Posts Tagged ‘Indiana’

“Love Is the Cure” To End AIDS

We all know that Elton John is an incredible musician and, since the 1970s, he’s been part of the soundtrack of our lives.

I was fortunate to see him in concert in Las Vegas in October 2012 for my birthday.

Elton LasVegas

Elton John is a survivor (drugs, alcohol, and an eating disorder).

He’s also a great humanitarian.

That’s what I want to talk about today on “World AIDS Day”, a day started on December 1, 1988, to remember those fallen by AIDS, to encourage those living with HIV and AIDS to fight, and to raise awareness, educate the public, and prevent future infections.

world aids day

We don’t hear stories about AIDS today as much as we did in the 1980s and 1990s, but “World AIDS Day” is still very important to remember.

Today, 36.7 million people worldwide are living with HIV and AIDS and of that number, 1.8 million are children.

elton-john-costume

In the 1970s and 1980s, Elton admitted to having unprotected sex and says he was very lucky he didn’t contract HIV, the infection that causes AIDS.

From the summer of 1981 through December 2000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that close to 775-thousand people were infected with AIDS in the United States alone and, of that number, about 448-thousand died.

elton_John_ryan_white

While Elton spiraled out of control through the 1980s, it wasn’t until he met Indiana teenager Ryan White, who contracted HIV and AIDS through blood transfusions, in the mid-1980s that he realized he had to turn his life around to stay alive.  He checked into rehab in the early-1990s and has been sober and clean ever since then.

While he recorded “That’s What Friends Are For” in 1986 with Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight, and Stevie Wonder to raise awareness and money for AIDS research, Elton knew that song and the AIDS benefits he performed weren’t enough.

He formed the “Elton John AIDS Foundation” in 1992 in the United States (1993 in the United Kingdom) and has raised more than $200 million dollars to fund innovative HIV prevention and education programs and for direct care and support for those living with HIV and AIDS.

love-is-the-cure

“Love Is The Cure:  On Life, Loss, and the End of AIDS”, Elton’s 2012 book, is an excellent read.

While it does give some eye-opening stats on HIV and AIDS, the book has a heart and it tugs at yours.

Throughout the book’s lean 219 pages, he talks of the friends he’s lost (Freddie Mercury of Queen) and two heroes that defied convention to raise awareness of AIDS — Elizabeth Taylor and Princess Diana.

elton-hillary

He shares stories of politicians who have been instrumental in the fight against HIV and AIDS — Bill and Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy, and George W. Bush!  Yes, despite his short-comings in the LGBT community, Bush made a huge contribution in the fight against AIDS during his presidency.

In “Love is the Cure”, Elton also tells stories of lesser known heroes in the fight against AIDS and ignorance and raising awareness — Elizabeth Glaser and Fumana (a South African rape victim, now HIV-positive, who uses her status and survival as a talking tool to educate others in that country to fight against the stigma of HIV).

HIV AIDS

Poor Sub-Saharan countries in Africa and the gay community aren’t the only groups that HIV and AIDS are ravaging today.

We have those places right here in the United States — the South is being hit hard and some parts of our nation’s capital, Washington D.C., are devastated with HIV and AIDS.

And, just last year, a county in southern Indiana had an outbreak of HIV cases that reached “epidemic” levels.  It was reported that there were about twenty new cases each week because of drug use and needle sharing.

Yes, Indiana — while Vice-President elect Mike Pence was governor and before he was picked to be second in command in the U.S.

Also, while the HIV rates are still climbing in the younger LGBT community here in America, the heteorosexual black community is seeing the rates of infection skyrocketing.

STOP AIDS

Last year alone, 2.1 million people became HIV-positive and, sadly, only 60% of people know they are HIV-positive.  That means that 40% of the people that are HIV-positive don’t even know their status and could be spreading HIV without even being aware of it!

GET TESTED!  It’s painless and simpleand it could save your life!

love-is-the-cure

Elton John says that the fight against AIDS can only be won when there’s no stigma associated with the disease.

Every person that is HIV-positive, regardless of where they live, how much money they have, their color, their age, their profession, or their religion, needs to be treated for the infection and the disease.

He says how that person contracted HIV and AIDS should not be a factor in getting treatment.  A sex worker should be given the same compassion as someone who became HIV-positive through a blood transfusion.

Elton says eliminating that stigma with HIV and AIDS starts with love — “Love is the Cure”.

This is a book that every person needs to read — NOW!

In honor of Elton’s contributions in the fight against AIDS, for love and compassion, and for eliminating the stigma that HIV-positive people encounter, I’m sharing these two powerful songs.

Love!

Anthony

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Merry Xmas (Christmas) To All

ORIGINAL POST:  November 23, 2016

UPDATED:  November 28, 2017

I guess you can say the holiday season is here — trick-or-treating is behind us and we’ve already enjoyed our Thanksgiving feasts.

Our Turkey 2012

People are decorating their homes, writing out Christmas cards, and making holiday gift lists and checking them twice.

Meanwhile, radio stations are transitioning from their tired playlists to treat us with holiday standards while sprinkling in a few new offerings of Christmas musical cheer.

I added one Christmas CD to my collection, “My Kind of Christmas” by Reba McEntire.

REBA

Yet, I know I’ll resort to listening to The Carpenters’ “Christmas Portrait” (1978) , Michael Buble “Christmas” (2011), Mariah Carey “Merry Christmas” (1994), and Reba McEntire’s “Merry Christmas to You” (1987) and “The Secret of Giving:  A Christmas Collection” (1999) over and over again.

I love Christmas music so much that I could listen to it year around.

Christmas is just so magical.  I’m mesmerized by the twinkling of the lights and I love holidays parties. I can’t get enough of the appetizers and the baked goodies — the cookies, fudge and divinity, and even the fruitcake!

funny_fruitcake

Each year, my Christmas cards are mailed the day before Thanksgiving to begin the trek across the country.

Xmas.jpg

I’m smiling now because I’m sure someone has already commented on Facebook where the link to this blog was first posted because I put Xmas in the title line.

I know that many people get their tinsel all twisted (that’s a Christmas way of saying “get their panties in a wad”) when they see “Merry Xmas”!

christ-in-chrismas

They say that writing Xmas takes Christ out of “Christmas”.  After all, he’s the reason for the season!

The whole Christ, Christmas, and Xmas debate got me to thinking.

People get so up in arms about leaving “Christ” in “Christmas”, yet many of those same people claiming to be Christians and living for the Lord can be so hateful and judgmental.

All of a sudden it hit me.  Maybe these same people should take a moment to put Christ back into Christian”! At that point, I decided to write about it and I really thought I was on to something.

As Indiana’s governor, we had Vice President Mike Pence doing all he could do to be discriminatory to LGBT people in his state until businesses started moving out (or threatening to) and it cost Indiana money.

Pence

He’s one of those people — “Christians”.  Note there that “Christians” is in quotation marks. They are the ones that use religion to hate or discriminate — “Christians”.

Then there are those that love and live for the Lord that also love their fellow man for who they are.  They are the true Christians!

As someone who doesn’t believe in “organized religion”, but prays to God and believes in a higher power, I’m all about loving the Lord and trying to live the best life I can.

However, when you “religious freedom” to hate, I don’t think my Lord would like that very much.

pence-gay-marriage

So, when I started putting this together, I did a quick Google image search to add a fun and colorful graphic to the story.

It was then that I found that my whole thought process of putting “Christ” back in “Christian” to off set “Christ” in “Christmas” wasn’t such an original idea!

Christ in Christian.jpg

Here’s the bottom line for me. I never write Xmas in a Christmas card, nor do I type it online (except in today’s blog to drive home a point!).

It has nothing to do with keeping “Christ” in Christmas.

In the same line of thinking, when you go to talk about “Christ” this Christmas, live up to what he was preaching.  Love your fellow man (or woman) whether they live the same way of life as you.

It’s something that I try to do every day and not just at Xmas.  (Ha, I was just seeing if you were still reading.)  I fail and then I just try harder the next time.

Christmas will always be Christmas to me and not Xmas.

Merry Christmas!  Happy Holidays!  Happy Christmas! Season’s Greetings! Happy Hanukkah!  Happy Kwanzaa! Happy Krampusnacht!  Happy Yule!  Happy Chalica!

Whatever you celebrate, have a great December and an even better 2017!

christmascocktails

Anthony

They Said What??? Mitt Romney, Ann Coulter, Colin Powell, & John McCain

REPUBLICAN INDIANA U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE RICHARD MOURDOCK

“I struggled with myself for a long time but I came to realize life is that gift from God, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape. It is something that God intended to happen.”

2008 FAILED PRESIDENTIAL REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE JOHN McCAIN

(responding about Mourdock’s comment):  “If he apologizes and says he misspoke and he was wrong and asks the people to forgive him, I would be the first.”

CONSERVATIVE MOUTHPIECE ANN COULTER

(tweeted about President Obama after the third presidential debate):  “”I highly approve of Romney’s decision to be kind and gentle to the retard.”

REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL WANNABE MITT ROMNEY

(at the third presidential debate):  “I congratulate him on, on taking out Osama bin Laden and going after the leadership in al-Qaeda.  But we can’t kill our way out of this mess.”

(just moments later):  “Well, my strategy is pretty straightforward, which is to go after the bad guys, to make sure we do our very best to interrupt them, to kill them.”

FORMER PANTHER AND JET FOOTBALL STAR KRIS JENKINS

“Some people are afraid, if somebody comes out as openly gay, that it’s going to be the end of football as we know it.  But, football will adapt and grow with it.”

ACTRESS VIVICA A. FOX

(responding to actress Stacey Dash’s endorsement and the way she endorsed Mitt Romney):  “I didn’t know she was a Republican. I will start there.  Second, I don’t know why she had to do a photo shoot in a ‘Baywatch’ red swimsuit with the boobs and the whole flag behind her. And she doesn’t have a job or something to promote right now. I just didn’t get it.”

FORMER REPUBLICAN SECRETARY OF STATE COLIN POWELL

(endorsing President Obama):  “You know, I voted for him in 2008 and I plan to stick with him in 2012, and I’ll be voting for he and Vice President Joe Biden next month.  I think we ought to keep on the track we are on.”

Anthony