Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The End Of The Year Begins With...

the beginning of the year in Sydney.

It was a fluke that I was able to watch the fireworks from Sydney as the Aussies rang in 2014.  You see...

I woke up at 4:15AM after sleeping on the couch for no apparent reason.  I woke up The Calvinator to give him his pill and walk him and decided to head the gym.  Well, I got there and they were closed.  I remembered they were closing early today but didn't realize they were opening late.  So, I went home and streamed the fireworks from Sydney.  7:00AM is 12:00AM there.

I saw an interview about the cost of the display.  $6M (AUS) was spent and for the first time in 10 years the iconic Sydney Opera House was aglow with pyrotechnics.  2014 marks the 40th anniversary of the Opera House which was controversial when it was built.

My love affair with Sydney continues.  It was rather fitting that my the beginning of the last day of 2013 was started with fireworks from The Land Down Under.

Monday, December 30, 2013

CNN - Top Stories of 2013

CNN asked its viewers to vote on the top stories for 2013.  When I reviewed the list it served as a good reminder of some of the stories I had forgotten about.  The selection was varied: Jodi Arias Convicted; George Zimmerman Acquitted; The Year of Miley; Nairobi Mall Siege; Philippines Typhoon; etc. The entire selection can be viewed here.

So what made the Top 10 List?
1.  New pope
2.  Boston marathon attacks
3.  Mandela dies
4.  Edward Snowden leaks NSA
5.  Federal government shutdown
6.  Obamacare rollout debacle
7.  Philippines typhoon
8.  Syria civil war
9.  Cleveland kidnappings
10.SCOTUS on same-sex marriage

What were your top stories of the year?

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Esquire Magazine Best Dressed Man of 2013

source: Getty Images
The accolades from Pope Francis continue.  Esquire Magazine has named him Best Dressed Man for 2013.

From the article: 
"Ann Pellegrini, Associate Professor of Performance Studies & Religious Studies at New York University puts it this way: 'The humility of his garments offers a way to visibly display his theological and material concerns for the poor. This Holy Roman emperor really does have new clothes.'"

You can read the full story here.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Do Not Be Afraid

source: CNN
"On this night, let us share the joy of the Gospel. God loves us. He so loves us that he gave us his son to be our brother, to be light in our darkness. To us the Lord repeats, 'Do not be afraid,' ... And I, too, repeat, do not be afraid,'" the Pope said.

"There are both bright and dark moments, lights and shadows," Francis said in his homily. "If our heart is closed, if we are dominated by pride, deceit, self-seeking, then darkness falls within us and around us."

To read more of the Pope's address, visit CNN and NPR.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Snow Art - Simon Beck

This is amazing!  Artist Simon Beck creates art in the snow.  The full story is here.
source: ViralNova.com

Darlene Love - Closing Bell

My infatuation with Darlene Love continues. Today she rang the closing bell at NYSE AND she performed. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Darlene Love on David Letterman - Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

Once again, Darlene Love rocked the house with her performance of Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) on Late Night with David Letterman.  In case you missed it, you can view it here.
source: Late Show with David Letterman

And this morning, found her original performance of the song on his show in 1986.  At the 4:05 mark he asks her to come back next year.  I wonder if either of them knew it would become a Christmas tradition?  You can watch the 1986 performance here.

Friday, December 20, 2013

If This Doesn't Make You Smile...

then you must be a Scrooge. A flash mob in New York City recreates the dance scene from A Charlie Brown Christmas. Even Snoopy makes an appearance. The question is, "Would you have joined in?" Considering that I played Linus in Nolan High School's production of You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown, I would have head butted the guy playing Linus and taken over. Enjoy!

A Christmas Tradition Continues

Darlene Love makes her return to David Letterman tonight to close out his show with Christmas ( Baby Please  Home).   Originally recorded  in 1963, Darlene appeared on Letterman in 1986 to perform the song and has been back every year.  The big question has become,  "How will the saxophone player make his entrance?"
She posted on her Facebook page that she taped the show yesterday so it is in the can.   Darlene is 72 and still going strong!
This is last year's performance:

Thursday, December 19, 2013

In Case You Missed This...

Students at Kilgore High School pulled a stunt on their classmates, faculty and staff and filmed the prank.  I myself would have been a bit skeptical about the odd looking tree.  Just sayin'.  Also, I don't know which is scarier, the tree or the some of the sweaters?

But nothing is as funny as this clip from NBC affiliate KXAS:

 or this of Geraldo Rivera in Galveston waiting for Hurricane Ike:

Breaking News (?)

photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

So...I'm just finishing up lunch after dealing with traffic (I thought I was the only one not working this week who wanted to do Christmas shopping) and CNN does a story about Brian Boitano coming out as gay.  I looked at The Calvinator and said, "Isn't he already out?"  No reply from The Calvinator.

According to the talking heads on CNN, Brian is going to represent the United States at the Winter Olympics in Sochi.  He had been interviewed a couple of days ago by a newspaper and I think they accidentally outed him by saying that he was gay and going to Sochi.  Oops!  Or maybe Obama just assumed he was gay and thought he should join Billie Jean King on the trip.

You can read the full story on Huffington Post here.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Pope Francis' Vatican reforms may prompt curial pushback | National Catholic Reporter

Pope Francis' Vatican reforms may prompt curial pushback | National Catholic Reporter 

In Texas we have a saying (about littering), "Don't Mess With Texas!"  I think an adaption for The Vatican should be "Don't Mess With Francis!"

Better Than Jerry Springer!

This has been making the rounds on Facebook.  It is two women fighting in the street  here in Houston.  And what's odd...after the scuffle, they drove off.  I know that there is no way I would have intervened!


Double The Fun!

This photo makes me laugh.  They are the daughters of one of my co-workers.  I think Ellen needs this photo for her show!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Santa Speedo Run 2013 - Boston

So, I was able to capture a few photos of Instagram of the original Santa Speedo Run in Boston.  Bosguy posted this video.  And here is some coverage by CBS.  And more photos from Boston Magazine.


I saw this picture on a blog yesterday and I think on a Facebook posting and I actually thought someone was doing a spoof of The Advocate's cover.  Upon further research, I found out that they had named Pope Francis their Person of They Year.  The quote on the cover says it all, "If someone is gay and seeks the Lord with good will, who am I to judge?"

This quote from Pope Francis was made earlier this year during an interview on an airplane.  It immediately made the news.

To read The Advocate's article, click here.

In other news...
On Sunday, I was looking at the news feed on my Facebook page and noticed that a friend had posted a link to the blog The Boeskool.  The title of the post is 10 Things Pope Francis Has Done That Make Me Consider Being Catholic.

I don't know who is handling the Pope's pr but their doing a helluva job. Oops...is that considered cursing while writing about the Pope.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Santa Speedo Run 2013

photo credit: Nicole Connolly
Today is the annual running of the Santa Speedo Run in Boston.  This year's run benefits Play Ball Foundation.  In my opinion, it looks like a good cause, to run around in a Speedo in freezing weather but then hang out at bar and have a beverage or two.

I guess I first became aware of this event back in 2007 because this is the first post I did about the event.  There are a couple of blogs that I'll be checking in with today and tomorrow and will let you know where to find photos like this from Nicole Connolly.

UPDATE (12/15/13): Violentz has done a great job of documenting the Santa Speedo Runs.  Here are photos from last year.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Pope Francis - Person of the Year

Congratulations Pope Francis on being named Time Magazine's Person of the Year! I'm not sure if you are reading my blog but if you are I want you to know that in the short amount of time you have been Pope, you have already made a difference. Congrats from The Calvinator and me. Oh, and even though he would have liked for you to take the name of Calvin, he was just as happy that you chose Francis.

For those of you who don't know why he was selected, Time's managing editor Nancy Gibbs called the Pope "a new voice of conscience."

"In his nine months in office, he has placed himself at the very center of the central conversations of our time, about wealth and poverty, fairness and justice, transparency, modernity, globalization, the role of women, the nature of marriage, the temptations of power," she said. "When he kisses the face of a disfigured man or washes the feet of a Muslim woman, the image resonates far beyond the boundaries of the Catholic Church."

The Pope's response to the honor?
"The Holy Father is not looking to become famous or to receive honors. But if the choice of Person of Year helps spread the message of the gospel-- a message of God's love for everyone-- he will certainly be happy about that." -Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi

For the full story, click here.

And in related news, I actually met Edie Windsor who came in 3rd for Person of the Year.  We met in Baltimore in 2012.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


Today is #GivingTuesday.  It's a day that was started last year to follow Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday.

It's also at this time of year that many nonprofits do an ask.  They ask their supporters to make a year end contribution. ..just in case they need another tax write off.

Put those two things together and you have #GivingTuesday.  It's a reminder to do some good during all of the hustle and bustle of thev holiday season.

Giving doesn't always have to be done in monetary form.  Giving of your time and volunteering makes a difference.

I work at Legacy Community Health Services.  We are very fortunate to have peowho support what we do through monetary donations and by volunteering.  We can't do what we do without our supporters.  A big THANK YOU goes out to those people.

So. .. before the day ends make a contribution to a cause you support or start thinking about how you can volunteer your time...but today and don't wait until it's New Year Resolution time.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

World AIDS Day 2013

Legacy Community Health Services-Montrose World AIDS Day 2013
Today is World AIDS Day. A global day to bring awareness about a disease that affects children, women and men.

When people were first infected with HIV in the early '80s, Montrose Clinic (now Legacy Community Health Services) went from being an STD clinic for gay men to one of the first responders to the pandemic in Houston. Legacy went from teaching people how to die from HIV/AIDS to teaching people how to live with HIV/AIDS. Treatments have changed over the years and people are living longer. The face of HIV/AIDS has changed. It went from being a gay man's disease to a disease that affects everyone but one thing hasn't changed: the stigma attached to being HIV+

I was getting ready to head over to a holiday party and visit with friends but before I headed out for the day, I did want to take a moment and acknowledge this day. You might say that the above photo says it all but it is too easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday weekend and forget about today.

The photo above was taken last night after I arrived back in town. Katy Caldwell, (Executive Director at Legacy) Gary Archer (from Bright Star Productions) and I had been trying to think of a way to illuminate Legacy's Montrose location for World AIDS Day. Katy suggested a red ribbon. I suggested a string of red ribbons on the white tile. And well then, we left it up to Gary.

from Gary:
I thought it should be multiple ribbons all the way across, some larger, some smaller, different shades of reds, bold, shadows, etc. I visualized this as each of us standing side by side honoring those friends &family who have been affected by HIV/AIDS. That’s my take on this…my concept. On a personal level, I see many friends up there and therefore, I see myself.

So folks there is the story behind the building being lit. And there is also an obscure part of the story that not many people know about.

Back in 1997, I became involved in a committee to raise awareness for World AIDS Day and Illumination Project. Jane Weiner was in charge of the project and I had never met her. I was warned not to drink her Kool-Aid but I did. In one of the meetings, Jane wanted to know why a building or buildings in Houston weren't decorated with the red ribbon. Well, six years later we have one building lit; maybe more will follow.

I hope that you will take a minute to remember everyone who has died from HIV/AIDS, everyone living with HIV/AIDS and everyone who is helping fight the battle. You don't have to light up a building but you can light up your heart.


For more photos, visit Legacy's Facebook page.

To read CultureMap's story, click here.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Kinky Boots Part III

In the category of WTF...

Earlier today I was on Facebook and a friend posted a link to a story on Huffington Post about people who were upset that there was a performance of Kinky Boots during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  The upset people obviously have no idea what the show is about because if they did they would know it is about acceptance and tolerance.  Here are some of the comments:
To me there are two things that need explaining...
1) Why is Stark Sands in a sports coat, dress shirt and tie, and boxers;
2) How do women AND men dance in those boots?

So anyone watching the parade yesterday felt uncomfortable with their kids watching the performance, I guarantee you the kids probably didn't know that those were men dressed as women.  It only became a big deal when the parents made it a big deal.  And who knows, maybe some kid was inspired to become a dancer and singer.

If a child DID ask questions, it was the perfect opportunity for parents to talk about accepting people for who they are and a discussion about tolerance.

Now for the fun part of all of this...
This photo was on Kinky Boots' Facebook page.  Can you imagine shopping at Macy's and Billy Porter and Stark Sands come walking in?  The caption for the photo: 

We went shopping at Macy's today to thank them for supporting 
acceptance & fabulousness on the #MacysParade... you should too!

And just as an afterthought, what did people tell their kinds about Uncle Miltie being dressed as a woman and Flip Wilson's character Geraldine?  Just askin'

Kinky Boots Part II

I can't believe I missed this yesterday!  I was doing odds & ends around The Calvinator's North Texas Crib and didn't get to watch the parade from beginning to end.

 I knew there would be a highlight from Kinky Boots and I was hoping this would be the song.  This is a very uplifting song and I was humming it when I left the theatre on my recent trip to NYC.  Once again Kinky Boots, thanx for making me smile!

P.S. I'm still amazed at anyone, female or male, who can dance heels that high!  Something to aspire to I guess.

Jimmy Fallon's Holiday Parody

I really wish Jimmy Fallon was on the telly earlier in the evening.  He cracks me up and I'm sorry I missed his holiday parody but today on the day after Thanksgiving I am grateful for YouTube!  Enjoy.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

circa 2010
This is a photo that was taken with a self-timer.  I'll probably never get that expression again from The Calvinator so I've decided to make this my annual Thanksgiving Day photo.

Wishing everyone a wonderful day!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Like A Rolling Stone

So last week I ran across this great mashup of Bob Dylan's Like A Rolling Stone.  You have to follow the instructions otherwise it doesn't make any sense.  So read carefully.

First you have do this from a desktop.  It might work on a laptop but I haven't tried it yet.  It doesn't work on a mobile device.  There are about 10+ videos that make up this one video and during the song you can change between videos by using the channel buttons on the left (look at the photo above). Someone took quite a bit of time to make this work and it is amazing.  It can also be addictive!

I then realized that I really don't know the words to Like A Rolling Stone.  So...if you've ever wondered what Bob Dylan is singing, here you go:

Once upon a time you dressed so fine
You threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn't you ?
People'd call, say, "Beware doll, you're bound to fall"
You thought they were all kiddin' you
You used to laugh about
Everybody that was hangin' out
Now you don't talk so loud
Now you don't seem so proud
About having to be scrounging for your next meal.

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be without a home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone ?

You've gone to the finest school all right, Miss Lonely
But you know you only used to get juiced in it
And nobody has ever taught you how to live on the street
And now you find out you're gonna have to get used to it
You said you'd never compromise
With the mystery tramp, but know you realize
He's not selling any alibis
As you stare into the vacuum of his eyes
And say do you want to make a deal?

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone ?
You never turned around to see the frowns on the jugglers and the clowns
When they all come down and did tricks for you
You never understood that it ain't no good
You shouldn't let other people get your kicks for you
You used to ride on the chrome horse with your diplomat
Who carried on his shoulder a Siamese cat
Ain't it hard when you discover that
He really wasn't where it's at
After he took from you everything he could steal.

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone ?

Princess on the steeple and all the pretty people
They're drinkin', thinkin' that they got it made
Exchanging all precious gifts
But you'd better take your diamond ring, you'd better pawn it babe
You used to be so amused
At Napoleon in rags and the language that he used
Go to him now, he calls you, you can't refuse
When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose
You're invisible now, you got no secrets to conceal.

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone ?

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Strictly Come Dancing - Ben Cohen

I have never met Ben Cohen but I have been in the same room with him.  I have a feeling that he and I could be BFF.  There's quite a bit to like about him and I'll do another post about him in the future.

I've been watching his Strictly Come Dancing videos and this one is just too cute!  Enjoy!

Friday, November 22, 2013

November 22, 1963

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy in Dallas.  Leading up to today, many television networks have been running specials about the last days of JFK.

Everything I know about day that has been told to me by relatives who remember the day, and news stories I have read and heard.  I was only 2 years of age at the time so I have no recollection of what occurred.  If I had to guess, my sister and I were with my Guereca grandparents on the north side of Fort Worth while our parents were at work.  When it happened, I'm sure my grandmother was watching As The World Turns and CBS interrupted the show to announce that Kennedy had been shot.  After the show ended, I would assume they did another news break to announce his death.

The night before, John & Jackie arrived at Carswell Air Force Base.  My Aunt Lulu was there with Raymond (who would later become her husband).  I remember her telling me that when the plane arrived it was like something out of a movie.  The flood lights were on the tarmac and a big crowd had gathered to welcome the Kennedys to Ft.Worth.  The ramp was brought to the plane and the Kennedys exited the plane to the cheers of the crowd.  Uncle Raymond put her on his soldiers so she could see them.

John & Jackie stayed at the Hotel Texas which is now the Hilton.  Inside of the hotel the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce was gathered in the Crystal Ballroom for breakfast with John & Jackie.  And outside of the hotel, a crowd had gathered to greet the President.  News stories say that inside and outside, the crowds were charmed by the President.

In 2012, a monument of JFK was erected and placed outside of the hotel.  Fort Worth holds it's rightful place in history and it was only right to memorialize that day.

Every generation has a defining moment that scars it.  I was too young to remember November 22, 1963.  I do remember what I was doing when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded on January 28, 1986.  I remember what I was doing when the planes flew into The World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.  And I'll never forget the horror of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

I was reminded the other by my mother that in the days after November 22, 1963, my sister and I asked her if John-John and Caroline could come and stay with us.  Looking back, I guess that day did leave an impression upon me.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram has put together a gallery of photos from November 21-22, 1963 that can be viewed here.

And here are photos that I took last year of the memorial in Fort Worth.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Things That Make Me Smile

5 year old Taranza McKelvin Tears Up The Field  

 Joe Boxer tears off the pants

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Batkid Saves The Day!

Miles Scott is a five year old who has already battled his share of villains.  He has battled leukemia and is in remission.

Make A Wish Foundation granted his wish to be Batkid.  The San Francisco chapter turned the city of San Francisco into Gotham City on the West Coast for a day and over 13,000 people showed up to watch Batkid save a damsel in distress, confront The Penguin AND The Riddler.  The Department of Justice, FBI, SFO Police Department and the Obamas all participated in helping Batkid.

The story in the Daily News chronicles Batkid's day.  What I didn't realize until today is the Miles' brother helped him by being the sidekick Robin.

San Francisco is one of my favorite cities and the support they showed for Miles proves that all the hearts that have been left in San Francisco were on display on Friday.

Job well done San Francisco!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

As I See It

I was out walking The Calvinator and this lone tree on the property of Delpechin caught my eye. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Survey Says...!

So it seems that Pope Francis wants our opinion.  I am willing to bet that in the history of the Roman Catholic Church there has never been a Pope that has taken the time to listen to the members of the faith.

Growing up, I attended parochial school for 12 years.  I think I'm a subject matter expert when it comes to living in a dictatorial environment during the school day; well, at least grades 1-8.

I'm very pleased that he is at least making the effort to get opinions.  I think it would be great if the bishops did an online survey in each diocese.  They could definitely reach more people.  Maybe even do a Facebook survey or have us tweet our replies #thanksforlistening

Anywho, I'm glad he wants our opinion.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Let's Hear It For The Girl (Again)!

Funny thing happened on my way to the keyboard.  I was trying to think of a cutesy name for this post and I decided on Let's Hear It for the Girl only to realize that in a post from 2009 about Annise Parker, I used the same title! 

On Tuesday evening, Annise was re-elected as Mayor of the City of Houston. And what's even better is that she did it without having to go into a run-off.  Her nemesis main challenger, Ben Hall, only received 20something percent of the vote. (He ran some very odd commercials. Just sayin'.)

Things haven't always been perfect in Houston under her administration but one really can't complain about how good things are in the 3rd 4th largest city in the United States.  It's a great city to live in and it is full of opportunity.  She's a great person to have at the helm.

Congratulations Annise!  Here's to another successful two years!!!
photo credit: Dalton Dehart

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Brad Ausmus

A big Thank You to Kenneth In The 212 for giving an update on one of my all-time favorite baseball players Brad Ausmus.  Brad was a catcher for the Houston Astros from 2001-2008 and a fan favorite.  He is also an all-around good guy!

Brad has recently been appointed manager of the Detroit Tigers.  Guess I'll be following the Tigers now!  Here's wishing Brad all the best in his new endeavor.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Hottest New Workout

I was watching the telly the other night and they did a promo about the latest craze in workouts.  I never jumped on the P90X bandwagon or joined in the CrossFit craze although I haven't ruled them out.  I digress.

So the promo was about SurfSET.  It's a fitness workout that simulates you surfing and fighting off sharks.

And to make it even better, Erik Barrajas did the story!  You can view the story here:

Saturday, September 21, 2013

As I See It

This is a photo that I took on September 13 at Brennan's of Houston.  I love this restaurant.  I have really great memories from this restaurant.

To celebrate my 52nd birthday, I decided to treat myself to dinner at the restaurant and invited a friend whose birthday is also close to mine.  It was a great opportunity to enjoy a nice meal and catch up with him.

I did get there a bit early and made myself comfortable at the bar.  I know.  You're shocked.  I can see your shocked face.

And in case you can't tell, I'm loving Instagram!

Friday, September 20, 2013


Believe it or not I have never seen Wicked.  The musical has been to Houston several times but I've just never had the time to see it.  And on trips to New York, I either don't have the time to see it, it's been sold out, or there is something else I choose to see.

What's even more bizarre is that I know most of the songs.  I own the Original Cast Recording cd and I've listened to it many times.  The one song I've listened to over and over is Popular.

 So...last week I attend the ISES Icon Awards.  To be quite honest with you I wasn't really sure what it was all about but I was pleased to be there because Jackson Hicks and Darryl Murchison were receiving special awards.

The event took place at The Corinthian which is an old bank building in downtown Houston that has been restored and turned into an events venue.  It is a really nice building.

I know I'm digressing but there really is a point to all of this.  So...

I walk into The Corinthian and grab a cocktail.  I know.  You're not surprised.  So after, some of my tablemates arrived, we went upstairs and guess who was the most popular?  This girl:

Yes, that is a metal frame skirt that holds champagne glasses, cupcakes, tequila shots, etc.!  If only I could be this popular. :-/

So...in keeping with the Wicked theme, they also had Dan Dunn there doing his PaintJam thing and he is amazing!

He too was very popular!  La, la.  La. la.