Seriously.

When did I become so serious? I read my blog entries from 10 years ago and back then I wrote like the gay, male Erma Bombeck. Hell, if I thought it would get a laugh I’d throw on a wig and a dress and start in with a Dayton, Ohio accent. I’d sound like Emma Thompson on “Ellen”.

But Earl and I are sitting here watching “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (we’re still on season one, so no spoilers) and the fact of the matter is, I’ve become dreadfully serious. And in becoming dreadfully serious I’ve become withdrawn. Granted, I was rated an INFJ not too long ago, I do like my time alone to recharge, but I’ve always been able to fake something beginning with an “E”, at least for a little while. I go out, chat up a storm like I’m some sort of comedian, and then I get home and spend some time alone looking at porn on the computer in the middle of the night, because after all, that’s why the smart ones made the Internet, for porn.

Looking through my old blog entries I realize that my hilarity (that’s quite an air of grandiosity I have there) stated to fade a bit when George W. Bush was President. After 9/11, I felt like I should be more invested in the state of the country, hell the whole world, so I started paying attention to what was going on in the news and I got all serious about it. Then someone told me I wasn’t militant enough as a gay man. I should stop eating Chick-Fil-A and I should become indignant when someone does something I probably haven’t even noticed, but everyone else in “the community” clutches their pearls and makes a gasping noise. I know, we’re suppose to do things for each other as members of the LGBTQQI (did I get it all?) community, but the fact of the matter is, I’m a really bad gay man. Getting back to the porn thing, I don’t like things in my pooper, I don’t really like playing with other poopers, and I don’t really feel any sort of thrill watching two guys play with poopers. I think Barbra Streisand seems talented but her songs don’t really take my breath away, the only thing I feel is a sinus headache when Mariah Carey makes that whistling sound, and I sure as shit can’t stand it when Christina Aguilera is trilling and yodeling the word “yeah” all over a simple melody that my 8th grade chorus could sing back in 1982.

I like the cows and I like waffle fries and I like Polynesian sauce and I’m seriously not going to feel guilty if I indulge in these things once in a while.

Things really changed when my Dad died. This is the part of the blog entry where it gets heavy. After that happened I felt like it was time for me to grow up and be more responsible, invest in the world in around me, and do what I can to take care of my family. And that’s what I’ve been doing since 2011, doing my best to be serious about taking care of my family. I take care of my husband, and I take care of our “Cub”, and now I do my best to take care of our Cub’s fiancé. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this, but I don’t know that I have to lose my sense of humor to do this.

The other thing that’s really taken the wind out of my funny bone is the election of this stupid, ignorant, piece of trash of a human being currently in the Oval Office. Seeing who supports such a horrible person, regardless of what he does, has quite frankly scared me. I’ve always known that there are stupid people in the world, it’s just that I didn’t know there were so many of them and that so many of them were so close to my inner circle. Trumpians like to say that we’re angry that “we lost”. First of all, I’m not as leftist on some things as one would think. Second of all, I don’t believe the country should be made up of teams. Thirdly, the last I knew we were calling ourselves “The United States of America” but there’s hardly anything ‘united’ about us anymore. And it’s these realizations that make me feel very serious. But how am I changing the world by losing my sense of humor?

The truth is, I’m not.

This afternoon when Flaming Cheeto appeared at a Press Briefing, surrounded by bald men, proclaiming the grave situation about the southern border, I couldn’t help but laugh.

I made several snarky comments on Twitter about how I wasn’t going to shave my head anymore because I didn’t want to be perceived as one of “those guys”. I also commented how the one on Trump’s right looked quite sad because he was upset that the others had shaved his head right before he went out into the Press Room. I mocked Lord Orange Whippy Whip over his unbelievably shitty tan and honestly, I screeched at CNN for giving this guy even two minutes of air time so he could broadcast another publicity stunt obviously designed to steal thunder from Nancy Pelosi returning to House Majority Speaker and the swearing in of an incredibly diverse House of Representatives.

You know what’s funny? That people actually take this Day-Glo Flea Dipped Asshole seriously. You know what’s not funny, and quite frankly, incredibly horrifying?

That people still take this Day-Glo Flea Dipped Asshole seriously.

I’m sad that I can’t ask my Dad what he thinks about today’s Republican Party. My dad and I talked about politics once, and that’s when he told me I should register as a Republican so I could get somewhere in business in Upstate New York. (I was planning to register as an Independent). He ran his hand across the “R” levers in the voting booth without hesitation. But in my heart of hearts I can’t believe that my father support would support what the GOP has become today. Maybe it’s wishful thinking of a 50-year old kid at heart reminiscing about his dead dad.

Wow, so somber again.

I guess I find it hard to laugh when I’m worried about the state of the country. There’s a funny grandma in Alamance County in North Carolina who doesn’t cuss in public like I do. Her name is Jeanne Robertson and she tells everyone at every one of her speeches, “find the humor in every situation”.

I need to do more of that again. Long live the name Day-Glo, Flea Dipped Asshole.

Aviators.

It’s the perfect day to fly here in Chicago but I’m doing the desk job thing today. So instead I’ll put on the new aviators I got for Christmas and go for a walk around the block.

Maintaining Your Sanity Online.

Flipping through Twitter this morning, I found a link entitled “Rules for Maintaining Your Sanity Online”, originally posted by Sean Blanda on “The Discourse”. I’ve highlighted the ones I found particularly compelling.

  • Reward your “enemies” when they agree with you, exhibit good behavior, or come around on an issue. Otherwise they have no incentive to ever meet you halfway.
  • Accept it when people apologize. People should be allowed to work through ideas and opinions online. And that can result in some messy outcomes. Be forgiving.
  • Sometimes people have differing opinions because they considered something you didn’t.
  • Take a second.
  • There’s always more to the story. You probably don’t know the full context of whatever you’re reading or watching.
  • If an online space makes more money the more time you spend on it, use sparingly.
  • Judge people on their actions, not their words. Don’t get outraged over what people said. Get outraged at what they actually do.
  • Try to give people the benefit of the doubt, be charitable in how you read people’s ideas.
  • Don’t treat one bad actor as representative of whatever group or demographic they belong to.
  • Create the kind of communities and ideas you want people to talk about.
  • Sometimes, there are bad actors that don’t play by the rules. They should be shunned, castigated, and banned.
  • You don’t always have the moral high ground. You are not always right.
  • Block and mute quickly. Worry about the bubbles that creates later.
  • There but for the grace of God go you.

Quiet.

The streets are very quiet this morning. A quick glance at a school message board shows Chicago Public Schools are off until Monday. At least the neighborhood elementary schools are off until then.

I imagine lots of folks are taking the week off.

It’s still a beautiful morning to walk and kick off the New Year with a brisk walk

Inspiration.

This quote from my 1982 high school yearbook has been bouncing around in my brain lately. This was a response from one of the teachers to be included as a caption under her photo. Most of the other teachers wrote things like “knitting” or “filling out sheets like these”, but Mrs. O’Brien wrote this:

While I never had Mrs. O’Brien as a teacher (she taught what was called “Adjustment” or “Special Education”), she was active with the drama club and a couple of other organizations I was involved with. She was the teacher who practically “talked me off the ledge” after an 11th grade Ethics class whereas the class conversation around homosexuality turned, what seemed to me at the time, rather hostile.

I’ve never had the chance to thank her for that pep talk, not even all these years later. But her optimism and her zest for life continues to inspire me.

Blogging!

I’m excited to be following THREE new blogs here at the beginning of the New Year. One of the blogs is brand new and the other two have been around but I just discovered them today.

  1. Earl and I had a wedding officiant when we were legally married back in 2011, and we have maintained a friendship with her on Facebook. Both Emily and her husband Mark are good people, and Mark has started a new blog called “Building A Better World: CHOICES“. I’m anxious to see what he writes.
  2. When I was active on Google+, I was always anxious to read about the Digital Nomadic life of technology journalist Mike Elgan. Google+ is going away soon and it’s a digital ghost town over there right now, but I finally took the time to see if Mike is maintaining a blog, and sure enough, he is over at “Elgan.com“. I’ve always liked Mike’s technological insights and I’ve really enjoyed the digital nomadic lifestyle he and his family enjoy. Plus, he’s fleshing out a Facebook alternative called “Nicebook”, which has me intrigued.
  3. As a member of the National Gay Pilots Association (NGPA), I attended a couple of their events in 2018 and I met some great people along the way. I’ve always “virtually met” others on Instagram and Facebook, and I’ve been a fan of Captain Bobbie since he was suggested as a friend on Facebook back in the mid part of last year. He mentioned his blog on a recent Facebook post, so I was happy to take a look to see what he’s up to.

Finding three new blogs to read on this New Year’s Day has given me hope that the art of blogging isn’t dead after all. Let’s see what others I can find along the way!

Are We Here?

So in 2009 Microsoft shared a video (with a follow-up a couple of years later) proposing where they saw technology in 10 years. Some of the technology shared in the video included double sided smartphones or “smart cards”, billboard ads that recognized who you are, wall-sized video conferencing with a shared tactile experience, and much more. Take a look at this video to see where Microsoft wanted us to be today.

I’m kind of bummed that it’s 2019 and it feels like we’re not even close to achieving this vision, nor are we really headed in the right direction.

The doubling down of monetizing user data (primarily through social media) instead of trying to see how we can creatively use data has really put a kink in the vision timeline.

I still hold out hope that someday we’ll get this timeline back on track and start heading toward a “Star Trek” like future again (where we focus on the good of humanity instead of the greed of money).

Let’s see what 2019 really brings. But more importantly, let’s see what company or who tries to nudge us back onto the sane timeline.

Determination.

Over the past two weeks I have replaced 82 lights on the strings tied and/or fastened to our Mickey Christmas Tree. A few moments ago everything lit back up like it was suppose to and it is wonderful.

This was our Christmas Tree in 2015 when we spent the holiday at Walt Disney World. I loved that version of our holiday and I love this tree.

I’m happy a little determination resulted in a fully lit up tree again.