BlackberryandBeyond.com web site gay bashes staff


Many “BlackBerry-centric” web sites exist on the Internet.  These aren’t sites owned by Research in Motion (RIM – makers of BlackBerry), but rather third parties who run Forums which double as “news” sites.   There is a lot of competition among these sites and when one of them get’s a scoop, the others immediately jump into action, trying NOT to be the very last site to post the scoop.  The goal of these sites is to make money, obviously. The income can be generated from advertising dollars if they get enough traffic or, if they are lucky, from an online store where they might sell BlackBerry Applications, BlackBerry Accessories, etc.

The list of these sites goes on and on:  They include, but are not limited to, BlackberryForums.com, Driphter.com, BlackberryOS.com, EverythingBerry.com, PinStack.com, Berryreview.com, BBGeeks.com, and the grand daddy of them all – Crackberry.com.  And trust me, this is a short list.

BlackBerryandBeyond.com is a new web site created recently and owned by Tom Evans, John Hodges, a guy named “Jeff” who goes by the call sign “Shimmyshine”, and one other individual who goes by the name “wraithwatcher”.  To demonstrate how these sites rise up, seemingly overnight  – the “owners” of BlackberryandBeyond.com used to be contributors to BlackberryOS.com.  There were personality clashes and accusations of poor management, so the 4 horsemen decided to go off on their own.   The site’s official opening isn’t until late February/early March, but they are well under way now.

A few months back, BlackberryOS.com was looking for contributors.  I showed interest in writing for a Blackberry web site because I had spent so much time on My.BlackBerry.Com (a user forum site run by RIM), and had worked with users to solve technical problems as a fellow BlackBerry user.  My experience comes from running a BlackBerry Enterprise as part of my job.  I noticed that many visitors who submitted questions to My.BlackBerry.Com were asking the same questions over and over and over again.  So I wanted a change of pace.  I’m a decent writer had developed some standard wording in plain language to answer common BlackBerry questions.   When I approached Tom Evans, he was familiar with my work at My.BlackBerry.Com.   In two months I posted almost two thousand responses to forum visitors who requested help with a Blackberry Issue or Problem.  Mr. Evans told me he knew of my work and wanted me to write for BlackberryOS.com.  The problem at the time was that they wanted me to commit to posting one article every day on their site.  I did not feel I could meet their expectations and did not want to promise something I could not live up to.  So in the end, I did not take the “position”.

I use the term “position” loosely.  These sites don’t actually pay people like me to write.  You have to be an owner, and insider, or work you way up.   I wasn’t getting paid to write, although I would have been called a “staff” writer of some sort.

I heard through the grapevine that several people from BlackberryOS.com had left to start their own site – BlackberryandBeyond.com.  I approached Mr. Evans again and asked if there was a place for me in his organization either in Moderating or Writing.  I actually wanted to do both.  I like working with the end-users, but also enjoyed writing; focusing on “How-To” type articles.   Mr. Evans and I had one discussion about where I might fit in.  I was clear that I wanted to play both roles; a moderator and a writer.  Mr. Evans was eager to get me on board.  I had the chops, and the talent, and he knew I would be a good “get”.  He suggested I start as a writer.  I thought that was acceptable.  I had no experience or knowledge in contributing to a web site before.  I immediately began contributing articles to BlackBerryandBeyond.com.  I didn’t sign anything or agree to anything specific number of articles – I just wrote when I could.

When I became a “member” of the group, I was added to their BlackBerry Messenger group.  For those that don’t use BBM or the group function, it’s like Instant Messaging but in group format.  There were about 12 individuals in the B and B group.  Anyone who posted a message into the BBM group had it read by all other members of the group.  It’s an effective way to communicate with everyone at once, especially when big news is breaking, like a new Operating System release, or our web site is down – stuff like that.  Again, the primary players of BlackberryandBeyond.com spend a great deal of time monitoring all of the other BlackBerry forum sites to see what they are posting, so they also spend time trying to get the “staff” to write similar articles so we don’t look like we’re not on top of things.  To me, it’s a strange way to run a “business” – no direct news sources of your own – always playing catch up with what others are posting. 

On Friday, February 4, 2011, RIM announced a new BlackBerry trade-up program.  It was announced by RIM and every single BlackBerry Forum site wrote the same basic article.  I was asked to get something up a quickly as possible.  We didn’t want to be the last ones with the same news as everybody else.  God forbid. 

On Sunday morning, February 6, 2011, I was at home.  I could hear my BlackBerry “pinging” away.  I have a tone set to make a sound when people are posting to the BlackBerry Messenger Group for BlackBerry and Beyond.   What I saw was a bit disturbing to me.  I had become accustomed to this group of “guys” making crude sexual comments and grammar school “jokes” about sex, and women.  It was so unprofessional to me, but I tried to let it just roll of my back.  But on the Sunday morning in question I had enough when I saw them making “gay” jokes.  I didn’t want to be “that guy” who causes problem when they don’t exist.  But I couldn’t stand by any longer and keep my mouth shut.  Here is the conversation I watched go by.  The initials indicate the person “speaking”:

FM – “Steelers. +1”

R – “Packers here….by 14”

JSS – “I can’t vote for gaybay. Lol”

R – Lmao

FM –  Steelers. 24-21 I think. I can’t root for the packers. Ever. I’m a bears fan. Hey shimmy, you a lions fan by any chance?

JSS –  Nah, I’m a tampa bay shittyeers fan..

JSS –  They both suck sadly.

FM –  Lol. Bucs had a chance this year…

FM –  Hodges is probably still sleeping. But since he is gay he’ll probably root for the packers

I saw where this was going, or had already gone.  After watching them talk about wives and girlfriends and “cialis” earlier, I was not about to let this conversation go where it could easily go.  In 2011, the “innocent” gay slur or misogynistic comment just isn’t cool, it isn’t acceptable, and it isn’t appropriate for a “business” conversation.  After all, BlackberryandBeyond.com is a business.  They may act like it’s a junior high locker room, but it’s a business.

So I spoke up – and this is what I said:

“I really didn’t think I would have to say this in 2011, but I don’t appreciate the gay slurs. If you want to act like 12-year-olds in private messages, that your prerogative.. But in a group chat?  You should be ashamed of yourselves. I am gay. If that’s a problem for anyone, then you let me know right now, and we’ll take it from there.  This is not an LOL or LMAO or any of the other terms this group overuses. This is for real.”

The reason I said the part about LOL and LMAO is because in the 14 days or so that I was a member of this group, I watched as comment after comment after comment is posted the BBM group about all kinds of things, and everyone ends or begins their comment with LOL, ROFL, LMAO, as if EVERYTHING is so damned funny that their all rolling on the floor in stitches.  It’s childish and nothing more than verbal filler because these people have nothing important to say to each other.  I should have seen the writing on the wall then.

After my comment I got a few responses.  The first was this:

R –  ….no one meant any offense at all. Everyone in this group except a few, yourself included, have been friends for quite some time. As such we tend to lose sight to the new people in the group.  I’m sure it won’t happen again.

That was the right answer.  Just acknowledge that things got out of hand, that  no offense were meant, and let’s move on.  I had absolutely no problem with that at all. 

But then, THIS, from one of the “owners” – verbatim:

H –  I was driving when this msg came in (name redacted) I’m glad u commented  to play off what you said.  Yes (name redacted)  you are correct this is 2011 and as fucked up as the world is its unfortunate that there are still people in this world that feed of society.. However on the other side of the  coin I myself am not a homosexual but I am half black half puertorican and I have been called every racial name under the sun.. At times it  was meant towards me and at times it was in a joking manner.. You have to know when to be able to decipher the two.. Its obvious these guys weren’t talking negativatly towards you or anyone in the gay community.. As rick said we are all friends my friends call me a nigger all the time but its funny and in a joking manner just sayin”

This above is a comment from John Hodges – Owner of BlackberryandBeyond.com.  Instead of acting like an “owner” and responding with “hey no offense – and guys, he’s got a point, let’s keep our conversations a bit more elevated”, John Hodges basically said – “I’m called a nigger and it doesn’t bother me – so don’t be so sensitive”.

Is that any way for the Owner of a company to respond??  Not to mention that Tom Evans, another Owners, who is NEVER not listening to what’s going on in the group conversation, was in complete radio silence.  Nor did any of the other “Owners” weigh in on the subject. 

We had one female member of our group when I joined.  She resigned unexpectedly and nobody would tell me why except that it was personal.  I can only glean that if she reacted to the misogynistic “talk” the way I reacted to the gay slurs, she had way more reason to be pissed off than I had.  What they said about gays, in comparison to what they’ve said about women, is tame.  And I admit, I don’t think anyone was intentionally trying to gay bash, I just decided to speak up before anyone took it any further.

For the Owner of an organization to defend the actions of the group by saying he’s OK with being called a “nigger” once in a while, is repulsive.  And for the other owners to not say a word about what happened is indefensible.

I deleted all of the articles I wrote for BlackberryandBeyond.com.  They are my intellectual property and I didn’t sign any agreement with them.

I am now looking for somewhere else where I can write – with and for adults.

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Tyler Clementi – a personal memorial


I’ve had Tyler on my mind for the past week.  I can’t seem to shake it.  I call him “Tyler” not because I know him.  I should refer to him as Mr. Clementi out of respect.  But I think if I knew Tyler, we would have been friends.

I’m older now,  amost 30 years older than Tyler, but I have not been able to shake the flashbacks of what it was like to be 18 years old, gay, and terrified.  By the time I was 18, I had known I was gay for several years, for as much as I understood what that meant.  But I knew for damned sure since I was at least 15.  And I lived in terror of people finding out.

Anyone looking back on MY life would consider me lucky.  Sure I was called faggot by every cruel and not-so-cruel person I came into contact with.  I was also overweight, scared out of my mind on a daily basis, and didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin.  By 18, I had gone on a crash diet.  I was 6 feet tall, had a 31 inch waist and weighed about 170 pounds.  It was the night I graduated high school that I had my first sexual encounter with a guy I had a crush on for a while.  I didn’t know then, and don’t know now, why it happened, why this guy liked me, or why he was interested in a sexual relationship with me.  But it happened.  And I was in heaven.  Somebody out there cared about me.  Somebody that I cared about, maybe even loved, held me in his arms and awakened things in me that had been pent up for so long.  Somebody wrapped his arms around me and let me fall asleep against his chest.  I woke that same way.  I did not know that happiness like that existed.  I had never experienced happiness before that time that I can remember.  But finally I knew what they meant by “happy”.

So I can not imagine (and I am welling up as I type this) what would have happened, or how it would have affected my life, if two hateful losers broadcasted my secret to the whole world.  I haven’t seen, nor do I want to, the video in question.   But even if it was as simple as a beautiful first kiss, a kiss that lingered for a long time, for the first time, then the possibility that the world was laughing at me for what I was finally feeling would have crushed me.

I don’t know the history of Tyler Clementi.  I don’t know if the experience at his college was the first or second or tenth.  It doesn’t matter.  Nobody deserves what Dharun Ravi and  Molly Wei did.  Betrayed by his own roommate just a few weeks into the school year.  How do you face that without the right support system.

In a perfect world, what would be broadcast instead to the world is the trial and conviction of Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei.  What punishment is fair for invading another human being’s most intimate expressions and behaviors without his consent.   This was not an innocent prank.  Ravi and Wei knew exactly what they were doing.  Their intention was to totally and completely humiliate Tyler Clementi to a point beyond repair.  What other reason could there possibly be for what they did.   The perpetrators and their defenders may come up with all kinds of reasons or explanations.  But no matter what, there is NO excuse.  Again, this was not a prank.  It was an intentional, malicious, hateful attack.

Maybe too much time has passed and my wounds have healed.  But I think  I was lucky to find the support of some very good friends who accepted me completely for who I was.  And eventually, my family came around to the point where I would bring my boyfriend (the few times when I had one) to a social event.  Today, it’s just not an issue.  Partly because the world has changed a lot since I came out (or so I thought), and partly because I am so accepting of my own sexuality.  I don’t have an issue with it so why should you.  I don’t hate myself so why should you.  I don’t force my sexuality down anyone’s throat, but I won’t deny it nor will I miss an opportunity to correct someone who doesn’t know I’m gay.   If someone refers to my wife or girlfriend, I simply say “I’m gay”.  I don’t believe that sexuality should be flaunted by anyone, gay or straight.  I don’t want to watch a straight couple grope each other on a park bench.

I wish so much that Tyler was my friend.  I know, I just know, that if we were friends, I could have helped him get through this.  I would bring him to places to be around people who just don’t give a shit if you are gay.  And I’m not talking about bringing him to gay bars.  I’m talking about normal heterosexuals or homosexuals (although most people I know are straight) who treat you like a person, not a “type” of person.

This is probably from watching too many movies or TV, but I keep picturing me, there, on the bridge (and I’m going to cry again) holding out my hand to Tyler.  And just simply, and quietly, I take his hand and ease him down to the ground.  Then I give him a hug and tell him it’s going to be OK.  “We’ll face it together”.

So many young men have killed themselves just his month – all because of the idea that their families and the world won’t accept them for being gay.  I am amazed that in 2010, the attitudes of some are so far behind the rest of the world.  How can it be that we live in a world that has gay marriages, civil unions, domestic partners, gay adoptive parents, openly gay politicians and clergy;  ideas that were unthinkable just 20 years ago.  Yet that same world has so much hate for the exact same ideas.  I can only conclude that it is our fault.  It is the fault of those that are more progressive thinkers.  We haven’t spoken out enough, we’ve tolerated this hate too much, and there are not enough of us watching the bridges for the ones that need a hand to get down.  The time has come.  Keep your eyes, and ears, and especially your mind and heart, open.  Only we can change it by de-stigmatizing it and making sure that all people, not just gay people, are accepted and loved.

As for Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei; the same god that they might quote to condemn homosexuality (they must, why else would they have done what they did) is the same god who said “an eye for an eye”.  So do we make them stand on the edge of that same bridge and force them to do the same?   I doubt Tyler would have wanted that.  I might be mad enough to do it, but he wouldn’t be.  You can tell, just from the few pictures you might see of him.

So in the end, do we really need to be reminded, one more time, to love and respect each other while you have the chance.  Because you never know what tomorrow will bring.  What might be “harmless hate” to some, will be the end of the road for others.  Do you really want that on your conscience.

To my friend Tyler:  Hi Tyler, you don’t know me.  My name is Ron.  And I want to let you know that I’m thinking about you.  You are in my thoughts and you probably always will be.  Just know that while you may not have known it, there are so many people who love and respect you.  And they don’t care if you’re gay.   Maybe somebody, even just one person, will learn from what happened to you and decide to make different choices.  I will keep a candle burning for you.  I’ts my way of leaving the light on.

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.

Lyndsey Graham should be careful about denouncing Glenn Beck


The liberal media, with whom I usually agree, missed the point.   South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham appeared before a group of Washington media and was asked what he thought of Glenn Beck, the Fox News crybaby.  Graham referred to Beck as a cynic, crazy, and not part of the Republican Party.

The liberal media gave Graham props for being the first Republican to formally denounce Beck and his hate-filled speeches about President Obama being a racist and hating white America.  No less that 64 advertisers have pulled out of Beck’s show because of his comments.  But I digress.

Senator Graham needs to be careful.  Because Glenn Beck is crazy enough to “out” Lindsey Graham as a big homo.  Graham already looks like a dike in drag, which seems kind of the reverse of what it should be, but nonetheless, it’s true.  I have thought, and many others have thought, that Lindsey Graham is a closeted homosexual since the first time I ever saw him.  I don’t care if he is one way or another.  What I care about is hypocrisy.

Lindsey Graham has been part of the Republican “family values” movement for years.  The movement’s platform includes anti-gay-marriage, anti-abortion, anti-universal health care, etc., etc.  He’s against gay marriage, gay adoption, and gay rights, all in an effort to make sure “people out there” know how much he is against homosexuality.  Me thinks he doth protest too much.

An open letter to Kris Allen


Dear Kris:

I know.  Who cares what I think.  But I wanted to congratulate you on winning American Idol.  The look on your face when you won was priceless.  And how great it must be to have a friend like Adam Lambert close by who was obviously and genuinely happy for you.

I first noticed you when I checked in on American Idol right before the time of the final 13.  I picked you as the winner back then.  I don’t know exactly what it was.  For the first time this year, I actually went to iTunes and downloaded American Idol music and it was yours that I downloaded.  I actually have “Falling Slowly” and “To make you feel by love” on a CD in my car right now and play it quite often.  I must admit, as a gay man, I thought you were adorable.  Your kind and gentle soul was evident even through your shyness.  I often thought you were the kind of guy I could take home to my family and they would love you too.  So I have to be honest and say that I totally have a crush on you.  But why wouldn’t I.  Or anyone else for that matter.

That’s part of the package, you know.  Both women and gay men will think you are adorable and be vocal about it.  Speaking for myself, I would never cross the line and maul you if I saw you in person.  But you sort of have to get used to that kind of attention whether or not it is welcomed.  Gay men are fans too.

You have been blessed with beauty and grace.  You have been blessed with talent.  And most of all you have been blessed with a warm and loving family.  I envy the bear hug you got from your father on your visit home.  That is something that I never had from either parent, even though I grew up having both parents. My father died when I was 19 years old, before I was officially “out”.  As a result I have so many unanswered questions about whether or not my father actually loved me.  You don’t have to walk through life with those doubts so I hope you feel lucky and blessed.

Maybe you’re not shy; maybe you’re just humble.  Humility is an honorable trait to have.  You are inspiring to many in the way you pushed through that “thing” whether it be shyness or humility, to become an artist comfortable on stage in his own skin.  Again, that’s another thing about which I envy you.  I can barely walk into a crowded room, even if it’s just family, without suffering from severe self-confidence issues.

Back to the music.  As emotional a person as I am, it takes a lot for a song or piece of music to get to me.  In the words of “To make  you feel my love” you sang “I could offer you a warm embrace, to make you feel my love”.  That song, and the story it tells about giving of yourself and your unconditional love to another human being, in the way you sang it with just honesty, brought me to tears.  It still does when I listen to it.  And when I do listen to it I picture you singing it.  To me, that is the difference between you and Adam Lambert and the reason why you won American Idol.  It’s not that Adam is not a good looking guy.  But let’s face it, the world of music is based upon love songs.  It’s your gentle manner, your honest belief that love is so important, that raises the bar on the music you choose to interpret.

I’m going to tell you the same thing I told Adam in the open letter I wrote to him.  If you can, meaning if the almighty American Idol machine will let you, now is the time to think about what you want to do musically.  If you are going to experiment and collaborate, do it now while the iron is hot.  I think too many American Idol winners get pegged early on as “this” or “that”.  Prove them wrong.  Spread your wings a bit.  Do a duet with Josh Groban or Celine Dion.  That superstar pop-star thing may be out of your comfort zone.  But if you try stuff like that, we’ll be behind you.  You can’t sing “No Boundaries” for the next year and expect to have a career at the end.  In my opinion, you shouldn’t sing that song at all, but you are contractually obligated.  I only hope you can convince someone to let you do it your way.

I read on line, just today, the flurry of opinions regarding who won and why.  Some tried to bring everything but the kitchen sink into the conversation.  Religion, politics, homophobia, Red States versus Blue States, the Christian vote.  Believe me, none of that matters.   I think you know that.  You can tell a lot about what is going on in American culture by observing the gay community.  I read many stories and comment on blogs from gay men who voted for you.  They did not vote AGAINST Adam.  They voted FOR you.  One might think just the opposite would have happened.  I don’t know for sure if Adam is gay, but he’s certainly “gay enough” to have attracted the gay vote.  But gay men are usually well educated.  For me, it was your introspective manner and your desire to tell us who you are through your music that was so honest.  And that, my friend, is something that the gay community responds to very much.  Honesty.  It doesn’t matter if we agree about politics, religion, art, nature, sex, love, God, or anything else.  Real gay men respect those that are true to themselves.

I wish you all the best and look forward to seeing what directions you take, musically speaking.  I’ll always have a little crush on you.  And I will always get just a little emotional when I hear you sing “I could offer you a warm embrase to make you feel my love”.

An open letter to Adam Lambert


Dear Adam:

As the runner up in this years American Idol, you should first and foremost be congratulated.  Either you or Kris could have easily taken home the platinum microphone trophy this year and nobody knew how it would turn out.  You are a consummate performer, bold and self-confident, and from what I have read, you are correct: it doesn’t matter if you are first or second in this thing, your will both go far and do great things musically.

I have all the markings of an Adam Lambert supporter.  I’m gay, not religious and liberal.  I have very “in your face” attitudes and opinions that exist merely to get people to think about thing’s, or rather think about life and people, differently.  I want everyone to get the benefit of the doubt and I want everyone to be so much less judgmental than they naturally are.  I should have, by all counts, voted for you and backed you up.

When it came down to the final four this season, I cast a vote for the second time since the show’s inception  Last year for the finale I voted for David Cook.  From the moment he sang his rendition of “Billy Jean” I knew he was brilliant.  For this year’s final four I voted for you and Kris Allen.  At that point in the competition I knew that you and Kris should be in the finals, that was my opinion.  The week of the final three, I only voted for Kris because the “vibe” of the show seemed to already have decided that Danny and you should be the finalists.  I didn’t agree.  The other thing I did for the first time this year was download American Idol songs from iTunes.  I downloaded your rendition of “If I Can’t Have You” and then several songs by Kris.  I don’t know if it’s just me but gay men typically don’t care too much for Zeppelin, KISS, or even Queen for that matter.  So that genre is lost on me.  While I enjoy listening to your voice, which is beautiful and has that “ringing” you hear when a note is sung just perfectly, I don’t enjoy the screaming so much. 

I read some comments you said after last night’s finale.  I hope you were quoted correctly so that I can respond to them correctly.  From what I read, you want to move on, obviously, collaborate, and push the boundaries a bit; get people to open their minds a bit.  I don’t know what that means to you.  There aren’t too many places in music that haven’t been tested.  So it leads me to believe that you may venture into some “gender-bending, in-your-face, I am what I am and what about it” kind of music.  Again it is difficult to understand exactly what you mean.

My suggestion is to be as creative as possible and don’t try and push anything in anybody’s face.  Nobody likes to be “convinced” that they should like something.  Nor do they enjoy being told to think or re-think a certain way.

You seem like a very intelligent, out-going, thoughtful, and confident man.  You were gracious as a performer and gracious as a runner up. I am sure that Kris appreciated that just as much as America did.  What I wish for both you and Kris Allen (because it really doesn’t matter which order you landed in the competition) is that you grow and learn musically so that you both become an American Icon rather than and Idol.

I voted for Kris Allen as the winner mostly because of the way he shyly wears his heart on his sleeve.  It was almost unfair to make us choose from two artists who are so completely different.  It’s the apples and oranges all over again.  I’ve seen and read lots about the Idol finale.  People have tried to bring religion, and politics, and homophobia, and the church, and Christian-phobia into this national debate over who won and who should have won.  I don’t believe any of it.  This is about something that is so personal to each and every one of us; the music we like.  Discussing music is like discussing art, or politics, or religion, or sex.  It is almost too personal to make comparisons and judgments.  But American Idol forces us to make that choice.  Kris Allen has a certain sweetness that’s not sticky, big wide eyes when he sings but those eyes are looking into his own soul.  He is one of those old souls in a young body.  He has a way of interpreting a song that some call boring but I call unique.  He sings about love in ways only men twice his age could do.

For the next little while, they way I understand it, both you and Kris are under the thumb of American Idol, but because you are not THE American Idol, you probably have more room to breath and be creative.  Please don’t try and speak for the gay community, or the liberal community in your music.  As a gay man I feel that I don’t need another gay voice.  I don’t want to be singled out, I want to be integrated.  So musically, I hope you truly speak for yourself, from your heart, through your music.  I want you to be relevant, not reviled.

Only a confident and generous man could give Kris Allen the support and friendship that you did regardless of who was going to win.   You are both gentle men. But I think your burden is greater going forward.  Kris Allen is liked by many, and to some for rather strange reasons.  He is more shy than you and right now the public will expect him to be predictable and safe, musically speaking.  That’s his burden.  Yours is the opposite.  You will be expected to be avante garde and edgy. 

I have no credentials to give you advice but I wanted to let you know that you found your voice (both literally and figuratively); now you need to find your puspose.  What message will you send through your music.  Stay away from duets.  Your voice is too powerful for that.  So you would end up sounding too overpowering.  Even if you found someone with an equally strong voice; that coupling would end up sounding like a screaming match.  And all the while, start thinking about what you are projecting to the world.  You can get away with eye-liner and finger nail polish now, but what will you evolve into as you grow.  It’s time to start that evolution.  Strike while the iron is hot.  You have some incredible gifts.  The world is much more likely to grow with you if you start now.

I wish you all the best and will be rooting for you.

I wish you all the bet and look forward to what you have to offer.

Maine gets Gay Marriage just right


When I listened to Governor John Baldacci of Maine give his speech following his signing of the of the Gay Marriage Bill  just a few short hours after receiving the bill, all I could think of was “He got it right”.

I watched and listened to what he said, not as a gay man,  but as a citizen of Maine, and the United States.  Even though I am gay I have not always agreed with the arguments FOR or AGAINST gay marriage. 

It wasn’t until I heard the Governor explain that the new law is about affording equal rights to all Maine citizens as outlined in Maine’s Constitution that it all made sense to me.  The Constitution’s first Article states “All people are born equally free and independent, and have certain natural, inherent and unalienable rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and of pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness.”

Baldacci used this first and most important Article to first understand for himself that allowing Gay Marriage in Maine is not about granting the same rights to gay people that are affording to heterosexual people.  He said we are all equal and all deserve the same rights and when he looked at the issue from that perspective, he could not come up with any reasons not to allow Gay Marriage.

 He went on further to say that that no religion will be required to conduct same-sex marriages, or even recognize same-sex marriages within the realm of their own belief system because Maine has strict policies about the division of church and State.  And Maine whole-heartedly abides by the Church/State tenet.

These are ideas that I had never heard anyone express in this specific manner before; the idea that the State will allow gay civil marriages but it won’t force any church to recognize them.  So if, for example, the Catholic Church doesn’t want to recognize gay marriage because it goes against their belief system, they don’t have to.  But the Catholic Church can’t tell a gay couple what civil rights they can or cannot have.  The same applies to any other religion.  On the flip side, a gay couple cannot force a religious organization to perform or recognize their marriage and cannot claim discrimination if that church will not recognize their marriage or perform their marriage ceremony.  Under these circumstances, anybody against same-sex marriage CAN hide behind their religion, and take comfort there.  But they can not deny rights to others.

I believe that this is as close as anybody is going to get to writing a law that makes sense when defining gay marriage.  It covers all the bases.  Nobody is forcing anyone to “believe” in anything and those who call themselves “believers” can’t squelch equality and civil rights by hiding behind their religion.  So, like the U.S. Constitution has done so many times, it was Maine’s constitution that acted as the final document to guide us through this divisive issue. 

Governor Baldacci was never comfortable with the gay marriage issue.  But, he found it in himself to understand that legislators, or politicians if you wish, need to take a stand and can not continually defer to public opinion.  All of the far lefties, and far righties have had more than enough time to express their viewpoints on this issue, and they have.  Neither is a shy group. 

The Governor said that he realizes this will not be the last word on the issue.  In my opinion, it should be, but it won’t be.  Instead of worrying about real problems, the whack jobs are going to come crawling out of the woodwork.  

The Maine Legislature and the Governor have laid down the gauntlet.  There are no “reasonable” arguments against this law as it was written.  First, anybody who protests this law must first say to themselves, and then the public, “I intend to take away the civil rights of others”.   Secondly, anybody who intends to use the Bible or their religion as an argument can stop right there.  The law clearly states that you don’t have to religiously recognize gay marriage or perform gay marriage if you don’t want to.  So what’s left?

Well, there’s the “I simply think it is wrong” argument.   Hmmm?  Are they also against heterosexual couples who get married and never intend to have children, or those who get married for convenience, or those who get married to obtain property, money, or social status (you know, the reason marriage was invented in the first place).  What one “thinks” or “believes” is wrong is immaterial.  Because under the Constitution of the State of Maine, all citizens have equal rights and included in that is their right to marry whom they choose as long as it is not breaking any other laws (like the minimum age for marriage or harm to animals). 

There is only one argument against Maine’s Gay Marriage law and it’s a faux-argument called “hate, fear, and ignorance” none of which are viable arguments against ANY law.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean some people in Maine won’t mind standing up and saying “I hate, I fear, and I am ignorant” to try and get their way.

The February Update


Wow, I can’t believe I haven’t written a post for this blog since Inauguration Day.  Three things have kept me away.  First, there has been a lot going on in Politics but in my opinion there hasn’t been anything earth-shattering that hasn’t been covered by everybody else blogging and in the general media.  I haven’t seen any blatant mistakes or misrepresentations by others than haven’t gone unchecked, or caught, by others.

Second, I have been very busy with my other blog about Digital TV, High Definition TV, and the converstion of Analog to Digital.  It’s been very busy over there at http://mainehdtv.blogspot.com

Lastly, my Carpal Tunnel problem has quickly gotten worse.  It’s sort of ironic that after spending almost 2 years writing and teaching about Digital TV and the Conversion, that my C.T. surgery is randomly scheduled for February 17, 2009, the day of the conversion.  So if things go horribly wrong, I won’t be able to type for a few days.  In thinking about his more broadly, it’s probably best.

Oh, did you think that President Obama’s achievement of extending the conversion to digital to June 12, 2009, will actually have any impact.  Well, it won’t, because it is non-binding.  TV Stations can still turn off their analog signal on February 17, many have already shut off their analog signal, and there are only the few stations left who are so far behind the digital curve that they are using this extension as a smoke screen to cover up for their technical inadequacies.  Anyway, you can visit the other blog to learn about that if you wish.

I feel I should comment on the Stimulus Act that will be signed by President Obama (I do love typing that) early next week.  However, I can’t even pretend to understand it.  I’m not an economist. Hell, I don’t even balance my checkbook.  I know how, barely.  I just don’t.  I hate dealing with money.  So all I can say is that I hope somebody out there in Stimulus-land is way, way, smarter than me.  I trust Barack to try to do the right thing.  It seems as if nobody knows whether or not it will work.  Although, the Republicans seem pretty positive it won’t.  They don’t know what WILL work, but the know what WON’T work????  How does that work?

I had the misfortune of watching that big, screaming, Republican queen, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), swish and lisp his pretty homosexual mouth through the motions of pretending to know what the hell he was talking about.  All the while I kept wondering from whose talking points memo he was reading verbatim.    And I was thinking how scared he looks all the time that someone might out him.  Yup, that was my Sunday morning.

I’m in a foul mood today because when I had no insurance, I got some discount prescripton card off the internet.  Now, with my prescription coverage, I had to spend $178 for three prescriptions because I haven’t satisfied my deductible.  So my plan for the weekend were cancelled because I had no money to spare.  I needed every single one of those dollars to eat, drive my car,  and pay some utility bills.  I had planned to go to an inexpensive dinner with friends yesterday.  So I had to cancel.  I don’t know if the new Stimulus Plan will help me specifically.  I doubt it.  But I sure could use some stimulating.  In more ways than one.  Maybe Lindsey has some advice??

Sorry, no big news, no big opinions.  I got nothin.

California Proposition 8 – the “anti-love” law


Whenever somebody sits down to write a law, or propose an amendment, or legislate anything at all,  the first thing he or she should do is put away the Bible, the Koran, the Torah, “Dianetics” by L. Ron Hubbard, or any other book that skews basic human rights based on somebody elses interpretation.  The reason is that in this country, America, we have what is called a separation of church and state as outlined in the U.S. Constitution.  And religious arguments against same-sex marriages just don’t hold any ground if you consider conflicting scriptural passages like “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.  But nobody can explain it with the passion and fervor that Keith Olbermann did on last night’s “Countdown” through a Special Comment.

Known for his “Special Comments”, Olbermann put into words the things many of us think about but can’t seem to verbalize or put into cohesive buckets.  Olbermann, last night, was at his best explaining why nobody should be denied the legal right to love another person and cement that love through marriage.  I watched the video below live, as it happened, and could not hold back the tears.  This from a man who is not gay, comes from the sports broadcasting world, and said he struggled to find someone in his own extended family who was gay for whom he could speak.  He could not find one but that did not temper his firey and poignant diatribe that, in my opinion, everyone should hear before they pass judgement on gay marriage or any other kind of discrimination.

So Clay is gay, huh?


Clay Aiken is on the cover of People Magazine saying “Yes, I’m gay”.

He claims that he decided to come out because now that he has a child he realizes that he doesn’t want to teach his child that being gay is something to hide or be ashamed of.

BULLSHIT!

Can a newborn baby even understand what the hell he is talking about?  Is it really important that he take his stance right now?  Um, I don’t think so.

I can only imagine that he was going to be outed by somebody else and so he outed himself.  Not that I agree with third parties “outing” celebrities or any other famous people, but if he was outed, he should be honest about THAT instead.  Stand up and point the finger at the people who are outing you.  They are the ones who should be ashamed of themselves.  We all knew that Clay Aiken was gay; does it really matter or come as a big surprise to anybody?  Come on people.  Clay’s “best friend” Jaymes Foster (I’ve never heard of a girl named James no matter how you want to spell it) was artificially inseminated.

So what was your first clue. 

As I gay man, I am sick and tired of the whole “gay” thing.  I don’t care.  Clay Aiken coming out has absolutely no affect on my life whatsoever.  I don’t understand how this is new, how this is news, or why anybody gives a shit.  The economy is falling apart and I lost my job.  I’ve got bigger thing to think about and frankly the visual of that freak having sex with a man is repulsive.  So I don’t even want to think about Clay being gay.  He’s the Michael Jackson of American Idol; he’s just weird.

I personally think the issue here is that Clay needed some media exposure and since he’s really used up everything else and somebody was going to out him, he said “Yup, I”m gay”.  If you say it over and over again in your head with that stupid Clay Aiken accent that he has, it becomes ridiculous.