Showing posts with label Semper Fidelis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Semper Fidelis. Show all posts

An Idiot's Guide To Surviving A Heart Attack

I run at 100 miles per hour.

One day it comes to a halt. My phone rings—which always freaks me out. I think my phone is only a camera or a way to demand a car. I look at the screen and the name seems kinda familiar…

Military Time: America's Got Talent Via Social Progress

America is going through LGBT civil rights boot camp, and it’s making our society stronger. Change, like recruit training, is hard. The results are worth it.

Recently joining our ranks in the march to equality: SCOTUS, the Boy Scouts, the Pentagon and Caitlyn Jenner.

When I was a kid I marveled at Jenner as she competed on TV in the Olympic decathlon, I had no idea she suffered from body dysmorphia.

You think it took bravery to eat the first oyster? Try being Caitlyn Jenner, living a famous, accomplished life while secretly knowing she was in the wrong body. When Caitlyn came out as transgender, she turned heads (some sideways) and opened minds. Soon after, the Pentagon announced that the military will allow transgendered people to serve.

This Marine Won't March Into Mississippi (Hate Doesn't Taste Like Chicken)

I just turned down a farm-to-table tour of Mississippi. As a food writer, they invited me to tour their farm--to-table movement. They are very proud of where they stand and offered to fly me in to witness their production.

One of the most important moments in my book, The Pink Marine, involves Mississippi. Marines’ primary mission is to defend our country. The U.S. government didn’t care about my sexuality. It wasn’t part of their job or my job. They equipped me with the necessary training and tools to be an effective Marine. As I was issued an M-16, I recalled the time when I was fifteen and visiting a farm near Jackson, Mississippi. I hunted for the first time. I held my first rifle, shot and killed a squirrel. And then our host cooked it and served it for our dinner. * Mississippi, you’re always full of surprises.

So You Want to Write For Television?

When it was time to bring my book of Marine Corps boot camp stories to market, I went into U.S. Marine mission-mode and sought out the best expert. I looked to publishing guru Jane Friedman. Of course I was star-struck talking to Jane, but she made me comfortable and confident about my book's future.

Once my book,The Pink Marine, was finished, Jane asked me to write a guest post on her blog that examined the differences between writing for televisions (my area of expertise) and writing a book (her area).

Once I stopped screaming in a high pitched squeal, I wrote this piece:

Let Freedom Ring and Opportunity Knock

Last night there was a knock on my door. As first, it startled me. I guess I’m as jumpy as everyone else right now. But it’s my own door; of course I’m answering. When I feel fearful, I remind myself that I was a Sgt. in the U.S. Marine Corps. Plus I live in a secured building.

I raked my fingers through my second-day hair, checked my t-shirt for cake crumbs, leaned my eye against the peephole, and saw a woman. I opened the door.

The Pink Marine:
My Marine Corps Boot Camp Story is in stores now!

I am one of the few, the proud, the Marines -- and the published!

My memoir, The Pink Marine, loaded with U.S. Marine Corps boot camp stories, is out and available to buy. I appreciate your support.

What the hell was I thinking, enlisting in the most elite branch of the U.S. military?! First, I'm gay. Although we do love the best of everything.... Second, you'll understand once you've read the book.

On The Menu: The Reality of Getting On A Reality Show. (Part 1 of 2)

Cooking on TV can help sell my book. Getting on TV is hard.

But I believe in myself. And in chances. I get an opportunity to step toward my goals -- I take it. I got on TNT's new reality cooking competition series, On The Menu.

I just wrote The Pink Marine, a memoir about my time in Marine Corps boot camp. Writing a book is hard. As difficult as completing recruit training. I thought finishing the book meant the process was over.

But like I learned in the Marines, there's always another battle. I typed "The End", turned the page and met a new challenge: Marketing. Marketing is hard.

I've built one of the most globally recognizable brands with millions of built-in customers that guarantees success in everything I do. No I haven't. But I love hard work.

Did You Just Eat A Frog?

I learned that the Marine Corps packs thrills. I didn't join expecting great food. However; after you force-march 15-miles, carrying a 70-pound pack on your 115-pound body, you want food. Any food. I'd tear into the tough, plastic Meal Ready To Eat pouch. I sucked out the compressed tuna using the sense memory of freshly shucked Louisiana oysters.

I didn't even pause to untie my boots and release their death grip. My cracker broke as I dug it into stale peanut butter. Chomping sounded like marching. I looked up and scanned the area to see my brothers-in-arms frantically trading chocolate pudding for spaghettios. Affix neckties instead of bayonets and you'd have the trading floor of Wall Street.

Canada vs. America: Tie The Love Knot

man in fur hat
How do you know when you find the perfect mate?

My other half is so perfect that it seems, to those who haven't met him, that I've made him up. The fact that he lives in "Canada" makes him conveniently, possibly, a legend in my own mind.

But like Teri Hatcher's rack, he's real and he's spectacular. Once we experienced the thrill of love at first sight, we settled down to get to know each other.

"Where do you see yourself living in five years?" He wanted to know. 

I was honest. "I'm in spring chicken's waning shadow sliding into tough old bird. So...I'm hoping to just be living."

"What's your favorite vacation spot?" he asked.

"All of them. The world's an oyster, right?" I asked back. 

"What's your favorite food?" he wondered. 

"There's not one food I don't like, that I've tried," I said, proudly. "Except fennel," I added.

On our next date, he handed me a little cellophane bag of what looked like dried tortellini. I hoped he didn't expect me to cook on the spot; I was saving that for marriage.

"Love knots. Laced with fennel," he said.

I cocked my head toward the sun, hoping to intensify my eye's blueness. I needed to distract him from the lunacy of offering me fennel.

"Wouldn't it be great to say you liked every food?" he slyly smiled.

And that's how I knew.

We constantly cross borders to see each other. We didn't anticipate our respective governments limiting our time in each other's countries. America spent a lot of money training me to be a Marine. They effectively taught me to conquer an objective, strategically -- and emerge victorious.


I hate to fly; but it's easier for me to get into Montreal. America isn't as welcoming to Canadians as they are us. U.S. Customs agents haul him away from the immigration line and interrogate him for hours, fearful he's coming into the US to take a job. If they'd let me go back with him I'd set them straight.

"Don't worry, he doesn't want a job in Canada, much less here. He's only after a tan," I'd say.



The Marines made me tireless but I get impatient. Canada and the U.S. need to call a truce to their hundreds-year-old feud and merge. Invite Mexico and we create a super-continent that can defeat China.

Canada's freezing; but embraceable. I don't mind the cold. Because it gets warmer.

It gets better.

And I case you didn't know, love knots laced with fennel are delicious.

Spartan Race: Camouflage Is The New Black

It's good to be alive.

Recently, as I boarded the bus to compete in the Spartan Race in Malibu, memories of arriving at Parris Island to join the Marine Corps popped into my head like mean drill instructors storming a bus. Bus transport held no appeal then and holds less now. They're great -- I'd much rather leave the driving to someone else; but once you've been screamed off a bus, the gentility of being chauffeured is over. The Spartan Race is as challenging as any USMC event. There are some differences...

USMC Chow: The Tale of Shit-On-A-Shingle

Fairy tales burn life lessons deeply into our psyche, from which we freely draw. I used the adventures of Goldilocks to conclude that military food isn't doing anyone a flavor. 

That little blond girl sneaked in those Bear's house, much like I did the Marine Corps. Just as she sampled the entire family's porridge hoping to find one that was just right, I cut my Baby Bear military chow teeth on the fine cuisine of Parris Island.

This food's too wretched. 

Next, I continued my culinary tour with stints at Officer's Candidate School, brilliantly split into two summers to sample more basic training fare. At Mama Bear Camp Geiger, I shoved my pride down and my plate away.

This food died for my country. 

Then finally, for the giant Papa Bear bowl -- I trudged on to the tables of Quantico, VA, full of high hopes and in better boots only to be shocked and awed at their ill attempt at good taste.

This food's just not right.

For an amuse bouche some tough doc cupped my balls and told me to cough.  

Nude, Night, Illegal Bungee Jumping!

The best thing about having a best friend is having a best friend.

Whether imaginary, canine, spousal, or to thine own self be true, I highly recommend at least one. I treasure mine, Dale -- a live, in-the-flesh man that I met when we were boys on a school bus forty years ago.

Our friendship had the normal progression. We walked down the school halls talking about lunch, then sashayed down New Orleans' Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras with 15-year old Dale in most of a skimpy Aladdin costume, later enlisted together in the United States Marine Corps and jetted off to boot camp on Parris Island.

That one extra 'r" shape shifts Paris into an entirely different world.

Raising the Steaks!

I love looking forward to upcoming events. I hate looking back and being disappointed, and then regret the looking forward. Obviously I'm talking about sex -- all that effing buildup.

In mid-1981, when most of you were searing in your tan lines, I was summering in glamorous Quantico, VA, in Marine Corps Officer Candidates School.

It's much like any other school training program in the U.S. -- you're assigned a footlocker, a bunk mate, and a semi-automatic rifle. Like any bunch of new students, we were assembled in a large gym, seated in uncomfortable bleachers and addressed by the head master.  He was also the Commanding Officer of the base. He let us know what was expected of us for the next six grueling weeks.