Skip to main content

No, No, No

Troubled singer Amy Winehouse died yesterday. The cause of death is being described as "unexplained," but her history of drug and alcohol problems (which were bad enough to cause her to develop emphysema)  have caused many to snicker as they play a guessing game about how she died. I will admit to even belting-out a few bars to her song Rehab yesterday after hearing of her death. But that sort of mocking has subsided to an overall sadness.

While it's easy to point, laugh and titter at someone in the public eye (especially an entertainer) whose life is crashing & burning around them due to poor choices made, that doesn't mean that it's the right thing to do. If we were to stop and think for a moment, we all of us probably would realize that we have our own crosses to bear in some form or fashion. We all have our vices.

Take myself, for example: I eat too many 'bad' foods, and I don't exercise. If I were to die of a heart attack in the next 5 or 10 years, would my family appreciate folks shaking their heads and saying, "He had it coming?" What about those who smoke and then later develop cancer? I know that it's common to point to their tobacco habit and say that it doomed them, but are our lives so pure that we can point and judge without compunction?

Drugs can mess-up and kill a person quickly. Alcohol is no slouch, either. It's easy to single-out the folks who suffer from these addictions and connect the dots when bad things happen. It's even easier to engage in one of the poorest of human traits: smugness. I know, because I'm guilty of doing it. Surely, part of being human is to be imperfect? But then another part of being human is striving to better ourselves. And while embarking on things like kicking addictions and eating right and exercising, shouldn't we also look to improve our empathy?

Amy Winehouse was fucked-up, no doubt about it. I didn't really care for her music, nor much of what I knew of her. But she was a human being in a lot of pain, mentally and physically. People tried to help her, to no avail. She no doubt wanted to help herself, but drug & alcohol addiction make that something easier said than done. She was a talented individual who brought pleasure to a lot of people, and now her life has been tragically cut short. But really, she wasn't that much different from you or I. Just look in the mirror sometime.


Popular posts from this blog


Ok, we're now three-fourths of the way through this year's calendar, so I thought I'd rank the thirty-eight 2017 movies I've seen so far.

Here they are....

1. A Quiet Passion
2. Baby Driver
3. Dunkirk
4. Get Out
5. Kedi
6. A Ghost Story
7. Wonder Woman
8. Columbus
9. Brad's Status
10. Marjorie Prime
11. Maudie
12. Logan
13. Spider-Man: Homecoming
14. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
15. Brigsby Bear
16. Atomic Blonde
17. The Big Sick
18. Split
19. Kong: Skull Island
20. It
21. Wind River
22. A Cure for Wellness
23. The Hitman's Bodyguard
24. Norman
25. Kingsman: The Golden Circle
26. Logan Lucky
27. Alien Covenant
28. Ghost In the Shell
29. War for the Planet of the Apes
30. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
31. Life
32. Annabelle: Creation
33. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
34. My Cousin Rachel
35. Baywatch
36. The Bye Bye Man
37. mother!
38. It Comes at Night

It will be interesting to see what the last three months of the year brin…

If You Could Read My Mind

Dance clubs are a funny thing. They contain within their walls a life force and vibrancy sometimes unmatched anywhere else. When dusk settles and the lights come on, people will flood the dance floors to gyrate to music with hypnotic beats and songs about love, lust and fun at the disco. At gay bars, this sort of scenario usually increases ten-fold. It isn't for everyone, but for many it is a respite from the harsh realities of the real word. It is a place that isn't just a structure, but a sanctuary where folks -- minorities in their own communities -- can take shelter and unwind with abandon, at least for a few nighttime hours.
As someone who benefited greatly from such an aforementioned gay dance club, you can imagine my dismay at news of the closing of Chester Street Bar. In business for over three decades, gay-owned and operated, there was a time when C-Street (as it was known by most) was the only haven for those in the LGBT community, near and far, to enjoy themselves …


"Step out from the mask you stand behind Fearful lost and blind Time to take the time The pressure’s on you Hide away, hide away No tomorrow, just today"
- Brilliant, Ultravox
Today was National Coming Out Day, so of course it gives some pause for reflection on my own coming out story. It was in April 1993, my junior year of high school (go Chargers!). In the six years of writing this blog, I have alluded to how I came out, but never really delved into the intricacies of how it came about. What better day to do so than today?
My first (small) indications of homosexuality manifested in grade school. While in first grade, I thought a fifth grader looked cute. In fifth grade, I would stare, longingly, at a boy in class, until he caught me looking at him. There were some infatuations with boys in middle school, and a first sexual experience during freshman year of high school. Everything up to that point had been, for the most part, based in the physical realm. I liked the way certain…