Category Archives: In and Around Rochester

Two Morning Show Segments (and the Notions Behind Them) I Despise

No GimmicksI’ve mentioned before that I tend to listen to the morning show on 98PXY during my five minute drive to work most mornings.  I’ve blogged about the sexism (and worse) that I’ve heard the hosts of the shows espouse.  Today, I want to talk about some of the regular segments that they do for the show and why they bother me.

The first is “War of the Roses,” which has disturbed me so much that I often will turn off the radio on the days that it airs if it comes on during my commute.  The basic notion is that someone call in to the show because zie suspects hir romantic partner of cheating on hir.  So to “help out,” one of the hosts calls the partner at hir office and tells them that they are eligible to have a free bouquet of red roses sent to any person of hir choosing.  The idea is that if the partner chooses to send the flowers to the original caller, the caller’s fears are (hypothetically) allayed.  If the partner chooses to send the flowers to someone else instead — which has been the case for all of the half dozen or so times I’ve listened to the segment — zie is deemed a cheater and the original caller — who is also on the line the entire time — confronts hir.  Usually some sort of fight ensues and “great drama” is achieved.

For the record, I threw up in my mouth a little typing “great drama.”  Even in the scare quotes.  Because it sickens me to think that we as a society (or at least the segment that listens to morning radio) apparently consider this something great to listen to.  I mean, thinking your partner might be cheating on you is serious business, not to mention actually having a cheating partner.  Having dated guys who proved themselves completely untrustworthy, I get that.  Which is why I find the whole idea of using some radio show stunt as a way to try to find out or confront a cheating partner so disconcerting.1  Truth be told, dealing with a cheating partner or even just a partner suspected of cheating is not easy and I don’t think there are any simple ways to deal with that.  That includes having radio hosts try trapping and catching your partner in the act and then confronting them on air.

The other segment that bothers me is called “Communicake.”  The idea behind this one is that the hosts invite someone to call in with a situation in which they need to have an uncomfortable conversation with someone or tell them something that isn’t easy.  The hosts then put the message — letting the caller choose the exact phrasing — on a cookie cake, drop it off outside the recipient’s front door over the weekend with a card inviting them to call the show Monday morning to talk it out.  The resulting conversation is then aired, of course.  I haven’t listened to this segment (especially the conversations after the cake is delivered) very often.  The handful of messages I’ve heard about include break-up messages and one person telling her neighbor that a rank odor is wafting from his apartment into hers.

Again, I find this weird and creepy.  First of all, I find the idea of relaying uncomfortable messages via a cake troubling and trivializing.  To me, it’s like saying, “I know this might be the start of a difficult conversation, so I’m going to start it as flippantly as possible,” which strikes me as counter-intuitive.  Then there’s just the fact that the conversation is then aired for the benefit of the show’s listeners.  Because if I’m talking about something that may be uncomfortable for me and/or the other person, I sure want to have hundreds of eavesdroppers listening in on it.

The thing I note is that both of these segments have a couple things in common:

  1. They both offer “easy solutions” to complicated and troubling issues.
  2. They both offer listeners a chance to be voyeuristic when it comes to other people’s interpersonal struggles.

Are either of these things that we as a society really want to encourage?

No, don’t answer that.  The answer is obvious.  And depressing.

1I admit though that I’m more disturbed by the shows hosts who would use people’s real relationship concerns for a few laughs or even just a spectacle to observe on their show.

Today on Sexist Morning Radio

As is normally the case, I was listening to a local morning show during the five minute drive to work today.  I happened to catch the hosts discussing the question, “How many people have a thing for their boss?”  Having just “established” that there are not a lot of guys with women for bosses (surely a topic that deserves its own blog post or twenty), they immediately started focusing on women who had a thing for their male bosses.

One of them (Duffy, if memory serves) argued that it would make sense that a lot of women would have a thing for their bosses.  After all, bosses “have money and power.”  Because, you know, that’s all a woman is looking for when she’s “on the prowl” for a man.

Let that sink in, all you women and men who love women.  A local radio host just suggested that all a woman needs to be attracted to a guy is for him to have money and/or power.  Things like looks, personality, being interesting, having mutual interests, and oh, I don’t know, being a decent human being don’t factor into the equation at all.  Or if they do, they can be easily overruled by the possession of money and power.

So which tropes are these guys intending to support?  Women as gold-diggers?  Women as manipulative shrews who only want power over others and who are willing to exert it through their man?  Women as weak people who simply want someone else who can pamper and protect them?  I don’t know (and don’t care) what they intended, but they’re certainly propagating all of those notions.

They’re most likely propagating a few others I’m not even thinking of right now.  Readers are welcome — nay, encouraged — to point them out in the comments section.

The Honor of Listening

Last night, I attended a trans* panel discussion facilitated by the Empire State Pride Agenda and hosted by the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley.  It was attended by approximately fifty people and the presenters were incredible people whose stories were well worth hearing.  What struck me is that those who planned the event took great care to choose presenters that demonstrated the great diversity of expression in the local trans* community.  Speakers included a transwoman, a transman, a crossdresser, and a genderqueer individual.  Each of them shared a brief glimpse — there’s only so much one can share in ten minutes — into their lives and their experiences embracing their gender identity and gender expression.  I wish more people had been there to hear these incredible people speak.

To me, it was an honor to listen as they shared a part of their lives that is rather intimate and personal.  I imagine that for them, it was an act of courageous vulnerability.  After the discussion, I approached the various panelists and thanked them for sharing their stories with me.  Each one of them responded with, “Thank you for coming and listening.”

“Thank you for listening.”  They didn’t thank me for filling out the provided postcard asking my state senator to support the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act currently before the New York assembly and senate — which I did do.  They thanked me for listening.  I think that’s because listening is important.

While listening is not sufficient by itself to be a good ally — a good ally is then motivated to act on what zie hears — listening is an essential first step.  Getting to know and understand the people a person wishes to support and be an ally for helps them understand how zie can best help them rather than doing well-intentioned, but unhelpful or even hurtful things out of ignorance.  Also, I think that learning to listen and engage with the stories of others — trans* people in this case — humanizes them, generates empathy for them, and hopefully builds a desire to support them and their fight for equality and justice.

Over the next couple days, I hope to talk more about trans* issues, including blogging about a video one of the allies from the panel discussion recommended I blog about to encourage further discussion.  But today, in my mind, I’m still listening.  I would invite you to listen as well.

Glowing with pride

Postcard - The White House in Washington D.C.

Image by adam79 via Flickr

Last night after I got home from my coven’s business meeting, my seventeen year old unofficial godson* sent me a text asking if we could make a run to Dunkin Donuts before school in the morning.  He explained that he had some exciting news he wanted to share with me.  He explained he couldn’t tell me over the phone, despite my efforts to talk him into doing so.  I finally relented and went to bed, agreeing I’d find out in the morning.

So this morning, I got up, showered, and headed out to pick him up.  As he climbed into my car, he handed me an envelope made of heavier paper — the kind of paper some greeting cards come in.  I flipped it over and saw the envelope was addressed to him.  Then I saw the return address on it.  Whatever I was about to look at, it had come from the White House.  You know, the one at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  In Washington D.C.  I was excited.

I pulled out the first piece of cardstock in the envelope and began to read a beautifully printed invitation for my godson to attend the White House LGBT reception later this month.  I took a few seconds to let what I was reading sink in, then I hugged my godson tight.  (Not an easy task when you’re buckled into the driver’s seat of a Mercury Sable, let me tell you.)

We’re not exactly sure how someone at the White House got his name.  I’m guessing that someone from GLSEN‘s national office submitted it, as he’s had some involvement at the national level** and is a student member of our local chapter’s board of directors.  Between that and his involvement with the local LGBT community center and his school GSA (holding leadership roles in all of them, no less), it’s no surprise that his name got submitted, really.  In fact, the invitation is a testament to and wonderful reward for everything he’s done.  He’s proud and excited about going to the White House.  And I don’t blame him.

I’m proud of him too.  And maybe a little jealous.  😉


*  Godfather and godson are the best terms we’ve come up to describe the friendship that has developed between the two of us, though our use implies no official status as such.

** That includes having his picture appear on both the national website and the promotional literature for GLSEN’s Safe Space campaign.

Enjoying the Lilac Festival

CIMG0026.jpgToday, my parents (see the picture to the left) drove up from Pennsylvania to spend the day with me.  This weekend was the opening weekend for the Lilac Festival, and Mom decided that she wanted to check it out this year.  Since I usually go every year by myself, I was all for this, and spent a pleasant day with them.

After ascertaining that they would not be here until 12:30pm at the earliest, I arranged to have my parents meet me at Psyschic’s Thyme so that I could run in and visit my friends when the shop opened.  This worked out well, as I had already planned on taking my parents to the shop to meet everyone (well, everyone who was working) today.

Once the introductions were done and we had a bit of conversation, I took my parents over to DiBella’s for a quick lunch, and then we were off to check out the festivities.  My mother was quite amazed by the festival.  She was not expecting to see something quite on the grand scale as this.  This is because she is used to the Laurel Festival in Wellsboro, which is nice, but much smaller.  So as we walked all along the hill next to Highland Avenue, going from bush to tree to bush, she was impressed with all the colors and varieties of lilacs.

I admit that I found the experience far more enjoyable than when I go alone.  When I’m by myself, I don’t spent quite so much time wandering through the lilacs or really appreciate them.  Of course, I also had to keep reminding Mom that no, she could not uproot one of the bushes (like the one that produced the lovely purple ones in the picture) to take home with her.  Of course, she was joking.  Or at least I think she was joking.

CIMG0033.jpgAfter we got done checking out the lovely flowers and the arts and craft fair, I took my parents over to Genesee Valley Park so she could see where I plan to take my sister and her family the evening they come to visit me later this month.  Mom was again quite impressed.  Apparently, she’s just not used to city parks the size of the ones we have around here.

It was a wonderful day, if a bit exhausting.  Hopefully, I get plenty of rest tonight, as tomorrow is the Walk to Cure Diabetes.

Walking to Cure Diabetes

WalkLogoBlack.jpgNext month, I will be participating in the annual Walk to Cure Diabetes.  This is a fund-raising  event held by various chapters of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  It’s a great way to raise money, and I’m excited to do my part this year.

The Rochester chapter of JDRF has set a regional goal of $747,000 this year, and I currently have my personal goal set at $100.  Of course, since I’m already more than halfway there, I may have to increase my personal goal.

Diabetes has touched my life and my family in many different ways, and I would love nothing more than to see researchers find a cure for it.  The fact that scientists are making some rather hopeful predictions — that we may see a cure in our lifetimes even — is exciting, and I look forward to walking and raising money to fund the research during this exciting time.  If any of my readers are able to spare even a few dollars, a donation would be greatly appreciated.  Donations can be made on my fund-raising page, and I have added a linked image to the sidebar of my blog.

Post-Benefit Musings

benefit_flyer.jpgToday, we held the annual benefit fundraiser for the Park Avenue Dance Company.  This was my second year coordinating the fundraiser, which is a fancy way of saying I kept emailing everyone else and making sure they did the tasks assigned to them.  The benefit itself was fun and highly enjoyable.  I’m looking forward to it next year.  For now, i just want to make a few random observations, both personal and professional:

  • The way we handled the door worked out quite well this year.  Thing went smoother, and having greeters work in shifts proved effective.  There are a few areas where we can do some more fine tuning for next year, though.
  • We have the best bartender in the world for this event.  It’s great to have someone who is quite knowledgeable about wines and can offer recommendations.  And he’s a funny guy.
  • The new shoes were perfect.  While my feet are still a bit sore, they’re nothing like last year.
  • It’s the rare day when I get not one, but two opportunities to demonstrate a bit of machismo.  Fun!
  • A musician who is that cute and that talented should not be straight.  It’s just wrong!  </tantrum>
  • I’m glad I asked for the extra tables this year.  We were still close to full capacity.

Afterthoughts from dancing

Tonight, I ran out to Tilt to spend an hour or so dancing.  A few random thoughts from the experience.

1.  Young people who expect to get into a nightclub when they’re too drunk to stand on their own are just silly.
2.  Friends who expect someone too drunk to stand on their own to wait in a car in 21 degree weather aren’t very good friends.  And that’s the nicest thing I can say about them.
3.  I love dancing.  I really need to remember that and go more often.
4.  It was nice to see Woody again.  It’s been over a year.
5.  It was nice to meet Woody’s rather cute friend.
6.  Apparently, I was rather obvious about #5.  I’d say “oops,” but I’m not sure I really care.  As long as I didn’t scare the poor guy away.

Sore but happy!

Last night, I decided to go dancing at Tilt. I haven’t been dancing in over a year, so I thought it was time. I forgot just how much I enjoy it. I think I’m going to start going more often.

Of course, part of the reason I don’t go very often is that as of yet, I really don’t seem to have any friends who are into going dancing. This means going alone. As a shy guy and bonafide introvert, it’s always been intimidating to go by myself. But last night, I actually enjoyed it and didn’t mind the fact that I didn’t know anyone. So perhaps that’s changing.

Of course, the last time I went to Tilt, I also felt awkward because it seemed like a much younger crowd. With the exception of a few of us thirty-somethings (and one rather awesome older gentleman), everyone seemed to still be in college. I noticed, however, that there seemed to be a much better mix last night. Certainly there were still the college kids there (you know, the ones that make you feel like you need to ask for proof of age before you even dare talk to them), there were also a good number of us older folks too. So that made it a more comfortable atmosphere. I’m not sure if it was because I went a bit later this time or what, but it was a nice change.

I also have to say that I was pleasantly surprised when someone pinched my ass as they passed by me. It was a bit disappointing when I realized the “offending” culprit was a woman, however. But hey, for that moment, it was an exciting thought.

Of course, now I’m stiff and tired. But at least I had fun. I think I’ll be going again next Saturday night. In fact, I’m seriously going a couple times a month. I need that sort of thing.

I hope I didn’t spook him too badly

After dance class tonight, I decided to stop at Equal Grounds for a chai latte and to say hi to friends. I doubt I was there a half hour even. The place was too crowded for my tastes. So I left as soon as I was done.

On my way out of the coffee shop, I passed this young man — I’d guess he’s in his early twenties — and two female friends. As I walked past him to turn the corner, he started singing.

He was quite good, and based on the fact that he said something about an audition, I suspect he might be a music major or even a professional singer. Now, I’m a sucker for anyone who expresses artistic talent of any sort, and especially musicians. So as I heard him start to sing, I turned around, leaned against the building, and listened to him belt out a lovely melody.

About ten seconds into the song, he realized I was standing there. He did something of a double take, waved with a nervous smile, and turned his attention back to his friends, never wavering or pausing. (Like I said, he’s quite a good vocalist.) After he finished his song, I waited for a break in his conversation with his two friends, and told him he had a great voice. He thanked me, and I turned to resume my walk to my car.

Like I said, I think I surprised him by stopping, and even speaking to him. But I figure if you have a talented voice and you choose to sing on a public sidewalk — even just for friends — you have to expect people to stop and listen. It only makes sense we’re going to.

Especially if you’re also downright adorable.