Saturday, May 31, 2008

CINCY GAY SCENE: Coco Bliss comes to Cincy

One of Oxford's BEST performers, Coco Bliss, arrived at On Broadway this evening, which coincided with a fierce birthday celebration we had for Vivica LaCroix (another Oxford performer).

Quick rundown:

1) On Broadway was a little slow, though Brooklyn Steele-Tate maintains her rightful place as one of the best hostesses in town. Yves St. Michael from Lexington has some fierce outfits and a great southern drawl, but I think the little tiny stage at OB's scared her. Coco, of course, was fierce. Saw Santana Storm, who informed me she works weekends now so we won't see as much of her. Miss you baby.














Brooklyn spanking a birthday boy. Mama had to lose her hair and earrings.

2) Ended up at the Dock, the dirty dirty Dock :-) that we all love. Jessica Dimon and Bella Dolce finishing one of their famously long shows -- ended at 1:30? cut it short, girls we want to DANCE -- and I don't think a group number to Seasons of Love is the best way to end a show. But Jessica is always amazing, and everyone should vote for her on RuPaul's drag show, Drag Race, so that she can be seen by millions. Caught Bella after the show; we swapped phone losing stories, but it was nice to see her. Best part: seeing Mykey back behind the bar. Oh, and I saw Cassandra Mills-Best, my local fav performer, out of drag and she gave me the run down on her FIERCE schedule all over the midwest, which makes me very happy for her.














End of the Dock show. Does it seem like even Friday nights at the Dock are slow these days?

3) No alcohol -- lots of Red Bull, so I'm awake. But there is a boy sleeping in my bed upstairs. This is my version of whispering in the phone in the closet.














Queer Cincinnati, the Vinyl Polis, and Vivica LaCroix, out of drag. Don't kill me, darling!














The fierce Coco Bliss.

PS Catch Viv's first performance in Cincinnati this Friday with Truly Scrumptious at Shooter's at 11pm-ish.

Friday, May 30, 2008

BLOGGING: New Project!!

Recently, I was asked to start posting on on Rainbow Cincinnati as a regular blogger. Rather than regurgitating this blog, I've chosen to take it on as a weekly column.

Rainbow Cincinnati is a local gay news and information website that's actually been around for over 10 years!!!! I remember, when I decided to first move here, finding it and using some of the information I discovered. I'm really excited to be a part of it.

Here's the first "official" post. It will all come onto the front page of the website probably by next week. Many many thanks to Steve B. for letting be involved in this project.


RELIGION: Vatican will excommunicate female priests

Oh, good. Because what the Catholic Church needs is another reason to scare people away.
The Vatican issued its most explicit decree so far against the ordination of female priests on Thursday, punishing them and the bishops who try to ordain them with automatic excommunication.

The decree was written by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and published in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, giving it immediate effect.

A Vatican spokesman said the decree made the church's existing ban on female priests more explicit by clarifying that excommunication would follow all such ordinations.
Taken from an MSNBC story.


Photo taken from here.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

PERSONAL: Phone (300th Blog)

Yea, 300th Post! Well, sort of. I think the internal functionings of Google Blogs here at Blogspot count numbers differently. It's telling me that this is my 300th blog.

Got a new phone today -- and it's CUTE -- but now I'm starting the arduous task of refilling my phone book after the phone was stolen on Sunday night.

Gr.

Fun texts coming in though, curious to know who took it, two prime examples:
Cum home, daddy, ur babies miss you.

Bring 15
Whoo-hoo. Things seem to be getting a little better.

Pic of new phone:

Image stolen from here

GAY STUFF: Matthew Mitcham

Initially I found it on the Joe. My. God. blog, article from the Sydney Morning Herald (which is also where the picture comes from, btw).

Here's the pertinent information...

One person who has been by his side for the entire tumultuous journey is his partner, Lachlan.

Months out from the Games, Mitcham has taken the courageous step of revealing his sexuality to the media for the first time, in an exclusive interview with the Herald. He has also applied for a grant through a Johnson & Johnson Athlete Family Support Program to have Lachlan near him in Beijing.

"We can't afford for Lachlan to go at the moment," Mitcham said. "But Johnson & Johnson offer grants to go to Beijing and I've nominated Lachlan as the support person I want to go."



IE: He's a homo.

But the more important fact: HE'S GORGEOUS!!!!

Yum.

GENERAL STUFF: Evil Dead the Musical

Dear God, it's real...

CINCY GAY SCENE: Bullie's Re-Opening -- DELAYED!!!



We always knew the building was a P. O. S. Here's the announcement from Syndy, the owner of the NEW Bullfishes, via facebook:

WE ARE SENDING OUT A FORMAL APOLOGY TO EVERYONE D/T THE DELAY IN OUR GRAND OPENING. WE HAD AN UNFORSEEN EMERGENCY ELECTRICAL ISSUE WHICH FORCED US TO MAKE A DECISION TO RESCHEDULE THE GRAND OPENING (UNLESS YOU LIKE WARM BEER & DRINKS AND DONT MIND BEING IN THE DARK). HOWEVER ON SATURDAY JUNE 14TH WE WILL BE CELEBRATING PRIDE AND OUR GRAND OPENING. DJ K-SOLO WILL BE SPINNIN THAT NIGHT ALONG WITH ENTERTAINMENT FROM THE LIXGOOD FAMILY. WE ARE AWARE THAT PEOPLE REARRANGED THEIR WORK SCHEDULES AND SECURED CHILD CARE & AGAIN WE APOLOGIZE FOR THE INCONVENIENCE THIS HAS CAUSE MANY OF YOU. HOPE TO SEE EVERYONE IN THEIR PRIDE ATTIRE & READY TO CELEBRATE WITH US.
THANKS
SYNDY
BULLFISHES2008@aol.com
Good to know. Guess I won't be there this weekend. That takes a small load off my mind.

AND! It's the night of the Lixxgood family performance, which we know will be TITS!!!!!

GENERAL STUFF: Pubic Lice Going Extinct?

From the subscription of OUT magazine I believe my mother gave me, and then via digitaljournal.com .... Apparently, "A British Medical Journal" (can't find it!!!) reports that due to the popularity of waxing, the pubic louse is going extinct. And the Natuurhistorisch Museum Rotterdam is begging people to send in samples to add to their permanent collection before they are all gone!! From the digitaljournal article:

Kees Moeliker, the curator of the Natuurhistorisch Museum Rotterdam has launched his campaign to find pubic lice (Phthirus pubis) a bit more than one year ago, and so far, not a single one has been found. The museum is now going international with its search. The reason for the campaign is fear that the Brazilian may be threatening their existence. The Brazilian, essentially the practice of shaving or waxing away (nearly) all pubic hair has become so popular with women that the animal could be facing extinction.

While the Brazilian is not yet nearly as popular with men, this is not particularly important, since most men are heterosexual (as are most women) and transmission is no longer possible if the lice can't find any living space in the girls' bushes. The situation can be compared to that of the giant panda. These animals nearly met their demise because of the destruction of bamboo forests.

If you have crabs, please send them. I can't seem to find much on the Museum's site either, seeing as how it's in Dutch... or something.


Pic via the BBC

GAY STUFF: Gay Marriage in.. NEW YORK! (well, sort of)

From the Associated Press via MSNBC (original articles linked)

SAN FRANCISCO - As California set June 17 as the first day gay couples in the state may wed, a newspaper reported that New York's governor has told state agencies they should begin recognizing gay marriages performed in states and countries where they're legal.

Gov. David Paterson spoke of the changes in a videotaped message shown to gay community leaders earlier this month, The New York Times reported. He said the move is "a strong step toward marriage equality."

Paterson's legal counsel issued a written directive to state agencies on
May 14, The Times reported. The directive says there will likely need to be
changes in some agency regulations. Among those are rules affecting inheritance
rights for pensions and property.


YEA!!!! I like this new governor of New York every day more and more.

For those who aren't following, New Yorkers were one of the few groups of people, like Rhode Islanders, who could travel to Massachusetts to get married, as the two states lacked a Defense of Marriage Act or any law illegalizing gay marriage.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

PERSONAL: Back to the hospital maybe

So the tooth pain that has been plaguing me for two weeks now has caused a GIANT lump on the side of the face. The nurses here are all freaking out when they see it. Most of them say "paratonsillar abcess" which could eat away my brain or cut off my ability to breathe.

So let's review the last few days:

1) Phone + $500 "stolen"

2) First AA meeting

3) Brain consuming abcess

I'll say everything's just dandy today.

So I may not be writing for a few days, just thought I'd let everyone know.

PS ---> Phone still down. Relevant (meaning: can get in touch with my family) people will be informed.

UPDATE: They gave me a prescription for a pretty strong anti-biotic. Here's hoping it works.

Monday, May 26, 2008

CINCY GAY SCENE: Pride Benefit

Went out to Adonis last night to perform at the ISQCCBE's annual pride comedy fundraiser. Unlike previous years with 300+ people and easily between $7000-$9000 raised, we barely made $2000 and I'll be surprised if anyone tells me more than 100 people were there.

All in all, I had a good time and there were some excellent, excellent performers. But it is, as always, dead.

GAY STUFF: Gay Casts

From the brilliant mind over at xkcd.com (link to the actual comic here):

Friday, May 23, 2008

CINCY GAY SCENE: Dayton Gay Pride

My dearest friend in the world is coming up the weekend of June 7th, and, because of poor planning on my part, she will not be coming to Cincinnati's Gay Pride. (Wah-wah.) However, trolling the web for stuff to do that weekend, came across an interesting idea:



Dayton's Gay Pride!!!!

June 7th, Noon (ish -- we're on UGST here) @ Cooper Park

The website only has three events listed:

1) Pride Festival and Parade -- at Cooper Park, celebration begins at noon, with the festival going from the end of the parade to dusk. Takes place at Cooper Park at Third and St. Clair

2) Commitment Ceremony -- per the website:
The Dayton Pride Partnership is sponsoring its second annual same-gender commitment ceremony at the Pride Fest. It will begin shortly after noon on the stage at Courthouse Square. A group of local clergy will perform the ceremony led by the pastor from Eternal Joy MCC, Rev. Mark Pridmore. Rev. Pridmore said: "This symbolic wedding ceremony is one of the ways we hope to stand up and really show our community we must: "Celebrate 2008 - It's About Freedom".
3) Pride Dinner -- Ponitz Center, 444 W 3rd St Dayton, OH 45402 Cost $45.00 per person. Very little information about this event, but I suppose it's known locally pretty well. I will not be at that one, as I don't have the cash.

All events hosted by and all money benefits the Dayton LGBT Center.

Looks like I may be in attendance, kids!!!!!

And, though I may not be attending any of the other ones, here are links and dates for other local gay pride celebrations:

June 7th -- Dayton Gay Pride

June 8th -- Pride of West Virginia (Charleston, WV) -- they have a week and a half of events

June 14th -- Indianapolis Gay Pride

June 15th -- Cincinnati Gay Pride

June 20th (Parade)-June 21st (Fest) -- Kentucky/L'ville/Kentuckiana Gay Pride

June 21st -- Cleveland Gay Pride

June 28th -- Columbus Pride Parade and Festival -- check out the website there are a HOST of hot, hot, hot events starting June 6th

I post these because I know many Cincinnatians make these part of their year.

Image lifted from the Dayton LGBT Center website.

ELECTION 2008: Clinton as VP?

Bloomberg News reports that the discussions have begun for an Obama-Clinton ticket. He says CNN reports this, but I can't find it (A), and I would be surprised if they posted something so speculative (B).

Oh, and thank god we're starting to talk about changing this system. With a universal proportional system, which the Dems now have, two equally popular candidates could do this every year. Had it not been for a system of proportional-winner take all states, the Republicans would be going through this too.

And just so everyone knows, I do support that ticket (this is an old picture, no one's posted an Obama-Clinton ticket yet):

CINCY GAY SCENE: Bullfishes' Returns -- Take 2

Yea! Not only did I break news with the Bullfishes announcement (and rise to one of the top read stories for the past few days on Cinplify). I was right, on most counts.

The party re-starts on May 30th at 4023 Hamilton Avenue at 8pm.

Myspace page has been re-upped (thank you, Juliet & Juliette), and there's a Facebook announcement.

And I spelled her name right. Syndy Peterson is the new owner.

Welcome to the life, Syndy.

BLOGGING: Writing

This is all written on the bus from work this morning, in regards to an as-yet unannounced project (I have lots of these going on).

Writing is exhausting work.

It's a craft I have dabbled in for years -- having completed a book at the ripe old age of 14. It was poorly written with plagiarized themes and plot devices, but it was probably a solid 200 pages. That's no small feat at that age. I wanted to be C.S. Lewis or Raymond E. Feist. I envisioned myself to be, to use a contemporary, J.K. Rowling, and I genuinely believed this book would take me there.

Now, I get to play at being the gay Carrie Bradshaw, but the perks of being a "writer" are amazing -- you set your own hours, people listen to any stupid thought that pops into your head, and the long hours in front of the computer are finally justified.

Of course, days of thinking and planning -- hours of revising, reworking, and rewording to evoke every subtlety, every nuisance equates to five minutes or less of your time. I hope that five minutes is multiplied out by hundreds of people that later read your work, but few enjoy the luxury of being widely read.

So, I continue with my notepad and the inevitable carpal tunnel I will suffer in the hopes of sparking interest in a handful of people. If you're reading this, it worked.

Sending my work out -- the process of "publishing" -- is the worst, and the top of many books. Check your local library. Even sending out to just my "editorial board" is painful as there is, inevitably, a lag time between when you send and when they finally respond. Clearly, they don't understand the importance of immediacy.

Judge me NOW.

After blogging, particularly after poignant, thought-provoking, or controversial posts -- or, for that matter, just about anything I spend more than a second or two on -- I wait for responses or some sort of indication that someone is reading. My blog counts the number of unique IP addresses that stop in, and I have a device -- a widget -- that tracks who is stopping in, where they come from, and how they got here.

They are the most annoying things in my life, but also the most invaluable because it helps me gauge my work.

More importantly, the single best gauge is the occasional comment from a friend or a random person: "I was reading your blog the other day..." It fills me with excitement because not only is someone reading, they might actually be paying attention to what I'm writing enough to reference it later.

And, of course, there are always doubts. I know I'm doing ok because I've convinced myself that I'm always wrong.

I know nothing I write seems like anything important -- usually just flippant ramblings -- but I write like I talk. And, when I put it out there to be read, I'm putting everything I am out there to be judged.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

OHIO/CINNKY: Cinplify






I wondered how we were getting so many hits on the Bullfishes' reopening announcement, and... oh, Valeree was nice enough to put it up on a site I had never heard of before, but have now joined....

Cinplify.

It's a site where you can submit news stories for people in the area to read. Naturally, I submitted a few of my blogs. And I think I will continue to do so.

Another "thing" to do :-). It's also been added to the blogroll to your right.

OHIO/CINNKY: East Price Hill Improvement Association



Found another great organization that's working to better "EPH" -- East Price Hill, which is approximately where I live. It's a booster organization, and I think I plan to attend (and join) their monthly membership meeting on the 16th of June, as it is less than three blocks from my house.

The word on the street -- that is, from Neighbor Lady with Ivy -- that the group was organized by the development firm that is planning Incline Square, blogged here. And this is in addition to Price Hill Will.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

HIV/AIDS: CONDOMANIA

(originally found on the Slog)

I love Condomania -- probably the best source for every condom under the sun. If, for no other reason, it's a lot of fun to peruse the site and see what's out there -- warning, NSFW. They also have a delicious set of adult toys.

But from the world of, well, them... here are PERSONALIZED CONDOMS!! That's right, you two can be the face on your condom.

Hope that doesn't creep you out too much, honey. But you can buy them here!!! I'm actually thinking of doing one for QueerCincinnati... would you pick them up??? And, more importantly, would you put them on???



Also, per Condomania, I'm having difficulty finding the original article in Cargo magazine (oh, duh), here are their rates of the best condoms, by category:

Standard: Durex Natural Feeling
Durex is a reliable brand, and one you can often find handed out by AIDS organizations, as they seem to be fairly pro-safe sex... I wonder why.


Ultra-Thin: Kimono Micro-Thin Large
I once knew a drag queen named Kim Ono. A lot of people like this brand because of the name.


New Shape: Inspiral Condom
What do they mean by New Shape? My penis is the same shape it's always been. It changes size, though. Wanna see?

PS -- From the website regarding the shape: Inspiral condoms are highly rated by our customers and the press as a "must try." Perhaps no where else does form meet function in such exquisite fashion than in the design of the Inspiral condom. The winding, twisting shape succeeds in producing vigorous dynamic action that stimulates nerve endings and heightens sensitivity for both men and women.

Warming: Trojan Shared Pleasure
"It kept getting warmer... and warmer... and warmer... until it started burning!!! I don't know, maybe we just did it too hard." -- From a dear friend of mine who tried to use warming lube in her coochie.


Polyurethane: Durex Avanti
I don't think there is another brand, is there? I dunno, I like polyurethane condoms. Try 'em once. Oh, and Female Condoms are not approved for anal sex.


Extra Large: Trojan Magnum XL
Everyone thinks they need it, few actually do. Apparently, a lot of 14 year olds in OTR think they do. I just tell them to come back when their testicles drop.


Smaller: Lifestyles Snugger Fit
"Snugger Fit" because no man on Earth is going to the pharmacist and asking for the smallest condom they have. I think this is another type of condom that no one else makes.

I'm 90% sure that's not what it looks like, but, whatever, it's a party

Custom Sized: TheyFit Sized-to-Fit
Well,
this is a fun website to go exploring

Yes, that is the Condom Wizard, kids. And because I'm a sick, sick man, let's go over some of the thing the Condom Wizard "says" on the website regarding alternatively sized condoms:
1. So, your trying to park your car in the garage of love, but the door just isn't wide enough? You say that most condoms feel like a size 7 shoe when your are a size 10. (from "Larger: From Top to Bottom")
2. So, the hat feels a little tight, eh? You say that the only thing you seem to end up with when in pursuit of a high quality condom is a head-ache? (from "Larger: More Headroom")
3.So, the glove doesn't quite fit right, eh? You crave a high quality condom, but you don't want the sock to slip off? (from "Snugger Fit")


I feel dirty.


No word on if there will be a repeat of the testing. But I'd like to volunteer to try each and every one, so long as I get to pick my lab partner.

All pictures are from the Condomania website.

GAY STUFF: Masturbate-a-thon -- THIS SUNDAY!!!

I think the poster below, lifted from the Center for Sex and Culture's website (the sponsoring agency of this Sunday's Masturbate-a-thon) may have just made my blog NSFW.

Is everyone ready???? From their website, via a really great article call In You More Than Yourself by Slavoj Zizek:
"One can surmise that the masturbate-a-thon is the form of sexuality that perfectly fits the coordinates of cyberspace."
PS Added a REALLY REALLY NSFW blog to the Blog Roll -- Robert Black's XXX Blog. You have been warned.

CINCY GAY SCENE: Drag Races

I falsely reported yesterday that there was no existing website for the Cincinnati drag races.

Darling Penny Tration corrected me:

www.DragRacesCincinnati.com

Check it out! And I'm linked on there! YEA! (the link is under "Barry in the City" -- amusingly; if you haven't figured it out yet, that's my name)

The picture to the left is from that website!

ELECTION 2008: It's hard to find good news...

...about the Democratic primary. There's a lot of naysayers and there's been a lot of nasty stuff said.

I rarely read the Huffington Post, but I did today after a quick link off Technorati. And I have to say that I was impressed by what I read.

Regarding Barack Obama's chances of winning and the helpfulness to him of the current primary:

Obama's big trump card in the fall election is his ability to change the electorate - to register and mobilize millions of voters who have not voted before. The long primary season has set the stage for a fall campaign that does just that. It will place dozens of new states into play. It will change the formula for winning traditional swing states like Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan.

In the end, the long primary season has set the stage for what could be a transformational election that sweeps Obama into the presidency, and substantially bolsters Democratic majorities in the House and Senate.

And regarding Hillary's run:

It was clear that the 17-month campaign had taken a toll on Clinton, but at the same time has been incredibly transformative. She famously announced after winning New Hampshire that she'd found her own voice. But, in fact, she has kept finding it and refinding it -- until now, finally, she seems to be more in touch with her own message, instead of the message Mark Penn's poll numbers told her to adopt.

And in doing so, she has redefined and taken over the Clinton brand. Forget welfare reform, free-trade uber alles, and third-way DLC-economics. Since hitting her stride in Ohio, Hillary has transformed the Clinton brand into one that represents working-class Americans. Because of this, she is the Clinton who will now be most relevant to the country's future.

I see Hillary returning to the Senate with a newfound sense of purpose -- and power. With the presidency no longer in her sights -- at least for now -- she could become a commanding progressive force in the Senate....

Even though Rocky didn't win, he was ultimately seen as a triumphant figure. And that's how Hillary will be seen too. Once the disappointment fades and the cuts and bruises heal, the lasting impression will be one of glory, accomplishment, and profound impact.

Hers will have been a game-changing defeat.

We forget that Hillary is one of the smartest members of Congress, and she would have been one of very few presidents that would have qualified for the MENSA organization (Bill being another one, btw, whereas John Q. Adams may have been the smartest of all). There is a game plan in all this. People forget that 17million of us voted for her, and respect her, and adore her.

Thank you, Hillary and Barack, you have changed it all, and you will be remembered for it! (Oh, Geraldine!!!!)


PS The 6-year-old daughter of my roommate, when asked about who was running for president replied: "Hillary Clinton and .... O... O.... Obama" (you can almost hear her not try to say "Oprah"). When pressed about John McCain, she says, in all seriousness: "MOM! He lost already!" This is a big turnaround, as they were rooting for the former Senator from Tennessee because they share the same last name, but were very disappointed when ol'Fred wasn't winning on Super tuesday. I think they were taking it personally until I pointed out my last name wasn't on the ticket anywhere, nor was their mother's. That made them feel better. At least they were in the race.

LAW: Importuning

For non-locals, we have a really interesting law here in the area known as "importuning." This was an old law that, apparently, was struck down by the Ohio Supreme Court as being unconstitutional as it was only applied to homosexuals and not to heterosexuals. Under the importuning law, it was illegal to request sex from someone of the same sex if they may find it offensive to be asked.

Now, apparently, it only applies to requesting sex from someone 13 years old or younger (there are articles about some other implications here and here).

Now, the law just seems to protect the cops, mostly, who want to go online and find "sexual predators." We should call it the "Perverted Justice Law..." or the "To Catch A Predator Law (as sponsored by MSNBC)." (I am really critical of that group and that television show, and I am not alone in my criticism -- see Corrupted Justice and Operation Awareness. Perverted Justice has now posted a list of stories of internet predators actually getting to children and are fairly loud against their naysayers -- which, to me, is kinda like saying "if you're not doing anything wrong, then you have nothing to worry about" when it comes to the PATRIOT Act.)

There are, apparently, though, real live situations this is used in, and I was shocked to read about it on the Enquirer.

(I assume the man, Benjamin Price, is white or else we'd see a picture of him.)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

ELECTION 2008: You hear about them...

...you know, those Clinton supporters who would vote for McCain that no one can ever point to.

Well, I found one.

My mother.

Here's what the pundits are missing: Clinton is a left-moderate. McCain is a right-moderate. Obama is far more progressive... mayhap even "liberal." Duh. Moderate America goes for the moderate candidate.

CINCY GAY SCENE: Pride is Alive 2008








(Image from gaycincinnati.com)

The Pride is Alive website is back up. (Here is the calendar for the coming days leading up to Pride. Where are the drag races (from 2006 link to NAMjA) this year? Are they happening??? -- UPDATE: one of my "snoops" informs me that the races were announced at a Coalition meeting as on the 8th of June... a Sunday? No website available.)

This picture makes me happy. That's my float -- we built that in 2006. :-)

It makes me happy that it's still there.

ELECTION 2008: Kentucky in...

And Hillary won it. Not surprised. Strange watching CNN -- as they were giving us numbers long before the polls closed. In fact, we had 13% in when the polls closed at 7pm. The split? 49-48? Apparently Louisville went for Obama.

Oregon will go Obama, and he will probably be able to clench the nomination by the end of next week.

Oh... one interesting question floating out there: How did Hillary becoming a working class hero???

And another interesting question: Why hasn't Obama been able to clench the nomination outright, if he is so presumptive?

And why were they able to call Clinton so quick, but they're still "processing results" for John McCain? Wouldn't it be funny if Huckabee or Paul pulls off a really random win at this point. Huckabee, btw, who is now gunning for the VP spot (well, not gunning, but the whispers are beginning, and people are saying it makes the most sense).

ELECTION 2008: Barack Obama, nominee???

(from the ElectionGeek blog)

Looks like Obama will declare the 2025 number tonight. (CNN reports the same, and the numbers.)

It's not true, but it's close enough to the truth for him to be able to say it.

And we have a nominee.

And many many thoughts to the Kennedy's.

IN SHAPE: Heart Healthy Cities

In light of this afternoon's exercise -- which was awful and caused me nearly to pass out twice (a very dangerous situation for someone with my heart condition), not to mention cough up a lung and give me acid reflux -- I decided to search for an excuse to blame my heart thing on....

...and I found it, thanks to the American Heart Association. The rankings for the Ten Least Heart Friendly Mega-Metro's (1.5+ million people):

10. Indianapolis, IN
9. Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH
8. Las Vegas-Paradise, NV
7. Cincinnati-Middletown, OH-KY-IN
6. Columbus, OH
5. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX
4. Pittsburgh, PA
3. Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI
2. St. Louis, MO-IL
1. Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro, TN

Yea, yea, the list is for women. Shut up.

Anyways, I was really checking it out for a ... project ... I'm investigating. Will talk later.

CINCY GAY SCENE: Bullfishes returns!!!



Many apologies for the quality of the image, but it went from AM's phone (whose car I was in at the time) to my phone (via text) to CF's phone (in Macon, GA) to my email. . . all so that I could post this this evening as many of you got the text message about this FABULOUS EVENT.

BULLFISHES IS REOPENING

And here's the lowdown as I've heard (my usual sources of gossip did not know anything, and were actually quite surprised about the situation... so I know I'm "breaking" news here... and I had to rely on the infamous lesbian posse for most of my information):

The bar was bought by an Atlanta man for his local daughter, a woman possibly by the name of Syndy (it was text messaged, and my phone was running out of charge, so I could not confirm the spelling or information about her). However, the reported manager is Brandy, who was a former bartender at the old Bullfishes. This is good-ish. I never developed much of a rapport with Brandy... in fact, I know almost nothing about her. I have a vague distaste for her, for some reason, but that may be about the vague distate I have about Bullfishes post- the Grey's Anatomy golden days when Sarah (or Amanda) poured us drinks and watched terrible medical dramedies. I may not, in fact, have anything negative about Brandy except that connection there. .. on the flip side, I have nothing good either.

My sources inform me that the bar has expanded, having bought the building just north, and that the New Bullfishes will open, probably, May 30th. This is a highlight of my crack team of lesbians who were apparently given a mini-tour today:
  • the new bar (the north building) will feature 8 pooltables -- which brought much glee to my pool-playing posse -- and there will be a wall cut out from the pool tables to easily access the bar itself; there is no word on whether they will be painting the felt this time or not
  • the old bar (the south building) will keep most of the same locations of items, including the actual bar location, though they will expand the serving area to three registers, which gets rid of a lot of problems we had under old management
  • the stage has been expanded and functions now as the dancefloor in toto
  • word is the urinal in the men's bathroom works ... permanently, this time
  • the north building will have a patio -- for smokers, yea! -- which will give neighber BronZ a bit of a run as being the only mainstream gay bar on the strip that has a smoking patio, but they are being smarter and it will probably not be accessible to the outside world
  • the upstairs section of the south building -- once the world of drag queens, drugs, and hot lesbian makeout sessions -- has been opened up to the general public and will serve as a bit of an observing area, much like at the old Pipeline, and I expect the drag queens, drugs, and hot lesbian makeout sessions will remain
  • the new owner has bought several big screen plasma TVs -- for sports, the poss informs me -- rather than rely on thay giant crazy, blurry TV that they used to have
  • there will be nights with cover charge; however, they will give you a free drink coupon on those nights to offset the cost of the cover
  • the name and logo will remain the same, as they were purchased by the new owner
QueerCincinnati will be there on opening night, will you?

Monday, May 19, 2008

CINCY GAY SCENCE: QueCin @ Pride is Alive 2008

We'll be at Pride is Alive 2008 this year, guys and gals!!! (The official Pride is Alive website doesn't seem to be working.) My dear friend LV over at Juliet and Juliette, also the founders of Generation Pride (their company) have asked me to man their table Saturday, June 14th.

So I'll be there with my camera. Stop by and see me. Because if this year is like the last few...

...well, there are new faces running the show, let's give them a chance, yes?

PS This is also your opportunity, my dear four or five readers, to have input on a flyer design. Whether it be a new image for QueerCincinnati, or a review of the blog... yes, I'll even use "pointless queer drivel..." so that I can get some advertising out of this :-).

Saturday, May 17, 2008

OHIO/CINNKY: Update on Equal Housing and Employment Act

This is from the Other Paper in Columbus.
The folks who testified on Senate Bill 305 could have saved themselves time and the strain on their vocal chords Tuesday morning. The senators listening to them already have made up their minds.

SB 305 would outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Four members of the Senate Civil Justice Committee support it, and three are against it.

Two members are on the fence—Republicans Steve Stivers and Bill Seitz, neither of whom was present for Tuesday’s testimony. Stivers was on a plane from Washington, D.C., and Seitz was, for whatever reason, sitting on the Statehouse patio chatting with another senator, Tom Niehaus.

The bill’s supporters probably would have been happy to deliver their speeches outside the patio if they’d known Seitz was there. After all, it was a beautiful day.

On the other hand, an endorsement from Seitz might not do much for the bill, anyway. While Seitz would give the legislation a majority of the panel, that matters only if the bill ever comes up for a committee vote. And it might not.

One conspiracy floated by the SB 305’s supporters earlier this week is that the bill is being secretly killed by Stivers. A Columbus Republican, Stivers is running against Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy for what promises to be a tightly contested congressional race in Ohio’s 15th District. The rumor goes that Stivers doesn’t want to annoy his friends in the gay community or his socially conservative allies in the Republican Party; therefore he’d like to avoid a vote altogether.

Stivers said that theory is hogwash and in fact he wants to vote for the bill—though he has serious questions.

“I’m for it in concept,” he said. “I’ve got a concern about people being able to provide themselves the protections by volunteering information in an interview that’s illegal to be asked. So we’re trying to work through those concerns.”

He thinks his apprehension can be quelled by an amendment that would prohibit gays or lesbians from informing potential employers of their sexual orientations. Stivers said he’s optimistic that Equality Ohio, the primary organization behind SB 305, will be open to a satisfactory solution.


And from another blogger, their response is building:
Senators, the gay agenda is radical, militant and well funded. If you pass the gay bill of rights, SB 305, they will flood Ohio businesses with lawsuits and will drive businesses out of the state.

The bill effectively creates a new protected victim group with special rights and privileges. It uses the majesty of the law to vindicate and honor anti-family sexual practices. If you believe that the family consists of a husband, a wife and children, you must also understand that a vote for this bill is an anti-family vote.

Thousands of parents might pull their children out of public schools because SB 305 offers transvestites the right to teach and I suppose that would include teaching while wearing kinky articles of clothing. The kids will be permitted to attend school wearing "sexual-identity" clothing and the classroom might resemble a gay bordello. The school's multicultural carnivals might include a table exhibiting racy sexual-identity behavior and clothing. Why must the public schools become gay-advocacy societies?

The personal freedom of the citizens is outraged by this bill. Our property is no longer our own because the state will instruct us to whom we must sell and rent property. If one fails to sell his property to a transvestite or a sexual exhibitionist he can be taken to court.

This sloppy piece of legislation is written so that various interpretations can be construed. A defenders of SB 305 can creatively construes this bill to create the illusion that it will cause no harm. He can then blithely dismisses objections. However, we can count upon the liberal judges to be aggressive in how they construe of this law — and inflict the greatest possible damage on the family, on business and on society.

OHIO/CINNKY: The Banks Survey

Via The Banks Blog (and The 'Nati Life), David Pepper has posted an online survey of how we feel about the banks.

Take a moment to fill it out.

POP CULTURE: I'm UP! And I love Roseanne

Roseanne is on at 5am on Nick at Night!!!

I love Roseanne!



This clip made me giggle. I really should go back to bed before the sun rises. *SIGH*

BLOGGING: Over connected and not busy

Adding twitter this morning made me laugh. Now, I am active with the following social sites:

-Blogger
-Twitter
-Gmail
-Myspace
-Facebook

All this social connection, and no social life. I took my brother's advice, and the advice of my dear friend on the street a few weeks ago: leading a boring life. This is boring.

BLOGGING: Twitter and email

I have finally entered the 21st century... I think?





I joined twitter. Add me as a friend... here. (At the moment, I just have Benjamin Nicholas (I have officially become your stalker, Benjamin) as a friend, because, for some reason, the only other person I know for sure is on twitter is Jackie :-)).

And, if that doesn't work, I've officially created a Blog email account: queercincinnati@gmail.com.

Yea!!!!

Oh, and I'm looking into a domain name. Is it justified? Probably not. But "www.queercincinnati.com" has a nice ring to it. It shouldn't alter anyone's links as the blogspot account should still be up and running. And you'll all notice that the name of the blog has changed to Queer Cincinnati.

Things are a changing!!!

PS If you're watching the FEEDJIT Traffic thing to your RIGHT (now), you'll notice a lot of people coming in because of the SPEEDO'S blog. I checked it out. The picture on there of the two guys is like the fourth or fifth image if you search for SPEEDO'S on google images.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

OHIO/CINNKY: Bus Rider -- Week 4

I've been a bus rider for... four weeks now. Wow.

I don't know what happened to the time, but the car is a distant and fading memory, well, except that it's sitting in my driveway. I still remain in the ranks of people who have a broken down car on their property. A few notes:

1) Rain + Bus = SUCK
2) It's actually cheaper to take the 2X (the TANK) to the airport than it is to take a car -- even cheaper than being driven. (Oh, and YEA!)
3) Keep your music, and your head, down -- I was yelled out for my music.
4) I'm a really really fast reader -- around 2000 pages since this all began. I just finished Shogun... and will pick up The First Man in Rome tonight.
5) I have no food in the house. I need someone to take me to the grocery store, or a day off so that I can figure that out.
6) I'm losing weight just by walking.
7) Turn off your cell phone volume -- I've been yelled at for that.
8) Give yourself lots and lots of time. LOL

Anyways, but there are some fun things over at CityKin ... like how nice it would have been to have a comprehensive public transit system here in Cincy had the voters approved it in 2002.

Oh, and apparently I'm not the only one picking up the bus, as CityKin reports. From the same NYTimes article, the funniest quote: "Nobody believed that people would actually give up their cars to ride public transportation,” said Joseph J. Giulietti, executive director of the authority.

And for those who are driving around:



Wah-wah.

HIV/AIDS: non-IDU HCV in MSM's

HA! The alphabet soup of AIDS attacks!!!

To translate the title:

"Human Immunodeficiency Disorder/Acquired Immune Deficiency Disorder: Non-Intravenous Drug Use (IDU) Hepatitis C Virus in Men who have Sex with Men"

And the link is here (from the Journal of Infectious Diseases)

Apparently, there's a little bit of a new trend in Hepatitis C infection -- usually linked almost universally to injectible drug use and HIV-positive sexual transmissions -- in non-IDU and non-HIV men who have sex with men.

Dangers ahead.

LAW: And then there were two...

From In re Marriage Cases (the full case can be found here):

Furthermore, in contrast to earlier times, our state now recognizes that an individual’s capacity to establish a loving and long-term committed relationship with another person and responsibly to care for and raise children does not depend upon the individual’s sexual orientation, and, more generally, that an individual’s sexual orientation — like a person’s race or gender — does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or withhold legal rights. We therefore conclude that in view of the substance and significance of the fundamental constitutional right to form a family relationship, the California Constitution properly must be interpreted to guarantee this basic civil right to all Californians, whether gay or heterosexual, and to same-sex couples as well as to opposite-sex couples.

Congratulations, California, you're on your way. Now Schwarzenegger has to sign... he deferred to the court before.

LAW: California Supreme Court Ruling...

....regarding gay marriage comes this morning at 10am.

The question:

This case includes the following issue: Does California’s statutory ban on marriage between two persons of the same sex violate the California Constitution by enying equalprotection of the laws on the basis of sexual orientation or sex, by infringing on the fundamental right to marry, or by denying the right to privacy and freedom of expression?

Joe. My. God. reports the ruling should be favorable.

The announcement is here (WARNING PDF).

ELECTION 2008: Inevitable wussiness


Photo courtesy CNN

Why did it take John Edwards so long to endorse?

Because he wanted to see who would win. So they would like him. And they would give him a job.
Because he doesn't have a job.

Most powerful unemployed person in the country (Bill Clinton had that job, but he's kind of blown any excuse for "power" he had, hasn't he?)

Wuss.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

OHIO/CINNKY: For Queen City Survey

Look what I found!!!! I'm not saying you were a liar, I just had never seen it. Forgive the weird shot -- kinda arty, really -- but it was raining, and I finally had my camera on me.

For those who don't follow, Queen City Survey had posted about the Gwynne Building downtown on the corner of Main and 6th. And, as my bus stop is literally half a block up, I was shocked I had never seen it. So I called him a liar and promised that I would publicly post a picture of it when I had seen it! :-) Here it is -- the Gwynne Building!

OHIO/CINNKY: Jerry Springer, the Opera, Take 2


Follow up to blog post about New Stage Collective's presentation of Jerry Springer: The Opera.

I am on darling Penny Tration's listserv -- which always serves as an exciting and wonderful reminder of what's going on in the world of gay Cincinnati -- and she informs me that her partner is the lead role in the play!!!!! :-) So you know, definitely, that I will be watching for him!!! (He's made darling Penny so so happy; I've known her for many many years, and it makes me glad to know that she's this happy. Through everything else, and I'm sure she's 100% aware of what's gone on, she's been wonderful to me and truly dear. There is so much grand and good karma that I wish upon her.)

Anyways, I have been informed that there will be an after-party after the premiere on June 26th @ Below Zero, at approximately 1030pm. Now, I have been judgmental about Below Zero in the past, as I had not been there. I will say this, now that I have visited: it is a very nice bar. I did not get a sense of the crowd as it was last call when AM and I walked in, but it was a very nicely laid out bar. And I was very happy to see some friendly and wonderful faces working there. I had a great time, the 30 minutes I was there. I'm sure I will have a great time there after the opening of the show.

To check out the show and purchase your tickets -- Penny is trying to get the show sold out at the premiere, which should not be difficult -- go here, they are $21. There are no assigned seats.

PS I just noticed that my tag for the company, New Stage Collective, is "New Stage Collection. Hrm. Fixed!

GAY STUFF: Trans-identity


My dear friend LH the other day was drunk and waxing poetic on the idea of trans-identity. She posits that most transgendered individuals, and, by extension, most transsexuals are not real. She has extensive history with trans-identified persons; I would call her a bit of an expert, at least from a FTM perspective.

But the idea got me thinking. There are a couple of things that, perhaps, I have been uncomfortable saying or stating publically due to my attempted belief that people are just people and we should leave them at that. It is the right of the individual to decide, exactly, what their own identity is and how they choose to express it. It's not my place to judge, right???

Except there seems to be a lot of transidentified persons in the world who are not actively seeking a "solution" to it.

There are a couple of things that strike me:

1) First of all, it bothers me that "Gender Identity Dysphoria" is the only "psychological illness" (per the DSM-IV) that is "cured" by a physical surgery. In order to be approved for that surgery, in fact, you have to have a psychiatrist diagnose you with GID. That's troublesome -- though I understand there are other mental problems that have biological bases, and I would not be surprised if there are surgeries in the future to deal with autism, depression, and a multitude of other mental illnesses.

2) Second of all, trans-identity is just that ... an identity. Who cares??? The fact that people can now come out as trans is indicative of a mood shift even within the culture as a whole for gender dysphoria, as there is a burgeoning community to support the identity. (LH argues that if you would not have gone through the surgery in the 1950s then you are not truly trans.)

3) Is surgery really necessary for an identity or for the continuation of identification??? Probably not. Would there be a surgery to make me more justifiably gay??? (I can't imagine that would be, although the rash of drag queens altering their bodies to perform better as female fascinates me, as is it truly dragif you have teh body of the opposite gender??? But it is all about performance of gender...)

4) This blog apparently requires lots of quotation marks and question marks and ellipses.

5) Is the creation of the trans-community merely an extension of discomforts around alternative gender performance ... a separation from the traditional, for example, butch/femme dichotomy of lesbians? And, in the world of gay men, the drag queens embracing their feminity but unable to understand themselves as a super-effeminant man within a culture that accepts only heterosexuality as the pinnacle of homosexual desire.

6) The sexualization of alternate gender performance... hm. Fetishization, more specifically.

I believe the fifth point is most salient to the discussion, as the role of gender within a community of sexual minorities is one that is becoming louder and louder in public discourse. I have been labelled, in the past, as "same gendered loving" because there are attractions to male-identified biological females (I know one of them is probably reading this blog these days). The label was placed on me because I seem to date (and be attracted to) more masculine presenting persons, while presenting as more effeminant, more "gay," myself. However, I do not present as female, I still ultimately present as a male, a gay male. So I am attracted to my same gender, but not my same sex. But that does not diminish my homosexuality.

But, again, the question comes down to that gender question -- I am not "str8 acting" or "masc" as they post on the "dot com" (gay.com) or on craigslist. I can't even fool myself anymore.

A dear friend of mine from college has recently come out as "non-male, non-female." He does not identify as trans, but, rather, he identifies outside of gender... gender neutral, perahps, but performs publically as male. What does that mean? He has no desire to alter his sex, but he knows that his sex-gender ratio is not 1-1. Is there pressure for him to actively identify as trans? Or, does he now fall into this somewhat unusual terminology that has sprung up "genderqueer" -- that is, a rejection of the two gender dichotomy. However, the rhetoric around it seems to create a triad of gender identities -- male, female, and genderqueer. I would rather subscribe to the notion that there is an ongoing spectrum of gender identities, much like we have with our sexualities and a large group of other identities.

But this is of minimal importance to the discussion at hand.

The question remains: is there such thing as trans-identity, or is fake, created out of the ability tocreated and the need to be different, to somehow squeeze oneself into an existing pattern? "It's there, I'm gender dysphoric, therefore that's where I belong."

The question is moot. Because, guess what, it's not my place to judge. Identity is your own, and, if people choose to identify as trans, that's fine... if it really means that they are crying out for some sort of acceptance because their "home community" (gay/lesbian/bi) is now rejecting them based on a more heteronormative approach to gender -- "men act like men" and "women act like women" -- than that's a fault of that communities', not of the individuals that are affected by it.

For me, I identify as genderqueer. I think...

...for now.

Because, in the end, as there is a wide spectrum of gender identities and variants, there is also the possibility for an individuals life to move all over the spectrum throughout their lifespan.

And that, my dears, is the essence of diversity, neh? (Sorry, been reading Shogun)

PS -- And if you choose to sexualixe, fetishize (or de-sexualize, or de-fetishize) me based on my chosen gender, then i have one thing to say: FUCK OFF.

OHIO/CINNKY: Equal Housing and Employment Act -- Part 2

I just began a Facebook group (here) for those who are interested in a little "ground swell activism" (I hate the term grass roots... I ain't no root, and if it's activism, then I think "swell" is a great word).

And for those who are interested, I continue to suggest a couple of things you can do:

1) Email your state representatives and senators. For those who don't know how to contact them off the top of their head, the information can easily be accessed here: http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/

2) Email the current sponsors and thank them. You can just as easily go to the above website and search for them. Here are their names:


House: D. Stewart (introducer)**, Peterson (introducer), Skindell**, Beatty, Redfern, Foley, Celeste, Koziura, Brady, Budish, Ujvagi, Yates, Chandler, R. Hagan, Brown**, Szollosi, Yuko

Senate: D. Miller (introducer and author), Smith, Cafaro, Morano, R. Miller, Roberts, Kearney**, Sawyer, Fedor**, Goodman**, Boccieri

3) Email the members of the two Committees -- State Government and Elections (House) and Judiciary -- Civil Justice (Senate) -- to push it through and have it pass in the General Assembly! The starred members above sit on those committees. But for the rest of them:

Senate, Judiciary -- Civil Justice Committee: Goodman (R, Chair, sponsor), Schuring (R, Vice Chair), Buehrer (R), Faber (R), Seitz (R -- see below), Stivers (R), Kearney (D, Ranking Minority Member, sponsor), Fedor (D, sponsor), Mason (D)
A note on Seitz -- he is rabidly anti-gay and a proponent of the Defense of Marriage Act in Ohio, was actually one of the original
sponsors (perhaps the author?). I actually arranged a protest outside of his law offices in Cincinnati.


House, State Government and Elections: Daniels (R, Chair), Hite (R, Vice Chair), Carmichael (R), Collier (R), DeWine (R), Flowers (R), Reinhard (R), Schneider (R), D. Stewart (D, Ranking Minority Member, sponsor and introducer), Book (D), Brown (D), Domenick (D), Lundy (D), Skindell (D, sponsor), Sykes (D)

4) Email Ted Strickland -- http://governor.ohio.gov/Default.aspx?tabid=448 --and tell him to publically support it.

5) Lobby them in person or in a real live letter.

It's easy to do all of this. I recommend you try a little armchair acitivism today. And, if nothing else, contact Equality Ohio or Do What's Right, Ohio! for more information!

----

Update:

Got a response back from Gov. Strickland.

Thank you for writing with regard to enhancing equality at the workplace and in housing. I appreciate you taking the time to share your concerns and opinions with me.

At this time, there is legislation pending before Ohio’s 127th General Assembly having to do with this issue, namely House Bill 502 and Senate Bill 305. Please be assured I will be mindful of the views you expressed. I also encourage you to communicate your views with your legislators as bills before the General Assembly are reviewed by your State Senator and Representative.

If you would like to contact your State Senator and Representative, you may call the Ohio Senate Clerk at (614) 466-4900 and the Ohio House of Representatives Clerk at (614) 466-3357.

Once again, I appreciate your writing to me. Please do not hesitate to contact my office if we can assist you in the future.

Sincerely,


Ted Strickland

Governor

It's kinda blah, but who knows. It doesn't give a position either way, though it uses "politically positive" language -- "enhancing equality". But, it's important. Still have not heard back from either my state Rep. Driehaus (but he's kinda in the middle of a scandal that's just plain silly) and state Sen. Kearney.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

POLITICS: Voting Against Mother's Day

I once sat through the SC state legislative session; I know how tedious the PROCEDURE is, but how important it can be to keep everything nice. I think the House Republicans in DC, desperate for attention and dying to do something to piss the Dems off, may have made the wrong decision on this one.

On Wednesday afternoon, the House had just voted, 412 to 0, to pass H. Res. 1113, "Celebrating the role of mothers in the United States and supporting the goals and ideals of Mother's Day," when Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.), rose in protest.

"Mr. Speaker, I move to reconsider the vote," he announced.

Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.), who has two young daughters, moved to table Tiahrt's request, setting up a revote. This time, 178 Republicans cast their votes against mothers.

It has long been the custom to compare a popular piece of legislation to motherhood and apple pie. Evidently, that is no longer the standard. Worse, Republicans are now confronted with a John Kerry-esque predicament: They actually voted for motherhood before they voted against it.

Republicans, unhappy with the Democratic majority, have been using such procedural tactics as this all week to bring the House to a standstill, but the assault on mothers may have gone too far. House Minority Leader John Boehner, asked yesterday to explain why he and 177 of his colleagues switched their votes, answered: "Oh, we just wanted to make sure that everyone was on record in support of Mother's Day."

That's from the Washington Post article here. To sum up: in order to cause a delay in the procedures, and thus delaying a housing bill, they stopped a unanimous vote in support of mother's day by ordering another type of vote, which a large group then voted against, but, I believe, still passed as majority rules. IE: 178 Republicans voted against a bill supporting Mother's Day, and, instead of it disappearing into the nether realm of procedure, the bill passed and now they're on record as voting against it.

When the filibuster question came up the other directions -- Dems wanting attention -- at least they did it for something of value, and didn't go after a Mother's Day Bill.

But, whatever, mom, I still love you, even if Rep Boehner (ick, an Ohio rep) doesn't like you.

PERSONAL: Shave and a haircut

This is what happens when you use your father's moustache trimmer on your head. Wah-wah.

IN SHAPE: Pacemaker

Follow up to a previous blog about my intentions on running the 2009 Flying Pig.

Went to the doc last week and told him my plans. These were his words: No marathons unless you have a pacemaker in your chest.

Oh. Right. My heart.

Set me back a little bit, and I've been busy.. blah blah blah, even my own excuses not to work out sound hollow.

BLOGGING: What's the purpose?

Added two new blogs to the blogroll today:


Living Out Loud (Cincinnati Edition)
Popular column from CityBeat -- I just think it's funny as hell. Covers some rather... interesting topics. I've chosen a representative picture (photo credit on the blog).


Equality Ohio
Though rarely updated, it's good to know the big news that's going on around gay Ohio, right???

Reading through the blogroll this morning, basically delaying the essays I have to write for school, I had to ask: Blogging -- what's the purpose? I mean, whatever, it's rhetorical. It's amateur journalism, for some; personal, for others; political, for a lot; an outlet, for an increasing number. Why does QitC write? Because, mostly, I'm bored, and I like writing to an audience of five, that may or may not include some local bloggers, but probably consists of my mom, my boss (if he's still reading), TY, Valeree at Cin Locavore, and Dan at QCS.

Love you all.

OHIO/CINNKY: Equal Housing and Employment Act

STUPID!!! I can't believe I missed this.

From Equality Ohio:

Insisting that Ohio's laws must be updated to reflect Ohioans' values, a trio of state legislators introduced bills to make it illegal to discriminate against a person in employment, housing or public accommodations because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

"Ohio is among the most unwelcoming states in the nation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people," said Lynne Bowman, executive director of Equality Ohio. "Today, Ohio took a major step toward fairness and equality."

Bowman cited a recent survey showing that two-thirds of Ohioans favor passage of the legislation.

Twenty-one states, 11 of Ohio's 13, four-year public colleges and 16 Ohio cities and villages have ordinances that protect their gay and lesbian residents. Rather than continue to allow a patchwork of protections – or none at all -- the legislators called for passage of statewide standards that would uniformly help all Ohio residents.

"Where you live should not determine the extent of your rights," Sen. Dale Miller, a Cleveland Democrat, told a Statehouse news conference Tuesday.

Miller, the main sponsor of the Senate bill, had introduced similar legislation in the past but noted that today's measures have a record number of co-sponsors, the endorsement of Gov. Ted Strickland and the promise of committee hearings.

In the House, sponsor Rep. Jon Peterson, a Delaware Republican, called the legislation "a matter of human dignity," and said, "America was founded on the principle of equality for all, but Ohio’s laws only demand equality for some."

Peterson and Democratic Rep. Dan Stewart of Columbus served as primary sponsors of the House bill.

Stewart pointed out that more than 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies have implemented similar policies and major Ohio employers, such as Nationwide Insurance, view tolerance as a means of attracting and retaining top-tier employees.

"Ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to serve their community is an important part of moving Ohio forward," Stewart said.

Joining the legislators was central Ohio school teacher Jimmie Beall, who told how she lost her job with the London City Schools after the district learned that she is a lesbian.

"I was devastated," Beall said. "When I consulted with legal experts, they all gave the same answer: My family did not have the legal protections afforded to most other families. We were left with no health insurance, no benefits and no sense of security."

Beall said she decided to tell her story, hoping it would convince legislators of the need to update Ohio’s law.

"It’s time to do what’s right," Beall said. (Link to this article here -- also adding the Equality Ohio Blog to the Blogroll, even though they rarely post)

HELL YEA!!!! To clarify for people: The Equal Housing and Employment Act has been re-introduced in both the Ohio House and Senate. For those who follow, this is the bill that was supposed to be introduced on September 11, 2008 but was delayed due to lack of bi-partisan support.

There is a great tracking site that's a joint work between Progress Ohio and Equality Ohio called Do What's Right Ohio. However, they do not list any way for us to help. Back to the basics kids: contact your local representative. You can find who they are and their contact information here. This is kind of a pain in the ass, I know. It's an old problem I've had with the LGBT activist organizations -- they are now so focused on lobbying, which is wonderful, that not a lot of people are acting out (although, is it possible this came about because less people were acitve??? or, do we simply fail to inspire anymore???).

For the original information about the two bills, go here for House Bill 502 and here for Senate Bill 305. And, per the bill analysis, the Ohio Revised Code describes "sexual orientation" as including "heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, asexuality, or transgenderism, whether actual or perceived." I love love the term "transgenderism." IE -- it's inclusive of the LGBTQ spectrum.

Will it pass? Je ne sais pas. It's failed twice, but let's see this time around, shall we?

---

For those who want it, here's the email I am sending. Feel free to edit it:

Dear (Senator/Representative):

I am writing to encourage you to support (House Bill 502/Senate Bill 305), the Equal Housing and Employment Act. It was introduced on March 11th and currently awaits committee approval.

The rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans-identified (GLBT) persons in the state of Ohio is vital to our state's continued strength. GLBT people make up a great portion of our workers in this state, and their ability to work freely in Ohio without fear of being denied either housing or employment solely on the basis of their sexual orientation hinders our abilities to attract people and employers.

It is also of vital important to me. I have lived, gone to school, and worked in Ohio for eight years now, and I love it here. I also happen to be gay, and a constituent of yours. Though I have experienced no direct discrimination based on my sexual orientation, it would be a comfort to know that it would no longer be an issue here; it would be wonderful to know that my state values me enough to protect my ability to live and work.

Please support this bill and help it pass. I would love to be able to say that my representatives are sponsors on it, but your vote would be enough to tell me that you respect every person within your constituency and understand the part we play in this state's economy.

Thank you very much for your time.

I mean, whatever. It might be a little weak, but, on the bright side, my state senator, Kearney, is a sponsor the the Senate Bill!!!! I'll be writing him a thank you note, clearly. However, my representative, Driehaus, is not. I will be sending him this note, plus an addition as he is also a Price Hill resident . . . and a Democrat!!!!

Take a little time and write your own, guys (and post when you do!!!!!)

From Do What's Right Ohio (via the HRC), a map that tells us which state offer protections, though DWRO doesn't tell me what the colors mean:


GENERAL STUFF: Islanders for Responsible Expansion

One Facebook, I was invited to join the group Islanders for Responsible Expansion (Facebook group here).

For the uninitiated (there's a lot of "i"s in that word), Charleston (SC) is facing a unique problem. Urban sprawl, like all southern cities, is explosive. We moved to Mt. Pleasant, a suburb just to the north across the harbor, in 1985-ish and Mt. P had just about 14,000 people. By the time I left in 2000 for college, it had grown to about 65,000 people. And, from what I understand, it may be pushing 80,000-100,000 people at this point. Unlike other southern cities -- Atlanta, Myrtle Beach, Charlotte, Birmingham, anything in Texas, for example -- Charleston has a very special history, and one their rightly proud of, coupled with one of the most beautiful juxtaposition of natural and man-made landscapes. This is central to the idea of Charleston.

There are a lot of debates and political issues that have come about because of this. From my own 15 years that I can remember, our long-time mayor (of Mt.P), Cheryl Woods-Flowers, and many of our town council was once ousted completely because people felt they were just rubber-stamping development with no idea. Additionally, there was the "battle of the beaches:" Sullivan's Island had chosen to remain a locals beach whereas the Isle of Palms decided to be more tourist oriented. Thus, the "Visitor's Center" in Mt. P had no information about Sullivan's Island, and the major new highway connected only to IOP as opposed to any major road built over SI -- only the sad two lane draw-bridge, which makes it hard to get in and out (imagine hurricane evacuations). The last, of course, is the situation with Daniel Island which was barely accessible by road, but is now accessible by the by-way I-526. You could not stop it after that. There was a huge fight over whether or not the port should build a huge multi-million facility there, making Charleston the largest port on the eastern seaboard. I believe they fought against it and won.

It's a lot of fun to live in a city like that. Always something new, and very difficult to believe how much the world changes every time I go home.

The reason for this blog is the above image. Piggly Wiggly is a famous southern grocery store. I say they're famous, because I see their "I'm Big on the Pig!" T-shirts all the way up here. Wal-mart, meanwhile, is pushing their mega-stores, which include a grocery store. Wando Crossing, a strip mall in Mt. P, had both a Pig and and Wal-mart where the Pig had, written into their lease agreement, no other grocery store would move into the strip mall. Wal-mart, later, regretted signing on as they could not expand -- so they left and may or may not have doomed that little piece of the world.

The whole point of that set up is this: IRE is happy with Piggly Wiggly for helping protect the world against Wal-mart. When, in reality, the Pig is only doing that because Wal-mart harms their business. Give them suburban sprawl that benefits them, and IRE is S-O-L.

All that said (and knowing that speaking specifically about any group has, in the past, had that group leave a comment), and so that there's no confusion: I 100% support IRE. I think it's wonderful what their doing, as James Island has some amazing natural beauty to it and I think their mission is wonderful:

ISLANDERS FOR RESPONSIBLE EXPANSION (IRE) is a grassroots organization dedicated to raising awareness of the impact development has on the natural beauty and resources of James Island and Folly Beach.

Our goal is to provide Islanders with the tools we need to protect ourselves against irresponsbile development. Together we can take action and stand up for our way of life and the home we love.

Charleston has a charm as being a small town -- and it is, in many ways, though it's now pushing 500,000-600,000 people (I'm excited to see the 2010 census about it). It is constantly rated as one of the most polite cities in the country, and their respect for their city and for their own history is admirable, and one that should be copied by other cities. When Hurricane Hugo destroyed the city, followed soon by the closing of the naval base, the entire tri-county area got together and worked as one to rebuild and make sure the city didn't die (a model of urban planning that needs to be followed in Cincinnati). SuperWalmarts and suburban sprawl (outside of the two major sprawling areas -- Hwy 17 in Mt. P and North Charleston along Rivers Ave) should be contained as best as it can.

Hurrah, IRE, Hurrah!!!!

And if you're confused as to where any of these places are, here's a convenient map (because I don't support large "real" businesses, but monopolistic internet businesses are A-OK).


View Larger Map

FAGWATCH: Part 3?

It's been a while since I've posted one of these, but this happened twice in the same place over a two day period. To protect confidentiality, I've got to classify who said them.

1) One of our nurses was dancing, and someone said "why he's dancing like a fag over there." First of all, I wish the guy was gay -- he's cute. Second of all, how does a fag dance? (HA! That's a silly question.) But, I called them out and they apologized.

2) Someone was referring to the "girls" downtown -- the joke is that the working girls downtown don't look all that good, but the "girls" look damn hot; it was later explained to me that the "girls" have to try to look female to create the illusion and get work, unlike the girls who don't have to try so hard. Anyways, the person kept referring to the "girls" as "fags." Repeatedly. I explained that, personally, I find the word insulting, and she apologized and changed her wording. Of course, me writing "girls" may not be much better... it is, after all, their gender expression. (There's a whole blog about gender expression and the search for trans-identity there, but I'm tired this morning)

Anyways, the latest in many many fag posts.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

GENERAL STUFF: College of Charleston Graduation

...was a wonderful success, congratulations to all.

And I'm going to give C. of C. some props. Rather than recessing to classical music, they chose this year to recess to... the Charleston.

It was a little bit of perfect.
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And I'm going to give a little shout out to all my Miami homies, who are graduating today as well in Oxford. Congratulations to you as well :-).

Friday, May 9, 2008

GENERAL STUFF: What's so great about being smart?

I was reading the hometown paper -- Charleston's Post & Courier -- and came across the following editorial.

Really smart people don't overestimate the value of being smart. Or, as an enlightening question of uncertain origin puts it: "If you're so smart, why
aren't you rich?"

Just as being "smart" doesn't guarantee wealth for homo sapiens, it doesn't guarantee longevity for other creatures. Tuesday's New York Times reported that a group of scientists at the University of Fribourg (Switzerland) have discovered that "being smart can be bad for an animal's health," and that forming the neuron connections needed to learn — a fundamental task to becoming smart — "may cause harmful side effects."

Consider the case of fruit flies clever enough to catch on more quickly than most of their kind. The offspring of those that learn how to avoid quinine samples injected into particular fruits in an experiment "pay a price for fast learning," according to biologist Tadeusz Kawecki, one of the project's leaders. When the offspring of the smart flies and the offspring of the non-smart flies had to compete for a "meager supply of yeast" in a follow-up experiment, only half of the smart flies survived while four-fifths of the "ordinary" flies did.

Evidently, to borrow another maxim, slow and steady still often wins the race. The research documented a 15 percent shorter life span for the more intelligent flies,
leading Prof. Kawecki to ask this leading question: "If it's so great to be
smart, why have most animals remained dumb?"

That same question could be applied to our species.

First of all, it seems to be saying two different things. At the first, it seems like it's making an argument for intelligence, but then it closes off saying that smart people die quickly -- but then seems to call everyone dumb. Second off, is it seriously making an argument that learning, and the capability to do so, is bad? Or, are you just being completely asinine and implying that ignorance truly is bliss.

I don't like the way the article was written and I'm 99% sure I disagree with the overall purpose. Education is not bad. Learning is not bad. In the interest of not taking an editorial as the word of god, I searched the original work:
We have shown that genetically-based improvement in learning ability can readily evolve under an ecologically relevant selection regime. Under the selection regime flies that learned to associate a potential oviposition medium with an aversive chemical (quinine), remembered this association, and continued to avoid this medium after the chemical has been removed, contributed more genes to the next generation. Within 20 generations these flies became able to learn substantially faster and remember much longer than their ancestors (Mery and Kawecki 2002, PNAS 99:14274-14279). This response generalizes to other stimuli and other olfactory aversive learning tasks, suggesting that evolution has acted on a "general" learning ability. However, the "smart" flies paid for their improved learning ability with reduced survival when food is scarce, presumably due to pleiotropic side-effects of genes that improve learning (Mery and Kawecki 2003, Proc. R. Soc. B 270:2465-2469, see also a comment by New Scientist). This indicates an evolutionary trade-off between learning ability and other aspects of performance. We have also shown that learning has operational costs: flies repeatedly forced to learn within their lifetime show a decline in fecundity (Mery and Kawecki 2004, Anim. Behav. 68:589-598). Finally, we have shown that long-term memory formation makes flies more vulnerable to environmental stress (Mery and Kawecki 2005, Science 308 p.1148).

In another set of experiments we tested the old idea that the ability to learn may facilitate genetically-based evolutionary change (known as the Baldwin effect). We could show that populations selected to prefer to oviposit on a pineapple substrate evolved a stronger genetically-based preference for pinapple if they were also given an opportunity to learn which medium should be preferred. However, the opposite effect of observed in populations selected for oviposition on another substrate (orange). These results indicate that the fact that a species learns can substantially affect its evolutionary change in a novel environment (Mery and Kawecki 2004, Evolution 58:757-767.). In collaboration with Honda Research Institute we are orking on mathematical and computer models of this effect.

The point of the study, I might point out is not the effect of learning on lifespan, but the effect of learning on the evolutionary process. This is like corporate America -- ie, the doing something because it's always been done that way situation (here, the Baldwin effect, where learning equals genetic selection of those who learn certain traits faster, and slowly leading "learning" to become instinct, may apply). Does this study necessarily say that "the ability to learn" = "shorter life span" or "lower fecundity?" No, because there are variables that may affect that that may not be part of this study. Again, this is science being taken out of context. All this experiment proves is that fruit flies can develop instinct-like behavior by increasing their learning abilities.

And besides, I ain't no fucking fruit fly. The experiment doesn't take into account logical thinking/reasoning (which does not equal learning), innovation (which is not learning), nor the fact that fruit flies were not designed, naturally, to learn in this method. Our genetic "advantage" over other creatures is to think. We were "selected" because we can think and reason. You can't detach humanity from the ability to learn; you can, it seems, turn on and off fruit flies ability to learn. This experiment is testing a Pavlovian response, it seems, matched up with this Baldwin effect.

Besides, our life span is around 75 in this country and most of the developed world -- up from the 40s and 50s of the not-so-distant past -- doesn't it seem to counter this argument?

Am I completely off base with this one?

And being a C student that becomes president means that you become the president with highest disapproval rating ever.