Wednesday, May 16, 2007

That's some hot cup o' Jo

The Mrs. and I are leaving tomorrow night to see her brother graduate from Law School in GA on Saturday morning. Which means a lot of driving time. A lot. But it's cool. I'm really too busy to be writing this, which is probably why I'm doing it anyway.

I got a comment on a two year old post this morning. I had no idea what this cat was talking about (since I'm not too aware of controversies that don't have the words 'Chicago' and 'School' in them somewhere or other), but I slowly got the brain together.

My man Johan was involved in a little minor-celebrity moment a while back when he and some coworkers were featured on the cover of the free daily rag here, The Red Eye (Disclosure: The RedEye is owned by Tribune Corp. Tribune Corp. runs the Cubs through the end of the year. 'Nuff said.) The Red Eye ran a little piece about these young, emerging hottie celibates, with a blown-up pic of Johan (Disclosure: who, if I was a girl, I'd totally be crushing on. But I'm not. But if I were gay...) as I've hinted, on the friggin' cover. Pretty-boy eye-lashes and all. He and a group of like-minded and pro-abstinence young men and women (all great communicators and quite attractive in their own rights) did some speeches and rallies, etc., for an abstinence education group -- herein referred to as Project Reality. (Full disclosure: I was a big abstainer for a long time. As the soon-upon-us birth of our daughter will attest, I am no longer abstinent.)

I think Johan got me confused with real bloggers who keep up with other bloggers' news. If I can, I'll read the people in the top ten or so of my blogroll to the right. I need to update it (sorry, people), but that's about it. But I was made aware of Jo-hizzle's opening of a coffeeshop a few months ago by his mother. I haven't had a chance to check it out (although I did go to it a couple times before they moved and opened regularly). Apparently, it's called bLENd. I would assume that name has more to do with people-mixing and fruit-flavored mochaccinas than anything virgin-related, but I'll let J-Lohan tell his story.

Yo J,

Guess who?! It's the controversial Johan.

Just to help shed some light for you on why all the searches for my name.

There are some people, for reasons unknown to me, that have launched a smear campaign against blend.

They are using the lie of us giving all of our money from blend to abstinence education. This is completely ridiculous and false.

I can't believe how crazy people are!

We even got interviewed about this stuff, here's a lil' snippet:

Chicago blogs were all abuzz last week with news about recently-opened East Village coffee shop bLENd.

The simplest version of the story (as we read on The Food Chain) is that bLENd is owned by a founder of the abstinence-only education group Project Reality. We thought this was pretty interesting on a number of levels (not insignificantly the amount of media it has received) so we decided to get in touch with bLENd part-owner and Event Coordinator Johan Khalilian to find out what the connection is.

Khalilian broke it down for us: "In all honesty, Project Reality has no connection with bLENd. They do not fund us, we do not fund them. We have no intent on funding them or anything abstinence related, they have no intent on funding us." So where does the confusion come from? Why is everyone crying wolf?

Khalilian told us that he has done work with Project Reality "as a speaker on healthy choices and abstinence." Beyond that, he said that "there is no affiliation with what we are doing at bLENd. There are certain people who have just assumed, because of my stance on abstinence, that bLENd is affiliated in some way shape or form. That assumption is false."

The funniest thing is that they say I'm one of the founders of Project Reality!

Project Reality was founded in 1985, I was born in 1979! Either that's another lie or I was the smartest most politically inclined kindergarten boy in the world!

Since I like to think the best of people, I'm willing to go with number 2, Jo-Ko.

Some real cheap and quick googlin' has hit upon these links:

The official Metromix review, which labels "partner" Johan as "eye candy", "motivational speaker", and "male model". Yes, I laughed.

And then here's an example of one of the websites with horrible research that Johan is referring to, which actually has a commentator associating that President Bush himself is funding bLENd.

To be fair, though, the official website (ostensibly made in '06, before it opened) is hopelessly esoteric. Lovely to look at. But frustrating in any sense of the word 'business.' So, I could see why people would want to make up their own news, bad form of logic as they may use. Edit: Apparently, they're also on MySpace, but anybody who's ever tried to search for anything on there (except for hookup purposes, I'm sure) knows that I wasn't able to find it.

PostEditEdit: Hey, found it. Heavy Bruce Lee influence. That's cool. It's Wu-riffic.

But, mad props to ya, Johan. The wife and I (and baby?) will try to stop by sometime soon.


  1. I didn't realize you were gay!


    Seriously, good luck on the trip... you'll be passing through my neck of the woods.

    Really... good luck!

  2. y'know, some of us are ok with our sexuality. i'm secure in my hetero-ness.

    act., just had a funny incident about that happen on my way in to work this morning. wish i had the time now to share it. but i don't. (which, as we've all learned, doesn't mean i won't.)

    and what do you mean by 'Really... good luck!'? Is it really like Deliverance out there? seriously, whatevery's the quickest way, i'm all for it.

  3. It's a joke - really not like 'Deliverance' in most places. But just like in the city, there are spots you 'outsiders' probably don't want to visit.

    Don't stray too far from the major roadways and you'll be fine.

  4. So this place is in Chicago, huh? I'll have to stop by on my appropriately whirlwind trip to the windy city in two weeks. I mean really. How could I not?

  5. art,

    yeah, no touristing here. not through the boonies for sure.


    i don't know. sounds like it's right up your alley and all.

    conversations, coffee and spiritual Christianity, with a dose of controversy.

    sounds like fun.


Be kind. Rewind.