Saturday, January 31, 2009
When I walked outside, the sun was shinning and I felt I had regained my Saturday back. This was the song that played in my mind when I saw the sun shinning on the blanket of snow outside.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
But if I had to do it all over again, I would have stayed in the house!
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Saturday, January 24, 2009
This organization has been active in the Cincinnati area since 1983 due to Cincinnati’s induction into the United States’ AIDS epidemic which occurred in the same year, in response to the first case of HIV in Cincinnati.
Now STOP AIDS currently employs over 30 full time staffers, and is the only full service HIV/AIDS organization serving Cincinnati.
According to their website (in the process of being updated), STOP AIDS’ mission is to
“To fight HIV/AIDS through education, services and compassionate care one person at a time.”
with a vision
“To lead the fight against HIV/AIDS until there's a cure.”
By having these free classes, along with the organization’s extensive outreach work (they will be at the Underground Railroad Freedom Center on Feb 7th), they are well on the way to using their mission to making their vision become reality.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
The movie starts off with Homer Smith, played by Sidney Poitier, stopping off at a nunnery for water in the hot Arizona desert heat.
Homer is asked to Sunday service, but declines because Homer is Baptist. He picks up a fare, Juan, played by Stanley Adams who tells him the story of the nuns. He tells of their hardship immigrating to the States, escaping from Germany just to come to the United States and work night and day for pennies on the dollar. Riddled with guilt, Homer decides to help the nuns out a bit.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Monday, January 19, 2009
Tomorrow, this minister’s dream will be that much closer to becoming a reality when a man, born of a Kenyan father and an American mother, will take stand on the other side of the mall where that preacher proclaimed his wish for America, as he prepares to take helm of the most powerful country in the free world.
When our fore fathers designed our government, the country was speckled with pre-judiciary thoughts based on misconceptions and lies, transcending several generations and manifesting itself in the American Civil War, Jim Crow Laws, Affirmative Action policies, and assassinations of major political leaders such as the preacher mentioned above.
Even though these thoughts were part of the foundation of our nation, the architects of our nation designed a government which could leave way for a person from the African Diaspora to lead the United States of America a little more than a generation after a time when he would have been slain just for thought of becoming “The President”.
This boy from Kentucky, given an Arabic first name, and forced to take the last name of an Irish slave owner, has struggled to find a solid, impenetrable definition of what America is to me.
Tomorrow I will find that answer.
President Barrack Obama, I salute you.
You are what America is too me.
You are my Apple Pie.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Though I have little sympathy for movie's heroine, Scarlett O’Hara (played by Vivien Leigh) it is a riveting story of love lost which I would be hard pressed to pass up saying that it is one of the world’s all time favorite films.
When the movie was released, the United States was steeped in the midst of the Great Depression where the price of gas was an astonishing 10 cents per gallon and the average person’s annual income was just under $2,000.
This true economic depression lead Americans to find inexpensive ways of passing the time which gave way to the influx of interest in attend movies.
This popular interest in the movies, coupled with the United States being just little more than a generation removed from Wind’s subject matter, may be an addition factor in the Academy Awards decision to thwart popular sentiment of the day of discrimination and racial debasement of African Americans to award Hattie McDaniel an Academy Award for Best Actress in a supporting role for her portrayal of “Mammy” in this iconic film.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
If you don't, just step out side of your door and experience it first hand.
Needles to say, staying indoors has become more suitable of an option during these last few days and will be until the weather warms up.
Here are a few simple ways to enjoy the your home without running up the gas/electric bill.
Cook in bulk
Make an effort to prepare meals for the entire day/ or a few days at a time in one sitting. This may already be a no brainer for those who prepare meals for their entire family (spouse and kids) but for a bachelor like me who is used to heating up the stove for 20mins for every meal of the day, this little step could save a sizable amount of dough (no pun intended) on your monthly gas/eclectic bill.
More energy saving tips can be found at:
Dimmer not dumber
If you do not want to go the “whole hawg” and change out all of your bulbs with the new fang-dangled eco-friendly light fixtures, you can save with installing dimmer switch. According to Carolina Country, a guide to North Carolina’s country side, you can save upwards to 40% on your energy bill by dimmer the lights half way.
Only Board it up
I remember when growing up in Latonia Terrace housing Projects, my mother would make the yearly trip to the hardware store to purchase overpriced window insulation to place on windows to help keep the heat bills down. For about half the price, to can go to Cappel’s at 917 Race St, Downtown, and purchase inexpensive film wrap, which works just a s well as the Home Depot/Lowe’s wanna-be’s but for half the price.
Wane you comfort zone
Look at your normal level which you keep your heat at while you are at home. Turn your thermostat down a few degrees and watch the savings come rolling in.
Warm it up Kriss (Don’t)
Cut down on the time in which you warm up your car in the mornings on cold winter mornings. We all know that it is a waste of gas when you leave your car idle for 30mins before you head to work, but the fact is, your auto uses fuel at a more efficient rate when it is warmed. You want to make sure to find right balance of warmth and gas savings.
Read more about the benefits here.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Though we boast being the home of the largest marketing conglomerates in the world, serve as resident to the world renowned Underground Railroad Freedom Center and home to one of the most architecturally historic neighborhoods in the country (shout out to Over-the-Rhine), Cincinnati still follows the ol’ Samuel Clemmons quote stating that if the world ended, he would want to be here in Cincinnati due to the fact that we are consistently a few decades behind the rest of the world.
Having Obama being as our 44th president and riding on the coattails of the great push for “change”, I can’t help but to think that Cincinnati will come through and buck its trend, beginning to operate as a leading city, in both the state of Ohio and the United States (more so the former than the latter).
On the cusp of an historical Inaugural Day, here are my hopes for Over the Rhine and Downtown Cincinnati in the age of Obama:
An eco-friendly public transit system connecting Downtown with Clifton/University of Cincinnati area (i.e. street cars…just a thought)
A Successful “Banks” Experiment
Investment of appropriate amount of resources for education of youth and young adults living in and around the Over-the-Rhine area
Feasible and accessible grocery stores (Krogers…I really hope you read this one)
Responsible investment in sports teams: (get rid of the bad apples and invest in well rounded administrators/coaches/players!)
Metro-Sexual shopping options for the functional homosexual that will not break your savings account
All of these goals are both attainable and measurable, so all you socio-economic gu-roos should not have a problem seeing the positive impact these steps would have on the Over-the-Rhine community. OK… the sports wish is stretching it a bit, bit I felt obligated to through their success into the mix.
I would love to hear your comments on these steps or any that I left out.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Though The American Music Awards, The Golden Globes and The Essence Awards are a few of my top favorite statue-wielding affairs, nothing can top the night in which Oscar is handed to some of the most talented professionals in the motion pictures.
In the late 1990’s, African American actors began an underground protest of the Academy Awards for its disregard, and sometimes blatant refusal, of talented performances by African Americans in a leading or supporting acting role (if you ever say The Color Purple, you would know what I mean).
This dissent obviously did the trick because after a trend of there being several decades between times when African American actors were given the chance to utter the words “Hello Gorgeous!”, the number of Black actors who have accepted the award in the past decade has increased exponentially.
With a little over a month until the next installment of Oscar statuettes are handed out, I wanted to chronicle how far the Academy has come by chronicling the movies and actors of African American heritage have been recognized for their acting ability.
Over this time, I will be taking a look at the following films and actors, all African American, and all whom received an Academy Award for their performance:
Gone With the Wind (1939): Hattie McDaniel
Lilies in the Field (1963): Sidney Poitier
An Officer and a Gentleman (1982): Lou Gossit Jr.
Glory (1989): Denzel Washington
Ghost (1991): Whoopie Goldberg
Jerry McGuire (1996): Cuba Gooding Jr.
Monsters Ball (2001): Halle Berry
Training Day (2001): Denzel Washington
Ray (2004): Jaime Foxx
Dreamgirls (2006): Jennifer Hudson
I would love your input on these films along with your favorite motion picture and/or performance.
Monday, January 12, 2009
One of the pieces of the exhibits chronicled how the Chinese measure status, saying over the past few decades that measurement of wealth was calculated by the “Rule of 4”, meaning that there are 4 items which a Chinese person must posses before they could be perceived as really “making it”.
In the 1960’s and 1970’s it was watches, bicycles, sewing machines, watches and radios.
The 1980’s saw color TV’s, refrigerators, washing machines and cassette/radio players
1990’s status symbols were houses, automobiles, computers and mobile phones.
Since I have been “out and about” over the past decade here in the Queen City, I have seen fads come and go in our gay community, the list of status items being reinvented a bit faster than it would have been in China, doing so every 4 years, and have come up with Gay Cincinnati’s own “Rule of 4”.
2001- 2003: Home in Mason, Ck-1 men’s cologne, Navy Pea coat, four-door sedan of any kind
2004 – 2006: Laptop, Mallory For Mayor campaign signs, fake mo-hawk hairstyle, Aviator Sunglasses (audaciously worn at night)
2007 – Present: Apartment in the Over-the-Rhine, iPOD/iPhone, METRO Bus pass, Recycle bin
Do you see a trend?
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Saturday, January 10, 2009
CNN.com had a great story chronicling a Google-ite who shunned the corporate to begin his own start up.
This trend has not been lost on Cincinnatians.
I have a close friend that visited over the holidays who decided not to take a high paying job at any pick of technology companies and instead branched out on his own. He now moves from city to city throughout world, creating applications for cell phones among other things. He is currently living in Spain.
Locally, several of my other friends have left a pretty lucrative careers at the University of Cincinnati and Duke Energy to work for STOP AIDS, a local non-profit dedicated to serving the GLBT community of Cincinnati.
I even left a government job, a place where retirement is common and highly suggested, just last year so that I could put more of my energy to getting my fledgling start ups going (shameless plug...see my companies at ION Consultants and 15 West Publishing).
Though Cincinnati may be the home of the largest corporate entity in the free world, it would be great to see more people take chances like this.
Friday, January 09, 2009
Though this morning’s article released by The Enquirer chronicled a good number of all of the council’s spending throughout 2008, it began the article in its usual fear monger-like manor with the following:
“Cincinnati taxpayers last year helped Councilwoman Laketa Cole finish her
master's degree, reimbursed her for accessing city e-mails on her cell phone and
paid a photographer to document her swearing-in.”
Well, I guess this intro succeeded in it’s purpose because it got me to read the entire article, but I would have been just as interested if the first paragraph read,
“Cincinnati City Council members 2008 reimbursements are being questioned by taxpayers.”
But who am I to judge…..oh wait. I am a tax payer as well.
Since I opened the can of worms, I might as well spill them out.
The article went on to give an overview of some of the things which the council, including the mayor, submitted for reimbursements over that past year. Digital cameras, foreign travel, extravagant ergonomically correct keyboards and scholastic endeavors were all items frowned up by the Enquirer.
But weren’t all of these reimbursements approved by members of City Council?
I may be wrong, but I find it hard to believe that the diverse group of council members would conspire behind close doors (which all council meeting are open to the public) to cheat the Queen City’s tax payers out of their hard earned mullah.
I am going to have to call foul on this one.
I know that there may be some misappropriations of funds going on in our City Hall, which I am all for stopping, but I doubt that all of the council members are playing on the same team (no pun intended) with concerns to gyp the local tax payer.
You have to be living under a rock if you have nor heard about the civil unrest that is going between Israel and its little brother Gaza.
A little background on Gaza:
Size: Twice the size of Washington D.C with 1.5 million people in about 146 sq miles
History: For years, Gaza was occupied by Israel fro 1967 to 1993, but with most political issues in that area, there were many issues still unresolved.
Recently, Gaza and Israel began to get into a little "tiff" in the likes of the battle of David vs Goliath (but something tells me that this time the victory will go to the latter).
Anyway, Israel showed a bit of mercy to the minion like Gaza by conceding to a 3 hour cease fire each day so that Gaza can recoup its losses.
How gallant of Big Brother.
(Gag Alert: This is the Geeky part)
When I heard that Israel was granting a reprieve in the fighting, I could not help but envision the last great battle in the final series of Harry Potter "The Deathly Hallows" where Voldermort surreptitiously called for a cease fire when as he attempted to take over Hogworts.
I told you it was a cheesy post in the beginning, so it's your own fault you read all the way through to the end.
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
Smaller US governments are clambering down on economic spending as well. We all have heard of the dire straights that California is facing by almost declaring bankruptcy.
Now I am not sure about you, but I can not help but to chuckle envisioning The Terminator saying "Hasta la vista" and walking out of a lawyer's with a stack of Chapter 7 filing papers.
Cincinnati is not immune to this economic flu, effecting our country. Similar to the Asian Flu, (the term given to the economic crisis that brought governments crashing to its knees in a Domino effect in the 1990's) Cincinnati's 2008 economic woes had us driving miles out of our way to find the cheapest gas prices and contemplating over-hauling our automobile's engine so that it will run off of the local diner's garbage.
Despite this, our mayor had the audacity to request that room for an additional assistant to him be transposed into the city's 2009 budget. I am sure that Mayor Mallory had good reason for this, but Cincinnatians found it hard to swallow when we were asked to forgo keeping neighborhood pools open so that the head of the city could have an additional lackey following him around.
But is Cincinnati in that bad of economic shape?
When you look at similar sized cities in the area, I see that the Queen City his holding her head high above the others.
Indianapolis boosted a $57 million deficit in 2008 only to be trumped by the fledgling city of Detroit with a $300 million black spot on it's financial papers.
So in the grand scheme of things, I am sure the we could be fairing much worse.
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
Even before my NAMjA years, I have had a love affair of the written word, though closeted up until I began this blog. In these "closeted" years, I began writing a fiction novel and here it is almost 7 years later and it is still not completed.
This year, its all going to change.
The following is a brief synopsis that I wrote for some publishers who have been interested in the novel.
10 to 1 is a psychologically complex thriller in the same mold as Walter Mosley, but with a touch of a “coming of age” story a la J.K. Rawling.
Jacob Taylor is a shy, gay, 22 yr old recent college graduate. As with most new college graduates, transitioning from an existence of text books and dorm rooms to the “real world” can be a bit daunting.
This, coupled with his turmoil of divulging his sexual orientation to his family, who basks in Southern Baptist values, keeps Jacob’s mind in a bind.
Just a few weeks after Jacob graduates from the University of Cincinnati, his world is turned end over end, as he finds himself struggling to save an innocent life in addition to capturing the love of a man who is tied to the story in more ways than one.
Filled with anguish, suspense, heroes, harlequins and more, this novel will put Jacob through gauntlet of trouble and turmoil, leading up to a final climactic realization that will lead to an understanding of a lifetime.
Though there is little literature about the rate of increase of unemployment in the gay/lesbian community, we all know that what this translates to is that unless we step up to the plate and be more aggressive in our job search success, we will be finding a lot less time for spending time worrying about our next trip to San Juan and more about how we will pay our next car payment.
Having close to a decade's worth of experience hiring and managing (and on some occasions, firing) employees, in addition to being in the "hot seat" a few times myself, I have devised a five-step plan to help the Alternate-Life styled job seeker getting ready for their initial interview with "The Man" and teach him how to stave off some of the insecurities of being true to one's self.
Step 1. Throw Your Standards Out The Door
Looking for a job is not like sizing up the night's next boudoir conquest. You may have to begin a new career at a lower level than your past job. Get your foot in the door and prove your work with hard work and dedication. Keep this in mind during your interview.
Step 2. Sheik Is Not Just A City In China
The way that you dress is very important and easy way to create a great first impression. Keep it simple but stylish and do not go overboard. A good rule of thumb is to dress one level above the job in which you are applying.
Step 3. Leave The Ex Out Of It
During an interview, it is inevitable that you will be asked about something in your personal life. There are several areas in which it is illegal for potential employers to ask you about, but you do not want to seem too stand off-ish about your home life. Be prepared to be open and honest, but only as mush as you are comfortable. Rule of thumb: Do not tell your potential employer anything that you would not want to divulge to your own mother.
Step 4. Me Talk Pretty One Day
If only David Sedaris took heed to this bit of advice during his travels in France, he may have had a bit more luck in his endeavors while overseas. Make sure that your diction, verb tense and pronunciation are all correct. There is nothing more debilitating to an interview then sounding as if you woke up on the wrong side of your double-wide (no offence to those "fam" members who reside in a trailer park, but you get what I mean).
Step 5. Get On, Stay and Leave On The Good Foot!
Being a gay man in the new century does not inherit to the grace and savior-fair of the Windsor family, but for the most part, we can hold our own in the grace area. Use these well learned traits to enter the interview in a polite manor and use etiquette to help leave a good impression. Who knows, if everything goes well, you may leave with a job and a date for the evening.
As stated in the beginning, the job market is getting more competitive with the multitude of lay-offs and the rising unemployment rate. With an over whelming tradition of discrimination against gays/and lesbians, this climbing rate does not look too promising for our kind. With following these simple steps, you too can make through this momentary downward spiral virtually unscathed and, maybe, a bit better than before.
Sunday, January 04, 2009
Saturday, January 03, 2009
As humans became more sophisticated, tradable items became a bit more standardized in the form of money and societal needs advanced further into the trading of these standardized monies which developed past that of tangible items to that of services such as the selling of information and services.
To the buyer, salesmen have been the Bain of their existence. In a high pressure environment, salesmen may be pressured to do anything and everything in order to ensure that the end result was "a sell". This mindset has caused consumers to become angry, disenchanted and, in many cases, has led some potential buyers to go elsewhere for an inferior product.
It definitely takes a certain highly strung, success driven and competitive person, with little personal integrity to have enough energy to begin their sales career in one of these high pressure situations. This is the conundrum I found myself in when I stepped into the arena. My background of working with non-profit organization did not exactly help me in my quest for success in the world of sales.
Though my experience placed my near the rear of the pecking order, it was also a blessing in disguise, furnishing me the opportunity to see the error of the traditional salesman way of thinking and has since, through knowledge, integrity and personable interactions, lead me to become promoted years before my time. There are five simple guidelines that every salesman must integrate into their daily routine in order to insure that they are really serving the customer and not just their pockets.
In turn, these five rules will bring peace to the soul and in turn, create an easier sale.
5. Visualize The Sale
Just before the salesman engages the potential customer, they should take a minute or two and mentally visualize the sell being successful. This minute is one of the most important part of the sales process as pointed out in "The One Minute Sales Person" written by Spencer Johnson, M.D. and co-authored with Larry Wilson.
4. Realize That We Are Not All The Same
If you are explaining how a treadmill improves your cardio vascular health to a certified personal trainer when attempting to sell them a gym membership, I would hope that you would explain it differently to an over-weight middle aged house-wife whose idea of cardio health is passing up the fried chicken to get to the roasted turkey on the buffet line.
3. Know Your Product
Customers feel more at ease when you have increased knowledge of the product in which you are selling. Humans are learners by nature, so the more information which you provide increases the fantasy that you are a subject expert, drawing the costumer more into a sense of comfort and trust.
2. Know When To Back Off
Any good salesman know that the customer will through up road-blocks such as I don't have enough money or I have to check with my spouse once you finally attempt to 'close the deal'. These are valid concerns which should be taken into consideration (they also should have been identified well before the salesman tried to close to deal, but that is beside the point). One or two are acceptable, but if the objection count starts to reach three or four, you may just have to let that customer come back another day.
1. Make Them Believe It
If all of the aforementioned steps have been followed and adhered to throughout the entire customer - salesman interaction, this last step should have already been accomplished. Once the customer believes that the price in which you are selling the product is equaled to their value of the product, or equaled to their marginal utility of the product, closing the sale is the next logical step.
Barring the myriad of variable that may go into customer interaction, on a tertiary level, if these five steps are followed, selling can be made easy, fun and profitable.
Johnson, Spencer, and Larry Wilson. The One Minute Sales Person. New York: Random House, 1984
Friday, January 02, 2009
The movie could easily be incorporated into any contemporary film course with its strong symbolism coupled with the in-estinquishly raw acting talent which moved us throughout the story of Celie, a young African American girl who reclaims her dignity after a lifetime of living without.
With it's stunningly simple yet poignant cinematography, this film could easily be used in any film or acting course. Though reeling in 11 Academy Award nominations in its release in the mid 1980's, none of the cast members walked away with an Oscar.
A bit more light-hearted than the novel, Color is one of the most powerful films which I have ever experienced with its brutal portrayal worst the worst side of African American men while bringing to light the depth and beauty of the African American woman. An age old tale which could have been told with an all white cast or an all Asian cast, but it was told with African American cast, one of the first of its kind for this type of drama on such a large scale.
The film was littered with a myriad of colorfully developed characters, complete with gender specific roles, according to the period of the piece. Whites were characterized as unknowingly uppity with an urgent sense of entitlement and African American men were typified as the either the lazy go lucky vagabond or an unyielding abusive force to be reckoned. The latter dominated the Ora of the film, with very few exceptions, and as I watched the film for the umpteenth time throughout my life on New Year's Day, I realized that it was this portrayal of African American life which helped to shape my sense of what not to become as I matured.
Conversely, it was the colorful and unexpectedly delightful portrayal of the inner depths of which an African American female soul can reach which opened my eyes even more, bringing out a world of unknown thoughts and emotions.
Watching this movie on New Year's Day, a day when most are either analyzing their mistakes/accomplishments of the past year or resoluting lofty goals for the upcoming year, I found that it was to my benefit to not do either but reflect on the ways in which the aforementioned film shaped my thoughts and guided my dreams over the years, and hopefully to lead towards a future which I will never regret.