28 November 2008

Thanks, But No Thanks

As I sit here this morning contemplating my day, I feel grateful for so much. Yesterday (Thanksgiving Day), we had the company of some new friends for a great dinner at around 4 P.M. Another friend, who we've known for years, joined the four of us later, after dinner with his family, for some Tripoley. It was an early evening, ending with Cameron and me watching Hancock with slices of apple pie and then pumpkin pie.

I can't imagine that at this hour there have been people shopping at Kohl's, for instance, for an hour-and-a-half already. Or, Target for a half-hour. That's where the "no thanks" for this post comes in. Traditionally, Cameron and I shop for our Christmas tree on Black Friday. And, that's about it. There may be an occasional stop at the grocery but retail stores are the last place we want to be on this day. It's madness. I'll be ordering some gifts online this weekend, but it's unlikely I'll do it today.

I had intended to point and shoot the preparations for Thanksgiving day like I have in the past, but those intentions were dashed when I got into the thick of it. So, there's not much to show here, but I'll share what I have.

Wednesday at lunch I went to Holliday's for some fresh flowers before a stop at Back Yard Burger for a blackened chicken sandwich combo with unsweet iced tea. When I got home I put these together for a small arrangement on the cocktail table in the living room. I love the vivid reds but have no idea what kind of flower they are.

I started the morning making Cranberry Chutney.

Then, the apple pie. Notice that I forgot to peel the apples. Of course, I didn't realize this until I cut our slices for movie watching.

And after that, it was pumpkin pie. You'd think that I'd find nutmeg in here. But the jar was nearly empty, save the "dust." I substituted allspice and am quite pleased with the results.

Next, it was deviled eggs. These were made with sour cream, horseradish, lemon juice, lime juice, mayonnaise, dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, Frank's RedHot sauce, garlic powder, black pepper, cumin and kosher salt. Garnished with three capers each, they're finished with a sprinkle of fresh dill and paprika.

Then it was time for the turkey to go into the oven. It's rubbed inside and out with kosher salt. The outside was rubbed with olive oil, minced garlic and black pepper. There's fresh rosemary leaves from the garden under the skin, and a lemon with half an onion in the cavity. It was delicious.

Is the turkey ready yet?

Well, I suppose I'm about finished here. I have a load of whites in the dryer and a few things to clean up around here. We have another movie to watch before we venture out. If you're "doing" Black Friday, best of luck to you.

25 November 2008

A New Addition to "I'm a Fan"

One of Zen's followers commented on the Keith Olberman post below, so I decided to check out his links. I've added one of them to "I'm a Fan" at the right. It's a blog filled with quotes, most of which appear to help the reader keep their perspective.

Visit And I Quote here.

I'm a fan.

24 November 2008

We've Lost Our Minds

"Breaking News" from Yahoo this morning:

And according to a New York Times news alert, Citigroup will effectively halt dividend payments for the next three years and will also agree to certain executive compensation restrictions, which will be reviewed by regulators. It will also put in place the F.D.I.C.’s loan modification plan, which is similar to one it recently announced.

USAToday reports that last fall Charles Prince left Citi with a $10 million bonus, $28 million in stock and options and $1.5 million in other perks, according to the report.

An April 4, 2008 Times article by Claudia Deutsch (April 4, 2008) states:

"Shareholders and their advocates have increasingly viewed the escalation in executive compensation with concern and sometimes anger. In 2007 and 2008, numerous proxy resolutions were introduced to address the subject. Congress held several hearings on excessive pay and heard calls for action."

"The burgeoning ire has two roots. For one thing, toward the end of 2006 the Securities and Exchange Commission set tighter rules for corporate proxies requiring more information about the methods used to compile pay packages for top management. But by early 2008, as many proxies came in with a maximum of verbiage masking a minimum of information, some shareholders rebelled.

"The sinking economy also stoked shareholder discontent -- especially when executive pay rose even as share prices plummeted. It was hard to find a link between pay and performance; indeed, often the opposite was true. A study by Equilar, a compensation research firm, showed that even as the number and value of performance-based bonuses dropped in 2007, the value and prevalence of discretionary bonuses — ones not tied to performance at all — were up.

"And earned or not, paychecks remain high. The average overall compensation in 2007 for chief executives at 200 large companies that had filed proxies by the following March 28 approached $12 million."

It's no wonder our nation's corporations are bankrupt. I've lamented often on how former Northwest Airlines CEO Doug Steenland took millions in bonuses and stock by robbing the rank and file and the customers. When are we going to put these incompetents that continue to run their companies into bankruptcy at our expense on the firing line?

18 November 2008

Mulligans, True Friends and Fifteen

According to Wikipedia, "in golf, a mulligan is a retaken swing, usually due to a previously errant one." I first heard the phrase while playing disc golf with my friend, Dan and while I understood what it meant to us in those circumstances I didn't realize it was a widely accepted term. The only mulligan of which I knew was stew.

Last night while I was driving up North Parkway, headed home from a meeting at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, smoking a cigarette and punching buttons on the radio, I heard the beginning of Five For Fighting's "100 Years". Just as I crossed Poplar I decided I wasn't in the mood and pressed another button and landed on Rhianna's "Disturbia." Ordinarily I love the song, but at the moment it made me uncomfortable. Maybe it's because I lately feel, at times, like I am in Disturbia. Instead of forging ahead on the radio dial, something compelled me to go back to Five for Fighting. Before I got to the intersection I call "Parkway, Parkway, Trezevant, Summer" I was in tears listening to John Ondrasik's words.
I'm 15 for a moment
Caught in between 10 and 20
And I'm just dreaming
Counting the ways to where you are
I'm 22 for a moment
She feels better than ever
And we're on fire
Making our way back from Mars
15 there's still time for you
Time to buy and time to lose
15, there's never a wish better than this
When you only got 100 years to live
I'm 33 for a moment
Still the man, but you see I'm a they
A kid on the way
A family on my mind
I'm 45 for a moment
The sea is high
And I'm heading into a crisis
Chasing the years of my life
15 there's still time for you
Time to buy, Time to lose yourself
Within a morning star
15 I'm all right with you
15, there's never a wish better than this
When you only got 100 years to live
Half time goes by
Suddenly you're wise
Another blink of an eye
67 is gone
The sun is getting high
We're moving on...
I'm 99 for a moment
Dying for just another moment
And I'm just dreaming
Counting the ways to where you are
15 there's still time for you
22 I feel her too
33 you're on your way
Every day's a new day...
15 there's still time for you
Time to buy and time to choose
Hey 15, there's never a wish better than this
When you only got 100 years to live
It's funny sometimes how things happen and that they often have a bigger meaning than the obvious. Seems like a lot of that has been going on over the last 58 days. Oddly, the number "15" has come up more than once. The first time I heard it was during a lecture at Family Fundamentals Weekend in Knoxville. The suggestion was made that we stop growing emotionally and spiritually when we start drinking. For me, that was at age 15. So, theoretically, I am still 15 years old.

There have been other significant mentions of "15" but none as profound as the next one. A few minutes ago I got a phone call on the office line from a friend with whom I haven't talked in over fifteen years. I can't express the feelings of warmth, love and true friendship I felt when I heard the voice coming from Louisville. It's a voice I've often needed to hear but hadn't sought for many, sometimes complicated, reasons. We've made plans to reconnect, catch up and stay in touch.

Clearly there are things larger than me happening in my life right now. And for some inexplicable reason I'm ok with it -- I'm not afraid. In fact, I feel good about it and look forward to what each moment brings. Make no mistake -- there are still obstacles. I'm just choosing not to obsess about them.

What I heard last night was a divine message that I am getting a Mulligan. Not that this is the only chance I'll have to change the way I approach living -- I get that chance every day. But in my self-centered quest for complete control in pursuit of perfection I haven't typically embraced those chances for many of my days -- the better part of just over 17,000. Sure, there have been bright days filled with promise. Some of those have even been connected together for long periods of time. But I've realized that I'll never get to perfect. I've realized the fighting to get where I want has been a fight against my best interests. Thankfully there have been a handful of special people who have loved, guided, and stood by me -- in spite of me. The thing is, I have only occasionally, if ever, loved myself as they have.

This is the sort of epiphany I have been looking for since I started down this path of healing. Taking a long, hard look at myself and letting go of the preconceived notions that have kept me from growing as a husband, friend, and colleague is tough. It's tough to admit that I have been a schmuck. It's tough to admit that by pursuing my idea of what should be I haven't been as good as I can be.

In my quest to accept the things I cannot change and my resolve to embrace the courage to change the things I can I pray that I can love me for me, for better or for worse. God, I'm listening.

14 November 2008

Oh Where Oh Where Has My Gina Bruce Gone...

I haven't seen Shawn on IM lately. I know he's busy as hell. So I visited his blog to see if there was any news. Nothing.

So, as I was there I looked at his blogroll and clicked on a link I hadn't visited in quite some time: Bitter Cup of Joe. When I got there I saw this from Funny or Die.

See more funny videos at Funny or Die
See more funny videos at Funny or Die

I LOVE IT. And, I'm going here to sign the petition.

13 November 2008

Keith Olbermann Speaks Out On Prop 8

When I checked in on my blogpal, Zen, I saw she'd posted this clip: Keith Olbermann's commentary on the passage of Prop 8 in California. Mr. Olbermann's speech is eloquent, passionate and hopefully mind-opening for the many who don't get it. This video is a must share.

12 November 2008

Oh, Goody. Another No Talent Who Sets Foul Language to a Beat, Calls it Music and Hates. Just What We Need.

After a meeting, I was enjoying the remainder of my morning listening to Fernando and Greg and catching up on e-mail when I heard the duo launch into a tyrade about "Trick Trick". Apparently this fool, "close friend and collaborator" of Eminem, doesn't want the "fags" buying his new album. Read more at AllHipHop. Or still more at Bossip. Or at Queerty.

Fugly on the inside. Kinda the same on the outside.

“I’ma go on the record right now with this. Homosexuals are probably not gonna like this album,” Trick revealed to “I don’t want your f**got money any goddamn way. I don’t like it [homosexuality]. Carry that s**t somewhere else.”

I paused for a moment and remembered the Serenity Prayer.

Realizing that I may not have the power to influence the heart of an ignorant but sly, gimmicks-to-riches music promoter cum hate-rap artist I can at least say what I feel needs to be said. After having read the comments posted on the Bossip post from innumberable readers, I have come to the personal conclusion that better than half of these nincompoops were asleep during English class, were clearly absent during the portion of History lessons that discussed civil rights and they are woefully deficient in Sociology and the Sciences.

Of exactly which language is the phrase is "I'ma go" a part? Ignorantish? Dumbassian? Loserese?

Failure to see any parallel between the struggle of African-Americans against hate and oppression and the hate of any other group based upon biological differences such as skin color or genetics escapes me. This hatred toward gays makes about as much sense as hating someone because of the shape of their eyes.

While the argument of "what makes gays gay" is still being debated among the believers of environmental/emotional influences versus the proponents of genetic proclivity versus the ignoramuses who believe "it's a choice," clearly there is enough evidence that those amongst us with any modicum of intelligence can agree that there is still more to be learned. Trying to determine "what makes us gay" makes about as much sense as trying to figure out why we have nostrils on our faces rather than behind our ears.

I'll spend a moment saying the Serenity Prayer. I'll think about what each of the phrases in it means. I'll find peace in my day. And, I'll say a little prayer for "Trick Trick." (Thank you, Dionne Warwick.) I'll pray that Christian Mathis learns a new trick, and that God shows him the way. Clearly, he's not being influenced in the ways of love now, like his mother was when she picked his name.

10 November 2008

Monday · 10 November

Don't really have much to say today, but as I begin this post I can think of a few things. Maybe later. But for right now a Luncheonette post seemed in order since I'm finally satisfying a crave I've had for a while. Today, it's Pho Saigon combination vermicelli (bún thap cam) and spring rolls (goi cuan tom) as big as my head.

The vermicelli, on a bed of shredded lettuce and bean sprouts, is topped with grilled pork, shrimp and an egg roll, garnished with julienne carrots, cucumber slices, pickled radish (daikon, I think), mint and chopped peanuts. After it's doused in fish sauce and topped with chili garlic paste it's heavenly. I couldn't wait to start, so the photo of the Styrofoam® box depicts the lunch in an altered state.

Goi Cuon Tom on left with Bún Thap Cam. Translation: YUM. More garlic pepper paste, please.

Hope you were able to satisfy a crave today. Now if we'd only get a White Castle in Memphis....

07 November 2008

And Here's to the Ignorant Bigots in Arkansas

Not only have we kept the gays in their place as second-class citizens, but we've also kept thousands of children who need loving homes out of danger.

— Bubba and Bubbalina
Concerned Arkansas residents

No 501 (c)(3) Tax-Exempt Status for Lobbyists Even if They're Using a Church as a Disguise

The Mormon Church played a significant role in getting Proposition 8 to pass by an extremely slim margin in California. Their actions were clearly lobbying, spreading fear with lies and propaganda to advance their own agenda and influence legislation. Sign the petition below to have their tax-exempt status revoked.

Visit Mormons Stole Our Rights, here.

With All This Hope I Forgot About Reality

I just received a link to CNN from my friend David, not the one I mention frequently, here, but another who proudly served this country in the military who happens to be gay and in a long-term relationship with our friend John.

I had to share. Some of the comments are great while others are from folks who cling to a religious dogma that is so misinformed. It's worth a few minutes' read.

At a moment of great inclusiveness, gay people are shut out.

02 November 2008

Forty Days and Forty Nights

It's Sunday morning. The kitchen clock says 10:57. But it's not. I usually find the end of Daylight Savings time a depressing one. The days are shorter. It's dark at the end of the business day when I'm walking to the car. But, this time, I'm not thinking too much about it.

I suppose that the promise of today and what's transpired up to this forty-first day of Cameron's and my new journey together makes such things insignificant. Gone are the evenings wasting away our time with cocktail hour. Although we spent every one of those evenings together we now feel more connected. It's almost as if the promise of our life together is brighter. We still have a lifetime of work ahead of us and it's work toward which we look forward. Hope really does spring eternal.

For today, though, there is quite a lot of other busy work ahead of us. Along with the spiritual "housecleaning" of the last five weeks there has been a physical one. After being reminded of Linda Blair in a television commercial during the Halloween festivities I could liken it to an exorcism. Years of procrastination or even denial have been finally righted with the emptying of the attic, the yard sale, the elimination of eight azaleas and a diseased mimosa. There have been meetings with contractors, plumbers and electricians. While we've been facing fears of the change within ourselves we've been facing things that were ignored, avoided or "saved" for later.

I find us living "now" more than ever. This honesty and forthright approach to baggage accumulated over our lifetimes is uncovering some old pain. But what it's revealing is the beauty and grace within us both -- that which we saw in each other sixteen years ago -- and I'm grateful for that. If we hadn't been able to see through the things we didn't understand we might not be here, together, today.

So, as I begin catching up on laundry, listing on eBay the more precious things from the attic (to which I no longer need to cling), reclaiming the windows whose views have been obstructed by air conditioners for decades, and finish closing the pool, I am thankful for the work to be done. I am thankful that I have hair that needs to be cut, plaster to dust from the furniture, a vacuum to clean the white dog hair from the rugs, a battery to charge in the Pontiac, Billie and Georgia's poop to remove from the yard, and lots of clocks and watches to set.

It's a fantastic day. I hope you enjoy this one, today, as much as I will.