Friday, August 31, 2012

Still Sick

With a fever of 102, I'm going to see my doctor.  Hopefully, he can get me well.  Other than the doctor visit, I plan to stay in bed today.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

I've Got a Cold

Hopefully, it's just my sinuses being all messed up because of the change in air pressure due to the hurricane.  We haven't gotten much from Hurricane Isaac, but we do have some of the outer bands and of course some of the low pressure.  Whatever it is, I'm very stopped up.  I hate head colds, but maybe it won't last long.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The 'That's So Gay' Impact

Now, there are times when saying "That's so gay" is entirely accurate and appropriate, for example when a gay man is describing hand making curtains with silk fabric and trim.  Or, like when I was watching "Warehouse 14" on Syfy Monday night and Agent Jinks, a gay character on the show, does a double take when seeing the ruby slippers from "The Wizard of Oz" in the warehouse. Most of the time, however, this is not the kind of situation that this phrase is most often muttered.

"That's so gay" has been part of the adolescent lexicon for some time, but a new University of Michigan study has revealed the phrase could have deep consequences for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students.

Published in the current issue of the Journal of American College Health, the study reportedly examined the impact of hearing "that's so gay" among 114 LGBT students between the ages of 18 and 25, CBS Detroit is reporting.
The resulting data found that LGBT students who heard the phrase frequently were more likely to feel isolated and experience headaches, poor appetite or eating problems than those who didn't. Still, the study also revealed another troubling statistic: a mere 14 respondents (13 percent) hadn't heard "that's so gay" at all throughout the duration of the survey.
"Given the nature of gay-lesbian-bisexual stigma, sexual minority students could already perceive themselves to be excluded on campus and hearing 'that's so gay' may elevate such perceptions," Michael Woodford, an assistant professor of social work and co-author of the new study, said in a statement. "'That's so gay' conveys that there is something wrong with being gay."
Woodford went on to suggest, "Policies and educational programs are needed to help students, staff and faculty to understand that such language can be harmful to gay students. Hopefully, these initiatives will help to eliminate the phrase from campuses."
In 2007, the phrase was at the epicenter of a controversial lawsuit, after a California teen's parents claimed their daughter's First Amendment rights had been violated after she was disciplined by her high school for uttering the phrase, which "enjoys widespread currency in youth culture," to classmates who were allegedly taunting her for her Mormon upbringing, according to court documents cited by the Associated Press.
Still, retired teacher Rick Ayers, who helped compile and publish the "Berkeley High School Slang Dictionary," told the AP, "I wouldn't be surprised if this girl didn't even know the origin of that term. The kids who get caught saying it will claim it's been decontextualized, but others will say, `No, you know what that means.' It's quite talked about."
Source:  Huffington Post (Gay Voices), "'That's So Gay' Impact," by Curtis M. Wong 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

America by Robert Creely


Robert Creeley

America, you ode for reality!
Give back the people you took.
Let the sun shine again
on the four corners of the world
you thought of first but do not
own, or keep like a convenience.
People are your own word, you
invented that locus and term.
Here, you said and say, is
where we are. Give back
what we are, these people you made,
us, and nowhere but you to be.
From Selected Poems by Robert Creeley. 
Copyright © 1991 by The Regents of the University of California. 
All rights reserved. 
Used with permission. 
Originally published in Pieces (1969).
For a biography of Creeley, click "read more" below.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Fatal Shadows by Josh Lanyon

Book Description:
One sunny morning Los Angeles bookseller and aspiring mystery author Adrien English opens his front door to murder. His old high school buddy (and employee) has been found stabbed to death in a back alley following a loud and very public argument with Adrien the previous evening. Naturally the cops want to ask Adrien a few questions; they are none too impressed with his answers, and when a few hours later someone breaks into Adrien's shop and ransacks it, the law is inclined to think Adrien is trying to divert suspicion from himself. Adrien knows better. Adrien knows he is next on the killer's list.
When I wrote my answers for Sean's TMI about books, I read some of the other responses. One of the authors that kept popping up on those TMI,s and from suggestions from my readers, was Josh Lanyon, particularly his Adrien English series.  I had recently read his book Fair Game and by coincidence had bought Fatal Shadows: The Adrien English Mystery Series , the first book in the Adrien English series.  So the next logical step was to read it.  Over the weekend I did in my moments of free time.  I really enjoyed the book and now can't wait to read the other four. Josh Lannyon writes in an even, unpretentious, relaxed style. There is very good character development, ingenuity of plot, believability, dialogue, and pacing.  Once you start reading it, you will find it difficult to put down.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

We Are God's Children

It's so easy to get wrapped up in all the details of being a Christian.  There are theological issues to resolve, questions we don't have answers to, and disagreements that have existed since the beginning.  Sometimes, it's easy to miss the forest for the trees.

So this week, let's step back and get back to the basics.

If you're frustrated in your life, confused by issues, or way too busy for your own good, take a moment to relax.  Take a deep breath.  Ask God for a refreshing spiritual breeze in your life.
Then read the following two passages for a reminder of why we're Christians.

1 John 4:7-19

King James Version (KJV)
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.
14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.
15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
19 We love him, because he first loved us.

1 John 3:1-3

King James Version (KJV)
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

You are a child of God.

May that be the single thing that sticks in your mind as you tackle whatever life throws at you this week.

God loves you, exactly as you are.  So take that love and share it!

Friday, August 24, 2012

MEDIA RELEASE: New Exhibitions Reveal Untold Stories of Queer History

New Exhibitions at GLBT History Museum to Highlight Queer
Asian Pacific Islander Women, Early AIDS Prevention Efforts       

San Francisco -- Two new shows opening in September at The GLBT History Museum highlight  evocative untold stories from the recent history of San Francisco. An exhibition in the Front Gallery will trace the emergence of organizing by queer and transgender women in the city's Asian Pacific Islander communities. In addition, a small, focused exhibit in the museum's Corner Gallery will focus on the pioneering role of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence in promoting safer sex during the early years of the AIDS crisis.  

"For Love and Community: Queer Asian Pacific Islanders Take Action, 1960-1990s" recounts the creation of the Asian Pacific Islander queer women's and transgender community. Many of its members were born in the city, with deep roots in San Francisco Chinatown. Others moved to the Bay Area as adults, working to build support networks and advocate for change. The exhibition features photographs from these organizers that tell a story of family, community, activism and love, and audio clips from oral history interviews that give voice to a history that has never been heard.  
"API queer women and transfolks have been out and working towards social change in San Francisco since at least the 1960s," notes curator Amy Sueyoshi. "What's most incredible is that this movement reflects activism en masse. It's inspiring to see so many people taking action to make a more compassionate world accepting of difference. In a city of rich legacies from both API and queer communities, this exhibition finally reveals the organizing at their intersection."   
"For Love and Community" opens Tuesday, September 18, with a public reception from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Many of the women whose stories are told in the exhibition will attend. Partial funding for the exhibition was provided by the Cesar Chavez Institute at San Francisco State University. 
"Play Fair! The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence Make Sex Safer" sheds light on a modest brochure that broke new ground by launching the gay community's sex-positive response to the AIDS crisis. Since 1979, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence have transformed GLBT politics, activism and volunteerism. One major contribution is the long-running Play Fair campaign, one of the first gay safe-sex initiatives.

In 1982, six sisters produced the initial Play Fair brochure, designed to get the gay community talking about prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections in a language free of judgment and guilt. The first edition came out just as GLBT people began to grapple with what would become the AIDS epidemic. In the 30 years since, the brochure has been updated twice while retaining all its original potency, humor and vitality.

Produced in partnership with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence Inc., the "Play Fair!" exhibit will open with a public reception on Friday, September 28, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.


The GLBT History Museum is the first full-scale, stand-alone museum of its kind in the United States. The museum is a project of the GLBT Historical Society, a research center and archives founded in 1985 that houses one of the world's largest collections of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender historical materials.

Admission to the museum is $5.00 general; $3.00 for California students; and free for members. For more information, visit

For more details on "For Love and Community," download the PDF of the curators statement and exhibition credits by clicking here.

For more information on the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence Inc., visit the Sisters' website.

The following photographs may be reproduced in conjunction with coverage of the exhibitions at The GLBT History Museum. The full photo credits given in the captions are required.    

Asian/Pacific Lesbians marching in the 1989 San Francisco LGBT Pride Parade. Photo: Cathy Cade at; courtesy of the Bancroft Library.

Produced by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence in 1982, the "Play Fair!" brochure launched the safer sex movement. Photo courtesy of the GLBT Historical Society.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Top 25 LGBT-Friendly Colleges And Universities

Stanford University, Minnesota's Carleton College and Georgia's Emory Universitymay all be vastly different institutions in terms of size of their student body and variety of degree programs offered. Yet all three have been named to Campus Pride's list of the top 25 most LGBT-friendly colleges and universities in the U.S.
As part of an exclusive partnership with HuffPost Gay Voices, Campus Pride officials have just released the full list, which also includes universities in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Michigan. The rankings are based on data from the Campus Pride Index, which rates both colleges and universities on LGBT policy inclusion, student life, academic life as well as other relevant practices using a five (highest) to one (lowest) star rating system. The full index comprises a total of 339 campuses across the country.
Praising the top 25 list was Campus Pride Executive Director Shane Windmeyer. "Every student deserves to feel safe on campus, and all of these colleges are committed to creating a more LGBT-friendly campus," he said in a statement.
Calling it "the most reliable, trusted source" of its kind, Windmeyer noted that the index differed from others in that its ratings were "done for and by" LGBT people. He also stated that there was still room for improvement across the board, particularly in rural areas and Midwest and Southern regions.
"It is also important to recognize the 300 plus additional colleges that have ‘come out’ as LGBT-friendly on the Campus Pride Index, regardless of their star-rating," he added.
See the top 25 LGBT-friendly colleges and universities (featured in no specific order) in the slideshow below. For more information on the Campus Pride Index, click here.
How LGBT-friendly is your college or alma mater? Sound off in the comments section below.
Here’s the full rundown of the Top 25. (All 339 school rankings can be found on the Campus Pride Index)

- Carleton College
- Cornell University
- Emory University
- Indiana University
- Ithaca College
- Oberlin College
- Portland State University
- Stanford University
- The Ohio State University
- The Pennsylvania State University
- University of California, Berkeley
- University of California, Los Angeles
- University of California, Riverside
- University of California, Santa Barbara
- University of Chicago
- University of Illinois at Chicago
- University of Maryland, College Park
- University of Massachusetts, Amherst
- University of Michigan
- University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
- University of Oregon
- University of Pennsylvania
- University of Utah
- University of Vermont
- University of Washington

“Every student deserves to feel safe on campus, and all of these colleges are committed to creating a more LGBT-friendly campus,” said Campus Pride Executive Director Shane Windmeyer.

Full story here:

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Finding Zach by Rowan Speedwell

Book Desceiption:
For five years, Zach Tyler, son of one of the world's richest software moguls, was held hostage, tortured, and abused. When he is rescued at last from the Venezuelan jungle, he is physically and psychologically shattered, but he slowly begins to rebuild the life he should have had before an innocent kiss sent him into hell. His childhood best friend David has lived those years with overwhelming guilt and grief. Every relationship David has tried has fallen apart because of his feelings for a boy he thought dead. When Zach is rescued, David is overjoyed—and then crushed when Zach shuts him out. Two years later, David returns home, and he and Zach must come to terms with the rift between them, what they feel for each other, and what their future could hold. But Zach has secrets, and one of them might well destroy their fragile love.

Finding Zach is for sure one of those novels that uses angst to involve people in the story, but it also has its moments of tenderness and sweetness: in the end, the romance is so strong that it outbalances the sadness. This book was amazing. It started off and I was hooked immediately. My first thought was that I was afraid it was going to be a super quick read, but the author continues to spin the story, feelings and emotions together and around, pulling in new pieces seemingly forever.  In some books, that might be incredibly frustrating, but this is a book that you don't want to end.

Finding Zach is a novel that pulls at your heart strings.  This novel takes you through a roller coaster of emotions: sadness, lust, love, frustration, etc.  In parts, the book is very erotic, but not pornographic.  In an article I recently read, the author Greg Herren (one of my absolute favorite writers) wrote about the difference between erotica and pornography:
To me, pornography is writing about sex itself; the characters really don't matter, the setting doesn't matter, and there really is no story. Two men (or two women) meet, are attracted to each other, have some blistering hot sex, and then go their merry ways. We don't know anything more about them than we did when we first met them.
Erotica, on the other hand, is about the characters; and needs to actually tell a story. Erotic fiction, to me, has to meet the standards of fiction—there has to be a change of some sort in the main character by the end of the story; the sex itself needs to be revelatory to the character in some way. (When I teach workshops, I say "If you can change the sex scene in your story to nothing more than and then they fucked, and the story still works, then it's erotica.")
I have to disagree when it comes to Finding Zach.  The sex scenes are an integral part of the book.  It helps the reader understand the characters in a more intimate way.

A little warning to the reader: don't feel discouraged from the first pages; at first the story appears dark and without hope. This feeling will dissipate soon, and as I said, on the average there is more sweetness than angst; the relationship between Zach and David starts almost as soon as they meet again, and even if it will be not an easy ride, it will be something they will do together.

I hope that some of you will read this book.  It is well worth it.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012



'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
      Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
      And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
      The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
      The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand;
      Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree
      And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
      The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
      And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
      The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
      He went galumphing back.

"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
      Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"
      He chortled in his joy.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
      Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
      And the mome raths outgrabe.
Source: The Random House Book of Poetry for Children (1983)
I felt like just posting a silly poem today.  I hope you enjoyed it.
From Wikipedia:

"Jabberwocky" is a nonsense verse poem written by Lewis Carroll in his 1871 novelThrough the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There, a sequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The book tells of Alice's adventures within the back-to-front worldof a looking glass.

In a scene in which she is in conversation with the chess pieces White King andWhite Queen, Alice finds a book written in a seemingly unintelligible language. Realising that she is travelling through an inverted world, she recognises that the verse on the pages are written in mirror-writing. She holds a mirror to one of the poems, and reads the reflected verse of "Jabberwocky". She finds the nonsense verse as puzzling as the odd land she has walked into, later revealed as a dreamscape.

"Jabberwocky" is considered one of the greatest nonsense poems written in English. Its playful, whimsical language has given us nonsense words and neologisms such as "galumphing" and "chortle".

Click "more" below for some possible explanations of the words of the poem.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Phyllis Diller Dies at 95

Comedian Phyllis Diller dies at 95 -

Phyllis Diller, the zany housewife-turned-stand-up comic with the electrified hairdo, outlandish wardrobe and a barrage of self-deprecating jokes punctuated by her trademark laugh, has died. She was 95.

Diller, whose career in comedy clubs spanned nearly 50 years, died in her sleep Monday at her longtime home in Brentwood, said her agent, Fred Wostbrock.

As a professional comedian, Diller was a late bloomer: The Ohio native was an Alameda, Calif., mother of five when she made her nightclub debut at the Purple Onion in San Francisco in 1955 — at age 37.

Known for her adept timing and precisely structured jokes, Diller took pride in being able to deliver as many as 12 punch lines per minute.

The first laugh came easy. With her fright-wig hair and garish attire that typically included a fake-jeweled cigarette holder, gloves and ankle boots, she merely had to walk on stage.

Jack Paar once described her as looking "like someone you avoid at the supermarket." Bob Hope called her "a Warhol mobile of spare parts picked up along a freeway."

But Diller was always the first to address her colorfully eccentric stage persona, describing herself as "The Elizabeth Taylor of'The Twilight Zone'" and a woman who once worked "as a lampshade in a whorehouse."

During her long career, she was in more than two dozen movies, including three with Hope, with whom she also appeared on numerous TV specials and traveled with to Vietnam to entertain U.S. troops.

She also was the host of a 1964 TV talent show called "Show Street," starred as the widowed matriarch of a financially strapped society family in the 1966-67 situation comedy "The Pruitts of Southampton" (renamed "The Phyllis Diller Show" midway through the season), and starred in the short-lived 1968 comedy-variety series "The Beautiful Phyllis Diller Show."

But the outlandish Diller always shined best in nightclubs, showrooms and concert halls, where one of her favorite targets was her domestic life, including her fictional husband "Fang."

"I don't like to cook; I can make a TV dinner taste like radio," she'd say. "Fang's idea of a seven-course dinner is a six-pack and a bologna sandwich. The last time I said let's eat out, we ate in the garage."

"I put on a peekaboo blouse. He took a peek and booed."

Then she'd launch one of her patented guffaws: "Ah-HAA-haa-haa!"

In his book "Seriously Funny: The Rebel Comedians of the 1950s and 1960s," author Gerald Nachman writes: "Diller wasn't the first woman stand-up comedian, but she was the first to make it respectable, to drag female comedy out of the gay bars, backrooms and low-rent resorts and go toe-to-toe with her male counterparts in prime clubs."

Born Phyllis Driver in Lima, Ohio, on July 17, 1917, Diller made people laugh at an early age.

"When I realized I looked like Olive Oyl and wanted to look like Jean Harlow, I knew something had to be done," she once said. "From 12 on, the only way to handle the terror of social situations was comedy — break the ice, make everybody laugh. I did it to make people feel more relaxed, including myself."

Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry

I personally do not consider myself a conservative, but neither do I consider myself a liberal.  I am that seemingly rare breed known as a moderate.  I consider myself a Democrat, though I do not agree with all of their rhetoric, nor do I agree with much of the Republican rhetoric.  Most of the tim,e and increasingly more and more, I do not feel as if I fit into any political parties philosophy.  I tend to weigh the issues carefully and not follow blindly with a political ideology.

That being said, a friend and reader of my blog asked if I would publish a post about Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry.  He said that he was "both ashamed by the general trend of the Republican party and annoyed at the blind hatred that pro-Equality people seem to have for the GOP." Like many gay, and an increasing number of young, conservatives, he can't understand how Republicans can reconcile small, non-intrusive government with policies that make life difficult for gay people, and I have to agree with him.

By American standards, freedom and family are core conservative values. Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry is a new campaign by Freedom to Marry to highlight and build support for the freedom to marry among young people across America who identify as conservative.

Support for the freedom to marry is accelerating at historically dramatic rates among every group in America – including conservatives. Leading the way for conservatives are young conservatives, who believe all Americans should be able to share in the freedom to marry.

Jan van Lohuizen Memo making recommendations on supporting same sex marriage:
“People who believe in equality under the law as a fundamental principle, as I do, will agree that this principle extends to gay and lesbian couples; gay and lesbian couples should not face discrimination and their relationship should be protected under the law. People who disagree on the fundamental nature of marriage can agree, at the same time, that gays and lesbians should receive essential rights and protections such as hospital visitation, adoption rights, and health and death benefits.”  
Public Religion Research Institute Survey “Generations at Odds: The Millennial Generation and the Future of Gay and Lesbian Rights”
Nearly half (49%) of Republican Millennials favor allowing gay and lesbian people to marry, compared to only 19% of Republican seniors and less than one-third (31%) of all Republicans.
Gallup Poll from 2011 shows that a majority of Americans favor legal gay marriage:
70% of adults ages 18-34 believe that same sex marriage should be legal, 16% higher than in 2010
CBS News Poll from May 2012
Of all the 18- to 44-year-olds who participated in the poll, 53 percent said same-sex couples should be granted full marriage rights. 
Washington Post Poll from June 2012
Among Republicans ages 18 to 44, the numbers are far different and evolving far more quickly — opinion is currently evenly divided at 46 percent.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Matthew 25:14-30

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Parable of the Talents

14 For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them.15 To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. 16 Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. 17 In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. 18 But he who received the onetalent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money.19 "Now after a long time the master of those slaves *came and * settled accounts with them. 20 The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, 'Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.' 21 His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.'22 "Also the one who had received the two talents came up and said, 'Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more talents.' 23 His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.'24 "And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, 'Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered noseed. 25 And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.'26 "But his master answered and said to him, 'You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. 27 Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. 28 Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.'29 For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. 30 Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
In Jesus' day, a "talent" was a fairly large amount of money.  Of course, like all of Jesus' parables, this one is symbolic, and it doesn't take much imagination to guess that the "talents" in the story represent the resources God has given us - not only our talents, but our time, spiritual gifts, material possessions, and all the resources we have at our disposal.  You might say that the moral of the story is "use it or lose it."  We're supposed to use our gifts for the sake of the Kingdom of God.

So, for starters, you might ask yourself, "Am I using my gifts for God?"

And immediately, some of us come back with the response, "What gifts?"

Maybe you're one of those who feel like you have nothing substantial to offer - few if any material possessions, no real talents to speak of, nothing unique to contribute.  Interestingly, this passage doesn't try to claim that all of us are equal in that regard.  Some people do have more "talents" to offer than others.  But that's not really the point, is it?  Even the servant with only one talent is held accountable for his actions.  His master doesn't expect him to earn the same amount as the guy with five talents, but he does expect something.  Maybe you don't have the resources that the person sitting next to you has, but you do have something, and that's what you have to use - whatever you've got.

Now here's where the passage gets a bit tricky.  Because I've heard some people say that this parable is teaching us to be "good stewards" of what we have; in other words, don't waste what God has given you.

But if Jesus had wanted to make this parable about not wasting your resources, it would have been very easy to do so.  The guy with the one talent could have wasted it, squandering the wealth like the prodigal son.  But he didn't.  Notice, even the "wicked, lazy servant" didn't waste his talent; he saved it, protecting his master's money by burying it in the ground until his return.  And yet the master was angry with him, because he wanted his servant to do something with the talent and earn more.

The point isn't just "don't waste your talents."  If you're living your life just trying to avoid sin, you've only gotten half of the message.  Are you expecting a reward just because you didn't spend your talent on something for yourself?  Don't count on it.  God demands more!  God wants you to use what He's given you and invest it in the Kingdom.

In a sense, when you invest your talents in this world, you're burying them in the ground.  From an eternal perspective, that kind of investment counts for nothing, and earns no spiritual wealth.  There's nothing wrong with using your talent of persuasion, for instance, to make a living in advertising, but if that's all you've done with it, you're burying it.  That same talent could be used to help share the gospel or make a difference in the church.  Do you have financial gifts?  You could spend them to buy a more impressive car and a bigger DVD collection, or you could put them to use in your church or find other ways to make them work for the Kingdom.

The band Sixpence None the Richer took their name from a quote by C.S. Lewis:
Every faculty you have, your power of thinking or of moving your limbs from moment to moment, is given to you by God. If you devoted every moment of your whole life exclusively to His service you could not give Him anything that was not in a sense His own already. So that when we talk of a man doing anything for God or giving anything to God, I will tell you what it is really like. It is like a small child going to his father and saying, 'Daddy, give me sixpence to buy you a birthday present.' Of course, the father does, and he is pleased with the child's present. It is all very nice and proper, but only an idiot would think that the father is sixpence to the good on the transaction.
Jesus' parable makes the same point.  The talents in the question do not belong to the servants; they are the master's, given to them for their use for a short while.

Our talents and resources are God's.  But unlike the child in Lewis' story, we take our sixpence and divide it up - spending some of it on ourselves, wasting some of it on sin, leaving some of it lying around unused.  After we've almost used it up, we find some little bit left over and we use that to buy God's birthday present, proudly presenting Him with five minutes out of our day or a few dollars in the collection plate.  The rest of it is wasted, or at best, buried in the ground somewhere.  Even then, I think, God blesses our efforts, but that says a lot more about God's grace than it does about our own goodness.

So what are you doing with what God has given you?  Even if it's only sixpence, God has given you something to invest, and He's expecting a return on that investment.  How are you using your time, your money, and your gifts?  Are you wasting them?  Are you investing them in this world?  Or are you putting them to work for the Kingdom, gaining more for God so that upon His return, you'll hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant!"?