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The Dumbest Word in the English Language… January 27, 2009

Posted by rscottgriffin in The Queen's English.
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…and by ‘dumb,’ I mean pretty much useless, and WAY over-utiliz — I mean, used.  For your consideration, I present the word, “utilize.”  Basically, it means use or to use.  First, I will give this word TWO appropriate uses: 1) I understand from a good friend that it is a specific term of art in the medical field for “utilization” of services – it’s a statistic; and 2) very similarly, law firms and other services firms use the term – a statistic – to determine how much of a worker’s hours are actually collected.  The point is, outside those very specific uses, which are really just statistical descriptions, there is really no reason to use the word instead of its monosyballic older and wiser cousin, “use.”

The Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary defines “utilize” as, “: to make use of : turn to practical use or account.”  The definition for “use” is, “1 a: the act or practice of employing something, b: the fact or state of being used.”  There are other definitions of use, but I think the above will suffice to illustrate the point.  “Utilize” means “use” or “to use,” but in two extra syllables, or a built-in, usually unnecessary, preposition.

The word just plain bugs the hell out of me.  I don’t know why people use it.  I guess they think it makes them sound more scientific or more intelligent or more…whatever.  But, it really makes someone sound more verbose.  In a world of hyper-uber-productivity; multi-tasking; working smarter, not harder, and all those other ridiculous things we say to ourselves to try to squeeze more into the twenty-four hours that will always be in a day, it has become common to use THREE syllables to say what can just as easily be said in ONE.

That’s pretty much all I have to say, but I’ve been waiting to get that one off my chest for a while, now.  What a great forum to USE for this occasion.


Shut Up, Sweet Charlotte January 26, 2009

Posted by rscottgriffin in Uncategorized.

For all you theatre people out there that also love old movies, southern gothic, and drag queens, this is the show for you.  And, yes, you know how well all of those things go together.  Shut Up, Sweet Charlotte, is playing at the 14th Street playhouse in Atlanta, and you do not have to have seen the movie on which it was based, Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte.  If you have seen ANY Bette Davis movie and know that Olivia de Haviland (Melanie from Gone With The Wind) plays Miriam, that is pretty much all you need to enjoy this.

It stars Varla Jean Merman, a wonderful drag queen and actress out of *New York*, as Miriam.  She has also appeared in Girls Will Be Girls (another must-see movie, if you have not seen it) as the young ingenue.  But, Ricky Graham, playing the role of Charlotte, absolutely NAILS Bette Davis.   The show is absolutely hysterical.  It is only playing from Wednesday of this week through Saturday the 31st, so I would get your tickets NOW.

The play parallels the movie, except with drag queens playing the lead roles.  Actually, even the Sheriff is a gender-bender.  It takes the noir/gothic quality of the movie and turns it on its ear as only camp drag can, and it WORKS!

Tonight’s showing, benefitting Joining Hearts, was only about half full, but I would guess that it will get much more popular by next weekend.  So, if you are looking for something fresh, and a real treat for Atlanta, I encourage you to go and see this production.  Enjoy!

Riled up Over the AJC January 22, 2009

Posted by rscottgriffin in Politics.

Okay, so I had to comment on this a bit further.  For those of you whom are my Facebook friends, you probably saw this note topic this morning, and some of you may have seen the ensuing comment thread.  Here is the short version – the main front page of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, considered a major newspaper because of the population that it serves, I guess, had a photo of ex-president George W. Bush in the middle of a crowd with the headline, “Hello, Texas.”  Now, with due deference, there was, apparently either an inauguration insert or an outer inauguration wrapper, depending on which version of the paper you received.  However, when looking for the full print edition on-line, the front page of the AJC had a picture of Bush with the headline of him being back in Texas.

I took note of this while, again, watching “Morning Joe” while getting ready for work.  They were flipping all of the main pages of the major newspapers around the country, all of which had a photo and coverage of yesterday’s Inauguration.  When the AJC flipped by, though, I almost dropped my cereal.  There was “W.”, in a throng of people in Texas, with “Hello, Texas” across the top.  Now, first my own thoughts.  I think it is absurd that any “major” newspaper in this country would make the “editorial” decision to put Bush anywhere close to the front page the day after a new President was inaugurated.  Next, even if they thought, hey, no one else will be covering this story…yeah, I can’t even come up with an excuse for that because I can’t even imagine they would be that crazy.  Finally, I could understand this headline in Dallas, given that’s who got stuck with him.  But, I think that the other responses were much more interesting, especially given the passion with which some reacted.

Several folks seemed to be of like mind with me, that not putting the inauguration on the official first page was a substantial lack of judgment.  Others were quite vehement about Georgia being a red state and the paper marketing to red state readers.  While I believe that is giving way too many residents of this metro area for reading the AJC, I understand the argument.  However, there are some stories that are news, and others are not.  It was known from January 20, 2005, that yesterday would be the day that George W. Bush left office.  It could be assumed that he would go back to Texas.  It was well-known for months that he would be moving into a neighborhood in Dallas that originally would not let owners sell to balck people.  All of these were givens months ago, and they were givens yesterday afternoon, and they were OLD NEWS when the paper came out this morning.

So, my point is, they put something on the front page that was in no way, shape, or form news.  Hell, a full page on Michelle’s dresses would’ve been more newsworthy than “crowd meets ex-President in his home state.”  Wow, really?  That is staggering.  As residents of a major metropolitan area, we should really expect more from our hometown paper.  Yes, I know, they may not be around that much longer, but while they are, it would be nice if they were actually doing their jobs – being journalists and coming up with actual news.

Talkin’ ’bout My Generation January 21, 2009

Posted by rscottgriffin in Uncategorized.
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Today’s inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States is staggering and historical for so many reasons.  So many others have and will address the significance of today’s events, down to each and every last detail.  I would prefer to leave the detailed analysis and examination of each and every nuance to the pundits, historians, and soothsayers.  But, being me, there is no way I can let this day go without any comment at all.

Many have noted not only a political and social shift, but that President Obama’s (I’m never going to tire of typing that) election and inauguration signals a generational shift in American, and, we hope, global, politics.  When the helicopter lifted off carrying ‘W.’, no longer “The President,” off into the cold, D.C. afternoon, not only did many of us breathe a sigh of relief, but it also more than likely spirited away the last elected “Baby Boomer” president.  ….And the world heaves a collective sigh of relief.  More on that later.

My favorite morning show, ‘Morning Joe’ on MSNBC, had Colin Powell as a guest this morning.  They also had Tom Brokaw.  One of Joe’s regular cadre of journalists and pundits, Mike Barnacle, noted that Tom Brokaw wrote “The Greatest Generation” and was a Baby Boomer and that Colin Powell was part of the “Greatest Generation,” and there as this great love fest over them.  And, then, Colin Powell noted something about this new generation and these “kids” that got President Obama elected, at least that was the implication, that did not remember the original  Gulf War.

Now, I’m not certain how old they think our new President is, but he was born in 1961 – he’s 47.  President Obama is a Gen-Xer.  According to Wikipedia, the standard definition for “Generation X” is those born from 1961 through 1981 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation_x).  Yes, it is a broad range of people, but, basically, we are the children of the Baby Boomers, and there aren’t that many of us.  But, there are some commonalities among us.  We are likely the first generation that does not perform statistically better than our parents, economically.  We are generally considered a “Reactionary” generation, and we are also the products of two very long-living generations.

None of us  has really had to lead.  May of us have still-living grandparents, and they finally let go of the reigns as late as 10-15 years ago.  Our parents picked them up.  They are also still around, and, until today, still held the keys to the highest office in the land.  Look around the Board rooms, the partners’ offices, and every other hallway of power in this country, though, and you will likely see someone that looks like your parents.  However, let’s take a look at how their world has turned out.

If you are like me, your parents focused all of your attentions as a child on doing well in school, majoring in something that could get you a job, and finding a job after college.  After that, it was just about working – working to pay the mortgage, to pay for the kids’ college tuition…life was about working.  And, many of us, saw what it did to them.  Dreams lost and abandoned long ago, left as driftwood along the shore as they approached their 40s.

They call us the “slacker” generation or the “me” children of the 80s, but aren’t we just products of our parents?  Doesn’t it seem that their generation, of which our last president is a great symbol, seemed to just make it up as they went, constantly telling us they knew what was best?  There was so little taught about service, about coming together to work together and solve problems.  They somehow instilled in themselves and tried to pass on a silent but palpable fear of those that were “better.”

We are not slackers.  We have a president of our generation.  Now, it is time to lead.  This is our moment in time.  Their ways do not work, and have fractured the world even more than before.  It is our job to put it back together.  Like the President requested today, we must set ourselves into action.  We must be responsible for ourselves and our neighbors.  We must shuck off our selfishness and single-mindedness.  We have been waiting and complaining and begging for it to be our turn.  Here it is.  Grab on to it, and lend a hand.

Voyeurism Can Go Too Far. January 17, 2009

Posted by rscottgriffin in Life In Detail.

The modern age has taken voyeurism and exhibitionism to new extremes.  We have the celebrity Web sites like Perez and Pink is the New Blog, TMZ…hell, the list could be an entire post in and of itself.  But, we now have Facebook (and its progenitors Friendster and MySpace [dubbed the “digital Detroit” by StuffWhitePeopleLike.com) and Twitter and personal blogs (natch!) and all sorts of ways to express God knows what about ourselves.  There are photo Web sites, video Web sites …  anything that you can come up to take a picture of, video, do to yourself, or write, you can find an outlet.  You can also find out about almost any damn thing you please.  *Yes, I understand the above statements may seem a bit hypocritical, especially if you’re reading this blog through the RSS feed from my Facebook page, but I do have a point.*

But, today I read this: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/16/business/16nocera.html.  In short, Brian Stone, a Business writer for the NYT, has taken issue with Steve Jobs’ lack of detail regarding his health issues, which has forced him to take a hiatus from Apple until at least June.  His main argument is that since his company that relies so much on its CEO, a “celebrity CEO” at that, Mr. Jobs owes the public and stockholders much more of an explanation regarding his health.  I wholly disagree.  Mr. Stone does admit that Mr. Jobs confided to him over the summer, off the record, about his health condition, but feels somewhat slighted by Mr. Jobs’ short and terse email and press release regarding his leave of absense.

Mr. Stone is, frankly, wrong.  Yes, there are those that thrust themselves into the spotlight seeking nothing but fame and notariety, but there is a line that needs to be drawn at someone’s health.  Even the not famous among us would prefer to not have our health histories splashed across the front pages.  Yes, there are legal implications for public figures getting a turned down expectation of privacy (hence, the tabloids), but we should all take a step back and put ourselves in the shoes of some of these people and think about whether our obsessiveness with the details of their private lives becomes nothing less than unseemly.  Health is a matter and a privacy space all its own.  It could very well be the next battle, one that we all have a stake in.

The Lord saw it, and said it was Good. January 13, 2009

Posted by rscottgriffin in Uncategorized.
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They finally did it!  There have been gay soap characters before, but there was never a first kiss until Luke and Noah in 2007.  That was over a year and a half ago.  In the meantime, all sorts of soap opera-y shenanigans have gone on and kept them apart.  Today, though, today they finally “did it.”  I think this qualifies as a huge gay media moment.  Two of the cutest boys in daytime unmistakably got it on.

Before any eight of you reading this start thinking I’ve gone off the deep end of living in some crazy fantasy world, think about guilty pleasures and what they can bring us.  Before we all devolved into pits of hopelessness and emotional waste with jaded unrealized expectations bubbling up through our insides.  There was something better, something sweeter, and something a little old-fashioned.  The question remains, do we have to all really be jaded, suspicious queens?

Remember your first boyfriend, your first love…your first time?  There is no rule that someone can’t make you feel like a teenager, again.  Only our own insecurities, baggage, and history can prevent that if we let it.  I, personally, think that there is something to be said for being old-fashioned, waiting until maybe a few dates in before going at it, instead of going at it and then thinking, hey, maybe we should go on a date.  I really think that romance is a lost art, and we all could use getting back to it a little.  Sure, I know the argument that why should we, as gay men and women, follow the same rules as straight people always have when they are so adamant about not letting us participate?  Maybe it’s not about them.  Maybe it’s about taking ourselves seriously, for once, developing some self-respect, and learning that maybe, just maybe, we all deserve to find and be with someone special…someone that makes us feel young and scared and just a little giddy all over again.

For a video recap of today’s episode, you can go here: http://www.afterelton.com/blog/dennis/nuke-update-video-clip-01-12-09

For a HYSTERICAL liveblog of the episode (seriously, this is some funny shit): http://www.afterelton.com/blog/brianjuergens/liveblogging-as-the-world-turns-supernana