Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Response From GAC to My Email... (UPDATED)

Following is the reply from Randall Stuckey (GAC Alum Dir) to my email; and my subsequent response ... 

From: Randall Stuckey []
Sent: Wednesday, February 06, 2013 2:08 PM
To: Adam J Barrett
Cc: Tim Kennedy; jolene D Christensen
Subject: Re: Fwd: [Alumni] {Disarmed} Deeply Concerned...

Hello, Adam,

Thanks for your email -- we always appreciate hearing from our alumni.  There is nothing that I can add to what has already been sent in the letter from Board of Trustee's Chair Mark Bernhardson, but I can forward your note to the Board and others in leadership roles.  Gustavus is a great place, has been and will continue to be very resilient, and is certainly a place to continue to support.

Randall Stuckey '83
Director of Alumni Relations

I agree.

However, while not nearly as involved in Alumni relations as I ‘should’ be… The recent news and subsequent response deeply saddens/angers/worries me. While on campus, I made it my priority (sometimes in too ‘blunt’ of a manner) to foster an environment of ideas and community—a place where individuals were unafraid to think ‘outside the mainstream.’ I accomplished this through Student Senate, serving on multiple committees, and writing for the Gustavian… While my efforts were merely a blip on the radar, upon graduation, I saw positive progress (much of which was driven by professors, admins, and students who TRULY cared – Hank Toutain and Dennis Johnson are prime examples)…

I agree with the assessment that Gustavus (as all Colleges should) must prepare itself for a new “higher education landscape” however, that can NOT be at the expense of our core. I am aware that many agree with my sentiments however, the feeling must be shared universally.

Thank you for your response. As I iterated, perhaps this will act as a catalyst for greater Alum involvement (it certainly lit a fire that’s been missing for me)…

I look forward to continuing this and additional dialogue.


Adam J Barrett
true source | Business Development Manager 612.825.2886 x214 office | 612.237.3890 mobile | 877.839.7977 fax
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Response to Gustavus Board of Trustees

I haven't posted to this in a VERY long time however, my blood is boiling after receiving an email from Gustavus' Board of Trustees regarding a recent Star Tribune article regarding the failures of and loss of confidence in, my Alma Mater's President ( The letter to alums is posted in its entirety below (after my response)...

This is the letter that Gustavus Adolphus College Board of Trustees issues to eliminate our concerns? The "blind attitude" and "incestuous nature" of GAC leadership is sickening... In summary, we are being told to merely continue contributing and "trust" that everything is in order or, will inevitably work itself out... 

Your letter will infuriate more than any Star Tribune article... If nothing else (and, perhaps a good thing at the end of the day for Alum involvement), I plan to dedicate some valuable time ensuring that administrative activities and concerns are properly disclosed and my Alma Mater strengthens its reputation of quality and progress.

The 'gossipy chatter' of a few is one thing-- the concerns from the "pulse of our campus" are another. Your letter neglects to acknowledge the severity of this issue and, while I would suggest a better crisis management firm, ultimately the onus (as is so often the case with GAC leadership) will need to fall in the laps of those who remain committed and truly care. Dollars are nice and necessary however, they will not continue to flow (through contributions or tuition) if the ethos of Gustavus continues to suffer.

I appreciate your time and look forward to addressing this issue in the immediate.


Dear Gustavus Alumni, 
Gustavus Adolphus College has been in the news recently in regard to concerns about the College’s governance and leadership.  On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we write you, our valued alumni, to provide background and context to the concerns being expressed.  All institutions of higher education are in an ever more rapidly changing environment.  We are addressing those concerns brought on by the challenges inherent with major institutional change across the breadth of higher education.  By doing so, we hope to build on the significant successes achieved by our alma mater in recent years. 
In these challenging times in higher education, technology and online learning are confronting the traditional methods of teaching at a residential, liberal arts college.  Concerns have also been raised about rising costs in private education as it relates to the challenges being faced nationally.  Despite these challenges, Gustavus continues to thrive and remains one of the top private liberal arts colleges in the United States.
By its very nature, a college campus is a diverse mix of individuals and opinions and Gustavus is no exception.  It is a natural process to openly engage in civil discourse about divergent opinions in the way in which an institution of higher education is governed. The Board of Trustees, through the governance model we developed over the past few years, has been seeking more input from faculty, staff, and students to make sure the appropriate conversations and discussions are held so that the institution will continue to move forward.
As a Board, we have listened and are hearing the concerns expressed on and off campus and will continue to do so.  While we know there is work to be done, we are excited about the progress of the institution under the President’s leadership.  Be assured that the Board and President Ohle are committed to continuing to work with all of the College’s stakeholders.
Our alma mater has experienced significant success over the past few years.  The College has realized an increase in student enrollment as well as significant increases in both the number of applicants and the academic quality of those applicants.  In addition, thanks to the support of so many of you, there has been a substantial increase in giving to the College, including $4.5 million given to the 2011-12 Annual Fund by 9,925 donors and the kick-off of a $150 million comprehensive fundraising campaign of which over $100 million has already been raised.  All of this has contributed to our continued strong financial health.  We also received the largest gift in the history of the College that enabled us to construct a new academic building, which houses five academic departments.  However, with these successes we must all realize we cannot take future success for granted. 
The one thing we know for sure is that the Gustavus family is a tight-knit group that cares deeply about the success of the institution.  With your continued support and dialogue, we will stay committed and focused on Gustavus's core values and mission of educating students for lives of leadership and service.
On behalf of the Board of Trustees,
Macintosh HD:Users:jolene:Desktop:MarkB_C1.tif                                    
Mark E. Bernhardson
Chair, Board of Trustees

Monday, June 20, 2011

If Liberal Formula is Used, GLBT Equality Will Fail

Republicans have mastered one of the oldest forms of argument and they continue to pulverize every opponent with it.

You don’t have to take a “Debate 101” course to effectively use the ‘Republican technique’ -- it is given to us at birth. When a child requests an afternoon chocolate chip cookie from his mother, the response is typically, “No; not until you eat your dinner.”

The retort from the child is simple yet annoyingly effective, “Why?”

It won’t matter how many ‘answers’ the mom offers, the child will persist with “Why’s” until hopefully, she teeters on insanity and gives-up the cookie.

The child is performing a basic form of something that the most experienced defense attorneys and politicians have mastered; shifting the burden of proof onto his opponent.

 “The best defense is a good offense.”

Liberals seemingly always play the role of “mother” when their policies or ideas are questioned by conservatives. No matter how important the issues, Democrats are inclined to botch the message and stumble around with meaningless phrases and concepts ultimately finding defeat. Republicans, on the other hand, unify around a cause and milk it for everything it’s worth.

A recent example of an effective conservative offense is, "The Birther Movement.”

Despite clear flaws in the argument, the simple question, “Well, WHERE IS your birth certificate?” followed by a series of “Why’s” and “Where’s” was able to resonate with enough Americans and media outlets that eventually the Administration was stuck so deep in a corner that they were forced to cave under the pressure.

It’s become routine for liberals to fumble a message when the cameras are pointed in their direction. It doesn't matter if logic is on their side because they repeatedly lack team work, conciseness, and an ability to appeal to ‘average’ Americans. That pattern is why the fight for GLBT rights MUST distance itself from the Democrat’s “Marketing Department” or, it will fail.

To achieve equal rights in Minnesota and throughout the United States, the GLBT community and its allies need to position themselves in, and maintain the offensive. The argument’s central question is NOT, “Why should Gay’s be allowed to marry?” rather, “Why CAN’T Gay Citizens have equal rights?” It is NOT our responsibility to prove that rights should be granted but to ask; WHY are they DENIED?

GLBT rights advocates must simply follow the “child’s” instinct to question his “mother.”

“What are you afraid of?”

NO ‘winning’ answer can arise from these questions and advocates will have created the new “popular sentiment.” Additionally, a suggestion illuminating the sexual insecurity of those standing in the way of equal rights is alluded to.

The once, ‘awkward minority’ will become the popular majority and the winds of change will truly begin to shift in the direction of equality.

While a cohesive message is essential to success, it becomes vital for a cause to also possess an appealing messenger.

“The bad boy gets the girl.” ‘Bad boys’ are often the object of a girl’s affection because they appear to bleed confidence.

The Republican Noise Machine may not possess an iota of fact or reason while barking its agenda however, it appeals to the masses because the messengers stand tall and look darn good delivering it.

Liberals and GLBT rights advocates must find the proper individuals to initially present the argument. In this case, those on the forefront probably should not be “Anthony Weiner” or “Lady GaGa” types. It’s not ideal (or, ‘liberal’) but from a pragmatic angle, the messengers should have a certain ethos (style and credibility) to grab a dissenter’s attention.

My point is not to draw an analogy between conservative discourse and a child begging for dessert or to chastise those dedicating their lives to GLBT rights. It’s to issue a firm ‘wake-up’ call from a progressive who is beyond frustrated with the old Democratic Guard regularly losing the war of words and image.

The simple method of shifting the burden of proof and playing offense should, if nothing else be closely examined by organized labor, universal health care proponents, and environmentalists.

The time leading into the 2012 election (when the ‘Obama Campaign Apparatus’ is running again), is the perfect opportunity for progressives to seize their message, control the microphone, recognize that the “old way” is no longer “the way”, and rally forward with an offense that paves a path for the middle class and those who are denied a voice in our democracy.

The GLBT Community is ‘lucky’ because it has honesty, integrity, and humanity on its side. As they are openly pummeled with lies and hate, it is time for supporters to take the blows, not look back, and fight to solidify our friends’ and neighbors’ rightful place in the country. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Forgiving Sarah Palin (I've Been Wrong)

The process involved a lot of reflection, reading, rest, cleansing, and grapefruit but, I can finally state that a portion of my 'life's journey' is complete; I learned how to truly forgive.

Despite a legitimate desire to remain open-minded, accept the differences that exist between myself and others, and truly embrace and tout America's First Amendment, I often realize that my glowing attributes are merely held in vain. Often times, an impulsive desire to shred any piece of an opposing view along with the individual who holds it enters my threshold of destruction and is surrounded by a shield of an impenetrable stubbornness.

Because of my adamant disagreement with her politics and method of presenting them, one individual, who has no idea who I am or what I've said, has still been the target for countless insults, claims, and ridicule from my unrestrained musings, and I feel bad.

Consider for a moment, that every ideal you hold close and strive to espouse (essentially, your true being) was one day recognized by someone in power. Your heart and soul are validated by a candidate for the most powerful office on Earth.

Finally, you are in a position to offer your core beliefs to the masses. You can now bring the change that molded your spirit and family into the hearts and minds of Americans, if not the rest of the world.

I truly believe that Sarah Palin's foundation is formed from roots that sincerely intend to offer only greatness and prosperity. However, the superficial puppet-masters that thrust her into the world's spotlight were not doing so with her, or America's best interests in mind.

The 2008 Presidential Election contained a surge of enthusiasm and energy not experienced since, at least, John F. Kennedy's bid in 1960. Barack Obama created a tidal wave of support that could not be matched by John McCain alone. His campaign needed a spark plug, someone who's zest, attractiveness, youth, and 'freshness' could match the Illinois Senator.

This is not intended as an insult (though I am sure some will take it that way) but, Gov. Palin was not chosen to run as Vice President because of her grasp on domestic and international relations, a vision for a balanced economy, or a reputation for enacting social reform. She attained her status on the ticket because very few had ever heard of her (including John McCain, he met her once) and she possesed a knack for firing-up a crowd that McCain sorely lacked. She was merely a pawn in a grand political scheme.

Obviously, the McCain/Palin ticket failed to overtake the machine that was, Obama. Sen. McCain had a cozy political office to retreat into where his fervor for the national spotlight could still be achieved. He would remain a force in the institutions that form the bedrock of American Government; his appetite could be fed.

But, what about Sarah?

Gov. Palin had a taste of the sensational popularity and attention that is normally reserved for Hollywood starlets. She had a venue that allowed her, hell- it begged her- to shout her principles aloud and spread them among every American.

Would you want to retreat back into the nether-regions of Alaska?


Our nation's media remains fixated on Gov. Palin. A lust for her image, voice, and thoughts is sought at every turn. It is not her fault that the 24 hour news stations clamor for her image and crave her opinions. Sarah positions herself in a way that keeps the news gremlins fed but still leaves them hungry for more.

Sarah Palin was/is merely attempting to create and achieve her own "American Dream." Similar to the miners who headed West, the small town choir singer performing for 3 Judges, or the man with a tool forged in his garage, that will change the world, Palin is an undeterred entrepreneur striving to maintain her brand. Unfortunately for her, it is starting to die.

Yesterday, Sarah Palin's strongest supporter, Bill Kristol expressed his malcontent with her recent positioning (video below). What may seem trivial, is actually a very big deal in the political arena. To this point, Mr. Kristol (viewed by many as a very strong conservative pundit) has hailed Sarah as a wunderkind who could do no wrong. He emerged as the latest conservative voice (joining Karl Rove, Charles Krauthammer, and others) teamed with polls expressing doubt that Sarah can be a true political contender/player in the future.

The rise and fall of Sarah Palin is not complete, and has yet to be solidified as her destiny. However, her stardom has taken the course of many American luminaries. The sadistic nature of our being, loves to witness the assumed Greek Tragedy in everyone. Sarah Palin could be our Agamemnon and, if the case, I couldn't feel more sorry for her.

It's starting to warm up a bit... I hope that the day treats you well... Matt Larson and Anne Plaisted, you two have a fantastic day...

William Kristol Video...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Britney Spears, Will You... Me?

A portion of a new book by, Allison Pearson, details the phenomenon of teenage girls, their relationship with, and fantasies relating to celebrity crushes.

I Think I Love You, tells the story of 13 year old Petra who, along with her best friend, is head over heels infatuated with David Cassidy (from the "Partridge Family;" c'mon...). The two girls not only venture away to David's concert but they also remain steadfast in their conquest to attain every detail of David's life. They know his likes and dislikes, his astrological sign, the names of his parents and stepmother, that his favorite drink is 7-up, that he had a squint and was forced to wear an eye patch and corrective glasses ("...which must have been hard. Harder than for a girl even."), and, well, you get it.

The two die-hards, along with millions of other young ladies in the 1970's were destined to meet, fall in love, and live happily ever after with David Cassidy (or, their ONE adorned celebrity husband). However, like most chic cravings, their dream fizzled and reality sank its cruddy, dank teeth into the hearts of the young glazed-eyed lovers.

Unfortunate? Yes.
Sad? Maybe.
A glaring difference between girls and guys? Without question.

I still remember the MULTIPLE crushes that I held growing-up (hell, with Perez, TheSuperficial, and countless other gossip sites exploiting the near-naked features of Hollywood elite, I still form them today).

I had the spunky and innocent Stephanie from "Full House," the mystically, mesmerizing gaze of Anna Chlumsky in "My Girl," quasi-bitchy, yet fashionably astute Alicia Silverstone in "Clueless" AND those Aerosmith Videos, and, because I don't discriminate against animation, you can toss-in Jasmine ("Aladdin") and Ariel ("The Little Mermaid) to create a one-of-a-kind mental brothel.

However, the key difference between the crushes of pre-pubescent and teenage guys compared to their opposite-of-sex counterparts is not a fantasy of a life spent growing and loving together, it's a longing to see that gorgeous celebrity butt-naked.

A young guy may lack a true understanding of what 'sex' actually is and would, in all likelihood, cower in embarrassment and fear if ever ACTUALLY confronted by his nude starlet. However, he can still confidently infer that an inherent biological puzzle has been solved with the stirring in his groin region and the neurological electrons shooting throughout his brain, affirming his X-rated thoughts.

See, guys don't dwell on the inner-soul of their crushes because they recognize early on that any sort of connection, other than a one night romp, is purely a figment of the imagination.

That is why, to this very day, I preserve my grasp of reality and possess an open invitation to the one celebrity that I have kept sealed in the depths of my mind since I first laid eyes on her. Despite a few breakdowns, children, poor choices in men, and crummy national television performances, I maintain my acute male perspective and refuse to care, or judge.

While the excitement may act as a catalyst for an incredibly "early exit" or, the shock of the event actually occurring, renders me into a mode typically experienced after whiskey and beer; I will state clearly, emphatically, and without hesitation, "Britney Spears (or, Jessica Alba... ok... or, Mila Kunis... January Jones?... yes, Anna Faris, too), my door is ALWAYS open for you."

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Genius of Groupon

While partaking in the tradition that solidifies my standing as a 'true' American, the liberal in me was committed to ignoring the hype surrounding the always painful "National Anthem" rendition, the eternally irritating half-time show, and the multi-million dollar war waged by gluttonous marketers.

I held my ground throughout. I refused to budge when Aguilera completely flubbed our patriotic tune, when Darth Vader discovered the dark side, when the BEP left my mouth agape with epic confusion, and even when the ever adorable Etrade baby was fitted for custom garb by Enzo the Tailor. Yes, despite my subconscious powers screaming for me to offer a comment, I held back. I held back until the proverbial straw broke this camel's back.

Groupon unleashed a commercial that had me so flustered and upset that I wanted to take to this forum immediately with the intent of forming some vast coalition (mainly my Facebook network, I guess) against the company that brings us discounted manicures, half-price restaurant bills, and ridiculously cheap Minnesota Opera tickets. Immediately, I was committed to retracting my email address from their database and shunning the man by paying full-price at each and every one of Groupon's advertising venues. That would teach 'em...

However, the new, rational Adam paused for a bit, slept on his surge of opinions and awoke with a new set of beliefs. Groupon and its marketers shouldn't be chastised, they should be congratulated.

Despite the turmoil surrounding many areas of our World's growth, from a completely pragmatic marketing point, Groupon played its cards perfectly.

The onset of the advertisement, featuring the Tibetan mountainside coupled with a slow pan towards the region's people offered an immediate break from the fast paced, flashy commercials to which we are accustomed. Timothy Hutton's voice-over placed us into a mode that is typically reserved for Sally Struthers' "Save the Children" and Sarah McLachlan's "Help the Animals" pleas. It drew us in, only to have our compassion shattered by a discounted meal in Chicago.

Today's Internet and radio backlash has remained massive. How could Groupon capitalize off the hardships of humans?! I still wrestle with this argument. Featuring a group of tormented people is a stretch, unlike the rain forest or whales, for instance. However, the fact that the discussion is soaring today bodes well for the cultural recognition of these political and moral problems.

Since the rumored take-over by Google, Groupon has become a massive force. Investors have made the company beyond economically stable and an onslaught of members have ensured stable marketing efforts for years to come. The company is a boon to small business and has the means to create change through contributions to the very efforts that it publicized (or exploited, depends on your stance).

The marketing campaign launched yesterday by Groupon may have caused a moral stir among viewers however, I can't remember the last time that I heard Tibet discussed in the mainstream. If the backlash towards the company becomes so severe that it threatens it's viability in the on-line marketplace, well it's nothing that an apology and donation can't fix- thus, keeping the business in our spotlight. Yet another reason why the commercial should be heralded as a success.
Sorry... Busy morning. No in-depth post for a bit... Attempting an update via text message for the first time; hope it works... Still upset with the Gophers...

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Special Kind of Stupid (My Drudgereport Moment!)...

I have to admit, this minor heat wave that we're receiving coupled with the fact that the sun is staying out past 5:00pm really acts as a natural Prozak-- one may say that it's slightly inspirational even.. hmm... ok. Peace, Love, Happiness... right?! I figure, it's the weekend, I'll withhold the rants for a bit...

While I certainly have my thoughts regarding the following comment and email excerpt, I will refrain from articulating them... Rather, I feel that the content speaks for itself. Before posting it, let me just offer a brief background...

I received the emails below from a friend who works in the television news industry. Every day, he receives multiple phone calls, emails, and letters from viewers who believe that his station COULD DO MORE (capitalized to emphasize the true passion behind their suggestions); More content, more accuracy, less propaganda, etc...

At times, the ideas are offered with a genuine desire to improve the lives of the viewers. Most of the time however, the beliefs emanating from these people can only be described as "whhhhaaaaaaa?!?!" or, "a special kind of stupid."

Following, is a comment from the "suggestion box" and an excerpt from a very long email that my friend received yesterday-- I suppose, if accurate, both could really be MY big break... Remember, you heard it HERE first!!! --FYI, I redacted the name of the city from the "comment", so I can follow-up and preserve this story as my own... ;) ... no, actually to protect my somewhat innocent friend- I swear, this really is real...

(FYI, if this craziness becomes too painful and you don't want to continue reading, scroll to the bottom for today's "Good Day Wish...")

Suggestion Box:

"Comments: I have it on good authority that the Chinese government have allocated 30,000 acres near [our city], and plan to build a city near it.  The government has given permission to let the Chinese build 257 cities so that they can build products quicker for the US consumer."

Email Excerpt:

Does this make you wonder?

  The great mystery...............
         Ever wonder why no one ever came forward from President Obama's past saying they knew him, attended school with him, was his friend, etc. ??  Not one person has ever come forward from his past.
               VERY, VERY STRANGE..
               This should really be a cause for great concern.  To those
who voted for him, you may have elected an unqualified, inexperienced shadow man.

Reminds me of The Manchurian Candidate....
             Let's face it.  As insignificant as we all are .. someone
whom we went to school with remembers our name or face ... someone
remembers we were the clown or the dork or the brain or the quiet one or
the bully or something about us.

           George Stephanopoulos of ABC News said the same thing during
the 2008 campaign.  He questions why no one has acknowledged the
president was in their classroom or ate in the same cafeteria or made
impromptu speeches on campus.

           Stephanopoulos also was a classmate of Obama at Columbia -- the
class of 1984.  He says he never had a single class with him.

           While he is such a great orator, why doesn't anyone in Obama's
college class remember him?  And, why won't he allow Columbia to release
his records?

         Looking for evidence of Obama's past, Fox News contacted 400
Columbia University students from the period when Obama claims to have
been there, but none remembered him.

         Wayne Allyn Root was, like Obama, a political science major at
Columbia who also graduated in 1983  In 2008, Root says of Obama, "I
don't know a single person at Columbia that knew him, and they all know
me. I don't have a classmate who ever knew Barack Obama at Columbia.

         Nobody recalls him.  Root adds that he was also, like Obama,
"Class of  '83 political science, pre-law" and says, "You don't get more
exact or closer than that."  Never met him in my life, don't know anyone
who ever met him.  At the class reunion, our 20th reunion five years ago,
who was asked to be the speaker of the class?  Me.  No one ever heard of
Barack! And five years ago, nobody even knew who he was.

OK.... So, that's that... Like I said, DON'T FORGET who FIRST brought this to you! NOT the MAINSTREAM MEDIA--- MY blog... ;)

I hope everyone has a great Saturday and, Brett Pederson and Claudia Kabella, you two have a WONDERFUL DAY!!!

Friday, February 4, 2011

"Faggot; Fatty; Slut... Shoot."

Similar to the game of chance and circumstance, "Rock; Paper; Scissors," providing denigrating labels for those that surround us at any given time during the course of our lives, tends to be as logical as playing your "weapon" of choice at the point of draw.

Like many, I have had held the position of both the bullied and the bully. What too often escapes those involved in the "process" is that neither position is enviable and both are the result of something WE ALL share. Insecurity.

I sincerely wish with every ounce of compassion existing in my heart that each school-aged kid could truly grasp the concept of  "insecurity" and recognize that even those hot, popular kids that seem to have everything are all equally uncertain of themselves. Unfortunately, during Junior High and the like, the ridiculous number of chemicals (natural and possibly manufactured) and raging contradictions tearing through our systems make it pretty difficult.

That's when we were young, there's an excuse-- as we grow, the 'innocense' factor is lost-- and, both parties, 'the bullied' and 'the bullies,' are guilty of ignorance and a REFUSAL to emerge from a real shitty cocoon.

What seems to be developing at a record pace over social networking groups is the re-surfacing of cliques and the cool crowd. Even more troubling, it appears that some are allowing this concept to seep into their lives outside of cyber-space. Don't believe me? Take a peek at some of your 'friends' status updates (the outrageous and clearly unacceptable nature of many of these will act as fodder for a future post)-- or, have an actual conversation about it; weird concept...

I will be the first to acknowledge that many people have a horrendous childhood, that circumstances exist in households that I could never imagine let alone understand.
Some enter a world where family dinners are replaced with mom smoking crack and dad swinging fists, where recognizing who YOU truly are means extradition from your cozy bed, where the supposed 'safe-haven' of school is really a torturous prison. Because these extenuating circumstances are a REALITY, it would be foolish, ignorant, and morally unjust to deny these members of society additional help- in many forms.

Truth is though, that for most of us, life may have dealt some pretty shitty blows and even more gut-wrenching labels while growing up, but it's time to move on.

It's time to really grasp the fact that all those cliques, the cool table at lunch, and the idea that some are beneath you are figments of your imagination.

I honestly still remember dreading the walk into middle school. I was frequently referred to as a fag, pussy, bitch, etc... and, that was just from peers who are now actually gay... I hated life, I hated those people and, it was really hard to suck it up and move forward. But, what I realized (perhaps, more easily than others) is that your weakness is their gain.

So, STOP. STOP being weak. STOP allowing the figments dancing through your head of convincing you that these bullies are real. They exist because YOU let them. YOUR mind is preventing you from recognizing your potential.

I won't fully expand on it during this post however, I truly believe that our imaginary limitations and/or strengths act as an all too frequent prevailing force during the quest for change in society.


That the entire GLBT community must free itself from their own mental shackles before the major physical ones can be broken; That the obesity epidemic must first be addressed in our culture's mind before the pounds start falling off; That the religious and historical restraints grasping sexuality's (in all its forms) progress, will only be removed if we take the arduous strides of re-examining our perceived traditions.

The task of creating a sound mind is incredibly difficult (like catching a shadow) and may never fully be achieved. However, while it is in no way, shape, or form a 'cure-all,' it's a place to start.

DON'T FRET......

To those arriving at this blog with expectations of reading something with a bit more-- oooomph! ;) -- Squash your worries-- This is simply the CALM BEFORE THE STORM.................

Remembering High School Morning Announcements...

During my senior year at Southwest High School, I had the privilege of presenting the Morning Announcements.

 The script (or, lack thereof) consisted of daily events, future plans, and/or warnings pertaining to leaving campus for lunch.

 We frequently featured guests from sports teams and plays, an individual who offered a "Word O' the Day" (he always wanted to define "masticate" but, the administration refused to allow it --pretty sure he snuck it in towards commencement), and during a couple rare occurrences, dates were arranged for school dances (perhaps, that was the 'start' of reality TV- residuals?!).

A minor suspension even occurred because of my inability to refrain from offering commentary (to this day, I will maintain that a "Black History Month Presentation" postponed through April deserves ridicule-- similar to a "Christmas Pageant" stalled until March).

Despite the various 'acts' on the show, one specific element really seemed to reverberate amongst all those listening, the "Good Day Greeting."

My "greeting" merely focused on two individuals in the school and offered them a completely random wish to have a wonderful day. I don't know if it was the mention of their name over the shoddy loudspeaker or a true sense of 'warmth' on a particularly 'cold' day that held their interest but, something about it worked.

With that in mind, moving forward, I will offer a "Good Day" wish to two of my Facebook friends (or, maybe some randoms) every morning. My method of choice will be left to divine intervention and/or natural selection (whichever you choose to believe)... If you don't want your name selected, that will probably require a ton of prayer or direct threats--- even with that, I can't make any promises.

The 'wish' will occur regardless of the morning post's content... Perhaps, as a reminder to not take ourselves too seriously (me, especially...)

Good Friday Morning to everyone and, Kyrstin (Gustafson) Schwartz and David Beukema, you two have a wonderful day...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Cheating the Restaurant Gods...

I want to break the mold of my posts a bit by sharing an awesome recipe that I brought together for dinner.

Since my inaugural excursions to the Richfield Leeann Chin Restaurant when I was probably around 10 years old, I have maintained an affinity towards Lemon Chicken.

As I grew older, the spicier Peking started filling my plastic 'Metrodome bowl' but I have never forgotten the sweet taste from my first love.

It has been years since I consumed Leeann Chin's food as the taste and quality took a pummeling during new ownership and budget constraints. However, I discovered a recipe that places even the old and true fast-food dish to shame.

I highly recommend this when the $12.00/order minimum at a take-out restaurant just isn't cutting it... Or, when you simply want something incredible to eat.
Also, serve with some whole grain brown rice to add an even healthier component to your dinner.


  • 1 package (1 - 2 lbs) of chicken breast
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
  • Coarse salt (use the salt you have- don't worry)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil (vegetable or canola will work too),
  • 1 tablespoon (a splash) white vinegar (white wine will work too)
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth or stock (I used consomme- just follow directions accordingly)
  • 8 ounces prepared lemon curd (you can find a 10oz jar by the Jelly at Cub for around $5.00)
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 2 scallions (I used shallots)
  • Red pepper flakes to taste
Cut the chicken into pieces or strips.

Coat the chunked chicken lightly in flour, seasoned with a little salt (mix these ingredients together before immersing the chicken-- INSTEAD of salt, I used Tony Chachere's seasoning--- simply a matter of preference).

Heat a large skillet or a wok-shaped nonstick pan over high heat. Stir fry chicken until golden, 3 or 4 minutes. Remove chicken from the pan and return pan to heat. Reduce heat to medium.

Add a splash of vinegar to the pan and let it evaporate. Add stock or broth to the pan and scrape up any drippings with a whisk.

I USED ABOUT 4-6 oz of Lemon Curd-- The more you add, the sweeter the dish! Thin curd by stirring in a little hot water. Add curd to broth and whisk to combine.

Add chicken back to the pan and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes to thicken sauce and finish cooking chicken pieces through.

Remove the pan from heat, add the scallions or chives and zest, and toss chicken pieces well to combine zest and scallions or chopped shallots evenly throughout the sauce. Finish with pepper flakes for your heat preference.

A light post with a light meal to end the day...

Bon Appetite!

Ok, Just 'Hold' the Lap Dance (for now....).....

My post from this morning has garnered mixed reactions.

Some individuals have expressed disgust and disappointment, others have mocked and openly asked, "what the hell are you doing?," and one person took a sensational risk and openly critiqued my position.

Sonya's response to my post is THE reason that I wanted to start this blog. (Please, read her thoughts underneath the initial "Take Your Lap Dance and Shove It" column)

She offered a perspective to my thoughts that I would never consider.

Heck, strip clubs can only be one or two things, right? A smutty destination for horny dudes or a place where distraught or slutty women sell their bodies to make ends meet.

I will argue that those sentiments ring true during most discussions involving the Adult World. Seldom, would anyone take the time to consider the multiple business and personal elements that really exist in a strip club or sex store. I was guilty of that.

This is not to say that horrible occurences don't exist in the trade... But, what DOESN'T have a dark side? I believe it is integral to our growth as a community and people to venture where we are most afraid. To acknowledge that shit exists in many facets of our surroundings. But sometimes, THAT is all we choose to see or accept.

All components of an argument should be scrutinized before one claims to have 'the answer'...

I will maintain my personal position on strip clubs, but also look to continue a discussion with those that have made a career out of the endeavor- owners AND employees-- and, those that enjoy and benefit from the services offered... That is only fair to truly developing a sound stance and/or understanding.

If this blog continues to live, I will commit to researching and presenting as accurate a portrait as I can offer.

My opinions will continue to flow and welcome open challenges... But, always with the inherent mission of my goal, to provide some sort of change...

22 hours 245 views... My Second thoughts...

I am very surprised at the number of views that my small blog has received in a relatively short amount of time. Based upon the private responses that I have received, I can only surmise that the interest is akin to watching a NASCAR race-- People tune in with the hope of witnessing a crash of epic proportions.

I don't want to delve too deep into my thoughts surrounding my growing apprehension behind this project, however it is my intent to operate this site as I try to live life, with an open mind and honesty. I can't adequately express how truly frightening that is.

I will be the first to admit that I am not always right, hell, I am usually equally as unsure of my opinions as those who fiercely disagree with me. But, I have thoughts and questions that I desperately want justifications and answers for...

My intent with this blog is to explore the many uncertainties of life. And yes, that can be something as deep as the concept of a Higher Power or an observation regarding strip clubs in our society.

My aim is NOT to offend or incite mass dissent. Rather, I proceed through life with a curiosity that builds to the point of utter confusion. This blog is my outlet for exploration and discussion... And, if you'd like, it can be yours as well...

Often, my outward nature and strong opinions brings trouble whether or not I am looking for it. I am the first to recognize that. Placing your own words in any public forum can certainly act as a detriment towards other's perception of your character. I get that.

I will continue with this blog because I truly believe that it can help with this crazy ideal that I have held close for a very long time, fostering the growth of positive change in my surroundings.

How exactly will this happen? I have no freaking clue. But, I have some ideas...

Every goal can only be reached with a conception and an execution... I don't know if I will succeed or fail... But, this is my VERY PUBLIC attempt at something.

Again, I appreciate your continued thoughts and suggestions...

Take Your Lap Dance and Shove It...

I have a deep, sincere hatred of strip clubs.

To be completely forthright, I have slummed within the lowest, paltry realms of Warehouse strip shacks and mingled amongst classy nudes and 'refined' gentlemen where each drink matches the price of a dance ($$$, in other words). These escapades were at the outer core of a rebellious fervor beset upon my late teen years and early twenties.

My experiences were no different than most men who tread into the universal staples of Adults Only Venues. Patrons are greeted with dark, blotchy red carpeting, cheap rope lights gliding along the walls, and rows of what can only be described as misplaced spotless mirrors that bounce the impending sin from one side of the hallway to the other.

Tawdry, yet enticing decorations beckon you towards a mammoth basement style room, headlined with a stage pierced with multiple poles. Nearly naked women hoping to capitalize on a rush of chauvinistic adrenaline rendering males blind to reality, thrust themselves onstage and sweep empty flirtations across the floor.

For some, the peer pressure coupled with an inescapable aura of feminine mind-control is too much and the twenty dollar bills emerge from pockets like an ATM machine.

For others, the performance resembles more of a 'house-of-horrors' perpetuating rapidly growing feelings of discomfort and shame.

Why are all these women naked?
What if my relatives see me here?
What would my mother think?

Undoubtedly, these questions have flowed through every guy at some point while partaking in this 'right of passage'-- However, it is not the shame nor the ridiculous amounts of money that cause me to detest these dens of dirt.

I hate strip clubs because they are insulting.

They are insulting to me, and should be insulting to every man who encounters their jaded presence along our streets.

What message do these venues echo throughout our society?

That a man is not good enough to find a woman on his own.

So, screw you! I am NOT paying to have a woman grind on my clothed groin for any amount of money. I am better than that.

What magical, golden gift can a stripper possibly possess that entitles her to my money for a service that really provides ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for me?!

Brothers, refuse!! Hell, I say, if you wanna play this game, let's go there!!

From a pure physiological point of view, the woman has the potential to gain more pleasure from her lap-dance than we do, in fact, the dancee is actually acting as the stage for the strippers enjoyment, she should pay him.

And, the more I think about it... men are doing HER a favor, choosing her over all the other girls in the candy shop acts, without hesitation, as a boost to her place in the pecking order of the cool lunch table.

Now, if your friends insist on stealing you away to one of these bro-tastic establishments, I implore you to make this commitment; Tell any inquiring stripper that, you will NOT act as her 'play-toy' for anything less than a drink (I am not responsible for the ensuing bouncer battle)!

Stand your ground! Strip clubs are NOT your friend, you are better than them. Do not allow the perceived appeal of superficial love/lust coupled with cheap perfume to cloud your ability of remembering WHO YOU ARE!

-----Note: My aforementioned sentiment should not imply that women lack a right to a very similar argument... I chose to focus on a position that my gender allows me to relate to...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Bias Egypt Coverage

Despite my political leanings, I can't help but notice the incredible bias in support of the anti-Mubarak protesters filling every facet of the media (yes, this includes radio, Internet, newspapers, AND television)... I admittedly, have the luxury and privilege to view the turmoil from a distance (in a country that affords me countless rights) so I will NOT pretend to 'know' what I do not. However, while the violence certainly seems to be gaining frightening steam and the crowds are steadily appearing to increase in size, I can't help but wonder what the 'non-protesting' 7.75 million residents of Cairo are thinking...

While the emerging sentiment from world leadership and Al Jazeera is that it is time for an overhaul of Egypt's government, it must not be lost that Mubarak has complied with many wishes/demands in a very short time. This man has ruled (whether right or wrong) for 30 years, an immediate change of an unstable system in an unstable region cannot occur with the snap of one's fingers.

Being that I am a member of a generation accustomed to and expectant of immediate gratification, I sympathize with the protesters desires and would most certainly be at the forefront of the Cairo blogosphere if that were my home (I will not, for one second pretend that I would have the cajones to march in the street). However, structuring something new and efficient is not easy (we are still 'perfecting' our Democracy) and I have to assume that many of the millions of people NOT in the square probably have some pragmatic views on this...

It would be difficult for a producer to strike any sort of balance with their coverage of this potentially monumental world event - I would not want to be in those shoes. Cameras can't move far and their current focus is probably where it should be, at the heart of the strife/movement in Tahrir Square. Maletov cocktails are being thrown along with stones amongst two groups of people fighting for their futures. Soon, guns will almost certainly enter the equation.

The situation is likely reminiscent (for American History Teachers and the aging books in their classrooms) of Colonial American society during the revolution. The 'real' fight that these people are engaged in is sure to peak the curiosity of billions throughout the world...

...It is my only hope that we, along with those covering it, remember where WE are and where THE EGYPTIAN PEOPLE are... And, that what we see on television and read in the news only represents an incredibly small portion of the citizens of Cairo and Egypt.

Breaking Wind/Passing Gas; The delights of "health"

For the last couple of months, I have made a truly conscious effort to closely monitor every ingredient in the food that I eat. For those unfamiliar with my 'hobbies', I absolutely love to cook and experiment in the kitchen. Usually, due to the bland assortment of menu options (bland pertaining to choice, not seasoning), I almost always prefer a home cooked meal to anything at a restaurant.

While it becomes much easier to monitor what you eat when you dine in, inevitably some component of our meal is made outside the confines of our 'safe-zone.' It is the tortilla for my taco, the noodles for my Italian feast, the bread for my butter, and the cereal in the morning that I typically have no control over.

My 'healthy' emphasis has specifically targeted the consumption of more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. I think the post-lowcarb mentality has enveloped a new love and appreciation for the 'cleansing' power of these foods.  So, if this is the case... it makes complete sense to skip over the 'plain' processed options that lack the alchemist concoctions assuring a double, triple, or quadruple increase in their magical powers, right?!

As my wise consumer eyes drift along colorful packaging and bold pleasing titles to the list of ingredients accompanying my grocery store's offerings, a trend emerges. It has become more frequent that although a food claims to possess 'healthful benefits,' its 'substance' is chalk-full of words that I don't recognize let alone, understand. Among the recent claims permeating packages on shelves is an emphasis on fiber.

Initially, these claims entered my skull with a sense of glee and liberal accomplishment. It was as if my reading of, "Fast Food Nation" and "The Omnivore's Dilemma" had some how forced the Walmarts of the world to bring meaningful change to their money-sucking behemoth companies. Down with the fat, calories, artificial bullshit, HELLO clean colons and youthful hearts... HA! ... I'll concede, they won that battle... I'm still in the war...

Admittedly (with humility), I neglected to recognize the clever manipulations by the marketing geniuses behind the likes of Wheat tortillas, double fiber breads, high fiber pasta, Fiber One Bars, Kashi Cereals, etc. until I regularly consumed this food with pride and a lack of abandon, rendering my stomach into a collection of murmurs, roars, bleps, and an inescapable stench.

What could be doing this to me?!

I, like so many others, fell into the trap that plagues most of us... I wanted a shortcut.

Obviously, I am not a scientist. I am however, a person who is constantly curious and who hates being gassy... So, I did some research on this human-fumarole inducing trend and this is what i found:

This 2009 Slate article about Polydextrose (a 'fiber', additive)...
The always wise minions of Oprah provide some insight....
And, here's a TV news broadcast on the subject...

In a nutshell, the fiber additives (functional fiber ((fake)) ) pass through your body without any of the benefits obtained from the dietary fiber found in produce and whole grains. In fact, some of these functional fibers could actually strip your body of necessary minerals... And, if that wasn't bad enough... the rocket fuel emanating from your ass will be.

So, back to brown rice, steel cut oats, carrots, lettuce, and grapefruit... I think a good rule of thumb is, if it has only one ingredient, it's likely a safe and healthy bet (commentary on FDA inspections and my vagueness is more than acceptable and deserved after that declaration).

Tip: Make a batch of brown rice (NOT INSTANT) and/or steel cut oats on Sunday (as it takes about 30 - 45 minutes for both) and store in the fridge for use throughout the week... Simple and effective...

24/7 News and Nothing to Show...

I possess very strong opinions pertaining to the ridiculous "news" culture that we live in... The notion that we MUST ALWAYS be provided with the newest reality TV scandal, cocaine exploits of Charlie Sheen, Iphone App madness, or the latest in political talking points only aides in perpetuating a culture of morons who think they "know" something because the news told 'em so...  
I will admit that those stories provide entertainment and quell some sort of voyeuristic tendency that many of us possess-- We can see into the shit lives of others and feel pretty damn good about ourselves... That does NOT mean however, that it should be considered "news."

Additionally, the outrageous pundit "analysis" on these "news" stations is theater. You are NOT receiving both "sides" of an issue regardless of what the title on the scrolling bar tells you. The "experts" are being paid to act a specific way and say a specific thing with the hopes that it will provide the same 'rush' for viewers that "The Bachelor", "Survivor," "Jersey Shore", etc. offer... a sense of turbulence and instability in a highly edited and controlled world...

Frankly, it is very annoying and I truly believe that anyone who tunes into those channels should feel completely offended (much like a MAN in a strip club... that's a future post :) )

Following, is a wonderful commentary that follows along the lines of my last post regarding narcissism in American culture...

Here is an excerpt,
"It's obvious that our government is unsure how to speak to us about [Egypt]. It would be nice if they treated us like grown-ups and said "we supported Mubarak for fairly obviously reasons for many years and so we're a bit wary of seeing him ousted," but that is not how the State Department has ever communicated.
So our liberal Tumblr users feel self-satisfied because they are keeping up with the latest images out of Cairo and our Bush apologists can feel like his entire foreign policy has been justified and our finest foreign affairs bloggers can happily argue with each other over Israel, as they always do, and meanwhile in Egypt thousands of people will fight for their fundamental human rights, a struggle that has very little to do with your opinions on anything."

And, here is the column.... enjoy....


Well, that didn't take long... I feel a little guilty... I composed my last post and created this blog with a blind/arrogant notion that ANYONE would care... Please, do me the favor of granting some leniency in your immediate critique...

Ostensibly, this blog IS for selfish purposes. I enjoy writing AND it helps quell my irrepressible ADHD by allowing me to focus my thoughts, if only for a moment...
And, I suppose that creating this "on-line portal of Adam" is a bit self-serving and attention seeking.

However, I promise you that I truly am NOT a selfish person and the principles behind my actions are almost entirely driven by a desire to keep US "open" and "progressing" with education and ideas...

If I had to have one wish in this life, it would be for NO
PERSON to live as a "hollow man"... This is my attempt to "walk the walk" by, well, "talking the talk"... I guess...

Now, if there is anything that my former life as a host on Radio Aahs taught me, it's to NEVER begin a sentence with "Now" and ALWAYS provide a decent segue (eh, one out of two)...  

With that noted, I would like to embrace another widely utilized trait of my generation and toss the blame for my mental state at something else; I believe that my gravitation towards narcissistic tendencies is the by-product of our culture and one must only shift his head in the direction of the immediate American coverage and response towards the Egyptian uprising as proof...

It begins...

My incessant polluting of your "Facebook News Feed" is, for the time being, headed the way of meaningful environmental reform legislation in Congress- straight into a pit where only those who care to see, experience, or believe in it have the opportunity. And, unlike the ideas presented to politicians, "the pit" is probably where a lot of what I have to say belongs.
My intention is not for this "pit" to represent the immediate images that the word implies. Rather, I want my "pit" to be more like the cozy room, nook, or person that we all try to seek refuge in from time to time. It would be asinine for me to even for a moment expect this blog to be a safe haven for anyone but me. Hell, I control the crazy Google tabs on the top which allow me to essentially ensure that this remains MY zone. However, if you ever feel the desire to post something, anything... feel free. See, my IDEAL "cozy nook" is one that encourages and fosters debate, discussion, and random thoughts.
What "my zone" does NOT guarantee is that you will always feel comfortable. I truly believe that my only REAL progress as a person occurs when I am challenged and uncomfortable. Why? Because uncertainty FORCES me to think.
This does NOT ensure that I will respond to your comments. Sometimes, I like to ponder concepts for lengths of time... other times, I just don't care... Regardless, know that I will ALWAYS read anything that you post.
I plan for this inaugural message to act as the only in depth "warning" regarding this blogs' content. My mind is full of randomness, hell, it's full of chaos. But, I will maintain that your spirit is too... it's merely a matter of recognizing that 'control' is something unattainable and slowly allowing your layers of security blankets to fall off (for the record, this is next to impossible and it would be a lie to you and myself if I for one moment implied that I have the capability of doing this).
For this reason, my blog may incorporate discussions that will anger, scare, disgust, or bore the hell out of you...
While this blog may actually become a detour in whatever existential journey I have set myself on, so be it... In the meantime, enjoy my valiant attempt at grasping even a small piece of the shadow (it should be amusing, eventful, dumbfounding, painful, and/or perplexing) and, for any brave/insane souls, feel free to come along... I have NO clue where we're headed.....