Friday, December 24, 2004

Happy 12/24?

A Christian friend of mine lamented today that it's now politically incorrect to wish someone 'Merry Christmas.' Now, it's not that it's politically incorrect, but it is true that many Christians assume everyone is Christian. I've heard so many Christians wish someone a Merry Christmas, have the person say, well thank you, actually I'm Jewish... so many times, I've heard the Christian say, "Oh," or "Well, Merry Christmas anyway," and less often, "Oh, well, Happy Hanukkah to you." As a higher and higher percentage of this country becomes non-Christian, they'll just have to get used to not being the majority. Diversity is a good thing.

Do we all have to be cognizant of every holiday that every celebrates? Heck no. But is there really anything at all wrong with the all-inclusive and welcoming 'Happy Holidays?' To those Christians out there, let me wish you a healthy, hearty, happy Get Over It.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004


An odd subject for a blog, which is where you pour out your thoughts and ideas to the world for all to see. But a few things came up in the last few days that are interesting privacy issues.

The parents of a soldier killed in Iraq are suing Yahoo to open up his e-mail account to them so they can share in his thoughts and words from the last months of his life. Yahoo refuses to grant them access, because their membership agreement automatically terminates upon death, and they feel no one has a right to full access to any account members correspondences, even after their death. OK, my take on that? You know there are lots of things I don't want my father to read or see. I actually hope my friends are around for that gawdforbid day that I go, so they can get into my house and edit out the things I wouldn't want my father to find or know about.

A friend related a story of one of her friends who intuited that her live-in boyfriend was cheating on her, so she checked his cellphone logs and saw text-messages from other women arranging trysts. So yeah, he is a pig, but did she cross the line by going snooping? Would you have done the same? In a past relationship I really felt my boyfriend was cheating on me. Whenever we arrived at his house, and he had answering machine messages, he would never check them in front of me. Even when I would see the flashing light and tell him he had a message, he would fluster and say, 'oh um I'll just check it later.' You don't know how many times I felt like listening to his messages when he was in the shower or I found myself alone in his room. I never did it, and after almost a year, he finally admitted he had been cheating, and the relationship ended. You know, I don't feel like a fool, but I think I would have felt hideous about my ability to trust if I had listened to his messages behind his back.

When the police suspect someone of a crime, even murder, they have to present evidence to support their suspicions before being granted a warrant to search private property. And that's a good thing, or else they'd search people all the time.

Privacy. All the new security laws have the underlying premise that the safety of the country is more important than our individual rights to privacy. I've heard people say that if you don't have anything to hide, then you shouldn't be concerned. I totally disagree. A blog? I put these ideas and words up for anyone in the entire world to read if they want to. But if you were to read my diary or journal, I would be enraged. One of the most important aspects of society is the individual's ability to be alone in his actions, ideas, and person.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

My Happy Place

My favorite stress-reducing trick is quite simple and easy to grasp. Always have something planned for the near future. It doesn't have to be something extravagant. The simplest thing can suffice. Vacation is the greatest example, but small things can work, too. Invite friends over to hang out, book a massage, get a tee time, plan on going to the gym. Until that thing comes to be, next weekend or tonight or two weeks from now, every time you face something stressful, take one minute to take a deep breath and say to yourself, "OK, I have to deal with this right now, but no matter what happens, (e.g.) next Friday night I will be on the beach... getting a massage... having dinner with the gang..." It really works.

Now for me, there is one place that I love going to. It's close enough that I can go any time I want; close enough that it isn't a huge trek; but far enough that getting in the car and going there is definitely a get-away. The Borgata. The fanciest, most extravagant casino in Atlantic City. My friends and I call it 'Our Happy Place.' Well, honestly, we stole it from The B themselves, since that is their tagline, 'Come to Your Happy Place.' Lounging by the pool, scheduling a massage, opening a bottle of wine in our room, having the buffet, gambling, we love it. And no matter what happens for the rest of the week, on Sunday afternoon, I'll be at The Borgata.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Make Something

I have found the greatest form of relaxation and the best place to find a small piece of tranquility is... to make something. It doesn't have to be something that lasts or even a piece of meaningful art. When I'm feeling stressed out or feeling like there isn't enough time in the day to get done all I want to get done, the best way to relax is to write, draw, bake. One Tuesday night, I was feeling strung out by the work week already, so I went home and made brownies. By the time I put them in the oven, I was feeling calmer. Last night I was hanging out with a friend who was silk-screening t-shirt designs. Instead of going out or drinking or traipsing around in the cold, we sat inside while he traced designs. And of course for me, just sitting in front of a blank piece of paper or computer screen makes me forget other things and try to fill empty lines with words. Even if I only write one paragraph, I can feel better. Even if the writing sucks. Feeling stressed? Move your brain.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Is He the One?

When I had a few dates with a guy, one of my female friends asked me, 'Do you think he's the one?' Honestly? I don't think there is such a thing as 'The One.' What is that all about? The notion that there is one person in this entire world who is the single person to complete your life. Do you know what I think? I think there are thousands of guys who I could be with. Not just one. But what is it about this notion of 'The One.' I think the reality is, if it's what you're looking for, there is one slot in your life and the goal is to find a man who wants to try to fill it. But when you find A man interested in spending time with you, don't go crazy thinking about whether or not it's going to work. Just get to know him, see how it goes, see if you're both interested in going on, one date at a time. If it doesn't work, it's like they say in the deli, 'Next!'

In fact... call me a freak, crazy, insane, wacko, weird... maybe for a lot of people, getting into this whole monogamous relationship thing isn't the only possible life. What if I meet two men who are both wonderful? What if I don't meet one at all? You know what? I'm still good.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

When Annoying Things Happen

I find it amazing that when a small inconvenience or crappy thing happens, it can turn your mood upside down, and the bad feeling can last hours upon hours. Whether it's chemical, hormonal, mental, emotion is a powerful human experience. I wish I were able to turn it around, meditate it away, explain it away to myself, or suppress it sometimes. But no, 5 hours after the smallest of arguments, I still stew, brew, and grumble. I still have that little sinking feeling in my gut. And it was nothing. Nothing really. But my mind just goes over the scenario 100 ways and won't let go of it. Does it mean I'm a freak? Or is that typical?

The first hour of every day is the most important. How it goes, so goes my day. And today is a fender bender kind of a day.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004


I think often of getting a tattoo. At first, it represented a rebellion, something that could make me look more dangerous, edgier, daring. Unless I opted for the Winnie the Pooh, or worse, Harld and the Purple Crayon. Of course, way back in the early 1980s, I got my ears pierced to be a rebel, and see where that's gone. Now it seems everyone has a tattoo, and I feel like I'll be the only senior citizen in the complex without one.

I played in a beach volleyball tournament at the Jersey Shore a few years back. There were probably about 75 teams, meaning there were 150 guys on the beach that day. Most were much younger than me, college aged, and I began to note how many had tattoos. So I did a quick survey of the shoulders and arms and shins and ankles and hips and chests, and about 75% of the dudes were inked. You know, eventually, the world is going to have to prepare itself for tattooed CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. Dare I even say... the President.

And yet, in the end, I'm still stuck with the same underlying problem that has plagued me since I first thought about getting one. WHAT do I want to permanently emblazen upon my body? And where? And how much is it going to hurt? OK, three underlying problems. But still, should I go with the rose, the knife, the skull and crossbones, the volleyball, the comedy/tragedy masks? Oh, forget it, I'll just put on this Huckleberry Hound temporary tattoo.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Just a Small Question

Is there anything more wonderful than a nice glass of red wine before bed?

What's Hot?

The books you buy this month were written over a year ago. The movies that are hot this season have been in development for several years. Music written, fashion designed, magazine articles planned out and executed months ago. Fads and trends are pre-determined for us. Next year's hot new diet is already being prepped for marketing. You never know. When you think you're discovering something on your own, when you think you're THINKING on your own, are you really? Or did someone decide last year that this was the year you were going to take up an interest in poker, ponchos, Howard Hughes, John Varvatos, the Founding Fathers, back to briefs not boxers, and code-breaker thrillers?

Monday, December 13, 2004

The Paradox of Education

I feel like I was sold into a giant fallacy by my preparatory school education and the absolute push that you are nothing unless you get straight A's through school, go to a good university, and basically, be a nerdy know-it-all. Now when it is too late, I see the reality. Our education system does not prepare you for success. It prepares you to buy into its own existence.

When I was in high school, I remember students always asking teachers, 'When will I need to know this.' The teacher's response was always the same, 'That's not the point.' Well, actually, yeah it kinda is. We are taught mathematics to the pre-calculus level or even beyond. We are put through the ringer of high school chemistry and physics. We take 8 different classes every year through all of our education in the preparatory track of going to college. Once in college we continue into majors in esoteric catch-all subject areas.

I remember hearing about a study done comparing adult income levels to school grades, and it turns out that B and C students out-earn A students by a hefty amount. I was one of those A students. While I do not feel income level is the main gauge of success, that is exactly the point. B and especially C students DO.

But when I look at what gauges I think are the real measure of success, I do have to look at all the professions that my teachers in a college prep track and in a university setting mocked and insulted. I remember a teach in high school who after tests would push those who got low grades by insulting them with, 'Keep this up, you'll end up fixing cars for a living.' I wish I knew how to fix a car.

What have I done with my life? What do I do every day? Well, working in book publishing, I can feel good that I help to bring information and entertainment, thoughts and enjoyment into the world through helping move ideas and creative works through the world, but the everyday reality of it is the same as many people sitting behind desks: I push paper, from one pile to the next. I agree to deals and sign contracts and file the resulting paperwork. I've never built a house or repaired a machine that no longer works. I've never made someone's backyard into a beautiful, blooming peaceful place to sit and enjoy the nature. I don't know how to renovate a kitchen or repair a roof or install a water heater. And do you know what I've learned in the last 17 years since graduating with that piece of paper? There is real art and creativity in lawncare and building a wall and knowing how water moves through a house in two different temperatures and, yes, even in knowing how a car engine runs. As long as you know to look for the art in it. And there in one will find happiness, fulfillment, and in the end, success.

Do you know what I think? Our education in this obsessive infatuation to make sure we all went to college, missed the point. 8 different subjects every day, every year. But the people in this world who are the most successful are those who do and learn one thing really, really well. A students spent our lives trying to learn every subject to a mediocre introductory level. B and C students learn and accept early on that they can't know everything, but when they find something they really love, they become expert in it. And if you look at all the successful people in the world, the self-made ones, it was because they do one thing better than anyone else. I bet they are proud of their work, happy with their lives, content and fulfilled. I think I'll go back to school, and this time, I'll do it right.

Sunday, December 12, 2004


My sister sent me one of those stupid e-mail questionnaires that you are supposed to send back and answer the questions. Typical things like, 'what's your favorite color;' 'what's your favorite ice cream;' 'what's your favorite wild animal?' But one question stood out to me: 'who or what inspires me?' Wow. From 'what color is your bathroom' to 'what inspires you.' Am I expected to answer with one name or one short concept? Well, I quickly input an answer (creativity and uniqueness) to get through the silly thing, but the question is still spinning and twisting in my head.

What inspires me? My quick answer was 'creativity and uniqueness.' It sounds a bit ridiculous. I find my inspiration from other people's creativity? Well, yes. That's very possible. Creativity can definitely be a collective process. Ah, but then does that counter-act the notion of uniqueness? I want to say no. If you can take a thought or idea and reform it and take it somewhere it's never been before, you have created and invented

But what else inspires me? When I do get inspired to write or to think or to create, what was the catalyst? What gets me going? Well, since I never get anything done, and I never get anything created despite how much circulates and swirls and gnaws at me inside my mind, sadly, in reality, the true answer is... nothing inspires me. I'm still waiting to find out what it is.

But for the time being, for what it is worth, I get small bursts and bouts of inspiration every now and then. This journal was started to help me with that. And for the most part, I would have to say, I get inspired by hunter green, heavenly hash, and giraffes.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Relationship Fringe Benefits

In college one of my friend's worked part time for Continental Airlines. Often one of our group would call his home and ask his mom, "Hey is Marcus home?" And her answer one time was, "No he went to Chicago for lunch." I knew this couple once; the one guy was a flight attendant; his boyfriend worked for Marriott. They took the most amazing vacations almost completely free (fly for free; stay for free).

It got me to thinking. What kind of guy is the best to date? Relationships can come with some very serious fringe benefits. Airlines, hotels, heck, there are so many others. Every now and then I can sometimes finagle tickets to a premiere and certainly free books, but for the most part, not very exciting. So I've started a list of jobs that are the best to date:

Massage Therapist
Airline employee
Hotel employee
General Contractor
Retail but only at a really good store (can you say 'employee discount')
Lawyer (you never know when you'll need one)

Any suggestions?

Thursday, December 09, 2004


OK, so I named this gratuitous journal of self-import 'fagblog,' and yet, I haven't really talked about much of anything particularly faggy. Aliens, iPods, and annoying bosses, but no hot man on man action. No wonder no one has read it yet. You gotta get juicy, you gotta be cutting edge, you gotta be salacious and scandalous.

So these two police officers were fucking a drunk caterer in a dark alleyway, and... what's the matter, you don't like uniform fetishes?

All right, all right. We can be politigay. Way to go Canada! Yay! Canadian courts open the door to legislating gay marriage rights! Anybody want to buy a house in New Jersey? I'm moving.

Nah, that's boring, too. Let's talk about sex again.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Where Do We Come From, Finally Answered

For years I have known the truth, and now through the technological innovation of blogging, I feel my message can be heard for the first time. You see, I know the truth about how we got here and how we developed as a species. All the religions of the world have suppressed the truth for hundreds of years, but a small group of us has clung to the truth through oral histories, passing on the story from generation to generation. I am the last of my kind now, and it is time for the whole world to know. You see, human beings were put here on Earth. Yes, specifically placed here. Who put us here? Religion likes to call it 'God.' That's fine. For all the stories and abilities assigned to such an entity, for the most part, you can call it true, just merely overly simplistic. We were put here by an omnipotence capable of creation. But it wasn't a one-entity 'god.' No, you see, we were put here by a technologically-advanced alien race.

The stories are all true in allegory. We were to them like children. They nurtured and cared for us, loved us, taught us, and protected us. All the Earth was a Garden of Eden under their watchful eye and advanced capabilities and technology. And they stayed with us to guide us and live among us, but in the end, we pissed them off. The specifics of what it was we actually did are lost to us. Suffice it to say, it was not as simple as eating an apple. Many of my past colleagues have surmised it could have been waging war, but I'm not thoroughly convinced, but nonetheless, in the end, they left us and took everything they had ever bestowed upon us with them. Their ships left, never to return. They told us to fend for ourselves on this harsh planet, without aid of their climate control, universally capable health systems, peaceful guidance, protection, and succor.

And when the last ships left, we were stranded here alone and unfathered. And the people spread out across the world. We separated into races and nations and divided ourselves into groups and factions. And nothing of the advanced alien technology and knowledge was left behind. Except one thing. One element of their learned culture they left behind. Whether they left it on purpose or merely forgot it, we at least have one thing left to remind us that life and the world can some day again be as perfected and blissful as it was when we were cared for and loved and protected and nurtured. And that one and only form of advanced culture left to us is... the recipe for chocolate.

Monday, December 06, 2004

He's Just Not That into ... ME

And yet again, this same crazy scenario rears its ugly head again in my life. I don't know if anyone else has had this happen to them, but I'm up to at least 5 separate times with this. Maybe it will sound familiar. It's in that awkward early stage after several dates with a guy, not just one but not enough that you define each other with any moniker (like boyfriend, etc.), just enough that when people ask, are you seeing anyone, your answer is, 'well, I've seen this guy a few times,' but you still call yourself single... He goes away on a business trip or holiday jaunt home to visit the family or on a vacation or a weekend trip, and there's the, 'OK, I'll talk to you when I'm back...' And then... you never hear from him again.

I've gotten to the point now where I won't accept the disappearance. I feel that if you have gone out with someone more than once or twice, you owe that person an official acknowledgment that there isn't going to be another date. I don't feel you have to give reasons or get together and discuss it or process it. He should say, hey you know I don't think I'm up for going out again. I'm sorry. I think for the most part men are wimps and would rather just slink away invisibly and silently back into their life and not confront the reality of, 'hey, I don't want to go out with you again.'

Just tell me. So I know. But just to be clear, I don't need to know that while you were on your little vacation to Florida with your college friends, you reconnected with your old girlfriend and are going back to her, and you don't think you're gay anymore. That can be filed away under 'too much information.'

Friday, December 03, 2004

Random Thoughts

Interesting: here at work, we have e-mail filters to flag any e-mail that include dirty, nasty words and push those e-mails into spam folders. Our filters flag the word 'shitake.'

Dear Ms. Manners, I've got 23 people coming over for dinner tomorrow. If I have 4 different styles of plates and 3 different sets of utensils, random mismatched glasses and three different tablecloths, folding chairs for half my guests and one on a rolling office chair, does it matter if my centerpieces match?

The story of St. Nic has been around for hundreds of years, but I'm sorry, where I come from, that's considered breaking and entering.

Christian Conservatives. Aren't these concepts diametrically opposed to each other? Conservatives are against being taxed for social programs to help those less fortunate than themselves. Christians are supposed to put others ahead of themselves.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Defense of Marriage Act

I believe marriage needs to be defended, but my vision is slightly different than the one most reported on. The institution of marriage has been attacked for decades, but not by homosexuals. Today it was reported that a couple sought divorce after 90 minutes of marriage. At the reception, the groom made a toast to the bridesmaids that the bride took offense to, so she did what every blushing bride would do. She bashed him over the head with an ashtray. He in turn got violent himself, and when the police were called to the scene, he was arrested (not her?), and within an hour and a half the bride had petitioned for divorce.

There are reality television shows promising instant marriage from a collection of a few dozens suitors. We have Anna Nicole Smith marrying a billionaire on his deathbed. We have Robert Blake and his reportedly gold-digging murdered wife. You've got Rush and Newt and their shenanigans. Heck, even Stephen Hawking, yeah, Stephen phukkin' Hawking, in his wheelchair, speaking through a machine, I've heard tell that he dumped his wife who supported him all those years and shacked up with his nurse. I can hear his electronic voice now, "I... leaving... you... for... the.... nurse... she... gives... better... sponge... baths..."

How many marriages do some of these celebrities have under their belts? Larry King? Liz Taylor? Ah, and then there are Nevada chapels for Brittney and urge weddings. In my hometown, there is a large Indian population, and even in this country, they are taking part in arranged marriages between couples who have never met or at best have met once or twice.

Yes, marriage needs to be defended. Against "I Want to Marry a Millionaire" and habitual serial brides and grooms and violent, stupid people. I propose that the contract of marriage be upheld by the government. If you file for a divorce, all your tax returns for the time you were married should be refiled as individual returns, and if you would have owed more money as single people, you have to pay up. I want the children of a divorcing couple to be able to sue for breach of contract. I want people who have been married 5 times to be refused the right to marry again. I want anyone who files for divorce and has been married for a shorter amount of time than they dated their spouse to be fined or put on probation or required to go to marriage and relationship counseling. I want the drive-in wedding chapels of Las Vegas outlawed. I want all couples who want to be married to be required to go through classes and group sessions to get to the heart of why they intend to marry.

Never mind loving gay couples. It's the Brittneys and Larrys and Lizes and Newts and Rushes and Darvas of this world who have already ruined the institution of marriage. Tell you what, we gay people won't push for marriage until you straight people clean it up and make it an institution to be proud of again. You're the real abomination.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

A Cynic's Look at People in the News

And today we all lament the defeat of Ken Jennings on Jeopardy. The poor guy couldn't identify H & R Block!?! Geez, any 68 year old blind former railroad worker could have answered that question. Maybe he threw the game! I mean, let's face it. The guy has probably been thinking of nothing but income tax for the last 6 months. How could he possibly get that wrong? Immediately following his defeat, H & R Block was ready to capitalize on the instant publicity by offering him free tax advice for life. Maybe they put him up to it! a-HA!

And then there's NYC real estate lawyer Rhonda Gaynier, who is suing over airport security patdowns. She described her pat-down at the hands of a Tampa TSA agent as the most humiliating experience of her life. CNN reported her description of the pat-down, saying the agent "touched her on her shoulders, under her arms, around her waist, across her bra strap, and between her breasts." Rhonda, seriously, you've got bigger problems than this pat-down. That's the most humiliating experience of your entire life? You can't think of anything that has ever happened to you that was more humiliating than that? Honey, that's not humiliation. Now if they had tied your hands behind your head, lifted your shirt, twisted your nipples, then chained them together with clamps, stripped you down, took a strap to your bare ass, the whole while saying to you, "Yeah, you like that, don't you beyotch? Who's your Daddy? Take it. Take it, you dried up old raisin. Moan for me, yeah, that's it. You love it." Rhonda, that would be humiliating. But having a security guard make sure you're not strapped with wires and dynamite, making the rest of us safer on airplanes... that's not humiliating. Seriously. Get a life.