Thursday, November 06, 2008

Get a job in the Obama-Biden administration!

Okay, I know I haven't written about my election night experience yet, but I just wanted to share what I did a short time ago. The incoming administration already has a government domain:

The first time I saw it, I was speechless. Wow. This is the beginning of what could be a new era in transparent government. After exploring the site a bit, I noticed a "jobs" button on the top banner. Five minutes later, I had applied for a job in the incoming Obama Administration. And why not? An administrative position at the Federal Communications Committee (FCC) sounds pretty good to me!

Yes we can...GET EMPLOYED! Try it yourself. You have nothing to lose...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Michelle Obama rocks Gainesville!

It was a warm October afternoon and thousands of people descended on downtown Gainesville to catch who is certain to be the next First Lady. I headed toward the entrance only to be told that I had to get in one of two lines. I followed one line to its end and finally found it...FIVE BLOCKS LATER. The queue was moving pretty fast, however, and I found myself inside within about 20 minutes. The place was already packed when I made it in. I finally staked out a spot in front of Mr. Sidhu's market. I did wander up as far as Starbucks -- even though volunteers kept telling me that there was room that far up, people were packed in like sardines, so I fell back to my safe spot by Sidhu's.

What followed were a litany of speakers, including our Mayor Pegeen Hanrahan, Cynthia Moore Chestnut, Rep. Corrine Brown, and Sen. Bill Nelson. Then, The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again" blared through the speakers before Michelle Obama's entrance.

Michelle was, in a word, phenomenal. She got everyone fired up to vote early and told tales of how she and Barack strugged with student loan debt burden and other economic woes that our family also faces. It will surely be great to have someone who understands such things in the White House instead of someone who can't remember how many houses they own.

Perhaps most impressive was a standout statistic: with about 11,000 in attendance at this event, it was the largest crowd Michelle Obama had ever spoken to without her husband.

Special thanks to my co-worker Alena Lawson for the above photo. YES WE WILL!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Our kid loves pizza rolls!

Last night at dinnertime, Aiden was acting finicky when Michelle was cutting up pizza rolls to give him. I found it hard to believe that our son could not like something so yummy. After waiting for the rolls to cool a bit, I gave him a WHOLE one and he wolfed it down! After about 5 or 6 more rolls, his face looked like this:

Kids: ya gotta love 'em!

Final Obama-McCain debate tonight

Well, I'll keep this short and sweet. The final presidential debate is tonight on all major TV networks. McCain threatens to bring up Bill Ayers tonight and I hope he's a man of his word. Americans want to hear about what these candidates will do for the economy and the rest of America instead of who knew who when. The Drinking Liberally Gainesville chapter will be meeting at Gators Dockside in the front room tonight at 8:30 to watch for all interested parties. Early voting begins here in Gainesville on Monday. I'll be one of the first in line. Hope to see you there!

Finally, here's what the front of our house looks like now thanks to my co-worker Rachel and the posters she scored from Obama headquarters. After the Obama victory next month, she should receive a personal letter of thanks from Barack himself. Her efforts have been selfless and tireless. Hooray for her! VOTE!!!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today would have been my mother's 77th birthday.

My mom passed away this past April 15th. (Yeah, it was tax day. My parents both chose memorable days to go: my dad passed on New Year's Day 1986.) She was simply the most selfless person I've ever known. Her kindness, caring, and charity knew no bounds. After my father's passing, she simply lived to help others, often to her own detriment. As much as I encouraged her to go out and socialize in order to find new friends, she instead chose to remain home, constantly reinforcing her faith and helping as many charities as she possibly could.

It's been a tough year when I revisit the memories of the last moments we spent together. She was strong and dignified until the very end of her life, though. Her charities of choice were wide and varied: from Native American children to Special Olympics to the Humane Society, my mom supported them all. This is not even to mention her tithing to her favorite ministries of choice, including Frederick Price and Robert Schueller. I know we'll be getting mail addressed to her from these charities and more for years to come. It will make future visits to the mailbox filled with fond memories of her boundless mercy and faith.

Although I most closely relate to the Unitarian Universalists these days, I always admired and respected my mother's faith. It provided her with the basic rules of life that she followed. Those rules ultimately influenced me a great deal through my occupations that require empathy and diplomacy. She was simply the greatest woman I've ever known.

I miss you, Mom. I hope you're enjoying all of the benefits you did without while you walked on this Earth. Happy Birthday.

Friday, September 19, 2008

A PSA you'd never see on the air in the US

Due to our really uptight nature, this is a humorous, yet, many would argue, risque PSA about STDs that would never be seen on American television. Belgium's got us beat!

The end is just priceless. He's going straight to hell, though. ;-)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tina Fey nails Sarah Palin impersonation...finally!

Okay, so I was going through my DVR program guide the weekend before last and saw that Tina Fey was going to be the guest host on Saturday Night Live. I anxiously pressed record only to later find that it was a repeat of a show from last season, as evidenced by my frustration on Twitter. Well, the new season actually kicked off LAST Saturday when Palin did a cameo at the beginning of SNL:

Hope you enjoyed it!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Palin appeals to the base, isolates all others

After staying up last night to watch all of Sarah Palin's speech at the RNC, I have to say she did a more than adequate job. If, of course, you define adequate as throwing red meat to the Republican base. The incessant name-calling continued in St. Paul, with Mitt Romney throwing the word "liberal" around like he was calling out pariahs. Liberal, in general, means "free" or "of liberty." The Republican Party has used it as their homemade curse word to hang around the necks of unsuspecting victims anywhere to the left of Attila the Hun.

Then came Rudy Giuliani, who apparently thinks that being mayor is still the best prerequisite to being president. If that's true, I guess Gainesville mayor Pegeen Hanrahan will be running in 2012. I look forward to it, quite frankly.

Especially rich were other comments from Mike Huckabee. Despite uttering outright lies from the podium (eg, that Sarah Palin received more votes in her mayoral election than Joe Biden got in this run for president), the crowd still roared their approval. This was all irrelevant, though, because Sarah Palin was yet to speak.

Thanks to Giuliani going way over in his speech, Palin's introductory video wasn't even shown. She immediately came out and introduced her family (along with the guy who knocked up her eldest daughter) like they were all worthy of Nobel Prizes or something. She then said that she would be an "advocate in the White House" for all families with developmentally-challenged children (did someone tell her that the vice president doesn't live in the White House?). This was the pandering I was waiting for! The scary thing is that many families like my own will now vote McCain simply because of that statement. Being a one-issue voter is a scary thing. Voting one-issue as the result of an empty promise without researching her other related stances is downright DANGEROUS!

Then it was back to the glorified name-calling, saying that there is no difference between a mayor and community organizer - except that the mayor actually has responsibilities. I think even our own Mayor Hanrahan would agree that community organizing involves such duties as helping others get jobs, stay off drugs, and get proper advocacy for government assistance. Apparently, the new, improved Republican Party doesn't see such humanitarian actions as responsibilities.

We'll see how McCain does at the podium tonight. His speeches are few and far between, so I'm looking forward to him doing more than reading a prewritten, five-minute radio address. Overall, though, Palin delivered an effective bit of oratory last night with nary a stumble.

Even a broke-dick dog has its moment in the sun now and again.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Sarah Palin, meet Harriet Miers

This is getting more and more unbelievable - almost by the minute. Is there any scandal that this woman doesn't love?

I'm going to take heed of Barack Obama's advice, though. I'm leaving her family out of this, as difficult as that may be. Here's a quote from one of her supporters that really got me:

"The media doesn't understand life
membership in the NRA; they don't
understand getting up at 3 a.m. to
hunt a moose; they don't understand
eating a mooseburger; they don't under-
stand being married to a guy who likes
to snowmobile for fun," explained Rep.
Adam Putnam, a Florida Republican, in
a Politico interview Tuesday. "I am not
surprised that they don't get it. But
Americans get it. A mooseburger means
she is like one of us."

A mooseburger. One of us. Absolutely. Mooseburger is probably not a bad thing, but I don't know how it makes her one of us. I'm not sure who Rep. Putnam is referring to as "us," but I seriously doubt I'm included in that group. She does support the hunting of wolves from helicopters, too. Hell, I do that to whittle away some spare hours in the evenings all the time. Ms. Palin was apparently also a member of the Alaskan Independence Party, which favors Alaska's secession from the United States. Quite the "maverick," right there. Extremist is the more appropriate term.

That's why McCain and Palin make the perfect match. Their consistent extremist (RNC key word: maverick) agenda will only drive more and more wedges between the American people. I think we've had enough of this in the last 8 years. We need health care for all, responsible budgetmaking, building solid relationships with other nations of the world, and other things that the Republican platform is so vehemently against.

McCain now has only a few hours left to make a unilateral change to his ticket. I doubt that will happen, though. It would only make this election more competitive, but whomever is playing the Karl Rove role this time around surely doesn't see it that way. She could always Harriet-Miers her way off the ticket as well, but she's too determined of a person -- damn the consequences. Why else would you name one of your children after the headquarter city of the sports network you aspired to work for? This is McCain's first test at decision-making. How do you think he did in picking Sarah Palin as his running mate? Either way, I'd be lying if I didn't say I am so looking forward to Palin debating Joe Biden. Her speech before the GOP delegates this evening should be a real corker as well.

Last night, President Bush referred to the "angry left" at the RNC Convention. This is a man who should be tried for war crimes once he leaves office. Fred Thompson called Obama "the most liberal, most inexperienced" person to ever run for president. This is a man who had to give himself a round of applause at a rally during the primaries when he ran for president. I hope the American people are smart enough to see through this empty namecalling and see who is really fighting for them when it comes to the issues I mentioned above. They will, eventually; let's just hope it's not too late when they do.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Amy Goodman arrested at RNC

So, the host of our flagship program here at WGOT was arrested this afternoon in St. Paul:

We'll see if we have a host for our program by tomorrow. At least we know what the top story will be.


Amy Goodman and Two Democracy Now! Producers Unlawfully Arrested At
the RNC


September 1, 2008

Dennis Moynihan
Mike Burke

ST. PAUL, MN—Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman was unlawfully arrested
in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota at approximately 5 p.m. local time.
Police violently manhandled Goodman, yanking her arm, as they arrested
her. Video of her arrest can be seen here:

Goodman was arrested while attempting to free two Democracy Now!
producers who were being unlawfuly detained. They are Sharif Abdel
Kouddous and Nicole Salazar. Kouddous and Salazar were arrested while
they carried out their journalistic duties in covering street
demonstrations at the Republican National Convention. Goodman’s crime
appears to have been defending her colleagues and the freedom of the

Ramsey County Sherrif Bob Fletcher told Democracy Now! that Kouddous
and Salazar were being arrested on suspicion of rioting. They are
currently being held at the Ramsey County jail in St. Paul.

Democracy Now! is calling on all journalists and concerned citizens to
call the office of Mayor Chris Coleman and the Ramsey County Jail and
demand the immediate release of Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar. These
calls can be directed to: Chris Rider from Mayor Coleman’s office at
651-266-8535 and the Ramsey County Jail at 651-266-9350 (press
extension 0).

Democracy Now! stands by Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar and condemns
this action by Twin Cities law enforcement as a clear violation of the
freedom of the press and the First Amenmdent rights of these

During the demonstration in which they were arrested law enforcement
officers used pepper spray, rubber bullets, concussion grenades and
excessive force. Several dozen others were also arrested during this

Amy Goodman is one of the most well-known and well-respected
journalists in the United States. She has received journalism’s top
honors for her reporting and has a distinguished reputation of bravery
and courage. The arrest of Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar is a
transparent attempt to intimidate journalists from the nation’s
leading independent news outlet.

Democracy Now! is a nationally-syndicated public TV and radio program
that airs on over 700 radio and TV stations across the US and the

McCain's entry in the race for change: he wants it to Palin comparison!

So, news has just been released that McCain VP choice Sarah Palin has a pregnant 17-year-old daughter. I sure hope she's ready for all of the things that motherhood will bring. I find it hard to believe that some of her hardcore conservative supporters will smile on such things, with her having had sex out of wedlock.

A applaud the Obama campaign's response to this:

"I have said before and I will repeat again: People's families are off limits. And people's children are especially off-limits. This shouldn't be part of our politics. It has no relevance to Gov. Palin's performance as a governor or her potential performance as a vice president. So I would strongly urge people to back off these kinds of stories. You know my mother had me when she was 18, and how a family deals with issues and teenage children, that shouldn't be a topic of our politics."

I guess I'm brought further into this debate since Gov. Palin and I do at least have one thing in common after all: we are both parents of a child with Down syndrome. More than one person has suggested that I should support Palin for this reason alone, even if I don't plan on voting from her and McCain. I have to cry foul on this.

Great strides have been made in research on Down syndrome, which is a genetic disorder. By giving power to McCain, Palin, and their ilk, stem cell research will continue to be opposed, which will continue to inhibit (dare I use the word "retard" in its proper form - with emphasis on the second syllable?) medical advances in this area. That's a future that I don't care to offer to my son, thankyouverymuch.

Overall, yes, I think McCain's choice of Palin as a running mate is a piss poor one at best. At 44, she just got her passport last year. Plus, to add to the intrigue, I figured I'd post the following about her response to a Q&A forum from when she was running for governor:

11. Are you offended by the phrase “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance? Why or why not?

SP: "Not on your life. If it was good enough for the founding fathers, its good enough for me and I’ll fight in defense of our Pledge of Allegiance."

Founding fathers? The "under God" portion of the pledge was not added until the 1950s. I'm sorry, but someone who is this much of a neophyte to American civics is not just a poor choice to make for vice president; it's downright DANGEROUS!

I'll have more to opine on this later, for sure. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Not a bad day for democracy

"Democracy is the USA." - Leonard Cohen

Tuesday night was quite the time. Mike Byerly was re-elected with a convincing 54% of the vote. It seems like the majority of the folks in this town still don't want this town steamrolled over in the name of progress. Hooray for that.

Eileen Roy also triumphed big as expected, getting two-thirds of the vote to be re-elected to the school board. Barbara Sharpe was newly-elected as well, beating a pretty well-established encumbent.

Ed Crapo remains our property appriaser. The judge runoff will be between Denise Ferrero (who nearly won outright) and Sherman, although only about 60 votes separated her from Rob Groeb without the early and absentee votes being counted yet (yes, that includes my own, but I voted to Stroman, so that won't make much difference). I'd be surprised if 10,000 people show up for this runoff election, so it will be all about these candidates getting out the vote.

Sadie Darnell will also remain our sheriff for another term. I feel bad for Lonnie Scott, but I'm sure he knew it would be an uphill battle with little chance of success. At least he will remain with us on the streets on Gainesville, where he will also be doing a WORLD of good.

Next up (besides the runoff, of course), the general election in November!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Aiden goes berzerk over pasta!

My wife took this video on her phone at dinnertime this evening and I just had to share. It's our son showing his adeptness at sign language followed by his true love of pasta. Included is paternal commentary from yours truly. Enjoy!

How I Voted: the Importance of Tuesday's Democratic Primary Election in Alachua County

As an early voter (I vote at the earliest opportunity afforded to me. always. in person.), I'd like to share the logic behind the way I voted a week ago last Friday. This is an ever-important primary, so I encourage everyone who has not voted by mail or voted early to GET OFF YOUR ASS AND MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD!

With that out of the way, here's now I voted for each candidate up for election:

COUNTY COMMISSIONER - DISTRICT 1: Although this is not the first thing on the ballot, it is first in my mind. I cannot stress the importance of this vote enough. It will be a close race, and the winner will no doubt put a drumming on the Republican trotted forth in the general election. I urge everyone to strongly support the candidacy of encumbent MIKE BYERLY. Mike has long championed the conservation angle on pushing our county forward. He had fought tooth and nail, often alone, against developers and others who would have our county turned into another South Florida, with strip malls and urban blight. You may have recieved a mailer a couple weeks back from his challenger, Rick Bryant, talking about his "plan" for Alachua County. If you'll notice, there are no concrete solutions offered in this mailing about this "plan." I'll tell you what Rick Bryant's plan is: to put the business-owner first, no matter what the cost or the size and impact of their business. Our way of life is at stake here, folks. Please don't mess this one up!

SHERRIFF: This is a tough one. Although I believe encumbent Sadie Darnell has done a satisfactory job in her debut half-term as sheriff, I voted for LONNIE SCOTT this time. I work at the Alachua County Jail on a daily basis, so I see the systematic actions of the prison-industrial complex firsthand. While Darnell has brought down the jail population a bit, the same attitude there still remains. When Scott first announced his candidacy, he talked about how he wanted to be the Andy Griffith figure of Gainesville: someone the citizenry would have no problem saying hello to -- or even to approach about a problem, rather than someone with a gun and a badge that instills intimidation and ultimate authority. That speech was really moving for me. Without trying to sound like Joe Biden, let me say that Lonnie is a great family man with upstanding kids that deserve the utmost respect. Darnell just seems a bit distant to me for some reason - but like I said, it's a bit of a toss-up here.

PROPERTY APPRAISER: First of all, I can't believe that this office even has a challenger. What would cause someone to think, "gee, I think I'll challenge the longtime encumbent for the job of property appraiser!" Maybe there's some money to be made in this job because it's certainly not the most high-profile public service job in the county. Needless to say, I voted for ED CRAPO here again. Personally, I don't think our house has been unfairly assessed for property tax purposes. Plus, Ed seems to have done a more-than-competent job thus far. If you want to read what challenger Alonzo Victor Perkins has to offer, please be my guest.

COUNTY JUDGE: First of all, this is an office that lies near and dear to my heart. I will likely have to hear this person on an almost weekly basis at some point because of my occupation. This judge will initially be in the civil division, but they're certainly subject to be moved over to criminal court in the coming years. Since I don't work with private attorneys, I know very little about most of these candidates, but I cast my vote for RHONDA STROMAN. As the youngest candidate of the four, I believe she'll put a fresh perspective on an occupation often seen as dusty and archaic. Another completely competent person for the job would also be Lorraine Sherman, who has supported many progressive and fair causes in the past. With four candidates here, this will no doubt result in a runoff (boy, I'd love to see the voter turnout for THAT election!). I just hope that one of these two candidates makes the cut. I honestly don't have any strong opinions against any of these candidates. These are the two that I've heard the most positive things about, though. The other two candidates are Denise Ferrero and Rob Groeb.

SCHOOL BOARD: I'll keep this short but sweet: EILEEN ROY over Jeannine Murphey Cawthon in District 2 and BARBARA SHARPE over Janie S. Williams in District 4. Why? First, Eileen Roy has fought the tough fight on our school board for education to be done the right way as opposed to the by-the-numbers, no-child-left-behind bullshit that many of the other members feel comfortable in pushing. Sharpe would likely be a staunch ally of Roy's in this endeavor. Plus, the teachers I know that teach in the county recommend both of these candidates.

Don't take my word as gospel by any means, though. I'm just an average joe that strives to be well-informed on these candidates. I put the campaign websites (or at least their respective pitches from the Gainesville Sun) of each candidate above if you wish to do further research. Either way, PLEASE GET OFF YOUR ASS AND MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD! Thank you.

Music Reviews for the Satellite in September

You lucky dawg! By reading this blog, you get a sneak peek at my reviews for the next edition of The Satellite, which won't be out until next week.


Our hometown groove machine has finally released its debut album after thrilling audiences for some time with its bumping live shows. On this eponymous disc, the party is always on while the musicianship remains in fine form. Although this quintet wears its influences on its sleeve, there are times when the borrowed sounds are uncanny.
“Dance Hippies Dance” grabs the guitar punch from 311’s Tim Mahoney. Likewise, singer Cooper Nolan cops Anthony Kiedis on “That Funky Girl.” Hogtown MC Pra-Spect lends his rhymes to a couple of tunes here, kicking up the b-boy boullabaise. Musically, there’s almost everything but the kitchen sink here (including steel drums!) – just supply the drinks and the crowd and you’re on your way.

Yellow & Elephant
Fearless Records

The accompanying press release with this disc describes this band’s musical style as “cinematic rock.” From the tempo and vocals of the opening track, “I Knew You’d Never Fly,” I’d be more pressed to call them “extreme emo.” The big synthesizer sound at the song’s introduction may hint at melodrama, but the vocalist sounds like the dude from that Evanescence song. This EP does have its moments, though. “Roll Right Over” recalls some of Was (Not Was)’s more soulful moments – which was a pleasant surprise. That’s not to say that you’d find these guys out of place at the Warped Tour next summer, though.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Obama: Biden his time

So, I woke up this morning to the following text message:

"Barack has chosen Senator Joe Biden to be our VP nominee. Watch the first Obama-Biden rally live at 3pm ET on Spread the word!"

It was the pick I would have predicted out of the names being bandered about the past few days. I would've liked to have seen Sen. Jim Webb (VA) get the nod, but Joe's right up there. I'm not gonna lie...I haven't agreed with everything Joe Biden has done over the years, but he'll be an invaluable asset to Barack's campaign. As one pundit put it earlier this week, Biden will "chew up and spit out" any VP candidate McCain will put up for debate against him. Joe's a fiery guy -- almost to the point to being too fiery. He's stuck his foot in his mouth plenty of times (wasn't he the one who said he was amazed at Obama's eloquence and literacy or somesuch thing during the primary season?), but overall, I think he'll be a far bigger asset than liability. Time will only tell, of course.

On to Denver! By the way, my friend WMD (woman of mass discussion) will be doing video blogging here from the DNC Convention this week. Stay tuned.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Obama rallies in Gainesville!

Alright, folks, as we sit around awaiting Barack Obama's text message about his VP choice, I figured I'd let everyone know about a couple local rallies for Obama coming up here in town:

1. This one I got today via text message: "Come rally for Obama with actor Kal Penn! (Sorry, never heard of him. --fs) Saturday from 6pm-8pm at Univ of FL in Rm 102 of Pugh Hall. Please fwd this msg"

2. Obama-Rama! It's Saturday, Sept. 9th from 10am-noon at Satchel's Pizza/Lightning Salvage. It's mostly stuff for the kiddies, but we'll go for the adult fun. Aiden should have some fun, too.

I hope to see you perhaps at both of these events. I'm not sure about going to event #1 tomorrow, but we'll certainly be at #2 since Satchel's is, like, a 3-minute drive from our place.

Go, gooooooBama!


On the road - Day 7

Okay, I know I'm really late in updating this. Again, much happenings. Friday morning, we awoke at the Days Inn and got on the road. We made a pit stop in Burlington, NC for some outlet shopping and we bought a bunch of stuff that is brought to you by the letter "s" (socks, Snapple, shorts, sweats, sunglasses, shirts, and sleepers [for Aiden]). Despite good weather, it was a slow slog through NC, SC, and into GA, mainly because of terrible traffic (hell, I felt like I was on a childhood trip with my parents, we were making such slow progress :-p).

Dusk saw us driving into Atlanta. Michelle suggested that we make a stop at Fellini's Pizza, which is an infamous joint in the Buckhead area that used to employ such notable musicians as Cat Power's Chan Marshall! While there, I spoke briefly with a guy wearing a Boris t-shirt and told him I caught them a couple months back in Gainesville. He explained that his band toured with them a few years back. I would've talked to him further, but the place was jumpin' and he was pretty busy. That's the great thing about Atlanta: so many people into so many kinds of music. The town would be a place I wouldn't rule out moving to in the future, especially if a nice job prospect opened there. (Ya hear me, Weather Channel? CNN?) We had a salad and calzone there, plus got a large pie to go. Great stuff! If you're in the ATL, go check 'em out. You won't be disappointed.

After that, it was a long drive into the evening, which saw us get home sometime around 3am. It was nice to be home, albeit for a mere 12 hours. After that, we were off to Orlando for about 36 hours for the state Down Syndrome Conference, which is always a great learning experience. But like I said, that's all over and it's great to chill back in the 'ville, even with the wind and rain from T.S. Fay. I think I may just thumb my nose at her this evening by checking out a show tonight at The Atlantic. We'll see. I do have to make up my mind soon, though.

See ya on the flipside!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

On the Road - Days 5 & 6

Well, so much has happened in the last couple of days, I don't really know where to begin. We made it up to Washington, PA without incident. We met my wife's friend (also named Michele, but with one "L") just before she got off work at Sears. Did I mention that she's a chatterbox, too? How did all of these women decide who would be talking at any given time, anyway?

After taking Aiden through a stroller ride through the entire mall, I got back just as Michele was getting off work. Somehow, four of us crammed into our car with all of our luggage and went to a nearby mall for dinner. We went to a Red Robin. I had never been to one of these restaurants before but have seen the TV commercials many times and have been intrigued. Pretty good food. Hamburgers are their specialty. (I'm amazed that there's only one location in all of Florida (Ft. Myers). I'm sure it'd be a huge draw in Gainesville.) As much as I wanted a cocktail, I held back since we were on the road. In retrospect, this was clearly the wrong move.

Once we got back to Michele's place, we hung out in her backyard and talked a bit, enjoying the nice evening air. Aiden took a little spill when he tipped over in the plastic garden chair in which he was sitting, but he was no worse for wear except for a few scrapes on one hand. Aiden did need a diaper change before we hit the road and continued on to NYC, though. My wife went to the car to fetch the diaper bag.

Upon her return, she nonchalantly said, "I don't want to alarm anyone, but I'm bleeding." This, coming from someone two months pregnant, is certainly impossible to ignore. (Where's that damn drink I wanted?) Both Michelles went into the house and I remained out back for a few minutes talking with Michele's mother, trying to act unalarmed. I'm sure I was doing a shitty job of this, though.

We then walked back to the house. My wife called her doctor for advice and she told her to go to an OB immediately to be checked out. At this late hour (it was now after dark), the only place an OB would be found would be the emergency room at Washington Regional Hospital, which we promptly visited. Despite a fairly empty waiting room, the wait was still excruciatingly long. The hours clicked by as we watched Olympic coverage on one TV while the audio from another airing an old episode of Letterman with Neil Young as a guest blared from over my shoulder.

I finally asked if I could go back where my wife was to see what was going on and was allowed admittance. As I approached her room, a nurse suggested to me that a miscarriage was imminent. Not good. I hung out for a few minutes and my wife seemed to be in pretty good spirits. I did head out to see if Michele, who was still back in the waiting room with our very sleepy son, wanted to go back as well. I grabbed Aiden and began going back to the room, but when I turned around, Michele had mysteriously disappeared. Odd. My wife wanted to see her son, though, so I proceeded back to her room. She reminded me that her bag with her purse was under the chair that she was sitting in in the waiting room, so I had to return there to take it out to the car. On the way back, I called our friend Lenny in New York City. Although it was about 1:30am by this time, Lenny was out playing in a pool league. I told him the dire news and that we were probably going to be heading straight home after this development. He said he felt really bad but wasn't sure what he could say. "Just kiss [your wife] Michelle for me and we'll see you soon," was his response. (This was indeed true since he would soon be visiting Gainesville later this fall when the Gators host the Steve Spurrier-led South Carolina Gamecocks in football.)

I found Michele (she had to use the restroom, she said) on the way back in and both of us proceeded back to my wife's room. She informed us that they were going to take her upstairs for an ultrasound. We followed her up there and Michelle and I waited in an empty room next door. The TV here was showing Batman & Robin, an apparently awful movie with Arnold Schwartzenegger playing "The Freeze." I had never seen this movie, but the 5 minutes I saw here were enough to convince me of its sheer suckitude. We switched the TV over to the Olympics and we talked music for a bit. A couple more hours slipped by while Aiden finally became a bit more content as he snoozed under a blanket draped over two armless chairs. Then, assistant Miguel (who was a former co-worker of Michele's at Sears) came over to tell us that everything was finished.

We met my wife in the hallway, who was holding a collection of 3 ultrasound images. It looked like the little bitty one was just fine after all! It was still about a size of a jumbo peanut and they were able to tell her that she was exactly 8 weeks and 4 days along. With that news, we were finally able to hit the road. NYC was still off the table. We're headed home!

Michele called her mother so she could come by and show us the way back to I-79 South (and for which I'm certainly thankful!). By the time we left the hospital, it was well after 4am. I continued to drive and we got an early morning meal at a 24-hour McDonald's in Morgantown, WV. (Thank heavens for college towns!) The food revived me a bit, so I continued to drive a bit longer (I insisted on driving the entire way home while Michelle rested.), but fatigue got the best of me and we all napped out for a couple hours at a rest stop.

We woke up and it was after dawn. After restroom trips to refresh ourselves, it was back on the road. Since we missed out on the scenic route up US 33 before, we decided to take this way now. A pretty ride with the exception on the scamming bastards at Seneca Caverns. These people had billboards up all over the road advertising a restaurant with great mountain views. We even had to drive over 3 miles off US 33 to get there. After all that, the place was closed and had been since January. All this to lure people to sift though running water for "precious gemstones" and take tours of their "caverns" that require a hardhat to be worn. At least the giftshop lady was nice enough to give us directions to the next closest restaurant, where we enjoyed a nice breakfast.

After that, it was back on the road, rolling through Richmond and down near North Carolina. After being up almost all though the night before, all I wanted was dinner and a long-ass sleep in a king size bed. We saw a Budget Inn near McKenney, NC, but this was one of the most worn-down squattervilles we've ever seen in our lives. Truly frightening. We pressed on.

Finally, in South Hill, we found a Day's Inn with all the amenities. We stopped there at 6pm. King bed. Pool (Aiden and I tried it. Not heated. Frigid.). Denny's on premises for breakfast. We had dinner at a nearby buffet. Good stuff. Sleep. 'nuff said.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

On the Road - Day Four

There’s something I forgot to mention so far on this trip. I’ve decided that North Florida has some of the shittiest summer weather on the planet. This is not an exaggeration. Since we’ve been up here in the Appalachian Mountains, the highs have generally been in the mid- to upper-70s (F) and the lows have gotten down as low as 50 (F)!!!

Yesterday saw us hanging with Michelle’s college friend Jamie and her family just outside of Lynchburg. Her eldest son is autistic and is prone to pretty violent seizures. As she said, it takes a strong and responsible parent to take care of a disabled child. I couldn’t agree more. In fact, it kind of makes Aiden’s Down Syndrome seem to pale in significance in terms of the sheer maintenance involved. Her son has to wear a helmet to shield his head when seizures throw him violently to the floor and has to be hand-fed every meal. He still wears diapers even though he’s almost 14 years old. This, in my opinion, is parental dedication at its highest level.

Another thing I must mention is that Jamie is an even bigger chatterbox than my wife, which I didn’t think was possible. They would talk nonstop throughout the morning and afternoon, as well as the night before. Many times I thought of blurting out something absurd like, “Look, there’s an elephant in the driveway!” just to see if they would even take notice. This was fine, though, because I can always go for a walk through the woods and look for rocks for Nancy with this fine summer weather up here.

Last night, we hit the road around 7pm out of Rustburg, VA. After about 2 ½ hours into our trip, my wife reminded me that we would have to stay in a motel once we reach Pennsylvania. After wondering why we didn’t discuss this further, I mentioned that it would probably be best to find a motel as soon as possible and get a good night’s sleep. We can then hit the road in the morning, refreshed, and see some great mountain views. The alternative would have been to drive all night, reach PA when the motels aren’t available (it would be between checkout and check-in times) in a sleepless state and have to wait around with our thumbs up our cracks until my wife’s friend gets off work that afternoon. The first option sounded far better than the latter, so we stopped at a Microtel in Beckley, WV. Yes, this is about 10 miles or so from my sister’s place in Fayetteville, but I know she goes to bed with the chickens and I wouldn’t want to bother her around midnight to ask if she could put us up again.

We had a room with a handicapped, roll-in shower which absolutely terrorized our son when it came to bath, er, shower time. Other than that, we had a nice restful sleep and a free continental breakfast in the morning. Here’s to carbs! Pennsylvania here we come...

Monday, August 11, 2008

On the Road - Days 2 and 3

Well, we had connection issues in West Virginia (surprise!), so I was not able to update as much as originally thought. We were roaming in most of WV, so I didn't want to rack up a huge phone bill while blogging. Not a good idea.

Anyway, West Virginia was great. I was able to stay with both my sisters Lynne and Kaye and got to caught up with family stuff. I did contribute to the roadkill popultion of Virginia on the way up as I hit something resembling a groundhog on I-81. I aimed it between my front wheels, but unfortunately it kept moving and it clipped my rear tire. Oh well. It's probably been eaten in stew by now.

We had some great barbeque in Glen Jean thanks to my brother in-law John. He LOVES to cook. We then went onward to Fayetteville and stayed with my sister Kaye. Although this is whitewater rafting central in WV. Our eastern US tour is taking us to so many places that we were unable to take it in.

Now, after some traveling on some pretty narrow roads, we're not just south of Lynchburg, VA staying with Michelle's friend Jamie. Big thanks to the Mackey family for allowing us to connect and do this type of stuff. On the docket later today, a long, scenic drive through US Route 33 through the most mountainous part of WV on our way to visiting another of Michelle's friends in Washington, PA. Yes, Lenny, we're headed up your way to NYC after this stop. See ya soon!

Friday, August 08, 2008

On the road - Day One

Good morning, all!

Right now, I'm blogging as we are rolling up I-85 headed towards Greenville, SC. We just finished breakfast at one of the countless Cracker Barrels scattered up and down the US Interstate Highway System, and now we're back on the road!

Other than hitting Atlanta at the beginning of rush hour (about 6:30am), it's been a pretty uneventful trip. Getting in a two-hour power nap before we hit the road at 1am really helped out a lot. Michelle is suggesting we take an alternate route through the mountains that will allow us to see a lot of the Blue Ridge Parkway. This will certainly be a more scenic drive that our usual path that we take through Charlotte. Instead, we'll be seeing Ashville, NC, which neither of us had been through in YEARS! If we see John Edwards, we'll offer to give him a cheap haircut and certainly send our regards. Hopefully he will be our next Attorney General.

Well, I'm off to check some email and perhaps get a nap in since I've been driving most of the night. We should arrive in Glen Jean, WV to meet up with my sister and her family for a BBQ later today. Good times. See ya soon!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

A chicken in every pot...

For those that don't know, I was trying to raise chickens over the last couple months. We bought four chicks at the Waldo Flea Market when they were just a few days old. One died after having a strange thing with its legs that made it unable to walk, another mysteriously died while we were out of town on the Fourth of July weekend, and the final two disappeared out of their coop in the middle of the night early last week.

Needless to say, I've had it with raising chickens from birth. Our fortunes took a strange turn this afternoon right before we left for vacation, however. My wife Michelle called me when she was on her way home from work. She was right down the street, but wanted to let me know that there was a "rooster" running wild in front of someone's house down the street. I thought this pretty bizarre since there are no roosters allowed in city limits (only two hens per household). After she got home, she looked out the front door and noticed the bird was just one house down across the street. After making dinner, I decided to go have a look myself. By then, the chicken was at the house right across from us...and it wasn't a "rooster." This was a fully-grown, light brown hen. I tried to lead it across the street to our house initially with little luck. Then, I grabbed a long board that GRU had used as a concrete form when they had to dig in our driveway. This gave me enough leverage to scare the hen across into our yard. After chasing the bird briefly into our crazy neighbor's yard, I was finally able to get the hen into our backyard, where we have chicken feed, water, and a coop! I guided ol' Henrietta over to the feed and she promptly began pigging out. That should keep her! Once a chicken knows where there's food and water, it rarely leaves.

The only problem was later this evening when I went to find out where it was roosting. It was nowhere to be found. I think perhaps that it might have found a well-hidden place, maybe within the thick air potato vines along our back fence. Either way, I asked Pete to see if he sees any signs of her this weekend. We'll see if we still have this hen when we get home in 10 days. Interesting developments indeed.

Blogging on the Road - Begins tonight!

Hey all,

We're getting ready to head out on vacation in several hours. Our travels will take us to southern West Virginia, western Virginia, New York City, and perhaps Washington, PA and Silver Spring, MD. Our trip will wrap up next weekend in Orlando at the Florida Down Syndrome Conference. I'm going to try to blog as much of our experience as possible.

Tonight, after a power nap, we head to southern WV, where we will visit with family this weekend. I hear a BBQ is planned tomorrow, so that should be fun. A few days later, following a stop to visit my wife's friend in Lynchburg, VA, we'll most likely be heading up to NYC to visit with Lenny, Dave, Jason, Chez, Kelsey, Randie, and the rest of my crazy friends. I'll also try to update things more frequently via Twitter as well.

Like Jack Kerouac, we're ON THE ROAD! See you there...

Monday, August 04, 2008

Thanks to all for a fine time Saturday!

Despite the rain, we had a great party last Saturday. Special thanks for Kamau for throwing down the quality tunes all afternoon; Pete, Nancy, Atlantia, and Kai (PNAK) for bringing the extra food and acoutrements; Mark for making a RARE appearance; Sharon for the food and conversation; Amy for the awesome jalapeno cornbread and good vibes; our neighbor Kim for being the sassiest crafter in the group; and of course my wife Michelle for keeping a handle on everything. You all rock! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO EVERYONE! We gotta do this again in November...

Friday, August 01, 2008

Bridget and Timmy took a break last night at Satchel's

The workhorses of the local music scene laid everything down for a few moments. This is certainly a first. Discuss.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Tonight on Stripped - The Anti-Gay Petition's deadline approaches

Cain Davis and the folks trying to repeal Gainesville's transgender ordinance have until tomorrow to submit 5,000 VALID petitions to the elections office in order to get their repeal on the Spring ballot. We'll talk about this tonight, as well as revisit my comments from a few months back on the issue. Also, we'll be replaying the entire Barack Obama speech from Berlin. All that and more tonight on Stripped, heard only on WGOT 94.7FM, Gainesville Community Radio, a broacast service of the Civic Media Center.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Floored by Peter Gabriel

For those that haven't heard, my mother passed away after a bad fall in her home in California back in April. During an intense conversation with Vince, a jovial Anglican Irishman who works as chaplain at Eisenhower Medical Center, I was told that there would be times where music may trigger memories that would cause grieving emotions to overcome me and that this was perfectly natural. I listened, but took this advice somewhat in stride since I've worked in the music and radio business for a long time and listen to music almost constantly. I figured there would be quite a bit of desensitization at work as a result.

That changed drastically this morning. I was up early feeding our early-rising, 20-month-old son Aiden and had the classic rock station on the kitchen radio. Suddenly, this song began playing (I'm including these lyrics for proper context):


Solsbury Hill (Lyrics by Peter Gabriel)

Climbing up on Solsbury Hill
I could see the city light
Wind was blowing, time stood still
Eagle flew out of the night

He was something to observe
Came in close, I heard a voice
Standing stretching every nerve
I had to listen had no choice

I did not believe the information
Just had to trust imagination
My heart was going boom boom, boom
Son, he said, grab your things, Ive come to take you home.

To keeping silence I resigned
My friends would think I was a nut
Turning water into wine
Open doors would soon be shut

So I went from day to day
Tho my life was in a rut
till I thought of what Id say
Which connection I should cut

I was feeling part of the scenery
I walked right out of the machinery
My heart was going boom boom boom
Hey, he said, grab your things, Ive come to take you home.
Yeah back home

When illusion spin her net
I'm never where I want to be
And liberty she pirouette
When I think that I am free

Watched by empty silhouettes
Who close their eyes, but still can see
No one taught them etiquette
I will show another me

Today I don't need a replacement
Ill tell them what the smile on my face meant
My heart was going boom boom boom
Hey, I said, you can keep my things, they've come to take me home.


Upon hearing the lyric "grab your things I've come to take you home," I was hit by emotion like a ton of bricks. It took two songs after this one before I re-composed myself. Oddly enough, I was first introduced to this song by a cover version performed by Sarah McLachlan, which was the artist that introduced me to my wife due to us both being on an online e-mail list dedicated to McLachlan (Fumbling Towards Ecstasy or FTE). I'd heard a lot of Gabriel's solo stuff long before discovering McLachlan, but her live version of "Solsbury Hill" is simply stunning. (I'm still a big fan of Sarah's cover songs. She's a great interpreter of other people's work -- often more so than her own.) Isn't it funny how things can be so inter-related?

I guess it takes a pretty honest man to admit a song made him cry like a baby. This song certainly did this to me. I feel it was a very positive thing, though -- a natural part of the grieving process. It helped me realize that God (or whatever you may refer to Him as) told her to grab her things as she was taken "home." I still miss my mother terribly every day, but moments like this help bring clarity to the "big picture."

All I can say in conclusion is that if that radio station followed that song up with R.E.M.'s "Belong," I'd still be stuck to the kitchen floor this evening.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

"Shocking" marble photos

Big up to Pete for giving me some link props. Here's back atcha. Check out the cool picture on his site. It's actually a marble taken while it sits on the lens of a camera phone. Intense!

I'm getting ready to DJ a wedding out at a horse farm in Hawthorne this evening, otherwise I'd write more. Until next time...

Monday, July 21, 2008

The History of Drum N Bass - TONIGHT!

Tonight on Stripped, the history of Drum And Bass Music explained by Nate Harrison. Only on WGOT-LP, Gainesville Community Radio at 94.7fm, Gainesville, FL.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Incessant rain and pricey gas: welcome to summer in Gainesville!

Well, thankfully, Barack Obama was not the next Howard Dean. We got back from a roadtrip on the 4th of July weekend up to the in-laws' place in southern Indiana. This was the first time being on the road after an unexpected trip to California to witness my mother's death, so I was really looking forward to this. One thing we immediately noticed this time was a distinct lack of cars on the road. When are people going to get pissed off enough to get off their asses and protest? I've done plenty of it the past 7+ years and I'm tired. Not even the people I most closely know participate in picketing actions. Oh well, guess we've made our bed...

Speaking of which, I received an interesting email from a relative yesterday that supposedly contained an essay from Lee Iacocca, the former CEO of Chrysler. As I writer, my BS detector went off shortly after reading it when the tone of the essay suddenly changed. I wish I still had the email so I could paste it below and you can see how quickly the tone changed, but as soon I found out it was a fake, I angrily deleted it, so alas it is gone. After correctly reproducing the essay, it suddenly takes a turn to the right, bashing a "liberal senator" who is running for president. Un-effing-believable! It did give me the idea to read the REAL essay on the air last night on my radio show, though. If you're interested in Mr. Iacocca's REAL deal, click here.

The rain is continuing to fall on an almost daily basis. Don't get me wrong -- I refuse to complain since it's better than the alternative, but it sure makes things hard to get a barbeque started. We have ribs in the fridge that can wait until this weekend at the latest. Hopefully they can be cooked much sooner than that.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Barack Obama: the next Howard Dean

Many may wonder why I still denounce and condemn (by the way, Hillary, that's 100%, by the way!) the mainstream media. I'm personally very proud to be involved with grassroots local media such as WGOT and The Satellite magazine. What the mainstream media have become is completely shameful!

This past Monday, Rev. Jeremiah Wright gave a press conference before the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Why he chose this past week to surface at events like this one or on PBS with Bill Moyers is certainly debatable, but I can't see where he necessarily gave any revelations that we may not have known already.

The mainstream media certainly doesn't see it this way. After Monday's proceedings by Rev. Wright, they suddenly proclaimed that Wright was "throwing Obama under the bus" without as much as an explanation why. I immediately recalled the evening of the Iowa caucus four years ago, when Howard Dean rallied his troops with Senator Tom Harkin in tow. Although John Kerry won that evening, Dean vowed to fight on, rattling off a littany of states that had upcoming primaries or caucuses. Then it came: the "scream." The recording that was aired by the media a thousand times was from his isolated microphone without a hint of crowd noise. The truth was that that rally was so loud that you could barely hear yourself think. When you're trying to talk over such a mob, you sometimes overcompensate by screaming. What should have simply been an enthusiastic "yeah!" after naming out many of our states instead became Dean's albatross, constantly being thrown back in his face for no logical reason. "Oh, he's a screamer. That makes him totally unelectable!"


Jeremiah Wright is quickly becoming Barack Obama's albatross. After floating countless other balloons such as his choice, or lack thereof, of lapel pins, his childhood in the largest Muslim country in the world (Indonesia), or his audacity of not putting his hand over his heart during the pledge of allegiance (Although the picture in question was during the Star Spangled Banner - don't try to confuse the American public with the facts! Just tell us when American Idol's on.), the media and other so-called "objective" parties in this primary race have finally found a story into which they can sink their teeth. Even Keith Olbermann, whose opinion I normally respect, has even jumped on this bandwagon.

I'm not even going to delve into how transparent this media move is to me. Just let me say that I told you so. When we're stuck in an endless hundred-year war in Iraq, staring $200-a-barrel gas straight in the face, and bearing witness to widespread food, energy, and financial crises that we can only begin to imagine, don't come crying to me!

If the media has their way, all of these "committed" and superdelegates will now go running to Hillary Clinton to give her the nomination. If you don't think this is the Republican National Committee's wet dream, think again. Only someone as divisive as Hillary Clinton will turn out the Republican base in droves in this election. It's true that this is the Democrat's election to lose this time, but thanks to the mainstream media, they're well on their way to blowing things on a grand scale.

So, keep up the Jeremiah Wright witch hunt, CNN. Keep on expounding on how irresponsible Barack Obama is by having such a pastor, MSNBC. You're doing nothing but sending this country to the wolves.

I'm SO looking forward to taking out a second mortgage every time I fill up my gas tank. Thanks a million!

Monday, March 10, 2008

R.I.P. to The Buzz

Well, this past week has confirmed that the once adventurous playlist at 100.5 The Buzz here in Gainesville is no more. They're now playing such artists as Metallica, Alice in Chains, and Fuel - the very bands that they used to make fun of Rock 104 for playing. As I said on my radio show (Stripped, on 94.7fm WGOT every Monday night at 9pm) this evening, I know the smell of a radio consultant all too well.

This was certainly the work of a radio consultant. The airwaves undulate with the trademark foul stench every time I set my tuner to 100.5fm. Oh well - it was fun while it lasted. We'll still have the great memories of listening to Leigh Scott playing stuff by Rilo Kiley and Husker Du. Or of Mojo and Spanish in the morning rocking the Rage Against the Machine and Reverend Horton Heat.

The more that beloved radio formats go by the wayside, the more it comes apparent that our American Idol-loving asses never deserved it in the first place.

As a result of this formatic death, increased burden now rests on those of us in community radio. You can give us the resources to keep the movement alive. We hope to see you at WGOT's benefit concert on St. Paddy's Day (Monday, March 17th) at Club 1982 downtown.

Indie rock is dead. Long live indie rock!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Human hatred on display in Gainesville

This past Monday saw a debate before the Gainesville City Commission on the subject of “gender identity,” or the ability to add transgendered individuals to the list of those not to be unfairly discriminated against. It was a scary look into the institutionalized and politically acceptable bigotry that still passes as the norm in this country. Through an ordinance, those who had gender identity will now be protected from such institutionalized discrimination thanks to a 4-3 vote by the commission last Monday evening.

Such a vote did not come lightly. One after another, supposed men and women of God approached the podium during public comment, denouncing the passage of this legislation. Pastors and reverends alike repeatedly equated the condition of transgender to those that engage in pedophilia, incest, bestiality, and other despicable acts. Others insisted that the passage of this legislation would be a one-way ticket to Sodom and Gomorrah. Some stated that they were taught in school that they were a man or a woman and that was that.

Excuse me, but who the hell are you to apply your personal experience to the arc of existence of everyone else on this mortal coil?

Before the commission, there was much talk of inconveniencing “us” and giving “special treatment” to certain individuals in society. Apparently, this “us” they speak of consists of people intolerant of others and their situations - the very same people that consider the act of giving transgenders the same rights as others as “special treatment.”

Given, at least some of you were more honest than others last Monday night. One woman talked of straight people being brought “down to their moral standards.” Which way does your moral compass point, anyway? Do you not think that transgenders are capable of morality? Imagine someone of questionable gender identity being able to go into the restroom of the gender they most identify with on their own volition. Gender identity with a moral compass? Truly shocking stuff!

Equally disappointing was the overwhelming commentary from members of the African-American community, who quoted various passages of scripture in an effort to prove that commissioners who voted for this ordinance would be condemned to hell. Commissioner Henry was even informed that he was no longer “a man of God” due to his previous, nonbinding vote on the subject. To watch fear of the unknown manifest itself as fire and brimstone pronouncements from the bully pulpit was truly the frightening part of these proceedings. One speaker even went as far as to say that God would bring his wrath down on all of those with questionable gender identity. This isn’t 1930s Germany, folks – it’s Twenty-First Century Gainesville!

And as for bible verses and scripture, let me remind you of one myself: it’s Matthew, Chapter 17, Verse 1: “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” Luke Chapter 6, Verse 37 goes a little deeper: “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” It continues in the book of Luke, Chaper 14, Verses 10 and 13: “You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we all stand before God’s judgment seat. … Therefore, let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.” Most of the religious speakers last Monday evening conveniently forgot these passages. Some way to treat your “brothers” and “sisters!”

Some of these same people said that they were justified in condemning this commission because they were the ones that elected them. Churchgoers are the ones that voted these commissioners into office? Are they the ones who gave Jack Donovan 70% of the popular vote the very next day at the city commission election? Somehow, I think not. Commissioner Donovan remains an ordained minister, despite the wicked and outrageous pronouncements you sent in his direction.

Also, I never had any idea that people of allegedly high religious conviction had such an obsession with bathrooms and genitalia. The last time I checked, public bathrooms still have stalls. If you’re so obsessed with what types of organs people have between their legs when you’re in a public restroom, you may want to seek a mental health evaluation. Many of the speakers expressed concern for their children being exposed to transgendered individuals in public restrooms. How about having talks about such things with your children and explaining to them what those with unsure gender identity go through on a daily basis? I know – it’s just a little too much to ask for by today’s parenting standards.

Talk such as this makes me surprised this wasn’t some sort of twisted bathroom ordinance. But no – this was a matter of extending equal rights to an unprotected segment of the population. What about matters such as housing and credit protection? These were only mentioned sparingly, if at all. And then there were the so-called “businessmen,” who felt threatened by this new legislation, saying that it would severely cripple their day-to-day operations. Despite repeating this mantra, these businessmen failed to give even a single example of how such crippling would occur – which brings us to one of the major cruxes of this situation: how many transgendered citizens actually reside in Gainesville? You’d think it was some massively growing cult from the words of many speakers that evening. Hell, if people concentrated on burning issues such as health care and social security as much as they did about transgenders last Monday, this would be one helluva place – almost a utopian-type society.

As Sierra Club president Rob Brinkman noted in his public comments, there is an already-high suicide rate among the transgendered. Surely threats of violence and other forms of intimidation couldn’t possibly be the cause of this. And, of course, extending equal rights to such people would be taking away the privacy of normal, heterosexual, law-abiding citizens. Give me a break!

Throughout its history, Gainesville has been a city that has prided itself on doing the right thing, even in the face of a small, vocal minority that has been persuaded to speak with the threat of excommunication or worse by their faith or religious organization. Those that have done the right thing instead of bowing to the pressure of a vocal minority deserve our tremendous respect and gratitude. I would like to personally thank Mayor Hanrahan and commissioners Donovan, Lowe, and Mastrodicasa for standing vigilant over the rights of all of Gainesville’s citizens.

And, as for those that think the addition of gender identity to the list of those who enjoy the protection from discrimination is wrong, just keep in mind that Interstate 75 runs both north and south from here. Pick an exit – that is, if you really know where you’re going…