Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Alas, poor Woodward! We knew him America.

Arianna Huffington wrote a fantastic blog post today Bob Woodward, the one time investigative reporter and half of the duo who exposed one of the biggest presidential scandals of all time.

Huffington took the words right out of my mouth with her post. Bob Woodward was once to me a man who was an example of what the media ought to be. He was responsible for exposing a scandal of such magnitude that all scandals thereafter would be compared to. Bob Woodward had a place in my mind as a member in a pantheon of journalistic gods. He was an American hero. If anybody could expose the truth behind the Bush-Cheney cabal it would be Bernstein or Woodward. However, the powers that be are alchemists; able to transmute wrong into right and hero into subservient slave.

Huffington writes that Woodward was granted "unparalleled access" to president Bush in order to write books on the administration. His time with the president and the administration ranges from before Bush was inaugurated right up to the proverbial Guns of August. He sat in on numerous conversations with high ranking senior administration officials and the president. The information that Woodward was privy to, the information that he knew then and he knows now could probably blow the roof off the White House and cause the collapse of the establishment. Huffington goes on to point out that Woodward chose a different path and that he is "so awed by his proximity to power that he buys whatever he is being sold." She points out examples of Woodward's reporting style which can only be summed up as anecdotes that one might hear from a stalker who eroticize the idiosyncrasies of their prey. Banal factoids that neither illuminate or conclude anything about the administration and the president.

Then, in the past weeks, we all learn, that Bob Woodward had heard the name Valerie Plame. He knew that she was a CIA agent and wife of Joseph Wilson, a man who presented a logical and conclusive argument against the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. All this he knew because of his access and did he report it? No. Huffington points out that Woodward had the audacity to say on the Jim Lehrer show in the spring of 2004, at which point the Valerie Plame affair was in full swing, that he witnessed "moral determination, which we've not seen in the White House maybe in 100 years." Can you believe the impertinence of such a comment when he himself had heard and witnessed the outing of a CIA agent by White House officials, an act nothing short of treason?!

It could be possible that if Woodward would have divulged the conversations he sat in on, transcribed, and witnessed he could have affirmed his place in history. He could have done so by exposing a fabricated and ill conceived plan to invade a nation that posed no immediate threat to our nation. Instead he chose to keep quiet and report on innocuous goings on in the administration in the midst of the planning of a preemptive illegal war. No mention of right or wrong, he never once hinted or suggested that the president or the administration was going in one direction or the other. Huffington even ventures to "wonder what All the President's Men would have been like if Woodward had written it alone."

Why? My english teacher junior year in high school, one of the most amazing teachers I have ever had, taught us that when doing critical thinking or analyses you must not explain how or what but why. It seems that Woodward no longer posses his ability to preform such thought. Woodward at one point was a name that was synonymous with exposing injustices and delivering the truth to the people. When I had heard that Woodward knew about the treason committed by this administration and had only just broken his silence I was shocked and gravely disappointed. Huffington suggests that Woodward is just a "dumb blonde of American journalsim." I see something not so trite. It seems to me that the black shadow cast by this president and this administration has has managed to taint one of our nations one-time treasured guardians of justice.

I wonder if that when Woodward goes to bed at night knowing what he knows does he think about the thousands of innocent civilians and the thousands of young American men and women that have perished due to his inaction. When he works in his office and glances over at his two Pulitzer prizes does he think about how he played party to one of the greatest deceptions of this nation and world. I wonder if his conscience is still somewhat in tact to even comprehend the deafening and destructive ripples of his silence. Even if it was intact and he suddenly came to his senses and exposed all that he knew, it would be too little too late.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


Nathan, over at Nathan Exposed, suggested this idea of exposing yourself by posting a picture from inside your home and explaining it to everyone on your blog. Well here it is.


This is our living room and it's my favorite place in our apartment. It's very cozy and as you can see we have it all decorated for the holidays. We spend most of our time here watching TV, reading, playing cards, or just talking. One of my favorite things to do though is to get take out food and eat it off the coffee table while sitting on the floor while watching a movie. There is something about doing that that just feels so great. It's inexplicable.

You can see on the wall behind our couch a Roy Lichtenstein print. We are both fans of pop art and surrealism and we really enjoy Lichetenstein's "WHAAM!" On the adjacent wall we have an original work by a friend of a friend. Its Edward Hopper's "Nighthawks" but its been invaded by Barbie dolls. Underneath the image it says, "When will it end?" Below the Barbie invasion is a lamp that belonged to my late brother, Douglas. He picked out that lamp for his bedroom when he moved to Arizona with my family and that's one of the reasons why I treasure it. The other is that its actually a Spanish-colonial candelabra with a copper lampshade that has tiny pinholes in it.


My absolute favorite thing in our living room is our coffee table. Its an old table that used to belong to the mother of Brad's ex. The legs were sawed off to make it an appropriate coffee table height. Brad had it when I met him five years ago and I immediately noticed it when I entered his apartment. Under the glass were tons of ticket stubs, photos, fortunes, magazine clippings, business cards from restaurants, you get the idea. I loved it. We've since added our own stuff to the table and still kept some of the original content. It's a nice conversation piece and its a great way to remember all of the places we've been together and the memories we've had.

One more thing. Above our fireplace is a framed promotional poster for David Bowie's "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars." It wasn't really possible for me to photograph it. We're both David Bowie fans and we really enjoy having him in all of his glam glory over our fireplace.

Sunday, November 27, 2005


Well the thanksgiving holiday is over and we've entered the time of year I like to call Intermezzo; the time in between thanksgiving and christmas. Its mostly a time of stress. Stress caused by buying gifts, sending cards, making plans, breaking plans, and remaking the same plans that you broke earlier in the week.

In order to avoid some of that stress I've decided to do all my shopping via amazon this year. My sister, in her infinite wisdom, has already arranged that her tribe make amazon wishlists. This works out splendidly for me because now I know what they want and I can just have it sent from amazon and I don't have to set foot in a store. I organized all of my sibs and their significant others to buy an iPod nano with an inscription for mom, so she's taken care of. My dad I can get virtually anything and he'll love it, he loves anything that his children give him especially if it is or related to food. Brother's and sisters, along with their legal spouses, were sent foodstuffs from the Collin Street Bakery. Nieces and nephews are a cinch. My brother's partner loves to read anything and I'll just get him a book. My brother on the other hand is notoriously specific. Last year when I asked what he wanted for Christmas he told me he needed this. Yes that is Tiffany sterling silver flatware. More on my brother and his home in another post.

I cannot extoll the virtues of the wishlist concept enough, and I'm not saying all this because I'm an amazon associates member. The list can be made on amazon and then you can purchase the items elsewhere, the point is you have an idea of what each person would like to recieve. Life can be made so much easier around the holidays if you just buy people the stuff that they really want. It saves you the stress of agonizing over the question: should I buy this mowhair tanktop for my sister (hi heather) or a book of smoothie recipes in which each recipe calls for exotic fruits that will cost a fortune to procure. Everyone loses either way. The wishlist concept also ensures that you will not have to force your family member or friend to go to the mall after the holidays are over to return unwanted items. Its a win-win situation; your recipient loves the gift, you feel great for giving them something they actually wanted, you will be at one with the gods of commerce and capitalism. Finally, the thing that I like the most about the wishlist is you get to browse all the stuff on amazon and click "add to wishlist" for the items you like. The sensation is similar to purchasing and its oh so enjoyable.

Which one of these albums would you give this holiday season?

Photo of Rove:AP/Charles Dharapak.

Say It Sunday

this is an audio post - click to play

Conservatives From The Great Beyond

I had the strangest dream last night. I was in a parking lot of a church and George Bush was setting up a bar-b-que wagon. It was one of those old Calistoga covered wagons and he was cooking out of the back of it. What was really creepy was that W was remarkably nice. He was downright likable.

If I start writing about the virtues of W on my blog then you know they've poisoned the water here and you must come and rescue me.

Yesterday in the mail I got a response letter from my senator, Kay Bailey Hutchinson, regarding my outcry on the nomination of Harriet Miers. I wrote her my thoughts in early October. They wrote the letter on October 25 and I just got it on November 25. Odd, no? It takes one month for a letter from a Senator to reach a constituent?

What's really great about the letter is that it's in support of Miers; three days after the letter was written, October 28, Miers withdrew herself from the nomination. I'm going to keep this reply from Senator Hutchinson in case she tries to pull any kind of revisionist bullshit (also known as flip-flopping(c) by some) by saying that she thought the Miers nomination was a mistake in an attempt to separate herself from Bush and win votes. After writing her a letter expressing my disgust over her recent comments regarding the Plame affair she should know that I'm watching her closely.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Cemetery Stroll

After a delightful lunch with our friends Patrick and George I decided to take a stroll through Greenwood Cemetery here in Dallas while Brad went off to do some work in his office. Greenwood is right down the street from my apartment and I have been wanting to visit for some time now seeing that many of Dallas' prominent founding families are buried there. There are also numerous veterans of the Confederacy and The Union from the U.S. Civil war buried there as well. The weather was perfectly autumnal for a stroll. Brisk with overcast clouds and gusts of mild wind from time to time rustled the remaining leaves on the trees and the numerous ones on the ground. I had my iPod set to my autumn mix featuring the evocative song stylings of Nick Drake, Nico, and Sufjan Stevens. I felt so relaxed and strolled the cemetery, reading epitaphs, and practicing my hobby of photography.

I did the best I could with the overcast sky. I find that the best times to take photos are in the morning or in the afternoon when the sun isnt directly overhead. Overcast doesnt help either because everything is bathed in a homogenous diffused light. For high contrast subjects thats ok but I prefer there to be more light and shadow in my photos.

I found it a bit odd that the cemetery restricted jogging. I understand why it would be restricted but so many other activities warrant a sign prohibiting their occurrence.


Now is the best time for fall color in Dallas.


Many of the monuments in this cemetery were remarkably austere. These two were some of the most ornate. They pale in comparison to some of the monuments at other old cemeteries around the nation but were still nice to look at.



These are the graves of the Union veterans of the U.S. civil war. The Confederate veterans were scattered about the cemetery and marked by bronze stars stuck into the ground near their monuments. From what I gathered all the men in this plot were all in the same brigade but from various states.


If you're interested in more photos there are more on flickr. I have a badge on the right sidebar, just click on it and enjoy!


As part of my Thanksgiving day relaxation-isolation from tradition ritual I watched some movies on my TiVo that had been sitting there for some time.

I started with the epic, Lawrence of Arabia. Wow, I was shocked at the enormity of this film. Its so well done on so many levels. First off the script is in a word, succinct. Dialogue is brief and to the point and simply tells the story, no flowery language that dramatizes the production. The drama comes from the sweeping camera shots and the remarkable cinematography of the desert. To really appreciate the gravitas of the story that is being told, the Arab revolt of 1916-1918 against the Turkish Ottoman Empire, I think its essential to highlight the desert as a player in the story. Although some of the shots and camera sweeps seem a bit grandiose and longwinded, I think that they are appropriate for the telling of the story. Being that I am fascinated in all things WWI, I think its one of the most fascinating times in the industrial era and its ramifications are still plaguing us today, I was enthralled by this movie and actually found some of the topics amazingly contemporary.

The next film I tackled was the multilingual French film, L'Auberge Espagnole, translated as the spanish hotel but in the vernacular means something of a pot luck. Its the story of a straight-laced young frenchman that goes to Barcelona for a year to improve his spanish and learn the spanish markets so that he can land a job at some french economic ministry. He winds up staying with a mix of europeans: English, Italian, German, and Spanish and the story more or less follows their year together and how they cope with one another. I read some other reviews for this movie and one in particular caught my eye. One person suggested that the film is a metaphor for the creation of the EU and its effect on each nation that the EU would encompass. I thought about it and there are themes in the movie that would support that claim. One of the recurring themes is the loss of one's mother tongue and how native language is important in self identity. The movie need not be watched through such an academic eye as it also serves as a charming and well done coming of age story. A big draw for me was that the film is set in Barcelona and really uses several parts of the city as its backdrop. I love Barcelona and think its one of the most beautiful, alive cities in the world; seeing all the places was a real treat for me. I also enjoyed how the movie is in multiple languages, native to each of the characters nation of origin.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

A Quiet Thanksgiving

Today I'm home with Brad and our cat, Milo. There is no turkey in the oven, no potatoes to mash, no guests scheduled to arrive for dinner, and no shouting matches with family members accompanied by three foot demons running around and screaming. It's a quiet thanksgiving, just the two of us and our cat, doing whatever we want to do. The only manifestation of turkey will be the turkey pepperoni that will be on our homemade pizzas later tonight. I am feeling a perfect mix of melancholy, nostalgia, and mental laziness. IMG_0034
Our cat, Milo, is doing his usual activity of sleeping. Brad will be getting lost in empire building while playing Civilization III. I am going to make an effort to watch some of the movies that have accumulated on our TiVo. Everything is how I want it, and for that I am thankful. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Holidays Are Here!

I spoke to my sister last night, she lives in San Diego and she always encouraged me to get as far away from my my parents as possible. She always has news of the weird when it comes to my family.

One year I was part of the news of the weird. It was Christmas 2001, I was a senior at The University of Arizona and I was going to NYC to see my family for the holidays. It was going to be odd going back to the city so soon after 9/11 but I was still excited to go. My dad had one request for me before I left: drive up to Phoenix, get his chain saw in the garage at our house there, put it in a box and check it as baggage. Great, a dark haired, dark skinned, young man with a goatee bringing a chain saw onto a transcontinental flight right after the largest terrorist attack in US history. My father insisted that I would be fine. I was, but it was still weird.

This year's first bit of weird holiday news: My mom was on the phone with my sister and she asks, "Do you think you'd like Ham and Turkey for Thanksgiving this year?" My sister replies, "Yeah thats fine I guess, it doesn't really matter to me." My mother proceeds to scream to my father, "Okay Sal, she said yes! Pack the ham in the suitcase!!" My sister said she could hear my dad yelling in the background, "See Anne, what did I tell you? I know what people like!" My parents are packing a ham in their suitcase and they obviously had an argument about it previously...its officially the holiday season.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Unscrupulous Tom Foolery and Ballyhoo

Originally uploaded by adpal3180.

This is me dancing with an intern from my place of work, Vanya. I don't remember why we thought to cover ourselves up and dance with eachother, but we did and Melissa documented it. You know this is how everyone will be dancing this winter.

Yes those are shirtless old men in the background, this was at Station 4, Dallas' gay mega-club. I love that I have no shame.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Aww shucks Texas...I guess I kinda like yer.

As much as I rag on and on about Texas and the hate-mongering proletariat I actually do enjoy living here in Dallas. Here are some things that I like about Dallas and Texas.

I like Dallas' skyline. It has some very interesting buildings and some of my all time favorite modern skyscrapers. They are truly unique and aren't all black glass monoliths. This isn't the best picture of the skyline but I like this photo.


I like all of the things in the DFW area by one of my favorite architects, Philip Johnson. In Dallas, there is the JFK Memorial where I am pictured here, a year ago. Its best to see this at night when the memorial is lit up. There are lights underneath each part of it and it gives the illusion of a floating white concrete cube. I find the black slab in the middle of the cube with JFK's name on it quite powerful.


There is also Thanksgiving Square, a public place in the middle of downtown that is anchored by a non-denominational place of prayer. The exterior looks like a Dairy Queen soft serve vanilla cone but the inside has a dazzling display of stained glass. These are just two works of Johnsons in the area, there are many more. These two photos are courtesy of Heather.


One of the remarkable things about Dallas is the amount of sculpture that is in the downtown area. Here you can see a sculpture by Rodin, one of many that occupy the plaza outside of the Trammel Crow tower in downtown. If you walk around downtown you will see many other sculptures by artists of note.


Another thing that I like about Dallas, and perhaps my favorite place in Dallas, is Turtle Creek. This may sound jejune to some but I call it the Central Park of Dallas. This creek winds through the middle of the city accompanied by a boulevard bearing its name. The Dallas part of the creek, which is primarily Robert E. Lee Park and William B. Dean Park, is well maintained but is certainly outdone by the part of the creek maintained by the exclusive enclave of Highland Park. Turtle creek is also where most of Dallas luxury high rises are, thus giving it a Central Park-esque feel.




I love visiting state capitols and this summer when Brad and I visited Austin, for my first time, I was thoroughly impressed with the capitol and the surrounding grounds. Aside from The Capitol, I think this is one of the most amazing government buildings I've ever seen.


The best photo I have ever taken.


The rotunda floor has a beautiful inlay of granite seals representing the six nations that have ruled over Texas; The Kingdom of Spain, The Kingdom of France, The Republic of Mexico, The Confederate States of America, The United States of America, and The Republic of Texas. For those that do not know Texas was a republic and as a result is the only state in the union where the state flag flies at the same level as the national flag.


The dome is the tallest in the nation.


For some reason I thought it was really clever that the hinges looked like this all over the capitol. I guess some people need to be reminded where they are.


And finally, I like that Texas produced one of my favorite stars of politics, Ann Richards. At the 2004 DNC Wolf Blitzer attempted to coerce Richards into the overly optimistic sentiment that was being expressed by the other party leaders by asking her, "Ann, do you feel that there is a different feeling tonight at this year's convention? A feeling of optimism and of party unity?" In a dry and candid tone Ann replied, "No, it's about the same." I just love how she refused to be a part of the spin.


How am I not myself?

Darin over at All Preparation and No H posted a clever list of ways to de-gay ones house in preparation for holiday visitors. I really enjoyed the post but I seem to have had an allergic reaction to it.

In light of the recent votes in Texas against the gays and the increased voracity with which evangelicals are wearing their beliefs on their sleeves I have decided not to de-gay my house anymore when family or "straights" come to visit. If I have to endure crucifixes, bibles, speaking to the air before eating food, country kitchen tchotkies alongside coasters and cute frige magnets from the Lillian Vernon that uphold archaic judeo-christian gender roles, then the "straights" that come into my domicile will have to endure MY reality.

I don't see why should I be forced to portray myself as some kind of quasi-hetero frankenfag by hiding reading material and decor items that I have around my house normally. If you cant stomach magazines with half-naked or naked men, Out magazine, magnets and pot holders that proclaim me as The Queen, and catalogs that feature underwear whose sole purpose is for gratuitous exposure of the male genitalia then you don't have to come over. If I can manage to go to the bathroom and take a piss with christ on the cross looking down into the toilet then I think "straights" should be able to endure some queerness just the same.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Penises, Madonna, and Optical Illusions

Last night at a housewarming party, and later at the bar, the question was raised as to how to gauge the size of a man's genitalia. An Italian suggested that in Rome they make an "L" with their index finger and their thumb and orient it with the index finger up and the thumb out and vice versa; suggesting that a tall man is shorter in other areas than the shorter, thumb-height man. Given that we all know that big feet mean big feet what is everyone else's rule of "thumb?"

I myself prefer the direct method of simply observing a man's package in various situations. For example, how does it look while he is standing, is there dimensionality to it, when he walks do you notice any manifestation of form, how does it look while he is sitting? This method must be used with caution given the various styles of underwear that are available now that are quite adept at making mountains out of mole hills.

In other events the new Madonna album, "Confessions On A Dance Floor" is suprisingly good. I took a calculated risk late on Thursday night and purchased the deluxe edition on iTunes. I was worried given M's previous album and her attempt to flex some intellectual muscle peppered with a hip hop rap. Confessions is M going back to what she does best, pop. Each one of the songs has a great disco beat and the single, "Hung Up," boasts samplings from Abba's "Gimme Gimme Gimme!" The fusion of the cultural icons is well done and they mix perfectly. I think my favorite song is "Jump" with its opening line spoken in a sultry, jaded tone "There's only so much you can learn in one place. The more that I wait, the more time that I waste." I certainly recommend this album for Madonna fans and for those that aren't as die-hard it's a good pop/disco album worth having.

I love these kinds of optical illusions:

These are not animated images. The motion that you see is a result of how your brain is processing the different parts of the image. It is fascinating because it demonstrates that what we perceive and what actually is are not always the same. You see motion but in reality there is none, the motion only exists in your brain. This can apply to other things in the physical world, you see color but color is a result of our perception of certain wavelengths of light. Red is only red because we detect it as such not because the property of redness exists.

In summary: Penises are a lot like Madonna and her career, sometimes the package is prettier than the contents, however synergy between the two can occur but there is no real way to tell what you're going to get because both are adept at optical illusion.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Luncheons and Dagos

Well not much to say except that I'm blogging in my kitchen tonight. Im waiting for cream cheese to come to room temperature so that I can make pumpkin cheesecake for the Thanksgiving luncheon at work tomorrow. Its actually called a luncheon.

That word still sounds so weird to me and it brings to mind a bunch of women walking into a tacky Italian restaurant with a facade of white greco-roman columns and mini statues of Venus de Milo and David. The women have giant hair, long finger nails, leather mini skirts and leopard print tops, stiletto heels, Staten Island nasal drawls, and insist on talking only about how much money each one of their husbands, all named Johnny, Joey, or Tony, were making in the stock market. Decorated in numerous bobbles varying in karat weight, alloy, and preciousness they sit down at a table and one inevitably drops a comment about the obligatory absent party. Theories for the absent member of the tribe range from marital troubles, money problems, bad hair day but never even come close to saying that perhaps she just simply did not want to come.

Obviously I used all of the females in my extended family as the characters in my wild imagination combined with all of the tacky banquet halls that were used as the scene for numerous engagement parties, birthdays, and weddings. The absent party is my mother who, at least while I was aware of her, never seemed to fit in with the rest of the women in the family. She was always less concerned about material possessions and was vastly intellectually superior. Later I would find a picture of my mother in some old photo albums from July of 1980. Her hair was high and she had an obscene amount of makeup on and a cigarette hanging out of her mouth, the caption read, "Anne at Baby Shower." I was born one month later.

If some of you need clarification as to what a "Dago" is please see the definitions for Wop, Guinea, or Goombah.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I am, therefore I blog.

Many of you have written me and told me that there are rumors that I am going to stop blogging. There is nothing that could be further from the truth. I have no intention to stop blogging and I guess there was a misinterpretation of something that I wrote in a previous post. No worries though.

Unless the information police come and take me away to some undisclosed location, lock me up in a prison that doesnt exist somewhere in a former Soviet Bloc nation, subject me to watching Dick Cheney dance naked to the Electric Slide, and take away my internet access I will not stop blogging.

Plank's Constant: 6.626068 × 10-34 m2 kg / s
Speed of Light: 299 792 458 m / s
Avagadro's Number: 6.022 x 10^23
Gravity: 3.2 m/s^2
Adam's Blog: value being computed as we speak
(Please note that the aforementioned physical constants may vary between school districts across the nation are subject to change at any moment pursuant to the lessons that are written in the bible; taught by our lord and savior Jesus Christ.)

And now for very first meme that I found on Sticky Crows. I was not tagged to do this but I thought these questions to be fun so I participated.

1) My mother once: didnt know I was getting out of the car at the mall and started to drive away while I was half way out of the car. I was screaming for her to stop but somehow didn't hear me and my grandmother was screaming at her to stop the car. I got scraped up pretty bad and was more scared than anything. She bought me a happy meal and a lego set.

2) Never in my life: have I broken a bone.

3) When I was five: I fell asleep and was snoring loudly at an opera in Naples. There was a man near me who was sleeping too and another gentleman thought that man was snoring, woke him up, and proceeded to get into a verbal fight during the opera. I was roused by this activity and woke up to see my dad explaining to the two men that it was me, to which they replied, "Oh! Bambino!! Spiacente, lascilo dormire." Translated to, "Oh! The baby! So sorry, let him sleep."

4) High School was/is: overall really great.

5) I will never forget: The night my brother came home from picking my grandmother up from the airport, storming into the house while the rest of us were eating dinner, walked up to my mom and called her a bitch for some reason unbeknownst to me. The outburst was followed by my grandmother, who was 77 at the time, grabbing my brother and slapping him across the face proclaiming, "Thats your mother!"

6) I once met: Julie Newmar. My brother Douglas pointed out that I was sitting next to her the night I saw "Me and My Girl" at the Marquis theatre. At the time I was a huge fan of the reruns of Batman and couldn't help but tell her that I loved her as Catwoman. She thanked me and told me I was a handsome little boy.

7) There's this person I know who: said that my first, and somewhat lackluster, attempt at making a loaf of bread was like having sex for the first time and that it would get better each time I tried again.

8) Once, at a bar: in Mexico I got up and danced to "Larger Than Life" by the Backstreet Boys to the exact choreography that was in the music video.

9) By noon I'm usually: eating lunch with my colleagues.

10) Last night I: had brisket tacos at Mia's followed by red velvet cake for Brad's birthday.

11) If I only had: steroids.

12) Next time I go to church/temple: i'll attempt to make the sermon an open forum by asking questions to clarify some of the incongruencies and contradictions that exist between christian philosophy and practice.

13) Terri Schiavo: was a ball of insentient bio-mass that was lionized and deified for evangelicals and conservatives that have a fetish for fetuses and other forms of "soul bearing life."

14) I like: Barcelona.

15) When I turn my head left, I see: a refrigerator.

16) When I turn my head right, I see: -86C freezer.

17) You know I'm lying when: I stopped lying when I realized that I had continuity issues with all the fantastic stories I was telling.

18) In grade school: I had a hammer thrown at me by my third grade teacher.

19) If I was a character written by Shakespeare: a mix of Prospero (The Tempest), Katherine (Taming of The Shrew), and Mercutio (Romeo and Juliet).

20) By this time next year I: hope to be living in a home that I own.

21) A better name for me would be: in high school my friends called me Billions.

22) I have a hard time understanding: alcoholism, sexual identity disorder, and "conservative values."

23) If I ever go back to school I'll: study italian, spanish, and architechture.

24) You know I like you if: I tell you I do.

25) If I won an award, the first person I'd thank would be: depends on the award.

26) I hope that: that US voters elect a benevolent dictator in 2008.

27) Take my advice: Disneyland is far more fun when you're stoned.

28) My ideal breakfast is: Machaca, egg, and potato burrito at Nico's in Tucson.

29) A song I love, but do not have is: when I think of it I'll go download it from iTunes and this question will be moot.

30) If you visit my hometown, I suggest: (I'm not from Dallas but I live here now) Going to see the sixth floor museum and where Kennedy was shot, see the collection of sculpture at the Nasher Sculpture Center, and go to Nieman Marcus at Northpark Center on sunday morning to see all the trophy wives getting free samples and facials from Dallas' cosmetic counter gurus.

31) Tulips, character flaws, microchips & track stars: Make me think of spring, makes Curb Your Enthusiasm a fantastic show, befuddle me, don't eat enough.

32) Why won't anyone: invent teletransportation already.

33) If you spend the night at my house: you will have a lovely queen sized aerobed classic that inflates in less than one minute to sleep on and a fresh towel.

34) I'd stop my wedding: uh too late the voters of Texas already stopped it for me.

35) The world could do without: religion.

36) I'd rather lick the belly of a roach than: support and vote for another pansycrat candidate and his made-for-television movie thinks he's Bill Clinton, John Kennedy, Cary Grant, and a bag of chips vice presidential candidate sidekick.

37) My favorite is: Brad!

38) Paper clips are more useful than: bibles.

40) And by the way: i'm not an afterthought kind of person.

41) The last time I was drunk: I tried to convince my friends Heather and Kim to dump their boyfriends and become my personal manufactured lesbian couple.

42) My grandmother always: spoke her mind, made sure she looked presentable before leaving the house or receiving guests, had the best stories, and told me how much she loved me and that I was her favorite grandchild.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Spreading The Culture of Life

Everyone should take some time to go and see this, War Crimes, on Insane Films.

Its is a shocking account of how the US military is using chemical weapons in Iraq. Specifically, our military is using a substance called white phosphorus or, Whiskey Pete as its referred to in military slang. This substance is loaded into war heads and dispersed over towns where insurgents are embedded with civilians. Instead of using conventional means to combat the insurgents our military employs the use of this chemical weapon which kills indiscriminately.

White phosphorus is un-reactive when it comes in contact with clothes or buildings but is highly reactive once it comes in contact with human tissue. The result is that Iraqi civilians are being burned alive as a result of our military using this substance, a chemical weapon of mass destruction.

Although the US denies using white phosphorous, evidence for the use of this substance is clear. Journalists in this film have interviewed veterans from the invasion of Iraq who confirm radio transmissions being broadcast that "whiskey pete" was going to be dropped. There are also shocking photos and videos of bodies of Iraqis that are severely burned but their clothes remain in tact. There is no way that something like that could result from a conventional weapon or bomb.

There is also evidence that the US military is using a gas similar to napalm, to bomb civilian inhabited towns, called MK77. Napalm was outlawed by the United Nations in 1980 for use in civilian inhabited areas. Although the composition of MK77 is not the same as napalm the result is the same, a rain of fire destroying everything and everyone in its path making no discrimination between civilian and combatant.

This is not the first time that I have heard of the use of unconventional weapons by out military. Rolling Stone published an article about a year and a half ago about the military's use of radio active ammunition in Iraq. All of our radioactive ammunition was supposed to have been destroyed but there is evidence that it is still being used. I wrote my senator then about that issue and I intend on writing my senator about the issues brought forth in this video. I encourage all who read this to do the same.

If enough of us write and demand explanations and accountability for this disaster, if enough of us flood their email in-boxes with the stench that this president, and his administration, has caused then maybe we can restore the nation. In a democracy the power is derived from the people; that power is not limited to the hours of 7am to 7pm on election days, it is constant. If we the people don't wield our power then those that were to serve us will only serve themselves and tyranny will follow.

Our nation invaded Iraq on the premise to rid the country of weapons of mass destruction. There are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq except for the ones that we brought with us. This war is illegal, it is murder, and is an embarrassment to our nation.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Shoplifting Porn

I used to shoplift gay porn magazines from a bookstore in Scottsdale Fashion Square when I was an adolescent. I had it down to an art and I would only do it when certain conditions were absolutely perfect.

First I had to have been clothes shopping before I went to the bookstore and with my purchase I would have to receive a large shopping bag. I would politely excuse myself from my mother's company or in the case that I was with my friends I'd just tell them that I was going to the bookstore real quick while they remained captivated by the array of bawdy products at Spencer Gifts. Once at the bookstore I would peruse the magazine rack. I would choose a larger magazine like Cigar Aficionado and pretend to be browsing through it then place it down over the top copy of Men as if it were an accidental misplacement. The result was that the smaller porn magazine was inside the other larger magazine. Then when all the other patrons had left the magazine section I would pick up the copy of Cigar Aficionado again and sit with it on a bench close to the magazine rack with my shopping bag between my knees. While hunched over the bag I would open the larger magazine and discreetly allow the smaller erotic one to slip into my shopping bag. It was then just a matter of covering the deposited magazine with the clothing item and I was out the door.

It worked every time except the time that I chose to try and take a muscle mag from the grocery store while shopping with my mom. I got caught by some high school dropout loss prevention nerd and had to explain to my mother why I was stealing. "I wanted to read about working out," said the horny thirteen year old gay boy. After this experience I swore only to steal from the place where I knew I could, the bookstore in the mall.

The ride home from the mall in my parents car, or the car of the parent of a friend, was unbearable and exciting. Heat would emanate from all over my body from the excitement of having stolen something and also from the anticipation of staring at my new most treasured possession. One time I was so flush that my mother asked me if I was getting sick. As soon as I got home I would rush straight into my room, pretending to be an efficient and responsible young man, proclaiming to those I passed by, "Got to put my new clothes away."

After a while, usually when I had read and memorized all the erotic stories, I would feel extreme guilt for having stolen the magazine and for even looking at it. In the middle of the night, while my parents were asleep, I would take my stolen erotic treasure and entomb it in layers of bags and place it in the trash can outside. I made certain that the encased magazine was buried deep beneath other trash to be certain no one would take it out and discover it.

I'd return to bed after my elaborate disposal but lay there tossing and turning, unable to sleep. I was haunted by the images in the magazine and distraught that I would never get to see them again. Within minutes, without even thinking, I found myself disarming the alarm on the house so that I could go outside and rescue my treasure from the trash. In retrospect cant help but chuckle thinking of myself in those moments: thirteen years old, driven solely by hormones, picking through the trash for a porn magazine that I had stolen and then thrown away out of guilt and self loathing.

Saturday, November 12, 2005


I recently saw Tarnation and I was so impressed that I'm in shock that I missed this movie when it came out in 2003.

Its a documentary of the life of Jonathan Caouette and his mentally ill mother and grandparents. At first I was a bit skeptical of the style of the film. It opens with Jonathan and his boyfriend in their apartment and they are speaking about a dream that Jonathan had about his mother while he was napping on the couch. I pressed the Info button on my TiVo remote to confirm that I was watching a documentary because the scene seemed too perfect to be in a documentary.

As the film progressed I began to learn that Jonathan had been keeping video diaries of his life since he was eleven years old. The intimate moment with his boyfriend was thus explained, he was still documenting his life. The movie also explains the horrifying manner in which his mother became mentally ill; a result of receiving unnecessary electro-shock treatment for many years of her life. I was captivated by the testimonials he would give as himself and as play characters in his video diaries from when he was a child. For an eleven year old boy growing up in Houston he had an amazing knowledge of the idiosyncratic nature of the people around him.

The best part of this movie is how snipits from Jonathan's video diaries are manipulated and edited and combined with music. Most of the story is told with captions while watching montages of images set to music. I thought it was fantastic.

I highly recommend this movie.

Three Sisters

Last night we saw a production of Anton Chekov's "Three Sisters" at SMU. I have never seen one of Chekov's plays but have heard much reference to them especially in Woody Allen films.

The set was minimal but well done. It was not a typical proscenium theatre but instead a theater in the half-round. The floor of the stage and the back wall were painted in black and white so as to imitate a snowy wood. Quite appropriate being that the play is set in a rural garrisoned town in Russia at the turn of the 19th century. Scattered about the stage and even into the audience there were imitated birch tree trunks stretching up to the ceiling. I thought this was a nice touch as it connected the audience to the stage and it gave an intimate feel to the theatre.

The play centers around three sisters, Olga, Masha, and Irina, young adult women whom have lost both their parents but were well bred and educated and forced to dwell in a small, dull garrisoned town. They all feel, especially Irina, consigned to waste and wither away in a less than satisfactory existence in the town. Ultimately the sisters strive to move out of the town and to Moscow, which serves as a metaphor for all the longings and dreams of the sisters as they drudge through their dull lives in the small town.

The play also has other characters that wax philosophical about the meaning of happiness and if one can ever truly be happy and also the meaninglessness of existence. The supporting characters philosophical soliloquies frame the story of the sisters so as to set them as living examples of the philosophical musings. Ultimately all the characters in the play wind up settling for less than what they imagined their lives to be.

Although the acting as just OK, I thought this play had some fantastic and very modern themes. My partner frequently has "existential crises" and I'm forced to go through similar kinds of questions that "Three Sisters" deals with with him when he gets down. What are we all doing? What is the point? Why do I do what I do? Am I really myself or am I just deluding myself? How am I not myself? These are all questions that I believe linger in the backs off all our minds; questions that are sometimes depressing to answer truthfully to, but nonetheless should be posed and answered from time to time.

If you're in Dallas and want to see the production its cheap and worth the money. You pay more to go see a sub satisfactory movie that doesnt come close to stimulating your mind as much as this does. Three Sisters, Nov 10-13 and Nov 17-20 at the Greer Garson Theater, located in the Owen Fine Arts Building at Southern Methodist University.

My Jesus is better than your Jesus!

Before we headed to our play tonight we grabbed some burgers at one of the best burger places in Dallas, Goff's. Being that Goff's is in the Park Cities it is frequented by the children of Dallas' Republican evangelical elite (shudder). Close your eyes and eat your burger y'all and all will be well.

Across the restaurant there was a group of high school kids, three girls one boy. Obviously they were about to have a debauched orgy when last minute one of them remembered how their Abstinence Education, (C) W, classes taught them the effective "Lets go get a burger" diversion line. They were getting up to leave when female spawn #1 began talking about a boy that they all knew from school. She ended her commentary on the boy by saying, "He's a christian. Well he's Catholic like me, but thats christian though." Her friend, female spawn #2, looked back at her as they walked out the front door gave her a look of bewilderment and said unenthusiastically, "Well...I guess so."

In these parts being Catholic is about that same as being "a gay." Isn't Texas fascinating?!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Thank You TiVo!

Thanks to the graces of TiVo another documentary series has been viewed in its entirety. Tonight was the final, and quite cathartic, episode of Trans Generation. I'd seen many documentaries about transsexuals in the past but they always seemed to be forensic, focusing on the hormones, surgeries, and psychological aspects. This show really brought the human element into it because you got to see how four students lived for a year as transsexuals at various universities. Not only that but show's creators also presented a nice balance of people to focus on. Two of the students being followed, Lucas (Female to Male) and Raci (Male to Female), are obviously suited to their transition and are quite obviously more comfortable with their new gender. Lucas and Raci are foiled by Gabbie (MtF) and TJ (FtM) who are somewhat awkward in their transition. Its well balanced and nicely done.

I'm sure Sundance will be rerunning the series so check it out.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Anthropology at The Gym

My observations, and made up names, of some of the people that work out at my gym.

Sad Old Bodybuilder: He's an older gent with massive muscles that are from years and years of hard work at the gym. He's extremely shy and rarely says a word to anyone. His eyes are almost permanently fixed to the ground and he sneaks peeks at men every now then as if shoplifting candy from a pharmacist. Steroids! Does a body good! Sad old bodybuilder is kept under a watchful eye by his exercise companion and life partner...

The Evil Duke La Cont: This character is always at the gym with Sad. He's much taller than his companion and his muscles are no where near as big. Suprisingly though he can lift about the same amount of weight as Sad. In my imagination the Evil Duke keeps Sad locked up in a cage with just enough room to move. He has a feeding tube that nourishes him with a mixture of mush with all the appropriate vitamins, protein, and carbohydrates Sad needs in order to maintain his current appearance. The appearance of this man is quite normal and eerily understated, so understated that it makes me wonder if he leads some kind of depraved double life.

Squished Barbie Doll Face: This guy is massive. He's 25, always has perfectly coiffed blond tipped hair, about 6'0'' ,weighs about 230 and has arms the size of most people's legs. How do I know his age an weight? Well one day he did cardio next to me and as he mounted his PrecorFX and I saw him enter his information. He's what I call a brown bag special. His face looks as if someone manipulated it with a liquifying lens in photoshop, pinching it to a vortex located somewhere between his eyebrows. The result is that he looks like a barbie doll whose head is being squished, thus yielding his moniker. Put a brown bag over his face and we're good to go! Once again: Steroids! Does a body good!

The Trinity: This group consists of Hairdresser, Count Dracula, and Groundhog. They are regular attendees of the gym and can bee seen next to various stacks of weights and machines talking about a range of topics. Legend has it that if you catch them at the right moment they stop talking and actually work out. Hairdresser is tall thin and toned, a face like one might see in a Toulouse Lautrec poster where certain features are embellished for comic effect. He's topped off with greying hair that has been tamed by artificial coloring and hair product to give it a distinguished silvery glow. Count Dracula has remarkably consistent skin tone all over his body and face. If he were to sit into a brown leather sofa he might disappear if it weren't for his hair. The Count most likely sees Hairdresser for his hair care needs. He too has greying hair that has been tamed so it has the affect of looking like strands of pewter hanging from atop his globe, ending just below his ear with a flourish of curl. I dont have much to say about Groundhog except that he looks like a groundhog.

There are more characters but this a good primer for now. What is really interesting to observe is how these characters interact with one another. They pretty much stay in their own microcosms but sometimes Hairdresser and Dracula will speak to the Evil Duke La Cont, and it is inevitable that The Trinity will undress Squished with their collective eyes as soon as he walks in the door. Squished is excellent at pretending to be ignorant of the attention he receives. The most fascinating thing to witness is when Sad Old Bodybuilder steals his looks at Squished. These looks are quick and although Sad has a body that is as impressive as Squished, his gaze is substantiated into a beam of pure envy. Body dysmorphia reigns supreme!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Morning After

I'm a realist and I knew that Prop. 2 was going to pass. It's ok though we didn't need a special election to tell us that 76% of Texans are hate-mongering assholes. We already knew that.

In light of the results of this past election, and its overwhelming public support, I renew my pledge to not attend any marriage that is legally recognized until I myself am afforded the same rights and privileges. If in the event that I receive a wedding invitation, even from a family member, I will RSVP with the following:

Dearest Family Member or Friend,

I cannot attend your wedding for the simple fact that I am not allowed to get married myself although I have been in a loving and monogamous relationship for five years. Attending your wedding would be analogous to sticking me in a cage without food or water for a month for no reason and then callously dangling food in my face but not allowing me to eat it. Until the law of this land is inclusive to all the people of this nation I cannot, in good conscience, participate in an event that is a de facto manifestation of discrimination.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Vox Adamus

The Republican led Texas state legislature accomplished nothing in its previous session except making sure that Prop. 2 got on the ballot in November. They ignored the fact that the state is severely in debt and did nothing to balance the budget. They ignored the fact that the educational system in Texas is defunct. They ignored the fact that money is needed to repair roads, bridges, schools, and other public works. State legislators chose instead to focus their time and energy on an amendment that, if passed, would flat out deny rights to gay people. State legislators chose to ignore the real needs of all the people and chose instead to focus on marginalizing a specific group of people. If Prop 2. passes a message would be sent to the nation and the world that Texans are more concerned about marginalizing gay people's rights than they are about the good of the public.

If you live in Texas and are eligible to vote and you value liberty and a nation where everyone is afforded the same rights and privileges then go and VOTE NO ON PROP. 2!! If you're sick and tired of legislators wasting time and money on issues that benefit nobody but partisan extremists then go and VOTE NO ON PROP 2, NOV. 8 2005!!! Send Rick Perry and the Republican led legislature back to Austin and tell them that superfluous, hateful, and discriminatory laws don't build bridges, fix roads, improve schools, balance budgets, or serve to benefit the overall good of the people!!!

I also wrote this letter to Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson today:

Dear Senator Hutchinson,

Perjury is not, as you said, a "technicality" Senator Hutchinson. I don't seem to remember you thinking that perjury was so trivial when Bill Clinton was caught lying about having sex with one of his interns, a far less damaging lie than leading the entire country into war based on beguiling intelligence. Shame on you Senator for politicizing the law.

Although I identify as a liberal Democrat, and we do not agree on many issues, I always thought you to be a sensible level-headed voice within the Republican party and was pleased to have you represent Texas. However, your comments with regard to the investigation into the CIA leak depict you as a partisan, driven by politics and not by what is right and what is good for our nation. Treason and lying are unacceptable in any circumstance and should never be overlooked for the purposes of political loyalty. I was angry when Clinton lied because he shamed himself and the office of the president. I am angry at Bush and his administration because they lied about the threat from Iraq and they participated in a treasonous smearing of an opponent of their plans to invade Iraq. I know what is right and what is wrong and I never allow my peers to cloud or taint my judgement. I expect the same kind of integrity from a United States Senator.

I am not a person to hold a grudge and I do believe in giving people second chances but actions speak louder than words. As of right now you have lost my vote but most of all you have lost my respect.

Adam P.
Dallas, TX

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The FW in DFW

Saturday I went to Forth Worth with some friends. We had a really great time and although this wasn't my first visit to Forth Worth I was really enjoyed the downtown. It somewhat resembles Austin in the sense that its very much in tune with its Texanness. The stores aren't trying to be destinations and the people dress in jeans and t-shirts. In spite of the fact that Fort Worth is separated from Dallas by only 33 miles (roughly 44 mins) the cultures could not be any more different. It was a fantastic excursion. One negative hampered our visit. The Forth Worth Water Gardens, designed by Philip Johnson, are still not in operation since some kids, and adults, visiting on a church trip about a year ago died while attempting to take a swim in the wee hours of the morning. I must admit I was, and still am, more upset that this public space has been ruined than I am about the death of these people. If you go to the link you will see some pictures of the Water Gardens. Some of you might recognize it from Logan's Run, one of my all time favorite Sci-Fi movies. Yes, this is indeed the spot at the end of the movie where the throngs of young and beautiful came to gaze upon the old cracked face of Peter Ustinov.

Fort Worth has succeeded in keeping many old buildings with architechture that is unique to the American west while having added modern skyscrapers to its downtown.

This is main street near Sundance Square. You can see at the end of the street the Tarrant County Courthouse. Many of the county seats in Texas have grand courthouses, many of which were built from Texas granite. Tarrant County courthouse is one of the most impressive of the county courthoues.

We found a really nice shop on Main Street that had a lot of cool clothes. They were mostly for women but I still had to try on this lovely scarf for myself. Kim and Melissa found some cowgirl hats. There is something oddly arousing about women in cowboy hats to me...

Here we are on Main Street.

Afterwards we headed over to the Forth Worth Stockyards. This used to be one of the major beef manufacuring and cattle trading centers in the U.S. until the 1960s. Its a real kitschy but also a lot of fun. There is a rodeo every Friday and Saturday night and we got box seats right down in front! The choreographed cowgirl cavalry with flags were fabulous and many of the cowboys were really attractive. The only downside was before the rodeo started the emcee led the crowd in a christian prayer, they didn't even attempt to make it a non-denominational prayer. In spite of the prayer and the blatant fact that rodeo is horribly cruel to animals it was a lot of fun. I tried my best to get a picture of #125 from the front but in spite of my attempts to imitate a calf he refused to turn my way to attempt to rope me. Trust me he was hot.

After the rodeo we headed over to Billy Bob's, The World's Largest Honky Tonk. I was blown away at the enormity of this place. It's massive. The center of it is a large preformance area where you need to pay to get a seat. Around that is standing room with bars all along the walls. Outside of the preformance area there is a sit down restaurant, an arcade area with pool tables and video games, a room to ride the mechanical bull, and a hall of fame where all the preformers have stamped their hands in cement plaques. It's like Las Vegas for the Cowfolk. I found Loretta Lynn's plaque and had to be a cheeseball and take my picture with it. I love her music especially her last album, Van Lear Rose.

We also found an empty room that we assumed could be rented out for private affairs. It had the kind of warmth that one would feel from a room in the hotel from "The Shining." All over the room there were mounted animal heads. Behind the bar on glass shelves with a mirrored wall there was a multitude of taxidermied animals ranging from turkeys, to bobcats, to badgers.

On the drive home we were next to a truck carrying flammable materials and we very at ease knowing that in the event that the truck might catch on fire, or possibly explode, that it was equipped with a fire extinguisher.

Friday, November 04, 2005

...and such

The weather in Dallas has been lovely the past couple of days. Clear skies, cool temps, breezy and the sun is just warm enough so when you sit outside you don't roast. I've been taking my lunch outside at work pretty regularly and I think the exposure to the sun is helping me sleep better at night. I think there is some link to sleep and exposure to sun light.

I feel drained after writing about my experience with my brother but I'm glad I wrote it all down and told it as one stream of consciousness. Thanks for all the kind words in the comments and emails.

Finally this quote is from this article in the Washington Post: Rove's Future Role is Debated. I made some modifications to help y'all read between the lines.

"Karl does not have any real enemies [All enemies have been sacrificed and cooked for the almighty Turdblossom's nourishment. The moderates have all been eaten. We need more carcasses, bring in the fiscal conservatives!!] in the White House, but there are a lot of people in the White House [who have escaped the mighty maw of Karl] wondering how they can put this behind them [People who never really like Karl but we're too afraid of wrath they would face if they had enough balls to expose him for crooked man he is] if the cloud remains over Karl," said a GOP strategist [opportunist] who has discussed the issue with top White House officials. "You can not have that [fresh] start as long as Karl is there [Finally the moment has arrived where we can be free! But you didnt hear me say that]."

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Children of Bush's Base

Remember how I said that the gayborhood here in Dallas is bordered by a city called Highland Park, home to some of the richest and most influential people in the metroplex not to mention the area of the country that is responsible for some of the largest donations to Bush and the Republican party. Well here you can read about their fine values and how they teach their children to be compassionate conservatives.

HP Students: 'Thug Day' dress not offensive

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Growing Pains Part 1
Growing Pains Part 2
Growing Pains Part 3

Doug's casket was rolled out of the church to a song that he wanted to be played at his funeral, "On A Clear Day (You Can See Forever)." It was performed by the music director of our church who had an amazing voice and I think he knew my brother from his volunteer work at church. He preformed the song with the same vibrancy and bravado that Streisand does in her recording from the movie soundtrack. I had felt a smug sense of amusement that my brother had picked such a dramatic exit for his funeral. It was completely appropriate and should not have been any other way.

The year after his death flew by, assisted by the marriage of my sister in the summer and the excitement of starting high school in the fall. I could not wait to get out of middle school and leave all of the horrible memories in the past.

My classmates knew that my brother had died and it was only after we were in high school that some managed to ask me the specifics of his death. "How did he die?" they would ask. I would reply without flinching, "He had HIV and developed AIDS." Their eyes would enlarge after a few seconds and realize what I had just told them. The next question out of their mouths was always, "How did he get it?" From the first time I had heard this query it enraged me. However, I gave my inquisitors the benefit of the doubt. After all I had sat through the same sanitized lectures on STDs that always seemed to focus more on the less politically charged maladies and only devoted about five minutes to HIV. But really I wanted to say to them, "I could tell you he got it from a blood transfusion and scare the crap out of you. Or would it make you feel better if I told you it was because he was gay and had unprotected anal sex? Which one would you like? Which version of the story suits your middle class suburban microcosm reality?" I knew what they wanted to hear and I wouldn't dare give them the satisfaction of even mentioning my brother's sexuality. Calm and cool I would look directly into the eyes of the person posing the absurd question and answer them with an unmistakable tone of admonition, "Does it matter?"

Two years after Doug's death, and after many design revisions, the headstone for his gave, and the future grave of my parents, was put into place. My brother had initially wanted to be cremated but changed his mind before he left for Europe and wanted to be interred alongside my parents. Underneath our last name on the gravestone where my brother is buried it reads, "Memories Keep The Spirit Alive." Some might think that the telling of my brother's death a bit macabre and perhaps an affront to his life. On the contrary it was in his dying I witnessed the commitment of my family to each other and the unfathomable love that my parents have for their children. His dying showed me the importance of family and loyalty to the ones you love. In Doug's death he showed me selflessness even in the face of his own adversity. I wanted to tell this story because it was in his dying that he demonstrated to me the true spirit of his life, the spirit of a life worth living, a life that has shaped who I am today, and a life that I hope to emulate so brightly that even in death he could see me and know that I am his brother.

On a clear day
Rise and look around you
And you'll see who you are

On a clear day
How it will astound you
That the glow of your being
Outshines every star

You'll feel part of
Every mountain, sea and shore
You can hear from far and near
A world you've never, never heard before

And on a clear day
On that clear day
You can see forever, and ever, and ever, and ever more