Monday, December 31, 2007

Morning Edition - 12/31/07

One Moment In Time; Whitney Houston

The Year I Lived
For several years before 2007 I stopped living a full life. I was hysterically funny and entertaining to everyone; strong, well-spoken and the go-to guy to so many people and deeply unhappy. Basically I was in a self-torture trap that was draining me of everything I believed could be mine. At the risk of sounding like an advertisement, I picked-up and read The Secret. It’s a small, straight-forward book that held so many obvious assertions that it took me two days to read, but months to understand. Ultimately, I needed to accept that I was in full control of my life and what I could achieve. I strongly believe that everyone who reads The Secret comes away with their own tool for edification. Here’s what made my 2007 so special…

Health: There’s no greater sin than the deep-seated self-hatred and sadistic behavior that results from the dissatisfaction in your appearance. In 2007 I recognized that I was missing the best years of my body. I was so entranced looking at the alleged love handles and perceived beer belly that I wasn’t seeing the results of my gym regimen. I was depriving myself from partaking in the delicious foods I love most and all for what? Nothing but the vicious perception that I would never attain the body I wanted. Today, I workout four-to-five days per week and eat what I want in moderation. I love my body – all 163 lbs of it. At 38 years old and 5’7”, I’m still holding down a 36”, 29”, 34 frame, I recognize that as I speed toward 40 years old, I’m going to enjoy every bit of my strength and vitality. I even make it a point to blow myself a kiss in the full length mirror every now and again.

Love: “No one will hurt me again!” That’s what I told myself. I was being honest too. The problem is that by safely fencing my heart away, I was cheating myself out of the opportunity for love and hurting my chances at a shared happiness. The moment I stopped worrying about being hurt and concentrated on being happy, it happened. BD and I went from over a year of hittin’ the booty call hot button, to committing to each other and sharing an amazing year together. It isn’t all rose and vanilla candles either; I learned that I actually had to challenge all of my previous notions of what being committed really meant. Most of all, I made a promise to myself to be honest, open and communicate with my partner, so that there are no surprises. It may sound corny, but we really have the potential to be each other’s best friend. After years of telling myself that I wanted “the maximum amount of pleasure with a minimum amount of bullshit,” I found that the maximum amount of pleasure requires that I put my best foot forward and be vulnerable. It is in that vulnerability that I experience true love.

Friends / Family: This was a year of clarity with regard to my friends and family. To steal a line from an advertisement, I chose the ‘free and clear’ plan with regard to my relationship with those I love. This year I accepted that I cannot change the hearts and minds of those around me – even by bullying or force. I want so much to be understood and sometimes I alienate those I love by trying to force them to do what’s best for them. To take a step back and allow folks to live their lives as they see fit and respect their wishes was one of the hardest lessons this year taught me. How my family and close friends live their lives is not for me to judge. Today I understand that to love someone sometimes means to mine my own business. I hope the best for each of them in their journey and I’m here for each of them if they need me.

Being Sorry, Forgiving and Amputations: An important part of my growth this year was learning how to let go. The only way to truly let go is to know when you need to apologize for doing wrong. No, I’m not on some 12-step program, but it became very apparent that you can’t progress when you’re holding on to past wrongs – especially your own. I felt much lighter when I finally apologized for things I knew I did that hurt folks around me. Whether it was my cheating, my inability to say, “I love you…” to the people I really love, etc. In the end, I’m not holding the guilt of knowing that I wronged people and didn’t do something about it. I also found that forgiving is extremely difficult – especially when some people never apologized. I’ve forgiven those who wronged me and in doing so am not chained to their pain. Pain, resentment and anger were draining my energy. Those feelings were coupled with the false hope that one day many of the folks that wronged me would see the error of their ways and apologize for the turmoil they had inflicted on my life. Ultimately, that apology never came and I was resentful for each day that passed without it. This year I forgave. I wasn’t giving the people who hurt me another day of my life. I wasn’t allowing them to steal my energy, my thunder or to steal my light one more day. In 2007, I forgave…I forgave it all for me. The moment I forgave I was free. I didn’t have one of those religious experiences. I simply was released from all the draining old hurt I was harboring for so many years. Unfortunately, I also had to make some hard decisions with regard to people who have no place in my life. If someone is not FOR you than they are AGAINST you. Anyone who attempts to belittle you; never sees the good in you; consistently hurts you; has no place in your life. I gave that advice to many a friend, but it wasn’t until this year that I truly practiced the art of self-preservation-by-amputation. Amputating someone you’ve held dear and sincerely love is hard, but not being true to yourself is harder. This year I performed very necessary amputations and was all the better for them. I now live with Tamia as my friend/love soundtrack...I choose me.

All things being equal, 2007 I lived life fully. I worked hard, played hard and loved hard. I enjoyed my life because this year was the one that taught me that life is truly short and I’m not going to look back with regret. Nothing in life is guaranteed, but I can now assure myself that no matter what, I’m going to love life. There will be good and bad days, but I’m in the driver’s seat. I make it happen. I control where I’m going. ’07 proved to be filled with so much good that it helped restore my belief in all that could be mine.

So as I bid ’07 farewell and welcome in ’08 I feel like a kid on the day before visiting Disney…I know there’s magic waiting.

Happy new year…happy living.

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Afternoon Edition - 12/29/07

I See You
BD and I are fast coming up on our one year anniversary – well, one year since we made it serious. We’ve calculated that we’ve actually been dating for two years now. This holiday season brought us even closer together and the realization of how much we mean to each other. There are times that I’m frightened by how easy he makes loving him. He’s everything I need in a man and for that I’m sincerely grateful. A few days ago as we were cuddling together; I looked in his eyes and it was like seeing him for the first time. I simply looked in his eyes and said, “I see you.” Simply translated: I see all that you are to me.

On Blast
We shout from the highest mountains that we want someone special in our lives, but do we know what it takes to make a relationship special? More important, can we let go of past hurt, perceptions and paranoia to live in the present and enjoy the partner that comes into our lives?

Will you recognize him when he comes into your life?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Afternoon Edition - 12/27/07

The Story of Christmas; Gift Giving
In years past, I vowed to not give adults Christmas gifts, reserving all gifts for the kids. They are least likely to understand how expensive and commercialized the holiday has become. That said, this year was different in that I was aware that folks were not going to respect my requests not to give me any gifts and I’d feel like a moron not reciprocating. First, there was my baby, BD, who professed early on how important Christmas is to him. He gushed that of all the holidays, Christmas is the season he holds most dear. His assertion cranked-up the anxiety to provide a gift that would match his opulent taste and wouldn’t leave me scrambling for January’s rent. After searching high and low, I was drawing a blank. I began having sleepless nights, coupled with nightmares of a disappointed BD staring blankly at a half-baked Cocoa cure. So, I opted for shopping for everyone else on my list first, hoping that by leaving BD for last I’d have more a clue what to give him. One week before Christmas, as BD and I went on a Saturday shopping spree together, we entered the Coach store where I began rifling through scarves, wallets and bags in an attempt to pick a cute gift for my older sister. It has become a yearly ritual for me to purchase my sis a Coach item. As I debated between two scarves, BD approached me carrying a very expensive work bag. As many of you may remember, BD will be joining me at my firm and he wants to make one of his fashion-forward impressions when he arrives. I looked at the bag, checked out the tag, gasped and returned it to him with a simple, “Boy, put that back. We’re supposed to be shopping for everyone else.” He looked like a little kid and said, “I really want this. I’m going to put it on my card and deal with the charges later.” He then squirmed at my parental look of disdain and said, “Don’t say it!” We reached the register and BD placed the bag and the other items in front of the cashier, quickly asking the cashier to ring the bag separately so that he could pay for it with a credit card. He sighed when the cashier announced the bag’s price and in that millisecond, the light-bulb moment occurred. I handed over my debit card and said, “Thank you.” I then turned to BD and said, “Merry Christmas baby!” The cashier asked, “Are you sure?” and I quickly responded, “…as a Hunt’s Point hooker.” BD was about to fight the purchase, but I shut him down with a simple, “It’s what you REALLY want and that’s what I wanted to be sure of all along; that I would give you what you really wanted for Christmas. Enjoy it baby…I love you.” He hugged me and kissed me on the lips right at the register and the cashier could only smile nervously and say, “That is so sweet. Boy, you better take your Christmas gift!” So here’s how this purchase breaks down:
1. At that moment I knew BD was willing to charge up credit cards to get that bag, so I was assured the gift was something he really wanted.
2. Although he was privy to the bag’s price, the very fact that the item is expensive allows him to see it. Do not attempt this with an item under $100 and do not frequent this method of gift-giving, as the recipient may use their wants to manipulate a purchase each time.
3. There was no wrapping, cards or extra flash needed. The affection shown during the purchase made the gift memorable.
Was the gift I received from BD as heart-warming? Your darn tootin’ it was! BD surprised me with a flat-screen, high-definition television that left me speechless! You’d think that I would’ve been perceptive enough to see it coming, but I was too blinded in one of my last-minute anxiety-attack shopping runs. When he asked, “Do you think this TV is good?” I looked and said, “Yeah, if you’re planning to give someone a lifetime gift.” He simply said, “Nah, I’m replacing my TV in the living room, so that me and the Minnie have something really nice to watch.” It sounded innocuous enough. After paying for the TV we both lugged it to my car and carefully loaded it in – don’t ask how I got this thing into my vehicle, but thank goodness for hatchbacks! When we arrived at my crib, he asked if we could leave the TV at my house so as to not cause a commotion at his place. I obliged and we dragged the thing into my living room. I said, “You’re going to need plenty of paper to wrap that thing and be here in time to do it pa, cuz I can’t wrap worth a shit.” He turned to me, smiled and said, “Merry Christmas baby.” I cry even telling the story today.

On Blast
BE HONEST…What is more important to you when receiving a gift, the value (price) or the sentimental value?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Monday, December 24, 2007

Morning Edition - 12/24/07

On Blast
T'was the day before Christmas...
If you had one wish for Christmas, what would you wish for?

Keep passin' the open windows...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Morning Edition - 12/19/07

Long Time No See; Aggression
My mom tells me stories of how aggressive I was as a child. “I couldn’t take you anywhere without finding you balled up fighting with some other kid. It was embarrassing.” As I got older I found myself in a few school fights and some neighborhood battles, but nothing out of the ordinary. When I left home at 15, it was a bit different. I was on the hard NYC streets and didn’t have the luxury of being a pushover. Once I hit my mid twenties, my bone-chilling wit, ability to carve hearts with my words rather than a weapon and more polished exterior, replaced the once carefree – almost careless kid. Then an odd feeling started creeping back about two years ago. The old Cocoa began immerging. More ferocious, more fearless and certainly more challenging. This isn’t to say that I’m that guy you can’t hang with without the threat of impending physical violence, but I’m certainly not the guy who is likely to be caught on the receiving end of a gay bashing. Then I realized that regardless of who I was interacting with the mentality that where-you-do-it-to-me-is-where-you-get-it was a mantra I began living by. Case in point, a few weeks ago I was out with a couple of close friends and ran into a very old friend who was out with his crew. An hour into the night and I noticed that my old friend was sitting down with his new peeps crowding around him and fanning him. As I approached, I asked him, “Are you alright? What happened?!” He mentioned he fainted, probably from skipping lunch and dinner that day. I reached in my pocket, pulled out some candy and shoved it in his mouth. I said, “The sugar should hold you for a minute, but you need to go out and get something to eat.” It was then that I heard one of the guys in his crew say, “Dr. Rosie Perez in his wife beater needs to mind his business.” I felt my skin crawl, but I can play the dozens with the best of them, so I simply looked at the dude and said, “Maybe if you regurgitate some of that mess in your gut you can hold him until he gets something to eat.” I smiled and stood up waiting for his response. A few inches taller than me, I suspected he might want to turn this into something physical. He said, “I’m focused on him,” pointing to my old friend, “so don’t start no shit.” I looked at my crew and back at him before saying, “He’s going to be fine, but I’m focused on you bitch. You say one more word to me and I’m crackin’ you in your fronts.” I waited and waited and waited. He tried doing that side-talking to his own crew, but I was unrelenting. “Nah, bruh…I’m right here. Who the f*ck are you talking to?!” Finally, he said, “I wasn’t talkin’ to you, so why you trippin’?” Cowardly, side-steppin’ hoes have no business speakin’ to grown men and then backin’ down. I looked dead at the guy and said, “I don’t know you kid, but the next time we’re out and you look at me wrong, we’re getting ‘86’d from this joint cuz I’m puttin’ my foot in your natural ass!” I turned to my old friend and said, “You really need to get a new crew to chill with. Later.” As I walked off I stopped at the bar and got my drink before joining my friends on the dance floor. Ultimately, I would’ve had my hands full with ‘ole boy, but at that moment, my fight-flee mechanism was trapped on fight and the natural instinct of preservation never kicked in. I’m an upstanding, professional, classy guy, but don’t sleep...under it all, I’m still a Rican-Boogie-Down-Bronx dude that had to assert himself early on to get to where I am. Guess that Cocoa comes up for air every now and again.

On Blast
Whether it’s old-style ghetto aggression brought on by years of battling to survive on the streets or the powerlessness that was a product of being bullied, everyone has a character trait that is a result of their upbringing. When stressors or life-changes occur old traits may bubble to the surface.
Which of your old traits do you see resurface occasionally – like it or not?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Monday, December 17, 2007

Morning Edition - 12/17/07

Last Time; Eric Benet

On Blast
Odd, but I’ve reached that point in my life where I can’t believe I’m in love – AGAIN – and though grateful for the ability to be able to let go of my defenses enough to experience these feelings, I want this to be the last time I fall in love. Simply put, for its intensity, verve and resounding effect, love can also be draining. I found that special gift for BD – or should I say, he found that special gift and I bought it. It’s a long story, but I’ll be sure to tell it before Christmas actually hits…it’s a hoot and a lesson in one. Just a few more gifts left to go!

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Morning Edition - 12/13/07

Together Again; Janet Jackson

On Blast
To my friends Michael P. and Tony who will not be joining me in 2008…The memory of you will stay with me forever and I know that you’re laughing, loving and living through me; so I’ll do my best to do us proud.

Don't waste time...throw away the rules...screw the threat of failure...say what you what you believe

How will you celebrate life in 2008 to make those who did not make it feel you are living fully?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Afternoon Edition - 12/6/07

Guess You Can’t Hear Me Now
I’m often amazed at how folks act like the thought of being separated from their PDA or cell phone is a fate worse that death. Well, for an unidentified man glued to his cell phone yesterday, it was a fate equal to death. Amtrak officials say the man was oblivious to danger and apparently walked around the lowered crossing gate before being struck by the northbound Capitol Corridor train, just eight miles south of the Oakland station in California. He was pronounced dead on the scene. As I’ve said to friends and family, I will not tolerate non-emergency conversations when I’m hanging out. It is rude and disrespectful to carry a non-emergency conversation with anyone when you’re spending quality time with friends and family. That said, I don’t argue the point anymore. If anyone holds a non-emergency conversation that goes beyond a simple, “I’m out and need to call you back…” while spending time with me, I simply walk away – no questions asked; no explanations given. Be conscious of your PDA/cell phone behavior (including text messaging) or you may find that your putting your life and your relationships in danger.

I Just Can’t Wait To Be King
A robbery suspect in Miami led police on a substantial chase before jumping from his getaway car and attempting his escape on foot. A camera crew was following the entire event unfold and captured several police officers pouncing on the suspect, punching and kicking him. Now, Miami-Dade’s Cmdr. Linda O’Brien says that the video is being watched frame-by-frame, but that, “The initial assessment is that the officer acted inappropriately." All said both parties can take a lesson from Los Angeles’ suspect/victim Rodney King.

Death Penalty for DWI?
NYC Police Officer Raphael Lora was off duty in his neighborhood in the Bronx when he witnessed a minivan hitting a parked car. He gave chase on foot and witnesses say that he reached Fermin Arzu and opened the driver door before the minivan lurched forward. That’s when Lora allegedly pulled his 9mm pistol and fired five shots. The one shot that hit Arzu killed him. Lora’s attorney says that the officer is only guilty of protecting the neighborhood he lives in. Arzu is said to have been intoxicated. Assistant District Attorney Larry Hartstein says that it’s obvious no one believes Lora’s story or he would not have been indicted. The attorney representing the Arzu family says, "The penalty for drunk driving is not death.” Lora faces 25 years in prison if convicted of manslaughter.

On Blast
Less than 10 years ago it was NOT commonplace for everyone to carry and use cell phones – and those who did, rarely used them in non-emergency situations. Do you believe you are so attached to your cell phone / PDA that you could not get through a day without it?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Morning Edition - 12/6/07

On Blast
Stevie Wonder's Overjoyed is a beautiful song. If you had to be honest, does any specific person come to mind - past, present or wishful future - when you listen to the lyrics?

Keep passin' the open windows...

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Morning Edition - 12/4/07

State Sanctioned Suicide or Religious Freedom?
Dennis Lindberg, 14, died just hours after superior court judge John Meyers ruled that the eighth grader was competent to make life-and-death decisions regarding his own health and that the youngster was “basically giving himself a death sentence.” Meyers also said, “I don't believe Dennis' decision is the result of any coercion. He is mature and understands the consequences of his decision.” The state of Washington petitioned the court to force the teenager to undergo a life-saving blood transfusion to treat his leukemia. Doctors say Lindberg had a 70% chance of survival with the transfusions and other treatments. Rachel Wherry and Dennis Lindberg, Sr., the boy’s birth parents, argued that he was being influenced by his aunt and guardian, Dianna Mincin, who is a Jehovah’s Witness. The Jehovah Witness believe that Leviticus 17:14, “You must not eat the blood of any sort of flesh,” includes life-saving transfusions. Although I believe in religious freedom, I’m perplexed by Washington State court’s decision to allow a minor to make such a fatal decision.

Daddy Dearest
If you’re one of the throngs of gay men who want to have your gene pool progress or are simply doing your fag-hag a favor, you may want to think again; well, unless you’re ready to shell out some serious dough. A Nassau County (NYC) man is reeling after he was told to pay-up for his, now 18-year old, son. The young man will be entering college soon. “No good deed goes unpunished,” said Deborah Kelly, the lawyer representing the man. The sperm-donor, a doctor, says he worked with the child’s mother and agreed to donate the sperm for his colleague and her partner. Over the years he sent gifts and cards to the child and even signed those gift notes with a short, “Dad” or “Daddy.” Now that the request for child support has been served, good ‘ole spunk-dad would like a paternity test done. Unfortunately, the courts have ruled that no paternity tests will be allowed, since the results may prove ‘traumatic’ for the “child.” Court documents show that the young man’s birth certificate bears the sperm donor’s name.

Christmas Gifts and Anxiety Attacks
As my faithful friend J’Moo will remember, after my shopping spree pass-out incident many moons ago, I tend to get a bit stressed with choosing Christmas gifts. For years now, I have resorted to buying Christmas gifts for my nephews only and saving all other gifts for folk’s birthdays. This system worked well until now. BD is a BIG Christmas fan. He loves everything about the gift-giving season and says it’s his favorite holiday. With that announcement, my brain has gone into overdrive trying to figure out an appropriate gift for my baby. He appears to be a huge technology buff, but also seems to have every new gadget in existence. He’s not much for the pampering that would signal a spa gift certificate and outside of outerwear or underwear, I don’t particularly like buying clothing or shoes for my man. I’m down to the wire now and am considering anything that has substance, has some redeeming sentimental quality and doesn’t send me into financial ruin. I’ll keep you posted what I narrow it down to. At this point, I’ll be happy if I don’t end-up on my back at Nordstrom…and not in a good way.

On Blast
Our criminal justice system has been charging youth offenders as adults. Last year, following sending over 200,000 minors to adult prisons, many states are changing their minds on what really works with regard to minors. Similarly, should we consider if minors should be granted the authority to make life-altering (or in Dennis Lindberg’s case, life-ending) decisions with regard to their health and welfare? Should an adult or state-appointed guardian be assigned to make serious decisions affecting minors?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Monday, December 03, 2007

Morning Edition - 12/3/07

You Are Fools and I Thank You
There are few times in life when discrimination offers a valid – though sad – excuse for why American gay men cannot contribute more to the country they live in. Though many folks will argue that these injustices must be corrected, I have resorted to accept them as my legitimate excuse for not doing the “right” thing. Case in point, my job held a blood drive. Most of the folks in my department signed-on and made a big hoopla about their contribution to such a noble cause. When I was asked if I would be participating, I simply said, “No, the Red Cross discriminates against gay men and specifically has guidelines rejecting any donations by ‘my kind’.” The young lady asking me stood in front of me mouth agape before I giggled and said, “Wake up. This may be 2007, but discrimination is still alive and well.” She was about to argue how it’s wrong of such a large institution to reject donations based on donor’s sexual orientation – especially since there are ways to test all donations – but before she got a good flow going I shut it down with a simple, “Hey, it’s there loss and I’m fine with it as long as I can receive the benefits of their donations without needing to ever participate in keeping their supplies up.” She blushed and stormed off. The same argument can be made with the U.S. military. Don’t ask, don’t tell my ass. If the U.S. military wants to expressly reject my fighting and risking my life for my country, then far be it from me to beg to endanger myself. So long as the homophobic, ignorant and small-minded asses continue to protect me and my country’s borders, I am pleased as punch. In life there are times when you have to choose your battles and recognize when your oppressors are actually offering you a free pass.

Crapping Where I Eat?
I work for a very large organization – over 175,000 employees – with locations worldwide. My company offers amazing opportunities and the possibility to shift internally when you grow tired of your gig. Recently some pretty interesting positions opened up and I made BD aware of them. I have some pretty heavy-hitting contacts and forwarded BD’s resume to them. He’s already met with one of the departments at my firm. All to say, that he may be coming to work at my place of business – maybe even in my building. As this possibility becomes more probable, I thought back to close to five years ago when I worked with someone I was involved with. It was a great experience until the relationship soured and the very thought of running into my ex made my stomach hurt – real bad. That said, I went over a few ground rules with BD to insure neither of us is caught in an uncomfortable situation. First, we would never work in the same department or in positions that have the possibility of reporting to one another. Second, work is work and play is play – we would always carry a professional demeanor while at the office to avoid any confusion. Third, regardless of our relationship’s future, we would respect each other at all times. All said, I know I can uphold these rules, since I did in the past. Am I apprehensive? No. Can I resist the temptation to have him meet me somewhere in our building for an afternoon freak-by? We’ll hopefully see.

On Blast
Given the volatility of relationships and the concept that folks are different in death and divorce, would you agree to work for the same firm as someone you are involved with?

Keep passin’ the open windows….

Friday, November 30, 2007

Morning Edition - 11/30/07

Hand In My Pocket - Alanis

Tanto Nadar Para Ahogarme En La Orilla
I’m always in awe at how poignant some Spanish sayings are. “Tanto nadar para ahogarte en la orilla,” basically translates to, “So much swimming to drown at the shore (edge).” Although I’ve heard this saying all my life, it has never meant so much to me as it does right now. Mainly I’m feeling a sense that now that I’m pretty much where I need to be, I’m inexplicably drained and despondent. I have a comfy job, a good man, a great apartment and most important, good health and I’m drowning at the edge of good fortune. First, I can do my job with my hands tied behind my back and my boss sitting on my lap, but I’m not challenged, am often bored and am feeling that what I do has no impact on anything relevant. I’m a firm believer in the theory that when you feel you’re about to complain about what you do for a living, it’s time to move on, but I sit anxiously waiting for an epiphany of some sort. It’s also fair to mention that I’m encouraged to sit down and shut up since my job treats me like Paris Hilton at the opening of a new club – which is to say, they worship the quicksand I walk on; I’m afforded the opportunity to keep comfortable work hours and put-it-down at the gym in the middle of the day. What is a Puerto Rican man who can easily live the no-work-all-play stereotype to do? Onward and upward to issue #2: my man. Let me preface any of my rants about BD with, “He is a great man.” He’s brilliant, gorgeous, caring, affectionate, sexy and the list goes on and on and on. The issue I have with him is that he appears to lack the basic intuitiveness that naturally occurs after a year of dating. Repeatedly I get the sense that although I’m not a jealous man, he should have a sense of how BIG I am on feeling respected and valued. Give me my respect at all times or I turn into a monster of fork-tongued, poison protest. It seems it’s difficult for BD to determine what scenarios could send my Code Green mood, into a fast and furious Code-Red-don’t-fuck-with-me-fella mode. All said, the issue is as easy to correct as sensing my apprehension when I mention something that bothers me and squashing the concern with reassurance. No relationship is perfect and my present concerns are whether we can grow beyond the point where we are now – especially, since this involves a complete change of our lives as we know them to be with regard to establishing a family unit. More important, are we even ready to take the next logical step in a timeframe we both feel is acceptable? Finally on the list of perishing at the edge of the tides is that I moved into my apartment in June and still have a living room littered with boxes and a sense that I’m not making a genuine effort to make my apartment “home.” I look around my place and see so much potential, but once the weekend hits, the voices in my head resort to unanimously chanting, “Its my place and I’ll get it together when I’m good and ready…let’s rest!” That said, I’m disgusted at the realization that my friends (and now neighbors) who moved into my building a month after me have already organized their place AND have had their housewarming party. Note to self: You will get your apartment together before Christmas – PERIOD! So folks, as you can see, no one has a perfect existence and not everything is as it appears. As someone who is often seen as the life of the party and unfazed by the little things, you’d be surprised how, of late, I feel like “Tanto nadar para ahogarme en la orilla.”

On Blast
The jury is still out on how much of what people believe about me is actually true. For example, I’ve been called everything from a gut-busting regular comedian to a cold hearted bitch. The real question is, where in the middle of this chasm, my reality resides.

That said, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. What comments about your personality have you rejected as ridiculous, only to find after closer inspection, that some of those comments are either true or that you have fed the fire of allegations with your actions?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Morning Edition - 11/28/07

Gimme More
Eight days in the Caribbean will either relax you or make you hate the thought of your return to reality. I’m not quite sure where I’m at with regard to being back in the rotten Apple, but I’m here. My trip to Puerto Rico is usually filled with days at the beach and nights at the club, but I took advantage of this trip to spend quality time with my parents and other family. The intense hang-out time with my folks made me keenly aware that they’re aging – fast – and that they can really use the help caring for their house (my house, upon their death, as they put it) and just basically getting around. I found myself serving as a caregiver – cooking, cleaning and driving them around. Yes, I still made it to the beach a few times and was sweaty at the center of a couple of dance floors, but the “hanging” wasn’t at the center of this adventure. When I got ready to pull out of my parent’s house yesterday morning my father gave me last minute advice on how to be safe and take care of myself, while my mom was teary eyed and said she didn’t know how she would function without me around. All in all, I have a gut sense that I’m the only child without an immediate family of his own that can actually serve as a support system for my folks. The thought apparently had crossed their minds too, since they insisted I forward my resume to them and begin a job search on the island. I haven’t ruled out a move to the island, but right now there are so many variables to consider – not the least of which is my relationship with BD. I love him. Throughout my stay with the folks, BD and I communicated via text and phone daily – sometimes several times a day – and I did miss him terribly. There’s so much that has happened since my last BD post – mainly growth spurts that included some growing pains. Still, he remains my heart and I his. It’s a case of feeling that I’m pulled in so many directions – sort-of like that “Gimme more…” concept. Don’t look for pics of this trip. I opted to keep the camera in my bag and simply let my memory take it all in. For the record, I really miss my parents today.

On Blast
Is it unrealistic (and social martyrdom) to assume the primary care of our aging family members OR is it a return to the respectful care of our elders to take on such a task?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Friday, November 16, 2007

Morning Edition - 11/16/07

Well folks, I’m off to Puerto Rico. A combination vacation / family reunion; I’m so excited to be relaxing for eight straight days. Since I’m taking this trip by myself, I suspect I’ll do everything at my own pace. My main goal is to really gather my thoughts and rejuvenate. I’ll be acting like a solar panel, trying to gather and hold as much heat to hold me through the upcoming winter months. This is also the first time since we got serious, that BD and I will be apart. It’s a good thing. We can practice the absence-makes-the-heart-grow-fonder concept. I suspect I won’t have as many pictures to share this time around and quite honestly, since I’m in the midst of a thick phase, I’m actually glad. It’s a fitting time to thank all of you (my blogger family) for allowing me to share my journey with you. I’m sincerely grateful for all your comments this year. Happy Thanksgiving! Be safe. Be grateful.

On Blast
Parents, teachers, family and friends are almost expected to impart us with wisdom and advice. Outside of the folks you expect to be there for you, who has pleasantly surprised you this year with their loyal support?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Morning Edition - 11/15/07

Pride; A Deeper Love
With my trip home (Puerto Rico) on Monday, I’m feeling tons of Puerto Rican pride. I’m always amazed at how my culture will celebrate every win to no end. When Zuleyka Rivera won Ms. Universe in 2006, there was a national holiday on the island the next day. Call it finding a reason to take a day off or savoring every success collectively.

On Blast
What was your most proud cultural moment? Why?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Morning Edition - 11/14/07

Feeling: I learned from the Best; Whitney

Baby Fat
A U.S. gym operating in London is signing-up babies as young as 4 months old to encourage exercise at an early age. Though some say the gym rats are operating on parent’s fear that their child will be the one in five children under 11-years old that is found to be obese, others believe there’s no such thing as too early to start on a good exercise regimen. There are already over 500 children scheduled to attend the baby gyms and grandparents are said to be considering it one of the hottest gifts for the holiday. At over $600 a pop, the gym isn’t cheap. Experts say that there is no benefit to having a child that can barely crawl, do any real exercise. Meanwhile, the folks at the gym are saying that parents will be pleasantly surprised with the amount of exertion the gym brings out in the babies.

Die Now or Live With HIV?
Not since 1985 has an organ transplant recipient been infected with the virus that causes HIV/AIDS. Unfortunately, even with screening potential donors for the virus that causes HIV, the set-up is not 100% safe. Two weeks ago, four patients who received organs from an infected donor back in January while at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Rush University Medical Center and the University of Chicago Medical Center were informed that they are HIV and Hepatitis C positive. Ultimately, the doctors say that all precautions were taken – including testing the donor for HIV and Hepatitis, but the negative test results were not capturing the reality that the donor had been infected shortly before his death. The donor questionnaire shows that the donor engaged in high-risk behavior a short time before his death. Doctors say that the risk calculation is simple; if a patient will die without the transplant, then taking the risk of transplanting an infected organ outweighs the threat of immediate death. With over 400,000 organ transplants taking place without a hitch since the 80s, it’s safe to say that the screening process has worked well.

Commodity: Puerto Ricans
Since the Jones-Shafroth Act in 1917, Puerto Ricans have been U.S. Citizens. Whether born on the U.S. mainland or on the island of Puerto Rico, Puerto Ricans are Americans. Since 2004, the U.S. mainland Puerto Rican population has managed to match (and some say surpass) the four million inhabitants presently living on the Caribbean island. Before you start any ignorant talk about tacos or Ricky Ricardo, neither of these are Puerto Rican and do not stem from Puerto Rican culture. First, tacos (taco bell included) are Mexican based. For the record, Mexicans are the largest Latino group in the U.S. with over 26 million Mexicans spread across our nation. Second, Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz) was Cuban. Although Cuba is a neighbor of Puerto Rico, Ricky was not Puerto Rican. Finally, you won’t ever hear a Puerto Rican refer to someone as “Hey ‘Ese’ how’s it going?” Puerto Ricans do not use the word ‘Ese’ to refer to friends or family – EVER. Although likely to be found anywhere in the U.S., Puerto Ricans are said to be concentrated in New York City, Connecticut, Chicago, Florida and Houston – notice that there is no mention of Los Angeles. The city of Angels’ largest Latino population is mainly Mexican. So before you go labeling every Latino person you come across as Puerto Rican, recognize that when put into context, Puerto Ricans are a rare commodity.

On Blast
What culture outside of your own would you be curious to have a sexual experience (encounter) with? Why?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Morning Edition - 11/13/07

Mood Music: Uninvited (Alanis)

Crossing Bridges When You Come to Them
It’s been a whirlwind several months for BD and I and we’ve enjoyed every bit of it. We’ve grown to know each other better; including the things that send us over the edge. The Minnie and I have also bonded and have a great time when we hang together. Like all pots that come to a boil, you have to turn the heat down and let them simmer if you want the flavor to go through them. In addition, I’ve been in an odd slump. My friend Wonderful Counselor (WC) said that my upcoming vacation may be just what I need to restore my verve and effervescence. Quite honestly, I hope so. I’m beginning to have questions regarding my future with BD creep into my mind. For example, is our current coast mode attributable to the many issues that surround our next steps? The next obvious steps would require a greater commitment and sharing our relationship with his close family. We have not had a conversation surrounding what – if any – next steps we are both willing to take. When the conversation about announcing our relationship to his family has come up, he reassures me that, “They’ll just need to deal with it…” referring to his close friends and family. So far the only one “dealing” with the standstill is me. I don’t know that I’m clear on what I expect and how soon before I would be anxious about the lack of forward momentum. For now, I’ll bask in the sun, enjoy the love and get my toll money out in preparation for that upcoming bridge.

A Crush On Mom
Jan Kilgore lived with her 78-year old mom, Gloria Littlefield, in Somersworth, New Hampshire. Littlefield had suffered a mild stroke recently that left her weak on one side; she’s also said to have suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. On Saturday, Kilgore was backing her pick-up truck down the driveway when she accidentally ran over her mom. She was pronounced dead from her internal injuries a short time later. New Hampshire police said that Kilgore faces no charges and that this was just a terrible accident.

My Bruh-Bruh’s a Grown Man
William, my baby brother, turned 21 yesterday. A naturally charming, good-hearted, well meaning guy, Will is now officially a man! It seems like just yesterday that I was watching Will put on his favorite little suit and clip-on tie. He was the model son I couldn’t be to my dad and he always made me feel he has the warmest heart of all my siblings. Happy birthday Will! May you stay forever young!!

On Blast

We all take a moment on Thanksgiving to celebrate what we’re most grateful for. If you were asked to take your most prized material possession and hand it to someone at a soup kitchen this Thanksgiving, could you do it?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Morning Edition - 11/11/07

On Blast
Years later I still find this man and his voice HOT to death and don’t see many current male singers who make me smile – W I D E – today like he does.
What singer of the past would you say doesn’t have a comparable match today?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Evening Edition - 11/7/07

I’ll Take It Without Cheese
James Boldt converted to Judaism in 2004 and is the father and sole custodial parent of a 12-year old boy. Since his religious conversion in 2004, James has been in a legal battle with Lia Boldt over whether their son should be circumcised. A lower court had sided with the dad, but urged the father to wait until all appeals were exhausted before having his son’s banana peeled. Now the Oregon Supreme Court is hearing the case. Although there are proponents defending both sides of the issue, this case is really determining whether someone outside the sole custodial parent has a say with regard to a child. Presently, 58% of boys born in the U.S. each year are circumcised, but this procedure normally happens prior to their departure from the hospital. Only 7% of adult males in the U.S. have elective surgery to be circumcised.

This Is My Confession
Matthew Dubay, 25, told his girlfriend Lauren Wells that he didn’t want children. She simply responded that a medical condition prevented her from having any children; so basically, they were all squared away. Except Wells got pregnant and gave birth to a baby girl. Wells then petitioned the court to have Dubay pay child support and so began the case dubbed the Roe vs. Wade for Men. Dubay said that he shouldn’t be forced to pay support for a child that he did not want - even prior to her conception. Dubay's argument is simple – he says that Michigan's paternity law violates the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause because it didn't extend reproductive rights to men. Ultimately, a federal appeals court dismissed Dubay’s case as frivolous and ordered him to pay $500 a month for child support. The court said that Dubay’s perceived inequity is outweighed by society’s interest to insure children have the support of both their parents.

Puerto Rico, Furniture and My Love of Dogs
As I mentioned in a previous post, my money is more stretched than Monique’s girdle at a BET Awards show. That said, I’m getting the most out of my available cash and still trying to have some semblance of nest-care with regard to my home. On Monday, November 19th, I’m flying out to spend eight wonderful days with my family in Puerto Rico. I’m excited and anxiously counting the days until I can eat mom’s cooking, lay on a beach and just chill. I have three consecutive trips directly behind this one, but second on my stretch-that-cash list is buying new living room furniture. Since returning to NYC, I purchased a new sofa, but now want to give that away and get a whole new living room get-up. This would include a convenient sofa bed that would make my crib more comfortable for me and my out-of-town guests. I’ve researched a few sets and let’s just say that I’ll need to shell out north of $3,500 to get a set I like. Keep your fingers crossed and your sleeping bags available if you plan to stay at my house in the near future. Finally, I complain about Busta (my soon-to-be nine-year old Miniature Schnauzer) and his antics, but the truth is I can’t live without him. He is my faithful companion, my ear when I’m suffering from embarrassing lunacy and my loyal roommate. Since his health scare several months ago, I began saying that if something were to happen to my boy, I would do without pets for good. Now I find myself checking several breeders for puppies and wondering if I should get my best friend a brother now, to give him company and me a safety net in the event of his untimely demise. Like the shoe fetishes and bag afflictions of many, puppies and cars are my weak spots. I’m presently considering either an English Bull Dog or a Doberman Pinscher. I’ll keep the future pooch’s almost-living-room-furniture price to myself for now.

On Blast
There is presently no irrefutable proof that circumcision prevents any diseases or has any medical benefits. That said, do you believe that male circumcision is genital mutilation or a case of socially acceptable aesthetic enhancement – sort-of like having a baby girl’s ears pierced?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Afternoon Edition - 11/3/07

Lead the Way
At this point in my life, I’m pleasantly surprised to say that I’m in love. Yeah, yeah…so you’ve noticed that from the sappy postings and the ongoing love story of BD and I that appear at least once a week on my blog. The truth is, I didn’t think this love – or any other love for that matter – would happen at this stage in my life. Moreover, I was content to feel that I have an incredible circle of friends and was enjoying myself just fine without the romantic entanglements. I am, however, taking one day at a time and savoring a new love. A love that is different from all that I’ve experienced. One of the changes that made this love possible was to actually do as Mariah’s song says and let love lead the way. For a control freak like me, that assignment is easier said than done, but I’m taking the project seriously. As I’ve said in the past, I don’t’ know where BD and I are going or if this is a forever love, but right now it’s amazing and I’ve learned to live my “right now.” Sidney Sheldon has a book entitled, “If tomorrow never comes.” The title – more than the storyline – has stayed with me over the years. Mainly because that’s how I’ve chosen to live my life; as if ‘tomorrow never comes’ I can say I really enjoyed today. It’s not as hard to do or believe….let love lead the way.

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Friday, November 02, 2007

Morning Edition - 11/2/07

Do you know? I think it’s human nature to wonder where we’re going to. What is our purpose in life? Are we getting the most out of our lives? I have my moments when I think, “I’m happy, I’m healthy and nothing else matters.” Those are great times, but there are also periods when I question whether I’m where I’m supposed to be. I’ll sit and wonder how one small event in my life has changed the entire course of where I was going and who I would meet; how those chance meetings have become life-long smiles or eternal heartaches. Reflecting on the ‘what ifs’ of my life I think of what life would had been like if I had stayed home instead of leaving home at the age of 15. Would I have been miserable if I had gone away to the Marines at 17 years old instead of backing-out by saying I was too young to be legally held to my signed contract? Then there was that acceptance letter to the University of Missouri at Columbia. I remember receiving it along with the name of my dorm roommate. We spoke on the telephone for over an hour and were excited to be coming from such different states; we never met. Instead I would stay in NYC and live a hard-knock life that made me street wise, deaf to the call of my dreams and content to just survive. Along the way there were the many faces, the incredible personalities the beautiful bodies; people who would pass-on tidbits of wisdom – some morsels that live-on in me today. With each new encounter there was a new turn and a new road traveled. I wonder if any of the roads has brought me closer to my dreams or if I’m skipping along a dead-end street that just happens to be set with a colorful façade and dreamy scenery. Then there’s the reality that life is so short. We believe that 60, 70 or even 80 years is a long time, but in the big-picture scheme of things – and in light of almost hitting 40 – it’s already halfway gone. So when I ask myself, “Do you know,” the easy answer is, “no.” Even through my inability to ‘know’ and my regrets, sorrows and accomplishments, I believe nothing that is destined for me can escape me. All that is my mine to have cannot be taken away. For all my missed opportunities, my changed plans and my questions, I somehow believe that I’m just where I’m supposed to be.

On Blast
Do you know where you’re going to?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Morning Edition - 11/1/07

The Thickness
After spending weeks enjoying a high calorie intake that included three square meals, snacks and assorted no-nos, I took a moment to weigh-in at the gym yesterday. What I discovered was that rather than losing the remaining five pounds that would bring me to my desired weight of 145 lbs., I managed to gain another 10 lbs. taking me to an even 160 lbs. If I wasn’t sure that the 10 lbs. were showing, I was reminded of it while picking up my lunch at the corporate cafeteria today. The cashier loudly exclaimed, “Boy, you are getting thick…what is that…like 10 lbs of ass?!” My initial reaction was to sling the mac & cheese, chicken breast, string beans, banana and yogurt at the ghetto hookah, but I really need to keep my job. So, I took a deep breath, gave her an icy glare and never responded. A security guard who was in line behind me simply said, “Quit messing with him.” Turned to me and said, “You look good bruh.” I flashed him a tight smile and kept stepping. The odd thing is that I took a moment to check my waistline and it’s holding at 29 inches, but it appears my thighs, butt and chest are absorbing the bulk of my weight right now. Since I don’t care for gaining mass or bulk, this isn’t exactly a welcome 10 lbs. Conversely, I’m very happy right now and I tend to eat BIG when I’m happy. I guess I need to draw the line somewhere and reign-back some of my intake to a more normal range. I’m already hitting the gym 5-6 days a week, so increasing my activity isn’t really an option. Anytime the issue of my increased weight and mass comes up, BD is more than supportive and alleges he loves my physique and always has, so any attempt to whine to him is immediately stifled. Similarly, it’s difficult to convince BD that I absolutely LOVE his body, if I appear to be so hard on myself. All said, actions speak louder than words, so if he and I can continue our insatiable and ravenous lovemaking, we prove our satisfaction with each other’s build. For now, I accept that 160 lbs. isn’t bad – at least not the way I’m presently carrying it – but I wouldn’t be comfortable putting-on any more weight.

Stretching Cash
Waiting until you’ve retired to enjoy life is insane. No one has ever laid in their deathbed wishing they spent more time at the office. Trusting that I can do anything I put my mind to, I’ve planned trips that will enhance my life, relax my body and rejuvenate my soul. Next month, I’m spending a week in my favorite place in the world – Puerto Rico – where I will take part in my family reunion. This yearly jaunt allows my enormous family to reconnect and share incredible stories of our lives and our family history. December, BD and I are sharing a long weekend in Puerto Rico. It’s time to introduce my baby to the shining star of the Caribbean, while sharing the insanity that is my people. February finds me on the slopes and my attempt at skiing and rekindling my ice skating career – NOT! Finally, I’ll be taking a 7-day cruise to Belize, Cazumel and Honduras with a group of close friends. It’s my first time location hopping and a fitting way to spend my 39th birthday. Now it’s time to buckle-down and exercise some new skills – to save and stretch cash.

The Price Of Stupidity
The Reverend Fred Phelps and his members at the Westboro Baptist Church believe that the death of our proud American men and women is justified for their role in defending a country that shows tolerance for homosexuals. To show his disdain for this perceived acceptance, Phelps and his church members routinely picket the funerals of American soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. They carry signs that read, “Thank God for dead soldiers,” and “God hates fags.” In March 2006, Phelps and his alleged God-fearing members, showed complete disregard for Albert Snyder and his family during the funeral for their son, Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, who was killed in Iraq. Snyder sued Phelps and the Westboro Baptist church and yesterday was awarded $11 million by a Baltimore court. Phelps says he will fight to overturn the verdict, but the message is clear – stop the disrespectful, ignorant and hateful display. The protests are not about the soldiers being gay, but their support of a country that they say tolerates homosexuality.

On Blast
With maturity comes the realization that our country is great because of our diversity and respect for different types of people, their beliefs, sexuality, cultural differences, etc. The first amendment to our constitution says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Do you believe that our first amendment protects Phelps’ right to protest and picket at a private funeral?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Morning Edition - 10/31/07

While I relax I wanted to enjoy my girl actively conveying my mood...
Love you ma!
Happy Halloween y'all!

Keep passin' the open windows...

Monday, October 29, 2007

Morning Edition - 10/29/07

Everything's great, but I'm a bit mentally worn. I'm taking a break for the next few days - unless something happens that inspires a post. Have a great one...

Friday, October 26, 2007

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Morning Edition - 10/23/07

On Blast
Life can sometimes give us a swift kick to our backsides and leave us feeling like we're not entitled to the better things - or even better people - in life. It is at these times that we should take a deep breath and realize that we are worthy of all that life has to offer. Miki Howard's Love Under New Management was a song that pulled my heartstrings back in the day. Today, I can actually sing the song with my soul - mainly because I'm living it. Yes, there were dark days, but right now, I'm enjoying my love under its new management.
Do you understand what it will take for you to experience love under new management?

Keep passin' the open windows...

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Morning Edition - 10/20/07

On Blast
Last night I had an amazing time with friends. I realize that God (yeah, I said God) has blessed me with an amazing family, incredible friends, a strong man and the health to enjoy them all.
I won't complain....
What/Who in your life helps you say, "I won't complain"?

Keep passin' the open windows...

Friday, October 19, 2007

Morning Edition - 10/19/07

I Am
Yesterday, I had an odd conversation with my older sister. After talking on the telephone about some courses she’s taking, the topic of evolution came up. Both my sister and I were raised Pentecostal and still believe that God exists. I say this because I recently read an article that piqued my interest. Not because I full-out accepted what I read, but because it had some valid questions – first, why would a God who knows all, has all and can do all create a being with the choice to betray him? Second, since God is omnipotent (infinite in power) why does he need a fallible being – namely our asses – to worship him; wouldn’t that prove God to be a flawed narcissist? Third, since we’ve established that God controls everything, would he be considered a sick voyeur for allowing and watching the tragedies that millions of innocent people suffer each year? Sure, there were more questions that raised my eyebrows and mentioning them to my sister incited her frenzy that ended with, “There are issues that our finite minds cannot understand.” I reiterate, I believe in God and have experienced his mercy first hand, but I certainly felt that as responsible Christians, we can’t be blinded in the name of respect for God and prevent ourselves from asking these types of questions. It isn’t sacrilege to be inquisitive. If you’re going to worship God, it would be a good idea to feel you’re doing it for the right reasons. Get to know, “I Am.”

This Is Our Night
Tonight, we’re turning to LQ for our ‘let loose’ after work party. It’s not often that we bring colleagues, friends and acquaintances together to enjoy good food, 2-for-1 drinks and something to shake our booty to. Don’t miss out on an inexpensive good time that won’t take you off your commuter route.
Where: LQ; Lexington Avenue, between 47th & 48th Street
When: Tonight beginning at 5:30; 2-for-1 drinks end at 7 p.m.
How Much: Ladies free before 7 p.m.; Gentlemen $5
Attire: Business casual; no sneakers or work boots

On Blast
Whether you’re a Christian, Muslim or Atheist, do you believe the above mentioned questions – and inquiries like it – are relevant when referring to an entity (God) that is worshiped by millions? Is it sacrilegious to question the reasoning of an almighty God?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Morning Edition - 10/17/07

Is There Anything Worse Than Being Gay?
Last night Idaho Senator Larry Craig sat down with NBCs Matt Lauer and discussed his June solicitation arrest at a Minneapolis airport. It’s a story of a conservative senator who admittedly says he disagrees with the gay lifestyle, but now faces judgment as a man who was soliciting sex from another man in a public restroom. To complicate matters for the senator, he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of disorderly conduct and never mentioned the incident to anyone – not his wife, not his state, not his lawyer – for close to two months. Just moments before the media broke the story, Craig told his family of what he alleges occurred that June day. The skinny is that Craig says that although he mimicked all the tell-tale signs of men who solicit sex in public restrooms, these were coincidence – some details he doesn’t recall at all. On Monday, he filed to withdraw his guilty plea and fight to prove his innocence. It would appear that as a man who feels unjustly judged, scrutinized and pigeonholed, that he would more clearly see the plight of the gay community he has shunned for so long. Whether true or not, he is experiencing the cold-shoulder and discrimination suffered by many gay men and women everyday. When Matt Lauer asked Craig what he felt about the gay life, he said he does not agree with the ‘lifestyle’ and his vote has always shown this. I nodded my head and had the eerie sense that sometimes life allows folks to plunge from their pedestals because their large heads tend to lean sharply over in judgment of others. Like Clinton’s “I did not have sexual relations with that woman,” statement, Craig asserts that he is not gay or bisexual. Meanwhile, The Statesman, an Idaho newspaper has reported of the more than twenty years of speculation surrounding Craig’s sexuality. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. All I can think of is how American society still judges virtually any crime, life choice and bad decision as a better plight than being a gay man or woman. It brings back the haunting memory of a tearful conversation I had with my mom and dad when I was about 15 years old. I asked if they would be happier if I were a murderer. There response was a simple, “I don’t know.” Here we are at the end of 2007 and the question remains, is there anything worse than being gay?

Let Loose Friday at LQs; Friday, October 19
This Friday we’re making our way to our end of summer let-loose party. Please join us at LQ for a light buffet, 2-for-1 drinks until 7 p.m., and some salsa, hip-hop, R&B and oldies. Ladies pay no cover charge before 7 p.m. and men fork over only $5. So relax, let loose and generate some heat to last you through those cold winter months. LQ is located on Lexington Avenue between 47th and 48th Street.

On Blast
Soliciting sex in a bathroom is NOT synonymous with being gay, just as being straight is NOT synonymous with buying sex from a prostitute. Do you think the bigger issue is that Senator Craig was arrested for solicitation or the allegation that he may be gay?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Monday, October 15, 2007

Morning Edition - 10/15/07

Burning Ignorance
Felix Najera, 49, found himself in a bad predicament. He was a homeless alcoholic man who routinely begged for cigarettes and slept in a cardboard box in front of an East Harlem church. The parish fed Najera, who associated the front of the church with home. On October 5th, Israel Torres, 29, set the cardboard box where Najera slept on fire. With 40 percent of his body burned Najera struggled with his injuries. On October 9th, Najera lost his fight to live. Torres is charged with assault and attempted murder. His charges have not been upgraded to murder since Najera’s death.

Mr. Telephone Man
Saturday night BD, the Minnie and I hit the theater to see the Dzul Dance Company in a beautiful performance that was a combination of Alvin Ailey meets Cirque du Soleil. The story was a tale of love, infidelity, death and a return to love. The Minnie and I sat glued to the actors and our second row center seats offered a reach-out-and-touch view. He and I whispered that we were going to leap on to the stage and take over the performance, but were asked by BD to pipe it down…but hey, we’re actors and we won’t allow the establishment to keep us down. Afterward, we joked and laughed through the streets before grabbing a late-night bite. When we returned to the car we strapped the Minnie into the backseat and he quickly fell asleep as we drove home. BD held my hand and he mouthed, “I love you,” when I looked in the rearview mirror and announced, “The baby’s asleep.” As they were getting out of the car, the Minnie gave me a tight hug and I performed my, “PLEASE DON’T GO…YOU CAN’T LEAVE ME!!” while hugging him tightly. He laughed uncontrollably and looked back after BD closed the car door. I winked and he winked back. Yesterday, as I was preparing to have BD for lunch… I mean, over for lunch…my telephone rang. Seeing BD’s number on the caller ID, I simply answered and said, “Yeah Pa, are you on your way?” I heard a giggle and then a familiar voice said, “Hey, are you going to come over?” Thinking BD was with him, I dramatically asked, “Who is this?” He laughed again and coyly asked, “Who do you think it is?” I said, “A smart kid who refused to take the stage last night.” He jumped right into character and yelled, “I told you, I’m not performing and I quit!” I sighed and said, “Well then I’m suing you for all your PS2 games for breaking our contract.” He laughed and said, “I’ll see you in court.” Our little charade over, he went right back to his initial question, “Are you going to come over and hang out?” I said, “I don’t know. We’re going to need to ask Daddy.” “He’s going to want me to go to bed early for school tomorrow so you have to talk to him,” he interjected. “Where is daddy?” I asked. He quickly said, “He’s at the store buying groceries.” I smiled and said, “Well, when he comes back tell him to call me and I’ll talk to him.” He said, “Great. Hope to see you.” As I hung up the phone I realized that the Minnie had found my number on his own and actually called me to invite me over. It gave me such a warm feeling. I filled the tub and took a hot bath, waiting for BD to arrive. As he came in and we sat on my bed – uh…talking – I mentioned the Minnie’s call. He was about to apologize and I said, “No, it was so cute….” He said, “I was so surprised that he looked for your number and called you. I didn’t spank him because he was so excited to talk to you.” I realized that my friendship with the Minnie is growing. I really enjoy him and it makes my relationship with BD a full family experience; one that I’ve never experienced before. We made love for a couple of hours and laid staring at each other in the dim light. BD ran his finger over my lips and said, “Thank you for making us so happy.” I hugged him and simply said, “Well, I feel like the big winner here. I get a baby without the stretch marks.” We hugged tight and drifted into a soft afternoon haze.

On Blast
Studies have shown that many Americans – even those that seem wealthy – are just one paycheck from homelessness. How do you honestly view the homeless men and women you pass everyday? Do you believe they are homeless because they choose to be?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Friday, October 12, 2007

Morning Edition - 10/12/07

We Touch Our Fly and It Shows
Well, that’s not quite how the Delta slogan went; the slogan was actually, “We love to fly and it shows.” Unfortunately, an 11-year old girl flying alone from San Diego to Atlanta is alleging my fictitious slogan sounded more like her experience on the airline. Now her family is suing Delta for failing to protect the youngster by allowing a child molester to slip into the seat next to her during flight where he allegedly fondled her while touching himself. The airline says they strive to serve and protect all their customers. Delta is now at the center of a lawsuit. In 2001 a Northwest Airline flight from Detroit was the stage for yet another alleged molestation that cost that airline $500,000.

So Much Changes; A Lot Stays the Same
A child, an ex-wife, a man that loves me without reservation – all things that I never experienced before and all require me to open my mind and heart to a learning experience beyond what I could have planned. The variables aren’t always heartwarming, but the rewards have proven priceless. With so much to learn, there are times when I become frustrated; no one changes overnight and I’m no different. I’m a short-fused person – quick to show my emotions, but just as quick to resolve them and move on. All my preconceived notions of keeping my composure and tallying scores before rendering judgment have proven impossible. It’s not like me to hear, see or feel anything without sharing it with BD – good or bad. At first, I was afraid that it would make me appear unpredictable, hot-headed or dim-witted. I could not have been more wrong. Our communication is amazing – we discuss things openly, laugh, even get a bit irate, but in the end, the proof is in the pudding and my man ends up being sweet and smooth. Yesterday, I was fuming at my desk after telling BD that I was afraid and that I felt unprepared to deal with a life that included more than a man – a family. I could barely concentrate and answered my incessantly ringing telephone to hear the lobby receptionist ask me to come downstairs for a package. I sighed loudly took the elevator down and aimlessly walked over to reception. As I asked her for my package she smiled warmly and pointed to the receiving table near her station where a beautiful bouquet of flowers peered from a tasteful vase. I pulled the card nestled in the center of the array of colorful blossoms and read two simple words, “I’m sorry.” I felt the tears well in my eyes and felt suddenly silly for feeling that BD didn’t realize how frightening it can be to adjust to this new type of relationship. I reached my desk and set-up my flowers in my office before calling him at his office. “Thank you. The flowers are absolutely beautiful. I’m sorry I get so bent out of shape sometimes.” He didn’t skip a beat before he said, “No baby, I’m sorry for taking for granted how much you mean to me and not seeing when you hurt.” I didn’t want to spoil the moment with any more words, so I quickly said, “Well, the flowers are incredible. We’ll talk more later.” I sat back in my seat and thought about how different he and I can be sometimes and when it comes down to it none of our differences matter when we share one thing in common - love.

On Blast
With 4-6 flight attendants tending to over 100 customers, do you believe it’s safe to send children on flights trusting in the supervision of preoccupied air waiters/waitresses? Would you consider leaving your children with the IHOP waitress for hours on a Sunday morning?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Morning Edition - 10/10/07

BDD and Me
I can’t put my finger on the precise moment when it all started, but for as long as I can remember I’ve suffered from what I now know is BDD. It has been both a painful negative and a driving positive. BDD or Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a preoccupation with a real or imagined physical defect. My BDD is specifically focused on my weight. I’ve always felt that I was too heavy and have lived my life as an obese person. Last year, I began making a point of trying to come away from the torture of never seeing my body for what it is. Next month will be four years since fighting and winning my battle with Anorexia. At my lowest point, I was 118 fragile pounds and remember the horror of hearing my doctor say that my body was in starvation mode and had begun eating muscle to survive. At the time I was working out 6 days a week and eating 500 calories a day. Today, I look at my 5’7”, 155 lb. frame and I remind myself that for a 38-year old man, I’m doing okay. This past weekend I went clothes shopping and was slightly disappointed to find that my waist is holding steady at 29 inches. I felt that all my efforts were in vain. Just as I heard those nightmarish voices beginning to say, “You will never get to where you want to be,” the man in the dressing stall next to mine stepped out of his stall and waited behind me to look in the shared mirror in the hall. He said, “You need to eat. I haven’t seen a size 29 since elementary school.” The voices stopped and I crashed back to reality. I don’t have the option of allowing the voices and I can’t afford to continue the mental beat down. Taking care of me is important, but never feeling good enough is just as bad as not giving a hoot. Heck, I’m a work in progress…there are good days and bad; I just need to be okay with me – inside and out. I’m a strong man, but the person who has always been the cruelest to me, is me.

Love; Can It Just Be Easy?
Love is tricky. To enjoy the greatest love of all you have to allow yourself to be vulnerable. You have to be open enough to let love in and head-over-heels enough to compromise on issues you would normally carve new assholes for. I’m a strong-willed person and with that comes the knee-jerk reaction to jump the gun and say – nah, I’ll pass. It isn’t about that though. I found it odd that the very book I once felt condemned me and my life held the greatest pieces of advice….1 Corinthians, Chapter 13, v. 4-7…
4. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn't jealous. It doesn't sing its own praises. It isn't arrogant. 5. It isn't rude. It doesn't think about itself. It isn't irritable. It doesn't keep track of wrongs. 6. It isn't happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth. 7. Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up.

On Blast
We all have an inner voice – sometimes more than one. What is the cruelest thing your inner voice has ever said to you?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Afternoon Edition - 10/9/07

Does Christianity Suffer?
No one is free of sin, forgiveness and the occasional foul-up. Unfortunately, when your life is lived under a microscope, your sins and foul-ups become fodder for public debate and your forgiveness and road to recovery are not always juicy enough to make news. In the case of Bishop Thomas W. Weeks III and Juanita Bynum we have a story of an opulent one-million dollar wedding, a successful book on healthy relationships, a wealthy ministry, a record label and, unfortunately, a failed marriage that landed both in the public eye as estranged spouses who had a tragic public assault in a hotel parking lot. The story is embarrassing at best, but does it stand to solidify the belief that Christians can be some of the most hypocritical and phony individuals to utter the name of God? Now Weeks and Bynum are at the center of a very public divorce – their reputations tarnished, their rhetoric on perfect relationships a show of smoke and mirrors – but is the entity most affected by their discord, Christianity? Time will tell, but for now, Weeks is asking for the court to equitably divide his and Bynum’s debts and assets.

If Not For Him, For Whom?
Keeping the flames of passion, intrigue and fun alive in long term relationships can be a challenge. I believe that one of the key reasons for partners stepping out or being distracted by outside parties is that they provide a source of fun and spice sometimes lacking or dead in their current relationship. Although many will shout that there is no reason to cheat, it is human nature to feel drawn to someone who is paying you attention and singing your praises. In my current relationship I have made it my duty to be the MAN to my man. This means, I sing your praises, I pay close attention and I even am that try-everything-once freak for my man. Case in point – funny story – BD and I spent the Columbus Day holiday chilling at my crib, where I agreed to wear undies he chose. My leopard print see-thru fitted boxers included an open seam that allowed for some incredibly amazing toe-curl work. Undoubtedly not intended for daily use, I filled them to the brim and BD did a great job at using the seam as he saw fit. For him, I opted for a much simpler, jock-strap that highlighted just the areas I wanted to concentrate on. I suddenly felt a pang of jealousy at the thought of anyone at the gym seeing my baby in this contraption and kept his little gift in my underwear drawer for his future visits. As I told BD, I am your freak and your sneak around piece. I am all those things for you because it’s fun, safe and if not for him, for whom?

On Blast
Separation of church and state; basically, a rule created to keep matters of religious beliefs separate from those of civil rights and liberties. With Weeks and Bynum now asking their fair state to separate their debt and wealth, isn’t it funny that these same individuals would not agree that gays and lesbians should have the civil right to marry even if their Christian church chooses not to perform such unions? Have they considered that the vows taken during their wedding specifically stated that what “God brings together, let no man put asunder?”

Keep passin’ the open windows…

Friday, October 05, 2007

Morning Edition - 10/5/07

On Blast
Dip it low… We all have our favorite little intimate thing we like to do. For some kissing is the ultimate high, while others feel that “poppin’ that thing” is what does it for them. If we asked your intimate partners, what would they say was the hottest move in your repertoire? (Feel free to post anonymously if you're feeling shy)

Keep passin' the open windows...

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Morning Edition - 10/3/07

You Think You Know, But You Have No Idea
Yesterday I laughed when I realized that some folks believed that my post may have something to do with BD and I, when in fact, the first paragraph regarding a Leopard’s spots centered around me and a recurring issue with some friends and family. Although BD and I are two strong minded individuals, our desire to keep each other happy has helped us overcome issues of priority and position. I’ve pretty much settled into the dynamic of a relationship that involves a young child and now address any arising issues pretty swiftly. Love is truly a two way street and stepping across the double lines can have the drifting partner damaged by the oncoming issues. We pretty much agreed that when issues arise we try to speak about them openly. Yes, I still have my moments when I feel that it’s best to wait and feel out where he’s coming from, but normally, BD has been on point when it comes to delivering the goods – pun intended. As for the Pearls to the Swine rant, I’m disturbed by my younger sister’s steady path to destruction. She seems hell-bent on tempting the devil, fate or whatever other negative force you’d like to believe in. I’ve chosen to step aside, since I’m living by the Maya Angelou admonition – When someone tells you who they are, believe them. At 18, she believes that she knows everything and that her family will always be there to catch her before her face hits the pavement. For her sake, I hope she realizes that I’ve put away the safety net with regard to her. She has reiterated to anyone trying to give her advice that she is an adult. I agree sis…you’re grown and you get no arguments from me. Please be sure to refer back to that assertion when the feces hits the fan.

Boot – It’s Almost That Time; How’s This For Being Early?
Boot aka my southern muffin Parker, is celebrating a birthday this week. Born and raised in North Carolina, Boot brings that southern charm that warms your heart and soothes your soul. When we dated years ago, I was in a rough place mentally and emotionally and wasn’t the best person to Boot. Today, in a very public forum, I want to take a moment for a two-fold public post – First to loudly yell, “Happy birthday Boot! You deserve all the happiness life has to offer. I caught a very small sliver of the polished, intelligent and kind-hearted man you were evolving into and I’m sure you are now the catch of the day in the DC area. Be true to yourself and others and everything you share will come back to you.” My second point is one that is harder to express, but equally important. “My sincerest apology for not being a better man to you and a better caretaker of the love you bestowed on me. Your love taught me that to receive all that someone has to offer, I need to open my heart – even to the point of vulnerability. Your love wasn’t in vain and today I am a better man for it.”

On Blast
Mean it or don’t say it. Being able to apologize from your heart and not expect anything in return serves several goals. Two important goals are: 1. It frees your soul from the guilt, defeat, frustration and chains that bind you to a negative instance. 2. It shows growth and the ability to recognize your mistakes and their impact on others.
When (if ever) have you chosen to withhold an apology and found that you’re not only wrong, but feeling a long-term bind (tie) to an issue or individual? Is (Was) it worth it?

Keep passin’ the open windows…