Sunday, August 31, 2008

Stephi's on Tremont Confirmed

Last week the worst kept secret in the South End for the past several months was finally confirmed by the South End News . The popular Newbury Street eatery, Stephanie's on Newbury, will open a second location called Stephi's on Tremont. Like it's sister restaurant, al fresco dining in the warmer months will be available and it's prime location guarantees that it will be a great place to see and be seen in the neighborhood.

According to the article in the South End News, the building will undergo significant remodelling. When all the work is completed Stephi's will boast a U-shape bar with TV and seating capacity for sixty-six (not counting outside tables). Since I now work from home - having an additional location to grab lunch sounds great to me. I look forward to their winter opening in early 2009 and wish them much success.

Friday, August 29, 2008

@ the U.S. Open

I've just returned from my first visit to the U.S. Open. Last night I was fortunate enough to see both Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal during the first week of play. While their competitors hardly stood a chance, it was still fun to be in Arthur Ashe Stadium watching the night matches.

Invited to join a friend as a V.I.P. guest of J.P. Morgan, we spent a few hours at the posh hospitality booth enjoying food and drink before heading in to the stadium. We did not walk the grounds as much as I would have liked, but it is difficult for me to turn down the chance to be pampered so it will be upon my next visit to Flushing Meadows that I'll have to do more sight seeing.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Why I am a Democrat

One of the many reasons I am a proud Democrat is because the party has no problem with the fact that I am a gay man. After spending 25+ years of my life either clueless, confused or conflicted, I have no patience and no time for a party that is outwardly hostile to me because of my sexual attraction to men. At this year's DNC in Denver Sen. Ted Kennedy, Sen. Hillary Clinton, President Clinton, and Sen. Barrack Obama welcomed and acknowledged the GLBT community in their prime time speeches. I would welcome some parity from the other side and would be thrilled to see the GLBT movement recognized rather than reviled at the RNC in Minneapolis, but I know better.

Until the day comes when the Republican Party can look at me as someone who is not mentally ill; not a person who has chosen a life of perversion; and not a threat to their marriages and family values - I will be a Democrat with a capital "D". No apologies; no exceptions. I recognize that many people who I love and respect come to different conclusions, and I respect them for their personal choices. However, it is one thing to watch a political party use a group of people to divide and perpetuate feelings of hate or fear and it is quite another to be that demographic.

I have no space left in my heart and can not intellectually justify a vote for a candidate representing a party that has no room for me in "their" America. After reading through the current Republican platform "Protecting American Values" all I can think is that while Americans have a two-party system, because I'm a gay man and not ashamed - I only have one.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Ms. Piggy for President


Back in the spring after Romney bowed out and McCain's nomination was a forgone conclusion. The Democratic primary turned especially nasty. At that point a friend mentioned that the internal bickering would doom whoever became the Democratic nominee. Certainly this sentiment was a mantra for the press as well.

Fast forward to late August, when after weeks of negative campaign advertisements were played, polls now show McCain in some places leading Obama. I have waited for this particular moment to reiterate what I said to my friend back in the chilly spring. I wholeheartedly believe that no matter who the Democrats nominate for this election cycle - provided the candidate makes no major gaffes and can present themselves admirably on television - the election will be won by the Democratic candidate.

The failed policies of the Bush administration and lack of leadership in Congress under the Republican Party have resulted in a terrible situation for the Republicans this election cycle. I truly believe that if the Democrats were to nominate Ms. Piggy, she would beat John McCain in the general election. That is not to infer that I believe the election will be a run-away like the press seem to indicate it should be. After two terms of office with President Bush the country remains as divided as ever (so much for him being a 'uniter and not a divider'). As a result, I think Obama will win by 2-3 percentage points at the most.

Unlike many, I don't really care about the polls right now. I attribute McCain's rise in the polls to two things - first, Republicans are reacting to their distaste for Obama and solidifying support among the party's base; second, McCain's negative advertisements have gone largely unanswered. The majority of people who will head to the polls in November are not nearly as political as those who are watching CNN, MSNBC, FOX News, etc on a daily basis... and they will not start paying attention to either candidate until September and the debates begin in earnest. At that point, the airwaves will be dominated by commercials and media outlets will obsess over debate performances.

With regards to how the media will be leveraged, it is anyone's guess who will be 'swiftboated' first. There is an equal chance for either candidate's campaign to be hijacked, and I won't bother to speculate on something I can not predict.

As to the candidates' ability to speak to the media and perform at debates, I feel very confident in Obama's abilities. McCain (despite his recent comments to the contrary) loves the press. However, Obama's charismatic presence is on par with Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton and I think McCain is going to appear cantankerous and old by comparison.

Moreover, the tough debates from the Democratic primary have prepared Obama well, where as McCain never scored points in the Republican debates. His success was determined more by the failure of his rivals than anything he did or the way he conducted himself on television.

Lastly, on issue after issue, John McCain will have a tough time talking to the true independent who is honestly ambivalant or undecided. This is not to say that John McCain has some policy points that are valid and will appeal to many independents, but I honestly believe John McCain is too closely associated with George Bush - and those comparisons will only become more intense in the fall if the Obama campaign has anything to say about it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

What is patriotism

Each election cycle I watch candidates (generally but not exclusively from the Right) call into question the patriotism of their opposition. Bush's attacks on John Kerry serve as a prime example. Kerry (like him or hate him) enlisted and served with honor in Vietnam. However, in the 2004 general election Kerry's service in Vietnam was portrayed as calculating; not patriotic. By contrast, President Bush's service in the TX Air National Guard was characterized as patriotic. Strange? It was to me. However, what was even more strange was the general public's acceptance.

There is a pervasive belief that if you are liberal you are less patriotic. Even if I was the best writer in the world I know that I could not convince people differently so I don't bother. However, I am impressed that Barack Obama has challenged this assumption in a speech he gave today to veterans by calling into question why John McCain would assume someone like Barrack Obama would not be as patriotic as anyone else.

Attached is an excerpt of his speech which I read on Politico.com today.

"But one of the things that we have to change in this country is the idea that people can't disagree without challenging each other's character and patriotism. I have never suggested that Senator McCain picks his positions on national security based on politics or personal ambition. I have not suggested it because I believe that he genuinely wants to serve America's national interest. Now, it's time for him to acknowledge that I want to do the same.

Let me be clear: I will let no one question my love of this country. I love America, so do you, and so does John McCain. When I look out at this audience, I see people of different political views. You are Democrats and Republicans and Independents. But you all served together, and fought together, and bled together under the same proud flag. You did not serve a Red America or a Blue America -- you served the United States of America.

So let's have a serious debate, and let's debate our disagreements on the merits of policy -- not personal attacks. And no matter how heated it gets or what kind of campaign he chooses to run, I will honor Senator McCain's service, just like I honor the service of every veteran in this room, and every American who has worn the uniform of the United States."

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Boston Restaurant Week

As a self-proclaimed foodie and dining out junkie, I like the fact that twice a year Boston holds Restaurant Week to encourage people to come into town and sample food at restaurants. Over the years, this event has increased in popularity with more restaurants participating. Officially, the summer version of restaurant week runs from August 10 - 22nd but some of the places I have dined at have indicated that they will keep their prixe-fix menus through the holiday weekend. Participating restaurants offer the public a three course meal (starter, main dish and dessert) for $33.08. This week I have visited three participating restaurants (not counting the friends and family dinner I had at the pre-opening of SouthEnd Buttery).

The most satisfying experience thus far was tonight dining outside on Rocca's semi-private patio, which is the most beautiful in all the South End. I started with a beet salad complete with fresh herbs and a riccota cheese and yogurt mix on the side that still makes me smack my lips thinking about it, followed by a fillet of blue fish wrapped in grape leaves and served atop freshly steamed veggies. I finished the meal with their almond bark dessert which comes with a bowl of warm dark chocolate you can dip the cookies into... Not a bad deal for the money. The beautiful weather and gorgeous patio for dining under the stars came at no additional cost. All things considered, the meal has capped off a delectable week of dining and a very relaxing weekend with my partner. Tonight's dining experience makes me only wish that New England could enjoy beautiful nights like this all year long.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

AMAZING


I have been glued to my TV thanking the broadcast gods that I am able to watch the Olympic Games in high definition, and never was a moment better suited for the super clear images of HDTV than last night when Michael Phelps tied Mark Spitz record of 7 Gold Medals in one Olympic Game by winning the 100M Butterfly by .01 of a second.

The first week of the Beijing Olympics has concluded and tonight Michael Phelps could possibly make history by winning his 8th Olympic Gold Medal. With two of my favorite sports in the summer Olympics winding down (swimming and tennis), my attention will now turn to diving and track and field, but no matter what happens in the second week, I'm inclined to believe that these Olympic Games will always be tied to the name of Phelps. Last night's (Friday, August 15th) dramatic finish earning Phelps his 7th Gold Medal by .01 of a second is the stuff of legends.

I've included a video download of Phelps that is popular on YouTube right now. Pardon the cheesy soundtrack.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Weekend in Provincetown

Work turned unexpectedly busy and then there has been my obsession with the Summer Olympics in Beijing which has resulted in very little time to spend on my blog, but I do want to post photos from our weekend in Provincetown which was both beautiful and plenty of fun. Here are some pictures from last weekend which I post more for my sake, because they make me smile and think of all the food and laughter that accompanied the quick trip to Provincetown.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Off to Provincetown

Today I am off to Provincetown for the balance of the week. Although the weather looks to be drizzly and cool, I'm still looking forward to going. I have not really spent much time on the Cape over the past few years, but that does not diminish my admiration for Provincetown, which is truly unlike any other place I've ever visited.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Six months ago yesterday...

It was a mere six months ago that I started my "new" job. Leaving my former employer was sad but exciting. I had no idea how much I would ultimately enjoy the change and to be certain in those first few months, although I knew I had made the right move, adjusting to working for such a large employer took a great deal of getting use to.

Fast forward 6 months later and here I am happily integrated into a high performing team that is held up as a role-model for other business practices in my firm. My manager and team are all talented professionals who have taught me much and allowed me to help with projects that are both interesting and daunting in scope. I hope the six months that follow continue to be as interesting and fun for me. It certainly makes getting up each morning and starting work seem less like a job and more like a great way to spend my day.