Monday, April 30, 2012

Mad Men Season 5 Ep. 7 Recap 'At The Codfish Ball'


As always, spoilers galore. So either click away or continue.

Get out your corsages and gowns, it's father/daughter night on Mad Men. Whether they were still alive and breathing, or in the case of Peggy and her mother, being used as a symbolic figure to back up an argument, father/daughter relationships seemed to be a recurring theme of 'At The Codfish Ball.'

That dynamic, as well as ideas about young girls' burgeoning sexuality and the way romantic relationships can either stifle someone or set them free is weaved throughout the episode, from Peggy, Stan and Michael's discussion about Playtex to Megan and Don's relationship to Megan's parents' obviously deteriorating marriage.

Let's start off with Sally, who's been sneaking in phone calls to Betty's man, a.k.a Glenn, while her mother and step-father are off on another fantastic voyage. What's interesting at this point with her and Glenn's relationship is they're more friends than potential boyfriend and girlfriend, trading the usual pre-teen complaints about overbearing adults, school work, and in Glenn's case, his first case of heartbreak. And speaking of overbearing adults, no sooner than Sally mentions the loathsome Grandma Francis that she walks by, trips over the phone cord and breaks her ankle.

Sally's "oh, what happened," sounded a little nonchalant and staged at first, but it quickly becomes clear she didn't set her up. Though she does lie about it to Don when he asks her to recount the story of in front of Megan and her parents. Although that probably has more to do with the fact she wasn't supposed to be on the phone with Glenn in the first place, as Betty, and maybe Don, wouldn't approve of him.

Of course Sally Draper's not the only one facing a disapproving adult in this episode. From the moment Megan's father Emile walks into she and Don's stylish Manhattan abode, his distaste for Don ("his manners are studied" he says at one point) is apparent. And so is his unhappiness with his wife Marie, which becomes crystal clear when he snaps at her to "Have a drink. Become nice again." Ouch. He's also cheating on her emotionally and sexually, crying to a young co-ed on the phone when a publisher rejects his book. And from her none-too-subtle (at least to everyone else--to Don she's just French) lingering stares and touchy-feeling demeanor towards Don, Marie seems to love her husband's miserable company. She almost tingles with delight when Don remembers her favorite drink.

Emile can see through Don's persona to an extent, but it's difficult to tell if his animosity is fueled by his political opposition to the latter's lavish lifestyle and occupation or to the fact he's almost old enough to be Megan's father as well. Whatever the reason, in his eyes Don is just an uncivilized country hick who managed to get lucky and who now carelessly throws his money around. It recalls Betty's post-Dick Whitman reveal statements in season three's "They Gypsy and The Hobo: "I knew you were poor. I knew you were ashamed of it. I see how you are with money, you don't understand it."

However, one good thing does come out of the tense dinner with the in-laws is Megan's idea for yet another pitch to Heinz beans. After serving Sally her favorite meal of spaghetti, she comes up with a pitch to do Heinz beans through the ages. The scene where she first tells Don about the pitch finds them almost revisiting old territory that led to last week's Howard Johnson's blowup, with Don alluding to office sex and Megan declining. It also notable that while she asserted her independence during last episode's fight, Megan's first impulse is to let Stan and Michael think the new Heinz pitch is Don's creation (which they think anyway) to avoid any backlash. It quietly illustrates the father/daughter nature of their relationship, with Megan both seeking not to be controlled by Don while also wanting his approval and protection.


Food For Thought: Dan Savage




"We can learn to ignore the bullshit in the Bible about gay people. The same way, the same way we have learned to ignore the bullshit in the Bible about shellfish, about slavery, about dinner, about farming, about menstruation, about virginity, about masturbation. We ignore bullshit in the Bible about all sorts of things. The Bible is a radically pro-slavery document. Slave owners waved Bibles over their heads during the Civil War and justified it."

Ms. Dan has her issues, but she was right on with this one. Although I will concede the use of the word bullshit may have been too much for a high school audience (yes teens curse, but that doesn't mean authority figures should do it in front of them per se). Anyway, watch the speech below.



Source

George Zimmerman, Attorney Launch New Website


Looks like Papa's got a brand new bag. After his original website, set up to accept donations for his legal defense, was disabled last week, George Zimmerman has got a new site, GZlegalcase.com, which is being run by his attorney Mark O' Mara.


"O'Mara's firm said they have launched the website to dispel misinformation, discourage speculation and discredit other, fraudulent websites. 


'"A critical part of this effort is establishing the credibility of official digital properties that media and the public can trust," O'Mara's firm said. The new site comes after a hearing in the case Friday, when O'Mara disclosed to the judge that Zimemrman raised more than $200,000 through a previous website. 

According to the new website, the firm does plan to take donation for Zimmerman's defense."

Read the fully story HERE.

Cissy Houston May Be Writing A Book On Whitney's Life


Cissy Houston may be penning a book about Whitney, and has reportedly been meeting with publishers.

"Cissy Houston has pitched her book to publishers as the "the real and definitive" book about Whitney's life, and has promised not to hold back on any of the details. "It's going to be the bad, it's going to be the good," Mrs. Houston told one publisher. 


Along with telling the whole story about her daughter's life, Mrs. Houston also told publishers she wanted to combat some of the lies that have circulated after Whitney's death."

While the cold ass bastard in me wants to give Cissy's book plans the side eye, I think this could actually be a good thing in the long run. It's obvious that Cissy loved Whitney and the feeling was mutual; they always seemed extremely close. So I doubt the book would a salacious, gossipy tell-all. But at the same, Cissy's old school, and she's not going to sugarcoat Whitney's story for PR. If paired with the right co-author, the book could be both a heartfelt tribute to Whitney's legacy while also staying true to the reality of her life.

What do you think?


Friday, April 27, 2012

NPR Profiles Conservatives Against Amendment On



Much noise has (rightfully) been made about conservatives' *cough Newt Gingrich cough* support of North Carolina's anti-gay Amendment One, which would ban not only same-sex marriage but domestic partnerships and civil unions.

But some are breaking ranks and speaking out against the measure. Like John Hood of the John Locke Foundation, who, along with other conservatives, is profiled in NPR.

"Hood, a registered independent, thinks lawmakers wasted their time bringing the amendment before voters. A state law already bans same-sex marriage. He says he understands some conservatives want to provide an additional safeguard for traditional marriage with an amendment.


"'But then there's a group of people that I would be in the camp of who do care about marriage as an issue, but simply don't think the possibility that other people will get married is a threat," he says. "It seems to me that the real threat to marriage [is] straight people getting divorced or never getting married in the first place.'"

While other Republicans like Paul Stam, the amendment's biggest supporter, say homes headed by gay couples are "not a good environment to raise children," other conservatives think Stam and others like him are fighting the inevitable.

"Republicans who oppose equality really are fighting history, and they're going to get left behind,"chairman of the board of directors of Equality North Carolina Dan Gurley says. Gurley, who is openly gay, says "my concern as a Republican is that if our party does not adapt to the changing times, that we're going to get left behind."

A valid concern indeed. Rest the rest HERE.

Gay Son Of Ex-Klansman To Run For Office


No it's not the plot of a made-for-TV movie. Twenty-eight-year-old Eric Bishop plans to challenge a conservative Kansas senator in the state's primary election in August.

Bishop announced his plans to run yesterday during a rally at the state capitol. According to The Advocate:

"He will run in the Democratic primary against state representative Jan Pauls of Hutchinson, who despite her party affiliation “has been as right-wing as any of her Republican colleagues on social issues,” the newspaper reports. She recently has backed a bill that would allow state residents to opt out of laws that conflict with their religious beliefs, such as laws prohibiting anti-LGBT discrimination."

At the rally Bishop spoke about his family and past, saying "My father is a former member of the Ku Klux Klan. To call my household as a child racist and homophobic would be an understatement. My father rightly faced opposition from people like you.”

Read the rest HERE.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Random Jam: Kelis 'Get Along With You'


Love this track. Melancholic and beautiful all at once. And like someone on YouTube said, the video is like a Tim Burton film come to life...why she never hit Ms. Burton up for a collaboration is beyond me. Anyway, listen and watch below.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Obama Includes Gays In Holocaust Speech


During a speech at the U.S. Holocaust Museum in D.C., President Obama addressed the atrocities gay people, specifically gay men, faced during the genocide, which killed millions.

“We must tell our children about a crime unique in human history,” Obama said. “The one and only Holocaust — six million innocent people — men, women, children, babies — sent to their deaths just for being different, just for being Jewish. We tell them, our children, about the millions of Poles and Catholics and Roma and gay people and so many others who also must never be forgotten.” 


 “We must tell our children,” Obama said. “But more than that, we must teach them. Because remembrance without resolve is a hollow gesture. Awareness without action changes nothing. In this sense, ‘never again’ is a challenge to us all — to pause and to look within.”

The fact that President Obama chose to include gays in his Holocaust speech is important. While Hitler's "Final Solution" overwhelmingly effected Jews, gay men, denounced as "enemies of the state" and parasites, were also persecuted under the Nazi regime. According to the Holocaust Museum's website, more than 100,000 men were arrested under laws against homosexuality and  50,000 served prison terms, with speculation that hundreds were castrated under court.  Gay bars and establishments were regularly closed by storm troopers. Thousands more were sent to concentration camps, where they died of starvation, exhaustion, beatings and murder.

Read the whole article HERE.

WATCH: Rosie O' Donnell Says Lindsay Lohan Is 'Not Capable' Of Playing Liz Taylor


Yes Rosie, tell them like it is. I like Lindsay (Mean Girls is a classic quotable teen flick--disagree if you must), but she is no shape, either physically, mentally or emotionally, to play Liz. Not right now. Watch Rosie, Stars and Donny Deustch discuss the casting on the Today show below.



Newt Gingrich Posts Anti-Gay Video In Support of North Carolina Amendment


Ugh, this is pathetic. All though it's clear at this point to any casual observer that Mitt Romney will be the GOP presidential nominee and Newt should just give up already, he's using whatever clout he has left to rile up the conservative base by posting an anti-gay video in North Carolina.

In the clip, the presidential candidate threw his support behind the state's Amendment One measure, which would ban same-sex marriage as well as civil unions and domestic partnerships.

"There is an effort by radicals at every level to change who we are, to change what America is, and to change for our children into a future that I think will be much worse. Marriage between a man a and a woman is at the heart of our civilization," Gingrich said. "It's a belief that is now under attack and yet it is at the very core of defining who we are. That's why I urge you to vote for the initiative right here in North Carolina."

Gingrich, whose half sister is a lesbian, has spoken out against marriage equality throughout his presidential run, even signing a few anti-gay pledges along the way. Watch the video below.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Mad Men Season 5, Ep. 6 Recap 'Far Away Places'


As always, don't read the following post if you haven't watched last night's episode. There's spoilers in these hills.

Well, the honeymoon's over. As Pete nastily predicted last week, Don and Megan's period of wedded bliss has been punctured by the inevitable moment in a relationship when all the little things about the other person you thought were so cute and lovable mutate into irritating flaws.

But first things first. Peggy may have confessed her uncertainty about her ability to act like a man to Dawn a few episodes back, but she seems to have the man's role down pat both at home and the office. Forget sad sack suburbanite Pet, Peggy's the new Don: she puts work before her boyfriend Abe, and uses their relationship as fodder for her copy writing, if his "I'm you boyfriend, not a focus group" comment is any indication (Betty's "you know me so well" diatribe against Don in season two's "A Night To Remember" is also written all over that line).

The episode even begins with her searching for some candy her boss gave her in order to swing a little Draper swag  her way for her Heinz sales pitch. And the way she attempts to berate and manipulate the wishy washy client from Heinz into liking her presentation after he rejects yet another idea is pure Don Draper. Of course, his reaction makes it crystal clear that no matter how brazen or talented Peggy may be, she is still a young woman, and her behavior will almost always be viewed differently than Don's or any other man's at SCDP. There's little doubt if Don had pulled the same stunt (again anyway), or had simply been there to speak up and give an extra vote of confidence, the Heinz meeting would have gone in an entirely different direction.

Peggy reaction to the news she's been kicked off the account also reeks of season one/two Don shenanigans--she plays hooky, smokes a little weed and has a random sexual encounter all before heading back into the office for a post-misadventure nap. She wakes up to find see Dawn, who informs her that it's evening and that the other Don's on the phone. Peggy fesses up about how terrible the Heinz meeting went, but for some reason a disheveled, slightly frantic Don could care less. Though the strangest part of Peggy's story line is the bizarre, intergalactic conversation she has with Michael Ginsberg about him being a Martian (hey before Lil' Wayne, there was Michael Ginsberg! Who knew!), his father and his childhood.

Even after viewing it a few times, I wasn't quite sure what to make of Michael's speech. There may have been bits of truth in it--his mother dying, being born in a concentration camp--but the part about being at a Swedish orphanage is just too far out to be true. The Martian quip could be an obvious but apt metaphor for the alienation he feels from his father's old way of life and what it means to be Jewish in the post-WWII world; or it could be he's embarrassed the bumbling, old country part of his life has literally walked into the office and left dirt marks all over the socially awkward, off-the-wall genius ad man persona his been building. I'm not totally sure. But it the whole scene definitely contained some of the episode's best dialogue. Peggy ends up calling Abe and asking him to come over, saying "I always need you." Don rarely, if ever, leaned on Betty when things went wrong in his world, so maybe Peggy shouldn't start puffing away on Lucky Strikes just yet. Though she didn't really seem that broken up about her earlier indiscretion. But then again, weed is a hell of drug.

So is LSD, as Roger and Jane Sterling can attest. The couple's trip towards the truth was hands down the funniest part of the episode (was there ever any doubt? Roger on LSD? You know that shit had EPIC written all over it), as Roger's psyche opens up into a magical world where bottles play classical music, bathrooms broadcast the 1919 World Series, cigarettes burn out at the speed of light and Don Draper appears in mirrors to calm any jittery nerves. In another one of the episode's best scenes Roger and Jane, laying on the floor and high out of their minds, slowly peel back the layers of their doomed marriage until they come face to face with a simple fact: they can't stand each other. The two have been sniping at each other since the season premiere, so it's no surprise they're heading for divorce; what's really great is the writers chose to forgo the usual breakup scene of tears, accusations and screaming, although Mad Men has done that pretty well too. It would've been easy to simply play up the LSD trip for laughs and have Roger walking into walls or fantasizing about naked women. Instead, the trip sets the stage for a quiet moment of clarity for both characters, one that Roger is all too eager to remind Jane of the next morning. Forget an autobiography; Sterling's next book should be 100 Ways To Leave Your Wife. Tabs of LSD included.

Perhaps Roger and Jane still would unhappily hitched if Don had decided to take him to the Howard Johnson instead of Megan. In the season premiere we saw Megan playfully pushing off Don's "dirty old man" advances and leaving the office early without a second though. Now though,  the new Mrs. Draper is starting to resent Don's constant pushing and prodding to do everything from skipping the Heinz presentation to telling her what to wear and what dessert she should order. Don, caught up in the love and/or sex haze, doesn't seem to realize the effect his pushy, patronizing behavior is having on his young wife. But it all comes out with one scoop of perfume-flavored sherbet (did anyone else get subtle eat-the-cake-Anna Mae vibes from this scene?). The floodgates now open, Megan calls Don out for ordering her around and constantly pulling her away from work. The two trade barbs back and forth--Megan about his controlling, selfish ways, Don about her constant phone calls complaining about him to her mother--until Megan pulls the "yo Mama" card on Don, causing him to leave to walk out to the car and drive off, leaving a furious Megan in the parking lot.

Don eventually pulls around and comes back to the Howard Johnson to find Megan has taken off with some strangers. Hours of phone calls later, he returns home to find Megan's locked the door. After kicking in the door but waving no four four, the two have another heated fight that escalates into a good smack from Megan, causing Don to chase her through the apartment until he grabs her and they fall onto the floor.  However, this time instead of hot S&M, lingerie-clad make up sex, Megan bursts into tears and Don tries to console her in the limited way he can, saying it was a fight and now it's over. Don's words seem to recall the "moving forward" philosophy he's built his life around. It happened, now let's pretend it never did. But to Megan, it's much more serious than that; to her every squabble is strike against their relationship. When she gets up from the floor to go to work, Don turns totally vulnerable, grabbing her by the waist and admitting he thought he lost her.

I was slightly on edge during the whole chase scene. Although I knew Don wouldn't start wailing away on Megan--it'd take a miracle for the writers to bring Don back from the likability brink if he turned into a full-fledged wife beater--Bobbi Barrett and Betty will testify that he's not above a using a little strong-arm to get his way. Afterwards, when they walk into the office hand in hand, looking every inch the glamorous, happy couple, the storm seems to have past. But this fight looks to be a watershed moment in their relationship. Things are probably about to get a lot darker and more dramatic over at the Draper residence.

Of course, his relationship with Megan isn't the only problem our anti-hero's facing. So far this season, Don's been phoning it in at work, leaving the office early and leaving all the heavy creative lifting to Peggy. His wake up call comes from Bert Cooper of all people, who tells him in so many words to get out from under Megan and step his game up. Surprise folks, Bert's not senile or suffering the early stages of dementia yet! And just when Don's bad trip couldn't get worse, a jubilant, soon-to-be-single Roger swings open the conference door to announce "today is going to be a great day." Don shoots him a look that's equal parts "fuck you" and  "what the fuck have I been doing?" In case it isn't obvious by now, both Roger and Don's trips brought them to a place of truth. The latter's just brought him back to reality,  a point driven home by the closing shot of him staring off into space with a conflicted, anxious gaze as he watches the world move around him, contemplating his next move for how to navigate it. Ahh Don, we've missed you.

Other points:

--The disjointed, all-over-the-place editing style of the plot lines could have ended up one big hot mess, but in my opinion came off really well. It definitely made things more interesting to see how two decisions--Roger's to take a trip, Don's to invite Megan along instead--impacted the other characters on the show both in and out of the office, and to see them from multiple points of view.

--No Betty again? Yes the woman's tumor was benign, but come on! There has be something still stirring inside our favorite ice queen. Did she ever find out about Sally's brush with barbiturates? Is she trying to get back to her slim and trim Grace Kelly look? Is Henry still shook up about Don? Have vampires kidnapped her and locked her and the kids in the basement of that damn house?  There's lot to explore.

--Dawn is still on the fringes, but I'm holding out hope she and Peggy will have another intertwined story line soon, because I honestly can't see any other character aside from Megan interacting with her outside of the office.


--Chile, no Joan. That's all I have to say.


So what did you think of 'Far Away Places?' Discuss.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Eye Candy: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Mark Wahlberg On The Set of 'Pain And Gain'


Hmmm. After looking at these pics of The Rock and Marky Mark on the set of their upcoming flick Pain and Gain, which is about two bodybuilders (so you know there'll be some more muscly male flesh in the gym scenes), we may next summer's Magic Mike on our hands. Oh, and Anthony Mackie's in it, and he's cute too lol. Get into the pics below, and few more that include some flexing from the Rock and some undie action from Mark after the jump.








Friday, April 20, 2012

WATCH: Taraji P. Henson Talks 'Think Like A Man,' Why She Was Happy Not To Win For 'Benjamin Button'


Taraji on starring in Steve Harvey's new flick, and why she was okay with not taking home an Oscar for The  Curious Case of Benjamin Button.


Mad Men Episode 6


Are you tuning for this week's episode? And what do you think of this season so far? Watch the trailer for episode six below.

President Obama Wants National Safe Schools Act


Talk about a timely announcement. Following a screening of the controversial documentary film Bully at the White House today--on the 17th annual Day of Silence--President Obama endorsed the Safe Schools Improvement Act and Student Non-Discrimination Act.


"The President and his Administration have taken many steps to address the issue of bullying," according to the White House's official statement. "He is proud to support the Student Non-Discrimination Act, introduced by Senator [Al] Franken and Congressman [Jared] Polis, and the Safe Schools Improvement Act, introduced by Senator [Bob] Casey and Congresswoman Linda Sanchez. These bills will help ensure that all students are safe and healthy and can learn in environments free from discrimination, bullying, and harassment."

The president was asked to support the bill in letter sent last month by 70 organizations. Right the Student Non-Discrimination Act, or SDNA, has about a third of the Senate signed up as co-sponsors.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

House Speaker John Boehner Thinks ENDA Not Needed


Blubber baby John Boehner thinks the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a.k.a EDNA, is not needed because "ample laws" already exist to protect LGBT employees. *Eye roll*

 "Although the administration insists it will work with Congress to pass legislation in lieu of an executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT workers, Boehner seemed unaware of ENDA in response to a question from the Washington Blade, saying, “I haven’t seen the bill. I haven’t thought much about it.” 


'No one should face discrimination in the workforce,” Boehner said. “There are ample laws already in place to deal with this. Having been the chairman of the Education & Workforce Committee, I’m quite familiar with employment law. But if there are further changes that are necessary, I’m sure the committee will look at it.'"

Obviously Boehner is blind to the reality that is legal in 29 states to fire someone because they're gay, and legal to fire a trans person in 34 states. Hopefully that''ll give him something to think about.

Read the full article over at the Washington Blade.

WATCH: Ugandan President Says Gays Are Not Persecuted


Uganda's president Yoweri Museveni is spouting so much mouth diarrhea in this clip I wanted to toss a bottle of Pep-to Bismal through the screen. Watch below.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Touch Them Other Divas 'Cause I'll Stan For My Divas....


In his latest vlog, Kid Fury addresses the online/real life phenomenon of fans who go into stanning overboard. You know, that delirious state of mind where you actually come to believe the star you love and support knows you personally, pays your bills, puts food in your mouth, cleans your home and pumps your gas. In its benign state, this disorder usually takes the form of vicious insults written in all caps on Internet forums, followed by postings of record sale figures and Billboard single/album chart statuses. But in its elevated psychotic form, usually aided by alcohol, strobe lights and house/R&B/techno music, this can manifest into actual physical confrontation.

Anyone whose read this blog knows I am long-time Madonna stan and will read those who seek to disrespect the queen if necessary. I consider her an icon and a visionary who has had an enormous influence on the musical and cultural landscape of the last three decades and will proudly state my case to wake foolish gals up to that fact. Particularly blind little monsters who have the audacity to leave comments on Youtube that claim classic Madonna clips like "Open Your Heart," "Vogue" and "Justify My Love" are Gaga rip offs. Honestly I fear for their inability to grasp the concept of time more than their hatred of Madge, but that's neither here nor there.

The truth of the matter is as much I may love her music and consider her an inspiration, I'm not blind to the reality that I am not, never been, and probably will never be on her radar. A girl can dream but chile, there's a thin line between fantasy and delusion. If my lights got cut off tomorrow or my fridge was bare, best believe Ms. Ciccone won't slip a check in the mail or show up at my doorstep with groceries singing "Plastic bags stuffed with food/Stomachs that are in the mood/Don't just stand there let's get to it/ Stuff your face, there's nothing it/EAT!" It ain't that serious.

Anyway, if you've watched one of the Kid's videos before, you know it's hilarious. If not be prepared to clutch your pearls, collapse, die, be buried and resurrect like it's Easter Sunday. Get into it below. Oh, and five points to whoever can name the song that inspired this post title (my southern queens probably have a clue:).

 

Center for Senior LGBTs Opens In Manhattan


LGBT seniors in New York now have a place to gather and be fabulous with the opening of the first full-time LGBT senior center in the nation.

"Operated by New York City’s Department for the Aging and SAGE (Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Elders), the center offers meals, social services, and activities. Classes on wellness and workplace skills are aimed at the realities aging baby boomers face in 2012. 


Compared to their straight counterparts, older LGBT adults are twice as likely to live alone, half as likely to have a significant other, and four times as likely to have no kids. LGBT seniors also face poor access to culturally sensitive health care and greater rates of poverty. Thankfully, Adams sees the SAGE Center as a national model."

So much attention is focused on issues facing LGBT teens and young adults (and rightfully so), that the problems facing older LGBT folks are often ignored or placed on the back burner. Since it's pretty inevitable that we'll all get older, this is a step in the right direction. Read the rest of the article HERE.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Random Jam: Madonna "Thief of Hearts"


Madge at her most deliciously catty, and a definite contender for a proper single from her Erotica era. So stop bitch, sit your ass down and listen to this magnificent slice of sonic shade.

 

Beyonce and Blue Ivy...


I don't know about you, but I am loving Beyonce's post-baby fashion. Her Creole Majesty must have picked out all of her and Blue Ivy Carter's wardrobe ahead of time, because every time she steps out shades, dresses, skirts, leggings, shorts and blouses are always effortlessly on point. Get into a few more pics below.


Shawty wat yo' name is? I know you were thinkin' it!


One Million Moms Condemn Urban Outfitters' Lesbian Kiss Photo


Despite the backlash and all around smackdown they received when protesting JCPenny's choice of Ellen as a spokeswoman, One Million Moms (you just know it's probably like, 100 or something) is back, condemning an Urban Outfitters' photo depicting two girls locked in a kiss.

"The April 2012 catalog from Urban Outfitters has begun arriving in home mailboxes the last couple of days," the group writes on its website. "On page two of this catalog is a picture of two women kissing in a face holding embrace! The ad and catalog are clearly geared toward teenagers." The alert concludes, "The content is offensive and inappropriate for a teen who is the company's target customer."

A mess, especially since the photo they're making all of this hoopla over looks like an outake from Fiona Apple's "Criminal" video. Read the rest HERE.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Mad Men Season 5, Ep. 5 Recap


As with last week, there are spoilers a plenty below. You've been warned.

If last week's "Mystery Date" was about the intersection of fear, violence and sex as it relates to male and female relationships, last night's episode "Signal 30" seemed to be about masculinity: how it can both attract women and men in both sexual and platonic ways; how fragile it is; and how masculine ideals can work in some men's favor and emasculate others. Case in point: Pete Campbell.

The episode opens with a shot of Pete, sitting in the back row of a driver's ed class, chuckling at gruesome car wreck scenes while giving a good once-over to young girl in the front row. That's right boys and girls, sleazy Pete is back in business. Of course this shouldn't be much of a surprise. Pete's been unhappy with his quaint life in the suburbs for some time now, complaining of Trudy's post-baby wardrobe of robes and rollers and bemoaning the stillness of the country over the city. In classic Mad Men style, he's gotten everything he's ever wanted, and he hates it. If Don's determined to turn over a new leaf and be the faithful, dutiful husband this time around, Pete seems equally determined to pick up his old mantle.

Of course, what this episode drives home over and over again is that try as he might, Pete can never been Don, at least not the superficial sense: obviously he's no match  in the looks department (beauty's in the eye of the beholder, but I'm just sayin'), he's not particularly athletic, nor does he posses a strong physical build. And while Don, at least at the office, asserts control through a cool, detached presence, by being in command of himself and his employees, and letting his work speak for itself, Pete prefers in-your-face arrogance and a smug air of superiority, resorting to biting insults, backstabbing and clumsy grabs for power to achieve his goals.

Nowhere is this most clearly seen than in his deteriorating friendship with Lane Pryce. Over the moon after managing to snag a new Jaguar account during a outing with his wife's new friends the Bakers, Pete is dead set on shitting all over Lane's and SCDP's good fortune by listing all of the reasons why it's no big deal and will be nothing but trouble for the company. Lane lays a verbal smackdown (and of course a physical one too--but don't worry, we'll get to that in a minute) when he reminds Pete of the lack of new business that he's brought in. Pete's blustering lie of "I'm busy" when Don, Roger and Bert suggest someone help Lane with the dinner he's set up with the new client shows how deep into a funk he's sunk: his desire to see Lane fail is stronger than his common/business sense. Even Don's reminder that "It's a car" falls on deaf ears.

No doubt Pete would've savored the sweet satisfaction of watching Lane crash and burn during the dinner with his fellow Englishman. It's clear he's not a natural born account man. All evening he tries to follow Roger's (good? bad? outdated?) advice that he find some personal, conspiratorial common ground with the new client, perhaps revealing bit too much about himself for Mr. Baker's taste. Sadly, Lane fails to realize that Mr. Baker's idea of male bonding involves unhooked bras and used wads of Juicy Fruit stuck to nether region follicles.

I really felt for Lane in this episode: he genuinely thought he'd both made a new friend and had landed his own account, but had both illusions jerked out from under him unceremoniously by Pete, who exercised none of Mr. Baker's tact when revealing the latter thought Lane was a homo and that he sucked as an account man. Mr. Baker's assumption, along with the madam at the whore house, that Lane and Don must be gay because the former is too emotionally candid and the latter is not a raging nymphomaniac also speaks volumes about what constituted masculinity then, and to a certain extent now. However, the final straw came when Pete remarked that Lane had outlasted his usefulness the day he fired them from Sterling Cooper back in season three. Then....IT...WAS...ON! Ties and glasses came off, and dukes were put up! Calling him a "grimy little pimp, (an echo of Pete's father?)"  SCDP's conference room morphed into Madison Square Garden as Pete and Lane battled for supremacy. The cherry on the sundae was Bert Cooper's immortal line "This is medieval." Maybe he meant to say Lane went medieval on Pete's ass, because that's exactly what happened.

After Pete crumpled to the floor Lane left to lick his wounds, physical and otherwise, alone in his office. Perhaps in attempt to pay him back for comforting her at a low point, Joan enters to offer ice and sympathy, reassuring him that's okay if he's not like his business partners. Some may say Lane planting a sloppy kiss on Joan was proof that he was, in fact, like everyone else at SCDP, though I think the storyline about the lost wallet in the season premiere gave more weight to that idea. I feel he was just reaching out at that moment for some sort of affection. Joan being the master of discretion and decorum that she is, simply gets up, opens the door and sits back down as if nothing happened. Lane's sense of masculine pride, which was no doubt soaring a few minutes ago, is clearly crushed when he adds her silent rejection to the list of the day's humiliations. However, Joan salvages it by joking that many a SCDP employee have wanted to use Pete's face as a punching bag. And ta da! All is well again! I guess Joan isn't as tired of making a man feel manly as she thought. Could this be a sign of a burgeoning romance between our lonely English boy and the newly single Mrs. Harris? Ehhh.....I wouldn't bet on it. But you never know.

Now back to Pete, who's unhappiness is as transparent as saran wrap during a dinner party with Don, Ken, Megan and what's her name....Alex Mack?...no Cynthia, that's it! In Pete's mind, life in the suburbs equals death. But what's interesting is the idea of being in the suburbs seems to make both Don and Ken's skin crawl as well, if only for a different reason. Unlike Trudy, and to a certain extent Megan, for them the country is not some exotic, tranquil final destination where kids toss their bikes on manicured lawns. It's a harsh, stagnating world where days are spent stepping in horse shit and nights are spent walking to outhouses in freezing temperatures. The real country's a place to escape from.

While in the past Pete has resented and even attempted to blackmail Don, he still seems to hold a torch for him; he practically showers him with affection when he walks through the door and even says "we've been waiting for you." Don is the guest the entire party is centered around. He even gets the biggest piece of steak. While Pete puts on a happy face, it has to bother him on some level that his wife is going through so much trouble and is so excited to bring another man into their home. Pete brings up the first dinner invitation he extended to Don back in season one, saying it felt like a lifetime ago now. "It was for me," Don says bluntly. There's a few things you can take from that statement: that Don's happier with Megan than he ever was with Betty; that while Pete maybe consciously or unconsciously imitating Don's Lothario past, Don has--or is at least, trying to--moved on. Pete's manhood takes another hit when Trudy reprimands him for still holding to the gun he bought after taking back a wedding gift in season one. The point is clear: City Pete got to do whatever he wanted. Suburban Pete does what he's told.

The next day at the office Pete maneuvers Lane to the background on the Jaguar account, explaining he, Don and Roger will meet with Mr. Baker, ask all the hard questions and get their hands dirty. He continues to abuse Roger, talking to him condescendingly in front of Lane, then dissing him again after he expresses surprise over actually being invited to the dinner. But not before coldly spitting out that "Lane couldn't close a car door," easily one of the episode's best lines. He finally throws Roger a bone during the meal when Mr. Baker alludes to getting some female entertainment for the evening. It was almost heart-breaking to see Roger's eyes light up at the thought he might actually be useful for a moment; it was like watching an old show dog being trotted out for the last time. The boys wind up at a whore house, where Don's the main attraction even though he's playing designated husband and not touching any of the merchandise. Pete, happy to indulge under the guise of "doing his job," lashes out at Don on the ride home.

In a flashback to the "Flight 1" episode of season two, Don doles out some advice, telling him to forget his indiscretion and go home. The "moving forward" mentality is by now a familiar Don Draper mantra, but this time it came off not so much as a searing survival tactic than as a recommendation from a doctor to take two aspirin and call him in the morning. When Pete keeps needling him about his past philandering, Don responds more gruffly, all but smacking Pete on the back of the head to wake him up to the fact he's screwing up his marriage and family.

But Pete, too lost in his own misery, doesn't look like he'll listen. Although he's not the most sympathetic character, it was hard not to feel a least a little sorry for him, watching his face sink and seeing him reluctantly clap as all the women swoon at watching Don fix the leaky sink job that he botched. The same thing happens again when the driver's ed girl turns her affections from him to a young, muscular jock. And most viscerally when he gets his ass kicked by Lane. All around him are strong, conventional if not altogether real (especially in the case of Don/Dick) images of masculinity, and set next to each he comes up short. It's why he tells the prostitute "no" each time she pulls out a persona--the stay-at-home wife, the young, innocent virgin--that prefer the Dons of the world over him. Pete comes off as the misfit in high school who despised the jocks and the suave lady killers but secretly wished to be like them. And whatever personality he may have had outside of that desire has been subdued by his new suburban life.

Ken Cosgrove had an interesting story arc as well, which also extended to Megan. A moderately successful writer whose short stories may be getting made into a book, he's upset when Peggy spots him talking to a man she assumes to be a client, when he's in fact a publisher. After reassuring Peggy at the office that their pact is secure (hmmm....a pact?), Ken bemoans that this little sliver of his private life has been contaminated by the world of SCDP. It's ironic that out of all the characters in the show, one of the least conflicted or introspective would be so intent on building a separate, inner life away from the office. Unfortunately for Ken, Cynthia brings up his secret profession at the dinner party, a secret that Pete is all too happy to pounce on and blab about to Roger. The idea that artistic pursuits--writing for Ken, acting for Megan, even modeling for Betty--have to be abandoned in order to make way for "real" jobs and raising a family is one that's still relevant today, particularly in this current economy. Maybe the writers will explore this, and this side of Ken, more down the road, as next week seems to be a Peggy (and hopefully Dawn! Fingers crossed!) episode.

In the end though, the show belonged to Pete, the man with the miniature orchestra. In the elevator with Don post-fight, he again lashes out at him again for his new fangled morals and leaving him to get punched out by Lane. Don responds with shrug-like "What did you want me to do? Punch him?" Maybe Don wasn't too keen on assisting Pete after the crack he made about Megan at the party. In my view, Pete must still believe Peggy slept with Don at some point to get her promotion and believes Megan's doing the same. But I digress.

In an uncharacteristic move, Pete breaks down, tearfully confessing to Don that he is alone and has no one. Surely Don can relate? Of course he can. But the King of Angst, perhaps uncomfortable seeing what is in some ways younger version of himself--an ambitious kid now trapped in a lifestyle he thought he wanted--standing a few feet away, he says nothing. It's obvious he's done giving advice, and sympathy's never really been his bag. Nor is such a public display of vulnerability as crying, which checks another point off of Pete's level of old-school manliness.

Pete's not the new Don. He's not even sure who Pete Campbell is anymore. If he ever really knew who that guy was in the first place.

So what did you think of the episode? Discuss.









Sunday, April 15, 2012

WATCH: MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry Talks About Being Trans in America


Melissa hosts a good discussion about being transgender in America. However, I have to agree with trans activist Monica Roberts that a little more color could have made the panel more well rounded. Watch below.



Thursday, April 12, 2012

Understanding Obama....

Professor Charles Ogletree

Harvard Law School professor Charles Ogletree is planning to teach a course next year entitled "Understanding Obama."

Ogletree, who served as a mentor to President Obama during his years at the school and taught his wife Michele and strong supporter of the former's political career, says the course will "focus on the way in which race, religion, and politics have impacted the development of President Obama as a leader."

Hmm. Would you sign up for a semester course?

Marcus Bachmann's "Pray The Gay Away" Clinic Exposed...Again

Picture taken by Lapinski in Bachmann's clinic


Tsk tsk... I guess that gal Marcus thought she would be free and clear to practice reparative therapy in private since Mrs. Bachmann's presidential run didn't pan out. But not if docu-filmmaker Kristina Lapinski, who infiltrated the operation by attending a counseling session at Bachmann's clinic, has anything to say about it. According to The Advocate:

"Lapinski took a hidden pen camera with her into a counseling session at Bachmann & Associates on Thursday and wrote about the encounter on a blog affiliated with her film, Gay U.S.A. the Movie. Lapinski recounts a session with counselor Sheila Marker, who asked Lapinski to read from the Bible, then told her to follow God’s road and that, “the Bible says one man one woman." 

'She talked a lot about submitting to God, giving my life path over to him and letting him direct the way," Lapinski wrote. "She told me if I wanted to be happy I could 'give my problems to the Lord and he could take them away.'" They ended the hour-long session with a prayer, and Marker "asked the Lord to take away my 'desire' and allow me to pursue a relationship with my fiancĂ©." 


Lapinski had told the counselor she feelings for women but was debating whether to marry a man anyway. When she admitted to the counselor that she'd never had sex with the fictional man she was to wed and that she wasn't attracted to him, the counselor said, "How can you know how it will be until you try?'"

Read the full account over at Lapinski's blog.

History of Black Legislators Honored In Atlanta Exhibit


This is interesting. A new exhibit in Atlanta is shedding light on the history of black legislators in Georgia, and  honoring those both past and present who have served in the state's General Assembly.

Entitled "Remembering Our Legends And Honoring Our Torchbearers," the exhibit features a large archive of rare 19th century artifacts, civil rights-era documents and interviews current lawmakers. The display showcases the first black men who were elected to the legislature in 1868, but were barred from serving because of their race.

The exhibit also pays tribute to Senator Leroy Johnson, who was the first African American to serve in the legislature since the Reconstruction, as well as Grace Towns Hamilton, the first black woman elected to the Georgia Assembly.

"While working to collect material for the archives of our chapter we discovered the absence of information about Black Georgia Legislators and wanted to do something about this oversight," Dr. Lucretia R. Payton-Stewart told The Grio.


 "We don't hear stories about African Americans, especially from the 1800s, who have contributed to the political landscape here in Georgia," Dr. Payton-Stewart said." 


Payton-Stewart added the story of 33 African-American legislators who were expelled from the Georgia legislator in 1868 and later reinstated in 1870 by an Act of Congress, "has paved the way for today's African American legislators."

For those in the ATL, the ribbon cutting for the exhibit takes place Sunday, April 15 at 3:30pm. The exhibit will run through May 13.

WATCH: George Zimmerman Makes First Court Appearance

George Zimmerman finally appears before a judge. Watch below.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

WATCH: Rick Santorum Suspends Presidential Campaign

Janet's New Body...


What do you think about Janet's new physique? I think she looks fab, even if she has to participate in those Nutrisystem ads (girl, lock Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis in a studio and put out some new music--STAT). But she is a little on the thin side. As long as she's healthy it's fine with me, but I do like Ms. Jackson when she's got curves to spare:



So how do you feel about it?

Food For Thought: Ashley Judd



"Patriarchy is not men. Patriarchy is a system in which both women and men participate. It privileges, inter alia, the interests of boys and men over the bodily integrity, autonomy, and dignity of girls and women. It is subtle, insidious, and never more dangerous than when women passionately deny that they themselves are engaging in it."


Source

Monday, April 9, 2012

'Mad Men' Season 5, Ep. 4 Recap


What did you think of last night's episode of Mad Men? My take (WARNING: spoilers ahead) is below:

Pros:


1) Cheers to you Joan! You finally cut that sorry excuse for a husband of yours loose. Nevermind a toast for the douchebags, just kick this douche out! Matter of fact, just have Roger send over an assistant to remove  all of his worldly possessions from the apartment and then burn them in the middle of the damn street: Greg isn't even worth a drop of sweat falling from your meticulously arched eyebrows (and anyone who's been watching for more than minute knows why). Besides you'll probably be leaning on Mr. Sterling for more than emotional support soon enough. In your own way, you discovered the feminist power that "career gals" like Peggy and Faye have been brandishing and/or attempting to wield for years. Not that you weren't powerful already, but you know, standing up to your abusive husband's a big deal.

2) Dawn, a.k.a., the sole black secretary in SCDP, finally got to say more than two words in an episode! I'm so glad the writers decided to give her a story line and didn't just use her as politically correct window dressing. Though I didn't expect her arc to start with Peggy finding her laid up in the other Don's office, it's all good. I also liked that the writers didn't shy away from exposing Peggy's covert prejudice/stereotyping when her eyes lingered on her cash-packed purse just a second two long after she decides to turn in for the night. Although Dawn got in a bit shade by leaving a note for Peggy that read in part, "Thanks for your hospitality." Can we say "snap?" Hopefully Dawn's role will continue to get larger as the season goes on.

3) Although I'm not sure if I would call this a pro, Don's entire dream sequence was expertly shot and frighteningly real. I practically clutched my comforter and broke my strand of pearls when I saw him go all Boston strangler on an old flame! I mean, copping a harsh feel in Bobbi Barrett's nether regions was one thing, but choking the life out of a former mistress and stuffing her corpse under the bed? Obviously this is Don's subconscious reacting to a run-in with his philandering past, and reveals just how much he's struggling with old demons. However, it didn't make the scene any less chilling. Half of me was relieved when the sight of  Megan's face revealed it was all a nightmare and the other half was a bit disappointed at the plot twist that would been Don Draper: Man On The Run! I don't think I want to analyze what that says about me, so I'll just reiterate my first point: a great scene.

4) Sally's scenes with her step-grandma (is that a real term? Hell let's go with it) contained some of the darkest humor in the episode. Like when dear grandma recounts being punted across the room by her father for no reason. Random child abuse! It's the gift that keeps on giving! If anything her clashes with Henry Francis's strict, old-school mother further illuminated what I've suspected since season three: give Sally a few years and she will be buck wild, m'kay? Bra-burning, pot-smoking, sneaking off into the Volkswagen with the boys, the works. But for now she's discovered the joys of mood relaxing pills, supplied by grandma after Sally read about the eight student nurses murdered in Chicago and couldn't go back to sleep. A peace offering perhaps?

Cons:

1)I guess I this doesn't really count as a con, but am I the only one who feels sorry for Roger this season? Pete's cutting him down to size every chance he gets at work, he's unhappy with Jane at home, Joan's long gone (although that might soon change:); it's enough to make even the most lovable racist and misogynist's perpetual, vacuous smile turn upside down. Of course, he brought all of his current dilemmas on himself, but the Roger of season one or two would never had been reduced to groveling (and forget what you heard, groveling with a wad of dollar bills is still groveling) at the feet of Peggy--who he probably couldn't pick out of a line up back in 1960--to do his bidding. Maybe now with Joan back on the market and most likely soon to be back at work, Roger can get his groove back.

2) Michael Ginsberg--true, it's only been a few episodes, but I have no idea what to make of this guy. On one hand, his disgust at Peggy, Megan, Stan and Peggy's lesbian gal pal's (her name escape me at the moment) reaction to the Chicago murder scene photos showed he had a least some personal boundaries/convictions, but the way he showed his ass at the meeting with Don, Ken and the clients just left me all discombobulated. His whole speech did go over well with the clients, if not with Don, so that's a plus. But I'm not sure if his overactive, socially awkward routine is a new kind of approach to advertising he's testing out, like sort some of a quirky Draper 2.0. or if it's truly a part of his personality. Oh well...maybe he'll grow on me.

3)No Betty this week, save for a one to two minute appearance. I know many Mad Men fans love to hate Betty, and I'll admit her behavior's inspired many a "gurl no" and "bitch please!" to erupt from my lips, but I still want to see her gain some level of maturity and self-awareness. Her brush with death last week seemed to inspire a moment of clarity, but once her tumor was found to be benign it was back to self-absorbed, cold-as-ice Betty. Which can be fun to watch too. We've still got a ways to go before the season wraps up though, so I'm hoping Betty will have a "Suitcase" moment and at least attempt to take charge of her life.

4) Megan, I love you. You're fashion-forward, independent, make your own money and make no bones about spending it how ever you want it. And your rendition of "Zou Bisou" gave me all kinds of cringe-inducing, finger-snapping life. But girl, when it comes to Don and his prodigious boudoir rep, you got to let that shit go. True, that trollop in the elevator was pushing up on your man, but that's because...she didn't know that was your man (besides if you were inside Don's head you wouldn't have to worry about her at all). He introduced you immediately as his wife. He's told you about Faye, Rachael, the teacher, Bobbi and the rest. Hell he even told you he was Dick Witman from the jump, and that's more than Betty,  those other gals or even his own kids ever got. So relax. The man seems to be at least putting some effort into turning over a new leaf. Then again, monogamy isn't exactly Don's strong suit, so maybe you should be watchful--to paraphrase what you said, so much outside bed hopping implies not just unhappiness with a spouse of girlfriend, but a voracious appetite. So I can see your point of view. Maybe this isn't so much a con as a neutral.

So what did you think about last night's show? Discuss.

Huffington Post Article Details Sanford PD's History of 'Sloppy' Police Work


If you have time today, check out Trymaine Lee and John Rudolf's excellent article over at The Huffington Post. In the piece, Lee dissects not only the Sanford police force's mishandling of the Trayvon Martin case--from their failure to interview key witnesses like Martin's girlfriend and neglecting to pull his cell phone records to not running a criminal background check on George Zimmerman until after he was released from custody--but the department's history of sloppy investigation work.

Lee and Rudolf cite several other cases, including the 2010 murder of 17-year-old Ikeem Ruffin, who was gunned down in an apartment complex by a masked man during a robbery.

"Police found 18-year-old Tarance Terrell Moore standing by the victim and calling for an ambulance, but                  the teen was already dead. The gun used in the killing was never recovered. The next day, police charged Moore with robbery and murder in Ruffin's death. 


He was denied bail and locked in Seminole County Jail awaiting trial. More than a year later, Seminole County prosecutors dropped the murder charge, which carried a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole, in exchange for a guilty plea to a charge of robbery with a firearm. Moore was sentenced to nine years in prison."

The piece also discusses a December 2011 incident in which Justin Collison, a young white man and son of a Sanford police supervisor, attacked a homeless black man named Sherman Ware and yelled racial slurs while he lay on the ground unconscious. Despite having sworn statements from witnesses and a video tape of the attack, Collison was released and not charged until a month later, when the video was broadcast on local television.

Read it HERE.

Australian Gay Marriage Opponent's Sister Comes Out


We only hurt the ones we love. Although his sister has publicly come out as a lesbian, Australian Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has not changed his position on same sex marriage.  

"Christine Forster, 47, revealed over the weekend that she is in a relationship with another woman, Virginia Edwards. She told The Australian, “"I have decided to publicly confirm that I am gay and am in a committed, live-in relationship with Virginia.” 


The Australian Associated Press reports that marriage equality advocates were hopeful Forster’s story would change the stance of Abbott, who so far has refused to allow his Coalition MPs a conscience vote on the issue. 


Abbot, who has known his sister was a lesbian for four years, said he admired her and had struggled with the issue of same-sex marriage, but her public announcement would not change his political position. He insisted that maintaining the Coalition’s position was a matter of “political integrity.” "We went into the election with a position and as far as I'm concerned, that's the position we will keep," he said, the AAP reported."

Hmmm. I guess the Aussies have their own version of Dick Cheney or Newt Gingrich. Cognitive dissonance can be the strongest sun block ever when applied daily. Good for Forster for coming out though. Read the rest HERE.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Leaving The Fold Pt. 5 (The Final Chapter)




*For longtime readers who were following the "Leaving The Fold" posts about my deconversion, I know I left ya'll hanging back in October. Since then things have "unfolded" enough for me to complete the series (for lack of a better word), which concludes today. For any newcomers or those who need to refresh their memory,  read Parts 1, 2, 3 & 4 HEREHEREHERE and HERE. Thanks for reading.

For the next month and half, I tried absorbing all the books, blogs and videos I could find to both refresh the knowledge I'd accumulated about Christianity and the bible and take in anything I'd missed. But every time I thought  I was ready to have "the talk," every visit would be a bust as I crumbled and kept up the lie that I was still working for the church.

The thought that kept rattling around in my mind was how do I do this? At least with coming out as a gay man I had some sort of blueprint. In the case of being an atheist--a black atheist mind you--I didn't (and still don't) have any  flesh-and-blood people in my life that I could look to for advice or commiserate with. Meeting and greeting folks online was one thing, but actually being out and open about non-belief offline? That seemed like some fancy, avant garde thing black folks who lived in Atlanta, Austin, New York or D.C. did.

Even though I could clearly lay out the reasons for my deconversion, self-doubt kept rearing its ugly head with thoughts like "Who do you think you are? What makes you so special? You can't just leave church!" All of these things punctuated my psyche constantly, each striking with the veracity of the stings of an entire nest of parasitic wasps. The worst part though, was the nagging, festering "what if you're wrong" feeling. Usually I was successful  in beating it back with logic and remembering the new knowledge I'd gleaned.  Though every once in while, in quiet, still moments it return, clouding my mind and drowning me in irrational visions of eternal hellfire and other leaps of infernal fancy with the sudden intensity of a summer squall.

On top of those bigger fears, I wasn't sure what to do with myself once the initial satisfaction of leaving wore off. Yeah, I was still at my weekend job, but questions still lingered: What was I gonna do on Sundays I had off? What should I be doing on Sundays? Would I be a hypocrite if I threw on a gospel song every now and then or told someone "bless you" when they sneezed? Would I still want to play music (I still haven't touch my keyboard since leaving)? How do I tell my brother and current friends (I still haven't)? If they reacted badly, how would I make new friends? I know it some of this may sound silly, but those were, and sometimes still are, my thoughts at times.

But in the back of my mind I knew quitting my musician gig put me on a time clock for a confession. And like most things, it happened when I least expected it. But life usually drags us along whether or not we're ready doesn't it? My moment came during a normal visit to my parent's house, where we chatted about the usual stuff--work, the weather, the news, family. I went to the back with my brother to try out the new Street Fighter Vs. Tekken. After he left, I sat there plowing away at the controller when my mother poked her head in the doorway. Her brown eyes looked warm but serious, her small hands lay at her sides, and her mouth was set in a way that implied there would be trepidation behind whatever she was going to say next.


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