Veteran’s Day: Our Heroes, Our Homeless

November 11, 2007

Who are homeless veterans?

The U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) says the nation’s homeless veterans are mostly males. The majority are single, most come from poor, disadvantaged communities, 45% suffer from mental illness, and half have substance abuse problems. They have served in every war from the second World War to Iraq.

How many homeless veterans are there?

The VA estimates that nearly 200,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. And nearly 400,000 experience homelessness over the course of a year. Conservatively, one out of every three homeless men who is sleeping in a doorway, alley or box in our cities and rural communities has put on a uniform and served this country.

Why are veterans homeless?

In addition to the complex set of factors affecting all homelessness — extreme shortage of affordable housing, livable income, and access to health care — a large number of displaced and at-risk veterans live with lingering effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and substance abuse, compounded by a lack of family and social support networks.

Doesn’t the Department of Veterans Affairs take care of homeless veterans?

With an estimated 400,000 veterans homeless at some time during the year, the VA reaches 25% of those in need. For more information about VA homeless veteran programs, go to www.va.gov/homeless/.

What services do veterans need?

Veterans need a coordinated effort that provides secure housing and nutritional meals; essential physical health care, substance abuse aftercare and mental health counseling; and personal development and empowerment. Veterans also need job assessment, training and placement assistance.

The solution?

I don’t know. More government money, more private charity, and more awareness would be a start. But on a personal level, I think the first step is just keeping in mind when you see the homeless on our streets that many of them fought for our country.  I also think this is a cause that organized religion really can and often does step up for.  I know personally, my church and the Catholic church in general does a lot to help the plight of the homeless.


K-I-S-S-I-N-G

November 7, 2007

I thought what better way to get through hump day, than a little kissing trivia. Enjoy!

  • The average person will spend an estimated 20,160 min kissing in their lifetime.
    Ancient Egyptians never kissed with their mouths. Instead they kissed with their noses.
  • Kissing helps reduce tooth decay because the extra saliva helps clean out your mouth
  • On Valentine’s Day 2004, 5,122 Philippine coupes gathered together at midnight and locked lips. This kissathon beat the previous world record of 4,445 set in January in Chile.
  • The Chinese didn’t kiss until the practice was introduced by Westerners, and they’re still not very keen on it.
    You burn 26 calories in a one minute kiss.
  • Kissing releases the same neurotransmitters (chemical messengers in the brain) as those that are released when you engage in intense exercise such as running a marathon or skydiving. This causes your heart to beat faster and your breathing to become deep and irregular.
  • Our brains have special neurons that help us find each others lips in the dark
  • The science of kissing is called philematology.
  • There are many strange laws regarding kissing that are still on the books. In Indiana, it is illegal for a man with a moustache to “habitually kiss human beings”. And in Hartford, CT, it is illegal for a man to kiss his wife on a Sunday.
  • In Naples, Italy in the 16th century, kissing was an offence that carried the death penalty.
    Onur Guentuerkuen of Ruhr-University Bochum in Bochum, Germany, studied hundreds of couples kissing.
  • In his study, he found that two-thirds of people turn their heads to the right when kissing.
  • On Valentine’s Day 2004, an Italian couple made their way into the record books with a 31-hour 18-minute Valentine kiss. The couple beat the previous record by 18 minutes and 33 seconds, however, the man had to receive oxygen afterwards.

Breaking News: Gay Money is Still Money

November 6, 2007

las-vegas.jpg

The Wall Street has an interesting article on Las Vegas travel industry’s recent campaign to sway the gay tourists. It has been highly publicized lately that gay and lesbian travelers tend to come from higher income homes, travel more frequently, and spend more while on vacation.  It makes sense to me, my friends and I are in general gay (sorry scott) and if we can find two pennies to rub together we go on a trip.  We find a way to take at least one trip a year (usually multiple), even though we are full time students who make almost no money.  People want to tap into the booming “gay travel” market. Even my home city. Right here in the city of brotherly love (and I do mean in the gay way) we have expanding recognition of the gayborhood, print ads in gay publications, and a massive online campaign to encourage gay travelers to check out the historic Philadelphia area. (Plus we have casinos now so visit!).

What is interesting to me is Vegas always seemed a little gay.  It doesn’t really need to gay up its image.  There are 24 hour parties, strip clubs, gambling, and drinking.  It is essentially a circuit party with a lot of straight people.  The shows are outrageous, the performers are divas, and the drag is superb.  I went this summer for a few days with the family and still managed to see an adult lesbian vampire show.  I associated Vegas with wild bachleor parties, spring break, 21st birthdays, and gays.  But in reality there were tons of families and straight married couples when I was there.

I saw a sign in Paris (the hotel) for gay weddings when I was there, but really thought nothing of it.  But the article pointed out a lot of resorts are offering ceremony packages.  I think there would be some serious money if Nevada would legalize gay marriage.

What I look forward to even more than potential hotel deals and a stronger feeling of acceptance in Sin City, is the advertisements.  The early ads I have seen have been very coy with little hints as to the targeted market, not direct “GAYS COME HERE NOW” ads.  I think they are cute, but effective.  One was as simple as two manicured hands cutting a wedding cake, another featured a sink that had two men’s razors on it.  But as the money flows, the ads will get more brazen.  I want to see slutty, stripper filled gay ads.


Faces of Autism and the Need for Screening

October 30, 2007

The Andrew Child Photography Project has an exhibit “Faces and Voices of Autism Photo Exhibition”

Presented by May Institute and the National Autism Center. The website has some of the sample photos. Here is one boy’s photo that caught my eye. It is just an intense look that translated well into the photo. It looks like he can just see right through the computer screen.

This is Austin.


“When Austin and I are together, we float away in our bubble. A giant bubble filled with appreciation, love, hope, and laughter. He has this effortless way of making me feel like a child all over again. When I am with him, it’s an escape from a chaotic world filled with noise and ignorance.” — Jessica, Austin’s cousin

 

Most popular news outlets are reporting what I have always supported and many medical practitioners have privately been saying for years, every child should be tested for autism. A condition as common as autism should be considered a priority in early childhood detection. Particularly because autism treated early has much higher rates of success. Additionally it helps parents cope with the process of raising an autistic child if they know that is what is wrong and what resources are out there.

A report from the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests screening every child for autism twice by age 2. The report gives explicit instructions for the warning signs of autism at various ages. Current estimates by the CDC say as many as 1 in 150 children have a form of autism. Read More.

Maybe with some autism education out there, people will stop blaming the MMR vaccine, and more research into a science based cause could be discovered (cough=pollution).


MOVIES, MOVIES, MOVIES!!

October 27, 2007

I worked last night at the theater. My favorite thing about working Fridays is that I get to watch all the trailers on the new movies. So I’m going to give you a heads up on some awesome looking movies coming out.

The Diving Bell and the Butteryfly

Why it looks good?

It looks touching, moving, endearing, depressing, and uplifting. But what struck me was the intense visual aspect. I think it will be one of those movies you remember specific freeze frames from, with amazing colors and emotional cinematography.

Be Kind, Rewind

Why it looks good?

**This trailer is being difficult, not sure why, but if it is not up, check it out on imdb.com**

First, let me say I hate Jack Black but want to see this, which means it must look hella good. I think Mos Def is an awesome versatile actor. It looks cute/funny and it just made me smile.

Reservation Road

Why it looks good?

I don’t really need to explain, it is an intense thriller.

Juno

Why it looks good?

Its an offbeat dark family comedy, the best kind. Good actors, great soundtrack, and fresh story line with solid one liner.

Wristcutters

Why it looks good?

I’m not sure it does. I have seen two different trailers, one I thought yes I def. want to see that and one where it looked so stupid I could barely stand watching the two minute trailer. I think it is going to be very hit or miss.

Sweeny todd

Why it looks good?

If I have to explain this to you, you probably shouldn’t be here.

There are some coming out shortly that good as well. Lion for Lambs, American Ganster, Martian Child, No Country for Old Men, Beowulf, and Love in the time of Cholera all look good. P2 looks like my worst fears realized.


Too bad he is a raging homo!

October 24, 2007

Apparently Lance Bass was like the best boyfriend ever. This is a cute/funny little clip. He was on the Tyra show with former girlfriend and Boy Meets World star Topanga (I don’t want to spell her real name wrong). Its about if they did or didn’t have sex.


Gay SEX tips

October 24, 2007


For those of you familiar with about.com they have “how to” and Q&A on pretty much every topic in the world. They have a particularly elaborate “Lesbian Life” section. I highly recommend checking it out: http://lesbianlife.about.com/.

There are articles on all sorts of topics including: Top Lesbian Halloween Costumes, Planning Lesbian Weddings, and Good Fall Dates

But what are always the funniest articles are the sexual “how to” articles, they range from normal girl-girl sexing, to bring toys into the bedroom, to all out fisting (eek!). But what I was looking for was just a list of tips, since I have posted lots of straight sex tips. Figured it was about time to rep the lezzies. What I found was a list of first time girl sexing tips. I think it is funny how predictable women are. The tips relate to typical women things like comfort, communication, and emotional well being. But they do make sense and I agree with the tips, although I would have added “keep it simple” and “think about what you like”.

Here are the about.com top ten tips (lesbians):

1. Get to know your own body.

2. Go sober.

3. Go Safe.

4. Fantasize.

5. Leave the toys in the drawer.

6. Relax.

7. Communicate.

8. Have realistic expectations.

To contrast I decided to look up tips for gay man first time sex. To my shock aside from references in coming out articles, there was a general lack of gay male first time sex articles. (Although there was an abundance of first time articles about fisting, kink, and threesomes). I don’t believe that all gay men are hoes, I personally know the world’s oldest gay virgin, and so I decided the nice gay boys need a list of their own.

So here are my tips for your first time (gay guys):

  1. Tell the other person it is your first time
  2. Bring SEVERAL condoms, you never know what is gonna happen
  3. DO NOT try to imitate porn
  4. Try to relax (I suggest thinking about what’s on tv if you start to get nervous)
  5. If you’re feeling unsure about it, wait, there will always be willing and able guys out there
  6. Turn the lights out!
  7. If you have crusty feet, keep your socks on
  8. Do not assume he loves you or will even call you again if you haven’t been dating for a while
  9. Be willing to laugh (not at the other person) if something doesn’t work. Sex is funny, it’s part of life.
  10. Have fun, and don’t forget to tell your fag hag the details!