Anybody remember this one?

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free"… at least until Uncle Sam sandblasts that message off of Lady Liberty!

Monday, July 27, 2015

“Two and a Half Troops”

Boots of fallen soldiers
I’ve always supported our troops with more than a magnet made in China, but what was I thinking? This is the story of me and two U.S. Army veterans. I qualify as the ‘half troop’ being raised by a Marine who made “The Great Santini” look like Mr. Rogers. So here I am, driving into Washington DC, to meet these two usual suspects, whom I’ll refer to now as “Iraq” and “Somalia” down New York Avenue?  New York Avenue is about as close as I can imagine to the world renowned, “Skid Row.”

I finally find Iraq.  He’s jumping up and down screaming in front of the Canadian Embassy.  He jumps into my truck and says “Drive down this street I’m going to file my appeal!” He tells me to park, blocking the crosswalk, with my blinkers on and runs away down the hill.  I try and remember my high school French in case a cop comes for me thinking I might not have to move as it might confuse the police.  Iraq comes running up the hill quick as a jackrabbit.  Somalia has joined us by now and we plan to get Iraq’s stuff out of storage because he got “kicked out” of his (girl) friend’s place. We open the storage locker.  I say, “This shit’s never going to all fit in my truck.” Some of the stuff was really out there too.  Sorry, no Christmas in April, dude. Iraq had many canvas prints of himself with other activists.  There was one he gave to me that had a bunch of activists in tribal dress from their home countries in front of the White House.”  None of them were doing the famous late Bob Fosse’s “jazz hands,” so I conveniently “forgot to pack” the picture.

Somali and Iraq spend about a half hour arguing and with me rolling my eyes asking about having to separate them but we finally get it all into the truck.  I let Iraq drive because DC may be the worst city to drive in the USA. It’s some bizarre-ass grid, some streets are named after states, some are letters, some are numbers, some are named after cupcakes - it’s just a RIDICULOUS city.  Yeah, I said that.

Iraq has a road rage incident with an African American woman.  He starts screaming at her. Somalia and I tell him to shut up.  Iraq, being a Korean American, says he must fulfill the Asian stereotype of being a bad driver.  The argument gets heated.  I tell Iraq that I am searching for my knife in my bag and that, “I will cut a bitch.” Fortunately, the police broke up the fight, we returned to the condo and Somalia and Iraq unpack in record time.

Iraq wants to go to the Capital Grille for lunch and the only place I can think of I would want to go less to is the Olde Ebbit Grille.  We are talking no people of color in those places.  Unless maybe, perhaps, Van Jones.  Iraq tells me it’s where the Senate hangs out.  SHOCKER!!  Iraq demands we order the most expensive items on the menu while Somalia tells me the government is poisoning all of our seafood.  I say, “I’ll have the lobster, Charlie.” Iraq’s poison is a Bombay Sapphire martini.  I think to myself, “This is going to end badly.”

We get outside am I am told we are being spied on the whole day.  I am so scared. Not.

Somalia needs to buy a bouquet for his cheating cougar ex-girl friend who has custody of his guitar he’s hoping to win back at a 9/11™ rally later.  Somalia has MANY opinions about what really happened that day which I shall not elaborate upon.

We get outside. Iraq acts happy and giddy when people recognize him as we walk through the neighborhood.  I design a bouquet for Somalia’s evil girlfriend and Iraq decides to buy half the flower shop to decorate his condo.

On the way home we stopped at “Freedom House.”  Now I had been in any other city than DC, I would have thought I had walked into the house of the Manson Family, but these were all veterans in the house that time forgot.  Made the people that were at Occupy Wall Street look like bankers.  Very nice people though.  And no, thank you, I don’t care for hummus.

Somalia goes to buy a birthday card for the cheating cougar.  I think I will furthermore refer to her as “Cheeta.”  Iraq walks upstairs and has buyer’s remorse over mugging for the masses and I try and cheer him up by giving him martini recipes.  I give up and go get Somalia and tell him, “He’s at it again, you have to go pick him up.”

Somalia waves his magic wand (being Iraq’s communications officer) and Iraq is springing around like a rabbit again.  We hoof it home.

Somalia has a freak out for about an hour over what clothes to wear and whether to get Cheeta a birthday cake – VEGAN.  I have an hour’s worth of flowers to arrange for the condo while Iraq screams songs from “Les Miserables” into my ear.  I tell him if he doesn’t pipe out some Sondheim he’s going to get the shiv.  He AMAZINGLY belted out “Johanna,” which is my actual favorite song from Sondheim so he didn’t die on the battlefield.

Iraq unpacks the kitchen, continually leaving the cabinet doors open that have sharp edges, so we could all lose an eye. Somalia gets dolled up and has a fight with Iraq over the rally and THEN Cheeta calls to blow him off.

Iraq gets a very nastily worded email from some “friend” (translation: bitch) who tells him to go to a Zen retreat for a month to deal “with his issues.” I warn him not to reply to the email for 24 hours. Apparently, the bitch was some big deal. Like Federal judge or someone.  “I told him dude, unless you get your skinny ass in front of the Supreme Court, I’m not paying attention to these judges.” He said, “You’ll be writing my legal briefs.” I’m like, “Whatever.”

Somalia and I go to Chinatown to get some beer, etc. I notice a syringe on the sidewalk.  So hey, if you think Washington is a town where no work gets done, I can tell you work does get done: catching AIDS.  We’re number one! Yay?!?

Iraq serves some Chinese food that must have been made by Mexicans and passes out on the floor in his combat jacket.

Somalia and I go up to the rooftop terrace to chat. He tells me awful war stories and I thank him for his service but remind him that girls don’t like war.  He really just wants his guitar back. I offer to help. Then he asks why it’s so hard to meet girls?  I tell him just go to a bar and only ask them stuff about themselves. Compliment their shoes and wear a wedding ring.  He says, “REALLY?”  I said, “Yes, I have had more men try and pick me up since I’ve been married than when I was single.  Two-way street dude. Everybody wants to be bad.  Just buy a silver one and claim it’s white gold.” He thinks on it. He also REALLY liked Zombies.  I mean really.

We come downstairs and Iraq has gone from sleeping in the fetal position to transforming into Bruce Lee.  Fights with Somalia, kicks him out of the apartment.  Back to Freedom House for Somalia.

Iraq asks me if I read his Wikipedia profile. I’m like, “Duh.”  He says, "What did you like about me and what did you find most interesting?”  I said, “Dude, you already know what I like about you, but after today, more importantly know you know what I DON’T like about you.” That gets a smile turned upside down.

More drinking ensues. I conclude Somalia stole my bourbon.  And then Iraq and I get into this big fight about hot tubs. He says he hates them while I say they could contribute to World Peace. I say, “So what do they teach at West Point? Just how to be a total bitch and speak Arabic?”  He said, “Yes.” That explained a lot.

We pass out on the floor and I wake up in the weirdest possible way.  First he’s blasting Handel’s “Messiah” with Private Bradley Manning’s testimony from the Wikileaks trial dubbed over it while he’s setting up his new office.  I open one my eye and see an entire wall with stuffed animals lined up like troops.  I close my eye again.  THEN he runs the vacuum cleaner AROUND MY HEAD.  I say, “I love the smell of Dyson in the morning.”  It’s like okay, I get it. It’s SHOWTIME again.

We inspect the office, which is in his closet and I make the classic “No WIRE HANGERS!!!” Crack.  Iraq gives me the stink eye.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Baltimore Pride 2013 - a set on Flickr

Unsolicited Drivel: Baltimore Pride 2013 - a set on Flickr

Sorry, I missed the floats this year and they are usually pretty much the same each year.

Also sorry....suck it, DC.  The Baltimore LGBT Community is much more fun!!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

And Here They Go and Ruin the Free Bradley Manning Rally for the Faithful By Lying About the Attendance

This will never get posted on Manning's fundraising page, hence my screenshot. I can hazard a guess as to who coached the press release writer. No, it wasn't Glenn Beck, but someone just as weepy.  And it gets worse. Even the Guardian, my usual trusted publication, is reporting attendance of 1,000 at Ft. Meade, at the LA Times, 2,000 with NO sources. Folks, If I can jump through the crowd like a jackrabbit taking my gonzo photography, it's got to be only 300, maybe 400. Plus, I know the number of times I have to say "excuse me." Unless you produce and aerial view, keep you ink holes shut.

The Protest To Free Private Bradley Manning

P.T. Barnum, the famed 19th century circus- and con-man would paint “This way to the egress” on the exit doors of his acts, knowing that many people did not know that egress means exit. Curious customers would open the door, which led them outside, and then would have to pay to get back in the front door. This is what it felt like today when we arrived at Ft. Meade, Maryland to attend a protest rally in support of Bradley Manning, the private who revealed government corruption to Wikileaks and is now being prosecuted for it. Instead of being able to get to the fort, the road was blocked off and police were directing traffic to a detour. My wife leaned out the window and asked a cop “how do we get to the fort?,” to which he replied “follow the detour.” The detour was long enough that we were worried we would be late to the event. But at last we could see the fort and breathed a sigh of relief. However just as we arrived another cop stepped up and directed us to take  a left turn. The next thing we knew, we were on the road out of town! We turned around and tried a different route and eventually saw protesters gathering outside of one of the base gates (all gates we saw were closed). We had to park about a half a mile away and walk to the protest in 90-degree heat, but we made it (and only 15 minutes late). Had the cops intentionally pointed us to the “egress”? We’ll never know for sure.

Fortunately the protest was running late and we didn’t miss much. About 200-250 people were there outside Reese Gate, holding up protest signs. Cops and cop cars with flashing lights were everywhere. The protesters were mostly white, with some people of various other nationalities here and there, and was evenly mixed between men and women, young and old. The first speaker we heard spoke glowingly of Manning (those who are on his side consider him to be a hero). He mentioned that $350,000 had been raised for Manning’s trial, which starts Monday and is expected to last 1-2 months. Young people stood in the audience with speakers on their shoulders so you could hear everything no matter where you stood.

I looked around for the press and saw a crew interviewing a Manning supporter. They were from Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR), a German public radio and TV outlet. Another media outlet appeared to be Spanish or Mexican. I didn’t see any American media, although my wife spotted some reporters from Alhurra, which is funded by the US Congress to run a satelite TV news service which is broadcast to Arabs in other countries. No local news channels, No national networks*.

As each speaker, the crowd cheered out “Free Bradley Manning,” and “He was only doing his duty.” Lots of anger at the Obama administration and the military for their part in the whole affair. Best cheer of the day: “We Will, We Will Free You!” sung to Queen’s “We Will, We Will Rock You.”

By now, the crowd had increased to about 350 and more people were continuing to trickle in. We didn’t know this, but it turns out the protest was going to end in a march, which we didn’t participate in as it was too hot and the march was going away from where we had parked. We watched the marchers head off into the distance and disappear (to where we knew not). We found a shady spot and had lunch, then went back to the protest area to see if there were any good leftover protest signs worth snagging. We got there just in time to hear two policemen approach a woman who was running a medical station and say that they wanted her to move away as there was an unaccompanied backpack with a phone in it that they were concerned about, so we just turned around and headed back to our car. As we went we mentioned to the people we passed about the bag. One guy said “it’s probably nothing, just some stupid kid who left his bag behind.” They probably said that at the Boston Marathon too. We kept heading to the egress.

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Posted by: GMan
Photos by: Laurie B.

*Update, WBAL TV 11 must have had  free lance intern with an iPhone camera ask one Baltimore woman a question. Blink you would have missed it.

Monday, May 27, 2013

It's Memorial Day

I'm thinking about dead soldiers. Naturally, my Facebook friends are thinking about sushi.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Your Time is Coming

Obviously, the youth of America are getting fed up with millionaires making ALL the decisions about their futures. Cutting funds for schools, ignoring college is becoming impossible to afford. Not making job creation a priority. The list is endless. (Eastern Ave., Fells Point, Baltimore, MD)