Friday, October 31, 2008

An open letter to red states

Here is a humorous open letter to red states that is circulating the internet...

Dear Red States:

If you manage to steal this election too we've decided we're leaving. We intend to form our own country, and we're taking the other Blue States with us. In case you aren't aware, that includes CA, HA, OR, WA, MN, WI, MI, IL and all the Northeast. We believe this split will be beneficial to the nation, and especially to the people of the new country of New California.

To sum up briefly:

You get TX , OK and all the slave states. We get stem cell research and the best beaches.

We get the Statue of Liberty. You get Dollywood.

We get Intel and Microsoft. You get WorldCom.

We get Harvard. You get Ole' Miss.

We get 85% of America 's venture capital and entrepreneurs. You get AL.

We get two-thirds of the tax revenue. You get to make the red states pay their fair share (finally).

Since our aggregate divorce rate is 22% lower than the Christian Coalition's, we get a bunch of happy families and you get a bunch of single moms.

Please be aware that Nuevo California will be pro-choice and anti-war, and we're going to want all our citizens back from Iraq at once. If you need people to fight, ask your evangelicals. They have kids they're apparently willing to send to their deaths for no purpose, and they don't care if you don't show pictures of their children's caskets coming home. We do wish you success in Iraq,but we're not willing to spend our resources in Bush's Quagmire.

With the Blue States, we will have firm control of 80% of the country's fresh water, more than 90% of the pineapple and lettuce, 92% of the nation's fresh fruit, 95% of America's quality wines, 90% of all cheese, 90% of the high tech industry, most of the U.S. low-sulfur coal, all living redwoods, sequoias and condors, all the Ivy and Seven Sister schools plus Stanford, Cal Tech and MIT.

With the Red States, you will have to cope with 88% of all obese Americans (and their projected health care costs), 92% of all U.S. mosquitoes, nearly 100% of the tornadoes, 90% of the hurricanes, 99% of all Southern Baptists, virtually 100% of all televangelists, Rush Limbaugh, Bob Jones University, Clemson and UGA.

Additionally, 44% of those in the Red states believe that evolution is only a theory, 53% believe that Saddam was involved in 9/11 and 61% of you crazy bastards believe you are people with higher morals then we lefties.

Peace out,
Blue States

Happy Halloween

Here are a few photos from halloween past in Boston. The last few years have been quite mild, and I'm hoping the same will be true tonight for all the kids in the neighborhood looking to show off their costumes. However, this morning had a chilly start so maybe costumes with lots of padding and layers will be popular this year.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

ARTcetera 2008

AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts (AAC) is a leading AIDS Service Organization (ASO) in the country. Founded by the amazing Larry Kessler in 1983 as one of the nation's first ASO's, AAC provides so many services to such a diverse community it is hard for to me imagine what life would be like without this amazing agency. You can read more about AAC and their important work here.

On Saturday, November 1st this great organization will host their biannual event, ARTcetera. In addition to quite possibly being both the most unique and most fun fundraiser this city offers, ARTcetera is significant because it raises approximately $500,000 in discretionary funding for the agency. This money is used by the agency to support programs too cutting edge or risky for Federal or State Government funding.

Started back in 1985 as a response from the Boston Arts Community to the AIDS epidemic this fundraiser has grown in numbers and has become the largest modern art auction in New England. If you have the inclination and would like to have a guaranteed great night out this Saturday, November 1st, consider attending this year's ARTcetera. Tickets remain available and can be purchased online. Link here to buy your tickets today.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I've booked a quick trip to Puerto Rico - my first visit to the island - in late January / early February to escape from the cold that will undoubtably be gripping Boston. I'm looking forward to the quick trip, but now have to find a place to stay. The nonstop airfare on JetBlue was too good to let pass so I booked the tickets this weekend. Now I've posted a question on to identify potential places to stay. If anyone happens to have a suggestion, please feel free to share your opinion in the comment section.

Yes we can - I hope

I remember when the Republican Revolution led by Newt Gingrich (R) overtook the House of Representatives in 1994 ending the Democrats 40 year majority in the lower house. That night the Republicans picked up more than 50 seats in the House and nearly 10 seats in the Senate. As a Democrat (and a liberal one at that) the night was quite depressing.

Fast forward 14 years to present day and the discontent that was so clearly levelled against the Democrats in 1994 seems to be this time aimed at Republicans. Most Americans blame the economic problems we face, the quagmire that is referred to as the 'war in Iraq' and the diminishing prestige of the United States in the world squarely on the shoulders of President Bush and the Republicans who controlled both houses of Congress for nearly 8 years.

The wave of frustration is sure to provide the Democrats with some remarkable wins on November 4th. The real question remains how much of that frustration will turn into voting out Republican incumbants? Names like Sununu, Dole and Coleman all seem vulnerable and states like NC, FL and GA all have competitive races that might result in Republican incumbents losing what even two months ago were presumed to be 'safe' seats. Check out the RealClearPolitics Election '08 to track the latest Congressional, Governor and Presidential polls.

The potential for a landslide in Presidential, Congressional and Gubenatorial races next week is a mixed blessing. Democrats will inherit a huge budget deficit, bailout promises that must be followed, a country poorer and more disenfranchised as well as a world that is openly hostile to the U.S. due to our 'cowboy' foreign policy that showed disdain for diplomacy and tainted our reputation by endorsing the use of torture.

The challenges for the next U.S. President are certain to be many and so it is with baited breath that I wait for Sen. Obama to win what seems to be a potential for a landslide victory - debunking my predictions that he would only win by 2-3% back in August when I wrote Ms. Piggy for President. Without a friendly Congress ready and willing to work with a President Obama I don't think the country would have a chance to get through this difficult time.

Get out the vote

CNNBC Video - Obama Loses by 1 Vote
If you would like to customize a video to send to your friends you can follow the link and send this humorous clip.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Medical Research Project

In late September I wrote about participating in a medical research project at Mass General Hospital that studies how low levels of testosterone in men can contribute to diminished bone density. Earlier this week on Wednesday, October 22nd, I had my first follow up visit. Nurses took blood and urine samples, and I was once again injected in the belly with small pellet of Zoladex. I also was given new supplies of the Androgel which I rub each night on my shoulders and the Arimidex which comes in pill form that I take each night. The clinician had me once again fill out a survey to note any potential side affects, but I have not noticed anything different. Perhaps I am receiving a placebo, but it is probably more likely that I'm clueless because I've been so absorbed with work.

I did conduct a quick Google search, I was able to find a number of publications addressing this study but the articles are so filled with medical mumbo-jumbo I could not really understand what they were saying so I pretty much gave up trying to find anything I could add to shed more light about this study.

As I mentioned in my initial blog entry, I would encourage everyone to consider signing up for medical studies, because we all rely on research to identify new / better cures and treatments. Most studies - like the one I have volunteered to undertake really only have temporary side affects and do not compromise a person's health.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Boston Theater Offensive

The Boston Theater Offensive sometimes referred to as "Out"Fest has started and will run through November 8th. The festival describes itself as a cutting edge, queer theater festival. I'm not sure if I would refer to the productions as 'cutting edge' but it is definitely queer themed theater.

This year Varla Jean Merman graces the festival with her show, "Varla Jean Merman Loves a Foreign Tongue", and I've purchased my tickets to see her on Thursday, November 30th. Tickets to several other shows are also available if Varla does not strike your fancy, but I would encourage anyone in the area to support the theater offensive and check out this year's line up. Getting tickets is easy and the prices are very reasonable. The performances are in a comfortable but intimate setting meaning that even seats in the 'way back' are not all that far from the stage.

If you'd like to read more about the Boston Theater Offensive's 17th annual Out on the Edge Festival, Terry Byrne of The Boston Globe has written an article, "Outfest Connects with Community" about this year's festival - just don't forget to buy your tickets.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Take on Me: literal video version

My friend Tom forward me a link from this site called Both of us were HUGE fans of Aha in the 80s and even bigger fans of the video, Take on Me, because at the time it was unlike anything being played on MTV. Anyway, this spoof, appropriately named "Take on Me: literal video version" was well done and made me laugh when I watched it so I thought I would post it on my blog to share. What do you think?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I really like what I do

In an attempt to avert the train wreck that is Game 4 in the ALCS and shake my sour mood, I thought I would spend some time writing about what I've been doing at work these past few weeks.

For nearly 5 months, I've been focused on a project designed to get people thinking about healthcare reform. There are so many pressing issues we face individually and as a nation, but providing affordable, quality healthcare for our children and each other has long been a top priority for individuals, families and businesses (at least until the recent financial meltdown).

I am working with a handful of colleagues and a business partner to coordinate a 'national town hall' that will begin with a satellite broadcast in Washington, D.C. to address the president-elect's healthcare reform policies. The broadcast will be viewed in 15 other cities around the country in late November. Immediately following the broadcast, each host city will have their own local town hall with a panel of healthcare experts that include policy wonks and government types, providers (i.e. hospitals, doctors, etc), payers (insurers), local employers and families. These local town halls will address problems and challenges they face and try to identify how the president-elect's reforms can best be implemented.

Despite the long hours and work involved, I have really enjoyed this project and am finding it very gratifying. I would like to think that encouraging this type of dialog serves to raise awareness, educate us all and hopefully work towards developing implementable solutions both on a national and local level. We will see... There remains much work so if my postings become little more than humorous photos you will know why. I've timed my annual trip to Brazil to start two days after this huge event occurs. I hope that the flight down is one filled with feelings of satisfaction from a job well done.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The power of speech

I don't appreciate or tolerate slurs, but I'm rarely offended when derogatory comments are directed at me - must be thick skin or just a lack of respect for those shouting the epitaphs. However, I thought this PSA from Wanda Sykes that was posted on Wicked Gay Blog was pretty cool.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Grandpa Len and Papa Tony

Unlike many people, I walk to and from work (when I go into the office). Walking provides a unique perspective, because no matter how fast your legs move you can never quite whiz by a building or speed past a city block like you can in a car. Today's walk took me past the former home of Jordan Marsh (now a Macy's) and the massive construction underway there, and on my walk home I passed along the Rose Kennedy Parkway which has transformed Boston so radically it is hard to appreciate in words without the benefit of pictures.

In both instances it made me think of two men who have since passed; my grandfathers. My Dad's father worked for years at Jordan Marsh and my Mother's father worked in and near Boston his entire life. As I was walking today, I wondered what their reactions would be if they were able to see the city as it is now. I know that they would recognize these neighborhoods, but I wondered what they would make of the changes.

My father's Dad passed away in the late 1970s when Boston and many cities around the United States were hitting rock bottom. The neighborhood that bordered Jordan Marsh was considered Boston's Red Light District (aka - The Combat Zone) and was both unsavory and unsafe. Now Downtown Crossing and the Ladder District (as it has become known) is in the midst of a renaissance of sorts and the Combat Zone is all but forgotten. The Ritz Carlton Hotel and Luxury Residences anchor the former Combat Zone and a half dozen other developments have popped up in recent years including the rebirth of two theaters - The Opera House and the Paramount Theater. These changes would have been inconceivable to my Grandpa Len in the 1970s.

Later in the day when I was walking home, I was admiring how beautiful Boston looked. I wondered what my Mother's father (a savvy real estate investor) would have made of the greenway and all the development that is currently ongoing. For sure, several of the newer buildings in downtown would make him comment (for better or worse - I'm not sure), but overall I think he would be brimming with pride. Unlike my Dad's father, "Papa", as I liked to call him did start to see Boston's rebirth, although none of us would have predicted how far that would ultimately go and how much the city would benefit from the economic and development boom.

I think too often we are so caught up with the present or obsessing about our future that we only think of the past with tinged regret or with passing indifference (i.e. after a loved one passes, if we wished we had done something differently, etc...) Walking to work this morning and back home today was unexpectedly pleasant as I imagined my make-believe conversations with my two grandfathers. I wonder sometimes if it is that rare instance when your past and present intersect so perfectly leaving one so completely content that we are 'touched by an angel' to borrow a common phrase. I've not thought about either man in quite awhile but on my walk this morning and this evening I felt as if both men were walking by my side. It made my commute far more pleasurable than I ever would have anticipated.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

SpeakEasy Stage Theater

Earlier this month I finally got around to signing up as a subscriber to the SpeakEasy Stage Theater. The SpeakEasy performances are held at the Calderwood Pavilion in the SouthEnd and I consider it my local theater although in truth it is a bit more than that. The Company is recognized throughout the area as one of a handful of excellent theaters that consistently earns praise for presenting top quality productions of plays and musicals. Over the years I've seen countless shows.

This past Friday, I went to see their current production of a Tony Award winning musical, A Light in the Piazza. The musical is about a mother coming to grips with her own mistakes in life and learning to let her daughter live her own life. The epiphany is set against the backdrop of a mother / daughter visit to Florence. In truth, my favorite part of the show was the beautiful staging and the Florentine, Fabrizio, who falls in love with the daughter, Clara.

I look forward to seeing more shows from this theater and want to encourage others to support local theater. A good story, told live by actors is so enjoyable and such a social way to spend an evening with friends or someone special.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Boston named one of the "Top 10 Solo Cities" by Sperling's Best Places

Sperling's annual study of "Best Places" this year concluded that Boston had one of the largest concentrations of single, widowed and divorced men and women aged 25-64 in the country. Cities in this year's ranking include:

1 San Francisco 44.7%
2 Detroit, MI 44%
3 New York, NY 39.8%
4 Boston, MA 39.2%
5 New Orleans, LA 39.1%
6 Los Angeles, CA 37.7%
7 Fort Lauderdale, FL 37.2%
8 Las Vegas, NV 37%
9 Miami, FL 36.9%
10 Albuquerque, NM 36.8%

While I don't quite get Detroit or Albuqurque - the rest of the Top 10 Solo Cities are fun places. Seeing Boston listed in such a context is a positive - unlike the list of least single cities which included places such as El Paso, TX; Salt Lake City, UT; and Poughkeepsie, NY. Ugh...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Head of the Charles Regatta

The 43rd annual Head of the Charles Regatta will be held later this month on Saturday, October 18th and Sunday, October 19th. Just as Patriot's Day (a.k.a. the running of the Boston Marathon) signifies the start of spring to many Bostonians, the regatta held along the banks of the Charles River signifies that it is Autumn. Few cities have so much tradition and history and while many complain that such rituals are stifling, I find them a source of pride.

This years event will draw more than 7,500 athletes and attract upwards of 300,000 spectators making it the world's largest two day rowing event. For those who have never been one might wonder why so many people attend such an obscure sporting event, but to look at this as just a rowing event is to miss the point and sell the regatta short. The event is so much more than just watching people race down the Charles River. There is plenty to see and do walking along the river banks and watching the races, looking at all the vendors and sponsors who line the river, chatting with people you meet who have travelled from across the country and in some cases the world, cheering rowers as they row feverishly and of course walking through Harvard Square which comes alive in a way that you only see once a year during this event.

I take great pride in these unique traditions and celebrations put on for the benefit of all and free to watch. I wish there were more opportunities like this and look forward to spending some time that weekend in Cambridge cheering, drinking and enjoying myself in general. I would encourage others to take advantage of this annual tradition too. You might be surprised by how much you enjoy yourself.