Thursday, August 19, 2010

School's out

I left Ohio ten years ago this past July. It was only a couple of years ago that I finally realized you really can never go home, and that the small town I was expecting to see when I visited just wasn't there anymore... on one hand, it remained the same boring place, full of churches and gas stations and not much else... but on the other hand, it seemed there was nothing familiar about it. Too much time had passed... people had moved on and made the town something it wasn't when I lived there. It took me being gone a long time to realize this happens to everyone's hometown. The longer you're away from it, the less it is yours anymore.

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Currently, in my hometown of Hubbard, Ohio, they are putting the finishing touches on a brand new high school. There are four schools in Hubbard: a parochial K-8 school, and the public elementary, middle, and high schools. Once the high school is complete, they'll tear down the old high school to make room for the new middle school. Then they'll tear down told middle school to make room for the new elementary school. It'll be a convenient campus, with access to pretty much anything a student could want. (Gone are the days of walking from the middle school to the adjacent community pool for swim classes in the middle of winter, and walking back to the middle school with frozen hair.)

We recently spent a week in Ohio and I drove past the new high school and mid-demolition old high school. I'm surprised to be full of emotion about this. My parents both went to the old high school. I went there, and so did both of my sisters. When I was younger, I always imagined sending my kids there when I grew up. (Note: not in a million years would I send my kids to Hubbard schools now, mainly because I'd have to live in Hubbard to do so. Oy.) I was nostalgic about the whole thing before I saw the school being torn down. But what really got me was seeing the band room with the windows blown out.

Gina and I met in band in the summer of 1992. We both played saxophone. (She was a cool band kid - I was not.) I loved being in band. I have so many good memories in that band room, vivid memories, but not vivid enough. It was always comforting to think that the band room would always be there for me to visit. My strongest connection to high school is with the band room, but the truth is, I loved every bit of that school. I had a great time, and learned a lot about myself in those four years. I laughed A LOT there, and met people who would become lifelong friends. I had teachers who I still think about to this day, teachers who changed the way I think about myself and the world. (I certainly had a lot of crappy teachers too... it wasn't all sunshine and roses.) To experience such a visible, tangible destruction of part of my past has been weird, to be perfectly honest. It's crazy to think all of that will be gone.

They had an open house of the school before they began demolition last spring. Of course, we couldn't go because well, we live in Los Angeles and Hubbard is not nearby.

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I was sad to miss it, but I'm old enough to know that walking through those hallways one last time won't elicit the feeling I'd be expecting. And the truth is, I know that school so well, I have it mapped out so vividly in my mind, what would one more walkthrough do? It reminds me of the scene in the series finale of Six Feet Under, where Claire is getting ready to leave home and she gets the family together for a picture, and Nate comes up behind her and says, "You can't take a picture of this... it's already gone."

So it's good. Out with the old, in with the new. Besides, I have gina, who I can say without a doubt is my favorite memory from high school.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Six years of blog entries; no comments.

Ah, I'm a saver of things. I never got a lot of comments on this blog, but I was happy to read every single one. And now, they're all gone. Bye-bye!

I'm trying to get back on my own personal blog train, but this isn't encouraging. LAME!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Me, before gay pride last weekend: "I can have fun without alcohol!"

Me, after gay pride: "No, no I cannot."

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A very casual observer's opinions on the oil spill

I can’t even watch the footage of the oil spill. Except for one crab and one bird, I have carefully avoided shots of wildlife affected by the spill. I’ve seen the Spill Cam, and I’ve seen the satellite imagery of how large the spill is. Beyond this, I avoid visual coverage of it.

It’s frustrating to me that people are comparing Obama’s reaction to the spill to Bush’s reaction to Katrina. Just because two catastrophes happen in the same place doesn’t mean they’re the same. Bush’s administration was quite unaware of what Katrina had done until days after the hurricane hit. Americans were left to die in New Orleans while the government scrambled to help. There was a humanitarian crisis on our hands the size of which this country had not seen in a very long time.

Is the oil spill as catastrophic? It depends on your idea of catastrophe, but I would argue to say that yes, it’s just as catastrophic. It will affect the area for probably much longer than Katrina has and will. The Gulf is most likely forever changed because of this spill. It’s heartbreaking to think of the ramifications – the animals affected, the economy and jobs that will be affected. It’s terrible.

With Katrina, there was no one responsible but the government. Mother Nature smacked us in the face, and we depend on our government to take care of us when stuff like that happens. This BP disaster was a terrible accident, and while I won’t assign blame, there was and is a company whose job it is to fix it. I would say it’s the government’s responsibility to make sure that the company is fixing it, but ultimately, it’s up to BP to fix this. And it looks like they have, thank God. I don’t understand WHAT THE HELL TOOK SO LONG, but I also know I don’t know anything about oil drilling – I would imagine it’s pretty complicated. (I have to wonder why they don’t have a solid plan in place should disasters like this happen… perhaps this is where government can really shine – forcing oil companies to figure out a way to stop something like this right away the next time it happens…)

I don’t understand people rushing to blame Obama for this. It seems like the people who are blaming the Obama administration are the same people who think government involvement is generally a bad idea. Also, adding a jab to the left side of the spectrum, I don’t agree with people yelling at Obama saying, SEE, THIS IS WHY WE SHOULDN’T DRILL IN OUR WATERS! Those are MY people saying that, democrats, liberals, etc. How about instead of yelling about not drilling, we come up with an answer for this global oil-dependence crisis? How about us Americans come up with a way to be less dependent on OIL in general, foreign AND domestic? If oil drilling is so terrible, we need to figure out another way to power our cars – plain and simple.

If anything, I think this spill should serve as a wake-up call that we are destroying our planet with our complacency. We should be encouraging children to study science and math and come up with a way to end our dependence on oil. This is not good enough – it needs to be better. And no one is going to fix it but us.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I used to not even watch TV.

I'm beginning to wonder if the reason I don't have anything to post is because I'm too busy watching TV to have a life to write about.

To that end, here is my TV/pop culture round-up, just in time for season finale month.

1. Glee - I really do love this show - so much that we went to see them on tour. The live show was GREAT, and I'm still on board, but really you guys? You have Idina and Lea, two of the most beautiful Broadway voices, and you have them sing Poker Face? I liked it, but there are so many other GREAT SONGS out there they could've sung! Sigh.

2. Brothers & Sisters - I was all set to NOT watch this show anymore up until the last 10 minutes of the finale. Damn you, bad-writing-but-good-last-ten-minutes!

3. American Idol - Crystal. (Although I think Lee is dreamy.)

4. Nurse Jackie - ARE YOU WATCHING THIS SHOW?! If the answer is no, you should be ashamed of yourself.

5. Modern Family - Might be the best show on television right now. Eric Stonestreet kills it every week, in a good way.

6. United States of Tara - This show has hit its stride, if you ask me. I like how there are less scenes with the alters this season. It was getting a little annoying and felt like I was in a speech competition. If you were on speech team, you know what I mean.

7. Parenthood - Okay, if Modern Family is the best comedy on television, Parenthood is the best hour-long drama. This show is everything I wanted it to be... although I admit, I'm still left thinking what the show would be if Maura Tierney were on it instead of Lauren Graham. Love Lauren Graham... but it would've been different. Better? I'm not sure. Different. And Mae Whitman is incredible, although I just now realized her name is unfortunately similar to a certain GOP candidate for Governor.

8. Parks and Recreation - I love what they've done with this show in the few seasons it's been on the air. They are knocking it out of the park right now. Andy is my favorite.

9. 30 Rock - This show is not as accessible as Modern Family, but ranks as high in my book comedy-wise. The comedy is arguably smarter on 30 Rock, and I have a huge crush on Tina Fey... although it probably has more to do with wanting to BE her than wanting to... uh... DO her.

10. Friday Night Lights! We don't have DirecTV, so this season that's airing on NBC right now is new to us. We're loving it, although I miss seeing the really good Panther football. I have a feeling it won't be long before East Dillon shows us some good stuff too.

11. LOST - I have been thinking about the finale pretty much non-stop since Sunday night. I have gone from being "meh" about it, to being REALLY ANGRY ABOUT IT, and I'm now sort of moving into respecting it and almost liking it. I could probably write a whole post about just Lost, but suffice it to say that I don't think it was the right ending for the show... that's not say it was bad, but it just didn't seem appropriate. Still - the more I think about it, the more I understand and respect it. Besides, it's so much easier to like something than to develop a negative but informed opinion of it.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


We had a 4.4 earthquake this morning, but the local news in LA acted like it was armageddon, covering the small quake for the entirety of the morning newscast. Robert Kovacik is a local anchor, and while he was interviewing people this morning, my gaydar went off, so I tweeted this:

I was kind of surprised to see this email in my inbox once I got to work:

His auto-follow bot might want to be a little more selective.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Corey Haim, addiction, and facebook

Hey guys, did you hear Corey Haim died?!

That's my attempt at humor in this post, because the rest of it will not be funny.

I sometimes think I should cancel my facebook account, because so much of what people put on there makes me so angry. Then I talk myself off the ledge and remind myself that I can just block certain people. But facebook has really become a reminder to me of how hateful and ignorant people are, and that's not something I think should be ignored.

Someone I'm friends with on facebook updated their status yesterday with something along the lines of, "Oh boo hoo, Corey Haim overdosed. Come ON, when you do drugs, you die! Get over it!" (I've omitted the horrific spelling errors.) Her point is that people are dying of cancer, people are dying in the war, why are we sad when someone dies of an overdose? Now we're gonna hear about the overdose for weeks and we won't hear anything about any soldiers dying!

A few reminders:

-America is a culture obsessed with celebrity. You can't get around it if you want to live in this country.

-Death is sad. It also serves as a reminder of our own mortality. This is also sad for some people. And that's okay.

-Addiction is a disease. If he was taking enough pills to accidentally overdose, it sounds to me like he was an addict. And the very definition of addiction includes loss of control. I would argue that most people don't choose to become addicts. But once you're an addict, it's pretty difficult to choose to be sober. Yes, it's a disease that started with a choice, a choice to do drugs, and yes, it's a disease over which you can ultimately choose to have control, but that control does not come easily. To say an addict "should die" is insensitive and ignorant, and shows an utter lack of perspective on the world at large.

In the words of the Indigo Girls, "Who are you to speak for God?"

Friday, February 19, 2010

Kindle, you can blame the Scholastic Book Club.

Some of my favorite days in elementary and middle school were the days the Scholastic Book Club order form came out. I would notice the shrink-wrapped stack of newsprint sitting, without fanfare, on the teacher's desk. I didn't know when the form would make its appearance, but I could guarantee that at some point during that day or week, the teacher would open that packet up and start passing out the four-page leaflet to me and my classmates. This was usually a "put this in your folder and show it to your parents" moment, but I could never help but sneak a glance at all of the books the leaflet had to offer, books I would have never heard about had it not been for this little newsletter. And because it had the word "club" on the front, it felt like I was part of a very exclusive, underground gang of young readers, anxious to gobble up any book available.

The form would eventually wind up in my backpack, and I would feel frustration rise up when I got home and opened my backpack to find the form had become crumpled. Still, I would flatten it out on top of a text book and grab a pen, when pens were cool because we weren't allowed to use them in school, and I would carefully read the description of each book, circling the ones I wanted. Now, about seven times out of ten, my mom would sadly inform me that we couldn't afford to get new books this time, but I still wanted to circle the ones I wanted, as though I were starting my own little book list at 10 years old. But there were those three times out of ten that Scholastic Book Club coincided with my dad getting a paycheck full of overtime, or thanks be to God, it came right around tax-refund time when my mom would buy us steak for dinner. And those times are what I remember more, even though I rarely was able to get every book I wanted. It didn't matter - I got to pick which books I wanted more than other books, and I got to fill out the order form and go to school the next day with a check! for something I wanted.

My tweenager mind would often forget that I had submitted the order, so the day when the books came was an even more magical day, a bigger surprise (and a much bigger disappointment if I was unable to order books that round). I would notice the box of books, and I knew that the teacher would not distribute them until the end of class. This made the class drag on forever, and I would be eyeing the clock on the wall with intensity and fervor, noticing when it was seven minutes from the end of class, five minutes from the end, three minutes... come on, we're not going to have time! Finally, the moment would come, and the teacher would pass out the stacks of books. Usually the books came with a sticker or a bookmark, and always came with another order form, just in case your teacher didn't have the next month's order form, you could order on your own! The books were colorful and cool to the touch, and they smelled new. There was little better to me than the smell of a new book, except maybe the smell of more than one new book.

I would say that this is when my tactile response to books began, but it probably started earlier, with the first book I learned to read, "I Am a Bunny." I can't remember the words exactly to the book, but I remember with clarity my copy of the book, a cardboard copy, worn from use and duct-taped together, with the stickiness of the duct tape finding its way all over the book, not just at the binding. And as I think about it now, it seems like it's consistent for me to remember the way a book looks and feels more than what's actually in the book. I can see clearly the cover of "Island of the Blue Dolphin," "Hatchet," and "Sixth Grade Sleepover," but I can't really remember what those books were about.

This tactile element of reading has never left me, and I like to collect books. I like to actually have them in my possession to re-visit them. I'm not a big library customer. The best part about the internet is that I can order books and order them cheaply. I've embraced all sorts of technology that seems to make life easier and less cluttered - I've done away with all of my jewel cases and have my CDs stored neatly in a CD book - I don't even buy real CDs anymore - bills are paid solely online, and personal mail is non-existent unless it's in my email inbox. I embrace all of this.

When Kindle came out, it seemed like something I'd be all over. 1500 books at the touch of your hand?! YES PLEASE! But the more I thought about it, the more I started to wonder if I lost the element of the physical book, would I really remember that I read the book? Would I remember the time in my life the book corresponds with? Yes, my nightstand would be less cluttered, and I would probably read more, but books to me are more than just things that take up space. They are memories. They are photographs that I want displayed so that I can remember how I've grown and how I've changed. I want to be able to pick them up and leaf through them, to feel the wind as the pages fly past my fingers while I look for the excerpt that I underlined or highlighted, or simply remember reading. And I want my kids (when I have them) to hold all of those books when I'm gone, and to read them and experience them in their own way, in their own time, while my fingerprints and pen marks remain throughout the pages. Immortality with books isn't reserved for authors - it can also include the owners and readers of the books, and I simply feel like I would be missing out on something significant by switching to electronic text solely. I might change my mind someday, but for now, I'll deal with the clutter.

Friday, February 12, 2010

This didn't fit anywhere in the last post, but...

On the day of my mom's move, she took a carload to the new apartment while we went to get the moving van. After she unloaded all of her stuff, she was standing in the courtyard, looking at the harbor, and a movement in the corner of her eye caught her attention. It was a hummingbird. While I was growing up, she always kept these hanging flowers on our porch, and they never failed to attract hummingbirds. She was so tickled that she saw the hummingbird, she made a plan right then and there to get a hummingbird bush to plant in front of her place. When she told me this story, I looked up the symbolism of hummingbirds. This was the first thing I saw, from WikiAnswers:

Hummingbirds, called new world birds cause they are native to North America, Central and South America, are considered to be symbols of peace, love and happiness, moreover, ancient pagans held them sacred for their tireless energy and anxiety.
In Native American culture, a hummingbird symbolizes timless joy and the Nectar of Life. It's a symbol for accomplishing that which seems impossible and will teach you how to find the miracle of joyful living from your own life circumstances.

They are really spectacular birds, and have a lot to teach a person about self discovery and healing.

Epic win.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Midwestern Beach Bum

My grandparents moved to Florida when I was four years old, and I spent many a summer vacationing in Tampa. The primary reason of course was to visit my mother's parents, but I think if they had lived in Maine, we would not have visited as much as we did. My mom has been obsessed with “the beach” for as long as I can remember. Her idea of “going to the beach” is getting up at 7am, packing sandwiches and drinks, and heading to the beach until about 3pm. I’m not sure how the skin-that’s-able-to-tan gene avoided me SO COMPLETELY, but let’s just say that I endured a lot of sunburn and a lot of green aloe vera gel for my mom to feed her beach addiction.

When it came time for us to leave Florida, she would cry the entire day before and for the first half of our first driving day home. I always thought it was because she was leaving her mom, and as an eight-year-old kid, I couldn’t imagine the thought of leaving my mom for a year at a time. As I’ve gotten older, I realize it was more that she was not in love with her life in Ohio. And who can blame her? Have you been to Ohio?

When we weren’t in Florida, we lived in a house that used seashells as decoration. Not only was the bathroom done in a beach theme, but starfish and sand dollars could be found in various parts of the house, as well as cross-stitched beach scenes. My mom was a Midwestern beach bum.

It wasn’t so much my mother’s choice to spend her life in Ohio. When she was 20 years old, she moved to Los Angeles with several of her friends. Her dream was that of almost everyone who moves here that young – she wanted to be a movie star. She spent a rainy six weeks in Culver City, in a small apartment with five other people. From what I’ve heard of this time in her life, she didn’t work or do much other than smoke weed with her pals. What she thought was homesickness turned out to be morning sickness – she found out she had a little Katie kickin’ around in her belly. She didn’t want a bastard of a kid wanted the best for me, so she moved back home to Ohio, married my dad, had me, and began her life of suburban normalcy.

A series of events occurred that led her to move here to Los Angeles a year and a half ago. She moved in with us, and when most people find that out, they exclaim (aghast, incredulously, full of pity), “your mom lives with you?!”, to which I reply, “You don’t understand – my mom is not like other moms.” Translation: “My mom is way cooler than your mom or anyone’s mom you’ve ever met or will ever meet.” My mom is hilarious. She can drink you under the table, beat you at Euchre and pool, but still give you a mom hug – a hug where you know no matter how upset you are, everything will be okay.

It should be noted here that my family does not have money. My mom moved in with us because she left a $8.00 an hour job and a mountain of debt at home. My family has never had a lot of options in anything, but they did a damn good job of never making me or my sisters realize that.

Back to her living with us – the thing is, if we had a bigger place, she could stay with us forever. But we have one thousand square feet, and two bedrooms, with four adults (me, Gina, my sister Jess, and my mom). The idea was always for Mom and Jess to move out eventually. I think Jess got home late one night and my mom realized she couldn’t expect her 23-year-old daughter to follow her rules, and that got the ball rolling on her move. In fact, it happened in about a week’s time – she said she was ready to go, she found a place, and we were moving her in.

My mom has never, ever lived on her own. She’s not even an experienced mover. She grew up in the same house I grew up. She’s never had to find a place of her own. Naturally, I assumed I’d be driving around on Saturdays with her looking for places. So when she told me she found a place and she was thinking of taking it, I was surprised… and a little worried, to be honest. The place is in San Pedro, and San Pedro’s not necessarily known for being Pleasantville. But she said she felt safe in the neighborhood, and at 52 years old, she has a bit of intuition.

When we arrived to her place on Saturday to move her in, the first thing I noticed was that the outside of the building looked kind of run-down. Upon closer inspection, it just needs a coat of paint and some landscaping. Her apartment is small, but completely appropriate for her, with fresh paint, new appliances, and new carpeting. It’s a courtyard style apartment, and there’s room for her to plant some flowers right outside her door. I felt really good about her being there when the on-site maintenance guy helped us move most of her big stuff in. Once we got everything moved in, we were eating pizza when there was a knock at her door. A 60-something woman stood there with cupcakes – she wanted to welcome my mom, and she told us she’d lived there for 35 years and raised her son there, and she just loved the place, and if my mom ever needed anything, she should feel free to ask. I’ve lived in seven different apartment buildings in LA, and no one has EVER knocked on my door to even say hello after I’ve moved in.

I’ve always adored my mom. I’ve never had a bad relationship with her. But I’ve also never really felt the pride I felt on Saturday when we moved her in to a place she found on her own, a place that she really liked, and a place for which she will be solely held financially responsible. A tiny little apartment she can call her own, with a view of the San Pedro Harbor, and just a five-minute walk from the beach.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday's roundup

This is what's been on my radar this week.

1. Apple's iPad - Boy howdy, was twitter in a tizzy about the impending announcement. It was like Christmas for geeks. I admit, I was pretty excited as well. I kept hearing it was going to revolutionize the way we do things. I wasn't sure how that was possible, but darn it, I wanted to find out.

Cut to: crickets chirping after Apple conference. No multi-tasking, and it runs on AT&T?! FAIL.

Gina's response: "So it doesn't make phone calls? So it's EXACTLY like the iPhone." Yes, we are some disgruntled AT&T customers. Just think how bad it will be when all the iPads start running on the same damn network. WTF?

Here are some iPad findings I enjoyed this week:

Smosh is unimpressed.

Kindle ain't scurred


2. President Obama's State of the Union - It's so refreshing to watch this speech and think I'm hearing from someone who knows what he's talking about. I trust Obama. Someone asked me recently if this was the change I could believe in. Things haven't gone as smoothly as I would have hoped, but I am overall happy with President Obama's first year. The democratic party, on the other hand, could use some organization and passion.

Here's the full text of the SOTU.

3. Oooh, President Obama SCHOOLED the Republicans. I bet he felt like their daddy. You gotta see this. Snap, yo!

4. In Obama's SOTU, he promised to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell. I'm always dismayed when I remember that this is something that came out of President Clinton's administration. But I just learned that President Clinton didn't WANT this enacted; rather it was a compromise for Republicans who didn't want the gays serving in the military. As if I needed MORE REASON to dislike the GOP.

5. teamed with Quaker to help end childhood hunger. Have you Created Your Day? Go to It's the easiest and cheapest (free!) way to donate money to a worthwhile cause. My good friends Angelo and Kim both participated in this promotion. They are awesome. And you will be too, once you create a bowl of oatmeal, thereby making a donation to Share Our Strength.

What I'm looking forward to next week:

It's going to be another whopper of a Tuesday. Secretary Gates is slated to make a major announcement on DADT. Also, THIS premieres.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I guess I am in the 1%!!..........Shame on you America: the only country where we have homeless without shelter, children going to bed without eating, elderly going without needed meds, and mentally ill without treatment - yet we have a benefit for the people of Haiti on 12 TV stations. 99% of people won't have the guts to copy and repost this.

This appeared as one of my friends’ status updates on Facebook yesterday. It infuriated me so much that I had to respond to this person. A few other people joined the discussion, and it made me realize how quickly ignorance can spread in this day and age. Here are some things that people have actually said in relation to this status update:

1. I don’t remember any telethons happening when 9/11 happened!
2. Our economy sucks! My partner has been out of work and we’re about to lose our house! Why should our government go into more debt to help out people that don’t even LIVE in our country?
3. There are too many problems in our own country, why send money to another country?! We should be helping our citizens first!
4. Why are we donating to Haiti? No one comes in and donates when WE have natural disasters!

Usually, I can ignore stuff like this, but this is making me so upset, and I can’t fully respond on facebook, so I’m going to do it in my own space. I want to respond to each of these statements. (If you were willing to make them, you’re willing to hear a response to them.)

1. There WAS a telethon after 9/11. It raised $30 million to go to families of firefighters.

2. Yes, our economy is in the toilet. Things are bad. But you can’t look yourself in the mirror and honestly compare you losing your home or your job to between 150,000 and 200,000 people DYING in an instant in a 3rd world country. Get some perspective, people.

3. Yes, we have a lot of problems. And we also have a lot of help. My wife is a social worker and my sister is a drug addict – I know for a fact there is plenty of help out there for people who want it. You don’t have a place to stay or a warm meal? Go to a shelter or a soup kitchen. At a shelter, you might have to stay clean (no drugs) and be in bed by 10pm, but hey, that’s the rule. People who don’t truly know homeless people don’t realize that almost all of them are homeless BY CHOICE, or they are mentally ill. There are places to go but they refuse to go, whether it’s out of pride, or a drug addiction or whatever. There are SO MANY programs to help people. Have trouble feeding your kids? Try WIC, a program that will deliver essentials to you if you have young kids (milk, OJ, cereal). Have a drug addiction and you want to get clean? There are THOUSANDS of low to no-cost rehabs you can get into. The healthcare crisis is a very real one, but to change that, we need a Congress who can actually get things done, and we don’t have that right now. And now that the MA voters voted in a Republican who is not determined to fight for the betterment of his people but rather determined to see Obama fail, it’s gone from bad to worse.

4. This is the worst one. Why are we donating to Haiti? No one donates to us. I can’t BELIEVE people would put that in print. Again, perspective. I researched some recent American disasters.

  • We lost about 3,000 lives on September 11. How much money other countries donated is a moot point: dozens of countries sent men and women to DIE in the war in Afghanistan, the war we started in response to 9/11. Also, we had nearly world-wide support after that tragedy, a global solidarity that the world would not stand for terrorism.
  • Hurricanes Ivan, Frances, Charley, and Rita combined took 316 lives. Combined cost: $43 billion. This earthquake in Haiti took between 150,000 and 200,000 lives. That’s almost a quarter of a million people that DIED, and died in rubble, rubble that needs cleaned up in a country where there are literally NO government services anymore. How many moms and dads is that? Moms and dads who cared for their children before and now can’t? Are these children the people you think we shouldn’t help? The earthquake turned the biggest city in that country into a refugee camp with no clean water or food, and no doctors. You know what happens when you don’t have clean water? You survived the earthquake, but guess what, now you have a severe bacterial infection, not to mention the stench of death in the humid climate you live in.
  • Hurricane Katrina, arguably the worst NATURAL disaster (not terrorism) in recent history in America. We lost 1836 people in that hurricane. It cost $84 billion dollars. I’ve heard people say, “No one came to our help during Katrina!” Perhaps you think that because of the sluggish response by the Bush administration. The reality is, 99 countries donated food, money, and supplies to us during Katrina. That’s a whole lot more than “no one.”
  • Station Fire – 2009 – Los Angeles, CA – How many people died in that fire? Two. Two firefighters. Tragic, indeed. Definitely. That fire destroyed 89 residences, 26 commercial properties, 94 outbuildings. It was terrible. I live in LA – we could see and smell smoke for nearly a month. Again, nowhere NEAR the devastation caused by this earthquake. Also? We have in place organizations that help us when things like this happen – FEMA, for one, and we have insurance. What does Haiti have? By the way – the Station Fire was not a natural disaster – it was arson.

Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere. America’s gross domestic product per capita is $45,800. Haiti’s gross domestic product per capita is $1300. Most people there live on $1-$2 a day. Could you even get through your MORNING on $1 or $2? Not if you include the cost of your commute to work you couldn’t. Haiti has a corrupt government and has been suffering with extensive poverty. Those people had NOTHING, and now they have even less. It is a humanitarian crisis, and it will be so for months to come. Haiti is also our neighbor. Stable, healthy countries make for good neighbors – unstable countries do not (see Middle East).

What makes America the greatest country on earth is that we are able to commit to helping combat crises just like the one in Haiti. We help them because we can. Is it ideal for our government to donate $100 million to Haiti relief when we have an economic crisis on our hands? Of course not. But nothing about the disaster in Haiti is ideal, and sometimes you have to do what’s best for the population at large as opposed to what’s best for YOU. And if we don’t help others, who will help US when we need it?

I encourage all of my friends, Facebook or otherwise, to have some perspective, and thank God that you are lucky enough to live in one of the greatest (and wealthiest) countries on earth.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Right around December 20th, I realized that ringing in the New Year meant ringing in a whole new decade. I’m sure a lot of people put a lot of thought into that fact, but it was lost on me until very late into 2009. And I was kind of unimpressed with the thought of a whole new decade.

And then I started thinking about all the stuff that’s happened over the past ten years, and I realized that it was definitely a decade worth celebrating. It had some really crappy moments, a lot of which took place this past year, but it was overwhelmingly incredible.

I kicked off the decade with some major realizations about my sexuality. In six months time, I graduated college, moved to Los Angeles, bought a new car, and came out. Things sort of slowed down a bit after that, but in the decade I also: got my first TV job, reconnected with gina, developed an interest in news and politics where before there was NONE, met some amazing people who would later become some of my closest friends, re-evaluated my view of marriage thanks to the MILLIONS of friends who got married during the decade, moved in with gina, traveled the world (and the country), bought another car, bought a condo, got engaged, had the right to marry and then lost it, got domestically partnered, became a mommy to two pooches, had some kickass birthday parties, turned 30, voted for an African American for President, learned how to play black jack, both exceeded and failed at playing black jack on many occasions...

This decade was the decade I learned to love coffee, wine, beer, bloody marys, dirty martinis, gin and tonics, jack and cokes, rum and cokes, and Mexican food.

I learned a lot, laughed a lot, cried a lot, drove a lot, I met a ton of people, and I fell in love.

All in all, it was a killer decade, and I look forward to every minute of the next ten years.