Friday, March 31, 2006

Morning Edition - 3/31/06

Because Maybe You’re Just Dumb
First, mainland China banned Brokeback Mountain from their theaters. Then, Turkey prohibited all viewers under age 18 from viewing the film. Now, tourist-attraction Bahamas has banned the movie from all theaters in the islands of the Bahamas. The Plays and Films Control Board in the Bahamas said the film “shows extreme homosexuality, nudity and profanity and has no value for the Bahamian public.” Will someone please tell me what “extreme homosexuality” is? Brokeback Mountain has received numerous awards, including three Oscars. Censorship assumes adults cannot make educated choices regarding what they want to see.

Charged With Killin’ That Ass
Christopher Youngblood of Ben Wheeler, Texas was charged with 23 counts of felony animal abuse and one count of driving with a suspended driver’s license after he was pulled over in Florida and found to be carrying 44 donkeys in his trailer. Of these, 23 of the donkeys were dead after trampling each other to death. Youngblood is still being jailed and has not been assigned an attorney.

Busta a Busted Homophobe?
If you detest black folks you’re not likely to be found dining at Sylvia’s in New York City. If the thought of hangin’ with Asians disgusts you, you may want to steer clear of Chinese restaurants. So, why was Busta Rhymes said to have gone off on a gay man who tapped his shoulder to congratulate him while he was dining with two of his bodyguards at the 11th Street Diner in Miami Beach? The eyewitness who reported the alleged incident says Busta was dining at the diner, located steps from gay club Twist, when a gay man dining at the establishment approached Busta to congratulate him on his comeback venture. When he tapped Rhymes, the artist turned around and said, “Why the fuck you touchin’ me man? Get the fuck away from me?” It was then that Rhymes bodyguards allegedly shoved the man back. Busta was then said to say, “I hate fuckin’ faggots man!” Oddly, the diner was packed with gays and transvestites who frequent the diner after visiting the gay nightclubs. Ironically, Rhymes was caught-up in rumors alleging he had gay interactions in the past.

On Blast
Stop frontin’… you have an issue, question or commentary that’s just too raw for reality TV. You’ve thought it, you’ve felt it, you’ve lived it, but you know it’s not politically correct to voice it. Today we ask you to hit that “Anonymous” button in the “Comments” area and give it to us straight up. Ask it, voice it, say it, but keep it real. If you’re feeling bold – go ahead and keep your name there… all others, it’s not about knowing who you are today, but knowing what you’re thinking.

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Morning Edition - 3/30/06

Talent, Money and Suicide?
Whitney Houston’s sister-in-law, Tina Brown, came forward to the London Sun Times, revealing pictures and stories detailing the extensive drug addiction the, once-stunning, Houston now has. Tina says she’s doing it to save the artist who is headed for an overdose. She recounts instances where Houston purchased an eight-ball of cocaine, laced it with weed and smoked the entire concoction in a blunt. Tina also alleges that Houston is quickly depleting her fortune built on years of number one hits and a talent that was once simply described as, “the voice.” Houston is also said to disappear for days, sometimes a week at a time, when she is said to frequent crack dens in seedy neighborhoods. To think that Whitney Houston, a legend close to our hearts, would spiral into a life of paranoia, self-injury and is plummeting to an early grave, is unfathomable. Let’s take a moment to realize the importance of our lives. Houston is proving that money, talent, beauty and success are not everything. More importantly, all these things can vanish at the drop of a hat. Let’s pray for the life of our sister Whitney and accept all that is beautiful and real in our own lives.

When They’re Not Feeling You
This isn’t junior high school folks. You can’t please everyone. The truth is, you will come across folks that you click with instantly and others that just rub you the wrong way. As I look around at all the people I’ve met or reconnected with since my return to the Big Apple, it is very clear to me that I can’t – even won’t – be everything to everyone. The funny thing is, I was never the guy who gave two shakes what others thought about me. I couldn’t afford to do it then and I refuse to do it now. So, here’s the advice – taken and given – go ahead and do you. Don’t let people bring you down. The intention of social interactions is to help you share of yourself and add value to your life. When social interactions are stressful, bring drama or negatively impact your life, there is something wrong. It is not normal for your friends to consistently put you down, speak ill of you or not have your best interest at heart. Learn how to choose your acquaintances and friends, but more important, know when to drop those that don’t serve to grow your spirit. Life’s too short to force the issue of having everyone “feel” you.

Improving on Nature
You can work out seven days a week, eat a balanced diet, take good care of your skin and still dislike what you see in the mirror. Approximately 8.3 million Americans had some type of cosmetic procedure last year. Still, only 22% of those cosmetic procedures were surgical procedures, while 78% of the work done was non-surgical. The top three surgical procedures were liposuction, breast augmentation and eye lid surgery – in that order. The top three non-surgical fixer-uppers were Botox, laser hair removal and microdermabrasion. Minorities are now joining, the primarily White clientele, in getting those esteem-hindering flaws corrected. Whether you advocate the practice of “improving” on nature or you feel that each of our unique physical characteristics make us stand-out, it is statistically undeniable that Americans – rich and poor – are exploring the opportunity to revise the original.

On Blast
Duck, duck, swan. It’s important to feel your best as this will convey a confidence that draws others in. Whether it’s your professional, your personal or your romantic life, exuding charm and appeal with always propel you ahead. Is altering your appearance with cosmetic procedures something you would consider? Does it go against your moral beliefs to change what nature created? If you change what you were born with is it still the real you the world are seeing?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Morning Edition - 3/29/06

One Mo’ Time; BET Touches On the Down Low
How many conversations do you believe are necessary to address a growing problem in our minority community regarding sexual orientation and the sexual practices of adults in our culture? Who do we blame for the spread of HIV and other infectious diseases as a result of unprotected sex? Are gays the root cause of HIV infection in minority communities? Last night BET took on the issue head-on. The issue of men having sex with other men who still engage women, was front and center. Author Terry McMillan appeared on the program an angrily declared that although she has nothing against gay men, she resents her ex-husband for deceiving her for years and leading a duplicitous life. Repeatedly the topic of men being infected through same-sex encounters was addressed. Strangely, the main cause – unprotected sex – was not the focus of the program. Yes, you should get tested for HIV and your partner should be encouraged to join you in getting tested. Yes, you should share the results of your exams with each other. Yet the majority of minority women have taken the easy escape hatch that says I should blame him, instead of protecting myself. I’m baffled – disgusted really – that women are so vehemently attacking men who place them at risk when they place themselves at risk each time they choose to engage a man without using a condom. The program also touched on the reality of prison life and how incarcerated men sometimes engage in sex with each other either through forcible rape or simply out of satisfying the hormonal urges a man jailed for a long period of time may experience. What was most disturbing was the repeated message that it is a man’s “ethical and moral obligation” to tell his wife or girlfriend that he is engaging in unprotected sex with men. How about telling her you’re engaging in unprotected sex with other people – PERIOD. Call me protective of my own community, but it’s time we accept that HIV is not a gay or male-on-male disease. HIV and AIDS do not know a person’s sexual orientation. Be smart because the disease isn’t. Protect yourself. Now, if we can stop seeing minority women as victims and empower them to be vigilant, protect themselves and make intelligent choices we’ll really expose something of importance – life.

Shall We Dance?
Evelyn M., Carmen C. and a couple of other friends have started conversations about taking dance lessons to add to our work-out repertoire. We’re presently considering free salsa lessons at LQs on Wednesday nights and two other dance studios that feature Salsa, African dance and even belly dancing. We plan to begin our little foray into this exciting new work-out in mid April. We’ll keep our ME family abreast of what we come up with in the hopes that more of you will join in shaking those bodies into graceful and tight form.

On Blast
God save us all. Religion is a hot button topic around the world and the root cause of death and destruction around the globe. Our belief in different Gods, the rules for salvation or how we interpret whichever holy book you read can set folks blood to boil. That said, how important are your religious beliefs when put to the test? If your life and/or the life of your family were at risk for your religious beliefs, would it change your tune? Do you find you conform your religious beliefs to fit your lifestyle? Is your belief in your God strong enough to validate living a less-than-comfortable life to live by the good book?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Morning Edition - 3/28/06

BET, The Down Low; When He's Hangin' With His Boyz
Author J.L. King released his “tell-all” book detailing his experience as a “straight man” that sleeps with other men. His book, On The Down Low, exploded on to the scene last year and began a conversation long overdue in the black community. What’s remarkable is not the subject matter – it’s been going on for centuries – but the fact that it took this long to openly discuss the subject. Tonight at 10 p.m., Black Entertainment Television (BET) will have a special expose' on the issue – The Down Low Exposed. Guests include renowned author Terry McMillan. In fairness, I suggest folks be informed and read a more detailed and balanced book on the matter – Keith Boykin’s Beyond The Down Low. Statistics suggest the issue of alleged straight men having sex with men outside of their straight relationships is a problem that has been brought to the forefront of our communities and it’s important that we be informed.

Body Beautiful 2006
As the months pass, it becomes increasingly difficult to stay focused on maintaining that body beautiful mindset. Thirteen weeks after beginning this regimen of healthier living I’m 27 pounds lighter and tons healthier. Yes, I have my unhealthy moments – and for my close friends snickering in the background, yes a lingering unhealthy addiction, but all-in-all, I feel better than I have in years. Like folks that undergo cosmetic surgery, I believe the true change occurs mentally. Feeling better about your body will undoubtedly change the way you feel about yourself and subsequently those around you. I’ve regained my confidence of yesteryear and that in-and-of-itself makes staying on course well worth it. I’ve found that the key to keeping active is to not allow myself excuses for why I can’t make the gym today. I deal with each day as it comes without looking forward to what challenges I’m facing with regard to weight loss, muscle tone, etc. I’m not a morning or evening work-out person, so I make the sacrifice of using my lunch hour to work out and eat at my desk afterward. I cut out all sugary treats, minimize my carb intake and drink more water than I ever have. The key is finding what works for you and incorporating it into your daily life. It’s impossible to maintain a schedule that’s grueling and it’s even more unrealistic to think that starving is the answer. I’m okay with settling in at 150 lbs. for a while – even if I’d like to be at 140. The key is how I feel. I don’t weigh-in every week anymore and I simply go by how I feel in my clothing and the guy looking back at me in the mirror. So, with three months to go until ringing in summer 2006, let’s keep encouraging each other to feel good. The body beautiful will soon follow.

Dating 101; I Ain’t Sayin’ She’s a Gold Digger
As much work as you put into being that fierce bitch at work, you’d think you can convey a self-sufficient, self-assured independent persona in your dating life. While discussing the issue of dating and what folks are looking for with a friend this weekend, we began discussing how he felt the person he was dating may perceive him as a gold digger. The funniest part of the story is that my friend never noticed how much his conversations with his new man always returned to the discussion of material possessions and the like. My point is simply this, if you hate to feel like you’re being pegged as a gold digger then avoid discussions that return to cash, cars and homes, when you’re looking for a partner. You work 40+ hours a week and you hold down your own, so unless your new partner is asking you to contribute your earnings to the relationship, stay cool. There isn’t a need to discuss the other person’s W-2, what they drive or how much their home is worth, unless you’re planning some sort of marriage proposal or living arrangement change. Learn to like the person you’re dating first and let them see you for who you are in advance of discussions about how much dinero is sitting in the brother’s back account. Ultimately, when someone cares about you they will make an effort to put you at the top of their list for sharing what’s theirs. Now if your man is a cheap-ass spend-thrift that’s another discussion – one we can have in Dating 102.

On Blast
Does it really matter where you meet them? Some folks will tell you that if you want to meet a good mate, you should go to church. Others will say that where you meet your mate is a direct indicator of things to come – that is, if you met him at a bar, why are you frazzled when he’s hitting that bar later in your relationship. Does it matter where you meet your mate? In your experience, do folks who hang out at bars, clubs, etc. return to those venues during their relationships or can they become more settled and satisfied home bodies? Do you have preconceived notions of folks based on where you meet them?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Monday, March 27, 2006

Morning Edition - 3/27/06

Negative + Negative = Negative?
Yeah, I realize those mathematicians in our midst are scratching their heads wondering what the New York City public school system did for my math skills. The object of this little title is simple. After looking forward to the after work dance party last Friday for over a month, I was baited away with a boy-that-cried-wolf story that was intended on being a romantic evening. This is where you should take notes. It isn’t a good idea to attempt to get someone to cancel or change concrete plans with a cute ploy for a special dinner. One of my special “friends” ran the story to me late Friday evening that basically had me running uptown to help them out after they allegedly lost their wallet. After taking two trains to get there, I was met with an offer I not only could refuse, but felt so upset by, I think I lost my voice making clear how not-impressed I really was. Finally, I jumped on the train and head home to spend time with my nephew who has the soothing powers of a saint. My apologies to the ladies. Now that we’re taking notes, let’s chalk this one up as two down in four months – Nelly is another cancelled treat. Turns out the Rican aggression is difficult to handle when multiplied by two.

On Blast
Younger or older; does it matter? As you get older, do you take greater pains at making your relationships work because of a fear of being alone or do you know “when to fold them?” Do you believe it’s more important to “make” relationships work as you get older so that you can have someone there? Do you find yourself “carrying the one” until the next equation comes up?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Morning Edition - 3/23/06

Blue Thursday
Ten years ago or so I was sitting in the cafeteria at work, running my mouth as usual, when a handsome red-boned gentleman entered the room and rudely interrupted my conversation. He began talking to the ladies I was eating with, without so much as saying a simple excuse me. Within six months the manner-less man and I were fast friends who shared countless trips to the Caribbean, Costa Rica and the occasional theme party. We had incredible times together that in retrospect formed a bond between us. This isn’t to say that we haven’t had some tumultuous times and that our disagreements haven’t been heart wrenching, but through it all we’ve returned – remarkably to a place better than the one we were previously at. Two years ago, he lost his sister tragically and took on raising his two nieces; a feat that not only showed an enormous amount of courage, but an amazing amount of heart. I am in awe of his boundless growth, his self-less love and his story of triumph in the face of adversity. Today, as he turns 44, I hope the best of life comes to him and recognize that odd as it may seem to many – not the least me – I am proud to call him a friend. Happy Birthday Robert B. – Blue.

Even Me
As I gave advice in the last few weeks on how to make living a priority and recognizing the importance of the little things around us, life was winding-up to throw me a curve ball. The good thing is I drew upon my own advice and recognized that life if not always roses and fuzzy places. There are times when your resolve is tested and you are emotionally and mentally beaten. The great thing is, I know who I am, I know where I stand and most importantly, come what may, I am a survivor who loves my life. In the big scheme picture of my life, the situation is not enough to extinguish my pilot light, but was enough to rattle me. Today, though the issue is unresolved, I am encouraged by how the Lord has leveled me. Life goes on folks and now I can report first-hand that come what may, our lives are truly what we make of them.

Shake It Off
This Friday, Carmen C. is having her monthly after-work dance party. Once again, a group of over 30 folks will gather at La Maganette, on 50th and 3rd Avenue, to party our work stress away. The group begins arriving at La Mag at about 5:30 p.m. With a $10 cover-charge, attendees can expect a free buffet and some R&B, salsa, hip-hop and oldies all night long. So come down, bring a friend and get ready to sweat those troubles away.

On Blast
Pay it forward. Several years ago I was on line at a supermarket in Maryland when I realized I didn’t have my wallet or the money for my groceries. The patron that was ahead of me turned, paid for my groceries and walked away before I could refuse their kindness. When I tried yelling behind them that I could run home to repay them they simply yelled back, “Pay It Forward.” Tell of an experience where a perfect stranger’s act of kindness warmed your heart and restored your belief that there is good in all of us.

Keep passin’ the open window…

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Morning Edition - 3/15/06

Taking a Bite Out Of Bad Behavior
Garrick Hudson, 14, thought he could eat candy in class and get away with it. When asked to spit it out he refused and was asked to leave the class by his teacher, Caroline Kolb. When Hudson returned for his books, Kolb allegedly struggled with him and both fell to the floor, where Hudson bumped his head and Kolb bit Hudson’s back. Two students say they witnessed the biting and other teachers say Kolb admitted to chewing on Hudson when speaking to them after the incident. Kolb was terminated by the Kentucky school system. Her termination letter stated she had been repeatedly warned not to be physically confrontational with her students. Kolb has pleaded not-guilty in her criminal case.

You Stole My Heart, But I Give You My Kidney
Two years ago Bill Mokeler and Paul Sagon legally married in Massachusetts. Sagon suffered from kidney disease and was on dialysis to keep him alive. The beauty of their story is that Sagon admonished Mokeler and his own sister, a single mom, not to donate a kidney to him. Mokeler, who suffers from an extremely severe case of arthritis, stopped his ibuprofen medication and endured long-term pain before being tested and found to be a match for his love, Sagon. For Valentine’s Day this year, Mokeler gave Sagon a very special gift - a life free of dialysis treatment. The two are doing well and recovering. The surgery was a success. Mokeler and Sagon are proof that true love endures all.

I think Of You and Smile With My Heart
You work 40 hours a week plus and you handle all of life’s fast-balls with aplomb, but who will remember you? What have you done today to make you feel proud? As I rode the train home during rush hour last night I took the time to look at those around me. I smiled at a baby in a stroller and with genuine warmth, the baby smiled back. It made me think of how many little things we ignore or really don’t even see anymore. How many of life’s little moments pass us by and go unnoticed because we’re too busy going on to the next big project. Will we look back and feel regret that our children are grown, our jobs have consumed us and our responsibilities have eaten away at our very souls? Take notice. Enjoy your life. Your job is important, but it is not your very existence. Your bills are important, but Verizon will not have a special recognition at your funeral service. Smile even when folks are too jaded to smile back; laugh even when you think others didn’t find the joke funny; tell someone how much you love them, even if you don’t think they’ll say anything in return. No one around you may change, but you, your mood, your attitude and your memory will be brighter. We will remember you for the smile your brought to our hearts.

On Blast
Maybe it hurt so badly because you were really in love. We sometimes find it very easy to tell the story of how we were terribly hurt by someone who we truly love(d). Today, we’re taking a completely different approach to the same story. Think of that one true love that broke your heart and tell us what about him/her made you fall in love. What moment in time with them is your fondest memory? What quality about him/her is still important to you when considering new partners?

Keep passin’ the open windows...

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Morning Edition - 3/14/06

Bang-Bang Birthday
Siretha White was celebrating her 11th birthday at her aunt’s house on the South Side of Chicago when a bullet tore through the window killing her instantly. Her uncle, Dwight Stevenson, said, “It’s a shame that people are shooting at houses.” Siretha was the second youngster to die from gunfire in the South Side neighborhood this month. Starkesia Reed, 14, was killed on March 3 when a stray bullet from an assault weapon came through the window of her family’s house. “This ain’t right. This has got to stop,” said Siretha Woods, the victim’s mom. Sidebar: What information do you immediately gather from the names of the victims?

Raping the Willing?

An 18-year old man alleged he was raped by a 24-year old man in London’s Pleasuredome in Cornwall Road, Waterloo. Pleasuredome advertises itself as London’s best sauna for gay and bisexual men and is open seven days a week, 24 hours a day. The venue boasts dark rooms, mazes, saunas and steam rooms. It was somewhere in the facility that the teen claims he was accosted, pinned-down and raped. The building is monitored by close-circuit TV which assisted in capturing the alleged assailant that was still inside. No charges have been filed as yet.

Genes, Hormones, Nature, Nurture – Who the heck knows?
60-Minutes is airing an interesting show that details scientific research which now includes identical and fraternal twins and the argument of nature vs. nurture - what makes folks gay? This study may baffle even the staunchest conservative homophobe. Rather than say too much about it, I’ve posted the story as the first comment in our Comments section today. It’s an extremely interesting read.

On Blast
Maybe it’s you? Yesterday’s story about the 71-year old teacher who had a sex change and returned to teaching detailed how changes in sexual orientation – even gender identity - can happen later in life. If your spouse/partner suddenly approached you and said they believed their sexual orientation changed, would you feel you influenced their decision? Could you remain friends following such an announcement – assuming the announcement was that of sexual orientation, rather than infidelity? Would you ask your spouse/partner to give you more time to change their mind?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Monday, March 13, 2006

Morning Edition - 3/13/06

Mister, Miss; Teach Me Darn it!
Lily McBeth, 71, underwent sex reassignment surgery and reapplied to her position as a substitute school teacher in New Jersey. Parents were horrified that a postoperative transsexual would be allowed to teach at the school and protested – vigorously. The school board has said they stand by the decision to allow McBeth to return to her teaching post. Parents say they are appalled. McBeth says the school board decision is “diversity in action.” The school has students from kindergarten to sixth grade. McBeth was married for 31 years and had three children as a man.

Take Advice From Whales
Although swimming places a high demand on virtually all muscle groups, the American Journal of Sports Medicine has found that unless there is a strict diet change, it is not an effective method for weight loss. In one of the journal’s studies, they found that folks placed on the exact same diet, but three different exercise regimens, showed very different results. Those walking and jogging lost 17 pounds, while those on a cycling program lost 19 pounds, the swimmers actually gained 5 pounds – all in the same three month period. It was also found that swimming in cold water triggers the body to increase caloric consumption. It was also found that running, walking and jogging can decrease appetite, while swimming tends to increase appetite. Finally, researchers said swimming beats no exercise, but it is best to have cardio exercise that includes some sort of weight resistant training to increase metabolic rate and accelerate weight loss.

Booty Behind Bars
It is reported that 1 in 5 men entering the prison system experiences a forced sexual interaction with another inmate. Worse, HIV infection is 5 to 10 times higher in prison than in the free population; this may be due to the lack of adequate protection when forcible rape is involved. It is believed that victims of rape are not always beaten, but assume there will be extreme violent consequences if they don’t consent to the sexual act.

On Blast
Not your man. Although many women have had their husband, boyfriend or sexual partner serve time, they don’t believe their man has had any sexual interaction with men – even when that man has served substantial time in prison. Do you believe that a man’s sexual interaction while incarcerated in any way affects his sexual orientation when released? Is it possible for a man to forgo all sexual interaction, affection and attention while incarcerated simply because he is heterosexual? Do you believe men who have served time would honestly tell their partners on the outside of any sexual interaction they may have while incarcerated?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Morning Edition - 3/9/06

Deep Shit
Luis Gutierrez, 27, and his 8-year old son, Luis Armando Gutierrez were found dead in a 10-foot pond of manure after the younger Gutierrez fell in and was sucked-in by the poo. When the dad attempted to save the youngster, he slipped in and also drowned in the waste. His family called the dairy farm where Gutierrez worked and had taken his son the fateful evening of their deaths to report the pair had not returned home. Autopsies have not been performed as yet, but Grangeville, California authorities do not suspect foul play.

Warning to Latino Lovers
Latinos now make-up 20% of all Americans infected with HIV. Presently there are 76,052 Latino Americans living with HIV in the U.S. AIDS is now considered the third leading cause of death in Hispanic men 35-44 years old and the fourth leading cause of death for Latino women in the same age group. The only other group presently showing a higher infection rate is African Americans who lead all races with 76% of all new infections. Only 61% of Hispanics given a positive HIV result since 1994 are still living today. So my fellow Latino Lovers – wrap it up, get tested and get treated. Be passionate about loving and intelligent about living.

Curious Facts About Your Monthly Friend
It is estimated that women begin menstruating at about 12 years of age and continue to menstruate until about age 50. With menstruation lasting approximately 5 days out of every 28 days, stringing these days together would add-up to virtually seven continuous years of bleeding. What many don’t know is that without exposure to man-made light women’s menstrual cycle will synchronize with the moon. That is, a woman will begin menstruating at every full moon. Even stranger, it was found that when placed together, females exposed to the sweat scent of surrounding women, will begin menstruating simultaneously within three months time. Some women will experience a sweet onion smell to their breath during menstruation known as menses breath. What is more common knowledge is that during menstruation women are more prone to acne and herpes – some even report experiencing a higher incidence of vaginal infections.

On Blast
What’s fair? If a man clearly tells his partner that he does not want children and takes precautions during sex to prevent the pregnancy of his partner, should he be responsible for any children conceived through deception or foul-ups? Is it reasonable to allow women to have full control on whether they want to have an abortion, place a child up for adoption or raise their children? Should laws be adjusted to absolve men of all responsibility if said man can prove that he explicitly asked his partner not to have his child?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Morning Edition - 3/8/06

One Day It Will Be Your Turn
Following in the vein of previous postings detailing how important it is to take life by the horns and live with verve, news of Dana Reeve’s passing was shocking. Christopher Reeve’s widow, in her early forties, died yesterday of lung cancer. Remarkably she never touched a cigarette and lived in the country, so pollution was never a factor. Reeve’s death highlights the importance of why you should say what you mean, do what you dream and enjoy every moment. Ask yourself the pivotal question, “If I was given the news of my impending demise, would I feel I lived life fully?” Revise your priorities and make the move to be happy more and regretful less; say what you mean; grasp at love; make today count. As we remember a remarkable woman, who in her short life did so much to prove life can be lived with dignity, we also take a moment to recognize her positive energy as a quality we must all aspire to possess. Ultimately, your turn will come.

DC Revised
My DC family was invited to join me for a festive dutch lunch at the National Press Club on April 14. That lunch venue has been changed to the Daily Grill. Those planning to attend should let me know by the end of this month, so that we can adjust the reservation. In addition, go ahead and give the boss a heads-up on taking a longer lunch – I’d really love to enjoy a lunch that doesn’t feel too rushed. Hope to see you all there.

On Your Own
Statistics show that 18.2 percent of American households are run by single parents. That means that 13 million children have one consistent parental figure in the household. This may be due to the decline in folks finding the strength and wherewithal to fight to make their marriages work. It is estimated that 51% of marriages end in divorce. Single mom households make up 84% of the single parent households. To be fair, there are 2.1 million single father households in America. In custody hearings following divorce, statistics show that 2 out of 10 fathers are granted joint custody.

On Blast
They might change, right? Many single parents refuse to have the other parent take part in their children’s lives to avoid any negative impact, disappointment or disillusion to the children; while some parents use their children as pawns or tools to get the financial or emotional leverage in the interaction with the other parent. In the end, each family environment offers a variety of scenarios that lend credence to allowing the participation of both parents or excluding one for the betterment of the children. First, should parents that have a negative track record with regard to the children, be given future chances to redeem themselves and make their relationship with the children work? If so, realistically, when should you give up on trying to include the other parent in your children’s lives? Does the very nature of being a biological parent entitle someone to be given unlimited chances to make a relationship with their children work?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Morning Edition - 3/7/06

Hold Tight To Your Pole
Last weekend’s ski trip to the Eisenhower All Star Resort in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania proved you don’t have to be Bode Miller to have a good time by the slopes. Admittedly, the majority of us never made it anywhere near the snow-covered mountains, but I suspect this ski weekend had little to do with skiing and more to do with a great time. While the temperatures hovered just over 18 degrees, we boarded a 50 plus passenger bus – not one seat left available on the coach – and met some of the coolest party animals on the east coast. Thanks to Evelyn M.’s meticulous planning, there was food – and when we say food, we don’t mean chips and dip, we’re talking about rice, rotisserie chicken and a virtual complete open bar – this was just on the ride to the resort. Some of our ski family members were also avid herbalists, so whether you liked to drink or take a more scented approach to releasing your stress, our bus ride had it. Twin divas Dava and Didi B. held it down with a double-dose of class and thanks to Didi’s God-fearing prayers, we arrived to the resort safe and full. A quick shower and change and most of us were gracing the dance floor with our nightclothes draping our sweet smelling and relaxed bodies. This ski weekend may not have offered free ski rental, but it did provide a fully-stocked open bar for 10 continuous hours of each day. Following the pajama party, those that still had some gas in their tanks rushed to their rooms for the final change of the evening. With bikinis, flashy trunks and a non-stop DJ pumping out hit-after-hit, we settled in for our evening wrap-up pool party – well, if you’re considering 5:30 a.m. an evening. Worn, but none the worse for wear, the ski family retired to their rooms for a quick recharge before meeting for an 8:30 a.m. breakfast call. Tubing, skiing, shopping, roller skating or bowling, there was something for all to do. Hey, if you were just trying to lay low for the wear-what-you-dare party, you could even relax at the hotel’s pool – sun shining through the atrium above. Freaking Rican, Krissy, Celpin and Mariah-look-alike Maury-Maur took a dip and tried to squeeze in a couple of laps – hey, we were trying to keep some exercise on the agenda. A quick nap and the BIG Apple ball-busters were ready to rumble. We ate an early dinner and started-in on the 4 p.m. open bar. Shortly after, we showered, jumped into some party outfits and sat for 30-minutes of a comedian before breaking the dance floor down. Oldies, R&B, hip-hop and even backyard dominated the turntables. A group of over 300 partiers sweated and grooved until past 3 a.m. before taking the party out to the pool again. A few pool push-ins and the mood continued as light and crazed as ever. It was high school fun meets adult sensibility. Our own bus riders were inseparable – of course, some more than others – but heck, that’s another blog story all together. So where’s the big chill or the story about us bobbing and weaving through deep snow-covered peaks? Well, I guess this trip proved that whether you call it a ski weekend or a Caribbean cruise, a bus load of strangers embarked on a ride to Familyville and we all reached our destination.

It’s 1972 All Over Again In South Dakota
South Dakota legislators passed a law that makes abortion illegal in the state – even in cases of rape or incest – unless the unborn child poses a life-threatening risk to the mom. The officers at the Planned Parenthood in Sioux Falls plan to challenge the new law, but supporters of the new law have even pledged money to help fight the legal battles that will keep the law on the books. With a more conservative Supreme Court presiding on the bench, this may heat up to a boil before the final word is permanent on the books. Until all challenges are heard the legislation will stand – No Abortions. Doctors in South Dakota found to be performing illegal abortions could serve up to five years in prison.

On Blast
Ex Sex. A discussion ensued between myself and a ski weekend participant that revolved around the notion that exes have an almost unwritten “booty guarantee.” Long story short, the person mentioned that exes pose the greatest potential cheating threat to a new relationship. The basic idea was that exes are always a temptation and provide a comfortable and almost morally acceptable avenue for cheating. What’s your take on this issue? Do exes provide your greatest source of temptation? Would you sleep with any of your exes if you thought there would be no repercussions? Can you share a completely platonic friendship with folks you’ve been intimate with and not continually feel the pressure to “hit-it” one more time?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Monday, March 06, 2006

Morning Edition - 3/6/06

Ski Weekend Recap
Please tune-in tomorrow for a recap of our amazing party-filled ski weekend.

On Blast
Remove the negative. Sometimes it’s hard to accept the negative aspects about our personalities; it’s even harder to change them. Whether you’ve been checked by close friends regarding odd quirks in your personality or you sense you may be rubbing folks the wrong way when you do or say certain things, the truth is we all have things about ourselves we might want to change. What personality trait about yourself do you receive the most criticism about? Do you feel there is a real need to change this trait? Do you feel there is any truth in the criticism or do you think everyone who has voiced their opinion is wrong about how they’ve pegged you?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Friday, March 03, 2006

Morning Edition - 3/3/06

A Warm Feeling About Snow
I’ll be the first to admit that as a Puerto Rican man born in August, snow is one of my least favorite things. Tonight, a large group of us will embark on a trip to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania where we’ll take on snow, crackling fire chats and some much needed partying. A very special thank you to Evelyn M. for coordinating an event that allows us to escape the stresses of NYC life to a winter wonderland. So let’s have fun and create some memories we can look back on when things get hot back in the Apple.

Sharing Of Yourself; The Risky Plunge
As we get older we find it difficult to share of ourselves with others. I believe the hustle-and-bustle of our everyday lives, combined with the emotional bruising of different relationships leaves us putting up shields. Unfortunately, these shields sometimes prevent us from experiencing life. In December I had some eye-opening experiences that made me make a radical decision. I would live my life without apology and enjoy it. Tomorrow really isn’t promised and the thought that I would live-out my days safe from being hurt, but missing out on everything that makes life worth living, took me to a new point in my life. Since then, I’ve still had those scary moments when that inner defensive voice warns me to steer away from someone or hold back what I feel in a situation, but I’ve fought the voices, I’ve lived with openness and in turn, I’ve felt an emotional rejuvenation that even through physical exhaustion, makes me feel healthier and freer than I’ve felt in years. As we celebrate body beautiful 2006, I’ll share my biggest confidence builder – knowing that win or lose; embarrassment or unabashed passion; I’m living. …hope this tid-bit serves to help you in your challenge.

Long Story Short
Slugger faced his fears and took some inspiration from yours truly to do what he’s wanted to do for years – get a sexy piercing. The new nipple jewelry looks great, but more important, it makes him feel sexier than ever. Clent aka J’Moo posted a blog comment yesterday that all should take a moment to read. He will be participating in GMHC’s AIDS Walk 2006. The undertaking helps folks battling AIDS get help through the Gay Men’s Health Crisis. To donate as little as $1, please visit his sponsor sheet at Congratulations on taking on such a noble cause. Carlos C. visited Puerto Rico last week and returned Tuesday night. His visit was a much needed vacation after a difficult year that included two intensive care hospital stays. Kent, Kent, Kent… yes, every now and again you come across a character quite your opposite that intrigues you into wanting to know more… about them and yourself. Quite the beautiful, intelligent and passionate red-bone brotha, Kent is that deep breath after a long stay under water. Dava B.! Yes, Dava the Diva is a new member of the blogger family and one that is not to be trifled with. My new buddy is quite the firecracker… and a class act to boot. I’m charmed. …looking forward to catching you out on the slopes – or by the fire, knowing our ski skills. Finally, happy birthday momma Yeldell! I know, I’m slightly late, but good Lord, “Ize here!”

On Blast
Our parents are complicated creatures. As we grow older we sometimes stumble across information about our parents that has been deeply buried. Now uncovered, this information sheds new light on who our parents are and why they may have made some of the decisions they’ve made. What one thing have you uncovered about one (or both) of your parents that has painted a clearer picture of who they are today and why they made some of the decisions that baffled you in earlier years?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Morning Edition - 3/2/06

It's Like That Y'all
Every now and again we have one of those moments when a song is in order - even if the words don't quite fit just yet. That said, with one hour of sleep under my belt and last minute shopping and packing to do tonight, I am smiling and singing to myself. Just thought I'd share the tune with y'all.... enjoy!

So Amazing
Lyrics - Luther Vandross

Love has truly been good to me
Not even one sad day
Or minute have I had since you've come my way
I hope you know I'd gladly go
Anywhere you'd take me

It's so amazing to be loved
I'd follow you to the moon in the sky above
Ooh...ooh...ooh...ooh...ooh...ooh...ooh...ooh...I'd go

Got to tell you how you thrill me
I'm happy as I can be
You have come and it's changed my whole world
Bye-bye sadness, hello mellow
What a wonderful day

It's so amazing to be loved
I'd follow you to the moon in the sky above
Ooh...ooh...ooh...ooh...ooh...ooh...ooh...ooh...I'd go

And it's so amazing, amazing
I could stay forever, forever
Here in love and no, leave you never
'Cause we've got amazing love

Truly it's so amazing, amazing
Love brought us together, together
I will leave you never and never
I guess we've got amazing love

Ooh, so amazing and I've been wondering
For a love like you

It's so amazing to be loved
I'd follow you to the moon in the sky above
Oh, and it's so, it's so

It's so amazing to be loved
I'd follow you to the moon in the sky above
And you know, it's so

It's so amazing to be loved
I'd follow you to the moon in the sky above's so

It's so amazing to be loved
I'd follow you to the moon in the sky above's so

It's so amazing to be loved
I'd follow you to the moon in the sky above

On Blast
When was the last time someone had you singing a tune throughout the day and what made the occasion "all that"?

Keep passin' the open windows...

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Morning Edition - 3/1/06

Ling-Ling, I'm Ready For My Close-Up
Tonight Evelyn M. and I will be taking a trip to the wax museum... I mean, beauty salon....for our koochy-clean-ups. The prep for our ski-trip is in high gear and I've procrastinated once again. So look forward to a non-existent posting today.

On Blast
Learn it for crying-out-loud... If there was one lesson you could permanently imprint in your child's mind to help them cope with the real world, what would that lesson be? Remember, you can only permanently imprint one lesson, so consider your answer carefully!

Keep passin' the open windows...