Archive for November, 2008

November 15, 2008

2008 IN REVIEW: The Year in Color

IN FASHION :
Grey is the new black.
IN RETAIL:
Everyone’s got the blues.
IN POLITICS:
Black is the new white. Red states are now the new blue states.
IN CALIFORNIA:
Gays got played by the Mormon Church and by the black vote and are now singing the blues.
IN CELEBRITY ADOPTIONS:
African orphans are the new ralphlaurenpaint.com
IN AFFIRMATIVE ACTION:
Two white women nearly made history running for the White House. One of them was actually qualified.
IN SUBLIMATION:
Elitist is now the correct term for uppity negro.
IN THE LYNN CHENEY “MY DAUGHTER IS NOT A LESBIAN” TRADITION:
White political candidates who believe in Virgin Birth still believe in teaching their children–and yours– that abstinence is an effective form of contraception till they’re blue in the face.
IN ROMANCE:
Among those folks for whom shotgun weddings for expectant white teens are all the rage, gay weddings between consenting adults still make them see red.
IN FINANCE:
“In the red” is the new “in the black.”
IN MUSIC:
Pink is red hot.
IN PHARMACEUTICALS:
Pfizer turns blue to green with sustainable wood. VIVA VIAGRA!
November 15, 2008

10 things you can’t afford to live without

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We are all being forced to cut back on the non essential things in our lives. Here’s my list of things you can’t afford to live without:

10 New York Times Select. The online version of the newspaper of record. If you were part of the 70% + of people who thought Iraq was responsible for 9/11, don’t worry, you won’t hate everything. The Op Ed page has Bill Kristol who convinced John McCain to put Sarah Palin on the Republican presidential ticket. You’ll like him.
indianmathonline.com You can’t afford those damn American Girl dolls anymore for your children/other people’s children? Good.  You are not the only one that thought they were always a transparent antifeminist waste of money. American girls don’t need dolls, they need math skills. Come to think of it, so do boys. Playing with dolls or soccer balls will not be a valued skill set in the 21st century global economy. If that surprises you, then you need to fork over $150 a year, per child, ASAP–before their math score turns out to be 150 on their SAT.

8 Window shopping. You go to a museum to educate yourself about the history and quality of art. You don’t go there to bitch that you can’t afford the art or to ridicule the artists. Try the same logic in a high end department or specialty store.

7 A museum membership.Museums exist for a reason. If you are unsure why, now would be a good time to find out for yourself and for any children in your life.

6 A good hairstylist/colorist. Length is not a hairstyle. Peanut brittle is never a convincing shade of hair color even if you are the governor of California and are married to a Kennedy. Oh, and ladies –male and female alike–highlights are not a hair color either.

5 A great pair of  shoes and jeans. I mean ones that other people consistently compliment you on and not the ones you’re wearing while you are reading this.

4 A friend that will bring you chicken soup when you have the flu. That eliminates everyone from your Facebook/bigmuscle/jdate account. Now what?

3 Your own personal Gayle King: Someone who (or something that) would have no real reason for being if it were not for you.

2 A loving mother. Just like she keeps telling you: you really are going to miss her when she’s gone.
1 The knowledge of what  the hell has happened to Nicole Kidman’s face. Did anyone catch a glimpse of Clutch Cargo Kidman on “Oprah” this week? Caveat emptor.








November 11, 2008

Azuca’ pa’ tu amargura

Live long enough–or hear the theme song of “The Facts of Life” often enough– and you eventually learn “you take the the good/you take the bad/and there you have the facts of life.” Yes, more than 70% of the gay vote went to Barack Obama–more than went to Clinton or Kerry–and yes, 70% of our black brothers and sisters in California voted to deny gay men and women the fundamental civil right to marry.

Quite honestly, it’s been a bittersweet week for me.  While I fully share the abundant joy of the historical moment with my black brothers and sisters as we finally bore witness in Grant Park to Martin Luther King’s dream, 70% of the black voters in California embraced the nightmare logic of this country’s miscegenation laws that would have made the marriage of Barack Obama’s mother and father illegal in America and just applied it to gay people.

Thanks. Does Hallmark make a card for that?

Early in June of 2002, I found out that the Cuban singer Albita was going to play at Ravinia so I called a good friend of mine, who happens to be Nigerian, and told hershe simply had to go to the concert with me. I had seen Albita  perform two years earlier at RFK Stadium at the concert for gay rights which coincided with the March on Washington. Though much bigger names played that night–Melissa Etheridge, Chaka Khan, Garth Brooks, George Michael among them–Albita who came on early in the night simply blew me away with an amazing voice and an infectious Afro-Cuban sound. I came back to Chicago and immediately bought her CD “Son.” If it were vinyl, I would have surely worn it out in the first week.

Please, I implored my friend, come with me to hear this woman. “Ok, I’ll make you a deal,” she said. “I’ll go if you come with me to the Miriam Makeba concert later this month.”

Um. Sure. And who is Miriam Makeba? When is the concert? Wait a minute, the tickets I have for June 19 have some woman named Miriam as the opening act? It’s this Makeba person!

Amazed at the coincidence, I listened as she explained about “Mama Africa,” and why I had better get my skinny white behind to Ravinia even if Albita weren’t on the bill.

So we went to Ravinia together, curious about what we would each discover and just to make matters even more interesting we dragged along a mutual friend who had heard of neither woman.

Needless to say, it was a magical night of music. We went to see a concert but Albita and Miriam put on a celebration of life. Despite the fact that most of the songs were in languages we surely didn’t fully understand,  there was no mistaking the universal language of joy, heartache and exile in their music and in their voices. We all walked away that night not as people of different races, genders and sexual orientations but as celebrants of a common, and yes, a sometimes deeply flawed, humanity. I was deeply saddened to hear that the truly amazing “Mama Africa” died this week. But despite the sadness, I was able to find solace in the hope, fearlessness and tenacity of a life lived by example and against injustice.

Her struggle makes mine a little more bearable today. As Albita sang on that magical night, “Azuca’ pa’ tu amargura,” Tom.

Sugar for your bitterness, Tom. 

tomkolovos.com