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Smart Phones and Rude People

I saw this article on Yahoo Monday about a TED talk Sergey Brin gave last week, where he discussed the ways that he finds his smart phone “emasculating.”  I don’t have a strong opinion on that topic, but it’s also partly because I don’t have a smart phone.  I’m not really a luddite as much as I am true to the Swiss, German and Scottish parts of my ancestry in my frugality and my reluctance to adopt the latest fads, especially when those fads come with a monthly fee I’d rather not have to pay.

I only have a rather primitive cell phone, and I rarely use it very often.   I remember back around 2000 watching the Oprah show one day when Oprah confessed she didn’t have a cell phone, and she couldn’t understand why people needed to be available that way at all times and in all places.  While I’m sure Oprah has relented and gotten not just a cell phone but a smart phone by now, I still remember her remark in resisting that particular technology.

But while I might not have a smart phone, most of the other folks I know or encounter have one.  And that brings me around to my topic of the moment.  I’m less worried about whether or not smart phones are “emasculating” than I am about their tendency to make people more self-absorbed, oblivious, and frankly rude.

I’m appalled at work when I see people checking their smartphones during meetings, but I see it all the time.  And then there is the matter of the folks who text (or play “Angry Birds”) while walking or crossing the street or, worse, while driving.

My particular gripe at the moment is something that I see more and more frequently when I fly these days, and that is people who flout the rule against using their cell phones during flight.  Maybe it is an unnecessary rule, but it is still a rule, and ostensibly a rule put in place for everyone’s safety.  Nevertheless, I’ve witnessed people within my line of sight who don’t turn off their phones when instructed, or who furtively turn them on in mid-flight to start texting or checking e-mails (and I’m not talking about a flight with wi-fi), or who hide them away only to have them ring during flight.   On one of my most recent flights, a phone rang and a guy took the call and started talking as we were going into the final descent before landing.   I’m not a frequent flyer, so if I’ve witnessed all of these things, I can’t be the only one.

Maybe I’m just being a grouch, but it seems to me that the advances in communications technology have desensitized many people (and not just the Alec Baldwins of the world) to the demands of common courtesy and common sense.

LA Meatless Mondays Steak Dinner 02/25 with Dan & Bruce

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 7:50 pm - February 13, 2013.
Filed under: LA Stories,Travel

Our next Meatless Monday steak dinner will take place on Monday, February 25 in the Los Angeles area and will include both Bruce and myself, together for the first time since 2010.

Drop me a note for details and to RSVP.

Tomorrow (01/20/13)–GayPatriot Miami Brunch

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:39 pm - January 19, 2013.
Filed under: Blogging,Travel

Just a reminder about our brunch tomorrow, January 20 in South Beach.

Drop me a note to RSVP and for details

Miami Brunch Sun.,. Jan. 20th; Steak Dinner Mon. Jan., 28

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:21 pm - January 16, 2013.
Filed under: Blogging,Freedom,Travel

Just a reminder about our brunch in Miami this coming Sunday, January 20th.

And a Monday night steak dinner on the 28th in honor of the LA City Council’s declaration of Meatless Mondays.

Drop me a note to RSVP and for details.

Brunch with Dan in Miami on January 20

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:01 am - January 7, 2013.
Filed under: Blogging,Travel

I will be in Miami for meetings at the end of next week and should have some time about mid-day on Sunday, the 20th (the mid-way point of a failed presidency) for a brunch with readers.

Drop me a note if you’d like to join us.

San Francisco Bay Area Meet-Up on Sunday 10/07

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 7:37 pm - October 4, 2012.
Filed under: Blogging,Travel

Join me on Sunday for a brunch with some of our readers in the Bay Area; we’ll be gathering at about 1 PM or so in the Rockridge area of Oakland.  Drop me an e-mail if you’d like to join us.

A World Away

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 6:12 pm - October 1, 2012.
Filed under: Travel

I see news of next year’s “fiscal cliff” is finally getting through from the mainstream media today. Well, financial concern is one of the reasons for my travel binge the past two weeks. Just in case.

Here are some photos from Day One in Sydney, Australia. It is Tuesday morning as I post this.


-Bruce (GayPatriot)





Traveling through Walt’s World, then the real World

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 6:24 pm - September 26, 2012.
Filed under: Blogging,Travel,Vacation Blogging

It’s Bruce checking in from Orlando, FL, where PatriotPartner (John) and I are celebrating a good friends birthday at Disney World.

Then on Saturday night, we head out for a more ambitious trip: Sydney, Australia next week!

On Oct 3., John and I are lucky enough to see Lady Antebellum perform at the Sydney Opera House!

All this to say that my blogging will be slow. And I’m actually trying to ignore the day-to-day political stuff until Oct 8! Wish me luck. LOL.

I will probably have some pics during the Sydney trip on my Twitter account. So follow me there for sure!

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Paula Deen: Bringing GayPatriot Readers Together

Before I drove cross country in 2010, I had never heard of Southern cooking diva Paula Deen, but I credit her for the harmony of our readers’ dinner in Atlanta that spring.  You see, when we gathered in that august town, I was concerned; one of our critics (with whom I have corresponded at least since 2006) would be joining us — along with two of our most outspoken conservative readers, one who, two years after the 2008 election, still sported a McCain-Palin sticker (with the Arizona Senator’s name removed) on his truck.

I had feared I might have to play peacemaker.  Well, I didn’t have to.  I don’t know how Paula Deen came up, but as soon as she did, all my Atlanta readers found something to talk about — how they delighted in this diva, enjoying her books, TV show and recipes.  They discussed which ones they had tried and home and celebrated her appreciation for butter.  Paula Deen, in short, bridged the political divide.

Aware of this woman’s capacity to foster harmony, my ears naturally perked up when my correspondent James Richardson alerted me this weekend to an article he wrote, taking to task “Northern” food critics who would bring this Southern diva down:

“Thinking of getting into the leg-breaking business, so I can profitably sell crutches later,” [New York-based foodie Anthony] Bourdain said Tuesday. He has also previously called Deen the “worst, most dangerous person to America” for her country cooking indulgence. Even 2011 James Beard winner Jose Andres said that Dean should “endorse a vegetable or fruit” instead of a diabetes drug.

But the Bronx cheer for apparent chef-turned-rebel terrorist Deen, a prototypical Southern mother with a lifetime’s recipes of irredeemably deep-fried dishes, is less a reflection of the culinary elitism that runs through Bourdain’s vice-ridden travelogues than the regionalist snobbery that fuels its appeal.

. . . .

From food to faith, the mythic Dixie–soulful and abundant, passionate and insubmissive–has always clashed with the rigidly cosmopolitan north, which keeps an ever watchful eye on we, her unlearned, drawling wards. (more…)

Did Washington Post ever look for outlandish/incorrect predictions and quotes from Barack Obama’s past?

Apologies for the slow blogging.  Am spending time with some good Mormon friends in Utah.  And, no, they’re not trying to “cure” me.  They know I’m gay and have made me very welcome in their home, even allowing me to adopt their children as my niece as nephews.  Indeed, they have made me feel far more welcome than have many gay liberals upon learning I’m a conservative.

Anyway, as you can probably guess, I have much to say on the retirement of the unhappy Barney Frank.  The long and the short of it is that it is a very good thing for gay Americans.  We will no longer have this mean-spirited embarrassment as the most prominent gay politician in the country.  If we had a less biased media, reporters would note how frequently the Massachusetts Democrats has been wrong and journalists would ask him tough questions.  He has shown an obliviousness to the reality of the marketplace and the record of the Reagan era.  And has demonstrated a refusal to admit wrong and an arrogance about his critics.

He doesn’t seem to realize that this nation enjoyed an economic boom in the 1990s in no small measure to Senate Republicans’ success in filibustering the Clinton “stimulus” in 1993 and Bill Clinton’s compromises with such congressional Republicans as Newt Gingrich in the mid-1990s.

That said, I post this piece having just chanced upon this post on Drudge:

For those unfamiliar,” writes Noel Sheppard in posting this,

Blake writes for the Post’s The Fix political blog, hence the moniker “Fix Aaron.”

What would one expect from a newspaper that only five months ago called for readers to sift through former Alaska governor Sarah Palin’s email messages?

It therefore isn’t at all surprising they’d be looking for dirt on the current Republican presidential frontrunner.

Wonder if Mr. Blake or any of his Washington Post colleagues went looking for dirt on the Democratic presidential frontrunner in the 2008 campaign.

SOMEWHAT RELATED:  Wonder if anybody at Mr. Blake’s paper is tweeting for help in sifting through the recent White House Visitor Log Document Dump.

Denver Brunch Friday November 25

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 7:28 pm - November 23, 2011.
Filed under: Blogging,Holidays,Travel

Just a reminder about the brunch for our readers at High Noon in the Mile-High City this coming Friday, November 25, 2011.  Drop me an e-mail if you can join us as you take a break from your Black Friday shopping.

LA Dinner November 17; Denver Lunch November 25

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:30 am - November 4, 2011.
Filed under: Blogging,Travel

Several of our readers suggested we do another Los Angeles dinner.  Please let me know if you could make a gathering in two weeks on Thursday, November 17.

And since I’ll be in Denver for Thanksgiving, would like to organize a lunch for our readers in the Mile High City (and surrounding regions of the Mountain State) on the following Friday, November 25.

If you’d like to attend either event, please drop me a line.

A businessman’s flight from Illinois to Texas

As some of you know, I’ve been doing a mini-cross country drive these past few weeks, having to coordinate planned trips to Colorado (to celebrate my Dad’s birthday) and a meetings in Massachusetts.

Last night, while checking into a hotel in the Texas panhandle, ended up chatting with a man in his seventies (he gave me his age) about his travels.  He was pulling up stakes in his native Illinois and together with his business partners, and and preparing to set up shop in Texas and New Mexico.

They had decided to face the frustrations of moving because their governor (of Illinois) had just raised taxes by a considerable amount.

I would daresay they’re not the only ones.

On blogging & the gay marriage conversation

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:18 am - June 29, 2011.
Filed under: Blogging,Family,Gay Marriage,Random Thoughts,Travel

Sometimes, we bloggers find that our schedules do not allow us the time to write about breaking news of interest to our readers in a timely manner.  When the news breaks, we may have other plans and lack a paid staff or readily available understudies to fill in when we are away.

In the wake of the New York legislature’s vote to recognize same-sex marriages, I would have liked to have blogged more on the topic and have scribbled countless notes for a number of blog posts.  But, I had planned a trip, first to Santa Barbara for a friend’s going away party and thence to the Bay Area to spend time with some family members.  In the coming days, I will try to bring some order to my notes and write those posts, but for now, I write from the kitchen in my sister’s new house in the San Francisco ‘burbs, having just concluded a lengthy conversation with that spirited mother of a most energetic two-and-one-half year old.

For the past three days, I would have rather spent my time, dining with my mother (whose visit to SF was the occasion for my trip), hiking with my sister or playing with my nephew than organizing my notes and writing (hopefully) thoughtful posts on gay marriage.

Those three paragraphs were supposed to have served as the introduction to the first post I had wanted to write on gay marriage.  Perhaps, I should leave them as a reflection on blogging, but I do want to add one more thing.

Part of the “play” with my nephew involved a trip to Traintown, a railway-themed mini-amusement park featuring “a quarter scale railroad on 4 miles of track.”  On our twenty-minute ride, although I focused on my nephew, I did notice a (presumably) lesbian couple and their child.  One mother who had the short hair and very matter-of-fact manner of many lesbians I know and showed the same solicitude toward her daughter that my sister regularly shows her son, gently, at one time, offering her a sippy cup when the child seemed thirsty and not letting it fall when she rejected it soon thereafter, thrusting it at her Mommy (without regard to her willingness or ability to hold onto it). (more…)

Best San Francisco Movie

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:08 am - May 14, 2011.
Filed under: Movies/Film & TV,Travel

Here I am once again in the City by the Bay, a jurisdiction with perhaps the most beautiful coastal setting of any major American metropolis and I do occasional double-takes, wondering if this or that locale looked familiar because I had once been there — or perhaps because I had seen it a movie. It does seem this city serves as the setting for many a film, particularly the darker ones.

So, this got me wondering, what, in your view, is the best film set in San Francisco?

Films which come to mind include The Maltese FalconWhat’s Up, Doc? and Foul Play.  To be sure, the last two hardly count as dark.

GayPatriot San Francisco Readers Breakfast Sat. 05/14

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:09 pm - May 8, 2011.
Filed under: Blogging,Travel

Will be in San Francisco next weekend and will be organizing a breakfast (about 9ish) on Satruday, May 14 for blog readers.  Let me know if you can join us.


GayPatriot DC Happy Hour, Tuesday February 1

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:40 am - January 31, 2011.
Filed under: Blogging,Travel

As I‘ll be am now in Washington in a few days for a meeting, I’m organizing a Happy Hour together with our good friends at GOProud. Please drop me a line if you’d like to join us this coming Tuesday, February 2nd.

(Bumped and updated)

GayPatriot San Francisco Brunch Tomorrow Sat 11-27

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:50 pm - November 25, 2010.
Filed under: Blogging,Travel

Am in San Francisco to celebrate the second birthday of the most important person in the Golden State (my youngest nephew).  While in town, am organizing a brunch for blog readers.  Let me know if you can join us tomorrow Saturday the 27th.

GayPatriot Readers’ Brunch In Denver on Sat Sept 4*

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:05 am - September 1, 2010.
Filed under: Blogging,Travel

Just another reminder that I’ll be in Denver to visit my brother and sister-in-law and at least one of their kids over Labor Day Weekend and would love to arrange a readers’ brunch on Saturday the 4th (or possibly Sunday the 5th).

If you’re in the Rocky Mountain State and would like to join us, drop me a line.

*re-bumped and updated.

GayPatriot Boston Dinner Tomorrow Weds., June 9
(Brattleboro, VT, Sunday June 13)

One of the greatest things about this trip has been the change to meet our readers. I was delighted that in Atlanta when one of our left-of-center readers joined us, he found that he and the readers more in line with this blog’s point of view shared a fascination with cooking and TV food shows.

Right now, a good number have RSVPed for the Boston dinner, tomorrow Wednesday June 9 but we still need find a place. Drop me a note if you have any ideas.  Thanks to our wonderful readers, we have found a place. Contact me for details.

Also some readers who have busy schedules have asked if they can come late for an after-dinner drink.  Of course you can.  We’d be glad to see you whenever you can make it.  

Let me know if any of you are free during the day on June 9 and want to join me (and at least one other reader) in taking a walk along the Freedom Trail. Together, GayPatriot fans can help trace the path of the original American patriots.

And don’t forget Brattleboro, Vermont on Sunday, June 13.  Here at least, we seem to have settled on a place.

E-mail me to RSVP for either or both of those dinners (as well as the walk along Freedom Trail).

NB:  Bumped & Updated