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Cory Doctorow

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My favorite/best tunes of 2010

While compiling the list, I realized that I never bought/downloaded two of these ten songs. I have to list these two even though I did not like them enough to buy them because this woman is easily one of the best pop songwriters this year and, compared to her contemporaries, she seems most likely to have a long and varied career instead of just being a fad or known for being outrageous

Teenage Dream

Yeah, the above video is a little cornball, but it's a song that reflects her upbringing. The best writers write what they know.

Here are the other eight tunes which were made popular and/or released in 2010. First, the not-so-surprising:

Disturbed "Another Way To Die" -- The first single from their latest album, it's the rare Disturbed tune that does NOT feature singer David Draiman's signature growl. It's also got the most political lyrics Disturbed have ever written. The video is disturbing (no pun intended) while not featuring the band members directly.

Three Days Grace "Break" -- Only 8 lines of verse and just over 3 minutes, I have been playing this song for the entire year and am still not sick of it. I almost sang it at one of my church's fundraisers, but I just couldn't find the notes Adam sings in the chorus, even after buying the sheet music. Fortunately, I have as long as I need to find those notes and that odd sing/shout voice.

Linkin Park "The Catalyst" -- It's not the best song on the album; however, it was the first single from "A Thousand Suns". The album will have several more singles/videos through 2011 to enjoy and the album is one of those rare albums that really should be listed start to finish now and then instead of shuffling the tunes. This album best captures Chester's rock singing, Mike's hip-hop/pop sensibility (and showcases the vocal lessons he took in the last couple of years) and DJ Joseph Hahn ("Blackout" is something, I would imagine, could only be managed onstage by Mr. Hahn using everything he has to perform it)

From the "hmm . . that's interesting" list:

Gorillaz "On Melancholy Hill" -- The rare Gorillaz tune that doesn't feature a guest rapper and/or guest singer on "Plastic Beach". The video has to show up as a Best Video nominee at the penultimate music awards show whose nominees will be announced next week -- it rivals "Feel Good, Inc."

Eminem ft. Rhianna "Love The Way You Lie" -- It's not Eminem's usual introspection wrapped in violent word choice that grabbed me -- it was Rhianna's way of icily oozing out the chorus. Her choice of interpretation tells more about her struggles with domestic violence than perhaps she intended. Beautiful and chilling all at once.

Maroon 5 "Misery" -- Nice to have a pop band that plays actual instruments back on the scene after a many-year absence. Still can't listen to it without tapping some part of my body to the beat.

Cee-Lo "F**k You" -- Yeah, there's a clean version of the song called "Forget You". Forget it. This is a rare pop song that has earned the right to use the F-word that rhymes with truck as it just works better with the rest of the lyrics. Also, it's just great that a terrific singer who clearly grew up listening to Al Green and Marvin Gaye is doing as well as he is.

Finally, the song that may make your jaw drop:

Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings "Better Things" -- OK, so 2010 was as good a year for hard rock as it was for classic soul/R&B sounds for me. Here's a fun, live-version of the song. Great singer, great band and it's well worth your time exploring your favorite audio or video posting site finding other cuts from their albums.

Have a great Thanksgiving tomorrow and, if you buy any/all of these songs, the holidays will be a little bit better. Or, at least you can throw on the earbuds/headphones and crank it up when the family arguments begin ;-)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Everything old is new again

I know I have received this e-mail before. This e-mail was dated yesterday from "Amy Smith" with an AOL e-mail address as a "reply-to" address. It's quick to become a classic "scam" e-mail.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pointer to employers for November 10, 2010

Here's a job listing I found while pouring over job listing e-mails earlier today:

There are a couple of good things about this posting:

I could forward my resume through the job listing website -- I did not have to apply through a third-party website.
The pay seemed reasonable given the job description.

My advice, unsolicited though it is, would be to avoid having someone who is not proficient in writing in English create and post job openings. I have read quite a few postings using the syntax in the above advertisement that, when I read a new one written in the same style, my first thought is "Scam!".

That said, with 12.5% unemployment in my state and me being without the second job, I sent my resume in using the job posting website, not the employer's website. I also removed my physical address and home phone number. I'll post a reply, if I get one, from this mystery company. Until then, here was how the job looked from the e-mail I received. And, yes, each Customer Care Representative position listed points back to the same job description above.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Christian, hard-rocking gay man

While this blog was always intended to be filled with posts under a pseudonym (Metalhead39), the use of a pseudonym does not make the person I am any less real. My first and last name has no bearing on the story, though I can say I never experienced hatred, name-calling nor any sort of physical or emotional abuse because of my ethnicity and gender. I wrote this post as a way to give some teenager or 'tween' someone to identify with, especially in light of multiple suicides successfully committed by several boys in recent weeks.

The first time I spoke the phrase "I'm gay" to anyone happened when I was 18 years old. If that was the beginning of the story, this would take a lot less time to write. Within months of my official coming out, I met others who identified as gay or lesbian. I have known maybe one or two bi-sexual people and only know male-to-female transgendered people (though I may well know female-to-male transgendered people and they have not 'outed' themselves to me yet).

The story starts in the mid 1970's when I started Kindergarten in Wyoming. Within my first year at elementary school, I knew I was different from other boys. When on the playground, I sought out the company of and preferred playing with girls. Though thin through my college years, I was always the slowest runner, only played one season of soccer and, except for the typical child's outdoor games, avoided joining any sports organization until college, when I rediscovered my love of bowling.

I was skipped a grade ahead from 2nd to 3rd grade. This made me the youngest and the shortest child in every class until puberty started early in 9th grade. Growing to six feet tall shut a lot of mouths!

I did reasonably well in school, though soon learned that being extra smart led to being singled out. As much as any parent wants the most educational challenges for their bright children, children seek to keep their peers at their level. I first learned the power of teasing and bullying somewhere in 2nd grade and it started with bullying from girls. Yes, that fits a stereotype for a boy who is destined to grow up gay; however, I did not know the stereotype existed as a child.

I cannot recall the first time I heard the word "faggot" pointed at me. I cannot even recall how many times I was called "faggot", "fairy", "queer", or any of the other derogatory words for gay. I also cannot recall the number of times I returned the insult with the very same word ("faggot", "fairy", "homo", etc.) or how those whom I insulted felt as I tried using words to defend myself. High school and, especially junior high where the bullying was most intense, was over 25 years ago. I have long since accepted apologies from those who offered them to me for the way I was treated. I have also offered apologies for those to whom I redirected that rage, anger, confusion and self-hatred and I pray that those who needed to hear an apology from me took it as sincere. All of the negative feelings I had as a 'tween' and a teenager rose up as quickly in me as a grade-school volcano lava flow as I followed news of these multiple suicides.

When puberty started, I would fantasize as I explored my ever-changing body about what sex would be like with someone. The fantasies, try as I might to shape them, always involved only men.

The only gay men I ever knew were those few guys at school who were very effeminate. Even though they were in school, they never came out to me. In the mid-eighties, the Internet was something that was 'nerds-only' and consisted of Windows/DOS computer language screens with squaking modems connecting nerds to a network of bulletin boards. No FaceBook, Twitter or a search engine into which I could search for "gay". Not even a way to find other gay teens in the state or country was available to me.

Even if electronic communication was possible back then, I still could not identify myself as gay because:
  1. My high school years were spent living in a very conservative part of the country.
  2. I tried dressing in women's clothes one time to see if I felt more comfortable. I only wound up feeling more confused and swearing to myself I would never do any such thing again. The clothing never permitted me to express a different side of myself because that side never existed.
  3. While I was never a big sports fan, I never enjoyed the typical girl games/activities.
  4. While I could appreciate and sometimes enjoy groups like Duran Duran, Culture Club and the Pet Shop Boys, I was (and always shall be) a devoted metalhead. On my very first radio played The Who, Aerosmith, Steve Miller and Led Zeppelin. My uncle got me into Rush and I formed a special connection with all things heavy metal/hard rock.
  5. I was very comfortable (and still am somewhat) referring to people as "dude"
  6. For the most part, my speaking voice was mid-range for a guy. No lisp and/or high-pitched, fast-talking feminine-like patter came out of my mouth. Once I came out, I began exploring that part of the culture and, now and then, let the "grrrrl" tone of voice come out.
A few months after I came out, I started going to Sunday evening youth group meetings at the county's Gay & Lesbian center. While there were plenty of effeminate men sashaying about, I also met men who were more masculine than many of the straight men I knew as well as those who "picked and chose" their likes and dislikes without regard to the stereotypical gender roles.

I had thought plenty of times as a teenager of killing myself. Blessedly, I never formed a plan to do this. I could not imagine any method of suicide that did not involve pain, stealing something illicit to complete the act or some way of doing the deed and not having my mother be racked with pain for the years to follow. At times, it was a minute-by-minute decision to not kill myself fueled only by my greater fear of causing my mother psychological harm from which she might never have recovered.

I never spoke with a therapist/psychologist and/or psychiatrist as a child. I knew of no "peer" of mine nor a teacher or other trusted adult to whom I could visit and figure out someway of reconciling my burgeoning sexuality with my personality. The only person I knew who would have accepted me even as a mess of confusion lived clear across the country.

I even have a Bible, given to me as a child, in which I underlined and highlighted passages which purport to talk about homosexuality as a sin. It was not until my early twenties that I learned many of those passages were translated only after choosing one interpretation of the original text as it best fit the popular culture (and, in some cases, the reigning King) of the times. Before then, however, I had resigned myself to the same mantra many LGBTQ people did regarding their own religion: if I am destined to be damned to Hell upon my death, I will make my life on this earth as best as possible until my final breath.

To any gay, lesbian, bi-, trans or queer/questioning youth reading this post, my message is that I, like your gay brothers, lesbian sisters, fellow bi-'s and the trans community, know deep in my heart that your emotional battles are waged day to day, hour to hour and even minute to minute while you are convinced you are the only combatant in a war where everyone else has declared themselves your enemy.

When those feelings surface -- write them down, post them on your blog (anonymous, if you like), find any adult whom you trust will listen and speak to them, paint a picture, write a song, take a walk, eat an apple, send a postcard to PostSecret or even play with the family pet. Dogs, cats, hamsters, snakes, frogs and birds are never judgmental and only offer unconditional love, even if it's just in the form of curling themselves around you.

You are even welcome to reply to this post. I always have a link to The Trevor Project, which runs a 24 hour, 7 day a week help line with a toll-free number so that phone number won't appear on your parents' phone bill.

I don't want to lose one more child/young adult to a bully, even if you have become your own worst bully.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Seth Walsh, California Teen Who Endured Gay Taunts, Commits Suicide

If you see yourself in this teenager's story, please seek help as soon as possible. Here's a good place to start: http://www.thetrevorproject.org.

I am grateful to have made it through my teen years with all of the taunting, having forgiven my taunters. These stories, though, still bring tears to my eyes.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Monday, September 27, 2010

In the "if it walks, talks and quacks like a . ." department

Congratulations to all of those "employers" who showed all manner of restraint in not sending e-mail direct to me offering me a "too good to be true" type of job for the past eight days.

I'll reward you by posting the one I received today from Jennifer Simmons (it doesn't really matter what the name is, btw):

For an administrative job, which would pay between $10 and $18 an hour (depending on experience, type of industry, location, etc.), an offer for a job that starts at $40.00 sounds just so amazing.

So amazing, in fact, because it is most likely a scam. Yeah, these sorts of things can be reported to authorities, I suppose, but this post is really for those who are unsure about whether this sort of e-mail is legitimate or not.

If it walks, talks and quacks like a duck, it is a duck. Quack!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Continued advice to job opening companies

I did not 'screen capture' the e-mail below because the typeface and size of font were so small, even I had to squint with bright lights on to read it. Here is a little advice to start with when trying to communicate with potential job applicants: use a font size and style which is easy to read for the vast majority of applicants.

Here's the text of the e-mail (personal info about me and the name of the job posting site have been removed):

From the Desk of Raaa Baaaaa, President of Sales and Marketing, (name of company), Inc.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

123 Main St

Anywhere, California (they did not add a Zip Code. My first clue that the site was created by someone outside of the U.S or Canada)

Hello metalhead39,

I am sending you this letter because you are a highly qualified Customer Service professional with over 17 years experience who may be currently seeking a better job opportunity. I'd like to introduce you to (company name and link to their site). I'm sure you realize a resume that matches your skills to the requirements of a job is one of the main keys to getting hired. Writing a resume is very stressful and time consuming. Writing a resume that contains all the right elements for each job application can be virtually impossible for even the most qualified job candidate.

(uh, resume writing is not rocket science. Any job seeker in the last 10 years can write a resume with career/industry specific language)

I'm sure you already know that the first person to read your resume will not be a person.

I'm sure you know that the Recruiting Software logic of an Applicant Ranking and Tracking System (ATS) program must approve your resume before a real person will ever read your resume.

I'm sure you realize that if your resume is rejected by the ATS program, it will never be read by a hiring manager.

Yes! One word will make a difference.
You can be one word short of a better job.
You can be one word short of a better paying job.
You can be one word short of a more fulfilling job.

(so far, the awkward grammar and repetition of subject/predicate tells me I'm not talking to a person who is fluent in American English)

The days of the one-size-fits-all resume are gone. If you are seriously seeking employment, you must update your resume for each job you apply for. (grammar police alert!) You have undoubtedly noticed that the posted job requirements for your position have become much longer and much more detailed. (they have not) Human Resource Department personnel and Hiring Managers use ATS programs to eliminate applicants with resumes that are not an exact match to a job description.

Finding the correct combination keywords, action verbs, and objective phrases for the job you are seeking is too often like searching for a needle in a stack of needles. (nice attempt at tweaking a metaphor, but the metaphor does not need tweaking)

Obviously every word in a job description is not a keyword. Blindly injecting every industry term from a job description into your resume may get you past the ATS program. But it will not get past the first real person to read your resume. Overloading a resume with too many buzzwords and too much industry jargon is a sure way to land your resume in the wastebasket.

Recruiters, consultants and advisors tell you to search the web and employer job postings sites. Manually researching all the job posting sites for each job you apply for is very impractical. It is a total waste of time if the employer is no longer accepting applications by the time you complete your research. (in my experience, if the employer is not taking applications, the link to the job posting disappears and the job seeker is told as much) (Our company) has already done this for you.

It is clear that having a tool to assist you to get the right job is a major investment in your career. If you are currently seeking a new or better job (our company) is the tool you need. (yes, the comma between 'job' and the company's name was missing).

Metalhead39, I have read your resume. Your qualifications for a better position are very impressive. However, your skill set does not include professional resume writer. (aww. I'm hurt. 99.5% of job seekers don't write resumes for a living; however, when one's mortgage, food and sundries money is on the line, one becomes fairly prolific and prosaic pretty quickly). You can spend hours and even entire days writing and updating a resume for a job application. However, if your resume does not contain what the screening software logic wants, you will not be considered a candidate for the position.

Visit our website (link to the website) to see how (the company's name) will help you get the job you deserve and why (the company's name) is the Must Have Tool for Job Seekers in the Digital Age. (where do I start with grammar and punctuation rules on this one?)

You Have the Skills to Do the Job!
You Need a Tool to Get the Job!


Raaa Baaaaa
President of Sales and Marketing
(the company name)

(the company) has a strict NO SPAM policy. (perhaps they mean the spiced, canned ham popular in Hawaii?)
You have received this e-mail because you signed up at our website or posted your resume with an affiliated job seeker assistance service.
If you no longer wish to receive future newsletters or emails from (the company), click on the Unsubscribe link below.

This e-mail may be considered an advertising or promotional message. © 2009 (company name). All rights reserved.

(the company name).
PO Box 213333, Royal Palm Beach, FL 33421

So, they can't abbreviate California, but the Postal Abbreviation for Florida is readily available along with a PO Box? If you want to view this company's website, the address starts with 'www.', then starts with 'resume' and ends with a word rhyming with 'rapper' which could be synonymous with a cartographer. Ooh, and don't forget the ".com" at the end. If there was any doubt of the legitimacy of this site, a visit to it without me typing in any of my info ground the doubt into the dust. I could not find any individual person's name or photo anywhere in the site. The photos used are photos that are 'stock photos' one can purchase on-line and use in one's website. Though the service costs $49.00 (not bad for this type of service), my bet is that no one ever just gets $49 taken from them.

Monday, September 13, 2010


From last night by my iPhone. A different side of me.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Pointers to employers, part 2

Two "phishy" e-mails in two days. I feel so . . lucky? The e-mail below was sent after I received three other e-mails almost like it. See if you can spot what makes this one a scam:

1) Be sure the city in which the job is located is spelled correctly throughout your e-mail (it's Glendale, not Glandale as stated in the first paragraph.

2) Grammatical errors make these sorts of e-mails smell "phishy". In the first paragraph, find ". . "

3) "Will an interview be required? No". Really? Is this the sort of job where a human resources staffer with mind reading capabilities just stare at me for 60 seconds to determine if I would make a good match? Seriously, perhaps the statement just means that the employer uses some other means of determining who to hire. If this is the case, it is always best to sell as an employer what you feel is a more positive screening process instead of saying what you will not do.

4). The section below speaks for itself:

NO EMPLOYER EVER needs one's Social Security number in full unless they are doing a background check (which is rare - other info should suffice) or verifying one's citizenship status. If that is what the employer wants to do, that is what they should say they are doing and it only should be given in person once you are sure the employer is making a legitimate job offer to you (for the background check).

Have a laugh when you check out the site from which the e-mail was sent (it is in the signature section of the e-mail). No head shots can be found, no names of owners, founders, CEOs, etc., could be found either. Perhaps you'll have better luck -- just don't give any of your own info.

I'll keep my eye out for any more of these types of e-mails. Please let me know if you spot one yourself.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The 10 Highest-Paid CEOs Who Laid Off The Most Workers: Institute For Policy Studies (PHOTOS)

Fun With Math: I took $598 million and divided this number by $40,000 (a ballpark guess at an average annual salary -- $30,000 in gross paychecks plus $10,000 in benefits). I come up with 14,950. This is how many employees that $598 million could compensated. I'll let you spread the 14,950 amongst the corporations. Sounds more like the layoffs were an excuse to lay off employees whom the corps thought were earning too much or who were destined to become pension qualified and/or 401(k) fully vested. How many gallons of milk, loaves of bread and other necessities does one CEO need? Couldn't any of these CEOs made the symbolic gesture of lowering their total compensation.

What happens when these 14,950 laid off employees figure out just what's going on?
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Job search: a few pointers to potential employers

I received this e-mail earlier today:

It seems that ZEOXMark LLC has a website. These folks also have the unfortunate distinction of being sniffed out as a scam. Click here for the report of this scam and user comments on the scam.

As a service to job seekers and legitimate employers, here are some things to review before e-mailing potential new hires:

1) Send the e-mail from your company's website, not a third-party server:

2) If the e-mail's composer does not speak English as a first language and speaks with a heavy accent, review that composer's e-mail for grammar, syntax, etc. The e-mail is an extension of your company's image. The more egregious the errors, the more the e-mail reeks of "scam".

From the main page, there is no request for a Social Security Number and/or bank account number. Good for you for having a little restraint.

As unemployment continues to be high, these sorts of train wrecks will continue. While finding, arresting and prosecuting scam artists of this sort is pretty unlikely, if we assume e-mails like this are scams before we provide private information, we can cut down the number of hits and dry up the supply of suckers.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Five days ago.

Thirty three days ago, I was fired from one of my two full-time jobs. It was the better paying job, monetary-wise and health care benefits-wise; however, the 2 1/2 hour round trip commute and time away from my life partner were pretty big drawbacks to that job. So, for the past thirty three days, I have been one of the nearly 12 percent of Californians actively seeking a job.

The percentage above is taken from a sample. The government explains it more clearly that I can. I am not sure how exactly one tracks the "underemployed". In all honesty, my math mind falls apart at the merest mention of statistics that are any more complicated than Earned Run Averages. And the financial industry and insurance worlds of numbers? Duh . . derrr . .

So this post isn't about numbers. Liberals like me turn to folks like Nate Silver to make sense of the data. Conservatives have their own statisticians, too, though I'm out of my depth going there in this post.

It's not even about the search for a new full time job with benefits. With a four-year college degree and over 10 years (I'm not saying how far over) of work experience, the working world is like an English Garden where I just need to root around for that one "flower" that connects to me and vice-versa. My resume is posted on all the big job search sites, I apply for at least one job a day (if I was Spanish language fluent, I could double or triple that rate. Sadly, I could not ask for higher pay for that added skill. Another post for a blogger with a better perspective, perhaps?).

I have had only one legitimate job interview to date. The job opening for which I was interviewed was brought to me through a friend. I also have another possible opportunity through a friend of a friend, though the contact is affiliated with a temp agency. Still, it's pointless to dismiss anything out of hand before the agency/employer has the chance to pitch the job to me and field my questions about the job.

This long and winding post is, instead, about the other two times in the last thirty three days on which I strapped on a tie, polished my shoes and strutted out the door with resume, smartphone and business portfolio in hand.

It's disgraceful to employers who post job opportunities to call these other two events "interviews". I'll describe the scenario and just how the experience makes someone with my business acumen feel afterward. I also write this as a cautionary tale to those who are called by these types of employers so that you are made aware of the difference between a standard job interview and the slickness I encountered.

Here's how to know you are walking into what is, essentially, a sales pitch.

1) When you walk into the office/suite, the music is played loud enough to qualify the space as a coffeehouse or a nightclub. Seriously, outside of retail outlets, who plays music through a stereo with speakers any more? Retailers only play music in their retail space for one reason - to slow and confuse customers so they may buy more of whatever the retailer is selling.

2) You have an appointment time, yet at least two other people are in the reception area completing applications and you are not sitting in an office rented by a temp agency.

3) You are introduced to more than two people working at the company, not counting the interviewer. This happened only at one of my two experiences and, for the most part, the "employees" confessed to having worked for the company for "only a short time". At the same time, steps 1 and 2 above continued for still more applicants.

4) The "interview" consists of 5 questions or less. When I interviewed people to bring into a Customer Service department or assisted a manager with hiring, I asked 10 questions minimum. I watched body language and eye movement, delay time between question and answer and whether the answer is spoken like intellectual conversation instead of community theatre rehearsal.

5) Your interviewer is watching anything but your body language, eye movement and or response time and tone to the questions asked. To be generous, perhaps the interview is just anxious to get to their "second interview" with "those select few" that the employer "feels are a best fit".

6) The second "interview" includes you and at least two other applicants.

7) The second "interview" includes a PowerPoint presentation, something that approximates an orientation movie or both.

8) In the presentation mentioned in items 6 and 7, the interviewer (oh, let's call him/her what they are -- salesperson) tells you all you could ever want to know about how the company makes its profit and how you drive how much you earn. While this sounds like the employer is telling you that you have applied for a sales position with commission, you are told when you are called for the "interview" that they are looking not for sales people, but people who are "customer service oriented".

9) You are told that upward mobility in the company is encouraged in the company. Also, part of that upward mobility depends on how many other people you can manage to "work under you". Managers at these companies receive a percentage of each employees' earnings for each widget made. Both of my experiences had to do with personal finances; however, the exact description of the service offered is not important to the post. However, if you have been in the work force even a few years, the challenge to see this arrangement for what it really is only mildly engages you.

Now, here is what I have not read much about: how the people "invited" to these "job interviews" feel after the above experience. The last one I went to was this past Thursday. I went to the "interview" only because my life partner got the call from the employer and he could not recall what type of position the employer wanted to fill. As it turns out, I had visited this employer almost two years ago and was treated to steps one through nine. As the first visit to that employer was "after business hours", the vibe was more nightclub than coffeehouse. I only needed to get within 20 feet of the front door before I heard the boisterous conversation through the drywall and realized what, for the second time, I was about to endure. I did something this past Thursday I have never done to any job interview before.

I turned around 180 degrees and quickly walked back to my car.

I then turned to a tried-and-true way of dealing with the feeling of being a commodity and not a person of worth: a weekday afternoon matinee at a neighborhood movie house. I stuffed the burn and disgust with a large popcorn and complicated, fantasy plotline. It took a few hours to stop feeling like an interchangeable cog in a massive machine.

It took me five days to write about it without all of the emotions I was feeling ending in a keyboard thrown through a screen or a pad of paper scribbled and torn to shreds.

Please don't let this sort of experience make you feel like you are nothing more than dollar signs to a faceless corporation. I went through it and came out the other side of that far wiser and just a bit more calloused.

Yet not defeated.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Facebook Blocks Ads For Pot Legalization Campaign

Let's see. This story is already up to near 1200 comments. Some of us post the comments to our own blogs. Others read our blogs, etc. While I like Facebook just fine, it's not the only game in town as far as publication of information and opinion. Time and again, organizations with flexibility and open-mindedness flourish while those who sink their proverbial heels into the sand are doomed to sink in that sand and fall to the wayside. I'm looking forward to November's vote on legalizing marijuana use and how it will change California's economy.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Big story of the day somewhere that isn't the U.S.

Not too surprising that news websites based in the U.S. tend to talk about news in the U.S. more often than news happening outside our borders. While it's tempting to focus inward and ignore what happens outside of our front door, it's usually benefits us to be aware of what happens outside the front door to our house/apartment because, sometimes, those outside events begin to affect what happens inside our homes.

Here's what tops one news site now in southeast Asia:

and what tops another site's southeast Asia page. You'll have to trust that the screen grabs were done within 2 minutes of each other:

One site leads the lists with how the Asian markets are performing while the other leads with what is being said is needed to help those affected by ongoing flooding in Pakistan. It's not that difficult to tell whose website leans toward the conservative end and which leans liberal.

I've even tried going outside my figurative front door to see what is truly an important news story. I now know I am not immune
to the trivial and inconsequential in a news site. Be that as it may, I think the third site with the silly story gets closer to what the truth of what we all should know as we go about our day-to-day:

9 Signs Your Husband Is GAY, According To ChristWire.org (PHOTOS)

Had to look at the original post. I don't think the christwire version is satire. It's worth a look for the full context, but the HuffPo version is way funnier !
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

How The Unemployment Crisis Has Swept Across America (VIDEO)

it's like watching a viral infection spread. Perhaps contacting the CDC for guidance on how to reverse this as an "outside the box" suggestion for turning this around ?
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Steven Slater, JetBlue Flight Attendant, Curses Passengers, Jumps Down Emergency Chute, Becomes Folk Hero (UPDATES, VIDEO, PHOTOS, POLL)

I've worked in customer service over 15 years. I have listened to drunks, people as high as kites and those who are way more angry and frustrated then their presented problem deserves. 95 times out of 100, these people are drunk/high/angry/frustrated at something well before they get to me. Working in Call Centers all of this time, I had one more tool than the flight attendant had: I can place those customers on hold and collect myself. It is rare, but I have told customers who cannot calm down that I have had "incompetent" employees fired (though no employee was fired) and have offered to accept a return on merchandise though the customer didn't ask for it just to get them to calm down. On some, it works and my employer never had to deal with those miserable customers again. On others, nothing I did or said calmed them down. I pray the attendant's family situation is resolved, he can get some help for himself and, one day, he may return to the job he loves.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A world away fairly close by

(h/t to Jesus' General for the link to the story below)

A controversial intersection of politics, religion and the 4th of July happened earlier this month in Hyrum, UT:

The Hyrum City Council is being criticized for allowing the closing prayer at the city's Fourth of July program to be given in Spanish.
[. . .]

Maria Montalvo, of Hyrum's Church of God Ebenezer, asked if the prayer could be offered in Spanish and translated into English.

"She does speak some English, but she was uncomfortable with standing in front of everyone and speaking English," Miller said. "She asked if we would mind if she did it in Spanish, and we didn't see that there was a problem with that as long as it was translated."

The decision has been criticized as unpatriotic and wrong in a flurry of recent letters to the Logan Herald Journal. One letter, from LaVon G. Hanson, a World War II veteran from Logan, called for the city council to be "impeached and sent to Mexico."

The article continues by saying that the prayer offered in next year's July 4th celebration won't be in Spanish.

I had all sorts of questions after reading this. First, where is Hyrum, Utah and who was likely in the crowd at that celebration that might have been unnerved by the bi-lingual pronouncement. A quick search finds Hyrum about 80 miles north of Salt Lake City surrounded by the mountains and trees of the Cache National Forest. Another quick search finds the Census Bureau figuring roughly 12% of the state's population is of Hispanic/Latino origin.

I'm still mystified as to what is to be feared by praying out loud in Spanish anywhere in Utah, let alone in Hyrum. Then again, I'm afraid of flying. I can trace my fear to a very turbulent commuter flight I took as a teenager. In spite of a lot of study into the physics of flying, the design of jet engines, the training and refreshers commercial jet pilots get all the time, etc., I still grab the arms of my coach seats in sheer terror whenever the "fasten safety belt" sign rings then turns on in the middle of the flight. The only time that cursed ring/light switched on calms me down is when I know the plane is headed toward the landing strip.

Then again, perhaps I do understand what all of the irrational fear is about. It doesn't mean I will stop flying nor does it cease my wonder at watching large commercial jets floating down to a landing whenever I'm near LAX. In spite of the controversy this past July 4 in Hyrum, perhaps that prayer touched someone in the crowd who needed to hear it and did not feel compelled to fire out a fear-filled screed to the local paper.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

first lieutenant part two

Quite a moving moment. This is where Choi's and my paths begin to part, I suppose. Choi stands to be the face of a movement, while I try to write about it by relating it to my own experiences.

I have submitted my first resume. Not quite the same as handing my proverbial "you're fired" papers over to a U.S. Senator, but a journey of a thousand miles . .

Thursday, July 22, 2010

1st Lt. Choi and I now have two things in common

Before today, it was just one thing uniting us. The unity between any two out gay men makes many nervous, giggly, squirmy to talk about. In all fairness, he doesn't know me and me seeing him interviewed tonight does nothing earth-shattering in me getting to know him as a person.

He and I will always be gay.

Now, we both share this particular day as the day we both were fired from our primary livelihood.

While Lieutenant (now "Mr.", I guess) Choi admits to having been in his chosen livelihood "since (he) was eighteen (years old)" and I was working a 40 hour a week (not including the 1 hour lunch time and 80 minute, one-way commute) for the last 16 months, the feeling he described having for much of the day nicely sums up my own feelings in the last few hours since my unceremonious firing.

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

There is every possibility that Choi has a career as a rally/protest/community organizer, a politician or even make some other use of the skills he learned while in the National Guard.

While he weighs his options, I will weigh mine. Meanwhile, with all of this free time on my hands, maybe I'll post a little more often.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

My Afternoon with Amma, the Hugging Saint

I saw her a few years ago when she was visiting Los Angeles. I was feeling too ill to stay for the darshan; however, the service she led beforehand was filled full of music and stories. Amma was so filled with the spirit, especially during the music, that it filled the auditorium and flowed out the doors. A shared "Ohm" with the people in that auditorium completed the evening for me and, as I watched the first few people receive the darshan, I had a bit of an epiphany. The darshan is much like the Communion I help serve in my church on most Sundays -- a sharing of common experience, a blessing said and a hug at the end. Each of us has it within us to give this blessing to each others and those we meet the first time.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Friday, July 2, 2010

Jimmy Kimmel Production Crew Fights Abortion Protesters

The protesters were out in force yesterday and on Friday June 25 between Hollywood Blvd & Highland and Hollywood Blvd and Orange -- about two blocks worth of banner-style "aborted fetus pictures" lining the street much like ads around the edges of a baseball field. They clogged up foot and car traffic both times (I walk that stretch of sidewalk to/from work). The timing on this? Try the on-going Supreme Court Justice confirmation hearings. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0710/39329.html
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Monday, June 21, 2010

White House Does Diplomacy With Gay Rights Community

I'll take a little something done over being ignored or pushed down further regarding LGBT people in this country. It does not excuse any of us in that group from continuing to be present, out and vocal when injustice is occurring.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Obama's Gulf Spill Speech (FULL TEXT)

The mention of our country's rallying to manufacture tanks, ammunition, etc., for WWII and the race to land a man on the moon in the '60s grated on my nerves. In both situations, government was a strong hand and a deep pocket for both efforts.

I didn't hear anything in the speech that suggested either was readily available. And we're herded into praying in the last minutes of this speech. I'm a Christian and even my stomach churned at the realization that we've got little other option than to pray.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Sunday, May 30, 2010

3rd row stage left, one last time

It was Ronnie James Dio day in Los Angeles today, according to one of LA's councilmen. For now, you'll have to take my word for it. One could not wish for a more cloud-free and warm breezed day on which to have a memorial.

The Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills lent the use of its Liberty Hall auditorium for the memorial. As the 1,000 seat capacity was sure to not hold all of the friends, family and fans in attendance, additional seats were set up on the lawn to the north of the Hall. Even with me arriving 90 minutes before the memorial, I really wanted to be outside with the fans.

The presence of the group from Westboro was negligible:

The memorial, thankfully, took place as far from the entrance as possible. Greeting most every visitor was a big outdoor screen.

The attendees were a fairly broad cross-section of people. A few were grade-school or teen-aged. Many were closer to middle age (like me) and a few were Ronnie James' age.

I've never attended something like this in my life. Memorials and funerals, as far as I was concerned, were for family, friends and the occasional co-worker. What could a heavy metal fan like me get from going to something like this?

Honestly, I have been in a funk for the last couple of weeks. All of my usual ways of dealing with bad news had escaped me. Everytime I played a song of his, tears would well up and a lot more emotion than usual got thrown out with my voice as I sang along. In the interest of being there for others and for represent
ing the LGBT fan-base at the memorial, I finally decided yesterday to be there today.

I avoided the lines for a t-shirt. It was not for the sake of saving money; it was more about saving energy so I could sit outside as long as possible during the service. I wound up leaving the outdoor sitting area twice before 2 PM to find a patch of shade under which I could cool myself before returning to the bright beaming sunlight.

The memorial started shortly after 2 PM after an unusual five-song pre-memorial, pre-recorded set, only one of which including Dio's voice. Even then, his was only one of many.

Today's master of ceremonies, naturally, was Eddie Trunk. Even with the stories shared by many of his staff, friends and his son, I managed to stay for the first two hours of the memorial only. I didn't hear or see anything that I would not have guessed based on what I knew about Ronnie James Dio. It was fitting that many of the musicians he worked with in the past were there today to sing and play acoustic version of some of his best known/loved songs.
Nearly all sitting outside with me were also conserving strength and stamina in the first two hours of the memorial, with one notable exception -- the "mysterious" figure on the far left:

Every song was cause to walk as close the the big screen as possible and pose, headbang and flash the "evil eye" sign from all possible positions of the clock (above his head, to the sides, at 10 and 2, etc.).

A few snickers drifted from some who sat nearby me every time he drifted forward. I have to give this guy respect for keeping the hood on with all of the heat and sunlight shining down and getting into the spirit of tribute and celebration which the rest of us were just too sun-stroked to shake up.

I'd like to say the group gathering in front of me in the photo to the left were a bunch of somber mourners awaiting a turn at paying final respects. Sadly, they were swarmed around a poor official who was only trying to dole out commemorative "programs" to everyone. A relatively brief 30 minutes later or so, I was able to walk up to that poor hassled employee and happily be handed a program of my own. Again, nothing all that surprising to be found in the program itself; however, it is certainly another way of commemorating the day.

So, did going to the memorial today change anything? After about 3 1/2 hours in the bright, breezy sun, I pretty much had the melancholy melted out of me. There were promises made to permit those sitting outside to come inside and pay "final respects" to Dio after the memorial was over.

Any leftover remnants of childhood mania over metal were sweated out today. I cannot say that, once recovered from today's dehydration, I'll never again get ramped up over a crazy, fast-beaten, loudly-cranked tune. I can say that, as we all grow older, that the passing of the next heavy metal icon should not come as such a shock to me.

Though I'm quite happy to keep that day as far off in the future as possible.

Outside of the box thinking

From a part of the world where war, drug trade and a confounding political and geographical situation have had to change our country's definition of "winning" for over eight years, there's a story about soldiers making a difference without weapons, hand to hand combat or plans for battle.

Even if the outreach is to two, three or four at a time, it seems some of our female soldiers in Afghanistan are making progress by connecting with women in that country's villages and encouraging them to push past their fear. At the same time, these soldiers are "winning the war", not by destruction or brute force, but by using their (and their translators') words and making connections.

What a wonderful way to change the way we begin to think about war, especially with tomorrow being Memorial Day in our country. It reminded me a little of the story which helped to begin the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh and the revolution that's quietly spread around the world in the past 34 years, empowering women in villages through creating connections and promoting basic commerce as a means of lifting people out of desperate poverty.

Peace be with us all this weekend.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Malawi Gay Couple Pardoned, Released From Jail

Well, at least it's one step forward. We can always find a little room in our apartment if they need a place to stay . . and don't mind the 15+ hours flight here. When we complain here about what rights we've lost, we haven't lost the right to find happiness here. I'll pray they fight to hold on to the happiness they have in their home.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Monday, May 17, 2010

A rainbow

The photo on the left was from the tour program I bought at the only show of his I saw. This picture captures the essence of his stage persona. He was 10 feet tall on stage and he gave an amazing performance that nigh.

What I have been remembering the most about Ronnie James Dio in the last couple of days was the way his songs and style reached out to every heavy metal fan who ever felt disenfranchised, left out, not good enough or just plain ignored. As a not-yet-out-of-the-closet fan of Dio's in my teens, the message resonated with me as well, just not quite in the way it did for most of his other fans. So many heavy metal/hard rock singers can trace their singing style back to Dio's. Though my own voice will never have the gruffness and operatic flair, I can easily tap in to the emotions conveyed through his voice. To get a flavor for where his influenced reached in the world of heavy metal, a quick search through You Tube will bring you to songs like these:

"Holy Diver" cover by Killswitch Engage. My favorite cover of the bunch. They made this song their own without washing away the essence of the original.

"Bible Black" by Heaven and Hell:

Thanks to Eddie Trunk for playing "Bible Black" on his Sirius show earlier today. It was recorded just a couple of years ago when Dio was only 65. He never lost the power in his voice -- almost unheard of for a singer of that age.

Finally, my favorite Dio song, which betrays my love of pop music in the guise of rock and roll. I've been singing it at the top of my lungs driving around in the car the last couple of days and cannot get through it with out tearing up. Especially at these lyrics toward the end of the song:

I could have been a dreamer / I could have been a shooting star
I could have been a dreamer / 'Cause dreams are what we are
I could have been a dreamer / I could have been the one to fly
I always could have been a dreamer / 'Cause dreamers never die, no

His physical presence may be gone, but when I listen to the music and close my eyes, I'm suddenly back in time 25 years in Baltimore.

We should all have someone who can take us away with a song and a show bigger than life. Ronnie James Dio did that for me. I cannot express how much that means to me and, I'm sure, to all of his fans.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A day at the Pride Festival

I spent most of the afternoon yesterday at the Long Beach Pride Festival. The experience (and the spending) started before I even got into the Festival after an engaging conversation with a young Greenpeace member. After the colossal, uh, I-can't-say-it-without-swearing, situation in the Gulf of Mexico, a group like Greenpeace is in a position to have a stronger voice in our country's environmental policy. And, thanks to folks like me, a few more bucks in their coffers.

I spent the afternoon being vaccinated, "cracker-jack" tattooed by the FBI, signing petitions and grabbing flyers and postcards from various organizations' booths throughout the Festival. I closed my eyes and took in a drumming performance, danced to a couple of old-school jamz (the only sort I seem to know these days) and even had my palm read. Darn good reader, by the way, as far as checking for changes in my facial expression, pulse in my neck and/or lack of either. I really have to look in to that as a regular gig: 4 goof balls like me every hour paying $5 a piece sounds like pretty solid foundation for a business. And, if I can turn the goof balls into suckers, $10 and $20 per person would be just icing on the cake.

Fortunately, a case of post-nasal drip and a huskier voice than usual this morning and this story, from Malawi in south-eastern Africa, was sobering. If you find yourself struggling in your own relationships, a read of those two men's situation in their own country, where just declaring your love is reason enough for jail without bail, a speedy judgment and, all but likely long-term prison sentence becomes your fate.

And if you think your own struggles are done, this story shows that the freedom of any adult to love another consenting adult is not yet secured.

I'm sobered up and it's time to go back to work.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

This hurt

My apologies for the less-than-ideal video/audio quality in the clip below. However, the words are easy enough to hear.

When talking recently about President Obama's pick for the next Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan and Ms. Kagan's stated opinions on the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy regarding gays and lesbians serving without having to hide their sexual identity, the conversation Senator Inhofe and radio host Bryan Fischer have meanders into an all-too-telling look into the personal feelings the Senator has about gays and lesbians in the military in general:

" .. you have women, men then you'd have a third group to deal with . ."

As a gay man, I'm supposing I'd be a part of the "third group". What in the blazes does the Senator think folks in the "third group" look like? I couldn't help but visualize a couple of new sets of barracks on some base/post/station into which the "third group" would be housed.

Perhaps some of these G.Is are a part of this "third group". What would their special barracks look like, do you suppose, Senator?

(btw, perfectly OK to giggle, guffaw and/or laugh yourself silly. All I saw in the clip below is some bored GIs with time to kill and a need to entertain themselves. Still . . )

" . . you hear the stories all the time . ."

Do you mean stories like this one, Senator? (yeah, I know it's 5 years old. Find a current story that fits the Senator's implication that gay & lesbian soldiers destroy unit cohesion, etc. My bet is you're more likely to find unit cohesion issues stem from other issues)

" . . we're not doing it for the flag or for the country, we're doing it for the guy in the next foxhole . ."

Stifling the urge to giggle at the unintentional double-entendre at the end of this quote, here's a much more clear-headed set of reasons why soldiers do what they do for us every day all over the world. Straight from the source (no pun intended).

Emotions aside, the clip from the radio interview smells like pandering to the conservative base at its worst. I've learned from my little bit of experience in the wide, wide world of politics, though, that it's impossible to set emotion aside from the business of governing. To this end, politicians like Senator Inhofe know this is so just like a reflex and the best of the best in politics can spit out rhetoric reflexively.

Still, this one really cuts through me. I felt like I was grouped in with aliens from outer space, mutants or some other science-fiction imagined third gender. Then, I felt like no matter how committed and honorable I was with my friends, family, co-workers and people I pass on the street, that my ultimate goal in life is nothing but sexual pleasure. I still can't wrap my head around the third quote above. From all I have read, the need to protect, defend and fight along side the soldiers in my unit/platoon, etc., becomes reflexive like breathing or blinking. The former servicemen and women I have worked with and those in my personal life carry that same sensibility with them well after their service to their country has ended.

I cannot imagine how much more strongly a gay or lesbian soldier must feel about this after hearing this mess from Inhofe.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Read this post with tissues and something soft and light to throw

The older I get, the more stories of injustice and fraud against the most frail of us tug at my heart. With that, I'm either mopping up the tears or finding something soft and light to throw at the closest electronic device.

The latest: this heartbreaking story from my home state. My partner and I have Last Wills, Living Wills and Power of Attorney documents for each other. Still, the thing every other partnered couple fears deep down happened here. I pray that God is on the side of justice as one of the men sues his county of residence. It won't change the sad events; however, this is an opportunity for that county and any other in the state to clean up their act.

************ ************* *************** **************** ***************

I haven't watched 60 Minutes in some time. Though the promise of an interview with Al Pacino drew me in (it's rare he grants interviews -- perhaps the reason for that is in the viewing of the interview itself), it was the main story which took up two of the three segments. The hurt, anger, sadness and pit-of-the stomach nausea I felt in years past as people I loved fought their fights with cancer came roaring back.

I've seen the face of pure, stinking rotten evil in this world only a few times. Last night was one of those nights:

Click here for part 2 -- if you've managed to keep your computer monitor in one piece.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

** brrrrrzzzzzzhhhhh **

Lots of loud roaring and screeching was heard all through the afternoon on the Boulevard. Oh, and there were all sorts of indy-style and drifting cars doing their thing for fans gearing up for this weekend's Long Beach Grand Prix.

The cars looked cool. The fans enjoyed the show. And the Boulevard was once again home to something truly unique. And loud. And smoky.

Did I mention loud?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Love overcoming fear

h/t to CrooksandLiars

Love overcoming the message of fear. It's just that easy. The people of West Virgina, rightfully, are saddened, angry and hurting in light of the recent tragedy at the Upper Big Branch South mine.

If these handful of people can counter and overwhelm the Westborough Baptist Church venom, imagine what fear can be overcome with a still larger message of love, compassion and healing:

Saturday, April 10, 2010


I spent a good chunk of my childhood obsessed over lists. Specifically, Billboard magazine's Hot 100. I had my favorite songs (this one -- audio only -- moving up the chart cracks me up. Enjoy!), but it was so very rare that a song I liked ever hit the top of the charts.

I've had two lists bouncing around my head until this morning. On the surface, what the lists say about our society is pretty disturbing. Just like the Hot 100 lists from years ago, a closer inspection reveals a few favorites that are sure not to bubble to the surface and a lot of other information which only shows one side of a much larger problem.

First, the injunction that's part of a "civil lawsuit proposed by the city attorney's office, 80 defendants, most of them gang members, would be barred from . . " the Skid Row area of Los Angeles. Some that are in recovery from drug abuse and live in the area seem appreciative of the potential break in the non-stop drug shopping mall. There was a small pocket of protestors outside the announcement of the proposed lawsuit -- upset about not enough done to build/remodel affordable housing in the area but I'd guess not upset about barring the gang activity involving drug deals in the Skid Row area.

Short of erecting an actual wall and a moat of some sort, if the injunction goes through, it doesn't stop the dealing -- it just moves it into the shadows and outside Skid Row's "boundaries". The key to ongoing recovery for drug addicts is making the conscious choice to not use, even if the decision is made hour by hour or minute by minute. A stronger network of support for those in recovery in the neighborhood as well as an increase acceptance of the presence of recovery groups and locations would be a big help.

At the other side of the world, another list that tells a larger story upon closer inspection, but doesn't tell the entire story. This list comes with pictures, so everyone's a winner. It is interesting to note that the assertion that the corporations in the list pay no income tax is like looking at a penny from one direction and saying there are no bumps or ridges in a penny. You and I know that's not true, but if you only stare around the edge and feel it with your finger, it's as smooth as copper/zinc gets.

Taxes get paid. Not necessarily paid to the IRS/U.S. Treasury, but paid somewhere. Perhaps a more united effort by the countries to which taxes are paid to demand the same percentage from corporations as the U.S. demands . .

Nah. That'd be like making Skid Row in L.A. a "drug free zone".

Friday, March 26, 2010


Feeling like a teenager again tonight -- started reading Cell by Stephen King and it's a great page turner. I've read a lot of his novels and this one is one of his best in a very long time.


Ratt finally put out a video for the lead single. But I have to wait until April 20 for the album? Bummer . .

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

What is said and what is heard

Here are a few lines of verse released a little over 25 years ago:
'Cause you feel life's unreal and you're living a lie
Such a shame who's to blame and you're wondering why
Then you ask from your cask is there life after birth
What you saw can mean hell on this earth
Click here for the artist/songwriter and title.

Many years ago, these words and others in the song were listened to over and over by a young man who then took his own life. The questions asked at the time (and I was a teenager fully into the heavy metal scene then) was did the song lead this kid into doing what he did?

The song is really about the death of former AC/DC lead singer Bon Scott. The second word of the song's title refers to mixture of alcohols, not what one develops to overcome a problem, suggesting that suicide is a fix to a problem.

I was pretty outraged to even hear the conversation. As a teen myself at the time, I knew other teens who were struggling with emotional issues that teens deal with. Most of us found reasonably health ways of dealing with those issues while the rest struggled to cope.

Was there anger to feel? Sure. It's perfectly understandable to be angry at the kid's parents, family, friends, teachers and school administrators for not seeing the signs of depression in this young man and intervening. To blame a flamboyant singer and songwriter who recorded the song somewhere far away, not knowing who bought any one of several million copies of the album would listen, is the last person to blame. I didn't buy the album, but I have heard plenty of music with pretty dark lyrics and I'm still here and writing. If it wasn't this song, the young man may just as well as found some other outlet for dealing with his mental health issues.

So, what does this guy:

have to do with this guy?

If you've been following the news on the passage of health insurance reform, many a liberal talker can't help but take a pass at what Glenn Beck has been saying about the bill before it was passed. MediaMatters.org has been documenting every little nugget of Beck-ness as of late.

Let me make clear: I'm not a fan of Glenn Beck.

That said, to point at Beck and knit his words / performance to any of the violence and profanity-laced ugliness being sent at some in Congress in recent days looks to me a whole lot like pinning one young man's death be pinned to a song on an Ozzy Osbourne album that had nothing to do with the act of killing one's self.

I would much rather keep Beck on the air, jabbing at blackboards and emoting all over the place, then have any performer become censored. If those individuals who are lashing out at select Representatives don't tune in to Beck, they would only find someone else to listen to and would find the permission they think they need to behave they way they are behaving.

You can't stop political talk just like you can't stop rock and roll. But if the line between discourse and provocation begins to spill over into anxiety, depression and a need to do harm to one's self or others, please click the link I'll always keep at the top of this page.

Then tune the radio/TV to another station.

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