Monday, March 30, 2009

OMG! Madonna is Rich!

Some people can find a way to complain about anything. Seems like some folks have their undies in a twist because Madonna showed up in Malawi wearing a $2800 black velour track suit and white fedora. Here's some of the comments:

"disgusting. Her outfit could pay to feed a hundred Malawian families"

"It's not about Madonna and where she can afford to shop.Imagine the starving children ads featuring a kindly old bearded guy pointing out hungry tots as he sucks on a cold beer.Judgement and sensitivity should come with the ability to fund good works. She should have known this would get media attention and would detract from the real issues she is trying to address... hunger, poverty and ignorance in epic proportions."

"It's not so much that it is inapproriate wear, it is that she is unaware that it's inapropriatte that is the the problem."

No what's really the problem is that people are paying attention to something so trivial, instead of the fact she's working to build a school to benefit Malawi's children, raise funds, hell raise awareness that Malawi even exists (I'd never heard of it before, did you?). What did they expect Madge to do, show up in a burlap sack with her hair in a jheri curl cap? "Well I guess I betta dress po' since I'se goin' down to Africa to get a negro child! Let me pick up some dish rags from the Goodwill." Puh-lease! These people might have had a point if she showed up dripping in diamonds and high fashion threads and posed for the paparazzi, brandishing an African child like it was the latest accessory. Or looked like this:

or this:

But she didn't. And I seriously doubt any of those kids sucked their teeth and said "I know Ms. Girl didn't show up here in a $2800 tracksuit!" Guess sometiimes you can't win for losing. Get into Madonna's documentary I Am Because We Are below:

Thursday, March 26, 2009

What is Good Sex?

Stop the track, let me state facts: this is not going to be porno post lol! Now that we've gotten that straight, let's get to answering the question at hand. What is good sex?

For some people, it's as simple as I'm hot, your hot, let's f*ck. For others, including some of my friends, sex is a game of conquest and collecting stories of sexual exploits to hold up as trophies, a laundry list of examples used to prove one's sexual prowess. And some view sex as merely a bargaining tool (aka trade/tricking), using what Blanche Devereaux once famously described as "nature's credit card" to get clothes, cars, jewelry or a rich partner.

Now of course, everyone's views of sex, love, and relationships are different. Some people have no problem fooling around on the first night, slabbing everything that moves or getting a midnight package via Adam for Adam or BGC, while others can't even conceive of letting another touch their body until they've heard the L word first. Having dabbled in quickie sex as well as committed relationship sex, I feel qualified enough to compare the two. While doing the do with no strings attached felt exciting and gratifying(obviously so;), the next morning didn't. There was no sense or sharing or feeling like I had truly connected with someone else. It just felt more like I had an itch that need to be scratched and had found the right cat for the moment.

Sex in relationships however, has ultimately been more satisfying and more erotic. The slow, romantic kisses that release that mysterious combination of love, passion, and lust. The touch of your partner's hands as they caress the private spots and crevices of your body that they know drives you into fits of ecstacy.The rhythm that the two of you make as your drift off into your private world, so lost in your hunger for each other that the rest of world fades away.
All other thoughts, sounds, and distractions vanish with each deep moan and blissful sigh, before erupting in a volcano of intense, orgasmic pleasure. Afterwards I felt like I had truly gave something of myself, not just physically, but emotionally, and had received the same from the other person in return.

In the end sex(making love, the monster mash, midnight fun, knocking the boots, playing in the garden, whatever you want to call it) for me is more than just, in the words of Rose Nylund (what is it with me and the Golden Girls today lol:) "two clunky old bodies thrashing up against each other." Good sex is more than just sex. It's love. Yeah yeah, a little sappy I know, but I'm allowed some sappiness once in a while lol.

So what is good sex for you?

P.S. This is my 100th post! I never thought I'd be blogging this long, so I figured the 100th post should start with a bang(pun intended;).

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Miracle Water=Blessings?

Damn maybe I should stock up on some Dasani. According to the good "reverend" Peter Popoff if you guzzel his miracle spring water (Now in a bigger size!) the Lord's blessings will be on you like white on rice. *Ugh* Stuff like this sometimes makes me hope the afterlife has a V.I.P. section lol:). Apparently Peter was a popular "healing" (and I use that word lightly) televangelist back in the day, but was exposed by skeptic James Randi and declared bankruptcy in 1987, before making a comeback with his Holy Vitamin Water in 2007. Watch the craziness unfold below, and watch Randi expose him:

Throwback Mix: 90's Dance Music

Remember when the lines between hip hop, R&B and dance music weren't so rigid? A rap track could have house, trip hop or drum and bass elements and still be considered hip hop. An R&B song could have a little techno in the mix and no one would raise a ruckus. While that's still somewhat true (Kanye's "Stronger," Busta's "Touch It," which both sample Daft Punk, Rihanna, Fergie and Nelly Furtado have mixed some genres together), folks just ain't mixin' and matchin' like they were in the nineties. I guess I'm in a nostalgic mood lol, so enjoy these dance tracks.

Monday, March 23, 2009

News and Notables

Study Finds Transgender Youth Face Extreme Harassment

A study done by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network titled Harsh Realities: The Experiences of Transgender Youth in Our Nation's Schools, revealed that transgender face harassment more and victimization in high schools than their lesbian, gay and bisexual peers. However, they are also more likely to speak out about LGBT issues in the classroom.

In addition to comparing the two groups, the study also examined the lives of the 295 transgender students who took the survey. According to the study:

Nearly nine out of 10 transgender students experienced verbal harassment at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation and gender expression, more than half experienced physical harassment because of their sexual orientation and gender expression and more than a quarter experienced physical assault because of their sexual orientation and gender expression. These levels of victimization were higher than those faced by the non-transgender lesbian, gay and bisexual students who participated in the 2007 National School Climate Survey, GLSEN's biennial survey of LGBT students.

The high rate of victimization had a direct impact on school attendance and academic performance. Transgender students who experienced high levels of harassment were more likely to miss school because they felt unsafe and had lower grade point averages than those who experienced lower levels of harassment.

You can read the whole report here.

Louisiana Must Add Gay Couple's Names to Birth Certificate

It's so rare to here good news about gays in my homestate, so I had to blog about this. District Judge Jazy Zainey ruled that Louisiana had 15 days to add the names of Oren Adar and Mickey Ray Smith to the certificate of a boy born in Shreverport.

Under current Louisiana law, an umarried couple cannot adopt child. However since the adoption became official in New York, which ruled in January that same-sex couples could use both their names on birth certificates, Zainey ruled that the courts must recognize the adoption.

The state legislature is trying to fight the ruling by introducing bill that would make any adoption not complying to Louisiana's adoption laws illegal. Guess we'll have to stay tuned to see what happens next.

Mary Mary, Why You Buggin'?

Mary, I don't know about this one girl. Mrs. Blige is set to star in Tyler Perry's next movie, an adaptation of his stage play I Can Do Bad All Myself. Blige is playing the role of a nightclub singer(at least she'll have a homecourt advantage:) named Tanya and her friend April, played by Taraji P. Henson. Madea will also make an appearance (Lawd knows she's made some of his movies more bearable to watch lol!)

If you ask me, Mary and Taraji's roles should be reversed. Don't get me wrong I love Mary J., but her acting experience is limited at best. She's only guest starred in a few sitcoms and played a small role in one movie (Prison Song). At this point I don't think she's ready to carry a whole film by herself. Maybe she'll surprise me. But then again she is starring in a Tyler Perry movie. Hmm. I'll just leave it at that;).

P.S.- 5 points to anyone who guess what the song the headline of the Mary post references:).

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Jamaica's Human Rights Record: FAIL!

In case you are unaware, Jamaica is more than just a popular vacation destination, but is also one of the worst countries in the world when it comes to LGBT rights. Incidences of a mob attacks, beatings, stabbings and discrimination against gays and lesbians are rampant in the country. Read the U.S. State Department report noting Jamaica's numerous human rights violation if you don't believe:

The Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All Sexuals, and Gays (J-FLAG) continued to report human rights abuses, including arbitrary detention, mob attacks, stabbings, harassment of homosexual patients by hospital and prison staff, and targeted shootings of homosexuals. Police often did not investigate such incidents. J-FLAG members also suffered attacks on their property, home intrusions as people demanded to know the number of persons and beds in a home, and in one instance, a fire bombing at the home of two men that left one of them with burns on more than 60 percent of his body.

In February a mob broke into the home of four presumed homosexual men, killing three of them. The fourth was missing and presumed dead. The men had reported being harassed for their perceived sexual orientation prior to the fatal attack. Police made some inquiries in the case but did not conduct a full investigation or make any arrests by year's end. There were numerous reports of violence against homosexual inmates, perpetrated by the wardens and by other inmates, but few inmates sought recourse through the prison system.

Homosexual men were hesitant to report incidents against them because of fear for their physical well-being. Lesbian women were subject to sexual assault as well as other physical attacks. Human rights NGOs and government entities agreed that brutality against homosexuals, primarily by private citizens, was widespread in the community.

You can read the full human rights report here. The hostile environment LGBTs face in Jamaica has lead some to considering a boycott of Jamaican rums and beers, as well as not taking cruises or vacations to the island. While I'm not sure how much a boycott would truly affect the country's bottomline, every bit helps, so don't count on me visiting Jamaica anytime soon (It's not like I have the dollars to anyway lol) or drinking rum or beer, which I don't drink anyway. Hopefully the Obama administration will continue to take a hard, critical stance against anti-gay governments. For more background on Jamaica and gays, look at the archives at Rod 2.0.

Exhibit A: Real Straight Men

Straight black men often have the reputation of harboring hatred and digust towards gay/bi guys. While I've certainly had those kind of encounters with straight men, I've also met those who have been empathetic, accepting and unthreatened by my sexuality. And these brothers don't always get enough shine. Via Living Out With Darian, here's a video of the Hodge twins, two straight guys giving advice to those who are afraid to come out to friends and family. The video is funny and encouraging. Not to mention the boys are easy on the eyes:).

Monday, March 16, 2009

O Happy Day!

In case you haven't heard, No Doubt are reuniting for the '09! No Doubt is one of my favorite bands, in case the exclamation marks didn't give it away, lol. For whatever reason, people don't always seem to give them respect they deserve. It's probably due to Gwen becoming such a huge star/style icon, but I think they've made some of the best singles of the 90's/early 2000's. "Just A Girl," "Spiderwebs," "New," "Hella Good," and "Hey Baby" still sound great now, and I know guys who listen to rap and ONLY rap who'll bump "Don't Speak."

The group starts its reunion tour on May 2nd in Atlantic City, and is set to appear on "Gossip Girl"(if you're into that sort of thing lol) on May 11. You can view the rest of the dates here. Also the band has posted Youtube videos telling the stories behind their biggest hits. If you're in need of a little exposure to No Doubt's discography, check out the clips below:

Sunday, March 15, 2009

News and Notables

Don't Ask, Don't Tell Protest Rally Held in D.C.

A crowd of about 200 gathered in Washington D.C. Friday to protest the military's Don't Ask Don't Tell policy. Speakers such as Takia Mitchell told spoke about the negative effects of the discriminatory policy. Mitchell, who served openly gay for two years in South Korea with no problem, said the situation was very different when she returned the U.S.

"The Army was my life," she said. "It gave me purpose. And at first it gave me a place to thrive. But by the end I was truly an Army of one, singled out because I was gay."

While Congress has announced hearings on the policy, no concrete timetable has been given for making a change. Veteran Neal Riley, who is straight, said the current policy doesn't only affect gays and lesbians.

"For every person we turn away or discharge under this policy, that’s one less Arabic translator in Iraq," he said. "It’s one less special operations soldier looking for Osama bin Laden. It’s one less medic who can save lives on the battlefield."

Presbyterian Leaders Vote Against Gay Clergy Ban

Presbyterian leaders in Kentucky voted 83-61 Tuesday to approve an amendment that would open pastor, deacon and elder positions to gays and lesbians. However, some in the church fear its passage, which be appoved by a national majority of churches, would lead to a denominational split.

The Rev. John Manon of Corbin Presbyterian Church, who opposed the amendment, said he expects the proposal to be approved nationally. If that happens, "the potential is there" for a split in the denomination, he said. "My hope and prayer is that it does not" cause a schism, he said.

Under the new policy ordination would be extended to gays and lesbians, but only under "really tight circumstances" according to Richard Smith, general presbyter for the Translyvania presbytery.

"We're not going to be ordaining anybody who's not a confirmed, solid Christian person. It's not a wide open door by any means," he said. "We take the question of ordination very seriously."

Hopefully gay Presbyterians will seriously be considered.

Obama Rolls Out Education Plan

President Obama outlined his plan for a major overhaul of the U.S. educational system on Tuesday, saying his new plan will follow children "from the cradle up through a career."

"We have let our grades slip, our schools crumble, our teacher quality fall short and other nations outpace us," Obama said in an address to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. "The time for finger-pointing is over. The time for holding ourselves accountable is here."
"The relative decline of American education is untenable for our economy, unsustainable for our democracy and unacceptable for our children, and we cannot afford to let it continue," he said.

The president outlined a five-tier plan that included $5 billion from the recently passed stimulus package going toward the Head Start program, a proposal to offer 55,000 first-time parents "regular visits from trained nurses to help make sure their children are healthy and prepare them for school and life," and promised to increase federal support by way of an "Early Learning Challenge" program, which offers grants to states that develop plans that improve early education programs.

"In promoting his program, the president called for an end to the "partisanship and petty bickering" that many observers believe has typically defined education policy debates in the past, according to
"We need to move beyond the worn fights of the 20th century if we are going to succeed in the 21st century," he said.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Classic Album Battle: What's The 411 Vs. My Life

Oh yeah, I went there. Most Mary J. fans(including myself) and general R&B lovers alike consider What's The 411? and My Life to be her best music. However, which one is better?

What's The 411?

Let's start with What's The 411? the album that begat Mary's career and her reign as The Queen of Hip Hop Soul. But first, a little history. When Mary's debut dropped in '92, it signaled a new direction in female R&B, in both sound and image.
At the time the top songstresses (Whitney, Mariah, En Vogue, Anita, Patti) made slick, polished R&B and wore glamorous evening gowns onstage. Mary on the other hand, rocked combat boots, baseball caps, jerseys and a nose ring (check out the "Reminisce" video if you don't believe:).

And her music, while smooth and soulful, also had the grittiness and hard edge a generation raised on hip hop had come to expect from their music. True there were other artists who had blended hip hop and R&B before her (Nehneh Cherry and TLC come to mind) but without a doubt Blige made the most impact.

For me the first album, while featuring undeniable classics such as "Real Love," "Reminisce," "You Remind Me," "Love No Limit," and a cover of Chaka Khan and Rufus' "Sweet Thing," is a little uneven. While album tracks like "I Don't Wanna Do Anything Else" and "My Love" are great, the other songs-"Changes I've Been Going Through" and "Slow Down," while fine, just don't grab me.

And the interludes, which were kind of unique when the album was released (Lawd knows only Janet was doing it at the time, lol) haven't really stood the test of time, and I find myself skipping them just to get to music. In my view they really don't tie the songs together, but feel like an intrusion.

My Life

To me, this is Mary's masterpiece. Maybe it was because she was going through some thangs at the time(which we know all too well about now) or because she had more of a hand in the songwriting process, but My Life is arguably one of the best R&B albums ever. Both the music, which this time features a less obvious hip hop influence but is still beat heavy, and lyrics fit together.

Every song works together to create a seamless stream of music, from the remakes of "Mary Jane (All Night Long)" and "I'm Goin' Down" to the Barry White sampling "You Bring Me Joy" and "Be Happy." The title track, which samples Roy Ayer's "Sunshine" just touches some deep place inside me whenever I hear it. Some people complained that Puffy and Mary relied a little too much on the samples, but to me they give the whole album a cohesivenesss that What's The 411? lacked.

The track placement of the album is also fits its themes of love, longing and drama. While the album starts off on kind of an upbeat party vibe with "All Night Long" and "You Bring Me Joy" it slowly spirals down into Mary's depression and heartbreak with "My Life," "You Gotta Believe," "Never Wanna Live Without You," "I'm Goin' Down" before ending in wishful melancholy with "Be Happy."

I can play this whole album through without wanting to skip a single track. Even the interludes don't interrupt the flow, but just take you deeper into Mary's world. Almost 15 years after its release, it still slaughters almost every R&B album out right now. I love both albums, but if I had to choose between them, I'd pick My Life. So which do you think is better?
Get into videos from both albums below:

Monday, March 9, 2009

Obama Lifts Stem Cell Research Ban

President Obama signed an executive order for an increase in federal money for stem cell research, saying no scientific data would be "distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda."

Obama took several subliminal shots at the Bush administration's previous faith-based decision ban on stem cell research.

"Promoting science isn't just about providing resources, it is also about protecting free and open inquiry," Obama said. "It is about letting scientists like those here today do their jobs, free from manipulation or coercion, and listening to what they tell us, even when it's inconvenient especially when it's inconvenient. It is about ensuring that scientific data is never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda and that we make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology."

"Today we will bring the change that so many scientists and researchers, doctors and innovators, patients and loved ones have hoped for, and fought for, these past eight years," said Obama in his speech on Monday afternoon. "We will vigorously support scientists who pursue this research. And we will aim for America to lead the world in the discoveries it one day may yield."

For those not in the know, stem cells are part of a human embryo, and have the ability to renew themselves and transform into many different types of specialized cells. Further stem cell research could lead to effective treatments for Alzheimer's and spinal-cord related injuries. While the use of embryonic stem cells remains controversial, some progress has been made with adult stem cells. Although pro-life advocates maintain stem cell research would be a destruction of human life, many embryos left over from in vitro treatments are still currently being stored, even though their shelf life has long ended.

Forbes' magazine's Lisa Lalotta said this change in policy, while effective, is only the first step.

"Lifting the ban is only one step forward. There is still limited access to stem cell lines and no access to new lines -- these changes can only be made by Congress and Obama has yet to say whether he plans to pursue this issue."

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Oh No She Didn't!

Yea she did. Rising R&B star Keri Hilson takes aim at Beyonce and Ciara in a remix to "Turnin' Me On" featuring T-Pain and Lil Wayne. Apparently Ms. Hilson went to the 50 Cent school of career advancement and majored in Starting Beef 101. Maybe B threw shade at her at a party? Ciara didn't know her name when asked about her in an interview? Who knows.

Now usually I wouldn't defend Ms. Knowles because I'm a casual fan at best (but if she dissed Madonna or Janet it would've been ON! I'm just sayin'). But Keri....recognize who you're talkin' about. Beyonce has sold millions of records and had a ton of hits both as a solo artist and as part of Destiny's Child, a group that people still want to reunite. She has the fashion, music and movie (unfornately) worlds at her feet. She makes a video and gay boys across the land run to learn the steps and mimic her every strut, swish and dip. My point: like it or not Beyonce is the biggest star in the world of music.

You on the other hand have been featured on one hit ("The Way I Are"), had a sort-of-hit ("Energy"), and are now having your first real hit solo single. I guess with Rihanna currently sidelined and B being such a huge star, you see an opening for superstardom and are taking it. I can see the sense in that strategy. But do you really want Beyonce's army of gay boys to descend upon you? Tearing down your every wardrobe choice? Ripping your live vocals to shreds, watching like hawks for the slightest error in pitch or the first bad note? Do you really want to feel the full wrath of the rainbow coaltion? Don't think so.

Yea I'm sure you got a gay squad at this point, but until you reach at least platinum status, you're no match for Beyonce's army of queens. 'Cause hell hath no fury like a gay boy whose diva has been scorned. I'm sure B will take the Jay-Z route and not respond. But like I said: recognize who you're talkin' about.

You'd do better concentrating your efforts on Ciara, who's little bit more on your level in terms of fame. Perhaps her gays will become your gays. Hell you might get a lesbian or two, cause you know Ci Ci likes to butch it up every now and then.

I won't take the time to list her credentials because honestly I don't care that much about her as an artist. Of course there is another thing for you to consider: You could just sing and do you and see how far that would get you. See how far hard work and talent could take you. Because for all the criticism she faces B ain't never been known for startin' beef.

Note: This post is intended for those with a sense of humor. Seriously, I don't want anyone coming at me with record sales statistics to prove who's the ultimate diva. This ain't BGC.

Listen to the remix below:

Monday, March 2, 2009

Don't Hate, Congratulate

Yes, I did just use that 1998 phrase lol. I fail to understand the reason why people are getting so bent out of shaped over Michelle Obama's decision to wear a black sleeveless dress, but apparently some of the folks over at ABC News see her attire as a sign of the decline of the First Lady mystique:

"That is just pure nasty"

"What's next? Halter top and hot pants?"

"One of our supreme court justices opining on another matter said that he "knew" "something" when he saw it. If the word at issue here is "class," we all from our individual life's experiences know "class" when we see it. Regrettably, Michelle Obama has chosen to pursue a fashion course which is anything but "class," particularly when viewed through the prism of the position which she holds. I guess we get to lament all sorts of outcomes from the November fiasco."

"Honestly, she is so out of season that is bugs the heck out of me, and I'm not a big fan of fashion. This is ONE MORE WAY the Obamas say without speaking that they are better than the rest of us. If this were July, I'd say it was a pretty hot casual look, but for a professional look in March in the Northern U.S., it is completely out of step -- as are the Obamas. The nation has figured out that Barack is not the Messiah, the market is reacting and plummeting, and the fact that the Obamas can't see that they need to step up protocol and play within the system in actions, dress, and political methodology, leads me to fear for the nation."

To these commenters I say what the hell are you babbling about? The woman wore a basic black sleeveless dress with pearls, and you're all reacting like she took a picture in booty shorts and a see through top. Plus unlike some of our previous presidential wives, Michelle has the arms to pull it off, and you know I'm tellin' the truth.

And all the rantings about it being out of season and not right for winter? Please! A hundred, 50 or even 10 years from now when students are flipping through history books, I seriously doubt they'll stare at this picture and think "Ooh that's so out of season! I can't believe she wore that during the winter time!" I'm sure if Sarah Palin took a similar photo people would be gushing about elegant and Karen Walker-like she looks (sorry just had throw the Will and Grace reference in there:). *Sigh* Some people just live to get pissed off about anything. Some of the posters did have some sense however:

"To be physically fit and wear something flattering means she is arrogant.......the fact that her arms are toned and she bares them means she is showing off. You people are beyond ridiculous........and your veil of bigotry is paper thin. The fact of the matter is that nothing black will ever be beautiful to you....but guess what no one cares anymore what you think, so grab your bottle of Xanax and get back to living your WONDERFUL LIFE!"
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