4-rth Sustainable Fashion – Unsustainable Business Practices – Don’t buy from them.

When you find a company like 4-rth (pronounced “for earth”) you want to believe…….

It took me a long time to find quality, somewhat affordable yoga clothes for men.  I wanted them not only for yoga but because they’re comfortable for everyday use, when made with quality.  When I found 4-rth online, they had some cool clothes for guys.  The most interesting, different, and fashionable was the cuffed yoga short for men.  People tell me I write too much (too long), so I’ll try to shortcut this with bullet points.

Cuffed Yoga Pants (Cinnabar w/Grey)

  • I purchased the yoga shorts pictured above.  Note the gray cuff around the bottom of the leg.
  • When I received them, I really liked them but noticed that the cuff was orange, like the short, not gray.
  • When I pointed this out, Doug Donahue (Owner, CEO?,- basically the only person that works there apparently) responded to my email as follows:
    • “excellent eyes you have! 🙂 sorry about that — in that production run, that was an oversight by our production team so they all came out that way but we’ll go back to the Gray cuff in future production runs
    • He also added “p.s. – we have TWO new color-ways coming out in that pant”
    • Translation: “Oops – you noticed, huh.  Oh well.  But we have more stuff for you to buy.
  • I responded to his email and told him that his response wasn’t really unacceptable.  He never offered to replace them or exchange them.  I explained to him how customer service worked and gave him several suggestions to make his customer service better.  I gave him every opportunity to make it better.  I wasn’t mean or snarky.  I was honestly trying to help him.  I wanted him to succeed – and I told him so.
  • Doug Donahue’s response was “Please feel free to use my friends & family discount anytime — it’s good for 15% off at any time of the year! the code is: 4RTH”
    • Translation:  Feel free to REPURCHASE what you already thought you were purchasing – because as I said the next production run “should” be OK.  And you can buy them at a 15% discount.
  • So I can buy the shorts that I thought I had already did buy – at a 15% discount.  How nice.  And they “may or may not” arrive as shown in the picture on his web site.
  • I explained that repurchasing an article of clothing, simply because what I received wasn’t as advertised, was not my idea of fixing the problem.  I explained further how customer service worked.  I explained that I had planned on buying many more items from 4-rth.  However, since I couldn’t trust that I would get what I ordered, or that the follow up customer service would correct the problem, I simply could not do that.  I gave him another opportunity to fix the problem.  I had worn the shorts, but considering they were a design that he didn’t even sell, why would he want them back anyway, even if I had never worn them.  All he had to do was send me the correct product, at his expense, and I would have been a happy camper.  I would have been ready, willing, and able to buy more items in his men’s line AND tout his company on my blog.

This was a ridiculous exchange.  Mr. Donahue should have simply fixed the problem.  He sold me a product that was manufactured incorrectly.  Some may say “It’s just a cuff on a pair of shorts – who cares”.  Well, there are such things as false advertising, integrity, standing behind your products, and good customer service.  Plus, to be honest, from a fashion standpoint, the gray contrasting cuff was what made these shorts unique.

Doug Donahue must have a huge ego for him not to just fix this – easily.  He could not and would not admit that he was wrong.  He sold me a product and the product I received was not like the one pictured.  It’s a simple problem and a simple fix.  I should not have taken many, many emails to address – only to get absolutely nowhere.

I noticed that on his web site, he has “celebrities” like singer Daughtry saying he thought the stuff was cool, and Queer Eye cast member Jai Rodriguez pictures with Doug.  I’m betting if I were a celebrity the problem would have been corrected immediately.  I probably would have received his entire line of clothing as a “gift”.  But since I’m not a celebrity and Doug Donahue’s goal is to be rich and famous and hobnobbing with the rich and famous, he could care less about me, a lowly customer who received a product that was made wrong in the factory.

I gave Mr. Donahue many, many chances.  I even told him about the power of word of mouth (or word of word).  I told him I would hold back from writing anything negative about him or his company because I believed he would do the right thing to rectify the problem.

He Didn’t.  And so I’m writing to let people know what they are in for if they choose to purchase merchandise from 4-rth.com.  Some will think I’m just pissed off and it’s just sour grapes.  I assure you that is not true.  At one point I told Mr. Donahue that I had a lot of experience with online shopping and would be happy to work with him to ensure his customers were satisfied at all levels.  The customer is always right and it’s a company’s job to make sure the customer is happy.  I wasn’t asking for anything unreasonable – I was only asking for WHAT I HAD ORDERED AND PAID FOR.


Adam Lambert at the American Music Awards SUCKED, literally and figuratively

With all the hype worthy of a White Bronco chase, Adam Lambert’s performance at the American Music Awards last night was saved until the end, and when I say “end” in mean the bitter end.  And when I say “bitter end” I mean right after the last award was given out and right before the credits.  Since when does a nobody like Adam Lambert have the clout to close a show.  Was it because his performance was supposed to be THAT good?  Or was it because the producers were giving the viewing public the option to turn off the TV or change channels because the official awards portion of the show was done.  I am assuming it’s the latter.

From the leather and chains, to Lambert pushing and pulling scantily clad dancer boys around the stage with dog collars, to Lambert literally pushing one male dancer’s face into his crotch by grabbing the back of the dancer’s head as he thrusts his hips into the dancer’s face (pew!) to Lambert deep tounge-kissing the male drummer, (or was it a female – let’s go with she-male because I have no idea), the “performance” was like the bad sex-like shows I used to see in New York’s gay night clubs.  As a gay man I watched Adam Lambert with my hand over my face; fingers splayed out so I could “sort-of” see what was going on and then wince in pain, snapping my eyes shut like an oyster with newly found grain of sand. 

Not only was Lambert disgusting, he has absolutely, (and I mean none, nada, nope, nothing, no way) no sexual appeal whatsoever.  He looked uncomfortable, he acted like he was uncomfortable, and when the screaming crowd in the auditorium stopped “raising the roof” and clapping and cheering about 30 seconds in to his “performance”, even Lambert knew it was all over.

Speaking of screaming, with his usual “flare”, Adam Lambert robotically got through the song so he could get to the parts where he could scream like a hyena caught in a bear trap.  He’s not a singer, he’s a screamer (in more ways than one).  You can tell by watching him.  He was so bored with the regular parts of the song and was literally chomping at the bit to get to the “screamy parts”.  Did you hear that final note?  Or was it notes?  Even he didn’t know where to park that thing.  That last note was like watching grandpa trying to parallel-park a Winnebago.  He’s in the general area, but you have no idea where it’s going to finally land.  And when he lands it, it isn’t at all where it should be.

God, it was awful.  I read somewhere that Adam Lambert is being shoved down our throats by the media.  Well, he is being shoved down someone’s throat;  just ask the male dancer on stage last night.  I wanted Adam  to do well.  I wanted to like him.  I wanted to like his performance.  But I just can’t.  As an openly gay man who has no problem with objectifying  men, I think Adam Lambert is an abomination.  The sad part is, he’s got some raw talent there.  If he could just tap into it, we’d all be better off. 

Meanwhile the winner of American Idol, Kris Allen, was “allowed” to stand on stage for about 6 seconds to introduce somebody, or something, or some award.  I don’t even remember.  Kris Allen WON Idol, and he can sing.  But Kris Allen hasn’t been given the media attention that Lambert has gotten ever since Lambert “Yup, I’m gay” cover story.  Who cares?  Like it was a newsflash anyway.  It would have been WAY more surprising if he said, “Yes, I”m hetero” then I would have run out and bought that magazine, all the while screaming “WHAT?????????????”

One more thing:  Whitney Houston sucked, too.  She may have a new lease on life, but mabye she should have sub-let.

David Letterman: leave him alone.

The media is ready to pounce on David Letterman for using humor to explain to the public how someone tried to extort money from him.

David Letterman owned up to what he did.  This is more than I can say for most people who live public lives.  How many times have public figures denied, denied, denied, and then when the facts come to light and there is undeniable proof of their actions, THEN they admit to it and try to explain it away.

Letterman neither denied to tried to explain it away.  Above all, Letterman is a humorist.  You can NOT fault him for using humor during his explanation.  He didn’t give any excuses for his actions and he tried to be as honest as he could.

But the media is already crucifying him.  The morning talk shows are already saying how reprehensible David Letterman is for making a joke out of the whole thing.  That is NOT what he did.

He never said whether or not these affairs happened since he was married or not.  He did not force himself on these women, it was their choice to have sex with him.  The only thing he is guilty of is bad judgment.  Who among us hasn’t made some bad choices in life.  I can’t count mine on 2 hands and 2 feet.  Can you?

So before anyone points fingers at David Letterman, I suggest you take stock of your own life.  And I mean your whole life, not just the parts you choose to remember; and if you can say you’ve never made a bad choice, then you can have an opinion about David Letterman.  And even if you feel like you can have an opinion.  Keep it to yourself.  This is a matter for David Letterman and his family, not us.

He did his best to tell his side of the story before all of the conjecture.   This story was bound to go public because he had to testify before a Grand Jury so it is a matter of public record.  As a comedian, how else would he tell this story except to apologize to the women who had to admit now that they had sex with him.

 David Letterman is a human being.  And I believe that all humans are very much the same.  If you were being black-mailed for something you did, how would you feel, how would you handle it.  Don’t for one minute think that David Letterman is not embarrassed, humiliated, and hoping that he can just get through all this somehow with his life intact.  That’s exactly what I would be doing.

Mika Brzezinski hits new low on Grayson comments

What is worse than Mika Brzezinski using “Morning Joe” (weekday mornings on MSNBC) as a platform to pretend she’s a journalist?  Having to watch Mika Brzezinski pretend to be a journalist without Joe Scarborough there to put her in her place.  I watch “Morning Joe” for the guests.   It seems as if anyone involved with current events is a guest on that show.  Joe Scarborough pisses me off and co-host Mika Brzezinski annoys the hell out of me.  Yet still I watch.

This morning, Joe was not there again.  He had some surgery on his sinuses which can’t be pleasant, so I do wish him well.  But what his absence has left is a political talk show with only Mika Brzezinski to steer the ship.  Permanent guests Willie Geist and Mike Barnicle help, but Mika Brzezinski running the show? Oh man, what a week.

So today they were talking about Alan Grayson’s apology.  He didn’t apologize in the manner the Republicans wanted, but he did apologize to all the families and other loved ones of people who DIED as a result of not having health insurance.  He apologized for not getting the job done; the job being providing reasonable health insurance to all Americans.

Another semi-permanent guest, Pat Buchanan, weighed in.  Pat said something about how Alan Grayson was getting his 15 minutes of fame, and that he was the hottest thing going right now for the Democrats (see previous article on why that is).  Mika then asked the producer to put up the picture of Grayson again.  It was a picture of Grayson on the floor of Congress with his “charts” that say “Die Quickly”.  Mika actually said, while she was sort of laughing  (this is paraphrased but close enough) “So this is what’s considered HOT in the Democratic Party”.  She was taking
pot-shots at his appearance.  Alan Grayson was dressed nicely enough.  He appeared to be a bit portly and maybe didn’t belong on the cover of G.Q., but her best argument against him is that he’s not pretty enough?

For someone like Mika Brzezinski who talks almost everyday about how the media should have more decency, more integrity, and watch what they say, she comes out with a pot-shot against a politician because he isn’t skinny enough for her standards.

Well, Mika, I’m talking to you directly now and here’s my take.  First, take your own advice and keep the comments to yourself if they have nothing to do with the real story.  That’s what you preach.  Second, we all know that you are a runner and run 8 miles a day, every day.  You act as if a potato chip has never entered your virgin mouth (which bring me to a whole new topic on frigid women but that’s for another day).  Let’s face it, you are of Polish descent.  I don’t believe for one second that you haven’t gone to a family gathering where they are serving kielbasa and pierogies and you aren’t scarfing them down.  And third, I think you doth protest too much.  You are literally running a crusade against people who are overweight.  The reason you run your ass off everyday and preach about good eating habits is because you have such an inferiority complex, text book insecurity issues, and you live with the fear that other people will judge you in the same wat you judge others.

Making a comment about Alan Grayson’s looks, or appearance, is not right, not fair, not professional, and certainly not journalism.  You are not raising the journalism bar, your are doing the limbo right under it, and then claiming that other journalists aren’t up to your standards.  You are a hypocrite.

The world’s most beautiful men

It’s time for a subject change.   No politics, no rants, it’s time for a fluff piece.

Usually, when I get inspired to write, it’s about something that has struck a chord with me, either positively or negatively, from the news, current events, or pop culture. But as a gay man, I admit I have some other more “typical” interests. While I don’t talk about being gay all that much, and while I don’t like the fact that the world, it seems, is one big beauty contest especially in the gay world, I can’t avoid some basic truths.  Beautiful men are interesting.  More interesting than beautiful women.  I would even be willing to bet that overall in the world, male beauty is far more alluring, far more interesting, and far more reactionary than female beauty. Beautiful men get attention from everyone; starting with women due to basic biology.    Most “straight” men won’t admit it, but there is an allure that exists for them in the stunning beauty of the male form.   But there is the envy factor as well which can turn ugly very fast.  And of course, gay men know a beautiful man when they see one…. it’s a gift.

It is difficult to define beauty.  Many definitions exists.  My favorite definition is simply “an excellent or exceptional example of something.  This definition doesn’t talk about attractiveness, and that’s good because much of beauty is not defineable in that way.

So what is beauty?  Psychologists, Anthropologists, and Modeling Agencies might say that beauty can be calculated by bone structure, facial symmetry and other tangibles like that.   And still others will say that true beauty is beyond the facade of ones outer appearance. That last one is bull and you know it.  We are exposed to men via the media: TV, film, and magazines.  We rarely get to see much beyond the external facade.  Looking into a man’s eyes gives you a glimpse into their soul but even that isn’t enough.  Watching a man move, and watching his face when he turns back to notice something; or watching a man when he doesn’t think anyone is looking at him; that’s when you get to see real male beauty.

I believe that beauty is in the eye of the beholder; this is obviously not a new concept.  Some men have a magnetism that goes beyond the air brushed pages of fashion magazines, or the makeup plastered on in the movie and TV industry to cover up flaws.

I’ve been thinking about the kind of men whom I consider to be beautiful.  For me, it is about men you can’t help but notice, stare at, or that make you feel good simply by looking at them.  Personally, I always look bad on film.  Whether a still camera or video, old fashioned film or digital; I look awful.  Not all men are like this.  And I envy them.   Some men have a complexion that simply radiates back to the viewer.   Here a few examples.  I don’t want to run the risk of copyright infringement so I will not actually post pictures; you can look them up on the Interwebcloud if you so choose.  So based purely on my own opinion, these are arguably some of the most beautiful men in the world based on the ideas I just described:

Chris Evans: Pick a movie that he’s been in; he look’s fantastic.  “Cellular”, “The Nanny Diaries”, or “Fantastic Four”, the man looks phenomenal.  And I don’t just mean his body.  His eyes, his smile, all perfection.  The camera simply loves to watch his every move.  Woman love him, men are envious of him. But he’s such a nice guy that nobody is threatened by him.  Tha’s beautiful.
Santiago Cabrera:  He is much less known.  He was in”Love and other Disasters” and very recently played Lancelot in the NBC series “Merlin”.  Again, his physical beauty, gentle manner, and the fact that he is so comfortable in front of the camera make you not want to take your eyes off of him.  I believe he is from Venezuela.   There is something about latin men, let’s face it.  But Cabrera isn’t “typical”.  He’s not that dark, mysterious, overly confident Latin-lover type.   He’s just a great looking man, with magnetism, but softer, more subtle, almost shy.  That’s beautiful

 Logan Marshall-Green – the hyphenated hunk.  And not very well known.  The first time I saw Logan was in a movie called “The Great Raid”; a fantastic movie about the freeing of some WWII soldiers from a Japanese POW camp.  He looked so different in that film from what he looks like now on TNT’s “Dark Blue”.  The one thing that remains constant?  That fantastic face.  His eyes and lips are unmistakable and I could pick them out of a lineup.  He must be an intense method actor as he seems to transform himself for the roles he plays.  That’s beautiful.

Paul Walker:  Again, he’s a man whom some may know, some not.  He’s not exactly a household name.  But if I told you he was the cute guy in the Fast and Furious movies, you would know who I mean (no, not Vin Diezel, the other guy).  Paul Walker was also in “Into the Blue” with Jessica Alba where they both spent most of the movie in their bathing suits.  It was quite a sight.  He is by far the most “All-American” of the men on my short list.   He’s a good actor and I think a very underrated actor. When he smiles, he outshines the sun.  He is beautiful. 

Nicholas Gonzalez:  Another lesser known actor. One of the worst movies ever made was “The Princess and the Bario Boy”.  The move has a typical plot — boy from the wrong side of the tracks meets rich girl; her father hates him, and then the boy is able to redeem himself in some way in the father’s eyes and they all live happily ever after.  Gonzalez has a smile that knocks you out.  Which makes sense considering he was a boxer.  And he played one on the Showtime series “Resurrection Boulevard”.  He seems to play a lot of bit parts these days, but his on camera presence is magnetic.  Keep looking for him, and at him.  You’ll see what I mean.  And he posed nude for photographer Gregg Gorman, so there is proof that he has an incredible mystique, and body.  He’s beautiful.

James Franco:  I hesitated to put him on my list.  I don’t know why.  Maybe because he doesn’t have the same palpable inner beauty that some of the others have.  I think he’s a terrific actor.  He was in “The Great Raid” too, as well as two of my favorite films “Flyboys” and “Tristan & Isolde”.  James Franco has star power for sure, in that when he’s on film, you can’t help but keep your eyes on him.  He is strong, and vulnerable all at the same time.  And when that one piece of hair hangs down in his face… OK, never mind, he definitely should be on this list.  Beautiful.

As you can tell by now, my list doesn’t include George Clooney or Brad Pitt.   You may agree that some of the men on my list are striking.  You may think that some of these men are ugly, who knows.   I believe that actors are more beautiful than a male model because models are simply captured for one moment on then printed on a page.  Male models might be considered more classically beautiful than some of  my men but male models are one dimensional.  It is a man’s ability to move, smile, react, run, jump, and show emotion, that defines their beauty. 

I would be interested to hear who’s on your short list.  

I thought Michael Jackson died 20 years ago – so to speak

For those of us who grew up in the “Off the Wall” and “Thriller” era of the late 70’s and early 80’s, we mourned the loss of Michael Jackson 20 years ago when he became something we didn’t recognize anymore.  The “pop culture” mindset of our lives has not crossed paths with Michael Jackson for a long time.  He hasn’t been in our thoughts or in our CD players for many years.  We mourned the fact that the young black man, who broke down racial barriers through his music and his attitude, had turned into a mere shadow of himself, unrecognizable to us physically and plagued by accusations of pedophilia in horrific detail.

It is sad – sad when anybody dies as there are always friends and families who will be overcome with extreme sadness and disbelief.  And most of us know what that feels like.  But sadder, is an entire generation who wrote Michael off a long time ago.  And now it is difficult to muster up the emotions again.  I can’t say that I miss him or his music.  When I look back at clips of him singing, and I mean really singing, it blows my mind.  When he was 10 years of, Michael Jackson could belt out a ballad or a dance tune with a full voice, and a full vibrato.  He sang from his gut and from his diaphragm.  That all stopped 20 years ago when his music became sounds and grunts and squeals.  I had not heard him actually hold a note, like a real singer does, in years.  His voice was meek.  He sang like a frightened little girl.  So yes, we mourned for Michael Jackson.  We just don’t’ feel the need to do it again now.

No matter how talented  Mr. Jackson was, it is difficult to get past the fact that he was accused of child molesting; and not just once.  I believe there is some truth to this.  I just don”t believe these allegations are accidental or part of some conspiracy.  We’ve all heard the details.   Maybe he never touched a child in the grotesque way that we all know can happen.  But how close to the edge of molestation can you go before it actually IS molestation.  Do we want to cut the slice that narrow?  Do we want to say, “well he never actually penetrated a little boy with his penis or finger (sorry but it needs to be said) so he’s not guilty.   Or maybe “well, they were naked together but he only briefly rubbed up against the 12 year old boy after giving him some Jesus Juice”.   While he was acquitted, I  don’t need a legal dictionary to define a crime; or what is inappropriate.

All of that aside, my personal belief is that Michael Jackson struggled with a lot of things, mentally, emotionally, physically, and financially; all affecting how the world saw him and how he saw himself.  He was at times indignant about the way the public perceived him; as if he had no responsibility in the matter.

So Michael Jackson has now died.  He was preparing for a “come back” tour and nobody knows how that would have all turned out.  Maybe at 50 years old he mellowed a bit and understood how is actions with young children have consequences.

I mean no disrespect by anything in this posting.  This is simply my opinion of the events as I see them.  I do feel badly for his family.  I wish the media would leave them alone.  But I also wish the media would leave US alone.