30 June 2007

Smart Music by a Smart Man

"Weird Al" Yankovic must be the most underrated singer/songwriter of our generation. The man writes parodical lyrics to established songs and makes them successful. (If you think that's easy, try it sometime.) But his talent goes beyond poking fun at recording artists and established songs. The man can also write parodies of musical styles, in a generic sense and in a specific sense. The following is a prime example:

It's obvious to anyone who has a pulse on the vein of pop culture that Bob Dylan is the inspiration of this song and video. The black and white video. The nonsensical words. The half-singing-half-speaking. The cue cards. The harmonica.

But wait! What is this ... this ... spark of genius? "What genius?" you ask. "It's Weird Al, for Pete's sake."

Okay. Try this on for genius. How many songwriters do you know can write an entire song in palindromes? That's what I thought. Play the video and enjoy the genius.

29 June 2007

Rules for the Restroom

I get it. We're guys and we work under different rules. But c'mon ... we're still human and should act as such. And so, I submit to you my rules for the restroom.

  1. If you're going to use the stall to urinate, lift the toilet seat before you start. While the vast majority of us choose not to sit and pee, I have yet to meet the man who is able to stand while "taking care of other business". I'm sure I speak for all men when I say that we would appreciate a dry seat.
  2. A courtesy flush is considered good form for the more odiferous movements. Even though we know what you're doing behind that closed door, we'd rather not know what you're doing. Capice?
  3. When you're done, don't just flush and walk away. Stick around a minute and make sure you haven't left any gifts for the next guy. That second flush will add to your treasures in heaven.
  4. I don't care if you were raised in a Third World country. I don't care if you were raised in a barn. I don't care if you were raised in the forest by a troop of gorillas. You live and work among the civilized now. Wash your hands each and every time with soap and water! (You dirty little monkey you.)

They're fairly easy rules to understand and follow. Please, for your sake and ours, try to follow them. Thanks.

28 June 2007

An Update from the Chief

Some of you may have heard about the fracas over Chief Cathy Lanier's decision to decentralize the District's Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit that sort of dusted up earlier in the month. Well, a friend of mine forwarded to me the following e-mail which should shed a bit more light onto this story.
The following is a clarification on the role of the GLLU and its future from Chief Lanier:

Dear GLBT Community:

In the past few weeks, there has been a great deal of confusion regarding my vision for the Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit. I apologize to the GLBT community for the miscommunication regarding my plan to expand the reach of the GLLU. As Chief of Police, I take full responsibility for the Department failing the GLBT community by not getting the message out in the right way and with the right input from all of you, and for that I apologize.

It has never been my intention to disband the award-winning unit, and in fact I have set a goal for my Department to train every Metropolitan Police Officer to respond to calls from the GLBT community and to encourage more officers to join GLLU.

The GLUU is critical to the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and to the GLBT community. The services provided by the dedicated officers who make up the unit are invaluable, and I am fully committed to ensuring the GLUU continues to provide the same services to every GLBT resident who needs them. The reach of GLUU must extend into every neighborhood and into every ward because the GLBT community contributes to our diverse population of residents — and those residents are not limited to only one geographic area of the District.

Over the next few weeks, Sergeant Brett Parson, along with Lieutenant Alberto Jova, will schedule group meetings in all seven districts to solicit your input about the GLUU and how it can be improved.

For those who are unable to attend the meetings, the MPD has created an e-mail address enabling members of the community to provide suggestions and/or concerns regarding the GLUU. The address is mpdc.liaisonunits@dc.gov.

The information gleaned from these meetings will be incorporated into a final plan for enhancements to the GLLU. A representative from each of the meetings will be asked to meet with the Chief so that she may inform them of the\ plan for each of the units. Rest assured that I am committed to hearing the views of the GLBT community before finalizing any plans to enhance the GLLU. With your input, I believe that we can come up with a plan that will not only broaden the reach of the GLLU, but improve the services this unique unit provides.

Cathy L. Lanier
Chief of Police
Washington DC Metropolitan Police Department

More Stuff for National HIV Testing Day

The Washington Post has an article in today's paper in which city officials announced an effort to increase the amount of HIV testing among city youths.

Why am I pressing this issue so hard lately? For one, I know people who are positive. For two, you might too ... you might be one and not even know it.
Perhaps a quarter of the more than 1 million Americans with HIV are not aware of their status, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health experts say detection is key to stopping the spread of the virus, because people who know they are infected are more likely to seek medical care and change their behavior.
As I've said the past couple days, if you haven't been tested for HIV in the past three months, get tested today. You can find a good list of free testing locations here.

National HIV Testing Day

It doesn't matter if you're gay or straight. It doesn't matter if you male or female or in-between. It doesn't matter your race. Get tested today!

26 June 2007

A Post on HIV

As I was reading through The Washington Blade online, I ran across a post by Andrew Sullivan. I have to admit that my face started to get a little heated. But I didn't want to get pissed off without more information. So I followed his other links to get the whole picture. Let me give you the links you need to read, in order.

Read this first, then this one second, and finally this one last. I'll wait for you to come back.

Okay. Done? Good. Welcome back. Now ...

... while I understand the point that Andrew would like to have made (that testing HIV+ is no longer the immediate death sentence it once was), I agree with Gabriel 1000% in that Andrew is simply irresponsible in the exact words he used. Let me tell you why. Before 1996, I knew one ... count that - ONE ... person with HIV. He died of AIDS complications at too young an age. Since then, I have had three people I care deeply about tell me that they tested positive and I have learned of two acquaintances who also have HIV.

One before 1996.

Five after 1996.

Mr. Sullivan, this is NOT progress. This is NOT something to celebrate.

(Green)peace and Quiet

It seemed as if every volunteer for Greenpeace was out today and mulling around Chinatown. I couldn't take five steps without bumping into some gung-ho tree-hugger who wanted to convert me to The Gospel According to Albert Arnold Gore Junior.

I can usually give someone a few minutes of my time to listen to their spiel, but I was at lunch and a bit pressed for time.

It was plenty obvious enough that I was in a hurry. I had my hurry face on and wasn't making any eye contact with people. (No-eye-contact is universal body language for "leave me the &#!% alone".) Besides, I looked like I just stepped out of an RNC poster (or a goodfellas movie). What hippie in their right mind would think, just by looking at me, that I would care about saving the environment?

Still, volunteers ... especially ones who believe ... are a tenacious group. The first one asked for a second of my time and a second is what I gave her. I stopped, politely told her that I was running late returning from lunch, and that I didn't have time today. And then I walked on.

I stopped for the second person and told her the same thing I told the first person.

The third bloke still got the polite "&#!% off" but he didn't get me to stop. I repeated that for the next two volunteers.

By the time I passed the last one, I was beyond irritated. "Excuse me, sir. Can I have thirty seconds of your time?" she asked. "I can't today," I replied without stopping or looking up. "Well, maybe I can walk wi...," she started. At this newest tactic I turned and looked at her with smoldering eyes. "I'm sorry, but I just don't have the time right now," I interrupted. "You people are literally three feet apart from each other. How could you not see that I've said no to every other one of you on this block?!" is what I wanted to yell at her. But I guess I'm a nice guy at heart.

Serves me right.

The Dame and the Princess

To me, the story in this Washington Post article isn't that Julie Andrews was in the District today. Nor is it that Ms. Andrews read to a room full of people from a book she had written. It isn't even that she took the time to pose for pictures. No, to me, the story in this article is in the second and third paragraphs ...
But 9-year-old Graham Walker noticed only the voice, that clipped, hills-are-alive British accent that's pure Julie Andrews and that was reading to him and 11 other children yesterday at the District's Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library.

Graham knows that voice, too. He's such a Julie Andrews fan that, when he was 3, he dressed as Mary Poppins for Halloween, and he went as Maria to the singalong of "The Sound of Music."
*wipes tear from corner of right eye*

Oh, they start so young these days.

*wipes tear from corner of left eye*

Seriously, though, it struck me how pedestrian those two paragraphs were ... how natural they were to read ... as if it were nothing out of the ordinary. Nevermind that this nine-year-old is a boy and that he's dressed at characters that Ms. Andrews has portrayed. What is important here is that this child idolized Ms. Andrews and he was able to meet her. I applaud the Post for depicting it as simply that.

25 June 2007

Don' Be Scur'd

It's been almost a year and a half since my last relationship ended. During that time, I've slipped inside of myself and closed myself off to pretty much everyone. I've kept conversations to safe, common topics. I've kept people at an arm's distance. It's become my cold comfort to rely on myself, to answer to myself, to keep my own company ...

... until I had a long conversation with a very good friend. Usually, I am the one imparting the advice. This time, although I never asked for it, it was my turn to soak in some wisdom. He told me some things I already knew but didn't want to acknowledge. He reminded me of who I was before I became this emotional recluse. He urged me to allow myself the opportunity to be truly happy again.

Trying to learn from his counsel, I have taken some small steps toward recovering the pieces of me that I left to the universe many, many months ago. It isn't easy. I have spent so long building this safe, enclosed space for myself that I can't remember what it's like to allow anyone inside. How much of me is too much? What if my pace in opening up is too slow? What if I get hurt again? Yes, there are rational answers to all of those questions. But I'm not completely rational right now.

I have had a good couple of days since that long conversation. I find myself daydreaming and anticipating. My heart has started skipping again. I've felt that fire ... that burning in my soul ... that I thought had long since extinguished itself. I even feel like a little kid some of the time.

Yet I can't quiet the doubt in my head. Maybe I have nothing remaining to offer. Maybe I left all I had on the table the last time I played this game. Maybe I am too much of a reclamation project. Maybe there is nothing of me that anyone could want for very long.

It all is equal parts rapturous and frightening. I hope I truly am up to this new chapter of my life.

I Cannot Wait

Yeah, it will probably suck monkey balls, but I'm so looking forward to seeing this movie. The only issue I have with it right now is that a certain character has gone from this to this. But that's just the purist in me complaining.

With the recent rash of TV-cartoon-to-cinema-live-action movies, I think it's only a matter of time before we see a live action G.I. Joe movie. There's already talk about a Voltron movie.

But what about that other cartoon series? You know, that bastard step-brother of Transformers? Seriously?! That movie would be so friggin' cheesy it would rock!

19 June 2007

Helping the Homeless

If you're like me (and some of you are I just know it), you're a bit hesitant to give a homeless person money. When approached by a panhandler, you may ask yourself, "What will they use this money for - liquor, drugs, food?" It's a valid question and one I have asked myself every time before giving a homeless person money.

Today I came across a homeless person who was asking for money. One dollar to be exact. It's not the first time I've seen him. And it wasn't the first time I gave him money without hesitation. And, he's not the only homeless person out there asking for exactly one dollar.

See, this homeless fellow is a vendor, an entrepreneur, a salesman. He's out there every day (in this case, on the corner of Connecticut Avenue and Q Street, NW) giving copies of Street Sense for a dollar donation. (You can give more than a dollar, if you so wish.) Street Sense, for those of you who don't know, is a bi-monthly newspaper written by the area's poor and homeless. It is "sold" by the area's poor and homeless as a way to make some money, as opposed to panhandling. Each person (vendor) is essentially their own company ... an outsourcer, if you will. One quarter of every dollar goes to the publication; the other seventy-five cents go to the vendor. The vendor makes an honest living and the buyer learns a bit about the area's poor and homeless. It's a win-win for everyone.

My point is simply this: if you see someone on the street in a yellow "Street Sense" vest selling Street Sense newspapers for a dollar, do you both a favor and give that person two dollars. He's simply doing his job.

15 June 2007

A Low Blow

LaRon Landry is hurt in a bad place. And here I thought "team-building outings" were supposed to, you know, pull teams together. Maybe this is the way football players initiate each other? Ah well, no one ever accused defensive players of being smart.

The Man Gets No Respect

Poor Marion Barry. If he's not being targeted for embarrassment, he's being unjustly portrayed in the media.

It's so hard to be Marion Barry.

And So It Begins

Here it is - the first post of a new blog. What a terrible and wondrous day! How to begin such an auspicious moment? I know ... a couple random thoughts!


I stepped on the elevator to go home tonight. This older lady was already inside. She stared at me as I entered, but I barely noticed as I was in my own musical world at the time. As the doors closed, she made a gesture that I caught out of the corner of my eye ... you know, the kind of gesture one makes before one says something to a total stranger.

"Has anyone ever told you who you look like?" she inquired.

"No, not lately," I replied, only mildly wondering where she was going with this.

"You know who you look like," she countered.

"No, I really don't. Who do I look like?" I asked.

"You look like Robin Thicke. I've only just started listening to his music," she said.

"Well, he hasn't been out all that long," I replied.

And that was the end of our conversation.


I haven't had a drink of alcohol in over a week. Not a single drop. When I go to the bars to hang with my friends, I've been drinking water or soda. (I didn't do this on some whim. There's actually a medical reason for it that I don't care to get into.) Being sober in a bar while surrounded by your drunk friends is quite an interesting experience. I've noticed how out of hand they tend to get. (I never noticed that before, usually because I'm out of hand with them.) I have also enjoyed being out late at night and waking up the next morning ... tired but not hung-over. It's a good feeling.

If there's one drawback to the whole sober-in-a-bar thing, it's that I have no patience for stupidity. And there is more stupidity among drunk people than you can shake a drink stirrer at.

Will I continue on this path of sobriety? Eh, probably not. I won't drink as much as I did before last week but I think I'll still have a drink or two when I'm out (if for no other reason then to tolerate the inebriates).


I don't know what it is about Capital Pride weekend. It's on my Must Do list every year. Pride is a lot like Christmas - you have your assumptions and expectations of how it's going to be, but you really have no idea what you're gonna get.

The Pride Parade this year. Hmm. What to say. It was the Leather Man show. Am I the only one who thought that half of the parade consisted of hairy men bearing their asses to the world? (Pun intended.) What happened to the Latino float? Why can't we get some rides for the religious groups? Where were my bare-breasted lesbians? How about a bit more diversity next year? Ah. Yes. And politicians. I was good to see our mayor, our "Congressional Representative", and about half of our City Council walk in the parade. But there was one politician who marched in our parade yet was conspicuously missing. I don't have a problem with any politician trolling for the "gay vote"; but if you want to be part of our parade, at least have the decency to show. Otherwise it comes off as ... well, you know what it comes off as. What I'm saying is that an enlarged poster of your face doesn't cut it.

Now the Pride Festival. It always seems like the Scrub Show to me. Don't get me wrong - I think using local talent at the Festival is good and all. But c'mon. Rachel Panay? So last year. Crystal Waters? So last decade. Boys, boys boys ... we can do better than that for our main performers, can't we? (Well, God-des & She did rocked the joint.)