Archive for the ‘book’ Category

This morning was my weekly head shrinking. One of my greatest fears is becoming addicted to therapy. How do I know when I am all-better, cured. I’m happier. There is no doubt about that. More stable but how do I know when my mood disorder is over? Thoughts? I am in a better mood.

My therapist relayed a story from when he was in school and was told by a professor that they were not allowed to judge anyone for any reason. My thought becomes that if we as a society do not point out unacceptable behavior. I am a much bigger believer now in the “social contract”. I believe as a society we have let too many people off the hook for their actions whether it be obesity or living off the government dole on manufactured disabilities. Unless people are held accountable for their actions this kind of behavior will continue. My therapist calls this being judgmental. If so then I guess I always will be judgmental. I do now wonder whether this is healthy for me or not. I don’t see it changing. Thoughts?

Anyway, enough psychoanalyzing myself, I’ll save that for the professionals. I’m going to count down to Toronto. Two more days and Ed and I actually get to spend time together. He’s been working so much and so hard for so long it’s going to pleasant to be off the grid. Save for a few phone calls or Skype calls to my mother the following six days will be off the grid. I will however try to keep people posted through the blog and Facebook as Internet allows.

Well depression made a sudden but mercifully short comeback. Gone it is with renewed excitement I Face a blog.

I’ve had some down time recently as I had a little boo-boo at my first attempt playing softball. On the second swing at my first at-bat, bat met ball and ball went flying. I turned to run to first one long leg striding after another three steps and I heard that pop followed shortly by a thud and a bounce or two. I went down. I got up and tried to stride again to no avail. I fell.

I got up again and waddled to first and went down again. I wish I could say it was something glamorous or exotic. I tore a groin muscle and sprained my ass. I finished out the game in more comical manner hitting nice base hits, moving runners but unable to even walk to first. I also tore a muscle behind the knee. The road rash became infected and I am heavy dosing antibiotics. I just shake my head.

I will play when we get back from Toronto October 3-6. Ed is going to a conference I get to tag along.

Thanks to all those who helped get my picture votes. I ranked 4th and I now have a photo on display at the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg Florida. Not bad for a new photographer.

On a much sadder side mom just found out at 74 that her Breast cancer has returned.  Spent a lot of time with her recently and will be back and forth to DC. She is coming to terms with loosing her breasts and will be fine.

Got a couple fun stories ahead but wanted to get this one posted as an announcement that I’m back!

For readers from the beginning, you realize that I have a love of photography. Having had the opportunity to watch Robert Mapplethorpe shoot and take pictures, to early jobs with local newspapers in the Washington DC area, I love photography. Now that I am backing out of my law practice for good, I want to explore photography more. Winning this contest would be a great kick start. Please help!

The Salvador Dali museum in St. Petersburg Florida is doing a photo contest I have entered. Please go to the site to vote for my picture. (You get 1 vote per day). The winners picture will be featured in an exhibit at the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida.Please vote for it once a day. The link to the photo is embedded in the picture. I can be a pain in the ass to register to vote but worth it for me please.

Please Click on Picture to be taken to the voting and registration.

BDSM is not abuse. It does not take a power hungry “monster” to make things happen. Who ever posted this… genius!

I’m back. It’s been awhile and the depression got worse and darker but I think I have turned the corner and understand the roots. The shrink gave me some meds that made matters worse. I remember joking about the warning on antidepressants, warnings that they “increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior”. Wow, they were not kidding. There are a few of us that can have these reactions and it is unbelievable to me how dark it can get.

The good news is that I think I have discovered a root of the problem and can go about fixing it. One part of the problem is that I never wanted to be an attorney. As I mentioned earlier, I went to law school so my obituary would not read waiter. I never thought I would live to see graduation. Now some 25 years later I am in a situation where I can do what I want and I am going to start doing that. Piano, Photography and continue with the athletics and training. Most important is writing. While I reorganize my life a bit I will update regularly. My this weekend the blog will pass 50,000 views. Thanks for your support.

Though I’ve never been through hell like that
I’ve closed enough windows
to know you can never look back

This past week Ed and I celebrated our anniversary. 19 years ago we met in Washington DC at the March on Washington. One year ago on the same date, we got married and the US Courthouse in Washington DC. A more in-depth revelation of the day we met can be found here.

There is a certain synergy to this weekend in New York. The connection is Ghost.

I am writing this today while flying to New York to see a few shows for our anniversary. This brings full circle the “incident” on our wedding eve that almost derailed the wedding.
Last year as we prepared to actually get married, Ed and I decided that we would write vows. Not to be used in place of the ceremony used by the Clerk of the Court, but to exchange between ourselves. We both spent time, energy and heart writing them. I thought, since we both have a love of good movies, that mine would have a theme. I tried to incorporate as many movie lines into mine as I could remember.

The night before we got married we sat in our hotel room in Washington DC, Ed in my lap, and I gave him my “vows”. He read them, a little misty eyed, looked at me, and said ditto. I started to fume.
Is that is? Ditto? I poured hours into this and all you can say f@*kn say is ditto?!?!
I was pissed, or hurt, or just flummoxed. Any sense of romance was gone. My mind was racing trying to convince myself not to totally blow up and cancel the wedding. It took 18 years to get me to the alter and all he could say was f@*k ditto! I could not believe that Ed could act so callous. It was so out of character for him. Maybe it was just nerves hitting. I could not understand. I was nearly ready to head out the door for a long walk before he realize that I was truly upset and not projecting faux pain and indignation. Then he ask – “have you never seen the movie Ghost?” “No, I hadn’t! And I hadn’t seen Porky’s 3 either.” (see above comment about love of “GOOD” movies).
Since that night, I have come to find out that I am one of the few dozen people in the industrialized world who had not seen Ghost. Every person that weekend and after I went to for reassurance that I had been wronged squealed that that was the perfect response. Even our straight, 6’4″ 290 pounds of muscle, trainer congratulated Ed on a great response. I had been wronged damn-it and I kept looking for someone, anyone, who would back me up on that. Finally, four months later I found someone who had not seen ghost. They were from Europe but none the less she had not seen ghost. However once Ed explained the reason for his response, she “awww, that’s so sweet.
Today, after a year of trying to find someone who would let me play aggrieved victim or romance, I give up. I concede that that was a great response and I was really upset that I didn’t think of it first. Let me be clear. What Ed had written was beautiful and made me misty (actually I tear up at McDonald’s Olympic ads).
All that is a prelude to this weekend. For our anniversary, Ed is taking me to Broadway to see “Ghost the Musical.” I’ll let you know later how many Kleenex I go through.
As for the rest of the wedding eve, I calmed down and we headed out to the DC Eagle for our bachelors’ party. And no, you can’t see those pictures!

The other show we are seeing Saturday is Spiderman! Cannot wait!

Again I apologize for not being more consistent in writing. After fifty years of trying to do every thing myself I have realized that this time I am over my head. I have been depressed before but not like this. I have put on 18 pounds of comfort food since January and spend a great deal of time sitting in a chair in my living room staring at the beach.

I did have a string of good days, four in a row this past week but hit a pothole yesterday. I did get a chance to go to Orlando for a day and spend a great day at Disney Animal Kingdom on a “photo safari.” I have finally let a few friends know the depth of the hole and how close I came to crossing the Rubicon. Now on medication to sleep better and on Testosterone shots. There are many different factors at work in this bout that are causing the perfect storm. My lab work came back much better and that helped. I have come to realize that there is a huge generational gap with respect to AIDS. When I was first infected int he first wave of infections in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s there was not a name for what was killing us. Boyfriends, partners, friends and tricks were healthy one day and dead a week later. There was never a question of “if” it was going to kill us. Only a matter of “when”. for the better part of ten to fifteen years there was no real hope. AZT appeared to be as toxic as the virus.

People today say oh – it’s no big deal anymore. Just take a pill every day and you can live normal. That is like telling a survivor of Iraq or Afghanistan that the pop was just a car backfiring or the transformer explosion is nothing or the knocked over trash can was just a cat there is nothing to worry about. Years of mental programing take years of programing to undo. Even now, the meds only prolong – they do not cure. It is very hard to start living again when I’ve spent so long getting ready to die. And to that the drive to succeed that becomes hindered and blocked by the medical condition life is frustrating at best. Then there are the chemical changes the body encounters as it grows older.

Each of these is now being felt with. I will say I spent several months actively damaging relationships and professional licensing in an attempt to make sure there was nothing keeping me tied down here. I have begun the journey of repairing them but it will be awhile. As the quote goes. Life does not come with a remote. Ya gotta get up and change it yourself!

There has been a break in blogging over the past few weeks due to the difficulty in seeing clearly in the darkness of a real depression. It has been a number of years since I have been in this deep a depression. For the first time in almost twenty years I am actually seeing a professional.

I had forgotten the difference in being depressed and hitting depression. Sad is ok because it makes you appreciate the happy moments. This depression had no hope of happy on the horizon. A few factors built the hole and a few factors came together to break out of the hole.

One of the key factors building the hole was the fact that my lab work came back with a positive viral load for the first time in almost ten years. There is a huge disconnect between the attitudes of younger people who are getting infected for fun or whatever reasons. They believe, maybe incorrectly, that there will be medications available to them that will always keep the disease in check. Then there are the people I came of age with, the few remaining from my generation.

We became the walking dead

I came out in Washington DC in the pre-AIDS days. This season of fun and excitement soon turned to the dawn of the dead. My friends and lovers soon became walking corpses almost overnight. Healthy, playing racquetball on Monday, a cold on Wednesday and a cough by Friday. Saturday a trip to the ER when they began coughing blood and dead the following week. Drowned by their own lungs. This was my life. This was their death. For ten years I waited for my turn. Expecting that at any day the virus would explode in my system and take me like it did so many other of my generation. It is hard to unlearn a decade of learning that was pounded into my psyche.

A few of the lucky ones actually had family or friends with them at the end.

Every trip to the local stores, every time I took a buddy to the doctor or came to clean their house was a reminder of what I had to look forward to when it was my turn. In times like this when the virus makes it presence known I realize that I am still waiting for that explosion. I realize how many are dead and wonder why I’m not. I was a bigger whore than Barry, Ron, Mike but not Andrew. They are gone and I’m in a hole of my own making as dark as any grave.

Logically I understand that things are different now. I could live another twenty plus years without any problems. Those thoughts can’t change or explain the past.

So what is helping me climb back out of the hole? Bottom line, like a ghost that can’t cross over, I have unfinished business.  I have several books that I’m currently reading. The common thread in them is that we use energy available to us to create our own reality. We can be energy vampires and drain people around us or use the energy available to us to create a new reality. That is what I’ve started to do. One of my perceived obstacles is that I feel as though there is no one to support me. That after years of being people’s confidant, strength and counselor, there was no one with time for me. I began to realize a couple of things. First was that I had not really let anyone get that close to me again that could see me when I not in control. Second, that I probably need to do it on my own.

The facade we show is usually enough to hide behind.

I have long felt that to many people like to be victims and want other people to either carry the blame for their failings or in the alterative seek out the attention reserved for true victims. I have started to reshape my energy so as not to be a victim of my past. There is still a world of difference I can make in the lives of other. I hope for the better. More important, there are things left in that not only bring contentment but long-term happiness. I also need to stop relying on comfort food. I added ten pounds on in the form of a severe “zinger” addiction.

I look forward to more blogging in the coming days and weeks and I hope this time I can get completely out of the hole. I am going to spend a lot of time in the next few days setting long and short-term goals for myself in a lot of different areas.

July 2012, Washington DC is hosting the International Conference on AIDS. The Names Project Foundation, which takes care of all the Quilt Panels is trying to ‘blanket DC’ with all the Quilt Panels. The Quilt has been to DC in 1987, 88, 89, 92 and 1996. Some of the Quilt were included in President Clinton’s Inauguration Parade. The Quilt was also nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. It is the single largest community project in the World to this day.

The Quilt continues to grow as HIV/AIDS takes more lives. The Quilt now has over 47,000+ panels, weighs over 54 tons and has over 92,000+ names listed. Some famous names include: Arthur Ashe, Eazy E (rapper), Perry Ellis, Rock Hudson, Richard Hunt (muppeteer), Liberace, Freddie Mercury, Tim Richmond (Nascar), Robert Reed (Brady Bunch), Anthony Perkins (Psycho), Max Robinson (ABC News anchor), Jerry Smith (Redskin Football player), Ricky Wilson (B-52 band), Ryan White, Rudolf Nureyev, just to name a few…

According to POZ magazine, the  AIDS Memorial Quilt will be displayed in its entirety for the first time since 1996 in multiple key locations on and around Capitol Hill and throughout metropolitan Washington, DC. from July 21-24.

Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt is a 1989 documentary film that tells the story of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt. Narrated by Dustin Hoffman with a musical score written and performed by Bobby McFerrin, the film focuses on several people who are represented by panels in the Quilt, combining personal reminiscences with archive footage of the subjects, along with footage of various politicians, health professionals and other people with AIDS.  One of those focused in the film was an ex of mine Tracy Torrey. Part of me want to go to DC to see the quilt, but after all this time and all those deaths and all those funerals, not sure I could handle it.  One of those focused in the film was an ex of mine Tracy Torrey. Part of me want to go to DC to see the quilt, but after all this time and all those deaths and all those funerals, not sure I could handle it.

During the recent weeks much ink has been shed involving the alleged “War on Christianity.” This is usually a topic reserved for the Xmas season but due to the recent pronouncements by the Obama Administration concerning the equal treatment of women with respect to health care, and the Republican efforts to politicize men’s control over the vagina, it has gathered considerable attention. One of the biggest problems in society at large, in my opinion, is the rejection of fact-based arguments based on provable facts. As a society we have ceded thoughts to a few “experts” who do not use facts but rely on hyperbole to reinforce held positions. Even the vaulted “PolitiFact” has some epic fails of recent in their attempt not to be seen as too political. I hope to examine the roots of religion in America and then how it is affecting the debate on education and GLBT issues.

Christians have become apt at playing the “victim card” after almost two thousand years of practice.

“Does anyone know…does the Christian persecution complex have an expiration date? Because…uh…you’ve all been in charge pretty much since…uh…what was that guys name…Constantine. He converted in, what was it, 312 A.D. I’m just saying, enjoy your success.”

“I have to say, as someone who is not Christian, it’s hard for me to believe Christians are a persecuted people in America. God-willing, maybe one of you one day will even rise up and get to be president of this country – or maybe forty-four in a row. But, that’s my point, is they’ve taken this idea of no establishment as persecution, because they feel entitled, not to equal status, but to greater status.”

–      Jon Stewart

This began in America as far back as the Mayflower. American history, as written by those who came to America, is a story of “true Christians” fleeing Great Britain to practice their faith. The reality is a little different. One man’s Freedom Fighter is another man’s terrorist.  The people who fled from England were in fact tied in closely with those supporting Guy Fawkes.

According to an article in the Smithsonian Magazine, the “Puritans” were led by a group of radical pastors who, challenging the authority of the Church of England, established a network of secret religious congregations. William Brewster, one of the leaders of this movement who came to America, became the senior elder of the colony, serving as its religious leader and as an adviser to Governor William Bradford. As the only university educated member of the colony, Brewster took the part of the colony’s religious leader until a pastor, Ralph Smith, arrived in 1629. Thereafter, he continued to preach irregularly until his death in April 1644.

Guy Fawkes

Before coming to America William Brewster was embroiled in the controversy, when Queen Elizabeth decided to have her cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots, executed in 1587. Mary, a Catholic whose first husband had been the King of France, was implicated in conspiracies against Elizabeth’s continued Protestant rule. It was this event, combined with the rise of James, Mary’s protestant son to the throne, which inspired Guy Fawkes. Brewster himself survived the crisis, but he was driven from court in London, his dreams of worldly success dashed. His disillusionment with the politics of court and church led him in a radical direction.

Brewster and his followers objected to the King being the head of the Church of England. Having lost his ability to rise to power in England, Brewster and his sect made a deal and went to the States. Away from the Church and Crown they wanted to live a life as they interpreted it from the bible. They did not need educated people telling them what to think.  They did not come to America to start a land of religious tolerance. They came so they could develop their form of religious purity.

Giordano Bruno

When Catholics came a few years later they were tortured and killed by these Puritans. To put things in perspective, in this time period the Roman Catholic Church burned astronomer Giordano Bruno at the stake for heresy in 1600. His crime? Advocating an endless universe, and that the sun did not go around the earth. Churches and religion did not allow anyone to challenge their dogma. The Churches used government to enforce their dogma and the crown got their “divine right” to rule from the church.

By 1654, however, the Puritans so dominated the colony that Catholics found themselves actually outlawed, the persecution becoming so intense that they fled to Pennsylvania.  Although Catholics eventually moved to Maryland in small numbers, they still, even until 1776, were not allowed to hold public office, establish schools, or conduct religious services. My girlfriend’s home in southern Maryland still had an alcove in one room designed for secret masses during the catholic persecutions well into the 1700’s. The government confiscated land that had been owned by the Jesuits. It was against this backdrop of violence and persecution by the religious on the citizens of the colonies, that Thomas Jefferson wrote the Bill of Rights. It was not to protect religious beliefs of a particular church, but to protect people from the religious belief of others. As Jefferson said; “If anything pass in a religious meeting seditiously and contrary to the public peace, let it be punished in the same manner and no otherwise as it had happened in a fair or market”

It was not a matter of Churches being protected from government intrusion but of attempting to control church influence and dictum in the actions of government. For millenniums, from the days of the Romans and Greeks, states and countries had a favored religion that would support a favored ruler who would in turn use that government to protect the favored religion. Every so often a leader in either the church or government would challenge that equilibrium and war would ensue. That is the religious heritage of the United States.  It has nothing to do with the noble thoughts of religious freedoms and every thing to do with accumulation of power in the few. In order to understand the current “culture wars” one has to know this history. Not the sanitized history taught in the Bible tracts given by the churches. One needs only to point to the use of the judicial system to enforce dogma by the church a recently as the Salem Witch trials or the enforcement of the slavery laws in the south. As Kenneth Stamp wrote in The Peculiar Institution, Christianity actually became a way to add value to slaves in America:” …when southern clergy became ardent defenders of slavery, the master class could look upon organized religion as an ally …the gospel, instead of becoming a mean of creating trouble and strive, was really the best instrument to preserve peace and good conduct among the negroes.” As to the witch-hunts, according to scholars, the number of executions for witchcraft exceeded 50,000 people. This is the “American Religious Heritage” that Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Pat Robertson and others are fighting for. It is the America Barry Goldwater warned us of. He said that these Christians believe they are acting in the name of god, so they can’t and won’t compromise.  You must have compromise to have a functioning government. Otherwise you have a theocratic rule of law.

As a society we must fight this at every step and not yield a inch to the fanatics who would (and have) white washed their past. These protestant reformers who try to hide the killings of Catholics and non-believers: the Catholics who try to ignore two millennium of wars, executions and burnings (and a few sex scandals) and any others who attempt to control our government and thoughts. We need to challenge not just their arguments and demands but the very foundation they are built on. It is then that the house of cards will collapse under its own weight of hypocrisy.

“There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this Supreme Being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God’s name on one’s behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. I’m frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in ‘A,’ ‘B,’ ‘C,’ and ‘D.’ Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of ‘conservatism.’ “
(1909-1998) US Senator (R-Arizona) Source: Congressional Record, September 16, 1981