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The Gay Bar Thing

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 8:44 pm - September 5, 2007.
Filed under: Gay America,Gay Culture

I have to admit. I just don’t get the bar thing.

When I was in San Diego for Breaking Stories, Breaking Waves, the LGBT Media Summit and National Convention, I did not join the better part of the participants (well, at least, the male participants) when they trekked up to Hillcrest, “the residential and commercial hub of San Diego’s gay and lesbian community.” I just didn’t think I would enjoy myself in a crowded and noisy bar.

Those who did go reported that they had had a great time. And were it not my wont to second guess myself, I might just have attributed that to different preferences. Given their experiences, I wondered if I would have had a good time had I joined them in Hillcrest.

I would learn not to second guess myself when, after the conference, a friend and I went to Palm Springs for a day. While there, we met some friends at a local watering hole. The environment didn’t seem conducive to conversation. Everyone was pressed closely together, a few people were dancing, but we practically had to shout to make ourselves understood to one another.

It did seem, however, that most of the people there were enjoying themselves. Myself, I would rather have found a less crowded and more quiet place where I could more easily communicate with my companions.

I used to enjoy going to The Abbey before it became so trendy. It was one of the few places in West Hollywood where you could sit down enjoy a cocktail (or a coffee and yummy pastry) and actually hear your friends speak.

I do wonder sometimes why so many gay guys seem to enjoy the bar scene. Yeah, I do appreciate the chance to check out the cute guys, knowing that at such establishments, it’s okay to look. It seems sometimes that with the music so loud and the difficulty in hearing your neighbor so great, that’s really all you can do.

To be sure, there have been times when I’ve had great times at bars. This seems to have happened when I have gone with friends on nights when the places haven’t been too crowded and the music was not so loud. There was space to move around and enough quiet to be able to listen.

All that said, I still don’t really get the bar thing. The places mostly seem to be crowded and loud. But, then again, people do enjoy such environments. I don’t know. I’m not one of them. If you have any insight on this, well, that’s the reason we have a comments section.

UPDATE: How Could I Forget?Just moments after posting this, I recalled that when I lived in DC, I used to love to go to JR’s for Monday Night Showtunes.

UP-UPDATE: In line with the previous update, when I realized I went to Showtunes night to spend time with guys who enjoyed one of the things I did, perhaps those who enjoy gay bars find something there that they have in common with the other folks there. Perhaps, it is just the occasion to be with other gay men. But, it seems (to me at least) that we have to something more in common than just being gay.

UP-UP-UPDATE: Of all life’s delicious ironies. A friend called me as I was about to prepare dinner and suggested we hang. When he joined me, he suggested we go into central West Hollywood for yogurt and to walk around. Perhaps because of this post, we ended up in the The Abbey. It wasn’t as crowded as it is on the weekends & the music wasn’t too loud, but on a couple of occasions, I did have to ask my friend to repeat himself so I could better understand what he was saying.

I did look around — and the people there, mostly those in groups of friends, seemed to be having a good time. Though I will say I preferred walking alone with my friend, the better to hear what he had to say and to feel more connected to another human being.

Accumulated E-mail as a Price to Pay for Great Conversation?

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 8:10 pm - September 5, 2007.
Filed under: Blogging,Civil Discourse,Gay Politics

Last fall, when my computer crashed, I blogged on how I experienced “a feeling akin to a bout of depression.” I noted how that experience reminded me “how dependent I had become on virtual connections.

This past weekend, while I was able to blog while at Breaking Stories, Breaking Waves, the LGBT Media Summit and National Convention put on by the the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, I lacked Internet access in my room and so was unable to check my e-mail as regularly as I would have liked.

As I result, I had a backlog of e-mail when I returned to LA and it took me a full day to get through my e-mail as well as get caught up on my blog reading.

Once again, I see how dependent we have become on virtual communication. It is a burden as well as a boon.

While I first complained about the absence of Internet access in my room, in the end I found it was a good thing. Had we had it in the hotel, I might have retreated there instead of blogging from the hotel’s lobby bar where I had a chance to talk to a number of people, engage in some great conversations — and even, as an ex-gay advocate walked by when I was talking to the Washington Blade‘s Kevin Naff, decide to approach her and pen a post on the topic.

So dependant have we become on Internet access that we see it as a loss when we learn that we’ll lack such connections in our hotel rooms — or, for that matter, any place where we travel. Yet, sometimes it seems it is those virtual connections which prevent us from making more human ones which we can more easily make in actual interaction with our fellows.

I may well have gotten more done in the past 48 hours had I not had to respond to all the accumulated e-mail, but then again, I did have greater exposure in San Diego to real people — and the chance to engage in stimulating conversation. And I do believe that such conversation is one of the things that makes life worth living.

– B. Daniel Blatt (GayPatriotWest@aol.com)

Katie Couric Strikes Again in Iraq!

Jules Crittenden has more developing news on the Couric Awakening trend I spotted this weekend.  Check it out:  The Anti-Cronkite.

“We hear so much about things going bad, but real progress has been made there in terms of security and stability,” Couric said Tuesday. “I mean, obviously, infrastructure problems abound, but Sunnis and U.S. forces are working together. They banded together because they had a common enemy: al Qaeda.” 

(GP Ed. Note – HEY, NANCY PELOSI and HARRY REID!  Katie found Al Qaeda in Iraq fighting US forces!!!!  This must be a bombshell for you both!!)

Couric traveled to the city of Fallujah in Anbar province, which U.S. forces entered in April 2003 and again in November 2004. That is the same city where, in house-to-house fighting, American forces uncovered nearly two-dozen torture chambers.

It is also the city where four American military contractors were set on fire, mutilated and hanged from a bridge by insurgents.

Now Fallujah is “considered a real role model of something working right in Iraq,” Couric said. 

Jules reinforces what I said in my earlier post about Katie’s reporting from the war zone….

Cronkite made it acceptable to question Vietnam, to accept failure, and ultimately to abandon Vietnam, which at this late date, makes it acceptable to pretend there were no dire consequences for the United States, for millions of Southeast Asians. Couric, best known at CBS for a well-turned ankle, is now bucking convention by daring to say something good is happening there. It would be ironic if TV’s most famously lightweight anchor made it acceptable to think seriously about Iraq, our progress there, our prospects there, the consequences of abandonment there.

Courage, Katie.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Dr. Strangelove, Version 2007?

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 6:21 pm - September 5, 2007.
Filed under: Post 9-11 America

Eeeeek!  

A B-52 bomber was mistakenly armed with six nuclear warheads and flown for more than three hours across several states last week, prompting an Air Force investigation and the firing of one commander, Pentagon officials said Wednesday.

The incident was so serious that President Bush and Defense Secretary Robert Gates were quickly informed and Gates has asked for daily briefings on the Air Force probe, said Defense Department press secretary Geoff Morrell. He said, “At no time was the public in danger.”

Oooooh.   Sounds like a potential good episode of “24” for next year!

The plane was carrying advanced cruise missiles from Minot Air Force Base, N.D., to Barksdale Air Force Base, La., on Aug. 30, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of a Defense Department policy not to confirm information on nuclear weapons.

The missiles, which are being decommissioned, were mounted onto pylons on the bomber’s wings and it is unclear why the warheads had not been removed beforehand.

Here’s a riddle for you:  What do rogue US nuclear warheads and GayPatriot have in common?   They were all delivered at Barksdale AFB.   *grin*

Ya know, I was flying over several states as well this weekend.  I guess if one of these babies had dropped, I was better off at its starting point than its ending point, eh?

-Bruce (GayPatriot)