Sunday, July 31, 2005

Back from Vacationing

Well, after 2 weeks of driving in the mid-west, Canada and New England, not to mention a business trip to FL, I am finally home for a while. We logged 2800+ miles and spent 44 hours of driving time in the car. Now, that's what I call quality family time. For all of you young bloggers reading this, I highly recommend taking time off for yourself (Prodigal Sun got this right), and for all of you 'seasoned brothas' like me, do it while you still can. One of the highlights of this trip was dinner on last Thursday night with a young brotha who knows how to enjoy life, knows where his options are for the future, is charming as well, and is damn phyne as his blog picture. He can party with the best of 'em and still get to work on Monday morning. He's a good blogger and I look forward to our continuing chats.

So what do you do on a Sunday afternoon after traveling so much? Since my desktop computer has been fukking up and not letting me access the web through DSL, I have been relegated to dial up with my lap top. Well, I have had the equipment to set up a wireless network since March 2004, but I was too lazy to do it myself and I haven't had much success bribing, cajoling one of my buddies into doing it. Anyway, my desire to read/write blogs and use cams with some folks drove me to desperation. As of 20 minutes ago, I got this damn network configured. I have spent the sunny part of the afternoon doing this, and now it's raining like hell so I might as well stay in and use it.

To any of the brothas who I peeped in South Miami Beach on Saturday night, let me say y'all are some delicacies that makes a brotha want to relocate - LOL.

And finally to the brotha/blogger that I was chatting today, HAVE A GREAT TIME AT THE SUPER BALL tonight!! Wish I could be there.

And for those who clicked the picture link above, yep. I had a minute with no4real4real and that's FOR REAL.

Shem hotep!

Check out my frat's novel - Lazarus if you haven't already!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Black Fraternity Survey

I received these questions from Rashid Darden's Group. I have elected to post the questions along with my own responses. Hope you will reply to Dr. DeSantis with your own reflections.

1. Do you think openly gay men should be allowed to join your fraternity? Why or why not?
Yes. Nowhere in our constitution and bylaws is there an indication that Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. was established to promote any particular sexual preference. In fact, our Jewels bonded to survive in an otherwise unsupportive environment. Moreover, our fraternity ought not deny opportunities for individuals to contribute to the whole of society through our many talents. We are doctors, lawyers, athletes, family members, janitors, barbers, etc. The synergy of our skills, talents and abilities make for a stronger and vibrant society. We are a part of that culturally rich society and make a significant contribution.

2. Do you think down low (closet bisexual) men should be allowed to join your fraternity? Why or why not?

Whether or not one wishes to openly display or discuss one's sexual preference is a personal matter. Again, I would never support screening applicants based on sexual orientation. I would encourage responsible behavior for ALL members - gay, heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, transgender.

3. Do you think covertly gay (closet homosexual) men should be allowed to join your fraternity? Why or why not?

See # 2.

4. Do you think being gay is wrong (morally, socially, ethically, religiously)? Please elaborate.

No. Sexual preference is as broad across the spectrum as skin color, intelligence, aptitude, socioeconomic status and any other psycho/social descriptor. Behavior that injures others is wrong irrespective of the sector from which it originates - incest, rape, pedophilia, religious zealotry, theft, etc. Being gay is being the person you are meant to be - created in the image of God. Those who want to literally interpret the Bible as a basis for discrimination can find the scriptures to justify their beliefs. The pharisees tried the same thing with Christ, but he reminds us that he came to fulfill the law through the good news of the Gospels. But let us go one step further and remember that the Bible conveniently leaves out Gospels that the Church deemed inconsistent with the tenets it wished to enforce. Thus, the Gospel of Mary that gives women greater prominence is not there, nor is the Gospel of Thomas by Didymos Judas Thomas with other recorded saying from Jesus.

5. What are the national stereotypes of each NPHC fraternity? Do these notions influence membership?

The stereotypes are typically heterosexual men with varying degrees of macho characteristics. But they are just that, stereotypes. Yes, they definitely influence selection of members, but wrongly so.

6. Do you know of any openly gay members? How are they treated by other brothers?

Yes. The relationship has not been a positive one for a relative who is an openly gay member of another fraternity.

Here are the questions without my responses if you choose to cut/paste them into an email with your reply to Dr. DeSantis. Please email your comments (which will remain confidential) to .

1. Do you think openly gay men should be allowed to join your
fraternity? Why or why not?
2. Do you think down low (closet bisexual) men should be allowed
to join your fraternity? Why or why not?
3. Do you think covertly gay (closet homosexual) men should be
allowed to join your fraternity? Why or why not?
4. Do you think being gay is wrong (morally, socially, ethically, religiously)? Please elaborate. 5. What are the national stereotypes of each NPHC fraternity? Do
these notions influence membership?
6. Do you know of any openly gay members? How are they treated by
other brothers?

Shem hotep!


If you've been checking out this blog, I haven't been posting b/c I am vacationing/traveling. Took my laptop but my ISP didn't have access numbers outside of the U.S. I'm back in U.S. now but still not at home. Will probably post something on Sunday (maybe about my dinner tonight with no4real4real). Stay tuned. BTW, if you haven't been to his site recently, hit him up and show a brotha some love. He could probably use some shout outs right now. Shem hotep!

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Fathers and Daddys

I read several blogs on a daily basis. Yeah, ya could say that I'm becoming a blog addict the way I need these with my morning coffee. Don't even think about coming up on me without my daily dose of caffeine, no4real4real, Rashid and Keith Boykin. There are some others that I hit several times a week as well. One of them I read a day after it was posted, but it really hit home with me, struck a really raw nerve and got me thinking again (which is always dangerous). Check out the posting by Valentino-of-ATL (formerly CT)for July 12. In it he talks some about his father. Now I always put this term in my impersonal category as the "other half" of my biological equation with that being his only contribution to who I became from that point on. Like so many other black males, I grew up without a Dad in my life. Now when I use the term "Dad," I imply someone who is there for you, who bonds with you, who helps you learn manly stuff, and who eventually leaves you a fortune in the will (had to lighten this up some).

Well, my father failed the Dad test. I wasn't even told his name until I was 24. All I ever got before that was, I'll point him out to you someday. So, after finding out his name, I did a little investigating and three years later learned he had left our small southern town, Smalltown, behind and headed to the Big Apple. Tracked him down in Borough, called and said I wanted to come talk to him (actually I wanted to see him at least once before he departed for the happy hunting grounds). Well, in a one time 15 minute meeting, it is hard to imagine but he managed to piss me off 3 different times. Hey, the old fucker was good, averaging 1 asinine statement every 5 minutes. And here they are:
1. I always knew I had another son and wondered what your name was.
2. How is your older brother Albert (his name is Alfred and is his son as well); and
3. Yeah, I lived in Smalltown until 1970 (the year I turned 18 and he never once said hello, kiss my azz or nothing).
Now, I always had the impression that he lived elsewhere the whole time I was growing up. To make matters worse, his mother (my paternal grandmother) lived 3 blocks away on the same street in Smalltown; his son by his wife (my half-brother) and I were in homeroom together in high school but didn't know we were related; and his daughter by his wife (my half-sister) used to ride home to the neighborhood with me and my older brother after high school. Learned later that she knew about me and my brother and thought that I knew. (She is a blog all by herself for another day - bitch).
Bottom line is that even bad examples can help us grow. I was determined I was never going to be like him or abandon my kids no matter what. My 2 boys ain't perfect, but at least I was there for them as 'DADDY.'
Ok. Now I got to go to the gym and release some frustration. Oh yeah, my 'father' had been dead for 3 years by the time I heard about it. Well, he was late in my life for everything else, so why should the end have been any different.
Shem hotep.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Are you gay?

Now here is THE question that may be easier for those who are out but harder for those who are evolving. I believe no4real4real has appropriately titled his blog as "On My Way." The question was put to me today forthrightly by someone who is very out, open and working in a career that actively promotes gay causes. The question caught me off guard since I have never met this person face to face and only communicated with him through a few emails to promote a business enterprise of someone else. I am not going to tell you my answer to him. He nicely indicated that he asked because he didn't want to make any assumptions. Well, like no4real4real, I am on my way. If you look at my profile you will see that I am off to a late start. I still don't know where I am on my way to, but I definitely started on a new road about a month ago as I discovered some wonderful novelists (and you know who you are ;-) and people in the blog world. Plus, writing a blog helps me to explore some thoughts more completely as well as get input from some others. I value each of your comments as I engage in this journey. Not sure where it will lead me, but who knows maybe soon I will be able to answer THE question with certainty and no hesitation. By the way, since I mentioned no4real4real, I had to give y'all this glimpse of this black Adonis. Whew, is it hot in here or is it him!

Shem hotep.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

"They're here. I'm going now."

I haven't been in church for several Sundays. Today I decided to go because I was visiting with a friend who was going. But this blog today is not about church or my church attendance or my relationship with God. Instead, this is a memory that settled on me during the sermon about someone that I lost 2 years ago this month during one of the most difficult periods of my life. Myson2 was the older brother of one of my adopted sons and lived with another family. He had always been the stronger of the two during the time they spent in the social service system, had endured abuse, molestation and many of the other horror stories that you sometimes hear about kids who are orphaned. At 6 years old, his mother died and neither of the baby daddies stepped forward to take these 2 kids (my son, Myson1 was just a week away from his 5th birthday). So Myson2 became the protector, mother, father and guardian for himself and his younger brother. Now fast forward 7 years. Myson2 and Myson1 are split up by the system and sent to separate homes. I am asked by DSS if I mind having the brothers keep in contact. I say "sure" and the visits between them pretty much leads to him becoming a part of my household on weekend, vacations, trips, etc. He chooses a name for me, Pops. And so, another father/son relationship is born. Our trust level reaches the point that he let's me know that he is gay, and without giving him details, I let him know that we have some common ground. By age 17, he is fairly much on his own - his foster parents are older folks who find having a teenager to be more than they can handle. Myson2 establishes a relationship with 30-something DlLover. For the next 10 years, they have an on/off/on relationship. It is hard to say who introduced who to HIV. I can only tell you that it cost the life of a beautiful, spirited young man who had a great deal of love to offer the world.

I mentioned that this was a really difficult period. Over the years, I had struggled with Myson1 who descended into the hell of drug use. During the final days of his brother's life, Myson1 was unable to think about anything but feeding his habit. This to the extent that he robbed my house and pawned the items under his own name (police reports). His story may come in another blog. Since the police were already looking for him on other charges, I didn't press any, but got an eviction order. During this time, DlLover got in touch with me while I was out of town to tell me that Myson2 had died, and that only Myson1 could handle arrangements as his only known surviving relative. Of course, he was caught and arrested which put him in no position to do anything. A charitable organization was finally able to gain custody of the remains and have them cremated. The memorial service was held a month and a half later. Myson1 convinced the sheriff's department to take him to the service. Since I couldn't bear to be in his presence at that point, I chose to stay away from the service.

I believe we all need closure when we lose a loved one. Fratman1906 who has always found it necessary to advise others did not take the road (to attend the service) and he has come to think about it many times. It is especially true every July when Myson2's memory is so strong in my mind. I will always celebrate his brief life and never forget his trusting gaze and easy laugh. Oh yeah, the attendant at the hospice told me that on the last night as he came on duty, he went into Myson2's room to check on him. He asked Myson2 if he was ok, and he replied "they're here; I'm going now." Then, closed his eyes and died.

Shem hotep (I go in peace).

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Rashid Darden Razzle Dazzles Me!

First of all, I have been to more than a few places and met a great many people over my lifetime (remember I am "seasoned"). Plus in my work, I spend time with politicians, higher ed Presidents and a myriad of other personalities who can make you think you have seen it all, heard it all, and very nearly done it all. Yet, in the span of one afternoon/evening of quality time, Rashid Darden, author of Lazarus, managed to let me know the best is yet to come. We share a number of commonalities (I will let you ponder which ones) that probably led to our meeting. I can tell you that one attraction is our deep and abiding love for the characters in his premier novel. But I digress.
The place: Washington, DC - a place that I have traveled to for business, pleasure and family excursions since 1969. You would think that over that length of time, I would have seen so much of the City. And yet, seeing it with Rashid and through his eyes gives the District a whole new experience to be enjoyed. From Dupont Circle (a shout out here to Lambda Rising Bookstore) to his alma mater, to a great conversation over a honey vanilla latte (he ordered water) at Borders Bookstore, Rashid opens you up to new experiences.
The people: From bookstore owner and assistants to members of Alpha Phi Omega to kids in his neighborhood to his family (his Mom serves up a heavenly coconut pie), it is obvious that people who know him, love him. But this is the man who gave life to Adrian and Savion and told their story so vividly that you had to know that the author was a loving, spirited character himself. With hugs aplenty from his admirers, this young man is recognized in the community and has an incredible memory to recognize folks on the street from his journey. Ever the businessman, he whips out his business card and encourages folks to visit the Old Gold Soul website as he promotes Lazarus. Rashid is easily the valedictorian of the freshman class of gay, black authors that include Brent Dorian Carpenter, Alphonso Morgan, Frederick Smith, and Keith Boykin.
The sights: From his neighborhood, we watched July 4th fireworks. The sparkle not only came from the pyrotechnics that burst above our heads, but also from the sparkle in Rashid's eyes as he took note that for a few moments, his neighborhood kids could be kids again dazzled by the mini explosions around us, and his neighborhood parents could connect with their kids as they too looked toward the sky and briefly escaped the problems that become daily distractions.
The conversations: Did we talk about Lazarus? You bet [among other things ;-)]. Does he know where it will all lead? Definitely! Should readers stay on this literary train through the sequels? Unequivocably YES!! In the words of the O'Jay's Love Train - 'Cause if you miss it, I feel sorry, sorry for you.
Rashid, when you read this - A great big hug and thanks for a memorable day. Much love frat. '06 & peace.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Bruce Bruce

Yo everybody. Went to see Bruce Bruce at the comedy club last night. I think the camera makes him look bigger than he does in person (although he is no small person by any stretch of the imagination). But the point of this blog is to say it takes a strong person to sit in the front row of a comedy club where a comedian can see you. This poor fella last night was "brucelized" about his shirt. Bruce Bruce called it a LDS (little dude's shirt) and didn't let go until the end of the show. He even gave the guy a new tee shirt (autographed) so he could stop wearing the one that he had on. Now in all fairness, the shirt was old schoo,l and I had a few of them myself in the 70's. But for all of you who plan to fall up into a comedy club, especially with a black comedian, I say make sure your wardrobe is tight. Otherwise, be prepared to be "brucelized"! Peace & One.