Monday, February 25, 2008

My Sentiments Exactly

This is from my favorite hilarious new e-card website, You probably know by now, No Country For Old Men "killed" at the Oscars last night. (Pun intended.) But as I've mentioned before, I didn't get it.


Friday, February 22, 2008

Weekly Photo Challenge: Slogan

Okay, this is a bit of a cheat, but here's my entry in Glenn and Dave's Weekly Photo Challenge for which the topic was "Slogan". I originally posted this photo about a year ago, but these ads for Manhattan Mini Storage are still up around my neighborhood, so I guess it still counts, right? And you can't beat the sentiment.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Rain on the Parade

What to do? Many Catholic diocese in the US are in a quandary over St. Patrick’s day celebrations since this year the feast day falls during Holy Week, a time when the Catholic Church does not celebrate mass honoring saints and events like parades are inappropriate to the solemnity of the liturgical season. Diocese in Columbus, OH and Savannah, GA have quite rightly moved their St. Patrick’s Day celebrations to March 14 or 15 so as not to interfere with Holy Week.

Now, as I’ve mentioned before, I don’t get up in arms over the Catholic Church’s stance on homosexuality. Frankly, I think the Evangelical Christians have cornered the market on religious homophobia in this country, but there is one time of year I feel the sting of homophobia from the church I grew up in and that’s St. Patrick’s Day. The Archdiocese in New York in cahoots with the organizers of the parade, the Grand Order of Hibernians or whatever the hell their name is, have claimed for years that theirs is a religious celebration and including Irish Gay groups would interfere with the sanctity of earsplitting bagpipes and getting drunk on green beer.

I’ve always thought the great irony of the situation given the centuries of Catholic oppression in Ireland is that Irish Americans would choose to celebrate their religious heritage by oppressing another group. And in perhaps an even greater act of hypocrisy, the New York parade will take place on March 17, DURING HOLY WEEK. So, in effect, the parade is too religious to include gays but not religious enough to interfere with Holy Week. Whatever.

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Cute With Chris

Meet one of my new internet guilty pleasures: Chris Leavis. Chris hosts a website and internet show called I discovered him quite by accident one day on Okay, I was drawn in by his good looks and after watching a few of his video clips was delighted by his smart, silly, snarky sense of humor. Chris claims that his website is for posting pictures of puppies and kittens, but if you hop on over to there you'll notice it's also an outlet for Chris' considerable creativity. From what I can tell Chris is a Hollywood based actor who does this to amuse himself and literally thousands of others. Chris says his fan base consists of teenage girls, crazy cat ladies and jolly gay bears. Recently he even did a CuteWithChris LIVE stage show. He sold out the 99 seat theatre in 85 minutes. Isn't internet fame amazing?

Check out the clip below to see what Chris is all about. (FYI--he's way cuter than any of the animals he posts on his site.) If you want to see more, just search Cute With Chris on Youtube for a way to waste hours on a Presidents Day off with silliness. Enjoy.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

For My Valentine

Yes.  I arranged them.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Is This King's Legacy?

So this morning over my morning coffee I was watching New York 1--a local cable news channel. They were doing a heartwarming little story for Black History Month on a center named for Dr. Martin Luther King up in the Morrisania section of the Bronx, a rough neighborhood to be sure. The center was founded to promote King's vision of "a beloved community...Free of the evils of racism, poverty and violence," said its founder, Cliff Frazier. But apparently that community does not include freedom from homophobia. One of the first things they did at the center to promote the ideals of Dr. King was establish a Boy Scout troop. A BOY SCOUT TROOP!

As you may recall, the Scouts are against homosexuality and a Supreme Court ruling by a right wing majority protected their right to discriminate, much to the chagrin of many local Boy Scout troops. The Philadelphia chapter of the Scouts lost their home recently because the homophobic platform violates that city's equal opportunity housing laws. They tried to amend their local platform to include gays, but the National organization forbid it. What a nice lesson to teach the kids. In the city of brotherly love--the cradle of freedom. The Philadelphia Scouts were forced to move out or pay market value for the space--a sum they could not afford nor had budgeted for as the city had leased the building to them for a dollar a year since the 1920s.

From what I can tell from the article, a private non-profit organization founded in 1997 built the Center in the Bronx bearing King's name and presumably funds the activities there. If they receive any funding from the city they can expect a sharply worded letter from me! So there!

UPDATE: Scott sent me this link at work today. It has many quotes from Coretta Scott King about her husband's legacy and its role in the fight for GLBT rights. Among them is this:
"I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people and I should stick to the issue of racial justice. But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King Jr. said, 'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.'...I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream to make room at the table of brother- and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people."
There's no "room at the table" for gays in the Boy Scouts.


Monday, February 11, 2008

Random Musings

I've been trying to figure out all day what to blog about, but I got nothing. So I'll just subject you to my random thoughts and musings of the day.

1. The big story over the weekend is the Obama Sweep in Democratic primaries and caucuses. He now leads Clinton by several states but somehow still lags behind in delegates. The delegate thing is kind of making me crazy. It would be one thing to just calculate the delegates for each state proportionately by the voting percentages, but then you have to figure in super-delegates. What the hell is a super-delegate anyway? Now, someone correct me if I'm wrong, but near as I can figure out these are extra delegates reserved for Washington insiders and elected officials that somehow count more than normal voter delegates and are pledged before the actual primaries. Also super-delegates are not obligated to vote with their constituency. Something about it seems crooked to me. But then if Obama was ahead in the delegate count I'd have no problem with super-delegates. And I freely admit that.

I have to be careful though. I don't want to be categorized as an "Obamamaniac". These people are accused of having a rabid affection for the man the fervor of which could be detrimental to him in the end. There was an Op-Ed piece about it in the NY Times today.

2. The Grammy's happened this weekend, too. Big whoop. This is an awards show I never watch mostly because I don't care about the rapper of the year or the country music album of the year and don't follow popular music much at all, so it's all Greek to me. Who is this Amy Winehouse of which you speak? Oh--but I do know that Obama won a Grammy for spoken word. The man is a brilliant speaker. I watched the "Yes We Can" video today and bawled. Seriously.

Oops. Obamamaniac.

3. The hot topic on all the gay blogs today on the interwebs is the Gays' support of Hillary 2 to 1. The numbers are based on exit polls in California and New York, both states where Clinton won by a comfortable lead, one of which happens to be her home state. Gays were not polled in Illinois where Obama won the primary due probably in no small part to Chicago's sizable gay population. Hillary gave an interview to the Washington Blade (Some of my best friends are gay!) in which she says she talks about gay issues "all the time." She also brings up the unfortunate Donnie McClurkin/Obama connection.

4. It's really freakin' cold here. 11 degrees this morning. With a wind chill of -6.

5. I was invited to the final dress rehearsal of the City Center Encores! reading of the 1970 musical Applause last Thursday. It starred Christine Ebersole, whom you'll recall I LOVED in Gray Gardens. She had the flu which was disappointing. I was there with a dear friend who was involved with the project so I was inclined to root for the success of it. It's not a great show though. For a passionate but unfavorable review of it, check out what the Flaming Curmudgeon has to say. His reviews are often more entertaining than the show he's reviewing. You can also read my extensive commentary in the comments section of his post.

6. With the writers strike Scott and I have run out of good TV to watch, so we started DVRing some cable series which I'm totally getting hooked on: In Treatment on HBO and Breaking Bad on AMC. In Treatment is right up my alley--characters in therapy sessions, very little action but extensive character development, lots of psycho-babble. Breaking Bad on the other hand is a surprise to me. It deals with a seamy drug underworld and has a bit of violence, but I find the very human side of the situation very moving.

7. In other TV news, Scott inadvertently sent me a spoiler today on who the Project Runway final four are. I won't spill the beans, but I like (almost) all of the final contestants. They are all certainly worthy of having a spot at Fashion week.

And that is all.

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Friday, February 08, 2008

Weekly Photo Challenge: Hazard

A Train

This is my first entry in Glenn and Dave's weekly photo challenge. The theme was "Hazard". I chose this photo for the many hazards in it, not the least of which is that this happens to be the 125th Street Subway Station.

57th Street Newstand

Because I'm a Libra and can't make a decision, I also decided to include this photo. You'll notice that cigarettes in New York are not only hazardous to your health, but to your pocketbook as well.

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Six Words

This is fun. I heard about it in Time Out New York. The assignment is to come up with a story in six words. When Ernest Hemingway was presented with the challenge years ago he came up with "For Sale: Baby shoes, never worn." Smith magazine hosted a contest of this sort with a twist: sum up your life story in six words. A memoir, if you will. The winner was "Barrister, barista, what's the diff, Mom?"

Based on my life in and out of the theatre, surviving from this survival job to that, mine would be: "Talent--a blessing or a curse?"

What would yours be?

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Obama Swag

Amsterdam & 107th St.

I was in my car tonight and pulled up behind a cab at a red light.  A hooded black youth walking a pit bull mix crossed between my car and the cab.  He squatted down behind the taxi as it was stopped and appeared to be fiddling with the bumper.  No doubt defacing a license plate thought I--though I am not proud to admit this.  Once he rose again and walked away, he revealed a freshly posted "Obama '08" bumper sticker on the back of the cab.  While I didn't necessarily approve of his campaign tactics, I had to admire his nerve.  

Once the light changed, I pulled up along the sidewalk, rolled down my window and called out to him "Hey, can I get one of those?"  He stopped, looked at me and said "A bumper sticker?"
"Yeah," I said. 
"You saw who it was for, right?" he asked, almost shocked I could be interested in the same candidate.  
"Yeah," I replied, "I cast my vote this morning."
"Oh, cool man.  Here, I'll give you the small one, too.  I only got one left."
"I'll take whatever you got."
"Okay.  Here." He said and unloaded a couple of pamphlets along with the stickers into my car window.  I thanked him and was on my way.  

As I continued up Amsterdam I couldn't help but think that this little exchange with this stranger was the perfect metaphor for the Obama campaign.  One in which "we're choosing unity over division." 

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Monday, February 04, 2008

Super Duper

Well, if yesterday was Super Sunday and tomorrow is Super Tuesday, that must make today Super Monday. And I'm super, thanks for asking. I'm super because the New York Giants won the Super Bowl--but they're really from New Jersey. And so am I. While I detest football, the macho-bullshit subculture, the excruciating pace of a game played seven seconds at a time, the overweight athletes who are paid the equivalent of the gross national product of a third world country for playing what is essentially an organized game of Kill the Guy with the Ball, I was pleased to see the Giants win. Hometown heroes and all that. I didn't watch the game, mind you, but I did check back to catch the score every once in a while and saw the last minutes or so when the Giants scored their final touchdown and extra point. I saw the end game celebrations and imagined the glee both my father and brother must have been experiencing at that moment. And that felt super.

Tomorrow, our "green" mayor will host a ticker-tape parade for the New Jersey team down New York's famed Canyon of Heroes. Do they actually use ticker-tape any more? And if this parade were to happen after the mayors congestion pricing went into affect anyone driving in from New Jersey to attend the parade would have to pay an additional $8 for the pleasure. Once again this begs the question, won't the paper wasted on a ticker-tape parade kind of undo any environmental benefit that would come from congestion pricing? Just asking.

What's also super is that homophobia seemed to be out of the commercials for the most part, unlike last year. But unfortunately, misogyny was back in. It is, sadly, a staple of sporting event advertising. Several of the morning talk shows discussed how many women were offended by the Ugly Betty style Planters commercial which can be seen here.

What wouldn't be super is if the Super Bowl ticker-tape parade keeps people away from the polls tomorrow on Super Tuesday. Which brings me to the question of whom to vote for in the Democratic primaries. I'll admit, I've been going round and round on the subject. Right now I'm leaning toward Obama over my senator, Mrs. Clinton. His Kennedy endorsements, his campaign of hope and change and his ability to motivate an otherwise apathetic electorate are what's swaying me in that direction. Obama also picked up the endorsements of and of my former New Jersey Senator, Bill Bradley recently, which also hold some sway with me.

This is not to poo-poo Hillary Clinton's New York Times endorsement, but then I would expect them to endorse her. Their's is a decision based more on black and white facts of policy and experience than gut-feeling. And I'll admit I continue to be impressed with Hillary when I hear her speak. She knows the issues inside and out, she speaks the facts and her policies are based on her experience of knowing how the system works. Yet I feel her polarizing personality and the baggage of the last Clinton administration will create more of the same congressional grid-lock we've had for almost 16 years. The Republicans may not agree on who they want as their nominee, but one thing they can all agree on is how much they hate the Clintons.

As far as policy, the differences between Obama and Clinton are minute. Both would end the war in Iraq, although I applaud Obama's stance against the war from the very beginning. Unlike Hillary, he spoke his conscience on the matter rather than made a decision he thought would be politically advantageous to him when he was up for re-election or ran for president. Hillary's judgement there and in her choice to use her husband as a political bully during her campaign raise serious questions about her leadership to me.

As for healthcare, while I like Hillary's idea of mandatory health insurance, I fear that to get such legislation passed the concept would be whittled away to nothing but a skelatal program that really wouldn't do those who need it much good. As for Obama's plan of reducing the cost of insurance to make it more affordable to all Americans, I fear that once again, the poor, infirmed and under-educated will still not get the coverage they need simply because they don't have the wherewithal to wade through the already mind-numbing confusion that is our healthcare system in this country. Believe me, I know. I had to go through this harrowing experience myself lately. So for me this issue is a draw.

Finally, on tax cuts and the economy, I have to lean more toward Obama because his tax cuts will benefit middle class Americans across the board. Clinton's plan is to create tax cuts for this, that and the other group many of whom fall in the middle income tax bracket. This to me would create more confusion over new tax laws and is essentially unfair to some Americans. For example, additional tax cuts for people with children or who are saving for college really wouldn't benefit me and is a bit "family-biased" in my opinion. It sends the message that if you are single or not producing children you are worth less to society. That rubs me the wrong way.

All this hair-splitting aside, we have two super candidates either of whom would do super things as president. And that's progress.

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Friday, February 01, 2008

City Snapshot: The Spanish & Portuguese Jewish Cemetery

So I've been loving Glenn and Dave's weekly photo challenge. Each week they choose a topic or category and any blogger who cares to participate goes out and photographs their interpretation of it then posts it on his blog. So far the topics have included graffiti, barrooms, neighborhood grocers and today's which was breakfast. I love visiting the various blogs and seeing how people in different cities and environments handle the challenge. Unfortunately, I've been a little busy this month to participate, plus I don't have one of those credit card sized cameras I can just carry around with me all the time. But I happened to have mine with me yesterday and photographed what I would have posted for the week of January 18. The topic was cemeteries.

This is the Second Spanish and Portuguese Jewish Cemetery which is located just east of 6th Avenue on 11th Street in the Village. It's a tiny, triangular tract of land dating from 1805 tucked between a Georgian townhouse and what was once an old tenement facing 6th Avenue. These are the little gems that make strolling the side streets of New York truly fascinating. Enjoy.

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