27 January 2014

The Best 7 Minutes Of Your Day

Let's start with me admitting I was a blubbering mess watching this, but so was Keith Urban and half the audience.  I can make logical arguments as to why this was extremely significant for the gay rights movement - a rapper, with a global reach and international audience, gave his airtime to use contemporary music as a vehicle for change, nothing about it seemed token, it wasn't over the top, etc. etc. - but it's mostly that watching it gave me this feeling we're going to win.  There is no turning back now.  Change has come.  I rarely think mainstream art leads.  Instead, I usually find when it's picked up in the mainstream, we have arrived.  Okay, I'm off to re-watch it 500 times.

13 January 2014

A Case of the Mondays

I've given writing this blog a go several times in the last six months and never seemed to be able to stick with it.  I couldn't figure out why.  Was there nothing interesting to say?  Was there no political commentary to be made?  Had I lost my comedic streak?  Was I just not "seeing" the world anymore the way I used to?  One major impediment is that I can't write about work for obvious reasons (politics and all).  The other reason, I only just realized, is that the rest of my life is fairly boring.  By fairly boring I mean, for me, really boring.  The most exciting thing that happened to me today was getting an amazing deal on fresh ready-made deals at the supermarket.

I do believe I have a low threshold for boredom.  If I'm not being pulled in 3 different directions, learning something totally new, consuming news in real time, watching a TV show, and planning my weekend while on a moving train, plane, or bus I generally feel bored.  This is my reality.

As it's a new year, I'm recommitting myself to beating the bored out of me.  It may take some time, as waking up and having your first thought be when you can next get into bed is still somewhat appealing.  Also, it doesn't get light until 8am so it's not the most inspiring situation in the AM hours.  But hey, I know that's a load of excuses.  While I scheme, at least I know I'll be eating healthy, in controlled portions, and on a budget, so that's something.

-Kyle Taylor

P.S. This is NOT a New Year resolution.  It's just something I'm doing.  Resolutions are overrated and hardly ever last.  If you want to do something, just do it. Right?

05 September 2013

Syria Isn't A War, It's a Moral & Human Obligation

What happened in Syria - the use of chemical weapons - is a moral atrocity.  It is an explicit desire to inflict pain and suffering on people and in this case, it was performed by a government to its OWN people, which is even more shocking.  What I'm saying is, there is no need to use them.  They don't do anything more than regular weapons to kill people, they just make the death more horrific and painful.  There is no point to them.

This is the argument that has been used to suggest it was "the rebels" and not the government in Syria who used the weapons, despite the fact that there is extensive evidence to show that the government has such weapons, along with a fairly decked out military.  That versus "the rebels," who are made up of several different disparate groups who aren't organised, aren't being supplied by foreign governments or groups (as opposed to the Syrian government, who is being armed by Iran and Russia).  Three international governments have ruled near conclusively (it's never possible to be 100% sure but knowing that in one incident the weapons were dropped by fighter jets pretty much rules out the rebels, no?) that the Syrian government was responsible.  Most recently, Germany.

I've been confused by the lack of public support for any action at all when you consider what has gone on and how much less we've gone to war for in the past.  Iraq - No WMDs in existence, much less used!.  In Libya, much of the same.  And yet guns were blazing in the USA for the former and around the world for the latter.  Now, this time, we have concrete evidence that a leader is brutally murdering his own people and the world is like, "no, not this time." Huh?  Here are my four points:

  1. If there was ever a conflict this century to act on, it's this one.  The Syrian government has violated an obscene number of international laws, used chemical weapons to kill their own people, and caused the displacement of SEVEN MILLION PEOPLE, 2 million of them across borders.  When people are fleeing TO Iraq you know something's seriously wrong.  That's one third of the entire population displaced.  Not even the conflicts in Afghanistan or Iraq can match that.
  2. We're not "helping Al-Qaeda" by taking action.  One of MANY groups fighting Assad is Al-Qaeda and in fact, the most powerful ones are secular groups in the south.  Also, is Assad's government not a terror group itself at this point, dropping chemical weapons on civilians?  Also, doesn't it offer some semblance of good will and shift the perception of people when the international community intervenes for the right reasons?
  3. Um, folks, whose side do we want to be on here?  I believe it's Iran, Russia and China who are backing Assad at the minute for whatever reason.  None of them are really superstars as of late when it comes to basic human rights.  My guess is their team isn't the best choice.
  4. Nothing I've written really matters because of the moral obligation we have as human beings to help other human beings who are being senselessly slaughtered by their own government using cruel and unusual methods.  I mean, dear god, how is everyone not wildly and unbelievably outraged?  This is a violation at the most human level and if something like this doesn't drive us to act my bigger fear is for humanity in general.

02 September 2013

Hot Dog Crust Pizza & Other Ways We Know We Have Enough

Living in central London, we get about 4,761 leaflets under our door a week.  Recently, TWO pizza places have been offering their "Hot Dug Stuffed Crust Pizza," using an arrow to show exactly where the hot dog goes inside the crust for those of us who have never even heard of pizza.

We all know that in "developed" countries we have, generally, enough food (of course there are also those going hungry in the developing world, which further reinforces my point).  We know this because we have overweight and obese people, suggesting there is a significant excess of food available to us.

With that in mind, WHY ARE WE PUTTING HOT DOGS INTO THE CRUST OF PIZZA?  Some would say "why not?" and go into a long speech about how this is the American Dream and freedom and blah blah blah.  All of those arguments are absurd.  We as a society have proven that decisions like how much to eat can't be left up to us because we make bad choices and that affects everyone (healthcare costs, for example).  As such, it's time to be an overreaching government-loving liberal and call for the immediate ban on all foods that combine two foods that are terrible for you into one food.

On that note, I'd also like to ban useless crap like this strap-on knee pillow.  For those of you considering purchasing this fine piece of useless sleep accessory, please spread your legs, take on of your head pillows, and place it between them.  Close.  Done.  I just saved you $16.  You're welcome.

-Kyle Taylor

30 August 2013

Pride Adventures

Perhaps one of the most exciting aspects of being gay is being able to celebrate with your community at parties, parades, and events the world over.  People often ask what it's about and why we do it and "what's with the costumes and outfits?"

There is no quick answer and while the sense of being part of something bigger in a world that has historically been quite hostile is certainly a central reason, right now it feels more like a real dichotomy of celebrating advances in equality that are happening globally with protesting the horrific devolution of minority rights in places like Russia.  Somehow getting together and having a good time en masse feels like a real way to do exactly what those places don't want people to do - celebrate diversity and inclusion by showing we're proud of who we are.

This year took me to Brighton and to London for some serious celebrations.  Photos below from Brighton:

And London:

28 August 2013

Friend Adventures

One of the most brilliant bits of living in London is the number of people who fly through, stay for a bit, or decide it's the perfect place for them to live as well.  That is combined with the ease with which you can get pretty much anywhere on earth from this fine city.

Brilliantly, Amy arrived just before her birthday and is STILL HERE, which is excellent for everyone and everything but my liver:

Nipping to DC meant seeing this lovely trio:

And this less-lovely trio:

A recent move to Abu Dhabi allowed Miss Zubes to stop in for a long weekend:

Reconnecting with Stacey, Mika, and Hillary:

And catching up with the Brussels crew also while in DC:

Looking forward to more people flying through, staying for a while, or something in between as well as visiting people far and wide because the world intersect in London and London intersects the world.

-Kyle Taylor

27 August 2013

Family Adventures

All this travel has meant tons of time with the immediate family as well as great opportunities to reconnect with family I haven't seen in years.  That also meant meeting new members of the Taylor/Brown/Burgoine clan.  Such fun!

Most importantly, we celebrated my sister's graduation in Boston:

I met this little dude:

Spent some quality time with Uncle Kit, Auntie Julie, and the legend, Grandma Jean:

Celebrated Easter with the Shepherds:

Road public transport with the Taylors:

Reconnected with the Browns/Burgoines/Other Surnames:

Met these two little dudes:

Party rocked with the legend that is Courtenay:

Let these two be friends:

And did some whiskey tasting with the ultimate Kitty Cat:

Next up, all the friends that happen to accidentally fly through London, followed by a note on Gay Pride before regular programming commences!