[ always tell stories ]

Let's Resurrect The Duet, Please

Remember the days of “
Up Where We Belong”? The interplay between two singers creates an energy that can’t be matched in solo work. Here’s a recent example from Jason Reeves and Kara DioGuardi - it’s an uncomplicated, down-tempo song but the vocals are good.

I’d like to see us get back to loving this type of songwriting and performance. Word on the street is that Kara will appear on Kelly Clarkson’s new album, “Stronger,” when it drops in October. Kelly’s first toe-tapping single, “Mr. Know It All,” is available now on iTunes.


Covenant Presbyterian: Champions Of Progress, Heroes Of Us

(ATLANTA - 8 June 2011) :: Before February 2010, I had little knowledge of the Presbyterian way of worship. I was basically *this side of atheist, with a generous, inquisitive spirituality but a combative, skeptical streak that usually kept me away from churches altogether.

Along came Jason. We met early last year on Compatible Partners, and since then, we’ve transitioned well into a couple; he’s helped awaken me to the generosity and kindness that can dwell in the halls and sanctuaries of our nation’s churches.

Covenant Presbyterian in Augusta, Ga., is an able example of that compassion. Jason, the church’s Director of Music and Organist for the past eight years, is active in the community as a singer, concertmaster, performer - and, at first, I found the idea of coming together with him daunting given how successful and established he was in his town.

I also wondered: “How could this church understand our relationship? How would they accept me, me with him, us together?”

I was pleasantly surprised, to say the least. For it was the church’s people - Diane and Joe, Kaye, Jennifer, Pastor Rob, Karla, Beverly, and so many others - who welcomed me and folded us in as part of the family, giving us time and space for our relationship to blossom into what it is today. They allowed for and supported a reimaging of who Jason is as a partnered person, giving him a chance to realize his dream of finding an able boyfriend. I will always be deeply grateful for the gracious and open treatment they afforded us.

While Jason and I were enjoying Covenant’s people and environs - including its stunning, sultry-sound sanctuary (pictured) - change was afoot at Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s national level. The question: whether or not to ordain openly gay men and women. Very often change is accompanied by lots of chaos, dissent and frustration - which was ever-present in the regional discussions on the topic.

‘You’re going to be late for lunch today’
Pastor Rob Watkins, leader of Covenant’s congregation, was party to these meetings - and had a lot to say one Sunday after suffering through some of those meetings with people of strident, divergent opinions.

Following that meeting, Pastor Rob delivered a rousing sermon on his frustration with the Presbyterian Church’s position and posturing on the subject of ordination. Some excerpts from the sermon:

“You can walk down the street and find churches that are ripping each other to shreds, because they have taken on the power of God, and decided who is right and who is wrong. I get annoyed when I go to Presbytery meetings. And I confess I am a terrible Presbyterian. Why? Because I can’t help but get annoyed. Who are we to speak for God? God gave us the work to do. You preach. You teach. And you engage in love. You engage in compassion. Anything else is extraneous. Anything else. What does that mean? That means that yesterday’s Presbyterian meeting for about five minutes, we were engaged in the work of God. The rest of the time we were wasting our time and wasting the time of every human being who was sitting there, because we were engaged in speaking for God. We had no right to do that. None. Zero.

God is in the midst of the chaos that roils all around us all of the time. God firmly plants himself in the corner of anyone who has need of him. In other words, the power of God is eternally present behind compassion. Remember that the apostle John wrote, “God is love,” but he wasn’t simply thinking of a Hallmark card. He was thinking in real, human terms. God is love, ironically, which means you find him in the presence of human love.

I apologize for anything I have said that makes you feel like I am not ready to be your pastor anymore. That was one thing I heard at the Presbytery meeting, that just about made me stand on my head … if we are so scared that someone is going to walk out the back door because we are going to act in compassion, then we are not who we ought to be. If they can’t handle compassion and they want to leave, bye. Because that’s who we are. That’s what we are. That’s how we are. We say it so glibly, “God so loved the world, that God gave his only son, and whoever believes it may not perish and have eternal life,” but then turn right around and smack somebody in the face. How can we do that?

Look at the spectrum that is sitting here in this room. Look at the spectrum that gathered here on Thursday for a funeral. Look at the spectrum that gathers as soon as you set foot outside these doors. Look at the spectrum that is gathered at McDonald’s after church. Look at the spectrum that is driving past you on the wall. Look at the colors that God paints with. Look at the shades that God paints with. And it’s all art, all of it. Who are we to divide ourselves up? It’s as if the Mona Lisa hanging in the Louvre looks over at the Monets and says, “You’re garbage.”

You don’t do that. They are masterpieces, all of them. And you know what? I would argue that Leonardo de Vinci would look at Eden’s first scribble with a crayon and say, “That’s the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my whole life.” Why? Because Leonardo knew, knew what it was to have God’s creative will coursing through his bones. And when he sees a child pick up a Crayon and draw, he sees affirmation of that creative will.

Yes, you are going to be late for lunch today. Wait with me. You need to be late for lunch today. Because we are not celebrating the gift of a child with a Crayon, we are dividing each other up.Do I mean right here, specifically in this congregation? God I hope not. But I know all you have to do is step foot outside the door, and you are right in the midst of it. You are right in the midst of it.

I had my eyes opened 18 years ago to what love really means. I was working with a couple, one of whom was dying and it was a horrible death. It was a horrible, horrible death. And the spouse was there every day. Told their job, ‘I can’t come. I won’t come. I have to be here.’ And every day they started the day with a bath, because the dying could not wash themselves. And so with tenderness and mercy and care, the other bathed their spouse every morning. As things got worse, the dying couldn’t even lift a fork to feed themselves. So spouse stayed there and fed them every meal. Made sure they got every drop of water that they needed. You would think that they would have sat and cried all day long and wept, and been in misery and just been awful all day long, but they weren’t. They laughed. They smiled. Their love only deepened as they cared for each other. The one who was dying said, ‘Take my credit card. Go max it out. I am not going to be here to pay the bill. (laughter)

“‘Go buy whatever you want. I have worked hard to get a $20,000 credit limit. Go max it.’ John and Rocky taught me about love. Yeah. That’s right. Two men. In a committed, loving relationship that the State of North Carolina, could not, would not and did not recognize as marriage. They were more married than half of the heterosexual people I worked with in that church. Would you have cared as John cared for Rocky, as he died? That’s the question to ask yourself and I hope that you can say, Yes. And who then are we to say to John and Rocky your love isn’t real? Your love is a lie. Your love is sinful. When I saw as a pastor who had real struggles and real issues, that is what Christ requires, was right there… to bathe a dying body every single morning. To feed a dying man every single meal. To make sure that there was water to drink every single time he was thirsty. To make him laugh when it hurt to breathe… who are we to say that isn’t real? That isn’t right? Have you ever been face to face with love so powerful? And that’s the problem. We won’t go face to face. We won’t meet face to face. We will keep it out there in the spacious unknown where we can talk in philosophical terms without putting human beings before us. I am begging you, put human beings before you, before you say anything.

As I said, you are going to be late for lunch. Bear with me. This is too important. Put human beings first. I wasn’t expecting it until I sat through a Presbytery meeting yesterday. We cannot keep ignoring that anything that happens in our world involves human beings. Those are real people. They live. They breathe. They see. They ache. They hurt. They cry. They laugh. They dream.”

Pastor Rob’s sermon did not go unheeded - and the news from the national organization was good. Last month marked a milestone for the Presbyterian church - from the article in The Huffington Post:

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) passed a historic measure Tuesday evening allowing openly gay men and women in same-sex relationships to be ordained as clergy.

The move reflects a monumental shift in the 2.8 million-member church, which, along with other mainline Protestant denominations, has had increasingly contentious debates and struggles over issues pertaining to gay and lesbian members and clergy. A majority of the church's regional bodies, or presbyteries, defeated a similar measure to allow gay clergy two years ago.

Because Pastor Rob, Covenant’s members, et. al., weren’t only championing Jason and me - they were championing
all of us. Spurring greater understanding, provoking thought, expressing non-violent dissent, and accepting the “all that is” in the universe with which I’m so fascinated. Theology, philosophy and social progress are not obscured by religion; in great measure, they are enhanced by it.

Embracing the unknown
Just as Joyce said to me recently: “God knows what’s right.” However you conceive Him or Her to be, that particular power has been proven to be working, and working well, for everyone - no exceptions - in the “spacious unknown.”

a clip from HRC that shows Bruce Reyes-Chow acknowledging the historic change:

Faced with an emotional summer of transition and new beginnings, Jason will be departing Covenant in August to move to Atlanta and start school. Although excited by our co-habitation, my heart is heavy that we will be visiting Covenant less in the future, having to say so long (but definitely not good-bye) to so many great, gifted people. We have the entire family at Covenant - as well as our friends and family - to thank for their unwavering support of us. It’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life, and, I would imagine, so will Jason.

So, Triscuit will finally have her Jason close by, for many puppy kisses. And from now on, when asked, I’ll always opt for the late lunch.

# # #


Apple's 'It Gets Better' Video: Surviving The 'Darkest Moments'


'Civil' Disobedience: 'We're Putting The Mural Back Up'

Some activists in Maine came up with a creative way to return the mural to the Maine statehouse. well done!


The Kid Is Cool: The 'I'm Yours' Awesome Jibberish

For some LOLs:


Star Spangled Tyke Is A Young Talent & Big Voice

You’re watching 7 year old sings National Anthem. See the Web's top videos on AOL Video


Broadway Sings 'It Gets Better' For The Trevor Project

The folks who entertain us on Broadway are some of the most generous, awake and kind people out there today - constantly giving of their time and energy to “make it better.” Countless “Broadway Cares” events from Actor’s Equity show how much they invest themselves in the community.

Here’s another great example of Broadway giving back, this time for
The Trevor Project.

Not to be left out, watch for similar “It Gets Better” themes from this year’s

A Simple Message: 'It Gets Better'

Considering how bullying continues to be a problem in our schools, here’s a message for today’s teens who think there is no hope - courtesy of my pal (and ARTvision Artist) Ed Tillman:


Risking Life & Limb To Bring You Kathy Clips


'I've Been Thinkin' Bout Something' Other Than Music Judgment


Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Padding The Ads: Brand Marketing With Touchscreen Allure

You’ve suffered through the hype, and you’ve probably browsed the Apple stores in search of one. And if you believe some of today’s TV commercials, iPad users will inherit the earth.

Sliding our finger across a touchscreen has fused technology with a singular emotional experience that is, even with all its success, still in its infancy. My friends and I have gone down an iPhone or iPad rabbit hole after buying these cool, obsessive products, completely transfixed by the UI (user interface). We fingerslide our way to new apps, new connections and a new way of computing and thinking.

But have you noticed that our relationship with touchscreens - the iPhone, iPad, Droid and others - have begun to infiltrate the way marketers are selling their products? To wit: ads that take the personal-device experience and mesh it with other products, as with this Land Rover 4 ad:

Not convinced? How about this snippet for Lawyers.com, in which an actor is enlightened with what looks to be a 7-year-old Dell laptop that can somehow expand and reduce its touchscreen images:

These ads are more than a fad. They are emblematic of a cultural shift away from the one-dimensional, boring, top-down, “this is what you want to buy” strategy to getting in the head of a hyper-active user who is in total control of their surroundings.

Know of any others ads? Comment here or
on the Facebook comment thread! I’ll update as all of you put in your ideas.


Spontaneous Reunion In Song

Saratoga was way more than just a 20-year college reunion - it was a late-night Rick Astley-fest.

Tim & Willy • Reunited and it feels so good from Gary Gray on Vimeo.


The 'Giggle Machine' Rings The Death Knell For Soda Jerks

As reported on Asylum.com:

Rest in peace, oh soda jerk:
Coke Freestyle elevates individuals to instant mixologists by using a zesty touch-screen system to mix selections from over 100 choices into a custom beverage, all while delivering a geeky high-tech thrill.

It's been called "
the fountain of the future," "the most advanced soda fountain ever" and (in a backhanded-compliment kind of way) a path "leading to social ruin." Even Warren Buffett is a fan. But can this thing really deliver?

Coke spokesperson Helen Tarleton certainly thinks so, calling it a "complete departure from a traditional fountain machine." (She even reports that a gal was caught on security camera fondly embracing and kissing the machine.)

Tarleton expects 500 new Freestyle machines to pop up soon in Southern California, Atlanta, Dallas and Salt Lake City

We decided to take Coke Freestyle for a test drive at a local
McDonald's in Atlanta, where we came up with some crazy combinations using the machine's 100-plus flavor options.

While Freestyle's club soda can help cut the sweetness of some of the machine's more intense flavors, you are likely to go crazier with the combinations than you think -- and you're virtually guaranteed to forget whatever it is you put in your cup.

But we were able to document a few of our greatest hits for posterity:

"Doogie Fanta, M.D." (Combination: Dr. Pepper, Vault Peach, Cherry Fanta)

"The Red Wolf Blitzer" (Vault Red Blitz, vanilla Diet Coke)

"Barqing Berry" (Barq root beer, raspberry Dasani Sensation)

"Looney Tunes" (Minute Maid strawberry, vanilla Coke, grape Fanta, club soda)

"Lima-berry" (Grape Fanta, Lime Dasani Sensations, Club Soda)

"Customers love them," says Stephen Cordell, McDonald's on Cheshire Bridge's first assistant manager, who seems like a proud father reporting that his two Freestyle machines connect via Wi-Fi to the Coke mothership every morning at 2 a.m. for software updates.

Freestyle feedback was largely positive. "Wow, this is cool" and "How neat" were thrown around McDonald's by customers while we were testing it out.

So go forth, soda geeks, but make sure to keep track of your mix for next time -- and keep some Tums handy for the inevitable sugar-stomachache.

And check out our video from our Coke Freestyle recon mission:

take a look at our photo album, too.


The 'Sassy Gay Friend' Series Puts Second City Back In The Gay Zone

Here’s a trio of clips entitled “Sassy Gay Friend” that are LOL funny. Subscribe to the Second City feed on YouTube if you are so inclined, or friend them on Facebook. Enjoy.


Bronzen And Skinnier, Wynona Covers The Foreigner Classic


Push This Puppy To The Finish Line


Glimpse Of The Future?


Probably The Most Fun I've Had All Year

Not a Miley fan, but this video is hilarious.


'Gay Panic Offense': How About You Go Fight Crime And Keep Your GD Hands Off

Here is a video round-up of Eagle-raid-related protests. Go here for a link to the SoVo video page, or here for the ongoing news story. Also, Mike Alvear has a great (but scary) round-up of what happened on his blog.

If you’re so inclined, write a letter of complaint to the Mayor’s office of communications and then make a comment here about the reply you get.

Here’s the contact info:

Beverly L. Isom, Director of Communications
404.330.6558 office
404.886.2334 cell

Mayor Franklin has apparently played pretty dumb in responding to this aggressive action, so we need to hit them with protests.

A round of applause to Mike Alvear and Justin Ziegler and everyone else who spearheaded this City Hall protest - taking a stand in the torrential rain.

And then finally, a rally outside the bar:


One From The Vault: The Always Sexy Jennifer Paige & 'Sober'

I stumbled across this on LastFM today. One of the better tracks on her debut CD, “Sober” is something I can really resonate with these days.


'Consternation' Is Actually 'Mitigated' By Spelling Out 'D-U-M-B C-O-N-T-E-S-T-A-N-T-S'


In HonoUr Of My Midwest Trip


Treasuring People In Life Is Not Just 'Black or White'

(5 July 2009 - AUGUSTA, GA) Beneath the veils, white gloves and baby dangling, an artist moved through our pop-culture consciousness with a singular adeptness. As the long-version video shows, “Back or White” beautifully summarizes his conflict with and love of life... where he wanted to reject conventional perceptions but also show a longing for acceptance.

We are gearing up for a memorial for this man, this legend - no matter what your opinion of him, our world will be a lot less interesting without him.

And herein lies my point: We can’t wait for death to appreciate life. In his last 10 or so years, he was a lightening rod for lawsuits (some of them deserved), criticism and many, many aspersions. Much of his life drama played out publicly... and much if not all was self-created.

But amidst all of this, here’s the question: Why is everyone always a saint after they die? He wasn’t a saint, he didn’t walk on water. He was human... and a very talented one at that. We should work harder to celebrate life while we have it - instead of waiting to deliver a eulogy and wishing we had just one more moment in the waking world.

# # #

For All The Partners & Families... Existing And Still To Come


Demystifying The Male Construct... Steve Harvey Style


Believing In Transparency And Digging The Nipples

Talking about the president’s nipples is TMI, but Wanda is as funny as ever here. Part one, at the Correspondents’ Dinner, complete with the slamming on Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi. “How’s it goin’, Joe?”

The highlight of this clip by far is giving it to Sarah Palin for pulling out of her GOP event: “That’s not the way to practice abstinence-only sex education.”

And then, part two, complete with the joyously biting and pharmaceutically accurate slam on Rush and on Hannity: “I Can break Sean Hannity by making him sit in a middle seat.”

The image of The Queen of England downloading Lady Gaga is reason enough to watch both of these all the way through!


On Tax Day, Let's Reclaim 'Teabagging' As Sexual Innuendo

...and not phony outrage.

BTW? The Iraq war was the biggest and most irresponsible example of socialism and nation building in the history of our nation -- and we have nothing to show for it.

So on tax day, I offer this:


Taking Terror Out Of The Terrier. Yeah, Good Luck With That


Back In The Day When Artistry Mattered... The Ice Goddess


I Think Stewie Has Left A Few Other People Off The List


'Still I'll Rise': Truth Abounds When Expressing Your True Colors

The movement toward peace and understanding is upon us. After the beating in Midtown and many other current events showing an acute need for healing, this is a beautiful and most-appropriate anthem.

There is a new conversation happening out there now. George and Ellen got into the act last fall:


The Lowest Common Denominator Seeks To Go Lower Still

Think we’re done with prejudice? Think again.

A man was
beaten in midtown last week for no other reason than his sexual orientation. “Are you gay?” two white men asked. When he replied, “Yes,” he got his ass kicked. Here’s some reaction:

To those two perpetrators, I say: get your shit together, because otherwise, you’re just taking up space. Also, get a better way to pass the time than to vomit your internalized fear onto other innocent people.

Green Building Should Be One Of Our Top Priorities

At long last... the three-video playlist of the HGTV episode of “Ground Breakers.”

Even a stodgy old girl like mine in midtown can get a successful boob job.

Without further ‘do, enjoy.


Strength In Numbers: Help Tip The Scales For A Better Future

(BOSTON :: 14 March 2009) - A tipping point is fast approaching.

Great change is always preceded by intense turmoil, and I believe we are at just the beginning of a vast reinvention of our global society. With the book proposal done (the book speaks directly to the “change factor” that we, ourselves, control) and the book-agent search officially on, I thought this Web site popped up at just the right time.

Take a look at
Worldwide Tipping Point, and how you can send energy to this cause. Quoting the site:

“Thomas Paine wrote during the time of the American Revolution, ‘we have it in our power to begin the world over again,’ and that is exactly what people living on this planet right here, right now have the opportunity to do!”

The Web site founder:

Log on and help tip the scales today. More to follow on this topic... Thanks to Brenda for passing it along.


A Stirring Oscar Speech, Two Groundbreaking Personalities

In this case, Harvey Milk’s legacy was beautifully done justice by Dustin Lance Black - who championed the amazing and sad story that took more than a decade to be adapted to the screen.

Here’s the soaring acceptance:


Weatherman Says... It's Gonna Get Hot (& Buggy) Tonight

I’m making a reference to the old Jack Wagner song of the 80s here, but more to the point...

Rule No. 356-b of newscasting: don’t hire a gay weatherman in a dirty newsroom. It’s just a disaster waiting to happen.


Don't Worry, Be Happy... The Rotary Phone Is Gone

Rarely do we find a comedian who so perfectly captures the stupidity of people and the best way to mock them...


'Just Tax The Stupid People' Who Don't Watch Ab Fab

In my continuing efforts to turn Brandon on to Ab Fab, I submit the following:


Don't Need To Be A 'Woman Of Color' To Appreciate This

All villages matter. And it's our rise in consciousness that helps us know that.


'Tomorrow's Starting Now': The Perfect Way To Start A New Earth


I Needed Some Comic Relief, And I'm Sure You Did, Too

I think I'm slow to catch on to this phenomenon (I did a post earlier about Silverman's "The Great Schlep" a while back)... so in case you missed it, have a look:


Vote (And Donate) 'No' On California's Prop 8

(LAS VEGAS :: 30 October 2008) Does this look like a dangerous group of people?


And the answer should be the same on California's Proposition 8, which limits marriage between a man and a woman... and has incited some dangerous language along with it.

Listen to right-wing nut job Tony Perkins "interview" people about this legislation:

For so long, for TOO long, we've used religion as a way of restricting freedoms instead of celebrating them. It's time for that to stop.

You have people, responsible ones, who want to "focus on the family" and have settled, safe, abundant lives and you're actually trying to stop that success? Seriously?

My committed (and now married) friends, Brenda & Julie and Wayne & Ed, are not attempting to infiltrate the nation's families. Do your family dynamics - some of them are laughable, some admirable - somehow contribute to mine?

Californians, vote no on Prop. 8, and
give anything you can to defeat this measure. I just gave $50.

Stop messing with state constitutions as an end run around federal law.


So What Do These Folks Do If Obama Is Actually Elected?

Update: here's the best response I could find for such ignorance (as always, I turn to humor):


Civil Discourse, A Tense Exchange... And Lots Of Daylight

Regardless of what side you fall on, I was glued to my computer watching this exchange.


No Need For A Set Up: Five Percent Of Europe Should Be Slapped

And not in a good way:


A Safe Nation Is NOT The OK Corral

(ATLANTA :: 13 October 2008) Do we really want to continue with the "Boot In The Ass" politics of the past? Do we *actually* want W's policies to live on past their 20 January 2009 dying day? Take a look at this clip, and then some comment excerpts following:

All the below comments, included without editing, come from the blog Macsmind. I normally don't give air time to festering wingnuts, but I want you to see and read firsthand how people have reacted to this video (courtesy of Anita sharing on Facebook):

Warden writes: "If Obama is elected you will no longer be living in a free nation."

Phipps writes: "Obama would have us show up for the gun fight at the OK corral with bare hands to negotiate! In his own words, Obama has declared this country open territory for every nut job in the world to do as they please."

Smith writes: "He IS someone to fear, and we Americans are the sheep going to slaughter if we don’t stop him."

Barber writes: "What every conservative christian in America should be doing is praying for God to have mercy on America one more time. If Obama gets this important possition, we have no hope in the values our fore-Fathers built this fine nation on."

Anonymous writes: "O’bama is a Muslim !! Anyone that will sit there and tell you that he will disarm our America definitely isn’t an American.We weren’t disarmed when our New York City exploded..We weren’t disarmed when our ships took on dynamite..Concerned,Very much so if we are lead by a Muslim.You “white” O’Bama nuts are only voting for this man because you hate george Bush so very much! He and his wife Hates White folks!!! The Blacks,what can I say more?They’re voting for him Because he is black..I don’t like the way GB has run our country either but I’m be damned if I’ll give a Muslim my vote!!!"

Assuming that many of these posters were transformed by 9/11, as we all were, fear is the guiding principle of their opposition to Obama. Fear of being left unprotected; that if we aren't always on offense we are pussies, wimps, losers, un-Christian and un-American. Fear of the great unknown.

That is a steaming pile of horse shit.

We've tried George Bush's America, his OK Corral, his anti-compassionate conservatism, and it hasn't worked. Time for something new.

But I'll go a step further: don't wave a loaded gun in my face and tell me your a peacekeeper. Fear makes everyone a gun-toting trailblazer - when you think you're protecting yourself from the angry mob in your neighborhood or if you're in the armed services. Guns, missile defenses, threats of war and phony posturing are all tools of a disintegrated masculine tirade, and it's all a bunch of crap.

If you believe radical Islam is out to get you, you should equally be fearful of radical Christianity, or radical anything. The McCain campaign has tried to instill fear in the American electorate by insinuations and wonderings aloud:

There are "leaders" who bait and switch because they don't have the chops, and there are leaders who... LEAD. There is sensible protection that doesn't inflame our friends, and then there is aggression for the sake of being a badass. We have failed on that point, and many others, over the past seven years.

If we continually operate from a place of fear, we will never, repeat NEVER, advance or learn from what happened on 9/11, as referenced in the above comments.

So, here the final thought: no more chest thumping, no more brow beating, no more "this town ain't big enough...", no more my dick is bigger than yours.

Peace will lead to prosperity and understanding. Sensible protectionism and normalized military mobilization is our best chance for freedom and world leadership.

Think about it. Leave the boots at home.

# # #

Rules & Oversight: Thanks But No Thanks

This report is about a month old, but it puts Palin's refusal to cooperate now in better context. Flouting rules and abuse of power is exactly why we find ourselves in the messes, plural, that we're in now. Is Palin cut from that cloth?


'The Great Schlep' - I'll Work On My Imaginary Jewish Grandmother

Thanks to Chuckles for passing this along.


Don't Let The Cute Face Fool You: Palin Hissy Fit Vol. II

She's at it again... this time, Triscuit says "theeeanks but no theeeeanks" to Governor Palin.


A Canine Revolution: Dogs Unite Against Sarah Palin

See, Triscuit ain't the only one offended by Palintology.

To wit:


Video Response To Kathy Griffin On YouTube

Here's a funny video response to my Kathy Griffin posting:


Hand Eaising Or Crickets Chirping? They Report, You 'Decide'


Canines Unite Against Another Four Years Of GOP Imperalism

I'm not trying to influence her vote, but Triscuit is an Obama supporter.

And as evidenced by the video, she's part of the "Women Against Palin" movement. I concur.

For your consideration:


I Wonder If Stockard Is Rethinking Her AIG Voiceover


If Not Only For The 'Swear Jar' Reference... Hilarious


Of Bras, Panties And Hair Styling: Cloris Leachman On Bonnie Hunt

Take a break from the grind and look at this clip from The Bonnie Hunt Show.

She and Cloris Leachman have great chemistry and you'll laugh your ass off.

Frankly I was surprised at how at ease Bonnie Hunt is with her new show.



Remaking The 'World As It Should Be': Obama For President

Barack Obama Logo(ATLANTA :: 14 September 2008) - The nomination of Sarah "Caribou Barbie" Palin was the straw.

I had actually been leaning toward Obama for some time now, even through the primaries. And I'll always go to the polls and vote... but not publicly on my blog say anything about a particular candidate, or endorse - to at least maintain a modicum of integrity and neutrality as a journalist.

Two words: fuck that.

My political reporting for the MSM pretty much began and ended with
marketwatch.com, anyway.

From this point forward, you'll see and hear many posts on wp.com about why Obama is the better choice than
McCain-Spears, and why we need to bring light to the fundamental (pun intended) differences between our choices this year.

It's this sound byte that got me:


Just as I've done with this post, don't devolve your vote or sell it short as de facto "buying into" or "endorsing" a person as a phenomenon. Rather, see it as an opportunity to appoint someone to a lofty, unthinkable position in which we will drive him to be the best he can be - without ever letting up, no matter what your political persuasions are.

The side of the people should be the side of the president, and the reverse is true. For too long it has been precisely the opposite.


We live in a country that has been hijacked by corporations, fringe groups and crusaders; we are promised election reform, and always vow to change it, yet it never happens; our economy is in the crapper due DIRECTLY to perverted, GOP-led ostrich financial principals; we are on the cusp of some of the most important Supreme Court nominations of our time, perhaps ever; we have states that are teetering as full-on toss-ups with every single vote mattering; and we have been overrun by liars and their surrogates who try to convince us that Iraq a) had something to do with 9/11 and b) that our fight there somehow threatens Americans' daily lives.

That's right, I said liars. In this sick, warped world where up is down, day is night and blue is red.

Palin is George W. Bush in a miniskirt, and you should be scared. Be VERY afraid that this person, regardless of gender, has the ear of a potential president.

Watch my blog for a three-part series on why Obama is the better choice than McCain, and I've added a link to his Web site at the top of my blog. It'll be there until Nov. 5.

Meantime, get educated, be as active as you can and tell your friends. If you haven't already, of course, which I'm sure you have. Talk with your friends and family and make sure your decision is the best it can be.

As I was finishing this post, "
The Man Who Waited" came up on TV as an animated short. An amazing parallel. If you have not seen it, do it as soon as you can. The film is a stirring existential interpretation of the consequences of waiting for the truth.

As always, peace...


I Miss Friends: 'Watch, Learn... And Don't Eat My Cookie'

Following is my YouTube player containing some of the best "Friends" clips out there.


Hey Jude Has Never Sounded Better

I needed some comic relief amidst Sarah "Caribou Barbie" Palin and the rest of the crap we've been subjected to.

So, I submit the following for humor consideration:


Do We Want Another Openly 'Saved' Politician Running The Ship?

...or at least the next in line?

Bible chuckers, take note: your influence in politics is poisonous and wrong.

You decide:


I'll Deliver The Muffin Basket To Sarah Palin Myself

Kathy Griffin was in rare form at the Fab Fox this weekend.

Below is one of a bunch of clips from her late-show gig, including a riff on how Sarah Palin has been a boon to comics across the country:


Sarah Palin: Righteous For The Wrong Reasons


We've Got The Ticket, And A Golden Opportunity

In honor of choosing Biden today, I offer up this new music video below.

Thanks to
Colbie Caillat for posting this to her MySpace page. (She appears in the video.)

I would have preferred a different VP, but given the state of affairs in the world, I understand it.

Compared with McCain, Obama for me is the clear choice. When you look at the two candidates and how urgently we need a fresh, progressive perspective in the White House, Obama fits the bill.


This Hurts To Watch... Because You'll Laugh And Wince At Once

First, a gag Olympic snippet by Paul Hunt courtesy of Aunt Denny:

And then I found an even earlier one, here:

Which then sent me down an Olympic blooper K-hole, and I found the following. Warning... this is painful to watch, both due to wheezing laughter and "ouch!" moments on the balance beam, vault, et. al.

Can I just say that I'm glad men don't compete on the balance beam? I mean, could you imagine the ruptures? Holy crap!

HGTV's Ground Breakers Films Final Act

Here's a clip from behind the scenes as Justin Cave and the rest of the Ground Breakers crew shoots the final act of the green renovation at 844:

I was busy filming this and a few other clips before I took my turn in front of the camera.

This experience has been memorable from the start and I'm grateful to the entire HGTV team (not to mention Lynn Saussy for introducing us) for making the project so much fun.

More info to follow about when the episode will air, but I'm thinking it'll be in the fall sometime. They followed us from beginning to end and will likely do quite a bit of morphing and time-lapse photography on some of the elements.

Mary Grace even snapped a shot of me in make-up! Of course, I ended up sweating most of it off...


Some Days This Is What My Productivity Feels Like


Get Your Summertime Tan Priorities In Order


Three Words: OMG

Thanks to Vibecke for passing this along.

I immediately thought of JJ while hearing this train-wreck pageant song!


We Officially Have A Sequel To 'Chill Bitch, I Don't Kno Yo' Life'


At One Point In History, Yes, She Was Just A Cracker


And now:


That Fridge Reminds Me Of Sheila


Artistic Expression Is An Essential Life Ingredient

I didn't watch this season's SYTYCD, but some of these routines are amazing.

Creative movement is so cool to watch...

This one is cool, too:

I'd really like to slap Mary Murphy sometimes, though. And not in a good way. Happy

Thanks to Christopher for posting these on MySpace.

Screw Grandpa Munster... Give Paris Equal Time

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

Would You Trust Kathy Griffin To Toss The Show To Anderson?


This Handsome Guy Gives New Meaning To The Term 'Manscaping'

In the spirit of summer and garden upkeep, I present a lesson from my pal, Chris Brown of Teed & Brown landscaping.

So, a few lessons here. First, you can apparently
receive a degree in turf grass science AND look/sound like a stud.

Second, and more importantly, I'd like to claim at least a little responsibility for my pal Chris (husband of my high school best gal pal, Rachel) and his unbelievable fashion sense. The jeans and the shirt are perfect, my friend.


'Stophe, I'm sure Ditchini immediately jumped your bones just as soon as that taping was over.


It's True Love. Another Possibility For Will's Driveway In '09


McCain Should Have Considered An Ashley Simpson Exit

The befuddled among us... could there be a more tragic answer to a simple, seemingly non-toxic question?

Look up "Deer in Headlights" in the dictionary... there he'll be.


Julia Kills On Rosie's Cruise

Seems like I've got a Diva fetish these past few days... here's a gem from Rosie's latest cruise.


Knowing Thyself: 'The More We Take The Less We Become'

"I try to bring more than I can handle; I bring it to the table, I bring what I am able."

I keep forgetting what an amazing talent
Sarah McLachlan is. She makes music worth listening to.

There's obviously a parallel between "World on Fire" and our commitment to the planet... where you can do your part, your little part, that affects the greater good. It's about challenging ourselves for tough decisions, and not to shy away from something that appears complex on its face, but that can and will be tremendously rewarding in the end.

I admire people who can so eloquently tell that story and inspire us to walk the earth with greater respect -- of people and of nature.

That's not tree-hugger sensibility, it's humanity. Easy.


Thanks To The Boys For A Great Weekend In The Mountains

And of course, no tubing trip would be complete without
a video compilation.


Possible Veep? Good Speaker, Good Chemistry. Could Happen

Kathleen Sebelius endorses Barrack Obama... and makes a good case for herself as VP.

This speech was back in January, but it underscores the depth of talent from which he can draw.

What do you think?


No Embedding? Fine... I'll Go To The Concert And Do It Myself

This is a sequel post from yesterday. Mission accomplished.

I suppose I played right into their hands by attending the concert, but at least I kept my protest clean by not patronizing
Ticketwhore, oh sorry, I mean Ticketmaster. I bought directly from Variety Playhouse's box office.

Enjoy the clip below. More to follow on my
YouTube channel.

Colbie Caillat's vocals were strong and the audience seemed chill and engaged. A rare combination. Kudos to her for sticking with small venues.


Toilet Humor: Kimmy Goes For Broke Against A Renegade Turd

I needed a laugh today, so here's one for all of us.

Kim and Gini at their very best...


House To Air On 'Renovation Nation' Next Week

Discovery Channel's "Planet Green" -- a brand-new, all-green channel with requisite tree-hugger programming -- will feature the house renovation next week. Check your local listings, but on my Comcast DVR it's slated for Wednesday night at 6 p.m., on "Renovation Nation."

As you check your local listings, watch out for the "Renovation Nation" that focuses on the Atlanta area.

Here's a preview of the channel itself:

And a
preview of the show:

In addition to green products,
Charley's deserts and my big gut will be featured. Don't miss it.

I'm gonna go eat my celery sticks now...

Doing My Best Not To Drool. Really.

Coming to Will's driveway in May 2009...


Charlie Bit My Finger.


Confused About The Fist Bump? Take This Brief Tutorial


Another Reason To Love Family Guy: The Sci-Fi Soul

Family Guy does parodies and take-offs of Star Trek and Star Wars all the time, much in the same way South Park does. Check out this Star Trek split screen, parodying the funeral for Spock in ST II:


Our 'Difficult Days Ahead' Include Sacrifice And... Prosperity

I wanted to remind myself of something tough but true today. Here's what I landed on.


Rock Star? Maybe. But He's Striking The Right Chords Here

In accepting last night, Obama spoke about many high hopes he has for this country... one of them is that we will no longer use religion as a wedge that divides us.

Is this our time?

One more thing before the clip... Can we talk to Michelle Obama about that purple dress? Not feelin' it. At all. Happy


Kids Say The Damndest Things... With Better Memories

NBC has disabled YouTube's embedding function for many of these great, classic Friends bloopers -- but I found one that will make you chuckle...

Watch how Jennifer Anniston and David Schwimmer gain some greater understanding about their lines.


'Mic And The City': Lowering The Boom On A Blockbuster

(ATLANTA - 31 May 2008) :: OK, so I did my gay duty and went to see Sex And The City movie on its premiere night. Thanks to Thom for coming with.

The film was uproarious, vivid, full of couture, acted and written exceedingly well, and all expectations were surpassed... save for the hideous exception of a visible boom mic.

And not just in one scene - multiple times, and in such an overt way that you think some local loon is standing over the screen on a ladder, holding the long-arm mic, taunting you, teasing you for no apparent reason.

In an otherwise stellar display of cinematic joy, this was perplexing to say the least. The
boards are abuzz about this "gaff"; even Perez Hilton has posted about it. There is even an early YouTube review that pokes fun:

Please, New Line & WB, do us all a favor and fix this in post production somehow. Blame for this error stretches across multiple roles in this film, resting not only with the boom operator... but with the production crew, as well as the actors and director, for not catching it in the film's dailies.

Despite the rarity of this type of mistake, it
appears to have precedent in the TV-series run.

Even so, this movie is so good that it'll wipe out this weekend's competition despite "the long arm of the sound" stepping in front of its cast. The film stays so true to the original series - in fact, elevates it so elegantly - that the mistakes turn out to be just, quite literally, blips on the screen.

And believe me when I tell you - this boom-mic story is intended as fair warning, not as spoiler. I wish I had been warned ahead of time myself.

Here's the trailer!


Another Star Wars Spoof, With Jennifer Saunders At The Helm


'Up With Grups': Call Me When 40 Actually Means Something

In my search for next-decade perspective - and, more importantly, to ease the stress of entering an esteemed group of elder statespersons - I found more than a few pearls of wisdom.

New York magazine reports that an "
ascendant breed of grown-ups" are reshaping perceptions of today's adulthood. Click through the link for the cool image and story.

Am I in denial? Clinging to days past by always giggling and staying in touch with youthful exuberance? Or am I really onto something here?

I will *always* prefer to wear vintage t-shirts, ripped shorts, trucker hats... all the while listening to my iPod and blogging on my laptop.

I'll probably be doing the same thing into the next decade, too.

Also, more importantly, I needed a lift today... and was combing the Internet for relief. I found this:

I don't feel much like dancing today, so I'll let this guy do it for me.

Thanks to everyone for all the well-wishes. Let this be a lesson to everyone turning 40 this year or any year - be proud, live strong, be young.


What Does A 'Drag Queen Prom Dress' Look Like Exactly?


An Invitation To The Tea Partay, Penned In Cursive


Enjoy This Tasty Morsel From Mad TV - Dirty Bloody Tuna


What Are The Reasons? Let Me Count The Ways...


'You Guys Have Changed Who I Am': Idol Chat Gives Back

"Idol Chat," a v-log that Penny and Jim have been doing this season of American Idol, has apparently garnered quite a fan base.

One admirer, in fact, was changed quite dramatically after watching the show:

"I wanted to say thank you. You guys have changed who I am, and you have no idea. I've lived in a smaller city my hole life, there are like 50,000 people here. And until the last couple of years, you would have never known that there were gay people who live here. I live in a city where people don't accept gays very openly, I guess you could say. And up until recently I guess I was just like everyone else. But since I've been watching your show, I have realized that I was being just like everyone else. And even if I didn't mean it, I know I'm not a bad person, but I was raised to think it's wrong, I guess. But now I realize that the way I was thinking wasn't fair or right.I have absolutely fallen in love with you guys. I think you are hillarious, and very talented. And no one would have guessed it, but I actually love spending time with the gay men that I work with now. So thank you again so much, for making me realize that it's ok not to think like everyone else." (Tasha, undisclosed location)

It's a testament to their appeal that someone could have such a transformation, and I'm proud to have been a part of it... watch for the final episode this week, with a greatest hits montage coming soon, too.

Kathy Griffin Does Her Best Sharon Osborne...

...and, like me, she talks in bullet points.

"I can't stand that Ryan Seacrest and here's why:"

Watch the below video for a bunch of laughs... and her impersonation of the Osbornes is hilarious.

Who knew Dick Clark was such a badass?

And a postscript: Kathy does flashcards on Ellen.

Season four of the "D List" starts next month!

The Comments Will Make Your Blood Boil - Add Yours!

Take a look at this video on YouTube and make sure to add your comments... This vid is the most discussed on my YouTube channel, and I'm hoping it'll be even more. Why?

I've been having this hideous exchange with a Bible chucker and it's clearly time for someone else to weigh in.

Background: Thom and I took to the streets during Pride last year and gave the protestors more than just a little bit of hell. We stumbled upon and interviewed Rev. Paul as he stood outside of Piedmont Park welcoming people in. He was the lone person amongst about 25 protestors carrying hideous signs.

Make sure to
add your comments to the YouTube page, and in the meantime, here's the short video. (The video was picked up by Rev. Paul's congregation and played at First MCC the following Sunday.)


You Want Cheese With That Whine?


Check Out Jim & Penny's Latest 'Idol Chat'


Before You Throw Away, Think. It Could Be Used Somewhere

As part of the renovation of the ol hizzy, Lou hired a company to come in and break up our unused and discarded brick and concrete block.

The result is a type of mulch that can be used in a number of installations, including bedding under the porch, potting anchors and much more.

Here’s the video:


The Brain Scientist With Personal Experience


Putting The 'Ick' In 'Maverick'

The math, and the calendar, are hideous.


'Idol Chat': What, In Fact, Is 'Vocal Paralysis'?

Penny and Jim are in rare form this week... This week on "Idol Chat," we see the pair sipping chocolate martinis and dishing about Dolly Parton and all the top American Idol contestants.

Alls I know is that I'm in the top 10 in my Idol pool, AND I get to edit this awesome blog!

For more, make sure to check out


First 'Space Balls,' And The Latest... Stuey??


'Idol Chat' Outtakes... Britney! Kristy Lee! Ryan & Simon!


The Demented, The Crazed... Triscuit Makes Her Comeback


Sex & The City, With A Dash Of Metamucil

Thanks to Musty for passing this along... it's an absolute hoot! And a nice teaser for the upcoming movie.

For those of you who miss Golden Girls a little, this is a gem.


Planet Unicorn: Christmas In March?

Thanks to Ken for pointing this out... we nearly missed Episode 6 entirely!


The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia... To Show We Care

The world is speaking to us, and this is our way of listening.

Turn your lights off tonight at 8 p.m. for an hour and take a stand...


Idol Chat: Let's Hope The Beatles Are Yesterday's News

Check out the latest craze on the Web -- Penny & Jim in "Idol Chat." They've already got a comment! This week I edited the blog for AfterElton.com, while our pal Dennis was on vacation.

Thanks to Dennis for letting me fill in!


Bizarre, Twilight-zone Moment Of The Week: Geraldine Ferraro

In choosing our next president, are we in the business of ego, or of hope? Of true credentials or gender- and race-based double-standards?

You are about to watch the combative, partial meltdown of a social and political trailblazer who remains enraptured by her own comments - to the point of sticking by the conceptual argument that
Obama is "lucky" to be in the position he's in. Not because he's qualified, not because he brings new energy to the equation... because he's black.

This is exactly the type of misplaced candidate loyalty that is allowing the new direction of our country to slip away.
Ferraro is diminishing herself in the same breath, as if Mondale only chose her as his running mate to make a statement - not for the content of her character.


The Zainy-mals Among Us...

Some of my favorite animals, acting up like nobody's bid-ness.

Watch how Zoe is in Wayne's clutches, and how Triscuit goes nuts when she sees animals on the TV.


How Else Would My Foray In Editing Go But With Penny?

Thanks to Dennis at AfterElton for giving me the chance to cut my teeth on digital editing.

This is a practice/rough cut of
Idol Chat, a video blog that Penny is doing with former American Idol contestant Jim Verarros.

I'm hoping more vids will follow later on...


Triscuit Ain't Just A Cracker Snack

I shot this the first day of the house renovation... Triscuit, Charley's dog, was watching me from the front-door screen.

Go to the Web video
here, or take a look below. Many more of Triscuit to follow I'm sure.


If This Doesn't Get You To The Voting Booth...

Courtesy of Aunt Denny.


Remember... Words Can Kill

I am reluctantly posting this rant because it's important to remember the type of people out there who think they are doing God's work by hating those around them.

This brilliant oratory was brought to light by the brave people at
VictoryFund, so make sure to check them out.

At the risk of giving this lady more of a platform than she deserves, it's seems important to expose people like this and risk undue elevation. It's words like hers that get people beaten up and killed, despite her right to say them.

So... if you have the stomach for it, take a look below, and reply to some of the posters.


Great Moments In TV History: 'I Count Your Wives At Night'

YouTube comes through from time to time with classic moments in TV history that I've since lost to VCR-tape deterioration. This is one of those moments.

In part one, watch Bette Midler's semi-memorized and well-rehearsed good-bye letter, sung to Johnny Carson on his second-to-last night:

Part two below is a totally improvised duet of "Rainy Day" that Johnny and Bette do:


SNL Roars Back... But No 'Bronx Beat' or 'Deep House Dish'

Not only did we get SNL back, but Tina Fey killed as host after a long show hiatus.

Bitch is the new black!


Taking Back The Word, 'Elite,' As Well As A Few Others


C'mon Get Happy, Get Ready For Election Day

Apparently Susan Werner has made her decision...


Happy Valentine's Day... From Scarlett Johansson

Two examples, in honor of loving each other on V-Day, of Scarlett Johansson singing the bejesus out of a song.

First, singing "Summertime":

Her husky alto also is featured in the "Yes We Can" Barrack Obama video:

That last one is a reminder to get your voting caps on...

For Those Who Miss 'Friends,' And For Anita's Love Of Unagi

Update: I just found out that Anita's word is "yuuigi" - meaning significance or usefulness, in Japanese.

The word and usage of "unagi" in the "Friends" clip below has a similar connotation, but is just a *bit* sillier.

Kinda makes you want to twist your fingers at your temple. Happy If you combined both words into one, what would you get?


'We Listened As His Soul Cracked': Abuses At Abu Ghraib

Just watched the documentary "Ghosts of Abu Ghraib." Very important watching, if you haven't seen it already.

The film shines a magnifying glass on our unfathomable disregard for human rights in Iraq. Even if you think you know what happened, see this movie and your mind will be changed.

Whatever you believe before, during or after we invaded Iraq, no one should be subjected to treatment like this. Take a look at the director clip here:

"We listened as his soul cracked" is a direct quote from one of the detainees, whose father was abused, tortured and left to die. His description of these actions and egregious disregard for human life will chill you to the bone.

Many officers involves in this scandal, even those on its periphery, were faced with a choicepoint -- either accept orders that seemingly came from (or were at least condoned by) the top, or speak out against them. Those who did the latter suffered great legal, personal and professional consequences.

Question: after viewing this movie, do you still think Germany was wrong in labeling and charging Rumsfeld as a war criminal? What about those responsible for hiring him?

With the election coming, make sure to keep this in mind -- that our government, at every level, failed us.

One last note: This film unfortunately connects the Iraq choice-conflict with 9/11... and the only reason this connection holds up is to create greater understanding about why our soldiers were driven to this level of aggression.

The saddest part is that the "God told me to do it" war actually ended up creating unbelievably difficult reality-creation choices for people who never should have been in the situation in the first place.

Let's own the abuses to prisoners as well as acknowledge those who stood up to it.

Thanks To Reeno & Wags For An Awesome Time In Aspen

This one was taken at Matsuhickamamma for Charley's birthday dinner.

I guess this place is replacing Kenichi -- and with good reason, although I still miss dynamite skrimps.


can't have everything.


Anchor Blues: Sour Grapes, Keith O., And A Huge Waste Of Time

Fox & Friends dedicated nearly five airtime minutes misquoting Keith Olbermann. Have a look below (if you can stomach it), and also, make sure to check out the accurate accounting at Media Bistro.

"Anchor Blues" (full editorial below) is a series I started some time ago that looks at the amount of energy that news organizations waste yelling at each other.

To borrow the erudite words of Bill Maher, New Rule: Anchors can no longer be the news.

Let’s use one of the more current commissions of media heresy as our baseline. Would everyone reading this please raise your hand if you know the plural of the noun, “ho”?

Is “ho” simply singular and plural, like “elk,” or would it follow with “es” at the end? Hmmm… we’ll just go with “hos,” without the “e” and no apostrophe, lest we imply possession of a gardening implement. Or we might ask Santa Claus, since he often uses that word more than once at a time; or Hostess, maker of Ho Hos, the trans-fat lard bombs cloaked in a chocolaty veneer, which (I’m told) often comes at least two to an artery-clogging package.

Sadly, our distinguished media have successfully solved “ho” in the plural. Paula Zahn was one of them, thrusting “hos” Out in the Open when she led a panel deconstruction of Don Imus’ hideously nonsensical, random and offensive “nappy headed hos” phrase – part of his well-publicized rant about the Rutgers Women’s basketball team. Both the CNN crawl and Zahn’s program slug that night used the word “hos” in the plural; I almost did a double take because I had never seen that word on a screen before. I hope I never do again.

Like a rat gnawing at a piece of stale cheese (but without the flavor), a broader, related issue has been eating at me for months: Why is it, in this great business of ours, that we as journalists, commentators, producers and anchors have stepped so solidly in front of the news we’re supposed to be covering? Specifically, stratosphere-salaried anchors, including hosts of all stripes – radio, primary broadcast, cable-TV screamers, satellite, morning show personalities, reporters – are all consistently upstaging their content.

NBC receiving the murderous manifesto is an ironic example of how, inadvertently or otherwise, we sometimes become what we’re reporting. More on the Virginia Tech nightmare, and NBC’s coverage of it, in a moment.

The fact is, Don Imus has been pushing envelopes and buttons for 30 years… and this random sound byte is in keeping with his standard histrionics. But I’ve noticed enough drama in other media circles in the past six months that I think it begs a few questions. First, are we simply serving at the pleasure of personality? That is to say, are we making that quality in people too important? Are we building them up just so we can break them down when we’re done? Further, is this all a bottom-line, zero-sum ratings game we’re in – where the work of good, solid journalists are being eclipsed and overshadowed by, well, assholes?

Consider these recent episodes, where news – even that which attempts to entertain us – was far beside the point:

• Bill O’Reilly and Geraldo Rivera – both gunning hard for title of Biggest On-air Tool – kept the spit cleaners busy recently when they got into verbal fisticuffs that might as well have been a WWF title bout. (I thought they were going to punch each other out.) Question: did they cover the topic of an illegal-immigrant crime, as was the platform, or was it a shouting match with fancy Fox News stagelights that, making matters considerably worse, elbowed out real news coverage on other channels that day? It was a train wreck in the highest order, but yet we can’t stop watching. Views on YouTube had eclipsed the 500,000 mark as of this writing.

• With ABC’s World News gaining on NBC Nightly News, executive producer John Reiss was reportedly axed in favor of Alexandra Wallace (one of only a handful of women to serve in that role, on any network) – despite the fact that Brian Williams had, during Reiss’ tenure, continued to set the standard (of the Peter Jennings ilk) for elegant, insightful, sensitive and thoughtful journalism. This is the journalistic equivalent of a melodramatic overreaction. Without Williams’ journalistic leadership in the past 18 months – ala Anderson Cooper – New Orleans, for example, would be even more of a forgotten city. We wouldn’t be asking the right questions about Alberto Gonzales or our invasion of Iraq or the installation of Sam Fox, a recess appointee who Bush transformed from a GOP donor to ambassador to Belgium. Reiss helped power Williams and “Nightly” to multiple award victories, yet he still was apparently shown the door.

• “Some say” Katie Couric’s interview with John and Elizabeth Edwards was a smiling softball snugglefest; “others say” her style descended into a sad example of style over substance. Oh and by the by, Elizabeth Edwards’ cancer returned, right? Viewers, me included, took away Couric’s approach more than they did the newsworthiness of the Edwards’ decision to continue campaigning in a crowded 2008 election field. Aside from this misfire interview, Couric’s publicized network switch, fashion choices, chatty style and plunging ratings have, in general, far eclipsed the competent work of a field reporter like Lara Logan in Iraq – work that Couric is supposed to be shining a light on. Again, we’re missing the point.

• When I caught part of Rosie’s “View” debut last September I said to myself, “oh Jeez, Babs ain’t gonna have any of this.” By “Babs” I mean, of course, Barbara Walters, and by “this” I mean the match-and-gasoline bravado that is O’Donnell’s new anti-queen-of-nice personae. Her daily verbal smackdown on “The View” eventually spawned “Rosie vs. The Donald,” that icky mud-slinging bonanza that neither person really won and we all were subjected to. I want to see neither the real combover nor Rosie’s interpretation of it ever again. Still, “View” ratings shot up 60% in the early term of Rosie’s addition, and have been up steadily since, as she has regularly spouted off wild conspiracy theories and sparred with co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck.

This is just the tip of the media-sideshow iceberg: When you factor in NBC’s reluctant Scooter Libby witness and cozy-source example Tim Russert; Oprah’s holier-than-thou pushing the vast “riches” of The Secret; the exhausting audacity of Headline News’ Nancy Grace (sued for wrongful death by the family of a Florida woman she aggressively interviewed last year); and the unnecessary yet all too public “reassignment” of CNN American Morning’s Miles O’Brien and Soledad O’Brien (a team that gave us the only consistent pace, personality and sophistication of our current slew of morning shows) – anchors have more and more been the stories than reported them. It’s time for us to make a mammoth shift in our priorities, and perhaps with the Imus firing we can put people like Coulter, Limbaugh, Beck and O’Reilly on notice: is it not “mission accomplished” when you are the news.

Meanwhile, there are people who are doing yeoman’s work through this ongoing malaise. Keith Olbermann, for lively and confident news judgment that shapes MSNBC’s “Countdown”; CNN’s Kyra Phillips for mining unusual, heartfelt stories out of the Iraq quagmire; a humble Diane Sawyer serving as de facto ambassador to North Korea during her tightly controlled swing through the country; and the aforementioned Miles O’Brien, who has been a joy as the geek go-to guy for science, aviation and aeronautical issues… and who almost certainly has a copy of “October Sky” in his DVD library. I’ll miss waking up with him at 6 a.m.

With questions now being raised about NBC’s decision to air footage from Virginia Tech shooter Cho Seung-Hui, the media have opened yet another chapter in their own story. And I say, we’re in quite likely the most pointed example of, “Don’t shoot the messenger.” Why? As much sympathy and wished-healing I hold for the students at Virginia Tech, its alumni and the people of Blacksburg, Virginia, I believe history will look at NBC’s decision as one of measured conscience – the news-judgment process working in its most compassionate, careful and thoughtful way. As the only news organization that received messages from Cho, a clearly disturbed and tortured madman, I believe they acted on a journalistic obligation to know more about what drove him to such a horrific act. And any other news organization criticizing that move – you know who you are – sounds like sour grapes to me. The only people who have any standing to criticize are the victims’ families.

The grieving families are a living, breathing example of why we should always search for and find the story’s emotional thread and never discount its power in helping you come to a natural conclusion. I watched a lot of NBC’s coverage and I believe they did just that.

For Medill’s part, it is more critical than ever to know what your personal ethics are as a journalist as you enter this nutty business. Do not be the news, be the impartial gifter of it. If you go to the producer side of things, don’t hang your anchors out to dry because you think your closest competitor is gaining on you. Stand in your integrity. As a journalist working in a few different areas, that’s my mission, and it always will be, and it should be for all of us. Your self-defined purpose matters, and your audience cares.

Personally, I wish the Rutgers team had decided against making statements like “we were stripped of this moment” and claiming that Imus had “stolen a moment of pure grace.” As right as it might feel to express their hurt in this way, the fact is that they are giving too much power to a person who never had it, or deserved it, to begin with, despite his attempts to the contrary. I’m glad they accepted his apology; I have my own opinions about forgiveness – how to use it, when it’s appropriate, how it can change people for the better – but those statements gave away power when nobody, especially that power’s creators, should relinquish it. Nothing, nobody, will take away their Cinderella rise to the finals or the example they have set for women who will most certainly follow in their footsteps.

As such, we can say the same for assigning too much power (or in the case of Miles & Soledad, too little respect) to the anchor desk and to our media personalities as a whole. I for one would like us to bring fundamental change in this area – for the betterment of our business, and also so I can wake up at 6 a.m. with a smile on my face.

Now, I’m going back to eating the rest of my Ho Hos.

# # #

A Margaret Cho Classic From The YouTube Vault

Here's a nugget that includes the return of Jesus, who would tell many of his followers, "That's not what I meant!"


For A Certain Special Someone, A Wish From Jason Mraz

Makes me melt every time... Just a heads up from the peanut gallery: Jason Mraz has realized only a small fraction of his true success.

He's got some of the best musical phrasing I've ever heard, and it's a huge talent.

"I won't hesitate no more, no more... it cannot wait, I'm yours.
Look into your heart and you'll find love, love, love."

Enjoy, and always, ALWAYS - listen to the lyric with the music.


Wishing Suze Continued 'Truth' While On The Road In '08

"The Gospel Truth" is a wonderful take on spirituality... if you haven't taken a listen yet, do so here.


O Holy Night... Can It Be?

If you can get past the Disney-fied falsetto and the squeezed notes at the end, this is actually pretty good. Thanks to Musty for passing this along for the holiday season.

And yes, no foolin', this is a guy singing!


In Honor Of Shawn Mullins Playing Eddie's Tonight...

If you're going, you'll probably be treated to this soul-stirring song... At least that's what I'd be yelling for.

I keep begging him for "Pandora" and "Soul Child," but so far no dice. Happy


A Song For Reeno: When "Isms" Could Easily Lead To LSD


The 'Ol Hizzy Gets Her Day In The Sun (And On Camera)

The green renovation of my house has, it seems, some admirers... Lynn Saussy, the landscape architect for "Team Pollock" as we call it sometimes, hooked us up with HGTV's "Groundbreakers" show. Last week they came to the house and did some initial interviewing.

I was, as the saying goes, "a pig in shit." I'm hoping that I'm only on the 2nd of my 15 minutes -- because it was a TON of fun.

Thanks to Mary Grace, Justin and the entire crew for making the day so awesome.

Below is a bad export of one of the movies I took!


For All My Fellow Sports Fans, A Tribute To The Football Gays


Take A Listen To Lara Johnston

Girl can blow... thanks to the YouTube user who sent this along.

Chaka would be proud.


While I'm Solving Some Tech Issues, Here's A Funny For You


The Crush Grows, As If I Needed An Excuse

This is ROTFL stuff... I was wheezing laughing so hard.


A Return To Depth And Understanding...

John Amaechi, speaking on Oprah's "Gay Around The World" program this week, was asked about why he came out of closet.

"There's something incredibly powerful about people who are genuine or authentic," he said, "not just in terms of their sexuality, but in every regard. There is something almost transcendent about it."

If you haven't heard him speak, watch it on
YouTube, or below. And if you don't think we still have a problem, just look at the user comments on YouTube -- they'll change your mind about how much work's left to do.


Hanson Brings Their A Game To The Roxy In Buckhead

Come hell or high water, I always say.

Not even
a suicidal maniac could put the kybosh on this rare nighttime trip to Buckhead. My boys, Hanson, rocked the house at The Roxy.

See below, and enjoy.


Gunn, Pelosi & Ugly Betty Players Lead A Star Parade In D.C.

(Washington, D.C. ~ 14 October 2007) - The tuxedos and ball gowns came out in full force for HRC's National Dinner, led admirably by Ted Toon and Sarah Booth. What an awesome time!

We had the absolute pleasure of sitting with many of Ted's family members, Rolando, as well as other pals Clarke, Sam, Val and Rebecca. The food was tasty, when we weren't glued to the stage -- and since this photog was six feet from keynote speaker
Nancy Pelosi and one table from Tim Gunn, I didn't spend very much time eating!

Ken and Dale and Laurice and Rebecca were all within spittin' distance from us, too. So much fun to be amongst so many familiar faces.

The best way to describe the night is as a "peak experience" - where people came together to hear how hard Pelosi has worked from the beginning on representing her San Francisco constituents in fighting the spread of HIV and AIDS, as well as many other issues. Even some surprise war protesters could not dull the evening.

Once I saw how close I was to Tim Gunn, I was immediately on a mission to meet him and have a good story to tell Penny -- who is a stalker-level fan of Guide to Style. I treated Pen to a tribute page with a collection of pix from my meeting with Mr. Gunn, who gave me some props for my "cream" colored tuxedo. Thanks to Sam for his great shots of that moment, and to everyone for alerting me to the many other photo opps we had throughout the evening.

Thanks also to Ted and Rolando for being such spectacular hosts; to Ted's whole family for being so awesome; and to Rolando and Rebecca for asking me to design the program ad. How in the hell did we keep that a secret??

For more, visit the Kodak Gallery event pictures, as well as the page I loaded on candids. Movie clips to follow...

Enjoy! Happy


Busting The Dope Rhymes: Hilarity On A Hillbilly Cartoon Date


Did You Catch The Clip Of San Diego's Mayor?

A touching change of heart, and for San Diego's population, an expanded world view drawn from personal experience.


Shawn Mullins Brings His A Game To Eddies... Again

This is the first in a series I'm gonna upload this week... Shawn Mullins once again knocked us all over at Eddie's Attic, ending with a standing ovation after "Shimmer." Still the best in the business.

Thanks to Thom, Kim and Jimmy BB for making the company just as awesome as the entertainment. Pics and other videos to follow soon...


A College Professor Of, With And For The Human Spirit

Every once in a while we come across someone who presents life's tools as a beautiful map on how to use them to the best of our ability.

This latest incarnation is in the form of
Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University. Pausch has terminal cancer and recently gave a speech at that school will blow you away. It's amazing how, through humor, instruction is not only engaging -- but also profound and transformative.

In a culture that is fascinated by Britney's choreography, Lindsay's latest line or which Anna-Nicole ex-lover is sleeping with whom, THIS is what life is about for me. But, as we're reminded by Pausch, humor is one of the most expeditious pathways to healing.

GMA did a
piece on him this morning that knocked my socks off, and I found the YouTube link below. The video is nine minutes, and it's worth every minute. Enjoy. Happy


Seriously? Is A Censored America The Country In Which We Want To Live?

OK, this is basically Twirl Factor 10... I have been absolutely twirling about these last few instances of morality trumping expression, and excessive force trumping judgment. To wit:

-- Student Tasered in Florida for acting up at a Kerry rally:

Question: why didn't Kerry step in and at least ask the police to stop? he just kept on droning. Did the "officers" need to taser the guy when he was down and cuffed? I don't think so.

Sadly, it's not the first incident of tasering at a U.S. college campus.
See another one here.

Sally Field censored by Fox at the Emmys. (PS: Fox should not be allowed to broadcast awards shows -- guys, stick to sports.) So, given their penchant for censorship, let's look at the full, uncut version here:

Question: Did Fox do this to protect against fines from the post-Powel FCC, or because of Field's statement against war? Neither reasoning passes the smell test, and I'm twirling. Talk me down from the ledge!

Aside from the fact that I 110% agree with her, I love the fact that Sally is nutty, speaking as a fellow nutty person. I'm going to start watching that show for that reason -- and because they have a few decent gay characters on there as well.


Olbermann's Special Comment: 'Playing' Our Hand In Iraq

Nothing else to say except... watch.


Matt's 40th Brings Out The Cupcakes – And A Crowd


San Diego Updated! With My Other Fave SNL Skit, Deep House Dish

The upcoming SNL season figures to be awesome (or is it "grawesome"?), led hopefully by Deep House Dish. Ken reminded me to include that inside joke on our San Diego blog. Here's a snippet from SNL. Bo'kay?


Watch For The Next-best Saturday Night Live Skit: Bronx Beat

If NBC ever loads the one with Peyton Manning, make sure to check out that one, too.


You've Got A Friend In Me...

Jacob Frulla slays them at his school talent show...


Jake Hits His First Single...

Just make sure to watch the careful finish when he gets to first base successfully... GO YANKEES!!


Go Yankees!

Jake & Frank cheer on the best team on the planet (ARod notwithstanding).


Jake Knows The Camera Better Than His Momma. The end.


Alex Snores Her Way To Sleep

Click here to jump to YouTube, or take a look at the video below. My YouTube page has "Part II," which is more snoring and convulsing... Happy


Mr. Jake Goes To The Ga. Aquarium