Thursday, May 29, 2008

Hate comes in all Varieties

I grew up on the border of Louisiana and Southeast Texas. My neighborhood was inhabited by "God-fearing Christians". Lilly-white, middle class Americans which consisted of a married couple (male/female) and 2.5 children. The station wagons were the vehicle of choice and 95% of the men went to work at one of the many oil refineries. The women stayed home and raised the children.

My neighborhood was also inhabited by men who rode in flatbed trucks at night with crosses made of lumber loaded in the back. I remember one day playing outside alone in the front yard. The sun was starting to set and I heard the rattle of flatbed trucks coming down the street. In proud procession, I saw my neighbors dressed in white hoods where I felt they wore a proud, yet smug grin. I remember feeling afraid as the hair on my neck stood on end. I learned about the KKK in school and I was getting an education in my front yard as well. I've known people that were killed by the KKK. I knew the damage they were doing.

I remember I drove my friend and I to a mutual friend's wedding in Vidor, Texas. At first, she declined to go. Then, she refused to go as much as I tried to convince her. Finally after talking in earnest and swearing to her that it would be a trip to the wedding, then I would take her home immediately after.

When I picked her up, we chatted about our friend getting married and about attending college. We were having a nice time during our trip to the wedding. I looked in the rearview mirror and my stomach clenched. I tried not to alarm her, but picked up speed. The truck behind me matched me. My friend, "K" saw the look on my face and looked behind us. I remember the fear in her eyes, the tears of embarrassment, the anger of giving in and attending a wedding she was invited to.

I asked her to brace herself as I was going to try and lose them. I tried turning on various roads until I became lost myself. Finally, I lost the men in the truck. My friend was exhausted. I pulled into her driveway to bring her home safe and sound as we missed the wedding. We both cried for a moment and I tried to apologize. It was at that moment that I knew what it must feel like to be black living in the south while being chased by the KKK. I felt that instead of the year being 1982, that is was 1928. Hate comes in all varieties.

Many years later, I am watching the local news. A gay man living in Warren county, Tennessee is being tormented by 3 homophobic teens. They have tried destroying his home as well as spray painting hate slogans all over his home. He can't leave his home for fear of being killed.

Hate comes in all varieties.

I read the other day that illegal aliens are allowed to marry in the United States. Yet, 2 law abiding, tax paying citizens that happen to be the same gender are refused. Our government is saying loud and clear, "Illegal aliens are recognized in our country, even though they are breaking the law. However, Gay Americans are not valid. Period."

It reminds me of the quote:

“I am the Love that dare not speak its name.”Alfred Bruce Douglas (1870 – 1945) Uranian poet (referring to his homosexual relationship with Oscar Wilde)
Hate comes in all varieties.

Just last week, I encountered an attorney who has taken an oath to provide justice for those who have been wronged. Because, in our country, you are innocent until proven guilty. He saw me and for an instant, I could see "that look" in his eyes. The explanation that "gay partnership is not the same as legal marriage" fell in useless disarray at my feet. I've been condemned as being a sinner and less than any other United States citizen.

Hate comes in all varieties

What year is this anyway?

More Musings Later-

Sunday, May 18, 2008

"The Mango Tree Cafe, Loi Kroh Road" Wins Award!

Well, Kids; I can now say that Alan Solomon and I have written an Award Winning Book!

So, I am proud to announce that "The Mango Tree Cafe, Loi Kroh Road" has WON in the following category: Best Online Marketing. As a result, I will be receiving a gold medal and the book will be categorized as a winning novel, along with the info below:

Finalists and Winners will also receive:A listing in the 2008 Next Generation Indie Book Awards Catalog which will be distributed to book buyers, media, and others! Exposure for a full year at as a Winner.
PLUS, the top 70 books will be reviewed by New York literary agent Marilyn Allen of Allen O'Shea Literary Agency or one of Ms. Allen's co-agents for possible representation in areas such as distribution, foreign rights, film rights, and other rights.
Ms. Allen has over 25 years of sales and marketing experience, including serving as Senior Vice President, Associate Publisher, and Director of Marketing for Harper Collins and directing sales and marketing teams for Simon & Schuster, Penguin Books and Avon Books.
Ms. Allen has had the pleasure of working with many best-selling authors including Stephen King, Ken Follett, Barbara Kingsolver, John Gray, Mary Higgins Clark, and many more.

Alan and I wish to thank YOU for being an important part of this award!
More Musings Later-

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Great Pennies, Nickels and Dimes Campaign

A couple of days ago, my sister mentioned that a friend of hers was very ill. As I read her email and then later listened to her speak of him, I realized that he must be a very special person.

A very special person that I think YOU should know about. In our muddled up world of political campaigns, weather catastrophes and the rat race of making a living, his struggles made me stop and think. Her friend, Mike Serna happens to be Native American and celebrates his heritage with wisdom, soulfulness and spirituality. He is also an award winning flutist, songwriter, men's traditional dancer, and documentary creator to name a few talents.

And, he is kind. To illustrate, The Circle of Friends and friends from the Native Community held a benefit for 2 year old JJ Estep who was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Mike drove all the way from Chattanooga on a work night to play 3 songs on his Native Flute, and then drove all the way back so he could be at work early the next morning. Mike did this on his own dime. He reaches out to others without a moment's thought of his own inconvenience. He is due the same from his friends.

He is walking a journey that is very difficult right now. He is battling liver disease and is only able to work sporadically. The chemo he has been taking for the last 6 months hasn't been working. I don't have to tell you that health insurance is a huge issue financially.

So, I am asking that you donate any spare change you may have around the house or office. All proceeds go to assist Mike and his family.

This experience for Mike I'm sure, feels much like climbing a mountain. So, I leave you with these words for Mike;

A Prayer

Nii nahii'maa at'e, ya nahiika'ee at'e.Â
Ik aa'ye iidenka ashii nadndaal. ei nanlwogo aniile shiiyii'ii.Â
Sadnleel da'ya'dee nzho
Da' nzho, Abaachii miizaa

Translation for the White Man (Magaanii)
The earth is our Mother, the sky is our Father
Run to the mountain and back; it will make you strong, my son.
Long life, old age, everything good...
I pray in the Apache language

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Why Prey Tell, is Paula Abdul a Singing Judge?

I don't get it. She's not a singer. We've heard proof of that. Yet, Simon Cowell thinks she is a great judge of voice.

I don't know...if I were one of those contestants, I would laugh if she offered me advice about singing. They are so far superior to her it's not even funny.

Now, she is quite effective with the fashion commentary..."You look gorgeous tonight. You rock." she mutters in her Xanax induced fog.

Did you see where she critiqued a singer on a song he hadn't sung yet? That's what I mean. She's pathetic.

NOW she wants to be on "Dancing with the Stars". Sounds great....except for one thing. She is considered a professional dancer. Remember? she is a choreographer and worked with Janet and Michael Jackson in her hey day.

Sometimes I want to grab her by the shoulders and shout, "WAKE UP!"

Now, can someone tell me why she was selected as a singing critic?

More Musings Later-

Friday, May 09, 2008

I'm Getting Sick of Reality Shows

Ok, they were interesting in the beginning. You know the ones I am referring to:

  • The Bachelor/Bachelorette
  • American Idol
  • Hell's Kitchen
  • HGTV's New Host Competition
  • Big Brother
  • Food Channel's various reality shows

And many many more...

I am tired of the "dramatic music" the "immunity challenges" the prounouncement of "You're safe!" and the ridiculous emotions.

These challenges or games that grown men and women play seem so childish and they are totally oblivious.

I watched "The Bachelor" once. That was enough. Being a feminist, the idea of a group of grown women groveling over 1 man turned my stomach. But let's put that aside for a moment, shall we?

What absolutely killed me is that when these women were "eliminated" from the bachelor's list of his future wife, these women would discuss how they felt about being eliminated as they were being driven home.

"Oh! I was so in love with him! I'll never get over it!" the woman would wail. Huh? How long have you known him? a few days? a week maybe? Get over yourself!!!!

My favorite part though (NOT) is when the bachelor gives each bachelorette a rose so that they are "safe". (Tag, you're it. Here we go round the mulberry bush).

It goes something like this: "(insert name), Will you accept this rose?"

"Oh, Darling! Of course!!" (more groveling to ensue).

Also worth mentioning: Travis Stork's new book, "Don't be that girl". You know, the kind that go on a reality tv show and grovel over one man. Travis was the mild mannered Nashvillian doctor who was the nice guy on "The Bachelor" . I saw him on a tv show (Dr Phil) pitching the book and I thought "Hmmmm, he is dispensing advice to women about dating and relationships. Yet, he struggles with the same issues. Interesting."

Hell's Kitchen

I still like to watch this show somewhat...although Chef Gordon Ramsey goes overboard with the antics. When he gets his group of chefs for the show, I sit and ponder, Is this really the best he could find? I'm worried if that is the case.

One show, he asked each chef to make their speciality dish. He tasted one dish and made a tormented face and threw up into a nearby garbage pail.

Yeah, we get it. The dish sucked. Do we have to see what you ate for dinner last night to get the message?

Sheesh....bring back the sitcoms. I miss All in the Family, Roseanne, and Will and Grace. Oh, don't forget my new favorites: Anthony Bourdain's Travels and Andrew Zimmer's Bizarre Foods.

More Musings Later-

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

My Beagle speaks YIDDISH

It's true. My partner was lying in the bed the other evening playing with my beagle, Baby.

When she decided to calm her down for the night, she said something that absolutely stunned me. Why? because my beagle understood it!!! Apparently, she taught her some Yiddish words while I slept at night and she couldn't sleep. She was trying to teach her to lay her head down in English, and it wasn't working.

The phrase she used was, "Baby, come lay your keppy down," and sure enough, Baby walked over to her and laid her head down on her chest!

Baby laying her "Keppy" down
When I looked at her in disbelief, I asked, "What is a keppy?" and she said, "Head! Come lay your head down."

I always knew my beagle had chutzpah.

More Musings Later-

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Things you learn when you listen...

I guess people can tell that if I have one regret in this life, it is that I didn't take chances and travel more when I was younger.

When I am in a pensive mood, it weighs on my mind at times. I can happily tell you that I made up for my lack of traveling and the tried and true when I was in my mid 30's.

I drank a drink where Madonna and Sandra Bernhardt danced on a bar in New York City, I stood at the top outlook of the Luxor hotel in Vegas at midnight, I have snorkeled in the Caribbean and smoked a cigar while playing poker in Aruba. And, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

What is it that I wish I had done? I really wish that when I graduated from college that I took the plunge I was so afraid of and move to Manhattan.

I dreamed about living in the was vastly different from where I grew up and seemed so exciting to me.

I began to think about my travels and the roadmap of my experiences when I sat next to a man at a bar. His nails were embedded with oil and grease and his name was enblazened on his shirt. I took him for a laborer or an auto mechanic that never saw different scenery past the city limit line.

I was wrong. He had traveled and lived in Alaska, California, Oregon, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, Indiana, Wisconsin, Asia, Europe and Africa. He told me of the times that he worked in Alaska and saved every nickel he could while he worked. "The Wages were GREAT...not like here," he would tell me. Of course, Nashville sucked to him.

Everyone has a home, a place they feel comfortable. But he didn't. He told me he made enough money in Alaska to travel for 5 years. He lived like no other for that time, and now he works like no other. He is virtually penniless. He's slept at the mission, walked across America and slept under the stars.

His stories were fascinating, but his eyes were sad. I'm sure traveling and taking chances is fantastic. But so is getting into your own bed at night.


More Musings Later-