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.