Saturday, April 30, 2005

Vietnam marks fall of Saigon

This was the event that changed my life. April 30th is the day of mourning for my parents' generation. The sacrifice that their generation made and the hardship they endured during and after the American War provided a brighter future for my generation. On this day, I'm thankful for what I have. I wish for a better future for Vietnamese all over the world.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Vietnam to host first official tennis event

Yahoo News!

Ho Chi Minh City to host ATP event
April 26, 2005

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- Vietnam will host its first ATP Tour event in September.

Ho Chi Minh City will stage the indoor tennis tournament from Sept. 26-Oct. 2 at the Phu Tho Sport Center, the ATP said Tuesday.

Two hard courts will be constructed in the 5,000-seat main stadium.

The tournament replaces the Heineken Open, previously held in Shanghai. The Chinese city won the right to host the circuit-ending Tennis Masters Cup for the next three years.

The Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai, featuring the top eight singles and doubles players, will be held Nov. 13-20.

Ho Chi Minh City previously hosted an ATP Challenger event in March.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Newspapers struggle to avoid their own obit

To be fair to the PGN, the whole newspaper industry is on shaky ground.

Newspapers struggle to avoid their own obit - Yahoo! News

Christian Science Monitor

Newspapers struggle to avoid their own obit

By Randy Dotinga, Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor

Mon Apr 25, 4:00 AM ET

Will the last American newspaper lose its last reader before the middle of the century? Journalism professor Philip Meyer thinks it's possible.

After all, the percentage of adults who report reading daily newspapers has fallen from 81 percent in 1964 to just 52 percent in 2004. If the trend continues, there won't be any readers left within a few decades, says Mr. Meyer, an author and former reporter who teaches at the University of North Carolina.

The unhappy prospect of fizzle instead of fizz isn't the only challenge facing publishers and editors. The antics of plagiarizing and lying newspaper reporters have scarred the media's credibility. Recent industry scandals raise questions about whether newspapers are fudging their circulation numbers, and federal do-not-call legislation stopped the lucrative practice of selling subscriptions through telemarketing. And now, free websites like are siphoning off millions of dollars in vital classified ad revenue from newspapers.

Of course, Meyer is hardly the first person to forecast the demise of newspapers. Critics have been highlighting the industry's struggles for decades, as afternoon papers folded and dozens of cities became one-paper towns. Still, more than 1,400 daily newspapers continue to set the news agenda for television, radio, and the Internet, both nationally and locally. Meanwhile, newspaper advertising revenue grew during all but the first three years of the 1990s, and it went up during the last quarter of 2004, too.

"Don't believe the doomsayers," says Jay Smith, president of the Cox Newspapers chain. "They've been out there for a long time, and we'll gladly carry their obituaries."

But there's no denying a sense of looming crisis as subscription numbers at individual newspapers drop - 2 percent here, 5 percent there - each year. Even the industry's traditionally healthy profit margins won't survive if advertisers balk at paying top dollar to reach elderly diehards - senior citizens still love papers - or no one at all.

What to do? "The newspapers will have to be smart about distributing the news in the way [young] consumers want, or they won't be relevant," says Sammy Papert III of Belden Associates, a newspaper research firm.

Indeed, newspapers are trying to reach younger people through quick-read free papers, Spanish-language papers, and stand-alone weekly entertainment tabloids. But most of the new strategies rely on an old standby: ink printed on a page. And that may spell trouble.

According to the Washington City Paper, an alternative weekly, a recent internal Washington Post study found that many young people would refuse free subscriptions because they don't want bulky newspapers cluttering up their homes.

Younger people are used to news content on the Internet, which allows them to pick from lists of headlines instead of flipping through pages to find stories that interest them, says Adam Penenberg, assistant professor in the business and economic reporting program at New York University. "They customize their news-gathering experience in a way a single paper publication could never do," Mr. Penenberg wrote in a Wired News column last year. "And their hands never get dirty from newsprint."

For now, however, the websites of most newspapers are little more than mirrors of the printed product, and few allow users to filter out news they don't care about. Some newspapers are experimenting with live online chats, virtual diaries known as blogs, and the delivery of news to handheld devices. But all those bells and whistles require money, and while the mass newspaper layoffs of the last recession are over, publishers are hardly prepared to go on spending binges.

By refusing to invest in their products, however, publishers are guaranteeing their eventual demise, says Meyer, author of a 2004 book called "The Vanishing Newspaper: Saving Journalism in the Information Age." Meyer points to a business theory that says "when a new technology comes along to replace you, and you can't think of any other way to fight it, the only way is to increase prices, reduce quality, and take as much money out of the company as you can."

That's happening now, Meyer says. "Newspapers won't admit it, and they might not be aware of it. But that's what they're doing. It's an irrational strategy, but the end won't come during the career lifetimes of those managing the process."

What if Meyer is right and newspapers disappear? Mr. Penenberg, who famously exposed the faked stories of a New Republic reporter in the late 1990s, isn't worried. While people in the media like to caricature the young as vapid, they actually read "voraciously" and appreciate strong news coverage, he says. "I don't think it matters whether newspapers survive," he says. The industry "is tied to this idea that news has to be on a piece of paper they hold in their hands. What's wrong with reading the same story on a screen?"

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Two more queens moving to the gayborhood

My father asked me if it was safe. Some of my friends and co-workers asked "Why?" while other friends said "Yay!"

The reaction was mixed, as if I were planning to sky dive.

Jacob and I are moving into the city. We're equally excited about our decision. We signed the lease last week, and our moving preparation is underway.

It's hard to believe that it has been seven years since I moved out of the city. I always had wanted to return, but I kept bouncing around the suburbs for different reasons. Well, I've ran out of excuses. I did a quick analysis of city life vs. suburban life for items that are important to me. City life wins by the size of Fairmount Park where I regularly play soccer and train for marathons.

The relocation will be beneficial to Jacob as well. It will put him closer to campus, and his Mini-Me Zach.

I think both Jacob and I will enjoy being in the city. We're ready for a new adventure. If this is sky diving, we have our parachutes.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Broad Street Run May 1st

I thought about taking easy during the upcoming Broad Street Run. Perhaps a 10-mile fun run along the Orange Line as my body is recovering from the New Jersey Marathon.

My competitive nature kicked in today and I started to prepare for the run. I'm aiming for a 9 minute mile pace, with a run time of 90 minutes.

Last year, there were 10,684 finishers. The winner clocked in at 48:07 minutes. My 90 minute goal would be good for a 4,500th finish (top half).

My BSR bib number will be 313.

Bring it on!

Sunday, April 17, 2005

The 2005 New Jersey Marathon

Posted by Hello

I spent a nice sunny day at the Jersey shore getting a tan and completing my second marathon. The course was as flat as advertised. The volunteers were enthusiasic and helpful. Plenty of portable bathrooms and real bathrooms. The run started at Sandy Hook. We went up north to a state park, coming back to Sandy Hook, and kept going south along the Jersey Shore points. We passed Sea Bright and Monmouth Beach. We were on Mile 20 when we reached Long Branch, the future finish line, at which we had to run a 10-mile loop before returning to Long Branch for the real finish.

I started out slow but gradually increased to a 9 minute per mile pace until I reached the loop where things started go go awry. I ran out of engery. My body tensed up. My pace signficantly slowed down. I was running at about a 15 minute per mile pace, which equivalent to walking. When given orange slices at Mile 18, I ate everything including the orange peel. Food never tasted so good. I walked a little bit to ease my cramps. Other food became available. I continued to do run /walk and graduate reduced the walking time. By Mile 23 I started running steadily and kept a good pace until the finish line. I even managed to sprint the last half mile, passing about 5 people.

My 4:42 time was not was fast as I had hoped, but it is 15 minutes faster than my first marathon. I felt that I trained well and I am happy with the results.

BIB# 342
Clock time: 4:42:24.9
Pace: 10:46 minutes per mile
Place: 965 / 1360 finishers
Age group: 30-34 Male
Age group place: 93/112
Among Male finishers: 668/875

Saturday, April 16, 2005

What Would Mariah Do?

What Would Mariah Do? is something I may find myself wondering tomorrow as I run 26.2 miles along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean.

Mariah would probably think that the finish line is never too far away when you believe that the hero inside of you can make it happen. I'll be sure to give my all to make my second marathon fantasy one sweet day.

I, too, have a vision of love, which tells me that I will finish the run under 4.5 hours, through the rain and underneath the stars. Oh, my Mariah, my saving grace is youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu [octave-jumping, human dog whisling]!

I feel good.
I feel nice.
Feeling high.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Philadelphia Gay News Death Watch, Part 1

Mark my words - The Philadelphia Gay News (PGN) will cease to exist in five years. “Gay” may be its middle name, but R.I.P. will be its last word.

As gay people integrate themselves in the Philadelphia community, along with the rise of the Internet, the PGN has lost its relevance. Its core readership is there but shrinking. Advertisers are fleeting.

The PGN used to be the talk of the town every Friday afternoon. The most read section of the PGN used to the Classifieds section. It was a popular way for gays to meet. With the advent of the Internet, online dating has toppled the PGN Classifieds. Gay-related contents and directories are also easier to find on the Internet. Local gay news is no longer a conversation topic, except for a few aging urban gay men. Local print media such as the Philadelphia Inquire, Daily, Philadelphia Weekly, and City Paper are less reluctant to cover local gay events. The old PGN has ran its course. It lost, fair and square.

It’s a matter of time before the paper folds. Its recent switch to the tabloid format reduces overhead cost and disguises dwindling advertisements, and simply delays the inevitable. I will miss it dearly.

While smaller display ads are important, they command much less rate, based on industry standard column-inch fee structure. The smaller display ads will at best help the paper break even. Full-page and half-page ads bring in the profits.

I intend to conduct regular display ad counts in this Death Watch column. I expect that the number of pages will gradually drop along with display advertisers. There will be a few outliers due to seasonal demands.

Without further introduction, this is my
PGN Death Watch - Part 1

Last week’s issue (April 8-14, 2005)

Volume 29 No. 14

No. of pages: seventy-two (72)

No. of full-page display ads: four (4)

  2. Washington DC Convention & Tourism Corp.
  3. Gay and Lesbian World Travel Expo 2005 (Philadelphia)
  4. Showtime Entertainment (Queer as Folk 4th season DVD set)

No. of half-page display ads: thirteen (13)

  1. Suburu Symmetrical All-Wheel Driving System
  2. MINI Cooper Covertible
  3. The Mazzoni Center (AIDS Hotline)
  4. Arch Financial Services
  5. Manayunk Design District
  6. Red Barn Books (adult bookstore)
  7. 1-800-GAY LIVE (phone sex)
  8. M4M-USA.COM (web sex connection)
  9. Adonis Cinema Complex
  10. Premier Escorts
  11. Cherokee Rental Apartments
  12. Philadelphia Film Festival
  13. North 3rd (pub)

While performing the ad analysis of this issue, I was a little concerned with the large number of house ads (touting different PGN sections and services) and full-page section breaks. House ads wrapping around a irregular half-page display ad irriate me. This is a sign of sloppiness and/or incompetence. The ratio between total number of pages (72) and total pages devoted to full and half-page ads (11) is higher than I expected.

Drug Advertisements

Prescription drug advertisements shall abide the Code of Federal Regulations Title 21 Part 202 Section 1 (21CFR202.1). Prescription drug ads are divided into the following our categories:
  1. Product claim ads should contain fair balance between risks and benefits. This is the most direct approach to drug advertising
  2. Disease awareness ads present symptoms and encourage people to see the doctors. Although no drug name is mentioned, the drug company's logo is often prominently.
  3. Reminder ads feature the drug's trade name and generic name in half the font size. No indication (intended use) or dosing information is given. No risk info is given either.
  4. Institutional ads announce the name of the drug company and its focused therapeutic area of research.
Two typical approach to drug ads
  1. Exploitation of fears about declining health -- These ads more or less say that if you don't take these drugs, you will die. My favorite come-on line is "Will a heart attack make your life run out before your grandson tastes his first ice cream?"
  2. Promises of an improved life -- These ads often feature a woman gardening, a man playing golf, a child playing baseball, a nonthreatening couple embracing. Other common elements are sunshine, flowers, and waterfalls. These ads more or less say that their drugs will bring you happiness. My favorite ad in this category simply asks a 30-something man, "Want to improve your sex life?"

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The pill bottle gets a facelift

Target is switching to a new pill bottle design, as I learned from Alex's blog. I'll be switching over to a Target pharmacy just to get the bottles. The design is customer-friendly, and most importanly,
it meets labeling requirements (21 CFR 201.56 and 21 CFR 201.57). Now someone needs to come forward with a better prescription drug packaging insert (also known in the industry as PI or circular).

Sports Illustrated Poll: Gays in Sports

Americans believe they have become more accepting -- but have they?

Numbers don't lie. They reveal, and perhaps conceal plenty.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Emancipation of Mimi

It's no secret that I have a thing for Mariah Carey. I think she's vocally talented and beautiful but at the same time bitchy and self-destructive. A true diva! With her new album coming out tomorrow, without much competition from other divas, the stage is set for a comeback. Expectations are being set for Billboard chart positions, SoundScan sales, and air plays.

I don't listen to the radio nor watch music videos. My take is a little different. If any songs from her ‘Emancipation of Mimi’ album makes its way up to my iTunes Top 100 Most Played Smart Playlist by June 15th, it's a hit. If one ‘Mimi’ song makes it to my Top 10 Mariah Smart Playlist, it's a smashing success.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning is a time when I let go of junk and sentimental crap. This year, due to our pending move, I unloaded more than ever. I got rid of such things as:
  • Crème Brûlée Set (never used)
  • Fondue Set (never used)
  • Radar detector (never used)
  • Chafing Dish (used twice)
  • Ronco's Showtime Standard Rotisserie & BBQ Oven (frequently used in the past)
  • Two trash bags filled with clothes
  • Three versions of Trivia Pursuit
  • Four or five seasons of "Melrose Place" I recorded
  • Five pairs of footwear
  • Six winter jackets
  • A few dozen VHS movies
  • All college textbooks and notes
  • All my beloved copies of The Triangle when I was there
  • Barbra Streisand booklet from "Just for the Record" (this one was tough to let go)

I feel liberated!

Seven Days

EF is a tough bitch. She claims that she hasn't practiced enough. However, she runs so well during our practice. Yesterday I fell behind a few times during our 6-mile run. I caught up with her and even challenged her a bit. She was right behind me. I got served!

Her pace is very consistent. My strategy for the marathon is to stay with her for the first 16 miles. We will benefit from each other's company. If she can keep her pace for the last 10 miles, I'll stay with her. Otherwise, I may break loose.

Seven days, six nights to go. My palms are sweating.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Understanding Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues in the Workplace

Today, I had the honor and privilege of attending a seminar entitled “Understanding Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues in the Workplace” by Brian McNaught. This sweet-talking professional diversity educator teaches Corporate America to embrace diversity not just words (policies / procedures) but also by music (action / perception).

It was a wonderful feeling to see my co-leagues and bosses in attendance. Some of them were invited to the seminar by me. They learned that while it’s OK to use the word “gay” but it’s not OK to use the phrase “it’s so gay”.

I’m expecting a toaster oven any day now.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Norristown to Valley Forge 10K

What a beautiful April day! The sun was still out at 6:30 p.m. when I got home. The temperature was about 70F, and the wind was mild and breezy.

Spring was in the air, and I couldn't resist. I put on my Nike and off I went onto the Schuylkill River Trail, Norristown to Valley Forge and back. My feet were light, my kicks were even, and I was in a groove! It was the most perfect run I've had on this trail. My speed was around 9 minutes per mile for the first half, and slightly increased on the way back. I even raced against a train as went past the Norristown train station.

The best part of the run was Regatta service road, which was a 45 degree hill, at the end. I couldn't believe I managed to reach the top and still maintained a running momentum.

The entire run was only a little more than a 10K, but it gave me a tremendous lift. I will be thinking about this run during my next marathon.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Help support Inanda Care Center, South Africa

Open letter from Elisabeth

Hi friends -

Some of you may know that I've been training since November to run the New
Jersey marathon on April 17, and as part of my efforts I'm raising funds for the
Inanda Day Centre in Inanda, South Africa - a poverty-stricken settlement of
about 300,000 people in the outskirts of Durban. Opened in 2002, the Centre
provides a clean and safe haven for patients of all ages suffering from HIV, in
a country that has been devastated by the disease. The Centre is housed in two
donated ship containers, and offers medical treatment, meals, and counseling
services - but as of 2004 they have not had access to antiretroviral drugs, or
funds to do many bloodwork tests. Ten caregivers, including a professional
nurse, work there---only three receive payment. As the crisis worsens, the
Centre hopes to find funding to be open more than their current twice-a-week
schedule, and to take in more of the ever-increasing number of patients who come
seeking help.

I first learned of the Centre through NYC-based photographer Ken Wong, who
brought his exhibition 'Face-to-Face: An Intimate Look at the AIDS Crisis in
South Africa' to our Museum last year. After seeing the photos and statistics,
and reading the stories of Inanda patients in their own words, it was impossible
not to be moved by the enormity of the crisis there - but also by the efforts of
people who work at places like the Inanda Day Centre, in the face of what seem
to be insurmountable odds.

South Africa has the unfortunate distinction of having the world’s largest
number of HIV infections; 20 percent of all adults are positive; and life
expectancy for both men and women has dropped to 44 years. By 2010 it is
estimated there will be 1.5 million South African children orphaned by HIV/AIDS.

There's much more information available (see: and but to keep this brief, I’m asking you to consider making a
donation on behalf of the Inanda Day Centre. Even a little bit of money can make
a difference here - where $3,636 is the annual salary for the two chief
caregivers. $20 could provide free meals for five patients. So please consider a
donation if you can, and feel free to get in touch (ebflynn@...) if
you’d like more information about the project.

Secure donations can be made at:

Thank you for your help! - Elisabeth

* if you'd prefer regular mail, you can send a donation to my attention at 811
S. 11th St. #2, Phila. PA 19147. Please make checks out to: Highway
Hospice/Inanda Day Centre. (Donations to Highway Hospice are tax-deductible, but
we are suggesting a $50 minimum donation in that case to reduce paperwork on
their end).

Saturday, April 02, 2005

$600 - A Sweet Pad and Fun Gay Roommate!

Jack Tripper, please reply!!!!

Reply to:
Date: 2005-03-25, 8:12AM EST

I am a 24-year-old gay guy hoping to find a great male or female roommate to share a townhouse in Plymouth Meeting. The rent is $600/month + ½ share of utilities (gas, electric, water, cable/internet). There’s a $600 security deposit. The rent is month-to-month. A formal lease agreement is used. The current roommate is leaving end of March due to job relocation. Current and past roommate references are available.

The House:
The house is 9 years old, nice, large, and overlooks the Plymouth Country Club golf course. It is a 3-story townhouse in a condominium association. The house has 3 bedrooms (the 3rd is an office/guest room), 2 ½ baths, living room, den, kitchen, dining room, laundry room, deck with BBQ and outdoor dining, patio, garage, and storage room.

The Rooms:
The room for rent is 11’ x 13’ and has a double window with a view of the golf course. The room has a closet and the renter has their own full bathroom off of the hallway. There is additional closet/storage space throughout the house. The departing roommate is leaving some furniture behind (including a bed) rather than moving it, which can be left or removed. The huge 16’ x 21’ downstairs den will be completely empty and can be used by the roommate as a den, office, or anything else. There is parking for 1 car in the driveway. Additional guest parking is across the street.

I am a 24-year-old professional gay guy. I work as a technology consultant. I am a pretty easy-going roommate, but I do like things to be kept relatively neat and orderly. I like to go out sometimes on weekend or other times stay in. I have small parties at the house on occasion.

I don’t have much preference as to whether you are male/female, gay/straight as long as you are a good agreeable roommate that respects my home and keeps it a fun and nice place for us to live. I ask that you be professional or a student with no pets and non-smoking. I think it’s nice to be able to make and eat dinner together occasionally, but I’m not requiring the roommate to be my best friend. I like to come home, relax, and have fun when I’m not working so I want a roommate who is cool with that.

I would like to spend a little time with and get to know the person I am going to live with before committing to it. If interested please email me!

Map: Plymouth Rd. and New Hope St.
this is in or around Plymouth Meeting
it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests


Marathon 2 Weeks Away

With the marathon two weeks away, I have been doing shorter runs to avoid overtraining. This week I only did two 5K runs during the week days compared to three 10K runs during the intense phase of the training program.

My body seemed to respond well to the extra rest, as I was able to complete a 13.5 mile run this morning without any pain. The April rain was intense as I started, and the rain kept pouring until I crossed over to the other side of the river. My rain jacket kept me dry for about 30 minutes, then the water started seeping through. By the time the rain stopped, I was wet from head to toe. After the run, I realized that my right ankle chafed and blood was all over my sock and Nike Pegasis.

My time was within my range, and I felt great driving back home.