The thoughts, reflections, rants, raves, on my life; The life of a Christian, black, gay, male.

June of 2009 has so far been a month of great loss in the entertainment industry and to the world really. The sheer amount of talent that has passed from this world this month will take generations to replace if ever.

clip_image002 The first passing I heard about was of Bea Arthur, even thought this was not in June it was the start for me. This woman oozed more talent from single pore than what most actors and actress of today can even dream of possessing. I believe it might have been the show “Maude” where I first saw her. Incidentally “Maude” spun off the magnificent “Good Times.” (just like all if the family spun off The Jeffersons) Florida (Flo) was Maude’s maid and James had got a “good job” and the also got into the projects. Florida did not have to work anymore. I don’t think James’ name was even James yet; it might have been Frank or something. I think maybe it might have even “Golden Girls” where I first saw her. I know shortly afterwards I came across the old remake of the even older musical “Mame” with Lucile Ball. I remember seeing Bea in that black dress, and that black hat singing and dancing astonished me as I think she did every other gay male born between the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s.

Just taking a look at her acting credentials alone puts even the bets to shame. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beatrice_Arthur)

Bea Arthur (May 13, 1922 – April 25, 2009) was and actor’s actor and she will be missed.




koko_taylor_lg Cora Walton aka Koko Taylor. She was and probably will remain the undisputed Queen of the Blues earning her crown in a kingdom dominated by men. If you know the blues then I don’t have to go into who this woman was and how much talent this woman graced the world with. Her most recognizable song

“We gone wang dang doodle all night long.”

is merely the tip of a career spanning over 57 years. She produced 17 albums and lived to the age of 81 most of which was spent in the industry.

Koko Taylor (September 28, 1928June 3, 2009) you will be missed.








david-carradine-dead2 David Carradine. If you were alive in the 70’s or 80’s (or have seen the re-runs) then you know what this man is possibly most identifiable for. The role of the monk Kwai Chang Caine was plaid by him for three years and even a short lived spin off in the mid 90’s. A little known fact is that he owes Bruce Lee thanks for receiving the role of Kwai Chang Caine in Kung Fu. It was around the time that Bruce Lee was cast for the Green Hornet and was shooting another movie that the makers of Kung Fu decided on David. They believed that Bruce would not be able to keep to the scheduled and David / Kwai Chang Caine was born.

The most recent performance that comes to mind was that of Bill in “Kill Bill 1 and 2.” There is still some controversy surrounding his death ranging from a debauched sexual act to the Thai Mafia. Whatever the truth is we may not ever find out or one day just as unexpected as his passing we just might.

David Carradine (December 8, 1936 – June 3, 2009) you will be missed.




Farrah_Fawcett_iconic_pinup_1976 We like to think that Angels are immortal; forever beautiful; and beyond reproach just recently we found how mortal one of ours was. Farrah Fawcett was most notably ill Munroe from Charlie’s Angel’s. Like many other attractive actresses she spawned many of pre-adolescent clones in the 70’s. What they could not copy in fashion they did with her signature hair. I would be very negligent if I did not mention her beauty and even though it is somewhat missed on me Ive been told that it was of legend.

Farrah Fawcett (February 2, 1947 – June 25, 2009) you will be missed











ed_mcmahon_1989 What is there that can not be said about this man. He was one part of the most successful late night television show in the history of late night television “the late show with Johnny Carson”. He was the host of the 80’s spectacular (more like spectacle) “Star Search” where if you got all five stars and won the show you would be sure to be forgotten. If you haven to luck up and lose then your career was sure to take off. (Some of the most notable losers were Sin Bad and Rosie O’Donnell.) He was also the spoke person for the publishing clearing sweepstakes in his later years but most will remember him as one of the founding forces in television.

Ed McMahon (March 6, 1923 – June 23, 2009) you will be missed




Michael_Jackson_1984 This one I’m still in a bit of shock over. Michael Jackson “The undisputed KING OF POP” passed away on the 25th of this month and even writing that just does not seem right to me. I feel as if it was something greater than a lie that everyone knows just not to believe but its true Michael Jackson is dead.

I think that I’ll start with 80’s Michael because that’s when I was introduced to him. The first I ever say of him was the “I wanna rock with you” video with him all decked out in sequence. The “off the wall” album was a great success which was only topped by and even greater success, “the bad” with hits like the title track, “billie jean”, and “beat it”. I remember about a week or two after the video to “Beat It” came out all the kids on the playground had these red jackets with random zippers all over the place. I did not have one but of course I wanted one. I think they were like 100 and something bucks and back then (and swiftly catching up now) a 100 and something bucks was a lot of money to spend on a jacket for a child. On a side note Michael Jackson was one (and I might be mistaken but the only) black artist to be played on the new television network MTV.

No one ever thought that opening rift to “Beat It” would ever be topped and then it happened. Michael Jackson introduced the world to “Thriller.” The album defined what and album was by obtaining (and still remains to this day) the number one selling album of all time. The video basically set the standard for what a music video should be from then on out. I could go on and on about the creator of the moon walk. I could rave about The “Remember the time” video. I even tell you all how Wesley Snipes was the antagonist in the “Bad” video but it still does not all seem real to me.

I know that there will be a tremendous amount of haters saying that they are happy he is gone sighting the alleged child molesting accusations or his executrices. Combating them I will not do here because that would add another page and the man is dead. This man shone it this world and did so many things that no other had and probably never will. The man named Michael Jackson gave his life to the public and his fans since the age of 7. He spent 43 years in the industry and the majority of that was always at the top. Michael Jackson was a bright and blazing star amongst the stars.

Michael Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009 ) (wow its really real) you will be greatly missed.

child sneeze Itchy red watery eyes; congested and runny nose, does this sound like you? Then you know what I have been enduring for the past few weeks. Sinuses, Hay fever, whatever your name it all comes down to Allergies.


Allergies have ruined many of date and a few interviews for me. Most of the medications I’ve use to counteract the symptoms of the body’s various histamine reactions have in some cases caused worse side effects than the allergy itself. There is a medication (which shall remain nameless) that I once used to decongest my nose. It not only opened the floodgates releasing the mucus from my nose but also set free some blood as well.


The reason I am writing this now (June 23, 2009) is because I’m still suffering. One of the many reasons I love summer is because it is an end to allergy season. It is the joyful bliss of cool lemon (or kool) aid in the hot sun. Watching my caramel complexion turn a deeper, richer brown. The start of this “summer” (if it can be call that) I have been afflicted with my condition from a season ago. My head has been so filled with so much mucus that I feel the inside of my nose to the end of my ear throbbing and pounding with pressure. I sneeze thinking that it will bring relief only for it to increase the pressure without the macabre blessing of my head exploding.


Why then? For what reason am I and others like myself still in suffering? The meteorologists said something of the short start and stop rains along with the short start and stop heat spells that we had through out our technical spring confused the trees and plants. They said that the trees and plants started releasing their pollen then there were hot days coupled with cold overcastted fogy days so the plats and trees stopped, but they  started up again this month because of the heat and blah blah blah.


“Tis the season.” The trees are saying to one another, only it is a season too late.


The tree and grass pollen mixed with dust is my blight. It is no fun enjoying a nice cloud free day with a slight breeze only to have it halted when your eyes turn red, then began to water uncontrollable, and finally just swell shut. It is no fun trying to enjoy ice cream not because it complements the summer’s sweet warmth, but because your throat has become sore from breathing hot dry air. The sting and the bite on your esophagus makes swallowing anything other than hot or cold (but nothing temperate) hardly sufferable. All because your nose can no longer serve it’s designated purpose.


I would like to blame global warming and I’m pretty sure if I looked hard enough I could find enough evidence much more than exculpatory to support my claims.(I noticed yesterday is was 8:30pm and the sun was still very high in the sky and a good 75 degrees out. I only say this because as I remember it goes


“fall forward and spring back”


so we are a good ways from any day light savings adjustments.) I could blame the genetics that made me more suited to dry arid climates with no trees and little vegetation. Whatever the blame may be in truth, whatever the ultimate cause I just continue to pray that it all ends soon.


Meanwhile I and the hundreds of thousands like myself will continue to haunt the medicine isle of Walgreens, Longs, and Safeways, and blight the uncomfortable chairs at the pharmacy waiting rooms with tissues and rags in hand. We will wait with the hope that soon the running noses will stop. The Itchy red watery eyes will clear; and the congested ears and nose swill open, and then we can blissfully enjoy what is left of the summer.

test-pattern It has been a few days now since I have been without television. Truly it is not that big of a deal to me, but the internet signal that I was using (pirating) has also been shut off and that is where the difficulty arises. I never really watched TV to any great expanse (due to the fact that I did not have cable, and the only channels that did come in clearly were channel 9 (PBS) and channel 7. (I don't know what station that is. I think maybe ABC)

I was one of the many people who claim not to watch television all that much and if I did it was only background noise which was true. It was true because the one eyed goddess that summoned me was ye ole internet. With her is were I would spend the hours and hours on end feasting upon her hypnotic sustenance. With lady internet I delighted in everything that could be imagined and cast aside television. When the desire for television did flash in the background of my mind lady internet provided that as well. I never need to leave her embrace.

When the people whose signal I was using decided not to pay their bill; well that left me in my current rut of no television and no internet at home. I of course have Peet’s cafe with their free internet access, but them closing at 8pm leaves me with huge hunk of time to myself at home. I read of course, and I love to read so I’m not some Oprah experiment pulling my hair out panicking because I am left without technology at home. I also have my DVD’s (which most i have watched twice over now) so the new question now arises.

“Do I buy a converter box"?”

I haven't brought one yet because I don't have the money, and the coupons I had expired. With all the books that I have; all the writing that I plan on doing and need to get done I am asking myself.

“Is it worth it?”

I started back knitting again. (and i remember the reason why I stopped) Knitting was something that I learned because I had lost my glasses and could not read any of my books plus at that time and the TV was out so I needed something to do. It is very boring and monotonous but the results are satisfying. I have a batch of soap setting (another hobby i picked up) and this give me time to finally put out the last and final edit of my book. So then why do i still want to go home and turn on the television if not just to hear it. Could it be that it is a drug that my brain and body has become accustom too? I feel like I'm suffering from “cold turkey syndrome”. Most addiction specialist will tell you now if you’re on multiple drugs don't try to quit them all at once. You are to slowly wean yourself off of them one at a time if you can.

I'm going through technological withdrawal.

I guess this is a good thing.

scan0001 I was about to chew one a piece of this (which is quite good) when by chance I flipped the package over. If you look at the list of ingredients you see that there is one highlighted. You are probably asking yourself like I did

“What is ‘Phenylalanine’ and why is it highlighted?”

Here is what i found out.

Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid (building block for proteins in the body). It is essential to human health but cannot be manufactured by the body. For this reason, phenylalanine must be obtained from food. It is available in three chemical forms, including L-phenylalanine (the natural form of phenylalanine found in proteins throughout the body), D-phenylalanine (a mirror image of L-phenylalanine that is synthesized in a laboratory), and DL-phenylalanine, a combination of the previous two forms


Ok so no problem right, but why is it in my gum?

L-phenylalanine is found in most foods that contain protein such as beef, poultry, pork, fish, milk, yogurt, eggs, cheese, soy products (including soy protein isolate, soybean flour, and tofu), and certain nuts and seeds. The artificial sweetener aspartame is also high in phenylalanine.


This explains why it is my gum but of course why the need to highlight it and bold it? More research and this is what I found

a rare metabolic disorder called phenylketonuria (PKU) occurs in people who are missing an enzyme that is needed to properly metabolize phenylalanine, causing high levels of phenylalanine in the body. Symptoms of PKU, which tend to appear between 3 and 6 months of age, include eczema, developmental delay, an abnormally small head, and hyperactivity. If it is not treated before 3 weeks of age, PKU can cause severe, irreversible mental retardation. In the United States, newborns are tested for PKU during the first 48 - 72 hours of life.

People with PKU must eat a phenylalanine-restricted, tyrosine-supplemented diet to have optimum brain development and growth. Rarely, over-restriction of phenylalanine in the diet can lead to deficiency of this amino acid, with the same symptoms described above

People with phenylketonuria (PKU) and women who are lactating or are pregnant should not take phenylalanine supplements. Aspartame, found in artificial sweeteners such as Nutrasweet, is a source of phenylalanine for the body. Therefore, the use of aspartame is not recommended in individuals with PKU. Little is known about the use of aspartame during pregnancy. Talk with your health care provider about using this artificial sweetener.

DL-phenylalanine should not be used in individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia, as it may cause symptoms of tardive dyskinesia. Tardive dyskinesias (TDs) are involuntary movements of the tongue, lips, face, trunk, and extremities that generally occur in patients treated with long-term antipsychotic drug use.

DL-phenylalanine may cause symptoms of anxiety, jitteriness, and hyperactivity in children. Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may need to avoid foods containing aspartame, which is made from phenylalanine.

Doses in excess of 5,000 mg a day may be toxic and can cause nerve damage. High quantities of DL-phenylalanine may cause mild side effects such as nausea, heartburn, and headaches.



That is were I was left after reading that. I knew that I did not have this “PKU disorder” so I know that I’m ok in that order and even though I’ve been jokingly told that I have ADD I haven't the papers so I’m cool on that front. All in all this did no seem to be that bad but me being me I did more research and I came across this web site http://sweetpoison.com/ How much of this information is true or just scare tactic used to sell her book i’ll let you all be the judge of. I did not post any of her research because frankly it looked a little “ify” to me but none the less it is there your you too check out and look through.

Is it safe for me? I guess so (according to the lady in the sweetpoison.com website hell now) but just knowing that there is something that has the potential to be so harmful in something so everyday, something so harmless has put me off. The information is out there for you to make the decision for yourself but for me I think that I will pass just to be on the safe side. I thought you all should know too.

juneteenth First lets start with al little history of what “Juneteenth” really is or was.

“Though the Emancipation Proclamation had been issued on September 22, 1862, with an effective date of January 1, 1863, it had minimal immediate effect on most slaves’ day-to-day lives, particularly in Texas, which was almost entirely under Confederate control. Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day Union General Gordon Granger and 2,000 federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to take possession of the state and enforce the emancipation of its slaves. Legend has it while standing on the balcony of Galveston’s Ashton Villa, Granger read the contents of “General Order No. 3”:

The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.[10]

That day has since become known as Juneteenth, a name derived from a portmanteau of the words June and nineteenth.

Former slaves in Galveston rejoiced in the streets with jubilant celebrations. Juneteenth celebrations began in Texas the following year.[10] Across many parts of Texas, freed people pooled their funds to purchase land specifically for their communities’ increasingly large Juneteenth gatherings — including Houston’s Emancipation Park, Mexia’s Booker T. Washington Park, and Emancipation Park in Austin.[10] Juneteenth celebrations include a wide range of festivities, such as parades, street fairs, cookouts, or park parties and include such things as music and dancing or even contests of physical strength and intellect. Baseball and other popular American games may also be played.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juneteenth)

The celebration of this event in history was not and is not limited to Texas; for as long as I could remember this was always one of the summer celebrations that was held in the bay area, along with the dearly departed “Festival at the Lake” and many others.

This years celebration was a happy reintroduction due to its absences last year. There were many booths selling Barack and Michelle Obama T-shirts, Barack and Michelle Obama refrigerator magnets, and to my surprise; something I haven't seen before, Barack and Michelle Obama themed watches with big faces and rhinestones made to look like diamonds. The majority of the vendors were food vendors which was a good thing, unlike other open air festivals were you only have one section of food vendors and there are one or two vendors, creating a line that is insufferable. You could actually walk up and get food and be on your way.

This I say if you were able to find a park. I went with my mother and my little nephew and we made the mistake of driving. I think; no, I know that if we had have parked at the Bart station, took Bart and walked, we would have made better time than the 45 minuets we spent driving around a 5 block radius looking for a park.

Upon arrival we were greeted to the sounds of one of the De’Barge brothers singing a few of his brother’s (El’s) not so old stand by’s. Which De’Barge this was I do not know but he tried his best to belt out his brother’s hits. I gave him credit because I think there were tremendous sound problems. The mic cut in and out every 3 or so minuets and I saw someone intermittently adjusting his mic while he was singing, but he gave it a valiant effort. My mother on the other said that the De’Barge brother just did not know the words.

The overwhelming amount of security and police I felt was not necessary. This to me sends out and re-enforces the stereotype that black people can not gather together in large groups without there being any problems. I can see the devils advocate reasoning behind it stating that better to be safe than sorry, but the four or five cop/security mixture posted at every block end I think might have cost the event promoters more than what was needed. That however is something for the planning committee to take up and review next year.

It was a cool and fun event and carried me back to summer days as a child in the Bay Area. Every summer there was something going on. There was an event being held every two or three days if not then every weekend. In 2009 one can count on the Ashby flee market every weekend (weather permitting). There is also the Art and Soul festival this years will be August 15 & 16 (according to the website http://www.artandsouloakland.com/) instead of Labor Day weekend.

I love outdoor, summer time events. The sun on my skin, the music in the air, the people smiling and laughing, dancing and singing to their own tune. (Even though, sometimes it is not in tune with the one playing over the speakers.) Say what you will about public gatherings and outdoor events but I do believe that they are the stuff that is life blood to thriving communities. The life blood to a happy soul. (which is why I always take prospects to the flea market at least once very early one if not the second or third date. If you cant stand the flea market then I know that there is a 90% chance we wont work out, but that is another topic) People enjoying the sun and heat at a block party or some sponsored event is one of the things that makes summer my favorite season. In winter you are stuck inside, trying to escape cold and rain. The spring time for me was never fun: it was not hot enough, there was always a chance of rain, and on top of it all my allergies would configure my face to resemble a plague victim. Then there is summer. Summer you have just the right amount of hot to have that BBQ craving gene kick in. Summer is when people shed the unnecessary garments of constraint and just have fun. They have fun with their neighbors, family, and good ole fashion friends. Summertime is the time for letting go, relaxing and exhaling a sigh of relief. The relief that hardships are over for now and one can enjoy a time of ease or even just to forget. In the summer one can easily wake up and greet the sun with a smile and know that today is a day that the sun is smiling back

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I offer my own unique voice, my own vision. I think the saying goes that writers write because no one else can say what they have to say quite the way they have to say it. That is why I write, that is what I offer.



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