Thursday, December 25, 2008

What I Got For Christmas..

It feels like it has been forever, but a grownup Christmas wish has finally come true this year.

You see, for some people Christmas means it is time to find the perfect gift for that special someone. For others, it means going to mall after mall, store after store, etc. etc. to give it your all (and in some cases give UP your all only to be reminded later) to buy stuff for loved ones. Then there are those who simply wants people to be together and not to be alone for Christmas. Let me be clear: gift giving, as long as it is not taken to a great extreme, is ok. There are many different reasons for this season, no matter what any given organized religion, economic institution, or government institution dictates it to be..

Take the gift of reevaluation:

Recently, President-elect Obama picked an ultra religious conservative pastor to kick off his inauguration ceremony. At first I thought, "Whatever. I don't know anything about that man, I'll wait and see what this means." As the media and gay leaders began to give energy to this, I began to get angry at him and this latest pick. In the context of few (if any?) nominations of openly gay people to his administration, it just did not look good. At all. How in the world could Obama bring such visibility to such an anti-gay person? What about those campaign promises to Americans with different sexual orientations and gender identities?

Then, a friend recently blogged about something that people are not talking about: he is ending his inauguration ceremony with a positive, gay friendly pastor. Her point? The previous administration ushered in an successful campaign to eliminate rights from a targeted group, people are having a dialogue like never before about gay rights, Obama is starting his celebration with a person people have great differences with, and ending it on a positive note. Think about it. Got me to reevaluate what is going on out there.

Then there is the gift of family:

This year marks the first that Steve and I have been able to celebrate Christmas with my mother at her home in Florida and fate had an interesting way of having my father join us. He's staying at my brother's house, which is across the street from my mom's.

Its challenging for some people to have their loved ones at their side, for whatever reason, during the holiday season. For years, I have celebrated Christmas and other holidays with my partner's family. A couple years ago I was fortunate to have some of my family join Steve and me for a fateful Christmas. I will never forget that I have been blessed with the opportunity to travel to Mexico to be with my gramma and my mom's family for the holidays several times over the years. Its not easy for Steve and me to have family so spread apart.

Quick aside, before I continue:

My parents have been divorced for about fifteen years, since 1993 I believe.. Some children of divorced parents have had the good fortune of having parents in their lives who have become better friends than spouses. Some children have parents with great differences and rifts between them. On their own, over time, my parents have shared me with what has kept them from having any relationship whatsoever. Although: my mom has had comforting words for my dad when his loved ones have passed away, and my dad has been there when my mom's loved ones have passed away. So I admit, to say they have had no relationship whatsoever is rather unfair.

Back to the gift of family, and the grownup Christmas wish finally granted:

After years of celebrating holidays without my biological family, we all got to have Christmas Eve dinner together. Jav with his boyfriend, Jason. Lupita with her partner, Adam and their beautiful baby Adan. Arturo with his wife Celeste. Art's beautiful children Karina and Breanne. Of course, me with my boyfriend Steve. All of us having dinner together and enjoying each other's company. Nice. Very nice indeed.

At first the thought of everyone in close proximity with each other conjured thoughts of drama and a whole lot of what if's. In the end there was no way in HELL that any member of the family, in such close proximity with each other, would be spending time alone. A couple times throughout the day several of us discussed how this day would play out. In the end: with some uncertainty, of course we should all be together for dinner.

Then after a Baptist Christmas Eve service it happened: my mom extended the invitation to my father and of course said some things in addition to the invitation. My daddy, the proud and stubborn man he is, accepted the invitation and of course had to respond to my mom. My sister was standing there, completing a rather emotional quartet. At that point I just didn't care about what was being said as tears of joy began to flow down my face. All I could do was chuckle, cry with joy, mutter something to end the discussion, express my pride in having my mami and papi by side this Christmas, and clutch the four of us together while I hear my sister saying something simple about us having a hug of piece.

So what I got this Christmas? Opportunities to reevaluate things, to be with my family for Christmas, and to get a new grownup Christmas wish. That wish? For my parents to develop their relationship as friends.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The End Of A Trek Era

The Internet is buzzing with news about the passing of Majel Barrett-Roddenberry. I met this wonderful woman years ago at a Comic Con, I believe. She and John De Lancie signed one of my now most treasured items of all time: Star Trek novel Q-In-Law.

With a reboot of her husband's beloved Star Trek just around the corner, her passing marks the end of an era. The news hit me surprisingly hard and I'm suddenly finding myself feeling a whole lot older. Mrs. Barrett-Roddenberry, with that wonderfully playful smile of hers, will surely be missed.

Click here for the news at

Monday, December 15, 2008

On Lame Duck Bush And The Iraq/Hussein Legacy

We are approaching the final days of the lame duck bush administration. Judging from the celebrations at the White House on election night, surely people out there are counting down the final days to January 20, 2009. Maybe they're counting down to the final minutes.

Anyway: some of the bush legacy will undoubtedly involve Iraq. Did you know that 60 Minutes had a segment on the interrogation of Saddam Hussein? That 60 Minutes interview of the man who interrograted Hussein, in my opinion, certainly places the bush legacy into a certain perspective. I heard about that segment months ago.

When reflecting on the interview, its difficult not to question United States intentions and interests in the Middle East. Especially now that petro companies have more freedom to be fruitful. At least the cost of gasoline has dropped significantly these days.

I digress. Here we have a defiant man with no remorse for what he said and did and at first was more concerned about Iran than the United States. A man full of surprises: in fact he may have had a unique respect for women. More than some Americans, I might add.

Some highlights:

  • The real reason for Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait: a grossly inappropriate comment about Iraqi women

  • No weapons of mass destruction, but he did want to bring them back

  • Hussein reacts to Baghdad moving on without him

  • Hussein considered Bin Laden a fanatic and never wanted to be associated with him

  • Hussein has respect for Reagan and Clinton as leaders, but not for bush senior and junior.

Here's a link to the 60 Minutes article complete with video, in all its glory.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Little People, Big Problem?

What a most unfortunate turn of events. The Roloff family just might be a bit on the hypocritical side. They've painted for themselves a rather interesting picture.

Allegedly, Jeremy Roloff has a tendency to use derogatory language about Gays, Mexicans, and who knows who else on his MySpace page. Coincidentally his MySpace profile is reportedly now set to private. The Learning Channel and the Roloff family seem to be ignoring the issue. And to make matters more interesting, Amy Roloff includes a link to the notoriously anti-gay Focus Of The Family web site on her web site.

Makes me wonder what they really think of this big world of ours.

Click here for a good starting point on a disappointing, disturbing turn of events for this tolerance-preaching family.

Monday, December 1, 2008

On The Dark Side Of Black Friday..

Fascinating, this Black Friday phenomenon. I finally experienced it for myself. All in all, not a bad experience. No sign of an economy in recession, I think.. Would've been a little better had I gotten more rest the night before.

American TV should be commended for running a very organized ship for their big sale. Prior to the doors opening at 5am, salespeople outside issued maps of the store and shouted out instructions to the crowd. Simple, really: know what you want to get, and follow the designated line to get to the desired product. Once inside, the crowd was welcomed by balloons, signs, and salespeople directing people to their destination.

Too bad we don't get to hear more about events like that. Maybe the positive publicity would give businesses an incentive to control their crowds and draw them in. Oh, what the hell do I know.. ;)

Then there is the darker side of Black Friday. Of course I'm referring to the news about the tragic accidents which occur on this day. This year is no exception.

There is the unfortunate death of the Long Island Walmart employee trampled by the crowd. The shooting at the California Toys 'R Us is admittedly rather unexpected. What has me quite disturbed is the apparent lack of response to news of the woman who suffered a miscarriage after being trampled by the Long Island Walmart stampede.

Read all about it here.

Tornado Rainbow Triangle