Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Values Voters

If I have to hear the term "values voters" one more time I'm going to...

Seriously, what does that even mean? It implies that only people voting against gay marriage and for pro-life stances have values.

Guess what, I have values and morals and all that great stuff. Not using gays as a ploy in an election campaign is a positive value to me. On the flip side, using gays as a ploy doesn't register with me as a moral thing to do. Call me crazy I guess.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Childhood Lost

I think the title of this post is a little stronger than I want it to be. It's the right subject, but it makes it seem like I didn't like my childhood or I was one of those Hollywood actors that never got to be a kid. Even so, I'm just going to leave the title as it is, overly dramatic as it may be.

Don't get me wrong--I had a great childhood. I made some amazing friends. I've known some of my closest friends since elementary school, and even though we now live in different cities, I don't feel any less close to them than when I used to hang out with them all day/every day in high school. I even went to a 14-year reunion for my junior high last month, and actually enjoyed it!

I really did like my childhood. So, to be more appropriate, I think I should say that I feel that I lost out on a part of my junior high and high school life (and really even part of my college life too) rather than saying that I lost my childhood. I guess I just feel like I missed on part of the experience that typically comes with growing up. I had a great time without it, and maybe it's just the nostalgia in me, but sometimes I can't help but wonder how things would have or might have been.

Basically I feel like my being gay caused me to miss out on a lot of the experiences that come with growing up. I had a couple of girlfriends in junior high, but they were exactly what you'd expect from a junior high romance. I ended up not dating in high school, mainly because I never had a crush on a girl that was strong enough for me to want to date her. It just didn't interest me. So, I didn't date. I had no romantic life, and sometimes that's what irks me. I didn't get to talk and joke with my friends about who I liked or what girl I kissed. I even went as far as to make up stories about who I liked or who I'd kissed just to not feel left out of the crowd. I wasn't sad or lonely, but who doesn't count dating as one of the steps to growing up? It's part of the owner's manual, I think, but I missed out.

I guess being gay wasn't actually the cause of all of this comotion. These days there are kids coming out of the closet earlier and earlier, and I've read plenty of stories about two boyfriends going as each other's dates to prom or a lesbian becoming homecoming queen. The root of my missing out really stemmed from my being in the closet, but back when I was in school, people just weren't out (and this was not that long ago, seriously).

Things have come a long way over the last several years, and while a lot of people on the anti-gay side will claim that the gay agenda is somehow taking over our kids and our country, I feel like the changing tides have just allowed kids to be kids. It puts a smile to my face when I read stories about two gay high school kids that are accepted by their friends and get to take each other to prom. I love hearing about lesbian kids being the popular girls at school. It's not about corrupting our youth, it's about letting them be happy with themselves and who they are, and I honestly can't fathom how that can be wrong.

Maybe I'm being overly dramatic. Maybe my life wouldn't have been all much different if I had been out and dating in high school. Even so, at least now kids don't have to worry about the what-ifs and can experience the craziness of high school dating and romance for themselves. It probably wasn't all that I've made it out to be, but it would have been nice to give it a try myself.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

It's Still OK to Pick on Gays

With all of the conservative talk radio I listen to, I sometimes get a bit fed up by people that call in to say that the only type of people that it's still ok to make fun of, discriminate against, etc. are straight white men. Their claim is that everyone else is a protected minority, and they're left out in the cold to lose jobs and be the butt of jokes.

I personally think the idea is preposterous. I'm not going to claim that I've been discriminated against because of my sexuality, and I'll fully admit that when it's all said and done, my coming out process has been pretty easy, relatively speaking. At the same time, I can't keep from mentioning that I probably hear an anti-gay joke several times a week. You see, even in popular culture, it's still ok to pick on and make fun of gays. I'm honestly not going to lose any sleep over it, but the fact is that it still happens, whether the conservative callers over at talk radio admit it or not.

For just a little proof, check out this Brokeback Mountain parody put together by my local AM radio station, 740 KTRH. I heard it on Michael Berry's show (he used to be on the Houston City Council, but was not reelected recently). The parody uses Terrell Owens' crying after the Cowboys' playoff loss as the butt of the joke. Speaking to the media, Owens started crying when he asked the media not to blame Tony Romo, the teams quarterback.

I'll admit it was a pretty odd scene--apparently odd enough for the parody to call Owens gay.
Since Owens was crying, they decided to pick on him for being weak or unmanly. It's pretty rare to see a football player (the epitome of masculine) cry. But, they took the joke a step further and basically inferred that Owens was gay. Gays are unmanly and weak you see, and only gay guys cry because they're not real men.

It's not that big of a deal. I didn't even really get upset when I heard the clip, but in case anyone was wondering (or was looking for a laugh)--gay jokes are still fair game.

Parker Turns 1!

Well, Parker, our puppy turned 1 yesterday (or so Jack has assumed based on what the vet told us). That means she's a little elementary schooler if you're counting by dog years.

We had a little birthday party with Shorty and his partner and their 2 little dogs. Parker spent the party picking on the little ones (that's what big kids do, right?) and enjoying getting to open her gifts. She really does like to open gifts, it's so odd.

Ok, I promise we really aren't the type of people that treat their dogs like their kids. We just thought it'd be funny to have a little birthday party.

J has pictures of Parker's 1st year (with some people too) over at his blog. Feel free to check them out!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

On Roger Clemens

Sorry for the lack of blog posting. Work is crazy all over again, and I've been recovering over the holidays, which went very well, by the way.

I wanted to take some time to discuss this whole Roger Clemens scandal. While I'm not the sports enthusiast I used to be (I still watch and follow sports casually, but in college my TV was on Sports Center 24/7 and I played at least some sort of sport almost every day. I can't really say that now).

Anyway, this whole scandal has been getting plenty of national media, but it's been getting special attention here in Houston since Clemens lives in Houston and helped lead us to the World Series a few years back.

Let me start by saying that I'm not a fan of Roger Clemens. I was excited when the Astros got him, but I quickly came to the conclusion that the whole "team player" persona he put off wasn't who he really was. To me, he seemed to be coming to the Astros for his own personal goals, not to help a team go to the next level or even finally accomplish his dream of playing in Houston. It came down to him getting more money from the Astros, which is fine, I just feel like he was disingenious about it. This became really apparent to me when he negotiated a contract that sucked a huge portion of the Astros budget only to end up not playing the whole season (he started late because he's that good, you see...) and a leave a year later after stringing us along well into the pre-season.

Ok, on to the scandal. In his 60 Minutes interview, Roger basically said that he deserves more respect than he's been given because he's been in the league for 24 or 25 years and done so many great things. He also declared his innocence--a claim I don't believe.

In Houston (I don't know about the more national scene, but I've been hearing this at least some there too), a good number of people seem to feel sorry for Roger. A lot of people have been calling in to the local talk shows saying that even if he is guilty, they feel sorry for what he is going through. Several of the show hosts have shared similar sentiments.

That's all well and good. I can somewhat see there point--Roger Clemens has been a really good pitcher, and he's at least had the persona of being a good person. The problem I have with this sentiment is that Barry Bonds, who's been accused of the same stuff, simply isn't getting the pity Roger's being handed out. I don't want to call this a race issue, but I can't help but wonder if race is playing a role. The black baseball star (a definite hall of famer if not for this candidate) gets the flack and the white baseball star is getting somewhat of a pass, at least in the eye of some.

Sure, Barry has been an overall jerk throughout his career, and he's just not that likeable of a guy, so I know that plays some sort of role, but he's still one of the best players in baseball (certainly one of the best hitters--homeruns and average) . Short of that, he and Roger are in very similar circumstances and are getting very different reactions from fans and analysts alike.

Roger Clemens still has a battle in front of him, and maybe the tides will change (and I'll admit that not everyone is going so easy on Clemens so far--see Curt Schilling), but for now I for one am disappointed to see Barry Bonds take this kind of flack when Roger Clemens (and really dozens of other players listed in the Mitchell report) just aren't getting the same reactions. If we're against steriods and performance enhancement drugs, let's be against them, but let's not come down hard on some players and let others get a pass.