Thursday, February 28, 2008

Lawsuits and Death

I may be getting old and crotchety, but this rubs me the wrong way. Apparently, the families of the District girls who died under their mother's care are planning on suing the District.

I will admit that I don't know many of the facts of this case other than what I've seen in the paper. The facts so far seem to indicate that the mother, Banita Jacks, had custody of four girls (fathered by, it appears, at least two different men), and that she, well, wasn't all that fit to raise them. From what I've seen, she withdrew all four of the girls from the schools they were attending, going so far as to tell school officials that she was home-schooling them. She then promptly locked the girls in the house, such that no one ever saw them again.

And then they turned up dead.

Look, I don't doubt that the District could have done a better job in policing this family. They purported to conduct home visits of the house, but never actually saw the kids. And then they appear to have accepted without question someone's assertion that the family had moved.

But what's notably missing from all the news accounts about this case -- including this most recent one -- is what contact the girls had with any of the following people: Mamie Jacks (the girls' grandmother and Benita Jacks' mother); Jessie Fogle (grandmother of the two younger girls); Kevin Stoddard (father of second oldest girl); and the father of oldest girl.

Both of the grandmothers appear to have served notice upon the Mayor that they are planning a lawsuit over the deaths of these children. The father of the second oldest girl (reported to be Mr. Stoddard) also commented, through his attorney, that he plans to sue. But on what basis?

From all that is apparent, none of these people had or attempted to make any contact with Ms. Jacks or the children during the troubling period of time. None of them went by the house demanding to spend some quality time with their kin. Did any of them offer to babysit or take the kids away from Ms. Jacks for any period of time? Had any one of them stopped by or otherwise questioned the strange circumstances brewing in Ms. Jacks's house, perhaps someone could have done something sooner.

Now, apparently not having given much of a second thought to their kin for some period of time, are they seriously suggesting that they should somehow be compensated for their deaths? Just how much pain and suffering could they have experienced from their deaths if they weren't seeking to experience joy and love from them when they were alive?

But apparently, headline-grabbing deaths must, as a matter of necessity, result in a lawsuit. There's gold in them thar deaths.


In my spare time I serve as a web guru for a professional association I belong to. It's not a huge deal, because mostly all it means is I get behind-the-scenes access to a website that makes publishing content, etc. a matter of typing and clicking rather that coding and posting.

Most of my duties on the site involve troubleshooting for people who are having problems, and that usually focuses almost exclusively on people who are confused about our website structure (and it is a little retarded), and on login issues.

Today I received an email from a member, telling me that it had been a while since she logged in to the password-protected site, and could I please remind her of her password? Or was there someone else she should be contacting for this info?

Answer: Lady, do you see that link labeled "Forgot your password?" RIGHT NEXT TO the password field of the login screen? What do you think it's there for, decoration? It's not terribly cryptic, is it? How is that you managed to root around to find my contact information to ask me this question, but weren't able to see a blindingly obvious link that would answer your question?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


I returned to my usual poker night last night after a five-week hiatus punctuated by illness, work restraints, and bad weather. I had actually missed my time there; the guys there are fun to play with and they're generally cool. I pretty much suck, and they're okay with that and we all laugh at me together.

I got there just before the game started and didn't even look around to find my friends. Instead, I retrieved my chips and, upon turning around, found a table with a good number of empty seats. "Sit down," one of the guys on the table said. "Sure, why not," I said, a tad disoriented and excited to be back in the game.

Across the room, at a different table closer to the door, I heard my name called out rather loudly, and repeatedly. I truly felt like Norm from Cheers. Turns out there were empty seats at the table where my regular group of friends sat, so I went off and joined them instead. It was too bad, because I wouldn't have minded playing with some new people, but hey, there's comfort in familiarity. Besides, several of the guys on my regular table were kinda hot.

Story of the night:

So I get pocket aces (diamonds and clubs), and the guy before me raises. Because he did my job for me, I just called. One other player called after me.

The flop contained a queen, the 10 of diamonds, and the 4 of diamonds. One player limped in, but the second better put in a humongous raise. It hurt just watching it, because I didn't want to have to lay down my pocket aces. In the end, however, his actions screamed that he had flopped trips, so I tearfully let them go.

I was right, he had a pair of queens in his hand.

But that's not the end of the story.

The second player called his huge raise, and the turn was produced: King of diamonds. That's three diamonds on the board, for those of you keeping track.

Bets ensued. Keep in mind, I'm relatively certain one guy had trips at the time that I folded. We got to the river.

I hadn't even finished saying "If it's a diamond I'm going to cream," when the 8 of diamonds showed up on the river. I had folded the nut flush.

I give myself props for finally having the strength to let go of pocket aces. I only wish that it happened on a hand that I wouldn't have eventually won.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

CNN/AP Loses Its Sense of Humor.

Okay, check it.

I was on and saw this headline: "Huckabee overstays welcome on SNL."*

Part of the text of the article:

Even though Mike Huckabee is still battling for the Republican presidential nomination despite long odds, he said Saturday he won't "overstay his welcome."

Then he did precisely that, lingering on the "Weekend Update" set of "Saturday Night Live" despite repeated cues to leave the stage.

* * *

However, he said: "Mike Huckabee does not overstay his welcome. When it's time for me to go, I'll know. And I'll exit out with class and grace."

Then he remained seated at the "Update" desk even though Meyers made it clear it was time for him to leave.

I found this fascinating, just because I thought it would be funny to see how Seth Green handled a big-time politician accidentally missing his "we're done with you now" cues. Maybe they'd just pan away from him. Or do a close-up of Amy and Seth, deliberately pulling him out of camera range.

So naturally I found the clip on youtube. Here it is:

Aight people, who really believes that Huckabee accidentally missed his cues like a moron? I, for one, think it's pretty damn clear that the entire "oops? Am I supposed to leave?" thing was totally planned. I mean, come on, he had just been to try to explain why he wasn't conceding an election he is certain to lose now -- "overstaying his welcome," as it were.

CNN and AP, you are doofs.

PS: Was it just me, or was Amy Poehler unusually far away from Gov. Huckabee? I think she thinks he has cooties.

* I know what you're thinking. You've clicked on the link and found that the headline is not what I say it is. I swear, this is what the link said. It's what the headline said when I got there. Within the past few minutes, they've changed it.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


One of the things about being stuck at home for as long as I have been is that I get to watch television which I normally never would. One morning (I forget which one), I woke up and turned on the television, which happened to catch Live with Regis and Kelly.

Normally I would not watch this show. I think both Regis and Kelly are rather lame and their banter boring and nothing I couldn't do. But today was a bit different. Regis wasn't there.

In his place was a hot sexy Latin man who goes by Mark Consuelos.

Mark is apparently Kelly's real life husband (the fact that he's married disappoints me; that he's married to Kelly Ripa even more so) because they spent the first 10 minutes of the show bickering about whether she was given adequate warning about some fancy dinner that Mark had planned. Blah blah blah, the man was whipped.

But he was sooooo gorgeous. He has that smile that radiates and is infectious and heart-melting. And he was wearing a very nice shirt (I couldn't tell the fabric) but let's just say it hugged his very nice chest very very nicely.

Mark previously was in All My Children, where he met Kelly, which appears to be the pinnacle of his career, since he later went on to host that god-awful reality dating show Age of Love.

Some random photos I dug upon the internets (sorry, some just had to come with Kelly):

Honest to Blog!

I finally saw Juno last weekend (before I got sick). It's a cute film despite its rather serious underlying subject matter. Do kids nowadays really talk like that as a general matter of day to day speech? It was cute and off the cuff, but still.

Oh, and I still think Jason Bateman is incredibly cute. And that Jennifer Garner has a smokin' bod, but her mouth is like fifty times larger than Julia Roberts's.

Of course, I was enchanted, as always, by Michael Cera, who pulls off the adorkable thing so well. I love how movies nowadays are willing to put characters who aren't traditionally "cool" in protagonist roles. Cera's character is one of those people who would usually get beaten up without a second thought in some of the movies I grew up with. But here, we're actually expected to like him and cheer for him despite his social ineptitude.

And finally:

I had seen this video on Logo like a million times before. I had never bothered to read the credits to it (if there were any) so I had no idea that the singers Michael Cera and Ellen Page. And I always wondered what the hell was up with those runners at the end. It made just a bit more sense after having seen the movie.

Friday, February 22, 2008

My Latest Food Network Crush

A while ago I blogged about my crush on Alton Brown of Food Network's Iron Chef and Good Eats.

I've since developed a new food geek crush.

That's Geof Manthorne, the executive sous chef of Charm City Cakes as featured on Food Network's Ace of Cakes. I love his singing in this clip -- so mellow and soft -- but I really truly admire his immense talent and handiwork in creating those damn cakes he makes on the show. They're huge and look fantastic. I can't imagine actually eating any of it, though, but I think he's totally cute. And he's in Baltimore, which is less than an hour from here. I sense a stalking run is in order.

Of course, while I am now crushing hard for Geof, and now a little less so for Alton, my biggest Food Network crush will always be Dave Leiberman. I mean, come on. He's just too adorable for words.

Being Sick Sucks.

I hate being sick.

This week has been pretty awful in so many ways. After having such a good time with Lorelai on Friday night, I thought I was in for a good week.

I was kinda wrong.

My friends and I went out on Saturday night to BeBar, which was surprisingly straight. After my straight Friday night, it kinda wasn't what I was looking for, but oh well. I didn't drink much but I did hang with my boys for most of the night before we all bailed at around 1:00.

Monday was President's Day. Usually we don't get most federal holidays off, so in the absence of being told anything, I went in to work on Monday. It turns out we did in fact have Monday off -- which I found at around 11:30 a.m. -- so I bailed by 1:00.

I showed up for work again on Tuesday and put in my full day, but I noticed that I had a cough thrown in there that I hadn't had before. I had taken a sick day already in early February, so getting sick again would absolutely suck. But it's gone worse since. I've now taken two days off this week. I've coughed so hard in the few days I've seen stars. My chest is tight. I'm sucking down orange juice and chicken noodle soup like there is no tomorrow.

I'm going to try to get back to the office tomorrow, but my colleagues are kinda paranoid about catching things when one of us isn't feeling well, so I think they'd be just as happy if I didn't show up again.

I don't enjoy taking sick days. I actually get bored at home all day.

I have, however, seen a gazillion movies, some more memorable than others.

Taxi Driver: DeNiro as a young man was hot.
Reefer Madness: The Musical: Christian Campbell is hot. And it's a fun show.
Because I Said So: Except for the fact that almost all the credited men are quite easy on the eyes, the movie has no redeeming qualities whatsoever.
My Super Ex-Girlfriend: Cute premise, but horribly executed. I just felt nothing for Uma's character or for Luke Wilson's.

Meanwhile, I am also working on a work of short fiction which I plan to submit for publication in a gay magazine this summer. Wish me luck!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Weekend Escapades

I was supposed to go to the Black Cat on Friday for some 80s party. Some of my friends were going to be there and I wanted to check it out because I'm an 80s dork. Then again, though, because it was the Black Cat, I figured we wouldn't be hearing Debbie Gibson and Roxette.

But in the end, of course, the best laid plans often fail. I had invited my friend Lorelai to go, but she had to stay late at work and didn't feel like making the trek out to the Cat. So I abandoned those plans completely in favor of just meeting up with her at a bar in Cleveland Park.

The place was the straightest bar I've been to in a long time. That really just speaks to me, not so much the bar, which I'm sure was standard hetero-fare. There was a time when I eschewed gay bars in general because all my friends seemed to be straight girlfriends so I ended up just hanging out with them at the straight bars. Then recently I made a new crop of gay friends so I found myself back at the gay bars surrounded by The Boys a lot.

But even when I was hanging with my straight girlfriends at straight bars, I don't think I've ever felt as out of place as I did at this bar. The male-female ratio was pretty even, but it felt ... different. I can't place it, but it did. But I was fine with it, 'cause I'm cool like that.

Lorelai and I met a cute guy at the bar. I don't think he's gay, but he seemed cool enough. We swapped business cards. I've emailed him, but he has yet to respond.

There are sooooo many reasons I want Alek to email me back at some point. I need the contact. (I'll leave that vague.)

Now that I have longer hair... I gotta let it down more often.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Birthday Brunch

I made brunch for some friends a few weekends ago. (This is a delayed post because it took my lazy ass this long to pull the photos off my camera.)

That's eggs benedict, asparagus, potatoes, and bacon. By way of explanation (the eggs look funny), they're not on traditional English muffins, but spelt muffins with raisins. Oh, and that's prosciutto tucked under that.

Originally my plan called for stuffed French toast as well, but the Safeway ran out of Texas toast when I went to look for it. That sucked. Thankfully, there was so much food already that no one missed the French toast.

It took much longer than I thought it would. Here's a helpful hint: just watching cooking shows doesn't make you a speedy gourmet chef. And just because Sandra Lee can create an entire meal in half an hour, here's one word: editing.

In any event, the food did come out pretty well. It didn't hurt that we treated ourselves to mimosas too:

For dessert, a pudding parfait with bananas and raspberries:

Despite the fact that the rest of the meal took about an hour and a half to assemble, the pudding parfaits were the biggest hit. There was also a cinnamon crumb cake involved too.

It was also a slightly belated birthday gift to my friend L.:

See, if you make friends with me, you too could have a homemade breakfast on your birthday! (Provided you have a decent kitchen for me to work in.)

Friday, February 01, 2008

Way to Hit Your Target Audience.

This guy's hawking Bowflex weight machines.

I hate him.

And that means I sure as hell don't want to buy a Bowflex because of him.

What's the worst part of him? Check him out at 1:44.

"I gave all my fat clothes to my fat friends."

Okay, you know what? It's great you lost that weight. But you're an asshole. If losing weight means you get an automatic entitlement to look down on your friends who aren't so hot and thin, then I don't want to be hot-like-you. Fuck you.

And then there's that other commercial (which I can't find on youtube) where the guy thinks he's hot shit because he's an older guy and he's finally in a rock band. No, really, that's his big thing. I just have to say, when you're 40 and your life's ambition is still to have girls throwing their panties at you because you're in a rock band and you have a rock band body, then you've got issues that giving yourself rock hard abs won't cure.

All I'm saying is, the spokespeople these guys pick really don't make me want to buy the product. At all.