Starvoice • 02.24.12

By Jack Fertigstarvoice

CELEBRITY BIRTHDAY

Antonio Sabato Jr. turns 40 on Wednesday. The handsome actor has made women and men swoon since his days as a Calvin Klein model and soap opera star. He embraced his appeal to gays by appearing on the cover of The Advocate in 2006. He played the “gay best friend” in an episode of Hot in Cleveland last year and appears in this year’s Celebrity Wife Swap.

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THIS WEEK

The sun in Pisces opposing Mars in Virgo starts lots of picky, whiney, hyper-critical arguments. Put aside your own “needs” and offer what you can to others.

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PISCES  Feb 19-Mar 19
Focus on being a better partner. That means allowing some space, being less co-ependent. Enjoy your birthday, but impulse spending would prove surprisingly expensive.

ARIES  Mar 20-Apr 19
Staying calm, focused and cooperative on the task ahead is a real challenge. Keep faultfinding to yourself; be mature, stoic and farsighted. It will get easier next week.

TAURUS  Apr 20-May 20
Friends feel like they’re more trouble than they’re worth. Go hide and relax. Social obligations at work are especially difficult. Prioritize; do what you must and save time to recharge your batteries.

GEMINI  May 21-Jun 20
Make the impossible work with a balance of inspiration and practicality. That crazy idea that comes out of nowhere could be the key. Test it before you commit, but at least check it out.

CANCER  Jun 21-Jul 22
New situations are overwhelming, even confusing. Resist temptation to retreat. Push through the fog. Not only can you rise to the occasion, but you will find the effort rewarding.

LEO  Jul 23-Aug 22
Efforts to smooth over problems backfire big time. Face the music and deal with it. Put that sunshine to work rallying support for a real solution.

VIRGO  Aug 23-Sep 22
Even well intended advice can go very wrong. Pay attention and receive it politely. If it sounds like a good idea, consider it very carefully before acting on it.

LIBRA  Sep 23-Oct 22
Don’t take anything for granted. It may seem tedious work to spell out all the little details, but it is worth the trouble. The less you boast, the more attractive they will make you.

SCORPIO  Oct 23-Nov 21
Losing friends without creating trouble is hard. Be gentle and polite. If they accuse you of being overly-critical, smile agreeably. That’s just a harsh way of saying you have higher standards.

SAGITTARIUS  Nov 22-Dec 20
You’re on a power surge. It could build momentum at work and push you into a better job. If you are considering any big risks with your work, this is the time to take them, but think ahead.

CAPRICORN  Dec 21-Jan 19
Your goals are realistic, but you need to get your ego out of the way. Negatives overshadow the issue now. Bring those to light. Soon you’ll see the positives more clearly.

AQUARIUS  Jan 20-Feb 18
A good argument could cost you. Be restrained and pragmatic; keep your ears open. Elicit information, but don’t contradict. You could learn something very useful, even profitable.

Jack Fertig can be reached at 415-864-8302 or Starjack.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 24, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

Trying to understand the inconceivable

A friend’s suicide leaves a reporter with questions that can’t be answered and a pain that won’t diminish

If there is any criminal act that leaves the victim’s survivors more bewildered, frustrated and tormented than suicide, I can’t imagine what it could possibly be.

David-Webb
David Webb The Rare Reporter

Four months ago, I discovered one of my former college classmates and best friends of more than 40 years dead in his home, apparently by his own hand. The official ruling was suicide by a shot to the head with a handgun that I didn’t even know he owned.

I now understand that he bought the gun for protection several decades ago. The idea that my friend would even own a gun for protection seemed ludicrous to me because I couldn’t imagine anyone who was so loving, peaceful and gentle being capable of shooting anyone, let alone himself.

I’ve been told that some people buy guns for protection because they believe that the exhibition of one will scare an intruder away. That must have been what he was thinking.

I’ve finally decided to write about this because The Dallas Morning News columnist Steve Blow recently wrote a column noting that older white men are more likely to commit suicide than other groups of people. My friend fit in that category.

It is inconceivable to me that my friend — who as a young man had been beautiful, talented, athletic, affluent and charismatic — could ever succumb to such a fate. But if it could happen to him, I guess it could happen to anyone when they grow older.

My friend was a 61-year-old straight guy who had never been married, and his best friend was his elderly Jack Russell Terrier who was dying of old age. He became so depressed one time that he went to bed and was found later, nearly dead of starvation and dehydration.

As a young man, my friend was adored by both women and men. But when he grew older, the attention from everyone died away. He had trouble making dates and trying to form a relationship in his older years.

He also was experiencing devastating financial problems of which few people were aware.

My friend had suffered a similar depressive experience five years ago when his mother died of natural causes. But he seemingly had recovered enough to function for a few years before his death. But he apparently quit taking the medication that had brought him back to sanity in years past. He suffered a terrible relapse as a result.

My friend was admitted to a hospital’s intensive care unit and later transferred to a mental hospital. Although his family and many friends rallied around him with loving care, he just never made it back to where he had been. His beloved dog was put to sleep while he was hospitalized.

He was released from the hospital, but it was clear he was not well. He was registered for outpatient care but apparently could not face it.

Within two days, he was dead.

Many things come to my mind about this on a near-daily basis now. It is so unbelievable to me that he could shoot himself or anyone else that I sometimes have trouble believing it was really a suicide.

I think that’s what they call denial.

Logically, I know it was suicide, and I’m glad that he is free of the severe mental illness that he had apparently endured for a number of years.

Emotionally, I search for answers and often think, “What if?” I would never have left him alone for those two days had I known he was in such danger from himself.

The two lessons I believe that can be learned from this are that if someone has suffered a mental illness, they should never be left alone until it is ascertained they are again stable.

The other message is for the mentally ill who are considering suicide if they are able at that point of making logical decisions: The pain and suffering that will be wrought upon the surviving friends and family will result in a lifetime of utter agony for them.

A friend of mine whose mother went into her garage many years ago, started her car and died, said to me, “Your mind is going to be raw for a very long time.” And it is.

David Webb is a veteran journalist who has covered LGBT issues for the mainstream and alternative press for more than two decades. He is a former Dallas Voice staff writer and editor. E-mail him at davidwaynewebb@yahoo.com.

—  Kevin Thomas

Aren’t any gays in Dallas going to request a marriage license on Valentine’s Day this year?

GetEQUAL and Marriage Equality USA are planning demonstrations across the country for Valentine’s Day in which same-sex couples will request marriage licenses at county clerks’ offices. But Dallas, where the apparently defunct Queer LiberAction has staged similar demonstrations in each of the last two years, thus far doesn’t appear on the list of cities where events are planned in 2011. According to the website, the only Texas cities with demonstrations planned are San Antonio, Austin and Houston. So we’re sure Dallas County Clerk John Warren, shown below in 2009, is disappointed. Read the full press release from GetEQUAL is after the jump.

Dallas County Clerk John Warren, right, addresses Blake Wilkinson of Queer LiberAction during a Freedom to Marry Day demonstration in 2009.

—  John Wright