Well, I Did It!

Posted: November 24, 2014 in Celebrity Stuff

I’ve been wanting to do something really crazy and silly for several years now, but only told a few close friends of my secret a couple of weeks ago.

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I’ve decided to bore you all with “The Rusty Word” video series.

You can find the series here, on my YouTube channel named “The Rusty Word”, and links/posts on Facebook.

I’ll create and post when the mood hits me.

Oh, and expect guest appearances from a wonderful cast of characters known as my friends.

“They’re crazy, but they’re loyal.” –Brother Boy

Check out the first clip here:

She Didn’t Break the Internet!

The past two days have been filled with news reports and social media posts concerning two cases that were presented to the Supreme Court of the United States of America.  Proposition 8 and The Defense of Marriage Act are being challenged as unconstitutional.  Protesters from both sides of this social issue have expounded their points of views in front of the Supreme Court Building, on talk shows, television news magazines, and social media outlets.  The battles have been unbelievable inside and outside of the courtroom.  Social media outlets have been filled with photos of equality symbols and slogans advocating for or against marriage equality.  People that are never outspoken on political issues became engaged in the dialogue.  Unfortunately, friendships have been damaged or lost.  Some families have been torn, divided, or awkwardly silent due to this issue.  A truly historical battle….

While I have kept up with these important debates and even entered them from time to time, I have been witnessing a different battle this week, but one that is very much related to our national discourse.  I’ve been watching a family say goodbye to their father.  I’ve been watching a wife say goodbye to her husband.  They all hurt.  They all have cried.

Those of you that know me well understand that I do not do well with such situations.  I know that this is one of my many flaws.  I mourn privately.  It doesn’t mean that I care less than others. My close friends know that I am there for them, but many times I cannot physically “be” there with them as they say good bye to love ones lost.  This is not a characteristic that makes me proud.

This week not being there physically is not an option.  The father that is being lost is my partner’s and his four sisters.  I needed to be there for him and for the people that have become my family.  Yes, my family.

Many moments from this week will remain with me forever, but one that is forever etched in my mind is seeing my partner and his mother sitting on opposite sides of the bed where the man that they both love struggled to breathe.  At that moment in time, nothing else mattered.  I saw a son loving his dad and a wife loving her husband.  My eyes locked on two hands that were intertwined.  Even in a deeply sedated state, he held his wife’s hand.  She held his back.  No one needed any validation that the love being shared was real.  Their marriage certificate didn’t mean anything at that moment.  The only thing that mattered was that they were sharing a love that was so strong that it could be seen passing between them.hands

As I stood there, fighting back the tears, all I could think about was the 48 years that they had been married.  They had shared great times, sad times, births, deaths, arguments, and laughs together for so long that no words were necessary between the two.  Nothing mattered except their love.  The bond that they created and maintained for so many years would last forever, and it was evident.

My partner and I have been together 7 years.  In this relatively short time, we have shared great times, sad times, births, deaths, arguments, and laughs together.  Compared to his parents, our relationship is still in it’s infancy, but it’s really no different.  We all want the same thing.  We want happiness with the person that stole our heart.  We want to have that person that we love to help us get through the hard times.  We want the comfort of knowing that at the end of the day, we can come home and be comfortably silent or excitedly talkative depending on our mood.  We all want the same things, and we all can have it.  Not one of us needs the recognition of a government to have those things.  However, each one of us deserves the right to receive that recognition.

I could rehash each one of the legal reasons that marriage equality is needed.  Actually, there are over 1100 benefits to government recognition of our relationships that could be listed, but is that necessary?  Do I really need to remind you that without the legal recognition that my partner and I could be denied the right to make medical decisions or visit each other in the hospital?  Do I need to remind you that without legal recognition that we have no rights to survivorship for our home that we share?

I’ve learned a great deal this week.  I’ve learned that people are much more alike than they are different.  I’ve learned that families look differently many times, but ultimately are the same.  I’ve also learned that there is no gray area in this debate.  This country is based upon freedom and equality of all.  In the end, equality will win.  It will win because it is always right.  It may not be tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that, but it will win.  Right always wins over wrong.

As our country continues the debate, a loving family sits around an ailing man that has lived and loved on a bayou of Southern Louisiana.  I am honored to be a part of this family.  

Love is Love.

Video  —  Posted: March 28, 2013 in Life Stuff
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I tuned in to The CNN Tea Party Debate last week in a desperate effort to find something on television that would keep me entertained during the summer “dry spell” of TV programming.

I was expecting a nice little comedy.  You know, something light-hearted like blaming Obama from everything from the non-existent global warming to the gum that was found stuck under the table the last time Michelle Bachmann ate at her local Chili’s restaurant.  Yeah, fun stuff.  I wanted to take my mind away from the serious issues facing us.  I wanted to stop perseverating over who would ultimately win America’s Got Talent.  I wanted to stop worrying about whether True Blood’s Sookie would choose Bill or Eric.  I wanted to escape.  These Tea Baggers wouldn’t disappoint me.  I mean, Michelle Bachmann’s facial expressions alone were bound to put a smile on my face.

It took less than three minutes to discover that this episode would not be a comedy after all.  This was definitely a tragedy.  I would classify it as a horror show, but those are kind of fun.  This was definitely a tragedy because it hit me to the core.  I couldn’t watch more than 10 minutes of it, and it has stayed with me daily.

In those 10 little minutes, I heard a candidate call another one’s actions “treasonous”, heard another’s position of vaccination against the HPV virus denounced, and the accusation of Obama being a “Socialist”.  I really wish these Tea Baggers would pull out a dictionary and look up the words “Treason” and “Socialism”.

The moment that caused me to change the channel is documented in the clip above.  Ron Paul’s answer to the commentator’s question perplexed me.  It caused me discomfort.  It caused me to tilt my head and say, “Really?”  However, the moment that caused me to shutter was the response of the audience.  Listen to them.  HEAR them.

That’s really a Pro-Life response, right?

Another Katrina Story

Posted: August 29, 2011 in Life Stuff, New Orleans Stuff

Hard to believe that 6 years ago today around this time of day, we had finished securing the pool furniture, lifted the two jet skis and boat high into the boathouse, and threw a few articles of clothing into an overnight bag and headed a few miles away to get off the water that we loved so much.  Throw into the mix a a rotweiler, a Great Pyrenees, an 11 year old pot-bellied pig (cause I’m country), and a DVD of Sordid Lives (again, cause I’m country), and you have the setting for the Beverly Hillbillies Evacuation feature film.  I only wished it would have been a comedy…

We decided to leave our two precious kitties at home.  After all, we had a two story house, left them food and water, and we would be home in less than 24 hours.  The stress of taking them would be worse on the 13 year old lady than this storm.  Funny, how decisions that seem so right at the time can become so wrong in hindsight.

The decision to leave was very last minute.  The storm was small, started right off the shores of Miami.  The biggest news was whether or not the stars attending the MTV Music Awards being held in Miami would get rain-soaked during their arrivals.

I remember waking up that morning around 5:30 AM.  I immediately thought that I had better check the storm.  To my surprise, this storm had gained a ton of strength.  It was covering the Gulf of Mexico and talk of Category 5 was all over the news.  Thus, the packing began…

Staying with friends that lived inland, we settled in with the menagerie of animals for the evening.  I remember vividly awaking the next morning to the wind howling through the pine trees.  Within minutes, the “pop” of a transformer and all was quiet except the eerie hiss of rain and wind.

The house mates began to rouse and meet in the kitchen.  “Man, the power went out quickly,” we murmured.  We spent the rest of the day two miles away from the Gulf, listening to the roar of an unending Katrina.  It went for hours and hours and hours.  I remember mixed into the steady hum of the wind a clanging of metal in the distance.

Communication with the outside world ended quickly as well.  The last two bits of information that we received was that people were trapped in their attics on Historic Second Street in my beloved Gulfport, and our neighbor reported that water was covering our garage door.  Then, silence.  No other news for hours.  Could that be true?  People in their attics in Gulfport?  Couldn’t be…

After what seemed like days, Katrina moved far enough away at the end of the day for us to venture out to see the damage.  We expected to see trees down, light poles bent at an angle, and signs blown around.  What we found was unbelievable.  To this day, the sights that we saw that day and in the days to come seem to be from the mind of a special effects director of the latest disaster movie.  The beautiful landmarks of the Mississippi Gulf Coast were forever changed.

The next days were the hottest that I have ever spent.  There was no breeze.  I had never been that hot before, nor since.  It is a feeling that will never leave me. As I find myself lamenting these dog-days of summer, I remind myself that it could be worse and immediately get a chill.

Like so many others in the region, we found ourselves surrounded by friends and family helping discard material things that suddenly meant nothing to us.  Those were things that could be replaced.  My only tears during this time in my life came upon finding my little old lady kitty, Allie, in the upstairs bathroom.  She was too old to climb out of harms way and had succumbed to Katrina’s wrath.  Oh, the decisions that we make…

The rallying of our friends to help us in salvaging our lives is something that still awes me.  When you have been waist deep in a swimming pool full of mud and rotting dead fish, emptying a freezer of its contents, and finding that the worse smell on Earth is that of wet uncooked rice, you bond with people that share that with you.  It becomes a bond that cannot be broken.  We survived an event and fought back together.  Nothing I ever do could repay those that helped us.  They know who they are.

The changes that Katrina brought were much more than physical.  The emotional drain on everyone that was impacted is unrivaled.  As we sat in therapy circles at work to learn how to help our students, we learned that the adults needed emotional help also.  The pain in the faces of so many people are forever etched in my mind.  It is something that is real.  Something that you can almost touch.  It was deep, and it was real.

Katrina taught us many lessons.  I take them with me everyday.  The obvious is the unimportance of material things.  My true lessons were the power of humans, the importance of friendships, and the urgency, yes, urgency, of enjoying life in the moment.

The changes in my life over the past 6 years are too numerous and personal to detail here, but those players that took part in the adventure should know that they are always in my heart whether we are together rarely or daily.  We survived.  We grew.  We are better people today than we were due to this experience.

I continue to be amazed as I meet new people that experienced this storm.  Hearing their stories draws me into them.  It is unexplainable to those that did not experience this disaster.  It is like those survivors, those fighters, became family instantly on a hot August day in 2005.  The shared experience brought people together that may have never been brought together if not for Katrina.  No one cares if you drive an Audi when you are standing in line for a popsicle being given out by the Baptist group in the Winn-Dixie parking lot.  No one cares that you have a Ph.D. when you are getting your tetanus shot in the K-Mart parking lot.

We all share a bond, a common experience that stays with us daily.  The comfort is knowing that we are not alone.  We are a part of a “community”; a group that knows the sights, the smells, the heat, the frustration, the joys of finding gasoline, and all the other things that Katrina handed us.  Yes, the comfort is in the fact that we are not alone in this experience, we have brothers and sisters that know what we experienced, and we each have our own “Katrina Story”.

The Best They Have?

Posted: July 8, 2011 in Political Stuff

Aww, a budding leader of the conservative party?  Seems this is where they are cultivated and taught to be “mavericks” in politics.

Those that know me know that I do not lean right at all…but, this post isn’t about specific agendas of each of the political parties.  This post simply asks, “Is this the best of the best females among the Republican Party?”

Let’s start with Palin.  We’ve seen over and over examples of her intelligence.  One of the most popular seems to be this one:

Is it just me or is this Palin video a lot like the Miss Teen video at the beginning of this post?

The latest rising female star of the conservative movement and presidential candidate is Michele Bachmann.  I like to refer to her as Sarah 2.0.

As with Palin, you don’t have to do a lot of research to find nice video clips and quotes from Bachmann.

Here’s a compilation:

The top two?  Really?

We, The Jury…

Posted: July 5, 2011 in Political Stuff

I will admit that I have not followed the Casey Anthony murder trial as closely as a large portion of the world has.  I have marginally paid attention to sound bites, short news reports, and the occasional online article that I ran across in my nightly internet surfing.

Due to my limited knowledge of the case, I will refrain from making a judgement about specifics of the case and the ultimate decision of the jury.  I will leave that to the experts.  I do have some thoughts on the reaction of today’s verdict.

Not since the O.J. Simpson trial has the media followed a case so intensely.  One of the differences in the O.J. case and the Casey Anthony case is the popularity of social networking sites, blogs, and constant television coverage disguised as news.  The social media sites lit up today PRIOR to the jury’s decision.  The anticipation of the guilty verdict was obvious in the posts of those that had followed the case from it’s beginning.  It was a “done deal”.  She would be found guilty and justice would be served.

Then, the verdict was announced:  NOT GUILTY on all the major charges.

Cries of the failure of the U.S. Justice System were immediate.  The outcry from most of the public was loud and clear…the jury had made the wrong decision.  I have to be truthful.  Not being a close follower of the case and trial, my initial thoughts were that these jurors had been in the courtroom for the entire length of the trial listening intensely to all of the testimony and evidence presented by the defense and the prosecution.  Are the public outcries justified?  Are they based on the public’s “knowledge” of the case based on television pundits and talking heads?

Seems the issue comes down to “reasonable doubt”.  The limited information coming from the jurors point to the lack of evidence in the cause of death.  The jury couldn’t convict based upon the evidence (or lack thereof) according to them.  But, could they?  What is “reasonable doubt”?  One Facebook post today made a good point stating that the jury confused “reasonable doubt” with “any doubt” and that the jury held the prosecution to “too high of a standard”.  Others posted that the jury had “followed the judge’s instructions” and had arrived at the only decision that they could have based upon those instructions.

What do you think?

Rusty Played

Posted: June 5, 2011 in Life Stuff, New Orleans Stuff

Have you ever reluctantly agreed to do something that you thought just might turn out terribly to have it actually turn out to be one of the most fun, rewarding times of your life?  I have…

In early March 2011, two of our friends decided that they would join one of eight softball teams that were being formed for the Spring.  It sounded interesting, and I knew that I would go and watch them play…I loved WATCHING sports.  I grew up with four older brothers that came into this world with unbelievable athletic talent.  I had been emerged in sports from the time I could remember.  Every Friday night in the Fall of the year, I would follow my mother and her family to every football game to watch my brothers play.  Winding through the backwoods of Mississippi through small towns like Maben and Matheston to Cumberland to Durant, all in anticipation of winning a game under those bright lights.

Immediately following football season, basketball season started.  From basketball we went right into baseball….and the cycle continued.  I loved it!  I was a devoted spectator…

I have to admit, there was a dark side to all of this…after Little League Baseball, Pee Wee Football, and Jr. High Basketball, I stopped playing sports.  I just wasn’t good enough.  The other people on my teams from our childhood got better and better.  I only felt more and more pressure to live up to the family name in sports.  It wasn’t long that everyone knew that I would not be the sports star that all my brothers were.  That’s a lot to deal with at a young age.

I had a great school experience.  I was never bullied, was class favorite every year, class officer, and always the class clown.  The pressure came from within.  I knew that my family was disappointed that the athletic gene had skipped me….I would later discover that I had a pretty special gene myself.  🙂

Throughout college I followed all three major sports at Mississippi State University.  Watched all football games, basketball games, and my favorite, MSU Baseball….I was blessed to be there during the Will Clark, Bobby Thigpen, and Rafael Palmeiro days.  It was a blast.  It was what I did.  I was a sports fan.  I watched…I didn’t play…I was a fan…

Rusty WATCHED…

Until I walked up to a group of girls and guys at City Park in New Orleans who had all come out to play softball.  I was nervous.  I was a spectator.  I knew the rules, I knew how to keep official score….I know the in-field fly rule thanks to my oldest brother who is a full time umpire to this day.  But, I didn’t play…What was I doing here?

Within no time at all, we were taking batting practice, talking rules of the game, and most importantly, what our uniforms would look like.  We practiced for four weeks with two scrimmage games before playing our first official game.  I had always heard about the bonding that happens on sports teams.  I had never experienced that, but hear me, it is true.

We were a brand new team in the league.  Our experience ranged from “How many strikes do I get” to “I played through junior high.”  One thing I noticed is that a lot of us played until or through junior high.  We played until someone (adults or other kids) told us that we weren’t good enough or that we were different…

We won some, and we lost some this first season.  Out of the four teams in our division, we went into the end-of-season tournament seeded in third.  During the last few regular season games, I found myself pitching.  I was amazed that I was actually an ok pitcher.  My team members high fived me after each inning.  This was what my brothers had felt like all through their high school years.  Here I was 45 years old…finally feeling that feeling of belonging to a team…a sports team.

We ended up finishing our tournament in second place.  We found ourselves playing the number one seeded team.  They were good.  They had beat us every game during the regular season.  Here we were, playing them again in the tournament.  Whoever lost this game, would be done…no World Series in Chicago in September…and I was pitching.

I am so proud of what my team did during that game.  Turbo caught every ball hit to him in left field, Philip scooped up every hard hit grounder sent to him at short stop and drilled the ball to Al at first.  Shelly and Louie played their hearts out.  David, Manny, everyone on our team wanted one thing…to beat The Geaux Cups.

The Flamingos

From our first bat, we knew we could do this.  We hit, we ran, we caught, we pitched.  Last inning, one out, our lead diminished, runner on first, the batter hit the ball to our first baseman.  He tagged the runner and steps on first.  DOUBLE PLAY!  GAME OVER!  We had done it!

Without thought, I threw my glove into the air…ran to the fence where our supporters were going crazy, and I jumped half way up the fence hanging on like a mad man.  It was that feeling…that feeling that I had never felt before…the feeling I had WATCHED others experience…I was feeling it, and it was amazing…

Belonging to this team has had such an impact on my life.  It filled a void that was always there.  During the season, we had laughed, cried, gotten mad at one another, and shared a few beverages, but what we all felt was that we belonged.  We didn’t judge each other’s abilities.  You didn’t hear, “You throw funny” or “You run weird”.  We built each other up…we were a team.

I had grown up watching my brothers celebrate many championship wins, and I had watched them cry after close losses, but I had never felt it until that hot Sunday afternoon in May.  After our last defeat, my third game to pitch of the day, standing in the dugout with my team, exhausted, blood running down my scrapped leg, I hear Louie tell the team, “We all need to give Rusty a hand for playing such great games today.”  My team clapped and high-fived me.  I felt it…tears welled in my eyes….

Rusty PLAYED…