Archive for ‘family’

October 8, 2012

Sally Field Receives HRC’s Ally For Equality Award

Her son Sam pays moving tribute to his mom Sally Field . Best Sally Field quote at 12:58  “And so the fuck what?”

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June 21, 2012

Bridegroom – The Documentary

Most of you will have seen the YouTube video of Shane Bitney Crone, young man who lost his partner in tragic circumstances and the aftermath of his death in which he realized that in most parts of the world all love is not equal – It Could Happen To You.

He has now started a project to do a documentary on the subject as part of his contribution to make equal rights for all a reality. He needs funding so why not pitch in and help? It will help him heal and be part of making a difference.

You can’t change history but you CAN change the future! Support Bridegroom the documentary. See us on KickStarter: http://kck.st/Ky24tE

Thank you to the millions of you out there who responded so lovingly and supportively to my YouTube video, It Could Happen to You. Because of you, standing up for #EqualLoveEqualRights, we now have a unique opportunity to turn my small film into a feature length documentary!

The goal is to have this film in theaters by fall, as the national debate on this very important issue comes to a head. But in order to do this, I need your support. I have partnered with the acclaimed creator of Designing Women and producer of the landmark Man from Hope (and other Clinton documentaries) in order to bring Tom’s and my story to life on the large screen—a story that we believe will open a window onto the issue of marriage equality like no speech or lecture ever could.

We only have thirty days to raise this money on Kickstarter. (see link below) No donation is too small. Please join me and support the making of Bridegroom the documentary—a film that began with all of you. And a film that we hope will someday take its place alongside other films that championed civil rights and truly made a difference! We know our opposition will be strong, but we also know our film will be good. We promise. Again, all we need is for you to join our effort to not only change hearts and minds, but make marriage equality a reality for all!

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/452010736/bridegroom-an-american-love-story

http://www.Facebook.com/BridegroomMovie
http://www.Twitter.com/ShaneBitney
http://www.Facebook.com/TomBridegroomMemorialPage
http://www.Facebook.com/ShaneBitneyCroneOfficial

Here is the original heartbreaking video which I posted in a previous blog entry.

December 22, 2011

Flash mob surprise proposal in North Bay, Ontario, Canada.

Via The New Civil Rights Movement

At the Northgate Shopping Centre in North Bay, Ontario. Awesomeness, everyone deserves to be that much in love.

December 12, 2011

I Saw Daddy Kissing Santa Claus

So my favorite family in the  world Depfox  has uploaded another video.  Seriously, this is an indictment of all the traditional ideas of family. Two amazing guys and their amazing kids proceeding with their lives. Except – Prop 8 says they are 2nd class citizens.

I think not.

September 5, 2008

Banana Republic

 

I blog this evening after I called Toronto to speak to my folks only to learn from my brother that they were on a tour of the Eastern Provinces. I vaguely recollect them indicating they would be going on a trip but I was a bit shocked that I had missed their departure. This job of mine makes time warp into a blur of homicides and interviews. My dismay at the trip is predicated by a minor childhood trauma . I was in my early teens and my parents decided to move house without informing me of the development. Imagine my puzzlement when i came home from school to discover an abandoned house? And people wonder why I am slightly neurotic. 

 

In any case, my brother rebuffed me for not updating my blog. I was surprised that he seems to read it on a regular basis but I now feel sufficiently guilty to fling together an entry. 

 

My brother and I have a quirky relationship that has had a few ups and downs over the ..ahem..decades. I will be the first to admit that, as the older sibling, I may have been a tad ungentlemanly over the years and done things to him that might, in retrospect ( and the eyes of the UN) amount to cruel and unusual punishment. I recall an episode involving me locking him in a steamer trunk atop an armoire that might possibly qualify me for prison time. Nonetheless, despite our widely different lives and personalities we got closer as we got older and, though the love was always there, we now have something approaching a healthy bond. The fact he is now twice my size may possibly also account for the detente but I like to think it is just the grinning face of death awaiting us just a few corners away.

 

My other thoughts are revolving around the fact I should make more of an effort to insist on having regular off-days. For the last several months there have been far too many times when I have gone over 10 days without a day off. Working weekends doesn’t help but I will henceforth insist on having at least one  (or preferably two) days off every week. I don’t see why I should be the only person working abnormally long weeks. 

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June 19, 2008

Get Smart

 

It is a genuine pity that blogs are not self-sustaining entities that, like cacti, can live happily and bloom with no intervention. It has now been a full week since my last entry and I am here more out of guilt than anything. Not, I hasten to add, that guilt is normally a great motivator with me.  It was an odd sort of week anyhow and I spent much of it fuming over The Happening. Nothing irks me more than bad art – I swear. Actually, that is not entirely true as reading some reviewers expressing thoughts that this was really a good film sets me off slightly more. Roger Ebert, a critic I normally respect, is way off the mark on this one. I wonder if MNS craftily slipped  something into his popcorn?

 

Work has been the usual slew of murders and the rather macabre spectacle of the Minister of National Security screwing his face up in response to a question from a reporter at the post cabinet briefing and saying “don’t you think this situation pains me?”. Ummm. The question is not how you feel about crime the question is what you are doing about the homicides right now…not in three years or next year. Sure there are many things that need to be done socially in the long term but people want the carnage to at least slow down now. I don’t understand why the goodly Minister can’t understand that a good plan involves stemming the leak in the dam immediately while at the same time building a replacement for it upstream. He simply seems not to get it.

 

I had Kevin Baldeosingh on the programme this week and he is always one of my favourite guests. He is an author, columnist, raconteur and genuinely funny person. He is also a secular humanist which fits into my world view just fine and means I don’t have to roll my eyes back too often in an interview.  I am hoping we can get him more involved in television as people that smart and funny are pretty thin on the ground in these parts. This brings me to the title of this entry which is also an artfully crafted reference to the new Get Smart movie that will, no doubt, be less funny than the original TV series.  Things in life and especially my life seem to come in spurts. It will be a drought of something and then I will find myself surrounded by it. Of late this has been the case with highly intelligent people…geniuses if you will.  I am not a slouch in the IQ department but I happily recognise there are many people more intelligent than me. Sitting with Kevin and chatting on the programme was great because he has a tremendous range of knowledge and, simply by using his insight, is able to shed a different light on a number of topics. His take that the start of the current crime wave is traceable to the sudden importance of the Unemployment Relief Programme ( aka Government make work project which is riddled with nefarious activities and undoubtedly questionable spending) was a clever and analytical approach to the problem. I am not sure he is smarter than me but he certainly thinks differently. Then I had Dr. Roodal Moonilal the MP for Oropouche East on the programme. I never realised it before but the man has a PhD done on full scholarship at The Hague. As far as I know those are not handed out willy nilly. 

 

It is an odd coincidence that my cousin Peggy ( just realised that sounds like My Cousin Vinny) was also here recently and she is a bona fide genius. I thought she was probably the smartest person I would ever encounter until I met someone recently ( who shall remain nameless for privacy reasons) who is also a certified genius. Intriguingly, while they are of different genders, they are quite similar in both temperament and making me feel that I am a few steps behind them. They also both possess that annoying feature of true geniuses that they are able to do so many things astoundingly well their only problem is in figuring out what to focus on. They were both child prodigies which is a blog entry by itself. Strangely, they are also both able to read music despite one being in science and the other in the arts . 

 

Anyone who knows me or reads this blog knows that I generally keep younger people at a great arms length since I simply have no interest in talking about what is happening with Britney. Thanks to The Nameless One I now have the odd experience of speaking to someone who is much younger than me  about the finer points of particle physics and the relevance of the repo rate to the bigger economic picture. What is even stranger for me is accepting the fact that I am dealing with someone who beats my IQ by several points and is definitely smarter despite a more than **ahem** 10 year difference in age. I will never be able to fully understand Chaos Theory in anything but the most rudimentary way ( though I know it is extremely important) and it rather freaks me out that there is someone I am talking to who can look at the formulas and see sense. 

 

On the bright side, while I must accept my own limitations, I can see that there are people who can truly change the world in their own fields. As someone who is frequently surrounded by self-important people with jacked up views of themselves it also heartens me to know that these smart people have no airs and are all amazingly humble. I feel privileged to have encountered both Peggy and The Nameless One  in my lifetime. I am the better for it.

 

June 6, 2008

Happy Together

 

 

It has been an interesting week thus far culminating with me sitting here nursing a sore throat and a fever. I don’t handle illness well and I tend to take a strange approach to handling it. When I woke up this morning convinced that someone had forced me to swallow a tennis ball coated with glass shards I went into my normal mode of action. I downed as many pills as I could drank several cups of coffee and headed to the shops. I bought every medication known to man, several gallons of gatorade and a slim volume of poetry by Rimbaud. My solution to such health dilemmas is to follow my Mum’s advice….over medicate and read something interesting. If this entry is a bit disjointed you can either blame it on medication or Rimbaud…much the same in the long run.

 

Wednesday I hosted a little soiree for Peggy which turned out rather well. I decided that I was not going to stress myself with elaborate plans and thus even the cooking was approached with little or no plan. I had purchased about $1,000 worth of stuff for the party the day before and basically tossed the whole plan out the window. Peggy and Steve arrived early and we simply engaged in excellent conversation ignoring the arrival of others. At some point Peggy managed to make a Rajasthan beef dish and I cobbled together a quick tiger shrimp and mussels balti and some basmati rice. It also learned that my cousin Satu Ramcharan was also coming over in addition to Alvin, Binky and Kavir. All I know was that the evening turned out to be a lot of fun with Peggy and Satu keeping everyone entertained. I had never spent any time with Satu before but apparently the gene thing makes for great company so the three half caste cousins fitted together perfectly. Things were so animated I never actually got around to serving the Haagen Dazs. Who knew that Steve would be so interested in  politics that he and Satu would almost have to step outside to have it out? I tell you he might be my friend but he is also a cameraman and they are a strange breed.

On Thursday, with my fever beginning to start I had my old friend Monique Tosello-Pace over with Peter and Naz for another smaller soiree. She is here from France and sadly my state of health and burn out from the previous night resulted in us just having roast beef and watching Hitchcock’s The Birds . Still, it was good seeing Monique again if only for a brief time. At least we managed to consume the Haagen Dazs that was unused the previous night.

 

Back to the murders tomorrow as I have to work ( I believe we have had 10 since I last wrote) but there may be changes in my work situation coming around the corner. I know that I will have to have both Peggy and Satu over again soon and, if I am lucky, perhaps I can have Peg do a short reading from Jahajin for us. I have said many times in this blog that I am not a family kind of guy (except for my immediate family) but having known for decades that Peggy was something special I am now wondering how I could have not noticed Satu. Are there other interesting half-castes in my family ( and we all are) that I could have overlooked? 

 

The final good but not surprising news is that when I bought the Rimbaud I asked the sales clerk how Jahajin is selling and she said “really well”. Apparently certain people in this country can still have great taste.

 

May 28, 2008

Face to familiar face.

 

Now that Peggy is here to promote her book Jahajin it was inevitable I would have her on the programme for a little tête-à-tête about her visit. It is never an easy business interviewing a family member much less someone who has always rather awed me with her multiplicity of talents. Like the cat that she has always used as a metaphor for her personality one must simply approach it and hope for the best. As it turns out it was a very pleasant interview and Peggy even consented to do two interviews back to back. The logic of this was not simply to maximise the nepotism potential ( and, yes, I mentioned she was my cousin) but also to be able to get her on before the book launch tomorrow and to also have a programme with her insights for Indian Arrival Day which is this Friday.

 

Both interviews were enjoyable for me and Peggy is nothing if not an intelligent raconteur. She discussed the book candidly and was able to give insight into the genesis of the idea and her motivations for bringing it to press. I thoroughly enjoyed her discussion of what it is like to have adopted India as her homeland and the unique perspective it gives of Trinidad. I think I came away learning something but then again I am never in Peggy’s company without learning something. To this day i carry around bits of trivia and even opinions that were planted into my young head many years ago. I am not one to go about admiring people but I am happy to admit that she has played an unusually ( and ,I dare say, unintentionally) large role in shaping my mind.

 

We went to lunch at the Arabic food place near work which she hailed as serving the best food she has encountered on this trip in between befriending the entire Syrian staff…one of whom refused to believe that we are not Arabic. Over our meal she gave me some insights into her next planned books but her mind and thought processes are such that I have not yet quite absorbed all of her ideas and concepts. One does not listen to Peggy and digest what she is saying but rather one stores the bulk of it for later processing. Her mind runs like a Maserati on an Alpine road so it is sufficient to hang on for dear life and then ponder the trip in due time. I don’t think i have the full capacity to follow her thought processes fully as her vast array of talents leads her to think about literature in musical terms, of narrative in visual terms and of reality in conceptual terms. I just sit and talk to people for a living so you can see my disadvantages in that area. She is an accomplished painter, musician, linguist and now writer so I will say that were she not family I would hate her instinctively. 

The only other news today other than road blocking, an 8 year old girl murdered and raped by a family member and more accusations about UDeCOTT was the Prime Minister dismissing the notion expressed by..oooh 90% of the public that he is an arrogant jackass ( ok…I added the jackass part). All I can say is that when you decide to follow some harebrained scheme for becoming a developed country while ignoring human welfare, spending money like a high-rolling gambler on crack and build yourself a palace as a priority when work hasn’t even started on a new hospital  you have to be pretty damned arrogant not to spot your own arrogance.

 

May 25, 2008

Time Capsule

 

Well it was another day of mayhem in Trinidad with five more overnight murders and ( by our count) 194 murders for the year. Between those killings and the latest reactions by the PM to acquiesce to the demands of most of the population for a Commission of Inquiry into UDeCOTT it was a pretty full newscast. After work I made my way home to drop off some groceries I had amassed earlier and then picked up Robin in order to venture beyond the pale to the land beyond the Port of Spain lighthouse. The reason for the trip was to see my cousin Peggy and her daughter Shivani who are staying at my Uncle Clifford’s house and are here for the launch of Peggy’s book Jahajin on Wednesday. Robin was necessary for company and for directions since I am not the best night driver and anything outside of Port of Spain is likely to inspire me with a high level of confusion.

 

As much as I dreaded the drive it was interesting to see my uncle Clifford again as I hadn’t seen him in decades despite the fact i have carried his fine dental skills in my mouth for most of my life. It is lovely to see someone after such a long time and to realize their personality and charm can remain intact despite the passage of years. Peggy was her usual ebullient self and shortly after arriving and the requisite hug and kiss from her and Shivani she was engaged in an animated chat with my Uncle discussing ancestors I never knew I had. I get lost after first cousins and the fact my Great Grandfather had four siblings was news to me. After about 10 names I had never heard of I was completely at sea but I was pleased to see that Shivani shared my bewilderment and she sweetly assured me that she couldn’t keep up either. I will say, though, I was endlessly bemused to hear that two of my family members were named Stalin and Lenny. Apparently a sense of humour is not a rare event in my family history.

 

A little later on we braved the crowds at Movietowne to get something to eat at an odd, loud and garishly lit place called Zanzibar. Normally, any place that seeks to explain its raison d’être via an entire page on the menu would be shunned like a blackened banana in the supermarket but it was 10pm and we didn’t have much choice. The food wasn’t bad. With Peggy flagging and Shivani resigned to having to return at a reasonable hour we made a quick pit stop at Sky Bar to see Alvin ,who also hadn’t seen either of our visitors for a decade, had a quick beverage and then headed past the lighthouse once again to drop them home.

 

I am not known for making forays outside my normal zone – especially after a day at work – but it was an entirely pleasant experience. Peggy may have seen a few years fly by but she is still her usual irascible and insightful self and Shivani is turning out to be quite an amazing young woman. So for the next little while the author and the up and coming industrial designer will be gracing our fair shores and I suspect my life will be all the more interesting . I am looking forward to the local launch of Jahajin on Wednesday.

 

February 11, 2008

Back to Black

 

Well my mental pall has lifted quite a bit so this may result in a rather rambling and disjointed entry today..not that most of them aren’t…but this may be more so. There was no entry last night because I actually got enticed to go out and socialize by Binky/Jason/Vesh. He is probably the only person who can actually get me out of the house once I am settled in after work. As might have been predicted his “hang out for a hour” turned into frolic through Port of Spain into the wee hours. As it turns out Alvin was stuck at work so it was just me and Binks which was a lot of fun and I think I needed a bit of mindless fun.

Of course going out that late when I have to work on Sunday is never the wisest of ideas but sometimes it is good to throw caution to the wind for the sake of mental health. Nonetheless,  I was not a pretty sight this morning as I tried to get myself ready to head to the office. I was also faced with having the company jeep parked at my building with a shredded tyre that decided to suffer catastrophic failure as I pulled into the gates of my compound last night. Thankfully, the ever handy Steve came and took care of it for me. I may be good at some things but changing tyres is not one of them. At work it was one of those Atacama dry news days which leaves anyone compiling the newscast on the verge of tears and reaching for the valium bottle. Thanks to some creative work on Melissa William’s part, though, it came off quite well in the end despite the fact a bit of delayed video meant that her voice was in 3 back to back stories in the first section.

Now that I am coming out from under the depression a bit I am thinking a lot about various aspects of my life to see how I can improve them. I am content with my television and writing jobs so I can leave those alone for the while. I really should be taking better care of myself physically so I will try and start the gym and be a tad more conscious of my diet this week. We’ll see how long that lasts. My family, sigh, well let’s just say I can’t do anything about them. I love them all but it is best if I stay in a constant state of denial. My love life? Hmm..if I had any real semblance of one or even a poor semblance of one I might be able to work on it. Right now it is a bit like being put at ground zero on Sept 12, 2001 ,given a trowel and being told “put it back up”. My judgment in picking people is my ultimate failing as given a choice of 5 perfect choices and one completely ridiculous one I will always pick the ridiculous one. Do you know how whenever a hurricane is bearing down on an area and expected to arrive at any minute they always show some fools out surfing – when it comes to relationships I am one of those fools. Not sure how to address my colossal problems in that area but I guess I can try a few things. Other than that I have the best group of friends anyone could conceivably want. Best of all I don’t think anyone else has such an well rounded bunch in terms of ethnicity, gender, orientation and personality.

Had a nice relaxing evening watching the 50th annual Grammy Awards to see how my girl Amy Winehouse does. I think she is the most amazing talent to come along in a long time and inevitably that sort of creativity comes with personal turmoil. I hope she can pull through her difficulties but with that much talent she may end up imploding. I watch her and I see Janis Joplin redux. I truly hope she stays around for a long time though, if she is sounding like that and writing music like that at 24 who knows what wondrous moments lay ahead?

I have a day off tomorrow ( finally) and I plan to use it to finish off my Curacao chapter for Fodors so I can stop stressing Doug Stallings my editor and put in my invoice. Off to bed now..well as soon as Amy wins Album of the Year..which ..unless they are all deaf..she will. n501560998_313463_6705.jpg ( me and my bitches on the beach)