts to fill the room.

She has come a long way in three short years.  Even in regards to her abilities, you can see noticeable improvement.  If you have been paying attention to my site in recent months, it's no secret that I am head over heels in love with Adele.  And, it looks like I'm not the only one.  So far in 2011, she has the top two selling albums of the year, with '21', and her debut effort, '19'.  She also has the number one single of the year with 'Someone Like You'.  It's refreshing to see someone from humble beginnings and legitimate talent atop the music charts.  If this video proves anything, it's that Adele is the real deal.

Video: Tori Spelling To Appear On This Week's 'Hoarders'

On Monday's 'Hoarders', '90210' star Tori Spelling and her husband seek help for an obsession that is tearing their family apart.

OK.  Not really, but pretty damn funny.

Dear Lenny Kravitz: You're Trying Too Hard

Really?!  A wired headset for your wireless phone?  Not out of necessity, but simply in the attempt of being "cool".  The new trend in hipster:  "Bluetooth is so 2010."

Video: Roboticist Build Real Life Wall-E

DJ Sures, a roboticist (yes, that's a real word) from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, recently posted a video of his latest project:  a working, real life version of Disney/Pixar's Wall-E.  It's a modification from what was originally a U-Command Wall-E toy.  It features facial and voice recognition and can track a red ball with it's head.  Unfortunately, in it's present form, it must be plugged into a computer at all times to read the necessary software.

I can imagine seeing a full size version of something like this welcoming visitors at Disneyland within the next couple of years.  Most.  Adorable.  Robot.  Ever.

Viral Photo Of The Day

I have seen the following picture on nearly a dozen sites in the last hour.  Yahoo, Mashable and even The Trevor Project are posting the photo, claiming that it was taken last night at Niagara Falls.  With the photo showing up on Lance Bass' Twitter feed last night, the world has just assumed it to be true.  Some have even credited Bass with the photo.

Well, Lance Bass didn't take the photo.  Turns out, the photo isn't even from last night.  If any of these "journalists" would have done 30 seconds of research, they would have discovered that the photo was taken by Mykelle Nicole, in June of 2008.  You can see the original on Nicole's Flickr page.  It's one out of a series of pictures taken in Niagara Falls that night.  I recommend taking a look at her page.  She's quite talented.

Regardless of when the photo was taken, I think it is still a wonderful symbol for marriage equality in New York.  It just upsets me when people take something at face value, when the truth could have been discovered in one Google search in less than a minute.  Ugh.

Video: Sesame Street + Beastie Boys = Sure Shot

I have seen this video on a number of sites in the last day or so.  Every time I see it, I can't help but bob my head and smile.  Great job at slowing down some of the footage to present the illusion of lip-syncing.  Very funny.

Video: Impressionist Does Shakespeare In 25 Voices

This guy is amazing!  Often, when you see an impressionist doing a bit, it's some childish political humor.  Many times, they're appealing to the least common denominator.  In the case of comedian Jim Meskimen, he's doing Shakespeare.  Clarence's speech from Richard III, specifically.  25 voices in the 3:46 clip.  Though is George Clooney is a bit rough, it's certainly worth your time.

What a way to sell tickets to your show.

New York Starts Marriages Of Same-Sex Couples

At the stroke of midnight, gay, lesbian and bisexual couples in New York started making their legal, lifelong commitment to each other.  What a historic day to witness.

Kitty Lambert, 54, and Cheryle Rudd, 53, became the first couple to be married at Niagara Falls as the clock struck 12.  At 9:02AM, Phyllis Siegel, 76, and Connie Kopelov, 84, became the first same-sex couple to be married in Manhattan.  Siegal, who has been with her partner for 23 years, later said,
‘‘It was just so amazing.  It’s the only way I can describe it. I lost my breath and a few tears.’’

23 years!  I cannot imagine being with my wife for the last 23 years, and only being able to legally get married to her today.  Unbelievable.  Siegel and Kopelov are one of the 823 couples scheduled to be married today, just in New York City.  The following video was shot by the Associated Press.  It shows dozens of couples in line to exchange their nuptials.  It also shows a number of people from Westboro Baptist Church trying to spoil the party.  As of the moment, they seem to have been largely ignored by marriage supporters.  One suggestion:  I wouldn't watch the following video on Youtube, unless you're prepared to read a large number of disgusting and hateful comments.

New Yorkers have fought hard for this.  It's only fitting that marriage equality finally comes to the birthplace of the modern gay rights movement.  My favorite gay couple can get married now, after over 40 years of being together.

All joking aside, congratulations, New York.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Bullshit Christianist Propaganda Poll Of The Day

I have spoken about World Net Daily's website a number of times in the past.  They are a vile, hate filled mouthpiece for the Christian Right.  They're anti-gay, xenophobic and not afraid to make their opinions known.  They regularly conduct polls amongst their readers.  Often times, the question or the choice of responses are skewed in a way to where people have no choice but to answer in the direction that the website leans.

Today is no exception.  In response to yesterday's domestic terrorist attack in Norway, WND asked the following question:

"Islamic terrorism"?  Ladies and gentlemen, here is your "Islamic terrorist":

His name is Anders Breivik.  Oslo Police are describing him as "right wing and a Christian fundamentalist", exactly the profile of those who read World Net Daily.  Hours before the attack took place, Breivik posted a 1500 page manifesto online detailing preparations and calling for a Christian war to defend Europe against the threat of Muslim domination.  His neighbors even described him as a gun-loving American Norwegian obsessed with what he saw as the threats of multiculturalism and Muslim immigration. Essentially, he's Norway's version of Timothy McVeigh.

At this time, 92 people are dead from yesterday's dual attacks.  At least 86 of those people were shot and killed when Breivik, dressed as a police officer, gathered dozens of people together at a youth camp and methodically opened fire on them, one by one, with an automatic rifle.  Crews are still pulling bodies out of the bombed government buildings in Central Oslo.

Does anyone use Google anymore, or are they fine with accepting this bullshit propaganda at face value?  I can't wrap my head around this kind of blatant racism.  

This Just In: The Phoenix Area Is Full Of Ha-BOOBS

As some of you may have seen in the last couple of weeks, we've been hit by a couple of massive dust storms here in the Phoenix area.  It's a regular occurrence that the city gets hit by a "wall of dirt" during the Summer months.  Some of these dust storms can be up to a mile high, and 40-50 miles across.

During this Summer season, meteorologists and news outlets have used the word "haboob" when referring to the larger of these events.  A haboob is defined as:
"A strong wind that occurs along the southern edges of the Sahara in The Sudan and is associated with large sandstorms and dust storms and may be accompanied by thunderstorms. It usually lasts about three hours, is most common during the summer, and may blow from any direction. A haboob may transport huge quantities of sand or dust, which move as a dense wall that can reach a height of 900 metres (about 3,000 feet). The term haboob is taken from the Arabic word habb meaning wind."
Since "haboob" has it's roots in the Middle East, the use of the word is pissing off a lot of 'Mur'Kins here in Arizona.  For the record, Arizona, the Phoenix area especially, is deeply rooted within the Republican party.  A large portion of the population is xenophobic, Islamaphobic and generally doesn't like the idea of "foreigners" tinkering with their way of life.

That being said, the Arizona Republic has received a number of letters complaining of the word's usage.  Sadly, they have printed many of them.  What an embarrassment to this state.  Don Yonts of Gilbert, AZ, wrote:
"While other countries in the world may call them that, this is the United States    Even more, this is Arizona, not some Middle Eastern nation. I am insulted that local TV news crews are now calling this kind of storm a haboob. How do they think our soldiers feel coming back to Arizona and hearing some Middle Eastern term that is clearly an Arizona phenomenon."
Diane Robinson of Wickenburg, takes it one step further, saying:
"Excuse me, Mr. Weatherman!
Who gave you the right to use the word "haboob" in describing our recent dust storm?
While you may think there are similarities, don't forget that in these parts our dust is mixed with the whoop of the Indian's dance, the progression of the cattle herd and warning of the rattlesnake as it lifts its head to strike.
We have our own culture, too, sir, and we don't take kindly to being robbed of it."
Oh, yes.  Think of "the Indians".  I love how someone by the name of "Robinson" is claiming how the "Indian's dance" is part of her culture.  She's not even politically correct in referring to the local Native American tribes that have been forced to open casinos to provide for their people.  And she's the one being robbed.

Never mind the fact that these dust storms occur during what everyone here refers to our "Monsoon Season".  By the way, "monsoon" is an Arabic word.  So are sugar, alcohol, soda, tuna, algebra and adobe (one of the prevalent styles of homes here in the area).  Oh, and our entire number system originated in the Middle East.  If not for our Arabic speaking forefathers, we would still be using Roman numerals.

In other Phoenix area news, we're expecting a high temperature of CVI today with a XXX to XL percent chance of rain tomorrow.

I am so disgusted with this fucking state.