Onward and upward

It has been a long time since I wrote anything here, but I wanted to detail a huge change in my life that I am very excited about. As of June 1st, my father, a former coworker, and I are partners in owning and operating a small business. Although I legally became a business owner at the beginning of 2014, we have only just now been able to purchase and take over operations of an existing business where we were employed.

We also purchased a new 12,000 sq. ft. building this summer that we hope to be in by the end of the year. The building required quite a bit of demo and construction to make it fit our needs, but things are rolling along nicely.

As the person who manages and takes care of most of the administrative duties of our new business, I have been receiving a lot of “on the job” training in the responsibilities of business ownership. There are things I never dreamed of worrying about that I now have to stress over in the evenings when I should be relaxing, but I believe most of my worrying will settle down as I become more comfortable in my position.

One of the hardest parts of my new position is being responsible for the company’s finances. We currently have a great crew of six full-time employees, and it is a heavy weight to realize you are responsible for not only your own livelihood, but also the well-being of your employees and their respective families.

I was once told I was a “yielder,” so being a boss isn’t something that comes naturally to me. It is even harder when you were nothing more than a coworker to most of them only a couple of months ago. It is usually difficult for me to say something to someone about being late, or taking a long break, or not respecting the rules, but, again, I believe this will improve with time.

I hope to be respected by my employees and seen as fair and empathetic, but I also don’t want to be seen as a weak pushover. While reading Good Boss, Bad Boss by Robert I. Sutton, PhD, I learned that all of a boss’s characteristics (good and bad) are exaggerated in the eyes of their employees. I am trying to be cognizant of that on a daily basis.

It is nice having two business partners who not only excel at their own responsibilities in running the company, but who recognize what I do and don’t take it for granted. All three of us get along well and have mutual respect for one another.

I am so thankful for the opportunities I have been given in life, and it is with a grateful heart that I look toward the future.

Impasse

I am done.

I no longer feel the need to change your mind, to make you see the truth, to convince you that some things are as obvious as the nose on your face.

Your bigotry is astounding, your religion is as flawed as your logic, you make my head hurt and my stomach turn.

I am tired. Twenty years of arguing and pleading my case has left me worn and weary. I can only imagine you are just as bored with those same talking points you have been using for so long, even though you keep throwing them like daggers in hopes they will stick in someone every once in a while.

I used to care what you think. About me. About people like me. About people completely unlike me who you insist are my bedfellows simply because we share the commonality of belief in human dignity and justice.

But I don’t care any more.

You are so hell-bent on hatred and bigotry that nothing could convince you to change your mind. You revel in your role as victim, and you nurture your prejudice under the umbrella of religious freedom.

You make me sick.

You read your book, say your prayers, and flood the internet with your attacks on the “least of these.” You say God made us all in his image in one breath, then damn us all to hell in the next. I can only hope there is no afterlife, because I can’t stand the thought of spending eternity with you.

So we have reached an impasse, as it were. I can’t change your mind any more than you can change my sexuality. The only thing I can change is whether or not I waste another minute of my life on you.

You are the past, but I am the future.

Marriage equality is law

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Finally.

After two decades as an openly-gay man, I am one step closer to having the same rights as everyone else in this country. It isn’t every day that we get to witness true history being made on the civil rights front, but this is definitely one of those days.

Hooray for SCOTUS and all the men and women who worked tirelessly to make this happen. I am proud to be part of a community that doesn’t sit back and settle, but fights for what it wants. Here’s hoping the world becomes a much kinder and gentler place going forward.

I will try to write more later, but I am too excited to concentrate right now. =)

Quote

A deadly conflict

“For ages, a deadly conflict has been waged between a few brave men and women of thought and genius upon the one side, and the great ignorant religious mass on the other. This is the war between Science and Faith. The few have appealed to reason, to honor, to law, to freedom, to the known, and to happiness here in this world. The many have appealed to prejudice, to fear, to miracle, to slavery, to the unknown, and to misery hereafter. The few have said ‘Think.’ The many have said ‘Believe!'”

– Robert Ingersoll, Gods

Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s plan to reform Islam

I have been a fan of Ayaan Hirsi Ali since reading and discussing her book Infidel on this blog several years ago, so I was pleasantly surprised to see her being interviewed on Real Time with Bill Maher last night to promote her new book Heretic: Why Islam Needs A Reform Now. During the interview, she explained exactly how she believes Muslims need to change their religious views.

  1. Change the attitude towards the Koran and Muhammad. The book is not a driver’s manual, and the man is not infallible.
  2. Stop investing in life after death, but concentrate on life before death.
  3. Give up Sharia law completely.
  4. Individual citizens should not be able to police and punish their counterparts.
  5. Eliminate jihad. Replace “holy” wars with holy peace.

Her goals are lofty and unrealistic to be sure, but they shine an important light on the most egregious elements of religious extremism.

Bill Maher, who often gets criticized by liberals for his brazen views on Islam, asked Ali why she believes liberals need to stand up to the intolerant aspects of Islam instead of constantly worrying about being politically correct.

The cancer of Islamic extremism is an assault on liberalism, on liberal ideas… Protect the life of the human being, the freedom of the human being, equality of human beings. That’s what it is an assault on. Islamic extremists divide the world into “us” and “them.” And the ones they deem to be “them,” even if they are pious Muslims, they kill them, they subjugate them, they sell them into slavery, they rape the women, and they destroy arts and civilization. And we see it on a daily basis.

If you are a liberal, and you really truly believe in the principles of liberalism, you have got to stand up to the challenge of the day, and that is Islamic extremism.

Celebrating 10 years

A couple of weeks ago, Honey and I celebrated our 10th anniversary. Because we aren’t married (and can’t get married in our home state of Kentucky), we annually recognize the day we first met.

We wanted to travel somewhere special for our big year, so we decided on Savannah, Georgia. This was a first visit for both of us, but some of our friends have been there and highly recommended it. We settled on a condo in Tybee Island, which is about 20 minutes from historic downtown Savannah, and made reservations at a few restaurants that looked promising.

Our condo was beautiful and inviting, with floor to ceiling windows facing the Atlantic Ocean. We could sit on our balcony and watch gigantic commercial freighters slowing going out to sea, before they dropped out of sight on the horizon.

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View from our condominium.

We visited Paula Deen’s Lady & Sons restaurant for lunch on our second day in town, and it was just as delicious as expected. We walked off some of the buttery goodness with a long trek to Forsyth Park to see the famous fountain filled with mermen.

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The Lady & Sons Restaurant in Savannah.

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Fountain at Forsyth Park.

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Live oaks with Spanish moss in Savannah.

The weather had been overcast and rainy for our first 2 days of vacation, but things changed dramatically when our actual anniversary arrived. I snapped a photo of a beautiful sunrise from our balcony as my heart almost exploded from contentment.

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Sunrise on our 10th anniversary!

We learned of a movie being shot on the beach about a mile from where we were staying, so we walked there to do a little snooping. Zac Efron’s character takes his grandfather (Robert DeNiro) to spring break in Daytona Beach, Florida, but they chose Tybee Island for filming because it wasn’t as crowded.

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Movie set for Zac Efron and Robert DeNiro movie.

We chose Alligator Soul as our dinner spot for the evening, and it was the nicest restaurant I had ever entered. I felt slightly out of place as our waiter completely reset the table between courses (and even used a crumb scraper on the table cloth), but it was a lovely experience with incredible food.

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Lamb chops from Alligator Soul in Savannah.

The next day was our final full day in Tybee Island, so we decided to take advantage of the gorgeous weather with a dolphin tour. I didn’t really have high expectations, but Captain Derek’s Dolphin Adventure knew exactly where to go to get the amazing creatures to interact with the boat. It was definitely one of the high points of our trip!

For our final dinner on vacation, we gorged ourselves on seafood at The Crab Shack. Our “Dinner for Two” included snow crab legs, shrimp, crawfish (yuck), mussels, potatoes, corn on the cob, and sausage. It was pretty amazing. We enjoyed seeing the baby ‘gators outside in the lagoon.

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Dinner at The Crab Shack.

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Young alligators at The Crab Shack.

It is amazing how fast ten years can go by. I am so proud of our relationship, and so thankful to be sharing my life with such an outstanding person. I am looking forward to the future with great hope (here’s looking at you, Supreme Court!), and I feel like one of the luckiest people alive.