Entries from June 2008 ↓

Happy Pride

Pride Flag

I came to the conclusion years ago that being in the New York City Gay Pride march was far more interesting than watching it. It’s the difference between being an active participant versus a passive observer. Besides I love to hear people cheer whenever I go by.

But in the weeks leading up to this year’s pride, I was in a bit of a quandary: who would I march with, or rather, whose float would I ride? See, just as I discovered the fun of being in the march, I also discovered that riding on the back of a flatbed truck from Fifth Avenue and 52nd Street down to Christopher Street in Greenwich Village was a helluva lot easier on my feet, ankles, knees and lower back than walking.

My former employer always had a float, but, well, they are my former employer. My current employer organized a contingent, but there was no plan for a float. I thought about some community-based organizations I used to be associated with, but again, those are past relationships and I didn’t know how welcoming they’d be just because I literally wanted a free ride. So like it or not, if I was gonna do it, it looked like I’d have to hoof it.

My friends in political circles had asked me awhile ago to be more involved with the gay community outreach efforts of the Obama campaign but for time and burnout reasons, I’ve been somewhat reluctant. But the email invite came more than a week ago, looking for Obama Pride marchers and well, I couldn’t resist. Smart move on my part. It was a blast.

More than 300 organizations and a half million people take part in the march. In terms of permit applications it is officially a march, not a parade; a march is a political event that comes with guaranteed first amendment rights that cannot be denied on the whim of some bureaucrat. Moving that many people into parade formation still takes coordination and patience however.

It officially started at noon, but our group and others lined up on W. 54th Street didn’t move until about two and a half hours later, just around the time the clouds burst, the first of three downpours on the day. Actress and former Golden Girls star, Rue McClanahan, rode ahead of us in a convertible as our celebrity Obama backer. Our band of about 60 sign-carrying, Obama t-shirt wearing, rain-soaked marchers kept up a steady, noisy series of chants and cheers that revved up a largely supportive crowd the entire distance. There were a few diehard Hillary supporters with rats hibernating in their butts, but they were outnumbered and even admonished at one point by one of the public address announcers to get behind the candidate, lest we see four more years of Republican mismanagement and indifference to LGBT causes.

Walking the route, you always bump into friends along the way, and today was no exception. Joining me in the Obama camp was even a fellow blogger. who I’m sure will have pictures of the event. Not with us, but present at the front of the line, was Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Governor David Paterson, who defied doctor’s orders and marched one day after undergoing cataract surgery. His appearance marked the first time a New York governor has marched during Gay Pride. He continues to score favorable points with the community.

I can only assume the Pride Fest down in the Village went on despite the rain. By the end my feet were swollen and in pain and it was all I could do to hobble up to 14th Street to get the train home. Wet and tired as I was, it was a fun day.

Related story: Celebrating Gay Pride and Its Albany Friend

George Carlin – 1937-2008

It almost seems as though my blog has turned into an obituary column. With each passing day either one of my childhood heroes or just a noteworthy public figure passes away. Some of them I didn’t even get a chance to mention.

Today the first news I heard when I awakened was that one of my favorite comedians, George Carlin, had died. He is an iconic figure who not only amused and delighted a generation with his sharp observations about life, politics, religion or just stupid behavior by average people, but he influenced a legion of comedians like Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock. Carlin had a mastery of the English language despite being a high school dropout.

You can read all about his life in this NY Times obituary, but the best way to appreciate him is through his work.

Here is his “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television” routine that caused controversy all the way to the US Supreme Court.

The difference between baseball and football.

Finally, Carlin thinks religion is bullshit.

BREAKING NEWS: NBC Newsman Tim Russert Dies

Tim Russert, NBC News’ Washington bureau chief and the moderator of “Meet the Press,” died Friday after a sudden heart attack at the bureau, NBC News said Friday. He was 58. More

BREAKING NEWS: R. Kelly is acquitted at child pornography trial


R Kelly mugshot

CHICAGO — A Chicago jury has acquitted R. Kelly on all counts at his child pornography trial. The verdict came six years after the R&B superstar was first charged with videotaping himself having sex with a young girl. Prosecutors had said she was as young as 13 at the time.

Kelly had faced a maximum 15 years in prison.

Both Kelly and the now 23-year-old alleged victim had denied they were the ones appearing on the tape, which was played for the jury at the beginning and end of the trial.

The prosecution’s star witness was a woman who said she engaged in three-way sex with Kelly and the girl from the video. Defense attorneys argued the man on the tape didn’t have a large mole on his back, as Kelly does.

McCain on Women’s Issues

Do you know where John McCain stands on women’s health issues? Planned Parenthood asked people on the street if they knew how his position on protecting women’s health differed from that of George Bush.