Ripples of hope

-Bobby Kennedy

I’m making it my goal to send out one tiny ripple of hope today. May my goal be the same tomorrow.

Advertisements

National Coming Out Day October 11, 2017

Today is National Coming Out Day. Given that due to the threats on the first amendment to the US Constitution by a certain current administration I understand and felt the need to post Eminem’s political statement, I must balance him with a proper Dianna Ross classic as well.

Eminem has a sordid history with the gay community of which I belong. His tainted past of somewhat homophobic lyrics has been offensive at times, to say yes very least. I am in no way defending those lyrics. His intensely strong message posted here today defends all of us in our right to free speech. Without Amendment 1, National Coming Out Day might very well be silenced.

What am I saying?

I am saying at times we must stand with those whom we have had differences and focus on our commonalities to strive towards a greater good. In the process we may also change minds, create better understanding and grow stronger bonds.

Happy Coming Out Day! Let us celebrate our individuality while finding our similarities and standing together for our common good.

Saturday reflection

Emotions, feelings, anger, dismay and confusion swirl. What a week.

Monday morning. Dammit, not again.

Tuesday. What the fuck?

Wednesday. Talk about it now. Not later, now.

Thursday. Fatigue sets in.

Friday afternoon. Fuck you. No, seriously Fuck You!

You see in light of all the serious matters needing the attention of our government this week, the  elf in charge of the department of justice issued a sweeping federal directive stating that it is perfectly ok for anyone to discriminate against me if they claim a deeply held religious belief. Oh, and let us not miss that fact that Thursday availability of contraception took a hit. A big hit.

The women and the fags both got hit in wake of Puerto Rico and Las Vegas.

Ok, it’s true that most of my life I’ve already been subject to discrimination. I’m kind of used to it. I’m a fag and have been for more than 50 years. I’ve been taunted, teased, bullied and beaten as long as I can remember for being different. A sissy, fag, queer, gay, unfit, pervert, girly boy, dirty, disgusting, nellie, queen, cock sucker, fairy, fruit, pansy, faggot, homosexual, sodomite, poofter, light in the loafers, homo. A real non-entity. Hell I’m even a loud proud real non-entity.

So a directive, directed square at me. I’m not surprised. Weasels (read cowards) always wait until everyone is distracted to do their dirty work.

Women need access to contraception. Faggots deserve equality. Seems as if neither of us have either. Women are as equal to white straight men as us queers are, and that means they ain’t.

This queen stands with Latinos, emigrants, blacks, Jews, women, Muslims, queers, disabled, transsexuals, Asians, Africans, native Americans, middle eastern, atheist, pastafarians, documented, un-documented, dreamers, poor, forgotten, addicted, needy, sick, unemployed. I stand with our planet, our environment.

The question is do all y’all stand with me?

Directives that discriminate against me? Seen them, lived them and will stand up to and against them. I’ve already been around this block numerous times.

Discrimination in the name of a religion destroys a society. We had made good progress. We can make more. Don’t become complacent nor complicit. Say something. Stand for your morals and your ethics. Stand for your truth.

The Stonewall Inn circa 1969, the calm before the storm.

Living

However blissful the daydream we entertain, we must wake from it sometimes and struggle with the hard conditions of real living.”  …Dorothea Brande

Dreaming is good and daydreaming an escape. However reality is, that life is real. I need the dream to help me see outside of my reality. My dreams help me set goals. I can’t live nor make a life by sitting in a dreamland state. I must work, experience, grow, strive, move, produce, contact, connect, learn and if I fall I must get back up.

No one can live for me. I can only live my life.

Life is fun, but life is work.

Today I contemplate the joy of life that is known as work, struggle, reality and accomplishment.

Home

A young single parent trapped with no money and no job grabs their child and leaves their home for another place. A place where they know no one. A place where they don’t know the language, culture or customs. However it’s a place with hope. Hope that they may work and raise their child with a brighter future.

That child is raised lovingly with a parent who struggles and works hard contributing in this foreign land. This foreign land is only foreign to their parent for this land is all the child knows. For the child this land is home.

A home where the child knows the language, customs and culture. A home where this child has been educated, played sports, made friends and is part of the community fabric. Both the parent and the child have shared, worked and contributed toward betterment in the community in which they landed. The child knows nothing else.

Today that child is a college educated responsible young adult. They not only hold a good job with a bright future, they create other jobs through their contributions to the community which is their home. Today this child is often called a Dreamer.

Until yesterday their future was bright, secure and full of possibilities just as their parent had dreamed. Unfortunately today there is a cloud hanging over those who stepped forward, were honest and were within the law.

What can I do to help lift that cloud and bring the light of hope back to those who know  this as their only home?

I can speak up.

I can contact my SENATOR.

I can contact my CONGRESSPERSON.

I can contact The White HOUSE.

I can contact my GOVERNOR.

I can speak out, be visible, attend protests and support Candidates who represent good solid true American values of progress and equality.

I can donate to organizations that will stand up and legally challenge those politicians with tiny closed minds who represent greed and hate. Organizations like ACLU, SPLC and Lambda Legal.

I can support and subscribe to news organizations that have real reporters investigating and calling out not only unethical behaviors but possible criminal activity thus reporting real news. News organizations such as The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times. 

Please feel free to use these short cuts as all of the highlighted words are links to the very webpages they state…or find your own. Please join Fearsome and I in standing up for righteousness, justice, equality, respect, hope, love and the American dream.

Love. Please don’t let love die.

On Death, Dying and Responsibility

I will die. Fearsome will die with me.

We do not know when but we will. It’s the cycle of life.

You know what? You will die too.

Morbid? No, not actually. Death is part of our life. Yes it’s as much part of yours as it is mine.

We cannot plan when we die or how we die. However we can plan for death.

We, the Better Half and I, wrote our original trust back in 2004. In 2004 gay men couldn’t get married in California, nor did the federal government recognize our relationship. We had an attorney draw up a trust mainly to protect us should one of us die. As it turns out a trust goes far beyond protecting two unmarried individuals that have built a life and many assets together.

We are way past due to update our trust and are in the middle of that update this week. Wow, have things changed in the past 13 years. Not only are we married in California but our marriage is recognized federally. In review it turns out our assets have more than doubled since creating the original trust. Not only has its value changed but our values and priorities have changed.

A trust gives direction to our survivors, maintains our assets, minimizes taxes, protects our pets, covers healthcare concerns, includes our charities, prevents post death disputes, contains our will and plans our funeral. Our trust will provide not only security but peace of mind.

With the updating of the trust comes contemplation of death. Contemplating death is movement toward acceptance. Planning for death helps bring peace of mind. Death is not something to fear, but something to embrace as part of life.

I am grateful for having the life I have. I choose to respect my life by planning for death.

Have you planned for yours?

“Let death be what takes us, not lack of imagination.” … BJ Miller

And what of my identity?

Am I fully who I am?

Or am I still hiding part of me?

As a gay man born of the 1960s, reaching puberty in the 1970s and coming out in the 1980s I faced my share of mis-understanding, repression and discrimination. Have I fully stepped out of that self preserving shadow? Could I be more? Am I gay enough?

Something to contemplate in this age of assimilation. This video has stirred me to take a deeper look.

Mindset

Mindset is defined as the established set of attitudes held by someone. Mindset can also be defined as an attitude, disposition, mood, intention or inclination.

Mindset is a choice. I choose to choose a good one. It often takes work to not only make that good choice, but to stick to it. Often the choice of a better mindset runs counter to our culture thus the challenge. However the challenge of a good mindset is worth the effort and I believe with practice gets easier.

Somewhere in the southern Caribbean

Many a moon ago aboard Dolphin Cruise Line’s SS Sea Breeze we found ourselves anchored just off the coast of Aruba. Fearsome was in remission at the time as I had developed a bad habit called shaving, but he was there in spirit as he always is. It was an early morning under the searing southern Caribbean sun and not a good morning for the hangover from last evenings heavy drinking dance floor adventures.

We found ourselves amongst  many other bleary eyed hungover gay men searching for that perfect spot on deck of this RSVP cruise from which to observe that days total solar eclipse. We were anchored just off the coast of Aruba for a reason, we were in the path of totality in a spot calculated to have the longest time in actual totality, about 3 minutes 40 seconds to my recollection. That sun was hot and all I wanted was a place to sit down, drink my coffee and nurse this hangover. A friend handed me a Bloody Mary. Life was suddenly better.

A passenger affectionately known as The Chicken Lady passed by pouring creme in anyone’s coffee who needed it. She was carrying her trademark chicken purse and the creme flowed on demand into awaiting coffee cups out of an artificial breast that she wore under her bikini top. The Chicken Lady wasn’t known to be reserved nor inhibited in any way imaginable.

The ship’s crew worked feverishly to make sure all 800 passengers were well taken care of and comfortable. They made sure we all had our beverages of choice as well as our solar eclipse viewers. Morning cocktial music played, we laughed, the scent of sunscreen permeated the air and we waited.

The searing heat of the tropical sun started to diminish. A quick check with the solar eclipse glasses confirms that the moon has begun it’s journey between us and our sun. It seemed as if someone had found both the dimmer and the thermostat as not only was the light becoming more appropriate for a party, but the heat had been turned down a notch. We continued our wait laughing with our friends, checking the moon’s progress through the viewers and ordering more cocktails.

Suddenly it all changed.

I had experienced partial eclipses before. No. Big. Deal.

This was different.

In the distance it appears as if a very dark storm had formed. It was black out there. It was moving. It was moving fast and it was headed toward us. However there were no clouds but just darkness. Not just darker but black. This shadow was moving and there was no escaping it. That shadow of black was coming for us and fast. We adorned the viewers and looked up to find just a tiny pierce of the sun left and then it was gone. Nothing left but a faint corona and then a voice from the crowd, all on their feet at this moment, screamed “It’s safe now, take off your glasses!”

Our photos from Aruba’s total eclipse

Nighttime. Nighttime with all the stars out yet a faint light of dawn 360 degrees around us just at the lip of horizon. The birds, the songs of the birds as if it were daybreak. The lights, all the streetlights and lighted signs on the tiny island of Aruba had lit up. It was nighttime but it wasn’t. The horizon was beautiful. The colors of sunrise 360 degrees around us with all the stars out and this black circle above us. Tiny black, very black circle with a moving light shimmering around it.

Surreal.

Ouch! The light! Someone screams”Glasses on!”

The moon had moved on and the first pierce of intense light had broken through. The sun was back, although just a tiny corner. We looked down to realize that we were no longer in the dark shadow as a faint light of sun had encompassed us. The shadow was moving again. The darkness had left us and it was moving again, moving away from us. Moving away fast. We could see it’s circular edge moving across the sea as the light replaced the darkness in the water. The great storm of darkness moved on and so fast that we couldn’t follow it.

We watched as the wonderment of that total eclipse moved on for others to experience that day.

Then we danced.

Today I sit in awe and gratitude for all the gifts I have been blessed with thus far in my wonderful life. Thus far!

Happy Eclipse!

I love

In order to live as a human among humans I must learn to accept.

I must learn to accept that we are different. I must learn that we are the same. I must learn we share. I must learn I will not like everything. I must learn that not everyone will like me. I must learn that many times it’s better to focus on similarities rather than differences. I must learn that not all human aspects are good. I must learn to forgive.

In order to live a life that I myself can feel good about, I must, and will, stand up for righteousness.

I will lead by example. I will do good. I will be kind. I will speak justly. I will convey honesty. I will practice equality. I will appreciate diversity. I will look for commonality. I will share. I will understand. I will give. I will grow. I will listen. I will strive for betterment. I will serve. I will teach. I will encourage. I will compliment. I will support. I will practice. I will be vulnerable. I will gain courage. I will laugh. I will cry. I will accept. I will stand. I will love.

Dreamers

America is a place born of dreamers.

The United States of America is greater when it is open and accepting of new dreamers dreaming their own dream of a better life and a better world.

When we close our minds we cease to grow and we begin to live in fear. It is then when we begin to die and we become irrelevant.

The man in the photo above is a friend who is an immigrant, or as he prefers it emigrant. That photo is of him the day he was sworn in as a citizen in 2002. He came here with $92 in his pocket and before he could get permanent employment he was involved in a motor cycle accident and wound up in the county hospital on the state’s dime. He was told he would probably never walk again.

Today he is a multi millionaire many times over and owns the leading coaching company in the world. He lives here in San Diego and I regularly attend his seminars. Hit play on that video and don’t tell me you didn’t tear up at least once. It’s set to Neil Diamond’s Coming to America.

The point is he had a dream. He came here. He got off to a bad start, but like most first generation immigrants he succeeded. Also, like most of them, he succeeeded very well. He didn’t take an American born citizens job, he hires hundreds of them to run his company. His name is Brian Buffini.

Immigrants made the USA what it is.

Don’t let a small minded fearful bully stop immigrants from making us who we are.

Friendship

Best friends for twenty years.

Clayton and I met one July night twenty years ago in 1997. I had stopped into Hamburger Mary’s for a cocktail (more like six or seven…probably more) and he was barbacking for Matt. A cute (hot) little  bear cub he was. We hit it off right away. We hit it off so well that when I woke up the in his bed the next morning I immediately asked “Where’s your phone” to which he replied “Why?”, “I need to call my husband” I replied, “Husband? You have a husband?” he said.

That was one hell of a hangover and I had more than some ‘splainin’ to do when I got home. Fidelity wasn’t my strong point and definitely wasn’t when I was gettin’ my drink on back in those wild younger days. The Better Half and I made it through, and so did Clayton and I.

Somehow, even though we were both quite young, Clayton and I were able to channel that sexual attraction, shit who am I fooling?… full on infatuation, into a friendship. Not only a friendship, but a best friend friendship. He and The Better Half became close friends as well.

I’ve stuck by him through his relationships, boyfriends, loss of his dad, bad roommates, good roommates, home-buying, work issues, personal issues, laughter, tears, moving, travel, car accidents, baseball games, many cocktails and many achievements. He’s stuck by me through depression, drunkenness, getting sober, death of friends, pets and family, laughter, tears, job changes, travels, bad behavior, good behavior, other marital infidelities, shopping, bar hopping, and he even rescued me from a possible DUI arrest.

Twenty years. Damn. I love him and I know he loves me.

Today’s Beard of the Day photo was taken in Puerto Vallarta some 16 or 17 maybe even 18 years ago. We need to take a photo in that position again to mark our enduring friendship, this time maybe with shirts on…then again maybe not.

What happens when we turn a blind eye to injustice

First of all Fearsome asks that you please notice the change in the wording of our header above.

Fearsome will continue his quest of inner growth, increased knowledge and expansion of his understanding and empathy as before, however he must take a stand. When the rights of any one innocent person is tread upon by the injustice of unwarranted discrimination, our society is assaulted. When we stand by tacit as others are treated unfairly we will become just as guilty as the bullies themselves.

Let us review just what happens when a society allows injustice, keep in mind history can repeat itself.

Slavery

The Holocaust

Segregation

Japanese Camps

The genocides of Armenia, Rwanda, Cambodia, Bosnia, Darfur just to name a few recent ones.

Colonial genocide against native Americans

And let us not forget a few of the current injust societies amoung us today such as North Korea, Venezuela and Syria.

Inequality is injustice. Ignorance and fear breed such nonsense.

Will all earthly societies ever become perfect and just? Most likely not.

Can all earthly societies try to move towards perfection and justice? Yes, yes we can always improve, learn, grow, respect, understand, encourage, support and care.

Take a stand. Spread knowledge. Teach understanding. Lead by example. Grow yourself. Show you care. Help others. Speak kindly. Give freely.

What can I do?

1) I can call a friend who needs support and give them mine.

2) I can become a member of the ACLU … or if I already am … I can donate more.

3) I can contact both my SENATORS.

4) I can contact my REPRESENTATIVE.

5) Contact my GOVERNOR.

6) I can donate to or volunteer for the DEMOCRATIC Party.

7) I can stand for justice, equality and righteousness.

8) I can speak out ( ….remember…Silence =Death).

9) I can talk, enlighten, rally and share with others around me.

10) I can donate my time, attend rallies and be visible.

What can you do? Pick one, or preferably all, of the above and stand up for humanity, equality and dignity for all.

Capital Treasures 4

After our enjoyable visit at the National Gallery it was time for our appointment at The African American History Museum.

National Museum of African-American History & Culture

Definately an amazing museum and wonderful addition to the Smithsonian, this museum is worth the visit. Still being the new kid on The Mall it was packed and tickets hard to come by. We enjoyed it immensely, but we will make a point to come back at a later date when it isn’t so crowded and can be enjoyed as a Museum of its caliber should be. I know they have a lot of people waiting to get in and that tickets are limited in number, but I think they could do better limiting the number of tickets issued to an even smaller number.

Contemplative Court Waterfall Fountain

The Contemplative Court Waterfall Fountain was worth the trip itself alone. Overwhelming. Fearsome had some tears to catch as I began to sob. Cleansing.

Jackie Robinson #42

Fearsome had more tears to catch as I choked up over Jackie’s jersey. One can see the faint reflection of Fearsome’s San Diego Padres hat in the glass just above the shoulder to the right of the Jackie’s face.

Jackie Robinson is truly an inspirational man of honor. Integrating baseball was not an easy task. Jackies strength was in his own personal restraint and self discipline. Fearsome highly recommends the movie about Jackie’s life. The movie is simply “42”. Jackie is one of Fearsome’s heroes.

Is your god dead?

Fearsome Beard …a place for beards to contemplate and to grow their souls.

It’s been a while and it’s due time Fearsome did just that.

Contemplate.

Every human has their own personal right to have, or have not, a relationship with a power, an essence, a universe, an energy or a god of their own choosing. Common human decency, at least my common human decency, allows one to respect all others in their choices surrounding such personal matters.

I call the power of my choosing god. God is a simple word, or acronym if you will, that stands for good orderly direction, or group of drunks, or is simply dog spelled backward.  My god is love. Period. Love. (My dogs are love too, what a coincidence.)

How do I treat my brother? Do I show love? Do I respect? Do I even acknowledge?

Is my god dead?

How about you? Is your god, or something like it, dead?

The New York Times article under the highlighted word “HERE” below is worth the read whether you have, or have not, a source energy outside of yourself. The article is about being human. Being a good human.

Click HERE to go to said article and contemplate on a deeper level.

I’m not perfect. I will never be perfect. I can strive to be better. I can strive to remember to love, to remember to respect, to remember to share. I can try, and try to try daily. I can love.

Firsts

🎶 The best part of breakin’ up, is when we’re makin’ up 🎵

It’s funny how music sparks memories. This tune was pulsing the dance floor one night back in 1982 as I was shakin’ my little tushy dancing with my friend Mike.

I hadn’t heard nor thought of it in like ages. A couple a days ago there it was pulsing outta the speakers of my Ford Fusion Energi Titanium as I was a drivin’ along listening to Sirius XM Studio 54.

Rush!

Memories rush. Suddenly Mike was in front of me on that smokey disco dance floor as we pulsed to the beats. Vivid is the memory. Suddenly there was a body behind me pulsing behind me holding me at the waist. I asked Mike who it was and he said he’d never seen the guy. I then asked Mike if he was cute. Mike said “fuck yeah”. I then pushed my tush back into him and turned my head. I got the first glimpse of my first lover.

Wow. What a vivid memory. Our relationship would last for 6 years and has much to do with the man I am today. I was young. So was he. I wondered often. He was patient, loving and forgiving. I’ll never forget him. I’ll always be grateful for his inspiration. He has his life. I have mine. We don’t talk. I hope that I gave him even a 10th of what he gave me.

Funny how this tune became the theme of our years together. I didn’t realize it was so on target of a theme, until I heard it this week. No worries as there is no “makin’ up” a happening. That was a first lover and a first relationship that started the first time I ever heard this song the very first moment we met.

It always happens…

Why it is that every time I have a trip to make I get crazy busy right before it is time to leave?

Is it Murphy’s law?

Since I’m busy getting ready do I attract more busy?

Busy attracts business?

Dont get me wrong, I like busy. Busy brings me income. Busy creates meaning. Busy gives purpose.

I think I’ll decide to sit in my seat 2B to Chicago this morning in gratitude for being busy.